Monday, March 30, 2015


HEY FAM! So last week my camera didn´t work so I had to send from Sister Pereira´s camera and we were getting kicked off so we picked random ones but HERES NEW PICS AND THEY´RE WAY BETTER SO LOOK AT THESE AND NOT LAST WEEK´S PICS



3. Castleeeeeeeeeeeee

4. I was absolutely OBSESSED with this Rua

5. No really it was a real castle!!!!~

6. I just thought this street was really pretty idk

7. Apparently when there´s a shoe on a window it´s the sign of a gang or something.... so naturally i had to take a picture OBRIGADA POR G LYFE

8. first european gelado!!!!

WHAT IS UP FAM!!! ANOTHER WEEK DOWN IN PORTUGAL!!! And it gets more and more beautiful every day! Seriously, I absolutely LOVE it here. The culture and the food and the scenery and the people are so amazing. And this work is hard hard hard and I don´t speak Portuguese which is frustrating as heck, but I´m HERE and I´m a MISSIONARY and it´s amazing and wonderful and I wouldn´t want to be anywhere else. Even if I do sometimes dream about sleeping in and wearing pants and watching movies. Someday.

Nothing much new with our investigators! The thing about Portuguese people is that they live pretty good lives, so they don´t ever feel like they need to change. And they´re not really willing to do anything to better their lives regardless.... So we get very little progression. One amazing family that we absolutely loved, Jose and Sonia, dropped us this week because they´re comfortable living the way they are. It was totally heartbreaking because we know there´s so much more for them, but they´re not willing to change.... GAH. 

As for our other investigators, they either 
   a) don´t come to church 
   b) are possibly in the mafia? Or some other sketchy activity that occupies most of their time at night? 
   c) are alcoholic and show up to church VERY drunk or
   d) can see spirits and communicate with the dead
WHAT POTENTIAL!!! No but seriously though, there´s so much potential in this area. We meet people every single day who are interested in the message. I have high hopes for all the people here and all the good we can do!

We got fed a lot this week which was AWESOME! Portuguese food is so good. Too good fam. I literally think I´ve already gained 5 pounds and it´s been a week?!?! Maybe?!?! Don´t be surprised when I am a whale when I come home.... But it was a blast. There´s an eternal investigator the elders have that feeds the missionaries once a week, her name is Gloria and she´s completely crazy and makes the absolute best Brazilian food this world has ever seen. They also sing the same song every week at the top of their lungs and it´s hilariously amazing. EU PRECISOOOOOO A TI, SENHORRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!! I will probably never stop singing this. Ever. SORRY COMPANIONS.

As for creepy Portuguese men stories, there´s a couple of good ones! People tend to be fascinated by the fact that I´m the only person in Portugal with blonde hair, so we get a lot of people honking as we walk. Or winking. Or singing loud Portuguese love songs outside their car windows as they drive past. The best though, was a man we were contacting on the street. We asked what role Christ had played in his life and he proceeded to TAKE OFF HIS SHIRT to show us his incredibly hairy chest and rosary he had around his neck. Then, he told us he was a sinner because he was "naughty" and loves little women. Ah, Portuguese men. Yep, Sister Pereira ended that contact REAL quick. Oh, and the old-men-giving-me-bejinhos-before-I-can-stop-them count has risen to 4. Outro dia, ourto dollari am I right

We´ve also had some really really cool experiences. One came one night when we were trying to find an investigator´s house (the one that´s a medium for dead people, if you were wondering) and we couldn´t find it anywhere, so we decided to pray. Right after the prayer, we stopped the first woman we saw who ended up being and absolute ANGEL and RAN around to ask people for directions. We asked if we could pray with her afterwords and she starting tearing up from the prayer (could´ve been the Spirit, could´ve been that my Portuguese is just really really awful) and she kept giving us bejinhos and calling us "queridas" and I cannot WAIT to teach her!

Another day Sister Pereira and I contacted a guy who was talking about trying to get his life in order, and Sister P said she didn´t think it was a coincidence that we´d met him at this point in his life, to which he said he´d actually JUST been thinking that he needed to start going back to church when we stopped him. WHAT WHAT!! Now he just needs to stop being an alcoholic and we´re SET!

