Guadalajara: 10/15/12 + straight up scripture

the scriptures are so cool!

so apart from the dead bodies they found thrown at the monument of lazaro cardenas in apatzingan and the shooting in bachilleres nothing really exciting happened here that comes to mind. so instead i'm going to talk about some cool things that i learned this week in my personal study. so this week i was kind of frustrated and down because the work is really hard and slow right now, because as i've mentioned in past emails we work solely through references from members, we no longer are allowed to personally contact and find our own investigators. and so its just been really hard because we dont have many people were teaching and so the bulk of our time is spent visiting members, active and less active, and working with them to receive references which nobody seems to have ...haha... 

and so as missionaries were chomping at the bit to start teaching and working with people ...haha... and so i'd been really thinking about new stuff we can try and reading the scriptures to see what they did to get through funks. one of the stories i decided to read was in 1 nephi the story in which nephi breaks his bow. i personally love the story and nephi was one of the best when it came to putting faith in the Lord and knowing that He will provide the way for his servants to complete his work. and so i read the story and it made me realize a few things. first of all what i learned is that in the end of all it, whatever the problem is, you just gotta get to work and just chug along. in the story when he broke his bow everyone, even lehi the prophet, starting complaining and murmuring against God saying how could something this happen, how are they gonna survive, the outcomes seem perilious etc. and many they basically lost the faith in the face of adversity. and so i love how nephi just ignored them all went out and made a bow (came up with a solution instead of just sitting around waiting for one) and then went to his father and said where should i go to find food. i imagine for lehi that must have been a bit of a slap in the face ...haha... and helped him come back to his senses and realize that action needed to be taken to receive a solution. 

theres a guy running for senator here and is name is moron so were going to start taking pictures next to all his stuff haha

and so nephi went and obtained food enough for them to eat. i learned from this story that you really just have to suck it up and do something. just like lehi's people who didnt have food, we didnt have investigators to teach (missionary food haha), and instead of sitting around waiting for someone to come to us, i needed to go out there and make my bow (come up with new ideas to find people), and then go to the Lord and ask him where to go to find success with these ideas and how to implement them in the best manner. and it actually worked out! i love how easily and cool it is when you can apply the scriptures to situations in your own life and find an answer or solution to whatever situation! 

another story that i read to help me out was the story of the brother of jared, another story that i love. one of my favorite parts is when he goes to the Lord and asks him for help and the Lord gave it to him the first time and told him what to do to fix the problem. and then the second time the brother of jared went to the Lord and asked him what to do, the Lord pulled a jedi mind trick on him and asked the brother of jared what he wants the Lord to do to fix the problem. in the story we can see that the Lord is always there and willing to help us, but he also wants us to come up with our own solutions and then ask for his help with carrying out with our plans. and we see this same thing happen in the story of the brother of jared, the Lord told him to come up with his own ideas and then come back with what he wanted to do, and so the brother of jared did just that and came back and sure of enough the Lord helped him carry out and fulfill the things the was commanded to do. the application of this story was very clear to me and my personal situation. so anyways the end results of all this, i applied all the things i'd thought of and asked for the Lord to help me in finding success in applying the new ideas in order to advance his work here upon the earth. 

and well yesterday sunday, after a week of just biting the bullet and getting work done, hoping and praying to find some success somewhere from what i'd been learning; we got a reference from a member to go and visit a less active family that lives out in a little pueblito in a dryed up river bed ...haha... and so we went out there and visited with the family and they have 3 kids that are baptizing age! and i couldn't help but see this and realize it being an answer to my prayers and efforts. not only will we be teaching and helping these kids make the covenant of baptism with our Heavenly Father, but well also be able to help this family come back to church! so cool huh! i mean ya we didnt find that golden family of 20 people ...haha, but i couldn't be more happy with this family that the Lord prepared for us and put in our path. 

