Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sober Style

I don't know what I'm going to do after the mission, when I'm not required to write my life's story for the week..... Yea, I'm probably going to end up as THAT  RM..............#awkward

Oh well.

I'm starting to think that no week on the mission is ever NOT crazy.


Let's get this party on then:

Our weekly English lesson consisted of a Russian, a Ukranian, a Asian, and an Indian (like the from-India kind....not the Native American kind:). But instead of our lesson ending all cordial-like it ended with the Russian and the Indian in an argument over some detail of a story just told. They're going off, back and forth, back and forth, only understanding half of what they're saying and a third of what the other's saying in broken English, and Sis Bishop and I have NO idea how to bring it in.

So we just sat there, trying to figure out ourselves what on earth was going on, while the Ukranian and the Asian's heads just kept turning back and forth between the two antagonists.

Now, Boys! Boys!

They finally resolved their differences, while the rest of us resolved to never get in an argument with a Russian or an Indian.......especially if they can't speak English all that well:) lol

After my fainting episode on the 4th, I've been considering options, and finally agreed to go see a neurologist (yeeeeaaa…..yikes).  I get an appointment, and show up for the" consultation” .......which.....turns out.......is more like the drunk driver test on steroids.

"Touch your nose, then touch my finger, now do it ten times....."
"Walk in a straight line, one foot after the other..."
"Follow my finger with your eyes....."
"Close your eyes and extend your arms....."

Basically.....if I ever get pulled over for drunk driving....I'll know the drill.

And then the neurologist asks, "Do you ever feel like you're drunk when you're not actually drunk?"
How am I supposed to answer THAT question?? She just stared at me like I was a Martian when I told her I didn’t drink……

 #noshame       #sober4lyf

Basically the result of that appointment was more tests……THAT drill I know all too well. Until then, I’m under orders to have someone call 911 if I pass out for more than 10 seconds or have another seizure. 


I’m REALLY hoping I don’t end up on the EMT’s Frequent Flyer list…….. either way they don’t serve enough peanuts. lol:)

A new set of STL’s have been called and….lucky us…it’s the two sisters in our district! Close to home…that’s how I like it;)

So we got picked as guinea pigs for their first exchange. I left my area to go with Sis Ankowiak (from Poland). We end up at a member’s home to do service and come to find….he used to live in NEW HAMPSHIRE.

Get out.

I swear this world is always getting smaller. We got to chat for a bit about the old stomping ground, and then got to work harvesting his swiss chard. And LOTS of it. We filled three large baskets full of the “green stuff,” hauled it inside, washed, dried, and cut all of it………like 6 GALLONS of swiss chard.
Took us three hours to get it all done, and by the end we had prune hands and blistered fingers…but hey….we got skills too;)

(tangent………we also went over to the ward mission leader’s house to make flour bombs for “service” too……….that’s what’s up!)

On Tuesday, we decided to stop by a less-active's home (one that we'd been trying to visit and get in contact with for months). His son came to the door and after a few minutes of conversation, he said, "I'm a member of your church, y'know."

We were taken aback, and asked him how long he'd been a member, where he'd been baptized, and such. He told us he was baptized 12 years ago by a set of elders in the area, but that after they got transferred, they never set foot in the church again, and the missionaries stopped coming by.

He said, "When we were taking the lesson, it was a family thing, and we were all in it together. Now, we've all gone our separate ways, and that's why we haven't been active." We quickly invited him to meet with missionaries again, and to come back to church. He texted us that night, and said “I’ve been thinking about what you said. Can we meet and start reading the Book of Mormon again?”

Talk about YEA.

We were SO pumped!!! We eventually scheduled a time to meet with him at the church to talk and read together, and when we showed up, he’s sitting in his car, with his best friend with him to listen to us as well!


Best. Less-active. EVER.

We got to show them both around the building, and Carlos (the LA) just kept saying, "Wow...it's been too long!" as he again walked those halls he hadn't walked for 12 years! It was a truly precious experience for me to see the way the gospel light came back into his eyes!

He and his friend are now meeting with us frequently, and they're coming back to church! Carlos also told us, "I want to get my family back here too!" This work is amazing and we’re seeing miracles!!!!!

On Friday we showed up to our dinner appointment, and ended up sitting outside with the family, while waiting for the meat on the grill to finish. Turns out, their neighbor was sitting on his porch as well soooooooo…….stay sitting on the neighbor’s porch?? Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Over we go.

What started off as a casual hello turned into an hour long conversation with him and he eventually came to dinner with us and the family! Woo hoo!!!

While sitting there chatting, though, Owen (the neighbor), told us about his life, how he’d met elders before but didn’t like them because “they were WAY too pushy”……. (we can fix that:) but that he’d attended church before. He seemed a bit hesitant to warm up to us, and began avoiding “churchy” stuff.

