Monday, May 26, 2014
This week was awesome, but it was a trying one. We are still teaching a lot of young men, and now we are also teaching their young women cousins. These young women love to hear about the gospel, and they all came to church this past Sunday. I'm excited to see what happens with all of the youth because right now, the branch only has about 3 active youth age kids. It may very soon have many more. The tough part this week has been being patient with the young men. I was looking through my scriptures this morning in my studies and I came across a verse in Alma 22:15 where Aaron is teaching the King of the Lamanites. The king asks what he needs to do to have his "wicked spirit rooted out of his breast...". As I read the word rooted I thought of pulling weeds in our yard and how sometimes it takes a lot of work to pull these weeds out of the ground. I learned two things from this scripture. The first is that even when you put in a lot of work, it still takes time for people to weed out their lives. The young men are desirous, but they have some serious sins to repent of and it will probably take a while to root out these sins. We just have to be diligent in working with them. The other thing I learned, I realized as I am emailing you. If we don't let the weeds take root or get very big, by pulling the weeds out quickly, then it doesn't take very much to root out sins in our lives. The Hymn "Carry On" is my theme right now, haha. This week has been great though. Without trials of our patience, faith, etc. we'd never grow. I think I understand a little more of what you and mom must have felt watching Sarah, Gabby, Benjamin and me go through challenges. I'm glad I can look to you and mom as examples of what to do when the going gets rough. I'm excited to hear that so many of my friends are considering going on missions! Tell everybody I love them, and I really appreciate the emails I've been getting from my friends!
-Love you guys, Seth
Hurrah for Israel!
Monday, May 19, 2014
This week has been especially good. I got two postcards from Aunt Raylee and Nicole. It's always nice to get some physical letters. Jadese and Jodi, the people I told you about last time, are progressing very well. Jadese's has been talking a lot about marriage with her boyfriend Tony so I should be sending you some wedding pictures soon, if all works out. If it doesn't Jadese is willing to move out so that she can be baptized. She has been reading through the book of Mormon chapters we have given her and she spends a good amount of time on the church website watching Mormon Messages and conference talks. I wish that I had utilized more church media while I was at home. The other best part of the week was that we taught the plan of salvation to the young men we are teaching and we should finally have a young men's leader! Tristen, one of the boys, is the most progressive. We taught him about the plan of salvation from pre-earth life to mortality, and also the gospel this week and he should be baptized June 14th. He loved the plan of salvation. His favorite part is that we can become like God someday. We told him about the quote "As man is, God once was; as God is, man can become." He thought that was the coolest thing. He is sharing and encouraging the other 6 or 7 boys to come to church and also to a Book of Mormon class we have on Wednesdays. We let him teach what he had learned about the plan of salvation in 3rd hour and he showed that he understood really well everything we have taught him. It felt like I was back home in Priest’s Quorum. We have started to really focus on our most progressive investigators and it's really paying off. As I have focused on the most important things in my life as a missionary, everything else just falls into place. Hurrah for Israel!
Monday, May 12, 2014
I love all the media that the church has put out. I wish I had taken advantage of having easy access to church media when I was home. It invites the spirit whenever the prophet or the apostles speak. For family home evening you should watch a Mormon message or two. We also taught Jadese and Jodi about eternal families. I am so grateful for the blessing of being able to be united as a family forever. Another thing that I have been reflecting on lately goes really well with a verse in 2 Nephi about receiving knowledge line upon line and precept upon precept. (2 Nephi 28:30) Sometimes as a missionary I forget that what I am teaching is something that many people are not familiar with. Just like in school, we can't learn calculus until we first learn addition, people new to the gospel can't understand all about the priesthood until they gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon. It's mango season down here, so there are mango's everywhere! I was admiring a large mango tree this week and looking at all of the fruit on it. I saw that there was fruit high up on the tree and also many mangos that were low on the tree. I think sometimes I look up and want to baptize the high hanging fruit without seeing or really recognizing the ripe fruit that is hanging in front of my face. A young man we just started meeting with more seriously is ready to be baptized. He has already received an answer to his prayer about if the church is true or not and he has been coming to church very consistently. His name is Tristen. I am grateful that he is trying to better follow his Savior, and he has changed a lot since we first met him. Don't miss the fruit, whatever the fruit may represent, that is right in front of us. The work is going well and I pray for you guys everyday!
