Monday, July 17, 2017

Week 87: "Diligence is the mother of good luck." Benjamin Franklin

Well I would say this week was excellent for us. I would say Thursday and Sunday were the best days this week. Thursday I went on exchange with Elder Randall that went very well. That day we were so lucky and ran into some new people. We contacted a family of 5 and we hope to baptize them by the end of this transfer. Elder Randall is a good missionary and he loves missionary work. The first time we went on exchange was back in Oda and I got a gnarley sunburn on my body; it was crazy. So on Sunday we were able to go out with a member and do some contacting and get to know our area a little bit better. We have been contacting quite a bit this week. On Thursday we also contacted 3 other people and hope to turn them into new investigator. On Tuesday and Wednesday we were able to meet with some of our investigators but some of them are so busy. After church on Sunday we split so we could teach some of them. As you can see we have been pretty busy this week haha. We are hoping to have quite a few investigators this next week.

Well as a district I feel like we did well this week. Abeka and Akweteman found more people this week than last week and were able to get more at Sacrament. Tesano is holding it down. They have a couple of people they are preparing for baptism very soon. I'm surprised about how strong Reeves is still going even though he goes home soon. My prayer is that all of us can endure to the end just as he is. I love Elder Reeve. He is a great missionary. Sister Tarue (the new sister from Liberia) is doing great. She contributed in district meeting and shares her thoughts and experiences. I know the sisters are working hard. Here in Alajo we are trying to help people with marriage problems and some other problems. Well sadly I won't be on mission to see an investigator named Priscilla get baptized because they are planning on doing the knocking (a way that both parents acknowledge the couple can be married, a requirement for baptism) in December. We have been working with her for a long time now. And another family we are working with as I have said before the man is married to 2 wives. The mom and the daughter come to church, but the husband can't seem to stick to one, so we are on that. Other than these minor setbacks Alajo is looking good! 7 baptismal dates and 6 people at Sacrament along with 5 new investigators this week, sadly I won't be in the area to see these people get baptized. But all that matters is I'm preparing people to baptize!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Week 86: That Awkward Moment When The Mission Begins Planning Your Flight Home

We had a pretty decent week this week. I'm glad that this week we were able to raise our new investigators to 5-- a little under the standard of excellence for the mission but we are trying for sure. We are close to baptizing these two investigators named Arthur and Samuel,. Samuel though has not come to church in a couple of weeks and we haven't seen him at his house. So he might have traveled. He stays close to our bishop. So he is also helping a lot. When he returns we will get him to church and resume the teachings. With Arthur he has come every week. But he is one busy man. So time is the issue for us now. But he is close. Most of our investigators are just having problems with time. They all are very hard workers but our investigators are progressing and all is well. We were expecting about 7 at sacrament this week but couldn't happen. Next week I'm scared that we won't be able to show all of our investigators where our new building is. So we may not hit our goal but we will work at it. Generally, for a while now, we have been hitting the standard of excellence that the mission President has set and I'm grateful for that!

District meeting went well we had a powerful discussion about going about doing good in Chapter 9 of Preach My Gospel. I know that mission-wide and especially in our district we are having trouble with getting new investigators. I'm very happy that my companionship and the sisters were able to increase that indicator this week. For the most part the key indicators for my district have increased which means more work is being done! For the most part that meeting was very uplifting for all of us. I chose to focus on the time the Savior went about doing good and we discussed how certain things can apply to us missionaries. In the meeting this week we did a scripture study with my district. Pretty much what that means is I give a topic and pretty much a couple people come up and share what their favorite story or scripture about it is. Of course the topic was obedience and I shared about the Stripling Warriors and drew parallels to how we are like these young boys and girls and we are fighting against Satan and stuff and if we do not obey every command with exactness we wouldn't make it. I'm sure you all can get the point haha. But yeah I don't really have much more to talk about.

Just grateful for all the support I get each week. Any small note helps me. I promise I'm grateful for everything everyone does for me. I love you all.

From the letter this week from his mission president:

Dear Elder McFarland,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and testimony of this work. It is wonderful to see your growth and feel of your spirit.

Congratulations on your baptism. It is wonderful to see our investigators following the example of the Saviour by being baptized by one holding the Priesthood authority of God. Helping them to endure to the end must now be our focus. Your indicators are looking good and it is a great foundation to build upon. You will be a great District Leader as you call upon the Lord and seek to do His will.

Have a great week and be safe. Remember to Find when you Teach and Teach when you Find.

