Monday, October 26, 2015

Messejana, Brazil - Baptism and Birthdays and Talks!

Happy birthday this week, Hil!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Everyone´s just growin up all around me! I love you sooo much and miss being with you nearly 24/7 lolol we were the weirdest but I love you anyways :) Happy birthday!

This week on Wednesday was Sister Alvarado´s birthday!! She turned 21! We made pancakes in the morning and eggs but it was weird to eat pancakes without maple syrup! They don´t have it here! But it was still good :) I made her a little sign and put it on her desk along with a pack of skittles and sour patch! 
We also had a baptism yesterday!!!! Which apparently you guys found a picture of! So cool! His name is Eleonardo, and he´s the guy standing next to me. He´s been a miracle! He´s had a drinking problem for over 20 years but has been turning his life around and has come to church the past 3 weeks and was baptized yesterday! The ward has been great in welcoming and helping him, and there were lots of people at his baptism which reminded me of Mom and Dad’s conversion story where they were shocked at how many people were at their baptism that they didn´t even know! Wards are truly families :)
We also started teaching this awesome kid, Cleberson, who´s just the sweetest and is accepting everything we teach! Unfortunately, he went out of town yesterday but you bet we´ll get him to church next week! 
Tuesday we got a call from the second counselor and he asked to talk to me and what does he ask?? If I can give a 15-minute talk on Sunday!!!!! I then responded, “I can´t talk in Portuguese for 15 minutes!! Haha kidding of course!” So in my limited time during the week I wrote my talk - the gospel of Jesus Christ and the two very important people who made it possible that we have the restored gospel of Jesus Christ - Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith! So Sunday comes along and I´m a little nervous because I don´t think it´s long enough but I get up and talk and when I sit back down, I look at the clock and realized I talked for 15 minutes!!!!!!!
I was very happy and people were very nice afterwards and said that I speak very well for only being here 3 months and that I didn´t look nervous at all! WOOH! 
Today we´re going to have lunch with one of our favorite families and then go to another family to make Mom´s chocolate chip cookies!! Their son is leaving on a mission next month to Argentina and he´s super awesome! 
Love you guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- Sister Parks

Monday, October 19, 2015

Messejana, Brazil - First Week in Messejana!

Sooooo last night at like 10:20 we got a phone call from our district leader saying that President wants to have a conference tomorrow (today) and we have to be at a certain chapel by 7:40. We were like.... what?? Tomorrow´s p-day! Soo yeah, that´s why I´m emailing so late. Anyways, President cut our email down to 40 minutes which is suuuuper sad and right now I already only have 22 minutes left! :(

But anyways,
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TRENTON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You´re awesome and I love you a lot annnnnd I found your future wife :) my companion!
She´s from Guatemala so yáll can speak Spanish together!!! She goes home after this transfer ;)) hahaha I forgot my camera because we went straight to the lan house after our conference so I don´t have pics this week :(

Anyways, this week!! Transfers here are super different! We got a call last week while emailing (when I was still in Jose Walter com Sister Santos) saying I was being transferred. And you leave that day for your area before p-day ends and you don´t have any time to say bye to people! However, after emails we ran to see Gustavo (recent convert who knows English and he was like my best friend! I always had questions for him and he helped me a lot!) to say goodbye then we ran back to the house and I quickly packed everything and we had to find a member to give us a ride to Messejana. There Sister Santos met up with another sister who was also training to go meet the new missionaries and I stayed with my new companion! Sister Alvarado is my new companion. She´s from Guatemala, has a strong accent still haha, but she is sooooo sweet and so nice and I love her already! I´m excited for this transfer :) but also nervous because she´s leaving after this transfer which means I have to take over the area and show my new companion the ropes! Ah! But oh man, it is so nice not be in training anymore! Yesterday I hit my 7-month mark which means I basically was in training for 7 months of my mission!! I´m excited for this fresh start though as much as I miss those I left behind in Jose Walter. That´s definitely the hardest part on the mission! Also! Sister Santos is training a girl from ROUND ROCK!!!!! I asked her if she knew Alex and she did! She´s friends with Ingrid, if I remember correctly. Haha small world, right??
This week I finally got my mission card!!! Wooh I have my own money!!!! Also the stores here are already selling Christmas things which is normal, you know, America does the same thing, but the weird part about it here is that it's not cold!!! I literally forgot Halloween is this week!!!
ahhh 8 minutes this is the worst :((((((

Everyone thinks I'm from Germany! The area is great! Everyone has welcomed me with open arms and we made a lot of new investigators this week which is exciting!!!
Also I bought a hammock and I sleep in it and it's the best!!! I forgot my camera though so next week I'll be sending lots of pics!!


- Sister Parks

Monday, October 12, 2015

Jose Walter, Brazil - hey fam!

