Monday, March 28, 2016

Braga's Semana Santa and 87253987 processions later

WHAT UP FAM TUDO BEM TUDO BEM. Hope everything is tudo na boa and everyone is feeling fine and that PÁSCOA PÁSCOA PÁSCOA was a BLAST for tudo mundo!! Yayyyyyyy Easter

Speaking of Easter, we just so happened to be in the absolute best place in all of Portugal to celebrate the holy day. But really though, they call Braga the Rome of Portugal because everyone and their dog is Catholic so they put on a huge, HUGE FESTA for Easter and theres a billion tourists and churros on churros and CRAZY PROCESSIONS all day, everyday. I felt culturally enriched out of my mind all week!!! And also fat because you know, churros.

Soooooooooo for the week:
   - we took another surprise visit down to P-town Porto (why do these keep happening) and ended up having a bunch of extra time before our train left so we were like AMERICAN sTORE??? And mosied our way down (and by mosey I mean run. Run for the mac and cheese) and WENT SO HARD YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE. Pretty sure I spilt a tear or two in the Dr Pepper aisle. As Sister Runyan pointed out, we've been in Portugal long enough that we get excited about a little taste of home now instead of Portugese food. Maybe that explains the daily McDonalds cravings??
   - so ABOUT THESE PROCESSIONS. YOU GUYS. Wednesday night there was one that went through the full Bible, from Abraham to Christ and everything in between, feat. a wooden Mary being guided on a donkey through the streets. Thursday they had the "ferricocos", which are guys dressed head-to-toe in black (literally, with eye holes cut out of their black sheets) carrying fire and noise makers and calling people to repentance. And Friday had Christ on the cross (again, literally, a literal person being carried through the streets on a cross) and Saturday was THE BURNING OF JUDAS AT THE STAKE. What did I tell you fam THEY DONT MESS AROUND WITH EASTER HERE. It was the biggest party in the world and I think I will come here for Semana Santa every year
   - Also for Easter nobody was at church so bispo came in clutch and cancelled the last hour of church. Hahahahahahahhaah THE IRONY. And no one actually invited us to eat with them for Easter so we had a huge district Easter party!!!!! Problem is, we are at the end of the month and none of us have any money.... or food.... so we pooled ALL of our resources at the capela and ended up making mashed potatoes, some kind of feijoada-thing, and french toast. The greatest Easter lunch ever???? Possibly. You decide.
   - Friday we had a ward activity and it was a blast. Actually it was great because normally nobody shows up for missionary activities here and we managed to get like 8 pesquisadores there!!! We couldnt get the church website videos to work so we ended up having to pull up the second stringer "To This End Was I Born" which is a TINY bit intense and kinda dropped the cheery mood by like 400% but what can ya do. We pulled it back with a bazillion cookies and lemon bars and goofy games and everybody really loved it!!! Success squad
And on the realz I hope everyone had a fabulous Easter!! We really focused this week on Luke 24:5-6 and 1 Corinthians 15:22 together, and how since Christ resurrected all of us will resurrect. Thats the miracle of Easter, folks!! Christ LIVES and because of that, we will all live again. And I am so blessed and grateful to know all that and to get to share it!!

Wait, me saying spiritual things??? What happened??

Hahahahahaha alrighty thats all I got for the week fam but I LOVE YOU ALL TONS AND TONS.


much love from the Portuguese Rome

xoxoxoxox bjnhs Sis P

P.S. sorry I suck and I didnt actually take any pics of anything this week but yall can probably mooch off my comp or something??? Whoops MY BAD

(Carly forwared the following picture from her comp)

And as suggested... stolen from the companion!

Monday, March 21, 2016

This is gonna be the best day of my lifeeeeeeeeee


So I spent all of Saturday morning preparitorily (is that a word? Prepar-a-torily??) singing the subject line song at the top of my lungs and I think I can safely say that Saturday did NOT disappoint. IT WAS POSSIBLY THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFEEEE. NOT JUST MY MISSION LIFE BUT POSSIBLY MY WHOLE LIFE. THE CHURCH IS TRUEEEEEEE EVERYBODY.

So basically, y'all all know Sandra and Hélder, the family I taught in Porto that were getting married slash baptized on Saturday. We actually got permission from Prez to go!!!!!!! But we had to have an investigator, which for lazy Portuguese people to spend their Saturday going all the way down to Porto to go to someone's baptism they don't know, is actually harder than it looks. So we dedicated our whole week to finding someone to go with us, we were praying our faces off everyday, the works.

