Sunday, November 22, 2015

Surprise Transfer

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Hola Hola!

So I bet you weren’t expecting this, were you? So, I’ve got some news! I got emergency transferred... and I’m now working in the mission offices in charge of the visas for all of the missionaries! Crazy right?! So Wednesday morning, around 8:00 a.m. just when we were starting our studies, President Thurgood called us.  Whenever he calls, you know it’s something important, obviously, but when he calls at that time of the morning, and interrupts your studies, you know something is up.  So my companion answered it and put in on speaker phone and President Thurgood told us that he had a change for us and asked if I was listening. He then continued to tell me that the Lord wanted me to leave 9 de Abril and go to work in the offices in Adrogue being in charge of the visas for the missionaries. I was kind of just in a daze, not really knowing what to think but I said “great President” and I asked when I’d be leaving and he said tomorrow. He told me that it’s an assignment that requires a lot of organization but he really feels that’s what the Lord wants. So he told me that I’ll be in a trio with Elder Valis and Elder Bavelas for three weeks while Elder Bavelas trains me the rest of the transfer and then I’ll be with Elder Valis. Elder Valis is the pensionero (or the Elder in charge of all the pensions (apartments) - the contracts, finding new ones, delivering things, etc) and Elder Bavelas is the Elder currently in charge of the visas.

So the call ended with President Thurgood and I was just kind of in a daze not knowing what to think and a lot of emotions. I was excited to go to a different area and have a different assignment, but then the realization set in that after this transfer, I have just 4 transfers left and almost all the office Elders are there for 4 transfers. So it means that it’s very likely that my proselyting mission is pretty much over. When I realized that, it bummed me out pretty bad and I got a little upset and a little teary eyed. It was hard to take in and it’s still an adjustment. I had had in my mind that I would almost for sure be in 9 de Abril until at least late January or maybe even the beginning of March. Then to get that call, that I’d be leaving, just threw me off. Then even more so when I realized that for the rest of my mission I probably wouldn’t be proselyting and teaching the gospel like I was before.

So Wednesday, the day I got the call, we actually went to Colon to do an intercambio. I was going to work with Elder Hall in his area and my companion stayed with Elder Catalan, who’s having back problems, so my last day I wasn’t even in my area and didn’t get to say goodbye to any members or investigators and that was also really hard. Then Thursday morning, a taxi picked us up at 7:00 a.m. to take us to the offices. From there, I dropped my suitcases off at my new pension and then I left with Elder Bavelas to get right to work because that morning some missionaries had tramites to do. Elder Almeida went with Elder Valis to do pensionero stuff until Elder Almeidas companion got there. Thursday morning, we went in a mini bus with like 12 Elders to go to tramites. The last couple days have been kind of nuts because it’s a completely different mission being in the offices.The offices are on the 2nd floor in the Adrogue chapel and there’s 4 Elders (5 right now including me) and 2 senior missionaries. 2 Elders are the registradores, they do the baptismal records, the information that they give to President Thurgood and the Stake Presidents and all that stuff. Then the senior couple is Elder and Hermana Mitchell and Hermana Mitchell is Hermana Thurgood´s sister and she is the secretary and Elder Mitchell is the financiero. Then Elder Valis is the pensionero and Elder Bavelas (and now me) are the viseros. Well it sounds like we aren’t in the office that much. Sundays we are normally in the office after church because we have to do some reports and then sometimes during the week but usually it sounds like I’ll be out with missionaries doing their tramites or in the truck with Elder Valis traveling the mission doing pensionero stuff. We have a lot of work, the pensionero and visero, because right now the mission is growing and President Thurgood doesn’t want 4 Elders in a pension so he has been asking Elder Valis to find a bunch of new pensions. Elder Bavelas had a lot of work before because, as a visero, our job is to make sure the missionaries are legal. The missionaries arrive on a tourist visa and we have to do tramites to make them legal. The area wants the mission to be at least 95% legal but before it was only 40%.  He had a ton of work and right now we are back around 95% but transfers are coming up in 3 weeks and like 30 missionaries are coming so I’ll have lots of work to do. I’ll tell you more about it when I know more about it because I still know nothing ha-ha.

It gets even more complicated because about 3 months ago there were some big problems in the offices. It was a stressful time in the offices and for President Thurgood. On top of that, the offices got robbed. Then again, about a month ago they got robbed again. A lot of things have happened in the last few months, so that’s what I’m coming into, a situation that is a little complicated, although it’s settled down a lot. A big portion, if not the majority of the money in the mission is in mine and my companion’s possession, mostly Elder Valis because he spends a ton buying things for the pensiones and what not. Elder Bavelas and I spend some on the tramites fees and other things but in the end it’s not that much. There’s a lot of responsibility and organization needed, obviously, when dealing with money and then with documents, like visas and passports. It’ll be interesting.

Like I was saying, the rest of my mission will be completely different. My mission from now on will consist of doing tramites, being in the office, or being in the truck and it’s taking some getting used to. I was very, very worried when I got the call because, like I said, in the beginning of the email it meant I wouldn’t be teaching anymore, really. Right now the registadores usually have some time to leave the office and teach in the evenings, but in the past, Elder Valis and Elder Bavelas were so busy they literally never had time to proselyte. Our schedule is all over the place. Sometimes we get back on time, like last night we got back at 10:00 p.m., but the other night we got back like 11:00 p.m. and sometimes it is past midnight, traveling from different parts of the mission. The food, well that’s also different. Since Elder Valis, Elder Bavelas and I are always on the road in the truck traveling, we have to eat out a lot, almost every day. It sounds like we spend the money we get from the mission and then after that we get reimbursed by the mission for our lunches and dinners. The other day we ate at Subway and then got empanadas another day. It’s weird.

So my worry when I got the call was that the spirituality part of the mission would stop. As missionaries we are here, living on a completely different spiritual level than the members because we are set apart to preach the gospel. We wake up at 6:30, have our studies and go out and teach people. Well now we have to find time, usually at night, to be able to study the scriptures and sometimes there’s not enough time and there’s no time to teach. So the spiritual part of the mission kind of dies. That was something I was really worried about and still kind of am. We are traveling a lot, eating out and it takes away a little bit from the mission. So I was super bummed after the call. Not so much of the fact of working in the offices in itself, just that it meant that my proselyting mission would be pretty much over. So, I prayed and am praying a lot. Then a couple of things happened that helped. Tuesday, we went to the temple for the zone conference. When I was in the celestial room, I prayed, asking Heavenly Father what I needed, to be the missionary he wanted me to be. What did I need to change or improve to be better? I sat there praying and pondering and got nothing. So I prayed asking that if it was His will, could I get an answer later than day in the zone conference or soon. Then the following day, in the morning, is when I got the call from President Thurgood that I’d be going to offices. So when I remembered that, the impression came to my mind that that was God’s answer to my prayers. That this is where he wants me to be, in the offices doing the visas. Also, another thing that happened is now my patriarchal blessing and the blessing President Carmack gave me makes a lot of sense. In my patriarchal blessing it talks about feeling success but not so much in the number of baptisms but in helping others to come unto the Lord and leading and planning fellow missionaries. In President Carmack’s blessing, he talked about how I would lead, which I’ve already done and I suppose I still will and that I’ll be blessed to know the areas, the culture. That part never made sense, but now I’ll be traveling the mission and I’ll get to know the area, haha. The blessing also talked about how under my leadership new areas will be opened. To be honest, I always took that as maybe since I was zone leader, that new areas in my zone would be opened. While new areas were opened this last transfer, none of them were in Monte Grande. Now I’m a visero/pensionero and there’s a ton of areas that will be opened with more missionaries coming and my companion and I will play a large role in organizing that. So although it’s still a big change and I’m still trying to get used to it, I have been able to become a little more okay with it, knowing that it’s really what the Lord wants. It’s been humbling also. I am still somewhat worried about the spirituality part and not being able to teach, but I decided I’m going to use the time in the truck to read talks or read the scriptures. I’ve also decided that I’m going to use every opportunity I have to share the gospel. Perhaps I won’t be teaching the lessons entirely anymore, but I can still make contacts while doing tramites or traveling doing pensionero stuff and teach gospel principles.

