Monday, December 28, 2009
I'll admit this year for Christmas I wasn't sure what it
was going to be like being away from everyone, the
snow and the homemade caramel but I would have to
say this is one of the best Christmases ever. I too am
filled with such gratitude for my savior and for the
opportunity to be representing Him. I'm overcome when
I think of my ankle and the help I received for Him, but
even more then that all I'm more grateful than ever for
you. It was a bit of an emotional phone call I know but
hearing every one of your voices was the best Christmas
present I could have ever wished for. I'm so glad that
you all had an enjoyable Christmas and that everything
back at home is going good.
So you already got the pictures of our concert, way cool
huh! We got a call from a member in our ward asking us
to put on a Christmas festival thing at the school. While
trying to decide what to do Elder Schulte decided a
concert was just the thing. After getting there and not
having all of the equipment we needed it so happened
that Elder Schulte played the guitar and I sang a solo
for an hour and a half in front of 360 students. Talk
about scary, I was sweating so badly for a while but
then I started getting into it and the next thing you
know I was up dancing on stage, and it just went on
from there. The kids loved it, and I felt like a celebrity,
every single kid rushed the stage when we were done
trying to shake our hands and wanted to talk to the
"white guys". What a blast. After that we went and
sang Christmas songs at a park, lots of people came up
and talked to us, and we were able to talk to lots of
people about Christ. All in all my Christmas was great,
i loved it!
So just a little update on the language. I'm feeling
pretty comfortable, I'm still nowhere near fluent but I'm
to the point that I can be put into any situation and
talk to people and know what's going on. One of my
favorite things to do is put myself into crazy situations
and try and talk my way out of it, it's such a blast! This
language really is like a game: how many topics can
you cover with the taxi driver in under ten minutes?
How much Laotian can you speak with him, there is no
end to the fun! I'll admit there have been some pretty
awkward drivers that take all the fun out of the games,
but even with that sometimes I give them a good life
lesson: "And how does your wife feel about that?" or "Do
you think that's good, do you feel right about..." It's so
great finally being able to speak!!!!!!!!!!!
Right now we are working with a couple investigators
who are working toward baptism. We have been blessed
so much with the people we are teaching, they truly have
been prepared. One of them named "Go" will call just to
ask how Elder Parkinson is doing, How is his ankle doing?
I just love him to death, he is so great and in our last
lesson he walked in and said "God lives, I believe He
does" you can't even imagine how that made me feel,
after promising him that he would know these things are
true he received his answer and is excited to keep
It's so funny how every Thai person assumes that we
can't speak Thai. I love it when you're sitting in a
restaurant (chair on the side of the road with a piece of
fish on a stick and rice in a bag) and people will start
talking about you. The greatest part of it all is when
they ask a question to their friend and you answer it.
They always bust out laughing "You speak Thai?" "Yes
I do...do you really think that we are...?" It makes for
some of the greatest discussions because people know
you're funny and that you're not just some scary "white
guy". The other day we passed some girls and they all
started talking about how ugly we were, knowing that
this was a way funny situation Elder Schulte said "Really
did you know we speak Thai and can understand
everything your saying?" I've never laughed so hard in
my life, after I rounded the corner I about died laughing.
Elder Schulte is so funny and we have some great times.
Well I'm out of time. Happy new-year everyone, I love
you all so much.
PS Tonight we will be playing Blockus, and maybe Uno
with a relative of the king, the great granddaughter
of the late King Rama VI. No pressure! I think I'll let
them win =)
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
I can't even tell you how excited I am for this phone call. YEAH YEAH
YEAH!!!!!!!!!! Right now I'm getting emotional because of how excited I am
to hear all your voices again. We don't have reception in our apartment so
we'll be at the church when you call. The time I have been allotted is 7 in the
morning here which would be around 5 on Christmas Eve evening. The number
you'll need to call is 01166815567533. I'll be waiting with baited breath.
So about the ankle, what a miracle! When I went in and got it looked at I was
told to come back in a week to get the real legit cast put on, and for more
x-rays. I was told that it could be months before I could walk again. "Months"
I thought, "I can't do this for months", the work here is really hard with two
good ankles. That next week I prayed a lot and I worked as hard as I could
to be worthy of blessings. I'll admit there were days when touching my armpits
would make my want to cry and I would go out like that and track for hours
on end. I wasn't going to waste any of this, already far too short, time I have
as a missionary because of some injury. A couple days ago we went in to the
hospital to get the next cast and for the x-rays. I got in and they took the cast
off my leg, and looked at me with shock, they started to touch it and move it,
they asked me if it hurt to which I responded "no". The doctor was shocked
and didn't know what to do. He said "We should probably still keep it in a
brace," I of coarse said "No sir, I'm fixed already". I'm now out every day
walking without a limp. What a miracle, from broken, to not even a limp in a
week. I don't know about what others are thinking right now but I'm thinking
someone knew I needed some help and wanted me out teaching instead of
My new companion is Elder Schulte, and he is such a stud! I've never known
a missionary with so much desire to work and really help a ward progress. He
has already taught me so much and I know we are really going to help this
ward grow a ton. He is from Indiana, and is genius. He plays the Guitar and
has perfect pitch. You can make a noise and he will know the pitch instantly,
something I don't have in the least.
The work in our area is probably one of the hardest areas in Thailand people
say because of "I have no time". We end a lot of days without teaching a
single lesson (except for on the streets) because people won't show up because
of being busy. We have been working so hard trying to figure out just how to
work this area because it's different than the rest of Thailand for some reason.
We have an investigator right now named "Go" who is progressing way fast.
After meeting with him a couple times he came up to me and said "God lives,
I believe he does." He has such a desire to learn, his only problem is he goes
to school every Sunday and can't come to church. It's hard to work with but
he says he really wants to be baptized. He's so great. There have been so
many lessons that I would say, I have really been able to speak with boldness.
I have really had to "throw it down" with some people about church and the
sabbath. A lot of the time missionaries are too scared because of not wanting
to offend people but when the spirit tells you to say something, you do it and
it surprises you what you can say. Sometimes I feel like I'm about at go onto
the lacrosse field, I'm all pumped up when I go into these lessons.
Well I'm out of time; I love you all and can't wait to talk to you in a couple
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Yes it's true. The sad truth is that my ankle is broken but have no
fear I've been doing everything you said (with the oils) already
and it's feeling a ton better. It's a little hard to hobble around
Thailand with a cast and crutches but it hasn't slowed me down at
all, we've still been able to work. You would not believe the crazy
medicine people are giving me all of the time, I've gotten oils,
beans they tell me to eat, it's great but sometimes a little scary
because I have no idea what they're giving me. Hopefully I don't
start growing feet out of my head or something.
Well tomorrow I will be getting a new companion, which is good
I guess, but I'm going to miss Elder Evans so much, we have had
some great times and really work and teach well together. I'll
admit I'm a bit sad about the whole thing, but the mission is all
about change, and who knows what President Smith has in mind.
That's so crazy about all the snow back home, I must admit I'm a
little jealous as I'm sitting here with sweat rolling down my face.
Christmas here is a bit different than back home, first there's no
snow, and second there really isn't any Christmas. They don't
even celebrate it. I've got it good because unlike most missionaries
I don't walk out the door to hear "Merry Christmas" every day.
This past week we had our stake Christmas party. It was a blast.
The elders were asked to sing a song as part of the program. They
had me sing tenor which I'm not very good at so I was a little
nervous. When we got up there to sing the man come over and
put the microphone right in front of my mouth and then the
music started to play...well, I sang the song and when I got
down people kept coming up to me and saying "we sure heard the
tenor part". Basically I sang a solo, how embarrassing is that,
ahhhh! Good thing all of the elders look the same (except for I
was the only one on crutches) because people might forget it
We have an investigator whose name is "go". We just started
teaching him a couple weeks ago and at first he seemed like an
average investigator who was going to take awhile but all of a
sudden last week he came up to me and said I want to meet with
you tomorrow, and if course I said OK sweet! The next day we set
a baptismal date and he was way excited about it, the date is a
ways away because after school he wants to "buid" for his family
which means become a monk for 15 days in order to help them in
the next life. His mother wants him to do it for her. People aren't
looked to highly upon if they don't "buid". He hasn't been able to
come to church because of school, but we just found out that he's
been traveling to another one of our churches every Sunday to go
to church later in the day. I'm so excited for him and I can tell that
he had been prepared. I hope this makes sense I was about half
way through and it all got deleted so i had to type it really fast.
