Guadalajara: 3/4/13

so things continue going great here in good ol apatzingan, we are seeing lots of progression in the work. the folks out in herendira are progressing very well, this past week we scoped out a few spots for the eventual place for sunday services and we found some pretty promising ones and so were way started to get the ball rolling out there and get the branch up and running. 

the first batch of the people out there have their baptismal dates for the 16th of this month. this last week we taught them the message of the restoration and after having taught the lesson we gave them all Book of Mormons and it was so cool to see how they treated the books, as if they were made out of the finest materials and of very high value. the people out there are very simple and humble, but extremely receptive to everything we have taught them. also things here in the city are going great too. elder garcia and i have been on a roll here of coming across miracles. this saturday we will be having the baptismal services of two of these miracles.

i'll give you a brief review in this email and then a little more information in the following email next week. one is of this lady named maria victoria who a member requested that we give a blessing to, and after the blessing we started talking to her and sure enough the spirit must have touched her because ever since shes been progressing super well and will be getting baptized this saturday. just goes to show you the true power behind the priesthood that we have in this church, makes me think of all the people that were converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ by the miracles that He performed while He was here upon the earth. it is a true testimony builder for me, of the priesthood that i hold and the power it has when used in righteousness to bless others. its an invitation to all you priesthood holders to never forget the power that you have to bless the lives of those whom you serve. 

the other miracle that we had was that there is this one kid thats been coming to church with his uncle for about a month now and we finally got around to talking to the kid this past week and sure enough he is not baptized and so he also will be getting baptized this upcoming saturday. so were pretty stoked about all the help were receiving from the Lord here in our area, its a true testimony of the importance of this work that we are doing. we are living the completion of the words of the Lord found in Doctrine and Covenants 88:73. read it and youll understand haha. have a great week everyone and may God bless you all abundantly in your lives. 

i'll been talking to you all again in no time with great news of what will go down this week. have a wonderful week everyone i love you all tons :)

with much love from mexico
Elder Maccarthy

Guadalajara: 2/25/13

so because last time i didnt write very much i decided that this week before i do anything else im going to write my email so i dont leave you guys hanging anymore because i have had some cool experiences as of late that i havent shared. so as i mentioned in last weeks email we had the baptism of a lady that had been in teaching since september. and well she had a conversion that was literally a miracle haha. 

in the end of january she told us in one of our appts with her that she going to get baptized and she received her answer from the Lord that she needed to get baptized and that this was the true church...but that she had also received the answer that Lord was preparing her little by little and that she didnt plan on getting baptized till the end of the year. and well when we heard that we were a little floored and confused because, we didnt want to tell her that the answer she received to her prayers was wrong haha but we just took it for what it was and kept working with her. and well after fasting and praying and working a ton with her, we got her to accept a baptismal date in february but she still said that she wasnt 100% sure and that she'd think about it and see. and well little by little we went getting her pumped up and ready for her baptism when the big surprise comes. 

we stop by her house one night for an appt and we start the lesson and all and everything is going good, and well we get to the point where its obvious that we want to know how shes feeling about her baptism and so i ask her haha and she laughs and smiles and ready, i wanna get baptized next weekend. when i heard her tell us these words i cannot explain the excitement and just rush of feelings that came over made me so happy ...haha... but as with everyone that tries to do things right in this life, el chamuco got involved and made her start to doubt if she was really ready, and that she didnt have a testimony and all that kind of stuff. and so the day before her baptism we show up to talk with her and she relates to us the following experience...the night before she couldnt sleep because she was really nervous about her baptism because she felt like she didnt have a testimony still of the church and of the restoration of the gospel and that it was just really tormenting her mind. 

and so she decided to say a prayer and read the book of mormon to help ease her mind and take out these feelings. and so she kneels and says a prayer, askind God to let her know if she was doing the right thing because she wanted to get baptized and follow his commandments and she just wanted to know if she was doing the right thing and for him to give her an answer...and upon finishing her prayer she grabs her book of mormon and opens it 3 Nephi 22 and how as she read this chapter the Lord spoke to her literally and received the answer that she was looking for. she later shared this story in her testimony that she gave after she was baptized in her baptismal service and the spirit that was felt as she shared this sacred personal experience of hers brought tears to my eyes. she obtained more than just the testimony that she was looking for but she became converted to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and it was an unforgettable experience for everyone. how grateful i am to my Heavenly Father for allowing me to have had the priviledge to teach and help this daughter of his. I'll never forget it. 

so that was the story that i wanted to share with you guys last week and now im going to move on to the great news from this week. so this past thursday elder garcia and i made a step that will change the history of the church here apatzingan. we went out to this pueblito thats called herendira and taught a family home evening about the plan of salvation and it turned out awesome. the reason why it made a step towards changing history was because we were the first missionaries that these people had ever seen or met, and the first time they heard about La Iglesia de Jesucristo de Los Santos de los Ultimos Días and that once again the church of Christ has been restored upon the earth. 

it was a really humbling experience for me because the majority of people have heard about the church and to be able to teach and meet people that this was their first time was something way special. upon ending the family home evening, four of the people present approached us and asked us what they needed to do in order to become part of this church and in that moment we committed them to be baptized and they accepted. one of these men that accepted lives in another pueblito a distance away and he was so impressed by the spirit as he listened to the message that we shared that he told us that he wanted his family to hear us and asked if wed be able to come to his house and bless his wife that couldnt make it that evening because of a sickness that she has. we told him of course and we made plans to go visit them this upcoming week. 

in total from this appointment alone we placed 4 baptismal dates and received references to teach 3 new families and in total about 20 new people...upon sharing this information with the bishop and stake president...plans are being made to start a branch out there once we begin baptizing and that within the year were probably going to see apatzingan get turned into a stake! the work of the Lord is moving forward with speed and promises of old really are coming true! zion is being established in all places and every kindred tongue and people are receiving the blessings of this grand restoration of the truth! i cannot express the blessing it is to be a part of the Lords chosen servants in these last days...we truly are preparing the world for the second coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! 