we taped black trash bags over the windows in the chapel so we could watch conference a gusto haha nifty huh?
and two of the kids love playing marbles and so i know were going to get along really well ...haha... another cool thing too that helped me out was that we got surprise visits from the mission president and the assistents. we didnt excpect it all, we just got a phone call from them saying hey were outside your house you guys need to come here ...haha... and so we did some visits and check up interviews with them and it was really beneficial for me. they expressed alot of props to us for working so hard amidst the conditions here, they wondered themselves how we did it haha! also found out that apatzingan is the hottest, farthest, most dangerous, and largest area in the whole mission! go us haha! but it was nice to get this little visit from them, especially because we figured that they'd only come visit here when hell freezes over ...haha... because of the afore mentioned circumstances of our area. but ya things are definitely looking on the uphill around here. i say uphill because were still at the base of the mountain and have a lot of climbing and work to do but its worth it and hey, it is what i was called here to do and i got the big guy up top at my back so i have no need to worry. 

i hope all is well for you all back home and that you're getting excited for my birthday ...haha... just kidding. also i recommend studying the stories from the book of mormon that i mentioned in this letter and applying them to your own lives, because they're a good read with lessons to be to taken from them too. but anyways have an excellent week folks, i love you and remember that you rock!

much love from mexico,
     Elder Maccarthy

Guadalajara: 9/24/12 + The Punisher

sorry everyone, i found a lost letter i forgot to post over a month ago. better late than never!

doing things when He wants them done

so i received a little reminder lesson this past week on how the work i'm doing here is'nt being done on my time or schedule, but instead that of the Lord. so about a week ago we began teaching two of the grandsons of the couple that was baptized a few weeks ago. and anyways because of complications with the schedule of things these next upcoming weekends, we put a baptismal date with them for the 13th of october, plenty of time for them. but then this past weekend, we decided that as a zone we were going to have a zone baptism, because it was stake conference weekend and we had a total of 16 investigators throughout the zone who were to be getting baptized that weekend. so we all got in agreement and decided to have this zone baptism. 

and well elder nielson and i did'nt have anyone planned to get baptized that weekend, but anyways we thought about who we could baptize, so that we could participate in the zone baptism, and we came to the agreement that we'd work a lot with alberto and cesar so that we could baptize them. so everyday this past week we had passed by and taught them and helped them get animated for their baptisms. however we ran into a few roadblocks along the way. first of all we had to get them to uruapan, and that means money haha and well things are a little tight around here at times in mexico, so we offered to help them and told them that we'd pay for the bus tickets so they could go. however then we realized that its not right for us to just take the two of them with us and then leave all the family members back here in apatzingan, because we don't really have money to pay for the bus tickets of 10 plus people haha. but we were still determined to get them to uruapan to get baptized, because they had all the lessons,they were progressing very well, and in all truth very they easily could have been baptized. but then that is where the title comes in. because we had arranged for the two kids to come with us, and then a few of the family members too, so we were set and ready to go. 

los misioneros de uruapan (sorry its crooked, someone bumped my camera)
however saturday night while we were at their house talking with them it just felt a little off talking to them about their baptisms, not how it'd been during the previous lessons that week, when we had talked to them about their baptisms. so i was thinking while we were sitting there whats going on and what we should do, and then a little feeling just came to me and said to me that its not their time, they're not supposed to get baptized this weekend. i pushed aside the feeling because they had all the lessons, they were reading and doing their prayers daily, they were excited to get baptized, why not do it this weekend? it made perfect sense to do it this weekend anyways. and then again the feeling came to me that "no its not their time". i again kind of pushed it off stupidly haha because i still didn't understand why i'd feel that way. they were perfectly ready to get baptized after all and we wanted to so badly to be able to baptize in the zone baptism. so anyways while this whole little thing is going on in my head we were still talking to them and making sure that everything is set and ready to go and that the plans are good for the next day, and that is when it came to me, like a literal voice and said, ITS NOT THEIR TIME, its funny because it actually made me feel a little sheepish, almost awkward, because it was like asking something from someone and they kept saying no but you keep asking until they finally have to get a little agro with you and tell you no haha. 

our roommates the swallows and their little nest, our house is like a zoo i swear haha ill tell some stories about it sometime
but so anyways all of the sudden that impression came to me stronger than the other times and i knew i couldn't fight it anymore. so i then asked them how they felt if we postponed the baptism for a few more weeks until their  families can attend and they can feel a little more prepared. they agreed and said sure sounds good, and we left it at that. the whole night i kept thinking about it and was almost kind of irritated and mad because i just didn't understand why they needed to wait. but then the next day on the ride to the stake conference in uruapan i had plenty of time to think about it, just about 3 hrs to be exact haha. take a moment actually real quick and just imagine that, a 3 hour bus ride in a little janky ol' bus just to go to stake conference, count your blessings folks, cuz even that is not that bad, i'm sure there's worse haha. 

