Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Car Accident, A Drawing Of Peace, And Listening

Me And My Buddy Carlos
This week was something else and it went by very fast. It was filled with happy and sad moments, a car accident and a drawing. So I will start with the car accident.  Saturday we had a branch talent night. The activity went great and I made some killer beans and meat, seriously almost everyone wanted to know how to make the beans and meat. Anyway after the activity was over one of our members was crossing the street and she got hit by a car. The car was going way to fast and I’m pretty sure he was high. I was inside cleaning and I heard all these screams. I was like what is happening so I started to go outside to see what was going on and the old branch president came running in and said, “Elder give her a blessing!” And I asked, “Who???” Then I walk out the door and saw what had happened. A grandma and her granddaughter had been hit by a car. The granddaughter was holding her grandma in her arms and it appeared things weren’t so good. Everybody was crying uncontrollably and trying to explain to me and my comp that Hermana Juana was run over. My comp and I were trying to calm everybody down to evaluate what needed to be done. I go and talk to the driver of the car and the branch members and my comp carry Hermana Juana and her granddaughter inside to our beds. I walk inside to our room to better determine the situation. I talk to the granddaughter first and she says her knee and hip hurts but she can walk and of course she is badly shaken up. I then talk to Hermana Juana and she tells me she is fine and not to worry about her but take care of her granddaughter. The paramedics finally got to the church and let me just say they looked like freshman in high school and their knowledge was about the same. They quickly looked over Hermana Juana and her granddaughter and said they look fine, call if you need anything. They didn’t bother in doing any kind of tests or treat them in anyway. I was like serious that’s it. The worst thing of all is they said you should probably get an x-ray but we can’t take you to the hospital. The police were just as bad. Everyone was arguing who would take her to the hospital. An hour and half later she is finally taken to the hospital and they took some x-rays, she broke her hip. I did give her a priesthood blessing, which I know brought her comfort and patience. It was crazy.
The Good Samaritan
On Saturday I was so frustrated because we didn’t have many appointments that day and our first appointment fell through. I was pretty flustered, so I sat down at my desk and was thinking what am I going to do. I felt impressed to draw. I was stumped at that thought but I started to draw and I ended up drawing the Savior. That picture of the Savior is the first true picture I have drawn in 4 years. As I was drawing my anger and frustration left me and I felt calm and peaceful. That impression was a definite tender mercy.

This week we had divisions with the Santa Ana elders. I stayed and my comp went to Santa Ana. The elder I was with is struggling, I mean truly struggling. He is losing the desire to serve. We had an amazing conversation that night and the next morning. That night he was like we are going to practice your Spanish. So we did and I was just asking him questions then I felt I should ask how has your mission been so far and what does your mission mean to you. He looked at me and said you truly want to know and I said yes I do. He broke down and shared with me his struggles. I just sat there in silence which was hard for me to do because I wanted to say something or reach out and comfort him. But I felt I just needed to listen. I had tears coming down my face and I listened to him and instantly I was engulfed by the spirit. After he finished I sat there pleading to Heavenly Father to help me with what I should say and I truly received help. I told him you have a very great blessing but a truly very difficult blessing and he was like what do you mean. I said you are walking in the Savior’s footsteps, you have walked somewhat of the path He walked, felt somewhat He felt, you had a very small glimpse what it might have like to be in the Garden of Gethsemane with the Savior. You carried your cross to Calvary. In your own way you have walked to shoulder to shoulder with the Savior. Then I shared with him a quote from Elder Holland, “If you wonder if there isn’t an easier way, you should remember you are not the first one to ask that. Someone a lot greater and a lot grander asked a long time ago if there wasn’t an easier way. The Atonement will carry the missionaries perhaps even more importantly than it will carry the investigators. When you struggle, when you are rejected, when you are spit upon and cast out and made a hiss and a byword, you are standing with the best life this world has ever known, the only pure and perfect life ever lived. You have reason to stand tall and be grateful that the Living Son of the Living God knows all about your sorrows and afflictions. The only way to salvation is through Gethsemane and on to Calvary. The only way to eternity is through Him—the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” As I said those words I looked at his eyes and could see his cries for help had been turned to peace. It truly was a special night.  The next morning he asked, “Hey what does God see in us?” I told him he sees our potential, he also sees our weaknesses that need to be strengthened. He sees us as his sons and daughters. He was like OK. Then it hit me, that the almighty God, the most powerful being in the universe sees US. He sees the real US. He sees through the filth, the short comings, and the natural man. He sees US as we can become. He never forgets any of us, none of are forgotten. Then he says hey Mac you wanna know something I said if you want to tell me I will listen. Again I listened and I could feel he felt alone. When he finished talking and I looked at him with tears in my eyes and asked him he wanted a blessing. As I was giving him a blessing I felt Heavenly Father’s love for him. After that experience I learned and still learning what a truly successful missionary is. It is not about the number of baptism you have or positions you hold. It is about being like the Savior. Having your hands become his hands. People seeing Him in you. It is bringing souls unto Him by reactivating, baptizing, strengthening faith in your branch or ward. It is helping your companion. It is being the one who truly listens, who rescues the lost, the lonely, and comforts those that need comfort and mourns with those who mourn. A truly successful missionary goes unnoticed. I believe that the best, the most loving actions of the Savior are the things that went unnoticed, the things that weren’t written. Honestly my mission has helped me to understand where I am going in life and what I want to be for the rest of my life. I am grateful for this church and my Savior. I am grateful for prayer. Prayer is the passport to peace. Never forget to pray.
What I love about Mom is that she keeps me up to date on mission calls. What I love about Dad is that he helps with my calling.

