Monday, March 30, 2015

Fish Eyeballs and 70 Degree Weather

So...this week was kind of a weird week, but I don't have a lot of time so I will sum it up.

First off, I ate 3 fish eyeballs. Does that mean that I finally have the true love of Christ?  I ate fish eyes to avoid offending someone?  Eesh.

We had an amazing zone conference on Thursday, which focused on using the Book of Mormon to teach and help people resolve their doubts.  I love going so much.  I think that they honestly recharge our us to keep going.  Really, the Book of Mormon is so perfect, and I know that if we have problems or questions, if we read the Book of Mormon on a regular basis and study it sincerely, we will be able to receive revelation. There are a lot of examples in 3rd Nefi that talk about how when Nefi read the Book of Mormon, he always meditated in what he read, and then afterwards was able to receive personal revelation.  In D&C 88:118, it talks about how we need to read from the best books and we will receive answers and inspiration through faith and sincere study.

Zaida is a little bit better...she is on a tournament handball team, and her team was going to play on Sunday mornings, and we told her to pray about it and she did and her games were switched to Sunday afternoon, which still isn't all that great, but at least she can see the results of her prayer.

I have been thinking lately that I am so imperfect.  I cannot even express to you how imperfect I am. It seems like every time I think I have something going well, Heavenly Father humbles me again and helps me to realize what I need to work on...dangit.

We tried to go back to Paula, and got flat out rejected.  She doesn't want to talk with us anymore, and we have no idea why.

Other than that, really, this week wasn't all that crazy, just working in the wonderfully cool weather with a light rain...summer is over!!!!  WOOOHOOO!  Is it bad that I have to wear winter clothes because I am freezing to death and it is only 70 degrees?  Bad sign.

My birthday was awesome!!!  So many people did so many things to help me have a good day, and I loved every second, it was perfect.  I woke up to a decorated desk and my companion singing happy birthday with a candle and pancakes.  I was so surprised.  I straightened my hair Wednesday night and woke up the next morning to a beautiful light was awesome.  Seriously. We ran to the zone conference, where the zone sang to me happy birthday, and then afterwards my district leaders surprised me with brownies and a singing, moving candle.  We always laugh because they are like the presidents of the relief society...because we are all sisters.  But hey, they do a pretty good job:)

After the zone conference, we went to Hilda's house for lunch, and I had worn a skirt she gave is really nice looking and comfortable...she gives us so much it honestly makes me uncomfortable. We just found out that she will be moving to a different stake.  I hope she keeps her testimony strong.

Afterwards we just worked, and then at 7 a less active family gave us dinner and sang happy birthday again to me, in Guarani, Spanish, and English.  Afterward I was able to go home and open the wealth of gifts..seriously, it was SO fun to open the packages.  I loved the letters and Lindsay's giant heart, and I kept every single one of the post-its...I don't have enough charity to share the pretzel M&Ms, I think that will come in the next life:)  And the clothes that grandma sent fit me perfectly....I may have to lose like 5 pounds for the brown skirt, but everything else was perfect.  I laughed when I saw the new shoes, and then looked at my shoes after 8 months in the mission..eesh.  I am not sure I want to wear any of the clothes because they are so nice...:)

Anyway, I hope you all have a good week.  I am sorry that this is so short and rather odd!

Hermana Farish

My companion decorated my desk for my birthday!

Hilda helping me celebrate my birthday.

My birthday cake after zone conference

Blowing out my singing candle!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Awesomeness All Around!

We had another really crazy week...things are just insane!

To start off, on Friday, we had an amazing experience.  The mission planned an open house for a chapel in our zone, and we were invited with 3 other companionships to head over and give tours of the chapel.  We weren't sure at first how it was going to work out, but by the end, it was awesome! 

The tour started out with a recording, the one that you listen to in the visitor's center when you are in front of the Christus.  Afterwards, there were banners talking about the life of Jesus Christ, the prophets, the Book of Mormon, and the family.  It was short, but so powerful.  After that part, the people were led to the baptismal font, where elders dressed in white were waiting to explain baptism to them.  All of the auxillary organizations were there, with presentations about their specific organizations.

