Monday, December 12, 2016

E-mail 22: December 12, 2016. The power of fasting is real! New Companion: Elder Callejas from Venezuela



So this week was awesome. The Lord has blessed me so much and I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve a mission.
 
For most of this week, I was in Bogotá during an intercambio with the Zone leaders. They are such studs and it is so awesome to have them has my leaders.

My new companion is Elder Callejas from Venezuela. This is way rare, he is the only missionary from Venezuela in all my mission. He was the assistant  for 8 months and I am so lucky to be serving with him, he is a stud!!!!!!!!!!!

New companion:  Elder Callejas from Venezuela

This week we were able to have a Christmas party with all of the mission. It was way awesome!  I was able to see the members from my district who were in the CCM, they are such studs. I love them so much and it was so cool to see them. 

Elder Parson's CCM (Bogota MTC) District reunited

I just want to focus the little portion on an awesome spiritual experience this week. My companion had the great idea to fast this week as we have a goal of 4 baptisms this transfer and we are trying to complete it. We had a lot of investigators who said they would come to sacrament meeting and two of them did. Their names are Gloria and Edilberto Rodriguez, and they are awesome. The wife actually called my companion and said that she had been reading the Book of Mormon and was loving it. We had kinda dropped them because they weren't progressing. And then at the end of church we realized that another of our investigators had come during all of church and we just hadnt noticed. She is a former investigator but wants to get married and to learn more about the church. Another part-member family came to church that we have never met but they live in our area. And while we were visiting a less active member,  we found out his girlfriend had been coming to church for a month and wanted to investigate the church. We had 5 people at church which which is the most I have ever had. I love food so much, but the power of fasting is real! 

I love you guys so much.  I hope you have a fantastic week and remember the amazing birth of our Savior.

les amo,


Elder Parson

E-mail 21: December 5, 2016. 19th Birthday and Carlos' Baptism

First off, I want to thank everyone for the happy birthday wishes. I am sorry I will not be able to answer all of you guys, but really, it means so much to me that you would take time out of your day to write me an email. It honestly helps me out so much. I love you guys with all my heart and thank you for this sweet act of service.

So for my birthday, in Colombia they throw eggs and flour at you for your birthday. I vaguely remembered hearing this but my companion definately remembered. He had prepared eggs and flour and surprised me by throwing them at my head! I will include a picture, but it was a great way to wake me up for the morning!  

 Happy 19th Birthday -- Colombian style!

We had the baptism of Carlos Rodriguez this week and it honestly was one of the coolest moments of my life. His entire family was there from Bogotá and his grandson, who is a returned missionary, was able to baptize him. Once again, once I saw him in the water, my heart swelled with joy and I thought, "This is why I am here, to save families." I am so grateful for the Lord giving me this amazing opportunity to witness this miracle in the lives of others. It was so awesome to hear the members of the family bear their testimonies, all of his children are sealed in the temple, and I was able to witness the power of prayer. His wife was a worker in the temple and in the Stake Relief Society, has been a member for 31 years, and after all this time her prayers are finally answered. GOD ALWAYS ANSWERS PRAYERS!!  I am so grateful to witness this mircale in the lives of others and that my Father in Heaven has given me this opportunity to know this family.

And some crazy things happened last night.  We had emergency transfers and my companion left to be the new assistant. He is so awesome and I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to learn from him and serve with him. I have truly made a life long friend and know that he will be a fantsatic assistant. And my new companion is going to be the old assistant and I am way excited to learn from him. It is going to be a great couple of weeks.

I am so excited to be in this great work, but more importantly to help bring people to Christ during this Christmas season.  I know that He is our Savior, that he died for us, and that through Him we can have eternal life.

Baptism of Brother Carlos Rodrequez

I love you guys, have a fantastic week!

Love,


Elder Parson

Monday, December 5, 2016

E-mail 20: November 28, 2016. Lizandro and Tania baptized.

Hello friends and family:

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Just because they don't celebrate Thanksgiving down here doesn't mean that I am not finding many things to be grateful for, all the while eating as much as I can. 

This week was definitely fantastic. We had a difficult time because we didn't have a cellphone this week. I left it in the house of an investigator in a tiny town 30 minutes away from our area. She told us that she would bring it to church the next day, so I didn't think much of it. But then she seems to have disappeared from the face of the earth. So it has been kinda difficult here to confirm citas, but everything is going well. The one thing I took away from this experience is that I still have a lot to learn.

We had two baptisms this week, Lizandro and Tania!! It was so awesome to see them enter into the baptismal font knowing that they would be making covenants with the Lord, and the great blessings we can receive when we keep them. I felt the spirit so strong when Lizandro was in the water, knowing that now his family can be together forever. It was so cool to see how happy his family was. They all bore their testimonies, saying ´´Por Fin, Por Fin´´ they were so happy to finally have their dad as a member. He is doing so well;  he received the Priesthood yesterday, was able to give his son the Priesthood, and if all goes well, he will baptize his son this Saturday. I am so grateful for the opportunity the Lord has given me to teach him. Really I didn't do anything, but watched him progress to make this amazing covenant with the Lord. I am so happy for their family and how they will continue to progress in the gospel, now together, until they can be sealed for time and all eternity. The Lord always works miracles in our lives.

I am a little bit depressed because we only have one progressing investigator this week, but we have Carlos, who is doing awesome, and will be baptized this Saturday, which will complete his family.  I am so pumped for him.  I really want to find someone that can be baptized for Christmas. I was getting kinda upset when we were contacting, because sometimes I will be speaking Spanish, and then the person will say, "No entiendo ingles", which means I don't understand English. I was kinda screaming in my head "I am speaking spanish" but then I realized, really, the problem is me. I still need to work on Spanish, and instead of being angry when someone doesn't understand me, I should be devastated that I cant teach them the amazing, life saving truths of the gospel. 

But enough complaining. I am so grateful for the Lord. I have a fantastic area, fantastic companion, he is such a stud, I am learning everyday from him, and fantastic investigators. I have seen so many miracles in my life, how can I not just shout for joy all the time. 

