Monday, January 30, 2017

E-mail 29: January 30, 2017. Seven investigators attended church.

Well this week went awesome and I have a ton to write.  As you guys know, there is never enough time. But this week was great, but my dad would like me to write a little bit about my daily schedule, and only because it is his BIRTHDAY this week, I will comply with him. JK, dad, I love you and happy birthday!

My daily schedule is wake up at 6:30, workout, eat, and shower for the day. At 8 we start our studies: personal, companionship and language.  At 11 we leave to work. We have actually been having lessons for the morning, so at 12:30 we go to lunch. After lunch, from about 1:30 to 3:30, we are contacting or knocking doors for most of this time. After that, it is quite busy.  We are in lessons with investigators and with members for most of the night. We do walk quite a bit, there aren't buses here very often and sometimes the citas are about 1 to 2 miles from each other, so we end up walking  a fair amount. Here we actually don't eat dinner because there is just to much to do.  So when we get back to the house at 9:15, normally after a lesson, we plan till about 9:45 and then we make a quick snack.

But this week I want to focus on our investigators. The Lord really blessed us this week. For some reason, this week I didn't feel like I was on top of my game, I felt that I was lacking. We have a lot of investigators that we are teaching but are not progressing. But this week I decided to fast. And wow, did the blessings come. We had one family that we are teaching come to church--a single mom and her 3 kids, and they are reading the Book of Mormon and progressing so well. They have a baptismal date for the 18th. Then we had some contacts that have been coming to church for the past two weeks and they want to get married. And that never happens.  Here in Colombia there are people that have been together for 35 years and still don't want to get married to each other. Then we had some menos activos come to church and their son isn't a member, and we have been able to teach him. It has been such a great week. We had 7 investigators come to church which I have never had happen in all my mission. It was such a blessing and I am so grateful for the opportunity to fast. It is always really hard, but when we put God's will before our own, the blessings always come. 

Although this week was definitely hard, I don't know why I felt so off.  I know that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, I can change my bad desires and become better. I can become a better son of God. And there is no better place to improve than in Neiva, Huila, Colombia. 

I hope you all have a great day and can feel of the love your savior has for you.

quë estén bién y tengan una fantastica semana.


Elder Parson.

Enjoying American food.

Elder Thompson and Elder Parson enjoying American food.

Elder Thompson and Elder Parson

Missionaries in the Zone.

Elder Thompson and Elder Parson with Gospel Principles class members in Neiva Ward.

American food stash.

Drowsy Elder Parson.

Monday, January 23, 2017

E-mail 28: January 23, 2017. Cameos....Elder Thompson..,Jose Arley Baptism

So this week was really interesting. I was just finishing writing my group  email last week when we got a call  from the zone leaders to have interviews with the President. During the interview, he told me that i would be getting a new companion, Elder Thompson. And now I have 5 months in the field, and 5 companions. And I promise I haven't punched any of them, maybe😉 

I was really sad to see Elder Vega go, he had to leave for health reasons, but I am loving it here in Neiva with my new companion. Honestly, he is one of the craziest people I have ever met, but he is awesome! He is so cool, he has had a difficult life, but he loves the mission! He has 14 months in the mission and he actually trained someone from my group. I am learning so much from him.

But here in Neiva things are going really well. First things first, we had a baptism! His name is Jose Arley and has been investigating the church for 5 months. He has had a really hard life and has had to make some very big changes. It has been amazing to witness the power of the Atonement in his life. He had been struggling with temptations for a very long time, so we called him almost every night to make sure he had read the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon has such a great power in our lives. I know that whenever I have had temptation, that when I need help, all I need to do is just turn to the Book of Mormon. It has such great power to transform our lives. It is amazing to see here, that whatever doubts or questions that people have, if they will just read the Book of Mormon, they begin to feel their questions being answered. 

