Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Saying Goodbye To President Bautista And Eternal Families

President Bautista
Tortillas for the week 35
Elder Jeffery R. Holland said: “It is the plain and very sobering truth that before great moments, certainly before great spiritual moments, there can come adversity, opposition, and darkness. Life has some of those moments for us, and occasionally they come just as we are approaching an important decision or a significant step in our lives.” That is so true especially now that I am a missionary. I have never had so many hardships in my life but I know I will have huge spiritual moments because I am doing the Lord’s will and being obedient. I’m also learning we all can conquer our fears and our doubts but as we do this we should never let our guard down because Satan is the great deceiver, and wants to fill our hearts with doubt and fear. He attacks the hardest and with more force after something amazing happens in life like receiving a mission call, receiving the priesthood, receiving the gift of the endowment, preparing to leave on your mission or temple marriage which brings me to my email this week. This week, no these past few months have been truly hard, Satan has gotten in the way of so many things but the Lord always gave me hope. We had our last multi zone meeting with President Bautista and this was one of those moments of hope. As he walked in I saw something different about him, he was happy as ever like he usually is but he was missing a light, or you could say what Elder Holland would say “the profound evidence of God’s hand upon this chosen leader.” He didn’t have that light. He gave an amazing last talk but it didn’t have the authority which he usually speaks with, the Lord was showing me that President Bautista is no longer our mission President. His time is done and he has fulfilled his calling serving as the mission president of the Guatemala Quetzaltenango Mission. When he talked about the new mission president, President Smith, he said he wants to come running, I felt the spirit testify that President Smith is now the Lord’s chosen servant to lead this mission. I could feel the authority the he will hold, the power he will speak by and the power that will guide him as he guides us. Don’t misunderstand I truly love President Bautista, he is an amazing mission president and he taught me many great things. His final charge to us was, “Elders and Hermanas be obedient. Obedience is the key to opening the doors to those who are waiting to hear the truthfulness of the restored gospel. Through your obedience you will receive revelation and be directed by the spirit. You will be a successful missionary through obedience.” He also said, “Elders and Hermanas do things differently, do things that no missionary has ever done before. If want to have success be obedient and do things differently.” After he talked to us we had testimony meeting. When one of the assistants announced would have the opportunity to share our testimonies my heart jumped and I got all nervous and was like what am I going say to all these missionaries. Peace overcame me and I knew what I needed to say but my heart was still beating faster and faster. When the assistant finished sharing his testimony my heart was ready to burst out of my chest, I then counted down to calm myself and stood up and walked right up to the pulpit and as I opened my mouth I could hardly talk. This is the testimony I shared, “Elders y Hermanas I know that Christ lives. I know that He is the living Son of God. This is God’s church, this is His work. We are a part of the army of Helaman, the 2000 stripling warriors. It is our responsibility to share the gospel message. Let us be missionaries the Lord expects” The feeling I had after I finished sharing my testimony is something I can’t explain, all I can say is it was amazing. It was a great experience being able to listen to the missionaries share their testimonies. After the testimony meeting we had lunch and I got to talk to Elder Dickson, Elder Navarro, and my “dad” (trainer) Elder Bonilla. It was so good to talk to them and see others, but what was so cool was that I had like a 30 minute conversation with Elder Bonilla and I understood him and he understood me. I was so happy. I can see he has progressed and is such a good missionary.
Elder Dickson
Elder Navarro
Elder Bonilla
So yesterday I taught Sunday school, the youth Sunday school class. I taught from the For the Strength of Youth. We talked about family, and as we were talking about family I realized that I have one family in 2 different countries, here in Guatemala, they are my family, and I have a family in the states. That is just so sweet. Anyway I ended with a video from the Doctrine and Covenants videos. The message is about people going home to Christ. As I watched I felt an overwhelming love for my family back in the states and no matter what happens, no matter who goes astray, they will be my family and that we will one day walk up the stairs to God’s kingdom, hand in hand and all embrace our Angel of Simple Faith who we miss so dearly, Grammy we will come home. 

