Monday, July 27, 2015


Soooooooooo the email title comes from one of Xeca´s most prime moments. She didnt like the food she made but it was amazing so I told her it was one of her best, and she, trying to speak her just impecable english, goes, TU ARE A JOKING FOR ME GIRL?! I did not stop laughing for the next 20 minutes or so and Im actually still laughing about it now.

WHAT A WEEK. In case anyone is wondering, NO we still do not know about transfers. With the new prez they are now on Wednesday, but the entire ward has decided Im leaving (with reason, but still) and has starting giving me pity hugs and saying poor thing over and over again. Its really quite sad, I guess they realize just how much I love them all to death. Com certeza transfers are going to be hard hard hard. I also feel like I will love every area I serve in bastante, I just dont want to leave all my lovely friends. BUT ITLL BE GOOD.

I dont have much time so some rapid fire happenings from this week:
   - SOCCER SOCCER SOCCER. ALWAYS. We had the BEST P day today, the Braga family basically just adopted us 6 missionaries and we went to a REAL LIFE SOCCER FIELD and played REAL LIFE SOCCER with a bunch of other missionaries from the zone. Then we had Francezinhas and ice cream and chilled at their house and it was basically a dream come true. Did I mention I love this ward?! Once or twice, maybe?!
   - We have sort of a competition going on with the elders over who the ward loves more. Well, not really a competition because there isnt any, they all love the sisters more, but we went out this week with the intention to prove that sisters really are the favorites. So 2 batches of cookies and a couple member visits later........ Yep. They really do love us and we also havent cooked for about a week because we have member dinner after member dinner. This ward is the greatest. And also its good to be a sister :)
   - Also we actually did bring RC and investigators to our dinners and stuff so I promise we arent just wasting our time and getting fat. Well, getting fat, yes, but still. We are doing missionary work, really I promise.
   - ALSO there is a sister from our ward that just got back from her mission to Brazil on Thursday and it is the single most exciting thing that has happened to this ward in YEARS. And also for the missionaries because she is adorable and amazing and misses her mission a lot and basically told us we can work with her all the time. MISSIONARY JACKPOT. She also makes Sister Smith and I hate ourselves every day because she is just so darn cute and we are over here gaining on average 3 pounds a day. WHOOPS.
   - Oh and we had a pioneer day activity this week! It was super fun and we managed to get a good program together, but seriously, this is a very American holiday. We asked several really cool ward members to do pioneer stories and they all said "we dont know any" so that was awkward. They also found a really scary looking manqeuin (how the HECK do you spell that... Its boneca in Portuguese which is just way easier) that they tried to dress in pioneer clothes but since they dont really know what pioneer clothes are... Yeah. It was fun though and hopefully the people here have a slightly greater appreciation for pioneers.

Thats about it! I absolutely love it here and love the people here with all my heart! The mission doesnt stop being crazy hard, but it gets better and better and better and I wouldnt trade the friendships Ive made out here for anything. I love Gaia and I love Portugal and I love being a missionary. Thanks for all the love and support and FIQUEM BEM FAM!!!!

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo bjssss

Sister Parkinson

Sorry its been a million and a half years since I sent any but I FINALLY HAVE MORE PICCSSSSSSSSS

1. Giant, fabulous, 12th century cathedral. Shoutout to Pdays in Portugal

2. I never feel more European than being in the teeny streets listening to street musicians play music on instruments that Ive never seen before

1. Dinner with the fabulous fabulous Bragas

2. DEPOIS a good 3 hours of futebol, quick shoutout to my giant sweatline and to my sweet sweet father who gave me the genes that make me sweat like a man


1. I TOLD YOU THE BONECA WAS HORRID. But with Elder Pedro everything is better

2. LOVE THIS FAMILY. Bispo and family Soares

1. I am really really really ashamed of how fat I have gotten but I just thought yall needed to see how absolutely FABULOUS and simultaneously horrid these orthopidic shoes are. I KNOW IM FAT OK BUT THE FOOD HERE IS SO GOOD

2. I love love love this people. Presidente and Ana Cruz

1. Minha maezinhaaaaaaaaaaaa de Portugal

2. The view from the bridge and basically Gaia/Porto is perfect

Monday, July 20, 2015


WHAT IS GOOD FAMMMMMM AND HELLOOOOOO FROM GAIA. Yes yes yessssss I am still here and I have at least one more week of borrowed time while we wait for prez to do transfers WOHOOOOOOO. Stay tuned next week when I am most likely weeping over having to leave this incredible area.

