Come Follow Me

Come Follow Me
"And he saith unto them, "Come and follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." (Matt. 4:19) As the New Year begins, we, the members of the Willow Wood Ward, invite you to Come and Follow Him!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Elder McCade Tracy

March 17, 2014
I really don't like how fast these weeks are going by, actually I don't like how this entire year has gone by so fast! Just last year I was going through my last day in the MTC before flying out to Kentucky at 4 am, simply wow. This week was definitely better than last week :) Yes, Happy St. Patrick's day and a snowy one at that, I am wearing green and I wore green yesterday too ;)
This week was far better than last week as we doubled our success in teaching, we made contact with some very solid former investigators, they lost contact for about two months before yesterday and we've got a few other high potentials that we'll be meeting with the first week of April :) Traye did not make it to church sadly, as far as we know he's still on track for the 29th and we'll know more tonight when we meet with him.
Yes, I'm pretty jealous of you going on a stinkin' cruise! But to be honest, I wouldn't want to be anywhere but here in Kentucky on my mission and meeting the wonderful people that I'm supposed to meet here at this time. Make sure you take a lot of pictures and just simply have fun because it only lasts for a short time :)
The teaching pool is beginning to expand slowly but surely, we actually made contact with the former's yesterday and found a new investigator despite the snow storm yesterday :) It was a welcome change this week, after talking with President on how I could go about this differently and from a Zone meeting that we had last week helped me to re-focus and pay attention to what really is important and just being led by the Spirit has been such a giant help with everything! I know that I have a lot of work to do, and I will be able to use the things that I've learned from the past year to help me change in any way that is needful for the next year :)

High - Just being able to teach more people! I felt like my efforts were not wasted this week!
Low - Not having Traye at church, as well as the snow hitting again.... I want the warmth already!
Before yesterday it was beautiful and it was very nice to bike around but this week should warm up again so cross your fingers!
Yesterday, we had just made contact with a former, and in walking back to our bikes we saw a lady carrying her laundry, we offered to help but she said no. So being missionaries, we continued the conversation and asked if she wanted to say a prayer with us and she accepted. After the prayer, she talked about how she's seen God's hand in her life and we started talking about how God loves us so He calls a prophet (this whole time she was agreeing with what we were saying) we introduced the Book of Mormon and she accepted a copy and that she'd read it! I cannot wait to begin to meet with her and help her boys grow up with a knowledge of God and His love for us all. We set a time to return at the start of April, she works at a college and they're moving from normal text books to e-books so there's a lot to do for that :) We've got a lot of great things that are in view for this area, as long as we follow the Spirit I know that we'll know what they need to here when we meet with them :)
Thank you for doing all of this... Thank you for being such a huge support to me and helping me through all the rough times and the joyful times of my life and my mission, I love you and miss you like crazy!
Love your Son and Missionary,
Elder McCade Tracy

March 24, 2014
Yes, another week has speedily come and gone so quickly! We were able to have a much better week than in the past, we saw a huge miracle this week as we tracted randomly after trying a couple people that we met in the last couple weeks. 
It's just starting to warm up a little bit more, but there is still some tough and cold weather that is right around the corner. Hopefully it's not too bad, and it'll warm up near the end of the week and finally stay warm and start the summer :) We've had a pretty bad winter, and an odd one at that so we will be having an interesting summer as well. Traye did not come to church, and he has seemed to fall off the deep end and not want to really meet or quit smoking.... We're hopefully going to meet with him today and see what we can do with him.It's a constant struggle to keep up the teaching pool, especially in St. Matthews, because a lot of people have told us repeatedly that they're fine with where they are.. So it's a bit difficult to get through to people while we're here.

