Monday, July 25, 2016

Pictures I Stand All Amazed

Hello from Chicago!

Our view!

I have know idea....its 95 degrees and 80% humidity..I would take some falling ice about now!

Jess's Baptism!!

Such a happy day!

She is a spiritual giant!

One more city view!

I Stand All Amazed

Dear Family and Friends,

Wow. It is the end of July! Where did all the time go!? Summer in
Chicago is the greatest. I have fallen in love with this city! Don't
think I will ever come home! Sister Webber and I had a great week
despite the CRAZY weather! We witnessed so many miracles!

On Monday evening we had a lesson with Jess at the mission home with
president Bingham and his family. We had a powerful lesson about
temples and families. Teaching about the temple made me understand the
purpose of why we have temples and now important they are. We have
temples today because God loves us so much and wants us to progress
and come closer to him. I am so grateful for the power of the
priesthood and the blessings of the temple! After the lesson we went
to the temple and walked around the temple grounds with Jess. She told
us how excited she was for her baptism, and how she is looking forward
to going through the temple next year. I could not be happier for her!

Cool miracle moment. So a few weeks ago sister Webber and I contacted
a man named Louie. He was interested in the Book of Mormon and
receiving a bible. So we got his information and scheduled a time to
go over and teach him. We referred him to the elders in the area
because he is definitely not in the YSA. Haha okay so fast forward to
this week sister Webber and I are walking down the street and we both
feel drawn towards a man. We start talking to him and turns out...
It's LOUIE. The missionaries never came! **ELDERS!?!** so yeah that
was a little frustrating.. But such a miracle that we ran into him
again! (What are the odds in millions of people in Chicago!?) We then
had the opportunity to deliver his bible and Book of Mormon to him and
taught him the restoration. Romeo our recent convert came with us and
testified powerfully. Louie should be going to church this Sunday!
Heavenly Father is so aware of his children!

Walked a lot. Sweat a lot. Drank a lot. Ladies and gents. Summertime
in Chicago... Bring on the heat!! Sister Webber and I had a nice solid
day of finding because our appointments fell through. We Found some
solid pnis. We keep on prayin that we will find more people to teach!

The weather decided to be absolutely crazy this week! So sister Webber
and I decided to head downtown and weekly plan in the church office
building! The view is absolutely amazing! It was awesome because we
got to watch the storm.. The lighting was pretty intense.

Saturday was easily one of the best days of my mission. Jess's baptism
was PERFECT. She is a spiritual giant. The most prepared individual to
be baptized, she truly understands conversion. The happiness and joy
that radiates from her is indescribable! What a happy day.. She has
been preparing herself to be baptized, and Heavenly Father has blessed
her so much. I felt the spirit so strongly as the ordinance was
preformed. After she came up out of the water, she was crying... Tears
of joy. We all were crying. I feel as if I can say I caught a mere
glimpse of what a fullness of joy is! Jess is one of the most
incredible people I had ever met. It has been such an amazing
opportunity to have been an instrument in gods hand to help introduce
and teach her about the gospel. Her testimony is powerful. You
wouldn't even believe that just a few months ago she didn't even
believe in God. The gospel has changed her life completely. At the end
of her baptism she bore her testimony and told her conversion story.
An experience I will never forget. There was not a person in that room
who could not deny the spirit that was felt on this day! I love Jess
so much and I could not be happier for her!

Sunday was Jess's confirmation. She was literally glowing. What a
great day! So many miracles, cool story. So about two months ago we
contacted a man named Gabriel on the street. We have tried many times
to get ahold of him, but found no success. Well, Saturday evening we
had to come in early because the weather was insane so we started
calling pnis. We finally got ahold of him and he came to church on
Sunday! It was awesome! He is from Nigeria and knew of the church
there! We are having a lesson with him this week to introduce him to
the Book of Mormon!

