Sydney, Australia

Sydney, Australia

Monday, December 30, 2013

Highlights from this past month's letters.....

December 8-29, 2013
*Gosh, I miss the Dollar Store run! That was so much fun to do with the kids! Never stop that tradition! (:

*Treat the Elder Foggin super well, it only takes one family to make a missionary comfortable and to love an area! Especially with 3 boys and 2 cool parents! (: Pretend it's me sitting in the chair and love them to death!! 

*Oh, I have officially made my Christmas wish-list. Unfortunately it's a little late so don't worry about it too much (: Here's my wishlist....1. New Nike' nike shoes are destroyed! They are barely connnected anymore and I'm in need! (: 2. A Macfarlane tie. You know, the red and gleen plaid ones (: 3. P90X, it's a set of like 8 workout videos and I really want it because I'm having a hard time getting motiviated to workout in the mornings and I think that would help a ton! Elder Salter has it and it's great! (: 4. This one is more of a request. Will you take off all of the pictures and videos and stuff from my phone so I can still have them when I come back!! I want to remember that stuff! :) Oh, and I also got a Christmas present for you all! (: I'll send it soon but it probably won't be there for another month...but it's the thought that counts, right? (: I took off the price tag cuz I'm dumb and spent way too much!  haha love ya! :)

*Oh and tell Grandma Lana thanks for the huge letter (: It was cool hearing about whats going on in Wyoming. (:

*Yeah I got it (FYI our Christmas presents)! I opened it last night and I loved it! I almost started to cry seeing the 10 picture book of our family, it made me a little homesick. But I am better now. (: I haven't opened the one that says "don't open until Christmas" though (: I got the package from Allie's mom too! Thanks for everything! It's great! :)

*They didn't all watch us open the presents (FYI I was worried if some missionary didn't get a gift for Christmas or worse if Nick didn't get ours...they were meeting in a HUGE group and opening their gifts together), they split us up into zones and had the zone leaders hand out the presents to us. They just made piles and had us come get our pile. It was funny though because Elder Salter always gets tons of packages from his mom and he got 9 packages yesterday!! That was so funny (: I had to help him carry the packages out so I felt pretty cool holding all those while all the missionaries just stared at us as we walked out. But yeah, I loved the gifts! It made my day! :)

*Skyping you was great! I hadn't been super homesick until then. I know I'm doing what I should be doing and what you all want me to do so I used that to make me not homesick. But then seeing you and talking to you made me miss you all again! But now I'm okay again :)

*Going on a mission has already transformed my life and made me not only a better member of the church, but also a better man. I think I can forgive you for not being ready for the day and showered when we were skyping ;) I'd rather have you there to talk to you and see you (: Happy late birthday to you! I hope you had a fantastic day! I can't believe you're that old ;) I keep telling people you're 42... I need to fix that!
Monday, December 30, 2013

Merry late Christmas and Happy New Years! :)
Christmas was different this year, my first Christmas away from my family, away from my home, away from my country! But although I'm away from all those things that have been apart of my Christmas holiday, this year was a special one. Before this year, I didn't appreciate all those things that I have like my family, my home, my friends. But now being gone from all that, it made me realize how much my family and friends do for me! Waking up in the morning not having my little brothers all sleeping next to me, not having the smell of dad's fudge being baked in the oven, not hearing my mom's famous laugh throughout the day, all the little things that I had are starting to mean so much more to me now. If I learned one thing this week, it would be to appreciate all of God's tender mercies. God's tender mercies are all the little things in life that God has given you to make life more enjoyable. Simple things like a warm house, snow on the ground, siblings to play with, parents to look up to and learn from, all these things are God's tender mercies. God loves and cares about each and every one of us. One of the ways I know that is through the incredible tender mercies that he has given me in my life!
I got to skype my family this week for Christmas time and that the best Christmas gift this year! I loved it! I've only been gone 3 months now, but man I've missed those people!!! Seeing their faces and being able to talk with them for a few hours was an absolutely incredible gift!
I remember waking up Christmas morning and seeing nothing from Santa... so I thought Santa must not like missionaries. But then I thought about it and realized something... We didn't set up our Christmas decorations in our flat! So I learned a very valuable lesson this year... Always set up your Christmas decorations or else Santa doesn't feel welcome! Not only that, but we didn't leave cookies for him either! Gosh, I am terrible! I really should've known better. Well I will never let that happen again! :)
I witnessed a little miracle this week! We were visiting Kathy, our recent convert, and her husband Wayne this week and teaching a lesson with Kathy. We were teaching about the 2000 stripling warriors and having a great lesson and then Kathy, out of nowhere, announces that Wayne has given up drinking! As in he is not drinking alcohol again! He was a HUGE drinker and I wasn't expecting him to make that decision any time soon! It was really cool though because he recognized he had a problem, made a plan to stop, is executing that plan, and has people helping and supporting him! Now Wayne is not LDS, nor does he plan to become LDS, but he stepped up and made an incredible, life-changing decision and I'm so happy for him! We'd been praying for Wayne for a long time now and he's starting to make the changes in his life! Gosh I love being a missionary and being able to help and witness people changing their lives for the better!
During this upcoming New Years holiday, I challenge everyone reading this to make AT LEAST one goal to better themselves. That could mean coming closer to Christ, praying more often, quitting some addictive substances, or simply showing your love for your family. Set a specific goal that you know you can achieve and have someone else know about the goal you've set so they can help and support you through it!
I love each and every one of you and wish you the best during this holiday season!! :)
Elder Macfarlane

