Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy New Years!

Monday, December 29, 2014

HAPPY 31st ANNIVERSAY MOM AND DAD!!! Yes of course I remembered, even without your reminders haha, Wow, 31 years thats a long time haha. I hope you guys have some time today to enjoy it and celebrate it and if not than perhaps after all the chaos because you guys deserve it. Thank you for being great parents and I`m grateful for the example your marriage has given me. So Happy Anniversary! I wish I could give you guys a gift!

Yes, Skyping was awesome and yeah it was definitely harder than I thought it`d be saying goodbye. But it was really great seeing everyone's faces and hearing your voices. It makes it a lot more real and hard being away but I know the time will past and you`ll be there when i get done. So for now I have to keep working hard. To be honest I was worried how the first couple days after Skyping would be and while the first couple hours were hard, the first couple days after weren't so bad. Of course it was still hard and I missed you guys but luckily we got right back to work and had some good lessons. Not to mention it is difficult being gone for Scotts wedding. Really hard actually. It's hard to miss such a special occasion but I know we will all be blessed for it. and I`ll have the rest of my life to be with you guys and to hang out. It also helps to remind myself that even though I'm missing out on Scott's wedding, I'm here doing work so that others might have that same opportunity - to go to the temple and be sealed as a family.

We are working with two less active families right now and one of them came to church yesterday. It helped me get refocused and back on track. It's kind of hard though because these couple of weeks with the holidays, we can't do as much work so it`ll be nice, to be honest, once it's over with and I can get lost in the work again.

Also Happy New Years!! You`ll have to let me know what you guys did and how everything went with the wedding and the receptions and New Years. I'm not sure exactly what we`re doing yet. We might go to one of the Elders apartments again or we might just stay in our apartment for the night. On Thursday (New Years Day), once we can leave the apartment we are going to the Berrondos for pancakes and going to play a game of basketball so that should be fun.

Yeah not much to tell you since we just talked haha. We haven't been able to contact that lady again since the first visit so we`ll see what happens.

We found a new investigator - the niece of one of the members and I think she`s ready and prepared to be baptized.  We have an appointment with her this week.

I miss you and love you lots! Tell everyone hello and congratulations to Scott and Erika!! Tell me all about this week in your email! 


Elder McFarland

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Week

Monday, December 22, 2014

Crazy to think it's Christmas this week! One, because it doesn't feel like Christmas here at all haha. There are some decorations here in some places and some people have trees but Argentina just doesn't have the same Christmas spirit as the states and not to mention it's super hot right now.  Like you just can't have Christmas during the summer. Also because I remember just last Christmas when the Elders came over to our house to Skype their families. It's weird to think that now I'm in their shoes and will be Skyping you guys and in the home of a family.  So we are planning to go over to the Berrondos at 3:00 p.m. Argentina time so 10:00 a.m. your time to Skype. So yeah be ready around 10:00 a.m. your time for my call.

You`ll have to tell me about the insulin pump on Christmas because I still don't really get it haha.

That's super awesome that you are responsible for the missionary work in the stake!! It's cool that you`ll still be serving and working with the missionaries so we can have similar experiences. That's great that you had your first lesson Mom (with the young women), are you enjoying it so far?

Yeah not much news right now on the mission change because President Thurgood knows just as much as us so I guess more information will come with time. Crazy to think there's a possibility of me and Elder Pribyl ending up in the same mission especially because he could end up in Buenos Aires South Mission too.

Yes I got the letter with the General Conference Ensign and the birthday wishes from Facebook along with more stickers and the missinoary stuff which is really cool thank you!!

This last week we had a zone conference and combined with two other stakes. It was like any other zone conference in the beginning, the Assistants and President taught us and then afterwards each zone had some time to do something. We did our skit.  Another zone did a skit too and the other zone did a video of their testimonies. It was still spiritual but also some fun and Christmas in it too.

On Saturday we had a cool experience. Elder Killian and I prayed about some streets we should tract and do contacts on and on the first street after about 7 or 8 houses a woman let us in and we taught her and we have an appointment with her on Tuesday. We really need new investigators and we prayed that we could find one this week and we did. I have faith she`ll progress but we`ll see what happens. Either way it was cool and strengthened my faith because from a list of about 20 streets we both individually prayed and selected 5 and from those 3 of ours matched and it was on the first street we met this lady. We`ll see what happens though.

Today we had our zone activity and just played soccer and dodge ball.

