Monday, February 29, 2016

When you don`t know what else to do. Work

Anyone who knew me before the mission(myself included) might be a little surprised to read that subject line. Just be assured that I don`t know what happened, but I`m done procrastinating.

So turns out I've been thrown into a branch that has had a lot of potential for a really (REALLY) long time. But, due to some things that have happened and are happening, it keeps falling short. The house and area are a lot nicer than where I lived before, but I can`t help feeling out of place sometimes. I don`t know what world I belong in now, but I feel like a different person. 

Despite of all the changes that I've been going through this week, I've had something really good to hold on to this week. Work. Work, work, work. I may not understand all of God`s choices. I may not understand what he needs me to do here, but I know sure as nothing else that I am going to do it. 

Edgardo was baptized this week! He is a ray of light in this branch. He is so positive and strong in spirit. I learn a little every time we go to teach him. Are we supposed to be teaching him? haha he is the best.

I have a testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I know that he heals and that he helps us all to learn and grow. Sometimes we have to stretch a little to be able to be what he wants us to be

If I have any advice for you this week, its to be thankful for what you have. I have learned so much from the people of this country. 

Be thankful for what you have and work for what you need.

Sorry the letter´s a bit short today, but know that I love you all and I am here for you when you need me. 

Have the greatest of weeks.

Elder McFarland

Monday, February 22, 2016

Sara Joys: in which everything gets flipped on its head and spun around


So turns out I didn`t stay in Las Delicias. Tuesday morning the AP`s called me and told me I had to clean everything out of the house because they were cleaning my area and sending sisters there instead of Elders. They told me both me and my son were having changes and that we needed to clean really well or president would be angry. So the Zone leaders Elder Gustavus and Elder Sanchez came with Elder Ostler and his son Elder Delcompare to help us clean. We ordered pizza and it was a good going away party.

So now I`m in a branch called Zaragoza. If you didn`t get my joke in the title please look up the meaning of the word Gozar in spanish. Its a huge change. 

For the first part it is more city life than I am used to. Everyone has cars and phones and a lot more money than my other area. There are still poor parts, but there are hardly any dirt roads. I feel like I`ve come to a whole different world. Also this area has a lot more hills in it than my other one.

so Zaragoza is a like the equivalent of american fork, a smallerish city in between two larger cities, but instead of Salt Lake and Provo its San Salvador and Puerto de la Libertad. most of the people that live here aren`t here during the day because they are in one of the two cities working. 

The hard part about that is that the members are really really busy with their work, or at least the ones that would otherwise be able to help us. the other part of the branch is fully asleep. They come to church late and leave as soon as it is over. They hardly talk to anyone and its just kinda sad. So... We have a lot of work cut out for us. Our game plan is activate the active members first and then work on the rest of the branch, My goal is to get the branch organized so that the members take it upon themselves to make this branch into a ward. i know its so possible.

As for my investigators I inherited a goldmine. We have 7 baptismal dates right now.

The first one is named Edgardo. He is 17 years old but he is super mature for his age. He understands the Gospel and is changing his whole life to be more like Jesus Christ. He gets baptized this Saturday!!!

Another is named Emilio. His dad is a recent convert, and he is about 35 years old. He wants to have the blessings of God in his life, and is changing a lot to progress to be baptized in March.

Jose Alberto. He reminds me a little of Dad. Well, between Jose Alberto and Edgardo`s dad you get my dad. Super kind and funny and has the best heart. He only needs to come to church 1 more time and he is more than ready to be baptized the 5th of March.

Isabel. Don`t know her super well yet but pray that she and her husband will be able to get married and baptized.

Carolina De Leon. Super sweet mom. She has 3 kids and just wants to do the best for her life. Has members that are her family, but I`m not exactly sure the relation. she only needs to come to chruch 1 more time too!

Jose Franco knows the church is true. but he told us he doesn`t want to get baptized until christmas eve. Wow thats a long ways away. We`re going with him again tonight.

another is a lady named blanca. She has a lot of good desires but its hard for her to act and put it into practice, but she always keeps her committments so that is really amazing.

