Monday, September 24, 2012

Happy Labor Day! - September 4, 2012

Bah sorry. Right after we left the library I realized my email was super negative and felt really bad. I almost asked Sister Taylor to call y'all and tell you that I was okay. But Matt knows so that's good :)
Labor Day is so funny. Yes Mom everything was the same for us except that the library was closed so we get to do emails today instead of yesterday.
Last night was pretty fun. At the conclusion of Pday I hadn't found anyone to go out with me on splits, so I went with my companions to a whole bunch of Spanish appointments. For the last part (so like the last 2 appointments of the night starting at 7:30) we got on our bikes and met up with a recent convert, a 17-year-old named Eddie. It was so funny all 4 of us riding around the neighborhoods in the dark. It was a lot better riding just for a couple hours and at night. Haha maybe I should tell Sister Jewkes.
Also something that was really great and humbling last night was just realizing why things have been so hard lately. The beauty of missionary companionships is that there are two people knowing the area, the people, and everything else. But it hasn't worked out like that in this companionship for a lot of reasons which I won't go into at this time. Basically after a lonely planning session last night, I really poured out my heart in prayer before I went to bed. And the experience that I had was really miraculous really. At the very beginning, I started receiving all this insight as to why I feel the way I do and why it's happening. Without going into too much detail, I know that this experience is something that will affect the rest of my life. The things that I learn now and the way I am able to just get over myself and overcome the feeling that I'm alone and incapable will affect future callings and responsibilities. It was really amazing honestly. I went to sleep peaceful and determined. My prayers today have been so much less of desperation and rather of a humble plea for strength. I've been much more calm today. Not perfect, especially as I have no splits lined up this week. But better. Much better. And this morning during personal study I received a lot of insight as to how to help encourage my ward. Now I just have to do it.
Sisters Training was crazy. When we got there, President Taylor greeted us and then talked to me. He asked me how everything was working out. I said fine and then he said, "Sister Parks, I asked your leaders how you were doing. They said you were doing fine but that you seem to think that you need to learn Spanish." Here he paused and then said, "You don't have to learn Spanish. That's not what I want." I'm pretty sure I teared up then. I had no idea it was stressing me out so much until he took the burden from me. So phew that was nice. The rest of the day was SO GREAT. I got to play that hymn arrangement of "Nearer, My God to Thee" for my companions as they sang. I totally beefed it up because haha I never have time to practice, but it sounded pretty good overall. They sang it in Spanish and it was very beautiful. See Mom! I got to do some real accompaniment. And I'm the only missionary in my district who plays piano so I get to play every week at district meeting too. I always think of Mom when I'm playing. And then for the rest of Sisters Training we had "classes" and oh my gosh were we awestruck by them. Apparently sisters get more stressed out than elders (go figure) and so our classes consisted of making memory boxes, learning massage therapy (and receiving massages), making scarves, and getting a pedicure. I'm not kidding. My toenails are red right now. It was so funny and very needed. Sister Robinson was really excited to see me and was telling me about all the people in Prescott which was good. And then she had the nerve to say that it was too cold up there hahahahahahaha. Oh my gosh I laughed so hard. My district leader, Elder Burden, had told me that being trained in Prescott had made me weak for the Phoenix heat, but it looks like the Phoenix heat has made Sister Robinson weak for the 67 degree mornings in Prescott. Crazy eh? I told you it was like a completely different mission up there.
President's email this week addressed the fact that we haven't been getting very many missionaries coming in (we're down like 30 or 40 from our standard number) and how a lot of changes have been made (missionaries leaving areas, missionaries covering more areas, companion changes in the middle of transfers). It helped me to realize that duh I'm not the only one going through this and that duh there are always people that have it worse than I do. Wow.
Also, in the 5 hours of Spanish last night I realized that it's much easier to understand what they're saying when the Spirit is there. There were points during the night where I literally had no idea what was going on, even when they used phrases I should have known. It was really weird. But then we'd start a lesson and pray and I would be able to understand so much more. Pretty amazing huh? People should seek the Spirit when they're learning a new language. It helps a lot. But I'm sure everyone knows that. It just never meant anything until I was able to apply it to me.
I went on splits with a really nice YSA girl named Indago who's right in the middle of submitting her paperwork. We were out together for 2 and 1/2 hours! It was really great - she had some key missionary experiences. We got to randomly help a lady move, teach a couple lessons, and contact some members and potential investigators. She said she really felt the Spirit the whole time and really enjoyed herself. So that was nice to be a part of. A less-active that Sister Bailey started working with felt comfortable to come out with us on splits as well. That was really good too. Splits ended up being pretty successful last week - I went on splits 7 times in 6 days. I need to prepare better for them.
AND WE WENT TO THE TEMPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ahhhhhh. I had never even seen the Mesa temple before. I forgot my camera, but we took some pictures of how it looked with the sun rising behind it (we had to leave at like 5 in the morning). It's not as big as it looks in pictures, but just as beautiful. We were able to do an endowment session. Wow. There is such peace in the temple. It was so lovely.
We are teaching a family that speaks mostly Arabic and very little English. They're from Iraq. We almost had to drop them because we weren't sure if there was going to be a translator and our mission leaders had told us to stop teaching them. But the stake actually really got on board and is actively seeking for someone who can translate. And then President Taylor sent out a text to all the missionaries to see if anyone knew anyone who spoke Arabic. So hopefully that should work out! They're a really lovely family and they really want to be baptized. They have great faith in God and the firm belief that He will help everything to work out and for them to understand all things.
So yep just working on it all. Still breathing. Still happy. Still grateful to be here. Still incapable of writing short emails. My goodness. I guess Trenton has literally no idea what's going on in my life then. Sad. Poor kid. He's missing out!
Next week emails should be on Monday but then the week after will be transfers and so I'll email Tuesday with news. I seriously doubt I'll be leaving because this area is in shambles and I need to fix it.
Sister Parks

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