Monday, December 21, 2015

Reason to Believe

Hello everyone!!

Christmas is in four days? Oh my goodness where has the time gone? I
love this time of year and the opportunity we have to ponder and
reflect on the life of the Savior. What a great week it has been!!
Here are a few of the new things going on in Buffalo Grove.
So Maddy isn't going to byuidaho this next semester. There are a
couple reasons that factor into this decision. First, she wrote a
letter to her parents telling them about her plan to be baptized and
going off to school.... Asserting her position with the church. After
her parents read the letter, her dad had a really good talk with
her-the first positive one about the church ever- he said that he
acknowledges that she is going to be baptized and that he is
respecting her choice even though he doesn't necessarily agree with
it. He did say however, that he wants her to wait until next semester
to go to BYUIDAHO so that they can go with her to tour the school and
take some time off so that they will be able to help move her to
school, which with this short notice would not be possible. The second
reason, is purely financial. Maddy is paying for school herself and
needs to save more money before she heads off to school so that she
can avoid debt. But I am so glad the miracles regarding school,
because without them she would not be getting baptized on Wednesday!
School can wait, but what is most important is baptism... And now
Maddys parents are softening their hearts. She was willing to
compromise her baptism to go to school but the opposite occurred...
Her parents are accepting baptism but asking her to put off going away
to school. We are VERY EXCITED for her baptism this Wednesday and know
it will be a very special experience.
We made the phone call on Wednesday to schedule a hand-off lesson with
Luis for this upcoming Tuesday. He really needs Spanish-speaking
missionaries. But, the law of compensation is real! About a half hour
after we called the spanish elders, someone texted. They said, "I got
your number from Danny. I want to learn more about being Mormon. Do
you have time to help me?" So that threw us for a loop! We had met
Danny in McDonald's Saturday night. It had been a long day and it was
8:30 PM and finishing up contacting at Walmart. We wanted to go home,
but Sister Plomgren felt a strong prompting to go to McDonald's. We
get there and there is only one couple there, and I did NOT want to
talk to them. They had foul mouths and were kind of rude in general.
So we sit there for a couple minutes, and sister Plomgren said to me,
"Let's just go home",  I felt like We needed to show them the video,
then we could go home. We ask if we show can them the Christmas video,
and after he says, "Yeah, I dated a girl who was a Mormon. Her dad's a
bishop in Salt Lake City. I talked with him a little about the church
and I thought it was pretty interesting. I just like learning about
religion." We invite him to church Sunday, and get his contact
information (his name is Danny). I don't really think much of it, to
be honest because he was pretty involved with his own religion.
Tuesday, we get that text from his friend Mike, and set up an
appointment to meet with him! What a miracle!
Random little miracle moment: we were in the mall food court (where
the people are) doing some contacting and we were taking a break and
had a Book of Mormon out on the table. This woman walks by saying
"Nice book!" and Sister Plomgren and I just look at each other and
turn back to her. We ask if she had ever heard of the Book of Mormon
and she says, "Oh, I thought that was a Bible! I've never heard of the
Book of Mormon" so we explain what it was and she says "Oh, I'll have
to check it out!" and we were like, "Well you can have this one". She
takes it, thanks us, and walks off. Sister Plomgren and I were kind of
dazed for a few minutes because that seriously doesn't happen often so
when it does it's kind of awesome.
The whole mission has started a new initiative where we do two hours
of personal finding a day. Sister Plomgren and I have taken that and
added two active member visits and two less-active member visits, so
that we give our days a little structure and that we have "all our
nets in the water" (we are using all our resources to find people to
teach). So we had done our two hours of finding, and we had just
finished our second active member. We went to visit our first
less-active member (and mind you it was about 25 degrees out and
Sister Plomgren and I were freezing), and she opens the door and says,
"Are you from the church?" We answer with "Yes, yes we are" and she
says, "Then I don't want to talk to you" and with that she slams the
door. Most people are civil with us and say something along the lines
of "Thanks for visiting, but this isn't the time that I want to come
back to church right now" and then we give them our card with a number
