Monday, December 31, 2012

Merry New Years Eve!!!!!!

this is a natavity scene set up in Cananea town square!

Random horsey down a dusty road!

saying goodbye to Elder Christian! a great missionary! all bundled up

Mayra and her Churro stand. Sometimes we finish our nights of tracting here and munch on some corn or warm up with some churros

31 de diciembre 2012

Well this week to say the least was filled with ups and downs! What an incredible skype sesh we had! hah It was a great gift from Santa to speak with each member of my family. I loved seeing your smiling faces, and it was fun sharing some stories, details and personal details that I haven't shared in my emails with you! Strange to think that my family was so close to me this Christmas, only a hope skip and a jump over the border and I could have spent Christmas morning in Pinetop.

After inhailing 435+ tamales, tons of turkey, ham, potatoes, salad, mole, and Mexican candies, I was able to visit several of our investagators on Christmas Day. As missionaries there is no greater gift we could ask for, then to feel the spirit and influence the lives of of the people we serve. We spent most of the night at an investagators home. They had a myriad of questions from their scripture reading, that we were able to answer! The spirit was definitely  there as we testified of the truthfulness of the Libro de Mormon. I know they were influenced and edified on the spirit on this Christmas night. There is nothing like staring right into their eyes and telling them that you love them and are willing to do anything to help them improve their lives and enter into the waters of baptism!!!

Yes it is chilly here in Cananea. Still a problem with contacting people in these cold winter days. we did not have tons of lessons, and we were rejected quite a bit this week! haha its all part of the missionary work, and in moments like these, is where you KEEP YOUR CHIN UP! Some weeks are obviously better than others. The message we bring to the doorsteps of these people is the greatest message this world has to offer, and sometimes it hurts to see it go in one ear and out the other of the people we teach. I love this gospel so dang much and I want a happy functioning ward here in Cananea haha but the truth is, its gonna take a whole lotta work. and Im willing to work my tale off.

Elder Villegas and I did not baptise like we had hoped to. Our  investigators Vicky and Nico left to attend to an "emergency" in a neighboring town and we were unable to contact them all weekend. they didnt come to church and we havent heard from them since friday night.... not the greatest situation for missionaries. But! Im keepin my chin up. We hope to visit with them tonight, and figure out whats goin on. We will set another baptisimal date for them and help them reach this goal. I look forward to their future. Both have them have come a long way and I love seeing their happiness when we visit them.

 I am so privaleged to be a missionary at this time of my life. It is crazy the things that I have experienced  already in 2 months in Mexico. The future is bright for me and for the people here in Sonora. They really had no idea what hit them when Elder Farrow came flyin into Hermosillo to teach, preach and share the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ! I love my job and really am enjoying every single experience that comes my way.

My family is the best!!!! thank you so much ferr your love, support, letters and packages! Te amo mi familia. Dad, youre my hero. Mom, you were the best Soccer coach I ever had, Britt, youre preggers. Brooke, my companion has a crush on you. Bailey, teines la voz de un angel. Brinley, Your two front are in my prayer, I hope they come in soon! All is well in Cananea. A very thin layer of snow coats the streets, and I look forward to another eventful 7 days.

Elder Farrow

Friday, December 28, 2012

Merry Christmas!!!!

Tecate Beer cans as ornaments on the one and only pine tree in Cananea.

Elder Farrow with his stocking and presents from his grandparents!

24 de diciembre 2012

Hark the Hairy Angels Sing! its that time of year again, and I couldn't be happier to be on a mission. This Christmas is going to be just a tad different from years past. Things are looking a lot like they did when I arrived here in Cananea the first week of November. Sadly there are not a lot of Christmas decorations lining the streets, and I totally flip when I hear a Christmas song because its so rare. Occasionally I see Christmas trees through the windows of some houses, but thats about it. This week I walked the streets with mexican dulces in my pockets and handed them out to niños saying,"Feliz Navidad!" and "¿Que le pidio a Santa Claus esta Navidad?" They would just smile, take the candyand think to themselves, why the heck is that crazy gringo filled with so much cheery Christmas joy hahaha but yes, a whole different atmosphere here in Mexico this Christmas!

This week served to be a pretty solid week. We taught good lessons, and our investigators are progressing, and working toward their baptisimal dates! We had 5 investigators come to church yesterday! There were only about 15 members at Sacrament meeting, and when our investigators asked where all the members were, we told them that they were on family vacation. Not completely the truth... the truth is our little branch here is struggling a bit! We need your prayers!! I gave a talk on the spirit of Christmas, focusing maily on the example Christ is for us. it was an easy talk because it was basically the short 15 minute lesson Elder Villegas and I have been giving to lots of families this week! And right before my talk I sang Mary Did You Know in Spanish. yeee

All is well here in Cananea. Its still a bit cold, and the tops of the mountains are coated with snow. This week while walking up and down these streets, wrapped in my scarf and humming Christmas jingles, I was reminded of some of my favorite Christmas time memories. I remember cousins dressed up as sheep and Sheppard's in a Nativity play at Nanny´s, I remember seeing half eaten cookies Santa left next to the fireplace Christmas morning, and I remember the love I felt at home during this time of year. I cherish these memories and I am grateful for a loving family that supports me on my mission! I can feel your love this week, and cant wait till I can chat with my family tomorrow!!!! ahhh

Well, live long, prosper, sing loud, eat turkey, play some checkers, and enjoy this Christmas! I love you all!

