Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Well THAT Was Awkward

Friday night we pull up into a gas station to refuel just as a dude with multiple piercings and sketch gettup comes pulling up across from us, gets out and starts pumping. I finished cleaning the windshield, and just as I was getting into the car, I knew EXACTLY what my companion was going to say as we got in together:

 "I dare you to go give that guy a mormon.org card!" 

Rewind.........earlier that day I opened that can of worms by suggesting that we get creative with our finding efforts and push ourselves beyond our comfy comfort zones by using DARES. I know myself well enough to know I can't give up when competition is involved. 

Comes back to bite 'chya........#fail 

Gimme two.......devise a plan........k lezz do this. I kick myself outta the car, walk up to him, extend the mormon.org card in my hand and say, "Can we offer you a card today?" 

Before I can continue our contact approach, he looks down, and says, "Wait, so this is your number??" Horrified, I look down to realize I extended the card to him mormon.org side down, and instead, our cell phone number side up...........totally know what that just looked like. I'm not that kinda girl, I swear. 


 ummmmmmmmm..........oooooooooooooops.......... Awkwardly try to get outta that one. 

"Oh...no........not........well.....yea, it is...but......actually........we're missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.......and we want to share a message about Jesus Christ and His gospel. Would you be interested in learning more??" 

where's the back door, where's the back door?? 

But instead.......he pauses and then says, "Yea.....yea I would." 

He then gave us his number, address, and directions to his place, and told us he wanted to know more! Accidental hit-on to successful  HELP-ON. 


Got a good laugh over that one once we were back in the car. Getting out of your comfort zone can be SO awkward sometimes, but that's when things happen!!!!! (literally:) haha 

We saw more miracles this week when we went looking for more service opportunities in the area. We stopped by the hospital and started talking to one of the chaplain interns who was on his last day of the job.

Perfect timing, maybe??  

We started talking and an amazing conversation followed. (And get this, he's from Vermont! We east-coasters find each other:) He told us about the struggles of his "missionary work" and we in turn shared our experiences. In the end, we shared a Book of Mormon with him and left him with multiple passages to read, including Moroni 10:4 and 3 Nephi 11! 

 It was POWERFUL!!!! 

Walked away from that experiences sold on the idea that when you're in the right place at the right time doing the right thing, MIRACLES HAPPEN! Lives are changed, people receive truth, and God's work rolls on! 

On Tuesday, we went over and helped our 90 year-old friend, Yung, with her roses. We raked the flower beds while she sat and watched us (we convinced her she was "teaching" us how to rake--that's the only way she'd let us help her, bless her heart!!!). Half way through our raking, she covered her mouth and her eyes grew small. I looked over at her, only to realize that she was watching my companion and I while bubbling with laughter.

I called to her, laughing myself, and said, "What's so funny??" She called back, still giggling, 

 "You gills (girls), rake funny! So funny!" 

My companion and I just laughed, looked at each other, with no idea what she meant, and went back to work. hahaha! We continued to be entertained for the next two hours by occasional giggles and squeals from our little friend:) 

Before we left, Yung led us by the hand into her home, and gave us each a pot of flowers to thank us for helping her: 

"Sank you! Sank you! Flower for you! I have many, you have none......you take one. I very happy you come! Very happy! Sank you! Sank you!"  

So we walked the half mile back to our apartment, each carrying a large pot of flowers .....that's not weird at all:) Gah! We love her!!!! 

Our members are also working miracles here as well!!! On my first day here, a ward member took us out to eat at Panera. An older man sitting next to us seemed to be watching and listening to us closely as we prayed and then discussed our missionary efforts. After he was finished and started to leave, this amazing ward member quickly followed him, and offered him a mormon.org card. It included our number on the back and she gave him a quick intro to the church. He left, and we didn't think on it again until a week later when we got a phone call from him!!!!! We were f.l.o.o.r.e.d.!!!! 

We met with him this week and learned that he's from Serbia and when he lived there had a good friend who was a Mormon missionary. Bob, our new friend, remembered, "I'll always remember him. I wasn't interested then, but I am now. I have questions I want answers to." 

No effort is wasted?                  go figure.........its true:)!

And get this......he wants a member of our church who speaks Serbian to come translate the lessons for him. Welp.....the only member we've found (yea, still can't believe there's even ONE:) who speaks Serbian.....is a LESS ACTIVE. 

Hmmmmm....... fancy that ........... sounds like heaven's at work here:)!! We're on the scent now....time to convert AND re-activate.....at the same time. 


