Monday, December 21, 2015

Chinese Miracles

Hi everyone!! Merry Christmas! 

Thank you all SO MUCH for the packages and letters you have sent. I can't even express how much it means to me to have such a loving, supportive family. 

So this was the best freakin' week of my whole mission. Its weeks like these that make everything worth it. 

I decided last week that I wanted to become a more sanctified, purified, obedient missionary. President Hancock has really been stressing that the past couple of weeks. He always tells us that obedience brings blessings but EXACT obedience brings miracles. I discovered this week how true this really is. 

I tried to live and breathe the white handbook this week. I made sure I was up by 6:30 and in bed by 10:30, I got out of the car every time Sister Bueno had to back up, and I tried not waste any proselyting time. Then on Sunday, Sister Bueno and I decided to fast for miracles. And we saw them!!

Miracle #1: We had ten investigators come to church. TEN!! It was amazing.

Miracle #2: We found a new investigator who is super prepared to hear the gospel. K has met with missionaries before and has read a lot of the Book of Mormon. She says she loves the Book of Mormon but doesn't like how Mormons in the past have treated her because she is a single lady with no kids. We explained that our religion is very family-centered but that doesn't mean there isn't a place for single people in the church (duh... Sheri Dew!!). Anyways we can definitely help her overcome those little issues :)

Miracle #3: Okay brace yourself for this one. Its pretty incredible. So one of our bishops has a friend from China named C. Bishop Hansen owns this international wellness company that opened in China a couple years ago. C worked for him over in China and about 5 years ago Bishop went on a business trip there and C showed him around some Buddhist temples. While they were on the tour, Bishop talked a little bit about our religion and promised that if C ever came to the U.S. he would take her on a tour of Temple Square in Salt Lake. A year passed and finally C and her mother, A, got to come here and go on the Temple Square tour. They felt the spirit so strongly and knew from that one experience that there was something special about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. 

A couple more years passed. C got married, moved to the U.S. and got pregnant with a little girl. She didn't have much interaction with the church during that time and said that she was in a dark place. Her husband didn't treat her very well and she ended up getting divorced and moving back to China where she gave birth to her daughter Victoria. 

About a year ago, a lady named Joyce Teng (also an employee of Bishop Hansen), had a very strong prompting that she should call C. She had met C a couple times through work but didn't know her very well at all. At first Joyce was tempted to ignore the prompting, but she ultimately acted on it and called. This phone call eventually lead to weekly discussions about the gospel via Skype between Joyce and C and her mom A. C and A immediately felt the truthfulness of the message and knew they needed to get baptized.

Unfortunately, people living in China are not allowed by the government to get baptized there. If they want to get baptized they must travel outside the country,which presented a big problem. Vicki, Coco's daughter, did not have Chinese citizenship because she was conceived in the U.S., so she couldn't get a passport to travel. C knew she wanted to have Vicki there for her baptism and her mother wanted to come and get baptized too so she couldn't stay and watch Vicki. C didn't know what to do. They had tried to get Vicki citizenship several times but they couldn't. 

Right after Joyce taught these two faithful women about fasting, they knew they had to fast for a miracle to happen. That same night Joyce, C, and A started their fast. The next day, after fasting, C and A felt prompted to try to get Vicki's citizenship one more time. Getting citizenship required a 5 day journey to C's birthplace at a very hectic time of year in China, when it is really hard to get train and plane tickets. Somehow everything fell into place and their trip went very smoothly. They asked once more for citizenship for little Vicki and they immediately were able to get it, because of some policy changes instituted by the new Chairman of China. It was that simple. She got her citizenship which meant she could get a passport and visa to travel outside the country. Moral of the story: fasting works!! 

So... You are probably wondering where Sister Bueno and I fit into this story. Well, C and A decided to come here to Idaho to get baptized by Bishop Hansen. Since they had never met with official missionaries before we had to teach them all of the missionary lessons before they could get baptized. A doesn't speak any English so we had an interpreter for her. They arrived in Idaho on Friday and we taught all the lessons in 2 days. They were baptized last night.

