Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Aye Yai Yai

Aye yai yai.

A word of advise for all potential missionaries: EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED.

Coming out on a mission, I thought I knew what it was going to be like. Well, yea.......that fairytale ended real quick. Mission life is the definition of UNEXPECTED.

Satan has a stash of curve balls particularly reserved for missionaries.......actually, let's get real here, for YOU specifically. Don't take it too hard. It's a compliment actually:) However, the sooner you come to grips with that, the sooner you learn how to throw 'em right back. See below........

LIVE FROM CHICAGO: Two mormon missionaries get sabotaged by snow banks, emergency medical problems, and no parking spaces in attempts to preach the gospel to on-date investigators.


Yea, and OF COURSE, it happens on P-day of all days. Cursed. It started off normal enough: up at 6:30 am......life is good. Until I took a stretch before hopping in the shower, and instead randomly passed out in the living room. Guess that iron I was taking wasn't the cure-all for the fainting spells.

Back to square one.

Throughout the rest of the day, I started experiencing chest pains that had started the night previous. They began to get worse as we went about our day and eventually I called Sis Woodbury and the medical advisor for help. After calling them and the cardiologists office (while freaking out over the idea that I was having a heart attack at age 20), I was given instructions:


Ehhhhhhhhhh............not exactly what I wanted to hear. The other conflict besides the daunting reality of hours in the hospital, needles (gah!), doctors, nurses, monitors, tests, etc. was the fact that we had a member-present teach that night with Abass who was scheduled for baptism that Sunday. Can't miss that. Sorry.......NO. CAN. DO. Sooooooooooo....after talking my way out of going to the ER right that second, I buckled down on the pain and the thought of pending medical misery, and decided instead to


Getting there required four snowbank push-outs and when we get there, come to find, there's not a freaking. single. parking. space. available in like a four block radius of his house. Blast. What's worse, we'd gotten record inches of snow that day so the roads and sidewalks were HORRIBLE. We tried pulling down a back alley to find parking, only to find unplowed powder. And lots of it. Stuck time #5: Aaaaaaannnnnnndddddd.....just our luck.....the car behind us watching us helplessly spinning our wheels (mentally and literally) is......yep, A DISGUISED COP CAR.

Well, heyya there, officer. Long time, no see.

Two police officers, one Mexican on-looker, a whole lotta coaching, and a ridiculous suggestion of calling a tow truck later, and we were free. 

We finally found ONE empty parking space three blocks away, but OF COURSE all it is is a hub-high sheet cake of snow. We were already so late to our teach, with two members waiting for us, that my mind went from TOO MUCH SNOW to I DON'T CARE I'M GOING FOR IT before I could reason.

Bad idea. Stuck time #6

And this time it was BAD. Basically it took three Iraqi guys, a truck driver, one of the members from our teach, a lotta pushing and shoveling, and 40 min later to get us out.


I have reached the I HATE SNOW SO MUCH stage. Winter can officially be over now. The only good thing about that nightmare was explaining our role as sister missionaries and giving our number to the three guys who helped us out.....CALL US MAYBE???

After a somewhat rocky lesson with Abass (our minds.....and bodies.....were so shot from pushing, shoveling, and freezing, that we had no idea what we were saying), we called it a ni.........oh wait....................nope.

EMERGENCY ROOM VISIT: still on the to-do list for the night.

Kill joy. So off we headed. We got to the ER and then, off course, I'm swept away from my companion, hooked up to a million wires, the needles come out, doctors come in, tests get taken, and time drags on. MISERY. After x-rays, IV's, EKG's, blood work, chest exams, and GP consults they found........NOTHING.


What. the. heck. Well that was helpful....so here's $136 bucks, four hours of lost sleep, and a whole lot of sticking me with needles for your time. OUCH. I wasn't too happy about that. I was kinda too tired and in pain to care, though. My journal entry that night: "Well, that's not the way I thought P-day would go."


