Tuesday, March 31, 2015

MTC Provo - Ola familia!!!

I've survived the second week!! Okay, so second week was GREAT! Just like everyone told us, second week is so much better than the first and everything is downhill from there. Not exactly downhill, there are still some bumps along the way but overall, it was a really fun week! 
Last Wednesday we got 2 new districts!! 6 girls in each!! We felt so old and wise meeting them even though we're totally not hahaha. They were shocked when we told them we had only been here a week. Helped boost my self esteem even though I can still barely speak the language! But honestly, I am proud of myself for how far I've been able to come the past two weeks. Truly a miracle! 
So we finished our lessons last week with our investigator Danielle and my companion was gone so I had an older Sister join me. Where was my companion? Good question! Get this. They flew her home for like a day and a half for an emergency dentist appointment! So I was with our other sisters, Sister Smith and Sister Irizzary AND basically Elder Meredith too because he has to be with at least 2 of us for most activites! Haha so we called ourselves a quad-ship. 
So, my last lesson with Danielle went very well and Sister Jones (my fill in) said I did a really good job and we got Danielle to commit to baptism! YAY! And then.....we got a new teacher and guess who it was? DANIELLE! Well, Sister Kimble's adorable and sweet and we're very much enjoying her as a teacher even though we were kinda nervous at first. We still LOVE Irmao Workman though!! The other day we saw him in a LEATHER JACKET walking to class and we discovered he rides a motorcycle!!!! So we're just walking behind him, this pack of girls, giggling hysterically lolol and he just looks at this other sister from our zone walking past us and says, "Por que?" hahahaha he loves us. We've also tried to set him up with Danielle (the only woman we know who isn't a missionary) but he promised us there was nothing between them haha. But then one day we were having a bathroom/water break and we came back and saw this teacher girl talking to him and we ran out to let them talk haha so when we went back inside we were like sooooooooooooooooo and then he just started laughing and we were like pestering him with questions hahahaha. Anyways...
Last Friday I had a wonderful surprise from Taylor - A DOZEN KRISPY KREME DONUTS!! My whole district was very appreciative. We bought ice cream from a vending machine and went outside and ate donuts and ice cream! It was great. When the sun is at its peak here it is sooo nice outside so we like to go outside and study while laying on the grass. 
Another funny thing is, Elder Meredith always looks like he's breaking the rules because he's a solo Elder, so people always look at him funny or have even stopped and asked him in a very serious tone, "Elder, where's your companion?" even though he has a white sticker on his name tag saying "SOLO ELDER" haha! But one time we were laying on the grass (4 sisters and Elder Meredith) and a guy in a golf cart stops and says the line, "Elder, do you have a companion?" So we always stick up for him - "He's a solo elder, we're his companions!" It's so funny because it's like we're getting away with something even though it's allowed and he has to be with us! 
The language is coming along. I kinda had a hard time last night because we had our first lesson with OUR TEACHER! YEAH! We're going to be teaching Irmao Workman EVERY DAY (minus preparation day [Tuesday] and Sunday) as Jaime (one of his converts or someone he knows). 
So yeah, last night was our first lesson and I totally felt prepared but then not so much. I barely said one sentence and I was very much humiliated. It's hard to not get down and just think about yourself and feel sorry for yourself, but we have to keep in mind that's it's not about us. This is His work and we have to put full trust in him. That has been something I've been learning a lot this past week and what I'm really trying to work hard on. It can be so hard to put down the natural man and to put all faith and trust in Him, but if we do then we will be blessed. I know the gift of tongues is real, but when we let doubt cloud our minds, that gift can be taken away. So this week that's what my goal is. 
But honestly, this past week has been so great! I am so so grateful for my district and my companion. They are the best group ever and I would not still be here if I didn't have them with me. The other day all us girls were getting down in the dumps and were talking about how we want to be better and our past breakdowns. And we turned to Elder Meredith and were like how come you haven't cried?? Haha but he said (and it was so sweet!!) the hardest thing for him was seeing us beat ourselves up over the language and not being able to give us a hug. We wanted to hug him even more right then!!! I totally teared up!
ALSO OMG! In one of the new districts, there are 2 Elders from TEXAS!!!!!!!!!!!! One barely talks so I'm not sure where's he's from... Amarillo? But the other one is from Houston and we immediately hit it off talking about Texas and stuff and GET. THIS. HE KNOWS AUNT LISA!!!!!!!!! She was his homeroom teacher he said!! So I got a picture with him (see attached). Forward it to Aunt Lisa, por favor! He's not sure if she's remember him but so cool, right??
We didn't get to watch Women's Conference (I didn't even know it was going on) but maybe we will this weekend..? I'm not sure. But we will be watching General Conference this weekend for sure! I'm so excited. I hope some of the questions and feelings I've been having these past 2 weeks will be answered. No matter what, it's going to be great and anyone can get something out of General Conference! 
Not much else to report on! I'm doing great thanks to everyone's prayers!! I miss y'all so much and I love y'all the most!! Dear Elder letters are the best so thanks for everyone who is sending me them! Include your email address if I don't have it so I can write y'all back!


