Tuesday, February 21, 2017

One last story!

I just want to tell this story really quick:

Spanish Street

Yesterday, we were leaving to bike to try and visit a less active member and we weren't sure if we were going to make it there in time to see her before our next appointment. We were crossing the freeway exit and right as we were crossing, a member and her husband pulled up to get off the freeway. I saw this little arm stick out the window to wave and I was like "heeyy!!!!!!" They pulled over and said, "We're going to the Mexican restaurant down the street, come meet us over there!" So, we biked our tails off and met them over there at the restaurant I have always wanted to try (and dad needs to come try it too, he will love it). Anyway they fed us dinner really quick and then somehow got our huge bikes on top of their car and dropped us off at our appointment! That was the first miracle.

The road we bike, with no shoulder.

Las Hermanas

Then we went to see this cute family. A few weeks ago we were at Walmart and "we needed to know which tortillas to buy" when really we didn't care but wanted a non-threatening way to talk to this lady. So she gives us her best suggestion, we invite her to English class, and all is well. That week she AND her husband come to English class for their date night! Hermana Keller asked them if we could stop by and share spiritual stuff with them and they said yes. So, we set an appointment and it fell through. So, we decided to try them last Wednesday and we had a great lesson with their family and a member. We went back for our appointment last night and we went in, all the kids LINED UP to give us hugs, we sat down and all 7 of them (parents and 5 kids) sat at the table perfectly attentive and they all had restoration pamphlets in hand and we taught them the story of the Restoration and about God's love and invited them to be baptized, and they all (except for the youngest who is like 4 or 5) said they want to. The mom especially kept expressing she feels like she really needs to do that, it was so sweet. Then we invited them to church and the kids got so excited. The parents were less excited about 3 hours and so I was like well, if you can't make it the whole three hours at least come for the last hour which is the most important, sacrament meeting. (They do it last here.) And the kids were all like NO WAY WE ARE COMING TO ALL OF IT hahaha those kids are the cutest. Please pray for them to be able to come to church and still want to get baptized and read the Book of Mormon.

After we had that lesson, we were off on our bikes to go with the Benitez to make some pupusas! They picked us up, we went over, made some delicious pupusas, ate the delicious pupusas, and came home. It was a beautiful day!!
video


I know the church is true. I know that Jesus Christ is the head of this church. I know that by living the principles of the gospel, it makes it possible to go through difficult challenges. The Atonement is real, the Savior loves us all and is so willing to help us if we let Him.

I love you all, thank you for everything! See you soon!


"And since man had fallen he could not merit anything of himself; but the sufferings and death of Christ atone for their sins, through faith and repentance, and so forth; and that he breaketh the bands of death, that the grave shall have no victory, and that the sting of death should be swallowed up in the hopes of glory..." Alma 22:14













Hermana Benitez
 





Tuesday, February 7, 2017

HOLA AND ADIOS

This week we were really grateful for the car, correlation meeting, our sweet neighbor who came to church, and lots and lots of tamales that we are enjoying! For some reason these last two weeks, we have gotten like 3 or 4 bags of tamales with like 4 in each bag. They are delicious.
Getting food at the Mercadito


We had some really cool experiences with the Book of Mormon this week. I realized as I have strengthened my testimony of it and asked Heavenly Father to help us, it's a lot easier to share the Book of Mormon with people wherever we go! I used to be more timid and assume people just weren't ready to listen or they needed more background before they could accept it. But I've found that if we start with our common ground, especially common belief in Jesus Christ and families, it opens a lot of doors and actually builds a stronger base for us to then teach more restored truths.
Sister Hyer (I don't know the first thing about Sister Hyer. But she sent this picture, so here it is.)

There are a lot of things I've learned throughout my mission, but something that stuck out a lot this week was that the priesthood is part of the Plan of Salvation. We were watching the Mormon Message; I think it's called “Sanctify Yourselves” or something. It's when a newly ordained Melchizedek priesthood holder gives a blessing to someone who got struck by lightning. I was thinking about the priesthood blessings I've gotten as well as the ordinances and order that happen because of the priesthood, and it clicked to me that God knew there would be people getting struck by lightning, and sister missionaries needing counsel, so He provided the way and the power for those things to happen the way he needs them to. Does that make sense? There are a lot of other things the priesthood power does (especially having a prophet and having the Book of Mormon) but this stuck out to me!

