Monday, February 24, 2014

Night Strikes and Preaching the Gospel in Anacostia

Hey Momma!! 

It is good to hear that everything and everyone is doing well!  Wow, what a great last transfer it has been! We had a great zone activity, a really fun Night of Music and Inspiration, an awesome zone conference, and many wonderful experiences in our area and zone.  I am grateful that Heavenly Father has allowed me to grow so close to many of the Elders in the mission and to have gained so many friends in the Anacostia ward and our area. 

I guess the only down side has been the stupid bed bugs!! Elder Rushton and I are convinced that their(the bed bugs) main fortress is inside our bedroom wall.  They are no-doubt geniuses as well.  In the day they don't send out any troops, but they sleep and prepare for the night strikes.  Now and then there will be a prison break and the only opportunity that the prisoner has to escape is in the daylight so those are the occasional sightings that occur while we are awake.  But for the most part the armies gather together and attack once we are sounds asleep.  They bite the crap out of us every night, without us feeling it (can't figure that one out yet), and then they retreat back into the walls to regroup and plan the next nights attack.  That is our hypothesis anyway! ha ha #sinisterbedbugs  But not to worry, we will resolve it one way or another... President Cooke is aware of the problem. 

It is great to hear that you have been able to get to the gym after the long prolonged return time because of your ankle. Stupid injuries!  I can't wait to be resurrected so we can all have perfect bodies and I can get big like Arnold without snapping some bone or ligament haha.  I hope you and Dad can get back into a routine and then when I am back in town we can all go as a family! 

With the new transfer Elder Von Trapp left and went to Potomac/Bethesda (which is the richest area probably in the whole mission) and we got Elder Humphrey!! Elder Humphrey was in the Lexington Park apartment my last transfer with Elder Gomez.  He is such a stud and just like Elder Von Trapp, he is uplifting and a hard worker.  So the apartment was pleased to hear he would be with us!  It felt like we were listening to the Missionary NFL draft last weekend before transfers...."c'mon.. please be Humphrey... give us Humphrey!'  I totally called that too, so it should be an AWESOME transfer.  We also have my boy, Elder Gomez in the zone in Elder Peterson's district, so that was great to hear too!  He should do well in the Capitol area! 

It sounds like the Farmington, New Mexico 5th ward is going HAM! Yay Missionary Work! I really would love to see one of the classes that you and the ward mission teach!  I think the the whole church, worldwide, will quickly becoming more like that. Missionary work driven.  After all, it is the greatest work we can participate in while we are here on earth!  Can you imagine anything greater than helping God's children, our brothers and sisters, return to live with Father and Christ again- along with all of us??  "Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God." I know that when we share the truth that we have come to know for ourselves with others, we are in return blessed in so many ways.  And no matter how much harder we work for the Lord in thanks for the blessings he has given us, He will continue to bless us even more as we are anxiously engaged in serving Him and His children.  

This Sunday we had two investigators at church who we have been teaching for a couple weeks.  One is the mother-Sister Ned and she has three sons but only two came.  They are ages 6, 9 and 11.  The 11 year old was sick so we only had two investigators(8 and up are considered investigators).  We also had stake coordination this sunday so we were not able to go to Sacrament meeting and most of the 2nd hour, which was really a bummer because Sister Ned was in Gospel Doctrine!! NO!! It was some in depth lesson on Jerusalem or something, I don't know. So that was "overwhelming" for her.  But her kids LOVED primary!  Thank goodness for that.  It will probably be our strongest help in getting them to come back to church next week.  The kids at least said they were coming next week! Ha ha.  They are awesome... all boys.  We are also teaching a lady named Cathey who is "church shopping" in a way.  She is really great and receptive but she may not be fully commited.  So we are still trying to find out how devoted she is to receiving an answer.   Ned is a new investigator we have this week who is a neighbor that looks like he is 80 but is only in his mid-50's! He can't really read, and his comprehension is... not too high, so we are trying to teach simply and see if he would really like to continue to meet with us.  In this area there are a lot of people who are glad to have us come in and teach us but are really cheesy and do not commit to anything.  But there are always those few who are seeking the truth and are ready... and those are the ones we are trying to find.  The coolest contact we had this week was with a man named William!  He is really interested in understanding the word of God better and he is a strong christian.  He isn't really set on any church and he wants to have a more clear knowledge of the Gospel.  We only had a short visit with him where we explained the purpose of the Book of Mormon and how it is another testament of  Christ and it clears up a lot of the confusing things in the Bible.  As we left and said we would see him soon he yelled back, "Don't forget!" That was the first time I heard someone say that!  So I am STOKED to see him tomorrow and share the message of the Restoration with him.

So things are looking up!  I hope that all of the family continues to do well and the missionary work in the ward will flourish. Everyone can be a missionary.  All it takes is trust in the Lord and a little effort to step outside our comfort zone.  I know that anyone can do it and I promise whoever is reading this email as well, that if you will pray and ask for opportunities and if you seek them out and follow through, you will be more happy and closer to God than you ever have felt in your life.  
I love you Mom and I love the family.  Keep up the great work! 