Thank you for all your prayers.  I hope you have a wonderful week. Thank you for your amazing examples.

With all my heart,

Elder Parson


PS:  the pictures are of the baptism, Silvania and a member who comes with us.​ 

Lizandro's Baptism:  November 26, 2016
Tania's Baptism:  November 26, 2016





Monday, November 21, 2016

E-mail 19: November 21, 2016. One of the best weeks of my life.

Wow, everyone, I almost don't have words to describe how much I love the mission and Colombia. This week was awesome!! I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve my Savior.
 
First off, my comp is awesome!  He was a zone leader for 8 months and he's a stud. We are working extremely hard to achieve all of our metas. The days are flying by, just working to bring souls unto Christ. We had 4 lessons every single day this week which has never happened in this area. The Lord has helped us so much--really I don't know what I did to deserve these amazing blessings. This is when the mission became way fun, when all I could focus on was how I can improve and help my investigadores progress towards baptism.

We are going to have two baptisms this week, Tania y Lizandro.  One is a teenager who lives in Silvania and the other is a father of a part-member family. They are both so awesome and they want to be baptized. I am so grateful for the Holy Ghost.  I was way worried about having to help these amazing souls recieve a testimony and I didn't want to mess up. But fortunately for me, I really am not teaching;  if that were the case no one would be baptized.  Really it is the Spirit and all I need to do is live worthy of His companionship.

Another awesome thing is that we had a lesson with Carlos. I believe I have mentioned him before, but he is married to a member and all of his kids are sealed in the Temple. The last lesson we had with him he wouldn't commit to a date of baptism and we were way sad. But he came to church on Sunday and he loved it.  In the next lesson he told us that he had talked with his grandson about baptizing him. I was freaking out!! It was so awesome! I was just smiling and looking at my companion like "What just happened?"  Such joy filled my soul--that we can watch this beautiful family become complete. And now the lessons are so much fun because he can't read and talk very well, he is 73 years old, but he is giving awesome answers to our questions, and whenever he does this we just start freaking out!  Here, they do a weird snap thing with their hands when somehting is awesome and we just start doing that and he starts to laugh and laugh. I am so happy for him and his family--but more importantly, because it is all possible through our Savior.

We were teaching a family and they were really hesitant about baptism. They kept telling us to be patient, that they didn't want to rush anything.  Me and my companion felt prompted to say:  "Really, we dont want you to be baptized. We want you guys to be married forever, with your kids, living with our Heavenly Father."  And sometimes we are persistent, because everyone needs this awesome gift, the best gift of the world, and we want you to have it. Our goal really isn't to baptize, it is to have friends in the Celestial Kingdom. It is to have families become eternal, and nothing is more beautiful. Baptism is just the first step. 

I am so grateful I get to testify of these amazing gospel truths.  My friends, family, brothers and sisters, this is the Lord's church, this is His gospel, and it is how we live with our family forever. This is how we have JOY! 

I love you all.

With all the love from the loveliest place in the world


Elder Parson





Sunday, November 20, 2016

E-mail 18: November 14, 2016. Todavía en Fusagasugá!!!!!!!!!

We had transfers this week! I was way sad to have my companion go, Elder Beyler, i learned so much from him and we had an awesome time. But my new companion is awesome también.  He is such a stud! He is from Logan Utah, but was born in Hawaii, so he kinda looks like a latino. I am way pumped for the upcoming cambio. We are going to do all possible to raise the standards. Also, for the first time in my mission, we had 3 progressing investigators that came to church. It was so cool!!! They are all doing well, and I know this is because of your prayers, so thank you so much. If all goes well, Lizandro and Tania will be baptized in 2 weeks. It is so awesome to see these guys progressing and the power of the gospel in their lives. They have been reading and coming to church. I am a little nervous as now I will have to be guiding these lessons, but I know that if I am obedient to all things, the Holy Ghost will help me.

Some interesting things...
  • Everyone here is kinda freaking out about the election with Trump. In almost every lesson that we have had, they all ask us what we think about Trump winning. Also, we had a member telling us that for the first time in history, Utah was going to vote for Hillary. I was really surprised by this, and he told us that  Hillary was going to win. Well, from what I have heard, Utah still voted for Trump so it is the same old Utah. It still is kinda funny to be talking with people in the street and they will tell us how sorry they are for us, that we have a mad man for our president. But it has been a good week. 
  • We also played soccer with the zone for P-day.  It was way fun and embarassing. I haven't been able to be with the zone for a P-day yet becasue I am so far from my zone. But it was so cool to see everyone!
I am so excited for the next cambio. My attitude as gradually changed over time. Now I am so excited to go out and work to bring others to Christ. I know that the power of prayer and the Atonement have changed my life. I hope you all know the love I have for you and how much our Heavenly Father loves you. This is what I have noticed more than anything--that when we find people who really need the gospel, and they understand their identity, that they are children of God, the lessons and commitments become easy. The gospel really leads to such true happiness.
               
Thank you for all your prayers, for being such a great example in my life. I am so happy to be in Fusa otra vez, the members are so awesome, and I would be so sad if I left. It is crazy how much the time has gone by. I love you guys with all my heart. I know that this gospel and the mission are the best things in the world--the things of the most value. 

Have a great week.


Elder Parson

E-mail 17: November 7, 2016. Elder Maynes visits the Misssion.

This week was awesome! We found a lot of new people ready for the gospel and have been working with a lot of old investigators. Two have a date for their baptism. One is name Lizandro and he is so cool. He is married and has three kids, one of which is baptized and the other one is about to be baptized. He wants to find out for himself if the Church is true and be able to baptize his kids. I am so grateful for the opportunity to teach him and that he has a real desire to be baptized. 

And one of our investigators named Tania is progressing towards baptism. We were originally having trouble with her parents because they didn't want her to be baptized, but they have changed their minds and are open to it. I am so grateful for the Lord's hand in my life.  He has blessed me to be with an awesome companion in an awesome area. Although everyday has its challenges, I am able to find joy in this marvelous gospel. 

