Monday, April 29, 2013

6 Weeks and Training

I guess most of you already know the news but yes I am training! Her name is Hermana Burnham and she is one of the 19 year olds too!! She is so ready to work and really is so dedicated to the Lord. Together we are going to work to become consecrated missionaries and baptize all of Gulfbank! We have some really big goals ahead of us but we are both so willing to work. Since being assigned to each other, we have come home everyday and just crashed. We are tired ALL the time. I am even having dreams of tracting and teaching. There are no breaks here in the mission. I wake up super tired because I am working so hard in my dreams too! It’s the craziest things. But I love it. I really am so happy. I probably scare Hermana Burnham a little bit because there are times when I just break out with happiness. So many miracles are happening already and it’s only been 4 days together. Good things are coming our way!

My last day with Hermana Serrano was really sad. I love that girl so much. I really wasn’t too worried about taking over Gulfbank because I know that the Lord sustains those who he calls. He was definitely going to help me here because he wants success in Gulfbank. But with that being said, we had a really awesome experience. We went to this man's house with a member. He was in a motorcycle accident a few years ago. He was in the hospital for 2 years and for 6 of those months, he was basically in a comatose state of being. He related to us that during that time he was with Christ and Christ was touching his head and chest and telling him that you can't come to me yet because I have more work for you to do. This made Manuel really sad because he wanted so badly to just go to Christ and be with Him forever but he understood. When he woke up, he was in the hospital and the doctors explained everything that had occurred. He is currently not able to walk still and he is very limited in his movements but he knows that he is going to be healed to the capacity that he needs to be in order to do the work that is left for him here on earth. I love that faith! That was exactly what I needed to hear right before meeting my new companion because I needed to recognize that according to my faith, I am going to be able to be an instrument for many people. One of the best ways for me to exercise my faith is by talking to everyone. And believe me, as hard as that is, I'm doing it. But blessings are coming from it!!!

Yesterday, we were doing some more tracting. We decided to go hit up the very corner of our area because we weren’t sure when missionaries had been there before. We were in this trailer park and no one was really home. We were about to knock on this one trailer but as we walked up a man slightly opened the door and we quickly turned around because we didn’t want to be awkward. But then remembering that we needed to talk to everyone we turned back around and the man saw our nametags, grabbed his "wife", and we had a nice little charla with her. She met with missionaries 3 years ago in another area. She loved it. She stopped because she wasn’t married and she didn’t want to get married to the man that she was currently living with. But she is really interested now and invited us to come back over later this week! So it just shows that you really do have to talk to everyone in order for God to use you.

We also found the cutest old lady I have ever met. She is from South Mexico City. She came to Houston about 18 years ago. 21 years ago she met with missionaries in Mexico but hasn’t seen them since so she was amazed to see us. She was so sweet. She was holding my hand the whole time and the second time we met with her, she gave us this hand knit tortilla plates. She is really smart. She knows all the technicalities of the scriptures and the book of Mormon makes sense. We still have some things that we need to clear up but we are going to bring a member with us next time. Just so we have someone who fully understands what she is saying.

 It is amazing to be able to have full on conversations in Spanish now though. Every day there is a little more progress and it is miraculous. All God. I am so grateful to know that he is always always there to help me and give me strength and courage. He is taking such good care of us down here in Houston. I am so grateful for the huge storm that happened here on Saturday too because we were able to get in with a lot more people! Sure they were pity lessons, but lessons nonetheless. We are planting those seeds and harvesting others. It’s amazing. Its so much fun! Honestly, once you get going, you just don’t want to stop.

I know that the atonement is real. I know that through Christ, all things are possible.

I love you all so much!

Hermana Parry
Manuel is the one waving
Here are some families I love!

No biggie just me and a horse!

 All the rain in Houston makes everything green and beautiful.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Sundays are the best days

I miss you all so much!! I cannot wait for Mother's day. My companion laughs whenever I tell her how my mom is already freaking out making sure that I have somewhere to SKYPE, not call, but skype! Haha but secretly I am also trying to figure out how to get this all situated... haha I have to see my boy Crew somehow!

This week I completed my first transfer in Houston! To be honest, that scares me a little bit. I have no idea where the time goes. Its so true how the days are so long but the weeks are so short!

