Monday, July 25, 2016

I can't believe it's not a weekly email

because it is. 

Just a quick shoutout to my dear friend Cameron Blume, my dearest sister Jeh, and my dearerest dad, Dad.

you made it through another birthday without me there;) next time you all have birthdays, you'll have to save me a piece of the cake.

But I'm NOT baggy, so I hope it's a long, fun year.

This week was super sweet. Everything is falling into place and our investigators are progressing quite nicely. I did not manage my time very well though, so I'm going to focus on the best parts.

Rose Vernon is an investigator we talked to in the first week. We could not for the life of us find her again, but she was super positive. Turns out this week that we learn that she is almost always at her family's house, and so we just needed to go look for her there. We found her there, and about 10 other people that might have potential to progress!

But Rose did first. We were teaching her The Restoration, and you could just see it in her eyes. She told us she believes it all, and that she wants to join the true church of Christ! she also told us though that it is going to be super hard, because she and her whole family attend another church, and the church is paying for her grandkid's tuition at school. I have full confidence though, that she will be able to overcome all difficulties as she relies on the Savior! We've been checking up on her and she has been reading the Book of Mormon and praying!

And then Orlando. He is also a guy we talked to several weeks ago, but couldn't find him in his house until this week. He has many questions, sometimes TOO many(he gets distracted by little things) but all of a sudden during one lesson he started to react differently. He is starting to understand, and I'm excited to keep working with him.

And then there is Shawn Vazquez(the one that was going to get baptized the 6th) He and his family are so amazing, and they have such good desires for good. He recently got a new job(which is great, because he hasn't had one in years) but he hasn't worked out with his employer yet to have Sundays off... He did talk with the employer though, and he said that this next week he'll be able to come to church again. If he does and all goes well the baptism will now be for the 13th. 

I love you all, and I love the Lord. There is no greater work than that of helping God in his(Moses 1:39)

Have the greatest of weeks!

Elder McFarland

Friday, July 22, 2016

Monday, July 18, 2016

The wedding pianist.

Eventually I'll explain that subject line.

So I've got a little more time to respond today cuz I don't have as many emails to respond to(hint hint;) haha I'm just kidding but I'll make this a super detailed letter so yall can know a little more bout Santa Elena. 

Last Pday was a good one. For Pday here we are almost always combined with the other zone that is close by. We are the Cayo zone, and the Benque Zone always comes to play sports with us. That is super cool because my dear old friend Elder Ostler is the Zone leader in Benque, so I get to see him and also Elder Harris who is in our group. In my zone Elder Kreutzer(also from my group) is also there and so we have a party. Last week we played american football(important specification) and it was SO hot. nearly burned to death, but It was worth it.

Pday nights we always go out to work. At 7:00 we have an FHE with the Branch President and the rest of the Moody family. There is an uncle who is not a member that we have been working with and trying to help fix up his life. 

Tuesday  was a pretty solid day. we worked with several of the members with the Family History like I said before, and it is working well. People are learning and getting excited. 

This week we had a pretty amazing experience with a part member family, Shawn and Reyna Vazquez. We started what could have been any other lesson with them, and we were sharing Helaman 5 with them. We read the chapter together, and we had some really great discussion with them and the Spirit was super strong.

When we were about done, Reyna turns to us and told us that we had shared exactly what she needed, and that she had had lots of big questions and prayers answered. I was humbled. We hadn't done anything special in and of ourselves, but the Spirit was present, and the family was sufficiently humble because of some pretty tough trials they have been going through. The Spirit was teaching them with words me and my comp couldn't hear.

And then Shawn(the one who isn't a member) spoke up and said that this had been the most inspirational lesson he's ever had. We helped him to recognize that it was the Spirit, and he expressed his desire to be baptized. Soon. The 6th of August is the goal we are working for right now, but he hasn't quite accepted the exact date yet.

It was amazing because, this wasn't the result of just one visit. It was the culminating event of more than a year of him struggling and learning and growing until he reached this point. I'm grateful to God that I was permitted to be there when it happened.  Also it gives me hope for investigators that I've had in the past that haven't been baptized, yet, because I know that eventually they will reach that point too. 

