Monday, August 17, 2015

Hastening the Work!!

Hello there family and friends!! 

Things are going great here in Buffalo Grove! The missionary life is finally starting to "set in" I can't believe I am almost done with my first transfer! Where has the time gone?? Well it's been a good week so I will just jump right in! We met with Maddy on Thursday...oh how I love her! It was such cool experience! Lately Maddy has been struggling with her parents lack of support in her decision to get baptized. Her parents think she is rushing things and want her to wait at least a year. She felt a lot of pressure and stress because of school and work and felt she needed to wait to be baptized. We addressed these concerns with her and taught a lesson about the importance of baptism, the spirit was so strong. Maddy is still going strong for the date of September 5!! She left for Utah Thursday afternoon!! Mom and dad I gave her our address! She is going to try stop by and say hello! (: crazy huh? Lara also is in Utah visiting her boyfriend down at BYU. Sooo the desire to be in Utah is REAL right now. We have been working with Lara and the importance of family history work. Speaking of family history work, I have learned so much! The members here are very involved. There is so many tools to help the work hasten! I encourage all of you to get involved in family history work! It is such an importance aspect in hastening the work! So many people are waiting on the other side to have their work done! It is our responsibility to help them receive the sacred ordinances! 

Jenkins!! Oh my goodness, can I just say that the Lord is preparing the hearts of many to receive the gospel? Jenkins is one of those people, and it is the most amazing experience teaching him about the gospel. It's like all the dots start to connect! We taught him about the restoration is like it all "clicked" for him. He has been hopping from church to church ever since he was young, he knew God was there but didn't know what church was right. He then found the church through family history work... And has been investigator ever since. He is a BRILLIANT man and has so many questions. At first they intimidated me... But now I just rely on the spirit and I know exactly what to say. Tonight We committed him to read the Book of Mormon and asked him to pray to know these things are true... He said yes. I then asked him, if you pray and KNOW these things are true... Will you be BAPTIZED? He said absolutely YES. (: he works every Sunday but said he is going to try and move around his schedule to come to church. What great faith he has. I am so excited for him and I am very happy to know the Lord has prepared him to receive this wonderful message and answers he has been searching for. 

After contacting or teaching people, I reflect on what I could have done better or improve upon. During this time of self evaluation it is common for me to feel as if I didn't do well enough and I get down on myself thinking, "if only I would have said this, or if I would have only taught about this principle.." My mind becomes consumed with my weaknesses and I tend to forget whose work this truly is. I found comfort in the scripture... 2 nephi 33:3-4  "3 But I, Nephi, have written what I have written, and I esteem it as of great worth, and especially unto my people. For I pray continually for them by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, because of them; and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry.
And I know that the Lord God will consecrate my prayers for the gain of my people. And the words which I have written in weakness will be made strong unto them; for it persuadeth them to do good; it maketh known unto them of their fathers; and it speaketh of Jesus, and persuadeth them to believe in him, and to endure to the end, which is life eternal."  
Just like nephi, I KNOW the things in the Book of Mormon are of GREAT WORTH especially to those I am contacting and teaching.. I PRAY for them in faith that God with soften their hearts. I am grateful for the Lord and his patience and mercy towards me. How frustrating it must be to work with imperfect people to help bring forth a perfect work. I know that despite my weakness he makes them strong. So long as I speak and teach with the spirit, the Holy Ghost will carry the message into the hearts of the people. 

I am an imperfect missionary, and despite all of my efforts and righteous desires I will always be an imperfect missionary. It is through the atonement of Jesus Christ that I am able to be perfected, and my works are able to be made whole. The Lord perfects his missionaries and qualifies them for the work.  My many weaknesses have been and continue to be clearly made known unto me as a missionary. Being molded into who the Lord needs me to be is definitely difficult. I like to think of it as a refiners fire... Each day I learn more about my relationship with the Savior. It truly is a blessing. I love the scripture Moroni 10:32-33 "32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
33 And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot."  Amazing things happen when we acknowledge our faults and our need for Christ in our lives. WE CANT DO THIS ALONE. Ask God for help and he will strengthen you... In ALL things....... 
Even eating chicken..... (; so funny story... 
Dinner with the Hammonds (family who moved from Ghana) was on Saturday night! I absolutely LOVE THEM! Sister Hammond is having a baby at the end of September! So exciting! They are so very humble and I am so grateful for the opportunity to get to know them and more about Ghana! Aside from the great conversation, Dinner was quite the experience.... Alright just a little insight to anyone reading this letter who does not know me very well.... I am a PICKY eater... And I do not like meat. But on the mission... You don't really have a choice. So Saturday night at dinner bro Hammond plopped the BIGGEST piece of chicken I have ever seen on my plate... Bones sticking out and all. I choked down the whole thing annnnd then he said "you're hungry and skinny! You must eat more!" So he plopped a whole other piece of chicken on my plate... With more mashed potatoes and gravy, my companion gave me the look of... "Youd better eat that.." Mom, don't worry I ate every last bite. These people are so humble and give everything they have to serve the Lord. Sister Hammonds brother died on a mission in Nigeria and so they feel a strong connection with the missionaries! I love them so much and I know the lord has put them in my path for a reason. I hope to travel to Africa with them one day and visit all their family! How cool would that be?

The people here are wonderful.... The better I get to know them... The more I love I feel for them! There isn't anything better than being a missionary, and there isn't anything harder than being a missionary. The most fulfilling work A person can ever do is to help others come unto Christ. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a laborer in the lords vineyard! There is a Savior who loves each and every one of his children. He has a plan... And it is our responsibility to share it! Remember missionary work is not only for the missionaries!! 

Thank you for the love and the support! Your prayers are definitely felt each and every day! I ask that you do not pray for me.... But you pray for the people of Chicago to open their hearts and minds to the gospel of Jesus Christ and that I will be able to find those who are seeking to know the truth. 

Have a wonderful week! I love each of you! 

Sister Parke 

P.s. I should be on Facebook within the next week... So watch for the posts! 

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