Monday, June 25, 2012

HIIIIIIIIII - June 18, 2012

Hi Family!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE Y'ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Whew I've been waiting a week to say that.
So crazy story. We had helped this one lady in the ward get ready for a funeral and she wrote us thank you notes in the mail. BUT she had our first names on the cards!!!!!! We were super freaked out (in a normal way) because only the elders know our first names, and we haven't shared our first names with any of our members. So we finally asked her and she said they were on the ward directory!!!!! Sure enough - she logged on to the ward directory on and there's a "Missionary" section now that shows the missionaries serving in your ward and from your ward! So our first names are totally right there available to all our wards! I just went and logged in myself, but I can't look up the wards I'm serving in! But I did get to see myself serving from the Shoal Creek Ward. Cute.
Also, I was watching some profiles the other day and I think I found Morty's mission president! Crazy. I think. Because she's going to be serving in the Florida Tampa Mission. It's
It's wabbit season here in Prescott like all the day. I'm trying to catch one. We used to see a lot of wildlife on our morning runs/walks but lately all we see (since it's getting brighter and brighter in the mornings) are lizards (everywhere!!!!!!) and birds. Anyway. But during the day I try and catch rabbits. I've gotten like within 4 feet of one! I was coming up behind it super slow (well not really because we had an appointment) but then it turned around and looked at me right as I was picking up my foot so I had to freeze with one foot off the ground and balance in perfect stillness like a ninja! Then it ran away. Bleh. I still have no idea what I'll do when I catch a wabbit! But I will!
This week I've been working more on putting my whole heart into something. We were talking about it a lot this week and I was trying to think of times that I put my whole heart into anything. I mostly came up blank. So maybe that's another reason I'm out here on a mission.
We're going shopping today I think because we got an email last week about our clothes and we all feel slightly guilty and packed away a couple. And it's getting super hot (okay only like 90s) and we have to figure out what to wear.
Point being - this email is completely useless but it's all I have time for. Love you all so much! The church is TRUE. It changes lives.
Sister Parks

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day - June 11, 2012

Right? Isn't Father's Day this Sunday? Bahahahaha I hope Trenton didn't miss it. Anyway. Happy Father's Day! Dad - know that I love you. Hopefully I'll get out a card or something to you!!!!!!!!!!!! Bleh I'm amazing at how there's no time to write letters. At all. I feel so bad for getting so upset at all our elders when they used to not write us.
President and Sister Taylor sent a reminder email to us sisters about our clothes and how we need to be better about what we're wearing. I'm pretty sure that the MTC or something needs to have a clothing store so you can buy clothes when you get there (ok fine they have this little 90s getup that is super lame and way expensive). All I'm saying is that the more they tell us to watch what we're wearing, the more I stress out about it. I'm looking on right now just looking at what I should be wearing. WHERE do they find these clothes?! Anyway. Sorry. Stressed just a little bit. Please pass along the encouragement to my old roommates preparing for missions that they need to have basically those exact outfits and if they're remotely concerned about an article of clothing, buy something new now and don't bring it. I have a couple skits and shirts I should probably send home, including that BEAUTIFUL rose shirt Hannah gave me, but that's because it keeps ripping and I can't stop myself from wearing it unless I actually put it in a box to go ship home.
NOT THAT THIS IS A PLEA FOR MORE CLOTHES. I just need to be comfortable with like 5 outfits rather than be uncomfortable with 8.
UM WHAT IS ARIEL ENGAGED? CLARIFICATION PLEASE. TO BEN? Haha it's times like these that I miss instant communication. I don't know how people back in the day were able to stand it.
Oh and I had a dream last night but I don't remember what it was. What I do remember though is waking up and thinking to myself, "Well. I think I'd like to be an author." So I guess I'm going to be a writer in 18 months when I get back from my mission. Wholly cheese that seems like it's so far away.
So this week. Pretty good! We have some new investigators! We have someone that just moved into our ward from our zone leader's ward who has a baptism date hahaha. We always steal their baptisms from ward boundaries. So funny. So Doug was an interesting answer to our prayers for a baptism in June hahaha. Poor elders.
