Monday, February 29, 2016


Setting out the sign for front of the school!

Going to church in a school building...who says it isn't fun?!

Sister's forever! Best part of church was having Maddy visit the YSA Ward!

Hey this tag looks pretty good on her huh?

This is how we get lost and confused in Chicago. Whaaaaat?

Morgan's Lesson! 

Happy Day that Spring is coming! No more coats soon!

A walk downtown!

I love this city! Beautiful at night!

Crazy girls!

Maddy got to come to the Sister's Training!

Sister's Training with all the sisters in our whole mish!



Hello Everyone!

What a wonderful week! I thought Utah weather was crazy until I came
here to Chicago. We had a blizzard on Tuesday... And 65 degree weather
three days later. Excellent for contacting! I don't even know where to
start with this week... It is so much to remember! Going back to last
Monday, sooo many miracles. Just as we were about to leave for
Carleens lesson, we accidentally locked our keys in the apartment. Oh
no! There usually is a huge lock out fee and it takes a lot of time
for someone to come with the keys. Sister Patterson and I were really
worried about being late and missing our appointment. We said a silent
prayer and knew it would all work out. The first phone call we made,
the maintenance man was only 10 min away and was willing to come
unlock the door for us for FREE. What a kind spirit... And such a
miracle... Especially since it was after hours! So, thankfully we were
able to make it to our appointment on time and didn't have to cancel!
Heavenly Father is so aware of his missionaries and is always willing
to help them out even when they make silly mistakes like locking keys
in their apartment! (; anyways... We had an AMAZING lesson with
Carleen in the mission home with President and Sister Woodbury!! We
discussed the first half of the plan of salvation up to the Atonement
of Jesus Christ. We talked a lot about repentance and what it truly
means to repent and be baptized. It was so cool to have president
there to help teach her. The spirit just abides in the mission home,
especially with both president and sister Woodbury there. Carleen was
very receptive to the message and is progressing well. She is very
interested to learn learn learn! Also very committed. Her concerns are
with her family, not too sure how they will react with her decision to
join the church. We are continuing to meet with her and have another
lesson scheduled tonight at the mission home with president and sister

Tuesday, we met with Brianna again for the second time and taught her
about the plan of Salvation. She is very interested in learning about
how the bible and the Book of Mormon support one another. She is not
willing to come to church yet, but is willing to learn more and has a
lot of questions. Brianna has so much faith in the Lord and reads the
bible diligently everyday! Pray that her heart may be softened and
opened to receiving the Book of Mormon!

On Thursday..  We had an Awesome lesson with Brie (don't get confused
between her and Brianna) she is progressing well. During the lesson
she told us that since learning more about the LDS faith she has had
more of the desire to be s better person and draw closer to Christ!
Yay! She also told us that she will randomly just feel like she needs
to read from the Book of Mormon and she doesn't know why. We are very
excited for her... She committed to coming to church, but didn't end
up coming on Sunday. But that's okay! We know she will get there next
time! Looking forward to her next lesson!

Friday, we had Sisters conference and it was one of my favorite days
on the mission so far! Maddy came and it made my whole life having her
be there! The whole conference was about how the future is as bright
as our faith, and how we as sisters need to remember who we truly are
and the responsibilities the lord has for us and also who we can
become. We reviewed the talk Plea to My Sisters and emphasized the
importance of doing the small things and He'll help us with the rest.
President talked alot about joy and being happy and how Happiness is a
present emotion. He promised that when your course is in line with God
will you feel the happiness! Which was really cool, because I was able
to have an interview with president right after the conference for my
endorsement for BYU... And I was just so HAPPY. It was a neat
experience to know that I am happy and I am doing the will of the Lord
and there isn't anywhere else he needs me to be. Speaking of

Saturday... We had such an AMAZING lesson with Morgan on Saturday. Ahh
it was sooo great! We taught him the second half of the plan of
salvation. It was so awesome to teach him about the RESURRECTION and
the role of Jesus Christ in our lives.. especially around Easter time.
Morgan's understanding and faith of the savior is increasing each and
everyday. He is definitely on the path towards baptism. Morgan is
pretty much the best! This is the happiest part... Morgan and his
girlfriend Cecilia came to church on Sunday and had such a spiritual
experience! It was awesome. We had a special musical number during
sacrament and Morgan was tearing up.. The spirit was so strong. I just
love Morgan and Cecilia! They are so great! Ahhh that reminds me...
Sunday was a crazy day..

