Monday, March 28, 2016

Intercambio with Elder Pribyl and the Big Pizza

As we were walking to cyber in Monte Grande, for some reason there's just like an old Argentine fighter jet chillin in the middle of a round about...ha-ha, pretty sick.

Hola! Hola!

So this week started out kind of rough. We weren’t seeing a lot of success and results from our work, but we finished the week with lots of blessings! We had interviews this week and it was great as always being able to talk to President Thurgood. Turns out it wasn’t my last interview. Normally we switch off every other transfer between interviews and zone conferences, but next transfer President Thurgood is going to have interviews again and then in June before he leaves he’s going to end with zone conferences. So I won’t have another zone conference :( but I’ll have another interview! Elder Bravo and I reviewed the agendas and the area books at the interviews, the same thing Elder Almeida and I did.

After we finished we did intercambios with the Assistants and I stayed in 9 de Abril with Elder Pribyl. It was a super awesome and edifying intercambio. We left in the afternoon, heading late to a lesson we had set with an old investigator we had found a couple days before. As we were walking, Elder Pribyl felt impressed to talk to a family that was sitting on the sidewalk outside their home. So we contacted them and asked if we could share a short message and they said yes so Elder Pribyl sat right down on the sidewalk and began teaching. It was awesome ha-ha. So we sat down on the sidewalk, started talking to them, said a prayer and taught the restoration. It was a man, Jose, who’s probably in his late 20s or early 30s with his wife and his mom. They were super receptive and accepted a baptismal invitation for April 23. Dora, the mom, committed to come to church and we offered to walk with her.

On Sunday, we first went to look for another investigator and then when we passed by Dora’s house to get her, her daughter-in-law said she had already left for church. When we got to church, she was outside!! So we took her in with us and she stayed for all three hours. Then in the afternoon, we went back to their house to teach them. They hadn’t read the Book of Mormon so we read the introduction and talked a little about it and they had some pretty good questions. Jose asked about the Holy Ghost and what or who it is. Dora asked why only the men hold the priesthood. Also, we had to clarify with Jose that Jehovah is Jesus Christ, not God the Father. The whole time, as we responded to their questions, they were super receptive and would say “oh, now I get it or now I understand¨ and then we would repeat what they had learned and understood from our answers. Elder Bravo and I were both kind of nervous as we responded. Personally, in a lesson, that was a first time someone’s asked me why only men hold the priesthood. Also, I was worried about clarifying that Jehovah is Jesus Christ because I was worried Jose would get offended. But they were super open. Jose said he’s really open to learn and he believes there’s one true church and wants to find. He wants to know but doesn’t know how he`ll know and ask us how he’ll know. We also taught them about having a family prayer since they just pray individually, faa.

Elder Pribyl and I were super pumped to find them and again yesterday Elder Bravo and I were super excited after the lesson seeing how prepared and receptive they have been. I think about what would have happened if Elder Pribyl hadn’t opened his mouth in that moment? Or what if we had said to ourselves that we were heading late to a lesson that had been planned and had just contacted them and left them with a pass along card? At the very least, in the short term, this family would not have been introduced to the restored gospel and wouldn’t now be on a path leading them to receive the saving ordinance of baptism. Sometimes in life we have our plans, and we should have our plans because having plans and goals is an act of faith and helps us have direction. But, we must also be humble enough to submit ourselves to His will and His plans so that when directed, we will be willing to deviate from our original plans or goals that we have set in order to achieve and carry out His will.  His will and His plans are not only always better than own, but they are perfect. I’m grateful Elder Pribyl had the faith to trust in the promptings of the Spirit, to talk to this family and then to teach them in the moment, because if not we would not have found them.

So the intercambio with Elder Pribyl was great. He’s a great missionary and will be a great Assistant. Another highlight of the week is that besides having Dora come to church, we had another investigator, Dani, come to church. His son is a member and it’s been like three years since Dani has gone to church. About two weeks ago, a member told us about a convert he had baptized when he had served here but then went inactive. So this week we contacted this man, Juan Carlos, and he came to church too and has an interview with the Bishop on Wednesday!! faa.

