Saturday, June 28, 2014

Week 2

Hola! It was good to hear from everyone. Sorry I didn't mean to make you guys feel bad. haha I knew you had no idea my P-day would be Saturday, but I greatly appreciate the letters from you and Dad and Erika. 
My Branch President told us that we aren't allowed to listen to music in the CCM so unfortunately I can't use the Ipod while I'm here, but it will be great to have once I'm in the field. Dad I saw you put some Janice Kapp Perry on my Ipod.  Did you know she was speaking at last Sunday's devotional?! Her and her husband spoke, although she spoke for the majority of the time. It was pretty funny and spiritually uplifting. So during her talk she was telling the story of how she met her husband for the first time. They were in some music class and she was sucking on her clarinet reed to soften it up before she was about to play and he walks over and says "you know I've been thinking those lips were made for greater things than just sucking on that reed". HAHAHAH  Everyone went nuts when she said that and right after her husband stood up and we all thought he was going to come correct the story or something but instead he just comes up and kisses her and then raised his fist in the air! lolz I laughed so hard and everyone in the stands was going crazy.  It was super funny. Anyways, the devotional was really great. We sung Come Thou Fount and a medley of some of her songs and finished with We'll Bring the World His Truth and the Spirit was so strong when we sang those.
Tuesday night we had another devotional and because of the new Mission President seminar Elder D. Todd Christofferson spoke!!! And believe it or not I sang in the choir! haha Our service time (which is just cleaning toilets) is the same time as choir practice so our Branch President gave us the option of choir or service so I chose choir. We sang Praise to the Man at the devotional Tuesday night. It was actually a lot of fun and really cool to be able to sing in front of some of the Apostles. I think Elder Bednar, Elder Oaks, Elder Anderson, Elder Ballard, and of course Elder Christofferson were there. I loved Elder Christofferson's talk! He talked a lot about the worth of souls. Some of the things he mentioned was how as missionaries we must appreciate the divine potential in everyone. Here are some of quotes from his talk I really loved. - "Motives must be pure and out of love" - "Charity comes from God through prayer, its a gift from God, we don't create it." He said "you need to help these investigators have a new vision of who they are and a feeling that they can obtain it." - "Sins have no effect on individual worth" - "Worth of a soul is the capacity to become like God" - "True conversion starts when we really know who we are and our worth".  He also talked about that on our mission while we serve others and realize their divine potential we will have a heightened awareness of our own potential, and that realization will be exciting and humbling. We will see the expectations God has of us and our potential and that truth will bring some discouragement but in it you will learn you are never alone and through Christ we can obtain that potential and fulfill those expectations.

Anyways life in the MTC or CCM is getting better. Days are going by faster as I get into the rhythm of things. Dad, we do not have culture class or at least haven't had any yet. Our schedule is pretty much wake up at 6:30, eat breakfast at 7:00, personal study/comp. study/language study from 7:30-10:30, gym from 10:30-11:30, lunch, class from 1-4:30, dinner, class from 5:45-8:45, planning, back at apartment by 9:30, lights out by 10:30. haha Sorry I didn't write that very well. Anyways so it's pretty much same thing everyday.

Lessons with Luz continued.  We taught her for the fourth time on Thursday and we committed her to baptism! It was super cool. But then we got a video from her saying how she (or her character) was moving back to Argentina but she was thankful for what we taught her and she knew it was true. Hermano Vargas said that in the field sometimes those things would happen. So we were kinda bummed we wouldn't be teaching her anymore. Then Friday morning we got another teacher, and guess who it was?! Luz!! Well actually her name is Hermana Johnson but she's going to be our second teacher. It makes sense now because the other District teaches their teacher but at the moment it was a curve ball and everyone in my district was so suprised and confused haha. It's actually pretty funny because as an investigator she always seemed kinda bored and tired but as our teacher she's full of energy and we were like whoa where did this come from haha. But I'm excited to have her as a teacher as well.   I think she's going to be awesome. Hermano Vargas continues to be a great teacher and friend. The love he has for us is obvious and he always bears his testimony at the end and it's really strong. He's also ridiculously smart. So everything's going well here.

I went to the temple again this morning and we did initiatories. And then we're about to go to Brigham's Landing to get lunch and then do some laundry and play some volleyball. I'm kinda sad because a District in our Zone leaves Monday and everyone in that District is super cool. The Zone Leaders are in that District and they're super cool guys I'm sad to see them go but I know they'll be great missionaries. They're all going to Argentina but a different Mission although I can't remember which. Everyone in our Zone is going to Argentina but only my District is going to Buenos Aires South. Oh Mom I also met Elder Hair last week. He's not in my Zone but it was nice to meet him and I'm sure I'll get to know him in the field. I've been busier than I've ever been and its exhausting but it feels great. So there's four of us in an apartment: me and Elder Bradham and then the other two Elders from my District Elder Sandberg and Elder Johnstun.

So I leave for Argentina July 28 but I'll get my travel plans in a couple weeks. Also I know its a long time away haha but just so you know I will be coming home May 30, 2016.
Please thank everyone for their emails.  I got some from a lot of people but I only have an hour to email so unfortunately I can't respond to all of them, but I really do appreciate the emails and I read them all. Thank you again for the letters. I think that's it for now. Sorry the email is unorganized and not written well I'm just trying to type fast. Haha anyways I love you guys and I'll talk to you next week.
-Elder McFarland

Hey! so I have some more time and I forgot some things I wanted to say. So today at the temple as I was leaving I ran into the Dellonas! They were out front taking pictures and Brother Dellona was like hey that's Kevin and I turned and saw it was them! So crazy. I guess Keanu was at BYU during SOAR I think so they were here to pick him up.