So on Saturday late afternoon we found out that the speaker for
sacrament meeting was sick and we were asked if we would speak. Of
course, we said yes. However we didn't have time to start planning out
our talks until 10 o clock at night. Eeep! Thankfully the Lord helps
and the spirit was able to guide me as to what he would have me speak
on. The topic I felt prompted to talk about in sacrament meeting was
the importance of becoming spiritually unified for the welfare of our
brothers and sisters who may have gone astray or who have not yet had
the opportunity to hear of the gospel. I focused in on this quote....
"We must remember that our salvation is intertwined with the salvation
of others. We must care more for those who seem to care less for their

I then studied Alma chapter 31... When alma recognized the worth of
the souls of the Zoramite people who turned away from God because they
lost the faith. What really stood out to me is that he PRAYED to the
lord for power and wisdom to bring them back to the Lord. As a
missionary it is sometimes hard to have the faith and hope that when
someone has fallen away from the church that they will ever regain
that desire to return. Alma exemplified great faith, knowing that all
people are of great worth.... And went to the lord in mighty prayer
for the welfare of the zoramites. There is a good quote by Elder
Carlos E. Asay that reminded me about the importance of seeking out
those who may be lost.  “The souls of our brothers and sisters who may
seem to be more feeble and less honorable are precious. The Church has
need of them. We should make every attempt to know them and to help
them  claim the full blessings and joys of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Our prayers should be as Alma’s: ‘Give unto us, O Lord, power and
wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee.’ (See
Alma 31:35.)

This verse of scripture really stood out to me because I'm constantly
trying to figure out what the lord would have me do to help his work
in this area. Specifically working with the YSA and the SA branch and
there being so many people who are either unknown... Or not coming to
church for one reason or another. At times it can seem overwhelming...
And not seem possible. But the Lord knows EACH AND EVERYONE of his
children... And each soul is precious to him. This is what keeps me
going... And helps me to overcome discouragement... Knowing that HE
KNOWS we (missionaries and members) cannot do it alone. This is HIS
WORK thus we are entitled to HIS BLESSINGS. I know that as we are
obedient and righteous and exercise faith he leads us along in this
work. Now is the time to place our trust in the Lord.. And exercise
our faith. I know that The Lords greatest desire is to bless his
children. I testify that as we pray for others and have the desire to
bring them into Christ... He will help us and bless us.

There is so much happiness that comes from testifying of the
Savior!!!!! This gospel is for all of us! We are all in this journey
together. I love that it matters less who we are, and who we are
becoming. I love you all! Thank you for your prayers and support!
Have a great week!

Sister Parke

Monday, February 22, 2016

Pictures Never Before

It's official! Looks like I'll be home for Christmas! ;)

Parallel parking down. to a T. :)

Our appointment with Brie! (the one with glasses)

Owwwie. I fell on the lake. :( 

Makin' chicken noodle soup for my sickie.

Bishop and his wife.

Finally getting my haircut. ok a trim ;)

Helping the sisters for transfers. We got it all in the trunk....barely!

Moving day!

Poor Sister Patterson has strep throat! ;(
We love the Senior Missionaries!

Never Before

Hello everyone!!

