Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Another (Week) Bites the Dust!

Hey y'all!

I'm missing my country music a lot more than usual today so I figured I'd bring out what little bit of hick I have in me and throw it all out on the table. How'd I do?

Anywho, my emails are always insanely long, so I apologize for that, but missionary life is so full of crazy and great moments that I want to tell them all! Plus, I'm a talker and anyone that knows me knows that I can't shut up in any language I speak.

Here goes nothing!

We finally went on the district hike that we've been wanting to do for a couple of months now! It was so fun! Pictures will definitely be coming from that!

Ryann got baptized! Oh my goodness! It was so great! I love her and I love seeing people make the choice to follow Christ! Missionary work is so great and people who are prepared make it even greater! My goodness, Monday was just fantastic!

I extended my first baptismal invitation and our investigator said yes!

So, we started teaching a man named Patrick. He's friends with one of the less-active members who I absolutely love! Anyway, he wanted to sit in on our lesson with Sister Paradis and he ended up going on and before we got there and was super interested in the gospel and what we had to say! We taught about the restoration a little bit and read "Come, Join With Us" and he loves it and wants to get baptized! Oh my goodness! I'm so excited!

We were just super successful on Tuesday and it was awesome!

We met a less active who said she'd come to church and I'm understanding o livro de mórmon again! Tuesday was pretty fantastic!

District meeting was great and I taught part of the lesson. It was pretty cool!

We also had a really good lesson with Nancy and we finally met with one of the less-actives that we've been trying to see forever! Success!

We met with Patrick and Sister Paradis again! I love them!

There's such a great feeling when two missionaries are able to not only teach together really well, but are able to teach with the Spirit. There is absolutely no way that lessons would go as well if the companionship was not in tune with the Spirit. I remember at the MTC we were talking about the times when lessons don't go the way they should or the way we want them to. More often than not, the times lessons flop are when the Spirit cannot dwell within the companionship. I have been so blessed to have had three companions, so far, who make it so easy to invite the Spirit. Sister Aston and I were basically the dynamic duo and there was never a reason for the Spirit to not be there. We got along and were probably the most united companionship I will ever be in. Sister Davis was so obedient and taught me why it's so important to be exactly obedient. "Obedience brings blessings, but exact obedience brings miracles." With a companion like that, there's no way the Spirit can't dwell there. Sister Craig is great! She knows how to be a fun, yet serious, missionary. We really do get along and it makes our teaching flow so smoothly. I truly am blessed.

A cute, old couple gave us ice cream. It was the highlight of my day because my nose almost fell off. They were a tender mercy for sure!

Happy birthday Laura and Amber! Love you both!

We went to a town in our area called Cornville. It's as boonie and redneck as it sounds. Welcome to Maine!

I love the young women in this ward! They're so great and I just love them so much! They paid us a surprise visit on Saturday to tell us about a missionary moment they had and I about died laughing! I was proud of them, but I died laughing!

We taught Aaron! It was so awkward because we accidentally showed up an hour early and that was just really uncomfortable. We gave a whole new meaning to "early is on time, and on time is late." Guess it's a good thing he didn't have plans before us!

Happy Father's Day!

Sunday was a really weird day! I've been having a lot of those lately.

Highlights were basically getting to take the sacrament, lunch with the Blooms, and getting an unexpected nap.

So there's my week!

Love you all, and hopefully these emails don't bore you to tears!

Oh yeah! I almost forgot! My visa came through and I'm leaving for Brazil on July 7!

Anyway, have a great week!

Amo sempre,
Sister McEldowney

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Time is Going Too Fast!

Alright, so I have basically no time today! Por causa de esse, y'all are getting a very abbreviated version of my week.

Dinner and FHE with the Pecks, which was it always is! I just love them so much!

Sister Paradis is a hoot and the Spirit is so strong every time we teach her! I love love love her! The best part is, she committed to church on Sunday! Woohoo! So stoked!

We also had a lesson with the Goforths and that was crazy! I always feel like I'm around my siblings when I'm there because their kids are all around the age of my siblings. It's bittersweet, but makes for some very interesting experiences.

