Friday, January 27, 2017

Finance Countdown

No that is not a "baggy" title. hopefully you'll understand it by the end of this email. 

But first let's talk about not-office things!

I think this week I wanna give a shoutout to all the Elders that I live with, so get ready.

First we'll start with:

Elder Cruz. He is a skinny little missionary from Honduras who is 22 years old. He is a convert of only like 2 years(one of the which he has spent here in this country) and he is super funny! He has a really thick accent when he tries to speak English that he thinks is hilarious! He always laughs at his own jokes, and you can NOT help but laugh along. He is the Housing and Records Secretary, and he does his job really well! He's new in the office and he is the very first Housing secretary in our mission! He has been working like crazy to get everything up to date, and I usually end up working a lot with him because our jobs are very often interconnected.

Elder Mayen. You should know him. He is my son. I really love this guy so much! We talk about Zaragoza literally all the time. Talking with him and Elder Cruz really makes me feel like a Latino sometimes. Elder Mayen has taught me a lot about the culture and the language and I just love talking in Spanish and also helping him to learn English. Here he is the Immigration Secretary and makes sure that everyone is legal in the country. I'm teaching him to play the piano right now and so that's super fun! We joke around a lot. He's got a bad ankle so sometimes that's super hard for him! We are super similar but at the same time we are super different

Elder Jenks. He's kinda new so I don't know as much about him as I do the others, but this week I spent 2 days with just him when Elder Hallman had to go cover for a sick missionary in Sonsonate in the area he started in.( I was trying to not be jealous) And so I got to get to know Elder Jenks a little bit better! He is totally a country boy! He was raised on a farm and knows how to work! He loves country music and he has got a great sense of humor and an even greater laugh! We will be companions for 2 more changes after this one, so I'm excited to get to know him REALLY well.

Elder Hallman. after 2 changes I feel like I know him really well. Both him and Elder Mayen it feels like I've known them for a really long time. We were in the same MTC district, same first Zone, same group that went to Belize. Haha, unlike Elder Jenks, Elder Hallman is a true and true City boy. From Salt Lake City, he is a lot more tech savvy and instagram famous and all that stuff. I feel like we totally would've hung out before the mission. we have a lot of the same tastes and beliefs. He is really an amazing missionary and a great person. It was weird when he went to Sonso and for the first time in 2 changes we WERENT companions for a day. I'm gunna miss the guy.

Anyways. I'm kinda running out of time

But in the office this week I was super busy and tired and stressed. 4 days before the missionaries get payed I go through what is called the Auto Support Countdown. I pretty much have 4 days to make sure that everyone get's payed correctly and that Belize people get their extra money and that Lost Cards and Visa Waiters get attended to and so forth. It's a lot of work, on top of the normal stuff. 

haha, this week Elder Cruz and I had to take an emergency trip to Ciudad Arce to fix a housing emergency, which only added to the stress of the week but did make for a great story(I'll have to tell you the details in person one day...)

Anyways though, It's over!

This week is over and I'm ready to start another great one!

Please pray for Claudia and Jose Maldonado. They are progressing so much but need always that extra push!
Also please pray for Dora Alvarez and for us to find more new people to teach!

Also if you've read the announcements about the new missionary changes, I'm the first to send an email about it I think! I know that the changes are inspired!!!!!!

I love you all and hope that you are well!

Have the greatest of weeks!

Elder McFarland

Friday, January 20, 2017

Changes Week

This week was a full one. That's for sure!

Usually when it's time for changes, the new missionaries show up on Tuesday morning and They sit through presentations all morning long and then we give them their new companions Wednesday morning during changes. 

BUT, because of Guatemalan Political Turmoil they had to send the new missionaries on Monday. Which gave us more time to do all the presentations but also made it so we had to create a bunch of THINGS to fill their time for one extra day. It did mean that we didn't get to our area on Monday or Tuesday though :( I've been praying super hard that our area will flourish despite our occasional absence. 

Monday was good though. We woke up early to make sure that everything was going to be ready when the news showed up, adn then they showed up late! President does NOT like it when things run behind schedule so he was a little stressed, but they showed up fine and we got everything done with them we needed to. The news this chage are really cool! most of them are from Central America, and they have a really POWERFUL energy about them. They are excited to be here and they are going to do great things!

Monday night we gave them dinner at President's house. It is my job to talk with Giovanni Alas(the member that does ALL the catering for our mission!) and getting everything ordered and paid for! we had chicken cordon bleu and everyone was super happy with the food! It made me feel great!