Ohhhh also, someone told me to just enjoy all the weird stuff that happens in foreign wards. I 
didn´t know what this meant until now, but it´s so true. Portuguese people have no sense of time (no wonder I got sent to this country eh?) and they really really don´t mind just letting their kids run around on the floor, on the stand, maybe play the piano while the bishop is talking.... Oh, and as a choir we sang the same musical number twice this last Easter. Not sure why, but that´s what we did. Our ward is great but Sundays are definitely different and absolutely hilarious. 

Anyway, that´s about it for now! I miss you all lots and lots and lots! This work is HARD but we have amazing experiences everyday and I´ve met and learned from some of the most incredible people. I can´t wait to keep living it up here in Portugal and hopefully, someday, to speak Portuguese! We´ll see fam. We´ll see. 

AMO VOCES MUITO MUITO MUITO!! Pray for the temple here in Portugal and for our investigators to do things like keep commitments and stop communicating with the dead!! LOVE LOVE LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!

Sister Parkinson


I´m telling ya I cannot stop singing this song

P.S: I HOPE YOU ALL HAVE SEEN PORQUE ELE VIVE AND SHARED IT WITH EVERYONE YOU KNOW!!!! Seriously fam, it is SO powerful. I absolutely love this video!! Watch watch and SHARE SHARE SHARE!! PORQUE ELE VIVE!!!!


And while you enjoy conference pray for us poor Europeans cause it´s at a great time in the U.S., but we get the second session at 9-11pm here. Prayers.

Monday, March 23, 2015

OLA FAM!!! ESTA TUDO BEN???!?!?!?!?!


Let me explain how this happened. We got all of beautiful, perfect flight plans changed around at the last second and had a overnight flight to NYC, a 12 HOUR LAYOVER in New York, an overnight to Madrid (where all the police officers walk around with giant riffles. I didn´t know what to do with myself) and then LISBON! Where we had exactly 12 seconds to try and not look like hobos (I didn´t succeed) and then meet the prez and our trainers and go to our areas. WHAT!!! Let me just say: jet lag is real fam. Jet lag is real.

Also I wish you people understood how difficult it is to type on Portuguese keyboards so you could appreciate me writing this email right now. Hashtag strugglessssss

BUT ANYWAY. Portugal. I am here. It is an absolute dream. The streets are all cobblestone and beautiful and everything is beautiful. My trainer is Sister Pereira, she´s from France, and I´m 98% sure she´s an actual, real-life angel. Seriously, she is so unbelievably patient with me and my mega sketch Portuguese my exhausted-ness and my complete inability to be effective, she´s obedient as heck and she loves everyone. She´s a dream come true. It´s also a blessing because she wants to work on her English, and so in the casa we´re supposed to speak English. SCORE

Our area is Gaia, where we share a ward with a set of elders and two other sisters. We live in a CRAZY NICE (two bathrooms fam!!!!) appartment with the other sisters, Sister Harper and Baugh, who are hilarious and my favorite. Gaia is by Porto (in the North) and it´s seriously AWESOME. It´s beautiful and the people here are crazy nice. Especially the ward, the ward is SO COOL and willing to do missionary work and the bispo is so awesome. I feel crazy crazy crazy blessed!

Now, shall we talk about the language for a minute?? Ottimo. Let me just say, I knew I was great at Portuguese when I left the MTC, but I thought I had a somewhat decent grasp of the language. NOT TRUE FAM. I swear to goodness it sounds like everyone speaks Russian here. I can read pretty well, and my accent is way off but I can speak it okay, but seriously, I understand NOTHING. Ever. Nada. My ability to contact starts and ends with "bom dia". And heaven forbid, if someone asks me a question??!?!?! I just smile sweetly and let Sister Pereira talk, like I´m a mute or something. At least I´ve gotten used to the feeling of understand nothing, eh? It´s tough, not going to lie. But still, I love the people here and I´m very very blessed, and I understand a little more everyday, so maybe by the end of the mission I´ll have this Portuguese thing down. 

