Monday, November 24, 2014

Miracles and Festival of Lights

Hey Mom! 

This week had a lot packed into it- and this upcoming week even more so!  Sorry if I end up jumping all over the place in this email.  

First off, it sounds like things are going well at home!  I am excited for you vacay! Have fun and eat some shaved ice and garlic shrimp for me - haha!  The missionary work back home sounds like it is going well.  It always helps to have some hard working elders who are excited about the work.  It is also great that you will get to see Rachel and the Parsons!  Tell everyone I say hi :)

A couple weeks ago we gave a blessing to a girl, who is the daughter of an inactive member.  She had a problem with her appendix & gallbladder and was in the hospital for a while.  We went into the hospital both silently saying prayers that there would be a miracle.  We had a good visit with her and her mom. (who actually loves us and feeds us almost every weekend)  Her recovery time was multiple weeks and she even got transferred the next day to Baltimore to have work done.  We gave her a blessing and left and it was almost another week when we saw the family again for dinner.  There was great news!  She was coming home the next day!!! She had an amazing recovery and still would be recovering at home but came home WAY before she was suppose to be released from the hospital!  So that was a really awesome miracle :) Heavenly Father definitely heard our prayers and even the mom and father(who is not a member) noticed and commented on the help of the blessing!  :) that alone made my week.

This last week we also got to help put some lights up for Festival of Lights at the Temple Visitor's Center on the trees!  It was pretty cold and our instructor was kinda.... Out of control, really excited but a little overbearing.  It was a cool experience though.  We were also able to share a lesson at a youth District meeting for two different wards.  It was modeled after our missionary district meetings, but simplified and focused on the youth.  Elder Tavana and I taught about how missions are all about service and following our Savior.  We shared a short video about the ancient apostles leaving everything and following the Lord.  After the spiritual side we had a Q&A about missionary work and life.  At the end we showed an old 'District 3' video about the life of a District Leader!  Haha it was pretty funny :). Oh and we went to the White House too! It was great haha- but it one of those Grandpa Farley things... "I've already been there, why would I want to go again?" Haha

Today for Pday we played our annual missionary Turkey Bowl.  It was better coordinated this year with pre-selected teams, team colors, flags, and cones to mark the field.  We even had a bracket!  The talent was evenly spread so the games were all really good and fun! We even had Zack come down and play with us!  He played college Lacrosse so he is a pretty good athlete.  Then on Thursday we will play again for our ward turkey bowl!  Tomorrow after district meeting we will be helping cut turkey for the homeless with Salvation Army.  Hopefully we will have some more lessons this week as well!  I am loving it here in the Kentlands area with Tavana.  We are having fun, enjoying working with the members and trying hard to find those elect souls!  

I hope you will have a great time on the islands.  Be healthy, happy and safe!  I'll do the same :) love and miss you!

Love your boy,


Monday, November 17, 2014

Getting Ready for the Festival of Lights!

Elder Farley & Elder Tavana
Hey Momma,

Glad to hear Brian is doing well :) Especially since he can stay nearby the Parsons!  That would make me happy!  He is such a stud- it's great to know he is improving quickly on his Spanish too.

This week was pretty fun! We got to see a few members and spent time with our recent converts.  But I would say that one of the highlights was moving a 830lb gun safe and then a couple hours later moving two refrigerators- one of them we didn't even use the dolly and just picked it up and carried it from the basement to the garage!  Haha I guess members tend to ask Tavanā to do service for than other missionaries... I have no idea why ;) haha

The temple has the Festival of Lights like I was telling you before, and the lights are only half way up!  So they are asking us to come help during the week to put up the lights!  That should be awesome besides that fact that it is getting chilly.  I am also glad I am close this year so I can bring members and investigators to come see the lights and the performances.  The DC temple is breathtaking around Christmas at night.  About 100,000 people come inside per year- and that doesn't include all the people who drive up just to see the lights from the outside.

Oh!  I almost forgot!  So for thanksgiving we are going to the Markoff's farm where everyone who attends dresses like Indians or Pilgrims.  And of course, since I actually know Native Americans, I am going to be an Indian :) NM pride! So that is going to be super fun! Can't wait!

