Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Going VIRAL in 3...2...1...



As of October 21, 2013, the missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serving in the Illinois Chicago mission are officially 



Yup. So, District meeting comes along, just like any other week, and for the opening thought, one of the Elders was asked to read D&C 84:62 which reads, 

"Therefore, go ye into all the world; and unto whatsoever place ye cannot go ye shall send, that the testimony may go from you into all the world unto every creature."

Blink. Blink.  silence...

And then our little missionary wheels started turning:             "waaaaaiiiiiitttt a minute..."

Click. Missionary Harlem Shake.


Apparently, the last mission president who was Bruce R. McConkie's son-in-law, asked him what this scripture meant. Elder McConkie at the time (like 20 odd years ago) said that it had not yet been revealed what this scripture meant. 

Not any more!!! As announced by the brethren, this is the Intranet! Our testimonies will go forth globally into areas where missionaries cannot go!

Elder Perry, in a meeting discussing the use of social media in missionary work, said that it's high time we stop Satan from owning the air waves! Meaning....

We're on Google! We're on chat! We're on blogs! We're on Facebook! We're on SKYPE! 


And soon...we're each getting our own Ipad mini.  


Our presupposed understanding of the phrase, "hastening the work" just got blown out of the water. 

We'll be online for at least an hour a day (!) for the remainder of our missions! There will be strict monitoring and regulations about the use of social media, and family and friends are encouraged not to contact their missionaries via social media--only weekly by email. While family will be able to view and/or like social media posts from their missionary, they are not to chat, message, etc. with them. We've been told that we're the ninth mission to receive online privileges and that incredible success has been the result of such access. 



The Lord is so trusting of His young missionaries, this is such a responsibility! But we're excitedly accepting the challenge and are anxious to see the ways in which He will further His work!

The Lord has also been SO good to us this week!


One transfer in, two baptisms down! Miracles! We cannot wait for J--- and E--- to receive this sacred ordinance!

 We also have started teaching a new family, the M----'s. We ran into them as we were trying to contact a PNI who'd requested a BoM. We were wandering around a neighborhood, only to find that his address didn't exist. 

No surprises there. Happens all the time. 

Anywho's, I was trying to see if a particular house was a split apartment, while my companion kept strolling down the street. That's when I learned of the

Spirit Gravity Pull.

It's a real thing. It pulled me into the driveway, and a few seconds later, a woman came outside, asking if I needed help. 

I do now:)

We got to talking and ended up giving her the Book of Mormon we had on us. She was very open to our message and we told her we'd stop by again to give her an invitation to the Halloween Festival hosted by the Church. 

Later, when we stopped by, we discussed her impressions of the Book of Mormon and began talking about her relationship with God. We set up a return appointment to teach the Restoration, and when we came back, we got to teach both her and her husband.

They are the definition of GOLDEN INVESTIGATORS!

The Spirit was SO strong as we bore witness of the truthfulness of the gospel (first time teaching the Restoration for me!)! After we'd finished, they sat there, nodding, and as we started discussing what they were feeling, she kept saying, "I know this is an answer to our prayers. We always knew there was something missing in our lives that we couldn't find answers to in the Bible. And why wouldn't God communicate with all His children? You were meant to come into our lives!"


They have truly been prepared by the Spirit (as Alma prophesied) to receive the gospel! 

The rest of our investigators (we're up to 9 now!!!) are progressing well! AND, we have two new promising PNI's that are anxious to hear our message! 


Snapshot of missionary life:

  • Our kitchen faucet broke, so we resorted to washing our dishes in the bathroom sink. Gotta do whatchya gotta do.(See pictures)

  • Fall is here!!! I'm wearing boots all.the.time. and loooovvving it! New England, don't worry, your fall scenery tops the top. #missinghome

  • Funny story of the week: We show up to a teach one night, and as we're about to cross the road, a black car drives up and then reverses, window's down, to where we're standing "Ah, great. This doesn't look good." Then I notice the driver's wearing a black POLICE vest. "Ok, not sure if I should be more assured, or more scared now."