Now for a fun segment I call THINGS I´VE LEARNED ABOUT PORTUGAL. Get excited folks, this is crazy stuff right here:
   1. I am very white. Very white. And the people here all know it. It doesn´t matter how well I can fake a Portuguese greeting, people will still ask me if I´m from the US, try to use their English on me, and then tell me I need to get to the Algrave (beaches) for a little sun. Gee, obrigada.
   2. The toilets are big enough to have full-sized whales swim through them to the sewer system. I am 90% sure about this.
   3. The people are CRAZY nice. They usually reject our street contacts, but they get excited by our big smiles and smile just as big back, and then when they reject us they say "ta bom, ta bom, obrigada, obrigada" over and over. 
   4. "Bejihnos" are a thing. Little kisses. Ya know, the kiss on each cheek? I give about 40 of those a day to all the cute little old ladies. I also have to avoid the kisses from old men several times a day.
   5. Portuguese people are very blunt. This can be a good thing, like when they told me my Portuguese was good for someone who just got here, or it can be a bad thing, like with the men who tend to like blondes since they don´t see them very often. I get a lot of weird comments. Good thing I don´t understand em, eh?
   6. Everyone has bad teeth
   7. Everyone speaks English better than I speak Portuguese
   8. Everything kind of smells weird
   9. The food can either be real good (examples: meat cake, the fish, others) or really bad (some weird tuna rice thing we had to eat a million portions of)

Anyway, there ya go, some fun facts. We have a couple of investigators, including Claudia, Jose e Sonia, Gesuino, Carlos, and Vitor. The problem is, pratically none of them progress or come to church or anything like that, but they like meeting with us so there´s something I guess. Jose and Sonia were at church yesterday though, they know about half the people in our ward already (!!!!!!!!) and we´re inviting them to be baptized tonight with high hopes. Pray fam!! Pray muito!!

Yesterday we had a 70 member at church and I´m pretty sure it was awesome, but ya know, I understood nothing so I couldn´t tell you. We got to each dinner at a member´s home, Ulisses and his familiy, and he LOVES speaking English so it was literally a dream come true. Finally, someone I can be friends with! Today we went into Porto for Pday and it was absolutely UNREAL. Seriously. Wait until I send the pictures, yall will die. I also tried my first pastry and I´m pretty sure I shed some tears while it happened. So good. 

Anyway, I´m basically out of time, but I love all of you lots and lots and lots and lots and THANKS TO ALL for your emails!! I wish I had time to write back to all of yall, but probs not. Know that I love reading your emails and don´t stop with the life updates por favor!!


Sister Parkinson

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Change of planz y0

This is an couple of emails originally sent (not to the illustrious blog manager... :-)) about flight mixups on the 17th (Tues).  With a little extra time, she was able to send more pictures...

Hey, want to hear something super cool? So we had a flight at 4:35 to Dallas to London to Portugal today, right? Well, the mission president didn't want all of us to come in as late as we were that night so he requested to have our flight changed to early that morning, which is was. Cool, huh? Only the travel office didn't tell all 22 missionaries on that flight that we'd had a flight change, so we showed up at 11:30 with all our suitcases only to be told that we had missed our flight. Isn't that so fun? So we are now leaving tomorrow instead. I am just so pleased and so very very happy about this turn of events. I am especially looking forward to unpacking and then repacking, putting sheets back on my bed and then taking them off again, the works. Oh, and bonus: we thought this morning was our last meal at the MTC but alas! We have 3 more to look forward to! Like I said, I am so very happy about this turn of events. So very happy.

So basically, I won't be calling today, but tomorrow morning, probably around 7 Utah time, although we still don't really know anything. And besides, when we get our new travel plans we probably won't get told about those, either, so who knows. 

Talk to you tomorrow!! Much love

The zone!! Portugal and Angola. Only not actually either of those places because a) reassignments and b) not actually flying to Portugal
​Trying to slide down the banister (this was before we got in trouble for sliding down the banister)
G LYFEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE super shoutout the Mak for the AMAZING t-shirts!!!

We mastered Breakfast

I have no idea what is going on in this picture, but it is so accurate

​this was going to be the last day but LOLZ it's not
We just got a new thing for a new thing and I leave TONIGHT at 9:00pm, we go to NYC to MADRID to Lisbon. I will be in the SLC airport for a couple hours tonight and can call then, but I also have a 12 HOUR LAYOVER tomorrow in NYC so I can always hit you up from there too. And I probably will get so bored that I will. In fact, feel free to send me the names and numbers of every person I've ever met cause I've got nothing to do ALL DAY tomorrow.