Another week has passed already?! Springtime is just around the Corner
and I could not be happier! Yay for sunshine!! No more cold and
sickness. So on Friday night sister Patterson started getting sick. On
Saturday morning she woke up annnnd it was no Bueno. The poor girl had
golf balls for tonsils and a fever of 100.5. I looked in her throat
and it was covered in white patches. We went to the doctor and sure
enough it was strep. Thank goodness for modern day medicine! However
we have been quarantined to our apartment for a few days. She slept
all day long and all night.... So pretty much I was a loner stuck in
the apartment for three days. Ha it is a real struggle, but I have
enjoyed the time to do lots of personal study. Sister Patterson is
still really sick sooo kinda a bummer of a Pday. Just praying that I
don't get it... The doctor said the incubation period is a week for
strep. So yup, that sums my weekend! It was brutal because the weather
was soooooooo nice it got up to 65 degrees! I feel selfish saying
that.... I was way sad for sister Patterson. Thankfully we have ice
cream and a Jamba Juice near by to hold us through it! (;

Other than being sick we have had a couple of great lessons! Alright,
so remember the girl named Brianna that we contacted on the train last
week? Well, we had our follow up appointment with her on Tuesday and
it was awesome. Brianna is a freshman at DePaul and is absolutely
adorable! We met with her and got to know her better. She shared with
us her story about how she came to believe in and trust in God. She
attends a Christian church here in Chicago and is actively involved.
We discussed many of her beliefs and found out that they are extremely
similar to our church! We taught her about the restoration of the
gospel and it was extremely powerful. When I testified about Joseph
smiths first vision word for word I felt the spirit so strong! It was
really cool because sister Patterson and I had just been working on
memorizing it earlier this week. Brianna had so many questions and was
very interested in the Book of Mormon. We read through the
introduction page together and committed her to read and pray about
the Book of Mormon and Joseph smith. We taught her about modern day
prophets and testified that we were sent to her to share this
important message. The spirit was so incredibly strong I can't even
describe it. I felt so much love for her instantly, and I started
tearing up in the lesson. Being able to catch a glimpse for the love
God has for one of his children is one of the sweetest experiences. I
know this gospel is true. I cannot deny it, nor will I ever. There are
so many good people the Lord is preparing to hear the gospel. He will
lead and guide us to them as we follow the promptings of the spirit. I
am so grateful I listened to the prompting I had to open my mouth and
speak to Brianna on the train last week. We are meeting with her on
Tuesday to have a follow up appointment!

On Thursday we had an appointment with our new investigator Brie. She
is from Michigan is currently on the basketball and track team as a
sophomore at north park university. She dated a member of the church
and he is currently on a mission. Interested she referred herself to
the missionaries.., and YAAAAAAYY. Missionary dream come true. Brie is
super awesome. She grew up Lutheran, however since she has been at
school she hasn't really been attending church. She is looking for a
new church to join around this area and is becoming more interested in
the Lds faith. We were able to teach her about the restoration and the
Book of Mormon. It was a lot for her to take in at first... But the
spirit was so strong and it's almost as if the dots all started to
connect! Thankfully we were able to have an amazing member join us and
she was able to testify how the Book of Mormon has changed her life. I
think that really helped Brie understand and allowed the Holy Ghost to
testify to her. We committed her to pray and read to know if the Book
of Mormon was true.  She is coming to church on Sunday! I am very
excited for her to meet the ward!

So, kinda a funny story. I was having a rough day..and just needed to
take a little break. So sister Patterson and I decided we would take a
short walk to the lake. It really was quite beautiful although the
lake was frozen over! We thought it was so cool! Being the super
genius missionary that I am I said, "hey! I'm going to try walking on
it!" Sister Patterson just looked at me like I was crazy and said go
for it. So everything was great and the ice didn't break through ha
how could it? It was freezing. So we both were standing there on the
ice thinking hey this is great! Walking on water! Annnnd then... Of
course.. I slipped and fell. And the ice broke. Thankfully only my leg
fell in and we were able to hurry back to the shore. talk about scary
moment. I wasn't too hurt just wet a lot of scraped knees and hands.
But needless to say... I won't be walking on the ice anymore.

