Thursday, August 27, 2015

Temples, Beautiful Companionships, Goodies Galore

I'm just going to start out by writing all the things that I reminded myself to write throughout the week! :)
First of all, if you see Eden, tell her to email me! I need to know if she is engaged yet or not!!!! And also, Khaya is supposed to be here and I haven't seen her yet. BUT, I did see Sarah Lawrence! She's so cute and seems so excited. Her district laughs a lot at lunch.

I read in Matthew 3:15? 11:15? I can't remember. But it's about Christ being baptized and I felt the Spirit so strongly. It's so important that we follow Him. Everything about it is so cool. The humility of John the Baptist and then the humility of Jesus and the spirit being so strong and God's love for His Son and for all of us. It's just so amazing.
I have been grateful for Julie always nagging me about remembering to have fun on my mission because I think I have noticed it more. We have SO much fun. We get along really well. (maybe... definitely too much fun some days...).
Thank you for the food and the packages! I haven't even gotten through 1/10 of it because I'm never in my room and we eat a lot at meal times and we just always have food. All I've had are those Reese's minis and I keep forgetting to eat my granola bars! Haha. 
 Hermana Johnson said if you go to you can look up what scriptures have been used in GC talks and then study it. I thought that was cool.

At the devotional on Tuesday, our choir teacher told us about the Atonement because we were singing about Christ and it was so inspired and beautiful imagining the Savior suffering out of love and stuff and it really helped us to sing with gusto.
The devotional was good. We had a district review that evening and I haven't felt the spirit more this whole time. We talked about enduring to the end in all things--good stuff. But then Sister Smith wanted a blessing so our District Leader, Elder Williams, gave her one for his first time. It was so cute and beautiful. Everyone cried. Then after he was like "GUYS I JUST WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT THE SPIRIT CAME RIGHT THROUGH ME THAT WAS SO COOL." And it was so cool! These elders are great. Then I was like yes I want one too. So I asked Elder Petersen, and it was his first time too, and he blessed me to know that God is so proud of me and so are you guys and so are the people at the MTC and God can't express His gratitude for my service and he emphasized so so much that there are people in Arkansas that need me specifically. It was so beautiful. I was surprised because I've had a hard time with Spanish and stuff so I thought I would get a blessing of ability, but it was more a blessing of assurance! And it helped me get a better perspective again. So neat.

I'm so excited to go to the temple!! 

We just got back from the temple and it was so lovely! SO SO SO SO HOT but so nice too. It's all circular and the chandelier is amazing and the Spirit is especially amazing with a room full of missionaries! Lots of missionaries. It's so fun! I've been praying to have help because I really want to follow the Spirit but especially in lessons it's hard when you don't know Spanish and you don't know what the person is saying and you don't have all the time in the world to just memorize every phrase from every lesson just in case. So, that's my biggest issue right now. But I really am so happy here! I made a mini fort thing in my room. I was talking with Elder Petersen yesterday and we were discussing the joy of having a cave around your bed and he gave me the idea to drape blankets across the top bunk (because we only have 3 sisters and 6 beds) and make a cave. It made for a cozy sleep and a cozy cozy 10 minute nap today.
I have been so grateful for the Atonement lately and again today in the temple. I just can't even express my gratitude and we have been saying that if everyone understood the Atonement, no one would sin. And the guy in our devotional on Tuesday said the same type of thing with an example investigator thing. They don't understand baptism or else they would give everything they had in order to be baptized. And that's the beauty of it. It's essentially free if we can clear our minds and follow Christ. Love it.

Don't worry about me. All things are good here. It's hard in such a good way!!! Keep praying and being the amazing family you are. Mom thanks for all the notes and "dear elders", they really help! Emma and dad: I want to hear from you more!! Tell me things! Tell Andrew too! I want to tell him about Gabi being my companion and all the funny things we do!
I feel like I want to just keep saying stuff but I don't remember. Send me pictures of all the things! Emma, you, dad, Andrew, Suzy, Gabe, baby Oliver, Iris, etc. I would love to hear from everyone in the whole family and friends and whole world, but I will survive with just you and Emma and Courtney Griffiths if it must be.

The second picture is Sis. Johnson passing the torch of "senior companionship." It's fun because the only thing the senior companion does differently is decide who prays and directs companionship inventory - where we tell each other what is good and what is bad about the way we do things. And we had a small ceremony where Hermana Johnson placed the popped corn on my tongue and I ate it and then that was all.
Us during choir. The director is really amazing. I feel like I learn more from him sometimes than from the devotionals. But the devotionals are always really good too.
Also we LOVE dear elders! [YOU can send dear elders for free at Unit #60 AR LRM  Sep 22.]  I feel bad because some of our elders don't get any letters or packages, only emails. And the Dear Elders are such a blessing during the week! We get them in the evening after dinner, M-Th. Feel free to make them as long or as short as you want. Tell me random things. Tell me good things and all the things.
I haven't taken the bracelet of yet! [A gift from her cousin Gabe who just returned from the Mexico, Cuidad Juarez Mission.] Mostly because I don't know how and it's really hard to put back on but also because I really like it and it's cute so tell Gabe thank you!! We are going to be on and off throughout the day because we only have like 10 minute segments sometimes and like 30 minutes other times. So let me know when you're here! 

