Monday, September 11, 2017

E-mail Week 60: September 11, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Que Dios los bendiga (have a great week).  

I love you.

Elder Parson

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

Colombian food -- bird and crocodile.

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

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

Playing pool.

Monday, September 4, 2017

E-mail Week 59: September 4, 2017.

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

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

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

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

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

I hope that you all have an amazing week. 

Sorry for the short email.

los amo mucho (love you very much),

chao pues (bye then),

Elder Parson

Thursday, August 31, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brother Serrano -- Baby Back Ribs American Style!

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

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

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

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

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


Elder Parson

Monday, August 21, 2017

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

Buenas tardes mis parceritos! 

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

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

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

I love you all.  Have a good day!

Elder Parson

Elder Damiano, my old Zone Leader

An awesome member who is going to Utah

Monday, August 14, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a fantastic week.

Elder Parson

Monday, August 7, 2017

E-mail Week 55: August 7, 2017

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

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

I love you guys so much!

Have a great week.

Elder Parson

Monday, July 31, 2017

E-mail Week 54: July 31, 2017. New Investigators.

So after realizing that my last emails have been bad, I am going to try and change so that this email is a little bit better.  First off, I am doing AWESOME!  The mission is still the best and my companion is such a stud and it going to keep being the best.  This week has been great!  We were able to find some more people and they are awesome!  I am constantly being amazed by the faith that people have.  But to start off, I would like to thank everyone for emailing me.  I love  your emails and I love you guys.  I am sorry if I don't answer all of you individually. 

So let's start off with the best part of this email, the investigators!!!

This week we were able to teach someone that came to church for the first time.  When we talked to her the first thing that she said was "Well I'm here to keep progressing in the gospel and get baptized".  My comp and I immediately started doing a "finger snap" (which I have no idea how to explain) because it was awesome.  She told us that she had been coming to church three years ago and was going to be baptized but couldn't because she left and couldn't find the church.  She told us that she has changed so much and it is really cool to see this change that comes from the gospel of Christ.  Whe now has a baptismal date for August 12th.

We also found someone else touching doors and it was something that really humbled me.  When he was younger, he got involved in narcotrafficking because he needed to provide for his family.  This happened in the jungle and someone ended up shooting him and he was left in a wheelchair for 20 years.  And then his wife left him because he was in a wheelchair.  Now, he's only able to walk using crutches.  We began teaching him and he wants to feel the love of God in his life and thank him more. It was incredible to see his faith.  On Sunday, he walked a mile to church using his crutches--this was very painful and it took him 45 minutes.  But he came ðŸ˜€ it was awesome.

Finally, Felix, our convert of one month, introduced us to his mom and we were able to teach her!
So all in all, a great week.  Also we were focusing a lot on how the Book of Mormon can change peoples' lives.  It really is one of God's greatest gifts to man, another testament of His glory and His divine power to change our lives.  And I have also learned about service--service through the application of gospel knowledge. It is really the greatest thing. I am not talking about service projects, but rather, allowing everyone to feel of our love--and this changes lives. 

Well, that's it until next week.

I love you all.

Elder Parson

Monday, July 24, 2017

E-mail Week 53: July 24, 2017. Norma's Faith to Obey The Word of Wisdom.

So this email is going to be quick, because I don't have time, but this week was great. 

We had 4 interchanges and I got to know all of our Zone.  I was in Melgar, which is a party city, but also looks like a jungle and is way pretty.  I also got to go to Espinal which is one of the hottest places in the mission.  It was way awesome to be in these intercambios.  I love all the Elders of our Zone and am so grateful to be with them and to learn from them.
Also we had a great experience with an investigador, Norma. She has been drinking coffee all her life, 4 times every day.  And we explained to her about the Word of Wisdom and she was quite surprised but she accepted so that she could be more in line with God. It was amazing to see her faith--that just to live God's commandments she was willing to change all the culture of her family. And I am so grateful for these amazing blessings that God has given me to know these people.

And that's it. 

I love you guys.

Elder Parson

This is Melgar, a baptism that we had in the District.

Our group of Elders after transfers.

