Wednesday, September 30, 2015

New Kid on the Block

Hermanas Sipple, Macfarlane and Ponce


My companions are the best, okay?

First day of TRACTING!
Today we had an appointment in the morning but it fell through so we left her an invite for Women's Conference this weekend and I wrote her a little note.We are happy here. I'll write you all the days :)
New Kid On the Block!  From MM Sipple


Sister Sipple's mom sends a lot of stuff here from Amazon, so its safe to send here I think. She's awesome by the way. She sends a lot of necessities and food and good stuff. If you send to the mission home we will only get it at random meetings and if we have to go to the transfer meeting so it's not very reliable. But, you can still send stuff there as needed.

Being fed by awesome new friends


I freakin love you guys.

Danville is quite the place. I've sort of had a little bit of culture shock, not like the freak out kind but just surprised. It's very poor here and everyone has a story. Of course, everyone has a story but these people have the craziest stories! It's very easy to love them because they are so humble.
So the other day we were coming in for the night and maybe having dinner or something like that - maybe just planning - and I was in the kitchen and I hear this, "Oh, sorry, blah blah mumble mumble." It sounded like someone was barging in. The next thing I know, CRAZY *Neighbor Lady* (CNL) IS AT OUR DOOR. She's got a lot of drugs and stuff in her body and she was just sweeping away. So we have our door, then the hallway with the other rooms, then there's a door that leads to another door then outside. Kind of confusing but the point is CNL was sweeping inside, she was sweeping our rug. We don't actually know if it's her job or not, but boy is she a thorough sweeper. As we stood there talking to our sweet, sweet CNL sweeping and sweating, we asked if she goes to church and what not. She said she does and that she's been
married three times. "Third times the charm or third strike and you're out, so, I'm out."  Sis. Sipple tried to make a joke like, "Oh, no more ball games for you?" But, CNL didn't laugh and thought we were just dumb so she said her line again and we all tried to hold in giggles, but it didn't work. I think our rug was swept 30 times. It's very clean now which is nice. We finally said goodnight and good luck and she was very kind about it.

Later we went to take the trash out and we were going to go out the front door but didn't want to run into CNL again (it's a funny good time, but we were busy). So we went out the back door. Low and behold, CNL was sweeping away. We got close enough and yelled "CNL!!" (Not really. They yelled her actual name.) And it scared her half to death and we all had a good laugh about it. Karma for trying to avoid her, I guess. Oops.

The next night, the Elders came to bring another bed for us and they threw away the old mattress. When they got to the trash bin a cat jumped out at them. Welcome to Danville. The promised land. The grass is covered in chiggers. CNL came back again and tried to fix our stove but then she just told us how and we did it later. She warned us about the electricity and said its no fun being hit by 220. (Watts? We're not sure. Apparently it's worse than drugs.) We love our crazy neighbors!

We have had to stay inside because I had a bad cough, Sister Ponce had the flu that's been going around the Branch and Sister Sipple has crazy back stuff. But we do go out a few times per day. I think I've made it sound like its a crazy dangerous place but it's not. It's full of loving people and we have lots of angels here watching over us. It's no Utah county, that's for sure, but it's very green and full of love!


Last night was really awesome.Grandma and Grandpa Macfarlane were definitely here with me. I didn't see them, but I know their spirits. They have protected me from so much!! It's hard to explain. But, it's so good.


This Branch is so cute. The building is the size of our chapel area, maybe. It's so tiny. But perfect. We had meetings this morning and also the General Women's Broadcast was so good. I want to watch it again because I was a little distracted by the newness of watching it at church. But, Sis Kassaw is the RS Pres and she is a baker and she's so so awesome. She made the best desserts for the 9 or so of us there. It's hard to tell you everything because I'm typing on the iPad and it's really hard.

We are sitting outside with J right now and her little son. She lives in the apartment next to us, not members, just friends. The Wakolos gave a surprise visit today and scared us all! H Ponce had to speak and I bore my testimony, so we all were a little antsy. But they are seriously so loving and nice. I love them a lot! Anyway, we had our meetings which were really fun and then we went tracting and found some people but our appointment didn't go through, and we got one really angry door. Then this one house we knocked and the bugs were insane. I got so so so many bites!! My first ones. Eek. I love it here though!. It's so beautiful. The trees are so full and it's a beautiful time of year because it's not too hot, but still warm. I love it!

