Monday, September 21, 2015

The Pathway is Bright!

Hello Everyone!! 

This week was full of hard work and many miracles! Sister Plomgren and I have been extra busy with setting and reaching new goals each and every day! Since we both are incredibly new missionaries there is so much to learn... And so many ways to grow and improve! It is very exciting and stressful... But it's a good stress! Wow.. There is so much to catch up on... So I will just dive right in!! 

Genevieves baptism was beautiful.... The spirit was very strong and seeing Josh (brother Crenshaw) being worthy to baptize his little girl was the best part. They were all so happy. It was a very neat experience because many of their relatives are not members of the church and it was a great missionary opportunity to identify the spirit that was felt. We are hoping to start teaching lessons to the Crenshaw family to ensure that their testimony is firm in the faith! We have dinner with them tomorrow night. I am looking forward in helping them strengthen their testimony in Christ as a family! The gospel is centered around families and nothing can bring a family closer to happiness than the gospel of Jesus Christ!!  Speaking of families...

We had a really good lesson with Maddy this week! We discussed the importance of building our foundation on Jesus Christ and remaining firm in the faith! After a lot of studying, it came to my understanding that... The church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is really a form of to scaffolding to help members gain and maintain a strong testimony of Christ. If you think of our testimonies as a building... We base our foundation on Jesus Christ and then build it up. The church is the scaffolding that helps to build and support the building. The whole purpose of having the gospel here on the Earth today is to help each of us to know our Savior and come unto him to gain eternal life. The time is now to prepare. We are blessed to have the scaffolding and support of the church, but after this life... The temporary structuring of the church will be taken away and we will be left with our building constructed of a personal testimony! When I realized this, I truly came to understand how important it is to have a strong personal testimony of Jesus Christ. I felt as if I were not the one teaching Maddy, but the one learning right beside her! One of life's greatest experiences is helping someone to strengthen their testimony, while also strengthening your own. Maddy is really diligent in her desire to learn and know more through scripture study and prayer. We have set the date for her to be baptized the last week of December. Sometimes is so frustrating because she wants to be baptized so badly right now... But I honor her for showing love and respect towards her parents by acknowledging them in her decision. However... Little baby miracle. Maddys mom invited us over for lunch on Saturday because we offered to help in her garden. MADDY was out of town for the weekend visiting friends off at school and so this was a wonderful opportunity to get to know her parents one on one! I brought over the hand blender that mom sent me and we made some delicious squash soup. (: We had nice lunch and beautiful day working in the yard with Maddys parents and got to know them MUCH better. Sally and Tony (Maddys parents) are definitely feeling much more comfortable with the missionaries and started to ask a few questions about missionary work and the church. Sally invited us back ANYTIME and we are working on getting them to church... The wonderful miracle about it all is that they are WILLING to have the missionaries over and are curious about the gospel. I know the lord is softening their hearts and putting off Maddys baptism really may be a blessing in helping them learn about the gospel! 

So since Buffalo Grove is STRONGLY Affluential, the people hear are very hard hearted and unwilling to learn about the gospel. It can be quite discouraging at times. However, I find joy in HOPE... And HARD WORK. In president Uchtdorfs conference talk... "The infinite power of hope" he says that, "Hope is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance." So I WILL not give up nor become discouraged... Discouragement always results in a lack of faith! 1 nephi 7:12 Yea, and how is it that ye have forgotten that the Lord is able to do all things according to his will, for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith in him? Wherefore, let us be faithful to him. Through God all things are possible. He is softening the hearts of the people here in Buffalo Grove and I bear witness that he is preparing his children to receive this message of the restored Gospel. The time is now to hasten the work and prepare for the second coming of the Savior. Although the work is difficult, I find joy in knowing that the Lord is aware of me and he will not let me fail. Even if people are not accepting the gospel, he is proud of me. I am learning and growing in ways that I never imagined. I am grateful to God for his loving patience and all that he is teaching me through this experience as a missionary. Although I may not always acknowledge the change in the moment or going when going through a difficult time.. I have come to  recognize that amazing things Happen when we hand our lives over to the Lord. 

This week I focused a lot on the importance of faith. Faith is the reason I am here serving a mission. Many times people cannot understand the reasoning of why a young man/woman would leave everything behind for 18-24 months at such a critical time in life to go to wherever they are sent to teach the gospel. The answer is simple. FAITH. Faith in Jesus Christ. Faith in his infinite atonement. Faith that Joseph Smith is a true prophet of The Lord and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. And no matter what the circumstance, faith always requires sacrifice. It is the POWER of faith that helps me to get through each day. Faith that the Lord will provide a way and prepare the hearts of the people. Faith that the work in which I am engaged is true. And it is through that faith that I have come to KNOW that these things are true. It is so incredibly importance to build a foundation of FAITH in Christ! I know that as we never let our faith falter, our testimony will always stand firm! I have a testimony of this gospel. I love my Savior Jesus Christ. I am grateful for the Book of Mormon. And the guidance and revelation I am able to receive each and everyday! 

On Friday sister Plomgren and I had a wonderful morning and afternoon.. All of our appointments followed through and the sun was shining! Later that evening the storm rolled in... Literally, raining buckets!! Our appointment for the evening unexpectedly fell through. Here we are... Sitting in the pouring rain wondering where on earth the Lord would have us be. I was so tempted to just head home for the had been a loooong day and I was tired and hungry. BUT it's those moments that you truly push yourself that the Lord provides miracles. And that we did see! We decided that despite the rain we were going to do some contacting in Walmart... Of all places! Keep in mind that sister Plomgren is scared to death to talk to strangers... So it's usually me doing the talking/contacting... But tonight I had the strong impression to take a step back and let her guide. At first it was extremely hard for her.... But SHE DID IT. And guess what? We made a contact!!! We got his information and we are scheduling to meet with him next week! However, it wasn't the contact I was excited about.... It was the fact that sister Plomgren faced her fear and had courage!! What seemed to be a horrible night turned into a wonderful learning experience. I am so proud of my companion!! I love her!! 

Last Monday we were over at a members home doing laundry, one of her friends came to the house and Sister Brady introduced us. She started asking about missionary work and what exactly we do. She didn't seem too interested so we just kind of brushed it off and didn't think too much of it. Well...this morning we woke up to a text from sister Brady that was a forwarded message from her friend (Rose) saying that she is going through a hard time and felt prompted to go to the website and that she found a lot on there that was interesting and very comforting. She wants to know more about the Mormon church and she ordered a Book of Mormon online!!  Today we are taking over a Book of Mormon to her with sister Brady's testimony! Hopefully we will be able to get a return appointment and teach her more about the gospel!! It is moments like these when I know for a surety that the lords hand is in this work and is preparing the hearts of the people. 

That about sums up my week!!  Hope you are all doing well!! Thank you for all of your love and support. Your prayers are definitely felt!! Have a wonderful week!! 

Sister Parke 

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