Monday, March 14, 2016

New Comp, Tender Mercies, and Weekly Goliaths

Birthday Party! (the birthday boy in front sent this to me Sunday night on Facebook. I love modern technology!!!)

So this week was little bit crazy because last Monday I GOT A NEW COMPANION, HERMANA REEEEEEED! Haha it's been great, we are getting along really well. She is a very intuitive person and it's been fun to help her get to know the people of Russellville in Spanish and English. We had a few tender mercies this week, and I don't have a lot of time today (I say that every week and then I feel like my emails are way too long. IDK):
New friend, Kathy

Kathy-One lovely afternoon after we had seen a tender mercy and ran into a less active lady we have been looking for, we were about to go inside for lunch and there was this neighbor of ours out doing yard work and we decided to go help her. We went over and asked how we can help and she gave the typical "oh no it's alright, I'm a hard worker and you're in skirts" remark and so I practically took the shovel from her hand and started talking to her. She was pretty strongly against anything church related, she hated the huge church across the street from her, she was upset from a few hypocritical Christians that were unfair, and she believes her relationship with God doesn't need to be any deeper than prayer and occasional scripture study. We just smiled and said okay and kept working and talking about life stuff. We eventually explained that we do not worship Joseph Smith but we honor him as a prophet of God. We are centered on Jesus Christ and families and we love to live the gospel as a way of life! Huge bouquet, lots of sweat, and a new best friend later, she invited us to go back and help her finish her yard work and teach a little bit about what we believe in. She said we were the nicest Christians she had ever met and that no one had ever helped her like that before, not even her own daughter-in-law would! haha it was so cute. This was one of those experiences where we hardly did anything. It was all the hand of God and we were just the instruments willing to pull a few weeds and plant a few flowers and He did the rest. Tender mercy.

The Rain ...

Don-Don is a less active member who we run into occasionally. He referred us to the coffee shop for wifi and we see him there now pretty frequently. On Hermana Reed's first night we had a little lesson with him and got to know his story and talked about church and reading the scriptures. Then later that week we went to Quiznos right around the corner and he came to eat with us and he shard the most beautiful testimony of God's love and timing and the power of the Holy Ghost! I have never asked someone to share their testimony in church before but we did. He came to church even though his father was having health issues, and he didn't share his testimony because like 1/2 the ward did (not complaining. It was awesome.) and then he stayed for a great lesson in gospel principles! I'm so blessed to get to know these people here. Everyone has the coolest stories and most tender experiences, I am very grateful for the Lord's hand in His work!

D-Is the guy who works at the coffee shop. One night we were syncing our iPads and talking to Don who  faithfully lives the Word of Wisdom (so much so that he almost gave up hot chocolate because he forgot that it's on the okay list!) and the worker at the counter was like "hey, isn't it because of caffeine?" (Referring to the reason for no coffee and stuff) and off we went! Haha it was so fun to teach him, in a coffee shop, why we don't drink coffee. Don bore his testimony of living this commandment and feeling at peace and we explained all about Joseph Smith and that this revelation was given even before we knew that cigarettes are bad for you. God gives revelation to the prophets, even if it doesn't make sense to the world. In the morning when you wake up, God would prefer you turn to Him and your scriptures for energy than to coffee or tea. And to ask for help and use the Atonement instead of alcohol or tobacco or any other addictive substances. He kept saying "ooooh okay that makes sense. I don't even like coffee actually." Haha! Golden! It was so fun. And then he showed us some of their herbal teas and accepted a Book of Mormon and told us he was so grateful for us explaining this commandment to him.

Ruben-I wish I could put in to words how cool Ruben is, but I can't. I will just say that he is one of the most genuine investigators I have seen on my mission. He takes every word we say and really thinks about it and asks questions to make sure we are on the same page. His comprehension of the Book of Mormon is amazing and I feel like he is already so incredibly receptive to the spirit. He really loves anything that is good. He told us about his sweet mother who raised his family to welcome all things that are good, and he does! He believes the Book of Mormon and he wants to apply it to his life. The other fun thing is that he has like 4 or 5 LDS friends, most of whom served missions and he is still in contact with them and they are encouraging him to keep reading and praying and listening to the Holy Ghost.

(This is the bunny that Bernie from the rest home wouldn't let me go home without for some reason ...)

Hna Barrera-Hna Barrera is a rockstar missionary. This week we went teaching with her and she told us she had 2 friends that she was nervous but really wanted to share the gospel with! One was her hair lady and the other was a lady who works at a clothing store. She took us right over, introduced us, and we all chit-chatted and set return appointments with them. This is such an amazing example because I often felt at home that I wasn't sure how to do missionary work. All my friends were members and if there were any that weren't, they knew where to go to find it! But it doesn't have to be so intense. It was as simple as getting their numbers, telling them who we are, and giving them a pass-along card and VOILA, missionary work! :)

Drawn by a ward member
Broadcast-Okay but really though this was a hard one to put into words, too. President Wakolo, Elder Merideth, Elder Kapishke, Elder Renlund, AND their amazing amazing amazing wives for 5 hours straight... #hallelujah (go watch the new Easter video, BTW). It was so fun to be edified (mostly because I didn't have to translate, haha!) and listen to these women counsel about Elder Nelson's "Plea to My Sisters" talk and then the rest of them spoke mostly about keeping the Sabbath day holy, service, and all sorts of other awesome stuff.

Wal Mart ladies-CUTEST CUTEST ladies at WalMart stopped us and gawked at Hermana Reed's bag because one of them had a matching one. She gave them a card and they went on their ways. Then we went out and happened to be parked next to them and they came running over and said "where is your church??" We gave them another card, got their numbers, and set a lunch date to go have limeade out on the porch and talk about God. Tender mercies all over the place!!!

This week we did not have high numbers but we worked hard and were so blessed to see these tender mercies all over the place, these were just the big ones! The Russellville ward and the Spanish branch are so amazing, I am so blessed to be serving here. Thank you for your prayers and your love.

I just want to add my testimony to Elder Merideth's about Sabbath Day observance. As David prepared to meet Goliath, he stopped by the brook to get his stones ready ... 1 Samuel 17:40 "And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine." Sabbath Day observance is like going to the brook so that we can face the Goliaths of our week. What better armor to carry than renewed covenants with God! This is such an important commandment and I am so grateful for it and the chance I have to take the sacrament every week and give one day back to the Lord, and rest in preparation for the Goliaths of my week.

I love you and I'm grateful for your prayers and sacrifices and obedience!

Hermana Macfarlane

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