Monday, November 18, 2013

Jedi's, Ho Ho's, and Black Cadillacs

What. A. Week. 

Somebody spilled the beans to Satan that we've been listed to receive iPads in a week, because our lives have been CRAZY.

But, y'know the quote, "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"? Yea, Satan hasn't heard that quote because he can't seem to remember who comes out on top  e.v.e.r.y.  t.i.m.e.  (1 Nephi 22:15). 

Sunday morning, we wake up to a red alert text message:  flash flood warningsGreat. This would happen on a SUNDAY of all days. 

Wagers were placed on investigator attendance at church and sure minutes later: 

                            [Phone rings]

                            Me: "Hello, this is Sister Parker........oh, uh huh......really......ok.....So you won't be able to                                   come to church today because it's raining and your car is outside?" 

Good excuse. NOT.


It's rain, people. Investigators at Sacrament Meeting numbers for this week: a big fat  0 

Thanks for nothing, Satan. 

On the bright side, the accompanying hurricane winds have now provided us with every missionary's dream: SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES!


So, lesson learned of the week:  Satan doesn't always think things through when he sends torrential rains to torment innocent sister missionaries. haha!

This past Friday, Sis. Stradling and I decided to focus our efforts on finding more people to teach, since half our investigators are now with the elders (don't get me started:). 

We began tracting one night, after a particularly long and difficult day of dropped appointments and physical ailments. In my heart, I prayed that we'd somehow, someway, enjoy our next hour of door-to-door doctrine deliveries. 

Sure enough, that prayer went straight up, and blessings came straight down.

Door #1:    A jewish man wearing a kippah comes to the door.
                   Me:  "Hi, we're missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day....."
                   Man:  ", no, no,....[shaking his hand at us].....this is not the address you are looking for."
                   Split second later in my head: "I am a missionary! Your Jedi mind tricks do notta work on                                me...only baptisms...." (in my best Watto voice).

Name that movie. 

Haha! Gosh, I'm such a nerd sometimes. (Uncle John, you should be proud of me). Well, one failed door approach to a Jedi Jew....check. 

Door #2: Nothing

Door #3: Nothing

Door #4:    A big black guy wearing multiple gold chain necklaces and a wife-beater comes to the door, clearly skeptical of two 19 and 20 year-old girls knocking on his door at 4:30 pm on a windy rainy night. Go figure. I'd be terrified too. He doesn't open the glass door, but instead stands there talking to us, all the while we're huddling there, craning to hear what he's saying. Eventually, we catch on that he's a "believer" but that he's had medical problems which he's still waiting on God to help him with. 

                  Me: "Well, we are here to share a message about how God can help us in our time of need, and how                   He is aware of us and loves us individually."
                  Him: "Ok, well, pray then."
                  Me: "Uh, ok. Um, right now??"
                  Man: "Yea, pray."

[Proceed to awkwardly stand there and pray, while he and his teenage son (who he grabbed to come and listen) stand behind the glass door and watch us. Not weird at. all.]

 After we're done praying, he nods and says, "Allllllriiiiiight. Ya hungry??"  "" He then yells at his son to go get us some food. More awkward standing there. A couple seconds later, the son comes back to the door and we're handed (very cautiously) around the door:

Ho Ho's and Microwavable Apple Pie.


Thanks? Well, he said we could come back, and finally gave us his name, reached his hand out the door, and shook ours, while saying, "I'm an ex-marine, so here....shake my hand, and my strength will rub off on you." 


Felt pretty special after that. Then he says, "I know you're God people. And now that I've shaken your hand, I think your God power has rubbed off on me."

That could be too. 

Eventually, right before we're tearing ourselves away from his door, he calls to us and says, "Hey, do me a favor, when you walk out of my driveway, give my black Cadillac a quick rub. It's been running funny lately, and needs some help from you God people." 

How are you gonna say "no" to that?? Awkwardly agreed, walk down the driveway, and sure enough,


Hahaha! Totally weird, I know, but we did it! Who knows, maybe we'll get lucky and his car will start working, and he'll know it's 'cause of us "God people," and he'll let us teach him, and he'll get baptized, and we'll baptize his family, and then his son will serve a mission, and he'll baptize people, and, and, and,...:)  And it all started with a Cadillac rub. 


So, our work is going pretty well. Our investigators are getting there, our tracting is entertaining (that's an understatement, actually), our service is rewarding, and our ward is bomb. 

J-- and E--, our recent converts, are still the love of my life! Teaching them the new-member lessons such a powerful experience They're growing in the gospel, growing in faith, and growing in testimony! It's a priceless opportunity to be a part of their lives at this time!  

Our ward is awesome. It makes me so excited to see members stepping up to get involved with investigators, fellowshipping, and sharing the gospel with their friends. It gets me pumped. 

On a side note...

Foreign-serving missionaries think  us states-inaries don't get cultured. False. We've had Indian food, Thai food, Japanese food, African food, Mexican food, and Italian food, all in 6 days of eating at wardies. The 7th day was American food, but still. 

Let's get real here. 

We're meeting people from all over: Haiti, Guatemala, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Poland, Mexico....


So, with the new opportunity to share the gospel online, I've been able to friend all the less-actives in our ward on Facebook. This week, I received a one-line message from one of them: "Tell me of your love of this gospel." 

That was it.

For a second, I was forced to really think about how to reply to such a deep question in a short FB message. I took the opportunity to share my testimony with him. In response, he reached out and told me about his past experience with the church, trials he was currently facing, and of his desire to return to the truth. It was a precious moment for me! We are hoping to visit him and his family this week to try and do all we can to bring them back! 

His question has caused me to reflect on my answer to the question, and the emotions that motivated him to ask. He wasn't asking for how I knew it was true, or how I gained a testimony, or even what I believed.  He wanted to know of my love of this gospel.

Why do you love this gospel? 

If someone were to ask you that now, what would you say? What does your testimony really boil down to? When we're able to answer that question, that's when sharing the gospel becomes natural and personal. Just tell them why. Tell them why you love this gospel. Why you believe.Why you are different. 

I love this gospel.
I love it because it brings me closer to my Savior.
I love it because it brings me assurance that God is my Father, who knows and loves me infinitely.
I love it because it gives me the knowledge of my purpose here on earth.
I love it because it shows me how I can become better, and in turn, happier.
I love it because through it, I find answers to my questions.
I love it because it brings me peace and comfort.
I love it because it is full of light and truth.
I love it because it's true. 

I know it. I live it. I LOVE IT!

This gospel is true. 

Believe it! Share it! Cherish it! 

Quick update on the health: my doctor's appointment had to be moved to this coming Friday, so no new news yet. The dizziness is getting worse, though, so I'm hoping for answers soon. Bleh. It's been an effort to keep up with the demands of our week, but I'm relying on His strength to pull me through. Keep them prayers comin:) 

Onward and upward,

Sister Anna Parker

 Ho Ho's and Apple Pie, from our ex-marine:) 

#truedat elders

Dr's appointments....blllllllaaaaahhhhh.