Monday, May 30, 2016

Pictures Eternal Families

Learning how to Knit!

Zone conference temple Day!

I love the temple!

New Eternal Family the Kapplemans!

Such a wonderful day!

Loved my package mom...just what I needed!


Love this Family!

Friday night as a missionary. Whoo-hoo!!
Special Memorial Day Lunch and Knitting class! Just what I needed that day!

Eternal Families

Hello Everyone!

This week has been a good one!! I don't even know where to start! On
Wednesday we had the wonderful opportunity to attend the temple as a
zone with president and sister Woodbury. We were able to participate
in an endowment session and then following we went and did a sealing
session, and each of the missionaries were able to act In proxy for
the children. Originally, I wanted to save my first sealing experience
for when I get married... However, I could not pass up the incredible
opportunity to participate in a sealing session with my mission
president! It was very special to witness and participate in sealings
for the first time and hear of the sacred promises. I am so grateful
for the power of the priesthood and the authority that is given to
bind and seal families here on earth for all time and eternity. True
JOY comes within families! Families truly are the MOST important!

Thursday we had a lesson with one of our new investigators Diamond
that we met in the bus a few weeks ago. We were able to teach her
about the restoration and the power of the Book of Mormon. It was so
great she accepted it all and said she felt like this was an answer to
her prayers and God sent us to her. What was sooo cool is that we had
one of our recent converts come with us and she did such an amazing
job teaching and testifying about the restoration. It was theeee best!
When I first got to the area she was having a hard time getting to
church... We have been working with her a lot meeting with her once a
week and she has been coming to church! She also just received her
temple recommend and her patriarchal blessing. Ah, I love her so much
and I am SO happy for her! I am also very excited for Diamond, I know
the gospel will help provide peace in her life.

On Saturday we had the opportunity to witness a sealing of a family in
my old area. The kappelmans sealing was one of sweetest experiences on
my mission. It was my very first live sealing. The spirit was so
strong... Seeing their whole family there.. Dressed in white! It was
almost as if they were glowing. True joy. TRUE JOY. Is found in the
gospel of Jesus Christ! I am so grateful for the power of the
priesthood and that we have the opportunity to be sealed to those that
we love for all of eternity! Families are forever! Our ultimate goal
is to be able to return to live with our Heavenly Father with our
families! It was so wonderful to see all the people I love from my old
area! It was honestly like going back home to family. Such a tender
experience! All of these relationships I will forever cherish! I feel
so blessed.

Sunday was a day full miracles. For starters. Jess came to church,
always a good day. I can't even get over how amazing she is. Also,
three less actives we have been working with CAME TO CHURCH! It was so
great! Later Sunday evening we had a fireside for all of the new
members and recent converts. We felt prompted to invite Jess to come..
It was PERFECT for her. All of the testimonies given strengthened her
own testimony and answered many of her questions. As a closing hymn we
sang "I am a child of God." She had never heard it before, and as we
sang the spirit was so strong. By the fourth verse she couldn't sing
any longer--tears streamed down her face-- she felt Gods love for her
and knew that she is a child of God. It was such a tender experience.
Jess is very special and I love her so much! Sunday evening after the
fireside we had about an hour until curfew. Sister Webber and I prayed
and felt like we needed to head to the lake to do some contacting. God
led us to a man named Michael. When we walked up to him and introduced
ourselves he said that he had just been praying to God. He told us he
already had a Book of Mormon and wanted to learn more. #miracle. Later
that night we received a referral from some other missionaries for a
solid investigator. God truly does answer prayers. Sister Webber and I
have been working hard and praying to expand our teaching pool. I know
the Lord is blessing us In so many ways. This truly is his work!

This week I have been studying and pondering a lot about covenants.
God must have known because sister Webber and I were asked last minute
to teach Sunday school on "The Lords Covenant People". I have learned
so much and have gained a greater understanding of the new and
everlasting covenant. The promises that we make with God are so
important and as we obey and keep our promise... We are blessed beyond
measure. True happiness comes from obeying and honoring the
commandments of God.  One of my favorite scriptures this week is, "I,
the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I
say, ye have no promise” (D&C 82:10). The lord is BOUND; there is such
an incredible power in that statement. As we are faithful, and put God
first in our lives we will find joy and happiness, safety and
protection, and peace and comfort. I know this is true. I have
witnessed and felt of the happiness that comes from making and keeping
sacred covenants with Heavenly Father.

