Friday, December 30, 2016

12/30 Photos


this is after we skyped with you, dinner with the Joaquins and our ward christmas dinner








2017

Just a little quote from a year ago.

""HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!

I can`t believe that the year went by so fast. Well, it seems like the
year was divided in 2 main parts. The slower part and my mission. I
don`t know what it is about serving the Lord that makes time fly
faster than... I dunno.... that comparison died... but really really
fast!

I have a lot of great goals this New Year! This week is transfers too,
so its going to be a new year, new transfer, new goals. I`m really
motivated to go out and get things done!!!

This week we worked so hard, it was amazing.""


Haha little Elder McFarland was so adorable and small. Such a cute little greenie. 

haha, but really, I've been a little more reflective than usual this week with the whole "The Year's Ending" and whatever. Really I can remember Las Delicias with Elder Torres like it was just yesterday, but at the same time it feels so far away. There is a lot of life that separates Greenie Elder McFarland from Financial Secretary Elder McFarland. Zaragoza. Santa Elena. Belmopan. Miramonte. So many people and so many places that I have met this year that sometimes I don't even really know if I believe that my life is real. From the Mayan ruins of Belize to the rundown apartment building in El Salvador to the small country city of Sonsonate, sometimes I get really nostalgic thinking about all of the memories that I´ve made this year. I wish I could just freeze time and experience each and every one of those memories again. But not just in photos, I wish I could go back and be the same person that I was then, and learn all those lessons again. Really it makes me savor every single minute of being a missionary and serving the Lord.

Ok reflective moment over. 

This week was really great. Pretty much after Talking with my family on Sunday Night we went back to the area to a couple of Dinners that the members had invited us to. The Joaquin family and the Ticas family gave us some REALLY good food!

Tuesday we had an appointment with Claudia Maldonado(Mom of a recent convert, you should remember her :) and we were planning on teaching more of the Sabbath Day to her, but when we got there she offered us some ice cream. I took one bite and I knew it was coffee. After an awkward moment when we told her we didn´t drink(or eat in ice cream form) coffee she started to ask a lot of questions. At first we started trying to answer them all at once, but I decided that it would be better to say a prayer and start from the beginning. What followed was probably one of the greatest lessons we´ve had with her. It was more like a conversation than a one sided lesson, and she was very open with us. We have already known for a long time that she doesn´t like pressure or restrictions, and we have been wanting to bring that one up but we kept saying "later when she´s more ready." and stuff like that. Turns out God knows best and it was time. We had a great talk about how the commandments are NOT just restrictions and prison bars. They are guidelines given to us by a loving Heavenly Father to help us get blessings from Him. Far from being harsh rules forced upon us, they are patterns of life that WE CHOOSE to follow so that we can get back to HIM! We explained to her that the Word of Wisdom was part of the Restoration, and that the real question is whether or not Joseph Smith was a Prophet, and that we were NOT going to force her not to drink coffee, but that she could pray, study, and put it to the test and then make the choice herself. She also expressed a few other questions and concerns that we helped her understand.

Also we found another part member family this week that is super positive. More to come on the ALVAREZ family, please keep them in your prayers!

Anyways, I wish you all the HAPPIEST OF NEW YEARS!
And I hope you know I love you all!

Elder McFarland

Friday, December 23, 2016

12/23/17





12/25/17 Photos
















#Christmas

Hello?

Nice to meet you! 

My name is Elder McFarland.

Here´s a little something about me.

 But first, a story. This week we had Christmas multizones, one on Tuesday, and one on Wednesday. Tuesday was the half of the mission where I am right now, and Wednesday was Sonsonate, Las Delicias, and that half! (Belize was last week when President went up there!) Tuesday was really fun! As Secretaries, we have a lot more responsibility in these multi Zones then normal. We have to make sure everything runs smoothly and that every last little thing is thought through and executed. But in spite of all of the stress, I felt the Spirit strongly as President Adams was teaching. There has been a really big change in the culture of the mission ever since me and me group showed up. Slowly and surely the work is hastening! We are focusing on not just working harder, but smarter, and trying to be better people and better missionaries! It´s a new day!!!

Then Wednesday we only went because I had to give a presentation of some changes that are going to be happening in how we pay the rent. Long story short, because of some laws and circumstances here in Central America, we will no longer pay for any houses online, but instead we will pay the missionaries and they will be in charge of paying the landlord. 

