Monday, December 29, 2014

Week 69 - CJ's Getting Married?!?!! What The . . . .

Dear Mom and Dad,
What the crap?! CJ is getting married and NOBODY TOLD ME!!?? What a little fetch!! Tell him that I am rebuking the crap out of him through this email! Wow you leave for 2 years and everyone just decides they're gonna move on in life without me... Oh well. Anyway, I think I got pretty much everyone's cards and letters and stuff. Other than Christmas life was pretty boring this week except for we went on exchange with the Zone Leaders this week which was fun, Elder Gough and Elder Aiono. Tell Garret that if he wants to get girls he's gotta get a license! Haha anyway I'm doing really good. And Dad I finally get a companion who is old enough to buy the drinks and you gotta go and ruin the party! Anyway you guys have a great week!
Love, Elder Braken Park

Monday, December 22, 2014

Week 68: Butchered a Cow!

Dear Mom and Dad,
This week has been really busy. We've done a lot of service, and visiting Less-actives. We've gotten pretty settled up here, and winter has been pretty generous to us this year not too cold yet. I have gotten your packages, but I wasn't sure about whether I was supposed to open them or not. If you could let me know I would appreciate that thanks haha :) Christmas eve we are going over to our Ward Mission Leaders house so I'm not sure on an exact time, but I'll be calling the night before to let you guys know. So no worries! So apparently Grandpa served in South Bend, which is where our Zone Leaders and the Stake center are, so I'm spending time in the same places Grandpa did! I thought that was super cool! But anyway I helped butcher a cow this week, that was fun... and gross. But still interesting experiences! anyway that's pretty much everything I have. I love you guys! Talk to you thursday!
Elder Braken Park

Week 68: Pictures from Niles

"The Leg Lamp"

Braken - Niles, Michigan

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Week 67: Getting Under Way in the New Area of Niles, Michigan!

Dear Mom and Dad,

So this week I have had the chance to excercise the christlike attributes of charity and patience.... A lot.... Haha. So here's the situation we live 5 miles outside the city of Niles, and this transfer president decided to have us share a car with the Mishawaka Elders, who live about 10 miles south of us. So we have had to do a lot of walking no big deal, keeps my girlish figure. Haha anyway, so we finally get the car and mishawaka has put 300 miles on it. Now we only have so many miles to use in a month, and since we are so far away from Indy, that ended up being about half our miles gone. So it's been a stuggle not to go Teancum on a couple of missionaries. But anyway we have had some good success! The ward here has really stepped up and has really supported us. We found a new girl to teach, who's name is Hannah. We talked about the Book of Mormon with her and She was really interested in it. So that's pretty much our week so far. So Elder Van Sickle is like me in the fact that he just likes anything sweet so hopefully that helps haha. No our house isn't nearly as big as our Crawfordsville one, but that was to be expected haha. Garret did tell me about Savanna and I gave him some girl advice for what it's worth from me haha. Well that's pretty all I can think of so I love you guys I will talk to you in 2 weeks! and I'll email you next week too ;)

Love, Elder Braken Park

Monday, December 8, 2014

Week 66: Transfers! I'm a Michiganary!

Dear Mom and Dad,
So the move went alright, I left a bunch of stuff in Crawfordsville. Haha that's to be expected though. We have a mission conference and Elder Sneddon is in Lebanon which is close to there so he's gonna bring all the stuff I forgot so I can grab it. Leaving Crawfordsville was super hard, but I think this will be a super awesome area and companionship. His name is Elder Van Sickle. He's into pretty much all the same things I am, he loves Halo and Star Wars, and he also plays Magic. We talk all the time about whatever, so we are super close. I'm super happy about this companionship. I thought of another thing for christmas. The movie Prince Of Egypt on DVD. President Cleveland said we could watch it so I thought I'd ask for a copy. Let me know thanks! Well that's pretty much my whole week, getting settled. Have a great week Love you guys!

Love, Elder Braken Park



--Here is an email that went out to everyone--
Dear Family and Friends,

So another transfer has come and gone, and I finally left Crawfordsville. I'm in a little town called Niles, in Michigan. My new address is 1204 Ontario road Apt B, Niles, MI 49120. My new companion's name is Elder Van Sickle, and he is a total stud! I'm looking forward to this area and the opportunity to work here. Thanks for all your love and support!


Love, Elder Braken Park

WEEK 65: HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Dear Mom and Dad,

So this week has been pretty good. Mostly just setting up for transfers and doing a lot of service. For Thanksgiving we ended up going to Matt Allen's. He's a good ol' boy from the country Dad would like him haha. He has a wife (actually her name is Shelly haha) and 2 kids (boy and girl) about Mason and Peyton's age. So of course the food was amazing so I felt like I was stuffed over the brim, but that's the tradition haha. I did get your package and the shoes were awesome! They fit great and I have no complaints! I would love another CTR Belt for Christmas so you can add that to the list thanks! As far as the work goes like I said we've been doing a lot of service. We rang bells for salvation army, We helped at a Train museum, and helped our landlord around her antique shop. It's been a pretty fun week! But we are going to have to give all our Investigators to the sisters here. Ugh. Oh well I'm sure they'll be taken care of. Anyway that's pretty much it for this week. I'll send a letter with my address on it when I get there!

Love, Elder Braken Park

Monday, November 24, 2014

Week 64: Pictures


Elder Williams

Week 64: Yay! A Much Better Week!