Ryann is the funniest little girl I've ever met! She's getting baptized today (as in Monday) and I love her! She's so funny and our lessons with her teach her what she needs to know while also keeping us on our toes. It's great!

It's been a busy day with trying to get ahold of less actives. This mission is most definitely a reactivation mission, which is kind of nice. Definitely a good preparation for Brazil!

We met a less-active's son and he's now a potential! So stoked! He's so sweet and seemed pretty genuinely interested in what we were sharing. When that light comes on in someone's eye, that's what people talk about when they say one yes makes up for all the no's we get. It's so true and I see it more and more each day.

Nancy is going to pray about a specific baptismal date! I'm so excited! I love her and I can't wit for her to get baptized! I, unfortunately, will not be here to see it, but I'm sure I'll get pictures.

Also, my language isn't as far gone as I thought! Happy day! I can still pray in português  and somewhat teach lessons. Yay!

We met a new potential today! He lives in the home where a less-active used to live and we tried to contact her, but met him instead! We have a return appointment and I'm stoked to teach him and his family!

We have a new investigator! Her name is Sydney and she's so prepared it's not even funny! We showed her and her mom Because He Lives and we tied it into eternal families and she was all sorts of ready for us to just sit down right then and there to teach her everything! I'm so excited! We've been working on her since before Sister Craig got here
and now she's an investigator! Ahh!

We also taught Ryann and that was pretty great! And I got language study! That's a miracle in an of itself!

We did service in the morning with the Cooks and it was fun! I love that family so much!

Greatest part of the day had to be Aaron's lesson. I decided that I was going to try not talking a ton and just listen to the Spirit to know what Aaron's needs are and what I need to say to address those needs. Holy cow! I was crying by the end of the lesson! Bearing my testimony at the end of the lesson was so emotional because I could honestly say that I knew the things that I was saying were true and it wasn't just me saying something that loosely related to the lesson. Oh my goodness, it was incredible! The Spirit is given to us to confirm truth, even if it's the words that we are saying that need to be confirmed to us. I see more and more everyday how much of a blessing the Holy Ghost is in my life and those around me who are blessed to have the gift of the Holy Ghost. I love it! The Holy Ghost truly is a comforter and teacher. I know that and am so grateful for it.

We survived teaching primary! #winning

Nothing too miraculous happened today, but it was still great!

I love being a missionary and I love the work! There is nothing better I could be doing with my time right now. I know that without a shadow of  a doubt!

Well, time is almost up!

Amo sempre,
Sister Mackey

From the keeper of this blog -
Here are this week's interpretations, clarifications, explanations...

RE: Tuesday
"Sister Paradis is a hoot and the Spirit is so strong every time we teach her! I love love love her! The best part is, she committed to church on Sunday!"

I am pretty sure that from the way Kayla talks about Sister Paradis that she is a less-active member whom they have invited to church and she's accepted the invitation. It is pretty exciting when that happens.

RE: Wednesday
"Ryann is the funniest little girl I've ever met! She's getting baptized today (as in Monday) and I love her! She's so funny and our lessons with her teach her what she needs to know while also keeping us on our toes."

Kayla first mentioned Ryann in last week's blog entry -
"Our investigator, Ryann, has a baptismal date for next Monday and her interview was Wednesday! It went so well and I'm so happy! She's the daughter of a member in our ward and I'm stoked to be teaching her. She's great! Her mom is great! Their family is great! It's all, well, GREAT!"

Kayla and her companion are teaching Ryann, a member's daughter, because she is likely 8 years old. Gospel doctrine is clear that one must be able to understand the basics of the gospel and then choose to be baptized and join the church. At 8, children are old enough to be taught the gospel and make their own choice, hence, Kayla and her companion are teaching Ryann to help her understand the covenants and commitments she's making when she's baptized. Many different baptismal practices exist in the world, the following explains ours:

RE: Friday

RE: Sunday
"We survived teaching primary!"