Also, this week we had the opportunity to hear Elder Richard J Maynes from the Presidency of the Seventy. It was so awesome to learn from him. One thing I loved that he said is that the first investigator in this dispensation was Joseph Smith, and he completed all of what the first companionship in this dispensation asked of him, Our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ. This is so true and I am trying to find people that are ready to follow all of God's commands. Originally I would get discouraged when people would reject us, or when I wasn't having success.  But as I am finding out, everyone in the world at one time needs the gospel, and if they have a positive experience with missionaries, whether they accept us or not, they will know where to look for joy.

Thank you for all your prayers, I love you all so much. I am so grateful for this gospel, that I can improve when I make mistakes, and even in times of trials.  Just as the Nephites, when we are in our hardest trials, we can also be the happiest people on earth. I love you guys so much.  Thanks for your prayers.

Con mucho amor,

Elder Parson


P.S. a few pictures... 


A cool spider


Transmillenial Bus 


My friend in the MTC


A Llama




E-mail 16: October 31, 2016. "Christ's Atonement Helps Us Change".

Well this week was definitely one of the harder weeks. But it was also way good as well. There are definitely a lot of emotions here on the mission. This week we had a lot of meetings in Bogota, so we didn't get to spend a whole lot of time in our area. I had the opportunity to do intercambios in Soacha, a part in Bogota, and it was awesome. We had such a good day with a lot of citas. It was kinda interesting, the first time we walked out of the apartment to go contacting a little kid said, "Look! a gringo."  But it was way fun day. My companion was awesome and it was fun to be in a different area.
 
Now for the hard part, we didn't have any progressing investigators this week. We had one lady come to church, but she left halfway through cause she didn't like it. And then all the investigators that said they would come ended up leaving for Bogota. It was way frustrating because now we don't have anyone progressing towards baptism. But I learned an important lesson, when I was really frustrated and depressed, I was able to use the power of the Atonement in my life. The Atonement was made for us to change. It helped me change my attitude, that I need to become a better teacher, and also find more people to teach. I am grateful for the Atonement of my Savior that I can change. We also hardly had any lessons with investigators, but we have awesome members who gave  us great references, and we have a very good schedule lined up to find new investigators. I am way excited for the next semana. I know the Lord is always there to support us when we are down, if we will only turn to Him and humble our hearts.

I love you guys so much.  Thank you for being my friends, and better yet, my teachers. I have seen so many influences in my life that have prepared me for this moment, this glorious opportunity to serve the Lord and help others experience the marvelous change it brings. I hope all of you have a great week.  Thank you for your prayers.

With all my love 

Elder Parson

Picture is of the intercambios
 Hiking on P-day
 An interesting tree that we hiked to called the "arbole de las ventanas"

Monday, October 24, 2016

E-mail 15: Monday, October 24, 2016. Omar's Baptism.

Wow, this week was one for the books! It was so awesome in so many ways. To start with, I will share a language difficulty. In Spanish, you have to pronounce each letter separately, so "tres" sounds like "TuDes", or else people can't understand you. A lot of times this happens with "otro". I will ask some people when we are tracting if we can visit them another day this week, and they will think I said, "can we visit you in ocho dias". Kinda embarassing, but the language is going well. Also we were in a lesson with a kinda old lady, and we asked her why she couldn't come to church. I couldn't hear her very well, but she said she was sick all day and had a fever, and I ended up responding, "Cool!"  Besides this, the week went well.
Omar's baptism.  October 23, 2016.


Omar, was baptized this week and it was awesome. We had to hold it really early Sunday morning at 8:00 so I was kinda nervous that no one would come. But just before he got baptized, a ton of people came. And after he bore his testimony and he said that he thought angels were singing and were happy.  I know that he is true -- heaven rejoices when we are doing what's right, just as he had made a convenant with God, and now can recieve a remission of his sins. It was so awesome and he was so ready for the gospel. He was keeping every commandment, loved coming to church, and I am so grateful the Lord has given me this opportunity to know him. We are know working with his sister and her family so they can get baptized.

We also had interviews with the President this week, and they went awesome! My President is from Ecuador and he is so amazing. It was so nice to recieve counsel from him on how I can be a better missionary. 

We also had a sad, but good experience. We were in a lesson with a teenager who was a reference, when his mom came down and wanted to talk to us. She said that her son was a good kid, reading the bible and going to church and didn't need to be burdened down with the commitments of having lessons with us. I was really sad, and started to talk, when Brayan, the member, bore his testimony of how he came to this knowledge, and how he knew the Book of Mormon to be true. It was so powereful and was exactly what they needed. I know they needed to hear this. Afterwords I said a prayer of gratitude and asked Heavenly Father to bless them that they might eventually come to the gospel.  Even though it was a sad experience, it was so cool to see Brayan bear his testimony and this is what can change their hearts.

All in all, a fantastic week. I love you guys so much and know this week went well because of your prayers. I feel them everyday.  I hope you guys will feel the love God has for you which is infinitely more than I have for you. 

Thank you for your examples.

Tengan una buena semana!

Elder Parson


Eating an American lunch in our apartment with Elder Beyler:  sloppy joes with lemonade.


Elder Beyler and I enjoying Chicken right off the spit.  Awesome!

Monday, October 17, 2016

E-mail 14: Monday, October 17, 2016. Teaching an Atheist.

Hola,

This week was really good, we found a ton of new investigators, and I have my interview with the President tomorrow, which I am so happy about. We also taught a lot of lessons this week and are going to have a baptism this week, Omar, so I am so excited for this. 

I am going to share a quick experience. We had intercambios this week and while we were contacting we found an atheist, and he totally let us in! This was awesome, and we had a good lesson with him, but in the end he said he didn't want to come to church, or make any type of committment, which makes it really hard to have them progress. 

We left the house, and I was feeling quite down, wondering if I was doing everythign right. But as we were walking, a man came up and talked with us. It was a way menos activo named Jonathon, and we had been looking for him for a while. We were able to have a lesson with him and his girlfriend, and it was such a blessing. I know when we work hard, persevering con fe, we can do all things and the Lord really will guide our steps. 