I'm doing all that I can to see the good in each day no matter what happens during the day and throughout the week.
High - Finding four new investigators in a matter of 2 1/2 hours on Tuesday! We tried a couple people and then started walking down the street, as we got near the end Elder Engstrom turned into the last apartment complex, and me not really knowing where the members, formers or LA are asked "Who are we trying to see here?" he responded "Nobody. This is just a random door." So we began to knock and see what happened. In the end we were an answer to someones prayers in needing us to stop by and pray with/for them specifically. It was very nice to see something good come out of our weeks of struggling to find someone to teach!
Low - Not getting anyone to church, and that we haven't had much progress with our investigators.
The spiritual experience was the new investigators in a short amount of time, I was able to see the Lord's hand in a lot of things this week. I saw His hand in helping us reach out to people who really needed a prayer as well as letting people know what we're doing out here and what our message truly consists of.
I love you all so much and miss you more each day! I know that you have been blessed because of your efforts and because of your sacrifices on my behalf.
Love your Son and Missionary,
Elder McCade Tracy

March 31, 2014
I'm doing really well! This last week has been a great one for sure! Also, transfers are this Tuesday but don't worry because I'm staying put in St. Matthews for at least one more! We did get a few days of cold weather but it's all good now because it's supposed to be mid to upper 70's this whole week! Haha, at least you were able to get out and walk while it was warm!
 We had 3 at church this week!!!!! We had Traye, Shelly (Trayes mom) and Jim Harralson, it was Shelly's and Jim's first time at church and the Spirit was very strong all throughout! Jim told us that he's planning on making this a regular thing we've just got to get him over smoking which will be a little difficult because he tells us that he's "too addicted to quit" but I don't doubt that we'll get him baptized this transfer :) Things are going good with Traye again, he's going to be living the word of wisdom from now on and as far as we know he's been living it for a full week now so hopefully in a couple weeks we'll have a baptism again!
The teaching is going well, and it continues to get better each day, it's still a little tough with some cases as we try and find more to teach but we're being blessed with our efforts in finding people who would like us to stop by again to just get to know us and we've met a lot of Seminary students who want to talk and see where we're coming from instead of taking what the internet says about us or even the "Book of Mormon" play that'll be coming in a few weeks I think. Other than that things are going pretty well :)
High - Having more people to teach and having three people at Church!
Low - not being able to make contact with our promising potentials
I will answer the other questions later, I'm out of time so I just want to thank you for all that you do on my behalf, thank you for all your love and support!
Love your Son and Missionary,
Elder McCade Tracy

April 7, 2014

Conference was amazing!!!!!
 It is truly amazing how fast time flies, I was talking to one of the sisters that I came out with that's in my zone right now, and just realizing that the third conference weekend of our missions has come and gone. It's also odd to think that the sisters that came out with me will be home for the October conference! Now I definitely feel like an old missionary, yes only at 13 months am I feeling really old ;) We did have two investigators attend conference, sadly it was only for the Sunday sessions but it was still good :) We had members homes available to us for yesterday, so we watched conference with Traye at one of the members homes and we had Jim at the other session and another member home :) It was great to hear their feedback on what they felt and what stood out to them during the session :)
The last week was actually pretty good, with the warm weather and with a lot of faith we saw some success out of tracting in the rain :) We started to tract in an area that is a bit wealthier than most places, and I had the feeling that we needed to go there at the end of last transfer and made it a goal to start this transfer. So far we've seen some success in that general area and doors are beginning to be opened throughout the area it seems like, that tells me that our efforts are for good and that God does see our intents and our hard work and will bless us as we put forth our best effort to spread His work :) It was so nice to finally ride a bike without a coat and to get some much needed sun on the arms :)
Our investigators are progressing some what right now, Jim is still smoking and even though he wants to make church attendance a regular thing he still won't do all he can to quit smoking. Basically, he doesn't have the faith in himself that he can quit. With Traye, we will be turning him over to the assistants because we feel that he'll progress better towards baptism with them and since he'll be turning 18 this month and graduating as well we really did not have much time left to work with him.
I learned that if we come to conference with questions that they will be answered in one way or another as we diligently seek. I feel that I now have a better understanding of what I need to do so that I can be the best priesthood holder I can be and that will lead me to becoming a better husband and father down the road. I'm also beginning to figure out and seeing what my best options are for work when I get home, I'm still focused on the work and why I am needed out here, but lately my mind has been looking forward and weighing the different paths I can take that will set me up to get my feet on the ground and then in turn support Dallin and Tre as they are on their missions :)
High- The majority of my questions were answered during the Saturday and Priesthood sessions of Conference, it boggled my mind and really changed my out look on taking notes for conference, having questions really does make conference a much better experience and makes it more than just watching and half way listening to the leaders of the Church.
Low - Just the continuation of people rejecting us and not wanting to hear the message of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ
I knew that you would take heed to that invitation to read and study Preach My Gospel, it's a much needed resource and a BIG help to understand fully the doctrine of the gospel and really just get back to the simplicity that Christ taught, I know that through this you will be blessed and more doors will open to you and the family as we all try to spread the gospel, just as I have studied, I have had many of my friends who are not members come to my mind that I will get back into contact with in hopes of helping them see more of why I did this and how it will bless them in their lives moving forward.
I've thought about the last year so much over the past month and the transition and changes in myself is straight ridiculous! I never thought I would be at the point that I am. I never realized that I could have such an impact on people. I have taken record of my feelings and thoughts in my journal and I've sneaked a few peaks at my first journal and the difference is very substantial.  I love you and thank you for all that you do on my behalf, you have taught me in righteousness, you and dad have set the example for me in how to have a marriage that will last into the eternities :)
Love your Son and Missionary,
Elder McCade Tracy

