Monday, December 29, 2014

It Won't be Over Until the Lord Says it's Over!

Hey mom!

Wow, it feels weird emailing already because I just saw you!  I'm not complaining though- it's great! :)  I had such a fun time being able to Skype on Christmas!  It was really neat being able to see Brian/Elder Farley on the other computer screen and to have the chance to chat for a while.  He looks and sounds like he is doing well.  But SERIOUSLY?! First mission Christmas with Shane, Jeremy and Aunt Sharon?!  Definitely the coolest mission Christmas ever.  I can't wait to see the Parsons again!  It was fun talking to the fam back home too!  Looks like GM&GP are well!  It was good to hear Uncle Vaughn and GP crack on' jokes like always!  Caiside was funny :) and I guess I'll just have to say hi to Ryker at home since he was all angry!! Haha

Christmas in the mission was pretty fun! Unfortunately we didn't have time to go see the Kings, but we did get to watch How To Train Your Dragon 2 all together in the amphitheater of the VC.  That was a pretty good one.  We also had lunch together as a mission and had a talent show.  We did the Haka for our talent and we had our faces painted from a Tongan sister who also participated.  I wore a skirt from a Tahitian sister. Tavana, Ah Ching, Wood and I lead the group.  We even had President Cooke get up there to do it with us!  It seemed to get a pretty good response from the rest of the missionaries.

This last Saturday was a hard one, saying goodbye to Tavana and Malugin.  I really grew close to them both out here and I hope to be able to always keep in contact with them.  It's okay though because Tavana, Bodda and I all have March b-days so we are going to see Bodda in Vegas! Haha reunion!! Malugin can come too, even though his birthday is in January.  It is different being in a two man companionship without Tavana, but I am having a great time with Elder Warnes!  We are working hard and trying to get some new investigators this week!  You know what that means!! Tracting!! Hopefully those that we are meeting with now will also be willing to accept our commitments and progress.  And next week Bible Study will be back on so we will have some opportunity there :)

Can you believe it is already 2015!?  Honestly, it's kind of scary how fast time went.  And I feel silly saying that because everyone says the same thing when they get towards the end.  I am grateful for all the things I have learned and for all the success I've seen.  I'm even sort of thankful for the trials and hardships, because I know they are preparing me for the future and have helped me trust more in the Lord.  There is still so much work to do, and I know it won't be done until the Lord says it's over.  I plan to keep working hard to the end and looking for each opportunity to be a light and share my testimony with others.  I love reading the Book of Mormon and seeing how faithful and diligent the prophets were who testifies of Christ and called their brothers and sisters to repent and find peace in the gospel.  They hard hardships and losses, but they always seemed to put their whole hearts into God's work and aligned their will with His.  I know I have not been perfect at that, but I hope to always strive for that kind of discipleship.  This is the gospel with brings eternal life through Christ.  I know that there is a prophet who is the mouthpiece of God, who directs up in ways of righteousness. A path that, if we follow, will lead us back safely to the loving arms of our Savior and Father in Heaven.

I am so thankful for you and our family.  Thank you for all the support and love you have given me as I have been out here on the east coast.  I don't think I could ever begin to explain all the wonderful things you, dad, our family and friends have done to help me stay strong and find peace and joy as I've served our God.  I love and miss you.  Hope you enjoy this week and the start to the New Year. 2015!!! It's going to be a good one!

Love your son,

Elder Farley

PS can't wait for the comp ties! :)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Time in DC North is AWESOME!!

Roommates!!....What?! Your apartment has a FIREPLACE!!! Really now. 
Hey Momma!

It's been a really fun and weird week!  We went to a few Festival of Lights performances, including the Bell Choir and Sandra Turley, who is a member of our ward.  There were 54 non-members who went because she was singing! Pretty awesome, right?  So the events there have been good and tomorrow we are actually working at the VC, probably in the parking lot directing traffic with lightsabers.  Haha well... Not really but they are like the light up sticks that people direct airplanes in with.  So that will be fun!  And this will all be after we have our district meeting/Christmas party.  Which will include pin the nose on Rudolf, a white elephant exchange, and an ugly sweater competition!  I'll try to take some pictures so you can see :)

This past week we had a member invite us to a bible study and where she has friends from her work come over and read the Old and New Testament together.  We went over and read the story of Christ's birth with them all and bore our testimonies about our Savior.  So now we have a constant get-together with 4 new investigators!  We are hoping to get more members in there to fellowship next month too!

