Last week, the lady we live with had 2 of her sisters staying there, too. I think we had nightgown parties every night. It was awesome. I love 80-year-old women :)
And then this week like every day was cloudy!!!!!!!!!!!! A monsoon came in one night, but I slept right through it (I've been so tired this week). It was usually between 95 and 105 degrees which was AWESOME! It's supposed to get hot again later this week though :(
Also Family, congratulations on not making me trunky. My friends are way worse hahahaha. Oh dear. I finally just tell people that I'm leaving soon and don't try to lie about it anymore. I'll never be the missionary I assume everyone expects me to be, so I'll just be the missionary I am and continue to try to improve :) And I've been getting some great advice about going home.
We met a wonderful lady this past week named Joyce. She lives in the Sun City West Ward (aka our old people ward).
Background on her (which is so cool!!!!!!!): It actually starts in California. There are some kids who become friends with some other kids at school who happen to be LDS. Through the acquaintance of the kids, the parents make friends and end up being able to share the gospel. The whole family is baptized!
Enter Joyce - her daughter is the mother in the family that got baptized. Their family had been experiencing a lot of problems, but Joyce noticed how much better things were just in the few months that they had joined the church (amazing what the gospel does, isn't it?). She went to church with them in California and really enjoyed herself. Her daughter told her that she should check out the church in her own area. Whether she knew her ward was at 9 or not, I'm not sure, but she ended up going to the family ward at 11 that the elders cover. But listen to how inspired a choice this was - both Elder Nokes and Elder Stevens were speaking in church that day, and Joyce was completely entranced and moved by what they were saying. She went up to the elders after sacrament and told them that she was investigating the church and wanted to learn more. Yes, this is a true story.
Sister Franz and I were eating some food in the kitchen right after this, and the elders found us and told us the story. They told us Joyce was currently in Sunday School and planned on attending Relief Society, too, and that they would track us down afterward. So she stayed for all 3 hours of church! And then we talked with her a little bit and set up an appointment for Tuesday. She is so sweet and wonderful. Her husband is a little anti right now, but she said that she hopes he'll see her example all the changes in her life. She definitely has some struggles right now but is so into learning more about the gospel. This past weekend she was in St. George and told us she was going to go look at the temple there. And we called her on Thursday after we'd given her a copy of the Book of Mormon on Tuesday and she was like 7 chapters in! Alma 13:24 continues to have such relevance and reality to me. Miracles happen every day! And all because a family (especially the children) weren't afraid to open their home, hearts, and love of the gospel with their friends. It's amazing!
OH AND HAIL THE CONQUERING HERO: I have officially never lost a car inspection. Sister Franz and I received another perfect car award which means that Elder and Sister Rodgers will be taking us out to lunch. Elder Rodgers said to everyone as he was presenting the awards, "Now, last April Sister Parks got a perfect car on a brand new car, making it look better than when we first bought it." He shrugged his shoulders like that wasn't a big deal and then continued, "But this time she and her companion took this smelly elders car and turned it into a queen's coach!" I didn't bother to tell him that the car had been in the hands of sister missionaries for the past four-six months or so, but that's okay. It was so funny. And I'm so happy!!!!!!!!!! I'm not quite sure how much of this ability to clean cars will carry over into real life, but at least I contributed to the mission :)
I'm going on exchanges back to my 3rd area of Bethany Home and am SO PSYCHED. I'm trying not to get too excited but it's super hard. I love and miss that area so much. I wish I was with Sister Vallejo again, but she'll be here in my area with Sister Franz and I'll be with her 2 trainees which should be fun :)
Ha funny slash awkward story: we have been helping out one of our investigators, Larry. His wife was a less-active member and passed away a few weeks ago. We went by one night to share a message with him. He seemed really tired but we weren't sure why. So we put in a Mormon Message dvd and start watching it. About 7 minutes in (it was a long 25-minute special one), Sister Franz gets my attention and points out that Larry is dead asleep. He starts snoring soon after. We look at our watches and figure it's probably okay to leave (only after making some noise to see if he'll wake up). He's totally out, and we turn off the dvd player, tv, some lights, and end up making a ton of noise but he's still snoring through it all!
We were ridiculously busy this week - always running around, and the all-day meeting on Wednesday didn't help either haha. But interviews were good! I feel like my interviews with President have only gone two ways: either super emotional and long with me crying the whole time or calm, collected, and short. Last time in April was the former, and then last week was the latter. It's funny :) I'll get one more "exit interview" with President before I leave. Maybe I'll be weepy in that one hahahaha.
Ahhhh thank you so much for the conversion story!!!!!!!!!!!!!! When did you meet the Andersons then? I love our family friendship. SO CUTE. What were your first callings?
Mom, the Parks Jeopardy game looks so cool! You are so smart :) Where were you on the coast? South Padre? Port Aransas? Hannah is so cute. Any pictures? Taylor thanks for the pictures from California! Natalie looks like a princess as usual :) I'm glad you had fun! I thought Jen was in New York though. Was all the construction at USC done from when we were last there? And you're definitely right about writing down memories. I still use my voice recorder about half the time, but now I'm also using my written journal too and taking time each day to write down something else from my mission that I remember. A lot of it is just funny or cute things that I doubt will be important to anyone else, but I like them and like remembering them :) And yes, I remembered the story of the 3 blind men and the elephant, but where had I heard that before? How did I know it?
Well that might be it for this week. Hope this was a good email with lots to laugh about. Should be another exciting week (not nearly as busy so far) but exchanges will be so awesome. I love exchanges! But I love y'all way more - no worries!
LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE