Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Happy 4th of July!

Hello Everyone!

HAPPY 4th of JULY!! This week officially marks my ONE YEAR MARK, and
all of Chicago decided to celebrate!! (; Living the Fourth of July in
downtown Chicago is the best experience! They have fireworks along
navy pier every night in the summer! Sister Webber and I fall asleep
to the sound of fireworks from our apartment. How lucky are we that
the Fourth of July gets to be on a p-day?! We are going to spend the
day on the beach having a BBQ and games the YSA ward. Jess will be
with us too! Such a FUN day!! I am so excited! Summer is the best!

So.... Quick update on this week! Tuesday night we met with a woman
named Taiwo. She is from Nigeria and has the most amazing story. She
left her three daughters in Africa and was placed in a refugee camp
and then came to Chicago about a year ago. She miraculously found the
church and has the strongest testimony of Jesus Christ!

Thursday night sister Webber and I headed to the mission home to meet
president Bingham and his family and we had one of his twin daughters
come with us to our last appointment of the night. It was very
special, we got to say goodbye to president Woodbury one last time...
Which was very hard. I am going to miss him so much, I feel in a way I
am starting a whole new mission. I am so grateful for president
Woodbury he has taught me so much. Even though the change will be hard
it allows room for new experiences and new growth.  On Friday we had a
meeting to get to know President Bingham and his family better. It was
an incredible meeting. President Bingham is a powerful leader and I
know that he will be an instrument in the lords hands in helping this
mission rise up! I am looking forward to serving with President
Bingham and to learn from him as he leads this mission.

Well, this week has been a tough one, a lot of our appointments fell
through, because of the holiday. Which as a missionary... It's just
the pits! You work so hard... Planning and preparing lessons and then
when they don't end up workin out it can really get discouraging. I
had a few of those moments this week. Sometimes I'm not always too
happy with how people choose to use their agency., but it all works
out in the end! But Friday was definitely one of those days when
everything just seemed to be fallin to pieces. God is so good and so
aware of his missionaries. We were able to have an awesome last minute
lesson with Cara and a member from the ward. And then also we were
able to have a first lesson with a man named Josh... Which went very
well! Two members where miraculously able to join that lesson as well.
Jess is progressing so well!! On Sunday we were able to have a Law of
chastity lesson with a marriage and family counselor from our stake.
It was an incredible lesson!  So, moral of the story. This is Gods
work. He is the one who is in charge. Just when I think I figure out
to do things, God takes it and makes it into what HE needs to be done.
It truly is the most humbling experience. I am grateful for the
opportunity that I have to allow him to work through me to bless his
children. I am grateful for his tender love and patience towards me.

Hmmm what else?  This week we went to "little India" which is a India
here in Chicago. We met our investigator Hannah and her friend for
dinner there on Saturday night. My life has been forever changed.
Indian food is so delicious!  Chicago has SO Many fun places... And
our area is so big so, Sister Webber and I are focusing a lot more on
using public transit and getting familiarized with our huuuuge area by
training and busing everywhere! It is so FUN! We meet so many people
from all over the world. We are focusing on talking to everyone and
inviting them to learn more about the Book of Mormon! The secret to
happiness as a missionary is definitely teaching and testifying about
the gospel!

I have been studying a lot about challenges this week. When facing
hardship and trial, it may feel as if we are broken and we have no
control. Something that I have learned is that when we are going
through something, and we just feel like giving up... The only thing
We have perfect control over is our attitude and whether or not we
come closer to God. As I have chosen to let go of the things I can't
control, and do my best to draw closer to God and trust in him. I am
able to recognize the tender mercies of each day.  I testify that it
is through the power of the atonement we can be made whole and receive
the blessings that God has in store for us.
Over the past year, Heavenly Father has made more out of me than I
ever could have made out of myself. Because of this I have a greater
testimony of Hope in the atonement. We are all going to make mistakes,
we are all going to mess up, but because of Jesus Christ we can be
forgiven and overcome our sins. In fast and testimony meeting a member
of the ward bore his testimony and this phrase stood out to me.
"Because of Jesus Christ, We don't have to stay where we are
struggling we can choose to change!  Every moment is a New moment.
Every day is a New day."  I testify that the atonement of Jesus Christ
is real. That we have a loving Heavenly Father who knows and loves
each one us! Despite our challenges and trials, he wants us to be
happy. AND we can be happy and find peace and comfort as we turn to
him. I am grateful for the strength that Christ provides for me each
and everyday. This gospel is the only true way to lasting happiness!

I hope you all have a wonderful Fourth of July and a great week! Thank
you for all of your love and support!!

Sister Rachel Parke

Favorite quote of the week

"The winds of tribulation, which blow out some men’s candles of
commitment, only fan the fires of faith of others."
-Elder Neal A. Maxwell

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