I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!! the happiness and joy that comes from being here in this area at this moment carrying out the Lords work is the best thing that has ever happened to me. i never want this to end. my dear friends who are reading this email wherever you may be...this is the true church of Jesus Christ and he is calling together his chosen people and he has called us to help in this great work...the work of the Lord is moving on and we have the great blessing to have a part in it. dont disappriciate the great latter day calling that each and every one of us have to teach share this message. 

i love you all and thank you personally for the prayers and support for me and all the other missionaries in the world. its greatly appreciated. i hope that you all have a great week and that the Lord blesses you abundantly in your lives for your faithfulness and obedience.

with much love from mexico,
Elder Maccarthy

Guadalajara: 2/18/13 + A Very Special Baptism

this past weekend i had one of the greatest experiences of my mission...the baptism of one of my investigators. we began teaching her way back in the beginning of september and this saturday i had the priviledge to see her get baptized. it was six months full of prayers fasting frustration and lots of faith haha. the greatest part of all of it was being able to see her testimony grow and watch her get strengthened spiritually visit by visit. 

just about a month ago she told us that she wouldnt be getting baptized till the end of the year because she had received her answer from the Lord that he was preparing her little by little for her baptism and that she wasnt going to get baptized any tme soon, but that one day yes she would get baptized. and well to her surprise the Lord actually had different plans for her haha and this last saturday got baptized. im out of internet time though haha and so i gotta go but in the following email ill throw in some more details of some of the experiences i had while teaching her. 

sorry i gotta go and that this email was short but ill be sure to satisfy your missionary experiences needs the following week. i love you guys and hope that all is well back in your homes. have a great week everyone and i love you all and grateful for all of your support and  prayers! take care until next monday!

with much love from mexico,
Elder Maccarthy

Guadalajara: 2/11/13 + A New Companion

well sounds like its been quite the eventful week back in the stake. congratulations james on your mission call, i'm super stoked for you it's way sweet. the mission is by far the best thing thats ever happened to me, and i know your mission will be the same for you. your gonna love it and totally tear it up. here in apatzingan we had a pretty awesome and special week, especially for elder garcia because he had his first baptism! 

it was super sweet, we baptized these two kids and they were total miracle baptisms ...haha... all week long they were telling us how they weren't sure about their baptisms and didn't think they wanted to do it anymore but we just kept the faith and kept insisting with them and teaching them and sure enough friday night rolls around and we show up to do their baptismal interviews and from the time we showed up till when we left they had a complete 180 change of mind. leaving the interviews they were super stoked and excited for their baptisms the following day. just goes to show you that the Lord really does listen to our prayers and sometimes its not till the very last moments when we see the miracle.

 like it mentions in Ether you dont get the testimony until after the test of your faith, and its something that i have definitely learned here in the mission. even when it appears as though there is no way its going to turn out how you want and you feel like your prayers are going unaswered, you have to just replace those negative thoughts, and say were gonna do it! and then keep chugging along with that hope, and well from what i've experienced it always turns out good in the end of it all. 

also suuuuper duper excited because this weekend is the baptism of one of our investigators, a lady who we've been teaching since september, and well after many prayers, fasts, frustrations, and overall just hard work she is ready. i think of all the people i've met and taught shes one of the most specials. she has such a rad strong testimony and i'm way stoked for her and that shes decided to get baptized. i'll be sure to let you all know how the baptism goes because i know it will be very special. 

we also saw some little mini miracles this past week. first one: so theres this lady that were teaching that left to go out of town and so we've been calling her house to see if shes showed up yet and so anyways the other day i called her house and someone answered the phone who i thought was her and so i got all excited and was like hey hows it going when can we come by and all that missionary stuff ...haha... and so we set up an appt to stop by the following day and so we show up the next day and knock on the door and her sister answers it and so we ask if alondras home, she says no shes in lazaro cardenas right now, and i was caught a little off guard because i thought i had just talked her last night and so i told the sister i had just talked to her last night and she said nooooo that was me ...haha... and so i was like crap because the lady is super golden and we need to see her because were preparing her for her baptism, but since alondra wasnt there i ask the sister if shes busy right now, says no, and so we end up teaching her and putting a fecha bautismal with her for march! it was just cool seeing how the Lord truly does put those who he is preparing in our camino to teach and help, because we went to her house planning to talk to alondra, but ending up finding her sister who also is being prepared by the Lord to be baptized. how cool is that ...haha... i love missionary work.

miracle number 2: so were walking down the street and pass by this house with a kid sitting outside and after passing the house we stop and decided to go back to the house and contact the kid, so we head back up the street to where he is sitting and start talking to him and turns out its this kid who the elders had taught in the past but stopped passing by years ago when apatzingan was closed and so we started teacing him and turns out hes already read the book of mormon, has an excellent memory and remembers a ton of stuff, and also accepted to be baptized right there in the first visit. i love being a missionary and being able to see the Lord work miracles through me and truly see him guiding me to the people he is preparing as long i'm working hard and being obedient. its so awesome i just love it. being a missionary is definitely the best thing anybody could ever do. this past year is full of experiences that willl change my life forever and that i will never forget. this is the best thing i have ever done and i am so excited so for all the young men who are  preparing to enter the mission fields themselves. it definitely lives up to all the hype ...haha... 

i love you all so much and dont worry about me or miss me too much because im having the time of my life here in mexico. i absolutely love it. take care everyone and thanks for all the prayers and support, i hope you all have a great week and happy valentines day!

with much love from mexico,
Elder Maccarthy

p.s. send elder garcia some emails....his family doesnt write him and hes a little down in the dumps....hed really appreciate anything and i'd appreciate it a ton too if you guys could show him some love because hes a great elder....thanks guys :)

If you would like to write Elder Garcia, comment below and I can send you his email address.