Ducks Forever-
With love,
Elder Mcilmoil
March 24, 2014
Tortilla count for the week: 56 (this week we had beans every single night!! Also our dinner here always has one egg; it does get old with only one egg with beans.) 

Scripture of the week: 3 Nefi 28:11 and Doctrina y Convenios 17:6 

“Stay true to what you know to be right.” President Uchtdorf  

“Because love is not shaped like a heart. It's shaped like a cross. And salvation is not free. It was bought with a price, and that price was through Calvary and Gethsemane. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son.” VIC UNGA 
Guatemalan Ninja Turtle

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Little Things And Come Unto Christ

A Gift From Silvia
This week was crazy. I don’t even know where to begin. So I now have access to the computer at the church and I have been going through records, wow; I have found a lot of stuff. My plate just got huge but that is fine. I was called labor and bring souls to Christ no matter how difficult the road may be. 
Mango: Disgusting, Never Again!
This week I had an amazing moment. My comp and I eat lunch and dinner with one of the members in the branch. Sometimes she eats with us and sometimes her kids eat with us. Anyway there is never a prayer given to bless and give thanks for the meal. This has been bugging me since the first time we ate with her. So on Wednesday night she ate with us and I asked if we could say a prayer together to bless the food. She said yes. The next day at lunch everybody was going to eat with us. I begin to say my personal prayer seeing if she would say something about praying together. She then asked my comp to bless the food. My smile was beyond huge. I felt so happy. I looked at her and gave her a thumbs up. It is the little things that bring us to Christ. It is the little things that bring us spiritual strength. We should learn from the words of the prophet Alma to his son Helaman, “But behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass.” The little things really do make a difference. 
Just Another Day In San Antonia Huista
Yesterday during church I heard someone say, “Buenos Dias” at the church door. I thought it was the primary kids playing around so I didn’t go check. A few seconds later I hear “Buenos Dias” again. This time I go and look and it was this guy who stunk of alcohol. I was thinking oh great a drunk, what am I going to do. I didn’t really want to talk with him because I knew he was going to ask for money and I was not going give him any money. He started talking and I was like here we go with his story. Instantly this thought pierced my heart: He Is A Lost Son Of God, Help Him. My perspective changed and I looked at him as if he were in a white suit and a white tie inside the temple. My heart was softened and my ears were opened and truly listened and I just kept thinking to myself what Christ would do? After he asked for money I shared with him these words, “Here in this church you won’t find anything of worth that is of the world, you will only find things of value to God. For this is His church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this is where you will find the truth. Christ never turned anyone away, so I will not ask you to leave, the door is open to you. It’s your choice to enter and attend a class right now or leave and go to the next house. The door is open for you to learn of His message. Again it is your choice.” He said, “I go to that class.” So he went to Sunday school. I gave him a Book Of Mormon after class. As he was leaving, he thanked me and I invited him back. I believe so many were shocked at my conversation and invitation to him. The look on their faces was that of bewilderment. I think they were even more shocked he accepted the invitation to come in and go to class. I have learned we should never miss an opportunity to give someone hope and courage and to invite them to come with us to learn of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is through us that others will feel of His love for them. 
