Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Staying in Russellville with Hermana Moore!!

First time I've worn the Sister Missionary "badge on scarf look."
I think the theme for this week was something like divine nature/individual worth with a little bit of obedience and testimony. :)

I had one of my favorite lessons on my mission this week! Last week we found a cute young lady with some kids who we started teaching. They are really sweet! She read the first 10 chapters of the Book of Mormon in like 3 days and is now about in 2 Nephi. :) So awesome. This week we brought Hermana Roque to come see her with us. (She speaks English and Spanish and so does Hna Roque.) We taught her the Plan of Salvation and it was so awesome because I have never really felt the Spirit come just because of a testimony. We were teaching with the Spirit, yes, but when Hna Roque bore her testimony it was like the happiest most sure wave of the Holy Ghost. It was so cool. She bore a very pure and loving testimony of the Plan of  Salvation and how it has blessed her life, and it is the thing that converted her. That knowledge is something so precious that really changes people's lives. I am so grateful for the knowledge we have, for the genuine testimony of Hermana Roque, and for the Holy Ghost which testifies to the heart!

Love him!!
This week they did the mission broadcast which was like general conference for all the missionaries. I guess they haven't done one like that for over 10 years? Elder Oaks is the new head of the missionary department and he is amazing. As I have said, the new focus is "Teach repentance, baptize converts." And all of the speakers talked about a different point of Preach My Gospel (PMG) along with this focus. SERIOUSLY SO GOOD. (Elder Anderson, Elder Bednar, Bishop Waddell, Sister Oscarson, President Clayton, Elder Nielsen, and Elder Oaks.) I wish I could tell you everything I learned but it is such a long list and probably not that applicable to anyone at home. BUT, I did think it was cool that ...

1. They used PMG. We have the exact same book they do and yet they are still teaching us new concepts about it! It's one of those things that you need a fresh perspective, but also the Spirit will tell you the things you need to hear. It's not just a one time read!

2. After talking about everything, they reviewed. I thought that was interesting. They did a few interactive things with some missionaries in Ogden or something and afterward, they always reviewed the questions and the main points. And then, after the broadcast, we reviewed again! And then that night, I reviewed again. And now I am again! And every time I do, I learn something new or I remember something I had forgotten.

3. Faith is action and power. I thought about this again this morning and faith is not just belief. There is more to it! Faith is strong belief in something unseen, that leads to act and has power.

4. The Holy Ghost is not the tool, we are the tools. (I resisted the urge to tease her about this phraseology.) I thought that was really interesting! Heavenly Father has entrusted us with a small portion of his vineyard and we are to work in unity with the Lord and the Holy Ghost as His tools! (Yes we do have other tools too, Book of Mormon, PMG, white handbook, gospel library, etc.)

5. This is the most important work in mortality. That sort of changed my perspective. There are so many important things we do here, but if we are not sharing the gospel, if we are keeping it to ourselves, then what good is that?! I only have 13 more months to devote all of my time to the Lord and to this work!

6. We are here to establish His church and to testify of Christ. Matthew 10:32 "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven." What a cool promise! Because of that promise I have been trying to always share a genuine testimony of the Savior. There have been times where we will teach a lesson and not testify of the Savior once! It is important to testify of other things too, of course, but He is the reason why we can overcome and be happy here! He is the root of all the doctrine! So I am trying to always share my testimony that He lives and because of Him, we can have peace.
I love this painting by Minerva Teichert

In church yesterday Sister Warrendorf taught an awesome relief society lesson about peace. I love love love that Christ says he leaves us with peace. John 14:27. Christ gives us peace that the world cannot offer. She talked about worldly peace and Christ's peace. I had never thought about a difference! It seems that the world wants peace which is lack of war and common ground, yes Christ's peace is found in those things too but first it starts within ourselves as we read the scriptures, serve others, pray, go to church, and accept Christ fully in our lives. It's kind of like enduring to the end with Christ = peace/calmness. He will always leave us with his perfect peace and calmness as we accept Him and His will! Not as the world giveth, but as only He can give through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
This is Bernie who actually got mad at us for not taking her stuffed animals.
I'm not sure if we will be able to give them back next week! But she accepted a
Book of Mormon and even started reading it before we left! It is a very powerful
book that even the sweet old ladies still feel the Spirit with.

