Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Love me a BIRTHDAY


It's been a week. The big 2-1 crept up on me.......and apparently now I have to officially act like an adult. crap. No promises there. I was reminded by multiple wardies, though, that I can now be legally arrested and imprisoned.........


FYI, birthdays on the mish are TOTALLY bizarre. Especially if you're turning 21. Every other normal 21 year-old in the world on their birthday, is out drinking, hanging with friends, partying hard, and playing it loose.......

And then there's me……

dang straight and stone sober
waiting for birthday packages in the mail
awake at 6 am
taping up hand-drawn paper balloons to the wall
and wondering what to make myself for breakfast in bed

…..living the dream……

In all honesty, though, my birthday celebration lasted a whole week thanks to my champ wardies. On wednesday night, we had our weekly missionary correlation meeting, and after we'd finished, I was asked to go to the garage with one of the ward missionary's wife to see about a future service project. Then randomly, we wrap up the toolbox tour and I'm taken back inside to find a


Yea. talk about speechless. I haven't had a surprise birthday party since i was 16 and thought I was going over to babysit the neighbor kids.

I felt SO loved and remembered.......two things that are sometimes hard to come by on the mish! They even brought me gifts and the cake was to. die. for. By the end of the evening, I suggested we get a photo, so I set my ipad to video (since there's no timer option.....Apple, take a hint) and after a few awkward poses and "1-2-3-cheese", someone (who will go unnamed) had the brilliant idea of

…..smashing my face in the cake…..

Yes, it's on film.......No, you can't watch it now. I'm saving it for the awkward RM slideshow:) March 2015.....be there.....it's goin down.

Lez just say it's pretty epic tho. lol pretty sure they picked THE most greasy thick frosting to smother me with, btw. It took like 3 lather-rinse-repeats of Pantene and a whole lotta Bare Minerals face wash to get that stuff off.


Hahaha! still love the wardies<3

On my actually birthday, three days later, I woke up SICK....yes.....AGAIN. And on the b-day of all days. So basically my birthday morning went something like this:

Wake up after a miserable night of heat packs on my head and Nyquil that DIDN’T work

Clamber out of bed…...barely able to breath and sounding like a heaving rhino

Find my birthday package in the living room

Manage not to kill myself slicing the packaging with a pair of scissors….

dig dig dig: …chocolate…..shirts…..flashdrive….goodies…..letters……


Never been more happy to see Klenex in. my. life.

 I got one inspired momma;)

We then rushed out the door to go to a service project called Be the Match (helping people register to be bone marrow donors). We got there, set up camp (all the while I'm downing airborne and ricola drops like nobody's business), and then work the table till noon when the fire and police department showed up to barbecue lunch for the donors.

Needless to say, the elders were the first to drop shift and get food. They came back with pulled pork, ribs, and brisket (yea like wow), sat down, started eating, and then the elder next to me pauses and says, "Sis Parker...try this sauce [pointing to the bbq sauce]."

I leaned over, sampled the stuff and just about d.i.e.d......hecka NASTY.

He smiled a bit then asked, "know what that taste is??"

uuuuuuummmmm......don't tell me it’s......dude are you serious?? Yep.


....straight up whisky...

I didn't believe him at first, but after trying it again, i was ready to puke. Gosh, there's times I'm SO glad I'm mormon. Who on earth would voluntarily choose to drink that stuff?? ugh. come to find, the cops had put the sauce on AFTER cooking the meat, so none of the alcohol had been cooked off. Basically......it was more than just "flavored" with the stuff.

and THAT'S the closest i got to drinking on my 21st.


For the rest of the day, we helped donors fill out forms (which required reviewing medical histories.....yea.....it's all fine till the elders get assigned to work with a woman on birth control......and they don't know what to do or say.....yea awko taco) AND we also got an earful from one of the organization directors that she thought it should be required by law for "all juvies and inmates to become bone marrow donors"..................uuuuuuuhhhhhkkkkkkkkkk.

THAT would put a spin on Orange is the New Black..........


Ok so anyways....we eventually finished off the birthday with dinner at Portillo's with one of my fav member families......AND.....half the women in the ward were there for pre-women's conference dinner so it turned into party #2 for the week. AND because I was sick...the same member went out and bought me a birthday package of cough drops, chicken noodle soup, and herbal tea.

#bigelowblessing   #cantbebeat   #bestwardieaward

Yea....I was like a 2 year old with Christmas candy....but instead.... a 21 year old with Hals.......no shame.

The women's conference that night, though, was an absolutely perfect finale to the birthday!! Ah! I can't get over Pres Uchtdorf. Every time......he nails it.

Future hubby......I expect you to be all that when you're 75.

