Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Merry Christmas from Batesville

Well, it was nice talkin' to ya yesterday! :) We had a pretty good week here! It was our only week this transfer where we didn't have exchanges or meetings outside of our area so we were here the whole time! And it felt nice. 
We have been focusing on member missionary work (as it should be) and we have felt a lot closer to our members as we have fasted and prayed for them. 
Christmas Day

One of the best things that has happened is Kaylee! She is an active youth in the branch and we have been wanting to get to know her better-she was actually one of the first people we met here but our schedules kept conflicting until the holiday break. Every Saturday morning we help with the free breakfast from the Methodist church and we asked her to come with us. She had to get up a lot earlier than we did due to living so far away and it was during her break! Such a trooper. :) We decided to take her to see a former investigator who the previous missionaries said we should try around this time again. We went and they were all outside and we had a great little lesson with them and the mom asked for a Book of Mormon! After service and teaching we made Rice Krispy trees Round 2. Kaylee has a few friends she was excited to give some treats to. This was all on Christmas Eve and later that night Kaylee drove back up to get us to bring us out to their house for a traditional "junk food and tamales" Christmas Eve dinner. It's been so great!
Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve with the Wahlquists

Another quick story from that afternoon: We were driving to try seeing an investigator and I saw a Hispanic lady outside raking her leaves, just down the street from us. I kind of looked at her and I said to myself "I don't really feel prompted to talk to her and we have this other semi-set appointment ...." As I drove down the road, I felt immediately sad and recognized it as the Spirit leaving so we turned back around as I asked for forgiveness in my heart and was thankful for the strength to follow the prompting. We pulled up, hopped out of the car and she wouldn't let us help but EVERYONE says no when you ask so I said "raking leaves is my favorite (it really is) please let me do it, just for five minutes!" (That part was definitely sarcastic) She agreed and I raked and raked and raked while Hermana Brown did everything to get them to even consider listening about the Book of Mormon. As we finished up all together raking, she invited us in for tamales on Christmas. We said of course and when we came for tamales they were the most delicious chicken tamales in banana leaves and fruit punch drink. They didn't really want anything to do with the gospel we were trying to share at the end but the seed is planted and we'll go back again later.

Shirts from the Wahlquists

We had a tender mercy this week with one of our investigators. She is a young mom and we had introduced the Book of Mormon and the Restoration to her but they just kept not reading until finally one day she said she read a few paragraphs in the introduction!! She said she had a few questions so we said a prayer and as soon as we finished she started reading through the introduction and asking all sorts of basic but awesome questions. She committed to reading the testimonies and she said "If I have any questions I'll write them down or something so I can ask you when you come back." MUSIC TO MY EARS!! :') We were like "YES DO THAT." When we went back again she hadn't written any down but had a few questions. She should be reading the Joseph Smith testimony this next time. It's so exciting when people start asking questions not in a threatening way but in a really curious search for truth!
When brother Wahlquists mom was sick one Christmas, she put the kids
and husband in charge of Christmas Eve dinner and said do what you
want... so junk food became the tradition! (Chips, guacamole, jello
salad, cheese rolls, lots of crackers, spring sausage, nuts,
chocolates, cookies, wassail, lemonade, the veggie tray and tamales
are added from sister W's family and the rice krispy tree is ours)

Probably the funniest thing that happened this week was just the junk food night with the Wahlquist's because we ate ourselves silly and it was awesome.

I spoke in church on Sunday on the birth of Christ. It was really cool to study the different prophecies and dig a little deeper into what that really meant for the world. I especially loved reading the account of the Nephites waiting so faithfully for the signs to come and facing persecution even after! But as we were sitting in the car after lunch today, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir came on singing "I Believe in Christ" and it was a testimony to me again of all the good that Christ did and the peace that I have because of His birth and because of my belief in Him. I wish I could express my thoughts better on this but it was just really peaceful! 
The District: Sisters Quick, Lloyd and Tarpenning, us, Elders
Contreras, Mayer, and 'Iongi

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! 
Hermana Macfarlane

Tuesday, December 20, 2016



I hope you all have a WONDERFUL Christmas. 