It’s been an awesome week! Today we have our District activity and this week we have consejo de liderazgo (leadership council) with all the Zone Leaders.

Oh and happy late Easter!! Elder Bravo and I got our packages this week! Thank you!!! Elder Bravo says thank you very much!!

I hope you guys have a great week!

Elder McFarland

 On the intercambio with Elder Pribyl, we bought a HUGE pizza for dinner.  Take a look... it was so big that the box wouldn't even fit in our fridge.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Super Short

Hola, Hola!

This week was really great! Although I’ve been kind of sick the last couple days with a cold, but the work is going great. We still don’t have any investigators progressing though.

This week we have interviews. It’ll be my last one until my exit interview... and after the interviews we have intercambios with the assistants, so I’m going to be with Elder Pribyl in 9 de Abril!! ha-ha. We are super stoked. It’ll be awesome to work together for a day in the mission field, proselyting. I definitely never expected that!

That’s great to hear about the new mission calls, tell them congrats for me!! Well this is super short but I hope you guys have a great week!!

Monday, March 14, 2016

It Is Good To Be Back

Hola Hola!

So it was awesome - first week back in 9 de Abril!! It has been so great being back in the field, working in the streets and teaching the gospel. Perhaps being in the offices helped me appreciate the time I have left as a missionary. I was so worried and sad when I first got the call to go to the offices that my proselyting mission was over and it hurt. At the beginning I really didn’t think I’d get back out teaching and working like a “normal” missionary, so it is a huge blessing to be back at “work”. I’ve found coming back in the field, from the offices, that I’m a lot more direct and bold talking with the people. I feel like I’ve found a better balance of the same time being able to convey the love that God has for them.

Right now we have a handful of investigators and we found a bunch of new ones this last week. Up until now, none are progressing. We found an awesome young couple the other day. We walked by their house and they were outside drinking mate with their young son and we felt we should return and talk to them, so we did. They ended up letting us in and we were able to teach them. Nahuel and Daiana are their names and they are 24 and 22 respectively with a 6 year old daughter and 5 year old son. They have had problems in their relationship and just 3 weeks ago got back together after being separated for some time. We found them on Saturday and taught them and they said they’d come to church. We offered to come get them at their house and walk with them to church but they politely declined. In the end, they didn’t show up so that was a bummer but they did say that they had a commitment later that day. We are hopeful because they have a ton of potential, especially right now in their lives. We are hoping to be able to take Brenda and Junior with us to a leccion (lesson) because we think they’d be able to help them out a lot.

It was also super special seeing everyone again. Pretty much everyone remembered me. A few of the members from the other half of the ward boundaries recognized me but had forgotten I had served in the ward ha-ha. But yeah, everyone was kind of confused and at first thought maybe I was in a nearby area and just there on an intercambio. Definitely been special being back and seeing everyone, especially after not being able to say goodbye. If I stay for another transfer and finish up here, which I’m almost sure I will, it’ll definitely be hard to say goodbye.

Being with Elder Bravo has also been super great. He’s an awesome missionary and we’ve been working super hard. We get along great and he’s a great guy so I’m super pumped for this transfer and I’ll be happy if I finish up with him.

The Lunas are doing great. Hermano Luna still feels great pain and grief with the loss of his wife and obviously still misses her greatly but he’s continuing on with great faith. Still working hard as Ward Mission Leader. He works as a temple worker and is just a great man.

I did end up going to the offices last week, twice actually. Poor Elder Ward. It’s been pretty much a whitewash for him. With the Medinas, I never got the chance to really teach and train them well, since I didn’t work in the office often, and they haven’t really been able to help Elder Ward out at all so far with what they did learn. He came in and went over some notes I left, but was pretty lost.  I went in twice and helped him out. I think he’s pretty much set, but I’m going to go with him for the first time he does tramites. It was kind of interesting because I was wondering how being back in the field would be. Because honestly I had kind of forgotten what it was like to proselyte all day, ha-ha, but we got to work and it feels so normal and so great. At this point, like I mentioned a little last week, now I kind of don’t remember what the office is like, ha-ha.

So yeah we are also working with the Easter initiative a lot. We got the pass along cards and we started using those yesterday. I haven’t gotten a chance to see the video yet though, but I’m excited.