Love your son,


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Learning of Christ, when Sick

Hey Mom,

It is super good to hear from you and how everything is going on back
at home. Things here are going well except for being sick.  Our zone
has won the most obedient award for this transfer which resulted in a
pizza party with President and the Assistants. That is what is taking
place now.  I am avoiding the pizza because my stomach isn't very
settled yet.(still munching on the same sleeve of saltine crackers.) I
wish I could share more about transfers but I will have to wait until
next week when we are allowed to talk about what happened.  As zone
leaders we find out who is going where on Saturday and let everyone
know if they are leaving and going to bike or car.  However, everyone
doesn't find out who they are with and where they are going until
Tuesday night.

This transfer has passed by so fast! I am really stoked to be able to
have another transfer with Elder Rushton.  And to be in Anacostia
still... Best thing ever! Ha ha.  But in all honesty this area is
awesome! I was sick of all the stuck up white people I had to deal
with before and the majority of the African-Americans we meet with
here are much more humble and hospitable to us.  We have a lot of
investigators we are sifting through to find out who truly have the
real intent to move forward.  Much of the effort is trying to get them
to church and to strengthen them initially against the false
information that is later given to them by others about the church.
But we are confident in our efforts and know that God will always win.
 The zone is working hard here to talk with a lot of people and to
find more solid investigators through the members.  It is a little
difficult in some ways here, but when we get members to bring their
friends it is a lot better for everyone!  I am glad I have realized
this now so that when I am in whatever wards I may be in in the
future, I will be able to help the missionary efforts.

So, my subject to this email... Well, all I can say is that whenever I
am sick, especially when I am really sick, I always find myself
turning to Christ.  Immediately I find myself feeling selfish and sad
because I feel that I should always be striving to grow closer to Him,
not just when I am in need.  I should rejoice in Him and give thanks
to the Lord in all things.  But I find myself accustom to fall to the
natural man now and again, asking God in my trials to take away my
pain and anguish.  As I had a long couple of days in bed I found
myself listening to conference talks, reading Jesus the Christ,
watching videos on the prophets and apostles and of course reading the
scriptures. I focused my study on Christ and especially his Atonement.
 I marvel that He would and could provide a way for us to find
forgiveness of our sins if we would repent and obey.  I've found that
I may never understand how the Atonement really works or by what means
Christ was able to accomplish such a feat. But what I DO know is that
He really did suffer and die for us and His atonement is a real thing.
 And the beautiful thing is that it isn't limited to anyone... It is
for everyone!  Christ want us to turn to Him and He wants us to find
peace and comfort through Him, because He has already suffered for us
all.  All He asks of us is to come unto Him, with a broken heart and a
contrite spirit.  Then we can know of Him and his infinite and
incomprehensible love.  This is my testimony and this is why I am
eternally in debt, and forever grateful.
How wonderful it is to know that we have a loving God who has provided
a way for us to all return to Him together.  I am so thankful for the
wonderful family we are a part of and how much God has blessed us!
This gospel is the best! And it is great to be able to spread it here
in DC.
Love you and miss you.  I hope the missionary work is going well back
at home and I hope everyone in the family and in the ward are happy
and healthy. Keep up the great work!

Love your boy,
Elder Sean B. Farley

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

God Loves Us!

Zombie slaying AKA Doing service by taking out cacti with crazy tools
Hey Mom!

This week has been awesome!! The zone went crazy this week and got 24 new investigators!!  Usually the Anacostia zone all together gets about 11-15 so we DESTROYED!  Elder Rushton and I were blessed a ton this last week since we got 7 investigators.  That was pretty sweet!! I love this zone so much and all the Elders in it!! They are all really hard working and it is great to be able to get to know them and learn from them.  

We were finally able to have our zone activity too!! We played Football and Ultimate Frisbee with our zone and also the Suitland Zone.  We had flags and used extra footballs for the markers of the field.  We had four different teams that were created with different players from both zones.  We named each team after something that has been trending in the mission.  The teams were: 1) #team_gandalf, 2) Big Guys 3) Proteim(Sounds like Pro-Team, looks like Protein) 4)Swoldiernation.  Ha ha so I made a poster where I drew each team's name and mascot!  To finish of the activity we had everyone gather together and eat Little C's Pizza.  It turned out awesome, even though it was pretty cold!

Elder Rushton and I have been working hard with the new investigators we have found and also with those that are already in our teaching pool.  Satan is trying hard to turn people away with either Anti-stuff, getting sick, and family problems.  But we are doing our best to keep in daily contact with them and encourage them to read the Book of Mormon and find out for themselves.  

Recently with our new teaching tools/iPads, we have found that their is so many useful resources that the devices have.  We now teach with videos and pictures and have our scriptures, pamphlets, and other things in such a small little tablet.  So it has become a major blessing.  When teaching the 1st, 2nd or any lesson, we have found that when a principle is taught and is backed up with a video of the Prophet or one of the Apostles; it brings the Spirit into the lesson SO much more.  It is like having President Monson, Elder Eyring, or Elder Holland as a member present! Ha ha!  It is the best!! So that has become helpful and I personally feel like it has helped me teach the gospel more effectively than I have before. 

