Friday, February 28, 2014

Can't Stop Us Now


If last week we kicked trash, this week we BOMBED Sidon's Mountain. hahaha!

This week was AMAZING!! The Lord is SO incredibly good to us! It was tough, it was long, and it was demanding, but we did it!!

On Tuesday evening, after a long day at new missionary training, we got a phone call from President Woodbury telling us that Elder Rhodes, one of the visiting general authorities for stake conference, asked that the North Shore 1st missionaries come prepared to the priesthood session of stake conference to enact a mock ward council, complete with progress records...

..............Ahhhhh haha. YIKES.

SO.....we committed early on in the week to make this the BEST week of our missions! We set high goals and did e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. we could to do our very best! It was crazy seeing how the Lord poured out blessings as we put aside fatigue, sickness, discomfort, cold, and discouragement! By the end of the week, I looked back and I can honestly say, I've NEVER WORKED HARDER than this week!!! and guess what?? The Lord made up for our weakness, gave us words to speak as we taught, and showed us miracles through our efforts!

For example.......we had an investigator who hasn't met with us for at least two months, FINALLY commit to a lesson! We had a REALLY good turn out for the blood drive (more deets to come:) and all the staff
left with Books of Mormon! Margaret was interviewed for baptism and is set to go for next Sunday! A man I'm teaching on FB, turns out, lives in Nigeria where missionaries can't go......D&C 84:62!! And stake conference was all about hastening the work!!!!.m.B


By the end of the week, our numbers were higher than they've been my entire mission!!!!  27 lessons taught total!!!! Yeh yeh!! 


We also did something crazy this weekend as well (I can't use the word 
"stupid" or we'll get busted by our district leader:)........


For those who don't know me....I'm a trypanophobic......ok so that was a big fancy term, so here's the break down: I HATE NEEDLES. Yup. I can take a crushing tackle in rugby, a fall from a horse going 20 mph, an elbow to the face in basketball, blistered hands from hauling hay, bruised calves from cleats, or a welting paintgun bullet.....but get me near a needle and I'm guaranteed to FREAK OUT.

Somehow, though, after months of trying to get this blood drive into works, I was able to convince myself that I could do it. It's like this whole sister missionary thing went to my head or something. Soooo......come time to donate, I muster up enough courage to get into the chair, before thinking, "What on earth am I doing?!?!"


Too late to turn back now.....with four gawking elders, multiple wardies hanging around, the bishop right across from me in another chair, my companion nervously waiting in line behind me, and a nurse cinching my arm. Blast.


Hahahaha! It was actually WAY better than I thought it would be! Needless to say....the animal crackers at the end helped:) By the end of the drive, we had 36 donations!!!!! And LifeSource (the blood drive
people) told us they considered 30 donations a big success!!!!

#lifesavers        #mormonstatus

We were SO happy with the results! So was LifeSource:D Mormon missionaries: saving souls......and lives:)


Come Saturday night, we went into priesthood session to wait to be called up for our mock ward council. Kinda awkward sitting in there. Ratios of estrogen to testosterone were WAY OFF. Let's get real, girls..........Occupy Priesthood.........totally overrated. I'll stick to RS broadcasts and Time Out For Women:)

Anywhoozies....after getting called up to do our thing, it was kinda bumpy from there. The way it worked out was totally not what we expected and we felt a bit like we were in the hot seat for the night, but by the end, it worked itself out. Our progress record didn't even get a side glance, but instead our empty planner for next week got microscoped (we missed planning day because of zone conference:/). It was kinda a let-down and hard to take, but we pulled it back together;) The adult session that night was SO good--all about the that topic, yehz I do:)

We're excited to see the work start rolling out thanks to the members:) Fingers crossed!

Other events of note for this week included "celestializing" our music, spending four freakin hours trying to get our oil changed, getting hit on by McDonald drive-thru cashiers (awwwwwwkward....:), and trying to stay sane while dealing with the cold and sickness:/ But, ya know what? IT'S ALL GOOD. This MUST be the Lord's work or something, because happiness and satisfaction could not come out of work this hard!

One night this week, we dropped by the office to deliver some paper work and one if the senior missionary couples, Elder and Sister Crook, offered to take us out for dinner when they learned our dinner appointment with a wardie had been canceled. That night, over dinner, Elder Crook said something that really impressed me. He was talking about the two different kinds of missionaries you can be: 

"Are you out here serving time, or are you having a time serving?"


Totally rang true to me! As with anything in life, are you serving time, or having a time serving? Counting time, or making the time count? Living out or living up the days? Life is what you make of it. Make. it. worth. it.!


This gospel brings that happiness and purpose! And it's up to us to use it to find joy in the journey! The good life awaits!

Onward and upward,

Sister Anna Parker

Friday, February 21, 2014

Still Kickin'


Yep, 'bout sums it up. It was a good week though. We're kickin'. Literally and figuratively (see below:). Thursday, we got to go downtown to the Pulaski chapel for SISTERS CONFERENCE!

