Sunday, August 1, 2010

Brent's Coming Home!

Yes, Brent is coming home this week!

The family will be going to the Salt Lake City Airport this Thursday, August 5th to pick up Elder Brent Parsons - and welcome him home.

Brent's 'Homecoming' talk will be held at the Heatheridge 3rd Ward Sacrament Meeting - Sunday, August 8th at 11:00am. We welcome all those who would like to welcome Brent back to come to his talk, and then to an open house at our home afterward.

Heatheridge Stake Chapel
450 East 2000 North
Orem, UT 84097

Keith & Jill Parsons Home
383 East Ridge Road (1770 North)
Orem, UT 84057
801 223 9400

Getting Short Now

Karrissa you asked if I am nervous to get home....yeah...yeah I am. Who knows what its going to be like. I am kind of a big ball of emotions right now though. The past month or so I have been working hard for sure and even enjoying it but I wanted nothing more than for it to end so I could finally rest and go home. And I still do its just now that it is so close its becoming a lot more...real, I me and its just weird.

Yesterday messed with my emotions and little bit too. I was on division in Jaçanã (North zone of the capital here in São Paulo) with Elder M. Silva. We ended up having one of the best and most spiritual days of work that I have ever had on my mission. We didn't have a single appointment until 7:30 pm as well. However, we had some awesome lessons in the afternoon then at 6:30 pm we hit a door and ended up finding a full family, the parents being legally married which was a miracle, that were going to another church and were even baptized in the church but understand our message so completely that they realized that they needed to be baptized again and so accepted baptimsal dates for the 14th of August.

I listened to a talk the other day by Elder Holland to the missionaries at the MTC. In the talk he describes what he calls "the perfect missionary lesson". And from what he described this type of lesson probably only happens a few times in a missionary's mission. I think I have only had 3 or 4 of these lessons. In part of his description he says that it seems like everything gets quite and nothing else in the world is happening except what's happening in that moment in that house, that the spirit is so strong that everyone feels it and everybody knows that the others are feeling it, and at the point it feels like the heavens comes a little closer and the veil becomes a little more transparent.

And then at that point the missionaries stop teaching what they are teaching, help the investigators recognize that the feeling they are having is coming from the Holy Ghost, and then they invite the investigators to baptism. I had one of those lessons last night. As I walked out of the lesson with Elder M. Silva, both of our eyes still slightly wet, I told him that if every day on the mission was like that then I wouldn't mind staying another transfer on the mission, or even another 2 years if it was needed. It really was that good.
HOWEVER, that is definitely not what I want don't worry family. I was called for 2 years and that's what I will serve (really, there's no way I could stay longer anyway because my visa is going to expire anyway). Even if I could there I would have no intention in staying longer. It was just a really good experience because the past few weeks of divisions have been a little "blah" and I was starting to get a little trunky.

Last night was just a little wake up call to remind me that I am still a missionary and WHY I had worked so hard these 2 years. But I am REALLY REALLY excited to come home! It's going to be tiz-ight.

Here are some pics:
On a division I did in São Paulo Norte.
Check out the apartment building that is behind me.
Check out that house on top of the apartment building!!
I think it's my dream house.

Mission President Taking Pictures in Embu

Elder Whitesides, Elder Briggs, and me with our
American ties on the 4th of July.

Sister Cooley made cinnamon rolls for everyone at Mission Counsel.
It may not seem like a lot but it is actually the first cinnamon roll
I have eaten in 1 year and 11 months...

Our last Mission Counsel. My group with President and Sister Cooley.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Pics for the week

Me and my comp on the street messin' around...

Elder Albuquerque (in the middle) taught me
how to make a sweet churrasco (bbq) today.
It was way good!

Looks delicious...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

World Cup has begun

So the World Cup has officially begun. Now, I am sure there a lot of you there in the USA that don't even know that it is happening but I'll tell you something...there is not a Brazilian soul that doesn't know that the cup is going on right now. I can't really explain to you what it's like but let's just say that during the Brazil vs. North Korea game it looked like São Paulo turned into a ghost town in less than an hour. Serious. Literally the only business that stayed open were the bars because people would go drink and watch the game. School class ended early so that all the kids and teachers could go home to watch the game. Employees were let out an hour and a half before the game started so they could all get home in time to watch it. And this was just a simple game against North Korea! I can't even imagine what the future games will be like.

Unfortunately, President Cooley isn't allowing us to watch the games. I was on division with the Elders here close by and we were hitting doors at about 3:00 and the game was at 3:30. After not getting in to a single house we realized that it was useless to work during the game and just headed back to the house to wait it out. Them Brazi's love their soccer.

Last week we did divisions with Barueri, Osasco, and Jaraguá. We started transfers again on last transfer starts next week! Crazy! Time is flying by.

-Elder Parsons

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Pics for the week

Me, my companion, President and Sister Cooley, and Elder Araújo and his wife after Zone Conference.

The mission baptized 30 people last week (which is our goal for every week) and President was in a good mood so he had us make some stuff for the Zone Leaders at Council. A box of candy and soda saying Congrats with a bunch of 30s on them. Haha.

At Council yesterday 6/8 of the people from my group were there so we took a picture. (From the left) Elders Fabian, Perry, Little, Taylor, Me, Bigelow. I never realized it but I think I am the shortest of the group...and it doesn't help that the Giant - Elder Taylor - is standing next to me. Dangit.

Elder Gratil got some Redvines from home so we bought some delicious drinks to use them as straws.

Me...drinking...with a Redvine...

Just realized that I have been spelling "counsel" wrong this whole time. In Portuguese it's "conselho" and looks like counsel so that's why I spell it as such, but really in English it should be council. I sincerely apologize.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Attitude About Missionary Work

This week was a pretty hectic week because we had both Zone Conference and Mission Council. Fortunately we didn’t have to worry much about Zone Conference because one of the Area Seventies came in and talked to our mission which meant we wouldn’t have to prepare a training. Plus, it was even better because his training was incredible. I learned a ton and the missionaries gave really good feedback afterward too.

After that, we had a division with São Paulo Norte on Saturday. Then we had to get home and get ourselves ready for Mission Council on Tuesday. The mission is having a lot of trouble finding new investigators to teach so we focused our training on Finding. It went really well.

Part of our training was about the Elders having enough faith to understand that God knows where they are and when an appointment “falls” that they need to immediately look around to find somebody to teach because they are there for a reason.

It’s funny because many times I forget to follow my own counsel on the divisions I do and I definitely need to get better with that. So last night, after counsel, we did a division with the secretaries in their area. I was freakin’ tired from the day’s events already and I even told that to the Financial Sec. Elder Whitesides who is one of my good buddies on the mission. He has 11 months on the mission and is an excellent missionary with an extraordinary amount of faith. I said “Dude, I’ll be honest, I don’t have even the least desire to be here right now haha.” He told me to shut up and that miracles would happen that night if I would just work hard. I doubted it…

We started walking to our one and only appointment that was on top of a hill. There are two ways to get there but one way is somewhat of a short-cut that saves about 5 min walking up hill. We were about to go up that way when Elder Whitesides just stopped and said, “I don’t know why but I really think we should go up the other way even though it is longer.” I didn’t really care about what we did that night and just said OK and followed him. We were about half-way up the hill when a car stopped right by us and a member poked his head out and asked if we could go by his house that night at 8:00 to talk to him about something. We said yeah and then kept going.

The rest of the night until 8:00 actually wasn’t too bad and we had a couple good lessons. We even marked a baptismal date for another area. Anyway we got to the member’s house at about 8:00 and clapped at his door. Nobody was home. Now it’s normal for investigator appointments to fall but a member appointment that had been marked less than 3 hours before? I was still tired and truly just wanted to go home but I remembered the training that had been given that day about looking for somebody to teach when an appointment falls. I told Elder Whitesides “Welp, it’s extremely weird that he isn’t here right now so obviously God wants us to be on this street at this time so let’s find out why.

Elder Whitesides, in his great amount of faith, got all excited and suggested for us to say a prayer. I reluctantly agreed and said I would say it. Before I could even start Elder Whitesides started moving his way over to the sidewalk saying “Alright, so let’s kneel down over here…” I cut him off and said “Bro…we really don’t need to kneel to say a prayer…especially when we are here right in the middle of the street. Just stand up and I’ll say it.” Haha. He said OK and got up and tightly closed his eyes while we said a prayer asking God to please show us why we had been sent there at that time.

We ended the prayer and started looking. I looked down the street and every house looked like it was completely empty. We started walking and I saw a house with a light on and decided to knock it. I went there and started clapping. Elder Whitesides suddenly appeared at my side and said “Did you feel that this is the house that has the person we should be looking for?” I just said “yes” and decided to leave out the part that it was the only house on the street that I saw with a light on.

