Monday, December 19, 2016

Official Homecoming 12.18.16

Speaking in church in front of family and friends seemed to be harder than I expected. I had spent my mission talking to strangers and friends but this was different. I spoke on a topic that I loved though- The Book of Mormon. Mom said I did a great job and I felt relieved when it was over! The highlight was looking out and seeing so many faces that I love! One special face in particular was Jess. She and Chris flew in to be in SLC for Christmas and it was such a blessing to have them there. I feel like I am living in a dream..or I should say that maybe my mission was a dream. I never want to forget all the special people there. Face timing and texting all of them now has been such a gift! Support of family and friends meant so much and I felt so loved. I only wish I would have been able to get a picture with everyone! It was a great day! Thank you to all for the love and constant support of me while on my mission and everyday moving forward. So. Blessed.
Grandpa and Grandma Parke

Bailey Froerer

My Madie!

Garrett James



Cousin Kenna

Sissy Abbers

Aunt Karen (thanks for all the help in the kitchen!) and Cousin Kole

Sweet Jess!

Chris, Jess and Brant!

I'm HOME! 12.14.16

After a crazy day/weekend of packing and saying so many hard goodbyes, I headed off early on Tuesday morning to spend the day with Sister Patterson and the other missionaries going home. We froze in the sub zero temps, but loved every minute as we soaked in the last few hours of Downtown Chicago. Many pass along cards and #LighttheWorld cards were given out and of course a trip to the Bean! We even saw one of our investigators, Tim, who took time off work to come and meet us! After returning to the Mission home we ate dinner and talked until way to late in the night about all the experiences from our missions and with President and Sister Bingham. It was so exciting and bitter sweet at the same time. I got about 2 hours of sleep and then we were back up at 3:30 to take a shuttle bus being driven by a Russian Missionary in Chicago Traffic with a trailer of 8 missionaries luggage behind. Yes prayers are answered that we made it to the airport in safety...yet still late and one of the poor Elders missed his flight. :( We all said our goodbyes again and headed to our gates. This excitement was better than Christmas morning. I was heading home!! Freezing below zero temps and snow in SLC delayed our flight a bit but we still landed only 20 minutes late. A short pit stop to the bathroom with Sister Patterson and then 1 more goodbye and it was time to go see my Family!!. Riding down the escalator seemed like a dream and all the sea of faces overwhelmed me. I saw Mom first and that hug. was. the. best! Dad's hug reminded me that all would be well and I was home. Sissy's have grown so much we hugged in our group Bear hug! Seeing Grandpa and his sweet tears and all my aunts and cousins was so wonderful! After a lunch stop at Paradise Bakery and a visit with Grandpa and Grandma Parke it was time to head to my HOME! I missed seeing my Ethan there..and shed some tears of sadness yet was SO Grateful to be home. Comforts of home never felt so good. We are so blessed and I never want to forget the feelings of gratitude I feel for my blessings, my family, my Savior and His Gospel!

A visit with Tim!

Kathryn Rose Miller made me this special plaque

President and Sister Bingham

Monday, December 12, 2016


Hi there! 

This week I was able to go to the temple with the other departing missionaries. What a special experience. It was so neat to be there with president and Sister Bingham. I love the temple, I am looking forward to regularly serve in the temple. After the temple I had the opportunity to attend mission leadership council. As I sat and reflected upon my mission I have recognized not only how far I've come, but who I have become. My mission has changed me for the better and I thank Heavenly Father for all he has done to bless me. 

Gingers baptism was beautiful, I love her so much. I could not think of a better way to end my mission. The Akinola family came to the service and so did Van! He his still planning on being baptized and is progressing very well. Chicago Heights is changing. The ward is completely different and the perspective and attitude for missionary work is  changing. I am so happy. I have poured my heart and soul into this ward and my mission. I am sad to leave, but the time has come... "The testimony which ye have borne is recorded in heaven for the angels to look upon; and they rejoice over you. … And now continue your journey” (D&C 62:3–4). I am ready for my life's mission now, and I know as I give my life to God he will help me and guide me. 

Just some thoughts.

“Our spiritual journey is the process of a lifetime. We do not know everything in the beginning or even along the way. Our conversion comes step-by-step, line upon line. We first build a foundation of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We treasure the principles and ordinances of repentance, baptism, and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. We include a continuing commitment to prayer, a willingness to be obedient, and an ongoing witness of the Book of Mormon. (The Book of Mormon is powerful spiritual nourishment.) 