When Bernie had me hold all her stuffies.
Dinner with Beth and her family (Beth is next to me) and Genevieve who
took good care of us in Danville. They are best friends so it's
nice because we get to see them both. :)

The Holy Ghost testifies of Jesus Christ to our hearts, and if we are open, we can feel it. We were chatting with an investigator this week who loves the loud celebratory feelings of the spirit at her church. She is an awesome awesome lady! Yet I am so grateful for the peace and calmness of the sacrament meeting and the  environment that the Spirit can dwell so easily. I love 1 Kings 19:12 "And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice." And Helaman 5:30 "And it came to pass when they heard this voice, and beheld that it was not a voice of thunder, neither was it a voice of a great tumultuous noise, but behold, it was a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul."

Also we are ponderizing Moroni 8:25-26 because it is really good. And this morning we were trying to figure out how to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to an investigator (for some reason it is the hardest for both of us to teach because you can be way too simple or way to deep. It's really hard to balance) and Sister Moore came across Alma 7:11-16, 27 so yeah that's an awesome chapter and I am excited to use it more! I love Romans 8. I love the scriptures and I want to read and study all the day long.
We always joke about the Arkansas 50 or Arkansas 75. But even the Assembly of
God knows there's at least a mission 20 as a general rule. (She's talking about pounds you gain while serving there.)

I know that the Book of Mormon was preserved for our day and so many sacrificed so that we can have it now. It's amazing. I am thankful for the testimony of Jesus Christ that it is and that I have the opportunity to share it with others. I know Jesus Christ is our perfect example and was even baptized so we could have a perfect example of obedience to follow. Heavenly Father has all the answers and wants to tell us He loves us and is so watchful over us, and He does so through the Holy Ghost and the scriptures. Jesus Christ is my Savior and the reason that I can be happy even when it doesn't make sense that I am. I know I can pray to Heavenly Father and because of Christ's perfect love, I can be forgiven of my sins and be comforted and be at peace. I know that Christ was resurrected and that He lives. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Hermana Macfarlane

P.S. We tried Fat Daddy's and I was like NOT super impressed. I think if we went on a day that it was busier so the food had to be made more fresh maybe it would be better? The sauce is super good but all I could think about was SIM's BBQ from last week.

Where we are right now. It's looks really big but it's not.

Unfortunately, Hermana Moore has had some
less-than-pleasant experiences with eating too many mints. BUT, we
aren't allowed to chew gum in public. I want to put in a disclaimer that
Hna. Moore is the most obedient missionary I know. Anyway, we were in
the car, I was texting someone a really long text and kind of out of
it (mistake on my part) and Hna Moore was chewing some gum because we
had just eaten and we were on our way to a lesson. We have this Piano
Guys CD that usually we just listen to on repeat and there is a
version of Twinkle Twinkle on there that just really gets Hna Moore
goin. So, that was playing, she was "directing" the music and getting
like way into it, chomping gum, and I was texting and because of all
that, SHE RAN A RED LIGHT and it was so so scary! hahaha Karma for
breaking the rules .... Thankfully Heavenly Father knows our hearts
and is so watchful over us because somehow there was no one going and
no one turning into the intersection or anything. All the cars were
stopped at the intersection as if they knew we were going to run that
light either way! So blessed. So, then we got to the place we wanted to
go and she was like "oh I forgot to spit out my gum" so she remembered
that she and her BF always try to kick their gum and she tried but
somehow it fell right down her boot. She doesn't chew gum anymore.
 See the video below for more gum chewing evidence.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Charity, Tamales, Southern BBQ, and the Sabbath

Monday, January 11, 2016

Salvation, People

A Slice of Heaven
Well  hello again! This has been another good week! Last Monday we had an awesome lunch at this place called smokehouse deli or something like that. But the thing is that they have peanut butter lasagna which is custard, whipped cream, Reese's PB cups, more custard, more whipped cream, and more peanut butter and chocolate on top. And we are about to go eat there again and I am so excited.

