Monday, December 31, 2012

December 31, 2012

Hola familia!! How are you all doing? I am doing just great!! Well my stomach doesn't hurt anymore. I just have a runny nose and my throat hurts a little. My companion and I both have it. I think they call it gripe or gripa. But we will talk to the mission wife if it lasts two more days or so. How is everyone? I loved talking and seeing the family on Christmas. That was the best present I could ever ask for. It was amazing how clear the skype worked. I actually felt like I was there at grandpas house with you all. I will never forget that phone call. Thanks for all that you have done for me.

I went to Walmart today to buy the one a days but they don't have them there. Should I buy a different kind or what? I bought some good food. Well the next transfer is next Tuesday. I will find out next Monday if I am leaving or not. Wish me luck :) I will be getting some 2 packages and my letters tomorrow in my meeting with the zone. Well that is what the zone leaders told me at least. So I am excited for that. Yes, we celebrate the New Year here. We had like 4 member families invite us to their house tonight. But we will be going to two. We are going to work before, so we had to tell the other one we don't have time. We are really excited to eat more food and hang out with the families. One of the families is one of my favorites. Lauren, I am in the works of making a surprise for you. I hope it all works out :)

We had such a good lesson the other night. A man named Felipe. He was a Jehovah Witness before. He studied the Bible very hard and a lot of years. But he later found he wasn't having any happiness. They can't celebrate Christmas or birthdays or anything. So we showed up at his house and started teaching him. He is so hungry to learn more. Two nights ago we asked him a question. How do you think we can become closer to Christ? He said read the scriptures and pray. And we said later on, also baptism. It is the way we can become closer to Christ. He said, what do I need to do to be baptized? I was like, are you serious? It was the perfect question. He accepted to get baptized. So we are just going to finish the lessons with him, and he will get baptized. He is definitely a chosen one. Thanks for all that you do. I wish you the best with the New Year. Yes, there are fireworks going off every day. There are like no rules here. hahha

December 24, 2012

Mom, thanks so much for the wonderful miracles that you shared with me!! I felt the spirit so much, thank you! I love you all! I am stoked for tomorrow. Today we had a zone activity and we actually got to play sports!! I got to throw a football, play basketball, and play soccer. It was so much fun, but I got a little sunburnt. Hahaha Well thanks for all the packages and everything that you sent for Christmas. We will open it up tomorrow. We have been eating so much food over here. It is crazy, the members all of a sudden are giving us tons to eat.

We had two activities this last week. First, we had the stake one. We had 9 investigators show up. It was really neat. There were the wards that each did a talent. There was tons of food after, also. Then we had our ward activity the day following. Us 4 missionaries sang a song, then the Elders quorumn sang a song. The Elders quorum was terrible. Hahah because no one showed up to practive the day before besides us. It was so embarrassing. I just wanted to walk out the door. haha But it was a good memory. Then they had other talents and guitar and all. Then food. It was really fun. Well we also had the Christmas activity with the President this Tuesday. It was so awesome!!!!!! We went in the temple, which was flat out amazing. I understood the first part, it was a miracle, I thought they were talking in English at first. I was truly helped out. Then we had a little conference after and then we ate a ton of good food. We all sang Christmas songs and they gave us a bag of treats. I also received my letters there! It was so amazing. I also got to see my old district. Besides Elder Petersen and Elder Prudhomme. But it was so awesome!!!! Elder Cortina is going to stay another change. He just barely found out, he was going to go home, but he asked the President last week, they just barely called!! Well the other day I was walking and saw like 30 parrots in one tree, there were so many!! Well I don't want to write a ton because I want to figure out a time to call. Love you all!!

Monday, December 17, 2012

December 17, 2012

Hey family!! How are you all doing? I am doing just great! Tomorrow I get to go to the temple at 7:30 in the morning! Then we will have a huge meeting with the President and a big lunch and everything. Then that night at 8 we will be going to a members house because their son gets back tomorrow from his mission, so we will dine with them tomorrow.

Wow, I heard about the shooting actually. A family was telling me about it here. It is so sad... But the good thing is that they can live with their families forever. So I want to call on Christmas day. Is that fine? Around what hour is good for you guys? I need to know. I am way excited for this!!

Wow... this week was such a powerful week for me. I will never forget this week. We had a baptism on Wednesday. It is a man, his wife has been a member for around 6 months. He was Catholic and never wanted to be a member of the true church. During the baptismal service, I couldn't stop feeling the spirit. Because I have been working with this brother for 3 months. When he was baptized, by a convert also, I am not joking, the baptism was in slow motion. It was like a dream. I don't know how it was so slow and graceful. But the spirit was so so strong. And I am about to cry right now. When he went under all the way I started crying. And the brother next to me was crying also, because it is his best friend. It was so powerful. Then we had a testimony meeting after while he was getting dressed. His wife gave her testimony, then Enrique, the brother we baptized, gave his testimony. It was so amazing watching those two converts give their testimony. Because they are enduring to the end and doing what is right. Then my companion gave his testimony. I wasn't going to give my testimony before, but I was touched that I should give my testimony. So I gave my testimony after my companion. I started, then couldn't... Because I started crying a ton. I couldn't talk for about 2 minutes, just standing in front of everyone crying. I finally was able to bear my testimony, with the somewhat decent Spanish. I didn't say much, but I bore what I thought I needed to say. Then after the service ended, a brother came up to me, the one who will receive his son from his mission tomorrow. I was sitting in the corner half crying still, just feeling so happy. He came to me and whispered in my ear. In spanish of course "you are amoros. Your little bit of words are powerful. You are a powerful and strong testimony. I love you. I love you. I love you. I will say it again, I usually don't say things twice, then he repeated it again.. Wow that was such a powerful experience also. I was so filled with the spirit. Everyone during my testimony was crying also. Then on Sunday, after church a lady in the ward came up to me. She can speak English. She said I wanted to tell you this after the baptism but I couldn't find you. She said, ''I loved your testimony. You made me cry. I love when missionaries make me feel good. You always make me feel good. You don't know a lot of Spanish but I can still feel your spirit. Thank you so much.'' That was really nice of her.

I had a lot of good blessings this week. A young man in our ward gave me a Jaguar jersey. from their pro soccer team down here. So I received another package. It is a little smaller, not in a box. I don't know if I should open it or not? I also received some letters! We got a microwave and a table and blender in our house. For the first time we have a microwave!!! So I went to the store, bought some popcorn and popped it!! It was so nice to eat some popcorn. Well I hope all is well at home. Let me know how everyone is doing. I love you all so very much! Look for the blessings we have in our life. we have many. And when you can think and be grateful, you will feel the spirit and know that we are loved. Love Elder Parker

December 10, 2012

Hey family!!! Wow, mom that dream is so awesome, I felt the spirit so strong and got tears in my little blue eyes. I love you all. Thank you for the spirit that I can feel through your stories and experiences. Wow, I miss Tanner Butler, he is a really awesome guy. I had some good experiences with him. Thank you for sharing that with me. How is the family doing? I am doing just great here, I have been really happy this month, because of Christmas I guess. I absolutely love this time of the year. I have been listening to those cds like every single morning and night. Not kidding. Thank you so much for the Christmas tree and packages and presents! We took tons of pictures and are loving it. We opened the present last night. It was awesome. We are both really excited! My companion leaves in January, the 7th or something. Every time I listen to the song "We Can Be Together Forever", I think of our family, and almost half of the time I start crying. Because we are so blessed. We have the best and closest family in the whole entire world.

