Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Week 18 Genk - A Week to remember!!

Hello Hello,
I have no idea where am I going to start with this week. SOOO many things happened and I know that I won't have the time to even share half of them. But I think I could start by saying this has been one of the greatest weeks of my mission by far! We saw so many miracles had so many laughs and ended the transfer with a bang!!

Well the biggest miracle this week has to be Laticha Parente. This week we had the chance to go over and meet with her every single day and somehow manage to give all of the lesson. And during our many visits my love for her just grew so much. Here is a little bit about Laticha, she is the 2nd oldest of 11 kids. Almost all of the kids have different dad's and the she pretty much takes on the role as the mom of the house. She is in charge of making sure all the kids get food, get to school and all that stuff. Her two sibling who are about her age are not religious at all and they sometimes tease her pretty bad about wanting to come to church and believing in a God. Her younger siblings all look up to her like a hero and a best friend. And yet somehow, with all of this craziness going on at home she has found time to receive a personal testimony of the Book of Mormon. She was telling us stories of how she would read with a flash light under her covers so her siblings wouldn't make fun of her and Praying in secret so she could find out if this is what she needed to do. She told us stories of how she has been able to get all of the younger kids to listen as she reads and tells them stories out of the Book Of Mormon. And how she has talked to her friends about the gospel. As you can see she is one incredible girl. 

Well she was finally able to make the step and be Baptized as a member of the Church Of Jesus Christ. That was one of the most powerful spiritual moments of my life. Seeing her go under the water and literally come up a new person. I can't even bring to words the joy you feel when you get to play such a small role in bringing someone else unto Christ. Heavenly Father somehow managed to use Elder Larsen and I, two imperfect tools, to help one of His daughters gain a testimony of His Son and of His true church. That right there is the greatest blessing you can have. I don't know how we were able to do everything we needed to do before Sunday but somehow we managed to do it. The Lord was with us every step of the way and I am beyond grateful for that experience!

On top of that we had some pretty awesome times with the branch this week. Sunday the Pollets invited us over to have an American BBQ with them before that we left. That was incredible man I miss that stuff! That night we also all went over to the Parentes and cooked them some hamburgers and American pancakes...yes in the same meal. They requested haha!! But they absolutely loved it! Then they asked us to jam out to "Let it go" with them, of course we said yes. You have to see that video, you would die. :) And this will tell you how amazing the branch is, when they found out a couple of us were leaving within a couple of hours they had thrown together a big party for us before we would leave. So yesterday we all went and played some soccer, ultimate frisbee and American football with the branch. That was an absolute blast. I can't tell you how much I love this little place in the corner of Belgium! These people have my heart! I am going to miss them so much and all that they have done for me personally. Just one big happy family here in Genk!

This week we also managed to have some pretty amazing lessons as well! Between the four of us we were super busy and it was so awesome to be so busy for the first time in a long time. Another great lesson I had was with elder Warner. A week ago I called up a former investigator named Miki and set up an appointment with him and this week Elder Warner and I went and taught him. During the lesson I just felt super inspired to drop a baptism date within the first 10 or so minutes of the lesson. So fighting my fear, I eventually did It and the spirit was just so so strong! He accepted a date for June 27. :) That was such a cool experience! But earlier visits with him he talked to us about how hard it was for him to read the book of mormon cause he is never home. And I just heard the most distinct voice, Elder Parr, Give him you mini book Of Mormon. And I thought to myself no, whats that gonna help. I use that all the time, it's easy to carry around, why should I give it to him. Well I heard it again, Elder Parr, Give him you mini Book of Mormon. So fighting with myself once again I reached into my bag and pulled out my mini Book Of Mormon and said Miki I think this might help, it's something you can bring around with you in your bag, read at bus stops and on the train and just have it wherever you go. He just lit up with a big old grin and thanked me so much. Well it turns out that it has made a difference, that Miki has been reading in that mini book of mormon that I had given to him. That made me sooo happy to hear! I still don't quite get how the Lord works, but after that experience and on top of others I have had, I know 100´% when the spirit tells you to do something do it! I am sure going to try to always follow the spirit no matte what!

Those are a couple of highlights from this past week. I wish I could tell you more about this week because it has been one to remember. But I am loving my mission so so much! And this coming week I am taking my journey back to the Netherlands. Saturday was transfer calls and I am heading to Zaandam, a city right out side of Amsterdam. I heard a lot of good things about it and am excited to see what is brings! I love this gospel!! I hope you all have an amazing week and thanks for all of the love an support! I love you all! The Church is true!!

love, Elder Parr

**I love how in Elder Parr mission they have the members baptize the new converts so they can build a friendship with them and have it as the missionaries transfer.  I know Elder Parr has loved teaching Laticha - what a strong girl she is and what strength she has and an example she is setting for her brother and sisters.  I am excited to see what the future brings to this cute family **
Laticha, Elder Larsen and myself at Laticha's baptism.
Bus Ride Adventure

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Week 17 Genk - Wonderen Nog Gebeuren!!

Hello Hello!!