Our conversation then went somehow from that to GUNS.   


Aaaaaannnnnd….then we couldn’t be stopped. NRA…..Reugers…..Sigs…..M1911’s…...trap and skeet…..indoor vs outdoor range…..M16s……Remingtons……and concealed carry permits.

The whole shebang.

He went on and on, and the two of us had a blast chatting about a topic that mattered to both of us. And honestly, it was crazy to see his willingness to come over for dinner and a spiritual message, and a “slight” commitment to come to church, AFTER we’d made that connection over GUNS.

Go figure.

I honestly believe that everyone needs to know you care, before they can care about what you know. (Yea…totally not my quote….and totally over-used…but hey, it is what it is;). Making connections with people is one of my favorite things to do. And I saw it work wonders with Owen. When he finally saw us as more than just “textbook missionaries” and that we had an interest in his interests….he came around.

Really, you never know what it is you bring to the table. I believe you can find similarities and connections with just about any person. Sometimes, it’s easy to feel as a missionary that there’s no way you can relate and love certain people. But, there’s always more to people than meets the eyes.

Get to know people. Learn about their interests. Find out what matters to them. Listen and love. You never know what connections you’ll find and friendships you’ll forge until you try:)

This gospel is amazing! Missionary work is incredible! And the gospel is true!!!!

Onward and upward,

Sister Anna Parker

 oh, and btw....we and the STL's were given two new Oreck vacuums from guess who:) ......#livininstyle:)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


On Monday night, we're eating at a members house and when we'd finished, we asked if there was anything we could do to serve them, especially since they are leaving for vacation soon. "Anything you need done while you're gone?" I asked. Their 10 year old son gasps, and says, "DAD!! They could take our fish for the week!!!"

Ummmmmm.........ehhhhhh........pg. 46, White Handbook........pg 46, White Handbook.....

We kinda awkwardly committed to asking for permission to see if we could have a pet fish for a week........weirdest service project I've ever accepted, but hey......

2 days later.......

"Hey Elders (Zone Leaders), we have a REALLY stupid question to ask you............can we HAVE A FISH??”

After awkwardly explaining our predicament, they basically referred us to the AP’s. Ok….so that’s not exactly what I wanted to hear………who wants to call the AP’s about keeping a fish??

4 days later……

“Hey Elder J--- (AP)…….dumb question……can we have a fish??”
More awko taco convo. Luckily, between laughs he says, “Hold up, I have to tell my companion this….” and then we hear him and his companion (the other AP) laughing on the other end.

Oh the things we do for members:)

A few minutes later, he comes back on the phone, “Sooooo…..’cause of white handbook rules, we can’t exactly give permission for that. You should call PRESIDENT on that one.”

Oh. Please. NO.

But what are ya gonna do?? Soooooo…..we pick up the phone…..AGAIN……and dial President.

“Hey President, so…….we have a really odd question to ask you…….”

And off we go again, explaining our fish problems. President just laughed and said, “Alright sisters, here’s what we’ll do. You can keep the fish for the week…..but if it dies…..just remember (and let the members know) I warned you it might die;)!”


We just laughed, and agreed. Talk about the weirdest conversation you’ll EVER have with your mission President. lol! 10 minutes later the AP’s called us, “What’d president say??”  We told them and they just laughed……and then told us, “Yea, well just remember….if the fish goes belly up….your member trust goes sinking down.”

Thanks, Elders.

Hahaha! Soooo…we should have our little fin in a week or two. #privlidged #testoftime #justkeepswimming

And because we didn’t get enough fishy business in for the week, we signed up to help at a community event…..a FISHING DERBY. Alriiiiiiiiiiiiight.  We showed up at 7 am in the morning, to start hauling tables, taping up signs, organizing materials, (oh, and getting free volunteer t-shirts…..LOVE those;). It was hosted by the local police department and hosted at……wait for it……the near-by catholic seminary that serves over 2500 students wanting to become catholic ministers, nuns, priests, etc.

Felt a bit outta place, but hey……represent your hood:)

So we kept our tags on (obviously), and between the peals of the chapel’s bells, struck up gospel conversation with the event’s participants, EMT’s, police officers, volunteers, and staff. Can’t count how many times people saw our tags and said, “Oh…..so you’re in training to become a NUN! That’s wonderful!”

Welllllllllllll….not exactly. 

The venue was absolutely breath-taking, though….right on the edge of a beautiful lake, with long piers stretching out into the lake, and garden over-looks above the shore. Aaaaaaand……watching families, couples, and friends out fishing together…..ah! I loved it…..(and have never wanted to fish more in my life!) haha!

By the end of our time there, we’d found two people to meet with and then got asked to help out at the next MPD service night in August.  


