Monday, March 7, 2016

New Life

Hello Everyone!!

Hello from Chicago! Things are starting to warm up a bit here and I
could not be more excited! This is my favorite time of the year,
everything is coming back to life and reminds me of the resurrection
of the Savior. The Easter initiative video that the church has
produced is all about finding new life in Jesus Christ. It is
powerful! I am so excited for all of you to see it! Perks of being a
missionary... (; isn't it such an exciting time of the year?
Celebrating new life! What a great time of year to share the gospel
and the good news that HE LIVES and BECAUSE OF HIM we are able to live
again. Ah, I just get so excited, because as a missionary... This is
the most powerful part of our message! It was no coincidence that we
were able to teach Carleen all about the resurrection in our last
lesson with her! We were able to teach her in the mission home again
with President and Sister Woodbury. Carleen has so many amazing
questions all about exactly what we were talking about! Her aunt
recently just passed away and the lesson about the resurrection of
Jesus Christ and eternal life was perfect timing. She said that
everything is just lining up and falling into place. She feels better
and recognizes the goodness that comes from the gospel. She desires to
know how to prepare for baptism and when she will be baptized.
Carleen ended the lesson with the most powerful prayer and testified
that she knew the things we taught her were true! The  spirit was
incredibly strong. Teaching Carleen with president and sister Woodbury
is a cherished memory I will most definitely never forget.

On Tuesday, I went on exchanges with sister mangar this week. She is
from Nepal and converted to the church 3 years ago and decided to
serve a mission! She is so awesome and an amazing at contacting. So
the day of the exchange it decided to be a blizzard. Why? I have no
idea, but it made it quite the adventure! We witnessed many miracles
and a stronger testimony that even when things don't go the way that
we've had planned, as long as we are obedient and righteous we will
always accomplish the things the lord has planned. So sadly our
appointment with Brianna  fell through, at first I was quite
disappointed... But then we still had the opportunity to meet with the
member we had scheduled to come with us. She really opened up to us
and the lesson we taught her was EXACTLY what she needed at the
moment. It was a tender mercy and a very spiritual experience. Another
cool miracle on the exchange.. We met with one of our recent
converts. She has been really struggling with her testimony and
understanding the scriptures and feeling her prayers were being
answered and if God even knew her. Sister mangar was so awesome and
boldly asked her, "have you been keeping all of the commandments? "
come to find out, she hadn't been reading her scriptures in months!
She claimed she didn't know how to read the scriptures... So I handed
her my Book of Mormon and told her to open it and to start reading.
She OPENED it to the EXACT scripture I had studied that morning as I
prayed to know what to share with her. It was the COOOLEST experience
ever. She asked... "how did you do that? How did you know that is
exactly what I needed right now? How did you know where to find the
answer to my prayers?" The spirit is incredibly powerful. I have a
strong Testimony of being able to discern the needs of others through
the guidance of the Holy Ghost.
Then, we were walking to get to the train and then felt prompted to go
visit a less active man named Eddy. Didn't really want to go....
Because it was blizzarding outside.... But sis mangar is incredibly
ambitious and we started the trek to his apartment. We finally got
there and the door man I think felt so bad for us that he buzzed us
in. We start talking with him... And then moments later... Eddy comes
walking down the stairs and says "sisters! I'm so glad to see you! I
have been prayin you would come!" Wow. It was powerful. Eddy was
baptized almost 2 years ago and sadly relapsed into drugs. However
over the past few months he has been completely clean and is handing
his life back to God and has been attending church the past few weeks!
MIRACLES. What a happy exchange.

We were able to teach Brie a lesson this week and it was so awesome.
Even though we have only been teaching her for the past four weeks I
am able to notice such a change in her. She read from the Book of
Mormon.... YAY. And we asked her how she felt... She described it as
if she felt "enlightened" we then read alma 32:28 with her all about
faith and experimenting on our faith and how it enlightens our minds
and hearts. SO COOL.

