Monday, December 30, 2013

Week 18 Getting Transferred!

Braken is getting transferred this week.  He is pretty sad about saying goodbye to all the neat people of Martinsville he has met in the 4 months he's been there and sad about not having Elder Davis as a companion.  He has really enjoyed him.  I will post his new address when Braken gets it to me.  He will transfer this wednesday.                                                                                                                                

Pictures from Braken

View DSCF0043.JPG in slide show
This is Braken's Companion Elder Davis.  Elder Davis' family sent him and Braken this little Christmas Tree.
View DSCF0039.JPG in slide show
Elder Davis
View DSCF0041.JPG in slide show
Braken, Elder Clapier and Elder Clapier's Companion

Week 18 E-mail Home

Dear Mom & Dad,
This week has been pretty slow honestly. With the holidays around not too many people are wanting to take a break and listen. I do have some slightly sad news. The assistants called last night and I am getting transferred. So make sure the word gets around that my address is no longer the martinsville address. As soon as I know my new address I will let you guys know. Thanks for all the gifts especially the GPS. Going into a new area will be a lot better knowing I'll be able to find things. Sorry I've been using so much personal I had to use it for all the christmas and mason's birthday stuff, and because I had to get my suits cleaned (they were pretty nasty). It'll be better now that it's over. Oh and did you get my Christmas package? It said it'd be there monday but I wasn't sure what time. My surprise is on top for you! I'll send you a letter with a better explanation as I don't know if you do have it. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Martinsville and I am sad to leave, but I'm sure I am needed elsewhere. I am a little bummed that if I'm not within an hour of Martinsville I won't get to go to Luke's baptism..... But oh well me and Elder Clapier signed the back of a tie that Elder Davis is going to give to him at his baptism. So at least he'll have a memory from us. Well I love you guys and I'll send you a letter from my new address when I get there!
Love, Elder Braken Park

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Day Skype with Braken!

           Braken called us from his cell phone last night to let us know we would be able to Skype with him on the computer.  That was way awesome to talk with him so unexpectably.  I saw that the call was from Lafayette, Indiana but didn't really think about it.  I was soooo excited to hear his voice.  It was Great!
            So, we had to get a little help from Susie to get skype working, but it worked and we were able to talk face to face and it was wonderful.  The very best Christmas present we could ever get!  Braken looked so good. He looks really happy and has a wonderful missionary glow about him.  He told us he has never been happier in his life than right now serving the Lord.  That is all I needed to hear.  I can be at peace knowing he is where he is supposed to be doing what he is supposed to be doing and loving it!
           We are so happy, proud, and grateful that Braken made the decision to serve!!

--Posted by Shelly Park--

Monday, December 23, 2013

Week 17 E-mail Home . . . . Getting Ready For Christmas!

Dear Mom & Dad,
This week has been pretty good, although none of our investigators made it to church. We taught a couple really good lessons and picked up a couple of new investigators, Danny and Jeanne. They were a referral given to us by a member and they already wanted us over for dinner! We agreed and taught them a very good lesson. Elder Davis is doing great, and we are getting along great. We got all the packages you sent and finally today got all the packaging cleaned up hahaha. We may be able to skype depending on what the members we will be spending Christmas with have. I'll let you know before I get off whether or not we can skype. I am really looking forward to talking with you guys! I love all of you!
Love, Elder Braken Park

Week 17 E-mail Conversation . . . Sweet :)

On Mon, Dec 23, 2013 at 11:41 AM, GREG SHELLY PARK <> wrote:
Hi bud, its mom . . . 
So, you got all of our presents?  did you have a christmas party with Pres. Cleveland?

Braken wrote:
Yea and we finally got the apartment habitable again.... Elder Davis got a bunch of packages too.  our apartment was a mess.
and, yea, kind of a party... a big meeting with the whole mission.

On Mon, Dec 23, 2013 at 11:43 AM, GREG SHELLY PARK <> wrote:
Did you get a package from us at the meeting?

Braken Wrote: 
Yes I did, also a card from the Garlicks.

On Mon, Dec 23, 2013 at 11:45 AM, GREG SHELLY PARK <> wrote:
Good!  I was worried it wouldn't get to you because I forgot to write 'Christmas Package' on the outside of the box.  
That was nice of the Garlicks.  Did you get any notes from our ward?  Also, will we get to skype with you on Christmas?
Braken wrote:
              Um... a christmas card from bishop. I'm sending your package today, sorry, I couldn't get it out sooner but it wasn't done.

Ok thanks, we will have to do a call though as the member isn't back with us. so we will call probably around 12:30.

On Mon, Dec 23, 2013 at 11:52 AM, GREG SHELLY PARK <> wrote:
Our time?
 Braken wrote:    oh sorry our time. so probably 10:30.

Week 17 Continued E-mail Conversation

On Mon, Dec 23, 2013 at 11:54 AM, GREG SHELLY PARK <> wrote:
Ok, we'll be here of course.  if things change and you're able to skype, just call us and let us know on Christmas, then we can get on skype.  Is that OK?
Braken Wrote:
 Yea that'll be fine. I'm really excited for it too!

