Monday, May 19, 2014

Tri-Mission with Elder Ballard

Hey Mom!

Sounds like there are some pretty great things happening at home!  I can't believe that Brian is Graduating HS already! Well... I mean I can believe it, but it came fast.  I feel like it was just yesterday when I was a couple months away from my mission and going to the temple.  Mom! You are going to have two boys out on missions! Two Elder Farley's on the east and west coast of the States! I am pretty stoked for that.

This past week has had so much stuff happening it seems like two weeks have gone by in the last 4 days.  We had transfers followed by Leadership Training and then our Tri-Mission Conference.  The Baltimore mission was there, and we got to see a lot of old friends from the MTC who are in that mission.  They left a week before us in the MTC so we were their successor group :) haha  the DC south mission was there as well as our mission, "the best mission in the history of life."——as everyone knows.   Elder Ballard came with a few general authorities but I was so stoked to just hear from him that I only remember one of their names, Elder Wong. Haha he was really a funny guy and taught about how the 4 people that brought the man with palsy to Jesus and lowered him through the roof; were the ward council members bringing a less-active, recent convert, or investigator to Christ.  He explained that in order for that person to be brought to Christ the whole ward council had to act in unity and efficiency to bring the person on top of the roof without dropping him and then carefully lowering the person down evenly so that the bed wouldn't tip over.  It was really awesome symbolism.  The others talked a lot about studying a Preach My Gospel and how we are not asked to do very hard things as members and missionaries.  He had us think about our ancestors who had to cross the plains and face persecution and even death.  While we, on the other hand, are asked to read our scriptures, say our prayers, go to church, and share the gospel.  Elder Ballard's message was focused on sharing the gospel with everyone. He explained that the only way we can baptize and bring more people to the church is to talk with everyone.  It is so simple. He also talked about communication and the importance of studying purposefully so that when we deliver our message it is concise and powerful; being backed up by the Spirit of God. Overall he spoke simple saying that all the brethren could teach us or ever want to teach us is already, in some way, taught in Preach My Gospel.  His simple and meaningful reminder pierced me heart and I know that the Spirit was not only telling me that this man truly is a decile of Christ, but that his message was what The Lord wanted us to hear and to do.  So I encourage you and everyone to read and study Preach My Gospel more :) That is something I plan on studying even more here and after my full time service as a missionary. Oh! And for the Conference I had a picture of Elder Ballard as my iPads screen saver haha.  I was really hoping I could ask him to take a selfie with me! Haha

Today we went to the Mall for our once a transfer football game at The Mall in DC.  It was a perfect day for football.  The sky was clear, blue and the weather was warm with a cooling breeze.  Couldn't have asked for a better day!! We did mixed up teams and I got Hansen on my team with the really tall elder, Elder Swensen, and we also got Elder Chapman! So it was people I knew and we made a super good team! I'm not saying that we won all our games... But... We won all our games haha :)  I really love all the elders out here so much.  For the most part everyone is a good sport and we all have a great time together.  

This week was awesome, even though it hasn't been a full week with Elder Cervantes we are already getting along just fine and having lots of fun together.  Elder C is a bit older than most the missionaries out here, since he turns twenty-seven on the 31st on this month!  So he is veteran :) he also only has about 3 months left on his mission. Crazy, right?  We have a wonderful bunch in the zone and we are going to see so many miracles this transfer, I can just feel it.  Unfortunately, we didn't have any investigators at church this week, but we did meet with N and O again and taught them the Plan of Salvation. They understood it well and had many great questions!  O still has a set back on the Book of Mormon where the Lamanites get a cursing of blackness on their skin and how the Nephites were labeled as exceedingly fair and beautiful.  So we are going to hit on that pretty hard next lesson and just focus on helping him pray to ask God if it is true.  There are always little doubts and concerns that hold people back from accepting or progressing in the Gospel of Christ.  But I know the Lord will help out.  

Lots of good things are happening here in the DC North Mission and we are going to teach EVERYONE! Well... At least TALK TO EVERYONE!!! ;D I love this Gospel and I have always known, thought the Spirit of God, that it is the true church of the Lord and Savior.  Nothing will stop the work of Salvation from progressing or hastening.  Everyone who is engaged needs to continue with faith.  And everyone who isn't needs to get on board! 

I love you Mom and I am so very thankful that I am your son and in the family we are in.  What a great blessing to have the Restored Gospel in our lives :) keep smiling and keep sharing your great testimony.

Love your son,

Elder Sean B. Farley

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Crime and Punishment....Museum.

Hey Momma! 

I was so happy to see you and talk to you over Skype yesterday for Mother's Day!! I love being able to talk to you and the family and just see how everyone is doing.  Good to see Grandpa and Uncle Vaughn still have their same old good humor and to see Summer and Jonny along with the kids.  They are growing so fast and look great!  Cutest kids ever.  I can't wait to get to hangout with them!  Grandma said in her last letter that she is getting her voice back again little by little so that is good!  Hopefully when I get back I can get into my voice lessons again along with guitar lessons.  A member gave us a guitar to borrow so I really want to get good at it when I get back :)  I love playing and singing.  
Today was a really great p-day!   We went and worked out and then went to iHop for a post-workout meal! It was super tasty! We even got the nice waitress to take our picture! Elder Hansen says thanks again.

I am pretty excited for my new companion Elder Cervantes.  It is always good to get some reassurance from AJ Anderson! I can always trust him and his comments.  Hopefully this transfer I will at least be able to contact a little more with Latinos since there are SO many here.  I seriously think parts of Silver Spring are just mini states of Mexico placed in the states ha-ha.

I am sad to hear about Sister Tanner. I love her and brother Tanner. Give her a BIG hug from me and let them know I love them both a ton! It always made me happy to see them at church each Sunday.

