Monday, December 30, 2013

Mexico Pachuca - Week 7 - December 30, 2013

(Excerpts from his email)

 Q: How is your new area? What is it like, how is it different from the last area you were in?
 A: My new area is country country. There are fields and animals everywhere. everyone has chickens and sheep and cows. it smells like a zoo haha but it’s good the people are awesome. they all farm here and use whatever water they get so its black and they call it agua negro. one lady was so funny we were talking about Hawaii and beaches (playas) and she was like oh that’s just like here the beautiful playas con agua negra.

 Q: How’s the language?
A: The language is coming. I can understand most of the time its only when they use a lot of words i don’t know that I don’t understand and I can speak more or less correct. So the next thing is to learn more and more words.

 Q: I notice that on the blog, Sis. Egbert shares letters that President receives from missionaries, is that something you have to do weekly, monthly or is that just certain people? What do you write about?
A: Yes every week we all have to write a letter to president. To be honest I don’t know what we need to put in it I think it’s just to talk to him about how we are and everything.

 Q: What did you all end up doing as your service project?
 A: For our service project we went to a member’s house in Actopan the sister missionaries’ ward and cleaned her yard. There was like tall grass growing everywhere and we had to clear it all out so it was just dirt. We also helped her build a chicken cage. It was pretty hard work because we were using machetes and shovels to dig out the grass.

 Q: Want us to share anything with the ward this next fast Sunday?
 A: Just tell everyone thank you for the prayers and love. I appreciate it all. I’m doing good its cold and the work is hard but it’s going good and I love being here.

 Q: What are you studying?
A: right now I’m studying Jesus the Christ. It’s really interesting. Just the small stuff that I never really noticed like the messages telling of the birth of Christ and John the Baptist were so different. John’s was in the holy room of the holy temple to his father, the priest, during like the super special ceremony. Christ’s was to Mary in her house. Also similarly the people that testified of Christ’s birth were shepherds and wise men. The lower class normal people and the total opposite side of the spectrum the wise men. This was so that all would believe and hear of the birth of Christ. There’s so many interesting things in that book that expands on scriptures and helps explain, it’s really interesting.

 Q: So did you guys go hiking today, see the pyramids?
 A: Today we went to Actopan its more city and there’s a bunch of shops and stuff. We were going to go to a museum but of course its closed Mondays. We ate at a restaurant and I had a torta con carne pastor. Pastor is shepherd so I literally ate dog today. After we kinda just cruised and looked in shops and stuff. Oh we went in a catholic cathedral thing and it was so creepy. Like I just felt super cold and there was like the Christ on the cross everywhere.
      R: So was the dog any good? How come they call it shepherd, I thought you meant you were eating sheep meat?!?!?! But it's really dog meat?
     A: The dog was ok it’s called shepherd because it’s actually like shepherd like German shepherd. To be honest it doesn’t taste like different. It’s like a little tougher than like beef.

Q: So what else is new with you? You always say things are hard but good. We always told you boys that it is when things are hard and you work through them that you grow and reap blessings. I hope that you have the foundation to work through the "hard" so that things will always be "good" no matter what you are going through.
A: Nothing much new. It’s hard because the heater is broken so its freezing even more than it already is. We didn’t have electricity yesterday I’m not sure why. We have no baptisms in January so that kind of sucks but its all just inspiration to work even harder. We cant baptize any one new in January cuz they have to go to church for at least 5 weeks first but we have a few people that if we work really hard we can baptize them because they went to church before a couple times. Me and my companion talked a lot about it and he’s inspired me to work even harder these next few weeks to find more people and work really hard on those possibles. So we can baptize in January and have a bunch of baptisms early February.
     R: It reminds me of a picture that use to hang somewhere, a picture of Christ and the words said "I didn't say it would be easy only that it would be worth it." You went to work and to serve, so all I can say is go to it and WORK. The blessings will come as well as the miracles if there is faith and perfect obedience. We at home will pray for you and that the minds of these possibles will be opened and their hearts touched to know that what you teach is truth and that happiness comes from knowing and living the gospel. Anybody in particular you want us to pray for, a name maybe?
     A: Enriqueta. Her family is members and she knows its true but she was baptized in another church so she is having a little difficulties with that but she’s really cool and were gonna work really hard with her. In the Jeffery R Holland talk he was like mission presidents your missionaries are gonna be like why is this so hard? Why isn’t our only concern getting a cold? And he said because salvation never was easy. It wasn’t easy for Christ and he was perfect, why do you think it will be easy for you. I was like wow.