Dear Mom and Dad,

This week has been much, much better. We were able to get back with Kevin, Matt, and Chastity. They said they were coming to church, but weren't able to make it. But regardless, we taught a whole ton of lessons this week. We've started doing this thing where we meet with people for shorter times, but more frequently throughout the week. President told me in his interview with me that he is closing the Crawfordsville Elders area. So that'll mean a Double transfer for me and Elder Williams, and we are the last elders who will be in this ward. The mission is shrinking because the initial huge waves of missionaries are going home and so they are having to close a lot of areas. So our transfer is the 3rd of December. Either way I've been in C-ville forever, so I'd have been gone anyway, haha. So I'll be for sure gone by then so probably don't send anything thanks! We do have an invite for Thanksgiving. Well, actually we have 2... So we are gonna get really fat. As far as the weather goes, Indiana is bipolar. Last week this time it was 25 degrees and snowing like crazy, and then by Wednesday it was 50 and rainy which is how it is today. So I've gone from a coat, scarf, gloves, and a hat, to a sweater. Haha weather is a fun thing here. It's supposed to get crazy cold again this week though. My CTR coat I'm not really impressed with. It doesn't really do the job so I picked up a nice trenchcoat from the Carmel goodwill for like 10 bucks when I was in Eagle Creek, (its like DI) and I've been really happy with it. I haven't gotten anything from you yet so I'll keep an eye out for it!  Anyway thanks for all you guys do! Love you and have a good week!

Love, Elder Braken Park

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Week 63: Email Home: Missing the Fam :(

Dear Mom and Dad,

I'm not gonna lie this week kinda blows. That family we met with last week dropped us and Kevin is nowhere to be seen. We've just been working through a huge less-active list the ward gave us. I'm not gonna lie I've felt really burned out this week. I just have felt like I've been doing this forever. Our lesson in Sunday School was on the family and it seriously just made me so trunky.  It was hard to have a discussion on family. It's just been a super trunky week all around. I know I shouldn't be thinking like this, but... Sometimes you just can't help it. I do really miss you guys.  I just wanna go and be bros with you all again. But I know this time is short so it'll fly by and I'll wonder where it went. Anyway as far as Christmas stuff goes I could use a sewing kit and a how to sew guide. I blew out the crotch of one of my slacks this week. So I need to get that fixed and there's not a tailor nearby like in Martinsville. Plus it'd be a nice skill to have. Other than that... I will keep thinking of stuff sorry I'm so bad at this. I did get both Mason and Garret's emails so whatever they did to get them through it worked. Thanks for all your guys' support I love you all! Have a great week!

Love, Elder Braken Park

Monday, November 10, 2014

Week 62: Email Home - Better Week this Week

Dear Mom and Dad,

So this week went really well! We found a new family, Bobby and Jessica, who have an adorable 1 year old son named Bobby. They have a strong belief in Christ and have seen a lot of miracles in their lives. They are pretty sweet and are excited to learn. Kevin is kind of back on track... Kind of being the important phrase there. He is meeting with us again but really isn't going anywhere. It's everything we can do to just keep teaching him. Oh well. We are doing our best I guess. Sounds like everyone's down and out this week! Wow if Dad got you laughing so bad you pulled a muscle I want to hear that joke! I did something similar but we were moving somebody haha. Anyway I will email Christy! I can't really think of much else to say... Love you all! Have a great week!

Love, Elder Braken Park

Week 62: The Bonfire - Braken and Elder Williams



Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Week 61: Email Home - Happy Halloween

Dear Mom and Dad,

So to start with Kevin... Well when we talked to him he was wanting to get back into church and make it right with the person who offended him, so that was good, but he missed church so that was really disappointing. I think a baby gift from you would be a little weird at this point so I'm gonna say no to that sorry. Brenda is really going no where right now. She really didn't like the idea of a pre-mortal life and refused to pray about it when we told her that's how she would be sure if it was true. So we might be done teaching her for now. I'm doing alright this week was kinda difficult there looked like there was a lot of progress going to be made, but in the end nothing really showed. Oh well this week should be better hopefully. We need a way to get this ward into missionary work... Oh well but anyway yea I remember those weekends spent raking leaves... And then I come out here and members want us to do it for them. Haha well I never thought I'd say it but it's a good thing you taught us how to work. It seems like every week we are helping somebody move... Or clean... Or something along those lines. The joys of being a missionary. Sounds like you and Peyton had fun though! Good thing you weren't out here we had a record-breaking cold Halloween this year! We actually saw some snow flurries! (which normally don't come until late November here). Anyway I'm doing great as far as normal life goes I'm sorry to hear about Uncle Bill. It's all good though funerals are the best time to be a Mormon haha. Well I love you all have a great week!

Love, Elder Braken Park

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Week 60 E-mail Home: Chicago Temple Visit!

Dear Mom and Dad,

So this week was pretty good. We were actually able to go to the Chicago Temple this week and it was super cool! I realised how long it had been since I went to the temple though... I felt like I had to relearn how to do it all! But as far as the work goes, Kevin still the same he has been in the hospital with Katie and she was in labor saturday we aren't sure about anything other than that. Brenda is doing alright she is a little difficult to teach because she comes up with the most rediculous concerns. But she accepted a Book of Mormon so hopefully she will read it and understand a little more. Bill is really the only other person we are teaching. We took a member over there this week and he was completely plastered. So that was a fun lesson.... But he is doing well other than that! Elder Williams is doing well his first name is Easton. He's from Fruit Heights, Utah. Happy Anniversary! I can't believe it's already here! IMPORTANT! I need my Social Security Number today! The church needs that info for the affordable health care act. So please email that to me today! Thanks I appreciate that :) It sounds like we have quite the animal collection happening at home. I'm just a little jealous because I wanted a pet for the longest time but you never went for it. Oh well I'm glad Mason is enjoying himself at least. Things have been alright here there's a lot of walking around knocking on doors so that's been a little annoying but I'm sure it'll pay off soon. Anyway I hope you guys have a great week! 