Another happy Sunday news! Michael came to church again! Yay! He likes
it a lot and he fits in perfectly with the branch! A member invited
him over for dinner and a lesson next Sunday night! Looking forward to
that! Okay so kinda semi humorous story. So it was Insanely HOT and
HUMID and the school building we attend for church doesn't have air
conditioning.. Sister Webber and I are there all day for both wards..
And well we may have murmured about the heat. after church we had
about a mile walk to our appointment... And guess what? There was the
biggest Downpour of rain! Showed up suuuuper soaking wet! God has a
wonderful sense of humor. But hey at least we got a shower!

Side note. Cara is progressing well. She came to Jess's baptism and
confirmation, and was very touched by the spirit. It is amazing to see
how the gospel of Jesus Christ can change people. We had a great
lesson with Cara this week about prayer. Due to some previous
hardships in her life she had stopped praying. We committed her to
pray every morning and evening for something specific and promised
that God would answer. She is making slow but steady progress and is
very willing to learn and follow the commitments we leave with her. At
Jess's baptism, president came up to her and asked her when she was
going to be baptized. (President Bingham is the boldest person I have
ever met in my life) Cara just laughed, but I know it is something
that she has been thinking about a lot. Please pray for her that her
questions may be answers and she will receive a witness of the truth!

I restarted reading the Book of Mormon again a few weeks ago and I am
in my favorite chapters of Mosiah-when Abinadi comes to declare
repentance to King Noah and his people.  Abinadi inspires me with his
courage to stand up for what he knows to be right and declare the
message of the Lord to call the people unto repentance. This really
stood out to me because the responsibility of a missionary is to help
others come closer to Jesus Christ... And we can only become closer to
Jesus Christ through repentance. It's as simple and hard as that!
But.. Just as Abinadi teaches the people... Repentance is made
possible through the Savior Jesus Christ. As I was reading Mosiah 14,
I just felt a sincere gratitude for Jesus Christ. He was willing to
come to this earth and die for our sins so that we can return to live
with Heavenly Father again someday!
One of my favorite hymns is "I Stand All Amazed"

I stand all amazed at the love Jesus
offers me,
Confused at the grace that so fully he
proffers me.
I tremble to know that for me he was
That for me, a sinner, he suffered, he
bled and died.

Oh, it is wonderful
that he should care for me
Enough to die for me!
Oh, it is wonderful,
Wonderful to me!

I love being a missionary. I love the opportunity I have every day to
go out and to testify of the Savior Jesus Christ. It's. The. Best.

I love you all! Thank you for all of your love and support! Have a great week!

Sister Parke

Monday, July 18, 2016

Pictures Hello from Chicago!

Hello from Chicago!

Trying out a weave...hmm not sure if mission approved!

A really exhausting day!

Tracting with the twins Annie and Missy!

cooling off in the grass!

A massage chair at the laundry helps!

Ray of sunshine!

Hello from Chicago!

Hello Family and Friends!

Another week come and gone! July is flying by so quickly! I can't
believe we are halfway through the transfer! Sister Webber and I had a
great week and witnessed so many tender mercies and MIRACLES. I have
never been more completely EXHAUSTED than I have been on my mission.
But it's such a good feeling because it means we are workin hard! So
I'll just jump right in on my week play by play.

Tuesday was a day where I'm pretty sure global warming might be a
thing. It was H-O-T. In the morning we had a Zone correlation meeting
with the zone leaders and district leaders, talking about the
direction the zone is heading and how we can become better leaders in
the mission. Afterwards we had a lesson with our new investigator
named Zoe. Sister Webber and I met her on the street about a month
ago. This was our second time meeting with her and we taught her about
the plan of salvation. She said that it answered a lot of her
questions that she has been having about the purpose of life. She has
been reading from the Book of Mormon and is coming to institute on

Thursday we had Zone training, sister Webber and I taught about
"working smarter not harder" and encouraging the zone to try different
approaches to find new investigators. President Bingham talked about
exercising self control and making our telestial bodies obey our
celestial spirits. We will be getting back online via Facebook...
President Bingham has felt strongly to make a huge push for it. Our
mission 1 in 5 in the whole world designated to use social media to
hasten the work!  So, we will see how this goes!

