Monday, December 30, 2013

Some New Pictures!

Myra getting baptized!  Husband Roy has the cowboy hat.
Me with my Christmas presents
A couple of the gifts you sent me
Anti-Stress masks from the grocery store

Teriyaki Chicken I made.  So good!

Christmas Baptism!

On Christmas, we and two other elders went and sang Christmas carols to the old and to some children. It was sweet and everyone loved it, but we only brought hymnbooks in Spanish so when it came time to sing in English, we had forgotten all the words! We only knew Jingle Bells and could mumble our way through parts of Silent Night, haha.

This week was super slow.  We didn’t teach much and it was hard to find people, but we did find a mouse in our apartment! And Elder Bilal is like a little girl when it comes to mice, haha.  I tried to just catch it with my hands but it scurried off so we got traps and haven’t seen it since.

And this week Myra got baptized!  It was sweet but it came together so last minute, haha. But she’s baptized and she loves coming to church and really wants to go to the temple so she will be a good member.  Now we just have to work on her husband Roy.  He has a lot of doubts but I feel he will just one day figure it out and decide he wants to be baptized right then.

And then on Sunday, I was just sitting in the congregation and all of the sudden Presidente says from the mic that Elder Lund is going to give a testimony on how setting goals pays off.  I was so shocked!  So I went up and stumbled my way through some things for like 5 minutes.  But everyone I talked to said it made sense so I don’t know if they are just being nice or what…

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Guns & Christmas Conference

Skype with Parker on Christmas Day

Skype with Parker on Christmas Day

We started off the week by going to a less active’s named the Vasquezes. They are an old married couple that love having us over, but we don’t go over that much because they don’t progress at all and don’t want to.  But while we were there, Hermano got out his guitar and played us a few Spanish songs.  And then he got up and put on a CD and then sang to us for like ten minutes, haha!  We just sat there and listened to his old raspy voice.  I hope when I’m an old man I can pick a few songs on the guitar and then just stand there and sing in my broken voice.  It was sweet!

And this week somehow, a bunch of people showed us their guns.  And dad, you would like that everyone’s favorite is an AR-15.  This cop at a prison here showed us his camo one from the army.  It had a grip and a red dot sight and a flashlight.  We held them.  He invited us shooting but I had to sadly say we couldn’t.  Then my comp told me afterwards that I was in trouble because we can’t even hold guns... I’ll just have to wait till I get home.

And this recent convert, Howard, is a big maintenance man.  He looks like a goober too but he is actually so cool!  He told us a bunch of stories about how he used to drag race and showed us a bunch of pictures of his old cars in the late 80's.  I loved talking with the little knowledge I had from Top Gear but Elder Bilal said he was just lost the whole time with what we were saying, haha. 
And then we had the Christmas conference yesterday.  It was the best! President gave some talks and some missionaries gave some talks and then we watched Ephraim’s Rescue.  It was so sweet actually.  It was all about this guy who had a semi hard life but it trained him to be a great man who saved the Martin Handcart Company in winter and did crazy stuff.  But he had the sickest hair and hats!  I would recommend it as a church movie but also just for entertainment.  

After the movie, we had dinner from a bunch of members and a bunch of us just got full steaks. They had so much food!  We played some games and didn’t get home till 8:30 cuz we are 2 hours away from the mission office. But we still managed to teach one lesson so that’s good.

As of now, the only things I miss are music and my first name.  Calling people by Elder and then a last name is just too much, especially when some last names are so long.  It will be cool to have another cousin out on a mission.  I’m excited for Marcus.

Maria still doesn’t have a baptism date and we couldn’t see her all week... but Myra, the wife of the Roy, has a date for this Saturday and I’m pretty sure she will be baptized so pray for her.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Love Elder Parks

Monday, December 16, 2013

Teaching Kids about Sin and the Holy Ghost

Jack-in-the-Box late night munchie meal
Me with my broken wrist and how I fixed it
This week, Maria still didn’t get baptized.  Her whole family came to church, but I guess the dad said something bad about the church afterwards and her son defended the church and they got in a huge fight of yelling and cussing and stuff.  So she thinks church causes contention in her family- so originally she wanted to drop us, but we got her calmed down and she realizes that we and church makes her life better and she likes feeling the spirit.  

But now all these new doubts are coming out about the Book of Mormon vs. the Bible and Joseph Smith and a bunch of stuff. We think it’s because her husband is asking her a lot of crazy questions. But we are still seeing her all the time and trying our best with her so we will see what happens.

Another big investigator of ours is Damion.  He is 8 and the son of a less active.  I don’t know if i told you about him, but his family is my favorite.  He is 8, his sister Jessica is 7, his brother Aaron is 5, and his sister Yasmin is 2.  Damion and Jessica have crazy interest in the church. They could teach us the lessons now and they have questions of an adult!  Aaron is crazy and Yasmin just runs around and hands me random stuff as I’m teaching.  And the two little ones love when I bring them stickers or coloring books or the little toys that MaBecks sent me. 

But we taught the best lesson with them about repentance and baptism and the Holy Ghost.  I came up with it myself.  So we poured a little bit of syrup on their hands and had them rub it around.  This is sin and it leaves gross, sticky, bad feelings.  Then we can use soap to get rid of those feelings and that is repentance.  Then the water is baptism and the sacrament completes the process.  Finally, a towel, or the Holy Ghost, brings us warmth and comfort.  They all loved it, and Yasmin wanted to do it like 5 times!  Haha! But we had the kids think of what sins they might have committed and everyone’s was little, like calling someone bad name or yelling at their mom.  And then when it came to me they said I choked someone!  Those crazy kids!  They thought it was so funny.

