Monday, September 29, 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014

Oh my goodness, what a week it has been. To start off, thank you to all who have repented of your sins, and sent me a picture of you with the Book of Mormon..... seems like now its my turn.... but I am going to send that picture next week.... muahahahahahaha.

HOLY SWEETNESS OF MERCIFUL HEAVENS! Or as Dad always says, ¨Doh¨! hahaha. Let me start with the week.

On Tuesday, I was up at the golden hour of 3 in the morning, got all my stuff together, including my thoughts, and I was out the door by 4. We took all of my suitcases, and we were buying tickets to get on a bus by 5.... It was kinda sad to say goodbye to Barahona. Really hard, because I love those people, but it was a need.... I was there for six months! haha So the bus came, I put in my stuff, and said goodbye to some of my greatest friends in the DR. As we were loading my suitcases, I realized all the wheels on my suitcases had broken off. Well not all, but a couple. So sadly, my suitcases were not DR-proof. Dang. But they can be dragged. So I loaded them up, and from there I took an hour and a half ride to Azua, where we waited there for the bus of the church to show up. It was a three hour layover... so I got to meet some of the other missionaries that were leaving. But the bus finally showed up. Only problem, it was too heavy with all the stuff we had. So the three hour bus ride turned into a six hour bus ride, because he could only go ten miles per hour the whole drive back to the capital. Lesson learned... bigger bus next time.... hahah BUT I finally made it to the Transfer Chapel, where I met Elder Rosado, my new companion. He is a cool guy. He is really relaxed, he hates fighting, but he is a strong worker. Strong strong strong, which is how I like it. We work hard. Well, I got to the home about seven at night. Turns out the house I live in now was made by Americans! Its about as american as the DR can get! Still no carpets..... dang... But they always have water, but electricity is rare. I like ten minutes away from my first area, so I plan on visiting over there soon! I learned that I am living with two other Americans, and one latin, my companion. The other two Americans, one is just starting the mission, named Elder Mortensen, who started just this week, and the other is none other than Elder Catmull, from my group!!!!!! That is right, I live with one of my favorite people ever!! And he is training! So that is super cool! It has been fun to talk to him again. I remember when our Spanish sucked, but now we talk fluently! It is super cool! So the house is super cool. Now onto what happened in the week....

First thing that happened.... I have been called to serve as District Leader. WOOHOO! It will be fun! A little more responsibility... but nothing that I won´t learn from! I hope this experience will help me a lot!

Also, there are tons of investigators in this area! We have over forty investigators. I am completely lost in the area with names, the area, everything. I am still trying to learn, but man is it hard. I am just glad my companion is showing me around. He is from the same group as Elder Quiñónez, which makes me Senior Companion again! But I am still lost, but I will say, we have some amazing people here, with amazing faith. I am excited to work with them. I wish I could tell you more about the area and stuff or the people, but I am still really confused, but I will get it!

As for the ward, oh my goodness..... The church is huge!!!!!!! I thought my last building was big... that wasn't anything! I wasn't able to take any pictures, because my camera is out of memory, but this next week I will start taking some pictures! But get this, the ward building has air conditioning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!!!!!! SO AMERICANIZED! hahaha I actually get really cold. For example, my first day there, I started shivering, and I looked at the thermometer, and it was 75 degrees.... Utah is going to hit me hard when I go home to 50 degree weather.... I might turn into an icicle. I am soooooo used to sweating all day... we´ll see what happens. But the building isn't the only cool thing, they have a NBA basketball court, with nets, and a full on court, and the three pointers are from NBA range! I am in heaven!!!!!!!!! Hahah Also, the bishop and his family all speak English. He works as a Verizon talk center guy. His English accent sucks, but he understands. He slammed me with work. As soon as he found out I was District Leader, he asked me to come to all these meetings. He also found out I sing, and I´m trying to learn the piano, so he has made me the wards conductor.... and he said during church that I will be a blessing for the ward.... oh dear. I am actually really excited to work with him to help the ward. The wards I have been in have never asked us for help, and that is a big part of being a missionary, so I am excited to work closely with him. He shared a scripture, Moroni 6, 2 that talks about my importance as a District Leader, signing a baptismal registry and accepting someone as worthy to be a member of the church. He told me if they go inactive, and I sign it, it´s on my head..... Kind of intimidating, but it is true!