Last Monday was a day of blessings. First I got to write you guys. Then we were walking home after we shopped at Walmart and an old investigator gave us a ride to our house which was really nice of him. Then we got free chocobananas from this lady, which she has never done that, and we were talking and she used to live in South Jordan. So we will teach her this week. She is really nice and every time they see me they say, we have chocobananas! Because they know I love them. She is going to teach me how to make them this next week. Then, we were teaching an investigator, which his wife is a member. Recent convert about 6 months. Well, he drinks and stuff, and I have been teaching him on and off for about 3 months. The Saturday before, he said have patience with me. Then we had the lesson on Monday night, we were bearing our testimonies like crazy about faith. Finally, we invited him to be baptized, and he said yes!!!!! Wow. It was a miracle. I have no doubt. It has taken him 6 months to agree to be baptized . And he is as sure as ever that he wants this in his life. Then he fed us dinner afterwards. The whole time after when we left his house, the spirit was with me. I probably felt the spirit for 10 minutes nonstop. Seriously. It wouldn't leave me. I had goosebumps and I just kept on thanking the Lord. He will get baptized this week!!

We were at lunch eating some pizza, which is a first. Haha. And all of a sudden my companion starts laughing. There were two jovenes or young kids with us about 18 and 14. Then we all started laughing. We all couldn't stop laughing for about 10 minutes. My stomach hurt after because we laughed so hard. Everyone was crying. It was so funny and a good memory. There is a family in our ward, the two sons love to fish. They are 14 and 12. We visited their house to give a short lesson and they started showing me all their equipment and how they made all of it. They loved it. I told them i used to fish with my little brothers and dad. They thought that was the coolest thing. Now every time they see me we talk about fishing.

This week went by really fast, and I am loving the mission. Of course, there are hard times, but it is possible. This is nothing compared to what Jesus went through. Thank you for raising me to be the person I am today. I owe it all to mom and dad. You have no idea how much you have influenced my life. Words can't describe it. Thanks for all that you have done. How is the family?

Love Elder Parker

Monday, December 3, 2012

December 3, 2012

Hey family!! How are you all doing? Estoy muy feliz en este tiempo!! Estoy muy animado para navidad!!! Mom, I received the other package on friday! So now I have two. I will open the first one today, because I didn't know if I could or not. Thank you so much!! I am excited to see what is inside. I am so excited for Christmas I absolutely love this time of year. Last night we were able to go watch the Christmas devotional. A family in the ward took us and it was so amazing. My companion is from Mexico. Close to the D.F. He is Elder Cortina. This is his last transfer here! He is excited for Christmas but says his family doesn't do much. I feel bad for him, yesterday I said don't worry we are going to have a wonderful Christmas together! He is so excited. He has had some problems in his family I think, that has affected him a little. His parents aren't members, and sometimes they don't write him on Mondays. I feel bad. But we are having good times together! He is happy with me. Well, guess what, we get to enter the temple on the 18!!!!!! Only the Elders in Tuxtla get to enter. And I am one of those!! The others can't!! We are gong to have a huge dinner and a meeting with the President on this day, and have games and stuff.

This week has been full of many experiences. We have a new zone leader, he is from Cottonwood high school. He is a Tongan and is so awesome. We were talking about football and all our experiences. We can relate to a lot of things. Well, we baptized the 89 year old lady on Monday. It was the most spiritual baptism. All her family were there, about 30 people. Afterwards, there were hugs and kisses. I can see how much love that family had. It was incredible. Everyone was crying and I couldn't help but cry too. She loves when we sing hymns for her, so every day or every other we go to her house and sing her hymns. She loves it so much, and always tries to give me hugs but I can't hahah .

I saw Elder Palmer!! My first zone leader! He came to our church with his parents! It was so awesome to see him, he is going home this Thursday! My companion and the other Elder in our ward went to a meeting friday morning, so they left behind the brand new other companion and me. I was the senior companion and we worked in my area and I was in charge. It was so weird. It was a little hard at times actually. But I am growing every day. I still have a lot of work, but that is normal. Little by little. But anyways at the meeting my companion received a letter from Elder Peterson's companion. So I was able to receive it from Elder Petersen this way. It was awesome, because Elder Petersen is always looking out for me, and we are like brothers. I am loving my area! I got a hair cut today :) I hope everything is going alright at home. The idea of the 12 days of Christmas service is awesome!! I bet you all feel so better after that! I love you all, I can't wait to see you on skype! I am already asking the members who has skype or maybe we can go in the church and do it , if the bishop lets us. I love you all. Love Elder Parker

Monday, November 26, 2012

November 26, 2012

This is a family in our ward. They always are serving others and teaching the gospel. They give us dinner some nights. They are my favorite family here, well one of them. Sorry I am writing so early this morning. We have to because we need to write the president about the baptism.

Our zone and district. But it is going to change tomorrow. We will still have Elder Rawlings as our zone leader. The one in the front crouched on his heels.

Pues.... hola familia!!!! We had a baptism!! His name is Enrique he is 62 years. We have been teaching him for about 3 weeks. Then today at 5 o clock we are going to baptize a woman that is 89 years!! She has been a catholic her whole life! The missionaries would always visit her and she would say no! Her son is a member. She is a really strong Catholic. She has the pictures she prays to and everything. Many times they have tried converting her, but she was so strong in her religion. Well, we took her to church yesterday and we opened up the baptisimal font, sang a song, and asked her if she wanted to be baptized. She said yes!! We were going to baptize her right then and there, but her sister said tomorrow. So this morning we were studying and the son called us. Satan is always working against us. Her sister went to her house and convinced her not to be baptized. Because she is also a strong Catholic. So we hung up and started praying. Then right after we ended praying the son called us back. She threw away all her pictures and the photos of the Catholic stuff and wants to get baptized still!! She says, I want to make my own decisions. I know what I must do, this is the right way. So we will baptize her at 5 today. For church, she was ready at 8 o clock in the morning for church, and church doesn't even start until 1. She is the cutest little old lady and she is so excited to get baptized. It is seriously a miracle. She never wanted anything to do with it, then one day she wants to change her whole religion. It is a miracle.

Well, I received a Christmas package and more letters. I haven't opened the package yet because I don't know if I should or not. There was a fair in town. It reminded me of the one at Hurricane. They had a lot of rides and treats and stuff. But we just walked past it. It felt like I was in a dream or something. Seriously. I felt so weird like I was in space or something. Well on Thanksgiving, we ate with a member for lunch and guess what, we ate mashed potatoes! We had so much food, and I was still full by the time I went to bed. So then I had my own little one. We ate the snacks you sent us and took pictures with the mustaches. It was Elder Velazquezs first Thanksgiving. He loved it. Then that night Elder Rawlings, our zone leader, called me and wished me a happy one. He said he forgot until the night, and his companion told him. He is awesome. Well, I guess the President of Mexico came here to Tuxtla. Because there was a new hospital that opened up here, by our house. There were tons and tons of cars and people and video broadcasting people. But we didn't get to see him.

We found out today that I will be staying in my area!!! yaya!!! I am so happy. I will be getting a new companion that is named Cortina or something like that. He is coming from a Tuchtzla place, or however you spell that. This will be his last transfer also. So after the next transfer I will get another companion. Four in four transfers!!! Elder Velazquez is sad to go home but at the same time happy to see his family. I hope all is well at home! I love you all. I am loving it here!! I am picking up on the language a little bit more, but I still have a lot to learn. I guided the baptisimal service with Enrique. I made the announcements and everything. A little scary, but somebody's got to do the work :) I love you all. !!! Love Elder Parker, Spiderman. Once again, a member asked how Spiderman is doing. haha

Monday, November 19, 2012

November 19, 2012

I love you so much mom and family! Thank you so much for the package and the letters. I received more letters this past Monday because an Elder in my district went to the mission home and picked them up for me. I opened the package last Friday. Thank you so much. I enjoyed it. We took some pictures with the glasses on and they are so hilarious. I am glad that you are having good experiences. I dont have a lot of time this week to write. But I will try my best. First off we have had some really amazing experiences that have brought the spirit. First off the Gellegos family. The one in the picture that always help us out . Well, we went one night to sing a hymn for them. Out of nowhere. We got there and the dad said why are you here? I was like, why are you saying this. I was so confused. He kept asking and I thought he wanted us to leave. Then after we sang the song he asked for a blessing and we said sure. Right after the blessing he started crying and his whole family started crying also. He said this is what I needed. Who sent you here? We said no one, he said I have been praying for help and this is exactly what I needed to hear. It was so spiritual and we were instruments in the Lords hands.

