Thursday, July 28, 2016

New Companion! Lots of Rain! Loving Missionary Work!


Hermana Madsen, Maria, Sindy, Hermana Macfarlane
So it rained a lot this week and we were on bikes WOOHOOO. It was so fun. Well, the first day Hermana Madsen's bike broke so we decided to take our first walk day in Memphis. It was at least a solid 95 degrees outside and Hna Madsen was like "I hope it rains today" and then 5 minutes later it DUMPED on us, hahaha! But, God is good and we weren't really getting that wet and then this nice auto-shop man ran out in the pouring rain and basically threw two of those giant plastic ponchos at us and ran back inside. We quickly put them on (seeing as we were still 45 minutes away from our destination) and enjoyed the shelter and humidity of free ponchos. And then a giant semi-truck came rolling by on the river of water in the street and we were suddenly 100Xs more grateful for the ponchos. We got to the house we were going to and the person we were looking for didn't live there anymore so we knocked around the neighborhood, and no one was home. As we left for the library, a nice older man stopped us and said we could come take shelter on his porch as we wait for the rain to stop. (And the thunder was soooo cool. I don't know if it's just like a Tennessee thing or
because we were outside right under it but it was rolling all over the sky. Super cool.) We weren't sure about trusting a shirtless old man but we decided to give him a card anyway. He in turn gave us cold water and a referral for his Hispanic neighbor. God knows where His missionaries are!

Rain ponchos 

I had the pleasure of riding an Elder's bike this week Hna Madsen is too short so she used my bike (which was still a bit of a stretch). The next day, we were trying to figure out how to plan our day because most people want us to come over at the same time of day. Thankfully our dinner appointment wanted to move earlier so they could go to the TEMPLE. Yay. So we had an early dinner with them and right as we left it DUMPED on us again! But this time it was so hard and the wind was so strong we were teetering on our bikes. So we pulled over and the Angels that fed us dinner then followed us to pick us up on our bikes because they knew the rain would be bad and they would have to come rescue us.


Shrimp Cocktail Salsa


YAY WE ARE STAYING IN MEMPHISSS!!!!! WOOHOO.

For some reason we have been doing a lot of district jumping pictures lately. (Elder Meza and Elder Heaton, the two in the middle, along with Hna Lewis have all left us!)
Hermana Madsen is back for the third time serving in this branch, and we just farewelled Hermana Lewis back to Ewtah. Because Hermana Madsen came Thursday and Hna Lewis didn't leave until this morning, we had way too much fun these past few days. Trios are the best.



We had exchanges this last week too with the English Sisters and it was my first time having to do Spanish all by myself. Crazy. I'm grateful for my companions and also for members who help me communicate stuff better.




Cute Benitez family and Valiente (the best dog) this is when we thought I was leaving but yay I'm not!

Besties!

The cute recent convert family are doing so well!!! They are the sweetest. Jose is preparing to receive the Aaronic Priesthood and Maria and Jose went to youth conference last week and Sindy is preparing for a mission (yeah I know she's the best) and she's going to come teaching with us this week. When we stopped by to say goodbye last night for Hermana Lewis, they had some other family there too and to spare you the details this family is on top of missionary work! We are teaching 10 of their friends and probably 3 or 4 of them are really progressing, and now we will start teaching some of their family, too! Please pray for the Ramos family and their friends that they will understand who they are and their divine purpose here. These
people are angels.

These last few days I have been studying Chapter 3 in Preach My Gospel a lot (mom/fam, this is the chapter that has the basic doctrines we teach) and one day I felt like I needed to read about God is our Loving Heavenly Father and about the Restoration. We have a lot of investigators who have questions about the Godhead and about priesthood power and authority. So I went through the these two sections really thoroughly and I realized I have never REALLY prayed about the Restoration. I've prayed about the Book of Mormon and I just already know that this is the true restored church of Jesus Christ.

But I have been seeking a stronger testimony of these things to help the investigators and less active members who are unsure. As I prayed, I told Heavenly Father my thoughts and feelings and asked for clarity and strength to be 100% certain. I knew clearly and strongly that I would gain the conversion I'm looking for as I teach and testify of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I don't know everything, I hardly know anything! But I do know without a doubt that God IS our loving Heavenly Father and holy cow there are so many truths that come because of this knowledge. The Book of Mormon is scripture and a true testament of Jesus Christ. Thomas S. Monson is a prophet and is called of God. The Restoration of the gospel through the prophet Joseph Smith happened and the Priesthood keys are on the earth today. I'm so so so blessed to have this small but sure and knowledge of truth.

