Monday, March 31, 2014

Mexico Pachuca - Week #20 - March 31, 2014

(Excerpts from his email)

Q: Well son, tell me how things are going in the mission. Can you believe its been six months already? One quarter of your mission done. What have you learned, what has been most eye opening for you thus far? How would you describe these first six months? What are you most looking forward to in the next six months?
A: Yes the time really has been flying by i can’t believe that 6 months is gone already. What have i learned? I think i told you last time the things that i have learned more than anything is what really matters and what i should focus on in life. These first 6 months were hard, life changing, but amazing. I feel like i have learned and grown in so many different ways. In the next 6 months i am looking forward to working harder and taking on more responsibility and seeing more immediate results (baptisms). Lessons are going good we are finding more and more people to teach and it’s been good. I have learned i think that more than anything attitude makes the area and the mission. Yes this area is not easy but I had a better week this week than in my whole mission lesson wise (we had 40) and i think its all because of our attitude. So far Elder Martinez is my only companion who is new to the area my other two had some time in the areas when i got there and i think they kinda gave up. 

I also was thinking about what you said about my patriarchal blessing saying i wasn’t actually gonna baptize people and how Miguel and Belen were baptized right after i left. I also just found out two kids we were teaching got baptized. We taught them pretty much everything at their grandma’s house in our area but they live somewhere else. They got baptized though and we taught them pretty much everything. 
     M: Well son, like I told you, there are planters, waters and harvesters and maybe your main role right now is a planter and waterer. Just know that you played a part in many of these people coming to Christ, that's worth so much. One day you will harvest and it will be so sweet! I also agree that attitude is everything, in everything that we do, not just missionary work. So the two kids you taught in your current area? and Belen and Miguel were from the first area?
     EP: Yes their grandma is in our ward and Miguel and Belen was in my first area. 

Miguel and Belen with Elder Rincon (Elder Parkʻs first companion)

     M: That's very cool son, they look happy and isn't that the point of it all, happiness! That was very nice of your first companion to send you the pictures, know that you had a part in that and there will be others.

Q: You did share about your focus, that we need to focus on the gospel and family, those are most important. But tell me a little about your growth. You said that you have grown in so many ways, in what ways?
A: Just a lot of different changes I think. Being a missionary has been a huge change in everything. from simple things like washing clothes by hand, bathing in cold water everyday, cleaning the whole house with only a broom, a rag and soap, small things. and then other things like studying the scriptures everyday, teaching people, answering questions. Seeing the changes in peoples’ lives. how the gospel really can change lives and help people in so many different ways. i don’t know i just feel like these past 6 months has changed a lot. not everything, I feel the same but with more of an eternal perspective i guess you could say. 

Q: So who are you teaching, what are your best prospects? How's the soccer player(s)?
A: we have three girls with a date for April. they are doing really good and i hope nothing comes up. the soccer player Messi (Eric) came to church with us this Sunday and loved primary. the problem is he said his mom isn’t gonna let him get baptized so we gotta talk to her and see. hopefully he can be a good influence for his family. 

Elder Park

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Mexico Pachuca - Week 19 - March 24, 2014

Excerpts from his email) 

Q: So, how is the new companion, where is he from, how are things going?
 A: my new companion is cool i like him a lot and we get along really well. it’s a little difficult to change and transition from one to another but its going good. i have a little harder time talking with him cuz he talks a little different. just like in the states and English each place has their little tweaks and what not but were good. he’s from Guanajuato Mexico. the same place as our bishop so that’s pretty cool. 

      M: So how long has your companion been out? What is his name? Are you the senior or junior companion? I get what you mean about the languages, I would guess it's like speaking pidgin English and then southern etc. By the time you leave you will have probably spoken many different dialects of Spanish, that's kind of cool. It seems that the local missionaries are good for you; they probably think you are more local than haole! So you have three companionships in your district again?
      EP: he has 14 months in the mission and his name is elder Martinez. he’s senior companion and district leader but i have been doing a lot of the planning and talking to members and stuff cuz he’s new here and doesn’t know the area yet. Yes so like a lot of the words are different and sometimes i have like a hard time understanding him but i think were good, i feel good with him. haha ya when we first got paired up he said he thought i was Mexican cuz i talk pretty good Spanish but weird. he said he thought i was from like Yucatán because apparently they talk weird, but that’s where elder Hernandez is from so i probably picked up some stuff from him. yes the three of us again i have a picture of all of us i will try to send. 

 Hermana Schaumkel, Hermana Brioso, Hermana Gomez and Hermana Defranco. 
Elder Park and Elder Martinez 

 Q: How are the lessons and things going?
 A: well this week we didn’t have as many lessons as normal only like 30 or so but i feel really good. every Friday there’s mutual in the chapel and the young men play soccer and stuff so we invite people to that. we invited three kids to come and they had a really good time. ones name is Eric but he had a soccer jersey on so we called him Messi. he’s super cool and after we played we showed all three of them the baptismal font and stuff and he said he wants to get baptized this week. we gotta talk to his parents and see what we can do but he was super excited and stuff. the sucky part is he didn’t wake up to come to church with us, but we are hopeful that maybe in April we can baptize him. also two girls came to church with the bishop’s daughter and their dad is an inactive member. they loved the church and we will be teaching them to also hopefully baptize them soon. so i am definitely hopeful for the upcoming weeks here. 
      M: Why do you call him Messi?
      EP: Messi is like one of the best soccer players in the world he just broke the goal record or something in Europe. 