I love you all so much. Merry Christmas.
PS I haven't heard anything about the phone call on Christmas yet,
I should find out tomorrow I think. Sorry I wish I knew more.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Think of the most beautiful piece of nature you've ever
seen. OK now times that by an infinite number and you
will be standing with me two days ago at the foot of
seven waterfalls. I can honestly say I didn't think it was
possible for nature to be that beautiful. I was there for
a couple hours and I still can't fathom it all. We went
up to these waterfalls back in the jungle the other day
with a group of missionaries; monkeys, huge butterflies,
and vines, and I mean "Tarzan" style vines. It was such
a cool experience; I'll have to send you pictures.
OK, I must tell you something that I wouldn't normally
tell you due to the nature of the news but I promised
mom that I would tell her absolutely everything if I ever
got hurt. Ahem... do you remember all the countless
ankle injuries I've had throughout my life? Well the
other day I was walking down a trail and there were
two big rocks ahead and I thought what a sweet picture
it would be if I were standing on top of those rocks. I
got to the top of one of them and didn't get the
picture so I decided to jump to the second one. There
were leaves on the top of the other rock but I figured
that there was rock under them so I jumped about 5-6
feet on to this other rock. It so happened that the
leaves were covering a hole in the rock. I came down
and my ankle twisted and I just dropped to the ground.
I didn't want to act like I was hurt so I just sat down
for a minute and then started on my way. I already feel
like I don't have time enough to get all the work done I
want to so I thought "I'll tough it out" (I know what
you're thinking mom..."Stupid boy") I could hardly walk
across the room, and walking out on the streets killed
me (although people gave me all kinds of free food
because I was a hurt American that can speak Thai).
I've gone through two days of this and finally decided
I couldn't take it. I broke down and called Sister Smith,
but just my luck their phones are all off. My foot is all
sorts of colors and is huge; but have no worries. If two
men who were almost too weak to stand can stand up
in the back of a wagon and shout back to their
families then I can walk on a hurt ankle for a couple
Oh PS don't worry about sending me any medicine, I
So something else you won't believe. I LOVE THE
PHONE. There is nothing more fun than calling people
and trying to figure out what they're saying. Any chance
I get to call someone I do, big change from back home.
"You're doing it peter (Elder Parkinson)"
Culture fact: there is this thing here called buading
(English translation). It's where a boy will go to be a
monk for a minimum of 15 days. It's supposed to bring
their parents good luck and give them what they call
"bhoon" which means in their next life they will come
back as something better; meaning that they will
come back as a horse in the mountains instead of a
working horse. You wouldn't believe all the culture over
here that is so different then back home.
Tell Mychel congrats for me. I've kept her in my prayers
and am so glad everything went as well as it did.
Well I'd better go; I love you all so much. Keep it up!
Thursday, December 3, 2009
To answer your question, no my companion isn't a zone leader; we
just had a lot of stuff with the zone these past few weeks.
I have another food to add to the "what the heck am I eating" list:
chicken intestines, yeah I know, what a treat right! But I will have
you know I finished a whole plate of them. Not terribly glorious but
not too bad=)
This past week we had the opportunity to be taught by a member
of the 70. It's Elder Pratt, and what a spiritual giant he is. He gave
us a wonderful talk on the spirit and how to recognize it in our work.
It was so powerful and it has changed the way I think about
missionary work. We also had the opportunity to be taught from
President Smith. The examples that I have in this work are amazing
and teach me so much. As a mission the baptismal rate per person
had dropped a lot over the past while and so they aren't going to be
sending as many missionaries here. In February we will have dropped
from 150 ish to 92 missionaries. It's hard to see but it's a great
opportunity to really give everything to this work, it's a lot more
responsibility but after seeing the kind of missionaries we have here
I know we're up for the challenge.
I think I'm finally feeling somewhat comfortable in the language, I feel
like I can teach what I want and can understand just about
everything (in lessons, with the gospel vocabulary). Just making
conversation with anyone is still a bit hard but I'm amazed at the
growth that I've had. A lot of the time I can walk away from talking
with someone and they would think I had been talking Thai for years,
it's a great feeling!
I’m so glad to hear you all had a great Thanksgiving, and that you
got to spend time together. It was a bit different here as you can
imagine. We had the opportunity to go to a member's house that is
from America and is way rich. As soon as they opened the door for
us to walk in I didn’t know what to do, I was standing in the
weirdest environment: I was standing on carpet and there were
couches and a piano. I’ll admit it was quite the culture shock =) I
didn’t know how to use the fork, it took me forever to finish
everything because I couldn’t use the knife and stuff, how
As far as the phone call, I haven’t been told anything, I have no idea
what’s going on. Sorry I wish I knew more!
So this man sitting next to me at this computer has been looking at
porn for quite a while and finally I couldn’t stand it anymore. I took
a picture of Christ and set it up by his screen without saying
anything. You could tell he knew who it was, he laughed a little bit
because he felt stupid but now he has stopped. It’s amazing now
the very thought of Christ can stop people who don’t even believe
in him from doing such stupid stuff. I see it over and over after
reading the name on my chest they hide the beer, throw away the
magazine or change the way they are talking with their wife. It’s
amazing the power that comes from one simple name. Jesus Christ!
Well I’m out of time. Thank you all so much for your examples, I love
you all so much.
Ps. I won’t be able to send any letters this week, I’m sorry.
pss Side note, could you send me a couple pictures of me playing
lacrosse, people here don't understand it very well and it's way hard
Pss. The man who was looking at the porn just thanked me and left.
Friday, November 27, 2009
To start out...Tara...HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!! Just think
you're another year older and wiser too. whoot whoot!!
No news about the girl who is still in this city of 22
million trying to find me, other than she hasn't found
me, it's such a crazy deal, I keep seeing people who look
just like her popping around the corners, only after I dive
behind the garbage cans and the such do I realize it's
not her. What a crazy deal! I hope she decides to give
up the chase soon. ahhhhhhh!!!!!!
Two weeks ago I went to this temple place called the
Temple of Dawn; it is thousands of years old and is so
cool looking. From the paintings and statues on the walls
you can find out all about the history of Thailand. There
is this one place where you can climb way up on top of
this thing and look out over Bangkok. it's such a pretty
sight, and is impossible to explain, the Buddhist temples
in the midst of huge buildings, the rivers carrying people
to work, it's a little different then Ogden=) when I
started to come down from this temple I saw this
staircase that was steeper than anything I've ever seen
with a railing, and it was the only way down from way
up on top of this thing. I'll admit I didn't want to go
down and there was a group of about 10 other people
who were trying to get the courage to go down. After
awhile people started sitting down and scooting
themselves down the stairs and you had others who
would get on their stomachs and slide down backwards.
Finally it was my turn and I just grabbed hold of the rail
and walked down. It really wasn't as bad as it looked
but everyone around me was scared to death and were
about to cry. I tell you this not to make myself sound
like the fearless hero who did what no one else could
but rather to draw a comparison with my study the next
day. I started reading about Nephi's account of the tree
of life and the iron rod. I thought in a very similar
sense we all are climbing down a staircase and at times
it seems too much for us, we are scared and sometimes
are only able to sit down and just slide along very slowly,
we have some that just sit there and cry to scared to
move. Up until I grabbed a hold of the railing I was
scared too, but once I had something to hold to I didn't
have any more fear and only wanted to help others. This
is something that has really helped me realize our
responsibility as members of this church. We all have a
hold of this rod and because of that we feel safe. We all
need to help others feel the same.
sorry this is short but I'm off to an appointment. I love
Surprise, surprise! I got your package yesterday! that was
way quick, I guess this whole mail thing isn't so bad =)
thank you so much, I absolutely loved it! and I can't wait
to start opening the presents!
New food, eggs boiled in horse urine, nasty, and I mean
nasty. Don't try this at home kids!
I'm going to have to finish this tomorrow because we didn't
have time today because of zone stuff. I'll just have to
skip lunch tomorrow I guess but no worries, I just might
lose a couple pounds =)
I love you all so much, your the greatest.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Wow what a week from the beautiful city of Ubon into the heart
of Bangkok, what a change. I’ll admit I’ve been told stories about
how much everyone hates being in Bangkok so I was I little
disappointed but after only a couple hours I have fallen in love
with this place. It’s so different but people actually speak Thai
which is great because that’s the language I’m supposed to be
speaking =) the city is called Thonbury, and is one of the two
areas that don’t use bikes due to the amount of traffic.