Officer: "Did you just pull up here?"
Me: "Uh, yes."
Officer: "Well there were shots just reported on this street." 


Thanks, dude. Appreciate it. Now I'm officially afraid for my life. 


Stayin' alive........Stayin' alive.

  • As a missionary, you learn things about yourself you never knew you never knew. For instance, I apparently teach the Plan of Salvation and the Restoration in my sleep. Ask my companion.

True story: I woke up one morning with my pillow tear-soaked, because I'd been rehearsing Joseph Smith's First Vision, over and over and over again, crying a river each time.  Awky awk. 

  • We got to hear Clayton Christensen speak!! He came out from Boston to give a seminar on missionary work! Soooooo good! Every member of the Church needs to read his book! Dad, I was inspired by your "Visit mormon.org to receive answers to life's most important questions!" written on the outside of my last letter from you! THAT'S the kind of missionary work I'm talking about! Get creative, people! This is the most important work, ever! 
The thing that stuck out the most to me from his talk, was that every investigator, every less-active, every member, needs to feel needed. Extend an opportunity for them to serve, to help in the church! Get to know their skills and abilities, and find use for them in a church/spiritual setting! Ask them to help you prepare a church talk, decorate for an event, bake goodies for a function, teach a youth night activity, do handiwork for a needy member, or even come with you visiting teaching to someone they'd connect with! Get them involved!

All in all, the work is going well. We're staying positive, basking in the goodness of the Lord. Every day, trying a little harder, to be a little better. 

All week, Joseph Smith's words have been resounding in my mind, "The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done” (History of the Church, 4:540).

I plan on being enlisted in His service, until then! The God of Israel leads this camp, and with Him, we cannot fail!!

Onward and Upward!!

Sister Anna Parker

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Sister Celebrity

"Are you Jabari Parker's wife?"

Score!! Somebody finally asked me that question!!! Unfortunately, I had to answer "no," but still!! I was kinda ecstatic:) Aaaaaaaannnnd....we got a return appointment because of it:) 


Oh, the questions you get asked as missionaries. We really do have a hoot. 

Good news! We got two new investigators this week! The one I'm most excited about: 


Yea, he's unbelievable! He's been married twice, lives in his own house, walks to and from the store with his groceries every week, walks to church, and takes care of himself all year long. Crrrraaaazzzzyy! I love him! He's very open to our message and all I can think of is the parable of the laborers in the vineyard all receiving the same wage at the end of the day. He's 98, but he's ready for his wages! We're excited to go back and teach him!

We also returned to teach J-- this past week. Before, he'd mentioned he had concerns about the historical and geographical evidence of the Book of Mormon, so we provided him with "The Ancient American Settting for the Book of Mormon" to whet his scientific appetite. Upon our return visit, he says, "After reading even just the first chapter of this book, I suddenly realized that the Book of Mormon is claimed to have happened in central America. I thought you believed it took place in Palestine!"

Say what???

Yea, this whole time, he'd been thinking that the Book of Mormon happened in Palestine. 


I have NO idea how he's been going along with us for so long without realizing that! No wonder he had questions about the factual evidence of the Book of Mormon! He thought we claimed that it all happened in Palestine--a record of a people thousands large, with records, cities, armies, and major events occurring throughout, and yet no one had ever heard of them in little 'ol Israel. 


Oh, well. His enthusiasm over the Book of Mormon is completely rekindled and he's now reading it starting over again (he'd read to 4th Nephi!) with renewed interest in discovering how it all fits in. 

Lesson learned: explain the Book of Mormon. Even if it's brief. At least, cover where it takes place:)

Our two kids on date for baptism are going to be baptized on October 26th now (because of scheduling issues) but they are going strong! I can't wait for them to partake in this ordinance! J-- is already anticipating receiving the priesthood and passing the sacrament! The blessings of baptism are so near, I can feel it!

The work is good. The blessings great. The people ready!