 EP: So we went with the bishop Monday night so my companion could say bye. they took us out for tacos i ate pastor (dog), Cabeza (head or brain i think i don’t know), and Lengua (tongue). 

M: Those are really nice pictures. I love the one with the Bishops family, they are really good people. You will have some eternal friends when you leave that area! It must have been a little difficult for Elder Hernandez after being there for so long. But such is missionary life. I would love to one day go and meet them, maybe one day.

I guess you are getting use to eating the food there, I don't know that I could eat it if I knew what I was putting in my mouth. Pretty interesting!

EP: haha i was with their kids in the back of the truck going to the chapel and Reyna the younger daughter and Kenya her cousin said i should talk to president to ask him to keep me here for my whole mission haha. ya he (elder Hernandez) said it was hard cuz they really were awesome to us and they still are. i told them to come to Hawaii after but they said i have to come back and visit them cause they cant afford to all go to Hawaii. but yes i would love to come back one day. 

Yeah the food is good haha the tongue was pretty weird but just because he literally had the whole tongue there. he peeled off all the crap and then started cutting it up thin for the tacos. it was a little gross watching that but the taco was good. 

M: I am pretty sure President won't let that happen, but Keapo is still in Labasa, so who knows! They are good people, please thank them again for me. We will plan to go one day! For now, we will send mac nuts in every box!

That's gross son! I cannot believe you could eat it after watching them prepare it! But, like uncle Shon said, try everything. I hope they cooked it somehow. My stomach is still crawling, yuck.

Well son, I am glad that you are experiencing all that there is to experience. I am very grateful that you have been surrounded by good people. But I am more excited that you have found a joy and happiness in what you are doing. I know that you have had some rough spots and they will come and go, but it is good that there is excitement to teach the gospel, keep that with you no matter what and you will be good. We love you and we are so proud of you. Know that always.

EP: Love you guys! 

Elder Park

Monday, March 17, 2014

Mexico Pachuca - Week 18 - March 17, 2014

(Excerpts from his email)

Q: How did Darinel go, or did he go?
A: Darinel we had a really good and bad lesson with him. We found out a lot about him but not good things haha. It was a really cool lesson because we have been practicing asking questions to find out the needs of our investigators. We started talking to him and asking a bunch of questions and we found out that he doesn’t have a strong testimony because he hasn’t been reading anything in the book of Mormon. He doesn’t know as much as we thought about the church in general and so we have to teach him basically everything. It was really good because we found out he hasn’t been reading but its bad cuz he hasn’t been reading. it was really interesting and I can honestly say we followed the spirit in this lesson to ask exactly what questions we needed to. the gift of discernment and the spirit working with us. so hopefully at the end of the month haha hopefully. 

     M: Well, as far as Darinel, it's good that you found out now. It must have been an incredible experience to have to rely completely on the spirit to ask the right questions. And it seems that you did cause he revealed so much, but keep at it, you have been left in that area for a reason and maybe it is to get to the bottom of Darinel and truly help him to believe. Did his mom get baptized?
     EP: ya it was really cool but its really weird questions just kinda come into your head. like you hear something and a question just pops into your head. no her date is for march 29 so hopefully they can get baptized together. 

Q: So son, transfer time, how goes things?
A: transfers are tomorrow and my companion has changes. its good and bad at the same time. He’s super cool and we got along really well and then he’s leaving but its better than me because at least i don’t have to pack all my stuff. 

     M: Well, i think I remember you saying that he has been in that area for along time and it is probably time for him to move. I am hopeful that your streak of good companions will continue. So do you get a newbie or are you still the junior companion? 
     EP: idk i will find out tomorrow. 

Q: So what do you do for today, clean house and pack up your companion? Do you guys go and see people like Darinel before he leaves? What is transfer days like?
A: we cleaned really good we went to go play soccer with some young men. he packed and we might go see like the bishop them tonight. transfer days suck. we are supposed to clean super good and wait in the house until the zone leaders call with changes but that’s not until like 1 or 2 in the afternoon and so its a super boring day. 

Q: In sacrament the missionaries talked and I told you that one is from the Philippines and he is struggling with the language a little and I see how it might have been for you. And yet, his spirit is so strong and his love of the gospel is so strong that the spirit lets you know exactly what he is trying to say. It was really cool. I haven't asked in a while, but how is the language?
A: haha, i had to give a talk a couple weeks ago i started with aloha and i said i don’t like giving talks in English and now i have to give one in Spanish and everyone laughed but all in all i think it was pretty good. the language is normal already, haha i still have a hard time every now and then but usually no. lessons are easy, its normal talk that’s way harder. 