The gospel of Jesus Christ offers the most beautiful thing in the world, familias para siempre: Eternal families. As members of Christ’s church we are called to rescue families and individuals. In the past three months the mission has turned the focus to find families and teach families so they too can go home and live with our so loving Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ. Through His Atonement we will all have the opportunity of being resurrected so that families can be together forever, so that families will never separate. I give you my solemn witness that families are forever, if we keep our covenants with the Lord nothing will ever separate a family, death may separate us for a while but not forever. Satan knows how important families are to our Heavenly Father’s plan. He will make every effort to destroy the family; he will not succeed through our faith and obedience. God wants us to succeed and to come home again to live as Eternal Families. I know that President Smith and his wife, Sister Smith have been called by divine revelation to be are our new mission presidents and will guide us on how to bring more families back to our loving Father in Heaven. 
Time To Cut Wood-Guatemalan Style
What I love about Mom is that she tells me who has received their mission calls and what I love about Dad is that he challenged me to do something and I am doing it.

This Is The Place-To Cut Wood
Big Leaf
Duck Man
With Love, Ducks Forever, 
Elder Mcilmoil  
June 23, 2014
Camp Fire With The Kids
Scripture of the week: Alma 34:41
“It’s not over until it’s over.” Elder Jeffery R. Holland

“Face your doubts. Master your fears. Cast not away therefore your confidence. Stay the course and see the beauty of life unfold for you.” Elder Jeffery R. Holland

“Brethren [and sisters], shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory!” Joseph Smith Jr.

“If I obey with exactness I get to walk in the footsteps of Christ” Elder John D.Mcilmoil

“Strangely enough the key to freedom is obedience” President Boyd K. Packer. 
Bring It Elder
Just Chillin'

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Frustration, Moments That Are Worth The Struggle And Dads

Tortillas for the week: 50 and it stopped raining, ok it still rains off and on but I have dry shoes!!!! This week was good but a little rough with the language, a lot of the people tell my comp they don’t understand my Spanish or I don’t know Spanish. It’s super frustrating and very difficult to bear. It hurts inside to talk because you feel like they aren’t going to understand a word your saying. Sometimes I just don’t even want to say anything. I ask my comp what do I need to do to improve and he says everything is good except your voice and your accent. Just so frustrating because I can’t change my voice, so yeah welcome to the world of learning a new language. Yes there are times of light and it is amazing.

I can’t believe how much I learned from reading the Book of Mormon now than ever before. It’s amazing how much I’m learned. It truly is the keystone to our religion and we all come closer to Christ by reading it. My eyes have been opened and I have learned that every prophet from the Book of Mormon desires to cry repentance to every person in all four corners of the earth and also to preach the plan of redemption to everyone.

