Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Nine Months and Skyping

Aloha!

Skyping was FUN

Not pictured: Craig, the Castletons and Iris

Esta semana estamos ayunando de ingles!!! Usualmente tratamos de hablar solo español con una a otra pero esta semana estamos hablando en solo español con TODOS. (Except for the English ward because they don't speak Spanish and we still serve with them.)

Thank you Sister Davis for coming through (aka saving my bacon) with YUMMY PIE! Happy Half Way Hermanas!!!
This week we hit our 9 month mark! Lemme tell you how fun it is to be out the same time as your companion: [insert German pancake breakfast, grilled chicken lunch, a few delicious treats and surprises from mama and the angels in the ward] seriously it was so great. And we did lots of missionary work too.
After the German Pancake celebration!


Celebrating NINE MONTHS of mission

Scary how pregnant Hna Brown really looks.

Okay, this might be too far ....

When we had exchanges a few weeks ago, Hermanas Brown and Ponce found a few potential investigators and we finally went back to try them again, and they weren't home. I had realized earlier that day for some reason (fear? Pride? Laziness? Anxiety?) I hadn't been very good at talking to everyone, like going up and saying hi and trying to share the gospel with them. So as we were leaving there was a man getting out of his truck and I felt that feeling of fear/pride/laziness/anxiety (and also thirst because it was so hot), but we followed the prompting anyway AND IT WAS AWESOME. He was a big burly guy who happened to just be dropping something off at his daughter's house and we chatted for a minute and he was the nicest guy. We left him and his daughter with a pass along card. BUT THEN I heard the familiar sound of teenagers in the house next door and we decided to knock and say hello. We met the nicest lady named Michelle who had some friends or something who are members of the Church and hadn't read the Book of Mormon for over 20 years, and she's a big seeker of truth. She has been through some crazy life experiences, especially with her own health and it's a miracle that she's walking and standing! She has like 4 or 5 teenagers and she adopted 2 and they all live with her and it was so cool. Seriously. Then the next day we went back to try the potentials again and they still didn't answer but that's okay!! :) God prepares people in areas.

We taught the priests again this week, they're hilarious. Last week we had the Elders teach the gospel principles class which was on prayer, and I guess we needed to learn something about prayer because right after, Brother Fox asked us to teach the priests about prayer! I love this that we found in the Bible Dictionary: "As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are His children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matt. 7:7–11). Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship."

WHAT? THAT'S SO COOL.

People have been praying since the very beginning of time. We all passed through the veil and had to somehow remember who we are and remember who God is and it's cool that we can use prayer to secure that belief. We can ask God in prayer who He is and who we are, and He will tell us.

Okay, the rest of it is so good too: "Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings."

We can create spiritual environments in our heads as we say urgent prayers in times of need, and we can also pray as the young  Joseph Smith did and go to a physically peaceful place where the Spirit can dwell and answer the deep questions of the soul. God knows our thoughts and intents and actions (like Elder Holland said, we get credit even for trying) and is willing to listen if we humble ourselves enough to ask, and act. :)


We made these for Autumn last week.

Also, we had sports night the other night and it was so fun because we went outside and played soccer (actually I just played bubbles with the niños but it still counts as sports night). Lots of members came and we almost had our young investigators there! They couldn't come though. But Hermana Roque has been bringing her friend to English class and other activities. The Branch is so so so good with missionary work-they're just naturals at it and have no fear sharing the gospel with their friends!

Hna Mac probably didn't want me to post this crazy picture of  her blue nails, but I can't stop laughing at her expression in the background. Makes me miss my silly girl.
The New Testament is really really good. I just finished Matthew (I'm a little behind from the mission goal... As in like we have 3 weeks to finish it, ha!) and I'm so grateful for my Savior. There are days when lots of people don't want to listen to us. They either don't have time or they have other priorities. And as fun as teaching is and being with people and getting to know them, the thing I miss the most on those days is the chance I have to testify of the Savior. He is the pure love of God and I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have to serve Him and teach about His gospel to the people here. Truly, the Atonement has changed my life for the better. I know my sins and sadness can be clean if I choose to give them up. And I know that Christ was resurrected and that means the world to me! Thank you for letting me share my testimony of Jesus Christ with you! Have a wonderful week, and keep praying! :)

Oh P.S. We have Spanish Elders back YAY!