Thank you for all your prayers and examples, I will try to write more next week, but I love reading your emails and I don't have a lot of time for much else. But I am so grateful for this gospel, and truly can say, with all my heart, true happiness lies with the doctrine of Christ, and in Christ is my joy.

Thanks for everything, 

Love

Elder Parson


Attatched are some pictures of members.  We had a festivo today so while everyone else was sleeping we went and played with the Ward. They told me to play defense, so that tells you my soceer abilities. Also here is Brayan and a couple members, who are awesome.




Monday, October 10, 2016

E-mail 13: Monday, October 10, 2016. Tied area teaching record.

Hola mi amigos, Como Estan? 

This week was awesome! We had the opportunity to teach a lot of people, we tied the area record. We have been blessed with finding many people ready for the gospel, and we have two investigators progressing to Baptism. 

Omar is doing really well, it is so cool, he loves coming to church, is accepting all the commitments and just loves hanging out with us. He always asks us when we can return.  He is about 28 years old, really busy, but yet always wants to talk to the missionaries. We showed him the restoration video and he told us that he knew Joseph Smith was a prophet. Me and two other members bore our testimony, and unfortunately, I started crying a little bit, but I am so grateful for this gospel.  

Also Adrianna, our old converso, gave us a reference and she is progressing to baptism también. I am so grateful for these wonderful people.

I wish I had a lot to talk about, but really we are just busy. I want to remember everything, but it is just awesome to be preaching the gospel. Last night, we had the opportunity to go to a cita with a member that lives on the outskirts of our district. Darwin came with us, and another awesome member, Brayan, came with us. Real quick, Brayan is a stud who comes with us almost everyday to teach members, and he is just finishing his papers. It is crazy to see his dedication to the gospel. I wish I was that dedicated when I was younger. But as we were walking to our appointment, such joy filled my soul, to be serving the Lord with these amazing members. I felt so happy to be living this gospel. It was so awesome, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be in the service of my Lord. I love this gospel so much and hope all of you can feel the same! 

I love you guys so much, you guys are such a great example to me. I hope college and everything is going well.  Thank you for all your prayers. I hope you guys have a great week.

All my love,

Elder Parson


P.S. I promise to send pictures next week, sorry to be lacking.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

E-mail 12: Monday, October 3, 2016. General Conference.

Well my first cambio (transfer) is over, and it has been a blast. my week has been great.  Our converts are fantastic. Adrianna already has 2 references for us which is just amazing. She is such a good misisonary. Darwin is doing awesome, we have been so blessed to visit him. It is so cool when he asks how soon he can leave for a mission, it is such an inspiration to me. We found an awesome guy named Omar who is amazing. He is 28 years old. He came to two sessions of conference and has been keeping all the committments. He is always smiling and way happy to see us. It is sad--he says he doesn't feel loved by his family.  I hope he can come to realize the immense love his Father in Heaven has for him, which supercedes all other love. I am so grateful for the Lord allowing me to know him.

This week has been kinda difficult.  Many of our investigators weren't in their houses and many didn't want to hear us. We had one guy try to bible bash us which was an interesting experience. We knocked on his door, he opened it, and told us he would come out to talk to us. We were way excited, everyone else had been ignoring us all day. He came out with his bible, looked at our nametags, and asked, are you Mormon? He then proceeded ot pull out a little card, find a scripture, and then tell us why our church was wrong. We tried to bear testimony that we had come to know that our church was true through the Book of Mormon and the Holy Ghost.  He would then turn to us, put his hands on our shoulders, and tell us that this was a lie. It was way frustrating to see his knowledge of the scriptures only was used to destroy others' faith, not build his own. We ended up bearing our testimonies after 15 minutes of him explaining various doctrines to prove us wrong. How grateful I am that we don't try to prove other religions wrong or our religion right. We only invite all to come to know of Christ through reading and prayer.

General conference was fantastic. It is kinda like Pday and your birthday all in one. How much inspiration can we recieve from these amazing hours to improve our lives?

I also want to talk about fishers of men. When Christ was talking to his diciples he said he would make them fishers of men. How great it is to be a fisher of men. Every day I try to find people and help them come to Christ. Just as a fisherman is constantly working for a fish, every fish is special, and has its own way of coming in. They come in all sizes, rainbow trout, browns, even the salmon of the sea but they are all precious to the fisherman. He loves all of us so much, and to echo the message of General Conference, we can all help other people feel of His love. We all need His love. Many talks talked about repentance and how great a thing it is. Repentance is for everyone and I feel its power in my life. I was explaining the importance of repentance to an investigator. I almost broke into tears when I realized the love I had for my investigator, and the immense love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have for him. Repentance isn't an easy thing.  It is way difficult at times, but this is how we come to know Christ, and be perfected in Him. If any of you want to feel everlasting peace in your life, please ask your Savior for help. He will show you the way and the leaders of the church will help you. I have felt the immense peace in my life that comes from repenting and I am so grateful for it. 

I love all of you so much, you are amazing examples to me. I leave my testimony that I know a living prophet is on the earth, Thomas S Monson, that he leads Gods church on the earth today, and through this church we recieve immmense happiness. 

Thank you for all your prayers and love.

Until next week,

your loving friend,


Elder Parson

Monday, September 26, 2016

E-mail 11: September 26, 2016. Adrianna and Darwin Baptism.

This week was great, really tough but great. I will start off with the best part, we had two baptisms. Their names are Adrianna and Darwin. Darwin is a young joven who has been a golden investigator. We found him my third day and he has been keeping commitments and inviting his friends to seminary.  Five of them came to his baptism. Unfortunately none of them live in our area, but it is awesome to see him progress. He also  told us that he wants to serve a mission which is great. At first I was feeling a little weird at the baptismal service because everyone says it is the best/happiest part of your mission but I wasn't feeling anything. And then they got in the water. What a glorious feeling it was to see them making the amazing covenant of baptism. I couldn't stop smiling. Later we were able to talk to Darwin while he was waiting to change and he was smiling and had tears in his eyes. I gave him a hug, and was so happy for him. I was able to confirm him a member of the Church. I was way nervous because it was in Spanish. I can barely do it in English. But the Lord helped me a lot, and I felt the spirit so much. I know the Lord has great things in store for him, he has great things in store for all of us. 