Monday, July 17, 2017

E-mail Week 52: July 17, 2107

Buenas tardes, como vamos?

How is everyone doing?  I hope that you are all doing well.  I am doing fantastic!!!! 

So this week we were able to go on a lot of visits thanks to a convert whose name is Camilo.  It is incredible to see how much the gospel has changed him.  His life before was crazy, he lived in a really dangerous part of Bogota and has had a fair amount of difficulties but now he is devoted to the gospel.  We were able to visit a lot of people and it was so cool to hear him bear his testimony. Also we had a multizone conference in Ibague, an awesome city two hours away.  It was so awesome to see some friends that I have been with and to also hear President Baquerizo and his wife talk to us.  I love them so much. We also gave a training to the Zones about the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I have realized that many times I teach a lesson just focusing on faith or repentance without mentioning one of the greatest stories known to man, about God and Jesus Christ appearing to a young boy to answer his question and about Christ revealing more of His word to a young boy, to a darkened world to help us improve more in the Doctrine of Christ and to teach us how we can obtain every answer to our questions. It is truly incredible. I hope to be able  to testify to all of this amazing story that has brought such joy to me and my family.

Also another part of the training was focused on how we obtain the power of Christ in our lives.  He has all power and we can obtain this power.  Hermana Baquerizo told us the first part to obtain this power is to learn about Christ.  It is so true.  I was studying all the topics on Christ in the topical guide (a reference guide for the Book of Mormon and the Bible) and it was amazing how much I learned.  I learned how I can follow his example better and I am so much happier as well.

Well that's all the time I have.  I hope all of you have a great week and remember, Christ loves you!

Con mucho amor,

Elder Parson

Ward Mission Leader

The Girardot Zone

Elder Palma (Ibague Zone Leader) and Elder Ribeiro

Monday, July 10, 2017

E-mail Week 51. July 10, 2017.

So this week has flown by but it's been really good. I am sorry, I never have enough time because P-day goes by so fast. But this week we had the opportunity to go up to Bogota and have intercambios with the Assistentes which was awesome!  I was with Elder Valverde from Ecuador and we had a blast. Although we were kind of sick, we were able to go out and proselyte. It is quite interesting--in Bogota, the people are quite closed off and it is difficult to try and talk to them. And they also think that we are thieves so they get scared and often jump away.  But we talked with so many people.  It was quite funny, we got rejected and rejected, chased by someone who told us that what we were doing was awful, and the rejected some more, but it was a way funny experience. I used to think when we are getting rejected it is because we are doing something wrong, but now I realize that when we are rejected, it is just another way to testify of Jesus Christ.  Needless to say, I love Elder Valverde.  We had a great time. 

Also we had an Open House at the church this week that was way successful. We had a ton of people that came to learn more about the gospel and about the church. It was awesome to see that when members invite their friends to learn about the gospel, many love the message. It was super fun!

For P-day today, we went to a different town called Chicoral and hiked. I got fried but it was way fun. 

Well my friends, that's all the time I've got.  

Have a fantastic week!

Monday, July 3, 2017

E-mail Week 50: July 3, 2017. Felix Sneider's Baptism.

So this week was another great week.  We had the amazing opportunity to go up to Bogota and receive training from our awesome Mission Presidente, Presidente Baquerizo. He has helped me so much in the mission and I was so happy to hear him. He talked a lot about goals, that sometimes we plan to find many investigators or to baptize three people in a month, but then after making those plans we never go back to review them. I realized that I am struggling with this. But we made the effort to always plan for our goals. We have put the goal of 6 baptisms in the next 3 months, which I have never had happen, but when we started to always plan for our goals, about who we needed to work with, or who we needed to find, we were blessed with a baptism!!!!!  It was an amazing opportunity to see the blessings of the Lord in my life. 

Felix Sneider was baptized and he is one of the most prepared persons that I have seen for baptism. He had been coming to church since January but the missionaries didn't visit him until my companion found out that he wasn't a member of the church. He was ready to make some changes  in his life and was so excited for his baptism. We were going to plan it for the next week and we asked him what he thought but he said "No, I am ready now."  And then he got baptized on Saturday.  It was such a neat experience and it all came from his friend inviting him to learn more about the gospel. We can never know when someone is ready, all we have to do is do our part so that they know about the gospel. 

