Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Week 97: Definitely "The BEST TWO YEARS!"


     How can someone even begin to recount all the wonderful experiences and good times that happen in the course of two years? Better yet, a missionary's two years? Words cannot describe the teachings I've learned and the feelings I've felt while being a full-time advocate, minister, and representative of the Lord, Jesus Christ. By no means did I do a perfect job, nor did I baptize 100 people, but the changes that I've seen have been extraordinary. The changes not only in other people, but in myself as well. I have really seen what it takes and the dedication that must be put forth in order to be a true disciple of the Savior. The promise that is found in Matt 10:39 and echoed throughout the scriptures is true in my life as I have lived as a missionary for these last two years.
     I remember that I was so focused on myself as I started my mission. Sure, I wanted to help others, and I knew that the gospel could help them, but I was in it for myself. On the outside I'm sure I was talking only about those whom I'd serve, but on the inside I was more focused on myself. I would be able to learn Spanish; I would become so much closer to the Lord; I would become a scriptorian; I, I, I... It wasn't until the MTC that I finally realized that my mission should never be for myself, but it should only be for the Lord. I had to be wiling to do whatever was necessary to be fully able to act as an instrument in the hands of God to bring to pass the advancement of His kingdom. I had to decide to serve the Lord because of my love for Him, not for the glory of man, nor for any personal progression. The Lord would make me into the person He wants me to become, rather than the person I think I want to become.
     President Kendrick always talked about our purpose as missionaries. He said that our purpose is to bring others to Christ, thus, to be succinct, we "Find, Teach, and Baptize." Later on, the mission was compelled to slightly change the vision statement, in regards to a world-wide missionary broadcast, to "Find, Teach Repentance, and Baptize Converts." Along with this phrase he often stated that missionaries who come out on their missions to personally grow, don't grow and they don't baptize. The Lord has an everlasting promise that he will bless us with everything that we need and will help us become who we must become as we first seek His kingdom. Throughout my mission I feel that I have learned more and more how to apply that concept and how to more fully dedicate my life to the furthering of God's kingdom here on the earth.
     Before he left the mission, President Kendrick asked me if my mission has changed me for 24 months, or for the rest of my life. Right away I feel confident in responding that it has changed me for the rest of my life, but it isn't that easy. Change is a process, not an event. Change takes time, dedication, and disciple. We cannot expect to change and never again need to put in an effort to continue changing, or maintain the change we have seen. It takes an unyielding will, and trust in the Lord to continue to become the individual He wants us to be. I have experienced many mighty changes within my heart, but that doesn't mean anything if I fail to continue forward, firm in the faith, and work more on coming closer to the Savior. It has taken two years to get me to this point, but it could be as quick as two months to put me back to where I was. I will not waste the change the Lord has allowed me to experience. I will do that which the Lord asks of me and I will seek Him, and not myself.
     I will forever be grateful for the people I have met, the experiences I have had, and the conversion I have seen. I know that the Church is true and that the Lord does love us enough to send us a Prophet to lead us and guide us. I know that He speaks to us by His Holy Spirit, and that we can always speak to Him through prayer. He is ever watching, and always looking to bless us. He sends us tender mercies, and also allows us to pass through difficult times, and it is all for our benefit. The Lord does not do anything but that which will help Him accomplish His purpose, "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of all men." I know that God is in the details of our lives to help us make righteous decisions, and to be happy and feel His love. These things I know to be true are simple, and they are just true. The Spirit has borne witness to me time and time again that these things are true.
     The Lord wants us to be happy, and He wants us to feel His love. The only requisite is that we follow His plan, and don't go off calling our own plays. I know the Lord loves each and everyone of us, and that He has a perfect plan for each of us individually. Jesus Christ is our Savior, and He paid the price for our sins so that we will not have to. He is the Perfect Teacher, the Master, the Lamb of God, and our Savior. "His name [is called] Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." I am grateful I have had these two years, the best two years, to serve Him, who I love. I will forever more continue to do the same.

- Elder Brian J. Farley

Monday, June 27, 2016

Week 96: So Far It's Been a Good Run!

Hi Mom!