I loved your Emma pictures - holy cow she's so tall and so freaking beautiful, I can hardly stand it! How are them boys, Em? You're so beautiful and nice and funny and sweet and I love you! I'm trying to remember all of your questions and remember what happened. It's been kind of slow because we can't leave sometimes (because of illness). But we are trying! It's really fun. We are all trying to follow spiritual promptings whenever we can, it's the best way. We were walking and I felt like stopping but I was nervous and ignored it but I knew that we should knock. And I talked to Ponce and she was like, "Oh, of course! We have to follow the promptings!" It was comforting to see how easy it is. She said if you ignore the promptings you'll stop getting them. So we knocked, a younger boy (16?) came to the door and got his dad. Then came back and said we could go back later, so we gave him a pamphlet and we'll go back on Thursday or Friday! Hopefully it goes well.

Next we went to this huge house and they were really rude and made us leave immediately. I felt so bad but it was also funny! So we came back and now we're still with J and her son. The moon is like 4/5 covered.
It's so awesome but we have to go in.

We get along really well! My Spanish is no no Bueno, but I'm learning. We haven't taught really very many lessons so I don't get to practice a lot. But the gift of tongues is still real and I feel it sometimes!

She loves a good selfie.
We didn't see much of the moon. We watched it disappear and then checked it at 9:40 and it was red but not super visible. Very cool though!! The sunsets are so amazing here. My pictures hardly do it
justice at all. I think Ponce got a good one but it's just not capturable!! Love love love it. It's beautiful here! Lots of dogs too. Ponce and I had a good time walking around vocalizing the animals. OH, I have to remember to get a video of this dog next time. Holy cow. We were walking and I see this white mutt and it's running at us "aggressively" and growling pretty mean so we got a little freaked out. It got like 3 feet from us and let out this high-ish pitched squeak and we could not stop laughing - oh my heck, so funny. Everyone has a dog and every dog has 3 cats, at least. One house had 7-9 cats. One has these cutest puppies. A neighbor has a cute dog, too. But we can't touch them, sadly.


Things are good here in Danville.

Sister Sipple is very funny and we get along really well. She's a trooper and I love her a lot. She's trying to follow the Spirit. She taught me how to teach the restoration with the pamphlet in English. Sister Ponce has been very patient with my slow Spanish and is willing to help me learn even though I'm not great at it and there aren't a ton of opportunities to speak it when you're sick/coughing! She's very nurturing and she laughs at my jokes. She's taught me patience and how to study effectively - except for when I fall asleep a lot. :) I love these two. They have a desire to work and to love, not only each other but the others out here too. They have very open and loving eyes which I am slowly leaning to develop as I meet these people. That's what motivates them - the love for the people. It's inspiring to me!! They have taught me how to see the good in people, even when they make bad decisions. There are a lot of people using drugs and drinking. It was a bit of a culture shock at first but I'm getting used to it. Going to church helped me to see that there are people here with testimonies and a love for the Savior. It's really fun and nice. I love it here!

I have tried to memorize the lesson points and this week I'm going to add memorizing scriptures references to each of the points. I also want to learn the recitations, too. I'm working on having a desire to teach and to go out and work. I always enjoy it after, but I get scared before. I try to remember to fear not and be of good courage. The scripture that I shared with I you in our interview comes to mind, Jacob 5:72, about the Lord laboring WITH His servants as they gather Israel and how the master of the vineyard, or Heavenly Father, is watching over it all. It's really an amazing scripture and comfort to me. In the MTC we had a devotional from Lloyd Newell and he taught us to have a sound heart, courage, and love. With those things we can fear not and trust God. It was really uplifting for me. That's what I have also been working on! And I know Joseph Smith was a true prophet and a good example of those things. My testimony of him has been really strengthened. And Jesus Christ of course is our perfect exemplar. I'm trying to have faith first in the Lord, then in you, then in my companions, then in other missionaries. My heart is being locked and my feet are being moved. I love you and all you do for us! I love Jesus. I love the Lord.

Thank you for everything,
Hermana Macfarlane

Welcome to The South

She's enjoying the iPad a little too much.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Danville, Arkansas meet Hermana Macfarlane

This is me (Helen) talking because, well, I haven't heard from Hermana Macfarlane since the last email she sent from the Little Rock Mission Home. By the end of the the day Tuesday I was starting to get anxious and very curious. I hadn't heard where she was assigned or with whom. I was checking the ALRM (Arkansas Little Rock Mission) Facebook page to see if anyone had posted anything about Ashley. I became friends with a wonderful woman (Laura Jensen) whose daughter also arrived in Arkansas that day (English speaking). She invited me to another ALRM private site where someone had posted a lot of the new companionships that had been formed that day.

No mention of Hermana Macfarlane.

Someone else took a few pictures of new companionships and posted them on the private Facebook page.

No Hermana Macfarlane.