Other than that, someone thought I was 24 this week!  I don’t think I look that old.  And I’m learning to juggle.  I got balls at goodwill and I do it everyday during lunch.

Elder Lund signing out!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Cowboy Jackets & Hillbillies

Me cooking cuz I'm a pro chef now
Maria couldn’t get baptized this week because turns out she had a problem with one of the worthiness questions.  She said she felt super guilty because she didn’t tell us when we had the practice interview.  But she has a date this Saturday and they even announced it in church.  When she came to church yesterday, she brought her grandson, Miguel, and her husband who we had never wanted to listen to us.  Her husband fell asleep, but it was still cool he came.  And Miguelito… oh boy, he is a nut!!  He was running rampant and we somehow got him to go to nursery and play in there because he’s like 2.  But during Sacrament, he was scurrying all over, and climbing under the benches, and even stomping around up on the stand with his iron man that makes noises!  He was crazy, but finally right before the sacrament prayers the Primary President took him outside to play.

And we also have this member family, the Aguirres.  They are definitely my favorite.  They have two boys that are 18 and 17 so they are super cool, but the dad is the best.  He reminds me of a Mexican Uncle John!  I can’t describe it but that’s who I think of when I talk to him.  But they both have the same crazy voices and joke around the same and I think they even kind of look the same!  I tried to get a pic but he doesn’t like pictures.... so maybe before I leave here he will.  But he randomly just gave me this huge puffy cowboy jacket.  He said his family calls him a hobo when he wears it so he gave it to me!  Pretty cool but I can’t really wear it because it has logos all over it.

So the hick, Roy… His wife is super interested in the church and he likes to listen and learn, but not follow.  And he doesn’t like that we’re restricted to a certain number of miles on our car, so sometimes we have to bike when its colder, or at night.  No matter what we say to him, he can’t get over it and he says it’s just not right, even though we don’t mind.  And when we bike, we talk to more people, but he says that’s the only thing holding him back.  I don’t know what to do with this hillbilly...

I’m glad you like your church class dad because that is the class I go to every week!  Too bad you’re not teaching it!  In the Lorenzo Snow book for Priesthood I found a picture with our gramps in it.  Anthon H. Lund in the flesh, it was pretty cool.  And too bad I’m missing the Christmas decorations but our apartment has TWO trees now because mom sent me one, haha.

And speaking of cold... this week was 35-45 and rainy the whole time.  I died!  All I have is Jon’s little sweater and that raincoat thing.  What is up here?!  I thought Texas was just one big desert!

But anyways, Elder Parks

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Two Thanksgivings Dinners!

Hey!  Thanksgiving was great!  We went to two dinners.  One was at a member’s house in our area and she gave us tamales and other Mexican food.  Then we went to our Branch President’s house for more of a traditional Thanksgiving.   We got there early and were helping cook and Presidente had me carve the turkey.  It was hard at first but I got some good slices by the end.  But I had so much food there.  When we left I had the hugest belly from the food, I was legit fat and Presidente loved it.  But his wife is so funny.  She jokingly argues with her whole family and then they all gang up on her so she turns so me and says, "See, they all hate me".  But then I took her side and joked around with her and now she loves me and just gives me a bunch of treats.  Too bad she is not in our area but we did go over for lunch after church yesterday.

But real quick to answer your question, I eat cereal every morning for breakfast and then lunch and dinner can be a mix of hot pockets, frozen pizza, sandwiches, and we usually try to make something every Sunday night and one other time.  This is usually some type of meat, like we had beef fajitas once or we had bowtie pasta and meatballs two days ago.  And we usually eat at members 2-3 times a week.  There are only 3 members that live in our area so we eat at the same peoples houses a lot.

So this week, Maria said she is getting baptized for sure this Saturday which is super exciting!  We have been teaching her the whole time I’ve been here and she has changed so much.  Even her husband, who we have never taught, says she has changed for the better.  So hopefully she will be baptized on Saturday but according to my trainer, you can never be sure around here until they actually show up, so we will see how it goes.

And then uncle Craig randomly showed up at our apartment with Susan and lizzie!  (Uncle Craig lives in the same stake where Parker is serving)  I didn’t even recognize him at first because I wasn’t expecting it at all.  But he brought by a bunch of snacks and a pumpkin pie so that’s good.

The next day was crazy.  Enrique showed us his gun that he is always carrying around with him.  I thinks its a .38 special revolver but I couldn’t tell for sure cuz it was dark.  And then this guy walked up to us and told us about how he hitchhiked all the way from Sacramento to here in 2 weeks. And then he told us a poem he wrote about government conspiracies and how the government and money controls us.  It was so funny and I wish I could have got him to write it down.  Before he said it, he said “Let me spit this poem at you.” Haha.

And then I went on an island vacation exchange.  It ended up being three of us together all with less then 3-4 weeks in the mission. Haha.   We trained each other.  But one Elder, Elder V, his bike was broken and the pedals broke.  So we tried to make new ones with wire hangers and a broken broom and ducktape.  But it broke right when his huge poly self got on so we ended up walking the whole day, which was pretty fun.

I hope you all had a good thanksgiving!

Elder Parks