Monday, August 26, 2013

Week 38: Raining Hard in Mexico Tampico Mission

well well well.. Alright week this week! Not much happening, expect pouring rain about everyday this week! I have been drenched the lie! The streets here turn into rivers haha its kinda crazy but makes it way dificult to cross the street without getting your shoes wet!

Monday night we have a actividad de rama (Branch activity) It was actually fun. You know why? Because us missionaries had to plan the whole thing! So we did a sketch on how a family home evening should be. With us four missionaries acting like the family. Then we had sketchs in the sketch that we did about profets. SO we included all the members that came. Me and one of my comps took one group and the others took the other. WE acted about Noes ark with me being Noeh! haha lets just say i had a lot of fun being him. And i had prsident of the rama as my son and we built the ark and the rest of the group were the animals haha it was pretty funny. My comp took a video but its too long to send.

On wednesday the zone leaders came all the way here to do divisions with us. I dont know if its me or not but it seems like everytime we do divisions we get nothing accomplished. All of our citas fell through and only ended up teaching 2 lessons.  My comp and i average about 4 to 6 lessons a day! 

But the zone leader brought letters and packages with him!! oh yeah and most of them were for me haha I got a letter from wendi, brandon, grandma and grandpa mcpherson, A package from dad (dont understand what a stig is¿) and a package from grandma mac with the best treats i have gotten here on my mission. Those penaut butter rice crsipy treats with cholocate on top...OH BABY!! Its like gold here!

On friday we went to victoria for interviews with president! It was good to talk with him and see the other elders in our zone. Because we are so far away from everyone. My old comp, Elder Flores, that i was in a trio with. He is the asistant to the president now! Crazy. We were there all day and didnt get back here until 8 at night. 

The bus right back was the worst. Because we bought our tickets a little late so there were no seats avaible so we had to buy standing seats (yeah the sell those here) So we were standing along with 30 other people haha i was standing for about 2 hours until i had a chance to seat done for the 3 hour bus ride.

Then yesterday at church was the conference of the branch. And pres. Jordan and his wife came and spoke. It was a really good talk what pres spoke. He read a scripture in the DC about the work and how it will grow and be right before the 2nd coming. and then he said that when pres Monson changed the age (for missionaries) he said that that scripture was being fillfuled in that moment. Oh yeah!!

Well anyways that was my week. Didnt do much today studied, slept, and now writing. And its been raing since 7 this morning haha I love you family:)

Elder McNamara

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Week 37: Working Hard and Helping Others

Hey family....
Well i opened up my email and then i see some pictures of mom and julie at the A game then i see an email that says New York City.....What!!! So i say a loud...What the heck?! 

My family went to New York...without me! Then the other american Elder starts laughing haha saying im sorry Elder, i gues they waited for you  to leave to go to new york. 

Im actually kinda jealous, i have always wanted to go to New York City. I have only been to the Pagent thing for the church there in New York but nowhere close to New York City. 

Anyways thats so awesome that you mom and julie and brad got to go to New York. The pictures look so cool and awesome! 

Then i got some pictures of katie at college! Looking better than ever. Everyone is just having such a good time. Im happy!
Well this week went pretty well. Im loving the misión. My comp and i always just joke around and talk about everything which is nice. He is a Little crazy...well so am i so its all good. We have been getting a lot of work done, finding more less active members that i have never met, teaching a lot of lessons. The days go by pretty fast and i am always SOO tired at the end of the day that i literally just past out on my bed after we plan for the next day.
We have been visiting this one sister who is so awesome. I honestly love her. She is a bigger women but has the best laugh i have ever heard. It just makes me laugh ever time she laughs. She pretty much started the church here in S. La M. There were Elders here about 25 years ago and she was baptized in that period but then they closed the área and she kept the church going in her house. They would have the meeting in her house with 3 familys. She would teach the first class then the other women would teach the relief society. They werent any men with the preisthood so they didnt have sacrament. BUt they did that for about 10 years then they re opened the área and the church slowely grew in this área! Its a really interesting story. She told it to us friday!

