Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Maracanau, Brazil - Backstreet's back ALRIGHT!

Yes, our neighbor tortures me every Sunday by playing ALL THE CLASSICS of the Backstreet Boys. Lol

Well, I'm back! I didn't go anywhere though. I didn't get to email yesterday because from morning until night we were having our last mission conference with President Fusco. Tomorrow at midnight, President Leite will be our new president. It was such a great conference! He taught us and left us with lots of counsel, lots of advice, lots of testimony. He taught us about how obedience strengthens our faith. He gave us all a final interview – an exit interview that he gives to each missionary. It was also super great because I really wanted an exit interview with him and I got it there! He talked a little about President Leite too, who was his zone leader on the mission!! They're long time friends which is super cool, but they're very much opposites. President Leite told President Fusco to tell us that the mission will be a MUSICAL mission!! President Leite and his entire family all sing and play an instrument and love music so my new mission president and his family are basically the Von Trapp´s lololol no but I'm super excited! I'm really going to miss President Fusco though. He taught me a lot about my Savior. How on the mission we have the chance to get to know our Savior a little bit better, and when he bears testimony of Jesus Christ, you know that he KNOWS Him. He taught me a lot about repentance and how important it is, how it should be a daily thing that we do, that it's the chance we have to become more like Christ. I'm so grateful for him and all the things he taught me. I´m grateful to have had him as my 3rd mission president hahaha no but really, SO grateful for the chance I had to get to know him. He helped me a lot when I arrived in Brazil and was struggling. I will always hold our interviews near and dear to me. It´s sad to see yet another mission president go, but I will welcome the new one with an open heart!

This week the church had a São Joao party! It was sooo fun and reminded me a little of Hoedowns in Texas hahaha because they dress like cowboys a little bit! Our youth performed a São Joao traditional dance which was awesome and the bishop bought our food for us and a member from Messejana showed up!!! She had lived in Maracanau in the past so she knows almost everyone there but it was great because I got to hug and talk to her and ask about how my old ward´s doing and my recent converts. Leko and Padua both received the Melchizedek Priesthood, Leko baptized a girl, and Rodrigo passed the sacrament and is talking about when he'll serve a mission!! Wow I'm typing this with tears in my eyes! I never imagined the joy I would feel hearing about my recent converts going strong in the church! I am so blessed to have served here and to have had the opportunity to share this gospel with these people!!

This week was Cezario´s birthday (my latest recent convert) and we made him cake and on his birthday it's tradition for him to give a present to someone. Soooo lol he gave me a present and I made a video that I´ll send to you guys lolol it's hilarious!

This past week 2 missionaries returned! One is in the other ward and one is in ours. The one in ours, Hotoniel, brought his cousin to church on Sunday so he´s already getting at being a member missionary!! We're excited – he´s going to help us out a ton!

We also had lunch with Tcharlly this week which is always a delight. This time it was Sister Costa´s choice and she wanted to try sushi lolol so we went to a sushi place and I tried one anddddd didn't like it too much lol........ BUT NOW NO ONE CAN SAY I NEVER TRIED SUSHI! Because now I have J

Hilary pointed out that I talk a lot about repentance and the sacrament and I just realized that it seems like I'm a sinner lol but truthfully, we all are! No but I just talk about it a lot because President Fusco always talked about repentance and when Elder Andersen and Elder Christensen came, they both talked about the importance of repentance. It´s truly a gift we have! If we want to enter into the kingdom of God, we have to remember to repent every day because every day we make mistakes! Don't freak out though haha I've just seen and come to know of the blessings from repentance and partaking of the sacrament worthily. I´ve seen lots of investigators and less actives waiting a long time to take of the sacrament worthily :) They´re examples to me of true disciples of Christ, who want to be honest to Him.

WELL, that's all folks! Love you all and thank you for your emails and love and support and prayers and everything else y'all do for me!! I can't thank y'all enough :)

- Sister Parks

Monday, June 20, 2016

Maracanau, Brazil - Maracanau is stuck with me!!

Oi family!!

Soo transfers finally happened andddd we´re staying! I´m staying in my beloved Maracanau with Sister Costa! My Texas sister, Sister Jeppeson, who was in the other ward that meets in our church building was transferred though :( I was sad about that. We had to go to their house to stay with her companion so we got to see her off and I got a picture with her at least. 