We had a good lesson this week with a family who did understand my Spanish. As we walked in I could feel the spirit preparing me so that I would be able to communicate without doubt and that my tongue would be loosed to teach. It was so cool and amazing. My comp started off by teaching about 3 Nephi 11 when the voice of God was heard several times by the people as He introduced His Son, Jesus Christ. The Savior than appears to the Nephites and ministers to them. It is my turn to teach and I say to the family Christ is here and is about to preach, so what is the first thing the Son of God is going to do? The Dad said He will preach the word of God, maybe it is about faith. The Mom said I have no idea. I ask them to turn to 3 Nephi 11:21 and explained the Savior taught the people His doctrine, which was to believe in Him, be baptized, and receive the Holy Ghost. And Jesus Christ is asking for Nephi to come to Him. In verse 21 we read, “And the Lord said unto him: I give unto you power that ye shall baptize this people when I am again ascended into heaven.” I then asked what did Jesus Christ do? And they said give Nephi power to baptize and I said yes, He gave Nephi the authority to baptize. The very first thing the Son of God does is give power and authority to baptize, this shows how important baptism is and how important it is to be performed by a person who holds proper authority. Baptism must be done in the manner set forth by the Lord. I asked are any of you baptized by someone having the power and authority from God and the Dad said yeah. I asked who baptized you? He said someone in the Catholic Church when I was a baby. I looked at the Mom she said no I haven’t been baptized. I asked the Dad do you remember your baptism and he said no. I asked did you make the choice to be baptized and he said no. It then clicked with him that he needed to choose, no one should choose for him. We then taught that children are born innocent and without sin. They don’t have any knowledge and asked how can they sin when they truly don’t know anything. They both agreed that children don’t need to be baptized. As I going to challenge them to be baptized I knew I needed to share my testimony with them and as soon as I opened my mouth things changed and shared something I hadn’t planned on. My focused changed from baptism to testifying that I knew the church is true and that the Book of Mormon is true and it is the word of God. And shared with them I knew these things are true by the power of the Holy Ghost (my Spanish was perfect, these are the moments I love and is worth the struggle). When I finished sharing my testimony I looked into the kitchen and saw two of their kids looking at me and I knew they felt the spirit. Everything was so peaceful. I asked them if they had any questions and the Mom said yes how do you know these things are true because all the other churches say the same thing. I said you truly want to know and she said yes. I said pray and she was stunned and said that’s it. I said yes and then shared this, who do you go to when you are sick, a doctor or a random stranger in the street, they both said a doctor. I said when seeking the truth shouldn’t you ask God because He knows what church is true and He is the doctor of religion and knows everything. She said yes but how did you know your answer was from God. I said by the Holy Ghost, God gave us the heavenly gift of the Holy Ghost to illuminate our minds, teach us, and testify to us of the truth which can be described as the way we feel. The Mom asked what were your feelings when you asked. I said I felt peace, I just felt peace and a weight lifted from my shoulders. And I said honestly it’s a feeling you need to experience for yourself and it is a feeling you will never want to leave.

The next day I studied how to recognize the spirit. As I was reading True To The Faith, I read a scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 9:8 and the Lord, “But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.” As I read that it became another confirmation to me that when it is right I feel good. That is how I know time and time again the church is true because so many times during church I just feel good, and every time I read the Book of Mormon I just feel good. We don’t need to look for a huge burning bush answer; listen to the small sensations like for me I just feel good. It feels good when I read, hear or preach the gospel. I just feel so good.  

This week I read another amazing talk by Elder Holland, ‘The Hands of the Fathers.’ He talks about the relationship between the Father (God) and the Son (Christ) and what fathers could do more to build a sweeter, stronger relationship with their sons and daughters here on earth. Truly a powerful talk. I also read President Monson’s talk from this past General Conference, ‘Love The Essence Of The Gospel.’ As I read I learned I need to love more and be more like a very special person in my life, this person has taught me so much and still teaches me today, this person is the best teacher I have ever had in school, one of the best friends I could ask for, this person has taught me how to work, love, love God, put God first, to magnify callings, to serve others, to always remember God and how to teach. He has taught me what it is like to be a worthy priesthood holder and how to love my future wife by showing his love for my Mom. My Dad has taught me what it means to provide for our family financially and spiritually and that “we must be men that women can trust, that children can trust, and that God can trust.” (Elder Christofferson) Yes my Dad John William Mcilmoil Jr. has taught me all those things and so much more. He taught me something I treasure so dearly: We Serve Missions, we do it because we know it is right and we do it because we love the Lord, and we never give up and we love being on the Lord’s errand. I am beyond grateful to call my Dad, Dad. It is an honor to call him my Dad. I pray I can be like him. I love you Dad. Every one let’s truly cherish our Dads because they have something very special, they have the priesthood, which blesses us and guides us and protects us. Tell your Dad you love him. Spend time with your Dad. I love and truly cherish spending time with my Dad; on campouts, watching our tv shows, or just any 5 minutes I had to be with just my dad. He is my hero. Love you Dad and I have chosen two of the most powerful words in English to say to you: THANK YOU. You have taught me that fatherhood is a glimpse of the divine. Love your Dad and respect him.

What I love about my Mom is she said yes to my Dad when he asked if she would marry him. What I love about my Dad is that he is my Dad and also all of the fathers and sons we went on.