I Miss Forks And Spoons
Tortilla Gang For Life
Once again I had the opportunity to speak in church on Sunday. The focus of my talk was reading the scriptures every day. This leads me to my message today. My message is Moroni 10: 32. Come unto Christ. President Henry B. Eyring said, “The words ‘come unto Christ’ are an invitation. It is the most important invitation you could ever offer to another person. It is the most important invitation anyone could accept.” When we come unto Christ we will feel near Him and we will feel His peace and we will feel His love for us. The mutual theme song for 2014 is Come Unto Christ. The song shares this message, “No matter what we are struggling with, there is always hope if we come unto Christ.” The words in this song share a powerful and profound message. I cannot stop listening to it. I invite you to take a few minutes and watch and listen to the message. https://www.lds.org/youth/video/come-unto-christ-2014-theme-song?lang=eng  
Got Bananas?
This week I have realized how much I love my Savior Jesus Christ. I love him more than anything. Without Him I would me nothing. As Ammon said, “I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God. Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things.” I know through Him I can do all things. He has truly become my best friend. He is always there for me. He is the one that has healed me and will always heal me. He has taught me so much. I wish I could express my love I have for my Savior, for he has changed my life. Oh how I love my Savior, my Redeemer Jesus Christ. I treasure the relationship I have with him. I am truly grateful for the Book Of Mormon, without this book, I wouldn’t have the relationship I have with the Savior. I have learned that He is always calling my name, and his arms are always opened wide for me. I have learned just a little about how much love Ammon had for the Savior. I pray that all of us may and will come unto Christ, for he shows us the better way. I know He lives; I am a living testimony of him. With the love I have for Him I will give Him everything I have to him. I will always be on His errand. I ask the same thing as Moroni asked, “Come unto Christ and be perfected in him and deny your selves all ungodliness.” I love my Savior!!!! It is through the Atonement that I know He Loves me. President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “The magnitude of that Atonement is beyond our ability to completely understand. I know only that it happened, and that it was for me and for you. The suffering was so great, the agony so intense, that none of us can comprehend it when the Savior offered Himself as a ransom for the sins of all mankind.” It is through His great sacrifice that we receive forgiveness for our transgressions. It is through His atoning blood we can receive eternal life and be families forever. Remember this words from President Monson, “My beloved brothers and sisters, in our hour of deepest sorrow, we can receive profound peace from the words of the angel that first Easter morning: ‘He is not here: for he is risen.’ 
He is risen! He is risen! 
Tell it out with joyful voice. 
He has burst his three days’ prison; Let the whole wide earth rejoice. 
Death is conquered; man is free. 
Christ has won the victory!” 
I also declare this to be true. 
Nap Time
My New Friend
What I love about Mom is that she makes Dad’s favorite birthday cake every year. What I love about Dad is that he chooses the same cake every year for his birthday. 