A couple weeks ago we were on our way home from appointment and
contacted into a woman named Agnus. We were able to go over this week
and meet her cute family and teach them about the gospel. They just
moved here from Nigeria, and have such great faith! Agnus agreed to
read from the Book of Mormon, however she is a little hesitant about
committing to anything. We will continue to work with her, however
eventually we will have to pass her off because she isn't single!

Friday was great! We have gotten pretty close with the twins Annie and
Missy, and since they are out of school right now they tag along with
us to lessons! They came to a lesson with Sunny. It was awesome!! He
has such incredible faith! He has been reading from the Book of
Mormon, and has accepted the baptismal date of August 27th! I am very
happy for him!

We had a great Lesson with Diamond. We taught her about the gospel of
Jesus Christ. Diamond needs the gospel in her life... Especially now
at this time! She has been praying to know if the Book of Mormon is
true, and she says she feels peace when she reads from it. We are
helping her to meet with stake employment specialists to get her a new
job, so hopefully she will be able to come to church on Sunday! We
talked a lot about baptism and it is something she is working towards!
She is coming to Jess's baptism on Saturday! It will be a great
experience for her.

Saturday evening we went to visit with Annette, I'm tellin you this
girl is on FIRE with referrals. A couple weeks ago she brought two
friends to church, and we taught them the restoration, and they are on
date to be baptized on Saturday! How awesome is that? This time she
introduced us to her friend Elizabeth from work. We were able to teach
her about the Book of Mormon. She committed to read it and come to
church next week! It was AWESOME. Annette is incredible, she just sat
there and testified to Elizabeth how the Book of Mormon would change
her life and help her understand Jesus Christ. Annette makes me so

We finished off a good long week with speaking in church on Sunday. It
was an insanely busy day! So many miracles. Michael (man from Mumbai)
came to church... And LOVED IT!! Sunny also came to church! I am so
happy for them! The branch is growing in so many ways. The lord is
literally bringing people into the fold.

Jess has been going through a lot of rough stuff lately! Satan is
working REEEEAL hard on her as her baptism gets closer and closer. I
am just amazed by her faith and her desire to do what is right and to
keep the spirit in her life. She is incredible. She will be getting
baptized THIS SATURDAY. I am uuuuubbbber excited!!! She has worked to
gain her testimony and it is POWERFUL. She finished the Book of Mormon
this week and has received a confirming witness that it is true. This
evening we have the opportunity to teach her in the mission home with
president Bingham and his family. I am really looking forward to it!

Well folks. Quite the long run down of the week. Phew. Let's give it
ago this week! Missionary work keeps a goin, and blesses so many
lives. We have been focusing a lot on inspiring our members and
helping them recognize the importance of missionary work and sharing
the gospel! It definitely something that is a slow process but I know
over time as the members strengthen their own testimonies it will help
them to have the desire to share it with others.

Have a wonderful week!! Thanks for all your love and support!!

Sister Parke

Monday, July 11, 2016

Pictures New MISSION President

Yummy El Salvadorian dinner :)

Ways to keep cool in Chicago..Italian Ice and watermelon! 

New MISSION President

Hello Family and Friends.