This week has by far been one of the most emotional roller coasters of my mission. So the caption of this week translates into, " Miracles Still Happen" . And this week I experienced some of the greatest miracles!
The first 5 days of this week were honestly probably some of the slowest ones since I have been in Genk. However, Elder Larsen and I felt like it was one of our hardest working weeks up to that point. So we just could not figure out why we were not seeing success. We were working hard, trying to follow the spirit, being obedient but yet for some reason we just couldn't get things rolling. After the fist 4 or so days of that we started to get a little bit bummed. So at night we decided to go into our room and pray to see how we could change to see some success. Well by the end of the night we had come up with alot of things that we thought were going to help us see the miracles that we wanted to see. But the days continued and nothing different really happened. Close to no success.
And then it all changed in an instant. Sunday rolled around and we are sitting in church and Laticha and her younger sisters show up! Oh boy we just lit up, big old grins on our faces. And then thinking it couldn't get any better it does. About 10 or minutes into the sacrament meeting the door opens and Jenny, a lady we looked up from the area book last week walks in the room!!! She came over and sat by us and just enjoyed the meeting. So by this point we are like finally an answer to our prayers, Heavenly Father really is watching out for us. But it doesn't even stop at that....So about two weeks ago Larsen and I both had a strong impression to start taking Latisha a little more seriously. Well today we finally followed what we were told. It did take us some time to get around to it, but we learned from that. After Church we pulled Laticha into a room and began to give her the first lesson. Almost instantaneously the spirit filled the room. For the next 40 or so minutes, the restoration and testimonies not only from us but also from her were shared. By the time we were done we both felt impressed to invite her to be baptized. And she said I would love to but I don't think my mom will let me. We promised her that if she really wanted it and went home and asked her mom, her mom would be impressed to say yes. Well she said she'd do it, but had her doubts. Well about 15 or so minutes of us being home our phone goes off, and it's Laticha. We answer and hear this, Elders I want to be baptized next week before you both leave Genk. Heavenly Father has told me that this is what I need to do and I can't ignore that! Oh my goodness we ( all four of the elders) just were going nuts! Then Elder Johnson says, guys what about her mom.....And then reality hit. That is going to be an obstacle but we had faith it would happen. Another 20 minutes pass and we get a text, elder Johnson reads it and just begins freaking out. This is what it said in a jiffy, Elders I asked my mom if I could be baptized and she said it was my choice and if i feel it is right this weekend I can be baptized. Our hearts literally jumped for joy! I couldn't help but run into the bedroom get on my knees and just give all the thanks that I could utter out of my mouth to A loving Heavenly Father! He made all of this possible and somehow managed to do it through a couple of non-perfect tools likes us. Miracles do happen, I believe that 100%!
So this coming week is now going to be one of the craziest weeks of my mission. We are going to be so busy it is going to be amazing! I can't wait to watch this all unfold. On top of all of this though, The Lord even threw in 2 new investigators and out of no where 3 less active appointments all in a matter of a couple of days our success made a 180! I can't even begin to say how thankful and excited I am for whats happening!
Here is also a cool little side story, so the other two elder are going to be taking over the city so we have been taking them on splits to the people we meet with. Saturday night Elder Warner went with me to go and visit Broeder Hesemans. That ended up being one of the coolest experiences ever! The spirit was so strong the whole time. I then told him I was going to be leaving and got an answer that i did not expect from him. He looked me in the eyes and Said you know I can honestly say You are going to be an elder that I really miss, go and do what you have done here at every other place you go. Broeder esemans NEVER says stuff like that, and to be completely honest I am not even sure what I do there, i feel like that is a place where my mouth usually doesn't open  a whole lot, but I am grateful I was able to be placed there for a purpose I still don't know, but knowing that I did what I think I was needed to do. Then we get up to leave he shakes Warners had looks at me and gives me a great big hug. As I looked back he had a smile across his face and I couldn't help but tear up a little. In the time I have spent in Genk that is the only time I have seen him look so happy! My testimony was strengthened that night. God's love is real, And He sure loves everyone of His children! I believe that with all my heart!
Thank you all for the love, prayers and support! I love you all and I hope you have an amazing week! The Church Is True!
Love, Elder Parr
Voetbal with the bros!  American Football that is.  :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Week 16 Genk "Elder Parr wat rijd je op?"

Hello Hello!!!

I LOVE my mission!! :) This week was just all around good, to be honest I don't remember anything super big happening but looking back I can't say anything bad happened either. There is just nothing to complain about, life is good as a missionary. I mean how can you not be happy when we get to go and share the happiest message out there! Doesn't get any better. Though I would enjoy having a week full of sunshine that would be pretty nice. We were hit by some pretty crazy rain and wind storms this week haha. But are being blessed right now with a beautiful day and an even more beautiful one tomorrow. (According to the Belgian weather channel which is about right 5% of the time i feel haha, got to love it)

We started off the week pretty great though, had a super busy Tuesday afternoon and got in contact with a couple of our potentials, a few dropped us but even better a few said we could come back. Then it was a race to catch the bus (No joke literally every day you race for the buses its adrenaline rushing because if you miss it you are toast) to the Knoops. Had a blast with them as always, seriously the best family ever! But then we had to race back and catch a train to Geel. Which by some miracle we made it. All the elders in our district went to Geel and had a big sleepover because interviews with President were the next morning. But that was a blast being with all the guys.

