Monday, September 20, 2010

Elder McGavin's first fight!

After coming back from service at Vend Petrov's on Wednesday, we caught the number 5 bus.  Elder Broby and I were in our regular clothes cause we had been chopping wood.  Elder Lane and Elmer actually helped as well but they were in the proselyting clothes.  They had a lesson directly after.  We all got on the number 5 bus.  We pulled up to the next stop and four kids got on the bus and made their way to the back, where we were sitting.  They all looked like they were about 20 years old.  They started speaking to us in Russian and then when we told them we speak Estonian they started speaking in Estonian to us.  They were clearly Russians though.  The one kid who I am going to call Jerry for the purposes of the story, was talking to Elder Elmer, and saying a few things in broken English.  He was pretty short, had short brown hair and had a Brazilian soccer jersey on.  The other kid or Rasmos for story purposes, was about 6 feet tall, blonde hair, and he was smoking on the bus.  Believe it or not, that is even banned in Estonia.  He was a little bit tipsy and when we turned the corner he fell back against the door, and the door luckily didnt open, it just kind of opened out a little bit but springed back in.  The other 2 kids were just kind of over by themselves.  It was obvious they were all somewhat intoxicated with either alcohol or drugs or something.  The two kids off by themselves, or the followers of the crowd, may not have been as intoxicated.  Rasmos and Jerry were talking to us. 

 They knew we were Americans and that we were missionaries.  Even though we were dressed normally they knew we were with the other Elders.  The other Elders got off at the next stop to go to their lesson and we stayed on the bus.  Rasmos looked at my watch and said, "Oooh, look how blue your watch is!  Where did you get such a blue watch?"  I am pretty sure the face of my watch was tripping him out with whatever chemicals he was on.  He looked at my watch and said, "Let me try it on..."  I told him no, that he cant try it on, he can only look.  He insisted again that I let him try it on.  I told him no.  He demanded and I refused.  He started to grab at it and try and pull it off as he was saying, "Come on just let me try it on!"  He was getting extremely forceful and demanding and wasnt taking no for an answer.  His attitude was changing a little bit, and I didnt want there to be a problem so I finally told myself he could just try it on, and I hoped that this would avoid any problems.  He took it off my wrist and put it on his.  It didnt even fit him, and it barely snapped shut. We started to get closer to center, where we needed to get off and I told him, "Okay give me my watch back now."  He rolled down his sleeve and said, "What watch?"  I thought to myself, "He wouldnt dare, he doesnt realize who he is messing with."  It was immediately clear to me what was going on.  I told him to just give me the watch back and there wont be a problem.  He told me no again.  I told him I would call the cops if he doesnt give me the watch.  I also told him I wasnt going to leave without my watch.  

At this point Jerry got up and came over and grabbed me by the collar.  He looked me in the eyes and said "It WAS your watch, and you arent calling anyone!"  I somewhat chuckled inside that this little Jerry thought he could intimidate me.  They were just a bunch of punks.  Finally I went over to Rasmos, and grabbed him by the wrist.  I started to try and shimmy my watch off of his wrist.  He raised his fist and told me to get off of him.  He started backing away as I still had his wrist.  He kicked me in the middle of the bus and was getting frustrated that I wasnt going to just let him get off scotch free with my watch.  The interesting thing about the whole thing was that all this was happening and all of the many people on the bus were just watching.  Finally after I just kept telling Rasmos to give me the watch or I will call the cops, A lady said, "I will call the cops dont worry about it!"  When Rasmos saw that she was calling I think he got scared and it was right as we were pulling into center.  He backed off the bus, when the doors opened, and I still had his wrist.  We were on the ground now, and before I knew it Rasmos clocked me on the side of the head with his fist.  I kind of ducked to avoid another punch and he came from underneath and blasted me in the forehead/top of my head, with his elbow/forearm.  

I couldnt believe it.  The reality set in.  I was at the main bus station in Tartu, Estonia, in a fight.  I looked over out of the corner of my eye, and saw Jerry and Elder Broby in a fighting position.  Broby had his fists up by his face and Jerry was trying to swing at him.  We were in a brawl in the middle of Estonia with some Russians, over MY watch.  My first fight in my life, when I was a missionary.  My adrenaline got pumping but there wasnt much I could do.  Rasmos was just trying to run away and all I could do was hold on tight to his wrist and slowly wiggle my watch off.  In the mean time he clocked me a few more times to the head.  Somehow he distanced himself from me and kicked me on the side of the head as well.  At one point I saw Jerry coming after me for the double team and luckily Elder Broby shed him off, and took care of him the whole time.  Elder Broby was about twice his size.  Finally I bear hugged Rasmos from behind, held him tight and wiggled my watch off.  Once I got the watch, They all ran off, knowing the police would soon arrive.  I couldnt believe that Elder Broby and I were in a brawl in Estonia.  It was literally a brawl at the bus station with plenty of people watching. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


     How's it going? So guess what? I'm in MEXICO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have been here for 2.5 weeks sorry I haven't written yet but I'm really strapped for time here. I'm in a town called TAMAZUNCHALE and it is a very humble town but I love it haha. Spanish is coming slowly but surely and only with the help of the Savior. 