but anyways while thinking about it i came to realize why it was so. while yes they could have been baptized according to what the books say, and whats required for someone to get baptized, the Lord has different plans for them. one of the biggest things that i feel will come out of this is that well be able to continue with them and their family members, and were making plans so that we'll be able to baptize them with 3 other family members. also one day these kids are going to be legit missionaries, so the Lord needs them to be good converts that have that strong desire and testimony so that they can use their conversion stories to help others come unto Christ. and also i think it was because i had to learn that really these 2 yrs and all the things i do are done on the Lords watch, not mine. i realized one thing that we had failed to do was ask in a prayer if they should be baptized or not. because we had only been praying that they would get baptized that weekend, we never asked if it was the right thing to do. we kind of slipped up there as misionaries, because, well hey were not perfect either haha. 

the back of the punisher angel, our ride to stake conference in uruapan

but anyways i realized that maybe if i had asked  before if it was their time i could have avoided that whole embarrassment haha. it was a really humbling experience to be honest, because its true, these 2 yrs i'm doing everything how and when the Lord wants it, not how and when Elder Maccarthy wants it. cool little experience i thought id share with you though, i hope we can all take something to learn out of it. because i know i learned a ton from it. however to changes notes real quick i want to tell you another funny little story. so the bus we took to the stake conference, wow hahah. the buses here in apatzingan are very "pimped out" you could say haha. anyways tho so the bus we took to the stake conference had this big sticker on the front windshield with flames and the words Punisher Angel hahah, and then on the hood and back of the bus it had these airbrushed flames and skull business going on haha. and the whole bus ride the bus driver was blasting this like techno electro funky polka music. it was quite a bus ride haha. 

finally getting ice cream for breakfast :) also checj the mountain of maruchan in the background, thats what you live off of when youre a poor missionary haha
but anyways it was super funny because we showed up to the conference a few minutes late and we pulled into the stake center parking lot and all the doors and windows were open so that everyone in the stake could see the "Punisher Angel" rolling in blasting its music and i'm sure they all were thinking "op, here comes apatzingan" hahah it was pretty funny. because it was during a special musical number apparently and everyone turned their attention to the other special musical number that had just rolled into the stake center. its a sight and scene i wish you all could have seen and witnessed, it was great haha. but anyways thats my funny other little story that i wanted to share with you. i hope you all are doing well and stoked for the upcoming general conference. i know i personally am, because well be able to sit in the nice air conditioned church building hahah and to listen to the prophet and apostles of course too. i'll be keeping you all posted on how things are going with alberto and cesar and their other family members are doing. alright well have a great week folks and hope that all is well! love you and take care till next monday!!!

much love from mexico, 
Elder Maccarthy

Guadalajara: 10/8/12 + iguana soup?!?!


the chupacabra hunting continues in the backwoods of apatzingan

first and foremost I need to comment on the new announcements that were made at this weekends general conference...just like every other member out there haha. Connor! I'm so stoked for you man! youre gonna be able to leave for your mission this may! aaaaahhhhhhhh!! I never imagined being able to serve a mission the same time as my little brother...its pretty crazy to be honest. 

elder nielsons hump day celebration!

not only to just him, but to all of the young men out there who usually have to wait a year to go on their missions. I'm pretty sure its because there going to be opening up China here pretty soon, so all you young men out there, start practicing up that mandarin Chinese I hear its pretty hard. but anyways so I'm gonna save the rest of my thoughts about the new policy change and my excitement for Connor in a letter to my family, so sorry other folks out there but there is other things that I'd like to talk about this email. 

scorpion we found in the chapel it was a nasty sucker

so conference was absolutely amazing. talk about being just loaded with personal revelation for two days straight, it was so sweet. i hope that you all were able to receive some great advice for your lives also. im so grateful too for the power of modern technology and that were to see conference here in mexico. and I loved singing we thank thee o God for a Prophet and being to think how special it was that in all over the world from salt lake to apatzingan michoacan to wherever else in the world was singing that song, and how truly fortunate and blessed we are to have a Prophet of God. im humbled and happy each time that I look at my call letter next to my bed and see a little picture of him that I have and knowing that that man called me here to be a missionary, and how much he, Christ, and my Heavenly Father must love me to let me come here to have the best time of life and to be blessed immensely. I know hes a Prophet of God and I love him. 