On Mon, Dec 23, 2013 at 11:57 AM, GREG SHELLY PARK <> wrote:
Do you have a cell phone?  Is that what you would use to call us?

Oh, sweetheart!  We are all SO EXCITED to hear from you!  We can't wait!  That is the very best present we could ever get this year!
Will you be at a members' home when you call if it's just a phone call?  or at you house?

 Braken Wrote:
We will be at a member's house and yes, we have a cell phone.  we will just call you from that.  That's as techy as we get.

On Mon, Dec 23, 2013 at 12:00 PM, GREG SHELLY PARK <> wrote:
OK, How long will you be able to talk with us?
Braken Wrote:
 about an hour or so

On Mon, Dec 23, 2013 at 12:05 PM, GREG SHELLY PARK <> wrote:
Sorry, Dad wanted to talk with you this morning but we have had several snowstorms over the last few days and we are buried in snow.  He is out plowing the driveway before getting to work.  He says "hi" and he loves you and cannot wait to talk with you on Wednesday.
Braken Wrote:
Sweet, I can't wait! 

Week 17 Continued E-mail Conversation . . . .

On Mon, Dec 23, 2013 at 12:09 PM, GREG SHELLY PARK <> wrote:
It is a winter wonderland around here.  Almost a complete white-out.  Fog and everything.  How about you?  Have you had any storms there?  snow?
Braken Wrote:
 Rain actually..... lots of rain...

10:12 AM 
To: Elder Braken Park
Really?  Wow . . . Is it cold?
Braken Wrote:
Well, yes, actually....

Alright well I'm out of time. Love you!

I Wrote:
Love you to! See you Wednesday, Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Week 16 E-mail Home

Dear Mom and Dad,
This week has gone pretty well, although we weren't able to have the baptism due to inclement weather. It snowed quite a bit up in Indy, where a lot of his family was coming from, so we cancelled it until the 11th. Lucille missed church again though but we are set to meet with her tuesday so we can maybe find out why she's missed so much. Nick just recently got a new job so it's been really difficult trying to meet with him especially with the holidays. But good news! We were able to find ourselves a new investigator! Her name is Shawnda and she is super prepared. She told us how her husbands church was too strict and her church was too rowdy and they were looking for a happy medium. She wasn't at church but we think with a couple more visits, we can get her out there. It's good to hear that Jake is doing well. I regularly pray for him. So get this I got a stocking from Elder Davis' Parents, and you'll never guess what was inside: Mont Blanc Legend Cologne. We jokingly now call it money in a bottle. I'm working on a package for you guys for Christmas, hopefully I can finish it this week. If I do I'll get it sent off sometime this week. I won't be able to indivually wrap everything so I'll just send you a box that MUST NOT be opened until Christmas. I'll label everything inside. Well I love you guys, I hope you have a great Christmas!
Love, Elder Braken Park

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Week 15 E-mail Conversation with Braken. We "caught" him on the computer!

Mom:  sorry, i lost track of time this morning and just ran in here to see if you were still on

Braken:  Yea I'm still here probably for another hour....

Mom:  Ok, I can probably only talk for a little bit this morning.  So, who is Lucille?  And, the other investigators?

Braken:  Lucille is the wife of mike, a less active who hadn't come to church since he was 12. We've been working with them and they were coming pretty regularly. the other is nick. he is a childhood friend of one of the members here and he just recently started investigating.  Lucille is not a member but she wants to be.

Week 15 E-mail Home

Dear Mom and Dad,
This week has gone OK. We are having real trouble keeping our inivestigators at church. Lucille missed her 2nd week in a row and we haven't been able to meet with her at all to teach. Luke is set to get baptised this saturday, so we are super excited for that. I'll send you some pictures when I get them. It's good to hear you all are enjoying the snow, we've got quite a bit here ourselves. The humidity makes it feel like it's 10 degrees colder than it actually is. But still the work moves on! We've been able to find a few more investigators through the members. The members here in Martinsville are awesome for helping the missionaries. And despite the constant feeding, I have been able to drop to 195 pounds. Which is awesome considering I came out of the MTC weighing 215. 20 pounds in 3 months isn't bad at all. Also Elder Davis is from Spanish Fork, Utah. So really not all that far from us. We haven't done much in the way of decorating for lack of time, but apparently Elder Davis' family is sending out some stuff that should help though hahaha. I am excited for Christmas though as we'll be spending it with the Stumpfs, who are fantastic cooks. And no cats this time! The call will just be a phone call I'm pretty sure, but I will let you know more details as I get them. Well I love you guys and I'll be on till about 12:30 so I will be waiting until then to hear from you!
Love, Elder Braken Park

Monday, December 2, 2013

Week 14: E-mail to Mason

Dear Mason,
Hey Mase, I'm excited that you got the new pokemon game. Hopefully when I get home I'll be able to play it. If you want to play magic the guys at blakfyre will normally play with you if you ask. Just keep on trucking and things will get better. I love you bro and have a great week.
Love, Elder Braken Park

Week 14: The Work is Slow - But, Happy Thanksgiving!