This week wasn't the most eventful as far as things I think you would want to hear about. We went on exchanges this week as well as had our Christmas zone conference! That was so great because the area 70 Elder Bahesti spoke to us (he is in the North Little Rock Stake) and he told us five ways to change the world in 2017:

1. Make your bed everyday
2. Teach repentance
3. Increase your faith
4. Baptize converts
5. "Get over being a sugar cookie" and endure to the end

He reminded us to not discount the work we are doing. It was also really sweet because he said he has known a lot of the mission presidents for a long time and has loved them all but he has never seen someone teach so powerfully as do the Wakolo's and that we should be thanking Heavenly Father for allowing us to serve with them. What a privilege! :)

We also had a fun music program, played minute to win it games, and they showed childhood pictures of all the missionaries and we had to guess who they were. I stumped 'em except for like two or three people.

This is the picture I sent them. It's Ashley in 1st Grade. She looks exactly the same to me! Haha

Well, on exchanges, I had Hna Thornton with me in Batesville and we found a cute young couple in English and a ton of Hispanics! It was so so fun and we have been going back to visit all these potential people. The members here are so awesome and they are willing to come teaching with us but most of our people are Hispanic, and only one person in the Branch speaks Spanish so we are working on increasing our English teaching pool as well as possibly teaching Spanish classes??? We'll see.

With the amazing Aileen Watts (whom I had the privilege of meeting today!!!). 

Hermana Brown continues to be the best. This week I was learning a lot about teaching with power and authority and not letting those who are so set in their ways try to teach us. We both set a goal this week to "be okay with still learning." We have set this expectation for ourselves as we are on our second to last transfer but it's okay that we are still learning to be better teachers and listeners and disciples of Christ. She is very patient with me as I learn and grow and we calm each other down. :)

Last night we had a cool experience. We had 45 minutes left until we had to come in and our plans had sort of changed for the evening-as they often do. We had a few people in mind we wanted to see but we said a prayer. As I prayed I felt that we should visit a couple we had seen a few weeks ago but hadn't been home every time we went over. It wasn't a strong impression but as we talked about it I think I knew the whole time that we needed to see them. Finally we decided we should just go and we did and it was awesome. She had read the plan of salvation pamphlet and looked at the scriptures in the back even! We read the first and last two paragraphs of the introduction of the Book of Mormon and invited them to be baptized ... they didn't exactly say no but it definitely wasn't yes. They wanted us to come back and explain more and teach more from the Book of Mormon. I was so thankful for that experience because it gave us a chance to testify of the Book of Mormon and of the authority and of the Savior one more time before we went in for the night.

I know Heavenly Father is aware of us and hears AND ANSWERS all of our prayers, even the silent ones. 

I love Christmas! 

Hermana Macfarlane

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Build it and They Will Come

This was last week when the Canady's and Sister Watts took us to pizza!

Hello hello! It's been another great and cold week here in Batesville!

Highlight of the week: driving to Memphis with President Wakolo. Also the Batesville branch Christmas dinner was fantastic.
Lowlight of the week: Hna Brown and I finally got sick ... We have both had great health for months and months and the weather just dropped down so we are on the list of the winter cold and cough.

I asked President Wakolo this week during our interviews what we should do to help the people here. He told the analogy of someone who wanted to build a sports arena, but it was in the middle of nowhere. He was mocked and everyone was questioning why he would do that because no one is there! He said if we build it, the people will come. It started off really slow and not many people came, but with time the stadium was one of the most popular places and the people did come. Our Branch here is really tiny, but we are "building" the Spanish and "building" the youth programs and focusing on families. It may be slow at first, but, the people will come! 

They have been doing sports night for a long time and there is just one youth girl and her parents (they are active) who come almost every week and a few less active youth boys who often come as well. This week we also had a recent convert and her daughter come, as well as the Elders' investigator! During our correlation meeting our branch mission leader said he had another family in mind that he would like to focus on inviting. It is small and going little by little but people will come and eventually they will make it here on Sundays, too. 

We are working on talking and teaching with everyone! President Wakolo had us practice giving out pass along cards during our interviews and connecting the "Light the World" to the First Vision. It's so cool how the restoration of the gospel is such a light, and the climax of it is all about light!