I´m being transferred!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh man I am so sad to be leaving!!! Everyone here was convinced that Sister Santos would be leaving so that I would take over the area and such but no! I´ve been transferred to Messejana and my companion is a Hispânica!  Sister Santos said I really need to focus on my Portuguese because even if my new companion is fluent in Portuguese (which she is) she´ll say things differently because she´ll have an accent! So ohhhh mannn I´m nervous!!! Wish me luck! I´m so sad to be leaving this area because I´ve come to love all the people here but the Lord has called me elsewhere and I will go where He wants me to go! 
You guys - it´s so funny - I can´t speak English anymore! Yesterday we went on splits (I´ll write about that later!) and I met this guy who´s been studying English for years on his own and he spoke VERY WELL! So I tried to talk to him a little bit in English but it was so weird because I had to say the simplest sentences because I was basically translating what I usually say from Portuguese to English! I don´t know if that makes sense but here´s an example. Here they say "que lago" a lot which means that´s cool/how cool! but like, that´s kinda weird to say in English, you know? But I was saying, "that´s cool!" to his responses lolol also sometimes he´s be speaking to me IN ENGLISH and I´d immediately start responding in Portuguese! Also sentences here are formatted differently than English so my English was coming out all weird lolol also this past week while I was explaining a scripture I had shared with one of our less actives Eduardo he stopped me and said I was talking too fast! ME! Hahahha I legit asked, "Me??" Hahahhaa guess I´m truly becoming a Fortalezean. Also my memories are in Portuguese which is weird haha like I´ll be thinking of a time with the fam or friends and the conversations we had I´ll think in Portuguese which is so weird haha!
So yesterday we went on splits because we had no member present lessons this past week and we needed to make that up as well as make new investigators so me and Sister Santos split up with two girls from the ward to just tract and make new investigators and I wasn´t scared at all!! The girl I went with was so scared and barely talked but get this - I was fine!  I was talking so much I was so proud of myself! I asked questions, got to know the people, gave them a pamphlet, told them a little bit about it, and prayed with them! I was like, who is this girl?? By the end of the exchange, I had made 10 novos! 
WELL I´ll be leaving sometime today, we don´t know what time yet! No one has called us yet to tell us! Sister Santos will be training again! Haha!

But hey, I´m excited for the new change! I´m excited to see more of Brasil!!


Amo vocês!!

-Sister Parks

Monday, October 5, 2015

Jose Walter, Brazil - HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!!!!

I have some pictures just for youuuuuuuuuuu!!! The last one with the pillow was taken today haha. We went to buy some paper to write our scripture to memorize for the week on and I saw this pillow and asked the owner if I could take a picture with it! He joked and said a picture would cost 15 dollars hahahaha but he said of course! I told him it was your birthday yesterday :) what the pillow says is true, I love you Mom!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! the other two pics are with some of the kids I talked about in my last email! These 3 are the ones who are really dedicating themselves to memorizing the articles of faith! I told them last week that your birthday was on Sunday and I asked them if they could sing parabens (happy birthday) for you and then they had the idea of making you a sign!!!! :)))) I LOVE YOU MOM!!!!! HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!
This week has been great! So many awesome things! We went on exchanges this week and I was staying in our area which really made me nervous but our STL who came to be with me was so awesome and so nice and helped me relax and we met 7 new investigators! #knockingondoorsandaskingforwateralwaysworks ;)
And of courseeeeeeeeeeeee, GENERAL CONFERENCE!!!!!!! So Taylor guessed right, we had conference at 1 and 5 pm. Saturday at 11 we watched the Women's Conference too! I watched it all in Portuguese which was a little sad because I didn´t understand everything but I still got a lot out of Conference! These past few weeks the Light of Christ has been standing out to me. In the scriptures, in the Liahona (which I receive every month in English!) and then I watch conference and OUR PROPHET gives a talk about the light of Christ as well as a few others!!! I´m so excited to get the Conference issue of the Liahona because I didn´t catch some talks (Uchtdorf´s OR Holland´s - my 2 favs!!) but it was awesome and I tried to look for Hilary and Trenton but I forgot which sessions they were at! Also, I totally (for the first time since arriving in Brasil!) CRIED! Yes, I cried! We all got up to sing "How Firm a Foundation" and we were singing it in Portuguese and I looked at the screen at the English lyrics and I saw the words, "fear not; I am with thee, o be not dismayed, for I am thy God and will still give thee aid. I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand" omg the tears poured out of my eyes! I had sooo much nostalgia while watching conference and missed going with my siblings, missed watching them at home years ago with the fam and eating donuts or cinnamon rolls made by mom, missed hearing the actual voices of the prophet and apostles, missed BEING IN UTAH (can you believe it? haha!) and the past few days I think I had put so weight and pressure on my shoulders trying to be better, trying to speak more, trying to understand more, and felt a little alone. I had written some questions down that I wanted to be answered during conference and that was a response! I know He will strengthen me and help me! He is truly the light of the world! We can find eternal happiness in this gospel! I am so grateful for the chance we had to hear our Prophet and the Apostles speak to us. They are truly called of God and I KNOW without a doubt in my mind that this church is the true church! 

Mom I love you! I´m so grateful for you and I remembered the other day being your bodyguard for trips to H-E-B and missed those days! but I hope you had an awesome birthday and I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!