October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!

This week was good! The mission is a never ending cycle of finding and teaching. Now is the time for members and missionaries to work together! Its awesome when the members here help find people for us to teach, so you should all share the gospel! It could be as simple as inviting someone to the next ward function or sharing a church video on social media. You never know the impact of a simple testimony or invitation. :)

This past week I finished the Book of Mormon! For the past 4 months or so, Ive been reading, looking for references to Christ and His Atonement. Its been really cool to see how different prophets, and different time periods refer to the Savior. Another cool thing is that the Book of Mormon explains and shares accounts of the Atonement working in these peoples lives. While the Bible contains the account of Christ in the Garden, the purpose and intent of the Atonement is pretty scarce. However, coupled with the Book of Mormon, they work together to help us understand. :) 

Had the opportunity to go on exchanges with the assistants this past week. It was awesome and I learned a lot about simply having faith and recognizing where your desire/heart is at. We were working ina pretty rough area and prayed to have the Lord guide us to where He would have us be. We knocked quite a few doors, with faith in mind from President Uchtdorfs talk, "Four floor, Last Door". One of the assistants felt like we needed to get into a particular complex but the door was locked. After a few minutes and walking down the street, and miraculously being led through a series of gates and doors, we made it into the complex and were able to again say a prayer of gratitude and ask where we should go. We quickly felt which doors we should knock on and we met this lady Kristel. She at first didnt seem too interested, but all of sudden she said, "Yall can come back, I have questions. Ill make some coffee and we can talk." :) 
Palos Verde

The Lord loves you. Keep doing what you need to be doing. As we seek to share what makes us happy with others, the Lord will continue to bless us with additional happiness. As we make Christ the center of our lives, our joy will increase. :) Have a great week! Happy Halloween!
When you kill the pig in the backyard to feed the missionaries

October 24, 2016

Don't sell yourself short

Hello World!

This past week was a rough one. We faced a lot of rejection, BUT the work goes on! :) 

Im grateful for the opportunity to serve. Also for the chance to grow so close to the people that we are serving and with whom we are serving. Its been unreal to be placed in a situation where I can develop unique relationships, with other missionaries, members, investigators, etc. With that opportunity, I have grown to love the people here in Los Angeles, despite all the differences. I have found myself caring about these people, and this week I realized that more than I ever have. Its hard when these people tell you they are too busy, life is too hard and they don't want it. Its hard when you know they know it, yet they still choose not to. :) 

Im rounding out on 2/3 of the way through my service and Im so grateful for this short time I have. This is a little bit of what Ive been thinking about this week. 

We must give others the opportunity to repent and change just as much as the Savior gives us the opportunity to do so. Imagine if there was only one chance to get it right, or even a limited number of 'chances'. We would have blown it along time ago! There is nothing we can ever do to be 'too far gone' from the reach of the Atonement. There is always the opportunity for a second chance, for a clean slate and a positive future.

I also wonder if sometimes we see others by their mistakes and things done wrong rather than by their potential and capacity to do good. Isn't that how our Father in Heaven looks at us? He always sees us as who we can become, full of potential and future, not by our shortcomings and the mistakes we have made. After all, we all have an equal opportunity to repent and become clean, I don't have a 'more deserved' opportunity than you do. 

I am going to work on looking at others with Heavenly Fathers eyes. Seeing them, not for their mistakes, but with their potential to repent, change and be sanctified through the Lord. After all, people can change. It is our purpose here on earth to change and become more like Him. Don't sell others short, and don't sell yourself short by thinking others aren't trying to be their best selves either. The Atonement is there for everyone. Allow others to use it and be a friend, we all need help along the way. :)

I hope you all have a great week! :) thanks so much for everything!!
Elder Park 

October 10, 2016

Mini Missionary

Start of the new transfer and we started off with a little surprise, change of companions! Im now serving with E Williamson! He has been out for about 20months and has served in Spanish until now. He is from Auburn, Maine, little different than sunny Los Angeles. He is a good guy and Im excited for the new transfer. 

This week was on fire! We had some awesome experiences. We had the opportunity to have a YM from Redondo come out with us for 2 days (Fri night -> Sun night). His name is Tyler, he is a Senior in HS and wants to serve a mission next year! Woooo! It was so cool to have him with us and the Lord really blessed us with some awesome lessons and people while he was with us. 

We were able to help out a lady with her ceramic business, cataloging, moving and storing. She has had a fair amount of contact with the missionaries and was so excited to have us stop by. She gave us root beer and ice cream for our hard work and then surprised us by giving her little puppy an ice cream float of his own. Here is a video of this poor dog getting a brain freeze, haha.

Alexa is doing well. She expressed some concern with family pressure and is unsure if this is what God wants her to do. We taught her about specific prayer and having real intent and invited her to pray and ask God if this is true and something He wants her to do and if so, when He would like her to take the step of baptism. She gladly accepted and we are excited to hear back from her about her answer. 