- Sister Parks

My district!
My companion, Sister Kirkendall!
Welcoming Sister Kirkendall back!
This is the Elder from Houston that knows Aunt Lisa!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

MTC Provo - HI FAMILY!!!!!!!

WOW! Where to start!!

So far things have been great! My companion is Sister Kirkendall and she's from Las Vegas! She's so sweet and encouraging and kind and we're getting along great! She's also going to Brazil Fortaleza East, how crazy is that! Her sister who left today is going to Houston, actually!! I was so excited (even though it's Houston lol) In my district, it's us, another pair of sisters - Sister Smith and Sister Irezzayi (sp?) - and one elder Elder Meredith. We are so small! He had a companion at first but he grew up in a Portuguese neighborhood so he was moved up to a more advanced class. Our zone is awesome, they're all headed to Brazil as well. Our zone leaders are funny and awesome guys and our sister training leader Sister Magelby is the sweetest girl ever. She'll be leaving next week and I'm so sad!
As for my visa, Dad, I'm not supposed to say the word "visa" haha. Our branch president said to not think about it! But usually if you're about to leave within the week you get a reassignment (our district that left this week went to Mississippi, Oklahoma, etc). Most of them being from Utah or around went through the LA consulate which is slow. Everyone tells me I'll get mine before I go because I'm from Texas but I'm still waiting for FBI Clearance, right?
Anyways, as for how I'm doing, I'm doing pretty well! It's really hard, but I think I'm managing very well. I haven't been homesick at all which has been so nice. NOT THAT I DON'T LOVE Y'ALL! I DO! Every time I think of y'all (which is rare because we're so busy) I'm just happy and at peace because I know y'all are doing great and are being blessed while I'm away!
The language is so hard. This is the hardest thing I've ever had to do. All of my breakdowns have been from the language, not from being homesick or anything which I'm grateful for. We've been teaching this girl, Danielle, who is so sweet! The last lesson we gave on Saturday was without notes and I kinda messed up a little haha I said "the Book of Mormon is called of prophets" instead of "the Book of Mormon is the word of prophets" haha but she's sweet and does her best to understand. But that lesson was so awesome because we had her read the last 2 paragraphs of the Book of Mormon intro and she totally felt the Spirit, teared up, and said she liked what it said. And that's more important. My language will come and I'm trying not to be too hard on myself, but at times I've got to cry it out! Haha.
Yesterday actually, we were being taught a new lesson on This, That, and That (over there) and it was probably the hardest thing we've learned and during our bathroom break I just cried. So when I went back into the classroom with the sisters and our teacher (Irmao [Brother] Workman who THE BEST! We love him SO much! (not in that way of course!)) took me outside and asked "Tudo bem?" Which is like the Spanish version of Como esta? How are you doing? And I just broke down again, so we sat down in a room and he talked with me (IN ENGLISH! He never speaks English) and he was so great and helped me through it. He had me read Matthew 3:16-17 which is when Jesus is baptized and God says, "This is my Son with whom I am well pleased". And he asked me, "Que significa?" What does it mean? which helped me realize that He is always pleased with us. He doesn't expect us to be perfect. So that's what I'm telling myself as I start week 2 to not be so hard on myself, and that He will well pleased with me no matter what. Irmao Workman is the best!!!!!!!!! He served in Mozambique and he taught Kent!!! How crazy!

Sister Hannah Parks
2007 N 900 E Unit 191
Provo UT 84602

Mom - so jealous of the crepes you said you had! The food here is pretty good actually! Hope the sisters weekend was so fun!! So jealous you got to see Liam and Kelsey!
Dad - I was DYING when I read you and Kent taught a primary class hahahahaha those poor children!!