Dear Mom and Dad,

This week has been a little rough. Most everyone we try and contact isn't home because of the break. We weren't able to teach anyone really this week, but nevertheless, I had an enjoyable holiday. The Goodnights fed us on Thanksgiving and they are very good cooks. They also played some games with us which was quite enjoyable as it reminded me of our family's get togethers. As for me and my companion, we are getting along very well. We have similar interests and hobbies so really it's been a very enjoyable companionship. As for the christmas season, not many plans other than Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we are spending with members. I will join you in your "What will I give the Savior" I think it's a great idea. Also, when you do names for presents in the family, could you give me someones name? I would enjoy being able to still be a part of that tradition.  So Dad borrowed a RZR and wrecked it? I think it's a sign not to get one. Haha just kidding. Sorry if I don't seem as upbeat as normal it's been a hard last couple of days with the lack of progress. But hopefully things will be better this week. This week all I really need is some love and support which of  course our family has been wonderful at giving. Thank you far all you do and the support you are willing to give to me. I hope you all have a wonderful week.
Love, Elder Braken Park

P.S. Lukes Baptism had to be pushed back to the 14th so I will send you pictures when it comes.
Also I will get some pictures sent out today.


Hey Everyone!
This week In the mission field has been a little slow, lots of people gone for Thanksgiving, but still going well. Me and my companion are getting along well and are enjoying life together. I hope everyones Thanksgivings were good. I was able to spend it with some members so that was a lot of fun. I hope everyone has a good week this week and remembers to be thankful always not just during the season!
Love, Elder Braken Park

Monday, November 25, 2013

Week 13 E-mail Home - New Companion! Elder Davis

Dear Mom and Dad,

First off I did get the package you sent with the knife brownies and fry sauce. Thank you so much for that I really have enjoyed it. This week has been a little crazy because the new elders who came in this week, two of them got double transferred into the other half of martinsville (both elders get transferred out and two new ones go in.) so they have no idea where anything is. My new companion is pretty awesome though. His name is Elder Davis, and he has been out 20 months and is a district leader. We get along very well and enjoy similar things. I actually showed him how to play magic and now he is really into it and loves playing with me. with regards to the money situation, I don't actually get 400 a month. The 400 goes into what they call the Missionary Support Fund or MSF. This is then redistributed and given appropriate amounts to people living in different places. We get 70$ every 2 weeks, so yes it's livable, but if we have to buy anything big or a lot of something, we usually have to use personal funds. So if you could keep maybe 100$ in there in case I need something I would appreciate it. Between food laundry and cleaning supplies MSF is easy to run out of. I will try and do better on conserving it, but it would be nice to have a backup. This week For thanksgiving we are eating with Brother and Sister Goodnight (yes that is there name.) Which I am very happy about as they are both good cooks, but there is a slight problem. Since coming out I've discovered I have a cat allergy, and the Goodnights have approximately 8,743 cats. So I will be taking an extra dose of zyrtec that day hahaha. Anyway the library computers aren't letting me send pictures today so I'll print some off and send them to you. I'm glad to hear everything is going well with Jake. He has been in my prayers as well as my fasts. And Dad, don't be afraid to share the gospel with your new trainee. Remember the promise made in Doctrine and Covenants: "Take ye no thought before hand what ye shall say, but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man." I love you all and have a wonderful week!

Love, Elder Braken Park

Monday, November 18, 2013

Week 12: E-mail to Emily and Nic

To  Emily and Nic:
Hey guys! Sorry I haven't written, I will try to do better. If I could get your addresses it would be a lot easier for me as I'm better at hand written. Things have been going well in Indiana, a little bit of crazy weather but nothing too major. We've done a lot of service this week and it's been awesome. Most of our work here is with less actives, so the service greatly helps them come back to church. We've already seen 2 less actives begin coming back to church.  So transfer news: Everyone in Martinsville except me is getting transferred out. Elder Clapier (my trainer) is training again, and Elder Rowberry is becoming a district leader. So that means 3 new missionaries coming into martinsville, one of the sets being a double-transfer. It's sad to see them go as we have really gotten along well and enjoyed each other, but it will definitely be fun to see some new faces. Love you both and wish you much success!
Love, Elder Braken Park

Week 12: E-mail Home - Transfer Time!

Dear Mom and Dad,
This week has been super crazy and yes, the weather you heard about in the midwest did affect us, but all the tornados split and went around martinsville so all we got was a lot of rain and wind. Good news for us of course. So transfer news: everyone in martinsville except me is getting transferred out. Elder Clapier is leaving and training again, and Elder Rowberry is becoming a district leader. So that means 3 new missionaries coming into martinsville. It's sad to see them go as we have really gotten along well and enjoyed each other, but it will definitely be fun to see some new faces. So on to your questions for the week: Mom, the music on CD will be great. we have a cd player in the house and in the car. Dad you asked about me giving priesthood blessings. I have had the opportunity to give quite a few. When I first gave one I felt a bit apprehensive about it, but I quickly learned to just let the spirit guide me in what to say and it'll go great. This week has definitely been one of service, as we have been over at a member's house every day of the week doing some kind of service. One member, Brother Evans, had us come over and rake leaves with him and we were able to rake a pile of leaves that we could bury a small pickup truck in! So when you think we have a lot of leaves in our yard there, just be glad you aren't in Indiana. This week has been slow for teaching though. We need to find more people which is getting hard now that winter is setting in. But we keep on trying. For every 10 that reject us, there will be one who does accept and that's the one we will remember. So Garret's high adventure is the one I did not get to go on I hope he enjoys it. I'll write him and try to encourage him as much as I can. So I got the computer to send a picture! This is one you can hang up or put somewhere it is right before we went to district meeting last week. I hope you enjoy it! I love yo uall and hope you have a good week!
Love, Elder Braken Park

Week 12: Off To A District Meeting!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

We Finally Have Some Pictures from the Field!

