Monday, February 23, 2015

Week 5 Genk - A Lesson Learned

Hello hello,

Holy cow it felt like it was yesterday that I was typing up my email to send home. Time is just flying out here and is not slowing down. If anything its speeding up. I can also say that I know what all of those returned missionaries meant when they say how weird time is on a mission. It's true! 

Bad news, after a beautiful last week and first two days of this week the weather is back to its loving and enticing self, that is 0°, with slight wind storms and some lovely rain! You just can't get enough of it out here. But it growing on me, it’s not bad at all to go out and work in the rain anymore. Rather it is becoming super fun, sure it’s wet and you could say cold and windy but that isn't stopping us from: dying of laughter, biking like man men, laughing when a bus hits a puddle and soaks you or just singing our hearts out on the bikes. I love it! 

This week was a good one once again! Nothing super amazing happened this week, not a ton of appointments or a huge miracle, but a lot of small little things that just kept a smile on our faces! The first one would have to be an appointment that we had with a less active for dinner. All four of us having been working with her and She is finally getting back into it. But this week was just cool, we were over there for dinner and she was just telling us that she was going through some hard things with family and such. She was getting emotional and quickly changed the subject (to outdoor sports actually :)) to get her mind off of it. But by the end of the appointment when it was time for the spiritual thought we shared a video with her and it touched her heart. She began to tell us that she has been praying for the comfort of our Heavenly Father and a reformation of the truthfulness of the gospel. She continued and said 'Elders you were the answer to that prayer I now know that whatever happens, what I am doing is right and my Heavenly Father is there.' The spirit literally just filled the room and was an amazing testimony builder for me and all of us at that. We couldn't help but talk about it the whole ride home. We were blessed to be the vessels in which the Lord used to bless another’s life. What more can you ask for? 

Another cool lesson that I learned this week actually happened Saturday. About a week ago we got a call saying that someone Taggart was working with in Rotterdam was getting baptized and wanted him to do the confirmation, so we called President and got permission to go. Very long train ride by the way! But it was during this baptism service that I was humbled. It’s been something that I have been fighting my whole mission, praying for strength and asking for help. That is to lose my pride and become humble. Well it clicked today after over 6 months of asking for help the switch was finally flipped. It was during that baptism that the spirit touched my heart and said ' Elder Parr, this is my work, I am at the head and you are all in it together'. Whether it be his baptism not mine, there having more success than me, or whatever it is. It doesn't matter, it’s the Lords work, and I am where I am for a reason, in the situations I am for a reason. But that doesn't mean I needed to be jealous of others, which was hard for me to be honest. But today, seeing that baptism of a kid I never met, of Elders I have never met, it changed me. That was a blessing for me and a lesson that I won't forget.

And just to put the cherry on top of that lesson learned, I got to help see and experience one of the flipping moments for the other Genk Elders investigator. Friday I was on exchanges with elder Thomas and our last appointment of the night was with a former named Vera, who stopped progressing. They got in contact with her and began teaching her again. Well this appointment we were teaching the 2nd lesson, and everything just seemed to click, she understood it, it all made sense to her on why we do the things we do. She accepted a baptismal invitation, she came to church on Sunday, and she gets it now. Even though it wasn't ' my investigator' it made me so happy to see her change and to see that light fill her. Like I said earlier, just a great cherry on top.

I am loving this work, it’s just great and so fun. Thank you all for the emails and letters, it means a lot. I hope that all is going well for you and this week is a great one! Love you all.

Elder Parr

P.S.  I ate dried squid this week...not very good.

My sis Allie "HOOPS" this is for you <3 ya
Hot Chocolate and TreinLeven
Long train ride...
Elder Taggart
They called me out....Alien style

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Week 4 Genk - "Wonderen..."

Hello everyone!

This week has been so much fun and the BEST weather that we have had out here for the longest time. Guys get this, we actually had sun and didn't even have to wear a sweater under our winter jackets ha-ha. We are making progress, summer is just around the corner!!

So we actually had a couple cool miracles happen this week for us and turned our week around. This week began with 0 lessons scheduled and we couldn't really get ahold of anyone besides Sargun. And that was rough, but it all turned around after Wednesday. Elder Taggart and I decided to do fast for ultimately help with the work here. And I really believe that Heavenly Father heard and answered our fast. By Wednesday night we had another lesson scheduled with Sargun, Franklin and Dennis and Lorene. So we were pretty stoked about that. It all seemed to be heading back in the right direction!

So Thursday we were able to meet Lorene and talk with her about the talk she was asked to give at Nina’s baptism (the other elders in our apartment) this Saturday. It was such a miracle she said she'd do it because one she’s never given one and two she in super not super active. But she accepted. So we helped her prepare that and that was just super fun and then she told us that her husband, Dennis, would come to the baptism as well. He is not a member and we are finally beginning to work with him. That was the first miracle that I believe came straight from God to help two of His missionaries see some success.

Second miracle actually happened the day of the baptism. We get to Leuven where the baptism was and we walk in and one of our investigators Julliet was there. A little background about her, the 14th of February was actually her baptismal date but the day I got in Genk she had sent us a text that said she had no time to meet and just needed some time to get things straight. So for the past 3 or so weeks now we haven't done much with her at all. So to us that was a huge miracle to see her at the baptism. She ended up loving it and we are now officially teaching her again!! How cool is that!! It was also super cool that later we found out it was Zr. Knoops who just sent her a text and asked her if she wanted to come to the baptism and got a hold of her and got her there ultimately. That was another lesson learned of how much members can do for the missionaries and really have us see miracles happen because of simple little things that they do. I am so grateful for that and the great members here that are trying so hard to help this branch grow, it really is making a world of a difference. And a big part of the success here goes to them! So that was just something super cool for us to see.

Franklin was also a miracle in my eyes this week. We called him Wednesday night after fasting and were able to get an appointment with him this Sunday. We get over there Sunday he lets us right in and was super excited to see us. We got to know him a little bit and turns out he is such a stud and a crazy good soccer player!! Then we taught the first lesson and it was such an amazing lesson and he was so sincere about it. At the end of the lesson we challenged him to be baptized and he said definitely if I get my answer. That was so cool to hear. Ah he has so much potential and is a stud. I can't wait to see what happens with him.

Well here is a little funny story, Sunday morning we had our ward council and at the very end they said one of the speaker was sick and they needed a missionary. Well guess what I was chosen....I guess people like to just put me on the spot to give talks in church but might I just add that I am getting dang good at making up a pretty good talk on the spot ha-ha. It actually went super well and they all said they loved it and that I did a good job so that made me smile. It was definitely a confidence booster.

I hope that your Valentines was as good as mine was. Elder Taggart and I went on a date to Pizza hut. Yes we found an actual pizza hut in the middle of Hasselt!!! And it even tasted the exact same. Wow I was in heaven. Miss all that good American food haha. Oh and there was the carnival and that was just insane, you couldn't even see the ground by the time it was over. They go big here!! 

Today we actually had a big zone indoor soccer tourney, and guess who turned out on top, Genk district baby!! That was a blast, this zone is so cool! Love it here.

Well that was some of the highlights of my week for you. Thank you for the emails and the support. I love you all and am so grateful for you and your examples, I wouldn't be where I am if it wasn't for you all, so thanks!!! And I hope you have an amazing week, the Church is true, and the Savior loves you!! I love this work and all it teaches me! And that's all, till next week.
Elder Parr

Happy Valentines Day - we celebrated with Pizza Hut!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Week 3 Genk - Loving it out here!

Hello everyone!!

This week has definitely been a different one to say the least but also was a food one if I might say so as well. It had its ups and downs ha-ha. But as always the ups outweigh the downs! But we'll get there.

Here in the nice little town of Genk it's finally starting to warm up just a little bit! The temperature has probably raised like a whole 1 degree and the sun is coming out a whole 20 or so minutes earlier, it's amazing! I cannot wait for the nice warm sun again instead of the nice deceiving one that when you look outside it looks warm then you walk out and it is really still ice cold. But it’s coming!!

So after a super fun p-day last week and a good time in the city of Maastricht, it kind of all went downhill for a couple of days....Tuesday we had district meeting so we had to get up pretty early and head off to Leuven but we woke up and Elder Thomas was pretty sick and we sat outside of the church for a good hour waiting for the keys so that just made it worse. Besides that district meeting was actually pretty great I have got another cool district so that’s a blessing! But it was when we got home and Thomas was dying and super sick so he didn't go outside and that’s where it all started. Elder Taggart and I were still able to go out and get some work done which was good we actually found a super cool new investigator named franklin he is from Africa and really interested. That was a pretty cool miracle of its own actually since we don't have a whole lot of investigators here right now so we have been finding and the lord blessed us with a good one. After knocking and contacting for a while we went and had dinner and just prayed we could find someone and were lead to His house. Very cool! 

Then Wednesday Elder Taggart and Thomas were still sick so I went out with elder Louvain again and we had a blast! We went and taught one of their new investigators the first lesson and guess what he was from Ghana! Ya I love my Ghana brothers, they are the best! (side note, Josh is still killing it Delft I hear, they are working on a calling and he hasn't missed a Sunday yet:)) Anyways we were able to invite John to baptism and he accepted and was probably one of the most prepared guys that I have met. So I hope all goes well with him and the other Elders! Then we were also able to teach one of their investigators who is getting baptized this Saturday, very cool girl.  I guess she has made a 180ยบ so that’s super cool. Had a great lesson with her just about the Holy Ghost and the spirit was just powerful which always is great!!

Thursday it was my turn to get hit with the bug/flu thingy....I woke up and it was just terrible and so forth. I slept literally the entire day I didn't even know it was possible to sleep that long. But lucky the next morning I felt SO much better and was able to get right back into the work for the most part. I think that we had some pretty cool miracles this week because I guess this bug is supposed to last about a week, and all 2 of the 3 of us that got it, it only lasted 1 day. So that was pretty cool!

We had a very cool lesson with a less active and her daughter this week. I guess you can call them inactive, but we finally got ahold of them and they invited us over. We taught them the 1st lesson and by the end of the lesson they had felt the spirit, they said they didn't remember how powerful the message of the restoration was and what it was like feeling that strong spirit. They both committed to try and live the gospel and read and come to church. But the daughter stops us right before we were going to leave and said she wants to give up everything (smoking, drinking and such) to have that spirit with her again. That was a very powerful moment. I know that it wasn’t us who made her say that but the spirit working with her the whole time we were there!

Those are a few of the highlights of this week. But it really was an amazing week even with the struggles. I love this work more and more as I go and couldn't be more grateful to be where I am right now! I LOVE this gospel! 

Thank you all for your amazing support and all that you do for me. I really really appreciate it! I hope that you all have an amazing week. I love you all, you're the best!

Elder Parr

Week 2 Genk - Belgian Life

Hello Everyone!

What an adventure of a week it has been! I’ll start off with the absolutely crazy weather that we have had these past couple of days! It has snowed at least a little bit every-single day this week. How crazy is that? Probably normal over there in the mountains but not here. But that alone has been a blast besides the fact that it has brought the freezing air along with it and let’s not count out how humid it is. It's great you can put on like 4 layers and still feel the air right through it. I love it a whole new experience! Cold and all it's been a good week! 

GHETTO trains for life! The public transportation here in Belgium can say not quite as nice as it is in the Netherlands! They have all of the buses times so they leave at the exact same time then no one can get out of the parking lot and it a HUGE traffic jam. Nothing is electric here at all you have to stamp your card like they do in all the old train movies and it doesn't announce the stop you are getting off at. You have memorize the surroundings of the halte you need to get off at or it won't stop.

So that led up to my story about my first exchange here in Genk. Yes after a week of being 100% lost I got to take it over for the day with Elder Childs. It was hilarious and so fun. First things first we had to find our way back to Antwerpen Central and find the right train out of the 26 spoors and 4 levels of trains (prettiest train station I have ever seen). So that alone was an adventure. But no worries we were able to find out our way and make it home ha. A nice 6 hour train ride. But Friday with Elder Childs was so much fun. Sure we were lost 90% of the time but we were able to find a few super cool people and teach two really cool lessons. We literally got lost in the work ha-ha and had a fun time doing it:)

Tuesday ended up being a pretty awesome day as well. Although every appointment that we had ended up falling through we still decided we were going to make it a good day somehow. And that’s exactly what we did, we first went and looked up a pretty much inactive lady and she let us right in. We were able to talk about her concerns and hit hard on the blessing of church. We invited her to come back and she said yes. Well Sunday rolled around and guess who was there? She came and loved it. Another is we were about to hop back on a bus to head back to Genk after our appointment fell through. Keep in mind we have knocked about 15 doors in the area and there was nothing. So we were sitting at the bus stop and it was going to come in about 3 minutes but I just felt I should knock the door across the street. I fought with myself because I really didn't want to miss the bus that only comes ever hour. And I was pretty sure if that door opened I would have missed the bus. Well I did it anyway and a younger man opened it up and we began talking and he was looking for just what we had. We were able to get to know each other and he invited us back for tomorrow actually. That was a cool little miracle for me, and really a day full of them, 1 we didn't miss the bus it was late 2 we found an incredible investigator and 3 brought someone back to church. None of that would have happened if those appointments all went through.

We were able to teach Sargun twice this week and they were both really great lessons. She was the girl who had the baptismal date for 2 weeks from now. But her mom said we talked to the mom about it and she is considering it now as well as beginning to take the lessons!!! So exciting I really do think that it will end up working out, sargun is 100% ready and I can feel the spirit working with her mother. So we are praying for the best with them. Super cool family though!!

Mom Dad, you guys won't believe it but I ate so many stinking muscles on Saturday. Yes the kid who hates sea food had the "amazing" opportunity of eating 8 kilos of muscles with 6 people at a dinner appointment. It was hilarious though. And to be honest they weren't as bad as as thought Grandpa was right after all hah. Quite the experience though.
I just love this work more and more every day, and love the people that I get to serve. I never would have guessed how amazing a mission really is, it truly has blown my expectations out of the water. Ya sure there are always days where it is hard and times where I struggle, but man does the good out way the bad and somehow there always seems to be at least a little good every single day without fail if you only look for it! I love it!!!!! I know this is where I am supposed to be and I wouldn't trade it for anything. The church is true! 

Well I love you all and thanks for the prayers they help a lot and I am grateful for them! I hope all is going great back home in all that you are all doing, stay blessed! 

Elder Parr