Sunday, April 22, 2012

April 16th

So things went really well this week. This week there are transfers and I will be getting a new comp. His name is Elder Bracken. He is a really great guy. He is about 6,4 and a football player. He is from Utah and I am really excited to work with him. He is also one of the most energetic people I've ever met which is great because I am pretty much always dying because how tired I am. I think that I am officially going to finish my mission in this ward which would be incredibly great. Also I am a grandpa now. My Comp, Elder Carvajal is going to be training. That is crazy! 
This week was a little crazy for us. We ended up having to bite the bullet a few times this week to help out the zone. There were a lot of interviews that needed to be done, health problems, and, well, just a lot that needed to be done. We also were a major part of a stake service project so we were only a little bit busy these past few days. We basically spent more time out of our sector than in it this week. It was hard but really rewarding. We are seeing a lot of miracles happening in the zone but now we really want to get things turned around in our ward. We are seeing a lot of sucess reactivating families but we are working really hard to find some new people to share the gospel with. Things are actually going really well and we are hoping to see two girls that will be baptized these next two weeks from families that we reactivated and some investigators in the beggining of May. 
So I have to say how much I loved that bag of chex mix you sent me. I dont think I have ever eaten anything you have sent me as fast as I inhaled that bag. It was SOOOO good. I know that I wont be here for too much longer (I mean july is gonna be here faster than we know it) but if you find an excuse to send me anything, that is what I want. 
I am also buying some good souvenir stuff but if you want anything special let me know. (I am not going to be another copper art thing but there is a lot more I can get for y'all). 
Hey I love you all a ton and I am always prayin for you.
Elder McNeil

April 9th

Well, I am actually already short on time. I'm sorry, I sometimes get distracting reading up on church news on the church website. Anyway, I got the package today. Thank you so much for everything you sent. I am really excited about the nerds and the beef jerky. I am ready to chow down when we get to our house.
So, yes things are going much better in the sector. We are working hard and the zone is doing things that it hasn't in over a year (assuming we stay on track for this month). We are doing our part but often as zone leaders, we bite the bullet for the zone. We are seeing amazing changes not only in the investigators but in the missionaries as well. We actually did three back-to-back exchanges. It was really tough because you always want to be in your sector but we really see the blessings from doing it. Everyone is progressing and become what the Lord wants us to be. It is great seeing that. 
So this week was full of those little miracles that make life the great blessing that it is. So we are finding a lot of new people to teach and we were able to get a lot of them to church. On Sunday I was asked to talk. I wanted to talk about the atonement and relation it has with repentance. I tried to share Uncle Ken's story and (for the first time in my mission) I cried during a talk (I cried the entire time). The most spiritual moment was when I tried to read DyC 18:11-12. Read them and you'll see why it was so intense (add verse 13 too). The ward was shocked. They always thought I was a great, fun, outgoing guy, but they had never seen me emotional. I think the talk really helped some of our investigators we had there in church. Let's just say that the spirit was definetly there. 
We also organized a stake fireside with the stake presidency. They invited an area seventy to talk about missionary work. We got President Humphrey to come. The fireside was KILLER!!!! Oh my goodness. They basically told everyone to senior couple missionaries, or if they still can, get thier papers in immediately. We also gave everyone who came a Book of Mormon to hand out this week. They told incredible stories and I left just wanting to send a Book of Mormon to everyone I know. One of the best stories was about a family friend on Pres. Humphrey. He was serving a mission in Nigeria when a man stopped him and his wife (senior couple) and asked them to pass by thier house one day. In that time the first presidency asked members to write their testimonies in Books of Mormon. The missionary went to the house the next day and the man explained his story. He was a mechanic who was a specialist in Mercedes Benz. He went to Germany for a training meeting. There he was given a BoM. The missionary asked to see the book and opened it. One the inside was the picture of his sister-in-law. They were shocked how this book had made the circle around the world to get into this missionary's hands. The man and his family were baptized. There was much more but that was the most of it. 
We also heard a few special news bits from the Seventy who went to Utah for conference. Apparently we are on the verge of big news on the temple here in Concepción. Like they should announce the groundbreaking in the next few weeks type news. I'll keep you posted on that. Also apparently the church is making huge strides in some places that were never thought of before. Cool stuff is happening in the world. The  Church is true and the truth will always move foward. 
Today we had a zone activity and we made omlettes that turned out really great. It was great.
Well, I love you tons. I'll make sure that I enjoy my B-day tomorrow. Please just keep up the excitement at home. Although there is a lot that needs to get done, everything will be fine. 
Love ,
Elder McNeil

