Monday, March 28, 2016

Let Eli Pray Right Over Southern Yemen

If mom  can figure out this subject line, so be it.

ok I´ll tell you.

Turns out I'm a leper. (L E P R O S Y)

Ok not really but here are the pictures

you can't really tell from the picture how fun it was, my face was all swollen and the rash and my chest and legs kept getting redder and more swollen, but I didn't get a picture at my ugliest. (sorry)

But please don´t worry I have returned to my normal color and not swollenness.

This isn't a very long group email:

I don't have a lot to say this week. other than the Leprosy, things were kinda slow. 

but miracles never cease from happening.

So first is some bad news. Although we sent for the papers we needed two weeks ago, and we aren't going to point any fingers, we did not get the papers we needed for Alberto´s wedding. He and his soon to be wife were obviously pretty upset about that, but actually they are the first miracle we saw.

They were way more understanding and loving than they could have been, and now we have re-planned their wedding for the 16th and we are hoping to be able to get through to the wife so she can be baptized alongside her almost husband!

Another miracle is that Manuel and Isabel came to church!! That and we have a deal where if they quit coffee I´ll quit coke(haha I never drank it before the mission and I might be a LITTLE bit addicted) that's two times in church and counting!

Another miracle is Holy Week(La Semana Santa.) It´s like spring break here where they celebrate Easter for a week. And even though you've probably heard about Holy Week before, you don´t really know what it is until you´ve lived it in a Latin country!

Also it's fun to say I'm a leper even when I'm not really one.

Monday, March 21, 2016

ate. In which I get a much needed pedicure.

Time flies like a baseball bat that an amateur(but really strong) baseball player lets go and the peak of his swing. 

Can you believe I`ve been gone 8 months? Me neither. ate months is a long time. 

This week was amazing for a variety of different reasons. there are a lot, but I`ll just start from the top.

We went to the Temple this week! we got to do a session and it was amazing! When I was in the Celstial room, I didn`t want to leave. I was praying and asking the Lord for strength and guidance and I could feel His love so powerfully guiding me and teaching me. I love the Temple. It is like a little piece of Heaven here on Earth. Please take advantage if you have a Temple close by that you can visit often

Another Tender Mercy this week was being able to see my great friends from the mission. In the Temple, we got to do the session with one of the other Zones in the mission, Laico. Right now in Laico is my best friend in all the mission, Elder Ostler! If you don`t remember we were in Sonsonate 6 moths together! Also at a multizone conference I got to see a large majority of my missionary friends. Elders Hallman, Gee, Garfield, Gardner, to name just a few.

As for the pedicure, it wasn`t actually a pedicure, but there is a member in our ward that cuts toenails, and I had an almost ingrown toenail, so  I went this morning to go check it out. She cleaned up all my toenails and it was actually really awesome!

Our investigators are doing really awesome! 

Alberto is getting married this Wednesday! He wants to wait to get baptized until things at work slow down(the reason the marriage is this wednesday is because the wife wants to do it before we leave because she has gotten to know us, but is really catholic and isn`t going to get baptized yet, and she told us if they didn`t get married with us here she didn`t want to do it.(transfers are next week and you never know.)) so long story short he will get married wednesday and baptized the 2 of April!

Manuel and Isabel are still working things out. If it was for Isabel they`d already be baptized and active, but we are still working with manuel to get it all ready so they can get married and all that fun stuff

Mariah Lopez needs an answer to her prayers. Her old church visited her this week and she decided she wants to go back there just because its whats comfortable and  what she`s always known. Prayers are needed and appreciated!

Franco is still pretty much an active member. Working with him to get it all worked out so that he feels a desire to be baptized!

Edgardo and Emilio are doing well but facing problems. The goal is that next week the two of them will bless the sacrament and go to the temple to do baptisms!

I am happy and safe and well. I love being a missionary. I love the Lord. I have a testimony of the Atonement of Christ. He lives and Loves us!!!

Have the Greatest of weeks yall!

Elder McFarland

Monday, March 14, 2016

Let`s start from the very beginning, a very good place to start.

I was born a poor black boy in the heart of Detroit. Time's were tough but I was tougher. Work, school, and an overtime graveyard shift helped me provide for my family and my struggling single father who had a ``slight`` alcohol problem. 

Ok maybe the beginning`s too long ago to start.

How bout the middle. 

So I started this week with a headache. It may have been from the sun or the stress, but it wasn`t a ton of fun. Work and Water helped me to get through it though. 

So Tuesday we talked with Emilio and Alberto. If you remember, last week I was fairly sure Alberto would get baptized last week and Emilio would need a lot of time. 


Emilio was going through some pretty rough stuff. His girlfriend was really angry with him for going to church and wanting to be baptized, and she was tempting him and filling his mind with a lot of anti mormon stuff. He decided that he deserved someone that was going to support him and ended the relationship

he said these words at his baptism on Saturday. `` I have been through a lot of trials as I have been preparing for this day. It came to the point where I was forced to choose. My girlfriend, or Jesus of Nazereth. I chose Christ.`` 

Spiritual fire!! He was so ready and Saturday was an amazing day. He shared with us that he felt the spirit super strong cleansing him after his baptism. Sunday he received the Holy Ghost and the Aaronic Priesthood(The stake presidency was there on Sunday for branch conference and they helped speed up the process!) Next Sunday Emilio wants to go out and visit with us and bless the sacrament and we are going to take him to the temple to do baptisms. He is 35, so in a couple of months if he prepares he can get the Melchezedek Priesthood! His dad is an old guy who is a new member in the ward, and it was great to see the look in his eyes when his son was baptized!