My new companion is Elder Evans, and is the biggest stud in the
world. He is about six foot four inches tall and weighs about
210 lbs. Yeah I come to the land of small people to
be with a giant, ironic isn’t it =) I’m so impressed with him, I’ve
never had more spiritual lessons in my life, I feel like we are a
powerful team and will do great things.
I absolutely love the members here, they are so kind and
getting to know them is so much easier then my last area due to
language complexities is the past area. My first day we came
home with five bags of food from members. They are so giving
and I love them to death. I’m finally getting to where I can say
just what I want in our lessons and I keep getting complements for
how long I’ve been here. It’s such a good feeling going from
greenie, to having people say “what? You’ve only been here for
3 months, you speak very good” I’m not going to lie I kinda like
I’m so glad you are all doing well back home, and getting
ready for Christmas, it’s really weird to think it’s snowing at home
while I have hot sticky sweat sticking to me all of the time. I got
you all something for Christmas that I will be sending home.
They're small and not much but it’s Thailand in a box for ya.
I love you all so much.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
I got a call yesterday informing me that I’m moving. I have no idea
where yet, I’m traveling down to Bangkok again tonight (11 hour
ride) and I will find out when I get there where I will be serving. I
never imagined it would be this hard to leave an area. I have grown
to love these people so much, they have been the ones that have
helped me on those down days, they are the ones that have helped
our investigators feel welcome and who have helped teach through
example and word. Last night I said good bye to everyone. “You
don’t know just how good you’ve got it till it’s gone.” It’s hard to
imagine a better branch to serve with, and more loving members.
I also had to say goodbye to out investigators which was even
harder because that has been everything I have thought about for
three months and I want to see them be baptized so badly, they
have grown so much and have so much faith. I love them so much.
How great it is to know that this life is so short and that we have
the rest of eternity.
For the past couple of weeks we have been practicing singing for a
Christmas program. I was assigned the part of Nephi, I have a
couple of speeches I’ve been memorizing. Let me tell you what, it’s
nothing like memorizing lines for a Shakespeare play, its sooo hard
but I was just getting it when I was called to move. No more play
and no more Nephi.
This past seek there was an elder from the area right next to ours
that was called to be a branch president and had to leave last week
so his companion Elder Crowley (red head in the mtc with me)
joined our companionship. Crazy! We have been covering two
areas with three of us, lots of biking, and sore legs. I was able to
switch off with Brother Diaw (he said your friends on facebook) for
a day. It was so cool to realize that I was talking with a Thai
person all day and was able to say exactly what I wanted. Ok he
does speak I little English but it was pretty much Thai all day. I
never really notice the progress I’ve had in the language because
it slowly changes day after day but I’m getting a lot better and can
understand a lot more. I love it and am so grateful for all of your
We had a baptism last week for the sisters, and what an experience
it was. It was about an hour before it was going to start and we
went in to fill up the font and the water wouldn’t work, we tried
everything we could think of but after a good long while we went
at it with buckets and hoses. It was a long process after a long wet
hour we were able to proceed and she was able to get baptized.
I’m really going to miss my companion; we have really been able
to grow a lot together in the work. I’ll admit there have been some
hard times but I couldn’t have asked for a better companion. It’s
crazy how God gives you exactly what you need to grow and
become the person he would have you become.
I have focused on noticing the small miracles this past week and
it’s amazing to me how noticing and paying attention to how the
Savior himself works in the lives of each one of us every day. I
have been able to feel the spirit more and I know I am able to have
more faith to follow the promptings I receive because of the
knowledge that I am being led by a loving father in heaven.
I love you all so much, keep it up and continue being examples to
those around you
PS. Could you send me some Josh Groban CD's and the prince of
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
I’m cold!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know you probably thinking “Thailand?” I
thought the same thing when I walked outside and got hit by a gust
of cold air. We have just entered the windy week here in Thailand
which marks the transition into the cold season. Now when they
say cold season it’s very relative to who you are. It was said best
by a man in our branch named Udom; he said “There are three
seasons in Thailand first we have the hot season followed by the
hotter season then shortly after that comes the hottest season
and then it starts right back over.” Although this week is a bit cold,
I’m loving it. This week is called the windy week and its crazy
because there is a constant wind, and I mean a wind blowing
against us: sand in the eyes, legs burning from exhaustion, it’s the
So to answer some of your questions, we have a branch of about
500 members in Ubon, 100 of which are active members. It’s one
of the biggest branches in Thailand and I would argue one of the
best and kindest as well. As far as how we find people. It usually
consists of riding bikes around and stopping to talk to random
people or going to parks and walking around. As far as sending
pictures in emails, it’s a go, send as many as you want I would
love to get some.
Speaking of inviting, it’s a very hard and yet a very rewarding
experience. I get the opportunity to talk to people all day and I get
to hear the same things over and over. There is this saying in Thai
that goes “go good get good, go bad get bad.” It’s the idea that by
doing good you will be bless in the next life, which I totally agree
with, and tell them so, but then it’s usually followed up with “All
religion is good.” This is where it gets tricky. People agree to
learn more, because religion is good and teaches how to be a
better person, but they don’t agree with the idea that the only way
to receive true happiness is thought Christ and His atonement. It’s
so frustrating because I will teach people and I will ask them how
they feel about what we are teaching them and they say “I know
it’s true,” but yet they're not willing to do anything. They feel the
spirit and know that the things we are teaching are true but for
some reason aren’t willing to put their faith into action and follow
the Savior. It’s so frustrating, although this message is a whole
new concept for them. In our church there are commandments,
rules if you will which “limit” what a person can and can’t do. The
mindset in Thailand is “If it feels good, and you like it then do it.”
following the word of wisdom is hard; and the hardest
commandment I have seen is the law of chastity. The people over
here are very “active”, they begin breaking this as early as 10-11
years old, it is considered perfectly normal and encouraged. It is
very hard for some people to give up. But through the midst of all
of this there are so many that humble themselves and allow the
savior to take them by the hand and lead them through these hard
addictions. It’s incredible to see, and has really helped me grow. I
love these people with all my heart. It’s so frustrating trying to put
my feelings into words because I want you to know the love I have
for these people. They are so kind and are willing to do anything
they can to help anyone. I see people give up their food and money
to other causes when they can hardly feed themselves.
So this past week was one of the greatest weeks ever. Boom (the
man we baptized) was able to baptize another investigator. It was
such a spiritual experience seeing the growth and progression of
this man, he has the greatest desire to learn and to grow. He is one
of those people who have the light of Christ in everything they do, I
know very few people as Christ-like as him. This gospel really does
change people, and I see the hand of God working on people every
day, and I see them being molded and shaped into the people that
will one day run the church in Thailand.
Well I’m out of time; I love you all so much. Remember the
examples you are for those around you and understand that the
Lord may be using you at any given second to influence the lives of
PS. you might want to check the spelling on this one, it's terrible.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Thanks for the package. I'm in Bangkok right now renewing my visa
and I walked into the office and to my surprise I had a gift waiting! I
love the pictures and I'm so glad you sent those pills, I really think
they'll help me, for some reason I always feel a little sick and I'm
hoping this will help.
About the blog. It's not a rule about whether or not you can look at
blogs, but we have been told that myldsmail is the only website
we're supposed to use. I probably will not be looking at the blog just
because I don't want to try and stretch rules.
We've been planning this wedding for a while, we were planning on
serving because the branch pres asked us to, but it turned in to quite
more than that...dun dun dun! Right after we left the house we went to
the church to grab something before our lesson, the whole church
was full of people, all requesting our help. We spent every second
in between lessons helping at the church to get everything ready.
Finally it was time and we went and changed into our nice clothes
(long sleeve shirts and matching ties) and started greeting people
as they entered the church. A good number of them were drunk
already which made for quite a wedding...to make a long story
short, after we were done serving dinner I was asked to sing for
everyone, I laughed with him for a minute and then realized he was
serious, so shaking and nervous I walked up to the stage, they had
this karaoke thing that had a few songs in English so I choose the
most appropriate one "as long as you love me" by the backstreet
boys. I jumped up and started to sing and everyone started yelling
"white guy...he's singing!!!" yeah, awkward let me tell you. They even
threw flowers at me.
Hey dad, do you remember when we ate those really hot peppers,
and how wimpy we looked crying our eyes out? Then the next day
we remembered that everything that goes in must comes out?
