Tuesday, February 24, 2015


So the subject line is partially a joke, but probably 96% serious. We are halfway there. And basically living on a prayer this week!! Yeah, this week definitely hasn't been my favorite. I still have the best companion, the coolest district, and the Spirit and love here is crazy awesome, BUT sickness has overtaken the sisters of district 7B and it ain't pretty.

Basically, I went to the doctor on Friday to check out some nausea, they took some blood work which all came out fine, it got worse this weekend (as in we stayed home all day Saturday and Sunday. Not super fun. I mean it was fine for me, I slept like 20+ hours in those 2 days, but poor Sister Selk just had to sit in bed all day....) so I went back to the doctor and now I have to see a GI specialist???? I was kind of just hoping they'd give me some pills and I'd get better (isn't that how doctors are supposed to work?) but alas, I have to go see someone or another important or something. The good news is, this means Sister Selk and I get to LEAVEEEEEE. FOR A WHOLE COUPLE OF HOURS!!! WE'RE BUSTING OUT OF PRISON!! We were a lot more excited about this until they made us sign a contract promising we wouldn't purchase food. Dangit. We were hoping there'd be Jamba Juice by the hospital....

The good news about all this sickness is that I get to see just how amazing and wonderful my district is. Sister Selk has been the most patient person alive as I force her to stay home, drag her to doctors appointments, the works. The other sisters in our district, Sister Doman (from Layton, country girl, works out too much and is subtly hilarious) and Sister Barratt (from Heber, one of my favorite people to ever live, likes T Swift way to much and we all call her Sister Cucoracha (barata is Portuguese for cockroach, so spanish for cockroach??? Yeah I don't know why we do that either)) have been the best and always getting meals for us while we don't want to go get them ourselves and whatnot. And our lovely elders!!! They are the sweetest and the absolute best. After I got worse on Sunday they came down to the Residence Hall from breakfast, all 6 of them, so they could give me a blessing. They're the cutest. My district is my family here and I'm already upset about having to say goodbye to them in a couple of weeks!!

Anyways, that's that!! Unfortunately that was a big majority of the week so I don't have a whole lot else to report. Sister Selk and I have definitely been a little frustrated lately. We can't seem to connect with out new investigators, Claudia and Abrao, hardly at all. Claudia is constantly questioning what we say and we committed Abrao to baptism, technically, but he doesn't really seem too interested, and is always asking for short lessons so he can head off to basketball games. And as much as teaching isn't about our Portuguese, it can definitely be a little frustrating when we can't understand or respond to investigators needs!! I'm starting to feel like I'm getting worse and worse at teaching.... Probably not true, but hopefully we can get out of this rough patch and get some good lessons going. 

We did TRC for the first time this Friday and it was a BLAST!! Our first member wasn't totally interested (he probably couldn't even understand us honestly) but our second member was hilarious, a BYU student, impossible to understand with her crazy Brazilian accent, but so cool and we talked for a good 20 minutes extra from what we were supposed to. Plus, we laid down a pretty sweet lesson on the attributes of Christ and she's going to email us in 2 weeks or so with how developing charity has been going for her. WOHOOOOOO. 

As for Portuguese, it's coming. So unbelievably frustratingly slowly, but it's coming. I have the purpose, the baptisimal invite, and the first vision memorized at this point and I can at least hold conversations with people in Portuguese, but it's still tough to teach without feeling like I know the language. I have to remember to be more patient, I guess. 3 weeks of Portuguese and I'm already having conversations with people???? Yep, I should be more grateful. Apparently my Portuguese prayers are beautiful, so that's something for y'all to look forward to when I get back, I guess! 

I wish I had more to say but that's basically it! Thanks to everyone for all the letters and packages, I still get teased in my district for having a package nearly every day. Shoutout again to Melanie, who is constantly sending uberly fun things to the point that my district, when I get packages, will say things like "is that from the fun aunt???" and to Emily for the soaps and to Makaila for all the dearelders which are SO nice to have everyday and to Justin for the COOKIES!!!!!!! Which took my district all of about 12 seconds to eat. Y'ALL ARE THE ABSOLUTE BEST. AMO VOCES!!!!!!!!!