Well, just as I thought it couldn´t get any weirder, it did. Someone called me Chuck Norris. hahah We were in the street and he said hey Chuck Norris come over here. Of course he was drunk. hahha

I watched a Mormon message that is really spiritual. It is called "The Will of God" it is new. You should watch it. Wow, we had another spiritual experience. We showed up to our investigators house. She is our strongest one right now. She started saying how the Catholics came and visited her and she said how she was going to start going with them again. And all this stuff. I was devastated. We were both like, why?! So then we started the lesson and read a bunch of scriptures and bore our testimonies like crazy. Then we asked her to say the closing prayer. I was praying and praying inside for her to feel the spirit, but she wasn´t feeling it at all. Then all of a sudden in her prayer she started crying so much, and it took her along time to finish. We then said this is the spirit that lets you know the truth of all things. It was incredible. One of the most powerful lessons I have had in the mission field so far. Oh, for Christmas we can skype each other so just to be safe, you can probably create your account right now so you know how to use it and everything. I love you all so much!! I am doing fine, don´t worry about me at all. I love you.
Love Elder Parker, Spiderman, Chuck Norris, Gringo or Guero.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

November 12, 2012

I am totally fine!! We did feel an aftershock one day this week. It was the weirdest thing I have ever been in. My companion and I were practicing a lesson in our house and all of a sudden the tables started shaking and everything was moving. It felt like we were on a ride in Disneyland or something, it was actually really fun. But at the time yes, I was really scared. Because it was my first time being in one since I can remember. We ran outside so we would be safe to not have anything fall on us. Then after about 3 minutes we went back in. It wasn't that bad here at all. It was actually neat to have an experience like that.

Yes, I got all the letters and the package. I opened the package last Tuesday when I got it and it said wait, so I think I will open it tonight. The only thing is I can't remember when Thanksgiving is hahaha. I think it is like the third Thursday or something. Being here, I am forgetting so many things back in the U.S.A. For example,this morning my companion wanted me to pray in English with him. So I started to and during the whole thing I was struggling, I would accidently say words in Spanish. It was so funny. Today we did something really fun. We went to central. There are tons and tons of stores there. We bought a few gifts and just explored. We took a few pictures and I will try to send some. It was fun to see all the people and stores with tons of stuff. Tell Grandpa and Linda and Memaw thanks for the letters. I loved them. I already have made grandpas puzzle that he gave me it is on my table. And I loved grandmas letters with the inspiring quotes.

Lauren, I feel so bad of what happened to you in tennis. But Lauren, I can tell that you have grown. You are so strong already, you have a great spirit about you. During the letter when I was reading it I felt the spirit throughout the whole letter. Well.. I received tons of letters that day, like 25 or something like that. I got a few letters from some girls and from Zach Jensen. Thank you so much for the letters, I loved reading them. Thanks Nat for the letters and for doing my blog. Thanks Nathan and Josh for the letters. I loved hearing about football and your parties. Thanks mom and dad also for the letters. I really do enjoy them. When I was at the Zone meeting on Tuesday was when I got my letters. The Zone leaders were handing out letters and they would say Elder Parker Elder Parker Elder Parker because like all the mail was mine, and the rest of the missionaries were like, are you serious? They were surprised. Then my companion said after 10 or so months you won't have as many as this anymore. hahah it was funny and everyone started laughing. He is so funny. He leaves home in like 2 weeks. The other night I heard the song "We are Young". I like that song. |I also got Courts letter. It was so nice to get it. I hope she is doing alright with her change.

The other night also , 4 cop trucks sped past us in a dangerous part of our area. They had mililtary men in the back with machine guns. And 3 cop cars followed after them. i guess this area, well part of this area is pretty dangerous. All the people were scared and stuff. But we are totally fine, we won't get hurt because we are on the Lords side. It is fun to see all the different stuff here in Mexico. Sometimes it is so weird to think that I am actually in Mexico. I love you all so much. how is everyone doing? we had a man come to church with us this week. We found him last week and he read 20 chapters of the Book of Mormon in the first day. I hope he is a escohido. A chosen one. Well right now...3 more cop cars just passed by our building with swat and machine guns. My companion says, our area, isn't it great? Ha ha

Well I think my time is almost up. I love you all so much. How is the weather there? I feel so blessed. I am still healthy. Knock on wood. But I am in a good area with decent food and stuff. Once I go to a small village is when I will have a higher chance of getting sick. We had a meeting with the president yesterday and all the bishops and stake presidents. Our mission is going to get 100 new missions by March. We will have about 250 missions in this mission. That is a ton of missionaries. If you have a chance look up on google earth Torre de Chiapas in Tuxtla Gutierrez Mexico. It is by our church somewhat, like 8 minutes away. I guess it is really famous. It is really really tall. Like the tallest building here in Chiapas. It will give you an idea of where I am at. My area is Bosque. I live in Las Torres. My road is Tapachula and my house number is 39. So if it works on google earth or not you can get an idea of where I am at. Our proselyting areas are Las Torres, La Floresta, La Patria Nueva and Gabriela Gutierrez, and Evolucion Politica and a few smaller areas. Vida Mejor is in our ward also, but the other missions have that seccion, that secion is above our area. I love you all so much. Adios familia!! gracias por las cartas y por la paqueta. Estoy muy agradecido por su ayuda y por sus testimonios en el solomente iglesia verdadera en la tierra. Con mucho amor y con mucho hombre araña hahah chiste Love Elder Parker or Peter Parker because every single person here calls me Spiderman.

Monday, November 5, 2012

November 5, 2012

Hola familia feliz!!! Como estan? Wow, this week has gone by so super fast! It was a really really good week though!! We had the chance to hear from Elder Johnson from the 70!! It was so spiritual. He talked about how we are children of God. I know for sure we are his children. I also got to see all my old district there except for Elder Petersen. It was nice to talk to Elder Jones and Elder Stevenson and Taggart, Prudhomme, Gooden, and Bassett. We all had a good time, we are seriously the closest group there is in the whole mission. Same with the MTC when we were there. I bore my testimony in sacrament meeting yesterday, I once again started crying. I can´t help it , it just comes.
So this week we have worked even harder. We had 20 lessons with a member present. It is such a high number. The zone goal is like 12. Enrique, the guy that visited Hurricane, we taught his family for the first time. It was so spiritual and they said they would go to church. During church we passed by before and they weren´t there. I was so sad. We got to the church and none of our invetigators were there. It was depressing. But then a matrimonio came walking in and it was incredible. Then there were two others that walked in with member families. We were then sitting listening to testimonios. We had a feeling to go outiside where there was service for the cell phone. All of a sudden one investigator called and said I am waiting out by the gate. We ran, seriously ran, and she said I have been waiting here for 20 minutes. It was such a spiritual experience. She said after that she felt contento and was very pleased for the church. We have a lesson with her this week. I hope she will get baptized, she is catholic like all the people here, but I have faith. The family of Enrique, like I was saying, we stopped by Sunday night and asked why they didn´t come. They had an emergencia and had to drive to his sisters house cause she was really sick. So all is well with them. I was worried at first. I believe they are golden, but we will see.