The work here is going pretty good.  We had our investigators O'Neil and Nadia come to church and they stayed for sacrament and left.  They liked it and said it was cool to see all the families and young kids.  They also have a little girl.  We are trying to get Chandra and Raj, who are the part member family, to come to church and hopefully get a standing weekly appointment with them so that we can teach the husband and the kids.  They are super nice, just hard to keep in touch with.  I feel confident that with the hard work and faith put into next transfer, our area and the whole Silver Spring Zone will see a lot of miracles! 

Elder Palmer (who is also serving in the College Park) is going home early because of his knee.  He was suppose to go home earlier and get surgery to get it fixed but he toughed it out until the doctors said he had to get it fixed.  So we are sad to see him go, but he served hard and did an amazing job here in the ward.  

For P-Day today we went into the city with Brother Weitzner who took out us and some other elders and sisters to the Crime and Punishment Museum.  It was crazy cool!  We did a shooting simulator and we were like the police.  Elder Bledsoe and I were the two shooting and we were looking for someone to point a gun at us.  The one guy got out of the car and I instantly went into real life Call of Duty mode... My heart was pounding, my vision fixed, my hands steady, and my intensity unmatchable!  I had my sights on the man who showed us his hands outside his window and then slowly got out of the car and put his hands behind his back.  Out of my peripherals I was looking for any little person or creature to pop out and attack... I might have gone a little cross eyes I was so suspicious.  The dark scene, which was well past the sunset, had my finger itching to mow down the first thing I saw that moved. As the man was about to get cuffed by the other policeman, immediately another man jumped out from behind the same SUV as if out of nowhere! He quickly pulled out his gun and without hesitation Elder Bledsoe and I, in perfect unison, UNLOADED ON THIS CLOWN!!!  Elder Bledsoe and I were born to be cops.  But I'm not about that life, so I will stick to call of duty.  Haha :)

Anyway, things are going great here in Maryland! I really love this area and I am thankful to have the opportunity to have another transfer here. I hope you all are doing great missionary work back at home.  I also hope and pray that you are happy and safe.  I love and miss you! Have an awesome week!



Monday, May 5, 2014

Happy Cinco De Mayo!

Happy Cinco De Mayo Momma!

Today was great!  We had our zone activity for the Silver Spring Zone and it turned out great!  We got there and set up for the food, while Elder Archibald prepared to cook it up on the park grill.  He KILLED IT!! The food was super good.  He is like a pro cook (but for real) and he marinated all the beef for the burgers yesterday and then cooked up all the brats, burgers and hot dogs!  So... everyone left happy from that. Elder Hansen and I found some eye black in the apartment and made some "mexi staches" and got some sombreros at a local thrift shop to complete our Cinco De Mayo outfits.  I also got a Soccer Jersey from another elder and tried to compete with everyone is soccer.  Not such a good idea when you have an ingrown toenail and block people on the field! Haha I was lead blocking for my teammates!  :) So we ended up doing pretty good! We also played sand volleyball and at the end of the zone activity we handed out rewards, which were old trophies we found at the same thrift shop!  Overall it was great!

This past week has also been really good! We have made a lot of progress on the Unknown and Unassigned member list, along with many of our less actives.  Oh! Crazy story! -- So I was on an exchange with the ASL elders and we were visiting some less-actives and we met this one guy who was very unhappy with us.  He said that we kept coming over and he told us to never come back.  I explained to him the difficulty to be completely removed from the church when your names are still on the records.  One thing led to another and he now is removing his records.  So that was pretty intense.  The crazy part was the the very next person we checked on did the exact same thing!! Except this time when we he answered he was yelling at us and when we talked back he said that he was tired of us coming by when he said he didn't want us to and that he was deaf and couldn't hear us!  BAM! Miracle!! Elder Wood, who speaks American Sign Language, started signing to him and then the mans face went from angry to a "of course... out of all the missionaries in the world, this one speaks sign" sort of face!! ha-ha.  Unfortunately, he too did not want to be part of the church any longer, but at least with the sign language we were able to communicate with him and have a less hostile conversation.
On Sunday we had a former investigator, who was really more like a potential investigator, come to church. He came a while back but the missionaries were a little to excited and pushy and they scared him off.  So we are going to be more chill with him and try to set up an appointment.  Something else cool that happened was our investigator Raj showing up to church.  He has a wife who is a member and two kids under 8 years old.  Since his wife was sick he came alone and stayed for all three hours!  A lot of the members came up and met him and others wanted him and his wife to visit their homes.  So next week he said he would come again and bring his whole family! That was a great miracle!  Philip and Robyn didn't make it this week but hopefully we can meet with them within the next two days and see what happened. 

Elder Ballard will be speaking to our mission, the DC South Mission and the Baltimore mission in a couple weeks for our mission conference.  So that is going to be AWESOME! I really hope I get to shake his hand!  We will have to see... that will be a lot of missionaries! Ha-ha. 

Anyway, things are going great here!  We are trying hard to meet with the members and encourage them to start their own family mission plans and follow up with them.  I know that will be a good step for any member and should help all of them out in their personal missionary efforts.  I just love this gospel so much. It is a gospel of love, peace and happiness.  It is our duty as members forever to be sharing the gospel with everyone around us.  When we study the scriptures, the words of the modern day Prophet and Apostles, and also study Preach My Gospel; we can become great teachers and will bring many of our friends and families into the gospel.  
I love you Mom and tell everyone back home I say hi and I hope that they are doing great! Keep up the great work and I will talk to you Sunday :D YAY FOR MOTHER's DAY!! 
Love your boy, 

Elder Sean B. Farley