Monday, August 20, 2012

HIIIIII I'M ALIVE! - August 13, 2012

Isn't that nice to hear?! I know.
Well family it's been a fascinating week to be sure. As usual. We
finally were able to sit down and meet with our Bishop for a little
while yesterday. Sister Robinson and I counseled a lot this week and
are at a much better stage. And then this morning we ran into Sister
Murdock at the chiropractor so we were both able to see her and love
her and Sister Robinson was able to ask all about her last area.
My district leader's new companion is Elder Hilton who was in Prescott
Valley! So he was in my old zone and now he's in my district. And my
new zone leader, Elder Weston, was a freshman when I lived at Glenwood
and we were in the same ward (he totally doesn't remember me...
embarrassing...) and so it'll be interesting seeing him as my leader
now instead of this immature pre-missionary freshman hahahahaha. So
yeah those are the changes in my district.
Tomorrow we have zone conference! We'll be with Deer Valley though so
I don't think I'll be seeing anyone I know and love whereas last zone
conference was like a crazy reunion with my old MTC district. Anyway
but it'll be totally amazing and inspirational. Zone conference is led
by the Assistants to the President and is 6 hours of awesome. And
lunch. Sister Robinson and I are super psyched and praying (but not
fasting :) ) for inspiration because we both still feel like we're
missing something in this area that is affecting everything. Our work
is just not progressing it seems. We feel very much like we're not
living our purpose and can't figure out exactly why. But otherwise
everything's great! We're improving and figuring things out slowly but
surely and using this experience for the billion of teaching
opportunities that it is. We're grateful and exhausted hahaha.
Ariel's wedding pictures were beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She looked
gorgeous. That is so crazy that she's married. When we were little
we'd talk about going to BYU together which totally happened and now
she's married just like we talked about too! Hahahahaha wow. She's so
great. Just love her. Can someone get me her new address when you can?
I didn't know where to write her after she told me she was engaged and
then promptly forgot to write her back until Hannah reminded me in her
last email. Oops!
We were really just focusing on meeting the members this week and
shared a lot of prayers and laughs with families that we came in
contact with. The weather is just brutal and so we have a hard time
motivating ourselves to go out and find people from like 1-3:30 when
it's like 115 degrees outside. Also, I just realized this past week
that I've never seen the temperature below 105. Even at night. I think
they call it the concrete effect. It's the worst. Well it'd be fine if
we could be like everyone else and stay inside in the dark and watch
movies all day hahaha. So anyway. I asked my district leader, Elder
Burden, how he gets himself to stay going all the time (he and Elder
Hilton are on bikes) and he was like, "Uhhhh... testimony?" Ouch haha.
So we laughed about that a bit. There's no real solution to it. You
just go and do. So Sister Robinson and I pray for extra strength a lot
and smile more. Elder Burden pointed out that I'm probably "soft"
because I was trained in Prescott which is seriously 20-40 degrees
cooler than the valley. Oh dear! But there's a reason (a good
one!!!!!!) for everything. So yeah sorry I hope this doesn't come
across as complaining. I'm just sharing problems hahahahaha. It'll be
good. It is good. And I haven't fainted again!
Honestly not much to report this week. We've had some good experiences
with members and being able to be there to help them just at the right
moment. We did service for this very young family with 7 kids, got a
woman to church with her kids who hasn't been in months since her son
passed away unexpectedly, and shared a Mormon Message with a returning
less-active that helped her feel the Spirit again. It's been beautiful
in such a different way. The work is so different here. I'm seriously
learning a lot.
I'm really grateful for the chance I have to be out here. I feel like
I'm becoming a completely different person which is SO GREAT. I needed
it. I'm excited to see what the next year will bring.
I don't know what I'd do without the restored gospel of Jesus
Christ!!!!!!!!!!!! It makes everything make sense. Period.
Love y'all lots! Thanks again for the emails, letters, and packages.
They mean so much to me, especially when my zone leaders deliver mail
from the office and are super jealous hahahahahaha.
BE SAFE! Sister Parks