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Here's our favorite Missionary on Christmas! He looked so good and happy. We are so proud of this guy and love him to pieces. It was fun to hear his voice and hear his laugh. Boy, we miss that kid!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!!! :D Today is Christmas Eve... Tomorrow is Christmas Day... And the next day I get to Skype my family!!! :D Woop woop!
So I've been really feeling the Christmas spirit this week and we decided that we were going to give heaps of service! And guess what, we did! We went and visited Tim, a 65 year old southern boy, and helped him paint some steps on his deck. It was really fun! For three days this week, Elder Coats and I helped out this really nice recent convert from Vanuatu, Vern, and his family move out of their house in Narooma and moved about 10 minutes away to Kianga, which is about 5 minutes away from where we live in Dalmeny! :) He's the only member in his family. His family consists of himself, his wife Anna, two sons Mitchel and Micheal, and one daughter Laura. They are from Vanuatu. They are all super nice and all love us. Micheal is 18 and doesn't want to join the church because of a bad example from a church member that he knows that lives up in Darwin. Mitchel (10) wants to get baptized one day because his dad is baptized, but he doesn't want to go to church or follow any rules. Laura is about 7 and really wants to be baptized, she loves coming to church with her dad and loves being with the missionaries. Anna is very religious and is happy with her Anglican lifestyle but enjoys us being around. Now they live close to us and live right down the street from the senior missionaries, Elder and Sister McAra, so we can visit him and help him out all the time!
Elder Coats and I met a super nice couple this week, Dan and Liz. They have met almost every set of missionaries that have been in this area over the last 10 years and they said they're not interested in changing their religion, but they'd love to have us over and listen to what we have to say. They are both super nice people and I feel like they would be really good mormons! The difficulty is that he, like the majority of Australians, LOVES his alcohol and smokes heaps. But we'll see what we can do to help him out (:
Saturday was a day of firsts. Our recent convert, Kathy, and her husband Wayne invited us to go out to eat at this place called JJ's and it was super good! I'd never been there before because it's super expensive but they said this was our Christmas gift, New Years gift, and part of Wayne's birthday gift! While there I tried two new foods! Oysters and Squid. The oysters were pretty good, but they were seasoned a ton! Wayne said he's going to give me one right off the rocks some day. He did it to Elder Coats and he said it was NASTY! But I'll try it (: The squid wasn't at all what I expected, it tasted a little like my mom's fish sticks back home! So that was pretty cool (: I had Vegemite for the first time a week or two ago and I don't really know what to say. It wasn't as nasty as Americans said it would be but it wasn't as good as Australians say it is either. I wouldn't have it on a regular day if it was up to me, but if it was given to me, I would still eat it.
At church last Sunday, I was asked to play prelude music... that means Elder Macfarlane, playing church music, on the piano, in front of people. But it went surprisingly well! I switched between about 5-7 Christmas songs and only played the melody and alto lines. But yeah, I didn't absolutely fail so I was happy :)
Yesterday we had a mission-wide Christmas party. So all 208 missionaries in the Australia Sydney South mission were there and it was sweet! We started off the party with a morning devotional where we sang a bunch of Christmas Hymns and listened to a few missionaries speak on various subjects. One of my favorite talks was by a Elder Langi from Samoa. He spoke on being an example. It was really cool to me because I've been thinking about this a lot over the last week or two. He specifically talked about his oldest brother and the example that he set for Elder Langi and how much he loved his older brother. It made me think of my little brothers and the example that I am for them. I am setting an example for them no matter what I do, good or bad. Thinking about them makes me want to be not only a good boy who listens to his parents, although that's incredibly important. I am striving to do something more, to be a righteous young man in the eye's of our Savior Jesus Christ. He has given us Commandments that he expects us to follow, He has given us prophets for us to follow, He has given us parents and siblings for us to follow and learn from, He has given us so many things that we can learn from and grow. When I do all of these things to the best of my abilities, people see it, my friends see it, my family sees it, I see it. When doing the things that the Lord has asked us to do, you are setting a great example for others to follow.
Everyone has role models that you want to model your life after, wouldn't it be cool if you were the role model for someone else? Your siblings, your kids, your parents, your friends, your teachers, your employees, that random worker at Costco who knows you by name. You could be setting an example to someone around you and you don't even realize it. Actually, I can guarantee someone is watching you. Be that perfect example to those around you, help someone pick up their purse, give someone a hand at work, brighten someones day by simply smiling at them. Your simple action could start a chain reaction.
I love you all and wish you a very Merry Christmas from down under! :D
Elder Macfarlane

Elder Macfarlane's mission!!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Greetings from down under!
This week has been a fun one! It was my birthday on Tuesday and my first birthday away from home! It was weird waking up and thinking, I'm 19. I appreciate all of the happy birthday emails and letters and gifts that I got, they were all great! One of the sweetest things happened early that morning. During personal study, at around 8:15am, we hear a knock on our door. We were kind of confused because no one knocks on our door, we're the one's that knock on people's doors! I go and answer the door and standing in our doorway is this older woman in our branch, probably around 70 years old, Sister Peate. In her hands was a cake, birthday card and a little baggie of presents for me for my birthday!! WHAT!? She knew my birthday because she was baptized on the same day! One of the little presents was a candy that sings happy birthday when it's lit... that's so cool! Later that day we stopped by the Kamer's for haircuts and then lunch. It was a super fun time and a really good way to celebrate my birthday, playing games and eating food. But then Momma K comes out with a surprise, she made German Pancakes!! :D That was fan-freaking-tastic!! Throughout the day I got presents from others in the branch too and I was impressed, and slightly creeped out, by how many people knew my birthday already! It was a great day (:
Elder Coats got another injury this week. While doing the dishes, he broke a glass cup and it sliced his thumb open so I drove him to the hospital and he got stitches. Also, Elder Petterson, our District Leader, was over this weekend for District Training Meeting and he was riding a long board, fell off, and had to go to the hospital to get it checked out and all cleaned up. I'm going to be quite the expert on injuries by the time I get home from my mission!
We had 6 missionaries in our flat (apartment) this last weekend and it was a blast! I got the wonderful opportunity to see my MTC companion, Elder Salter, again. That's always fun (: We had a district p-day so we went to the glasshouse beach and threw a footie ball around and tried catching a fish with our bare hands. In the end, Elder Salter was the champ! He caught the fish and we were all freaking out and super excited! (:
Saturday was a really cool day. We went out with not much of a plan for our day. While we were out driving around, we drove by a house that Elder Coats recognized. We went to the door but no one answered. Elder Coats noticed that the names on the mailbox were Dan and Liz. He called a Dan and Liz that used to investigate the church, but didn't want anything to do with missionaries the last time we'd heard. So he called them and we set up an appointment for tomorrow afternoon! Hopefully a good teaching/learning opportunity will come from this! Keep your fingers crossed! We later visited a less active member of the branch and had a really good conversation with him and his son who was visiting him for the Christmas season. He knows he needs to go back to church but is a little scared to go back. We invited him to the branch Christmas party that afternoon and him and his son came, along with the wife who is a member.
The Christmas party was great! We played basketball with the kids and ate heaps and heaps of food! It was held at Islandview in Narooma. There were about 50 people there, which is really impressive because we only have 25 or so members of the branch! There were visitors from Sydney, inactives, less-actives, and nonmembers that all came to party with us! It was a great experience for them, I think. I loved it (:
I heard a great quote this week, "The Lord will bless us to the degree to which we obey him." I've been thinking a lot about that. The Lord loves us a great deal and wants the best for us, but he's not going to bless us as much as He'd like to if we aren't obedient to his commandments. Do everything you can this week to follow God's commandments, when you do, I promise that you will see the blessings from God overflow in your life!
I love you all heaps! Have a great week!
Elder Macfarlane