After one night, we were going home with a member family. We said, oh man.. the hamburger store is closed. Because there are people that offer us hamburgers but we never have time. Then we got to our house and were planning, there was a knock at the door. It was the man with two hamburgers. It was such a happy time. We both were screaming with joy. It was the first time I have actually screamed in Mexico. hahaha
I saw a man with a Yellowstone shirt on, I asked if he has been to Yellowstone, he was like, no. Hahah he just found it probably, who knows. I also saw a shirt that said rocking in the USA. This week was full of many wonderful experiences. We have a meeting with the zone tomorrow, so I should get the mail and everything. We are going to try and get these two married tomorrow early in the morning so we can baptize them. Brother Cali Mayor, the one in the picture that is really small and old, bore his testimony about me. He said the first time he saw me when I entered his house, we gave him a blessing and gave him a short lesson , he said it strengthened his faith so much and he will never forget it. He loves me. And I love him too so much. I might give him a tie or something, because he only has one tie. I love you all so much!!!! Love Elder Parker-- Peter Parker, that is.
P.S. Guess what? Now we get to keep the 1300 por each month. Before we only got to keep 900 and the other for transportation, but now we get to keep all 1300.
P.P.S. On a funny note- my companion said the dogs go wow wow and roosters go kikiriki. ha ha

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October 29, 2012

Provo MTC

Elder Gayton - a good friend from my district. He played football also. He is the only member in his family. I respect him a lot.

Familia!!! How are you all doing? It is awesome to hear that you and dad had those good spiritual experiences. This week for me went by really really fast. We have been working so hard. We had 16 lessons with a member present this past week. The most in the zone. But we can have more. I am loving working with my companion. One night with the family in our ward, he played "Dust in the Wind" on the guitar. He is so good at the guitar. We were walking along the road after lunch one day and a man came up to us and asked for a Book of Mormon. We said sure, you are a member right? He said no. We were both like is this real? haha He read 20 chapters in the first night. 

There are these bananas frozen with chocolate on them. They call them chocobananas. It is my new favorite treat here. A member sells them to us for 2 pesos. They are so good, my companion absolutely loves them as well. When I get back to the U.S. I am going to sell them and become rich. hahaha just kidding. There was a huge fiesta outside our house in the street last night. They set up huge tents with music and people dancing. It was kind of cool. The culture here is definitely different. But I like it. There are a lot of bands that play in their houses. We walked past one the other night and they sounded pretty decent.

This past week the primary sang in sacrament meeting. It was so so spiritual. I loved it so much. That is always one my favorite times of year is when I get to listen to the primary children sing their songs and give their testimonies. How is everything going at home? I haven't used those shirts yet, I am going to save them for when I need them. I am okay, I don't really need anything right now. Maybe some more snacks. I love eating snacks. It doesn't seem like a lot, but for me they make my day. I will probably buy some shampoo in 2 weeks or so. But everything else is fine I believe. Thanks for asking. The members here are so amazing. I am so blessed to be here. My companion said that in his first area, there were 7 people in his ward. hahaha He said I am so lucky to be here. I have no doubt. I really hope that I can stay here as long as I can. On Thursday we will be hearing from Elder Johnson. He is of the 70 I think? But it is a really big deal here. He presides over this mission. I haven't received any mail lately. I should within this week I believe. I love you all so much! I hope everything is going okay. How are Dad and Josh? How is Lauren doing with school and everything? and Jo? Nath dog, how is football going?> I love you all so much. love Elder Parker

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October 22, 2012

Hey, family!! This week was so so good!! I got my new companion, Elder Velazquez. He is so amazing. This is his last change before he goes home. He is twenty five years old. He is the most humble young man I have ever seen. He knows how to speak English and is really patient with me. He helps me correct myself with my Spanish and I talk a lot in lessons. The other night he made me do a door contact by myself while he stood in the street. The man answered the door and I said we would like to share a message with him. He said I don't have time, I am leaving soon. I then said look, I know this message will bless your life, we only need ten minutes of your time. He then said alright. We had a great lesson, longer than ten minutes. Then, after he gave us cake and a drink. It was so nice to know that the Lord helped me, because I couldn't have done that on my own. My companion is from Baja, California. He really cares about the people and we work really hard. He is so funny. He makes me laugh every day. I wish we could be companions longer, but this is his last month and a half. We dropped Elder Olvera and Elder Petersen off at the OCC where the autobuses are. Elder Petersen gave me a letter and we said our good-byes. Elder Olvera gave me a tie. It was a good day. How are Dad and Josh doing with their injuries? I hope you are doing good. I love you all so much. I pray for you daily more than 5 times- hahaha- a day. I like the scriputre in Doctrine and Covenants 115:5.

We walked up these huge hills to find our references. I was sweating so badly, but I didn't care. I am helping the people here. We then walked through the jungle. Seriously, it was like Jurassic Park or something. We met a man last night. Wow.. we were guided. We started talking, prayed, then he told us of his parents how they both died when he was little. He started crying. He said he used to work in ST. GEORGE, UTAH!!! He knows Hurricane. He said it is the best place in the world, he said it is so calm, no problems, the people are calm during the night. He wants to go back. I bore my testimony about dad. I told him the story about dad, and how my dad is an example to me. I told him he can be an example to his son just like my dad is for me. He wants to change and he wants the best life for his son. It was so spiritual and I was crying. The whole way home I couldn't stop crying. Because I love my family so much and I know that we will live together forever.

Nathan, this morning I saw a snake on our patio. I couldn't get a picture because it slithered away. We are teaching a lady with six kids. They are all so cute. There are twin boys, about 2 years old. They walk and grab my hand. My Spanish I can understand more than I used to. My companion helps me talk more. I love you all so much. Keep living strong, the Lord will bless us. We are working hard here and I love focusing on the people instead of myself. Love Elder Parker

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

October 15, 2012

Elder Taylor and Elder Peterson
Friends from the MTC District

 Elder Parker and Elder Olvera
 Elder Parker's Zone

Hey family! It sounds like it has been a really crazy week!! I am so sorry to hear about Josh and Dad. I love you both and will pray for you. I am so sorry! I hope Brian is doing okay. And Zachs thumb. Well this week has been really crazy for me. First off the sister's had a baptism, and I was the one who baptized the girl. It was my first baptism here and it was so spiritual. Then, I did something because of mom. The man in our ward was going to be gone for two Sundays and needed someone to play the piano in sacrament meeting. His wife came up to me on Thursday night and asked me if I knew how to play the piano. I said yes, sort of, and they asked if I could play in sacrament meeting. So.... I did!! hahaha Wow I for sure did something that was out of my comfort zone. But I was thinking about you the whole time, mom. And I was determined to play. I played Sweet Hour of Prayer, Come Follow Me, and God Be With You Till We Meet Again. It was the most spiritual Sunday since I've been here. It was fast and testimony meeting. And twelve people cried during their testimonies. The people here have such strong testimonies. It is crazy. I couldn't help but crying. It is amazing how this gospel changes peoples lives for the best.

I sent some more letters last Tuesday. Have you still not gotten my letters? I saw a fight in the park, two drunks were fighting and kicking each other. It was actually pretty scary. Then I heard the Firework song that mom likes. I loved hearing it. Then today in a members house I heard Crossfire by Brandon Flowers. And I was telling the mom how this song my mom likes the most. We had an activity after the baptism on Sunday for my ward. It was the iron rod activity and we had a rope they had to follow while being blindfolded. It was a good time to have some fun. Then on sunday we were contacting people and in the park there was a wrestling match. Just like the wrestling matches on the movie Nacho Libre. They had masks on and boots and everything. It was so funny to see it in real life and we watched for a few minutes.