Well right now she is having some hard times so we go and visit her through out the week to help her around the house and stuff. But her son is in active and has been for awhile. But we set up a lesson with him for saturday. And he was actually there which surprised his mom. She told us that he always, ALWAYS cancels with the elders but for some reason he didnt. He is a really cool guy. 

So we were talking for a bit then we started the lesson with a prayer. After it ended i dont know why but i got nervous all of the sudden. So my comp started the lesson and teaching. We figured out some things from his life before. That he was living in Monterrey for 5 years, he had a wife and converted her and her children she had and they are still active. And he has helped a lot of people to the góspel. But 5 years ago he came back here because they seperated. And he kinda fell away from  the church. 

My comp started teaching the story about Enoc and how the city went up to heaven. But the part where Enoc saw in a visión the future of the world and saw God crying and he asked why, your god and you are perfect and a saint. You have no need to cry, so why are your crying? Then God responded and said that they are his children and they are killing each other and not following me. He went on eplaining that. I was looking at the guy. And i had no idea what i could say to him. But i just wanted to cry by looking at his face. Because i have never seen so much pain and sorrow in a persons face before. My comp finished and looked at me, so i would actually say something. I started baring my testimony to him but during that i got the feeling to tell him about the story of Michael. SO i started and the whole time i felt the spirit telling it to him. And his eyes were set on what i was saying. And i could see that he started to tear up. It was prowerful. Then i testified that God is always there and we can always change. Doesnt matter about our past we can always repent and God is there to take us back in. 

After i said all of those things he opened up to us and told us that he still reads the book of mormon and reads other things of the church. But right now he is going through a test and that its so so so difficult for him. That he got into drinking and he said it has made him senseless to things of life. He said that he is stuck in a whole and its hard for him to get out. It was so powerful. He wants to change and we are going to help him! After the lesson we went up to his moms house because i wanted to tell her something. So we go and i touch her on her arm and i said that i know that your son is going to come back. I know it. She just said thanks Elder, i think its time too.
While we were walking back to our house i was thinking about the lesson and i told my comp that i have never seen so much pain in a persons face before and i just started to tear up. If i could help this guy get back before i leave this área i will be so happy!
Anyways that was my week for you all! I love you all so much. Every single one of you guys!
Elder McNamara 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Week 36: Teaching with the Spirit

Well well well.....This week has probably been the best week of my mission!!!  

Im not even joking. It was awesome! My new comp Elder Nieto is so wierd but i like it because im wierd too. Hes really obedient to the fact that in the morning ( waking up on time is one of my problems i have) exactly at 6 30 he goes turns on the lights and then starts poking my arm until i fully wake up! haha so he is on top of things. 

So this week was pretty awesome like i said. I had to lead the area to teach my comp and have him meet the members in our area and stuff like that. He has the same time as me in the mission but he is such a good teacher. Kinda talks alot but he is a good teacher. I honestly dont know what happened to me but my spanish this week has improved a million times better. I become more out going with the people and just laugh more and laugh at myself when i say something wrong in spanish! I dont know what happened by this week i have been so much happier than before! 

The lessons that we have had this week were the best too. I want to tell you guys about one. SO we went a less active memebres house, her name is Gladys and she 14 but looks like she has 22 haha 

so we started teaching her about the 2000 stripling warriors, thats definatley my favorite story in the book of mormon. We taught her how they were strong and firm in the faith of christ and had courage and werent affraid to go to battle because they had faith in god. The stripture that i love from that story (Alma 56: 45 to 46) is when they respond to Helaman and say to him, father, our god is with us and he wont allow us to fall, so let us advance! awesome that stripture. 

