Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Well Done Thou Good And Faithful Servant

President And Sister Smith, Final Interview
Tortillas for the week: about 33

As I sit here in the internet café writing my final email as full time Missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I have so many emotions knowing this is the last time I will be using an internet café in Guatemala to send home weekly emails. As I think what I want to say and how I can sum up 2 years up in one email, it may seem impossible but it is not; there are two words to summarize my mission: Elder and Christ.

So you might be asking why on earth Elder Mcilmoil would you say Elder. This is why and how I feel about that 5 letter word; the only people in the church who are called Elder are Apostles, special witness of Christ who are called to teach and testify of Him throughout the world. Now that I am going home and will not be called Elder anymore just breaks my heart because of how sacred that title is and what it means. To me Elder means a true servant of Christ, who truly dedicates his time to the Lord’s time. As missionaries we are not on our time, we are on the Lord’s time and that time to be completely dedicated to His work goes by way to fast. Elder is also someone who truly has a testimony of the Savior of the world, someone who is a reflection of the Savior, someone who serves in the way He would serve, someone who loves in the way He would love, someone to be His voice and His hands. Someone who desires with all his heart to do and does his best to do everything in the way the Savior would do. I have truly grown to love this little title and I am beyond grateful that I have a couple more days and have had this chance to be called ELDER. I’m an Elder, I know it, I love it and I live it.

Now to my last one, Christ, you might say well that a little vague so let me explain, I was reading a talk one day that my Mom sent me, ‘Gifts to Bring Home from the Mission Field’ by President Hinckley. As I was studying it I knew what I truly wanted to bring home for me, “I bear solemn witness from the bottom of my heart that Jesus is the living Christ.” In my last interview with President Smith he asked what have you learned from your mission? This is what I told him, out of all the things that I’ve come to know in these short 2 years is Jesus is the Christ and that He lives, that He is the living Son of the living God. That is my treasure and this is what I am bringing home from the mission is my personal testimony. Jesus Christ is literally and truly the Savior of the World. I testify that He lives and it is an honor to share with my personal testimony that He lives, I know it and I’m certain of it and I wouldn’t trade anything in the world for it. He lives, He truly lives. 

What I love about my Mom and Dad is there personal testimonies of the Savior.

con mucho amor, ducks forever,
Elder Mcilmoil
June 22, 2015

Scripture of the week: Alma 26:5,7-8 and 28-31

“No cause, No force in the entire world can stop the work of God
After All that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the gospel.” Joseph Smith 

“Yea, I desire to dwell among this people for a time; yea, and perhaps until the day I die.” Ammon (Alma 17:23)

“The standard of truth has been erected: no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing, persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the great Jehovah shall say the work is done.” Joseph Smith 
Elders: Special Witnesses Of Christ

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Live Your Testimony And Witnessing A Miracle

Touching Hearts And Saving Souls
Tortillas for the week: 35

Well it is the last week in the mission, I just don’t know what to say except “I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me, Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!” It truly is. I am beyond grateful for this amazing oportunidad (opportunity) I still have to be a missioanry for algunos dias (a missionary for a few more days).
Teammates, Companions And Brothers Forever

I had my last multi zona conference and of course it was great. I was able to see my son (greenie) Elder Mendoza as well as Elder Perry, Elder Robelo and many other of my brothers. The message that President Smith gave was his best yet, he talked about testimony. Every time he gives a message he is more spiritual. I can’t even begin to share what I have learned from President Smith; he truly is a man of God. During his message he told us we always need to testify of the truth and of the Savior. He said you can never talk too much or testify too much of the Savior of the world, for this is His work and change is possible because He lives. He then said when we testify we will awaken the spirit of the people we are teaching. He counseled us that we need to live our testimony for it will change everything. He said a testimony will change eternity for someone. When he said those words I knew the most important thing I could do this last week is just to testify but not just at el final de la leccion (at the end of a lesson) but also when I teach little things like God is our Father and we are His children. I need to testify more often that I know we are His children or that I know that prophets have always been part of God’s work. I need to testify more often of the small and simple things. I also need to testify more often of my companion’s words. I know Jesus Christ is our Savior and that is one of the things I treasure the most of being a missionary is to share my testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ and His atonement. We are so blessed to share the spiritual power of a testimony. I’m so grateful that I have this last week to put into greater action the counsel from President Smith and to testify of our Savior, whose work this is and who represent.
How Many Missionaries Can Fit In A Tut-Tut

Just a side note we will probably be having a baptism on Saturday. The hermano who will be baptized is Byran. He has made so much progress. He really wants to change and every time we visit with him, he has a greater understanding of what we are teaching. It is amazing and what is even more amazing is he reads the Book of Mormon every night!
Guatemala City Streets 