Aaaaaaannnndddd....the big news doesn't stop there......................... wait for it................................. 

JAMES IS GETTING BAPTIZED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is HUGE!!!!! After 20 YEARS of meeting with missionaries and never being baptized, JAMES IS THERE!!! He told us last night, "If you'd ask me a month ago if I'd even consider getting baptized, I'd have called you crazy! But now, I've never felt so much peace, direction, and hope in all my life!" He came to Easter Sunday services, stayed for all three hours, and realized he was home.....that this is what he's been searching for his whole life!

He's an incredible guy! He teaches us more than we teach him:) haha! He's decided on May 10th as his baptism day and we could. NOT. be. HAPPIER!!!! The WHOLE way home from our lesson last night, Sis Bishop and I were screaming!!! Windows down, singing "That's What Faith Can Do" at the top of our lungs, and giddy with joy.......IT DOESN'T GET BETTER THAN THIS!!!!!! 

We are SO excited for him! He's doing it! He's getting baptized!!!!!!!!!!!! 

So the Lord's been good to us! We're seeing MIRACLES daily and losing ourselves in the work and fun (which this week included planting trees, biffing it in the doorway of a member's home (most a.w.k.w.a.r.d. moment of my missionary life), making meals for kids in Haiti, teaching the activity day girls about missionary work and in doing so making 30 new friends in one night (love them!!!), meeting Elder Sitati (the 70 from Kenya!), and oh yea....and being quoted in Stake Conference by Pres Woodbury.....that was a good day!:) 

So, finally....... lesson I learned this week: Believing that you have to endure trials alone, is denying the power of the Savior and His Atonement. Gethsemane's agony was real and infinitely deep. 

He went alone there, so that we don't have to. 

Relying on Him to help us through means that He did not suffer in vain. He is the ONLY way we can make it through, and through Him WE WILL!! 

"We may mistakenly believe we must make the journey from good to better through sheer grit, willpower, and discipline, and with our obviously limited capacities. There is no physical pain, no anguish of soul, no suffering of spirit, no infirmity or weakness that you or I ever experience during our mortal journey that the Savior did not experience first. 

"You and I in a moment of weakness may cry out, “No one understands. No one knows.” No human being, perhaps, knows. But the Son of God perfectly knows and understands, for He felt and bore our burdens before we ever did. And because He paid the ultimate price and bore that burden, He has perfect empathy and can extend to us His arm of mercy in so many phases of our life. He can reach out, touch, succor—literally run to us—and strengthen us to be more than we could ever be and help us to do that which we could never do through relying upon only our own power." (Elder Bednar) 

This gospel brings hope! It brings peace! And it brings joy! IT IS TRUE!!!! 

Onward and upward, 

 Sister Anna Parker

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Newbie Status

Sooooooo......I got my second mission call this week.

No joke.

I feel like I've entered a new dimension. 

We got the call Saturday night: "Well Sister Parker, wanna make any guesses on where you're going?"

Considering the fact that I've been crying non-stop for a week, having anxiety attacks over where I could be shipped off to, who I'll be with, how I'm ever supposed to leave these people I love, and in addition to how I'm going to man power haul all my clothes and shoes (no shame) to a new area.............

Naw...I'll pass on the guessing. hahaha

Yes......I apologized to the AP later for the shut down:)

So for reals....I've moved on to my new area just north of where I was before. Still felt like a transfer from the Shire to Esgaroth. I went from high-rises and highways to pastures and footpaths. And it's BEAUTIFUL here!!! We're in the Buffalo Grove 2nd ward, living it up in Libertyville, Mundelein, and surrounding areas.

I miss all the people and friends I made in North Shore and goodbyes were p.a.i.n.f.u.l. but I know the Lord has a plan for me here, so it's back to memorizing names, faces, streets, schedules, and all that JAZZ.

Meet the new comp: Sister Bishop! She's a doll. Love her. We're very similar and have fun together:) Said it before, and I'll say it again....Head's up, BG;)! Get this....she's also one of 12......Whhhhhhaaaaaat!! Probs the only two sisters in the mission with a fam of 12 and yup.....we're meant to be together. God has a sense of humor:)

Getting to a new area was tough at first cause the learning curve goes from 0 to 100...... Thanks, mission life. TBH it feels like a NEW MISSION CALL.

I feel like I'm in a different world, but still a missionary, doing the same kind of things but with no familiar faces or places. W.E.I.R.D. Things are shaping up for us, though, and we hit personal records this week in numbers!!