Hurrah for Israel!
Love, Elder Parker
Monday, May 5, 2014
We have been trying to get brother Phillips back to church for several weeks and he finally came this week! We are also helping Akelia understand a lot more about the gospel. We have taught her about the restoration and she wants to learn about tithing. She loves conference talks and is thinking about going on a mission. She has made such a change from when we first met her about 3 months ago. I'm staying in Calliqua again for another transfer with Elder Jacobson. Our paratrooper army zone leader is getting transferred to Guyana. My district leader is done with his 2 years so he is going back to Trinidad. We are doing more member missionary work. There is this newly married couple, the Carters, who we have been working with a lot lately. Sister Carter is the daughter of the Phillips. We are still working with Des, but he is having a really tough time overcoming a few big things. A lady named Jadese and her daughter Jodi have the 31st of May as their baptismal date. They came to church last week, but not this week. We're going to bring the Carters by and hopefully that will help make church seem less scary.
This week I was reading in the book "Our serach for Happiness" by Elder Ballard. I read about Eternal Families and as I was reading, I realized how much of blessing it is to be able to be with the family forever. It wasn't that I didn't realize this before, but just as I was reading I had this sense of gratitude fill me and I am so glad I get to be with you guys for all eternity. I had a similar experience that filled me with gratitude. This past week, we were walking back from an area called Brighton. It's about a mile and a half away from home, so I had a little time to think. As I was walking, I was looking up at the night sky and I thought about how Heavenly Father knows and manages all of that. Among all the other things He has to take care of, I was amazed to know that He knows me. I was also reading in Ether recently and it talked about how even if there was only one man who would repent and follow the commandments, the Savior would have still performed the Atonement for him. I've been trying to be more grateful this week because last week was tough and I was focusing on that. I can choose to be happy though so I counted my blessings to help me focus on things as they really are and having the proper perspective.
I Love you guys!
Love, Elder Parker
Thursday, May 1, 2014
This week has been a pretty good one. We started using members a bit more. We had two lessons with Benjamin this week. The first lesson was great! We had a member with us and we taught about the Book of Mormon and read through 1 Ne. 13 with him. He believes that the Book of Mormon is true. However the next lesson did not go so well because of family opposition. However we have had several other great lessons. The best one was last night. We are teaching a lady named Jadeece and her 10-year-old daughter Jodi. They both came to church. We taught them about the plan of salvation up until final judgment. I think I'm starting to get into the swing of things. We also had a lesson about Charity with this short and large lady named Hiesen who lives a short walk away from us. She told us about how she wants the best for her son. She prays for his father every night. Even though he left her many years ago she prays that some day he may find the right path. It was truly humbling for me to hear and feel the love this woman has for everybody. From the first time we met her over 2 months ago, she has been kind to us. She is such an example of Christ like love. We also had a lesson with an ex-less active named Akelia. We found out that she is basically a baptized investigator. Somebody asked her about what the doctrine of the church is a few days ago and she didn't know how to answer the way she wanted to. So now we are teaching her as if she were an investigator. Thank goodness she wants to learn more about the gospel. She is doubting her doubts before she doubts her faith. (see a talk by Elder Uchtdorf 2 conferences ago.). Overall things are going well. We have been out of gas for our stove for several days so we have had to be creative with microwaving things. Ha-ha, good memories. I thought you would like the nametag in the sand picture. Hopefully we'll have some baptisms coming up soon.
Love you all!
Grandparents, don't forget about those family history stories!