I am so grateful for the opportunity my zone had to go to the temple this week. It was seriously so needed. It was the best day of the mission! Maybe not but wow the temple is awesome. I wish I could just stay in there forever. I was obviously the last one to leave but I am so glad I stayed a little longer because a family had just gotten sealed and the son had just taken out his endowments because he was getting ready to go on his mission. I got to see them stand next to each other hugging and looking into the infinity mirrors. Reminded me of when I did the exact same thing with my family in December. I just started balling because it is such a blessing the God had provided us with a way to live with our families for eternity! This temple trip was really just reflecting on all the blessings I have been given and how fortunate I am to be able to live with my family forever. It also helped me remember my purpose that this is the end goal for the people I am working with and trying to find. The happiness that I saw this family have is something that I cannot even try to explain in this email. The happiness that I felt with my own family, I definitely cannot even begin to describe. This is the plan of happiness and it is perfect. I HAVE to help people get there and understand it all. I kind of feel like Lehi after he ate the fruit in his dream and just wanted to share it with his whole family. The people of Gulfbank are my family right now and I just need to give them a glimpse of the happiness that they can feel because of God's plan.

Anyways, also had an interesting Sunday this week. It was ward conference and wow it was awesome! Not only where the lessons just motivating and rejuvenating but Hermana Ramierez's husband came to church for the first time in many moons. Usually when we go over there for dinner he is totally drunk and Hermana just has to apologize the whole entire time. But he looked so dapper and sharp! He was sitting there during sacrament, smiling next to his wife and she was just holding his arm looking like she was on cloud 9. It was so cute! Also big news! Angie's dad is now thinking of letting her being baptized!! We have a noche de hogar with them this evening so we are hoping we can help them realize the importance of this step of baptism as a family- with my experience at the temple I’m feeling pretty ready. haha Angie came up to us and was just beaming with the news to tell us about how her dad was thinking about letting her get baptized. It was awesome!

Also we had a miracle last night. All of our citas fell through yesterday. Every. Single. One. So to say the least it was a rough day. But at 830 we decided to go see our recent convert- Irving. He is always home with his mom so we thought that it would be a safe bet. For some crazy reason he was not home!! We were just like, are you serious right now. BUT it was suppose to happen this way. We didn’t park in our normal spot. We parked on the other side of the complex so we had a long way to walk back to our car. On our way back this girl came up to me and was asking if we were people of God and that she needed a lot of help right now. She gave us her life story. Two of her brothers had been shot and she had just lost her baby in early pregnancy. She was beginning to develop so much anger towards God and she was scared because she did not want to feel that. She also didn’t want to revert to her old ways of smoking and drinking. Someone pulled her away as we were talking to her because her friend was about to get in a fight and she had to go stop them but we got her name and address and are going to refer her to the sisters in her area. We also called the cops because the fight broke out and it was bad. Gulfbank sure is great! And I’m being totally serious. I love it here so much!

I know that God works in miraculous ways and I just have to trust in His wisdom.

I love you all so much and I want you to know that I am happy! Always so happy.

Mucho amor siempre,

Hermana Parry
It was the best day of the mission!  
Maybe not but wow the temple is awesome. 
I wish I could just stay in there forever.
It is such a blessing that God has provided us with
a way to live with our families for eternity.
I am so grateful for the opportunity
my zone had to go to the temple this week.

Monday, April 15, 2013

A God of Miracles

Well hello family and friends!!

I am so excited to write to yall this week. So many great things are happening right now and other, not so great things. But nonetheless I know that God loves every single one of us and that he truly does work miracles.

