Tuesday, November 5, 2013

I'm a MOMMY!!

Should've known this would happen. After only 6 short weeks of being a missionary.....


Be careful what you pray for. My wish list before and during my mission thus far has gone something like this:

Pre-mission: I can't wait to be a trainer eventually! It'll be so much fun!

Week 1: OK, so I don't know everything, but that's OK. I'll get to the point of trainer-material eventually.

Week 3: OK, forget it. I don't want to train. There is WAY too much to learn here!

Week 5: Yep, don't make me a trainer. I couldn't do it.

Week 6: interview with the President: Snap. Well, here goes nothing. Ready or not, you're a trainer!!!! Yay?

I'm now the proud mamma of Sister Stradling! She's from Arizona and is a joy to train! She's talented, spiritually strong, ready to work, and quotes movies just about as much as I do....it's great.

To clear up any confusion, NO, I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING.

"Wait, what's the definition of a PNI versus an FI?"

"Hold on, the address for one of our investigators was never written down??"

"Um, I don't know how to report mileage on the car. Is that bad?"

My poor District and Zone Leaders just got new full time jobs: answering Sister Parker's unending questions. 

All in all, it's a steep learning curve, but I'm climbing it! Learning as I go, and trusting the Lord won't let me fall too hard when I make mistakes like....oh, y'know, leaving the car lights on all night on Saturday so we have no battery left to go to missionary ward meeting on Sunday morning. 

Things like that. 

Luckily, my companion is bomb and puts up with my craziness. And because of it, we have a lot of fun on our "adventures."

One adventure, in particular, that's worth mentioning happened on Saturday, when we went to help out at a member's home, loading up a trailer of belongings to be put into storage. 

Sounds like we're being helpful, right?

Well, we tried. Until we got in the elevator. Floor 1 to floor 2....what could possibly go wrong? Well, apparently, fate drew our names out of the hat box that morning, because 20 seconds later we hear a thud and then...nothing.


1 minute...5 minutes...10 minutes. Nothing.

Me: "So, I guess we should do something along the lines of trying to get out of here."

[Look over our options on the panel board. Button #1: Fire Department.]

Me: "Yea, no. I'm not calling the fire department over this!"

[Button #2: HELP]

Me: "This one looks promising. It probably calls the maintenance guy for the complex."

Wrong. Ohhhhhh, soooooooo WRONG.

"Ring....ring......ring....."This is the Evanston Fire Department. Are you trapped on an elevator?"


Me: [awkward laugh] "Uh, yea....."

And about 40 minutes later, we finally walk out of our 5 x 7 prison cell with an awkward "Thanks, appreciate it." 

Better yet, no one knew where we were the whole time. 


I guess no one questioned the fact that the Sisters only showed up for about 10 minutes at the beginning of the service project and then randomly show up at the very end after all the work's been done. 

Oh well.

At least Sister Stradling and I got in a good hour-long heart-to-heart conversation, since we were stuck with nothing else to do. #blessingsindisguise

The other big news this transfer brought was WE'RE SPLITTING THE AREA WITH A NEW SET OF ELDERS.

Duhn, duhn, duhn...


It's SO hard handing over half your investigators to two 19 year old boys you don't know, but they're an awesome set of elders, and we know they'll take care of them.

It's been a little bumpy adjusting to the new proselyting boundaries, member fellowshipping, meal schedules, area book organizing, etc. that comes with a new set of missionaries in the area, but it's good to know we have added support and manpower (literally, man power:).

While visiting one of our investigators for the last time before handing him over to the elders, we began talking to a woman, L---, who began asking us questions about our beliefs. Let's just say, we lost one investigator, but got another:)


In other news.....some of the same problems I was experiencing before the mission (fainting, dizziness) started coming back a few weeks ago:/ At first, I didn't pay much attention to it, but it's been getting worse, to the point where my trainer called President's wife to tell her I needed help. 

Following orders, I went in, and basically, the whole "irregular regular" heartbeat diagnosis I got post-mission, was brought up again. 

Now, with the fainting, dizziness, light-headed episodes, etc. they think it might be related. Sooooo.....
they're referring me to a cardiologist.


While I tend to make everything into horror-story-turned-into-my-life  worst-case-scenarios, the doctor assured me that she thinks it's nothing to be too concerned about, though, it is unusual. 

They did an(other) EKG, blood work, and rhythm strip test, and confirmed that it's not a normal heart beat so off to the cardiologist I go next week, much to my chagrin.

Don't know how I feel about all of this.

Kinda panicked. Nervous. Unsure. Like I'm going to die from a heart attack at age 20:) No, it's not really that serious, but still, the word "unusual" doesn't sound good to anyone. 

Pray it all works out.  

On a happy note, our two baptisms on Saturday--that was the most joyous day of my mission thus far!!

I wrote in my journal that night, "I didn't know I could experience such happiness! Today was truly a beautiful joyous day!"

E--- and J--- both received the sacred saving ordinance of baptism! My heart overflowed with love for them as I watched them enter those waters, their faces beaming! 

I was near giddy with joy! It's crazy...as missionaries, we get to look through "heaven's lens" (as our ZL puts it) and receive a portion of that excitement and joy which God must feel as two of His precious sons made such a crucial step towards eternity with Him. It was beautiful. Truly, beautiful! 

There is no other feeling like it. 

All the heartache, the disappointment, the challenge, the let-down, the fear, the homesickness, the long hours, the discomfort, the demands, and the struggles...in that moment....in that 2 seconds of them being immersed in the water and brought back up again.....


J--- and E--- have changed my life. They've brought me more joy than I could ever have imagined. And in some small way, I hope I've brought them some of that joy and love which I know Heavenly Father has for them! 

These blessings are priceless!

(If you'd like to write a note of encouragement to either of them, you can send them to me, and I'll pass them on!)

For my personal studies, recently, I've been studying an article called, "The 4th Missionary." It's phenomenal.

The author prefaces it by promising that if understood and implied, it will change your life. 

It's changing mine.

It's food for thought. Deep thought. More meat than milk. And it's motivated me to reflect on my attitude and performance as a missionary. 

Bottom line, there are three types of missionaries (or saints of God):

  1.   Those who are disobedient, who fail the Lord and are sent, or request to be sent, home.
  2. Those who are disobedient, but who finish their mission, never being caught in their disobedience.
  3. Those who strive to be obedient, righteous, powerful missionaries, but who, deep down, still long for their old life, their own will, etc.. They serve with all their might and strength, but without their heart and mind. They are never truly happy in the work. 
  4. Those who serve the Lord with everything they are. They come to submit wholly to His will, keeping both eyes on His glory and His work. They are exactly obedient, find happiness in the all they do, despite hardship, and they serve with all their heart, might, mind, and strength. 

It's a lot to take in as a missionary. I ask myself again and again, "Am I being that type of 4th missionary? Am I giving all I am to Him?" It's a continual process, day in and day out, but I hope to become that kind of missionary--that kind of missionary who leaves to go home, wishing the mission would never end! The kind of missionary who looks back with no regrets, who loved every minute--both the easy and the hard--of the mission! 

I want to be fully invested in this work!

The church is true! The work is sweet! The harvest is plenty! And God is faithful!

"We are all enlisted!!!"

Onward and upward!

Sister Anna Parker