I've included below a definition of what primary is. Also, a link to where I found the entry which describes the entire organizational structure of the church.

Children ages 18 months to 11 years belong to the Primary organization. Its purpose is to help children learn and understand the gospel of Jesus Christ and prepare to make and keep sacred covenants. Children attend Primary classes for two hours each Sunday while their parents participate in other Church meetings. Children also participate in regularly held activity days, which provide them with opportunities to interact with each other; have wholesome fun in physical, creative, cultural, and service activities; and participate in a program called Faith in God, which helps them live gospel principles and develop testimonies.

How the church is organized

RE: Amo Sempre, Sister Mackey
A nickname Kayla has acquired and obviously likes!

Hope all is well where you are!

Sunday, June 14, 2015


From the keeper of this blog -
Sorry I'm so late with this this week. We got caught up in preparations for our family trip to Lassen Volcanic National Park. We've been back about an hour. Here's your weekly update -

So, I kind of love New England...a lot! It's so great here and I feel
so blessed to be able to serve here, especially since I'm in the
greatest area of the entire mission! Skowhegan holds a special place
in my heart and I'm going to be devastated when the day comes that I
have to leave.

In the meantime, I'm loving every minute here and serving with all of
my heart, might, mind, and strength (Doctrine and Covenants 4:2).

Monday was full of goodbyes for Sister Davis. We were running around
like chickens with our heads cut off trying to prep for the week and
get her final goodbyes in. It was so hard to see her so sad, but I
know that Heavenly Father has a plan for her. She's needed elsewhere
and Skowhegan will always be here for her to visit...after her mission,
of course.

Transfer meeting! Talk about a crazy day! We left at 5:45 to get to
Manchester in time and I basically felt like a walking zombie. Great
first impression for my new companion, right? I thought so!

I'm guessing that finding out who my new companion is will probably be
the most exciting part of this email, so here it goes! My new
companion is Sister Craig! She's from Eagle, Idaho and is so sweet!
She's been out about 9 months and is a pretty rockin' follow-up
trainer! I'm already learning so much from her and I'm so grateful to
have her as my companion. It's going to be a great transfer, I can
feel it!

Tuesday was pretty cool, too, because we met a sweet potential named
Brandon. We're visiting him later today, so hopefully he's still

First district meeting of the transfer! There was a change in every
companionship, but everyone is great, so I'm pumped for this transfer.

Our investigator, Ryann, has a baptismal date for next Monday and her
interview was Wednesday! It went so well and I'm so happy! She's the
daughter of a member in our ward and I'm stoked to be teaching her.
She's great! Her mom is great! Their family is great! It's all, well.

We also had a super powerful lesson with one of our investigators,
Nancy, who we've been working with for awhile. I love her and can't
wait to see her testimony continue to grow.

Well, the soup kitchen was grand, as always! I love serving there!

We also had correlation meeting and, can I just tell you all, I
absolutely love the Peck family! They're so great and so loving and so
missionary minded! I love love love it! They're just all awesome and
I'm so glad we get to interact with them so much!

Friday was so awesome! So, we finished weekly planning in the 3 hours
which has NEVER happened! I knew from that point on that Friday was
going to be a great day!

We also invited 13 people to learn, which exceeded our goal by 3! Woot
woot! While we were tracting, we had the neatest experience, too! We
met a man with an Army truck and he let us see it! I'll send pictures
at some point. It was so legit!

I also got my full hour of language study which is a miracle in and of itself!

Well, we found out that two of our less-actives were coming to
church...yay! So excited!

We also had "ice cream soup" with Aaron and that was fantastic!

