Archive for September, 2010

I get my travel plans on Thursday!

Yes, that means in exactly two weeks, I will be comfortably riding on a plan to Dnepr. I am ready to be out of the MTC. I had a Dewar’s Chew last night that Elder Jacobus gave me last night, and it was probably the best thing my mouth has tasted in the last two months. I have been here long enough to start getting repeat speakers, haha. On Sunday, Stephen B. Allen, the managing director of the missionary department spoke to us again. It was a sign that we are almost out of here, and ready to do the hard work!

Kelsey and (brother-in-law) Kyle: Elder Scovil, an Elder in the other Russian zone going to Donetsk just got done with his first year at the Air Force Academy. I told him about ya’lls assignment and he thought it was the best news of the outside he had heard since he had been here. So you’re basically famous around the MTC πŸ™‚ And Heidi, he is from Heber and is friends with your brother, haha.

I realized that I haven’t really told you all about the people in my district, other than Elder Rhodes, my companion, so I’ll start with the rest of my room and a few others! haha.
First, Elder Mills. Mom, we are both very glad that you and his mom are friends now via the internet, because we love each other. He is a great missionary, he struggles with the language but is fearless and works extremely hard. He was our DL when we first got here, then became our ZL at the halfway mark. He goes to USU and we like to make fun of him every time he does something stupid by telling him he obviously didn’t go to a REAL college πŸ™‚

His companion is Elder Hagee, from McKinney, TX. He and I had a few mutual friends from school, but somehow never met each other. He is an MDT major, and has a ridiculous tenor voice. In fact, he is singing at devotional next week, and I will have the opportunity to be the page turner πŸ™‚ He is singing a song called "Oh How Lovely Was the Morning". It is an arrangment of Joseph Smith’s First Prayer by Michael R. Hicks, and it is probably the best arrangement of any church song I have ever heard. The arrangment is amazing. I have a video of him singing it, that I’ll send you mom when we get to Ukraine, but you should definitely go put that into your collection. I have seen any of the composer’s other works, but this blew my mind.

The accompaniest for the number is Elder Walton, from Walnut Creek, CA. He is easily the best friend I have made since I have been here. But really, we have known each other since last September. We were in the same group when we watched the Oklahoma game, and we ate together a couple times in the Cannon Center after we both got our calls. He is on the XC and Track teams, and is basically a genious. We study together during language time, and really push ourselves because we are blessed that vocab and grammar just sticks for us. We have gospel discussions multiple times a day about every topic under the sun. We already have master plans for after the mission to live together, and do all sorts of fun stuff.

Last for today is Elder Rigby. He is from Layton, and sadly his is going to Rostov, not Dnepr. He is hystarical, and we always joke to him about writing his little sister a letter because he gets super fustrated. (Note: She wrote me one after I jokingly sent her one, and he flipped, it was hilarious.) He and Elder Walton and I have mail reading parties every night and tell each other all about the outside world.

Kaylynn and Brooke and Erin: Consider yourselves formally chastised for not writing Elder Bishop back (He is on the plane to Sofia right now) before he left. Also, I don’t have your new address, and I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to send the members of "The Family" left in Provo a letter!

Also, Kirsti, I sent you a letter right before you moved to Layton, but I don’t know if it got there in time or if you got it. Send me your new address and I will send you another one! And send Elder Rigby a letter too, you can facebook stalk him if you’d like, his first name is Mark, haha.

I’ll wrap things up with a quick thought:

In our testimony meeting on Sunday, President Mickelsen, the counselor in our Branch Presidency was conducting. One part of his testimony that really struck me was this:

"If we fully knew how great God’s love was for every single one of us, our agency would cease to exist."

It hit me extremely hard, and the more I think about it, the more and more I realize how much God truly loves each of us, and even how great the knwoledge I have of his love, is only a fraction of what it could possibly be. And that if I really did knoew how great it was fully, I would have NO agency, because I wouldn’t be able to have the desire to do anything to sadden someone who loved me that much.

I love you all, and know that this church is the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ upon the Earth. I know that the work I am doing, is the most important work in the world: Helping my fellow beings receive salvation.

Love,

Elder McClintock

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3 Weeks left!

So it is weird to me that this is the 8th email I have sent. I have been here for two weeks, and that is pretty crazy yeah? Time just really flies by. Things are starting to turn into a grind, and I am itching to get out of the MTC and in-country, I feel like I’m hitting the wall with language where I can’t progress as quickly because I just need to be around native speakers 24/7, so days are seeming longer because I’m not picking up as much, it’s just refining now and learning vocab.