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

And it's Glendale again! - August 7, 2012

We just got the news that all of us (our entire zone - so like 8
companionships) will all be staying in Glendale for the next 6 weeks.
Wow. Honestly I wasn't expecting to leave, but then when I found out I
really wasn't leaving, I was surprised haha. So we'll see if I can handle
Glendale. I'm sure I can. It kind of made sense that Sister Robinson and I
would stay what with no new sisters coming in this transfer. It's crazy. We
get 3 in September though. And Sister Falke goes home in 2 weeks :( At
sacrament meeting this week, I just felt really strongly that God will
continue to put me in places that force me to reach much much farther than I
think I can, but in reality God knows that I only have to stretch a little
more to reach it. Haha so spiritually I'm growing taller and taller. It has
not been easy, and the challenges that lay ahead for us and Glendale are
daunting to say the least. However, we had a really great meeting with our
Ward Mission Leader (finally!!!) which helped a lot to get a good picture of
the ward and what our role will be in helping them along. Our district
leader also informed us that we're definitely in a rebuidling zone and that
our numbers will be pretty bad for a long time. We've accepted that which is
hard because when you get the numbers that you've prayerfully set as goals,
you know for a fact that you're doing the work the Lord would have you do.
Numbers are a tool to help us be constantly reevaluating our work and the
reaping of the harvest. But we know that the work we'll do here in Glendale
will be to make wards ready to accept those that have strayed from the past
or that are ready to receive the gospel for the first time. And right now
our ward is just not ready for that. Right after our meeting with our ward
mission leader, he went and met with the Bishop who is on the same page with
us. We'll meet together with both of them next week and really analyze what
the goals of the ward can be and how we can help. Sister Robinson and I
called our district leader Sunday night with a lot of trepdiation at the
tasks ahead but with a lot of hope too. Two of our main leaders in the ward
that we work with are totally on board and understand our role as
missionaries. I think we'll still need to work with our Relief Society
President who is pretty stuck in her ways and not too keen on our
capabilities or purpose as missionaries. But that's okay. But anyway the
work we'll be doing will be great. We're going to build trust and save
souls. We had a great experience last night with a returning less-active
named Sister Lee. She's pretty young and served a mission in Minnesota (she
has some crazy stories!!!). She's been feeling really low and so we went
over with one of our ward missionaries and watched President Uchtdorf's
"Forget Me Not" talk. It was really beautiful (I LOVE THAT TALK), and Sister
Lee said she felt very peaceful and had been feeling alone all week but
didn't anymore.
Sister Robinson and I are freakishly similar. We're still getting used to
each other but get along pretty well. I freaked her out a little yesterday
when I briefly fainted, but other than that I promise I've been totally
normal. I've only used my Gollum/Grover voice once. Or twice.
Oh yeah so with Fast Sunday being this past week I guess I didn't recover
well enough (TO CLEAR UP ANY MISCONCEPTIONS - in the Arizona Phoenix Mission
we are almost required to drink water even though we're fasting because, as
evidenced in the next story, we will die without water). Our first
appointment Monday morning was with an elderly couple in the ward, and we
were just outside talking to the wife (she was doing work in her yard). We
said a prayer for her and all of a sudden I felt pretty sick and turned so I
wouldn't be sick on my companion and this sister. Well then I passed out and
Sister Robinson apparently got me down on the ground okay (I think I fell in
her arms actually though I don't know how that happened) and she called
Sister Taylor who talked to her for a little and then talked to me when I
was able to get my words again. Haha I thought about that time I passed out
after donating blood and how I couldn't stop laughing and Taylor was getting
so mad at me. Good times. Anyway so typical to every crisis in my life I
started laughing. But I kept it pretty under control because I was so
embarrassed and humiliated. I'm NOT telling my zone about what a pansy I am.
So everything's fine. I just wasn't get enough electrolytes or something. So
we bought even more gatorade today. Uncle Pat would be proud. Especially
since I walked away with nothing but Rain Berry flavor. Nice.
THANK YOU FOR THE PACKAGE! I almost forgot. We went to the mission office
yesterday to get a brand new car (oooohhhh yeeeaaahhhh) and I got my package
then. Thanks! It's ridiculous to think I've been out 6 months. Crazy.
We had exchanges this past week in Sun City which is a massive retirement
community. I went up with Sister Follett and we had a blast. It was exactly
what I needed just a week after the emergency transfer. I was able to unload
a little bit and discuss everything with her. Poor Sister Follett. But it
helped me a lot in understanding all the changes that have taken place in
the past couple of weeks.
Oh and we got a new car after we spent like 6 hours Tuesday unexpectedly
replacing the water pump. Yay. We wasted a lot of time getting our bikes
prepped and ready to ride, but then we went on exchanges so Sister Robinson
and Sister Fluckiger rode bikes in Glendale while I went up to Sun City
hahaha. Maybe I'll get through my whole mission without the awful experience
of keeping my skirt down while I sweat out my testimony on a bike. Probably
We had a meeting with our zone this past Friday which was pretty
interesting. We have Spanish sisters in our zone so it was interesting not
being in a trio and not being the only sisters there. I felt very unspecial
hahahaha. But our zone seems pretty great. It's wonderful to have a familiar
face in Elder Anderson. He goes home next transfer.
Also, why do I write these giant epistles when Trenton writes like nothing?
Nothing much else to say. Thank you for the emails, packages, and prayers. I
love them. I think this transfer is going to test me a lot, perhaps in
preparation for the big changes that will happen with new sisters in
September. Perhaps not. Either way, I know I'm becoming a more well-rounded
missionary. I'm definitely learning to complain less and love people more.
In Prescott, it was easy to love people, and I'm praying very hard for
charity here in Glendale. Humilty will be key, and we all know how great I
am at that hahahahahahahahahahahaha. Oh my gosh.
Well I actually have time to respond to some emails so I'll go and do that.
Love y'all lots. A LOT. Thanks for everything!
Your favorite Sister Parks

