Monday, September 26, 2016

Follow the Prophet!!

Hello Everyone!

This week has been great! Sister Mattinson and I have been working
super hard! I love sister Mattinson!! She is from Salt Lake City, and
has been out on her mission ten months. She is such an answer to
prayer and is teaching me so much. We have been setting a lot of
goals, and I know with the help of the lord as we work hard we will be
able to reach them!

This week has been full of finding!! Due to some unsafe areas in our
boundaries... We have changed areas with the elders in our ward..
Which makes things quite interesting. But it's been fun to relearn the
area! Yay! We have contacted a lot of people and received a whole ton
of referrals so this next week should be a busy one. Sister Mattinson
and I are working a lot on reactivation! Elder grow said when he came
to our mission, "if you want to baptize more, reactivate more!" So we
are focusing in a lot on that And have found quite a bit of success.
Cool experience. We both felt prompted to go visit a woman in our ward
who has been less active for a while. We stopped by and she was home
and invited us in. Turns out her family had been going through a
really hard time, and she knew that God would reach out to her through
the missionaries. She was super friendly and invited us back next
week. We have witnessed so many miracles like that... Where God is
literally opening the hearts of his children to receive this gospel. I
can't deny the hand of God in this work!

Deborah is progressing very well! She received a priesthood blessing
on Sunday and that was a special experience. Unfortunately due to some
family circumstances she wants to move her baptismal date to October
22 so that her family can be there. Which will be awesome to have them
their to support! I love Deborah so much... Her faith amazes me each
day! She is very excited for general conference! I know it will be a
powerful experience for her.

Speaking of general conference.. I have been studying about prophets
lately! I recently just finished helaman and I am now studying the
beginning of 3 nephi. It is so interesting to me to study the history
of the people and be able to relate it to our day. At this time in the
book or Mormon the people who believe in Jesus Christ and his coming
are mocked and ridiculed for their faith and their belief in the
prophecies of the prophets. The fulfillment of prophecy.. 3 nephi 1:
20 "And it came to pass, yea all things, every whit, according to the
words of the prophets." The people who where righteous and obeyed were
aware and prepared for what would happen.
The protest and dislike against the prophet (church) is nothing new.
As a matter of fact, it is further confirmation that this is gods
restored church on earth today. What is so comforting to me is that
the lord never allows his faithful children to wander or stray in
darkness... He loves them so much. As long as we are faithful to him
and turn to him for guidance he will always provide a way. The lord
has blessed us with a living prophet on earth today. The prophet
receives guidance and direction from Jesus Christ to help us stay
safe. In our day today it is not so much a safety from "physical"
destruction like In times of the Book of Mormon... But moreover the
guidance and protection we receive is from "SPIRITUAL" destruction.
EVERYDAY... The daily choices we make have a huge impact on our lives
and who we are becoming. In our day the lord has not left us without
guidance and protection. Just imagine.. If you were living in ancient
times and fighting a battle... Would you stray from the teachings of
your faithful leader who was to lead and guide you to safety? NO. of
course not. We are so blessed to have the opportunity to listen and
heed to the counsel of the Prophet and his apostles. It is not
something to be taken for granted!! Prepare spiritually to know the
things that you need to do to help increase your spiritual commitment
to God so that you may be protected from the influence of the
adversary. I encourage each of you to prepare for the opportunity we
have to listen to the words of the prophet and apostles this weekend!!

I love you all, and appreciate you prayers and support! Have a great week!!

Sister Parke
Goodbye Sister Quezada!
Hello Sister Mattinson!

Yes i still love veggies. A lot of them!

Goodbye party for Sister Quezada!

We love Deborah!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Golden Investigator

Hello Everyone!

Transfers this week... Unfortunately I won't get to keep sister
Quezada here with me. Very sad day... I love this girl with all my
heart!!! It is bittersweet, I am so excited for her and her new
journey! She is going to start her mission papers when she gets home.
BUT. SUCH HAPPY NEWS. I will be receiving sister Mattenson who is an
absolutely incredible missionary. I know the Lord has lots of work for
us to do and I am so ready to get out there and WORK HARD laboring in
the lords vineyard. I am ready to yolk myself together with my new
companion and the Lord. I know it will be powerful.. The lord is sure
mindful of his children in this area. There are so many miracles each

This week has been a great one. Some really good news!! We have a
senior missionary couple from manti Utah coming to our ward! We met
with them this week and toured them around the area and filled them in
on the ward. They are SUCH A BLESSING. Things are really looking up
here in Chicago heights as we go about pruning the vineyard! God keeps
sending us little miracles along the way. Our new ward mission leader
is doing such a great job and we are really getting down to business
at tackling this area... day by day.. Little by little... Buuuut it's
a work in progress.