At one point, not a lot of people were coming in who weren't members, so we went outside to contact people and invite them to participate.  We contacted 2 youth, and it was AWESOME.  We began with the Christus, the life of Jesus, and all of that, and when we got to the family, I asked the boy about his family and it turns out his mom died about a year ago from cancer.  I was able to testify to him about eternal families, and how our message and the Atonement of Jesus Christ made it possible to see his mom again.  The Spirit was SO strong, and they gave a ton of references to the missionaries, and set up an appointment for the missionaries to visit them and their families.  Even if this open chapel was only for these two people, it was SO worth it.

On a slightly less spiritual note, we totally felt like temple square missionaries.  Seriously, we were specifically told to look professional, and with the whole tours of the church thing...we had a good time with that...laughing all day.

Also, Hilda and Zaida were baptized this weekend!  We were so happy, they both have been working with the missionaries for almost a year.  Hilda was struggling a little, because there were some nasty rumors going around that we pay people to get baptized...eesh.  Lots of people were bashing her and just doubting her decision.  But, she made it through and was able to take this huge step.  She doesn't really have ANY support from her family, and we hope that she will be okay.

Zaida's parents came to the baptism, and had a wonderful experience.  One of the members of the ward put on the video of the Restoration, and the mom of Zaida began to cry, and also cried when the missionaries sang "A Child's Prayer" for a musical number.  It was such a special experience!:)

I was reading this morning in Mosiah 4 about repentance, and when the people began to feel their worthlessness, and how they had to humble themselves and give their hearts to the Lord.  I loved when it talked about the joy that filled their souls after they received the remission of their sins.  In Alma 36, Alma is talking about his experience with repentance, and how, even though his pain and anguish was deep and bitter, it didn't even come close to the sweetness and depth of his joy when he knew that he was clean, pure, and completely forgiven.  I challenge you all to take advantage of this repentance process, humble yourself before the Lord and feel of this joy:)  I know it works, and I know that it helps us to be better and be happy.  I love this work, it is what I love to do, and I hope that we can all press forward and remain firm in what we know to be true:)

Hermana Farish

Hilda before her baptism

Zaida before her baptism

Monday, March 16, 2015


Dear Everyone, 

Not gonna lie, when we found out we didn't have changes, we were kind of bummed, especially with the whole situation with the ward, but we have seen so many miracles this week.  I made a goal with myself to do something for my companion every day of this change.  And it has made SUCH a difference.  I began to make her bed, or make her breakfast when she didn't have time to make something, or little things like that, and it is so amazing to see the difference in our relationship.  We are good friends now, and it is so much easier to bring the spirit into our lessons when we testify and support each other.

On the subject of Jacob 5 and the pure love of Christ, I was also reading there this week, and I was thinking about our ward.  There have been so many disasters, so many people hurt or offended, that the people who have been here for a while don't really feel the spirit or see the true reason behind the gospel.  The youth are amazing, and we have some awesome converts and some less actives with some great potential.  I was reading in Jacob 5 and it was talking about how the main, old natural part of the tree died and the only things growing from the still living roots were young, tender branches (youth).  In order to save the tree, the master of the vineyard grafted in wild branches (converts and less actives), that eventually gave the same fruit as the natural branches gave at first.  So...we have to find people to baptize and reactivate.  No pressure.  

We had a lesson with a member couple yesterday, and it was on charity.  We asked him, "brother, how would you describe charity, the true love of Jesus Christ?"  And he said...tithing.  TITHING!  We were, yeah, so you just failed that little exam, like big time.  This same member has been like persecuting a less active..ready for this story?

So, about 4 years ago, there was a member lady who spoke to this brother about tithing, and apparently he began to talk about her tithing problems the next day in SACRAMENT MEETING:  so, naturally, her daughter threw her shoe at him in the middle of sacrament meeting.  What would you do?  Anyway, for the last 4 years, they have been bothering this sister, like not allowing people to serve her, to the point that they told the missionaries that they couldn't visit her.  So, we went to visit her.  When we went, we clapped, she came, and asked us, "Do you know how to sing?"  We said...yes? and she said "do you know the hymn Come, Come Ye Saints?" and we said...yes? So she let us in.  We started to ask her questions, and she told us, "You aren't here to ask questions, just to sing."  So we said a prayer and began to sing Come, Come Ye Saints.  About halfway through the song, she just started to cry.  We finished, said a prayer, and left.