I also got a short and sweet email from Uncle Pat Parks!

All right, I'm going to write some people individually now but just know that I love you all SOOOOOOOOOOOOO much and I miss y'all!! Please pray for me that I'll be able to keep growing in the language! I pray for you guys too! Sometimes in Portuguese!

KEEP SENDING ME DEAR ELDER LETTERS!!! They are the best!!!! I get them every night and get to read them so they help me end my days happy!!

ALSO AHH LAUREN IS GOING TO GUATEMALA!!!!!! I'm so happy and excited for her!!!!!!!!!!


Sister Parks

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Found in the MTC!

Today we heard from Hannah in a sort. She hasn't had a preparation day and been able to email us yet, but we have a source on the inside!
My mission president and his wife now live in Provo and serve in the MTC, so I sent them a picture of Hannah just to be on the lookout for her. And today they found her and sent me a picture!
Sister Taylor says that she's doing well. And now we have our first picture of her with a name tag on! A real missionary!

Update after Hannah's first email: "She found me!! Obviously from the picture. I was walking out from the New Sisters Meeting and I heard my name getting called from my Sisters behind me and Sister Taylor appeared and I didn't recognize her and I thought I was in trouble. Haha but she asked where I was serving and I said Brazil and she said I'm your sisters mission presidents wife!! And I was like AH! And I hugged her. :) She was so sweet! She said you were an awesome missionary and she knew I would be too :')"

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Arriving at the MTC

Well Hannah's visa to Brazil has not come through yet, so we rerouted her to the Provo MTC. Thankfully we'd left Trenton up in Provo at school, so he was able to pick her up from the airport on Tuesday. Our wonderful friend, Holly, went up as well to be Hannah's "companion" and let Hannah spend the night at her apartment. She and Lauren were especially amazing at tag-teaming with Hannah to make sure she was always with someone - even going to a Spanish class with Holly since she reported to the MTC at 1:00 pm!
Some more of our dear, wonderful friends from Texas who are also up in Provo took pictures outside the Provo Temple before dropping her off.
Everyone gathering at BYU
At the Provo Temple
Dropping her off at the Missionary Training Center
We'll find out more when she emails us, but it's nice to know that she was safely delivered to the MTC! 

Friday, March 20, 2015

In the Days Before Her Departure

     Well as Hannah's last week before her mission has finally passed, I finally have the time (and pictures - thanks Taylor) to document all the events of Hannah's final preparations for her missionary service. 
     We saved as much as we could for Taylor and Matt to come into town, taking a red eye flight from Washington state to be with Hannah. We are so grateful they were able to come! A few short hours after Hannah and Dad picked them up from the airport, we made our way down to the San Antonio Temple where Hannah would receive her own endowments (see link for more information!). Since we kept Trenton up in Utah, we made sure to tell him what time we'd be at the temple so that he could go to the Provo Temple at the same time as us. 
      We were also touched and grateful to see Bishop Wilkins there, having just recently flown back into town himself. It really was just a beautiful day to be at and in the House of the Lord.
     After the temple, we drove over to see some of Dad's family nearby for dinner and were surprised to see so many our relatives there! It was so touching to see how many had turned out to give Hannah a final "see you later" hug.
     On Sunday, Hannah gave a wonderful talk in sacrament meeting about prophets and following their counsel. We felt touched by so many her friends from school and previous wards that had come to support her and wish we'd been able to take pictures with all of them!
That night Aunt Tara, Uncle Pat, and Grandma came over for dinner. 
They brought Remy of course :)  
As with many times in our lives, we thanked our parents for the insight to install a giant dry erase board upstairs and used it for Hannah's extensive packing check list.                                     
     Tuesday morning we took her off to Chuy's and then the airport. Thankfully Mom, Aunt Tara, and Grandma all had a flight just after her and were able to see her to the gate.

And she's off! 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Welcome to the blog!

Hello hello!
Welcome to the blog of Sister Hannah Parks serving the Lord as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from March 2015 - September 2016. While her current assignment is the Brazil Fortaleza East Mission, we'll keep you updated here on where she ends up while she waits for her visa.
This blog will serve to be a collection of her weekly emails, pictures, and current addresses/ways to contact Hannah.
Thank you for your prayers and support on her behalf. They are much needed, appreciated, and felt.
If you have any questions, direct them toward me, Hilary. Enjoy!