Monday, October 31, 2016

Pro tanto quid retribuamus

Hello Everybody!

Hey there! Happy news! The cubbies made it to the World Series!  Not
exactly sure what the updates are on that cause I'm a missionary.. But
I hope they do well because everyone is so happy right now! Haha.
Speaking of happiness.. What brings the MOST happiness? Sharing the
gospel!! Deborah has got to be the best missionary in the whole world.
She literally shares the gospel with EVERYONE she talks too. We had an
awesome lesson with her home health nurse-&-boyfriend! It was a great
lesson as they too are seeking for truth. Deborah is so happy.. And is
influencing so many for good. She practically taught gospel principles
on Sunday!

So much has happened this week!! The Akinola family came to the
Halloween party and had a great time! Lots of new investigators. We
had an appointment with Van... And he came to church for the first
time on Sunday. Sister Mattinson and I were asked to speak on church
on Sunday and ended up being the only two speakers so it was super fun
to talk for lots and lots of time! But it was great because we got to
speak on what we thought would most help Van feel the spirit.

So much to say.. So little time. Oh yeah, highlight of my whole week!
CARA CAME TO VISIT ME!! She surprised me and showed up to our ward
Halloween party! It was so fun and so great to see her again! We are
spending today with her today for Pday!!

Well, that's about it for this week folks. Oh, another cool thing that
happened this week! One of our investigators moved to Georgia into
ETHANS WARD!!! Sent him a referral. Aaahhhh! What are the odds.

Love this quote by Elder Bednar from his recent address, "if ye had known me"
"We believe and come to know Christ as we experience personally the
transforming, healing, strengthening, and sanctifying power of His
Atonement. We believe and come to know the Master as “the power of his
word [takes root] in us” and is written in our minds and hearts and as
we “give away all [our] sins to know [Him].”
Believing Him is trusting that His bounteous blessings are available
and applicable in our individual lives and families. Believing Him
with our whole soul comes as we press forward along the covenant
pathway, surrender our will to His, and submit to His priorities and
timing for us. Believing Him--accepting as true His power and
promises--invites perspective, peace, and joy into our lives."

I love you all! Thanks for your love and support!!

Sister Parke

Not my favorite way to start the day! :(

Just doing some planning!

Oh Happy day! LOVE Deborah!

Cara drove a LONG way to come visit! 

So happy to see Cara again!

Monday, October 24, 2016


Hello Everybody!

Things are going well here in the heights! The time is passing by so
quickly and the weeks are turning into days it feels like! Missionary
work is fun! So many miracles this week! We found a family to teach!
We are very excited! They are the sweetest people on earth, they are
from Africa and have the most adorable children! On Friday we were
able to go and teach them the restoration! It was so cool to be
teaching a family! It's been awhile since I have been serving in a YSA
ward. They were very receptive to the message and want to come to
church! The father told us that he and a question that his little girl
asked him, "where do we go after we die?" He said that it stumbled him
because he knew we go to heaven... But what does that mean? Will we be
with our families? Who will be there? It was such a powerful
experience as we were able to teach and testify that FAMILIES ARE
FOREVER and that there is life after death and we will be able to be
reunited with those we love. The little girl had the biggest smile
beaming across her face. I know that the Akinola family will one day
join the church! They are planning on attending the Halloween party
for the ward so we are looking forward to that.
Another miracle this week, a less active in our ward was up visiting
the city and missionaries contacted him. He said he may be interested
in getting back into church so he gave them his contact information.
Long story short, we got his info and tried calling him. Turns out he
just showed up to church randomly and wants to change his life around
and take the missionary lessons! We had our first lesson with him this
week. It was a really neat experience. We taught him all about the
atonement and repentance, the spirit was definitely there and was
powerful. I love being a missionary and having the opportunity to
testify and promise blessings! There is no greater feeling!

Saturday was Deborah's baptism!! What a very special day. One of the
most memorable experiences of my mission. Everything was perfect...
Her family was there..the whole ward came and was so supportive. I
accompanied a woman in the ward as she sang a beautiful arrangement of
"I know that my redeemer lives." The spirit was so strong... Everyone
in the room was crying! (Including bishop) Deborah bore her
testimony... - hearing someone you have taught the gospel bear their
testimony is one of the greatest experiences one can have in this
life!- it was so incredibly powerful, so pure and genuine. Deborah
will be very influential in bringing many to the church. She already
has been sharing the gospel with everyone around her. Heavenly Father
has a work for her to do! I love Deborah and have learned so much from
her. The faith that she has amazes me... It was quite the journey. I
consider Deborah one of the biggest miracles on my mission. Teaching
her about the restored gospel has been such a sweet experience. I am
thankful for the opportunity to be a missionary here in Chicago
heights ward. The perspective of missionary work of the ward members
is COMPLETELY CHANGING. Members are getting excited about this work
and are feeling the joy that comes from bringing others into the
gospel. Deborah was so perfect for this ward because she is a friend
with EVERYONE. The ward is kinda like one big family! It is crazy to
me how different the wards can be. I really love Chicago Heights
ward... The best way to describe it... Is like family! We truly are
all brothers and sisters of God. When we remember that.. It makes
sharing the gospel so much easier.. But also so much more fun!