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Elder Macfarlane's 19th BIRTHDAY in AUSTRALIA-thanks Kamer's!!!

Sister Kamer made one of his favorite meals

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Hello everybody! This week was a good one! Lots of birthdays going on! Shout out to my awesome dad who's birthday was on the 5th last week! I love that man and look up to him more than anyone else on earth! He is a fantastic father, worthy priesthood holder, and a definite life-long friend! :) I love you dad!
On Wednesday we got to celebrate Sister McAra's and Fin's birthdays! Sister McAra is a senior missionary here with her husband and Fin is a friend of the Kamers. It was heaps of fun and we got to spend a good portion of the day with them! Elder Coats and I baked a cake for Fin and it was pretty dang great, if I do say so myself ;) Chocolate cake, with chocolate icing and colorful sprinkles... only the best!
Thursday wasn't too eventful other than teaching one of our recent converts, Jack. Jack is probably the most impressive recent convert I've ever seen in my life! He is so willing to do everything and anything that the Lord asks of him! He is the only mormon in Moruya (about 30 min drive north of Narooma), has the Aaronic Priesthood, has a calling with the primary, and is so keen on everything we teach him! He has such a strong testimony in Jesus Christ, it's incredible to me!
Friday we had zone training and then zone p-day. In zone training we learned how to be better missionaries. The topic that was focused on was member present lessons. Having a member present during a lesson has so many more benefits and makes the lesson much more effective. Strive to go out with the missionaries as much as you can because it's a great learning experience for not only the investigator, but also for yourself! Zone P-day was after and we had a blast! P-day stands for preparation day, but I like to call it "play day." That's the day, once a week, that we get to email, go shopping, and then do basically whatever we want the rest of the day. So as a zone, all 20 missionaries (or so) played a huge game of touch-footie (two hand touch Rugby) and it was so much fun! We tore it up! The majority of the missionaries here are islanders from around this area so they are all super good at it! It's really funny to see the big samoans play because you think you'll beat them and then they come out of nowhere and take you out! I've never seen a big man run so fast in my life!
Saturday and Sunday were both pretty good. Elder Coats and I went to the Tilba markets and the Moruya markets so that was fun! And Elder Coats let me drive there so I got a solid hour of driving in this weekend! It was cool, but weird to get used to driving on the left side of the road, having the blinker on the right side of the steering wheel, and having the shift on my left. But we made it there in one piece so it's all good! (: The markets were pretty cool, it was basically a huge field with little stands/shops all over. There was everything you could possibly want there! I even found a huge kangaroo skin, but it was $175 so I decided not to get it... It was fun :) We got to set up two Christmas trees this weekend too! The Kamer's and the Adcock's! It was cool to be able to set up a tree with some adopted families since my family is on the other side of the planet doing the same thing! I was also able to set up Christmas lights at the Adcock's house so that was heaps of fun too!
Today was my 2 month mark as a missionary of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! I can't believe it's already been 2 months! It feels like I just got here! I know I'm doing the right thing by devoting my time 100% to the Lord. I have seen it bless both myself and my family and I'm so grateful that I could have these opportunities that I've been having! I love my Lord and Savior so much! I can't wait to see what He's got in store for me these next two years!!
I love you all!
Elder Macfarlane
PS. Tomorrow may or may not be my 19th birthday... WHAT!?!?!? I'm kind of super excited! :D

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Celebrating an early Christmas with the Kamer's! We love this sweet family!

Having fun with the Kamer's! Silly String War!!!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Highlights from his letters this past month....

November 4-December 2, 2013

Notes to Eric:
*I saw a Wallaby. They are almost the same as a kangaroo except smaller.

*Next week, I'm gonna have to eat a muscle...I'm kind of scared to try it because it's basically like eating a booger! And that is gross!

*Do you know how lucky we are to have everything that we have? We live in a big home with a great family who all loves each other so much! Even though we all fight sometimes, we still love each other more than anything! We have a mom and dad who make good choices and are great examples to us. We go to church every Sunday and know that Jesus Christ loves us. Not everyone in this world knows that. There are some people here in Australia that don't know much about Jesus. Most of them don't even know how to pray! I taught this guy yesterday who is 17 years old and has never prayed before in his life! Be thankful for everything you have in your life because you never know when you might lose it!

*Be nice to everyone and take good care of mom! She does a lot for you and I think she'd love some help sometimes!

*Challenge for you: write 50 things you are thankful for and send it to me in an email!