It is amazing that baptism is the first covenant we make, and yet I am just barely beginning to understand its full significance. It is the only way we can enter the kingdom of God and the Holy Ghost guides our lives in so many ways, it testifies of happiness and allows us to bring our lives in line with our Heavenly Father and all He wants for us is to return to Him.

Adrianna is also amazing.  She bore her testimony in sacrament meeting and it was so powerful. She said she knew the gospel changed her life and listed how she knew it was true. She is a queen. The Lord is always ready to help us change if we are willing.


Some interesting culture things:

The Elders love Fusa. I know everyone says that but they really do. The APs came and they were so excited to be here. They were walking around saying {{where can we go}} and one of them shouted in the streets "Fusa Papi".  It was so fantastic.

Everyone thinks gringos have money and everyone asks for money. One day me and my companion were in a store helping a member move her stuff, when a guy walked past us, saw us, and yelled "Gringos! perfecto, I need your help".  He then walked into the store, proceeded to tell us that he wanted us to give money. Another time we were by the church and a random guy wanted us to give him money to travel to Bogotá. We said we couldn't, it isn't our money to give. Then he wanted to ask the Bishop. Then the President of our mission came and he told us to ask him. When we said we wouldn't, he told us we lacked faith. That was definitely interesting but I  love it here.  It has been fantastic.

Also, everything here comes in bags. Juice, milk, water, it is way weird. We buy milk in these tiny bags and then carry it to our apartment to eat. It is kinda weird.  I miss good old white milk that comes in gallons.

Anyway, i just wanted to say thank you to all of you. You guys are so amazing.  I feel your prayers everyday. I know your examples have helped prepare me to find people here and hopefully teach them what the gospel can do for their lives, because it has changed mine. I know that this gospel, through the Holy Ghost works miracles. It has in my life, and it can for yours. 

I love you guys so much. 

Hasta semana,
Elder Parson


Also, thank you to those angel mothers who sent the "sunshine" package. You guys are truly amazing. And also to my angel mother, my amazing mother, thank you for all you do. You are amazing, and I love you with all my heart. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

E-mail 10: September 29, 2016. Fusa

Hola mi amigos!!! 

My area is a third of Fusa which doesn't sound like it is very big, but in fact it is massive. I haven't even been to all of my area yet--it is one of the biggest in the mission. We also have three other towns in our area that we can only get to by bus or walk for about an hour. But it has been great, the people are way nice. In my district there are only six missionaries and all are hermanas, or sisters. They are all way awesome and it is so fantastic to be with them. But it is kinda weird being secluded.  We have to take an hour bus ride into Bogotá for our zone meetings.  Part of Fusa is town living and the other part is farm country. So it is pretty sweet to be in such a diverse area.  





We don't actually have a washer in our apartment.  When we need to do laundry, we have to call someone who brings a washing machine on a motorcycle and attaches it in our apartment.  It is funny to see people driving around on their motorcycles with big washing machines on the back. 
There are a ton of basketball hoops here but no one uses them. The bottom is built into a soccer goal and the top is built into a basketball hoop. Today we were able to play basketball which was way fun. The hoops are smaller here so I could dunk with ease which was way fun.

As you probably know, people take soccer way seriously here. If you are wearing a jersey from the wrong team in a city, people from the opposing team will fight you. It isn't a problem for missionaries but it is for some members. They all love the national team and whenever there is a game, everyone wears their Colombia jerseys. It is pretty sweet if they win, but if they lose everyone is depressed.

Okay, enough about the city.  Lets talk about my investigators!! This week was a little bit tougher than the last. Last week we had a great week and we almost broke the lessons taught record with 17.   But this week we only taught 9 lessons with investigators. It is kinda difficult.  We will find a lot of people but they all say they are resting so they don't have time to hear us even though they are just sitting on the sidewalk. But we have found some awesome people.  Darwin, a young man of 17, actually brought some of his friends to seminary and they were interested in the gospel. If all goes well, he will be baptized this week. However, our other investigator, Mildre, decided that she wasn't ready to be baptized and we haven't had the opportunity to talk with her after the lesson. I am praying that we will be able to teach her needs and that she can be ready to make this awesome covenant. 

A funny story.  We were in another area giving a blessing when a flash flood occurred. After the blessing, the street to the bus stop was flooded. I was able to hop to the other side on rocks and was waiting for my companion. A bus was coming to take other people across the river, and since he had my umbrella, he tried to throw it to me. It landed right in the middle of the flood and I had to cross it and got all muddy trying to retrieve it. I gave him a hard time about it later, but it was way funny.

All in all, it has been a good week. There are sometimes when I am way down, but other times when I think, "there is nothing better than serving a mission".  The opportunity to help others come to Christ, to feel the joy that comes through living the commandments. I want to talk a little more about this. I have been learning now that we follow commandments only because we love the Lord. He only wants to bless us, but he can only do that if we are obedient. I am obedient, not because I have a perfect desire to be obedient (I wish I did but I don't) but because I love the Lord and need His blessings in my life. And the best blessing we receive is the companionship of the Holy Ghost. I can't tell you how many times I have had a prompting to walk down this road, take extra money, or talk to this person, and it is the perfect opportunity to share the gospel. 

I am so grateful for this experience and for all of you.  You uplift me in all things. Thank you so much for all your prayers. You are such great examples and I love you.  

Please pray to our Heavenly Father who loves you infinitely more than I do.


All my love,

Elder Parson





Monday, September 12, 2016

E-mail 9: September 12, 2016. Fusa

Well, this week was fantastic. Due to a lack on my part of sharing enough details, I will try to share everything I can about Fusagasuga, the food, and my investigators.
​My investigators. I have some awesome investigators. Adrianna will be baptized in two weeks as it is Stake Conference this week.  She is awesome and I hope things will continue to go well.  Another is Mildre, a single mom, and her nine year old son Fergini. She is incredible. She works every day in a factory from 8 to 5, then comes home and raises her kids. It has been a struggle with her to help her come to church because of her job, she only gets two days off in the month.  It is so cool that she sacrifices these days to the Lord. She came to church last week, which was awesome. What we didn't know is that her boss wouldn't let her have work off, so she just didn't go to work and ended up getting fired. Talk about immense faith. She is actually happy about this, and hopes to find a new job. I know when we do what is right, the Lord will always help us.