#SWAG   #going2town

We got to meet some of the neighbors last night when Sis Bishop and I decided to tract our complex. One of our neighbors was out (smoking.....hey, we can work with anything:)....so we started chatting.

Him: "So, Sis Bishop, you're from Utah. Not surprised. Sis Parker, you from there too?"
Me: "Nope...I'm actually from New Hampshire"
Him: "Ok.......yea......I can tell from your accent."

blink blink

Ok now that's the biggest joke of my life. hahaha! Just the night before a wardie had told me I couldn't have possibly been from NH, cause I didn't have an accent.

Confuse me.....that's cool too.

We've also been running all around trying to stop by investigators and members, doing service, and staying carazy busy.

Every missionary gets at least one member-present lesson on their mission where you walk out going, "what. just. happened??" 


We were ALL OVER THE MAP. Apparition visitations, Moroni and great grandma being friends, haunted houses, supposed insanity........for half and hour straight we didn't get a word in edge wise. Just kinda sat their stunned annnnnnddddd.....pushed to the point where we had to pull out ipads to send confused "what do we do now?" messages to each other.


5 minutes before we had to leave, the member says, "Allllriiight....should we end with a prayer?"

Uhhhhhhh......yes.....after we teach something on the subject of church doctrine.

So we did our best to cram the restoration lesson, correct false doctrine just taught, clear up confusion about "deep" subjects casually dropped, extend an invitation to church......and all in 3 MINUTES.

winner winner chicken dinner

Still walked out a bit scrambled and our investigators said goodbye still dazed and eye-glazed, but they came to church the next day!


Another night this week, we had 8 minutes before we needed to head home, and we decided to try dropping by a man that Sis Bishop and her last companion ran into tracting. He'd yelled (more like barked) them off his porch saying there was a sick person inside and they didn't want to be bothered. YIKES.

Sooooo......what's the Christ-like creative-sister-missionary thing to do?? Doorbell ditch him with cookies.


hahaha! Sometimes, you just want to make someone's life better in an unidentifying way just because. And doing it with cookies.......get outta town.....#winnerstatus.

Probably one of the funnest service projects I've done my w.h.o.l.e. mission:) And.....did it in a pencil skirt and cheetah flats. I'm getting good at running in those;)

We're finding the fun in missionary work.

After church this week, we got a call from our bishop who said he'd met with the son of a member who'd taken missionary discussions a while ago but never joined the church. He'd talked with the bishop and at the end of their discussion said,

"So how do I get baptized?"

Geez laweez!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Talk about a miracle!!!!!!!!! Couldn't make that follow-up call soon enough! We're meeting with him this week, and we'll hopefully see him in the font not too long after:)

We witnessed another miracle this week when we went to contact a referral from a member. We started knocking doors, and came to a house where the door open and a 90 year old 4 foot 2 chinese woman answered. She waved us in and we sat and talked for about an hour while she told us her life story. We offered her service and she began to cry quietly. She eventually accepted our offer and told us how she'd been needing help for a long while. She then clasped her hands, looked up, and kept repeating, "Thank you, God! Thank you, God!"

Talk about a tear-jerker!! THAT'S when you know you're doing your job;)

Before we left, she kissed our hands, patted our cheeks, told us we were "good girls" and to "ask our Mommy's and Daddy's if it was ok that we come over again to help" and then waved us goodbye with, "See you Tuesday! See you Tuesday!"

Yep....she's got my vote. Love her! Tuesday should be great:)

Welp.....checked-off bucket list items for the week included teaching an elder the correct use of YOLO, packaging meals for kids in the Phillipines, painting and hiding Easter eggs, discovering the complex GYM!!!!!!, finding out how bad week-old grapes taste, and learning that I talk A LOT in my sleep....... awwwwwwkwwwward.

Oh yea, and hearing that we lucked out on living in a nice apartment....the other sisters had an infestation of BATS in their ceiling this week........GAG ME. Yeeeuup......we're counting our blessings.

I also read Teachings of the President George Albert Smith, the chapter on enthusiasm for the work! I LOVED IT! #missionarystatus #noshame! He talked about how truly important and joyful this work is!

It was like a pep talk from coach Waqua....missionary style;) hahaha!

President Smith says, "How happy it will make you, if when that time comes, when you stand in the presence of the great Judge to give an account of the few years of life that have been spent in mortality, if these our Father’s children that He loves as much as He loves us, standing by us, say, “Heavenly Father, it was this man, it was this woman who first brought to me the information of Thy glorious truth that provoked in me a desire to seek after Thee more fervently than I had done before. It was this man or this woman who did this blessed thing for me.”

