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. 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'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 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 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''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