Monday, July 28, 2014

A Wider Circle

Hey Mom, 

Thanks for the email! I always love hearing from you, Dad and the family.  I am so glad everyone is doing well and especially Brian!  It still is weird to me that he is doing what I am doing already!  Well... Kind of- he still has to get back to the states after the MTC experience. :)

Happy Birthday to Caiside!  Sounds and looks(on FB) like she had a great party.  She is such a cute (big) girl!  That is so great that you were able to see Danny, Jessica and the kids.  Tell them all hi for me!  I miss them! 

Today, for our p-day, we had a service project at "A Wider Circle."  It is a organization that a man named Mark started to help fight against poverty.  The organization brings in all sorts of home items like: beds, couches, lamps, desks, and even clothes!  Then anyone who would like to come in gets little stickers with their names on them and go around and pick out the things they would like to bring home.  Many of these people don't have anywhere in their homes to eat, relax or sleep besides the floor.  It felt so great to do service for others and to see how the benefited from the work we did.  Every missionary there seemed to enjoy the service and had a wonderful time!  It makes so much sense to me why the Savior taught us to serve; because when you are doing it you help others, and in return you feel happier! Worries you have before seem to go away and your love increases for those you serve.  There is no losing! Ha-ha

Now that interviews are over we are pretty happy!  Partly because we don't have to be in one spot for so long, but mainly because we are done with the big switch on each missionaries iPads to the churches new supervising software for the apple devices.  The downside is that there are TONS of problems!! So now everyone is giving their iPads to us and having us fix them... But we are waiting for Salt Lake to get back to us on the problems.  So a little stress, but nothing overwhelming.  The crazy part is that transfers is almost here!!  Honestly, it feels like I have only been with Loveless for MAYBE two weeks.  So I will really be treasuring the last two weeks I have with him, because time is flying!

Isn't it interesting to look at how fast life goes?!  It really makes me think of how much our focus should be on the important things in life.  A lot of the people in the world are looking for happiness they can get RIGHT NOW(aka temporary happiness).  However, they are always looking... Never finding the happiness in life that is lasting. When we reach that point where we do find that happiness that remains, we know we have found the truth peace and joy of God.  Heavenly Father wants us all to be happy forever... The only way that is possible is through His Plan of Salvation. God wants us to be with our families forever!  The gospel just makes SO much sense! We are here in this (very short) mortality to learn and grow, so we should do so by staying close to the Lord and our families.  I am so thankful for the family we have and for the blessing of having the gospel in our lives.  Now our job is to endure to the end and share this everlasting gospel with all of our brothers and sisters! 

I love and miss you!  Can't wait for all of our family to be together again, but until then- be safe, healthy, happy and share the good word!! <3 <3

Love your boy,

Sean/ Elder Farley

Monday, July 21, 2014

Zone Conferences - "The Sacredness of Our Callings"

Hey Mom,

Sounds like it has been an interesting turn around without Brian at the house!  I like the Senior wall pictures in the hall at home... It is crazy to see that.  I remember when we lived in California and I used to look at Summer's Senior picture on the wall and I wanted to have one so bad.  Now I look at it and realize how long ago that was... not THAT long ago, but its been over two years! haha- weird. 

I am excited for Caiside!! Holy Cow!! 5 years old!  That is madness... she is growing up fast.  Give a big hug from me and tell her "HAPPY BIRTHDAY from Uncle Sean!"

This past week we had Zone Conference with all 4 zones in the mission.  We had a workshop that we gave on "The Sacredness of our Callings"(/Polishing ourselves as missionaries).  It was really fun to give the training for the whole mission.  We had a pretty sweet PowerPoint presentation... even if I did make it myself! ha-ha :)  We also had a really long, but awesome presentation of how the majority of the sicknesses/illnesses we have on our missions are all because of stress.  I learned a lot about how being mentally strong can improve and diminish almost all stress related illnesses that we get. We also watched Sister Cooke's slide-show that she made(she puts one together for each zone conference of all the pictures that the missionaries email to her).  Elder Parlogean had been working on the new District 3 video, which is a mock video of the MTC training videos, District 1 & 2.  The videos started with the Matsumori's and used to be made by the APs.  Now Elder Parlogean is making them and using Elders and Sisters in the mission to act in it.  They have improved a TON over the years, and Elder P. did a super money job.  That will be on YouTube soon.

This upcoming week we have interviews (meaning interviews by President to each of the missionaries to see how they are in their areas with their companions).  Elder Loveless and I will be updating all the software on the missionaries iPads and making sure their AreaBook Planner is all up-to-date.  So that will be a ton of work, but we are stoked anyway!  Their is a lot of catching up to do with little tasks and follow-up items along with our daily visits with President to see how missionaries are doing in their areas and going on exchanges with them.  This transfer we have really made a big push to be out and about with President on the road, going "Air-mobile!"  I am loving all the work we are doing and even more than that, I love seeing how well all the missionaries are doing in their areas.  This transfer the whole mission has been doing SO great in their proselyting work that everyone just seems to be happy and excited... IT'S THE BEST! 