the scorpion after we found it haha

also how cool was elder nielsons talk where he kept saying..."just ask the missionaries!". it personally made me as well as probably every other missionary feel special and also make us realize that we need to step our game up. every person in the world that saw that talk now knows that those kids in white shirts and ties can help them with whatever they are in need of...its an amazing thing don't get me wrong but were gonna have to step up our game and make sure that were even more prepared now. 

the scorpion after we found it haha

which kinds of leads me to another much I LOVE the scriptures. it's amazing how in the span of my mission I've gone from being a kid that never picked the scriptures up to read them to never being able to put them down. it's so much fun! I know imagined that I'd be able to spend an hour worth of study time studying and pondering over 5 verses or whatever it may be! 

i personally like my ties with a little meat on the bones haha elder nielson prefers his with not as much

it's been such a blessing for me to be able to grow in my testimony of the scriptures...and it's one of those things that I've noticed is an even bigger blessing to those people I teach. I remember one thing dad always talked about and told me was how we need to develop the talents we have and search for, discover, and perfect those other talents of ours. because each of us is loaded up to the brim with talents and skills that our Father in Heaven has given us, we just need to put in the effort and time into finding them and perfectioning them. and well studying from the scriptures has helped me to accomplish just that.
happy birthday to elder o!

it's funny how I never really thought that a knowledge of the scriptures was a talent, but now I know otherwise. being able to be in a lesson and to be able to receive revelation about what scriptures can be read to address this specific person is so cool. the atmosphere and spirit of the lessons reach up to a whole new level when we're able to incorporate the scriptures and allow the spirit to testify not only of the words of the scriptures but also testify of the words that come from us the representatives of Christ. I've come to notice that the most spiritual lessons I've had are always those where we turn to the scriptures and read from them and allow the spirit to testify to these people of the truthfulness of these things. 

elder ontiveros' birthday party! (i look super guano i think in this picture haha and elder nielson is hiding

for example just yesterday we were in a lesson with an investigator, and we were reading in 2 nefi 31 and 32 and it was amazing to just see the Book of Mormon come alive in this kids hands and sit there as he shared with us his thoughts about this verse and what it was trying to say here and then hearing and watching him basically receive a testimony of the Book of Mormon right before our eyes. it was so cool too because he was so stoked after we said the prayer to end the lesson that he said he wanted to go with us to our other lessons! 

iguana soup before

and then above all that it was so amazing watching this kid that isn't even a member sit down in this lesson and share with some of our other investigators things that hes learned from the scriptures and how hes received his answer that he needs to get baptized and that this book is true and so are the teachings of the missionaries. it was unreal...and i remind you that this kid is not even a member. the only problem with him though is that his mom is a TJ and so were its a little hard getting permission from her to let him get baptized, were actually going to talk to her with him tonight about it, wish us luck haha. but it's just such a blessing really to be able to have the scriptures in our lives. and the best part is thats it's never too late to sit down and to get to know them a little better. I did it and I've happier than ever because of it :) 

iguana soup during
oh and actually one more real quick story! I ate iguana this past was so weird. I never knew they were such boney little creatures haha (check the pictures I sent home) eating them was a pain in the butt haha because I had to pick all the meat off the bones because if I didn't I'd just end up messing up my mouth and getting stabbed and stuff. but ya it was pretty interesting haha, it wasnt that great but now I can say that I ate iguana haha! not too many people can say that haha I'm be letting you all know the next time I eat something funky. 

iguana soup after

anyways I gotta go now friends so sorry but I love you! I hope that you all were able to enjoy conference likewise and I would love to hear what you all thought of it and what you learned! so feel free to shoot me an email or a dearelder and let me know, I'd love it. have a great week!

opening up my early birthday package! i was gonna wait till the 29th but it was too hard haha

much love from mexico,
     Elder Maccarthy

Guadalajara: 10/1/12 + Montezuma's Revenge!