Guadalajara: 2/4/13 + Why There Are No Pictures

so i've got a lot of stories to tell seeing as how i didn't have a lot of time last week to send my email so i'm going to jump straight into it. so as i mentioned in the last email i'm training now and so last monday i had to go to guadalajara to go pick up my new companion. 

anyways so the central of autobuses is in my old area and so when we showed up i was all antsy hoping that i'd see someone i knew or just recognize anyone really. and so while we were walking down the street to go catch the bus i was keeping my eyes peeled for people i knew, when a bus drove past us and in it were some of the youth from the ward and they were waving at me from the bus and i saw them and waved back but the bus kept going and so it was cool to see them and the other elders with me were asking me who that was and i told em who, when to my surprise running down the street towards us come the 4 youth that were in the bus! they ran up to us and the two that are young men gave me big old hugs and the two young women shook my hand ...haha... but it was just way cool that first of all they recognized me as they were passing in the bus and that they got off the bus to come say hi to me. i left central about 6 months and they still remember me so that made me feel special ...haha... but ya so we talked about how they were doing, hows their parents, the ward, everything ...haha... and it was just great to be honest, made my day without a doubt. 

also because i found out that one of my converts is getting everything lined up to go on his mission and that when he completes a year in april he is going to leave right away on the mission! my dream has become even more magnificent and outstanding thinking that i'll be able to serve in this marvelous work with a convert of mine and my little brother. the thing better than that will be going to the sealing sessions in one of some of my other recent baptisms. the mission rocks! also in regards to how the training is going, its a way cool experience. 

the missionary i'm training is named elder garcia from panaco vera cruz, and it's definitely a different experience ...haha... after going from being with elders that have time in the mission to someone who has no idea whats what is an interesting experience for me and i'm really learning a lot from it. this past week we had the opportunity to fast for one of our investigators too and it turned out having amazing results. just a week ago she was telling us she doesn't feel 100% sure about her baptism and wants to wait more time...and then just yesterday we went to go talk to her and she told us that shes ready to get baptized and that she is for sure going to get baptized this month and so that was way cool to see the power of prayer and fasting. 

also we found tons of new people this week that accepted baptismal invitations in the first visit and so apatzingan is on fire right now haha! i have to go now though because time ran out unfortunately and i had some more stuff too tell but its okay because i still have next to email. i hope all is going well for you guys back home and that you were all able to enjoy the superbowl...i'll be there for the next one to enjoy it with you guys ...haha... i love you all tons and i'm stoked to hear about all the great stuff thats happening in your lives and how you're all being blessed. have a great week and i love you and appreciate all the support and prayers in my behalf! take care everyone!
with much love from mexico,
Elder Maccarthy

p.s. sorry i havent sent pictures in awhile my little adapter thingy has a virus and so i cant send pics for the moment but im hoping that ill be able to send some here soon

Guadalajara: 1/28/13

this weeks email is going to be a little short sorry, i'm a little short on time today. but anyways this last week was a nightmare of traveling around from place to place ...haha... in the past 7 days ive spent something around 26 hrs in a bus! but amidst all that it was a pretty good week. 

on thursday and friday we had a leadership training and it was way cool, learned lots of great new stuff to start applying to the mission work here in my area that is going to be help us help even more people in apatzingan! it was also nice because it focused a lot on getting back to the basics of missionary work and doing what we were taught to do since we showed up in the mission field. also this past sunday we traveled to uruapan for a multistake conference broadcast that the first presidency did for mexico. 

it was really cool because when president uchtdorf spoke he spoke in spanish and ya it was just really cool hearing him and some of the other authorities that spoke speak spanish. and then right now im in guadalajara because im going to be training so i came to pick up my hijo and take him on down to tierra caliente ...haha... but ya i dont have a lot of time to write because i showed up from apatzingan just a little while ago and we got to be in the offices here soon to pick up the new elders. so sorry but this email will be a little short. the next email will be a lot better because i have some cool stories to tell you all but i just dont have the time right now sorry because i gotta go get my companion. but i love you all and hope you all have a fantastic week and enjoy the superbowl for me eh!!

with much love from mexico,
Elder Maccarthy

Guadalajara: 1/21/13

so after the week of suspense that i put you all through...haha...i shall finish with the stories that i didn't mention in last weeks email. so first was the baptism of one of our investigadores. the story of how we found her is the miracle...haha...because she married a less active member and one day the husband drove by the chapel here in apatzingan and recognized it as an lds church and decided that heck why not stop by sunday and go to the services. and so sure enough one sunday he showed up at the chapel with his wife and kid and so we talked to them and the wife turned out to be this totally chosen, just golden investigator...haha...she picked up everything super quick and to be honest she appeared as though she was  a member of years, and so we taught her and after about a month and a half she got baptized! 

