Saturday, May 31, 2014

Should I Serve A Mission???

A little while ago, a family member who is soon to submit mission papers wrote me and asked, "Tell me everything there is to LOVE about a mission. I've heard enough about the hard.....tell me what makes it all worth it."

I responded, and now, a few weeks later, I figured I'd upload my letter for all of you who feel the same way....

" asked me some really good questions--good in a number of ways: good for you to know, as well as good for me to answer. To preface, though, I gotta say, I'm totally having de-ja-vu to back before my mission.....the whole "enough of hard! what about the good?"

"So, lemme just say, I wish I'd heard more about the good before I came out. The questions you asked made me reflect on both the the hard and the joy of mission life. I realized there is much of mission life that I take for granted, which made me realize that there is even more joy to be found in this lifestyle than I sometimes realize.  Sooooo......take this letter--which is focused on the joys and blessings of missionary life--not as the 24/7-life-is-always-easy norm, but also remember to find joy in the small things, then that makes the work joyous.

"Ok....'nuff said. Rambling.....trashed. Here's really what you want to know! 

1st question: What makes me crazy happy? People. Love the people and you'll love your mission. Whether it's having someone accept the invitation to meet with you, be baptized, or report to you that they prayed for the first time ever....that is when I'm CRAZY HAPPY! Like get-back-into-the-car-and-just-scream-at-the-top-of-your-lungs happy!!! Because it's about them!!! It's sometimes hard or unnatural to love, but invest your heart in e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e. you meet and talk to.....and love (and happiness:) follows!

2nd question: What is fun about a mission? Being weird. Being crazy. Getting teased. Having adventures. Little kids loving you as "their missi-mary." Eating new foods. Pranking friends. Comp selfies. District lunches. Zone activities. Sightseeing. Transfer giddiness. Laughing at old church films (Legacy.....easy cheesy! lol). Teasing companions. Meeting strange people. Getting called funny names. Mission jokes. Taking pictures. Running back to the apartment at 8:55 p.m.. Life bloopers. A lot of things, really. But a lot of times, you have to make the fun! Get creative and learn to laugh at yourself;)

3rd question: What is rewarding about missionary life? SO MUCH. period. The Lord rewards His full-time missionaries in SO many ways! I see His tender mercies around me all. the. time.! It's rewarding in ways you also don't expect, though. After a long hard day, going to bed tired? Rewarding. An opportunity to do a random act of service? Rewarding. A prayer from an investigator thanking God for sending YOU to them? Rewarding. A lesson so fulled with the spirit that you have no idea what you said, but it worked? Rewarding. The first time an investigator walks through the doors of the chapel in jeans and a t-shirt? Rewarding. Helping a new young missionary find the power of their testimony? Rewarding. There is SO much reward in store for full-time representatives of the Lord! Like I said in a past email, there is NO way this is not the Lord's work, because NO such satisfaction and joy could come from work so hard! It truly is SO rewarding.

4th question: What is the power of being a missionary like? GAH!!! I L.O.V.E. it!!!! There is nothing like it!!  It's like being superhuman, really;) Like, ya put on the tag and suddenly, there's no bars held--you can talk to anyone and everyone, people respect and admire you instantly, inviting yourself in and over to people's houses isn't weird at all, you open your mouth and no matter how stupid or incoherent you sound, your words somehow make it to their hearts.....and the list goes on! There's also unseen power from God which leaves you standing there in awe of HIS power. Check out Jacob 5:72. Nuff said. He's in this work WITH US!! What more power could you ask for?? The power is unmatched also have to work for it, look for it, love it, and appreciate it! Then IT COMES!!! Those are the days when you can't help but shout, "I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!"

5th question: What makes the mission amazing? Well, I guess the answer to that is just a summary of the last 4 questions;). It's amazing in many ways (probably most of which, I won't even fully appreciate or recognize until it's all past). One thing, I gotta say that is amazing about being a missionary is the incredible support system that you have access to. I'm constantly surrounded by people--the mission president, his wife, district leaders, zone leaders, the bishop, ward members, senior couple missionaries, fellow missionaries, etc.--who are my biggest fans and most constant supporters just because I wear the badge!! It's truly amazing being surrounded by incredibly young peple all the time, who are going through the exact same things you are. It's kinda like EFY on steroids;) hahaha!