Another is Darwin. I believe I have talked about him, but he is doing fantastic. It is so cool to see him change. He has a lot of earrings in his lips and ears, which is a problem because they have to be out for him to be baptized. Without us even asking, he took them out when he came to church. It is so cool to see the gospel change peoples lives.

The members. The members have been awesome. They are all way kind and helpful. This week we had the opportunity to have dinner with the Moreno family. They have kinda become my second family. The mom, Vicki, is a single mom who works constantly to support her kids, who all live with her in a tiny house. However she always invites us over, even when she had eye surgery. She is a great example to me. She is way funny, and we always tease the sister, who is a RM about going to Uruguay on her mission, and make funny Spanish hand gestures at her.  They are an amazing family- I am so glad to know them.

Unfortuunately, this week I was sick. Almost all Nortes get sick when they become accustomed to the food, but I didn't realize it would be this bad. I was throwing up all day Saturday and felt like dying -- but now I am doing good.  The food here is good. The best thing is bread. It is dirt cheap, a roll costs around 3 cents in US money and it is all way good. They put all sorts of stuff in there, such as arequippe y otros.  Also, we always have steak for lunch, which is good and bad for my stomach.
Fusagasuga is beautiful, it is on the edge of a mountain, so everywhere you look it is a rain forest. It is perfect temperature, and however it rains, it feels fine.

This week, we ate with a member almost everyday--it was awesome. We normally have rice, vegetables and steak for lunch, and bread for dinner.  We can only go to the Temple when there is a holiday, which actually happens quite often. A typical Sunday is church from 9 to 12, after we go to lunch, and then we proselyte till the end of the meeting. 

I have to go soon.  I wish I could write everything;  a couple of things to end with.  I had the experience of riding in a transmillenial, which is a giant bus. Everyone here rides buses around, as they don't have a subway.  To get in one of these, 100 people wait at one terminal and once the doors open, squeeze into them. It is crazy, people literally shove one another to get in. I just stand there and kinda jump, and like a wave, they carry me inside. The only problem is I have to watch my head, or else I will hit the ceiling.  Anyway, I hope all is well.

Good luck to all my friends in college, thank you for you prayers, I definitely feel them.

I just want to quickly testify that when we keep the commandments, all things work for our good. In the mission we have a lot of mini rules, like always going to bed at 10:30. This may seem small, but I feel so much more energized when I do go to bed right on time. Amazing blessings await us when we do these things.

With all my love,


Elder Parson



Monday, September 5, 2016

E-mail 8: September 5, 2016. Fusa.

Elder Parson sent a very short e-mail today.  Here are a few highlights...

Hola! 

For P-day today, we were going to go on a hike to a way cool tree, but the Hermanas bailed, so we just visited some awesome museums.

I wish I could eat some of Dad's fish from Alaska.  I bet it would be amazing!! I can't wait to go fishing and golfing when I get back.

Fusa is kind of a retirement town -- a lot of old people.  The temperature is perfect and it's pretty laid back.

For food, we have a Pentionista that cooks lunch for us, so all we have to make is breakfast and dinner.  We don't have a lot of time to make stuff, but I am going to try and make scrambled eggs more in the morning. We don't get back to our apartment till late, and we don't eat dinner, so dinner is kind of a rush to finish everything, planning, etc. But we can make spaghetti which is good.

Our apartment is in a really nice area and it is one of the nicer houses. I have enjoyed cleaning it and making it better off for the next few weeks.  I do feel safe and secure.  We do all we can to stay safe, keep away from dangerous areas, and obey all the rules. I know the Lord will protect me. 

It is pretty easy to contact people. I usually do it through service or I say Buenos Dias to all I talk to.

The language is coming. I can't tell if I am speaking well, or if people are just really nice and can kinda understand me

The members here are awesome, so nice and amazing. They are all way faithful.

I made a hole in one (egg in a piece of bread with a hole cut in it) for my companion and he loved it.

Thank you for your great emails and examples, I love you so much.

Monday, August 29, 2016

E-mail 7: August 29, 2016. Fusa.

Hola mi amigos!!!!

Wow, this first week has gone by really fast. It is crazy to be finally in the field. So much has happened so far.

First, My companion. My companion is such a stud! He is from Malta Idaho and speaks perfect Spanish. It is such a blessing to be paired with a gringo companion. I have been able to get along teaching lessons in Spanish, but if someone asks me a question in the streets I have no idea what's going on. But it has been an awesome, busy week.

So Fusagasugá...  If you don't know how to pronounce it, don't worry, I have no idea as well. Fusagasuga is in the bottom part of Bogotá and it is awesome. It is right in between what the natives call the 'hot land' and 'cold land', so it is about the perfect temperature--75 degrees all the time.  It has been so sweet to talk to everybody. I would liken it unto a 'Little Italy';  there is always old Spanish country music in the streets, a ton of food shops, and the people are way nice, for the most part. It is pretty busy, and where we live it is basically on the side of a mountain, so a lot of walking. But it has been great!

Some interesting Spanish culture things...

The doors and ceilings are really small. I know this comes as no surprise to most of you, but for me it was a shock. The first day when I was in the bathroom I broke a light bulb! That was really embarrassing.  I am learning to duck my head at everything. 

Everyone here rides a motorcycle, it is awesome.  They are always doing tricks and speeding past you. I kinda feel like I am in the movie Fast and Furious.

