Tuesday, October 29, 2013

On the Grounds of the CCM

CCM Love Story & Soccer in the Rain!

I leave for Texas in 6 days...I think. You can never be sure around here because the schedules always tend to change somehow. I actually can’t wait to get out of here.  It was fun for a while but now it is just the same exact thing every single day.  Texas will bring a little more variety.

So supposedly this week, there was a hurricane on the coast.  It has been rainy and cold for like 4 days. And lucky me, I didn’t bring any jackets except for a light sweater.  But I stole one of my comps jackets. It’s so steezy.  It’s made to cover your bag so it’s a tall tee, but it’s also an XL.  It goes down to my knees, haha! 

Me and Tywans played soccer in the rain for like 2 hours with some natives.  It was so fun and I just stomped around and we ended up soaked. But we took hot showers after and oh boy it was heaven!

Also, I have this native teacher named Hermano Tapia.  His girlfriend, Hermana Valasquez, teaches here too, but at nights so she is always in our class.  Then a couple days ago, in the middle of class, he proposed... he said he had been thinking about it all day and he wanted to do it in front of the CCM sign but that it was just was the right time.  It was adorable and she said yes and we were off track for the rest of the day. Then I told him he should name his primer hijo Elder Lund and he started cracking up.  He laughed so hard he had to sit down. I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing.

We also sang in the devotional on Sunday.  My whole district loves to sing and one Elder is a music major so he took on the task of making us a choir and constructing a number.  We sang in front of the whole place so almost 1,000 people.  It was cool.   We sang a mix of Where Can I Turn For Peace and Abide With Me so it was all about finding Christ.

Also, there is one Hermana who is a pro with the Book of Mormon and she knows it front to back.  So whenever I start zoning out in study time, she comes over and talks with me about what I have been studying.  It’s really good because we both get a different interpretation of it.  We help each other out and it gets me back on track for later.  We got tired of studying El Libro de Mormon so we decided to pick apart Revelations. It’s impossible! Between the four beasts and the seven candles and the angel holding seven stars, there is no way! It took us half an hour to pick apart like 2 verses!  When I get to Texas and if it’s ok, you should send me a book on Revelations because it’s pretty interesting.

Hunter emailed me and showed me everything.  I’m so jealous!  He will be a pro skater and surfer by the time I get back and he will have to teach me everything.  Just hold out on Maddie until she starts driving the Porsche haha. 

Here are some pictures of me and tywans before he left and of what I have for breakfast cada dia.

Tywans and I before he left

Daily Breakfast

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Soccer, Shakes, & Lightning!

I’m so proud of my boy Zack!  Too bad he is not coming to this MTC!

Nothing really legendary happened this week, just more CCM stuff.  On Wednesday I died during soccer because we play in “the cage” (a fenced in concrete patch).  I went to kick it for a goal from the corner but since it was super wet and slick, this big kid couldn’t slow down and ran straight into me.  I flew down and killed my left butt cheek on the cement and then my palm got cut on the fence.  But I scored the goal so...

Anyways, the next few days I could only sit on my right side, haha.  And then my native teacher, he likes to play games with us if we are loosing focus, so he taught us head shoulders knees and toes in Spanish.  But his version is cabeza, cara, hombres, piĆ©s (head, face, shoulders, feet) and then instead of eyes, ears, mouth, and nose, it ends with y una vuelta entera (and one complete turn or something). It was pretty fun.

Something weird, ever since I’ve been here, my shakes are going away.  They are still there if I have to focus my hand on something, like while taking the sacrament, but when I’m just sitting there and I check for them, they are almost completely gone. I’m not going to lie, I miss them.  They made me different.

The coolest experience was this Sunday our little district was chosen to give a small 20-minute sacrament for the workers in the cafeteria.  It was the first time anything like this had been done.  And since we only have 5 guys, I had to bless and give a 5-minute spiritual thought.  But it was a cool experience because only 8 people were there in the congregation.  We only used one row of water in the tray and one piece of bread, haha.

I got my Halloween care package from mom, finally!  It took years of waiting, but in it were eye patches and fangs so me and another missionary put them on and creeped on kids around the CCM.  People thought we were the biggest weirdoes but we are going to do it again on Halloween, haha.  Me and that same Elder decided to write letters and bury them in a grove of trees behind our house.  So I wrote to a friend coming in two weeks, to Hunter in 3 years, and to my future child in 30 years, haha.  It would be so funny if Hunter came here and found it somehow.  We used spoons to dig the holes and we carved symbols on the tree so they can be found.  I carved a diamond with an eye in it.

Besides that it has been a pretty mellow week here.  We got one of our fake investigators to commit to baptism but then she told us she was moving away because it was one of our teachers and she went back to the US yesterday.  Our other investigator was super close but his girlfriend wouldn’t allow it so we have started teaching her now too.

Oh and there were big lightning storms this week which was fun.  We would just play in the rain, but its gnarly because the wall around here has lightning poles and there are more around the place.  It was gnarly because lightning struck the pole and it made the hugest sound.  Luckily it was a pole at the far edge where no one was.

