Monday, June 26, 2017

Single Digits

I've reached the point where it would be unwise to ignore it any longer. Unfortunately, I have to face the reality... I'm not going to Belize next change

haha, I mean, yeah, I could, but... I'm coming home. 

It's kind of sad, but actually I'm excited about it. 

It's the beginning of a new era. 

It's been my goal for a long time to leave everything on the table. To not have any regrets. And although I still have one week left to prove it. I feel content with the work that God has given me. My fingers pretty much have the muscle memory DOWN from typing it so much, but.

I love being a missionary. 

This week was a great one. Each day we left with the determination to bless someone's life, and, I have felt the guidance of the Spirit helping me day after day. We've had some rough days. for example,

Saturday: we had a FULL day planned with some KILLER appointments, including with the Cazares fam, who I told you about last week. the appointment with them was the first one after lunch. 1:00 pm. At 12:58 we showed up at their house, which is at the bottom of a HUGE hill. Turns out that she had to go to work on emergency call, so we had to put a return appointment for Sunday. The back up plan, nothing. As we headed over to our 2:00 plan(at the bottom of another hill) we saw the 2:00 plan drive past on their motorcycle, and we knew they weren't going to be home. it was now 1:20. By 2:30, each one of our plans for the day had either called us our by some other means told us that they weren't going to be available. We walked up a LOT of hills and it seemed like nothing was working out. 

But you know what,

I was happy.

I've noticed a pattern here in this area. 

It is a lot of LITERAL, PHYSICAL ups and downs. Hills, stairs, etc. But like I told E. Robles starting on day 1, I'm grateful for that, because, I have lost weight and gained some pretty sick calf muscles. The hills provide for STUNNING views. And the people here are amazing and loving. I am grateful for the physical ups and downs.

In addition, this change has had a lot of EMOTIONAL & SPIRITUAL ups and downs. But if you could see my spiritual calves... haha, I think I've lost some spiritual weight as well! Due to the perspective that I've gained now that I reach the summit of this Mission-Mountain, the views are STUNNING, and I am grateful to the Lord for all of his tender mercies. I know that he has been there for each up, and each down. 

I am grateful for the emotional, and even the spiritual, ups and downs. 

The good luck started Saturday night when we found a great little family to teach-the Rivas Contreras family, this older couple, that was receptive and I believe will progress and we took it running into SundaySunday we had an AMAZING lesson with the Bishop and his wife and the Cazares family, in which we made all the plans necessary for MARIA'S BAPTISM THIS WEEK. She is so determined in her decision, and I am very happy for her!

We found 2 more people to teach as well, E. Robles will have a pretty good teaching pool for next change with whoever his new comp is!

Spiritual up.

I've learned that the ups ALWAYS come after the downs.

I bear testimony that God loves us, and that his plan is perfect!

Love you all,

Have the greatest of weeks!

Elder McFarland

Photos from June 26, 2017

Elder Robles and I leaving the house to work on a rainy day :)El Porvenir, Layco

Caterpillar we found in our house one morning :)

Calle Mexico, San Fernando Colony, El Porvenir
The day that ALL our appointments fell through.
El Porvenir, Layco

Colonia Veracruz, one of the steepest hills in El Porvenir
(only like a quarter of the way down)

"La Casa Verde" with the Elders of Cuscatancingo(we are in the same city)
People claim these to be the best pupusas in El Porvenir :)
They were REALLY good

Family Night with The Caceres family, Maria and Sergio, and Bishop Turcios and his wife, in which Maria Caceres accepted her baptismal date for July 1st.

The residential area where we live: "Baltimore"

Elder Sweat and I, on our way to our last District Meeting!!!

Elder Robles and I, in route to last District Meeting.

The other 3/4 of the biggest hill in Veracruz :)

Right outside of our apartment in Baltimore

Monday, June 19, 2017

Some Stories

First off I'd like to make an official apology for not being very good in writing letters/stories these last couple of weeks.

Like always, I like to tell my stories centered on people.

Mariah Cazares: 

about 3 weeks ago during Elders Quorom, the Elders Quorom President did an activity. Instead of doing the normal Lesson, he divided up the Brothers in the class, and assigned them some families to go and visit, and we all left to go see why some people hadn't come to church!