We had our very first baptism on Saturday! It was a 13 year old boy Irving. His mom was reactivated my first Sunday in the ward and she came up to us that day and said that her son wanted to be baptized. Let me just tell you, that is not normal in missionary work. I remember thinking wow this is awesome, people really just come to us when they want to be baptized. But no! It takes a lot of hard work and prayer to find those people that need this gospel right now. Anyways, it was awesome. He was so fun to teach. We taught him in English and then we would translate for the mom. Saturday though was such a happy day. He was getting baptized with his 2 cousins. First of all, that just touched my heart because I love my cousins so much and it is so awesome to be able to be serving missions at the same time. Second, they were all so excited for each other because they all knew that this was a step that would enable them all to live together forever!! It was so sweet and my heart seriously melted. The funny thing is that the baptism started over an hour late because they went to the Houston Temple instead of the stake center... I'm guessing they just got a little anxious? Haha nonetheless, they arrived and it was an amazing service. The smiles of their faces were priceless. I know for a fact that baptism really does open the door to eternal happiness. They are so happy! You are going to love seeing the pictures of that day. Irving would always cheer "woo-whooo!" when we would talk about his baptism and when the day finally came, you could tell that he was beyond words happy.
Irving - age 13 ready for baptism
Just when you thought that things couldn't get better from Saturday, Sunday came around. All the missionaries take doors and greet people as they walk into the chapel. Well I was standing there with some of the Elders in another ward and bam, miracle number 1 happened. This less active (Hermana Cardenas) walked in. I had to do a double take. I just could not believe it was here. Right when I got into Gulfbank we worked with her 2 times a week. We had great, powerful talks with her. She is from Peru. Her problem was the hypocracy that was in the ward- just like a majority of the people here. She is going through a lot of financial problems right now though so it has really been softening her heart and humbling her. About a week ago we left her with a really awesome, thought provoking lesson. We used Alma 50- when Moroni is fortifying all the cities to protect them from war. We talked about the different strategies he used and how she needs to protect herself and her family from hardships by going to church, reading her scriptures, praying, etc. We then decided we werent going to see her for a while. We knew that we were not going to be able to make her change. Agency is a wonderful, frustrating gift isnt it? She had to make the decision if she wanted God's help to overcome all the trials in her life right now. Well, when I saw her walk in on Sunday. I basically collapsed. I was so overcome with happiness. This is where agency becomes beautiful. I saw her make the decision to come to church all by herself and let the Lord change her hard heart. I ran up to her and gave her the most excited welcome ever known to mankind. I am sure I scared her. But I couldnt help it! I was so happy! Okay so after that whole ordeal, I saw an investigator, who the sisters before me had to drop, come in. I have never met with him but my companera has told me a lot about him. Some other miraculous things happened but Hermana Cardenas was just the most miraculous to me. Typing this up my emotions from yesterday all came back. I'm stoked. Missionary work is the best. Oh, I guess I should always tell you how thankful I was that it was fast and testimony meeting so that I could go up and tell everyone was much I love them. The bishop's daughter thought that I was going to explode because I was so happy up there- she is the same age as Kayla!

My very first Zone Conference was this week too! I know that I say this in every single email, but wow. I have the best Mission President. Now that that is out of the way. I feel like the topic of our zone conference was specifically for me. He hit on every single thing that has been on my mind since I have been out in the field. I love when things like that happen- tender mercy for sure! The whole theme was about baptism and teaching so that people will want to be baptized and take this step for themselves. It is now a mission goal for each companionship to baptize one a month. It will be really hard but I know that we can do it. There are some awesome missionaries out here right now. This is going to take more than just optimism, this is going to take deep abiding faith. Something that I am working really hard on- especially with learning the language. But we listened to this really awesome talk and the speaker was saying how baptism should be the focal point of the lesson, not the final point. What do you think about missionary work after hearing that statement? Exciting huh? It is so vital to always have that purpose in mind. The spirit will sustain you. A lot of my personal study has been focused on the Lord sustaining righteous people. I know that the Lord wants us to baptize one a month. He is going to help us succeed. Its exciting!

This week was full of service. We redid Hermana Trujillo's roof, worked at a Peanut Butter Factory, fed dinner at a homeless shelter. It was awesome. Our teaching pool is kind of dwindling but it was really fun to do service! That's why we are here. "call the missionaries, they can help!" haha but seriously.

Remember how I was telling you about that golden family, Ricardo and Margarita and their 5 beautiful children? On Wednesday we recieved a call from them. They called and told us that their family in Mexico had just been killed by drug cartels and that they just can't be thinking about God right now. First thought was are you kidding me, this is when you need him the most!! I was heart broken. I just thought about them all holding hands when we taught them about the plan of salvation and how they just loved learning about it all. Then I remembered, todo en su propio tiempo. Its all going to be ok. We are not giving up. We are leaving them scriptures on their doorstep every so often with our testimonies. I know that things will work out but wow, that was hard.

Also, Yesenia has been told that she can't meet with us anymore. Her mom walked in to one of our lessons with Yesenia at the grandma's apartment and we felt darkness immediately. That was the last time we've seen her. I pray that she is still reading her Book of Mormon. One day, she is going to be baptized and be able to fully access the atonement so that she doesn't have to be sad anymore.
I love this work. It's so hard and I'm learning so much. It truly is giving me soul-stretching opportunities. I am so grateful for ALL the missionaries throughout the world right now. Maybe I'm a little bias, but this is the best time to be a missionary. Whenever someone finds out that I am 19, they freak out. I freak out. Who would have thought that girls could be serving right now? It is awesome to be serving with the first 19 year old sisters and 18 elders. I am so happy. I love you all so much!


