Monday, October 22, 2012

WOW - October 22, 2012

Hey guess what! October 19th was my beloved Lyndsey Resnik's birthday (wow 22 - I never thought we'd get to this age) but it's also the year mark of when I got my mission call!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA?!
Yeah it was a cool discovery.
MONDAY: Was pretty interesting. Our ward mission leader picked up a kid off the street and was convinced that we should teach him the lessons. Needless to say it didn't work out, but we ate dinner with them Monday night. And then scheduled an appointment for Tuesday night which (not surprisingly) the kid did not show up to. And during Pday we spent like 3 hours playing sports with the elders (okay Sister Pilcher played and I sat and wrote letters when I really wanted to take a nap) and then I came to the realization that I should probably be participating with my zone... I refuse to play soccer or basketball though. Volleyball only.
TUESDAY: Tuesday was weird. We're trying to meet people in the ward and like no one was home. We're already low on miles, so it probably wasn't good planning on our part either. Yeah. And I felt nasty that morning. Just like dead tired. Anyway. Sorry. We won't go into Tuesday. But our coordination meeting that night was great because auxillary heads actually came! Apparently in the new handbook, it says that the auxillaries don't have to come to coordination (which was not at all what happened in Prescott or Glendale so I was really confused when I got here).
WEDNESDAY: time! I love Slash mostly I love the Bible videos and the mormon messages. Wow. It's fun sharing those with people when they don't want to listen to what you have to say too. We stopped by a member who we needed to reschedule dinner with and she said, "Oh can you wait a few minutes? My next door neighbor has been asking me questions about our religion so I'll invite her over and you can talk" Uhhh okay! It was pretty awkward because she really wasn't interested and had a lot of misconceptions that she wasn't willing to clear up, but I think we made a good impression at least. The Phoenix North Stake (aka the stake I'm currently serving in) has a mission prep class they do once a month, and Sister Pilcher and I were the "guest speakers" this month. We gave little talks - me about the importance of bearing testimony and Sister Pilcher on sacrifice. Then they had the pre-missionaries prepared in companionships to teach a principle and we got to give a positive evaluation on how they did. Haha it was good because they're learning Preach My Gospel, but they're going to get hit hard by the spiritual bat of reality when they go to the MTC. It was cool though.
THURSDAY: Fine. Why am I even going through these days?
FRIDAY: because in reality I only want to get to
SATURDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!: ELDER NEIL A. ANDERSEN AND SOME OTHER GENERAL AUTHORITIES CAME AND SPOKE TO US. We were physically and spiritually exhausted the rest of the day. And it was at the Phoenix Temple site which was so beautiful. They're filling in the concrete on the baptismal font today! And the outer framework is all done! It will be beautiful when it's done APRIL 2014. Geez.... Oh well. It was so crazy to see the whole mission. We were crammed into the stake center chapel. It was so great. And wow. Elder Andersen is like a real person. He was making jokes and forgetting names in his stories and flipping through his scriptures to find a particular one. It was great. Wow. Wow. He talked about so much. Wow. Our minds were blown. He talked about the Atonement and the doctrine of Christ and repentance and how missionary work is different than how it was in the past and how something wonderful is coming! He told us to read the new Testament where Christ speaks and to always bear testimony of Him. he told us to know that He lives more than we know now. And it was so amazing. As he closed he touched his chest 3 times and said that one day, our badges from the Arizona Phoenix Mission will be badges of honor for eternity. Wow. And then he talked about Christ a bit more and said, "I am His witness" and then he got just a little choked up and the room was silent for like 30 seconds. Completely silent. And then he bore a very powerful testimony and we were all just floored by the Spirit. It was amazing. Wow.
SUNDAY: I came to the realization that you will always be responsible for other people throughout your life. So. I need to get over it and be okay with it.
THIS MORNING: We went hiking as a district and with our zone leaders, so there were 8 of us. And it was fun! I think we were only up 2000 feet at the top of the mountain(ish thing), but you could see the whole Phoenix valley and it was very beautiful. Reminded me of how when we flow in back in February, they did that great spin around the city and I just got so excited because it was mine! Bahahaha! Then I got transferred to Prescott haha and never saw it. But now I'm back in the valley so it's mine!!! Also, we love our elders. They're so great. I'll have to email you pictures from the district leader because I forgot my camera.   
ALSO HELLO?! How is Hannah's birthday present going? If you don't answer, I'm not emailing any of you next week and I'm not telling you about my birthday. Okay maybe Taylor and Matt. And Elder Parks. Maybe Mom too. But that's it! Ugh okay maybe not. Just tell me!
The pictures are from the mission conference Saturday. The sun was really bright so we all look ridiculous. But it's right there on the temple site with our whole zone. Pretty neat!
Also, District meeting on Friday was great. Elder Colovich had us write down all the truths and ordinances that have been brought back through the Restoration of the gospel. Then he had each of us bear testimony on one of them, why it's important to us, and how it has shaped us as a missionary. I bore testimony about revelation and how I get to tell people every day that the heavens are not closed! God still speaks to us! He cares about us on an individual basis, enough to reveal what we need to help us become the best people we can become. But He also cares about us on a worldwide basis, enough to reveal the organization of His church and His doctrine through living prophets. We can be united, strengthed, and made safe in this worldwide church and can be together forever as families. ISN'T IT AMAZING?! It was great. We need His guidance more than ever, and He gives it.
Wow. Isn't the truth amazing?
Time for maybe a couple individual emails! I love y'all so much. I'll try not to feel guilty about the birthday package. THANK YOU FOR THE SLIME TIRES.
Sister Parks