Often times it is easy to get caught up in the day to day routine of
missionary work... But missionaries who have that sense of urgency..
That love of God and for his children develop a passion for this work.
I'm so far from perfect, But I know there have been times on my
mission where I feel that intense joy and I just want to SHARE with
everyone! I experienced that joy this week at Deborah's baptism.
Missionary work is hard, and I'm not going to pretend that I have that
intense desire to share the gospel all day everyday. However, I know
that this gospel is true, and the joy and the happiness that comes to
those who are PREPARED to receive this gospel in indescribable. Our
goal is to find someone to teach and baptize before the end of next
transfer. It is possible. The Lord has children who are just WAITING
to receive the gospel..  We are the spiritual hunters! ... “and after
will I [the Lord] send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from
every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the
rocks” (Jer 16:16). This week we are going hunting.. Each and
everyday! We are going to FIND those who are prepared!!

Have a great week! Thanks for your love and support!

Sister Parke

Deborah's Baptism Day with her family!

Such a special day! I love Deborah!

Fall is definitely here and always enjoy an nice hot pizza in Chicago!

Monday, October 17, 2016


Hello Everyone!

What a week it has been. Full of ups and downs... You know the usual
missionary life! We have been helping Deborah prepare for her baptism
this upcoming Saturday. It's been a bit of a rocky road.. But we have
been able to work with her and she is on track to be baptized! I am so
incredibly excited for her. We had her watch the hour long restoration
video and she called us crying saying that she knew without a doubt in
her mind that Joseph smith was and is a prophet of God. She also has
gained a strong testimony of the leadership of the church and the
knowledge that President Monson is a true prophet of God. The change
in her has been incredible. What a blessing to have the opportunity to
teach others about the restored gospel and help to bring them the joy
and the happiness. I love Deborah so much... Teaching her has been
some of the sweetest experiences on my mission. She is incredible! We
are meeting with a family history specialist in our ward to get her
names ready to take to the temple the week after she is baptized. She
is so excited to do the work for her family! Please keep Deborah in
your prayers as the week before baptism can get a little crazy,
especially because Satan knows how important it is!

We have been working very hard.., the beginning of this week was a
little tricky because we didn't have a car but it was a great
experience because we had the opportunity to have many of the ward
members help us out. I just felt overwhelmed by the love and the
support that they showed to us. Chicago heights really is growing on
me. The people here are amazing and I have developed such a strong
love for the people here. Our new ward mission leader is incredible...
And we have been able to gain great relationships with the bishop the
the relief society president! I love every minute and just want to
find ways to serve here. We have been asking a lot of locals for
opportunities to serve within the community.. And with the the
holidays coming up there should be many! Finding solid new
investigators has been a bit tricky. We are really focusing in on
having diligent diligent contacts that are meaningful and getting an
actual return appointment. We have witnessed so many miracles, and
have felt many times that we are in the right place at the right time
exactly where the lord needs us to be.. And that is the best feeling!

Sorry for the short letter, we took an adventure up to the city and
went to the planetarium!!! Hope you have a great week!

Sister Parke
Brother and Sister Johnson

Loving this adventure today!

Being back in the city is so wonderful! Look at that Skyline!

Thanks to our new ward mission leader for taking us to the Planetarium for P-day!

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Plan

Hello familia and friends!

