Friday, December 26, 2014

Beautiful Heartbreak

I know, I know....I've missed like 3 can fire me. AND.....on top of it, the computers won't let me upload pictures sooooooo....stay posted for pics when I get it figured out:) 

(I'm posting two posts today to make up for the past 3 go check the other one out too:) 

Ok moving on........

Over the past few weeks, the medical issues have been getting worse, so I finally agreed to go in for an MRI and an EEG. I called, scheduled an appointment, and then the nurse explained that they wanted me sleep-deprived for the EEG. No problemo. SOML. BUT.....she had to take it a step further by telling me that I could only have 4 hours of sleep the night before.

kill joy

Wednesday night was the big legal late-night.....and it consisted of watching every church-produced movie in the apartment, writing letters to missionaries, soaking in the tub, doodling, cleaning the kitchen, and painting nails. That's the STRAIGHTEST late night I'll ever have:) lol!


Needless to say, I was more than tired the next day, but after getting to the hospital, having over 20 electric wires attached to my head after what felt like half my scalp was scrubbed off, and talking to the nurse for over 30 min trying to clear up her firm belief that we practice polygamy, all the while she had "Pregnant and I Didn't Know It" on on the was a little more than hard trying to sleep on command. I managed to "rest" through it though, and ended up giving the nurse a He is the Gift card before leaving.

The MRI went where near as bad as I thought it would be, and after that was done we went back to the front desk to contact Peter. We'd met Peter that morning when I went to register, and he'd been standing there talking to one of the receptionists. When he saw our name tags, he asked us a bunch of questions about what we did, where we were located, and some of our basic beliefs. Between signing medical forms, getting fitted with a hospital wrist band, and showing ID, I managed to tell him about our purpose as missionaries. When he found that we believed in the Bible, he offered, "That's fantastic! Y'know a group of my friends and I get together every Tuesday night for Bible study, and we'd love to have you join and share some insight."

Where do I sign??

hahaha! We were surprised, but readily accepted his invitation. That very morning as I'd been getting ready to head to the hospital, as I put my name tag on, I got the impression that there was some one at the hospital that day that needed me to be there. Turns out, it didn't take us 10 minutes from walking in the door, to meet Peter!! God has a plan. And though it perhaps took a lot of stress, anxiety, worry, pain, frustration, and lack of sleep on my end......if He needed Peter to find the truth through me in that way....then this is all worth it.

When we finished the tests and went back to talk with him (he works in the hospital), he met us with, "I was hoping you'd come back!" He handed over his information to us and announced loud enough for the entire waiting room to hear, "We'd love to have the Latter-day Saints at our Bible study! You Mormons are great!"

He's going to make an AWESOME member missionary when he joins:)

We're so excited to have this opportunity and Peter just seems like one of those people who's been prepared to receive the message! God works in mysterious ways;)

The next morning, I woke up early around 4am and couldn't sleep. I was completely weak, shaky, and yet so anxious that I couldn't lie still. Around 7:15 that morning, I passed out on my way to the living room and had another muscle spasm episode that lasted longer than any previous episodes. This time, Sis Carroll called 911 and the EMT's soon showed up (come to find, one of them was the EMT we met and visited with Thanksgiving night when we delivered goodies to the firehouse..... AWKWARD ......yep, I'm as lucky as 13, I swear:). After taking my blood sugar, heart rate, and blood pressure, they told me I needed to go to the hospital. Not again......

But, sure enough, after receiving orders from my neurologist to go in, we ended up at the ER.....again. And just like times before, they didn't find anything seriously wrong. They even reviewed my tests from the day before and reported that the MRI and the EEG were both clear.

*tell me, tell me, tell me something i don't know, something I don't know*

Geez laweez.

So after being discharged, I was sent over to out-patient services to get hooked up to a 48 hr halter monitor......classy, I know. For the first 24 hours I felt like a jihadist every time I brushed against the device.....gawl.

Then, Saturday night, we finally had a lesson with Harry (our referral from our Indian library friend:). We met at the church, and began teaching him the Plan of Salvation since he doesn't have any Christian background. We brought a member of our ward who is also from India and it was incredible to feel the spirit and see the unique interactions between the two of them! By the end of the lesson, HE COMMITTED TO BAPTISM!!!!  We were blown away by his willingness to accept the challenge to follow Jesus Christ and to change his life. We were bouncing off the walls after he'd left and couldn't help but do the awkward hug-laugh-cry-jump up and down-and-scream act. It was pretty legit:)

That night also turned out to be the night of transfers. We got the news.......I'M LEAVING BG2:( My heart literally feels like it's breaking. After 9 months (half my mission!) in this area, these people have become family to me, and it is ripping my heart out to have to say goodbye. However, after we got the call, I was overcome with peace and assurance that this is what needs to happen. I'm heading down to south west Chicago to Westerchester. It's going to be a complete 180 from my rural buffalo grove experience, but I'm just striving for the faith to put one foot after the other.

Sunday I was a wreck. SO MANY. TEARS. I seriously don't think I've cried and hugged more in one day. I doesn't quite feel real yet. I feel so welcome, so loved, and's SO hard to leave it all behind!! These people have ALL of my heart.....and I wouldn't have it any other way.

One of the last highlight moments of our weekend (even though I was a mess trying to say goodbye to everyone) was when we visited Rita, an investigator who's been interested in the church for a long time, but has just never actually taken the plunge. We stopped by and I sensed that something was wrong. She opened up to us about some health and mental issues she's been facing, and the spirit began pounding me with promptings: suggest that she get a priesthood blessing. I could NOT ignore the prompting, it was so strong, so I asked her if she'd like to receive one. We ended up having a lengthy conversation about the purpose, organization, and strength given through a blessing. After considering it for a while, she agreed and we arranged for her to receive a blessing.

The next night, at a Christmas devotional at the church, she came up to me with tears in her eyes, took me in a hug, and said, "I got my blessing......and all I can say is thank you! Thank you!! Because you offered that to me, I was brought into the presence of God in a way I've never been before. It was like, I was SO close to Him! And it was all because you were close enough to the holy spirit, to know that that's what I needed! So thank you!! Thank you for being obedient, for coming on your mission......for me! You have truly changed my life and become a daughter to me!! Thank you, thank you!!" and she and I just sat there together and cried in each others' arms!

AH!!! It's hard to describe why a moment like that means so much to a missionary--to me! But it's moments like that that I can't help but feel, "I'm doing something right! I don't have it all figured out, I make mistakes ALL the time, I question and doubt myself.....but right here, right now, I did something right. I made a difference. And it's all worth it!" All the struggle, the pain, the heartbreak, the difficulties, the criticism, the fears, the's not wasted. I knew in that moment that I'd made Him proud, and that's all I want out of my make Him proud of me.

I believe that that experience softened the blow of transfers, because it put into perspective for me, the fact that this work is not about me. It's not about what I want, and that's the way it should be. Because the greatest--the purest--joy in this work, comes not in making myself happy, but in making others happy eternally.

I can't even express how grateful I am for the months I was able to spend in Buffalo Grove. My heart, I know, is going to long for this place for the remainder of my mission, and beyond, but it gives me SO much peace knowing that the relationships I've grown, the friendships I've gained, the experiences I've had, and even the heartache and sorrow I've's ALL been worth it. And no one can take that from me!

Onward and upward,

Sis Anna Parker

 packing the night before leaving BG..... :'(

 gotta get my kisses in<3

 <3 these girls!

Here we go again.......