Friday, August 31, 2012

MTC's on Fire, But Whatever

We started teaching more investigators this week. we are teaching Nate and Cooper, who in real life are two elders in my district. They haven't been too difficult of investigators yet and I really enjoy teaching them. We're still teaching Juan and Patric and both of them want to get baptised, we just have to work through a few obstacles first. For example, Patric needs to get married to the mother of his two children...haha. I'm also now being an investigator with my companions. E. Chambers and E. Kubat teach us. We are suppose to be acting like real people that we know so that it can be as real of an experience as possible. So I decided to be Kayla Swain. It's been a lot of fun to be the investigator.
Monday morning, 15ish minutes after we got up, the fire alarm in our building went off. When we opened the door there was smoke everywhere. Becuase H. Duchene is coordinating sister, we had to run around and make sure everyone in our zone was out of the building before we could leave. This included the girls on the floor below. So we go run and search for everyone but the smoke is only on our floor, the 4th floor, so a lot of the girls on the 3rd floor were just standing around and we had to yell at them that this was real and not a drill. Anyways we finally get outside and there are all these poor girls who were in the shower when the alarm went off so they had to come outside in their towels. I guess someone burned up the microwave so obviously it wasn't anything life threatening but it was pretty crazy.
I went to the doctor on Tuesday for my leg. After waiting 2 hours to see the doctor (what is up with all the doctors in Provo being late for their appointments??) he came in and talked to me and did a few tests and decided to give me an epidural of cortozon. I basically freaked out when I heard that word because I've only heard painful things about epidurals. But the nurse comes in to prep me and she tells me to lay on my stomach and she doesn't say anything to my companions about stepping out of the room or anything so I assume they're giving it to me in my back. But then she pulls my bottoms down and starts putting brown soap stuff all over my bum. So obviously my companions and I are even better friends now that they've both see my bum. Once she has my all prepped, the doctor comes back in and I didn't look at the needed out of fear but my companions said there was a ton of medicine in the medicine holder part. And then he sticks it in my bum and sends me on my way. It actually didn't really hurt. But so far it hasn't really helped the pain yet either. They had me make another appointment for Wed the 12th, or whatever that Wed is. If the pain doesn't stop, then he thinks it might be a herneated disk and he'll do an MRI at that appointment. He asked me if it was something that I could handle on my mission or if I would go home. I told him that I would definitely stay and in my head I'm going "Uh, you're not going to fix this problem??" I think they are going to do all they can but it might be something I have to see doctors in NY about.
We got three new elders in our district because they haven't gotten their visa's to go to other MTC's yet. They all seem cool and I actually had an English class with one of them at BYU. Also, speaking of BYU, I could hear cheers from the game last night as I was in bed. It made me realize how much I love BYU. I'll just go to school there forever and never graduated because I love it so much. haha
Love you all so much! Thanks for all you do!
Hermana Parkin