I will never forget the faith and dedication of these two women. Their love and gratitude for the restored gospel strengthened my testimony so much. Watching them finally enter the waters of baptism after years of yearning for more in their lives was incredible. It made me really think about how much I take my membership in the church for granted. I am so lucky to have grown up with the knowledge of the gospel. 

The most incredible moment of last night was the moments after A was baptized. She came up out of the water smiling from ear to ear and repeating something in Chinese. The translator turned to all of us and interpreted: "I am born again. I am born again." 

The spirit hit me so hard. That moment describes perfectly what missionary work (and life in general) is all about. 

I couldn't ask for a better Christmas present. This has been the best Christmas of my entire life. 

I can't even explain how happy I am. This scripture really says it best: D&C 18:15-16

I love my Savior, Jesus Christ. I know he lives and loves me.

Until next time,

Sister Park

P.S. Sorry my letter was so long. That story is too incredible to keep to myself!!

Monday, December 14, 2015

The gospel blesses families

Merry Christmas everyone! Hopefully y'all aren't getting too stressed with Christmas shopping and all the hustle and bustle :)

It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas here! We got quite a bit of snow last night and this morning so we woke up to a white blanket outside. I really love the snow. Not so much the cold, but beggars can't be choosers, right?

We had a pretty good week considering its the holidays and a lot of people are super busy at this time of year. We had an awesome lesson with J (the 12 year old kid) on Wednesday. We took him to the temple visitors center and talked to him about being with his family forever and getting sealed to his future wife for eternity. They also have a really cool statue of Christ that has a recording that goes with it explaining what Christ has done for all of us. We all felt the spirit so much and Jason told us how much he wanted to get baptized. Its so frustrating! He knows what he needs to do but his mom won't let him do it! 

We also had a great lesson with C and K. We talked about the Plan of Salvation (or God's plan for His children) and we were able to address some of K's concerns. They are both doing a lot better with smoking which is awesome!! We are going to teach about the Gospel of Jesus Christ this week and invite K to get baptized. 

We also met a new investigator this week! His name is S and he is awesome! He has had a lot of problems and has made a lot of really bad choices in his life, but he is at this place where he is just done with it all. He knows he needs to change something but he doesn't know how. So... this is perfect for us! We basically just talked about how the Gospel of Jesus Christ can help him get out of the bad place he is in. We invited him to come to church (not really thinking he would) but he actually showed up! He really enjoyed it and wants us to come back soon and teach him again. Unfortunately he is going out of town for a few weeks so we are hoping Satan doesn't make his way back into S's life.  

Can I just say how grateful I am for the members of the church here. Especially our stake president. Man he is amazing. He is so missionary minded and motivating to the members. Its one thing for us to tell people they need to do missionary work, but when the stake president says it, people listen. We had stake conference this weekend and President Wilcox spoke. He grew up in a less active home and was actually an "over-age youth". Over-age youth are kids (9 and older) who have been blessed in the church but aren't baptized. Basically a majority of the investigators we have. He said he grew up in a super in-active home and if it weren't for the missionaries coming and teaching him, he wouldn't be where he is today. This gave me so much hope! I sometimes feel like the kids we teach aren't getting much out of the lessons we teach, but who knows? They could be a stake president someday! 

I am so grateful for my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It is so interesting to see the contrast between people who have the gospel in their lives and those that don't. Of course there are exceptions, but for the most part, those that apply gospel principles in their lives are much happier. They have the assurance of their Heavenly Father's love for them and they know why they are here. Those that don't seem to lack direction and purpose and aren't as happy. Part of the first lesson we teach is that the gospel blesses families. I am really starting to see how true this is. When families are built upon the teachings of Jesus Christ, they are stronger and better able to deal with trials that come. 

I love the gospel and the stability it brings to my life. I know my Savior lives and loves me. 