Friday we had an appointment schedules with one of our less active
members in the YSA. A few weeks ago while looking through our area
book I felt the strong prompting that we needed to contact her. So
last week we set up an appointment and we had the wrong address! So we
had to reschedule for this week and thankfully we were able to meet
today. This was our first time meeting with her and we for to know her
a little bit better. She didn't go to college but jumped right into
her career. Her family is active in the church however her testimony
has been struggling but we know that she knows it is true. We had a
great lesson with her about strengthening our testimony of Christ and
the power of his Atonement and the importance of the sacrament each
week. It was very spiritual and she really started to open up to us.
She started to cry and I could just feel heavenly fathers love for
her. We testified to her that she was a daughter of God and that he
loved her no matter what. It was in that moment I know that the lord
was using me as a mouth piece to comfort his child. We invited her to
receive a priesthood blessing of comfort and counsel. I will never
forget tonight, and the importance of heeding spiritual promptings.
The lord is ever so aware of his children.

So after all that has been said and done, This week was a particularly
more difficult for sister Patterson and I. We were feeling frustrated
and tired because it felt like anything we planned NEVER went the way
we planned it or it always falls through... Because of this I have
been doubting myself And have been feeling quite inadequate as a
missionary. As to, why did the Lord call me? It is so easy to feel
overwhelmed and because of the many expectations and almost feel as if
sometimes they are dragging me down instead of building me up. It
seems nearly impossible to reach and fulfill them all. Striving
towards perfection is something that is so hard for me because
naturally my desire is to be perfect and be the perfect example of
Jesus Christ. What I really struggle with is my own weaknesses that
keep me from attaining perfection and cause me to fall into a
bitterness of self-pity and despair. This past week I have been
pondering as to how to overcome this and increase my faith and desire
to keep going.

As we were driving on the way to an appointment, sister Patterson and
I had a really good discussion that helped to strengthen our faith.
"How are we supposed to know that we are doing this right? How can we
be a successful missionaries?" Thank heavens for my wonderful
companion who always seems to have a better perspective than me....
She Pulled out Preach my Gospel and started reading the behaviors of
successful missionaries. It was then that I realized that the only
part of success I control in the aspect of missionary work is the type
of missionary I choose to be. It was as if I lightbulb went off in my
head. I need to have more faith! The reason for my discouragement was
that I had been measuring my success in all of the wrong ways as a
missionary, which made me feel more bitter about the work and my
purpose. Instead of focusing on the miracles we witness each day I was
focusing on what I was lacking. This was a turning point for me as a
missionary. I need to be more grateful and acknowledge the ways we are
being blessed each day! What I really struggle with is being so
focused on a specific type of blessing that I forget to look around me
and notice the other miracles. I love the quote by President Hinckley,
"Do your best, your very very best. Say your prayers and work hard and
leave the harvest to the Lord."  I tend to get so caught up in what I
need to be doing and how I should be doing it.. And if I don't get it
done in that exact particular way then it will fail. It puts a lot of
pressure on myself and a lot of doubt in my mind. I am continually
striving to recognize that this work is so much greater than myself
and that God is ultimately in charge and at the end of the day it will
always be his will that will be done. This isn't only relatable to
missionary work, the same is true in life. I love the scripture 2
nephi 3:8 "And I will give unto him a commandment that he shall do
none other work, save the work which I shall command him. And I will
make him great in mine eyes; for he shall do my work."  The Lord only
expects us to do our best... And he also didn't design us to fail...
As we work hard and place our trust in him we are able to succeed, and
he always makes up the difference.

I hope you all have a wonderful week! Thank you for all of your love
and support! I sure love you!

Sister Rachel Parke

I found this article in this months new era, very similar emotions
about how I feel as my service as a missionary.
"Never before had I experienced the joy of helping someone attend
church. Never before had I felt the thrill of hearing someone say,
“Sure, come on in” so that they could hear the restored gospel. Never
before had I sensed the reality of the power that came as we declared
repentance. Never before had I prayed with such real intent. Never
before had an hour of scripture study gone by so fast. Never before
had I been brought to tears by the realization of my imperfections.
Never before had I experienced the devastation that comes with the
words, “Elders, please don’t come by my house anymore.” Never before
had I gotten a blister on my foot the size of my thumb. Never before
had I felt so protected. Never before had I felt so much
responsibility for my actions because I wore the name “Jesus Christ”
on my chest.
Never before had I been so close to my Heavenly Father as I came to be
during my full-time mission."

