Monday, July 21, 2014

July 21, 2014

Wow, can you believe I've already been out 4 months?  I can't!

Okay, so first of all, 6 weeks ago, I was talking to an Hermana who is from St. George, Hermana Adams and I was kinda venting about how I frustrated I was about the lack of quality my missionary work had and how I really wanted to change but I didn't know how and I was starting to believe that I couldn't. She told me to pray everyday and ask my Heavenly Father to help  me become better because I couldn't do it without Him. So that's what I did, this entire transfer, I asked every night for Him to help me to have a change of heart. To make me into the missionary He knew I could be and wanted me to be and the missionary I need to be for His children and His work. This is the experience that followed.

This entire transfer was a bit rough. On Tuesday, I called Hermana Christensen to tell her that I had been thinking about what she had said the day before and that I really needed the help of the President. She handed the phone over to him because conveniently they were together and I told him that I would like to talk with him because I was struggling. We set up an appointment and talked later that day. I told him everything, How I felt I wasn't serving like I should and how I hated coming home at night knowing that there was so much more that I could have done, that I was concerned about how I was taking on some of the disobedient habits of my companion, that I was a little depressed and had lost motivation to fulfill my purpose here in my mission. The things he told me opened my eyes and really helped me change my attitude towards many things.

He first told me that I had stumbled across one of Life's great principles: "We feel good when we give our all to the Lord. When we don't, we know it and we feel it." He told me to do my best everyday and I won't feel like I didn't fulfill my purpose. If I gave my all, I would be able to return home at night and in my prayer before bed I could tell the Lord, "I know you have better missionaries than me but today I gave you the best of me." He told me that if I would give my all, I would feel better.

The second thing he told me was that mission presidents categorize their missionaries and he had done the same with this mission. He said, "I have three types of missionaries here:
10% are just rocks. No matter what happens, they simply refuse to be moved from where they stand and from doing what they know is right.
15% are just goof offs. In their heart of hearts, they don't want to be here and don't care much about anything.
75% are in the middle. They are easily swayed. If they are with a hard-working companion, they work hard. If they are with a goof off companion, they goof off.
You, Hermana Parslow, are on the line between the Rocks and the 75%. You now have a choice of who you want to be."

Which type of person would you choose?

I told him that I wanted to be a Rock. He told me that he believed that I was a Rock and that I had simply let the situation I was in get away from me and he gave me a scripture, 2 Nephi 2:26 

"And the aMessiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may bredeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are credeemed from the fall they have become dfree forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the elaw at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given."

"Hermana, act for yourself. Never allow yourself to be acted upon. Own your life. Be bold in what you believe and know is right. This will be important as a missionary, as a wife, and as a mother. When we sit down at the judgment seat, the Lord will not be interested in our accusations when He asked, "Why did you commit this sin? Why did you do this?" and our reply is, "Well, my companion did it." or "My husband this..." or "My friends that..." "This person" or "That person", placing the blame on another when truly we gave up our agency and allowed ourselves to be acted upon." This is important for everyone. Satan does not lead us slowly into the bonds of hell when we are willing to give up our agency and allow the actions of others to affect ours. When someone else makes a bad choice that does not mean that we should give up what we know to be right and what is essential for our salvation to compensate for their mistake, their responsibility, to make them feel better about the bad choice they've made. I'm sure that Satan is incredibly happy to kill two birds with one stone when someone gives up their salvation because someone close to them gave up theirs. 

Wednesday, I ended up in the hospital again because I was getting severly sick after eating lunch and Hermana Christensen told me to go. They hooked me up to an IV and got me hydrated while they ran extensive tests. Turns out I don't have any kind of bug or infection or parasite, just gastritis and colinitis, the most common thing among missionaries. They gave me some medications to help and sent me on my way.

Saturday we found out that there would be a change in our companionship. We expected it but the surprise was that I'm leaving. I'll be getting a new companion and new area tomorrow. I'm gettin' transferred! I couldn't sleep that night because my mind was racing. When Hermana Christensen called yesterday to check on me and see how I was doing, I told her that I was great just a little nervous about transfers, she told me, "I shouldn't say anything and I won't say her name but you're going to love your new companion. You two are just two peas in a pod and when the President automatically put you with her I said Yes! She's perfect!" and that my area is perfect for me and the house I'll be in is her favorite. I guess we'll see. =)

My companion loved the gift that came in the package, you made her cry mom and she wears the necklace almost every day. Also, the Hermanas loved their cards. Hermana Mary Carmen cried. Oh and as for gifts for them, yeah, I think a picture of the temple is a great idea. They love it here and everyone dreams of going one day.

We went to Cholula today and to the pyramids. I'm out of time so I'll attach photos next week.