As for Alberto, we hit a roadblock (but don't worry we got around it.) turns out the missionaries before me had just assumed he was married to his partner. (and you know what they say about that Dad;) but luckily his almost wife is really cool and wants to get married(she`s also really catholic too. we're gunna start teaching her ) so we`ve been scrambling to get all the papers together and they're going to get married the 23 this month. Alberto`s baptism will either happen that day or soon thereafter. He`s been coming to church a lot, but these next two weeks he has to work fixing a school while the kids are out on spring break. 

Manuel and Isabel are sweet. Manuel is a little behind spiritually speaking. They are progressing a lot though! We challenged them this week to get married, and Isabel is totally on board, but we are still waiting for a response from Manuel. Pray that they'll receive their answers!

Maria Lopez came to church again! She has been receiving answers and has told us that she want`s to stop jumping between church and church and know which is from God. She will be baptized hopefully at the end of this month!

As for Edgardo? He`s still doing awesome, he went out to work with us this week and he is learning a lot really fast. He is such a smart kid and I know he's got great things in store for him. anyone know a good talk about missionary service being our duty as priesthood holders?

Jose Franco is still progressing, but I don't know what else we can teach him. He almost counts as an active member, and I'm pretty sure he finished the Book of Mormon this week, but he is still waiting for answers and doesn't want to get baptized yet. I think we're going to invite him to fast too to get an answer. The members have been helping us a lot with him. One day he`ll get there, just at his own pace!

Please pray for the Sol Zarco family. they are a struggling family of 3, the two parents and an autistic 10 year old. They are members, but because of their struggles haven't been coming to church. We need to help them feel  God`s love and help them out of this hard time!

Pray for The Ibarra Family, Hugo Juarez, Melany, the Zalazar family, and the Rivas family. Oh yeah and the Ramos family and the Galdames family. They are less actives that need your prayers too!

Thanks for your prayers.

This missionary is having a lot of fun and working really hard. 

Sometimes, our plan and God's plan aren't the same at first. But just remember that His plan is perfect, and although we think we know what we need and want, He knows better. 

Lose yourself and go to work!

It works!

I know that Christ lives and that he loves us!

The church is true!

have the greatest of weeks and remember that I love you!

Elder McFarland

Monday, March 7, 2016

Faith or Fear

This week I got a letter from myself. what a tender mercy and a miracle!

Let me explain, no wait, there is to much... let me sum up(shout out to those who remember this movie quote.)

its actually not that complicated just my mom was inspired to send me a copy of my notes from my farewell talk and there was something in there that I really needed to hear. Just goes to show that God works in a million and a half different ways, and that miracles still exist.

And seriously it was cool to get advice from myself. 

This week has been really great! The Zaragoza branch is starting to wake up and to get the work moving again!! We`ve had some really powerful lessons in a few of the member`s homes with our investigators where everyone leaves uplifted and that is just about the best thing ever!

Edgardo couldn`t get the priesthood yet because of stake conference, but he is still just about the coolest guy in the world. We have been working a lot with his dad too, and he is progressing, but at his own pace. One day they will both be strong priesthood holders and anchors of faith in the Branch!!

Alberto always tells us he feels so ready for his baptism this saturday. I know he is. He is making a great change and you can see the light in his eyes every day! But he has a huge trial this week right before his baptism because his work situation is really really difficult all of a sudden and has to work almost 24 7. Pray for a miracle. We need your faith! Don`t worry though, we will provide the works!

Emilio is super cool but his girlfriends isnt. Emilio`s dad described her as the devil(his words, not mine) because she always is tempting him and telling him not to go to church and not to obey the commandments. We need another miracle there this week too!

Manuel and Isabel are strong as ever, but they too are facing a proelem this week. The only time they have water in their faucets is Sundays in the morning. We are scanning our brains looking for a way to help them to be able to water their HUGE garden and come to church. Also they need to get married.

Jose Franco is in Helaman in the Book of Mormon. Still has a lot of questions and problems to answer and resolve, but he says he feels at home in the church and with the members, so I know he will get his answers soon. The members have been a good help with him!

This week we had an area conference via satelite that was way off the charts inspiring! Elder Neal L. Anderson spoke to us... IN SPANISH!!! The gift of tongues seriously is real folks. Elder Anderson served a FRENCH speaking mission, and lived in Brazil speaking PORTUGESE a few years, and still managed to give an amazingly powerful talk in SPANISH. Woah. 

One of the big topics of the conference was Faith. Faith is the sure confidence that God will fulfill his promises, even if we don`t know how it is even possible. It is knowing that he will bless us if we keep his commandments and doing the right thing even when it is hard.

Fear is the opposite of faith. Fear is what makes us stop relying on the Lord and stop keeping his commandments. Fear is what stops us from acting on the Faith that we know we have. 

I`ve noticed something about myself and about life this week. Anyone can do the correct things when its easy. Anyone can sail a ship on calm waters. But when its hard? That`s when our faith is really put to the test. That`s when we(and especially me) sometimes stop in our progress and start to fear and fail. Our footsteps fail on the surface of the stormy seas and we start to sink. It is in these perilous times that we need to remember who is there with arms stretched out to save us! To cry out to One so great that even the winds and the waves obey His will! 

And in the midst of the howling winds and crashing waves, may we have the Faith to hear the words: BE STILL!

I testify that Jesus Christ lives! He loves us and he will never leave us alone! He will lift us up and set our feet back firmly planted on the surface of the water. Together, we can walk ever onward glorying in His name, until the day that he presents us before the Father as one worthy to enter into the Celestial Kingdom!

His Church is here upon the Earth!

He speaks to His prophet!

He is Risen!

He loves you!

I do too:)

Have the greatest of weeks yall!

Elder McFarland