in this upcoming month of february she is going to be going to the temple in guadalajara to do baptisms for the dead and right now were helping her prepare names  of her family members that she wants to do the work for. the big goal of her and her husband is to in this time next year enter the temple and be able to get sealed and so were helping them out right now in every way that we can...haha...but shes way cool, loves learning about the gospel and its doctrines and  teaching them to other people, which is a great way for new converts to be able to grow in their testimony and knowledge of the truths of the restored gospel. and i'm personally way excited to be able to attend their sealing one day :) 

the other stories i'm going to tell are the stories of how two of our investigadores got their answer in regards to the book of mormon being a true book. they both are what you'd call "eternal investigadores" because they've gone through missionary after missionary and still have yet to get baptized, but little by little were working with them to break down their doubts and concerns about the church, and especially the book of mormon. 

the first is a lady, she is a doctor that owns a pharmacy, and this story happened about 2 or 3 weeks ago. so a guy stopped by to deliver some medications and stuff like that that she had ordered for her pharmacy and after he dropped everything off he pointed to the book of mormon that she had on her counter and asked her if she was reading it and she said yes. he then began to tell her that she needed to go and burn the book because it is from the devil and that the people that gave it to her are the devils angels that go around teaching false truths and "engañando"  people. she said that it wasnt true and that she had read the book and it talked about Christ and taught the same principles as the bible and then the man told  her that she thought like that because we had her under our spells and that she needed help breaking the spells we had put upon her and then began throwing out a bunch of stuff about the church to disfame it and make it look bad, and she said that he just kept going off for a while and then left and after he had left that she felt confused and not really to sure what to think anymore about everything. 

so she decided to do what we had taught her to do when she has a question, kneel and ask God in a prayer. and so she did just that and after finishing her prayer she felt that she needed to open the book of mormon and that the first thing she read would be Gods answer to her prayer of hope, and so she grabbed her book of mormon and opened it up and read the words found in 2 nephi 33:5 and well i invite you to read it and you'll be able to see how perfectly this scripture answered her prayer. and after having read the verse she came to the conclusion and received the affirmation that the book of mormon is true and that this is the true church of Christ also. unfortunately though shes leaving this week to go study in guerrero but she said that she is going to do everything in her power to find the church and keep studying because she wants to get baptized and knows that she needs to do it. so i'm happy to have helped her and even though at best i wont be there to be part of her baptism i know that the influence i had on her and the seed that was planted will be of eternal impact and significance to her. 

the second story is that of a lady named tere, who actually lived in costa mesa for along time, and her daughter graduated from saddleback high school just this past year, but anyways here is her story. so she grew up in the catholic church (like everyone here haha) and to them the only true word of God is found in the bible, no ifs ands or buts. and so for her its always been hard to believe in the book of mormon and have a testimony of it. and so one night she was thinking alot about the book of mormon and everything that she had read from it and everything we had told her about it and upon finding herself amidst all these thoughts and questions she decided to say a prayer to try and receive some peace of mind. after having prayed she also decided that she would put God and the book of mormon to test, and open it up and the first thing that she would read would be her answer. and she did just that and interestingly enough opened up to guide for studying the scriptures in the back of the book and to the subheading of the prophet isaías and read about what it says there and how the book of mormon prophet nephi taught his people the words of isaías and that this prophet is cited often in the book of mormon. 

upon reading this she received the answer and assurance from the spirit that the book of mormon and the bible contain the word of God written by his prophets for our benefit and well being as his children. she explained that this was exactly the answer and peace of mind that she was looking for. two cool stories that i wanted to share with you because they really show us the truth about two things: one that the book of mormon is the word of God and contains the fullness of the everlasting gospel and two that God listens to our prayers and answers them in a manner to be for our benefit. these are two truths that i add my personally testimony too and assure you all that God listens and loves each and every one of us. the book of mormon is true and its the best way for us to grow closer to God and it teaches us whats necessary to return to his presence. 

i love you all and hope that youre able to recognize and give thanks for the blessings that our Heavenly Father bestows upon us daily. i love you all and thank you for all the support and prayers. have a great week and keep on keeping on!

with much love from mexico, 
Elder Maccarthy

Guadalajara: 1/14/13

so i gotta say this past week was a pretty miracle filled week haha. which i think is kind of funny because in last weeks email i apologized for the lack of substance in the email, and now i'm worrying about not having enough time to write about everything that happened this last week! so i'm gonna share what the time allows me too and save the others for next week. so this last monday we were on our way back from visiting with these 2 kids that we were getting ready for baptism, and while we were on our way home after the appt. we saw the grandma of the kids in the street and so we walked over to talk with her and tell her how we just got done talking to her grand sons and how excited and ready they were for their baptisms. 

anyways so as we began talking to her she begins to tell us about we should stop coming by to teach the kids because right now there's a bunch of family problems and she feels like we'd just be wasting our time stopping by because of the issues. and she mentioned too that because of the problems going on she wasn't too sure if they would be able to get baptized still. we weren't shaken by it though, we just told the grandma to calm down and to go home and say a prayer and that we'd be stopping by tomorrow and that the most important thing these kids could do would be to get baptized. when we got home we said a prayer for the kids and that everything would work out fine so they'd be able to get baptized that weekend and so we stopped by the next day and sure enough just as we had expected the situation had all calmed down and the kids were back on track for getting baptized haha. 

we continued stopping by with the kids throughout the week and every time they asked us how many hours they had left till their baptisms on saturday haha it was way cool. and then saturday rolled around and it was time for their baptisms and they were so stoked out of their minds it was so rad. it was also possibly one of the most special baptisms i've ever had...the spirit that was felt there was so strong and there were many a teary eye in the room as we listened to the humble prayers and testimonies of these little 9 yr old kids. really made me appreciate and understand  the importance of little kids to our Heavenly Father and Christ, and i know that there prayers never go without being answered or listened too. 

