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 Alex...so 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!


E-mail Week 58: August 31, 2017. Luis' Baptism.

I am sorry about the late email, but the computer I was on was way slow and then we had to go to Bogota for a leadership conference.  This week was awesome! The first thing that was great was that Luis got baptized! It was so awesome to see and it was really cool that I was able to baptize him. He has made some great changes in his life and now wants to share this gospel with everyone. He wants to come with us on appointments even if he walks with a crutch all the time. He is such an amazing person and I am so glad to know him.

Luis' Baptism in Girardot, Colombia.
For P-day this week, we were able to go to the farm of the District President here in Girardot and have a barbecue which was amazing. We were able to relax and hang out with the Zone which was great!

We were also able to go to Bogota and have a great reunion with our Mission President. I was able to see a lot of my friends from the CCM who are all going to be Zone Leaders soon.  I love them all so much. I am so grateful that I have been put in the greatest mission on earth (I apologize for that comment but it's true :) ).

 
In our leadership meeting our President talked about how we should see everyone as God sees them. Oftentimes I look at people in a short term perspective, in who they were, or who they will be later.  But God looks at everyone as who they were, with Him before, and who they will become -- and they will become like Him. I testify that everyone has an amazing purpose here on earth and we should always remember that our potential is infinite.

Love,

Elder Parson

Monday, August 21, 2017

E-mail Week 57: August 21, 2017. A Miracle in Girardot. Christ's gospel is perfect, His atonement powerful and His words uplifting.

Buenas tardes mis parceritos! 

How are you all doing?  This week has been a really good and busy week. We have been trying to look for a lot of menos activos and we  had a miracle this week!  We were kind of lost and were trying to walk to an appointment in a neighborhood where we hadn't been.  As we were walking, a lady started looking at us funny, and says "Elderes".  So my companion and I, (by the way, my companion is such a stud, I love that guy so much--he is probably one of the craziest guys I know), start talking with her. We found out that she is a member and has been sick for the past two years and hasn't gone to church.  We were able to teach her and her daughter (who isn't a member) and they came to church -- awesome!  We have a baptismal date with her daughter which is also aweseome.

Also, our investigator Luiz is going to get baptized this week and we are super excited. He is so ready to get baptized and is really ready to accept this ordinance.  Something really cool is that he came to Girardot a month and 8 days ago;  we found him a month ago. It was the perfect timing of the Lord. 

I am so happy to be in the mission and to be able to improve.  I have felt a little different about my personal progression, but I know one thing, the Lord always gives us the tools to improve. His gospel is perfect, His Atonement powerful, and His words uplifting;  all to help us receive strength and peace in our lives. 

I love you all.  Have a good day!

Elder Parson


Elder Damiano, my old Zone Leader

An awesome member who is going to Utah

Monday, August 14, 2017

E-mail Week 56: August 14, 2017. Lorena's Baptism.

So this week has been pretty good.  We were able to witness amazing blessings from the Lord, starting with Lorena!!!!!!!  Lorena is awesome.  She has  been waiting to get baptized for 3 years 
and this week she was able to be baptized! It was such an amazing opportunity to teach her because
she explains the change that she's had in her life from the Gospel of Christ. And this is what the mission is about!  And now we have plans to try and teach her husband. 

Lorena's Baptism.
Also this week I was able to go to Melgar for intercambios so it was cool to see another part of our area.  I was with Elder Sotoski from Brasil, who is crazy but loves the scriptures and has a great testimony of the gospel.





And I was also with Elder Chandler from Idaho.  He is another amazing Elder and it was great to be with him because we both started in the same area and had the same companion so we were able to talk about that for a while.

Another amazing part of last week was that we were able to have interviews with President Baquerizo which was great because this week has been kind of difficult with all the interchanges and I didn't feel the same amount of excitement for the work. But one thing that is true is that the Lord always helps us in our times of need.  He never departs from us.  After a difficult Sunday when all of our appointments fell through, I was starving and it was 8:00 at night and we had been walking all day.  I didn't have the strength to keep going on.  But I prayed hoping that God could help us find someone and that we could continue to serve him faithfully.  At the first door we knocked, we were able to teach someone.  Faith doesn't mean that we are perfect, or that we won't have trials.  Faith is to follow God's plan no matter what the circumstances may be;  it's to trust that God knows better and will help us to return to Him.  That's His goal, and that's my goal too--even when I fail a lot. 
But that's the amazing part about the mission, to repent and follow God better and to help others to do the same.

I love this amazing work and I love you guys too!

Have a fantastic week.

Elder Parson

Monday, August 7, 2017

E-mail Week 55: August 7, 2017

So this week has gone by super fast. We went to Bogota for our leadership council and we also went to Ibague for another training.  I was able to see my friends so it was incredible.  Also the work is going great here.  We are working hard and have seen many great blessings.  Almost all of our investigators are working towards baptism and have the desire to be baptized.  I am so grateful for this amazing work. 

Because I don't have much time, I would like to quickly explain about what we were allowed to train on in Ibague.  We talked about the importance of the Book of Mormon.  There is nothing that draws us closer to God than this book.  Really it is amazing how much our faith in God increases.  This book was written for our day, a story about Christ coming to the Americas and how He has given His gospel.  Nothing is greater than to understand the divinity of Christ's atoning sacrifice.  I am so grateful for this book and its ability to convert us into disciples of Christ. 

I love you guys so much!

Have a great week.


Elder Parson