Welcome to my life. I never start a meal thinking "Sure hope I can
finish this spicy dish," my thoughts are more along the lines of "can I
take this for a couple of days" what a man I'm becoming =) one thing I
love about it is when you can't feel your mouth at all because of the
spiciness and then you lick your lips and it's as if they disappear, it's
a way cool feeling, I love it!
This past week there was this one sister in our branch who wants to
be angry with the world and really didn't seem to like me much. I was
really trying to do everything I could to make friends with her so she
didn't hate me. Finally after days and days I asked my companion what
I could do and he said "forget it man, she hates the world and she'll
never like us". I was praying that night when I sincerely asked for help,
I felt like I was doing everything I could and needed help. The next day
I saw her walk into the church and thought this is my chance. We had
an appointment in the church anyway so it wouldn't be awkward. I
walked in and joked around for a minute only to receive a stare of
death. Finally she asked "can you give me a blessing." I was
shocked but willingly agreed. She was feeling really sick so I and
Elder Wright went into a room with her and I gave her a blessing, it
was so powerful. When she stood up she almost looked like she was
about to cry and she said she felt a lot better, she bore her testimony
about the spirit she had just felt and about God, such a powerful
experience! I know it was an answer to prayers.
I and Elder Wright went off sugar for the past week and after a week
we felt really good because neither one of us thought we could. we
went to a district meeting and the sisters had made a four layer
brownie/cake thing. I was excited until the sisters cut it into four
pieces, one for each elder and said "I don't think you can finish it"
and so I began, facing my 10-11 inch foe. With fork in hand I began
to eat and eat and eat and eat. It was the densest cake I have
ever eaten and right after no sugar for a week I thought I was going
to die. After quite a battle I overcame my foe and then headed to the
bathroom. After throwing up three times I realized how stupid that was
and thought "What would my mother say?" I knew dad would give me
a good-game and say "that's my boy". That is why it's scary when
boys leave home, they lose all common sense =)
I'm so glad to hear about the family and what good examples
everyone is being, you really are the people God works through to
bring to pass changes in others. I love you tonz and tonz
(Tyrel) Elder Parkinson
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I found a way to print off talks but it’s the biggest pain. Don’t
worry about sending them every week, but if you get the
conference report and can send it I would love it!
I’m so glad to hear the family is doing great, and that the swine
flu hasn’t killed anyone. People are always walking around with
masks on here too. It’s ridiculous how angry everyone gets about
it. It’s as though, if you won’t get a shot, or wear a mask (as
in your case too) people act as though you had insulted them,
their family, kicked their dog, and scratched their new car. It’s
so humorous at times and I love it.
Persecution is the greatest! It’s probably bad but I get this crazy
rush every time someone (usually white people) yell at me and
tell me to “Go back to where you came from!” The first thing
that comes to mind is heaven, that’s where I came from, and
then I try to bring them along with me. Oh it’s great!
It’s kinda hard to learn one language when a lot of the time I’m
trying to understand another one. In any given lesson I usually
hear Thai, Laotian, and Eason which is a language mixed with
tons of others and is just crazy. The crazy thing is that a lot of
the time I can understand parts of all of them. There is a good
chance I will be able to understand a couple languages in a
couple more months, crazy crazy!
This past week was the greatest week ever we have had so much
success: members, investigators and comp unity. We had a
companionship inventory (thanks dad) and we resolved some
stuff and now we're on fire and I love it. A couple days after we
were going to go trackting and we didn’t know where to go.
We knelt down and prayed and then as soon as we stood up and
walked over to the map we instantly knew where we needed
to go. It’s hard to describe, the spirit told me exactly where
to go, down to the street we needed to go on, it was like I saw
the time of day too, it’s like it was a snapshot of us in this road
in the later evening. I know it was the spirits prompting so we
went. We found interested people over and over we usually
don’t get that many people in a week; and all of this because
someone was willing to listen. The experiences I’m having here
are unlike any other, and I wouldn’t trade this time for
So, last night we went to the church to meet a member, after
talking for a while he came with us to see in investigator. As
we pulled up to his house he jumped up and I instantly knew he
was drunk, but he insisted we come into his house so in we
went. I took off my backpack and sat down. He started talking
about who knows what, his thoughts were jumping
everywhere. We knew we weren’t going to get anywhere
with him so we tried to leave over and over, but he wouldn’t
let us. Finally after telling us about how desperate he was for
money and how he wanted to give our book back (Book of
Mormon) he stopped for just long enough for us to say “we need
to go, thanks” and we broke for the door, he came staggering
after us trying to talk without hitting into things. We left and
went to dinner. After about an hour I realized I didn’t have my
backpack, and that I had over 2,000 bhat of money, a camera,
credit cards, and visa. I was scared out of my mind because he
needed money and his friends too. The member that was with
us went back on his motorcycle, I was thinking through
everything that might have happened. Canceling all my credit
cards, new camera, all the money for the house…gone. As I was
in a state of despair and saying lots of prayers he returned with
the bag. Everything was there I guess it fell under the table and
no one had seen it. Scary! Answered prayer for sure.
Well I’m almost out of time so I’d better finish. It’s starting to
get into the cold season which means not as HOT, people are
starting to wear jackets and stuff and were still sweating like
crazy. It really does feel a lot better though, I love it.
I can’t think of anything else you can send other then peanut
butter, as much as you can ;) jk. Send me whatever; any form
of American food is good.
I love you all and pray for you all of the time, keep it up
Love Tyrel (Elder Parkinson)
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Yeah, I’m finally getting this internet cafe figured, so if
you all wanted to send me emails I can print them off.
But as far as pictures I’m afraid of sending them, with
these computers, because missionaries keep getting all
their pictures deleted. I finally got some printed off and
I will send them in my letters (snail mail).
Going into Saturday morning you wouldn’t believe how
excited I was, conference! Better then Christmas for the
missionary who couldn’t wait to finally hear a talk from
someone in a language he can understand. When we got
to the church something happened, they only had
conference in Thai. My heart sunk. I got to translate
(or try to) for a lot of it. It kinda put a damper on the
day, but I know it was good for me, I had to focus that
much harder which I know helped me, and I have tons
of vocabulary words I’m learning now. Oh yeah! if you
could send me a copy of the conference report when it
comes out I would love it, all we have is Thai.
On Sunday while we were eating with the members I
had another great food experience. I already had my
plate of food and there were some members who
wanted me to go sit by them, and I knew that if I sat
by them I would end up eating something weird. But I
knew whatever it was wouldn’t kill me so I went over
and started eating with them. After a while a lady slid
a plate of something toward me. I knew just by looking
at it that I would have to fight the gagging reflex the
whole time but I grabbed it and began to eat. I didn’t
ask what it was because that would just add to the
drama. Finally I finished and started eating a bunch of
spicy rice stuff to get the taste out of my mouth. After
I was done, I flat out lied in front of everyone… "That
was great! What is it?” and the reply “octopus”. I thing
I sprouted a few more chest hairs from that
experience! Whoot whoot!
This past week we had switch-offs again but this time
I ended up having a Thai companion. I was so excited
because I knew I would have the chance to speak Thai
all day with someone. After companionship study I felt
like I had learned more then I had the whole past
week. The day just keep getting better. We were in a
lesson when my companion said we will read this
chapter together. The man was really old and I knew
he couldn’t read which meant that it was up to me and
my companion. We switched off ever other verse for
what seemed like an hour. It’s amazing how much
better I was by the end of that chapter. The whole day
he was pushing me into different situations and letting
me struggle, I absolutely loved it!!! It was one of the
greatest experiences ever. I hope so badly that one of
these days I get a Thai companion.
It’s crazy how different the Thai people treat people of
their own nationality; sometimes they acted very rude to
him which really made me mad. People here love white
people and I know that sometimes the Thai elders have
a hard time because people don’t want to talk to them.
I only hope I was able to portray my love and gratitude
for him in my broken Thai and actions.
Today your son has been playing Cinderella; we’ve been
cleaning all day because we have house checks in a few
minutes. Our house was already clean but we did a
deep cleaning of everything which took forever. For
some reason the mice act different in Thailand then
they do in the fictitious land of Cinderella because all
they wanted to do was make a mess and make our life
hard. But I think if I make them some little sweaters
things will change.
Dad, thanks for all your advice, it really helped a ton.
