Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Best Kinds of Gifts

Monday, December 19, 2016

Christ-Centered Christmas

Hello and Merry Christmas! 

Thank you so much to everyone who sent me Christmas packages! I seriously can't express enough gratitude.

It has been literally freezing here!! I am so grateful for gloves and a nice coat because I would die without them! 

We had an amazing week this week! We taught more lessons than we ever have in the history of our companionship! And they were good lessons too! 

We set a baptism date with Elaine! Granted, its for March but we are so excited that she has finally committed to be baptized! Maddy is still doing good too and her baptism is all set for the 23rd! She is so excited and her family is too! 

We didn't get to teach Kevin again because he was sick this week but he came to church yesterday and it was crazy, the sacrament meeting talks were like meant for him. The main speaker was a kid that was returning from his mission in Philadelphia and he told this story of a guy that he taught on his mission who's life was literally Kevin's life! This guy he taught had been in the military and then had a knee injury and he was really struggling financially because he couldn't get another job. THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED TO KEVIN!! Then he talked about how because of this guy's decision to get baptized, he was better able to handle the trials in his life and the Lord blessed him for it. It was so crazy and I know it wasn't a coincidence that Kevin happened to be there and that this kid just happened to be inspired to share that story. It was amazing! Hopefully we can teach Kevin again this week! 

It has been so fun going to all the ward Christmas parties, getting and giving Christmas presents, and doing the Light the World service thing everyday. I love the Christmas season so much and it is just filled with so much joy!! But the thing I love the most about Christmas on a mission is that it is so Christ-centered! There is no better way to give Christ a Christmas present then to serve him and teach others about the Reason for the season. I will miss mission Christmas's so much. They are truly the best ones I've ever had. 

I am so grateful that 2000 years ago a baby was born in a manger in Bethlehem. His life has made all the difference in mine. I know he really did live and is the Son of the Living God. 

I love you all so much and hope you have a wonderful, happy, Christ-centered Christmas. 

Until next time,

Sister Park

*Its cold! 
*At our Christmas mission conference :)

Monday, December 12, 2016

Happy Holidays!

Hope y'all are having a merry holiday season! This really is the greatest time of year. 

We had a lot of ups and downs this week. Sister Reupena was pretty sick a couple days so we had to stay in but it was actually really good for me. I had some time to take a self inventory of how my mission experience is going and some things that I need to change. 

We had a pretty slow week but we had a really good day yesterday teaching some of my favorite people! We had an awesome lesson with Mallory and her family about the Atonement and the spirit was super strong.

Sadly our lesson with Kevin fell through. Everything was set up perfectly and we even called to confirm with him a couple days before but he didn't answer when we came by. We are really hoping that he's still going to let us teach him! Please pray for him! 

Maddy and her family are doing great! I seriously love their family so much and I know I'll be friends with Erin (Maddy's mom) for a long time. She is such a sweetheart. This week she helped us do some crafts and make Christmas gifts for people. Shes super talented with that kind of stuff. 

It been super cold here but the holiday cheer really does make up for the chilly weather! We are staying warm in our hearts even if its freezing outside! 

I hope you are all involved in the Light the World initiative. It has been such a good experience for me to try to be more like Christ this holiday season and try to be His hands on the earth. 

Love you all! 

Until next time,

Sister Park

Monday, December 5, 2016

No Regrets!

Hello my dears! 
I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season and are staying warm wherever you're at! We are sure trying to in the 10 degree weather here! 

We had a great week! First of all, our lesson with Kevin was bomb! I was on an exchange with Sister Tenney and we taught Kevin the Restoration lesson. He kept the commitment we left him to read the intro to the Book of Mormon and he had lots of good questions about it. At the end of our lesson we asked him what his expectations were for our visits and what he was hoping to get out of meeting with us and he just said, "I just want to be forgiven of my sins." We shared a scripture about how through the Atonement of Christ and living His gospel we can be cleansed from sin, and we invited him to follow Christ by being baptized. He said yes! He is seriously so prepared and I love him already!  