Things are going well here in the heights! This week has been full of
random miracles!  Too many to write.. But I will share a few!! On
Tuesday We had about 30 minutes left of our day so we decided to head
to Walmart to find some people to teach! So... We get there and there
is literally no one there... Probably because it's a sketchy Walmart..
But it's fine. Anyways I we both felt like we needed to talk to one
more person before we left. We walked up to a man and started talking
with him... He was from Mexico and his mom is a member of the church
there. He said just last week he was talking to his mom and she had
told him to look for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints!
He said he tried but couldn't find it.. and that he felt that God sent
us to him to help him. Wow, it was a super cool experience!
On Saturday night we prayed to know where to go and felt prompted to
stop by a house. As we pulled up the door was open but the screen door
was closed. We walked up to the house and there was a woman standing
there. We introduced ourselves and she invited us in. She told us that
we could not have come at a more perfect time, because that whole day
she had been praying to know what the whole purpose of life is. We
introduced her to the Book of Mormon and read a verse of scripture
with her.. We felt prompted to share with her dieter f uchtdorfs talk
from this last general conference "O How Great The Plan of Our God" it
was an incredible and powerful experience. The spirit was there and I
can testify that God knows and loves his children!
On Sunday we had a lesson with Deborah and the bishop. It was AMAZING.
We talked all about the priesthood and organization of the church and
Deborah was just soaking it all in! My testimony of the restored
priesthood authority and organization of the church grew 10xs that
day! The timing is absolutely perfect with general conference... She
has been going through and rewatching all of general conference and
I'm pretty sure she is MOTAB's new number one fan!! Haha it is quite
hilarious. Oh my goodness I love this woman with all of my heart! She
is so incredibly prepared and has finally found the truth she has been
looking for. In sacrament meeting she got up and bore pher testimony
of the Book of Mormon and how she knows it is true... Because she
asked God and through the Holy Ghost she felt confirming witness!! It
was one of the most spiritual moments of my mission! I couldn't stop
smiling or crying!! I am so happy for Deborah! I can't wait for her
We also met with David this week and had a great lesson with our new
ward mission leader and another member of the ward. He is progressing
well! He has been reading from the Book of Mormon and has committed to
come to church next week. We taught him the plan of salvation and it
was a neat opportunity to teach and testify of gods plan for his
children! Speaking of the plan of salvation, I have been studying up a
lot this week on God's plan for all of his children. I feel that my
testimony has been strengthened and I have gained a deeper
understanding of the plan and how central the role of the savior Jesus
Christ is to the plan. Everyone here on the earth chose this plan...
And chose to follow Jesus Christ. So many of the talks given in
general conference were centered upon Gods divine plan and how we can
make it back to live with our loving Heavenly Father. I love love love
the talk President Uchtdorf gave this conference. Especially when he
said, "Our beloved Father simply asks that we live by the truth we
have received and that we follow the path He has provided. Therefore,
let us take courage and trust in the guidance of the Spirit. Let us in
word and in deed share with our fellowmen the amazing and
awe-inspiring message of God’s plan of happiness. May our motive be
our love for God and for His children, for they are our brothers and
sisters. This is the beginning of what we can do in return for so
much." I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who knows and
understands each of his children individually. The gospel of Jesus
Christ is never changes... It is constant. Faith. Repentance. Baptism.
Holy Ghost.! The principles have been the same since the beginning! I
love how simple Gods plan is.
ahh, what else? Hmm. Visiting teaching has also been a little bit of a
struggle in the Chicago heights ward so we working on helping the
sisters get their visiting teaching done. We have especially been
trying to focus on how to help the members strengthen their
testimonies. This Saturday we will be having a visiting teaching
conference at our relief society presidents house. We are hoping for a
good turn out with that!
Well folks. Happy October. Enjoy the nice fall weather. Winter will be
here before you know it! Have a great week! Thanks for all your love
and support!!! ❤️
Sister Parke

Deborah at Church with me!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Fall is Here

Hello Everyone!

Fall is definitely here! The weather is definitely is getting colder..
Had to pull out my winter tights this week. The dreaded day of a
sister missionary has come! Haha. Things are going great here in
Chicago Heights! What a great weekend it was to listen to the leaders
of the church. I loved every minute and received answers to many
prayers! I hope each of you did as well! If you haven't had the
opportunity to watch it or listen... Make it a priority!!

General conference was like icing on the cake! We had a great
productive week! We got a new investigator named David he just moved
here from the Mesa, Arizona area and is interested in the LDS faith.
He was invited to attend services by coworkers but family prevented
it. We were able to have an incredible lesson with him and give him a
church tour. He was very receptive to the Book of Mormon and is
interested in coming to general conference this weekend! Please pray
for David that he will continue on his journey to learning more!
Deborah is doing great and is progressing very well. She is
reading/studying anything she can get her hands on. Especially the
Book of Mormon, at our scripture class this week she said, "the Book
of Mormon is filling my spirit, it's letting me know this doctrine is
true. It fits like a glove. Helps me understand what I should be
doing." It was so powerful!!  She has incredible faith in Jesus Christ
and has such a strong desire to do what is right. This week she
randomly called us before we even talked about tithing and fast
offerings and she said... "Who do I need to pay my tithing to.. I need
to do that before I get baptized!" She is so prepared. Please continue
to pray for Deborah that she will be strong when preparing for
baptism! Deborah has made best friends with members of our ward and
they decided to get together and make "Soul food" for us. Greens and
beans with cornbread. They are bringing some southern food to the
northern missionaries! Kept thinking of my sweet brother Elder Parke
down there in Georgia. It was really good.. They made us eat a whole
lot of it!

This week I have really gained a strong testimony of fasting and
prayer. I know that we can receive answers to our prayers and that
Heavenly Father is very aware of the desires of our hearts. When we
pour our hearts out to him in deep and sincere prayer we can always
receive an answer. I loved all of the Saturday morning conference
talks about prayer. It truly is the way that we communicate with our
Father in Heaven. Having a personal relationship with him... He leads
and guides us and helps us to become who he needs us to become!

I hope you all have a great week! Thank you for all of your thoughts
and prayers! I appreciate you love and support!!

Sister Rachel Parke
It's raining again!

Sister Mattinson and I

Love the little kids here!

Southern feast at Deborah's house

Now that's a gourd!