It’s crazy how a few simple words can help build
someone so much. I know this will help me grow so
much. Oh and “play it cool boy” don’t go picking on all
the little boys back home =) I’m sure you would have
handled them all just fine. Out of all the pictures of
missionaries dads that I have seen…you can take them
all! THAT’S MY DAD!!!
Well I’m out of time. I sent a bunch of letters this
past week so you should have all received one now.
I’ll try and be better. You guys are the greatest, and I
love you all so much. Keep it up.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Sorry the email is late, we were traveling to zone conference on
p-day and didn’t have time to email. I’ll begin with another crazy
food. For Sunday lunch everyone in the ward does a big potluck
thing which is always terrifying because you never know what
your eating or if you will be able to keep it down. I was offered
some soup that looked really weird but obviously I had to eat it.
It had some weird red chunks in it and I had no idea what they
were. I thought maybe liver or something because of the deep red
color. I got a chunk and put it in my mouth…not liver, it was
really weird and I had no idea what it was so I continued eating
trying to subdue the gagging reflex the whole time. After I
finished I realized after talking to another missionary it was blood
soup. They take horse blood and boil it until it clots up and then
they put it in soup and stuff. You can’t even imagine how I was
feeling after that. I had just consumed a ton of horse blood.
They're having this holiday right now called the candle festival
where they race boats down the river and there are parades
everywhere. They make there huge wax statues of crazy animals
and stuff. They parade them around followed by these big drums
that shake you to the very center, it’s quite the experience! The
fireworks are out of control, they never seen to stop, day or night.
It’s like the 4th of July every day but with way more fireworks.
Little kids are always throwing them at us for a good laugh. Gotta
this past week the sisters called as again saying they had a snake
in the house. I’ll admit I’ve never been a real fan of snakes and I
really had no idea what to expect. We went over and I was just a
shakin’ with fear. They said it was in their water cooler. We
looked but couldn’t see it. I picked the cooler up and carried it
outside trying to hold it as far away from me as I could when the
snakes head poked out. I’ve never moved so fast in my life. The
crazy thing was that it came out after me, I grabbed a broom and
tried to stop it from getting to me when it took after my
companion. It didn’t want to get away it wanted to kill us. There
were brooms and tools flying everywhere. Finally I pinned it
down with a broom and elder wright came in for the kill with a
big knife. The most scary part was the fact that it’s neck puffed
up a little bit when it came after us, I thought for sure we were
dead. But “I will survive”. It really wasn’t that big though, about
Well, I don’t have a lot of time so I’d better end quickly. What a
week this has been as far as the language I have grown so much,
it’s amazing what a little faith can do. I’ve actually had a couple
people say that I speak very clear and not like most
missionaries, that really made my week.
We have had some really great spiritual lessons this week, we
have two more people committed to baptism and they are doing
great. I love this work, it is really changing my life in ways I
didn’t think possible.
I’m so excited for conference tomorrow, finally I will be the
student and not the teacher, weird thought, and it will be in
I love you all so much, you’re the greatest!
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
I’m glad you all enjoyed the pictures, now you get a very small taste of Thailand.
I’m really considering sending home a spider somehow so that you can see just
how big they are.
As far as the accent, I’m still working hard at it but all the vowels are different
sounds than we're used to, I’ve never had to use my throat and nose to make a
sound before; it’s a workout sometimes.
So supposedly there’s some crazy weather coming our way, you probably know
about it. It’s been raining for well over a day straight. Every Thai person we see
tells us to get into a house because when this storm comes…dun dun dun!!!
Personally I’m way excited about it, I keep thinking about Helaman 5:12. I really
know nothing about this storm though except that we were told (from what I
understood) 300 people died from it. This is going to be awesome!
The sisters called last Thursday, as soon as I picked up the phone I knew they
were stressed, “I’ve had it, I can’t take it anymore, I want this thing dead” I knew
better then to tease them, so I just said "we’ll be right over." From the way they
described this “thing” it was about as big as King Kong and twice as fast and
stinky. So there we stood outside the door of their study room not knowing what
was on the other side. After getting ourselves all pumped up and exchanging
“good-games” we charged into the room as if possessed with mania. We moved
the table and right as I turned to move a chair the creature made its move. In
unison we started jumping around waving our arms while screaming “MOUSE”. It
was quite a pitiful sight. It jumped up into the air conditioner. It took us a minute
to find a screwdriver, but finally, with screwdriver in hand we went back to work.
I took the front of the conditioner off and the games began again. I really don’t
know what happened: brooms, mops and papers flying everywhere, then the
mouse ended up under my shoe somehow. What a rush! The mouse slayers
is our companionship name now, I’m just kidding!
They asked for a translator this week in church again and I offered to do it
because I wanted to know if I had improved at all. It was crazy the difference,
I actually taught this man the lesson being taught, I may have stretched
something a bit because I didn’t know but it felt so good to see that I’m actually
learning this language and that it’s a pretty safe bet to say I’ll speak it
As far as the baptism; we’ve been working hard with him and he seemed to be
doing really well. While thinking about him during personal study the other
morning I again had the strongest impression “he’s not ready.” I couldn’t figure it
out, he kept saying I don’t think I have a testimony but I knew there was
something else, too. We stopped by his house this past week to see how he
was doing. We walked in his store and couldn’t see him anywhere, we looked
out the back door and there he was out back smoking. You can imagine how
we felt, he turned around and saw us, it was really awkward for all of us. It’s so
hard for me to see, he was doing so well. This one think is stopping him from
receiving the happiness of membership in the church. I can’t describe my
feelings, I didn’t feel angry but rather I felt inside myself how much I really loved
this man. I don’t know how to help him see, I feel like I’ve done everything I
could. I was close to tears: I have spent every day thinking about him, praying
for him, and dedicating all my study to helping him. Please pray for him I know
he wants to be baptized but this addiction is so hard for him to overcome.
Every week we visit this man named nii-pone. He is handicapped; he has a very
hard time controlling himself, and can’t talk. I love teaching him because he is
so solid in the gospel and has such a spirit about him; and he is so funny. We
ended up coming to his house a day late due to missionary complications but
as soon as he saw us his face lit up and he couldn’t stop laughing and smiling.
He brought us in and Elder Wright and I taught a powerful lesson after which we
asked him to say the prayer. He was so excited. He grabbed a piece of paper
and a pencil and he started writing the prayer, it took him a long time but the
spirit was so strong and you could tell it was sincere and that he knew his
Father was listening. He wrote “Father in Heaven, your child is so grateful for
this day of happiness, in the name of Jesus Christ… what an experience.
We just got the call saying I’ll be with Elder Wright for another moves, it’s
awesome! I’m stoked; I know we’re going to be able to do some great things in
the next 6 weeks!
Well time is short so I’d better wrap this up, I love you all, I can’t believe I’ve
almost been out for 4 months, it seems like a couple weeks ago I left. I’m
doing great and loving every minute. This is the church of Jesus Christ, he
has given and will do everything to help is of we but ask him in faith. I love
you all so much.
Tyrel (Elder Parkinson)
P.S. How's Mychel doing? Did everything go okay with the baby?
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Well to start off…Congrats!!!!!!!!!!!! Krista I had a feeling it would happen.
But now I’m going to miss a wedding so you'd better leave some cake in
the freezer for me. Engagements, dates, complicated love stories. A typical
house full of girls! I’m so glad to hear your all doing well.
I was getting dinner the other night and after a long process of trying to get
it all figured out I got my food only to turn around to find two guys right in
my face trying to get me to buy stuff. I tried to talk to them but they
wouldn’t listen so I turned around to escape it all, as I spun on my heals to
run I ran into an elephant. It’s trunk just about knocked me over. I just
stood there looking at it, not believing what I was seeing, when it started
hitting me in the face with its ear. It was the coolest thing ever, but to my
great dismay, I didn’t have my camera! Crazy!
Well the baptism went through. I’ve never seen someone so happy over
anything. He started talking to us about how this was the best day of his life
and talked about what he was feeling, it was such a great experience for
everyone. He got up in church and bore his testimony, it was so powerful.
It’s amazing to see the progression he’s made in the last four months, I love
him to death, he’s going to do great things with his life.
We have another investigator who was supposed to get baptized this week
but we’re not sure he’s ready. We don’t know why, but it’s the impression
we get, so we're trying to work on building his testimony. Please pray for
Last week before planning we knelt down to say a prayer and I was up. I
thought I would mix it up a little bit and pray in English. I started and then
froze. I started stuttering and saying all my sentences with the worst
grammar you’ve ever heard. I struggled through and finally…amen. It’s
been about 4 months sense I’ve prayed in English and it about killed me.
