Friday, February 24, 2012

February 20th

Well, thanks for the photos. I am really excited to meet the branch. Everything that you have said makes it sound great so I sure that it is going to be a great fit for the two of you. It is also great to see some of the progress on the house. I know you say that you don't want anything spectacular Mom, but I know you too well. The house is going to be fantastic and everyone is going to comment on it. We have never tried to have spectacular houses but they always turn out incredibly.
So things are going really well. I feel like my comp has been a little down recently because he has been feeling a little sick and feels like we have been working really hard but things haven't been falling from the sky like they always have for him in his mission. He is easily one of the missionaries who is most prone to see miracles. He is a really great guy and deserves many, many blessings, but recently it has been really hard for him. I feel like the Lord has tended to make me work a little harder in the mission before receiving blessings. Like it is said, "To those to whom much is given, much is required" is pretty much the theme of my entire mission. The Lord really knows what I am capable of and he only pours out his blessings on me if I am doing everything in my strength (as it should be).  I feel like since I've been transferred I have had to make some changes but I am now good to go and things are going well. There is a lot of potential and we are really happy to keep working hard.
So Today, we went to the zoo and it was awesome. I got to touch a tiger and we also saw a lot of cool things (the zoo here isn't very big but it was a lot of fun). Also this week we had a ward talent show where I did something a little special. We were supposed to imitate celebrities or characters, so I decided to be the Elastic Man from the fantastic four and I put 148 clothes pins on my face and did some of those things that make Mom squirm and feel uncomfortable. My comp has the pictures. The ward loved it.
So things are going great. We have been really busy but things are great. I love you all a ton and I am really excited to keep you all informed on everything that is going on here in Concé.
Well, if you want to know anything special, you can always ask questions. Sometimes I don't know what to write y'all but things are great and I hope everything y'all have to do goes well.
Love you tons,

Elder McNeil

February 13th

To be completely honest, I couldn't remember who Jessica was at first but after reflecting on the name and all of my friends from High School, I remember exactly who she is. If I remember right, here parents are Lutheran and her sister, Brittany, was in a lot of my classes and was also in band with me from freshman to senior year. (She played trumpet I think)
 I will always remember being "the Mormon" in the band. I know that I wasn't a perfect example of a member of the church. Yeah, sometimes I was prideful, yeah, sometimes I let my attitude get out of control, and yeah, it was fun to just hang out a little even if the conversations weren't quite LDS standards, but I really tried to be the best example possible. I know people who have admitted that, by knowing me, their interest in the church has grown but I find it amazing that one of the people that I least intended to impact received the gospel so well. I have a ton of other friends that I have invited to learn more since I went to BYU, but that never went very far, but it is great to know that people can often see what one cant in the way they are or they way they act.
I was really caught by surprise by that story. Thank you so much for sending it to me. Tell Sister Milne that I am speechless and astounded by what she said. I needed to hear that.
SO this week went well for us. Our investigators aren't progressing as fast as they need to be and are starting to face a lot of opposition so we are still trying really hard to find new investigators. We have a lot of great people that we are teaching and everyday we find more people who are trying to improve their lives and their relationship with God. It is incredible, the stories people tell us are heartbreaking sometimes. Often they turn to us to help them understand their trials of find ways to overcome them. It is amazing seeing how the Atonement really changes lives and allows people to change.
We also had interviews this week which are always great because we learn a lot and Pres. Humphrey really likes to keep things interesting. The mission has changed so much since I've gotten here and the mission only gets better day by day. I am just trying to keep up with all of the wonderful changes and not fall into the old habits that my senior comps taught me. Things are so much better now.  I love it!
Things are going great. I am really happy. And the package you sent arrived this morning to the office so I just got it. Cheryl told me that you are going to be hanging out with her this weekend and I suggested that all of y'all should go to Monterrey and enjoy some seafood. Also you can enjoy the bay in winter. I know it might be rainy and cold but it might be fun. Who knows, maybe you'll run into somebody you know there.
I love you all a ton and hope everything is going great.
You are awesome,