Well I guess that’s it for now. I hope you guys have a great week. Thank you for the words of encouragement and for everything! I’m always excited to hear how everyone is doing and seeing the blessings, not only here, but back at home too. Miss you.

Elder McFarland

P.S. Good news!!! So Elder Ward just called me and my carta de culto came today! That’s the document I was missing and have had trouble with, so today my new one came and now tomorrow we are going to go to migraciones, so hopefully they won’t deport me now!! Ha-ha. But really, hopefully now I can do my tramites and it`ll all go smoothly this time. I’ll keep you guys updated!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Goodbye Office, Hello 9 de Abril (Take 2)


So I’m currently in 9 de Abril sitting in a cyber, ha-ha. So Elder Bravo and I got back to our pension around 12 so we went to buy a few things to make lunch and he cooked while I started to unpack. After emailing we`ll go buy groceries for the week and then head back to the pension to finish unpacking and clean. Tonight sounds like we`ll pass by a contact they did yesterday and then at 7:30 p.m. we have a Family Home Evening (FHE) with the Lunas. Hermano Luna, if you remember, is the Ward Mission Leader whose wife passed away like two months before I got to 9 de Abril the first time, so I’m pumped to see them again. I’m also excited because things seem to be going well for the most part here. Junior and Brenda (if you don’t remember, Junior is a member and his wife, Brenda, got baptized when I was here with Elder Almeida) still seem to be going strong. Clara Sanchez, who we taught and got baptized and whose parents are members seems to be going to church still and her parents got sealed before they were inactive before. But apparently there’s a guy going around in the area of Monte Grande talking to missionaries and members and saying dumb things and asking them stupid questions like ¨Did you know Joseph Smith did such and such¨ and seems to be sharing anti-Mormon stuff. Well anyways, he’s made his way around and has talked to several of the missionaries in the zone and apparently talked to one of Elder Almeida’s converts here in 9 de Abril and just wrecked his faith. He was a recent convert who was going strong, got the priesthood, was sharing the gospel, and I think just before I left got a calling. But I guess this guy went over and talked to him and now the recent convert doesn’t want anything to do with the church. I don’t know who this guy is but if Elder Bravo and I come across him we`re going to go Alma and Amulek on him. Other than that, things seem to be rolling along well here.

So it’s a little weird being back, ha-ha. It’s weird because only though I’ve been back for a couple hours, it already feels kind of normal to be back and the offices, I feel like will very soon feel like a dream. Which makes me nervous for a couple months... it’s great though at the same time I feel like I can just jump right back in and get to work. I know the area pretty well still, I know the members, so now Elder Bravo and I can just get right to it. Elder Bravo seems like a really great guy and a great missionary, so I’m really excited.

And while I’m definitely happy to be back in the field working in 9 de Abril, I’m very grateful for the time I had in the offices. It was hard at first, and really the whole time - really just feeling a lot of the time it was more like a job than a mission. But it provided me with some great experiences and opportunities and I also learned lots. I also got to know the Mitchells and the Thurgoods a little bit better. I will miss that but I’m sure I’ll stay in contact with them. It`ll definitely be interesting to see what happens. We`ll see later on if my time in the offices has an impact on my career choice. But I feel that being in the offices and the change directly and indirectly helped me increase my faith and trust in the Lord. With the unexpected changes along with personal experiences in that time, I’ve come to trust my Heavenly Father a lot more. While I’ll be the first to admit my faith and trust is not perfect and I still have lots of room for improvement,  I’ve grown a lot in that aspect. I feel like I’ve learned much about putting the Lord first in all things and trusting in Him. Hopefully now that trust and faith will only grow. And hopefully now and after the mission it will help me to be able to better recognize and follow the promptings of the Spirit.

So yes I’m in the same pension as before, even the same bed, desk and closet, ha-ha. Elder Ward, who was in Ezeiza, is now doing the Visas and the poor guy, we`ll see how it goes but I didn’t get to train him and I’m not sure how much the Medinas will be able to help. I tried my best to leave some Power Points and some notes for him to go off of but I might have to return to the offices one day this week or soon to help him out and explain everything. That’s an interesting comment about reading my journal and seeing what I wrote and felt at that time and see the differences now. I hadn’t thought of that and will have to do that. Well I suppose that’s all for now. I hope you have a great week. Miss you!