P-Day Hike into the hills around Martinsville.

Braken's District
L-R:  Elder Larsen, Elder Rowberry, Elder Clapier (Braken's Comp), Braken, Elder Eller,
Elder Loveless, Elder Smith, Elder Sperry, Elder Draper, Sister Allen, Sister Clark

Braken and Elder Eller
Elder Eller is waiting on his visa to go through.  Then, he's off to his "real" mission to Brazil.
Braken has really enjoyed getting to know him.

Braken's funny companion, Elder Clapier.  He has trained Braken since Braken arrived in Martinsville.
Elder Clapier tied his tie in a very large knot.  Braken also mentioned that he made a flame-thrower out of a lighter and a bottle of butane.  

Week 11 E-mail Home

Dear Mom and Dad,
It has been another fantastic week in Indiana. I'm glad you guys got my letters and that you enjoyed them. I'll try and write you both every week. When I told Dad to stock up on ammo I mean it literally. the price of ammunition is going way up and it won't be long before it'll be scarce. I just want to make sure the family is protected while I'm gone. But anyway on to the week! This week has been going quite well, as me and Elder Litster (who I'm sure Christy and Jamie told you about), got to go on exchanges and be companions for a couple days. It was super fun to talk to him and hear all his crazy stories about Duchesne. So that was really fun. We taught one of the families in the ward, which is a cool experience in and of itself. We knew we wanted to share a mormon message, and Elder Clapier had suggested one, so we put it in the dvd player, and when we watched it the spirit flooded the room, and we knew we needed to share it. It's about a man who's family was killed in a car accident, and he through the atonement, was able to forgive the man who was responsible for the accident. when we watched that with this family, the spirit was definitely there. The mother though got very reserved after the video though, and I was worried that I had maybe showed one that was too extreme. But then yesterday at church, she pulled me aside and thanked me for the message we had shared. She said she hoped her husband could feel the spirit there, as he was downstairs and not a member. She told me that since then her husband had been doing a lot of soul searching, and spending a lot more time at home with the family. I was relieved to know that the choice was inspired and that I had taught according to the spirit. This is definitely an experience I will cherish. Luke, the 9 year old boy passed his baptismal interview, and is set to be baptised the 23rd, which sadly is 3 days after transfers. So I might not be around for it. Elder Clapier will be done training me, so one of us will be getting transferred, we just don't know who yet. As for a Christmas list, I could definitely use a GPS. We've been using Elder Rowberry's but he might be transferred as well. I could also use some music. The rule on music is that it has to invite the spirit so I trust your judgement on that one. I can't really think of anything else. What is the high adventure this year? I'd be very interested to know so maybe I could give some pointers to Garret. Anyway, I love you all, and have a fantastic week.
Love, Elder Braken Park

Could you send me my pocket knife? I'm sick of opening boxes with a dull knife we have at the apartment

Week 10 E-mail to the Family

To My Awesome Family:
Hey Everyone! Thank you all for writing! It's been A good week down here in Indiana. We finally got permission for a 9 year old boy we've been teaching to get baptized! We have been teaching him ever since I got here, and it's really amazing to see him learn and grow in the gospel. It's definitely the most rewarding work there is to do. I love you all and you have a wonderful week!
Love, Elder Braken Park

Week 10 E-mail Home

Dear Mom and Dad,
First off I'll say sorry, as there is simply not enough time to write two big emails to each of you, so I will write one big email to both of you, then do letters individually. First off this week has gone pretty well for the work and for me and my companion. We were able to get permission from the mother of a 9 year old boy to get him baptized. We have been teaching him since I got here, and now finally have permission for him to be baptized. His dad is a member so he basically knew everything, he just was older than 8 so he had to be taught by the missionaries so that he could be baptized.  To answer Mom's question about meetings with president, we see him at zone conference, which is once every other transfer, (A transfer is 6 weeks) and the transfers we don't have zone conference we have interviews with him, so all in all we probably see him about once every 6 weeks. We do email him every week to keep him informed of what's going on in our different areas. 
I have kept Jake in my prayers every night, as well as Jen and Wayland. I'm very glad to hear that you guys are helping them out. Thank you for keeping me updated on how he is doing. Now Dad, about you wanting the razr.... Yes I do think the razr would be fun, however, my problem is that we can use the boat closer to home, and that only one person can drive the razr, rather than us all having our own quads to drive. So my vote is no on the razr. I think all of us having quads is better than having a razr. But I guess they're your quads so it's really up to you. As for poor Bryson, I'll just say he must be stronger than me because I know I definitely couldn't eat stuff like that. Anyway, I'll send some letters this week more personal to both of you. Take care and tell the boys that I love them and miss them!
Love, Elder Braken Park