I love you guys so much.  Thank you for your prayers.  This week I definitely felt lifted up by them. Please keep sharing the amazing light of Christ that I know you have to brighten a darkened world.

With a lot of love,

Elder Parson

Felix Sneider Baptism

Monday, June 26, 2017

E-mail Week 49: June 26, 2017.

So this email will just be a whole bunch of photos because I haven't been able to send a lot the past few weeks. But this week was awesome. We were able to have a lot of intercambios (interchanges), which I love. Interchanges are when we go to different areas and are with different missionaries for 3 days. I first was with Elder Salazar from Peru in my area. This guy is a stud.  I love him because he really changed his life with the gospel. The only thing he wants is to be the best missionary and he has a powerful testimony of the Atonement of Christ. After that we had an intercambio with Elder Ribeiro from Brazil. This guy is crazy but is such a stud! He has about the same time in the mission as I do but he is so fun to talk to. He is so awesome to contact with​.  I also had an intercambio with Elder Monson.  He was with me in the CCM (Missionary Training Center) and I haven't seen him for over six months. But he is so awesome. He is opening an area that is a small farm town and is doing awesome. It was so fun to be with him, talking about the experiences that we have had in the mission. It is super sad to think that we almost have a year in the mission because it has been so awesome to serve the Lord this year. And we want to keep serving Him with all our might. But he is such a good example for me and I am so grateful for the time I had. 

Well it looks like I am out of time.  I hope you guys have a fantastic day. 

I love you.

District in Neiva

Friends in Neiva

Members in Neiva

Members in Neiva

Monday, June 19, 2017

E-mail Week 48: June 19, 2017. Getting to know our new Zone.

Buenos tardes!  This week has been crazy, but awesome! I will just start right in. So this week we have been traveling a lot. In our Zone, there 16 missionaries but they live in outlying towns.  So we went to their houses and helped them clean a little bit.  We also helped Elders find their houses as many are training and opening the area.  But it has been awesome here. Our branch has about 140 people attending and  missionaries work there. We have been learning a lot about the area because my companion has only been here for 3 weeks so we are learning a lot together.  My companion is awesome, although he looks like he's from China, he's from Lima, Peru.   He is a stud!  He is way funny and way energetic.  It has been way fun to teach with him.  Also we have found some awesome people this week.  One is named Diana and she has a baptismal date for July 8th.  If all goes well, she will be able to reach her date.  We are hoping for a lot of baptisms in the zone this week and should have five if all goes well.

Well my time is basically up but I hope all is going well and I hope you know how much I love you. 

Have a great week!


Elder Parson

Colombian steak and sausage called rellena which is pig's blood in rice

The others are part of the Z
Colombian steak and sausage called rellena which is pig's blood in rice.

Part of our Zone enjoying lunch.

Preparation Day Soccer.

Monday, June 12, 2017

E-mail Week 47: June 13, 2017. Out of the frying pan...and into the fire. Transfers to Girardot to work with Elder Roque.

So this week has been awesome... we had a fantastic week to end the transfers.  We found some awesome families and finally received some referrals from the Ward.  And the coolest part, MARIA CONSUELO GOT BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  That was  such an awesome experience. She really was a miracle. She was a reference that we had been looking for for two months, and one day we got a prompting to go look for her in the farm part of our area. While we were down there contacting, we felt impressed to ask  a lady if she knew a Maria Consuelo -- and it was her! She was so ready for her baptism, especially after the death of her son and ever since she has been coming to church, she hasn't cried for her son and has felt more peace.  It was an awesome baptismal service and she invited all her family. Also, the family Chicas Arias has been coming to church for 2 Sundays and they are loving it. It really hurts me that we didn't go back for them earlier, but I am very happy knowing they will follow the Gospel.