to call or something like that so that they can call us if we ever
need anything. But this woman's rejection really did a number on us
for some reason. So we were hitting our spiritual low for the night.
We go to get gas and try to figure out what we should do. When sister
Plomgren pulled out the book to record how much gas we buy and how
much it was (we keep a lot of records here), these CD cases fall out.
The CD's are from a band called Remembering Rome and sister Plomgren
asked, "Who is Remembering Rome?" and I say, "You know pretty much
everything I do about this car". So I throw them back in there without
a second thought. Then we were looking through our list of people that
we want to visit and this one name jumps out at us.  We both felt like
we needed to go visit this man. so we go to where he lives, which was
only about five minutes from where the gas station was. We get there,
knock on the door, and his mom answers. We ask, "Is Mike home?" and
she says "Yes, let me go get him for you. It's freezing out, would you
like to come in?" Wow! Usually people make us wait outside, even when
it's cold out. So that was a little tender mercy in itself. She gets
Mike and we introduce ourselves to him and we get to talking and he
invites us to take us seat in the living room. Yeah, that doesn't
happen ever. We chat a little about everything and he tells us that he
was in the band Remembering Rome. My mouth falls open at that point
because what are the odds? I have seriously looked through that glove
compartment about 10 times looking for a pen and have never seen those
CDs before. That was so cool! We invite him to church and the
scripture study class that the missionaries run and he said that he
would come! That was seriously one of the coolest things that I had
ever seen.
I have gained a testimony that as we obey and listen to the promptings
of the spirit they will happen more frequently. I have been studying
and pondering about the Holy Ghost this week as i prepare my talk for
Maddys baptism. The Holy Ghost has such a strong influence on my life
and I know that without the companionship of the Holy Ghost I would
not be where I am today. As I was studying... I noticed something that
finally clicked in my mind....everything we do as members of the
church is intended to invite and bless us with the companionship of
the Holy Ghost! Annnnd the reason that this church is a true and
living church is because of the gift of the Holy Ghost! The Holy Ghost
testifies of the truth and bears witness of the Savior Jesus Christ. I
love the quote by President Faust, "the gift of the Holy Ghost is the
greatest guarantor of inward peace in our unstable world." I have a
strong testimony of this. On Friday I had the opportunity to go to the
temple with my zone for Christmas. What an unforgettable experience.
The peace that I felt is indescribable... And can only be felt by and
through the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is how we are able to feel gods
love for us. Even though he is not physically here with us, he can
always spiritually be with us through the Holy Ghost, if we live
worthily. I testify of the power in striving to keep the spirit of the
Lord with us always. Life is so much more simple as our thoughts are
directed to the Savior.
I have also been reflecting a lot upon the teachings of the Savior in
his mortal ministry. My heart has been filled with the spirit
countless times as I have pondered upon the life of Jesus Christ and
his goodness. This is a Christmas I will never forget; the Savior is
the hope of the world, and I don't think I fully understood this
clearly until my mission. Jesus Christ was born so that he could be
the example to us of how we need to live to make it back to our father
in heaven. Without him, we would be lost. I am so grateful for the
Savior, and his atoning sacrifice. I am grateful that he was willing
to come to this earth and live a perfect life and because he loved
each of us so much, he died for all of our sins. I was studying in
Luke chapter 23 this morning, and read about the crucifixion of the
Savior. Tears filled my eyes as I remembered that the atonement is the
reason why Jesus Christ was born. He came to this earth to save us
all. And this is why we sing... JOY TO THE WORLD. I love my Savior and
Redeemer Jesus Christ. I am grateful for his infinite atonement. I
know that he was born to offer blessing of peace and hope to each and
everyone of us. I am grateful for this time of year to remember Jesus
Christ and all he has done for us. I hope you all choose to believe.
Believe in Jesus Christ. Alma 33:22 the reason to believe is found in
the Son of God. I wish you all a Merry Christmas! I miss you so much,
but I am grateful for the opportunity that I have to serve! I love

I challenge you to read Jesus Christ our Master and More in the April
2000 ensign!

Sister Parke

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