Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Purpose Of The Gospel...

Hola Hola!

So this week was super busy with pensions and visas and we didn’t get to proselyte at all this week which was a huge bummer. Hopefully tomorrow afternoon we’ll have some time. Apparently a member family talked to the sister missionaries in our ward and asked them to ask us if we could teach their son who’s getting baptized in a couple weeks. To be honest, I’m not even sure which members they are which is pretty sad. I think the boy is 8 years old but the family apparently would still like us to teach him and apparently the boy chose us so I think we are going to talk to the family tomorrow and try to arrange a few visits to teach their son. So even though it’s not an investigator, we are pretty excited to teach someone, ha-ha, and hopefully we can use this to strengthen our relationship with the members and find others to teach. So the potato bar last Monday was super good. I think Hermana Mitchell made this gravy which was delicious.

This next week is going to be even busier. I’ll have tramites Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Thursday, I’ll be going to Capital with Elder Nixon to go to the US Consulate at 8 am. We’ll probably have to leave here in a taxi early in the morning. Then Wednesday is when Elder Bednar comes. We have to be in a capilla in Caballito, which is in capital I think, at 8 am and it’ll start at 9 am. All of the missionaries are meeting up at the stake centers and each zone is taking a bus to Caballito. Ours leaves at 6:15 am so we have to be at the stake center, which is our chapel, lucky us, ha-ha, at 5:45 am. Elder Bednar has asked us to read three talks to prepare for the meeting. Between the 4 missions there should be some 800 or 900 missionaries there I believe. It’s unlikely we’ll be able to shake hands with Elder Bednar like we did with President Nelson. I’m super excited though. It should be great.

So the good news is that Thursday I got a few cartas de culto from the area, which means that more should be coming. I emailed them asking about mine and other cartas that we need urgently and they told me we should be getting them in about 2 weeks or so. So there’s still hope for me to become legal! Ha-ha.

As for transfers, I still have no idea. It’s obvious President Thurgood would like to have me leave the office and work my last two transfers, but I don’t know what’ll happen. At this point I highly doubt I’d train an Elder to replace me before the transfer. The medinas are definitely not ready to take over. An option we talked about is that I could train Elder Tobler, who’s one of the registradores, so that he could continue to train the Medinas.  I’m not sure what’ll happen. I would prefer to leave and be able to proselyte but at the same time I think it might be best that I stay one more transfer to help the Medinas or train someone else. So whatever happens, I’ll be fine I suppose. Although it is getting hard again not being able to teach and proselyte. In the beginning it was real hard with the sudden change, but then I kind of got used to it and was busy working but now I’m missing teaching and proselyting again and I just thought we’d have more time to proselyte but we haven’t. Things continue to be hard with the Medinas though. I just don’t spend enough time with them to be able to sit down and train them. It’s hard for them to learn fast and remember everything. Elder Medina is very focused with the pensionero aspect of it and that has also complicated things. In the end, I think it’s becoming apparent that the vision President Thurgood had and hoped for, of having the Medinas take over the pensions and visas, isn’t feasible. The nature of the assignment is set up where Elder Ginatto gets a ton of calls constantly, from real estate agents, from workers, from missionaries and he gets those calls almost 24/7. So for the Medinas to be able to direct the efforts and be on top of everything they would have to be receiving those calls, but they are just not in a position, as a senior couple, to be receiving calls 24/7 and be working full time, including the weekends and late at night or early in the mornings. At that point the missionary would continue to be informed directly of everything and he’d have to relay that information to the Medinas, which we are doing right now. President Thurgood’s view was to go directly to the Medinas, and when necessary they could tell us what needed to be done, but we just don’t see that being a possibility.  I think this next week we might talk again with President Thurgood and just try to figure out what their role will be in the office and then work towards that. With all that going on, things are going well.

With the busy schedule, time is flying by which kind of scares me. Hermana Mitchell gives me a list of the next three transfers with the missionaries that are arriving and the missionaries that are going home. The list I had previously just went up until April’s transfer, but this last week she gave me the new one and now my name is on it... yeah I didn’t handle that so well. It’s made even worse because with my assignment I interact a lot with the new missionaries that just arrived and when I take them to do tramites and they ask me how much time I have left and then they follow up with their response commenting about how little time I have left, it is hard. Anyways, I’m trying to make the best of it and enjoy it and as they say in sports "to leave it all on the field" or like Elder Holland said I want you guys to have to come pick me up at the airport with a stretcher. I realized if I had my family with me, I could just continue this life forever. Not to say I’m not excited to return and see you and friends and to continue my schooling among other things, but at this point I kind of just feel like I was born in the mission and that this is my life ha-ha. I don’t need much more, other than my family.

I know I’ll enjoy watching movies, listening to music, going out and doing things after my mission, but on the mission one realizes how insignificant all those other things are.  I think about before the mission and how absorbed I was with my cell phone ha-ha. It was kind of pathetic I realize now. I mean, I guess the Stars Wars movie came out and I was like, ehh, that’s cool. The new Batman vs. Superman movie is coming out, I don’t know when, and I’ll definitely watch it after my mission and I’m sure it’ll be great but right now it’s just like, ehh, not really important; don’t really care, ha-ha. The other day when you guys emailed me telling me it was the Super Bowl that day, I literally had no idea. I had completely forgotten that the Super Bowl was coming up. It’s just amazing how on the mission one comes to realize how much temporal and material things can become a distraction in our lives and how insignificant they truly are. Not to sound like a fanatic or anything, like I said, I’m sure I’ll love and enjoy all those things after my mission, but I also hope in a much more moderated way. In the mission it’s so easy to always remember the reason why we are here on the earth. It’s what the mission is all about. It’s one of the messages we share, and I love it because I feel like "in the real world" it’s so easy to forget that important truth. We can get so caught up in the things of everyday life or overly obsessed with material possessions or entertainment.

I guess my theme and invitation is that we need to always keep in mind the true reason we are here on the earth and the purpose of mortality and to make any needed corrections in our lives, to keep our focus maintained on the end goal, eternal life and exaltation; that we can find moderation in all things, and always make time for the things of greatest worth; things that will help us fulfill the measure of our creation and become more like our Savior and our Heavenly Father. I hope you guys have a great week. I love and miss you guys!!

Elder McFarland

PS. Here is a quote I just found from Elder Bednar. “The grand objective of the Savior’s gospel was summarized succinctly by President David O. McKay (1873–1970): “The purpose of the gospel is … to make bad men good and good men better, and to change human nature.”(April 1954 conference). Thus, the journey of mortality is to progress from bad to good to better and to experience the mighty change of heart—to have our fallen natures changed (see Mosiah 5:2).”

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