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