WHAT A TRIP - October 15, 2012

Blizzard all the way! Snow 20 feet deep!
Okay no but really this week was crazy busy! One of those weeks where you feel like it's a billion years long but yet speeds by. Does that make sense? Mission time is WARPED. Also, Tracie emailed me again! Wow. I guess I should write her hahahaha.
ALSO A MEMBER OF THE 12 IS COMING TO TALK TO US THIS WEEKEND. I won't go into more but OH YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We are so excited. It will be the first time I see our whole mission together. It will be so exciting. I am thrilled. And it will be basically on the temple site for the Phoenix temple which like has all the metalwork or something! Oh wow.
MONDAY: Pday was interesting. Sister Pilcher and I were kind of going up and down for various reasons. We saw Mesa missionaries in Wal-Mart again. I don't know why, but it's always so funny that we grocery shop outside our mission which is so taboo. But we have permission I promise! Then the rest of Pday (our evening proselyting time) was not as productive as it could have been. We met with our ward mission leader and with a member who just moved here from Liberia and she wants her daughter to be baptized. Her daughter's not having any of it but at least was nice.
TUESDAY: Car checks and zone interviews! Elder Rodgers, the senior missionary (so like as in a senior missionary couple assigned here to Phoenix) over cars LOVES ME. Which is so great because I love him too. I won't attribute that to the fact that we beat our Spanish elders and Zone leaders in car inspections, but I'm sure it is. My interview with President was pretty good. A lot like my first interview with him because he mostly just gave me advice on how to balance things. He gave good advice on how I could be a better companion which I've tried to implement. Later that night we had coordination and then met with a wonderful older lady named Barbara. She just moved her from the Mesa mission and is on fire. Haha she's going to be baptized either the 26th or 27th. Poor Mesa missionaries. She is very well-versed and has a doctorate in theology. She loves the Book of Mormon and came to church yesterday. A wonderful lady! She's so funny.
WEDNESDAY: We met with some less-actives and invited them back to renew of their covenants and be happy again. We were knocking doors and found some Jehovah Witnesses who invited us in for like an hour. It almost got heated a couple times, but I didn't have my Bible on me and the Spirit totally left when that happened, so thankfully we left on good terms. Although now I am just more confused than ever on their religion. It doesn't make sense. But they were really nice. Then we had a dinner appointment with some members who invited some people from the ward and their friend who's not a member. We shared a message from Jeremiah 1:5 and how God knows us and loves us and knows our capabilities. Their friend really liked us, and hopefully we'll be able to meet with her soon. The members who had us over were really grateful and excited. And they loved your conversion story Mom and Dad. Somehow I end up sharing that a lot.
THURSDAY: We found a really great view of Phoenix. Turns out downtown Phoenix is not in the Phoenix Mission but in the Mesa Mission. Funny huh? That's all I'm going to say about Thursday.
FRIDAY: I was back in Glendale for exchanges! It was pretty crazy to be back in the last area I left just a few weeks later. Sister Follett was extremely grateful to have me there. I don't feel like I solved any of her many concerns or problems, but I think she at least took comfort in being able to talk to someone and relax a little bit. The Elia family from Iraq are getting baptized on the 20th! And they're inviting tons of people (like their neighbors) to come to church with them! How exciting. Jason is not progressing, but we went by to see him and at least discuss that. He's going through a lot of hard things right now, and that was hard to see. But he was grateful that we came by. It was really amazing to see people continuing to progress and interesting to see how quickly things change.
SATURDAY: One of our investigators named Carlos got married. Then we went to a baptism. That's all for Saturday.
SUNDAY: Long day. It ended nice by the end of the night.
Love y'all so much. Please don't send me any more packages - my guilt is racking my soul.
Love, Sister Parks