In keeping with tradition, the humorous event of this week actually happened in the middle of the night while I was sleeping. Yea, I know, you should be excited by now. Sooooooo, since I try to take a picture for every day of my mission, in my dream I was struggling to remember to take one daily. I figured the solution to this problem was to install a security-type camera to the ceiling above my bed so that at the end of the day, if I'd forgotten to take a pictures, I could just strike a quick pose and call it good. So, being not fully asleep, I start making all kinds of smiley faces, thumbs up, kiss faces, etc. to the ceiling. 


So, when I get up to heaven and get to watch my life's movie, there's going to be a random night on my mission where I'm making stupid faces to the ceiling in the middle of the night. Can't wait to watch it!!! hahahaha!

Since I was out sick for half the week, we didn't get out a lot, but we got to go to a "New Missionary Training" with the President and mission leaders. A comment from one of the greenies really made an impression on me. She said, each person serves a different but equally important role in the harvesting.

Some of us are the sowers, planing seeds along the way. 
Some are the nurturers, watering and fertilizing the young plants. 
Some are the weeders, rooting out distractions that keep the plants from growing. 
Some are the harvesters, bringing forth the fruits of all those who have labored before.

 I loved that expanded analogy! Your mind can run wild with the application of this! As missionaries (and all you members, you're not exempt:), we work to share the message, even if we are rejected. We work with less actives to support and encourage. We work with recent-converts to guide and nurture. And then, occasionally, we baptize! Yet, every laborer, in every stage, plays a vital role in the gathering in of faithful souls! Even if you think your efforts are wasted, fruitless, or minimal--THEY MATTER! Keep inviting! Keep strengthening! Keep saving!

Members are the most powerful missionaries!!

Thank you for the letters you send to me and the prayers you send to Him! They're giving me strength! Keep 'em coming!

Onward and upward!

Sister Anna Parker

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Sometimes Up, Sometimes Down

Mission life can be easily described in two words: 



Every week, every day, and every hour is a whole lot of up, down, up, down, up, down. This week was no exception. We've soared and we've sunk, sailed and slumped.

For example, we got a new investigator!! On the way home, I commented to my companion how crazy it is that after knowing someone for only two hours or so, you love them. 

L.O.V.E. T.H.E.M.  

All of your thoughts are spent thinking about them, worrying over their needs, exciting over the new and joyous life that awaits them in the gospel, etc. I'm so excited for him to learn more, he is so ready! 

On the flip side, I'm sick. Sick. as. a. dog. First it was a chest cold, now it's one of those, "well, we're already running a muck up in her lungs, why not take over her head?" cold. Ugh. Trying to work through the discomfort and lousiness...(Mom, your first aid kit is my salvation:)

Up side: General Conference was a.m.a.z.i.n.g. Soooooo good! 

Seriously, missionaries get as excited about General Conference as we do about our birthdays! 

These sessions did not disappoint! And what a push towards missionary work! All us missionaries are sitting there grinning ear to ear, bubbling in our seats whenever the word "missionary" is used. We got to watch all four sessions at the Willmette chapel.  Funny story, right before Elder Holland was supposed to speak, the church's satellite lost connection because of the bad storm outside.

Of course, all us missionaries went BIZERK. Mass hysteria set in almost immediately. 

We frantically made our way to the mission home, barely said our "how'd ya do's"  before running head-over-heals to the nearest TV. Well, we got to hear half of it. Satan, you'll pay for this one day. 

In all seriousness, this General Conference session has never uplifted me more. Everything I've been struggling with, all the questions and doubts I had, all the lessons our investigators (yes, three of them came!!!) needed to hear, it was all said so powerfully and beautifully. The church is so true, I can't even believe it! 

On a humorous note (let's admit it, you all knew this was coming:), I went on exchanges this past week with one of the STL's (Sister Trainer Leaders) and we decided to stop by some  homes and give a small gift and quote about the importance of prophets to encourage them to listen to General Conference. Good idea, right? Mmmmm...maybe not. The first place we show up to is a big old place, but friendly looking. Yea, looks can be deceiving. As soon as we opened the front door, I shrunk (yea literally and subconsciously) behind my companion. We showed up to a nut house

Yup. Freakiest place I've ever been. I wanted nothing more than to high-tail it out of there! There's like 20 psych patients wandering around us, staring at us like they're trying to burn holes through our souls with their eyes. 