The other day, one of the registadores told me when he came from the West Mission, his Mission President told him that in the mission, the assignments change but the calling doesn’t, and that really penetrated him and when he told me, it had the same effect. It really stuck with me. I was called by a prophet of God and have been set apart to represent the Lord Jesus Christ and His church. I have been called to invite others to come unto Christ and that hasn’t changed. That is still my calling, even though my assignment has changed. I realized today, in sacrament meeting, that this will help me a lot and prepare me for after the mission. I realized that I can’t invite and challenge the members to share the gospel with their friends if I’m not doing it with my new assignment. Yes, it appears I’ll be extremely busy, busier than I have been in my mission, and that I’m not proselyting. but if I can’t find time or the way to share the gospel when I’m doing tramites or when I doing pensionero stuff with my companion, how can I expect to challenge the members to share the gospel when I’m set apart to do it but I’m not. I would be a hypocrite to all the members I’ve talked to in my mission if I don’t continue sharing the gospel even with my new assignment. The assignments change, but the calling doesn’t. So I’m excited in that aspect. I think or hope it´ll prepare me to keep the spirit of mission work even after I finish the mission. Because I’m not able to proselyte like I was before, I hope and feel that if I really start opening my mouth everywhere I go to share the gospel then I can continue that after the mission. That it will become a part of who I am and not just something I did for 2 years. I feel that we can say the same about being a member of the church. The callings or assignments in the church change but the fact that we are members never does. As members, we have the duty and responsibility to share the gospel, to invite others to come unto Christ.

I ask that you continue to pray for me. That I will be able to continue to adjust to the change. That I will be able to do the best I can in my new assignment. That I will be able to continue to share the gospel and help others come unto Christ and have those spiritual experiences.

For now I have to go and I didn’t have time to write literally anyone else. I promise I’ll do my best to write Ryan, Scott and Kiersten and everyone else next week. It sounds like I’ll always be writing on Sundays around this time. So let everyone know perhaps by Facebook that I’ll be emailing on Sundays so that they can write me before that. My pdays are actually on Saturdays but we almost don’t have pdays and use that time to buy things because we can’t buy things on Sundays. I’ll try to include some more stuff next week. I can’t remember what else I wanted to say if you have any questions let me know and I’ll try to answer them.

I got to go so I’ll talk to you next week and I’ll have some photos too next week! I love and miss you guys lots!

Elder McFarland

Monday, September 28, 2015

First Week In Nueve de Abril

Monday, September 28, 2015

So this week was one of the busiest and most tiring of my mission, but it’s been great. Tuesday we had the meeting with President Thurgood and the Stake Presidency. The High Counselor from the stake wasn’t there but he gave a talk yesterday in our ward so I met him and he said he’d call us, but the meeting went well. We talked a little bit about the ¨Puerto Blancas¨ they do here. In this stake, instead of having baptisms in the wards like normal, the Stake President thought it would be good if once a month there was a stake baptismal day where all the investigators got baptized. So every third Saturday of the month is the ¨Puertas Blancas¨ as they call it here. Sounded different when I heard about it and I see some pluses and minuses doing it that way, but it seems like it’s been a success in the stake. The last one in September had an attendance of 106 and there was 8 baptisms from the stake. So it`ll be interesting to see how the next one is in October.

After the meeting President Thurgood took us back to our pension and we almost had a problem. So in some parts here, especially where there’s dirt roads, there’s not gutters like in the United States but instead like a small ditch and President Thurgood was turning when he was getting close to the small ditch and Elder Almeida warned him. Not sure if he thought he had enough space but he kept turning and then boom! The right front wheel slipped into the ditch. At first we were all pretty nervous and worried but Elder Almeida got out and luckily it wasn’t that bad and the car had 4 wheel drive and we were able to get out and afterwards we were able to laugh about it ha-ha-ha. I just felt kind of bad for President Thurgood ha-ha-ha but I wrote that in my journal.

So the pension still lacks a lot of things. We have all the necessary things like beds and desks and stove and all that but we´re in the process of waiting for the rest of the stuff to arrive.

Yes there are three brand new Elders in the Zone. Elder Davis is with Elder Pacheco, Elder Pontelli is with Elder Lozada, and Elder Edwards is with Elder Portaro. Elder Edwards and Elder Portaro are in Nueve de Abril with us so we`ve seen them the majority of the days. Elder Edwards is from Utah, from Pleasant Grove, if I remember right but I might be wrong. He seems to be adjusting well and doing well in his first week. He’ll be a great missionary. Yesterday we didn’t have water so we had to walk to their pension to shower before church.

This week we also had correlation with the Ward Mission Leader, Hermano Luna. One of his daughters just got back 3 months ago from her mission and the other just left two months ago or so for her mission and in between that time his wife passed away unexpectedly, but he is just an amazing guy and hasn’t faltered at all in the gospel. He has so much faith. I’m really excited to have him as the Ward Mission Leader. Thursday we had correlation.  Hermano Luna is the oldest of all the Ward Mission Leaders I’ve had and has the most experience as a member and he just directed the meeting and it was great. Tonight we have a FHE (Family Home Evening) in his home with his family and some members and some investigators. There should be a good group of people there. Saturday the ward had a service project that we went to and helped out at.

So I’m running out of time but the work is strong here. We have 4 investigators that have a baptismal date and there’s lots of other investigators that we have to work with. I’ll have to tell you more about them next week! This week should be pretty busy again. Tomorrow is interviews with President Thurgood and Elder Almeida and I have to be there all day because we have an assignment to review the area book and agendas of the missionaries. Wednesday we have leadership meeting with all the Zone Leaders and the Sister Trainers.  It should be good. I’ll see Elder Pribyl there.

Anyways, I’m super pumped for General Conference this weekend. It’s going to be awesome! I’m glad to hear the trip to Utah went well and you guys got to do a lot of things and spend time together. I hope all is well I love and miss you guys!

Elder McFarland

Monday, September 21, 2015

Transferred - Elders McFarland & Almeida are Zone Leaders

Monday, September 21, 2015

Sooo I.... got transferred! I’m now in Nueve de Abril Ward in the Monte Grande Zone (and Stake) and I’m now also Zone Leader. My companion is Elder Almeida! He´s the Elder that I replaced as District Leader when he got emergency transferred because someone went home and I was made District Leader again. So anyways, I already knew him a little bit being in the same zone in Banfield, so when I found out about the change I was pretty pumped because I knew he’s a great missionary. He´s 25, from Paraguay, and he’s also the only member in his family. He has a girlfriend that’s also 25 and is waiting for her mission call. He’s got about 10 months or so and it’s his second transfer as Zone Leader.

Elders Almeida & McFarland at lunch today.

Oh also Elder Pribyl got transferred and he is also a Zone Leader!! He’s in the Burzaco Ward which is in the Adrogue Zone (Stake). I saw him today at the transfer meeting and will see him again in a week and a half at the meeting with the zone leaders. 

Esther's Mom, Esther & Elder McFarland

So I’ll finish telling you about Parque Baron first. So last week we had a lesson with Fabian but he still didn’t come to church. Cynthia left for the Capital Wednesday or Thursday and was gone until today so I didn’t get to say goodbye. I’ll have to ask Elder Gonzalez what ends up happening with her. I was able to say goodbye to a few of the families that I had a better relationship with including Esther, the hermana that had the doubt about the temple that’s been active lately.

Maria, Elder McFarland & Jesus

I gave Jesus and Maria a Bible and Book of Mormon, hard back cover, as a gift and wrote a little paragraph in it. They gave me their Facebook names so you`ll have to search for them and add them for me mom.

Elder McFarland's District in Parque Baron
Elders Gonzalez, McFarland, Lymon, & Benavides (Spain)
Elders Cortez (born in Peru, lives in Chile) & Tolentino (from Peru - trained by Elder Almeida)
 Hermanas Rodriguez (Spain) & Wilson (New Zealand)
Yesterday's Gospel Principle Class
Elders Gonzales & McFarland with
Mauro - the Ward Mission Leader and Cristian - a less active member

So Elder Gonzalez is now with Elder Teixeira, who’s from Brazil, and came from the West Mission. Elder Pribyl seems to be pretty good friends with him. Also 2 more came to Parque Baron as expected. The other is Elder Rule, also from the West Mission and is also a friend of Elder Pribyl’s, and he’s going to be training. For the time being, they are going to live together until they find another pension.

