Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Meaning of Joy

Below faithful members meet to watch General Conference

Precious little girls dressed in their Sunday best that have obviously found something very interesting on the ground

Elder Scott McDonald with his district in Wellington

Another photo from showing the miracle of water in Wellington

And in the bucket if flows...

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Happy Birthday Elder Scott McDonald!!!

Scotty is now 21 years old...where have the days and years gone? It seems like only yesterday that he was hugging his Barney, or stacking all his stuffed animals in the corner of his bed. He has been a joy since the day he was born and he is still a joy today. I can't remember him ever being angry or upset, he has always been so easy going and happy. He has typically been the center of entertainment when he was comfortable, and then at other times, he would be a bit shy. He has always had a strong testimony and a desire to serve his Heavenly Father. I remember a few years before he was ready to leave for a mission, he told me that he wanted to serve in a Third World Country because he didn't want things to be easy for him. Apparently Scotty was in tune to what Heavenly Father had prepared him for as he is now serving where he knew he would be. I am so proud of my son Scotty, he is going to be a strong leader in the church just like his family is and has been. He has some great men who have set strong, righteous examples for him. I love you Scotty, and miss you so much son, but am so happy that you are there giving all you have to the building up of His kingdom.

Dear Mama,

This has been a very nice week. Full of neat experiences, my birthday was such a great day due to the amazing people in my district. They threw a magnificent party for me at a small restaurant we frequently eat at. They even were able to get me a cake. I have some very fun pictures I will try to get to you somehow. But if not you will see them someday. I have made a commitment to upkeep more on my journal. Particularly for you.

I am happy Jared is moving back up. But it will spoil the plans Elder Gherkins and I were putting together to have Jared and his little sister date. But it is best he is home. I am sure he has learned a lot through all this. I am excited for him to be able to go on a mission. He will be great.

I love you mama, I am out of time. You are the best Mama of all Mamas.
Love your son,
Elder McDonald

Pics of Elder Scott McDonald growing up

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

October's Letters from Scotty

Scotty is growing so much on his mission and it is evident that he is totally dedicated to his work there. His letters are filled with the spirit and each one brings so much joy to me, filling me with even more love for this Gospel, knowing that it is true and has completely blessed the lives of my family. I can't imagine my life without the Gospel and without my eternal family.

Oct. 28, 2013
Dear Mama,

Thank you for the beautiful email and the birthday wishes. This has been a good week. We have had some wonderful people baptized this weekend. Two young guys, Alhaji and Ishmael. They are both so great. I have never seen someone so open to inspiration from the Holy Ghost as Alhaji. Everything we teach him he takes and ponders and has been receiving revelation upon revelation. He truly treasures up the Gospel. He was so happy on the day of his baptism and came out of the water with a big smile. A recent convert Lahai was able to perform their baptisms. Ishmael used to be a Muslim, but now has one of the strongest testimonies of Jesus Christ I have seen. For sometime it seemed too strong, because he couldn't believe that someone who did not believe in Christ could be resurrected. But he now fully understands more. After his confirmation he asked to make sure we continue to come and teach him everything so that he can know all he will ever need to know to endure to the end.

I can see that that is a harder task then people seem to think about, enduring to the end. Everyone in the family knew the truth and had felt the Spirit at some point I am sure. But how have they lost it. It seems people make the resolve to endure to the end. But when they have a small test they are not sure what to do. Sometimes I think the biggest test is not so much a physical or temporal trial. But seeing if people will still treasure those past confirmations and revelations enough to still follow through on them when the emotion with it is gone. I read that that is the true definition of character. To still follow through on something when the initial motivation or emotion is gone.I have had periods on my mission where I feel that I am not feeling enough. Even when I see the Lords hand. I know it is a personal perception thing. So this week I have been improving my senses to feel. More gratitude, sincerity and compassion. Almost on a daily basis recently I have had my prayers answered before my eyes. And I have been now trying to make sure I am fully grateful. I am trying to make sure I can show love and get it into my heart if it is not there at that moment. I can always due to the actions. It is simple to control actions. But how about emotions behind them. The motive behind them. So that is my own personal goal right now is to truly learn to bridle my passions that I may be filled with love.

I have been learning so much on my mission and I am sad I do not have too much time left. But luckily I think I still have enough time. I miss you guys. But it will probably be somewhat devastating for me to come home next June. The months are passing by like a dream.

I mentioned how on a daily basis I have been receiving answers to my prayers. One of them was through you. I had lost some of my subsistence money and ran out about a week early. I had also fasted just before I realized. So I thought holy smokes. How can I afford to pay this fast offering. Because I would literally have no other money having had no personal money or anything of the sort. I thought maybe I would have to mooch. But then I realized I wouldn't want to. So I said, well let me put myself into the Lords hands on this matter and test him. So I still payed my fast offerings and then, the next morning (last Monday) I see that you had sent me money through Western Union( which I retrieved and have). So Mama, you got to help answer my prayer and bless me. Thank you so much for it. It will last me for a long time.

Anyways I love you Mama,
Love your son,
Elder McDonald

Oct. 21, 2013

Dear Mama,

This week has been so nice. Thank you for sending the money. I am going to go get it right after this. It is more then I had even expected.
I hope Jared is having a wonderful birthday. Tell him Happy Birthday for me.

This week we had a wonderful baptismal service. We had a young man baptized and he is the most sincere and humble person. His name is Brother Abdulai. He is one of those people who will do anything to come closer to Heavenly Father. So many people came to the service. Over 60 people came to witness. There were some people baptized in the other branch as well.

