Guadalajara: 8/27/12 + lots of pictures!

im a happy elder when i go to uruapan, because its cold there :)

how crazy is it that tomorrow im gonna complete 8 months...thats a whole 3rd of my mission in the books now. its crazy thinking how fast but yet slow its going haha if that makes any sense. we had a pretty good week here in apatzingan, full of (as usual haha) tons of great spiritual experiences. a few weeks i read a talk by elder bednar about becoming a preach my gospel missionary, and after reading it i set myself to start to change my modo de ser and personally sanctify myself to start this new stage in my mission. i figured im in a new area, new companion, and heck why not give it a run. so i started out with fast, which just about killed me, because not drinking water here is murder haha but it was worth it. 

yummy raspada (mexican version of snow cones)

one thing ive really discovered here on my mission is the power of fasting. something i never really put much thought or efforts into before, but since being here in the field ive been able to really strengthen my testimony and conviction of the power of fasting. but anyways it was way cool how i almost immediately began to see results for my efforts. 

baptism...her husband was the happiest man on earth this day being able to see his wife get  baptized...also i asked him to be a testigo of the baptism with me and he was stoked haha. love that guy

these past couple weeks elder nielson and his other companion before i showed up hadnt put baptismal dates with any of the investigators because they would just wait till they had gained the confidence of the people till they would invite them, so i told elder nielson we were gonna change that haha and we did just that. this week alone we put 7 baptismal fechas, and 5 of those being with people we had met with for the first time. in fact 2 of those fechas are for whole families! woot! 

cutest picture ever and why?...because they are holding hands :)

but it reminded me alot of my first weeks of the mission when i was super nervous to ask people to be baptized, especially in the first visit, and well it was something that i hadnt been doing. we'd wait till the 2nd or 3rd visit till wed ask them. but i decided this week that every person we teach im going to invite to be baptized, and well it worked! and the best part of it all was just feeling the Spirit of all these lessons and just watching these people feel the Spirit, and even a few get teary eyed, and then asking them to follow that example that Christ put and be baptized by someone who holds the authority of God to do so. ahhh so cool! also another great thing about this new program for missionary work that were now using in the mission is that we teach all of our lessons with members, and it really is such a big help. 

pics of the city...from where i work haha

being able to have a member there to bear testimony and testify of the truthfulness of this message and how much its blessed their lives is such a blessing, theres just another kind of spirit that comes into the lessons when we have members. and especially because alot of people see us missionaries and listen to us with the mindframe of "there just saying this stuff because its what there supposed to do as missionaries, they just wanna convince me to join them" 

sleeping elders after zone meetings, 6 hrs round trip

but when they can hear a member bear their testimony they realize that this is something real, and its not just something that two americans in shirts and ties preach about. but that its a true message that brings real blessings. its also great because i love it when someone will say, well im catholic and i was already baptized, and then just listen to these members tell this person how they were catholic too and go off on equis cosa haha because the members are alot better at getting after people than us, keeps our good missionary image from getting spoiled hahah. 

yay for vacant back roads that smell like dead stuff!!!

but i definitely invite you all to call up the elders and ask them when you could accompany them to some lessons. i know they would love it :) also theres this one old lady that always wants to go on visits with us. and she is so rad. shes up there in here late 70s probably but all she does all day is walk around the neighborhoods visiting people and talking to them about the church. and shes really direct haha shes not afraid to tell you how it is haha which is a big help at times...ill tell you some more stories about her later on for the sake of time. 


also real quick ill tell you all about the baptism we had this past weekend. she wasnt like the other baptism a few weeks ago that i just walked into, this was a legitimate baptism we had to work for. anyways so she is this old school lady and super duper rad. her husband was baptized about a month ago and the elders tried to work with her to get baptized with  him but she said no way no how thats not happening for along time so dont bother her about it. and so they kinda just left her alone. and then the sunday before i showed up here in apatzingan she showed up to church with her husband and said that shed like for them to stop by and talk to her. and so they set an appointment with her  for monday, and well she was actually the first person i met with here in apatzingan. 