WWWWHHHHAAAAA??????!!!!!! - July 30, 2012

Oh my gosh your emails this week were absolutely adorable. I loved
them. Thanks beloved family! Trenton's are always so funny because he
always says he'll be better next week and then totally says the same
thing next week. Your emails are great Elder Parks! Keep it up! And
keep sending pictures haha they're so funny!
So I'm in Glendale! Down in the valley! It's like above 100 all the
time. Prescott seriously shouldn't be part of the Arizona Phoenix
Mission because it is nothing like the valley. Holy cow. It is a
completely different world down here. A good world still! And a lot
more work to do with less support haha. Wow.
So I'm in the public library right now (HOME!!!!!!!) and can see
exactly how much time I have for emails. Well sort of. I guess we take
off time for emailing President for which we have to go to the family
history center but where we can't do real emails... bahh I have no
idea what's going on haha.
So I'm over one ward. They had like over a dozen baptisms last year of
which none are currently active in the church. Crazy eh? So the ward
has lost some confidence in the capacities of missionaries. We're
eager to be able to meet with our ward mission leader and bishop to
fix this misconception. We had a good conversation with our relief
society president and helped to convey that we're here to help the
ward in their goals, but now she needs to see that we're actually good
teachers and missionaries haha. She came to a lesson with a returning
less-active with us and was telling us what to do the whole time and
totally taking over. Bleh. Granted, less-actives aren't really our
main focus in our callings as missionaries (although they will be in
this ward - holy cow), but we still have some knowledge has to how to
help them too. Anyway. That was interesting. Hopefully the ward will
be able to trust us soon.
My companion is Sister Robinson. She's pretty great. Very different
from my other 3 companions. I'm grateful for all the things I've
learned in Prescott about how to be a better person and companion. I
still have a lot of work to do!
Anyway so this ward is like 3 times as big as my other wards
numerically. So essentially I'm still working with the same amount of
people as I was in Prescott. Except that like the entire ward is
less-active!!!!!!!!!! A lot of them are "do not contact"s or want
their records removed from the church. It's pretty sad. Our relief
society president told us that's the best way we could help the ward
is by finding those people that are ready to come back to church
because at the current moment the auxillaries have way too much on
their hands and not enough people to handle it. So I think that will
be the bulk of our work here in Glendale. I feel like a new missionary
learning everything for the first time again! Wow. My first 3 days
were really overwhelming what with unexpectedly leaving Prescott, the
back-breaking heat, and a completely different world of people. Friday
I was like sleep-walking everywhere until Sister Robinson made me buy
a gatorade at a gas station. Wow. It's amazing to actually need to
drink that stuff! So I'm coming up with ways to combat the heat. I've
stopped wearing makeup haha and just put my hair up every day (Mom
stop pulling your hair out and mourning). We put random things in our
water like salt, lemon juice, chia seeds, and cucumbers to give us
energy. I don't mind sweating all the time (other than the fact that I
look SO GROSS), but it's the energy loss that is hard to deal with. I
laid down on my bed for 5 seconds during lunch on Friday and was like
dead for half an hour. It just really takes it out of you. But I'm
okay! Just hot hahahahaha. Now I see why everyone was so sympathetic
when I told them I was going to Phoenix on my mission hahaha. But it's
great. So much character building!!!!!!!!
I'm a lot closer to the mission office, so I think everyone could just