So yeah, I’m now Zone Leader with Elder Almeida! I’m kind of nervous but pretty excited. I remember looking up to my zone leaders when I was a newer missionary and it feels like not that much time has passed so it’s kind of weird. I’m excited though because I know I’m going to learn a lot with Elder Almeida and being a Zone Leader. One thing he told me is that it´ll help me mature and become more decisive, ha-ha, something you guys know perhaps I wasn’t always good at, because as zone leaders you have to make decisions and can’t be just sitting there indecisive or unsure when questions or problems arise and other Elders or Hermanas are looking to you. So I’m excited in that sense, that I feel like it`ll help me progress and learn a lot as a missionary and as a person. Also I’m excited to serve the Elders and Hermanas in my zone. There is 26 of us in the zone. I’ll list the areas and missionaries in case you`re curious:

Elders Nichol & Blasco - El Jagüel Ward
Hermanas Munoz & Czappa - Ezeiza Ward (A)
Hermanas Walters & Conceicao – Ezeiza Ward (B)
Hermanas Laub & Latoja - Luis Guillón Ward
Hermanas Dunlop & Witsken - Monte Grande Ward
Elders McFarland & Almeida – Nueve de Abril Ward (A)
Elder Portaro will be training a new Elder - Nueve de Abril Ward (B)
Elders Pacheco will be training a new Elder – Spegazzini Ward (A)
Elders Bautista & Colicheo - Spegazzini Ward (B)
Elders Ponce & Batson - Cañuelas Branch
Elders Miller & Catalan - Colón Branch
Hermanas Silva & Villavicencio - Las Flores Branch
Elders Lozada will be training a new Elder (I think he was one of Elder Pribyl’s companions) - Monte Branch

President Thurgood told me that in terms of the distance, Monte Grande is the biggest zone in the mission. It should be good. Our area is super big but like Parque Baron, this transfer, two more Elders are coming so we`ll share the area, which should help the ward a lot having 4 missionaries again. So the new missionaries, Elder Portaro and his hijo (son- nickname for a new Elder) will live in the current pension and we just received a brand new pension close to the current one. We just moved in today and unpacked a little but have to finish tonight and also they have to finish setting up the pension. The stove has to be put together and we don’t have like anything - like mattresses, table, everything, ha-ha, but today or this week we should have everything. It’s a pretty small pension but it’s new and nice so I’m happy. I don’t have the address today but I’ll have it for you next week. Elder Almeida told me there’s a lot of work in our area and the ward is awesome and accompanies us a lot. So I’m super pumped. Also, this transfer is going to fly by. We have 8 inter-cambios (exchanges) we are going to have to do. 7 with the trainers and district leaders in our zone, and then with the Assistants too. Tomorrow we have a meeting with the Stake Presidency and President Thurgood. So needless to say, this transfer is going to fly by with lots of things going on. This week we have a zone meeting. Here, at least, they have zone meetings the first and last week of the transfer and the other 4 weeks are district meetings. Elder Almeida is really focused on helping the missionaries in our zone. He’s very obedient and a hard worker so it’s going to be a good transfer.

I’m excited! I love and miss you guys!

Elder McFarland

Monday, September 14, 2015

The War With A Rat!

Monday, September 14, 2015

So we had a rat in our pension this week! Early in the week, we found a rat in the pension but then it escaped. We ended up finding some poison for rats in the pension and put that out and the next day it looked like it had eaten it. For three days we didn’t see it or anything and assumed it had died. Then one day, we cooked chicken nuggets for lunch and left the extras in the oven and when we returned at night my companion discovered that there were two chicken nuggets missing and asked if I had eaten them and I said no. Then while talking, my companion saw the rat behind the oven and screamed ha-ha. That began what ended up being an hour and half long war against the rat. We couldn’t move the oven because it was connected to the gas and didn’t have a wrench to disconnect it so we`d bang the stove super hard to get it to come out and it`d peak its head out but then go back in. We did this for about half an hour thinking of how we could get it out. Finally we turned off the lights and lit the stove and watched from outside. After a few minutes, the flipping rat jumped out from the top of the stove to the ground and tried to escape so I opened the door and went to kill it. Then it went under the fridge. We had been using my companion’s hairspray and a lighter as a makeshift flame thrower so then we used it again to get it out from under the fridge. Finally it got out and made a run for under the sink, where it had been coming and going, but we closed off the hole it`d been using with a lid and it ran right into it. Then I tried smashing it with a broom. You know the arcade game where there’s like gophers or an animal and one by one they come up and you have to smash them? Well it was like that ha-ha. Finally it got trapped in the corner and I was able to kill it. So maybe you`ll get a laugh out of all that. In the end though, when I had to kill it, I didn’t want to and felt terrible doing it. I realized I’m not sure if I could ever go hunting because it made me so sad to have to kill it.

So the genealogy activity that the Stake planned with the municipio ended up being a failure. We went Saturday morning and it lasted from 10-4 and I’m not sure in the end how many came but it wasn’t very many. We were outside in front of the office building, inviting people all day. Hopefully for the people that came it was a good experience and might even be the start of investigating the Church.

Yesterday Cynthia came to church! We went to her house and accompanied her to church. The hermanas did a great job in welcoming her and sitting with her. We had a lesson with Fabian last week but he wasn’t there. Yesterday Jesus received a calling as the Assistant to the Ward Mission Leader. It’ll probably be hard the next week for him to do much with us because of the work on his house but after that hopefully we`ll be able to start working with him a lot too.

So in his weekly letter, President Thurgood told us that there’s going to be a mission tour November 4-6 with Elder Spitale, an Area Seventy, and his wife. We had to fill out a survey that will help them know what to teach us. Last year, at least after I arrived, we didn’t have a Seventy come for a mission tour, so I don’t know if this will replace the Apostol coming since last November President Nelson came. It should be great though.

So yeah transfers are next week like you know. It’ll be interesting to see what happens. I think I’ll probably stay and I’m definitely fine staying again although 4 transfers is a lot. It would be nice to kind of have a change of area but I like my area. The mission is in the process of getting another pension, because the one they had lined up fell through, so it looks like at least in the beginning 4 Elders will be living together again in the pension.

Got to go for now but I love and miss you guys!


Elder McFarland

Monday, September 7, 2015

Dog Bite & Rabies Shots

September 7, 2015

Hola Hola!

Ha-ha yeah I guess I always do start my emails like that Mom. Reading about travels plans in Dad’s email, I agree that August looks like the best option for the expenses, crowds and because yeah I’m not sure how much I could do set apart still. I’m not sure what you guys have planned to do but just keep in mind that August in Argentina will be during the winter. So not that I’m against it, I still agree August is best but just make sure everyone’s aware it`ll be winter and so it won’t really be shorts and t shirts climate ha ha. Although I’m sure you guys are already aware of all this knowing how well you guys plan trips.

So Fabian, well our hope for him progressing at this moment is slowly beginning to fade. Since we've  met with him he’s never read or prayed. He postponed his trip and yesterday he didn’t work and didn’t come to church either. In the afternoon we passed by his house and he was watching TV with his girlfriend. This week we are going to be sincere and frank with him, that if he doesn’t start keeping his commitments, we won’t be able to keep stopping by as much.

We had a lesson with Cynthia when I was on an inter-cambio with Elder Lyman and we taught her the law of chastity. She pretty much already knew it. Her and her boyfriend, who’s a member in the Capital, were living 'together for 8 years and then split up for a year or two and then got back together and are going to get married in November and now are living separately so the law of chastity wasn’t a problem. The problem with her is she told us she wants to keep meeting with us because she likes it and wants to learn more to see if it’s true but at this moment she doesn’t feel the need or have a strong desire to be baptized. I think she’s also afraid of just doing it for her boyfriend. So we are going to teach her and see if she keeps the commitments and progresses and hope with time and experiences the desire will come. She didn’t come to church yesterday because she was in the Capital.