pics of the city....from where i work haha

but anyways so apparently one of her grandsons was super sick and diagnosed with a heart problem, and she was feeling down and so she figured to talk to us, the Jesus boys, because we talk about God and God helps people (those are her words fyi haha). and anyways so we taught her and me not really knowing her situation, but yes knowing she wasnt a member, invited her to be baptized. and well she said no and i felt like a dope haha. 

chupacabra hunting in the back country
but we kept teaching and visiting her and then that sunday she came to church again, and we were like hey whats up! and we were talking to her with her husband and we got on the subject of baptism and well we invited her to be baptized again and she said yes! she said everyone that day in church had asked her when she was getting baptized, and well something happened that made her feel that she was ready and she needed to do and so she said yes when we asked her! so cool! 

yay for fun shacks in the hills! (yes i know i have the same face in every picture)

and so weve been teaching her all week and well turns out shes had a testimony and known she needs to get baptized this whole time, she just didnt want to do it. and we also came to find out how strong of a testimony she has, shes has the testimony of a member of 15 yrs haha! but ya it was a great opportunity to help her make this covenant with our heavenly father, and now her and her husband want us to teach there 7 kids and their propia familias! so were suuuuper stoked for that haha. i gotta go go now tho so im gonna wrap it up... hope you all are taking care and enjoying going back to school! haha summer vacations over and while youre all back in school and going to work ill be enjoying myself down here in my beautiful mexican getaway vacation in apatzingan....and the best part is that i still have 16 months left of my vacation! haha alright everybody have a great week and i loooove you all!!!


much love from mexico, 
  Elder Maccarthy

Guadalajara- 8/20/12 + Saying Hello To...

tierra de infierno

elder tucker and i in the bus station together, gonna miss him

a few words to describe apatzingan: crazy, hot, hot, and really hot haha. and well not just in terms of temperature but in terms of the work here haha. i dont know if you guys have all googled and looked up what the place is like but i suggest you dont haha alot of messed up stuff happens here and i dont want any of you reading about it. but so far im loving it here. the area is super sweet too, we're one of the largest areas of the whole mission, and the farthest too haha. we reach from apatzingan over towards colima and then down to the coast line and everything in between! half of it is just mountains and wilderness with little pueblitos and ranchos here and there. it's really cool there, they're literally are parts of my area where we teaching people where we have to hike through the mountains to these little pueblitos of people to teach them. and especially because right now with the new program that were working with we do alot of work with menos activos (less actives) and recent conversos and so we sometimes travel out to the middle of nowhere to go meet with these people. its pretty sweet not gonna lie hiking through the mountains here and seeing all the cool stuff. its like every day is a pday and we get to go on fun little wilderness hikes haha. 

elder nielson and i with our newest member and her family
but ya so basically apatzingan is just little tiny city plopped in the middle of all these little pueblitos and ranchos and well ya its a cool little city. elder nielson and i went and cruised around centro looking at the old buildings and musuems and stuff down there. also i have a funny story about last monday when i came here but ill let you know about that later cuz i dont have much time to email. but ya so my new companion is pretty cool, elder nielson from riverton utah. hes got a whopping 10 months in the mission and were basically opening up the area together haha its pretty tough. he barely has any time here in the area and so were learning it together, and then on top of that half of the streets here you can only find by asking the local neighborhood tienda (store) so the work is a little pesado at times. but its really fun, but definitely going to be one of the hardest area i'll have to work in though, i think. there were a couple times during the week not gonna lie where i was just like dude, this stinks so hard haha. but while yes its way gnarly, its way worth it because i know that theres alot of people here that need my help. from what you may have heard about apatzingan its a pretty crazy place, but the rumors and news dont let people really know that this city and its surroundings are full of really great people. even in just the little time i have been here i've met some really cool people. 

