Monday, November 26, 2012

SWEATER SEASON! - November 12, 2012

Hi. Yes. It has officially dropped below 70 degrees and everyone is freaking out. I am too. I honestly was not aware that the city of Phoenix dropped below 70. I thought that a "mild winter" meant that we didn't have the same temperatures here that we do in Austin. Oh dear. So Austin has "mild winters"? I think I'm becoming a total pansy. But I'm not complaining! I love the cold weather. It just seriously throws me off every time I walk outside haha. I'm pulling out my jackets, cardigans, and sweaters and actually getting to keep them on all day!

Yay this is where I get to answer all your questions!
Taylor: How's the weather? Chilly. Does it get cool at night? Yes. Do you need warmer clothes? Sweaters are nice. But I figure if I survived a winter in Prescott I should technically have enough clothes to last me through this Phoenix chilly season. Ugh so no. My closet is in a constant state of change it seems. Outfits get super boring when you wear them over and over haha. Not complaining though!
Mom: No there was no post it note – you had written it directly on the box so I knew exactly what you were talking about with not calling me fatwood. Thanks for explaining it! The shoes fit all right! With the heel grips I put in them they fit just fine. Thanks! Haha it was weird getting used to wearing even slightly raised heels again. I'm going to have a super hard time going back to my 3-inch heels apparently. Yes, my birthday balloons survived the trip. Haha they were fine. I have no idea if Elder Wheelwright is related to the Wheelwrights in our ward. I AM SO JEALOUS THAT BROTHER SALISBURY ASKED YOU TO SPEAK WITH HIM. Ugh I'm telling you it's on my bucket list. Seriously. Brother Salisbury is not allowed to be released as a high councilor until I have the opportunity to be his opening act. Haha I wish I had time to write a talk for you. You know everything about the youth! I'd just recommend talking about how they need to be prepared! We're going to have a whole bunch more of little 18 and 19-year-old youths taking our their endowments. They need to have testimonies now and be doing everything to gain those testimonies. Oh and Mom our mission is trying to bring in more special musical numbers, so I'm now being asked to sightread Sally DeFord music too... God is really blessing me Mom because some days I totally can't do it and other days I can. It's freaky. Thankfully I only play when our zone rehearses, not for actual mission performances.
Dad: Yes my biking shorts were a very good investment. I might need another pair because I came out with one but they're definitely too short, so the ones I have now Sister Bailey left me when she went home. I honestly think I'm doing okay. I always think I need more clothes but that is probably incorrect. Haha. Thanksgiving I think we'll just be eating at a member's home and going in at 6... so yeah. We don't have any plans right now haha. Yeah we heard that we're literally doubling the number of sisters in our mission come late January/early February (whenever the next transfer is). So everyone will be training probably. Looks like I'll finally get to be senior companion hahaha. Oh dear. I agree with Elder Parks - responsibility is not my forte. I think I haven't had much responsibility yet because I get prideful too. I'm power hungry! Hahahahaha. Well sort of. Then I get responsibility like being a solo sister on my Spanish-ish assignment and I just go into panic stress mode. God has to work very slowly with me. That is very obvious.

