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.
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.
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.
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!