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