But I guess the point of me saying that was to explain why we went on Wednesday, but after I was done with my little spiel in the morning President told  us we could go so we left! We got on a bus that went to the Terminal to go back to San Salvador and it passed right through the center of Sonsonate! It was surreal! I was in that city for 6 months and I know it so well! So even though we didn´t go through my old area it was still like going home! It was weird because I KNEW everything. I knew which buses to take, where to go and everything. But at the same time it was like I was going there for the first time. It amazes me everything that can happen in 17 months. I´m not by far the same person who stepped off the bus there in Sonsonate way back when. I knew so much more this time about the mission, about El Salvador, about life and people and things! It really made me reflect and think about how much I have changed! I miss Las Delicias so much! If I could have my wish I would finish the mission there, training. 

Anyways, Las Delicias baggy moment over. Tuesday and Wednesday were kinda long days, but they were so much fun!

As for our area things are going really well. We are still trying to work with the members like crazy and things are starting to work out. We have received several references this week and people are starting to progress!

Claudia Maldonado got back from Panama this week, which is nice becuase we hadn´t seen her after she pretty much bombed us with the news that she wants to get baptized. She is going through a LOT of changes in her life right now, and needs lots of prayers. She lost her job and is kinda in shock. More than that, now she is trying to be more spiritual, which is new for her, and she is still a little hesistant and stuff. She needs the Gospel so much right now! Please pray for her and us in being able to handle the situation well!

Two days ago we met a guy named Armando. He started talking to us in a broken English, and it was evident that he was a little drunk and depressed. We started talking to him and he told us his story. one week ago his wife died suddenly of a heart attack. Two months ago his elderly mother passed away and now he is left alone in a big house. As we started to testify of Eternal Families he asked us "do you think I´ll ever see my wife again?" When we told him he would, he started to cry. We went back yesterday and started to teach him. He needs a lot of help right now because he needs to stop drinking and smoking and get his life back on it´s feet. I feel so terrible for him! He needs the Gospel so much. i pray that I can have the ability to help him and that he can make the decisions necessary to get through!

I´ve been thinking alot about the song "I heard the Bells on Christmas Day" (If I remember right that´s one of your favorite Christmas songs Mom, Right?) here are some words

I heard the bells on Christmas day,
Their old familiar carols play.
And mild and sweet their songs repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head.
"There is no peace on earth!" I said.
For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Then rang the bells more loud and deep
God is not dead, nor does he sleep (peace on earth, peace on earth)
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men!

Thinking about Claudia and Armando, it would be easy to say "There is no Peace on Earth!" and feel overwhelmed by the hate and pain that is all around us. 

But I´ve noticed something. Quite frankly, life is hard. It sucks sometimes. But that doesn´t mean that we have to be beaten down by it! Yes, life is hard! It´s supposed to be that way! How else would we learn and grow and become more like our Heavenly Father! The fact that life is hard does not have to limit us. WE CAN DO HARD THINGS! We just have to rely on Christ and His Atonement, and LIVE HIS GOSPEL. Don´t let "Life is Hard" take away the Peace that we can feel, "Not as the World Giveth" but as only Christ can give.

That´s why we celebrate Christmas! New beginnings. New Hope. Today is a new day and we can be something better! 

So like I promised. Here´s something you should know about me. 

I´ve changed alot, it´s true. I´m not the same man I was in Las Delicias. Because of my trials and experiences, I know so much more than I used to. I understand things on a level that I never thought possible. 

And I´m happy :)

Have the Merriest of Christmases everybody!

Elder David O. McFarland 

Friday, December 16, 2016

Wedding Bells

Holy Shoot dang guess what?

My sister got married earlier today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

haha, I´m going CRAZY right now! I´m so happy! Hope you all know I´m supporting you all the way from here in El Salvs!

To be honest, it hadn´t really hit me until I logged on today and saw photos. Well now it´s hit me! Jessie. Josh. You look so happy!! I can tell that you guys are SO in love and that you will have so much success together!

haha, I really don´t know what else to say! So here´s some Emojis!

šŸ˜˜šŸ˜—šŸ’

Anyways. The work moves forward. 

We have been working REALLY hard to try to work more with the members. And we´re really hoping things will start to pay off.

I love being a missionary.

Today I was talking to the guy cutting my hair, and he asked about what it´s like being a missionary. I told him something that I´ve learned that I wish every missionary and member and person would learn:

If you turn inward it´s really hard. Thinking about me. Thinking about mine. Thinking about all the things that I CANT do. Leaving home. 2 years. To someone who´s never heard about the church before that really seems like alot. 