But hey I'm going to New York and then to Madrid and then to LISBON. 




Monday, March 16, 2015

Week 6: OBRIGADA POR G LYFE (assuming the g lyfe is weeping endlessly)

FAMMMMMMMM!!!! WHAT IS GOODDDDD!!! COMO VAI!!!!! All is well, all is well here at the CTM! And, probably more importantly, this is the LAST EMAIL Y'ALL WILL RECEIVE FROM PROVO UTAH FOR THE NEXT 18 MONTHS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But first, all of the things news from this week that was crazy crazy crazy! So every Tuesday we have a devotional, and every week we've been disappointed by all the people who come who are not apostles. BUT ALAS. The Lord has indeed smiled upon the missionaries of Portugal Lisbon! We got to hear from QUENTIN L COOK on Tuesday and it was AMAZING. Either the other missionaries didn't know or they're just mega apostate because we got there a solid 20 minutes before and we were on the 3rd or 4th row. I swear to goodness I was in the direct line of vision of this great man too because he kept staring into my soul and I thought for sure he was going to send me home or something in a few hot seconds.... But I'm still here fam. We still good. 

Seriously though, his talk was amazing. He spent a lot of time discussing how mission calls are assigned, and how every single one of them goes through the prophet, then to the apostles who actually decide in what he called "the most revelatory (not sure this is a word but I swear he said it) experience the apostles have". He said he either gets a feel for a language, people, or mission president each missionary would thrive under and they go from there. Pretty amazing, eh? He also talked about how pleased the Lord is with our service and how, if we have more faith, we will have more success. Love love love!!

On Wednesday we got to be hosts for the new missionaries and it was a blast. I kept thinking about how much my host had helped me when I was a poor, lost soul 6 weeks ago, and hopefully I got to be that for some other girls as well!! Probably not because I'm horribly awkward but I gave it my best effort!!! It wasn't my favorite to tear these noobs away from their sobbing families or anything, but I met some super cute sisters (one from Quito Ecuador!) so it ended up being mega fun!! 10/10 would recommend!!!

Thursday was literally the bane of my entire existence. In-field orientation. What is in-field orientation, you may ask?? Let me tell you, kind friends. Prepare yourself for something really horrible. It's literally 9 1/2 (NINE. NINE AND A HALF.) hours of workshops and discussions of how to do missionary work. Which honestly wouldn't be that bad except all of the topics are things like "planning" and we spent a whole hour and a half talking about the best way to use our planners. Oh, and who could forget the full-length play about working with members??? It was a literal nightmare. 

Still, there were some cool experiences. One in particular: we were practicing giving a lesson to a member and then inviting them to share with someone they know. I found a random sister who was going to Paris and shared 2 Nephi 4 (this scripture is my LIFE right now) about how we can rely on Christ to be our support through our sins, afflictions, and trials, and then asked if there was anyone who could use this message, and she said her mom was less-active and would benefit from all of this, and she'd share it with her as she called from the airport on Tuesday. Afterwords, when we discussed as a group, the guy leading the discussion asked her if she was going to follow up on the commitment and she started to cry, saying that she'd been praying to know how she could help her mom rely more on the Lord and this scripture and message was exactly what she had wanted and she was so excited to share it. Holy cow, here I'd just shared it because I think it's beautiful! But it was an amazing experience and a good reminder that the Lord works through us to answer other people's prayers. 

Friday was our last experience with TRC and it was EVERYTHING. We got to skype a WHOLE FAMILY from Sao Paulo, Brazil; a mom, her teenage daughter and son, a daughter about 12 and a little boy. The minute this family came on the screen and started in on their beautiful (and impossible to understand) Portuguese, I thought my heart would absolutely burst. I can't even believe how much love I could have for these people I'd never met before! We actually shared 2 Nephi 4 again (I'm telling ya, this chapter is pure gold) and talked about how Christ can help us through our trials. Turns out, the mom's father had just passed away and she really had to learn how to trust in God through all of it. They were all crying and opening up to us and it was beautiful. I was able to testify that I knew God loved this family, because I could feel His love for them so insanely strongly, Sister Selk and I were absolutely weeping through it all. If that's just a taste of how I'll feel towards members and investigators, I am so, insanely, unbelievably excited to experience it all!! 