Until next time,

Sister Park

Pic 1: My awesome zone

Pic 2: The wind here is unreal!!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Love is Always the Answer

Hey family! I hope you guys are doing well this week (especially you Grandpa O!).
This week was a pretty good one for us! Of course there was highs and lows but I'm trying to focus on the highs :)

So the biggest frustration right now is parents interfering with their children's progression. We have two kids right now who really want to get baptized. One is J, the 12 year old I talked about last week, and the other is N, a 14 year old girl whose parents are both non-members. Their parents just don't think that they are ready to make a life-changing commitment at this stage in their lives. The hard part is I know where these parents are coming from. Baptism is a really big commitment! When we're baptized we promise our Heavenly Father that we will strive to keep His commandments for the rest of our lives. It is a really big deal BUT we are also taught that 8 years old is the age of accountability, where children are ready to make an informed decision about being baptized. 

Often, these parents think that their children are too impressionable and can be persuaded too easily and can't make this decision on their own. Something that I remember my mom telling me growing up was that she admired children because they are so faithful and willing to be taught. In Matthew, Christ teaches that we must "become as little children" and "humble [ourselves]". As I have taught children and teenagers on my mission, I have witnessed how true this really is. In my opinion, children are very close to God and are better able to recognize the Spirit. 

I have had so many great experiences with the kids I'm teaching but its frustrating because they want to progress and take the next step in their conversion process, but they can't. Its hard too when their parents are not in the lessons and don't know what we are teaching their kids. If we could get the parents involved, I think we would have a lot more success. 

So that was the low of the week. 

The high was yesterday :)

C and K and their four kids came to church! It was probably the best testimony meeting I've ever been in. Kate was really worried about being judged. She grew up in Idaho and dealt with judgey, fake Mormon kids her whole life. The ward that they attend is thankfully one of the most diverse wards in the stake, filled with members who are honest about the trials and shortcomings they have. There are people covered in tattoos, people working to overcome addictions, and women who wear pants to church. Every testimony borne yesterday was so perfect for K and C. They were all about how we shouldn't judge others and how the gospel can bless our lives whether we are the most righteous person or someone who struggles to keep commandments. 

One guy got up and talked about how we are all on a ladder, leading us back to our Heavenly Father. It doesn't matter how far up we are on the ladder, as long as we are climbing. This was great for K and C. Its hard for them because they feel like they are so far from being the kind of people they want to be. But all that matters is that they are progressing. They're moving up the ladder. 

I love their family so freakin' much. Being on a mission is just the coolest thing because you come to love people that you would normally never interact with. I have also learned from them that you really can't judge a book by its cover. Both of them are covered in tattoos and piercings and to be honest, when I first met them I didn't think they would ever be receptive to the gospel. I thought they were probably drug addicts who couldn't care less about anything spiritual. I can't believe how wrong I was. They are some of the best people I have ever met. 

This week I have been focusing on love. When it comes down to it love is all that really matters. Love should be the motive for everything we do and if it is, everything will work out and we will be a lot happier. 

Speaking of love, I love all of you and the support and letters I get from you. I have the best family and friends in the world!

Remember to LOVE this week :)

Until next time,
Sister Park

Pic included: Cutest dog on the planet (besides Ace of course) & cutest missionary :)
 Mother and Daughter Reunited!
 Three Generations!


Monday, November 30, 2015

Hello everyone!

Wow I can't believe November is coming to a close! Time really goes so fast. We've got to cherish every minute we've got. 

This week was pretty good! Sister Bueno and I are getting more comfortable with each other and we have a lot of fun together :) 

It was weird being away from home on Thanksgiving but luckily we have great members who took us in and really made us feel at home. We also got to have a game night with our zone on Thanksgiving which was so fun! I seriously love the other missionaries so much and they have become my family. 

We set a baptism date with Jason! Jason is a 12 year old kid whose parents are both inactive members of the church. He started taking lessons from us about a month ago at the bishop's home once a week. The bishop's family has really taken him under their wing. He has a really crazy home life. Both parents have substance abuse problems and they have a really explosive relationship. I think being a part of the church will help him gain some stability and help him to recognize that he is never alone. He has permission from his dad, but we are just waiting on the mom. She seems a little more hesitant but we are praying that she will give the okay. 

