Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Brown and Mac meet Batesville

Gibson's Tree

Hi family! 

I just want to tell you how awesome Batesville is. We didn't know anyone or anything but the members have been so good to us. They are a really tiny branch of mostly elderly people. There is one youth girl and three primary girls and some boys who come to basketball night. The amazing thing is the potential for Spanish. President Wakolo felt inspired to really boost the Spanish throughout the mission and has targeted this area. There is one recent convert who speaks Spanish and we found one new investigator who speaks Spanish AND CAME TO CHURCH ON SUNDAY YAY!!! She's so cute. Well anyway, here are some of the miracles:

Thanksgiving with the Thornton's, the Pace's sent us left overs, the Wahlquists (he used to teach at Lone Peak when it first opened) came and picked us up for leftovers, the Meadors made us leftovers, a less active fed us delicious BLTs and we helped decorate her tree, the Branch President and his wife gave us the cutest baby Christmas tree and their delicious chicken and broccoli dinner, a recent convert gave us a mini Christmas tree and homemade tamales, and we are currently with the relief society president who is letting us do laundry here because our dryer is broken. Those are just the temporal things! Oh, also we got to keep the Impact Sister car so that's fun.

On a more spiritual matter, we can feel the urgency for Spanish here. We have felt really good about it and we are seeing a lot of potential. The sisters before had thankfully kept records of a few potential people who speak Spanish that they couldn't ever communicate with. We tried one of them and she had moved but another lady lives there with her friend and their family. And they are the CUTEST little family! We have just been teaching her though. We haven't been able to teach her a whole lot of things but we invited her to church and she said she would come. We were supposed to get her a ride but she ended up just wanting to bring herself and she just met us there in a dress and everything! She was the only Hispanic person there so we had to translate for her but it went super well.

After church we were contacting one of the potential Spanish people and she was on the phone so we are going to try her tonight. BUT, there's a less active lady the Elders had been trying to contact for the whole week (whose husband speaks Spanish, and she's fluent) and she just happened to be pulling in right as we were leaving and she's like the nicest person in the world so we talked with her and exchanged numbers and I'm so excited to go back! Tender mercy.  And the less active lady who randomly invited us over for lunch today? Fluent in Spanish. Woot woot.  I don’t know how to explain it but we just feel really good about Batesville being Spanish and English and we are excited to tap into more of the potential.

Hermana Brown is still the best and I'm so grateful to be her companion again! We help each other out and it's all good. But mostly we have no idea what we are doing (still???) but God helps us out a lot. We love the new Christmas video - go watch it and do the little videos. IT WILL BE SO COOL. I LOVE LIGHT. I like it because I have been thinking about the restoration as a light and how we can be lights and how when temptation comes, light helps you overcome it. But Jesus Christ is the brightest and firmest light. I love that the video takes the fun Christmas spirit and reminds you that it's only because of the Savior.

Something one of the Sisters in Sherwood pointed out to me was that Christ's birth saved people. Yes, the things He would do, but when the Nephites were over in America waiting for the signs of his birth, their lives were on the line! Because Christ came at that exact moment, hundreds of Nephites were saved.

Also, this morning I thought a lot about Joseph and his faith. After he has the dream about Mary ... 

Matthew 1:20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: 25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.

He just gets up and says, "Okay, I'll marry her!" He's a hidden hero to me.

Have a good December!

Much love,
Hermana Macfarlane

Stephanie's Tree

Friday, November 25, 2016

Batesville, Hermana Brown, Thanksgiving

I received these pictures on Thanksgiving. I don't know who the family is!

But I am so grateful for kind people who take care of missionaries on Thanksgiving!