So we taught all about that and it was a good lesson so my comp was saying some stuff to end the lesson and while he was talking i got an impresion to just ask her how she felt in that moment. I thought about it and kinda brushed it off a little then the impresion came again. Ask her how she feels. So when my comp finihsed talking i went ahead and asked the simple question...Como se siente ahora?...and then she just opened up to us and explained to us all the problems she is having right now, and how she feels alone most of the time, and her family doesnt really support her in the church because she is the only member. She went on for about 15 minutes. 

I have never met a young 14 year old girl with problems like she has. I felt so bad for her and while she was talking i was listening but thinking at the same time..what in the world can i say to her?...But i just kept listening and just before she stopped talking i got another impresion talk about the life of Jesus Christ. So she stopped talking and both my compnion and i were at a lost of words. SO after a few seconds i started talking about Christ. I told her when jesus was here the people rejected him. Before he died he suffered the pain of every pain of every person. He paid for everyone of our sins. Then after that he was judged and was tortured. The people said horrible things to him, spit on him, hit him, and no one was by his side. Then he was crucified and there he felt even more pain. and still no one was there. Then i told her how much Heavenly Father loves her and how he knows exactly how she feels.

Oh my gosh. While i was saying that to her i felt the spirit so strong the whole time. I didnt even worry about the spanish. It came out perfectly! I was speaking with the spirit and it was awesome. The first time i had that happen to me! She started crying and she felt a lot better. When ended the lesson and left and i told my comp that was the first time i spoke with the spirit.

Well so that was one of my experience i had this week that just made it awesome! On sunday i had to teach sunday school to all the members! And i did and it was fun! i was so nervous the night before because i thought i wasnt going to be able to do it and stuff by my comp helped me out and we ended up teaching the class together. I taught half and he taught half. Just imagine me in front of a class slowly walking back and forth, teaching in spanish...yep thats what i did! haha i felt pretty cool.
Welt that was a little bit about my week. I loved it and i cant wait for the week too! I love all of you guys so much!

Elder McNamara

PS to Dad:

Hey dad! You dont need to worry about a thing. Yes they changed the policy back when i was in my first area. That we could contact someone if we felt like we should. The presidnet called me on friday or thursday afternoon telling me that he had talked to you and stuff. Im all good and safe here.

My comp is really obedient and funny and wierd. The house we live in is 2 stories and behind other house. Well its like part of 4 different houses. The mickey mouse things are in the other house above the church where the other elders live! haha i dont know why. The house is to ourselves!

I havent gotten your package. On p day there isnt really anything to do here! Its pretty boring. Just sleep, write, write emails, eat out then yeah its all done!

Well dad i love you. Im loving it here!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Week 35: David McNamara is 20 Years Old Today!

I'M 20!!!!!!  Woooohooo.  

I'm no longer a little teenager. I'm a Man now thats on a mission. (Literally) Well heres how my birthday went today. Woke up at 6 to my 2 comps singing happy birthday to me, the mexican version, with them jumping on me and screaming happy birthday in english. Then we got on the bus to tampico because there were transfers today in the mission! It was about a 3 hour bus ride to tampico. Oh both my comps that i had left and now i have a new companion! His name is Elder Nieto, he is from Ecaudor and he is the new district leader here.

Well so i got off the bus and found my comp and the other new elders in the little town. and then we left about 10 minutes after i got there.  Another 3 hour bus ride. So thats about what i did today for my birthday. Sit on a bus. haha sounds fun right?

I got a ton of emails today from all you guys and the christensens!  I love you guys.
This past week was alright. Taught some good lessons. None really that sticks out to me. But we went to Victoria on monday and again on thursday. So a lot of traveling. I dont mind it so much. It gives me a lot to think about.

Im excited for this next transfer. With my new comp. He is more obedient which is good and will help a lot. So i get to teach him and the other elders whats up here in the town. All the members and less actives and the investigators. I honestly dont know what to say. Sorry! BUt i still cant believe that im 20 now. Its kinda wierd i remember when we moved to utah when i barel turned 17 haha nows its been 3 years! Time sure goes by way fast.