I love our new district of Natives! They are awesome, and super funny. The funniest is Elder Vargin, he is from Moscow, and is about 6’8"; and a gentle giant. I love talking to him, in Russian and helping him with his English. He taught us all how the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles themesong goes in Russian, and it doesn’t translate well so it’s funny. The Russian version of the song goes like this: "We are not pitiful protegies, we are Super Ninja Turtles, We wear Shells like Shirts, Young Talents, Bonzai!" haha. He also had a freak out experience when he first met Elder (Neil) Bishop, my friend from school. He thought that he was a missionary AND a bishop, and said "Wow, he must really be good if he has to do both at the same time!" It was a fun explanation to give πŸ™‚

If you haven’t seen the new.familysearch.org site yet, you should check it out, it is way sweet. I Traced myself back to Adam! I don’t know how accurate it is, but I’m sticking to it πŸ™‚

The coolest part about that though, was that I found (accurately) that I’m a direct decendent of Vladimir I, "The Great" Duke of Kiev. Why is this so important? He united the Pycb (roose) tribes and the Byzantine empire of what is now modern day Ukraine. And he wanted to establish a religion for his kingdom, so he sent messengers to investigate the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Muslim churches, and after his messengers got back, the descriptions of the Orthodox churches impressed him, and thus, the Russian Orthodox church is born. He rid the area of the Peagan religions, and instituted Christianity. I guess I’m just keeping it all in the family, yeah?

He was also a very "social" guy, with over 800 wives/concubines, but that’s besides the point. hahaha.

At our temple walk on Sunday, Donny Osmond pulled up, and started talking to us, and was walking around with one of his kids, it was super random, and pretty dang funny. He is a weird guy, haha, I guess that’s what happen when your life now consists of Branson, MO and performing in Vegas.

Alision, Eliza, Laurie, Marissa and Jacquie: Thank you for the cookies! They were delicious (as always!)! I don’t have ya’lls mailing address, but I think Elder Casey might so I will try to get it from him and send ya’ll something.

Speaking of cookies, since I have 3 weeks left at the MTC, I am instituting a (semi-optional) competition! Whoever sends me the best package between now, and my departure date, will get a souvenier sent to them ASAP from Ukraine! So far, the leader is Hannah Davis with the box of Tim-Tams! The voting will be done by the members of my district, so it will be a fair trial by jury πŸ™‚

That is about it for this week. I’m working hard, and trying my best, I sleep easy every night, so that is good! I really can’t wait to be out there really getting to work, rather than just preparing for the hard part!

I love you all,

Elder McClintock

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4 Weeks from Today!

So I officially leave the MTC in 28 days. It’s really starting to set in, and I’m getting a little more anxious everyday. We have to teach the 2nd lesson in Russian tomorrow, so that will be a fun experience. I have been working really hard at all the vocab, and it’s really picking up, so I think we will do okay. Our teachers told Elder Rhodes and I that we are doing way better than the average, so that is good to hear. Last week, when we were teaching the 1st lesson, we did amazing. Our "investigator" decided to play the role of a Muslim man, who didn’t believe in Christ. I’m glad that we had put in the extra effort to avoid memorizing set phrases, because we were really able to actually teach what needed to be taught. Being a teacher is about teaching people, not lessons. With other language stuff, Elder Walton and I decided that we want to start going on exchanges to the tutor more often, because we really like studying grammar, so we are always a little bit ahead, and the tutor is awesome, so we need to soak the knowledge right out of his brain!

We got our new missionaries last week! They are all great. Our new district of Eastern Europeans got here this morning at about 3 AM. There are 4 Elders and 5 Sisters. They don’t speak English as well as the last group, so that should be fun. Between the 2 new districts we have 3 more Elders going to Dnepropetrovsk, so it’ll be really fun to get to know them. Also, of new missionaries, Elder Shurtleff’s classroom and residance room are right across from mine, so I talk to him everyday, and Elder Jacobus lives in my building (on the 4th floor, I’m on the 2nd), and we have all of our meals and gym together. I finally saw Elder Relei this morning in the temple! It was great, I had been looking for him everyday, but finally saw him, he is a great kid, probably the nicest person I’ve ever met in my life.

Other than the new missionaries, it has been a really uneventful week. I don’t really have a whole lot else to say. James, I got your letter, I’ll write you back ASAP. Oh yeah, as for me writing letters back, I’m sorry if I haven’t written you a personal letter yet, I don’t have a whole lot of time to write, so I write the people who write me asking a lot of questions, then if I have time, I’ll get to the people who just shoot me a note, so please don’t be offended! If you send me an in depth, inquisitive letter, I promise you’ll get a prompt response!

I love the MTC, and I love seeing all my friends from school everyday. It’s like Elder Holland said in that devotional: "We don’t teach missionaries how to have fun, you should already know how to do that." And believe me we do! I am going to be really sad when we all have to go our separate ways to the different missions throughout Eastern Europe. But it is a great reason to be missing someone for!

