Monday, December 17, 2012

Last Email

Mama's Last Email

A two year mission, something I had prepared and dreamed about my entire life. It's now over and I often question if it was even real. It feels as if I awoke from a very vivid and detailed dream. Yet this dream changed my life. Four weeks later, I still remember clearly the morning I knew I would be flying home and seeing my family for the first time in 2 years! Let's just say I couldn't sit still and neither could the other 13 missionaries I was with. We had many delayed and cancelled flights due to winter weather that didn't help much.

Finally I arrived in the Dallas, Texas airport! I wanted to surprise my family by sneaking up on them but that plan immediately fell through the cracks when I walked out of the terminal and there they were, standing on the other side of the glass by the baggage claim. There went my plan :/ Haha I was so excited though and went through the revolving door, practically pushing it so it would go faster! I threw my bags down, did a cart wheel and gave my mama the biggest hug ever :) She was my rock as I was away and it was the greatest reunion! Tears continued to fill my eyes as I embraced the rest of my huge family and other friends who came. Talk about joy! :) I feel that is what it will be like when we meet our loved ones on the other side!

Driving home in the same vehicle with my family was hilarious! They thought I was so weird with how much I didn't know and how impressed I was with just about everything I saw being back in the "big city". I was quickly told what I needed to do right away! That I needed to listen to "RED", Taylor Swift's new album, get an iPhone, and this and that. haha We drove to the church before going home, where I was going to be officially released. With all the excitement, everything came into perspective really fast as the stake president had me take off my name tag that read, "Elder Parr". He informed me that I was not to put them back on and that I was released as a full-time missionary. Never thought that moment would be so tough. Tears filled my eyes as I realized that my mission was really all over. WOW!

Walking into my house was priceless. For the past two years, Montana had been my home and the people there were my family, but I was now HOME. With that, I will NEVER EVER forget those I met throughout my mission and they will always have a special place in my heart :)

So it's been four weeks now, what do I do now? I have decided what it is I must do. I must continue to serve God, His children and build up His kingdom here upon the earth. To apply the lessons I've learned on my mission into my everyday life and most importantly to thank God everyday for the many mercies that He bestows upon me in my life.

We are and forever will be, instruments in the Lord's hands to bless, lift, inspire, encourage and serve our fellow brothers and sisters. Whether a full-time missionary or not. I will strive to be one the Lord can count on when He needs something done and I pray you will too!

My mission has become the hinge to which the rest of my life will hang and swing on. Good thing it was in the "treasure state", cause It's mighty precious to me! ;)

Justin Parr

Monday, October 15, 2012

Seeeee you soon!

I'm pretty much speechless. I don't know what to say. Everything is beginning to become surreal and I'm not sure I like that too much. haha

Something that struck me from conference was Elder Uchtdorf's talk ( Something he said went along the lines of, "Do we say our prayers just for the 'amen' or end in mind?" he also talked about how we can be so focused on the finish line that we don't find joy in the journey. These thoughts have stayed with me this past week and will for the rest of my life. This week I thought about how I wanted to spend my last few days as a full-time missionary. Lots of thoughts and ideas filled my mind but one was only confirmed by the spirit. That was to lose myself in the work of the Father. To reach out to every person in need. To lift the burdens of others. To share the light and joy of the gospel. To express love and gratitude for others around me. I want to be one the Lord can count on until the very end and then maybe a little bit more ;) I believe the Lord needs disciples who will stay devoted regardless of time, circumstance or position. That is what I will be doing this week :)

I won't lie, this week has been a tender one :/ It's a special thing to serve and be amongst such a great group of people you never want to leave behind. I love the people here so much I can't even describe it. It's like I'm preparing to leave home again ;) I will NEVER forget the smiles and wonderful spirits that are here in the great state of Montana. They have changed my life forever :) I was asked to bear my testimony in one of the wards, unexpectedly, for the last time and boy was that tough! Words can't explain the lessons I've learned and the person I have come to become. I'm just so happy!! :)

Enough of a sob story though. This week has so much planned along with, literally my last week on the mission that I'm going to be living on top of the world! I'm so excited to finish strong and to DO WORK this week :) Sure love y'all!!!

-Elder Parr

Monday, October 8, 2012


I do have a few things I would like to share with y'all!