With Love, Ducks Forever, 
Elder Mcilmoil
June 16, 2014

Scripture of the week: Alma 29:9 and D&C 9:8

“I am looking tonight (Today) for missionaries who will not voluntarily bind their tongues but will, with the Spirit of the Lord and the power of their priesthood, open their mouths and speak miracles” Elder Jeffery R. Holland

“From every man (women), young and old....I ask for a stronger and more devoted voice, … a voice for good, a voice for the gospel, a voice for God.” Elder Jeffery R. Holland

“By giving a few words of sincere appreciation to someone who is lonely or discouraged, perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime.” Dale Carnegie
Noble Fatherhood gives us a glimpse of the divine. HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Beware Of Pride And Let Us Choose To Be Humble

Just Another Rainy Day
  Landslide From All The Rain
Tortillas for the week 28, six days of rain and a pair of shoes that have been wet for six days.
Saying Goodbye To Elder Gates
No changes for us. I’m grateful because Elder Ipanaque and I have work to do as a companionship and as a branch presidency. Elder Gates and Elder Smith go home on Tuesday. Those two guys have taught me so much. I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to learn from them and to serve with them.
My Two Favorite Hermanas And Nacho
Pineapple Pie
This week went by super-fast but at some moments super slow. So we made some changes this week, we were eating lunch everyday with the same sister and her family and I’m so grateful for her willingness to feed us but we felt we needed to eat lunch with a different family from the branch every day. After the meal we sit down with the family and teach them a discussion. It has been amazing. It has really helped us teach better and it has been a great opportunity to build relationships of trust with members of the branch. We are also able to clear up issues, to strengthen testimonies and faith. I love that we are doing this, it helps me to rely more on the spirit and understand their needs as church members so we need to teach them differently. I have seen that the members here know more than they think they do. I have also felt so much love from these families. When we come to their homes they are so happy to see us, their faces truly light up and they are excited for us to teach them. It is so cool and is truly a rewarding experience being with the families of our branch and serving them as they are so willing to feed us.
Zone Soccer: Team Domino's
We had zone conference this week and Elder Gates gave his last message and his last testimony to the zone, boy was it a good talk! He talked about obedience. He said if you are not obedient it will catch up with you sometime in the mission or when return home. The feeling you will get about your disobedience is horrible, he then said the feeling is not worth it, it is better to give things up than to have the guilt bringing you down. He also said being disobedient is prideful and when he said that I thought back to a talk I read on Tuesday by Elder Ezra Taft Benson, Beware of Pride, ( When I read this talk I became aware that I am prideful in things I wasn’t even aware of. This talk also made me think back to a time in my life when I became super cocky and prideful and it cost me a lot. It was my last year of football, after I started against Alta I thought I was the bomb and I thought I was the best. I became really prideful and cocky. Because of that pride some not so good experience happened and I became angry with coaches and Heavenly Father. It was a dark time in my life because of my bitterness. I knew I had to change and trust in the Lord and His plan for me. I had to stop saying why is this happening to me and let go of the anger and bitterness. When I did that I felt my hardness in my heart go away; the Savior Jesus Christ reached down and lifted me up through the tender mercy of the atonement. I knew that He understood my pain and walked with me in my darkest hour. The Atonement