Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Safe Arrival

Dear McFarland Family,

I am writing to inform you of the safe arrival of your son in the Argentina Buenos Aires South Mission. Attached here you will find a photograph of Elder McFarland with President and Sister Thurgood.

His trainer will be Elder Durham and they are going to serve in the area of Quilmes in the town of Avellaneda.

Their preparation day will be every Monday and you (Mom & Dad) can expect an email letter on that day. I am also including important information about mailing packages to you missionary.  Please be sure to read and remember. Please advise friends and family:  Due to restrictions imposed by the Argentine government, we're having trouble receiving packages from other countries.  Because of this, the South America South Area Presidency recommends that no packages are sent to their missionaries while they serve in Argentina. If packages are sent they will likely remain in the Customs Capital and never reach your destination.  We want to clarify that there's no malice in it, but to remove these packages from customs is an expensive and time consuming process for the Church, missionaries and families. Argentina has most the needed items for your missionary.

Thank you for sharing Elder McFarland with our Mission.  We appreciate your support and also the fact that you have a son who wants to serve.  We will take good care of him!  God bless you.


Hermana Dance
Mision Argentina Buenos Aires Sur

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Week 6 - Last Email From the MTC


How's everyone doing? I can't believe I'm about to leave for Argentina! In a way it seems like it's flown by, but it also feels like it's been forever. The MTC has been a great experience, but after 6 weeks I'm definitely ready to leave. Not sure I'm quite ready for Argentina, but I don't think I'd ever feel ready. I'm excited, but a little nervous. I'm nervous for the language because I know I won't be able to understand anything, but I know it'll come with time. I'm excited to meet the people, to see what the culture is like and to meet my Mission President! Our teacher let us email him yesterday in Spanish so that was cool. 

Sunday the devotional was by T.C. Christensen who is the director/cinematographer for quite a few of the Church movies like 17 Miracles. Oh, also me, Elder Bradham, Elder Johnstun, and Elder Sandberg got front row seats!! It was in the Marriott Center again and originally we were in the first row of the stands but then there were empty seats down below so we got to be in the very front.  We were literally like 10 feet from the speaker.  It was so cool!
Tuesday night we sang Lead Kindly Light at the devotional and Stanley G. Ellis from the Seventy spoke. Actually most of the time he had his 8 children come up and bear their testimonies about their missions, but it was really, really good.
Yesterday we had in-field orientation at main campus all day. It was long, but it was great and it got me excited to get into the field! All the missionaries would be together and we'd talk for a little bit, then break out into smaller classrooms and do some activities and we did that a couple times. We learned a lot about the key indicators and why they're so important. And to set goals THEN plan. They also emphasized the importance of working with the members. It was really good and we got to eat at the cafeteria on main campus and it's WAY better than the west campus cafeteria. I haven't changed weight at all but if I'd been eating at main campus I definitely would've gained like 10 or 15 pounds haha. They have so much more food and options and it's way better. They have the cafeteria but I still like west campus better.
Today we went to the temple and then we're just going to pack. I did get all the packages, thank you!! The brownies were delicious and of course everyone loves them and says they're delicious. Thank you for buying the sleeping bag and sending the ipod! I'll probably buy a calling card and we're going to call at Atlanta so it'll probably be between 3-5 pm California time. I gotta go but I'll probably be back on later if I missed anything. Love you guys!

Elder McFarland 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Week 5 - One Month and Travel Plans.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

It's crazy, I've been out a month! It's really amazing how time is speeding up. I can tell how time will fly by once I get in the field and adjusted to the mission. I was so sad when Argentina lost :( We were having a District conversation with our Branch President and we asked him if he could update us (yeah probably not the most appropriate thing to do) and he broke the news :( Luckily though we have another week before we get there so hopefully by then it calms down a bit. 

Not too much happened this week. The devotionals this last week were good, like always! They were about charity and taking upon you the name of Christ.
We committed Misael to live the law of chastity (he was sleeping with his girlfriend) and Daniela accepted our invitation to be baptized! We also taught Jose 4 more times this week for TRC. TRC has probably been one of my favorite parts of the MTC. I seriously love it and its a lot of fun. It's a lot more realistic than teaching our teachers. Even though we know he's a member, it just feels a lot more real. He asks really good questions and a couple times we've had to tell him we'll look for an answer and come back. Part of it is we're not 100% sure and the other part is we have no idea how to explain it in Spanish hahah. Not really much else to report. Spanish is coming along although I know I'm going to know absolutely nothing when I get out there haha. 