Last p-day we went to a member´s home, Barbara, with the intent to watch The Other Side of Heaven but she had forgotten to download the movie. So she made chocolate flavored popcorn and we chatted about our lives and such. Reminded me of all the many sleepovers I've had with my besties :) it was nice to relax and girl chat hahaha. Her house is also my favorite! It´s like the biggest house I've ever been in and it reminds me a lot of an American home and the inside reminds me a bit of Hochheim, so I obviously fell in love with it. It´s a two-story house, which is a rarity in itself, and there´s a balcony type spot where she put up a hammock and it has an awesome view. It´s where we ate popcorn and chatted :) Then she showed us her karaoke!! She was so cute and politely asked me, "Sister can you sing in English?" She had music from the U.S. and she was like "it just doesn't work out when we Brasilians try to sing in English!" So I sang When I was Your Man and she and my companion clapped when I finished hahaha my companion has fallen in love with my voice and now had been telling everyone that I sing well haha so we have this one investigator who just wants to hear me sing every time we stop by. I think he´s become yet another scorpion of mine…. poop. I also tried on a pair of Barbara´s heels and she took a pic hahaha it was so weird to walk in heels! We´re going to her house again today to hopefully watch the movie this time hahaha 

We also met the most adorable puppy this week in the house of a less active. Oh my GOSH he´s so cute and his belly is SO BIG!!!! I took lots of pics which I will include.

So the festival, São Joao, that´s been going on next to our neighborhood finally ended. There were shows every night and I´m so glad it´s over because it literally lasted until 5 am every morning and it was preventing our investigators to go to church because when we passed by in the morning to see if they would go they had just arrived at home! We've been teaching this one boy, Gabriel, who´s 13. He´s SUPER great and wants to go to church to visit and all but this festival has been temptation for him and for everyone. Unfortunately, it´s prevented him to go to church this week and last. But now that it´s over (hallelujah) he´ll be able to go to church!!

Ummm I've been eating lots of ice cream lately. Never compares to Blue Bell but…. yeah. I´m getting fat again lolol which is bad.

Also I´m finally reunited (sort of) with Sister Kirkendall!!!! My companion from the MTC!!!! She´s a Sister Trainer Leader and yeah she´s that in the other Maracanau zone!!! She called me the other night and was like, "Sister Parks?" and I responded, "Sister Kirkendall??" And we both screamed!! Seriously, since I arrived we've always been super far apart and now we´re finally close!!!! I've missed her so much :)

Well, don´t have that much else to say. I´m just super grateful for all my blessings. I´m grateful for the sacrament and the promises that are fulfilled when we worthily partake of the sacrament. 

I love you all and am missing y'all soo much!!

Until next week :)

- Sister Parks

Monday, June 13, 2016

Maracanau, Brazil - A week full of fun!

Hey guys! Wow so many things happened this week so let´s get to it!

- Elder Christensen came and we had a conference with him! It was super cool because it was with the other mission too – Brasil Fortaleza Mission! I know 2 sisters in that mission from the MTC and got to chat with them both for a little so that was fun. But the best part was definitely Elder Christensen. He and Sister Christensen don´t know Portuguese so they had a translator. Let me tell you, I didn't know how hard that would be to hear English and Portuguese, one after the other. Because I understood them both and so my notes were like half in English and half in Portuguese hahaha it was an interesting experience! He talked a lot about how our investigators need to have a spiritual experience before baptism and that they need to know that messing up after baptism is normal, so we need to teach them again about repentance. Lots of new members think that after baptism they have to be perfect but that´s impossible because we all make mistakes every day! We all need to repent every day, and we´re so lucky to have the gift of repentance!

- Cezario who was baptized last week was confirmed a member of the church yesterday! This past week he was filled with questions for us on how to pay tithing, how to fast, and it was just so cute because he already wants to be faithful to God! We´re also now trying to hook him up with a sister in our ward who is about his age and is single hahahaha Irma Fatima. She´s literally the coolest most loving and dedicated person ever . I love her to death!

- There´s this “holiday” that only exists here in the North and it started this past week. I honestly don´t know how to explain it, but since Wednesday there have been concerts every night – the first day there was a super famous singer who came. So at night we hear the music and everything haha but it´s still manageable to sleep through thankfully. 

