Saturday, February 13, 2016

I'm Starting To Smell

Hola Hola!

So yes I’m writing today. Sorry I didn’t really give you a heads up. It’s kind of hard in the offices. I think from now on though we’ll really will try to do emailing on Saturdays unless something comes up. Don’t worry about responding. I’ll still be in the offices for at least a little bit for lunch and after tomorrow so I’ll just get on real quick tomorrow to read your responses and maybe answer any little questions you guys might have but I’ll plan on doing my weekly letter right now.

So time continues to fly by and it’s kind of scaring me. It’s slowly setting in that I’m one of the oldest missionaries in the mission now - which I don’t like. Other missionaries have begun making comments about how little time I have left and how I’m starting to smell (a reference to missionary slang about missionaries dying). I’m like DUDES calm down. I still have lots of time left, ha-ha.

Writing this, I was just reminded of a message from President Uchtdorf in the July 2012 Liahona ¨always in the middle” he said speaking of missionaries ¨Whether they just arrived the day before or are to depart for home the day after, I ask them to think of themselves as always being in the middle....Thinking of themselves as always being in the middle of their missions will embolden and energize these faithful representatives of the Lord. As it is with full-time missionaries, so it is with all of us.¨ So perhaps one goal of mine is to keep the mentality that I’m in the middle of my mission.

I do not know what will happen this next transfer. President Thurgood sounds like he would like to get me back in the field for my last two transfers but the Medinas will not be ready to take over, which means I would have to start training someone very soon or the idea was thrown out of briefly training one of the registadores so they could continue training the Medinas. We´ll see what happens. I’m just trying to keep the mindset that whatever happens is what the Lord wants and I’ll make the best of it.

The other night we got out for about an hour. Before leaving we made a quick plan to stop by the contact’s house and then pass by three members we picked out of the ward list. When we got to Martin´s (the contact) house, he wasn’t there so we continued with our plan heading to the first member’s home. After not walking more than just a few houses, we saw a lady sitting on the sidewalk in front of her home and had the impression to talk to her. We introduced ourselves and began talking to her. The conversation pretty much ended up being a 40 minute lesson. Her name is Rosa, and she’s an older woman, probably in her high 60’s or low 70’s. She told us about herself and we taught some gospel principles, mostly about the plan of salvation. She’s has had difficulty with her family and seems like her living situation isn’t the best with her daughter and son I believe. It was pretty amazing though. We started the conversation standing up but then as we continued to talk my companion and I sat down on the grass besides her. I was just filled with so much love for her. I try to love all the people here and in the end I come to love everyone I come in contact with, but I remember only a few other times when such a powerful and genuine love came over me so rapidly for someone I didn’t even know. She felt the Spirit, no doubt and enjoyed our discussion and the things we testified of. Even though she has been praying for exactly what the Gospel of Jesus Christ offers, she told us that right now she isn’t ready to talk to us. She just doesn’t feel the sincere desire. I told her we wouldn’t give up and would continue passing by every now and then and we could continue to share some things even if it was outside her house again, until she had the desire. So for now there was no immediate commitment but I really do have hope and faith that us or missionaries later on will teach her and she´ll accept the restored Gospel in her life. It just made me grateful for some of the gifts of the Spirit; for the ability to feel even just a small portion of the love that our Heavenly Father has for His children.

So February 24th Elder Bednar is coming to speak to us!!! Like I said, all four of the Buenos Aires missions will be getting together in a church in Capital for it. We found out this week that the meeting with Elder Bednar will also be broadcast to all the missions in the South America South Area, so we feel really blessed to be the missionaries that´ll be able to listen and watch him live.

This last week was our zone conference and it was great. We went over the world wide missionary training from January and focused on the same theme of teaching repentance and baptizing converts. The baptisms in the mission are starting to increase again and we are trying to build off that by not only baptizing more but retaining more as well.

Monday, we are going to have another dinner with all the office staff, which would be us, the registradores, the assistants, the Mitchells, and President and Sister Thurgood. Whether it was done before or not I don’t know but when Elder Spitale came a few months ago he said it might be a good thing to do every once in a while. So Monday at 6:00 p.m. we´re going to do a potatoes bar in the offices, ha-ha’ Sounds pretty awesome. It is really one of the biggest blessings of working in the office - being able to have close interactions with President and Sister Thurgood as well as the Mitchells. We see President Thurgood fairly regularly. Elder Ginatto and I talked to him for about an hour last Monday about the ongoing transition with the Medinas. It seems to slowly be getting better, I think. Honestly, one of the best parts of being in the offices is the Mitchells. They are seriously the best. Elder Mitchell is great and really intelligent and helps us a lot. He also balls pretty hard, ha-ha. We´ve played basketball with him out back a few times and man despite his age he can still keep up. Hermana Mitchell is just kind of like the grandma of the office elders. She’s really funny and goofy and adds a nice balance to the work environment, ha-ha. She always jokes that if President Thurgood (who is her brother-in-law) worked in the mission offices more that she´d have to straighten up, ha-ha. But she keeps us from getting too comfortable with her around because every now and then she´ll call us out and drop the cane a little bit about the kitchen. She and Hermana Thurgood are known for being super clean, so whenever the kitchen isn’t spotless and if the trash isn’t taken out, she has no mercy, ha-ha. They´re great though and it’s been just awesome getting to know them and spending time with them. They help us a lot, both with the work and balancing everything. I think I’ll definitely be visiting them once in a while when I’m out at BYU since they live like 45 minutes away from Provo, I think.

So this week I’m going to be taking Elder Nixon to the US consulate in Capital to correct his FBI criminal record! The downside, only Elder Nixon will be able to enter so I’m not going to the States after all... ;( Two of the area workers that we communicate with just went on vacation for the rest of the month. There’s two people working in their place but hopefully things go smoothly and I can get those cartas de culto fast. Well, I guess that’s it for now. I feel like I was going to include something else. I´ll check my email tomorrow so don’t worry. I love you guys!

Elder McFarland

P.S. Yesterday, Elder Ginatto completed 1 year in the mission so we celebrated last night by eating ice cream, ha-ha. Here are some pictures.

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