Monday, August 29, 2016

Obtaining Light

Hello Everyone!

This week has probably been the most stressful week of my life!
White-washing an area and training... Well pre-training a missionary
has been pretty crazy. However, I have been able to feel the Lords
hand guiding me along each and every day. My new companion is an
absolute miracle! Her name is sister Quezada and she is the sweetest
girl! I already have so much LOVE for her. It has been confirmed many
times that we are supposed to be together and that she is supposed to
be here at this time. At the end of our first night together we just
both broke down into tears for how grateful we were to be together and
what a blessing it is to be able to serve with one another. We had a
lesson with one of our investigators Josephina our first day together
and it was powerful! The spirit was so strong. Josephina has many many
trials in her life but has more faith than anyone I know. She has been
reading from the Book of Mormon and says she feels closer to God when
she reads it. She says she wants the same "spirit" in her life as the
spirit we bring. Josephina is so sweet, she calls us her Angels. I
love her so much!

Another cool thing that happened this week... Elder Grow from the
quorum of the seventy came and visited our mission and we got to meet
with him and ask questions. I learned so much from him, he taught all
about what it means to teach repentance and baptize converts. Just the
upliftment that I needed especially because I've been praying to know
how to go about helping this area... and ward. Talking to him gave me
lots of ideas and comfort in knowing that this is truly the lords

Sister Quezada has been doing so well! She is conquering her fears.
She is very shy and is scared to talk to people.. But she doesn't let
that stop her! Friday night we had some time to fill, and I asked her
if she felt any promptings of what we should do. I started naming off
some people we could go see.. And she interrupted and said "...I
really don't want to... But my heart is pounding and I feel like we
need to go finding and I need to face my fear." So we went finding...
And guess what? She DID IT! I was so proud of her! She contacted six
people that night!! Seeing her share her testimony is such a sweet
experience. Since she is only a recent convert of a year it is so dear
and precious to her. It is a very special experience to help  her
understand the gospel on a deeper level. I know.. And she knows...
That God knows exactly why she was supposed to come on this "mini
mission" at this time. I already feel so much love for her and I know
Heavenly Father has placed her here for the many people of this ward.

Hmmm.. What else? We have been working like crazy to get to know the
area, the members... The less actives... And our investigators. It's a
wee bit stressful because we don't have a ward mission leader
currently... But don't you worry, we are working on reactivating him.
(; We are working on establishing relationships and trust with the
members, because unfortunately the missionaries that have been in this
area in the past have lost a lot of respect and trust. This week we
are also going to be doing a lot and a lot of finding, because our
teaching pool has dissipated. Which means knocking on doors in his
area. please pray that hearts will be prepared and the lord will lead
us to those who are ready!

These past few weeks have been very humbling for me. Being thrown into
a brand new area, without a companion has in no way been easy... But I
am learning a lot about myself and my relationship with God. I was
studying in Ether, and the story of the brother of Jared really had an
impact on my perspective with this new challenging area. In ether
chapter 2, Jared and his brother and their families and friends set
out on their journey to a promised land.. They "go forth into the
wilderness" and follow the instructions of the Lord on where they
should travel... "Being directed continually by the hand of the lord."
In verse 16, the lord commands them to "go to work" according to the
instructions and he builds the barges. Well, brother of Jared gets
done building the barges and he is thinking... Wait a minute.. How are
we going to breathe?? So he cries to the lord and asks for his help
and guidance. So the Lord tells him how to allow air into the barges.
Everything was great until brother of Jared realized that the barges
were dark. So, what does he do? He cries to the lord again, but this
time... God doesn't tell him what to do he takes a step back and tests
the faith of his child. He asks the brother of Jared "what will ye
that I should do that ye may have light in your vessel?" In a way he
is saying, brother of Jared, I have lead you to where you are now, I
have taught you, and blessed you, and YOU KNOW I am going to lead you
across the sea... Now I am leaving it up to you to figure out how to
get light into the barges. So brother of Jared goes and ponders on
this for a while... And with his incredible faith he takes 16 stones
and has the lord touch each one that they may bring forth light.

Okay so the reason for the incredibly long story is because the spirit
hit me so strong as I was reading over this chapter. The lord has lead
me all along my mission... He has taught me to "build my barge" and to
do the things to strengthen and prepare me for my journey... Not
saying that it has all been easy up until this point.. Because I've
had to work hard. But something has been so different about this
area... It is almost has if God has commanded me to labor in this area
but hasn't given me any specific direction on how to go about doing
so. I have plead with the lord and prayed for help for him to "tell me
what to do." Well, according to D&C 58:26 "it is not meet that the
lord should command in all things."  Obtaining direction and light in
"my barge" is becoming a precious growing experience for me. The lord
has given me so many resources to help this area, and he is there
willing to help, but he is waiting for me to figure it out so that he
may "touch the stones" and consecrate my efforts. Heavenly Father sure
knows what he is doing. Not commanding in all things and allowing his
children to exercise their faith... Which often causes some trial of
faith (struggle) but it is necessary in order to grow. It is almost as
if he says, "I have given you the talents and resources; and I have
taught you up to this point.. Let's see how you do with it."
That being said. I am praying and I am working so that I may bring
forth my stones to the lord and have him touch them.. So that my
efforts when combined with the help of the lord may bring light unto
the people in this ward. I know this is his work. I am so grateful for
the opportunity that I have to be a part of it, and for all that he is
teaching me each and every day. I love my Heavenly Father and my
savior Jesus Christ.

Thank you for all of your prayers and support! They are most
definitely felt!  Please help the missionaries around you! THEY NEED
IT. Have a great week!

Sister Parke
Free Grocery Donation by a generous angel! Thank you!

Sister Quezada

Monday, August 22, 2016

True Grit

Hello Everyone!

This week has been utter Mayhem... I don't even know where to begin.
Well for starters sister Markland-Haynes unexpectedly went home. So, I
was put in a tri-panionship with sister Plomgren and sister Bott this
week! We temporarily covered both areas.. Which made it fun since they
serve in Gary Indiana... where pretty much everything is abandoned. So
we have quite a party jumping from state to state. It's been a
whirlwind of a week and completely unexpected. So it has was the week
of the three amigos in Gary Indiana trying to go about sharing the
gospel until.....On Saturday night president called. Annnnd I'm pretty
sure my stress has reached a new level. Haha! There isn't  a
missionary to be my companion... And president doesn't want to close
down Chicago heights area and but also doesn't want us covering both
areas. So we were all wondering what he was going to do.

President Bingham may have gotten a little too creative tryin to find
me a companion. .. "Sister Parke! I found you a companion!" Thinking
to myself... Awesome! He then continued... She is in a ward from up
north.. And just graduated high school. She's unsure if she wants to
serve a mission but is willing to be your companion until the end of
the transfer until the new missionaries come in and you will be
training. Waaaaaiiiit... Whaaaat?? A companion that's NOT even a
missionary... In an area I don't know... That just happens to be in
the south side of Chicago. Well all I can say is that it leaves ALOT
of opportunities for miracles! I found this quote by Gordon B Hinckley
that I love "There is no obstacle too great, no challenge too
difficult, if we have faith."  So it all comes down to faith... And
some serious tenacity. HA Or in the words of President Bingham...
"It's going to take some serious grit to turn this area around."

