Monday, August 31, 2015

I Wrecked A Car......

Okay I didn't totally destroy the mission car. BUT I did leave a huge dent in the side of it. Sister Latu and I really wanted some ice cream and they have this really yummy ice cream at Reed's Dairy with a convenient drive through and everything! Unfortunately, there was this pole on the side of the drive through and I got a little too close.. As I was turning, I slammed the side of the car into the pole and now we have a lovely dent in the side of the car. I'm not quite sure what is going to happen. I might get my driving privileges revoked, but I guess we'll have to wait and see. 
In other news.. Things are looking up as far as missionary work goes. We are actually teaching quite a few people and we have some baptism dates set for the coming months. We have two baptisms set for the end of this month. One of them is Taysen. He's twelve and super shy. His parents are members of the church but don't usually come. The other date is for Laci. She is nine and is super sweet. Her parents are also less-active members. 

We are also teaching a couple: Andrea and Ryan. Ryan is a less active member and Andrea is a non-member. They just had a baby 3 weeks ago. Now that they have a baby they are starting to think about how they want to raise her and if they want religion to be a part of her life. They are so awesome and I hope we can keep teaching them. 

We also got a referral from the bishop in one of our wards for a kid named Michael. Hes a 17 year old kid that has been coming to church with his friend. He seems really interested and acts like hes already a member. We just have to get him in the font and then it will be official! 

We had two baptisms this week! One was for a boy named Crew. He's eight years old and we've been teaching him the lessons because his mom is less active and she doesn't know a lot about the church. She really wanted Crew to be baptized though so we made that happen! We also had a baptism for Nolan. Nolan was taught by missionaries in North Carolina but he's originally from Idaho Falls so he came back here to be baptized. Hes so great! I hope at some point I'll be able to teach someone as prepared as he is. 

Also congrats Lexi and Parker!! I got to see a couple pictures and they were beautiful! I'm glad Tay and Janess made it home too! 

Oh by the way I've been out on my mission for a whole month!! Whoo! 17 more to go!

Until next time,
Sister Park

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Ignorant Girl?


Whew! Another week has come and gone!
Thank you all for the emails you sent this week. I'm pretty lucky to have such a strong support system. 

So missionary life is seriously so different from anything else I've ever experienced. I'll have one really really hard day and then the next day will be like the best day of my life. It's very strange. 

My really hard day this week was Saturday. We spent the day knocking on doors and basically getting the same result as last week. A lot of people who are not interested. I'm starting to get used to the rejection, but this one house we went to really sent me over the edge. We drive up to this house and this lady and her husband are sitting on the front porch. We get out and the lady is like, "Ugh how did you find us? Did my mom send you?" She went on to explain that she was raised in the Mormon church and is now atheist. I was interested to talk to her about why she stopped believing in God and what drove her away from the church, but she did not give me a chance to speak. Instead she started telling us that we were just ignorant young girls being oppressed by the church and brainwashed into believing in God. She said we needed to get an education and that if we did, we would find out that God doesn't exist. I really tried not to let this bother me, but after we left there and for the rest of the night I couldn't stop thinking about what this lady said. The worrier/doubter inside me kept wondering, "What if she's right? What if I am just an ignorant girl? What if God isn't there?". That night I prayed and poured my soul out to my Heavenly Father. I just wanted to know if he was there! 

The next morning I woke up and was about to start personal study time and I had an impression that I should read Ether 12 in The Book of Mormon. I had no idea why, I couldn't even remember what was in that chapter. But I flipped open to it and began to read. The whole first part of the chapter talks about believing in God and having faith. In verse 6 it says, "Dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." Sometimes I wonder why faith is such a hard principle for me to grasp. I have really great faith building experiences, but then I discredit them and begin to doubt. I've certainly had my fair share of "trials of faith". But without these trails of faith, we can't "receive a witness" of the truth. So maybe I should look at my days of doubt and fear with gratitude and acceptance. They are ultimately making me a stronger, more faithful person because I have to struggle to gain my faith.

I've only been out a few weeks, but I feel like I've already learned so much about myself and about how God communicates with me. I can testify that he IS there. He DOES answer our prayers. He wants us to come unto him. He wants us to talk to him about our doubts and our fears. He loves us. 

Being a missionary is really hard. I'm not going to sugar-coat it. But its also the best decision I've ever made and I know I am supposed to be here. 

I love you all soooooo much! 
Until next time,
Sister Park

Monday, August 17, 2015

In the land of potatoes‏

I MADE IT!! I'm alive! So we got to Pocatello on Tuesday and met with the mission president and were assigned our areas and our trainers. I was assigned to Idaho Falls (Eagle Rock Stake) and my trainer's name is Sister Latu. She is from Tonga originally, but she moved to New Zealand when she was 16. She is so awesome and she has such a powerful testimony of the gospel. Its hard though because I felt like Sister Tenney and I really connected and became fast friends but I feel like its harder to connect with Sister Latu. Her English is pretty good but I still have a hard time understanding her sometimes. She is so sweet though and I think we will also grow to be really close friends. 
My mission president is great. He is brand new, like me, and he's from a small town in Northern Arizona. He and his wife are both super humble and sweet. I didn't talk much with President Hancock but Sister Hancock came and talked to the Sisters for a while and she is so great.

