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...


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.