Oh, on Thursday reassignments came. Elder Mills, who was supposed to head to Angola today, will serve in Redlands California, Elder Tobler in Billings Montana, Elder Peterson in Chicago, Illinois, and Sister Selk in........ wait for it...................... PROVO UTAHHHHHH (the jokes have literally not stopped for a full week about this). I wish they were coming with us tomorrow, but they'll all do amazing things for however long they're in the US. Fact.

Unfortunately this meant Elder Peterson left early early early this morning, so we all had to say goodbye last night. I gotta say, I literally never expected to love the MTC or the people here or anything, but I've had a harder time saying goodbye to the fam here than I did even coming to the MTC in the first place. Elder Peterson bore his testimony last night and was absolutely weeping, which of course meant the 4 sisters in our district were literally using a billion and a half tissues to try and contain all the tears. This hasn't stopped for at least 24 hours now, as we've had to say goodbye to our 2 fabulous teachers today. Irma Wilson and Irmao Belchoir are both spiritual GIANTS and have made such a difference in my life in such a short time I can hardly believe it. Yep, weeping. Always.

Funny moments:
   - a couple of missionaries from our district were singing in the new missionary devotional on Wednesday and Sister Selk and I really wanted to go... So we put our orange dots on (it means you're a noob) and tried to sneak in... What we didn't realize was that there were ushers, who politely showed us to our seats, in the middle of a row. So what was supposed to be a couple minute bathroom break from class ended up being an hour or two since we were stuck in a devotional. Whoops.
   - crazy beautiful wonderful amazing incredible shoutout to THE. MAKAILA NEVIL. Who this week sent the best package of my life plus some BEAUTIFUL T-SHIRTS (pictures to come) DEMONSTRATING THE G LYFE. SERIOUSLY YOU ARE THE BEST. We've had wayyyyyy too much fun wearing those shirts around and of course, living the g lyfe.
   - we decided as a district that instead of perfecting our Portuguese, we'd perfect our Mexican accents and just speak English. Full proof plan, right? Either way, it's been a blast.
   - for service the elders and us clean toilets, so to make it fun we've started giving inspiration speeches, then kicking the doors of the stall and spraying everything down. As an extra element of fun, the elders decided Elder Tollefson was "Tollef Bin Laden" and the reason for our service was to take him and his forces down. Yep, we pretty much have too much fun here.

Quotes of the week (there's nothing good but here goes):
   - Tollef Bin Laden had a box of Peeps that he brought to class and was apparently staring intently at them during study time, so Elder Hinkey asked what he was doing and he said "I'm staring at my peeps." So Elder Hinkey moved them behind a box and all he said was "I can still see them." Trust me, if you knew Tollefson this would be hilarious. It's probably not right now though.
   - "BE A MAN DJ" - Elder Hinkey every time Sister Selk cries (which is a lot).
   - Tollefson didn't mean to tell a joke, but apparently he did so the Elders were trying to spice up his words and he was like "I didn't even say that" and Elder Hinkey just shouts "DON'T RUIN YOUR ONLY JOKE TOLLEFSON". Dying.

Anyways, I love y'all lots and lots and lots and lots. The MTC has been a blast, and as you can guess by all the tears I'm going to miss the people here a whole ton. But, it's time to get to Portugal and do some real missionary work and I couldn't be more excited. GOODBYE USA!!


Sister Parkinson

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Week 5: Oi vey with the poodles already

WHAT IS UP FAM!!!!!!!!!! HOW IS LIFE!!!!!! WHAT IS HAPPENIN!!!! For real, how IS everybody??!! Things are good and dandy and the exact same as they always are here at the CTM! The Spirit is still strong as ever, my district and I are one huge lovely family, the food is still slowly but surely destroying each one of us, and we still do nothing but sit. And eat. And sit. And then eat. And then sit. And then eat and then sit and then sleep. Rockin those 16 hour days am I right??!?!?!

The most incredible teacher - Irma Wilson!
Thanks again to all for letters and packages and other goodies! This week's special shoutout goes to Mama P for coming in CLUTCH with 4 boxes of Honey Bunches of Oats and every conference talk I've ever wanted. It was perfect timing too, they served Chicken Cordon Blech at the cafeteria the night I got the cereal and I was able to swoop in and save the entire district from a most likely horrible fate. You, Mama P, are a Savior on Mount Zion to all of us in 7B. Also to Melanie for her continual cute packages that always brighten my day!!