yay for cheesy smiles!
and i think im going to be chilling here for awhile, at least till christmas so im excited for that i think, as long as i get out of here before march because thats the hot season haha and they say this is the cooler part of the year so i dont wanna know what the hot part of the year is like haha. also im hoping that maybe president will give us permission to beebop on down to the beach one day and do a beach baptism! i know how sweet would that be! i'm super stoked because not only do i have my beach back again but now i have my beach back and i can baptize in it! woo hooo! but who knows haha it's like 2 1/2 hrs from here. i cant really think of much else to say haha i think my brain has been cooked like an egg by all the heat here. we baptized this weekend which was pretty cool, i taught the lady about 3 times before her baptism but she is pretty sweet, the people here are alot different than in guadalajara. and then we have another baptism lined up for this weekend and so i'm hoping that that will pull through because the lady is waaaay sweet and her husband has just received the priesthood so he's prolly gonna do the baptism and i personally think that would be really special. i dont really have alot of time because we were kind of running late on things today and so i gotta go to work now. have a great week everybody and i hope all is well back in the states or wherever you may be. and the mail receival here is a little more sparce due to the distance, but i always love getting something when the mail does come haha. 

me showing a member how to smile haha

sorry this last letter was a little lacking in cool stories and stuff, i'm hoping this upcoming week will bring some excitement! alright folks well take care and i love you all!!

much love from mexico,
   Elder Maccarthy

Guadalajara- 8/13/12 + A New Area!

so sure enough just as i expected, this was my last week here in central. found out last night that i had changes and that im headed to ______, i gotta be in the bus station at around noon today to catch my bus and then i got about a 6 hour bus ride out to my new zone and area. from what i was told about where im headed, its basically just like a rainforest and super humid and hot haha so im excited to get there and see what i got in store for the next who knows how long. its a little sad though leaving behind this area, i have alot of great friendships and converts and members here that im really gonna miss. i actually cried a little when i had to say goodbye to one of our investigators haha i only started crying though because he started crying first! but i told him no worries and that im gonna talk to pres. camarillo to let me go through the temple with him when he goes and to maybe come back to see his farewell talk and stuff too. oh and fer is the young man that we baptized back in abril i believe, and well since then weve really taken him under our wing and were preparing him to go on his mission on a year and hes way stoked. 

myspace pic with elder tucker haha

elder tucker and i have also been working alot with his brother, who had a mission call but didnt end up going, and yesterday he told us that he had decided that in december he was gonna turn in his papers again! so that means this time next year im going to be serving with my brothers! its amazing to be able to be part of such cool stuff, especially being able to serve with my buds the brothers! also found out that i broke a record here, i had the most time in central than any other american woohoo haha! but ya it was really a neat week and weekend that we had. 


on saturday we had our miracle baptism. the lady we baptized, let me tell you a little about her. so her daughter is married to one of the hermanos in the ward and about a month ago we went to the hnos house for  food and she happened to be there too and well we got to talking to her and she accepted a visit from us. and we began teaching her and then we found out a little detail about her, she was going in for back surgery because we lost contact with her for about a week and then her daughter let us know the situation with her and stuff. after a few days though we got back into contact with her and well sure enough yep she had just had back surgery haha. we invited her to be baptized, but she said she wouldnt be able to do it for another 3 to 5 months till her back was healed, so we were just like dang this stinks, oh well were just gonna have to wait for her to heal and teach and get her prepared meanwhile. 


so after about 2 weeks of teaching we had taught her everything and well she was prepared really to be baptized, she had a testimony, the desire to do it, her back was just the problem. so we did a fast to be able to know if we should baptize her right now or wait till her back was better, and if we did it right now that the Lord would bless her to be healed, and well the answer we received was a confirmative, we should baptize her right now. and so we talked to her about, told her that if she asked with faith to be given the strength to be baptized she would receive it, and well she did it and accepted to be interviewed and be baptized this weekend. so friday rolls around, the day before her baptism, and we stop by to see how she is and apparently something happened, she walked around to much and was in a lot of pain. when we heard this we were like dang it were not gonna baptize her this weekend, but we just told her to rest up and well see how she feels tomorrow. 


and well the day of her baptism rolls around and she doesnt show up...we call her a bunch and she doesnt answer, so we just figured wed forget about it. and then we get a call from her son in law and he tells us that hes on his was with rosalba! we were so pumped! andyways  we had a great little service, elder tucker and i had to tag team baptize her so that her back wouldnt get messed up and the moment the went under she just sprung up out of the water as if she didnt have any back problems! and she just kept saying my goodness elders i feel so good, i feel like i have a brand new body and she just kept telling us about how great her body felt. and well elder tucker and i just kinda looked at each other and said well He is a God of miracles after all, and well its true because he is haha. but it was just a really great experience to be a part of. 

