Monday, October 22, 2012


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

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