Today's Pday adventure was down in the Capitol area that borders the river to Virginia.  Brother Weitzner took us, the APs, and Elder Peterson down there to the National Harbor to ride on a inclosed ferris wheel!  It was pretty awesome!  Scary, but awesome.  After that we are at Potbelly's and went our separate ways.  The APs wanted to go through 'Costia to get some clothes from Forman Mills!  Haha so ghetto, but it was fun!

This week will be interesting because Tavanā is leaving and we have a packed day tomorrow with District Meeting and the Visitors Center.  Then Wesnesday is packed with seeing members, then it's Thursday... Christmas.  Friday we have some appointments and we are going to the VC again, then Saturday Tavanā goes home.  It's going to be busy, busy!

Lava Lava from Momma Tavana

Anyway, not a ton of time to write this week- but I will see you in a few days! :D Love and miss you all!  Have a great week and have an amazing Christmas <3

Love your son,

Elder Sean Farley

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Festival of Lights is Pretty Great!!

Hey Mom!

Training is going great!  I am having a lot of fun and working hard with Elder Tavanā and Elder Warnes.   We have done quite a bit of tracting, visiting members and even picking up a new investigator!  I am very happy that I will be training for this last transfer and it's sort of fun to be DL again since I was only one for two transfers.  I have so many fun ideas for the district meetings and a really good group of elders and sisters.  There is a total of 13 of us- pretty good size!
That is super crazy about Elder Webb and the missionary he had stay an extra transfer... I'm pretty sure President and Sister Cooke both know that you would fly out and pick me up yourself, so I think I am in the clear.  Oh! Speaking of the Cookes, they got the package and LOVE the gifts.  :) So whatever you got them, it was a good choice!

I am beyond excited to be able to Skype and see you all AND Brian!  He sounds like he is doing well, and from the pictures it looks that way too.  And he is going to be 19!  I still feel like I am that age! I'll have to send him out a little package for his b-day/Christmas.  Probably some nice ties :)

The Festival of Lights has been pretty great!  The last two nights we have gone taking a less active family the first night and active members the 2nd night for Jenny Oaks Baker.  There are always great shows so we are going to try to get as many less actives and investigators to the VC as much as we possibly can before the Festival ends.

Elder Warnes is a really good kid.  He is willing to listen and speak up in lessons(with a little bit of urging), as well as learning a lot about the members and becoming good friends with those he has met so far.  He will do a good job when Tavanā and I leave the area.  We picked up a new investigator this last week named D. who we met while tracting.  He seems to be divorced, but has two kids; one is in the Air Force and the other goes to HS, planning to go into the Marine Corps. He asked how long we would take to share our message, so I told him that it wouldn't be more than 15 minutes.  We went in and talked a little about who we were and what the Book of Mormon is and where it comes from.  He recently lost his job and is struggling to find a new one.  He was willing to take a Book of Mormon and read part of Alma 7 that we left with him.  Hopefully we will be able to see him on Wednesday and share a full first lesson with him, inviting him to be baptized.  So that was a cool miracle this last week, and hopefully we pick up more newbs this week to teach!

I am pretty stoked for our Christmas picture with our trio and our roommates!  It should hopefully be taken this week so it should make it for next P day.  Speaking of our P day, we went with the APs all the way down to Lexington Park in the van with the Chinese.  We went all the way down to Point Lookout for the last time.  It was overcast and chilly, but we had a fun time and took some great pictures!  It has been such a wonderful experience out here so far with all the wonderful friends I've gained since I've left home.  I know that we will all keep in contact and watch out for each other, just like any brother would do.

