Monday, July 25, 2016

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

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