I can already tell my homecoming talk will be a struggle and I just got
So you remember that red head missionary you saw in the MTC pictures
who is serving in Thailand too? Well the other day we were all going to the
church when we stopped at a red light. We waited for a while and then the
light turned green. We started out into the intersection and out of the
corner of my eye I saw this car flying toward us. I slammed on my brakes
and tried to yell at him, but I was to late. The car slammed into the front
of Elder Crowley’s bike and sent both of them flying through the air. He fell
on the ground and I ran over to him. He just stood up, picked up his bike
and carried it out of the road. His bike was a little screwed up but he didn’t
even have a scratch. It was a miracle, this really is the work of angels and
they are out here protecting us. It’s absolutely crazy how many times we
have all almost been killed in some way or another. But we’ve got some
one looking out for us.
I remember as a little kid watching “the lion king.” There’s one part when
it starts to rain, I was always impressed because it was in a straight line
(dry(the line) rain) as it crossed the river. We were getting into a took-took
the other day when it started to rain way hard, we started to drive and it
only got harder and them all of the sudden it just stopped. I looked out
and the ground was completely dry, I looked back and saw this wall of
water coming after us. In about a foot or two it went from raining so hard
you could hardly hear, to completely dry. I couldn’t believe it.
It’s almost time for “moves”. I really hope I get to stay with Elder Wright,
we really get along and have tons of fun. We slept outside last night on the
ground with no blankets or pillows just because the Thai people do it and
we wanted to prove to ourselves we were man enough also. I can’t even
begin to tell you how many mosquito bites I have and how much of the
night I didn’t sleep. but I have now proved to myself that I am a man! Or
maybe a boy trying to be cool?
Now to answer more questions:
For conference: I think we get it the week after you do, but we get to listen
to it in English whoot whoot! I seriously can’t wait. Finally I will be the
student and I will understand it.
We’re not allowed to “knock doors” so we ride around on our bikes and
talk to people on the streets. When we go to visit people we can’t walk up to
the door so we stand out on the road and yell “sawadee khrap” and if they
come out we go in. It’s really cool.
Well I’m almost out of time so I’ll wrap this up. Thank you all for your
prayers, I am now able to understand a lot more in the language and I’m
loving the work I’m doing. This is what I should be doing, and I know it’s
going to affect the rest f my life. I love you all!
Do you know those stickers people put on envelopes with the return
address on them. If you could send me some with my Thailand address
on it I would love it. I have to take a water break before I finish writing it.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Yeah! I got all your letters, thank you so much! I love
hearing about how things are at home. I can't even believe
all that's going on at home: dating, 16, dance classes,
fires, and everything else. It sounds like you're just as
busy as I am.
So to answer some of the questions I was asked:
I ride my bike about 15-25 miles per day and I love it.
I'll admit it's hard going from sitting on seats at the MTC
for 3 months to a bicycle seat, it was pretty rough for the
first little bit but I'm great now.
Ubon is one of the biggest cities in the east part of
Thailand but we also have some country that is pretty far
out that we've gone to a couple times, it's so pretty, I'm
only supposed to have my camera on p-day so I don't get to
take a lot of pictures but I'll try and get you some good
My companion is the greatest! He's only got a couple months
left before he goes home (and yes he has a girl waiting,
probably one of the only ones in the mission). He's so funny
and we have tons of fun together. I couldn't have asked for
a better companion.
Food: I'll admit the food is still hard for me at times
although it's getting better. I just added a new food to my
"crazy food" list. After church a lady offered me this crispy
piece of who knows what and it was pretty big. On closer
examination I realized it was a frog. They had taken a whole
frog, killed it and fried it with everything still in and on
it. I knew I had to eat it so I said a quick prayer and took
a bite. It wasn't too bad the bones were in my teeth for a
couple hours after (because it's impolite to put your fingers
in your mouth), yes I know "What a man", right?
This week had been one of the greatest weeks of my mission.
I'm finally starting to understand what's going on in
lessons and sometimes on the streets. It is crazy to me the
growth that takes place in such a short amount of time. I
know it's not me that's learning this language I'm getting
lots of help from upstairs.
There is one line that I hear all the time, "Yes I believe
your religion is true, I believe all religion is true" it's
hard to explain how badly I just want them to have an "Alma
the younger" experience. I want to somehow show them what I
have, what this gospel can do for them in their lives. How
their fake lives of "if it feels good...do it" don't mean
anything. I don't know how to help them see this. But this
is God's work, he is the Master and his work will not be
frustrated. "This is My work and My glory".
We have a man getting baptized this Sunday and another one
next Sunday. I love them to death, they are the greatest.
I wish so bad that you could meet them. I love watching the
repentance process. It's like a little baby opening his/her
eyes for the first time, and looking into the loving eyes of
his/her father. I love this work with all my heart, I just
wish I could do more, be better... I wish, as did Alma "that
I were an angel and could have the wish of my heart...cry
repentance unto this people..." Alma 29: 1 (i think)
I love you all so much! sometimes it's so hard to realize
just how good I've got it. I have so many people at home
that love me, I have a father in heaven and an older Brother
who died for me. Because of all of you my life makes sense,
I know who I am, and I have purpose in life. I wouldn't trade
that life for anything. You are the greatest! I love you so
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Brittan! Happy birthday!!!!! Big 16! I can't believe another one of my sisters is in the dating pool. Keep those boys in line! I sent you a letter last week (with lots of pictures) so it should be getting there any day now.
What’s happening to all my sisters! When I left they were already the cutest girls ever; you guys better stop or else those boys won't be able to restrain themselves! I was looking at the pictures you sent me in the MTC, you have changed a lot! I didn't think it possible but you’re all even cuter!!!!!!!!!!!
I’m proud to announce that I am the cleanest missionary (that was for dad) and I cook all of the time and it’s way good (that’s for mom), OK in reality I’ve cooked three times.
The other day I sat down to eat a meal of…… you won’t believe it…Rice, but what’s weird about it was the fact that I had been craving it all day and after I was done, even though I was stuffed I didn’t want to stop eating, I loved it! It’s crazy but there are some rice dishes that I absolutely love. I know “what’s happening to my son?” It’s true he’s starting to like it! For a snack people buy a bag of sticky rice and just eat it. Yes even I have started doing the same. “Yeah, Weird!”(Name that movie)
I can’t believe how many dogs are here; they line the roads and run around in gangs creating havoc. So far I’ve only had to kick a couple who were trying to take my leg off. Sometimes in the middle of the night (or day) you’ll hear a gang of dogs killing one dog, it makes your skin crawl. They will just start eating it until it dies. The dogs are mental!!!!
Now for some more spiritual topics: we have two people who are getting baptized in the next couple of weeks. They are so great, and have such a desire to grow and become the person God would have them be. Their names are guy and boam (rough English translation) I’m so excited for them their lives really have changed so much in the past couple of weeks. And their faith is so strong; they’ve had to give up so much.
I only wish you could all come and meet some of the people over here, you can’t find a kinder people. We’ll be walking down the street and people will stop us and offer to feed us, and give us all kinds of alcohol and anything else we want. So far I’ve only had 4 people who were really rude to me (out of the ones I could understand=)). Another thing that I find so funny is the honesty of the people, if they have something to say they say it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the sisters be called fat. It’s really funny. It’s kind of like when people hold a baby, while smiling and trying to get the baby to laugh they say “your just so fat, oh yes you are!” same idea, they mean the best but say it how it is. The kindest people in the world will be talking to you and randomly just say (right to my face) your terrible at Thai, or my favorite “your new in Thailand aren’t you” but it’s not rude at all. I sure hope I don’t come home brutally honest about everything. It’s great though because I can now understand that they’re making fun of me instead of just smiling and pretending to be following the conversation.
Last night we celebrated Elder Wrights birthday. It’s the big 21 and we’ve been trying to think of the perfect thing to do: something fun, yet a test of true manhood. Finally after much deliberation on the matter we decided that we would go and get 21 scoops of ice cream. I’m telling you I’ve never seen someone eat so much ice cream in my life. He got so cold that his whole body was shaking and he started turning purple. It was hilarious. I only had 8 scoops but it about killed me! Yeah that’s right, my companion is a stud!
So far I haven’t gotten any snail mail but the mission office sends it out every week so there’s a good chance I’ll get it soon.