Everything you buy here is in bags;  the milk and juice are in bags so it is super hard to drink--but it is really cool. Also, the bread here is delicious! They put sugar on the top of the bread and fill it with arequippe, which is this really good caramel sauce.  It is awesome! but really bad for me. 
If you get invited into a home, they are really kind and offer you something to drink. However, because soda is safer to drink than water, they always offer you soda. It is a good thing I am walking all the time or else I would be gaining a ton of weight. Right now I have only gained a little. 
Besides the language, Spanish here has a lot of interesting hand gestures. It has been difficult for me to pick up on both languages, but it is really funny to try and figure these out.

Anyway, Fusa has been awesome. I love it so much. The members are awesome, always inviting us in and helping us. I am so grateful to be here.

I would just like to share one experience with you guys. During one of our lessons, we had the opportunity to teach a member family during family home evening. They had two adorable little girls and the parents were trying to teach them that they were children of God. The father had just gotten off work, way late at night, and was also going to school as well. He was probably exhausted, but he was trying his best to teach his little girls who their real father is. It was so incredible to see the love in his eyes as he was helping his children learn this. The Spirit bore witness to me that the Lord loves us and that he wants us to return to Him. He loves us so much and wants to help us in all things. If I have gained a testimony of anything, it is the love our Heavenly Father has for each of us. 

Anyway that is all for this week. Thank you for all your prayers and emails.  I wish I had time to answer all of them. Until next week.

Elder Parson

Tienen fe
esperanza
charidad

y todos las cosas saldrán por su bien

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

E-mail 6: August 24, 2016. First Area: Fusa (Fusagasugá)

My first area is called Fusa. It has a much longer name, but that is all I can call it right now. 

Last night we arrived pretty late at a capilla and received our new companions. My new companion is Elder Beyler, from Malta Idaho. But, he lived in Brigham City for a little bit and dad might know his mom. Carrie Reeder. Anyway, it has been great and I am way excited to get started in this area. 

Fusa is the last area of Bogota. It is considered tierra caliente, but since it is right on the border, it is about the perfect temperature, 70 degrees.

Bogota is huge. Basically everywhere you look there is house that just crawl up the mountainside. It is awesome.

Another thing that is awesome is there is a lot of families in Bogota. It is really neat to go out and see dads teaching their kids how to play soccer. It is fantastic, and many of them are really nice. I love that about this city.

Food experience, yesterday I had a true empanada for the first time. Empandas are basically a small fried tortilla with meat on the inside. It is way good if you are starving. 

A cool saying I learned is called ´´éso´´ this literally translates as that, but the Elders use it for when something is awesome. Whenever we were finding out our new companions they would all shout ´´eso´´ or ´´esa´´ for hermanas. but it is sweet.

It has been pretty nice contacting, we get a lot of people. When we had our last contacting opportunity in the CCM we got around 500 contacts total. It was awesome. My old companion got called to that area, so he has a lot of refrences. But it was so cool to talk to all these families
In august it is kite flying month so everywhere in Bogotá there were a ton of kites flying, which is kinda weird that it is such  big deal.

Also, the first area you have is considered ´´where you were born´´ So i am being born in Fusa. I can't wait to start talking to all these people.

ON a down note, i have been quite sick for the past couple of days, just a bad head cold. Luckily it is starting to feel better, but it was a bit of a rough drive. 

Anyway, I better get going soon, but I love you all, thank you for all your prayers and support. I hope you guys have a fantastic week, and all goes well

Love,
Elder Parson


P.S. My pday is Monday

Elder Parson and his Trainer, Elder Beyler

Mission President Welcome and Instructions: August 24, 2016

Colombia, Bogotá, August 24th of 2016

Dear Family of Elder Parson:

We are President and Sister Baquerizo, from the Colombia Bogota South Mission, it is a pleasure to inform you that your son, Elder Parson, arrived well to our mission. We are very happy to share with him this wonderful time to share the gospel to these beautiful people.

He is well and happy to be here serving the Lord. We are sending you some pictures.

Thank you very much for all you have done to help him prepare to be in this wonderful time, we will be watching his progress and taking care of him.


With all our love,

President and Sister Baquerizo
Colombia Bogotá South Mission







In order to help you Support your missionary the best way possible, we have the following suggestions and instructions.

Write your Missionary every week
Missionaries love hearing from home. They love you and your letters cheer them up. Your letters and weekly emails can be very helpful to share news from home. Make sure to ask them about the work they are doing and the people they are teaching. They will love to hear your spiritual experiences, gospel studies and your efforts to share the gospel. Sometimes, a friend or family member may ask the missionary to access a webpage that is not “myldsmail.net” to see family photos, etc. Please, remember that your missionary is not allowed to access any other webpage.

To send letters:
Missionary’s Full Name
La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Últimos Días
Calle 72 # 10-07 oficina 303
Edificio Liberty Seguros
Bogotá - Colombia

“Dear Elder” Mail Service:
You can send free letters, using http://www.dearelder.com

Packages
Due to Colombia’s laws, packages weighing more than 4 lbs must pay expensive taxes, if you use standard mail service, the missionary must pay taxes locally and often it costs a lot. For this reason, we suggest you use DHL, because taxes will be paid by you when shipping.
Please do not ask your missionary to ask a member or investigator to receive the package in his name. Also don’t ask any Colombian Missionary serving where you live to bring packages to your missionary.

E-mail 5: August 16, 2016. Week five in the Bogota Columbia CCM (Missionary Training Center)

Hola Amigos!! 

So this week has flown by. Thank you so much for all your love and support, I definitely feel it throughout the week. 

Some cool experiences to share...

I can't remember if I talked about a man named Raul outside the fence or not, but we have been continuing to talk to him about the gospel. He has been reading the Book of Mormon, which has been fantastic! He really seems to like it and the Church's emphasis on families. It is amazing what the gospel can do. I really hope the missionaries can find him, but unfortunately in Bogota, the directions for addresses are really confusing. In one single block of neighborhoods there are about a thousand people that live there. It is incredible that so many people are near and haven't heard the gospel. But I am so grateful for the opportunity to share the gospel with these people.

