Monday, October 16, 2017

E-mail Week 65: October 16, 2017. Transfers and new companion.

So this week was a crazy, crazy week. We had to run so many errands and so I am dead right now. But it was a great week. We were able to have intercambios in Melgar and in our area with Chircoral.  And one of my best friends in the mission, is going home, and then we had transfers.  So my comp and I are not companions any more. This was super sad.  I was with him for four months, the longest of all my companions.  I truly feel like I am without my brother right now but I am super happy for the times that we had.  I hope to see him soon.

So this week  I was able to go to Melgar with Elder Urribarri, a missionary from Venezuela.  We got off to kind of a rocky start, but at the end of the cambio, we were able to work out our differences and I am excited to keep working.  It is amazing to see his endurance in a really hard area and with his country and his family in a lot of trouble.  It is awesome to see his faith.

I also got to say goodbye Elder Damiano.  I watched him drive away to Bogota.  He is so awesome.  I learned so much from him:  how to improve my Spanish, how to lead and excite people to complete their goals, and how to be a companion.  I am so grateful to him. 

An interesting experience that happened this week.  We were with a big family this week and I felt prompted to invite them to baptism.  When I invited them to baptism, the room got quiet and one of the ladies that was progressing a lot wouldn't talk to us.  They started to explain excuses and why they didn't need to be baptized.  I then invited them to pray, to know that this gospel is true. I said that we are here to help them get baptized that it is the only thing that will help their lives. And then they decided to stop listening and meeting with us.  That was pretty hard.  But then I was wondering all week if what I did was right.  But I felt peace understanding that I can never control other people or their desires but I can invite them. 

Even though this week has been crazy, crazy difficult and we are basically starting over, nothing is better than serving the Lord. I testify that every effort to share and live this gospel is qualifying us to enter into God's Kingdom.

I love you all, 

Elder Parson

1Eldre Damiano leaving
Matrimonio de some members

i d

Matrimonio de some members

Elder Damiano Leaving

Monday, October 9, 2017

E-mail Week 64: October 9, 2017. Felipe and Vaness's Baptism. Farewell to Elder Damiano.

So this week was really good. It started off with interviews with President Baquerizo!!!!!! He is so awesome and I am so grateful to be able to learn from him. He is amazing. And then we went to Ibague for a Zone Conference. It was so cool to see the people form my MTC group and see how much we have all changed. The mission is truly the greatest. 

Also this week we had an interesting opportunity. As we were walking in the street, a car pulled up all of the sudden and shouted "Elders!!!"  Not sure whether we were going to run or find someone really awesome, we stayed and talked to them. They invited me to go to an English institute and talk about America and our culture to help with one of their kid's presentations. So we were able to go and present "MERICA". But it was a great opportunity. I was able to talk a little about our culture and relate it to the need for the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And we were able to pass out pamphlets about the Restoration to all the parents that were there.  This was an awesome experience.
We were able to find some new investigadores and we found some great people. I have been able to see the small influence of the Gospel changing my life. I have been able to see incredible people change their lives just from the smallest amount of faith. Like on Sunday, our lunch fell through which would mean that we wouldn't eat until nine at night.  But the Lord was able to help us and a family offered to give us lunch. And this extends to greater things. 

In the baptism photo, you can see these two people, Felipe and Vanessa, who were so ready to make this covenant. As we begin to have the faith to change our lives, greater sins become abhorrent and small sins become displeasing. And thanks to the Atonement of Christ, we continue to change everyday to be free from the weight of sin and experience the liberty of obedience. 

I love you guys so much.  Thank you for your prayers and for your example. 

Que Dios los bendiga y que se me cuiden. 

Elder Parson

Our Zone.

Baptism of Felipe and Vanessa.

T-shirts we made as a Zone.

Farewell  steak dinner for Elder Damiano who goes home this week.  Sad to see...he is an incredible missionary. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

E-mail Week 63: October 2, 2017. Alba and Pipe. General Conference. "We are beings of light".My

So this week was awesome! I would like to apologize for not writing last week, i just simply ran out of time.  But como me les va? 

