Monday, September 26, 2016

Tacalá Week 17

Hermana Kelley had a little more responsibility in lessons this week because I was either:
A) blowing an incredible amount of mucus out of my nose.
B) Trying to speak clearly unsuccessfully from losing my voice. 
C) Sneezing at 3-minute intervals.

Needless to say, it´s interesting having a head cold in the fiery furnace of Piura! But the work goes on. 

One thing that´s cool about being in this area a long time is that I get to see my converts progress! Our stake paid for 6 converts from each ward to go to the Trujillo temple this week! (6 hours south). Lenin and María were able to go!!! Hermana María almost cried when we told her she would be able to go for free -- she said ¨I´m amazed that Heavenly Father is giving me this opportunity to go to His house.¨ The night before she told us that she didn´t have any money for food but that she would go fasting. We let the group know so that they could pay for her meals there. She is an inspiration... Lenin is doing well. He accompanies the Elders literally 7 days a week... which is great, but we´re also encouraging him to look for a job so he can be self-sufficient one of these days. Oh Lenin... he´s a character.

Our ward had a baptism on Saturday ... Ronnie (18) was one the Elder´s eternal investigators that they had dropped like 7 times but I guess the Spirit worked on him and he made the decision! Pretty cool, Mark and Claudia attended the service! Hey, any suggestions on convincing a 9 year old that they in fact will NOT drown when they go under? Unfortunately Claudia still has that fear ... so we´re praying for her and hopefully she can overcome that fear by Sunday.. the poor thing is really shy but we love her! 

God answers prayers -- whether that´s prompting us to put a certain name down from the directory as a back-up plan or finding a family to teach after praying in the middle of the street. Both happened this week! That name in the directory was Jorge Enrique. Finding him was a complete miracle. He´s been less-active for yeaaaars -- and the reason why is actually pretty interesting. About 15-20 years ago he was baptized in his 20´s and, to his surprise, was called to serve as the Elder´s Quroum president as a new convert! He said that one day he was sitting in their EQ meeting and looked at the other men there ... with a lot more time in the church and (in his opinion) much wiser, spiritual, financially stable, and capable. So he left....essentially quit. And dedicated himself to his work instead of the church. He has since married and had 2 kids and suffered from obesity ... his kids actually remember going to church when they were little and ask him when they can go back as a family, but Jorge has been so self-conscious about his weight and had so many health problems that he can´t bring himself to come back. That was a pretty spiritual lesson ... testifying about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the power it has to heal us. Jorge committed to come to church and it looks like we´ll be able to start teaching their whole family this week! Miracles. 

A saint is a sinner who keeps on trying ... The only person that tells us that we´re not good enough or should just give up is Satan himself. This entire gospel and this entire church has the goal to help individuals progress, improve, and become like our Savior. I have a quote from Elder Holland on my wall that says ¨the Lord blesses those who WANT to improve¨. Each day I try to measure myself -- did I try to contact a little more earnestly today? Was I able to teach with a little more love? Did I do something to serve my companion? Was I able to think more positively and be more grateful? If the answer is yes to any of those, then the Lord is pleased. If I tried to doeverything perfectly every day, I would´ve failed and gone home long ago. I´m grateful for the opportunity to be a little better every day through the mercy and patience of my Savior. 

Con amor,
Hermana Parks

Our patio is pretty ghetto but the view is decent. 

Zone meeting!

hermana kelley and I both have frizzy curly hair that would scare la gente if we left it natural but we´ve found the mission solution! Braids. 


Monday, September 19, 2016

La Piura Vida Week ... I've lost count

Francisco quotes of the week: 

¨Can you believe it? I spent 74 years in the Catholic Church before I found the truth.¨ 

(yes. SEVENTY four -- my mistake on last week´s letter)

¨So what time will my baptism be at?¨
¨Well, whatever time you´d like!¨
¨Can it be in the morning?¨
¨Um, sure, why?¨
¨I have more faith in the mornings.¨

hahaha apparently our faith is directly correlated with the purity of the air :) We love Francisco! He is a sponge. He has so many questions it´s almost impossible to keep the lesson under an hour.... especially when the member accompanying us is also an elderly man who has quite the lengthy conversion story to tell... but the Spirit is strong so we´ll take it! 

We´ve been fasting as a zone every week this transfer. My love for and understanding of the fast has definitely grown. We are seeing lots of miracles as a zone... If our October 1st baptim goes through (cute 9 year old Claudia from a part member family), just our ward of Tacalá will have baptized for 4 straight weeks. I love hearing about the miracles that are happening in the Elders´ areas ... this is truly the Lord´s work and his Hand is abundantly evident. 