But if you turn outward it really becomes easy. Everything you do as a missionary becomes easier if you just stop thinking about yourself and what´s in it for you, and start thinking about making other people smile. In making other people happy. In spreading the good news of the Savior Jesus Christ.

If you do that, being a missionary is the best thing in the world. 

I REALLY like it. 

Anyways, have the greatest week in the world! know that I´m praying for you!

Jessie, Josh.

good luck. it´s gunna be one huge ride!

take care!

Elder McFarland

Friday, December 9, 2016

12/9/17 Photos











ChangesegnahC

Hello my name is Elder McFarland

This week was SUPER SUPER busy. 

Last Saturday the Baptism went SUPER well with Paula. She had a hectic day, and when she showed up you could tell that she was SO determined not to let the adversary ruin her special day. Afterwards she was just beaming and I was happy to be a part of it. Sunday she was confirmed and then she has just been on fire so far this week! The ward is helping a lot with that.

but after last weekend I don´t have a lot to tell. Just that Monday we had to send some missionaries off to Belize so we were in the office pretty much all day, Then Tuesday was New missionary day, so another lot of no work, and then Wednesday was Changes which was a headache or two.

BUT

I had a good week!

Getting to see the new missionaries. The fire they have in their eyes just made me excited to be a missionary! to keep working hard and do fun things!

This week is going to be SO good. We have a lot of crazy things in store, but I want to tell you all more about it AFTER it happens. 

Just a quick shout out to the best FAM in the WORLD! 
And to the prettiest wedding invitations from Jessica S. 
Sorry I ran out of time talking to my fam,

But I love you all!!!!!!!

elder MCFarland

Friday, December 2, 2016

12/2/17 Photos







Miracles, a Baptism, more miracles, and changes week.

God is good. 

Like really good. 

The more experience I get in the mission, the more I realize that I´m just here for the ride. It´s kinda been one of the main focuses for me for quite a while. I used to have lot´s of ideas of how my mission was going to be. I think I used to think a lot more about ME than about the mission actually. But as I´ve grown older,(haha, I guess I´m still just a little kid), as I´ve gone through trials, and successes, and failures, and life. I can tell that God is just trying to get across one, simple message: It´s not about you. 

Sometimes it takes me a long time. Sometimes I like to picture God patiently sitting back with a ´´ You´ll get it eventually´´ look on His face. Sometimes I think I do a little better at it than others, but I think I´m starting to understand what it is he wants me to learn. That doesn´t necessarily mean I´ve learned it yet, But one day I will.

Really God´s Plan for me is a lot better than my plan for me. 

So the first miracle´s name is Paula Granados. I honestly think that I have failed as a weekly email writer by not telling you more about the people that I have been teaching, but let me make up for it now. Paula has been investigating the church for years. 8 years to be exact. Probably in my second or third week here in the office we had an amazing experience with her. Did I tell you about it? We were teaching her one day about Christ and His Atonement, when she all of a sudden opens up and tells us that ONE WEEK EARLIER, she had wanted to get baptized, on the 5 of November, but that she had wanted it to be a suprise, but never got around to telling us because she was embarrassed because she didn´t have a white dress. After we sat there for a couple seconds with our mouths open, we were like: Hermana! We will worry about the dress and everything, you just show up! It was such a special moment!

So Paula is about 58 years old. Her younger sister is one of the amazingly active and sweet members of our ward, who was baptized about 8 years ago, named ConcepciĆ³n Granados. When Paula told us how she had been reading the Book of Mormon and praying really ernestly, and how God had given her a strong confirmation and a desire to get baptized, I think the only one more surprised and happy than we were was her sister ConcepciĆ³n!

So we have been reviewing the lessons with her these past couple weeks, and tomorrow Paula will finally be baptized as a member of Christ´s Church!

She is so excited! It hasn´t been easy for her, but you can see it in her eyes that she can´t wait!

And me and my comps are just kinda sitting back thinking, did we actually do anything?
(The face is that we didn´t, the Spirit and ConcepciĆ³n did pretty much all the work)
The Truth is, as far as numbers go, this hasn´t even been a ´´good´´ week

With changes coming up, a visting General Authority, and the end of the month last week, we have been SO busy in the office. There is a lot that goes into running a mission that I guess I just didn´t really appreciate before. 