Just as I was starting to give up on finding out anything before Monday, I received a picture via text from an unfamiliar number.

There's Ashley! Wearing the pajamas she and Emma bought together before she left. So, we sent this picture back, along with lots of questions!!

Connected by ... pajamas.

So, it turned out to be Katie, a friend of the missionaries who sent the picture. She told us they are in Danville, AR and that Ashley is in another trio companionship. Meet Hermanas Ponce and Sipple!

Hermanas Ponce, Sipple and Macfarlane

Everyone in Danville and the ALRM are so friendly and welcoming! I'm confident that Ash will be well loved and taken care of. (I'm hoping she returns in kind.) I'm already FB friends with the Branch President, the Danville Branch, and Hermana Sipple's mom, Lisa. Lisa sent these interesting facts about Danville today:

Population: 2600
70% Hispanic
Average annual income: $26,000
The Branch President is a professional chef and is awesome! The Branch is sweet and wonderful.

As I was putting together this post, this picture came in from Hermana Sipple.
Here we go!!

I'm putting together a care package (or two) to send right away. If anyone has ideas on a "greenie" package or an October-themed package, please let me know! Or, just ideas on what Sister Missionaries like to get in general would also be helpful.

If you'd like to drop her a note:

Hermana Ashley Macfarlane
P.O. Box 933
Danville AR 72833

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

"The Natural State"

Hello! I am here!

I had a really good sleep last night, we were so so so pooped. I slept on this big queen bed with the softest mattress and great pillows and ahhhh it was so nice. I do have a bit of a cold though which is unfortunate. It's the kind that is super dry so my throat is dry and my eyes water and I cough, but it's all good I'm taking medicine and stuff.

It's not like a wave of humidity like that one time when we stayed in ... Missouri was it? And it was like we were breathing only water. It's not like that. But it is more humid and my skin is just that much softer if you can imagine! (She really does have the softest skin.)

How are you all? Don't worry about me, I'm in good hands. I have been stressed but in my mind I know that it's okay. It's hard for me to get the best of this moment because my thoughts turn home a lot. But I'm applying the Atonement and I'll be just fine!! :)

Sister Wakolo is a great cook! We had yummy chicken and rice and this morning we are having bacon it looks like. The sister training leaders are very cute and nice and everyone is happy here. The Wakolos seem very courageous. They are people that have had a lot of experience for sure. They're so awesome and I'm so excited! We have our transfer meeting today where we find out where we are serving. There are 10 sister Spanish missionaries here, about 11 elders for Spanish, and 200 English. So it's a little bit of a different world for us.

The Wakolos want me to make sure that you know they are so grateful for you and who you are. They always say that. Grateful for what you do but mostly who you are! And that it's the Plan of Happiness not the Plan of Sadness. I know it will be hard here but it's the only opportunity I will have to serve the Lord full time in my whole life!! I love you! Hopefully I will write you on Monday!
Also they have the cutest little Fijian daughter, Jasmine, who is 12 years old!!! She's so cute and reminds me of Emma a lot.

Love you much!! I'll send the tracfone home ASAP.

Hermana Macfarlane

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Voice Recording Transcript

I haven't had time to read your (beautifully long) email yet! But here is my recording for the week. Feel free to put whatever you want on the blog. Sorry I couldn't write it out! I'm trying to be obedient with email time. It's very easy to go over, especially because we won't get in any real trouble. But, obedience is good and stuff so yeah. 

Again, I hope this is actually mine and not the ones from Sister Smith! 
Hermana Macfarlane

(Also, I want you to know that I put your names in the temple every week and I pray for you to feel the blessings of having a missionary and from living righteously. I hope you are watching for those and feeling them. Seriously. Love you all so much. Absence makes the heart grow fonder (or forgetful 😖 lolz)

Hello Family! So, I thought I would have more time to write today but then somehow I used up all my time. So, I'm sending you this recording of three things and it won't be very long, hopefully. 

First of all I lost that blueish green cardigan that we just barely got and I have no idea where it went. I've checked the lost and found. Maybe I can check the front desk or something because it was brand new and it was so awesome and it went with everything. So, that's been on my mind lately. But, I can't find it and I didn't ever pack that brown shirt, so if you do end up seeing it, that would be awesome. And when are you going to send a TracFone? Send it soon. And also send a gallon bag so I can put all my liquids in my carry on in it and maybe another page of stamps like the ones you sent me before. 