The mission here is growing very quickly. 26 new missionaries arrived last week and so it is always very fun to see them.
Thank you for the advice on prayer. I have always admired your own ability in following the spirit and I want to make sure I do the same. I am so proud of Uncle Barry. Tell him that is so wonderful. Even this morning I was telling the other Elders on how proud I am to have had my Granddaddy give me my Patriarchal Blessing.

Sometimes it is not easy to follow the Spirit. I cannot believe how hard it is actually. But I suppose that the things the Lord requests of us are typically appear to be the hardest thing to do. But always compensated and most rewarding. I have been trying to improve my own positivity lately. I am beginning to recognize a pattern, I can see others following my own ways whether it be good or bad. I have had some times when I am tired and then it seems everyone becomes tired. But if I can stay lively and positive it seems almost all can. I have realized I need to try to be much more perfect, I cannot really afford to not be my best at all times anymore. But I can see that is going to take the Spirits influence at almost all times. I hope I can do it. But I know I can never force anything of that matter. So I am still learning to cultivate the atmosphere for it. Anyways, this coming week is going to be wonderful.

I love you mama,
Love your son,
Elder McDonald

Oct. 14, 2013

Dear Mama,
This has been a very nice week. We have been proselyting with our recent convert a lot lately. He is the most amazing guy and his testimony is so strong. He joins in on our examples and is so sincere.
This weekend Sister Alice and Sister Josephine were baptized and confirmed. They were so excited for their bapstism on Saturday they said they woke up at 5:00 am because they could not sleep because of excitement. It was so wonderful and they bore a good testimony at the baptismal service.

By the way Elder Gherkins and I were only companions for like 2 weeks about 3 months ago. Last transfer I was with Elder Animba and the past 6 weeks I have been with Elder Mosenthal. Elder Gherkins is the District Leader.
We had our transfer news a few days back and I am very happy to still be staying in Wellington. I have much more I have to do before I leave this place.

But I am honestly sad I do not have much time left on mission. I feel like I should not be half way yet. It has been so fun.
So I need to make sure I continue to do my most. Now that we are in another transfer we are making more goals for us and the zone.
For the package just send one of those thick envelope ones that are like 10 or 15 dollars. But I could use as much personal money as you can send as well as maybe some spiritually uplifting music. All that music you sent me before I never listen too. In fact I am not sure what happened to that card. But oh well, on the new one make sure you include The canadian tenors. And lots of Josh Groban stuff. I am not to big on choir stuff. I like a small amount of voices. But anyways I love you mama,
Love your son,

Elder McDonald
PS you will never be able to beat me up!

Oct. 7, 2013

Dear Mama,

This week has been so nice. I am sorry I do not have too much time to write today I have 2 minutes left so I will talk fast. Excuse messiness. This week my companion and I have been finding a lot of new people lately. But for some reason my love for the people is growing a lot at a fast rate. I love Sierra Leoneans. I do not really ever want to leave this place. Maybe I should just marry a Sierra Leonean woman. But I hope you are all doing well. I am excited and I love your advice on prayer. I am going to try it today.
Anyways I love you mama,

love your son,
Elder McDonald

Growth of the Church in Africa a "Modern Miracle"

“I think the Spirit of the Lord is brooding over Africa,” says Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve in this first of two videos about the growth of the Church in Africa after years of political strife. “His hand is on the work. His Spirit is stirring the people,” he says.

After more than a decade of war, conflict, and violence, a mission and a stake have emerged in Freetown, Sierra Leone, in what Elder Holland calls “a modern miracle.”

The mission now averages 200 baptisms per month as people continue to embrace the gospel. “We have been waiting for this for years,” reports Abibu Charles, first counselor in the stake presidency of the stake that Elder Holland organized in December 2012. “The Church is growing rapidly,” he says.

Long-term members of the Church endured their country’s difficult years by anchoring themselves to their faith. They now serve as leaders of a new generation of spiritual, happy, and faithful members.

“The image that I carry home is always their faces,” says Elder Holland. “They just look like the beautiful people of God that they are.”

Finding Peace through the Gospel in Sierra Leone

“If ever you wanted an object lesson that your happiness doesn’t depend on your material wealth, you’d go to Africa,” says Elder Jeffrey R. Holland as he reflects on his experiences with members in Sierra Leone in part two of a video series about the growth of the Church in Africa.

“These people are happy, blessed, joyful people, and in many cases they have almost nothing.” Against all odds and challenging opposition, they believe in the gospel. The Church has been a great source of peace for members there, he explains.

Elder Holland organized the Church’s 3,000th stake in Sierra Leone in December 2012. He says that anytime a new stake is organized, what matters most is not what the men they interview say as much as what the Spirit says about the men. “What you’re waiting for and feeling and praying for is the whispering of the Spirit saying, ‘You’re talking to the stake president.’”

“This is the work of Almighty God,” he testified. “This is the Church of Jesus Christ. … He is engaged in our lives.”

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Some Recent Photos

Here are some recent photos of Scotty and his Zone in the Kissy/Wellington area of Sierra Leone Freetown Mission.
All Africa Day

Scotty pondering something...hmmmm, wonder what it is. 

Elder Gherkins has an umbrella, Elder McDonald...No umbrella.  One of his old companions took it home with him. 

Elder Gherkins and Elder McDonald...Companions, Zone Leaders, and Friends

How close can you stand to this umbrella while I open it?

Missionary tans?

