Monday, July 1, 2013

June 24, 2013

Yes that was totally Morty in the training broadcast! So exciting!!!!!!! I elbowed Sister Barnett really hard and said, "I know her!!! That's my old roommate!!!" Every time I saw her it was exciting :)
Oh wow and I just watched another clip with Morty in it and she's actually talking! Wow. Crazy times.

1) We were given dried beans (it's okay - I don't know what to do with them either) so we "let them soak" but might have forgotten about them for a few days. We couldn't figure out why our apartment smelled so funny until I decided to use the beans and saw that they were pretty moldy. Totally ewweth!
2) We have little grapes growing in our backyard! They're adorable.
3) We had a trainer/trainee followup meeting this past Friday. As I'm looking around I realize everyone from our MTC district is there! All 5 of us. Additionally, one of the Spanish elders that came out of us was there too! So we took a picture together. Elder Beck and Elder Absher will be reassigned to the Tempe Mission on July 1st, so we were blessed to be able to get one last picture together. Please ignore the fact that Elder Beck and Elder Knabe forgot how to smile hahahaha just kidding!!!!
4) These are two pomegranate trees in our backyard - it's the hope I have for Trenton's little tree in our backyard :)

Trenton: I definitely loved what President Packer said - "I know the Lord lives, and I know the Lord." Intense. You could feel it.

Similar to Trenton, we haven't received any news of changes really other than something that was hinted at in the opening film but that wasn't actually mentioned. A district in our mission is practice testing that. We're really excited to see what Elder Perry meant by the whole being there to give church tours all the time. Very interested to see what that'll mean. Facebook we've had touches of, but nothing like he was talking about. Again, super interested to see what the changes will actually mean. Haha we'll see how much changes in 7 weeks. Not that I'm trunky. I'm just saying.

Okay Sister Barnett and I cover 2 wards in an 8 ward stake. They both meet at the same building and our area is not very big at all - no more than 3 miles by 3 miles between the two of them but somehow we're still driving like 900 miles a month. I don't get it either. The wards are huge (both easily fill the chapel which is a ton of people to know) though.
Our zone covers 2 stakes, but we're just in the Peoria Stake. I'm legitimately in Peoria but really close to my old area of Glendale too and not too far from my other area of North Phoenix.
Also haha speaking of North Phoenix (where I was for 7 and 1/2 months), apparently it's a little too unsafe now so they're going to take the sisters out of it hahahaha. I laughed so hard because people always told us that we shouldn't be in certain places. Don't worry Mom - I was always smart.

This Saturday I'm seeing Sister Falke and the Studingers!!!!!!!!!!! I can't believe it. I'm so excited. Like beyond belief. So very excited. Sister Falke emailed me and said, "Well I wrote you this huge letter and then realized, 'Well, I'm seeing her on Saturday', so how about I just give it to you in person this Saturday?" Perfect haha.

Exchanges were good. Funny story - it ended up being an exchange from 3 pm to 3 pm (exchanges are usually an 8 pm to 8 pm thing). But point being (I guess that's not important) but Sister Follett and I are getting ready to go exercise Thursday morning. I legitimately felt prompted to brush my teeth. Weird. Then we had just finished praying when the lady they live with comes up to our door and gives us apple strudel saying that "they had too much extra for all the missionaries that are over". Uhhh what? We're in our exercise clothes and it's 6:30 in the morning. So yep we go downstairs and there are our zone leaders and our mission president and the stake presidency. Not a big deal. We try to escape but then the stake presidency starts talking to Sister Follett and then President Taylor comes over to say hi. He told us that we looked lovely haha. Well then I try to escape again and he says, "Well wait, let's talk for a little." He then proceeds to tell me what a great job I've done with Sister Barnett and how much she's grown. He explains a little bit of what will happen with next transfer and asks me to think about and pray about what I'd feel comfortable with. So we'll see. But yeah - definitely inspired transfers because I was able to see him and talk to him.

Well the fireplace plans sounds very interesting. I can definitely see Mom's point about all the kids she'll have around. It'll be totally weird to not have a hidden staircase anymore though!!! Very interesting. Also, I don't know where Trenton got the idea that y'all are moving to Utah but I hope you don't because all your kids are moving to Texas (hope Matt knows this, Taylor). We made a deal a long time ago that we'd all move close to each other in Texas one day.