Funny moments from this week:
   - I have been craving a smoothie since I've been here and Irmao Belchoir found out, so every day he literally brings in Jamba Juice cups just to shove in my face. Actually it's not funny it's mostly just sad. Someone make him stop. 
   - Does anyone know the Office episode where Michael is at a conference and he opens with "GOOOD MORNINGGGG VIETNAM!!!" and nobody laughs??? Well, we were joking about doing that in sacrament if we had to give a talk and Elder Mills was like "nah, it'd be more like GOOD MORNINGGGGG PROVO STATE PENETENTARYYY!!!!!" 
   - So last week I said OI VEY in my email. I should probably explain, for any of you that may have been confused. No, it doesn't make any sense in Portuguese. No, the Portuguese people don't say it. One of the sisters said it one time and it's literally gotten out of control. We say oi vey about 290345809348 times a day (including lessons, whoops) and are trying to force our teachers to say it with little success. We'll get 'em eventually... Or maybe just strut into Portugal saying things that aren't words and getting weird looks. Probably that one.
   - Our district all loves Nacho Libre, so you know when he says "take it easy" and it's so hilarious?? We stumbled upon "take it easy" in the Portuguese dictionary and it's "tem calma". We say that WAY too much too. Probably the only phrase that rivals oi vey in our district

Quote of the week: 
   - "Hey I have a riddle for you, how do you read 3 letters at the same time? They're all the same letter" - Elder Hinkey after his mom accidentally sent the same DearElder 3 times. I promise these quotes are a lot funnier than they sound.....

Man I'm off my game this week!! Sorry this email is boring. Not a whole lot happens here at the CTM, but I love it, I love being a missionary, I love Portuguese even if it drives me crazy 98% of the time, and I love all of y'all and all your support. TE AMO FAM!!!!!!!!!!!! LOTS AND LOTS OF LOVE!!!!

Sister Parkinson

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


WHAT UP FAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SO I survived the first week and I'm STILL a missionary!!! Who would've thought am I right??!?!?!! The MTC is as fabulous as ever. Alright I guess it's time for honesty hour: some things are starting to wear down here at the Center for Missionary Training. The food being one. Actually the food is pretty much all of what is wearing down. Poor Sister Selk and I BOTH had food poisoning at some point in the week and the elders are basically always sick (they really shouldn't eat 14 hamburgers a day though). But real talk: if anyone ever feels like sending any packages (and I will love you forever and ever if you do) please feel free to send some edible food in there. Edible and somewhat healthy and food that's not going to poison me by degrees, OBRIGADA!!!!!!!!!

Speaking of packages, THANKS TO ALL!!!!! I feel so so SOOOO unbelievably loved here!!! The district teases me because I practically a package and a letter a day and they're all jealous. Seriously y'all, thank you so much!! There is absolutely nothing better than getting a letter or especially one of those package slips and getting to run down to the package place and open the package and everyone is jealous cause it's a package and YAY PACKAGES!!! Special shout out to Melanie, who keeps making me feel very very loved here with the packages and letters! Also to Jacob for his adorable letter that literally had me in tears and an extra-special, out-of-this-world THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to Megan, who sent 2 of the most UNREAL packages ever and it was just the best!!!!! I have the coolest family/friends ever!!

Alright, now to talk of the actual missionary work, eh???! (OI VEY Sister Selk is getting me to sound like a Canadian) But anyway, Sister Selk and I just had the craziest roller-coaster of a week ever. It started on Wednesday, when we were teaching Joao (still with a squiggly over the a, which i still can't figure out how to do because these computers are still from the 19th century) for the 4th time. We'd had a pretty decent lesson on the Atonement all mapped out and we went in pretty confidently, and then in the middle of the lesson Joao said he had a question. "Where do we go when we die?" Shoot. We hadn't really planned for that one. We scrambled up a response the best we could considering our Portuguese is still at a less-than-kindergarten level, and he seemed reasonably satisfied, but then came the kicker: he told us he'd just been to the doctor and found out he has cancer, and he's going to die soon. Oh man. How do you comfort a dying man in a language you don't speak??? Sister Selk was absolutely frozen up and I just rambled on the best I could about "through Christ I know you can be with God again" which is true, but I felt so horribly inadequate and unhelpful it was just awful. We finished our lesson and prayed with him, then left and Sister Selk absolutely lost it, she was so upset we weren't able to help more. We care SO much about Joao and just love him so much, it was completely heartbreaking and so frustrating. 

