Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Big Changes in New York

Hey all!

Things are still going really well here in the Bronx! But the coolest part of my life at this very moment is that I'm emailing you all from the original New York Public Library. Yep, that one on Fifth Ave and 42nd. The cool one with the lions in front. I feel like a real New Yorker and it's so cool!!!! I know you are all thinking that I'm the hugest nerd on earth, but I don't even care because this is basically a dream coming true right now. =]

Hermano Feliz is getting baptized on Saturday and we're so excited. He is going to be a amazing addition to the ward. He is excited as well, but as an older man, he doesn't really show his excitement  But we know that he really wants it and that he loves everything the church teaches and everything he has learned and he's willing to follow all of the commandments. He even stopped working on Sunday, even though he needs the extra money. He is just so great!

We had interviews with President Morgan yesterday. He brought Sister Barker and I in together (which he wasn't doing with any other companionship so we were a little concerned that we were in huge trouble or something) and.... I'm training again! President has asked Sister barker and I to trio-train so this next cycle I'll be finishing training Sister Barker and together we'll be training a new sister. It's going to be crazy but I'm really excited. So I'll definitely stay in the Bronx until April 16th and maybe 6 more weeks after that if President has me stay to finish training in a trio. It's so weird that by the time the April transfer comes around, I'll have already served half of my mission and I'll never have left the Bronx.

We went on a split with the traveling sisters this past Thursday. It was really good and is always a good learning opportunity. I  was a little disappointed because I had to stay in the Bronx again. My companions never know the area well enough to be the one that stays when we have splits. It was still really awesome, I was just a tad bit jealous that Sister Barker got to go on an adventure in someone else's area while I had a normal day in our area.

We're supposed to be getting 40 new missionaries this transfer, which is crazy! President Morgan told us that our zone, because of all the great work we've been doing, will be getting as many of those missionaries as possible. So we're looking forward to a lot of new changes next week.

I hope all is well in your lives! Love you all lots!
Hermana Parkin

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Blessing Homes

This week has been a crazy one but so good!

On Wednesday, we met with our investigator Feliz, who is probably the most ready person in the whole world to get baptized. Both times he has come to church, he has corrected false doctrine that other members of the church say. It's great. So we extended a baptism date for March 2 and he accepted and we're so excited! Our ward really needs more priesthood members and he is just so great and we're really excited that he wants to take this step.

On Saturday we had a zone meeting to apply some of the things we learned about when the members of the Church Missionary Department came to talk to us. This was super helpful because Sister Barker and I have really struggles to apply it. Brother Donaldson told us that when we knock doors, we should never tell them that we have a message to share but instead we should ask them if we can bless their home. Then the first thing we should teach them are the points under "How to Begin Teaching" in Preach My Gospel. We shouldn't just list off all the points though but let the spirit guide us. Then when we go back and start teaching the PMG lessons, we should be using the pamphlets that the church created after PMG was out and that we should be really simple and use the pictures in the pamphlets a lot. So we practiced all of this and Sister Barker and I were feeling a lot more comfortable about everything. Elder Hajje, one of the zone leaders, at the end of the meeting made a promise that if we would spend at least 10 minutes before the end of the day on Sunday tracting and putting what we practiced into use, then we would get a baptism. Sister Barker and I didn't have any time on Saturday to tract and we really didn't have any time on Sunday either. But we took his promise to heart and we started praying about where we should go tracting. The building that kept coming to my head is one of the more ghetto buildings and I really didn't want to go tract there. But when I asked Sister Barker where she thought we should go, she said the same street that I had been thinking so I knew we had to go to that building. We also usually start tracting at the top of the building and go down. But I kept thinking that we should start at the bottom. I asked Sister Barker and she said the bottom as well. When we got to the building we started knocking the first floor. There was one apartment that I was sure was the apartment we were supposed to be at. But the lady wouldn't open the door. Nor would anyone else. Before we finished that floor, Sister Barker said that we should go to the second floor. So we headed up there and the same thing happened. No one would answer. But Sister Barker said that we had to knock the last door on the floor so we knock and this kid opens the door but he doesn't really talk to us, he just walks away. He doesn't shut the door though and a minute later this lady comes out and I tell her that we're representatives of Christ and that the Holy Ghost has sent us here and that we would like to bless her home. And she lets us in. So we start talking and she's only lived in the U.S. for 2 years and when she was living in the D.R. the elders were visiting her and she went to church twice and she loved it. I was sitting there in shock that this was happening to us. Then I pretty much wanted to die of happiness when she asked if she could come to church with us this Sunday. It was so cool!!! We shared a few of the points in "How to Begin Teaching" then we said a prayer to bless her, her family and her home. Then when we had finished, we talked a little more and Sister Barker gave her a Book of Mormon because she left her other one in the D.R. And then I felt like I should ask her to be baptized. So I did. And she accepted. She's going to get baptized on March 16. It was such a powerful and amazing experience because it was all guided by the spirit. It's hard to even express how happy we are!