Ahhh. Things are going great here in Chicago!. Very hot! But we are
surviving, drinking lots of water and eating lots of watermelon. Haha
sister Webber and I ate a WHOLE watermelon in one day. Yes it was
quite the accomplishment. Sister Webber is awesome, she pretty much is
"my sister!" Haha we have so many good times together she is always
makin me laugh! What a week it has been! I'll just jump right in.
On Tuesday morning we had interviews with president. My interview with
president was very inspiring. I just received such a strong spiritual
witness that president Bingham is without a doubt here for a reason.
At first I was a bit worried that I wouldn't connect with him as well
as president Woodbury, but after this interview with him I feel sooo
much better. It was the coolest experience sitting there talking with
him I just had the strongest impression that I knew him before. We sat
and talked for a loooong while about the direction of the mission and
where it is headed. Missionary work is so exciting when you "catch the
vision!" I am so excited for the lord to lead this mission to what he
needs it to become! This week we also had mission council, it was very
powerful. President Bingham was a seminary and institute teacher
before he came out to serve a mission and he is an incredible teacher.
He has such a fire for hastening the work and I know that through the
lords help he will lead and guide this mission to grow and we will
find more success in bringing others closer to Christ.
In my interview with President Bingham, he told me an analogy that a
very wealthy successful man he once knew told him. It was all about
how to work smarter, not harder. Sister Webber and I have been
pondering and discussing how as a mission we can "work smarter, not
harder." We had the opportunity to teach in mission council and led a
discussion about the direction of the mission and seeking revelation
to know how God would have us best fulfill his work here in Chicago.
This week we received a phone call from a less active who had the
desire to get back into church and turn his life around. It literally
was a miracle! We called one of our members and had him come with us.
It was very powerful to see his desire to change and to be able to
testify of the atonement. It was both and answer to his prayer and
also our prayers. God is so good! He is ready to recommit!
We had two awesome first lessons with our new investigators Marques
and Sunny. We met them both at separate times last week and introduced
them to the Book of Mormon, and they wanted to learn more! It was
powerful. They have both been so prepared! Unfortunately Marques lives
out of our area, so we have to refer him.. But I am very excited for
him, he definitely needs the gospel in his life. Sunny, on the other
hand is eligible to join the SA branch. He has really enjoyed learning
about the Book of Mormon . He said he would read it and ask God if it
were true! He seems to be in a great place in his life to except the
This week we did a lot of Contacting a lot on the buses, and started
up a great conversation with a old woman from Vietnam. It was so
funny, at the beginning of the conversation she asked where I was
from, I told her I wasn't from Chicago but that I was from Utah and I
am a missionary for the Church. Apparently she didn't quite understand
where I was from, because she responded "you, English very good. you
like America? When you go back to your country?" It was kinda funny.
Sometimes as a missionary here in Chicago I feel like I'm in a
different country!!
We attended a baptism for the ward on Saturday night and Cara was able
to come! It was so great for her to be there and to witness a baptism.
The spirit was so strong. She is progressing well and is already in
Enos In her Book of Mormon reading! She met and talked with president
Bingham at the baptism and said, "I'm tellin all my friends that if
they are going to pick a religion, go with the Mormons." Haha she is
so great, I like her a lot. We also had an awesome lesson with Michael
on Sunday night. We taught him the plan of salvation and told him all
about how his ancestors will have the opportunity to learn about the
gospel and except Jesus Christ. It was a very cool experience to teach
him about Gods plan, and I know it brought him a lot of peace to know
about his family members. He is progressing very well, and has been
reading, studying, and praying about the Book of Mormon! He also
committed to be at church on Sunday!
I have been learning so much this week especially about the importance
of relying on the lord. It is so easy for me to get overwhelmed with
the future and "planning ahead" that I often times forget to enjoy the
now. I become consumed in what is going to happen next--whether it be
later in the afternoon or the next day or next week. I am learning to
look to God for what is needed in each day. Heavenly Father is aware
of the small daily needs of his children and wants to help them one by
one! Always without fail, when I put forth all I can, the lord makes
up the difference. Most of the time it is in those times when I feel
like giving up and quitting because I feel I have given all I possibly
can, the lord always provides the strength and encouragement that I
need. I am learning to be grateful that God allows me to struggle
sometimes because it forces me to come into him daily and ask for
help. He is teaching me how to pray and get answers to prayer. I am
strengthening my faith in God and coming to know my savior. I am
working on being patient with myself and not becoming easily
frustrated. Acknowledging that it is day by day that I am able to move
closer to Christ. I seek the lords help as he reveals the needs and
means for the children he would have me serve. I know the Lord guides
us as we humbly come into him and seek answers and strength.

I hope you all have an amazing week! Thank you for your love and support!

Sister Parke

My Favorite quote this week:
"Wishing will not make it so. The Lord expects our thinking. He
expects our action. He expects our labors. He expects our testimonies.
He expects our devotion."
-President Monson

1. Italian ice with Jess!
2. Watermelon for days.
3. Authentic el salvadorian dinner with one of our members in the branch!