Monday, July 27, 2015

44 hours and counting...

Not much of an update this week because we will see Elder McAlister within 44 hours of this post. To say we are excited would be a huge understatement.

I really can’t believe that I am leaving and that I have ended my mission! Yesterday I had my entrevista con el presidente y él se puso muy enserio pero fue una entrevista super buena y aprendí que es lo que tengo que hacer después mi mission (interview with the president and he was serious but it was a super good interview and I learned what I have to do after my mission).

The time has really gone by fast and now we are having p-day for a few hours, and then I have a meeting on getting a job and stuff like that. After I have dinner with the president!

I will be leaving tomorrow in the morning, and time seems like it has been getting faster. I really don't know what to write you guys! I will see you guys in a short time and then we can talk a little bit more about what’s going on. I love you guys and take care!

See you soon!
Love you guys,
Elder McAlister

This is the last official update while Elder McAlister is in the mission field. Instead of putting one of my thoughts in this week, I decided to put the scripture Sean picked for his mission plaque (picture from the display case from this morning below).

2 Timothy 1: 7-8

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;

I won’t interpret why Sean selected this scripture, but I find it very powerful.

I will post some pictures of his homecoming at the airport on Wednesday morning, but that will be the last time I post to this blog, and I don’t know if Sean will post anything else, but I will encourage him to do so.

My last though comes from an experience this morning when I was on the stand for a funeral for a great women in our ward that passed this last week.  The stories, sentiments and testimonies shared by her children were a true tribute to both her and her husband being such incredible people and raising a strong family in the gospel. They centered their lives completely on their family, and it made me even more excited to have Sean home in a few days and have us all together once again. This little reunion on Wednesday is going to be a little taste of what it will be like for us when we are all together with our Heavenly Father.

Below is the last picture we received today from Chile, so enjoy and may God be with you….

Elder McAlister and Elder Chavez with some members on Elder McAlister's last Sunday in the mission.

Elder McAlister's mission plaque, picture taken this morning after a funeral in our chapel that I mentioned in my comments.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Who needs a kick in the butt to end you mission when you can get a shot

A great activity, new investigators, having to talk with a few minutes notice and getting sick enough to require a shot in the butt. Ah…the life of a missionary! Well this may be the last update from Elder McAlister before returning home next, but there may be one more depending on how his schedule lines up.
I am really glad to hear from you guys and you guys sound really excited that I will be home soon. I on the other hand am nervous and not sure really what to expect but that’s okay. Glad to hear that everyone is doing okay. I hope that Derek enjoys his new job and that he learns a lot and does well. Glad to hear that Brooke is enjoying Lehi volleyball, and are you the head coach or what? Sabrina I really hope that you are enjoying the summer time and swimming sounds pretty fun! And the bike ride that you guys did looks pretty fun.

Well time really has flown by, and now I really do have a little time! I got an email that I will be traveling to Concepción on Sunday after church, and I will have my interview with the President that night. Then I have meetings on Monday on how to find a job and how to manage my money. To answer your question, I have no idea if i will write you guys next Monday, there is an internet place in Concepción, but I don’t know if they are going to give us time that day. I guess we will just wait and find out.
Well this last week was a weird week because we had trouble with the members coming out with us, and it’s not fun working without members. We have had some really good investigators coming out of nowhere! Elder Chavez and I are teaching really well and I can tell you I really have felt the spirit this last week! We are working with Rodolfo and he didn't come to church but he is progressing very fast. We are working with the mother of Ricardo Araya, and she isn't a member but she came to church. Then we are teaching a teenager named Alexander and he is really cool and we have had really spiritual lessons with him. 

Well this last Friday we had an activity and it turned out really good. We planned it at 7 o'clock and we waited about 40 minutes and nobody got there, not even the other missionary's. So we were pretty sad and then all a sudden a ton of people started showing up and we ended up having about 97-105 people at the activity!!! It was awesome, and the father of a member showed up with a cotton candy maker and he’s not even member and the kids went crazy about it. Elder Chavez and I had the lesson, and we ended up teaching about the family and how we need to establish love and charity in the home. After that we played a game that the other missionary's prepared kind of and everyone really had a good time. The funny part is that we had more people come to the activity than to church, so there is still some work to do here.