Notes to Austin:
*My mission has been great so far. I teach people about our church basically all day. I know that doesn't sound like fun, and it really isn't, but it's a really good experience and I love doing it! I give a ton of service in this area! I have made a garden, weeded, built steps, built a fence and plenty of other things! I love learning how to do new things! And guess what?! I learned how to play the ukelili and it's great. It's basically a mini guitar.

*I hope everything is going well at home and you are being nice to Eric! :)

*Challenge for you: Before I get home from my mission in October 2015, I need you to read the whole Book of Mormon. It's a big goal to have and I'm giving you a long time to do it! Read it and try to understand as much as you can!

*Challenge for the family: Memorize D&C 4 by Christmas! It is very important to memorize it before you go on a mission because I'm trying to memorize it right now! Good luck! I'll check up on ya at Christmas to make sure you did it!

*Hey mom! Sorry I forgot to tell you, but on transfer weeks (every 6 weeks) we have P-day on Tuesdays instead of Mondays! So here I am, I didn't forget about you ;)

*I get to skype home on Christmas!! :) It'll be Christmas in America, but the 26th here in Australia.

*Another 6 weeks with Elder Coats! (he didn't get transferred)

*I didn't do much on Thanksgiving. We are limited on the amount we are aloud to drive each month and we were cut down a lot of km's this month so we ran out by the time Thanksgiving came around. We made some banana bread (and it was GOOD) and did normal missionary stuff all day. But the day after, we went and had a big dinner party at the Kamer's. I seriously love those people! They feed us so much! Sunday night the Kamers had a few families and us Elders over for dinner and we had a bunch of tacos, hot dogs, cake and BBQ stuff. It was good!

* Gosh, I miss being home! It's all good though, because I love it here!

*I'm glad Tyler is going to seminary, even though it's tough in the early mornings! He should try to get all of the awards his freshman year! That would be SO COOL!

*Nothing really new is going on here in terms of missionary work. Everyone we try meeting with cancels on us and we've lost one of our investigators that we met this week already. The only one that we are really teaching right now is Jimmy, but we've only taught him once and he is busy a lot. We talk about religion all the time when playing basketball on Wednesday nights though so that's good. (:
Tuesday, December 3, 2013

G'day mates!
This week was a pretty good one. Thanksgiving was this past week so it got me thinking of the things that I'm really thankful for. So today I'm going to start off by telling you all of some of the things I'm thankful for.
First of all, I'm thankful for my family. I have always loved them and cared about them, but when you are away from them for an extended period of time, it really makes you appreciate them so much more. If you haven't had the chance to do this yet, let your families know you love them! Even if you think they already know, it wouldn't hurt to give them a nice reminder ;)
My opportunity to serve a mission in Narooma, Australia is something that I'm very thankful for. I get to be around great people all day long and spread the knowledge of Jesus Christ to people on the other side of the world! Not only am I teaching them, but I am also learning so much from them too! I am thankful for the wonderful branch here in Narooma where so many people are taking care of eachother and taking care of me!
I'm thankful for all of the many people that have been emailing me and sending letters! I received 23 emails today! That's amazing! The average missionary gets about 15 or so.. I feel pretty important ;) I love how many people are showing their love and care for me and for what I'm doing. Hearing from my friends and family once a week is something I really look forward to so thank you so much! Just so you know, if you send letters, or have sent letters, I will most likely not write back because there simply isn't enough time in the day. So don't take it personally, just email instead! :)
I'm thankful for a car right now. We are limited on how much we can drive, but nonetheless, having the air conditioning while traveling far distances is a major blessing when it's in the 100's (Fahrenheit).
I'm thankful for those people who take the time to talk to us throughout the day. We get rejected a lot, but when one person stops and talks for even 5 minutes can make such a difference! Plus, they tend to be in a much better mood after talking with us. Whenever you see mormon missionaries, please don't slam the door in their face. Talk to them for 5 minutes and be nice. That's really all I'm asking, be a nice human being and talk to two young men who genuinely care about you!
Another thing I'm thankful for is my two legs. We do so many things with our legs we don't even realize it. Walking, running, jumping, balancing, kicking, swinging, skating, the list goes on and on. I am so thankful that I can do all of that without a slight amount of pain or problem. I have great physical heath and for that, I thank my loving Heavenly Father for.
One final thing that I'm thankful for is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. This is something that you can easily overlook if you aren't looking for it in your life. Jesus died and atoned for each and every one of us so we can live with Him and Heavenly Father again. Jesus Christ was a perfect man, he did everything out of total selflessness. He loves each and every one of us so much and cares for our well-being. Through the Atonement, we are able to repent and be forgiven of our sins. I know that my Savior loves me and I thank Him for that blessing in my life and for the wonderful blessing of having that knowledge in my life. I can promise each of you that he loves and cares about you, reguardless of what you have done, you can always return to Him. And He will ALWAYS receive you with open arms.
I love you all very much and hope you have a great first week of December! :)
Elder Macfarlane

