Monday, March 14, 2016


Hello friends and family!

Happy St. Patrick's Say! Apparently here in Chicago they take it very
seriously... And by seriously I mean they celebrate for the whole
week... Beginning with dying the river green on Saturday... A parade..
And everyone's excuse to get wasted at 8 am in the morning. So pretty
much we were cautioned to stay away from downtown over the weekend.
Buuut hey happy celebrations for the Irish right? (: I like st.
Patrick's day because it is the day I opened my mission call to
Illinois Chicago mission! Wow, how much changes I'm a year. I am so
happy I am here! So many wonderful experiences!

I'll just jump right into the week! Well the parts of it I can
remember... It was such a blur! We had a lesson with Carleen on
Tuesday night in the mission home! President and sister Woodbury ended
up having us over for dinner! It was awesome. We had a member named
Sarah join us who was just baptized less than two years ago, and she
has a situation that is very similar to what carleen is going through.
What was so cool is that she had been praying for a missionary
opportunity and then we felt inspired to call her the same day for
Carleens lesson. It was so great to have her there and she most
definitely inspired Carleen. We taught her the gospel of Jesus Christ
and focused on baptism and the role of the Holy Ghost. During the
middle of the lesson Carleen said, "I know I want to be baptized, I'm
just concerned about my family and what they may think." Carleen is
exercising so much faith as she is preparing herself to be baptized. I
have never met someone with so much desire to grow and increase their
testimony. She reads and rereads and listens to the scriptures and is
gaining a great understanding. I am so grateful that the lord has
blessed me with the opportunity to teach Carleen about the gospel.

Ahh. What even happened to this week? Sister Patterson and I had a
great lesson with Brie on Thursday and taught her about the gospel of
Jesus Christ. Wow it was a powerful lesson and one of my favorite
parts of being a missionary is being able to watch her testimony grow
and the desires of her heart change. We have only been teaching Brie
for about four weeks and their is  already such a difference in her.
We talked a lot about baptism today, she said as she continues to
learn and read from the Book of Mormon to know if it is true she will
be baptized! Which is a complete change of heart from the first time
we met.. When she was "ONLY interested in learning about what Mormons
believe." So cool, to be able to witness the complete change of heart.
Yup. She's pretty great!

Alright so Thursday I was definitely having one of the harder days of
being a missionary... We were contacting on the trains all morning..
And really I just wasn't feeling like talking to anyone. But I told
myself I was going to do it... So we spent about two hours trying to
talk to people... And at the end... Nothin. So, yeah it was quite
discouraging.... But ya know sometimes it's life so we picked our
spirits up.. (Ate some chocolate-thanks mom) and went along the way!..
As we went throughout the day I was still struggling with just loving
the work... I felt like trying to contact people was pointless and no
one wanted to listen anyway. Yes...every missionary has these thoughts
cross his/her mind at some point or another. So anyways after along
day sister Patterson and I were feeling quite discouraged. A long day
of contacting with what felt like zero success. Minutes later the
phone rings... a random number was calling! We pick up the phone and
it was a man named Eli whom I had sat next to on the train earlier
that Morning and taught him a little about what we believed and the
Book of Mormon-earlier that day he had expressed no interest in
learning about religion so I handed him a card with our number on it
and went along our merry little way. Turns out... He felt like he
needed to learn more about the Book of Mormon and sought further
clarification as to what it was all about. Eli then asked how he could
get a copy.... (Missionary dream come true) and we are meeting with
him sometime next week to give him a Book of Mormon and teach him more
about it. SO COOL. After we hung up the phone sister Patterson and I
just looked at each other thinking... Did that just happen?! Heavenly
Father is ever so aware of his missionaries and his children! He has
so many hearts that are being prepared to receive the gospel as
missionaries go forward with faith the Lord blesses them for their
efforts even if it seems in vain. The lord definitely answered my
prayers tonight. I am so grateful for the tender mercies I witness
each day.