We also had Maddy and her family come to church yesterday and it was so awesome! They are progressing so well and Maddy is super excited for her baptism on the 23rd. I love their family so much and we are probably going to spend some of Christmas Eve with them. They met with the bishop this week and are getting really integrated into the ward already. Its been great! 

I've had some pretty good studies this week and I just thought I should share some insights with y'all. I've been reading a lot of the book, Jesus the Christ, by James E. Talmage since its my goal to finish it before I go home. I've been reading about Christ's apostles and their commission to take the gospel to all the world. I have just been filled with so much awe and gratitude that I have that SAME commission. I am called to preach Jesus the Christ to the people of Idaho, just like the Apostles were called to share his gospel thousands of years ago. I know I have worked hard on my mission but as it nears the end, I can't help but look back with some doubt and regret. Am I really living up to the magnificent call I have? Have I given it my all? Could I have done more?

I was listening to a speech given by Elder Holland this morning, called "Remember Lot's Wife". He talks about not looking behind you, but always looking forward and using everyday to become a little better. I realized that those questions that have been weighing on my mind are holding me back from working hard right now. So I've decided to put the past behind me and do a little better, push a little harder, give a little more everyday. Yesterday is over so all I can do is press forward and give these next two months to the Lord. I want to leave with NO REGRETS (and make my grandpa Fabrizio proud)! 

I will be eternally grateful for my mission experience and for my call to preach the gospel and declare the truth with boldness. I know that my Redeemer lives and I am humbled to be His servant. 

Love you all so much

Until next time,

Sister Park

*Santa came to visit G-town! 
*We got to see a giraffe! A lady we are teaching went on an African hunting trip and shot this! She also got a couple zebras too! It was crazy!

Monday, November 28, 2016

G-Town is Poppin'

We had a great week this past week! Hopefully y'all all enjoyed thanksgiving and ate a ton! I know I did! 
Thanksgiving was so fun! We spent most of the day helping a family we are teaching cook and then we ate with them. That was at 4. Then at 5 we had ANOTHER dinner with another family we are teaching. Some words of advice: give yourself at least two hours before eating a second Thanksgiving dinner. We were so full! Then we spent the rest of the night hanging out with one of our ward mission leaders, his family, and the sisters that just got transferred into Paris (Sister Fielding and my home girl Sister Tenney!!). It was a lot of fun and made me think about how grateful I really am to be serving here with so many amazing members, investigators, and other missionaries. 

We saw so many miracles this week it was crazy! So I was starting to think that we had contacted all or most of the non-members in our area but this week we found two new, promising investigators and we got referrals for a couple more that we haven't contacted yet. The Lord is blessing us so much. Our first new investigator is Kevin. He used to meet with missionaries years ago and believes everything about the church but just hasn't been baptized! So we gave him a Book of Mormon and we will meet with him on Wednesday. Our other new investigator is a lady named Vivian. Sister Reupena kept feeling inspired that we needed to go knock on her door so we did and she invited us in and told us about her son who had recently committed suicide. We talked to her about the Plan of Salvation and the Book of Mormon and we will be seeing her Wednesday as well!

We also had Rorie and Brylee's baptism this week! It was so good! They had a couple family members speak and then their uncle baptized them. Then they were confirmed on Sunday. We were so proud of them and excited for this step they've taken in their lives. 

So things are pretty good here in G-town! You can feel the Christmas spirit for sure and hopefully that will soften some hearts and make it a little easier on us :)

Love yall so much! Have a great week! 

Until next time,

Sister Park

Baptism pics! 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Do Good and Go!

Hello fam and friends! 

We had a really good week this week! We had some good lessons and our investigators are progressing! 

Rorie and her sister Brylee are so excited for their baptism! They have been reading the scriptures with their mom and are coming to church! Their family has never been active in church and they are now really really changing their lives. 

Elaine is praying about a baptismal date this week so please keep her in your prayers! 