Now here is a real cool thing. Although I don´t know much I do know a little! We are teaching a girl Denichel, who is awesome! 16 years old, and she has been coming to church for 8 years, but couldn't be baptized because her parents wouldn't allow her too... well I am pleased to say that all changed this week. On Saturday, after teaching her all of the commandments and finishing up teaching the Plan of Salvation with her, she was baptized by her parents approval, so I am happy to say I have already helped a little in someones life!!! I also had my first interview with a kid called Miguel, that Elder Catmull and Elder Mortensen were teaching. He was also baptized, after I signed his baptismal registry papers. So there were two baptisms this week!!!

On Sunday we went to an area called Manoguayabo, to help the missionaries in that area with their ward. Its something we do here often in this zone, so I got to see some cool missionaries I haven´t seen in a while! I met a tongan missionary, Elder Kinikini who is the coolest guy ever! He is new too, and he is from Payson, Utah and he is also a singer. Love that kid! But the coolest part about this day, is that Manoguayabo is the area right in front of Hato Nuevo. I was two seconds away from my old area!!! I met some people that I had met before too, who remembered me! That was cool! But church was great too on Sunday..... This church starts at 8 30, which was strange, but it was cool!

Today I played basketball on the NBA court with the ward kids, and yes, my rolled ankle has fully healed. I am 100 % again! So that was super fun! We also have a huge mall in our area called Jumbo, that has a food court, so today I ate WENDY´s!!!!!! 150 pesos... Or basically, 3 dollars for my chicken sandwich, frosty and fries! It´s the same as Utah! Hallelujah! And now I am here! It has been a crazy week, but I love it here. Although, I must be honest, Barahona will always have a special place in my heart. I´m definitely back in the capital, there are tons of cars, and noise and craziness. It´s nothing like the South... but I am ready to see what the Lord has planned for me here. I hope all is going well with all of you. You better believe I am praying for you all! Here is your new challenge for the week, EVERYONE MUST SEND ME A RANDOM PICTURE, but here is the catch, IT MUST HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH THE CHURCH, and when I mean random, I mean random. Don´t fail me. Love you all. :) 

Elder Parker Weiss :)

The girl is Denichel, Miguel is the little boy! The two who were baptized this week.

My new family, Elder Rosado, me, Elder Mortensen, and Elder Catmull. In order. :)

Mother's Note:  So you know me...I ask Parker question's while on-line together and I asked him what he said to influence the 16 year old's parents to let her be baptized. Here's what he said...

We started to teach in front of her mom, and she got interested, and now she is also an investigator. There is only the mom. I don't think she has a dad. But I could see a change in her. She became really friendly and she is awesome. She came to church this week too! So that is sweet! haha the Lord works in great ways! haha

I also asked Parker what city is he actually serving in...other than it's a suburb of Santo Domingo and close to his first area that was Hato Nuevo.  The city he's in is Buenos Aires. :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014

And here it comes.....  the week of the Elder Weiss.

Well, the week has been really good. We have been some more contacting. You know me, I just like talking. So better put it to good use right? haha We have found some real potential investigators. Including a family, that is taking our lessons really slowly, but they are understanding really well. I like that. Haha I also feel like everyone is doing well, investigator wise. But I will get to that.

On Wednesday I had a change, so Elder Quiñonez went out to Enriquillo (An hour and a half away, but its in the zone) with another Elder in our district, and I got to spend my day here in Barahona, with Elder Quesada, from Peru. It was super fun. We had a lot of good times. We bought some ice cream smoothie things, called Mabí, and it was super good, until I spilled it all over the ground.... hahaha. Got my shoes all sticky and I walked around in a sticky pair of ripped socks all day. WOOHOO. But it was way fun. In the morning on Thursday, we took a bus to Enriquillo to pick up my companion. Their house is five minutes from the beach, so we stopped to take some pictures. Lucky us. 