We waited and waited and waited and the only living thing that came out of the house was a Golden Retriever. Elder Whitesides said “some revelation you have…” haha. I said “whatever, let’s just keep looking.” We continued down the street and I tried another house. A young girl opened the window and I asked if we could just sing a song from our church to her and she said “We don’t want anything from you guys” and slammed the window.

I was ready to give up and just go home.

However, Elder Whitesides was starting to get a little bit down and I felt bad so I said “It’s fine man, let’s just keep going.” We started walking down the street and up a little ways I saw a man checking his mail at the mailbox. I cautiously approached him and started talking with him. I saw that his house was nice and he had 2 nice cars in the drive-way…already dampening my hopes a little bit because rich people think they have everything already and don’t need the gospel. However, he treated us surprisingly well and invited us in.

We got in the house and everything went perfectly. It is a pretty well-off family and a family extremely united. His wife was just as accepting as he was and their two kids were way cool (17 year-old boy and 15 year-old boy). Their kids are studying English at a private school and were excited to see “real” Americans. The Secretaries will be going back there tomorrow to teach them again.

This experience really taught me a lesson about the attitude we should have about missionary work and about following the promptings of the Spirit. God knows what he is doing and who he wants to be in His church. He needed us to be in the front of that house at that time. Elder Whitesides followed the prompting of the Spirit right in the beginning of the day by going the long way to the appointment setting off a chain reaction. It allowed us to mark the appointment with the member for 8:00 that happened to be driving on that street at the moment, which allowed us to show up on that street even though he wasn’t even going to be home, which allowed us to find this awesome golden family for the Secretaries area.

I learned a lot.

-Elder Brent Parsons

Thursday, May 27, 2010

10 weeks and counting... and some pics

Welp, the weeks I have left I can now count on my two hands. 10 weeks my peeps. 10 weeks. It's crazy.

I just went to the temple for the first time in about 7 months and it was awesome. It's funny how I live 5 minutes on foot away from the temple but I can't go until President schedules us to go.

Story of the week. So last Thursday was the new district leader training and the new DLs from Sorocaba came to spend the night Wednesday night because they would have to get up really early in order to get here on time for the training if they came on Thursday. Anyway, so their companions came with them. They ended up getting here pretty late (around 10:30) and before they were situated for bed it was past 11:00. My companion and I had gone to bed a little earlier and we were just getting to sleep as we heard an air horn coming from the back house of the office here. It was really loud. Now this neighborhood isn't what you would call poor and most people here are older and richer and probably already hate us because we are a bunch of rowdy 19-21 year old kids. So I hear this air horn and my heart stopped because for sure somebody was going to call the cops. He did it once and we thought he would stop but he started blowing it again.

So I am sleeping in the bottom bunk and my comp on top. I jump out of my bed and go running toward the kitchen door to kill this kid before he wakes up the whole neighborhood. My comp had the same idea and jumped out of the top bunk nearly landing on me. We got to the door but unfortunately it is kind of broken and is really hard to open. Frantically trying to open the door as that air horn kept blowing a constant stream of sound into the night we finally were able to get it open and went running to the back. I took off at full speed into the darkness, turned the corner, saw the clothesline, ducked and finally got there. I started chewing the kid out and we took the air horn from him.

However, I didn't see what had happened to my companion haha. He was running after me but lost sight of me as I turned the corner. He came running around the corner into the dark...but had forgotten there was a clothesline hung up. Whack! Haha. He hit the clothesline at a full speed, nearly knocking the beast off of his feet haha. Anyway, I attached pics to show that damage. It was so hilarious. I mean yeah, he could have gone blind...but he didnt! Hooray! So now we can laugh at it.

My comp was way worried about it scarring...and I...I was hoping it would lol. JK. It really would just be funny only so he would have to tell EVERYBODY the story that he meets after the mission about why he looks like Scar from the Lion King. We went to bed after saying our personal prayers the other night and after about 5 minutes of silence he asked "Elder Parsons, did you pray that my eye wouldn't heal right and that I would have a scar forever?" I was responded "Of course not! I would never ask God for something like that." Then after about a minute of silence I said "But...I DIDN'T ask him to help it heal right..." haha. I really was kidding it was just a way funny situation.

Welp, there ya go. Everything is going good here and I am loving the mission. Love ya'll!

-Elder Brent Parsons

Me talking to some hilarious old guy at lunch on the division in Itú last Friday

My companion and the mark from his unfortunate accident

We were messing around playing baseball at the Itú house. See the ball?

Picture from the temple today.
Me, my comp and my two really good friends
on the mission Elder Little and Elder Fabian.