Well i just want to share a cool quote with you guys, its....Dreams are the Goals, Dedication is the Journey...I heard that and loved it. I thought it was pretty cool.

Well im doing good. Excited for this transfer. Im happy and i love you all and love being a missionary..most of the time.  It gets hard but its only making me stronger.

Love you all!!!,

Elder 20 year old

Email Elder David McNamara at:

Mexico LDS Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Week 35: David's Brother, Michael's Birthday Message (Video)

Michael wanted to prove to David, who didn't believe him, that he could indeed squat at least 435 lbs.    So, here it is ...from Michael McNamara .... Happy Birthday David!   haha

Week 35: David's Dad's Email on David's Birthday

The following is David's Dad's email to him for his birthday today:

Feliz Cumpleaños  .....Happy Birthday David!  
Hey, hey, hey .... 20 Years Old, Today!!   :)

I know that it doesn't seem much like a celebration for you while you are on your mission, but believe me, .... we ALL are thinking of you today (more than usual) on your birthday.   No longer a teenager. Ha!

Michael, Brandon, and Julianne are down with me (from yesterday) for a few days.  We're going to celebrate your birthday today (I'll send you pictures).    I don't know what we're going to do today for your birthday, but it will be in honor of you.  :)

Only one more birthday away, then you'll be in the home stretch.  That will be good.  Of course, it's already good because you're there.  You're there making a difference.  I know at times it may not feel like you make much of a difference, but believe me, you do.

You make a difference in your own life, as well as others' lives.  Just the mere fact that people see you makes a difference.  A smile makes a difference.  If these small things make a difference, and you are representing the Lord and His Church just by being there, then how much more are you making a difference when you help others feel more love, and find peace in their lives? 

Everybody is on a spiritual journey here on Earth.  They are here to experience different things, and they move at their own pace, learning things along the way.  Some people you will be able to nudge a little closer along their journey, and others, you'll be able to help take a big step towards their salvation.   

Just remember, EVERYTHING matters!!

You matter.  You being there matters.  Your mission matters now, and through eternity.   So, despite it being your birthday, and missing Katie, you being there matters.   Be proud of yourself for who you are, and what you are doing.  Be patient with yourself and with others, as that spiritual quality matters ....that of patience.

Boy, I think back 20 years ago today.  The day you were born.  What a day that was.   The family had just moved down from Washington, D.C., as I just finished my ob/gyn residency at the end of June.  We moved into our newly-built home, our first home we owned, in Alpharetta, GA over the Fourth of July holiday. 

I just started working in my private practice, based at Northside Hospital (where you were born).  A month later, the evening of August 4th, we were with other doctors, their families, and office staff employees at a Braves' game.   We parked so far away, and your mother and I had to walk quite a distance.  She was three weeks away from her due date.  I offered to drop her off at the stadium, but she wanted to walk, because she was getting eager to deliver you, and knew that walking could help start labor.

On the way back to the car after the ball game she started having contractions, and then went into labor early in the morning of August 5th.  You were delivered in the morning (I don't remember the exact time, but your mom probably does). 

I remember how excited I was.  I felt so much love for you, my new-born son. I was so proud, and happy for your mother and me.   I was watching the nursery staff who were there cleaning you up within the labor-delivery-recover room.  Your mom's doctor (my partner), Dr. Kelley Dopson, who had just delivered you was still working on your mother. 

Within the first 2 minutes, I noticed that you were working a little too hard to breathe.  I made a comment saying as much, and the nursery staff reassured me that you were doing well, keeping up your oxygenation.   A few minutes later, I mentioned it again, and again they reassured me.

Then, I noticed that your breathing was a bit asymmetric, ...that one side of your chest seemed to be working harder than the other was ever so slight, and I noticed that you were working harder than before to breathe, was slight, but I noticed it.