Peanut Butter Lasagna
I learned a lot this week! We had a zone meeting where we set goals and started our zone battle. They made it so every district in the zone is an army and they give us challenges every week and we have to report on them and whoever wins that week can take the title of liberty and sign it and whatever and it's fun. It has been good to make the work fun again! We know it is sacred and we are disciples called to represent Christ, but we are also young adults that enjoy the work, so we made it fun! We are really trying to have good attitudes about everything and be more excited and less stressed!
Hogwarts Memo at Sports Night

We decided our name is Team Number Juan

A funny highlight of the week: Every Sunday we go to the nursing home and we have three ladies that we always visit, and there are others too that sometimes say hello. But at the very end I took a picture with Bernie because she is the sweetest thing and as soon as I pulled up the iPad and the camera was on she says, "Oh Gosh I look like heck" but without the missionary words and it was SO FUNNY. She is 97 or 98 years old and she loves us like we are her daughters, and we love her too! It was actually really cool when we went to visit her, her daughter and granddaughter were in the room crying because they hadn't seen each other for so long! It was the sweetest experience. Then we were talking and it turns out the granddaughter was actually baptized a while ago and was thinking about coming back to church!!!! COOL, RIGHT? We chatted only for a little bit about church and things but man it is so cool when God puts those people in your path. We also visited with Freida who told me all about her growing up and how she and her sister were left to raise  themselves! She is an amazing woman and she always says (multiple times) "I just love it when you guys come. You know, it always gives me a boost!" And she smiles so big and I love her so much. These ladies have the sweetest spirits and I am so excited to talk to them in the afterlife!

President Wing came to church yesterday!! He is a spiritual giant. I have never seen someone look so happy all the time, he always has a smile on his face and that is a great example to me. He mentioned something that I loved. Of course his words were much better, but basically he shared the story of Moses leading the people out of bondage and when they got to the waters of the Red Sea and saw that they were either going to die there or die from the armies, they were upset. They didn't come up to Moses and say "Hey, I have an idea! If you could just part the waters of the sea and let us walk through that would be cool. And to add to it, when we get to the other side, would you mind letting the waters down so the armies will get washed away?" NOPE. They were upset but Moses turned to the people and said three things: 1. Fear not. 2. Stand still. 3. See the salvation of the Lord. We do not always know what will happen next. We may feel at times that we are stuck between the Red Sea and the Egyptian soldiers. But the Lord always provides a way for the faithful, often on a path unseen. Paths will come when we have faith in the Lord, when we fear not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord. COOL, RIGHT?

First time passing the Sacrament
Here's another:
Sister Wing, President Wing's wife, also spoke to us. She is a violinist and she gave a talk about a story from David B. Height about needing to always  tune your violin to the A before the performance, no matter how many times you tuned or how recently. This is the rule!!! When you try to play untuned, it's just really really ugly. Heavenly Father has set a pattern for us, and if we do not follow it, things will be really really ugly. We need to be in tune with the Spirit, and follow the commandments.. Keep yourself tuned every week! It doesn't matter if you had an awesome week or a terrible week, you need to go to church. In order for our hearts to be healed and faithful, it must break before the Lord. We can ask ourselves "what is the condition of my heart?" and ask Heavenly Father to help you understand what you need to change to be better, and to better follow the pattern. The commandments are the pattern!
Beautiful day driving

ANOTHER: President Wing also spoke again in the Spanish Branch! His cute cute wife speaks Spanish so she gave hers in Spanish and it was so cool! President Wing gave a similar talk as before but a little bit different (also kudos to Elder Moore who translated at the pulpit for him). First to ask yourself "Why am I here?" specifically, "Why am I here today?" "Why is church important?" He said if he were to ask what you think you need to do to bring happiness into your home, most people would probably say 1. Read the scriptures 2. go to church and 3. keep the commandments or something. But he said, and he quoted the prophet by saying that keeping the Sabbath Day holy is the best and most important way to bring happiness into the home. All of those things are good, keeping the commandments, church, scriptures, prayer, service, it's how we can be more like Christ. But keeping the Sabbath Day holy is something that is so pressed by our church leaders because they know this is something the world is not doing, and if we do it, we will be happier in our homes and lives. Keep it Holy!!!! (Holy meaning dedicated or consecrated to God.) He gave the analogy about you wouldn't shower for 3 1/2 hours and say you're good for the week. It is a consistent daily thing. The gospel is real, living, and practical. It is a way of life! Okay one more thing: Brother... Bowden? I think? I can't remember his name. But one of the counsellors in the bishopric said this phrase before sacrament meeting that stuck with me: "Reverence brings revelation." YES IT DOES. We have been  trying this week to only listen to hymns and churchy music instead of our usual Christian Rock. And holy cow we have had the spirit with us much more! Truly, reverence brings revelation.

