Monday, November 30, 2015

Unwearied Diligence

Hello family and friends!
Hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving!! This week was full of fun
memories and many miracle moments! What a great time of year to be a
missionary. We had our lesson with Luis on Wednesday! Well, first of
all, we actually bumped into him on Monday! We were walking through
the mall because I needed some winter boots so we went shopping and lo
and behold, there was Luis, just sitting there in the mall! We chat
for a few minutes and get on our merry way. Anyways, on Wednesday we
meet him at McDonald's (it's the place to be!) and we have an hour and
a half lesson on just random things from the Book of Mormon to tithing
to the pride cycle to chapels and the list goes on and on. We taught
him the restoration again and gave him a Spanish Book of Mormon so
that he could read it easier. At the end, we read Moroni's promise
(Moroni 10: 3-5) and asked him that if he read the Book of Mormon,
prayed about it, and found that it was true, would he get baptized?
And he was like, "YES!" How cool was that? We are meeting with him on
the 1st and it's going to be awesome!
So Thanksgiving morning I woke up with a huge bump on my forehead....
Literally it looked like a goose egg.. and I thought oh my lanta today
is just NOT my day. It's large and swollen and very red and very
noticeable. Wouldn't be that big of a problem because most of the
people that we talk to we will never see again so no biggie (also it's
a conversation starter, as you will read in the next paragraph),
except we were going to a Thanksgiving party where at least half the
ward will be. S.O.S. So I ice it and cover it up with a lot of makeup.
We get to the party early to help clean and set up and help cook.
Sister Plomgren was laughing at me... I tried just kind of shook it
off... Except for it hurt sooo bad. That night i tried EVERYTHING.
Heat/cold, aspirin, zit cream... Nothing was helping and it seemed to
be getting WORSE. It was awful. So we had a family doctor look at it
and he says it was some type of boil? Or infection? Cellulitis of the
skin?! Whhhhaaaaatt? So sister Kappelman gave me some melelukia?
However ya spell it... And now I am just walking around with a huge
tomato on my forehead. The doctor said to give it a couple of days and
if it doesn't get better to go see a dermatologist for some medicine.
Ahhh. Talk about face problems. So that's been the adventure of my
week.  I've been putting hot packs on it and the swelling has gone
down quite a bit, but there is a little patch on it that is the shape
of Australia. My companion thinks that there is a unicorn horn that is
going to sprout, but I'm not convinced.
Thanksgiving was awesome aside from me turning into a unicorn. Sister
Kappelman made yummy sweet potato rolls... And a WHOLE bowl of
butternut squash just for me!! YUM. I ate butternut squash for 5 meals
in a row. I'm not even joking. It was the best... Pretty much I was in
heaven. It was so fun to spend the evening with the families in the
ward! There were over 80 people there and it was crazy! But so fun. It
reminded me of our brimley family parties.., so I felt right at home.
It's been a busy week!
On Saturday, we were out tracting and no one wanted to hear the
message that we were sharing about the good news of Jesus Christ. We
knock on this one door, and a man comes to the door. We ask him if he
wants to hear our message, and he says, "Sure, how long is it?" We
assure him that it's not long and start with a short summary of the
restoration. In the middle of us talking, he says, "What's that on
your head? Is it some sort of ritual for your church?" We were like,
"Ummmm, no?" He then asks, "So, are you nuns? Or nuns in training?" We
tell him that we were only out for 18 months and that our message was
really important. We ask again if he has any interest in it and he
says, "No, we're Lutheran, if you know what I mean". So we have no
idea what he means but if we find out I'll let you know!
So we had been tracting all day and we were freezing and tired..We
left the neighborhood and go to a nearby McDonald's to email an
investigator. We were in there and we were drawing a spiritual blank.
I gets up and orders a parfait (and I knew that something awesome was
going to happen soon because first, we were in the spiritual valley
approaching the spiritual mountain, and second, miracles always happen
when I eat sugar) and we both say a prayer. We had an hour until we
had to be at our next appointment and we were like, "Well, we have to
use this time somehow" so we decide to go tracting in this one
neighborhood that we had seen a couple weeks ago. We go to this
neighborhood and pull in to park. We both looked at each other and
said, "This is not the place". Sister Plomgren looked at the GPS and
decide on the next street over. We get out of the car and start
knocking out the doors (haha). We were reaching the end of the street
and the end of our hope when we see a woman raking some stuff in her
front yard. Sister Plomgren strikes up a conversation and she said
that she had quite a bit of raking to do. We offer to help and she
accepts! When does that ever happen? So We raked apples in a skirt.
Not Apple leaves, but apples. She had three apple trees and she said
that she had a harvest of about 1,000 apples and a lot of them had
fallen off the trees and gone rotten. We talked to her while doing it
and she is part of a church in South Barrington, but she believes in
modern-day prophets (just like us!) and would love us to serve her
some other time! She called us "her Angels"! And offered to take us to
dinner! Sadly we had another appointment and couldn't go... But we are
going to meet up with her sometime soon! Tracting in low thirty degree
weather brings miracles!

