Monday, February 1, 2016

The Lord is my Light

Hello everyone!

What an incredible week!  No longer in a trio which was sad to see
sister stringham go, but we haven't had too much time to think about
it because we have been so busy! Such an unforgettable birthday
teaching people about the most important gift! We had a few lessons on
my birthday, one was with our investigator Connor. He is going to
school here in Chicago and was interested in learning more about the
Mormon religion. So he referred himself... Because he was studying
religion and was "naturally drawn to Mormonism" (in other words... The
spirit) and we have been teaching him ever since! He is progressing
very well and has been doing a lot of studying in the Book of
Mormon.... He actually proved to himself that it was true while trying
to discover if Joseph smith was a prophet of God. SO. COOL. Anyways,
he has a lot of hard questions which are difficult to answer...
However I have a testimony that the spirit is the teacher and I
absolutely am not! Connor is coming to institute tomorrow night and
hopefully he will find some answers to what he is seeking. I love his
lessons because they help to teach me so much!
I also had a special experience on my birthday in a lesson with Romeo.
So we met him in the Harold Washington library -So cool biggest
library ever- and we had a lesson all planned out for him. We started
the lesson and felt the need to teach him about temples. So we started
teaching him about the importance of temples and the sacred covenants
that we make with Heavenly Father. This was extra special to me
because I had been reflecting all morning about the temple... Because
It just so happens that I had the opportunity to go through the temple
ON my birthday LAST YEAR. Coincidence? absolutely not. It was such a
neat experience to be teaching Romeo about the temple and helping him
understand the importance of making those sacred promises with God. He
is exercising so much faith as he prepares for his baptism which will
now be on the 7th (this Sunday). There are is so much opposition
leading up to his baptism, however he is holding strong to his
testimony and faith in God.

On Wednesday we had 4 lessons and taught at district meeting. It was a
little crazy.. But awesome! We had Chicago deep dish pizza with Munah,
a member from Liberia. She has such a powerful testimony! She told us
about her childhood and how she grew up during the civil war. Her
family walked for hundreds of miles after her dad was found dead and
they got kicked out of their home by the rebels. You always see these
things on movies, but it is real life! I am so grateful to live in
this country! It may have its struggles, but we are so blessed with a
safe home to stay in and the assurance of always having something to
eat! There are so many people from all over the world here.. I
absolutely love it! I get to meet so many interesting people and hear
so many stories! Speaking of which...  On Sunday we had a man named
Morgan come to church he is from China and travels back and forth
quite a bit for work. About a month ago he just showed up at church
and wanted to learn more. We gave him a Book of Mormon and he FINISHED
all of it in the past three weeks when he was in China. He came to
church this week and had so many questions! How exciting! We have an
appointment with him on Saturday!
Also, another miracle moment... After sacrament meeting I was
surprised when a son of a member up in buffalo grove (my old ward) who
I knew quite well, came to the YSA ward and brought his girlfriend.
They came up to us, and he introduced us to his girlfriend Carleen and
said she wanted to start taking the lessons! Yay! We have an
appointment with her this week! Finding through the members is the
BEST. Member missionary work is the key! The ward and the branch are
soooo awesome! Sunday night was very fun. The branch president of the
SA ward invited us and the AP's over for dinner. They have a beautiful
home here in Chicago and dinner was so yummy. It was awesome to talk
with them and to get to know them better while discussing the needs of
the branch. Currently we have 60 active people attending... Our goal
is to help this branch strengthen and become unified so that they can
grow and expand. We are very busy seeking out those who may have
fallen away and bringing them back to church.

This week I have been pondering on faith... And the will of God. As a
missionary I am constantly trying to align my efforts in accordance to
the Lords so that I may be an effective instrument in his hands in
blessing others. The tricky part is sometimes I feel overwhelmed and
get stuck in the mindset that it is too hard and I begin to lack in
faith.   This is when it is easy for me to feel discouraged and gives
me feelings of self doubt and disappointment. However, God has blessed
all of his children with the gift of the spirit, and so long as we are
faithful to him, he has promised blessings and guidance!

So as I have been studying I have really wanted to know how I can best
prepare myself to know what God would have me do. Of course the first
thing do to in order to receive revelation from Heavenly Father is
Prayer. The power of a faithful prayer will offer answers and
encouragement that bring peace and hope.  The next thing I have
recognized is the need to follow the promptings of the spirit, and act
upon them...even if it doesn't make sense. It seems logical to always
follow the spirit... But it is easy to get caught up in personal
desires and forget that God is ultimately in charge! One of the things
I have found helps to see gods hand in this work and in my own life is
to review daily miracles-tender mercies and gifts from God.

I have reflected upon the Army of Helaman and I am inspired by their
faith and power in prayer. They took the leap of faith when it seemed
impossible. That is probably what stuck out to me the most....When we
take the leap of faith the Lord blesses us, with God nothing is
impossible. He blesses us with the comforting power of the spirit.
Just as the army of Helaman, I'm sure the sistuation was not
necessarily ideal as they were surrounded by lamanites and starving.
But the lord blessed them with peace beyond their circumstances... And
I know he will do the same for us as we exercise faith in him.
Even when things do not go the way we want or expect.... That is when
the real test of faith comes in. LEARNING TO PUT TRUST IN HIM. I came
across my favorite scripture which happens to be my mission scripture
in my studies yesterday.... "2 nephi 22:2" I was then prompted to turn
to a hymn  "the Lord is My Light"
The Lord is my light; then why should I fear?
By day and by night his presence is near.
He is my salvation from sorrow and sin;
This blessed assurance the Spirit doth bring.

The Lord is my light; tho clouds may arise,
Faith, stronger than sight, looks up thru the skies
Where Jesus forever in glory doth reign.
Then how can I ever in darkness remain?

The Lord is my light; the Lord is my strength.
I know in his might I’ll conquer at length.
My weakness in mercy he covers with pow’r,
And, walking by faith, I am blest ev’ry hour.

The Lord is my light, my all and in all.
There is in his sight no darkness at all.
He is my Redeemer, my Savior, and King.
With Saints and with angels his praises I’ll sing.

The Lord is my light;
He is my joy and my song.
By day and by night
He leads, he leads me along.

God is ultimately in charge.  I know he has a plan for each one of us.
I have a testimony of this gospel. I know it is true with no doubt.
The more I read the Book of Mormon the more I find it applies to my
life. The Lord is and always will be MY LIGHT.

I love and miss you all! Have a wonderful week!

Sister Parke

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