We also went by this week to say goodbye to YUNG!!! I know!! It just about broke my heart!!! Because of her age and health, her family has decided to bring her back to Taiwan to die there, with family around her. When we came by, she had family friends over who were also saying their goodbyes. The daughter, pulled us aside and asked, “So do you know her life story??”

We confessed that we didn’t and she started into Yung’s past. Get this….she was a SPY FOR CHINA! Little 4’ 2” Grandma Yung was a legit S.P.Y. We just stood their floored while this woman tells us that Yung and her family were thrown in jail like 60-odd years ago back in China during their civil war, but when one of the jail guards saw Yung in prison, he stated that she was “too pretty to be in jail” and they released her, on the basis that she’d work as a spy for their army. Her role was to find out who in China were spies from other countries.


And you think you know people………………..

Crazy. SO crazy. We just stood their dumb-founded, and shooting looks back and forth at Yung and each other. Well…..it’s true then…..you learn something new every day!

We got to sit down with Yung for a few minutes, and told her we’d miss her and loved her, and she quietly responded, “I’ll see you again……I’ll see you again…..” pointing her small finger towards us and squinting her eyes together in a sweet smile. 

Annnnnnd…….that’s when I lost itI legit cried saying goodbye to her. But what she said was true….I will see her again! Whether in this life or the next, we will be together again! I’ve never been so grateful for the knowledge! And Yung has good things in store for her when she reaches the other side…..I’m convinced!!! It was hard, but good knowing that Yung will be back in her own country with family for the last months of her life!

On Saturday, we went over to an investigator’s house to do service for 5 hours! We shampooed carpets, vacuumed, cleaned, and re-arranged rooms, and it was FANTASTIC. I absolutely LOVE doing service for investigators. It’s such a perfect opportunity to live your religion and show others that we truly care! Afterwards, we got to share a message with them, and they opened up to us about their difficulties. I’m a believer…….service is the way to anyone’s heart!  

I found myself on the opposite end of that equation this week, when we showed up to Missionary Correlation Meeting. (oh…and btw….James just got his first calling…..he’s the newest WARD MISSIONARY!!!! Ah!! SO stoked! He’s the perfect addition to the team;) Anyways…….so we’re walking up to our ward mission leader’s house, and James tells me he has something for me.

He goes to the car, and comes back with a bag, smiling, saying, “I was in the mall, and when I saw this, I thought of you…..and it’s just your size.”

Ok….now I’m D.Y.I.N.G. cause I’m pretty sure I know what it is……

YEP. He legit went out and got me a RUGBY BALL ‘cause he knew I’d been trying to find one for f.o.r.e.v.e.r. now!!! OMG!!! Coolest. Convert. EVER.!! Hahaha! Sometimes, stuff like that means the WORLD to you as a missionary….and it totally came on one of those days when I needed it!!!

We’ve decided to keep James around….at least a little longer:) lol

Ok…so to wrap up…..last night, we went over to one of our recent-convert’s houses, to visit with two of his friends that were over to watch the world cup (don’t ask……..#teamgermany:). We got to talking and our conversation started getting quite intense fast.

They opened up to us about difficulties they were facing, and how they didn’t believe that God would allow bad things like that to happen, and how not everything good in this life could be accredited to God. Hearing them contend with us like that, broke. my. heart. It’s tough. As a missionary, we often get the reaction, “you’re only 19 or 20…how could you possibly know what I’m going through” or “you’ve been taught this your whole life….it’s just a brain-washed ideal for you” or “you’re so young…what could you’ve possibly been through in your life that could even compare with the trials I’m facing right now.”

Honestly….it’s true.

I don’t know how to solve all your problems. I don’t know where I’d be if I hadn’t been raised Mormon. I don’t know don’t know how to relate to you in every way.

But this I DO KNOW….that God is real. He loves each of His children individually. He cares about us. And that is why we have a Savior. He knows our pain. He knows our weakness. He knows what we’re going through. And His arm is ALWAYS extended to us if we will but take it, and be led by Him.

I don’t know everything, but like Elder Anderson said, “I know enough!” Yea, we walked out of that lesson feeling belittled and mocked, tried and shot, but I felt my testimony burning even stronger in me! These confrontational conversations coming from people, have seemed to be hitting us right and left over the past two weeks….but honestly, it hasn’t changed my opinion of this church, of God, or of this work, one bit.

If nothing else, it’s reminded me how precious the knowledge of the restoration of God’s truth is to me.Everyone needs it. And it is readily available to ALL!! I told one of the investigators last night, “All we want to do is place this truth in your hands, and let you decided what to do with it! Try it….give it a chance! It brings peace and happiness, and answers to your questions.” 

And just as I promised him then, I believe it still now:  IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE!!!!!

Onward and upward!!

Sister Anna Parker

Saying goodbye to my Chinese grandma:(

#ballersgottaball       #meetmyconvert:)