Aghleblaghleblah! I was so ready to be out of there! Needless to say, when we were done, I boooooooooked it! 


On a serious note, the work here is progressing. Slowly but surely. One day this week, we got 3 potential new investigators! On the way back to the apartment, after two hours of tracting, my companion noticed I was a bit melancholy and asked, "What, is 3 PNI's not good enough?" 

Thinking about it, no, it's not. 

Not till all the state of Illinois and Indiana is converted, will I feel like my work here is done:) 

That drive keeps me going! The longer I'm a missionary, the more I'm starting to see the world differently. EVERYONE you meet.....everyone....needs the gospel. 

I've noticed a trend in some missionaries to avoid areas, situations, and people, because "they'd never accept the gospel." In my opinion, even if they don't accept it now, one day they will. One day "every knee will bow and every tongue confess" that Jesus Christ is their Savior, and in turn, that this is His church on the earth. Why not do everything in our power to prepare everyone, despite race, social status, wealth, poverty, past, looks, or beliefs for that time? 

There are times as a missionary (very often actually), where you know that people you are talking to or people who recognize you as missionaries, are mocking you, if not verbally, you can see it in their eyes. Those times are hard. 

But, they are also very telling of how strong your testimony is. If you know what you're testifying of is true, despite the buffetings of man, you continue to testify. You continue to teach. You continue to find. To invite. To serve. To save. 

Today in my morning studies, I was reading Alma 26. Our mission theme scripture is Alma 26:22 and I was anxious to learn more about my potential as a missionary through reading this chapter. Here, Ammon reminds his brothers, "Don't you remember how our people laughed at us for our desire to share the gospel with the Lamanites, a people so blood-thirsty and wicked that there seemed no hope they'd ever turn from their ways? Do you remember how we almost gave up and went home? (This verse is particularly comforting to missionaries who feel down:) And how the Lord told us to be patient in our trials and we would find success?" Ammon then goes on to recount the numerous forms of trials that they endured--imprisonment, stoning, bound in chains, cast out, spit upon, smitten, and persecuted. 


There's a big slice of humble pie. I often become impatient with my trials as a missionary, and they're no where near the types of difficulties faced by these young men. Despite all these hardships--hardships I'll probably never experience on my mission--Ammon held out faithful. His own people mocked his efforts. But the Lord didn't. And what's incredible, Ammon's promise comes from his own personal experience: 

"Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing—unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall begiven to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance, even as it has been given unto us to bring these our brethren to repentance."

I told my companion, I believe we can find the same success, even in the same magnitude if we have the faith. Just as Elder Ballard promised in General Conference, praying for missionary  opportunities will "surely" bring them. As Ammon counseled, repentance, prayer, faith, and good works "shall" reap the rewards of numerous conversions.


What a promise!! We are reminded weekly (if not more) by church and mission leaders, that the Lord is hastening His work now.  Forget fear, and forge forward! 

Onward and Upward!

Sister Anna Parker

Monday, October 7, 2013

Didn't see that one coming!

The life of a sister missionary is never dull. There are situations you never dream you'd be in, places you never dreamed you'd go, people you never dreamed you'd meet, and things you never dreamed you'd hear and do. 


Example 1: I never thought I'd ever be at a courthouse for three hours on a Wednesday morning. I also never thought I'd be there to bail one of my investigators out of jail. Yep.  

#neveradullmoment #ever

Fun stuff, right? Sister missionaries: saving souls both literally and spiritually, one by one. 

Gotta do whatchya gotta do.

Example 2: Teaching our investigator J-- is a balancing act between staying on topic with the lesson, and spontaneous major tangents. Come my turn to teach, I'd thought I'd about figured him out. Only say this or that, don't go there, etc. etc. etc. However, I'd only barely started teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ when the words, "Holy Ghost" come pouring out of my mouth.