Oh yeah, a General Authoriy visit. This last week Elder Dunca, the Area President, has been here in our mission on a mission tour. Monday and Tuesday he and President went to Belize with their wives, and Wednesday we had a STELLAR multizone conference with all the El Salvs Zones. Literally we had everything planned down TO A T! and it went so well! We were in charge of ordering lunch and making sure it happened in less than 30 minutes(142 people were eating...) and taking a group photo! At the end of the day everything went SO smoothly!

Another miracle. President put me in charge of a missionary musical number for the event. We only practiced twice, one about a month ago, and once on Tuesday. I was praying super hard that everyone would lock and be in tune, because a lot of the guys didn´t come from a group-singing background. But prayers are answered, and when we started it was just, bam. harmonies and notes falling where they should, dynamics are real. President told me today that Elder Duncan was really impressed. I was SO grateful it went well!

So this week is changes, which is both a cool thing and a scary thing. Pretty much, when Elder Maxwell leaves, I´m on my own in my new job. Well, I guess I´ve already been doing it six weeks, so I´m not COMPLETELY new, but I´m both excited and scared to death. I´ll tell you more how I´m feeling in a week when it´s real.

Ok, the last miracle I´ll tell you about. Do you remember Claudia Maldonado? Like, the mom of a member named Stefany, super nice lady who calls us her kids and we call her mamĆ” and all that stuff? So yeah, remember how she kinda got all, ´´I don´t like commitment´´ on us and we haven´t seen her in two weeks?

This week I was sitting in my office working when I get a text. I nearly had a heart attack of joy, and ran to tell everyone in the office to come and see what Stefany just texted us. I got everybody huddled around the phone to read it. As they each read at their own pace and successively did a victory dance of their own coreography when they understood what was going on, I read aloud. ´´ My mom says she wants to get baptized. She says not this weekend(like 3 weeks ago we invited her to prepare for this weekend) but she wants to learn more about the church first and then she´ll do it.

She´s already been to church like 3 or 4 times, and we´ve taught her a lot, but when we went back last night something was different. She expressed to us how she has been going through a lot of rough times right now, and how several times she has just kinda reached a dead end. She told us how, little by little, she began to do her part. She didn´t express exactly what she had been doing, but she told us that as she began to take little steps the Spirit began to tell her the next little step to take. And then one day she was praying and the Spirit told her powerfully. ´´remember the baptism on the 3rd of December!´´ She says she was shocked and had never had such a strong impression before. She is still going through some super rough situations at work, but she set her own goal to get baptized at the beginning of next year!

So I guess it´s not about me, or my spanish, or my teaching ability, or really anything That I could ever do. This work is about God, talking to His kids, and bringing them home when they are ready.

So yeah,

God is good.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Christmas came early this year....

It´s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!!!
All Except the Snow...
There´s a tree in Metro Center
 Salvador del Mundo too.
The metal kind that lights up and it glows!!!!

Most people forgot about Thanksgiving
But we still ate lots of Turkey
And the best thing that I see
Is the Spirit that it Brings!

Just to Be...A.... Missionary!

(please sing aloud and forgive the bad word to rhythm matching...)

So this week I've started to experience my very first end of month stress overload

But on the bright side we got new computers in the office this week. So for every time that I ever wrote on some crappy Cyber computer in an internet cafe, now I am writing on a new, touch screen DELL, so I guess that´s fun. I don´t really know if I´ll end up using the touch screen a lot, but at least it´s there...

So know I´ll get back to the stressful part. Pretty much It´s my job to make sure that the missionaries all get their assignment money next week, and it´s a pretty big process. On top of that we had a super helpful meeting at the temple office this week that is going to make things a lot easier in the future, but requires that I do a LOT of work to get things ready! 

Also like everyone and their dog needed money for their office jobs yesterday... 

So pretty much my thanksgiving was a lot of work and stress.

BUT

Last night the 2nd counselor in the Stake Presidency invited us over for thanksgiving. He invited all of the Office Elders and a few more. It was really great to eat turkey and pumpkin pie and gravy!!!!

today round two in like an hour with President Adams.

I´m eating really well I´d say, Mom :)

And on top of all that?

We still have our normal missionary area. It´s really been a great experience as I have learned to manage the different parts of my life. I think I will continue to get better at it as time goes on. Once again, The mission proves to be great life training!

We have a super huge ward activity tomorrow about The Plan of Salvation! I´ll tell you more about how it goes next week!

also the Christmas initiative and Changes are coming up, which means a lot of work and fun!


