Monday, June 29, 2015


1. Xeca had us over for dinner but then she just kind of left us in her house? And we didn´t know what to do so naturally we took a picture and then cranked up the Enya. Featuring my newly aquired double chin SHOUTOUT TO THE FOOD OF PORTUGAL



OLAAAAAAAA FAM AND FRIENDS!! Okay so basically this week was the CRAZIEST. The actually craziest and the weirdest but also the best. SUCH IS THE MISSION LIFE.

So basically on Tuesday there was this huge Sao João festival (Portuguese people have a lot of random holidays. This is the perfect example of a totally random but really fun holiday) here in Porto and we had a GIANT party at the capela. Im not sure what Sao João is actually for, but we basically just ate a TON of food (and sardines. This holiday is all about the sardines) and then people light fireworks and run around and hit each other on the head with plastic hammers. I wish I was kidding, but no, I literally was getting hit on the head for a solid 2 hours with a plastic hammer. But there was also a lot of dancing, paper lantern lighting on fire-ing (LITERALLY TANGELED AND I MAYBE CRIED) and general craziness. It was a ton of fun and I gotta say, the best part of the evening was when our 78 year old recent convert Maria threw aside her half-eaten sardine, jumped up and started a conga line. This is Portugal everybody.

So then the next weird thing that happened was Sister Smith and I left our bags unattended in the capela and we TOTALLY GOT ROBBED. SO VERY ROBBED. Luckily it was just our leftover change but we went down about 80 euros or so. So robbed. We have a pretty good attitude about it actually and it basically is just making this whole living-in-Europe experience a little more real, wouldnt you say?! The funny part came when we called different elders to see what we could do about the situation... Our district leader basically said "that sucks sisters" and the secretary in the south said "okay... what do you want me to do about it" and then the secretary in the north said "OH MY GOSH SISTERS IM SO SORRY. Do you still have your residency card? Your credit cards? We will call so-and-so...." Oh the different types of elders in this world.

AND THEN. WE HAD. THE GREATEST. DAY. EVER. By now I have already talked a TON (sorry about it) about Avelino and Xeca, but basically Xeca has been inactive for about 7 years, started to be friends with the sisters and do lessons with us so started coming back, and Avelino her husband has been just prepared and prepared and prepared for us for these last 8 years of their marriage. Once we actually started teaching him, he accepted everything, no problem. He was SO ready for this. And then on Friday, the miracle happened and AVELINO WAS BAPTIZED!!! It was the absolute BEST baptisimal service Ive ever been too. The whole ward knows and loves Avelino and they are just so stoked for him and its so great to see the support. And seeing Avelino smile this HUGE smile at Xeca after the baptism... Yep, it was a moment to remember for a lifetime. I kind of starting weeping during his baptism and everybody was really concerned BUT I WAS JUST SO HAPPY. Avelino bore his testimony after about how baptism really was a new birth, no other way to describe it, and how the temple is their next goal. JUST. SO. INCREDIBLE. This is what missionary work is all about fam!

Okay sorry that was a NOVEL but it was the greatest experience and I am so so so blessed to have gotten to be a part of it. Its something I will remember forever and ever and ever. I love it out here! It can be tough for sure but it is also so rewarding. Gaia will always have a huge HUGE place in my heart and all the members out here. I LOVE THIS CITY AND THESE PEOPLE

And I love all of YOU. Thanks for all the love and support, it means a lot. And remember, miracles are REAL!