Norma and Esther both came to church again yesterday. Esther seems to be pretty strong and doing well. We walked with Norma to church but after Relief Society she supposedly had a bad experience with a hermana. Not really sure what happened but when she came into the gospel principles class she was offended and said she wasn’t going to come back. I think the class and sacrament meeting helped her but right after the meeting she had an interview with one of the bishopric members so we didn’t get a chance to talk to her. We`re going to have to visit her this week and see what happened.

Jesus and Maria are going strong for the most part. Last week Jesus got the Melchizedek priesthood and an assignment as a home teacher and they got assigned home teachers. Not sure if I told you, but two weeks ago they went to the temple for baptisms for the dead. They are also going to be moving into a room in the house of Maria’s mom. Jesus is living in the house of his grandma that passed away but his parents have to leave the house they are renting and are going to live in the grandma’s house so now Jesus and Maria are going to live in Maria’s mom’s house. This week there are two planned service projects planned by the Elders’ Quorum in the new house, or better said, room of Jesus and Maria, to help finish it because they have to move before the 20th and it’s not done either.
The family of Rosio, Angels and Daniel dropped us. We passed by Friday and the mom came out and said that the dad doesn’t want us to pass by anymore. So that was super disappointing. So right now we practically don’t have any investigators so we are going to focus this week a lot of finding some.

Ha-ha-ha sorry Mom, but honestly the dog bite really wasn’t that bad. We were walking down a street when a man opened his gate and the dog got out. It walked up to me from behind and I saw it but thought nothing of it because there’s a ton of dogs here and I haven’t had a problem before. I thought it was going to smell me and then out of nowhere it just decided to bite me, ha-ha I don’t know.

Hermana Thurgood still wanted me to get vaccinated for rabies just in case. The vaccination is a series of 5 shots. I got the first one Tuesday, the second Friday, the third I’m getting tomorrow, then the fourth on the 15th and the last on the 29th. It’s going to be interesting because if I end up leaving the area, I’ll have to return on the 29th for the last shot but we`ll see. But it’s fine. I have a tiny scab but it looks like just a scratch.I two have two small holes in one of my pants though now, ha-ha.

Today we have our district activity. We are going to cook hamburgers and watch a Disney movie so that should be pretty fun.

The church is true. God is our Heavenly Father and He is aware of us. His tender mercies surround us. If we will just look for them we will begin to feel the love He has for us and will see His hand in our lives. I love you and miss you guys.

Elder McFarland

Monday, August 31, 2015

Stake Conference

August 31, 2015

Hola Familia!

Weird to think BYU is starting again and Mitchell (Gehlbach) is there.  But speaking of BYU and your email, yeah I still want to go back to BYU for the summer session!  You`ll have to talk to my friend Max Hoeft.  He’s at BYU right now and he’s living in The Village, I think, close to Michael (Johnson) or maybe even the same apartment, not sure.  It turns out his new roommates are Garrett Taylor and Chandler Nelson from the Stake! Super small world. He said his contract goes until Fall 2016 so I`ll probably room with Aden Hales for the summer and maybe someone else if they go up for summer.  Then Fall 2016 I think we are all going to try to get an apartment and room together, but yeah we can talk about that later.

So this week was pretty great. We had Zone Conference and there was an emphasis on working with the members and also the atonement. It was super good.

Friday we had to go to the Capital for Elder Gonzales’ ID so we went to the Chile consulate and it was close to the Pink House, Casa Rosada, their version of the White House so we drove by.

I’m not sure if I told you last week but yesterday we had a Stake Conference, but it was a conference for all of Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. It was directed by Elder Maynes from the Presidency of the Seventy and from Salt Lake in the video transmission was Elder Robert D Hales and Elder Cook and they all spoke. Also Elder Gonzalez from the Seventy spoke and a woman from the Young Women's Presidency.  It was super, super good though. The messages were really focused on keeping the Sabbath day holy and missionary work, directed at the youth to prepare for missions. The good news is that Cynthia came!! We even quickly introduced her to President Thurgood afterwards. She seemed to enjoy it and this week we have a lesson with her. Also a less active that we have been working with, Norma came yesterday! And the woman that I told you about a few weeks ago that had doubts or questions about the need to go to the temple, Esther Acevedo, came yesterday! She’s been coming to church now for the past 4 weeks or so and came yesterday! So it was good to see them.

It’s been pretty hot the past couple days. Today we have our Zone activity.  We are going to Parque de Lomas and going to play soccer or capture the flag or something.  It should be fun. Also, I forgot to tell you guys but three weeks ago or so President told us he wanted us to be finished emailing before 4 in the afternoon and that it’d be best to go in the morning after companion study so that’s why I’ve been emailing earlier and from now on I’ll probably always email around this time or for sure before 4:00 p.m. Argentina time. I hope all is going well. I love and miss you guys!

Elder McFarland

PS - I got bit by a dog last night but don’t worry, it wasn’t that bad.

Monday, August 24, 2015

New Investigators - Rosio, Angeles & Daniel

August 24, 2015

Hola Hola!

So sounds like the last few days and weeks have been pretty crazy for you guys! Still really weird to think Scott, Erika and Ryan will all be in San Diego now, but I’m sure it`ll be great for all of them.

So Fabian… we taught him this week and started teaching the commandments, starting with the Ten Commandments, but he can’t come to church again for the next two weeks because his boss is going back to Paraguay. Then the week after that, Fabian is taking a short vacation to Paraguay, so yesterday he didn’t come and for at least the next two weeks he won’t be able to come. So if I don’t stay another transfer, I won’t see his baptism.  But the important thing would just be that he gets baptized, but it’s somewhat frustrating.  He works a lot and says his prayers but he hasn’t asked if what we are teaching is true and he still has yet to read the Book of Mormon, so it’s been a little difficult.

Cynthia also couldn’t come yesterday because it was her son’s birthday and they were celebrating it. Also somewhat frustrating because she said she’d come this next Sunday, unless she was in the Capital again. The good news though is that she usually reads at least parts of the chapters we leave her from the Book of Mormon. She seems to understand everything and is progressing. We changed her baptismal date to September 6, but now it`ll have to get postponed again since she didn’t come yesterday. Silvia has been difficult to find and this week we didn’t get to teach her. The good news though is we have a couple new investigators. We talked to two girls two weeks ago in the center of Lomas and they said we could pass by their house and their address was in our area! So, we stopped by a few days later and set an appointment for this last Saturday.  On Saturday we went by and met their mom and brother, Daniel. The two girls are Rosio (20) and Angeles (15) and Daniel is 13. We talked for a few minutes to get to know them and introduced ourselves and what we do, how to begin teaching pretty much. There are 13 people in their family but we only met the three kids and the mom. They are Catholic but don’t really practice. Daniel is the most religious and believing of them all. He goes to the Catholic Church on Sundays and prays. The mom believes in God but doesn’t practice. She also believes and worships Gauchito Gil (you`ll have to look that up... its big here..)
Angeles says she doesn’t believe in God and Rosio said she isn’t sure. But we are pretty sure they really do know, they just don’t pray or practice. We have a lesson with them Wednesday so hopefully it goes well. After Saturday’s lesson we took Daniel with us to play soccer at the church. Usually, every Saturday, there’s some youth and men from Elders Quorum that play, but the Saturday we went with Daniel there was no one... like 3 other kids so it was pretty boring but Daniel seemed to still enjoyed it and said we are nice.

This next week also is like a multi Stake Conference. In all of Argentina there is going to be a broadcast, I think from the Area Seventy, so we`re going to be in the Stake Center watching that.

September 12th is the day of service here but in our Stake they are doing something a little different. The Church leaders here have been in communication with the Municipio de Lomas and family search and have organized a family history day in the center of Lomas in one of the government buildings. In the building there are about 30 computers and people are going to come and the members are going to help people look for an ancestor I think. There was training for it last night. I didn’t really understand what was going on, ha ha, but the idea is to spark the interest of the people in searching for their ancestors. There was a guy from the Municipio and he said they are expecting 5,000 people, which surprised me and seems like a lot but it’d be great. The training last night was for everyone, the missionaries and members, and then this Thursday there’s a training for just the missionaries, so hopefully I`ll find out more about it this week.

Also this week we have Zone Conference which should be pretty great.