We have a very small branch here of like 30 and like 19 or 20 activos it is not like everyone thinks Mexico is. Everyone here is stauch catholic and we will be lucky to get a couple baptizms here in the next couple months. Sorry I don't have any pics my camera sorta broke but I'm working on it pronto haha. 

My comp Elder De La Fuente is a native Mexican that doesn't speak a lick of english so it is kinda hard to communicate but he's teaching me spanish and I'm teaching him english. So far I have taught him 'knawm sayn' which is slang for 'do you know what im saying', 'i hate my life', 'dont drop', and 'good morning bishop how are you today' hahaha!

well i gotta go
te amo mucho

Elder Hedin

Monday, September 6, 2010

Elder McGavin Update with a few old pics!...

 Kallid Sõbrad,
     A mission is a wonderful thing.  It is a new adventure, a new language, a new culture, a new life... The list goes on and on.  The word wonderful or "suurepärane" as it is said in Estonia is a good way to sum up a mission.  I have only been a missionary for about a year now, so I have only seen the first half of the blessings that come from doing the Lord's work.  I have learned some valuable lessons, that I otherwise wouldnt have learned with out becoming a missionary and coming to Estonia.  I have learned that God knows us all personally.  He knows each of our needs, and exactly what ways we need to grow.  He gives us certain experiences that prepare us to be better people.  He gives us tasks that he knows if we complete, we will untap some more of our full potential.  Life isnt easy and missionary life is definitely not the easiest part of a lifetime, but I have come to realize that this is truly where I belong, and where all young men this age belong.  

Estonia is a beautiful country, with a beautiful culture, and wonderful people.  The history here goes back centuries and centuries through years of occupation by other countries.  The general feel about religion is for the most part on the skeptical side.  It is hard for people to identify any good that religion has done for them here.  The longer I am here the more I can see from their viewpoint and feel for them as we try and address there concerns.  Missionary work here is difficult.  We are still able to see success though.  We are still able to see God's hand in our every day work as people are prepared to hear this gospel message.  

I had a recent confirmation that the Lord really is preparing people for us to teach.  We have been teaching a man and his living companion for a while now.  They have a little boy as well.  I contacted him on May 28th, 2010 so it was quite a while ago.  We taught them twice at the first and then they went on vacation for a while and couldnt meet.  It just seemed that they werent extremely interested but every time we called them they said we could meet and that they wanted to meet.  Just recently we started teaching them again.  Last week as we were at their housing talking to them, his companion started talking about things that are unexplainable.  She said that a few months ago he woke up one morning and told her the dream he had had the night before.  He saw a guy, whom he thought was God.  That was the first impression he had that he saw God in his dream.  The guy didnt speak to him, but when he woke up, he felt like God was trying to speak to him, trying to send him a message.  They discussed the dream and decided that it was something special, but didnt know what to think about it.  That was the morning of May 28th.  That day he took his son into the city and that is when I approached him and asked him if we could share a wonderful message from God about his restored church.  He willingly accepted and everything is history from there.  They are really taking this whole thing seriously by investigating the church.  They realize that this dream he had wasnt a coincidence.  They are wonderful and are coming along.  It made me realize though, that it wasnt a coincidence that I was right there, placed in his path.  It is a testimony that we always need to be working hard as missionaries, doing our best to always be talking to people.  We will never know who has been and who hasnt been prepared and therefore we need to talk to everyone and eliminate any chance.  