Ducks Forever-With Love,
Elder Mcilmoil 
March 17, 2014 

Tortilla count for the week: 50 

Scripture of the week: Moroni 10: 32 

“Faith is for the future.” Elder Jeffrey R Holland 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

New Responsibilities And Decide Now

  Divisions In Colotenango
Hands To Face
Let’s see where to begin, last week on Monday and Tuesday I was in Colotenango on divisions then on Wednesday we went to Xela for training with President Bautista. Traveling all over seemed endless; even though I’m tired, it was sweet. Just a quick recap of divisions in Colo, I was with Elder C, he is from Logan. He has been out six months, so I had to really trust in my Spanish and prayed we would both be blessed with the gift of tongues. We both did great and I understood everything! It was such a great experience. It seems like here in Guatemala they have some kind of celebration, party or parade all the time. In Colo there was some kind of festive party going on and everybody was painting their hands with silver, yep I couldn’t resist. Not only that when we were walking around we found eggs with sparkles and we started breaking them over each other’s heads. Just having some crazy fun. Later that night we visited a member family and we had a flour fight, it was a blast! They are one sweet family. 
Cracking Eggs
Nothing Like A Little Egg On The Head
So I have added responsibilities to my mission, I am now the Secretary and 2nd Counselor of the branch and my comp is Branch President. So our plate just got bigger but I’m so excited for these callings. We have 15 active members and over 150 members on record that are inactive. Yesterday we had a 2 hour Branch Presidency meeting. I ran the meeting because my comp didn’t know what to do and neither did the 1st counselor. I have never been so grateful for my callings in young men’s because I knew how to run our Branch Presidency meeting and I was able to teach them. It was a great meeting. We set excellent goals for the branch. One goal is that the branch reads the Book Of Mormon in 90 days. We also talked about callings. It was very nice to get straight to work.
"The Flour Family"
Flour Fun
Also yesterday was my first experience with false doctrine and words of apostasy being taught over the pulpit. It was beyond crazy. That night we went to member’s house and cleared up his confusion. It was just wow. Anyway my comp and I went all over town inviting all the youth to come to seminary. Our numbers increased this week and yes we take all ages. Hopefully from now on we will have more than one or two students. I have to tell you we met this one investigator who is looking for a church that is for everyone. He is so positive about what we are teaching him and he has a Captain America shield. It is so sweet!!!!
So we have been without light for 4 days now. So grateful the internet café has a generator and we are able to email.
Gotta Get Me One Of These
Defender Of Faith

I read two talks that stick out in mind, “Avoiding the Trap of Sin” Elder Jairo Mazzagardi, of the Seventy https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2010/10/avoiding-the-trap-of-sin?lang=eng and “O that Cunning Plan of the Evil One” Elder M. Russell Ballard https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2010/10/o-that-cunning-plan-of-the-evil-one?lang=eng.  As I read both of those talks my gratitude for the commandments is even greater than ever before. We truly are living in the midst of Babylon. In the words of Elder Cook, “One of the most difficult challenges in our lives is to be in the world but not of the world. We need to be involved in the world in a positive way; by letting people know you are a committed Latter-day Saint and be confident about and live your beliefs.” We can be Disciples of Christ in the midst of Babylon. The Master lived during a time of great sin but He was never part of it and we don’t have to be a part of Babylon either. I have learned from both of these talks how smart Satan really is. In the talk given by Elder Ballard he compared Satan to a fly fisherman. He is spot on. He says, “Like the fly fisherman who knows that trout are driven by hunger, Lucifer knows our ‘hunger,’ or weaknesses, and tempts us with counterfeit lures.” Satan snares us with addiction and thoughts of no hope. There is one thing that triumphs everything; that is the Atonement of Christ. He can redeem of us our sins. We have to understand that we are accountable for our own sins. But we can be forgiven and cleansed from sin by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and by true repentance. It is through the Atonement everything that is unjust or wrong is made right. The Savior will help us to overcome addictions and the lures of Satan. He will give you the strength if you ask and truly believe. In his talk Elder Mazzagardi gave this warning and I also add my voice to this warning, do not say, “No problem. I am strong and big, and this small plant (sin) will do me no harm.” As soon as we say or even think that we fall. In the blink of an eye we are engulfed by that small plant or sin. We must do the dailys to combat the lures of Satan; read and study the Scripture which truly becomes your personal time with the Savior, personal prayer every morning and every night (morning prayer is truly your spiritual preparation for the day), family prayer, and serve others. It is through the dailys we become alert to not let sin grow around us. As this world grows darker and darker remember the words of the Master “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). As members we should never walk in darkness. I challenge you all today to make your decisions now about temptations and how to combat Satan. Make obedience your first decision. Always choose the path to Eternal Life even if it means giving up tv shows, movies, music, the internet, cell phones, those individuals who tempt you, etc. I know that as you choose obedience and the path of Eternal Life you will become more Christ like and you will be an instrument in His hands as examples of truth and light to those that walk in darkness. And as you are faced with decisions picture the Savior standing at your side and then ask yourself what would the Savior think of my choice. Would I say that or would I do it knowing He is standing beside you. I testify the Savior is truly there beside us. We just can’t see him. I truly want to live with all of you in the kingdom of God. Remember CEL: CHOOSE ETERNAL LIFE. I love you all.
Our New Seminary Class