Sister Parkinson

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

June 22nd 2015

(Editors Note: these pictures were randomly taken from another sisters blog.. that sister has now been transfered out of Carly's area so they are old... but thought I'd include them anyways :))


I have exactly 0 minutes to type this so itll be quick but basically:
  - This week has been pretty chill honestly so not too much to tell. We had an inspection on Tuesday so we ended up having to spend the whole day in the house cleaning which, without Beyonce, is kind of the biggest drag on the planet. Also we have been teaching Avelino a bunch which is great and all, but it also means going to Xecas house a lot which means accidentally staying like 5 hours in her house and eating lots of food and listening to Enya. MISSIONARY WORK
   - No but really SPEAKING OF AVELINO HE IS THE COOOLESTTTTTTT. You can seriously see the Lord PREPARES people for this message! Avelino has known about all this for 8 years or so now... But he has been prepared specifically for this moment and is just SO willing to accept everything. And his progress is SO COOL TO SEE. A month ago he had never prayed before in his life, and now he volunteers to pray every time we go over. CHURCH IS TRUEEEEEEEEE. Hes getting baptized on Friday and we could not be more excited, especially since what this really means is he and Xeca will get sealed in the temple soon. WOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
   - We had a conference yesterday and it was such a festa but it was also pday but also friends were there and we learned a lot and we had to say goodbye to sweet sweet President and Sister Fluckiger. We gonna miss themmmmm
   - ELDERS SHOULDNT PLAN ACTIVITIES. They were in charge of the one on Friday and luckily a 14 year old rapaz came in clutch with some magic tricks but yep, put the sisters in charge of things. ALWAYS

   - We had dinner with Andre yesterday cause he is moving back to Brazil (BIG BIG FROWNY FACE) but basically he cooked something African with some sort of African spice (pidi pidi?? Dont quote me on this) that you are not supposed to eat only no one told me you arent supposed to eat it and I LITERALLY died. Almost on the ground, coughing and dying and generally being in SO MUCH PAIN. And this was with 6 other elders and Andre. So classy.

Okay love yall lots! All the love to the happy couple and to the rest of you crazy kids. FIQUEM BAM FAM. LOVE FROM PORTUGAL

Sister Parkinson

Monday, June 15, 2015

Okay, so maybe transfers arent actually the worst

WHAT UP FRIENDS AND FAM! In case youve been keeping up with the storyline here, last week I was absolutely weeping about transfers because all of my friends all left me all at once. And it was definitely pretty rough and I miss the party district of Gaia, but the funny thing is, when Heavenly Father takes things away He also gives you new people to love and new opportunities. So with that, transfers are actually pretty okay.

First things first, SISTER SMITH IS SO GREAT! Its actually a major problem but we unfortunately get along a little TOO well, and will accidentally talk all through lunch and realize a couple hours later that we needed to be on the road. Whoops. But she love the work and shes an absolutely INCREDIBLE teacher, so Im stoked to learn tons from her this new transfer. And also to reconcencrate ourselves and stop talking about movies until midnight :)

And second, the MEMBERS. ARE. SO. INCREDIBLE. I already loved them to death, but since Im the last one standing of the group that all left, theyre finally shooting some love back and it is the best. As in, bishop bearing his testimony about the missionaries, getting emotional and saying that he feels like we sisters are his daughters. THAT kind of "the best". Man I love this ward with all of my heart! Im so so lucky to be here!

Another HUGE blessing and incredible story comes from sweet sweet Xeca and her husband Avelino. Xeca has been inactive for about 8 years but she got to be good friends with the sisters and inviting them over, so she started coming back to church every now and then. Shes also the member we always invited to do lessons with Joao, who in Soc Soc one day bore her testimony about how doing those lessons reminded her about why this all was important and was now coming back to church. SCORE RIGHT?!

So basically Avelino isnt a member but theyve always had the goal to go to the temple, for years, theyve just been waiting for the right moment. The sisters were starting to very smoothly teach Avelino, but because of the whitewash hes now our investigator. We taught our first lesson with him on Thursday and it was THE MOST. INCREDIBLE. LESSON. OF. MY. MISSION. I wish I knew how to describe it! We taught the plan of salvation and the Spirit was so incredibly strong it was TANGIBLE. He was so receptive and you could tell he was feeling it as well... So then at the end he we asked him to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized and, no hesitation, he said "vou. vou segiur". Oh man. I started bawling like a baby and babbling on about how much it would mean for him and Xeca and blah blah blah but basically it was just one of the happiest, happiest moments of my life!