Please pray for those 7 people that they will have the spirit that they need to act according to what they already know. I know that your prayers help my investigators.

Also pray for your missionary friend elder McFarland

As for my comp, he is so sweet!!!! I am a stepdad now! Although I dont get to finish Elder Perez`s training, I get to finish the training of Elder Mayen! He is really cool and we have a LOT in common. The coolest thing I know about him from before the mission is that his name is Elvis Abinadi Mayen, and that he worked 12 hours every day as a DJ. What the awesome?!?

so this change is going to be really awesome. I am going to work until I literally cannot work any harder. I can`t wait. 

Do you know what the key to happiness is?
we teach it in a lesson Elder Torres and I prepared that teaches one of the missionary lessons in a powerful way.

the key to happiness is found in mosiah 2:41. but I`ll let you do your research to find out what it is. Let me know if you find it, and next week I`ll describe it a bit more!!

I love the Lord, and I know that hehas a plan for each and every one of us. Sometimes we think we know what we need/want, but he know better than us what we need to be in our life!

Thank you, Master Gardner.

If you didn`t get that reference please look up the Current Bush mormon message. Its called, The Will of God.

The church is true!

 Don`t forget that God loves you!!!!

Elder David

Monday, February 15, 2016

It's really Delicias

Can you believe that my son is already 6 weeks old? We are finishing the first transfer together, and the most probable is that I stay here for 6 more weeks. I REALLY hope that I do. The work is about to explode.
I`m about to describe my area to you in the greatest detail I know how. Geographically speaking.(for an actual map just look it up on ward Las Delcias stake sonsonate) So it starts in the ``suburbs`` of Sonsonate. It`s more or less developed in the north where we lived, the dividing line is a large street that runs east to west(My area starts at the line and goes south) about at the midpoint of the street there is a river with a large bridge. Here each neighborhood has a name and they call it a colonia(colony for all you english people) on the east side of the river starts the colonia `Las Delicias` where the church is found when you turn down the first street passing the bridge heading east. to the east of Las Delicias is a colonia called Espiritu Santo(Holy Ghost), and even more east is called Tatopa (who knows what that means...) and then you hit the freeway and the end of my area. below those three its called Santisima Trinidad( Holiest Trinity)There is a large road that leads all the way down the area that is the second right after the bridge. Following that road you pass Palmeras(palms) Las Brisas del Mar(Ocean Breeze) and Via Canales(canal road) below that you can keep walking and there are a lot of houses but it really doesn`t have a name except Canton Las Delicias(I dont know what Canton means...)(update, according to google translate and a Canton is a small territorial district, especially one of the states of the Swiss confederation.) WAY below that is called Santa Emilia, but if you don`t want to walk like an hour and a half(which I never have) you have to take a 10 minute bus ride on the freeway. On the other side of the bridge it starts with Jardines(Gardens) and after that Lomas de San Antonio(I`ll let you look that one up if you want) There is again one big main road going south, and if you follow this one all the way through Jardines(which is fairly large) you pass through Santa Virginia and El Proyecto(the `project`because they are going to build a lot of houses there but haven't yet. And then you get to Los Encuentros de Agua Santa, the crossing of holy waters, and if you keep going you pass a lot of HUGE sugar cane fields and end up again in Santa Emilia after a LONG walk (I`ve never once not taken the bus.)
Everything from Via canales and Santa virginia and below is dirt roads and lots of poverty.

So there you have it a long (but actually very un detailed if you want ask me in 18 months to describe it in painstaking detail) description of my area. I don't know, I thought it`d be fun to tell you.

So like 3 weeks ago a less active family from San Juan (woops missed that one it's like another half hour on foot south of Santa Emilia) just showed up without any warning. I had never met them, but they've been coming to church and we're going to visit them (It's so far!) and help them prepare two of their kids for baptism. They are really humble and really amazing people. They are really a miracle from God.