Oh and for the flooding, really it didn’t flood in our area like it did last year when I was in Quilmes. There were some streets that were a little flooded but cars could still get by fine. Cynthia lives in an area that’s dirt roads and so it was hard there to walk and get around and some houses were flooded a little bit but Cynthia’s was fine. In general, it didn’t affect out area. The Hermanas in my District though, their area flooded up to their knees.

I hope things are going well and everything got squared away with the house in Logan and the moving. I miss you guys

Elder McFarland

Monday, August 17, 2015

A Visit From Elder Pribyl

August 17, 2015

Hola Hola!

So guess what?? I saw Elder Pribyl this week!! Ha ha.  He is also a District Leader and this last Thursday we had a training meeting with all the District Leaders. I knew I was going see him but then Thursday morning he called me and told me to look outside my pension so I went outside and he was flippin outside the gate with an Elder that used to be in my District. It was nuts ha ha ha. It was super weird to see him after over a year, but the weird part was that actually after the first few minutes it wasn’t weird or strange. Even though it’d been so long and we are still in the mission, we started talking and it just felt like before. I don’t know, weird and hard to explain. I assume that’s similar to how it`ll feel after the mission. And probably what Scott meant when he said it felt like a dream. You get back, assuming it`ll be all different and maybe weird at first, only to realize it’s not weird being back home at all and it felt like you never left. Of course a lot more will have changed when I get back than when Scott got back, but still weird. Max, my friend from BYU, told me that some girls from our freshman ward are already getting back and others that are getting back in 3 or 4 months and I read that and it just was super, super weird to read. Like I don’t know, time is just passing by insanely fast. It’s crazy. I can’t believe it. Truly passing by like a dream.

At the training, President Thurgood told us a little about what’s going on in the mission. Right now there are 122 missionaries, the least amount of missionaries in a long, long time. But in September, 8 are going home and 22 are coming to the mission. Then in November, it’s about the same number that leaves and come.  But then in December, 8 are going home and like 20 are coming. So, in the coming months the mission will have more missionaries.  President Thurgood told me it’s very likely that in September, he`ll put 2 more missionaries in Parque Baron so we`ll have 4 Elders again. I was thinking I`ll leave next transfer but it’s also a possibility now that I might stay and go to one half of the area and Elder Gonzalez will stay in the other and we`ll receive new companions because they have a new pension on the other side of the area. But I might still go and they might do a whitewash. We`ll see what happens, but it`ll be interesting. The change in missions has been a little hard, I think, for many missionaries. A lot of us from the South Mission have noticed that many missionaries from the West Mission are very serious and very strict, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but as I talked to Elder Pribyl and have heard from some missionaries, the West Mission was very different from our mission. It appears the Mission President there was stricter. He had a lot more rules and a lot more things the Elders had to report. I mentioned when we Skyped that from the Area Presidency it’s required to only report the baptisms, confirmations and sacrament attendance and if the Mission Presidents want, they can add more. Up until now, President Thurgood hasn’t added any. And apart from the missionary handbook he doesn’t have many other rules. His way of leading the mission is summarized by a quote of Joseph Smith “I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves.” He likes to have trust in us. I think D&C 58:26-28 also describes his way of leading the mission.

26 For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.

27 Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;

28 For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.

He expects us to be agents unto ourselves and make our own choices wisely. On the other hand, the West Mission President was the opposite. He pretty much micro managed his mission with lots of rules and lots of reporting. I’m not saying one is better than the other, just that they are different. But now it seems like it has created a little tension between missionaries and even missionaries and the members. There’s an Elder in my district that shares an area with the Hermanas in my district and the Hermanas told me he’s offending the members there. There just seems like be a lot of judging and comparing the missions going on and I personally don’t like it. So I think for a time it`ll be a little hard for the new missionaries to adjust to our mission and for everyone to kind of be on the same page and not have any problems between missionaries.

But this week was good. Fabian didn’t come to church. Cynthia was in the Capital again. Yesterday we had a good lesson with Silvia and we`ll see what happens this week. I got to go. Thanks for everything. Love you guys!

Elder McFarland

Monday, August 10, 2015

Jesus & Marie Get Married

August 10, 2015

Hola Hola,

So I’m still with Elder Gonzalez and will still be District Leader. But two of the Elders in my district got transferred. There were lots of changes this transfer because I think President Thurgood is trying to mix the new missionaries from the West Mission into areas in the South Mission and vice versa. I talked to Elder Pribyl and he’s staying in his area but it sounds like he’s now District Leader so that should be good for him.

The lesson with Cynthia this week went really well. We committed her to baptism for August 30th and she said she’d come to church and we offered to come to her house and accompany her to church, but then Saturday night she called us saying she wouldn’t be able to go because it has been raining the last couple days and where she lives it’s dirt streets and she said it was flooded and on top of that she has a baby so she was afraid of trying to leave her house. But again tonight we have an appointment with her so I hope we`ll be able to reach her house. But she seems to be progressing really well. We also had a lesson with Fabian, yes the 20 year old that was a reference, earlier in the week and it went well. He also said he would come to church and he was going to meet his friend who is a member and come to church, but he wasn’t able to come either because there was an election Sunday and his boss had to go vote and so Fabian had to go in and work and his boss didn’t get back until 2. But then after church he called us and offered us dinner and we could share something so last night we went over to his home and his girlfriend was there and he did a BBQ for us but in the end there wasn’t time for us to teach. It was pretty crazy because it’s been raining the past couple of days and last night we were with him in his home and the power went out, but luckily when we got to the pension there was light. This week we have a Tormenta Blanca planned where the elders from the zone are going to come to our area and visit less actives. But we still have to plan it.  There has been poor communication between our Ward Mission Leader and the ward leaders and us, so we`ll see what happens, but hopefully it goes well. The new Bishop seems to be very motivated. We talked with him on Sunday a little bit about the Tormenta Blanca and I think as he gets settled in, things will go a lot smoother.

Jesus and Maria got married Wednesday at a Registro Civil in Lomas and we went. It was very simple and very fast.

They did some paperwork and then they called all of us in and then a woman spoke, said some personal information of Jesus and Maria and then married them and then they signed a paper.

It was kind of anticlimactic ha ha but it was still an amazing experience being able to see them get married because as Elder Ventura and I taught them they had said their goal was to get married but that they weren’t ready and so I thought I probably wouldn’t see them get married but I’m really grateful I was able to see them get married and support them

Their families were there and then us and two heramanos from the ward. I felt bad because Jesus said he hoped more were going to come.

As they left the building we threw rice at them. I don’t remember if that’s a wedding tradition in general or just in Argentina ha ha.

Then Friday was their reception at the capilla and practically no one came. We got there and there was literally like 5 people and some more people showed up but in the end there were still only a total of maybe 25 people. I was super annoyed and mad at the members because Jesus and Maria announced it and gave out invitations to the members, they just didn’t come. The family that’s friends with Jesus and Maria did a great job of decorating and planning everything, the members from the ward just didn’t show up. I felt super bad for Jesus for the poor support the ward showed.

But I think it was still special experience for them and they seemed to enjoy it.
I have a few short videos of Jesus and Maria dancing ha ha. I was really happy overall to see them get married and to take this step in their goal of getting sealed in the temple. They've expressed their desire to get sealed in a year and it would be great to see them.