Love, Elder Braken Park

Week 60 Pictures: Chicago Temple Visit

Elder Williams and Braken at the Chicago Illinois Temple

Chicago Ilinois Temple

Fall in Crawfordsville, Indiana

The District:  Braken is the same 'ol joker!

The Indianapolis Indiana Temple - Under Construction

Mchael Jordan Pumpkin

Braken's Favorite:  The "Dr. Who Tartis" Pumpkin

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Week 59 Email Home

Dear Mom and Dad,

Well first off I have seen meet the mormons they did a special mission showing of it and we got to watch it. Haha it would do good in theaters in Utah! Yea that part made me super trunky. Well it's been an.... interesting week. Kevin... Well let's say the S*** hit the fan this week. The Elderly missionary couple came on way too overbearing and said some things that were pretty offensive to him and so we are in the process of rebuilding a bridge of trust between him and the church. She hasn't had her baby yet but she's due any day now. So that was that interesting thing... but for good news, Brenda is doing awesome She has some questions but nothing that's too bad. We also picked up another new investigator named Kyle. He met one of the ward members on LDSSingles and she invited him out to church, and he's come the last 2 weeks in a row! Sometimes it just brightens up your week to have a tender mercy dropped in your lap! Then for an Epic finale we got invited to go to a Pentecostal church sunday night.... Oh man I am SO glad we are members of the Restored church.... Pentecostals freak me out! The whole time they're sitting there chanting parts of the powerpoint to themselves, raising up their hands, clapping, singing, things of that nature. And then the preacher is up there yelling at the top of his lungs about bible scriptures. Wow the apostasy is real folks. So anyway that's my week! Tell Peyton I miss him too. It's getting hard with me on the back half now time seems to be picking up I hit my 14 month mark this week. I'm almost down to single digits left... I didn't believe anyone when they said it went fast. I was like yea right it's 2 years! Well, look at me now... Anyway, Gare! Dude you gotta get your license! Dad is offering you a free car! How do you argue that? It sounds like the way it works for us boys is that Mason and Peyton are the outdoorsy type, Garret prefers to be inside, and I'm somewhere in the middle. I always thought we would all end up so similar yet look at how we've turned out. I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Love, Elder Braken Park

Monday, October 13, 2014

Week 58 Email Home: Things are going so well!

Dear Mom and Dad,

This weeks been pretty crazy first off because we found someone new! Her name is Brenda and she manages this little Pizza place thats right behind our house that us and our landlord go to occasionally. Anyway last week our Landlord ordered us a pizza after we helped her in her shop and told us we needed to go pick it up. So we were sitting there waiting for it to get done and she just kinda started talking to us because she had seen us all the time. She basically read from preach my gospel concerns answered by the plan of salvation. She'd had Cancer and was really unsure about the future. And then Elder Williams just flat out shocked me when he stepped up and started talking to her! Normally I lead out on teaching people but he really stepped up and took charge. So we are gonna start teaching her in her pizza shop haha. Another cool thing is that she is looking for help in the shop and she mentioned to us to tell people about it. Well there's this Less Active member named Alicia we've been meeting with for a while who desperately needs a job to get out of a really bad situation. Well we mentioned it to her and to say we sent her. Well Alicia walked in and asked about the job and Brenda was super hesitant at first, but then when Alicia mentioned us she totally lit up and basically told her she has the job she just has to fill out an application. So a mission isn't only about helping people spiritually! It can be temporal help too! So anyway on to Kevin! His baby is due THIS WEEK! It seems so crazy because I remember back in july when he said he was due in October to me and Elder Sneddon, and we both thought there's no way we'll be here for that, well here I am! Chastity has been really sick as well as her kids, so we haven't been able to meet with them.... Bill is an interesting guy he has a bit of a trust issue so we have to warm him up slowly and really show him we care. On other things, the picture of the handcart was our district picture that transfer we thought it would be fun so we did it haha. Yes I did get the contacts and your letter thanks SO much for that! It seems like forever since I've got any letters haha I know I am terrible at sending them. It's just so hard to take time on pday and sit down and write a letter when you have a thousand other things you need to do. I am a size 11. Christmas already!? That's so Crazy! I can remember last year I was with the man the myth the legend Elder K Davis. I still talk to him occasionally he's been home for a good 8 months now. Anyway I can't really think of anything right now I'll let you know as I think of things. I love you guys have a great week!

Love, Elder Braken Park
P.S. Dad I hear from a pretty reliable source that your Cowboys are probably gonna get spanked by the Eagles just gonna throw that out there :)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Park - Williams Street

Braken and Elder Williams found their "Street Names" - LOL :)

Week 57: Email Home: Kevin Made It To Priesthood This Week! Yay!