Also yesterday a member introduced us to his girlfriend who came to church yesterday and is really positive and wants to learn more. We are going to start teaching her this week. and will be teaching them in a members house in Las Delicias.

Oscar and Vilma (el Proyecto) are doing really well. Oscar always reads what we leave him and has the beginnings of a very strong testimony of the book of Mormon. Vilma is a little more behind. She is praying, but she doesn't read because her too little kids are SO crazy during the day and they don't have any light whatsoever in the house at night to be able to read. Oscar promised to read to her this week so she can get a testimony too.

So yesterday was Valentine's Day, and so we made a plan for him to propose to his wife yesterday! To make her a nice dinner and to promise to always love her and be with her! His phone is dead and he can`t charge it until he goes to work(again, no electricity in his house) so we still don't know how it went!

Luis and Norma(Jardines) are still very much the same. They have good desires and good hearts but it's hard for them to actually act. But, this week Norma decided she doesn't want to play around anymore with the decision to get baptized. She wants to read and study and make the choice for herself! We'll see where that one leads.

Tatiana (Jardines) is still struggling to progress. We are still trying to activate the family and therefore bring her to church.

Do you remember Ricardo?(Las Delicias) He is still around and every once and awhile we visit him. But this week we have started working with his adult son. he is so super positive and then. Turns out he was baptized when he was a youth! If we can get him to come to church on sundays his dad will come too (because the son is the one who can drive and takes them all to go work) and I think he might be the key to helping this family finally get baptized! (Ricardo has the desire and was so close before!) also we found about 3 other inactive members by accident!

I sent a photo of a lady that had cooked us dinner like 2 weeks ago but I never explained it. She is my first convert Ana Julia! She almost has 6 months of being a member. And she is doing really well! She is gaining so much testimony it's insane. She will make it to the temple, I'm so sure!!!

So, to review,  really the work is about to explode! This transfer is over but this next one will be SO good!
I know that God loves us and that he is with me here in the work
Love you all SO much
Elder Dave!

Monday, February 8, 2016

2nd World Problems: In which I almost lose my companion to the north winds.

But it's ok, we put the Bible in his backpack so he didn't float away.

This week was really good. Every day there were soaringly fast winds that tore through Sonsonate. It was really awesome but made it really hard to sweep the house. In the morning you sweep and at night there is a layer of dust on everything.

Have you ever heard of 1st or 3rd World problems. Like having to walk 5 miles to get water for the week or losing your iPhone for a day? 

Well, last pDay we were joking around and created a list of funny(but painfully true) 2nd World Problems. What is a 2nd world problem, you may ask. It is the fun struggle you go through living in a developing country. For example, when a large spider crawls on your computer screen or your toilet fights with your shower(do you remember that one from the life of Elder McFarland) I will try to keep you updated as I find more and more of these 2nd world problems. 

Our investigators are doing really well. Oscar straight up told us that if it weren't for his wife he would have been baptized a long time ago. that is so true. He is so ready and has such a great desire but she just doesn`t want to go to church or get married or anything! We having been working hard with them and she is slowly and surely progressing.

Luis and Norma are still having problems(the 16 year old couple) they know what they have to do, they have received various spiritual answers, but the hard part is putting it in practice. 

The Sosa family is waiting for their answer. We have been visiting them more frequently and they finally accepted the invitation to pray to know if the Church is true. I know that God will answer their prayers and that we will see a miracle there.

Juana still comes to church every week. Still waiting on her husband to accept the decision of marriage(as you remember he is a member and comes every week with Juana now) When the time is right the coin will flip and they will be active faithful members. Just waiting for a miracle now. God is a God of miracles.

We have been finding a lot of new investigators this week. The hardest part is just getting them to church! as soon as they start coming to church everything changes and they start to progress more and more. We have been focusing on trying to get the members involved to help us get them there!

I`ve learned a lot this week about prayer. Its hard to explain what I`ve learned because its been really personal. I think intellectually I already knew quite a bit about prayer. But I have really been growing here in the mission. I`m starting to understand what it means to meditate and to ponder. I feel like my prayers are more and more personally with God.

