What a great day it was welcoming home Elder Parkinson. We had many family and friends join us at the airport for Jordan's 7:34pm arrival on Wednesday, December 11, 2012. He flew out of Bakersfield, California at 12:30pm and arrived in Phoenix, Arizona at 2:59pm. From there he had a small layover and got to enjoy some pizza at the airport with one of the other missionary's brothers. His final flight left Phoenix at 5:55pm and landed in Salt Lake at 7:34pm. We were so lucky that the weather was good and there were no delays at all. The only delay was waiting for Elder Parkinson to finally get off the plane after we saw the sign that said it had landed because it seemed like hours! He flew with 3 other Elder's and 1 Sister Missionary and they were seated in the very back of the plane and thus the last to de-plane. To make it worse, they all decided to use the bathroom to just test our patience even more. No matter how long they took, I would have waited all night for that one moment of finally seeing our missionary after 2 years. Words cannot describe the emotions and the joy. I managed to contain my excitement just a little and didn't run after Jordan (which he later told me he expected me to do), but waited until he was out of everyone's way and then received the best hug ever! The tears started to flow immediately and I was almost sobbing I was so happy. I really didn't want to let him go. What a glorious day and such an amazing journey these last two years have been. I am so grateful for our church and the blessings that it provides. Welcome Home Elder.
Monday, December 9, 2013
I cannot believe that the time has come for Elder Parkinson to come home. I didn't think this day would ever come. Writing my last email to him seemed so weird, but yet incredible at the same time. What is it going to be like to just pick up the phone and be able to call or text him at any time of the day. It is the little things that we have missed and taken for granted. Our family is so ready to have him back even though these last two years have been such an amazing blessing for all of us. I couldn't ask for a better life and spiritual experience for my son and am so grateful for the things he has learned and the lives he has touched.
Elder Jordan Parkinson
California San Fernando Mission - January 18, 2012 - July 1, 2013
California Bakersfield Mission - July 1, 2013 - December 11, 2013
His Companions and Areas:
Elder Hudson - Draper, Utah
Elder Calder - Mapleton Utah
First Trainer - Van Nuys, California
Elder Gomm - Ft. Worth Texas
Second Trainer - Van Nuys, California
Elder Garnica - Chicago, Illinois
Third Trainer - Palmdale, California
Elder Flake - Kaysville, Utah
Fourth Companion - Palmdale, Utah
Elder Barker - Evanston, Wyoming
First Son - Lake Los Angeles, California
Elder Zobrist - Las Vegas, Nevada
Second Son - Lake Los Angeles, California
Elder Farnsworth - Castle Rock, Colorado
Third Son - Lake Los Angeles, California
Elder Sawyer - Vermont
Fourth Son - Rancho Vista, California
Elder Ruiz - Las Vegas, Nevada
Fifth Son and Final Companion - Rancho Vista, California
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Elder Parkinson is doing great and continuing to work hard until his very last day. He had a great Thanksgiving and is now starting to prepare for his return home. Jordan sent a box home of items that are important to him and it was a little bit surreal looking through it. Some of the items included his Preach My Gospel book, his daily planners, his full size scriptures and a bunch of the letters that he had received. It was so cool to look through these things and see how marked up they were. It gave us a little glimpse into the amazing work that Elder Parkinson has been doing these past two years. This has definitely been a life changing experience for all of us and we can't wait to have Jordan home with us again.
Elder Parkinson: Hello mom. Well I am glad that the package got there safely. All is well out here. Last week was a little slow but it's all good, just working hard. I am still in denial that I am coming home so soon. That is good that you had a good Thanksgiving. My Thanksgiving started off with some basketball and then we had 4 meals with members that day. I was so full, but it was good. That is good and bad about the weather because I really want to see snow, but I want the house to move faster too. It is so crazy that basketball season has started. I am so glad that both Austin and Cooper are on the team and I can't wait to watch them play. That is exciting that Austin is going to his first high school dance. I remember how I was about dances, but they are fun. I loved going and having a good time. I am also glad to hear that things are falling into place with football. I love you so much and can't wait to hear back from you.
