Dad is just in the other room.

NOTE: My father-in-law, Paul J. Puffer passed away on November 5th. He was a great man with a very strong testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I had the incredible honor of speaking at his funeral. With the permission of my mother-in-law, I have posted the text of this talk here.

As a brief intro, my name is Troy Parker.  Paul Puffer is my father-in-law. As Dad would tell the story (and I’ll call him Dad from here on out) he paid me to marry his third daughter, Jill. Of course, he only said that to make me feel like I measured up. Read more of this post

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No really. Change IS good.

One of the buildings where I teach seminary.

Ok, I’m back. I know, I know. “Where the heck have you been?”

It has been an eventful several months and the common theme has been “change.” The Parkers have truly entered into a new chapter of life. As I have mentioned before, change is  part of life. And frankly, it aint for sissies!

Christian, our oldest is off to BYU-I. Josh, our youngest is loving his freshman year of high school. I have started teaching, full-time, for Seminaries & Institutes and am still adjusting to my new calling. Jill’s father (and boss) has retired and Jill has started working for her brother Steve. Jill’s father has just finished his second round of chemo therapy and Bronco Mendenhall crushed my over-the-top confidence in the BYU coaching staff with his ludicrous play call at Boise State. Indeed, life is changing.

But with new experiences comes new fodder for blog posts. I have struggled with my new schedule. Finding time to do everything I need to do, let alone things I want to do, is very difficult. You all know the feeling.

But, I’m going to give it a try. So bookmark the page, stay tuned and forgive for brief spurts of silence. Know that I’m probably trying to deal with the newest life change or that Bronco just decided to go for two.

Beginnings, endings and everything in-between

Oregon City Stake Presidency 2006-2012

It’s not that I wasn’t excited to come home. The idea of real pizza, cold milk and long naps made me grin from ear-to-ear. But the idea of leaving was almost too much to bear. I had been on the island for two years, managed to extend my mission from the usual 24 months to twenty-six and had grown to love the Dominican people beyond any love I had ever felt before. And the work, oh I loved the work. It was intense, exhausting, heart-breaking, stretching and beyond stressful.  But as hard as it was at times, my mission was also fulfilling, satisfying, surprising, exciting, exhilarating and filled with spiritual experience after spiritual experience.  Though Alma was speaking of a different kind of experience, his description also fits here: Read more of this post

Would it kill You to bless me a little bit!?!

Life is hard. It is an eternal truth and we ALL can relate, can empathize.  We should never, ever think that someone has it easy, without problems, because no one really does. Everyone is here to gain experience and learn.  That means we will all face adversity, struggles, heart-aches etc.  We know that, we intellectually get it. But don’t you have those days when you look up to heaven, with fists clinched and yell something to the effect of, “WHAT THE HECK!” We have those Teyve-like conversations with God and wonder, like Joseph, “O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?” (D&C 121:1) Read more of this post

There Is No Convenient Sacrifice

I’m sure it has to do a little with my age, but with every talk I hear from the Brethren there seems to be an increased sense of urgency. Whether it be in General Conference or other forums, Church leaders seem to be asking us to do a little bit more, to become more engaged in the work.

The message is simple; this is not the time to be sitting around, doing nothing.  Nor is it a time to be just a “Sunday” member, coming to church, but not allowing the gospel to effect our everyday life.  As Elder Maxwell put it, the time to come off the “porch of the church”[1] is now.  There is more to do and less time to do it.  And the Prophet has asked us all to do more.  Not only is he asking, but he is showing.  We must ask ourselves, as did Elder Ballard, “Are we keeping pace?”[2]   We must realize that we, the members of the church, will be required to do more and more, in other words, to SACRIFICE. Read more of this post

Capernaum Experiences

Jill & I at the synagogue in Capernaum

One of the most important towns in the ministry of Jesus Christ was the town of Capernaum. Jesus begins to talk in parables at Capernaum. The Centurion’s servant[1], the man with palsy who was lowered through the roof[2], the woman with the “issue of blood”[3], and the man with a withered hand[4] were all healed in this small fishing village.  Jairus’ daughter was raised from the dead[5] and Jesus invites Peter, Andrew, James and John to be “fishers of men”[6] in what becomes “Church Headquarters.”

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Not Part of the Deal

I was recently taught a scriptural insight that I really enjoyed. In 1 Nephi 17, Lehi and his family finally reach the seashore and the journey stops. I’m sure most (if not all) of the party was hoping they had reached their final destination. However, Nephi is told to go to a nearby mountain for an “interview” with the Lord. Nephi is told that the travelers would have to cross the “many waters”.  Then he was told what to do next:

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