Monday, January 26, 2015

The Frozen Miracle

Dear Family,

I don't have a lot of time, but this week was probably one of the most difficult of my mission thus far.  We worked so, so hard this week, searching for new investigators to teach, and we found some.  We fasted on Tuesday and on that day we had a couple of fun little miracles.  We went to talk to an investigator, didn't get in, and we started to walk away and were about halfway down the street when I realized that I didn't have my agenda, so we walked back, got it, and when we walked back down the same street, we heard someone blasting classical music.  We hadn't heard it the first time, so my companion just walked up and asked who it was and what it was and all that.  She said that I played the piano and the lady became all friendly and showed us her nice piano, and (here is the crazy part), I had my Frozen music in my backpack for the first time in my mission.  They had a granddaughter there who LOVED LOVED frozen, so we sat down and I played and she sang everything in spanish!  We were a hit:)  It was seriously a blessing, and when we began to talk to them, the guy had read half of the Book of Mormon like 10 years ago, but for some reason we don't know yet, he wasn't baptized.  When he started to talk to us about Brigham Young, we were like...WHAT???? How does he know about Brigham Young?  Anyway, so that was a fun little miracle.

On the downside, we are struggling hard core with our ward.  So, dad - what do you do when the new first counselor in your ward, who has been on the high council, has a drinking problem?  Then he tells us missionaries to our faces that it is our fault that the barrio (ward) is failing!  What can you do with that besides hope that Jesucristo venga pronto (comes soon)?  We were so bummed...all that we could do was say: no, we aren't working, that is definitely why this ward is failing...yea.  SORRY, this week really was hard.  I hope you have a better week and that all goes well.

But hey, this church is so perfect and there is an order that will always help to keep everything simple.  All that we have to do is follow that order!

Anyway, this week has really made me think about my own testimony, and how really, we have to pray, attend church, keep ALL of the commandments, and go to the temple in order to really develop our testimony and protect our home from the temptations of Satan.  He knows our weakness, but we have a Heavenly Father who loves us and knows us perfectly.  He will never give us anything that we can't handle (1 Corinthians 10:13).
I hope you all have a wonderful week, and remember how much your Heavenly Father loves you, and that He gave us commandments so that we would be protected.  I love you!

Hermana Farish

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Bajar la cana con amor

Hola mi familia!

How is everything?  Everyone still doing okay?  This week was really, really, really eye opening.
First off, to explain the subject line...bajar la caña is basically to chasten...literally translated it is lower the rod/stick, but when you baja la caña you are scolding someone.  This happened twice this week, both with lessons that will always stick with me.

I read a talk from the 2013 priesthood general conference that is called "Is it I, Lord?"  by President Uchtdorf.  It talks about how when we receive counsel or advice, we can't look at others and say, oh good, that sister or brother needs to hear this, or needs to change this.  Nope.  We need to look at ourselves first, and ask the question, Is it I, Lord? What can I do to change and become better?  What can I do to better serve Thee?

We had a zone conference on Saturday, and it was slightly depressing, but awesome.  I had read this talk, and then we had our conference.  Our mission is still trying to adjust to some major changes that took place at the beginning of the year, and as such we aren't doing as well with baptisms.  We only have 19 thus far in January, which is really really low for our area in the world. To put it in perspective, our goal is 72. Presidente McMullin was really worried, and he bajò la caña.  But with love.  I am so lucky to have him as a mission president, he knows how to bring the Spirit so that it can testify to our hearts.  The whole entire time, he spoke about our desires, and if really we have the desire to work and give our all to the Lord.  The question, "Is it I, Lord" was in my head the whole time.  What can I do to help and be better?
I decided that I am going to tell all of you what I am going to do to change and be better, so that you can ask me next week and check up on my progress:)
I am going to contact like crazy.  Talk to EVERYONE, not just the people who conveniently meander in my path. It has always been a struggle for me, and we have slacked off.  So, I am going to work to have the courage to open my mouth even more.
Anyways, today we had a zone activity, that involved water balloons and sports.  I wanted to stop running in the heat and playing rugby with water balloons and pull a Jacob and start a water fight, but that wouldn't have turned out
We had changes this week, but I stayed here in Palma Loma!  Another cambio here to work and find people to help:)

I hope you all have a good week and are obedient!

Hermana Farish

The Zone

Sisters..."In the Zone"

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Small Things

Dear Everyone,

How was this week?  This week went really well for us here in Paraguay; hot, but good.  We have officially started summer, which means no rain and temps around 46 to 50 degrees Celsius,  114 to 120 Fahrenheit.  Bueno.  The good thing is that my ankles are going to be beautifully tanned:)

There was another holiday this week, called the day of the kings, the kings being the three wise men.  What happens here is that the kids put their empty shoes outside the night before, and during the night, the 3 wise men come with their camels and bring all sorts of gifts and fun things.  I had a wonderful day of the kings, thanks to Jill and family, I was able to open your package the morning of, it was the best:)  And thank you Addy for your note:)

Also, we went to Burger King today, and it was the classiest restaurant that I have been to here in Paraguay.  Kind of weird.  But the fries and hamburger were to die for, so that was nice.