We live in a members basement. Her name is Sister Andres and she is seriously the most amazing woman I have ever met. Her husband died a few years ago and she has 13 kids and like 50 grandkids! Sister Latu and I have the basement to ourselves and I get my own bathroom! Whoo! Also I get to sleep in the most comfortable bed known to man. 

We don't have IPads yet but we might be getting them soon? Not sure though. 

Missionary life is not what I expected. It's really hard! I thought we would just be teaching people non-stop and have appointment after appointment lined up, but that is not how it is at all. Mostly we are knocking on peoples doors trying to find someone who is interested. The hard thing is every single person we've talked to is either already a member of the church or they know about the church and are not interested. I thought we would be able to find so many people who were searching for the gospel in their life but so far we haven't had much luck. Its been kind of discouraging. Buuuuut, I'm trying to keep my spirits up and have faith that we'll find someone to teach. 

Basically the majority of people we teach are less actives (people who don't come to church and stuff) and part-member families. We teach a lot of over-age youth as well. Over-age youth are kids over the age of eight that are not baptized. Their parents are usually less active members. We're teaching a little boy named Dawson who is nine. His dad is an active member but his mom is like anti-Mormon. So if she gives permission Dawson can be baptized. We're also teaching a twelve year old boy named Tanner. His mom is less active but she lets us come and teach Tanner. Its frustrating because Tanner lets us teach him but he never follows up on the commitments we give him to go to church or read his scriptures. 

I had a really hard day on Friday. We spent like the whole day knocking on doors and getting the same result: "Not interested sorry". Then we got to one ladies house and we were trying to talk to her and she was just being really rude but of course we have to be nice, smiling missionaries and try to keep the conversation going until we get shut down completely. Finally she was like, "I'm a busy person and you are wasting my time. Goodbye." *door slam in face*. And then I just broke down. I was so tired of getting rejected again and again and all I wanted was to go home and give my mom a hug. But you can't do that on a mission. So I hugged Sister Latu, said a silent prayer, and knocked on the next door. That day wasn't fun but it taught me a lot about myself. I'm stronger than I think I am. I can get through the hard times with trust in the Lord and in my companion. This mission won't be easy but it will be worth it. 

I love you all and miss you. I love my Savior and his sacrifice for me. I love the Book of Mormon and the solace I'm able to find in it. I love how patient the Lord is with me, even when I may not be the best missionary in the world. The message of the gospel brings happiness. 

Until next time,

Sister Park

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

She made it to POKY!

Dear Brother and Sister Park,
Your missionary has arrived safely in the Idaho Pocatello Mission. Upon arrival, we had an orientation meeting and personal interviews to get further acquainted. Sister Hancock and I are pleased to have the opportunity to serve with your missionary and are dedicated to helping our missionaries fulfill successful, honorable missions.
 Enclosed is a photo of us together after their arrival in the Idaho Pocatello Mission.
 We are hopeful you will write or email letters of encouragement to your missionary weekly so she will continue to feel your love and support as she loses herself in the work. Please send all mail to the Mission Office at 135 South 7th Avenue, Pocatello, Idaho 83201. 
 May God bless you as you sacrifice to support this great work.
 Faithfully yours,
Gene E. Hancock
Mission President

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Week 2: Missionaries are not salespeople!!‏

Guess what? My stay here at the MTC is winding to a close! I leave for Idaho in like two and a half days!! This experience has changed my life so much and I've only been here for like a week! Imagine what I'll be like after 18 more months of this!

I was reflecting last night on how I've changed the most since I've been here and honestly I think the biggest thing is that I'm just a lot happier. I'm so much more confident in myself and my beliefs. I just feel like what I'm doing here is so worthwhile and of eternal importance. Its hard for sure to be away from the comforts of home and living a normal life, but IT IS SO WORTH IT!!! I have felt my faith grow so much and I've had prayer after prayer answered. The Lord really does bless his servants. 

So I just want to share a few nuggets of wisdom that I've learned this last week. First of all, we had one of the twelve apostles (Russell M. Nelson) come speak to us on Tuesday night which was amazing!! The whole time he spoke I just felt so grateful that we have these amazing church leaders running the affairs of the church. I know he is an inspired man who gave an inspired message. He said a lot of things that touched my heart but my favorite thing was this: "Missionaries are not salespeople. You are simply on your own journey to become more like the Savior". The Savior's whole life was dedicated to teaching people the gospel, even when they didn't accept it. I was worried that people would perceive me as intrusive and forceful (like a salesperson) but that's not what I think of when I think of Christ. And we are called to do exactly what Christ did. We just have to minister, bear testimony, invite, and LOVE! 