Mom: I am so glad to hear that you are doing well. Four Thanksgiving meals is quite a bit!!! Were any of them Mexican food? I think it's okay for you to wish for snow. The house will get done eventually :) I'm excited to see what happens with you and football but I know that everything will work out the way it is supposed to.
Elder Parkinson: No, none of them were Mexican food, haha. Okay, I am going to wish for snow then. I hope I can still play football when I get home. I love that sport. I saw some little kids putting on their pad the other day and I almost cried. I love football. Yeah, all is well. So what is it that you want me to bring home for sure?
Mom: With your hard work, attitude and determination I am sure you will be playing football again. I remember you first putting on your pads for Southeast Jr. High in Iowa City. It was so funny to me that you were on the big guy team because you were so skinny :) As for stuff to definitely bring home, all I know that I really care about is the shoes. I want to keep them as a reminder of how hard you worked. If you have anything that is still in good shape you can bring that too, like ties, clothes, etc.... Don't bring anything home that you are never going to wear again. You can leave most of your toiletries too. What other things do you have?
Elder Parkinson: How about bed stuff?
Mom: What do you have for bedding stuff? You probably should bring home the Duke blanket.
Elder Parkinson: Yeah, but like the sheets and stuff?
Mom: No, don't bring home any of the sheets or pillows or towels. Have you started packing? What are your plans for today?
Elder Parkinson: No, not yet. I will do that this Sunday. For today our plans are to just chill and relax.
Mom: Do you not play basketball anymore on Pdays? Any ideas on what you are going to do with Thacker next Monday?
Elder Parkinson: No, there are not many good players, so it isn't fun. I have no idea what Thacker and I are going to do except have a good time.
Mom: That is too funny! Do you sleep at the mission home the night before you fly out?
Elder Parkinson: Yes, I do.
Mom: Well, you'll have to take us back this spring or summer and let us meet everyone. I hope you have an amazing week and are successful in all you do. Always know I love you to the moon and back.
Elder Parkinson: Okay, same to you. I love you so much.
Monday, November 25, 2013
It is so crazy to think that this will be Elder Parkinson's last Thanksgiving in the mission field and even crazier to think that we get to see him in just over 2 weeks! He is doing great and still working as hard as when he started. His attitude, work ethic and determination are an inspiration to us all.
Elder Parkinson: Hey mom, how are you doing. I am doing great and just trying to work hard and be the best missionary that I can. It is so cool that you got to see Thacker. He is so cool and I love that man, haha. That is not good that you had another mini wind storm, but I am happy that it didn't do anything to the house. All is good here and I think it is great that you are going to have a little family Thanksgiving. Well, I can't wait to hear back from you.
Mom: I'm glad to hear that you are still doing well and working hard. Has the work picked up at all? We were happy to see Thacker and he is excited to spend your last Pday with you. Have you figured out your plans for Thanksgiving yet?
Elder Parkinson: No, the work hasn't picked up that much, but it is okay. I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for this area. I can't wait to see Thacker again! I don't know what we are going to do for Thanksgiving yet.
Mom: Yes, Heavenly Father definitely has a plan and you are helping make that possible. What are you doing for Pday today? Have you had to pay your ticket yet? How are you and your companion doing?
Elder Parkinson: Um, for today it is all up in the air. I have not had to pay the ticket yet, but it should be paid by next week. Me and my comp are doing great. He is a good kid.
Mom: Sounds like things are good which makes me SO happy. Did you want to write a little something for the friends newsletter and share your testimony?
Elder Parkinson: Sure, I will do that right before I get off. How is all back home?
Mom: Sounds good. Everything is going well here. We drive by the new house at least 3 times per day to see the progress, which makes it seem even slower, haha. Dad is staying busy with work and I am just doing the normal mom things. The boys stay busy with basketball and school and Austin is also trying to lift 4 days a week so he can get stronger and not get hurt as much. Speaking of stronger.....what are you weighing in at now?
Elder Parkinson: I am at 245 and I can't wait to get back and work out. That is something that I miss.
Mom: You have just been working out in a different way. Is there anything you are needing?
Elder Parkinson: No, I think I am good. Do you know when my homecoming talk is?
