Monday, November 2, 2015

The Power of God

Beautiful foggy fall morning in Danville
FHE at the B's. After a good P-day of cleaning and laundry we headed over to the B's. They are always so sweet and I love going over there. They are very patient with my Spanish!! We talked about the power of God. It was really cool because their little neighbor friend, Niki, came over and was SO sweet and loves everything, haha. Anyway, we read in 1 Nephi about Lehi talking to God and the bush burning and T, their daughter, loves that it shows the power of God! So Hermana B was super awesome and she asked N how she has seen the power of God in her life and she talked about being protected. Then Hermana B talked about having all that they need and not too much more, God knows their needs and provides for them when they are faithful. It was SUCH a sweet testimony. Then they asked me how I had seen the power of God in my life and been protected, and I thought of dad. He's been driving over an hour to work for what, more than 12 years now right? And he drives early in the morning and late at night. Because he is doing his very best to provide for our family, and because of our faithful and consistent prayers, he has been able to stay safe through all of this. It's amazing that he has returned home safely every single night. I am so grateful for the power of God in those little things that make the biggest difference. Then for some reason we tried to see how many licks to the center of a tootsie pop and it  was about 654 if I remember correctly. :)

1 I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days. 
2 Yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians. 
3 And I know that the record which I make is true; and I make it with mine own hand; and I make it according to my knowledge. 
4 For it came to pass in the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah, (my father, Lehi, having dwelt at Jerusalem in all his days); and in that same year there came many prophets, prophesying unto the people that they must repent, or the great city Jerusalem must be destroyed.
5 Wherefore it came to pass that my father, Lehi, as he went forth prayed unto the Lord, yea, even with all his heart, in behalf of his people. 
6 And it came to pass as he prayed unto the Lord, there came a pillar of fire and dwelt upon a rock before him; and he saw and heard much; and because of the things which he saw and heard he did quake and tremble exceedingly. 
7 And it came to pass that he returned to his own house at Jerusalem; and he cast himself upon his bed, being overcome with the Spirit and the things which he had seen. 
8 And being thus overcome with the Spirit, he was carried away in a vision, even that he saw the heavens open, and he thought he saw God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels in the attitude of singing and praising their God. 
9 And it came to pass that he saw One descending out of the midst of heaven, and he beheld that his luster was above that of the sun at noon-day. 
10 And he also saw twelve others following him, and their brightness did exceed that of the stars in the firmament. 
11 And they came down and went forth upon the face of the earth; and the first came and stood before my father, and gave unto him a book, and bade him that he should read. (Elder Foster gave a cool insight on this that he learned from someone. Lehi was given a book and was asked to read it, sort of like how we are  asked and we ask those who we come in contact with to read a book.... and then he was filled with the Spirit of the Lord. HOW COOL.)
12 And it came to pass that as he read, he was filled with the Spirit of the Lord. 

How have you seen the power of God in your life this week?

We had our last district meeting with elder Holden! It was weird without Sister Sipple, but we still learned a lot. We talked about introducing a scripture, reading it, and applying it. All the steps are important, especially involving them in the process instead of just telling them how it could feel and all that. Good stuff. Then we role played that with each other. Ya know, role plays are really weird. They're super awkward and it always feels pointless, but in reality, after it's over, I always feel more comfortable with teaching! I feel like I could teach that topic to a real person sometime. I'm grateful for that!

Joint Districts - Russelville and Danville

And the commencement of my first real walk week... 

Loving the new coat.
Unfortunately, we happened to lose our phone on Tuesday. We left it at Taco Bell and the elders got a call and went to pick it up! We had kind of panicked because we needed to contact the sisters about our exchanges and be able to make plans for the next day. (Oh yeah, mom I had my first exchanges! It's where the Sister Training Leaders take 24 hours and switch companions with you! They do it every week for the sisters in their zone, but ours are Spanish STL's so they do it for all of the Hermanas in the mission.) The B's were kind and let us use their phone and contact everyone we needed to. So, Wednesday morning at about 7:45 am we got a knock on the door. We still didn't have our phone, so Sister B had to come over and let us know that there was a change in the exchanges and I was supposed to up to Russellville now instead of staying in Danville. So, I packed up my things and Hermana Ponce unpacked. We checked the mail and got our plans together, finished studying, and met the sisters in Dardanelle.

