Monday, November 25, 2013

Spiritual Lessons & Some Looney Toons

My companion and I love our little Christmas tree!
Not many people were available to teach so we spent a lot of time driving and biking to find people.  But this week we also had a lot of super spiritual lessons that were super good! 

Like one we had with this lady named Maria and her daughter named Mariana.  Maria is probably 50 something and Mariana is like 25 with a 4-year-old son.  The lesson was a little hard because the son was super loud the whole time, but then I was able to give him some of the hot wheel cars MaBecks sent me to hand out.  Then a less active that was there, Hermano Linky, gave his conversion story and he started crying and same with Maria and Mariana.  And then we were able to share our testimonies, mine about my experience getting my answer to serve a mission.  It was super good but then we couldn’t get a hold of them for the rest of the week and they didn’t come to church, so I don’t know how they are. But this happens all the time here. We will have a good lesson and then they either don’t come to church or we can’t get a hold of them for a while...

We also talked to a lot of crazy people this week!  This one black guy kept reassuring us that he has never done anything that would send him to jail.  No drugs, or domestic violence, or weapons.  And then he kept trying to get us to buy him stuff because he thought we could just "swipe that card" and get everything we wanted.  He was a funny guy. And then this cop drove by.  We waved to him and then turned back around and the black guy was running away as fast as he could!  Haha!

And then we talked to this straight up Native American.  He was super tan with crazy white hair and a huge beard and he had his beaded moccasins. He was such a loony!  He told us he didn’t speak English, only Spanish; but then he didn’t understand our Spanish and yelled at us in English!  I think he was a little confused.  And he kept saying our church was a bunch of liars and witches even though he couldn’t tell us what church we were from because we would just lie about it!  And finally he told us if we didn’t leave he would shoot us with the gun he had in his front pocket!  But all he had was a bunch of change, I could hear him jingling them.  And the best part was he was waiting for the bus, but he was just standing in the middle of some random neighborhood street.  Loonies...

But something a little spiritual for the week: We had Zone Conference and President Ashton told us about one of his experiences with his company.  It was really struggling and he was doing all he could for it: working all the time, using personal expenses, everything possible, but nothing helped. And Christmas was coming up so the night before his break he prayed super hard and just said, Heavenly Father, I’ve done all I can do.  I can’t do anything else.  If my company fails or comes back is up to you.  I will take any option and know it’s for the best, but now I’m leaving it all up to you. And then he turned off his phone and enjoyed Christmas with his family.  When he came back, his company had fully turned around and he had his best year yet.  So he related it to us that we must do all we can until we can do no more.  And then if we turn it over to the Lord, and be willing to accept whatever happens, everything will always work out.

Till next week,
Elder Parks

Monday, November 18, 2013

Zone Conference and 1st Talk in Spanish

We had some crazy stuff happen this week!  On Monday we went to a referral and it turned out to be some shady black guy smoking a blunt.  He said he wanted nothing to do with us so we went back to the car.  But I decided that wasn’t good enough so I decided to put a pass a long card on his truck.  Right as I put it on the window I see him walking around the front of the car and he looked super sketchy so I walked super fast back to the car and we peeled out of there!  And then he turned on his car and started following us, but we did some quick turns and lost him.  It was a close one though!   

Then we went to Enrique’s house.  We are working hard with him and he likes everything we teach him, but he has a hard time reading the scriptures so we showed him how to listen to them on his phone and maybe that will help.  While we were there he told us how some kid tried to break into his car in front of his house so he chased him through the neighborhood with his gun and shot at him a couple times!   And then he was talking about his dogs (a pitbull and a siberian husky) and how he went jogging with them and they started fighting hard core with each other. And dog fights are the thing he hates most so he got out his gun and was trying to decide which to shot first so they didn’t kill each other!  Luckily they separated but his pitbull bit him.  But who in the world has a gun while jogging and will shoot his dog out in the open?!  He’s gnarly!  Haha, I like talking to him.

And then we had zone conference.  It was super cool and I learned a lot. My favorite part was one of the assistants talked about giving Christ all we have and he will make up the rest.  Just like when Christ needed to feed the multitude and all the disciples had was some loaves and a few fishes. But because they gave everything, Christ made up the rest and it fed the multitude of 5,000.  And then the best part was because of their faith and sacrifice, they ended up with more food leftover then they started with!  So if we whole heartedly give up everything and have faith, he will make up the rest and leave us with more blessings for ourselves.