I know the gospel blesses lives. I know the gospel of Jesus Christ is the access to the Atonement, and humility is the key! I'm in the Isaiah chapters in the Book of Mormon and, as much as I understand, it's been really cool to see the expectations God has for his children and still the love. More than anything I have felt the Spirit! My favorite phrase is "for all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still."

THANK YOU FOR ALL THE SUPPORT YOU HAVE GIVEN ME. I am so excited for this last week, we are going to work really hard (on bikes!) and everyone is going to come to church. woot woot.

Have a great week, give me your last words of advice.
Read your scriptures and say your prayers.
Thank you for your prayers in my behalf and all the missionaries!

Nos vemos!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Mission Conference, Exchanges and MORE SLEEP

This week, Sister Macfarlane didn’t have time to write a weekly update/blog entry. So, I’ve taken snippets from our email correspondence instead. My comments are in blue. –Helen

The mission gathered ALL together for the first time since Sister Macfarlane has been there. Usually they meet together on either side of the Mississippi River, with the Little Rock side and the Memphis side. Elder Neil L. Anderson came to speak with them and they all met together in Memphis.
Todos
The conference with Elder Andersen was SO SO good. He is just the most humble man; seriously, he has the sweetest spirit. We were also taught by Elder Klebingat of the Seventy. He called us all to repentance and it was cool. He said if there is anything you haven't laid on the altar, decide to put it there right now, and he gave us a minute to do it. Super awesome. He's a powerhouse. And he's German so, that's cool. Then Bishop Waddell spoke to us and it was a little less intense. His theme was serving vs being on a mission. It was really good-like think about why you are here. Also, we talked about the doctrine of Christ and asked some questions to help us teach it better. Then Elder Andersen spoke and the thing I took away from it was he said "don't you think you ought to have 10-20 scriptures memorized? Maybe 10 from the New Testament and 10 from the Book of Mormon?" So, I'm working on getting my 20. :) He just kept smiling and was so genuine and pleasant when we shook his hand.
Claudia came to English Class this week!

I asked Sister Macfarlane if there was anything specific she has missed from home. I was thinking of things I could have ready for her when she returns. Here's what she said.

Something I've missed? Probably always having a cold glass of water to steal from you. I'm still suffering to fill up my OWN cup like multiple times a day. It’s getting old. ;) Well really, I think I miss being able to play the piano all the time and singing a lot or something. And Iris ... well sometimes I miss her but most of the time it's just nice to be dog-free. I miss having family prayer and scripture study and staying up late with you and Emma, listening to your problems and telling you mine! :) I sort of miss dad praying for hours and him standing up with red marks on his face. Haha, it's cute. I miss Andrew being a punk and showing us his new music, that's fun. Something I'm worried about is that the things that you all like a lot about me are probably different. I know there are things that won't ever change but like I don't feel like blasting music around the house and staying up late watching gory movies or something. Ya know? I know it'll all be okay and I'm grateful because I think you will all be incredibly supportive of me, you've been so so so good so far, I don't know why it would change now! :)
Skype call with Hermanas and English Sisters we exchanged with.

Las Hermanas
Exchanges with the English Sisters

First time we have been together

And last minute, she asked that I post this:

I just want to share that I love the Book of Mormon! Also something that we learned during our meeting was Elder Klebingat... no idea how to spell his name (I looked it up and fixed it here)... but he asked us to read Acts 5:1-12 and if there is anything that is keeping us from being honest with God, we need to give it up! I know it's hard sometimes to give up certain small or big things. He invited us to put it on the altar and offer our will to God and he would make us stronger. It is really only through Jesus Christ that it is even possible. We give up our will, but we have to turn to the Lord for help to make it through.

I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God and that Heavenly Father gives us the tools we need to be happy.

Love you all so much!

Hermana Macfarlane

Getting ready for bed because SCHEDULE CHANGE WOOHOO



Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Three Stories

Bike Week!

Sorry, again I have only 20 minutes.

Well I am going to tell three stories:

1. The Spanish Branch changed the starting time from 10:00 to 1:00 and it was the most beautiful thing when three or four less active families and three or four active families all showed up at about 1:05pm!! :) 

2. The Hermanas had an activity where they brought the cutest nutritionist lady and she taught us how to make fun smoothies and sandwiches and stuff. Our non-member neighbor came, one of the hermanas invited her non-member friend, and the teacher wasn't a member either! It was so good. And so yummy.

