Tuesday, August 27, 2013

MTC Week Two

Heard from Sean today, which really makes my day!  Below is general email to the family.  He has other section specifically answering email from each family member I don't include.  After the email are some pictures he sent today, and a few I added from other sources.

A few things I take from his email this week.

  • He is starting to get lost in the work, and that is why he is less home sick.
  • He is receiving great opportunities to serve others, and is gaining some great experience working with the MTC President concerning his district.
  • Our utility bills will be much cheaper with Sean gone...you'll understand when you read his email.
  • Two weeks in and he has already request his first care package, some things don't change :-), and yes we will send it to him.
  • Now that he is separated from us, Sean is gaining a deeper love for his family.
  • He is a great young man and his dad misses him.
Last thing, I thought I would add some of the scripture references family members sent him last week, as they may be helpful to you too (whomever is reading this).
  • 2 Nephi 22:2
  • Jacob 6:5
  • Mosiah 2:41
  • Mosiah 5:15
Till next week...


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Hey Everyone,

This week has been so much better! It kind of flew by without me even knowing. My Spanish is getting better all the time, and I’m starting to understand it. It’s still hard, but it’s starting to make sense. I still don't like waking up at 6:30 in the morning, but I can deal with it for now. Also, just to let Mom and Dad know my showers are really short now! (Haha)  The Mexico MTC isn't that bad.

I almost had two Elders go home this week, they were supposed to leave this Tuesday but they are staying for right now. Elder Barnes was one of the Elders that almost went home, which was really scary but I prayed my heart out. But when he left El Presidente´s office, and we listened to a talk by Elder Holland which made him change his mind. So I discovered that I am losing myself in the Lords work by helping the others out.

Also this week I haven't been home sick, it’s been super fun. I really can’t wait to go out to the field, but I'm going to miss the MTC. Our district has gotten really close to each other. We now have two teachers’, Hermano Silva and Hermano Rogers. They are probably the best teachers ever! Me and El Presidente Pratt have gotten really close and to know each other. They even invited my district over just to have brownies at their casa. They said it was because I was one of the best district leaders they knew that really cared for everyone in their district.

The food here is killing everyone which hasn't been fun. They also barely feed us it seems like, but we get to eat a lot of fruit loops and frosted flakes, but they are not so great anymore (Haha). We got two new investigators, and we already taught one which went really well. I was able to talk for about half of the lesson.

I think it’s great to hear that everyone is leaving (missionary friends back home), and I hope they do well. This last week me and Elder Barnes were walking to our casa after we played some basketball and there were two gun shots and screaming right outside the walls. It was kind of scary because our house is right next to the wall, but to make it sound better there was also a party right outside the wall and the music played all night. We said it was cool because there was pretty much a carnival in our back yard.

The other elders in our casa leave next week, which is going to be weird because we won’t be the new guys anymore. I want you to know Sundays and P-days are the best days so far. On Sunday we get to watch church movies, which is the best part of the day. It has rained the last few days really hard, so I'm glad I brought my umbrella.

I want to thank you guys for all your support and prayers. I want you to know though I'm not feeling home sick I still miss you guys. I love you guys so much and thanks for helping me with my mission. I love you guys. You´re the best family someone could ask for!!!


Elder McAlister

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Elder McAlister in front of the Mexico MTC (I put an aerial view picture of the MTC in the Mission Maps section of this blog if you want to get a feel for what the Mexico MTC campus looks like) :



MTC companions Elder Barnes (from Idaho) and Elder McAlister:



Elder McAlister and his MTC district at the Mexico City Temple.  It looks like there are at least three Elders in the picture we met at the Salt Lake City airport the day Sean left:



Random picture of the MTC campus, Sean provided no description with the picture:



Sean mentions El Presidente Pratt in his email.  President Pratt is the Mexico MTC President, and below is a picture of President Pratt and his wife:



Finally Sean mentioned that that it was great that his friends were leaving soon on their missions.  Below is Sean's good friend Tanner Beckstrand at his farewell get together with a message for Elder McAlister.  Tanner is leaving for his mission to Singapore tomorrow, and his other good friend Evan Spencer is leaving next week to Tallahassee Florida. It's amazing to see these strong young men so willing to serve. 



Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Well we heard from Sean today, and the email he sent is below.  We learned a few things other things from emails sent to his sisters. 
  • His companion is Elder Barnes, and he is from Idaho. 
  • Sean has been pretty home sick this week, but that is to be expected with such a big change, and going to another country not understanding the language. 
  • He got to go to the Mexico City Temple (picture at the end of this post) and do a session.
  • He is in the classroom 10 hours a day learning the language and gospel doctrine. He said he can pray and bear his testimony now.
  • They eat a lot of bread and little portions of meat.
  • His P-day is on Tuesdays, so that is when we should get emails from him while in the MTC.

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Subject: Re: Hello Elder McAlister‏

Hello Mom and Dad,

My first week in the MTC was really hard. At the start I was wondering what I was doing, and why, but then I read Ether 12:27 and it turned all around. Our teacher Hermano Rogers doesn’t speak any English to us and none of the staff does either. So far the Spanish is really killing me.

My companion is Elder Barnes, and he is pretty cool. I was made the District Leader, which is cool, and at the same time not so much. It means a lot more meetings for me and they are all in Spanish. But I would like to say that my Spanish is coming along.

Right now I live in a casa which is pretty cool. The food is okay, but it’s killing a lot of the Elders because it’s mostly straight fiber. We have to have filtered water brought to the MTC.

Mexico outside the safe walls of the MTC sounds crazy! We hear guns shots and sirens all the time. We got to go to the Mexico City Temple today, which was really cool, but really hard because I don’t know Spanish. The driving from the temple and back is still really crazy. I think I would go crazy if I had to drive place to place.

We have been teaching an investigator which is fun but really hard. His name is Jorge, we have to teach him on whatever we chose, or what he wants to hear about. The lessons are all in Spanish and usually last about 20 to 30 minutes. I can’t say I love it here because I just want to get out and go to Chile. I want to thank you guys for all that you have done for me. It really has meant a lot to me, and thank you for all the support that you have given me. I want you guys to know I love you and I miss you a lot.

I love you guys a ton,

Elder McAlister


P.S. (Mom I really miss your cooking and Dad I really miss you) 

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The Mexico City Temple:



From Rick: That's it for the blog update this week.  I have made a few changes to the blog by including maps of Sean's mission, his physical and email addresses if you want to write him, a link to information on Chile from Wikipedia by clicking on the Chilean flag, a link to Sean's mormon.org profile, the ability to subscribe to the blog and receive an email when there is a new post and a widget that shows the current weather in Chile.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

First Email from Sean

Sean made it safely to the Mexico MTC.  He was able to send the quick email below to let us know he arrived safely.  If you want to write an email to him, his email address is sean.mcalister@myldsmail.net.

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Subject: Made it to the Mexico MTC

Hey guys I made it to the Mexico MTC today around 5:30. The flight out was awesome, all of the Elders and I got to know each other fast. 

I have to say the Mexico was not what I was expecting! Just driving on the highway was crazy. The cars were driving like crazy and everyone drives really close to each other. I'm amazed how bad their house´s are, they are half built or just destroyed.

Now that I got my name tag, I feel like a real missionary. I also got my first companion, his name is Elder Walker, but I still haven't met him. I think it's still weird because everyone is talking Spanish all the time and I cant understand them. But I'll pick up the language soon.

I want you guys to know I love you and I miss you.

Love

    Elder McAlister


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This is the Mexico MTC where Sean is for the next 6 weeks:


Leaving for his Mission - August 13th

Well the time finally has arrived for Sean to leave for his mission.  It has been a long almost 5 months waiting for the time to arrive, and at the end it came too quickly.

In the last five months Sean has received a mission call to Chile, graduated from high school, graduated from Seminary, earned his Eagle Scout, received his patriarchal blessing, was made an Elder in the priesthood, went to the temple for his own endowments and now he leaves on his mission.  That is a fully packed five months and lots of changes in his life.

He has spent a lot of time preparing for his mission, spending as much time as possible with his friends (many have already left on their missions, or will soon be leaving), and spent time with his family.  He still has a lot to learn and experience but he is up to the tassk.

He will spend the next 6 weeks in the Mexico City Missionary Training Centers (MTC) learning the Spanish Language and how to teach the gospel to the people of Chile. It will be important for him to remember the following from the scriptures concerning his service:

"Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men. Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.

Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work; For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul." 

Sean had to be on an American Airlines flight leaving at 6:00 AM the morning of August 13, 2013.  It was requested he be there a few hours early, so the family was up getting ready shortly after 2:00 AM, as we all wanted to be there to say our goodbye and well wishes.  Jessica & Derek and Brooke & Todd all met at our house and we all road up to the Salt Lake airport together.