We had Stake Conference yesterday and it was so awesome. Kim B. Clark of the Seventy spoke and I seriously love that man. It was the second time I heard him speak (the first was at a YSA fireside in Pocatello) and it was awesome! The theme of his talk was "be good and go". He said those are the two ways we can remain close to Heavenly Father. First by being good (a.k.a. keeping the commandments and our covenants, being obedient, doing the right thing) and secondly by going (a.k.a. acting on God's will, going to the temple or church, fulfilling callings, etc). It was so awesome for me to just break down everything we are asked to do as Latter Day Saints into these two categories. Just be good and go! Its that simple! 

He also talked about being on the front lines in the battle for righteousness. He told us that is where Christ is working so if we want to help Christ we will be out on the frontier with Him instead of falling into complacency. This was exactly the wake up call I needed! Lately it seems like I've been just living the missionary life and doing everything I'm supposed to do (getting up on time, studying, going out to talk to people, teaching lessons, blah blah blah) but I am lacking that sense of urgency in God's work. So this week that is my goal: be on the front lines. 

I am so grateful for the inspired (and inspiring) leaders we have in this church. The Lord really can work through other people to answer our prayers and give us messages he wants us to know. I know that this is His work and I am honored to be a part of it. 

I love you all and thank you again for your prayers and support and love!

Until next time,

Sister Park

Friday, November 11, 2016

Hello fam and friends! 

Thank you all so much for the packages you sent this week! (Shout out to Chad and Christy, Heath and Jimena, Grandma and Grandpa Park, and my awesome mom). I am a very lucky missionary to have such a supportive family. 

This week was so amazing! We found new investigators, taught a lot of lessons, and had so many people come to church yesterday! 

Bonnie didn't receive a clear answer this week about baptism so that was a little disappointing. She did read a lot from the Book of Mormon this week and she is still progressing, even if its slower than we would like :)

Rorie is doing great! We moved her date back to November 25th so she can have some more time to finish the lessons and be completely prepared. 

Elaine is doing really well! Her daughter, Rhonda, who got baptized a little over a year ago was in town from Malad this week and she was able to be there for one of our lessons and share her testimony with her mom. Testimony is always so much more powerful when it comes from a loved one and not just the missionaries. We also watched The Restoration movie with Elaine and she really liked it. She seriously acts and believes just like a member but she just is nervous about being baptized. She is praying about baptism though and we hope to set a date with her this week.

I want more than anything to stay in this area for another transfer so I can continue helping these people progress and hopefully get to watch them enter the waters of baptism. There is nothing more rewarding than watching someone you love enter into a covenant with their Heavenly Father. 

Although being a part of someone's baptism is an amazing part of missionary work, seeing less active or in-active members of the church gain conversion and come back to the fold is also pretty miraculous. We do a lot of less active work here since 90% of the population of Georgetown are baptized members. We had so many of these less active members come to church yesterday!! It was so awesome! Some of them haven't been in 10-15 years. 

One of my favorite returning members we teach is a girl named Mallory. Mallory is in her late 20s and has two young kids. She was raised in the church, but in high school she strayed from the path when she started hanging out with the wrong crowd. We met her about 3 weeks ago and she invited us in and basically poured her heart out to us about some struggles she had been going through and how she knew she needed to get back to church. We shared a powerful message with her about God's love and having courage in adversity and it was one of the most spirit-filled lessons I've had on my mission.

Then yesterday at church she shared her testimony in gospel principles class and Sister Reupena and I were both bawling. She said that she had been struggling so much and we came to her at just the right time. She said that she had never felt the spirit as strongly as she did when we shared the message with her that night. She committed that very night that she would never let herself get so far from God ever again. She is doing so great now and has been reading the scriptures and praying with her kids every night and plans to come to church every week from here on out. Sometimes all people need is a chance to feel the spirit and to feel God's love for them and they will come running back to the gospel fold.

After hearing Mallory's experience, and thinking about the role I play in God's work, this scripture in Alma came to my mind,

11 But Ammon said unto him: I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God.

 12 Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea,behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.