Every now and then, I have those mind-blowing moments where I all of the sudden realize, "This is sick!" and I also have to realize how hard it will eventually be to have to resign from the ranks and go back to "normal life" (yea, whatever that is;).

6th Question: Why is a mission both amazing and hard? Yea, you hear about the hard, because it IS hard. But it's an experience that teaches you so much! You will NEVER regret serving! The longer I'm out here, the more I realize, "Dang, idk how I would have every gotten marries, had kids, raised a family, accepted church callings, etc. if I'd never served a mission!" You will learn SO much about yourself, other people, the world, the church, gospel doctrine, and most importantly, about the love of Christ and His atonement as you serve--more than you could learn anywhere else in so short a time!

You will develop incredible relationships, meet amazing people, make best friends out of companions, and see and do things you'd never dreamed of! haha! It's an a.d.v.e.n.t.u.r.e.! Take on the challenge! (And don't'll get used to people staring awkwardly at your chest until you remember that's where your tag is at;) 

Sometimes you'll feel like your badge is really a 10 foot pole with a sign tacked to the end "keep your distance and avoid eye contact at all costs otherwise, I'll be really friendly and try to convert you!" hahaha! and again, at other times, your tag is what prompts showers of praise, questions, compliments, and requests for help and a listening ear......its b.e.a.u.t.i.f.u.l.! There are so. many. blessings. that come with the tag--protection, comfort, strength, discernment, power, etc.!

Ok so to wrap up......I was thinking about those emotions some of us feel.....specifically, not wanting to go. My word of advice would be to make a list of the "why's"--why you're going. Rack your brains if you have to:)! As you go along, and throughout your mission, review it and add to it. It often brings things back into perspective for me when the going gets tough.

And just remember, a mission isn't meant to be easy all the time. But all the time, it's worth it! Go out and have a blast! Turn your heart and will over to the Lord and watch and see what amazing miracles He will work through and for you!  The work is hastening this last time! This is the lat time He will send for His laborers to find the elect! The urgency is there!    Don't let this incredible opportunity pass you by!    Join the ranks! "We are as the armies of these latter days!"

You'll find (and re-find) the fire of missionary work! It WILL come, just wait and see! It doesn't come all at once and sometimes not as fast as you'd like, but it does come! Hold out and hold fast! Sacrifice truly does bring forth the blessing of heaven!

Keep walking--you're moving in the right direction and the Lord knows and understands how frightening and even painful that step into the darkness can be. Just think, even before the most important step in the history of mankind--the Atonement--Jesus Christ himself pled,  

"If it be thy will, let this cup pass from me."

 He knows what that's like! He knows exactly what you're feeling!

"Never-the-less (think about the meaning of that word!) glory be to the Father, and I partook!" (DC 19:9)  Your mission is a "never-the-less"! 

The blessings and miracles brought about both to you and to others will far out-weigh any sacrifice you make! I love you! Your faith and willingness to obey will be an inspiration to many!

Onward and upward!

Sister Anna Parker

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Let It Go

Me: "Sis Bishop....we should do something fun and crazy for P-day." 
Sis Bishop: " what??" 

Me: "Like playing the whipped cream game" 

Sis Bishop: "Ummmmmm........" 


So as soon as we get home from the store on P-day, we hit the backyard in our junkies and played the WHIPPED CREAM GAME.

We kicked it off and by the time we'd tried 5 or 6 times (and failed almost every time), our faces and arms and clothes were spattered in whipped cream, but we were having a B.L.A.S.T.

Outta the blue, our neighbor, a dude covered in tattoos and swearing every other word, comes poking around the corner, wondering what two chicks having party on a Monday afternoon are doing.

 First think out of his mouth: "So...........ya guys smoke??"


Better. We play the whipped cream game.

I couldn't help I responded...."Nope! Ya wanna give this a try instead??" and offered him the whipped cream bottle.

Kid couldn't resist. He took it from me and joined right in. (I knew it!.......everyone's mormon deep down;) haha

Eventually, his buddy comes around the corner wondering what's up, and turns the corner just as his friend gets whipped cream all over his face:

"Duuuude.....what the h-- are you doing???"

Only awkward as you make it......sooooo...of course, we offer the bottle to his friend with "Ya know you wanna try it to;)"

We girls got tactics.....

Aaaaannnnddd....pretty soon...two sister missionaries and two hood rats are partying with whipped cream instead of smoking pot. 