Dear Mom and Dad,

This week actually went really well! Kevin made it to Priesthood and he really enjoyed it, and his baby is due any day now, so as soon as that happens he has said that he will have an answer to baptism. Keep your fingers crossed it happens soon. As far as conference goes, we watch it at our chapel where they broadcast it. It was an awesome time. Things are going well otherwise Elder Williams is doing well he is growing and learning well. I almost don't even feel like I'm training. Haha so the midlife crisis has satellite TV.... Just kidding I'm glad that'll be good. Sounds like the homeschooling is going well. That's funny that Peyton wants to be at home with his mommy :) Just like me! Just kidding haha but really. Hey I know I ask for a lot but I am on my last set of contacts and they are feeling like they are ready to be done so if you could get some sent out I would really appreciate that :) It's funny you mention how fast it's going though. I thought about it and once I'm done training Elder Williams I'll be out 16 months. How crazy is that? December will be here before we know it! And then it's pretty much all downhill from there... Man it's super wierd how fast it goes... I've been companions with people that old and they're about ready to go home! (Elder Lawrence only has about 2 months left) Oh well I'll do what I can with what I've got. Well I love you guys have a great week!

Love, Elder Braken Park
Braken, Kevin, and Elder Williams
Kevin came to priesthood today with the Elders.
--Crawforsdville, Indiana--



Week 57: Braken Sent Tons of Pictures for Us. These are from the last couple of months in Crawforsdville, Indiana.

Braken and Elder Sneddon - "Pioneer Trek"

Braken and New Companion Elder Williams - Crawfordsville

Braken and Elder Williams - Crawfordsville 

Braken and his "Dream Car" - Corvette Stingray :)

Elder Williams - Crawfordsville

Elder Williams & "Dean Martin"

Elder Williams

Enough Said!

Taco Pizza!!

The District - Crawfordsville
Notice the tallest elder in the back . . . . . Yep, Elder Foster from Duchesne!

There is Top Gear Fans in Indiana too!  Stig Family :D

Week 57: Pictures with Elder Sneddon and "The Bacon Package"






Monday, September 29, 2014

Week 56: Tough Week

Dear Mom and Dad,

Ok first off I am sooo jealous of the Master Chief Pics!! I wish I was there! About the week I've definitely had better. Everyone missed church this week and we weren't even able to meet with Bill. Kevin is doing well but his son is due any day now. Chastity we haven't heard anything from since we met with her she isn't answering her phone. Missionary work is frustrating sometimes. Ok well a lot of the time. Elder Williams is from Fruit Heights, Utah. He was a class officer in High School and he is a super solid greenie. He has no trouble with the work or teaching. The basic maintenance at first was overwhelming but I've been doing it for a year now so it's just part of the grind now. This apartment has a washer and dryer so no trips to the laundromat (which I absolutely love). Yes it's still the same apartment as when I was with Elder Sneddon. Me and him stay in contact of course. I told you about me and him rooming together at USU right? We were the best of friends. That was a companionship that has evolved into a friendship. I really do miss that guy haha. Anyway I don't think I have my perscription but I'll look for it. Thanks for looking out for me! I appreciate everything you guys do! Love ya have a great week!

Love, Elder Braken Park

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Week 55: Email Home: New Investigator

Dear Mom and Dad,
This week has been alright. Kevin made it to church this week but Chastity had to work. I'm loving my greenie though he is super sweet. He is super prepared and rearing to go. Katy is close to having the baby so we are close to having the answer to his baptism. He said he wants to wait until after she has the baby so we are waiting on that. It sounds like you guys had a pretty insane week though with the shinanegans at wendys haha. It's good that you found her those people were probably a tender mercy the Lord threw at you guys. That's super scary when stuff like that happens. I think the Lord recognises we are human though and wouldn't have let anything happen there. As far as everything else goes it's been good we picked up a new Investigator this week named Bill. He is an older guy who wanted to turn his life around and so he started meeting with us! He is super solid so we have high hopes for him. He wasn't able to make it to church though. Oh well we are meeting with him tomorrow. We'll see if he's still good then! Well that's pretty much everything it's been an uneventful week. Love you guys have a great week!
Love, Elder Braken Park

P.S. the pics are of Elder Bullock when we were making what we call Beatus Balls: crushed oreos and Cream cheese smothered in melted chocolate. Definitely gonna get the beatus

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Week 54 Email Home: The new "daddy" hehe


Dear Mom and Dad,
So my first week as a daddy.... (in the mission we refer to having a trainee as having a son). It's actually been really good as far as the companionship goes. He has really surprised me with his preparedness, as he is so much more ready than I was coming out. He will be a good companion he shares the load very well. He just has a few things to learn and he could be my senior companion! JK haha but anyway on to the week! So the pictures are mostly from the back to the 50's festival we went to in Lebanon. It was super sick there were tons of nice cars there! As far as the work goes though... this week kind of blows. We weren't able to meet with kevin or chastity and neither of them came to church because they had to work.... So that kinda sucks. But we are meeting with Chastity tonight so hopefully we can get back on a regular schedule with her! Kevin has been working nights so it's been hard for him to come to church anyway and Walmart has been having him from 11 to 7 and he's really not used to the schedule. So keep the manager of Walmart in your prayers that he'll give Kevin Saturday nights off. He's so close to have him quit now would be so bad.... So please keep him in your prayers! As far as everything else goes it's going really well! My CTR belt died though.... The buckle broke off so I'm super bummed about that.. When you are able to send a package I would absolutely love another one that thing was soooo nice. The weather here has been slowly cooling off summer is finally going away. I love fall in Indiana it's pretty it's nice and most importantly it's NOT summer. I despise Indiana summer. But that's pretty much it for this week. Junior is doing well he is super excited to be here! Love you guys and have a great week!