So about the subject line of this email...we had transfers last night. I was very sure that I was going to Bogota, because normally missionaries only stay in the hot areas  of the mission for 8 months and I have 10 months.  So I was really surprised when I got the transfer call to Giradot, which is the hottest zone in all the mission...and as Zone Leader.  I thought my Zone Leader was pulling my leg so I didn't think we had transfers, and then I received the call that yes I am going to Giradot and yes I will be Zone Leader.  It is amazing how inadequate I feel about that. But right now I am here in  Giradot and I am way excited to work here with my new companion Elder Roque.  Although I know I lack a whole lot, if there is anything I have learned on my mission, it is that through the Gospel of Christ, we can achieve all things.

I was quite sad to leave Las Palmas after the amazing relationships that I had with the members and with the investigadores, but I am sure that my companion will be able to take care of them.  I am so grateful for the Lord and Him giving me the opportunity to serve there.

Thank you for all your prayers and  support.  Once again, I can't send pictures because of Colombian computers; but I would just like to leave with my testimony.  I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior, that He died for us and left us the perfect example to live a perfect life. And the mission is the best because it is the opportunity to testify  of Christ in word and in deed. I am so grateful for this opportunity--especially when today I have been serving for 11 months. 

I love you guys,

Elder Parson

Monday, June 5, 2017

E-mail Week 46: June 5, 2017.

So this week went by pretty fast.  To kinda change things up from what I normally write about, I will give a quick rundown of my week.
Tuesday we were preparing one of our investigators for her baptismal date.  It is amazing to see her faith. She doesn't have any money and is barely getting by trying to raise her 3 grandkids because her daughter is in prison. We also were able to teach 7 new investigators this week, one of them being the family Arias who I believe I have talked about. They are awesome and they came to church this week. They have been searching for a church for a while and really are doing their part to find out if the church is true.

We spent Wednesday walking and trying to do daily verification to make sure our investigators are progressing. We were able to teach a sister of the family Avila Garzon who is an awesome family that wants us to pass all the time. The problem with this family is they are way way Catholic but we are trying to get the Ward involved so they can come.

On Thursday, we did a lot of studies and had the interview for Maria Counsuelo who will be getting baptized the next Saturday.

Friday was the District Meeting and we were able to find another family who were way excited to hear our message at first, but after a little bit, the mom left, the daughter was on her phone and the other two were trying to listen to us in a busy street. But hopefully we will be able to pass by and teach them later
Saturday  we were able to find a menos activo of 10 years when we were walking with a member. It was awesome because he wanted to hear the missionaries again and wanted his wife to hear us. So we were able to teach them and they are an awesome family.

Sunday we had 2 people at church and we spent the day talking and teaching members.

Overall this week was awesome.  We have some great investigadores who are progressing and others that after one visit have told us that they don't want anything. But I am very grateful to still be here in Neiva.  The ward has been great and have really been helping our investigators. It has been weird to think that this could be my last week in Neiva.  After spending 6 months in this city, it has really become my second home. I am so grateful to the Lord for having put me here.

I love you guys.  Have a great week. I am sorry there aren't pictures but my computer won't allow it.

Elder Parson

Monday, May 29, 2017

E-mail Week 45: May 29, 2017.

So this email will be way short because I was kinda busy putting in referrals.

Nothing of interest really happened this week. We had a fairly good week and our Zone is doing awesome. We found a lot of new investigators and were able to help them. We went on a intercambio with the Zone Leaders which was awesome. I was with Elder Damiano from Atlanta and it was so much fun!  I learned so much from him.  He is such a well rounded missionary who is involved in all aspects of the work. 

I wish I could write more, but the time goes by so fast. I hope you all have a great week. 

Love you guys, 

Elder Parson

Monday, May 22, 2017

E-mail Week 44: May 22, 2017.

So this week went by way fast, but it was awesome. After coming ofg a great Sunday with a Mothers Cay call, we had another awesome opportunity to hear Elder Hugo Montoya from the Quorum of the Seventy. He taught us a lot of things about how we can gain more power and authority with our callings. I also had the opportunity to go to Ibague, which is another zone 3 hours from ours and it is so pretty. I also had the opportunity to see some of my old friends that are going to be dying soon (or ending the mission) and see Elder Campos, my friend from Bolivia and Elder Hess. It is so awesome to see these guys and I am so grateful to serve with them .

