Monday, December 5, 2016

Episode 65: Baptisms This Weekend!

Hey everyone,

Well, my computer broke while I was writing my letter and I lost everything. Sorry. I really love Colombia, but I don't love the internet cafes. So everything is going great for the baptisms this weekend. The sister that got married is going to get baptized with her mom and her son. It is going to be great but we will have to keep working to baptize the two husbands.

I'm sorry I can't write anymore but I'll make the next one even better.

Have a great week.

Elder Parker

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Episode 64:"Problems" with the Internet?!

Hey everybody,

I hope everything is going well back at home. This week has been really normal, nothing interesting has happened we are having some  problems with the internet so I can't write much. 

Everything is going well. I am healthy so all is well. I can't wait to hear about the new baby!!

Elder Parker

Monday, November 21, 2016

Episode 63: Baptisms on Saturday?!

Hey everybody,

Things are going great here. We have been having a lot of rain here, even yesterday we started church with only 30 people attending because no one wanted to go to church in the rain. But it's great to know that the drought here is starting to end.

We are still working hard to be able to have a baptism this week. The problem we have is that the person who has the marriage certificate lives in Cartagena so we have to meet him to receive the paper and it's just a little difficult but if all goes well we will have two baptisms on Saturday!!

Have a great week

Elder Parker

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Episode 62: Great week of studying!

Hey everybody!

It's so great to hear about everything that is going on at home.

Things have been really great here this past week. Even though we were stuck in the house, we were able to study a lot. I was able to study a lot in the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants, and it was all really good.

So this week we are going to have two baptismal interviews. We are expecting that they will both be baptized this Saturday but I'm not 100% sure. 

Hope you all have a great week!

Elder Parker

with Elder Torres

Monday, November 7, 2016

Episode 61: Locked inside during Carnaval!

Hey everybody!

So you're probably wondering why I am writing earlier today and it's because this week we are going to be closed in our house because of the celebrations of Carnaval here in Cartagena. So basically we will be stuck until next Sunday without doing anything. It will be a little boring but a great chance to study a little bit more.

This week has been really exciting. Greisy got married this past Friday!!! She is ready to have her interview and we are preparing for her baptismal service for the 19th. It will be her and a few other members of her family who will be baptized so we are really excited.

I'm sorry that I don't have much time today. I will send photos of the wedding next week.

See you guys soon,

Elder Parker

Monday, October 31, 2016

Episode 60: Elder Parker has left Las Moras!

Hey everybody,

Everything is going great. I have officially left Las Moras and now I am in a town called Arjona about 45 minutes from Cartegena. It's really beautiful here with a town plaza with a super nice church. I will have to take pictures because it is really amazing. The only problem is that the internet shop is a little sketchy and I'm sure the computers have a ton of viruses so I'm not sure how I will be able to send pictures.

But my new companion is great. His name is Elder Torres and he is my 3rd companion from Ecuador. He actually just finished his training so it will be a big change after my last companion who was almost ready to go home. 

So we are teaching a woman named Greicy and she is really great. She and her partner are set to get married this weekend and after that her, her mom, her son, and a friend of her mom will all be interviewed for baptism. And we also have another woman for the 12th of November too so hopefully 5 baptisms that day!! But aside from that the work is a little slow so we will be finding a lot of new investigators this week.

I am feeling better by way of health. I still have a little bit of a cough but nothing that bad. I've heard that this area is a lot hotter than my others but these days have been very cool so we will see what happens.

Have a great week,

Elder Parker

Monday, October 24, 2016

Episode 59: Feeling under the weather!

Hey everybody,

Things are going well here. These past few days I have been a little under the weather, (Colombia has a new virus that gets everybody sick about every month). Today has been the worst with pain in my arms and legs, other symptoms of the flu, etc. but my companion was also sick at the beginning of the week and he has been getting a lot better. 

The weather here has been a consistent high with occasional rainstorms. The interesting thing with the rain here is that it only will rain for about an hour, but it rains hard. Our mission president actually won't let us leave in the rain because it is very dangerous with the rain.

Things are going great with our part member family. Milagro, the mom, and Valeria, the daughter, were both able to attend stake conference yesterday and really enjoyed it. It's sad to think that I might be going to a new ward tomorrow and miss their baptism, but I'm just glad that Valeria is really excited and plans to be baptized in the future.

I hope everything goes great for the trunk or treat. Here Halloween really doesn't receive very much attention but that's okay because that would just be a nightmare trying to teach with little kids passing every 5 seconds. It will be interesting to have the next halloween back at home, but that still doesn't really matter much.

Have a great week,

Elder Parker

Monday, October 17, 2016

Episode 58: Excited to be Baptized!

Hey everybody,

Things are going well here in Colombia. I am really interested to see what will happen this transfer because I feel like I will finally be going, but we'll just have to wait and see.

So everything is still going the same with our investigators. We are working with a part-member family. The mom is a less active member and the daughter is an investigator but the two are attending church and the daughter is really excited to be baptized.

Jhony is the only member in his family. We have started to visit with his mom and she attended church when he was confirmed, but we haven't had any progress with the dad or his sister. He is only 13 years old but looks a lot older.

So about the journal, I was writing everyday for the first 3 or 4 months but I lost track of the days and stopped for a while. About 3 weeks ago I started writing again but it's a lot harder now because there really isn't time at night, but I am still writing about 2-3 times a week.

Well, I know that this church is true. I know that the atonement is the greatest gift I have ever seen and it really is a privilege to see it heal the troubled people here.

Have a great week,

Elder Parker
Elder Parker with Jhony on his left

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Episode 57: Jhony was Baptized!

Hey everybody,

Things are going great here. On Saturday Jhony was baptized! It was a great baptism because it was combined with the zone leaders who were baptizing another youth in their ward and a few people actually showed up. They were both super excited and Jhony's mom even attended the service. He has his dad and an older sister too but they weren't able to make it.

Thank you so much for the pictures. I can see them all and it's great to see how much the kids are growing.

Well, about the Christmas gift, I'm not sure where we would be able to go to have the pictures printed but I will look into that this week. I still have a few gospel art books that I received in February that I will continue giving.

Hope everything is going well. I will try to answer the rest of the questions next week.

Elder Parker

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Episode 56: Loving Life!

Hey everybody,

How is everything going in the USA? Things have been really good here. My stomach has been feeling a lot better and my cold went away too so everything is great. The only problem now is that for the first time in my mission I got a sunburn during our p-day activity today. We were playing games as a zone outside of the chapel and I burned my arms and legs. But everything is fine.

So this week we are really excited because we will have a baptism this next Saturday. It is a young man named Jhony (pronounced like Johnny) and he is a stellar kid. We have been working with him since my 2nd week on this side of the ward and he is super excited and firm in the church.

So conference was really great. I especially liked the talk from Elder Holland because it was perfect for a priesthood lesson here, but the problem is that only about 5 priesthood holders were in that session. 

Haha I recognize Sara Djafri from school but I never talked to her. I hope that everything is going well for her family because that must be really rough saying goodbye to a grandfather. But how great that the gospel is the perfect fix for that challenge.

Things are great here. Loving life but I gotta go. Have a great week and see you later.

Elder Parker

Monday, September 26, 2016

Episode 55: Gripe Estomacal!

Hey everybody,

How is everything going in the big CA!! Things have been a little rough over here. This last week I have been through a stomach infection (my 5th or 6th during my mission) and now I am with the flu. But aside from that everything is going well. 

So this week we were able to have a meeting with Elder Falabella, a member of the area presidency. It was really great to hear from him and he gave some great advice about trying to find families to teach and retaining converts active in the church.

So to answer your questions, we do family home evenings every week with different families. We usually try to find families that aren't having their own and we invite investigators and less active members to join them. They are a lot of fun, and everyone really enjoys the refreshments.

Right now we are living like 5 minutes from the church. It really isn't that far, but the hard part is on Sunday when we are walking trying to collect investigators to go to church and sometimes we end up walking a lot. But the chapel here is pretty nice and I'm glad that it isn't nearly as far as in Valledupar.

Um, I have a question. Since when have the Rams been playing in LA? I thought they were still in St Louis.

I have to go to give my companion some time to write but I hope everything is well and I will try to send a photo of our clothes washing situation.

Have a great week,

Elder Parker
Doing the laundry

Monday, September 19, 2016

Episode 54: Español es Bueno!

Hey everybody,
Things are going really great here. My companion and I are still together and working hard. I'm sorry I still don't have any new pictures because our rules are a little strict about when we can have our cameras with us. I have been trying to remember to take my camera to a family home evening but keep forgetting. 

Things are going well with Spanish too. Since I have always been with Latins I have been speaking Spanish 23 hours a day, with the only exception the hour that we are given to study language. I try to help my companion with his assignments.

I have really loved reading the scriptures these past few days. Today I was reading in Mosiah 24 about Alma and I really like the importance of patience and faith when we are passing through trials that everything will be well if we have confidence in God and just act.

Hope everyone is doing well,

See you soon,

Elder Parker

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Episode 53: Still in Las Moras!

Hey everybody,

Sorry that I couldn't write yesterday but now you will already know the transfers that we had. And guess what happened.. absolutely nothing. I am still in Las Moras with Elder Araya. We are really excited to be working together again and for all the success we are going to have!!!

So unfortunately the baptism didn't happen. We were really struggling to make contact with Heileen during the week and when we finally found her on Saturday, she wasn't too sure about getting baptized the next day, and she didn't even attend church on Sunday which really worries us. We are not too sure what is going on but will try to help her gain confidence again.

I have to go but will try to send pictures next week. 

See you later,

Elder Parker

Monday, September 5, 2016

Episode 52: Baptism Next Sunday!

Hey everybody,

How is everything going back home? Things are going really great here. This week we have been making great strides with our investigators and, as it turns out, we are all set to have a baptism this next Sunday. A sister named Heileen (I think I have mentioned her in the past) is the person who will be baptized. We were able to work with her this past week and she had her interview yesterday and so now everything is ready for this weekend!! I am really excited because this week will be transfers and I already have 6 months in this ward so I feel like I will probably be leaving very soon.

Well I hope everything is going great back at home and I will try to include more info next week!

Elder Parker

Monday, August 29, 2016

Episode 51: One Year of Faithful Service!

Hey everybody,

Things are going really great here in Colombia. I seriously can't believe that it has already been a year. It has felt a lot shorter. I feel a little sad but still glad that so much time remains.

This week really hasn't been too exciting. Everything that we do here is a little repetitive, not nearly as dynamic as a mission in the United States. We have been looking for new people to teach but still haven't had much luck with their progress. Robinson is still doing very well. He attended church again this week and really enjoyed it. We also are teaching another man named Blas (I don't know where these names come from) and he is very excited too. He is living with a less active woman and they have three childen who are members of the church but the oldest daughter is also less active. The whole family is attending church and are very excited so that's good.

Everything is going really great here. Thank you so much for all of your help.

Elder Parker

After playing soccer
with Elder Araya

Monday, August 22, 2016

Episode 50: Super, Great Investigator!

Hey everybody,

How is everyone doing? This week has been pretty uninteresting, just a lot of contacting in the streets. It's been interesting because we have been getting rejected a lot and it's sad to have that happen but we just continue talking and eventually we are able to find the people prepared to receive the gospel.

So this week we were able to find this super great investigator named Robinson. He was investigating the church a while back but the missionaries stopped visiting him for some reason. But we had a great lesson a few days ago and yesterday, he attended church!!! It was so great to see him there and he is super excited, but needs to get married before he can be baptized.

So I was able to take a few photos of the house today. It's not much, but it does have air conditioning in the bedroom. I am really enjoying the area and the people here. 

I hope everything is great at home. Talk to you more next week.

See you guys soon,

Elder Parker

PS the photos are not working with this computer so I will try to send them next week, sorry

Monday, August 15, 2016

Episode 49: Meeting Elder Renlund!

Hey everybody,

How are y'all doing?

This week has been really great. First off we got to meet Elder Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve. It was great to hear the council that he had for all of the missionaries. 

This week we have also been trying to meet a lot more of the people in this area which has been interesting, because there are several members, even recent converts, that have left the church completely. One man is named Roberto and it was a little sad talking with him because he has completely lost his testimony but I really want to help him because he is a great guy, just a little confused with all of the problems in his life.

I love you guys so much and am so thankful for all of the support that you show me. I know that this mission will change my life and a lot of others. I know that this church is true.

Thanks for everything,

Elder Parker

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Episode 48: New Companion!

Hey everybody! How is everyone? So this past week we had transfers and me and Elder Pérez were both transferred. He went to Cartegena and I went to... Las Moras. I am still in the same ward, but am now working in the other side. To be honest, I'm a little bummed but I know that this transfer is going to be really great. My new companion is named Elder Araya, a missionary from Northern Chile, in the same mission as where Steven Boyack is serving. He's super funny and has a year and a half in the mission so he really knows a lot about how things work here.

This week has been really uneventful, mainly getting to know all of the members here in the ward. It has been interesting getting to know a lot of the people that I have been hearing about in ward council and from the other missionaries. One of the investigators here is named Heileen, I was able to talk with her before the transfers at church but now I am teaching her and getting her ready for baptism. She is very excited but can't attend church as often as she wants because of her work. But we are trying to get her ready for the 21st of August!

Thank you so much for all of the support that I have had since I got here almost a year ago. I have been able to learn so much from the experiences that I am having and am enjoying it a lot. I hope everyone is doing well and I will try to share a little bit more next week.

Elder Daniel Parker

Monday, August 1, 2016

Episode 47: Crazy days!

Hey everybody,

How is everyone doing? Things are going really well here. It's been a little crazy these last few days getting ready for transfers but we are really excited. We still don't know what is going to happen but are very excited to find out later tonight.

This week has been going well. We haven't been making a lot of progress with investigators but we have a less active sister who is working on returning to the church. Her name is Andrea and she is living with another less active member and his father, but she is the only one who currently has the desire to come back.

The weather has not been that bad here. We are feeling good and are excited for these next few weeks in this next transfer.

I hope everyone is doing well and I will talk to you guys next week.

Elder Parker

Things are going great in Soledad!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Episode 46: Met with President Gallego!

Hey everybody,

This week has been really great. We were finally able to meet President Gallego on Tuesday in a Zone Conference. It was really great and he is such a great mission president. We got to meet his entire family and they are awesome. He has a son who is 17 years old and is preparing to serve a mission and a daughter a little bit younger. But it has been really cool getting to know them.

Things are going great with my companion. We are a little sad for transfers next week but I'm excited for him because he is such a good missionary and the zone leaders are saying that he will probably train next transfer. But a little bit more information about my companion, his name is Elder Perez and he is from Mexico City. He is a convert of 5 years with his dad and only brother. His mom got baptized a little bit less than a year ago and they are anxious to get sealed when he gets home. 

Carlos and Yadiris are doing great. They are currently in the process of doing their papers for their marriage but everything is going well with that. They are super exctied and will probably be able to get baptized either the 6th or the 13th of August.

I hope everything is going well at home. I'm not having any problems with health and I still have about 60 dollars in Colombian pesos so I should be fine for a while. Sorry mom, the package has already been here for a while but I haven't been able to make the trip to the office yet to pick it up. I have to pay a customs fee of about 5 dollars but that's not bad. Thank you so much for everything and have a great week.

Elder Parker

Monday, July 18, 2016

Episode 45: 19 in Colombia!

Hey everybody,

How are you guys? Thank you so much for all of the messages for my birthday. It was so great hearing from all of you and I am so glad to have this great opportunity to be here in Colombia for my 19th birthday.

So this week has been really calm. We have been working a lot with Carlos and Yadiris to help them prepare for their baptisms the end of this month. I'm kinda sad because I'm not sure if everything will be ready with their marriage before the 30th so they might not get baptized until the next transfer. 

I'm sorry that I can't write that much today either. Our P-days are just so full of stuff to do and there just isn't enough time for everything. I will be sending the pictures from my birthday party next week so get ready.

Elder Parker

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Episode 44: Fish soup and cow liver!

Hey everybody,

How is everybody doing?

So this past week has been a little bit crazy. We have a sister who has been giving us dinner this past week and two of the meals that we have eaten was a fish soup that literally tasted like the smell of Fisherman's Wharf, so that was super great. We also had a meal of cow liver with rice. I am starting to realize how different Colombia is from the United States.

Speaking of which, happy 4th of July!! I can't believe that it is already the month of July. The time has flown by since I got here and continues getting faster every day. I really couldn't find any way to celebrate today so we just went to the mall and ate a knock-off of Subway. It was a little sad, but Colombian Independence Day will be the 20th of this month so I'm sure that will be a special day here.

So about the work here, there isn't very much that has happened here lately. We have been working with Carlos and Yadiris getting them ready for baptism. They have been working hard to get married and are working for the 10th of this month if everything goes well. The date that we have planned for their baptism is the 23rd of July so they can get baptized just a few weeks before I will probably be leaving this area.

I hope everything is going well at home. Nothing really big has happened here but I'll try to take pictures this week. The only problem is that we are really restricted on when we can have our cameras but I'll do my best.

See you guys soon,

Elder Parker

Monday, June 27, 2016

Episode 43: "I can't believe I have lived here for a year and you haven't invited me to church!"

Hey everybody,

How is everyone doing? I am so sorry to hear about Brother Green. He was such a great leader and I am so grateful for everything he did for me.

Well, this week has been very interesting. After transfers we were really busy with a few errands but these last few days we have been working hard and have had a lot of success. Carlos and Yadiris are still doing great. This past week we were able to program them for baptism and they are super excited for it. And the date is like the week before transfers so I will still be here for it.

We were also able to find a great new investigator named Kevin. He is the neighbor of the family where we eat lunch. We started talking about what we do in the church and then he said "I can't believe that I have lived here a year and you have never invited me to church!" He has been very excited but unfortunately his mom doesn't like the church very much so that has been a little difficult.

So my new mission president officialy comes tomorrow and President Searle leaves tomorrow too. It's been a little sad seeing him go but it will be great getting to know President Gallegos. 

I hope everything is well at home. I still haven't taken many pictures but I will try to get better at that. I really need a little bit of advice because I don't know what to take pictures of. 

Talk to you guys later

Elder Parker

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Episode 42: No power!

Hey everybody,

How is everybody doing? Things are going super great here!! 

Sorry that I did not get to write yesterday. We lost power in the internet shop but we found time to be able to write today. Transfers were a little crazy for my district but fortunately I am still with Elder Perez. Things are going great and he has been progressing so much these past few weeks.

The kids are looking so big. Even Felicity doesn't look like a newborn. I feel like all of them are going to be completely grown up when I get home. I can't believe how fast the time has gone since I left really but things are going to be very interesting next year when I get home.

So this week we have been doing a ton of changes and are basically starting new with all of the people we are working with, except for Carlos and Yadiris. This past week they had a really long talk about temples with a family in the ward and are super excited about going to the temple and being sealed. They are working on their papers to get married right now so we are really excited and hoping to have a baptism very soon.

I hope everything is going great at home. I'll try to take lots of pictures this week to make up for these past few weeks.

See you guys soon,

Elder Parker

Monday, June 13, 2016

Episode 41: Investigators Progressing!

Hey everybody,

How is everyone doing! I seriously can't believe that Gus finally came! Congrats Tyler and Sarah!! I am so excited for you guys.