So this is just a little experience I had yesterday or the day before. I've always kind of felt like I have doubts in the back of my mind, like, I know things are true and I feel the Spirit but I'm always like what if just really isn't true and we die and there's nothing or what if when I'm older I'll forget all these good feelings I've had. I think that's just mostly what it was -- fear of losing my testimony. So, yesterday I was going to start studying for one of our investigators who is going to learn about the law of tithing next. Instead of doing that, I felt like I need to study about Christ and it was really awesome how clear it was that I knew I needed to study about that that day. So, I read in the Bible Dictionary (which is my favorite resource right now, it's so awesome) and first I looked under Jesus and it just gave a little explain of his name. And then I read under Christ and that was really cool. Just a short little things. But then my favorite part was actually when I read about the gospels, talking about Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and talking about their different stories of Christ and how it is all different perspectives burt the same doctrine. It was really cool to see and read that little excerpt and see how realistic CHrist was. I was looking at the pictures in the back of the Bible and it was so cool to see the pictures again because it made it much more realistic. These are places that I've learned about in my history classes, these places that amazing, spiritual religious things happened and it was so awesome. I realized I felt so calm but also really excited when I was reading it and I just wanted to learn everything I could about Christ right then and read all of the Old Testament, all of the New Testament, all of the Book of Mormon, all of Jesus the Christ and Our Heritage and all the definitions and just learn as much as I can so that I can have that feeling all the time and learn about his perfect example that he was for us and how I can adapt that in my life. It was so cool to have the Spirit prompt me to do that and I was like, whatever, okay and then I understood why. So, this is what I got from it. If I can keep that feeling with me and mostly if I can base my testimony in Christ and not in deep doctrine, or in some kind of an outcome, if I can base my testimony in Christ then I will be able to keep it forever as long as I keep it based on Christ's example and the Atonement and learn more about His gospel and those things then that is what will keep my testimony strong. I was just really thankful for that experience.

I'm grateful to be learning about Christ. We talk about Him every day - It's so awesome. We talk about how every lesson is supposed to be centered around Him because that's our purpose, to invite others to come unto Christ by doing the things in his gospel but it's not just to be nice. People always say the mission is all about love, it's all about service, it's all about hard work. Which, it is all about those things, but the main focus is to invite others to come unto Christ, even if it's just one step closer to baptism, or going to the temple, or something. So, that's been kind of a cool thing.

Other than that, I had sort of a weird week. It feels like it was very long ago when I had my last P-day but I also feel like nothing happened. I just can't remember what I've done this past week. I think because I said everything in those two letters I think I've said everything that was significant to me this week.

I hope you are all doing well and I am really sorry to hear about Roxy. You'll have to let me know if she got hurt badly, or what happened with that.

I've started to organize my things and pack. I haven't put anything into a suit case, but just thinking about if there's anything I need to send home, or keep here, or, keep with me or anything.

I'm really grateful for you guys. I hope Emma's doing okay and that she's enjoying school and not getting too stressed out about it. It's so hard to go to 7th grade and have so many classes and have friend troubles and emotions and puberty and everything. I'm grateful she's having those experiences because that's what shapes you and I know it sounds dumb but it's important. I love her and I love hearing from you all and I hope everyone is in good health and in good spirits. It was fun to hear from Eva and Suzy this week. I spent a lot of time emailing them and friends and stuff so I didn't have a lot of time to email you a whole lot.

I'll call you on Tuesday morning! Turn your phones up really high and set your alarms! I look forward to talking to you and if for some reason something goes wrong and I don't get to talk to you, then I'll talk to you on my next P-day in Arkansas!

Love you, Bye!

Snail Mail 9/16/15

Hola otra vez :)

Last Temple Trip for 17 months!

It was a beautiful day!
Como estan hoy?? (At least, I THINK that's what it says. Her handwriting, although lovely to look at, is sometimes nearly impossible to read.)

Choir was fun today! Sister Wixom just walked in! She is so cute and awesome. She and the MTC president's wife are matching in yellow with white hair! And her husband seems so nice. I'm excited for this. :)

Thank you for your Dear Elder today. I love to get those with random stuff.

I love the song Let the Holy Spirit Guide. And our district song will be better because I asked for it to be transposed lower so sister Smith could sing the high note better but it didn't sound great so we put it back to normal and it's better.

I'm having morning stress but I always end happy. I really am happy!!!

I love you all!!!

Love, Hermana Macfarlane

MTC District

Later ...

