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


  1. Hi Sister Parke, I read mission blogs from Chicago because I was a missionary back in 1992 to 1994. Your recent posts about Chicago Heights struck a chord with me because it was my final area back in 1994. I was there when Sister Tabisz had her twin babies! It might help you to know that it was a challenging area even back then. There were, believe it or not, two wards, the Chicago Heights ward and the now-defunct Park Forest ward, both of which met at the Chicago Heights ward. Both wards were struggling 20+ years ago. I was a Spanish speaking elder and the idea at the time was to open Spanish branches at both Chicago Heights and Griffith. Although Griffith was ultimately successful in getting a Spanish branch and Chicago Heights was not, I have very fond memories of the people and places in the area and ward. Please do not get discouraged. Chicago Heights has always been sort of a mission underdog. It is generally not really an area that draws people to, but one that people generally wish to move from. It has been that way for decades. That being said, I wish you the very best and will be very much interested in hearing of your experiences there. God bless you in your Chicago Heights journey!

    1. Thank you so much for your insight and advice regarding our daughters service in Chicago heights. It has been hard knowing she is facing a lot of difficult situations and circumstances but hope that her efforts will help someone. Your words and thoughtfulness are much appreciated!

    2. No problem. I am sure your daughter is already a tremendous asset to the area. I had been hoping that the prolonged decline of Chicago Heights would have bottomed out by now. Sadly it has not. I just hope that in another ten years, someone isn't telling the last active member of the ward to turn the lights out as the ward is closed for good! Seems like things can only improve from here.