Monday, November 25, 2013

What up my Americans! I hope all is well!
To start off today, I would like to share a quote from a wonderful man in the branch that I'm in, here in Narooma. "If you look to close, you won't be able to see the forest through the trees" -Tim Adcock. I love this quote, it really got me thinking. If we look to closely and only focus on one thing, we'll miss the big picture! Life won't always go our way and it can be easy to focus on the bad things and all that weighs down on us, but if we're able to take a step back, zoom your lens out just a little, you will be able to see the big picture and see the blessings that can come from that experience, you will see how much you can grow.
This week has been a tough one, we didn't have the opportunity to teach a whole lot, but we did get to learn a lot! We had district and zone conference where we get to learn from our local church leaders how to be better people and continue to improve ourselves. I took about four pages of notes so I learned heaps! Here's some of the things that I learned:
Attitude is everything. Whether it be for church, school, or just around the neighborhood, your attitude will decide how you handle it. If you attend church because you have to, because mom makes you, then you will not get anything from it. If you do homework for school just to fly through it, you will not learn as much as you could. If you're giving service to the nice old lady down the street because mom won't let you play the XBOX until you mow her lawn. The nice old lady is going to know that you don't care about her and that will have a lasting impression on her AND you will not learn from your experience. Have the mental ability to change your mindset so you can best learn and grow from everything that you do.
We must take action. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we talk about doing a lot of things; Missionary work, service, attending the temple, family history work, reading our scriptures, praying every day and night. It's great that we mentally have those goals, but talking about it isn't going to accomplish anything! If you are having a hard time reading your scriptures at night, don't just pray and tell Heavenly Father you'll do better tomorrow. Fix the problem and take small steps to do it! Nike says it best, "JUST DO IT!"
We are always changing. We are either changing for the better or for the worse. There is no such thing as staying still. Make sure you are being changed for the better.
In Lehi's vision of the Tree of Life in 1 Nephi, he talks about how he wanted everyone to make it to the tree so they could partake of the fruit of that tree. One thing that people don't realize is that it doesn't stop at taking the fruit. Some people fell away even after they tasted of God's love. Just because you have reached the tree and was lucky enough to taste of the fruit, doesn't mean it's over and you're good to go. We all need to endure to the end and help others come closer to Christ so they can feel God's love for them.
The last thing I want to share with you is that you matter. You matter to me, you matter to your family, you matter to your friends, but most importantly you matter to God. God loves you and cares about you at such a high level we can't even comprehend or fully appreciate it. We will all have trials in life and sometimes we will fall. But the wonderful thing is that God will love us no matter what. If we do our best and never give up, continuing to show our love to God, he will receive you with open arms. Everything that happens, happens for a reason. He will NEVER let you down.
I love you all so much!
Elder Macfarlane

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Through this missionary mom's eyes.......

I have many thoughts and feelings so far as my oldest son serves his mission in a place so far away from me in Australia. First off, I want to say that there is NO place right now where I'd rather have my son be. Yes, even home with me. The first week he was at the MTC I thought I was going to die. I missed him more than I can say or express. My heart ached each day because I hadn't heard from him. When I finally did hear from him, I felt relieved and so good. That's the thing I miss, texting. Who knew this mom, that never wanted to text, would eventually miss it so terribly much. That communication was gone. I had to rely on the Lord and pray often to ease my soul. I knew this is where he needed to be. Weeks have went by now and I still miss him terribly, but it's not the aching feeling I had when he first left. I can't tell you how exciting and wonderful it is to get his emails once a week. And I'm okay with that now. I thought it would be awful not hearing from him each day, but it's not for me. I look forward to his email every Sunday night (it's Monday in Australia) and I have my phone with me at all times between 5-9pm waiting to see that email come in. I sometimes catch him emailing and so I can "chat" with him for just a bit. Just that little tiny bit of communication makes me go on another week. His emails brighten my day and gives me hope. I love to read his experiences, who he has met, about his companion and what they do. His letters inspire and encourage me to reach out to others. They lift me up every week. So many people say they could never be away from their kid that long or how can you send your child off for 2 years? I'm not going to lie, it's hard. I miss him everyday! I think of him so many times during the day I can't count them. BUT he is where he needs to be. He is serving the Lord in a way that many people don't understand. It would be very selfish of me to tell him he can't go and he needed to stay home with me. I want him to serve the Lord first and foremost in his life. When he has a family of his own, he is learning that the Lord is first and he can do hard things with the Lord's help. I can too. :) I know the Lord is watching over my sweet son clear across the world from me. He has wonderful people around him that take care and love him as their own and that makes it so much easier for me. He has a companion that he thinks the world of and this relationship will last a lifetime. He has a sweet family from the branch (small ward) that he adores. They have them over a lot and he calls that his home in Australia. I am so grateful to them! To know he is loved and looked after is huge for me. I am proud of him and so happy that he has chose to do this in his life. To spend 2 whole years serving the Lord, being unselfish, doing service for others, lifting and guiding those who need it, testifying of Christ.....that's why I can send him away for this long and so far away. I hope to follow in his footsteps and serve my own mission when my kids are grown and Corry has retired.

 "We can do all things through Christ who strengthened me (Phillipans 4:13)."

   This is when Nick went through the temple for the first time! Several sweet members of our ward came to support him and it was a wonderful experience for us (his parents) and him. Love this kid through and through! Elder Macfarlane!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Hey everyone!
Before I begin I need to apologize, this one might be short because I'm running low on time and I forgot to bring my notebook to remind me what's happened this week.. oops! So to start off I'd like to teach you something about Australia that Americans have all wrong. "Throw some shrimp on the barbie" is not said by Australians. First of all, they call shrimp "prawns." Prawns are actually super good too! They are prepared in some fancy way and long story short, they are great! So there's some knowledge for you in case you ever decide to come to Australia. I almost got smacked when I said it as a joke so I thought I'd save you from a potentially beating :)
I would personally like to thank everyone who has been emailing me because it's really a great time of my week to be able to connect with everyone back home and to hear from family and friends. Also, pictures are FANTASTIC so send pictures because I miss seeing all of you beautiful people! If you don't know my email, talk to mi madre and ask her for it. Also it's probably on facebook somewhere... I think (: Anyways, I really love hearing from people and finding out what's going on in the real world! So yeah, you're all great and I love ya!
So what's been going on the last week. I got my first haircut as a missionary! That was pretty exciting! I got it cut by Momma K, a member in Narooma, and I must say, it's lookin good! We have dinner there a lot and I love it there! It's my little home away from home! :)
Another memorable moment that has happened this week is I officially weigh over 160 pounds! I have pictures and a video on my camera to prove it because it really is a big deal. The only problem is I'm not sure if that is muscle or fat... I'm thinking it's a little more fat, but that's okay! I'm making a goal right now that I will be 175lbs by the time I get back from my mission two years, and not only that, but that weight will be muscle weight, not just fat! My companion and I started doing P90X in the mornings. WOW I am out of shape. We did the ab work out and I thought I was going to die! Let's just say I have lost my 6pack! But it WILL be back, and soon! We play basketball on Wednesdays and I can still dunk so I'm not a complete failure (:
Right now Elder Coats and I are in Nowra with 4 other elders for district conference. District conference, for those of you who don't know, is a time where all of the branches in the area get together and have one big meeting together and we get to hear from church leaders in the area and a few assigned members. The talks and lessons were fantastic and I learned so much! I'm gonna write more detail on some of the incredible lessons that I've learned and mind-blowing thoughts that came to my head. So be prepared for next week's email, it's gonna be good ;)
"His Grace is Sufficient" by Brad Wilcox is an incredible message. It's only about 30 minutes long and can have an everlasting effect. Go look it up and check it out! Please do it, I know it will bless your life. I love you all heaps!
Elder Macfarlane