So, I’ve figured out is the biggest problem we have here is finding new people to teach in Spanish.  When we ride our bikes we OYM everyone (open your mouth and talk to everyone), we see and find a bunch of people interested.  The only problem is that 80% of them speak English and we have to give them to the English elders.  It’s hard to give up some perfect people that we find but I guess its ok.  We are all doing the same work.

Yesterday I went on my first exchange to the island. Haha, Galveston is where everyone wants to go because it’s on an island.  It reminds me a lot of Laguna because it’s super foggy in the morning and at night, and the air is cold and moist, and you can almost feel the water in the air.   But we talked to this guy about how his acid trip brought him closer to God, haha. He lost contact with reality and almost died!  Now he believes it was God giving him a second chance on life.  So at least now he wants god.  And then I did a sweet jump on my bike and this little black kid gave me props. I think I got like a foot of air, haha, but it made me feel good.

Oh... and on Sunday I had to give a talk... in Spanish!  But it actually went really well. I talked about how Jesus gave thanks for the little bread he had for the multitude and how the brother of Jared was safe on their journey to the promise land because they continually gave thanks for what they had. So if we give thanks for everything the lord gives us, we will be blessed so much and not have room to receive it.

But anyways, tell Hunter happy birthday for me.  Too bad I wont be there for it.  And I also wont be there for ma becks’ pumpkin cookies.  Those are so good and I could eat a million of them.  And I got the packages today, haha, so many of them, but I haven’t had time to open them yet!

And the last thing:  Pres thinks we will get iPads in January!  We would then go completely paperless and have everything on an iPad mini.  That will be so sweet, and it reminded me of how Dad went completely paperless.

Love, Elder Parks

Monday, November 11, 2013

Tons of Mosquitos Here in Texas City!

At the Mission Home with Pres. & Sis. Ashton and Family
So I got to Houston and the Pres. and his wife picked us up from the airport.  There were 8 new missionaries which is nothing compared to the 34 they had 2 weeks ago!  Haha, crazy!!  We went to his house and had dinner and a testimony meeting.  He has 7 kids, all under the age of 15.  His house was so fun and we just played games with all the little kids.  But Pres. Ashton is super cool.  It’s so funny because sometimes he doesn’t really see the importance of some of the little rules or of always acting professional, but he says he has to always try to be exactly obedient because that’s what all the missionaries do.  But then Sister Ashton is really the serious and responsible one in that family.  She’s more strict, but still pretty cool.

Then the next day we met our trainers.  Mine is elder B.  He is from New Jersey and has been here for exactly a year.  He’s a cool guy and he tries to help me stay on task during study.  It’s impossible cuz we study for 4 hours straight and have to do it in the same chair at the same desk the whole time.  But he has Nerf guns so we take a break every once in a while and have a fight or target practice. 

Right now I am in Texas City.  It’s right outside of Galveston.  It’s the farthest from the mission office so if you send anything my address is:

Elder Lund
Stone Ridge Apartments
1115 Highway 146 North #1214
Texas City, TX 77590

We live about an hour and a half from the office so no one really goes back for anything until transfers.  But my area is the biggest so we hit the streets hard in our silver Corolla!  And here you can listen to anything that invites the spirit which I guess is any cover of a church song, so we have CDs of like folk, alternative, jazz, country, and pretty much any other some what mellow type music.  But we rode bikes one day so far, which by the way is impossible with my messenger bag!  But my bike is so rad!  Definitely the best of all I’ve seen.  It’s matt dark blue with light blue and red accents.  It looks kinda like Tron, I think. 

And our apartment reminds me so much of Club Laguna.  It looks the same and smells the same too.  It’s not bad, but every time you walk in, it just has the apartment smell that Club Laguna had.  And yes, I got all your postcards. They turned out really good and I think they are really cool.

So pretty much I’ve discovered that here if you speak English, you speak to blacks, and if you speak Spanish you talk to Hispanics.  There are barely any white people here.  And pretty much everyone here just sits on their porch and drinks all night and day every day which is crazy because there are so many mosquitos here!  Me and B think that the devil controls them because when we teach, we get bit so much and the investigator never does.  I think it’s because the devil doesn’t want us teaching the truths.  We talked to this old guy for 45 min last night and between just my ankles, the top of my hands, and one forearm, I have 34 bites!  It’s deathly!

The only thing is, we meet some of the coolest people that speak English but we aren’t allowed to talk to them.  It stinks. 

