Monday, April 25, 2016

In Humility

Dear Family and Friends-

Hello! Things are going great here in lakeshore YSA! Sister Webber and
I are working hard and God is blessing us in so many ways. The time
just keeps going by faster and faster... I can't believe we are
already halfway through the transfer. Sister Webber is doing so good
and is catching on to things real quick. Our personalities are very
similar and we both have the desire to work hard and give the lord our
all. I am so grateful for her! Well. Just going to jump right into
this week!

A member referred his friend Jess and has been teaching her about the
gospel. She has been attending institute every week and LOVES it. She
is reading through the Book of Mormon. We had the opportunity to take
her on a church tour and answer many of her questions! We met with her
for the first actual "missionary lesson" on Tuesday evening. We taught
her about the restoration... Wow she has been soooo prepared to hear
about the gospel. She grew up non-religious but lately has felt like
there is something more. After looking into the church she says she
just feels so much happier and knows it's right. The spirit was
incredibly strong. We taught her how to pray for the first time. We
knelt in prayer with her as she spoke to her Heavenly Father... The
spirit flooded the room. It's moments like those that missionaries
just live for. Jess is amazing and has so much faith! I am so grateful
for the opportunity I have been blessed with to help teach her about
the gospel.

On Friday we contacted as a district! It was so much fun! We had a big
map right outside of a train station for people to write where their
ancestors are from. We were able to share a lot about family history
and the wonderful resources we have been blessed with. Family history
is something that I really take for granted. I have come to appreciate
the importance of learning of our ancestors and taking their names to
the temple! Missionary work is intertwined with family history! It is
all one great work! The contacting activity was a huge success and
many people were interested, we were even able to place 12 Books of
Mormon in one day!

On Saturday we attended a refugee training for a program that we are
going to start working with to serve within the community. World
Relief Chicago is one of ten national organizations contracted with
the US State Department to resettle refugees from around the world and
they do a lot of great work in the Chicago region! There are so many
young single adults there from all over and the WRC organization
ENCOURAGES us to share our religion with those around us! What a great
missionary opportunity!! Sister Webber and I are very excited to help
get the YSA more involved in service! There are so many opportunities
to help those in need. I am grateful for the recent I was a stranger
initiative that encourages us as members of the church to serve all
those we can.

So most definitely the highlight of my week was Carleens baptism. God
is so good, everything went perfectly! I don't even know how to
describe the feelings of happiness that come from watching someone you
have helped gain a testimony be baptized... It's incredible. Thinking
back to the first day I met Carleen, watching her learn and grow in
the gospel is one of the sweetest experiences. The ward was there to
support her and her dad and her sister came to the baptism. The spirit
was so powerful... Carleen had tears streaming down her face. The
gospel brings so much joy!! There is no greater happiness than helping
to bring others closer to Jesus Christ.

Sunday was amazing. President and sister Woodbury came to our ward
because President confirmed Carleen. Wow, the blessing was so
powerful... Carleen is such a special girl and the Lord has so many
good things in store for her. I know she is paving the way for her
family to join the church... Her dad is genuinely interested and asked
for a Book of Mormon and has so many questions! It is just a miracle
to see the lord be involved in the very details of this work. Speaking
of miracles.... So we had a random man named Aquila show up to
Carleens baptism... He wanted to start taking the missionary lessons
and coming to the SA Branch.. Which is a miracle, because the branch
has been fasting for more missionary opportunities. So that is pretty
legit. He just showed up to church and came to the branch. So it will
be interesting to see where this goes!
Ahhh. Back to Jess. She came to church on Sunday which was suuuuper
awesome because she was able to witness Carleens confirmation which
was an incredibly spiritual experience. She has so many questions and
truly is a remarkable girl with genuine intentions about learning more
about the gospel. She is soaking it all in like a sponge! We are
meeting with her Monday evening! So excited.. I already love this

Hmmm. What else... We had another lesson with Matt and Ariel Sunday
evening. We were able to have a very spiritual discussion about trials
and challenges and turning our hearts to God even when hard times
come. They are really starting to open up with us and trust us a lot
more. They are incredible people and I am learning so much from them.

Oh. Another miracle moment. Right before sacrament meeting for the SA
branch sister Webber and I came back out to get a drink of agua... And
a member from another ward  came up and started talking to us. He said
that he felt prompted that he needed to give us a referral for one of
his friends who he felt who benefit from the gospel. Here we are...
Standing there with some member we had never even met and he was
giving us a solid referral! #miracle. That's not even the best part.
We contacted the referral and she was so enthusiastic about learning
more about the gospel! We are meeting with her this week! God is so

Something I have been thinking a lot about lately is Pride. A mission
truly is the MOST HUMBLING experience and it involves enough humility
to give everything to the lord. Annnnd that my friends is easier said
than done. I've been struggling with pride.. How often I
unintentionally find myself thinking that I know best of what work
needs to be done in this area. In essence I have a really hard time
accepting the fact that people have agency.. And that makes me
prideful. TRUST and HUMILITY go hand in hand... We have to be humble
enough to trust God and know that he is ultimately in charge and he
knows each one of his children. Submitting completely MY WILL to HIS
WILL. If we only understood what this truly means. Each day I fall
short.. And catch myself falling into my own selfish thoughts and
desires. But... I am TRYING each day! I desire to serve the lord with
all of my mind, might, and strength.. And that is what he asks of
us... Is the desire to go and to do. He has promised he will make up
for the rest... And he always does! That's why as a missionary I am
blessed to witness so many miracles.. Because each and everyday i
strive and pray for the desire to fulfill gods will.. And as I try to
serve him.. He makes up the difference! I pray that I will not hinder
gods work, rather help it move forward as I humble myself and trust in
him. There is a quote by president Benson that says "We can choose to
humble ourselves by loving God, submitting our will to His, and
putting Him first in our lives." I love it. I know this gospel is true
with all of my heart. I am so grateful for the Savior Jesus Christ and
his patience and Love towards me. I am so thankful for the atonement
that gives me strength and forgiveness of my many shortcomings. I am
so blessed to have the knowledge of the gospel and I have such a
strong desire for others to partake of the happiness that comes from a
personal relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  It is a
remarkable privilege to be able to serve the Lord in his great work. I
encourage each of you to look for oppotunities to serve those around
you and share the light and knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Have a great week!

Sister Rachel Parke

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