We are still teaching Chuck and Kate's family. We were disappointed because they promised they would come to church and then they bailed. We gave them addiction recovery manuals though and they read the first chapter. They seem really committed to quitting smoking and we are bringing them some lollipops and Reese's today to help distract from their cravings. We also told them we could help with Christmas for their kids. They are in such a tough spot financially and they told us that without us, Santa would have to pass them by this year. The kids all wrote wish lists for Santa and they are so cute! Libby, their ten year old wrote a list of some presents she wanted and then the last thing she listed was for her mom to have the good Christmas she deserves. Libby will seriously melt any one's heart. 

We are still visiting Rusty and Leesa. It hasn't quite been the same though since Sister Latu left, which makes me really sad. Rusty used to get involved in the lessons and now he has just retreated to his bedroom. We aren't giving up on them though! 

We have zone conference this week and I'm so excited! Its the Christmas conference which means there will be a slideshow, presents, and a talent show. Our district is singing a song together. Yes, I am singing for the talent show.. I don't know how I got roped into that one. But we are doing a spoof on "All I Want for Christmas is You" and we are singing "All I Want for Christmas are Baptisms". Hopefully it turns out okay. None of us can actually sing so it might be interesting... 

I'm so excited for the Christmas season. This Christmas will be a lot different than any I have had before. I think it will be a lot more focused on the actual reason for Christmas. If you haven't seen the new "A Savior is Born" video on, GO WATCH IT. It shows people from all over the world telling the story of Christ's birth and why its relevant to us. I wish we had iPads so we could show it to all of our investigators but I guess they'll have to look it up on their own :) 

I am so grateful that a Savior was born and that He lives today. It is only through Him that all the wrongs in our world can be made right.

I love you all and hope you have a great holiday season!

Until next time,

Sister Park

Pictures 1: We helped out at a turkey run on Thanksgiving. We just about froze to death. Why anyone would run in that weather I have no clue. 
Pic 2: My boots after standing in the snow for three hours. I quickly discovered that they are not waterproof and my feet were soaking wet. 

Pic 3: A member gave us some adult coloring pages on Thanksgiving. Since we weren't allowed to proselyte that day we spent like 2 hours just coloring.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Another Great Week!

Hiya everybody! I hope you all had a great week. I sure did! 

There is so much good stuff going on here. We were able to have a ton of really great lessons this week.

So I've mentioned this before but we teach A TON of kids. Most of our investigators are kids or teenagers which is great, but it's also the worst. Great, because kids have so much faith and are usually very humble and teachable. The worst because getting parent permission for baptism is so hard! We have like 5 kids who are so ready to get baptized but their parents are not supportive. Its frustrating because the only reason they hold back is because they don't understand WHY we want them to get baptized. Baptism is not for us, its not for the church, its for the Lord and the person being baptized. Its a commitment that we must make to live with our Heavenly Father again. Its not just an earthly ordinance, it is an eternal one. 

We also started teaching this incredible family. C, the father of the family, is a less active member of the church. He's about 30 and was diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year. He has about 5ish years to live. So, needless to say, he is sort of rethinking the direction his life is going. He really wants to come back to the church and I think his ultimate goal is to get sealed in the temple to his fiance, K, who is not a member of the church (yet). K is super open-minded about learning about the church and I definitely see some potential there. It might be a long process because Kate and Chuck have to get married, stop smoking, and actually come to church first but we have faith in them! 

They are seriously such good examples to me. They live in this tiny apartment with 4 kids, they barely have enough money for food/rent, and they have to deal with all of C's health issues too. Yet they are so grateful for the things they do have and they are still willing to give. We were over there on Saturday helping them clean out their apartment and sorting through toys that they want to donate to DI. This family barely has anything and they are still willing to give of what they do have to people who need it more. They are some of the most incredible, Christlike people I know. 

We had a really good lesson with them last Thursday and hopefully they can keep progressing! It will be an incredible thing to see that beautiful family sealed for eternity in the temple. 

