Thursday, December 3, 2015

Miss Mac -n- Cheese

THANKSGIVING DINNER!
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Monday:
After P-day time was over, we had a fun Noche de Hogar with the B family again! They are so so cute. Whenever we go over there, there's like this adorable little clique of kids that hang out that rush up to us and in Spanglish say "HOLA!!! MISS MAC'N'CHEESE" and seriously it brightens that day right up - holy cow. Most of the kids came over to have NdH with the B's and it was SO cool to teach them about the Plan of Salvation. Every single one of them knew someone who had passed away and they were so pleased to hear about their loved ones living in the spirit world. We taught them about being happy here, going to the temple, and also that judgement day isn't something to dread. They were all saying that they are scared to meet God but we told them that it will be such an exciting and happy time, if we do what He asks! I love teaching the Plan of Salvation, especially to kids. They just get it. The gospel is so simple that even the children can understand.

Tuesday:
We had a good district meeting about working with the members this week! We are going on walk week and the Elders just finished theirs so we really need help from the members. We talked a lot about strengthening within the branch in order to solidify the base... know what I'm sayin? We want to bring new people into the branch but without solid member help, tey will just fall away! Also the Book of Mormon is the best way we can do that. Having a testimony of the Book of Mormon is so important in conversion. ESPECIALLY at this time of the year! What a cool thing that we get to study from. Mom, I liked that thing you sent me "He is not just the reason for the season, He is the reason for everyday of our lives" or something like that! We should be focusing on Christ now at this season but also all of the time because without Him we would have no worthy goals.

We went to Ola and we were not getting anywhere productive, so we got out and walked a little bit. We both feel so much potential there! We found a cute little family that speaks mostly Spanish but some English. One of the little boys was practicing the trombone and he played a song for us! I was trying to ask him how it works... I still don't get it. How do they  know which pitch is where? If anyone has any information on this, it would be much appreciated. Sometimes when he would play closer to himself it would be higher but then other times it would be lower. I just don't get it. And, like, how do you play things in different keys? AH. Crazy. Kudos to all trombone players. We are also working on sharing more of the little pass along cards with people.

Wednesday:
The most exciting part of this day was cena with the Ch family. OH MY. We sat down to eat and she handed us some delicious potato and cheese tacos!!!!! I actually can't remember what else happened this day except that we had a cool lesson in Spanish in the morning :) Oh, and also we are teaching one of the little girls in Spanish with songs. We found this scripture 2 Nephi 31:2-32 Wherefore, the things which I have written sufficeth me, save it be a few words which I must speak concerning the doctrine of Christ; wherefore, I shall speak unto you plainly, according to the plainness of my prophesying. 3 For my soul delighteth in plainness; for after this manner doth the Lord God work among the children of men. For the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding.

Sometimes children don't understand all of the deep doctrine, but that doesn't mean they can't understand anything! "He speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding." We have taught a few people with disabilities and a few people that are masters of religion and a lot in between, but we teach the same doctrine to all of them because of, well, because of a lot of reasons but also because this scripture explains that the Spirit will testify to them in a way they will understand. Maybe it will be through our words or maybe through a scripture or song or something, but the Spirit speaks in ways we understand. SO we  taught this little girl with some of the primary songs and it was really awesome to see her understand the actions and be able to say a short simple prayer that was so heartfelt. It's those little tender mercies that warm my heart!

