Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Monday, August 25, 2014

Wow, has the time already passed by??? It´s Monday again?? Man..... well, to start off, as of Saturday I have officially been in the best country ever for ten months! And it has been amazing! I love it here!!!

This week has been quite a good week. As for our investigators, it has been a little slow. Our investigators are learning like always, but they are taking there time. We work with them almost every other day. Like Flor, our little ten year old investigator is progressing really well. She has been reading really hard in the Book Of Mormon and studying it. So that has been a blessing. As for Elizabeth, we have sadly dropped her as an investigator. She wasn't progressing or doing the things she needed to be doing, so we said a goodbye. We will pass by every now and thing to see if anything has changed, but for now we have nothing more to share with her.

We found three of our old investigators this last week, and all have a new desire to learn, which made me super happy, considering our investigator pool was surprisingly low. So we are going to start reteaching them this week. So that makes my heart smile. :)

Here is the highlight of the week for sure. As I said, we don´t have tons of investigators right now, so Elder Quiñónez and I decided to do some hard contacting this week. And where to contact?? At the top of the mountain, where the missionaries have never been before. So we walked for an hour and a half to reach the very very very top of the mountain, and at the very top, there was a small shack (which I will send a picture of that in a minute). I was actually quite nervous. Someone could kill us and no one would know. We could be the new hansel and gredel nursery rhyme, someone could eat us up here. But we knocked on the door, and my fear was realized when a man opened the door, and he is SUPER buff, and was holding a knife. I almost ran, but we proudly introduced ourselves, and he let us in, and put down the knife... haha. He listened very intently to our message and became one of our instant friends. He was very open and very friendly. He´s an electrician and lives there with him and his wife and his daughter. His name is Joselo, and he is probably the coolest guy ever. After we gave him a brief overview on why we were there, he explained to us he used to be part of the Pentecostal church, and studied there for nine years, and became a pastor, but as he read in the Bible, he realized that his own church was going against what the bible taught, so he dropped away from that church and has been seeking the truth ever since. That was 4 years ago. He told us he never gets visited up there because there aren't any houses or neighbors, so he was very friendly and told us he loves reading doctrine. He asked us when we gave him the pamphlet of the Restoration this question: "If I read this, will I know which church is true?" The question hit my heart and the answer hit me even harder. I knew the answer, and my companion did too, but we were afraid to straight up tell him, but it just sort of left my mouth. "Yes. If you do your part, by reading, and praying, you will know without a doubt in your heart which church is true." Then he turned to me, a little puzzled by my surety and said "That's what I have been looking for the last 4 years. Thanks." We are going back to teach him on Tuesday, and I believe the Lord has prepared him and his family. Which is surprising. At the top of the mountain, where I never would have wanted to go contacting, is where we find a son of our God, ready to hear the truth. The Lord is putting us in the path of His prepared children.

The view from the top of the mountain.

The small shack Parker spoke of.

This week, as we continued contacting, we talked to so many people. I proudly get to say that this week we contacted 105 people, and we are starting to teach seven new sons and daughters of our Lord. Makes me happy. :)

I was reading in Alma 10 the other day, and I found some scriptures that I have decided basically describe me as a person. Look at that, even the Book of Mormon knows me. It´s Alma 10:4-5.

I love you all. I hope all is well for everyone. I miss you all but man do I love the mission work!!!! :) Keep me updated, all of you. And send me pictures. I love that stuff. :)

Mother's Note: Here is a small excerpt from my personal email. I asked about the tropical storm going through there. This is Parker's reply:

It´s been pretty cold here too! It has been raining a lot, tropical storms, so it has kept us cool. Man am I grateful for the umbrella I have. Although my shoes still have a huge hole in them, so going through the rivers in the streets aren't fun. I get soaked. Hahah

Parker showing off his sewing job on his shoes. (Yes, he said he sewed them).

Parker as the ref for the branch basketball game. (Played against Elder Hope's branch)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Monday, August 18, 2014

Wowzers...... Boy has it been one great week here in Barahona. I am really tired, but happy because we have been working soooo much!

The week started good. On Tuesday we invited Elder Chunga into our home! He is also a Columbian, and he was actually my zone leader before, in Hato Nuevo. So I already knew him and invited him warmingly. Hahah But the transfers took all day and we had to help get people settled in. So you know how it is, that took up the day. Haha

Wednesday we worked like none other. We had 9 appointments. It was nuts. Everyone was home and it was a great day. Yanela, one of our investigators, has been studying really hard in the folletos, and has been knocking out our questions. She understands a ton!!! But it has been a week of referrals. Every person I talk to, we are asking for a referral of someone else who could use the gospel in their lives. You´d be suprised on just how much the members really do help the missionaries. A referral is like a level up or something that is a good comparison to that. But really, they rock, because these people already have some sort of tie to the gospel. So that has been our goal this week. Also a goal this week was to be more friendly and say hello to everyone. We´ve been trying our best, but there are just some people here that don´t want to talk to us. 