So I was on team-ups in Corvallis with Elder Smithson. He is the greatest and reminds me of Preston :) So you can only imagine how much fun I was having :) Met LOTS of people walking around the small town and had a decent day. So as the sun was setting and the town was getting quite we were walking down some street heading for the alley when all of a sudden we hear, "By the power of the holy ghost! whoooaaoeeo!" I notice that behind us, kiddy-cornered across the highway were a group of about 3 teenagers who were the ones shoutin' and thinkin' they were havin' some fun. So I just yelled back, "WOOOHOOO!" and we kept walkin' and didn't think much of it since it happens all the time. As we walked though, I had the impression to go back, so we did! By the time we could see where they were previously, they were all walkin' inside. Perfect I thought. Can't run away now ;) So we knocked on their door and we found out who had yelled and then invited the rest of the guys out but only one other person came out. Of course you're probably thinkin' right now that I lined 'em up and gave 'em a little lesson huh? Well sort of, but not a physical lesson. We shared what we were out doing and how we could help them. We talked for a good 15 minutes but they ultimately said they weren't really interested. So I asked, "Well, what buddies do you have that you could send us to to prank 'em by sending us over there?" Of course they thought of someone immediately and gave us directions and said, "He is atheist and be sure you tell him we sent you." Off we went and came to the house where their buddy lived. We began to walk the steps up to the second floor apartment and realized there were two boys at the top, just sittin' and talkin'. We introduced ourselves and got to know them a bit. The greatest thing was that their buddy really wasn't "atheist". He believed in God as well as his buddy. They both described their rough lives at home and how their families are split and just fallin' apart and somehow we talked about the role prayer has played in their lives. They both said it played a great deal when things were rough and not well. So I asked, "How about when things are well? How is it then?" They said they usually didn't pray when things were well. So I asked, "So say you have a friend, and this friend only comes around when he needs money, or a ride somewhere or what not. How do you respond to him?" It was fun listening to their responses. "I tell him to get lost," said one. "I just sit him down and tell him how it is and that I would love to help, but he needs to do something himself." I then responded and said, "How does that apply to us and our prayers to God?" They were silent and said, "I've never thought of it that way." Anyways, we went on to have a great discussion about our relationship with God and how it needs to be a daily process, not just when times are rough. Moral of the story, ALWAYS follow the promptings of the spirit, and NEVER be afraid to share what you know with others. I've found, it's usually EXACTLY what they need :)

So we had to walk about 2 miles to get to our car from there, since it was time to go in. Well we get to the car and I check my pockets and no car key. Of course I begin by sayin' my favorite line, "I'M AN IDIOT!" haha Searched the church and no signs of the key. (It was just a single key) I begin to think, "We've been walkin' around all day, I have no idea where that key would be, I'm going to have to buy a new key which will take weeks to get, the elders won't have a car (It was the other elders vehicle), and we're going to be so late back home! I'M AN IDIOT!" Then I thought about the lesson we just had with those two boys. Well I was in need and I needed His help more than ever now. So I got Elder Smithson and we said a prayer together. I don't remember what we said exactly, but I'm sure something along the lines of, "Let us find the key, God." Well it was pitch black outside by now and we had walked along a 2 lane highway all the way back. We managed to discover that our cellphone had a flashlight on it which for some reason was SUPER bright! We began to walk with faith we would find the key. Just 5 minutes later we both saw the key and Elder Smithson grabbed it and jumped for joy! Immediately we bowed our heads and gave thanks for the miracle that we both experienced, as cars were flyin' by on the highway. I know God is in the details of our lives and is willing to show His hand in our lives as we invite and look for it :)

Lastly, Conference was AMAZING! The words of the prophet and apostles filled my soul. I loved how so many were focused on becoming better disciples of Christ and becoming truly converted to Christ, as well :) I have made some resolutions to do a little bit more each day!