In other news, Sister Bueno is great! She is a really good teacher and she's great with kids. She loves the gospel so much and its so evident in the way she lives her life. She is struggling a little bit with the missionary schedule and all the rules but I'm guessing that's pretty normal. I didn't really struggle much with that because I love schedules and rules. It makes sense that that would be hard for normal people haha :) 

Thanksgiving is this week and I've been thinking a lot about all of the incredible things I have to be thankful for. First of all, I am so blessed to have such an amazing family. Not every missionary has such a strong support system back home and I am truly grateful for mine. Its going to be hard to be away from them this year but I know this is where I need to be. 

Second I am grateful for my mission. It has already shaped me into a better, more obedient, hard-working person, and I know I wouldn't be able to grow this much in any other way. I'm thankful for the experiences I have had and the sweet Idahoans I have come to love so much. 

Third I am grateful for my testimony of the gospel. I am a firm believer that any challenge or problem in this world can be solved using the principles of the gospel. Faith always trumps fear. My knowledge of Heavenly Father's plan for us keeps me going. I love my Savior so much and can't describe how appreciative of His atonement I am. 

I love all of you and I hope you remember all of the blessings you have this week. 

Until next time,

Sister Park

Monday, November 16, 2015

Change is in the Air

This week was CRAZY! 

First of all thank you Chad, Christy, Annie and Aerin for my package! You did not have to do that for me! The heater is so awesome though. I sit by it every night when I write in my journal :)

So I basically spent the first half of the week taking Sister Latu around to say goodbye to some of the people we've been teaching and people who have helped her a lot while she's been out here. It was really cool to see how much of an impact she has had on the people here. They really love her. It was harder than I thought it would be to say goodbye to her. Its crazy how close you feel to someone after spending 24/7 with them for three months. Sister Latu headed to Iona for her last month in the mission field and her companion is a 39 year old lady who just joined the church like last year. I was like shocked when I heard how old she is! Shes only a couple years younger than my parents! 

Anyway I got my new compa on Wednesday and shes awesome! Her name is Sister Bueno and she is from the good ole Peach State! She is super outgoing and loves to talk. She is a great missionary already. She went through a lot of issues in high school with substance abuse and partying and stuff and she had to do a lot of repenting to get out here on a mission. Its so awesome because she is super open about her past and she has already helped a lot of our investigators struggling with similar things. I think a lot of people we teach see missionaries and think we are just stuck up, "holier than thou" people who have never had to go through anything hard. Sister Bueno will be an awesome resource to change that assumption. 

So I'm a trainer! Sister Bueno just got out of the MTC five days ago and doesn't know much about real missionary work in the mission field. It feels like I just got out of the MTC five days ago too! I feel really inadequate for this responsibility but I know that I can do this with the Lord's help. Its a lot of pressure though! I feel like if we don't have success its all my fault because I'm supposed to be leading the way. I think I just need to remember that all the Lord expects is for me to put my all into the work and do my best. 

Our baptismal date with B fell through :( I think she felt like we were moving too fast so hopefully she will still want to get baptized at some point, but not right now. 

Teaching with Sister Bueno is SOOO different than it was with Sister Latu. Sister Latu was a lot quieter and she let me kind of take control of the lesson. Even though Sister Bueno is new, she likes to take the initiative and share her experiences and testimony with everyone we meet. Its awesome! 

We had a couple really great lessons this week with some new investigators so I'm hoping we can keep working well together and helping our investigators come unto Christ. 

Well I love y'all! 

Until next time,

Sister Park

Monday, November 9, 2015

Goodbye Sis. Latu:(

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a good first week of November! Oh my goodness I can't believe its already November. Time goes so fast here! 

This week was a week of change. We got our transfer calls on Saturday and Sister Latu is going to Iona. Luckily she's only about 20 minutes away from me and we will get to see each other at the Christmas zone conference. Since I am training a new missionary, I won't find out what my companion's name is until Tuesday night. I'll get to go pick her up Wednesday morning and I can't wait! 