April 14, 2014
We had a really good week despite the crazy Thunder over Louisville crowds :) Yup, my bike is all fixed up, they actually called us the next day and said that it was all done! Now it runs like new, which is a big help being in an all bike district.
This week was a much better week than the last, we had Jim come to church this week which makes is his third time, counting conference, and he's on board for making church a regular thing :) We'll be even busier after these last two days, we've gained a handful of people to begin teaching from tracting, contacting and just trying formers/ potentials when there isn't much left to do in the day. We've found that simply asking for miracles to happen throughout the day come to pass, and we find the elect people of God who are ready to listen and follow through to find out for themselves :)
My allergies have been held at bay so far, right now it's not really effecting me right now, the weather has been really interesting in the past few days.. It was at 84 Sat-Sun and now it's about 55 and raining :) So it's been a really interesting spring this year, it wasn't this odd last year and I remember my allergies got bad right around the time we met Keisha for the first time which was the weekend after Mother's Day. So if history holds true, I will take extra precaution by then :)
I've learned that we have to let a whole lot of things into the Lords hands when it comes to having people return to the church, this might be something that helps them out because since they have you there reminding and inviting them a lot of the time and when that influence leaves. They take it upon themselves to get to where they know that they need to be :) we've done this with multiple investigators that aren't keeping their commitments so we stop going by for a few weeks and eventually they come around and tell us that they want to start meeting again because they noticed that the Spirit was gone completely without us there.
High - Finding new people to teach, having Jim at church, and having more of out investigators progress and keep their commitments as they do their part in coming to know if the church is true :)
Low - Having solid appointments fall through when we're with a member
A really awesome experience just happened yesterday, over the last little while as we've met with Jim, I've had the impression to give him a blessing in calling upon the powers of heaven to help him quit smoking. Yesterday, the opportunity really presented itself and we were able to give him a blessing. It ranks up there with the most powerful and spiritual blessings that I've ever given.... As the words came to me, all the noise of outside went quiet and I know that Jim will quit smoking in the next couple weeks and be baptized in May.
There's not much more going on other than Jim, everyone else is just starting to make progress and I will update you when they start to move forward and there's just a lot of new people that we're beginning to work with.
I know how you feel, because on the flip side, being a missionary isn't easy. There is no breaks, it's 734 days straight of a full time job and you work all weekends rain or shine. The only time you can miss is when you're sick, and that is worse than not having anyone listen to you :) I love this work though, each day brings it's own miracles and it's teaching me the things that I couldn't have learned if I had stayed home and just gone to college and gotten married. Thank you for all of your love and support in all of the success and struggles of this work.
Love your Son and Missionary,
Elder McCade Tracy

