Sydney, Australia

Sydney, Australia

Monday, April 28, 2014

Hello hello hello!
This week I went on multiple trade-offs with the zone leaders. A trade-off is pretty self explanatory, I go with one of the zone leaders, and my companions go with the other zone leader, so we basically trade-off. Makes sense right? :) So anyways, I went with Elder Samuela Monday and Tuesday, then Elder Makihele on Wednesday. It was a great learning experience and still a good, fun time. Over the course of those two days we taught 12 lessons to investigators, less actives, or recent converts. It was a great missionary start to the week! Thursday, I had to teach District Training Meeting, since I'm the District Leader, and it went well. I taught about the importance of applying the lessons that we teach to our own lives, not just to the lives of our investigators. I focused on lesson 3, which is titled "The Gospel of Jesus Christ". It focuses on the importance of Faith, Repentance, Baptism, the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End.
We had some great ward activities this week! We had one on Friday and Saturday. Friday was a sport day. We played basketball, volleyball, relay races, ping pong, sack races, and ate food from 10am to 6pm. It was so much fun and a great way to get the ward more unified! I loved it! I even won the sack race in my category, but only barely. I had to dive over the finish line to make sure I had it! :) Then Saturday we had a skit Traveling Through the Book of Mormon. We basically told the whole Book of Mormon in the play. I was a narrator because the people here said I have a perfect narrator voice.. I'm not sure if that was sincere or if they just didn't want me doing anything else... ;) But nonetheless it was heaps of fun! Pictures will come soon!
I experienced a miracle this week. One of the zone leaders hurt his ankle at the ward activity Friday while doing the sack race (trying to beat me... HA!), we found out it was sprained. He wasn't able to walk that night so Elder Makihele and I gave him a priesthood blessing. In the blessing I said that he would be healed by the next evening so that he could perform in the Book of Mormon play effectively since he was a key part in the story (he was Helaman). He wasn't any better the next morning so I stayed home with him all day. But that night, right before the play, he decided he'd try to walk on it anyways. Now keep in mind, he'd been laying down all day and if he needed to move anywhere he had crutches. And when he tried to walk, he was fine! His foot was, and still is, bruised really bad but he is now able to walk perfectly fine! That was an incredible miracle to witness and be a part of. I love this church and the wonderful miracles that can come from it! :)
The final thing that happened this week that was exciting is that I conducted my first baptismal interview as a District Leader. Sabrina is a young, 9 year old girl who's mother got baptized a few months ago and now she is getting baptized next week! I'm so happy for her and the steps she's making to become closer to her Father in Heaven!
Today I wanted to talk about the power of serving others. Go out of your way this week to help those around you. Make someones life easier by doing something small, you never know the effects of your actions. As missionaries, we are encouraged to give service often. Mosiah 2:17 says "When ye are in the service of your fellow man, ye are only in the service of your God." When you serve others, you are serving God. You are helping God's children and showing love for them. This week I was able to participate in a large service project of cleaning up a woman's yard for her. She had grass up past my knees, bushes that haven't been trimmed, and rubbish all over. We were there for about 3 hours mowing, trimming, and pulling out old plants. We are about 2/3 of the way done and are going to come back later this week to finish. This woman that we helped was so grateful for what we did, she was almost in tears. No one wanted to help her, not her friends, not her neighbors, because they all thought she didn't deserve the help. That is such a sad thought. We are all brothers and sisters, we are all sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, and we should be treating one another as such. I challenge everyone who reads this to go out and serve someone everyday. Help someone bring groceries to their car, help clean the house, clean up someones yard, compliment someone, give a smile, tell your family you love them and mean it! As you do this, I can promise that you will see blessings arise in your life and you will become a happier person.
I love you all!
Elder Macfarlane

Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Easter everyone!!
This week was a pretty slow one. But to start it off we had Zone P-Day last monday, which means all the missionaries in our zone got together and played games and had fun. We played tennis and footie for a few hours and really had a great time!
Tuesday night was hilarious. We do something called "Rescue Night" where the ward and missionaries go out and visits less-actives. The point is to talk to them, see how they're going, and kind of remind them they are cared about. So we went to this one less-active's house and Brother Labalaba was our driver. We go up to the door and Brother Labalaba knows this guy so he stands in front and knocks on the door. The man's daughter answers the door and says he's not home. Instead of trying to talk with her (also a less-active) he just says "oh, okay! Well nice to see you!" And we walk away... We get in the car and he takes us back to the church and leaves! Rescue night is supposed to be an hour or so long and we got done in 10 minutes! hahaha Brother Labalaba is a crack up!
Saturday, we had a baptism in our ward. It was for an 8 year old daughter of one of the members and it went really well. It was cool to see her get baptized. We had a HUGE feed afterwards. Normally, in America, you have some ice cream or maybe cookies after. NOPE, not for islanders! We had four long tables full of food, two tables with lollies (candy), one table of fruit, and the kitchen full of ice cream and beverages! It was awesome!
Last bit of exciting information for you is this. I got a haircut. Elder Makihele cut it and he's a pro! He cut it shorter than I've ever had it before, on the sides, and it doesn't look to bad... I hope ;) I'll send a pic next week if I remember!
I hope everyone remembered this important day! I am so grateful to my Savior for what he did for us. He took upon him all the sins of the world and suffered for them that night. He was in so much pain and agony that He bled from every pore! That is something we cannot even fathom! No one else could have done that but Jesus. He made it possible that we can return home to our loving Heavenly Father and be with our families forever. I am eternally grateful and strive to make it up to Him by serving others (Mosiah 2:17) and being the best I can be.
I love you all! Have a great week!
Elder Macfarlane

Monday, April 14, 2014

13 April 2014

Elder Nicholas Kendall MacfarlaneAustralia Sydney South MissionP.O. Box 456MortdaleNSW 2223

Dear Elder Macfarlane:

You have been called to serve as a District Leader.  In the maturing process of service, your talents and attributes will continue to increase and be strengthened. You have arrived at a point where you are now able to lead others, instilling in them an excitement for the work here in the mission field. You are obedient and will be a wonderful example to those you lead.

We appreciate your dedication to the Lord. We know He will make you equal to all that is required of you. Sister Lew and I love you very much and it is our wish that you will receive all the blessings that diligence, obedience and hard work bring.