So, a lot of prayer later, we prepared for our 5th lesson with Joao the next day. We didn't really know what to teach other than to comfort him in his time of need, so we basically just wrote down some basic testimonies and planned to sing "Families are Forever" with him. We also made him a card for him and left him with a bunch of scriptures of comfort. That night, crazy enough, was the night I was super super unbelievably sick from something I ate. We wanted to teach Joao SO badly but I wasn't sure I was going to make it, so Sister Selk asked the Elders in our district if they would give me a priesthood blessing. 

HOLY COW Y'ALL. The priesthood is the absolute best thing in the world!!! I actually teared up watching all 4 of the elders in the room immediately get up, put on their suitcoats, find me a chair and sit me down. I just LOVE watching worthy men exercise their priesthood. CHURCH IS TRUE MAN. Shoutout to Elder Reni who gave the actual blessing, blessing me with comfort and to be well enough to teach. Man it was the best. I didn't actually feel much better, but I was a lot calmer, it brought the Spirit, and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been able to do the lesson without it. 

AND THEN. OUR. LESSON. It was THE most unreal thing to ever happen to me, ever. I don't even know what happened!! We went in and started off with a basic lesson, and then sang "Families are Forever" with Joao. The Spirit in the room was UNBELIEVABLE. I have never in my life felt that kind of peace and just overwhelming warmth. We bore our testimonies to him about Christ and being with God again and he read our card we'd made. He kept saying "Eu sento.... paz. Espirito Santo, e paz". I feel peace. The Holy Ghost and peace. EU TAMBEM, JOAO. EU TAMBEM. By the end of the lesson all 3 of us were crying, and we invited him to be baptized in 2 weeks and he said YES. Yes, of course I will!! GAHHHHHH. Sister Selk and I completely freaked out and we couldn't stop crying for the next like 20 minutes. Seriously you guys, this is why people do mission work right here!! It's only been 2 weeks and I already love that feeling and I want that with EVERY PESQUISTADOR!!! I LOVE THIS WORK!!!

Okay, now here comes the biggest MTC plot twist of 2015: Joao is not actually Joao. In fact, his name is Irmao Belchoir. As in, OUR NEXT TEACHER!!! WHAT THE WHAT???!!!! Turns out he's a convert, he's from Mozambique, English is his 3RD language and he's been actually like an investigator he taught on his mission this whole time. And let me just tell you, dude's a spiritual POWERHOUSE. The first day he taught he had us close our eyes and raise our hands if we were nervous about Portuguese, leaving the country, our mission, etc (I'm sure we all raised our hands" and afterwords he said (in his sketch English) "Elders and Sisters, I invite you to repent". Wait what??? He basically said that we need to trust God and His ability to make us the absolute best missionaries we can be. It was insane. Everyday since then he's had some sort of amazing, super-powerful and spiritual insight or crazy mission story, including, but not limited to: when he was teaching a preacher on his mission who told him he was going to hell, and when they left he told the preacher "hey man, I'll see you down there!!", or when he had us go outside and teach the Restoration IN PORTUGUESE to people in the REAL WORLD or when he was surrounded by teenagers and they all told him they were trying to deliver stuff to their drug dealer, and he said "you tell your drug dealer to repent". Oh my goodness, he's just hilarious and amazing. We're lucky to have 2 of THE BEST teachers in the MTC!!!

We just got one of our new investigators (it's Irma Wilson) "Claudia" and she said she's only interested in meeting with us because she has a Mormon friend and she thinks they're weird, and she doesn't think Mormons do anything better than Catholics. She doesn't understand what we have that she doesn't. Seriously, she's a tough cookie. Any suggestions??

Funny moments of the week:
   - After our amazing lesson I randomly realized that when we gave Joao our card, I totally wrote out all the scriptures in English. Whoops. That night, during companionship prayer, I was praying and I said "please bless Joao to be able to read those scriptures even though they're in English" and Sister Selk DIED laughing and we couldn't stop laughing for about 20 minutes
   - Elder Reni and I having a spontaneous dance party since we both know all the words/ all the dance moves to Uptown Funk and Love on Top. This was during personal study. Again, whoops.
   - We were learning Portuguese and using words to describe ourselves and our teacher goes to Elder Hinkey, and says "Elder Hinkey e....." and he looks up, so proud of himself, and says "muy intellihente" which is a) wrong, and b) the worst pronunciation ever. Something about the fact that he was calling himself intelligent but just butchered it and was so proud of it..... I still laugh every time I think about it