Finally it gets to Friday and we STILL HAD NO ONE. So the prayers got more intense and the convites got more and more desperate (we were calling and inviting people that the Elders were like "sisters, you have a problem" i.e. the schizophrenic ward member's crazy sister and the ward hobo's crazy uncle) and finally in complete determination I decided to fast until we got someone to go with us. And for anyone who knows me even a little bit, you know that THAT is real sacrifice right there, friends. Girl loves her food.

And honestly, this was probably the most faith-filled I have ever been in my whole life. Person after person was calling us and telling us they couldn't go but I somehow just KNEW that we were going to find somebody and was completely peaceful about it the entire time.

Flash forward to the 23rd hour of a 24-hour fast, we are in correlation meeting and we get a call from Catarina. BACKGROUND: Catarina is this adorable menos-activa in our ward, Felipe is her non-member boyfriend. They need to get married so Felipe can be baptized. Basically the same situation as Sandra and Hélder so we had really, really wanted them to go to this baptism but they hadn't showed any intrest at all. SOOOOOOOO we randomly get this call from Catarina and she's like "hey whats up sistas" and Im like Oh not much also WHAT ABOUT THIS WEDDING BAPTISM THING. And shes like "idk but call Felipe" and so I did and he was like actually that sounds pretty cool yeah we should go when can I come get you


AHHHHHHHH AIHFOIWJLKCJAJSDSAKLJDA YOU GUYS. MILAGRES ARE REAL AND THEY HAPPEN. And like, I know it wasn't that big of a deal but thats what made it so amazing, ya know?? Because it wasnt a huge thing but since it was really, really important to me the Lord made it happen. THE CHURCH IS SO TRUE. YOU GUYS. IT IS SO TRUE. Fasting is real, prayer is real, and the Lord wants us to be happy even through the littlest things.

And yep, we made our way down to that wedding and baptism and it was THE. GREATEST. I was bawling the whole time. Sandra looked perfect. They were so happy. OH AND FREAKING BONUS, there is a recent convert and her daughter that we always hung out with in Foz and her husband was never that interested in the church, then I get there and SUPRISE find out that PAULO WAS ALSO GETTING BAPTIZED. YOU. GUYS. I cannot even EXPLAIN to you how happy I was. IT WAS THE LITERAL GREATEST THING IN THE WORLD. And Felipe totally loved it, it was his first time seeing a baptism and he kept being like "this will be me one day everybody". AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

So, yep. That was pretty much our whole semana, or at least the most important part. There were also some crazy Easter Catholic processions and crazy investigators that answered the door without pants and super drunk recent converts. Ya know, the usual. But BASICALLY everything is perfect and missions are the best and thats all that matters.

MUCH LOVE TO ONE AND ALL. Thanks for the love and prayers and all that jazz. Y'all are the bestttttt.


xoxoxoxoxox bjnhs Sis P

Sooooooooo Im finally back with more picz for the fam!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Last week Matosinhos came up and partied with us and it was the actually greatest

1. All the ladiez at Bom Jesus

2. Part 2

Also after my now super famous Bom Jesus selfie, a part 2 with my gurl Sis Cahill just had to happen

also today we went to Guimarães and went to a REAL LIFE CASTLE WOHOOOOOOOOO

Monday, March 14, 2016


What up everybodyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy HAPPY MONDAY!!! TUDO BEM TUDO MUNDO???!!! I hope the semanas forem boas and everything is correring tudo bem!!

SO WE HAD A GREAT WEEK IN BRAGA COMO SEMPRE. But seriously, I love this place with all of my heart, Braga is the best best best best best!! The crazy people, the crazy wonderful food, the crazy good food, everything. How did I ever get so blessed??!?!?!

But for this week I honestly cant think of anything to share lolz sorry fam here we goooooooo

   - That email title though. Sis Runyan was trolling hard this week so she found a thing on our phone that cuts phone calls at 5 minutes. I, being one who loves my phone time, did not take it well. I assumed it was a mission thing and went completely crazy and decided we were in a communist regime and was planning on making my email title "Back in the U.S.S.R."... but ya know, since that wasnt actually what was going on, now its just the Red Scare. Hahahaha bad history jokes for dayzzz. And yes, I have started the addiction recovery process to my phone usage. "Hi Im Sister Parkinson and Im a phone user...."
   - Wow ok this email already started off bad. Lets see here, we also didnt eat at home like hardly at all this week so we didnt even have to do groceries. My love for McDonalds came back with a vengence and I was ashamed I ever left it. Our RC Antonio gave us 9048093284 pieces of gum for some reason so Sis Runyan and I decided to try and fit as much in our mouth as possible, I naturally won by a landslide with 26 pieces (those chipmunk cheeks though) but then I had to lay on the floor for like 3 hours because the sugar rush made me insanely sick. We brought brownie bowl back this week and I nearly died afterwords.... ?? Thats all I have honestly. Hahaha the mission life.
   - ALSO, Prez has been making a bigger deal about getting up and actually exercising, and we took it to heart and actually went out running the last couple of days. And the first day we did, we had 6 LESSONS THAT DAY (anyone serving in Utah, I know its not a big deal but for us its like the Michael Phelps just won 8 medals again or something) so basically, following the conselhos of your leaders is real and really does work. Church is true.
   - I should write about investigators I know, but thats what companions are for. Haha suffice it to say that our investigators are super cool and I really love them all!! Pray for all of them, especially Carlos, João, and Cecelia. WE GON SEE MIRACLES HERE, GENTE.

And also, pray for us!! We have permission to go to Porto for Sandra and Hélders baptism and wedding, but only with an investigator. And since I a) think this would be an amazing opportunity for a bunch of our investigators and b) REALLY REALLY REALLY want to go, all y'alls prayers would be welcome!!

AND I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!! Thanks for the love and support and prayers. Missions are the best and I love being here.


xoxoxoxox bjnhs Sis P

Monday, March 7, 2016


What up friends and fammmmmmmm tudo bem tudo mundo???? I hope yall had great semanas and all that!!!

Theres actually not much to report from here in Braga town. People are crazy, its still cold and rainy, and the work goes on as usual!! Lets see what I can whip up here:

   - Probably the most important part of this letter is for all of you to know that, for the first time in my mission, I breached the unthinkable barrier and ate McDonalds for, you guessed it, 3 MEALS IN A ROW. We hit McDs on the way to a zone meeting, we obviously had to get it as a zone afterwords, and then had nothing in our apartment for dinner so we HIT UP MCDONALDS. I want with all of my heart to say NO RAGRETS but there were actually, real life regrets, and I havent eaten Mcdonalds since. I know its hard to believe. I myself have trouble accepting it, but its true. Looks like 6 months to sexy may be a go after all.... ??! Stay tuned fam. This is serious stuff.
   - Sis Runyan had to, once again, deal with my instability as I spent a good part of the week figuring out stuff for BYU. I had a real-life panic attack and have basically decided that I am never coming home. Sorry for anyone who is disappointed by this news but yep, looks like I will be a missionary forever. SORRY BOYZ
   - We finally FINALLY had a zone meeting this week and it was just as goofy as ever!! Its always great to see old friends and do ridiculous practicas and ride trains and eat Mcdonalds and all that jazz. PLUS we got our mail after like 34809 months so SHOUTOUT to Mama P, Melanie, the Haas and any and all other mail senders!! Yall are saints. Much love and bênçãos to ya.
   - So Sis Runyan and I realized that we had basically NO new investigators to teach and it is kinda frustrating DEMAIS, so we did some hardcore evaluation and realized that, oh yeah, we hadnt actually been doing all our contacts. SO we set some high contacting goals and hit the streets on what just happened to be the coldest and rainiest day of the week here. Every time it would start raining or we had some kind of setback we would just be like NOT TODAY SATAN. NOT TODAY. And in the end, we made ourselves that little goal and WHOPPED THE DEVIL.
   - Actual missionary moments: we got to do a fast with one of our investigators who was going through some legal stuff for her netinha, and it was actually super spiritual and really cool, and everything worked out the way they needed it to. Then another investigator needed some help legalizing her child, and after saying a prayer the VERY next day got the letter she needed in the mail. WOAH. MIRACLES HAPPEN FAM. And its especially cool to watch it happen for others and ESPECIALLY ESPECIALLY cool when they recognize the hand of the Lord in all of it. Thats one of the most rewarding parts of missionary work, when people receive blessings and know that they are coming from the Lord. Church is true, everybody.

Now for the subject line slash a special segment called BEST OF SISTER RUNYAN. Have to give the lady a shoutout for being constantly hilarious
   1. The subject line. She made a fairly impressive paper airplane so I was like "hey man thats a pretty good airplane there" and she just immediately shouts I DONT MESS AROUND WITH PAPER AIRPLANES. Hahahahah dying.
   2. "TIME FLIES WHEN YOURE HAVING FAST". Gotta love that positivity when you are fasting twice a week
   3. A member called during one of our lessons, so obviously we didnt answer because, you know, we were teaching. So afterwords I look at the phone and Im like "oh look, Jessica called" and she goes "oh really?? What did she say?". HAHAHAHAHA SHOUTOUT. Shes the best.

Anywayyyyyyy thats all I got. Sorry if my emails are sort of the worst but just so all know, THE MISSION IS THE BEST. Braga is wonderful and the church is true. And everything is wonderful here in Portugal!!! Thanks for all the love back home, one and all!!


xoxoxoxoxo bjs Sis P