Speaking of which HUGE SHOUTOUT to the Catholic Portuguese people for having 2390571920 Saints and allllllllll the holidays that go with em. Literally every other week we are celebrating St. Someone or Another and this week is St. Tiago?! Maybe?! Dont quote me on it but the point is that they celebrate lovely St. So and So through CHURROS AND FAIRS. NOT EVEN KIDDING. There are 300 churro stands all around our area and Sister Smith and I have been going HAM. The first night we saw them we had just spent about 2 hours talking to a crazy lady from our ward and we were like "yep we deserve this" and then had to run home but it was SO WORTH IT

Also the fairs there is a huge one down by the Rio Duro right now and we were so very touristy and I have no regrets. I also bargained with an African lady who didnt speak English or Portuguese to get one of their hand-sewn African dresses for $15£ cheaper and I have never been happier and yes, I absolutely will wear it to district meeting tomorrow.

BUT YEAH SO THIS WEEK ROCKED. Thursday we got a random call in the morning asking if we could be in the Porto airport in 45 minutes because PRES AMORIM FINALLY CAME!! It ended up being pretty awkward because his flight was mega delayed so there was a group of like 45 missionaries waiting for an hour in the airport, but it was still so cool and they are super cute and they are HERE HERE HERE! FINALLY! Also Thursday was Sister Smiths birthday and as it turns out, when the ward members like you, you have quite a few parties to attend. Fun fun fun

And then we got a call that on Friday we would be having a meeting with Pres and Sister Amorim (at 7:00am.... Hmmmmmmmmmm) and basically we went and he talked to us for a solid 3 hours and it was the SINGLE most INCREDIBLE thing EVER. He is incredible. I have a feeling a lot is going to change but all for the better and we are going to see miracles miracles miracles. Also he has the absolute thickest Brazilian accent I have ever heard and its kinda amazing.

Then Saturday we had interviews with President! Also so so good! He really really wants to get to know us and he was taking notes and asking all the nitty gritty questions and giving advice, it was awesome. He also gave every missionary a "challenge" and mine? Tripling my daily contacts. UH WHAT. 45 A DAY?!? Im not sure how itll happen but I will absolutely give it my best effort and I know we will see miracles!

ALSO at Glorias house this week she saw that my sandals were falling apart and she was absolutely appalled so she gave me her old orthipedic sandals and they are INCREDIBLE. I mean theyre horrible but Im wearing them ironically??? And also because my feet feel amazing no matter how ugly they may be. NO RAGRETS

I also dont know if I say it enough, but I love it here so much. It is SO hard but I have had some incredible experiences and met the most amazing people and its just so worth it. I also gained a greater testimony on the Atonement this week, I am starting to realize more and more that if we sincerely repent, every day is a new, clean slate. What a blessing!

I love you all. FIQUEM BEM!!

Sister Parkinson

Monday, July 13, 2015

Futebol, Fatima, and Fransezinhas

WHAT UP FAMMMMMMM. As one member described to us this week, the 3 Fs that best describe here in Porto are Futebol (duh FC PORTO AM I RIGHT), Fatima (nossa senhora da Fatima) and Fransezinhas. A VIDA BOA.

But anywayyyyy HOW ARE YALL DOING?!? Things are as normal as ever here in Gaia. We walk a lot, talk to a lot of people, and teach a lot. The work goes on! BUT I don´t know if any of yall heard, but there has been some CRAZY mission prez drama up here. Our original presidente ended up being sent to the newest Mozambique (dont quote me on that spelling) mission so we got a NEW new president like 4 weeks ago? Presidente Amorim, who is from Brazil but has been living in the US for the last 20 years or so.

BUT his Visa only got started a month ago so its still not here, so right now we are SEM PRESIDENTE. IT IS SUCH A PARTY. Okay, not really, but there was one P day that we wanted to go to Porto so the elders said "you have to ask Presidente" and we said "what presidente?!?! LOL WE DONT HAVE ONEEEEEEEE" and it was all fun and games.... and then we called the 1st counselor in the mission presidency. Like I said, a PARTY.