This week our district decided to have an "English Fast" on Thursday. We weren't allowed to speak anything but Portuguese and we even had tallies for every English word everyone spoke. We learned about 20 minutes in that this was the worst idea we've ever had, ever. I cannot even explain to you how frustrating it is to have a million things to say and not be able to say one of them. And we're moving to Portugal in a week??!!! And will speak nothing but Portuguese in exactly 7 days??!?!?!?!!!!?????!!!!!!! Can someone tell me how I'll survive this???!?!?!?!!


I'm only a little bit excited

We got our FLIGHT ITINERARIES on Friday!!! We fly Tuesday from SLC to DFWWWWW!!!!!!! To LONDON to Lisbon. WHAT. How perfect is that?? My last time in the US for a solid 18 months will be spent in Dallas :') and then we have a whole 4 HOUR LAYOVER in LONDON ENGLAND!!! Which we will probably not be able to go outside for!!! And then LISBON!!! The best part about it all is that we leave here at 11:30 am and not 2:30 am like most people. Thank the Good Lord cause y'all know Sister needs her sleep!! At least, this is all what we're hoping will happen. Apparently the last group going to Portugal had a ton of trouble with visas, so we're expecting at least a few people to get reassigned. Sister Selk has already found out she'll have a temporary reassignment, and it was really hard on her. Prayers for one and all!! We find out tomorrow?? Maybe?? The travel office won't actually tell us anything so basically if a reassignment comes for us in the mail, then we'll know. I guess we'll see!
Not too much to report on our investigators this week. Irmao Belchoir tends to get distracted with his crazy crazy stories (making it rain on just one house while on his mission, his proposal, the fact the he has apparently changed international law?, etc) so we haven't taught Abrao in ages. We asked him if he'd be baptized in 2 weeks, and that was 2 weeks ago.... And we haven't actually taught him since then.... Hm. I hope he liked his baptism? I guess??
Elder Reni is an artist

And Claudia continues to be a tough cookie. We got her to commit to keeping the Word of Wisdom, and she knows she needs to be baptized but she doesn't want to set a date or anything. She's worried she'll break commandments after she's baptized, etc. We had a cool moment in our last lesson when I felt prompted to ask her if she'd be baptized, and she was kind of iffy on it again, and I felt I should ask "Do you have faith in Jesus Christ?" She was kind of taken aback but said yes, and we were able to testify powerfully that faith is a principle of action, and she needed to exercise her faith by being baptized. It's crazy how even in these role play lessons, you can still feel the Spirit so strongly. I can't wait to get out there and have these experiences with real-life, actual investigators!

We've actually started teaching each other as well, and Sister Selk and I have to take Elders Cervantes and Peterson, acting as investigators, who can both kind of be pains. The first lesson we taught, "Daniel" told us he wanted nothing to do with us and stormed out in the middle of teaching. Uh, okay? Since then he's stayed but has no interest. What a fun time. But "Jacob" is progressing well and has been fun to teach. He actually said something interesting the other day, Sister Selk and I were trying to teach the Restoration without notes and the whole time, I kept thinking about conjugations and how I wasn't saying verbs right and how slow I was talking and whatnot, and then after the lesson we asked for feedback and Elder Peterson said it was amazing and he had felt the Spirit so strongly he couldn't remember the last time he'd felt like that. What???!!! Sister Selk and I were so busy worrying about the lesson and Portuguese and speaking fast that we didn't even notice the Spirit that was there! It was eye-opening for sure, and a good reminder to not worry so much about the language, but focus on how we, and especially the investigator feel. 

We got to SKYPE BRAZILIANS this week for TRC! We taught Marlo, a RM from Sao Paulo who was an absolute sweetheart and absolutely impossible to understand. Sister Selk and I managed to scrape a decent lesson up about trials, but still, he talked FAST. Seriously, I have no clue how this whole Portuguese-thing is going to go once we leave this safe little MTC bubble. 