Q: So you are good, cold but good?
A: Yes cold but good. I eat so much haha everyone is like do you want more and I’m like no I’m ok. And then they’re like oh you don’t like it. And I say I like it I like it and then they give me more. Its crazy

Elder Park

Monday, December 23, 2013

Mexico Pachuca - Week 6 - December 23, 2013

(Excerpts from his email)

Q: How was the baptism? Did it happen? Did you baptize one of them??
A: I had special changes on Friday at the Christmas devotional when we got the shots so I couldn’t go to the baptism of Miguel and Belen but they were good so I assume they got baptized. I wasn’t gonna baptize anyway because we can only baptize one person and confirm one person on our mission.
     Q: So what kind of special changes? Did you change companions? You okay?
     A: Yes I swapped with one of the elders that came with me from the MTC cuz he was having stomach problems in his area. I’m in a place called Tepatapec and it’s like country country so his stomach was really bad. It’s close to Actopan or Tula. I have a new companion his name is Elder Hernandez.

Yes I’m good. When president called and said I had special change it was really hard. I liked the people in my ward. I was comfortable there and looking forward to Christmas with them. Here your trainers are called your papis and me and Elder Rincon were getting along really well and my district leader is like my brother and the baptism the next day. It was hard but I told myself stop being selfish it’s not my time it’s the Lords. That was the theme of the devotional as well as the true meaning of Christmas and service so it was good. It’s hard but I love the new area. The people are amazing my companion is cool I prayed for help to accept the Lord’s will and be more accepting of everything and forget myself and I have felt better since then. That’s kind of what I’ve been studying haha, Belen, my last lesson with them still changed my life. She quoted the President Monson talk we left them with that said when bad things happen often times we think why me. I was like of course that’s exactly me right now I need to stop. I read Job and my companion read about James chapter 5 verses 16 to 20 about the power of prayer. It was all good to help me be more accepting of everything.
     Q: Explain to me about the baptizing, you can only baptize one person on your entire mission? How come?
     A: Ya the first week here we had zone conferences and president told us from now on missionaries can only baptize one person for the entire mission because he wants the converts to have a spiritual experience with a member.

     Q: How’s your new companion. Where is he from?
     A: My new companion is from southern Mexico kind of Yucatanish. He’s really cool and funny. He speaks less English than Elder Rincon but I am understanding more so it works. It’s funny because his home is similar to Hawaii with a lot of beaches and he likes to eat fish and stuff like that. My new comp is the one in the first picture sitting on the rail with two thumbs up. I switched with the tall white guy next to him haha.

     Q: So the language is getting better?
     A: Everyone here says I speak and especially understand good for the time I have. My companion,    geez, he was giving his report to the zone leaders and was like ya Elder Park is great he speaks so well. I think were gonna be really good friends not just companions and he has a lot of potential as a missionary. I was like dude!

Q: How is the water, as bad as everyone says?
A: I don’t know about the water no one drinks it but we buy the big gallon jugs and drink from that. They sell purified water.

Q: Saw you had to get a flu shot, your pictures on the mission blog, what's up with that? Is Sister Egbert a nurse, she seems to know what she is doing.
A: Sister Egbert is a nurse so yes she knows what she’s doing.

Q: Can you explain to us what makes up a district and then what makes up a zone?
A: A district is usually 3 companionships that are close and a zone is I think all the missionaries in the stake.

Also at our devotional we watched a video about an orchard owned by the church that makes raisins for needy and every Christmas a ward goes to work in it cause that’s the only day they have off at that time.

(You can find the video and story here.