to help you understand a little bit of how strong the spirit truly was in this baptism service, i'll let you know of another little miracle that we had. after the baptism this other kid that we just barely started teaching came up to us and told us that he wants to get baptized and so we asked him when he'd like to do it and he said as soon as we could and so we invited him to get baptized this weekend (19th) and he agreed. we had hardly even taught the kid about baptism, but we knew that in that baptismal service he felt and recognized the spirit testifying to him of the importance of baptism. so now were gonna be baptizing this kid this weekend and were way pumped haha. 

okay so miracle number 3. this last tuesday after we were walking down the street to an appt. when this taxi passes us and then makes a u turn and pulls up next to us, the lady in the taxi rolls down her window and starts calling us over haha and so we go over to see what she wants, because she was calling us by elders so we knew she wasn't just harassing us haha, and so i walk up to her window and she says "elders may God bless you and protect you for your service as missionaries, take this for the buses" and handed me a folded up bill and then drove off. it was a total of about 10 seconds haha. but after she had drove off elder nielson and i were left a little surprised once we realized what she had given us. 

when she offered me the folded up bill i accepted it because at first glance i thought it was a 100 pesos but then upon further inspection we realized that she had given 500 pesos! some random lady in a taxi drove by in a taxi and then came back to give us 500 pesos for "buses" and then drove off. where she came from, where she went, and what prompted her to do that are unknown to us but it truly was one of those experiences that only happen on the mission haha. 

the last two experiences i'm going to have to save for next week because i'm now out of time so sorry about that folks, but they're really good so be looking forward to a great email this upcoming week haha. hope you are all doing well back in the mother land and that you're able to enjoy of the wonderful blessings offered to us through the restoration of the church of Jesus Christ! i love you and have a great week everyone!

much love from mexico,
Elder Maccarthy

Gualadajara: 1/7/13 + Happy New Year!

so after the president took the other companionship out of apatzingan elder nielson and i have been running this place, and we definitely have had our hands full haha i'm starting to realize that apatzingan is alot bigger than i really thought haha. its been quite the experience having to pick up where the other elders left off at, but we've got a lot of really great people were teaching right now. 

as of just this past week we picked up two new families so that was pretty cool to have happen. on monday, it being new years eve, we went over to the house of some members to eat tamales, tostadas, buñuelos and a bunch of other great food, the members here treat us so nicely haha especially since the other companionship got taken out, i think its because they're afraid they might take missionaries out of apatzingan permanently and so there treating us extra nicely haha. but anyways so we ate with them and it was pretty fun, watching the kids light off the fireworks gave me ganas to do it, but were not allowed to so i restrained myself haha. we had to be in home early because it gets crazy here and then we hardly slept at all because every 5 minutes someone would start shooting haha and not just like little firearms, but big boys haha. so i hardly slept that night but i was expecting it so it was not too big of a deal haha. 

also the unthinkable happened this past week. there were a couple days this past week where it was so cold outside that we actually wore sweaters when we left to go work in the mornings. i never thought that there would be a day where it'd be cold enough to wear a sweater in apatzingan haha but ya it was chilly for a few days but now its back to the good ol' blazing hot apatzingan that we know and love. elder nielson is actually sick right now with the cold because of the weather change and i've been having to give all the lessons for the past couple days because he hasn't been able to talk haha but he's getting better now and his spanish is a little bit more understandable haha. 

we've also seen a few little mini miracles you could say during the trans-course of the week. the first happened with this one investigator that's been being taught for a good while by the missionaries and has received all the lessons and is reading the book of mormon praying daily coming to church every week, the "eternal investigator" as they are called by missionaries ahah because they do everything they're supposed to do but they never say yes to get baptized. and she was one of these "eternal investigators" of the other elders and well just this past week she finally accepted the invitation to get baptized!

it was actually a way cool spiritual lesson. we showed up and were talking to her about the third missionary lesson, which covers and talks about the gospel ofJesus Christ, she already knew all the stuff we were teaching her and well when we got to talking about baptism the inevitable question popped "why havent you been baptized yet?" after listening to her tell why she hasn't done it yet the thought came to me to share a scripture with her, Alma 7:14-15 (my favorite to share with these "eternal investigators") and well i shared it with her and it did just the trick, the Spirit spoke to her in that moment and she then said to us, "you know i've always said no to all the other missionaries that have asked me that, but with you two i feel something different". she accepted to get baptized right then! it was a way cool experience, we were super stoked about it. just goes to show you the true power of the scriptures. 

we are just waiting for her family to get back from out of town and once they do she said she wants to get baptized, so we're hoping and praying they get back soon haha. also this past week one of our investigators that we've been inviting to church since the beginning of december finally came to church this past sunday and to be honest it was a nice little surprise that the Lord gave us haha because all week he had been telling us that he was going to come to church, like he had said for the last 5 weeks, and then sure enough he showed up in sacrament meeting on sunday after having walked all the way to the chapel from his house in the outskirts of apatzingan. so that was another cool little miracle that happened this week. 

we got a pretty busy week ahead of us though, we have 3 baptisms lined up for this weekend so were pretty stoked about that and getting everything lined up good for it. i'll be sure to let you all you know how it went in the following weeks email. also hoping maybe have a couple more things to talk about haha my mind kind of drew a blank and couldn't think of anything that had happened this week haha so sorry. 