Monday, February 15, 2016

Pictures Obedience = Blessings

Thanks for the new clothes for my bday Pam!

Heading to get sushi with Joe

Hello Morgan!

Being washed clean Ketchup lesson with Morgan! :)

Ahh i love this stuff!

My hidden chocolate stash especially helpful at 9:30 at night!

Love Jimmy John's!

New birthday outfits! Thanks Aunt Pam!

Oh we were stressed waiting for this text! Yay together for another transfer!!

Celebrating single awareness day here in the mission! ;)

Thanks for the goo Emi! helped so much with the stress!

"Ok I'm ready to go out!" Seriously cold here!!


Hello Everyone!
What a week! Sister Patterson and I found out we are staying together
for another transfer!!! YAY!!! I am so grateful, because heaven knows
I am not quite ready to navigate my way around this crazy town myself.
(; We are very excited to work hard together in this area because
there is so much to be done! We are meeting with the bishop and the
AP's tonight to discuss how we can come together as members and
missionaries to hasten the work! (the new and the current AP are both
also from Layton-so it is all three of us laytonites serving together
in the same ward!) Which honestly is very helpful since I know both of
them we are able to work well together in unity to get things done!
Working in a YSA ward is pretty much the greatest thing ever. So yes,
we have our work cut out for us.. But we are trying not to become too
overwhelmed and remember small and simple things. We decided to start
it this transfer off right by deep cleaning our apartment this
morning. It's harder to feel the spirit in a cluttered environment.

Time is just flying by.  On Monday night we had a lesson with one of
our new investigators Carleen. We met her at the church, however we
were unable to get in because the keys weren't in the lockbox. It was
freezing cold & snowing!! I said a quick prayer in my heart and then
we started trying to think of what missionaries  lived close by that
might have keys to the building. Then I realized president Woodbury
lived right down the street! We tried calling both him and sister answer. With nothing to lose we drove down to the
mission home and knocked.... And there comes sister Woodbury!!!
#miracle! She had just gotten home 2 mins before and was waiting for
president to get home and then they were leaving.  We literally had
like a 10 min gap of them being home to let us in so we could have a
lesson. I know the Lord was looking out for us because we ended up
being early and so was Carleen, so if we had all been on time we would
have missed the Woodburys and had no where to go. It was cool the
lesson was Awesome!!! I'm so excited to teach Carleen she is amazing.
She grew up Catholic and has been dating one of the members in the
Buffalo Grove ward for a little over a year. She has been to church a
couple of times with his family and now they are starting to attend
the singles ward together. She has been interested in the Book of
Mormon and has been reading it on her own. At first she held back from
taking the missionary lessons because she wanted to make sure it was
for herself and not for her boyfriend. The past few months she has
been drawn to the church and now desires to take the missionary
lessons to learn more. Carleen is awesome and has definitely been
prepared by the Lord to hear about the gospel. I testify the spirit of
the Lord works on those who are prepared!

On Wednesday we taught at zone training about who we are and what our
purpose is. We also discussed patriarchal blessings. That night we had
an appointment with a less active member ( Kristina) and we invited
her visiting teacher (Sister Wallace) to come. Sister Wallace and
Kristina got along right away and we barely had time to squeeze in a
spiritual thought! Haha but when we did we talked about patriarchal
blessings. It was amazing because Sister Wallace had just had a cool
experience with her Patriarchal blessing that she was able to share
and it touched Kristina! We never got the chance to tell Sister
Wallace what we planned on teaching Kristina so again I know the
spirit was directing us to teach the message Kristina needed to hear!

We met with Katie this week. We have been talking a lot to her about
the priesthood and encouraged her to receive a blessing of comfort and
counsel. So yesterday the elders came and gave her a blessing. It was
very inspiring for her and she is faithfully pressing forward towards
getting baptized. However, it will not be as soon as we hoped because
she is facing some personal challenges right now that must first be
resolved before she can be baptized. So we are working with her
towards her baptism and maintaining faith, Sometimes I really just
don't like how people choose to use their agency... But then I
remember how Heavenly Father feels about each one of his children and
I am reminded to have patience and compassion. Many of our
investigators this week are struggling with some sort of issue, with
is insanely frustrating as missionaries because you just want shake
them and make them realize that this is the MOST IMPORTANT thing they
should be worried about and striving towards. But agency is a real
thing.... To which I am very grateful. I know the Lord is most
definitely testing my love and patience this week.