Seeing HMac sitting at the piano got to me a little :)
Hi family! Sorry if it's a short email but we are short on time today! Sister Skordas and I were released as Impact Sisters, but we had a good run! She will be going to Little Rock and I am going to BATESVILLE with … wait for it ... HERMANA BROWN!!!!! Woohoo!! 😍😍😍 She's the best. We will be the Spanish STLs and we are opening up the area for Spanish. Well, it had a Spanish elder there to scope out the Spanish population but this will be the first for sisters there! We would appreciate any prayers as we seek out the prepared hearts in Batesville! :) I just talked to the elder that was there and he said it's super awesome.
Sister Fifield made us bears. So cute!
We went to Trenton and there was this bible referral we finally got a hold of and it was SO cool. It was late at night and we knocked on the door and this lady was so sick and humble and kind. She got so excited about the Book of Mormon and the plan of salvation because she had a lot of family pass away and was like "I've heard we won't recognize our family after we die. I'm just so confused because I don't really know." And we were like NO. YOU WILL RECOGNIZE THEM BECAUSE FAMILIES ARE ORDAINED OF GOD and she got really excited. Ahh the spirit was so sweet. At the end we asked about her husband and she said it's not her husband but they've been together for a lot of years and she was distraught about it and started whispering and said maybe we could help her. So great. It was fun because we left and the other set of sisters were outside talking to her not-husband!! Those sisters are super sweet and I love them. And we had yummy dinners there.

We went to Jacksonville after our zone conference (which rocked) and we had a cool lesson with a less active lady. We talked with her mom-who has a British southern accent-and then we talked with her and
long story short because I have to go, she was upset about not being able to live the law of chastity and I was like "how can I help her?" But the spirit said change it to "what does she need?' So I asked that in my head and the thought of temples came to mind. And it wa so awesome because she kind of needed temples but it just opened up an opportunity for sister Gummow to testify of the priesthood and her to share her concerns.
This is Sister Rasmussen who knows Kathy.

Much love, adios!
Hermana Macfarlane

Monday, November 14, 2016

HAGW

Hi mama! I'm so glad you sent me that email from Sister Jensen’s mom. We don't really get to see the fruits of our labors, so it meant a lot to Sister Skordas and me! We are in Bartlett this weekend because the Sister Training Leaders here baptized someone that Sister Skordas found when she served here! And we are going to Trenton this week. Do you remember when I had to do that random exchange a while ago with English Sisters? Well I'm going back to that place! It's a really awesome area so I'm excited.
Temple Selfie

I've learned so much about the Atonement lately. It's becoming less of a giant concept and more of a tangible, real usable thing. Our job as leaders in the mission (and as missionaries in general) is to connect people to Christ. Because Christ is literally the only way, the only sure source to connect to. I've learned that to connect others and myself to Christ is through the doctrine of Christ. (Faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost, enduring to the end.) It's cool to see when missionaries (myself included) testify more of the Savior than of each other or of President Wakolo, when they truly testify of the Savior's healing power and love for us and how willing He is to help us if we let him. I remembered your seminary class and how you said that you knew it was successful when the students weren't testifying of their love of you, but of Jesus Christ!
Danville District - the biggest district in the mission. And the most musical. 

On Tuesday during district meeting I was sort of in an internal funk and I guess it was showing because Sister Skordas leaned to me and said "look happier" or something. I was struggling through most of the meeting to get out of my own head and focus on others and not be sad about how inadequate I was feeling. It was really interesting because I gave myself a pep talk and said, “Okay Sister Macfarlane, you know this by now that you can choose to be a happy person, you don't have to wait until you study a lot of scriptures and say lots of prayers - you can be happy now!” And so I did! I was feeling bummed for being a serious person and not being one to have a lot of energy. But in that moment, I decided to be someone who others can rely on to have energy and happiness-and that moment changed the whole exchange. Somehow with the Savior, I changed immediately. It's funny how often that happens to me! I get caught up in my own head and have to remind myself that I always feel better when I just get out and work instead of moping about it! :)

This week we had dinner with the coolest returning to activity family in Maumelle and I felt very prompted to share one of my favorite scriptures, 1 Nephi 10:6 about being lost and fallen if we don't rely on the Redeemer. It was a new perspective with that verse I hadn't thought about before. But it started a conversation with this family (while the non-member daughter the mom was trying to drop hints to was sitting in the kitchen nearby) about relying on the Lord. They were talking about how they came to have a testimony of paying tithing. The dad said he didn't get the logic of paying to the church when he can't even pay his bills and then having to go ask the bishop for help anyway. He said the bishop just smiled and said, "that's the beauty of it!" Haha I loved that. Tithing is such a simple commandment that is SO HARD sometimes but God always gives us back in much more abundance than we gave. The wife testified that there is always some extra check or random cash on the door or even a morale boost or feeling of hope that comes when times get tight-if tithing was paid.
Floral Friday on Saturday
I was able to add my testimony to theirs that even though dad is sick, I know it's through your faith in paying tithing that I was able to serve a mission and that you have been able to stay afloat. I also know that it comes around in sort of a paradoxical way that my mission service is providing blessings for you and dad to have health to work and it just goes in this beautiful circle of blessings and obedience-all because God loves us and wants us to be happy!!!