And to end on a happy note, this week while we were filling up the baptismal font some ladies came up to us and asked if they could have our palomas, which are pigeons. I was so confused, why would anyone wants pigeons. They explained to us that the baby pigeons are really good to make a soup as a remedy for cancer. We were thinking "well, we dont need the pigeons" so we went up close to the roof and helped take the baby pigeons from their nests, and then our neighbors took them away to make soup. Definately one of the strangest times of my mission, and I do feel a little bad that now I am a murderer of 2 baby pigeons.

But this week has been great. I am loving Colombia, my companion, and this great work of the Lord.  I hope you all have a fantastic week, and feel the love that the Lord has for you. 


Elder Parson.

P.S. the pictures are from the baptism, and when my companion and I found some amazing cookies with milk

Jose Arley Baptism.

Jose Arley and his children.

Elder Thompson and Elder Parson enjoying cookies and milk.

Monday, January 16, 2017

E-mail 27: January 15, 2017. This week went way too fast

Well, this week I completed six months in the mission. And quite honestly, just like the subject of this email, they have gone way too fast. 

I am loving it here in Neiva.

This week I had intercambios with my district leader and also with the assistants. It was a way fun intercambio and we had an awesome day. Unfortuately we didn't have a lot of investigators assisting this week, but we are going to have a baptsim this week. His name is Jose Arley and he has been investigating the church for 5 months. He has had a really hard life and it is so gratifying to see the power of the Atonement in his life. He really wants to be baptized and be given the gift of the Holy Ghost to resist temptaion. I wish I had the same desire that he has when I was baptized.

This week with the Assistants was crazy. I was with Elder Stewart, who actually was born in Layton, but lives in Colorado. He is such a stud and it was an awesome intercambio. Sorry, inteercambio is exchanges. But we were able to witness a miracle. While we were walking to an appointment, we saw two young boys carrying wood and decided to help them.  We took the wood to their house and talked with the mom and we were able to plan an appointment for the next day. The next day we were able to have a lesson and we found that they are a family of 7, the oldest kid is 18 and the youngest 8;  .and they all have their own bibles. We were able to put a baptismal date with the parents and I am so happy for them. They want to find out for themselves if the Book of Mormon is true, which is perfect, because it is!

I am loving the mission life and am sad to see it go. I hope you guys know how much I love you. It is hard not being with my family or my friends everyday, but the work of the Lord is the work of Eternity, of happiness, of joy. And I am so grateful to be a part of it.  Thank you for your prayers.  I hope you all have a great day.

With all my love,

Elder Parson

A few questions my Mom asked me to answer:

1.   The weather actually has been pretty good the past couple of days. Hot but not unbearable.

2.   For P-day, I played soccer again, cut my hair, bought food, and am writing you. I am beginning to love soccer, it is quite fun.

3.  I didn't have anything interesting to eat, but on Sunday we were able to eat an entire chicken, like a turkey, that was way good.

4.  We have a washer in our apartment.

5.  People in Neiva are a lot more open.  This week we had 17 new investigators--it is just really hard to get  people to come to church. But  they are all way nice.

6.  We   always have juice of some kind, mostly mango.

7.  I am working out everyday and trying to eat really healthy, but have gained some weight, I think because we drink a ton of juice with a lot of sugar, or soda, in the houses of the members.

This picture is with a family that are such studs, where, I am ashamed to admit, that I ate 4 pieces of chicken and an entire loaf of bread.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

E-mail 26: January 9, 2017. Neiva Zone Missionaries find 123 New Investigators.

This week was one of the best and difficult week of my mission. I am loving the mission life and it is crazy to think that this week I will have completed one-fourth of my mission. Man does the time fly. But I am doing well here in Neiva.

First off, the zone here is awesome! We have about 6 gringos in the zone and we are playing soccer almost every p-day and we are beating the Latinos, something that never happens. This week our zone did amazing, we found 123 new investigators in one week, and last month they found 123 in three weeks. It is so awesome to be feeling this kind of energy--that we are here working hard. 