Summer heat is manageable. It's just going to get worse haha so we bought a car visor and drink tons of water and Gatorade. Oh yeah! And yes Taylor I'm pretty sure everyone and their dog has skin cancer :( so I wear sunscreen when I remember. Definitely on my nose because that's where I see the most skin cancer. Scary!
And Taylor you ran a 5k! You're so intense.

Well that's probably all for today. LOVE Y'ALL SO MUCH. Next week I'll email on Tuesday as it's transfers. Can't wait to tell you about the sealing and what changes are coming up!!! Life is great.
Love, Sister Parks

Oh yeah... happy anniversary... I TOTALLY REMEMBERED ON TUESDAY! - June 17, 2013

Yeah sorry. Happy anniversary Mom and Dad! There's a new Star Trek out? Weird. Oh and happy birthday to Miss Lizzie Fotheringham Williams. Her birthday is on your anniversary and in my email time I spaced that too. June has been a really weird month haha. And hot. Oh wow it's so hot here. I'm going to buy one of those "tube sock" do thingies so I can have more professional updos. We'll see.
Well we totally took some cute pictures this week and I forgot my card reader... so... SORRY!
I officially have permission to go see Chris and Shea get sealed!!!!! I'm so excited :) And Sister Barnett will get to stay with our Hermanas here in the area so she's really excited too.
Also Dad you have to watch this video. I found it when we did time this past week and I cried. Love you. The Mother's Day video is good too, but I think the Father's Day one is better.
The June 23rd broadcast will be incredible. We know of one announcement they're going to make that will change missionary work, but we're not supposed to tell yet. Other than that, I only know it will be awesome and that we've been told from the proselyting department to expect big changes. So go!
Haha Mom I think the idea to stay out all night with a pellet gun will work great with the deer! Go get em tiger :) There are so many doves and pigeons here. I wish for a BB gun all the time hahaha. Not really!!!!! But sort of...
Hannah sounds like such a good daughter taking care of Dad's Father's Day :)
Uh are you seriously getting ridding of the fireplace? That's a joke, right?
This week will be cool. Going on exchanges again (I'll be in Sun City) and then we have a trainer/trainee meeting follow-up. Sister Vallejo will be there with her trainee, whom Sister Barnett knows and loves from the MTC, so we're planning on going out to lunch afterward. Isn't it crazy how fast you can bond with people?
We met a couple that we talked to for a while. The were raised in one religion but have been super disillusioned by it. He, Casey, discovered meditation and got really into that with Slyvia. It was interesting talking to them and seeing the similarities between their quest for truth and our quest for truth. Every lesson I've ever taught on the mission has been totally different.
Um. Nothing much else to report. Time flies. Still many things to improve on and lots of experiences to have.
Well I should probably head out. Life continues to roll along.
Love y'all lots. Hope your weeks are beautiful and wonderful.
Sister Parks