#findwhenyouteach                  #teachwhenyouplaywithRediwhip

The guys hung around till the last of the bottle and then said, "Well, we'll see you around, sisters! I go to church, but everyone needs more of Jesus!"

Yes....yes, they do. You're next.

Prob the best "finding" story I've got from the mish so far:) I should of had that as a bucket list item..... 

On Wednesday this week, we showed up to a members house to teach their teenage daughter's friend, Bethany, who came once to church a year ago. She came and following her experience, she said, "I couldn't get it out of my head. I'd been looking for a religion for a while, and everything I experienced there stuck with me."

She continued to investigate the church on her own for a YEAR following that one visit to church. Meanwhile, her member friend invited her to listen to the missionaries, but she declined. Come to find, there were only elders serving in the area at the time.


She waited patiently for a year, praying that sisters would be put into the area so that she could be taught by them and feel comfortable learning more. A year later, when her member friend offered again, commenting, without knowing Bethany's prayer, that sister missionaries were now serving in the area, SHE ACCEPTED!!

By the end of our lesson, we were rightly convinced that Bethany knew nearly all of the doctrine we were teaching because of her own personal investigation into the church for the past year. When we got to the end, we asked if she'd be interested in being baptized.

"Yea! I've been thinking a lot about that and YEA, I'd like that!"

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! These are miracles!!!!!! First it was James, and now it's Bethany!!!! She's is one of the most beautiful girls I've ever met, both in and out! She's got such a sweet spirit and a willingness to accept truth!

If nothing else, this experience taught me to NEVER doubt that The Lord is preparing people to accept the gospel, both now and in the future. Bethany's time is NOW and I count myself so blessed to be the answer to her prayers!!! The Lord works in mysterious ways!!! and miraculous ways too!!!!!!

James is still doing amazingly well! He's being blessed in miraculous ways both temporal (yea, like becoming the top Oreck salesman in the NATION! Woop woop!) and spiritual (like tons of missionary those:) because of his decision to be baptized! He got to bear his testimony in sacrament meeting on Sunday and.......AH! I was SUCH a proud mama!!!! He's got it!!! And his mom, Edith (a non-member) came as well!!! She's next:)

One day this week, Sis Bishop and I were driving somewhere and she suggested we see who could go the longest without talking......with the loser paying for ice cream.

This is only difficult when played by two EXTRAVERTED girls.

#silencedchallenged                #nerdalert

It's harder than it sounds. Like a lot.

UNLESS......that're bilingual in the only language that doesn't require any talking......


Sis Bishop didn't think that one through:) guess who payed for ice cream??.......


Sis bishop and I also discovered the only Jamba Juice around and it's only 10 min away......whaaaaat. I was s.t.o.k.e.d.......Felt like I was back in Provo again.....


 Some do Starbucks....I do jamba:)..........(oh and btw.....they sell gift cards...just FYI;)

So yes.....mission life is going. Sis bishop and I talked for a long while once this week about how missions are really all about trust. They're about trusting everything and have and everything you are to God. The more you give yourself entirely over to Him, the more He makes of you. The more you rely on Him, the more He strengthens you. If He's on your side, nothing else matters.

You're winning.

Yea, you'll experience setbacks and disappointment on the mission.....they can't always be easy.....but those shortcomings make you rely even more on the atonement and Jesus Christ to pull you through.

 Sooooo.....let it go!     (#teamdemi:)

Let it go:  your will, your pride, your strength, and your desires. And instead, embrace His and He in return will embrace YOU! Like Elder Holland says, you're in the hands of the divine potter.....He'll mold you to be more than you could ever be on your own.....if you let Him!

Onward and upward,

Sister Anna Parker

 For those of you who don't know how to play the whipped cream game.......

my beautiful comp demonstrating the whipped cream game

#win after 20 #fails:) 

new-found neighbor;)

beautiful mess <3

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Up High

What. A. Week.
And somehow and flies and crawls by....all at the same time. #missionlife

Monday morning, we call our dinner appointment--a member who always takes us out to eat for dinner--and come to find, he's planned the perfect missionary rendezvu...

okkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk.....and yes, I got the weirdest looks of my life there
......might as well have been nun at a Jay-Z concert.  
After leaving our dinner appointment, we rushed off to teach James just as a MEGA lightning storm hit complete with torrential rain. I was in h.e.a.v.e.n.;) I love love love lightning and thunder and rain storms....the whole enchilada. 