That’s about it,

Love,

Elder McClintock

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Life is Grand.

So it has been a fairly uneventful week, I am sad to say. It was just routine, and didn’t have a whole lot of excitement going on. Things should pick up here soon though, we get all of the newbies tomorrow, and an entire district of Native Eastern Europeans next Wednesday, which will be very exciting. We actually got the first of the new missionaries last night, Elder Dannenbach, he is from Hamburg, Germany, so he had an early arrival being an international missionary. He flew from Hamburg to Paris, and then straight to Salt Lake which I thought was crazy! haha. Every day during gym we play soccer, and it usually ends up being the Russians and the Pollocks vs. the Bulgarians and whomever else happens to be there. Needless to say, we always have the upper hand (There are two Elders from Germany going to Warsaw) and will only get better with Elder Dannenbach! I’m sorry Elder Bishop, but there is no translation from Moneyball to MTC soccer, your team always loses! (That was for James, haha). In the new district coming in tomorrow, there is another Elder from Japan, an Elder from Canada and a sister from Mexico, so that should be pretty exciting to have lots of different people here for the next 5 weeks!

Speaking of people coming, Zach Shurtleff, a friend of mine from Timp, will be here tomorrow! He is going to Kyiv, speaking Ukrainian so he is in the other branch/zone, but his class is right across the hall. Matt Relei and Jake Jacobus get here too! It should be pretty fun! One of my really good friends from school, Reggie Lewis (AKA "White Regg") got here on Wednesday, it was great to get the info from him about the conference stuff. Randomly, Jesse Welsh is one of his teachers, so that is pretty neat.

Okay, onto "Babylon" (aka, the Real World). Word quickly spread about the Independent status, and the West Coast Conference in all other Sports. Not only is having our own contract with ESPN legit, but playing Notre Dame 6 times is also grand, as is getting to play Gonzaga every year in the Marriott Center. I like the move a lot. BYU being able to broadcast everything themselves from the new broadcast building will give the Church a lot of recognition around the world. I know my mission President saw the announcement live, in the mission home in Dnepropetrovsk, which greatly boosted my spirits of possibly being allowed to see a game or too πŸ˜‰ I think watching us beat Notre Dame would be a good missionary tool, all of our Russian Orthodox investigators would love a Catholic school getting beat! haha.

I heard the score of the game, and got a little bit of a run-down from some Senior missionaries, it sounded like a good one, and both Nelson and Heaps played great. Hopefully we can keep rolling through the Academy this weekend and be ready for Florida State.

I also got to go to the Real World again, last Thursday. A crown I have came loose in one spot, and so I had a small cavity beneath it. So I got all novacained up, and the dentist started drilling away, and was able to take care of it without having to replace the crown. I’m really glad my tooth was for some unknown reason sensitive, because a cavity was inevitable, and if I had been in Ukraine when I felt it, I probably would have just had to get the tooth pulled, and then worry about a fake one after I got back. The Man Upstairs is looking out for #1!

I have been studying the Fall of Adam and Eve a lot lately, and really just the entire first portion of the Plan of Salvation. It is really blowing my mind to think about, and it made me really sad to think about how God must have felt. God made the plan, and Lucifer made his. God’s plan involved someone tempting his children, and he knew that it would be Lucifer. How depressing would that be to know that 1/3 of your children were going to just say "see you later!" Also, it boggles my mind that those spirits would choose to follow Satan, when they knew the consequences of what their choice would be. I guess it’s similar to someone who received a Telestial glory being unhappy in the Terrestial or Celestial kingdom, except they didn’t want any glory at all. It’s a lot to try and wrap your head around.

That’s mostly it, I hope everyone had a good Labor Day, and a good first weekend of College Football. Oh yeah, I forgot! We were studying outside and you could hear the game, it was very depressing. I made a comment about how it sucked that we were so close to the Stadium. A Sister in the other district in our zone said "Think about it. You could be there right now, screaming your guts out, cheering our team on. But you’re not, because you made the right decision in giving up your favorite things in the world, for something that is the greatest thing in Eternity." It was really profound, and helped a lot, because, I was quite depressed when I walked outside, and could only hear: "BBBBBBB-YYYYYYY-UUUUUUUU-CCCCCOOUUGGAARRRSS!!!!!!"

Okay that’s it, haha. I will let you all attend to your business. I am going to go do a little studying before laundry. Please keep the letters coming, they are my favorite part of the day, I love reading about your lives and what you are doing, especially the ones where you go in depth and leave more than just a note πŸ™‚ If you wrote me, I promise I’ll write back, I am just a little behind, time is short! I have a list, and all of your names are on it, PROMISE!

Love,

Elder McClintock

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