Love you,

We moved again! Last Monday I moved to a brand new area, Bankstown, which is real close to Sydney. And now, on Saturday, we moved down the street. Elder To'angutu is my new companion and he's the bomb! He's from New Zealand and more recently Brisbane, Australia. I now also have a second companion, so now we are a companionship of three. His name is Elder Hubbard, he's from Arkansas. Hubbard and I are the only two white kids in our district! I love it :) haha I am starting to learn how to speak Tongan now too because the ward that I'm in in technically English speaking, but they all speak Tongan a lot! Plus everyone I live with can speak Tongan to at least some degree, except me!
Last Saturday, we switched housing with two other Elders because we weren't living with people in our district originally. Elder T and I were living with two Samoan Elders, Elder Willis and Elder Vaele, but now we live with the Zone Leaders, Elder Samuela and Elder Makiele. Elder Makiele is from Tonga and Elder Samuela is from Australia somewhere, I'm not sure where.They are both super cool too. Samuela is going to play football for BYU when he goes home. I set a goal to gain 5kg over the next two transfers. We're working out every morning and night, also I'm eating SO MUCH Tongan food it's crazy! I hope I can keep gaining weight. I've been stuck the last few months at 76-77kg (which is somewhere around 165lbs) so hopefully I can get through this plateau and move forward! ;)
This past week has been hectic, meeting so many new people and making so many new friends. We've been fed every night by members, either going to their house or them dropping off food, and it's been great! One of my favourite families so far is the Manakafua's. They've fed us three times in the last four days! They have like a bazillion kids too so it's super fun to eat, play games, and have spiritual conversations with all of them! They are truely a great example to me. They do not have a lot of money and by no means should they be feeding us as much as they do, but they do it because they know we are missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and they are blessed for doing what they do. Brother Manakafua was telling us about whenever he feeds the missionaries he, without exception, somehow gets repaid for what he gives us. He is an incredible man and has so much love for us missionaries and for his family. If everyone on earth was as loving and charitable as this man, the world would be God's paradise.
This last weekend, we got to listen to General Conference. General Conference, for those of you who don't know, it's pretty much the coolest spiritual gift ever! We have an entire weekend of talks being given by the prophet and apostles of the Lord. There is 10 hours of total speakers, in two hour segments. It's a great learning opportunity. They speak on various topics such as family history, love one another, priesthood power, agency, faith, and stories of Christ. I would like to share with you a quick thought one one of the talks that were given during the priesthood session,Saturday night. The talk was given by Randall L. Ridd, a member of the Young men's general presidency. He talked a lot about choices. Agency is a word we use often when talking about choices. Agency is the ability to choose right from wrong. We are given this agency by our loving Heavenly Father. We need to be using this gift wisely at all times. We need to be making the kinds of choices that would make Christ and Heavenly Father proud. "What would Jesus do" is a very good way to think about it if you take it seriously. When Jesus lived on the Earth, he loved everyone, he was charitable to all, he gave everything he had to make others happy. He was a proactive person. He went out of his way to make sure he always chose the right. If we are not proactive in our desires, the world will do it for us. There is so much temptation and sin in the world that if we aren't constantly doing what we should and being proactive in our choices, we will make poor choices and have regrets. Agency is our power to become something great.
Another thought that I really liked was also from Randall L. Ridd. Think about your cell phone for a minute. You wouldn't think of going a day without charging your phone and having it with us throughout the day. The same goes for our spirituality. We need to be reading the scriptures and praying daily and going to church each week to "recharge" ourselves. Go to church, do the things you are supposed to be doing, go to your meetings, read scriptures, and pray, and you will see and feel the blessings that come from it. I know that this church is true. I have no doubt about it. I have seen it change the lives of many and I am so thankful for it! Have a great week and be the answer to someones prayer!

I love you all heaps!
Elder Macfarlane 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I got transferred! I'm now in Bankstown and my companion is Elder To'angutu. He's from Tonga and he's super cool. He loves basketball and is super athletic. I live with a Tongan (my comp), a Samoan, and an American Samoan. They are all super cool and they are going to try to teach me Tongan and/or Samoan! I'm pumped! It was really sad to say bye to everyone in Narooma but it's good now. I've gotta go, we don't email much here they said. But I'm going to try to email every week quick.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Just outside of Narooma
Nick buried Elias Kamer

Wallabies at Potato Point

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

What up everyone! So this week was pretty great :) Why you ask? Because I'm in Australia!! That's why! To start off the week we went to a beautiful breakfast at The Quarterdeck with Tim.
March Madness is almost at an end and I'm somewhat destroyed... the only team I have left is Florida. But I have them winning it all so I've still got hope! I don't get to watch any of the games, but it's still fun to find out what happens :)
On Tuesday we got to watch a movie! Normally missionaries aren't allowed to watch movies but we got permission to watch 17 Miracles for youth night. It's about the early members of the Mormon church traveling west after suffering through much persecution. It's a really good movie and it makes you better appreciate all that they had to go through.
I had an interview with the mission president this week. President Lew interviews us about once every 4 months or so to check up on how we're doing and it went well. He pretty much told me that I'm going to get transferred this weekend though... that's a little bit disappointing because I love Narooma, but I guess it's time for me to move on.
Saturday morning we went to a member's son's footie (rugby) game and it was super cool! I didn't get to watch too much and he's only 8, but it was still cool to see. I'm hoping to see another game next Saturday with his older boy, Franko. I've started playing a little footie and I'm getting pretty decent at it. I'm starting to get the feel for where to go and what to do in different situations, I like it :)
That's all for today. I will be most likely getting transferred from Narooma this upcoming weekend so next week will be an interesting post... hopefully ;)
Love you all! Have a great week!
Elder Macfarlane