Monday, November 30, 2015

Lots Of Memories

This week had a lot of interesting miracles.  Small, but interesting.

My companion is doing well.  She comes from a very, very wealthy background (like her dad is the CEO or something like that of Apple) and there have been some clashing moments, but she is an excellent missionary who knows how to bring the spirit into the lessons, and I am learning a lot from her.  Her dad is Argentine and was baptized about 7 years ago.   They are all active, but her mom was inactive for about 15 years because her dad didn't want anything to do with the church, and now they are sealed.  It is a fun story.

I got permission to Skype with Josh, so that will be fun.  We will need to set that up!  I still don't have specific times, I will let you know as soon as I do.

But yeah, this week was crazy, we are working like locas (crazies), and having a blast.  That is the good thing about having an American comp, you can just talk about all of the inside jokes and all that...haha,  We did an open house this last week and they showed the movie  Meet The Mormons, and that last part in the comp and I were dying...we were kind of trunky,  not gonna lie. I am excited to see you guys, but freaking out about starting off in real life again.

But something that I really liked about this week was that we read and studied about "The Divine Gift of Repentance", a talk by Elder Christofferson.  He gives 5 steps to the repentance process:

First, the invitation to repent is an expression of love.  Lots of times, especially as missionaries or parents or whatever, sometimes we feel like telling people they need to repent is like the most awkward thing ever.  But Elder Christofferson says:

"If we do not invite others to change or if we do not demand repentance of ourselves, we fail in a fundamental duty we owe to one another and to ourselves. A permissive parent, an indulgent friend, a fearful Church leader are in reality more concerned about themselves than the welfare and happiness of those they could help. Yes, the call to repentance is at times regarded as intolerant or offensive and may even be resented, but guided by the Spirit, it is in reality an act of genuine caring."

That hit me really hard.  IF we really love someone, we will help them to get over what is bothering them and we will do it with love.

Second, repentance means striving to change.  "Real repentance, real change may require repeated attempts, but there is something refining and holy in such striving.  Divine forgiveness and healing flow quite naturally to such a soul, for indeed "virtue loveth virtue; light cleaveth unto light; [and] mercy hath compassion on mercy and claimeth her own"

Third, repentance means not only abandoning sin but also committing to obedience.

Fourth, repentance requires a seriousness of purpose and a willingness to persevere, even through pain.  A resolve to abandon and forsake the sin and to repair, as fully as one possibly can, the damage he or she has caused now forms in that new heart. This resolve soon matures into a covenant of obedience to God. With that covenant in place, the Holy Ghost, the messenger of divine grace, will bring relief and forgiveness.

Fifth, whatever the cost of repentance, it is swallowed up in the joy of forgiveness.  "In April of 1847, Brigham Young led the first company of pioneers out of Winter Quarters.  At that same time, 1,600 miles [2,575 km] to the west the pathetic survivors of the Donner Party straggled down the slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains into the Sacramento Valley.

"They had spent the ferocious winter trapped in the snowdrifts below the summit. That any survived the days and weeks and months of starvation and indescribable suffering is almost beyond belief.

"Among them was fifteen-year-old John Breen. On the night of April 24 he walked into Johnson's Ranch. Years later John wrote:

"'It was long after dark when we got to Johnson's Ranch, so the first time I saw it was early in the morning. The weather was fine, the ground was covered with green grass, the birds were singing from the tops of the trees, and the journey was over. I could scarcely believe that I was alive.

"The scene that I saw that morning seems to be photographed on my mind. Most of the incidents are gone from memory, but I can always see the camp near Johnson's Ranch.'"

Said President Packer: "At first I was very puzzled by his statement that 'most of the incidents are gone from memory.' How could long months of incredible suffering and sorrow ever be gone from his mind? How could that brutal dark winter be replaced with one brilliant morning?"

I know that repentance is real, and I have a lot to work on, especially the sincerely trying to change and not justifying myself in repeating what I had already repented for.  But hey, we are getting there. Depending on our choices, we will all be able to arrive and see that brilliant morning of forgiveness. I love you all so much and I love this work!  The Lord is perfect and never makes mistakes!!