Mom: It will be Dec. 29 because we have stake conference the Sunday after you get home and the next Sunday is the Christmas program.
Elder Parkinson: Okay, sounds good. I love you so much and I am going to write my entry for the friends newsletter now. Have a good Thanksgiving and I love you. Can't wait to see you.
Elder Parkinson and his high school classmates have a newsletter that they all submit to quarterly. A mom puts all the entries together and then emails it out. It is such a great way for them to all see how their friends are doing and keep track of each other while they are away. Here is Jordan's submission:
Well boys, it is over. I can't believe it but I do know that this mission changed my life. I wouldn't have traded it for anything. I know that this church is the Church of Jesus Christ and I know that we have the authority on Earth today. I have seen many miracles because of the priesthood. I love the gospel and I hope that whoever is still in the mission will work as hard as they can because it goes by fast. It felt like high school football with how fast it went. Well, I love you all and hope to see you soon or hear from you.
Monday, November 18, 2013
I absolutely love Missionary Monday's. Hearing from and being uplifted by your missionary is the best way to start a new week. I can't count how many times I press "refresh" on my email just to make sure I haven't missed one minute of Jordan being online. I think I am going to have to readjust when he comes home and make myself not text him all day long on Monday's. Elder Parkinson is doing great and still working hard all the way through the finish line.
Elder Parkinson: Hey mom, all is well. My talk yesterday went great. I forgot the Spanish version that I had written out, so I had to translate my talk on the spot. It was fun. That is cool that both Austin and Cooper made the high school basketball team. I can't wait to watch them play when I get home. I hope that the house gets going faster and no, it doesn't bother me that I will be coming home to a rental I've never seen. It's not the house that I am coming back to, it is my family, so yeah I will be fine. I did get the new dress shirt that you sent and yes, I do have a place to take it and get it pressed. Well, I love you so much and I hope to hear back from you.
Mom: Wow! Was it hard to translate on the spot? How long did you talk for? I'm glad that you got the shirt and you will be able to get it pressed. Are you needing anything else clothing wise for your return? How is the work coming along?
Elder Parkinson: Haha, no, it wasn't too hard. I talked for about 15 minutes, but I could have gone longer. I am doing good and I don't think I need anything else before I go home.
Mom: 15 minutes is a long time! I am so excited to hear you speak Spanish when you get home. I just sent you a few pics of the new house with the trusses they have on so far. How does your suit fit? Is it going to be okay to come home in? What are you doing today?
Elder Parkinson: The house is looking good! My suit is just fine. I have no idea what the plan for today is, haha, just chill I guess.
Mom: How is the work coming along? Have you found any new Spanish investigators?
Elder Parkinson: The work is the same. We are having a hard time finding any new people, but is is okay because we are trying.
Mom: Well I'm sure you are giving it your best. Do you know your plans for Thanksgiving yet? How is your companion doing? When do you have to pay your speeding ticket?
Elder Parkinson: Yes, I am giving it my all. My comp is great! I don't know our plans for Thanksgiving yet, but I will find out how much the speeding ticket is tonight or tomorrow.
Jordan's current companion whom he is going to finish out his mission with.
Mom: So everything is good? You are happy? Any special requests for when you come home?
Elder Parkinson: Yeah, all is great! I just have one question: Do you know when I am going to be released?
Mom: From what I have heard, you get released the night that you get home. I would think it should be within a few hours.
Elder Parkinson: Okay, sounds good. Well, I love you so much and I will talk to you next week.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
I was a little worried that we wouldn't be receiving an email from Elder Parkinson this week, but thankfully Missionary Tuesday's are just as good as Missionary Monday's. In the letter that came with his SIM card last week, Jordan informed us that he had gotten a speeding ticket. It was quite a surprise to us that our missionary got a speeding ticket while right now we are focused on our 16 year old not getting one. I guess he did inherit at least one thing from his mother and that is a lead foot :) Aside from all of that, Jordan is doing great and working hard to finish his mission just as strong as he started it.