I'm sending you pictures of my hair. But do you like it? I like it a lot. My parts are always crazy and all over the place because it's so windy in Prescott and it's so short that is goes wherever it wants! Awesome. The only trick now is trying to get it not to deflate so bad by the end of the day. So Sister Falke and I were looking at and comparing all the different types of mousses and gels etc today when we hear this lady behind us say, "Oh my gosh you two have the prettiest curls! Is that natural?!" So yes, dry your tears of joy, Mom. The lady proceeded to tell us how much money she's spent trying to get her hair to look like ours and we both laughed a little because that's exactly what both of our mothers tell us. Pretty crazy.
Oh my gosh it was so funny. Our district and zone leaders had some leadership training meetings this week and picked up our mail from the mission office. Well Bishop Jamison and Brother Pace write me very regularly at that address, so I almost always have mail when they go to pick it up. And so I guess the elders were kind of getting jealous (excuse me for laughing SO HARD right now even as I think about it) because Elder Nelson finally asked, "Do you just get all your mail sent to the mission home?!" (rather than to my real address in Prescott) and I said simply, "No". In fact, I'd just gotten letters from Taylor, Matt, and Lizzie!!!!!!!!!!!!! Anyway they all were just baffled at how much mail I supposedly get and it was super funny. I guess I'm just very blessed. :) Bleh that was funnier when it happened. As I read over it it just sounds self-absorbed. Oh well. You know my true intentions.
Also guess what?! I'm getting a tan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm not kidding. Granted - it's the worst tan I could ever have probably (my feet are darker than my toes, my arms are darker than my shoulders, and my calves are darker than my thighs) but it's TOTALLY HAPPENING. I'm not burning even. Just getting darker. It's the freakiest thing I've ever seen, but my companions tell me it's normal and that most people call it "a tan". It's pretty amazing. And then I realized that by the end of this summer my legs will totally be darker than Trenton's hahahahahahahahahaha. Isn't that funny. Bahaha. Oh and my nose keeps getting darker than the rest of my face. That's annoying haha.
Oh and funny story. Sort of. We were driving along the road we live on which is nicknamed 21 Curves. We've seen some javalinas there a couple times, and Sister Falke one night launches into about how sometimes she wonders what it would be like if we actually ran over a javalina (there are no streetlights in Prescott [okay maybe like 5] so only 21 Curves it's very possible for this to happen) and for some reason I told her that it'd be totally fine and she shouldn't worry about it. She proceeded to ask what made me say that, and so I related to her the incident very early in the morning out in Yoakum when Uncle Daryl accidentally ran over and killed 10 feral hogs and how his suburban only had a few dents and blood stains. My companions think our family is crazy. Hahahaha but who would have thought I'd ever be able to tell that story again?! Funny. Oh and I saw little quail chicks this week! SSSSSSooooooooooooo cccccccuuuuuuuuuuttttttttteeeeeee.
So in answer to the questions that I can remember from all of your glorious emails!
1. I'd tell you to edit my emails, but I think that would just stress everyone out a bit. So I'll try and be better about saying "this is for family only" or "don't put this on the blog" and use spellcheck so you don't have to worry too much about me embarrassing myself more than I already do in these haha. But thank you!
3. Out of the Equalized Missionary Fund, each missionary in my mission receives $125 a month. This money is to be used for groceries, grooming items (so hair products, makeup, shampoo, etc), laundry, cleaning supplies (my mission actually supplies most of these), haircuts, and postage for mail to family and others. We can use our personal funds whenever we choose, but like Trenton said, we're encouraged to be super frugal and not buy more than we need. So like I could have used my missionary card for my haircut, but then I wouldn't have had enough money for groceries, so I used my personal card. We have a separate card that pays for gas and car inspections etc. We're reminded often that the funds we use are very sacred. We try and be smart with our money but have room for improvement for sure. Bike repairs, clothes, and pre-existing medical conditions (like my prescriptions) are paid with personal funds. That's another reason why we don't go out to eat very often because it sucks up our missionary funds pretty quickly. Does that help Dad? I wasn't quite sure what your question was.
4. Yes! All those summers playing softball at Mo-Ranch totally paid off. I was super happy.
Also, I saw a really cool house the other day. Well not really. But I thought the siding was cool, and since the people supposedly weren't home, I took the liberty of examining their siding. It looks like they bought it in the normal white color one usually buys, and then they painted it gray without any primer. So it ended up looking like faded wood or something. Anyway it was super cool. I liked it a lot.
I'm eager sometimes to get home and start doing temple work and family history. There are really cool promises with that in my patriarchal blessing. So while I know I shouldn't wish to be going home (especially when I still have quite a few months to go) but sometimes it's exciting to think about the possibilities there!
We have exchanges this week so I get to see Sister Bailey again for a bit! Yay!
Ah the church is so true! I can't imagine going through life without all the wonderful details and truths that come from the restoration. I was thinking about the other day all the effort that goes into one person getting baptized and staying active in the church. In the course of my mission, I'll probably contact thousands of people. Out of those thousands, only a few hundred will actually be interested at all. Out of those remotely interested, only a few will be diligent enough to listen to at least one lesson. Out of those few, even less will continue through the lessons and receive a testimony for themselves that they need to be baptized. Unfortunately, not even all of those people will actually be baptized and stay active. BUT it reminded me of a talk I think given just in the last priesthood session of general conference where I think Bishop Edgley just stated that yes, it's worth it. It's worth it for that one person and for the thousands that they then go and influence. Yes, there's this massive funnel of people over the course of time that we go through to find those that God has prepared to receive all the truths of the gospel and accept them. BUT the funnel can go the other way too as that one person makes those changes in their lives and continues to spread that even just to their family. I think about all the many people that the two elders who participated in Mom and Dad's conversions met, talked with, and taught and how much that has affected so many lives in just one generation. It's amazing! The worth of every single soul is great in the sight of God. This is a very sweet and inspiring work. It truly is the Lord's work. It wouldn't work if it wasn't! I hope that made some sense.
Well I better go and see if I can respond to your personal emails real quick! Love you all so much! Thanks so much for the emails - they are worth so much to me and really make so much of a difference. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE
Sister Parks

Mid-transfer week

Hello family!
This email is going to be all over the place because I'm emailing President Taylor at the same time. This week was honestly really hard in a lot of ways, but I'm trying not to dwell because it got a lot better in weird ways this weekend. In fact, you should probably edit it hardcore before you put it on the blog. Thanks again Hannah! Everyone tells me it's awesome still.
Exchanges this past Wednesday were pretty ridiculous. But I got to drive the truck! It was awesome. We had literally nothing planned in our area (at all. No appointments or nothing) so Sister Murdock and I had a lot of prayerful improv to figure out what we were going to do all day long and how we could best spend our time. It was honestly pretty stressful. I felt super inadequate. But I learned a lot. A lot. And it was fun driving the truck so much and being able to spend time with Sister Murdock.
Also I cut off 7 inches of my hair. Roughly. We didn't actually measure it. But then we went right to softball with our zone so I put it up in a ponytail and laughed about how Mom would just be lamenting the fact that I always do that after I get my hair cut. It looks pretty cute. I had split ends out the wahzoo because it's so dry here! It was so nasty. Like that one time I thought I wouldn't cut my hair until it was long enough to donate to Locks of Love... yeah... It hits about my shoulders now instead of like midback so it should be a lot curlier, easier to manage, and hopefully cooler in the hot sun! I'll take a picture this week when my hair's not so crunchy and sweaty.
So this is the start of week 4 of my 3rd transfer! Pretty crazy honestly. I'm worried that I'll struggle a lot when I'm eventually not in a trio (even if that isn't for another 2-3 months) because I've gotten super comfortable in a trio.