Love, Elder Braken Park

Friday, September 12, 2014

Letter and Picture from President Steve Cleveland

12 September 2014
Dear Brother & Sister Park,
Your son, Elder Braken Jex Park, has been assigned to train a new missionary. The position of trainer only comes to missionaries who have demonstrated the highest level of trust, obedience and diligence.  A new missionary's trainer sets the standard and establishes the framework for the entirety of the new missionary's mission experience. We have every confidence in Elder Park and know that he will be a great blessing to his new companion.
We appreciate your love of and support for Elder Park.  Those acts have helped prepare him for this new assignment.
Sincerely,
Steven C. Cleveland
Mission President
Photo Attachment
 
Braken and his new "greenie" companion, Elder Williams

Monday, September 8, 2014

Week 53 Email Home: Elder Sneddon's Getting Transferred :( Braken Will Miss Him!

Dear Mom and Dad,

So first the big transfer news... I will be staying in Crawfordsville... and Training a new missionary. I'm not quite sure how I feel about this... It's going to be interesting teaching a greenie the ropes. Oh well whatever they want me to do. The other thing is that sisters are coming to Crawfordsville. That's something I'm NOT happy about. It was super nice just having the run of the town to ourselves. That and members go nuts when they first get sisters and tend to throw the elders by the wayside. (that's what happened a lot in Plainfield. Oh well hopefully we don't get really uppity prideful sisters. Anyway onto the weekly update! Kevin and Chastity are still doing awesome. They are making it to church, reading and praying all the time, and Kevin agreed to have an answer to baptism in October when Katy has their son. He really hasn't given us any reason to make us believe that he is going to say no. So he should be getting baptised next month. Chastity is just struggling with her smoking. She is doing everything else she just can't kick it. She is totally committed though. She will get baptised as soon as she can quit smoking. Other than that we've kind of had a fall cleaning of our investigator pool. Lots of people just weren't committed so we stopped meeting with them. So greenie and I will have some finding work to do! So on to the business aspect of things. Yes I picked up shoes at foot locker but they were pday/regular shoes because mine are trashed. But if money is tight don't worry about sending a package. I realise it's a lot of money to keep me out so really don't worry about it. Mine will last for plenty long enough. Just when you guys get things worked out there then you can send it :). I didn't get Garret's email, but I did see his birthday on the calender and I did want to wish him a happy birthday! Gosh is he 16?? I'm getting so old.... Oh well time sure flies doesn't it? Well I love you guys maybe if you're on this morning we can chat or something. Love you guys have a great week!

Love, Elder Braken Park

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Week 52 Email Home: Slow Week Teaching, But Busy Week Serving

Dear Mom and Dad,
This week has been a little slow. Lots of dropped appointments and cancellations. No worries about kevin though he is hooking right along. His wife is now joining in the lessons and he is FINALLY getting her support. We however have pretty much helped someone move every day this week. We even moved somebody this morning before we came to the library. Needless to say we have spent a lot of time in our service clothes. It's been fun though the ward here knows they can call on us if they need it which is really nice because it really allows us to get to know the members on a more casual basis. And yes they do feed us for the most part, but these last couple of weeks our dinner calender has been pretty sparce and we've been on exchanges a lot down in Lebanon (another town where our District Leader is) so we have eaten out a lot. I try to make food as much as I can but sometimes when it's been a long day... Well I really just don't feel like making anything haha. Oh well I have lost a lot of weight since coming out though! I've lost almost 20 pounds which is super nice. I've made it a rule that I'll play Basketball with Elder Bullock on pday and it's really worked out well for my gut haha. And on top of that I'm actually not half bad anymore. I got some new shoes yesterday as my service shoes are kind of.... Destroyed... Speak of the which I'm an 11 but anyway This is why you don't buy cheap shoes as a missionary. I picked the old ones up in eagle creek at this super ghetto mall. $20 and that's about what they were worth haha. But anway I'm not too worried about the package don't worry I recognise that you are really busy it's totally ok. Just know transfers is next wednesday so if it's not going to get here before then just wait until I let you know my new address. (me and Elder Sneddon are pretty sure they're gonna double transfer us back out but I'll let you know what happens next week) I didn't know Megan had miscarried.  I'll have to keep her in my prayers. I do occasionally talk to Cooper and Emily and Nic probably not as much as I should I'll have to write them more often. YES! I very much approve of him watching Star Wars! Keep that up! I really haven't talked to President Cleveland much to be honest. He gives us a lot of counsel on the work, but as far as anything else, he is really chill. He basically says that we are all adults and that we know how to take care of ourselves. He is there to help with the work. That's pretty much President Cleveland. That's awesome he got Brother Whimpey! He will like him it'll be good for him. Anyway I love you all! Have a great week!
Love, Elder Braken Park

Monday, August 25, 2014

Week 51: Another Awesome Week! Keep Praying for our Investigators!