Alma 19:6 "Now, this was what Ammon desired, for he knew that king Lamoni was under the power of God; he knew that the dark veil of unbelief was being cast away from his mind, and the light which did light up his mind, which was the light of the glory of God, which was a marvelous light of his goodness--yea, this light had infused such joy into his soul, the cloud of darkness having been dispelled, and that the light of everlasting life was lit up in his soul, yea, he knew that this had overcome his natural frame, and he was carried away in God--

The Atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ is the BRIGHTEST light! And it is accessible through the doctrine of Christ.

Batesville is great. Hermana Brown is the best. Christmas food rocks. Love you all!

Hermana Macfarlane

Sorry we took zero pictures ... this is my first time trying to make soup and it was gross because I got impatient and put way too much seasoning in it.

Monday, December 5, 2016

God Has a Perfect Plan

Not our cutest ...

Hello Familia! We had a great week! We are going to Memphis this afternoon so I haven't got much time.

Well, first of all, I tried eggnog today and unfortunately I LOVE THAT STUFF. Mmmm. So good.

We had a lot of little miracles and some big ones too. Our Hispanic investigator, Mayasmín, has been progressing little by little. We got to bring Dezeree (recent convert who speaks Spanish) to her first Spanish lesson as a member and she was so so awesome!!! It's always nice. Then when we were on exchanges, Hermana Olson and I visited Mayasmín again. We had been inviting her to pray about the things we've taught, she kept saying like yes I do pray but I believe all the churches have some truth but God only knows which one. Then as we talked about it and explained that she can ask God which one is true that He will answer her if she's sincere, somehow it just clicked. We will go back soon to see if she acted on that! She's very stubborn to her word so if she says she will, she will! (Shout out to Hna Olson who helped us figure out how to teach Mayasmín about prophets really simply.) Also it was cool as we were sitting in sacrament meeting, she walked in all by herself again! We had stopped by that morning to remind her about church but she wasn't there. It was awesome AND she didn't want translation for some reason so she just enjoyed the spirit. :)

Beautiful Batesville

One of my favorite things that happened was this week as we were exchanging back we met up with the Hermanas halfway and we all got some pizza. Sister Watts had brought the other sisters and brother and sister canady brought us. We waited for the other sisters to get here and we greeted them when we came. But the best part (and maybe it's just because it's brother Canady??) is that the pizza delivery guy pulled up at the same time and brother Canady assumed it was sister watts' husband so he went right up and introduced himself with a firm handshake and a thick southern accent "Hi! I'm Brother Canady, nice to meet you!" The poor pizza guy was so confused. Hahaha it's really funny I swear but also Brother Canady turned bright red in the restaurant when he finally (after 45 minutes) realized what he'd done!

I have been studying the Atonement chapters still and it is just amazing the spirit that I feel as I read account after account of Book of Mormon people testifying of the Savior. We had a lesson the other day that I have reflected a lot upon and I am just so thankful for the knowledge I have of the gospel and the plan of salvation. It's life changing!! We were getting to know this couple the English sisters had been teaching and they both sort of agreed that Joseph smith was a prophet and they love the church but have a hard time with some of the deep doctrine questions. (Mostly about afterlife things and becoming like God. But she didn't necessarily disagree it was just a very very different perspective ... sort of like that we all share our spirits I think.) We were obviously getting nowhere with anything as our testimonies were being shut down. I asked Heavenly Father to help us know what they need. The topic of temples came strongly and I was like "Nooo way. That will cause contention." But I just kept feeling it so we explained temples, only to be completely shut down again. She continued to say that we are the temples and "all we say about families in heaven just isn't true." But I felt the Spirit confirm as we testified of the power of the priesthood and that families are ordained of God.

I know that I don't know everything, and I don't expect to! But I know God has a perfect plan that we are all a part of. I'm so thankful to know that my family can be together forever! I'm also thankful to know that yes the people of the church are imperfect, but that the living Lord leads His living and perfect church.

The commandments are so important because they are our protection. Keep reading your scriptures and saying your prayers and going to church and keeping the Sabbath day holy!
I love you all. Stay warm. :)

Hermana Macfarlane