Preparing for District Meeting with a bit of side art

Happy Missionaries

September's Letters from Scotty

I have been neglecting this blog for much too long. School is in full-throttle, and I have been taking a couple of trips to AZ to see my youngest son, Jared. I am posting his latest letters here. They are all pretty short because he has a limited time in a public internet cafe.He loves his mission and is beginning to panic that he is running out of time. I miss him so much, but I know he is where he belongs right now.

Dear Mama,
I am happy you are doing well, this week has been so wonderful and so busy. I love my companion Elder Mosenthal so much, he is the greatest guy. We have been having such spiritual lessons as long as we are putting all our hearts into it. When Moroni talks of Charity and Love and how we must use all energy of heart in praying to the Father to get it. I realized I also really have to plan for these people with all energy of heart in order to get it as well.We are loving the mountains of Wellington 2. Even though we get pretty sweaty sometimes it feels good to be working hard. We have been so busy lately having almost no time in the evenings but it is making time like a dream. So I am really trying to up my journal keeping skills so I do not lose any moments. And I will try to take a lot of pictures.

I want you to tell Jared I am so proud of him. I want to write him a letter soon. In fact I want to write everyone. But I am not mighty with the pen.It is really fun leading these missionaries here in Freetown East, especially because the people I work with mainly is Elder Hovley and Elder Gherkins they are 2 wonderful guys to be around.This week we had one lesson with a brother named Lahai. He had been missing church a bit but he is a wonderful spirit. To teach him we took a recent convert brother Kelly with us to go teach him. And when brother Kelly was really urging Lahai to come to church, he replied he was missing church because of the rain. So brother Kelly pulled out 10000 Leones right there and gave it to him so he could go buy an umbrella. It was the coolest thing.

But this week is nice I love you mama,
Talk to you more next week.

Love your son,
Elder McDonald

September 23, 2013
Dear Mama,

I am happy you are having a good time in Arizona, I really am so proud of Jared, in fact you were supposed to tell me what school he is going to! I need to know.
Tell Aunt Holly I say hello as well.

I am very happy to read this letter today. I was telling Elder Gherkins today for almost an hour about the wonderful relationship I have with my Mother, and how there is never been a single argument or anything of the sort with us. I want to let you know you truly are the best mother.

This week has been an amazing week for me. This past Tuesday we had a Zone Conference with Elder Curtis of the 70. Before the Zone Conference he wanted to have a small council with all the Zone Leaders, so there was 6 of us, President/Sister Ostler and Elder/Sister Curtis. It was an experience to be with him. >

This week has been very spiritual, I have really tried to draw nigh unto the Lord and make my prayers much more meaningful and seek inspiration in all things. I have felt the Spirit almost constantly this week and have seen the inspiration flowing through my companion and myself. Thursday my companion and I sat down and just discussed a bunch of things while we were waiting for an investigator. And the next day we led a leadership training for some of the District Leaders and Sister Leaders in our zone. We gave them time to express any concerns or needs of their Districts and everything that came up was what my companion and I had discussed the week before. It was a very spiritual meeting and we all left having learned many new things. I truly have the greatest companion. We are learning so much together, and we have been working our tails off. We have been pushing ourselves to our limits in mind, heart and strength and I know that has to do with why Heavenly Father is so apparent in our lives. We had many people come to Church this week and it was a wonderful Sabbath.

I love Jared's talk and he did wonderfully, I do not think I will ever see it at least until I come home. We are preparing one young man(about 24) for baptism this week, Lahai. He is doing so wonderfully and he is a good friend. I am so happy in seeing his excitement. He was feeling very sick in Church yesterday but it was the day of his baptismal interview. I told him we could come to his house later that day. But he wanted to stay, he was falling asleep with his head against my shoulder in Sacrament meeting and then slept on my companions lap all through Elders Quorum.But I am so happy at the moment. I am loving Wellington and the people I am with and my companion. This Zone is great and I just want to help them a bit more before I leave Wellington.

Anyways, I love you Mama.
Love your son,
Elder McDonald

PS let me know what school Jared is now attending.

September 30, 2013

Dear Mama,
I am happy you are doing well. Do not stress too much. Do you remember what I said after the last time I shattered the car window?

I certainly am proud of Jared, but I feel a bit weird in this public cafe with so many shirtless pictures of him haha. He is getting big though, but he will never be able to beat me up. I will kung fu smash him.

Lately in the mission things are going so wonderfully. I love my companion so much he is the best. We are trying to do our best here in Wellington. We are really trying to stretch ourselves and do the best we can possibly can. But I am running out of time so I will type quick. Elder Gherkins is trying to distract me. But we have had a wonderful week. I am more excited for this week. We are going to town for our mission leadership council again. It will be very nice.
Lately I am really working on the sincerity of my prayers, how did you get your prayers so sincere? What do kind of things to you thank/ask/ tell him? Any advice or tips on how I can increase my own power of prayer?

Anyways I love you mama and I am proud of you.Love your son,
Elder McDonald

Monday, August 26, 2013

FOR TIMES OF TROUBLE...Spiritual Solace From The Psalms- Elder Jeffrey Holland

I had listened to a wonderful DVD of Elder Holland addressing a small group of people.  He answered their questions that were focused on the turbulent times we live in and drawing many answers from Psalms.  I shared many of the things I learned last night in my letter to him.  I am thankful that I was in tune to the promptings of the Spirit and was able to lift him in his times of trouble. 