Roscal! If you get a little plastic baby in your bite you get to throw the next party and make homemade tamales for everyone

Lunch with Kyleeann, Ellie, and Sam
Are you still reading?

One more:
Watch the YSA devotional from President Nelson that was broadcasted last night. :) Follow the prophets, they cannot and will not lead you astray. We are expected to do impossible things with the help of the Lord. Turn to Him. This is His church and we are His people!
Newly decorated study space

I decided this week to ponderize Joseph Smith-History 1:72 I had a cool experience as I read his testimony at the beginning of the Book of Mormon and then turned to the end of JSH and read the last about 10 verses. I am just so grateful for the Priesthood that we have on the earth. I am grateful for the worthy Priesthood holders who have been throughout my life, and are still here now! I am so blessed. I know that the Priesthood has been restored and through the power is how Jesus Christ leads His church. Seriously it is so cool that the scriptures have been preserved for us. Like, really. It's actually amazing. Through all the persecution that happened in the Book of Mormon and also to Joseph Smith, it's incredible that we have the Book of Mormon. And the Bible, too. It's almost as if there's something we need to learn from them...??? :) Daily scripture study and daily prayer! You wouldn't brush your teeth with the amount of toothpaste you use for the whole week, all in one brushing. You can't just "count" scripture study for the week. Consistent prayer and study every day every day every day! :)

Family history!! We learned a little bit more about it this week! I love it, it's so cool. I was pretty confused and scared to do anything because nothing is every exactly right or wrong it seems. But we are going to try to start doing Spanish indexing occasionally. I loved to look at the old pictures of my ancestors and read their stories!
She got this picture off I'm in the far left corner but this is only five of eight children with my dad.

I really do have a testimony of the gospel. It simply has blessed me in so many ways. I am so blessed here in Arkansas, too. We have been given SO MUCH knowledge and I am so grateful that through the Holy Ghost I know it is true.

Thank you again for your love and prayers! Please pray for the investigators here to feel a sense of urgency for baptism and their next step on the path of salvation. SALVATION PEOPLE. :)

Les quiero,

(P.S. done got a hurrcut)

Hermana Macfarlane

Monday, January 4, 2016

Les quiero mucho!

Hello and happy 2016!!!

We had interviews with President Wakolo this week! He is so awesome. It was really fun to talk to him for a little bit on a personal level. He really takes such good care of us. He loves obedience and he makes us want to be better people. He's one of those people that could tell you you are ugly and you would smile and say thank you and feel like you are on cloud 9 somehow!! We were laughing so hard because that day we had plans to take someone a key lime pie and also to have pizza with a part member family so in our plans it said "key lime pie" and "buy pizza" as if we have to schedule what we are eating or something. Hahahaha it was hilarious. I hope I explained it well enough that you think it is equally funny. :)
This is us right now about to clean our house and make Blondies.

I finished El Libro de Mormon for the first time ever (in Spanish)! It was so cool. I really felt the power of the Book of Mormon as I read and marked Christ's name! I never really understood the POWER aspect of it before. I knew it pertained to everyone's lives and it is the word of God and there are amazing miracles and principles, but for the first time I felt the true power that it holds. I know it was only possible to have come forth when it did because of the power of God. It has blessed so many lives and it continues to bless mine. I know the Book of Mormon testifies of Christ and we cannot be lead astray if we do what it says. It's truly cool.
First of Three New Year's Eve Dinners

We had a really great New Years Eve - in bed at 10:30!! Haha we went to a few different member's houses and ate a ton of food. :) Unfortunately I did not have the pleasure of drinking any Martinelli's for the first time ever but that's okay because one of the members made this amazing little finger food. It was like a little bell pepper with cream cheese and duck wrapped in bacon and seasoned like a true southerner. SO GOOD.