As far as investigators go... We dropped most of them. Albert
apparently was sick and in the hospital.. (Oh dear) so we got back in
contact with him and will be meeting with him this week. We met with
Josefina this week, and had a good lesson.. Trouble is she loves her
church that she attends now and isn't willing to leave... So we are
working on strengthening her testimony of the Book of Mormon. Buuuuut.
The happiest news of all...... Deborah has set a baptismal date for
October 15th. We had an unforgettable lesson with her this week. We
taught her the plan of salvation and it was incredibly powerful. We
talked a lot about temples and how she would have the opportunity to
be baptized for her ancestors. Wow. It was such an enlightening moment
for her. She is so dedicated to reading from and studying the Book of
Mormon. She is soaking it all in like a sponge. Deborah is what us
missionaries like to call.. A "golden investigator". The best part is,
the ward loves her and she is helping to reboost the excitement for
missionary work within the ward. I already love Deborah so much!

On Sunday, We drove all the way to Valprasio Indiana for stake
conference. It was a looooong drive but it was all worth it, because
Deborah was able to come! She loved every bit of it and is progressing
so well. I can't believe we just met her last week... She is as happy
as can be! The gospel truly does bring so much light into the lives of
others. There is a reason behind everything we do in the gospel. I
know we are laying the foundation of a great work as we place Jesus
Christ in the center of our lives. I love you all and I hope you have
a great week! There are so many stories to be shared... Just not
enough time!

Sister Rachel Parke
My kind of lunch! Yum!

New Hair cut! 

Our "Golden Investigator" Deborah! Love her!
Yes it was a floral outfit kind of day I guess):)

Monday, September 12, 2016


Hello Everyone!

The weather is starting to cool off here and the leaves are starting
to change! I can't believe fall is just about here! What a week it has
been! Sister Quezada and I have been so blessed and we are witnessing
many miracles. I don't even know where to start!

When I first got into the area we started working with a less active
who had not come to church for a long time due to some health
problems. We did a lot of service for her and started to establish a
relationship with her. One of the things she had stopped doing was
reading her scriptures and saying her prayers. We invited her to start
doing those things again... Many many spiritual experiences later.. We
invited her to receive a priesthood blessing to help her recover so
that she would not be in so much pain. The elders came over and gave
her a blessing. This week she called us SO HAPPY, and that we needed
to come see her as soon as possible. We rushed over there and she was
standing and walking and was a whole new person!! It was an experience
I will never forget. She said that she will be back at church, and
going to the temple, and she is just so grateful to God that she is
healed. Her exact words, "this is the only time in my life I have been
able to pinpoint and exact answer to prayer. This experience has
strengthened my testimony and relationship with God." It truly was a
miracle brought forth by her faith.

On Wednesday everything seemed to just fall into place. Sister Quezada
and I have been praying SO hard to find PREPARED people to teach.
Heavenly Father is blessing us so much. We got a new investigator this
week and had an amazing lesson with her. When we first arrived she
started telling us about her love for Jesus Christ and how strong her
faith is in him. She is SO SO faithful and studies from the bible
everyday. She said she has gone from church to church searching for
the truth.. But just hasn't found it yet. Deborah prayed to God to
tell her where to find the truth and then she was lead to contact the
missionaries. We had a POWERFUL first lesson with her... The spirit
was so strong, I don't even remember what I said.. She cried tears of
joy the whole lesson. When we introduced her to the Book of Mormon and
read moronis promise she looked me in the eyes and said... I already
know this is true. My testimony of the Book of Mormon grew 100x in
that moment and the spirit was so strong I could not deny it. I KNOW
without a doubt in my mind the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and
there are so many people who are seeking for the truth. Deborah was so
grateful to know there is a prophet of God on earth today. Her cute
little 9 year old granddaughter was there for the lesson and at the
end she asked..."can I get one of those books too?" She has a big
family, and she said next time we come over we can teach them all!
Probably one of the most tender experiences I have ever had was when
we started explaining how families can be together forever.. And she
started crying again... And she said, you mean I will get to see my
baby daughter again who passed away? It was a blessing to have born my
testimony to her that yes.. Because of Jesus Christ, we all will have
the opportunity to live again. I cannot deny the spirit of God in this
work. I am merely an instrument in his hands, and it is the most
rewarding work I have ever been a part of.