Hermana Mackynzie Parry

P.S. We are trying to get the ward more involved in missionary work. It is so hard to get member referrals right now. So we have been giving certain families "desafios." We are telling them to pray and give a book of mormon away or hand out tarjetas. There is this little old woman, Hermana Juarez, who totally reminds me of Aunt Vera, that we went to visit and give the "desafio" to. We followed up this week and she said oh yes I gave one to Hermana Leyva (Relief Society President) and I framed the other and hung it up in my house. Is she not just the cutest thing ever? I am happy to know that she loves Christ and wants to see him while she is cooking in her kitchen.


Monday, April 8, 2013

"As a Disciple of Christ, I had no other Choice"

Hola familia!

First off, wasn’t conference the absolute best this weekend. It went by way too fast! I think Saturday was especially for me. So much good stuff I needed to hear and relearn. I am so grateful for a living profeta who guides during this difficult times. The subject of this email is from Elder Dallin H. Oaks talk. For some reason it really stood out to me and it really reinstituted my commitment to the Lord. So awesome. And wow, I'd have to say that this is the best time to be a missionary. Everytime anything was said about the missionary effort and the Lord's work being hastened, I got butterflies in my stomach and just could not wipe the smile off of my face. Like Elder Russell M. Nelson said, everyone needs to catch the wave. So everyone get busy and let your light so shine!

I learned something really cool a few days before conference. I learned that the speakers are not assigned topics but rather pray and are inspired about what to talk about. It was so comforting to see how the topics all supported and flowed together in different sessions. It just proves to me that the spirit truly does guide and inspire us and as long as we have it, we cannot go astray. Which is so important in missionary work with a companionship! We have to work so hard to always strive to have it so that we can teach by the spirit and be sustained by him in our words.

So something that I have been really trying to work hard on is recognizing the gifts that I have been given and using them to be the missionary that God intends for me to be. We all have individual gifts and there is a reason that we have been given those ones. I know that the people here in Gulfbank need it. It is the best feeling when you find someone that you know has been prepared to meet you. I can honestly say that the Lord is not just calling more missionaries but he is preparing more people too. It is so awesome to see this all come together! The 13 year old boy that is getting baptized this weekend is so excited and I know that God has really been preparing him for this day and for us to teach him.

I had my first intercambios this week! I went to a place called Conroe! It was really really awesome. I went with Hermana Busenbark. From the moment I met her, she kept telling me how inspired this intercambio was. I have to say that I definitely agree. I definitely needed to learn quite a few things from her to help out Gulfbank and I needed to meet people there too. I actually met a recent returned missionary who’s first companion was Anne Capners older sister. Small-world right? But Conroe was filled with awesome people. It is a lot more country- which was quite cute! I even had the awesome opportunity to invite someone to be baptized there! The Lord knows where we need to be and when we need to be there. This actually reminds about a part of conference that I really liked during the Saturday afternoon session! It was during Elder Stanley Ellis's talk. He said that we need to govern ourselves according to the principles that we learn. God cannot tell us what to do in every situation but he can sustain our actions when we know gospel principles and act in accordance with them. It puts things more on us. It reminds of something Elder Bednar was saying about how we should not be so preoccupied with if our feelings are actually from the holy ghost or not, as long as you are doing good, then you are good. So my advice, stay busy, do good, and be happy.

Once again, thanks so much for letting me come to Houston. I know that there is so much work that needs to be done here and I am more than ready to do it! I love being a missionary. Good luck trying to get me to come home! I don’t think I have enjoyed learning and hardships more than I do now in Houston.

Love you all so much and my prayers are with you! I know that everything is going to turn out ok because I know that God is in the details of our lives. Continue pressing forward and you will be taken care of.

Paz y bendiciones,

Hermana Parry

P.s. The Spanish is a lot better this week. Little by little miracles are happening!

Gulf Bank Area
A home in Gulfbank - they came across it while tracting
Studying and Learning
Hermana Parry is not unhappy with the food

Intercambios (Hermana Parry's first exchange program)

Monday, April 1, 2013

I love being a missionary

Feliz (belated) Pascua familia!! I hope you all had a great Easter! Mine was definitely interesting. The missionaries ran the sacrament meeting. They did an awesome job speaking. Luckily I only had to play the hymns and the musical number. Except, I did have to say the closing prayer at our ward Zumba activity on Saturday. That was scary. Actually, I have some funny Spanish stories for you!