What a bitter sweet experience it was.  So proud and happy that Sean was going to do what the Lord has asked, but so sad that we won't see Sean for two years.  I could write about this experience from my perspective for many pages, I'll let the following pictures speak for me:


The Original Six McAlister clan:


Sean and Sabrina (who is Sabrina going to fight with now?):


The proud Mom and Dad:



The new McAlister Clan with two great sons/brothers added to our numbers:



Yes there was lots of crying....and Brooke started it:



A final hug from his little sister:

  video

Sean was joining seven other Elders, all flying to the Mexico MTC, but while waiting, the Provo MTC dropped of the Elders and Sisters leaving the MTC to go their missions.  It was incredible to see the hundreds of young men and women going out to share the gospel.  An inspiring site.

As we watched Sean clear security and wave a final goodbye as he ascended up the airport escalator and disappear from our view, there were lots of tears and silence.  After the ride home and the day passing, we are now excited to hear of Sean's experiences, adventures and messages home.  

Most of the rest of this blog will consist of his emails, notes and pictures.


Set Apart - August 12th

The evening of August 12, 2013, the family got together and went to the Stake Center for Sean to be set apart as a full-time missionary.  Another great experience! 

Stake President Mark Ringger set Sean apart, and gave him an incredible blessing. Hope Sean was able to take all that was said in, and understand the potential of his service to the Lord if follows the council given in the blessing.  Truly inspiring, and wish I was able to have a written copy of what was said.

Along with President Ringger and myself, Sean's brother-in-laws, Derek Hermansen and Todd Carlton joined the circle for the blessing, and what a bonding experience.  Sean has two great brothers to look up to (at least spiritually if not physically ;-) )


Sean and President Mark Ringger:


 The family after the setting apart: 



Sean and his Grandma Butler:



A last dinner before leaving in the morning for his mission.  Sean and I always for the the Asian Buffet in American Fork after Priesthood sessions at General Conference time, so we went there because it will be another five General Conferences before we have the chance to renew the tradition: 

Last day pre-mission

The last day before Sean was set apart as a full-time missionary was spent doing final packing, and cleaning up his room for it's two year hiatus.  Sean and I were able to fit in a final 9 holes before he left and we had a great time.


I won't tell you where this drive actually went, but let's just say it's not seen in this picture (mine wasn't much better).


I wish we could spend more time doing things like this.  Time just goes by too fast...I'll sure miss him.

Mission Farewell - August 11th

On August 11, 2013 Sean gave his Mission Farewell talk in Church (and yes I know  officially there are not supposed to be farewells anymore).  He had his Young Mens leader Adam Carpenter speak with him.  Both Adam and Sean gave great talks. 

Hearing Sean's talk, and hearing his testimony, shows the potential he has to be a great missionary. Here he is with the missionary plaque that will hang in the church hall with those others serving from the North Field 4th Ward.

 
After Sacrament meeting, we had Sean's friends and family over to the house for some food, visiting and wishing Sean good luck on his mission.  Below are some pictures of those who were there.
 
Uncle Scott, Uncle John, Jessica (Sister) and Derek (Brother-in-law) from left to right: 


Friends and family:


Sean's best friends Evan Spencer (Tallahassee Florida Mission), Sean McAlister (Concepción Chile Mission) and Tanner Beckstrand (Singapore Mission):


 Makenzie Briggs and Sean:


 Mitch Hull, Sean and Xander Winther:



The Butlers:



Sean and Jordaz Witehira (right):



Connor Nielson and Sean:




Uncle Scott McAlister, Sean, Amber Carpenter and Corbin:

Temple Endowments - July 3rd

On July 3, 2013, Sean went to the Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple.


He took out his endowments with his family. It was was great experience, as the family also did ancestral endowment work for many in the McAlister, Mullins and Chazalon lines. The names we did are below the family picture, with some of the relationships to Sean identified. The spirit was incredibly strong with so much family involved.



Temple Names:
James Francis McAlister (Great Grandfather)
Marie Marcelle Chazalon (Great Grandmother)
Frank Walter McAlister (2nd Great Grandfather)
John McAlister (3rd Great Grandfather)
Elizabeth (3rd Great Grandmother)
John McAlister (Great Great Grandfather)
Caroline McAlister
Luella McAlister
Florence Blake