We got our travel plans yesterday!! We fly out of SLC Monday at 11:00 am to Atlanta GA. Then we have like a three hour layover and fly to Argentina at 9:08 pm and arrive in Buenos Aires Tuesday morning at 8:20! The Atlanta flight is flight 1912 and Buenos Aires is 101 just in case you wanted to know haha. There's going to be a ton of missionaries on the Atlanta flight and still quite a bit on the Buenos Aires one because all the Argentina missionaries are going to be on that flight. Elder Hair is in my travel group too so that's neat. I'm not sure how many of us are Buenos Aires South. I think there will be a couple more besides my district so I think 12.
 My journal writing is going pretty well. I've written pretty much everyday, but I've missed a few. 
Love you!

Elder McFarland

Monday, July 14, 2014

Week 4 - Solid Week

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The weeks are continuing to go by faster here at the MTC. The days are long but this last week went by fast. It was a good week.
Sunday we had a devotional by Josh Wright who's a really talented pianist so he just played a couple numbers and then talked to us. Oh, and my District sang A Child's Prayer in Spanish as a musical number so that was really cool. 

Last week it was TRC with members as themselves and that's every Tuesday.
This last Monday we got an investigator named Jose and we teach him Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Monday he wasn't there so we just sent an email to him. Tuesday we spent most of the time just getting to know him. He's from Ecuador, has a wife and three kids, and his wife is looking for a church with good thoughts and teachings. He has a belief in Christ and God and attends Catholic church sometimes but isn't hardcore. We taught him that God is our loving Heavenly Father and that the Gospel blesses families. Since then, we finished teaching the lesson about the restoration and answered some of his questions. He's been reading the Book of Mormon with his wife and praying. He says he believes the Book of Mormon is the word of God and really likes it. We got him to commit to come to church Sunday and next week we'll probably invite him to be baptized! Even more awesome than that is something that happened last Monday!
We taught Misael (Hermano Vargas) and I think it was our third lesson with him. The first two weren't that great and he wasn't reading the Book of Mormon or anything, so beforehand we decided we wouldn't teach him anything new but we'd just talk to him and find out what's going on with his life and get him to read the Book of Mormon. We go in and start talking to him, find out his wife left him a while ago and then he asked how can we be sure God loves him. Elder Bradham and I testified that we know Heavenly Father loves him and we bore our testimonies and talked to him and the Spirit was so strong it was nuts. We asked him to pray with us right there and he said a beautiful prayer and at the end he was crying. He said he felt incredible so we asked him if he'd be baptized and he said yes! After that Hermano Vargas called timeout and gave us hugs and told us never to forget this experience. He invited us to teach at the MTC when we got back. It was incredible. Definitely 100% by the spirit! 

Tuesday we had a devotional by Elder Neil L. Anderson and it was amazing! He talked about things not seen and the Holy Ghost. Our next three devotionals are at the Marriott Center because they're redoing the floors at main campus or something. The temple is still closed so this morning we did some service. 

I probably won't get my travel plans until the Monday before I leave, so probably the 21st. I think that's pretty much it. The MTC is great. The people here are great. The new Districts are super cool. My Spanish is still improving and I'm getting better and more comfortable teaching.  I heard about Argentina.  We're all super excited! Hopefully they win Sunday! Also, tell Brother Cate thank you for the postcard! Tell everyone I say hello and I love them! I'll talk to you next week, love you!!