AGAIN, the nursery staff reassured me, but, I turned and mentioned the issue to my partner, Dr. Dopson.   To reassure me, she asked the nurses to call the respiratory team from pediatrics to come assess you.   I felt better about that.

They came, examined you, watched you, ... I watched them watch you.  They listened to your chest, checked your oxygenation, etc.  And, after about 3 minutes said, "I think he's doing fine.  He just needs some time to adjust, but he's doing fine."   I had a sick feeling about what they were saying.  The best way to say it, is that it didn't feel right ...what was going on, and what they were saying didn't feel true.  Instead of feeling reassured, I felt more concerned.

I felt they were not seeing what I was seeing, and I said, "look at how he's breathing seems to be asymmetrical ... one side is working harder than the other."  They answered, "he's holding his oxygenation fine."  I could see the monitor as well ... 

I was trying to not step on toes.   I was only there at the hospital, and in practice for only a month, and I knew I was slightly annoying the respiratory team of nurses and a nurse practitioner by continuing to question their assessment of your breathing.

I said as nicely as I could, "yeah, I can see that he's keeping his oxygenation up, but I don't like how hard he's working to do so."   They said, "we don't see that."

Finally, my partner, Dr. Dopson, who heard all this going on, asked the respiratory team if they could take you up and be checked out by the nursery critical care pediatrician.    The respiratory nurse practitioner rolled her eyes at the whole thing, ...I'm sure she was thinking that they all just needed to humor a new, nervous doctor at the hospital.

I followed the team as they transported you upstairs to the nursery, not yet the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit), but not the regular nursery, either.  You were brought to the in-between nursery.   They asked me to wait just outside the nursery in one of the nurses' room.  (Parents don't normally go there, but since I was a doctor on staff at the hospital I was allowed to go into the nurses station next to the nursery.)

The respiratory nurse practitioner didn't know I could hear her make the call to the NICU pediatrician.   I heard her say, "We have a new ob/gyn on staff who is concerned about his baby's breathing."   A pause, ...then, kind of with some annoyance in her voice .... "yeah, his oxygen is fine.  He looks good to me ...the father just keeps saying he's worried."    It was clear that I had annoyed her, and I felt embarrassed, ...and, I thought to myself, that I didn't want to make waves, but I had no choice.

I could hear that she finished with the call, and said to the other nurses, with a sarcastic and annoyed tone of voice, "okay, the doctor wants to reassure the father that the baby is okay, ....go ahead and get a chest x-ray."

I waited near by.  It was a few minutes, and the mobile x-ray unit was wheeled near your basinet, ....the nurses and x-ray tech, and others were just talking as they went about in a relaxed fashion ... and I heard again, "yeah, we're doing this to reassure the father ...I don't think it's necessary, but maybe the father will leave us alone after this."   Again, I felt embarrassed, and started to question myself that I had been concerned; after all, these nurses and respiratory technicians do this all the time for years ....and I didn't have as much experience with newborns as all these nurses and specialists.  I wanted the everything to be okay too, but I couldn't shake the feeling.

Then, within 4 or 5 minutes after the x-ray, I could hear the respiratory nurse practitioner on the phone with the NICU doctor speak in an urgent and concerned tone, "the baby has a left pneumothorax ... we're going to move him to the NICU .... okay, okay.... sure."   She got off the phone, "the doctor is coming, ...get the surgical kit, ...quick ... let's move this baby to the NICU."

I could hear 6 or 7 nurses scamper about quickly getting things, and moving your basinet unit to the NICU, in the next room ...  I saw the NICU doctor running towards, and then into the NICU. ... and I was scared.  
Instead of being relieved that they were doing something, now I was scared that something bad was happening, ...worse than I thought.   I guess it was a mixed feeling.  I did NOT want to be right, I wanted to make sure you were taken care of, and I was glad that they were getting the team to work on you, but scared that they needed to work on you, and I heard the nurse report on the phone,  "pneumothorax," which is what I was concerned about.