Spanish Studies with the Hermanitas

I thought a lot this week about my own conversion-my own prayers and testimony of the Savior. I'm working on being more real and genuine when I pray and not rushing through at the end of the night. It takes patience and humility and a real desire to hear from God! But I felt the sweetest assurance the other day that he really is listening. Prayer is a real thing and I’m doing the right thing by testifying of it to others. I know God is listening to me and is so, so patient with me as I learn to communicate with Him and have that relationship I desire. I made a goal this morning to testify to someone (a non-member specifically) today of the Restored Gospel through the prophet Joseph Smith and a living prophet on the earth AND that Jesus Christ is my Savior. There's probably someone in Cedar Hills who needs to know that, too.
Goobers

Accident
You asked about my 40-day fast! It's going well. I need to take it more seriously though. One of my things is to go to bed at 10:30 every night which has happened I think twice now ... so yeah, I'm working on it. But we have been good at listening to only spiritual music. I'm also trying to not be critical and to pray to see everyone through their mother's eyes/God's eyes and I have gotten glimpses of that. :)
Sister Forsyth has the best sleeping mask. ALSO I left my makeup bag and toothbrush in Russellville so I finger brushed and flossed until the Bartlett Sisters gave me a toothbrush.

Also I had a goal this week that when cookies are presented I am only allowed to eat one per day. I DIDN’T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT COOKIE DOUGH THOUGH AND I INHALED THAT, but only ate one cookie after they were baked. :) yummmmm.
Hair Swap
 


Yesterday one of the members that sister Skordas is close with, Sister Hunt, gave us the best "thrown together" meal. (Granted we have been eating canned fruit, applesauce, granola bars, cereal and the occasional egg or rice bowl for the last 3 weeks.) And, I LEARNED HOW TO EAT CANDY CORN 😂 I'm so happy. I love candy corn. BUT if you put peanuts in it ... that's Heavenly. :) Who knew?

Well, we are being well taken care of and we know we have at least another week together before we find out our transfer fate. There is a new Spanish Hermana coming out so I could possibly train her or possibly stay as an Impact Sister or possibly any number of things because who knows! :)

HAGW (have a great week)

PS I realized I never thanked our home teachers for being SUCH good home teachers!! If you see them this week, let them know I'm grateful for their pure service and kind hearts (and freshly baked bread). :)

Another PS Thank you to mom and dad for being stellar examples of good home and visiting teachers too who are more than just message sharers but really always cared about the people you served. And Happy Birthday to dad this week!

Hermana Macfarlane

Monday, November 7, 2016

THIS IS KIND OF CRAZY

So this week I started a 40-day fast which is where you fast for 24 hours and ask Heavenly Father to help you know around 10 things you can change, basically to be more pure. I did one around this time last year and felt this week I needed to do one again. I have a list of things that poked at my spirit as I fasted such as being more humble, having a better attitude during prayer, really going to bed on time and listening to inspiring music. I'm also working on not being critical/judgmental, following promptings, and only writing one email home to the people I email instead of going back and forth during my hour of email time, and I will be done emailing by 4 pm! I started this last Friday and it will go until December 14! So here we go! 
 
Sisters Jensen, Esplin, Hna Macfarlane, Skordas
This last week was kind of crazy because I went with the Little Rock Hermanas for two days while Sister Skordas went to the Bryant sisters nearby, then after a meeting we had Wednesday morning I joined Sister Skordas in Bryant that evening. Then we had plans to be in the Searcy Zone but the sisters we wanted to see got bed bugs! And as you can imagine, if we were to get bed bugs we would literally sit at home and study all day. It would be horrible. So we didn't go. BUT, we did visit the sisters in Sherwood and it turned out to be really great! They are such fun sisters. Sister Jensen is one of the English sisters that came out with me so she will go home the transfer after mine. And Sister Esplin is a little angel and she just finished her training. We had some really great dinners and met some awesome members.