So yesterday was a very special day, so we went with some members to contact some references they had for us. We were able to contact one but second referral wasn’t home. It was pouring rain and as we knock on the door I see a man at another door. He isn’t wearing a shirt and he is covered in tattoos. As I walk over to his door and he closed it. I’m like I’m just going to knock. As I do one member is like what are you doing and then the guy answers the door. I tell him who we are and he invites us in. So we go in and this is where it all starts. We take a few minutes to get to know more about him and his family. His name is Angel. We begin to teach him and you guessed right, we teach him about THE RESTORATION! As we teach him and the more talk to him we witness a miracle, Angel understands everything! It was amazing! As we talked about the life of Christ he said how great of a privilege Peter had to have the keys of the kingdom, and to be the Lord’s prophet. Wow, who is this guy! We then explain about the apostasy with the example of a lightbulb falling to the floor, and how people took only pieces of the light (bulb) which is why there are so many churches with just pieces of God’s word. Elder Chavez asks, so hermano if the church is gone and there is no prophet and no authority do you think God loves us so much that He would call another prophet to give us His priesthood authority? And then I said hermano what if you find this church and that this church has God’s priesthood authority would you be willing to get baptized by those who have the priesthood authority? He said absolutely! Wow it was amazing not just his word but I wish you all could have felt the spirit that was there. When we finished teaching we knelt in prayer and during the prayer Angel cried as the spirit was touching his heart. It was just such a special experience. He invited us to come back and we will be teaching he and his family on Sunday! I learned this as I was teaching this family that God is everywhere, que dios esta en todos los lados, pero nuestro salvacion no esta en todo los lados, solo esta en uno. Our salvation is not everywhere it is only in one place, and that was our focus during the whole lesson, it was amazing. I testify this is the Lord’s work, He lives. I give you my personal witness that He lives, oh how sweet this sentence gives, I know that my Redeemer lives.
Sweet Is The Work

What I love about Mom is that she taught me the importance of family, what I love about Dad is that he taught me the importance of being worthy.

con mucho amor, ducks forever,
Elder John Mcilmoil 
June 15, 2015
Aros de Cebolla

Scripture of the week: 3 Nephi 27:27 and Mosiah 2:6 and 9 

Keep your eyes on the temple 

“Relying upon the Savior’s Atonement, we can change. Of this I am certain,” Elder Donald L. Hallstrom

“This is the work of eternity. Don’t lose it now. Don’t blow it now. Give it all you’ve got.” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland 

“What changes are required of us to become the manner of men we ought to be?” Elder Hallstrom

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A Few Things I Have Learned

This Is Quiche
Tortillas for the week: 25

In the last few emails I will write before returning home I would like to share some things I have learned and experiences I had from the areas I have served in throughout my mission. First off and number 1 is how grateful I am for the opportunity I have been blessed with to serve the Lord as a missionary. I have come to understand that the Lord truly works miracles but not in ways we think, for example healings and not just for the sick and afflicted. He heals the spiritually weak, that is who He truly heals. Last Monday we met this man and as we talked him, he wanted to learn more so we made an appointment with him to come back and teach him more. Two days later we go to meet with him and we taught him the message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Later that night I should say really late that night we get a knock on the door and I’m thinking who in the world would be knocking on the door this time of night. I open the door and it is the man that we taught earlier that day. He said, “Hey sorry it is so late but I’m just studying some things and I would like a Bible since I only have the Book of Mormon. Right now I want to learn more about the laying on of hands (the priesthood).” I’m so dumb founded I just stand there thinking who is this guy, this never happens. Finally I said yes let me go and get you a Bible. He immediately said thank you so much. As this was happening I remembered an old investigator in another area told me, “Look for the people that are spiritually hungry because they will act upon that hunger.” This man we are teaching is spiritually hungry. He also asked us about the date he has for baptism. Elder Chavez and I just smiled knowing this was another opportunity to teach more and we were able to answer all his questions. This man also came to a baptism we had and then to church in a shirt and tie we gave him! This guy is super pilas. We are teaching him about 3 times a week because he is anxious to learn. He told us some things about his life, and I just stood there and almost started cry, because you could see that he wants to change and his soul is hurt and wants a chance to be clean. When I think about this man I picture someone I love very much that has strayed from the church and I hope I have the chance to teach this person that they too can become clean through the Atonement of the Savior.
Elder Chavez And Elder Mac Hastening The Work
Number 2: We need to picture loved ones when we teach investigators, we will then truly teach from the heart.
Sharing The Gospel Through Futbol
Number 3: I’m humbled and grateful for the power and authority we have as missionaries. I had my last zone conference and I trained the zone about the power and authority we have as missionaries. As I was teaching the spirit opened the minds of the missionaries in the zone. I told them are we leaving our houses with potestad (power); in other words when we leave the house each morning are we truly prepared to teach like how Christ taught. We cannot be afraid to offend people with love. We read in Doctrine and Covenants 1:38, “What I the Lord hath spoken, I have spoken and I excuse not myself…..my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.” We have been called to represent the Lord, we are His servants, His voice.
Watcha Doing Elder Mac?
Number 4: We have a singular message to the world, THE RESTORATION! That is our message, it remarkable and it is simple. We need to always share the message of the Restoration, I testify as we do this; we and those we teach will truly come to know that Jesus is the Christ. If don’t share this powerful message people will never feel the true power of the Atonement in their life. They will never understand the importance of being baptized with proper priesthood authority. That is the truth and the truth hurts at times but we are talking about the salvation of the children of God, our friends and families. It is our responsibility to be pure and clean so that we share the message of the Restoration and invite others to come unto Christ through baptism so that His children can be saved. The mission is algo asombroso (something amazing). I’m truly grateful for the privilege I have to be a missionary and to serve in place of the Savior. And to help Him help others feel the power of the atonement.
Check This Out; Guatemala Wedding 
What I love about Mom is that she would write notes and put them in my lunches. What I love about Dad is when Mom and I would go up to the school he would take time and have lunch with us.