This week was so good, because first we were able to go up to Bogota and have a leadership training. I was feeling a little bit down when I got up there because our week had been tough; but my Mission President is amazing. He talked to us about having the faith for miracles. God is the one who decides if we will have the miracles and the only thing we need to do is to show our faith. This really helped me understand more about the idea of success. I am just going to work as hard as I can, and then let the Lord determine if I will have success.
Also we had a busy busy week just trying to catch up on lost time.  We were able to watch all the sessions of General Conference and we witnessed a miracle. We have been trying to work with Alba and Pipe, a referral of a less active and we have been trying to help them come to church for a while so that they can be baptized. They love the church and the Book of Mormon but for various reasons they haven't been able to come to church. But it was so cool to see them Sunday morning all ready for church. And it is super funny.  If you have ever seen "Megamind", imagine his voice and actions of a little kid who tries to talk in English. That's Pipe, and he is such a stud. We are so grateful for this miracle from God.

Also, we have been so blessed to hear the Prophet and the Apostles this week with General Conference. I am so grateful for these inspired leaders who receive revelation to help us change our lives. I loved a quote by Elder Uchtdorf  "We are beings of light". All we can do is bring more light. And that light comes from Christ. We really are just created to reflect the light of God in all things. It is just our absence of following His counsel that diminishes that light. But when that light reflects in our soul and actions, we are continually striving to remember the heavenly home from which we came, which is pure light, God's light.

Love you all, have a great week.

Eder Parson

The picture with the ties in our mouth..... its better not to ask

My comp trying to eat an
Elders Parson, Nielsen, Roque (my companion) and Hoffman.

Elder Parson and former companion Elder Thompson.

Ties in our mouths...better not ask!  Elders Ostler, Sorborre, Jeppson, and Morrison.

My companion trying to eat an ant -- really disgusting!

Monday, September 18, 2017

E-mail Week 61: September 18, 2017. Meeting Omar. The Power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Change Lives

Como me les ha ido?

Well I hope all is going well for you.  I am just doing genial aqui en Girardot. The past few days have been a little bit cooler with a lot of rain, but then it gets back up to 100 and me and my comp are sweating buckets. 

But this week was good. We had a fair amount of people with baptismal dates fall through so we have been blessed with the awesome opportunity to contact. And so we contacted, which was awesome and tiring!  It is super amazing to see the people who are ready for the gospel. We found a guy named Omar, who was has been reading the Book of Mormon like crazy. We gave him the book in a contact and then the next day, we came back and he had already read the introduction and the first four chapters. He has a baptismal date for the 28 of Octuvre.  

Also we  found an amazing lady who has been coming to church for the past two weeks. She has  a husband who is a member and her desire is to have her family in peace and to know if the Book of Mormon is true. Talk about real intent!

Well not much this week, but I would like to share an experience real quick. This week when I have been really tired contacting, I have been thinking a lot about the power of this gospel. It is amazing to see that people who really need this gospel and allow the gospel to enter into their lives and blossom, really are so happy and I am so happy.  I want to keep finding people like that because there is nothing better than this in all the world. 

I testify that Christ loves you, and will always help you. 

Have a great week.

Elder Parson

photo 1, friendhsip day so we ate a fish, so good. mojarra frita

Friendship Day so we ate a fish.  So good!  Mojarra frita.

My companion  kissing a dog...a little desperate, still has 9 more months to wait.

Monday, September 11, 2017

E-mail Week 60: September 11, 2017

So as you can read from this email, this week was crazy, but awesome!  We were able to contact a bit more and help some other investigators get their baptismal date back on track! This week has been great, the Lord always blesses us. 

So something that was crazy this week was transfers. I am staying with my comp, but as zone leaders we have to make sure that everyone gets to their areas safely. We had an Elder who came from the jungle and was coming to Girardot with a new missionary for the first time and while they were opening the area, they had no way to get to their apartment and they didn't have a cell phone. Due to unfortunate circumstances, they decided to leave the bus early and we couldn't get in contact with the other Elders to go pick them up.  So at 12 o clock at night we had to get up and call a member to take us to Melgar, a town about 40 minutes away.  In this town, there isn't a train station and so we had no idea where the Elders were. We had to run to pick up a taxi, go to his house, go to Melgar, and then we couldn't find the Elders.  We were freaking out!  But then we decided to go back to Girardot and go check the other missionaries house.  Fortunately, at 2 in the morning, we found them in another missionaries house.  So we found them! The Lord really blessed us that we didn't lose them.

