Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Super cold week in Texas!

Elder Bilal preaching to me

Ice in Texas City
My baptism, Mayra, the husband of Roy, is a super good member.  Well, she goes to church every week and she is friends with everyone.  And Roy, he likes coming to church but he still has a lot of doubts. Like he doesn’t understand why we can play basketball but not go swimming.  He says he just doesn’t agree with our Presidents on that.  He doubts a lot of other crazy stuff like that, but we just think once he gets a testimony of the restoration, the other doubts will just slowly disappear.

And as far as transfers, Elder Bilal is leaving me on Wednesday and I’ll get someone new.  So I’m staying here and taking over the area.

So this week started of a little sad.  Right when we started teaching Maria again (the one who was super solid with a baptism date but then fell away a little cuz it caused problems in her family), well right when we start teaching her again, she says she is moving to Austin. Ugh!  But we got all her info and hopefully can send the missionaries over because she said she wants to come back to church.  But then Ricardo, an 18-year-old member that comes to a lot of lessons with us, got his mission call to Ecuador Quito and we were the first people he told, haha.  I’m super jealous but he will be super good!

By the way, a police officer just busted into the church and took all our names because he got a call of suspicious activity and thought we broke in to steal stuff.

And this week, we also talked to the swamp lady.  Her name is actually Mariana and she is this old wrinkley lady with nasty teeth and wearing almost umbrella lady clothes.  And her voice was super hissy and she had a crackly laugh so all I can describe her as is a swamp lady that probably controls all the gators in the bayou or something. Haha!  But I really liked her and I hope we talk to her again.  To answer your question, not everybody is crazy like this. Everybody here is just a stereotypical Mexican but then we usually get one person a week that sticks out from the rest.

And also, on Friday and Saturday it was soooo cold!  Well for Texas at least...  it was 31 in the middle of the day and everything was frozen over, which hasn’t happened in 10 yrs.  It snowed for a little.  And we are out of miles in the car so we biked all day. Haha!  My tires were frozen and the straps on our bike rack snapped when we tried to put our bikes on.  And then at night the wind was so strong that I had to lean super far to the left to keep from falling over.  And to make everything more fun, the heater in our apartment stopped working so our apartment got down to 54!  And I got to scrape ice off the windshield for the first time ever.

All in all it was a pretty fun week!

Love, Elder Parks

Friday, January 24, 2014

Crazy Stories at McDonald's!

Haha my comp was buzzing his heat but his trimmers dies so now he's walking around the apartment with just one side shaved and the rest is puffed up.  It's classic!

When you were on your mission, did you do exchanges?  Because the are the best!  It's like a vacation!  Cuz my comp is super strict so when I go on exchanges it feels like I get to relax a little and have some fun, then come back and go to work.  

This last exchange I had was nuts!   So this lady calls us and says to come meet her at her house.  So we are biking over there and then she told us to meet her at McDonald's.  So we change course and then Elder Birks (the guy I was on exchanges with) his chain broke.  So we fixed that and got super greasy so we had to wash our hands at McDonald's.  

As we are entering McDonald's, this guy across the street yells at us to go see him.  So we go over and he says his name is "Black Kenny".  And then just straight up asks for a Book of Mormon.  But we had to him our number cuz we only had Spanish with us.  Then we finally went in to wash our hands.  While in the bathroom, this crazy black guy starts preaching to us.  He was pretty much rapping.  And he says "I've been to the doctors 4 times in the last 2 months.  Last time they told me I had Lukemia.  I said 'No, I have Jesus!' and then I walked out."  It was pretty crazy!  Then he started singing to us! (we are still in the bathroom). Finally he told us he wants to be a missionary for our church but he doesn't want to go cuz we can't teach him something that Jesus already hasn't. ?? By the time we got out of there we had been in there for a good 10 minutes.

Then we actually talk to the lady we wanted to meet.  But a McDonald's lady said we had to leave cuz we were loitering.  So I bought a burger to make her happy.  Then after talking to her a Native American guy came up and said he was interested in learning about how Christ came to the Americas.  So we gave him a Book of Mormon with our info and told him to read 3 Nephi 11-26.  

But then the manager at McDonalds told us he called the cops because we weren't allowed to preach there.  So we high-tailed it out of there but on the way out like 3 people said they want to talk to us!  McDonald's is a gold mine!  

So as we biked down the street, we saw a cop go into McDonald's from the other direction.  Close one!  But that's my little story for you this week.  

Miss you!  Love you!  Got to go!

Love, Elder Lund

Monday, January 20, 2014

Elder Lund the Contractor

On Galveston Island at a cool painted fence
Cutting sheetrock for Roy's bathroom remodel
So we started off the week by doing some service.  Roy is re-doing the inside of his house so I cut sheet rock and put it up for the whole bathroom.  It was the best!  So now I’m pro with sheet rock.  We did it for like an hour and a half.