Well.. my companion is being transfered to Tonola. He will be the zone leader there. I am staying here and getting a new companion tomorrow. Elder Velasquez, I think. I am sad, because Elder Olvera is my favorite. We had so many good memories and it is sad saying goodbye to him. I will definitely miss him. And also, Elder Petersen is transfering to San Cristolbol. So now they are both gone. But I will be fine. I like this place and this ward. We have good families who we are teaching right now too. hahahah funny story, so one night I was sitting in a house and a lady walked in the front door, here it is normal for the ladies to kiss people on the cheeks. She grabbed my hand and almost kissed my cheek but I hurried and moved my face. I felt so embarrassed. We hurried and left. hahah it was so funny afterward. And Nathan, I saw a parrot, the other day in a house, it was giving itself a bath. They are pretty smart I guess. Well I love you all so much. I hope you get better Josh and Dad. And for everyone else, I love you so much. I am learning to completely rely on the Lord now that my companion and Elder Petersen are gone. It will make me stronger, and that is what I need. So I am grateful for this oportunity to learn more about myself. :)
I love you all so much
Love Elder Parker

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

October 8, 2012

Elder Parker with a ward member

Hola familia!!!!!! How is everyone doing? Wow.. I can't believe that about Brian.. I feel so bad for him. I hope that he will be alright, I will pray for him everyday. He is one of my best friends, I loved him so much. He is such a strong young man and I know he can make it through this.

This week was full of good experiences. First off I loved conference so much! The first session on Sunday we watched in English on a computer, Elder Petersen and I! such a blessing because I was worried I wouldn't be able to, so we were so so so happy. The seccond session we just watched in Spanish but with subtitles of English, it wasn't the same but better than nothing. The Spanish is coming along, I can understand more and more each week, the talking is mas o menos but is improving also. The lessons are good, we actually had one investigator come to conference with us on Saturday. And one investigator to church the week before. But the people are hard to teach here, they all think they know what is true and what isn't. It is really frustrating because I know this church is true and can help them but they won't even try and read and pray. I will have faith that we will find the escohidos. This week we had kfc at a members house, it was so good! The first of the month I received the package!!! Wow thank you so so so much! I don't know if I should wait until halloween or what? I received letters too!
Then on thursday, we had an interview with the President. He called that morning and said meet at my office and bring your area book. My companion and I were freaking out a little. It was like on the Best Two Years. Because we were like why does he want to see us. Once we got there it was perfect, he just wanted to see how we were doing and asked if he could help in any way. I could tell he really cares about us. It was my first time really talking to him. Then I received more letters while I was there! Thank you for all the letters! I sent a letter two weeks ago! I hope it got to you! Dad we receive 1300 pesos every month. 400 of that goes toward transportation. The other money is for food and stuff like that. The ratio is 13 pesos to one dollar. So you can figure that out. Thanks for all the letters, package, and helping me pay for being out here! I am so blessed.

My house is the worst house in the whole zone, but I actually like it. It has running water luckily, a little shower, and 1 bedroom with barely enough space to fit two beds and our suitcases. We have a small fridge also. I like it because now my next house will seem so big and nice. I am glad I started off not so great. We don't have any areas in our area to visit on pdays so we study then go buy food, get a hair cut if necessary. Then nap or write letters if time, then eat then email then work! Our whole zone is having a hard time finding people to teach, but we will have success, I have faith. Walmart is about 10 away in a van. It is really nice. Thanks for the football highlights, I enjoyed them. Wow conference was so amazing, I loved Elder Holland's the most. Conference is my favorite!! Well, after conference, you won't believe this.. We drove past a crash, and a dead guy was lying on the street. It was so depressing and I couldn't bear it. He got hit by a car and he wasn't covered with anything. He was just in the open and the cops were just showing up. It was really sad. Yesterday we were tracting and a kid threw a soccer ball so I could kick it with him. I juggled it and played a little bit with him it was so fun and the litle kids were laughing! Today was a record, we fit 20 people in a van! I was so squashed and was in the very back corner with a huge lady like sitting on my lap practically! hahaha me and my companion were just laughing. Well thank you so much for everyone! I don't have much time I think we are leaving right now! Thanks I love you so so so much don't ever forget that I pray for you everyday. I love the family and tell Brian I love him so much. I love you all so so much!! I will try and send pictures!! love Elder Parker

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

October 1, 2012

Wow, how is my wonderful family doing!!!!! I am doing so good over here in Tuxtla Gutierrez Mexico!! This week has been really fast, but full of many adventures, blessings, and spiritual highs. Mom thank you for all those fun stories. Wow it sounds like you and dad had a lot of fun that one night!! I am so excited that you had fun, because I would feel bad if I was the only one having fun over here!! Keep having fun!! I am glad that the family is doing good!! I hope Jordan will get better soon, I pray for him everyday, and the family!! Many times during the day! Mom, happy birthday pretty soon!!!! I wish I could be there and give you a huge hug and a tortilla or two, but it will make it that much more special in two years when we can celebrate it, with the entire family, that is!! Wow, Lauren is going to Liberty Park for tennis!! Sounds like she is doing really good! Keep up the hard work, seester!! Mom, it sounds like you have a lot of courage to play the organ in church, I know I wouldn't be able to do that. Last week we were at the church for interviews with investigators and I played the piano for about 30 minutes, it was really fun and my companion was singing along with me. I read a quote in my personal study time this past week, it says... when great events occur, there are three types of persons manifested; 1. the individual who doesn't realize that anything great is happening. 2. The individual who realizes something is going on but doesn't know what it is. and 3. The man behind the scenes making it all happen. I loved this quote, and I am feeling the spirit right now as I am typing it. Just thought I'd share that with the family. We can all be the third individual if we do our part, and follow the spirit.

I met a kid who plays quarterback for their football team here. There are actually 4 or 5 kids I have met here who play football. I was able to carry some what of a conversation. Then on thursday, I had a division. I spent the whole day, slept over, and the next morning with a different companion in a different area. My companion was elder Parker, the zone leader. He is from Washington. He is American. We had a lot of success and he taught me a lot of good things about the mission and what to know. He is really awesome and I really love him a lot. So that was a fun day. One memory we had during that day was he thought he knew this family, so we started running after their car in the street. They finally stopped and we caught up to them about 200 yards down the road! hahaha turns out that it was the wrong family! It was so embarrassing, but we couldn't stop laughing. Last week my companion and I found a turtle in the road. We kept it for a few days as a pet. But the next morning we woke up, and it was gone. I guess it slipped through our gate and walked away... because it can't run away! hahah (Thought Nathan would like that story because he always wants to know if I've seen any animals.)

I heard for Christmas we can skype. I am not sure, but we will see once it gets closer to Christmas. Wow, so yesterday was really awesome, one of our investigators came to church. Then during church, that morning it was so, so hot, we were sweating within seconds as we stepped outside our house. Then during church, it started raining so hard! I mean really hard. We then left church, luckily a member gave us a ride. The water in the streets was so high. Seriously, the water was covering the tops of the tires on the cars. No joke. It felt like we were driving through a river. It was so awesome, and I couldn't believe how much water there was!! The food has surprisingly been really good here. I think the members figured it out or talk to each other about what I like, because I have liked everything these past couple of weeks. Today we had really good hot dogs and hamburgers. The members were making fun of me because that is what I said I wanted to eat. hahah He kept saying hot dog, because that was the same house where we ate the whole fish and he made fun of me and was saying, you like hot dogs but not fish. haha I love that family. I hope everything is going great at home. I do miss your cooking mom!! hahah no lie. None of this food can compare to your food. So Josh, Nathan, Lauren, Dad, and Jo, you don't take for granted what mom makes you!! spoiled!! I heard that my ward is the biggest ward in the mission, but who knows if that is true. They are so so kind, and I hope I stay here longer. The next transfer is on October 15. So we will find out then. Oh, I got my first haircut here in Mexico today! It feels so nice here! How is the whole family doing? How is football going? I love you all so much, and I realized how much I took being with you for granted. I love you and can't wait to make more memories with you when I get back. love Elder Parker-- the tan, mustached, Mexican, that is.