family with missionaries (elder toque, elder roden, yo y elder tucker)

elder tucker said it was the best baptism hes had yet in his mission, and it was one of the better ones ive had too. and then yesterday on sunday tucker and i had to give talks again and well i spoke for like 20 minutes again and let him with 10 to talk haha but ya it was just a good weekend. definitely a great weekend to end this chapter of my mission here in central tlaquepaque. also elder tucker is going to train! im excited for his kid, because elder tucker is such a rad elder, im gonna miss him tons. but i gotta get going now because i need to be in the bus station in a lil, i just wanted to shoot off a quick email in case i didnt get a chance to later on today. and sorry if its kinda of all the over the place and doesnt make any sense, i didnt get to bed till 230 last night waiting up for changes, so im running off 4 hrs of sleep and well ya im a lil tired and out of it haha. but have a great week everyone and ill be talking to you next week or later on today! love you and bye!

picture of me in rio carrel...we had a gnarly rain storm this week and the road was flooded up to our knees just about

much love from mexico,
     Elder Maccarthy

Guadalajara- 8/16/12 + A Narrow Escape...

As I forward this latest letter, I would like to ask everyone to remember him in your prayers. Thanks :)

saved by the wrong bus

welcome to the heart of jalisco!

so ill admit, i never figured that the tedious error of taking the wrong bus would ever potentially save my life. so this week we were headed home on the bus after a food appt. when i realized that we had taken the wrong bus and that it wasnt necessarily taking us where we wanted to go, and so we got off once we realized and started walking back towards where we needed to go. and well ya i was a lil bugged with myself haha because we had an appt with someone in about 15 mins and so we were going to be late to it, and i really dont like being late to appts with people. and anyways so elder tucker and i end up having to walk for about 45 minutes until we finally got to the kids house. and when we arrived we quickly realized how lucky we had been in being late the lesson. so some background information before we get to the story. so the kid we were teaching, hes 20 yrs old, and is involved in gangs. actually involved is probably a little bit of understatement, hes deep in the gang life. hes been shot, hacked up by machetes, and all sorts of gnarly stuff. however hes super smart and loves reading the book of mormon. every single time that weve left a reading assignment with him, hes read it and then gives us a great summary of what he read and what he learned. in fact he actually had a baptismal date set up for this weekend and was progressing really well and we thought that he was going to be our miracle baptism. 

photo with my best bud

and so anyways we showed up friday afternoon to his street with some interesting news. we noticed in the neighborhood that things were a little tense and people were freaking out, and when we turned onto his street people it was dead empty and just felt a little weird because theres always people there. and so we go up to his house and all the windows of his house are shattered and his door is busted in and everything was just thrown around inside. we called his name a few times to see if he was there in case he had been left for dead or something and we could go help him, because we could tell that something bad went down. and then the investigator's uncle (who lives just next door) comes over and grabs us and starts telling us to run to get out of the neighborhood and were like dude what the heck is going on here, this is really strange and so we run to the bike shop that we always hang out at and there we stop and were like dude ... what is going on...and then he begin to tell us whats happened. so apparently earlier that day the investigator had attempted to assault and rob a bus driver, but was unsuccesful and ran off and was hiding in his house. and well one of the larger mexican drug cartels has a lot of influence in the area where we work and when they caught word of what he did they werent very happy about because they dont like "ladrones". and so when they heard about it and that he was hiding they set out to go find him and well...kill him. 

photo with my best bud. and yes he does live in a 4x6 shack made out of wood pallets, tin roofing and tarps.
humble places make humble people.

and so apparently he had been hiding in his house when about 20 guys showed up in a suv and all got out, broke into his house, and just started beating him. and then the local neighbor homies came out and started fighting back and eventually they just threw him into the suv and drove. and apparently this had all gone down about 5 minutes before we showed up. and i couldnt help but at that moment just think "wow...good thing we took the wrong bus" because had we not taken the wrong bus and not have had to walk to the appointment, we wouldve been in the house with him teaching him a lesson when all that stuff went down. and im sure they wouldnt have been very nice to us, even though we are missionaries. and it was crazy, kind of scary too. because our investigator also explained to us how they were going to kill him, just because thats what happens when people get carried off like that. and i was personally really kind of shooken up, because the kid was so rad and well he was probably dead by then. and so we just kind of told our investigator thanks for keeping us safe and that wouldnt be passing by for a lil bit till things cooled down. and well we passed by last night to talk with our investigator, and well much to our surprise, the guy that got taken away was there too! 