I am terrified to be training! I'm excited but I still feel like I don't know what I'm doing and I'm not sure I know how to teach someone else how to do this. I think it will be really good for me but I'm still freaking out! 

We had a pretty good week! We started teaching this new family, the C's. They were formerly a part of the F-LDS church (break-off of Mormon church that practices polygamy) but they left a few years ago because they didn't agree with what was being taught and practiced. So the C's neighbors are an awesome family in one of our wards (the J's) and they decided to invite them to a family night lesson in their home with us. We taught about the plan of salvation and had a really good lesson. They want to start meeting with us every week now. I think they have a lot of potential. The parents want religion in their lives but not to the extreme of the F-LDS church. Anyways they are awesome and we are teaching them again tonight! 

So L and R. They are seriously my favorite people in the world. We got our transfer calls and we knew we would have to tell Leesa. She has really bad anxiety with meeting new people and she has always told us we'd better not get transferred cause she doesn't want anyone else visiting her besides us. But we had to break the news to her. 

We went there on Friday night and she was seriously the happiest we'd ever seen her. She LOVES us coming over and she gave us these ear-warmers she made and some leftover Halloween candy. Then we taught their family a little lesson and broke the news to them. Sister Latu is leaving. 

L just lost it. She started sobbing and saying, "Of course this would happen to me. Right when my life starts going good my missionaries leave me. God must not care about me." We tried to comfort her and reassure her that I would still be here but she would not listen. She told us to get out and go home. She was angry. It was so hard for me because I know I can't do anything about Sister Latu leaving. I wanted to help L but I didn't know how.

The next day L  texted us and told us that she read the scriptures we have been telling her to read the past couple weeks. L usually makes excuses about how she is too busy to read but she said she finally made time for it and was so grateful she did. She said she felt a lot better now and she apologized for being so rude to us. She asked if we could come back one more time so she could say goodbye. 

Last night we went back and showed her some more scriptures we felt like would help her. We took some pictures with their family, shed a few tears, hugged goodbye and that was that. I told L I would text her what my new companion's name is when I find out so she can at least think about giving her a chance. She said she would. I am not giving up on that family. Even if L is nervous about this new girl, I am going to go over there and force my way into their house. I LOVE THAT FAMILY AND I'M NOT LETTING THEM SLIP AWAY!

R has grown so much since our first meeting with him and I'm not letting all that progress go to waste.  

I think I finally understand why missionaries want to share the "good news" with everyone. Before my mission, I thought missionaries were too pushy and "forced" religion on people. I wanted to serve a mission so I could help people learn about our religion. Truly though, a mission is about so much more than just being an informer. Once you really gain a testimony of the gospel, all you want to do is tell other people about it (whether they want to listen or not). For those of you who think missionary service is all about proving to people that Mormons are right and brainwashing them into baptism, you are so far off from the truth. At least for me, I want people to learn about the gospel and get baptized because I know that it is the only path to lasting joy. I love the people here so much that I truly want them to be happy and receive all the blessings and peace the gospel brings! 

This is the Lord's work. I am out here serving because I love my Heavenly Father and because I love His children. I want to help them to have faith in their Savior. I want to help them repent of their sins. I want to help them make sacred promises with Heavenly Father through baptism so that they can experience the blessings of always having the Holy Ghost with them. 

I love you all. Thank you for your support! Keep the faith.

Until next time,

Sister Park

Monday, November 2, 2015

Love and Forgiveness

Malo lelei everyone! (That is hello in Tongan) 

So life is good here in the Gem State. It is FREEZING! I'm told this isn't even bad yet but I am sooo cold! So we will see if I make it through winter alive. 

Also disclaimer: transfer calls won't come until this Thursday :( So I still have no idea if I'm staying or going or if I will get a new companion. 

We set a baptismal date with Brittany this week! Brittany is so great and she really wants to get baptized. Her parents are super hesitant though. We don't really know whats holding them back but we are praying that they will let her be baptized. 

So I learned a lot about myself and about the atonement this week. 