September 24, 2012

Hey family... how are you doing? I am doing so good here!!! In the background right now the song is "Don't Worry Be Happy". It was a blessing to hear that song. Well let's start off with monday. Last monday it literally rained cats and dogs. We had a lesson at around 8 that night. It was raining for like 2 hours. After, it was still raining and it took us a whole hour to get back to our house because... the roads were literally rivers!!!! hahaha no kidding. There wasn't a spot of the road that wasn't at least 2 feet deep in water. We had to hop around on rocks and stuff to cross each road! It was actually really fun and we were laughing the whole time. Then on Tuesday we went to the immigration center, and it so happened that my whole old district was there! It was so nice to see and talk to all of them, they all look so different already. I happened also to receive my letters! I received a lot actually. It felt like christmas and I loved it so much. Thank you so much for all the dear elders and that card. It really made my day. I am now legal in Mexico, because I received my green card that same day. This week I have probably eaten the best food since I have been here. I have had spaghetti, corn, soup, beans and lots of other foods that I like. It is really weird, some days I feel like I don't have any more energy at all, and all of a sudden this huge feeling comes over me and the spirit is so strong and I have strength. I have no doubt it is from your prayers and how I am being blessed through prayers. It is so spiritual and powerful.

Well, this week the hermanas in my district wanted to see pictures of my family so I showed them pictures. They were so so excited! And they said that you, mom, look really really young, they couldn't believe you were my mom!! hahah good thing I have a good looking mom!! love you~!!! Then yesterday, we took a taxi to a sistérs house in our ward, but the hill was so steep that the taxi couldn't make it up. It was hilarious. This week has gone by so fast. And I am finally getting the hang of things! It is very different here, but I find myself laughing and smiling and having fun all the time. Like last night, there were four hombres singing and playing their instruments at a party. It reminded me of Nacho Libre. Just little things like that make it fun. How is everything going at the house! I am glad that Nathan had an awesome birthday, and Josh!!! Happy Birthday!! Wow you and Nathan are both getting so old! I can't wait to hear how football is going for both of you. Don't worry about me here, I'm just getting tanner and growing a sweet mustache hahah. My hair grows faster here, that is for sure.

I love my district and zone. We had a baptism activity this past Saturday. I was the witness for the baptisms. It was awesome, because it was my first time. I talked to Elder Petersen like the whole time I was there. Our investigator didn't get baptized because she had work, but it is alright, no worries at all. I bought a bunch of food today, which is nice. I changed my 20 dollars into 250 pesos today! So I have some extra money. Thanks for the updates for football, I love hearing about that!! The language is increasing so much every day. I am far from where I was three weeks ago, but still have a long ways to go. Yes, I understand people at the door, most of the time. I have to listen really close, but in most conversations, I can understand. But then sometimes it is harder. I am getting used to the humidity, but I still sweat so so much! I don't need anything right now! Thanks for asking though. We are working really hard though, and I have faith that we will find people. We do teach about 5 lessons a day! Which is nice! Keep fighting the good fight, because we are going to win!!! I love you all!! Sometimes I took our family for granted, our house, our food, school, everything. But now I realize how blessed I am to have you all as a family. I love you all so much!! love Elder Parker

Saturday, September 29, 2012

September 17, 2012

Taylor's Branch Counselor and his wife

Brother and Sister Jones

A fun family from their ward

Hey family!!! How are you all doing.. well this week has actually gone by pretty fast. I was able to buy more food luckily!! Finally. hahah so don't worry, I will try and eat more food. It is hard though because some of the food I don't like, but I am finding stuff that I really like. For instance, today at the members house we had a fish. hahah a whole fish with the head and all. it was weird but I kind of liked it. 
Well one experience this week.. There is this member girl about 17 years old. She is really sick and needed a blessing one night after our meeting with the bishop. There were four missionaries in the room with her and her friend. She then said I want you Elder Cota to annoint the oil and I want you Elder Parker to give the blessing. I was like are you kidding me... I did not know why she picked me to do it. But she really wanted me to do it for some reason. Luckily, they said I could do it in English. It was really spiritual and I was so happy I could give her a blessing. If you get a chance, look at the Mormon messages by David Bednar about the light. I had the opportunity to look at the Mormon website and watch "Good Things to Come" by Jeffrey Holland. (The one you showed us, and love so much, dad) I really love that video! I also was able to look at our house on the maps site on the LDS website. hahah it was nice to see it again. Well guess what!! I gave my first talk here in Mexico this past Sunday. It was on the Book of Mormon. I was so nervous, but I prayed for help and when I started, the words just flowed out of my mouth. I don't know how I was able to pronounce the words so well, but I was truly blessed. Then one of the members, I will try and connect a pic of him and his family, he came up to me and said that was such an amazing talk. He was crying during it, because I was crying in my talk also, when I was bearing my testimony at the end. He reminds me of dad. Anyway he said I was just going to come to sacrament meeting today and go home after, but after I heard you talk the spirit came over me and it was so powerful it consumed me. He said after he felt that feeling he wanted to stay for the rest of church. He is such an amazing guy. 

So we have seen a lot of drunk people here. The other day one of them came up to us and wanted to punch my companion. He kept pointing at him saying stuff. Then he would look at me and shake my hand like a thousand times saying I like you a lot, but not this man. It was really weird, but I wasn't scared at all. hahaha We met this other man, he lived in California for ten years. He was in prison for 4 years in Arizona because he shot some people. but he had to come back here and his two kids and wife are in California. He expressed how sad he is, but he said he has changed his life, no drugs or anything. I bore my testimony to him and started to cry because I know he can change. He was starting to cry also. Well september 15 was their Independence day here. It was pretty exciting. Towards the night after our day, we ordered a pizza and watched the restoration in our house. It was nice to relax and have some pizza finally, but the pizza here is pretty expensive. 

Happy birthday Nathan!!!! Wow 9 years old already!! You are growing up so fast. I sure do love you! Lauren how was the dance? Josh, wow, sounds like your game was really exciting, keep working hard. Dad, I will try and eat more food, I actually try and get as much sleep as I can. I usually go to bed around 10 instead of 1030. Thanks for the cds mom, because I listen to them like every morning, that or the ipod. I heard the song Jackson 5 today while we were buying food in Walmart. They like to listen to a lot of English music for some reason. I saw a Perry the Platypus shirt also hahaha. They really like the movie Nacho Libre and Skeletor. I hope everything is going well back at home. I still haven't received any mail. I heard we don't until every change or when there is a special occasion and we get to see the President. Every change is about a month and a half. So our next change is October 15. But the zone leader said he might be able to pick it up the first of October if they let him. He is really nice, from Texas. Well dad don't worry, I am stretching every day. I will try and eat more. It is just difficult to get used to at first, but now I am eating more and buying some good food. I am going to try and upload some pictures so I hope they work. How's the family doing overall? I sure do love you all so much!! Just know that I really am doing okay here and you don't need to worry about me or anything. I am in the hands of the Lord. Seriously. I sure do love you all and I can't wait to speak Spanish in front of you with Court when we get back.
 love Elder Parker 
 P.S. We take our laundry to a guy and he washes and folds our clothes for really cheap. So it is really nice.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 10, 2012

Hola, mom. This keyboard is weird so bear with me. So first off this week has been really bad... I got robbed and have no money. I have a black eye and my stomach kills.. just kidding hahahah Actually this week has been really good. I think I am losing weight here though. hah because we have one huge meal for lunch but really no breakfast and not any dinner. The members feed us every lunch, so that is really nice. I have to force myself to eat a ton because if I don't I will be really hungry for the rest of the day. Well there are lots of mosquitos here and many bugs. One morning my companion was yelling and I went in the other room and there were lizards hahaha it was so funny. Our house is really small and honestly really dirty. But it's a house and I'm thankful for it. We don't have washing machines or anything either. No carpet or tile on the floor no air conditioning or anything. But luckily I have a fan for when I sleep. It is all good.

I love being here and seeing this other world. In one week I have already seen improvements in my understanding the language. The members here are so very nice. One member gave us 250 pesos. He reminds me of dad because he is very giving and expects nothing in return. I am trying to get used to pesos, it is really weird. All the people here play futbol all day. But all the people are nice here, I actually like talking to them. I don't have much time I really don't. Today has been really really busy. I didn´t have time to write or anything like that. But it is all good!! Our area is called Bosque, it is really big. I love it in this area. All the people are nice and smile and say buenas tardes. Well they do talk really fast here and most of the time I just look at them and nod my head like I understand. haha its quite funny actually. I will get better. But seriously, this is nothing like what Christ had to go through. Whenever I start getting down on myself or being selfish or saying this is too hard, I immediately say wait.. Christ had it so much worse than this and he never complained.

