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