I think next week I am going to email one email to you just about how I've seen my mission and the things that I've learned. I will be packing here and there throughout this week, so I'll probably have about an hour to email next p-day. So far it's been a good run, but I still got a week more of running here! I don't know what my feelings are. Probably nervous most of all... haha. But I know all will go well. No regrets, so I will be sure to have none this last week!

This week went well. I describe J as an "in the moment" kind of person. In the moment of being taught, she really loves it and wants to change, but shortly thereafter she forgets what she has to do because she get caught up in the moment with something else. I think a lot of the people we work with are that way. They are really willing to have us teach them, but not willing (or they forget) to do whats necessary when we aren't there. However, we did find someone who seems to be really promising. We were contacting a lady at the bus stop, and then another guy in an electric wheelchair pulls up and asks, "Are you guys the Mormons?"
               "Yes, we are."
               "Cool, my mom and sister were just talking about you guys. They'd like for you to come and visit them. They live in this building, number 203."
He didn't have to tell me twice! We biked right on over there and went and talked to his mom. Her name is M. She has met with missionaries in the past, but is now a lot more open to them. She accepted the restoration, is reading the Book of Mormon, and came to church yesterday! We even set a baptismal date with her already! haha. She could potentially be baptized a day before I go home, but I am guessing she will be baptized the 16th of July (my 2 year mark!). We shall see what happens. So far she is pretty golden though! This week we also picked up like 10 other new investigators! haha. I don't know why these past few weeks were so slow, but this week was super busy and successful! I am glad for all of that. I hope I can leave E.C with a lot going on in his area. Speaking of him, I didn't break the news to him in the temple. I got a call from PK about my exit interview, and then I had to tell him. But I still stuck with my plan for the most part! I gave him the list of scriptures and told him to study it for personal study. When we began comp study and talked about what we learned, he told me that he thinks I was trying to say "I'm a missionary, but I'm giving up my responsibilities to you. I'm dying soon, and I'm going home to my friends and family." Amazing what you can communicate with the scriptures ;) haha. But then he said it doesn't make sense because I am leaving in November. I told him the truth and he was good after that. A little surprised, but he handled it well. The Temple was really good. I will still get one more before I go, so that will be exciting!

PK and SK leave on the 30th I believe. PK didn't want to make a big deal about leaving and distract the mission, so he just went to all the ZTMs and bore his testimony along with SK. He is a really professional kind of guy. We are going to be having a zone review with PT and is wife this Friday... That will be super weird! But I will sustain him. I mean, he's going to be my mission president for such a long time, so I have to, right?;) haha.

Thanks for continually supporting me in my mission, Mom! I hope this week goes great! I'll send an email and answer any last minute questions you have next week, but other than that, I'll see you in about 10 days! Love you!


Elder Brian Farley

Monday, June 20, 2016

Week 95: No Regrets!

Hi Mom!

This week, sadly, was another slow week. We couldn't get any lesson set with J, nor with the man the YSA sisters gave us. I feel like a lot of things are just falling through. We are going to have a more concentrated effort on the members though. I feel like we can get something moving forward if we work with the members. I just don't want to leave EC hanging without anyone solid. But he is a really solid kid, and I'm sure he is going to have a lot of success throughout it all. I think we just need to think outside the box a little more so as to find more people. I think English classes would be a good idea, but that would take a little time to start off.

We did run into a recovering addict last week who said that we could teach him this last Sunday, and we did. He's an interesting guy, but his gf seems to have some good potential. She lives in El Cajon though, so the missionaries down there should hopefully see some success with her. Other than that it's been a lot of flaky people.

It has been hot the past couple days, and we've been tracting through it as well! haha. We are carrying around a lot of water, so we are doing fine. I still haven't told him that I am leaving this transfer, but I have the best idea for bringing it up! So we are going to the temple this Friday and I told him I am going to teach him some "deep doctrine" there. So I have found a whole bunch of scriptures that talk about 'finishing' or 'returning home' and I am going to see if he can connect the pieces! haha. If he can't I'm just going to tell him. I an really surprised that he hasn't found out yet! haha. It still doesn't feel real. But I guess that's a good thing! haha.