Hermana Moore and I headed back to Russellville and started our day! (We tried to contact someone in Dardanelle, and then Hermana Moore got a massive wasp in her hair.) We grabbed some lunch and got to work! Mostly trying to contact referrals and stuff and checking on people. We had one lesson with a Spanish speaking investigator, and a member from the branch came teaching as well. I think we talked about the history of the Book of Mormon? I tried my best to say stuff in Spanish! Hahaha. We were also able to teach some kids who have just been baptized. She said it was really cool to see their progression since baptism. I noticed how smart they were and sister Moore said she feels like it's because they have the gift of the Holy Ghost now. I know the Holy Ghost teaches us and brings things to our minds, even to young rowdy boys! Very good, very cool. We need knowledge before baptism so we can take it seriously and know what we are promising to do (one reason why we don't baptize babies) but also we don't need to konw EVERYTHING. We just need sufficient knowledge to make a promise to God (age of accountability=8y.o.) and to gain a simple testimony of the Restoration and God's love and commandments. Once we are baptized, we can use the Holy Ghost to learn and grow so much more! We will always be in a constant state of learning and growing. It's pretty cool that we are able to find out so much over time and that thoughts and questions come as you take the time to ponder on the things you DO know. God will give you the tools and answers you need in that moment, no more, no less. Just what you need.

I really love the gift of the Holy Ghost. It has blessed my life so much! Sorry I'm sort of ranting on this, but when I was baptized at 8 I didn't really understand it fully. I was just happy and whatever. I didn't doubt the church's reality, but I wasn't digging in deep to learn everything. But, I knew enough. Since then, I have been able to learn more about that covenant that I made and renew it every week at church through the Sacrament. What a blessing! I'm so grateful that I can repent and change, and that the Holy Ghost can be my constant companion-to guide, to warn, to comfort, to bring knowledge to my mind, etc.- if I do the things I know I am supposed to do. :) I'm really grateful for the blessings of the gospel in my life and that I have seen in myself and others the blessings of righteous living. :)

Sister Moore taught me a lot about spending time wisely and always having a plan. It's good to have back up plans too because most of the time, things fall through. That's just missionary work! But we have back up plans and back up plans for those back up plans. We make it work and with the Lord's help, we go where we are needed. We were able to go to mutual that night too, it was fun to see all the youth together! And we had a Spanish correlation meeting as well.

We had to re-adjust, at at least I did. We got back at about 1:30 or so and had some lunch, did the rest of 12 week studies, and went to Dardanelle with the Brooksbys. We wanted to go see D and A while they taught R, but D and A weren't home so we just went to R's with the B's. She showed us some of her old jewelry, and as we walked through her house, Sister Ponce and I noticed an old song book. We looked through it and both felt like I should ask her if I could play a few of the songs. (R is quite a talented little pianist.) It was a really cool old songbook from the '70s... 1974 I believe. It had triangle and square and circle notes?? (If anyone knows what that means, shoot me an email and please explain it to me! I think it has something to do wit solfedge??? She said it makes it easier to transpose on the spot.) I played a few of the songs and she came over and started singing to them. She taught me this thing called.... uh... I forgot. Something like double bounce bass or something. I don't really know how to explain it but it was cool! She had a good time teaching me and I had a good time playing. Then I asked her if I could show her a favorite hymn of mine and I pulled out hymn 96, Dearest Children God is Near You. I explained that it was written by my great-great-great(-great?) grandfather, John Menzies Macfarlane in the early days of the church. She was pleased to see that and I played it. She said it was so beautiful, especially thetext! So the 5 of us sang  the first verse all together. I of course turned to hymn #212, Far, Far Away on Judea's Plains, and explained that J.M. Macfarlane wrote the music and the text to that one too. We played and sang that one as well! It  was such a neat experience for me because I was able to use something that is so important to me to share a very non-threatening message about the gospel and God's love/Christ's birth. I know J.M.Mac was smiling down and singing along with us!! The Spirit was very strong there. Sister B leaned in to me and said, "You come from a great heritage!" I am truly blessed. Everyone's background can help someone else. In a lot of cases, it's the missionaries that are recent converts or missionaries who have overcome incredibly tough challenges that really help and change people's lives. I am grateful for my pioneer ancestors who did so much so that I can be here today, serving in Danville, Arkansas. Their sacrifice has blessed and will bless so many!

Pet Piggie. No biggie.

We had our weekly lunch with the T's. They just have the sweetest feeling in their home! They live out on this massive chunk of land with 3 chickens, 4 cats, and a new puppy!!!!! They just named him lo-lo or something. He's a tiny black lab mixed wit a few other things and he should be smaller than Iris.
The new puppy

HALLOWEEN!!!! Happy Halloween!! This is a very funny holiday for missionaries. We happened to have a baptism! U is someone that the Elders have been working with for just a little bit, and he had a very nice baptism. I played the hymns (hymn #96 being one of them...:)) Elder Holden gave a talk, Elder Foster baptized him, and President Hall gave another talk about the Holy Ghost at the end. Also, Elder B conducted and said good stuff too.