April 21, 2014
Thank you for the happy Easter :) I can't believe that this was my second Easter already! 
The last couple days here have been very warm and sticky (thanks to the lovely humidity) but I love it out here though! With all the warm and through all the sweat we find people who want to listen and hear about the gospel, I've begun to start writing down what I learn about myself through the day in my journal instead of just writing down the events of the day. I feel that I'll see my growth more from that and finding what I learn from all the experiences rather than just writing down what our schedule was like for the day :)
This last week was one of many interesting things happening to Elder Engstrom and I, first the sad stuff : we had an "intent and understanding" lesson with Jim, and he did not understand the meaning of us reading the Book of Mormon and he does not know if we are the only true church. It really all goes back to the authority and he doesn't understand that. When we asked him about what he learned from reading the Book of Mormon, he couldn't tell us much and that's our fault. We only told him to read it and not how to STUDY the book. I actually just read over that part in "The Power of the Everyday Missionary", hopefully we can use that to help him gain a testimony about the church and get baptized soon! Now the good/interesting stuff :) The good part of last week was finding more people who want to sit down and meet with us, one in particular is and 18 year old girl named Christen, she's started to read the Book of Mormon and she has accepted a baptismal date for May 24th! We went over on Saturday to check up on her, and she asked us if she could have two friends sit in with us! Part of me says 'Sweet! This girl is already spreading the gospel with only knowing very minimal about the message' And the more experienced part says 'This could be a trap and we might have to bash with a few people, so I better study better just in preparation.' I know it's kinda odd, but we've been put in many situations and I've heard too many stories about that happening. We'll just have to wait and see on Tuesday morning :) the interesting part is about the picture below :) We were tracting on Friday, and we approached a home that looked like it was having a huge party... Turns out they were! A Catholic Passover party! They welcomed us right in and we talked with them for quite a while, we ended up eating with them as they had done a mock "last supper" earlier in the evening. We had lamb, bread and a couple other things from that time period. Before we left they handed us an Easter basket with chocolate crosses and a few hard boiled eggs that had "Jesus" written on the side :) If you were wondering, yes, the majority of them were drunk as they always have wine in part of their celebrations :) Definitely an experience that I will never forget :)
Thank you for the package and for all the wonderful things that you do on my behalf! I love you and miss you!
Love your Son and Missionary,
Elder McCade Tracy

April 28, 2014
This last week went by so fast!!! And it was awesome! We've met so many people who want to hear us out, even with all the slandering that we get and the few times a week that we get told to leave by people who don't know what we do. By the 24th I meant May, I don't know if I said May 24th. So sorry for that miss communication on my end ;) Christen has actually been sick for the last few days so we haven't been able to meet with her as of yet, and we talked with one of her friends that she invited to listen in and they're very sincere and want to listen. Sadly, we will have to hand them all to the AP's because they're in their 20's..... It really sucks to have to turn over solid investigators to any set of missionaries.
The teaching is staying up right now, we've been taking every opportunity to teach everyone that we see! It's about half and half right now, and it's really a constant thing to be finding as well as teaching because there will be many times that you teach people who end up getting baptized and if you haven't spent the time finding people along the way then you end up in a rut and have to always be in the finding mode and the whole area slows down. This is probably one of the biggest things that both Dallin and Trevor will have to learn on their missions, because as you constantly add people or drop the people who aren't progressing then you will always be busy and have something to do during the day rather than doing the same thing every day because you (as a missionary) failed to replenish your teaching pool every day. Hopefully all of that makes sense in one way or another ;)
Awesome :) I took a video of it as well and we went around the whole front yard of that home, it's crazy what you'll find in the homes of people in Kentucky and even on the road!! We were biking around yesterday contacting for a little bit and we stopped and talked with this guy for a minute, and this beautiful Ferrari pulls up and parks behind us! I've just about seen all the most expensive cars since being in Kentucky :)
Haha :) Sounds like you all had a very fun trip :) he can't go anywhere without getting sunburned can he ;) Wow. You had quite the adventure, I wish I could have been there in the Mayan ruins partially because we've had so many questions about who the people were in the Book of Mormon and it'll definitely serve Dallin well if he goes English speaking on his mission :) To say that you've been to places talked about in the Book of Mormon is almost as powerful as testifying of the Spirit that is still in the Sacred Grove and in Carthage Jail... It really makes you appreciate what you have, when I first got out here it was a big reality check where I saw families of 5-8 people living in one house and they were very happy, they did not complain about their situation because they knew that God had blessed them for their efforts :) That's how we were yesterday with a pretty humid day that led to a very awesome Thunder storm that came last night and into early this morning :)
The week was pretty good, we taught a lot of pretty good lessons and we were able to find some success while tracting in an area that we've been focusing on for the last little bit but now has seemed to stop so we're finding more places to tract in hopes of finding Heavenly Father's elect people, we were also able to finally find a guy that had been pushing off the missionaries for about a year or so (this is also my high for the week) and now with knowing where he lived we decided to stop by to catch him. Thankfully, it was good weather and he was outside doing some yard work when we arrived :) We asked if we could talk for a little bit and he said yes, so we sat down outside and began to just talk about things and it all led to teaching him the full restoration and setting a baptismal date for June 14!!! It has been truly amazing to have found these people here in St. Matthews over these last two transfers, after having to constantly find people and not really having success to now seeing a miracle each day with finding someone new to begin teaching is telling me that I need to be here and that the area was getting ready to blossom with success!
Low - Basically Jim has stopped progressing, during an exchange this week Elder Engstrom and Souza (our district leader) met with Jim and told them that he did not want to come to church, he didn't want to quit smoking, and to really top it all off they found out that he smokes pot too! So, needless to say we will be dropping him this week and moving forward with our new investigators that we have found and really working closely with our three baptismal dates :)
This whole week has been something else. There have been so many little miracles that have made the difference, even when we had nothing planned we still found people to teach, I've learned something new each day and by focusing on that instead of the negatives or the things that we could have done better, it really has helped me see that no effort is wasted and that everything will happen as we push forward knowing that God sees our efforts to bring about His eternal purposes here in St. Matthews.
Thank you so much for all that you do and the support that you give me through this wonderful journey called a mission. I love you all and miss you!
Love your son, brother and missionary,
Elder McCade Tracy