Thursday was another boss day. It was a "work with less active members day". We searched for all the less active members we could find. We ended up contacting about 3 of them, without knowing they were less active. The Lord is putting us in the pathways of his lost sheep. It feels good working with less active members. I love seeing the light in their eyes when they get their testimony back. Like for example, one of the less actives in our area is named Betansia. She is an awesome woman, of 40 years of age. She left the church because she knew someone there was doing bad things and she didn´t like how we allowed people like that in the church. So we explained to her that no one is perfect, and that we can´t sacrifice our own salvation because of others. We can´t have an excuse, because  God won´t accept them. As we were teaching her, her eyes swelled up in tears and she began crying and when she looked up at us, I could see the change in her. And she said "I am going to churchthis Sunday. I need my Saviour." 

Friday was just a basic day. I did make some boss lunch though, it was Yuka (One of the best things you can get on this island, its kind of like potato but tons better) with eggs and salami. Ya, I was proud of myself for that one.

Saturday was also basic. But we learned a new game called parché, which is a fun board game. I played for like 5 minutes, and got lost, but it is fun too!

Sunday was the best day of my life if I do say so myself. Let me explain. We went to church. We get there, and all the Senior couples of the mission (which I didn´t even know we had senior couples) were at our building. Well I shouldn´t say they are in the mission. They work in the headquarters here in the DR, but most of them were from Utah, like in Centerville and in Bountiful, so it was really cool to talk to them. Then after that, we went to work. We have a young investigator, Flor, of 10 years old, who is just the best. She was at church, as was Betansia (YESSSSS) and when we visited her, we were in shock. She lives in the house next to Franklin. In fact, she is a referral of him. Anyways, we gave her a book of mormon earlier in the week. When we show up, she says "Sit down. I´m the mormon now. I am going to teach you what I learned today." She then made a do a FHE right then and there with her and Franklin, which is what she learned about during sunday school, and it was awesome. Then her message was on the Restauration of the gospel. This girl has that down to a T. She even used the examples that we used to explain it to her. She remembered every detail, like who was Joseph Smith, what did he do, the Grand Apostasy, how Jesus established the church, How and why we have the book of mormon. Everything. And then she said, "Look, I have read only a small bit of the Book of Mormon in the last two days, but I have read it with my heart open, and I asked God if it was true. This book is true, and it is my baby. I cherish this more than all the money I have ever received." This young girl, who is only 10 years old, has received one of the most powerful testimonies I have ever seen in my life. Franklin, Elder Quiñónez and I all began crying because of the great truth she brought into our hearts. We didn´t even teach her anything new, she knew it all. She really was the mormon, that did in fact teach us. I learn from this young girl every day, and I eagerly await her baptismal date, which is the 20 of September.

As for today, we played basketball!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Beach Side!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was super cool! And the whole zone was there! Then a few of them came back to our house, like Elder Hope and his trainee, and we ate enchiladas. By the way, I love Elder Hope´s new companion. He is from Portland, Oregon, he is 18 and he is just a boss. His name is Elder Hodges, and he is one swell kid. (Insert British Accent There) Anyways, then I came here. I also have a sad story of the week too, that I will be putting in another email, but as for this really long email, I have finished what I have to say. I love you all! You are all the best. Keep your heads up! The Lord blesses those that keep their faith in him! Also, I am in Alma 9 now! Reading slowly, but marking a ton! Lets see who read this week with me! 

Les quiero, mis queridos,

Elder Weiss 
Yuka (like potatoes), salami and eggs Parker made. He's very proud!

This picture was from today when the Elder's played basketball beachside.

A tugboat

Mother's Note: This is Parker's Sad story he mentioned in the above email:
Sad story... Last week, I bought a new pair of shoes, because my other pairs have all been destroyed... So I bought a really nice new pair of shoes. They are the brand CLARK. They rocked.... sad part. After a week of usage... this is what I get.... 

Mother's Note: I chatted with Parker and asked if he could return them. He said No but there's a guy that will stitch them back onto the sole which is way better than the glue that can't hold up in the humidity there. I'm feeling good that our "cheaper" shoes lasted 9 months vs his "expensive" shoes that lasted 1 week. haha.  Here are pictures of all of his shoes he brought from Utah.