At church yesterday, it was the primary program.  It was so funny. Pretty much none of the kids sang, only the teachers. And we go to a Spanish branch here by the way.  But we have some really cool members that have us over for dinner a couple times a week.  One of them can’t say my name and she thinks with my manners that I eat like a princess so she and her 10 yr old son call me “Luna Princessa”, haha.  But they are my favorite people.  They make me feel right at home.  And we have to eat outside on her massage table because we can’t go in her house. 

Ya, so I was reading my Patriarchal blessing last night and I noticed a bunch of new stuff.  But the biggest thing was that I would be a great speaker.  And I would motivate and affect all those around me with my words.  And that I should only speak by promptings of the Lord and the Holy Ghost.  So I’m waiting for that to happen because right now I have no idea what most people are saying and so its hard to speak to them in return.  Another part of my blessing is that I would dream dreams and see many visions, which ever since I came on my mission, I never have dreams.  I had one the other day about getting huge barrels at the beach with a dolphin but that’s the only one!  So maybe somebody up there got confused and forgot to fulfill my blessing in its entirety because it also said I would teach many people in many foreign lands and nations.  So I don’t know what’s going on, because Texas is not very foreign.  But anyways I’m here doing my part and we shall see what happens.

I read this talk The Atonement and Journey of Mortality by Bednar.  Amazing!!  I invite you all to read it.  It talks about how we should not pray to have our circumstances changed but to have strength to over come them.  I loved it!

Ya, that’s pretty much my week so far.  We email from the library here in town. I’ll send what pictures I have.  My camera won’t connect but I’ll work on it.  I typed this super speedy so fix it up a little for me. 

Love ya, Elder Parks

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Quick Note That I Made It To Houston

So this lady only gave me one piece of paper to write home and then she left.  So just forward this along to the next one or give it to them at church.  

But any who, I just got here to the Houston.  And tell Bradley that I drove by the Joel Osteen's big church.  But the plane was fun.  It was super small.  It only had one row on one side and 2 on the other.  And at the Houston airport, we gave a Book of Mormon to some dude.  He was talking to all of us missionaries so we hooked him up big time with the solution!  

And Pres. and Sis. Ashton are pretty cool cats.  We have only been here for an hour so I don't know too much yet.  Oh and btw's my P-day is on Monday.  Oh and btw's for the 2nd time, send all mail to here because I'll move around a lot and the mail at some apartment places is not so secure.  But that's all I've got for now.  I'll shout out on Monday again.  

Loves!  Elder Parks.

Halloween visit to Elder & Sister Jones before leaving the CCM

Monday, November 4, 2013

Halloween & Dia de los Muertos

My district with my native teacher
A little bird I caught after it flew into my window

So this week was Halloween and Dia de los Muertos so it was a party.  On Halloween we went and trick or treated at a senior couples house that we are friends with.  I was able to wear my eye patch and fangs that mom sent me.  They thought it was so funny because we had like 8 guys that all did it together.  They took a picture and had me put down my parents email so they could send it to them.  I don’t know if they ever did but I’m pretty sure I put down dad’s.  They didn’t have candy so they gave us their special yogurt pie.  The bottom was almost a white cake and the top layer was just strawberry yogurt and then there was something else on top.  It was all frozen and it actually wasn’t that bad.

(Oh and btw the j button is stuck to the h button on this keyboard so most times when I put an h, it also puts a j)

But then we had Dia de los Muertos.  Our teacher gave us the special Pan de Muerto.  It’s like a sweet roll covered with sugar on top.  It was so good!   He also gave us little chocolate skulls with our names on them.  I got a few pictures of those. 

My chocolate skull selfie
My arts and crafts dream catcher I made one night

And finally, we had in field orientation all day Friday.  It’s a bunch of workshops that teach you how to work with members, trust the spirit, planning, and other stuff like that.  It was pretty cool but it was all day in little tiny classrooms. 

Ya, so I leave the CCM at 5:30am tomorrow, which means I will probably fly out around like 10am.  I don’t know for sure yet because I cant get my flight info till tonight, but we are allowed to do a quick email to our family before we leave.

But besides all that, this week has been full of people packing and saying goodbyes.  Three people have already left from our district and most of us leave early tomorrow morning.  Maybe I will get to write you again tomorrow and I heard that if you have a layover, you can call home so if I have a layover I might call you around like 11-1 ish.  No promises though cuz I don’t know if or when I’ll have one.

Elder Parks