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.”