The best part of the day was probably when we met with Sister Paradis
and had one of the most spiritual lessons of my mission! We taught
about temples and the blessings that accompany the temple and it was
so powerful. There is absolutely no way it was my doing. When we, as
missionaries, listen to the Spirit, that's when the lessons go the
best. We are not the teachers, the Spirit is. I wish I could emphasize
that more, but I don't know how! We definitely don't have all the
answers, but we have been called of God to share what we do know. I
know that God is my loving Heavenly Father. I know that Jesus Christ
is the Savior and Redeemer of the world. I know that He lives. I know
that Christ suffered, bled and died for me and for you. I KNOW that.
The Atonement is real and we can use it every day. I know that the
priesthood power, the power to act in God's name, has been restored to
the earth. The power of the priesthood has blessed my life. I'm so
grateful to have such amazing priesthood holders in my life and around
me all the time. These are the basic principles that make up my
testimony. These are the things that make me so happy and these are
the reasons I am serving a mission.

Sunday's are always great!

We found a new investigator who we have a return appointment with for
Sunday and she's pretty cool.

We also got to have dinner with the Cooks and I love love love them!
The Skowhegan ward is just the best! #love

Well, I'm out of time, but I love you all! If you haven't yet, watch
this amazing video!

I love it and it's only 2 minutes or so. Watch it! It'll change your life!

Amo sempre,
Sister McEldowney


A bit more from the keeper of this blog -

RE: Thursday
"We also had correlation meeting and, can I just tell you all, I absolutely love the Peck family!"

As noted in a previous blog, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles assigns missionaries to their respective missions. They also call mission presidents and their wives, typically for three years, to run each mission. Click the links below to learn more about Mission Presidents.

Mission Presidents
Kayla's Mission President - Brazil Santos Mission

At the ward level Ward Mission Leaders are called by the Bishop to help the missionaries correlate/coordinate their work. Kayla's dad is currently serving in this position. Brother Peck is currently serving as Kayla's Ward Mission Leader in Skowhegan. In each ward that she serves in, either in the U.S. or Brazil, there will be a Ward Mission Leader called to assist her in the work as the ward members and full-time missionaries come together to help bring people to Christ. The link below is from the church's training library and is directed to Ward Mission Leaders, but serves as a great catalyst for understanding the role of a critical person in Kayla's success as a missionary and may help foster understanding of why she appreciates the Peck family so much. Ward mission leaders do help coordinate the work, but they, and often their families, also provide a supportive respite from work that is sometimes thankless and HARD no matter how much conviction you have. 

Ward Mission Leaders

RE: Saturday
"We taught about temples and the blessings that accompany the temple and it was so powerful."

I found a great description of the blessings that accompany temple attendance. The link is below -

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Saying Goodbye to My Maine Squeeze

From a separate Kayla email -

MY VISA IS DONE! I should be getting a call from the mission president any day to tell me it's here! I'm crying tears of happiness! 

Hello all that I love!

How are you all? I wish I could hear each and every one of your
responses, but, alas, emails do not work that way. Maybe some day, but
that day is not today.

I have so little time that I don't even know what to share!

I don't know that I can keep up with the day-by-day, play-by-plays,
but I'll be as detailed as I can be in my limited time.

There are so many great families in the Skowhegan ward! If it didn't
get to stinking cold and insanely hot, I would consider moving here!
But between the bugs and extremes in weather, visits will have to do.
I just thought that everyone should know how blessed I am to be
serving in this ward. I think they've done more for me than I could
ever do for them though!

There is a really sweet brother in our ward who let us stop by on
Tuesday and he showed us this article thing called the 17 Points of
Christ's true church. It was super interesting! If any of you are
interested, let me know and I'll pass on the information. 'Twas grand!

We taught a lesson to a less active family this week about temples. I
love the temple so much! I know that families can be forever. I know
that temples really are the House of the Lord. I love how strong I can
feel the Spirit when I'm there. Temples are my favorite place on earth
for good reason!

My amazing companion is getting transferred. She has been such a
blessing and it's so hard to let her go, but I know that Heavenly
Father has a plan for each and every one of us. We are His children
and He is mindful of us all. He loves each of you so much and so do I!

Sorry this is short, but I have no time! Have a great week!

Amo sempre,
Sister McEldowney

We got stuck in a rainstorm...for 2 minutes! It was fun, but we were drenched!

 I suspect this is Kayla's district. There was no caption.

Sister McEldowney