President Simpson

Monday, July 3, 2017

Week 85: "How much of life do we miss by waiting to see the rainbow before thanking God for the rain" - Dieter F Uchtdorf

A Nice View
Transfer news is in; Not much is happening in the district. One of the areas in my district is being shut down. Sister Israel is training a new sister from Liberia. Elder Reeves is getting a new companion named Elder Beall. He is a really cool guy. Elder Taunuu and Elder Randall are staying together. My Companion and I will remain together and I will be the district leader here. I have been thinking a lot about this since I got the call Saturday, how we have pretty much all experienced missionaries in my district and why the call came to me instead of a more experienced Elder. Well turns out I have been prepared my whole mission to do this job. I know I have. I have been involved in many district meetings and have had many opportunities to teach. My area is doing really well. This is the right time that I needed to be called. This is the best time. The Lord saw that I needed to serve. I'm very humbled to be able to serve. The Lord qualifies those He calls. I'm very excited to do this.

My District

Samuel's Baptism
The reason for my subject of the email is this week has been a struggle for me emotionally. This week I was having a lot of thoughts about how hard this work is, how hard Ghana is and how long I have been patient and have dealt with all these hardships. I have thought a lot this week of how I'm going to keep this fire going, and also how I will even survive the 4 months I have of my mission. It's just been a struggle for me and I can't imagine some of the things the others in my district are going through since 2 of them go home at the end of the transfer. It seems that when we are going through difficult times it easy for us to forget the little things that God does for us and the things he has done for us in the past. From a missionary's point of view how much time do we waste thinking of all the trials instead of thinking about other people's happiness or the blessings that God has in store for us? This hit me very hard on Sunday when one of my recent converts got up and bore a powerful testimony of how she has found the true church and that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, and that the Book of Mormon is really true. These 3 simple but powerful phrases really hit me that I have really been worried so much about myself this week and not so much worried about these wonderful people in Africa. I have been worried about all the negative things and forgetting just how much of a positive influence I really have on people and how important I really am in the sight of God.

Birthday Pizza

Aftermath of the B-day Celebration

Lambson and I

Randall and I

So many of us think so much upon an end result that we forget that we are engaged in a journey and end up losing out on the experiences of the adventure. I guess what I'm trying to say is understand that everyone has a purpose and we are all expected to do hard things. It is the plan of our Heavenly Father. Actions have consequences. Usually if we make a bad choice the consequence is bad. Usually if we make a good choice we are rewarded in some way. Think about how much more happy we would be if we forgot ourselves and did the Lord's will. Heavenly Father will always reward his Children who do his will. I know that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can overcome any hardship. I also know that when we focus on the Lord's will he will lift us up and do wonders for us. I cannot sit here and type everything that God has done for me because I have come to realize how much he is a part of my life. I will forever be grateful for this Gospel. I will forever be grateful for my wonderful loving and kind parents who brought me up in this Gospel. I will forever be grateful that I made the decision to come on mission and serve these wonderful and beautiful people of Ghana. I will forever be grateful of the power of prayer. And last but not least I am grateful for the Book of Mormon and its power.

Enjoying a Wedding

Me and my companion

Samuel's Baptism

Well we managed on having a baptism this week so I am pretty happy with that and we were able to get 5 investigators at Sacrament Meeting. Our struggle this week was new investigators but to be honest we are having so many people to teach that it's getting overwhelming haha. But as we increase our teaching pool the chances of baptism will also increase!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Week 84: Ramadan is Lit!

well shout out to all the Muslims all around the world who are ending their fast today. Today has been lit for real. You guys know how to party haha. Muslims are some of the greatest and nicest people i have ever met. I love them all! 

Shout out to Elder Hon and Elder Skog for putting together a party for me on Wednesday. It was awesome and a good way to spend my last one in Ghana!

Well I don't feel like typing a lot but I was teaching investigators class again and I just continued with the Gifts of the Spirit and we started discussing about the Spirit as far as answering prayers and stuff and Sister Hawah was a part of that class because she is a recent convert still and she shared an experience about how she received an answer through the Spirit that the church is true and she also shared that, that very morning she had received an answer to her question she asked. She is a wonderful woman. I am so happy I got the chance to baptize her and now her daughter is about to be baptized this Saturday as well. I'm so happy for that family!

Well I usually don't talk about how the missionary work in this area is going because I don't want to sound prideful or anything but we are doing so well---so well that we are starting to feel overwhelmed. The ward has seen more baptisms than they have ever seen and my area is one of the best in the zone. We are also having another baptism this Saturday. I am very proud of the work I'm doing. Literally we have the zone leaders and AP's always at our district meetings trying to learn from us and how we are doing so well. Last week we had 7 investigators at Sacrament Meeting. President told me it was one of the highest in the whole mission. With this success we have been having we have been able to help others in various areas! 