but i hope you all enjoyed your new years celebration and the last week of your vacations and that now you are back to work and school and all that good stuff. have a great week everybody and until the next one!

much love from mexico,
Elder Maccarthy

Guadalajara: 12/31/12

memorable 1 year in the books, even better one lies ahead

so we had an outstanding week here in apatzingan, a lot of stuff happened that made it a pretty memorable week in my mission. to start the week off it was christmas time and so that means phone call home, which was a great motivator for me and it was great to be able to see the fam bam and see thats everyones doing good and to talk to them about the mission and all that jazz. its funny though because even though the phone call was just a week ago it already seems like it was a few months ago ahah. 

also this past friday i completed 1 year in the mission and so that was a bit of a milestone for me, its all down hill from here booooo just means i gotta kick it in the butt even more and week even harder than before. on this past saturday we had the baptism of our investigator, and it was a pretty impactful baptism for me. mostly just because of the change that we saw in him. it was the first baptism ive had where theres a literal distinguishable new light that the person gives off, hes a little bit of a rough and tumble guy, he says it how it is and has a very interesting character haha but when he came back into the room after just getting baptized he had this different light about him, it was like if you had a light bulb covered with dirt and stuff and then cleaning it off and it just giving off a completely different light. added to my testimony of the reality of the baptism and how its true that it really does allow us be completely cleansed of our sins. he was way stoked to get baptized which made it even cooler. 

and then yesterday we were able to confirm him a member and give him the gift of the holy ghost and also to be give him the aaronic priesthood and ordain him to the office of priest, which added even more to how special this weekend was. the next step is for him and wife to enter into the temple to get sealed! because if you remembered at the beginning of the month we baptized this one lady and well the guy we just barely baptized is her husband, and so were amping them up and setting them up on the right road so that a year from now theyll be able to enter the temple and make even more sacred and important covenants with our Heavenly Father. 

so sorry mom and dad but i dont think ill be coming home for christmas because im gonna see if the pres. will give me an extension so that i can attend their sealing and all that great stuff. so ya just a heads up :) because also this weekend we have another lady planned to get baptized thats the wife of a less active member and they also have plans of getting sealed in the temple a year from when she gets baptized so i dont plan on coming home for christmas, but its a still a ways away ill leave it at that haha. but ya also to celebrate the baptisms we're going out to eat at a seafood restaurant this thursday so that should be fun haha. 

anyways so im gonna over to a really cool experience we had this past week in a lesson with this one family were teaching. its the same family that we just began teaching that i mentioned in the last email. so anyways this past friday we decided to stop by their house to see if we could find them in their house because they hadnt been home for our other appt earlier in the week, and so we show up and sure enough they were home and so we decided to talk to them about the book of mormon and to give them all their own personal copies of it, so we were talking about it and reading some parts of it here and there with them and helping them to get an idea of what it is why its important and how itll bless their lives and as were talking the dad begins to tell us about how a few hours before we showed up his wife wanted to leave to go down to the mercado to pick some things up but he kept telling her no because he said he felt like that we were going to stop by and share something special with him, and so the hours passed by and we hadnt showed up and his wife was telling him that we werent going to show up but he kept insisting that no he felt they just needed to wait a little longer and then haha we actually showed up to their house as they were arguing a little about the situaution haha but anyways he shared this with us and that as soon as we began to explain the book of mormon to him he felt something tell him that this is why he needed to stay there and the lesson just was way spiritual and i know that without a fact that the spirit was there testfying of the truthfulness and importance of this book to this man and his family. ah so cool! 

and then even cooler was how this sunday about midway through sacrament meeting they showed up to church! they had walked from their house, about a 30 of 45 mins away, and it made me and elder nielson so happy haha because they didnt show up their at the start we didnt think they were going to be able to make but when we saw them walk into the sacrament room our hearts jumped with joy and it was just way rad to see. one thing i love about those chosen people you meet every now and then, they take into account the words nefi and they go and they do the things that the Lord has commanded us to do and they have that unwaverable faith and trust in him. something i wish you all could experience. 

also so the president took the other companionship out of apatzingan and so elder nielson and i are running the show now here and its going to be a handful here and were really going to have to kick things into high gear because we have alot of potential baptisms in this next month and a lot of people who are progressing really well. so wish me luck and ill be sure to keep you all informed and up to date on all the cool stuff thats going down here and the great experiencias that im having. 

i hope that you all enjoy this new years and that you pass it safely and with high hopes for the year that we have ahead of us. im sure that its going to be the best year of my life and i hope you all have the same aspirations. i love you and take care!

much love from mexico,
Elder Maccarthy

Guadalajara: 12/24/12 + THE YEAR MARK!

had a pretty good pre christmas here in apatzingan. this past thursday we had a christmas party in zamora with all the elders from zones of uruapan and zamora 1 and zamora 2. it was actually a fun experience, hanging out and just having a good time here with all the mission buds. we had a gift exchange too where everbody had to give something hand made and so i painted a white tie with water color paints (it turned out way cool, i was sad to give it away) and an hermana ended up getting it haha i was a little bummed cuz its way cool and who knows if she'll ever use it but oh well she deserved it haha. 
me with sister davalos and the president's daughter...oddly enough an hermana got my tie in the gift exchange haha

and then i got a tie made out of bus tickets from this one elder, he had been saving the bus tickets for the last 8 months so there was alot of love put into this gift haha. everyone said it was the perfect gift for me because im known for my unique one off ties and this one really compliments my collection haha. so ya i wa so stoked to get it. 