Skype with Sibs
Hermana Macfarlane

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Yawl


Cultural Night was a success

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Service, the Holy Ghost, and Polarized Sun Glasses

Alrighty right well this week was great too! (All the weeks are great.) First things first, I love my companion. She is the sweetest and I just want you all to know that.
Cutest note from the Bowler girls. "Dear Sisters, Thank you for coming over. You are the best. You are so nice to our family. We like you guys so much. I am so glad that you guys could come over for dinner."
This is me (she even got my double chin!). I helped her with the skirt and shirt part but she did the rest. Not pictured: the toes that were added on later.

Second things second, we did 10 hours of service and actually had to restrict ourselves because we are only allotted 10 hours every week. There were two families moving this week and a lot of work to be done to help them! And it was finals for college and everyone was crazy busy so we helped out a ton. It was really good and really needed for us to be able to strengthen a few relationships. It always feels so good to serve, maybe that's why I'm so happy today!! :) yayayay!

Polarized sun glasses ....
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Something cool was that last year Hna Moore and Hna Lewis taught this guy who's name I can't remember. They only taught him a few times and he wasn't very receptive, so they dropped him. Okay and then back in like February Hna Moore and I were riding our bikes around the town and we were exhausted and didn't know what to do with the last 30ish minutes of our day so we decided we were going to ride our bikes to the wifi spot and assume that whoever is outside is ready to hear the gospel. So we got ridin and there was this lady outside named Clara who is really nice and speaks Spanish and we are currently teaching her occasionally. BUT at the beginning of the week we went to go visit Clara and I felt SO strongly that we needed to knock on the door across the street. So we did and it was the nicest older woman who was really receptive to the gospel and was really kind and accepted a date for baptism only on the condition that she knows the gospel is true-it was so cool. So then as we were leaving we were like "hey can we get your number" (I'm getting really smooth at that haha) and she gave it to us but it was already in our phone!! So we checked in our area book and it turns out she is the spouse of the man who Hna Moore and Hna Lewis taught last summer! Unfortunately he has passed away, but the lessons left a good impression on her and planted a little seed that we are praying will be able to grow really quickly! Sorry that was a long story, hope it made sense.
Unplanned awkward missionary hands. Tried to dip her. Lol.




We did so much service this week there's not much else to report on!

I think the theme of the week is definitely the Holy Ghost. We were asked to teach the Gospel Principles class on Sunday and the lesson was on the Holy Ghost and it made me reflect on all the experiences we had during the week in which it was necessary for Hna Brown and I to 1. Have the gift of the Holy Ghost 2. Be worthy of it 3. Be willing to follow it 4. Be comforted by it and 5. To create situations in which the Holy Ghost can testify to those we teach and interact with.

Following the Spirit is not easy and I don't think it ever will be. But it is ALWAYS ALWAYS worth it! I have learned a lot about Elder Bednar's (and many others') perspective on "don't worry about it" (referring to if it is the Spirit you are feeling or your own thoughts or Satan or whatever). I have learned that it really is true, the Holy Ghost will only tell you good things to do. We had a lesson this week that we both felt like we needed to leave and it wasn't worth "pushing through" the lesson. But we were determined and pushed through anyway, with no success. It would have been much better had we followed the promptings we felt and left her with a scripture and an invitation to keep reading. In retrospect we can see how that was DEFINITELY the Spirit saying "come on it's time to go." But in the moment I knew it was the Spirit but had enough doubt that it kept us there. Does that make sense? But then after that lesson we felt super bummed and stuff but we said a prayer and asked for forgiveness and happiness and we then followed a prompting and had one of the best lessons we have ever had together. We taught Autumn (who is the coolest and nicest and genuinist) about the priesthood and how important it is and it was just really great.