He spoke about hearing the promptings of the spirit, and I felt that this was something Scotty might need to  hear right now.  This is what I wrote:
Hearing the Promptings of the Spirit, as shared by Elder Holland;  "Standard rule, If you follow a prompting as you get it, then you will get more of them, if you don't follow the prompting, you will have less of them.   The two extremes are -- you will be having them all the time, or you will have none at all."  Without knowing our daily circumstances, Elder Holland knows that if we will try to respond to that prompting, it is a message to God that we are listening and that we care. He counsels Stake Presidents when they are called to expect a flood of revelations, and to keep a 3x5 card or small notebook in their pocket, pen and paper by the bed, because they will receive these promptings at any hour of the day or night.  If it is not recorded at the moment received, it will be lost.  "Heaven will be watching to see what you will do with that."  He believes that God watches and asks Himself, "who's interested" and He will speak to those who are willing to listen.  He said President Monson is one long story of following the promptings of the Spirit. Sister Holland spoke about the New Testament, and shared her belief that Heavenly Father is always in us, all of the time.  We are usually doing far more good than we realize because He is always in us.  Believe in ourselves no matter how we feel that we are.  Her favorite passages is in the 8th chapter of Romans....if God is with us, who can be against us.  "We are all going to have our moments, but the course, the direction is absolutely clear that He is for us and blessing us, and EVERYTHING will work for our good."

Dear Mama,
I really enjoyed your letter today. It was an interesting time to have it come. This week has been a wonderful and the most busy week on mission so as well. This week we had an emergency transfer and my companion Elder Animba has gone to the other District for the next two weeks. And I took the other Elders companion, who happens to be my MTC companion Elder Narteh. Elder Animba and I are still the Zone Leaders, so since I am still in the ZL area it is like I almost a single Zone Leader. But I am actually really enjoying it. I feel happy keeping myself constantly busy and productive.
Elder Narteh and I have been having a good time. He is a sweet guy. I am also trying to figure out what to do with the area. I had hardly been there 2 weeks when Elder Animba left. So right now I truly have to rely on the Spirit constantly right now.
I am glad you enjoyed Arizona, but Mama, you know I know how you work to much. Anyways I have got to go. But mission is wonderful right now, we were sad to have 2 of our sisters finish their missions and go home. I will certainly miss them.
Anyways, love you Mama,
love your son,

Elder McDonald

When the Rain Comes Down...

Dear Mama,

I hope you are having a good time in Arizona. I am sure it is pretty stinking hot. Right now the weather is super nice here in Sierra Leone. We are in the heart of rain season, so it has been pouring on us hard lately. And Elder Nickle who just went home apparently theifed my umbrella, so I have just been putting my scriptures and small
things in a plastic bag and I go full out to soak. It is really nice. I even feel cold sometimes, so I have been making myself lots of ovaltine. Which is delicious and I do not know why you never gave me any before mom!

I am glad you got to see some of the family. I hope everyone is doing well. So this past week has been soooo busy. I came into this position and probably one of the busiest times in ever. On Tuesday we had to
transport over to Western Freetown so that we could attend the newly established Mission Leadership Council, we had the very first one. Where all the Zone Leaders and Assistants meet with President and Sister Ostler. We just discussed everything going on in the mission and he is making us missionaries a big part in what he does. It is very different from President Roggia. But it is really nice. It felt like King Arthur and his knights of the round table having a meeting in Camelot. So we are preparing for the flood of missionaries. But the biggest focus in the mission right now is, families. We are now all purely looking to find, teach and baptize families. If they are not in a family investigating the church or a part member family, we only teach you if you are real serious. So it is a twist for us here mainly because it is hard enough to find a nuclear family here. Let alone one all interested and willing to keep commitments. But we have already seen much proof that it is inspired and so we are doing
all that we can. And we are finding success. I am enjoying my time in Wellington 2 but I spent 2 days in other areas on exchanges. So we are almost always busy. But I love being busy. Anyways I hope all is well at home and I will let you know more next week.

I love you Mama,
Love your son,
Elder McDonald

PS you will see what I did with the pictures a bit later.
And in the next package you and Dad send, I really need some personal money.

No umbrella and loving it!

Scotty is behind the umbrella man, and Elder Hovley, his buddy, is to Scotty's left, the blonde, cute curly-haired one.  :-)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Commitment, Determination with a lot of Balance

I hope that every missionary is as happy as Scotty is on their mission.  I am amazed and so proud of his hard work and commitment to the people and his mission.  He has set such a great example for me, and has inspired me to be stronger in my faith, knowing that all things are blessings from our Heavenly Father, and that He is always aware of us and helps us in every step and every decision we make.  I hope to make Scotty as proud of me as I am of him.  

Dear Mama,

This week has been such a wonderful week, right now I am currently with Elder Gherkins, he  the new District Leader replacing me in Wellington 1. But Elder Baffoe-Appiah was transferred last minute so I am showing him the area and helping him out and next week I go to Wellington 2 as ZL.

But this last week has been so spiritual Elder Gherkins and I are so similar. But we are really focusing on the missionary work and it is so awesome. Every lesson we teach we are so unified that the Spirit just floods in. In fact even this past Saturday we taught one man named Aruna who lives FAR FAR up the mountain about a 30 minute hike to his house and then another 20 minutes to the church. But it was a wonderful lesson about the Restoration and he loved it. The next day he came to church. What is the most impressive is he only has one leg and came down and traveled on his crutches. But he loved church.