Okay, hi. So here's the fast version: An Elder told Sis Wixom a story when they were mission presidents. He was faced with a ravenous dog. The only thing he had was a Book of Mormon. So he placed it on the ground and instead of being attacked, the dop bit the book. The bite penetrated all the way to 2 Nephi. And her joke was "even he stopped at Mosiah!" Lolz

And go read 2 Nephi 22:2 :)

So, it's been hard because I'm really comfortable here and things are good but I feel scared to go change everything about my structure and language. Again! But, I am also way excited. I'm really trying to apply the Atonement. I know what is the root of my problem and what I need to change, but I can't figure out how. So, I'm working on being positive, humble, and patient with myself and others. There is an Elder especially that I'm praying for. He is very insecure and acts very prideful and does a lot of "fishing" for reassurance. I made a goal today to only think positive things about him. And I totally felt way more love and it rocked.

Also, I want you all to know that my testimony is growing. Especially of the Atonement! I have not done too much that the Atonement won't cover it. Or anyone! It is cliche because it is so true. Everyone needs the Atonement and should use it. It's a gift that we can take full advantage of. Big things, little things, medium things, etc. I really do know this. Have an experience with the Atonement this week. It can be small or big, not depending on what you're asking for/needing but depending on your conviction as you pray and go throughout your days seeking help. Sister Wixom said that in relation to missions, YOU control your own convictions! It's up to you to initiate your relationship with God as HIS hand is stretched out. I love the Atonement. It's about happiness.

I have to sleep now. I love you and I know this church is true. As I bear my honest testimony, I feel like it will grow. I really do know these things and I can only learn more. I want to share this with conviction, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Snail Mail 9/14/15 Arkansas or Bust!

Hi - Yes plz send a tracfone thing!

The Hermanas that are leaving said that the TracFone taking is the best way to go if you get a lot of minutes and it's totally allowed!

Maybe a travel-size toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner? I'm going to see what they have at the MTC store, but I really just need tiny bottles of those so that would rock.

We stole some of Elder Williams' popcorn with zero regrets.

So: Exact plans - (And she gives her exact plans which I am not putting on here for you all to read. So sorry.)

I want to tell you all the random stuff like how we get "commendable" and the note of "Best room of the day so far" every week for cleaning checks. But, we are 20 minutes past bed time because we were saying good-bye to Hermanas Buchannon, Eldridge and Swenson who leave this night!

Ashley's Caption Read: NOT A JOKE

I can't express my gratitude for you all. Seriously, I love you so much.

Hermana McFarlande (Not sure why she spelled it like this, but it was funny!)

Snail Mail 9/13/15

As I started typing this, a song came on Pandora that Ashley used to play and that I miss so much! A Chopin Nocturne. Seriously the best thing. 


Sorry for that weird note on Saturday. I wanted to tell you all the things but I didn't have time. Tell this to Andrew: Today we wanted grapes (the watermelon is where it's at though :)) and Sister Smith started singing "celegrape good times, come on! It's a celegrapetion." So that was funny because it reminded me of Andrew's celeration song. (He sang that about celery once and it was very funny.)

Did Bishop Gibbons say if I can send my temple clothes home with him? It would be nice. I forgot to ask my Branch President today if that would be allowed. Choir was cool today because we are singing "Hoorah for Israel" so that'll be fun. Then, next week we're doing Music and the Spoken Work with Lloyd Newell! I'm excited for that. I saw Megan Cutler today! She's so cute. Courtney should come this week. (Courtney and Megan are two of Ashley's friends from high school.)

With Sister Courtney Griffiths

How are you guys? Thank you for the package! The slips are great and so is everything else. We are singing our goodbye humn next week. Elder Self is a piano performance major who is minoring in French so he decided we're singing a song that's only in the French hymnbook -- in English -- and he'll play for us. He is very musically talented, and very smart and nice. It's to the tune of "Going Home" which I love!

We got a new Elder! Oh, I think I already told you. His name is Elder Sheppard. We're starting our devotional with Richard I. Heaton who is the Administrative Director here. I'll probably write more later, but if not, LOVE YOU A LOT A LOT <3 Hermana Macfarlane

Hi, we just watched a seminar thing by Elder Holland on teaching! It was pretty good!

Do you have any fall break plans? I hope you're having fun planning stuff :) How's Emma doing with ADD and voice and Emma cuteness?

I'm so excited for conference!!

The map sounds so fun! Tell my mission president that I'm funny. hehe (I told her we have to send President Wakolo a letter all about her and I didn't know what to say.) I'm supposed to write my testimony so that Sister Wakolo can keep them ... no pressure. They seriously seem like the best! I'm so excited and nervous. But, I love the mission.

My favorite little door that I love walking through.