The rest of the week was average. Really, not much happened. Up until Saturday. The Elder's Quorum did an activity and invited us as missionaries to go and support, and to do the activities. And they were playing basketball. It was super fun! I got to play with the kids in the ward that showed up to the activity. It was all fun until I rolled my ankle. Why? Because my shoe decided to rip and a piece got held up by a rock and it made me roll my ankle. If that makes sense. But ya, I stopped playing after that. I am still in pain, but I got to keep working. It's been getting better. I bought some cream to help and used tons of ice. 

Now, at night time.... what you are all waiting to hear.... the transfer calls came.... AND I'm staying. Yep I am totally staying. No I am just kidding, they told me to pack my bags and to get out. Haha. So the real truth, I will be leaving tomorrow morning, at 4 in the morning to head back to the capital! And more specifically, to Las Caobas, my old walking ground! But I will be in a new area that is in a different zone, called Buenos Aires. So I will be close to Hato Nuevo, but I won't be able to go in and say hello. Haha. Ah, but my companion will be Elder Rosado, from the same group as Elder Quiñonez, so he has less time than me. He is a Dominican, and he was here in this zone before, so I already know him, and I can't wait to get to know him better. 

Sunday was kind of hard. I did a lot of saying goodbye. They threw lots of parties for me to say goodbye, and I have more parties to do tonight, which is why I am on a little earlier. But ya, I took lots of pictures, so I will be sending those soon! But it was hard. I watched all of my converts in tears as I gave my last testimony in church. And to say goodbye was hard, but they are in good hands, and I will see them again. :) But as for Sunday goes, it was just a lot of goodbyes to my investigators and to my converts and all the less active and active members. And walking was not fun on a rolled ankle. It might be fractured.... but I doubt it, because the pain is going away. Haha no worries!!!

I am disappointed in all of you. I got no pictures of someone with a Book of Mormon, although I give Sydney props for at least sending me a picture of something! haha and to mom for making mention of that she was going to do it. Haha

Anyways, there is my week for you! Barahona has been great, but I am heading back to the capital. Long bus ride, here I come! haha

Love you all!!!

Elder Parker Weiss :)

Mother's Note:  I asked Parker while email "chatting" him more about how his testimony was...what's happening with Elder Hope...and more on his ankle and what shoes were ruined (since he just bought new ones).  Here are his replies...

Las Caobas is back in Santo Domingo! so I will be going back there! As for Elder Hope, he is staying, but he will probably leave after this next transfer. 

As for my testimony, ya it was really hard. I was called up to bear my testimony without even knowing it. So I got up and just sat there. Started to cry before I said anything. I feel like the people have really gotten close to me here. Everyone calls me Elder Pila de Flow, which means Elder Lots of Flow, and everyone is wanting to throw me parties. There were a lot of people crying during the testimony, but I focused in on my converts. It just made me realize how much they have changed me. I mean, I've learned so much about myself through them, and through this ward. I have seen so many talents that I didn't know I had. Being here for six months has taught me a lot. I feel like a piece of my heart will forever be in Barahona. I hope to come back here with you guys to show you how amazing these people are. I got them to write in a special journal, so I could have their thoughts of me forever. It was hard to say goodbye, but the Lord needs me elsewhere.

It is really nice to be able to feel of an importance in the lives of others. I am loving that I am able to serve everyone here. I feel really good about it. Only sad thing is that I have to leave now, but my mission will continue to get better. 

And no, what broke was my tennis shoes that I brought from home. They finally had enough I guess. My other ones are still rocking it strong. Haha 

The beach in Enriquillo.

This in Franklin, who now is walking, NO MORE WHEELCHAIR!!!! 

The Family of the Branch President, they are all crazy, just how I like people.

Saying goodbye to Jose and Dilsia, shaking hands, like a boss. 

Madely, one of my favorite people ever, she helps a ton with the missionary work, and she is one of my converts here.

Saying goodbye to some awesome members named Yoli (Left) and Shakira (Right). 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Monday, September 15, 2014

Man has the week been great! Let me jump into it! Don´t want to keep you waiting!

We have been doing a lot of searching, because our quest to help others never finishes! Our contacting numbers have been a little bit slower, because this week our quest was to find the less active members in the church, and start working with them. We have had a lot of success! We found out that one of our good solid members has a mom that is a less active member. So when we went over to talk, she invited us in. The mom seems to be a little timid, but she was cleaning her dishes when we came by, and she left the room to go look for something. My companion and I seized the opportunity to finish cleaning her dishes. She came back and tried to get us to stop, but we had already finished. We noticed after that that she began opening up a lot more to us. All it took was a little bit of love to get to her. It may have been a little forced, but she has turned out to be a great person. She wants to do good, and we are excited to work with her.