Dear Mom and Dad,
This week was super sick! This week Kevin, Chris and Chastity all made it to church this week! The only bad thing was trying to introduce all of them to ward members with only the two of us. Kevin is doing awesome, we had a good talk about the word of wisdom this week and his only real problem is he occasionally drinks tea so that was his only issue with it. Our other issue with him is getting him to accept a baptismal date. He knows pretty much everything it's just that he hasn't accepted a date yet... So that's a little frustrating. But anyway. On the other topics, yes we used to call Tyler (Finch) Dr. Love. Bryson started it and it just stuck from that point on. As far as Shoes go Hush Puppies are definitely the way to go. If they could be the same style I would like that. And yes the size is good. No issues with my feet spontaneously growing yet haha. Also I could use more contacts.... Sorry I'm so needy... I've found out that after a year a lot of things you planned for start to run out... So if you could send some that'd be awesome. So I will vouch for Mason's argument though. Yes I realise that he's younger than I was, but Blakfyre is a very family friendly environment. They make it so that kids like Mason can have somewhere to go and play games. Also it would be good for him to learn how to talk to people. It's a skill I wish I would have had before I came on a mission. But anyway! I sent you some pictures of Elder Sneddon's Bacon Package. It was a whole package based on Bacon! I thought it was funny so I thought I'd send it to you. Sorry I'm not too talkative today. Last night the apartment was 76 degrees and we have 2 A/C units going full time.... Sleepless in Indiana... I will definitely not miss Indiana summers. During the day it gets up to about 78-80 in there. Oh well can't wait till winter and I can keep the apartment 65 again. Me and Elder Lawrence kept it that cold and it was beautiful. Anyway hope you guys have a great week!
Love, Elder Braken Park

Monday, August 18, 2014

Week 50: Awesome Missionary Week! Killin' It!

Dear Mom and Dad,
So first off missionary life is going great! Me and Elder Sneddon are killing out here. We found 2 new Investigators this week! One of them is an Athiest named Jack, who is genuinely searching for peace in his life. The other is a Less active members wife, Chastity, who has wanted to be baptised for a while, but can't kick the smoking. Both of them have a lot of potential, but still have a ways to go. So on to your questions: Elder Sneddon has been out 6 weeks longer than me. He came out June 2013. We are actually planning on rooming together at USU. He has a lot of ins there and can help me out. I already burned a tie for 6 months, You burn a white shirt at a year, a pair of slacks at 18 months and a suit coat right before you go home. (Obviously I won't burn my good ones. I'll just grab some cheap ones from Goodwill and burn those). Yes that is our address. Yes I did hear about the outbreak I was actually wondering about Jordaz and Todd. Good to know they're being put somewhere safe. So on with the missionary work. Kevin is doing so sick. He has rarely missed church, and now there's a member giving him family history lessons. He is so close... He just won't commit to a baptismal date... Ugh! Super frustrating! But I know he'll get there it'll just take time. I would love to grab some shoes, but there aren't really any places around here I could do that except Walmart.... And I'm not about that Walmart shoes life. It's probably best if you just grab some and send them to me. Sorry Crawfordsville is about the size of Duchesne to give you an Idea. Haha tell Dad I'm laughing at him! That's pretty great! But super gross nonetheless. Sorry is it bad if I enjoy others humiliation? Haha anyway I hope you guys have a great week!
Love, Elder Braken Park

Monday, August 11, 2014

Week 49: Email Home - It's the 1/2 Way Mark of The Mission! Only 1 Year Left! Trunky Time :)

Dear Mom and Dad,
Well it's that time..... I have 1 year left from today..... That picture I sent you of me eating taco pizza is because me and Elder Sneddon were celebrating. Elder Rowberry described what will happen now back when I was in Martinsville. He said that your first 6 months feels like a year, your second 6 months feels like 6 months, and your last year feels like 6 months. I've hit the back end... I can't believe it's come this fast! Anyway off of the Trunky talk. Transfers aren't for another 5 weeks and me and Elder Sneddon are gonna both get taken out at that point and they'll put sisters in Crawfordsville. But as for now we are here. This week was alright a bit of a mediocre week nothing super amazing happened but nothing bad happened either so we are just in a meh mode. We will kill it this week though. Kevin asked for a blessing this week to help him cope with his situation. It's been rough for him the adversary does not play nice. His wife has been.... Less than helpful as well. But the ward has been giving their full support to him so he is gonna be alright. But anyway... GARRET IS DRIVING?? Ugh you have no idea how OLD that makes me feel.... Geez I go on a mission and suddenly everyone thinks it's ok to just grow up on me! Oh well. Yes the thing on Elder Sneddon's neck is gone now so that's good. Yea it's probably best Steve isn't around any more he might wreck it before I'd get back ;) Just kidding haha. Anyway I hope you guys have a great week! 
Love, Elder Braken Park

Monday, August 4, 2014

Week 48: Email Home - Baptism Date Set!! Homecoming Date Set?!?! What??

Dear Mom and Dad,

So this week has been super sick. Kevin is thinking about getting DUNKED! He is considering the 30th of August (which will be about a week before me and Elder Sneddon leave). He is sooo solid he came to church for the 3rd time this week! He's gonna make it this transfer we know. So I'm SUPER trunky today. In one week I will have 1 year exactly until I get home. I come home on August 11th 2015. What the heck?? I have not been out this long.... Anyway I sent you my shoes this week hopefully they get there soon I just need you to warrantee them the insides of them are trashed. We have actually had a really nice summer (for Indiana). Only a few days above 90 with 100% humidity.... Ugh! Oh well it's almost fall again.

 It sounds like I'm missing some hilarious memories with the boys starting sports now.... Haha oh well when I get home we will write some new ones! I love you guys and hope you have a great week!

Love, Elder Braken Park

Monday, July 28, 2014

Week 47: Email Home - Transfer Time : Exciting News!

