Monday, June 29, 2015

Roosevelt, UT - Oi familia!!!!

It has been hot as Hades over here!! I just keep thinking how nice it is to have a car, then I'm reminded of Brazil and the heat and all the walking I'll be doing AND the whole no A/C thing.......I'M GONNA DIE! No itinerary yet but I think they'll send it to you guys too. (Also Sister a Frost says air con and it's the cutest/funniest thing lolol)

Sooo this week we carpooled with our zone to Provo for our last meeting with President and Sister McCune. He talked a lot about priesthood keys, the culture of our mission, and about how we need to live in Christ and always be testifying of Him. At the end we had a big line and we all got a second to shake his hand and say goodbye. It was pretty sad for some of the people who've had him for a long time. He told me, "Well you'll probably have 3 mission presidents" and I was like, "Actually I'll have 4!" Haha but he told me it was so great to have me in the mission and he wished me the best of luck in Brazil!
Then we all walked to the Provo temple and took a picture as the new Provo mission one last time. As of 10 am this morning, he is no longer our mission president, and President Hodgman is now taking over! So I'll have him for about 3 weeks then I'll be off to my next mission president in Brazil! Haha!

This week we got 2 new investigators and one is on date for baptism! His name is George, and his wife is a member. He's been going to church for weeks, reading and praying every day - he basically knows everything already! He's on date to be baptized July 18th so right before I leave! We're so excited for him! The other one is a woman who has 4 kids and is a single mother and has been going to church for the past few weeks. We met with her this week and taught her the Restoration and invited her to be baptized when she learns more and comes to know that it's true. She was a little hesitant and said maybe, but she still wants to meet with us. Her background is that she grew up with her grandparents who were members but not really doing the right things so that messed her up for a bit, so we've been trying to remind her that we're a perfect church with imperfect people. She's so sweet though and she has twin baby boys and they're soooo cute!!!!

We also met this awesome family who are members and the dad is a convert and he shared us his story and omg I was dying! 1. He was golden. 2. When he finally agreed to meet with the missionaries, they were less than effective and just didn't really help him at all. But eventually he was taught the lessons by some elders who he just loved and he got baptized. The son was recently baptized (before I got here) so we had gone over to check on them. But they're going through lots of problems which is super sad. The dad had a job in Texas actually for oil and piping and such so the family was really distraught about that because they didn't want him to leave for so long so we were praying for them and they were praying and then a miracle happened and he was offered a job here so he gets to stay!!!!! Prayers are truly answered!!

The family I talked about last week who have 2 kids on date went to church yesterday!!!! It was awesome!!! We hope we can get them ready for baptism on the 11th though they need to continue to go to church and keep the commitments that we ask so that they might be able to!

This week is 4th of July!!!!! Which means yesterday we sang all the patriotic hymns in church... it was the best. Especially singing them next to Sister Frost (a New Zealander) lolol. So Friday we'll carpool again down to Provo, stay the night, then walk in the parade in the morning!! So for anyone who's in Provo, come!!! I may see you! Then we'll drive back to Roosevelt and be in lock down! We're not supposed to go out just for safety reasons so we'll be in a church building with our district playing games and watching How to Train Your Dragon 2. Not super excited about the movie, but I'll probably just be playing games with Sister Frost and whoever else wants to play. And our awesome high councilor who's over missionary work is so sweet and is buying us food and goodies for our lock down :) should be fun!!

Sister Frost continues to terrorize me by scaring me after I come out of the bathroom and locking me in the pantry lolol and ALWAYS taking video lol so I'll send those. She said it's only because she loves me though ;)

Good week overall here in Roosevelt! The people here are awesome and sometimes super country haha they make me laugh. All the missionaries here are so awesome and I love them so that makes life pretty swell too!

Pray for me as I continue to study my Portuguese alone that I may be able to be as prepared as possible for Brazil!

Thanks for all your emails and love and support and prayers!!! I wish I could thank you all each individually!!!! But just know that it means the world to me!!

EU AMO VOCÊS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ATÉ LOGO!!!!

- Sister Parks

A new little friend! Such a goodge!
 This family we teach pulled out these massive ice pops for us!! Haha
The cutest little kitty ever!! Kitties don't have the allergy on them 
yet so I was safe to hold the whittle baby :)

Locking me in the pantry

They love scaring me lol

Monday, June 22, 2015

Roosevelt, UT - Happy Father's Day dad!!!!