I went with Bro. David Sandoval and Bro. Guillermo Vazquez to go and visit a young recent convert named Sergio Cazares. Sergio is 18, has been a member for almost a year, and is one of 2 convert baptisms in this area in the last year. Bro. Sandoval gave the reference to the missionaries, so he has a good friendship with the family.

We knocked on the door, and met Mariah. Mariah is Sergio's mother. She is a single mom, trying to raise her 2, 18 and 20 year old boys in a country that is CRITICAL for teenage young men. She is very level headed, and very intelligent. We taught a brief lesson with her, and Bro. Sandoval invited her to come to church the next week, She came!

After church I talked with her, and she told us she had talked with the bishop, and made a decision to come to church EVERY week to support her son as a new member! 

The hard part with her is that she works ALL day Monday to Friday, so only Saturdays and Sundays can we see her. 

But she came to church again yesterday, just as she had promised us, and Saturday and Sunday we were able to teach her 2 more lessons and invite her to be baptized. At first, she didn't know what to think, but then you could tell that she started to think more seriously about it. Sundayshe reassured us that she will PROBABLY be baptized, but she needs to talk i over more with her 2 sons. 

I know she will become a faithful member of the Lord's church.

Isaac Campos

During one of our first weeks together, E. Robles and I were out knocking doors. We really had a desire to find someone to teach who would receive us and come to church. We decided to pray in the street and ask God which door to knock on. 


Nothing. I am used to the answer not coming immediately, so we began to walk. We saw a door, and it "Kinda" felt right. We knocked.

No one answered. 

but then we noticed a small crossing by the house where we could get to the street behind that one, and we crossed over found a cute little house. We knocked. Out came Isaac, a young teenager. We talked to him and he let us in. 

We saw he had been sweeped up leaves and decided to help him finish. Afterward we taught him Lesson 1 and he agreed to come to church. He came. 

in the last 4 weeks he has been progressing up and down, and he's been to church twice, and yesterday we had a great lesson with him his mom, and the young mens president. I have a lot of faith that the whole family(which consists only of him and his Mom) will accept the church!

English Class

Every Thursday and Friday from 6-7 is English class. Bryan Barrera(super fun returned missionary about my same age!) is the teacher, and he does a really great job!

This last week we contacted a responsable, level headed father named Roberto Castillo. his son is in an English Immersion school, and he wants his son to Practice, so we invited him to the class, and they came! you know when you can just tell that a person will progress in the future? yeah, I know they will!

Elder Robles and I were a little sick this week, but we keep fighthing hard! it's a pleasure to be a missionary

I love you all so much!

Have an amazing week!

Elder McFarland

Monday, June 12, 2017

Learning at the feet of an Apostle!

This week was one for the books!

Tuesday we were blessed to receive a visit from Elder Dale G. Renlund! Several weeks ago President Adams asked me to direct the music, and so I had the privelege of sitting on the stand, only feet away from an Apostle of the Lord! We sang "Redeemer of Israel" and it was an incredible experience!

Wednesday I had my final interview with President Adams. It was very weird. Made me kinda hit reality a lee bit. My desires to work and serve are at an all time high, as I see that the time that I have is drawing shorter and shorter.

We have been trying to love and serve and work extra hard. God has been good to us and we are seeing miracles. 

Please pray for the Portillo family, they are a young family that have been learning a lot and progressing in the gospel! 

also the Campos family and the Cubillas family!

Love you all and hope you have a great week!

Elder McFarland

Monday, June 5, 2017

time crunch

wow time got away from me and I didn't write a weekly letter! We have been working harder than ever with Elder Robles and I have lots of stories to tell!

Pïcs and stories next week!

Love you all!

Elder McFarland

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Letter from President Adams

Dear Brother and Sister  McFarland, I thought you would enjoy these pictures of your fine son. How we love and appreciate the goodness of this young man. You've both clearly have raised a wonderful family. You should be proud. 

Sister Adams and I went to his area today and visited with he and his companion. I had a nice long visit along with your son, please know that he is doing well. He is extremely resilient, and mentally tough. I also give him a priesthood blessing and promised him that these next five weeks would be the best five weeks of this mission. You should have no concerns about elder McFarland.

With love.
Presidente Eric M. Adams
El Salvador San Salvador Oeste/Belize Mission