OH MY GOSH GENERAL CONFERENCE WAS SO AMAZING. I CAN HARDLY BELIEVE IT. There were 8 of us missionaries in the stake center when President Monson made the announcement about lowering the age of missionaries (apparently Elder Holland later announced that they're reducing the time in the MTC by a third too). This is what I wrote in my notes because we were all SO overwhelmed by the Spirit. It is definitely inspired (as if you needed me to tell you that): "President Monson just announced that young men can serve missions at age 18 and that sisters can sere when they are 19 - wow. We are dumbstruck, amazed, and overjoyed. Hannah is so close! I can't imagine. Oh my word it's a miracle. The missionaries are going to start flooding in. Think of how amazing this will be for those who are stronger than ever and needing the wonderful gift of missionary work to help save their souls as well as others. Let no man despise thy youth!" Hannah - I couldn't get you out of my mind during the first session of conference. Not that I receive revelation for you (oh wow no) but you were just definitely in my thoughts all throughout that morning session. I just love you and think you're great. I don't know it's just so amazing. I already feel like the kids just a few years younger than me are so much stronger and more capable. They will be perfectly ready and capable to go out earlier. I was thinking about where I was at 19/20 and how EXCITED I was to serve a mission, especially with all my guy friends going out on missions at the same time. It's great. It will be amazing.
So yeah. General Conference was amazing as usual. I was very moved and inspired.
Also totally random: the Spanish elders turned around to us at General Conference Sunday morning and asked, "Are you two watching conference here?" We answered in the affirmative (I like watching Conference in the stake center way more than at members' homes... I know it's bad). They said, "Okay well there's this guy we met who says that he knows you from BYU. Like our member's nephew or something." I looked befuddled and an elder said, "Well he told us that there was a Sister Parks serving in this area, and we told him that 'yeah, she's in our area' ". Now I was really confused and they said, "He speaks Spanish [duh]! He served in Florida." "Andy Wallmann?!" I exclaimed. They affirmed my guess. And then they told me that they told him not to come to the stake center and had like no information about him. So it's funny because it's against church policy for Andy to purposefully see me, and it's not allowed for me to write him since he's probably near mission boundaries. And he's like right here and I had no idea. Funny huh? Okay well I thought it was funny. And totally random. I honestly had forgotten about Andy because last time we exchanged letters was like in March. And I've forgotten A LOT of things since then...
I had a neat experience last night when we were doing some studies. There's a really great chapter in the beginning of Preach My Gospel - it's Chapter 1: My Purpose. I have been feeling a little dissatisfied with the work we've been doing here in this area. Mostly the lack of work we've been doing in this area - not in numbers per say (although we do have awful numbers) - but just in the actual time we go out fishing and actually having our lines in the water. And then at conference as they read all these facts and statistics (!!! <3) from social science research I really wanted to be back at school or just back home doing something. I felt like I wasn't doing good here in this area. Well then there was this amazing quote by President Benson that I was drawn to. In essence, he talked about how the gospel is the cause that must unite our world today. It will unite nations and nationalities and will bring joy, peace, and consolation to our world. Basically, the gospel is what will save our world from calamity. The best good I can be doing right now if I want to help the world is by helping the people here in Phoenix, Arizona have the gospel in their lives and in their families. I shouldn't pass by any opportunity to spread the gospel and share the joy that I have and that has saved my family so much heartache. This is more than I will ever do as a research demographer or park ranger or writer or whatever other occupation I wanted to have. And I've been blessed to have this opportunity to do this at this time. This was daunting and yet comforting. My thoughts of school and jobs were put on hold and then I pondered how I could ignite this fire again of wanting to share the solution to all problems with everyone I saw. And get this - the paragraph right before President Benson's quote said that as we understand the Atonement more, we'll have an increased desire to share the gospel. WOW. So I guess I'll be studying the Atonement a lot.
We have interviews with President tomorrow and will be focused on obedience from what we've heard which is actually what I'm struggling with right now. Yay! And then get this - I'm going on exchanges this week (so I spend 24 hours with another sister in another area) in Glendale hahaha. Only 3 weeks later and I'm already going back. I'll be with the new English sister there - Sister Follett - and Hermana Garcia will be coming to be with Sister Pilcher. I am honestly super excited because I think it will be a great push for both Sister Pilcher and me.
Well I know details about my week are very much wanted, but you'll just have to do and guess about what I do every day. Wait... I'm a missionary... you can figure it out and make up the people and the places hahaha.
I'm going to respond to some personal emails real fast. Know that I love y'all very much. Please tell Tracie that I loved her email but am not sure as to how soon I'll be able to respond.
The gospel is true! It is the greatest gift we have to give to our children, our friends, our neighbors, and the world.
Sister Parks

exhausted fingers - October 1, 2012

Because I've been writing a billion other emails. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!
We have so many meetings this month! October is going to be great!
Um Relief Society Broadcast was amazing!!!!!!!!!! An investigator came. Wow. Her name is Phyllis. She's a little older (just a little) and lost her husband recently. We've only taught one lesson with her, but she was able to come to the broadcast. She was like in tears the whole time and was just floored by it. She said she felt like they were only speaking to her. Isn't that so sensational?! I am so excited for General Conference, and then we have interviews with President that following Tuesday. I know it might be bad, but I LOVE MEETINGS SO MUCH.
Also we have to leave in like 2 minutes. Hahaha sorry for this email. Looks like people are just going to have to write me to see what's going on in my life!
A missionary gave his farewell in one of my wards this week. It was so emotional - his ward family had invested so much in him, and the whole congregation was so proud of him. It'll be amazing.
The gospel is so true. It's incredible. I can't believe it. Well obviously I do hahahaha.
Life is good. Emails are great. My family is the bomb. I feel really mature right now. Dad I'll write you later. But thanks for the voter registration form!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so excited! I love this country. I feel very blessed to serve here.
Love love love love love
Sister Parks