May 5, 2014
We had a really good week! I did not receive the package, I will check with them today and hopefully they still have it.... I had a feeling that he wasn't going to be able to wait especially since it came so fast! Thank you for videoing it and letting me know. That's crazy and awesome at the same time! I thought that he would go southern because he's stubborn and that's what the bible belt needs ;) I know that he'll do great things in the Philippines, yes, Ryley let me know as well, I'm kinda speechless right now with knowing where he's going to be serving..... I really cannot wait to talk to you all next Sunday! 
This week we saw a lot of miracles by simply talking with everyone, even with all the craziness with the Derby, we taught many wonderful people and sadly none of them came to church. We have some new investigators that we're going to be working with closely this week and we'll begin to help them progress towards baptism soon :)
We have no idea, we had to hand her and her friends over to the AP's because they're single and the singles branch that they have here is from 18-30 yrs. old, so we really have no choice or say in the matter. If the AP's aren't able to see her then it'll most likely come back to us to teach her but then she'll have to go to the singles branch once she's baptized. I have a pretty good feeling that I'll be staying, but I never know what President Woodbury has in mind or the Lord for that matter :) Yeah, his name is Tom, we've tried to see him lately but he hasn't been available to meet. I think that his wife got to him because she wasn't there for the first meeting and she doesn't know why we started meeting with Tom. Even when we tried to explain it she didn't hear us out.
High - Seeing all the little miracles through the day and having each experience strengthen my testimony
Low - Just having our investigators not keep their commitments to us.
Thank goodness for the times that I can slow down and really take it all in because no matter what we do the time goes by fast! Thank you for all the love and support you send me!
Love your son and Missionary,
Elder McCade Tracy

May 12, 2014
Transferred to Carolton too busy, will write next week:) Loved seeing everyone & talking to them on Mother's Day!
Love your son and Missionary,
Elder McCade Tracy