I love y'all so much and am so excited to hear that all is well and sure hope y'all enjoy your day of celebration today while y'all are off of school and other things! I got to celebrate Canada Thanksgiving last night after conference which was GREAT! I'll tell y'all more later :)

-Elder Parr

Monday, October 1, 2012


I can't believe how time is flyin' by sooo fast! I just try to work harder and harder every day and the time just continues to slip away faster and faster :/ This week has been filled with so many small miracles that have left no doubt in my mind that God is aware not of just my life, but of ALL of His children's lives :)

To start out, my birthday and mission tour were amazing! It was well worth the 7 hours spent in a truck that day and sitting in a 10 hour meeting pretty much! Road trips on the mission are just the best! I'll just say that and to be taught by a member of the quorum of the seventy is another amazing experience! I learned so much from Elder Robbins and Elder Echohawk! It was funny because I REALLY LOVED what Elder Robbins talked about and then the next day while I was on I realized that he was the one that gave the talk, "What manner of men and women ought ye to be" ( and I loved him that much more because that talk helped me out SOO much when it was given :) Had probably the biggest birthday lunch you could say, except I kept it a secret and just about no one knew it was my birthday ;) hahaha What topped the night off the best was when we arrived home, there were 2 packages in front of our door for my birthday! One from y'all (THANK Y'ALL SO MUCH!!!!) and the other was from Elder Thawley's family! Let's just say this week with all the cookies and cakes I got I gained 2 pounds :/ haha Don't think I'll be eating sugar for the rest of the time before I go home haha.

So now a brief moment on some of the miracles that occurred this week! One of the happiest was what my blog was directed towards about the smoke here in the valley that has been so bad :/ Well last Sunday, the entire stake here in the valley was encouraged and asked to include in our fast that the Lord might ease the smoke and clean out the valley pretty much. Fasts and prayers are answered because by Sunday morning the smoke began to disappear and is currently still gone! Just a witness as we gather together in a common cause and join in fasting and prayer with faith, miracles WILL happen :)

Another began earlier this week, but we didn't become a part of it 'til Friday. We were out tracting in an odd spot of town and had no idea why we were there. We knocked and knocked and many people weren't home and for those who were, said they loved what we were doing but that they just weren't interested or had time. So we didn't think much of it and had a few appointments we needed to get to afterwards. We saw one of the ladies as we left the apartment complex and simply said, "Bye Bonnie!" Well, fast forward to Sunday at church and here walks in miss Bonnie with a friend of hers it looks like. We were both shocked as she was one we remembered and didn't even invite her to church! She stayed all 3 hours and we talked to her after church but didn't seem like she was too interested in meeting with us so we just told her it was great to see her and said goodbye. Well, that evening we got a phone call from the friend that came with her who ended up being the stake presidents wife and this is briefly the story... The stake presidents wife used to get her nails done pretty frequently from Bonnie for years. She would take her kids with her and it would just be a great visit each time. She eventually gave Bonnie a Book of Mormon and didn't think much of it. At some point she quit getting her nails done, for no apparent reason, just had. It had been years since she had them done and just this past week thought, "I'm going to go have Bonnie do my nails." That happened earlier this week. Well, then we knocked on Miss Bonnie's door Friday and she told her that 2 sweet young men knocked on her door earlier that day and she didn't let us in because she had laundry everywhere but when she went to take out her trash we had remembered her name and said goodbye and she thought to herself, "Those boys have met so many people today and they remembered my name!" Well, then she called the stake presidents wife and told her about the experience and asked if she needed a sponsor to attend the LDS church. She said no but that she would need a friend so she got a sub for her class and came along. When she called us last night she said Bonnie had left church and had been reading the Gospel Principles manual our teacher gave her all day and that she wanted to meet with us! HOW CRAZY IS THAT! I don't know if there could be a greater witness that God is in the details of our lives than that! A miracle indeed :)

Lastly, I would have to say Gary Creswell's baptism was a miracle in itself! We were busy helping somebody move early that morning and were just all over the place trying to get everything in order and ready to go. Many people attended the baptismal service and the spirit was just super strong :)

Have to say, one of the families here is from Mexico and we had dinner with them this week and she made the BEST green chili enchiladas I've EVER had! Yours are still the best though, mama :)

I just love EVERY second I've been blessed with and the time I still have left to be a missionary and be an instrument in God's hands! I tell you there is no greater feeling than knowing you were where you were supposed to be, at the time you were supposed to be there, and doing the right thing :) It's just great!

I love y'all so much!