"Dang it. Oh no, here we go."

Sure enough, a slew of ghost stories and super-natural encounters ensued. Great. Way to go, Anna. Way to go. That day, I learned my lesson in the power of the "Spirit" to save lessons bound to be doomed by inexperienced 19 year-old greenies. 

Example 3: My birthday was....adventurous. I had multiple "firsts" as a good introduction to life as a 20 year-old. First lesson learned:

Weed. Smells. Nasty.

Oh, and it smells even nastier when it's smelled in the home of your on-date investigators. Yea, not the best follow-up appointment we've had, but, hey, we're still hopeful:) 

Second lesson learned:

Don't EVER buy IBC rootbeer as an LDS missionary, on a Friday night, in south Chicago, at Jewel Osco    

e.v.e.r.    a.g.a.i.n.

To celebrate my birthday, we though it'd be fun to get some good ol' root beer so we stopped by a local grocery store, picked out some IBC bottles, and went to check out. The cashier doesn't even look at the brand/type of drink I'm getting, she just says, "ID please." I'm thinking, 

"Girl, you serious?! I'm an LDS missionary, let's get real here." 

But, no. And being the obedient person that I am, I hand over my ID. Fail.

"How bad could this situation be, right?"   


The cashier takes one look at my ID, picks up the intercom phone, and calls, "Manager for ID approval, Manager for ID approval, Thank you." Geez Louize, are you kidding me?? And, of course, by this time, there's a line of about five people behind us. 

"Great, that's just great." 

The cashier then says nonchalantly, "The manager has to approve all out-of-state licenses." FOR ROOT BEER?? 

You've gotta be kidding me! 

Nope. Wait for half an extremely awkward minute till miss manager shows up and "approves" my ID.  

Awkward Taco.

 Totally looked like we were buying beer. We finally get out of there and I swear to never buy IBC Root Beer, from Jewel Osco, on a Friday night, as an LDS Missionary, in South Chicago, EVER AGAIN. Lesson learned.  

Other than that, my birthday was awesome! We got to help out at a food pantry, which was a very sobering experience. It totally reminded me to be grateful for everything I've been blessed with. It was heart-wrenching to see people in situations like that--young mothers with shy trailing toddlers, elderly men with limps in ragged clothes, weathered women driven cold-hearted by the oppressions of poverty, young adults, not much older than me, silent and resigned, couples quiet but pleasantly appreciative, and the one or two cheerful souls who manage to rise above their harsh circumstances and remain positive. It's sobering. It reminded me also to see difficult trials as an opportunity to become stronger, and to not let them harden me. 

The other lesson I learned this week is actually a lesson I learned from horses. 

Go figure. 

Draft horses usually weigh between 1000 to 12000 pounds. Pulling a load on their own, they can usually pull around 900 lbs--a little less than their own body weight. This record, surprisingly, isn't much less than the weight two horses can pull together if they hit the harness at different times. However, if two draft horses--even if they aren't equally matched in size or ability--hit the harness at the exact same time, they can usually pull around 9,000 pounds! Think of it!Almost 10 times their body weight! 

The same applies to each of us, whether in a relationship, a calling, or in our dealings with the Lord. We are much less in size and strength compared to the Lord. I'm reminded of that daily as a missionary. However, if I hit that "harness"--or "yoke" as the scriptures call it--with His help, I can do incredible things! The Lord also knows our ability, and will not strike out without us at His side, but we must give it our best. 

When we do all we can, he matches our efforts and together, we become a powerful team! This object lesson has given me strength to do my best, and leave the rest to Him.

Update on the investigators: WE HAVE TWO INVESTIGATORS ON DATE!!! Yes! October 19th is the big day!! They are so ready, I can hardly wait to see them enter the waters of baptism and begin a new and happy life! This gospel truly does bring incomparable joy to the lives of those who let it in!

