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

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