Hermana Farish

Monday, November 23, 2015

With Eyes Of Faith

As a mission, this week we have been studying the faith and how it is much more than something that we believe in but that we don't see.  We have been able to talk with a lot of missionaries, and it is such a privilege to hear the different things that they have been learning this past week about faith and how it has changed their perspective.

Here in the mission, we have the opportunity to exercise our faith in a unique way: finding people who will accept the baptismal covenant and the restored gospel.  We have to look at the people with the eyes of faith, as people who have eternal potential, and as people who the Lord loves very, very much.  After studying about the Atonement last week, and how he suffered for EVERYONE, because he loves everyone without exception, I have been able to see a change in my attitude towards the people, because sometimes you just want to not love them and punch a tree or something...haha, not really, but it is interesting sometimes. If we look at people how the Lord does, they will be able to feel our love and if they choose, they will want to always feel that.  Looking at them with eyes of faith makes a big difference.

Haha, my comp and I were talking about how using faith in the mission as compared to real life is kind of different. not be too trunky....we will just leave it at that;)

The scripture that we all ponderized this week was Alma 32:40:

40 And thus, if ye will not nourish the word, looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof, ye can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life.

I really like it because it makes faith into an action word, and becomes something that we live every moment, not just in the bad ones.  I love this gospel, and really, from what I have been able to learn in the past yearish, faith is what sustains us and is a precious gift from God that we receive according to our desires and works (1 Nephi 2:16):

16 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers.

Nephi didn't rebel against his father like his brothers did because he had gained the necessary faith. He wanted it, and did what was needed to be able to get it. I have a lot of work to do in this area!!!

I do have to tell you the most awkward moment of my week.  I was so just like....what....?  We went to an investigator's house, but she wasn't there so we contacted the house in front and they let us in. The lady told me, "I've seen you walking in front of my house for a while now, you have lost a lot of weight!!  You were a little fat before, and now not so much!!!"  I was like...well, at least someone is noticing #onlyinlatinamerica.  I am going to miss these people.  And then she told us that she is lesbian...we were like...WHAT...yeah, Atonement much.

But anyways, I love you all so much and I am grateful for your good examples!!!  Have a wonderful week!!


Hermana Farish

Monday, November 16, 2015

Life Is Good

Life with an American comp is interesting, I speak a lot more English, that is for sure, but the member's attitude about the missionaries has changed a lot for the better and we are working like crazy to keep everything going okay.  Hermana Fardos will be heading home in March, one transfer after me, so she will kill me and then DIE:)

I am doing great, learning a lot, and just going and going.  One thing that was really hard for me this week was yesterday, we went to go get a less active family to bring them to church.  But when we entered in the house, there was a really gucky feeling, dark, and they said they wouldn't be going to church.  We left there and were talking about it.  The dad and the two teenage sons have problems with pornography and drinking.  They have an 8 year old sister there who is really kind of strange. When you go to say hi and to give her a kiss on each cheek, she doesn't want it, but she does want to be touched...I don't know how to explain it but we are pretty sure that she is being sexually abused. That feeling was so dark and yucky, it makes me so sad.  It just made me think more about the atonement and how it is all powerful, and even in cases like this, this little girl will be okay.  So many of these people are living in a nightmare, and have been for so long, and you just want to help them but...ahah I walked out of there thinking "I am too young for this!!!  What in the flipping world, I am so traumatized."  But seriously, that darkness was really bothering us, and then we went to church to take the sacrament.  It was there when the darkness left and the light of Christ came back.  We are planning an interview with the bishop so that he can take over, because that is WAY out of our league. Blech.