1. I was talking to a lady in another ward and I guess she wanted to test how good my Spanish was or something because she totally tricked me! She somehow made me agree to cutting off all my hair to make wigs or something. Super embarrassing and I was so grateful my companion was there to help me out of that.

2. We were in a lesson with Yesenia and her grandma. Her grandma never really gives a ton of emotion or comments during the lesson because she is so sick. But as I was explaining the plan of salvation, I guess I said that we come to earth to receive a body of "carne y juevos" instead of "carne y huesos" and she just started cracking up. (Translation: we all have a body of meat and eggs.)  It was cute because I had never seen her smile before but wow, that was definitely an experience

On a more uplifting note, we had zone conference this week with our Mission President. Again, can I just say how I truly believe that part of the reason I am here in Texas is because I need him and his family in my life. They are awesome! (One of the little boys actually was wearing a tie that used to be President Monson's. The condition of him getting this tie was if he decided that he would serve a full-time mission.) Anyways, the conference was awesome. I am sure you can read all about it on the blog- It was all about teaching effectively! Which is something that I really needed to relearn- and that was evident because that night we had a lesson and I applied some of the things he taught, and wow, it was awesome! I thought it was interesting because when you think about the work effect, it means to cause something else to happen. So when we are teaching effectively we are making it so our investigators will WANT to make and keep commitments in order to draw closer to Christ and follow God's plan for them. The process is understanding-belief-act-conversion. In the lesson we had that evening, we were teaching this lady named Cecilia. We found her randomly while looking for a potential investigator. Our potential wasn’t home, but I really think that was supposed to be that way so that we could find Cecilia. For the first 45 minutes of our lesson she told us all about her life- and has it been a hard one. She is single and has 6 children- the oldest is 13. She told us how she has been praying to know how she can guide her family and that she feels like we are an answer to those prayers. We taught a very clear lesson about the Restoration. She wants to know that it is true so that she can be baptized. I am excited. She bailed on going to church this Sunday last minute after we worked hard to find her a ride, which was really sad. Satan works really hard to put barriers in this work. But I know that if we do our part as missionaries, the Lord will move mountains to break those barriers for the 10's of thousands that are here waiting and prepared for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I really do love being a missionary. I know that the Lord loves his missionaries and hears are prayers. There is this 8 year old named Angie who just loves the gospel. We do noche de hogar every Monday night with her. Last Monday we talked about the plan of salvation. She expressed how she really wanted to live with God again in the Celestial Kingdom. Afterwards though, she just started crying and crying and crying. And we were like oh no, what the heck just happened. She then told us how she was so sad because her parents would not let her be baptized and that she couldn’t go to the Celestial Kingdom unless she was baptized. This seriously broke my heart. After talking to the grandma about the situation also, she said that the parents always work on Sundays so they haven’t been able to go to church and see what her daughter has been learning. This week we have all been praying that her parents would have Easter off so that they could attend church. When church started yesterday, she was not there with her grandma... It was so sad. But after the sacrament, all the sudden we see Angie walk in with her parents!!! I just lost it. I was so happy. I’m excited to go over tonight to see what they thought of it and if they will now let Angie be baptized.

We also just started teaching a family. They are golden! On Friday, we taught them about the plan of salvation. The parents gathered all their 5 children and they were loving it, every single one of them. They were holding hands and were so excited that there was a way for them to live together forever! When it was time to go, the little boy just started crying. I don’t think he wanted us to leave. He is only a year or two- not quite sure. But I know that even he was able to feel the spirit that was in that room. The Spirit was so strong. I don’t even know how to describe the feeling you get when you teach a family. The gospel is for families- God's plan is family. And Jesus Christ is the central part in that plan. I am so extremely grateful for that.

One more story before I sign off, when we were with Yesenia, she said another really awesome prayer. She said "please help these missionaries go save more people." I think that sums up what I have been doing pretty well - or at least what I am trying to do! Saving one soul at a time here in Gulfbank. It is the best. I love talking to people, especially about this gospel. There is nothing that brings so much happiness.

I know that this work is orchestrated by God. I’ve learned that you don’t always know the fruits of your actions immediately but as long as you do good and act on all good feelings you are helping the work. Press forward. Get going. And you’ll be alright.

I have also learned that i need to be here and be here all the time. I have to take advantage and give this all that I have. There is only 16 months left. It breaks my heart that this goes by so fast. I love being a missionary!

Love you all so much!

Hermana Parry