Today we had the awesome opportunity to hear from Elder Whitney L. Clayton from the Presidency of the Seventy. It was so awesome to hear him speak. I had the opportunity to play the piano and accompany the chorus as we sang "Hark All Ye Nations" which was a testament to me as missionaries go out into the world to share this wonderful news of the gospel.  I was able to meet both him and his wife, and his wife asked me "Have you thanked your mom and you dad for making you practice?"  In case I haven't, thank you so much mom and dad. You have helped me so much and I feel the influence of your guidance every day.

I also had the opportunity to meet my Mission President, Presidente Baquerizo (I think that is how you spell his name).  He is an incredible man, and I cannot wait to serve with him. 

Some highlights of the week...

Last night we had banana bread, and unfortunately that is one of my favorite things my mom makes. I stuffed my face full of bannana bread, and had thirds, it was amazing!

I finally learned how to roll my "rrrssss".  OHHHHH what a blessing. It is so nice, and I hope it will continue to improve.

Me and some Elders in my district finally beat the maestros in soccer, a first in our history. It was so awesome!!

Thank you guys so much for your influence, you guys are amazing. Good luck with everyone starting college soon, I will make sure to pray for you. 

One thing in the devotional Hermana Baquirizo talked about enduring to the end means with joy. I have noticed that Spanish comes easier, the day goes faster, when we look for joy in our lives, which mostly comes from living the gospel and serving others. I am trying to apply this in my life.

Anyway, I love you guys.

Tienen fe
Esperanza
charidad,

and all things will work together for your good.

with love,


WeeElder Parson

E-Mail 4: August 9, 2016. Week four in the Bogota Columbia CCM (Missionary Training Center)

Hola mi amigos:

Como están? Thank you for all your wonderful emails, I have loved being able to read all of them. Anyway, the CCM is great, and I am going to just lay it all out.

We had the interesting experience of going to immigration this week, which was very difficult with our 3 weeks of Spanish under our belt. We spent about four hours there, waiting in line, but it was great to get our permanent visas. One amazing blessing we had after immigration was to have the single most American thing on the planet, a nice burger. We went to Burger King and it was one of the highlights of my mission so far. It is amazing that even a half decent burger can taste like heaven when you  haven't had almost anything American. But it was awesome!

I have had several great contacting experiences this week. Our CCM is surrounded by a gate, and during my Pday I was playing soccer, none to well I might add, and I headed the ball out as a goalie. I wish I could explain how that happened, but I am at a loss for words. Anyway, a young man named Jonathon went and picked up the ball and gave it back to us and we started talking with him. What a blessing it was that he was studying languages and he knew a little English. Me and another Elder, Elder Sorbonne, talked with him for about an hour.He was such a fantastic guy, so nice and respectful. It was great to just talk with him about the world and Bogota.  However he wasn't interested in joining any religions but he did believe in God. We bore our testimony, told him a little about our church, and gave him a Book of Mormon. The next day we got to talk with him again, which was fantastic. He even read the Book of Mormon, and had some questions, which we attempted to answer. He asked if we could teach him that night, but a rule in the CCM is you can't teach outside the gates.  And unfortunately that was his last night there, as he had school for the rest of the time. It was heartbreaking to hear, but we bore our testimonies, told him we would pray for him, and waved goodbye.  Sorry this is scattered, apparently on Spanish computers you cannot go back and erase. But he didn't want to meet with any other missionaries besides us. I hope and pray that he will read the Book of Mormon and be taught by its simple truths. I know that it will bless his life.

Another contacting experience is with a man named Raul, who we met outside the gate. He was way nice, and me and my companion stopped and talked with him for a little bit. We gave him a pass along card, and later in the day he stopped and talked with a couple of us about it, and he really liked it. We gave him a  Book of Morrmon, which he immediately started to read, and kept reading. We received his contact information, and it was so awesome!! There is such a great joy from sharing the gospel. 

Anyway, I am loving it down here. I hope all is going well with you guys, and thank you for the prayers. I apologize again for the horrible spelling, and for the changes in Espanol.  I am still learning.

One last piece of advice... if you can find arequippa, buy it. It is possible the best caramel known to man, and may become the death of me. I promise you won't regret it. 

Tienen
fe
esperanza
charidad
y todos las cosas 

will work together for your good. I will try to memorize that in Spanish.

Elder Parson


P.S. Attached our some pictures of our Pday activity.



Sunday, August 7, 2016

E-mail 3: August 2, 2016. Week Three in the Bogota Columbia CCM / MTC (Missionary Training Center)

Coma esta everyone?

Anyway i dont have a lot of time, so i am just going to jump on in.

I had a great week. One of the highlights was when i got to go proselytng on saturday. Please forgive my spelling it is kinda rough. It was so awesome being able to share this gospel that i love with everyone. Most people are really nice, but there are a ton of catholics. Almost everyone we talk to is one, but they are for the most part pretty friendly. Some people really don't like us, and will turn around in the streets and walk the other way if we see them. Anyway, during the proselyting activity, me and my companion talked to a lady and her mom at the end.  She wasn't very interested, but we gave her a pamphlet and bore testimony of the joy the gospel brings in our lives. After we left, another group  of elders in my district went and talked to her. She immediately started crying, and she took another pamphlet, and wrote down the contacts of all the members of her family, about 7. This was just a witness to me of the good i can do for others, even if they don't accept the gospel.

Anyway, on to a funny story.  When i was studying Spanish outside, a lady came up and had a question. She started crying, and i caught the words ´´bebe´´ and what i thought was the word for dying. She was speaking way fast, so i didn't really understand, but i attempted to tell her that God loves her, and that through his plan we can live with our families forever. I thought it was going great, until i caught the words carro and pago. It turns out that she was just looking for a ride or some money, to which i think was the hospital. She then quickly left once she found we didn't have either. My companion  was dying, and i felt pretty dumb. But all in all, it has been a great week.

Congrats to all my  friends that received their mission calls, that is fantastic. I know you will all be great missionaries. i love hearing from you all, you guys are so amazing.

Lately i have been reading "Our Search For Happiness" by M. Russell Ballard.  I love it, it has been so amazing.  If you have any questions about the church, please read it and your questions will be answered. Thank you  so much for all your love and support, you guys are great examples to me.

Love, 


Elder Parson