One thing I have been focusing on this week is Teaching Repentance. the week that my group email failed because of technological problems, there was a world wide broadcast for missionaries(I`m sure you heard about it.) Then later that Saturday Elder Cook came and visited the mission! The topics were the same: Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts. 

Really that is inspired doctrine. I have been teaching(and learning much more than I teach) this week about doing a personal interview every night with God. Tell Him what went good that day. Tell Him what your grateful for. Tell Him what didn`t go so good that day. Tell Him what you need to improve on. Ask for forgiveness. I`ve found that prayer becomes more and more personal as I apply this and that my repentance becomes more sincere.

My invitation to you all today is to have a personal interview with God tonight. And every night. To plead for knowledge, strength, and forgiveness. I promise you that there is no darkness so dark that His light can not break through. I promise there is no joy other than the joy He gives. And He gives it freely to those who obey Him.

I love you all.

Have the greatest of weeks.

Elder David O.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016


Before you wonder what that title means just remember that sometimes I don´t tell you until the letters almost over. I´m not quite sure when I´ll tell you this week. But hey. We´ll find out together. 

Let´s start with why I didn´t get to send a group email last week. Once upon a time 7 days ago I was sitting in a ciber cafe writing my emails. I had just finished writing my friends and was in the process of writing my family members and weekly letter. when all of a sudden, this guy came up and started talking to me. I politely responded and tried to drop a hint that I was busy. He kept talking. Throughout the course of 30 to 45 minutes he was talking to me about everything from religion(missionaries always direct the conversation towards that sort of thing) to music. I´m too patient. I couldn´t find it in myself to tell this guy to please go away and let me write. so there I was barely finishing my weekly letter when my district began to pay for their computers and finish up. It was past time to go. and. The power turned off. I lost the whole letter and the computer didn´t turn back on for me to send some sort of a letter to say whats up. So theres why, if youre wondering.

I´m growing more and more fond of Sonsonate(the name of the city I´m in, Las Delicias is like a neighborhood in the bigger city(just imagine Harlem or Queens but on a smaller, countryside level.)) We went on exchanges with the zone leaders last week and I already knew a great portion of the less actives and investigators we visited, because I´ve already been on exchanges there so much! I went with our Zone leader Elder Gustavus(from Utah)  And I learned alot!

But really I noticed this week that I am a part of this city. I was born here. its where I began my mission, and I can´t imagine being anywhere else. It has become such a big part of who I am and what I stand for. Really and truly I can say that I love this place and this people. 

Now the title line explanation. In the Native language of El Salvador:nahuat, Sonsonate means city of the coconuts. and someone that is from sonsonate( like an american is from america) in nahuat is zenzontlat. I really and truly feel proud to say I´m a zenzontlat.

As for the work, Its going really well. Norma didn´t get baptized because she hasn´t fixed her problems with the law of chastity yet. It´s really heart breaking because I know she knows that the church is true, I know she knows she needs to get baptized, and the worst part? She wants to get baptized. I know it and I can see it in her eyes. Its just really hard for her to change. I know she´ll do it and that its possible through the power of the Atonement. 

Oscar and Vilma are doing good(I´m pretty sure I´ve told you about them) theyre the family we found that had already heard the missionaries and who the husband said after we invited him to baptize just 5 minutes after meeting him´´yeah i think its time, but I´m not gunna do it just to do it, I´m gunna do it right!´´ Yeah its a real miracle. 

I love the Lord. In Him my soul delights. Upon his word I ponder day and night. 

I really love that song(I love the Lord by Mack Wilberg) it is my testimony for this week.

I know that God loves us!!

Have the greatest of weeks!

Elder McFarland

Monday, February 1, 2016

foto de la zona

I sent a photo of a lady that had cooked us dinner like 2 weeks ago but I never explained it. She is my first convert Ana Julia! She almost has 6 months of being a member. And she is doing really well! She is gaining so much testimony it's insane. She will make it to the temple, I'm so sure!!!