"When you go home, you may wish to take some gifts. Everyone likes to shop. I don't know why. Let me suggest ten gifts to take home with you on that day when you are released from this labor and go back to your loved ones. 
1. A knowledge of and love of God our Eternal Father and His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" (John 17:3). Make that your number-one gift to carry home with you from the mission field. 
2. A knowledge and love for the scriptures, the word of the Lord. You read them. Continue to read them when you get home. Read the Book of Mormon the rest of your life. You will be inspired. You will retain the memories of your mission. And you will prepare yourselves for any opportunities that might come your way. 
3. An increased love for parents. You are no longer the careless young men and women you were. You have learned to appreciate and love your parents. Tell them so. 
4. A love for the people among whom you labor. 
5. An appreciation for hard work. Nothing happens unless we work. You never will plow a field by turning it over in your mind. You have to get out and take hold of the plow and go to work. Work is what makes things happen. You won't accomplish anything by sitting in your apartments thinking of all the nice people to whom you would like to teach the gospel. 
6. The assurance that the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is available to each of us when we live for it. Listen for the whisperings of the Spirit and follow those whisperings. 
7. An understanding of teamwork. You can't do it alone. Every one of you has a companion. Don't look for his faults; he has plenty of them. Look for his virtues and try to bring those virtues into your life. 
8. The value of personal virtue. There is no room for evil thoughts in your lives while you are here. They will destroy you if you persist in them. Dismiss them. Stay away from them. Pray to the Lord for strength to rise above them. 
9. The faith to act. 
10. The humility to pray. There is power greater than any of us that is available to us. The Lord will bless us. He will guide us. He will magnify us. He will lead us to those who will accept the truth. He will protect us if we will listen to the still small voice and follow it.” (Guatemala City Central, North, and South Missionary Meeting, January 24, 1997) 

I have learned so much on my mission and I am looking forward to all the Lord has yet to teach me. What a wonderful week. What a wonderful mission!

My heart is aching as I say goodbye to the many I love here. I hate goodbyes... but I find comfort in knowing there are many who are there to love and support me as I begin my new journey! Thank you for all of your love, prayers, and concern. I will see you soon! 

Sister Parke 

Goodbye Party!

These people will always will be in my heart!

Early Christmas gifts!

Ginger's Baptism

Such a special Day! 12.9.16

Going to miss this girl right here! Love you Sister Webber!

Ahh reunited with Sister Patterson! Last Temple day and heading home together!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Disciple of Jesus Christ

Hello Family and Friends, 

I don't even know where to begin. It has been such an incredible week full of so many spiritual experiences and unforgettable memories. One of the miracles was that one of the members in the ward has a non member wife who has been coming to church for the past while has decided that she wants to take the missionary lessons. So we went and taught her on Tuesday and she decided that the time has come and she is getting baptized on December 9th. (Yes, THIS Friday). We have been teaching her all of the lessons this week in preparation for her baptism. It is such a neat experience to be able to teach her the doctrines of the gospel and to feel of the spirit as it testifies and confirms of truth. What a blessing of being able to prepare families to unite together eternally. They are expecting their first baby and she is due in February. They want to be sealed together in the temple. It is amazing to me how the Lord changes and softens hearts. I cannot think of a better way to spend the last week of my mission than to help someone prepare to be baptized. 

We also have the ward Christmas party this Saturday night. I LOVE Christmas time, especially as a missionary. The spirit of Christmas is definitely found in CHRIST and giving service to others. The new video #lighttheworld is the perfect way to have a joyful Christmas as we serve those around us who are in need. I am so grateful for the Savior, and for the opportunity we have each day to bear testimony of him in all that we do and say. This is by far my favorite time of year as a missionary. Everyone is so happy and has the desire to serve and love others. I feel so blessed for the opportunity that I have to serve others full time for the Lord. I look forward to continue serving his children as I return home. As I reflect back on the last year and a half, words cannot describe the joy I have felt as I have served the Lord with all of my heart, might, mind and strength. My heart is full of love. Love for my Father in Heaven, love for his son Jesus Christ, love of the gospel, love for the people God has blessed me to teach, love for the wonderful friends I will forever cherish. The Lord has been teaching me what it truly means to love. The love of God and those around me.. I have felt the most joy and love as I have shared this love with others. My mission has been and will forever be one of the greatest experiences in my life. I want to always to live worthy to feel of this spirit and love. Ephesians 3:17-19 "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,.. And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God." 