(In response to Dad’s question about his clothes)  My shoes are great and super comfy.  My suits and pants are good.  The pants from Costco are all right.  They are bigger and more flowy than my others so it feels like I’m wearing sweats sometimes, haha.  But the problem is, they get dirty really fast.  They pick up any dust they touch.  On my black ones I get little white marks that I usually can just rub out.  As of now, I wear my normal pants before the Costco ones but maybe they will make all the difference when I start biking because they are more stretchy.  Other than that, I like all my clothes.

I miss you guys!  In 2 weeks I’ll be stomping around texas!

Love you, Elder parks

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Slack Lining and Fly Swatting at the CCM

BYU friend Elder Tyler Wandry

Making do without a slack line

The Flaming Sword of Cherubim!

Halfway through the CCM!

Guess what?  Me and my boy are the new Zone Leaders!  It’s pretty cool, but right now our zone is really small so hopefully we get more people.  Now I have to be super responsible and be the example for everyone else. It’s cool because I have already been able to help a few missionaries.

Anyways, nothing too big happened this week.  All we do is study.  But I did teach a lesson completely by the spirit and I definitely had the gift of tongues on my side.  It wasn’t perfect Spanish but I pretty much said all I wanted to in round about ways.  It was rad.

And this week I was able to anoint for two blessings, one to my teacher and one to a Hermana in my district.  I haven’t said a blessing yet, but it was still super cool.  We went to the temple again today and I knew a little bit more of what was going on so that’s good.

Any who… I found a teacher with a slack line but he wont let me borrow it because its too dangerous for missionaries… but we improvise and tightrope on fences and jungle gym type stuff.  I’ll send some pictures.

I named our fly swatter in our dorm “the flaming sword of cherubim.”  I carve tallies in it for every life I take, but so far I only have six because for some reason only our room has no bugs.  All of our roommates left so it’s only me and H. in a dorm meant for 6.  It actually gets kind of lonely! 

I’ve learned a lot so far and I’m halfway done.  3 more weeks and I’ll be in Texas! 

Until next week, hugs and kisses from Elder Parks
The old Zone Leaders with the new Zone Leaders

With the District

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Shortest Haircut of My Life!

Wow, that's pretty short!

Conference, Soccer, and Waffles

Ya, I haven’t gotten anything in the mail yet.  They say it takes like 2 to 3 weeks for something to come in the mail.  What a bunch of slackers! Haha!

So I’ve only been here for 13 days but it feels like I’ve been here a month! But now the time is flying by!  People say, at the CCM a day is a week and a week is a day and its totally true.  Did you see the world report on the CCM after conference?  Because that is where I am!  It’s crazy because it’s like a sanctuary inside the walls, but outside is the crazy city.  At night we always hear sirens and the cannons from the church across the valley. 

Last week I had to get my haircut and they have a place right here at the CCM.  The two Mexican ladies that work there don’t speak English so I just told her I needed a hair cut and let her work her magic, because I didn’t know how to say anything else!  Haha!  It’s pretty much a buzz with one size longer on top.  I’ve never had my hair this short before.  I’ll send some pictures.

I also found out that as of right now I will be coming home September 8, 2015.  Pretty crazy, right?  Haha!

One of my favorite parts here is we watch these videos from the New York Times online. They are called one in 8 million.  They are narrated autobiographical slide shows about people and their lives and they are each like 5 minutes long.  Then we use the video and the people and discuss the best way we could teach them and why they personally need the gospel in their lives.  I love them and I love learning about all the people.  You should watch a few!  My favorite is the homeless black guy with dreads who plays the violin in the subway.  I’ve learned a lot from those videos because each person is different and needs to hear a different part of the gospel.

At the CCM, all the missionaries watched conference together in a big auditorium.  My favorite talk was Elder Dube's and how he talked about looking forward at the work we have still to do.  But during Uchtdorf’s and Monson’s talks, all I could think about was hearing Hunter's impressions at the dinner table right before I left!  I had a nice little chuckle!

Still one of my favorite parts of the day is every morning when we have gym time.  It’s not the most spiritual time, but I like it because I can wear my tie-dyed shark shirt and my stance socks and just play soccer everyday.  Now that I’ve been here long enough and the fact that I’ve played some soccer before, I’ve pretty much been accepted by the nativos and the really good white kids.  It’s pretty sweet.  Everyday we play on this cement court that was originally a basketball court, but it has a small goal at each side.  It has a 20-foot fence around the whole thing so we call it The Cage!  Like one might say, “I’ll see you in The Cage tomorrow”, pretty threatening!  The hardest part is that Hermanas play and they know that the Elders can’t really touch them or get physical.  They know that so they use it to their advantage!  Like if a Hermana has the ball, one might try to stick a foot in here or there but that’s about it.  But when Elders are going at it, they push each other up against the cage and the real fun begins!

This morning for breakfast, they served chicken and waffles, but they completely messed up the stereotype because they didn’t fry the chicken, they sliced it.  And then they added lettuce and tomato on top and called it a sandwich.  Down here they do Mexican food very well but whenever they try to do American food, its just never quite the same.

Anyways, that’s about everything worthwhile that happened this week. Other than that, I just study all day.  I started reading the Book of Mormon in English during personal study.  I started 4 days ago and I’m already at Mosiah 4!  Pretty crazy, right?  But I think I’m just frying my brain, I’ve never read so much in my life!

Well... till next week, Elder Lund