_Elder Farrow

P.S. Brittany, Scooter, Camden!! I cant believe you will be adding another member to the Olsen Family! I couldn't be more excited for you =) My big sis is expecting another awesome crazy child! Britt thanks for the pics of you and your fam!!! luv you

Monday, December 17, 2012

Winter Wonderland?

Bundled up!


Tamales at the Figerroa Robles home.

18 de Diciembre 2012

Hello my family! I cant believe its almost Christmas! Its a little weird being away from home at this time of year. During these weeks in December I have always spent my time with family and friends. Memories of Dad doing heel clickers off the couch on Christmas morning because Santa came or playing board games with sisters flood my brain everytime I see Christmas decorations or hear a Christmas jingle being played on the radio. This year I have the unique privelege to walk the streets of Cananea as a missionary! and I couldnt be more excited to spend my Christmas with the Mexicans I have absolutely grown to love :)

Well this week was interesting! First off... IT SNOWED!! hah well kinda. at least the little mountains on the South side of Cananea were coated with a thin layer of snow. But most of the week we were blessed with freezing rain. it was actually really cold. Nobody told me Sonora Mexico could actually have temperatures below freezing before my mission! Thankfully there was a whole bunch or random jackets and sweaters that I bundled up in all week.

It was interesting to see how the people here reacted to the cold! As soon as the sun went down the stores started to close and everybody went home. Cananea absolutely shut down at 7 oclock and Elder Villegas and I had a hard time getting into anybodys house, simply because they wouldnt open the door because of the cold! We could definitely tell who was interested in our message because of who let us in! We did not have as many lessons as past weeks, but we had quality visits. Most of the homes here have wood burning stove/heaters called calentones. they fire those bad boys up and feed it chopped wood all night until they go to bed. I know I say this everyweek, but the people here are sooo humble and and I am constantly learning more about mexican culture. Its a lot of fun living in a different country!

I also had the chance to travel to Hermosillo at the beginning of the week to go to a new missionary meeting with all of the Greenies, asistants and president! Pretty neat day. concluding all of our workshops and meetings we had a testimony meeting. I bore my testimony second. 1st was Elder Chuc from Colombia. he stands 5 foot 2 and if you close your eyes while he speeks you might think a woman is talking. anyways, I was able to bare my testimony in front of 15 or so new elders, their trainers, president and his wife. My spanish is really coming along, it was funny to hear some of the spanish from the other americans, very slow and not tons of correct grammer. Elder Jones, Elder Balli (the elders from my district in the MTC) and I definitely have the best spanish. Dont get me wrong its still terrible. Comparable to a 6 year old mexican. but it was good to get a compliment from President and his Wife after the testimony meeting.

This email is taking me forever to write because my hands are freezing and typing is slowwww.

All in all a pretty good week. I might have the opportunity to baptise two 8 year old girls this Sunday! they both come from inactive families and didnt go to church this week. It is the Branch Presidents call to see if they will be baptised! 2 very sweer young ladies, Gaby and Arlet. They know the importance of baptism and have great faith. Wonderful examples for me and their families. An update on our golden investagators! Victoria and her friend Nicholas have accepted their baptisimal dates and are working hard to be baptised at the end of this month. They both atttended church again this week, and have been reading the Book of Mormon! The prayers of Elder Villegas and I truly been answered. we taught them 3 times this week, and we always have great testimony experiences with them!

I look forward to this next week and am prayin for some better weather! I love this church and I love being a missionary. There is no better calling in this world than to be a representative of Christ and go door to door sharing the good news of the Gospel. It is my prayer that we can all remember the true spirit of Christmas and that we can celebrate the birth, life, example and sacrifice of our older brother Jesus Christ! Remember the nails! I love you all and hope you have a very merry week.

- Elder Farrow

P.S. sing your face off this week Bailey! I will be cheerin for you in my heart. Be sure to send videos of your songs. love yerrr

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It's Gettin Cold!!!!

servico en la casa de la Hermana De la Puerta! she was so funny and insisted we drank hot coco with her :)

reppin my west side roots! haha I love all the grafiti here

 this is a special friend I found. but he died :( dont worry mom he was a clean dead rat.