Missionaries and members!! We can be that person for those around us!!!!!! 

Missionary work isn't always easy. Let's get real...it can be more awkward than Rebecca Black and Friday......but it is SO rewarding, if not now, then for the ETERNITIES!!! I have to remind myself often how a little pain equals a life-time of pleasure. One invitation can change someone's life!! And the lives of those for generations afterwards!

And one day they'll thank you for it! 

Perhaps one day, like President Smith said, they'll stand beside us before God and praise our names as the one's who brought them the truth!

I can't wait for that day!!!

Onward and upward,

Sister Anna Parker

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Laters Lovelies


I don't have a full weekly post this week because of TRANSFERS.....

Yup, it's happened......I've been shipped out:(. The weekend and P-day was filled with LOTS of tears and goodbyes so I didn't get a chance to write much this week:/


More to come this Monday! SO much has changed (obvs:) so ya should all be excited............(het, gotta boost the suspense:)

Your prayers keep me goin, so keep em comin! XOXO beautifuls!

Onward and upward,

Sister Anna Parker

Friday, April 11, 2014

Swaggin the Tag

Wearing a name tag 24/7 is legit. So legit that it's almost dangerous going to any store or event, because you're bound to be stopped by multiple people who think you're "qualified" personnel. (Hah! Idk if I'm that even when I'm wearing the badge in the right setting:)

#truestory.............a.k.a. Walmart, Sports Authority, Subway, Jewel Osco, Walgreens......and the list goes on:)

Always makes for awkward convo. We try to turn it into an intro to the church buuuuuuuuuuutttttttt ....... it doesn't always go that well. Sooooooooo.....to avoid the awkward "mistaken identity" mishap we've learned to never wear red in Walgreens, blue in Walmart, black in Sports Authority, yellow in Subway, or green in Jewel Osco (the grocery store). 

Pink and cheetah print........they're the only safe options we've found so far:) lol

On Tuesday this week, we signed up for a service project that a wardie emailed to us that advertised community service opportunities like writing letters to public safety personnel, making gifts for elderly citizens, and get well kits for hospital patients.

We showed up, ready to help out and anxious to serve only to walk in and realize that we were the only volunteers there who weren't either straight off the bus from middle school on down, or who had multiple kids in their charge. 

Well this is awkward.
Not ones to back down, though, we sprung an "only awkward as you make it" and got to work. That's when having a badge on REALLY comes in handy. It was SO much easier to pull a "responsible adult helping run a station" stunt, all the while eyeing the eight year olds down the table to copy their craft-making skills:) 
We would have appreciated the "after-school service project" memo, but we still really enjoyed the time we had to do community service and help out in a kid-oriented environment (sometimes we missionaries just want to be kids for a while:).
From that service project we went right over to a member's house to clean their ally of leaves and winter debris. Just as we were about to get started, my companion accidentally let a rake slip...........pole end went down and rake end came up............ right into my knee.


Ooooooooooooo..........yup.........that hurts.

Hahaha! Luckily, I was wearing jeans and it didn't go too deep, so we were able to keep working, even though it turned into a doozy of a bruise. Aaaaannnnnnddddd.......I still love Sis Teare:).......and it made for good laughs afterwards!
We also got to help the Whittle's (wardies) move apartments on Saturday, helped a 80 year-old former investigator enter contacts into her landline phone (good thing I was still in prehistoric mode from being phone-less last week:), carved rotisserie chicken, cleaned closets, folded laundry, and cut out glitter decorations for ward members............ the service opportunities never stop being diverse.......it's fantastic!!
OH! Aaaaaaannndddd........we got a new phone!!!!! Glory hallelujah!! Emerging from the dark ages now!! We can actually CALL investigators and ward members................ #mindblown. It's a m.i.r.a.c.l.e. 
Proselyting on FB this week, I got to teach a friend in California, and HE COMMITTED TO BAPTISM!!!!! He wants the missionaries in his area to find and teach him more, and he said he wants the fulness of the gospel in his life!!!! Online proselyting is opening up SO many avenues for hastening the work!
One day this week, we received a referral from headquarters, and we were determined to contact him within 24 hours (as we're instructed to do by leaders). We were booked all day until a short 15-30 minutes before dinner, so we decided to make a quick stop off to deliver a Book of Mormon to this referral. We pulled up, said a prayer, and just as we were ending, the spirit instructed, 
"Put a Book of Mormon in your bag"
Usually my companion carries a Book of Mormon with her, since her bag is big enough, but when we ended the prayer and Sis Teare told me she had a Book of Mormon, the spirit came again,
"Get another and put it in your bag."
Welp. Can't argue with that. Sooooo.....loaded with two Books of Mormon, we went to find our referral. We walked around the building awkwardly for a couple minutes, trying to find the seemingly non-existent apartment, by a small cafe.

