Friday, August 19, 2016

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

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