I have received so much peace and comfort through the gospel. I know
families are forever and that I will have the opportunity to see
grandma again! I can already feel her here with me.. I know she is
happy, and wants us to be too. Stay strong.. And find peace and
comfort through Jesus Christ. I am praying for you. I love you!

Love,
Sister Rachel Parke

Monday, May 23, 2016

Pictures Mormon Missionary

Missionary work is the best!

Temple trip with Carleen!

I still love to bake!

Mormon Missionary

Hello Family and Friends!

This week was absolutely incredible. SO many miracles. On Monday
evening, We had a very nice dinner with President and Sister Woodbury
in the mission home with our investigator Tim. We were able to have a
really great discussion about following the Savior and how we desire
to follow him and strive to become like him. Tim has made SO much
progress, and he has such a desire to do good and to be good! The only
thing holding him back is the commandments.. So we are working with
him on that!
After our appointment with Tim, we rushed off to our lesson with Jess.
Hands down, one of my most favorite lessons of my mission and I don't
even have words to describe it! We taught Jess about the word of
wisdom, but really it morphed into a lesson all about obedience and
the blessings we receive from our willingness to obey. Jess has
completely given up alcohol and coffee cold turkey... Even before we
taught her the lesson! She is incredible. We then talked about fasting
and the power of fasting. I received such a strong witness that God
truly does bless those who obey and honor his commandments.

On Wednesday, We met with a man who is an ultra marathon runner.. And
when I say ultra marathon runner I'm saying he runs a marathon at
least twice a week. It's craaaazy. Anyways when he was in SLC running
a marathon he took a tour around temple square and referred himself to
the missionaries. We were able to teach him more and answer many of
his questions as we gave him a tour around the church building!

We have been meeting with a girl who just moved here from Nigeria two
weeks ago. She is incredible! We have been helping her to find a job
and also housing. She is such a sweet girl and I already love her so
much!

On Friday evening we had the opportunity to attend the temple with
Carleen for her first time to do baptisms. Wow, I feel so blessed to
have been part of such a sacred experience. There is just something so
different going to the temple as a missionary... Especially with those
you have taught and love so much. Being in the temple with Carleen
tonight was such a sweet experience.... The happiness and spirit that
is felt is so strong. Carleen said she felt so much peace... And how
different she felt in the temple compared to the outside world. She is
so incredible and I know the lord has SO many things in store for her.
When we were talking afterwards Carleen said, "I can't wait til I can
go through the temple." Wow. It was in that moment that I realized....
This is the GOAL the whole purpose of Gods plan.. For ALL of his
children to make these important and sacred covenants with him. We are
all on the same path.. The path leading to eternal life! I am SO HAPPY
for Carleen... She is making the right decisions to draw her closer to
Christ. Ahhh I love her so much!!

The best feeling as a missionary is complete exhaustion! Saturday was
definitely one of the busiest days of my mission!  We had 5 lessons
and back to back. We met with two of our investigators... Two less
actives and one of our recent converts! Talk about busy day! We were
downtown allll day which meant ALOT of walking. I tracked it on my
Fitbit and sister Webber and I walked 10 miles! It was an absolutely
beautiful day everyone just seemed happier.. I know I was! We got to
have a lesson on the beach! Who doesn't love that? I love being a
missionary even MORE when it's warm outside. So we were on the bus
home and started talking to two ladies.. We started explaining that we
were missionaries for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,
and one of them said "MORMONS?? The Mormon missionaries!?" Sister
Webber and I were a little shocked.. Ha we nodded our heads a little
nervous. She threw her hands up in the air and said, "I LOVE THE
MORMONS! My son is a mormon!" She then whipped out her phone and took
a picture of us and said "I can't believe I came across THE Mormon
missionaries." We exchanged information and she wants to meet up
sometime! The Lord is so good. If I could only record all of the
blessings and miracles we witness!

Very busy week, and looking forward to the next! There is always
something to find joy in! I love and pray for each one of you! Hope
you have a wonderful week!!

Love,
Sister Parke

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Pictures Simple Desire

I love this beach! Can I bring it home with me??!

Nuff said

Yah..something pretty fun going on here!

The Zone 
My District

Sweet Sister Stringham!

Simple Desire

Hello Everyone!

............NO TRANSFER CALL!!!  I could not be HAPPIER!! I love this
area and my companion soooooo much!! This is going to be the BEST
transfer yet I can just feel it! Sister Webber and I are excited to
set some new goals and keep the fire going! This week has honestly
just been a blur. The days can be long yet the weeks disappear so
quickly. Regardless, it has been a VERY good week and we have
witnessed many many miracles!