what i got in the gift exchange...a tie made out of bus tickets from elder clawson haha
also had a pretty cool experience while teaching this family the other it was that one family that i had mentioned in my last email that asked us to come back and talk to them after we helped them carry their stuff...anyways so we were there talking to them and teaching about the restoration. they were having a little bit of hard time staying focused because of the distraction of little ones running around and stuff but once we got to the part of the lesson where we share about the restoration through the prophet joseph smith everything calmed down and the spirit just flooded into the lesson and the dad of the family told everyone to sush because it was getting emotional and so i told them to look at the picture of the first vision while i recounted them the experience that joseph had and i shared with them the first vision a special atmosphere and spirit just fell over all of us.

the christmas elders...elder for, me, elder turner, and elder borsch...we complete a year this week!
the family was impacted by the message of the restoration and how it can help them as a family and they asked us before we even finished the lesson when we were going to be coming back to teach them more haha. its amazing how the lord truely does put the people he is preparing in our paths to receive us. 

this email is going to be a little short just because im a little pressed for time today and because im going to be calling tomorrow and i dont want to get stuck without anything to say haha. but i hope you all have been able to enjoy this christmas eve and that tomorrow youll have an amazing christmas day. ill be spending the majority of my christmas in a bus traveling to and from uruapan haha, but all in all this has been the best christmas season of my life im pretty sure, and i hope i get to pass another christmas here in the mission field because i just like it that much haha :) 

monster chavindeca party with the boys

this friday ill be completing one year in the mission (yikes!) and so go out and celebrate and eat some mexican food for me haha. alright folks well i hope you have a great week and very merry christmas! 

the monster

with much love from mexico,
Elder Maccarthy

We were able to Skype with Elder Maccarthy. He is happy, healthy, and loves being a missionary. We love him and miss him but we are very, very glad that he loves Guadalajara so much.
 Please keep him in your prayers and Merry Christmas!

Guadalajara: 12/17/12 + An Early Merry Christmas!

had some miracle filled couple days just this past week. first i want to share with you though a message that our recent baptism sent to us the other day, youll have to translate it into english but anyways it reads "muchachos no les he dado las gracias por ayudarme con mi tristeza de verdad ustedes han sido un gran apoyo para mi que Dios los cuide siempre a donde quiera que vayan muchas gracias de verdad por tener tanta paciencia con migo y no dejarme sola que Dios los bendiga siempre"....that my friends just about sums up why being a missionary is the best thing in world. to be able to be part of such big changes in peoples lives is something that doesnt have words to describe its just so wonderful. especially when you come to love these people and see them grow and begin to live the commandments and receive blessings from our Heavenly Father is just amazing. it just reaffirms my feelings of never wanting to come home haha. 

us singing at the ward christmas activity

also this past week we had another little miracle happen that came as a result of serving others. elder nielson and i were headed to a lesson out in a little colonia in our area and we were running a little late when we came across a family carrying a few strollers and other little carts across a river bed. im gonna pause real quick and explain a little more about the location haha so in order to get to this one colonia theres this river that you have to cross and well you have to scale this janky little road down a hill side of just grossness and then cross a river and then scale up another janky roady filled with this boulders you gotta climb up, i know sounds like an india jones movie huh haha. but anyways so now you got the picture, and so i continue. 

so we see this family crossing this river with their stuff and so i tell to elder nielson hey lets go help those people out and so he says okay and we beebop down the side of the river as fast as we can and run up to family ask them if theyd like some help they said sure and we began carrying their possesions up the other side of the river and up into the clearing. it was 2 parents and then about 5 or so kids. and so upon getting all their stuff up onto the other side of the river and into the trail leading up to the colonia the father of the father asks us who we are and so we began to tell him exactly who we are and the marvelous work that we do. he told us that he wanted us to come talk to him and his family because he felt he needs to hear what we have to say. 

the primary kids here in apatzingan

we put an appointment with them and will be visiting them this week. it was an opportunity that elder nielson and i didnt plan for or expect, we very well could have just focused on getting to the lesson as quick as possible and never taken the extra time to help this family, but without even thinking that the father would invite us to go teach him and his family we went and helped them. just goes to show you that truly if were doing everything that we should be doing in our lives and pray for opportunities to share this gospel with others, the Lord WILL put people in our path who he is preparing to listen to this message. we still have yet to really see how the family is but from the little that we were able to talk with them and the spirit that was felt, we both felt that there may be something that comes out of this encounter. 

tie trade with hermano horacio

i invite you all this week to pay special attent and aware for an opportunity to serve somebody this week, and if it comes to it, dont be afraid to share your testimony with them and ask if theyd like to listen to the missionaries. if you do it with sincere intent i know that the Lord will give you an opportunity. we also had our wards christmas party this past saturday. it was great. the other elders and i dressed up like the wise men and sang a few christmas hymns, the ward loved it haha, they were all over the place taking pictures and videos with us, it was a way great experience. it was also double good because we got alot of great references out of the activity haha. however thats another story for another email time haha because i gotta get going now. 

i hope however that you all are able to really tap into the true spirit of christmas this year and recognize the importance and significance of some of the greater gifts that we have been given. i love you all and wish you all a wonderful christmas season, and ill be talking to you all again on christmas eve! have a great week!