So anyways we've still got some things to work out before Shawn is baptized, but I will let you know as things develop.

then Wednesday was immigration day, so we were in Belize City pretty much all day. 

Thursday we mowed the lawn for a member that was moving houses, so it was fun using a lawn mower again.

We had a cool experience this week as we were walking around in the hot sun. Nothing had gone right that day, and all of our appointments went through, and no one wanted to talk to us or let us in. so we were walking looking for news when we saw some guys in an empty lot picking up trash. We went to help them out, and It turns out they were cleaning it up to build a new church there. It was a group of Baptist missionaries doing some service, and we hopped right in and started to help. It was great to help and talk to them, turns out their from Oklahoma, and they were noticeably impressed with these two Mormon boys. Although we didn't share much of a message with them, I hope we were at least planting seeds for future harvest. I also learned a lot from how they love and serve God's children.

And then, Saturday. 

That was the weird day.

We had a baptismal interview in the morning for a baptism the sisters had(cool teen named Arlen, I'll tell you more another day.) and that was normal. but then at 12 we were supposed to help set up for this wedding right. No one shows up until 12:30, when they show up just to tell us to wait till 1. so we go eat lunch and come back. Waiting again. At2:30 they show up and the thing they needed our help for took literally 5 minutes. So we leave to go try to get some work done, when we hear," Bruddahs!" It was a guy named Emmer that is going to be baptized in Corazol soon(just another area on the opposite side of Belize. Who was stranded in Santa Elena. We helped him find the Branch President, and we set out to get to work. By now its 3:30 and we went and saw a less active family, the Bowdens(who totally came to church yesterday!) and had one other "normal" lesson. Anyways, then my comp had to go to the bathroom SUPER bad, and wanted to go to the church. I warned him we would never be able to leave, but he needed to go super badly so we went. While we were there, President Moody asked me to play the piano and say the closing prayer "so we wouldn't have to leave." and we were officially attending the wedding. Somehow the sisters got there too, and we were all at this wedding. The thing is, it wasn't a member's wedding. It was the daughter of a less active and her husband, who I think goes to a different church. That wasn't a problem though, we are always happy to have a wedding in the church! but as we sat there it was just kinda awkward as missionaries, ya know? They were kissing and singing christian pop, and we even got to sing along! It was a great and new experience for me!

but it doesn't stop there. Afterward we had to set up our little branch's baptismal font(which kinda looks like a swimming pool, but it says on it, so it's totally legit!) and we had no idea what we were doing. but we got it figured out. So now its 7:00. We went out to work, but noone was home. so there we are, sitting on the curb trying to call people and see who is home, when Tony walks up. We had never met him before, but he is a very down to earth guy that needs some help changing his whole life. We gave him a book of Mormon and I will tell you how he progresses! Goes to show that sometimes God directs us to prepared people, and sometimes He directs them to us!

Well if that isn't the longest weekly letter ever than my name may or may not be Elder.

I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and that if we build our foundation on Him we can not fall!

Love you all.

Elder McFarland

Monday, July 11, 2016

Good 'ol Saint Elens.

Don't anyone else comment about almost hitting the year mark... I get really self conscious. ;)

Being a missionary is my favorite thing in the entire world. especially when you are in a mission as cool as mine is :) My companion said, " We're the most Spanglish of all Spanglish missions." and it makes my heart happy. Pretty much it doesn't matter how bad my english or spanish might be at any given moment. I pretty much just enjoy saying what I see good and fit. 

Santa Elena branch is doing so incredibly well. President Moody is the hardest working member in the world. It is so inspiring. 

So this week was kinda a crazy one. First of all, P-day. P-days are fun and all, but pretty much the whole day is gone by the time you start working you only have 3 hours to get stuff done. Then of all, tuesday was P-day again. Ok not really but we had a multi-zone where we got to meet President Adams! He was in Belize all week and it was cool to get to know him just a little! but ya we had to take a 3 hours bus ride to Belize City and back, and so by the time we started working it was 6:00 again and it was just as quick as P-day.

fun fact, Me and my companion woke up at 5:45(it was an accident)and still made it onto the 6:00 bus. yes those are a.m. times. 

wednesday was the only normal work day.