After a while of being confused, a large german man came out of the cafe and asked us if we needed help. We explained who we were and he told us our referral, George, no longer lived above the shop. He then ushered us into the diner, sat us down at a table surrounded by other customers going at poker, and said, 
"Now......I have a question for you......what makes your religion different than any other religion?"
Wait, for reals?? Just like that??


Sooooooooooo.......being uber hyped.......we gave him the Reader's Digest discussion:

  • Authority from God
  • Prophets and apostles
  • Additional scripture (ya guessed it......the Book of Mormon in my bag came flying out:)

It was RAD. 
We also got to clear up a lot of mis-conceptions he had about the church: No, we don't drink. Yes, we celebrate birthdays and Christmas. No, we don't have more than one wife. Yes, we believe the Bible. No, Mitt Romney is not the prophet. AND yes, we most definitely do DANCE. hahaha:)

He ended up taking the Book of Mormon we gave him, and kept the other to give to George when he came around to the cafe. We gave him our number, and he said he'd read and pray!
Miracles happen when you're on the LORD's ERRAND! Be in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing, and you'll see them!

Our in-area teaching pool has been a little scarce this past week. Not enough teaching = disappointed missionaries:). Almost all our investigators flaked out on us this week (most of the time it was last minute too) so it's been rough.  I commented to Sis Teare this week,

If missions were just about teaching all the time, mission life'd be a breeze! 

It's the finding, retaining, recontacting, scheduling, re-finding, tracking down, etc. that makes the work tough. When we actually get to teach we're all, 
"Whew! Hey look! We're actually teaching! Whaaaaaaaaaaat!" And then the rest feels easy compared to the load of work that got us there:)

General Conference was a much-needed booster and WE. COULD. HARDLY. WAIT.

That morning, walking out to our car and discussing between-session lunch plans I subconsciously dropped, "Well, during HALF TIME we could....."
Hahaha! Yeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaa............ #thatstoked #mormonsuperbowl

Team Mormons.........like a boss. This conference was absolutely a.m.a.z.i.n.g. too!!! I belong to the coolest church E.V.E.R. (and the truest...that too:)! And once again.....like always......I went into conference seeking answers and comfort, and came away totally uplifted!
Elder Bednar's talk hit me like a ton of bricks. It was EXACTLY what I needed. I had told Sis Teare just the night before,

A mission is really a BOOT CAMP in the ATONEMENT.

If there is nothing else I've learned and come to understand on my mission, it's that the atonement is p.o.w.e.r.f.u.l.
I wrote in my journal, "The atonement has become so much more to me than 'someone who's felt the same pain I feel'..........to........'my older brother and friend, Jesus Christ, has suffered everything I have suffered through so that I don't have to carry my burden alone."
And as a missionary, you get to see the atonement at work on a number of levels--in the repentance process, in the healing process, and in my personal battle with physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual trials. 
I believe that every approach to hardship in life boils down to your mind. If you have the strength to cope mentally, you can cope in every other way. 
Being a gym junkie, I see this in myself physically all the time. My "body" tells me I can't crank out 20 more push-ups, or 10 more suicides, or 15 more squats ............. buuuuuuuuttttttt .......if my "mind" tells me I can--that I have more to give--it HAPPENS.

Same with the atonement, when your mind, your body, your spirit, or your heart, feels like it CAN'T KEEP GOING........THAT's when the Atonement comes into play (if we allow it to) and we find the strength to continue on, because HIS strength surpasses ANY strength of ANY trial we face.


I love it. It's the ONE thing that gets me through the hard times in life. It's the ONLY thing that moves me forward one day at a time when mission life seems too hard. It's the BEST gift anyone has ever given me, and not just anyone, but my SAVIOR. Literally, the one who SAVES me from burdens I know I cannot face alone.

Tap into it.

It's not just there for some of us, some of the time. It's there for YOU........ ALL the time. 

Before coming out on a mission, I didn't think I could do it (and lets get real....I still have those days:). But, you and I can do it because He's on our side. 