Anyways, it was so much fun being able to see President and Zuster Robinson again. They are two of the greatest people I have ever met! Interviews with them are just such a unique spiritual uplifting experience. Those are things that I will never forget and always be grateful for. I sure love the Robinsons and their example they are to me and to other missionaries. They have a true love for the gospel and it shows in all they do.

We had another awesome lesson with Sargun this week and the spirit was there. Super powerful lesson, which happened to be the last for a while. All the kids are just beginning exams and then its vacation and Sarguns mom said it'll be about 2 months before we can come back. I was pretty bummed, but who know maybe they will notice a difference in their lives when we don't come. Maybe it's just what they need. We'll see. Loved teaching her though, i learned a whole lot. A huge blessing to me.

Okay now for the subject " Elder Parr Wat rijd je op? Een Paard?" which translates into, "Elder Parr what do you ride on? A horse." So the Parente family and the 5 little girls told me that and thought it was the funniest thing in the entire world. They can't really say Parr it sounds like paard, so every time they see me now they just make that joke and everyone starts dying. It's pretty great actually haha. They also invited all four of us missionaries over to their house for a BBQ it was super fun. They think I am like the biggest Frozen fan in the world (which might be true :p) so every time I go they beg me to sing Let it Go with them. If only you guys could experience that, the greatest thing ever. That family is incredible.

I also had the chance to work a little bit this week. The Knoops called and asked us if we could help in their garden. And we got there and elder Larsen and I got the task of digging up grass, then trenches, then flattening it all so we could place stone blocks and make a big path. We actually did pretty dang good if you asked me haha. That was fun though.

Other than that, Skypinig was AMAZING. I love my family and especially my mom. They are honestly the greatest blessing in my life. I hope all of you moms out there had an amazing mother’s day because you all deserve it. You do so much for all of us kids and we couldn't do it without you. Especially you mom, LOVE YOU:)

Well there is a just of my week for you. I hope you all have another great week. Thanks for everything, you are all the best!! The church is true! LOVES!

Love, Elder Parr

The crew and I! Just after jamming out to Let it go hahah.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Week 15 Genk - Het Gaat Snell!!

Hello Hello,

Another amazing week in the bags. This week was full of adventures, some cool tender mercies, laughs and just all around good things. That being said it was probably one of the fastest weeks of my life. I just don't understand how time works these days so I just quick trying to figure it out haha.

So this week the weather wanted to give us a little bit of a challenge. Decided to POUR on us pretty much at least once every single day; the wind was just howling as well. Let me tell you biking in the wind sucks for 50% of the time but man when it's in your back you fly, so nice. But that being said it didn't stop us from getting out doing what we enjoy and seeing some cool things happen.

This week we were able to meet with Sargun and brought Broeder Knoops along. And holy cow can I just say that that girl is soooo smart! Broeder Knoops was blown away at how much a 13 year old who is not even a member knew about the church. It's just so cool to see how she literally internalizes everything that we share with her. I can honestly say that I have learned a lot from teaching her. It was also cool to see her mom voluntarily join our lesson and then give us a ton of food when we finished. It's coming, slowly but surely the Lord is softening their hearts. So cool!!

I also had the chance to go to Antwerpen on exchanges this week with Elder Nye. Let me tell you that was a blast! It was nice getting out of Genk for once. I mean I absolutely love it but change is good every once in a while. But we saw a bunch of kids playing ball in the centrum and went over and balled them up haha. It was a blast they thought we were so cool. Then literally like a minute later we found one of the coolest potentials ever. I am excited to hear from them what happens with her.

Thursday we went out to a place called Lommel to look up a referral. Well we get out there and realize it's a 6 kilometer walk and there is no way we would have time to do it and catch out bus. But we started walking and literally like 2 minutes later a member who happens to be driving down the road stops and asks if he could give us a ride. He then drives us to the referral waits to see if she was home then took us back to our bus so we could catch it. The biggest answer to prayers!! You should have seen Elder Larsen and I we were just jaw dropped at how fast our prayer got answered!

Well Sunday was incredible too, the parents came to church!! And get this, Latisha, the oldest daughter was sitting by me and we made a deal if i bore my testimony she would. Well she did it!! It was honestly the coolest thing to see her testify of how she came to know the Book of Mormon is true! The spirit in that sacrament meeting was so so strong!! And then on top of that we had a stand at the 'opens gebeds dag' and we gave away 12 Book of Mormons and met some super cool potentials. That’s was just a miracle of its own. It's nice having people come to you for a change rather than having to search for them. Blessing! What a great success it was. :)

We also had our annual soccer tourney with the zone and District Genk comes out on top once again haha. That was an absolute blast though, I love this zone really has some incredible missionaries in it!

That’s all for this week, thank you all for the prayers and the support! Love you all. Have a great week! The Church is true!! Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mothers in life. I can’t wait to talk to my mom on Sunday.

Love, Elder Parr
My Handsome Elder Parr and his Companion Elder Larsen