Sunday, January 17, 2016


Hello from your favorite Chicagoan!!!

What a week! First off....I AM IN LOVE WITH CHICAGO. So much
diversity! I live right off of the Lake! It is magical. Except for its
frozen... But it will be magical. (; pretty much living in the city is
SO FUN. except for the sirens... 24/7. I'm not kidding... I think they
just keep them on as background sounds. (; Makes sleeping kind of
difficult.. But hey it's whatever. The city is so full of life! I LOVE
it so so much! Driving in the city is an experience, actually it's
terrifying. But it's okay, I'll get there.. Thankfully we use public
transit a lot. Oh my goodness I have to learn to PARALLEL PARK. If
anyone knows me and my driving ability? Please pray. Hah anyways, my
new companions name is Sister Patterson. She is from California and is
22 years old, she came out a transfer before me so we are both still
pretty new and figuring our way around Chicago! Our area is huuuuge.
We are over the YSA ward and the SA branch, so we have soooo much work
to do. Sister Patterson is absolutely AMAZING, and has been very
patient with me as I figure out how to be a city girl, it has been
confirmed to me various times that we are supposed to be serving
together in this area. Words cannot even begin to describe how much I
already love this area and I still don't even know my way around it!
Ha I just am soaking it all in, or should I say... Freezing my way in.
So much has happened this week! This area is full of new investigators
and we are teaching quite a bit! I am so excited! My very first day
here in Chicago we had a lesson scheduled with one of our
investigators. It fell through, and so we met with the member who had
scheduled to come with us. At first we were super bummed because our
appointment fell through but it actually turned into a huge tender
mercy! This member of our ward had really been struggling with her own
testimony and knowing that God was aware of her. She was also
struggling with some big life decisions she needed to make. We were
able to have a power spiritual lesson reminding her about gods plan
for each of us. She told us that we were an answer to her prayers and
that the answers she had been searching for were found. It was a
really cool experience. At that moment I recognized that the Lord
needs me in this area not only to seek out those individuals who are
ready to hear about the gospel, but also to strengthen the ward
members of the YSA and help them to recognize the importance of a
strong testimony especially during this critical time in their life.
So on Wednesday night we were walking to the train and a man stopped
me and got up close in my face and said, "look me in the eyes, I AM
Jesus!" He then continued to ask me what color his eyes were... And
was standing uncomfortably close. He then started yelling at me
telling me that I had the devil in my eyes!! It was kinda super
creepy. Sister Patterson and I just ran off to the more well lite area
of the street and hurried to the train. Ha I was then reading in
helaman 16:6 later that day, found it relatable to my life (; haha
On Thursday we went to millennial park to go contacting with some of
our sisters. Shortly afterwards a man called us and told us he had a
lot to talk to us about Jesus Christ. It was time to head home but we
scheduled an appointment with him the next day. We were suuuper
excited that someone contacted us and wanted to learn more about
Christ. After praying about it we had the strong impression to have
the APs meet with him instead. So they went over there and met with
him and had a good lesson. They said it was good that we didn't go
over there since the man dealt with some addictions not necessarily
appropriate for sisters. Always listen to the promptings of the
Friday, we met as mission council and had a powerful discussion about
how we can best help the mission increase its success. We are striving
going towards exact obedience. President Woodbury is such an inspired
man, and I love all of his insight and spiritual strength. Later That
night we had a lesson with a young woman named Cynthia. She recently
just moved here from China and is interested about learning more about
the Book of Mormon and Jesus Christ. She knows a lot about the stories
in the Book of Mormon but is unsure how they are supposed to relate to
life and why it is so important. It was a  great lesson and it was
very cool to help her understand the role of Jesus Christ and what he
has done for each of us. She came to church on Sunday and she loved
it! We have a follow up appointment with her this Saturday.
Saturday.... We had an extremely busy day packed with four lessons
with our investigators! So very cool experience! On Wednesday we went
to visit one of our less active members Arlene from Puerto Rico. She
is facing many trials and has been very sick lately because she was
just diagnosed with cancer. However, she does not let it bring her