It`s hard being away, especially during the holidays and for Scott and Erika's wedding but then I think of why I`m here. During this Christmas  I'm learning a lot more on the true meaning of Christmas. John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."   Jesus Christ is the Gift. He was the first gift of Christmas and the best gift we can receive in our lives. During this time at Christmas we should remember why we celebrate it in the first place. - why there are gifts and Christmas trees to begin with. It all begin with our Savior, Jesus Christ who was born in the most humble of conditions--in a manger. Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, who before he came to the earth lived as a God with our Father in Heaven, who created the earth.  The King of Kings and he came to earth not in some grand entrance with glory but in the must humblest of ways, born as a baby in a manger to a virgin and a carpenter. He is the best being to have ever lived. He lived a perfect life and he gave us the perfect example. In the end He completed the Fathers will and died for us. He rose from the dead and through that all might be resurrected. The other part of His gift, is conditional on our acceptance though. We must accept the conditions of the atonement and keep them. Through His sacrifice, we can be forgiven of our sins, guilt can become peace, sadness can become happiness, we can become clean and start over, everyday. We can have faith and hope in a better future, a hope and knowledge that through His sacrifice we can change. Through his sacrifice, he knows exactly how we feel and because of that he knows exactly how to help us and what we need. If we just turn to Him and accept Him and His atoning sacrifice in our lives we can have joy and peace in our life right now and for eternity. I testify that Jesus Christ is our Savior, the Redeemer of all mankind, He is the captain of our salvation, and He lives! May we all remember the true meaning of Christmas and may we try to be more like Him and follow His example for it is the only way to true and everlasting happiness. I love you and miss you all! I cant wait to Skype in a few days!. 


Elder McFarland

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Character of Christ & Beware of Pride

Monday, December 15, 2014

Hola Familia! 

Well this week has been interesting, but good. It started out somewhat disappointing because one of our investigators smoked one of the milk cigarettes last Sunday so we had to delay the baptism.  Since then, she`s smoked one more, but still only the milk cigarettes, which are super nasty, so we are hoping that she continues to slowly smoke less and less until she quits completely. We are not sure exactly when she will get baptized and if I'll be here but she will.

It also sounds like Nancy and Sergio and the kids moving out was a good thing because now they live in the ward boundaries where the kids have a cousin that is a member. At least the first Sunday, apparently the cousin brought the kids to church.

Manuel and Claudia hopefully could be baptized by the end of the year. Claudia is pregnant and so I got confused about what they were talking about but it sounds like they are both waiting for their tornos now (which to be honest I don't even know what that means haha) but they are optimistic for the end of the year or soon after. They still haven't had to leave but it looks like they will finally be forced to move before the end of the year.

Really sad news about a recent convert. We stopped by the other day to invite her to the ward Christmas party and she was just saying these really weird things and she wouldn't let us come in. It was obvious something had changed.  Her mom came out and said that she has stopped taking some medication and so she hasn't been herself lately.  It was really, really sad.

But some good news! I'm not sure if  I've mentioned it but we've gotten Pelu (the woman that lives with Blaz) involved in the lessons. When we talked about marriage with Blaz, he talked to Pelu about it and then one day we talked to both of them about it and now they are working to find the divorce papers for Blaz from a past relationship so they can get married. Since then we've taught lesson one, and she has come to church once with Blaz and they both came to the ward Christmas party! So hopefully she can progress and they can find his papers! 

Friday night we had the ward Christmas party.  The first little bit we played soccer with the kids and then after that they  had chairs set up in the cultural hall pointed toward the stage and food in the back.   People ate a little food and talked and at the end the ward choir sang. It was fun and a good time for all the ward members to get together.

Saturday we had a huge storm here too although it didn't last long. We went to go visit a less active family that we are starting to work with. The father is a member and the mother and kids aren't. Right as we got there it started raining and then we went inside and it started hailing.  The hail was big, like the size of a quarter. So, we just stayed inside to wait it out and their roof is like tin and so it was super loud and crazy haha. Finally it stopped hailing so we left but by then all of the streets were flooded, even the streets near our apartment which never flood. We found out when we got back to the apartment that we left our balcony door open and with the wind some water ended up inside haha although nothing too bad.  Because of that storm and the flooding, many people didn't come to church yesterday. 

Tomorrow we will have a combined zone activity with two other zones. It should be really good. Each zone has time to do something and we are doing our little play which is about a boy who finds out the true meaning of Christmas haha.  It's kind of lame but it's cool.