Our P-day! sweet view of the mine here in Cananea

12 de Diciembre 2012

Well howdy! This week was absolutely a blast. Clearly better than my last few weeks here in mexico. Together Elder Villegas and I worked hard, taught great lessons, recieved help from members, and really connected with lots of our investagators! But yes it is getting quite cold here in North Sonora, the nights are chilling and I sleep under 5 blankets! And when i wake up in the morning to say my prayers,  I throw another blanket on the cold tile floor to save my knees from turning to ice! But the funnest part is taking my 1 minute 18 second shower haha scrubbi-dubbin in that water is freeeeezing!

Holy cow what a great great week. We had a lot of great lessons like I said. For me, feeling the spirit and knowing that my investagators felt the spirit is a success. My spanish has improved so much! I try to speak as much as I can. I keep a little notebook in my back pocket and when I dont know a word I hear, I write it down and study it that night! I have learned more spanish in 1 month her in Cananea than I had in my 3 or so years in school before the mission! no joke! thanks to a native comapnion I have really been emersed in this language and culture. Of all things that I say in Spanish I am most fluid and clear in my testimony! My testimony is a gift that I get to share with everybody I teach, there is nothing quite like expressing your faith and love for the Gospel in spanish! whuuhooo

Ok, a quick story! This Saturday was a busy day! Saturdays always are becuase we try to visit all of the people we teach adn share with them a little message, and try to motivate and inspire them just a little so they choose to go to church the next day! we were walking in El Dorado, one of the poorest colonies in Cananea, on our way to visit Beranice and her family. We heard two little boys say, ''Elders!''. We thought nothing of it and kept on walking. A couple more steps and we hear a muffled womens voice say, ''Elders, please come here'' or ''Elderes, venga por favor''. So we approached this woman at her doorstep, she was dressed in torn old clothes, with her hood on and a scarf wrapped around her face! I looked closer and saw that the skin on her face was in terrible condition, she had a sickness called viruela, looking into her eyes I could see the sadness in her heart. Honestly my first thought was that she wass a lepper!  She told us her name was Victoria, that her mother had passed away 8 years ago and the months before her death she was baptised a member of our church. She invited us in her home and she expressed more to us about her past. less than a year ago she was buying drugs on the street, and she had issues with alcohol and immorality. about 6  months ago something clicked for her. She dusted off her mothers old Book of Mormon and began to read it! Since then she has quick smoking, drinking and has the desire to CHANGE HER LIFE! Elder Villegas and I began sharing scriptures with her, and taught the her the Gospel of Jesus Christ (faith in Christ, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end) without and invitation she said, ''I want to go to church with you'' Oh man, this is music to a missionary's ears. We testified of the truthfulness of our message and then invited her to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptised on the 30th of this month! She accepted! The story gets even better, Elder Villegas and I set up a ride for her and her 2 sons to come to church the next morning!  Victoria, her family, and her friend Nicholas dressed in their sunday best, were ready at 9:30. Oh and in sacrament meeting i was suprised when the 1st councelor called me up to speak for the remaining 20 minutes of the hour. haha yes it really happens here in Mexico.

But yes! what an incredible experience for us. This was a confirmation of my testimony that the field is white already to harvest! Victoria was absolutely prepared to hear our message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is no doubt in my mind that she will be baptised, and we only hope that there are no serious problems in her past that will hold her back from entering into the waters of baptism! This is what missionary work is all about!

I love workin out here. Mission life is crazy, happy, sad, incredible, dangerous, hillarious, hot and cold. I cherish my time here and love serving my Father in Heaven, and the people here in Sonora. My testimony is strengthened daily, and I love growing and learning. oh yes, growing... I jumped on a scale this week and saw that I have almost GAINED 10 pounds this last month haha.

Yo he recibido sus cartas, y gracias para sus palabras de inspiracion. seems like my family had a lot of fun at Thanksgiving! it was great to get all those dear Elders finally! Thank you Mom, Dad, Brooke, Bails, Grandparents Moon and Farrow, Chelsea, Sister Snow, Summer, and Brother Dunham! Letters are gold, and I had tons of fun reading you crazy adventures!

I love my family and friends, and am so happy to be a missionary at this time in my life. Through all the speed bumps in this life and my mission, somehow I manage to stay positive and smile through the trials! Have a great week! You are all in my prayers.


Elder Farrow

P.S. Chelsea Penelope Snow! you are going to serve a mission in Virginia! crazy news! I am so happy for you. I know you will be such an incredible missionary! :) Remembber more important than you call is the oportunity you have to go through the temple for the first time! whooohooo im vurry excited for you
P.S.S depending if I can find a camera here I will be skyping my family on Christmas!!! if not a phone call. Either way Im stoked! hah La Navidad will be fun, so far I have plans to visit a couple members homes and eat everywhere I go! love yall

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Another Week in the Books!