This week we went to the Vernal temple with the district which was fun. The temple is very small and was once a tabernacle so it's not your typical temple. Then we had lunch after with the Elders at this adorable diner. One of my zone leaders, Elder Hernandez, is from Texas (near the border) and went to UT! So we bonded over Austin which is awesome!
One night all of our evening lessons cancelled so we went by this Chinese buffet restaurant. We taught and baptized a woman who owns the place and we forgot to get her signature on her baptismal forms, so we went to get that. I noticed this guy when we walked in who was wearing biking clothes and looked exhausted and was just eating and laying back. Finally he was like, "Are y'all LDS missionaries?" And we were like yes we are! So we started talking and got to know him a bit and he told us he and this girl he's with are biking across America!! They didn't bring any money and are just relying on working for people to earn money for food and stuff! They started in California and are headed east! So we ended up talking a lot about our beliefs, and he said he was very Christian and reads from his tiny Bible every night and has just been so shocked by the friendliness and love he's seen from being in Utah. He said right as they entered Utah that an LDS woman took them in, fed them, let them shower and sleep over. They usually sleep in their tents in ditches or fields! So crazy, right?? We offered him a Book of Mormon but he was like I'll pray about it. Plus it was a little big for him to carry and he was honest he was like, "I probably won't read it till I get home". So after we chatted for over an hour and we had to head home they asked us if we knew of any fields that they could sleep in lolol so we were like uhhhh how about a house?? So we called one of our ward mission leaders and his wife and asked if they could possibly house them and they were like of course!! So they came and picked them up and their bikes and took them in for the night and gave them food and fed them breakfast then they were off! But yeah, he was super funny and a very nice guy!
We put this adorable girl Kirra on date for baptism! She's 10 and her family is so cute. She looks like Hailee Steinfeld too, no joke. We also have this family who put their 2 kids on date who are older than 8 so we're trying to prepare them for baptism and we taught a lesson on Saturday about CPR (church, prayer, reading) and emphasized what they could do tonight to prepare for church the next day and how they need to go if they want to be baptized, but they ended up not coming! So sad :(
Also Sister Frost is my favorite person lolol she's so funny. I've learned lots of New Zealand sayings. When they say snitch it means like how's you get caught? How'd you get snitched? Another is gap. Like let's gap! Which means let's head out or let's go! Or you can say, gappit eah which means go away! If you're annoyed with someone haha. She's also never had macaroni!! So I made some the other day and I took a video of her taking her first bite hahaha. She's so funny. We're always laughing!
Roosevelt is going good! The people here are so sweet and I love them all! It's a little sad because I love some of them so much I don't want to leave them and now I actually know I'll be leaving! Sad. Our ward mission leaders are just the greatest and I'm so grateful for them and all the help they give us. This week we're headed to Provo for our last meeting with President McCune! It's a 2-hour drive to Provo so that should be fun! Love road trips haha. And we'll be in the 4th of July parade in Provo with the Orem mission so I'll get to see Sister Diuguid and others one last time!! Then we get to watch a movie!!!! WOOOOOOH!!!!!

Anywaysssssss life is swell. Can't believe how fast this transfer is going. Nervous for Brazil!! I'll probably get my flight plans this week!

Eu amo vocês!!!!

- Sister Parks
How Sister Frost opens cans
Sister Frost scaring Hannah
Sister Frost tasting macaroni for the first time
Sunset - Came out of a lesson one night and BAM! There it was!

At the Vernal Temple with the district!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Roosevelt, UT - Exciting changes!!