Since I'm going to need a lot of "grit" I also am going to need a lot
of FAITH. So I studied up quite a bit on it... No coincidence I was in
alma chapter 32 in my Book of Mormon reading! I am trying to
Understand and gain a stronger testimony of the Book of Mormon. I read
through the talk "The Book of Mormon-- a book from God" by Tad
Callister. So many times we have investigators ask us why is the Book
of Mormon so essential if we already have the Bible to teach us about
Jesus Christ? This talk helped me to better understand how to respond
to these types of questions, but also... Helped me to strengthen my
own testimony of the Book of Mormon and the prophet Joseph Smith. One
of my favorite parts of being a missionary is that I get to share and
testify about the Book of Mormon ALL day every day! I have developed a
greater love and understanding of the Book of Mormon. I know that it
is true. I know that anyone who has the desire to know if it is true
can receive their answer as they act in faith. As i was studying in
Alma 32 this week--best chapter ever-- and it talks a lot about
humility, faith, and desire. What I love about this chapter is that
Alma is explaining to the people the importance of the desire to do
what is right, and encouraging them to act on that righteous desire
and experiment upon their faith. Over time, if it be a good seed of a
"good desire" then they will receive their answer. I LOVE IT. I have
been blessed to witness this many times on my mission with those I am
teaching...And also with myself.  Just as alma explained... It takes
little by little, nourishing the seed.. Strengthening the seed. The
importance of diligence in faith and continuing to persevere even when
hard times come. I love the Book of Mormon. It has changed my life and
my relationship with my savior Jesus Christ. I have witnessed the deep
change in myself and others that comes from reading and studying the
Book of Mormon. It is the Word of God and has been given to bless us
and bring us closer to our Heavenly Father.

So here we go... I love the quote by Joseph smith, "Sometimes the lord
brings us low before he can bring us higher."  There is so much work
to be done in Chicago heights, and I am excited to get a companion who
is ready to go out and work. I already feel a love for the people, and
I don't know what it is quite yet, but I know I'm supposed to be here.
There has been such a damaged thinking In this ward in the past, But
it's time to change that!  I have learned a lot about humility these
past few days. Heavenly Father is ever so aware of this work... And
his children. I am looking forward to this new challenge that lies
ahead. The Lord is teaching me and guiding me along the way. I know I
have been placed in this situation at this time so that I can learn to
rely on the lord in ALL things and gain a greater understanding of how
to recognize the promptings of the Holy Ghost. I am Praying for the
lord to teach me how to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost,
especially now at this point in my mission. The role Holy Ghost is so
important in decision making, not only as a missionary... But life in
general. Decisions. Decisions. Decisions. Each and every day is filled
with them. God has given us the agency to choose for ourselves, but he
did not leave us alone! He has provided the gift of the Holy Ghost!
This last few months of my mission I am really trying to learn through
and by the spirit. I have come so far, yet I have much farther to go.
That is the wonderful thing about the gospel... We are never done
learning! Just like the prophet says, "Decisions Determine Destiny." I
love that. I pray that the Holy Ghost may lead and guide my decisions
so that I can be an instrument in the Lords hands.

I love you all! Thank you for your prayers and support! Continue to
pray for opportunities to share the gospel!! Have a great week!

Sister Parke
Pictures (maybe out of order) 
1. Free veggies on the side of the road?? #bestdayever
2. Packing up sister Haynes.
3. The tripanionship
4. Baking bread!
5. Happy one year to my "daughter" haha
6. Relieving stress.
7. Having a hard day so sis. Plomgren got me a butternut squash
8. Gary Indiana at its finest. Coffee anyone? #ghetto

Friday, August 19, 2016

Pictures I am a Missionary!

Atlanta won't be that far away Ethan!!

I think we need a new mop!!

My new companion-Sister Markland-Haynes and new Area- Chicago Heights!

Out spreading the word!

Our Zone in Chicago Heights!

I am a Missionary!

Hello Everyone!

What a week it has been here in Chicago Heights! My new companions
name is sister Markland-Haynes, she is from Arizona. She is super
awesome and we get along great! So about my new area.... It is so much
different than I expected. The people here are very humble and
receptive to learning more about Jesus Christ. I can already tell I am
going to love it here. I miss the busyness of the city... But the
beautiful scenery of the green trees makes up the difference. I am
still getting used to the slower pace of the burbs... I am looking
forward to getting to know the members better to help me love the area
even more.

We took a trip into Ford heights... Man, I felt like I was in a
different world. We knocked some doors.. And people actually answered
and were willing to listen! Everyone here is so humble and loves Jesus
and will talk to us and wants to learn about the Book of Mormon! IT IS
THE BEST. Contacting here is so much fun because it feels like
everyone is your friend! Sister Markland-Haynes and I have had so many
people placed in our paths. Literally, we were in Walmart the other
night... And a man looked over at us, saw the name tags and came right
over to us and asked us about the Book of Mormon and said he met
elders on the bus long ago and has always wanted to learn more! So we
have an appointment with him next week!