These are my notes from that talk: (it was actually great for what I had been thinking about and helping with someone we are teaching.) Pres. Hall-be in a place where you can be receptive of the Spirit. (He was a drummer and his dad used to tell him that when he would go into these loud crazy places, the Spirit waits at the door. He doesn't want to go in there. He may go in for a little bit, get bored, and come back out.) "do diligence" (real estate: research the property in much depth) ponder (what sounds right, feels good) take it to Heavenly Father in prayer, focus on feelings. You have to ponder and work on it, and then be willing to act on it. "What the missionaries are teaching sounds good, so, is this what is right? <- ask God. The Spirit is: Love joy peace gentleness long suffering faith subtle, silent, peaceful. One of the greatest gifts we can receive (other than immortality and the atonement/life of the savior). Uriah bore a very humble and awesome testimony of the things he learned and of the help of our Savior when overcoming trials.

With Branch President and Sister Hall

After the baptism we set up our doors for not trick-or-treat, not trunk-or-treat, but door-r-treat! (???) We  suspected the weather to be bad-it wasn't- so we moved it to the inside. It was actually really fun! We had a missionary door in the foyer with tons of candy and face painting. The B's came and had a door, the T's I think had a door, the Hall's, S & L, and the Brooksby's. And I think there were others but I can't remember!! It was so fun. We had a medium crowd, pretty slow most of the night but people stayed and lingered for a while. Oh my heavens, the face painting. I will let the pictures tell the stories. I dressed up as "Sister Ponce when she gets out of the shower" and she was a minion. So cute. :) We had a good safe night.

We had a really great testimony meeting! I was able to bear my testimony on prayer. It was nothing extravagant, Ponce and I have been talking a lot about prayer and I felt like I needed to share my testimony of the things I have learned. I know that prayer works! It's cool because it's such a simple doctrine that is so easy to do and brings the greatest miracles and blessings. We talked a lot about praying to Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ. Not the other way around or any other combination. We are talking to our Heavenly Father and we need Jesus Christ to be our advocate and we do all things in His name. I am so grateful for this! It's really special that at any time of day or night we can kneel in prayer, stand in prayer, sit in prayer, even a prayer in our hearts directed to God, even just our thoughts sometimes! Heavenly Father knows the thoughts and intentions of our hearts and will answer our prayers, always. If you ask in faith and if it is God's will, it will be granted. I know that's how I have been protected and blessed is through the prayers and faith of my family and friends! And I'm grateful for prayer and the spirit that it brings into a lesson. It's such a special way of communication.

We had 2 investigators come to church! Zippy (the Nix's daughter, she's a young lad and waiting to be baptized). And Elton and 2/3 of is children. We were SO grateful to see him at church! Again, I know he was able to come and feel the Spirit there because of prayers and his desire to act on the promptings of the Holy Ghost.

Sister T taught an awesome relief society lesson. She talked about testimonies. Something I really liked was when we were talking about bearing and solidifying your testimony, someone said that it's not only others who are hearing it but yourself too. You learn and grow from the Holy Ghost testifying even of what you said! Share your testimony with others and yourself! Say it out loud so others can hear and be touched and yourself as well. It's so important to share the things we know. Sister T shared how when she was having the missionary lessons, the Elders would say so firmly what they knew, and it made her want to know how and why they knew those things. So she bore a very powerful testimony and the spirit was so strong. And I know that testimony blesses lives.

After church we went to see S B who is a little bit sick. She is so funny, we love visiting her! She has a really hilarious personality and lights up when you ask about her life. Sweet sweet S.

About 2 weeks ago we were knocking the doors around our area and we found J. She has two (CUTE CUTE CUTE) babies. One is a new baby and one is about 2. He is so adorable. We taught her the Restoration last time and this time we talked about the Book of Mormon. We explained where it came from and she was excited that it's another record of Christ's teachings. She said she would pray this week to find out if it is true!! And last time we invited her to be baptized, she said she had already been baptized but then this time I felt like we needed to ask her again and I did AND SHE SAID YES!!! We set a goal and I pray that she will know the truth and be baptized by the proper priesthood authority! So exciting. She's such a kind lady! She is very open.

After J's we stopped by to see M E. She's hispanic and makes the BEST tamales! She gives some to the Brooksby's and then they give us some. They are so so good. She's so kind. Anyway, she hasn't been coming to church and we usually can't get ahold of her but lately we have been able to at least say hello when we knock on her door. But this time she actually let us in! She is seriously so kind. Oh my gosh she is so sweet and, like they all are, patient with my Spanish haha. We shared a scripture (2 Nephi 31:20-21) and she loved that a lot.
Overall it has been a great week! Sorry that I ramble on about things, I just get really excited!! :)

I love you all! Please pray for the Danville area to grow and progress in the gospel of Jesus Christ and that we can help move things along. This is such an amazing and special place. The members, the missionaries, our neighbors, everyone is so kind and I really love it here!

Sister Ponce and I are making more goals to learn Spanish. (well, she's not. I am. :)) I know that with the Lord's help I can fulfill my calling and teach those that speak Spanish and English! I'm super excited!

Much love,

Hermana Macfarlane

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