Monday, May 23, 2016

Apparently birthdays are a big deal in Talara

I think I still have egg in my hair....seriously. Alright here`s the story:

Thursday (day before my bday): I honestly wasn`t expecting anything but given that we were headed to district meeting with a bunch of borderline-immature elders, I should`ve known. After our meeting Hna Richan and Hna Valdez brought out a -- cake? Nope. About 30 eggs painted with Happy Birthday Hna Parks! I knew those were all going on my head....sure enough after the zone picture, I was attacked. SO MUCH EGG in my hair, on my shirt, everywhere oh my goodness. I can still smell it, haha. AND they brought a cake. I was spoiled! 

The next day I woke up to a feliz cumpleanos sign made by my sweet comp, chocolate, a pic of us, a handwritten note from her in ENGLISH -- go hna ruiz!, and an accordion-type sticky note thing signed by 40 members and missionaries! Seriously! She went way overboard. I have the most thoughtful companion. Feelin` the love! It was a normal proselyting day until the night when ¨we had an appointment with Eda and Joel¨ (yeah right. I knew they were planning something, haha) Sure enough, all my favorite people were there waiting for me with a beautiful cake! Martin, Celina, la familia Rosales, hna liliana, Eda, Joel, leslye, richardson, rosemery, and mercedes! Seriously I am surrounded by the greatest family here in Talara. 


Stinker. I was so mad, haha. In all, I`ve used a whole bottle of shampoo in a single week and I think my clothes are forever ruined, but honestly it was the best birthday. I just felt so grateful this week -- for the people God has put in my life especially my family and 20 awesome years. So grateful I`ve spent almost 1 of those 20 as a missionary. 

And oh my goodness this better not be my last email from Talara....but it probably is :( 
Here`s what I wrote to President today:

¨Honestly it has been a miracle for me watching Villa Talara progress from when I arrived in January. Weekly planning brought me to tears more than once during my transfer with Hna Shumway -- tears of frustration as we didn`t see anyone progress, difficulty finding those prepared, lack of member support, etc. But the past couple weeks of weekly planning has been SO drastically different. It`s filled with exciting plans as we work with our several progressing investigators, we`ve been able to baptize every other week this transfer, we`re finding new people who are willing to come to church, the members are more supportive, and our branch council has improved a ton. The Lord has truly blessed us. It is a testimony to me that we must do ALL that we can within our abilities, and then we can ¨permanecer tranquilos¨ (DyC 123) knowing that God will send his tender mercies.

I also feel like I`ve changed a lot here in Talara too. I`ve learned about selflessness. Whenever I`m stressed or down, I pull out a piece of paper and make 3 columns. Person / What do they need? / and plan. Then I write down anyone on my mind -- investigator, less active, convert, member, etc and I think of what they need or what they lack in their progression and what we can do to help them come unto Christ. It calms me every time; it helps me to love these people and forget about myself. 

I`m willing to go wherever The Lord needs me and with whomever He needs me this upcoming transfer.¨ 

Here`s to likely my last week here in wonderful Talara! Marcia`s baptism is this Sunday, we are so very excited for her. Her parents, Martin and Celina, are making headway on their documents to get married.

Hermana Parks
32 eggs.  Happy Birthday from Peru.

How cute is Hna Ruiz??? Seriously. She totally spoiled me. 

Hna Ruiz getting stuck in the door...ok that was pretty funny. And Hna Susana made me one of my fav dishes for lunch on my bday! 

the Elders are behind me getting the OTHER eggs they had brought ready. 

Hna Juana`s CUTEST grandbaby 


a few pics from my surprise get-together hosted by sweet Hna Eda! 


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