I remembered you asked about investigators. So, the first week we had Hermano Byers who is now our teacher but we didn't know at the time, and he was role playing "Alex." Hermano Arce was our teacher too. Now it's the two of them and Hno. Arce is leaving us and we are getting a new teacher who will role play someone, and Hno. Byers is role playing "Jacob" now instead of alex. And we also have TRC which I can't remember what it stands for but they are fake investigators. Mostly members that come and act like investigators but there are some non-members. Ours is Hely and she is a member and she is so sweet. She talks A TON which is hard and she asks a lot of questions but she's easier to understand than some of the other TRC people so that's a blessing. Also we do member teaching and eventually that will turn in to skype teaching. So right now: Jacob (Hno. Byers), New teacher starting next week not sure who role playing, Hely (TRC member investigator), and 2 new members every week. Yes it's stressful and yes it's fun. 
I have to go because of time but I love you a lot a lot!!!
Today we all matched. Navy and gray. That's how in sync we are as a companionship. [I'm not sure if I should tell you this is a joke, or just let you think she really thinks this kind of thing ....]
Hermana Macfarlane

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The long wait is OVER!


We are trying to figure out how to send pictures because it's so confusing and I only have 10 minutes right now and then I'll probably come back later.

THE MTC IS FULL OF PEOPLE. Okay first of all, the first day I cried for like an hour after but then as I walked up to my room GUESS WHO I SAW, Sydni!!! [She's talking about one of her best friends, Sydni Garvin.] She stopped me and we embraced for a long time and I cried and we held each other and I am so so grateful for her. She's in the room right around the corner so we see each other every day. Such a huge blessing. Then, as I walked to my classroom (which we spend 9 hours in everyday) I met my companionS. Hermana Johnson was there first and she's the cutest little Texan who went to BYU and she's super great and I love her. And then my other companion is the one and only GABI SMITH, Lauren Smith's little sister!!! [Lauren is a good friend of Andrew's and our whole family loves her.] It's been fun talking about our siblings and their friends. Seriously these two are the best. We all get along really well and I think the best thing is that we all have to pee all the time. [Excuse her potty mouth. She has a thing about going to the bathroom.] And because of rules we have to go with each other to the bathroom (unfortunately I have to close the door now) and everything here is made for companionships of two, not three. Also one bathroom next to our classroom only has one stall so that takes forever. Our teachers have been different everyday because our main teacher went on his anniversary date for a week and we all had absolutely no idea what we were doing, so that was cool. I'm going to go finish my laundry but I'll try to write again! Sorry if this is the only email you get this week.

Our district is us 3 girls and 7 boys - one of the Elders got a twisted colon or something, he has colon problems but on the first day he almost passed out and he has been in the hospital ever since so we are hoping to see him this week!
Everyone passes gas [again with the potty talk, she didn't really say "passes gas"] in the mornings in the toilets (mostly me) and it's so funny.
Thank you for the prayers and cookies and packages - it makes the days go by so much smoother. Wednesday was my first day without some kind of a panic attack so that ROCKED. I love to learn Spanish and I love the gospel and I love you guys and things here are really great!!! We exercise in the mornings (blah) and then get ready and have 3 class blocks of 3 hours and we have 2 investigators right now and we all get really distracted really easily.

Love you guys!!!!!!!!
Hermana Macfarlane


[Later in the day we were emailing at the same time. It was AWESOME. Here are some random snip-its from our chat.]

I´m back. I usually will email in the first part of the day between laundry and other assessments and stuff.