Next week I will be going to Elder Animba, I am still in the same apartment and I am excited to serve with him. He is a wonderful guy. But haha I guess you saw my companion and I toting the couch for one of our members. Luckily we are the exact same height.

Yes I can see that you see I have been called to another position, I was actually hoping to keep it a bit on the down low though hehe. I do not want to do anything for the glory of men at the moment. But do not worry that you posted it. But the last thing I want to look like is a bragger.
But mission is so amazing right now. I have been constantly feeling the spirit particularly through the unity we have at the moment.

That is surprising about Jared, but I know he will do well there. It will make him a bit more of a man. And at the rate he was going he might have become to attached and would have been a very homesick missionary. It will toughen him up a bit.

Just really stay close to Justin and the kids at the moment. Try to find activities to do with Justin. Like watch movies with him and such, even if you need to watch weird Sci-Fi movies. Hehe, but Mama I want you to know I am doing as much as I can to make you proud right now. And I am proud to have you as my Mama.

But I gotta go fill a survey so I love you Mama,
Love your son,

Elder McDonald

Elder McDonald and Elder Gherkins helping on move day
Scott and his companion Elder Gherkins were challenged by the Senior Couple to carry a piece of furniture on their heads since all the natives do it.
And Off they go!!!!
Notice the human transport is ahead of the vehicle transport

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Elder McDonald Has Been Called to be a Zone Leader

This letter just came today, and what a surprise.  I called Gordon immediately but he would not answer his phone, so I continued until I could get him.  I told him to hurry and look at his email...and now that he has seen it, we can share it here.  We are so proud of him.  We  know that he has dedicated himself to his mission and this is proof of his efforts.  Who would have thought that our lazy teenager who took 45 minute showers and slept in till the afternoon.  He was the kid who was never in hurry for anything, even in his driving, his friends would say he drove like a grandma. Scotty has shown us what he was able to do all along, and that is to be a great leader.  His faith and dedication in his service to his Savior is growing stronger each day.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

 #181Pademba Rd., Belliar Park, Dwarzak Farm
Freetown, Sierra Leone
Email address: 537233@ldschurch.org

July 23, 2013

Dear  Sister Jensen:

           I am pleased to inform you that Elder McDonald  has been recently been called to be a Zone Leader in the Kissy Zone of the Mission. His primary responsibilities as a Zone Leader are to (1) not only do administrative work but to be the best example of how to find, teach and baptize regularly.  This will require him to be very well organized because in addition to the regular proselyting duties he is called to be a leader and senior administrator to the missionaries in the zone; (2) as a Zone Leader he shall teach all missionaries the principles of Preach My Gospel.  He should earnestly seek the spirit to guide him on how best to teach and inspire the missionaries during zone meetings, and in visits to district meetings and companionship exchanges; (3) he will also need to be the best example of any missionary in the zone in obeying the mission rules; (4) As a Zone Leader he will also interview baptismal candidates who have been taught by the district leaders in the zone. This is a sacred responsibility to be attended to with all diligence;  (5) responsible for all reporting in the Zone;  (6) Your son will work closely with local priesthood leaders and members in a friendly, cordial manner. Meet monthly with the District President in his zone. He needs to help the Church grow from centers of strength and help priesthood leaders to support him in this regard;  (7) He will need to lead with love and righteousness – apply Doctrine and Covenants 121:34-36 in his leadership style.  Look after the well being of missionaries in the zone.

He has been called as a Zone Leader because he is a great missionary and the Lord is pleased with his desire to serve and honor him. His exemplary conduct and selfless service as a missionary have qualified him for this important call. As Zone Leader he must make it a primary concern to set a Christ-like example of hard work for the missionaries that serve under him especially in his proselytizing labors.

You are also reminded that missionaries love to hear from both families and ward members. We encourage you to write often. It always gives the missionaries a lift to get a letter from home.  It is easy to send it through the church pouch by addressing it to him at the Sierra Leone Freetown Mission. He should have informed you of the newly created procedures regarding the pouch. All letters must be an individual sheet of paper folded into thirds, taped together, and having the address written on the outside of the paper in order for the letter to be sent. If not as described, they will return the letter back to you, due to certain restrictions put on the pouch system by the governments of the various countries to which the pouch is sent.   You can send a normal letter directly to us by addressing it to him at the Sierra Leone Freetown Mission, P.O. Box 263, Freetown, Sierra Leone, West Africa.  We hold the mail here for them until someone goes to his area. Of course he may use email, which they are allowed to do in this mission.

Thank you for sharing him with us!   We are sure he will continue to be a great missionary! We do love our missionaries.  The Lord’s hand is on West Africa today.  This is a special mission. 

David B. Ostler, President
Sierra Leone Freetown Mission

Monday, July 15, 2013

Long Warm Showers? Don't think so.

I thought I had better post this before I get his next letter tomorrow....so here it is.  He is truly growing leaps and bounds...becoming a man who is no longer afraid of a little work.  Heavenly Father knew what He was doing when He sent Scotty to a 4th world country.  No cars or bicycles, and now I know that there is no hot water.  I can see he will come back with a greater appreciation for the simple things here, and will see many as unnecessary.

I love you and miss you sooooo much Scotty!

Dear Mama,

I am very happy to hear from you, I knew something went wrong when I did not receive your email last week, but I was not worried.

I am happy to hear you are having fun. I particularly like the story with you and the other Annette. That is wonderful. I am so happy you met her and I hope you are still becoming better friends.
I enjoyed everything about the Light of Christ, I want to go and study those scriptures more and learn more things to apply.