- We had lunch at home one day so I bought ingredients and made an Italian pasta!!!! Mom, you would be so proud! I bought penne noodles, then I followed your easy cheese sauce recipe and made a white sauce that perfectly thickened! Then we bought a chicken, already cooked, and I cut it up into little pieces and mixed it all together and TA DA!!!! Chicken pasta with white sauce :) it was delicious. My companion approved, too. I was pretty proud of myself. And it was so good to eat Italian-tasting food!

- This week we had a Talent Show!!!!!!!!!! It was super great and I brought the glow sticks that Mom and Taylor sent me and everyone loved them - especially the kids!! The youth in our ward all dance so they made a dance (the night before) and performed it and it was seriously so legit. this lan house unfortunately isn't picking up my SD card though :( so no pics or videos today. but y'all can accept all my friend requests on FB and I think there are pics of me on their profiles!

- Yesterday was Valentine´s Day here. Nothing in my world changed because #foreversingle and also Valentine´s Day for me has already passed! Hahaha but Saturday we had dinner at Bishop´s house with all the couples in the ward so that was fun and interesting lolol

Andddd that´s about it! Yesterday were transfers but we didn't receive a call.... but neither did anyone else, I think. So I think President didn't finish or he´s super busy (probably the latter) so as far as we know, I'm staying!!!! I really hope that I do, though. I don´t want to leave this area :) I love it so much!

Love you all so much. I love this gospel, and I´m humbled every day for the chance I have to be a missionary here in Brasil. For the opportunity I have to meet so many new people who each have a story. I love to hear about the lives of everyone who live here. I love my Savior and I´m grateful for Him. He gave His life for me, for all of us so that we can repent to become more like Him every day. I´m grateful for my family who support me and love me. And a quick shout out to the Shoal Creek Ward who have supported me throughout my whole mission! Thank you for the packages, the letters, and for the prayers. I´m so sad I´m no longer a part of the beloved Shoal Creek Ward but I will visit y'all when I return because you all deserve big hugs and a big thank you from me :) 

I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

- Sister Parks

Monday, June 6, 2016

Maracanau, Brazil - still in shock

Soooooooooooooooo this week was fun! It was really great! This week, Cezario was baptized!!!!!! He´s a member´s dad! We had stopped by the member´s house one day this week, and afterwards we talked with his dad who lives in the house under his and he was super sweet and let us teach him and he agreed with everything we taught! He was truly prepared by the Lord and I know he´ll stay strong and grow in the gospel because his son and his daughter-in-law are strong, active members. He has so much support already!

This week while walking on an empty dirt/rock road we found a large stick thing and so we grabbed a rock and Sister Costa tried to play baseball haha she swung and missed and I said "No, no let me show you how, this is my sport (as in, Americans. Obvi I never even played baseball)" anyways, so I throw the rock up, swing, and MISS! lololol after 4 tries I finally hit it and we shouted and a dog started barking lolol so we dropped the stick/bat and ran laughing lolol some American I am lolol

This week I went to renew my visa - I can now stay in Brazil until next year ;) haha and while I was there in the mission office waiting for the other missionaries to arrive I heard some news.... I was talking to an elder who will leaving the same transfer as me... and he told me some news....
Who wants to see me a little bit sooner?
Yup..... I'll be leaving Brazil September 6th.....arriving in the USA September 7th. Now, it´s not official! But he said that President Fusco told him that date. I don´t know, but if it´s true.... I'll be seeing y'all a little bit sooner.

We have transfers next week and I really really REALLY want to stay here. I love this ward soo freaking much I don´t want to leave them. I really want to die here (mission wise). We´ll see what next weeks brings. But I'm praying to stay here.
It´s becoming a little winter-ish. We had a little bit more rain here this week. It rained super hard this morning actually. It´s nice for a little bit, but after it´s horrible because when the sun comes out it's hotter and stronger than ever. So that´s no fun!

But I'm doing great. Tomorrow we have a conference with the other mission too! Brazil Fortaleza Mission because.....
ELDER CHRISTENSEN WILL BE HERE!!!! We´re all super excited!!!!!! It should be really great and spiritually uplifting. I´ll let yáll know how it goes next week.

This week I also received Taylor´s package, a letter from Grandma, and from the Wilkins!!! I wrote you all letters today in thanks that I will get send this week but I'll thank yáll here, too! THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! I love you all and am so grateful for your love and support :)
- Sister Parks

Pictures: baptism and a baby parrot! two months old!!