To answer your questions, I am good.  I know what I am doing at least half the time, which is huge, and I think that I am getting to the point where I am realizing what I have been able to do thanks to the Lord and His help.  The parents of one of my converts will be baptized this Saturday in Palma Loma, and Eduardo was just called as the ward secretary and now has the Melchizedek Priesthood. and his stepmom and sister are going to be is good.  It is interesting to watch the chain of events.  Even if we aren't there to witness them, it is awesome to just hear about them and to know that you had a small part in making it happen:)

My goals for the next 3 months are to just keep going, to reach my potential as a missionary and as a servant of God.  Every six months I have made new goals and written myself a letter to start the new goals, and 3 months ago I wrote those goals and to finish strong with no regrets:)  I love the people of Paraguay and I want them to know it, and that their Heavenly Father also loves them, even more than they can imagine:)

One thing that I am really enjoying at this point of my mission is the new study guide of Preach My Gospel.  This last week we have been able to study the atonement as a mission and it has made such a difference in our teaching and our contacts.  We made a goal to talk about the atonement in every one of our contacts.  Yesterday, we were making visits and we passed a house of a really active member who hadn't gone to church yesterday, and we decided to see why.  We entered, and it turns out that last Wednesday a guy with a machete broke into her daughter's house and tried to kill them.  We were like "oh my heck", but then we talked about the atonement, and we used the scripture Alma 7:11-12 to kind of explain what we wanted to say.  This week of studying just the atonement has really helped me to understand it better, and how it can help us to keep going and keep enduring.  We also read a talk by Elder Bednar, called, "The Atonement and Our Journey Of Mortality".  Near the end it said something really awesome that I just loved.  Something that we can apply to our daily lives. Enjoy, and I highly suggest reading the rest of the talk.

"The Savior has suffered not just for our iniquities but also for the inequality, the unfairness, the pain, the anguish, and the emotional distresses that so frequently beset us. There is no physical pain, no anguish of soul, no suffering of spirit, no infirmity or weakness that you or I ever experience during our mortal journey that the Savior did not experience first. You and I in a moment of weakness may cry out, 'No one understands. No one knows'.  No human being, perhaps, knows. But the Son of God perfectly knows and understands, for He felt and bore our burden before we ever did. And because He paid the ultimate price and bore that burden, He has perfect empathy and can extend to us His arm of mercy in so many phases of our life. He can reach out, touch, succor—literally run to us—and strengthen us to be more than we could ever be and help us to do that which we could never do through relying upon only our own power."

When we feel like no one else understands what we are going through, when we feel like we are 100% alone, we have someone who had to go beneath everything and everyone so that He can lift us up again and give us that push that we need to start up. I love the Atonement, and I love the effects that it has on our lives and on the lives of everyone.  It is pretty shweet:)  I love you all and hope that you have a good week!!!

Hermana Farish

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Word "Comfortable"

The word "comfortable" is a very, very dangerous word, one that should never be mentioned when you are near transfer week, because Heavenly Father then makes the decision to make you less comfortable.  Unfortunately, I think that is normal, so we will see what happens throughout the eternities.

We had transfers, and I stayed here in Salado!!! WOHOO!!! and the Hermana Cordova went next door to Juan de Salazar, same zone, so we will see each other a lot.  She was so awesome and I am so excited to see her grow and change.

I received my new comp, Hermana Fardos.  She is my first American comp, so it is really weird to speak English all of the time.  My English is getting better though, so don't worry:) She came about a month after I did, and so she and I will be finishing at almost the same time. She is AWESOME and is so energetic, she will keep me running until the end;)

This week, our whole entire mission began to study a Preach My Gospel with a personalized study guide, made by President McMullin and his wife.  It is so awesome. This week we have been studying chapter one, and the power of our callings.  It helped me to realize how it is that I can change and teach by the Spirit, with the Lord supporting me in every way.  I have been able to feel like that on my mission, and I know that it is possible.  By reading your emails and letters, I have also been able to see the ways in which the Lord is supporting and helping you.  I know that He is always here, and that even though it seems like we are alone, that is so never true. never never never.