We found out that effective July 1, 2015 there will be a Buenos Aires East Mission!! Apparently they are taking some of the zones from La Plata and La Costa from our mission and so whoever is serving in those zones at the time will change missions. So, depending where I am at that time I could potentially change missions and mission presidents. They are also taking some zones from Buenos Aires West so there's a small, small chance me and Elder Pribyl could end up in the same mission! Really interesting to see how it all works out.

Christmas... so right now for Christmas Eve most of the Elders from our zone are going over to Tomas Flores apartment (Elder Ramos and Elder Pavons pension) and staying the night there and in the morning we are going over to the chapel and playing soccer and hanging out until about noon. (Don't worry it's been approved by the Assistants to the President).  Afterwards, we don't know what our schedule is exactly. We talked to Berrondos yesterday and they said that it is fine to Skype at their home but we didn't arrange exact times.  It's a 5 hour difference so I don't know what is early for you guys?

I've been thinking a lot this week, especially with my 6 months mark coming up and I`ve realized a change is needed. I`ve realized for the past 6 months and recently I've turned inward, worshipping the self and the natural man. I was rereading the talk I heard in the MTC "The Character of Christ" by Elder Bednar
I also read "Beware of Pride" by President Benson
and I've realized I've been completely turned inward.  I`ve realized that I've been prideful. President Benson said that pride is the great vice and is manifested in many ways. Many of us are sinning in ignorance because we misunderstand pride and how God sees it. I've realized in certain aspects I've tried to pit my will against God's and have not completely turned myself over to him freely and give him my will and heart. I also realized I've been a little prideful from the bottom looking up in the sense of being envious and jealous - jealous of others talents and abilities and their Spanish. I`ve been completely selfish and developing an attitude of ¨how everything effects me¨ -  how my investigators that are not progressing effects me; how the actions of others effect me; how my companion effects me. I`ve been preoccupied on worrying about my blessings being fulfilled instead of just turning outward in love and service and letting the rest come. All I've been thinking about is myself. In reality, the mission is not about me at all.  Elder Bednar said to get over ourselves. I need to quit worshipping the self and turn to God for it is the only source of lasting joy and happiness. As we repent, we are turning outwards; turning or rather returning to God. I`ve realized I must yield to the enticings of the Holy Spirit; to put off the prideful, natural man and become a saint through the Atonement of Christ the Lord and become as a child - submissive, meek, and humble. I need to stop worrying about myself and lose myself in the service of others. That is something I've realized this week. I need to  share that so that those that read this will take a moment to reflect. Read the talk by Elder Benson and see if you`ve become prideful, even in the slightest bit. Pride is the great vice. It is why the Nephites fell and were destroyed. It affects everyone at various times and in various degrees. We must ask ourselves if we`ve become prideful or strayed off the path in even the slightest and if so make the needed corrections. I`m extremely grateful I still have 18 months because the honest truth is if I had to go home right now for medical reasons or whatever, I wouldn't be pleased with my mission. Not that I've been bad, but not nearly what I can or need to be doing. I have 18 months to recognize my weaknesses and faults and work on them.  But more importantly, to start truly turning outward in love and compassion. Not to say I will be the missionary right now that I will be at the end of my mission but there is two ways to live life - 1) you can decide what you want, what you want to be and deliberately work for that or 2) you can go through life being carried by the current of life, becoming whatever the current makes of you and takes you, whatever is the norms of the world. Living this way, you will never reach the fullness of your potential. Perhaps the message I want to get across is that we must begin with the end in mind, no matter what that is - the mission, life, whatever. We must have a vision of what we want, who we want to be and what we want to accomplish and deliberately work towards that. I've realized if I'm not careful, 6 more months will pass by and then 6 more and then 6 more and before I know it I'll be home and I'll look back with regret and ask myself why my mission didn't turn out like I wanted it to or like it could have been. 

That is  exciting to hear about your new callings though, Dad on the High Council and Mom as the YW advisor!! You will have to keep my updated on how that goes and everything those callings entail. I hope all is well and I love you! Don't  forget to let me know when I should arrange to Skype!

Elder McFarland

Monday, December 8, 2014

Mirta Has A Baptismal Date - December 20th!

Monday, December 8, 2014

This week was alright. Apparently Arminda doesn't want to come to church anymore. To be honest I'm not really sure why. We went and she talked about how her family talked to her and they don't like the church or something and so she says she's just going to worship in her house. We tried to explain it to her but at least at that moment it didn't help. Manuel and Claudia didn't come to church again but we saw them yesterday walking and we scheduled an appointment with them. Good news though Mirta has a baptismal date for December 20!