Being a Sister Training Leader is fun but hard because the newer sisters have companionship troubles. But we pray for them and they are doing okay. We have had a hard time as a district focusing (the eternal problem at the MTC) and today the 30+ of us decided we can plan all we want; this whole time we have made district goals and come up with ideas and talked, but we still have problems. When it's hard to focus, we just need to get over ourselves and get back to work. Our Branch President talked about where your desire is. If you honestly have the desire to do the Lord's work, you will use the Atonement and forget the world. You can't serve two masters - you either spend your time here, or you spend it there. It was so good and what we needed. So, this week, it's going to be hard but I'm determined!! I love you all so much. All you have done and still do is noticed by me and by my district. You are all good examples to those you don't even know. LOVE YA! Hermana Macfarlane

PS Are Julie and Mike or Jean and Bruce going to serve missions? Just curious. Senior Missionaries are the best!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

We have as long as the English speakers - travel plans come tomorrow!!

Hola again! Week 4 or 5 or something was great. I'm not sure how they count the weeks but we are somewhere around there. We leave in less than 2 weeks!! And I just have to say that the excitement is really really real. They people of Arkansas already have a place in my heart. I'm so pumped. Here is my random list of things I wrote down throughout the week and day to tell you:
-First of all, I sent this story to Andrew in a letter but you will probably read this first. Last P-day on our way to the temple, we looked at our vending machines and saw a radio/walkie-talkie thing. Naturally, we bought it. Actually I bought it. $1.50 for that thing and a bag of trail mix- not too bad! Sister Smith took it and said "hello?" and this guy responded so we proceeded to tell him what happened. He got very confused and other people chimed in and it was so hilarious. They couldn't understand that the guy who was stocking the machines left his radio in there. It was a good time. That's what these pictures are!!

-Like I was saying I am so excited to learn and teach with people in Arkansas. We were teaching our teacher who's investigator name is "Gabriel" and I got so excited to learn Spanish and be able to communicate fluently. I felt a lot of peace about it.
-Thank you for the stickers, they make me feel like I have a really good sense of humor
-Sister Smithson makes good cookies and I love Kneaders pumpkin bread.
-Today we watched a thing about family history and how to use it as a tool. I finally got around to filling in my little booklet from my mission president and it was so cool. I love that stuff. And that family history is such a genuine thing. You don't have to trick people into hearing a message, they can come closer to Christ by just learning about their heritage and what that means for their family too. I love it.
-Thank you for all the pictures you sent last week and emails!! I love it so much. You all seem like you're doing well. Emma, sorry that you got sick! I did too. But probably the shortest cold I have ever had in my whole life. It was runny nose and itchy throat and watery eyes for one day and then I took medicine yesterday and the day before and I've been fine today. Every once-in-awhile I cough.

-I was really nervous before I came that I would be late for everything, take too long showering and getting ready, be distracted by elders, and really miss you guys too much. But I didn't realize until this week that those things are hard for me still and I'm not perfect but it's certainly not a burden. The Lord has helped me with so much that I didn't even realize. I can focus on learning the doctrine and the language way better. We have been focusing on the Atonement a lot lately and how it's so awesome that you can be cleansed from all sorts of sin throughout the day but also it's enabling, strengthening, comforting, etc. We have been trying to look for ways that the Atonement has blessed our lives and how we can apply it more. I have felt a lot of help studying and being at peace with the lessons and I'm really trying to be selfless with my lessons. We all have a tendency to think about how we did but it's really about how they came closer to Christ or didn't. I have felt a lot of strength in different ways and it's so cool.
-Thank you mom for teaching me how to use the Bible Dictionary. I have always just wanted to ask you questions (and here I just want to ask my companions) and find the immediate answer, but I'm trying to take what we teach to our investigators about finding out for yourself, and apply that to my life. I can pray about hard doctrinal questions and research and read and I have everything I need because I have scriptures,, and prayer. So thank you.

-Something hilarious that we do is really bad harmonies. (Yes, I still have that talent.) Especially me and Sister Smith. Our most recent favorite is "Christmas Shoes" by that country singer. We love to sing that in the shower together in grandma ward talent show voices. It's way funnier than you are thinking.

-My companions are so amazing. They have so much knowledge about scriptures and love and everything. We had an hour long companionship inventory last night talking about strengths individually and as a companionship and goals and how we can work better together. It was really really good. They said very genuine nice things to me and I to them. We realized that we are not perfect (whaaa???) but we really just want to follow the Spirit in all things. ESPECIALLY in our lessons as we don't know Spanish or all of the answers, we do know how to follow the Spirit and we are trying to be sensitive to that even more.

-It's weird because I keep wanting to ask for you to send me things but I can't really because they're not necessary and I don't have room to take them to Arkansas. But it's actually really awesome to live so minimally. I know I have a lot still, but I have a lot less too. It's been cool to be free from a cell phone (actually we have a hilarious sister training leader phone that does nothing but call the front office and receive solicitor calls).

