Monday, December 7, 2015

Power of Prayer

Hello everyone!!!

Wow the week flew by in a blink of an eye! What a wonderful week! It
started off with exchanges with sister Sufia! She is absolutely
amazing and just came out into the mission field from Samoa! She is
doing so well at speaking to people in English and we spent most of
the day contacting! We made two amazing contacts while out tracting, I
learned so much from her! It was so neat to hear about her culture and
to get to know her better!
This was a really busy week with Luis! Since we were on exchanges,
sister Geracitano and sister Plomgren had a lesson on Tuesday morning
that went great!! First of all, it lasted for two and a half hours
because he had so many questions. They read through some of the Book
of Mormon with him and he said he wanted to believe it was true
because it was such a beautiful story. They talked to him about the
Gospel of Jesus Christ and committed him to pray about baptism and he
said that he would!
Then sister Plomgren and I had another meeting with him on Friday
morning. IT WAS AMAZING.  We started off with reading Moroni's Promise
again, and after a long moment of silence he said, "I feel in my heart
that this book is true. I know it is true." Then he started telling us
how he was laying in bed one night and had an impression to read the
Book of Mormon and so he did.... And he felt peace in his soul. We
read through 3 nephi chapter 11 with him and discussed the steps to
come closer to Jesus Christ. (Faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the
Holy Ghost) and he was soaking it all in like a sponge. We then
discussed again in further detail the plan of salvation and the steps
we must take to live with God again. Luis has been prepared by the
lord to learn of this gospel. He told us that 35 years ago in
Guatemala he had the missionaries come knock on his door many many
times and he would always invite them in and listen to their message
but he was never interested. From that first day sister Plomgren
talked with him and he boldly announced "I was born a Catholic, I will
die a Catholic", Luis's heart and softened so much. I definitely have
a testimony of the lords ability to change hearts. We asked Luis again
if he would prepare to be baptized by the proper priesthood authority,
but he told us that he would need to pray about it more. Which was a
little frustrating... Since he knows the Book of Mormon is true. But
we are being patient and helping him strengthen his testimony in
Christ. We committed him to reading some various passages we have
selected in the Book of Mormon and we are meeting with him next
On Wednesday we went over to Maddys and had a very fun time talking
with her parents and singing Christmas carols! Her mom is a beautiful
pianist. Everything went well... Her parents are so nice! It's so hard
for me to understand why they won't allow her to be baptized. On
Thursday morning I was really pondering on how to help Maddy continue
to progress and help ease her concern with the relationship between
her parents. I was struggling to know and praying for help. Immediate
answer to prayer.... President called me in the middle of studies and
said I just felt prompted to call and talk to you. We discussed the
situation with Maddy and her parents he said felt the prompting to
have me turn to the bishop of the ward. So I called and had a long
talk with the bishop and we are hopefully going to try and have a
lesson with Maddy this next week and talk about some of these things!
It's just suuuper hard because finals are coming up and Maddy is busy!
However, very exciting News, Maddy was Accepted to BYU-Idaho!
On Saturday, Maddys mom invited us over for lunch and we had a
wonderful time getting to know Sally and Tony better. They invited us
to stay and make some Christmas cookies with them which was so yummy!
They are such wonderful people and I have grown to love them! We have
a good friendship it's just hard to know sometimes how to implement
the gospel without feeling as if I am pressuring. Maddy is considering
pushing her baptism back to compromise with her parents in order to
let her go to BYU-I. Which doesn't really make sense to me.? But I
just have to remind myself that Heavenly Father has a time table for
each individual and it is important to maintain strong relationships
with families. It is so hard for Maddy right now because she is facing
a lot of torment from her friends and also from her family. However,
it amazes me how strong she is in her faith and she remains steadfast
in her testimony of the church.
Diane has really opened up to us and is frequently inviting us over to
her home. On Friday evening we went over and talked with her for about
an hour about how the lord is so aware of each and everyone of his
children and blesses their lives. We are really working on
establishing trust and a relationship with Diane. This morning we went
over and helped her out while we did laundry! She invited us over on
Tuesday to come and help her set up Christmas and decorate her tree
since all of her children are off at school. It truly is a miracle
that she is being so open to us. Her daughter Isabella just submitted
her mission papers last night and Diane is devastated about her
decision to serve a mission.
Ahh what a busy week....On Friday we got together with the RS
president again and discussed how to help women in the ward.... And