Missionaries in this area have been working with Christina and Eugene for a while and we got to meet with them his week. They have been through a lot and are bouncing from place to place, trying to find somewhere to settle down, not that easy anywhere, let alone LA.. Christina has the desire to be baptized and start getting back to church and Eugene he thinks that them two getting married will escalate things and help them be more unified. However, they don't necessarily share each others desires. So we are trying to help them see that BOTH are great desires and they should work together to achieve both! :)

Thomas & Victoria. Ahh man they are awesome. They had us over for dinner this weekend and we had some awesome homemade Nicaraguan food with them. We also read the Book of Mormon and talked about the family with them. It was cool to discuss how we can protect our families from the world and the influences that are in it. We talked about how sometimes, despite our best efforts, loved ones still fall away, but the things we do, our examples still make lasting impressions upon them. 

We were trying to visit this potential Brian who lives with his grandma who is a member of the Spanish ward here in Pedro, no answer at the door. We wait for a little try again, nothing. Then the whole family of peeps come walking in and see that we are standing at their door, you could tell they were like, what the? We introduced ourselves and asked if they had a few minutes. At first, they were a little hesitate but they invited us in and told us, ok, you only have 5 minutes. Pretty soon we had all the kids laughing, mom was smiling and the grandma was so happy. Turns out, when the grandma was investigating the church back in 94', they had gone to the Visitor Center and when we were talking the mom, Anna all of a sudden remembered the giant Jesus statue and was just ecstatic. We shared a little about eternal families and then watched a video on the Plan of Salvation that put Anna in tears. It was so cool to see the Spirit work through everyone, especially the mom and we are so excited to continue to work with them. Yes, we stayed longer than 5 minutes ;) 

All in all, great week! I love the mission! Its awesome. Church is true, Book is blue and God is a Mormon. 

October 3, 2016

Conference - Seafood - Transfers

What a great week. Its been an awesome last week of the transfer and Im grateful to have spent it with E Griffin and E Solano. E Solano heads home to Chicago tomorrow and E Griffin will be serving in West LA, the Wilshire area. Ill be kicking it for 6 more weeks here in San Pedro/Palos Verdes, where there is awesome picture opps with E Bennett. Im excited! 

Here in Pedro we are working with some awesome families! One is Thomas and Victoria Ingle. They have been investigating the church for years! And it is finally winding down to where they can be baptized. Due to some legal complexities, they haven't been able to get married yet, but we are hoping this month they can finalize everything, get married and then baptized! We ate dinner with Thomas this past week (best enchiladas Ive ever had) and he said, "Just have the font ready and I'll dive in!". They are awesome, so excited for them.

Another is the Robinson family. They are returning less-actives who have been through a ton but are so cool! We have been working with Dennis and the primary president to get him ready for baptism! Also, the two teenagers Michael and Denae are going to do proxy baptisms this week and its been cool to see how they have been accepted into the YM and YW programs here in the ward.

We also reconnected with Alexa, who has been super busy and she is doing well! She has a lot going on right now but is starting to see the effect of good friends in her life. She works a ton and we hope to sit down this week and establish some expectations so we can meet and help her in her faith. 

We also found awesome people this week. We had just come out of an appt and were really thirsty and sweaty and Joshua yells from across the street, "Hey! You guys need some water? Its really hot out!" We gladly accepted and end up talking for about 20-25 minutes and taught the gospel of Jesus Christ and talked about what we need to do to be saved and access Christ's grace. It was awesome! 

We also had a cool lesson with George and Marta. They were a random potential we had met earlier in the week and wondered if they would be interested or even home with the return appt. We popped in and they warmly invited us in and we had one of the best "How to Begin Teaching" get-to-know you lessons Ive ever had! We talked about our paths and experiences with Christ in our lives and taught about the importance of prayer. It was so cool and before we knew it, it was time to go. Without explaining in detail how we pray, we invited George to offer the closing prayer. He began, "Dear Heavenly Father..." Without us even telling him that! Woooo! It was awesome and we are thrilled to go back this week! :) 

I love the mission! And conference! Grateful for the opportunity to listen and receive revelation this past weekend. Here are some of my favorite things that I learned and heard:
* God is not a referee trying to throw us out of the game. He loves us and wants us to keep trying.
* While we may be content in or satisfied of where we are at, God wants us to become more. We have the potential to be as He is. Abide in His love and become better. 
* Great indicator of our conversion is our desire and willingness to share it with others.
* Joy we receive is not dependent on our outward circumstances but rather the focus of our lives. As we focus on the joy received from righteous living, we will be gifted with additional power and strength to overcome our circumstances.
* God wants you to be like Him, so you NEED to repent.
* If we truly love God, we wont hate or disregard His children. 
* Steady and consistent progress in the covenant pathway is most pleasing unto the Father.
* There is a reason, lesson and purpose behind seemingly unanswered prayers and unaided trials. Righteous living does not make us exempt from life's trials and troubles. However, righteous conduct, faithfulness and covenant keeping give us the necessary lenses to see through the trials to the eternal consequences, rewards and blessings. 
* We must "endure it well", a conscious effort to exercise our faith. 

We also went to a park between sessions of Conference on Sunday and found about 30 Persians playing soccer in PV! What?!?! It was SO COOL! We talked to them and they were really nice! 

1. Pano/Selfie of the Big Blue

2. Greenwoods

3. SanPedro Fish Market Feast #CrabLobsterShrimp&Potates

Have an awesome week! :)