Sometimes it can be hard to remember our purpose out here as we trek around talking to people who really arent interested, but when we get to lessons like that it is just ALL worth it. Especially people who I love with all of my heart and now get to play even the tiniest role in having them sealed in the temple... WHAT A HUGE HUGE BLESSING. Missionary work is pretty great familia. I can still get tired and discouraged and homesick, cause its definitely not easy, but I have met the most incredible people and had the most incredible experiences and wouldnt trade any of that for anything in the world. THERE IS SO MUCH HAPPINESS IN THE WORK OF THE LORD.

Also speaking of Xeca, since the other sisters are gone we are her best friends now and I absolutely do not mind one bit because she is my favorite person on the planet. We may or may not go over there 3 to 4 times a week... And when we arent over, she calls us to see how we are doing and I accidentally end up having hour long conversations with her. WHOOPS. Who knew Id ever actually be successful at making friends in Portugese?!? SMALL SUCCESSES FAM

Love yall lots and lots. Dont forget to pray for missionary work and all that! Even the smallest things make a huge difference. FICA BEM FAMILIA


Sister Parkinson

Monday, June 8, 2015


OLA FAMILIA. You probably couldn´t tell by my email title or anything, but transfers were this week and can I just say (because I didn´t say it before) THEY ARE THE WORST. Okay, I´m still in Gaia and my new comp, Sister Smith, is super sweet and we already get along really well. Plus I have the ward family so I´ve got nothing to complain about, right?! It´s just that our district was such a FAM and now Sister Pereira and Sister Harper AND Elder Bianucci have all left me all at once and poor Sister Smith probably (definitely) thinks I´m emotionally unstable because I keep getting randomly emotional at the weirdest things and basically I JUST MISS MY BFFS. It´s especially sad because the sister´s area is being whitewashed with the zone leaders (gross, there goes fun District Meetings) so it´s just Sister Smith and I holding down the fort in our sad, should-be-a-four-person-but-is-only-a-two-person house.

Wow ok no really this transfer will be great and we´ll get a lot of work done and I promise I´m excited. Also I feel like it always sounds like we don´t do anything here (too many True Mormon stories) but I swear we do missionary work sometimes

AND ALSO THIS WEEK WAS SO GREAT. SO quick background story, about a month ago Sister Pereira and I were trying to find an ex-pesquisador and we happened upon this crazy old lady and her sister who were staring at us from their garden. Sister Pereira started talking to them (claro) and we´ve had a few little tiny, you´re-really-sweet-but-just-really-really-old lessons with them since then.

Then one day Sister Pereira called and invited them to church and THEY ACTUALLY CAME?!?! (this doesn´t happen in Portugal familia) and after we had a lesson during divisions and Sister Da Luz just kind of marked them for baptism?!?! So we´ve kept having lessons and preparing them for baptism and whatnot, and yesterday, nossas queridas Maria and Albertina WERE ACTUALLY BAPTIZED YESTERDAY. Yes they are 4 billion years old and yes they don´t always understand everything super well, but they were so cute and so happy yesterday and they have the sweetest little testimonies it´s just adorable. And as the ward has been saying, nunca é tarde para seguir Cristo! Seriously though, it was a super sweet service, they bore their testimonies afterwords about how Christ had given them a bath and now they feel so good. JUST TOO CUTE.

Other fun things from the week:
   - I did residency on Wednesday so WE GOT TO GO TO LISBOA!! For about 2 hot seconds, but still with the mission splitting and all, I just assumed I´d never get to see Lisboa and now, I have. So so exciting
   - Speaking of the mission splitting, I am officially assigned to labor in the Portugal Porto mission! I´m stoked to be up north, even if there´s less Brazilians and Africans it´ll be fixe as heck. That also means that the mission address will be different, so don´t keep sending mail to the one I´ve given out to everybody. But the other address, the Praceto Dr something or another is still where I leave so feel free to send me everything your heart desires
   - I have expected there to be a giant revolt after Sister Pereira announced her departure on Sunday, but instead everybody just wept and since then I´ve gotten 2908892405 phone calls "quero falar com Sister Periera onde está Pereira?!?" OK FAM BUT I´M STAYING NO NEED FOR THE TEARS
   - We started a new tradition of playing the Restauration every Friday in the capela, which is actually really super great because it´s mega powerful and the pesquisadores love it. Unfortunately for this last Friday, I sat next to the elders so I didn´t get as much out of it as I could have. But if you ever want a good movie night, I can suggest watching any Joseph Smith classic and imagining all the characters being played by Nick Cage.