-The Causse's came on Tuesday (general bishop and his wife) and they are so so cute. They talked about how hard it is to move away from their family and France and do these hard things but we can be obedient and humble and have faith and consecrate our lives and all that good stuff. It was so awesome. Then he played a beautiful rendition of Come, Come Ye Saints. It was so inspiring.
-We have a new elder, Elder Sheppard, his visa didn't come yet or his transfers are messed up or something so he is with our district now (and extra 2 weeks for him) so that's been fun
-Thank you for those markers you sent me! We got our white board taken away because another teacher is allergic to chalk so we have the chalkboard now. BUT our companionship goes to this other room, the ZRT room, with a big beautiful whiteboard and we write on it and stuff so thanks.
-EMMA thank you for your daily note thing!! That was so hilarious and awesome. It totally made my whole week and it was so fun. (Emma wrote one thing about her day, everyday for a month, on little post-it notes and then sent them all to Ashley. They were so funny!)

-DAD thank you for your letter too!! When I am tired, I have been strengthened  thinking about you not only working so hard all the time but also getting up early to go to the temple and working on our house and being so awesome. I hear the grass rocks and Iris loves to pee on it still?? Thank you for your prayers and fun stories. Keep 'em comin'.
-Em, did you audition for anything else? I can't remember. What's your next thing? How do you like drama? Is your teacher fun?? How is your locker and averie and friends and stuff?
-I especially love the random Dear Elders. I feel sad for those in our district that don't get them everyday. But I still want them. Hehe. Thank you!! And that letter about the bat is accurate. I talked to her before I read this actually not knowing who she was. She was cleaning with us. Did I tell you I saw one of the bats like a few weeks ago? They are way cute. And we can't kill them because it's a $10,000 fine for EACH. So the bat problem will go on. And hopefully I won't get rabies shots and have to stay here for another month.
-Choir rocks.
Sister Smith likes taking pictures of people as they come out of the bathroom.

Send all my love! Things are great here. Thank you for your prayers and everything you have done for me and continue to do. I know that this work is so important. I am so thankful for the Atonement and for Christ's perfect example. Heavenly Father doesn't just forget about those who are less fortunate. He cares so much and it's us that forget about Him. Please keep doing the amazing things you already do!! I love you all, talk to you next week! :)

Hermana Macfarlane

(P.S. tell Suzy to email me. Please. :))

"We are very excited!"

President and Sister Wakolo are from Fiji, which I think is really cool. Here is a letter they just sent Ashley and she forwarded it to me. The subject line said, "We are excited!"


Dear Hermana Macfarlane,

Komo estas? Today and tomorrow I will be calling other missionaries that you will be coming out together to the Arkansas Little Rock Mission which I will miss talking to you personally so I decided to send you an e-mail.

The whole mission is very excited and Sister Wakolo and I are very excited to know that you are coming to this mission. She said to let you know that when you arrive she is going to cook you a good dinner and breakfast meals to make you feel at home because you deserve it.

We will make sure that we prayerfully assign a good trainer for you. You will enjoy your mission here, of course it’s the people that makes all the difference.

We pray for you and please thank your family for us.

Gracias, Best wishes and much love.
President Wakolo

This letter does a mother's heart much good.  

Saturday, September 5, 2015

What's your #1?

HOLA!! Thank you for all of the pictures!! I have been dying. So cute. And thank you for the best packages and we ate all of that trail mix in like three days and also this week has gone by so fast. Seriously, you guys are hilarious and the best and I love you so much! We are about to do laundry. So, bye!! (And with that, I had to wait another hour. Sigh.)

Sometimes at bedtime, or mealtime, we ask each other how our day was by saying, "What was your number one?" We know that this will be followed by, "And, your two?" Then, "Three?" These stand for the BEST part of your day, the thing that was BOTH good and bad, and the WORST part of your day. I asked Ashley those questions about this week. 

Best thing was that Elder Oaks came to speak on Sunday! It was so fun. We were broadcasted to the other MTCs in the world and we sang in the choir. Apparently my face was front and center for a good portion so that was my major LDS music debut. He spoke about Preach My Gospel (the missionary manual) but the coolest thing was that he said not only remember that every member a missionary but every missionary a member. And reminding us that the sacrament is how we can always have the spirit to be with us and that is still such an important part and it  will bless us so much if we can take the sacrament with real intent. Also he said not just doing missionary things but being a missionary. Which was good for me to hear because I don't really like teaching sometimes, but then this week I prayed to enjoy teaching and have patience with everyone and it was so good!

