Monday, August 29, 2016
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.
y todos las cosas saldrán por su bien
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
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
P.S. My pday is Monday
Elder Parson and his Trainer, Elder Beyler
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
Calle 72 # 10-07 oficina 303
Edificio Liberty Seguros
Bogotá - Colombia
Bogotá - Colombia
“Dear Elder” Mail Service:
You can send free letters, using http://www.dearelder.com
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.
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.
and all things will work together for your good.
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.
y todos las cosas
will work together for your good. I will try to memorize that in Spanish.
P.S. Attached our some pictures of our Pday activity.
Sunday, August 7, 2016
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.
How is everyone. Thank you so much for your emails, I will try to answer them, but I don`t get a whole lot of time to write. Anyway, i am just going dive on in with some experiences i have had this week.
So Spanish has been a little difficult, who knew. However, the Latinos are great helpers in forcing us to use the language. In Spanish, when one wants to say ``What`s up`` it normally translates to ``que paso``. We, as a district, have been trying to start the saying of ``que es arriba`` which directly translates as whats up. When we tell this to most of the Latinos, many of them will look hesitantly at the ceiling. It is quite hilarious. However, it is beginning to catch on, and even some of the maestros are using it.
I had the opportunity to play the piano in sacrament meeting which was a huge blessing. However, the last song was "Called to Serve". I went up, played my two verses, and began turning around to sit down, when I realized that the congregation was still singing. Apparently there are 4 verses of "Called to Serve" in Spanish. It was quite embarrassing, but I was able to fix my mistake fairly fast. It still was quite a shock. I now appreciate my mom forcing me to practice all those years for a purpose. I am very grateful to be able to play now.
These have been some of the many great experiences I have had, and also many humbling ones. It has been tough with Spanish, and teaching in Spanish is nearly impossible. However, I know with the Lord`s help, He will be able to make my Spanish into something of use.
I love you all. Thank you for your prayers.
"and all things will work together for your good". I know this is certainly the case for me.
Until next week
Hola amigos y familia!!
So this has been a crazy week in the CCM or MTC for all you none spanish speakers. Sorry if the writing is bad, i am typing on a spanish keyboard and it is a little different. Anyway, so Colombia! What a fantastic place! I am aleady growing to love the people. I don't know where to begin.... Let's start with my amazing district! there are 11 of us, 7 from utah. They are all way awesome, and we are all going to the same mission. It will be great to spend the next few years with them.
On to the spanish. I wish i could say that taking four years i spanish would've prepared me for this, but i learned more in the first 4 hours than i did in all my years of school. It definately is a lot harder than i thought it would be, but being with amazing latinos in my room as definately helped me learn the language. The latins here are such great examples to me. Many of them are 20 or 22, and have been preparing for a long time to go. They are way funny too! some of the things they do are have competitions to see who can gargol their mouthwash the longest. They call us nortes, meaning from the north, and if we are from utah they call us the la fabrica, which means the factory, for producing missionaries. My roomates are Elder Castillo, Elder Coches, Elder Guiterrez and Elder Flores. They are all amazing.
The food. The food is amazing down here! For some reason, down here fruit is way different, in all going to the same mission, so it will be a blast to a fantastic way! The fruit is full of flavor, i don't know how i lived without it. The other food has been different as well, just the past day i had pig skin, which isn't too bad. I would love to send pictures of the food, but i can only take pictures on pdays.
On to some spiritual experiences. The day we landed in colombia was way late at night. We went through customs, got our money, and hoped on a bus. The bus was packed with north american missionaries and latino missionaries. On the way to the CCM we all started to sing the hymns in our native tongue. The spirit was so strong as we sang Called to Serve. I am so grateful for the power of song and the amazing power it has. It was so incredible to feel the spirit and burning desire of each missionary as we began our mission.
Our district was able to teach an investigator for a little bit, in English gratefully. It was so great to hear all of their amazing testimonies. I felt quite inadequate in mine as i attempted to testify of the gospel, but I knew that the Lord would carry it into the heart if i tried my best. I am so grateful for all of his help.
Last but not least, my companion shared a great scripture that i would like to share with all of you. By the way, my companion is from Bountiful Utah, Elder Duerden. What an awesome dude! I am so grateful to be his companion, he has been such a great example to me.
Anyway, he shared this scripture with me. D and C (i have not found any way to get my computer to use parenthesis or and symbols so) los cientos, D and C 121 verses 7 through 9. I know that all my adversities, through spanish and through learning the gospel will all be for some good. when my companion shared this with me, the spirit hit me like a wave. I felt God`s love so much. I know, that whenever we are struggling, if we pray to Heavenly Father, and ask for his help, HE WILL HELP US.
I love you all. Thank you for being such great friends and family and helping me get to this point. You guys are so amazing. Thanks again for everything.
and all things shall work together for your good.
untill next week,
Photos from the Bogota Columbia Temple
E-mail Arrival: July 13, 2016, Hola from Bogota, Columbia
Hola mi familia!!
I am doing fantastic here in Bogota. The country is amazing and beautiful.
So a quick update about my day. Yesterday we arrived at the Bogota airport at 9:45 PM, and we were placed on a bus with native missionaries. In my district there are 11 of us elders, all going to the South mission. They are all amazing, and such studs!
My companion is Elder Duerden from Bountiful, and it has been great learning with all of these amazing elders. I will send pictures later, as I do not have a lot of time. one cool experience was while we were on the bus, we were conversing with the native companions in a version of Spanglish, and we all sang hymns on the way to the CCM in our native tongue. what a great spiritual experience.
We have native companions in our dormitorios, so we are being introduced to the language really quick. It has been a fantastic time. A quick food report for breakfast is that the fruit is delicious. I have discovered that i really like papaya. Anyway, i am loving this opportunity, and love the MTC.
My preparation day is Tuesday, so it will be a while before i email back. I love you all, thanks so much for all the love and support.
adios por seis dias.
P.S. the weather is fantastic, a solid 50 degrees, could not be better.