We had a conference where Elder Katcher, who spoke in Conference this fall, came and spoke in each zone for half the day.  It was a great experience to meet him and learn from him.  He even did random interviews afterward and Tavanā got picked! Haha he said it was a great experience to talk one-on-one.  The coolest conference however, was with Elder Katcher and all members of each ward council in the mission(plus the missionaries)!  It was a ton of people!  We all got together in our ward council and the conference was interactive.  All the stake presidents were there as well as Elder Gerard, who is the area authority.  It's fun to know all those men from being around President.  Anyway, that was a great experience for me and I feel like it really helped unify the wards.  That's something I feel like makes wards super successful.  If the leadership is unified and works together for a common purpose, then the ward catches on and gets excited to accomplish that same goal or purpose.  It works as missionaries too! When the leaders are good examples and know there purpose, the rest of the mission follows.

I hope the missionary work back home is going great!  Dad is such a hard worker and very dedicated so I know that things must being going good :) I hope that everyone realizes they can be missionaries in their own way.  It's pretty much just being more Christ-like.  For those who are members and have fallen away; we can reach out to them and invite them to spend time with us at church, at home or for any sort of activity.  The same thing goes for those who are not part of our faith.  We can always reach out to our neighbors or friends for all kinds of outings or activities.  All it takes is the faith to ask... The faith to invite.  It's simple and all of us can do it.  Missionaries and non-missionaries alike.

I love this gospel and hope to LIVE this gospel with my whole heart all of my life.  It truly is the only thing in this mortal experience and through the eternities that can bring us lasting happiness that no one can take away.  I know that the gospel I preach is the Lord's, and that it blesses all of God's children.  I love it and I am glad you are a part of it mom, along with Dad and my siblings.  I love and miss you.  Be safe, healthy and happy!

Love your first missionary in the field,

Sean (EF1)

PS Tell Dad thanks for the email :). I love hearing from him- but this week the email is to both of you.  I was trying to do both, but we were around a ton of missionaries today and I can't focus because everyone is talking to me.  So I will still probably train next transfer and it will be a trio for a couple weeks until Tavanā leaves.  Which should be great!  And I didn't get the package yet, but I am excited :) I will probably try to send stuff home before the end of the transfer so my kid doesn't think I am tricky and also so I don't make him homesick! Also, Summers new dog is super awesome!! I want to "squeeze the crap out of her!"(in the words of Summer Postak).

Monday, November 10, 2014

Loving the Kentlands and Serving with Elder Tavana

Hey Momma,

Thanks for the email!  I love the photo of you, Dad and Rachel!  It is really nice quality too! Pretty funny that they do that!  I know what you mean by feeling that the weeks are going so fast... This week flew.  I am loving the Kentlands and serving with Elder Tavanā.  This Pday we got Bodda and Thornton to come and lift with us and their roommates and companions!  It was like a whole football team came in and took over LA Fitness haha.  And Tavana's first name is Devin.  I am excited to show you around the mission- let me know what the dates are when we are coming back out here, then I can tell some members here.

Glad to hear things are going well at home!  I sent you a video of me singing at the Night of Music this last Sunday, so you can show that to the family :) we sang "Be Thou Prideful"
We are having a blast here- the work is hard, but the members are cool and we are really trying to get them excited to participate in sharing the gospel.  It's great to know there are some hard working missionaries back in the 5th ward at home! Dad needs some hard working kids to keep up with his fire!  We are having some success with the Recent Converts son.  We had a night where we stopped by and he had us come and hangout in his room and just talked about a lot of stuff.  Mostly the Godhead and the difference between the trinity, also evolution and Adam/Eve.  We even got to share our conversion & reason why we came out on a mission.  He is a really awesome guy.  He is the one we lift with sometimes in the morning.  And his parents are the coolest :)  we also have a couple other people we are trying to make contact with, so hopefully we will have more success this week.

In a few days we are having a general authority come to train the mission.  Elder Katcher.  So that should be really awesome!  The Festival of Lights is also coming up and since I am not in Lexington park like last year, I should be able to go a lot more!  There is even some talk about elders helping out in the VC to get more referrals... Because the elders are much better at getting referrals than the sisters ;) haha just kidding... Kind of.