Hello family!
Shout out to my awesome parents for making it 30 years of marriage!!!!!!!!!!! Y'all are the greatest parents ever, and you're pretty lucky too because you had a perfect kid. Me. LOVE Y'ALL!!!
First, to dispel the rumors, I am not at BYU! The picture you received of me, that Sister, and Hailey were at BYU, yes [see my Facebook page for the picture]. However! Me and those sisters are not companions - none of us are. We were all tracting on BYU campus for just an hour while all of our companions were in a trainers' meeting before transfers. Make sense?
Sooooo where am I?? I have been transferred to Roosevelt! A small little town about 45 minutes from the Colorado border! Lol it's a little weird being in a small town, but I already love everyone we've met and I'm excited to live in a small town for a little bit! AND I'm in a trio!! It's me, Sister Frost and Sister Henderson. Me and Sister Frost are new to the area and my trainer, Sister Henderson, has been here for 6 months and this is her last transfer. And get this, this is her first time training! She almost went her whole mission without training haha. So Sister Frost is a Polynesian who's from New Zealand so she has an awesome accent! She's pretty soft spoken but is funny and loves to laugh! She's been out for 10 months. Sister Henderson is from a military family so she left from South Korea but her parents just moved to Guam!! She's a little quirky haha but she's cute.
Roosevelt is pretty cute. It's very desert-y out here. The sunsets are awesome! I'll include a picture from the other night. The best part about Roosevelt - NO MOUNTAINS!! Hahaha there's just plateaus in the distance so it's nice to be able to look out and see the horizon! But yeah, it's mainly an oil field town and here's something super cool - they just made a 7 pm sacrament meeting for all the oil field workers that can't make it to early morning church!! It is for all 3 Roosevelt stakes. It's awesome!! It's just for like 45 minutes and it's just there so the oil field workers can take the sacrament! All the workers were so excited!! We'll be speaking there next week!
So we came here last Wednesday and then that Saturday we had 3 baptisms! Haha it was funny because we (Sister Frost and I) didn't know who they even were so it was super cool to see my first baptism(s) on the mission! I'm really sad I won't be able to go to Marie's. She was going to be my first baptism! But what some missionaries do that get transferred away is Skype in so I may do that.
We also had to give a talk in one of the wards yesterday! Haha so I gave a short little talk about the priesthood, then Sister Henderson talked more about the priesthood, then Sister Frost ended with keeping the Sabbath day holy.
Alsooooooooooooooo I maybe might have possibly kinda.....

GOT MY VISA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHH I KNOW!!!! I got it Friday night!! We had just gotten home and I went to check my email as I always do and I had an email with the subject "Sister Parks - Visa Received" and I opened it and was like :o and my companions were like ?? And then I was like I GOT MY VISA!!! It was awesome!! I
immediately called Sister Diuguid to tell her! Sooo I'll be leaving July 21!!!! Haha since I just missed the transfers I'll be here in Roosevelt for the intended 6 weeks! [[Hannah's mission in Forteleza only takes in new missionaries every six weeks, so they'll time Hannah's entrance to the country with that six week schedule]] And I'll be going to the Brazil MTC! Because I've been in the states longer than one transfer, they'll send me to the Brazil MTC for 2 weeks as a refresher course before heading out to Fortaleza!! I'm super excited but don't worry it's not distracting me or anything!! I don't really think about it much actually! I just think about what I have to do and get before I go! I think I'm pretty much set. Sister Kirkendall and I finally got good information for Brazil this last transfer and two people told us - ONLY COTTON CLOTHES! We'll die in anything else! Which I don't quite understand, but I'll trust them!

Well not sure what else to say!!! Except that I hope everyone has a great week!!!

Eu amo vocês!!

- Sister Parks

Sister Diuguid
New companions!
Sister Frost
Sister Henderson
Roosevelt sunset

Monday, June 8, 2015

North Orem, UT - There can be miracles!!

Hi family!!!
First I'll share what I just found out today: I'm being transferred!!!!!!! I won't find out till Wednesday but I'll be in a new area with a new companion!! AH! I thought I'd be staying here since I've only been here one transfer (six weeks)!! Literally this week I just really fell in love with this area and the people. I kept saying I don't want to leave this person or that person!! And now I have to say bye to all of them!!!! I'm so sad!! Also I could be put with a Spanish sister in a Spanish area like Sister Kirkendall! AH! So pray for me on Wednesday! I also don't know till then if I'll be in the Provo or Orem mission!! Oh yeah, I keep forgetting to tell y'all! Provo is splitting! Orem is going to be its own mission! It won't go into effect till July 1st though. So if I get put somewhere else in the Orem mission I'll have 3 missions!! And our mission president will be released too so there will be a new mission president for Provo and obviously the first new one for Orem, so I'll have 4 mission presidents over the course of my mission! So crazy, right?!