Food here is gross. Sometimes it´s like pretty fine, but mostly we just eat so we don't die. It´s not for pleasure. Actually, the cereal is great and the sack breakfasts are yummy too.
I love you guys. I had a hard time adjusting to the fact that I really would´n´t see you for a long time, but then we watched a talk by elder Bednar about the character of Christ and it talks about turning outward when it´s easy or hard and it´s so so hard. But, you can´t turn inward in order to improve yourself. You have to turn out if you want to improve. So, I tried that, and I feel so much better. I don´t think about how hard it is or that I suck at Spanish, I think about Christ and my investigators and try really hard to be optimistic and things fall into place. We have a ton of stuff to do and rarely enough time! But the branch presidency is really cool so that´s fun. They like to jump around and stuff and they love everything.
I don´t think that we know how to actually speak any Spanish because sometimes we get funny looks. 
YES! Elder Cook [The son of my co-worker, Michelle Cook] is one of our zone leaders and we see him a lot (which isn't too difficult if ya know what I mean...) [I don't know what she means.] Tell Michelle he is doing well! Our zone is really fun. We got a new set of just elders yesterday and they´re all sooo young. We just have 2 sets of trio hermana companionships in our zone. I have to play for sacrament meeting this week! Also, I saw Bishop Giboons [He's the bishop in our home ward and works at the MTC as a therapist] and he took a good picture for us and then left. Ummmm... tell people I´m sorry if I don´t email them I don´t have very much time and I am not prioritizing friends today, but I should be able to have more time next week because it´s not like AHH THE BEGINNING right__ )all the symbols are super messed up on this keyboard and I don´t have time to figure out which are which. So weird.=  AHHH It´s in Spanish mode!!!
okay so you know how much I don´t like the hymn ¨carry on¨? well we sang it twice here already and I hate it even more a cappella. 
Choir is really fun we had the Nashville tribute band come and we sang weird back ground stuff. It´s a good relaxing part of the day.

My Spanish is doing average. It´s hard to speak because I can think it but then speaking you actually have to conjugate things and there are so many rules, but it´s coming along. It´s amazing how much I can speak after just one week. Gift of tongues is really really real.
I´m going to have to go soon, so if you´re there, I have roughly 20 minutes! Please tell me how everything is going and keep sending "dear-elders" with whatever you want in them, it´s so fun to hear about random everyday things. And tell Emma how much I love her and that I cried when I read her note in my notebook that she gave me. It was the sweetest thing and it was what I needed. And your little note surprises were the best!
How is dad? I've been thinking about how impressive it is that he can keep up his Spanish. It´s nearly impossible for me to wrap my brain around at this point.
Also we have a good looking teacher that subs sometimes so that rocks.
We aren't sure how I ¨fell¨sideways but we are so funny. That´s another blessing about these two Hermanas is that we have the same humor and we always have to pee and we aren't high maintenance and we drink a lot of water and it´s so great. I am taken care of here. ... I just really love you guys. That´s all. And I really love the gospel and the Atonement and the plan of salvation and our teachers and everything except for satan.
I´m glad that Gabe is home safely!! Emma is so sweet and so is dad. you guys are going through hard things and it helps me to go through mine because we are family and yeah. How is Andrew?? And how are the Castletons?? Is emma going to audition for another play? Let me know some sick deets about Gabe.
The elders in our district are like little boys - they´re brotherly and funny and so nice. 
I JUST LOVE YOU GUYS. And please tell anyone who asks that I didn´t have time to email them. I tried to give a quick response to everyone.
Des Moines for hma smith and San Diego to the mormon batallion visitors center for hma johnson. Our whole district is state side
Love ya!!!! I´m excited to hear from dad and emma and you and andrew next week, so make them write back and i love you and thank your for everything you have done for me and still do for me. MWAHH



Thursday, August 13, 2015

It's Official

We are grateful today, after a really hard day yesterday, to receive this communication about our little Sister Missionary:

Brother and Sister Macfarlane,

My name is Hermana Rounsville and I'm the Sister Training Leader in your daughter's new zone. I just wanted to let you know that she arrived safely yesterday and seems to be settling in wonderfully. Normally her P day will be on Thursday but today, because the new missionaries just arrived, they'll get right to work on Spanish and won't have a P day until next Thursday. You might already know about this, but there's a wonderfully useful website called Dear Elder (probably easiest to Google it) that you can use to send same-day letters to anyone in the MTC. The first few days here can be kind of hard and I know new missionaries always love receiving encouragement from their families. :)

Anyways, we are already so glad to have Hermana Macfarlane in our zone. She has such a sweet smile and strong testimony to share with her district. She's a wonderful missionary. :)

Hermana Rounsville


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Countdown Begins!

Just six days until this beautiful girl leaves on an LDS Mission. After six weeks of learning Spanish and techniques for preaching the Gospel in the Provo Mission Training Center (MTC), she will serve in the Little Rock Arkansas Mission until February of 2017. I will be posting her letters and pictures on this blog.

At the Provo Temple

Provo Temple with Kathy and Suzy Castleton

At the Jordan River Temple with Alisha Bacon

At the Bountiful Temple with Rosey Stewart

We have had a fun summer going to as many of the Utah temples as we could manage (13-all but Montecello and Vernal). It was a beautiful way for us to spend time together and for her to prepare to serve. Ashley will make a wonderful missionary - I wish I could be her companion!

Las Hermanas