I FEAR NO MAN. That was my motto this week. Has anyone ever heard of the Riccardi letter? It´s this letter about a missionary´s experiences in England with his trainer and has been used in devotionals and such ... anyways, that´s one of the things this letter talks about .. super inspirational, it talks about being bold and fearing no man. We find lots of new investigators each week and we always invite to baptism in the first lesson. Some would think ... wait what? missionaries do that? isn´t that a little rushed? Nope. I´m telling you .. the Spirit works on these people. If they understand the Restoration, they usually accept the invitation. It´s the Spirit working in them. And it´s a committment they make with God, not us. On Saturday we invited a family to be baptized on a specific date in October and despite thinking they wouldn´t accept THEY DID! We fear no man ... only God. This is His work, no doubt in my mind. 

Love you all, have a great week! 
Hermana Parks

the district! Barrio Tacalá y las hermanas de chulucanas! 


sweet Danitza´s birthday! head pushed into the cake and all. 

ward noche misional! platos típicos. here we have la causa peru flag-version. 

hermana janet and her son Wens who just got back from la misión Colombia Cali! 

and getting a free moto ride home from church with hermana ayala! 

the everydays of peru

Monday, September 12, 2016

From Tacalà, with love

I really hadn`t thought about how much time I have left until Hermana Kelley and I started the workout plan she brought from home ... which is 12 weeks long ... and then I counted -- and I have 12 weeks left. It honestly sent me into a panic, maybe that`s why I was prompted to study Hope as my Christ-like attribute this month. I`m believing in good things to come .. this week, this transfer, and even after this incredibly amazing full-time mission experience has to come to an end. 

Anyways, this week I had an intercambio with my cute Chileana Hermana Arenas! At the end of the day we were trekking through the sand getting pelted in the eyes by mentioned sand and I asked her what she thought  of Tacalà! She said .. well, it`s not necessarily beautiful, but the people make it wonderful! I thought about that a lot. It`s so true. My small area consists of streets of blocks of houses on a flat desert. But that`s not why I`m in love with my area. I`m in love with my area because of the people here! Investigators, members, the kids playing in the street, just everyone. 

Like... Francisco! He`s definitely one of the brightest and most eager 64-year olds I`ve met. On our second visit with him he gave us the best analisis I`ve ever heard of the BoM -- seriously, he was sharing things I didn`t understand until like senior year of seminary. And he came with us to stake conference! 

We did operation organize the ward directory this week! Our mission is focusing on working with the members so we sifted and organized the ward directory and made a giant list on our wall of all the members in our area (the 2 companionships of Elders have a major part of the ward) listed by where they live. Our goal is to get to know all the members by name -- those active, less-active, and really less active. Have I mentioned that our ward directory has 811 members listed? And about 115 attend. You can do that math ... But I`m really stoked to find teaching and service opportunities using the directory in these coming weeks 

Stake conf yesterday was SO awesome because I got to see some of my peeps from Ignacio Merino!!! I definitely almost cried running into Familia Araujo after over 9 months. They are fully active and their white shirts, ties, and smiles show it. 

Que les vaya bien en esta semana!
Hermana Parks

street happenings in peru ... a random horse that showed up in our area ... and Señor Cautivo

Exchange with Hna Arenas and ...

Familia Otero`s baptism!! They are the sweetest. The Elders taught them but they have invited us over for cena a few times and one day we had the opportunity to visit Danitza when she was going through a rough time. Their marriage and baptism has been a long time coming! happy day. 

Tacalà really loves us ... what kind of members just give you a week`s supply of fruit and ice cream? Well, our ward missionaries do. Theyrè the best. 


Me: Cactus!!! We need to take a picture. 
Hermana Kelley: Why? It looks the same as Arizona... 

true. Hermana Kelley really didn`t get a change of scenery coming on a mission! 

cute fiorella accompanying us and after-stake-conf pic! 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Well Dad, it´s pretty ironic that you sent me some scriptures about opposition last Monday. It didn´t seem to apply in the moment... and then Tuesday happened. 