Sister Latu and I have gotten along great for the whole time I've been here but this week we hit a little rough patch. We were at a district meeting and everything was fine and then on the way home Sister Latu just shut down. She wouldn't answer any of my questions and was giving me the silent treatment.

I figured she was just tired or something so I didn't bother her. Then on the way to our next appointment Sister Latu just starts crying. Like a lot. I kept asking her what was wrong and she was completely ignoring me. She never told me what was wrong and we just had to go into our lesson. We were super busy that day and we never had a chance to talk about it. 

The next three days were rough. Sister Latu still wasn't talking to me much and I didn't know what to do. When your companion doesn't talk to you you can't help but feel really alone. Anyways this went on for what felt like forever. Then we had companionship inventory, which is where you talk about issues your companionship is having and stuff.

So I was super up front and was like "WHAT IS GOING ON?!" Sister Latu started tearing up again and she told me that I had really hurt her feelings at district meeting. We had been practicing teaching with the other sisters and I called Sister Latu a weirdo. I was completely kidding but Sister Latu didn't know that and it really embarrassed her. 

So I felt terrible. Luckily Sister Latu forgave me and we are back to loving each other again :) 

This experience taught me a lot. I can't imagine how many times I've offended someone or hurt someone's feelings without even realizing it. I make so many mistakes and I am so insensitive sometimes. We all are. Thankfully though we have the atonement. Christ's atonement makes repentance possible for us. It is only through him that we can leave our past selves behind and resolve to be better. And luckily we can't run out of second chances. 

So moral of this letter: No one is perfect. We all mess up (whether intentionally or not) and we all need the atonement. I know my Savior loves me regardless of the stupid decisions and mistakes I make.

'Ofa lahi atu! (I love you all so much)

Sister Park

Monday, October 26, 2015

All Is Well!

Hello everybody! Hows it going?

This week was a mixed bag. Some good days and some bad. 

Lets start with the bad news. Lelley, the girl who got a priesthood blessing last week, dropped us. She said shes going to stick to her own beliefs for now. I really thought that she felt the spirit last week and that she had a lot of potential. So it was really hard on me when she dropped us. But although she is rejecting the gospel right now, you never know what can happen down the road. 

Now time for the good news! Rusty, the father of the family I mentioned last week, came to church! Mason was in the primary program (where kids age 3-11 sing and speak in our church meeting) and so Rusty came to watch him! I hope he had a good experience. We are planning on going and following up with him tonight. 

We were super busy this last week which was awesome. A busy missionary is a happy missionary. We barely did any knocking on doors. We mainly had set lessons and we also did some service. 

Transfers are in 2 weeks and we will be getting transfer calls this week. I'm really praying that I don't have to leave my area. I feel like a lot has started happening here and I feel like this is where I'm supposed to be right now. 

We have a TON of potential investigators right now and members are giving us referral after referral. Sister Latu and I have been really trying to work better with members and to help them to trust us and it seems to be working! Missionary work really picks up when we have members of the church are there to help us. 

We are hopefully going to be setting a baptismal date with a girl named Brittany this week. Last week was our first time meeting with her but she is super prepared and we feel like she is ready to start working towards a specific baptism date. She is 13 and has been coming to church with her friends for months now. Her parents are both less active members of the church but the ward has really been working with them to get them back to church. If Brittany decides to get baptized, we are hoping her dad will be the one to baptize her. 

When I first got here I hated teaching kids. I felt like they didn't fully understand what we were teaching and we weren't really watching them dramatically change their lives or anything. But I have since learned that teaching kids leads to big changes in whole families. It can bring less active families back to church and can soften the hearts of parents. Kids are the way to parent's hearts!! 

Well I gotta get going but I love y'all! Until next time,

Sister Park
 Idaho falls in fall is so pretty!
 Thanks for the package.  We decorated with spiders.

We raked some leaves for a widow in one of our wards. We tried to do it anonymously but she came outside and caught us in the act. She was nice enough to take our picture and then we had to take a selfie with her too :)

Wow. No words can describe this sunset. 