It was a lot of fun seeing ALL the sisters from the mission! Out of the near 100 sisters, only 10 or so were here before the Woodbury's came!!! C.R.A.Z.Y!!! We now claim 46% of the mission as sisters!!!


For the conference, I was asked to TEACH SELF DEFENSE to all the sisters!  It was a BLAST! I taught basic prevention tips as well as how to escape choke holds, hair pulls, and head locks. (Ahhhhhh.....totally brought back the college days:) I got talked into teaching forward take-downs too.....which.....not gonna lie, was SUCH a blast!! Heads up Chi-town.....these girls mean business:) #dontmess

For a while now, I been getting a prompting that I should brush up on my ASL skills. IDK why, but when a  prompting like that comes......gotta do whatchya gotta do:) So....I posted a video to FB of me signing my testimony and inviting viewers to message me for more information. No earth-shattering success stories to tell......yet......(maybe it's because my signing was SO rusty:).....but, I'm hopeful! We'll see where it goes!

We're also full steam ahead for the blood drive coming up this Saturday! Ahhhh!! The pressure is on, because there have been hundreds of donation cancellations due to the weather, so the blood drive people are really counting on us to pull through!                

  #cando                   #mormonstotherescue

I think they should start an LDS humanitarian effort called Mormon Helping Arms where all us Mormons hand over our arms to donate blood:) #suchamissionaryhere:) Our hope is to get members of the community into the building to see how Mormons support service and community involvement (and to recognize us missionaries in name tags:). A for Effort, right? Hey, ya gotta get creative sometimes:) Pray we get a good turnout and that members will invite their friends!

Another highlight of the week was buying a yoga mat and Jillian Michael's kickboxing workout (chill....they're approved in this mission:)!!! AH! I'm in heaven!!!!! Doesn't take much to make me happy:) #suchasporty! It's been a whole world easier to workout now that I'm not grinding my spine into the hard wood floors doing crunches or slipping all over the room doing yoga in socks:) #1stworldprobs

Our weekend, once again, was a.m.a.z.i.n.g.! We had four member-present lessons in just two days!! Ah! It was beautiful! And then on Sunday, we had four investigators at church!!! Booyah! During sacrament meeting, Josh was also able to pass the sacrament!!! The same joy we felt at his baptism came flooding back all over again as we watched him in white shirt and tie, pass the sacrament for the first time!!!! 



Margaret and Abass are still well on their way to baptism! We are SO excited for them!!!! They have growing testimonies and their eyes light up when we come to teach! Dawon is also doing well, slow and steady, and we love meeting with him! He has a sincere desire to know God's will, so pray that he gets a confirmation of the truthfulness of this gospel!!

Our adventures for the week included trying to cook with our oven while our faulty fire alarm WOULDN'T stop going off.....I resorted to standing under the blasted thing with a broom stick, waiting to shut it off every other second. We also went and helped the bishop's wife decorate cookies for two  hours....#sweetservice #literally:) Sis Teare and I have resorted to RUNNING back to our apt from the parking lot every night to escape the cold.....#suchdorks #pencilskirtskillz:) and we managed to avoid a run-in with the police this week!!! Yea, I know, you're all impressed.....well, ya should be:)

We're hanging in there, trying to out-live the cold, getting jammed up with Nashville Tribute Band, lovin' our investigatin' peeps, and seeing the hand of God in our lives every day!!!

The most powerful lesson I've learned this week is that the best way to access the atonement is through PRAYER. Sounds obvious, right. That's what I thought, till I really started studying the atonement.

I feel like before the mission, I knew the atonement was real and powerful, but I had no idea just how truly SAVING it is. I don't fully understand the atonement now (IDK that I'll ever completely understand
it), but one thing I do know, that when there is NOTHING else left for you to fall back on or run to, THE ATONEMENT OF JESUS CHRIST IS ALWAYS THERE.

A mission is intended to be hard, to be demanding, and to be expanding. It also inevitably brings you to a point where you are literally dragged to your knees, begging for help and strength when you have nothing left to give. When it seems like there is nothing else you can do and when you feel like all hope is lost, PRAYER opens the windows of heaven and allows the atonement of Jesus Christ to come into full effect in your heart.

I can't even say exactly how it happens, or why exactly prayer is the gear that sets things in motion. I do know, though, that somehow, when you fall to your knees in your last attempt to  find saving, the atonement is there. IT'S THERE! I know that it's power to heal and to comfort is limitless! It has the ability to take away pain that no eye can see and weight no shoulder can bear! I know from this week that as soon as I said, "I can't" is when He said, "Then I will." The atonement is real. It was performed for YOU. Those blessings--peace, comfort, direction, power, healing--are available specifically for you, if you just reach out and accept them.....accept HIM!

I love this gospel! I love my Savior!! I love this work!!!