Miracles are evident in every day missionary work. Week to week we can notice the Lord's hand in the work.  For example, this last week was a wonderful week here in Tartu South.  We came off a good week the week before thinking it couldnt get much better.  We worked hard though, and the hard work paid off.  We were able to find a lot of new people who are interested in hearing about the gospel.  On Saturday we met with a young man.  I was going through my old planners calling people that had been contacted a couple months ago and I came across him.  We set up a lesson and met with him on Saturday.  He is a younger guy about 23 years old.  He is shy and held back but very humble.  As we started to talk with him he mentioned that he had been thinking about baptism lately.  We taught him about the restoration, and towards the end he said that he feels like everything is correct that we talked about.  He had a good feeling about it.  Luckily we had a member with us and he was able to explain to him that that was the Holy Ghost testifying to him about the truth of this message.  We asked the investigator at the end of the lesson if he would follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone holding the proper authority from God.  He said he will.  We set a date for October 2nd.  On Sunday we had 23 lessons at 7 pm at night.  The exact same number from the week before.  My companion and I were very pleased with this, but we looked at each other and said, "We have to get one more.  There has got to be someone out there that wants to be taught and hear about the gospel, someone that can be brought closer to Christ."  We were determined to get one more.  We said a prayer before we walked out the door and we asked that we could find someone to teach.  I dont know about my companion, but I had the idea that I wasnt going to come back in until we had found that person.  I am pretty sure my companion had the same thought.  So we went out and starting heading towards the teaching center.  We started to make our guesses on how tall the man was going to be that we teach.  What color of hair he is going to have.  How old he will be.  We were ready as can be to find someone who was ready to find us.  We got into center and starting talking to some people.  After about 5 minutes a man walked up who had been an investigator referral a while ago.  We never had the chance to talk to him.  He looked a lot different than our guesses had been but I knew he was the one we needed to teach.  He was willing to talk and we ended up having a wonderful lesson.  He must have thanked us numerous times for our willingness to talk to him.  He said he gets really bored here without his family.  He really enjoys talking to people and he is thankful that we are his friends.  

It was a great lesson for me to see the hand God has in everything.  We were able to pray in faith that we could find just one more person to teach before the end of the week and our prayer was immediately answered.  We were able to end the week with a slam dunk, being on a spiritual high, knowing we did our part this week to find those prepared for the gospel.  I know that this is the true church.  I think maybe that is the largest lesson I have learned in my first year as a missionary.  I know when I talk to people about this gospel, that it is the truth, the truth restored the Joseph Smith.  I would advise anyone considering going on a mission to not consider it but to just do it.  Work hard, and get about a year into the field and you will know why you did it.  It is sometimes hard to imagine the future, especially a future as a missionary, but it is even harder once you are a missionary to imagine the past without your past as a missionary.  Ma tean et see kirik on õige.  Mina olen tänulik oma tunnistuse eest, oma perekonna eest ja oma koguduse eest.  Ma tean et kui meie usaldame Jumalat, me suudame teha kõiki asju.  (I know that this church is true.  I am thankful from my own testimony, family and ward.  I know that when we trust God, we are able to do all things.)  Always do what would please God and you will find that this is most pleasing unto you as well.  I am not a Lord of the Rings fan, but this is a good quote that can be compared to Joshua 1.
"I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields, when the age of men comes crashing down, but it is not this day. This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West!"
We must never give up in a time of adversary.  We must always fight, fight for what is right.  Fight for the true Church of Jesus Christ on the earth today.  Always stay strong and never, ever give up.
Vanem McGavin 
With Love,
Elder McGavin
с любовью,
старейшниа мкгэвин


Elder Heaton in Week 38 of his mission.

Well I've been here for quite some time and now I understand the poem Brother Leslie shared with us at the mtc. "To some there comes a call to love a land, a race, a nation, not their own.." This place really is home now. I love it so much. There is nothing like this work it truly grabs a hold of you and takes you away. You get lost in it. It's like I'm out working Wednesday, then the next morning, I'm emailing all of you. The time is zooming by just as I said it has and predicted that it would go faster. 

I realize the importance of loving the people everyday. Because these aren't just a bunch of filipinos. They are my brothers and sisters. In the plan of Heavenly Father, we are his family he wants us all to be with him. How can it happen if there isn't any missionary work? Temple work? Or a restored gospel? How can the Lord be merciful if everyone doesn't have an opportunity to hear the gospel? That is why we are here. "to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the holy ghost and enduring to the end" 

I love this work so much. It has brought me so much joy there is nothing like it. There is nothing like it because this work is not of human its God's work here on earth. Think; Christ was a carpenter when he lived here. Isn't there divine symbolism there? He is building his masterpiece here on earth and we are his tool box. But tools don't mean a thing if they are broken. Therefore we must be our best and do our best. Strive for perfection and doing what the Lord wants. Not just as missionaries but as sons and daughters of God. I love you all and hope you take a moment and ponder what the Savior has done for you. How much he loves you and cares for you.

-Elder Heaton

Philippines Bacolod Mission