-Elder Parr

Monday, September 24, 2012

Flu shot lost ;)

A fun email exchange I had with Elder Parr this afternoon. It's a rare occurrence to catch him online when he's writing his email but I responded and he was still there. It's "almost" a conversation. :)

We received their missionary newsletter from the mission home and in it it said that they were encouraging all missionaries to stay healthy and prepare for the winter weather by getting their flu shots!

One more thing.......Go get your flu shot! I will send you money if you need it. Do you have a pharmacy or some place offering them?

Yeah, I know you missionaries have been encouraged to get one so I'm just checking up on you ;)

Love you!!

Mama, I don't need a flu shot! ha ha (I'm just picturing this in my head as if I were home right now). I'm deciding to NEVER get a shot again. Just so you know ;)

I love you MAMA!

JustiN, if you bring the Montana flu home with'll be sorry!!

Just go get it done so I don't have to take you. ;)

~mom make me smile :)

I really don't want to mom. Got to build up my immunity! Plus breathin' in all this smoke, I got lungs of steel now!! ;) haha

I can't fathom how fast time is going by...

This week has been FANTASTIC! I can't fathom how fast time is going by, and people keep askin' me this ridiculous question. You ready for this?! ....

"Elder Parr, are you excited to go home?"

How in the world do they expect me to respond to that kind of question?! No, I'm pretty ticked I have to go back to Texas. I'm so mad I have to go home. I'd rather jump off a bridge. You know what, I'm so devastated I'm going home I think I'm just going to stop working. DUH! Of course I'm excited I'm going home! I get to be with my family again! BUT that doesn't mean there isn't work to be done right now! I just think it's a funny question people ask. haha :) Just think. What if I did say I was ticked I was going home. What would they say next? I think I might try it ;)

There are so many stories to tell y'all I don't know how I'm going to tell y'all all of them. I'm sure I will be able to; some way or another. This week was wonderful! We're preparing for a baptism this weekend which is going to be just fantastic! The man is AMAZING and blows my mind every time we teach him! He is so excited to get baptized and has a remarkable story!

So Elder Thawley and I were asked to speak in sacrament meeting this past week which was a BLAST! Probably one of the best sacrament meetings EVER! 2 of the gals that were twins who got baptized about 3 weeks ago spoke first and then their grandfather and then Elder Thawley and I was the last speaker. Kind of a weird experience being the concluding speaker but was a wonderful privilege. It was a special subject for me, "Showing Love Through Service", because that has been the exact thing I've tried to do my whole mission and to be speaking in one of my last Sundays amongst a group of people I've come to love and care so much about was a VERY special thing. It was interesting as I sat on the stand and reflected back on the first day I walked in that chapel and thought, "What am I doing here? I don't know any of these people and especially their names! I'm a missionary and have no idea what I'm doing!" Up 'til now when I looked out and knew just about every person and what made them who they are. I just love Montana and ALL the people here :) Just a great Sunday! What a blessing it is for me to be able to finish my mission in my first area. It's pretty special!

You ask what will I be doing for my 21st birthday?! Funny you ask because Elder Thawley and I were talking about it last night as we prepared for bed. "Elder Thawley, you know most kids on their 21st birthday talk about how they went to Las Vegas or went to the bar or did this or that. Well, when someone asks me what I did for my 21st birthday I will be able to say, "I took a road trip for 7 hours and in between I was with 80 missionaries along with a few of the General Authorities of our church"! No one will expect that will they? haha I'm pretty stoked! So, more than likely I'll be up at 5am getting ready to drive to Helena and won't get back 'til 9 or later that night. Hopefully I can find some birthday cake somewhere in that time ;)  So there you go!

Hope all is well and y'all are havin' lots of fun and doing well! LOVE Y'ALL!
-Elder Parr

Monday, September 17, 2012

Everyone needs someone...

What a week it has been. Happy to say I've completely recovered from
my sickness, but Elder Thawley got the tail end of it so that was kind
of a bummer this past week, but other than that, our week has been

Last P-day we found out that it was one of the young mans birthday who
we played golf with the week previously and have been able to get to
know pretty well. He plays for the Hamilton High School golf team so
we thought the last thing he would expect from us was golf balls
right?! Well, we got him 12 bright pink, lady precept balls and when he
opened them (which we wrapped in a New Era Magazine cover) he was
laughin' so hard and he has actually used them and done quite well
with them ;) The members are great here!