I got to hear from Brian this week!  It sounds like he is doing well! I can't believe he has been out for quite a while already. He is such a stud- I love hearing from him.  :) it makes me happy to know he is in a good place doing great things- even if it will be a while until I see him again.  I think about a lot of my friends who are on missions as well!  I have been blessed to be around a lot of awesome kids.

This week I have had some really great studies.  It is kind of funny how being on my mission has made me LOVE studies.  I enjoy learning and re-learning the principles of the gospel.  Even when I only get to study a little each day I still feel that it helps me grow closer to Jesus Christ.  Keep on studying and looking for opportunities to share the things you learn :)

I love and miss you momma!  Stay healthy, happy and safe!

Love your boy,

Elder Sean B. Farley

Monday, November 3, 2014

In Kentlands as a Regular!

Dinner at the Mission Home
Hey Momma!

Let me just say that I love it here!  Elder Tavana is so great and we are having a blast in the ward. We don't have anyone very solid that we are working with, but Bishop wants us to visit every member before Christmas!  So we are going to town. You should look up The Kentlands in Maryland.  It is this community where there is this old town feel... Everything is super close.  Theater, restaurants, dentists, doctors, cleaners, supermarkets, and even clothing stores!  It is super fun to go around and see both active and inactive members there.

I have had the chance to meet a lot of great people so far this week.  There is a recent convert family who are legit!  They have a 23 year old son who we go lift with in the mornings and he is way chill. We have become pretty good friends- so hopefully we will get the chance to show him the wonderful blessings of the church!

I can't wait for you and Dad to come out here next spring and meet all the wonderful people I've met here and to see the great places I have been around in Maryland and DC!

Oh... Just a little side note: today we lifted and played football with the Assistants for Pday.  The good news and bad news: Bad=we timed out 40 yard dash times and I am SLOW!!! Haha Good= I benched 315lbs :D YES!! It was a good day!

Anyway, we have interviews for our temple recommends tomorrow- can't believe it has been 2 years since I went to the temple the first time!

It is great to hear that everything is going well back at home :) I am glad you feel better now Mom so you can go the gym again!  The gym is great!  I have a new appreciation for staying active and healthy since I have been out here.  I really wish I could pass on ever dessert, but the members are too nice and loving to deny their great food!  I will just have to run more haha.

It is great to know you and Dad were able to see Rachel!  Hope you told her "hi" for me.  I miss and love all my siblings a ton :)

This week we plan on seeing a ton of people and hopefully finding some new investigators through members and as we talk to everyone we see and meet!  It is suppose to get a little warmer than it has been, but we can definitely tell that the cold fall weather is upon us.  I love the fall.  Being cold here is better than the hot and humid.

Well momma... That's about it for this week.  I will be sending an sd card to you finally so you have some pictures again.  Thanks for everything you send out to me! I got all the packages/letters and postcards you sent!  I always love the little notes from you and Dad.  I have gotten pretty behind on letters the last few months! Sorry everyone- I still love you all! Haha

Quick thought: Elder Tavana and I have been sharing a lot about how we can all do our best each day to remember our Savior in everything we do.  All of us make mistakes and have trials and weaknesses, but we all can put a little more effort in being more like Christ.  He was and still is the perfect example for all of us.  He knows exactly how we feel, what we struggle with and even our every thought.  We can turn to Him and our Father in Heaven in prayer at anytime for the strength we need.  Our challenge to each person we share this with (including you :) ) is to look for something you can do this week to be more like our Savior.  Elder Tavana had a great, simple one: to SMILE more :) and I am striving to serve those around me more!  So as we go about this week I pray that everyone who gets the chance to spread this to pick just ONE WAY to be more like Jesus Christ.  I know that this will not only help those around us, but it will also help us with our individual relationships with our Lord and bring a greater peace and purpose to our lives!

I love and miss you momma, but I know this is the place God needs me and the place I want to be so that I can share what I know with all my brothers and sisters who will listen! I hope you and the family (and all our friends) will be safe, happy and healthy!!!

Love your boy,

Elder Sean B. Farley
After doing service with the Chinese program Elders.....they're all tuckered out!