Monday, April 11, 2016

Armies of Helaman

Hello Family and Friends!
Wow. The past few days have been so busy! On Monday night we received a phone call from the APs saying that we needed to spend the night at the mission home with a new sister who just arrived to the mission! It was so fun to spend my last night with sister Patterson in the mission home and getting to know the new sister who is from Utah and attended weber state! Crazy right? Small world. Anyways... Tuesday was absolutely insane. Drove down to Indiana dropped off sister Patterson and then picked up my new companion sister Webber. Oh my goodness. What a day! I sure love my new companion! We are going to get along very well I just know it... It's meant to be because... 1. She was a swimmer and loves to run. (YAY RUNNING BUDDY) 2. She shares the same love for bananas. 3. She's just awesome. Sister Webber is from Rigby Idaho. She is an incredibly hard worker and I am very excited to work right along beside her as we go about doing the lords work in this area! 
So let's get down to the nitty gritty... This week has been full of miracles! The best feeling as a missionary is coming home at the end of the day completely EXHAUSTED. apologies in advance., this email is going to be all over the place! Pretty much the past few days in Chicago it's decided to be a Blizzard in April. Which makes contacting very fun. I don't think I have ever laughed or cried so hard in my life. Oh my goodness sister Webber is hilarious and absolutely incredible! I just love her. Plus she is theeee beeeest missionary contact-er ever literally... She takes talking to everyone to a whole new level. So yup. Talking to peeps in chi town lots of good stories.. And so many PNIs! I can just tell this is going to be such a good transfer! President interviewed sister Webber and I together after mission council tonight and promised that as we relied on the lord and worked hard and obedient the lord would bless us with the fruit of our Labors. Such a cool promise. 
Since sister Webber has gotten here we have just been witnessing miracles left and right. Randomly on Thursday we get this phone call from a man from Thailand who moved here to America and had been taking the lessons from missionaries back there. He has a Book of Mormon and has been reading it everyday. He told us that he knew it was true and that he wanted to be baptized!! Sister Webber and I just looked at each other like... What in the world??? So yes. He lord is preparing people and it is miraculous. Talking about baptism. We had an amazing lesson with Carleen with president and sister Woodbury on Thursday night. Carleen is so prepared for baptism... The whole lesson was on alma 24 and making covenants with God... We invited Carleen to be baptized... And she said "I just feel like I need to receive the Holy Ghost" And then out of the blue... President said. "There's a baptism tonight... Right now! We must go!" So we all hop in the car together... drive to the church down the street and witness the baptism. It was so comforting to Carleen and such an answer to prayers. We went back to the mission home and president made us crepes... And we talked more about baptism... And Carleen has made the decision to be BAPTIZED ON APRIL 23rd!!! Could not be more excited... 
Ahh what else... So funny story! We saw a woman giving money to a homeless lady.. And it melted our hearts. We thought, hey this woman really deserves the gospel! Sad part was... It took is about 10 seconds to finally recognize the prompting and the woman was already down the street. So we decided... We were going to run after her. Yes. We ran. She was generally interested and we swapped contact info hopefully meeting with her sometime this week! 
So remember the man that we met in the library last week? Well.. Our first lesson with carter was amazing! We taught him the restoration and all about the Book of Mormon! He was very receptive to the message and committed to read the Book of Mormon. We invited him to baptism on the first lesson.. Which was very powerful! He said he would continue to study... And that he felt the Holy Spirit while reading from it and meeting with us! Soooo cool. We have an appointment to meet up with him next week! Very excited about that! 
We had a lesson with a less active in our branch, and her niece was there. We have taught her lessons in the past. Anyways long story short, she has started coming to church. It was a very powerful lesson and she wants to be baptized! Sadly, she is heading back to Puerto Rico next we are going to set her up with the missionaries there! 
Sunday was such a blur. It was fast Sunday at we were in church from 9-4 and then we had to teach a fireside afterwards that didn't get done until 6 then we had a lesson downtown right after... Since we don't like to pay for parking on Sunday's... We walked 2 miles in the wet rain. Man, What a day. We worked hard and the Lord blessed us! An awesome part of our day and a miracle of fasting... We had a member from another ward come up to us during church telling us about a friend he has that has been interested about learning about the church and has been reading from the Book of Mormon. We are giving her a tour of the church this week and we are so very excited!! 
So...Sister Webber and I set a goal for the week to find five new investigators by Sunday. We knew it would be a challenge but we knew the lord would bless us for our diligence and would make our efforts whole. So we worked soooo hard this week. We were able to get two new investigators.. But by the time Sunday came we were a little unsure because all of our pnis weren't getting back to us. Buuuut miracle moments. Matt and Ariel (new investigators) has friends-who wanted to learn about the Book of Mormon- join us for a lesson! Instant four new investigators. The lord is so good, and I know he helps us reach our goals if we are willing to put forth the effort! 
I have been studying in the alma chapters about the 2,000 stripling warriors. What a wonderful example... Their strong faith and courage and trust inspires me to become a better missionary. As I have been studying the war chapters more in depth I have gained a deeper appreciation for these young men who left behind their families and put their trust in God and defended their faith. So, maybe it is just because I am a missionary... But I found so many similarities to missionary work as I read through chapters 56-58. A few things that really stood out to me were...
The courage these young men had.. I am sure they knew it would be hard and scary, but they had been taught by their mothers, and they put their trust in God and knew he would deliver them. I also love that they are upon the midst of war and how easy it would have been for them to let their guard down and become discouraged but they remembered their responsibility and duty to God at all times. 
What also stuck out to me was their firm and undaunted faith.. They were so faithful and obeyed with exactness! Even when things grew harder they did not doubt or murmur.. They knew God would protect them. Obviously this did not mean none of them weren't injured or hurt.. Or they didn't have challenges or trials... Or moments of doubt and fear.. For it says that many were wounded. However, despite these challenges they remained steadfast and faithful, and none of the young men lost their lives. There a many things I have taken away from the story of the armies of helaman. Especially as I have prayed and fasted to know how I can utilize the atonement of Jesus Christ to help me improve as a missionary. I am but an imperfect missionary trying to teach a perfect gospel! I am so humbled each and every day as I witness the Lords hand in this work. I LOVE the primary song, we'll bring the world his truth.
We are as the army of Helaman.
We have been taught in our youth.
And we will be the Lord’s missionaries
To bring the world his truth. 
I know his plan, and I will prepare,
Increase my knowledge through study and prayer.
Daily I'll learn, for I have been called
To take the gospel to all the world."

I know what we seek for Heavenly Father will help us find. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is good. This is the light and hope of the world. I know that through Jesus Christ we are able to make it back to live with our Father in Heaven. I love this perfect gospel!
I hope you have a great week! I invite you to reread the conference talks! Thank you for your love and support! 
Sister Parke 

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