We gave Flor a baptismal date for the first of November, and she is beyond excited, as are we! It is fun to watch this little girl progress. We´re giving it time, to make sure she understands and is really gaining a testimony for herself, but as of right now, all is going well. She loves the message that we bring too! 

We have been focusing also a lot on the investigators that we have, and how we can better the situation, and we came up with the solution, INVITE THE FAMILY. We've been teaching kids without their parents, husbands without their wives, and although the wives and parents seem to always welcome us warmingly, they are missing the essential part of our message, and that is the message. And boy do I have a great story on how we put it to work! Since our planning session for the week, we have offered to teach everyone in the family of every single investigator we have. One of our investigators, Josélo, is a really strong investigator. He´s about 24 and lives at the top of the mountain with his wife and daughter. His wife never seems to pay attention, but we got her to sit down and talk a little bit, then we offered her our message, and she accepted warmingly. Then as we began talking to her, she kept bringing up some great questions, all to which our pamphlet explains, and so we were able to read with her and answer all of her questions, and she began smiling and saying things like "Finally, a church with answers!!" When we finished, she invited us back before we could even ask if we could come back. The Lord is working. He is preparing his sons and daughters. And working with the family is sooo much better than an individual, because they complement each other in their learning. It completes the learning process, because they are in it together, to help one another.

I got to have my second interview with President Nuckols on Thursday, and it was really good! Super great! He did tell me something... sounds like I will be training in the near future. Whether it is this upcoming transfer, or the next, but one thing is for sure, I will be training. He´s already done my special interview to become a trainer, so I am excited to see what happens!!

We only have ONE MORE WEEK in this transfer! Which means this Saturday, we will be getting a call to find out if I am leaving this area or not, but I can almost assure I will be leaving. I´ve been here since April. April - September... Ya.... I've had my time here. Lets put it into perspective. Our new president got here in May, so I have been in Barahona in the entire amount of time that our new president has in his mission. I feel like my time might come to leave, but we will find out! Only the Lord knows where He needs me!

I am super excited, I feel healthier than a leprechaun, and I am just busting with a desire to serve! I love the mission! It is going by too quickly! I mean, wow... Elder Hope already has a year! When I was with him, he only had 5 months... Where is the time going? I am hoping it slows down a little! Haha Well, love you all, I continually am praying for you! CHALLENGE THIS WEEK!! Everyone that reads this letter has to send me a picture with you in it, and the Book of Mormon! Why? So that I can see how much you have changed since I left, and so that I know that you are reading. Lets so who accepts the challenge. I better get lots of photos!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Con mucho amor, Les quiero
Elder Weiss :)

Barahona's "Water Park"

Another water shot.

This is Flor, the 10 yr old investigator and the little girl is her cousin.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Monday, September 8, 2014

What a week it has been indeed! Man am I excited to talk about this week. SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED!!!!

I want to start by saying man do I love being a missionary. I love working hard. It is so fun to talk to all these new people every day and making new friends and helping people know more about the blessings that their Lord has for them.

Flor, the ten year old girl we are teaching, is still progressing really well. She just absorbs what we teach her like Sponge Bob. She is goofy, but she is a sponge, she just soaks in the knowledge. We talked about the Word of Wisdom this week with her, and thank goodness she has no problems with that. We have also been able to talk to the ward about helping her feel more included. So now our Primary President goes and visits her. 

Franklin is getting tons of help. Just tons of help. He has been getting all of his therapy in so that he will be walking in no time. Our Branch President bought him a walker so he can start practicing his walking. In his spiritual life, he is in Alma, reading really well! He is also helping Flor read all of her assignments, and he will be giving a talk in church next week.... with me. We both got called to give talks next week. :)

Jose and Dilsia, my other converts, are doing exceedingly well. They are talking with the President to find a calling they can both do, because Jose knows being half paralyzed limits his abilities. BUT, he is the one asking for a calling. That taught me something. I need to be more like him. Not only accept a calling, but love it with all my heart. I feel like I am doing that with the mission, because I LOVE IT! But they are both doing really good.