He's not asking you to be perfect, to never make mistakes, or to never feel discouraged. He's just asking you to be His hands, while He goes to work to save others. Be that tool in His hands! That's all He's asking for!

Expect to fall short. Expect to feel inadequate. Expect to be imperfect. Because when we come to realize that........we come to rely on Him which takes us faster and farther to bigger and better things!

I love my Savior, Jesus Christ. That's why I'm out here. That's why I sacrifice. Because I love Him, and while there is nothing I can do to fully REPAY Him, I can to something to THANK Him. 

Onward and Upward,

Sister Anna Parker 

Friday, April 4, 2014


Soooooooo......reading missionary blogs before coming out on my mission REALLY helped. Finding posts that began with "What I'd wished I'd known...."....................


Ever since landing myself as a sister missionary, I've started my own list of  THINGS I WISHED I'D KNOWN BEFORE SERVING. (yea, unfortunately ya can't learn e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. before you come out.....#rough). Buuuuuuuuuttttt....some of these can help out some! Enjoy!

What I'd Wished I'd Known

Before entering the MTC:

          - Bring mesh laundry bags. The bigger the better. Washing identical (wink wink:) laundry with multiple sisters in a small washing machine can get awkward real fast. Put your whites in, zip 'er shut, and you're good to go! (Comes in handy out in the field too!) 

          - Bring a retractable lanyard. The clip-on ones are the best. Between cafeteria meal scans and entry doors, being able to pull it right off your side and back again makes things WAY easier.

          - Bring a small notebook, not large. Hauling around a binder or large notebook can be a pain. Bring something you can take around to devotionals, to meals, to classrooms, and to your dorm......a small one that can easily fit in your purse/bag.

          - Bring and use scripture tabs! Being able to color-code your scriptures while reading so many every day in the MTC is SO helpful when you get out to the field. (More on how I color-code by scriptures later:) 

          - MINTS! Ahhhhhhhh....yes! Chewing gum in the MTC is not allowed, so use the mints to detox:)  They're a boredom killer and keep you awake during the long hours too!

          - Bring good pens/pencils. And bring A LOT. Somehow it's easy to lose pens in the MTC. Go figure. Bring highlighters too.......I prefer to use colored Prismacolor pencils since they don't bleed through pages. 

          - Use your workout time! It's easier to focus and study when your body has had it's time to de-gitter:) 

          - Tell friends and family to use DearElder.com to send you mail in the MTC. Same-day delivery.....can't compete:)

          - Invest in a mini Preach My Gospel. It's WAY easier to carry around places.

Before entering the field:

          - Use online outfit designer to put together your mission outfits! I used Polyvore and IT SAVED MY LIFE! Upload items that are similar to what you already have in the closet and then mix and max potential items to know what to buy that can go with every outfit! #lifesaver.......and money saver:)....................Keep it classy;)

          - Bring a pop-up hamper, one that collapses in your suitcase. It's easy to take around your whole mission and keeps your dirty laundry in one place......not on your companion's dresser:)

          - Bring a belt/scarf hanger. If they can hang in the closet, it's a space saver!

          - If you're going to an online proselyting mission, BUY AN iPad cover case/keyboard BEFORE you go out! It saves time and money once you're out! Make it cute, too:)

          - Familiarize yourself with the LDS Gospel Library, use the Notes and Tags features, and keep up on your Mormon Messages:) If you're going to an online proselyting mission, get a head-start by tagging all the PMG scriptures! When you sync out on the mission, everything will sync to your device!              

          - Get all family's emails and addresses written down for future reference

          - If you're going to a cold place, get Under Armor running leggings! They've kept me warm through Chi-town's coldest winter!  (And.....they keep you from having to wear sweats under skirts.....#tacky)

          - Bring generic gift cards. Every now and then, you'll find yourself in a bind, and having a back-up plan really helps:) 

          - Pinterest workouts! 'Nuff said. I brought 30 30-minute workouts with me on the mission in a binder. It's enough to keep me cycling through them for a whole month!!!! 

          - Bring some of your favorite quotes to put up around your apartment or to pull out when you need a pick-me-up. (Apartments can ALWAYS use more cute decorations anyways:)

          - Label your clothing

          - Bring light exercise equipment (resistance band, jump rope, etc.). It breaks up your morning exercise routine and offers more possibilities.

          - Bring a good first aid kit! Pain killers: must. Band aids: must. Cough drops: must. 

          - Bring a transfer journal!! At the end of each transfer, have missionaries, members, and investigators sign your transfer  journal! Then, by the end of your mission, you have a whole journal filled with notes and messages from everyone you've met and grown to love!