Friday was awesome. Sister Patterson and I had the amazing opportunity
to attend the temple with Romeo and preform baptisms for the dead. It
was his first time in the temple and it was such a great experience.
Helping people to grow and progress in the gospel is an indescribable
experience. When if first came into this area Romeo was interested in
learning about the gospel.., and now he is attending the temple! Which
is soooo exciting because the whole purpose of missionary work it to
have everyone return back to live with Heavenly Father through making
sacred covenants with him. Anyways, I'm super grateful for the people
God is placing in my path and allowing me to be am instrument on his
hands to help teach them.

I can't believe transfers are in three weeks. I DONT want sister
Patterson to leave! I love her so much, she helps me and brings me up
when I am down. I feel so blessed to have her as a companion. I am
praying we will get to stay together! We had quite the adventure
together this weekend!

Sunday was probably one of the longest days of my whole life. We had a
stake meeting with the ward councils, president Woodbury, and the
stake presidency discussing ways to help members and missionaries work
together. The meeting was at 7 am but with daylight savings it really
was at 6 am. Sooo we had to wake up super early.. Anyways everything
was going great until we left the apartment to drive to the meeting
and.... NO KEYS. we left them in the apartment AGAIN. We both
panicked.... We could not miss this meeting! The only option was to
train to the meeting... So we walked-ran- to the train in the pouring
rain, thankfully we made it to the meeting..but arrived SOAKING wet.
Ah it was quite the adventure. Buuuut that was not all... We couldn't
get back into our apartment or car until This morning so we ended up
staying at another sisters apartment. It was a long day of walkin in
the rain, and I definitely felt empathy for the homeless. But on the
bright side... Carleen came to church and stayed the whole time! The
people in the ward really made her feel welcome. She is such a darling
girl. It was so cool the relief society lesson was all about the
restoration. It was perfect! She texted us after church and told us
she talked with her parents and her dad was totally okay with it and
he actually wanted to come to church and learn more!! Answer to
prayers?! Um. YES.

I love this Easter season... The new church Easter initiative video
came out, it is called "hallelujah" I encourage each of you to watch
it. I have found new life in Jesus Christ! It is because of him that
we are able to be forgiven of our sins and become better each and
every day. I know this church is true without a doubt in my mind.
Jesus Christ is my light and my strength. I testify of the small and
simple things thAt strengthen a testimony. If you desire for your
testimony to be strengthened.. Bear witness of the plain and simple
truths you know. The spirit will always bear witness of the truth.
Thank you for all of your love and support! I sure love all of you!
You are in my prayers!

Sister Parke

Figured I'd share a list we've come up with of funny things to expect
when in Chicago.
-There is always an ambulance and a fire truck with every police
officer, even if they're pulling someone over
-If you miss a one-way turn, you have to take like 5 turns to make it up
-Hazard lights are your official park-anywhere-lights, and you can
seriously park anywhere you want to, including the middle of the road
-The freeways are all 55mph but everyone still drives 70-80mph
-In Chicago the breakdown lane is actually an additional lane everyone
feels comfortable using it.
-There is a Dunkin' Donuts, star bucks, and McDonald's at least every half mile
-Gas is always about $1.75, and never goes over $2
-There are little graveyards and cemeteries (there is a difference)
everywhere you go with old creepy headstones like in movies
-sirens sounds at least every five minutes during the night.
-st Patrick's day really just means national " excuse to get
absolutely wasted at 9 am" day. Kids, stay inside
-wind definitely can and will push you if you dare to venture out
-if you get lost and walk two blocks, you will be in a completely
different neighborhood,  which can either be really good or bad
-if someone is going too slow, it's acceptable to pull up next to them
at a stop sign or stop light and then speed around them
-you get honked at least 3 times daily, sometimes even if you're just walking
-It's totally normal to meet people from at least 5 countries on any given day
-if you don't lock your apartment building, it's very likely to find a
homeless man inside
-Chicago has a whole road dedicated to lgbt aka "rainbow road"
-sometimes it rains ice shards and they hurt your face.
-it's fashionable to wear a coat that goes down to your knees or lower
-never never never say you don't like deep dish pizza. The whole city
will be personally offended.

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