We get around by walking almost everywhere. But we get in coletivo vans or taxis but have to pay for that. Vans are 5 pesos, taxis are like 35. It is weird being in a van with everyone so close to me. I dont know if I have time to write anyone else. So sorry if I don't. We are running late as it is and I am typing as fast as I can. They watch movies here like ice age and drake and josh haha it is funny to see when I am tracting. We tract so much here because we are both new to this area and didn't know anything. So we are working with members a lot and just tracting. My companion is elder Olvera he is the district leader. He is from Hildalgo Mexico. He has been out for 8 months. He is really kind and loves serving these people as well as me. Yesterday we had one of the best lessons. Both of the hermanas were crying and I started crying a little even though I didn´t understand all of it. We asked her to get baptized and she accepted for September 22. I am excited for her.

Elder Petersen is actually in my zone so I get to see him every Tuesday. What a relief. I know this is hard and I want what is best for my old district. I was able to give my first blessing in Spanish. Wow.. I don't know how I did it but I did. I know I was helped because I couldn't have done it on my own.

Our door in our house is always open. All the doors here are never closed unless at night. It is really weird and I am not used to it. But I do kind of understand what dad had to go through growing up... a dirt house. We are so blessed where we live. It is so dirty here and trash everywhere. It has rained like 5 days since I have been here. Yesterday it rained so much. But it is still hot and humid when it rains here! Well I don´t have much time. I still need to write court. I love you all so much. Don´t worry about me here. I haven't got any mail, who knows when, hahah But it is no problem at all. I love you all so so so much . gracias por todo.
love Elder Parker

Thursday, September 6, 2012

First email from Mexico

Dont have much time..... But they let me email really really quick. We got here safe. We got here at about 8. We ate at President Cardenas house. Now we are emailing and getting instructions. It is really humid and is raining a lot!!!!!!! already. it is so so so green here and so pretty!!! It reminds me of Jurassic park. Really beautiful. Well, gotta go. I love you all!!!
Elder PARKER!!

September 3, 2012

This morning at 7:30 am, we got a call from the Salt Lake airport…it was our wonderful missionary, Elder Parker! He sounded so good and it was great to hear his voice! He said it was so neat seeing other people in the airport—after being in the MTC for 2 months. He is traveling with 11 other elders, and he said people in the airport were cheering for them and smiling at them, and it made them feel so good. He said he has already grown so much and loved the MTC and the other elders there. Also, the Branch Presidency and teachers, etc. But now he is so excited to get to Mexico and teach the wonderful people there. Their plane is supposed to land in Tuxtla Gutierrez around 6:15 pm. What a great day to be able to talk to our amazing missionary! He wanted us to send all of you his love. He also mentioned how much he loves his sister, Courtney, and that he’s praying for her, and how happy he is that they will both be out in the field together, as missionaries. He was filled with the spirit, and excitement for this great work to move forward in Mexico!! We love you, Elder Parker!!

August 27, 2012

Hey mom!!! Como esta? hahah Estoy muy entusiasmado por que yo voy a Tuxtla Gutierrez en una semana!! Oh yeah!!!! I talked to an elder last night who is from Mexico! He said he has been to Tuxtla Gutierrez and absolutely loves it there! He says it is so beautiful there and the food is actually healthy he said! He told me about this huge fish with a crocodile mouth! It has a really poky back. He said when it rains a lot, they get flooded out of the rivers and such, and swim through the puddles in the streets!!! It is a little scary, because if you step on it, the spine can go through the shoe I think he said. He was telling me all of this in Spanish! So I understood most of it. But he said it tastes good? hahah not like I'll be eating those!

Wow... So last Tuesday Elder Neil L. Andersen talked to us for our devotional! We were so blessed to hear from him, because we have been waiting this whole time to hear from a general authority!! Right when he walked in, the spirit just overcame me! I didn't see him at first, then everyone started standing up, and I looked over, and the spirit just ambushed me! It was so amazing! He gave such a wonderful talk! He talked about 9 things President Thomas S. Monson would say to us if he were there. It was also President Monson's birthday that day, so he put a picture of him up on the screen, and we sang happy birthday to him! It was funny, and cool at the same time! Then, when Elder Andersen left, we all stood up and kept standing until he walked out of the room. It again, was another spiritual moment. We were just so blessed to hear from him. The number 4th thing that Thomas S. Monson would say was that "The Lord will shape the back to bear the burden placed upon it." Wow, that meant so much to me. He also said after that, "When we are on the Lord's errand, we are entitled to the Lord's help." That was so powerful, and that is what I liked hearing the very most.
Then this Sunday, yesterday, my district got the chance to usher! In the huge gym, where there are over 2100 seats! It was actually not bad at all, I was at the very first letting people know how many free seats there were and directing "traffic". Kind of like how Lauren and Court and I would always tease about directing with our hands. If you don't understand that, ask Lauren. hahah I actually was signaling in a couple Elders, doing the circling motion with my arm. hahaha. It was funny! But at the end of this devotional, a Samoan Elder sang, "How great thou art." Wow... It was the most powerful voice I have ever heard. I get chills right now just talking about it. He had such an amazing voice, with so much passion and the spirit was so so strong, it stayed the whole entire song. It was by far the best voice I have ever heard here. It reminded me of the huge Israel guy who sings "Over the Rainbow", but it was more powerful than that.
When I was ushering last night, Elder Devin Bennett came up to me and was like Elder Parker!! It was nice to talk to him, and see him! He seems like a really nice Elder. Then after the devotional, I planned a little get together picture, by the huge Map at the MTC. So first I took pictures with Elder Wilstead, and Elder Murdock from Pine View, they are leaving today around 4. They are actually really awesome, and we have grown to be good friends while we've been here. Then after they left, I took pictures with all the Elders from Hurricane. Elder Gubler, Mills, Staples, Bulloch, Evans, Canfield, and I think that was it. It was really fun, and we got a lot of good pictures. Cash Mills left this morning, and last night was the first time since I've seen him here. So it was really nice to see him, and he looked really excited to leave. He ran up to me and gave me a huge hug!!
Well this is my last Monday p-day here! I am hoping and think they will give us a little time on Saturday to pack and get ready to leave. On friday, all day, we have infield orientation. We go to workshops and learn how to place copies of the Book of Mormon, and other things. Well I can't wait to hear you all on the phone!! I am so excited for that!!! Today, was my last time that I went to the temple! It was probably the best experience since I've been here. I tried doing what you do and stayed in the last room until I was almost the last one. When I looked up at the picture of Jesus with his arms open, the spirit just overcame me. I knew right there, that I was going to be safe in Mexico, and that everything will be alright with our family and with the people in Mexico. It was such an amazing feeling!!! I love you so so much Mom~!!! Let the family know how much I love them.
you quiero compartir mi testimonio,
yo se que esta iglesia es verdadero.
yo se que el libro de mormon es la palabra de Dios.
YO se que Jose Smith fue un profeta, y thomas s monson es un profeta hoy.
Amo mi familia, y se que podemos vivir juntos siempre. amo ustedes mucho!!!!!
I would keep going, but I don't have much time. I love you so much!!!!
Love Elder Parker

Friday, August 24, 2012

August 24, 2012

Hey Mom... I really hope you get this soon!!!!! BUt guess what?!? We got our travel plans today!!!!!! We leave September 3rd! We leave the MTC around 6 in the morning. So we will probably get to the airport around 7:15 I am guessing? And by the time security is over and everything it will probably be around 8? I have no idea, but that is just my guess. So I will get to call home around 8 I am guessing!! Should I call home or your cell phone or dads? Please dear elder me as soon as you get this so I know!! I can't wait to get to hear from you all. I will email dad too just in case you don't get this in time. I love you all!!! Thank you so much for the package!! It has been such an amazing week already! I will talk to you later!! I love you!!!!! Elder Parker

August 20, 2012

Hey mom!! thank you so much for all your advice and all the news that is going on back in Hurricane!! wow the weeks keep going by faster and faster! I was talking to one of my teachers here about how crazy it is that he is already been back for 8 months off of his mission. He said when you get out to the field the time even goes faster! He said don't let a minute go to waste, do everything you can every day to serve the Lord, because the time is so fast. He said it felt lilke a month and he was already back home! So I know that it will be fast out in the field because it is already so fast here at the MTC. I missed out on stake conference it sounds like !! But I am so glad that you were able to feel the spirit and have some good experiences with it. Well I am pretty sure everyone in our district got their visas except for the two that were supposed to go to peru three weeks ago. But I am glad they are still with us because they are both great elders! I went to the temple today and this older sister came up to me and started telling me, I think the world of you, you have no idea how many people you will bless. She said, you leave your family for two years so that you can help families be together forever. Wow she started crying and it made me tear up, also. She had such a strong spirit about herself. She is so right!! Sometimes I think of the family and realize how much i miss you all and how much I love you all, but then I think, I get the opportunity through the Lord to help people have this same happiness and knowledge that we have. I always have visions of families I am going to meet in Mexico. I cannot wait to share the gospel with them and help them come unto Jesus Christ. It gives me tears just thinking about it. So I heard with packages and letters and stuff if you put mary stickers on them, that the people leave it alone? I think that is true, but I am not sure. Thank you so much for the Hawaii package!! I loved it and so did my district. I am so spoiled, but I absolutely love it and feel so much love and peace when h receive things from my family and my mom :) So on Tuesday, we had a Devotional, and the lady talked about a story in her home ward. She said, a little boy got up and bore his testimony. He stood there, she was thinking he didn't know what to say. But then he said, I am so thankful for my brother being on a mission, I know it is hard, and I miss him so much, but the people out there need him. It was so powerful and I thought of my family, and especially my little brother Nathan. It turns out the Elder in my zone, it was his home ward, and that was his brother. It was so amazing to hear that story, he has been here for two weeks, and has been struggling with home sickness but that helped him, now he is doing so well. But after the devotional we have a district devotional review with a member of the branch presidency. Brother Jones was in our meeting this time. When it was my turn to bear my testimony and share my thoughts about the devotional. I couldn't talk. I started crying so so much, and it just wouldn't stop. I had to just keep saying sorry, because I couldn't talk at that time. But finally I could talk somewhat and I said how much I missed my family, and how much that sounded like my little brothers and how much I miss them. I cried throughout the whole testimony of mine. Brother Jones and Sister Jones, started crying also, and when they bore their testimonies they directed it towards my thoughts saying, "Elder Parker you are so right, I know it is so hard being away from your family, but imagine how many blessings they are receiving. Imagine if you didn't come on a mission, your brothers wouldn't think they would have to either because they follow you in everything and love you so much. He said your family is being blessed more than you know, thank you for being such a good example, and thank you for blessing your family. It was so so spiritual and it was such a good night!! Should I send some stuff home before I leave in 2 weeks? Thank you for the stamps and for the pictures of Hawaii!! I bought a picture album in the bookstore and put all the pictures of you and dad in it!! It is so cute :) So thank you so much. OH yeah, Kizzy wrote me and said she is playing volleyball in Nicaragua for the championships. So she will probably be somewhat close to Court!! I love you so, so much, tell the family I absolutely love them!! I have realized how much I am blessed to have this family and realized that I love you all so very much!!!! Please be safe!! Can't wait to get to Mexico!! We should get our travel plans sometime this week!! Then at the airport I can call whoever I want! So guess what... I am going to get to call home :) I already bought my minutes card for the phones!!! I can't wait. I love you!
Elder Parker

Thursday, August 16, 2012

August 13, 2012

Mom!!! Como Esta?! I am doing so good here!! I love it! My p day has been really good so far! The temple was really spiritual like always!! We have the same district throughout the whole MTC stay here. We now only have 10 elders in my district because two left to Peru, the other two were supposed to but they don't have their visas. So we have 10 for now. I will have the same companion this whole time!! No, they usually have a companionship be the Zone leaders, but President Cosgrave our Branch President said that they are doing something different, because that was what they were prompted to do. So elder Taggart and I are Zone leaders. Which our companionships are in the same room, so that made it really nice. There were 5 districts in our zone but this morning the oldest district left, so now we have 4 districts in our zone for now. We are now the oldest district!! We have three weeks left, it is really crazy how fast this has gone. I will miss it here, but I cannot wait to get to Mexico!! We are all getting really excited. My responsibilities are to welcome the new districts when they come in on Wednesday, have a meeting with them on Thursday nights, then give them a tour of the MTC that night. We then interview all the district leaders, to see how each district is doing. We have meetings all Sunday morning, and Tuesday nights. So it is pretty busy. Then every night we go to everyones room and talk and say goodnight. Which I really enjoy just helping out the other elders in our zone. It has been a good way to keep from thinking about myself, it keeps me positive. Wow, that is so amazing that Chalice was baptized, I wish I could have been there!! I am so glad you had a spiritual experience with that. We went to a devotional, and the speaker was talking about how people these days don't know how to recognize the spirit. Most people don't think they've felt the spirit in a long time, but the chances are they have, they just haven't recognized it. I am so thankful for Dad and how he has the priesthood. So guess what?! The young women in our ward sent me a package the other day! It was like Sister Bussberg, and Sister Isom and the leaders and young women. They had sent me a bunch of items with cool sayings on each one. Like toothpaste, and cake mix, and socks, and gum, just a ton of stuff! It was so nice of them, and I absolutely loved it! It made my day. So can you tell them thanks for me! I might write them a letter later if I have time, but if not, let them know how much I loved it! Thank you so much for the package "hold to the rod" my whole district loved it!! And thank you for the Yellowstone Package!! I am so lucky! Yesterday I saw Elder Covey, he was Timpviews quarterback two years ago! We met before at his house when we stopped there before we played Skyline! He is such a stud, and he remembered me. Dad, the new elder in one of our Districts is Elder Judd, he said he had you as a teacher and said you were his favorite! Well I am doing really well here! Leaving September 3rd once again! My investigator has a baptisimal date in two weeks! I am so excited, then our other one is getting really close to accepting, and our other one is a little harder to teach. But I feel myself progressing and gaining more and more faith and experience here. Boston says hi, I just talked to him at lunch, and I told him I was on my way to go email, so he says hi! It is really nice to see people I know. I love my district. We played the new district in volleyball, and beat them! It was really fun, they had some big kids that played volleyball in high school, but somehow we still beat them. hahaha I will let you know if I need anything else! I hope the family is doing great! I love you all so much! Court and I were talking about how we are so lucky to have the family that we have! I am so blessed!! Estoy agradecido por mi familia, especialmente mi mama!! :) Amo usted.
Love Elder Parker

Pictures from the MTC

I am glad to have the opportunity to serve as the Zone Leader, not for recognition, but for service. I feel like I know what the newer elders went through the first few weeks, so I am a big help for them I believe. I am trying to make the most if it here. The spirit is so strong, and I actually love this place! But I am more excited to go to Mexico!! Thank you for the scripture and the advice!! Thanks for the update on the olympics, wish I could have watched them, pero esta bien.
I know the language won't come all at once, and that it takes time. So I have been a lot more positive on that part.
Thank you so much for everything, and for preparing me for this Mission. I couldn't have done it without you.
Also, way to bless the sacrament at church. I miss doing that, but hopefully I can soon, in spanish that is.
I love you Dad!
Love Elder Parker