This week we also had a pretty intense spiritual experience. Thursday night, as we planned, we put some old investigators we were going to pass by the following day, one of which was a woman named Silvia. So Friday we went to her house and realized we had tried to contact her before but no one answered, but this time we rang the door bell from the fence and Silvia came out and as she came closer to the fence we saw that she was crying and she asked us who had sent us. My companion explained that we had found her name among a list of people that had talked to missionaries before. Again she asked who sent us and if we came to just come or if it was for a purpose and if we knew what was going on. So I pretty much repeated what Elder Gonzalez said and told her we saw her name as we planned and felt that we should pass by to get to know her and that we had no idea what might be going on and I asked if we could come in and share something. She let us in and as we entered and sat down she told us how she had talked to missionaries before, years ago, and gone to church once and then she broke down into tears and told us that now we had came just as she was experiencing the hardest and worst time in her life because her son, German, had recently taken his life. As she said that, I couldn’t hold back the tears from my eyes and in that moment I don’t think my heart has ever hurt so much for someone else. But with that sorrow and heartache that in an instant had entered my heart for her loss also came such an intense and powerful witness to my heart and spirit of God’s love for his children and specifically Silvia. It was in that moment, perhaps more than in any other experience in my life, that I knew and felt of God´s love for his children. I`m not sure if the tears from my eyes were tears of sorrow and sadness for her or if they were tears of gratitude and love towards my Heavenly Father. It is hard to describe what I felt and I hope it’s not something I ever forget. In that moment, the Lord sent two young men as his servants and representatives to bring her peace and comfort with the good news that she will see her son again. That, thanks to Jesus Christ and his infinite atonement, her son will be resurrected and that she will not only see him again but can live with him again, forever. We taught her of the atonement, the resurrection and the spirit world as she asked us crying, where her son was and if there was forgiveness for what he had done. She told us he had psychological problems and had always been nervous but she had never ever expected him to take his life. She told us that soon after his death she prayed and felt a sense of peace but that since then that peace had left her and how she didn’t understand why and she just has an overwhelming desire to see him and to hug him again. The Lord sent us that day to restore that peace to her soul and heart and as she continues to listen to us and accept the gospel of Jesus Christ in her life, that peace can be restored permanently to her soul, never to leave again. Thanks to the great and wonderful news of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. He lives. God loves us. I know that more than I ever have in my life, as He permitted my companion and I to be instruments in His hands and provide peace and comfort to a woman that had lost her son just three weeks ago. How wonderful it is to be a member of His church, to know of the Plan of Salvation and that we have a Savior and Redeemer, who perfectly understands us and knows how to help us if we will just turn to Him.

Elder McFarland

Monday, July 27, 2015

District Leader - Again

Monday, July 27, 2015

Hola Hola!

So this week was pretty interesting with some changes. The Bishopric (Bishop and 2 Counselors) in our ward changed. The Bishop was a good guy but I think he was kind of getting tired. I think it will be a good change. Also the new counselor, Demesio, does visits with us sometimes so I'm hoping with the changes we will be able to work with the ward leaders a little more. Also Jesus did't get the Priesthood, I think with all the changes going on last week, but we talked to the new Bishop and he said next week for sure. Also I don't know if I told you guys but Jesus and Maria are getting married next, Wednesday, August 5th and I think we`ll be able to go.

The interview with President Thurgood was good. The scripture covers! Yeah I knew last week I was forgetting something, but yes they fit and they`re awesome!! Thank you so much. It's nice to have scripture covers finally. I haven't gotten the ID card.

Cynthia is going to the capitol this week so we don't have a lesson with her until next Monday but Saturday in the morning we were able to stop by just for a few minutes and see how she was doing and if she read and prayed. She read a little but still hasn't prayed but she said she knows that what her boyfriend believes is good and she wants to learn more and perhaps in the future get baptized. So, I think when she returns and we can really start teaching her she`ll progress.

We don't have a baptism the 26th. Since our first lesson with that lady, Roxana, we haven't been able to have a lesson since.

But the good news is that we got a reference from a member and contacted him and he's super awesome. His name is Fabian Diaz and he's 19. He works in a Carniceria and lives alone. But he's really spiritual and wants to follow God and do the right. He went to institute with a girl once but with his work schedule it's hard. The good part is that he has Sundays off but just so happens that right now his boss is in Paraguay and left him in charge so for 2 weeks he has to work Sundays but after that he said he would come to church. We did begin teaching with him and read 2 Nephi 31:5, 9-10 and invited him to be baptized the 16th of August and he accepted! The bad news is that he won't be able to because of the attendance,  but we`ll set a new date with him. He's a super cool kid though. I feel like he's super prepared and ready to accept the Gospel. Also when we contacted him at his work, we did a contact with a lady buying meat who is Catholic but her niece and some family are Mormons and tonight we have a lesson with her.

The Hermana that doesn't understand the temple, we haven't been able to pass by much. She's older and so is her mom, and her dad is in bad health so they have to stay home taking care of him so it's almost impossible to come to church but we talked with the new Bishop and he said next week he's going to assign someone to take them the sacrament.

Also that's my blanket. Right before Elder Gonzalez got here, the mission gave us 500 pesos to buy a blanket if we wanted to. I'm not sure how I'll fit it when I leave but if I can I really want to take it, haha.

Also another change is that I'm District Leader (DL) again. One of the District Leaders got emergency transferred to an area to replace an Elder that went home, so my area and another area swapped districts and President Thurgood asked me to be DL. So my district is now Lanus 1A and Lanus 1B and El Faro. I have 4 Elders and 2 Hermanas. Not going to lie, it was a little more tranquilo not being DL and just being able to focus on training and our area but I enjoyed being DL at the same time because I learned a lot and liked the opportunity to serve. So it`ll be good. I hope all is well back home. Thanks for everything. Love you guys!

Elder McFarland

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Package!!!!

Monday, July 20, 2015

So this week was pretty interesting. There were lots of things going on. Three times this week we went over to Jesus´ house to help him fix it up and finish up two rooms but there's still a lot of work to be done. The good news is that Jesus and Maria are getting married August 5!! It's out of our area but I'm hopeful and pretty sure we should be able to go. It seems like after they get married, Maria and their baby will be living with Jesus if the house is done or not. Super awesome. I'm not sure what ended up happening yesterday, but Jesus didn't receive the priesthood. I'm not sure if the Bishopric just forgot or if something happened. I didn't have a chance to really ask or talk to Jesus about it but we have a lesson with them tomorrow. I think he should be getting it for sure next Sunday.

This week I think I ate something bad and my stomach was upset for a couple days but now it's fine. The good news is that in our mission we now get reimbursed after 300 pesos for vegetables and fruits. We get 1100 pesos a month so now it should hopefully be a little easier to eat healthier or that's the idea at least, haha.

This week we had to go to Burzaco for my tramites. Not really sure what happened but I renewed some form and now I just wait to receive my identification or something. I have no idea really but it's not a problem, haha.  It was awesome because Elder Durham (Elder McFarland's 1st companion) was there also that day with a companion and so we got to talk for a good while and I was grateful for that because it's probably the last time I see him in the mission since he goes home in 3 weeks. Then Friday my companion had to go to the capital for his visa or something so I spent the morning with another Elder.

So in terms of the work, it was somewhat hard because we had lots going on but we had some good lessons with some less actives. Really we have 0 progressing investigators so we are really focusing on finding new people and yesterday we received an answer to our prayers. We were doing visits with the Young Women's President to invite less active young men to an activity when a man and his mom waved to us. We were really confused but went to go talk to them and it turns out they are members who live in the capital and the man was there visiting his girlfriend. They were leaving the area but they gave us the address of his girlfriend so we went and contacted her and she let us in. Her name is Cynthia and she has an 8 year old son and a 9 month old baby and apparently her and her boyfriend, who waved to us and is a member, are getting married in November and then she`ll move to live with him. But for now she is living in a room with her kids in her parents house. We talked to her and her sister-in-law, Melissa, but she appeared to be a little less interested and left to attend something as we talked, but hopefully we can teach her too. Cynthia was a little more receptive. She has had a little contact with the Church over the years because of her boyfriend. She has gone to church a few times and had gone to some church activities but very little contact with missionaries, if at all. So, we talked to her to get to know her a little bit and talked about the Book of Mormon. We left her with the invitation to read 2 Nephi 31
and to pray to see if its true. We have another lesson Tuesday but we`re hopeful and excited and have faith that she`ll progress. Also this past week we received two references from members (I haven't received a reference since I've been here) and we are going to contact them this week. So this week we are really hoping to get the work going and work with new people.

This Wednesday we have interviews with President Thurgood, which should be really good. Oh also today, Elder Pribyl called me, haha. It was super, super weird to hear his voice but super awesome. I'm super excited to see him. I appears he is doing really well.

Also, I got your package!!! When we did tramites, we were in the offices and they gave it to me! I took a photo before I opened it. THANK YOU!! It was seriously so great getting a package, haha. I felt like a little kid at Christmas or that is was my birthday again opening something up.