con mucho amor, ducks forever,
Elder Mcilmoil
June 8, 2015
How I Really Feel About Coming Home
Scripture of the week: 3 Nephi 18: 7 

If I could get every member of the church to go and partake of the sacrament, and when they took the bread, they asked themselves, 'Who am I? What am I doing? How am I living? Where am I going? What should I be accomplishing?' as they renew their covenants with the Lord. The minute they pick up the bread something would happen, they would turn to the Savior.” Elder L. Tom Perry 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Gospel Offers Us Change

Tortillas for the week: 30 

This week has been crazy! Elder Chavez and I both have been sick with a stomach bug in a bad way, but we just kept working. So much to do in such a short amount of time. Anyway during my studies I have learned in addition to giving my time, means and abilities to be a true successful missionary I have to give my heart and will to the Lord. I need to accept and submit to His will. I cannot be stubborn and fight against His will. I can’t just do good things while my heart is desiring to do what I want to do. My heart aches knowing so many times I have fought against the Lord’s will or I did something good but with a hardness of heart. I’m so grateful for what this gospel offers us: CHANGE! I testify of change, I have seen change in so many people’s lives and I have seen it in my own life. I am so grateful for the Savior and I gives thanks to the Father for providing a Savior for us to change through His Atonement. The Savior extends a hand of unending grace. It is through His grace that I am trying hard every day to be a faithful representative of my Savior, Jesus Christ. I’m doing my best. I have a lot of weaknesses and there is a lot to learn but I am serving with all my heart and strength. I am trying to give all that I have to give to the Lord and to lose myself in His work.

We taught 2 lessons this that really stick out in my mind, one was with a family and the other was with a single man who has a set baptismal date. The first lesson I want to share is with the family; we have been teaching their 15 year old son and we needed to get his parents’ permission for his baptism. That morning Elder Chavez asks me, so what are we going to teach this family? I asked have you ever had the experience in going to visit a family to explain why their son wants to be baptized and to teach them what we believe? He said no. So we made a plan to explain about the church and following in the Lord’s footsteps. We show up to the house with a member and we start to teach by sharing the articles of faith so we can provide them a basic understanding of what the church believes. They could see that their son knows that this church is true. As we were teaching we focused on the priesthood, Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon and that Jesus Christ lives and is the resurrected Lord. As we were discussing article of faith number 8, they ask, what is the Book of Mormon? We explain in greater detail and then the Dad ask us, “Do you guys use the Book of Mormon more than the Bible?” I said, “Hermano we do use the Book of Mormon more because it contains the evidence that this is the only true church and it is the fruit of the prophet Joseph Smith. We use it more to gain a better understanding of the gospel of Jesucristo.” We shared with them that there is no other book that will draw them nearer to God than Book of Mormon and then we testified of the Book of Mormon. They said ok, we understand it is to clarify the doctrine of the Bible since there is only one true doctrine. It was amazing to see their hearts open up to the spirit to receive and recognize truth. As we ended we bore witness of the divinity of the Savior. It was a great lesson as the spirit touched each of us. 

The second lesson we taught was to a man named Bryan. Another amazing lesson because of a way he answered a question. We found out that he has smoking problems. We asked him why do you want to stop, he gave the normal casca; but then he said, “I don’t want to even image my son or daughter with a beer or a cigarro in his or her hand. I couldn’t tell them not to do that because that is what I am doing.” As he said that I had tears come to my eyes because I saw that this man was looking to his future, he wants to repent, he want to be better and to become the son our Heavenly Father wants him to be. It was truly a humbling experience. This showed me that I must look to the future also, to make choices that my own children will be proud of. 

What I love about Mom is that she would cut the crust off my sandwiches for me when I was little and what I love about Dad is the hours he would spend with me working on my pinewood derby car.

con much amor, ducks forever,
Elder Mcilmoil
June 1, 2015

Scripture of the week: 2 Nephi 9:50-51 

“By His words and His example, Christ has shown us how to draw closer to Him.” President Henry B. Eyring

“He invites us to be close to Him”President Henry B. Eyring

“God is a God of truth and He doesn’t change.” Elder Dallin H. Oaks 

“If you don’t raise the bar, how will you ever know your potential?” Elder L. Tom Perry