I had to speak in church this Sunday. I can't remember if I wrote you about it in a letter and if it was one that I sent or not ... it's all a blur! Sister Johnson had to teach relief society and sister Smith was conducting and said the closing prayer so I sort of knew it would be me. BUT that morning I realized I had thrown my talk away. It was such a crazy morning. If you remember Hannah Cosper, she says hello. But we were cleaning her building for service on Saturday and she asked me if I would play for them the next day because they're in the ASL ward so they needed a pianist or something and it was the EFY medley that I had played before, so I practiced with them that night and we went over at 8am to their sacrament meeting and did it and it was great. Then we got back to our classroom where we were supposed to be studying and preparing talks and whatever and I realized I had thrown my prepared talk away! Which was actually a blessing because the new talk I gave was much better. I talked about enduring to the end (the topic for this week) and how it's an internal thing and it's hard to know when someone is enduring because it's a combination of other outward actions spread across their life - of course this message was probably not received because of my broken Spanish. But I got so many nice compliments about it after! I think it's because I shared my mission scripture Jacob 5:72 and said that it comforts me to know that the Lord is working with us. The Branch Presidency's wives told me that I sounded really good and it was a nice talk. Everyone is so nice here. But I do have to say that I have the best pronunciation of our district for sure, but I am the worst at grammar. So I sound like I know what I'm saying but I ain't foolin' nobody. So, that whole Sunday was a good/bad because I talked and it was scary and I sounded really nervous but I actually enjoyed it a little.

The District
The worst was yesterday when we were learning a lot of really tough Spanish grammar. We learned commands and all this other stuff that we didn't really know before. It was hard because our teacher is new and so we don't really know his teaching style. And when our other teachers teach grammar they use a lot of English so we understand the concept but he rarely uses English and uses different words that we don't know so it's a challenge. My brain was exploding because I understood the concepts but couldn't remember them all in order to make full sentences. And we as a companionship were feeling so out of sync and everything with feeling the Spirit. But then we prayed a lot and jumped around and did active things and prepared a good lesson for this evening.
Us Making Utah Valley Girl Faces

All in all it was a good week! I'm really enjoying seeing people that I know. Mikey Bready, Sydni everyday, Khaya, Megan is coming next week and Courtney the next!
With Sydni Garvin, called to serve in Sidney, Australia - Samoan Speaking
These things are from my email list that I make throughout the week. So it will be random.
Thank you mom for teaching me the sometimes insecurity is overshadowed by pride. There are a few elders who like to only say things to build themselves up and it's really awkward sometimes but I'm grateful to be able to see that they are probably very insecure ... in fact I'm 90% sure of it. And I try so hard to be nice to them in a genuine way. 
"How we deal with stress"

I was having a hard Monday because I didn't want to teach and I was having a bad attitude but I prayed a lot about it and I felt SO good after. I felt like I had prepared as much as I could have and it was what the Lord wanted for me right then. And it happened every day following. I never want to teach and I'm trying to get over that because I always feel the Spirit when I can teach and follow the Holy Ghost. We are working on using less notes and following the Spirit more than an outline. It's really hard in Spanish!!
Thank you for the stamps and flip flops and delicious treats and everything you've sent me. It's such a blessing to receive things even as silly as flip flops. I guess I'm just really grateful for a good family!! 
If you see Mary Brimley thank her for sending me donuts!!
I LOVE DEAR ELDERS. We get them after lunch and after dinner M-Th and it's so awesome.
We were cleaning our building on our other service day and there was a baby bat and it was so cute but we had to all go down the the next floor just for the day.
We learned that we use olive oil for consecration for lots of different things but my favorite thing is that when olives are pressed they get more and more pure with each squeezing and also it gets sweeter and sweeter.
Our teacher had us write letters to ourselves and that was a really cool experience. Everyone agreed that it felt like we were giving ourselves a blessing for the future. The words came out in that way.

Got to go I'll probably write you a letter with everything else!!
LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!
Hi, I have 2 minutes.
-I like learning Spanish but it's hard to apply it
-It's very very cool especially when the gift of tongues comes into play
-I love that we are all here learning and sucking and being funny together. The environment rocks.
-I have loved learning about following the spirit and the importance of obedience. 8 page letter coming today.
-The guy in surgery left the first day and had surgery and never came back. He was supposed to but couldn't recover. His companion is our new district leader.

Much love!
Again thank you for all of the pictures and love and everything you have done for me and continue to do for me. It kills me that I can't express my thanks to you as much as I would like. Thank you for the goodies and the little things and the big things that you have sent and the pictures and the dear elders and everything.

Love love!!!