But it truly is seeing the Gospel click with the portion and spirit of Christ in the people. Our area is doing well right now, but we do not have a lot of people progressing. But we have some select very strong people. We have been teaching one man Brother Daniel he is about 27 and his sister Alberta. We started teaching them a few weeks back and they are awesome. They have always been Christian but they lost their faith in the churches they see around the world, particularly Daniel. But as we have been teaching them he has such an inquisitive mind. We have only taught them about the Restoration and Book of Mormon so far. Last week at Church he wrote down a question for me, "Are the Bible prophecies simply that of a clever human mind, or do they bear the hallmark of divine inspiration?" Yes it was a very interesting question we were able to help him with this past week. But yesterday was the second time they have come to church. Yesterday evening I received a text from him saying "I now know that your church is the true church. Every blessed Sunday I go to that church I learn new things." I replied " Yes it is, even we learn new things each Sunday." Then he said " I am now well prepared for my baptism on the 27th." I said "Awesome, it will be a truly wonderful day". Then he sent an awesome little picture of a tree  and said " As God waters His creation. May he also sprinkle His wondrous blessings over you as you continue to share his message to us." Haha it was so cool. I just told him we delight in nothing more than sharing the message with them.
So I am very excited for those two.

I cannot believe Austin is married, very nice for him. I hope it was a nice wedding.
I am glad the kids are doing well and spending time over there with you. I cannot wait to see them again.

Do not worry what you like mama, I will always love you, but maybe you can learn how to cook really well to make up for it just in case. 

I am not upset about Benji, this sounds like the best option for him. I know he will go to someone good. Tell Breck I would never be upset with him, he is one of my best buddies forever. Tell him to email me anyways I want to hear what is up!

Anyways I love you mama,

Love your son,
Elder McDonald

PS I had a revelation the other day, I learned why I am in this mission. It is because I always have to take cold showers, I would take to much time in a mission with warm showers.

Monday, June 24, 2013

New Mission President

Dear Mama,

This past week has gone very well.
I am growing more into home in Allentown, I am really enjoying the District. We have very fun loving guys.
We have found some sweet new investigators this week. We have been teaching and seeing them progress and you can see the light flood into their lives.

That is one thing I really love about the Gospel in our Church, it seems there is almost nothing left unanswered. I have been learning some new things lately that I have really enjoyed. I certainly have broken the goofy side of me out again. I really look to the life of Joseph Smith, how he would play with the children, wrestle in the garden and others felt that it was unfit for someone of his position. But Joseph Smith knew it was part of being a loving person. And who he was. 

In Wellington 1 Branch, we had change in our Branch Presidency, we have young more active presidency now. So I feel it is going to really help in the missionary work. It is certainly fun and stressful being in places where the church organization is not to strong yet. But we are trying to help Freetown East district become a stake. But as for now it is best under the mission president. Speaking of which President Roggia will be going home this week and we will be getting our new mission president, President Ostler.
I am looking forward to it. It will be an exciting event.

I hope all is well at home. I can see it is not perfect, but small small. I am sure it is so peaceful and quiet without Jared around. 

I am glad you are having fun with your friends mama, but always remember to never do anything I wouldn't approve of! Otherwise I will have to set a curfew for you. Or maybe have you put your nose against the wall.
How is your art going? When I come home I want to take some art classes.

I hope you continue to learn many things to share with me to help me to become a better missionary here in Sierra Leone. Sometimes I really do not like being in any sort of leadership position on mission because I wish I could truly devote all efforts to helping my investigators. And so I could relax more in the evening and discuss with Elders instead of worrying about preparing instructions. But I guess I still socialize every night anyways. But then I wont need to worry about falling behind on things.

But I hope you are doing wonderfully, and I am glad you are growing out your hair, and even try letting it go gray. Cause it wont be gray color, more of a "Silver Moonlight across the snow" color. It will look lovely.

But love you mama,
Love your son,
Elder McDonald

One Year And Counting

Dear Mama,

This has been another fast week in the depths of Easter Freetown, through out this week we have had many wonderful lessons.

But our area certainly needs more work and miracles. But we are finding a bit more people. My companion and I are doing very well.

Something I was pondering this week, was about who I am and how I act. I know in the past I may have been guilty of levity when it comes to many things. But being with a very quiet companion atleast while we are  still new together, I have been pretty quiet. But I can truly see the need for levity in my life! Holy smokes. Things are so boring sometimes when I do not feel like being a bit goofy.

So right now I am trying to release my goofiness once again. When I first came to mission I felt like I should be more serious, and I do not think that took me anywhere.

I actually really enjoy the moments you spoke of in this weeks letter. About the experiences. Something I had not thought of in a long time. It is certainly actually a very nice experience to look back on. Always looking at the things I learned and how it effects me to this day. I could feel the love very much, from Heavenly Father, his Son, and you. And how much of an impact it has made. I have looked back on the trials you have faced since I have been gone and seen the advice I have given you, on how in everything learn to laugh and be  goofy. And I believe it really helps.

But Wellington 1 is awesome. I am coming closer to the branch. We have a very funny and old Branch President, he is so tired but he is also 86 years old according to his own words. So we will be getting a new one soon.

Unfortunately my time is done today. But I will see you next week.
Love your son,

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Coming on the One Year Mark!