It's hot already ....
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Oh yeah, also yesterday we got blessings from Presidente Hernandez (branch president) and he invited us to do something as we work with the members. He asked us as we go around visiting with them to pick a Christ-like attribute and a scripture and invite them to ponderize (remember from conference?) that scripture with their family and work on that attribute for the month or next two weeks or something. We did it twice yesterday and have plans to do it a lot this week and it's really great! So yeah you should do that. The scripture that has come to mind for every family we have planned for is on faith, Hebrews 11:1. (It's really short and easy to memorize but also it's beautiful and really powerful and I think it's so awesome.) The more I think about faith the more I realize how complex it really is, but still so simple for children to understand and exercise their faith. Cool, right? Here it is: Heb 11:1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Change substance to assurance as it says in the JST. WHAT? SO COOL. :) I love it.

I think that's all for now! Your prayers are felt and appreciated. I'm excited for Mother's Day because I have the best mom in the world. And also it's Emma's birthday and I have the best sister in the world. I'M SO BLESSED AND I LOVE ARKANSAS.

(Also shout out to Sister Wiggington who is sitting next to me doing family history work. And her cutest son Elijah who has the curliest hair.)

Hermana Macfarlane

Last Week - Hiking Mt. Nebo

I didn't get an email to post on the blog last week because Hna Macfarlane ran out of time. So here is her letter for last week. 

Hiking around Mt. Nebo with Hna Chapman

So this week something Hermana Brown and I did was listen to this one song in Spanish like a million times because it was the only one on our new Christian Spanish CD (thanks mom) that we could understand the accent and all the words, and it's about the Resurrection so that was fun. All week we have been singing "VOLARE-EEEEEEE!!!!!" (It means "I will fly" I think. I'm actually not sure how it ties in to the rest of the song but it rhymes and it's funny so yeah)


We had exchanges this week! It's really fun because Hermana Ponce is our Sister Training Leader but it's kind of more for language and helping with the area than all the regular STL stuff -which she still has to do, it's just not the focus- and then Hermana Hudson is her companion who is basically an STL because she's really smart and loving and is totally qualified and awesome but we don't have enough Hermanas right now to have two STLs. So anyway, they both get to come to our area and have a fiesta with us! They came for two nights and we saw a lot of miracles! One of them being a referral from the Nielsen family. They referred us to a friend of theirs and we were finally able to go over there and contact them. I wasn't there but Hna Brown and Hna Hudson were and said it was a very inspired referral. And Sister Watts is the coolest and helped a lot to help this friend learn more about the church. As they were contacting this referral, Hna Ponce and I knocked on some of the doors around it. They always tell us that God prepares people in an area. Like, sometimes God will inspire one person to request a Book of Mormon or to be referred to us by a member just so that we can be in the area and  knock on the door of someone else close by. Does that make sense? Anyway, we found the cutest Hispanic lady who really needed some uplifting and we taught her about the Restoration of the gospel and how it has blessed our families. She went right along with it, accepted a baptismal date, and we went back to see her again the other day and she was still just as great! I love  missionary work. And God's timing is perfect.

Daniella's B-day. She's the one in red. Hahaha But she's the third from the left.


Awkward exchange picture
Exchanges



Massage train


Best Exchange


Okay sorry this was the only part I had written for last week and I feel bad so here's just a little bit of the rest: We aren't transferred yay! We taught young women's using my bike lock and mom's special "Helen cookies" as incentive to unlock my bike lock. (Everyone wants the recipe.) Talked about priesthood keys and these girls are so smart! It was the beehives and a laurel. :)

Hna Gallardo came teaching with us and it blessed her and it blessed us and it was awesome. Members doing missionary work is cool. We pray specifically for each goal we set as we do our weekly planning and it made me way more focused and it was fun. Hna Espinoza took us to see her friend and then we put some flyers out for the English class we are teaching. (English class is the best-I love it. We have these two young investigators who hardly know any English and they come and help us with Spanish too and then we eat treats after its a great win-win.) And we went into the Latino stores and gave them flyers and bought weird/fun snacks! One of them were these chocolate mint things that were so good. Also a fresh churro. And for some reason I thought basil seed juice would be good and it was not.
Yummy Mints

Weird Juice???
I learned a lot this week about the priesthood and the importance of it. We have to have the order and authority or it's chaotic, and God is not a God of chaos! I'm very grateful for the cleanliness and order found in Christ's true church.


Hermana Macfarlane
Bye

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