The second picture features the Reed's Dairy sign which is where I dented our car but it also has the most delicious ice cream known to man. 

Best Week So Far!!!

Hey everyone! How are y'all doing?? 

This week was great!! I love the area I'm in so much now and I love my companion. She will probably be getting transferred in a couple weeks and I'm terrified! I'll probably take over the area with a new companion which is going to be hard. But I'm up to the challenge :)

So this week we saw L... again. We had a lesson scheduled for Thursday but when we were on the way over she called and told us she was feeling really sick and was having some heart trouble. Sister Latu was talking to her and she was super bold. She asked L... if she would like a priesthood blessing. I looked at Sister Latu like, "What? Are you crazy?? We met this girl last week, we haven't even taught her about the priesthood. Shes gonna think we are being too pushy!"

To my surprise, L... accepted and we told her we'd be there in 15 minutes. So we got a couple priesthood holders to come with us and we quickly arrived at her apartment. We came in and told her a little bit about what a priesthood blessing is and how it is administered. The whole time we were talking, her son K... was running around yelling at the top of his lungs. He's kind of a handful :) 

Then the priesthood holders anointed her head with oil and gave her a blessing. K... stopped running and screaming, and the room was so peaceful and filled with the spirit. After we opened our eyes, K... was sitting in his mom's lap and he had brought her the Book of Mormon we gave her last week (Hmmm I wonder what that means :). It was a really spiritual experience for me and I hope L... felt it too. 

The next day we texted her and she told us that she was feeling way better and she went back to work. We are planning on seeing her sometime later this week. 

Then last night. It was the most rewarding night of my mission. So we have been visiting this family since the first week I've been here and have gotten really close with them. I've sent a couple pictures with the kids, M... and K.... They were the kids in the picture from last week. 

Anyways, their mom, LL , has a lot of issues with anxiety, depression, OCD, etc. She also had an eating disorder in high school and college. Shes a perfectionist and always feels like shes falling short. Needless to say, I've been able to offer her some advice through the gospel and also through things I've learned from my own eating disorder/anxiety experience. 

LL's boyfriend, R..., (father of K...) lives with them and he is not a member of the church. LL has been less active in church for like 10-15 years.

When we first went to their home about 2 months ago, we encouraged LL and the kids to come to church. R... wanted nothing to do with us and stayed in his room while we taught LL and the kids. 

So LL, M..., and K... started coming to church the week after we went there and now haven't missed church for over a month. 

It has been amazing to witness the change in them. Especially LL. She still struggles but she is doing so much better. 

Every time we go back, R...  gets a little more involved in the lesson. The next time we went, he stayed in the kitchen as we taught LL and kids in living room. The time after that he came and sat by us but stayed quiet. Then last night he actually participated in the lesson! We asked him about his beliefs in God and heaven and prayer and he opened up to us. He told us he believes in God but doesn't see why he should participate in organized religion. 

We basically just bore our testimonies to him about why religion is important to us and how it has blessed our lives. We challenged their family to pray together at least three times this week. Then we left. 

About an hour later we got a text from LL. She said, "We just said our first real family prayer. R... cried. Thank you so much for everything."

And its moments like those that make all the sucky, difficult, and frustrating moments worth it. 

I am actually helping people change their lives! I thought my whole mission would consist of me knocking on doors, teaching people one lesson, and getting no where. But now I have seen firsthand what the gospel can do for families. 

LL is talking about getting married and going to the temple. She wants R... to get baptized so bad, but it has to be him that makes that decision. He is definitely getting closer though.

I have such a strong testimony of the importance of keeping the commandments. I know that by doing the things Heavenly Father wants us to do, we will be blessed. However, I also know that if we slip up, it is never too late to start fresh. Repentance is such a powerful principle. It is never too late to start living the gospel. 

Man I love this work. I love the gospel. I love my Savior and my Heavenly Father. I love all of you! I feel so grateful for the opportunity that I have to serve the Lord. 

Until next time,

Sister Park