Monday, May 23, 2016
54 - Brother McFarland
Email address (preferred):
Sister Rachael Geniel Clark
California Long Beach Mission
6500 E Atherton St.
Long Beach, CA 90815
We had Nancy and Librada at church yesterday! That was so neat. Nancy wasn't able to be there the whole time since her husband needed her at home. Librada at the end seemed to have a good time. I hope to see them again at church. That within it's self was miracle of the week!!!!
We had 5 family history lessons this week, the most we have had ever! Lost of fun and interesting lessons each with their own challenges and perks. We taught a Samoan lady who we actually found her grandparents already on the system, and she was worried about not knowing anything about them as far as dates goes, it was amazing how she got so excited after that. It's a blessing when they are able to find out things that they never knew about before, even more so for Polynesian families due to name changes in generations and poorly kept records, same for Mexicans at least for record keeping.
We went to the Kickin' Crab restaurant with Brother McFarland (he picked it!), and I got my first try at opening up crab and shrimp and other exotic (for me anyways) seafood. You order by the lbs and they deliver it to you in a bag with a bib and with some sauce too. I got some corn on the cob, potatoes, and sausage in mine since I am not accustomed to so much sea food. Fun but messy. Sister Hinckley accidentally poured it on the table and onto her skirt, then shortly after, Sister Miller (my old companion) was trying to open up her lobster when it slipped out of her hands and landed on my lap! Scared me half to death, whole lobster! Sister Hinckley and I then took turns washing our skirts quickly enough to get most of the sauce out then dealt with a huge water spot coming out to finish our food so it wouldn't dry. The next miracle of that night was we has some set appointments that suddenly fell through which gave us a chance to run home and change clothing and was our clothing before it stained. I am happy to report it worked out. God knows we will have trials, but he always makes a way out! That is an adventure I won't forget! That would most likely be my most embarrassing/funny story of my mission!
It is interesting the growth people make and as missionaries we see that growth. Brother McFarland had a friend over who isn't active, but they let us briefly show a Mormon message on our portable dvd player (one day we will get iPads... one day), and since his friend just lost his mother, we thought it appropriate to show one on the comfort that Christ gives during these times in our lives. Only trouble is, I couldn't think of one, and our dvd didn't have a good enough one. I felt prompted to show the one we planned to show called sting of the scorpion (Link: https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2011-08-004-the-sting-of-the-scorpion?lang=eng). It is about the painful lessons one person learned when you ignore the counsel of others, or in his case be lazy and do the easier wrong, then the harder right choice. It also tells how we can recover when we do mess up and how to make things better. Before we had a chance to share, his friend wanted to smoke, so we kindly asked him to hold off for a few minutes. He instead said to go on without him and he excused himself around the corner of the house since we were outside. After the video, he came back and in a huff asked us "Would Christ have done what you did to me?" Puzzled, we said, "What exactly do you mean?" He then replied, "Would he make me go away like you did to me?" Then he darted on inside. We felt bad, but knew that it wasn't our fault and let him continue on his way without further talking. Brother McFarland said, "You did the right thing". Then we continued to wrap up the brief lesson.
I thought about that encounter and how ironic is was how that friend chose the easier right, then the harder wrong, and how Satan tempts us to feel upset if anyone suggests they should do otherwise (and that was what that video was on). They say that Jesus is the ultimate offender of persons, since we naturally want our way, vs. God's way, and Jesus reminds us always to follow God's way. No matter what, he loves us all, sinner or not, but he doesn't excuse the sin. Its through his atonement that we can make changes in our lives and our sins are made white through him though! I also thought back on something my seminary teacher once said. He told us that every one of us chose to come to early morning seminary, school, and other things of our day over staying home. Naturally there was some objections to that statement. He then asked the students who disagreed to then say how it was not their choice. One student said, "My parents make me do it" the teacher replied, "Well, did you parents physically drag you into the car, chain you in place, drive you here, then drag you into the classroom, then Zip tie you to the desk so you don't leave?" (Of course he was being humorous to prove a point.) The student then said, "Of course not, my parents would never do that to me!" The teacher then explained it was the choice and consequences that accompany each thing we do that WE each personally decide that make us do the things we do. that student and every one of us CHOSE to be there out of our free will. Begrudgingly or not. He then told us to man up to our decisions, and don't blame others for OUR decisions. Now if someone physically did things without our consent, we then can complain, dumb reasoning or not. If not, we have only ourselves to blame. I remembered that when that friend of Brother McFarland went past us.
What was also neat was Brother McFarland's integrity on continuing to talk with us and finish the brief lesson and even say his own comments on the subject. He truly is a man of his word, especially when it is sticking up for the missionaries or for what is truly right, even if it is the harder right to do. As missionaries we give people a fork in the road, weather it is to stop doing what they know to be wrong, or teach them what they are doing is wrong in God's view, or if it is doing something that can bring them closer to God vs. something that wouldn't. Like say going to church on Sunday, praying, quitting smoking, or even spending time to read even 1 verse of scripture a day. Sometimes that is harder then to do as they already have been doing, but it is amazing to see the blessings in people's lives that comes when they try out the things we invite them to do, pray, read scriptures, and come to church. It's life changing, uplifting, and truly is amazing to be apart of people's journey towards God and in their own life.
Exciting news, we just found out we will be some of the first (if not the first) missionaries to see and explore the new family history center experience in Huntington Beach zone/stake! I think it is the first of its kind in California! So exciting!