Some of the Elder's came back to his apartment and had enchiladas!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014

Bueno, fue una semana rápida aquí en Barahona.....
Alright, I will speak English.... It was a fast week here in Barahona.... Too fast. Man how time flies. I am sure you are all wondering about what is going to happen with me, but let me explain the week first.

To start the week, my companion and I made a goal to be more talkative with the strangers. So we started being funky and different in an attempt to win the hearts of the people. In this area, no one likes the Mormons. We are made fun of a lot, so we tried to soften their hearts by becoming "One with the people". For example, there were a bunch of kids in the street that Elizabeth lives on. They were playing a game in the street called "Jumba". It´s just a game of tag really, but it is super different and soooo freaking fun. These kids have never liked us, and they always make fun of us as we are teaching Elizabeth, so we stopped in the street to play with the kids. They looked at us strangely and said,"In those clothes? Please...." We challenged them to a game. And we didn't know how to play at all. Then a mom of the kids was outside watching us. She never talks to us because she doesn't like our religion, but she popped out of her seat and said, "I´ll teach you guys how to play. You got to beat my kids!!!!" She helped us and was laughing a lot. The kids were having a blast, and Elder Quiñónez and I were having tons of fun too. When we finished, all the kids didn't want us to leave, and the mom comfortably talked to us about the gospel. She still refused, but she now has told four of her friends when we pass by "These two guys are so cool. They beat my kids in Jumba." She is spreading a love and respect for what we do. When we went back another day to teach Elizabeth, everyone wanted to say hi to us and asked us to play. They respect and love us more, and now Elizabeth feels more comfortable in the process of becoming a member, because now her neighbors respect the Mormons. You can just see the change in the people. Speaking of which, Elizabeth is still working on her baptisimal date for the 6th of September, so that was super cool. 

We also had lunch with our new investigator family, Yanela and her husband Cesar, and Yanela´s Mom. They all now have a baptismal date for the 6th too. They are progressing rapidly. 

Another cool story. We introduced the "Chikonguya Espiritual" in the ward this week. Its like Chikonguya, but the symptoms are symptoms of helping the work of the Lord, like pain in the legs for walking and inviting friends to come to church. It activated the member love here, and just as a result, we have gotten more referrals, like Franklin gave us a referral of a ten year old girl, Flor, who knows more about gospel doctrine then 45 year old's. She is amazing. She´ll be getting a baptismal date soon for sure.

We did a puppet show for the primary this week, and we had the puppets dancing to Gentleman by Psy. It made the primary nuts. They had a way good time, and us as the missionaries did too. It was fun.

We´ve been saying lots of goodbyes this week with Elder Montoya leaving. It´s been sad. Really good friend of mine, and he leaves this country tomorrow, just like my dad in the mission, Elder Zilm. My first companion leaves to go back home to Arizona tomorrow. Crazy how time flies. He did say a week after he gets home he will be going to Utah, and he said he might stop by and say hi to the family if he has time! That´d be cool! hahah

Alright, now... for what you are waiting for.... On Saturday night, we got the transfer calls. I was the last one to find out what is happening with me. Elder Peña will be getting Elder Chunga, another Colombian, that was one of my Zone Leaders before....

As for me......

Sadly, it hurts me to say..... but my time here has come to a new start.... why? Because I am staying!!!!!!!!!!! Fooled you!!!! Hahaha I am staying here one more transfer, so I will be able to see all my new investigators progress. I will be here until at least the 23rd of September, when I will have 11 months. So ya, Elder Quiñónez and I get to go at one more together, and I am excited. Also cool news, Elder Hope is going to be training this transfer, so that is pretty cool! I am excited for him!!!!!

Also really cool story, if you remember Maxi from my old area, one of the investigators that I had back there, who his daughter lives in Provo Utah... I just found out this week that he got baptized!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So I called him and he was crying over the phone telling me how grateful he was that Elder Hope and I taught him so he could get baptized in the true church, so that was amazing. We also found out he is going to be moving to go live with his daughter in Provo Utah, so I will be able to visit him frequently when I get home!!!! That was super exciting!!

So there is the week! Kind of long, but an amazing week! I am currently reading in Alma 2 so I am excited to read those amazing stories. Keep reading in the Book of Mormon every day and praying! I love you all and I am praying for you all!!!!!

Con bastante amor,
Elder Weiss :)

Elder Weiss enjoying one of his favorite's. Egg Salad Sandwich.