I guess that's the whole point of this life for us as members.  We all have been placed in certain places here in this life at different times all for specific reasons.  I think there are a lot of people who think that life is just chance.  I know that from time to time I've felt that there are a lot of things that are left up to chance, but since I've been on my mission I truly believe that all things are under God's direction and set for a certain purpose.  I know that those of us here on earth once accepted a plan in a life before this to come to earth, experience joy and pain, trials and successes, and to accept the Gospel of Christ and repent to live with our Father in Heaven again.  I know that those who have the truth of our Savior's gospel must share it with our brothers and sisters who came to earth without the blessings of the gospel.  I can't remember life before this, but I'm sure that I was given a calling to be part of such a great family who would raise me in the gospel so that I might, along with my family, share the gospel with all those who have not yet found it!   Let's not forget why we are here, what we must do, and where we all should strive to go after this mortal existence.  I know that this is the true church of the Lord, Jesus Christ.  I am so thankful for you, Mom, and for all of our family.  I can't wait to see you all so soon over Skype.  It's almost Christmas :) what a perfect time to think of our relationship we each have with our Savior.

Love and miss you all!

Love your son,

Elder Sean Farley

Monday, December 8, 2014

It's a Boy! Training My Last Transfer! Finishing Strong

Hey Mom!

It's great to hear you and Dad had a safe and fun trip! It sounds like it was awesome! Especially the ride on the helicopter!  That's intense!  I love that there was a double rainbow!! "all the way across the sky...." Haha :)  the pictures from Dukes were fun to get- hope you got a burger for me there.

Brian sounds like he is having a good time in CA.  I am really glad he has some roommates!  That will be so much fun for him.  And WHAT?! CHRISTMAS WITH THE PARSONS?! That's not fair! Haha so cool... I'm jealous.  So pretty much for Skyping this year I can do it whenever.  We have pretty solid wifi at our place so we will probably just do it here.  Once Brian finds out a time, just let me know and I will plan on it.  Do we want to have the full hour together or like a half hour overlap so he can have some time by himself to talk to you all? It might get a little hectic with everyone for the full hour.  I'm down for whatever though :)

The Festival of Lights is officially up an running.  We will have one shift at the end of the month on the 28th, but that means Tavanā will be gone :/ He is leaving on the 27th- just two days after CHRISTMAS!! Crazy right?   We had the "stay or go" call-out last night and both Tavanā and I are staying!  Also, I got a call on Wednesday night to meet at the VC Friday morning for the trainers meeting.  Yep, your boy Sean is training again! I will have a son who will stay in the mission... Hopefully! Haha Our roommate, Elder Liang is also training and Elder Ng will leave us.  5 man apartment for about 2 1/2 weeks! Should be fun :) Sean's first "greenie" was a visa waiter for Brazil

This week we went over to the Blewett's and went out into the woods and cut down a tree!! Well... It wasn't really the woods... More like a just took the APs truck, parked it on the side of the road and went out with a hacksaw and cut a tree down!  It's not a real Christmas tree, but it smells kinda like one and has a nice look to it.  The Blewett's are going to help us make tree stand for it and give us some decorations(lights).  We have a fire place and already have stockings up that we found in the closet from last year.  I know you need a Christmas picture so I will try to send one. When I get my boy we are going to take an awkward family photo together with Tavanā and the Chinese elders! It's going to be legendary!

Things here are going well.  We hope to find more people to teach, especially with a newbie on the way.  We had a really cool contact with a referral that we received this week.  He was very open to hearing more from us, but he is moving!  So we are trying to get him to meet with the missionaries in NC!  We have had some success with a few Less Active families as well.   Overall we are really stoked for this new kid and the opportunity we both have to finish it out strong here in the WDCN Mission!

I am so grateful for this wonderful season of Christmas!  Not only because of the presents, people being slightly nicer when we go tracting, or the hope of a snow fall- but because of the focus we have on the true Gift of the season.  Our Savior's birth.  The life of the only perfect person to ever walk this earth.  The One who made it possible for us to find forgiveness and peace in the chaotic world!  I am so thankful to know of His gift, which is the Atonement, that has blessed my life so much, along with many of the lives of those I have encountered with.  I am so happy to know He lives and loves me.  I know He loves us all and that he IS the reason for the season!

Love and miss you!  Can't wait to Skype you in a couple weeks!!

Love your boy,

Elder Sean Farley

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving at the Markoff Farm & Arlington National Cemetery

Hey Mom and Dad!