Neiva is awesome. It is way relaxed here, everyone is way nice and we are able to talk to a lot of people. We found 15 new investigators this week, but none of them came to church.  This is kinda frustrating because if they won't come to church, they can't progress and be baptized.  But we are working really hard here to have investigators progress and be baptized.

This week we were working really hard with one less active family. It is really sad, he was the Bishop 5 years ago and all of his family was way active in the church, but right now they are all inactive. We had a lot of lessons with them to help them come back.  I felt the spirit so strong, testifying to them that they need to come back to church, that God wants them on his side;  and they came to Church!!! After about a year, it was so awesome, although we didn't have investigators, we were able to see this less active family, 8 people, all dressed up to go to church. 

My purpose as a missionary is to invite all people to come to Christ, whether they are less active, members, or are investigators. And the best part, is that this is message is of joy. The less active have already seen the great blessings of this gospel. I love the talk by M. Russell Ballard, "To Whom Sahll We Go", I think that is the name of the talk in English...  What other church has these marvelous blessings of the gospel, of eternal families, and of a loving Heavenly Father.  How grateful I am to be able to proclaim these great truths to the people here in Neiva.

I love you guys so much. Even though I am way far away, I can feel your love and prayers. I hope you guys have a fantastic week, and I hope you know that I love you. 

With all my love
Elder Parson

P.S. This week, I did have an interesting experience, with the ex Bishop.  I had the opportunity to eat chicken feet. Yes--actual chicken feet. And to tell you the truth, it wasn't that bad!

sorry about not having pictures.

Monday, January 2, 2017

E-mail 25: January 2, 2017. 13 Investigators found in Neiva

Well, I am really sorry about this email.  It will mostly just be pictures, because I lost track of the time. I hope you all had a fantastic New Years.  This week was great. We found 13 new investigators which I  have never done before. 

New Years was awesome.  We were able to eat dinner with a member which was awesome, a ton of meat, and when you are always hungry like me, it was fantastic.

New Year's Eve
Neiva is fantastic--it is part city (kinda like California) and the other part is jungle. I never thought I would appreciate a fan this much.

I am excited to work really hard in the Neiva Zone and with the Ward.  I am sorry that I don't have time to write more but I hope everyone has a fantastic day!  I can feel your prayers and love you with all my heart.

The Neiva Zone

Elder Parson

Sunday, January 1, 2017

E-mail 24: December 27, 2016. New Area: Neiva, Colombia.

First off, Merry Christmas everyone, I hope you had a fantastic day! 

My Christmas went really well.  The Lord helped us have 5 investigators at church, which was awesome. Christmas Eve was good.  We were able to have dinner with the Bishop -- some of the most food I've had in my life.

Christmas Dinner with Fusa Bishop's Family and Companion Elder Callejas from Venezuela 
And then went home early -- we had to be home by 8:00 PM to open a few presents.  Thank you MOM and MISSIONARY MOMS. I thought all was going well and just as we were getting ready for bed, the Zone Leaders called me. They told me that I am going to Neiva, and right now, I am talking to you from Neiva. And it is awesome!!

I was way sad to leave Fusa.  I started crying a little bit when saying goodbye to the members. They will always have a spot in my heart and I can't wait to return one day.  It was such a great area to begin my mission.  The members  are fantastic and I am so grateful for the Lord for giving me this opportunity.

But now on to Neiva.  This is the farthest spot south of the mission.  It was 7 hours in a bus from Bogota.  And it is hot. I am kinda dying right now--it is about 105 with 100 percent humidity.  It also is the only Stake in all of the "hot land" in my mission.  But the people here are awesome.  We've already had two lessons.  I am way excited to start working here with my new companion, Elder Vega from Ecuador.  He is such a stud.  Where he is from in Ecuador, they keep their hair in a braid all their life, so he has a braid and speaks in Quechua.  He has been in the mission for about a year and I am learning a lot from him.