Just before heading off to women's conference, though, we were invited by a ward member to drop by the home of one of her friends who she'd met at the grocery store (member missionary much??:). We went in to find a frail 67 year old French woman who's eyes were red and filled with tears. Turns out, her son--who she's given all her money, time, and attention to--has decided to cut off all communication with her (for whatever reason).

She was absolute HEARTBROKEN and told us she didn't know if life was even worth living now.
The member turned to us and asked us to share a message. THAT’S when all your preparation, study, learning, understanding, practice, testimony and reliance on the spirit HAS to come into play.

And it did!

I opened the scriptures and read to her Alma 26:37 and then boldly testified to her that God was aware of her, that He would never leave her side during her difficulties, and that He was ready and anxious to hear her prayers. The spirit was strong and tears streamed down Fransoise's face.

When we eventually turned to go, I took the opporunity to wrap my arms around her small frame and told her, "We love you, Fransoise!! And God loves you too!" She struggled for words, but wiping her eyes, eventually whispered back, 

"Thank you! Thank you for loving me!"

Fransoise wasn't able to attend the women's conference with us, but sitting there hearing President Uchtdorf's address, I was reminded again just how much God loves each and every one of his daughters! His message was a powerful reminder to me that I'm not alone. That I'm not perfect, but that God still loves me. I have purpose, value, and potential.

And that while I may not understand everything, I can understand that He loves and cherishes me no.matter.what.

Sometimes, as a missionary you find yourself being taught by yourself as you're teaching you’re investigators. I felt that as we listened, love, and testified to Fransoise of God's love for her. I was filled with love for her--almost a complete stranger--and in that gift of that love, I re-discovered the Lord's love for ME.

His love is real. It's unconditional. And it's empowering!

Go out and love someone.  In doing so....you'll find how much God loves YOU.

Onward and upward,

Sister Anna Parker

more from our comp photo shoot.....


and after........

saying goodbye to our district leader, elder pavlovsky, who just got his visa! You'll be missed brother!!

best we could do at a district selfie;)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


We checked the mail one night this week and found a community events calendar waiting for us in our mailbox. Service goldmine. We flipped through the pages, and started jotting down up-coming events that sounded like good opportunities to volunteer at as missionaries. Emphasis on SOUNDED LIKE.

First up on our list....Octoberfest. I'm thinking...apple bobbing, pumpkin carving, hay bales and corn stalks, face painting, lots of little kids running around....ya'know....one of those kind of events that read backwards spells FAMILY.  So we pick up the phone and called the event coordinator:

"Hi, my name is Sister Parker, and my friend and I are service missionaries in the area, and saw that the Octoberfest is coming up and wondered if you could use some more volunteers?"

"Oh that's awesome! Y'know, I think we've filled all our volunteer slots, but if something comes up we'll let you know......and when you say 'service missionaries' are you guys with a specific church or something?"
"Yea, we're from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints"

"Oh....Mormons, right?"


"Well...you know this is a beer festival, right??"

that's awkward.

yea. so after a couple cricket chirps, all I could come up with was, "oh.  weeeeeelllllll......."

yea, that convo didn't last long. Pretty sure she scratched our names off the volunteer list right after we hung up.  Their loss....we planned on bringing free apple cider and word of wisdom pamphlets.......
just sayin.

On a better note, we got a text from Ally Thursday night that read, "I'm going to seminary tomorrow!!!!" We were SO excited and told her we'd come with her her first day. (
Gotta love waking up at 5am as a missionary:) It was worth it, though and Ally enjoyed it!

Towards the end of class, I ended up in a role play with some of the students and their job was to teach me about the Holy Ghost. I took the role of investigator (go figure;) and kicking it off, it was like deja vu to the MTC. 'Cept that at the MTC we didn't compare revelation to Jack Sparrow's compass.....or a computer screen in your brain. I'm starting to see the purpose for the MTC before we send 18 year old kids out to share the gospel;)


On Tuesday we got wind that it was one of our investigator's birthdays so we devised this BRILLIANT plan to surprise her with flowers and chocolate at work. We picked out a bouquet, wrote her a cute card, and invested in some no-fail dove truffles and then hit the hospital (she works in the dietician office). We show up feeling all sister-missionary-on-a-duty happy only to find that she'd left work early that day and wasn't even there.


Guess we should’ve called first. Geez.

And trust me, we felt WAY awkward walking OUT of the hospital holding a bouquet of flowers and chocolate. that's messed up. Luckily, we caught our investigator at home later that night and got to deliver our gifts, but it was right before the Mexican-style every-family-member-from-ALL-over birthday party was about to start so it ended up being more of a drop and run.