down! Anyways so we were in the middle of a lesson with her and her
niece Agatha who recently just moved here from Puerto Rico (she only
speaks Spanish, but is learning English) came in and said she needed
to ask us a question. She pulled out a Book of Mormon and told us she
wanted to Learn more. Arlene was our translator, but I testify that
even though the language barrier was there.... The spirit was so
strong. We sang I am a child of God with her in Spanish and then
taught her how to pray and knelt down in prayer with her. She told us
that earlier that night she had passed by us while we were out walking
and she felt a strong impression that she needed to talk to us. We
went back on Saturday and had another lesson with her and taught her
about the Restoration. Agatha has very strong faith in God and is
seeking to know that truth. We invited her to be baptized and she said
as she comes to know it is true will prepare herself to be baptized!
So happy for her!
Sunday miracles. We had three investigators come to church! One of
them is named Romeo. He is absolutely amazing! A couple months ago he
was seeking God in his life and prayed to know what church to join.
After trying many different churches he found the LDS missionaries.
Sunday was his first time at church and he absolutely LOVED it! His
testimony is so strong and he is on date for baptism on February 6! We
are so excited to continue teaching him and preparing him for baptism!
The ward is wonderful and helps so much with missionary work it is
incredible. I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve in this
area! I love it and I am afraid the time is going to pass by so
I have started over the Book of Mormon this week and have been
studying the patterns within the stories. Something that has really
stuck out to me is the importance of being in tune with the Holy Ghost
to understand what it is that God would have you do, but also having
enough faith to follow the promptings and turn faith into action. Just
as in the Book of Mormon, lehi took his family and journeyed into the
wilderness, what great faith they had to leave all that they had and
be obedient to the commandments of the Lord. In chapter 16 of 1 nephi
it talks about the liahona, and how the Lord provided a way that he
could lead and guide Lehis family so long as they lived righteously.
The liahona can be compared to the Holy Ghost within our own lives.
Something that really stuck out to me as I read this chapter is...the
Holy Ghost cannot guide us if we are filled with doubt or unbelief.
Just as when both of the bows were broken nephis family began to
murmur and complain, feeling hopeless. Nephi however did not doubt, he
trusted in the lord and knew he would provide. He prepared the best
that he could and went forward with faith asking the lord where he
should go.
Sometimes we cannot understand the experiences that we must go through
in this life. However I do know that God gives us these trials and
hardships that increase growth, and understanding, to help us get from
who we are not, to where he wants us to be. This isn't possible
without stretching, and discomfort. Sister Plomgren would always say
to me "there is no comfort in the growth zone, and no growth in the
comfort zone." I have recognized this countless times on my mission,
especially now with the responsibility of the role of a mission
leader.  I know the lord is helping me to grow and to learn and he is
aware of my potential and is helping me become who he needs me to be
so that I may be a more effective instrument in his hands.
The Lord is willing to lead and guide all of his children. All that he
asks is for faithfulness and a willing and obedient heart. Just as
when nephi was commanded to build a ship, he was faithful and willing
and inquired of the Lord of what he would have him to do accomplish
the task that was required of him. Nephi's faith inspires me to
remember the power of God in all things and to never murmur nor doubt.
The scripture 1 nephi 17:3 really stuck out to me this week and
provided a lot of spiritual strength for me.
"And thus we see that the commandments of God must be fulfilled. And
if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he
doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they
can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them; wherefore, he
did provide means for us while we did sojourn in the [mission field].
I am so grateful the lord loves me enough to support me and build me
up by strengthening me through these experiences. I have so much to
learn and I am so humbled each and everyday as the lord helps and
prepares me to become the missionary is needs me to become.

I love you all! Thank you for all of your support! I miss each one of
you and pray for you daily! Have a wonderful week!

Sister Parke

P.s. Chicago's Lou Malnatis deep dish cheese pizza will Change your life. 🍕🍕

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