Love you all! Have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Intercambios, District competition, Baptism date, and the Centro

So this week we had Intercambios...or companion exchanges. Not gonna lie, I had really been dreading it because the last time I had done companion exchanges, I had really come home depressed. I left the area again because my companion had a doctor's appointment in Puebla and couldn't leave. I went out to Tlaxcala with Hermana Cuevas from the Dominican Republic. She was super fun and we got lost a ton. She's only been a Sister Training Leader for 6 weeks and doesn't fully know her area yet. It was super funny because apparently, in the Dominican Republic, they use English words randomly to fill in those words that just can't express the feelings in one's heart. Like, "heavy" means super duper cool and awesome. We ended up not getting to eat with a member because we were an hour late and when she got told and hung up the phone, she looked at me and said, "Unbelievable." I just had to smile and chuckle a bit. We got hit with an afternoon rainstorm that positively drenched us and was super freezing! I didn't know that rain could be that cold in the middle of summer. I later heard that there was hail so big in the Centro of Puebla that lightbulbs were smashed and there was notable damage. o.O She was super sweet all day and the next morning. She kept asking me if I was hungry or if I was cold or if there was anything she could do for me. It was a lot of fun. =)

Wednesday morning we had our weekly district meeting. My district leader is Elder Longenecker from....well, he claims both Utah and West Virginia so I really am not sure but he's positively fantastic. =) Our district had been struggling with street contacting and he decided that time was ripe to have a competition between us all. The companionship that had the least amount of contacts on Sunday had to buy a "prize" for the companionship that had the most. Since the other hermanas had a rough week and the elders just took off with their contacting (I'm practically convinced that they did nothing else =P), it looks like my companion and I are buying Elder Longenecker and his companion little Hot Wheels Cars. :D

While I was in Tlaxcala, my companion and her companion for the day, Hermana Chuc,  set a date for Angeles to be baptized! :D She didn't come to church this last Sunday or the week before because she had to work, but this week she's starting a schedule that will allow her to have Sundays off, so fingers crossed. :D
Today we have a lesson with our other investigator that we have a date with. We're going to have to change the date for him to next month but I think this will be a good chance to really figure out where he's at, spiritually wise.

Yesterday, we had a lesson with Marianna. She's the one that we found right outside of our front gate. We taught the Plan of Salvation and I got to use those awesome tools you sent me. Mom. She accepted it without a doubt and when we got the to end of the lesson we asked her to pray about it to know if it was true. She told us she didn't need to because she pretty much already knew it was true. I felt the prompting to invite her to baptism. As I did and watched her face, I thought, "Oh no." Well, she said no but we did find out that she believed the Plan of Salvation and loved the Book of Mormon, her only doubt is if Joseph Smith was a prophet. We invited her to pray and to ask and she agreed to do it. I have a feeling that once she gets her answer, she'll be baptized. She's been searching for the truth and now just needs to recognize that she's found it. =)

We went to the Centro today. It was super cool. There were shops on both sides of this little street with all kinds of cool things. I picked up something for everyone and I hope to have a package sent not too long after Transfers. Which by the way, we find out if we have transfers this Saturday. My companion thinks that she'll leave the area and I'll stay...we'll see. ;)

We don't get to teach the man that we ran into in the street because he's in the area of our zone leaders but I'm so excited for him to start getting the lessons. He's had a rough past and seems to be ready to start a new future. =) 

I can't upload pictures on this computer so I'll just have to shout it out. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY MOM AND DAD!!!!!!!!!!! Are you guys going to do anything fun? Take some time off and enjoy each other's company? 

because I keep forgetting to say, Mom, I love the highlights in your hair. They're gorgeous! =) 

About my Insanity workout, we all have USB's that we keep music and videos on and we plug those into our portable DVD players to do workouts and enjoy music. =)  

Next week, we're hoping to go to a beautiful little's about 3 hours from here but still in our mission. We're planning on going with Hermana Mary Carmen and her sister Hermana Veronica (we went to the Centro with her and her daughter today =) ). I think we're going to pick up Hermana Chuc and Hermana Cuevas on the way. We have to leave at like 5 in the morning. O.O Talk about early, but I'm sure it will be worth it. =)

I love you all, thank you so much for the wonderful package. That tape does wonders for my feet and our house now smells like Wintergreen. =)

Friday, July 11, 2014

Happy 4th of July!!!