                                 Elder Park’s Zone at Christmas Devotional

Elder Park

Monday, December 16, 2013

Mexico Pachuca - Week 5 - December 16, 2013

Excerpts from his email:

Q: What do you do on P-days?
A: On p days we clean house, get our clothes from the laundry place, buy food, have normal studies and then do other things, depending.  Sometimes we play soccer or last week we had a pizza party thing with the zone, usually some kind of activity and then we work starting at 6.

Q: I saw on the blog (Mexico Pachuca mission blog) that Tuesday is transfer day, do you know if you are transferring?
A: We found out today that me and my companion are not transferring which is good because Miguel and Belen have their baptism this Saturday so we are going to be here for that.

Q: How is Belen, is she ready, are you excited, are they?
A: Belen is ready, they are getting baptized this Saturday and right now everything is good.

Q: Any favorite foods yet, tried anything new?
A: I think my favorite food is pasties.  Its like a turnover kind of thing but usually thereʻs meat and cheese in it and it is really good.  The tacos on the street are really good.  Everyone says pastor is the best which is shepherd. Itʻs okay, it was good but not amazing.

Q: How have your studies been going, anything new you want to share?
A: Studies have been going good, starting to get a little repetitive but good.

Q: What is Christmas time like in Mexico, the same, different?
A: Christmas is the same here, a lot of nativities and Christmas trees and lights and what not.  Its pretty normal, Haha even the people look like people at home. Its weird the people here all look different like home and some people look really similar to people back home.

Q: How are things with your companion, the language?
A: Things are good. Communication is still a little difficult at times but good.  We also have splits every week so I think that helps.  Not with the same person every single day, haha.

Oh I have a story. So this week me and my district leader were on a split and we visited a less active family but only the kids were home so we talked with them.  We did some activities and shared a short message and it was really good.  They asked if we wanted to stay and eat, so we did and we kept talking and what not.  We were talking about school and I said that I was studying Marine Biology before my mission.  The boy, probably like Tyʻs age, he was like oh wow thatʻs cool.  Marine Biology is really interesting and blah blah blah and then he was like y me gusta Harry Potter. I was like oh no did I say something wrong how did he get to Harry Potter from Marine Biology.  But Elder Macias (my district leader) started laughing and was like what are you talking about what does Harry Potter have to do with anything and the boy was just like I donʻt know I just like it.  Then everyone started laughing and I was like phew at least I didnʻt mess up and say something weird! The rest of the night Elder Macias was just laughing about that.  

Tell everyone thank you for the love and support.  Sorry I canʻt send pictures, Iʻm working on it.

Q: So I guess the kids down there like the same things, just a little behind?
A: YA the kids like the same things but the movies and music and stuff are a little behind.  Right now Despicable Me 2 is really big but its called "Mi Villano Favorita 2".  Thereʻs a little movie store by our house that we walk by all the time and the movies titles are so funny.  A lot of things donʻt translate well I guess so they change the titles and usually they are very straightforward about the movie.  Like Despicable Me is My Favorite Villain.

Q: What else is big down there? I hear they have a pretty good soccer team.
A: I have no idea. I know soccer is big because the kids all play but Iʻm not sure about the team or anything.  Food and music is big, haha. Whenever we eat with members or talk with members they ask about the food in Hawaii and the music.  Its hard because I donʻt know words to describe the food or even what the food is called in Spanish so i always say a lot of rice and fish because thatʻs what I know how to say, haha.

Elder Park

Monday, December 9, 2013

Mexico Pachuca - Week 4 - December 9, 2013

(Excerpts from his email)

Q: What is a typical day like for you?

A: Normal day is wake up at 630 and exercise till 7. Shower and eat and then personal study at 8. Companion study 9 and language study at 11. 12 starts our work day and from then on we are out and about. Lunch is at 2 or 3 and then we return home at like 9 to plan for the next day and then 1030 is lights out. The afternoons are kind of hard because almost everyone is working so we usually don’t have planned lessons until like 5ish.

Q: Any update on the couple you are teaching?