I can't believe that Scotty has been out for an entire year coming June 15th.  Wow, I thought the time would barely crawl, but it is going by really fast.  It helps so much to be getting his weekly letters....and when he gets home, he will have a great record of his mission.  I am so thankful that Scotty is able to serve in Sierra Leone.  He has really grown to love the people there, and I know it will be difficult for him when it's time to leave.  Keep him in your prayers and write him when you get a chance.  Be patient if he doesn't write back right away....he has to go to an internet cafe and has limited time.  It may be different now that he is back in Freetown.  

Scotty has been transferred to Allentown, but is assigned to work in Wellington. 

Dear Mama,

I am happy things are doing so well.
Most of all not due to just circumstances. Really circumstances could be going crazy and chaotic or boring and still. But I am so happy that you have peace.

I am now in my new District in Allentown. It is relatively close to where I was before. But my proselyting area and branch are in Wellington. A bit closer to downtown Freetown. It is a sweet area. Freetown certainly is much different from Bo. This area is much more city then Rokel was. Rokel was pretty far our of Freetown and was much more rural.

I am doing very well with my companion Elder Baffoe-Appiah, he is from Ghana. But he is very quiet. Sometimes I really like the quiet but you know me. So I talk boku in the apartment at night with the other Elders. We have a wonderful District. My companion and I are the Wellington 1 Elders, we have the Wellington 2 Elder; Elder Nickle from AZ and Elder Animba from Nigeria. 

They are great guys. The Allentown Elders; Elder Okello from Uganda and he is receiving a new missionary to train tomorrow who is still yet unkown to us. Then we also have the Wellington 1 & 2 Sisters in the district. Of course a different apartment. Sister Awuoche and Sister Ndolo from Kenya. And Sister Owusu from Ghana, and Sister Kioko from Kenya again.
They are all sweet. But its no easy sometimes with Sisters out here. But I know this is a huge opportunity for me to grow. And I have really been finding more peace within myself. A while back in Njaie Town I started doing some of my old Tai Chi stuff. Which I really enjoy.

We had a wonderful opportunity yesterday to have a Zone Conference and Elder John B. Dickson from the seventy came and spoke to us. It was a very powerful talk. I am honestly not too sure what I got from his own words but his instruction was very spiritual and I learned a lot of new things within myself.

But things are very nice here in Freetown. Love you mama,
Love your son,
Elder McDonald

Children carrying babies...very common.

This was taken by an LDS couple who were serving a Humanitarian Mission in Freetown, Sierra Leone.  This was taken in the Wellington, Sierra Leone area.  
This was one of the streams located near the Senior Missionary Couple were living. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Transfer to Allentown....Sierra Leone

Scotty seems to be right at home there in Africa now...It does not matter where he is sent, he is happy no matter what.  He has grown to love every companion he has been assigned and has grown to love the elders in his district.  He sounds like he is using his time wisely and taking every opportunity to grow spiritually.

Dear Mama,
I am happy things are doing so well.
Most of all not due to just circumstances. Really circumstances could be going crazy and chaotic or boring and still. But I am so happy that you have peace.
I am now in my new District in Allentown. It is relatively close to where I was before. But my proselyting area and branch are in Wellington. A bit closer to downtown Freetown. It is a sweet area. Freetown certainly is much different from Bo. This area is much more city then Rokel was. Rokel was pretty far our of Freetown and was much more rural.
I am doing very well with my companion Elder Baffoe-Appiah, he is from Ghana. But he is very quiet. Sometimes I really like the quiet but you know me. So I talk boku in the apartment at night with the other Elders. We have a wonderful District. My companion and I are the Wellington 1 Elders, we have the Wellington 2 Elder; Elder Nickle from AZ and Elder Animba from Nigeria. They are great guys. The Allentown Elders; Elder Okello from Uganda and he is receiving a new missionary to train tomorrow who is still yet unkown to us. Then we also have the Wellington 1 & 2 Sisters in the district. Of course a different apartment. Sister Awuoche and Sister Ndolo from Kenya. And Sister Owusu from Ghana, and Sister Kioko from Kenya again.
They are all sweet. But its no easy sometimes with Sisters out here. But I know this is a huge opportunity for me to grow. And I have really been finding more peace within myself. A while back in Njaie Town I started doing some of my old Tai Chi stuff. Which I really enjoy.
We had a wonderful opportunity yesterday to have a Zone Conference and Elder John B. Dickson from the seventy came and spoke to us. It was a very powerful talk. I am honestly not too sure what I got from his own words but his instruction was very spiritual and I learned a lot of new things within myself.
But things are very nice here in Freetown. Love you mama,
Love your son,
Elder McDonald
Allentown, Sierra Leone ...you can see that it is now the rainy season

Monday, June 3, 2013

Congrats to Will Pingel

Sent May 27th

Dear Mama,

I am very happy to hear from you today.

I am happy Amy and Jaron are doing well. I really enjoyed the testimony of Wilford Woodruff. I also really enjoy the talk and thoughts on prayer. It made me think about my own prayers a lot. And I actually related them to a phone call if I were to call you back home. I reflect on the time when you did find the papers as I prayed. I have seen many prayers answered here on mission. I know I shouldn't be surprised when they are answered but sometimes I am just amazed.

I want to make a goal to make every prayer very heartfelt even if that means keeping them short and simple.

That is awesome about the mission calls. Will Pingel will do awesome, and he fits Germany. Germany would be an awesome mission. That would be awesome for him to read Yearning for the Living God. I love that book so much. I want to read it again as soon as I get back.

Time is flying so fast right now. We are in the last week of the transfer and I will most likely be leaving Njaie Town.
But you never know. But I am ready for something to throw me back onto my toes. I am sometimes a bit to comfortable I feel.