And then I went on a crazy exchange with Elder Birks which I wrote about in the letter I sent home.  It was so crazy!

Yeah so I don’t remember anything that happened this week but that story is super good so it will make up for it.  We had to drop a lot of people this week but we found a lot of new ones so I will have some good stories next week.

Elder Lund

Monday, January 13, 2014

Witness to the Circle of Life

The new baptism is doing good.  Roy was never in the hospital; that was Maria’s husband.  We found out yesterday that he died after being in the hospital for a week, but we haven’t gotten the chance to go see her yet.

To start off, walking into the library, I was holding the door open for some old man and then he just backs off and yells "get the h%&# away from me!" haha.  What a grumpy old man!  He needs the gospel in his life.

But yeah so Maria’s husband died I guess from a respiratory problem.  But her daughter Mariana had a baby girl named Esmerelda and we got to see the baby in the hospital.  It was pretty cool cuz I’ve never seen a brand newborn baby like that.  And while we were there we talked to a gay, Jewish doctor named Sean. haha He was pretty funny but very gay.  He saw us and was like “no f*&%#$ way, real life missionaries are in my hospital!” I guess he has seen the Book of Mormon musical and was excited to talk to us.  He said the musical went too far and just made bad fun of too much.  But he really got a kick out of the fact that there are actually people from Laguna Beach and it’s not just fantasyland, haha.

And then I had my first interview with President and everyone said they are the greatest thing ever and that he tells you exactly what you need to hear.  I have no idea what they are talking about because that’s not how mine went.  He called me in and told me to explain about an investigator in Spanish for five minutes.  He told me I could work on remembering to use past tense and then kicked me out!  I got squatty and my interview was 5 minutes when everyone else’s were 15 at least.  Hmmmm, I guess I’m perfect. I’ll probably go AP this transfer, no big deal. 

And I don’t know if you know who Enrique is.  He is the one who showed us his gun and has a big husky outside that always tries to kill us. I don’t know, but he was definitely my favorite with all his stories about the cartels and shooting stuff.  Well, we had to drop him this week because he never kept commitments. Man, dropping people is the worst!  We build this great relationship and then just have to tell them we can’t see them anymore.  But one day he will come around. 

We don’t track.  We only work through referrals and talking to people we pass by on the street.  Sometimes it’s slow when we run out of people to try, but then we usually just talk to their neighbors and it usually helps.

Hunter is so lucky to get to go ski!  I miss it so much!  Especially cuz last season is when I actually got pretty good.

Did you ever find a Spanish-to-english electronic dictionary? Cuz it would be super helpful but if not I need a normal dictionary cuz i just steal elder Bilal’s everyday.

And also this week, I found the sickest 80’s slide projector at our church.  It’s so rad!  It has film rolls of slides and a cassette player to play music to go along with it. I borrowed it and cleaned it up and fixed the mirrors and lenses and so I just play around with it at nights.  But I only have one role of film so I need to find another.

Anyways, a little scripture for the week: Romans 8:38-39, I think... but it’s about how nothing can separate us from Christ’s love and its super good.

Love, Elder Parks

Monday, January 6, 2014

Translating in Church!

These last few weeks have been so slow!  I don’t know what’s up, but we are lucky if we teach a total of 3 or 4 lessons a week.  But we did get a chance to go to the hospital this week because Maria’s husband is having crazy respiratory problems.  And so we went and gave him a blessing and also I got the opportunity to translate a little because only one doctor on that floor could speak Spanish and she doesn’t understand English.  That would stink to have your husband dying and have no idea what’s going on because you can’t understand the nurses.  So lets hope he gets better.

And I also translated in church.  That was a party.  I was sitting in the back in between Hermana Rabago (who translates) and a less active of ours. and then all of the sudden she leans over and goes -Elder Lund, can you translate for me- and just handed me the mic!  And let me tell you, it’s one thing to just translate in your head and go along with it, which I can kinda do.  It’s a whole other story when you have to listen to the speaker, translate in your head, speak it into the microphone, and then keep listening to the speaker instead of listening to your own voice!  And the mic at the pulpit has a short so it sometimes goes out and you can’t hear what they are saying.  And some words that I haven’t said in English in a long time were hard to think of, like Joseph Smith or the Atonement or pretty much everything else.  It was fun though, haha, I just made up a lot of stuff!

And we met our downstairs neighbor.  She is this old grandma that lives by herself and sometimes she brings us cookies or tells us to have stuff she doesn’t want anymore.  Like she gave us some old plates and cups and she gave us a coffee table that is just sitting in the middle of our floor cuz we have nothing to do with it, haha. 

But that was pretty much my week.  Oh and I had a sweet dream where I worked at Stance and they had me go climb Mt Kilimanjaro with a bunch of pros and the ski down it.  So pretty much that is what I’m doing with my life when I get home!

-elder parks