A: the couple is amazing. We had to push back their baptismal date to December 28 but they are doing great. The husband continues to be strong and his testimony and desire to learn more is amazing. The wife Belen finally turned the corner and when we were teaching the plan of salvation and the atonement she opened up and talked to us about her relationship with her father that she wishes was better and he passed away so she has regrets. This past lesson we finished plan of salvation and asked about their baptismal dates and she said she was nervous but now she feels tranquilo. It was great i think she is really ready and really accepts what we teach.

Q: Have you been able to see the city on your p-days? Ruins? Do you have pictures?
A: No my area is Pachuca and the tower that you see on Google when you search Pachuca is in my area. That's pretty much the only place I have been I will try to send pictures but last time it didn’t work.

The Tower when you Google Pachuca
Q: Do you need anything?
A: Send those stickers you can put on the verses if you can find them i think it will help me understand and investigators have a visual because that’s what i learned. Visuals and little activities help them a lot and they remember it. And last just pictures of home. Family, basketball, the beach, my friends. My zone leader said it helps a lot for people to see that we are normal people haha.

Q: Are you good?
A: I’m good learning a lot haha. Me and my companion were studying plan of salvation and D & C 76 and I learned that if people hear the gospel in this life but don’t accept it even if they accept it in the spirit world they probably won’t go to the celestial kingdom. Ultimately Heavenly Father makes the call but that’s what it says in the scriptures and I didn’t know that. It really opened my eyes to the importance of trying and trying and trying to bring people to the gospel because in the words of my companion once we start talking about it we are condemning them or saving them. Its a scary thought but it just made us think and work that much harder every day.

Elder Park

Monday, December 2, 2013

Mexico Pachuca - Week 3 - December 2, 2013

(Excerpts from e-mail)

The language is still difficult. I can speak ok I think but understanding people is still hard. I have to focus super hard just to try and pick out a few words here and there and try and piece together whets going on. Its ok and i feel like I’m getting better everyday i just need to focus and pay attention all the time. We teach lessons all the time and they are going good. We only have a husband and wife who are progressing investigators right now but they are great. On Wednesday the husband bore his testimony about how he is preparing for baptism and how he wants it and he wants to change and wants to start a new life and be a new person and ended with estoy listo. Which simply means I am ready. It was amazing and it really made me think this is why I am here and this is what I want all the time. His wife has a few more concerns but on Friday she said she prayed and felt really peaceful and didn’t know if that was an answer or not.  Me and my companion sang Lead, Kindly Light (which is an amazing hymn) and after I shared how I got my answer about whether or not to go on a mission and it felt great. We have another lesson with them tonight so we will see how that goes hopefully they get baptized at the end of the month.

Lead, Kindly Light
1. Lead, kindly Light, amid th'encircling gloom;
Lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home;
Lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene--one step enough for me.

2. I was not ever thus, nor pray'd that thou
Shouldst lead me on.
I loved to choose and see my path; but now,
Lead thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years.

3. So long thy pow'r hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone.
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile!

The weather is weird its usually cold but during the day it can get kind of warm but my companion says it gets colder in December and January so we will see.

This week we studied how family history is a huge tool that we can use for finding people and helping people and it really hit me hard. I keep thinking about my patriarchal blessing and how important it is. There are videos we watched called "To Turn the Hearts" I think. It refers to the scripture turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to their fathers. I understand this scripture now and also the spirit of Elijah. I learned so much this week but the videos were great and I know how important it is and I plan on starting that as soon as I get home. The scripture the worth of souls is great in the eyes of the Lord, I feel like that is also talking about all the souls that have already passed on and need the work done for them. And how great will be your joy if you bring many souls unto repentance and ultimately salvation. This is what I have been thinking about a lot this week and it really has me excited to start this when I get home but for now I have other work to do.  

We just watched a talk about this (missions being for the missionary as much as for those they are serving) by Elder Holland this morning about how the new missionary program with Preach My Gospel is in use now to first convert the missionary and then to help the investigator. He shared how his mission changed his whole life and shaped every single decision after and every good thing that has happened in his life has been because of his mission. I feel that way now a little and i hope that that feeling just continues to grow and not shrink over the next two years. It was a great talk and i 
learned so much. It was a talk to missionaries at the MTC.

I love you and everyone. Thank you all for the love and example that you have been to me.

Elder Park