Onward and upward,

Sister Anna Parker

First time eating out: Sis Teare's 3 month mark! Partay up in here:P

All the sisters in the IL Chicago Mish!!!

Best. District. Ever.!!! Love em!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Keepin It Real

"Don't do anything stupid"

That's what our district leader tells us on Sunday every week before P-day. Soooo....we decided to take a break from doing stupid things (like we ever:) and planned an uber boring P-day: shopping.... emailing..... laundry.....blah blah blah.


But really. We had 5 investigators at church AGAIN!! Ah!!!!!! We also had a sister from our ward who's been less-active for over a year and a half, come back to church for the first time!!! We go and help out at her food pantry every week, and just a week before she came back we were wondering, "Is this all worth it? It doesn't seem like we're getting anywhere with her."

Yet, lo and behold.....the very next week, she came back to church! In Relief Society, she announced herself by saying, "BAVINA's BACK IN THE HOUSE!!" We love her:) It's crazy.....we as missionaries experience just as much joy over a less-active coming back into the fold, as we do an investigator!

This week's been another roller coaster ride.......yeeeeeaaaaaa.

Tuesday night, we come home to find our apartment FREEZING COLD. Needless to say, sleeping that night was miserable. (The high for the day was -2 so you can imagine what the LOW for the NIGHT was.....GAH!!! BRRRRR!!!!)  Despite attempts to fix and seal the window....our apartment would not. get. warm.! We had ice all over our windows, snow and frost on the ledges, and even our butter on the counter stayed solid!!! Finally, the next morning, we called our ward mission leader and asked for help locating a space heater to borrow.

Well........lezzzzzz just say we turned into a ward charity case.

hahaha! Seriously, our ward is the bomb. Multiple ward members offered blankets, window sealing kits, space heaters, and even food:) gosh, I love em! The following night was h.e.a.v.e.n.l.y......I guess you don't appreciate warmth until you don't have it:) Thank the stars for amazing wardies!!!

And lest you think I didn't have a run-in with the police this week.....lemme assure you......yep, I did. For the first time, though, we didn't hit them up....they hit us up. Yeeeaaaa....ya guessed it.....I got pulled over:/ wahhhh ....wahhhh.....wahhhh....BUT it wasn't for speeding so CHILLAX. I just didn't have my tail lights on. "Friendly reminder" they called it. Yea....Flashing lights and ID checks isn't exactly my definition of "friendly." Oh well. Now I'm making Sis Teare drive:)

On Friday, we set up a teaching appointment with Margaret and invited Sister Woodbury to come with us. Turns out, she and President were both able to come.....PRESSURE!! hahaha! We actually LOVED having them there! We taught Margaret the law of tithing, and she accepted the invitation to live it! The Spirit was very strong....and so is Margaret's faith!! She's an elect and we love her!! (She's experiencing some really challenging difficulties right now--Satan's trying everything he can before she gets baptized! Please pray that she will find help and that her problems can be resolved soon!)

We got to teach Evan and Yolanda this week as well. We told Evan and his younger brother, Emmanuel (age 6) the story about Joseph F Smith and his reaction when mobsters questioned his religion: "I'm a Mormon! Dyed in the wool, true blue, through and through!" After we were done, Yolanda asked Evan, "So, Evan, if someone comes up to you at school and says, 'Evan, you're a MORMON?! That's stupid! You actually believe in God and Joseph Smith?' what would you say?" Evan thought about it for a minute and then said,


Oh man, I love that kid!!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously, they're never gonna leave my heart! They are SO precious to me!!!! Love 'em!!! It's beautiful seeing their simple testimonies grow and become stronger! They're going to do great things for the Lord!

Dawon is still doing great! He's not yet converted to the idea of becoming converted:) but we're working on it! We got to teach him in a member's home this week and the Spirit was a.m.a.z.i.n.g.! Noticeably stronger!!! And the members are really fellowshipping him and answering his questions when we can't be there:


I've also come to appreciate (once again) the power of the priesthood this week. Earlier this week, we had a pretty rough couple of days. Eventually, by district meeting mid-week, I felt in need of a priesthood blessing.

Our awesome district leader and his companion, one of the zone leaders, and one of the AP's, were able to give me a beautiful blessing. It addressed specific concerns and struggles I was facing and gave me clear direction on how to receive help.

I was once again reminded of how true and powerful the priesthood is!! There is no other power like it! THAT is the message of this gospel! That the power of God--THE POWER OF GOD!!!--exists on earth today! It's SO real and SO true! And the authority and power of God, when used righteously, has the infinite ability to bless SO many lives and bring peace and comfort to those in need.


But really. Just think about what being able to tap into that power means! God entrusts men to hold and use His power.....that's saying a lot for how much He must love us!

I know He loves us. You!! He LOVES YOU! And nothing can keep that love from you!

There's nothing better in the world than that!

I love ya'll too!

Onward and upward!

Sister Anna Parker