elder tucker...using a public restroom haha

apparently he was gone all day saturday and most of sunday, and his family just considered him dead and that they wouldnt be seeing him again. especially because a body was found saturday close by to their house that was disfigured and mutilated beyond recognition so they figured it to be him. but lo and behold the guy that got taken shows up sunday beat up but alive haha and apparently he had escaped and was still alive. sunday night the bad guys showed up again looking for him while we were there and our investigator hid us in his little house upstairs. and well i think its safe to say that we wont be teaching the other guy anymore haha and well it was just a crazy ol little weekend to say the least. being a missionary here in mexico would definitely be a different ball game without the protection of the Lord. im so thankful for the protection that He gives to each of us, and especially in my case for him answering my personal prayers for protection and also the prayers of each of you for my protection. and i know this story probably worried you mom and youre probably freaking out, but dont worry too much, ive experienced worse that i havent told you about just yet haha . but really i can testify of the reality of the protection that the Lord gives us. both spiritually and especially physically. 

modeling with my friend. ignore the bottle of alcohol...were working with him on it.

ive experienced some sketchy situations here in the wild west haha but its always interesting thinking back on the things that transpired and realizing the calm and tranquility i felt whether it was sitting there with a guy poking at me with a machete, or people pulling guns out on us, or experiencing exhorcisms...that even though its scary, i know without a doubt in my heart that the Lord is protecting me in every aspect. and its all thanks to obedience and doing all i can to do this work my very best. i avoid any situation that may be dangerous, but i know that when those times come that the Lords got my back. and well ya it is pretty cool to be honest. not cool as in i love being in danger haha but cool as in knowing that just like the sons of Mosiah serving amongst the lamanites, i too will be protected. so dont worry family, youve got the Lords promise that ill be okay!! just keep up the prayers, and with faith, prayers, and obedience to the commandments and gospel standards, we all will be protected, not just me! thank you all back home for your support and prayers, they really mean alot to me and i appreciate them. i love you all so much and i cant thank you all enough for all you do. we got changes coming up this next monday, and word on the streets is that im up to bat, and that ill probably be heading out to another area. kind of dont want to leave central, i love it here and have too many friends and people i dont wanna leave! but the Lord has more people out there for me to help, and who knows where ill be sending next weeks email from haha but until then i love you all and have a great week!

welcome to the heart of jalisco!
much love from mexico,
 Elder Maccarthy
photo with my best bud

p.s.- sorry but i prolly wont be explaining those above mentioned experiences till i come home haha hopefully to curb some of your worry; and sorry johnny i know that i shouldn't share such experiences with my mom, but i couldnt help it haha

Guadalajara- 7/30/12

this is why i'm here

so its pretty interesting how each week i seem to learn a new lesson. this past week was a butt kicker, as usual, but it mostly kicked my butt mentally more than physically. so we had 2 baptismal dates set up for this past weekend and we were super pumped for them and well they both fell through when thursday came around haha. and we hadnt had a baptism for a few weeks, and it was also the last weekend of the month (we had set a baptismal goal for the month of july of 4 baptisms and we had 3) and so i personally was super duper stressed because we were so close to getting that last baptism and i really wanted to complete with our goal. 

fun little day hike in narco land!
so friday we decided to do a fast, a fast with the intents of being able to baptize that weekend and to be able to complete with our goal. we began our fast and about a few hours into it we got the idea that we should invite one our investigators to be baptized this weekend (the crazy lady i told you about a few weeks ago). and so we hurry over to her house to meet with her, and of course the gates to get into her house are locked (she lives in one of the few gated communities in mexico haha) and so being desperate, and crazy teenagers haha, elder tucker and i decide to ditch the bikes and hide em in a bush and then we go and hop this fence haha and start running to the ladies house because it was getting close to curfew time. so we get to her house and after having the impression to go and talk to her we were almost certain that she was gonna open the door and warmly welcome us in and tell us she wants to be baptized as soon as possible! however to our surprise we get there and....shes not home. 