We had a really amazing opportunity this week to go with President to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and give a couple people blessings.  The building(s) are HUGE and the entire medical center is on HUGE base.  Getting on the base is always fun because President is usually in the back and we pull up and show the guards his military ID and say, "the General is in the back." then they salute him and we are good to go!! It is great.  Once we were in we followed President around and made our way to one of the upper floors in the Eagle Zone (part of the medical center).  There we searched and found a 23 year old woman who had just had brain surgery.  Her father was one of the Chaplin on a different base who asked for us to go over and give her a blessing.  I had the chance to anointed her with oil, while President gave her a wonderful blessing.  It was really humbling to see her so helpless as she laid their fighting to overcome the battle between life and death.  It really opened my eyes to how blessed I am to be healthy and also how blessed we all are to have the Priesthood power of God on the earth today in His church.  After the blessing I felt much more peace as we left her to rest and recover.  Following her blessing we went to follow-up with a woman that President talked to the week before down at the Subway in the food court(which is also on the Medical Center's base).  She told President Cooke that her husband had had his leg crushed by a Humvee.  He continued to talk to her about our church and who we were, asking is she would like us to give her husband a blessing.  She said yes and we told her that we would be back another day to perform it.  When we came in the following week(this last Saturday) she was in the room with her husband and her in-laws.  They all looked a little surprised as we explained who we were and what we were there to do.  They were all thankful and welcoming to the blessing, so again President gave it.  The Spirit was so strong and it was really wonderful to see afterward how the family was much more open with us afterward and grateful for our visit.  The man that was blessed was now much more emotional and asked President what denomination we were a part of.  President Cooke explained that we were LDS and that our Temple was the big, beautiful white building of the 495/beltway.  He agreed to visit upon his recovery when President invited him and we all departed, full of the Holy Spirit. 

I love how much this Gospel is full of service to all of God's children.  It is designed to be the most unselfish and loving message in the world.  We have the Priesthood of God, which enables us to bless and heal just like Christ and his ancient apostles.  We have a message of Christ's perfect gospel which is on the earth today, run by imperfect people trying their best to become more like our Savior.  We go out and share what we believe so that our other brothers and sisters will have the opportunity to listen and accept it.  We need to remove the selfishness that keeps is from talking to everyone and sharing our testimonies and excitement about the Restored gospel to all the world.  If we all work together, this whole church, to reach out to our family and close friends... then we will see SO many people come unto the truth and SO many people receive all the blessings that our Father in Heaven has in store for them.  After all... what could be better than one of our spiritual siblings receiving the opportunity to repent and be freed from their sins and to feel the power of our Savior's infinite Atonement.  I love this Gospel... and I know that it is true!! 

Keep up the great work mom!  Keep reading PMG and the scriptures with dad and look for opportunities to invite people to hear from the missionaries!  They will come, I can promise you that... just have to keep looking :)


Elder Sean Farley

Monday, July 14, 2014

So Much to Say...NO TIME to Say It!!

E. Farley & E. Loveless
Hey Momma!

So many things to say... Not enough time to say it!  Mom... It's show time.  Brian is going on a mission!  You will have to Elder Farleys as your sons.  I am so stoked. He is going to be such an excellent missionary.  Good job on the decorations and cake for his Farewell!!  Looked like a great time!  It was so weird looking at those pictures that seemed identical to where I was almost 1&1/2 years ago.  Crazy how fast time flies.  (I feel like he is trying to convince me or something here)

Things here in the mission are going great!  President Cooke, Elder Loveless and I have been going around and stopping by missionaries apartments to see how they are doing... Almost like surprise visits.  Keepin' everyone on their toes! Ha-ha  President Cooke is super fired up for the work, as always, and E. Loveless and I are having a great time working along side with him.  He is truly an inspiring (and inspired) man who I love being around and learning from.  The Cooke family has been so great and they do SO much!   I am learning a lot of things from each individual in the family.
The AP's are on the loose!

We have Zone Conference this week and we just finished Zone Trainings last week... So life is BUSY!  We have been making PowerPoints, running errands and planning the Trainings for each meeting.  It is a lot of work and running around but I am loving it!  It is a different sort of missionary work... I guess a different perspective.  I am adjusting as best as I can and I know I can do better, so I am just going to keep on trying... Keep on doing my best.  Heavenly Father will help with the rest.

It is amazing to me how The Lord works.  He is in everything... He really is.  I see it so much as we are working hard to see success and help out the mission.  Heavenly Father guides us and helps us when needed, but for the most part he allows us to figure things out on our own.  We all have agency and God will not get in the way of that, because it is part of the plan.  It is really humbling to see that He works that way... And it is even more humbling to realize how little I still know and how much I still need to improve while I am out here.  This work is SO true... And I just want everyone to hear about it.  

I hope PMG and scripture study is still going well!  Keep it up!  Now you will have two Elder Farleys to get on you about that! ;) love and miss you so much!  Give Bri the BIGGEST HUG from me and a "good luck... May the Spirit be with you."  He is going to be a BEAST at missionary work!  Baptize all those Cali-Mexicans!! :D Adios, Amigo! Mucho Amor!