I love you lots. Read your scriptures everyday and say your prayers and go to church and go to the temple and share the gospel because there's no greater joy than missionary work! And family history. That's good, too.

(Oh yeah something Maria taught us that she learned at youth conference was that happiness is good, it's great even! But joy is more desirable, joy is deeper. Happiness comes when we do what is right and joy comes when we do what is right AND serve others. SHARE THE GOSPEL BECAUSE JOY IS SUPER GREAT.) :)

Hermana Macfarlane
Trying to make it before the timer (the zoo is great)


Monday, July 11, 2016

Beautiful Baptism

Okay. Stay with me here. This is a long one. (I think she thought it would be longer that it is?)




We had 3 baptisms planned for this weekend with the most beautiful and angelic family. Friday night, they had their interviews and only two of them showed up! So we went to their house with a member to talk with the other daughter. Long story short we shared experiences and scriptures and followed the spirit, inviting her to receive a blessing and she still said she would pray about it and let us know but that she just didn't feel sure enough.

The next morning we prepared for the baptism of the other two and we went over to their house to help the oldest daughter pick some clothes to wear, and we chatted with Maria (the one who didn't want to be baptized) again and Hna Lewis remembered a story that Elder James told during Zone Meeting about his whole family getting worthy to go to the temple with him. So she shared that story and we talked about how the temples are meant for families and we hope to see their family all together there some day. We again invited her to be baptized and she again said she would pray about it. Fast forward to that evening, we asked them to be there at 6:30 so everything would be ready by 7. They came at around 6:45 and ... Wait for it.... !!!!!!!!!!!!!Maria jumped out of the car, glowing, and said "I have a surprise for you. I'm going to be baptized!!!" IT WAS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL MOMENT EVER!!!!!!The three kids and their mom were ecstatic. She went in to have the interview and the branch members that came were so patient and they waited for her to have a good thorough interview and find a jumper and everything. And they brought lots of food.

It was a beautiful service!

Until ...

We went to the font. DRAINED. Drained to about to the knees of Hermano Benitez who baptized them. The youngest, Jose, went in and it was just full enough to get him completely submerged. Then Maria went next, but she had a dress on. SHE HAD TO BE BAPTIZED 6 TIMES. Remember this is the one who wasn't going to be baptized at all. What a special person that Satan worked SO HARD to keep her from  baptism and from having a spiritual experience. We quickly ran to get her a jumper and they tried to fill the font a little more and she was then baptized, by full immersion, with the proper authority and the proper way. Lastly, the oldest sister Sindy went and was baptized (the first time). Then they bore their testimonies (they were SO AFRAID and even said they wouldn't last minute until the branch president didn't realize they didn't want to and he invited them anyway, thank heavens) and the spirit was tangible - it was amazing. Little Jose bore a short powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon and of Jesus. Sindy said she was so grateful to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! And Maria bore her testimony of how she prayed to Heavenly Father and he answered her prayer and she was so happy to be baptized and she was so choked up she couldn't finish. SO BEAUTIFUL. This was a baptism only possible because of the whole district here, the branch, the Sister Training Leaders, the Zone Leaders, and all of your prayers!!! So thank you so much!

Sindy, Jose, Maria



There are more fun stories but we are going to the zoo or something like that today so we are peacin' out. Love you!! :)

Hermana Macfarlane

Cool Memphis Clouds

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Stake Soccer

Trying to be cute on the 4th

After playing in the rain on the 4th. Soaked!

Exchanges

If I had Hermana Lewis's hair

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

English Class is the Best

Hello happy family, here I am again, on a lovely P-day afternoon, just returning from the grocery store and typing like a mad-woman before we go do something SO FUN which I have no idea what that is yet.

Okay, so some really cool stories and miracles happened this week, I will see what I have time to relate!