Friday, August 24, 2012

Nerves and Apostles

So update on my siatic nerve. Things are still the same. =/ I went to the MTC health center on Monday and after waiting for the doctor for 30 min (even though I had an appointment. rude.) he told me that he couldn't do anything and wants me to go see a specialist. So I go to the appointment lady with my referral and she has me fill out some paperwork. And then she calls Mom. RIGHT IT FRONT OF ME. I was literally freaking out. My mom is on the phone, a phone that is sitting right in front of my face, and I can't even talk to her. I was not really a fan of that moment. But anyways, she tells Mom that they are going to make an appointment and then she calls the hospital and the soonest they can see me is this coming Tuesday. Hopefully I'll be able to get things figured out because it's not super fun. And I have to carry a pillow around or else I want to die. But it's ok, I'll actually live. However, please don't hang around the hospital on Tuesday if you live in the Provo area. Because if I see you, I'll just run away from you.
Elder Anderson came and talked to us at the devotional on Tuesday. It was also Pres. Monson's birthday that day so he told us 10 things that Pres. Monson would say if he were with us. It was 10 things about how to be a good missionary. It was really awesome because not once did he talk about knowing everything there is to know about the gospel or knowing how to speak your language fluently. It was all about making sure that you are a good person and love the people you serve.
I had a pretty cool teaching experience the other day. We were practicing teaching the third lesson one on one and I was assigned to teach repentence but since there are an odd number of people in our district now, I had to teach my teacher, which sort of freaked me out because I didn't have a companion to rely on if I started to suck. But I started teaching him and the investigator profile was this grandpa that babysits his grandkids everyday and really loves them and tries to teach them how to be good people. So I tried to compare the love he has for his grandparents and the love God has for us and why he should repent because of that love. And I thought it went ok but I definitely thought I could do better. But at the end, my teacher literally stood up, while the rest of everyone was still discussing how things went, and was like "Hermana Parkin! That was awesome!" It was pretty embarrassing but it was definitely a confidence booster that I might not be the stinkyest missionary ever.
Those are some of the more exciting stories. I wish time allowed for more, but I'm still doing great. I can't believe that tomorrow I will have been in the MTC for a month! It has flown by. Hopefully I learn a lot more this next month so that I'm really prepared to go to New York.
Love you all!
Hermana Parkin

Friday, August 17, 2012

Escape From the MTC

So this week has been infinitely funnier than last week. Here's some things you guys might enjoy knowing.
Hermana Harris left early Tuesday morning, so I've been companions with H. Duchene and H. Seely since then. It wasn't a super difficult transition since we're already friends, but I do really miss H. Harris because we were super close. Teaching has been a struggle for our new companionship though. The first lesson we taught together was an absolute disaster. I seriously never wanted to teach again, that's how bad it was. But we taught another lesson that same day and it went much better. We have a lot to learn from each other as a companionship so I think that will really help me for in the future. I'm just hoping that our lessons continue to improve. It is especially hard because I feel like these Hermanas are pretty hard on themselves when we have a bad lesson and I'm not use to that because H. Harris and I always tried to take everything as a learning opportunity, even if it was a terrible lesson.
I have been having some problems with my right leg and had assumed that I just pulled a muscle in my leg until Tuesday when we were sitting in devotional and I about died the last 20 minutes because it hurt so bad. We decided that I should go to the health clinic and I really felt like I should get a blessing. So we go to the health clinic and they don't have any appointments so they send us to the BYU health center. It was seriously the biggest adventure ever to walk to the the BYU health center, even though it's only a block away. I haven't really felt trapped inside the MTC until I got to leave it and be in the real world for an hour. It was a highlight of my week. But anyways, the doctor decided that my siatic nerve is inflammed from all the sitting we do at the MTC (because basically all we do is sit in our classroom) and so he gave me some anti-inflamitory medicine and told me to come back in 5 days if it was still hurting. It hasn't hurt as bad as it did that Tuesday so hopefully it's getting better. And the blessing I got was really cool too. I think the Elders were kind of nervous because I don't think they've given very many blessings but Elder Shawkey did the actual blessing part and all I told him was that my leg hurt because I hadn't gone to the doctor yet and he said exactly the things I needed help with, even though he didn't even know what was really going on. It was such a cool experience and really added to my testimony about the priesthood because I know he was listening to the Holy Ghost when he was blessing me.
We've been practicing door contacting this week. It makes for some pretty funny moments. One time I was the contact and Elder Kubat and Elder Chambers were knocking my door. They kept trying to get in but I kept telling them I wasn't interested and right as I'm about to shut the door on them, Elder Chambers pipes up with "Hey, the paint on your house is sort of ugly. Can we help you repaint on Saturday?" It was halarious (though probably more so if you had all been there). I hope he never tells anyone in real life that their house is ugly just so that he can get in the door. I'm not sure how effective that would really be.
I also seemed to have learned some good skills from all the teasing I get from the boys in our family. The Elders are always teasing me about something (currently it's been the fact that I'm on meds and I have to sit on a pillow in class). So yesterday we got into a conversation about all the teasing we do as a district. Elder Chambers and Elder Bentall chimed in that I was pretty cool for always taking their garbage and just being whatever about it. They said that made me cooler. So I guess I owe a thank you to all of the teasing I get, because it's helped me to be one of the "cool sister missionaries."
I also have been having a problem in my lessons with keeping Jesus and Joseph Smith as seperate people. Instead of saying Jose Smith or Jesucristo, it usually comes out Jesu Smith. It's sort of a problem because the investigator has no idea who I'm talking about. Luckily I'm not the only one in our district that has been having the same problem!
Thanks for all the letters and the support! I love you all!
Hermana Parkin