One thing I would like to share was my feelings during sacrament this week. As you know, it was Fast Sunday. During the sacrament, I was trying hard to focus on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. But something caught my attention. I was sitting in my normal post, at the piano, so I could see the whole congregation, and as I was looking over the congregation, I watched Jose and Dilsia take the sacrament. Then later, Franklin, and later Madely. All of my converts. To them, it was normal, but that hit me more than anything. I began crying, because I realized that when I first met them, they couldn't partake of that huge blessing. They couldn't have been cleaned of their sins. But here they are, every week, being clean and pure. They are worthy, because they accepted and know their Savior. That made me think that even them, who at first had lots of problems, have the same love given to them by their Savior that He has given to me. It just made me feel good and happy, to know that they are worthy, and happy. And the best part was,  when I looked back up, Jose was looking back at me, with a big smile, a thumbs-up, and tears in his eyes too. It was what I needed. :) I am humbled.

Something I learned this week was definitely having to do with working with members. We worked well this week. Especially with our members. I also really appreciate how attentive my companion is to the spirit. If attentive is a word... can´t remember. But let me explain: We were working on Saturday with a member. He is our Elder´s Quorum President, named Marcos, and so we took him around to see some of the converts that will soon be elders, and also took him to our investigators. We had him planning on being with us the whole day, like he told us he would do, but he had to leave early. He was going to show us some less active families too, and so we really didn't have anything in the night planned. So he left and we were thinking of what we should do. My companion suggested visiting another member, Sister Milagros, who got home from her mission recently, to do a quick lesson with her. When we got there, she was ready to leave, and told us how she was going to do her Home Teaching that day, but her companion bailed. Seeing as we had nothing planned we offered to help her with her home teaching. She got thrilled and we left in a rush. By helping her do her home teaching, we received a new referral, who is a friend of hers, and she invited to come with us every time we teach him. We also got to meet two new less active families, and we now can pass by and visit them. It was a true blessing. We also passed by our other investigators with her and taught them. It was just a beautiful day, and I am so happy and grateful I had that opportunity. 

Also, great news, we helped our Elder´s Quorum president set up his calender this week to  give him something to work for to help the new converts and menos activos (less actives) in the area, also helping the active members receive more love from the other members.

Elder Quiñónez and I had the opportunity to watch a less active family that we've been teaching become reactivated on Sunday. This Sunday was there fourth Sunday in a row coming to church. Super exciting. Although, they don´t think they ever were inactive, they just say they were busy. But hey, they are funny and I love them. Whats good is that they have only had a little over a year in the church, so I am glad that we were able to seem them become "by the books records" active again. 

We also got to go to the temple on Thursday... that's right, TEMPLE!! And what a blessing it was. Man did I miss the temple, but the things I felt and learned there was remarkable. But I will be honest, it took all day. We woke up at 2 in the morning, to get on a bus at 3:30, so that we could be there at 7:30, so that we could get out of our session at 2, so that we could eat until 3, so that we could get home by 8. Ya big day. Best part though, for lunch, I had a special lunch... McDonald;s!!! First time I have had that disgusting junk since I left! Ten months without it, and it was the best junk food ever!!! And it tastes just like it does in the states! But it costs more... darn. But it was well worth it. Only the best when we visit the temple, right? (harsh sarcasm implied)

That was the big highlights of the week. I feel truly blessed to be here. The temple was amazing, as was the week. I learned a lot this week on how to magnify my calling as a missionary. The trick is to always be helping others! And never slow down. I feel great and well satisfied with the week! Long email, I know, but don´t be hating! hahah Love you all! Ustedes saben que yo estoy orando cada día por ustedes. Les quiero. Esta obra es verdadera, y me encanta!!!

Con mucho amor,
Elder Weiss :)

Mother's Note:  I asked Parker why he sit's at the piano and also if he bought new shoes yet. Here's the reply:

I sit at the piano because I play the piano for this ward! That is my calling! I don´t actually play though because I don´t know how, I just push a button, and the music magically comes. But you know, I try to learn. And yes I did get my new shoes. They are Dockers. And I love them!