is the perfect love the Savior has for me and for all of us. After that I became less and less prideful. This talk also taught that pride is a missionary’s worst enemy and that pride will kill your spirit. “Pride keeps them from yielding their hearts unto God.” Pride can also cost you your family and the church. At times we have the attitude that pride cannot affect us, it will because pride catches up with everybody at some point in their life. For example as President Benson said, “It was through pride that Christ was crucified. The Pharisees were wroth because Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, which was a threat to their position, and so they plotted His death.” Because of their pride their day of judgment won’t be a pretty one for them. I also know that disobedience is pride. When we are disobedient we are saying to Heavenly Father that our way is better than His. I testify that is false. I pray that we may all may be obedient because when we are obedient we have access to the priesthood power, blessings from Father in Heaven, a stronger testimony and many more amazing things. In the words of President Benson “The antidote for pride is humility—meekness, submissiveness. It is the broken heart and contrite spirit.” I ask as President Benson, “Let us Choose to be Humble.”
Delivering Firewood
Chopping And Delivering Firewood: Tired But A Good Day
We had an amazing lesson this week with this less active brother, his wife who is not a member and their little boy. As we were talking with him he was sharing with us experiences that he has had in his life and you could feel his testimony, the only problem he has is that he works Sunday. He flat out told us that we he wants to go to church with his wife and little boy. He also told us he is teaching his little boy how to pray. He shared with us of one of the prayers his little boy said and when was repeating the words of the prayer that was said by his little boy you could feel the sincerity of this child’s prayer. As he was sharing this experience I thought of the hymn A Child’s Prayer. These words of that song came to my mind, “Pray He is there, speak He is listening, you are His child, His love now surrounds you, HE HEARS YOUR PRAYER; He loves the children.” I testify Heavenly Father does answer every child’s prayer because you are HIS child. He will answer every prayer on His time because He knows when we need our answers. As we continued to talk I looked at this good brother and said, “Tito you are a great Dad but your missing something.” And he said, “I know not going to church.” I smiled and yes but you are missing the priesthood, you serving as your family’s spiritual leader. Your home needs the priesthood to bless your son and your wife. The Book of Mormon and the priesthood are protection from Satan. It was a very powerful lesson. I testify this is God’s work.
Elder J. Mac
I also read another talk this week by the one and only Lavell Edwards, Prepare For A Mission. I love these words he shared, “The ability we have to handle adversity will determine the degree of success that we will have in life. This is where the gospel can be the greatest of help to us. The power of the Holy Ghost is the greatest source of strength and comfort we can have in our lives. The Holy Ghost will not only help us in times of need, but will help us to gain a firm testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, thereby preparing us for life.” You can face adversity with a great attitude because He stands by you to strengthen you in your greatest hour of need. So let us become like children always happy and full of love. Take time each day to focus on our Savior and His tender mercies and go about doing good. 
Just A Few Cow Crossing The Road
Nature Pics
What I love about Mom is that I got to cheer for her in her bike races. GO GO GO!!! What I love about Dad is that he holds the priesthood and also he taught me how to be the best feed man in the feed zone. 
More Photo Skills
With love, Ducks Forever,

