1 Nephi 3:7 "...I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."

Monday, November 25, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving 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

Translating On The Spot

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

Speeding Ticket

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

We Love Pictures

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.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Working Hard To The End

This has been such an exciting week for our family because we finally received Elder Parkinson's travel plans.  He will be coming home on Dec. 11 at 7:30 pm to the Salt Lake Airport.  I don't think I have stopped smiling since I heard the news and we are anxiously counting down everyday until our family is all together again.  Jordan has been such an amazing missionary and is continuing to work hard through the end.  He is still training new missionaries and continues to be the district leader, so we know his heart and mind are still in the right place.

Elder Parkinson:  Well I am doing great and just working hard.  My new companion is Elder Ruiz and he is from Vegas.  He is fresh out of the MTC and he is cool.  I really like him.  That is crazy that I am coming home on December 11.  Do you the know the other elder's names that I will be flying home with or no?  I can't wait to get home and see all of you.  I did get all of the Halloween stuff so thank you very much.  That is sad that football is over, but I guess it's just on to the next sport.  

Mom:  I am so happy that you and your comp get along.  You will be a great influence on him these last few weeks.  Make sure to show him how you never give up at the end and finish strong.  Are you still the district leader? 

Elder Parkinson:  I will do that for sure!  Yes, I am still the district leader.  It is fun.  So when does my plane leave from here?  I love you so much and I can't believe that the time is almost here for me to come home.

Mom:  You leave Bakersfield at 12:30, fly to Phoenix and then land in Salt Lake at 7:30pm.  It is soooo exciting that we get to see your cute face again in 37 days!!!  Have you been doing any sort of exercise to get ready for your meetings with the coaches?  How is the work coming?

Elder Parkinson:  That is a late entry, but I like it.  I have been trying to get myself ready for the coaches, haha.  I can't believe we are 37 days away!  So what are the plans for the day?

Mom:  Just keep working hard and doing what you are supposed to and everything will work out.  For today I am just doing the usual Monday things of laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning........The boys have basketball conditioning after school and then they are going to do a little shooting later tonight.  What are your plans?  You didn't tell me how the work is going.

Elder Parkinson:  My plans are idk, hahaha.  The work is slow because there are two new missionaries in the branch and they took the area that we worked last area that we found everybody in, so we are left with nothing.  We are just starting from scratch.

Mom:  Well, if anyone can start from scratch and work hard to find success it is you!  I forgot to tell you that it snowed yesterday and it still hasn't melted all the way.  I am not quite ready for winter yet. Are you needing anything before you come home?  Is your coat still in good shape?

Elder Parkinson:  I am doing good and I don't need anything.  I will be sending a package home soon with all of the stuff that I really want to keep.

Mom:  That sounds good.  Make sure you bring home anything that is still in good shape.  I also want your shoes that are all worn out to keep as a memory of how hard you worked.  Did you remember to take a picture with your last companion? 

Elder Parkinson:  I did not get a pic with him, sorry.  I will try to bring everything that I can home.  Don't worry, I will bring home my shoes.  They have held up very well.  Will I get my old phone number back?

Mom:  You are really struggling with the pictures and SIM card lately, aren't you, hahaha!!!  Make sure you get one of your new companion at least ;)  Yes, you will get your old phone number back.  Cooper has been using it, but he can get a new one.  I'm so glad you are doing well and working hard.  You are a great example to us all.  Are you playing soccer today, haha????

Elder Parkinson:  I promise I will get a pic with my new companion.  Yeah, all is good, just working hard.  I am not sure if we are playing soccer or not, but yeah, that is all I know how to do is work hard.

Mom:   Well, I love you SO much and hope you have an amazing week with lots of success!!!

Elder Parkinson:  Thank you and I love you so much too.  I will talk to you next week.

This is one of the pumpkins that we carved for Halloween as a tribute to Jordan.  It is supposed to be a heart with the shape of the state of California inside.  We added the "CALI" wording to help people understand ;)