Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Episode 5: Hey mama, check out the llama!

Hey mom,

I guess I forgot to tell you which day was going to be a P-day this week. Whoops.

Things are super good here. Last Friday we went into some sketchy part of town and did some proselyting. It was super fun and me and my companions had a great experience, especially since we could kind of understand the Spanish.

Today we got to take a tour of the city and do some shopping. I didn't buy anything but I did get some sick photos, including one on a llama. This city is so cool, especially when I get to see something other than the inside of the CCM.

How are things going at home? Do James and Adelaide miss me? I miss them a lot but things are just so awesome over here it is going to be rough going home in two years. Tell them that their Uncle Daniel says hi and he can´t wait to hear from them. And tell James that everybody has his name on the back of their soccer jersey´s, so he´s pretty famous here in Bogota.

I´m really starting to get the hang of Spanish. We are doing a lot of practicing and classes and all that good stuff so I´m doing pretty well. The only hard part is that I am pretty much incapable of saying anything other than church stuff, so I guess in a way that´s kind of good, but I might be out of luck if I ever need to ask for directions or anything like that.

So how are things going with the debit card? I still have plenty of money with me, so I´m not in any rush, but if you need me to do anything for it just let me know. I've also been receiving weekly emails from EcclesiaticalCards, which seems to be some type of debit card from the church, so I´m not sure if that´s something I'm supposed to have or not.

I hope things are going well at home. My next chance to write is next Thursday so hopefully that works for you.

Elder Daniel Parker

Elder Parker and the llama

With Bogota as a backdrop

With the District in Bogota

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Episode 4: Superb Spanish!

Hey mom,

Things are going great here. The spanish is going superbly. We have a companionship of Latinos in our room right now and they both talk very fast, but I am starting to be able to understand what they are saying. It's pretty great.

We get to go to the temple every p-day, so we just went again today. I really like the Bogota temple. It is super pretty, but it's not even in the same league as the Newport Beach or San Diego temples.

I haven't received anything from you guys in the mail yet, but I've heard it will probably come when I am already out in the field. But hopefully it will come soon.

That stinks about David, but of course it would be him. Get Air is such a dangerous place for any of my friends. Please tell him that he better hurry up and get better because he needs to be here in Colombia with me.

So this past Friday I was called as the District Leader for 2 weeks. I really don't do anything except for lead like one meeting a week, but it's still kinda cool to know that I'm doing what I am supposed to be doing.

I can't believe that they aren't doing mission prep anymore. That was such an awesome class and I doubt that there will be as many people attending from our stake as before, which is a major bummer because mission prep is a lifesaver out here, and I´m not even in the field yet.

How are the kiddos doing? I miss them so much. I've had so many good times with them and this place just isn't as much fun as being back at home with James, Adelaide, and Lydia. Please tell them that their Uncle Daniel says hi and that he can´t wait to see them at Christmas.

I didn't feel the earthquake so I guess it wasn't close enough. Too bad. But I guess it is probably better that we don´t have to worry about earthquakes while in the CCM. 

I really can't think of much that is new going on here. Everything is pretty much the same every day. My pictures are seriously lacking too because nothing is really going on. Hopefully I will have something else to say when I get into the field.

I miss you guys but I hope everyone is doing well. 


Elder Daniel Parker

Hey dad,

I haven´t received any of the letters you´ve sent but hopefully they will come soon.

I did hear about David. I wonder how many times he is going to get seriously injured in his life, because he has already done it quite a few times.

That´s awesome about the guy you interviewed. I am meeting a lot of people from Venezuela and they are super awesome. And the fact that he has ties to Barranquilla is even cooler. I am so glad that he is choosing to be baptized, because the gospel is a great thing and it really does bless lives.

We are a actually asked to write talks every week for Sacrament Meeting so I´ve already done two of them. It really helps to build vocabulary and just general knowledge of the gospel.

I have to go but I hope things are going well at home. See you at Christmas.

Elder Daniel Parker

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Episode 3: Chapstick!

Hey mom,

Happy birthday to dad and Tyler! I´m so bummed that I missed it but I hope they had a good time. And tell James I miss him too and I wish he could be here with me.

I´ll be fine without the suit. I´ve just been wearing sweaters to any activities that require suits so it really isn´t that bad. And the cold isn´t that big of a deal because we are almost always inside.

I was actually able to get some chapstick so I am feeling great now.

For  my daily schedule, I am usually in classes all day, with breaks for meals and an hour and a half break for gym. It really gets very monotonous, but there are some good parts. We have a few "investigators", who are actually just some of our teachers, that we teach almost every day.

On Sundays the entire CCM meet together for sacrament meeting and priesthood, and then we separate into our individual districts for Sunday School. We also have a few devotionals from President and Hermana DuVall and end the night with a random church movie.