May 19, 2014
 It seems like yesterday I just left the MTC and was headed out for my first night in Kentucky, and now I only have 6 transfers left after this one which is crazy :) But also really cool because I know that I have to give it my all every day and find those people that I need to find and bring to the gospel here in Carollton.
The branch is awesome! It's a lot like Shively when I first got there and the attendance was at about 45-55 people each Sunday, this Sunday we had about 46-48 people attend. I told the Branch President that I was really excited to work here and we've got the potential to get up to where Shawnee is right now with about 85-90 people per week! It all comes down to finding those who want to here the gospel :) We're on track right now to get there because we've got 4 baptismal dates with some really awesome people! Two of which we found on Tuesday while visiting a members home, their names are Erica Zink and Robert O'Brian, they're brother and sister. There is also Erica's boyfriend/fiancé named Jake (who is also the brother of the members wife), but he was at work when we set the baptismal date with them a couple days ago. Erica and Robert came to Church yesterday and really enjoyed it, the cool thing about it is that they live with the member family for now, so far everything that we've taught them has answered questions that they've had and Erica told us that every time that they wanted a clean slate as they lived in Indianapolis the Mormons were sent to her but she turned them away until Tuesday when we showed up :) Hopefully all of this makes sense ;) The teaching pool is staying steady right now as we had a good number of people from the start and we're just working with them step by step right now, our goal for this transfer is at least 3 baptisms and it'll be really cool because the branch doesn't have a font so either we go to the Crestwood building or we baptize them in the Ohio River right behind the building :) I'm pulling for the river because that would just be awesome to experience ;)
High - We had many opportunities to give blessings to many people this week, and each one was physically exhausting but Spiritually filling. We gave one to one of our baptismal dates, her name is Vanessa, and immediately after the blessing we were able to set a date with her for June 14! It was one of the most amazing blessings that I've ever given, it only came because earlier in the week we had to get some olive oil from her so that we could go give someone else a blessing. The other person is the mother of a youth member, her parents are not members, she asked us to give her mom a blessing on Wednesday night and after the blessing she agreed and wanted to have the Sister missionaries come over and teach her more! We also had 5 people show up to church yesterday, so just from this email you know that this area is super golden and ready for the gospel!
Low - There wasn't really a low this week.
 Also, I got the package of the almonds and the shorts so thank you for sending that to me :) I will be sending a few more things home that I don't need on the mission :) Thank you for all the love and support that you give me while I'm out here experiencing all of this :)
Love your Son and Missionary,
Elder McCade Tracy

May 27, 2014
I really do not like how fast these weeks are flying by right now, we have been really busy and things are still moving forward quite nicely as we press forward having great faith and hope in everyone that we see and talk to :) We only had one at Church and that was Metina, Vanessa was out of town visiting family and she did not make it back in time for Church but the two of them are progressing quite well and are definitely on track for their baptismal dates!
Robert and Erica are still set for the 28th, as far as we know they're still reading the Book of Mormon and want to have that fresh start. We will have to check with the members to see where Erica, Robert, and Donald moved to but we're pretty sure we know where it is :) Vanessa just texted us this morning and told us that she is now 100% smoke free and coffee free! There are a lot of miracles going on here in Carollton, especially with Vanessa and Metina, every time we go over and talk about the gospel they are ready to live it and follow it as best they can :) I know that they will and are truly converted to the gospel. With someone or many people like this, it's really hard to wait through the weeks leading up to their baptism. It's also some of the greatest times on the mission to go sit down and talk with someone who is that prepared and says time and time again that the Book of Mormon is true. It makes everything seem worth it, the good times and the bad, we will keep seeing these miracles in this branch and things will change back to what they used to be.
This last week we've done so many different things it's not even funny! We've played some Corn hole and that has grown on me a little bit ;) We've done a lot of service and just wearing ourselves out day after day, the humidity does a lot of that for us but still we are always going and talking with people who are ready for the gospel.
For the service that we did last week, we helped an elderly member by fixing her driveway the best we could and it ended up taking all day! We were very exhausted especially after helping the Sisters with mowing a lawn for one of their investigators. The lawn had not been mowed for some time, so the grass and weeds were up to at least my hips if not higher in some spots! That only took us about 3 1/2 hours to do and that was a week ago, right after my allergies kicked up to another level and just smacked me in the face! I'm just glad that my allergy experience is over for now because I have not had any problems after that day :) That is just a brief summary of what we did for the last week and I wonder what crazy thing we'll do this week :)
High - Definitely going and doing so many acts of service for those in need. Also being able to play corn hole for the first time on the mission and the first time for quite awhile in my life :) Then there is always the constant contact with Metina and Vanessa in preparing them for baptism in the next couple weeks :)
Low - Having those people who just choose not to listen to the message of the gospel and move on with their lives.
I learned a lot from this last week and I know it's all preparing me to become the person and priesthood holder that I need to become and will become :)
I wouldn't change anything because every experience is priceless, whether it's good or bad, it has something to teach you and you can always learn no matter what.
Thank you so much for your love and support! I know that I couldn't do this without you and the family!
Love your Son and Missionary,
Elder McCade Tracy                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

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