had another super hectic and crazy week. last sunday the 23  we ate some moriscetta that this one hna made for us, i thought it was fine, i mean it tasted a lil funny, but i ate it anyways and that would turn out to be one of the worst ideas ever haha. the next day, monday, the nightmare that is just now ending began, and i was probably the sickest that i've been so far on the mission. pure diarrea and vomiting for 5 days straight. the peak was tuesday and wednesday, tuesday i went to the bathroom 23 times and threw up 6 times, and on wednesday i went to the bathroom 17 times and threw up 8 times. 

mexico is so pretty

i actually ended up having to do some blood tests and travel to morelia to go see a doctor up there because they were going to put me on an i.v. for a few days to get me back into good working conditions. but they ended up just putting me on antibiotics and a gatorade and pedialyte diet. but ya it was pretty sucky. anything that i ate or drank, no matter what it was, would be coming up or going down within the next hour, it was impossible to keep anything in my system. but i got smart and started only eating like yogurt and ice cream, because ya it wasn't the best for my situation but it tasted the best coming back up haha alot better than alot of the food here. 

but ya so my week was full of alot of throwing up on the side of streets, emergency bathroom trips to the chapel, and i lost a bunch of weight! woohoo for me. but i'm doing alot better now, i've been taking the antibiotics and eating a really conservative diet and so i'm doing much better so no worries peeps. but i have some other cool news to share with you all. so first funny story. there's a little girl in the ward that asked me to help her with her english homework last week and so i gladly said that i would and so i helped her with it. anyways so this past week when we showed up to the families house for the food appt. they were telling me about how the girl got a 6 on the homework i helped her with, and so i was like woah woah wait a minute and show me the homework haha and so the little girl goes and gets her homework and sure enough she got a 6! and just fyi in mexico they do their grading on a 1 to 10 grading scale, so basically she got a D on the homework haha. i was completely confused to be honest haha and they were all laughing about how i dont even know my own language anymore haha. because the girl did another homework assignment and used an online translator to do it and she got a 10 on that homework! so it was just funny because we were all laughing about how the american elder that speaks english natively doesnt know his own language anymore haha but ya it was funny. i told them i wanted to talk to the teacher and give the guy a piece of my mind, but i figured i have better things to do with my time haha.

yay for goldfish

but anyways so there's that story and here's the next one. we received some word from some people that had gotten baptized and live out in some pueblitos about an hour and half from apatizgan why had the missionaries stopped visiting? we didnt know why and so we talked to some ward members about it and apparently the missionaries had gotten the green light to go out and start working in the pueblitos farther away from the city and actually had some success, and there's a few members out there. and apparently they were about to start a branch out there but the missionaries were removed from apatzingan or something like that and so it was left at that. and anyways so my companion and i have been talking to our leaders about it and we're going to go out and there and get to work to start up this branch. there's about 5 or 8 members for sure out there and so we only need to baptize a few more and then well be able to talk to the mission president about starting a branch out there. 

i'm personally pretty stoked about it, because well ya its going to be way hard, probably harder than i think haha but its one of those things that i feel like we need to do. elder nielson isn't as stoked about it haha because he hates working in pueblitos, but we're making plans to go out and start working this week. we have no idea what we're walking into to be honest, because there's only about two people in the ward that know where some of these members live but in todos modos we're going to go see what we can do. because we're working to try to make apatzingan and the neighboring area nueva italia a district here. we just need to get the assistence of apatzingan up to 150 (were at 75 right now) and then we can split apatzingan up into two wards, and then we'd have the branch in nueva italia and then with the branch that elder nielson and i are going to make. we'll have enough to make our own little district. which would be super rad and would be a big help because it's hard for alot of the members here because we're so far from uruapan and the bulk of the state. so it's something that i'm looking forward to being able to be a part of and start throwing some efforts into. it's gonna be tough but hey that's why we're here, to build up the kingdom of God upon the earth. but ya so that's the latest news here from tierra caliente. 

me making the beautiful mexican countryside look even better

super stoked for conference this weekend, hope you all are too. throw a little shout out for me here in apatzingan when they say the number of full time missionaries in the world haha ill appreciate it. have a great week everyone and keep up the awesome work that i know you all are doing. i love you and thank you so much for your prayers and thoughts for me. take care and have a great week!

much love from mexico,
     Elder Maccarthy