Anyways, that´s the mission life over here. I love you guys lots and lots and lots, thanks for all the support and love and prayers!

Sister Parkinson

Monday, June 1, 2015



2. The time we went to Avintes with our crazy million year old eternigator in this tiny tiny car and basically almost died 823958 times or so

3. This place looked like Pemberly so obviously we had to take a picture

5. Telerifico over beautiful Gaia

6. Starfish at Sealife of Porto!!

HELLO FRIENDS AND FAM! What is good what is good! So Im still in Portugal, still in Gaia, and still a missionary. The weeks start to be more and more the same and I bet my emails are getting mega boring, so sorry about that. MISSIONARY LIFEEEEEEE

So first good news, if things dont work out for me at home I have plenty of people that are interested here in Portugal. As in, during a street contact the other day the 11 year son of the lady kept shouting "ES MUITO BONITA! ES TAO LINDA!" at me and getting very uncomfortably close to me. I handled it well, Id say, hiding behind Sister Pereira. And afterwords, we contact a man who was more or less 9028456925 years old and told me all about how hes been waiting for a woman to come around to replace his wife, and hes pretty sure that woman is me. Hmmmmmmmmmm. Like I said, if I have trouble dating after the mission Ive always got the 11 year olds and the 4 billion year olds to rely on!

We also had divisions this week, which are always a little awkward since the STLs always seem to be natives and love to tell me how bad my Portuguese is. Hahahaha I dont know what happened, people used to be reasonably impressed with my Portuguese, now theyve been slamming it all week and making fun of my American accent. I guess I should actually work harder during language study instead of just looking at the pictures in all the Portuguese Liahonas....

BUT the GREAT thing about the division is that I was with Sister Da Luz, who loves Africans and chases down every African she sees in the street, meaning we found and contacted GABRIEL! Hes a jovem with 20 years and HE IS SO RAD. We had the first lesson with him yesterday and it was a solid 2 hours, because he was asking some really great questions and it was just so cool. Oh, and hed rather we speak in English so BONUS I ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND WHAT IS GOING ON IN THE LESSONS.

Okay but really cool experience time: maybe just because its in Portuguese and we give it so often, I think Ive gotten in the habit of not really giving the First Vision with as much power as it should be. But I had to give it in English with Gabriel yesterday, and 1st: I DONT KNOW IT IN ENGLISH but I just starting saying it and the words came to me. I didnt know how it was going to turn out but the hand of the Lord is in those lessons fam! and 2nd: I finally payed attention to the words again, and it is just so powerful. The Spirit absolutely FILLED the room and it was such a great reminder that yes, this is all true! After I bore my testimony and said that I could really feel that all of this was true and Gabriel said "yeah, I can see that on your face". SO COOL. Im so stoked to keep teaching him!

Also, Sister Periera and I got to be in the room and watch as Joao got the aaronic priesthood! SO UNBELIEVABLY COOL. Its crazy to see how much hes changed, from being a smoking pirate on the street to getting ready to BLESS THE SACRAMENT !!!! Next week. We are very weirdly proud moms and Im not even a little bit upset about it. Hey, missionary work is cool fam!

Thats about all! We also had a ward activity that was FABULOUS with tons and tons of investigators and less actives, got into have a bunch of member dinners, and have 4 MARCADOS for this weekend! Pray pray pray and we will see a lot of miracles and baptisms here at the end of this transfer!

Thanks for all the love and support from all. You guys are the absolute best and I love you all! FICA BEM FAMILIA! STAY GOLD

Sister Parkinson