We went back this week and just got blown away.  Me not so much, but my companion was ripped apart.  We went back and clapped, and then she came out and just started to rip into us.  Not even us, almost everything she said was aimed at my companion.  She called her an idiot AT LEAST 10 times, and began to tell the both of us that we were just little girls here and that the only reason we came was because we didn't have anything to do at home, and really no one was going to listen to us and just a bunch of CRAP.  My companion began to cry...and that NEVER happens.  We were like...okay...?  We are pretty sure that she is just trying to put on a tough face to the world, as if to say that she doesn't need anyone else, including God.  Flip.  We were kind of a little traumatized, but we are going to go back and just love the heck out of her...can you say that?  We just hope that we have the spirit and that somehow it can touch her heart.

This week got me thinking.  Really, what have I done here?  I feel like just another person, trying to do good in a world where they want the bad because they don't know any better.  A sister finished her mission about 3 weeks ago, and when we finish we have to answer some questions, one of which is what have I left to Paraguay?  And I thought...hmm.  I don't even know.  I feel like I haven't done ANYTHING.  I am working, walking in the sun, sweating to death, and all for what?  There are still so many people who need what we have, and every time someone gets close to being baptized, Satan begins to attack like crazy from all fronts.  Not gonna lie, I was kind of depressed.  But then I found a quote from Mother Teresa that says, "My work is a work of love, not statistics." I was like...WHOAH.  We are working with lives here, almas (souls) y su salvaciòn (and their salvation).  It doesn't matter what we do if we do it with love and the desire to touch the hearts of other people, and help them change their lives.

This week was rather psycho.  We only had one normal day of work, and lots of other activities.  We had a Zion's Rescue on Saturday in another ward, so we spent the morning over there.  A Zion's rescue is when all of the missionaries and youth from the stake come to one ward and we do splits with the youth and go to the less actives in the ward.  I was able to be with two awesome young women, and it was fun to help them make contacts with people.  It kind of reminded me of when I was training and was scared to death of helped me to see a little bit of progress:)  We were able to find 2 less actives and had an amazing lesson with one of them.  It was such a good experience to help these young women learn how to give their testimonies and help to bring the spirit into the lesson.

One awesome thing (okay, 3 awesome things) that happened this week was that we were able to teach Paula again, the lady with which we spoke last week about the Atonement.  We finished talking about the plan of salvation, and how the things that we do in this life (like baptism, for example *cough, cough*) have a huge impact on our eternal progression.  When we finished, she asked us, really quietly, "When would I be able to be baptized?"  We were has NEVER happened before...someone is asking to be baptized!  We were on cloud nine for the rest of the day!  

2nd awesome thing-our ward has been struggling with the whole unity thing for a long time, and this week, we had an amazing attendance at the ward family night, we almost had the whole congregation there, with less actives and investigators.  We had lots of games, soccer, ping pong, was pretty great.  And what was even better was that it wasn't because of us.  Some of the members had called or texted some less actives and lots of members to come, and it worked, and now people are starting to build relationships with the other members, something that hasn't happened for a really long time.

3rd awesome thing-we had 5 investigators in church! Hilda Ojeda and Zaida Rodriguez will be baptized this weekend!  Hilda is 67 years old, and has an awful open wound on her leg from diabetes, and she came to church, and in gospel principles, she totally bore her testimony, and for us as missionaries, we were so happy that she has begun to develop her own faith in the prophets and the Book of Mormon.  We are teaching her to read by the Book of Mormon, and really, we can see the Lord's hand in her progress!  Zaida is 13 years old, and we are a little skeptical with baptizing younger people, but she came to church by herself, and has really shown that she has a testimony and wants to progress.

My trainer was just called to be one of the sister training leaders of the cool is that?  I was really blessed to have her as a trainer, especially as I hear of all of the horror stories from other people.

Oh yeah, I wanted to tell you, last week when we went to visit a new investigator and we started to talk about the Atonement, and this lady was so incredibly stressed about her son and his drug addictions.  She told us that she had basically lost hope.  And I felt prompted to share with her the story of the Atonement.  That thanks to the Atonement of Jesus Christ, her son can repent and move on.  It was SO powerful, and she just started to cry.  The Spirit was there, and in this moment I was so grateful for my own personal testimony of the Atonement that allowed me to relate to this woman.  It would have been so easy to simply judge her, but to have a testimony that fit her needs was a wonderful feeling.  This was an amazing revelation for me...just that sometimes, when we have trials, they are just things that we need to overcome so that we become stronger and less judgmental, and become more like the Savior. 