One awesome thing that happened this week was that a bishop was called in our ward!  Because of some problems with his spouse, the previous bishop was suspended for nine months, and another man was called as the president of the ward.  Well, we finally have only one man that has the keys to the ward, and it was so wonderful.  We had a ton of people in church, like 80, and I hope that we can use this jump start to begin functioning again, and start to help the people to remain faithful.

We had a meeting with the stake president, the mission president, and the leaders of our ward on Friday to begin a system that resembles visiting teaching and home teaching, we hope that the people can begin to work and help others to gain a testimony.

Something funny/gross this week was that I ate horse.  Eew.  I had no idea what it was, it was one of those things when you pray like a fanatic to Heavenly father to help you to live.  I didn't find out it was horse until after I had finished it, good thing too, because I wouldn't have been able to finish it!

Something that I learned this week was that without the process of repentance, we would be sunk.  Repentance is such a precious gift of God, and we show our gratitude to Him when we use the Atonement to cleanse our spirits. In Doctrine and Covenants 58 it talks about this, how when we truly repent of our sins, He "remembers them no more." What a relief.

Anyhoo, it was a good week, I love being here, and I love how our Heavenly Father has unlimited patience and helps us to change and improve every day.  I love you and I hope you have a good week!  Be obedient!

Hermana Farish

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Lessons Learned

Hola mi familia...

First off, kudos to Jill and family for the package! I haven't opened it yet, but I will first thing when I get home! It was such a fun surprise!

I don't have very much time, but this week was rather...difficult. You know those weeks when you work so so so so hard and then you fast, and you have faith because you worked hard and want to see the fruits of your labors? And then Sunday comes along and drops a bomb on you...the lowest attendance in 13 years. Sigh. We were really depressed on Sunday, but after church we worked and worked again, and we had an amazing lesson with the wife of our bishop, who is inactive and didn't want to meet with us, but we had an awesome lesson on the importance of temple covenants and how when we keep our covenants, we can help our children in this life and the next.

This week, I learned three different lessons. They really hit me hard and will stick with me forever.

Lesson 1 - People have their agency. Dumb. We can work as hard as we can and have the Spirit in lessons, but the people still have their freedom of choice. Agency is such an important part of the plan of our Heavenly Father, but sometimes it just stinks. Blast.

Lesson 2 - We are happy when we know that we have done our best. There is nothing better than the feeling of working, working, working, and even when you can't see the immediate blessings, you know they are there because you know that, even though you aren't perfect, our Heavenly Father is there to make up the difference with His perfect grace and mercy.

Lesson 3 - Do NOT, under ANY circumstances eat week-old cow tongue. It will make you sicker than a dog. We ate at a member’s house on Thursday, and I had tried the cow tongue the last week, and she had it again, and I was like...well, might as well, because never again am I going to be able to do it. What I didn't realize was that it was the same cow tongue from last week. It was bad. So, when this situation comes up in your life, have the strength to say NO. :)

Sometimes, it is hard to get up and leave the air-conditioned room, but I think I am getting better at being positive. My patriarchal blessing helped me a lot too. It says that a lot of things that I will do here on the earth are the same things over and over again, but that I need to do the best I can every day in order to accomplish that which the Lord has for me. So, that is my goal. Work hard every day, because The Lord has blessings and because I love Him and am grateful to Him for all that I have.

Mom and Dad, every day I thank my Heavenly Father for you and your examples of...awesomeness. Seriously. I don't know what I did to deserve you. I look at all of the people who don't fulfill their callings, who don't go to the temple, who don't pay their tithing, and their lives are so sad and hard. But I have your examples to lean on, and to remember that when I do these things, I will be okay. You are so amazing. Even when I don't want to work, even when I am so tired I just want to sleep next to the drunk man on the sidewalk, I can pray to Heavenly Father and He will give me the strength that I need to work. When we are obedient as servants of the Lord, we have power. Power and authority.

Mom, I think that is a great idea for new beginnings (to ask returned missionaries to write their testimonies, then have the YW read them). Really, we are working with a lot of girls here on their personal progress. Personal progress has helped me to develop a love for the scriptures and how we can apply them in our lives. Really, Personal Progress has helped me to develop my testimony. When we do our personal progress, we are showing our Heavenly Father that we want to learn how to be better moms, daughters, and servants of God. Personal Progress isn't about the leaders, or the ribbons or the medallion; it is about the girls and how they can better develop the values in the theme, and really how they can better their relationship with God. Personal Progress helped me to realize that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us, and we can show Him that we love Him when we do our Personal Progress. Also, service in the presidencies helped me to gain a love for the other girls, and to recognize the blessings that come from unselfish service.

We are excited to start another week, and work hard so that we can be useful servants of the Lord. I love you all and I hope you have a good week!


Hermana Farish