Monday, August 31, 2015

Change Brings forth Growth!

Dear Family and friends!! 

Hello!! Hope you all had a wonderful week! Getting back into school and into the swing of things! It's fall! I miss the beautiful mountains of Utah! Time is flying by! The end of my first transfer is drawing near! On Saturday night, we received transfer calls! My companion will be shipped down to Griffith Indiana.... And I will be TRAINING in Buffalo Grove! Sooo... I haven't even finished my training yet?! How does that work? I am feeling a little overwhelmed... Partly because I still feel pretty unfamiliar with the directions and my area.. Since its HUGE! I will be heading straight to Walmart and purchasing a GPS (; Needless to say, I will be relying ALOT on my Heavenly Father over the next transfer! Annnd my new companion and I will be learning together! I am truly humbled to know that the Lord has entrusted me with the responsibility of training a new missionary. I hope I will be able to help her and teach her what I have learned thus far! I pray for her, and I cannot wait to meet her tomorrow! Please keep the new missionaries in your prayers! The first few weeks are hard for every missionary! I am SO EXCITED to stay in Buffalo Grove wards 1&2! I have fallen in love with the ward and most definitely my investigators!! 

Quick update on my little part of the garden... 
It is very prevalent that satan is working extra hard on Maddy. This past week has been difficult because her parents and against her getting baptized, and she is struggling with the lack of support from her parents. Maddys mom and dad will not Let her be baptized until December. We fasted and prayed for her on Thursday for her parents hearts to be softened and that they would be accepting to Maddys decision to be baptized. Her testimony remains firm however it's hard when she feels her parents disagree with her decision.. And does not want to ruin her relationship with them. I had the opportunity to meet maddys parents on Wednesday and introduce myself to them.  In order to gain a greater understanding her parents have agreed to come to church and learning more about what Maddy is committing too. They seem to be facing some challenges... I am praying as they learn more about the church they will be open and receptive to the gospel.  Maddy is a wonderful an example to her family and because of her, her parents are willing to learn more about this gospel! ... Annnnnnd hopefully one day also be baptized. I am at peace with the situation and I know it is for a reason. God has a plan.. And also has a timetable for each of his children. I love Maddy with all of my heart... I know she is one of the people I was meant to find and teach on my mission. Helping Maddy grow closer to the Savior has brought so much joy and happiness! If you want to make someone happy, help them to grow closer to Jesus Christ. 

Last Monday we had the opportunity to contact a woman named Mary. We were at dinner at a country club with one of our members, and she was the woman who waited on us. It had been a long day and all of our appointments fell through and sitting there at dinner I really didn't want to talk to anyone else...  But the spirit kept telling me I needed to reach out and talk to this woman. After dinner was through and she came to get our dessert order... I started to ask her about her life, she opened right up to me and started telling me everything! I got her contact information and scheduled a follow up appointment for this Monday (23rd). We were so excited because we could see that the Lord had prepared her heart and she was willing to learn! We went over to her house and met her cute daughter Nicole and her mom. We got to know them and discussed a lot of their beliefs... They are inactive Catholics because they do not agree with everything that the Catholics believe or do. They strongly believe in Jesus and center their lives around him. As we were testifying to them about what we believe we read some scriptures from the Book of Mormon. She stopped me mid sentence and said pointing to the Book of Mormon, "can I have that book?"... Well yes! Of course! Mary has had such a hard life, but she relies on the Lord to help her through all things. She told us when she first met sister Meili and I that "I could just tell you were different... You Brought a feeling of peace, I knew you were good company." Little does she know... That was the Holy Ghost... (;  I left her house that night knowing without a doubt that the answers she had been searching for would all be answered. What a miraculous feeling that is when you open someone's eyes to the truth. There is one downside however... Mary is out of our area... Which means we can no longer teach her... :( when I first found out I was distraught.! But I know I met Mary for a reason.., and the missionaries that we turn her over to will do a wonderful job teaching her more about. The gospel. I am just grateful I had the opportunity to be an instrument in the lords hand in helping her become aware of the knowledge.  

There is so much more to share! But little time!! We are meeting with Jenkins this week! I am looking forward to seeing him again! We met with Victoria on Friday... We committed her to come to church, however she didn't come.... :( but we will keep working with her... She is really struggling with faith in God at this time in her life! The most frustrating thing about being a missionary is having people not keep commitments. On the bright side, Diane is becoming more involved and active in Church! She is now the one inviting us over to teach her and staying ALL three hours of church!! We are meeting with her tonight! Diane KNOWS this is the true gospel... she has a great faith in Christ, she always tells us she will be baptized... She is just figuring out when the time is right. Aside from working with investigators, The bishop has asked us to visit at least 3 active member families per day... (Which is really difficult because of work and school) however, I know this is very important because it helps us establish trust with the members and boost their confidence in their ability to participate in missionary work. It is difficult because It keeps us incredibly busy! Especially since I'm covering TWO wards. 

My favorite part about serving a full-time mission is waking up every morning with the knowledge that I am exactly where the Lord wants me to be and doing exactly the work He wants me to do.  This doesn't always mean that everyday is a magical experience and everyone is ready to hear about the gospel. I am constantly being rejected... And it is HARD. It is hard to remember why I am here... And what my purpose is. I ask my Heavenly Father... Why is missionary work so difficult? The answer is... Missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Just as Jesus asked Heavenly Father in the garden of Gethsemane, "isn't there some other way?".. The atonement carries me in times of struggle, frustration, and rejection. It is the knowledge that as a missionary I am Standing shoulder to shoulder with Christ, and with him I have Every reason to stand tall. He knows about the sorrows and hardships... And as I reflect back on the rejection and hard times I have faced on my mission It is that moment I Slightly catch a glimpse of what the Savior sacrificed for me, and my heart is full of sincere gratitude and humility to my Lord Jesus Christ.  As I embark on my new journey of training... I remind myself that.... The gospel is not something to feel overwhelmed about, it is about strengthening, encouraging, and lifting people up. I have a testimony that as we serve in anyway we can, our Heavenly Father is grateful and is proud of us. We may feel we are insignificant... But our Heavenly Father is grateful for our small simple acts and we have the opportunity to participate in the marvelous work of God. 

I pray for each one of you, I hope you have a wonderful week!! Please keep sending pictures and emails and letters! Missionaries love mail!! (: --especially me--- thank you for all of your support and love. I love you!! Talk to you next week!!!

Sister Parke 

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