This week I've been studying a lot about being fully converted to the
lord and what it means to be "converted to the Lord." Reflecting back
to my personal conversion and why I decided to serve a mission. I want
to be a fully converted missionary to the Lord. Not only as
missionaries... But also as members.. Conversion requires all of our
heart, all of our might, and all of our mind and strength. This week I
pondered and studied the Parable of the Ten Virgins. As members of the
church we can be compared to the women whom were waiting for the
bridegroom. The lamps with oil are compared to our personal testimony
or personal conversion to the Lord. How important it is that we keep
our oil lamps filled to make sure we are prepared for the Savior, but
also that we help those around us fill their lamps so that they too
may be prepared. This has been a very helpful parable since We have
been working a lot with members in helping them strengthen their own
testimonies so that they will feel confident in sharing the gospel
with those they love because of the happiness and joy it brings, and
also to reach out and rescue those who may be struggling.
More than ever before.... There is such an importance of a personal
testimony. On Sunday sister Plomgren and I were asked an hour before
church to teach Sunday school because the teacher was sick. However it
was a blessing because the lesson was on spiritual self reliance...
And guess what we had been studying together all week? The importance
of a PERSONAL testimony. I know that we go through trials in this life
to test our "testimony" and conversion to the Lord. A mission is
definitely a "test" of faith and is strengthening my conversion to the
Lord, but doesn't come without sacrifice. It requires unwearied
diligence... Just as in the scripture "And they are striving with
unwearied diligence that they may bring the remainder of their
brethren to the knowledge of the truth” (Helaman 15:5–6). For me,
being diligent in my faith is not always easy especially as I face
hardship and trial. But, if there is one thing I have learned on my
mission is to turn it over to the Lord and ask for his help. I testify
that the Lord strengthens us and gives us comfort amidst our personal
challenges and trials. The Lord is requiring everything of me.. And
sometimes is hurts and I just want to quit... But I know that as I
give my will to the Lord, he will take all of my efforts and mold me
into the missionary he needs me to become.
This past week I have struggled a little bit with my area, I have a
desire to find people to teach... And try to discern follow the
promptings of the spirit to find them... However sometimes I feel as
if my prayers go unanswered. I know this is foolish because God
answers every prayer, but sometimes it is difficult for me to always
remember that. I know the lord is teaching me patience right now! I
was studying in D&C 34 about preaching the gospel and prophesying and
received personal revelation. I sometimes feel discouraged and because
of my own inadequacies as a missionary. I have such a strong desire to
teach people about the gospel... Yet I become frustrated with my own
weaknesses. However, the longer I am a missionary, the more I realize
the need for these weaknesses... Because through my weaknesses I
become closer to the savior Jesus Christ as I draw nearer to him and
rely on him in all things. (Ether 12:27) this work is so much greater
than I can comprehend and sometimes I feel as if it all depends on
me... And if I am not bringing someone to the waters of baptism every
day I am failing as a missionary. I really tend to become discouraged
by the numbers at the end of the day... Knowing that I have given my
best and yet it still seems as if I have done nothing. However, I know
this is a terrible mindset and these feelings are coming from Satan to
try and discourage me and prevent me from continuing. The lord expects
me to work hard and do all I can, but also to recognize that he knows
his children and has his own timetable.   I know I am so much happier
as a missionary when I remember the reason I am out here and the joy
that I feel. I am here to help bring others closer to the savior and
help them to find the happiness that comes through the gospel! There
is a wonderful talk I found in the October 1974 ensign by president
Kimball called "When the World Will be Converted". If you haven't read
it yet, it is a good one! There is a quote that really stood out to
me, "If we do all we can, and I accept my own part of that
responsibility, I am sure the Lord will bring more discoveries to our
use. He will bring a change of heart into kings and magistrates and
emperors, or he will divert rivers or open seas or find ways to touch
hearts. He will open the gates and make possible the proselyting. Of
that, I have great faith." I have a testimony of this.I know that with
God nothing is impossible. He is with me every step of the way, all he
requires of me is a faithful and willing heart. I know that I have
witnessed, and will continue to witness miracles as I continue to go
about Gods work.

“To walk with God, no strength is lost.
Walk on.
To talk with God, no breath is lost.
Talk on.
To wait on God, no time is lost.
Wait on.”

Walk on. Talk on. And Wait on.  I know This Lord is directing this
work... Because it is HIS work.

The new Christmas video came out yesterday!! A SAVIOR IS BORN. A
challenge each of you to watch it and share it with a friend!! Have a
wonderful week!! Thank you for all of your prayers and support! Sorry
for such a long email!

Sister Parke

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