What I love about Mom is that she works in the temple and what I love about Dad is that he was my young men’s president. 
Mission Home
Ducks Forever
Elder Mcilmoil 
March 10, 2014 

Tortilla count for the week: 38 

Scriptures of the week: 2 Nephi 10:23 and Doctrine and Covenants 107:99 

God is a God of Love. The fruit of obedience and sacrifice is sweetness and everlasting joy.
Zone Soccer
Let's Play

Friday, March 7, 2014

Back To Chichi For Silvia's Baptism

Silvia's Baptism
Chichi Branch
Silvia And Her Twin Sister
I WENT TO CHICHI FOR SILVIA’S BAPTISM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have never been so happy. The baptism service was amazing. The spirit was just burning in our hearts. I can’t even explain my joy. Bringing one soul unto Christ is the greatest joy in the world. It was worth 8 months without a baptism. The greatest feeling and knowledge is that I was the instrument in the Lord’s hands teaching Silvia. Everything I shared when teaching her was the Savior working through me. My voice was His voice. Her conversion and baptism is not my glory to boast about, the glory be to the Father. I only take credit for being the object in motion in doing his work. She became converted through a change in her heart, through the teachings of the spirit and through the commitment to follow Christ. It truly was tender mercy for me to the instrument in the Lord’s hands to help her feel and recognize the spirit teaching her to come unto Christ. Silvia’s baptism was worth all the countless hours of praying, every tear shed, the countless nights thinking of how I can improve and be more converted to the Lord, every fast, every good work I have done, the exercising of faith every day, the confessing of every sin and the continual repentence in falling short in my responsibilities of being a disciple of Christ. Ammon truly gives us the key for success to becoming an instrument in the Lord’s hands when he is teaching his brethren, Alma 22:26, “Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing—unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance, even as it has been given unto us to bring these our brethren to repentance.” I know those words are so very true through my own experience. The Lord is truly amazing, this gospel is truly amazing. Through this experience I sing the ‘song of redeeming love’ which Alma refers to in Alma 5:26, ‘I say unto you if you have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love….’ I sing it every day. It feels your heart with happiness and joy. When you experience a change in your heart you will also sing the song of redeeming love and you feel the love the Savior has for all of us. 
During the baptismal service I gave a talk or a message; as I stood up to speak I was moved to say something I hadn’t planned on saying. The spirit whispered to me to welcome Silvia to the Lord’s church. You are his representative make sure she knows the Lord is welcoming her. So I said, “Silvia, I am a representative of Christ and the spirit has told me to share with you our Lord, our Savior welcomes you into His church.” I truly love missionary work; it is the greatest thing we can do. I love all of you and know with all your soul Heavenly Father and our Savior loves each of you. Pray every single day to be instruments in the Lord’s hands.
Machete, Sugar Cane And Yes A Bathroom
Ducks Forever 
Elder Mcilmoil
March 6, 2014 

Tortilla count for the week: 102!!! 

Scripture of the week: Alma 5:26 

The fruit of obedience and sacrifice is sweetness and everlasting joy.
Nothing Like A Game Of Soccer
Yep, Still Finding Crazy Stuff To Wear
The Bus Yard, Always On The Lookout For The Fastest Driver