Monday, July 24, 2017

Winter in Peru

Dear Dad,
Thank you very much for the photos of the Manchester City - Manchester United match. It looks like it was a fun experience and that Houston tried to put on a good show for the fans that came. My friend William sent me a video of part of the match.  It was only 7 seconds, but it looked like the stadium was all red. He told me that there were only a handful of blue shirts in the sea of red jerseys, but that doesn't matter. Either way I bet it was enjoyable, until the United fans took things too far. William also told me that a MAnchester United fan guy that screamed in your ear as you were leaving the stadium. That guy was a jerk. Be careful: some of the people in this world are locos and will take things too far if they want to. 
Mom told me about the Calvert family gathering at thebeach house in Galveston,  and how Stephen wants to have family reunions every year. I dont' know what should be done, but I'm sure everyone will figure something out. I'm not a big beach guy. I like the winter here in Lima. It is cold and grey. I don't like the heat too much, though I can tolerate it. I like weather that forces you to stay inside.

Things are really up and down. We have a recent convert in the ward who is really excited about missionary work and participating in the Church. His name is Andrew. He is going to go on a mission when he has a year's membership in the Church. Right now he only has two months, more or less. He was baptized right before I got to the area. We went out and contacted with him one day, which was good. He told me about some books he has been reading and from the sound of it, I think he is gotten his hands on some alt-right nonsense.  I told him he should be careful of what he reads.
To be honest, my time here has been very humbling, I've seen how unprepared I was to go on the mission and how much growth I need to do and how little time there is to do it, and that just gets me discouraged and makes me not want to do anything at all, which is something I can't do. It is difficult. I'm trying to improve myself though, every day. I know I'll be helped if I put in my effort. I have a hard time doing that sometimes, though.
These are some pictures for this past week. One is at a soccer court where we played for Preparation Day. It was pretty fun. The other is me at a computer during Preparation Day. Not too many. Sorry.
I love you, Dad. I love hearing from you and I'm grateful that you were able to provide a memorable experience for my friends.  They have been good friends to me for a big chunk of my life. I'm thankful that you were able to reach out to them. I love you and miss you very much. I hope you have a wonderful week!
Elder McMurray

Monday, July 17, 2017


Dear Mom, 

I'm sorry that you were a little startled by the photo of me standing at the bottom of a well. Startling you was not my intention. I don't want you to be too concerned for my safety or well being as far as me being here in my mission goes. I know that I'm going to be safe here as long as I do my part. 

I don't want you to be too concerned. What I was doing in the well was helping make it deeper. I mostly was removing rocks from the well. It was a service project we did with our old district leader. My companion is now the district leader of our district. I will make sure to be more careful in the future. 

Mom, don't apologize for your email being long. I enjoy reading it and getting a better look at the what life is like over there in Houston. I hope the pictures do a good job of showing what life is like here for me. I know that I don't do a very good job of explaining in detail my day to day experiences, but I hope the pictures help paint the picture. I forgot to send some of these pictures to Dad so I will send them to you right now. I love you,  Mom and I hope you have a good week. In the latest photos,  I'm with my companion in the street, and at a birthday party for the bishop of our ward. The other pictures are of my room. 

I love you, Mom, and miss you everyday. 

Elder McMurray ​

Thursday, July 13, 2017


Dear Dad, 

Wayne Rooney returning to Everton is an interesting move. I hope he has success at Goodison Park. It would be a nice story if he finished out his career with the club where he made a name for himself, as long as he has success. As for the Astros, I'm disappointed that I'm missing out on the action. I really enjoyed going to one of their games last year with my friend Son. We will have to go to a game when I get back. Hopefully they keep the success up until then, but even if they don't,  I would still want to go. 

I feel like I'm struggling with Spanish -- not so much understanding it, but speaking it. I can't roll my rr's and I just have trouble remembering all the conjugations. At first it was like,  "I've only been out 5 months or 6 months so the mistakes are understandable," but I have 8 months now,  almost 9. I can't really make anymore mistakes, at least I shouldn't make them anymore. I'm determined to work harder at it, though. 

My companion got called to be district leader (we didn't end of having changes so we are still companions in the same area). He went to a special meeting for leaders in the mission. There, our mission president talked a little bit from a doctrinal perspective. He apparently taught that every single person in the world has the ability to become exalted, to become like our Heavenly Parents.  I forget that, sometimes.

Mom wanted me to talk a little bit about the pictures I sent over the last couple of weeks. In the picture where I have a container of ice cream on my head I'm with Elder Gutierrez. He was never my companion, but we served in the same ward together for four and a half months and he is a good friend. In the photos of the man's baptism, I'm with Elder Palomino, my former companion. In the other baptism photo, I'm with Elder Carrasco, my current companion. In the photo where I'm wearing a suit, I'm attending a zone conference. In the foto where I'm not wearing a suit but I'm with a group of missionaries, I'm with my district. In the photo where I'm in KFC? That was a Preparation Day activity we had as a district. I think there was also a foto of me with Elder Manuyama, my second companion. 

I know that is not a lot of detail, but I don't have that much time to go into more depth. These pictures are of this past weekend. We had three baptisms. The couple is Jhonathan and Fiorela, a couple we helped get married. The youth is the granddaughter of a active member who is living with her grandmother. Her grandfather baptized her. 

I hope you have an excellent week. I love you and miss you. 

Elder McMurray 

Dad's Note:

One of the unusual things about LDS missionary service these days is that lots of missionaries' parents keep blogs, so occasionally, photos of your child show up on someone else's site.  Below are some photos I came across online, taken by a sister missionary serving in Elder McMurray's zone.  His presence in these photos is fleeting, but when it's been nine months since you've seen your kid fate-to-face, you take what you can get: