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

Monday, February 22, 2016

Episode 26: Success with less actives!

Hey everybody,

This week has been really great. We have been working hard with the less active members of the ward and had a lot of success as 21 of them attended church yesterday (we have over 40 assigned). It was really great to be able to see them in church again, as there were quite a few families that attended for the first time in a while.

The groundbreaking was very cool. We were able to invite a family that we are working a lot with where the grandfather is getting ready to be baptized in a few weeks, and they really enjoyed the experience. And it was also pretty funny because my North American mission president was shorter than some of the Latinos doing the groundbreaking ceremony. But a very special experience.

This week we had an amazing lesson with a less active sister. She hasn't attended church in years due to issues with leaders of the church but we just taught her about forgiveness and it was super powerful. I was really kind of hard with her, but it was all the spirit and it was seriously crazy. It was the strongest I have ever felt the spirit in a lesson.

This week was a little depressing for our recent converts. We only have 5 that are active out of 13, and this past week German basically told us that he really isn't that interested in the church. So that was really hard to hear but we are going to try to help him this week to change his attitude. We are having a few problems with Berta too but she is still attending church so that's good.

I hope everything is going well at home. Things are definitely getting better here. I have been able to evaluate myself on a few things that I need to work on so I feel very good. And I just got over a nasty cold that me and my companion had so that's awesome too.

I miss you guys and will see you in a few months.

Elder Parker

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Episode 25: Temple Groundbreaking in Barranquilla!

Hey Everybody,

How is everybody? Things are going so great here. I just got a new companion this past Thursday and he is super great. His name is Elder Tupiz and he is from Quito Ecuador. He has so much energy and is really crazy. He actually reorganized our apartment these past few days and now I think it's almost the apartment of sister missionaries because it is so neat and clean. But it's really nice to have a clean house.

We are still working on having a few baptisms. We have two planned for February 27 for Edwin and Rafael. We are working on organizing our efforts here a little more to be more efficient in our work so hopefully we will be able to have a few more baptisms in the future but we are working on preparing Sandri too for her baptism. It's a lot of work but I really enjoy what we are doing.

I don't know if you have already heard but this Saturday will be the groundbreaking for the Barranquilla temple. We will be able to view the meeting in the chapel here in Valledupar so I am very excited for that. I think that we watched the groundbreaking for the Newport temple but I don't remember anything so it will be a great experience.

I have not received the family calendar yet but if you sent it recently it will probably take a while to get here. I am still far from the Mission office so it might be waiting there for me. The next chance I will have to receive it will be in a few weeks. Hopefully it will come soon, I am excited to see all of the photos.

Thank you for all of the support that I am receiving here. It means so much that you guys are writing and showing support. I can't wait to see you in a few months.

Elder Parker
With new companion, Elder Tupiz
Berta's baptism
Family Home Evening Activity in Valledupar

Monday, February 8, 2016

Episode 24: Carnival in Barranquilla!

Hey everybody,

Things are going really great here. We have transfers this week but they will be a little different. Due to Carnival in Barranquilla, only the leaders (zone leaders, trainers, sister leaders) have their transfer tomorrow and the rest will go on Thursday. And also the next transfer will be 7 weeks because the church is changing the amount of time that Latinos spend in the CCM from 2 to 3 weeks. 

Unfortunately we did not have the baptism for Edwin this past week. Our district leader decided that he needed to strengthen his testimony a little bit more of the Book of Mormon, which is difficult because he can't read, but we are trying our best to help him with that and to strengthen his testimony. But it's kinda crazy because his dad is a lot more open now about him attending church activities and doing stuff so he is attending seminary and mutual.

German and Berta are doing really good. German was just interviewed to be the Deacon's quorum president so he is excited for that. Berta has been very involved in the Young Single Adult program and is participating in activities, service projects, and Institute. All in all I am very proud of them and what they are doing. It is a little sad that of all the recent converts that we have from the last two years, only 5 are active. But we had 16 less active members attend from our area, so we are really happy for that. Our ward is really working hard to help us be successful.

Aside from that, everything here is pretty much the same. I was able to pick up the money today. Thank you so much. We have enough money from the mission for food and general things that we need, but I have been using the money for extra things, like a scripture case, a few ties, stuff like that. 

Thank you for all the help I have received. It means so much to me to have your support. 

See you soon,

Elder Parker

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Episode 23: Zika Don't Scare Me!

Hey everybody,

I hope everything is going great back at home. 

Things are going great here. We had a baptism this past Saturday for Berta. I have pictures but I left my camera in the apartment. But we have another baptism this Saturday for Edwin. We finally got permission from his parents so he can finally get baptized.

Happy birthday Lydia! I can't believe how fast the time has gone. I still remember being with you guys when she turned 1. The pictures are super great, the kids are growing so much that it will be hard to recognize them when I get home.

Haha Zika. We have already had 3-4 missionaries who have had Zika so it is definitely going around. No one has had serious problems but I still don't want to have to deal with being sick. I have already had enough problems .

I'm sorry that this email is a little bit shorter but things have just been so crazy with the writing schedule.

See you guys soon,

Elder Parker