Friday, October 31, 2014

Died and Gone to Heaven




Out of all the haters I've met on my mission, BORN AGAIN's are the worst. Don't ask me why. They've cursed me off their lawns, told me I'm going to h--, and one once yelled at me, "May God send you what you deserve!"



That's when I just played dumb and said, "Aw thanks!! That's so nice of you! God bless you too!" before they slammed the door in my face. Aaaaaaaaannnddd.....that's when Luke 5:9 comes to mind.....



"'Walk it off....just walk it off!' 'Ok....'" (if you can name that movie...I'll be SO impressed:)




This week, though, I actually met the nicest born-again Christian ever.


We had exchanges this week and I left Libertyville to work in Lake Zurich for the day with one of the sister training leaders. As we were driving around in the pouring rain, I noticed a small hole-in-the-wall shoe repair shop. I remembered that I needed my winter boots repaired and thought about maybe bringing my boots there the following P-day. It soon left my mind, though, as we got on with our day, and I left the area that night.  

However, last P-day, we were driving around and I was hoping to go to a strip mall near us to just buy new boots. We called two ward members to lived nearby, put the address in our GPS, and drove for almost an hour and a half, around and around Mundelein trying to find the store, but with 0 success.

**you've got to be kidding me**


 I was getting frustrated, wondering why we couldn't find such an obvious shopping center, when I realized we'd ended up in Lake Zurich, far out of our area. Still frustrated, I kept giving Sis Carroll driving directions to get us back to our area, until we reached an intersection and I noticed the little shoe repair shop again. I immediately felt drawn to it and asked Sis Carroll to pull off. 

Still unsure if this was a good idea, I took my boots out and we entered the shop. As soon as we walked in, "Nearer My God To Thee" came floating through the air and we looked around to notice big hand-written signs all around the shop with "Jesus loves you, love others!," "Believe in Jesus who can SAVE!," "God is with us, have no fear!" and many other phrases written in bright red paint. 



>> died and gone to heaven<<



We just stood there kinda dumbfounded, til a short Greek man with a thick accent came out of the back with a gold cross around his neck. I showed him by boots and he gave me a steal of a deal to fix them. Dope. 

Just as he was about to return to his work, I felt prompted to ask him about the signs and about his "conversion." He stood there with us for over a half hour, and told us his ENTIRE conversion story; about how he'd been a gang member in Chicago and had committed "the most vile sins" but how a man had come into his shop one day and asked him about baptism. Over time the man returned again and again, giving him a Bible, and eventually converting him to Christianity. 

I was amazed at his faith and began telling him about the Book of Mormon. He hasn't read it (and because of his "born-again" beliefs, isn't quite enthusiastic about reading it....) BUT......when we returned again the following week, he took it from us and said he'd save it for a rainy day.


good nuff



I walked away from the shop, realizing that God had had a hand in directing me to this man all along. While I'd been frustrated about not being able to find an obvious shopping mall (which...turns out...we'd been right around the corner from about a half hour earlier:), He had a bigger plan in mind.  God always has a reason for everything:) Definitely went to be that night on some apologetic prayers for getting frustrated;) hahaha




2nd P-day miracle (i swear...good things happen on p-day;): we went grocery shopping missionary style......a.k.a. scrimp on produce, buy everything else on clearance, and only get the bare necessities, because you're not sure if you'll have enough on your debit card to last for the rest of the month.


True story.........at least for sisters.

Elders on the other hand.....ehhhh.....I've legit heard the following from them,



"I ran out of money (all $140) by the fourth of the month"


"Do you know if there's a way to get food stamps on your mission?"

"Man.....Costco....that place does things to your wallet"

"Is it bad to ask for left-overs from members?"

"I don't know if spending $100 bucks at Walmart was a good idea"

"Gosh, no one ever told me that milk was THAT expensive!"


Elders. 


Missions are good things....in a number of ways. #budgeting101 #realworldproblems



ANYWAYS.......so we got to the checkout after shopping, and just as I'm about to swipe my card to pay, the woman who was in line before us, returned to the register, and said, "allow me" as she swiped her card. I stood there kinda taken back, as she said, "I'm from the other ward, and I LOVE MISSIONARIES." She then paid for my companions groceries as well, before hugging us and then walking away with, "God Bless!"


Gosh, it's days like that that you can't help but know that God's there watching out for you! #tendermercy That woman will never know what an impact she had on me, but I definitely left the store that day, feeling determined to go out and change someone else' day! Ah! 
The Lord is good:)


Oh and while we're on the topic of food.....we went to zone activity this week (basketball (!!!!!!) and pumpkin carving) and showed up in time to find all the elders in the RS room, attempting the 100 CHICKEN NUGGET CHALLENGE.


Ok.......there's dumb....DUMBER....and then the 100 chicken nugget challenge.


Basically, three of them were seated around a table, each trying to scarf 100 chicken nuggets in once sitting. The rest were sitting around egging them on, and Sis C and I just stood there appalled.


"You're kidding me, right??"


Yea NO. AND.....did I mention that this all went down BEFORE basketball even started? hahaha! Elders.....elders.....elders. They only got to the 80's before puking in the bathroom. Yea, sometimes, I really don't understand guys. lol




Later this week, our ward had a Halloween party that was the bomb. We had multiple 
wardies come up to us, telling us they'd brought friends, and then took us over to meet them! It was amazing!! I also ran into two young women who'd both stolen my identity:) hahaha! #lovethem #immahalloweencostumenow #claim2fame







We then got roped into sitting in the back of a ward member, Bro A's car, and hiding under a blanket for Trunk r' Treating. We'd sit there, Bro A would put candy on our laps, and then tell the kids to grab the candy. Since it was dark, they couldn't tell that there were people under the blanket so we'd try to grab the kids' hands as they reached for the goodies!! Oh. My. Lanta. SO much fun!! hahaha! The kids had a blast too, and at one point when the blanket accidentally fell down, one of the girls burst out laughing when she saw it was the sister missionaries with, "Sister Parker!! I TRUSTED you!!!" bahahaha! It was for sure a "bonding" experience with all the kids in the ward.....lol





And last, but not least, we hit record number of teaching appointments in this area this week!!!!!!!! AHHHHH!!!!!! We are s.t.o.k.e.d. We set some pretty high goals and then did everything we could to reach them, and it worked!! The Lord has really been blessing us and we're seeing our efforts rewarded! #standardofexcellence #onthatlevel




And as for a spiritual take-away from the week, I've come to realize more and more that love truly is the essence of the gospel. A friend, whose since finished his mission, told me that the greatest love of this work comes through loving others to the greatest. He couldn't have been more right. He also told me how important it is to lose yourself in that love. Forget about what others think, and throw your whole self--your real self--into loving other people in the way that only you can love.



It's so true. Sometimes, ya just have to love like there's no tomorrow<3



Keep calm, love on!




Onward and upward,



Sister Anna Parker





YES. #nailedit #NaaaaaachoLiiiiiiibre
 (this was definitely another halloween party fav;) lol!!)



it aint a halloween party ..... till candy apples are made





more birthday presents from the wardies one month later.....yes i have the coolest ward ever



always have time for selfies