English Class

1-The Avila family. Angels. So, this is the family that we found because of Hna Lewis' bike accident. We have been teaching them the lessons and they are coming to English class, too. So we stopped by to read with them the other night and we were asking the oldest daughter, Cindy, how she is doing and also if she had been thinking about her baptism at all. She said (in Spanish) "what does it take to be a missionary?" And we explained like the papers and the preparation and a few of the things we do. And then she said "I would like to be a missionary!!!" WHAT? ISN'T THAT SO SO SO CUTE!! She is the SWEETEST. She also was like really excited about 1 Nephi 1 and told us the whole story in detail and it was so sweet. Also the other two kids we have been teaching said they are also wanting to serve missions. THE BEST. I LOVE THEM. Also they have a son with special needs and he is such an angel, holy cow.  Please keep them in your prayers as they are trying to feel prepared for baptism! They are the sweetest family.

2- Juan. The other day (like 2 weeks ago) we were walking with a member in some apartment complex, and randomly this nice Hispanic guy called to us from his car and asked if we teach English classes. We gladly ran over to him and gave him the information. Before we could explain any more than that we are missionaries and stuff, he was like waving goodbye, so we didn't think much of it. Until now. He has been coming to all of the English classes and he came to the church tour (I'll write about that one later) and he came to church yesterday! The lesson at church was about the Holy Ghost. So after class we were talking to him, just chatting and Hna Lewis asked him why he stopped us that first time to ask about English classes. Basically he explained that he now understood (thanks to the class) that it was a prompting from the spirit! He said he had a thought in his mind to ask about English class, but really he wanted to know who we were. Then he said he was always curious about the church and he was so grateful that he followed the whisper and talked to us because now he can know more about what we believe. He said something like he feels kind of alone here, but he was so grateful for the friendship he has found through the class and church. WHAT A MIRACLE, RIGHT? It makes me a little emotional still, I love Juan.

3-Josefa. Josefa is a recent convert of I can't remember how long but less than a year. She has some granddaughters that come to church with her occasionally. We stopped by their house to invite them to church, and Josefa said she wasn't feeling well, something about her knee being really painful. We have been studying so much about power and authority and the priesthood lately, and we promised her that if she had the faith like Nephi, she would be able to come to church and fulfill this commandment. AND SHE TOTALLY DID HAVE FAITH LIKE NEPHI AND THE ELDERS CAME LAST MINUTE RIGHT BEFORE CHURCH AND GAVE HER A BEAUTIFUL BLESSING AND SHE CAME TO CHURCH AND STAYED FOR ONE CLASS AND IT WAS SO AMAZING. It was such a miracle. Her family all was able to watch the blessing and feel of the spirit, and he granddaughters enjoyed primary, too. And really though it was so last minute, we got back like 1 or 2 minutes right after the meeting started.

4-Alba. Alba is the mother in law of a member in the ward. I think this member has a son who is also a member but most of her family goes to a different church. So last night we had about an hour before we had to go inside, and all of our plans got cancelled so we said a prayer and I'm going to be honest with you here, I said the prayer and it was not very heartfelt. I prayed that we would reach our goal and know who we need to see. Rebuked. Ha! As I was praying I felt like we needed to see this family but my heart was just not in the right place and Hna Lewis and I jostled (??) with the idea and decided to head their direction and possibly see a different family. We stopped by the different family, and they weren't home. Again the prompting came to mind, so we prayed again. This time our hearts were softened and changed as we prayed not to reach our goal but to be guided wherever we needed to go that night, and be able to talk with or bless whoever needs us before we go inside. Again the spirit told me to go see that family and that I needed to have faith that whoever was there would be who we need to see. We talked about it and got really excited because this time we were sure we were following a prompting. We cruised on over, and out on the porch was this mom with her sweet daughter and non-member grandma! I'll spare you the details but we started with a song and talking about following the spirit and ended talking about baptisms for the dead (??? What I've never done that in a first lesson???) and she was so thoughtful about it as her daughter in law explained how it works and we explained God's love for his children and that He has given those who passed away without the gospel a second chance to accept it in the spirit world. She was mostly satisfied but a little confused and we just invited her to pray about it, to really ask God what is true and to help her find the truth. The spirit was so strong as we unfolded this new doctrine to Alba and watched the spirit touch her heart.