Yesterday, Sister Barker came down with the flu so we stayed home all day. It wasn't the funnest thing ever but I'm not complaining either. I mean who wouldn't want a nap every now and again. Plus I also got all caught up on the letters I needed to respond to and cleaned the house. All those things I always think I'm going to do on p-day but never actually get around to doing. Sister Barker is feeling a little better today. She felt well enough to come to the library and email and then the zone is going to watch 17 Miracles this afternoon and she wants to go to that so I think the entire day of sleeping helped her feel better.

I think those are the biggest and most exciting stories for the week. I hope you all had a great Valentine's Day!

Love you all!
Hermana Parkin
Hermana Parkin and Hermana Barker

Thursday, February 14, 2013

They Think He Broke Up With Me

Hello all!!

This week had been pretty good. Sister Barker and I are working hard. She is seriously so great. I love her tons and tons.

The Zone Leaders have been taking each companionship out for lunch to get to know everyone better and find out how they're are doing in missionary life. So Sister Barker and I are thinking we're gonna be hanging out at Subway for an hour chatting and then getting back to work. But then what happened was that they took us to Little Italy in the Bronx and to this nice Italian restaurant. Then because it was kind of pricey, we shared food. But because of the food that we wanted it ended up that I shared with one of the elders and Sister Barker shared with the other one. So at this point Sister Barker and I are feeling like if we were in normal life this would be a date. But we're in missionary life and we have no feelings towards people of the opposite sex and so, we're just having a missionary lunch. So then we start talking about how life is going and Sister Barker and I have kind of been struggling a little bit to feel successful. So they start talking to us about how we can not feel like poop and stuff. And being typical Sister Parkin, I start crying and then I can't stop. So now to everyone else in the restaurant, we look like we're on a date and I just got broken up with. It was pretty great. Good thing it really wasn't a date nor will it ever be considered anything like a date. Nor would I even participate in such an activity as a missionary. But I'm just putting myself in the shoes of the other people in the restaurant and I'm sure they were making some incorrect assumptions. However, I am really grateful for the spiritual uplift the Zone Leaders were able to give us. We've been feeling significantly better about the work we've been doing since then.

We had a fabulous meeting with one of the less active we've been working with. I think I mentioned them in the past, Mario and Carmen. Mario is the super of his building and when we called he said he would be home but his wife wouldn't. But then when we got there, someone in the building needed his help so he was working and his wife was home. So we talked to her and we had such a spiritual moment. We just shared a simple scripture (Ether 12: 33-34) and it must have hit her pretty hard because she started telling us about because she's really sick with a bunch of different problems, she's been thinking about living with God again. She said she really wants to return to the temple and renew her covenants with God. So then she said that she would be coming to church on Sunday. It was so cool and we're really excited because they haven't been to church in like 7 years.

Hope you all have a Happy Valentine's Day!!

Hermana Parkin

Friday, February 8, 2013

Is The Whole World on Crack?

Hey all!

So training has been an absolutely wonderful experience. I've learned so much and I love Sister Barker to death. She is an amazing missionary and we have a lot of fun together. Plus we're both English majors so that makes life even better because she understands all my weird nerdyness. I'm excited to keep working with her and hope that we'll be together for all two transfers of her training, even though I've been in the Bronx for forever.

We have a potential investigator that we're really excited to work with. We were knocking this building because we were early for an appointment with a less active member. So this guys is standing in the hallway and he keeps yelling down the stairs "Jay! Jay! Where are you, man. Man, I'm tired. Where are you? Jay!" So we're by the elevator and I look at Sister Barker and I'm like "Sister, I don't really want to talk to that guy" and she goes "Good, me neither." So we push the elevator button and wait but it takes to long and then we hear, in Spanish, "Are you ladies church people?" And it's the guy. So we have to talk to him now. But then it went really well and he had a lot of faith and was really accepting of everything we talk about. So we're pretty stinking excited to go back and work with him. The downside? He might have a lot of drug problems. I mean it's pretty likely that he has a lot of drug problems. But he has a family so you would think that would lesson his chances of drug problems. But the fact that the entire time we talked to him, he would jump around from subject to subject and his eyes would randomly get droopy and some other weird body movements indicates drug use. I mean because I know so much about drug use and all, right? But the point it, we learned a lesson that day. Talk to the random creepers even if you're scared of them beating you up because maybe they could be your next baptism. =]

We also have a new investigator that we're super excited about. Her name is Ivan and she's a Catholic. Like hard core. She goes to church every Sunday and everything. But she met the elders and asked to have us come over. So we did and is was a great lesson. When we asked her to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it, she said that she would. And then when we asked if she would come to church with us, she said yes. She's really open and it's great because usually getting people to church is the hardest part. But we're going to go pick her up on Sunday and it's going to be great!

We had a really cool conference on Wednesday, which is why p-day got changed. Two brethren from the Missionary Headquarters came and taught only our zone and one other zone this sweet lesson about how to be better teachers. They are testing out this lesson to teach to all the other missionaries around the world. So our mission and two missions in Utah we're selected to try out this lesson. It's so cool! They taught us how to use the pamphlets in our teaching, which not only makes our lives easier but it also invites the spirit a lot. We're really excited to start using this way of teaching and I think it will help new missionaries a lot too because if they don't know the language very well they can read stuff from the pamphlets. 

That's about the most exciting news from this week. Love you guys all and hope you have a loving Valentines Day!
Hermana Parkin