Pictures from the mission 

Isaac with the puppy someone left at the church

No hot water, no problem, heat the pot with the iron for saimin!

This is what you do when you are bored at night as a missionary. 

 Who needs a gym when you have a pole and cement blocks! 

Elder Park

Monday, March 10, 2014

Mexico Pachuca - Week 17 - March 10, 2014

(Excerpts from his email)

Q: How’s Darinel?
A: Darinel has a baptismal date for this week but I’m really scared its gonna fall through again. He finally told us his problem though, but unfortunately it doesn’t help us much haha. He said he just has a hard time changing. It’s his beliefs since he was a child and he just has a hard time thinking about letting all that go. So it’s a little difficult but we will work with him a lot this week. We had a really cool lesson with him though. I was reading a Liahona and i found a story that says an apostle was trying to solve a problem in his life and he got advice from President McKay. After that he wanted to follow the advice but he didn’t see how he could. A different apostle told him the problem with you is you want to see the beginning from the end. In response he said i would at least like to see a few steps in front. The apostle replied sometimes you need to learn to walk to the edge of the light and then take a few steps in darkness to find the light again. We read that with Darinel and Ether where it says we receive no answer until after the trial of our faith. He understood that really well so hopefully it will help. He said something super cool "no puedo ver para creer, tengo que creer para ver." Translated "I can’t see to believe; rather i have to believe to see." 

     M: I think you have given Darinel all that you can as far as help and guidance. Bear your testimony with all your heart and leave it to the Lord, you have done your part. The story you shared and the scriptures you shared are perfect and now, it's his faith he needs to lean on and the Lord to take the next step. What he expressed in the end is so true, he must believe to see! He knows son, we will pray extra hard this week for him!
     EP: So will we, haha hopefully this weekend works out.

Q: Story?
A: ok so this week we talked to our land lord lady about our boiler that’s been broken since December and she said to talk to one of the members about it to fix it. we talked to him and he came over and we showed him what was wrong and he was like o wow that’s really weird i don’t know why it does that. i was like awesome. but he worked on it like all day and i was really hopeful he would fix it but now its worse than before so it sucks large. i have resorted to putting water in the microwave to heat it up but when i did that this morning the electricity went out so ya cold water showers. 
     M: So it's been cold water showers this whole time!?!?! That is dedication, you will get so use to it you won't need hot water. Just imagine being in the cold ocean! Makes you truly appreciate what you have at home doesn't it? That's funny, probably not for you, but funny, you will laugh about it one day.        
     EP: Pretty much some days are better than others cuz our boiler is weird its starts but then dies so the water doesn’t get super hot. Definitely appreciate the little things of home more 

Q: So son, you are good, all is well?
A: yes I’m good and all is well with me. 
     M: That's good, that you are good. When I do see pictures of you, you look genuinely happy and I don't question that any more. Can you believe that it has been just about 6 months already? What a wonderful experience this is for you and us as we journey with you.
     EP: I know almost a quarter done and time really feels likes its flying by. Thank you for everything. 

Elder Park

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Mexico Pachuca - Week 16 - March 3, 2014

(Excerpts from his email)

Q: How’s your investigators?
A: Investigators are pretty good. Darinel said he wants to get baptized but he is just missing one thing. The problem is even he doesn’t know what it is. He said its light and that’s it. He’s confusing and at times frustrating but i think he will get baptized this month. We also have another investigator who hopefully will be baptized next week. She is the daughter in law of a member who is just starting to come back to church so we are hopeful for her. 
     M: Happy to hear Darinel is back on track, we will add him to our prayers so that he gets the “light” he is looking for soon. How’s his mom doing?
     EP: His mom also has a baptismal date for March 22 I think. Yes I know, hopefully it is soon though haha (Darinel receiving his light). 

Q: How do you overcome weeks that are not so productive?
A: When we have tough weeks or days the only thing we can really do is work, work and work some more. The only way things get better is if we teach, that’s when you feel the best and the time really flies by. 

Q: What is your favorite thing about serving a mission? What have you learned that will help you through out your life?
A: My favorite thing about serving a mission is when you see the changes that people make in their lives. When people really see that this can change their lives and when it does change their lives. I think more than anything I have learned what matters most in life. Most people here have very little, a lot of the members don’t have much but they are really happy. The gospel and family really makes all the difference. I think more than anything I have learned where my priorities in life need to be and why they need to be there. 
     M: What are those priorities?
     EP: I think the most important things are family and the church. A lot of people here in this area, the dads work in the city and are gone for the whole week or leave super early and get home super late. That sucks and I really don’t want that ever. Its different here, I think, because there’s just not a lot of work but its definitely something hard for the families and especially the kids. Being with family and having the gospel are definitely things that should be the most important things in life. 

Q: What can the young ones do now to prepare?
A: To prepare for the mission study the scriptures, both the Book of Mormon and the Bible. If you know the scriptures well you can help people resolve their problems and their doubts easily with both and that will help a lot. 

Q: As always, you good?
A: Yes I’m doing good. Me and my companion were both sick Thursday night to Friday but were good now, all is good. 

Elder Park