3. Monday night. We started our bike week off strong by biking 3ish 4ish miles in the rain to our investigator's house. When we got there, her daughter wasn't feeling well and she needed to go to the hospital, but she doesn't speak any English. So we hopped in the car and went to the hospital with them! We got her all checked in and stuff fairly quickly. I guess we didn't really think it through because we were there for 2 1/2 or 3 hours! It was a cool experience to be able to translate words we usually don't use and help this lady and her suffering daughter. But we were very cold and wet so we asked for the heated blankets they keep in the hallway and that was nice. Eventually we had to call a member to come pick us up so we could go home!

At the hospital

It's been a really great week, we had exchanges with the Russellville Hermanas and Hna Keller and I are enjoying the few days we get to spend together! :) She is great. And the members here are super great too!
Found these pictures from a few months ago.


We get to use Skype now to teach as a back-up if we can't make it to see the person or to the meeting for whatever reason.\

Me in action a few months ago. 


Have a great week! Read the Book of Mormon!

Oh, yeah ... We have been really trying to explain the Book of Mormon better in a way showing that we are just happy and we want to share all the happiness! It's interesting though how when we pushed that a little more, the people we started teaching started rejecting more and more! It's cool though to feel the Spirit even though they don't always accept, it's good to know that I tried my best and I feel a confirmation that it's true.

Love,
Hermana Macfarlane

P-day Lunch

Chopping down a tree.

video

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Best Teachers are the Best Learners

HOLA LINDA FAMILIA!! (Hello Beautiful Family)

Hermanas Keller and Macfarlane

I have about 10 minutes. Here we go:

Got to see my BFFs in Memphis!!!!! :) They are the cutest.
This week we did exchanges with the Memphis Hermanas! We had zone conference out there. President Wakolo gave a really cool example that I'm not sure he knows about. Usually the office staff bring in the lunch about 15 minutes before we start eating. As time got closer, we all became very aware that there was no lunch yet. We started the first part of our meeting with a prayer and just kind of sat there. We took pictures while he and his counselors called the local pizza place to bring our meal. After we enjoyed the long awaited pizza, he turned it into a mini-parable. He said this is a good lesson for leadership. When things don't happen the way you planned, don't get frustrated! Just find another way to get the same results. If you have righteous desires, the Lord will provide.  It was a good lesson for us to be happy no matter what happens! (He is a really happy person.) The thing that stood out to me though was that he took the example of not having lunch provided and applied it to the gospel. He always says that the best teachers are the best learners and he is a great example of always learning. He also said after the meeting that through the rebukings of the Spirit, he needs to be more faithful and have better repentance. It's cool!

Zone Luncheon

Zone Luncheon


Felt like we needed to be out and about that morning for exercise but
Hna Brown and I forgot exercise clothes so we went out in proselyting
shoes and pajamas and gave some pass along cards. Success.

Also, Elder Andersen, the Apostle, is going to come to our mission at the end of the month! That's pretty exciting because it's been one of my dreams to have the whole mission meet together. Usually we meet as the "Arkansas" side and the "Tennessee" side but we are aaallll going to meet together for two hours with an Apostle. I'm super excited for that!
Other BFFs! Hnas Wilson, Brown, Hunt, y yo.

Things are going well in Little Rock! We have been focusing a lot on the members and working together with them. Also, I translated this week with one of the Elders during stake conference. It was pretty tiring and I quickly learned that my on the spot Spanish needs a lot of work. But, it was so cool that even though I am weak in the language, the Lord helped me be able to help these people understand their church leaders. They talked a lot about the temple and it was a very spiritual meeting. Hermana Keller played the flute for the prelude music and some other numbers and it was perfect. She is a fantastic companion! :)


Us teaching the Riveras the plan of salvation ... they are the cutest!
(Don't cry, i know it's cute.)

Have a good week!
Hermana Macfarlane
We haven't taken any pictures so here's a screen shot from our role plays this morning.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

First Snow! Last Area!!

Our quadpanionship: Hnas Macfarlane, Brown, Thornton, Keller


Hello Familia!!