I'm really not sure who E.C's step-dad would be, but he better be hardworking! I am going to give him a little pep talk before I leave to help him keep working hard and not become lazy before I go. He is a really good kid though, so I don't worry too much. Probably the coolest thing that happened this week was when a member got really excited to do missionary work and asked for some pamphlets to hand out. He said he's going to hand out them all and find someone here in Escondido for us to teach! That was really cool! It makes me want to work more through members and inspire them to do the work!

I think that's about it on my side of the world. I am so grateful for you, dad and the rest of the family! Thanks for all you do for me! I love you! Have a great week!


Elder Brian Farley

Monday, June 13, 2016

Week 94: 3 Full Weeks to Go!

Hi Mom!

I'm amazed you didn't talk to me about the earthquake that happened here! haha. It was a 5.2 apparently. But we just slept right through it. haha. But this week went well. Still no investigators at sacrament meeting though. J. said she would, but didn't. Every lesson we have with her is really great and it seems that she is doing really well, but then she doesn't let it change her completely I guess... But we are still working with her. We also got a referral from the YSA sisters of a dude who was supposed to be really solid, but he only wanted us to meet with him on Sundays... and not even for 5 minutes any other day. No se, but he may be solid, who knows. Elder Castillo is doing well though. He is a good child and is still working hard. He is getting things down though. I still haven't told him that I'm leaving this transfer. I kinda don't know how he hasn't found out yet! haha. Either I'll let him find out on his own, or I'll tell him week 6 haha. Overall, we are doing really well together and we are expecting some miracles together right around the corner!

Other than that, it sounds like there are a lot of things going on as always! Things here are pretty much the same over here. Just going to go strong until the end! Thanks for sending out the box! I got the cookies :) Everyone else enjoys them too. Thanks for all that you do for me, Mom! I love you! See you in a few;)


Elder Brian Farley

Monday, June 6, 2016

Week 93: One Month From Today!

Hi Mom!

So, yeah, that is a pretty trunky email title, but I'm basically immune to trunkiness. haha. But so far E.C doesn't know about any past assignments or that it's my last transfer. I like it better that way :) There have been a lot of people who have said things that would have made me question things if I were in his shoes, but so far I think he thinks I go home in November haha. I will probably tell him how old I am in a couple weeks. He and I are doing well together though! He is a hard worker and helps me stay focused as well. Now that he is more acquainted with the area, I am going to hand off more of the teaching opportunities to him. He is really quiet when it comes to teaching, and I'm just used to my companions coming in and adding their thoughts to the conversation so I just keep talking without thinking about it. So I am going to do better about letting him in on the lessons and also have him lead out. I think Sean and I have had so great of missions because of how you and dad raised us. So I am super grateful for you and dad for that!

That SD card had the Christmas video stuff on it? Weird. It should have had videos from the beginning of me and E.S being together. Oh well. I will be sending another SD card home right before the end, so look for that one in a few weeks :)

Sounds like things at home, with Sean, and the rest of the family are going well. It will be good to see everyone again, but I'm still not going to think about that for a little bit! ;)

And the APs right now are Elder Phillips and Elder Glover. Elder Arellano is in Temecula. So half of the same.

Things this week were a little slow. I feel like a lot of our investigators have kind of been piling out on us. We have met a lot of cool people recently, so hopefully we will be seeing some success here soon! People just need to be elect and keep commitments! haha. Sorry that this is so short, but I think thats about it for the week. Not too eventful. But things are going well, and I am sure we will be seeing some good results here pretty soon! Thanks for all your love and support, Mom! I am so grateful to have you in my life! I love you and hope you have a wonderful week!


Elder Brian Farley

Monday, May 30, 2016

Week 92: Start Strong, Finish Stronger!

Spanish Conference 
Hi Mom!

So to start off this email I need to tell you that I'll be a little short on time these next 5 weeks while emailing because I am now enrolled in an online course that's been made for missionaries on their last transfer. It is meant to help them set goals and make plans to continue living the gospel after their missions and how to continue to develop good habits and attributes. It's called My Plan and it takes about 30min each p-day. But, regardless, I will try to fill you in on everything that's happened!

