Monday, November 2, 2015


Hello Everyone!
I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween!! This year I decided to
dress up... And be a missionary. (; it was quite fun! This past week
has been one of my favorites so far on the mission! We have been
working very hard and found three new investigators! We are very
excited to be finding some new people to teach! One of the many cool
experiences we had this week... Again... Happened in McDonalds. So on
Thursday right after companionship study, I had the sudden feeling
like we should go to McDonald's. So we do because, follow every
prompting, right? So we get there and we challenge each other to talk
to one person each. We get inside and I sit down next to a woman and
start talking with her. Sister Plomgren sat there for a moment, and
then got up and sat by this old man in the back corner. She asked to
sit down and we get to chatting. He looks at her name tag and says,
"Tell me something about Jesus Christ" so taking this amazing
opportunity... Sister Plomgren bears her testimony about Jesus Christ
and teaches him a short lesson about the Gospel of Jesus Christ..
Turns out....He is from Guatemala and he moved here a couple years
ago. He told her that he ran into some missionaries for our church
while he was down there. He said that one was from California...
Curious, sister Plomgren asked what their names were because She is
from California. He said, "Elder Gilliland". Coolest part.... THAT IS
mercies of the Lord. We have also been in contact Gary Brown... the
awesome contact we made last week in mcdonalds and we are meeting with
him this week! VERY EXCITED.

Katy's baptism is this Saturday at 9 am. Very early... But the poor
girl has waited long enough to be baptized! She waited over 2 years
for her parents permission! I am so happy for her and I know that
Heavenly Father is eager to bless her for her righteous desire to
follow him. Maddy will be attending Katy's baptism! Which is fantastic
because baptisms are such a special opportunity to feel of the strong
spirit Testifying of the truth.

Although This week was suuuper rainy, it was still full of many
wonderful experiences! Sister Plomgren and I are still working on our
finding techniques and trying to follow Christ's example in all
things. As we were considering where we needed to be, my mind
reflected back to my old job at legacy village and how much love and
comfort the elderly need. There just so happens to be a care facility
right behind the church in our area. We talked with the management
there and were able to get cleared to come volunteer there for a few
hours a week. Answer to prayers! This week we were able to spend some
time in the Memory care unit. As I sat there with some of the most
humble men and women I truly felt gods love for each and everyone of
them. It was powerful, although I had worked at a senior center before
my mission, I never fully comprehended gods love and awareness for all
of his children young and old.

We met with Jenkins on Saturday night and had a wonderful lesson. He
had so many questions regarding the Book of Mormon and how it
correlates with the bible. He knows SO much about history of the
bible... The world... Pretty much everything. So answering his complex
questions... It was most definitely the spirit filling my mouth in
knowing what to say! The whole lesson as we are answering his
questions about how the Book of Mormon came forth, He kept saying
"That makes sense!" It was as if all the pieces started to become
connected together. We asked him, "if you knew the Book of Mormon was
true for yourself... How would it change your life?". He said, "my
whole life I have been searching for the right path that God would
have me take. If I come to know the Book of Mormon is true, I will
follow that path and know it is Gods plan for me." We then read Moroni
chapter 10:3-5 with him and explained to him that God has promised
that if he pray with a sincere heart and Desire, HE CAN KNOW THESE
THINGS ARE TRUE. We committed him to read and to pray about the Book
of Mormon and continue to study the teachings. Jenkins is amazing and
has such a strong testimony of Jesus Christ and his faith is firm. The
Book of Mormon is simply adding to the truths that he already knows
and providing the knowledge of this restored gospel!! I know God has a
hand in Jenkins life, it is so apparent as he demonstrates faith to
know of these teachings for himself. Jenkins agreed to come to church
on Sunday... And he actually CAME!! Oh my goodness, sister Plomgren
and I were so excited. It was fast Sunday, (which can sometimes be
interesting with an investigator) however, the testimonies that were
given were EXACTLY what Jenkins needed to hear. The spirit was so
strong and I know it touched his heart. He leaned over to me and
whispered as the meeting was drawing to an end, "next time I am going
to get up, and bear my testimony that Christ lives and what a strong
influence he has in my life." I am pretty sure I had tears streaming
down my face at this point. Jenkins's heart has been prepared to learn
of this gospel. It is an indescribable experience sharing this simple
message with him and recognizing how much light and knowledge it