I got sick and my companion got sick. We have both been sick with our throats, coughing, fever, and really bad headaches, we were still out working, but I was getting really bad really fast so we ended up going to a clinic and it turns out that I have an infection in my throat and it was very very red with a lot of puss and my throat was swollen. So what happened I got a shot in my butt! Oh and yes it did hurt!! So I was lying face first on the table and I didn't realize that I was drooling when the nurse gave me a shot so after a while of lying on the table I stood up and saw a huge drool mark on the table and the nurse looked at the spot on the table and gave me a dirty look and left. Embarrassing but my butt hurt for a little bit of time after that and now I am on medications! I am doing well and trying to work my hardest I can without dying.
On Sunday, during the Sacrament, the mission leader was looking at me and pointing up to the pulpit and all a sudden I realized that I was going to have to give a talk in about 15 minutes. So i started to pray and ponder in what I should talk about, and nothing came to my mind! They called me up and I still had no idea what I should say. All of a sudden, I felt like I should go to Alma 7:11-13 and I explained that Christ suffered for our pains, afflictions, sicknesses, and our transgressions! Then in the last verse it explains that he suffered for our sins. So I was hoping that the members would understand that cristo sufrío por todo! I really like this scripture!

Well maybe I will write you guys next week, but I’m not really sure. Thanks for all the support that you guys have given me during the mission it really does mean a lot. The time has gone by so fast and I really wish I could stay longer, but I can’t. I will see you guys next week on Wednesday, and I really can’t wait for that either, it’s going to be weird. I’mm not going to think about until next Wednesday! (HaHa) HaaHahaha  I love you guys a ton!

Love you guys!!!

Elder McAlister

Spiritual thought time! Although Sean has another full week of hard work in front of him in Chillan, I have been reflecting on what my mission meant to me, and looked up a talk by W. Christopher Waddell, Of the Seventy, in October 2011 General Conference called "The Opportunity of a Lifetime" on missions. The following three excerpts I sent to Sean for him to consider as he prepares to come home after all the work, fun, struggle, hard times, good times, gospel knowledge, testimony and unbelievable spiritual experiences Elder McAlister has been through the last couple years. In his talk he said:
In whatever manner the Lord may choose to bless us during the course of a mission, blessings of missionary service are not designed to end when we are released by our stake president. Your mission is a training ground for life. The experiences, lessons, and testimony obtained through faithful service are meant to provide a gospel-centered foundation that will last throughout mortality and into the eternities. However, for the blessings to continue after the mission, there are conditions that must be met. In the Doctrine and Covenants we read, “For all who will have a blessing at my hands shall abide the law which was appointed for that blessing, and the conditions thereof” (D&C 132:5).

President Thomas S. Monson has taught: “Missionary work is difficult. It taxes one’s energies, it strains one’s capacity, it demands one’s best effort. … No other labor requires longer hours or greater devotion or such sacrifice and fervent prayer”

As a result of that sacrifice, we return from our missions with our own gifts: The gift of faith. The gift of testimony. The gift of understanding the role of the Spirit. The gift of daily gospel study. The gift of having served our Savior. Gifts carefully packaged in worn scriptures, tattered copies of Preach My Gospel, missionary journals, and grateful hearts. However, as with the children of Israel, the ongoing blessings associated with missionary service require application after the sacrifice.
I told Sean to take these words to heart and use the incredible gifts he has earned, and been given by a generous Heavenly Father. He now has the blessing of building a foundation for the rest of his life knowing the gospel is true, we have a Savior who gave his life you us, and a Father that provides us all the tools we need to return to live with him. He has the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation and the importance of finding and taking a worthy daughter of God to the temple to be sealed and to become a father and blessing his own children some day with being born in the covenant and being raised in the Gospel.  

I look at my life and wonder who I would be, and where I would be, if I did not serve a mission and try to live as a faithful member in church. How lucky I am to have my wife, and four great children. I know today, even more than when I returned home from my mission, but if not for the foundation my mission gave me, my life could have been so different. 

I will only post on this blog one more time, possibly with an email from Sean, or just with the pictures from his homecoming at the airport. If you read any of my thoughts at the end of each post, I hope you found something of worth.