Funny Moments of the Week:
   - we found an ADORABLE puppy literally just wandering through MTC campus. We freaked out and of course, did the right thing and took him back to the front desk..... After we played with him for a good 5 minutes or so. Or maybe an hour. I wish y'all could have seen the faces of literally every missionary who walked past us and then realized we were holding a puppy. We missionaries have been without our pets for TOO LONG.
Simple Joys at the MTC
   - when we did last teach Abrao, he had to leave our lesson early, so we asked why, and it turns out he was going to Scouts. Wait, Boy Scouts? For our church? Yep. That's exactly what he was doing. We definitely never invited Abrao to Scouts, but this is the kind of golden investigator he is.
    - THE FUNNIEST STORY OF MY LIFE. PREPARE YOURSELVES. So Sister Barratt did a small load of garments last laundry day, like 3-4 pairs. Then when she came back for them, they were gone. We all thought it was the weirdest thing, like why would someone steal garments? Isn't that kind of gross? So the next morning we're eating breakfast with the Elders and Sister Barratt goes "you guys, the weirdest thing happened to me yesterday, somebody stole my garments from the laundry room!!!" and the Elders get this horrified look on their faces and start dying laughing. Elder Reni had done his laundry in the same machine, after Sister Barratt, and then threw his whites in the drying above the washer without checking to see if there was already anything in the dryer. Later that night he was folding his garments and lo and behold, he found 3-4 pairs of women's garments in his stash. All the Elders freaked out and didn't know what to do, so they decided they'd better destroy them all and throw them away, so they did. And there you have it, our District Leader stole our Sister Training Leader's garments and then shredded them. This story is literally never not funny to me.

The most recent girls in our Zone
Quotes of the week:
We could really think of any good ones, but here's a few
   - "Oi vey with the poodles already" - Sister Barratt, for all of you who know about our oi vey obsession and are Gilmore Girls fans
   - "Eu oviooo englesssssssss" - Elder Hinkey being the Portuguese police on the day of the English fast
   - "Elizabeth, fetch me my ice chips!!" - the Elders after deciding Sister Barratt (Elizabeth Barratt)'s boyfriend looks like he's British 
   - "ELDER TYLER RENI IS A WOMAN'S GARMENT THIEF". This has been written on our whiteboard for a week now. And it's never coming off.

Anyway, I love you all lots and lots and lots! If you ever feel like writing a letter or sending a package feel free to do so now before it gets hard to send stuff to Portugal. Hint, hint. And pray for missionary work, especially in Portugal! I pray for all y'all as well. TE AMO FAM!!!!!!

Sister Parkinson

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Week 4: A couple of bad decisions later and we will never eat frosted flakes ever again

WHAT UP FAM!!!! HOW IS EVERYONE??!!! I miss y'all lots and lots and lots but this week at the CTM has been STELLAR and I absolutely LOVE being a missionary!! The people here at the best, the Spirit is so strong, and the work is EVERYTHING!

Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers over my health this week! I promise it sounded worse than it was, I was really just nauseous for a solid 4 or 5 days. We got to go to the GI doctor this week and it was horribly sad how excited Sister Selk and I were that we got to leave the Provo State Penitentiary for a solid 2-3 hours... To go to the doctor.... Yeah, we have spent too much time here! Anyway, as it turns out there's medication I'm taking that apparently kills peoples digestive systems. Huh. Good to know, eh? As the doctor said, "this stuff is enough to kill a horse, let alone damage a little girl". The more you know..... He still had to do a full body check just to be safe. Yay for another experience of wearing nothing but a napkin in a doctors office.

Also I'm still feeling ALL of the love this week!! My district is constantly annoyed at my growing number of packages and letters. Sorry 7B, I guess your fam just doesn't love you as much as they love me :) but seriously, thanks to all who have sent emails or letters or PACKAGES you are all too kind and it absolutely lifts my spirits so much. Much love!!

Now to explain the subject line. Somewhere in the course of our Portuguese learning Irmao Belchoir mentioned that he once had a district that took the tower challenge... They have these massive towers of cereal in the cafeteria that districts occasionally try to clear. Well, to the good elders and sisters of 7B, this sounded like a challenge, and we prepared ourselves to take on the Frosted Flakes on Saturday night. This included finding ties for the sisters to tie around their heads, having cereal-themed debates to decide which of our elders would be our top cereal challenger, the works. 