We had an appointment with Mark. (you already know he is my favorite.) Hermana Kelley and I had already planned to share the story of Peter walking on the water and talk about opposition (inspiration is real). And what do you know, his mom had made a surprise visit from Mancora on Tuesday and when she found out he was going to get baptized on Saturday she flipped. Basically told him that she and his dad will not support him in his university studies if he goes through with it and a whole bunch of other stuff. Mark was in a state of serious emotional distress, you could see it on his face (and you could probably see it on my face too, oh man). He just said ¨Hermanas, I don´t know what to do...¨ Well, I had great faith in this moment. I wasn´t even that surprised this had come up, something always comes up the week of people´s baptism. Opposition in all things, right? So I prayed about 50 times during that hour as we talked, shared scriptures, asked inspired questions, had Claudio (EQ prez) testify, etc. At the end it felt right to challenge him to pray that day and night to know what the Lord would have him do. When we walked out of the house I took my water bottle out, dumped it out in the street and said ¨Hermana Kelley, we are going to fast.¨ We fasted for over 24 hours until our appointment with him the next day. I had no doubt that the Lord could bring forth this miracle. I had no doubt in Mark´s spiritual foundation and strength. I knew that everything would work out...

But it didn´t work out how I wanted. Long story short, Mark decided to wait. (like until October or November when he gets off vacation home in Mancora). He told us that he is 100% committed to stick with this and prepare himself to be baptized, but he wants to wait. I´ll admit my heart dropped. I was devastated. We walked home weak from fasting to kneel down and end it and I´ll admit I was a little bitter. In fact, I spent about 20 solid minutes on the phone with our district leader trying to understand all of this and why can´t he just push through this trial and why is it so hard and just WHY? There was this little voice (not the Spirit) that was telling me ¨so you fasted for nothing...¨

But no. Let me tell you what I DID get out of this experience. I know God loves His children. I know that God loves Mark and is so proud of the changes he has made in his life. Mark is HIS investigator, not ours. At the same time that Mark received a lot of opposition, he also received a lot of support from members, friends, and even running into an old highschool friend who is a member that he hasn´t seen in years. There were miracles weaved through all of this...

Personally, I felt my capacity to exercise patience increase. Fasting helped me to reach a feeling of peace with Mark´s decision. It humbled me. It helped me to understand God´s will. Without fasting, I probably would´ve been torn apart, frustrated, racking my brain for a scripture or story or testimony that would change his mind. Instead, I felt increased patience and peace and understanding. I was able to see all the positives in this -- all the sacrifices Mark is making to change his life and meet with us even though he kills himself with his studies (super intelligent, finishing his master´s in economics at the best university in piura). He ALWAYS reads the BoM, no matter how busy he is. I don´t know if an investigator has ever caused me this much emotional turmoil but also joy. 

Phew. Sorry for the novel. I´m just really grateful for this trial, I feel like it´s to strengthen me just as much as Mark. Opposition was the theme this week! Miracles ... then walking hours underneath the sun while no one was home ... then getting bible bashed ... then more miracles ... then having 3 awesome investigators at church! -- Soledad, Maricielo, and Claudia (who we found from a part-member family). AND the coolest new investigator ever has a bap. date, Victor. He had so many questions on the plan of salvation, we could´ve been there for hours. He is so prepared... you can see the light of Christ in him. 

To close, I am so grateful for opposition. I learned tons this week from fasting, prayer, studying Elder Oaks´talk from this past conf, and talking with mission leaders and my comp. I know that there is divine purpose in the opposition we face in this life. Ultimately, it is an opportunity to become what Heavenly Father wants us to be. 

¨The best antidote for worry is work
The best medicine for despair is service
The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired.¨ 
- President Hinckley - 

Con amor,
Hermana Parks
playing with fam viera´s chicken at our noche de hogar. 

bahahah. so hermana kelley is kneeled down praying at her desk to start personal study and all of a sudden I accidentally knock over the bowl of scrambled eggs which falls ON TOP OF HER. Funniest moment of my life .... I also felt really bad :) 

 SHOUTOUTS! To: the Jeppson clan who sent me the cutest notes! Loved reading all of them, they´re going on my wall! 

And ... aunt Emily & fam! That was THE most thoughtful package! Seriously. The missionaries in my district were thrilled to have some of the Skittles from America and I know the kids here will LOVE the stickers. And I love the shirt! You guys are the best. 

Sweet Soledad y Maricielo! It was their first time at church! 

We woke up at 2:45am this morning for .....

CANCHAQUE. After 13 months, I´m back!! It was seriously amazing. 


the zone!
matching Brian Head UT shirts courtesy of Hermana K. 

Seriously the most beautiful pueblito... 

... you know you´re back in piura when it looks like this from the bus window... hahah