This week has been very interesting. It was so great being able to hear from Elder Rasband. We didn't get to shake hands with him unfortunately because we entered the room right before he did, but his wife took a photo of us so maybe I will end up on the Facebook account of Sister Rasband. That would be pretty exciting.

He and Elder Uceda (The former area president) talked a lot about the temple. Their talks were focused on preparing the people for the temple when it gets here in a few years . I loved the meeting and we have been talking with a lot of members since then to prepare for the temple.

Things have been going great with the work. The only problem that we had this week is that literally all of our appointments fell through Friday and Saturday. And even when we tried to contact people in the street they didn't want to talk to us no matter how much we fought. So I've been a little stressed out but things have been getting better. 

We have a few great investigators that are progressing. They are named Carlos and Yadiris and they are neighbors of a family of members who invited them to church. They are doing really well and are excited about the church,but their problem is that they are living together and are not married. We are working with them about that because I would really like to be able to have a baptism before I leave this ward.

I hope everyone is doing well. I am so happy to hear about everyone and hope that things are going well.

See you guys soon,

Elder Parker

Monday, June 6, 2016

Episode 40: Meeting with Elder Rasband!

Hey everybody,

How is everyone doing? The jubilee sounds like it was a blast. I'm glad that everyone got to enjoy it. Thank you so much for the pictures. I can't believe that there was a picture of me from so many years ago. And how crazy to see the missionaries from our stake. There are a few that I had no idea had already left for their missions. 

So I am getting really excited because tomorrow. Elder Rasband is coming here to Barranquilla to talk with all of the members and all of the missionaries currently serving in Barranquilla were also invited. So tomorrow I will get to see an apostle!!! Unfortunately there won't be a special meeting for the missionaries but I'm still very excited.

So this last Friday me and Elder Perez were able to work with one of our Zone Leaders, Elder Conti from Paraguay. He is a super great guy and we focused a lot on diligence and just tried to have as many lessons as possible while still sharing something significant in every lesson. It was really great because I felt a lot more motivated and that we didn't lose like any time because we were also able to contact a lot of people in the street so I felt really calm and relaxed even though there are times when it is just so hard to talk to people, I just do it anyway. 

I hope everything is going well back at home. I can seriously hardly believe how fast the time has gone here. It's crazy thinking that it is already June and that I will be 19 next month. But I am loving this great oportunity in my life.

And now my testimony in Spanish
Sé que la iglesia es verdadera. Sé que por medio de nuestra obediencia a los mandamientos de Dios y el evangelio de Jesucristo podemos vivir para siempre con nuestras familias. 

Thanks for everything and see you guys soon,

Elder Parker
From Family Home Evening

Monday, May 30, 2016

Episode 39: Colombian Holiday!

Hey everybody,

How is everybody doing? I can't believe that it is already Memorial Day. I still remember how awesome the carnival was. Today is also a holiday here, but unfortunately I have no idea what they are celebrating. And neither do the Colombians. But everybody likes the day off work.

This week has been really great. We have been working really hard with retention, or converts and less active members. 

We have a sister that we are working to reactiviate in the church named Melanie. Her mom and brother are active members so she has been really progressing. This week we werre able to talk with her about tithing and the blessings she would receive because she, like a lot of others here are living in difficult situations. But it was a super powerful lesson and she commited to pay tithing.

We were also able to find a new less active sister that we are working with. Her name is Andrea and we have taught her father-in-law, who is also less active, but never her. But when we talked to her she said she was completely ready to come back to church and that she had started to read the Book of Mormon just a few days earlier. Crazy, right? She was prepared so that when we came completely not expecting it we found a less active member ready to return to church. It was great!!

This week we have also been able to find various new investigators. We have the goal here to invite every investigator to baptism in the first lesson, which is kinda hard but when the people accept they get super excited. This week unfortunately we have been having a lot of opposition but we did have one brother that we were able to program in the first lesson. His name is Luis and he is the brother of the ward mission leader. He was totally committed to change if he received an answer to his prayer.

Well, that's a little bit of my week. I hope everything is going well. I took a few photos today of the city but I forgot my cord for my camera so I can't transfer them. Sorry, but I will definitely do it next week.

See you guys later,

Elder Parker

Monday, May 23, 2016

Episode 38: Dog Attack!

Hey everybody,

Things are going so great here. Literally this past week has gone by so fast that I can't believe that it is Monday again.

I'm so sad that I missed the party in Primary. It's still so hard to imagine how much the kids have grown since I left. But I'm very proud of Adelaide and her effort to give the prayer. I know how hard that is. 

This week has been super great. I seriously had no idea how great training would be before this week. We have been working so hard and have been having a lot of success, especially with our less actives. The big push in our mission is for reactivating less active members, especially because of the new temple here. But things are going really well.

I hope everything is going great back at home. Right now I have a tiny dog trying to eat the bottom of my shoe. It is seriously super cute. Just saying.