So, for anyone who is reading this that isn't mom, dad, or Emma, these three sent me a copy of the Book of Mormon with their testimonies in it for me to give to someone. THIS WAS SO AWESOME. As we prayed together, I know they all went to people who will be so blessed by their sweet testimonies. :) Here are their stories:

Dad wrote me one in Spanish. We were contacting a referral from the Elders, she wasn't home. But there was this guy outside working on a chair who seemed nice. We went over and I just sad "Hi, how are you?" And he just started talkin! Haha it was so funny. Anyway, we talked for a little bit about chairs and his work and about our beliefs. He had a few questions and we tried to introduce a little bit of the restoration but he wasn't very interested in that. At the end, Sister Moore asked him if he would take a copy of the Book of Mormon and he could read the introduction and we would come back and talk a little bit more later. (This was all in Spanish, by the way.) And so I gave him the Spanish copy and showed him the testimony from dad and invited him to read it because it was a special gift to me that I wanted him to have. He was very pleased and we will go back and follow up with him this week!

The one from Emma: We again were contacting a different referral from the Elders who was not home and I remembered the counsel they have really been reminding us of, to always knock on the doors around the houses that are referrals. Heavenly Father often prepares people in areas, or He knows you will follow the prompting if you go to that area. So we did, and she was a really really nice lady who studied religion. At first she was not interested because she thought we were a different religion, but we explained a little bit more about our beliefs and she opened right up! It was nice that she had studied a little bit before because she mentioned that she "probably doesn't have anything to disagree with!" Cool. So again Sister Moore offered her a Book of Mormon and I switched hers with the copy I had with Emma's testimony. I told her again that it was a gift from my family to give their testimonies to someone and that she is 12 years old and has the sweetest testimony. She loved it! We will go back to see her too. :)

The one from mom: We were teaching a part-member family and we were just answering some of their questions and talking about the church and different beliefs and stuff. They had lost their copy of the Book of Mormon, so at the end of a really really spiritual and awesome lesson about temples and why we need church, I gave them the copy with mom's testimony in it! They were the happiest out of all of them when I told them that it was sent at Christmas. The mom smiled and thought it was so cute and sweet! They are a young couple, the dad reminds me SO MUCH of Andrew so I thought it was cool that I could give mom's testimony to Andrew's doppelgänger.

Us at Missionary Leadership Counsel
So the biggest fun thing this week was that we were invited to an MLC meeting (Missionary Leadership Counsel and sometimes they invite other companionships so that the word will spread faster) and we set goals for the new year and sort of analyzed everything-it was pretty fun! We mostly talked about being sure we do all things with the Spirit and we set our goals for the mission and for our individual zones. President Wakolo instructed about strategy and taking ownership of the mission culture/making the condition of Zion a thing here, personally and as a mission culture. He reminded us that we are worthy of our callings and to never doubt!

This is sort of the layout that I think is useful in setting all goals (notice how the Lord is central):

1. Evaluation of resources - not numbers. Setting realistic goals based on what you have. He mentioned that there was a companionship that set a goal of zero baptisms one month because they felt that there was realistically  no one ready to be baptized. AND THAT'S OKAY. They actually ended up baptizing two people that month! Anyway we just talked a lot about having a reason for the number.

2. Express prayerful thanks & share experiences

3. Ask the Lord to direct our efforts

4. Recognize the miracle - this is huge! Always return and say thank you to the Lord for blessing your life and the lives of others.

I also learned from the assistants to work hard no matter what! It is the only time in our lives we get to do this. I have an entire year to be a missionary! How cool! I learned a lot from this meeting, being with all the awesome leaders in the mission! They really are so great. We decided as a zone that we really need to increase our desire to do missionary work and to really be disciples. We talk about it and get really excited then go back to doing the same routine things. I am excited for this change!

Also, sorry, another thing I like is that we set VGPA for the mission and zones.
V: vision
G: goal
P: plan
A: action
I love meetings and our leaders and planning stuff and being excited about missionary work!!!!!

I know I always say this but I really love my family a lot a lot!!! I am so blessed. I am excited to start the Book of Mormon again this year and to REACH OUR AWESOME GOALS AND HELP ALL THE PEOPLE IN ARKANSAS!!!! :) I love you all. Happy Happy New Year!!

This is what I'm doing right now. I hope you all have a gooooooood
year!!!! Les quiero. Les quiero muuuuuuucho. :)
Hermana Macfarlane