Anyway, it was an amazing week, and we will have two baptisms on Saturday, just the blessings of God arriving so fast that we just don't have room:)

I have been thinking a lot about how the mission has changed me.  This is my goal, that I can permit God to change me so that when I return, I will be a faithful and useful servant to Him in all aspects of his kingdom.  I hope that I will be changed, and that I will be someone that has charity for everyone.  I found a quote from Elder Nelson, and basically he says that the decision to serve a mission and the understanding that we obtain will determine our spiritual and eternal destiny, as well as the eternal destinies of our posterity for generations.  I hope that this experience will be like that: something that will change me so that I will be what God needs me to be.  I have a LLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGGG way to go.  Dangit.

Also, I wanted to tell everyone thank you for the mountain of letters that I received last week, I had letters that were sent before Christmas...I don't even know how that worked, but it gave me a "heart attack!!":)

I love you so much, and I hope all is well at home.  I hope you have a wonderful week!  Be happy and be grateful in ALL CIRCUMSTANCES!!! 

Hermana Farish:)  

oh my heck i love you!:)

Ward Activity

My "Heart Attack!"

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Hand of the Lord

Dear Everyone,

Really, this week the Lord has blessed us SO much.  We have begun to see the fruits of our labor here in Paraguay.  When we found out we didn't have changes, we were kind of bummed, especially with the whole situation with the ward, but we have seen so many miracles this week.  I made a goal with myself to do something for my companion every day of this change.  And it has made SUCH a difference.  I began to make her bed, or make her breakfast when she didn't have time to make something, or little things like that, and it is so amazing to see the difference in our relationship.  We are good friends now, and it is so much easier to bring the spirit into our lessons when we testify and support each other. 

So to start off, a family that we found in Marambure (my last area) with my trainer was baptized this Saturday.   Maria Lopez and her husband were baptized, and with more of her nine children to follow.  We worked with her when I was still in training, and she and her husband were baptized this Saturday!   One thing that was cool was that she had talked with the missionaries before, but after a couple of visits just started to hide from them.  When we began to visit her again, we found her when she was very sad, and when she needed something to hold on to. So, moral of the story, even if someone is to the point that they hide from you, they always have potential, it just has to be the right moment.  We had 5 new investigators this week, and EVERY SINGLE ONE seems like they have potential for baptism.  Here in this mission, it isn't really that hard to get people to commit to baptism, but it is very rare to find someone who really feels that it is important enough to change their lives and repent of their sins.  We found a lady named Paula, who was visiting with the elders before, but when they put in hermanas, they didn't return to visit her.  We had an amazing experience talking about the Atonement, and I loved the feeling that we had while we were with her.

Another miracle was that Hilda came to church AGAIN this week!  We tried to put a date for her baptism, but she didn't want to commit, so we decided that we wouldn't visit her as much and just give her some time to think and pray about her desires and her decision to be baptized.  We honestly weren't expecting her to come, but hey, she came.  It was such a wonderful feeling to see that she acted on her faith and is ready to take more steps and progress.

A funny thing is that I went swimming!  On accident.  In a hidden hole underneath a rather large, deep, lakelike puddle.  I had invested in flipflops so that I wouldn't get my shoes as wet in the dirty water so much, so I had my flipflops so I wouldn't get my shoes wet, and my companion headed around the puddle but got to a point that she couldn't cross.  So I, being the good companion that I am, walked over to help her cross and turns out, there was a hole.  So, wearing my flipflops so my shoes wouldn't get so wet, I stepped right into a hole and went into the water up to my waist.  And on top of all of it, I GOT MY SHOES WET.   Dangit.  Well, I just thought of what my mom always told can laugh or cry.  So, we laughed like nuts.  And washed my clothes REALLY well.