Anyway, I just love the Gospel so much!  Sometimes I will get down on myself and doubt certain things just like everyone does now and then... but every time I think about how wonderful Heavenly Father's plan is, I remember how much He loves each and everyone of us in a way that we cannot even imagine.  This gospel just makes so much sense when we don't make things complicated.  We each have our own path in life and as we take one step at a time and rely on our Savior, we can become a little better each day.  No matter what we do, where we go, or what situation we find ourselves in, God will always love us and we will always have Jesus Christ to turn to, to find comfort, love, and forgiveness.  All we must do to find this amazing grace is forget ourselves, remove and turn away from the sins in our lives, and follow HIM.  
I know that my Redeemer lives... and I know that I am on His errand. 

I love you and hope that all is well at home.  Keep working hard to share the gospel and grow closer to Heavenly Father each day and I can promise you that you will find more happiness and  enjoyment in this life.  Have a great week!  Miss and love you a ton!! 

Love your missionary, 

Elder Sean B. Farley

Monday, February 3, 2014

iPad Mini FINALLY!

Hey Momma!

This past week has been pretty great!  Unfortunately we have not been able to meet with a lot of our investigators but we have picked up a few.  One of our investigators, Melody, has been investigating for two years about starting in 2005 and then recently just got picked up as a former.  She has gone to church in the past but now works every Sunday and is not able to get Sunday off.  But we had a SUPER cool miracle where we went to go teach her a lesson from the "Gospel Principles"(since she has gone through the lessons multiple times) book and we took a member with us who looked up the laws for Maryland and found one that had recently been added that said all employees that work in retail are allowed one day a week off for religious purposes.  She works at McDonald's though, so I don't know if that is retail... :/  ha ha.  But she is putting a letter together and hopefully will turn it in this week and get work off so she can go to church and then get baptized! 

Last week we were able to go out on splits with one of the two young men that are preparing to leave for missions soon. The one we took out is named Marterio.  He is super cool and is a convert of a few years. His mom is not a member and has been taught by the missionaries before, but no success.  After going out with Marterio one night we dropped him off at his apartment and decided we should go try to teach his mom again since it had been a long time since she was last part of a discussion.  She sat down with us and we talked for a long time.   She mainly argued in the beginning about our "differences" and continued to emphasize on a lot on things that we had different beliefs in.  In the end we were able to commit her to reading the Book of Mormon with an open heart and to sincerely ask God if it was true.  Toward the end of the lesson Elder Rushton and I were able to bear our testimonies many times about how we came to know that the things we are sharing are true. So it was really powerful and we will be stopping by soon to see her again and see how her reading has been. 

Another cool miracle that happened this week was Mary.  Mary was a referral from the festival of lights about a month ago. She was interested in the message of the Gospel and we had called her many times but we were never able to catch her home.  We had gone by plenty of times and just when we were about to drop her we decided to go knock one last time. We did and a man yelled through the door to tell us that she lived next door!  Ha ha boy, did we feel dumb.  So we went next door and knocked on the door to get the usual response, "WHO IS IT?!"(in a thick African accent.)  "It's the missionaries!"  The door flew open and a mid-aged African woman opened the door with a ecstatic "HELLO!!!" as she came out of the door way, arms open, giving us both a big bear hug!! Ha ha it was so funny and it totally threw me off guard.  She invited us in but unfortunate we did not have a third male with us so we had to re-schedule.  We left her with a brief explanation of the Book of Mormon and the Restoration, leaving her a pamphlet with a copy of the Book of Mormon.   So we are super juiced to see her this week.

Oh, so iPads!! It has been really different working with the iPads now as Elders.  All the missionaries in the mission now have them and they are AWESOME!  We can do all our numbers and goals/actuals online now.  We use the church wifi since there isn't any in our bed bug infested apartment ha ha.  But they really are great for teaching lessons too.  We have the gospel library app on them and they can do so much!  We have Bible Videos and Mormon Messages along with videos from the Prophet and the Apostles.  It is the BEST!  Not to mention that all the pamphlets and standard works are on their and all the notes we take and highlighting done is synced right to our LDS accounts.  So even when we are home we will have it all on there.  It is a learning process and there are quite a bit of bugs that need to get worked out but so far so good!  
It sounds like things are going great at home... busy as always, but great!  I hope Grandpa, Grandma and Uncle Vaughn all had awesome birthdays.  Wish I could have been there.  

I am very excited for all the missionary work going on back home!  I am so happy for our family and the ward and I hope that everyone continues to get excited and courageous in sharing the gospel with others!  It makes me so happy sharing the message that has blessed my family in so many ways... the joy that comes from doing this is beyond explanation.  I never want to stop sharing the Gospel.  

I love you and give everyone a big hug from me.  Miss all of the family and friends back home!  Keep up the GREAT work!!  


Elder Sean Farley