This weekend was UNFORGETTABLE. Sister Quezada was sealed to her
family! A special experience as a missionary! We drove up to meet her
family on Friday afternoon... They were all in tears because they
missed her so much and it was a sweet reunion. I left her with her
family and I stayed with some sisters in the area (sister Stevenson &
sister Green). We had such a great time and taught a lot of people
Friday night. Saturday morning we went to the temple and had the
opportunity to do an endowment session before the temple sealing.. I
was in the celestial room with sister Quezadas parents right before
the sealing. They were both in tears. It was such a sweet experience.
I can only recall a few times where I have felt the spirit so strong
in my life. Seeing the Quezada family kneeling across the alter and
being sealed together for time and all eternity was a surreal moment.
I can testify that the family is the central unit of eternity... And
that families are forever. I am so grateful for the opportunity I had
to attend the temple. So many of my personal prayers were answered. I
know that there is no greater power in the world than to bind families
for time and all eternity.

Sunday was amazing. Deborah and her granddaughter came to church!!
Deborah was enthralled the whole time and kept saying that she only
had one regret "not coming to this church sooner." She kept talking
about how she kept seeking for the right church.. But the right church
wasn't a specific building. She was looking for the true followers of
Christ.. The gathering of the saints. Deborah has such great faith.
She has been reading from the Book of Mormon and already has a
powerful testimony of it. Sunday school was all about baptism she had
so many questions. We had a luncheon after church and she bonded with
the women in the ward.. And tonight we are going to have dinner and
FHE with Deborah and some of the ward members! I am so excited for
Deborah and her new journey. The Lord is ever so aware of his
children. I love this work. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be
a part of it!

Have a great week!!

Sister Parke
Temple day for Sister Quezada with Sister Stevenson &
Sister Green

So super happy for Sister Quezada and her family!

Pictures from their sealing day!

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Power of Love

Hello there!