Friday, August 10, 2012

New Best Friends All Over the Place!

So this week was pretty fabulous. It was great to hear from some of you and hear about life in the real world.
I've seen a ton of people I know here this week. I finally saw Ashten Cutler, after trying to find out which classroom she taught in since the day I got here so that was a wonderful surprise when I ran into her outside my residence hall. I also saw Elder Magelby on his first day in the MTC and he seemed to be doing well. Most of the people I run into though are my old Freshman Mentoring students, which is way fun but also sort of weird because I didn't even think about how many of them I would see here. If Laura and Shawna are reading this, I've seen Elder Stout quite a few times, which has also been fabulous.
I don't remember if we were teaching Juan and Ronald last week but that's who've been been teaching this week. Ronald just got married to his pregnant, inactive member wife and said that he would get baptised after the wedding. He lied. He now thinks he's too busy to get baptised. That was a struggle but then we only ended up teaching him once because our teacher who was acting as Ronald got a promotion and is no longer our teacher. Which is really sad, but we'll still see him around and I think our new teacher will be pretty cool. Juan took the lessons three years ago and he really liked meeting with the missionaries and felt happy when they came but we're still trying to figure out what has been holding him back from getting baptized. Our lessons with him have gone really well though. Yesterday I told him all about the dispensations, Christ's ministry and the great Apostasy which I was pretty excited about because we completely skipped teaching that part of the lesson with Jean because we were too scared. haha But it went really well. We still have a lot of things we can improve on but our teachers have told us that we're doing a really good job so far.
Spanish is still a struggle but I'm working on it. We've made it a goal to speak Spanish 100% of the day, which never happens but we keep trying and one day we'll get there. Hermano Walton, our teacher that got promoted, was telling us that we are currently at the same point the beginning class is at when they leave the MTC so that makes me feel a ton better. I could never imagine how scary that would be to go out into the field barely knowing hot to talk in Spanish.
Our district has had a lot of illnesses going around. Luckily, and surprisingly considering my sickness record, I haven't gotten it yet. But we also all took a nap during gym time becasue I was the only one not sick and then I took some Sudafed, just in case. I seem to be fine so unless I actually start feeling symptoms, I figured I should stop drugging myself.
I have lots of new best friends. Our entire district is super close, which is awesome. And even though the elders do act like 19 year old immature boys sometimes, I really like all of them too and all of the Elders and Hermanas going to BYU after the mission have discussed how we'll be best friends. haha I also made a new best friends elder from Finland. He knows Finnish, English and is learning Swiss (at least I'm pretty sure that's what he said. Even though he is serving in Sweden so you would think he's learning Swedish, right?) This is the first time he's been to the U.S. And he's super legit because he knows so many languages and because he's from another country. And the day after I met him, he said 'hi' to me in the hall way so obviously we're best friends. haha Just kidding. I just really love how many people there are from all over the world here.
I think that's the extent of the week. I feel like this was a more  boring letter than previous ones, so I apoligize for that. I love you all and am looking forward to your letters!
Hermana Parkin

Friday, August 3, 2012

No Boyfriends Allowed!