A piece of my heart will be left here in Chicago. The people here have taught me so much and I feel so much love for them. It has been a sacred privilege to labor and work in this part of the Lords vineyard. I can truly testify that God knows and loves everyone of his children. As a missionary I have been blessed with the opportunity to feel of that love as I have gone forth and shared the gospel here in Chicago. I have walked hundreds of miles, spent thousands of hours riding the L train, rode what feels like a million different buses, and knocked a countless number of doors all in hopes to bring Gods children close to him. The memories and experiences are indescribable. Words cannot express the feelings of my heart. Leaving this all behind is one of the hardest things I have ever done, and I never want the spirit and the love I feel to end. 

I want to continue to become like the Savior Jesus Christ.. I feel I have changed in so many ways... but more than anything I have learned so much about myself and about my loving brother Jesus Christ and his gospel. My understanding and love for him has deepened and my love and desire to share the gospel has increased. I have learned so much through the experiences I have had on my mission. Coming to know that I CAN DO HARD THINGS through the strength of Christ. My understanding of love is so much deeper and I desire to always be filled with charity. I want to become a woman of Christ. I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to have served a mission. I know God is eversosaware of his children. I testify that God hears and answers every prayer. 

A quote that I found before my mission that has stuck with my throughout my mission is one by Ezra Taft Benson: "Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He can deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, and pour out peace." I can testify that the words of President Benson are true. My mission is the beginning of my commitment to God that I will "choose ye this day, to serve the Lord God.. Behold my spirit is upon you, wherefore all thy word will I justify; and the mountains shall flee before you, and the rivers shall turn from their course; and thou shalt abide in me and I in you; therefore WALK WITH ME" (Moses 6:33-34) I have made a lifelong commitment to serve God. I desire to WALK with the Savior at all times, in all things, in all places. I will remain a loyal disciple of Jesus Christ. 

I read this in an email from one of my friends, but I would just like to share it all well. It is applicable to the feelings I have as a missionary. 


I am a part of the fellowship of the unashamed. the dye has been cast. I have stepped over the line.The Decision has been made. I AM A DISCIPLE OF JESUS CHRIST.
I won't look back. let up, slow down. or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I'm finished and done with low living, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals. 
I no longer need pre-eminence, positions, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don't have to be right, first, recognized, praised, regarded or rewarded . I now live by Faith, lean on HIS presence, walk with patience. I am uplifted by prayer, and labor with power. My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is Heaven. My road is narrow, my way is is rough, my companions are few, my Guide is reliable, my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, divided, or delayed. 
I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the advesary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won't give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up, and paid up for the cause of Christ. I must go till he comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till he stops me. And when He returnes for His Own, He will have no problem recognizing me. My Banner will be clear. 
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of GOD unto Salvation to every one that believeth... " Romans 1:16.

I know that as I progress through life with faith in Jesus Christ, my experiences will help me become the person Heavenly Father knows I can be. My life of faith, service, and sacrifice has only just begun. I know as I am obedient to Heavenly Father’s commandments and seek His will, I will be truly converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The plan that Heavenly Father has for me is so much greater than the plan I have for myself. I am looking forward with faith to the new part of my journey that lies ahead.  I trust that God has a plan and his hand is leading and guiding my life. 

I know that this gospel is true. I have a deep love for missionary work and I know it is ultimately Gods work. I testify of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ through the prophet Joseph Smith. The Priesthood has been restored to the Earth, and the heavens are opened. God blesses his children according to their faith. I am a strong witness of the Saviors healing power and atonement. Repentance is made possible through Christ. Jesus Christ LIVES, and because he lives we will all be able to return to live with our Father again. 

I love my Savior, I am eternally grateful for this gospel. 

3 Nephi 5:13
"Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life."

Sister Rachel McKenzie Parke 

I love you all. I am appreciate all of your love and support! See you all real soon! 
My farewell will be on December 18th at 9am! Hope to see you there! 


Sister Sufia -love her!

Love all my sisters!

Setting up our "real" tree!

Visiting the Candy Factory for pday with Bro and Sister Johnson our Senior Missionary Couple. Love them too!