 A for effort

 I also got asked to accompany a trio for invitation Sunday this week:  a 5 page piece by Sally de Ford with a whole freakingSEVEN key changesThanks for nothing, Sally. I swear, it's like trying to read the Rosetta Stone. If i EVER become a composer, every piece I write is gonna be in the key of C......


We're performing this coming Sunday so send up some i.n.t.e.n.s.e. prayers that I'll be able to get through it......[ "do you think it'll work?" "it'd take a miracle"….name that movie]
#nerdalert   #hatersgonnahate :)

Anyways........on a brighter note......we got a text this week from headquarters, with a referral who'd requested a Book of Mormon. We stopped by the next day (within 24 hours....woop woop! #obedientmissionaryaward) and when she came to the door and we handed her the Book of Mormon, she became all smiles and excited jitters. We were kinda speechless and stuttering cause this like NEVER happens on the mish;)

 all she could say was,  "I've been reading all about this book and can't wait to read it!! We don't really have a religion as a family, and I've been wanting to know more about this church for SO long!"


After managing to exchanges numbers and agreeing to meet soon, got back to the car and just screeeeeaaaamed with happiness! She's amazing!!! She texted us that night and told us she'd already read seven pages.......

girl, that's more than I read in a day.

Haha all I can think is that we've found another Bethany. She's so ready, and we're VERY excited to meet with her!!!! It's absolutely incredible to see all these young people becoming actively interested in the church. I believe that's another reason why the age changed was lowered and why there's such a push for the youth of the church to share the gospel.

I believe the hastening is happening right in front of our eyes, and it's strikingly noticeable in these young people who are searching (Joshua, Evan, Abass, Ally, Bethany, and now Maddie!!!)!!

Heleman's army recreated:)

 It's amazing to watch! Youth, you have more power and influence than you realize! I believe there are MANY in your circle of friends your age who are ready NOW to receive the gospel if you invite! Don't hold back! Some of these young people we're teaching are just now finding the gospel, even though they've had Mormon friends for a while. It's your time to invite! don't wait!  They need it now!

"And the lord of the vineyard (God) said unto one of his servants (the prophet): Go and gather together the residue of my servants (members and missionaries, and the lowered age change!!) and take all the strength of mine house, which are mywarriors, my young men [and young women]...And go ye straightway unto the land of my vineyard (the world), and redeem my vineyard (save and baptize many!!!)" D&C 101:55-56

Onward and upward, warriors!!

Sister Anna Parker

miss my photo shoots.....so we decided to have one of our own;)

selfies with the activity day girls....not guilty;)

what i do when investigators call just wanting to "vent".....yep i draw the m&m man on the front of Sis carroll's peanut m&m's......

giving out candy to the kids for "missionary moments"

mission-wide photo!! woop woop! where's waldo (aka sis parker)??.......

"my wall"

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Take It Away

Take aways from the week:

- My birthday is in two weeks

- Apple released the iPhone 6......without me

- It is SO wrong for temperatures to be in the 30's in September

- My companion told me I "laugh WAY too much in my sleep"

- Living across the street from the High School during football
season is t.o.r.t.u.r.e.  #sportsjunkie

- Now that I'm past my year mark, multiple ward members are setting me
up with post-mish "potentials".....like the eternal type....YIKES.

--- CHRISTMAS IS IN 100 DAYS!!!!!! i. can. not. wait.---

So we showed up at a member’s house this week to help her prep for a birthday party she was having for her son, and she asks us to take food to the tables. We take the pans of tamales, fajitas, and tortillas (yep…it was a Hispanic partay) down to the serving table, and then her non-member daughter in law hands us two lighters and tells us to light the under-pan oil burners to keep the food warm.

Shouldn’t be too hard, right??

That is….unless you’ve never smoked a cigarette in your life and therefore have had no need to use a lighter. THAT was awkward. #mormonstatus

After several epic fails, trying to spin, click, and spark with no success….we finally had to ask her to show us how to do it with, "well....we clearly don't smoke...."     Yeeeeeeaaaaaa

Moving on……

The only thing less sacred to a missionary than their testimony and the gospel is SLEEP. Staying up till 1 or 2am at college and then waking up at 6 to go to class was somehow WAY easier than going to bed as a missionary at 10:30pm and waking up at 6:30am. SOML.

First off, we got asked to teach D&C 4 in seminary this week (which meant getting up at 5am......not gonna lie....I don't miss those blurry-eyed and sub-degree weather days;). We had a blast with the
youth though! And then I realized that I was like 5 years older than them......#feelingancient #tbt

Then we had the first (and maybe only) mission-wide conference with Elder Hamula visiting from the 70!! We got up at4:30am and carpooled down to Wilmette (yea...my old area!!) and we showed up just as early morning seminary was getting out. AND guess who was there????