I keep all of my money in a little safe in my closet, so no one can take my money. I´ve only bought the hymn book but in two weeks we are going to take a city tour to a few shops that the elders usually pick up some souvenirs from.

I haven´t received anything from Dad yet in the mail, but it will probably take about a month from when he sent it to get here.

I am allowed to email anyone, I just only have an hour to do it so that´s really the only restriction on my end. Anyone is free to write me and I will try to write them back as soon as possible.

It´s weird to think I've already been here two weeks. We are getting brand new North Americans tomorrow so it will be interesting to see that from a new perspective.

I miss you and everybody else back at home and I can´t wait to see you at Christmas.

Elder Daniel Parker

Hey dad,

Happy birthday! I´m sorry I couldn't reply to your email last week. I ran out of time so I didn't get to write anything.

Thanks for the picture. The plaque looks great and that´s exactly what I wanted for my scripture. It still just doesn't seem right to have that be my plaque.

That´s so sad to here about the people in Venezuela. I've had the privilege to get to know some missionaries from Venezuela these past two weeks and they are super cool people. I guess it just takes a rotten leader to ruin a country.

That´s great to hear about the man who is going to the temple. It´s such a great place and I really wish everyone had the opportunity to go there. I had the opportunity to do a Spanish session today and it was so cool, but also very hard.

That was a really great thought about Alma. I was actually just studying his and Amulek's preaching to the people of Ammonihah and they are just such powerful missionaries. The hardships they endured were unthinkable, and yet they still stayed true to their calling.

It´s been great to hear from you and I can´t wait to see you at Christmas.

Hasta Luego,

Elder Daniel Parker

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Episode 2: One Week In!

Hey everybody,

Everything is going great so far. I met up with a few other missionaries in Atlanta who were also going to the Colombian MTC. We all flew together and when we got through Customs there was a mission couple waiting for us. They bused us to the MTC and we had a quick meeting with the MTC President before going to bed, because we got to the MTC at like 11.

I am actually currently in a companionship with two other Elders, Elder Bush from Texas and Elder Hamblin from Utah. They are both super chill dudes and we are having a blast. Our District consisted of 7 missionaries until halfway through the 1st day two of the elders moved to the two week program so they will be leaving in a week. We have the smallest district in the MTC, but it's not bad because these guys are super fun. There are only two missionaries currently in the MTC that will be serving in Barranquilla, me and an Elder from Utah who is honestly so much like Jason Messer it's kinda freaky.

I have been progressing super well with Spanish. In fact, I talked with the MTC president a few days ago and he is considering sending me two weeks early depending on what my mission president. Wouldn't that be crazy? Anyways, the other members of my district do not know spanish as well so I help them out a lot. 

Our days are so filled with stuff it is insane. We do a ton of grammar (which kinda stinks because I already know all of what we are learning right now) but I am really loving the teaching that we are doing. We currently have two investigators, which are really just two of the teachers roleplaying as investigators, and they are such a blast because there is such a strong spirit at our lessons that I sometimes forget that they are fake. We do all of our teaching in Spanish so my companions are struggling with that a little bit.

It's been kinda awkward for me without a suit because like half of our meetings require us to wear suits. I usually just wear a sweater though so it isn't a huge deal though. President DuVall said that I am the first missionary he has had at the MTC without a suit since the new rule was passed.

We were actually able to go to the temple today. It was super cool because it kinda looks like newport from the front but its in the middle of a kinda sketchy neighborhood. We got to do the session in English so that was good because I'm not sure that I am that good yet. We will be going again next Tuesday, which is also our next P-day, so that is when I can write next. There is a Distribution Center next to the Temple and I was able to buy a small hymn book for 8,500 pesos, which is just over $3. The price of stuff here is really low because the Colombian economy is heading downhill, but it was definitely nice to get the hymn book for cheap.

The food is kinda weird, mostly just an assortment of eggs and hot dogs, but over the past few days it has been getting better. We have had hamburgers, pizza, and today for dinner we had burritos. I definitely wouldn't classify it as gourmet, but it isn't terrible and it keeps me functioning.

Something that I really need is chapstick. It is honestly pretty dry here in Bogota and my lips are very chapped. It definitely isn't the end of the world and it will get better once I get to Barranquilla, but for now, it kinda stinks.

Well, that's kinda been my week in a nutshell. I miss you guys but I can't imagine being anywhere other than here. It feels like it's been an eternity but I'm learning so much that the time flies by. I know that this is the work that the Lord wants me to be doing and he is making sure that I will be prepared to face whatever will be thrown at me. 

See you soon,

Elder Daniel Parker

PS Feel free to forward this to anybody who asks about me or wants to know what's going on. The more people the better

PPS the pictures will take a few messages to send