Dear Mom and Dad,
We just got tansfer calls and #geeksquad is getting a 3rd transfer! Me and Elder Sneddon are pretty pumped about this as we had a killer week! The only bad part was that Kevin was sick and so he didn't make it to church. The weather has been blech though. Walking around in the summer here is like walking around in a sauna with a white shirt and tie on. Not gonna lie these clothes are getting pretty nasty no matter how much stainwash I use. So... there probably won't be many white shirts coming home with me haha. Anyway, it is super weird to be hitting my year mark. It does not feel like it's been that long at all. The first part of my mission really dragged but once I left Martinsville it all just sped up from there. 
It's good that Garret has a career idea. It took me a lot longer than that to decide what I'm gonna do. I do know if I go to USU I have one roommate: Elder Sneddon is going there so it'll probably be what I'll do. Anyway I'm glad you guys are doing well I can't wait to hear back from you!
Love, Elder Braken Park
P.S. I haven't sent my shoes yet I'll get that done today

Monday, July 21, 2014

Week 46 Email Home: Great Progress!

Dear Mom and Dad,


So president spilled the beans to Elder Bullock our district leader during our interviews. He plans to keep me and Elder Sneddon in Crawfordsville 1 more transfer. Our transfer calls aren't for another week though so he could change his mind between now and then. But other than that we absolutely killed it this week. We had SO much progress with our investigator Kevin this week! He is able to recognise the spirit super well and is making steps toward baptism. Me and Elder Sneddon can see it happening next transfer if he works at it. The only problem is that his wife is Less active and is holding him back a lot. But he is getting so much ward support I'm seriously impressed with this ward. The other wards have been ok but this one is absolutely awesome. He is finding his own ride to church setting up meetings with us and wanting his wife to progress with him. No one I've ever taught has done this other than Aro and we know what happened to him! Anyway on to your week, it sounds like you had a great time! Dad I invite you to consider your ways and repent. Always something going wrong it seems hahaha. Something I need you to so though! I need you to take a pair of my shoes to CTR and get them warranteed. They should still have the 2 year warrantee. The backs and insides of them are trashed. A lot of walking has happened over the last year. I have another pair that I can just wear around until I get these back. If you could do that I would really appreciate it! Thanks so much for all you guys do! Love you have a great week!

Love, Elder Braken Park

Braken at his apartment
 I'm making homemade Ice cream at a members house when they had us over for dinner. It was super fun and it was absolutely delicious!
Home away from Home


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Pictures from Braken

Elder Sneddon in Braken's and his apartment in Crawfordsville

The apartment

Too Cool!

More Pictures

Missionary Selfie!
Braken's District

Week 45 Email Home

Dear Mom and Dad,


So first off it's not quite a year it's 11 months as of today but who's counting? ;) Yes I did get the garments and they work great thanks so much! This week has been pretty good. We saw some amazing strides in some of the people we have been working with. First off there's Chris and Amanda. Amanda is a less active member who is going to be married to Chris come fall, and we had a really great lesson with them where he said he needs to work on changing his life for the better. They both made it to church this Sunday so that was super great! The second one was our Investigator Kevin. We had a lesson set up where we were basically going to drop him. He told us he was not going to change how he believed but he wanted to learn for an Educational value. Well our last lesson he started talking how he had this "Euphoric Natural High", and asked what it meant. We explained it was the spirit and it was saying that what we said was true. He came to church and then after sacrament he pulled Elder Sneddon aside and he said "I'm getting that feeling again only this time it's stronger. Explain it." He told him that it was the spirit telling him the same thing that it told him back at his house. So that was super sick. I'm glad Dad has finally got his problem child worked out haha. It seems like every dunes trip you have to work on it :) I'm doing good though. My district leader is a total bro I love him. We are really similar in a lot of ways so I really like him. I have realised these last 2 transfers I am not as nerdy as I thought. I am pretty nerdy don't get me wrong, but I inherited a lot of Redneck so I'm more of a half-blood. Like when we are out talking to people, for the most part I do the talking partly because here everyone has super nice classic cars and I can talk cars with people, and Elder Sneddon kind of... Can't. Nothing against him he just hasn't had a whole lot of social interaction in his life. So the other part is that he's kind of awkward with people. So while he is the older Companion I am pretty much the lead guy. Not something that I really enjoy too much but you gotta do whatcha gotta do I guess. Well I love you guys I look forward to hearing from you again!

Love, Elder Braken Park
Braken and his companion, Elder Sneddon, in Crawfordsville

Monday, June 30, 2014

Week 44: Email Home

Dear Mom and Dad,

This week has been pretty good. Lots of setup for next week though. Not a whole lot of lessons taught but thats ok it was great for everything else. We have been going through what was in the area book and working through old investigators mostly. Also a lot of knocking doors. Oh well I guess there's no way around that huh? We are getting the apartment in order only need a few more things so that's exciting! The ward here has been absolutely fantastic though. They are the kind of ward that would give us the shirts off their backs if we needed it. It's something that the last ward was lacking in severely.... But anyway sounds like you guys had an interesting week to say the least! Dad sounds like you had fun on your bike ride! Just remember they call those things donor-cycles for a reason don't go too crazy... Haha but anyway the month of June flew by for us too! When you're with a good companion it makes time fly. I'm rolling up on m 11 month mark... It's crazy to think I've been out this long... Man before you know it I'll be at my year mark! Crazy that it's been that long! It definitely doesn't feel like that for me... It feels like just yesterday you were dropping me off at the MTC. Mission time is all wibbly and wobbly! (Doctor Who reference you probably don't get that one). I will be looking for your package! I hope Mason got all sown up alright! I'm a little sad to hear Garret didn't go to high adventure. Those are times I look back on with a lot of enjoyment. Tell him I say he aught to go on the next one whatever it is. He will not regret it. I'm glad to hear things are going well for Jake and that he's getting taken care of. Man I'm not gonna lie I miss going to the dunes. Oh well another year I guess. We need to plan a big dunes trip for when I get home. Oh well topics for another day! I love you guys and hope you have a great week!