then on Saturday evening we had the ward Christmas party that was SO
MUCH FUN! We went to feed my starving children and came together as a
ward to serve! It was such a good bonding experience! Sunday evening
we went over to a members home and watched the Christmas devotional.
If you haven't had the opportunity to watch yet, please do! The first
presidency did such s wonderful job! I am worried about President
Monson... Keep him in your prayers! Speaking of prayer...
Something that has been on my mind a lot this week is prayer. Each day
as missionaries we encourage people to pray. Pray to know if the Book
of Mormon is true, or pray to receive answers, or pray for peace and
comfort.. Etc. Sometimes I feel as if I underestimate the power of
prayer and take for granted the supernal gifts that Heavenly Father
wants to bless all of his children with.  What does it truly mean to
pray? With a sincere heart? And real intent? I have recognized the
need to help my investigators understand the importance of prayer and
how critical it is not only to attain a testimony of the truth, but
also to maintain and help strengthen their testimonies. We not only
work with investigators, but ward members as well. Here in BG 1 ward
more than half the members are less active and not attending. Sister
Plomgren and I discussed how so many people could have fallen away
when they once had the truth. And we found that no matter the
situation, the answer always came back to they stopped doing the small
and simple things... Such as prayer. Prayer is so important because it
reminds us of our loving Heavenly Father who cares for each and
everyone of his children. It also reminds us to be humble and to turn
to him for strength and guidance. I have always had a belief in prayer
and growing up I would say my daily prayers, but it wasn't until my
mission that I fully understood and appreciated the commandment of
"pray always."
One of the most important things I have learned on my mission is the
power of prayer. There is no greater way to strengthen your
relationship with Heavenly Father than talking with him. This is why I
feel as missionaries we are able to draw nearer to him, because
missionary work is directed through faithful prayers and guidance of
the spirit. A mission requires everything of you, and submitting to
gods will in all things. This can be incredibly difficult, especially
the first few weeks. I remember I REALLY struggled in the MTC, but I
had an experience with prayer I will never forget. Physically,
spiritually, mentally, and emotionally I was exhausted... I was
struggling with homesickness and other selfish desires. I remember
sitting in the corner in one of the classrooms in the MTC, thinking
that a mission just wasn't for me, I felt as if I had made a horrible
mistake choosing to serve a mission. Obviously I wasn't very good at
hiding my feelings, and My teacher came over and talked with me for a
minute and told me to go into another room and pray. I thought to
myself? Pray??? You want me to pray and this will all go away? I feel
ashamed to admit this but I was frustrated and angry. I distinctly
remember I went into the other dark room and just sat and cried for
nearly a half hour. Even though I really didn't feel like praying, and
I felt alone and afraid, I got down on my knees and I poured my heart
out to God. I told him everything. I needed his reassurance and
strength to know why I was serving a mission. Most of all I needed
comfort. I will never forget, seconds after I ended the prayer, i felt
this warm rush of peace and comfort rush over my whole body. I had a
Book of Mormon in front of me that was turned to 3 nephi 11 and I read
about when Christ came to the Americas. The spirit was incredibly
strong, and I KNEW without a doubt in my mind, I was exactly where I
needed to be, and that God had a work for me to do. I am so grateful
for that immediate answer to prayer, and gods patience with me in
helping to be where I need to be. There have been hard and trying
times, but ever since that day I have learned to turn to the Lord in
all things. The power of Prayer is supernal. There is no other way to
describe it. I testify that God does hear and answer every prayer, in
the way and in the time that is best for YOU.  My favorite primary
hymn is "a child's prayer"
Father, are you really there?
And do you hear and answer ev’ry child’s prayer?
Some say that heaven is far away,
But I feel it close around me as I pray.
Heavenly Father, I remember now
Something that Jesus told disciples long ago:
“Suffer the children to come to me.”
        Father, in prayer I’m coming now to thee.
       Pray, he is there;
       Speak, he is list’ning.
       You are his child;
His love now surrounds you.
He hears your prayer;
He loves the children.
Of such is the kingdom, the kingdom of heav’n.

The passport to peace is the power of prayer!!! -president Monson

Side note. Answer to my prayers,.... The weather this week is supposed
to be in the 50s!!!!!!! In the middle of December??? When does that
ever happen?? Heavenly Father is sure helping us missionaries as we go
out to find people! Thank goodness for the warmer weather!

I hope you all have a wonderful week and enjoy this holiday season!
Remember to keep the Christ in Chirstmas, and that true joy is found
through serving others! I love you all!

Sister Parke

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