But wow this week has been the best!! We had 26 lessons this week! The mission standard of excellence is 25, and we usually average 12-15! But we had 26 this week! It DID seem busy but it was fun running around kept my mind off other things and I just got to focus on the work!
So the best part of this week was Marie! She's 53 and grew up Catholic. Her mom is less active because of back problems. We actually got a referral for her like a week ago and we went and she was like "No thanks, I'm Catholic" and closed the door. Then we got a call from another pair of sisters telling us about her saying she was interested and was in our area so we contacted her again via the phone and she was like "yes can we meet tonight??" And we were like "sure!!" Then she was like "we can't meet at my apartment though because my mom's dog bites people!" So we were like "okay no problem!!" Then we kinda panicked because we had to find a member that would be a good match for her and wasn't busy that night to have the lesson in their home! So we're calling people, leaving messages, and no one's getting back to us so we're like well we can probably have it at the church? So we go to her church building and I look around at the houses next to the church and LIGHT BULB (quick what movie??)!! I saw one of the houses we had had dinner at with a couple in their 50s/60s who are awesome and super fun and I was like what about them?? Totally from Heavenly Father!! We didn't see their cars but then a second later their son (who also lives there with his wife) pulls up from work!!! So we run over and ask if they're possibly free and they were!!!!!!!! So that night we went over and Marie came with 2 of her friends who are members and her mom who is supporting her and we taught the Restoration and I committed to her to baptism and she didn't even hesitate to accept!! She's on date for July 11th and now I'm so sad because if I stay in the Provo mission I won't be able to go to her baptism!!!! She's literally golden! So what prompted this dramatic change in her you may ask? She had a dream on Monday and she saw her dad in her dream who has passed away and he told her she needed to join the Mormon church!! How incredible is that?! So then she contacted her friends who searched for her missionaries and went through like 3 sets to find missionaries in Marie's area and finally found us and we met that night! So fast forward, we met there again the next night and taught the plan of salvation, then had a church tour the next day and she really felt the Spirit and she says, "I'm not resisting now. I know this is my path, this is where my life is supposed to go." She's so awesome, I'm so sad to leave her so soon!! But the most perfect part about the Soane family (whose house we have the lessons in) is Brother Soane also grew up Catholic and I had no idea when that impression came to my mind so he's been awesome in comparing things in our church to how they do things in the Catholic Church! He's been so great! Then she went to church yesterday for all 3 hours and we're meeting again with her tonight!!

We also got a referral for a guy named AJ who's 21 and engaged to a girl who's becoming pretty active and really wants to be married in the temple and at first we thought he was doing it for her but last time we met he had done the commitment we had extended to him the first time and he told us he really wants to gain more faith. I'm sad to be leaving him too!!

AND THEN! We teach this awesome dad Brother Reynolds who's in his 40s I'd say and reminds me a lot of my dad! He has pictures of John Wayne up in his house and the first time I went over I was like I like your picture! And he was like, you know who that is?? And I was like heck yes! My dad taught me well! Haha so he likes me for that. But Brother Reynolds is great! He's been trying to quit smoking and at our last lesson his wife joined us for the first time!!!!! She smokes too so we're trying to get them both to help each other with quitting and doing things like praying together too! I'm so sad to leave them!! I love Brother Reynolds! And I was so excited to teach him and his wife!!
The girl we committed to baptism we haven't been able to see again so she's not on date or anything yet. Her family is not very active so she may take longer so get baptized but we hope to see her again soon!

But yeah, this week has been so good! Miracles have been happening everywhere! I'm so sad to be leaving everyone!!!!!! Seriously all week I was like I don't want to leave this person!! Heavenly Father definitely has a sense of humor!

Yesterday was the last time I saw Sister Kirkendall till I go to Brazil! She left this morning! I'm sad she's gone but I'm so excited for her! I got pictures from my MTC district of them all together at the airport! So cute!

It has been pretty warm here!! I already have an awesome hair tie tan line and a shoe tan line! My toes are like white and the rest of my foot is tan hahaha

Little spiritual thought for y'all: I was reading Ether 12:27 again and it's so great. It talks about how Heavenly Father gives man weakness so that we can become humble, and when we become humble, He turns our weakness into strength. And I have definitely seen that in this first transfer of mine. It was super hard at first being here and having to be in this waiting period where I don't know when I could just up and leave, but I've truly humbled myself and learned to be where I am and to serve and love everyone and I honestly don't want to leave anyone here because I love them that much!! I wish I could take them all with me and teach them my whole mission!! He's turned my weaknesses into strengths and I'm so much happier because of that! Because of Him! Last Monday was really hard but He blessed me because I was learning to be where I am and love the people, and He blessed us with 3 new investigators! I'm sad to leave them, but I know they'll do just fine! I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon and I finished it last week and I can tell you, it is true! It gives us guidance, comfort, and peace. It is truly from Heavenly Father. It is a gift to us from Him. It is ANOTHER testament of Jesus Christ and we can learn more of Him and grow closer to Him through reading and praying about it. I love this gospel, and I'm grateful to be here and to be a missionary!!

Can't think of anything else but I'm doing great! Pray I'll love my new area and companion! Can't believe I'm already being transferred! Crazy!!


- Sister Parks
Look how fancy?!1?!?!?
District selfie after bubble balls!

Monday, June 1, 2015

North Orem, UT - It's a wonderful life!