I am beyond grateful for this divine work and I guess this week I'm going to be a little proud of my work, I am doing so much for Alajo. Sorry to say these things this week my haters are gonna hate me for this. 😂

Monday, June 19, 2017

Week 83: Happy Birthday to Me! And Baptizing Like Alma! 😂

Shout out to Dad and Seth for celebrating their birthdays this weekend. Seth is turning 17 years old and Dad is turning 21. Shoutout to my parents for also getting married 21 years ago today. Y'all are the real MVP's and shout out to me for turning 20 Wednesday. Wow the shouting out is a lot today. Happy Father's Day to Dad---shout out to him again. I wouldn't want anyone else as a father. I love you and you work hard so that we can all be happy. I'm grateful for that! Shout out to Elder Munro and Sister Munro for getting me some cake and inviting us to their house to eat some awesome food.

From his birthday cake celebration--Guess by the shirts which missionaries have been out longer?

Alright well positive notes about the week. We had a baptism this week on Saturday. Everything went well and Brother Samuel Kumi was confirmed on Sunday. This guy is a good looking member already and I feel like he will bless Alajo Ward. We are now working on the wife and the son to be baptized soon! Not sure if the wife will progress because the lack of English but we will do all we can! We contacted a guy from South Africa a while ago and put him in the Area Book under potential investigators and we contacted him this week. We have an appointment set for Tuesday. I explained my purpose a little bit on the phone so he understood why we are meeting and had a good discussion. We think he will be baptized soon. For upcoming baptisms we are working for the 1st of July for Dorcas And another man named Samuel Sosu. Dorcas is Sister Hawah's daughter who gave us quite a difficult time. But finally we will be able to baptize her!

So on Sunday we were about to start investigator's class and nobody was there to teach so our ward mission leader comes up to me and says you are taking the class haha. He doesn't even give me the choice haha. But I did it, and I was glad I did it because honestly I had been wanting to teach a topic that people always skip. So on Sunday I taught about the Gifts of the Spirit in Chapter 22 of the Gospel Essentials Book. Now Ghana does not understand this very well and as missionaries here in Ghana we always have to clear up misconceptions about healing and the gift of tongues. Everything else is easy for them to understand and accept. They think gift of tongues is when they start saying gibberish and make noise. But we explained that it has to do with languages you can understand. So I start speaking in Twi in the class and then follow up with "this is the gift of tongues" and everyone understood haha. Oh the struggles. What some people will never understand in this world is Satan can actually imitate these gifts. People here in Ghana see this "healing" taking place every day which makes our talk about the priesthood power a hard one 😂. But yeah I don't want to sound like I'm complaining because I'm not. But you can never get too comfortable with your wisdom and knowledge of scriptures. When it comes to God and the Bible people know these very well and if you don't know your stuff and have the Spirit with you, you will be confounded and no missionary likes that 😂. Ghana is great honestly.

Well on a more negative note I have the flu and I'm battling that so that's making the work hard 😂. But all will be good. Playing basketball today really helped me feel better. Man I'm a beast at basketball now. Practice makes perfect I guess haha. But yeah I don't really lose anymore 😂. This week should be good. On Wednesday, on my birthday we are going to go get some pizza so I'm a happy camper right now! 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Week 82: Respect the Leaders of the Church, Please!

Well gotta start out the week with the sad news. Everyone pray for Elder Hon. He has been in the hospital this week. Something is wrong with his leg. 😔

Well Sunday was kinda interesting and something happened that I haven't seen before. Well, first of all we only had 3 at Sacrament Meeting, which is the lowest since I came here lol.... But during 3rd hour things got a little heated in opening exercises before they wanted to split to go to the various quorums... We had a stake conference a while back and well the Saturday before we had a priesthood leadership meeting with a member of the area seventy. They did attendance to see how many leaders were there from Alajo Ward and apparently no one came. Apparently everyone from my ward decided to go to a wedding that same day instead of the conference and yeah things got heated in the class where everyone was pointing fingers and blaming each other and stuff... Yeah I felt uncomfortable well this is the first time on my mission where I have been to a class that has not uplifted and edified me, and it really bothered me for some reason...

