Monday, February 8, 2016

Happy Missionary

Hello Everyone!
What an eventful week! I am telling you what, the Lord is blessing us
in so many ways... Especially the weather. It has been so warm this
past week! So much has happened and the past couple days have just
FLOWN by. We went on two exchanges this week with the sisters in our
zone, so that made the time seem to disappear! There have been so many
countless miracles, especially as I took over the area for a day and
had to navigate our way downtown to get to our appointments when
taking the "L". Thank goodness for maps.
We met with a member of the branch presidency this week, and he took
us out to dinner and we were able to discuss the needs of the branch.
We went to this restaurant called "big bowl" and it literally was just
that... There was a whole VEGGIE counter where you picked all your
veggies put them in a huge bowl... Handed it to the chef and he fried
them up for ya...Heaven on earth. Yum. Anyways that's beside the
actual point here. We discussed a lot of ways to help the branch and
increase the member missionary work and reaching out to those
individuals in the ward who may be struggling. It was extremely
helpful to get some insight on how to effectively hasten the work by
strengthening the ward!
Anyways after that we hopped on the trains to head home. We were all
crammed into the train car like sardines... Big poofy coats and all...
I'm sure you can imagine how awkward we must have been feeling. I
looked down and see this girl (Brianna) reading a book about God. I
start talking with her and asking her questions about her book and get
to know her better. Well, she is a freshman at DePaul and has been
questioning her current religion because of the foundational doctrine,
so she has been doing a lot of study and research of different
religions. She told me about the questions she has about God and how
she is seeking to know answers. Coolest part of being a missionary. So
I started to tell her about the Book of Mormon and she wanted to know
more! We exchanged information and were able to get in contact and we
are meeting with her on Tuesday and teach her about the gospel to
answer her questions!
Now, this is another good part of being crammed On the train. The man
standing next to us was eavesdropping the whole time and after the
young woman got up and left he approached us and said "I've never
heard of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints before? I
grew up Catholic is it the same?" Ha so then we had the amazing
opportunity to tell him more about the church. He was extremely
interested and actually contacted us (this never happens!) to set up
an appointment to meet with him and teach him more! I am a firm
believer that the Lord places people in our path whose hearts are
being prepared to hear and learn about the gospel. Amazing miracles...
Each and every day!
So Wednesday morning was kinda difficult cause we always have so much
to do and keep track of, and it was finally getting to us. I may have
had a slight anxiety attack haha, thank goodness for my amazing
companion who reassured me and helped me to focus on all the things we
are doing well. Then we get to district meeting and guess what they
decided to talk about?! All about what love is and how we love our
family, friends, investigators, companions, and ourselves. It was so
inspired after what Sister Patterson and I had been talking about that
morning! How did our district leader know? What boy decides to sit
down and teach for an hour about love haha? It's because he was
praying to know our needs and so Heavenly Father directed him to know
what to share that would help us. And it did. Super cool experience.
On Saturday morning we had an appointment with Morgan at his apartment
which happens to be right smack dab in the middle of downtown. Long
story short, we ended up getting lost because it's quite difficult to
navigate Chicago without Siri... So  somehow  we wandered down to a
dark and scary street-- lower wacker ha which is the street batman
where batman was filmed. Needless to say.. It was a little sketch,
however we did run into batman and tried to convert him. Just kidding.
Thankfully we were able to be rescued by Morgan and finally make it
back to his apartment. The lesson was great and and he had many good
questions about the Book of Mormon. We taught him the restoration and
talked a lot about prophets and revelation. He prayed for the first
time and we committed him to pray to know if the Book of Mormon is
true. AWESOME...
Sunday was a busy busy day. We had three investigators come to church
which was awesome! We also met with the relief society presidency and
visiting teacher coordinators to discern the needs of the sisters
within our ward and those who are no longer in contact with the
church... Seeking out the lost sheep! So yes, that was wonderful,
annnnd extremely helpful.
So Morgan showed up and stayed the whole time.. He even came to the
linger longer after church and then he came to the baptism and brought
his girlfriend! He spent ALL DAY with the ward, this ward is
incredible and has just soaked him up. He kept asking, "what makes you
all so happy? How are you so happy all the time?" Morgan is
progressing very well, and hopefully we can begin to start teaching
his girlfriend too! Now, for the BEST part of my Sunday... And whole
week.... ROMEO WAS BAPTIZED. It was absolutely amazing. There was so
much support from the ward... President and sister Woodbury... and
ALSO his girlfriend who does not support his decision to be baptized
even showed up. Everything went very smoothly, and the spirit was so
strong. I played a piano piece for a special musical number, which was
a Tender mercy  and definitely was helped by the Lord because I had
ZERO time to practice at all this week. Romeo received the Holy Ghost
and was confirmed a member the same night because of circumstances
that we will be having stake conference next week. At the end Romeo
stood up and bore his testimony and told his conversion story. Wow. It
was incredibly powerful. The lord is gathering his elect... To stand
and to bear witness of him in the last days. Romeo has been prepared
by the lord to receive this gospel so that he may accomplish the great
work and divine plan God had for him. It is such a neat experience to
watch someone change their heart and turn their will to God. I
couldn't stop smiling at Romeos baptism. I am so happy for him..l am
so happy to be a missionary and for moments like last night where I
just know... Without a doubt in my mind... This is the Lords work. I
am so happy to be a missionary.

On Saturday evening we traveled out of our mission to meet as a
mission council with the leaders of our mission and the Illinois
Chicago west mission. We had the unique and sacred opportunity to hear
from a member of presidency of the seventy, Elder Soares and an area
of the seventy Elder Scott. They taught us more about the teachings
from the worldwide missionary training we had two weeks ago about
teaching repentance and baptizing converts. It was incredible being
able to learn and seek counsel from Elder Soares and Elder Scott. I am
very inspired to become a more consecrated missionary. I am also very
humbled that the Lord would call me to participate in this very
important work. Elder Soares talked a lot about who we were before
this life and our responsibility to share the gospel and assist in the
Lords work. It was a very special experience, one that I will never
forget. The spirit was incredibly strong as I looked among the small
group of missionaries.. Recognizing that we all chose before this life
to defend and teach the gospel to help our brothers and sisters make
it back to live with God. We studied D&C 138: 29-31; 56-57, and it is
interesting to think that my purpose was the same before my mission...
As it is now on the mission... And will be after my mission.  To bring
souls unto Christ, and to teach and proclaim this gospel. How easy it
is to get caught up in the distractions of life that cause us to
forget who we are, and who God needs us to become. Now, more than ever
The Lord needs us to rise up and defend his word! One of the most
important things I have learned on my mission is that... It is not
good enough to only believe... We must act on our faith.

I know this gospel is true. Jesus Christ is the source for true and
everlasting happiness. I know that through him our efforts are able to
be made whole. I am striving daily to rely more on the Lord for
strength. I am so grateful for the Lords patience with me, he helps me
to see beyond myself.

I hope you have a fantastic week! And a happy Valentine's Day! ❤️❤️ I
will be spending my Valentine's Day with the young SINGLE adults and
the SINGLE adults... Celebrating SINGLE awareness day! Best ward to be
in. Thank you so much for all of your prayers, love, and support!

Sister Parke

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