5- The last one I'll write about is the church tour! When we got to the church, we set stuff up (killed a few cockroaches, side story: I had a broom in my hand and I didn't want to sweep one up just in case it was still alive and started running around so I just snuck up on it and smashed it with the broom, but I guess I don't know my own strength nor at the time did I understand how projectile bug guts can be but I soon realized as I looked down at my forearm and my leg that were splattered with freshly squished roach guts). We started in the chapel and we only had one investigator there, Juan, and right as we left the chapel, the Avila family came in with their beautiful glowing smiles and all. And more members and I think another investigator of the Elders came, too. We went through all the auxiliaries and stuff and the Elders taught about baptism and also the first vision and holy cow the spirit was incredibly strong. Elders have such a powerful way of teaching (maybe because these 4 are either practically or totally fluent in Spanish. Yeah that helps) and everyone there was uplifted and happy and the spirit was almost tangible! It was great. Then we had food and that's always awesome.

It was President Wakolo's Birthday!
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It's been a great week here in Menfis, and I apologize for the lame updates recently. And I apologize mom for the lack of pictures I'll have this week! But I love you mewchow. (Mucho.)

Les quiero.

Hermana Macfarlane

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Naptime!

Happy Birthday America!

Last p day getting ice cream snow cones from a little hole in the wall

Today we celebrated the Fourth of July by getting Panda Express for lunch. At least our car wash had red and blue little wiper material things. Also I'm wearing my flag shirt and we are the only people in all of Memphis who are dressed up.

We are planning on doing SO MUCH FUN STUFF TODAY WOOOOO. Like probably we'll just go bowling or something so I'm just going to write a few little things:

First of all, thanks mom for the s'mores bars they're delicious. Second of all, MIRACLES ARE SO REAL AND IT'S SO FUN. We have two really really awesome families we are working with who's baptisms are coming up soon. The M's have two kids who are the most pure and scriptural definition of "child-like." Of course meaning humble and submissive and curious and desirous to do God's will. We are praying and working so hard so they will enjoy the blessings of baptism and be lights for their family! We asked the tweenage daughter why she thought scripture study was important and she said "So that when you're a missionary and you're teaching people you know the scripture and you know like what page it's on." NAILED IT. Haha I thought that was so cute.
Teaching with Gabi

Speaking of missionaries, the cute oldest daughter of the R family (the one we found post bike accident and the oldest daughter wants to be a missionary) was so sweet on Sunday. It was fast and testimony meeting and as I was sitting on the stand waiting for my turn, I looked at our cute investigating family and she had this look on her face like the testimonies were the best thing that could happen all week. It was so sweet. They have a brother who is disabled and we had promised them before that if they would come to the church as a family that he would feel peace and calmness in the church, and that if he were to be rowdy then the members would be so loving and helpful and no one would be bothered. And it was a miracle because he was just tranquil (oh no it's one of those "Spanish missionary moments" when you forget how to say the word in English but really I can remember but it's easier to just say tranquil haha) and he smiled and seemed to enjoy church.



I have been thinking a lot lately about my own conversion and feeling that I need to do things to strengthen my own testimony. I realized I haven't been taking time out of my busy schedule to read the Book of Mormon like I should. So I have been taking a few minutes during breakfast to read a chapter or so and ponder it and pray about it. Also I realized I should be taking prayer more seriously, and really coming to God with whatever questions I have and asking specifically for the things we need. I need to STAY AWAKE during my nighttime prayers (yes, I admit it I fall asleep all too often. BUT I'm repenting and changing). And to really be reverent during every prayer, always taking it seriously and pouring out my heart to God. And also I felt like I need to take church more seriously and do as I promise others by going to church with questions and expecting answers. And focusing on renewing my covenants and listening to the Spirit and learning more about the word of God. These are things I think I can always be better at but I have felt already a small increase of a stronger testimony and conversion as I invite people to read and pray about the Book of Mormon and to come to church and receive promised blessings. Being a missionary is such a privilege!
Couldn't get a decent picture, but it was beautiful!

English classes are still going well. (Almost) All of the attendees are now progressing investigators so woot woot to English class!

MEMPHIS IS SO FUN.
Happy 4th. :)

Hermana Macfarlane

Cute soon to be missionary and her mom.





A vampire and a missionary




Nasty Bug Bites

These bug bites have been SO FUN this week. They're fine now but I looked
like a giant infection for a few days!



Getting bitten:

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Sneaking up to "heart attack" a family. The Elders are there so we had to be extra sneaky.
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Video: We made lime cookies with Alba and they got burned but it's funny because she said "ya" which means like done or finished or already but Hermana Lewis was thinking she said "ya" to her question of whether or not to dump the whole thing in or not. People are so patient with us!

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Unexpected Rain:
Happy Birthday America
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