          - Make your suitcase recognizable.......there are WAY too many black suitcases out there:)! Use ribbons, duct tape, labels, etc. 

          - Email missionaries currently serving in your assigned mission questions, read their blogs, etc. Ask them mission-specific questions: approved music to bring, clothes, best shoes to wear, weather/temperature, etc.

          - Bring slippers.....old apartment floors...nasty.

          - Bring a recipe book with easy and fast meals to make. Healthy and on-hand ingredient-conscious recipes are key too:)

          - A sketch pad. If you're artsy, it can help you release stress when you're wound up. You also save glimpses of your mission to paper:)

          - Dry shampoo. Don't ask......just bring.

          - A flashlight. Walking home at night is a lot easier (and safer) when you have one

Hopefully, some of these help with the physical preparation of a mission. HOWEVER, the most important thing you can do to prepare is to focus on your spiritual preparation!

-Read and study your scriptures!

-Learn to recognize the spirit!

-Serve others around you!

-Share your testimony often!

-Go on splits with the missionaries in your area

-Set up a mormon.org profile

-Talk with RM's


Getting your temporal bases covered is great, but if nothing else cover your SPIRITUAL bases! Your testimony, not your Topshop purse is going to convert. 

Be prepared in EVERY way. Also, being close to the spirit before your mission will allow the Lord to tell you what YOU need to do to prepare in the best way for you! The months before you serve can be crazy and hectic, but they are SO important! Don't let the spiritual prep slip between the cracks! It's the MOST important! Also, remember:

Breathe deep, and smile:)

Missions are a.m.a.z.i.n.g.! They're hard, but they're incredible experiences! Keep holding on! Keep going! Keep having faith! The Lord has great things in mind for each of us who joins His ranks!

Onward and upward!

Sister Anna Parker

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Chillin in the Dark Ages


Feelin pumped........ready to call some peeps......plan some proselyting parties........and pounce on potential service projects.......and then........our phone goes HAYWIRE.

Yup. In the middle of weekly planning.


So we sit there........processing.......processing.......our young 21st-century-technology-reliant minds backloading to the dark agestrying to figure out what to do next.

........Click........oh! FB MESSAGING! Right??


The SAME day our phone goes to pot, our ONE FREE WIFI ACCESS IN THE APARTMENT DISAPPEARS. It's like Satan hates us or something.....the dirty little devil trying everything he can to put us 6 feet under.


Hahaha! Sooooooo....we managed to get through the rest of "planning" which consisted mostly of hypotheticals, suppositions, and hopefully's:) while the weekend was more like running down to the city
buildings at 7am in the morning (temps at 20 degrees) to get email updates on missionary meeting times for that morning, trying out how many times we could awkwardly use Subway wifi without buying anythingand having our testimonies in this church solidified because all the chapels have free internet access.

Church MUST be true.

Despite not having a working phone, we managed to get some service and teaching in, which was a total miracle:)

I also was cursed this weekend by an old cavity filling popping out and a last-minute dentist appointment having to be set up. BLAH.

(FYI, fact about Sis Parker: I HATE going to the dentist. #understatement)

Luckily, this appointment turned out to be a little more humorous than I expected. After enduring x-rays and a whole lotta waiting, the dentist finally comes in and we start chatting for a bit.

OF COURSE, I bring up the fact that I'm out of state serving as a full-time missionary for my church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The dentist the gets wide-eyed, laughs, and says,

"No way! I have a patient in the next room over who's also a Mormon! Wanna meet him?"

Heck yea I do! haha! So he disappears for a minute and comes back with this teenage kid on his heels, Blake, who introduces himself and come to find he's in the ward that shares the building with our ward.

Mormon world is SO small:)

Of course, we keep chatting and talking about his mission plans (he's 17 years old), missionary moments he's had recently.....y'know, the usual kinda convo you have between a future missionary and a full-time
missionary:). Eventually the dentist comes back in, leans back, arms folded, and with a grin on his face says,

"Man, leave them chatting in here for two minutes and then ya can't get them to stop."

Well, this just got awkward. THEN, he shuffles Blake out of the room with, "You can get her contact info after I'm done with your teeth. I know, you don't want to let a girl like that go!"

I don't think he gets the definition of MORMON MISSIONARY............let alone age difference. hahaha! THEN, he finishes with Blake and comes over to do my filling, but before starting, goes off on a lengthy
tangent about how Blake is "such a good kid," "with so much potential," "from a really good family," "really nice people," "planning on going to BYU too," "will do really well in life," and "he's so talented....did he tell you he plays the guitar??"