Love your son,

Elder Farley... The elder

Monday, July 7, 2014

Best Fourth of July, EVER!

Hey Mother!!

This week has had a lot of ups and downs!  Mostly ups though, so don't be worried!!  The 4th of July this year was AMAZING to say the least.  All the missionaries were on the Mall and there were a TON of people.  We had a really fun time!  Loveless and I started by getting into the city around 1 PM and just walking around, looking at all the different attractions and peeps.  We ended up meeting with a group of missionaries who were in-between the Washington monument and the White House.  We played football for a couple hours and then E. Loveless and I went to go find some food.  We both don't know the city very well so we ate at a food truck!! Ha-ha it was sketchy but super tasty... it was a Philly cheese steak made by an Indian(not a native-american, but a dude from India!).  He did a pretty dang good job.  

After all that grease settled in our stomachs we headed over towards the capitol.  Okay, backing up a little... So last year we had to be off the Mall by 6 PM and in our apartments by 10:30 PM.  There is a concert sponsored by PBS that is right in front of the Capitol building.  Last year we really wanted to go, but couldn't because of the 6 PM rule.  This year however, we didn't have that rule- we just needed to be in by 10:30.  So Elder Loveless and I had the goal in our minds that we would find a way to either get into the concert for the night or we would get on top of one of the buildings that overlook the Mall.  So we started with "plan A" and started towards the US Capitol Building.  When we got close their was an entrance to the gated area surrounding the whole building.  It did not require tickets or anything, but was a check-point to make sure no one had anything crazy in their purses or bags.  When we got closer to the concert we found out that you could be in the area between the stairs to the Capitol building and the grass area where the concert was.  Although that was really cool, we were not satisfied... so we began plotting on how we could get into the grassy area right in front of the stage.   We went up and observed those people who were entering past the guards/police and quickly realized that they were checking peoples hands to see if they were stamped.  People that were walking out were being stamped by a female security guard so that they could return for their spots later.  We met up with different missionaries and members as we paced back and forth through the large crowd, determined to get past the fuzzzz.(Turns out all you needed to do to get in was show up that morning and get a stamp).  After many attempts at one entrance we were told by the guard to stop trying... So we got pretty discouraged.  Later we went to go track down a member who was one of the police officers/security guards(idk what he really was) and try to get in through him. 
He wasn't much help, but there we met Elder Arnett and Treasure.  We explained the situation to them and they were stoked to get in with us.  When we got to the other entrance they (Arnett & Treasure) realized that they had stamps that were similar to the ones that were needed to get in (they had gotten at a different event on the Mall earlier that day).  We thought that there was no harm in trying... what were they going to do to us?  Tell us to leave.. ha-ha.  So they waited until a group with stamps walked in and they followed them in flashing their hands and going right through without any problems!!! We were FREAKING OUT!! Then we realized we were going to miss out and they were going to have the best 4th of July ever!  So Elder Loveless and I desperately looked for something that could help us get in...(keep in mind that we had members in their saving us an area with plenty of room... and the guards just wouldn't let us in because we didn't have stamps).  Anyway, we ended up find a small thing of "eye-black" in my backpack, which we smeared on our hands to shape it to look like the stamps!  ha-ha  I doubted we would get in but we tried anyway.... BAM!!! We totally walked right past without a problem and by the time to concert started, we were RIGHT up front!!! Best. Night. Ever.  
With all the madness we thought our adventure on the fourth was over... but we still had to get in on time.  Realizing half-way through the fireworks that we had to leave, we began sprinting to the metro (which was 1 mile+ away).  We ran into Elder Peterson and Hansen right as we got out of the Capitol Building area and they joined us on the trek!  Arnett led the way (he is a former cross-fit guy) and held a steady but fast pace!  We also led us the WRONG WAY!  So our mile run turned into nearly 2 miles of a sprint through a sea of people!  I felt like I was in National Treasure 3 or something ha-ha.  We made it to the metro and we all got to our destination safely getting to our vehicles and driving home.  To say the least, it was the craziest fourth of July ever! 

This upcoming week we have a lot going on and it should be really busy and fun!  It is a lot of work but I am loving it and having such a great time with Elder Loveless!!! I wish I had time to explain everything!  All I can say is that the church is TRUE!! I love being able to be close to President and see how the decisions are made for the mission... I truly know that all the changes and decisions are inspiration from the Lord.  He gives President and the missionaries the guidance we need and then lets us go to work and experience it on our own.  I am so thankful for free agency and the Atonement.  The two things that, when used together, give us the ability to get through this life with the experience we need and to help us return to live with God.  
I am so grateful for all you do for me and our family.  Thank goodness for the gospel and for the Plan of Salvation!! I am so happy that we can be together forever! 

Seriously... forever... that is the greatest thing I know.  And its not just something we say in the church, but it is something that I KNOW is true.  I have no doubt.  
I love and miss you!  Keep up the great work and stay healthy, safe and happy!

Love your boy,

Sean/Elder Farley