We also got to hear a devotional from Sheri Dew (an Mormon speaker) and it was great. Sister Dew is like my inspiration. Since I'm a little more liberal/feminist minded than a lot of other missionaries I think I connected with Sister Dew a lot more. For those of you who don't know, Sheri Dew is like a super successful business woman who has never been married and doesn't have kids but is still such a strong member of the church. She just proves that you don't have to fit the "Mormon mom" mold to have a place in the church. Anyways, she talked about how to find answers to our spiritual questions. She said that we have to struggle with them and engage in a "spiritual wrestle" with God. Our Heavenly Father wants us to come to him with questions, and we might not get an immediate answer every time (or most of the time for me), but wrestling with and searching for answers to questions is okay!! Life is all about slow progression and as long as we are working toward gaining a stronger testimony, it doesn't matter if it happens overnight. In fact, I think testimony and faith are lifelong pursuits. Even when we are on our deathbeds, we can still have room to grow in our knowledge and our relationship with God.

Wow I'm being so preachy! I'm sorry! I'm just so excited about everything I've learned here and I wish everyone could have the opportunity to come to the MTC because it has changed my life completely. 

Okay so I just want to thank everyone who sent me packages or letters this week!! I didn't realize how exciting it is to get things from the outside world! Kalli and Chad and Christy's family sent me some yummy treats that I've been snacking on every night so shout out to you guys! You are the best! 

I love being a missionary. I feel so much closer to my Heavenly Father (probably because we pray like 15 times a day here, no kidding). I have just gained so much appreciation for my Savior and for the Book of Mormon since I've been here. Seriously if you haven't read the Book of Mormon in a while, GO READ IT! IT IS GOD'S WORD!!

I love you all so much. 

Sister Park

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Goodbye Fam, Hello MTC!

Dear family and friends,
I made it through my first three days at the MTC (missionary training center)!! It has been nonstop work since I got here. The first day we jumped right in and started teaching investigators. Day one was super overwhelming because we hadn't gotten any training on how to teach yet but we still had to attempt to answer investigators questions. Day two was also really hard. We spent all day in classes and workshops and by the end of the day I was questioning if I could really do this for 18 more months. And then yesterday all my doubts dissapeared. Yesterday in class we really dove into what our purpose is as missionaries. This was perfect for me, and truly an anawer to my prayers because I wasn't really sure what my purpose or goals should be as a missionary. Our purpose as missionaries is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them to recieve the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, repentance, baptism, recieving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. Our purpose is all about INVITING!! The first couple days I was here, and also before my mission, I was apprehensive about forcing myself and my religion on other people, but that is not what I'm doing at all. I'm simply inviting others to recieve the blessings and happiness I have found through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Ahhh sorry, I am being so preachy but I guess thats what happens when you become a missionary. All you want to talk about is the gospel and spiritual stuff. 

So my companion is the best. Her name is Sister Tenney and she's from Gilbert, AZ! How cool is that?? She was good friends with my BYU roommate, Kimmy, in high school! What a small world! She is seriously so friendly and has such a strong testimony of Christ. I couldn't have asked for a better first companion. We are so much alike; we are both really OCD about having a clean room, we both love chocolate, and we love teaching people about our beliefs (good thing we're on missions right?)! We are both headed to Pocatello so hopefully we get to serve together when we get out in the field. 

Our district (which is like the group of elders and sisters we spend all our time with) is so great! There is a mix of people, some are going to Pocatello and others to Houston, Texas. We all get along so well and I'll have to send a picture of them next week. 

Being here at the MTC is like a roller coaster of emotion. The first couple days were super hard, but with a few really great moments mixed in. Yesterday and today were really great, with a few hard moments mixed in. I just need to remember that even when I'm feeling down, my whole mission won't be like that. You have to be sad sometimes to appreciate being happy. 

Part of me felt like when I got here, all my doubts would disappear and I would immedietly be 100% sure that what I'm teaching is true. Well, they haven't. But guess what? "Faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things". I LOVE Alma 32 in the Book of Mormon. Alma's perspective on faith is seriously so perfect. All we are expected to do is hope that what we believe is true and act on it. Non-Mormon friends: If you can, get a Book of Mormon and read that chapter. I know a lot of you have questions and doubts about religion and faith and Alma 32 is a great explanation of faith and what its all about. 

Okay now logistical stuff. My address here at the MTC is:
Sister Paige Nicolle Park
2009 N 900 E Unit 166
Provo, UT 84602

Also there is a website called where you can send me emails that get printed and I can get them the same day you send them. (If you just send emails straight to this email, I won't get to check them until my P-day, which is next Saturday). 

I leave for Idaho on August 11 so after that you can send letters to my mission home in Idaho, which I'll send next week. I miss you all so much! Please write me! It's great to have contact with the outside world!

I love you all. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ. I love his gospel and the oppurtunity I have to immerse myself in it. 

Love, Sister Park

P.S. I'm sorry I don't have any pictures to send this week! I took a couple but haven't had a chance to upload them yet. So there will be some next week.