This week we had two amazing lessons with Jess! She is absolutely
incredible! On Monday we talked a lot about how to recognize
promptings of the spirit and receive answers to prayers. During the
middle of the lesson she told us that she quit drinking coffee last
week, and that as she is making and keeping these commitments she is
feeling her relationship with God strengthen. SO COOL. She is
progressing very well, came to church on Sunday and loved it! We have
another lesson with her tonight! I am very excited.

Tuesday was a long one for sure. We had lots of responsibilities to
fulfill, missionary work is so much more than just going out and
talking to them to see if they would be interested in the gospel.
Well... At least here in Chicago! The YSA ward keeps us on our toes,
but I love it and it makes it all worth it. We had a lesson with our
investigators Erin and grace. They are students at a college here in
Chicago. We have been meeting with them for about 5 weeks however,
unfortunately they will be returning home for summer break! It's kinda
a bummer because most of our teaching pool in the YSA is plummeting
because everyone is going home from school. Well shoot a pickle.
Sister Webstar and I are just turning on our investigator finding
mode. Haha the hurtin is real because a lot of the new investigators
just aren't sticking...l they are super interested at first and then
we teach them a couple lessons and when they have to start making
commitments they get scared off. It truly is a real thing.. And
insanely frustrating sometimes. But yes of course, God blessed each of
us with agency... I just don't always love how some of his children
choose to use it! (;

We had zone training aaaalll day and it was awesome! The zone is
definitely becoming more unified and drawing closer together. What is
so great about our mission is that we are all Very close to one
another. The Chicago mission is one of the most densely populated
missions which means that we have more missionary companionships
serving Near one another. It makes it very helpful to keep one another
motivated and united in the work! In zone training we focused on
developing Christlike attributes and how we can understand true
doctrine of the gospel that will lead to action.

On Thursday, We had an appointment downtown with a man who just moved
to Chicago two months ago because he feels like it is "where God needs
him to be" he is YSA age and is trying to figure things out. He has
had a pretty tough life and is trying to turn it over to God and
follow him. We were able to teach him about the restoration and
priesthood authority. He seems to struggle with accepting modern day
prophets. We committed him to read from the Book of Mormon, and pray
to know for himself if it is true. We are hoping he will keep his
commitments and that he is actually going to put effort into learning,
the gospel would do so much for him. It's so hard to accept sometimes
that people have agency! Still working on my patience and long
suffering... That's for sure! Haha.

Friday. We went on exchanges with our sisters... the sister I was with
has a sprained ankle.. And currently they aren't teaching anyone so
the day was FULL of finding. How does one find with a companion who
cannot walk? The answer is simple my friends. A wheelchair! Sooo... I
spend most the day on Friday pushing sweet sister Graubard in a
wheelchair contacting people! It was so fun and suuuuch a beautiful
day!

Ahhh, we were able to have such an incredible lesson with Cynthia. She
is progressing very well. Ever since we have been focusing on the
simplicity of the doctrine she has been able to better understand it
and apply it to her life. During the lesson she told us that her
prayer had been answered and that she knew God was aware of her. It
was THE COOLEST moment ever. She has been fervently seeking to
understand the scriptures! I am so happy she is more willing to learn
and understand more. Now that she is graduated she should have a lot
more time to meet with us, annnnd on the bright side she came to
church on Sunday!

We had an awesome lesson with our recent convert Gabe! He hasn't been
to church in three months because of work. We have been meeting with
him regularly to help keep his testimony strong. Miracle moment of the
day, at the end of the lesson Gabe said, "I'm coming to church
tomorrow, it's time... I really need it." He moved everything around
at work so that he will be able to attend! HAPPY MISSIONARIES.
Speaking of happy missionaries and recent converts...We met with
Carleen on Saturday, wow. I am amazed by her strength. She is thriving
in the gospel and is so happy with the peace that she feels and the
light she has been able to find. She is on fire and has such a strong
desire to do what is right. We have the amazing opportunity to go with
her to the temple to do baptisms on Friday!! (:

We have been working with a less active member from Atlanta, Georgia!
He grew up in the church but fell away when he was 16. He has been
through it all.....he just got out of jail about a month ago and
decided he wanted to turn his life around. So, he has turned back to
his "roots" and has been attending church the past few weeks. Through
helping him, I have come to gain such a stronger testimony of the
atonement.. And how it allows us to come closer to Jesus Christ and be
forgiven, despite our mistakes. What a powerful message. It is
wonderful to see the light of Christ work in the lives of those
seeking for peace. He comes from a very active family, and I know that
him turning to god To seek to change his life is an answer to their
prayers.