Love, Elder Braken Park

Monday, June 23, 2014

Week 43 Email Home: Crawfordsville Transfer Area with Elder Sneddon! Yay!

Dear Mom and Dad,


So the transfer news! I am now in the Crawfordsville ward. Crawfordsville is a little town about 1 hour northeast of Indy. So far being here is givin me massive flashbacks of Martinsville. My companion is.... Elder Sneddon! So basically President Cleveland Picked us up out of Plainfield and dropped us here in Crawfordsville! So my new address is 128 1/2 West Main Street Crawfordsville IN 47933. So far the ward has been awesome. The elders before us had to move into a new apartment because the neighboring house was a meth house and started a fire and contaminated their house. So the ward has been supplying us with furniture to get the new place livable. It's been pretty great. It's huge too! We made a video walkthrough of it I'll get it from Elder Sneddon and put it up on drive. So as for the work We have one 9 year old girl in the ward who is just about ready to be baptised. Her dad is less active so we are trying to get him activated so he can baptise her! So far that's really all the people we've met, but I'll let you know as we meet more people. Sorry this one's a little short the computers here are timed so I only have an hour. (Which is super lame). I love you guys! Have an awesome week!

Love, Elder Braken Park

Elder Sneddon - "Live Long and Prosperous!"

Braken made Taco Pizza all by himself!  Good Job!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Week 42 Email To Family

Dear Family & Friends,

So the call came last night and Me and Elder Sneddon are both leaving Plainfield. This is known as a double transfer for those of you who don't know and it's super lame.... We will have to prepare a lot of area info to make sure the next two will have somewhere to start. Oh well what can you do? So I will have a new address next week! Thanks to all of you for your love and support!

Love, Elder Braken Park

Friday, June 13, 2014

Week 41 Email Home - Great Work Week!

Dear Mom and Dad,

So to start off this week has been pretty great. We were able to teach a lot more lessons this week mostly to less actives. Mike is moving along very well. His great nephew Shane is actually now wanting to meet with us so this week we are going to start teaching him. He is super sweet but he just got nailed for an OWI so we might be working around the fun of the law.... Oh well that's what we do I guess hahaha. That's awesome you get to go back to girl's camp! I hope you enjoy it! We are also working with a less active named John. He is the nicest guy you'd ever meet he just is really..... old. He doesn't come because he kind of lazy so we've been trying to supply him with some motivation to come. Hopefully we can get him around! Also this week was Stake Conference and President Cleveland spoke and he seriously threw down on members for not using us (Full Time Missionaries) enough. It was kind of intense but really needed. The ward here is good but the thing we are running into is that all the referrals go to the sisters in the ward. I've really developed a.... disdain for sister missionaries. Our mission really treats them like princesses and the wards aren't much different. I rant about it all the time to Elder Sneddon so I'm sure he is sick of it lol. But as far as me and him go it's a great companionship. We both put in a request for 2 transfers together to President Cleveland. Hopefully he will do it! Transfer calls are next Sunday too so we will see and I'll let you know what happens! I hope everything is going well at home! I put up a picture of our house on drive so you can see where we live :) also I put a picture of the complete mess your birthday package and those confetti poppers made of our house! Haha it was fun though. A sister in the ward asked for some home recipes and so I gave her taco pizza and she is gonna make it for us! I'm super excited for that! Well anyway I love you guys and hope you have a great week!

Love, Elder Braken Park

Monday, June 2, 2014

Week 40 Email Home: AWESOME WEEK!

Dear Mom and Dad,


This week has been really great! We were able to meet with Mike and he committed to us that he is going to quit smoking! This is a huge step for him and he is starting down the right path. We got hit with a pretty good heat wave this week. Lots of sun about 85 and HUMID! Me and Elder Sneddon are both pretty sunburned! The problem is he is a little.... Thinning.... so his head gets hit pretty hard hahaha. We have done a lot of walking around, talking to people, and knocking on doors this week. We don't have many investigators and so we are trying to find people. We did find someone new this week though! His name is Matt and he is struggling with his relationship with God he said. Well that's our specialty! So we taught him once and are going to meet with him again this week on Wednesday! Also we talked to a lady named Renee who is one of the honest seekers of truth. She doesn't really like the way most religions are so we are going to introduce her to the true one! She was really interested in learning more so we are going to stop back by this week! On a different note Thanks so much for all the birthday stuff! I realised I never really thanked you last week! That electric razor has ruined me for a standard razor! I really appreciated the brownies too! (Even though they are gonna give me the Beatus :) Sounds like things are going well at home I like the sound of blackmail hahaha :) We have frisbee golf now?? I have always wanted to play that never had the chance to though. I'll have to find an investigator who'll take us! either that or wait another year ;) I hope that you guys have a great week! I love you all!

Love, Elder Braken Park
P.S. thanks for all the music! :)
The Birthday Bash Party Mess!!
You can see we sent his packages in a MAC Tools Box!  The only ones we have lying around!

Happy Birthday to ME!!