On Friday we had mission council. Wow, it was incredibly powerful. On
Thursday we received a phone call from the APs asking if sister
Patterson and I would be willing to teach for a half hour in mission
council. Most. Intimidating. Thing. Ever. Buuut after all was said and
done it was such an amazing experience and opportunity I am so
grateful for. We taught about the importance of working with members
and how missionaries and members need to work together in hastening
the lords work. President Woodbury has caught the vision of working
with the members and we are going to Begin a huge focus as a mission
council in helping our missionaries.. Help the members to "catch the
vision!" I don't know how to describe mission council. Other than it
is one of the most spiritual meetings and filled will enlightenment
and receiving direction from God and the spirit on how the work should
go forth. I truly testify of the importance of councils within the
church. You know you're a missionary when a four hour meeting is the
highlight of your whole month. (: I'm so excited for the direction
this mission is heading. President Woodbury is on his homestretch of
his time here an is giving it all he has! I am standing there right
there with him giving the lord all I am into this work. The time is
now to focus all of our efforts as a mission in helping this work go

On Saturday our awesome Ward mission leader took us out to lunch at a
fancy authentic Chinese restaurant and Morgan and Cecila were able to
join us. The food was quite interesting.... Not going to even ask what
I ate... But the best part was, being able to spend time with Morgan
and Cecila! We talked for a while and Cecilia wants to start taking
the missionary lessons with Morgan.! YAY. We asked them how they
became interested in learning about Christianity and about God. They
shared with us a special experience they had with prayer. Two years
ago they had moved to America and were traveling and their car broke
down and they were stranded in the middle of no where. Although they
were not raised to believe in god they had heard about him and knew
very little... But they did know about prayer. Cecilia said that they
prayed and said to god if he would help them then they would believe
in him. How strong their faith was and sure enough, minutes after
praying to God, a man showed up to their car parked on the side of the
road and asked if he could help. Morgan and Cecilia both could not
deny that experience and started to seek out God in their lives. Isn't
that such a cool story?? I got chills when they were telling me about
it. They are both so amazing and their desire to learn inspires me!

Romeo is doing very well! He went contacting with us on Saturday, we
took him on the trains, buses, walking down the streets... You name
it! He is practically a professional missionary! It was very fun. His
progression in the gospel is inspiring. He has received the priesthood
and now passes the sacrament every Sunday. He received his temple
recommend and we are hopefully going with him on Friday to to
baptisms. His testimony is so powerful and strong. On Sunday he got up
to bear his testimony and I am touched by his faith. Ahhh.. Sunday was
such a wonderful day! Carleen came to church with Aaron. We fasted
with her that her parents hearts may be softened. We have a lesson
with her tomorrow night and I am so excited... She is progressing very
well and being able to witness her testimony grow is inspiring!! I
already have so much love for her!

Also, another miracle.... One of the less actives that we have been
working with over the past couple months (Arleen) actually came to
church after five months!!! It was AWESOME. She bore her testimony and
it was sooooo powerful. She testified about the importance of coming
to church and partaking of the sacrament and how crucial it is to
maintain our testimony. We went over and had a lesson with her later
that evening and wow, it was so cool. Arleen told us how she made a
promise to God that she would come to church EVERY week from here on
out. Talk about faith building experience! So... Because of my
experience about faith last night.. This morning I have been studying
on faith and how to develop our faith. Truly the foundation of our
testimony is FAITH in Jesus Christ  and if our faith is not
continually being strengthened how easy it is for our foundation to
fall. Working with active and less active members and noticing the
differences between their testimonies helps me to understand the
importance of doing the small and simple things each an everyday and
partake of the sacrament we commit to the Lord that we will always
remember him. As members do we really understand what that means? To
always remember him? The Lord knew we would need to partake of the
sacrament weekly to remind ourselves the importance of our faith. One
thing that really stood out to me this week is that regardless of who
we are or where we are or how strong our testimonies may be we are
never immune to temptation. Each of us are at risk of losing our faith
if we do not do the small and simple things each and every day.
Sincere prayer and reading the scriptures daily and critical in order
to remain firm in the faith. I love Mosiah chapter 5 in the Book of
Mormon talking about faith and encouraging us to Be steadfast and
immovable! I know the lord is there, and he is committed to each one
of his children. I testify that as we focus on doing the best we can,
the savior will take us where we are and he lift us and make us into
who he knows we can become. When we fall, he picks us back up and
through him we can become better. My new favorite quote this week is
by Elder Scott, "I am just me, but with the lords help I am enough." I
testify that I know this is true. If we could truly understand Gods
love for us, we would never have a moment of doubt or discouragement.
We come to feel gods love through prayer and scripture study! I
encourage and challenge each of you this week to set apart time each
day to sincerely pray and study the scriptures! I promise that as you
do you will receive the comforting assurance that Heavenly Father is
aware of you and he LOVES YOU. Have a wonderful week!

Sister Rachel Parke

No comments:

Post a Comment