Week 10 E-mail from Nic

I had forwared an e-mail from Braken to Nicholas, who is serving in the Raleigh, North Carolina Mission.  This is Nic's reply:

thanks!!! this is the first i have heard of the "disapeared one" hahahaha. but ya thats some good advice. also with that if you love those who its hard to love it makes living with them that much easier! tell him that the mission will help him type faster because he will want to talk to everyone! and that if he prays the lord will help him! love y'all and hope your doing great!
Elder Park 

Monday, October 28, 2013

E-mail to All the Family

To Fwd:
Dear, My Awesome family,
This week from my experiences, I will leave you all some words of wisdom: Love those who are around you no matter what! They may irritate you and drive you crazy, but when they're gone you'll regret not getting to know them better. I hope you all are having a wonderful week, and thank you all for your emails. I'll try to get better at writing more of you individually, but I am a very slow typer, so please bear with me. I love you all and have a wonderful week.
Love, Elder Braken Park

Week 9 E-mail Home

Dear Dad,

 I think I'm finally getting the hang of being a missionary. On an unrelated note you know how I was hoping to lose weight? Well apparently the people of Indiana love their fried food and buffets. KFC, Pizza Hut, and, Papa Johns, all do all you can eats out here. That threw me off quite a bit I never knew they did that. When we eat with members, we have an 80% chance there will be something fried on the table. Something else I've noticed is there is a large number of the population who fit into Gabriel Iglesias' 5th and 6th levels of fatness ("Dang!" and "Oh Heck Nah!"). The people of Indiana definitely enjoy their food. Luckily with the amount of walking we do I've managed to stay pretty even at 207. Also I've found what I never want to do as a career: Farm. We mucked out one of the members barns as a service project..... Not fun. Imagine about a foot and a half of..... fecal matter covering the floor of a barn. I'm surprised none of us has worms or anything. but still it was very rewarding to see Sister Chambers smile when she saw it was done and that she didn't have to do it alone. That's the real reward of service, seeing the smile on the person's face. I hope that you would strive to lead the family towards that happiness with each other (I know you do but still I'm a missionary I like to leave Commitments!). I am truly sorry I haven't been writing as much as I should. I thought if I didn't write as much and didn't think about it, it would help fight off the homesickness. but I've found out it doesn't work so I will do better. I found some members down here who love quads and told me when I get off my mission to come back and they'll show me some Indiana dunes. We could even take the Midlife Crisis! haha just kidding but still I think it would be fun. Only one problem though: They're honda guys.... Oh well the atonement is for everyone. I love you dad and hope that this email is better than my last few. Take care, and keep our family strong.

Love, Elder Braken Park

Dear Mom,

 I'll send you some pictures today as I've given up trying to get the libraries computers to read my camera. I'll just take them to walmart and print them there. Technology sometimes ugh! So I should tell you about when Rob came it's actually a funny story: So we were at a member's house eating dinner and our phone starts to vibrate. Well I look at the number and I see it's a Utah number and think oh crap. Then I realise it's a Utah number I recognise and think oh crap again. So I ignored it and figured we would call them back. Well then the other set of missionaries that was eating with us, their phone rings. So now I'm thinking that somebody is getting sent home, and then he calls our phone again, and I have my companion answer it. Well, it was Rob. He said he was outside the apartment. Now in the white missionary handbook it specifically says no visits from friends or family. So now I'm thinking I'm dead, and one of the other missionaries had an experience with the last mission president similar to this that didn't go well..... So hesitantly I called President Cleveland to let him know what was going on. He answers and I let him know what was going on. He then asked, "Do you have a lesson tonight?" I answered yes. Then he shocked everyone in the car by saying,"Take him with you then!" I don't know who was more surprised, me or Elder Rowberry (the previously mentioned missionary). So we had a good laugh about that on the way back. It definitely through me for a loop seeing him in Indiana, but it was enjoyable. Now whether we could get with that a second time, I wouldn't count on it hahaha. But anyway, I have developed some new speech attributes native to Indiana. It is no longer a couple of things, it's a couplethree of those things. Hey youns come here! You don't vacuum your carpet you sweep it with the sweeper. So if I mention any of these in future letters don't be surprised hahaha. Indiana is definitely a.... different place. I have seen more people that fall under gabriel iglasias' levels 5 and 6 of fatness ("Dang!" and "Aw Heck Nah!") than I thought existed. They LOVE fried food here. KFC here has a buffet! We went there with a member once..... I think I gained 10 pounds just standing there, not to mention what I actually ate. I have stayed pretty regular though at around 207. Luckily we do enough walking to keep me lean hahaha. Anyway, I love you Mom. I hope that this letter is better than the last one. Again I am sorry about the previous emails. Tell Peyton I love him!