Happy Father's Day!!!!!!!!!! - June 10, 2013

Oh and the crock pot in the picture was our makeshift cooler until we bought one last Monday.
Phew sorry I just spent too much time emailing Sister Vallejo. I love her! Isn't it so crazy that as a missionary you meet all these people that you never would have even known existed?! Definitely.
I got Hannah's graduation announcement on Thursday I think. I might have started crying when I saw her picture... Wow! So exciting and totally crazy. Haha definitely sounds like a crazy weekend for y'all. I'm SO happy Matt and Taylor were able to be there.
Oh and remember Shea and Chris Studinger from Prescott? Shea just emailed me and said that they're getting sealed at the end of this month. I'm invited, and Sister Falke is making plans to come down too. I am beyond happy! It's so interesting, because I definitely had a breakdown of sorts this weekend. Satan is the worst!!! But I have a lot of support from missionaries and others here which has helped.
I got letters from my MTC companion, Sister Crandall, and Morty this past week! They're both doing great and actually both have been assigned in the new position of Sister Training Leader in their respective missions! Definitely great news and shows so much of their progression as missionaries - now they get to go and train all the other sisters in their mission!
We found a couple more people to teach this week which has been a huge blessing. Two from members and one actually from all the hullabaloo on that crazy trial about that girl that killed her boyfriend (yes, I've heard about that like 4 times... just makes me grateful that I don't have to listen to the news every day). Interesting eh?
We weren't able to meet with Tracy this week and they didn't come to church :( We really need to be doing something different but haven't quite figured out what that is yet...
Also can I just say that I'm AMAZED at youth these days. Amazed. The zone leaders just passed off this kid named Hatem to us. He is really close to a family in their ward but lives in ours. We basically started drilling him because his knowledge and testimony already is incredible. He has very little Christian background but wow - he has connected to the Spirit and is learning so much. He strengthened our testimonies. We're excited to be able to keep teaching him.
Uh Ariel said that I'll be staying with her for a bit in August... CRAZY. I don't need any details haha, I just wanted to make you aware that life is SO WEIRD right now.
Also, I love your emails. Y'all always say the perfect things. And Taylor, thank you for the picture of Hannah as well. I LOVE YOUR EMAILS.
Neat realization for me this morning during my studies. Throughout my mission, I've been really rubbed the wrong way for days when people are pretty much telling us we're of no use to them because missionaries are young and have seen nothing of life and have no idea what we're talking about. People usually tell this to us as an excuse for how they're living their lives (whether they're less-active or rude to their LDS neighbors or not interested in religion at all) because we will supposedly live out our own lives and see that in the end God will leave us and religion won't be worth it and everything we're devoting our lives to right now is worthless. Phew. But you get my drift? I have DESPISED it on my mission. Gets under my skin and I totally lose the Spirit when I'm talking to those people (I usually have to stop). I had no idea why! But this morning I was reading a talk from President Monson - I'll put the link here - and he started out by talking about his life and continued with experiences from his own life. The thought came to me that, yes, I haven't experienced much of life. I'm sure that I'll have experiences that will cause me to test my faith and analyze again the things I know to be true now. I don't know what the future will bring. BUT this I know now: my call to be a missionary at this time and in this place is from God. I have no doubt of that. For one thing, a prophet of God who HAS seen life in all it's varieties and hardships still trusts in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and the truths They reveal to him. In addition, President Monson approved ME to go on a mission and preach the gospel. I have a letter call from him and a ministerial certificate signed by him. It says that I have been "duly called and set apart as a missionary" and that I have "authority to preach the principles of the gospel". President Monson has seen life and knows the truth. I know the truth even if I haven't seen life. And that's enough. Most importantly, though, Heavenly Father knows all. He has seen it all. And He trusts me to be out here right now. I don't need to have every experience in the world to know that this gospel works. It will bring the most happiness, peace, and completion to our lives right now and forever. That I know. People can make all the excuses they want, but the words that I am trying to hard to receive directly from the Spirit (which will tell us ALL things) are of infinite worth to them. That's why I'm here.
Phew. That one only took me over a year to figure out. Not a big deal.
Man. I think this Pday is going to be awesome. It already has been.
The Atonement is so real. I feel it working in my life and know that it works in the lives of everyone who asks for it. Isn't that amazing?!
Love y'all a ton. Dad, I'll be thinking of you on Sunday! Not that I don't every day hahahahaha
Sister Parks

Sister Turner and I visited someone in a hospital who had mercer... yeah...
I told Sister Barnett to not look for a second so I could do something. And so she goes in a corner... yeah I'll be a terrible mother one day hahaha. Then she found a hat. I think that's it for explanations. 