Thursday:
THANKSGIVING!!!!!! Katie's family is so so kind. The four of us Hermanas (Hnas. Lewis, Ponce, Moore, and me) were starting exchanges on Thursday and we all love Katie and her family so we met up at their house, had an awesome Thanksgiving dinner, and started the exchanges! As you can imagine, not many people were home or really quite open to visits from missionaries. After we got back from Katie's house, we tried to see a few other members and then went over to L, A, and R's house and watched them groom their cows and ate their delicious turkey and stuffing (which they call dressing???) It's so funny to be a mom at moments like these - doesn't everyone know the terms dressing and stuffing are interchangeable? Where did I go wrong? ;-) and caught up with them. It was great. :) 
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Friday:
For these exchanges, Hermanas Lewis and Ponce asked us to memorize the baptismal questions and then we would "role play" asking them to each other during the exchange. It was really neat to have those questions in my head and to remember as I am teaching someone to mentally check and see where they would be. Basically, first, do they have a testimony of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ? Second,  prophets/Joseph Smith. Third, repentance. Fourth, abiding by the law. Fifth, keeping the commandments. And sixth, ready to take upon them the name of Christ. I also did a little self check too as Hermana Ponce practiced asking me the questions. Do I have a testimony of these things? Have I repented of my sins? Am I taking Christ's name upon me and serving others and working hard? Evaluate. Stop. Repent. Change.
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This was the first day of dump (rain). We went out walking and holy hannah we were SOAKED!! IT WAS SO GREAT I LOVE THE RAIN. It's so hilarious to me, still. The rain is just misty but somehow you get so wet. It's like, even when it really is raining heavy, the drops are tiny little guys that somehow drench you. It's just  that everything is wet, everywhere.  We also made the cutest little dog friend, Chloe. We walked from our apartments probably a mile down to the house we were going to and a mile back, and Chloe followed us around for 3/4 of that! The whole time we were trying to figure out her name and finally at the end when I started calling her Chloe, she would not leave our sides! At first she was just zig zagging around us but would come up to the doors of houses with us. Then she just stuck right to H. Ponce's leg! (She tried to come into the apartment too.) I love the dog friends.
Chloe, the dog friend
Hermana Moore, the cat killer. (Her mom sent her this T-shirt in honor of last week's events. HAHAHA)

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We got drenched!

Saturday:
Hola Ola- Today we mostly spent the day in Ola! Sweet sweet Sally Hibler (member) dropped us off in Ola so we could find the people we wanted to see! First we tried a less-active member who wasn't home and another guy we found outside earlier. BUT COOL COOL STORY---This is why I love/hate/love walk weeks. So there's this crazy nut-so dog that lives in some apartments that we visit quite often. My first experience with him (I am trying to remember if I wrote about it or not) was with Sister Sipple and Ponce and we were just walking back to our car noticing the sweet puppy that we had been walking and talking around for like 15 minutes and then we turn around and he is going crazy barking at us! Anyway, this happened every time we went back (once more with H. Ponce and twice with H. Moore). So we got dropped off and headed up the hill and the dog was all the way at the bottom/end of the apartments-he lives at the top. So we actually got a little bit nervous because we didn't have the comfort of our car to run to. We didn't know what to do, so of course, we prayed. Hahaha it was so cool I felt like a pioneer or something when they would pray and crazy cool things would happen. Anyway, we prayed and looked up and he was GONE. GONE I TELL YOU.

Unfortunately, he came back running to us and started biting at us but we just stood there, boots ready to defend as needed. We kept the faith though! And he eventually left and we started slowly up the hill. We made it safely to one of the apartments and then to the next, and then we had  to come back down. It was so cool though because, I'm telling ya, this dog is so mean. Most of the dogs that we see are really "aggressive" but they won't actually do anything. This one is like Iris but less cute and more scary. Anyway, we were walking back down the hill and there were so many times where he would normally have started running at us but he didn't! I don't know how to explain exactly what happened-I just know that we had some serious protection in those moments. Sister Moore jokes like we had the invisibility cloak  around us after we prayed. It definitely felt like it! It's sort of a silly story like "yeah it's just a dog" but you have to remember we love all the animals and as crazy as this dog is, he is malnourished and doesn't have a lot of love in his home! We really didn't want to hurt him, God is really watching out for us! We needed to go to those apartments in safety and we did!

We then went to this one house that we found the other day, knocking. It happened to be like 800 adults and like a million kids! They all committed to come to church in the morning, then we called back to confirm and only 5 or 6 said they would come (see "Sunday:" for updated results). WE WERE SO EXCITED!!! They are a cute family and friends and man oh man Ola has so much potential. But the really scary part about it is the house is near the flood spot. So we went out to check it after the lesson and wowowowow the road is usually just like a regular road and there's a tiny baby amount of water that trickles down through the stream. But no! Oh my heavens! It's this massive waterfall that is taking up the whole bridge and most of the people's yards and even some people's houses!! SO CRAZY. They were all  just chillin though. Apparently someone walked through it and it was like over 1 1/2 feet deep and pretty  strong currents, and also the pavement cracked underneath the guy! So yeah we will go back a different day that it's not pouring and I'll update you on the cracked bridge! Anyway, after that we took the long way around (because one out of the 4 roads in Ola was preoccupied by a small deluge) we made it to the house we wanted to see. Cute little family, Hispanic but speak perfect English. They were about to head out but we will go back and see them.
Yes it was so delicious. This new convert from the elders made us this
pie. There is no pie crust it's just mousse whipped cream chocolate
sauce and Oreos!! Hahaha It's so good. We ate while we "planned."