Monday, November 11, 2013


Oh! I saw my first huntsman spider yesterday too! Look it up, they're pretty creepy! :p It was outside the Kamer's house.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Hello my favorite Americans! (: I would like to start off this post with a random thought that I had this week. This week I decided to strive to notice the small things that happen in life. So, I was in the bathroom in this nice resort called Islandview. I noticed that one of those soap.. cleaner.. things were in the urinal. You know, the "mints" that Melman the giraffe finds in the bathroom on Madagascar! Anyways, I would just like you all to know that I appreciate those people who put those things in there. It makes the bathroom smell good, keeps it decently clean, and is very entertaining for me. (: For those of you who think I'm joking... I'm not! Learn to appreciate the small things in life and you'll be amazed at the many ways you are blessed!
Now to the good stuff! So this week has been an interesting one. To start off the week, we taught a Samoan kid named Sam. We met him while playing basketball at the gym in Narooma, which by the way, has been a fantastic teaching experience! I've heard from some people that playing basketball on your mission is a waste of the Lord's precious time. To you people I say HA! I have taught more lessons to those kids we play basketball with than all other areas combined. Work Hard, Play Hard. When on the court, I play hard. When I'm out and sitting on the sideline, I'm teaching them about the church and answering any questions they may have. I look forward to Wednesday nights every week because of this. Anyways, back to Sam (: So we taught him about the Plan of Salvation and a little of the Restoration of the Gospel. He recently had a cousin die so he was looking for answers about where he is and if he would ever be able to see him again. When we told him about the Plan of Salvation, his eyes lit up. We could tell he liked the sound of being able to see his cousin again and be with his family forever, even after we die. Being able to be with our families forever is an amazing gift that our loving Father in Heaven has given us. Unfortunately not everyone knows that we can. That's one of the many things I'm so grateful to know as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Later in the week, we encountered some Jehovah's Witnesses who came knocking on our door. I thought that was pretty ironic since that was exactly what we would be doing later. It was interesting to talk to them and listen to what they had to say. Although they don't believe what I believe in, I was impressed with their diligence and faith that they had. I respect anyone who believes in something that strongly and then acts on that faith. That's pretty cool. It was a good experience because I was able to talk about the Bible in super deep conversations and as a result I actually learned a little about the Bible that I didn't know and it caused me to spend time afterwards, studying and looking at the things we discussed. The great thing about talking with missionaries/preachers of other faiths is that it only makes my testimony build so much stronger in the wonderful church that I am a part of! They might throw some scripture at me and I will have no idea what to say because it may seem to contradict what I believe, but as I further study it and find out more about what we talk about, I find that it not only doesn't contradict us, but it actually strengthens what I believe in! Gosh I just love this church! (:
Last night was a somewhat scary incident. My companion Elder Coats was jumping on the trampoline and was doing consecutive back flips. But, as he came down to land he smashed his leg against the pole on the tramp. As a result he dislocated his knee! It was sticking out the side of his leg at about a 45 degree angle from where it should have been! We called the ambulance and it took about 45 minutes for them to arrive (they were sooooo slow!). They finally arrived and popped it into place within 10 minutes of the time they arrived. But while we were waiting for the ambulance to arrive we had time to talk and to think about what could happen in the next few hours. At first we thought it was broken, and I thought about what would happen if that was true. We would have to go to the hospital and have surgery, then he would be sent home. It made me realize how much I love him, as if he were my own brother! I am so lucky to have him and it wouldn't be the same without him! We learn from each other so much and have gotten really close. That's when I thought about my family back home and how much I love and care about them. I've known Elder Coats for almost three weeks and we have become brothers! With that, just imagine how much I love and care about my family! They are the one's who are always there (whether I like it or not ;) ) and can always help me feel better. Do we fight at home? OF COURSE! But when it comes down to it, I would give my life for any one of them. Siblings can pick on each other all they want, but the second you give one of them a dirty look... You're dead! I love my family so very much and am so thankful for the great love and support that they have always given me! They have helped mold me into the man I have become today and are continuing to mold me. I am thankful to have the family that I do and to know that I can be with them for all of eternity, thanks to Jesus Christ, my Savior, my Redeemer, my God.
I love you all very much! I pray that you will be safe in your various endeavors this week! I challenge you all this week to notice the small, tender mercies that God has given us in our lives. When you do, I promise you that it will brighten your day and bring a smile to your face. Be thankful for what you have, you never know when you might lose it.
Elder Macfarlane

Monday, November 4, 2013

Highlights from his letters....

October 14-November 4, 2013:

At MTC in Provo, Utah

*The MTC is amazing! We learn so much and it's absolutely incredible!

*I'm starting to realize how important things are to me (like my lovely family)!

*My companion and roommates are super cool! My companion's name is Elder Salter and he's from Alabama! He has a super awesome southern accent! My other two roommates are Elder Van Hordan and Elder Feron, they are both great elders too. Elder Salter and I bonded right away! He is a big time football player (since he's from Alabama) and played strong safety (just an FYI). He's a short, shy kind of guy but once you get to know him he really gets comfortable, kinda like Austin!