Elder Parkinson: Hey mom. So for the speeding ticket, I was going down to meet some elders to get a GPS so that my companion would know where he was going the next day because we were doing exchanges. I looked down and saw that I was speeding and it was in a canyon so I was going downhill. As I went around the corner, there was a highway patrol just sitting there and the rest is history. So that is what happened. I am so sorry and it will probably be an expensive ticket. I won't know exactly how much until next week. I am still allowed to drive and my mission president didn't say anything to me about it. Oh well, I guess it is in the past and we just learn from our mistakes. I am glad to hear that both Austin and Cooper are in love with football. Tell them that basketball is fun too and to enjoy it as much as they can. How did their tryouts go yesterday? Sorry I didn't email yesterday, but there was nowhere to email from. I hope that the house gets going and I'm glad that you liked the SIM card. I was happy that I had a SIM card to put in with my letter about speeding because I knew if there were pictures you wouldn't be too mad.
Mom: Well, you know that I am the last person who can say anything about speeding, haha. Just try to be more careful and I will make sure that there is money in your account to pay for it. The boys said that there were a lot of people at tryouts yesterday. They both made the first cut. I just hope they can transition into basketball mode and give their best effort. What did you do yesterday for Pday?
Elder Parkinson: Okay, thank you. I love you. I know that they will be able to switch their focus to basketball because if I did it, then they definitely can do it. Yesterday we played volleyball and it was really fun. I can't believe that I only have 4 of those left.
Mom: I know! It is crazy that you are down to just 4 Pdays!!! How is the work coming? Have you found any new investigators? How is your companion?
Elder Parkinson: The work is slowly progressing. We found a lot of English people, but now Spanish and we can only teach in spanish. Guess what I have to do this Sunday? My companion is a cool guy and things are good.
Mom: Well at least you are having a little success. Make sure to be patient with your companion and lead by your example. I am guessing that you have to speak on Sunday?
Elder Parkinson: Well since I like my companion, then that should be easy. Yes, I have to speak. That is going to be fun.
Mom: Have you had to speak yet on your mission? What are you going to talk about? It will be good practice for your homecoming talk :)
Elder Parkinson: This is the first talk on my mission, haha. I am going to talk about unity and yes, it will be great practice.
Mom: I can't believe you haven't had to speak yet! I'm sure you will do awesome. What ward are you speaking in? Do you have any appointment set for today?
Elder Parkinson: I am speaking in our spanish branch. Today I will be on exchanges, so I have no idea what the plan is, but I know we will work hard. How is the weather looking out there?
Mom: You always work hard. The weather is gorgeous today. Last Tuesday it was snowing and today it is supposed to be 65 degrees. How is your weather? I just found out that the trusses for the house get delivered tomorrow, so we should at least have a roof by the time that you get home :)
Elder Parkinson: That is good to hear. Could you send me a pic so I can see how it looks? The weather here is in the 70's, so it's good.
Mom: Do you have time for me to drive down there right now and send it or do you want me to send some pictures in the mail?
Elder Parkinson: I have time. That would be great, thanks!
These are the photos I quickly took for Elder Parkinson. The first one is the front of the house and the second one is the side of the house facing Barton Creek.
Mom: Did you get the two photos I sent? Do you want any other ones?
Elder Parkinson: I got them, thank you. It's looking good!
Mom: Just waiting for a roof before the snow gets here. Who are you on transfers with today? Are you needing anything?
Elder Parkinson: I will be with Elder Martinez. He is funny and a good missionary. I think that I am good as far as needing anything, but thanks so much for asking. I have to get going now, so I hope you have a great week and know that I love you.
Monday, November 11, 2013
For the first time in Elder Parkinson's mission, he was not able to email on Monday due to a holiday. He has had several P-days fall on a holiday, but somehow he always manages to find a way to email. No such luck today. I guess we will just have to be patient and hope he emails tomorrow. In the meantime, however, we did finally receive a SIM card in the mail - hooray!!! There were several pictures that were taken with families and people he had become close to in Lake Los Angeles since he served there for almost 9 months. Most of the pictures show happy, smiling faces, but I'm sure there was a little sadness when he had to leave these wonderful people who had become like family to him. Tears were definitely flowing looking at these photos because I can feel the love that is present. I know these wonderful people will always hold a place in my son's heart.