I said earlier that we have been trying to hand out more of the pass-along cards. We had a couple of minutes until our ride came to pick us up, and I was debating if we should go knock some houses or give out some cards or what. I felt like there was a certain house we needed to stop by, but I wanted to just keep walking and figure something out that was more productive. I felt the prompting continually and decided not to ignore it this time! We went back and knocked and a lady answered, we explained about the Book of Mormon, gave her TWO (Spanish and English for her family) and set a return appointment.

It's almost like God knows what He's doing and He has a great plan for us and all of His children??? Huh. cool.
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Then we went back home and walked around Danville trying to see some of the people on our list for the day! (Made another dog friend-seriously since we killed that cat the dogs do not leave us alone.) We ended up teaching J, and we were able to help her understand why it is so so so important to come to church and keep the Sabbath day holy! I love love love the Sabbath Day commandment because it shows us how much God loves us! Yes it is a day to praise Him and thank Him and go to church, but he gave us a day that we are COMMANDED not to work! He is handing us a day off to just hang out with our families and serve our friends, and to study and learn more about Him. It's so cool. But the thing is, all commandments are like that! They praise God, but really they come back to be for our benefit. God doesn't need us to not steal and to pay tithing, He can handle that. It is so we can have order and we can have faith and we can be happier here, but also be able to return to Him. It's really so so great. Does that make sense??
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Then we had a really fun game night!!! The R's (the dad and one of the daughters) came and we played Jenga, "Liar," ERS, and spoons. We are trying to get more people to come because it really is so fun! But it was cool to just hang out with them and get to know them but also play (and win... hehehe) fun games. **Branch unity**

Sunday:
Alright. Here it is. I am debating on how to explain this story. So the awesome family that we found, did not end up coming to church. It was sort of a crazy morning! BUT God is a loving God and we were able to have an investigator that doesn't usually come to church and two less-active members all come to church and enjoy it!!! It was such a great sacrament meeting, I think. I was translating (no one was actually there for me to translate for, sadly. But also it's okay because I did a terrible job practicing) so I didn't really get to hear what was being said, I was just trying to focus on the words and ideas! I think it was good though??

We had some good lessons too for 2nd and 3rd hour blocks. President Hall talked to the whole branch about the Sabbath Day. We keep it holy by doing the things that show God we are keeping His commandment. Was it Elder Nelson who said that a few conferences ago? Anyway, we talked about the importance of it, the sacrament, and also the "continuing of learning in the home." I am so grateful for my parents who implemented this so well in our home! Dad was always good at showing God that what we do as a family praises Him and brings us closer to Him. And mom was always good at making sure we review church! We would talk about our classes, callings, assignments, the scriptures, etc. Sometimes it was just at dinner time and we would give a short little review of the day. Sometimes we would get so deep into discussion that it would go late into the evening! Either way, I have had great examples of how to keep the Sabbath Day holy.

Sister Moore and I talked about ways that we can make the Sabbath more of a delight! As missionaries, everyday is sort of like a little Sabbath. We only listen to uplifting music, read scriptures like all day long, serve, etc. But what more can we do to set apart Sunday as a day for the Lord? A few things we decided on are listening only to hymns or really spiritual music, and discussing what we learned at church, not just what happened. It is so so important to keep this commandment! There are incredible blessings in store! Some are immediate, some take a little bit of time, some are physical, spiritual, emotional, etc. But there are so many blessings!!! :)

And for today: Monday
decorate, nap, email, clean, wash car, laundry, get to work!

I just really want to bear my testimony to y'all that I really know this church is true. There is a prophet who is called of God and he guides this church the way Christ asks him to. We are in good hands! Now is the time to choose where we stand, if we stand on the right hand of God or not. We get to choose this. We get to choose which commandments we keep and which we don't. I know that when we obey the commandments and do all that God asks of us, we are so blessed and we can return to live with Him in perfect happiness and eternal bliss. I love you all and I really love the Lord. I have had a growth in testimony of His divinity and His love for all of us. He lived for us and He died for us, and He lives again, for us.

Have a happy beginning of December! Stay warm out there!

Hermana Macfarlane
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I'm so grateful for all of these pictures and videos and stories and her beautiful testimony!!! She actually sent even more pictures and videos but my computer is just too slow. I love my beautiful missionary!

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