Happy 4th of July everyone!! 
Thank goodness I was in the mission offices on Thursday because I got to have a little patriotic moment with one of the elders. Elder Trepanier is absolutely hilarious and is the Visa Secretary for our mission. We were in the offices to pick up my packages and letters and while we were filling out our reimbursement forms for that day, Elder Trepanier busted out the patriotic music. His companion Elder Procunier didn't join in on the sing along but I rather enjoyed it anyway. We jammed out to "God Bless the USA", "Country Fried Chicken", "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue" and "American Girl". Basically the classics and country music. My companion thought we were hilariously crazy and just laughed at us while we got sentimental, dreaming of 4th of July parties. =)
  I learned what a blessing a bucket shower can be. Our bolier officially broke on Wednesday and so we have been washing our hair in the sink and heating up water in a pan on our stove that we then pour into a bucket to use for a shower. Usually bucket showers are seen as something bad but man, the hot water from a bucket sure beats the freezing cold water coming from the shower head. I told my companion this morning that if we get told that we have to buy a new boiler then Im gonna say "Forget it! Let's go buy a washing machine!" :D
  So I ended up in the hospital on Friday. As it turns out, having diarrhea for 3 weeks means that somethings wrong. Who'd of thought? o.O However, it's alright because they did some blood testing and xrays and other testing and found out exactly what's wrong so this time I left with a prescription that is actually helping rather than the last time when they sent me home with medications and wishing me well. Now, I have gripa but I'm doing great. =) Gripa is just a cold, by the way. =)
I forgot last week to tell you about our Bruja! So as it turns out, we have a witch in the ward. We were eating lunch at a less active member family's house and after we ate, my companion shared a scripture and of course invited them to church. The mother has a very strong personality, she's from the north of Mexico, and just said, "Thank you but I'm not going." ...Okay. She continued to refuse as my companion continued to invite them to church. Finally she explained that she refused to go because she's a bruja. I haven't heard that word very often but somehow, the more she said it the more I understood that it means witch. Something cleansings and washing people with eggs. I dunno. All I know is that she's a very interesting individual and somehow, I'm not that surprised.
The Lord is blessing one of our investigators that we haven't been able to visit in a while. We've been working with Angeles for almost 3 months now and hadn't seen a change or any kind of progression, until, we gave her a Book of Mormon. They had told us they had one and when we were talking she said she had left it at her mom's house. I had one in my backpack and told her that we could give her one to have at her home and then she can keep the other at her mom's house. As I pulled it out, she said "Wait, we don't have that." I wasn't too surprised because I had been impressed to give one to them earlier. We explained about it and gave her homework to read. It was about Alma and his people and how they were strengthened to bear their burdens. She loved the chapter and after she finished the last homework we gave her she decided to read the book from the beginning. Well, we hadn't seen her in a while because she's been working so much but we ran into her after a lesson with a less active member who lives on her street. We talked for a while and she said, "Hermanas, you're going to be so proud of me! I can't smoke! I can't drink either! Since I started reading your Book of Mormon, I can't go near a cigarrette or alcohol without wanting to vomit." We stood there like, what? Are you serious? All we could say was, "Wow, Hermana, that's awesome!" :D She also said that she had told her boyfriend that if he wasn't going to change then she was going to leave. She had been praying to Heavenly Father to help Jordy change and that if Jordy wouldn't change then please help her to have the strength to leave. I know, I'm still in shock. She also told her mom that she wants to be baptized in our church. Her mom first asked her why and then said, "Look, I'm going to respect your decisions because you're an adult and I'm going to respect your decision to change religions if you decided to do so, however, if you're going to change religions then you're going to change everything and do it 100%" I know, I love her mom already. =) She was dead set on going to church on Sunday but since work came up she wasn't able to but wow! What a change! and so fast! I'm so excited for her and can't wait to really get her going on the road to baptism where she can fully access the Atonement and change her life.
Yup, I got the package and the boots, Mom. the package was awesome! :D And the boots are okay, they're a little small but I'll live with it.....just kidding. They're positively perfect! My companion congratulates you on your choice of color. Purple is her favorite. =) 
Thank you so much for all of the wonderful things in the Beat the Heat package! I loved them all and I can't believe that you found the cookies! :D my companion and I loved every moment as we ate them. =) 
The last picture is of today. I was trying to get a good picture with her while she was sleeping. I was able to get this one before she woke up and caught me. ;)

Friday, July 4, 2014

email June 30, 2014

Wow, what a week! Where did it go? o.O
First of all...rain....lots and lots of rain. We are definitely in the rainy season. Remember when I told you about that rainstorm that was just bien fuerte and turned the streets into rivers. Yeah, we get one of those at least once a day now. The last couple days it's been super duper hot about 30 minutes before the storm hits and then it sprinkles like a lovely mist from heaven and downpours. My companion's umbrella broke on Saturday. I wish I could have taken a picture, I asked but she said I couldn't. She had her black sweater over her head and her umbrella folded around her like a taco. I couldn't stop laughing. We ended switching umbrellas and now she uses mine because she has more of a problem with getting soaked than I do. ;) 

Second of all, Mexico lost their game in the World Cup on Sunday..sad day. but awesome because now there will finally be people in the street. No lie, we could definitely tell when Mexico was playing because the streets would be the middle of the day! The first time it happened and we saw maybe 3 people in the street in 30 minutes, I turned to my companion and said, "We're not allowed to gamble but I would bet that Mexico's playing right now." Totally true. 