I heard the team in the NICU, and peaked through a small slit in the blinds of the window, .... I had to stay out of the way, but I could see the team around your unit.   I prayed.  With tears in my eyes, I prayed.  I had already been praying up to this point, but now I prayed with just as much urgency as the team was taking care of you.

Your mom was downstairs in recovery, continuing to ask about you, ...and I was upstairs near you, ...wanting to go down to be with your mom, but not wanting to leave where I could hear what was going on.   I wanted to be there when the NICU doctor came out.  I didn't want to be downstairs with your mom and miss the doctor; so, I called down to your mother who was worried sick.   I told her what was going on, and she cried. 

Grandma Donovan was already on her way that day.  It was just a coincidence that you were born on the day she was planning on coming already.  I had to pick her up from the airport soon.  I was concerned about that, because I didn't want to leave for the airport with you in the NICU.

Finally, about 45 minutes later, the NICU doctor came out and talked with me.  He told me what was going on, and that you were stable, but in quite a bit of danger, and would be for a while.  And he said, "It was a good thing the team picked this up early, as this could have been much worse."

On the outside you couldn't see what I was thinking ... "sure, ...what the "team picked up early," ... I would give him a break since he wasn't there to hear me make a pest of myself since the first 2 minutes after you were born.  I wasn't mad, just upset over the whole situation.  So many emotions.

The NICU doctor allowed me to get close to your unit, and I then saw all the tubes ... the IV tubes, one in one of your umbilical veins, the other in your umbilical artery.  A tube in your nose, going to your stomach.  And, of course, the tube in your chest.  The NICU doctor was explaining everything to me.  I felt sick.  I've seen this before during my NICU rotation in my training at George Washington Medical Center in Wash, D.C., but now, it was MY SON, who was there, so helpless and fragile. 

I felt love, compassion, and hurt for you, ...for me, ... for your mother.   I went downstairs to talk to your mom.  We hugged and cried.  I reassured her, but, I was still scared.

Shortly after that I left to get Grandma Donovan at the airport.  I brought her to the hospital to be with your mother.

They finally allowed your Mom and I to go back into the NICU, and touch your head, your hands.  There we cried.  There we prayed. 

You were in the NICU for several days.  Your Mom was in the hospital for at least 2 days.  While in her hospital room, after visiting you in the NICU, your Mom cried again with me, saying, "I can't do this again, Ladd.  I can't go through this again.  We almost lost Brandon, and then now, with David, it hurts too much.  I always wanted a girl, but, we'll just have to be a family with 3 boys."  

I knew she was upset and scared, ...and I knew now wasn't the time to make that decision, but it also wasn't a time to say anything different than, "I understand.  Whatever you want.  It will be okay."   Of course, that changed a few years later when your Mom had her own experience, and knew it was time for Julianne to join the family here on Earth.

You received a few priesthood blessings while in the NICU; from myself and our bishop and counselor; and again, after g'pa and g'ma McNamara came.  We visited you several times throughout the day, and after what seemed like days, some of the tubes came out and we were allowed to hold you, ...your Mom was again allowed to hold you.  She was aching to hold you again.  I don't recall if she was able to hold you immediately after you were born, but if so, it wasn't longer than a minute. 

Your Mom has a much better memory about these things than I do, but this is from my perspective.  You may want to keep this record, as this is the first time I wrote this up ...this part of your life; of your entrance into the world 20 years ago, today. 

I love you so much, and ache to see you and hug you again, as I did the day you were born.   I am glad you are there in Mexico, serving the Lord.  You came from the Lord's presence 20 years ago, ... you have been blessed by the Lord throughout your life, and you are now serving the Lord full-time; paying your "life's tithing," 10% of your life until now serving 2 years for Him.

Happy Birthday, David.  I am so proud of you, my son.  I am so blessed to have you as my son.

Eternally yours,