See you guys soon,

Elder Parker

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Episode 37: "I'm a Dad!"

Hey everybody,

I am so sorry that I wasn't able to write last week. This past week was a little bit crazy. First we did have time to write last Monday so when we went to start writing the internet store lost power. So we talked with our leaders and they said that we could write on Tuesday.

But that brings me to the next piece of news. So, I didn't think I would be saying this so soon but, I'm a dad!! I am training a new missionary from Mexico, so I spent all day on Tuesday in a training for trainers and new missionaries. And after that I have just had a lot of inconveniences to be able to write you guys. 

Well, things have been going really great here. Like I said, I have a new companion. His name is Elder Pérez and he is from Mexico City. He is 19 years old and less than a month on his mission. It has been so great getting to know him and being able to teach him about being a missionary. He is a lot like me and people have even said that we could be twins. I can't say that would be accurate but he is a super fun guy and I really enjoy being his companion.

Well aside from that nothing really exciting has been going on. In the beginning of June Elder and Sister Rasband will be coming here to Barranquilla and we will be able to see them. And also President Gallego, our  new mission president, will be coming next transfer. I'm very excited but also sad to see President Searle go. I have learned a lot from him and have grown a lot.

Please tell Grandma and Granddaddy and everyone else back at home how grateful I am for their messages and their wellwishes. I am so happy to be considered part of their family and can't wait to see them in a few years. And please tell Grandma that I hope she will get better and that I am praying for her.

Well, I hope everything is going well for everybody. I'm so happy that Emma was able to find a job that she is more or less happy with. I hope that they can find a good place to live there. And also that everything goes well for Sarah and GusGus.

See you guys soon,

Elder Parker
Elder Perez and Elder Parker

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Episode 36: "Clean the Glass From the Inside!"

Hey everybody,

I hope everyone is doing well. Things are going super well here. We just had our stake conference yesterday. The theme of the conference was ''clean the glass from the inside''. All of the leaders were talking about the importance of being the best members possible so that we can begin to help the less active members and converts. It was such a great conference and I learned so much.

I am so excited for this Sunday. I will try to call at about 5:45 because my companion is going to talk with his family right before me. I hope that works for you guys.

Well, I don't have many details right now but I will definitely be sharing more on Sunday.

See you soon,

Elder Parker

Monday, April 25, 2016

Episode 35: 100 References!

Hey everybody,

How is everyone doing back at home? Things have been going great these past few days and I am really enjoying it here.

This week we really haven't done anything that interesting. Mainly just the normal routine of teaching. But this Saturday we were able to find a super great investigator named Yeimy (Her name is pronounced Jaime). She was a reference from a family of members and we were able to have a great lesson with her and she attended church yesterday. We were super happy because we have been having no luck with investigators attending church. But the members did a great job of fellow-shipping and she really enjoyed the experience.

Aside from that, we have been swamped with contacting references(which is in no way a bad thing) because these past few weeks we have been able to receive almost 100 references from the ward. We are working on getting help to be able to follow up on these references and having lots of members involved in fellow-shipping. Unfortunately, the problem with members giving rides to investigators can't be solved by the members giving rides because basically no one here has cars, just motorbikes. Fortunately, the chapel is in our area and everybody lives fairly close so we are working on getting the members to walk with the investigators to church.

Congrats to Adam and Aubree with the baby blessing. I can't wait to be able to meet all of the new family members when I get home. I still love being able to see the pictures of the kiddos in the book that you guys made me.

I hope everything is still going well at home. If it is okay with you my companion and I are planning on calling home probably mother's day. If you would prefer a different day that would be fine too.

See you soon,

Elder Parker

Monday, April 18, 2016

Episode 34: So Much Training!

Hey everybody,

I hope things are going well at home. That's awesome that Emma and Jared moved back home. I hope everything goes well for them and that Jared can have a lot of success with his new job.

That's crazy that Ryan is going to Texas. One of my companions in the MTC is from San Antonio and he said Texas is great. I'm not sure it's as cool as Colombia but still.

This week has been fairly interesting. On Wednesday we had a giant training meeting with all of the missionaries in the city of Barranquilla where we were able to hear from the Assistants and President and Sister Searle. The day later we had to go to the mission office for interviews with President Searle (nothing's wrong, I promise) and that took all morning on Thursday. And we had a few more meetings with our district and our zone so I feel very trained.

Yesterday we had a multi stake conference broadcast for all of Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela. It was very good because we got to hear from Elder Oaks, Elder Hales, Sister McConkie and one of the members of the Presiding Bishopric. And Elder Oaks tried to share part of his talk in Spanish, but he doesn't know Spanish so that was interesting. It's crazy to see how human the apostles really are and that they have difficulties too, but he made a great effort and I was very inspired.

So about the pictures. The past two P'days I have brought my camera but I have always forgotten to charge it so I don't have very many pictures. I just charged my camera though so next week I'll be sure to have more.