*Today I was called to be a zone leader (it's day 2). They said they really liked my smile, so I figured I should accept the calling.

*I think I've grown more in the last week than in the last 10 years of my life! (referring to the MTC) It's amazing how much Heavenly Father loves us and how much he did/does for us! I've been highlighting and starting to memorize various scriptures to try to best prepare myself and it's going well so far! The MTC is a very emotional place...I seriously have been surprised at how hard it is here. I've been kinda the therapist while out here and it's been incredible at how hard it is for some people to handle the little sleep, intense classes, and being away from home. I haven't been dying, but I'm not gonna lie, it is hard. I've been working hard to make sure everyone is okay and I think it's been working well so far. It's been one week and it's gone by super fast, yet I feel like I've been here for 3 months! I know that doesn't make sense but that's exactly how it is!

In Australia now....

*I have really started to realize how incredible of a man dad is. He does so much for us that we don't even realize or give him credit for. I hope one day I can become half the man that he is! Maybe not the bishop part though, that doesn't look like fun to me. I'll let him just take that.

*I will always stay strong in the church. I couldn't imagine life without it.

*I have a super cool companion right now! His name is Elder Coats and he is always happy! He is from Utah and doesn't have an Australian accent yet, he's only been out 3 months and yet he's training me! He's a pretty great guy!

*Something really funny happened two days ago, Elder Coats and I were jogging and as we were jogging we said hi to this guy walking on the side of the road. He stopped us and we talked about 5 seconds then out of nowhere he asked us if we wanted some ecstasy imported from Europe! We obviously said no, but that was the first time I've ever been offered an illegal drug by someone who was actually serious!

*Something spiritually significant that happened as a first for me this week was going tracting! Wow, that is no fun! Getting rejected again and again is a lot tougher than I expected. But anyways, so we decided to be done tracting and we started walking back to the car. As we were walking I got this feeling that we should stop by one more house before we leave. So I convinced my companion to stop at this one last house and I promised we could be done after that. We walked to the door and a nice aboriginal woman answered the door, I'd guess she was in her 50's. She tried telling us no, but right before she closed the door, Elder Coats asked why she didn't want to talk about religion. She told us she had her own beliefs that she believed very strongly in. Well we got her to talk to us for about 45 minutes and we even set up another appointment with her. It was so cool to have that experience where I followed the spirit and went to that last door and then my companion followed the spirit and didn't let her tell us no. It was really cool.

*Something that I noticed which is really funny to me is how little we, as Americans, know about Australians, yet Australians know a decent amount about Americans! The only thing that I find funny is that they all think we love fish and chicken for some odd reason. Luckily I love chicken, but I'm not a huge fan of their fish. It's not terrible, but I'd rather eat something else.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Halloween week in Narooma, Australia!! This week has been full of great fun and learning experiences! First lets start with the fun! So last Thursday was Halloween, but Australians don't usually celebrate Halloween. There is this one family in our branch (a branch is a small ward) that invited us over that night so we could join them in their first Halloween celebration ever! For dinner they made pizza's with ghosts on them made of cheese, blood to drink which I think was cordial, and heaps of lollies! Just to clarify, Australians call candy, lollies; and their version of kool-aid is cordial. And then they decorated their kitchen
 with dark lights, cob webs, and spiders! I was really impressed for it being their first Halloween. Also, Elder Coats and I carved a pumpkin! Nothing special, I just thought it was pretty neat to carve a pumpkin still! After the party we went outside and I jumped on their trampoline with Jacob and Elias (their two sons) while everyone else through water balloons at us! I was absolutely soaked. AND I was still dressed up in my white shirt and tie! But oh well, it was worth it! ;)
So that was a pretty exciting night, but do wanna know something REALLY cool? I saw my first live kangaroo and her little joey Halloween morning!! We were driving on a dirt road around a corner and there they were, about 25 yards ahead of us! I wasn't able to get a picture though so I've still gotta work on that! I WILL get a picture with a kangaroo though!
On Friday we had something called a Zone Training Meeting where a group of about 25 missionaries get together and we learn how to better teach and practice various skills to be better at what we do. What I thought was really cool though was seeing Elder Salter, my MTC companion, again for the first time in a few weeks! He basically became my brother while at the MTC and it was great seeing him again! After the training meeting we all played games like basketball, ping pong, and relay races together. It was fun being able to interact with so many missionaries at the same time and being in a non-formal situation.
In the area that I'm serving in, Narooma, there are very few members of the church and it is quite near impossible to find people interested in learning about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Well this last weekend Elder Coats and I decided to fast and to pray to find people who we can help come closer to Christ and teach. In our area, we can typically get 2-3 investigators per month and in the last few days we were able to get 2 investigators! :o One of them is a boy named Jimmy that we met from playing basketball with him. We had a great lesson on the Restoration of Christ's church and we asked if he would be baptized if, and when, he found these things to be true. He said he would and our goal is to have him be baptized at the end of the month! Jimmy had no religion before visiting with us so I think it is absolutely amazing how much of an impact we could have on this boy's life and how we can help him come closer to our loving Savior, Jesus Christ!
One thing that I've really grown a testimony of this past week is the power of the Book of Mormon. It truly can help you get through any struggles that comes your way! Reading the Book of Mormon is a beautiful way to learn more about Jesus Christ and what he wants from us. Once we align our will with the will of our Heavenly Father, and have faith in Him, we will have the power to move mountains. I love my Father in Heaven with all of my heart and I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon that he gave to us through His prophets. If you have not read the Book of Mormon yet in your life time, DO IT! The one thing that I've never understood are people who say they believe in Jesus Christ and love Him, but don't want to read the Book of Mormon. On the cover it says "Another Testament of Jesus Christ." If you truly love Jesus Christ, wouldn't the logical thing to do is read and find out all that you can about Him and his teachings? Even if the book is totally false (which it's not), it wouldn't hurt to read it and learn for yourself if the things which it says are true. That's one of the many things that I love about this wonderful church, we aren't going to try to convince you that this is the right church or that we are the perfect church, we just want to teach you what we believe. Then we simply tell you to pray and ask God if what we say is true and if this is what you need in your life. I can promise you that when you do this, you will receive an answer from God and you will know the truth of this glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God" (James 1:5). I want everyone to feel the love of our Savior Jesus Christ and to come closer to Him. To do that, all you need to do is pray to Him, with faith, and he will bless your life.
I love each and every one of you and wish you all the best this week in life's many challenges! Life wasn't meant to be easy, but with God on your side, it becomes possible!