a primary kid and i at the ward christmas party

much love from mexico,
Elder Maccarthy 

Guadalajara: 12/10/12

it seems as though the christmas spirit is really kicking in down here in apatzingan haha all the people the Lord has been preparing are starting to come out of the wood works haha. this past week we came across 2 families, and then a bunch of other people that are interested in hearing more and accepting the discussions, not perfect golden investigadores haha but im happy with just being to teach people again. it was making me wonder though where these people have been for the last couple months when we hardly had anyone to teach haha and then i just remember that it simply wasnt their time and that they still required a little bit of preparation. so im really stoked on that. also yesterday this family of menos activos showed up to church after about 3 months of us stopping by and working with them...and well to be honest i think that was one of the highlights of my week, standing there in the entry way of the church greeting everyone coming in and then seeing them walk in the door my heart leaped and im sure i just got this big dorky smile on my face but i was so happy to see them there in the church after all those visits with them and ya it was just great :) 

all these things that are starting to happen here in my mission are showing me the real true meaning behind the phrase "endure to the end" because for so long nothing was going how we wanted and there were a few times where it just really stunk and we didnt know what more to do. but with faith diligence and good attitudes we kept chugging along and doing what we needed to do and trusting in the Lord that he would in fact give us more blessings in his own due time. theres still tons of work to be done, and its definitely no time to kick back and relax, but it is nice feeling like we got over the worst part haha. 

i read a really cool scripture once while studying alma 26 when were struggling here in our area, and a verse that really stuck out to me was verse 27, and well ill let you all read and im sure youll be able to understand why it had such an impact. i cant even mention how many days we had of just sweating to death getting scorched by the sund and walking from one place to the next without finding anyone to just return to the house and reflect on what we can do better and keep the faith that tomorrow will be a better day. and just like it says in verse 27, you just gotta get back out there and bear it all with patience and one day he will give us success, when he knows, but he will give it to you haha. also some other really cool scriptures that i came across that called my attention are found in mosiah 24 verses 12-16. likewise with these scriptures im sure you can see the application to enduring to the end. 

but i especially like what it says in 14 about how a reason why we pass through trials sometimes is so that one day we can ourselves can stand as a testimony that the Lord helps his people in their trials, and that one day the lessons we learned will fill a bigger purpose and maybe even help somebody else. i hope that one day these things i have learned and experienced will be of some value to help someone else. i hope that you all have a wonderful week and are taking advantage of this great holiday season and the great opportunities it gives us to share the gospel with those around us. because everyday we pass by hundreds of people that could be prepared and ready to accept this gospel, we just have to give open our mouths and give them the chance.

i wish you all the best in your efforts in sharing this gospel and know youll be blessed for it :) have a great week everyone and until the next one.

much love from mexico,
Elder Maccarthy

Guadalajara: 12/3/12

so after a few months of hard work and patience this past saturday we baptized after a dry spree of a few months. you cant even imagine how great it felt to finally be getting down into the water with somebody and helping them make such an important covenant with our Heavenly Father. ill admit it definitely amped up my batteries in regards to mission work haha. it was a really cool experience especially just being able to see the change in the ladies countenance after her baptism. 

when we first met her she was a really sad and depressed lady, she had alot of problems with her husband and her daughters were a little rebellious, and various events that had occured in her life had led her to lose her faith and belief that God even exists. but slowly and surely we were able to guide here little by little with the assistance of the spirit to where she is now. and one of the biggest helps in helping regain the faith and belief in our Heavenly Father was The Book of Mormon. the whole time that we were teaching her every scripture we used to answer her questions and every reading assignment we left with her came from The Book of Mormon. through this book and the power of personal prayers she was able to draw closer to her Heavenly Father, and in return of all her efforts, receive the happiness and joy he promises us.

it truly is special being able to see peoples lives change like this. talking to her before her baptism and asking her how she felt she said that before walking to the chapel somethings happened that caused her to get a little bummed and angry and how she wanted to forget about her baptism and everything but then she just had the feeling that that was the wrong idea haha and that she needed to get baptized, and so she came to the chapel we talked with her for a little to get her animated, and then after her baptism i asked her again how she felt haha and she said with a big huge smile "good, very good, any bad feelings are gone"...if thats not a testimony builder i dont know what is haha. 

and last night her and her daughter came to the christmas devotional and just sitting there talking to her i couldnt help but notice how much happier she was haha! and also we were talking to her daughter about her baptismal fecha in a few weeks and she was a little unsure about it because she doesnt know if she meets the requirements to be baptized, and then right there her mom breaks in and starts explaining to her daughter how she felt the same way about her own baptism and then how she came to realize that really she had everything required to get baptized and it was rad just seeing this convert of about 12 hrs bearing her testimony and participating in missionary work. i think thats a little bit of a close call out for all of you out there with years as a member of the church haha. 

also aside from that weve really been receiving answers to our prayers in regards to finding new people to teach. we started teaching this one lady that cuts our hair haha and shes way rad, a little confused because shes bounced from church to church trying to find one that she likes and so good thing she found us because theres nothing better than the true restored church of Jesus Christ to clear up all the confusion and get us onto the right path that we need to take in this life. 

also we got a reference from a family were teaching, and the guy is way rad, he decided that he needs to start trying to get closer to God and promised that God that if he'd heal his mom that hed join a church, and then days after making this promise we showed up in his life and im excited to start working with him. we still have a lot of work to do here in apatzingan, but with the baptism this last week we gained the wards confidence and there excited to start helping us out and to start seeing the ward here grow. we still have the goal of raising the attendance to the number set by the stake president so that we can create another ward here in apatzingan and then after that get the branch in tepalcatepec started and then having a branch out here and then one day a stake! im excited to hear one day that theres a stake here in apatzingan and be able to look back on the foundations that we made to help build up this part of zion. 

i hope that you all enjoy this wonderful holiday season with your families and friends, but dont forget the reason behind all the celebration. i love you and have a great week!

much love from mexico, 
Elder Maccarthy