Hello everyone!!

This email won't be super long because I wrote my dear family some individual emails, and I'm sorry I can't get everyone!! But I love you all so much!!
This week was crazy and super fun! Last Monday, after we emailed, we had a super fun Memorial Day. A nice worker at Macey's gave us a free bouquet of flowers! Then we had a zone activity and a BBQ at a nice member's house and then we played some wiffle ball. I wasn't too bad! I got some people out! Then we had a dinner appointment with a couple who both served missions in Brazil!!! It was so fun because they told me all about Brazil! And this Friday they're making me, Sister Kirkendall, and our companions a Brazilian lunch!! We're all stoked! Then we went out and the wonderful Ramirez's saw us and drove us to our next destination!! No one was home, but we went across the street where a bunch of neighborhood people were together outside. So they informed us that they had chickens (26!!) AND they were going to be killing some of the ones that eat the eggs!!! So we stayed, and it was kind of horrifying but also kinda funny..... Don't hate me animal lovers!! Only funny because the first one they let go of the body after the head know... and the body like goes crazy! Flapping its wings and flying around! Kinda horrifying because it was headless. Anyway a bunch of neighborhood kids were all there yelling and screaming haha so they had fun.
So many great things happened this week - just good lessons and meeting new people and having new people to teach! I had my first opportunity to commit a girl to baptism who accepted!! So that was awesome! She and her family are less active so we hope they'll start coming more and do our invitations so that she can be baptized!

So today so far had been up and down. I woke up a little happier because it was preparation day haha. I checked my email and had an email titled "visa update" so my heart obviously picked up but then I read it and it just informed me that they haven't forgotten about me and that they're working on it and yeah. No news. Then I got an email from sweet Sister Smith from my MTC district and she told me that they (the four sent to Montana) all got their visas and they were leaving for Brazil today. And Sister Kirkendall leaves next Monday for Brazil. So my whole district from the MTC will be in Brazil in a week. So that was kinda hard. I kinda shed a few tears and just felt like I was always getting bad news and having bad luck and everyone was getting the opposite. So Sister Diuguid asked if I wanted a blessing and I didn't really want one. I don't like admitting that I'm weak and asking for help or a blessing. But she called our elders anyway and they came over and gave me a blessing of comfort. I was really nervous before they came because I was embarrassed but during the blessing and after, I just felt calm and at peace. I know I'm supposed to be here right now, and I knew that before I got their news today too. It's just hard to be left behind. And I can feel my love for Brazil and the people growing every day. I'll be honest - I want to be there so bad some days!! But I truly love the people here too, and I know I am meant to be here for them. It will honestly be hard to leave some of them! I want to stay to see all of them become more active in the church or be baptized! So I will be here for as long as the Lord needs me to be here!

Today we also had a district activity, and we got those big bubble balls!! The ones you get inside and run into each other with, you know?? It was so fun but so hot and exhausting!! Haha so that was a fun activity.

We've been teaching the Restoration a lot after dinners because President encouraged us to do that. So a couple nights ago we taught the Fishers, a couple of empty nesters. And Sister fisher reminded me of something I really liked which was, "the more you share your testimony, the more it grows". And I think that's so true. I think at the beginning when we started to teach the Restoration at dinners, I bore the usual testimony of Joseph smith and the church, but the last few times I've just really felt the Spirit and have been overcome by my feelings. When we talked about the priesthood and how it blesses their family, I like almost started tearing up connecting what they were saying to my family and how grateful I am for the priesthood in my family! As we've taught the Restoration and what we know to be true, my testimony of it grows too. And we usually eat with members who already know the same story, the same doctrine. But that doesn't mean you learn it once and never hear it again. Our doctrine in the church is repeated over and over in church. But we still go because just like commandments, we don't follow them once then never follow them again. We recite the story of the First Vision each time slowly and pause after. It's crazy how it can bring the Spirit. The Spirit is testifying of its truthfulness.
And though I'm still bearing my testimony on the same doctrine, I think it's grown a lot, because the more I say it, the more I realize I DO know it's true. The more it's confirmed to me through the Spirit that it's true. I've never had a powerful experience with the Spirit, and Heavenly Father isn't going to appear to us or send us an angel because that isn't faith. Faith is hoping for things which are true that are not seen. But I know how I feel when I teach, when I hear other people's experiences where He has helped them, and when I go to church. That's why repetition is so important. It's never a bad thing to keep having your testimony confirmed.

Eu amo vocês!!!!!

- Sister Parks

Sister Diuguid and me at the Payson Temple!