Tuesday We had the second half of the meetings where all the office staff gives our presentations( I teach new missionaries how to budget, how fun!) haha and then we sent them to the temple! right then the missionaries came that were back from Belize! It was great to see Elders Gee, Gardner, Ostler, Sweat, and others again after several changes of being in different countries! haha good reuinions! Then after the temple we took the news to Antiguo Cuscatlan(like the old downtown) and helped them place some pamphlets and then we bought them pupusas and took them to the AP's house. Once again, my job to order and pay for the food. I don't think I've ever had 132 pupusas in my possesion before!!! It was so cool! so many bags!

haha and then Wednesday we got Elder Jenks! Change meeting is always super long becuase at that point it was the 3rd day waking up early in the week and it's long, hot, and in the sun! but everything went really well and now we are in a trio again! 

Elder Jenks is a super humble farm boy from Washington that has 6 months in the mission. He is super funny and has the best laugh I think in the world! haha he is just happy to be here and LOVES to work! I'm super pumped to get to know him OVER THE NEXT 3 CHANGES!!!! haha it's cool knowing your changes for 5 changes!

haha well I'm running out of time but I'd like to share an almost poetic moment I had sending a letter this week to (shoutout warning) Hayley Tanner

The days are long but the weeks are short, months fly by like Jet planes and years start to slip through your fingers!

Tomorrow I hit 18 months! If I were a sister missionary I would have finished on Wednesday at changes! haha It's so WEIRD!!!!

Anyways, I love you all, and I want you to know that I LOVE being a missionary and helping people to be happy!

Have the greatest of weeks!

Elder McFarland

1/20/17 Photos

Friday, January 13, 2017

January, A New U, A Rockin Year

the saddest thing about this email is that I am writing it for the second time... sigh...

haha but that title was harder to write than it was impressive!

I feel like any jokes I make will be old cuz I'm making them again, but I guess I'll have to just bear with me!

First off, this week was great in the office! I feel like I got everything caught up to date and I feel ready for changes week next week!

Second off, next week is changes week! can you believe that I´ve already been in the office 2 changes? me neither! I've officially been here as long as I was in Santa Elena!

Third off, Jose and Claudia Maldonado! We've started focusing on teaching Jose a little bit more this week and they are both progressing like mad! the only problem is that they won't come to church! shoot dang!

fourth off, I deleted a longer version of this email

fifth off, Dora Alvarez is doing well, but she only has us over once a week, which makes progress slower, but more to come with here as we keep goin strong!

My favorite part about being a missionary come from a phrase that I learned back in Zaragoza. Missionaries are branch(and ward) builders! It's really humbling to see the work of God in peoples lives! Although sometimes you can't see the progress, sometimes it looks like people are moving backward, and sometimes you just want to grab people by the shoulders and shake them around and say, "can't you just see?!?" But at the end of the day, when I humble myself and realize that I am just a moment and a part of a plan that is bigger than our mortal existence, I realize that God is always in charge. EVERYTHING IS GOING TO WORK OUT! It was President Hinckley's favorite phrase, and I think It's quickly becoming mine! God's in charge and nothing can stop his work from rolling forward!

Well, you all no that I love you and that I pray for you! 
Have the greatest of weeks!

Elder McFarland

1/13/17 Photos

Friday, January 6, 2017

shoot dang I forgot to send a weekly email

Happy NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well everybody, I hope that your holiday stomachs are big and that your new year's resolutions are bigger! What a happy time of year! but now it's back to the grind!

This week was a week.

In the office I had a LOT of stress because of all of the house payments and all the problems and all that fun stuff. But I think we got it worked out! everything is going to be a lot calmer this week!

Can you believe I almost have 2 full changes in the office! we are already starting prechange work right now, and next week is the last week before changes! good luck everyone!

I really like this ward. Our investigators and members are doing really well.

Claudia this week is doing super great! we got her a bigger BoM so that she could read the letters that were too small before and she is thrilled! 

One great thing we've been trying to focus on lately is making our investigators know they are investigators! that may sound weird, but here in this country everyone is so open to just listen to religion that lots of time people don't even know why we come over our what our purpose is. But recently we've been inviting people formally to accept the lessons and it has made an interesting difference! our investigators are a lot more involved in their progress and they know what their goals are!

Dora Alvarez is doing super great as well! We had a stellar lesson about the Sabbath Day with her and we hope she'll come to church again this week! she is learning a lot! her granddaughter is doing most of the teaching! Did I tell you about that? haha her grand daughter has kind of been less active, but after getting back from SOY a couple of weeks ago(EFY but in Central America) she has been sharing her testimony with EVERYONE. Her testimony was strengthened so much and she sits with her grandma and reads the book of mormon. Awesome!

Well, I hope you all have the greatest of weeks, and that you know that I love you!


Elder McFarland

1/3/17 Photos