Reading the entire Book of Mormon is one of my goals  before I leave the MTC. One of the members of the Branch Presidency said if you read 5 chapters a day you should finish before I leave, so I´m on 2 Nephi 30 right now I think. So that´s what I´ve been focusing on in my study time. My companion and I started going through PMG (Preach My Gospel) reading it together from the very beginning a couple days ago. The language is still coming along, it seems like it might have slowed down a little bit, but I know its still improving and I don´t think the improvement from now on will be quite as noticeable as it first was. Umm I think thats it. Hopefuly I didn't forget anything else haha. Love you! 
-Elder McFarland


Saturday, June 21, 2014

First Letter From the MTC

June 21, 2014

Hola mama y papa! Where are you guys, I don't have any emails from anyone :( I figured I might not get any emails yet because you probably figured it'd just be Monday or at least I hope that's the reason haha. So Saturdays are my P day! If you don't mind mom if you could log on to my facebook and post that my P Day for the CCM (MTC) will be on Saturdays so people know that.
So the past three days have been pretty crazy. It's been tough but also very fun and rewarding. Oh so I got to my room Wednesday and learned that my companion is Elder Bradham! He's the one that was in my hall at BYU! He's been super awesome and I love him. We get along really well and I'm glad we're companions.

The past couple days have been suuuper looong! Wednesday felt like forever. So all the Spanish missionaries live in MTC West Campus which includes Wyview and Raintree. So our housing is at Wyview and then we cross the street to Raintree for class. West campus is it's own mini MTC so it has everything: cafeteria, bookstore, gym, barbershop, classes residence halls. So I literally never go to the main campus.
So when I first got here Wednesday I dropped my bags off in my room and then went to find my class. I walked in the door and the teachers were immediately talking to me in all Spanish and I felt so lost and confused, it was very overwhelming. So classrooms are at Raintree so my classroom is in an apartment. My class just consists of my district, which is four elders and four sisters so eight of us (Elder Sandberg and Elder Johnstun, me and Elder Bradham, Hermana Whitney and Hermana Flake, Hermana Rundolfsen and Hermana Alldrege). My teacher is Hermano Vargas and I've come to really love him the past three days, he's an awesome teacher.
So my alarm clock was still in Pacific time and Elder Bradham's was in PM so we woke up late Thursday morning and had to skip breakfast haha. We had class a lot of the day and we were told that the next morning we'd be giving our first lesson, all in Spanish! So me and Elder Bradham had time to prepare a lesson. We felt good about our lesson plan but we were worried about our Spanish. In the afternoon we went to go meet our Branch Presidency. We were told before by others in our zone that we have an awesome Branch Presidency and we definitely do, I'm excited. I was named junior companion and Elder Bradham senior companion and then Elder Sandberg is our district leader. Our Branch President told us, however, that we'd take turns so in three weeks I'll be senior companion and then we'll get a new district leader. That night we also met our Zone leaders, Elder Giliam and Elder Evans. They're studs and fun guys. They will be leaving in 9 days.
Yesterday, Friday, was a long day as well. Our morning started out by teaching our lesson. We were told our investigator, Luz, was actually a member but the character she was playing was a real person and actually her friend, so Hermano Vargas encouraged us to take it seriously and pray to know what to teach. Our lesson ended up being 40 minutes! Although most of that time we weren't actually talking haha. It was very hard because our vocab isn't very good and we couldn't say some of the things we wanted to. In the end it went better than I thought it would and good for a first lesson in Spanish, but there was definitely room for improvement. We then had time for some personal study, had lunch, and then came back to class for three hours. I'm amazed at how fast my Spanish is progressing. It's only been three days but I feel that I've learned a lot.
This morning we woke up and went to the temple with our zone. Afterwards we went to brighams landing. Brighams landing is what they call that little shopping plaza with Jamba Juice and Sub Zero and we're allowed to go there on P day. So we got lunch at a burger place there and the Argentina game was actually on so we got to watch the end of that which was fun because Messi scored the only goal at the very end. After that we put our laundry in and now I'm here. Anyways it's been a crazy couple days. To be honest its been a little tough, the days are going by so slow. But I heard I just need to get through Sunday and then it gets a lot better. It's been amazing though as I already feel my testimony being strengthened and my spanish improving. I know this is where I need to be and this is the greatest work on Earth. I know that the next two years aren't about me at all and that if I humble myself before the Lord and become an instrument in his hand I will be a blessing to the people of Argentina. I'm not going to lie it was kind of a bummer that I didn't get any emails my first P day but I kinda figured I might not because its on a Saturday and you guys didn't know that. I hope all is going well back at home, don't worry about me I'm doing great it's getting better and better each day. These two years won't be easy and they won't be the best two years of my life but I know that they will be the best two years FOR my life. I'm excited to lose myself in the work especially once I get down to Argentina, although that's still six weeks away!.
Tell everyone I say hello and I love them. Also to write me! haha. I'm thankful for everyone especially you and dad for being an example to me and helping me become the man I am.  I love you and I'll talk to you guys next week. (I only remembered your email so if you could forward this to dad and everyone else) Also did you make my blog yet?? haha. Hasta Luego!

Elder McFarland