This week we had an awesome opportunity to find a family who really wants to change. It was really a huge blessing because the wife was an old contact in the street. We were visiting an investigador and we asked who else we could teach. And he showed us to his neighbor. And the even better part is that both of these people own restaurants so sometimes we get free food!  But anyway, this family that we found has such a desire to find the truth. We left them the assignment to read about the Plan of Salvation and when we came back they had read and they asked us "So what really happens to us after we die?"  That was fun to answer. They aren't married but I am so grateful to see their real desires to change. They came to church and and are excited to continue learning. 

Just before I end, I would like to quote something the Mission President's wife said:  "We all know that we will have the opportunity to be celestial beings in the next life, but would you like to be celestial beings now?"  And the way we do that is by abandoning all of our sins and changing all the things we need to change by repenting.  And it is such a great joy that fills our lives when we do. 

I love you guys, have a great day

Elder Parson

Elder Campos

The Zone Having Dinner

Neiva, Colombia

Neiva, Colombia

Monday, May 15, 2017

E-mail Week 43: May 15, 2017.

Well, this week was obviously the best, because I got to call my beautiful mother and family! It was so awesome to be able to talk to you guys. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH

Entonces, this week was pretty interesting.  We have been working pretty hard to get a lot of people married and baptized these past few weeks and this week basically half of them decided to stop listening. That was kinda hard but it is good that now we have the opportunity to find some more people. So this week we have been looking for a lot of people to teach. It was pretty awesome.  One day, a member bought us arepas.  

So we went to eat arepas late at night and we were able to talk to the shop owners and share a quick message. Then a day later, we had a lesson with them and were able to place a baptismal date with him. It was awesome to see how humbly he accepted the date--that it was just a way to change his life. That is our goal on the mission, to find people that are ready now to change and to allow the Gospel of Jesus Christ to influence their lives.

I know this may sound random, but for some reason it just clicked with me about what our mission is. I would often get frustrated when we couldn't find people, when people didn't come to Church and when people didn't get baptized.  I would get really  depressed.  But then I realized that my job is to invite as many people to Christ as possible in this short time of two years. My purpose is to be as persistent as possible to help people change their lives and to live God's commandments in my life. If I am doing this, I am successful. So now, if we have the appointments falling through, or if no one wants to listen to us, I am happy to find the one person who really needs the gospel in their lives. God respects agency, but when we use our agency to follow His plan, that is when He rejoices with us. 

Thank you for your prayers.  I can really feel them lifting me up in my times of need.  I hope you all have a great day and especially the Moms, to remember the important and sacred opportunity that you have to raise your kids. You really are what shapes our lives. Thank you for your amazing examples.

Les amo, que esten bien

Elder Parson

Monday, May 8, 2017

E-mail Week 42: May 8, 2017. Following the Spirit....

This email will be really short, honestly because I don't remember what happened. This week has just gone way too fast. So this week we have been trying to visit a lot of members.  The Ward has been losing a lot of people and so we are trying to help them. It was awesome.  More people are coming to church and we are trying to have activities every week. This week we are having a trompo tournament, which is like a version of yo yo here. I have no idea how to play but I am hoping to learn.

Also, we had an interesting experience.  We were just walking to an appointment when I felt the need to visit one of our investigators. She lived kinda far but we went and visited her and she was so happy.  She told us that she had had problems with her husband and was going to make some rash decisions. She said it was a miracle that we came.  That has been the greatest blessing to me in the mission--being guided by the spirit to bless other peoples' lives.  I know that when we follow the spirit, when we have the courage to follow His promptings, we can follow the plan of God more closely. 

This week has been good for investigators.  We have some awesome families, but as always the problem is marriage.  But if they have a testimony of the gospel, I know that one day, they will be able to be baptized.

Thank you for all your prayers, I definitely feel them.  When I am tired or discouraged, I always feel an uplifting hand.  I hope you have a fantastic week.

Love you all.
sigue en el camino del Evangelio

Elder Parson

Elder Hoopes before his transfer.

Elder Hess before his transfer.

Happy Birthday to our Zone Leader.

Some cows randomly walking down the street.