This week we received an unexpected text from Rose, which was an
answer to many prayers and fasting... It is so special I just have to
share word for word.
"Dear sisters, thank you for continuously praying for me and thinking
about me, I have been thinking how I could use your knowledge to help
me. My ultimate observation is how God is present in your lives. This
has never been a deep feeling in my life as a Catholic. Religion has
been a thing you did on weekends. So, I have not lived particularly
God inspired life and have made mistakes. Can I be redeemed and how
within the guidance of your church? Must I now suffer for the things
done without alignment to gods will? The will I didn't feel? I need
you to guide me through the scriptures and conference talks to
understand the possibility of redemption. I feel despair sometimes at
not being able to change the direction of my life, like it is too
late, so hope I can do the right things towards redemption. " She then
asked us to come over and to teach her next Tuesday!! Sister Plomgren
and I both just sat there thinking... Did this just happen??! PRAYERS
ARE ANSWERED. I am so grateful for heavenly fathers help in this work
in softening the hearts of his children!

I love the gospel of Jesus Christ, we as members do not have to be
perfect, nor does God expect us to be. Rather, he accepts us as we are
and then helps to become our full potential. I love the quote by
president uchtdorf, "the perfect place to begin is exactly where you
are right now." The same is true for a missionary. The mission is
different than I expected... Much different. Often times I feel very
inadequate, however, the Lord is blessing and strengthening me in
incredible ways that I never even imagined. What a greater love I have
grown for people and the desire to serve others. I have learned so
much about the savior and this gospel. The power of the atonement--Not
only utilizing the atonement for repentance... But also
acknowledging... it is SO much more than that. I know that since I
have began to fully grasp this power of the atonement... My desire to
share this gospel has grown exceedingly. I am so grateful that my
Heavenly Father provided me this opportunity to serve him and love his
children in Chicago. There are so many people who are seeking to know
the truth. God is preparing the hearts of many! Now is the time to
seek them out and bring them to the fold.

I have been reflecting a lot about families this week and the
importance of families. I am so grateful for my family and for my
wonderful mother and father who provided a home where the gospel of
Jesus Christ was taught and provided. I am grateful for their
diligence in helping me to learn to center my life on the Savior. I
look back now and am able to see the importance of family prayer,
scriptures study and family home evening. I often took these learning
experiences for granted. Too often I brushed off the importance.. I
begrudgingly sat there during family home evening or scripture
study... Just waiting until it was over...But, thankfully despite my
actions, my wonderful parents continued to encourage and bear their
testimony. Thank you mom and dad, for the fundamental principles you
established within our home to focus on the Savior, providing a place
of refuge from the world. It is not until I've been away from home
that I fully appreciate the blessing of a gospel centered home. One of
purposes we came to this earth is to be put in families, so that we
can help one another return to live with our Heavenly Father.  If
there is one thing I can emphasize or get across as a missionary it is
the importance of family... And remembering the things that matter
most. Looking back on things we did as a family that helped us most to
grow together was spending time with one another learning the
teachings of the gospel. Thank you mom and dad for teaching me and
preparing me to help and teach others. I will forever be grateful for
all the sacrifices you made... And continue to make for me.

This gospel is the key to happiness. It is as simple as that! I am
grateful to be a missionary for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter
Day Saints, and standing as a witness of Jesus Christ helping others
come to a knowledge of this happy message! I love you all and I am
grateful for all of your prayers, love, and support!!

Sister Parke

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