I’d better go but just know that I’m doing great, this is the prettiest country, second only to Huntsville, I’m sorry my opinion of Huntsville with all the memories will always be first in my heart followed closely by Thailand. I love the people with all my heart and know that it’s going to be so hard to leave! This is the work of God, it’s amazing to see how he prepares the hearts of people and how he takes them by the hand and leads then through this hard decision while helping them come to know him.
I love you all so much
Thursday, September 3, 2009
So yesterday I had this absolutely perfect email typed up, just the
right amount of humor and spirituality, and I’m not going to lie it was
flat out hilarious at parts but right as I went to send it the computer
shut down and I lost it all! But it’s a mission rule to write your parents
every week so I got to come back and try it again!
It’s so good to hear you guys are doing great, I love hearing
about you all! It’s crazy to think that I’ve already been gone for over
three months; it feels as though only a couple of days ago I was
starting out on this great adventure. Sometimes I wish I could just
The language is starting to come; it’s crazy to think of the
progress I’ve made with the help of the spirit. Here I am talking to
people in Thai, what happened? It’s still very humbling to see how
far I still have to go but I now know all things are possible if our
hearts are in the right place. This past week I had to translate in
church for a man from America. I just about died, but it’s over and
I’ll probably do it again next week. I know it’s helping me, even
though I don’t much like looking like an idiot=)
I’ve got a story for the girls in the family, I know they’ll love it!
Just the other day Elder Write and I got back from a run, I was
walking into the shower when I remembered I had some clothes
outside drying. Dressed in nothing but my bath towel I headed out
the door. Just before I got out the door Elder Wright started
screaming bloody murder “Stop, stop…get in here now!!!” I’ve never
moved faster in my life. Expecting the house to fall I ran back into
the house. I asked him what the problem was. He pointed just above
the door where I was standing and there was the biggest spider
I’ve ever seen in my life, it was over 5 inches. I’ve never been afraid
of spiders but right then my legs started shaking and I started
sweating more then I already was. My fearless companion handed
me a slipper and said “he’s yours” and something about how fast
they run! It took me a couple minutes, but I started inching my way
over to this monstrous beast. “baby steps to the spider”. When I got
within a couple feet of the spider it turned to look right at me. All
courage was gone, I didn’t want to turn around and I didn’t want to go
forward. After a couple minutes Elder Wright started singing “we are
men, we must be swift as a coursing river, with all the strength of …,”
then after yelling a few more things for encouragement I made my
move. I sprung forward. There I was flying through the air with a
slipper for my weapon, a bath towel for my armor and my crazy tan
lines for battle paint. To my horror as soon as I jumped forward so
did the spider! We both flew at each other but the white missionary
ended up on top, and the spider got smashed. After growing a few
more chest hairs this masculine child of yours smashed it about 7
more times. What a rush, I’ll send you a picture of it.
Well, I’m no longer sick. This past week I’ve been on three
different medications. I feel better than ever so no need to worry!
I’d better run, sorry this is short I’ll tell you all about our investigators
next week. I love you all so much. I am so grateful for everything you
have taught me. God lives and loves each one of us. Christ is the
savior and redeemer of us all. This is his work and he does have a
hand in it!
And thanks for telling me about Mychel and Dale, I’ll be praying
and fasting for them.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
They gave us a couple minutes to read emails and write a little bit.
I'm so glad to hear you are all doing well, and I love your emails,
they really do build my testimony.
I just found out that if you sent me a DVD of that animal thing I
can watch it at the church, but it has to be a DVD. don't worry
about sending it if it's too expensive, I have no idea how much it
So I've had the worst sore throat of my life the past couple weeks,
I keep waiting for it to get better but it's just getting worse. I've
been taking all the herbal stuff I can and it's still not helping. I have
a hard time breathing every night for about half an hour, to an hour
before I adjust to the change of temperature. I've never been one
for complaining so I haven't said anything about it but finally last
night I broke down and told, so we're calling Sister Smith tonight.
So I did something the other day that I always vowed I would
never do, and it nearly killed me to do it... please don't think any
less of me when I say it. I buzzed my hair, it's true! I wear a helmet
all day and it always looks terrible! so I went from looking terrible
to looking terrible, not a lot of reason in that is there?
I heard this and I'm writing it from memory, but I think this is how
it goes. I know the spelling is off but that's how all my letters are.
"God doesn't ask for our ability but rather our avaliability, and then
if we show him our dependability he will improve our capability."
Well I'd better go, we've got lives to change and people to
I love you all so much, thank you for your example you're the
greatest family anyone could ask for.
Elder Parkinson (enda paa-gin-saan)
Monday, August 24, 2009
Wow I don't know where to begin! I love this place so much, the
people are so welcoming and always trying to make you
comfortable which includes plates and plates of rice every meal
because as soon as I get close to finishing they fill it again, and
yet I still lose weight? I don't get it!
I had my first real rain storm the other day, and when I say rain
storm I mean a rain like you have never seen before. We were
in a lesson teaching a man when we started to hear the thunder,
we looked out and could see the cloud coming, it was the coolest
thing ever. After the lesson we looked out again, while watching
the cloud approach I could hear a buzzing/static noise. The man
turned to me and asked if I could hear it, then he said it was the
rain falling miles away. Then he said "This will be one heck of a
storm." We started biking back to the church to drop off our stuff
so it didn't get wet. Then the rain hit! I was soaked all the way
through in less than 10 seconds, the rain hurt when it hit because
of how big the drops were. I couldn't believe it. We were planning
on going trackting for the next hour and a half and I was so excited
to be out in the rain that was until the sewers started to overflow
out into the streets. Here we were walking through water and
anything else you can imagine, and some stuff you can't imagine=),
it was up past our ankles. I started thinking of Hel 5:12 which just
made me all the more determined. We were talking to people
under the coverings but the rain was so loud that we were
screaming at them, it was so cool! I saw an old lady out in the
rain; I guess her motorcycle had died on her. We ran out and
spent the next few minutes trying to get it started (at this point
the "rain" was about 6inches deep), finally I got it started and she
went on her way. We keep walking around trying to find people
and had some great discussions. People thought we were crazy
because we were the only ones out in the rain. Finally, after we
were done and the water was up to our knees, we went back to
the church to get our bikes. When we were riding home the
water was almost to our knees and I've never had to peddle so
hard in my life. What a crazy experience. I LOVE THAILAND!!!!!!!
I was going down the street the other day when I sat down next
to a guy who was a dook dook driver (taxi with three wheels).
We started talking about the Book of Mormon and the Restoration,
then I looked down at his feet, he was missing a couple toenails
that were so infected and brown he had maggots and other
little bugs crawling through them. You wouldn't believe some of
the living conditions here.
The playboy bunny is more popular then the Nike sign, everyone
has one on their shirt, car, bike and everything else they own.
We go to eat and they have porn all over the walls, it's so sad to
see. We were teaching a guy the other day, he had two friends
over who were all drunk and smoking and there was porn all over
the walls. Right after we got there we were getting to know
everyone when I turned around to talk to one of them. I started
turning my head around to talk to him when my head just
stopped; it was like I couldn't turn my head. Then I got the
impression "Don't turn around!" I still don't know what was going
on but I'm so grateful that God isn't too busy to help a young
missionary maintain virtuous thoughts!
Oh, you won't believe this... we got hot water this week!!! I
decided to go all out, so I took the shower hose and took it over
to the tub, and yes, I filled it up and took the first warm bath
in months. It was the greatest thing ever!!! Not that I like warm
baths or anything, right fam=)
I had another language mess up the other day. I was talking to a
man about his family when I asked him how many siblings he had,
he went off on something and I was really lost. After he was done
I thought "I'll go with a safe response and just say "oh that's great,"
so that's what I said. Everyone looked horrified for a minute but
then started laughing. He had told me his father had just died
and I said "that's great" you can imagine how red I went!
God lives, this is His work. Jesus Christ is my Savior, your Savior
and has an unconditional love for every one of us. This is His
church. I love you all and pray for you all of the time!
p.s. I'm sending this early because we've got zone conference for
the next couple days!
p.s. I had chicken foot soup this past week. I've never prayed so
hard in my life to try and finish something. It was terrible!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
To start out I'll answer some of your questions about mail.
I only have an hour to write and read emails. I would love
to get one from the family but as far as personal letters
could you send them through "snail mail"? Sorry I know it's
expensive but I'm afraid I won't have time to read them all
and write you too.