The next thing I want to talk about is respecting and sustaining our leaders which is the subject of my email. Now that I think about it, growing up I could never imagine not sustaining someone who was my leader. But in these times we see people not sustaining our leaders and this just doesn't go for our prophets and apostles but also our bishops, quorum presidents etc. Well it finally hit me this week that this is a strength of mine. In the beginning of my mission I always blamed leaders, always questioned if they were really called of God or not. But now I find it easy to finally accept my leaders whether they are church leaders or mission leaders. I'm going to be honest...if we are wondering why the Lord didn't pick us to fill leadership and why they picked the person they did, that's your problem. As members of this church we find ourselves comparing ourselves to others I am guilty of this as well. It's a sad thing to do. Please let's respect everyone the Lord has called to be our leaders and let them serve us.

Well sorry for mostly having a negative vibe to this email but these are some of the things going on with me. 

There has been quite the number of problems in our mission with a lot of companionships this week. I want to share what president shared with all of us. Now the Scripture he is sharing is part of our recitations that we recite from memory but its Doctrine and Covenants 12: 34-46 he shares verse 41-43.

"41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;

42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—

43 Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;

The emphasis here is on verses 41 & 42. If we would all develop those qualities in our ministry then we would not have any significant companionship issues. Sadly many of us seem more content on mastering verse 43 so that we can find a righteous way to reprove our companion without any mastery at all of the qualities contained in verses 41 & 42. If that is the case, we need to repent, and repent quickly.

Of course if our companion is not being obedient then we need to correct the situation quickly and lovingly, but most of the conflicts being encountered are not about obedience. We need to love and respect our companion. We need to look for the good in each other and not dwell on the differences. Remember that contention is of the devil and will drive away the Spirit. To the Nephites the Lord proclaimed in 3 Nephi 11:29 :

29 For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.

We need to stop contention and disharmony immediately. We need to find ways to serve each other and lift our companions. I am calling upon us all to serve and love one another. I ask all of us to treat the remainder of this transfer as a SERVE MY COMPANION transfer. I challenge you to do something special and different for your companion every day. We can do this even if we already have a good relationship. Let us chase Satan out of our lives and not let him interrupt this work of bringing salvation unto the people of Ghana."

Well yeah I guess now you all kinda know what's going one, I'm proud to say I have not had any problems with this. I'm always proud of how far I have come as a person and I'm glad that patience is now one of my strengths. What it says in Ether 12:27 about weaknesses becoming strengths is so true.

Well for more of a positive note, president and I had a long talk about what's going to happen with me and how he feels about me. I have 3 transfers left and in those transfers I'll be a district leader and I will also possibly train again. We will see. There is a lot that's going to happen with this mission in the future because there are a ton of missionaries going home. He said 2/3 of the mission will be training or in their training. So this will be interesting.

21 more weeks. "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor pretty much explains my mission right now. Surprised I know the song? Yeah, me too.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Week 81: I'm Actually Good at Basketball

Bro....... So today at basketball I was such a beast draining shots left and right. I don't know where this came from. Me and Skog were on a team so you already know how lit we were haha. Well I didn't even wear any ankle braces today and I was more of a beast. I'm sure dad would be proud. 😂 I miss Elder Hon. I hope I get transferred near him.

Well I don't have too much to talk about this week other than we are trying to find people to teach so we can stay busy. Nothing seems to be working, I live in a highly populated Muslim area. So usually they aren't willing to listen to me haha. But we have found a tiny bit of success from our members by testifying of this work and begging for referrals haha. Well we will be having a baptism this Saturday for Brother Samuel Kumi. He is so awesome and we are excited for him! The next goal is to baptize his wife who doesn't speak a lot of English and their 10 year old son. So that will be our next priority. Please pray that we can have the gift of tongues and that these people can progress toward baptism.

I was really touched when my recent convert Sister Hawah bore her testimony in Sacrament Meeting and testifying of the power of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. Missionary work has been a lot easier for me knowing that people will get baptized as soon as they open this book and read it because it has power. These 2 events led her to be baptized and she thanked me even though it wasn't all me but more the Holy Ghost. It was just a good feeling, a reassuring feeling that I am doing my job well and I'm grateful for that.

Lol so many times this week I have been popular among the kids. Every day I am out working and a kid will run up to me and give me a hug... Yeah just a random kid. Is this not the most cutest thing in the world? No matter how much of an angry person you are if this happens to you it makes your day. I thought a lot about how it is happening a lot more lately. I feel like this is a friendly reminder that I am to serve these people to the fullest. Ghana is a wonderful place with wonderful people I am lucky to be here I can say.

Sorry no pictures this's a long story.

**Sorry for the late post-Girl's Camp! 😊