Santo Domingo Temple

Elder Weiss & Elder Hope at Temple...showing that they've been there
 together 2 out of the 4 times they've been to that Temple

Elder Weiss and his companion Elder Quinonez

On the bus to the Temple

The best "Junk Food" worthy of a Temple trip. Lol

Parker showing off his new "purple" pants. Donny Osmond would be proud. :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Monday, September 1, 2014

BOOM. The week, it begins now!

The week has been an awesome one! We have been having lots of success recently. For all of the contacting that we did, we were able to get lots of new investigators, and this week we were able to begin teaching all of them. There is one that has also turned out to be a golden investigator, although she didn't seem like it at first. The Lord is preparing everyone! But this sister is amazing. We went by her house late one night, and she had prepared us a big meal! I'm talking big.... Spaghetti, with avocado, french fries, yuka, juice, and salad. For two people. I cried basically. I haven't ate that well in a long time. But thats not the best part. The best part is that when we teach her, she understands everything! She has great faith, and she lives right by the church, which makes it easy for her to go to church. Her name is Donieka. Amazing lady. Also, her daughter, Genesis, is awesome too, and has been able to understand lots too. So I am excited to work with them this next week.

We've been seeing lots of tropical storms, which have been fun to go running through. But here is a cool thing... Remember my convert Franklin, who is in the wheelchair?? He is almost completely able to walk again! He has been using a walker a lot, and he has almost recovered a full 100%. I might get to see him walk again before I leave this area. What a miracle. We sat down and gave him a blessing, to comfort him that for his efforts, he will be able to walk again. He has such great faith and love in his Saviour. 

We did some more contacting throughout the week, until the gangs came out again. They've started up again. And so we have been staying in quite a bit because that have been out of control! haha Barahona is the number 1 most dangerous city in the DR, and in all latin countries, it is ranked number 5. Ya........ It is getting bad. I don't understand why the President of the DR doesn't do anything about it. He should be jumping on top of these gangs, but he hasn't tried to stop them yet. Maybe he is scared? But I haven't seen any of the gangs this week, just heard a lot of the gunshots. We have heard that one person has died this week.. so that is pretty sad.

Flor, the 10 year old, is still progressing sooooo much! She is reading hard in the Book of Mormon. We're going to ask the Mission President to tell us when would be an appropriate time to consider her for baptism, because well, she is only 10. The younger kids are a tough decision for us. So we rely on the President.. :)

Good news, Jose and Dilsia, my other converts, are working really hard towards their goal to go to the temple in a year to be sealed for an eternity as a family! And get this!!! Manuel, there son, who we were teaching before, but told us he wanted to try the stuff of the world first, has now asked us to come and teach him again. Sounds like he has a change of heart, but I am excited to start up with him again!

An old investigator, Ana, contacted us and we went over there on Friday. She showed us her Book of Mormon, and it was marked up a ton! Like a ton.... at first I thought she was marking it to find faults... but then she looked at us and said. I love this book. This book is amazing. So we began teaching her again. Super excited for that, because she is one of those people that always keeps her promises.

One thing I have definitely learned this week is that the Lord is blessing us as missionaries. We were struggling with finding people to teach, but just look at all these people that have contacted us to teach them. We have more investigators now and I just smile and thank the Lord for answering our prayers. :)

That was the week. Our members have been helping us a lot this week, so I have been grateful for that as well. You wouldn't believe how important the members are to us. They really bring a different spirit to our lessons.

WE ARE GOING TO THE TEMPLE THIS WEEK!!! We're going on Friday, and I am pumped... I will tell you all about that this week.

Forgot to mention... I rock... and I love all you guys! The week was great, and I learned a lot in my reading. I am reading in Alma 20 now. I loved the story of Ammon and how he protected the King's herds. What an amazing missionary he was. I have also been reading a lot in True to the Faith. And I am still working on finding a good pair of shoes. The search continues! Anyways, I love you all! Miss you all and hope you all had a great week! You are in my prayers! :)

Con amor,

Elder Weiss :)

Biggest tree ever

I'm good looking sometimes..., ya thats it. hahaha

The grandma of Madely my convert.

Our food from our new investigator.

Random kids playing with these fake gun things