Anyways I hope all is well back home, also I got my package. Thank you soo much. The bag is too cool. Everyone wants it.

But I love you mama,
Love your son,
Elder McDonald

Transfer back to Freetown and An Answer for Jake

Dear Mama,

I am so happy to hear from you today.
I am happy everything is going well back home. Things are going very well here in Bo as well.
We received our transfer news this past weekend. This week I am rollin out back to Freetown East. I am going to the Wellington area. But I will continue to be District Leader in the Allentown Distrtict. It is not too far from where I was originally. So I will see a lot of old familiar things I am very excited. My companion is going to be Elder Baffoe-Appiah. He is Ghanaian. I do not know him to much, but I have met him before. He will be going home in 3 months so I get to go kill him. I am looking forward to it. I know we will have a good time.  Elder Jones will be receiving a new missionary to train here in Njaie Town. So that will be fun for him.

This past week has been a very nice time. We had two wonderful people baptized this Saturday. In Njaie Town they finished the baptismal font. So I got to be the first missionary to baptize in it right before I leave. Elder Jones will have his Mom send the pictures, if not this week it will be next week.

The small boy who went to village. His name is Abdulai Kamara. I would very much like for you to put his name in the temple. I have really prayed for him. If he is not opportune to receive the Gospel in this life. I will teach it to him in the next.
Nannie, will you ask Scotty if he said ouch when he saw my picture?

I could not help but smile seeing the pictures of the kids. Tell Jake I did not say ouch but I said "Owieee" ....I recognize that one from when he got hit in the head by a rock at school.
But, I hope all goes well. I am looking forward to Dennys.

Love your son,
Elder McDonald

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Rainy Season Has Begun

I want to express my gratitude for the many people in my life who are always asking about Scott and his mission.  Your love and concern for him has been a strength for me and my family. I am so proud of the incredible spiritual  growth and maturity I have seen in Scott and believe that he is truly where The Lord wants him, and fulfilling the promises he has made before coming to this earth.  Many of you have friends or family who are also serving as a true disciples of our Savior, for which I am so grateful.  What other church if any has thousands of teenage boys and girls leaving their friends and family to serve without pay, and retuning as polished men and women?  We are so blessed to have the gospel in more ways than we can ever imagine.  My gratitude goes to each one of youbforbuour love and support for Scott and all the missionaries that are out dedicating their lives in the service of our Father in Heaven. May all of our missionaries be watched over and guided by the Holy Ghost, and fulfill their missions with honor.  My prayers are with each one. 

Dear Mama,
This week has been a very nice week. We have had some interesting experiences this week.
To start out this week I had to have 3 exchanges, and I spent everyone out of my area. So the week flew and I hardly saw my investigators. But it was fun at the same time. Get to know more of the missionaries personally.
We had so many good lessons and have been able to help people come closer to our Heavenly Father. We are preparing many people for baptism these next 2 weeks.
 The rainy season is now beginning. I absolutely love the rain. Get to be completely soaked while out proselyting. I think I am going to forsake my rain gear besides my boots and just soak to the bone each day. Otherwise you will overheat in that rain gear. The humidity level is soaring back up. You can just feel it. But this week was the first time in a long time to go out in boots.
On an exchange this week Elder Arikpo and I were at one of his investigators house and she made us sit down so she could give us food really fast. But she said it wasnt quite ready yet. A couple minutes later she brought us the food and it was pretty good a normal rice and plassas. But there was some meat in there which appeared to be beef. I went to eat it and as I took my first bite it tasted very strange I thought it was not finished. But it was not bad it turned out to be some bush meat, it is this small deer that they catch out in the jungle. But I am happy I did not eat much. I am doing fine, but Elder Arikpo was not feeling great the next day.
I actually was shedding some tears Friday morning. A young boy named Dulai, in whom I love very much who was always goofing around at the apartment, and who we were very close. He would always sing me this song, "Elder McDonald, Elder McDonald, no wan le yu go, yu wan le ay go?" But it turns out he finally took off, him and his mother have traveled to the village. He told us Thursday evening that he was going Friday morning. But I did not really believe him, he has been saying he would go for a long time now. But Friday morning we took a couple pictures. Then a bit later I just hear " Elder McDonald, ay de go!" I ran outside to watch him walk off with several people all toting a lot of stuff on their heads. I was chokin up. But finally he ran all the way back to me and I froze. I wanted to say something but I couldn't. Then right before I gave him a hug he ran off. I called him back but he kept going.
So I can just pray for him now. Sure do miss him. So I know in the next life.
Sounds like there is a lot going on at home. I love hearing about everyone. I am happy you got to see many people. I cannot believe Kaitlan is already about to go. Time is flying.
Yearning for the Living God is the book I read, one of the ones Grandadddy gave me. I love that book too much. Dad recently read it as well. In a few months ago President Roggia spoke of it in Zone Conference, more particularly the part of exorcism. In fact speaking of that, recently this woman asked us to come pray for her daughter. And we are not sure what is wrong with her. The girl is conscious and can understand, but she is stuck in a sort of fetal position without external help and she cannot speak or open her eyes. The woman is not sure or maybe does not want to tell us the cause of the problem. But it does not seem like a sickness, we gave her a blessing but something is not correct with her.
But the book is wonderful. I really look to Enzio Busche as a role model and all his wonderful experiences.
But I hope all is well at home. Love ya Mama,
Love your son,
Elder McDonald