Quotes of the week:
   - Elder Cervantes sings all the time and it can be a little annoying, so during class once Elder Hinkey goes "he man, do you take requests?" "yeah!" "please stop". SO FUNNY.
   - We thought about making a Portuguese rap about the BOM to sing to Joao and I was like "Rapping is the best way to do it, he can totally relate!!" and Elder Hinkey goes "Yeah I'm pretty sure that's just racial profiling" 
   - We were talking about Brownie points and Elder Hinkey was like "dude forget the 72 virgins, they better have 72 brownies up there to make this all worth it" 

I feel like these quotes aren't actually that funny when I write them but trust me, they're funny. No really. 

Okay WOW I rambled on and on and on today. Sorry fam, I just LOVE BEING HERE!! It is tough for sure, but I have made the most amazing friends in the world and I feel the Spirit everyday and I know why I'm out here, and that makes all the difference. I miss all of you lots and lots, but there's nothing else I'd rather be doing and there's certainly nothing else the Lord would want me to be doing right now. 

Thanks to all for the love and support, it means to world to me!!! AMO VOCES!!!! Y'ALL ARE THE BEST!!!!

P.S. NEVER sing "Ye Elders of Israel" in English ever again. The Portuguese aren't sexist so they have parts for women too, and Irmao Belchoir had us all stomp and clap while singing it (the benefits of an African teacher, eh?) and the Spirit was insane. Do it. Portuguese forever

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Week 1: WHAT EVEN IS MISSION ???!?!?!?!?!!?!!???!!!! (First letter)

Ola familia e friends (still haven't learned that yet man the MTC is slacking off these days)!! So i'M ON A MISSION??!!!!! WHAT THE WHAT???!!! I'm sitting in the basement of the MTC next to my companion and I have a nametag and my bag weighs 40 pounds and I know some Portuguese and I'M A REAL LIFE ACTUAL MISSIONARY. And let me tell ya, it is just the BEST.

I spent about 2 days before coming here just freaking out and completely terrified and now I'm here and I'm like what even was I worried about AT ALL???!! The Spirit here is I N S A N E. Everyone is so friendly and so missionary-like and it's the actual coolest. We've had a hundred awesome devotionals and everyday there's some sort of spiritual awesomeness that happens. Seriously y'all, the MTC is the BESTTTTTTTTT. 

It's hard though, not going to lie. The first day we had negative 20 minutes to unpack and stuff and my host whisked me away to my first class (in full Portuguese, by the way. Did I mention I don't actually speak Portuguese? Because I really really don't speak Portuguese), then we had some 4 hour seminar on "People and our Purpose" that was honestly just terrible (we were supposed to be teaching fake investigators but there were like 50 of us and so it was just so bad and people would randomly grab the microphone and be like "hey when your son is sleeping, that's like apostasy, and when he's awake that's like dispensations".... uhhhhhhh yeah okay cool homie) and then we had a meeting with our zone and then we were supposed to take a tour and then we had to study and then we got our schedules and it said we'd have 10 hours of classes everyday and I was like NAH FAM I CAN'T DO THIS. Literally the first day I was 98% sure I'd end up on a stretcher being sent home after 2 weeks or so. 

BUT it has gotten better and better and better every day!! Y'all know I hate classes and studying, but my teacher, Irma Wilson, is so sweet and awesome that it doesn't seem so bad, and studying isn't bad at all when it's like reading the scriptures and some Portuguese and stuff. Plus we've had some awesome experiences that get my so spiritually hyped that even though I'm already exhausted I just feel pumped every single morning!!!! (except for this morning because our roommates left for Wisconsin today at 2:30. 2:30 AM. IN THE MORNING.) But other than that every single morning!!!!