Elder McFarland

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Week 3 - Happy 5th of July

Hola! This week was good! The days are long but the week goes by fast, or faster than the first week at least haha.
Sunday night we had a devotional by Stephen B. Allen. He was one of the guys in charge of the Church's old "Homefront" videos. He showed a bunch of those clips and then added some to it. It was very uplifting and encouraging. He told us when "everything says you can't, believe in the part that says you can." "Its not who you aren't, it's who you are and being yourself is great" I'm a missionary but it's important to remember to be myself and have a personality out in the field. "Don't focus so much on tomorrow that you miss what's going on today". This one was really good for me because sometimes I get caught up thinking about the future, whether that's next p-day, being in Argentina, or even coming home and it's important to think about what I have to do at the moment and focus on that.
After the devotional we watched a MTC devotional talk that was given some time ago by Elder Bednar called "Character of Christ". Unfortunately from what I've heard I don't know if you guys will be able to find it and watch it anywhere, I don't think its on or anything like that. You should try to find it because it was honestly life changing. There was so much in that talk that I might not be able to include it all. In short, he talked about learning of Christ, not about him. The character of Christ is turning outward in love, compassion, service, while the natural man in us would turn inward. The natural man turns inward and we NEVER find the Savior doing that. He gave several examples of this such as after His confrontation with the adversary and in the midst of affliction Christ turned outward and sent angels to support John in love and compassion (Matthew 4:2-11).  He gave a couple more examples, but then challenged us to go search the scriptures and find our own and learn of Him. He related to missionaries by saying, "What does this mean to me?" The mission isn't about me.  He told us to just get over ourselves.  Turn outward in love, compassion, and service, and journey from testimony to conversion is turning outward. A testimony will never be enough.  If you are converted unto the Lord you will NEVER fall away. He said the greatest convert on your mission ought to be you, but it won't happen if that's what you're trying to do. Through grace and the atonement we can put off the natural man and become like Christ. If you lose yourself in others and obtain the character of Christ, you will find yourself. (I couldn't find a video of the MTC devotional, but here is the link to the text of a BYU-Idaho devotional with the same name -
Tuesday night's devotional was by Lowell M. Snow and his main focus was we need to make a choice to choose Him and to make that an effort once and for all.  If we decide once and for all, we will always follow and trust the will of the Lord, and we won't have to make the decision if we will choose Him every time. Devotionals here are pretty much the greatest thing. They bring the spirit so strong and it's a moral and spiritual boost. 

Tuesday we had our first TRC. TRC is going to meet and teach members that are themselves. It's not like before where our teachers pretended to be investigators and we taught them. Instead they were members being themselves, but our purpose is the same. Our purpose, as missionaries, is to invite others to come unto Christ and that includes everyone: members, investigators, less active, other missionaries, etc. We met with two different people for 20 minutes each. The first one we didn't even really talk about the gospel but just talked about our lives. The second one we talked more about the gospel and Elder Bradham and I bore our testimonies and it's the strongest I have felt the Spirit while I've been teaching. It was awesome. I'm excited for the next TRC on Tuesday.  The first two TRCs are in person and then the last two weeks they are over Skype. We continue to teach our teachers as investigators. We started over with Hermana Johnson and now she's Daniela. We had our second lesson a couple days ago and it went really well.  We finished the first lesson covering the Restoration and afterwards she gave us feedback and said we did really well so that was encouraging.

So one of the Districts in our Zone left last Monday so there was just two Districts with 14 people today. Wednesday we got two more Districts with 15 Elders and 3 Hermanas. One of the Districts is an intermediate class but they are still here for the full 6 weeks I guess they just move faster. I've only gotten to talk to some of the Elders in one of the Districts but so far they seem pretty cool. They are all 18 and just graduated high school though haha.
The 4th of July was a pretty good day. In the morning we had classes up until 7:30, when we had a program. There were some musical numbers and then a speaker. Afterwards we watched 17 Miracles, which is a movie about the hand cart companies. That was intense, it was really good and it gave me a greater appreciate and love for them and the sacrifices they made. Then we went outside to eat ice cream and we watched the Stadium of Fire fireworks from Wyview.  I did get the package, thank you soo much!! It really helped. We put up the American flags in our classrooms haha. And the patriarchal blessing and priesthood line of authority were really nice. I think they fit in my scriptures and I'll have to check on the Spanish.
The temple is closed for the next two weeks so today we slept in until like 9 haha oops... It sucks we miss out on going to the temple for two weeks though, especially since I don't know how often I'll get to go while I'm in Argentina. 

The first day we got here we got a card that says we are missionaries just in case the police ask or something and on it it said when I was leaving for Argentina and then my release date, so I got like 23 months to go! haha.
The Book of Mormon studying is going well, I actually can't remember where I am off the top of my head, but I'm somewhere in Mosiah.  
The MTC is getting a lot better. To be honest, sometimes it's really repetitive because everyday is the same.  I'll definitely be ready to leave in 3 weeks but I won't be ready to be thrown into Argentina haha. But it's been great.  I know I'll look back and cherish the time here and the people I've met. I've been blessed with a great District and great teachers.
Tell everyone back home I love them.

Elder McFarland