The work is hastening! Our mission president told us yesterday, these are the times in which we have been called to gather the faithful before the latter days. I'm a part of that! We were also told that there are going to be over 90 odd missionaries in the mission by December! That's over double what it was in July!

The Lord doesn't send missionaries where they aren't needed, President said, and something great is about to happen, and we'll be here to witness it! How cool is that?! 

I'm stoked!

This work is truly rolling forth. And as a missionary, I get to witness it first hand. Lives are being changed, relationships are being mended, hearts are being softened, and angels are truly ministering to the faithful. 

This work is not easy. It's hard, a lot of the time. But, what keeps me going is knowing that this is where the Lord needs me. Whether it be for myself to learn important lessons, or whether it's for me to help other people. I don't know all that He has in mind for me, but I know that His ways are better than mine. 

There are moments (daily at this point) where I think, do I really want to do this for 18 months? This is HARD! But, I'm learning to rely more fully on the Lord. It truly is a yoke that we share. This is His work. I'm here for Him. 

Sometimes, I believe that the Lord doesn't require us to fully want to do what He asks of us, He wants us to be willing to do what He asks, and the wanting will follow. I'm sure Peter didn't especially want to risk his life and go against every law of nature in taking that initial step out onto the water towards the Savior, but he did. Yes, his faith wavered. Yes, he wasn't perfect. But, what I don't think we realize about that story is that coming out of that experience, I'm sure Peter's faith was exceedingly stronger in the power of Him to save.

If this is where the Lord wants me, I'll trust in Him enough to know that He will make all things work together for my good. He is at the helm. Everyday, I'm reminded that this is not my work. These are not my investigators, my goals, my areas, my tracting, my words. 

They're His

One more thing to think about (and then I'll end this monologue:), I'm realizing every day more and more why I'm here. It's not an earth-shattering realization. Simply put, it's because I owe it to my Savior. I owe it to Him. 

Coming from such a solid family, being raised in the gospel, having an understanding and knowledge of Gospel principles, and especially, having partaken of the "heavenly gift"--the Savior's Atonement--in my life......I owe all that I have to Him. I have been so blessed by the gospel, I don't even realize how much. I see that manifested daily by the people that I teach. Their lives are in ruins, their relationships shredded, their situations desperate. I have something that they need, and since I have that, I can't help but feel obligated to share it, even if it means spending 18 long months away from home and family and everything I'm used to. No price is too high.

This is HIS work, and my time to share in it! I truly am blessed to be called of Him to labor among His children!

Onward and upward!!

Sister Anna Parker

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Gettin' Down in the Ghetto

Transfer week feels like throwing a board of Risk pieces up in the air and hoping they all land in groups of twos with a car and a house to boot. 

And all of us newbies, we're the recruits. 

Line up, single file, meet with the commander (President), receive your orders (assigned area), grab your gear (2 huge suitcases, a dufflebag, and a purse), report to your officer (your trainer), and off you go to your barracks (usually a smoke-smelly apartment).  

In reality though, it's awesome! Leaving the Utah MTC on a coach bus at 5am with 30 odd missionaries, filing through the airport with the stares of every Mormon there on you, breaking down crying on the phone with family while facing the smokers lounge and all it's constituents....it's great. 

What could be better?

Oh yeah...GETTING TO YOUR MISSION!! It felt unreal landing in Chicago and being greeted by the Woodburys. They're the sweetest people! I love them!

After loading our luggage in the mission trailer (they know Sister Missionaries and their luggage well:), we hopped right on the L-Train to hand out Book of Mormons!

Welcome to the Illinois Chicago Mission.

Next, we got a tour of the city...

Chicago is BEAUTIFUL!

And that's saying a lot coming from me, miss country girl. It's got such a majestic yet quaint feel to it. We got to so some sightseeing (pictures below) and then were bussed back to the mission home for dinner.....deep-dish Chicago-style pizza. 

People, Chicago takes pizza to a new level. Don't even try, Dominoes. Seriously, so good!