Love, Elder Braken Park

Monday, October 21, 2013

Week 8 E-mail Home

Dear Mom and Dad,

It's been good in Indiana recently. We've been having a hard time finding new people so we've been doing a lot of less active work. In a ward of 300 members, maybe 100 active members? That just was way too many. So we started working with less actives. yesterday we had 3 less actives that we talked to at church and one of them brought his non-member wife, who we are now teaching. The hastening is definitely not just finding new people, it is also bringing back those who have lost the love of the gospel. 

I'm sad to hear about Jake, but I know that if we have faith he will pull through. Tell Jen and Wayland that he is in my prayers and that they are as well. 
So I did not get transferred, my address is still the same. I am a little disappointed though, you guys, Christy, Jamie, and Grandma and Grandpa (Both sets), are the only ones who have written me since being out. Get the word out that I would like to hear from more than 4 people about what's going on. Sorry been a bit lonely this week. I'm glad to hear that everybody was safe at the dunes and that Dad enjoyed his midlife crisis. I love you all and look forward to hearing from you.

Love, Elder Braken Park

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Week 7 E-mail Home

Dear Mom and Dad,

First thank you for sending all the things I requested I really appreciate your love and support. It's great to hear you guys are having a good time and that Mason is able to ride Hal hahaha. Things have been going well here. We got to help somebody with his car the other day and that was fun. We did a lot of finding this week and found 3 new people we think will be willing to listen. Story time! So every night we are supposed to text the district leader and say that we are in. Well last night we forgot to do it, and then we forgot our phone in our apartment and went over to the other set of missionaries apartment and were talking to them. Well word got up to the assisstants to the president that we weren't in, and they were calling us and we didn't have our phone. So eventually they called the other set and we then realised that we had forgotten to text in. Now we are constantly checking to make sure one of us has the phone. Hopefully we got back to them before they worried President Cleveland about it hahaha. Anyway thank you for the letters and emails. I look forward to hearing from you all.

Love, Elder Braken Park   

Braken in front of his Martinsville, Indiana Home - October 10, 2013

Braken got a surprise visit from his former YM's President, Rob Memmott.  Rob was in Indianapolis on a business trip and was able to go see him.  I was soooo jealous, but so happy Braken got to see him.  Rob was one of our Heavenly Father's instruments in helping Braken get out on a mission.  He was a great YM's President.

Here Braken is with his companion, Elder Clapier (Braken's left), and Rob Memmott (Braken's right).  The other 2 missionaries are companions that live in the other side of the duplex Braken is living in.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Week 6 E-mails Home

To Forward:
Dear My Awesome Family,
Thanks for all your support first of all. I really appreciate all the love I get from all of you. I hope everything is going well with all of you. For those of you in the Duchesne area I met Elder Foster at Zone Conference. He is much taller than I expected hahaha. I wish you all a pleasant week. Love you all!
Love, Elder Braken Park

Dear Mom and Dad,
It's great to hear you were able to watch general conference. We don't have a TV, so we were at the church for all 5 sessions. It's amazing how much better you pay attention when you watch it at the church. I loved being able to focus more and take notes. 80,000 missionaries.... wow. To put mom's mind to rest yes we eat at members a lot. In fact it's rare for us not to eat at members homes. The ward here is really good at feeding us, we just wish they were as good at getting us referrals hahaha. However there are some recipes I would like:
-Chicken Enchiladas
-Taco Pizza
-Cheeseburger Soup
This last week hasn't been super productive but still has been good. A lot of people like what we do and really admire that, but are happy with their own religion. Hopefully they'll come around though. Thanks for your letters it was great to hear from you. I hope you guys have a great week. I love you!
Love, Elder Braken Park

Monday, September 30, 2013

Week 5 E-mails to the Family

So, Braken is currently writing two e-mails home.  The one he addresses to "My awesome family" is for all the Park and Draper family members.  The other, of course, is to Greg and I.  Just hoping to clarify that for everyone.
Dear My awesome family,

Thanks all of you for writing to me. It's really awesome to feel your love and support.   I will try and reply to all letters I recieve from you guys. I love you all!
So, I have an awesome story to tell, read in my letter to my mom and dad below:

Love, Elder Braken Park

Dear Mom and Dad,

Hellloooo! La la laaa. It's great to hear from you guys. This has definitely been a great week to be a missionary. I think I'm finally getting into the hang of it now. Our investigator Christina got baptized and confirmed this week, and is so excited to go to the temple haha. We had something awesome happen last Saturday:  So we were walking down the street after tracting a neighborhood, and we saw a phone fall off the hood of a car driving away. We picked it up and found there wasn't a lock on it, so we called some of the numbers and found out whose it was and it turns out they lived in the neighborhood we just tracted and were looking for a church! We told them the address of the church and I'm pretty sure they came on Sunday! The Lord definitely moves in mysterious ways hahaha. I loved what you were saying about not ignoring promptings because we were walking down a street headed home and the spirit said to go knock on a door. Well me being tired of being in the rain said no they probably won't answer. Well then my companion said,"Hey lets go knock on that door." Well in the mouth of two witnesses shall the truth be manifest so we went and the guy who answered was really interested and wants to watch general conference with us so.... Never ignore a prompting! Hahaha anyway, I do have some things I found out you can have on a mission that I would like sent out, Mason willing. There's lots of missionaries who get together on p-day and play magic, so if Mason is willing could you tell him to send my Grixis (blue black and red), Dragon (red and green), and Scavenge (green and black) decks, a 20 sided spin down and my counters? I know I left them to him so it's completely his choice whether he wants to or not I would just like to join the magic games. Let me know what he decides. Tell Peyton that I said hi and that I love him! Also Dad, enjoy your midlife crisis haha. I love you all and look forward to hearing from you.