 13 Behold, how many thousands of our brethren has he loosed from the pains of hell; and they are brought to sing redeeming love, and this because of the power of his word which is in us, therefore have we not great reason to rejoice?

 14 Yea, we have reason to praise him forever, for he is the Most High God, and has loosed our brethren from the chains of hell.

 15 Yea, they were encircled about with everlasting darkness and destruction; but behold, he has brought them into his everlasting light, yea, into everlasting salvation; and they are encircled about with the matchless bounty of his love; yea, and we have been instruments in his hands of doing this great and marvelous work.

I am so grateful that I am able to be an instrument in God's hands to help others. I can truly say, just as Ammon did, that my joy is full. 

I love you all so much! Have a great week and always remember the hand that God plays in your lives! 

Until next time,

Sister Park

This is Brother and Sister Hartley, the people who the movie, "Cokeville Miracle" is based on. They came and did a question and answer session with us on Halloween after we watched the movie. 

Monday, October 31, 2016

Should not the shepherds feed the flocks?

Hey y'all! 
I hope you guys have had a great week and have a Happy Halloween today! 

We had a pretty good week! We had an awesome lesson with Bonnie last night. Sister Reupena and I decided to fast that Bonnie would receive answers to her prayers during our lesson, that she would feel the spirit, and that we would be conduits for the Lord to speak through us. Our lesson was so powerful! Brother and Sister Day (Bonnie's fellow-shippers) bore their testimonies to her and Brother Day's mom, who is a convert to the church, was able to be there and share some of her experiences. Bonnie felt something and she told us that in her study of the Book of Mormon this last week that she received some answers to prayers which is huge for her. We tried to set a baptismal date with her and she agreed to pray about the date. She is seriously so close!!

We also set a date with one of our other investigators this week, Rorie. Rorie is 10 years old and wants to be baptized so bad! A lot of her desire is probably stemming from trying to fit in with all her friends who have been baptized recently, so we will have to work a lot on helping her to understand the purpose of baptism and the commitment she will be making. Right now her date is set for November 16th but we will most likely have to move it back. 

We also had Mission Leadership Council this week and I learned so much!! It was focused a lot on improving our studies and preparing to teach people which was exactly what I needed. I didn't realize how much my studies have been lacking. We talked a lot about Ezekial 34:2 which says,

"Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel,prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks?"

As shepherds, we are going to be in big trouble one day when we account to the Lord and tell him that we wasted time feeding ourselves when we were supposed to be feeding his starving sheep.  We talked a lot about how our studies should always be focused on those we are teaching, which is something I know of course, but I seem to have forgotten it recently. In our studies we should be seeking to feed others, not studying things for our own gain. So the past couple days I have tried to center my studies around those that we are teaching and it has made a huge difference!! I just keep learning and relearning the principle of selflessness on my mission, something I hope to carry with me for the rest of my life. 

Well, I hope you all have an awesome Halloween today and eat lots of candy! I love you! 

Until next time,

Sister Park

Monday, October 24, 2016

Patience is a Virtue

Hello fam and friends! 

Things are pretty good here in Georetown! I am learning patience, that's for sure. This area has slowed down quite a bit now that we've contacted a majority of the non-members in the area and found out that they aren't interested. We've been focusing a lot of the less active members of our wards and trying to strengthen them. There are certainly a lot of those in Georgetown! 

Bonnie is still doing great! We had an amazing lesson with her last week and committed her to pray about baptism which is a huge step forward for her. She also came to church yesterday which was great. It was the primary program and she just loved seeing the little kids sing and say their parts. We are having a lesson with her tonight and we're hoping to set a baptismal date with her. 

We weren't able to see Elaine this week which was a bummer but we plan to meet with her on Tuesday. 

I'm grateful for the lessons I am learning in this area. I am praying harder, studying more fervently, and developing Christlike attributes as I continue to face challenges. I am thankful for mountains to climb because they make me better. 

I hope you all have a fantastic week! 

Until next time,

Sister Park