But Prez Amorim is already sending lots of love even from the US and he sounds like he is the coolest guy ever. He is super hilarious and super intense and hard working and its going to be amazing once he actually gets here. In the meantime though, he wants to wait to interview all of us before he does transfers. Meaning WE ARENT ACTUALLY HAVING TRANSFERS NEXT WEEK. AHFKDJFHSDKFLHIEUH WOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Literally I have been praying the last couple of days that I could somehow stay in Gaia just a little bit longer. Let me tell you, God hears and answers prayers! Sometimes in the funniest ways, but now I have at least a week extra in Gaia and I cannot WAIT to make the most of it.

Random other weekly things:
   - We had the craziest, most UNREAL zone conference this week where the zone leaders did this intense discussion on the parable of the talents and how we can cuidar all of our "talents" in our areas and I was literally weeping and getting SO stoked for missionary work I couldnt even believe it. Having been in the same district of the zone leaders and knowing that they´re just massive goofballs I never would have expected it out of em, but they really pulled through. ALL MY HATS GO OFF TO YOU GENTLEMEN
   - We dont have any materials?! They are all backordered and in Germany?! So like, we are hoping nobody wants any copies of the Livro de Mormon anytime soon because we dont have any...
   - Dear sweet Xecaninha took us into Porto today and we had a BLAST looking at billion year old things and talking about places where people got excecuted and things like that. There is absolutely NOTHING like opening a plain-looking door and walking into a 12th century cathedral. NOTHING

   - SOCCER SOCCER SOCCER. As we have learned there is always an excuse for a good recent-convert-integration missionary soccer game, whenever necessary. Or more accurately, a none-of-our-recent-converts-showed-up-but-we-are-still-going-to-play missionary soccer game.
   - We´re trying to play a Dia dos Pioneeros activity with the ward and they just dont understand. Having a cookout, dressing like pioneers, things like that just don´t really sit well with Portuguese people. Maybe we´ll stick with Portuguese holidays.
   - For some reason we invited one of our pesquisadores to institute?! Bad choice. About 2 minutes in they started having a really intense argument about the spiritual world and the 3 reinas de gloria. Yep. We haven´t even taught the plan of salvation yet. Greatttttttttt

BUT ANYWAY THAT`S THAT. I was planning on sending a PLEASE PRAY FOR ME I HAVE TO LEAVE MY BEAUTIFUL HOME OF GAIA email but THE LORD HAS SMILED DOWN ON ME and I have a teeny bit more time and basically I´m just happy happy happy here. I love the people with my whole heart. The mission is so hard, there´s nothing harder, but I love it and I love the people I´ve met and I love the Lord. WOHOOOOOOOOO MISSIONS


Sister Parkinson

(Editors note: These pictures are straight off of Carly's companions blog... I of course HAD to share the bridge!)

Monday, July 6, 2015


So the email title comes from the story of Nicodemus, which is 90257190750239 times more entertaining in Portuguese. Like when Christ says "tu és mestre de Israel e não sabes isso?". Yep. Pretty much my favorite phrase of all time. I also use it way more than I should. BIBLE JOKES YEAH


I honestly hardly even remember what happened. We had divisions with the STLs and it was CRAZY fun. I finally got the chance to work with Sister Wood and I´m pretty sure she´s my soulmate. We spent the entire day singing and laughing and making jokes about how fat we are... And yet still doing missionary work and finding people. Milagre of milagres.

Sister Smith and I also ate something that wasn´t good somehow so we spent a full day laying on the floor of the house discussing anything and EVERYTHING and it was way more fun than it should of been. We really do work I promise... we also just sometimes lay on the floor and share mission gossip. WHOOPSSSSSss

ALSO great news, the elders and us have a ton of recent converts that happen to be teenage boys. Not sure why, but the important thing is, it means we get to have INTEGRATION FOOTBALL GAMES whenever we WANT. Literally I missed playing soccer so much and it is bringing me LIFE. Also last game we played I was on the same team as 2 Africans and they said that I "joga bem para uma Americana" and it may or may not have been the best compliment I´ve ever recieved.


Other than that, not much to report! We do a lot of walking, hunting down people, sweating in the heat, and general spreading of the gospel. It is honestly a ton of fun and I love it more and more everyday. I am INCREDIBLY lucky to be here, it is such a short but really amazing time of life and I wouldn´t want to be doing anything else. Love you all, thanks for all the love and support and good examples and all that. FIQUEM BEM FAM!! MUCH LOVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

(Following pictures stolen from her companions blog last week)
Avelino's baptism

Eating sardines at the Ward Sao Joao Party