I'm a Mormon missionary getting set up with a high school kid 3 years my junior, probably the only other Mormon youth this dentist knows.........................


Welp....A for effort, right? hahaha! If anything, it added flavor to the usually miserable experience of tooth fillings;) #dentistdonegood

The rest of our week included member service that was also (how do you describe it)....... COLORFUL ..........everything from helping bake cookies, to folding "personal" (a.k.a. "private") laundry, to scrubbing toilets, to wiping cupboards and refrigerators, to fixing vacuums, to stripping hardware............oh........its a BLAST!!! We really do love the variety of service opportunities that come up!


We also got to teach some beautiful lessons this week.......those lessons that you get out of knowing that the SPIRIT was the one teaching.....those are the B.E.S.T.!

We met for the first time with an investigator who is trying to overcome a smoking addiction. She sought us out at a community service project we were helping at, and asked us to pray for her. We jumped on
the opportunity to meet and teach her, and she accepted!

Going into the lesson, I was kinda nervous, since I've never taught anyone so far on my mission that has had a serious addiction problem. However, as we listened and loved, the spirit filled our minds and
mouths with what to say and how to help her. It was POWERFUL! She felt of our love and tears came to her eyes as we assured her that through the power of Jesus Christ and His Atonement, that she CAN DO ANYTHING!

It really confirmed to me just how powerful He is and how important this message is that we as missionaries share! It is THE GOOD NEWS! Whether our "bondage" be to sins or habits, great or small, the atonement can truly help us overcome ANYTHING!

We taught this principle again to Dawon this week as we met and discussed how to deal with trials and hardships. I feel like as a missionary, I'm called to teach, but in doing so, I'm CALLED TO LEARN. I get out of those lessons realizing that I'VE been taught through teaching because of the spirit. It's truly the best way to build a testimony--share it!

Sis Teare and I were also ALL OVER the women's conference on Saturday! Seriously......SO GOOD. 

#mormonsoap                #passthebonbons

Aaaaaaannnnnddddd......one of our less-actives who hasn't stepped foot in the church for a long time, CAME!!! #missionarywin!  The talks were so uplifting and inspired too! I really felt their messages resonating with our less-active as well as a potential investigator who came. Again, CHURCH MUST BE TRUE:).

(The whole humming at the podium/stand up and sing thing.....totally didn't see that one coming:) haha! But, it was great!)

Lastly, we enjoyed meeting with Yolanda and her sweet boys (a.k.a. my brothers:) again this week! Can't get enough of those kids! Evan (age 8) cuddled up next to me on the couch this week and asked, "You're not gonna leave, right?" Thinking about transfers coming up, it just about broke my heart! IDK how I'm e.v.e.r. going to leave these sweet families and individuals who I love with ALL MY HEART! They mean the W.O.R.L.D. to me! 


Not gonna think about it..........not gonna think about it.........

OK........so lastly......(for reals:)......this week I finished the Book for Mormon, cover to cover, for the first time since coming out on the mission. President issued a challenge to all missionaries at Christmas to start the Book of Mormon over again, and read the entire thing before April General Conference.

Reading it again as a missionary has truly been such a powerful faith-building experience for me! I finished it this morning, and when I ended, I WEPT. This time around reading it, I was so powerfully
touched by the lives of the faithful men and women who dedicated ALL they had so that I could be blessed by this sacred book of scripture!

In the past, when I'd finish the Book of Mormon, I'd say a prayer asking again for a witness of its truth. I guess it was just a habit I got into over the many times I'd read it. And of course, every time received a confirmation if it's truth. This time around however,knew--I KNEW-- with all my heart that it was undeniably true before even finishing it! Asking for a confirmation of that almost seemed wrong:)

THE BOOK OF MORMON IS TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!!! SO TRUE!!!!!!!!!!

As I finished it this time around, I was compelled to go straight to my knees, crying tears of joy and gratitude for this book--a book that means more to me than ANYTHING else! I KNOW it is true!! And never before have I felt such a desire and duty to share that knowledge with all the people around me!!

If you have never read it, READ IT! It will change your life and bring you more happiness than you can imagine!!!! I PROMISE YOU THAT! You will NEVER regret it! It means the world to me, so the world's gonna hear it from me!!!!!!

This is the greatest work on earth!!!

Onward and upward!

Sister Anna Parker