Elder McFarland

Elder McFarland & Elder Ginatto
at the beginning of the last transfer at the end of January.

It was funny because we got along great and we joked around in the offices and the day before this we heard on the capital tour that in the cemetery there's a statue of a wife whose husband died and their marriage was a love hate relationship so she requested to have her back turned to her husband when she passed away.

Elder McFarland & Elder Tobler

Last week we were cooking and as the food was cooking we were in the office on the computer and Hermana Mitchell asked us for a photo, haha.

Androgue Zone Conference - February 2016

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Unfinished Business

Hola Hola!

So yes I’m getting transferred! President Thurgood called me Wednesday night telling me that he has felt various impressions that I should return to 9 de Abril (his last area before he went to the mission office in November) as Zone Leader! Crazy right!?! Without even thinking I responded ¨en serio?!¨ and he responded ¨en serio¨ ha-ha and then he told me that it appears that there’s some ¨unfinished business¨ for me to take care of in 9 de Abril. So yeah I’m going back to 9 de Abril to finish my mission! I’ll be companions with Elder Bravo who’s there right now. Elder Bravo is from Chile and only has about 8 months in the mission so he’s still pretty young. Last transfer was his first transfer as Zone Leader and while I don’t know him at all, I’ve heard good things about him so I’m pumped. I’m also super excited to see everyone there again since I didn’t get to say goodbye to literally any of the members or investigators.

I was excited when I found out but also just kind of in a daze trying to process it because of how unexpected it was. When President Thurgood told me a week or two ago that I was still getting transferred he said it would probably surprise me and that it did! It’s literally the last place I would have thought of. I’m excited though to go back to 9 de Abril because it’s a super awesome ward and area with lots of work to do. Apparently though I must not have done everything I was supposed to because there’s still work for me to do there.

The night when President Thurgood called me I had a hard time going to sleep because my mind was just racing; excited to go back as well as thinking about the ¨unfinished business¨. It’s definitely interesting. Everyone was super surprised when they found out. In my mission I’ve only heard of one other Elder returning to a previous area but he returned many months later. I’m only returning to 9 de Abril 3 months later, so definitely a little out of the ordinary. But I stand by what I said last week in me email - that these last few months of my mission have presented several experiences where I’ve learned to trust in the Lord and His wisdom and His plans. I have complete trust and faith that 9 de Abril is indeed where the Lord wants me to go. Now I have absolutely no idea what the reason for me going back is. I don’t know what it is the Lord wants me to do or to learn while I’m there again. I don’t know if going back is due to not being diligent in my service the first time. It might be, it might not be. I’ve tried not to think about that too much because often times I feel like Satan uses the past to distract and discourage us in the present. The fact is that if I really did not do something that I was supposed to the first time, then well the past is in the past and now I must take advantage of the second opportunity and do it. Or perhaps a new opportunity to serve in 9 de Abril will bring new opportunities to do what the Lord would have me do. Maybe my time in the offices was necessary to help me learn things and grow in ways to be a better instrument in the Lords hands and better prepared. I simply do not know. I am a little anxious and excited to see how the next few months play out and to come to see why I was sent back. But I do know that it is where I’m supposed to be. I’m absolutely ready to get back in the field though to work my last few months and just work until I drop dead. I’m also excited to be Zone Leader again. I loved being able to serve the other missionaries in my Zone and help them and the opportunities it gives to learn and grow as a missionary and leader.

I saw Elder Pribyl last night in his area. We were talking and we feel blessed because we’ve been able to see each other lots of times in our missions and we´ll see each other a few more times including the last day of my mission and we´ll almost for sure have an intercambio together.
Anyways I guess that´ll probably be it for today. Today there’s lots of work to do getting ready for tomorrow. Tonight I’ll have to pack my suitcases. Imagine I’ll be getting on tomorrow since Elder Bravo will have to write, so I’ll include some other things tomorrow in an email but I wanted to let you guys know of the changes. I miss and love you guys!

Elder McFarland