Saturday we went to the stake center to practice a sketch we`re doing for the combined zone activity and they had a bunch of Aaronic priesthood holders there doing a mini mission activity, so we went out with a group and sang a couple songs on the street which was pretty cool.

The robbery was dumb. We were like five houses from our apartment and two guys on a motorcycle turned the corner and pulled up in front of us. One got off and told us to give him our phone and money. I had my shorts becasue we were just getting back from an intercambio. It was dumb. He didn't have anything and we should have just kept walking to our apartment.

Also apparently now there is no more plan piloto. From now on, in all of South America, the only thing we are reporting are the confirmations and sacrament meeting attendance. It places a lot more trust in the missionaries.

Hope you guys are doing well. Love and miss you.

LoveElder McFarland

Monday, December 1, 2014

Elder McFarland Was Robbed!!!

Monday, December 1, 2014

So I`m not getting transferred! I`m staying in Quilmes 3 with Elder Killian for 6 more weeks. Weird to think I'll be in my first area for 1/4th of my mission by the time I leave. They call us the Friday or Saturday before transfers and give us all the information; where we are going, if we are leaving and who are companion is. So, they have our new apartment but I think we`ll be staying in our current one for 2-3 more weeks until the paperwork gets finalized. Starting to learn that getting things done in Argentina is a very slow and inefficient process. No one in our district got changed either which I think is kind of rare for a district to stay the same for two transfers but it's pretty cool.

Sergio, Nancy and the kids are saying with Sergio's mom, so as of right now it's just Mirta in her house. Not really sure what's going to happen. Not sure if we`ll see Nancy anymore but it`ll be interesting. Very sad though. Nancy and Mirta and even Sergio a couple times, started coming back to church and I thought we`d see progress but I'm not sure now.

We heard a trick to get people to quick smoking from a member that did it on his mission so we tried it.  You soak the cigarettes in milk for a day and then wait until they dry and have them smoke it. Apparently after the first 2 they can't smoke any more because it just makes them sick and they want to throw up.  You can make it worse by having them drink the milk. So we made the cigarettes.

Manuel and Claudia haven't come to church in about a month and while I was on an intercambio they told Elder Killian they aren't going to come to church until they have all the papers to get married and then baptized and right now it seems to be a money issue.

We have two new investigators, Oswaldo and Ludi, that were a reference from a member.  We had an appointment with them on Thanksgiving night but we just ended up moving a huge pile of dirt that they had to move, but we have another appointment tomorrow. They have to get married first but I have faith they´ll get baptized.

For Thanksgiving, since we didn't have dinner, so we treated ourselves and went to a little BBQ place and bought some lunch so that was good haha.

I'm glad you guys got to go to Utah. It sounds like Thanksgiving was a lot of  fun!! Crazy that the wedding is less than a month away! It's hard being away right now during the holidays but I know I`ll get to be there in two years and for now I get to serve my brothers and sisters in Argentina!

It's also really cool right now. The church just recently launched an intitiative for Christmas ´´He is the Gift´´ or ´´El es la Dadiva´´ in Spanish There's a YouTube video and on December 7 for the whole day it will be the first video that shows up on YouTube!!  I think there's a sign in Times Square too. There's a whole website It looks really cool. They`re asking us to ask at least ten people a day if they`ve seen the video and report how many contacts and baptisms we receive because of it. So if you haven't already, check it out and share it on Facebook and with your friends!

That was my week. Today we just hung out in the apartment. It was pretty boring haha. We`re going to go try to stop by Rubens tonight because we haven't been able to meet with him in some time.  Thank you for everything! I miss and love you guys!!

 P.S. Elder Killian and I got robbed Thursday :)

Elder McFarland

From Mom - When Elder McFarland's older brother Scott was on his mission he would send us an email and occasionally add a P.S.  P.S. - I had a gun pulled on me.  P.S. - I got bit by a dog.  P.S. - I crashed on my bike.  So, Elder McFarland thought he would be funny and follow in his brother's footsteps.  So Merrill & I immediately replied to the email wanting more information.

Hahah. Yeah that's why I said that. After it happened, I knew I had to write it like Scott haha.

Only our cellphone, which actually really sucks, 7 pesos which is nothing, and my addidas shorts. So it wasn't too bad at all.  The dude didn't even have anything either. Sucks about my shorts but it's not a big deal at all.  I'm just glad he didn't take my whole bag.