send my mail there. Definitely for the next two weeks because
transfers are next week (so next week I'll email on Tuesday). Also I
think you have to do something weird here like putting my name on the
mailbox or something... Yeah just send mail to the mission office.
The work is completely different here mostly because the people and
therefore the wards are so different. Sister Robinson (who's only been
here 5 weeks herself) and I are jumping right in and trying not to
flounder in treading our deep waters here. It's exciting! I'm learning
really fast. I think what we're working on the most will be just
helping the ward in reactivating its members so that there are people
to help with everything that needs to be done here. We're probably
going to forsake a lot of investigator work because the ward has a
really sour taste in their mouths from what has happened in the past.
Haha and the people here are so funny and scary. They really don't
mind if you stand there on their porch or in their home even with
nothing to say. They don't help you out. It's a good thing I'm the
most interesting woman in the world and only have awkward moments when
I feel like it. Otherwise there would be A LOT of awkward moments all
the time. People here are just so different haha.
This transfer is more funny to me than anything. I can't believe how
different Glendale is from Prescott. And sorry that I've said that or
something to that effect like a billion times in this email. I'm
seriously learning so much - it's ridiculous!!!!!! But awesome. Like
ridiculous in a good way you know?
Keep me in your prayers! I need it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But seriously, I'm
okay. Geez don't call the Mission President or anything. I'm grateful
for the chance to go where He wants me to go, even unexpectedly haha.
I'm going to handle the heat and so help me I'm going to save this
ward!!!!!!!!! Okay well together Sister Robinson and I will. Oh and
we're in a car! It's a little Chevy Mailbu. So cute! And being in a
duo isn't as weird or boring as I thought it would be. Although a trio
is still super fun! Anyway. Life is good. I love being a missionary!
Oh Elder Knobbe (district leader from Idaho from MTC) is currently in
my zone (not really, he'll probably be transferred soon... it's
complicated) and also Elder Anderson (blonde hair - first zone leader
in Prescott). Elder Anderson goes home in September and holy cow I
want one of my friends to marry him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! His name
is Trenton Anderson and he's from LA. Ladies of BYU - find him! But
seriously. He's great. And it was nice to be able to talk to him about
the differences of Glendale and Prescott so as to confirm my sanity.
And there's a chiropractor that we see every week. Nice. I just got
adjusted. Sweet!
And seriously I'm okay. My emails always seem so negative by the time
I'm done! Oh dear.
Love, Sister Parks
P.S. Funny story about my ET: Remember Chris who got baptized in
April? Well he married Shea (who was also baptized with him) and they
just adore us. We have no idea why. So they were one of the few people
I told that I was leaving and they rearranged their plans for the
evening so they could come see me for like 10 minutes. Chris was
really sad that he couldn't hug me, so we talked for a bit altogether
and Shea hugged me multiple times for him. Well (this is in the church
parking lot btw) one of our bishopric members came out from a meeting
and was like, "Sister Parks - we heard you're leaving!" and reached
out a gave me a huge hug hahahahaha. Chris was SOOOO MADDD. But Shea
was like, "Don't punish her for trying to be obedient!" so he just
gave my shoulder a pat and shook my hand a couple times. I'll have to
come back and see them one day because they're great! Oh my gosh so
funny though when the Bishopric member hugged me. Chris's face was