So this week was kinda slow, and it seemed to fly by at the same time. Elder (ninja turtle) Castillo is a good kid. He is very well prepared for his mission and already has a good skill set. He has to learn Spanish though because he never learned it back at home, and he is a little tired from all the running, biking and planning ;) haha. I told him it will probably get worse until like week 3 or so, then it'll improve. haha. He has a great attitude about everything though and I feel like he will be a really successful missionary! PK already told him we only have 6 weeks together, but I dont think he told him that this is my last transfer. So he isn't freaking out that he'll have to run the area after 5 more weeks. So thats all good. He doesn't know, as far as I know, about my past assignments either which is good as well. So overall, he is a great "Issac" for an old "Abraham." ;)

This week went well though. We picked up a lot of new people and then kept half of them as new investigators. They just drop us as if we never taught them. We are still working with J. and we are now teaching her sister as well! I feel like there are so many elect people in Esco, and I just wonder where they are! haha. I really want to see another person I teach get baptized before the end and what not. That'd be sweet :)

There were a few long days with meetings and what not, but they were good. The trainer meeting went overtime and then right after that was the Spanish Conference. We got home right in time for dinner and then only had like 3 hour of proselyting the whole day... But everyday we are out working hard! On Sunday we biked probably around 30 miles! haha. E.C. is keeping up pretty well though! I really hope to see some more success soon!

It's exciting to hear about everything going on at home! I hope everything continues to go according to schedule! That's about it for me here! Thanks for all you do for me! I love you and hope you have a great week! :)

Elder Brian Farley

Monday, May 23, 2016

Week 91: A Greenie, FINALLY!

Hey Mom!

It sounds like there have been a lot of exciting things going on at home! I am glad to hear that everyone is doing well and that everyone is safe and happy too!

So this week kinda felt like a blur... But from what I remember, it went pretty well. So first off, the zone has a goal of 12 baptisms for this quarter of the year (April-June). The quarter is basically made up of 2 transfers, so we are about halfway right now. But, our zone already have 11 baptism! WHOOO! Last night there were 5 baptisms at once! Crazy stuff! And E.S and I set a baptismal date too! Her name is J. Her mom, and grandpa are less-active members and but don't really have a reason to be less-active. She told us she really likes the meaning of repentance and that she wants to improve and come closer to God. She's only 15, so we are going to need to find her a ride, or re-activate the rest of the family as well. So that is one good thing that happened. We have a lot of other people who are really close to have a date. There is one lady who the sisters met who was given a Book of Mormon and really wants us to stop by and teach her more, as well as another lady who the sisters actually taught and set a date with, but came to find out that she is in our area. The sisters just really want to help us out, I guess! haha. We have a lot of good leads and opportunities to start teaching a lot of people. Little Elder Castillo will be happy ;)

So back in like January I remember seeing Elder Castillo come up on the missionary roster online. I thought to myself "Finally! There's a Spanish Elder finally coming in!... But that's not for a while, that'll be my last transfer... I'll just half-train him my last transfer." and now look what's happening! haha. I feel like I was partly joking with myself, but it turns out that that's the actual plan! I am super stoked! I probably don't know much more about him than you do. He is Hispanic, from Florida, best friends with Elder Rudd, doesn't really speak Spanish... what else? I will definitely know a lot more about him next week! But I am making preparations to start him off the very best, and to build the very best of habits now, so he'll be a stud when I'm gone! He's going to be the best Spanish missionary!

Other than all of that, we are going to be eating dinner with one of our investigators tomorrow. She is the Colombian woman, S. We told her that we see all of our teaching to lead toward baptism, and she's fine with that! She does need to learn a lot before that though. I still think she doesn't believe in the Resurrection yet, but we are working with her haha.

Zone Conference was good. It was a good one to end on. It was a training mainly to help remind everyone about the helpful tools we can use when teaching and what teaching skills we can practice. Then President talked about the importance of being cheerful, and how it's our moral obligation to be happy. It's a cool concept. Then he talked about the mission goal. It was really good overall.

I can't really think of much else that's going on right now. I know that we will be seeing a lot more things going on now that we have more potential investigators now! I still need to write down a list of everything I want to teach little Rafael (thats his middle name haha). But that's about it on my end! I love you and hope your week goes great! One transfer left...😬

Elder Brian Farley

ps. Yes, emailing will be on Tuesday next week.