MONDAY: New investigator named Coral! She's great. Super prepared and showed up out of nowhere with her boyfriend. Owns a beauty salon. Might be giving us a spa day today... we'll see. Very interesting. I honestly don't know how this keeps happening to us but we'll be super grateful for all these ridiculously prepared people that keep showing up out of nowhere.
TUESDAY: Was fine. Oh and my ballot came on election day. Wow. It was sad haha because obviously I wasn't able to vote. Just a day late!
WEDNESDAY: We taught Coral again. That was nice. Then we got to go and bear our testimonies about the Personal Progress program to one of our ward's Young Women groups. That was super great. I hadn't really considered what an impact Personal Progress had on me developing my own personal habits of prayer and scripture study. I learned a lot and my testimony grew significantly from it! Amazing. Hello inspiration!
THURSDAY: We went on splits that night so I was with our new assistant ward mission leader and his wife. We were teaching a woman named Sara who has so many doubts it's sad. She's had great spiritual experiences that have helped her to know that God is there but then she starts doubting it! I don't know why. Also, children have randomly started loving me since I became a missionary and can't hold them... Children did not like me before my mission when I could hold them. Just saying. It's interesting.
FRIDAY: We had a meeting with our whole zone! Love it! We thought it was only going from 2:30 to 4:30 but turns out it was from 2:00 to 5:00 and we stayed an extra 30 minutes to learn Sally DeFord's SATB version of "Come Thou Fount" which we're singing this week when Elder Kolliker (probably butchering his name) comes to see us. Elder Hastings, Elder Wainwright, and I all took turns trying to play it and trying to learn our singing parts too haha. It was funny. I told Elder Fagersten I'd try to learn it so I could play it when we practice again this week. But yeah zone meeting was really good. We have good zone leaders and great elders in our zone. That night we had dinner with a family and they did it "greasy spoon" style where the meal was coded and so whatever you put in was what you had for that course. I did pretty well and had a utensil and food for every course, but Sister Pilcher had spaghetti, ice cream, and salad her first course with no silverware haha.  It was funny to watch. Not sure I'd recommend that for when y'all feed the missionaries, but it was fun. After that we met up with Hermanas Folsom and Holmes in the Phoenix Stake (right now I'm serving in the Phoenix North Stake) for exchanges. Isn't that cool?! President announced in August that we're going to start like every quarter or so going on exchanges with Spanish sisters which is so great. Sister Pilcher went with Sister Holmes back to their area and I stayed here with Hermana Folsom.
so then on SATURDAY: I was the "exchange conductor" and led the exchange in my area. Thankfully we had a super busy day. Hermana Folsom is really great! Turns out that we entered the MTC the same date, but since she learned Spanish I never met her and she came out into the field a transfer after me. But we'll go home together come next August. And she's a triplet. Crazy. We had a couple interesting lessons that day with people that I honestly couldn't discern their intentions and then went to a baby shower for a bit. Almost had a joint lesson with the Spanish elders (the mother is a LA in our ward and her father is a LA in their ward) but of course the family wasn't there for our lesson. I'm telling you - every time we have an opportunity to teach with the Spanish elders it doesn't work out haha. That night Barbara had her baptism interview with Elder Colovich and is good for baptism this Friday! We're excited for her. Her husband Charles needs to stop smoking and then he'll get baptized too. Hermana Folsom and I got to attend part of the adult session of stake conference, and then we left early so I could drive her back and get my regular companion back. I love exchanges. I always learn a lot.
And then SUNDAY: was so awesome. Our stake conference was a broadcast from Salt Lake. Elder Holland and President Eyring spoke. It was so good. They talked a lot about missionary work and how members need to be more involved. Yes! It was very sweet because Elder Holland talked about how we feel sending our sons and daughters out into the field and how we want them to be successful so as such we should help our missionaries (other people's sons and daughters) that have been sent to us here. He talked about how these times are different with increased suspicions, dangers, offense at invasion of privacy, and gated communities. He asked the 95 stakes in Arizona that he was addressing how we can possibly send missionaries to places we ourselves wouldn't take them. It was so great. We missionaries were like, "THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!" He talked about his apostalic calling and said of him and the other apostles that "what we have always said, we really do know" and bore testimony about the Godhead and the Restoration. It was beautiful. He talked about how there's a greater urgency in the world and how we need to be more, do more, and go farther. He said near the end of his talk about missionaries that "we want them to be successful, so be prepared because they're coming in great numbers". It's true! We have no idea how it's going to work with all the missionaries we're going to be getting next year. Then President Eyring spoke about being a wise optimist. It was so great! He quoted the scripture in D&C 71 I think it is about how no weapon formed thee shall prosper and how that is our heritage. Our faith in Jesus Christ allows us to be optimists. He then talked about how exciting it will be with all these missionaries coming home younger from their missions and how they'll be on fire and fearless and spread that to their children. Finally, President Kimball's vision of "every member a missionary" will come true! It was exciting. Wow. So good. Everything after that was not as exciting haha.
And now it's Monday and my email of course is very long again. You should see if you can watch or listen to the stake conference! It was so good. So good. President Eyring and Elder Holland weren't the only speakers, but they were the best in my opinion. I feel very blessed to be here in Arizona at this time and having the opportunity to talk to so many different types of people. I feel that I'm being prepared to constantly be a missionary the rest of my life and never having an reservations in talking to anyone about the happiest part of my life. Arizona is preparing for something big - I'm not sure what. But it's going to have 6 temples soon. Our ward leaders and us as missionaries have been having a lot more meetings lately with people of great importance in the church. It's exciting to be a part of.
I'd say this email is way too long so I'll go. LOVE Y'ALL LOTS.
As always, Sister Parks
P.S. Can someone get me the mission address for Sara Jolley? She should be in Ecuador by now. I think. Morty wrote me from Tampa! Little Sister Mortensen. And I haven't heard from Hermana Shea Moon yet, but I'll probably write her soon. When is Brittany Fisher getting married?

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