Everything is going pretty well here with the work. Our investigators right now are not progressing too well but we are working on fellowshipping more and receiving references from the members to talk with. But yesterday was pretty bad because we only had 4 regular active members attend the conference. And none of our converts or less actives attended. So that's been a little stressful but we are working on changing the attitude of the members here.

I'm pretty sure that you guys found our church building. It is really small and doesn't really stand out too much, especially because of the graffiti, but it's nice inside. And has air conditioning. Our house right now is about two blocks away from the church. We are currently living in a house that the patriarch is renting out to us but he is asking for the house so we will be moving in the next couple of weeks.

Dad, thanks for sending the mission goals. The work back home sounds like it is really progressing. Here our goals for lessons and new investigators are a little higher, but we still have so many investigators that end up not progressing. It's really sad and I wish there was something more that we can do. So these

past few days I have been thinking a lot about what more we can do to help with retaining investigators. If you have any ideas, they would be appreciated.

I still have plenty of money here. There really isn't that big of a need for personal money because we have enough with what we receive every two weeks. And I am fine on clothes too. I have had to fix a few shirts and pairs of pants but they still work just fine. And I am still fine without a suit. 

It's been great hearing about what's going on at home. I can't wait to hear from you guys in a few weeks at mother's day.

Elder Parker

With Elder Condori by church in Soledad
At the apartment

Monday, April 11, 2016

Episode 33: All Night Parties in the Street!

Hey everybody,

How is everyone doing back home? It's so great to not hear about any more injuries or sicknesses. Everything is still going well here. Mom, the ward is called Las Moras. It's in the Hipodromo stake.

This last week has been very slow. We have been struggling with finding help from the members and teaching our less active members and converts. Basically we spent the entire week finding new investigators but none of them followed through with the commitment to attend church. The week has been a little bit stressful but things are slowly getting better.

So yesterday I played piano in church, but it was with an electric keyboard that was super hard to play and I felt really bad. I also gave a talk about the Sabbath day and it was good but I couldn't remember any of the stories that I wanted to share because the night before I only slept like 3 hours because our neighbors had a huge party with a huge speaker system in the street until 4  in the morning. But the ward here is super nice and have helped me out a lot getting adjusted to the area.

Thank you so much for the song. Here we are allowed to have anything that is church related and invites the spirit, so I already have a few songs from MoTab and EFY. But anything that you guys can find is great. And I was able to download the song just fine.

I hope everything is well at home. I can't believe that it is almost Mother's day next month. It will be great to see you guys.

See you soon,

Elder Parker

Monday, April 4, 2016

Episode 32: Elder Parker has left Valledupar!

Hey everybody,

I moved! I am now in a ward called Las Moras that is right on the edge of Barranquilla and a smaller city called Soledad. There are a lot of people here and it's pretty crazy because the stadium for the Colombian national soccer team is in my area so everytime there is a game we can only work in half of our area. But I love this new area and everything that we are doing here.

My new companion is named Elder Condorí. He is from Argentina and has 15 months here in the mission. He is a super good missionary and I have been learning a lot from him.

Conference was so great here. We were able to watch it in the Stake Center and I loved all of the talks. I liked how all of the talks were themed with the temple or the atonement. A really cool experience that I had yesterday was that when we finished and started teaching, the first lesson we had was with a less active member whose brother just died. It was sad to hear about but was great because we were able to apply the talks about eternal families and the atonement with her and it was a super powerful lesson.

So this transfer we probably won't have any baptisms because next week there is a multi-stake conference and then the week after that is the regular stake conference, but we are trying to get people ready for the next transfer. We are working with a man named Samir whose mom and sister are members. He is great and is really enthusiastic about the church but his problem is that his wife is super Christian non-denominational. But his daughter is excited about the church too and wants to be baptized so we are hoping that we can help the whole family.

Well that's pretty much how things are going here. I hope everything is well at home.

See you guys soon.

Elder Parker

Monday, March 28, 2016

Episode 31: Working Crazy Hard!

Hey everybody,

Things are going really great here. We have been working crazy hard with our investigators and have had a lot of success. We had 5 that attended church and the ward helped us out a lot with fellow-shipping them so they really enjoyed it. Unfortunately we still do not have any baptisms for these next few weeks but we are starting to have more investigators in church so we are excited for that.

We really haven't done anything special here for Easter. Here for Easter everyone makes sweets from different fruits and those are super good but no one celebrates with the Easter Bunny or anything like that. But it was still cool to see everybody a little bit more focused in Christ, although a lot of people used "Holy Week" as a chance to drink and party, which was sad to see.

We have been getting a lot of references from the members about who to teach. They have been super helpful because those investigators already have support from their friends and neighbors. One family, the Moreno family (family of Rafael) have been super helpful and it's great because they are all recent converts as of a year or so. So they have been able to help us with new people to teach.

For my health, right now I feel really good. My companion has a few problems but I feel great and am working hard to stay that way. 

I still have no idea what is going to happen with transfers. I feel like I'm going to leave but it's also possible that I might stay. Whatever happens is going to be super great though.