Elder Macfarlane

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Thank you to the Kamer's for sending these pictures of their Halloween fun. So cool to have connected with Elder Coats' mom and Momma K through Facebook. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Hello everyone!

Week 1 in Australia has been great! So much has happened I don't even know where to begin! I guess first of all I should let you know that their accents are AWESOME!!!! I love listening to people talk! The first day or two I couldn't stop smiling whenever I talked to anyone just because I was so focused on their great accents. Also they have some different words that they say a lot. I'm starting to pick up on some of them and it's funny to hear myself say things like "thanks mate", "g'day", "heaps", and "no worries."

The MTC was a hard, yet great, experience where I learned a ton and worked my tail off. I made friends with people from all over the world! There were two Sisters (girl missionaries) that I got pretty close to that were from Colombia and the United Kingdom! It was incredible to hear all about various people's stories and hear where they came from and why they decided to go on a mission. It really made me think hard about why I was out here and what I expected out of this experience. I had some incredible spiritual experiences where I was able to help people out in miraculous ways. It's amazing how much you can do when you are reading your scriptures everyday, praying to God multiple times a day, and doing what you're supposed to be doing when you're supposed to be doing it!

The flight to Australia was crazy! I took a flight from Salt Lake City, Utah to LA where we stayed for about 3 hours and then a flight from LA to Sydney, Australia! On my plane ride to LA, I sat next to this woman from Peru. We talked about her life and why she was in Utah. She is a truly remarkable individual! She had a record deal with some company that I don't remember the name of for two years and then started her own business selling her spanish, religious music. We connected right away and talked the entire plane ride. We talked a lot about religion her background with the Catholic church. I talked about a lot of simple church topics and answered a few of her questions and then I gave her a card! That was my first card so I was pretty proud of myself (: By the way, for those of you who are not Mormon and are reading this, if you ever have any questions about the Mormon church and want to know about what we believe in, go to and you can learn all about it! There is a tab in the upper right side marked FAQ (frequently asked questions) and you can learn heaps about it! Anyways, back to my story. So she took the card with my email address and church website/information and she gave me her information too so I could contact her to check up and see what she learned and if she has any questions. That was a super cool experience for me and I can't wait to have more of those kinds of experiences!

The flight from LA to Australia was nuts. It was 16 hours (I think) and I slept for about 12 of those hours! I flew with about 25-30 other missionaries on Qantas and they were great! That plane was the biggest plane I've ever seen in my life! They served dinner and breakfast on the plane! It wasn't the best food but it was still pretty good! I didn't get the chance to talk to the woman sitting next to me as much on this  plane since we were both sleeping for most of it. But for the short period of time that we were both awake (usually while eating) we talked a little bit about religion. Australians do not like religion, I found out. She was very polite about it but she was clearly not interested in religion or God in any way, but she was very impressed with our dedication to something we believe in.

Today is day 6 in Australia and I'm loving it! I'm all settled into our flat (one story apartment) and I'm feeling good! My companion is Elder Coats and he's great! He's from Utah. We're getting along really well. I've met all of the branch members and it's great. For those of you who want to know I'm in Narooma right now, which is about 4 hours south of Sydney. It is BEAUTIFUL!! We are one of the few missions aloud to be near a beach and it's great! We live really close to the ocean, we can open our windows and hear the water! I am amazed at the beauty of this country. The people hear are all super nice, but very set in their ways. Elder Coats has been in this area for 3 months and he's had two baptisms. Australia is a hard area to teach, but it's still great! Our area is more of a service-type mission than anything else. We are doing service like yard work and cleaning at least 5 hours a day! We spend a lot of time with church members and strengthening their relationship with each other and to God.

I hope all is well in the United States! I love and miss each and every one of you very much! Hopefully I'll have great stories to tell you soon! I love the Lord so much and I know that he cares about us all. Jesus Christ atoned for my sins, as well as all of yours, so we could live with our loving Heavenly Father again someday. We were sent here on this Earth to be tested and tried so we could prove to our Father in Heaven that we are his true followers. I will show my love for Him and His gospel by giving Him the next two years of my life and focusing on the Lord. I am thankful for the wonderful opportunity I have to be here in Australia to bless the lives of others. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the true church of Jesus Christ. I know that the Bible and Book of Mormon are true scriptures and have the power to bless many lives. I have a strong testimony in the power of prayer. Prayer is our connection with God. It is through prayer that we can communicate with Him and he can communicate back to us.l love this church very much and I am so thankful to have it be a part of my life.

I love you all!
Elder Macfarlane

Monday, October 28, 2013

 Nick's breakfast on his LONG flight to Australia!

First sight of Australia! How exciting!

 They all made it......Sydney airport!

Day 1

First Halloween in Australia
All missionaries that serve in Narooma sign the flag

Elder Pederson-First District Leader

Elder Pederson, Elder Trotter, Elder Coats, Elder Salter, Nick

Elder Salter, Elder Trotter, Elder Mariano, Nick and Elder Coats

Playing dice with the Kamer's

 Having a ball with the Kamer's!

Elder Salter, Nick and reunited with Elder Duran
Blue Jellyfish washed up on the beach
Elder Coats getting stitches 
The Nowra District
Elder Mariano, Nick, Elder Coats, Sister McAra and President McAra, 
Elder Trotter, Elder Salter and Elder Pederson
Saying goodbye to Elder Coats! Nick sure loved being his companion.