I've already read the book (The Ultimate Missionary Companion by Ed J. Pinegar), but now I'm going to  go back and read it slower and study it in my free time. The socks will be such a nice replacement because I have quite a few with holes, haha. Also, the shoes are so nice, haha. I forgot what they looked like new (we sent the exact same pair that he left with), but I think I'm going to wear out the older pair for a little longer before I break in the new ones. Also, thank you for the tie clips especially the Argentina flag one. That one is sick. (Thanks Scott for the suggestion.)

And the Misison pins!! We got a Mission pin that are a little different from President Thurgood when the Mission split, but I have to find it. I can't remember where I put it, haha. But, it's great to have another one and also Elder Pribyl obviously never got one and my companion too so I gave one to my companion and I`ll give one to Elder Pribyl when I see him. Oh and the Air Heads and other candy!! haah. So good! Thank you! My companion loves the Air Heads. I haven't opened the other candy yet. I want to save it for a special moment, hahaha. And the card. The classic with the words hahah thank you. Needless to say it was awesome getting the package. I'm very grateful for it. Thank you! I'm glad you guys got to send one while I was on my mission and it was definitely needed, so thank you! Oh and the money!! I think I'm going to save it for a little while until I get closer to the end of my mission and then exchange it!!  Thanks for all the updates from home. I'm glad to hear things are going well. Thanks for everything. I love you guys so much! Miss you!

Elder McFarland

P.S. from Elder McFarland's Mom.
We have been asked not to send any packages because it is very expensive to pay the fees to pick them up and it takes a lot of time away from the work for the missionaries and there is a lot of theft.  But, we knew someone that served his mission in Argentina and was going back with his wife to visit and offered to take a package for us.  We were thrilled.  Thanks to the McPhies.

Monday, July 13, 2015

No iPads

Monday, July 13, 2015

Hola, Hola!

So yesterday Jesus and Maria had an interview with one of the members of the bishopric but I don't know yet if Jesus had the chance to be interviewed to receive the priesthood. Tomorrow we are going to help him fix up his house so I`ll find out more tomorrow. Either way, I hope he will be able to receive it next week. Also, they took out the papers to start the process of getting married, but I have no idea how longer until they fill it out and get married, but they are doing well. We haven't been able to talk to his friend yet though. I was disappointed because we were supposed to have a lesson with the old investigator Saturday but then she asked us to come Sunday, but then Sunday she canceled and said she was at a birthday, so now we rescheduled for Wednesday. So, we`ll see if she still has the interest and excitement to continue listening to us and prepare to be baptized. We didn't have a lesson with the less active mother and her father, but Tuesday we have a lesson with them.

This week was somewhat hard. Tuesday, Elder Gonzalez ate something bad and was sick for a day and the last couple days I've had a cold, so we haven't been 100% lately. But this week, I think should be a lot better. We have interviews on the 22nd so if the package gets dropped off before then I'm sure I'll receive it at the interviews. Elder Gonzalez speaks a little English but he isn't fluent or anything. Also, we are not getting iPads (a lot of missionaries in the United States now have iPads to use on their missions) and won't be getting iPads as far as I know. I've heard, although not sure if it is true, that President Thurgood was offered iPads but said no. Probably because in most of the areas, if not all of the areas, there is a huge risk of them getting stolen. It's not like the United States where you can leave it in the car or even if you don't have a car there is not a high chance of getting robbed. Every week there is at least one area that gets robbed. But it would be nice to have one,haha.

Anyways, I love you and thank you for everything! I`ll let you know when i get the package!

Elder McFarland

Monday, July 6, 2015

New Companion - Elder Gonzalez

Monday, July 6, 2015

Hola! So yes, my new companion is from Chile.  His name is Elder Gonzalez and he's from Viña del Mar. He's 18 but straight up looks like hes 15, haha, But he's a stud. He's super, super excited to be out on the mission and in the field and just wants to work, work, work so I'm pretty stoked to be with him.

I know I'm going to learn a lot from him. His family are all members of the church and he has just one sister who is 16. We got to the mission home and there were 4 Americans and 11 Latinos and out of the 4 Americans only 2 were Elders and I was really hoping I wouldn't get one of them, haha so I was pretty happy to get a Latino.

This week was pretty great. I had some of the best lessons of my mission this past week with him. Just feeling and being led by the Spirit in the lessons. We met an inactive mom and her son and tonight we have a FHE (Family Home Evening) with them. Then we had a lesson with an inactive hermana who doesn't understand the endowment. She doesn't feel the desire or need to go to the temple. For her, in the bible Christ was baptized and so she was baptized and so that's all she needs. After saying that, a hermano from the ward that was with us started going off on her and there started to be some contention and both Elder Gonzalez and I started to worry it would get out of hand and end really bad.  Then we stepped in and were able to listen to her and then Elder Gonzalez and I both felt like we were really led by the Spirit to know what to say to her.  We just expressed our love for her and not judge her doubts about the endowment. Instead we talked about how everyone, at one time or another, has or has had doubts or questions and that it was the question of Joseph Smith about which church was true that led to the restoration of the Gospel. We talked to her and told her she has an opportunity to let this doubt or question help her grow spiritually. That she can pray and ask Heavenly Father to see if it's necessary to go to the temple. For her to be true to what she does believe and know to be true while she works out for herself and finds out for herself the answer. We`ll see what happens with the hermana, but in the end, the Spirit was brought back into the room and it ended on a good note, instead of perhaps really bad, with this hermana.

Also, last night we had a lesson with a woman that was an old investigator. We got to know her and talked about the church and Book of Mormon and in the end it was a really, really good lesson and she accepted an invitation to be baptized July 26th. It's going to be a little hard because she can only meet with us on the weekends.

Jesus and Maria are doing well. Sunday they were confirmed (a member of the Church) and received the gift of the Holy Ghost from the Stake President who lives in our ward. When Jesus was confirmed, he invited me to join, which was special. In the afternoon, we had a lesson with them. I'm hoping Jesus can talk to Bishop by next week and then the week after receive the Priesthood. Also earlier in the week, Jesus brought a friend of his and we talked to him and he said he would come to church and the lesson in the afternoon but he didn't come to either. But hopefully we can talk and teach him again this week.

I didn't celebrate the 4th of July at all, but I was okay.  On Saturday during the game (the men's Copa America finals - Argentina vs Chile) we studied and then left thinking it was over but then found out it was in extra time and then went to penalty kicks.  Then a dude from his house started swearing and going off and it became obvious Argentina lost, haha. It was crazy though during the last part of the game, there was literally no one in the streets and then two minutes after they lost it was like life resumed and the streets were full again, haha. That's good that you guys celebrated the 4th of July and got to go out a little bit (Merrill & Kathy went to Sacramento and spent the night on an old riverboat that is docked and a hotel). Also cool to hear the US Women's soccer team won (the World Cup). Anyways, I  miss you guys lots and love you!

Elder McFarland

Monday, June 29, 2015

Jesus & Marie Get Baptized (P.S. - I'm Staying in Buenos Aires South - And Training)

June 29, 2015

So, I'm staying in Parque Baron! Elder Ventura got transferred to La Plata Este (East) and will be in the other mission (the new Buenos Aires East Mission) so that kind of sucks. And I'm going to be training! I am no longer a District Leader, just training. I'm pretty excited but also nervous to train. For my Spanish, I hope he's Latino haha. Also right after I found out I was going to be training, I had the feeling or impression that I was going to have a difficult time with him. Not sure if we won't get along, or if he`ll have a hard time adjusting and missing home or what, but I had the feeling that it`ll be hard but we`ll see what happens. I'm excited though because one of the reasons I enjoyed being District Leader was the opportunity to serve the other missionaries and help them. Especially two Elders that I wanted to help. Being the District Leader of those Elders gave me a grand desire to help them reach their potential as missionaries. So now I'm excited to be able to do that but perhaps more fully with my hijo (son - a term used for the one you are training). I'll have a chance to kind of set the stage for the rest of his mission.  I can help him from the start to be obedient and develop good habits. As I'm training him, I really want to be able to search and find the gifts and talents that he has and to help him recognize them so he can develop and use them to be the missionary God wants him to be.  I want to help him realize the potential he has as a missionary and put him on the path to achieve that and be the best missionary he can be. I know Elder Durham helped me a lot when he was training me so I hope I can be of help to the Elder I'm  going to be training. Today I'm with another Elder that is going to train.  He served in Parque Baron a couple months ago. Then tomorrow at 3:30 we have to be in the stake center and then from there we go to the mission home to receive our new companions.