This week I've been studying and reflecting a lot about desire. I
found a quote that I love by Dallin Oaks. “Therefore, what we
insistently desire, over time, is what we will eventually become and
what we will receive in eternity.” I LOVE THAT. The next good quote
is, "Let us remember that desires dictate our priorities, priorities
shape our choices, and choices determine our actions." And at the end
of the day what it really comes down to is our choices. "Decisions
determine destiny". Small and simple things! I am grateful for this
gospel, I know it is true. I am so grateful for the many blessings in
each and every day. I love you all. Thank you for your support!! Have
a great week!


Love,
Sister Rachel Parke


Simple joys found in this week:
-Living 0.1 miles away from the beach!
-morning runs
-milk chocolate
-Oh my lanta. Sister Webber and I made fresh salsa this week. So.
Good. I am definitely going to miss having veggies from the garden!!
-DARK CHOCOLATE
-Sunshine!!!!!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Pictures Stronger Through HIM

Springtime in Chicago is Beautiful!

Happy Mother's Day!

There is some pretty strange Art around here!


Stronger Through HIM

Hello there family!!

It was so good to talk to you yesterday!! The time went by so quickly,
however I cherished every moment!! I am so happy to know you are doing
well and it provides so much comfort to me knowing that the lord is
watching over and blessing you while I am away. Hopefully mom- you had
a good Mother's Day!! I sure missed spending the day with you.. But it
was a special treat being able to talk even just for a little bit!

Well, this week has kinda been a blur. I have been really bad at
recording and writing down what has happened. Oops. Haha I guess I
just figured I would tell you about it in the phone call! (; buuut
anyways I'll try and catch ya up on the gist of this week!

We had a district contacting activity that was very successful. Sister
Webber and I were in charge of putting together a banner for Mother's
Day. We took it to a train station and hung is up on the wall and had
people write one word on it to describe their mothers. It was SO COOL.
A lot of people stopped to talk to us and we were able to pass out
quite a few pamphlets and teach people about the plan of salvation. It
made people so happy to reflect and remember their mothers. I would
say it was a huge success! I will attach pictures.

We had mission council on Friday! It was a wonderful experience. We
focused on Christlike attributes and how to overcome our weaknesses as
we draw closer to the savior. As we grow closer to the Lord we are
able to acknowledge our shortcoming and weaknesses so much more
because we are striving to become like him. That is most definitely
something I have come to learn on my mission is understanding many my
weaknesses and how I can utilize the atonement of Jesus Christ to
overcome them and strive to become more like the Savior. Sister Webber
and I will be teaching this week in zone training about the Role of
the Holy Ghost and how we can use the spirit to help strengthen our
own testimonies, but also the testimonies of those we teach as well. I
am praying it will help the missionaries in our zone become more
focused and prepared to teach the gospel!

Jess is progressing very well. On Thursday we had an incredible lesson
all about baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost. We have a lesson with
her tonight, I am so so excited. Jess is absolutely amazing and has
such a strong desire to learn about the gospel. It is such a wonderful
experience to be a part of helping someone to understand and gain a
testimony of the gospel. Carleen is on fire and is helping so many
strengthen their own conversion with her passion and love for the
gospel, she is working towards getting her temple recommend so we can
go to the temple and do baptisms for the dead with her. Sooooo happy!
Romeo blessed the sacrament for the first time on Sunday... It was
such a neat experience! He is also doing very well. It is so wonderful
to be a part of helping this individuals strengthen their testimonies.
It truly is all about enduring to the end. Baptism is just the key to
unlock the gate. We are all on the same journey back to live with out
Heavenly Father again. Classic missionary scripture... 2 nephi 31
17 Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that
your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they
been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should
enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism
by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the
Holy Ghost.

18 And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to
eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done
according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have
received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son,
unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye
entered in by the way ye should receive.

I have such a strong testimony of these truths. We are all on our
journey and pathway home. Our responsibility is to help others along
the way. I love being a missionary. It's so hard yet so wonderful. I
am grateful for the strength I receive each day as I go forth in HIS
work. I love you mom, dad, Ethan, Abbie, and Emily! You are all so
amazing examples to me. Thank you for all of your love and support!!
You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Xoxoxo

Love,
Sister Rachel Parke