Thursday we had district meeting and then interviews with President Adams, but because they had to go to the one Guatemala area in the mission(its called Melchor.) they were super late and I wasn't interviewed till like 6:00(that ones a p.m. time.) and so Thursday was pretty much already over too.

Thursday was also a fun day because it was Companion Exchanges.(Interchanges as we call it in our spanglish. ((intercambios en espanol))) and I got to go with Elder Fiu. He is a super cool samoan/Australian elder who also happens to be my zone leader. we had a party and we sang and walked and worked and it was a great experience. He is a really great missionary.

so because Thursday was spent pretty much all day in interviews. Friday we did interchanges too because the Zone Leaders didn't actually get to work at all with us. so Friday I also wasn't in my area, but it was a LOT of fun with Elder Fiu. and then Saturday was a normalish work day after we switched back!

So yeah! this week was super interesting, but a little bit slow! as far as investigators and working in my area is concerned.

But I am doing really well. I am sweating buckets and I think I am starting to lose the small pupusa tummy that I gained back in Zaragoza. haha I wonder if anyone would recognize me anymore. I used to be a bit chubbier:) Everyone that knows me in the mission is super surprised to find that out!

But even though my stomach is getting smaller, my testimony is getting a lot bigger. In the almost 1 year that I have been a missionary(ok fine, I was the one who brought it up.) I have learned and grown in so many different ways. Sometimes I ponder on how far I've come, and I see the road that stretches out before me and I think: this truly is the greatest adventure of my life. I have learned so much about life and things and the gospel, and I know that I have much MUCH more to learn. But I am content just to be in the fray learning and growing. Truly the journey is much more fun then the destination. "I'm just happy to be here coach!"

I love the Lord. He Lives! The Church is True!

There are no accidents(kung fu panda:)

Have the greatest of weeks!

elder McFarland

Monday, July 4, 2016

dis da fo we gospel

(This gospel is for US)

wa dee go aan?( how's it going)

How are you all this week?

I am doing super great. 

This week was pretty much just a following up week from what we started the first week. We are starting to get to know all the active and less active members and the branch is doing super well! we found like, 20 new investigators this week, so I am super pumped!

sometimes I am completely at awe at the goodness and miracles of God. This week I have seen more investigators receive answers to prayer than any week before. The people here are so sincere and prepared to hear the gospel. 

One of the greatest miracles is the Zalazar family. Shadine and her son Shamar and her daughter Jaycee. The Elders in Belize City found Jaycee and gave us the referal to go and talk with them. We went and found Shadine and Shamar and had a super great lesson with the 3 of them. then the next time we found them cleaning the house, so we totally started sweeping and moping and when we were done we taught a lesson. It reminded me of 20 minute cleaning at the McFarlands. 

We then had a SUPER spiritual lesson with Shadine. Shamar told us that the night after we went the first time he prayed and got an answer. he accepted a baptismal date. then shadine said she had prayed, but hadn't gotten an answer yet.  We were talking about the restoration, and when we got to the First Vision, you could tell it was impacting her heart. She accepted a baptismal date too! I just kinda sat there and watched as the words were put in our mouths and as she realized that there is only 1 true church on the earth. I was awestruck at how God was working with her. I am super greatful for his power and strength.

And that isn't it. Every day things happen that leave me with my mouth wide open. Finding people that are so prepared. Stopping in front of a house of a member that needed a blessing when we were NOT looking for that house. These are just a few examples of God's grace and mercy for us in our area. I probably don't deserve such goodness from God, but I am greatful that despite my weaknesses He sees it fit in His mercy to let me be an instrument in His hands. I know that God lives! This is HIS work!

Also President Moody( I told you about him, right, the super cool branch president that has only been a member a year and a half?)((he is the hardest working member I have ever met)) asked us to speak at a family history activity, and then we started to help some of the members with their family history. I caught the bug. I felt the Spirit of Elijah SUPER strong last night and I am inspired this week to see how I can use it to bless this branch!

ok so I am super out of time but I love you all to the ends of the earth! Cuidense mucho. and know that I am praying for you all!

Pictures next week

Life is good in the Gospel

Have the greatest of weeks. 

Work Hard, Pray hard.

Waz good.

Elder McFarland