Lunch with Yanela and Cesar

Different Styles of Larimar. Precious stones only mined in the DR.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Monday, August 4, 2014

Ya you got to read the subject in the tune of "Spider Pig". Hahah

Elder Weiss, Elder Weiss, Writes what-ever he wants. Can he write, from a tablet? No he can't, because he's in the DR. Look out, it's Elder Weiss.

(Mom's note: We think this is a dig to his cousin TJ and maybe other friends, who get a tablet on their mission).

Wow do the months past by quickly! We have had a good time in Barahona. The work is progressing slowly. It is a difficult area, but I can't complain. The ward is amazing, and the people we teach are even better!

The gangs in the area have settled down a little bit. There have been less fights, but we are still hearing gunshots every now and then. But its a little scary still. But we are putting a lot of faith in the Lord. He will protect us.

Our investigators are doing good! We are having some hard time finding people lately. All of our investigators are hiding from us or something. There are some we haven't seen in about 3 weeks, like Elizabeth and Ana, who were progressing really well. Elizabeth was going to get married this Friday, but we haven't been able to find her, so we don't know what happened with that. Its just the adversary trying to deter us. But we keep fighting. Hahah

We have two amazing people that we are teaching. Yanela and her husband, Sebastian. They are an awesome family that was given to us as a reference. They at first were a little iffy. Didn't seem too interested, but the first lesson my companion and I gave to them was just so powerful. The spirit was so strong with us. We felt a great love for them, and we spoke open and plainly with them. At the end, they asked us "So please come back. We feel good. When you coming back?" They are now some of the best and most powerful investigators. We set them a fecha bautismal this week for the sixth of September, and they are unbelievably excited for that. They have a newborn, and they have already said they wait for the day when she'll marry a returned missionary. Amazing people.

Wow, I have learned a lot this week! I have been reading in Mosiah, and I finished it up actually this week. I think Mosiah may be my new favorite book in the Book of Mormon. The stories are so amazing. And its because you can see how the Lord prepares the pathway for everything. Like with the people of Alma. The Lamanites fell into their path, and it looked bad, but because of that, this people left to Zarahemla, and met up with the people of Limhi, who were waiting to be baptized, and only Alma had the authority to baptize. So it showed that the Lord had the path all lined up. At times I feel like I got to take charge, and make all the decisions. Maybe I should lay back a little and let the Lord take his seat at the helm, and guide me. Don't know why this last part wrote in a different color. I can't fix it...... Give me a second.....

Fixed it..... but I can't change back the color without rewriting it, so it will stay like that.... ha aha....

Transfers are coming up for me! It is possible that I am heading out of here, but I could also stay! I am indifferrent to be honest. I'd like to stay, but I don't mind leaving. It is a great area. The work is good here. I am just excited to be a part of this beautiful work!!!! But we will see what happens on Saturday!!!

Stay strong, stay obedient, and trust in the Lord. He will guide you in all things. I love you all! May the week be splendid! Hahahah

Elder Weiss :)

Mother's note:  Parker mentioned 2 of his suitcases have broken. Ugh, only 9 months out. :) Also, I knew a tropical storm had blown over the DR, so I asked Parker if he felt it or anything. Here is his response.

AND YES! Yesterday it just rained and rained and rained alllllll dayyyyy looonnnnggggg. Man and it was a big huge lightning storm! Thunder that knocked down stuff in the house! It was insane! But it was way cool! It has rained a little today, but it is sunshiny right now. It was a weird little tropical something! hahahaha

Mom again: He also mentioned he will most likely be transferred this Saturday, but might not. He's trusting in the Lord. He loves Barahona, but not the shooting. And he loves his companion and roommates that will all be staying. Not to mention having water and electricity. But he trusts the Lord will place him where he needs to be. :)

I told him of his niece's baptism and that our stake will get to see Elder Bednar soon. Here was his response:

Hailey's baptism sounded good! Glad she made that awesome covenant with her heavenly father! Good for her. She is following the right path. Tell her I am proud of her. If she remembers me... hahah

I'm sure you must be excited to see Elder Bednar. It is like I am when I see Elder Cornish, the Area Seventy here in the Caribbean. Or Elder Zivic. Either of them. I become like a little girl all gittery! Servants of the Lord! They just have a different spirit to them! It is enticing!!!

The Elder's in his mission

Parker went to this cool kid's baptism. He didn't teach him though, but loves him. (I didn't get a name).

Some members. Parker says the lady reminds him of his Grandma Kimball by the way she acts.