"We"re not in Kansas anymore"
I LOVE THAILAND!!! After getting to the airport it was way
confusing but we got everything figured out. when I walked
outside I about died because of the heat, it felt like I
walked into the bathroom on Sunday mornings after four
people have showered, wet and hot!! But it's great, I really
don't mind the heat that much, although I constantly look
like I just put my head into a bucket of water. GA-ROSE!!!
I got my new companion (Elder Whrite), and I love him, he
is the greatest! We get along so well together. After
knowing him for a couple minutes we were joking with each
other and getting along like we had been best friends for
years. He is good at the language too, and has helped me so
much. We're serving in a city in Ubon, it's right by Laos
and Cambodia where their "Thai" is a mix of all three of
the countries, yeah...crazy!!
The culture shock from being here is crazy let me show you
through a story. We were going to a lesson and we weren't
sure where it was. We went out to a swampy road for a long
time. Finally we stopped and I looked off the road down
into the trees and I saw what looked like a tree house.
There were two little kids running around without shoes,
and they only had a shirt that was huge. We walked down the
slope on a plank, and into the "house". This house was the
size of our front room in our house, and had a family of 5
living in it. We were sitting on the floor teaching when
the little girl started coming over to me, tripping over
holes in the floor where they couldn't afford to put wood.
When she got to me she started handing me magazines full of
porn, i couldn't believe it, and as I looked around I
realized it was all over the floor. This was a real eye
opener to me. How blessed we are to have a house with more
then two walls, built with more then broken down boxes.
They take baths in a pond full of dead animals and mold.
I had another experience. We're not allowed to give money
to people because of stuff that has happened. I was eating
dinner when I felt something on my arm, i looked around to
see a small old lady who could hardly stand up wearing the
same thing she had been wearing for months. she held out a
cup to me. I didn't know how to say what I wanted to in Thai
so i just said "I don't have money". she stepped back and
looked me up and down; first at my $150 shoes, then my $250
suit, she said "yes you do...your American" I didn't know
what to say, I didn't have any words in Thai I could say to
explain what I felt, I just looked her in the eyes praying
that somehow the message would be communicated to her, then
I turned around and didn't even want to eat. She sat there
for awhile just looking at me, and then dropped her head,
turned around and started very slowly trying to walk away.
What an emotional experience that was for me.
Well on a lighter note. The rule still stands "don't you
dare talk to, wave, or look at girls. We don't want people
to think we came over here to get a wife or anything else
white males come over here to do. It's pathetic how every
white male is the "hottest" thing they've ever seen. I hate
it when they flirt with me, AHHHHH!!!
I've never understood why anyone would come home from their
mission, but over the past week I've seen why. This has been
the hardest time of my life: emotionally and physically. i
can't talk to anyone; people who are our "friends" make fun
of me every chance they get because I don't understand. I'll
be talking to someone and they will just turn around and
leave because I can't speak Thai very well. It's really
comforting to know that the Savior of us all has
experienced all this before. He successfully overcame
before, and because of that he can help us do the same.
I love this gospel, I love the trust the Lord has put in
me because of the calling I have. I will serve with all
that I have despite hardship.
I love you all so much,
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Thanks for the package. I loved it everyone in our district was
gathered around it looking at the pictures on the box. I also got
the one from the Meeks family. Thanks so much. I now have
more food then I know what to do with and because of that
everyone loves me.
About my travel plans, I am leaving the MTC on Monday at 5:30
p.m. I'm not sure all I have to do before I leave or at the airport,
because as you know, I've never been on a plane. But I will be
able to call there around 7 ish I think. I'll be free for an hour or
so, we should be able to talk for a while. My first flight takes
me to L.A. California, then I have a 17+ hour flight to Taiwan,
then from there to Thailand. I'm so excited although I'm a little
worried about the flight, the only time I've been on a plane was
at Lagoon, it was blue and a bit slower then the real thing.
We just had the craziest day. We were at the gym playing
volleyball when a kid spiked the ball onto another Elders finger.
It shoved his finger back into his wrist, it was so gorse looking.
After gym was over I walked back into my room to see one of my
roommates with blood running all down his back. His head was
gushing blood, I grabbed a towel and put it around his head and
sat him down and then called for medical help. After 8 staples
he's back with only occasional headaches, he fell coming down
This past week has been a little hard as far as sleep, I've had to
stay up till about 11:30 or later trying to get Elders from other
zones to get in bed so that my zone could sleep. There's one
elder in my district who was having a really hard time sleeping.
The other day he came up to me and kinda freaked on me.
I've had so many elders freak out when I try and enforce the
rules. I'm surprised I'm able to keep my cool as well as I do.
This is one heck of a learning experience.
I've been thinking a lot about what I want to accomplish in
Thailand, and what I'm going to do to accomplish it. I heard a
quote and made it my "theme," if you will. "They could warm
their hands on the fire of his faith." Even though I can't speak
the language very well I want people who meet me to see the
face of the savior and want to come closer to him. I love seeing
how this gospel changes boys into men, and teenagers into
servants of the savior. This really is the work of angels.
I'm having mixed feelings with leaving. I can't wait to be in
Thailand but I don't want a new companion. I have really grown
to love Elder McConkie, he is such a spiritual giant. He is going
to be so great in Thailand, he spends so much of his time serving
others, sacrificing his time and energy to everyone but himself.
The face of the savior is reflected in him. We decided that
when we become companions out in the field we're going for
I want you all to know that my life has been changed in so many
ways because of this gospel. I am a different person from when
I first got here. I know the savior loves, and knows every one
of us. God loved us enough to watch his very own son die for
us. I love my Savior Jesus Christ, He lives and is there fighting
for us. he is our Advocate with the father, and through our
obedience we cannot fail.
I love you all too much and can't wait to talk to you on Monday.
I'm glad you all had fun at girls camp and stuff =)
Saturday, August 1, 2009
I'll start out with some crazy culture facts. People in
Thailand love hair. Hair on arms and legs are a favorite
for them. I was warned that when we're sitting in church
the members will take our arms and sit there and rub them
the whole time because they LOVE hair. And if that doesn't
just creep you out the next one is even worse...people over
there don't have any personal body space so they will just
randomly put their hand on your leg and I was told "I mean
upper leg" ahhh! I just don't know how I'm going to take
this, as if the toilets aren't bad enough!!!
Another funny story. I love to debate and have
discussions but this seek we were having a lesson on
Sabbath day observance when I made a comment that an elder
(the same one that hit me in the head with the lunch tray)
didn't agree with. He turned right to me and said "I
disagree with you completely," it shocked me because he was
kinda mad. I tried to prove my point again, and yet again,
he started getting mad. I just stopped talking for a while
because I was starting to get a little aggravated, because
I knew I was right and I wanted to prove that. During the
rest of the class he kept saying stuff like "there's no
way Elder Parkinson can be right" or "I totally disagree
with him," then he would point at me. It was all I could do
to keep my mouth shut. This elder is one of my favorite
elders though, he just Gets bugged about stuff sometimes.
I have an elder in my room who was really serious with
his girlfriend before his mission and is having a really
hard time focusing on the work. This last week he received
a package from her, she had send a bunch of tapes that were
full of lovey-dovey stuff and kisses. He listens to it
every night sometimes in the morning, it kills me! We all
talked about it and I told him that it doesn't affect just
him, it's hard for all of us, who have left people we love
behind, to hear about home day in and day out. But oh
well! When we struggle that's when the lord helps us most.
I've heard it said "mans afflictions are Gods
opportunities", I should be glad he listens to it every
As a district this week we were having a hard time being
unified. Everyone knows the time is short, and there is so
much to do, we've all been thinking about "me" and "I" to
much. I have been praying a lot about it and trying to find
a way to unite everyone again because when we are united we
learn more and the spirit is able to teach us. In district
inventory I brought it up, and we talked about it for
awhile and then I stood up and shared a story with
everyone, the spirit took over and I started saying things
I didn't know i had in me, that room was absolutely
silent. After that everyone started sharing ways they could
help everyone and the district as a whole. People were
crying and testimonies grew so much that night. Our
district has never been able to work so well together. I
am so glad to be living in such a way that the spirit can
work through me.
Sorry the letters are going to be kinda lacking this week,
today was one of our last days in the temple and we spent
a lot of time there today, which means less time for
I love you all, and pray for you about 8 times per day.
God lives, Jesus is the Christ, He loved us enough to
come down and die for us, each and every one.
13 days till Thailand!!! I'll let you all know about the
phone call, I haven't heard anything yet.