Even better, sitting inside teaching James with the spirit SO strong, all the while the storm is howling and thrashing outside.....felt was a life lesson: the gospel really does create that safe haven amidst all the storms of life and gives us the shelter and protection so needed in today's world.
Ok, now off the soap box:)..... 
With the downpour came missionary miracles too: S.E.R.V.I.C.E;)    By the next morning we were over at member's homes helping with flood damage, clean-up, and take-out. I can now add hauling wet carpet and shop vac-ing to my list of mission-accquired skills.         #gifted

Between basement water parties, we got to help out in other unique ways as making clouds for HS senior parties out of chicken wire, hot glue guns, batting, pillow fluff, and LED lights.  
Creative much??   Hit me up if you wanna learn how to make a cloud.....made me so excited to get to heaven one day...#missionarynerd

 And the (service) party don't stop till 5am the case of sister missionaries .....till 9pm at night.    For think I'm joking...
We showed up at an investigator's house on Saturday to do a number on her yard and that turned into a number of hours on us. Lezzzzz see.....6 to be exact. Holy guacamole. And we LOVED it.

Two of those hours were spent trying to pull, tug, lasso, yank, and swing on a huge tree branch that was broken and hanging from one of the oaks in their backyard. They were afraid it could eventually fall and hurt someone, so, of course....missionaries to the rescue

Took us an e.t.e.r.n.i.t.y. to finally get it down, after multiple failed attempts (the bugger was jammed between branches and trunks), until finally the neighbor came out, climbed on top of the nearby woodshed and then climbed a 40 foot ladder (on top of the woodshed).....with a chain lean out around the trunk for a one-handed buzz-cut to the branch.

Guys and their thinking....... least it worked....surprisingly;) and the elders then had a party using chain saws to hack it apart for fire wood. Turns out, the neighboor who came out after seeing our epic fails, is a non-member who's married to a less-active. He's apparently very anti-mormon and especially towards their service.....BUT, after spending that time serving along side us, he stayed for dinner, gave us his card and phone number, and t.o.t.a.l.l.y. warmed right up to us.     #score

It's amazing what service and the spirit can do to soften people's hearts!

Moments of the week:

We set off the fire alarm trying to make chips out of tortillas,

were asked to attend PEC....#girlstatus,
heard Jesus Christ be compared with Kevin Costner, and the Jdubs compared with the Start Trek Borg,

taught my first skype lesson in sign language!!!

helped organize soccer tournament ref schedules for member service,

had an a.m.a.z.i.n.g. convo with a fellow library computer-user who now wants a Book of Mormon and a visit so "we can sit down and chat,"

and woofed
a bag of freeze-dried strawberries only to find there was only 130 calories in the whole bag....#traderjoesisnowmyfriend   #winnerstatus

the BEST moment of the week though......was JAMES' BAPTISM!!!!!!!!!!! Here it goes again:


SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO    HAPPPPPPPPPPPPPPY!!!!!! Every time, it floors me, seeing how God fills His missionary with SO much love for these people we get to meet and teach!!! It's absolutely incredible!!!

I think we get more of a high out of their baptisms than they do:)

James had quite the fan club show up too....I've never seen so many people crammed into a baptismal room before! It was a.m.a.z.i.n.g.!!!!! The spirit was SO strong and I was GIDDY with happiness!!!! This gospel truly does bring happiness, joy, and peace beyond anything else!!!

That's the message we as missionaries get to share with people. That's the blessing we get to extend to them. And that's their potential if they accept! 

Missions are incredible. You come to understand the gospel in such a profound way, and not only that, but you get to see it actively at work in the hearts and lives of others. You get the priviledge of being that person to bring them a message that will change their lives forever!
Seeing James turn his life around and in doing so, come to find SO much lasting happiness and purpose....Ah! It's priceless!!! PRICELESS!!!! It's an experience I wouldn't trade for the world:)

Onward and upward!

Sister Anna Parker

AH!! baptisms!!!!

towel #6:)

graduated to weed wacker status

zone em<3

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Don't Wait

Mothers Day......we're in a love-hate relationship right now.

And there's nothing more weird feeling than dialing your home number on your mission. It always feels SO. WRONG. hahaha

It was a b.e.a.u.t.i.f.u.l. sykp sesh, though! I've got the best fam a missionary could ask for.....(it's just like I said on many letters must have been accidentally misdirected....I'm sure that's why I haven't gotten more mail:) Love ya fam bam! 
This week was PACKED with service!!! AHH!!! One day this week we showed up to an elderly member's house with a district load of missionaries to do yard work.We girls got assigned to use rakes and trowels while the elders got to use chain saws, john deere's, hatchets, and leaf-blowers.....boy toys.  Needless to say, I was jealous........