This week started off with a great start. Getting to know the members
is starting to pay off! One of the members knew my favorite food in
the whole world is butternut squash and so she made me butternut
squash lasagna! It changed my life.... Then another woman in the ward
made me chicken noodle soup because I've been sick! I am sure feeling
the love.... Chicago Heights is growing on me.
Tuesday was a day full of miracles. We received a referral about a
week ago, but unfortunately had to cancel on him our first appointment
because of all the hoping back and forth across state borders. (; So
thankfully we were able set a return appointment with him! The lesson
was hands down one of my favorites on my mission. The spirit was so
strong, and this man has definitely been prepared by the hand of the
lord. His name is Albert and he originally ordered a bible.. But being
the sneaky missionaries that we are... we just happened to bring the
Book of Mormon. He asked what it was all about because he never heard
of it before. He invited us in and we sat down and taught him the
whole restoration and read part of the Book of Mormon with him. He was
VERY receptive and said that he could just feel that the Book of
Mormon was true and that he would read it.  We invited him to be
baptized on September 24th and he accepted!! I had to keep pinching
myself to remind myself that this was real. We went skipping out of
that lesson. God has answered prayers. Sister Quezada and I have been
specially and sincerely praying for someone who would be prepared to
receive the gospel. I know God hears and answers prayers... And it is
just proof that God has children who are prepared to receive the
truth... We just have to have enough faith to find them. I am so
excited to continue to teach Albert and prepare him to be baptized!
We were also able to meet with Josefina this week. Bless her heart.
The poor woman is going through so much and is fighting to make ends
meet. Her faith in Christ is incredibly powerful. She has been reading
from the Book of Mormon and says she feels the spirit and she tells us
that we have been sent to her by God to help her grow closer to him.
The spirit is always so powerful in her lessons. We were able to take
a member of the ward with us and she was able to testify perfectly to
josefina. We have invited josefina to be baptized.. The struggle is...
She works such long hours and getting to church is a struggle! We are
working with her and helping her to build her faith.
Sister Quezada and I have been working suuuuper hard. Wow, I am so
incredibly grateful for her and LOVE her so much. We are witnessing
many miracles. We have set a goal to have 10 "diligent contacts made"
per day in between appointments. It is helping us to grow and learn
how to work together has a companionship!  We are trying our best to
find new people to teach. She is absolutely amazing. It has only been
two weeks and she has grown so much. SISTER QUEZADA HAS MADE THE
DECISION TO SERVE A MISSION. after much fasting and prayer this week,
she has strongly felt prompted that this is what the lord would have
her do. This is such an exciting time in her life right now, her
family is being sealed THIS saturday!! We were both so happy! I made
coldstone milkshakes to celebrate.
Man, what else happened this week? We have been working closely with
the elders in our ward and also the relief society president. She is
also new to her calling and the ward and so she doesn't know too many
people... So we are figuring things out together! It is a slow but
wonderful process. On Saturday we organized a district finding
activity to go out and "blitz" to try and tackle the long list of less
actives that no one seems to know about. It was very successful, but
is going to be a continual work and effort. Best news of the whole
week! WE NOW HAVE A WARD MISSION LEADER. 🙌🏻 He is very humble and I
know the Lord is going to help and teach him in this calling. I am
just so grateful.. It will be a great help with connecting to the
ward. The ward is growin on me. One of our ward members has a wife who
is interested in taking the missionary lessons and wants to be
baptized. You could consider that a miracle! Day by day, things are
getting better here in Chicago Heights. I know the lord is ever so
aware of the people here in this area. They are all doing their best
and seeking to feel Gods love.
Speaking of love and feeling gods love, I came across a scripture this
week in Ephesians chapter 3 that really stood out to me.
17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being
rooted and grounded in love,
18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and
length, and depth, and height;
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye
might be filled with all the fulness of God.
20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that
we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
I have been striving to strengthen my relationship with Jesus Christ
by better understanding who he was and how he lived. As I have been
studying, what has stood out to me the most is that the Savior always
acted in LOVE.  I always feel the spirit when I have love towards
other people and I am serving them. Sometimes as a missionary I feel
like I miss the point... I tend to get so caught up in the little
details of things that I forget what it is truly all about. Love.
Inviting people to come closer to Jesus Christ and feel of his love!
That is what we are all wanting to feel right? The love of Jesus
Christ and Heavenly Father? To know they are there and they are
listening.. And are aware of us?? Well, if so, how do we attain that
love? How do we feel of the love of the savior? I've come to notice
that when I feel his love the strongest is when I am serving
others...whether that be physically or spiritually. The power and love
of God is incomprehensible. I don't think we can fathom Gods sincere
love for each one of his children. Sometimes I get overwhelmed.. And
think to myself... "Am I even making a difference?" Then Heavenly
Father reminds me that he knows and loves all his children and wants
all of them to make it back to him someday. So God created all of us
to go out and "do something" and serve those around us and help to
remind them of the love Heavenly Father has for them. I love this
quote by Gordon B. Hinkley:
"My satisfaction has come from the assurance that I did what the lord
wanted me to do and that I was and instrument in his hands for the
accomplishment of his purposes. In the course of that experience,
there became riveted into my very being a conviction and knowledge
that his is in very deed the true and living work of god, restored
through a prophet for the blessing of all who will accept it and live
its principles."
Heavenly Father has blessed me so much... All that I have.. All that I
am.. I owe to him. Choosing to serve a mission was a difficult
decision for me... But looking back, it should have been the easiest
decision to ever make. God has blessed me in countless ways..I am so
grateful for his love and patience for me. I am so grateful for this
sacred time I have to grow closer to the lord and strengthen my
relationship with him as I consecrate my time, talents, and strength
to share this powerful message to his children here in Chicago. I have
never relied so much upon the promptings of the spirit in my life. I
have felt the Lord lead and guiding me along. I can testify that this
is his work. I am merely an instrument in his hands. I found a quote
by Elder Ballard that I love. "The power of this work is when we get
to the point in our relationships with Heavenly Father that we know
the voice of the Spirit and we know it so well that we know exactly
what we should do. " I hope that not only now on my mission... But
also for the rest of my life, I can become like "leaves in a stream",
to obey His call.. wanting more than anything else to follow him.
I truly feel privileged to have been blessed with the opportunity to
serve the Lord with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. My
service as a missionary has eternally blessed my life.  Elder Ballard
also explains this "spiritual change" that can take place from the
service as a missionary. "A spiritual rebirth can be yours as you
serve the Lord in total service. Prayer will have a deeper dimension,
and the scriptures will be pondered and more deeply appreciated. The
Holy Ghost will become more evident; and your capacity to love will
increase."  I have felt my love for God, for his son, Jesus Christ,
and for his children grow immensely. This is Gods work. "Brethren,
shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward.
Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice,
and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing”(D&C
128:22). I invite each of you to come join with us! Share the gospel
with those around you and help them feel Gods love.

Have a wonderful week!! Thank you for your love and support!!!

Sister Rachel Parke

Putting all my hours at Cold Stone to good use. Homemade smoothies!