Anyways, all in all, it was a good week.  I was reading in Jacob 5, with the allegory of the olive tree, and something caught my attention.  Always, the master of the vineyard was doing things to help his plants to grow.  Nourishing them, pruning them, digging around them, always aware of what is happening and what the needs of His plants are.  It is the same with our Heavenly Father.  He is always with us, helping us, pruning us, cutting us down if needs be, and always aware of what we need.  I know that He is here at our side. That is His work and joy, helping us to achieve our exaltation so that we can be happy with Him FOREVER.  I am so happy to be here working, and I know that if we are worthy, He will be there, always working with us to progress and help others do the same.

With love,
Hermana Farish

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Service and Member Missionaries

Hola, mi familia.

Wheww.  I think the whole entire world is having crazy weather.  Here it has rained about every 2 days, and when I say rain, it is like literally 2 or 3 feet of water EVERYWHERE.  I wouldn't really mind it, but all of the people throw their trash in the water and just let it flow away...yuck.

I want to say thanks to the Robinson family for the Christmas in March!  That was such a fun surprise!  I hope everything is going well for your family!

We did a lot of service this week, and funny enough, that had a huge effect, more than contacting or teaching.  We had the opportunity to help an inactive family clean their house after the rain.  They live in a little one room shack up against a wall, with a cement base, 3 walls from plywood and the cement wall as the other wall.  They live right next to a little stream, and when it rains, even for like ten minutes, the river water raises up to 10 feet.  Friday night at about 11 a huge storm started, and all we could think about was this family.  We went to their house the next day to clean up and it had been so bad that a neighbor came to take their daughters out of the house through a hole in the wall so that if the house collapsed, it would only take the parents.  It was so sad, and we were there for a couple of hours cleaning out their house.  They were SOOO much more receptive to us afterwards, and we had a really good, Spirit packed lesson afterwards.  I don't remember who said this, but I think it is awesome. "I would much rather see a sermon than hear one."  It is SO true, and interestingly enough, as missionaries and especially Americans, people watch you REALLY closely.  So, the moral of the story is that even if you think people aren't paying attention, you need to have the integrity to do the right thing,  because you never know who you could influence.

Anyways, on Sunday we had a really good day.  It was testimony meeting, and even though there weren't any investigators, there were a couple of inactives that came for the first time in years.  

This week we received transfers....AAAANNNNDNNNDDDDD....nada.  We are still here, Hermana Betancourth and I, and we decided to make it the best change that Palma Loma has ever had.  We were kind of like...UGGG...another 6 weeks here...everything the exact same...but then we decided to change our attitudes and work.  We made several goals for the next 5 weeks, and we hope to be able to build on the progress that we and the ward have made over the last 12 weeks.

This week on Sunday, we had such a wonderful experience.  And what was even better was that it wasn't even from our work.  It was from the members and their visits.  We really tried hard to work with members this last week, and have lessons with members, and it WORKED!!  Shocker.  The inactive mom of a recent convert came, and had a great experience.  Another miracle was that a young man came, Miguel Ayala.  He was offended by the bishop about...2 years back, and has refused to meet with the missionaries.  But almost every week for the past year, a recent convert has stopped by his house EVERY Sunday to invite him to church.  And finally, he came.  Not only did he come, but he gave a wonderful testimony that spoke volumes about true friends and how even when we feel that someone really has NO potential, and they just outright reject us, we have to press forward, and trust that the Lord knows who is prepared to receive us as members.  NOT missionaries, MEMBERS.  We now have a lot more members who are willing to work, thanks to the immediate results of their efforts.

One of the biggest things that I am learning in my mission is this process of "refinement".  It is a life long process (dangit) and something that has to happen little by little.  This process of refinement has really taught me to be humble, and again, like you said, come what may, be it criticism, health problems, whatever, we have to be humble and learn to submit our will to the Father, because luckily for us, He knows our weaknesses perfectly.  There is a quote from a talk called, "The Fourth Missionary", that says, "God can make us into masterpieces.  We will make of ourselves only a smudge.  We can make of ourselves an ordinary man; He will make of us a GOD." I read that and was  We have to be humble enough to put ourselves into the hands of the Lord, and then let Him make us into something rather extraordinary.

I love being able to share the gospel, and I am so grateful for the opportunity that Heavenly Father has given me to learn, make mistakes, and grow like I never have in my life.

This week is more or less 7 crazy...the time is going by SOOO fast!

I love you all and hope that you have a good week!

Hermana Farish

Cutting grass with machetes

My Zone

Valentine's Day Pizza