April 2nd

So, Mom I know that I am going to be taking a lot of hard classes. I understand that it is going to be hard. I am actually really concerned about it but I know that it needs to be done so I will do it, and I will do it with all the energy and excitement I can muster. I'm actually not the only missionary who is working on all of this right now either. There are a lot of us who are in the same process and we are all just as concerned and scared as everyone else. We don't want to grow up just yet. We love the mission, there is nothing more rewarding than being here and we don't want to have to worry about everything that comes with "post-mission life". Fortunately we don't have to worry about that quite yet. We still have 3 months to get stuff done. I am not trunky, although conference and having to register for classes kind was kind of a buzz kill. There is plenty left to do and we are going to do it well.
So this week was a little hard for us. We need new investigators but it seems like it has been harder than ever to find. We are just trying to stay diligent and do everything possible so that we are blessed with those people who are prepared for the gospel. It requires hard work and we are working hard. It requires patience and.... well, that is a part of where we need to improve. We are learning a lot and we will be blessed.
Conference was amazing. I really liked all of it but I really felt that Pres. Uchtdorf's talk was perfect for our family as well. I know it has been really hard on all of y'all but things are going to improve. I also really liked the focus on the most important things like family and the gospel. We must be fully converted to the gospel and not to anything else. I am really excited to improve and apply what we've been taught and study the talks better.
It is good to know that the house is going well and that things are improving there. I would love to see a picture of it when it actually looks like a house. I also am really excited to hear that Kerri will graduate in August. At the same time, that means that I am going to be the only one left that still needs to grow up... wow, that makes me feel a little lonely. Mike and Cabrina are having a blast and things are going really well. Dad good luck with work and Mom, I hope things go really well with the house in CO. Let me know if I can do anything more than pray.
Well, I love you all tons. I hope you all learned a lot from conference and that we can apply it all.
Love ,
Elder McNeil

March 26th

So, this week I have to register for classes... I also got an email about my flight info... I thought that it was going to be exciting for me to get to this point in my mission to get "back to real life" but now I just feel a little sick to my stomach. Life as a missionary just seems so much more rewarding. I DONT WANT TO GROW UP!!! I mean getting married, having a family, and all that stuff is fun and all but school? work? Well, on the bright side of things I still have a little more than three months left to keep helping people and enjoy the mission but I wish I could have more. 
I just sent an email to Kerri with all of the imformation about all the classes I need to take and I also emailed the dean of the major I want to change to. I hope she can do it because my hour to do it is at midnight thurs going into friday I think (that would be like 4 in the morning here or something like that) Please remind her about that. I would greatly appreciate it. If she cant do it she can pass the info onto you but she knows how to do it so, it would just be easier I think. 
Anyway, my birthday is coming up soon. If you are wondering what I want, i would like a laptop for when I get back. I dont want to be picky but if we could talk with Ken and get another MacBook I would be really, really grateful. I'm willing to find a way to work for it if you want. UGH, lets change topics...
Anyway, I am really excited for conference. For missionaries, conference is like the Superbowl. We buy food, set up tables and a TV to watch it in English and have a Gringo party. It is actually really fun and it is good having the spiritual boost that comes from conference and I feel like this one is going to have a lot of things specifically for me in this sort of akward stage I'm at right now.
Things are going well in our sector. We spent a lot of this week working on a service project for a member in the ward. We are building a bathroom for a widow in our ward. The neighbors cut her access to the sewage pipes (its a long story) but we are building her a new one with the high priests and elders of our ward. It also doesn't hurt that our bishop is a contractor. 
Enjoy the weekend with Kerri in Utah. I know that it is going to be great. I just hope that Taylor and her are as good of a couple as Kerri makes them sound. If he is a weirdo, let Kerri know. Like you taught us, DONT MARRY CRAZY PEOPLE is a creed in our family. 
How's the house going? Does it have a roof and are they working on the interior yet? They have three months to finish, so you might need to get the pressure on them. But if you ordered cabinets, you are atleast moving forward.
Anyway, I love you all a ton and hope things are going well.
Let me know if you want anything specific from Chile. I am going to be close to some good markets soon so I can get you stuff.
Love ,
Elder McNeil

March 19th

Well, I know that you wanted photos. Well, I have been really bad about taking pictures recently so I tried to take some good ones this week. The dinosaurs are something that I love right in the middle of Concepcion and the other pictures are from the baptism we had this week.
Well, it sounds like everything was decently exciting in y'alls lives right now. I assume that Dad is only feeling a little bit stressed out right now. I mean, that was a big change but don't worry about it. We know that your carrer is NOT more important than we are. We understand clearly that you work hard FOR us. If you ever feel like you need to appologize for hard work remember that if it is for us that you're working for. I know that you will have to start travelling again soon. What you need to do is save up some airline miles. I would love to show you and mom around Chile with Kerri. (In about 2-2.5 years we can try to come for the Concepcion temple dedication). I know that you don't like to travel but it would be cool to come to Chile one day with you two.
So we had 2 baptisms this last week. They are Rodrigo and Maria José. Their mom is a member who got in contact with us saying that she wanted to come back to church after being inactive since the pregnancy of her two year old son. They baptism was a little unconventional because Rodrigo is horrified of water. I would love to tell you the story but I dont think I could really do it justice in an email. Lets just say, we had to get creative and use some good team work but in the end we got it all to work out well... it just took 1.5 hours to get it to work. Maria José was baptised without a single problem but I am always going to remember this weekend for the rest of my life.
Things went really well but now we are starting back from square one. There are a lot of people we are sharing with but we need to find out who really has desires. I am really excited to see what happens this week. The zone is improving and we are really excited for the next few weeks.
Mom, I hope you know that I totally spent all of St. Patricks day explain why I was wearing a green tie and how much I was trying to talk up the holiday. In the end, I was thinking about how awesome a mint shamrock shake would be or a big bowl of cottle. For the most part we forget about those small random traditions but a lot of people started asking questions about it so that got me thinking about it. It was fun. We had a great time.
I love you all a ton and tell Cheryl congrats for being a grandma.
Love ,
Elder McNeil