I hope everything is going well at home. Forest and Felicity look great and I can't wait to see everybody in a few months.

Elder Parker

Monday, March 21, 2016

Episode 30: Progress with Less Actives!

Hey everybody,

This week has been really good. We have been able to make a lot of progress with our less active members and many are returning to the church. It is so satisfying to be able to help the members make this change in their lives. 

These past few weeks we have been having a lot of difficulties with investigators so we haven't been teaching as many lessons with them, but this week we made goals to focus even more on the investigators so we can have more people joining the church because right now we have very few perspective baptisms. We have a lot of great members here helping us out too so things are going very good.

Haha things won't be that bad for Kaleb in the MTC because everyone speaks English but he might struggle a little in the field. But then again, he will still be in the United States so there should be someone, if not his companion, who speaks English. 

We have transfers next week and I am pretty sure that I will be leaving Valledupar. I'm a little sad to go but I can still hardly believe that it has already been 4 transfers. I have had so many great memories here and can't wait to meet new people and have new experiences. My companion has been helping me a ton to improve and to prepare to be a leader so that's been really helpful.

I hope everyone is doing well at home and can't wait to see you guys in a few months at Mother's Day.

Elder Parker

Monday, March 14, 2016

Episode 29: Rafael got baptized!

Hey everybody,

Things are going great here. Time is seriously flying by; it feels like I just wrote you guys yesterday. We are doing so much here and it's really awesome to see how much has changed since I got here 5 months ago. 

This week Rafael got baptized!! It was so great and he was so happy. And what's even better is that now the whole family are members of the church. They are all getting ready to go to the temple next month to do baptisms and a few are going to receive their endowments.

For the most part we are still really struggling with investigators attending church but we had a sister attend yesterday named Reyes and she really liked it and is excited to go next week. We also had 23 less active members attend so that was really cool too. 

Transfers end in 2 weeks, but I'm not sure if I will leave or not. I probably will but there have been missionaries who have stayed for almost a year in some areas. I would not be too mad if I left though, because everything is becoming a routine here but I am fine with whatever happens.

I can't believe it is already Easter. We got a letter from the mission president saying that we are going to receive the cards for the Easter video soon but I'm not sure if that will be before Easter if it is in 2 weeks. But thank you for the cards. I will try to print them today.

Um, that's about it. Nothing really exciting is going on. See you guys in a few months.

Elder Parker

Rafael's baptism

Monday, March 7, 2016

Episode 28: Welcome to the world Felicity!

Hey everybody,

It sounds like there are a lot of crazy things going on at home. I can't believe that Felicity finally came. It seems like I haven't been out long enough for it to already be time but congrats to Adam and Aubree. I can't wait to meet her at Mother's day.

I can't believe that dad got hurt. I still can't believe all of the injuries that have happened since I got here. This is all just so crazy. But I hope that he will feel better and be able to heal soon.

This week has been really good. We have been working a lot with less active members and have been having a lot of success, but we haven't been able to work as much with the investigators. We are going to try to balance our time a little bit better this week to be able to help more investigators attend church. Rafael is still getting ready for his baptism this Saturday and we are working with Edwin to be ready in a few weeks too.

I got the picture books!!! We got home one night and the man who lives in the apartment beneath ours gave me the package. The books are super helpful, thank you so much. I have been using one to teach in the lessons and we are trying to think of a few families that we can give them to.

Mom, I haven't heard about the Easter video but I will try to look for it soon.

Dad, I'm not quite sure how you sent the reference because I haven't seen anything in my email. If you could remind me of the information that you sent that would be super helpful. Thank you.

I hope everything is good at home. I can't believe it's already getting close to mothers day. Time is really going by so fast. I'll see you guys in no time.

Elder Parker

Monday, February 29, 2016

Episode 27: Great things are happening!

Hey everybody,

Things have been going great here. We have been working hard here and great things are happening. Rafael is ready to be baptized but it will be in two weeks because he is only here once every two weeks for his job. Edwin is also progressing very well and we hope to be able to have his interview in two weeks! German is doing well too. He attended church and mutual this past week and is excited about church. I'm not sure what happened last week but he has completely changed.

It's great to hear about the family. I hope grandma is doing well and Emma too. That's crazy that the Provo temple is already complete. It was announced at the same time as the Barranquilla temple was, so that's not fair. But everybody here is getting really excited about the temple and the opportunity to go a lot more often. And the ward has a trip to Bogota in April so everybody is preparing for the temple.

So, remember when I said I had a cold last week. So it never went away and I talked to the wife of the mission president who was a pharmacist and she said that I have a nasal infection. So that's super fun. I am taking medicine for it but every day I have seriously no energy, but I just keep pushing on and trying to keep going.

I hope everyone is doing well. If you guys have questions for me or anything you want to know about please feel free to ask. Really I'm just having a blast here and trying my hardest to help people.

See you guys soon,

Elder Parker