On Friday we had so many miracles... We were able to contact a woman
named Tawaii. She is incredible. She came across the Book of Mormon
while she was online searching for a bible. Anyways she has been
seeking answers about the bible and feels that she needs religion in
her life. So, she ordered up herself a Book of Mormon.. And two sister
missionaries came to her door! We had a great first lesson with her!
She then introduced us to her 18 year old daughter who has also been
seeking God in her life.  The people here in this area are so humble
and have more faith in their whole body than I have in my pinky. Many
of them come from heartbreaking circumstances... I am amazed by their
trust in God, and their ability to keep going even when things seem to
be at the worst.

I had one of the most humbling experiences of my mission the other
night. We were visiting a less active family. This mother is a single
mom of five young children, -mostly from all different fathers- she is
doing her best to make ends meet. She loves the missionaries and
wanted to have us over for dinner. They literally have no food or
anything in their home... But she wanted to feed us. She had some cans
of corn and instant mashed potatoes. She fixed sister Haynes and I
plates and gave us most food. She wouldn't feed herself or her
children until we ate. Mom, it broke my heart... These people
literally have NOTHING... and it's not even their fault.. It's this
environment that they grow up in. I feel so bad the children.. Such
hard lives. Many of them don't have homes particularly because they
don't know who their fathers or mothers even are. They are wardens of
the state.. Or foster children. I can't even imagine. I am so grateful
for you mom and dad! I will never take my family for granted. So very

The ward here is super small, and is struggling right now. Many years
ago it used to be a big flourishing ward, but many people have moved
out of have gone less active. When I say super small. There are
probably only 50 active members. Our ward mission leader also just
went inactive last month. Gahhhh! There is a list of over 300 names of
just relief society women who are less active! We have our work cut
out for us. The also other great thing is.. The old relief society
president just moved so we just got we new one three weeks ago. She is
suuuuper sweet. Pretty much, my goal is trying to get to know the area
and the ward members we do have and then branch out and go find the

I found a poem that I absolutely love about the life of a missionary.

A mission is a strange experience
It is a trial and a test
A mission throws you at the worst
Yet teaches you the best

I've never been so happy
I've never been so depressed
I've never felt so forsaken
I've never felt so blessed

I've never been so confused
Things have never been so clear
I've never felt my Heavenly Father so distant
He's never been so near

I've never been so discouraged
I've never been so full of hope
I feel I could go forever
I think I've come to the end of my rope

I've never had it quite so easy
I've never had it quite so rough
Things have never been so smooth
Things have never been so rough

I've never traveled through more valleys
I've never ascended so many peaks
I've never met so many nice people
I've never met so many freaks

I've never had so many ups
I've never had so many downs
I've never worn so many smiles
I've never worn so many frowns

I've never been so lonely
I've never had so many friends
Boy, I hope this is over soon
Gosh, I hope it never ends

"I cannot promise you fun. I cannot promise you ease and comfort. I
cannot promise you freedom from discouragement, from fear, from
downright misery at times. But I can promise you that you will grow as
you have never grown in a similar period during your entire lives. I
can promise you a happiness that will be unique and wonderful and
lasting. I can promise you that you will reevaluate your lives, that
you will establish new priorities, that you will live closer to the
Lord, that prayer will become a real and wonderful experience, that
you will walk with faith in the outcome of the good things you do."
President Hinckley

I love being a missionary. I am learning so much about myself and my
relationship with the Lord. This point in my mission is a huuuuge
opportunity to learn and to grow and demonstrate my faith in Christ,
and rely on him for help. My satisfaction has come from the assurance
that I am acting in faith and I am doing what the Lord wants me to do
and that I am instrument in His hands in accomplishing his will!

Thank you for all of your love and support!! Talk to you next week!

Sister Parke