HEAT CHILLS - June 3, 2013

Are so creepy when you start shivering in the car when it's over 100 degrees outside and even hotter inside your deep, dark, blue-gray Chevy Cruze. I love that car, but I'm seriously creeped out when I get into it.
Haha I just read a couple emails from my first couple of weeks in the field. Wow how things have changed! I feel completely different and yet entirely the same as that young sister missionary. Man. I would love to get her enthusiasm back though! Done! Okay.
So life! All right. This week since last Tuesday: Good week. Just really struggling with motivation, so we're doing things to help cope with that. Oh and we rearranged our desk furniture this morning. We seriously cleaned our apartment for like over an hour today. I actually like cleaning though. Except the shower. I cannot figure out how to clean a shower haha. Oh Hannah it will be so fun when we have cleaning inspections in Utah hahahaha! So excited.
We're teaching a lady named Tracy and trying to help her husband Troy get back to church as well. We have great lessons, and she's awesome about reading and keeping those commitments, but we're having the hardest time getting them to church! We took them on a church tour this week only to realize that our church building has like no artwork in it though hahaha. So it was a nice tour. I think it helped, but not enough to come to church this week so we'll keep working on it.
Due to a funeral on Thursday, we were thrown an emergency last-minute service project. We seriously called like 50 people trying to find a truck to help this poor lady out and were saved by the young men of all people! 3 priests showed up WITH A TRUCK EVEN (one of them has a mission call and just graduated from high school... weird) and just saved our lives. It was so awesome. But Taylor she was wearing a necklace just like the one you have with the eye/hand thing and so I knew she was Jewish! Anyway she was just so impressed that we were able to help her out that she went to 2 church buildings yesterday! She says that she loves her Jewish faith but loves her "second religion" too. She's actually outside of our area which is a super downer for her, but we'll get her elders over to her. Thankfully the Spanish-speaking sisters were there to help and she's in their area so they can stop by and visit her. So that was neat to be a part of. Our Bishop was impressed that the project had been pulled off but mostly impressed that he'd be there to receive the call for her asking for help because he was only near his office because of the funeral. So yesterday he testified about miracles and how the Lord is truly hastening His work (I cannot emphasize this enough and how much we're feeling this in the mission field. It's definitely feeling like that huge wave Elder Nelson talked about last General Conference and we're expecting some big announcements in a broadcast on June 23rd). So good testimony meetings this past Sunday. Then, Sister Barnett and I had some study time after church. We were both still fasting and WOW our studies were awesome. We had all these great learning moments from the Spirit and were just blowing our minds. Too much! Sister Barnett said this morning, "I should just fast all the time because I get way more out of my studies!"
Well that was a run-on paragraph...
Mom your training is so intense! Aren't you happy to already know the solfege (had no idea it was spelled that way...) from the Sound of Music! Also Dad, can we please get The Ten Commandments because I'm reading Exodus right now and want to watch that movie so bad haha. Glad to hear that you're having fun in Utah though :)
Dad, President Taylor seems to be doing well. He's approaching his 2-year mark as a mission president. And he told us that they're out of money (since they don't receive income as a mission president and wife) so Sister Taylor went up to Provo this past week to prepare their house for renting haha. Crazy. Sacrifice. That's what it's all about. He is very busy all the time, but we always feel his love which is awesome. Shea asked on behalf of her parents for some advice when they were preparing to go to Cambodia (can you believe they've been there for almost a year now?!) and that's mostly what I told them was to just make sure the missionaries feel loved. Love is such a great motivator, and they really have become like my second parents in the field.
Dad I'm serious about the Sioux City thing! Although that joke about the teepee famine was really funny - Sister Barnett and I had a good laugh over that one. People in the library must think we're so weird haha.
Also, I heard the Church is done making the Bible videos! Is that true?! I haven't seen the one of Lazarus come out yet!!!!!!!
Life is pretty good. I'm trying to smile more and be happier (I don't know what I'm not - I'm sharing the best message in the world 24/7!). Also, President Taylor told Sister Barnett that it's almost for certain that she'll be training in just a few short weeks when her training is up. She's been a little freaked out by that, so I'm trying to help her to be more prepared for that (well for her to actually realize that she's prepared for that because I'm so amazed at how much she's changed just in the 8 weeks we've been together). I'm still trying to be better. I definitely know that it's one step at a time which is nice. I loved that about Elder Holland's talk this past conference about how imperfect people are all the Lord has to work with but He deals with it and so should we. Definitely applies to how we deal with ourselves.
Hey I love all of you bunches and oats. Seriously. Just love ya. Your emails really propel me through and give me an extra boost that I love. I've reflected a lot this week on how the gospel has blessed our lives so much and how completely different our lives would be if a great friend hadn't sent the missionaries over to kill Mom and Dad's goldfish hahaha. It's important work! Every single member of the church is a firsthand witness to this. We're part of the time that has been anticipated and prophesied of for generations - let's actively take part! Sister Barnett and I will do better as well.
Also, I think I want to see if I can be a temple worker when I'm back in Provo. I was thinking about temples this week.
Okay love y'all so much! Have a GREAT WEEK and Happy Graduation Hannah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love, Sister Parks