That night, all 23 sisters stayed in the mission home. Everything still felt so unreal...I was numb. Happy numb, nonetheless. 

Next morning, we had interviews with President. I'm going to love working with him. He's such an incredible person, with a noticeably big heart and sincere interest in his missionaries. 

Transfer meeting was next. Being a greeney, you feel like you're being auctioned off: "New missionaries, please sit in the front two rows so everyone can see you...Now stand up, turn around, and take a look at everyone here." hahaha! 

It's a lot of fun (more like heart-throbbing tension) watching each trainer get up, introduce themselves and then listen as President gets up to announce who their assigned greeney is going to be. Pins and needles. Pins and needles. "Oap, nope, not me."  And, of course I was the second-to-last one to be picked so that was me 21 times. Finally, I got picked! 

My trainer is Sister Fengel (pronounced Fingle)! She's been out 9 months and has trained 3 times (they needed an experienced one to handle me:)! She's from CA and we're both equally into teasing each other....it's great! 

My area: Willmette! It's actually the same ward as the mission president! We live in Skokie, but cover the areas of Wilmette, Glenco, Evanston, Northfield, Kenilworth, and Winnetka.

So, we get the best of both worlds: the really rich areas, and the "kinda" ghetto areas.  From working in DC last summer, I'm now not phased by the frequent winks, whistles, and catcalls we get while tracting.

 The ward is great, but I've never been in such a noisy sacrament meeting!

There are a lot of students in the area since there are multiple large schools here so most families have lots of little kids....like three nursery's worth! Our investigator, John, mentioned this week (before I'd attended Sacrament meeting), that he'd never been to a church that was so "informal." 

I'm thinking, "What's he talking about? We're formal in the church." My thought process during Sunday meetings: "Ohhhhh....yea. Ok, I can see that. Uh huh! WHERE ON EARTH IS THE SPIRIT?! It's so loud!" haha! It's awesome though, the kids are adorable and I feel right at home. I just pray that anytime we bring investigators to church that they'll actually be able to hear the talks:)

On a more spiritual note, we have 5 progressing investigators! We're teaching a family, Yolanda and Niguy and their five boys...such a sweet family. By the way, there's nothing like going over to an investigator's home to teach when the dad shows up 15 minutes late because he's been at the funeral of two gang member "friends" who were shot only two streets down, three days ago. 

That's cool. I'm totally safe. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

Anyways, they're progressing well........just need to get the parents married:) Can do. With a lot of prayers and help from the Lord:) Pray for them!

Our other investigator is John. He's coming along well! I got to challenge him for BAPTISM on Saturday! Best. Feeling. Ever! He's hesitant and said he'll think about it, but I think he's on his way to committing, he just needs to make one little step--to believe that there's a God. 

No problem. So, basically the only thing keeping us from getting 5 baptisms tomorrow is a marriage and a belief in God. Alrighty. Shouldn't be too hard, right? We're staying positive and trying our best:)

On Tuesday, during planning at night, my companion mentions that we have a dinner appointment for the next day with the Mangelsons.

Nobody has that last name and is not somehow related to me. Sure enough! We're second cousins! Yay, I have family here! They're such a sweet family, and I think an exception to the no-missionaries-can-hold-kids rule may be in order because they're related:) I hope so, because their two boys are a.d.o.r.a.b.l.e.!

The work out here is progressing! Our ZL's and DL's are setting high goals for us. In this morning's studies, I brainstormed tons of ways to do missionary work (other than tracting---- which is so ineffective here!) Getting down on the creativity! Head's up, Chi-town!

I'm doing well! Staying positive and trying to work my hardest! The Lord's work is truly rolling forth! Missionary work is just as President Monson said--the most important and fulfilling work you could ever do! Staying strong! 

Onward and upward!

Sister Anna Parker

Funny of the week: 

Sister Taggart (a senior sister who works in the office), wearing jeans, "I should really change into a skirt. Wearing these pants makes me rowdy!" lol

Welp......rowdy senior sisters....I guess they exist!:)