before the chocolate challenge

we decide to give her a call, she answered, we invited her to be baptized, she said sure but that she was out of town for the weekend. my heart dropped personally. i wanted to cry haha. so then after all this we headed home, and i remember just feeling emotionally and physically drained. because that day elder tucker and i had to get up at 430 to go do baptismal interviews for the hermanas in the district, and we didnt get back to our area till about 5 and so we ate a quick dinner, began our fast, and got to work. and so we were running around trying to meet with some our investigators before the day ended and i was just pooped. and then on top of that we werent able to complete with our baptismal goal. and so ya i was a little down in the dumps saturday night. 

after the chocolate cake challenge AND i ate the rest of elder tucker's cheesecake

however luckily our Heavenly Father knows each us each so well, and well he had a great little surprise for me sunday morning. so early in the week i had given a baggie with one of my white shirts, a pair of  pants, socks, and a tie to one of our investigators. i absolutely love the guy and i gave him the little church goodie bag to make him feel more comfortable at church. and anyways in the midst of all the running around and stressing that i had been doing, i had forgotten completely about the church clothes i gave to him, and anyways so we went to his house sunday morning to take him to church with us, and he comes running out of the house wearing his new church clothes i had given him, with his tie tied in this awkward weird knot haha and his hair combed over to the side to look like us and he just burst of his house with the excitement of a little kid on christmas haha. and he told about how he woke up at 5 in the morning to shower and get ready and everything and how he was ready to go to church, and then the biggest surprise came. he told us he wanted to be baptized, and he wanted to do it today. 

yes, be jealous. carne aside and chorizo quesadilla tacos with home made guacamole and horchata and hand made tortillas. oh and they're free whenever we want. you can't get better than that.
this was a surprise because hes been being taught since december and has been up and down like a roller coaster in wanting and not wanting to be baptized. and well unfortunately we had to tell him no because he hadnt completely stopped drinking, and he commented how of course the one time that HE wants to be baptized we tell him no he cant haha. but really this whole experience kind of woke me up out of the poor elder maccarthy mind set that i had been in. im not happy to admit it but its true that i had forgotten about the reason why im here amidst everything that was happening. and while i was standing with him just happy as a jay bird it hit me, this is why im here, and Heavenly Father blessed me with a little boost of happiness and well it was enough to get me out of my slump.

virgin mary hieroglyphics
 and well i learned thats its not all about me and whether i complete my goals and finish with the things that i need to do, but that i need to worry and focus about those around me, and then with that the Lord will help me to take care of my needs. as missionaries we get pressured alot to complete with the standard of excellence, and baptize, and make sure your district is doing good and that there completing with the standard and baptizing too and so its really quite easy to lose yourself in other aspects of the work, but its important to always remember why it is that were really here as missionaries. and also as members of this church, that we have tons of opportunities to share the gospel each day but often times pass them by because we simply dont leave time for stuff like that. 

livin on the wild side in mexico!
it reminds me of one part in Doctrine and Covenants where the missionaries of that time are reminded that they shouldnt be so occupied in going from place to place, when theres people on either side of them dwindling in unbelief. remember that the Spirit talks to us and will help us have and recognize those missionary moments by a still small voice so dont let the things of the world get in the way too much. and to top it all of in church on sunday one of the speakers thanked us personally for all we do as missionaries from the pulpit, and so that made me feel appreciated and good, and then also we had a class on adversity that i was able to learn alot from. 

fun little day hike in narco land!
the Lord works in mysterious ways and knows how to help each and every one of us with our individual problems and situations. always remember that when all else seems to fail you always got him at your back. i love you all and thank you for all you do to support and help in the mission work. even the smallest stuff counts, and no effort is ever wasted! and so you all know im in alot better spirits now but thanks a ton for all the prayers that have been offered in my behalf, even if you didnt realize, they helped alot! have a great week everyone, and to all the peeps back in the HB Stake, have a great youth conference!! les amo!

fun little day hike in narco land!
much love from mexico,
    Elder Maccarthy