Yes, all went well with Jesus, so Maria and him were baptized yesterday!!

It was raining almost all day but it was really great. Leandro, the friend of Jesus baptized both of them. Maria's Mom came to the baptism so we`ll see if we can start teaching her. But they are great and are going to be great members.

Yeah, officially Elder Pribyl is in Buenos Aires Sur (South) with me so I'm sure one day I`ll see him and maybe even the same zone or district! Pretty Nuts!

We haven't been able to work with the ward much.  We need to start visiting the leaders. We made a goal of perhaps having a FHE (Family Home Evening) with the members once a week, starting with the leaders and having them invite a non-member. Yesterday we did divisiones (splits)with the Bishop and Stake President, who lives in our ward and visited some less actives and it was good. We received a reference from the mission office so we`ll see what happens.

Thank you for everything. I love you lots!!

Elder McFarland

Monday, June 22, 2015

Happy Father's Day

June 22, 2015


This week was pretty good. Wednesday we had the pre-interview with Jesus and Maria and to be honest we were pleasantly surprised with Maria.  As we did the pre-interview, we realized that she was ready and that she understands - perhaps not a perfect knowledge, but she has a strong desire and faith and we could see her sincerity. Thursday the zone leaders came and did the interviews. Maria was fine but they told us that Jesus would have to talk to President Thurgood or one of his counselors, so today at 6 he has an interview with President Pittito, one of Presidents counselors. We are hopeful that all will go well today and he will be able to get baptized this next week.  Either way though, Maria wants to get baptized, so she`ll get baptized for sure this Sunday.  Other than Jesus and Maria, we still don’t have too much. We were talking this morning and realized we need to start finding new investigators and working with new people because after 5 weeks it’s really been the same people. So, we talked about what we could do and so this week I think we are going to try to start finding new people and focusing on those that are going to progress.

I don’t really know the details about my Visa, I just know that if I don’t get my identification card by June 2th I will have to go do tramites again.  I really don’t know what that means but I don’t really think it’s a big deal.  I have heard of others that have a year or year and a half or more and still haven’t gotten theirs.

Thanks for everything and for your support and love.  Sorry I didn’t get a Father’s Day email to you Dad, but Happy Father’s Day!!  I hope you had a great day. It was the same here.  This Sunday was Father’s Day so we actually had a hard time having lessons.  I miss you both lots. I love you!

Elder McFarland

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Familia Esquivel

Monday, June 8, 2015

Hola Hola!

This week was alright. So yeah we went back to the capital to the Bolivia consulate Tuesday morning and finished the paperwork (for his companion) there but I think we`ll have to go back to Burzaco one day this week to finish the tramites. Also apparently I haven't gotten my visa or I don't really know exactly but apparently if I don't get something by June 29th I'll have to go do my tramites again.

Jesus and Maria are doing well. They both came to church yesterday.  Jesus fasted and is paying tithing even though he isn't a member yet and yesterday he bore his testimony. Today we had a lesson with them so that we can finish teaching them before June 20th. I think he`ll be ready but Maria may take a little longer. She doesn't say much and she's not really one that is good at expressing her emotions or thoughts and so it's hard to tell if she's having a hard time understanding or if she just can't express it very well. So I'm a little worried about that. We had a couple other baptismal dates but we passed by like three times this week and their family says that they aren't there but we are pretty sure they`re lying.

Pretty cool, we had an intercambio this last week from the Elders from Banfield 4th ward and my companion and another Elder were here in Parque Baron.and they had a lesson with an inactive family.  The parents of a recent convert that just left on his mission before I arrived in the area and was actually the Ward Mission Leader before he left - the familia Esquivel. So my companion and the other Elder went and had a really good lesson with Hermano and Hermana Esquivel and they said they`d come to church and they did! So that was super awesome. Hopefully they can keep coming. Other than that, we have quite a few investigators but none that are progressing. I think we need to work hard on finding new people.

This Friday we have our Zone Conference so I'm pretty stoked for that. Also that's kind of funny that you`re teaching priesthood next week Dad on flooding the earth with the Book of Mormon because this week in the district reunion I'm going to teach about chapter 5 from PMG (Preach My Gospel) that's about the Book of Mormon. A few months ago President gave us 15 minutes extra in personal and companionship study to study a chapter from PMG every month so this month it's chapter 5. So I gave out some assignments to all the Elders to teach parts of the chapter. I'm still not exactly sure what I'm going to do.  I want to do an activity or practice but I'm not sure what yet.

And Mom, the mission used to sell scripture cases but they stopped and apparently there's a hermana that makes them but I haven't been able to get a hold of her and I heard she's really slow. So before I leave my mission I still want to  buy the scripture covers like the photo you sent but I was looking for something I could just use now, but if you can't find any that's okay. Also I was thinking of a couple other things you guys could send if you want :) I lost my tie clip that Scott gave me as a gift so I don't have a tie clip so if you could send me one; the color or details don't matter - black or silver and that's fine with me. Also a book called The  Ultimate Missionary Companion. And finally, if you could find something that would help me study Spanish it would help if it wasn't that big.  I'm not looking for a huge book or textbook but I'm not sure, perhaps something on the smaller side that could help. I know its not very specific but if you found something that could be of help that wouldn't add to much to what I already have. If not don't worry about it. Thank you for everything! I miss and love you!


Elder McFarland

Monday, June 1, 2015

A Trip to Burzaco & The Capital

Monday, June 1, 2015

Sorry I'm emailing so late. It's been a kind of crazy day. So Friday, we went to Burzaco to do tramites for Elder Ventura's visa but then found out we`d have to go to the capital sometime to finish it. On Sunday we found out that today we`d be going to the capital. So in the morning we went to the offices and with two other Hermanas took a remis (a hired driver with his car) to the capital, which was like an hour. When we get to the Bolivian consulate, they tell us that they give out numbers from 8-8:30. So tomorrow we will have to leave from the mission offices at 5 in the morning to get to the consulate at like 6 to get a good ticket. So tonight we are staying with the Elders that are in charge of doing the visas, so that's why we are emailing so late. Today we didn't even have a p-day and actually missed our zone activity because of it. We were pretty bummed and a little annoyed because now we are going to miss the zone meeting tomorrow too... but it’s okay.

This week was pretty good. We got three new investigators and from those 3 we set two baptismal dates. But with all three we still aren't really sure how much they understood and how much they`ll progress. One is a woman that used and sold drugs and was in prison for a couple years and when we were talking with her she kept repeating herself like she has a really bad memory and she can’t sleep either. The other two are a middle aged man and his mom that live together and they are good people but not sure if they understood anything. So we`ll find out more this week.

Jesus and Maria told us that getting married is a goal but that they aren't prepared. When we asked why their main concerns were having a place to live, because right now they live separately, and also they feel young, which they are. So we talked with them about it for a while and it appears like their decision is to keep the law of chastity for now and get baptized June 20th, at least Jesus, Maria might be a little longer and when they are ready, get married.

We passed by Daisy's but she was ¨sleeping¨ so we haven't been able to talk with her. The ward council seems to meet irregularly here and they don't invite us anyways. Also right now we don't have a Ward Mission Leader because the last one left on his mission a few weeks ago.

Mom, yeah the ones (shoes) we bought are fine. They are size 10. Also, I was thinking if you guys could send me scripture cases but not like the one I have for my English scriptures with a handle to carry around. I want scripture cases that are for the triple combination and the Bible separately that I can then put in my bag. Not sure if that made sense. Also if you buy some make sure it's the size for Spanish because the Spanish scriptures are bigger. Also maybe if there's a mini Spanish Book of Mormon like the military size Book of Mormon in English. (We have a friend that is going to Argentina & have offered to take a package to Elder McFarland for us, so we asked what he wanted.)

That's cool you got a new job Mom. It sounds pretty good so you`ll have to update me on how you like it. Love you guys and talk to you next week.

Elder McFarland