Ah!! I have missed him SO much and my heart was SO happy when I saw him for the first time since I left 5 months ago!! He came out of the classroom and both of our faces LIT UP!!! AH! He's growing so strong in the gospel and told me
, "I'm going to serve a mission!!!" There is nothing in the world that could've made me happier than to hear him say that! He's apparently studying Preach My Gospel and going out
teaching and serving with the elders in the ward! AH!! #immaproudmama

After he left for school, we all (like ALL the missionaries in the mission....all 200+ of us) filed into the chapel for our meeting. And THEN.....Sis Bishop walked in!!! Oh. my. gosh.! We went screeeeeeaming at
each other, laughing and just about crying, and hugged more times in 4 minutes than we did in the 4 months we were together! haha! Gosh, I miss that girl!!!! It was SO good being back together again!

If that reunion is anything like heaven's going to be.....I'm all in.

The conference went really well....we got called to repentance to have more faith, reach our goals, and improve ourselves....and lez just say, we're "recommitted!" I'm excited to see the change in myself and
the mission now!

After that 6 hour meeting, we then all carpooled down to another meeting in Hyde Park (yep.....south side……whaaaaat:) for investigators, less-actives, recent converts, and their missionaries. All of our peeps from Buffalo Grove cancelled on us, but we still got to attend the meeting. Before it started, though, we had half an hour to kill so we decided to go contacting near the chapel and pull people in off the streets. It seemed like a long shot, but we went for it. The first two or three people turned us down, but then we got a woman who unexpectedly and readily accepted our invitation!!! MIRACLE. The rest of the people we contacted brushed us off with, "no thanks ladies....we drink, we smoke, we fornicate, we cheat...."

*blink blink*

ok ok didn't need to know that......

So anyways......the meeting went really well and the testimonies of the converts who shared their stories were phenomenal!! (Gosh I just love being a member of this church:). We finished the day on a spiritual high and then drove home late, getting back to the apartment at 11pm......#legalrebels:) 
more lost sleep.....but so worth it!

We also went on exchanges this week and I got to be with Sis Michelson who came out with me....and gosh, I love that girl!!! Our day together was a B.L.A.S.T. and it was so good to be able learn from and relate to each other! The night of our exchange, we offered to cook dinner for a member of our ward, so I decided to make 
thai coconut chicken (a Parker family favorite.....SO bad for you but oh SO good:).

We had to run out and get cream of coconut which.....turns out.....is used as a margarita mixer SOOOOO.....we had to go to the wine ROOM (yea.....of all the grocery stores we could have picked to go to ..... we happened to end up at the one with one of the biggest wine rooms......#smooth) where......they even have "wine specialists" walking around helping customers select wines.


We tried using hair, purse straps, and hands to cover our tags while dodging around isles avoiding the wine specialists and frantically looking for the cream of coconut. Yea.....
all those rounds of lazer tag in high school....they payed off. We finally found it, and managed to slip around corners till we were out of the wine isles........

#ninjmormons    #missionpossible

That same day, we got a call from one of the office missionaries, telling us that we'd been "prayerfully selected" to be personally interviewed by Elder Hamula.


Suuuuure…..no problem. That's not nerve-wracking at all.


Sis Carroll and I spent the next two days sweating bullets, not sure what to expect, until we finally got into our interviews and realized just how special this opportunity was. It was incredible being there with such a powerful servant of God, just talking with him about our missions and getting to ask him questions about the gospel and missionary work! You could just feel the love and testimony he had for this gospel and it was contagious! I left feeling uplifted and committed to give my best to this work! It was definitely a priceless experience!

I got to ask him about the meaning of grace....a topic he'd touched on lightly the day before at mission conference. He and I talked for a while about how God is the creator of the Plan, Christ makes the Plan possible through the Atonement, and yet the Holy Ghost is the one who administers the power and effects of the Atonement in our lives. I sat there, in awe of the spirit we were both feeling, and know that the Lord was aware of me! It's truly incredible....the love He offers me!! 

I stand all amazed!!! 

Onward and upward,

Sister Anna Parker

Me and Anna, our soon-to-be baptized 8 year old:) 

getting our paint on.....literally;)

service with a smile :D

driving back from hyde park.....the only legal late-nighter on the mish;) lol

making "BOYFRIEND" cookies for service.....mmmmm.....add that to the dating application;)

reunion with Abass!!! <3 that kid!

#tbt.......sorry, i didn't post this picture back when.....we had a YW basketball tourney on a P-day..... #ballersgottaball