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 CondorĂ­. 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