Elder Mcilmoil
June 9, 2014

Scripture of the week: Alma 23:7 

Something I learned from zone conference: “You want to know the secret of success. Here it is. Do you remember how badly you wanted to breathe when you couldn’t? You will be successful when you want success as bad as you want to breathe. When you want success that badly, you will have it. That’s the secret of success.” That should be our desire to be disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ; that is how bad we should want it as bad as we want to breathe. 

“Remember that the only real control is self-control” and “Bold we need to be.” 
Elder Jeffery R. Holland

“The ability we have to handle adversity will determine the degree of success that we will have in life.” Lavell Edwards 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Planting Seeds Despite Imperfections

Rainy Season In San Antonio Huista
Yep, It's Knee Deep
30 tortillas and 9 days of rain, rain and rain and some more rain and emergency 3 zone conference in Huehue and there is a Dominos so you KNOW WHT THAT MEANS; 1 LARGE PIZZA FOR ELDER MCILMOIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Let’s see where do I start for this week, we had a baptism which includes a story. So we found this member who didn’t exist in the MLS; we called the mission office and they said they had her on record, we searched her again and for some reason we still couldn’t find her. We did find her by going to her Mom’s profile. We called President Bautista and he said I can help with that, here is the number for the Church Office Building, which meant I needed to call Salt Lake. I called and the brother told me that the record I see is that the mom has a daughter but no record of a baptism. He said she will need to be baptized again. So we had a rebaptism on Saturday. We almost had 2 other baptisms, not just the rebaptism. On Thursday Elder Gates and his companion came up to do the interview for the rebaptism, his comp did the interview so me and Elder Gates went to visit Jerlin. He is beyond ready to be baptized anyway we had a sweet lesson with him. We asked him to commit to being baptized and he said would tell us Saturday. On Friday we had a four way conference call with the zone and we talked about the baptisms scheduled for Saturday because we had a goal to get 10 baptisms and if Jerlin received his answer and made the decision to be baptized the zone would meet the goal of 10 baptisms. The whole zone called again on Saturday morning telling us they had been praying for Jerlin. Elder Carlson and I went to meet with Jerlin Saturday morning since Elder Ipanaque had to go to a seminary meeting. This lesson was beyond crazy, we walk into Jerlin’s house and before we begin the lesson we sing Come Follow Me and then have a prayer. After the prayer we ask Jerlin if he has received his answer and feels ready to be baptized. He said no. I asked him what does it mean to ready and he said when I don’t feel nervous and feel peace in my heart and without any doubts. I then shared two stories, one about you Mom and your mission and then I shared how nervous I was before the Alta Game when I knew I was starting as a safety. I told him I was beyond nervous, but 10 min before the game I said a prayer and I felt a peace come over me and I knew I could do it. I went and played one of the best games of my life. I asked him when you play soccer do you get nervous? And he said yes. I shared with him being nervous is being human nature, we all get nervous before a test, a sports game, a big event or even a decision to be baptized. We told him it is ok to nervous. Elder Carlson shared with him a scripture in the Book of Mormon, Mosiah 18, which teaches about baptism. Elder Carlson asked him if this is what he desired and he said yes to every question. We then turned to his Mom and were about to ask if she would follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized. But her husband and Jerlin’s Dad walked into the house drunk. Gratefully he is a nice drunk. Before he walked into the house you could feel the spirit thick in the air and there was a lot of peace. I had my arm around Jerlin during the whole lesson to show our love for him. You could feel the love. We talked with the Dad for a few minutes; he loves to talk to us. After talking with him I looked at Jerlin and said be the example for your Dad and be baptized. He said no, I want my Dad to be there and to remember my baptism. Our hearts were broken for this family but we also knew Jerlin wanted his Dad to remember the day he would be baptized. That night I sent a text to the zone and said: Hey sorry but Jerlin did not feel right about being baptized. Remember the Lord will always believe in us despite our imperfections. Remember the seeds we plant will CHOOSE to grow as we are patient and help nurture those tender seeds. Let us continue to give glory to our God and praise Him all the day long. For I will Boast in my GOD. Att. Elder Mcilmoil. That day I felt like I let the zone down by not meeting our zone goal. I know I didn’t let the Lord down and I know the Lord will never let us down. HE never will! He has never let me down not even once; He has brought me up, strengthened me, taught me and has been patient with me in all my imperfections. He has given me courage to share my testimony and stand as a witness of Christ.  

Also this week I have had some great conversations with Elder Gates about being a leader. He has been talking to me and teaching me about doing different things. He told me that I have an amazing potential and by doing things differently I would be able to understand what the Lord is asking me and wanting me to do. The Lord will come to know that He can trust you and can rely on you no matter what. Anyway at the emergency meeting we had on Tuesday Elder Gates shared this scripture in Alma 49:8 which says, “But behold, to their uttermost astonishment, they were prepared for them, in a manner which never had been known among the children of Lehi. Now they were prepared for the Lamanites, to battle after the manner of the instructions of Moroni.” We are prepared and ready to find, teach and invite all to Come Unto Christ. Let’s forget ourselves and go to work.
It's All About Forever Families
I am studying Alma 17. There is too much to talk about, all I can say is Ammon is amazing. His love for the Lord is even more amazing. His only desire after repenting of all he had done wrong was to labor in the kingdom of God, devoting His live to preaching the gospel to the Lamanites. He inspires me to share the gospel with others, no matter how hardened their hearts are. It is not easy but I know the Lord will provide a way; He always does through our faith and obedience. Every time I read the Book Of Mormon I just feel and know so strongly the Lord well never let me down or any of us. He never will because He died for me and for each of you. He won’t, He loves us more than we can comprehend. Christ lives and I give you my solemn witness that He lives.
Peace And Hope
Elder Mac and Josue
What I love about Mom is that she believes in me and what I love about Dad is the garden story he shared with me, it helped more than you think.

Elder Mcilmoil
June 2, 2014

Scripture of the week: Alma 17:9 and the hymn, Abide With Me Tis Eventide
“It is impossible to fail when we do our best when we are on the Lord’s errand” Elder M. Russell Ballard.