Happy birthday Lilly! Btw. I sent her a letter last week or the week before and barely remembered her birthday. Haha it's so impossible to remember birthdays. Oh my gosh. Like even in my district I remembered Elder Keele's birthday and was super proud of myself until the next Friday Elder Brame walks in with a "Birthday Boy" badge on his coat and I had no idea. Embarrassing. I'm sure Dad (and Sister Falke for that matter) would tell me to stop worrying and calm down. There's a ton to remember all the time!
So we played softball today with our zone and I have seriously been freaking out about this since we got the text Wednesday morning about it. Even to the point where I was out in center field (hahahahahahahahahahaha) and we were playing. But I totally held my own! It's totally weird how my concerns are met at times. Anyway.
I have random bug bites on my arms and hands. Sorry not very many - like 10 or so. The ones on my hands looks like ant bites. Weird, ya?
I just got an email from my friend, Lyndsey Morgan and she's going to the San Antonio Mission while she waits for her visa!!!!!! Awesome right?! I'm super excited.
Our district BBQ was interesting haha. It's so funny how we're not really friends with the elders but kind of are. Our zone leaders brought bologna and our district leader was mortified hahahahahaha. I'm pretty sure our zone leaders are getting crazier and crazier. My district consists of really awesome missionaries.
Had another buffalo burger last Tuesday before we drove the hour and 15 minutes to meet Sister Murdock and her companion to do the exchange. I'm telling you - they taste just like hamburger. It's kind of disappointing and yet comforting hahaha.
Oh and I went out to eat for the first time (well at a restaurant)! One of our recent converts, Chris, took us to Olive Garden with his FIANCE!!!!!!! We're so happy. Shea is totally awesome and we love her. And it was actually pretty good because I totally ran out of money last month (well I had $14 left for my last week) so we were happy to be fed.
We ran into a super hardcore anti-Mormon this week which made me feel really dark and dirty (honestly like someone had shoved me in a manure pile and left me there to drown) for like 2 days. Bleh. Mostly people are just upset because they feel that we don't need anything more than the Bible. I just know that God isn't limited to some 1500 pages from thousands of years ago. Since He lives and still loves His children, I think He'd still want to communicate with His children. But that's just me.
So yeah we went all the way through this week with no lessons at all whatsoever (our goals are usually 10-20 lessons a week which is totally possible but just not happening). And then Friday we somehow had 2 and then another like 5 on Saturday. It was really great. Especially because Thursday was super low.
All of our new investigators this week are from the efforts of our elders haha. We're wondering if we should just let them do all the finding and we'll do the teaching. It's interesting how different people respond better to elders and how others respond better to sisters. I'm glad that there are both here in Prescott!
We met with our recent convert, Ashleigh yesterday with one of her visiting teachers (yay visiting teachers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). It was so amazing because when we first met Ashleigh back in March, she would barely talk to us at all and sit there on the couch while her husband did most of the talking. WHOLLY CHEESE WHAT A DIFFERENCE. We love her so much, and she was completely opening up to us and her visiting teacher who she like barely knows. It's so amazing the difference that truth has made in her life. She is so different.
ALSO I meant to tell y'all that I had a super cool impression at zone conference a couple weeks ago. In mortality and particularly as missionaries, we want people to have the blessings of baptism and the Holy Ghost and the accompanying covenants as soon as possible. It changes lives. And then I was thinking about why we let people in the Spirit World wait to receive the same blessings... just saying. We don't make them wait here despite all the distractions and imperfections of mortality, so why do we make them wait in immortality when they have the same needs and no ability to perform the ordinances themselves?
Anyway it's almost 4 and we have a dinner appointment at 5 (yay!!!!!) so I think we're going to go soon. Haha I'm sorry that I have no interesting stories. I think about the things I want to tell you during the week and then totally forget. I promise my life is interesting. Hard. But interesting and fun. I'm grateful and happy to be out here. I feel like I'm growing a lot. I just can't believe how far I still need to grow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's crazy. But awesome in a lot of ways haha.
I hope Hannah's job interview went great! I'm super proud of her.
I love all of you a lot. Miss you a lot! Promise. Thanks for the opportunity to be here!!!!
Sister Parks