Until next week enjoy what may be the last pictures sent from Chile by Elder McAlister…

A great ward activity

Cotton Candy time!!!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Looking a little wet in Chillan

Sounds like a great week, again with it’s up and downs, but mostly positives with the progress of Rodolfo and Francisco. His emails are getting a little shorter each week, and I think it’s because the realization he will be returning home soon, and it's freaking him out a little bit.
The Home Alone Family,
That is what everyone calls me here!
Glad to hear that all is well back home! Sounds really weird to me that Sabrina is babysitting now! I still think that she is 8 years old!! I am happy that she enjoyed it. Glad to see that everyone else is doing really well!

Well this week was crazy and awesome and rainy!!! We had another member die in our ward this Sunday, and I knew him to but not that good. It’s still pretty sad to hear it. But the ward is really getting closer together, and I really can see the unity that the ward has been gaining after the death of Hermano Ricardo Araya. So we are happy to see the ward grow. We ended up not baptizing Manuel because he has a lot of doubts about Joseph Smith, and the Book of Mormon. He told us that he saw some anti-Mormon videos, and I guess he got scared. So he is not prepared to be baptized, but we are going to keep on visiting him. Also, we are working with a guy named Rodolfo and he ended up coming to church and loved it. He has a fecha bautismal por el 1 de Agosto (baptism date of August 1st). Right after I leave! He is progressing really well. We taught him the Word of Wisdom and he handed over all the things that he has and it was pretty cool to see that. We are working with Francisco right now, and he wants to be baptized, but he went to Santiago for this week, but he received his answer and now he believes in god! We have really had a good week with investigators and it’s been a spiritual week.

Well on Wednesday and Thursday my companion was in Concepcion for a conference for the new missionaries, so I was left by myself kinda. I spent the both days working with Elder Sanabria and Elder Romero. It was pretty fun and I really liked working with them. They are both really funny guys and I learned a little from them. When I was with them it was raining pretty hard and I was really happy that I had all my rain gear with me. We worked with the people that I am teaching and with the people that they are teaching. So we did a lot of walking and lot of time underneath the rain.
We had our zone conference with all the missionaries in Chillan, and it was pretty cool. We learned about how we need to be missionaries’ consegrados (dedicated) and how we should be like Nephi, and do the Lords will. Also we learned about how to have the spirit with us at all times and how he guides us at all times in the lessons and in the streets if we are willing to listen to him. Then we listened to all the new missionaries that are in the 3 zones in Chillan. Then all the people that are dying this cambio and the next gave their final testimony in front of the missionaries. It was weird to see all the guys that i know bare there final testimony and then I had to get up and it was even more weird!
I was wanting to know if there is something that you guys would like from Chile? Because next week is the time I have to buy it. So please let me know if you guys want something!!
Well I love you guys a ton and I can’t wait to see you guys soon! Time is really flying by and it’s really weird to think about it. I love you guys and I can’t wait to hear from you next week!

Love you guys!!!!

Elder McAlister
Spiritual thought time! As I have been working with a young woman and young man in our ward getting ready for them to leave for their missions to Russia and Argentina, and thinking about Sean’s service in Chile, along with other missionaries in the ward returning soon from Korea and California my mind had been on missionary work a lot lately, and I was reading President Monson's, "The Savior's Call to Serve" from the First Presidency message of August 2012 and came across this great quote for this week’s thought:
"The mantle of membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not a cloak of comfort, but rather a robe of responsibility. Our duty, in addition to saving ourselves, is to guide others to the celestial kingdom of God."

For all of the missionaries out serving, or about to leave to serve, and all of at home, it really is our responsibility to do so. It is a really inspiration to see all of the young men and women willing to serve and bring the message to literally all over the world. But it also makes me think I must do a better job with my "mantle of membership" to share the gospel, and do all I can as a father to help guide my family "to the celestial kingdom of God".
Below are some pictures Elder McAlister sent, followed by some I download from the mission blog, so enjoy until next week…

It may be a little wet down there...

Elder Chavez enjoying the beautiful weather.

I think this is where Elder McAlister is currently living with 5 other Elders.

Red sky at night...sailors delight?

Looks like some crepes for breakfast.

The Chillán Ñuble Zone

Lunch at Zone Conference

Zone Conference

Elders ?, Skelton, McAlister and Miller

Elders Chavez, Sanchez, McAlister and Hartwigsen