On a happier note! We had an AWESOME lesson with Morgan! I have gained
a more clear understanding of the atonement this week. We taught our
Morgan the importance of Jesus Christ and the role he played in Gods
plan for us. We used an object lesson with Ketchup... (Yes it sounds
silly... But it helped him understand). So we poured ketchup in hands
and then asked him to pick up his phone. Of course he wouldn't do
it... So they we scraped off the ketchup and then asked him to pick of
his phone. He still wouldn't do it because his hands were still
sticky! We then told him to go wash his hands and then he was able to
pick up his phone. Sister Patterson and I then explained how each one
of us are covered in Ketchup *figuratively* and how we can try to do
our best to not make mistakes and to repent... To wipe the ketchup off
ourselves... But without the atonement and baptism... We will never be
able to be fully washed clean. It was then that Morgan recognized the
true importance of baptism. We asked him if it was something we still
wanted to work towards and he said yes!! He is progressing VERY WELL,
however He is not quite ready to be baptized YET.. because there are
still many things we are helping him come to understand... Especially
his faith in Jesus Christ. But his desire to know more intrigues me,
and helps to increase my faith and my testimony!  I know that in order
to feel true faith we NEED the atonement. I testify that it is through
the atonement of Jesus Christ we can be cleansed. As we cleanse
ourselves by applying the blessings of the atonement- such as baptism-
we are able to be forgiven of our sins and become pure and clean!

I know that faith and testimonies are strengthened as we strive to do
the little things on a daily basis. God loves us and wants us to
succeed. By obeying and keeping the commandments the lord will guide
our life and we are never alone. It stake conference this weekend they
really focused on obeying the commandments of the Lord. Something that
really stood out to me is-- if the lord wants to give his children
blessings, he must also give them commandments. It makes sense doesn't
it? The Lord desires to bless us and he does so according to our
faith.  The church asks a lot of its members... But what a great
opportunity to demonstrate more faith... Which means more blessings!
Think about it... That's why missionaries are so blessed! Because we
have SO many rules and have to rely on faith! But as we are obedient,
the Lord showers us with blessings and we witness miracles. I testify
that obedience brings happiness and demonstrates our love to Heavenly
Father. There are some days that are harder than others, but as we
have faith and do all we can to live the commandments and submit our
will to the Lords we will be blessed beyond measure. We really aren't
sacrificing much, I was studying in Omni 1:26 this morning and it
states to "offer your whole souls as an offering unto him." Elder Neil
Maxwell said "As you submit your wills to God, you are giving Him the
only thing you can actually give Him that is really yours to give”
Sacrificing our will for Gods through obedience to his laws and
commandments is truly the only way to find everlasting happiness.
There is joy that comes from living the gospel of Jesus Christ. My
challenge to each of you this week is to read alma 32. Compare the
seed to obedience and faith with happiness. Substitute knowledge for
joy. What a cool analogy! I testify that The gospel of Jesus Christ is
a gospel of love and forgiveness. Jesus is the Son of God. He stands
at the head of this church. His representative today is President
Monson. If we follow and OBEY the teachings of the prophet and his
apostles we will not be lead astray.
I hope you all have a wonderful week and I am looking forward to
hearing from you! Thank you for your thoughts and your prayers! I love

Sister Parke

Monday, February 8, 2016

Pictures Happy Missionary

Romeo's Baptism!


Elder Soares and Elder Scott speak at Missionary Training

Trump Tower

Love lunch out with my "sisters"!

Dinner with Brother Lowder

This is what happens to a missionary at 10pm:) Bedtime!!

Love this day!

Setting up for Romeo's Baptim

Baptism Accomplished! ;)

uhh so many stairs while contacting!