HERMANA KELLER IS THE CUTEST. We have had a gooood first week together. We had district language studies this week which we were in charge of and I think we just brought up more questions that no one knew the answer to, but hopefully someone learned something. It was alright! :) 

I really like Hermana Keller because …
1) she LOVES "our purpose" (We recite it at all the meetings and all the time throughout our week)
2) we equally don't know how to cook 
3) her Spanish is really really really good 
4) she laughs at all my jokes 
5) her testimony of the gospel is very strong and she is good at explaining her thoughts in a simple and organized way 
6) we are the same shoe size

It's weird to be back here in Little Rock because it's cold. When I was here before it was mostly really, really warm and now we are all bundled up all the time! It snowed for the first time on my mission. 

Last transfer when Hermana Brown came here to do exchanges with Hna Keller, they found a lady outside and gave her a pass along card or something. They didn't think much of it but they went back and she is one of the most spiritually sensitive investigators I have ever met! She is so, so sweet. We had a good conversation about the significance of Joseph Smith's first vision and the gospel of Jesus Christ. She said she knows the Book of Mormon is true because when everything is really crazy she will sit down and read and just feels peace. She has so much potential because she loves the feelings and she thinks everything is beautiful. It's so fun to teach her!
Our cute investigator and her son who gave us juice!

We also had an interesting lesson this week with a lady we found when I was on exchanges a while ago. She asked us why we need the Book of Mormon. It's so exciting to me to share my testimony because it's something totally new and foreign that will bring the Spirit so strong!


Read the Book of Mormon!
Have a good week!


Hermana Macfarlane

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

P.S. We Got Bedbugs!

HELLO!!
Almost all of my close. Bedbug proofing.
 The Wahlquists
Well, it has been a fantastic six weeks here in Batesville, Arkansas! I will be going back to the Little Rock Spanish area with Hermana Keller! She is a really really good missionary, we have done some exchanges together and I'm excited to be with her again! (Hermana Thornton just finished training Hna Keller and will be coming here to Batesville. In other words, we are having a companionship swap!)
Gathering for transfers

I guess it's due to that fact that I have been serving in Spanish speaking areas, but I have never had so many people comment on my "accent" before than in Batesville. I have had some people tell me I've developed a bit of a southern twang but I think I have always had that. Anyway, people know we're "from ... somewhere else" (given with weird look) and definitely not from Arkansas. I will miss that.
 
Last Sports Night in Batesville
We had a lot of tender mercies this week, here's one:

We had to spend a bit of time at the library figuring out technological issues with the iPads. We were there for 1-2 ours maybe. About 15 minutes before we left a sweet older lady came in and sat across from our computer and wished us a Happy New Year. As we gathered our things to leave, I went to give her a pass along card and she said "I already have one of those! Aren't you the same girls that came over a few weeks ago and have left me some notes?" WHY, YES WE ARE!

She was a potential investigator we had been trying to contact for a few weeks. We met her on exchanges one night – in the dark – for just a brief moment and she was all dressed up so I didn't quite recognize her until she said something about it. We ended up talking some more and she knows a few members of the Church in the area, and may have a copy of the Book of Mormon already. We asked if we could come by the next day and se said of course. The other cool part is that she actually let us come over the next day! We had a quick lesson on the Book of Mormon and got to know her a bit better. We (the sisters that will be in Batesville this transfer) will also go do service with her at the rest home!
The View

Oh there are so many inspirational things that I have learned this week alone. As a mission we are starting the Book of Mormon again this year and doing these markings: 1. Names or pronouns of Jesus Christ 2. His attributes 3. His words or when a prophet says, "Thus saith the Lord" and, 4. Doctrines and principles of the gospel (then tallying all at the bottom of the page). I know I have a testimony of the Book of Mormon because I have prayed about it and continue to pray about it every time I read. 

"Pray, read, pray. Pray, read, pray. Pray, read, pray." -President Wakolo

It is the best combination! As I have asked Heavenly Father if what I read that day is true, I always get a generally good feeling. Sometimes it's more overwhelming than others and sometimes I have to rely on the testimony I already have, but I always feel good and peaceful about the doctrines and principles I just learned.

Also, I read Joseph Smith's testimony this week and it's so cool that this experience happened as he was praying. "I betook myself to prayer and supplication to Almighty God. … "While I was thus in the act of calling upon God, I discovered a light appearing in my room ...." (The Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith). He had put himself to much prayer and supplication for three years faithfully and patiently waiting to do the Lord's will. Prayer is really important and can be so powerful!

Have a happy new year and I hope you keep all of your resolutions! Buena suerte!

Hermana Macfarlane

(I'm assuming these are all pictures with the wonderful Branch Members in Batesville? She didn't say who everyone is.)