So this week we had a lesson with one of our investigators named Nellie. She is just progressing!...Even if we aren't able to count her as a progressing investigator because she doesn't attend our ward on Sunday. We've been teaching her the lessons and with every visit she talks more and more and has greater and bigger questions! At first she would hardly speak and look at us with a terrified look every time we asked her a question. She still gives us the terrified look but now she at least is actively participating in the lessons. She absolutely loves the temple. She went to the open house in Mexico City because they just finished remodeling it and she really wants to go inside especially after we explained baptisms for the dead. We told her that she absolutely could go inside....after she was baptized. She wasn't too happy about that. =P 

We have a baptism date! :D He name is Manuel and he has a girlfriend who's a member and preparing to go on her mission. He's been to church a billion times and likes a lot of the Gospel. The only thing holding him back is that he's not attending our ward and is scared of his parents and what they'll do if he gets baptized. They're super catholic. They apparently don't like us teaching him but were the nicest people in the world when we visited him for the first time. I think they're mainly concerned that he's investigating the church for his girlfriend. We're still rootin' for him though and trying our best to help him be ready. =)

The Zone conference was great! I loved every moment! We got to eat delicious food made by Hermana Christensen and I got to spend some time with two of the Hermanas in my zone from Utah, Hermana Lowe from American Fork and Hermana Melton from Spanish Fork.

So I gave my first talk in church on Sunday. Originally, in our missionary coordination meeting I was asked to give my testimony, I was just about to say yes when my companion asks, "A testimony.....or a message?" Elder Ochoa, the new elder in our ward (He's fantastic by the way, I hope to be a missionary like him one day) says, "A message! Then she can work on her Spanish!" :D I wasn't bouncing off the walls about the idea but I accepted of course. I also had to prepare a lesson for our gospel principles class. When Sunday rolled around I was kinda stressed...just a little bit.  The entire week I had been praying to know what I should talk about and what I could say to help the members. I ended up deciding to use President Utchdorf's talk "Are You Sleeping Through the Restoration?" It went pretty well...for my first talk in Mexico. My companion was so sweet and encouraging. She looked like a proud Mama just smiling encouragingly at me every time I looked at her during my talk. Not gonna lie...I read most of it, but who can say it better than an apostle of the Lord?! ;) One of the Hermanas in our ward came up to me afterwards and said, "Don't worry, I understood what you were trying to say." Sweet no? =) 

It wasn't until Saturday night that I realized why I had been given so much responsibility and work so quickly. I had been asking the Lord to help me have a change of heart in my missionary work and in everything that I do. I was reminded of the farewell talk my friend Elder Christian Loftus gave before he left for Maryland. He told the story of the Jaredites and how they needed to cross the ocean to get to the Promise Land. The Lord promised to help them get to where they want to be and what does He do? He sends a hurricane. When they made it to the Promise Land and gave thanks to the Lord they realized that the storm that had caused so much fear and worry and stress during their journey never stopped blowing towards their destination. Wow, it spoke to me that day and speaks to me now. The Lord sends storms into our lives to help us grow into the person we want to be and even though it's hard, the wind never stops blowing us towards our destination and just like the Jaredites, when we're buried in our oceans of troubles and cares and feel that we will never resurface, the Lord pulls us back up again. =) There's also a talk by David A Bednar "Bear up their burden with Ease" That I was reminded of and like a lot about how our burdens give us the friction we need to move forward in life. =)

Yup, we can see all three volcanoes from where we are, two are extinct but they're all really cool to see. I'll have to take a good picture of them when they aren't covered by clouds and smog. =)
That's really cool about the rock with Lehi's dream on it, we were actually picked up for lunch by Hermano Brian (He's an American from Arizona who's married to a Pueblana here) and he was telling us about that mural that depicts Christ coming to the Americas. How cool is that?! I really hope I get to visit it while I'm here. =)
I'm glad Camille and Dad had a good time at Bersten ponds. =) I actually totally suggested that to her in the letter I sent on Thursday. =)

Tell everyone hi and send them my love! =)

Thanks Mom for everything that you do and thank you to everyone for your prayers! I love you all! :D