This week was good because the members talked with our investigators and invitee them to church. After a few weeks of having very few people in the church, we finally had people come which was a miracle!  We were able to find some amazing people who want  to come to church. And if all goes well, the brother of Felix who got baptized two months ago should get baptized in two weeks. We are having a great time and trying to focus on planning better to help people progress.

A cool experience this week was with Luis, our convert of three weeks.  He is super excited to go to the Temple this week and yesterday we were trying to help him find names to take to the Temple. HE was calling all of his family members, asking them for the dates of his brothers that died, and then he would say  "We have to baptize mom and dad.  They need these blessings and you guys too.  Do you want the missionaries to pass by your house?  He has given us about ten references of his friends all over Colombia. YEAH, that's my convert!  He's a better missionary than me. I am so grateful to know him.

This week I was having a little trouble feeling the spirit but I heard something in church that inspired me, "Dios bendice a los que luchen", or "God blesses those who fight!"  This is so true!  Although we have our faults, God loves us and is happy when we fight to improve, to change.  It is our desire that matters and he always helps us. 

Que Dios los bendiga (have a great week).  

I love you.

Elder Parson

if you have seen this shot in white collar, the first counselor in our branch is an amazing pool player and can do the same

Colombian food -- bird and crocodile.

Leaving at 12:00 at night to find the lost missionaries.

If you have seen this shot in "White Collar", the first counselor in our branch is an amazing pool player and can do the same.

Playing pool.

Monday, September 4, 2017

E-mail Week 59: September 4, 2017.

Well I hope you are all doing well.  I am going to apologize for the shortness of this letter because there were transfers in our Zone and we have been trying to get everyone in their assigned area so I haven't had a lot of time to write. 

This week has been fairly interesting to say the least.  We have been focusing on the counsel of our Mission President  to help all those with a baptismal date to progress.  And so we have been working really hard with 5 people:

  • Alba, who had been coming to church 20 years ago and could never get baptized but now is starting to take the lessons again.
  • Kevin, a young man who is coming to seminary and has had a great time loving the activities at church
  • Mariluz and Andres, the family of the recent convert Felix. 

So we have been trying really hard to help them progress but no one came to church on Sunday.  Although that was kind of depressing, I am still happy.  It is amazing here in the mission to learn about the agency of others--but also your own agency.  Although I am sad about the people leaving, I am excited that I can focus on finding more. Although I am not the best missionary, I can use the scriptures and the counsel of our Mission President to improve. 

I am so grateful that in this confusing world God always gives us the tools to help us be happy and successful. 

I hope that you all have an amazing week. 

Sorry for the short email.

los amo mucho (love you very much),

chao pues (bye then),

Elder Parson

Thursday, August 31, 2017

August 31, 2017. Visit from the Arias Serrano Family from Girardot, Columbia

On August 31, Alex's father, Scott, was fortunate to meet the Arias Serrano family for dinner. Unfortunately Allison wasn’t able to come.  

It was SO fun getting to know this pioneer family in the church in Girardot, Colombia.  The father is an attorney, the mother his partner in a commercial construction company, Alexandra (daughter) just finished medical school and will begin her required medical social service, and Joe (17 year old son) is starting to attend the BYU ESL Program.  Joe speaks English very well and translated throughout dinner.  

It is very clear that this family loves Elder Parson VERY much!  They feed the missionaries lunch every Friday.  Sister Arias told Scott that they consider Alex to be their “SON”.  Brother Serrano commented that Alex is a very diligent missionary.  It was great to learn more about Girardot and Colombia, what life is like there, the climate (hot, hot, hot), the education system, the Church in Colombia, food, safety concerns, etc…  

These great people offered to take a package back to some new white shirts, shoes, ties and a few treats are on the way including letters from the "Missionary Box Mamas".

From left to right:  Alexandra, Sister Arias, Brother Serrano, Scott and Joe.

Brother Serrano -- Baby Back Ribs American Style!