I love you all SO much! have the greatest of weeks!

Elder McFarland

11/25/17 Photos




Thanksgiving Dinner with the Diaz family!












Friday, November 18, 2016

you wouldn´t believe it´s not butter

ok I´ll be honest I´m completely en blanco for a weekly email title and things right now.

But here we go. 

Claudia Maldonado got a little spooked this week when we invited her to baptism. When I was inviting her i literally felt like I was walking through a mine field because we already knew she doesn´t like to be pressured. So right now we are in the process of trying to regain her trust again so that we can keep helping her progress.

But in another more positive news. Last Sunday we had a special experience. 

We finished church and our meetings and lunch with a member family and it was about 4 o clock. At 5 o clock we had our missionary correlation. The Chapel is about 30 minutes away from our area walking. So pretty much if we went to our area we were going to have like 10 minutes(well, not even that, but we were planning on that.) to work. We decided it was worth it and we started walking to our area as fast as we could. We had one appointment with a lady named Paula Grandados. She is an older lady who is the sister of a member and apparently had been an investigator for a long time. We showed up to the house, and things were really hectic. I was fighting back sleep as my head was starting to nod, and things were loud and crazy, but we started the lesson, and I was praying that I wouldn´t fall asleep. after about 3 or so minutes of my companions talking I decided I NEEDED to do something to stay awake, so i sat up and kept trying to shake off the sleep. It was my turn to speak and the Spirit gave me energy and woke up my soul.

As I invited her to baptism and listened to our investigator, we got the sweetest suprise. Turns out, she has been reading quite a bit from the Book of Mormon, and she has been ´´talking to God´´ trying to find out if she should be baptized. Right there in that 10 minute lesson she confided in us that she had received a strong spiritual prompting that she should be baptized the week before, but that she felt embarrassed because she didn´t have a white dress. 

almost screaming with delight we told her that we would get all the arrangements done for her baptism and we helped her to choose December 3 as the day of her Baptism. 

Just goes to show that 10 minutes really can make a difference. 

God is the one who does the miracles, not us. We just have to be worthy and willing to do what he asks. Please pray for Paula that she will be supported in her preparation for entering the Lord´s kingdom!

I love being a missionary. I love serving God. and others.

Also, a shoutout to my sister Jeh in her engagement to her sweetheart Josh!!!!

I love you all!!!

Elder McFarland

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Cement Jungle.

The city is so much different than anything I know. 

Lot´s of people, lot´s of places, lot´s of things.

it´s great. 

I actually have found that I relate a lot with lots of the people here. Sometimes in more rural areas it was hard for people to listen to me because that´s not the way I grew up. I actually have a more similar background to the people here in the city. People are more educated, which means they understand more, and they seem to have the same type of fears and likes and dislikes as I do. 

The ward here is super solid. We have so many solid members that just do the right thing without any recognition. They aren´t rich, they aren´t famous, but they just help other people and try to do what God wants them to do. It´s really inspiring. 

As for the office, I am getting more and more used to the fact that I will spend most of the rest of my mission here. I´m trying really hard to get the trust of the members so that we can work so hard together and so that the ward here can grow and progress. I am super happy to serve here and I know  that God is already blessing me. 

I´ve noticed that most people already know what they need to do. if they need to read the scriptures, or go to church, or get married. They KNOW what´s right. But what they really need is for someone to listen to them, to understand that it´s hard, and to encourage them to do what they know. 

So if you find that you are living below where you would like to be:

23 Therefore, cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves—to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life.

Animos! as we say in spanish. You can do it! remember always that we have our own free choice to make our lives better. To be better people, and to enjoy the blessings of heaven! cheer up your hearts and remember that because of the Atonement of Christ we can have whichever path we choose! If we TRULY want to return with our Heavenly Father, we will!!!

This week the most positive person we are teaching is Claudia Maldonado. She is a recent convert´s mom, and she has a really solid desire to learn and to grow. This week we taught her lesson 2, and she had lots of questions because it was very different than her Catholic background.

I love the Gospel. Watching the Plan of Salvation work in people´s lives. It´s amazing.

I love you all. I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ fixes lives. I know that God loves me, that he knows me, and that He lives!

Have the greatest of weeks!!!!


Ps. Little miracles: the Spirit told me to take my camera card out of my camera while I wasn´t using it, and to put it in my mission manual. Then all of a sudden I lose my camera, BUT NOT MY PHOTOS. Tender mercies.

11/11/16 Photos