We had fun anyways......mainly due to the fact that we discovered each others' break dancing skills when finding spiders crawling up our arms or bees stuck to our shirts.....    #DDR    #gotnothingonus

From the other service projects we did this week, I'm now an expert streamer hanger, staple gunner, cake decorator, weed digger, balloon blower, hamburger maker, and book organizer. My f.a.v.o.r.i.t.e. service of the week though.....was when we went over to a member's house to be "put to work" on some party prep. After decorating the cake (and topping it with mustaches....#hipster), our member when to the table and brought me back a huge bag of


I like where this is going. She then hands it to me with a stack of bowls and says, "How good are you at sorting??"    Leeeeezzzzzz just say......we put the 49 in 49 Flavors:)   We sorted all of the candies for a party game called....GUESS THE FLAVOR. 
Not sure if I want to kill or crown the person who invented that game......

One thing for sure, I now know I could never work in the assembly line at Jelly Belly......"'re not sure which flavor it is? Oops, well.....guess we'll have to try it shucks."       #fired4sure

That service was d.e.f.i.n.i.t.e.l.y. one of the funnest service projects I've done in a loooooong while! hahaha

We also had exchanges this week. That's another love-hate relationship I'm in right now....looks like I have two DTR's coming up. #joy
Luckily, I stayed in my area (so I didn't get thrown off my groove), but it's still an adventure every time. I managed to leave the phone in the car overnight, showed up 40 min late to an hour long service project, and cried my way through comp study (the lines between girl emotions and the spirit can get r.e.a.l.l.y. blurred on a mission btw...just sayin;).

Catch me later, when I'm not feeling so in the lime light.......then it's goin down.

I always do learn a a lot from exchanges, though, and our Sister Trainer Leaders are those girls! 

Aaaaaaand.....of course......we met with JAMES this week!!! And not just once.....3 times! Woot woot! So we showed up to the member's house where we were all meeting and turns out, James brought his Dad and brother along too! When we asked Prem (James' brother) why he decided to come to the lesson, he said,

"I was told we were making a stop-off  before going to the gym."

okkkkkkkkkkkkkk..........good strategy, James.....we'll take that. hahaha! James is amazing and he's already spreading the gospel "one miracle at a time!" (he tells us!!). We spent over an hour on Sunday talking about better ways to tract and "pitch our product" to people we meet (he's a top salesman for he knows his stuff;). He texted us this week, 

"Remember when you're out there, sisters: In sales we like to describe a feature and then give the benefit as it relates to the customer. Instead describe a covenant and a blessing that will be received. It translates directly! Continue to be inspired by heaven! Remember, you're selling the best product on earth!" 

Pretty sure that's general conference material right there. Basically, we're the privileged ones to teach and see the coolest. convert. ever. be baptized!!! 


Between all the service projects, running around, and sharing the word........we're staying sane (miraculously;) and enjoying the rain (yep...spring is FINALLY here!!!)
I read this week in Jesus the Christ (best. book. ever.) about Christ' miracle of calming the raging Galilean sea. I read through the account again, but this time, it hit me......the fact that the disciples waited until the absolute final moment--when their destruction seemed eminent--to awaken the Savior and beg His help.

Why did they wait so long? Why did they rely on themselves so incredulously to the point where it almost killed them, to reach out for the power of the Master?
And then, the Savior's first words to them: "Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?"

I used to believe that relying solely on the power of Christ wasn't a display of strong faith. However, I saw my fault in this account. 

Why do I wait so long? Why do I rely on myself so incredulously to the point where I almost destroy myself? Why don't I reach out sooner--at the very verge of my life storms--to seek His help and power to save?

Don't wait. Don't wait to find saving, to find rescue, and to find peace that only Jesus Christ, the Savior, can bring.

O then despise not, and wonder not, but hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need. Doubt not, but be believing.....and come unto the Lord with all your heart" (Mormon 9:27).

The church is true, and the book is blue!
Onward and upward,

Sister Anna Parker

Don't I have the cutest Mom e.v.e.r.?? :)

yep....sis Bishop and I have matching zebra print sheets......meant to be;)