It's cool to hear from you both in one email! That's a first haha.
Sounds like you are having a good time!  You look beautiful in that
picture momma, and dad looks like a stud- as always.  I hope you enjoy
the trip and take some good pictures!

Okay... Where did time go?! It's December already!!  We are cutting
down a tree this week to put in our apartment this week and Z. is
going to help us make a stand for it!  We have a small fireplace in our
apartment too. We dug up old stockings that we found, and with a
little music from Michael Bublé, it's beginning to look and feel a lot
like Christmas!  It will be weird to have Brian on the West Coast
while I am out here, but I know he will have a good time.  Elder
Tavana will be going home on the 27th of this month, so he will be
with us for the mission's Christmas, which is good for us, but sad
that he won't get back to see his family for Christmas Day.  I got the
advent calendar that you sent along with the little packages!  Thank
you!  I also got a Chipotle gift card from GM&GP!  Thanks to them
both- I love that place!!!

Thanksgiving was insane!  Seriously one of the best Thanksgivings of
my life.  All four of us missionaries in the Kentlands ward went out
to the farm of the Markoff's family and had dinner in their huge barn.
It sounds a little silly and odd, but it was awesome! Each setting at
the table had names for each guest and we all sat jam-packed together,
Indians and Pilgrims alike, just like the First Thanksgiving feast!  I
am pretty sure we looked more like African tribes than any native
Americans, but the paint was just too much fun :). We had a big feast,
went around the table of the group of 70+ and said what we were
thankful for, and then headed to another barn for the Indian vs.
Pilgrim showdown.  Of course the Indians won!  It was great!  The
members out here are really fun and so nice to us.  I am very excited
for you both to meet them one day.  Besides our awesome Thanksgiving,
we had a great week!  We had our temple trip a week early so we had
that on Wednesday. We also did a little bit of thrift shopping today
and I got a Brooks Brothers tie for cheap! And I found new Volcom
khaki shorts for $5 and Super short nike shorts for leg day :)
yeaahhh! It was a winning day for thrifting.

Today we had our Arlington trip for all the missionaries that leave
from now to April.  It was a very humbling and unique experience to
walk around the cemetery and and reflect on the many who have fought
and died in order to defend our county's freedom.  I thought a lot
about both my grandfathers as we watched the changing of the guard
ceremony at the "Tomb of the Unknown Soldier," which takes place every
hour of every day of every year.  At first thought it was almost silly
how serious and exact the guards are when changing shifts and watching
the tomb.  However, I soon realized that as they watched the tomb of
this "unknown solider" they were honoring and respecting all those
whom had gone to war to fight for the beautiful country that we live
in.  To fight for the Constitution that our forefathers created to
bring peace, happiness and freedom for all those who would be future
Americans.   The reverence that they showed for those who were lost in
war really humbled my heart and helped me see how many blessings the
Lord has given while living here in the US.  There are so many that I
can't count.  I am very grateful I was called to this mission and have
been able to be so close to where this country all began!

Anyway, sorry about my rant- I was just pumped!  Okay, coming up in
mission life: This week is our wards Christmas party so we are hoping
everyone we stop by, who isn't very active, will be open to go and
visit with the other members this weekend.  We are going to be helping
some missionaries move this week, since we are the local moving
company ;) haha.  Today was super nice but I guess it is suppose to get
really cold again! Also, its only 9 days until the transfer, 16 days
until Hanukkah begins, and 24 days until Christmas!! Wooohooo!!  What
are we going to watch for our Christmas movie? No one knows!
Hopefully Home Alone or a classic!

Well- things are going great.  I am loving the mission life and
enjoying the ward here and working with Tavana.   Enjoy your vacay
together and be safe, happy and healthy!  I know that this is the true
church of our Lord and Savior.  I know that we have a prophet on the
earth today who speaks to the Lord and who is called to guide us back
to our Heavenly Father.  There IS a PLAN and we are all part of it,
growing and learning each day so that we might be able to be found
worthy to return to God when our journey here is though.  I know that
families are eternal!!  The gospel is the TRUTH and we need to all
share it!  I love you both so much and encourage you to keep up the
great missionary work and gospel study!

Love your son,

Elder Farley