And then it happened. Saturday night, 60 + cereal bowls later, WE CLEARED THE FROSTED FLAKES. Us females each ate 7 bowls, and our elders came in clutch with 10, 11, etc. CEREAL CHALLENGE 2015 WAS COMPLETE. And oh how glorious it was!! For a solid 15 minutes. And then we spent the rest of the evening laying on the floor wanting to die. Seriously, I wish y'all could have walking into our district's room that night and seen all 10 of us literally lying all over the floor, moaning and fanning ourselves. But it was worth it???!!! For the memories???!! Maybe??! 

Anyway, that, sadly, was the majority of everything exciting that happened this week. We're still teaching Claudia and Abrao, who are both progressing pretty well. The other night we had a lesson with Abrao who, for some reason, didn't feel like letting us in? And we didn't know how to say "can you let us in" in Portuguese so we just awkwardly stood outside the room for a solid 5 minutes or so while people walked passed us and laughed. Later Sister Selk and I were doing service and we heard some English-speaking missionaries giving a door approach, and they were just like "hi how are you can we come share a message??!!!" and Sister Selk and I both shed a few tears because it sounded so nice and so easy. Remind me why I wanted to speak another language???

No but really, the Portuguese is coming. I'm constantly surprised by how much I can talk in lessons considering I've been at this for only 4 weeks. CRAZY. This week we have to Skype actual members in Portugal for TRC and we're all terrified... The Continental accent is some crazy stuff. But we'll just pray a lot, I guess. And hope we learn tons and tons within the next 2 weeks before we actually hit the streets of Portugal!

As for fun spiritual insights this week, there are TONS. On Tuesday our devotional was Bishop Causse from the presiding bishopric and it was INCREDIBLE. He talked about how the best way to be a bold missionary was through humility, and that we're not trying to become better missionaries, but better instruments for the Lord to work through. Love that! We also got to watch Meet the Mormons and the Restoration the last 2 Sundays and they were INSANELY uplifting. If you haven't seen either, watch them! Seriously! I was weeping through both. Also if you ever have a question in life, legit write it down, pray, and then start reading anything from the Book of Mormon. This has literally never ceased to work for me, my questions are always answered. CHURCH IS TRUE FAM!!!!

Also, when the new missionaries come in this week, we will have MORE SISTERS THAN ELDERS AT THE MTC!!!! WHAT WHATTTTTTTTTTTT. Apparently this is the first time this has ever happened???? Isn't that just the best thing ever???? SISTER POWER MAN.

Funny moments of the week:
   - In TRC Sister Selk and I were teaching about service, so we were going to read Mosiah 2:17. We'd had Mosiah 2:41 marked for a lesson earlier with Claudia, so when Sister Selk opened her scriptures she accidentally had the member we were teaching read Mosiah 2:41. Whoops. We realized about halfway through  it was totally the wrong scripture and afterwords our member was like "I thought y'all were teaching about service??" and we all just DIED laughing about it. Good thing we get the chance to practice on members and not real-life investigators, eh?
   - One of the elders have an investigator who's a little tough. As in, he's a gangster, he's addicted to weed, he is living with his "partner" and a whole host of other challenges... On the first lesson, Elder Mills and Hinkey asked him to pray, which he did.... and in the prayer literally said "Obrigada por G lyfe..." all nonchalantly. D Y I N G. 

Quotes of the week:
   - "If I hear one more beautiful daughter of God soulfully singing primary songs in the shower, we're going to have a problem" - yours truly. Seriously though, why are there ALWAYS people singing Love is Spoken Here in the shower. Why.
   - "What do you think manna from heaven was??? You think it was bread? No. It was BREAKFAST. CEREAL." - Elder Peterson in the first of our great cereal debates
   - "RICE KRISPIES ARE THE WHEELS THAT TURN HISTORYYYYYYY" - Elder Hinkey in the second of our great cereal debates. Seriously y'all, we went hard on the tower challenge. 

Anyway, I've rambled on and I have about negative 4 minutes. Basically I love you all, I'm having a hard but amazing and wonderful time here at the MTC, I adore all the people I've met and I love love love being able to preach and study the gospel of Jesus Christ for a solid 18 months. Love it here!!


Sister Parkinson