My companion is Sister Selk and she is an absolute DREAM COME TRUE. I met her before actually, she was in Brad Wilcox's mission prep class with me!! He told us we might be companions and we kind of brushed it off but hey, here we are!! He sent the two of us a letter and asked her "have you seen Sister Parkinson yet?" We spent a lot of time laughing at that one. Uh, she has. She most certainly has seen me. A lot. Constantly, actually. She's from Alberta Canada and she says all the things every good Canadian should, which includes, but is not limited to: eh? (that's good, eh? Literally all the time and I laugh every single time), runners (apparently these are shoes), sorry like she's straight up Gilbert Blithe, aboot, and many many others. I make fun of her 10940239 times a day and luckily she's a good sport, but eventually I feel like she's going to crack. No but seriously, she is so hard-working and supportive and hilarious and she has the biggest heart and and even bigger testimony. She and I get along so well it's insane, and some of my favorite moments here so far have been companionship study (companionship "study"... we try, we really do, but we're both so funny) and especially companionship prayer. 

MY DISTRICT. Can we just talk about my district for a second? There's 10 of us, all going to Portugal (except Elder Mills, going to Angola. Poor guy, he gets a lot of jokes about ebola and eating dogs and whatnot). We are literally already like a family. I mean we should be, we spent the ENTIRE day together, but we all get along SO well and we are constantly laughing so hard we can't stop. But at the same time, we also have amazingly spiritual moments and help each other with Portuguese and whatnot, so it's the actual best combination. 

We started teaching Joao (with a little squiggly over the a only I don't know how to do that on these crappy pre-historic MTC computers) on Friday. Yes, that's right, Friday. As in we'd been learning Portuguese for about a day and we had to teach an actual, real-life (okay he's fake but still) pesquistador a FULL LESSON. It was baddddd fam. Sister Selk and I kind of freaked out and I started speaking Italian and he kind of just laughed at us and it was pretty discouraging. Oh, he's from the Dominican Republic by the way. They speak Portuguese there???? Jalyn????

But anyway, we worked super hard for our next two lessons and even in our horrible horrible Portuguese, they went super well. We taught prayer the second time and we got Joao to pray with us, which he wouldn't for anyone else!!! And the next time we taught the Restoration and the Book of Mormon, and he had been bible-bashing everyone else and freaking out over Joseph Smith, but I guess we taught it well because he didn't even have any questions, and when he prayed at the end he asked for help with reading the Book of Mormon and help to feel the Spirit!!!! I felt like a proud mom and actually cried a little bit. Man am I pumped to get real investigators and feel that kind of love that we have for Joao, only intensified!!! 

Funny Moments of the Week:
   - Sister Selk and I literally rock-paper-scissoring to decided who had to pray in Portuguese in our first lesson with Joao
   - Elder Mills got his address that says when you leave the MTC, and his date is 3 weeks after the rest of ours, We're pretty sure it's a misprint, but his face when he saw it.... we all DIED laughing
   - We asked Joao what he knows about the Book of Mormon, and he started listing off Mormons he knows... "Mitt Romney.... Danny Osmand..... Oh, and Davide Enchilada." Uh.... What?? He just kept repeating Enchilada over and over again and Sister Selk and I we're trying to figure out what he meant and he goes "American.... Eeeedol??" and I was like OHHHHH David Archuletta???!!! Literally the funniest thing ever. Sister Selk and I couldn't teach for the next 5 minutes because we were laughing too hard
   - Elder Cervantes wrote down the begging of parts of a prayer and made his companion, Elder Peterson, pray with Joao. Only Elder Peterson didn't know it was just the begging of prayer words, so he found out later that he literally prayed "Thank you for.... Please bless us with.... Please help us to..... In the name of Jesus Christ amen". Hilarious.

Quotes from the week:
   - "Uptown Funk, man I hate that song, I'd rather listen to my belt squeak" - Elder Hinkey (THE most hilarious guy in our district, possibly in the whole world)
   - "Sister Parkinson? Uh... you have a string on your Goddess Booty" - Sister Barratt after I put my pajama pants on backwards and post-talk of the Goodess Booty yoga DVD

Okay I spent way too much time on this. Just know that I love you all and I love love LOVE the MTC. It's hard and I am a little homesick, but I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. Te amo familia!!!! Until next week!!! 

- Sister Parkinson

P.S. Big shoutout to Melanie for her letters and the BUBBLES that my whole district is obsessed with and and even bigger shoutout to Makaila Nevil for a million letters and a PACKAGE!!!! With a very needed supply of DP

P.P.S. SEND LETTERS!!! Please please please!!! Letters and like gold here and getting one is the best thing ever. Use DearElder.com, I'm in branch 7 district B!!!!
Editors Note: I might have added some bolding....