 P day, 4 missionaries, 2 bikes. having no fun at all

pintando una casa!!! me encanta servicio!
blood, sweat and tears. haha jk tracting with mi mexicano
another p day bike pic. muy suave

4 de Diciembre

Hola mi familia! the weeks are getting faster! it honestly seems like just yesterday I was writting my last email. I write my emails in little hole-in-the-wall Papelarias, and it costs about 20 pesos for an hour of internet use. There is a little mexican reading my email right now, (he cant understand squat) I just told him to go buy me a churro cuz Im going to be here for a while haha but yes, certainly an interesting week. I had a lot of ups and downs.

I will first share an experience I had la mañana de miercoles. We got a text at 8 oclock about an inactive woman who had been sick for the last week or so and were asked to visit her! so we changed our plans a little, and visited her right away! she answered the door and looked very ill. We sat down with her and had talked for 20 minutes, then as missionaries do, we whipped out our scriptures and started having an incredible discussion a cerca de las bendiciones que nosotros podemos recibir cuando nosotros incluimos el evangelio de Jesucristo en nuestras vidas. (mom please help the family translate haha) anyways, elder villegas and I were bouncing back and forth sharing scripture after scripture, and applying it to Hermana Armenta and her family! We all felt the spirit and she was very thankful for our visit, she opened up to us about her issues with depression and wanted to attend church on Sunday! I was able to give my 1st blessing in Spanish as we concluded our visit! Through my slow sincere sentences Hermana Armenta began to cry and I was able to communicate clearly to her. I was truly blessed by the spirit, and in that moment I realized the power of the Holy Ghost and its huge importance as a missionary. Had I slept in, listened to some rock music, not studied the book of mormon that morning, I know I woudnt have been able to help Hermana Armenta and give her the priesthood blessing she needed. I look forward to those special hours I get to have as a missionary. Those experiences get me through the day and especially the week. 

I try my hardest not to complain haha but to be honest my bike no brakes, the seat came off this week, the handle bars are loose and it was truly a blessing when my front tire popped on friday because we were able to retire our bicycles to our house and finish the rest of the week on foot. As I mentioned last week, we did alot of finding this week and last, and Elder Villegas and I were able teach a lot of first lessons. Most of our day is searching for the homes our new investagators. Addresses are absolutley terrible here. nobody knows what street they live on! and if they do know what street they live on, they arent positive what number their house is!!! For example one of the "addresses" I wrote down from a woman named Jennifer was: Mesa Sur, the white house, across the street from the two story house, next to the warehouse that has an old brown couch outside by the window hahaha no joke! but somehow we find them and have great 1st lessons.

As missionaries we are always looking for oportunities to serve, and we ask everybody if we can do ANYTHING for them. most of the time they laugh and say no, but this week elder Villegas and I painted a house and sheered a sheep haha lots of fun. I continue to be amazed by some of the lifestyles here in Mexico. Grandpa Moon is write when he describes Cananea as a dustly old town in his letter to me. He is exacly right. I get the opportunity to serve a very poor and humble people that live in a very hot and dusty Puebla. Sometimes I cant believe what I see on the streets, drug deals left and right, scraggly packs of dogs, and 15 mexicans piled high in the back of a pick up truck. I am truly living in a different world and I love every second of it.

Im not sure if I have told you in my other emails, but there have been some changes to rules throughout all the missions in Mexico. They have added a rule that we are not allowed to knock doors! tocar puertas! this change makes us work with members, and using their help and references to find and teach people! this really is a great change to the missionary work. in 09 there were thousands of baptisms, but now at the end of 2012 less than 20% of those baptized members are active. also investagators need to go to church 4 times instead of 2 times before they are baptised. with these changes missionaries with have *stronger´´ conversions. 

The problem is, Cananea does not have many active members. less than 40. and of those 40, 5 people are willing to help. 2 returned missionaries and la familia Sanchez. Elder Villegas and I have been working hard, every single day. Our branch president is not very helpful and we are forced to do a lot on our own. I guess this is the big growing up part of the mission. We struggle to get help from our members, and we really really need it. Two 19 year olds in a Mexican puebla can do a lot, but an entire branch of testimony sharing Latter Day Saints can do miracles. I am praying for some added support here in Cananea!

All is well my family! I am bein dilligent and trying my best every day. I hope you scally wags are hangin in there without me! Know that I am safe, healthy, and getting an embarrasing tan line on my neck! Remember our Saviors saccrifice when the goin gets tough. He can lift us up with the wings of angels if we let Him! Have a great week!


Elder Farrow

P.S. Chelsea Snow you are in my prayers this week! I cant wait to find out where you will be serving your mission!!! I still cant believe you are going to be a missionary :) my guess is NYC!! 

Brinley you are cool