On our second day, I was with Sister Jensen and we had about an hour to try to see some people in an area. The first lady we planned to see was recovering from heart surgery but it turns out her daughter was super interested so we taught her a little bit and left. We were trying to find the address of the next person in that area but our eyes caught a group of friendly hoodlums outside, up to no good. So, obviously we went to talk with them. After getting to know them it ended up being Sister Jensen teaching one of the friends about the restoration and I taught the other two about the plan of salvation and then we joined together and invited them to study both! (This sounds really shady like we broke off or something. We were like 2 feet from each other but somehow we ended up having 2 totally separate lessons ....) They were the coolest of the hoodlums. (Hahaha funny story was one of the teenagers, Logan, was asking if the south fulfilled or changed any of the stereotypes. I said definitely not! And he said "Well we aren't all hillbillies and rednecks." But he definitely was a borderline redneck and it was hilarious.)

Ashley sent info about who all of these people are but I can't get it to open. So, here are some nice looking folks. 

Anyway we had a great day at church. There was a lady there who only speaks Spanish and I was able to talk to her and help her figure out her Hymnbook! Lots of the sisters in their ward speak Spanish but it was fun to talk with her.


ALSO, we got word from the Sherwood sisters last night that they had a lesson with Logan and Bethany (the plan of salvation people) and they totally loved it and were so excited to read!!!! 

(We are outside of McDonald's and it smells like Chinese food????)

This week at our meeting there were a few things that stood out. President Wakolo said "I have had some thoughts" and then gave a huge list of “proverbs” or something. It was so awesome. Just like, one-liners that blew my mind. The first one he said was "Disciples hear something for the first time and decide to change-immediately." YEAH. I can't remember the others but he is great. Sister Wakolo talked with us about personal prayer and did a "what-why-how" of prayer which reminded me I need to have a better attitude when praying. She really focused on the fact that what we say is not as important as how we feel. I've been focusing on really meaning what I say when I pray and thinking about the situations we are in and stuff. 

I studied Alma 7 this week for my chapter on the Atonement. It was really neat because I read it Sunday morning before going to church. I love that the people are generally good people. They are pretty righteous and he's grateful they are better than the people of Zarahemla. But he still teaches them about the Atonement and about repentance! I was studying this morning about our need to use the power and authority we have been given. Even if there are those who are righteous, we still need to keep Christ on our lips and let them know about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. The more we learn and understand the Atonement, the greater our desire is to share the gospel.

We talked about Elder Oaks' talk in conference about missionary work, that it's not like this separate program of the church but it is our duty and we should all have a mission plan for how we are going to share the gospel.
 
I look like a body builder ...
Have a gooood week!

Hermana Macfarlane



video

Sunday, November 6, 2016

I love being a missionary!

The hearts we "heart attacked" the Benitez's with - put in a frame! awww. And
Hermanas Brown and Hunt

Woohoo this was a fun week! We went to two areas.

It's been really fun. We went to the MEMPHIS HERMANAS YAYAYA and had the usual Monday night dinner with the Benitez family and it was so good to see them. The Hermanas are doing a fantastic job and they speak really good Spanish! I also got to see the Ramos who haven't been consistently going to church except for Jose. We taught them again and talked about why they weren't coming. We committed them to come again and asked them why they were coming. They all gave great answers like to feel the Spirit, to do what's right, to be closer to God, etc. But then we asked Jose and he said "to take the sacrament and to administer it!" AWWWWW :') so cute. I wanted to cry and he still wants to serve a mission and they are just the cutest family. I love Memphis.

Memphis

Mis Ramos

After Memphis we went to Southaven for just a day and they were also great. They are some of the ASL sisters and they are hilarious. They dressed up as each other for Halloween.

Southaven Sisters dressed up as each other.

We had MLC and interviews and again President Wakolo is amazing. He probably doesn't sleep or eat very often-in fact I know he doesn't! But he has the strongest spirit with him and is also really funny.

Then we went to Arkadelphia and it was really fun because I didn't ever know sister Duncan or Sister Fifield but they are super awesome. Also Sister Thomas was there too and it was cool to see her in her last transfer! I learned a lot from these three how to connect with members and just be happy and stuff. They're cute.
I didn't get our group picture, but this is Sister Thomas massaging my head. 

I love being a missionary and this week we are in Little Rock, Spanish! Have a good week, family.

Hermana Macfarlane