Love, Elder Braken Park

Monday, September 23, 2013

First Day in the Mission Field --- Braken with President Steven C. Cleveland and his wife, Sister Kip Cleveland at the Mission Home in Carmel, IN after arriving from SLC. August 27, 2013

Letter sent home from President and Sister Cleveland after Braken's arrival in the Mission Field.

Week 4 e-mail home

Dear Mom and Dad,

Well it's week 4 and I'm still out. There's some good news at least. My anxiety has gotten much worse as now it's really interfering with my ability to feel the spirit. I'm really starting to feel weighed down and discouraged. I talked with Sister Cleveland and they gave us all a booklet that's supposed to help with stress but it's just not working. Hopefully it passes soon. But to answer your questions last week we taught a few lessons but got dropped by most of our investigators so mostly we just prepped for the baptism. My companion is a guy who you could leave in the middle of nowhere with only a gun and he could survive indefinitely. He was a farmer in Idaho and is a big time hunter. as for what we do on P days we have an ongoing game of risk I inherited from a previous missionary that we get into everytime we get some free time. And I did know about Jesse working on her papers but I haven't heard from her in a couple weeks so if you could tell her I'm wanting to hear from her I'd appreciate it. Thanks for being willing to support me and to help me along. I love you guys and appreciate all you do.

Love, Elder Braken Park

P.S. Thanks a lot for the salsa I've really missed it
P.P.S. I'll have to use a bit of the personal funds to get a new watch because mine is broken. I'll find a cheap one.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Week 3 E-mail home

Braken's e-mail to all the family:

Dear My Awesome Family,
Thanks for all your emails, it's really good to hear from you guys. Well as a status report, if all goes to plan me and my companion will have a baptism next week. It's always nice to be able to pick up where someone else left off hahaha. I've really enjoyed my time here and am really looking forward to the coming months in the field. Now for a rebuke, I recieved no letters this week! It actually doesn't bother me too much hahaha, it's just nicer because I can read them any day and I can only read email on monday. So if it's not too much trouble, I would appreciate one or two letters. But enough of that. Just stay true to the faith and blessings will come. I love you all and wish you all the best.
Love, Elder Braken Park

Braken's e-mail home:

Dear Mom and Dad,
Well that was faster than I expected haha. Geez I'm gone a month and you start buying crazy things, I don't know how you guys are gonna stay in the black for two years hahaha. Anyway It's awesome to hear from you guys. I'll try and send the rest of the camera stuff. But things have been getting better. Another week and I'll have a baptism under my belt hopefully. Being out here and being around people who have never felt the gospel in their lives has really given me an appreciation for the blessing I had of growing up in a home centered on the gospel. I can see know the many blessings I've had because you made our home a gospel centered home. I hope dearly that all is well and that all the boys are behaving well... but of course I know the boys so probably not haha. Tell dad that I'll be making fun of his "mid-life crisis" to my companion. I do think that that is incredibly hilarious. Stay true to the gospel and blessings will come. I love you all and look forward to hearing from you more.
Love, Elder Braken Park

Monday, September 9, 2013

Week 2 e-mail

Here is Braken's Letter to us:

Dear Mom and Dad,

I sent you an email you can forward to everyone sorry I can't write to anyone I just don't have the time. It's good to hear that you're all OK and I'm glad you found those notes from Jesse I couldn't find them before I left so thank you. It sounds like things are getting crazy there if you could get me garret's email I'd really appreciate it. Things are going alright here, I'm really enjoying teaching people and sharing the gospel, but my anxiety is getting worse. I guess it just shows how there is opposition in all things. Anyway, I thought I'd give you a quick summary of the people we are currently teaching. We currently have 4 people we are teaching. A woman named Christina who is a totally awesome investigator and will be baptized on the 24th, another woman named Adrianne who is a little unsure about a lot of the doctrine but is very open to what we teach. Then there's Luke who is 9 years old, and basically teaches us the lessons haha. He will get baptized as soon as his mom lets him. Then there's Elvis, he has a smoking problem but really enjoys feeling the spirit and really likes us missionaries. It's been amazing to see the effects of the gospel in these people's lives and be a part of their learning the truth. But I have even better news, President Cleveland says they have resources to help with anxiety so I may be able to get over this. but anyway I was able to get a bike from my grandfather (the elder who trained my trainer) Elder Lowe for $20 which included a helmet, bike lock, and pump. The area I'm in doesn't really bike a lot (we mostly walk or drive), so I figured it was a good idea. Thanks for all your love and support and I really look forward to hearing more from you.