New companion in Neiva -- Elder Vega from Equador
And of course, it was so awesome to talk to my family from SKYPE.  It was so awesome to finally be able to see them after all this time.  I love them so much and can't wait to talk to them again.  It definitely was the fastest 40 minutes of my mission.

I hope every every single one of you had a great Christmas. We had an activity with the ward that went awesome, and it is so awesome to celebrate the birth of Christ--that through Him, we can all find peace on earth and good will to men.

Have a fantastic week,

With love,

Elder Parson

Family Post: December 25, 2016. Christmas Day SKYPE Call. Transfer to Neiva, Colombia.

The highlight of Christmas 2016 was the opportunity to talk with Elder Parson via SKYPE.

40 minutes has never passed so quickly.  Other than weekly e-mails and occasional letters, missionaries are only able to talk with their families twice per year for 40 minutes:  Christmas and Mothers Day.  This helps missionaries stay focused on their missionary service.

Elder Parson is doing GREAT!  He seems very happy and loves Colombia and the people.

It was fun to see him interact with his companion who was also SKYPING with his family at the same time.

When Alex saw his sisters, he said, "Wow, you are so pretty".  It's been a huge adjustment for Rachel, Alex and Marisa (three best friends) to be separated for the past 5+ months.

We love and miss our missionary and pray each day for his health, safety, happiness and missionary success.

During our call, Elder Parson told us that he was being transferred to a new area, Neiva, Colombia.

He left for a 10 hour bus-ride shortly after we finished our call at 3:30 PM on Christmas day.

E-mail 23: December 19, 2016. Esteban's Baptism. Jesus Christ's Atonement in my life.

This week was really good and really hard. Thank you for all the amazing Christmas wishes, I can definitely feel your love here in Colombia.

This week I had the opportunity to baptize a kid named Esteban who is a baptism from the Hermanas in the Ward. It was definitely an awesome experience that he could make this decision at 12 years old to be baptized. I am grateful the Lord has given me this opportunity.

Esteban's Baptism.  Fusagsuga, Colombia.  December 2016.
This week went well, we had a ton of lessons, and I was way excited for Sunday. Right now, we have about 8 investigators that can be baptized in January -- and I am so excited.  But this week one of our golden investigators, Gloria y Edilberto (came to church last week, have been reading the Book of Mormon for a long time, and had a baptismal date for the 31 de Diciembre) told us that they were going on vacation with their son for Christmas and wouldn't return until February. I was way sad but I am glad that they are going to read the Book of Mormon and they still want to be baptized.

When Sunday came around, only two of our investigators came to church. We have been calling this one family everyday for the past week and they have been reading and praying about the Book of Mormon and they told us they were going to church Sunday. But then they didn't come. And the two investigators who were there had to leave to help their kids who were sick so they aren't progressing. And the family that didn't come to church, as it turns out, went to another church and really liked it. So we will see what will happen with them. 

Anyway, all these things built up on Sunday and quite honestly, I was really mad.  I was mad at practically everyone, and I didn't have a desire to do anything.  I was mad at our investigators for not coming, for some members that weren't helping, overall not being as a missionary should.  I knew I had to do something to change. After church we went back to our house to change out of our suits, and I said a prayer.  I asked my Father in Heaven for his help--that through the Atonement of his Son, my brother, Jesus Christ, this anger that I have can leave and can be replaced with joy.  My brother, Jesus Christ, knew that I would experience this anger and had suffered for me so that I can change. And that is exactly what happened. After the prayer all the anger I had left and all that was left was joy.

This is the gift of Christmas, that from Jesus Christ, we can find that all of our hate, anger, and frustrations are all replaced with joy, happiness, and love. 

This Christmas season, may we all find our joy in Christ.

I love you guys so much.  I hope you have a fantastic Christmas, that you can feel of mine and Christ's love. 

Have a wonderful week.

With all my love, 

Elder Parson

This is my christmas tree, muchas gracias a las madres de los misioneros