The next day we were both exhausted, so per president's suggestion, we laid low and tried to recharge. The rest of our week picked up faster than we could, though, and over the next 6 days e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. started going at 90 mph! It was CRAZY! We had at least two member present lessons every day and investigators started coming out of the woodwork, committing to meet with us! It was a complete miracle! Our numbers started shooting up and we did our best to keep up:)

For instance, this week we got to visit Dawon. We talked about prophets and showed him a video of President Monson testifying of Christ. Afterwards we asked him, "So do you believe that God calls prophets just as He did in old times?" He thought for a second and then said, "Yea....yea I do.......because I'm a prophet actually. I can see into the future."

Well THAT escalated quickly.

Not exactly the answer we were looking for. Guess we'll need to cover this topic again:) Ah, we love our investigators! ;) He did come to the baptism though!! That was awesome!!

Speaking of baptisms.....


It was absolutely BEAUTIFUL!! Their eyes just glowed!!! And about a third of the whole ward showed up for it!!! Ah!!!!! Yes!!! Days like that we missionaries LIVE FOR!!! It was again, one of the best days of my life! The spirit was SO strong, I cried tears of joy! They both beamed through the whole thing! After the baptism (we were privileged to stand at the top of the font stairs during the baptism), we walked into the bathroom with Margaret and she clasped her hands together, trembling as water and tears streamed down her face, and said over and over with her head bowed, "Thank you Jesus! Thank you Jesus!" In my heart, I was praising Him too!!!

There is NO GREATER JOY than seeing a sweet soul come unto Christ!!!!

It is PRICELESS!  And we as young missionaries, get to work hand in hand with the Almighty Creator to bring those souls back to Him!!! I am so blessed! SO blessed!!!!! Margaret and Abass have such a place in my heart! And I KNOW I've been so privileged to play even a small role in their conversion!

Finally, we also got to teach a new investigator this week, Donna. Basically......we love her:) We found her one night, last transfer, when we were trying to drop by a former's house, and just as we were about to get back in the car after no success and with rain down pouring all around, the spirit said, "Go knock on THAT door."


We did, and sure enough, as Donna later described, "I knew there was something about you guys. Our spirits connected and that's why I knew I needed to meet with you." It was an amazing lesson. We taught her the restoration and answered her questions. Towards the end of the lesson, I pulled out a copy of the Book of Mormon and testified to her of it's truthfulness. As soon as she saw the book, she realized that she'd met with missionaries from our church before......15 YEARS AGO

How I wished I could have thanked those elders for the seeds they planted in her heart fifteen years ago!!!! They'll never know the difference they've made!!!!! She wants us to meet her family and come again for dinner too!! Please pray that her faith will continue to grow and that she will receive a personal witness of the truthfulness
of this gospel!

Speaking of making a difference.......YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!! I've gained such a testimony of that on my mission. I honestly believe we have no idea how much we can make a difference in someone's life by JUST INVITING.

I've thought since of those elders who taught Donna FIFTEEN years ago! They probably thought at the time that they'd failed with teaching her. BUT THEY DIDNT!

Success is in the invitation!

Don't put off today what can reap rewards YEARS down the road! "The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time is now." Whether it's inviting a friend to church or to hear the missionaries, visiting and befriending a less-active member, offering serving to a stranger, or doing a random act of kindness.....YOUR IMPACT MATTERS!

Don't get discouraged with rejection. Don't let others define your worth. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Everybody does, except God. So if you trust Him, FALL! He'll catch you! You have a chance to do so much good.....more good than you know! Don't let those chances pass you buy! Whether you see the results of your effort now or never....they'll still come! And MANY down the road, will be grateful that you didn't hold back!

"You don't need an invitation before you start moving in the direction of your righteous goals. You don't need to wait for permission to become the person you were designed to be. You don't need to wait to be invited to serve in the Church. We can sometimes waste years of our lives waiting to be chosen (see D&C 121:34-36). But that is a false premise. You are already chosen!" (Elder Utchdorf)

Just do it! NOW!

Onward and upward!

Sister Anna Parker

baptism records!!!!!

Baptismal Records!!!!! 2 OF THEM!!!

Yup....monogrammed em. Gotta keep up with traditions:)
Yup.....dats right. We didn't start the font filling soon enough. You do the math......
Abass and his mom, Marie
Converts lead to converts!!!
The after-party:)
(Left to Right:) Marie (the recent convert who introduced us to Margaret), Alice (the one who introduced Marie into the church), Sister Teare (my gem of a companion:), Me, and Margaret!!!!!