Love, Elder Braken Park

Draper / Park Family Letter

Here is Braken's letter to all the family:

Dear My awesome family,
It's good to hear from all of you, I really appreciate everything you have all sent me and especially appreciate all the love and support you all send me. And for those of you in duchesne, I am in the same district with some elders who know a certain elder foster who you have told me dated emily. I'll have to make sure I see him at mission conference so I can give him a hard time haha. I hope my mom has given you all my new address if you don't have it just let her know. Sorry I can't write everyone individually there's just not enough time I do apologize. Anyway I love you all and look forward to hearing more from you.
Love, Elder Braken Park 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Week 1 First Area, Martinsville, IN

Dear Mom,

I would have emailed yesterday on pday but it was labor day and so all the libraries were closed.
Let me first say happy birthday to Garret! 15 years old its a big day you can get your learners permit now don't crash the car haha. I'm in my first area now here's my mailing address:

1439 S. Marion Martinsville IN 46151

The members here in martinsville (my first area) are super nice and love the missionaries. We have more leftovers from meals than we do at home and they are always willing to help us out with referrals. I can see why my patriarchal blessing says i will serve more than one mission. I'm sure when I'm older I'll serve a senior mission. I just hope I'll be able to make it through my normal one. I love you all and once again wish Garret a happy birthday. I'll send dad's shoes and the camera as soon as my next pday comes next monday. Love you all so much and wish I had a camera with which to send pictures!

Oh I almost forgot I am serving in the last area Elder Brady Knowles served in and my trainer is one of the missionaries he lived with Elder Clapier. There is 4 of us living in a double house thing and I thought it was cool to find that out and thought you'd like to know that. Sorry I forgot to include that. love you all and look forward to hearing from you.

Love, Elder Braken Park

Friday, August 30, 2013

First Meeting After Arriving in Indiana 8-28-13


Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Indianapolis Indiana North Stake Center
777 Sunblest Blvd.  Fisher, IN

8:30 – 10:15 am ………………..………Relief Society Room
New Missionary Arrivals

8:30 – 10:00 am …………………………………………..Chapel
Training for Trainers

10:30 am – noon ……………………………………….…Chapel
Transfer Meeting

Noon – 1 pm …………………….……….Luggage Swap Time

1:30 – 3:00 pm …………………….………………………Chapel
New Missionary and Trainers Meeting

1:30 – 2:30 pm …………….…………….High Council Room
District Leader Training for all
New District Leaders Attending Transfer Meeting

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Braken's MTC District 8-21-13

Braken and some of the guys from his MTC district 8-21-13

Airport Phone Call 8-27-13

Yay!  We were able to speak to Braken this morning from the Salt Lake International Airport before he boarded his plane for Indiana.  He called around 5:20 am.  That was the best way to wake up ever!
He said the MTC was good, but will be glad not to go through it again, haha.  He learned a lot and is very ready to be in Indiana.  He sounded soooo good, just what we needed to hear!  He said he really didn't get homesick, just when he talks to us on the phone, lol :)  No, but he did have a couple of times where he felt a little homesick, but it wasn't bad.  They kept him busy enough that he didn't have time to think about it, I guess.  He said he is flying out on Delta Airlines with 60 other missionaries at 7:30 am.  I guess they'll be flying with angels then :)  Could you imagine what that flight looks like and Feels like?? Ahhh, wish I could be there . . .

We hope we'll get an e-mail from the mission home soon stating that he has arrived safely and all is well.

Love, Shelly

Monday, August 26, 2013

Travel Plans 8-26-13

Hey everyone they are letting us send emails to let you know when our flights are. My flight leaves at 7:30 AM so if you could all be up at 6 I will call you as soon as I can. Thanks for being an amazing family I love you all and look forward to talking with you.
Love, Elder Braken Park

8-21-13 MTC P-Day e-mail

Hey mom I did get the packages you sent thank you so much i love the brownies. I also need gym shoes could you look for my ones we bought? we got the wrong ones packed. so a usual day is wake up at 6:30 get ready go eat breakfast at 7:45 (which is usually not very good) and then go to class until 12:30 which is lunch, then study until dinner at 6:30 then class until 9:30 and then back to the residence. We are busy all day it's pretty intense. So we have an actor playing an investigator who we teach lessons twice a week and when we met him we did super awesome and the spirit was so strong. We didn't hardly follow any of the lesson plan we had we just followed the spirit. It was so amazing! once i find the cable ill send you pictures of my room my companions and my district. Stay Strong!
Love, Elder Braken Park

Braken's first e-mail to us! 8-21-13

Hello parental units! haha so week one in the MTC has come and gone and it has been both difficult and rewarding. The food is so-so, the beds are kind of lumpy and the washing machines look like they came from the 1920's. but all other things aside the spirit you can feel here is simply amazing. I love being able to learn how to teach right and how to get through to investigators. I actually have 2 companions; Elder Busby, and Elder Cathcart. As soon as I find a cable that fits my camera I will send you pictures of them and the rest of my district. Thanks for sending me all the letters it's really enjoyable to hear from you about what's going on. I love all of you and hope that you haven't missed me too much because here I am on the Lords errand doing His will. Feel free to email me whenever but I can only respond on P Day. Have an awesome day!
Love, Elder Braken Park