Elder McNeil

February 6th

Well yes mom I am still a zone leader if you are still wondering. Things are going great and I am really happy. I've settled into my new sector well and I really like the zone. Concepcion is really beautiful. Actually, today we got to go to Subway for the first time. They just built one close to the mission office and I got to go the for the first time with a part of my zone. Dang it was good. In  Conce, there are 3 "Lider" stores which are owned by Walmart but things are really starting to get gringo-ized with subway, pizza hut, and dominos. Those new additions have all come in the last 5 months so things are changing pretty fast. Also, there is a little bit of chatter about the temple in Conce but no official news yet, but the rumor one the street is that the groundbreaking needs to happen before I pack my bags. I'm not sure but it would be cool.
Things are going well in my sector. We are happy, healthy, and finding a lot of good people. The ward is really good here. We are doing great and the zone is improving.
So, it is good to hear that grandpa is doing well and coming to the realization that he cant do everything. I know that it must be frustrating to realize that you are old but... well... it happens.
Sorry I am a little short on time but I love y'all a ton and hope everything is treating y'all well. Mom I know you have a lot to do but take things one at a time and don't feel overwhelmed. The houses will be fine, mike and Cabrina are doing well, Kerri is happy, and I am in no rush to go home yet. The Lord will keep blessing yall, just be patient.

Elder McNeil

January 30th

So, thanks for telling me about the change in ward. I actually was
going to ask that question and I was actually asked about that by
mission secretary. So, that actually was perfect timing. Actually, it
is getting to the point where they are asking me some pretty trunky
info. I would like to remind the World that I will still be a
missionary for 5 more months and there is a lot I still have left to
do. I love the mission and I am so grateful for all of the work that I
still have the chance to do.
Talking about work that I still have left to do, I love my new sector.
I am in one of the strongest wards in all of concepcion. The sector is
named Andalien. It is on the north side of concepcion. It is
surrounded by beautiful hills and there are some really wonderful
views. It is actually a little strange because a part of the sector
looks like it is straight out of nicer parts of the bay area and then
there are some parts that are really humble. It is actually a really
cool sector. I love it.
 We actually had a baptism this weekend which was an incredible
miracle because he has been going to church with his aunt in a
different ward since he was three. His name is Lucas and he is 10
years old. The missionaries from that ward told us about him and we
talked to him and got everything prepared in one week (he came to our
ward the Sunday before I got here) and he was baptized on Saturday.
We also have other great people prepared for this month. We just need
to keep praying with faith, working hard and doing our best, and
things will keep falling into place for us.
I actually talked to the missionary who replaced me in Curico and he
was so grateful for all the seeds that I planted that they will he
reaping this month. I was a little sad to not have the chance to be
there for their baptisms but I will always be grateful for the
opportunity I had to help them receive the gospel.

I am so grateful for all
of the chances that I have been given to learn and grow. I hope you
are all doing well and I am always keeping you in my prayers.
Love ,
Elder McNeil

January 23rd

So, after having one of the toughest weeks of my mission, I just finished one of my best. Things are going really well here in Curicó now. We are still going to finish this month with only 2 baptisms as a zone, but the month of feb is going to be great. Unfortunately, there are transfers this week and I am getting sent back south to be in Concepcion. I have to admit, my time here in Curicó has been amazing. I am excited to see how Curicó continues to grow without me here. I am leaving about 5 baptisms for the missionary who is coming here to replace me so I have to admit that, even though I wont get to be the one baptizing them, I at least got the chance to help them take those steps.  The new ward is called Andalien, in the stake Andalien. It is one of the largest wards in Concepción and I am really excited to get to work there.
So I am already out of time but I need to write my mission president still. I haven´t gotten the face wash but I got all the Christmas packages. Did you get my Christmas package that I sent? 
I am so sorry that I'm out of time but I love you a ton and hope everything goes well this week. 
Love , 
Elder McNeil

January 15th

I'm already out out of time for this week. I'm sorry but I just wanted to let you know that last week was a little rough but things are improving little by little. The mission has taught me that agency is probably the most frustrating gift that Heavenly Father has given us. Agency is necessary, but I bet it is even more irritating for the Lord that His children don't follow his councils, than it is for us a missionaries who work so hard with investigators who decide the day before their baptism that they preferred their old life. The likelihood of us reaching our goal as a zone just went from unlikily to impossible and the excitment in the zone dropped Fahrenheit to Celsius and it quickly approaches absolute zero. 
I have a lot of work to do. It is actually astounding the amount of work that needs to be done to fix the problems that I have spent the last three transfers trying to repair but cant seem to find the way to do it. I love working as a zone leader but the most frustrating experiences I've had here in the mission have come from it. 
We are working hard, looking for revelation, and then working more to try to get things rolling. I ask for lots of prayers that we can get it done. I can't possibly do this work alone and we need all the prayers and help that y'all can muster. 
This next week is going to be great. We have great plans and we have been blessed with great new people to teach. This next week, we expect big things, I just cant depened on my own efforts and ideas. 
I love you all a ton and I am super happy to hear that everything is going great. You are the best. 
Elder McNeil