I don't even know where to start this letter!! Ok so first of all, thank you so much for the letters! You have no idea how much it helps and how happy it makes me. I pretty much want to run laps every time I get one, and if you know me, then you know that I never want to run laps. Also, I think I lied to a lot of you when I told you how long I'd be in the MTC. My estimated departure date is Sep 25. So I'll be here for forever basically. But who matters (aka who cares) really because I'll miss most of the New York summer and I'm pretty happy about that.
Ok so Saturday was probably the worst day of my life. I cried at least 5 different times. I missed everyone. And then we taught a lesson and it was absolutely terrible and anyways it was a really hard day. I thought I was the poopiest missionary to ever exist. And everyone kept telling me that if you get to Sunday, everything gets better. But I totally did not believe them once Saturday was so horrible. But then Sunday came it is was the best day ever. Every single meeting I went to talked about things that I was worrying about. It was amazing. That night we watched Elder Holland's talk "Missions are Forever" and I can't even remember everything he talked about but it was so powerful and I just knew that I could do it. Becasue I can do hard things!
So therefore this week has gone so much better. I stopped worrying so much about my Spanish and focus more on the gospel and what I needed to be teaching our investigator. I think that really helped because I knew better what I wanted to say in our lessons and I somehow was able to say it. My Spanish has improved SO much, it's incredible. Our lessons with Hermana Salvatierra went so much better and we commited him to baptism (even though I'm pretty sure he was just being nice because we definitely didn't teach him enough about the gospel to really be prepared for baptism). But when he said yes, it was the best feeling in the whole world. And he wasn't even a real investigator! I'm so excited to have those experiences with real investigators! But basically the whole week havs just gotten so much better because I changed my attitude and because I realized that the Spanish will come but I really need to focus on the gospel.
Our district changed twice this week. First Hermana Wallis moved into our intermediate class from the beginning class and she became companions with H. Harris and I. That was Monday night. And then Wednesday night, H. Evangelista moved up and became H. Wallis' companion. So it was kind of crazy there for a bit but now we have six hermanas and four elders in our district, which is pretty unusual. And I'll still become a tri-companionship with H. Duchene and H. Seely when H. Harris goes to the Peru MTC. Which will be fun because H. Duchene and H. Seely are some of the sweetest and coolest girls, even though I'll really miss H. Harris.
Good thing H. Harris thinks I'm a big sweetheart (and I'm still trying to figure out why becasue I've never described myself that way) becasue I cry ALL the time. It's getting pretty ridiculous. But H. Harris is nice enough to just love me anyways. The good news is that now that I've adjusted, I don't really cry about how discouraged or frusterated I am and I don't usually cry about missing people, I just cry anytime anything spiritual happens. Which as you can imagine, is a lot. So there hasn't been a single day yet that I haven't cried. Hopefully I can get that under control one of these days...
We have a no sarcasm rule in our zone and I'm trying to be really obediant. But it's kind of hard. However I learned my lesson the other day. On Sunday, we were walking to the temple for temple walk and I was about to make a sarcastic comment and stopped myself. Then one of the elders was like, no just say it. So I go, "Well, I told my boyfriend to meet me at the temple" and right as I say it, we walk past a room full of people who all turn around to give me these horrible glares! It was so bad!! But also sort of funny. I'm trying hard to not make anymore comments like that now.
Friday's are P-days obviously. And that's the only day I can write letters, so I'm really sorry if you wrote me and you haven't gotten anything back yet. I promise I wrote everyone back today!
We also get to go to the temple on Fridays. That was obviously great but it was also strange to do endowments in the Provo temple instead of the Oakland temple. And I wanted Mom and Dad there because that's what was comfortable and what I was used to. But it was still really great and I remembered how to do everything, which was also fabulous.
H. Harris and I found this elder that looks like the kid that plays Joseph Smith in the Joseph Smith The Restoration video. So we told him we thought he looked like Joseph Smith. And guess what? He IS Joseph Smith. So not we've been running around telling everyone that we met Joseph Smith. They think we're crazy, but we don't care.
I think that's about as good as this week gets. I had a list of stories to tell but I left it in my room so I don't remember everything that was on it...
Thanks for everyones support! Love you all!
Hermana Parkin