One thing that I thought was interesting this week was that it was just different.  I had so gotten used to just giving 100% and focusing on my area, and my companion was admitted to the hospital on Thursday until Saturday, with bed rest Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.  It was interesting to see the trials that the Lord sometimes gives us, especially if we are "comfortable".  If you look at your life right now and you see yourself as comfortable...hold on about a week and then look again.  It is how we grow and progress towards exaltation.  For example, the church put out the policy this week on gay marriage, and I read the interview, and it looks like they did it because there were a lot of people who were comfortable, kind of in the gray area.  Well, from what I hear, this new policy has made a lot of people UNcomfortable, because they need to choose which side they are on.  They can't be comfortable in the middle.  That is definitely something I have learned in the past year.  If you have a comfort zone, you need to look at what is included and see if the Lord could be in there too.  Kind of interesting to think about.

Our ward is doing fine, the elders had transfers and the new district leader that came is AWESome, so I hope that things will continue to progress. Our investigators are doing okay, Luis is going strong, but we do have an investigator that only comes to church for the economic help.  He is blind, and his mom is totally using him to get more help from the church.  We know it is wrong, and we will see what happens when the batpismal interview comes around.  The district leader will have to be the one to tell him the bad news. que pucha.

Also, a huge miracle was that Hermano Arrua came to church!!! His wife was SOOO happy, (she is a recent convert).  She has been trying and trying and TRYING to get him to at least try, and he came!! We are going to work with them so that in one year this family can get to the temple and get sealed!!! AAAHHHHH #familiaseternas.

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

Hermana Farish

Erin's District

Erin with her companion in the hospital

Monday, November 2, 2015

Craziness of my life...

This week was crazy.  Now that I think about it, I say that a lot.  Like every email.  But that is because it is true.

This week it rained almost every day, which was wonderful, because we don't have air conditioning.

We also had divisions, and I went to Limpio with Hermana Wiscombe, and Hermana Cordova stayed in Salado.  She was really nervous, because Thursdays are our more heavy duty days, but she did great.  I learned so much in my division with Hermana Wiscombe.  She is a wonderful example of a consecrated missionary.  I have a lot to improve.  I also got FRIED.  Like a lobster.  Seriously, I think I am going to come home a different race at the rate I am going.

We also had an open house in the church, and it went really well, apart from the fact that it rained, so there wasn't a whole lot of people, but one woman came that the hermanas contacted in the street, and she said that she came because she wanted to know why it was called the Church of Jesus Christ.  She had a lot of amazing questions but she lives in the area of the elders, so they have the privilege of talking with her again.

You asked about the temple.  I miss it A LOT.  Once a year is not nearly enough for me.  I miss the peace that we can feel when we are inside.  Two of my converts entered the temple to do baptisms for the first time, and it was so fun to hear them talk about how they felt and how they want their whole entire family to enter and feel and see for themselves.  I miss it, I need a recharge...the temple always helped me to keep going.

It hasn't been so hot this week, it has stayed in the 80s, low 90s, so it has been really nice.

Last week I was so scatterbrained.  I didn't ever think that my brain would be split like it was into like 10,000,000 pieces...our p-days are pretty low key, especially today, because there is a huge strike with the buses, so we are pretty limited as to where we can go.

That is fun about Jake and his new job, and about the dating thing, although that is slightly scary. Okay, like a lot scary.  I hope that Abby plays volleyball, I want to be able to play with her when I get back.

The changes in the people here are sometimes so small that you don't notice.  But they are there.  And sometimes they don't want to push themselves to be able to get into exaltation, but at least they improved a little.  I am having some weird deja vu what was I doing last year at this time..we are almost to Christmas!!  Less than two months until I can see your face, and I am so excited!

Here they don't celebrate Halloween, because there is a lot of dark, weird Satanic stuff that happens, so they don't send their kids around to trick or treat.

This Sunday was really good for me.  It was one of the most spiritual testimony meetings that I have experienced in all of my mission.  All of the missionaries gave their testimonies, and the Spirit was so incredibly strong.  Afterwards, we were waiting for ward council to start and I thought about how much I love these people.  They aren't perfect, none of us are, but I love them so much.  I thought about that moment in 3ish months and was like...this is going to be a struggle, and I started to cry a little...(yeah, shocker). But hey, that is how it needs to be.  Dangit.

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

Hermana Farish

Fresh bread and dulce de leche...hmmm!

Halloween witches in Paraguay.