We've been able to meet lots of new people this week, one of
which was referred to us, by one of the members here. The lesson we had
with her REALLY opened my eyes to the importance of the gospel of
Jesus Christ and the perspective it allows us to have while we live
here on earth. This woman has a 10 year old son and has been going
through some SUPER rough times. Thank goodness that she hasn't hurt herself! 
As we taught her, you could see the hope that began to come into her eyes. The
message about Jesus Christ is not just some clever thing we talk about
or a way to trick our minds into thinking everything will be okay. The
message about Jesus Christ is as real as anything else in this world.
It's really the only thing that will save the world from calamity and
bring hope to those who are lost or have no future! We've got to
share what we have with others! If we don't, no one else will, and
there is no time to waste!

This brings me to another woman that we've been teaching. She has been
so confused with everything she has learned growing up and is just
trying to figure out just what is true and what is right. Well, she was
able to make it to church this Sunday and it was an amazing experience :) 
I don't think she stopped smilin' the entire time she was there and
everyone just enveloped her and wanted to get to know her. Fellowship
is huge in the work we do. Everyone needs someone they can rely and
lean on, especially when they are pursuing something that is entirely
new and different! So don't be offended when I come home and find
someone new to sit by at church ;) JK I will just have them sit WITH
us! So I hope y'all begin to take a look around on Sundays and find
someone who may need someone to sit with and invite them to sit with

I don't think I mentioned last week, but President Mecham challenged
us as an entire mission to do a facebook fast! So from September
10-20, we're not using facebook AT ALL, and in those 10 days we're
reading the entire Book of Mormon! What a challenge! I think my heart
has changed because before my mission I would have said, "No way!"
but President asked me what I thought about it and I thought for like
5 seconds and said, "Shoot! Let's do it!" So I'm committed and will be
through Helaman by tonight! I tell you there is real power in reading
the Book of Mormon straight through! My testimony of the Book of
Mormon is TOTALLY different than it was just 6 days ago. I LOVE
reading it and searching for the principles that I can apply in my
life everyday! I can't wait to finish it and read it again now. I
sound insane huh?! I actually enjoy reading the scriptures now! haha

So some exciting news! I just received word the other day that Brother
Shepherd will be able to drive me down to Billings and we can go
through the temple before I go home! It's actually pretty remarkable.
I'll tell you a little about the story. So after they were baptized
and we helped them set a goal to go to the temple the following year
(this was when I first started my mission here in Hamilton) I made
them a promise that I said I wouldn't break. That promise was that I
would go through the temple with them before I went home! haha I had
no idea what I was promising! I was just brand new and just SUPER
excited. This is just a testimony that God really does answer the
desires of our hearts when we're sincere though! A year came around
and things came up in their schedule where they weren't able to make
it to the temple as a family. Well a few months later I got a message
from Brother Shepherd saying that they were going to the temple as a
family but they were going Rexburg. I begged them to come to Billings
(I was serving there at the time). But it just didn't work out for
them. So now I'm coming to a close of my mission and remembered the
promise I gave them. I asked if they could give me a ride to Billings
before I went home and we could go through then. Well they were
doubtful because Brother Shepherd's boss was taking a vacation the
same days he needed off. 
Well, to say the least, prayers are answered and we're going!!!!!!

Last thing, I had a brilliant idea that I wanted to run by y'all ;) So
the other night, Elder Thawley said, "So Elder Parr, you only have 5
more weeks of free dinners. What are you going to do when you get
home?" Good question I thought. Well I'll have moms home cooked meals
but then I thought, "Well I'll just send around a dinner calendar in
my own ward at home Elder! It will say, 'Invite Justin Parr over to
hear of all his wild adventures in Montana.'" 
He just laughed but what do you think?! Hahaha!!

I love y'all so much and I'm just so excited to be with y'all again :)

-elder parr

I attached a few pictures for y'all too!

 The fire here in Hamilton. As you can see it's SUPER
close! Now the entire town is just in a huge cloud of smoke. Just like a super thick fog, but it's smoke ;)

The famous monkey face of course with the cutest little girl ever!

Got mauled by a cat at one of lessons the other day as I reached in my
backpack to grab my scriptures. Cat was lucky I didn't kick it after!

A little glimpse of sunshine yesterday!