Monday, August 22, 2016

Last week in my email to President I mentioned that I feel like I need a companion who´s fresh. He replied: It sounds like you and I are receiving the same prompting. I came to the conclusion independently that you should train a new missionary in Tacala. It is amazing to see how the Lord works.  

THANK YOU PRESIDENT AND REVELATION. My hijita gets here tomorrow! I am so excited. Hermana Dionicio went to TUMBES -- back where she started her mission! For now, I´m with Hna Buchanan, who is also going to train! We are seriously lucky ducks. These 2 hermanas coming are the only ones coming to our mission until like 2017. There are a lot of sisters who haven´t trained yet, so I am basically so grateful for this opportunity. 

Now I get to apply everything I´ve learned in the past 14 months -- from every area, companion, and experience, to teach my greenie. My goals are:

- Build the foundation of our companionship on Christ, feasting on the scriptures and praying meaningfully -- like Hna Orellana taught me in Ignacio.
- Have the FAITH to see miracles and enjoy and appreciate the everyday ¨Peru¨ moments (including but not limited to taking lots of pictures) -- like Hna Glunt taught me in Ignacio. 
- Be DILIGENT and exactly obedient -- consult the Lord and set high goals for our area. Come home sweating every day (oh wait, we don´t have to try to sweat ..) -- like Hna Christianson taught me in Piura Central.
- Be POSITIVE and LOVE openly -- like Hna Shumway taught me in Talara. 
- Listen to the Spirit and serve my companion -- like Hna Ruiz taught me. 
- LAUGH and teach with unity and power -- like Hna Martinez taught me in Tacalá.
- Trust in the Lord and develop CHARITY for others -- like Hna Dionicio taught me. 

And so much more... 
There will be a lot of time on my knees this week consulting the Lord in all we do -- this is why I wanted a training experience. I will rely on the Lord more than ever before. 

Anyways, update on Tacalá:
All our investigators with a bap date aren´t coming to church (except Mark) and all the people coming to church won´t accept a bap date. (??) We´re gonna be focusing on contacto diario and hermanamiento this week to try and make those 2 categories uno solo. 

So excited to get to work this week! My goal is not just to put my might and strength into this -- but my heart and mind too. Hna Dionicio and I decided that that´s the difference between great missionaries and consecrated missionaries.

Hasta la próxima!
Hermana Parks
Taking some shots in the deserted field we cross to get to the chapel. 

ward volleyball activity and cute familia viera! 


cute hna dionicio saying goodbye to ashley! 

investigators oscar and danitza invited us 6 over for dinner last night to say goodbye to hna dionicio and elder cloninger (who was in the hospital for dengue AGAIN this week, such bad luck!)

Monday, August 15, 2016

Fam bam & friends! 

Tomorrow I turn 14 months old as a missionary and cute great-grandma Decker turns 94! So it will be a great day all-around. 

This week was August´s leadership council which means it´s the 9th council I´ve participated in. I think they are slowly booting me .. I didn´t have any contributory part, not even piano! It was the first time I have ever sang the mission hymn and not played it. (A Vencer #167) *sad face*. No, just kidding. I sincerely felt like it was my last council..
Fun fact: I have never had a companion with less time than me in the field (except when I half-trained Hna Glunt, but we basically have the same amount of time). So I have this odd feeling that transfer calls on Saturday may bring something completely new to my mission story ... we shall see! 

I had an intercambio with Hna Buchanan this week! -- which brings me to the CRAZIEST miracle story ever. Exactly one year ago I took Hermana Buchanan out on divisions on her first day in the field. Remember this story? We walked and walked but everything was falling through. But I had the impression to stop by Familia Escudero (from the Futuros list). We found them and were able to teach part of the Plan of Salvation as Hermana Lucia held their days-old newborn! Hermanas Orellana/Glunt and I taught them for about 2 months (we loved them a ton and they seemed like gold!) but eventually we had to stop visiting them because they were never able to come to church. 

Fast forward an entire year to Tacalá yesterday when I walk into church...


I seriously could not believe my eyes .. they were so happy to see me and I think my face was just pure shock! They told me that they had moved a few months ago to Tacalá and the Elders found them knocking on doors! It just so happens that they got married a couple weeks ago and now they are progressing investigators!!! WHAT IN THE WORLD MIRACLES ARE SO REAL. 

Now if I´m lucky enough to stay in Tacalá, I will get to see them be baptized!!!! During the sacrament I just poured my heart out in gratitude to Heavenly Father. It´s like my mission has come full circle -- the tears and stress and sweat of Ignacio Merino all had a plan. Coming to sandy Tacalá all had a plan. Every companion and area and trial and miracle is part of his plan for me. He knows me, He loves me, and he knows and loves each one of His children. For anyone who was wondering, being a missionary es lo máximo. 

And there are other miracles to tell -- like Jenny (19) and Sandra (28, single mom) and her kids who came to church -- both of which are literally our neighbors but the missionaries just never had talked to them before! And then there´s Mark -- who is the and accepted a bap date for Sept 3rd after one of the best lessons of my mission on The Restoration. 

I´ve learned that I go to bed happiest and most fulfilled at night when I´ve opened my mouth to as many people as possible. The promise in DyC 33 is that as we do so, we will become as Nephi of old -- and that is a pretty cool promise. 

Les amo y estoy orando por ustedes!
Hermana Parks
August Leadership Council

La Zona Miraflores

Intercambios with las hermanas de Tambo Grande

and I´ve always wanted a pic with this Tacalá sign! 

I don´t know if you can really tell from the pic, but my hair now has highlights from 14 months walking in the sun! 


Monday, August 8, 2016

This weekend was practically perfect in every way. Let me share a bit of María´s story: She is 55 years old and has 2 children, a daughter who is 20 and a son who is 21. Her daughter, who lives in Lima, found the missionaries and was baptized along with her husband earlier this year. She had been calling María telling her to find a Mormon Church in Piura! María has been looking for God for a long time in her life. She said that over the years she learned how to pray, began to fast once a week, and pay tithing to a different church. But she still felt like something was missing. One particularly difficult day, as she was overwhelmed with her husband´s illness and financial problems, she said a fervent prayer to ¨el espiritu santo¨ asking to show her where to go and what to do. She says that minutes later, we showed up at her door. (She tells me that I am her ¨angel¨, Hna Martinez unfortunately was transferred before she ever got to teach her) She has come to church every week since we met her and has loved everything we have taught her! She is the most prepared convert I have had. We love her so so much! She experienced a lot of trials this week -- her daughter who was visiting had to leave on emergency back to Lima with the grandkids, so wasn´t able to be there at the baptism, María got really sick and could barely talk, and her financial situation got even more desperate, but NEVER did she doubt her decision to be baptized. Her faith is incredible! 

And as you probably noticed, Mark wasn´t baptized. Long story short, visiting his ultra-catholic family in Mancora last week shook his faith a little bit when he told them he was going to be baptized.... and he also expressed that he hasn´t felt a spiritual confirmation that this is true yet. (Personally I think he has, but just hasn´t recognized it completely). But he is still SUPER pilas (have you ever had an investigator tell you that they were reading the words of Isaiah in 2nd Nephi and felt that it was ¨familiar¨? he´s the best.). There is no doubt in my mind that he´ll be baptized, but we have to let it be on the Lord´s timing, not ours. 

A cool moment -- actually maybe the coolest of the whole week -- was when David, the RM accompanying us to visit Mark, said that he has changed as we´ve been teaching Mark -- like we´ve actually been speaking to him. He decided to fast this past weekend for the first time in 8 months and he said that he received answers to his prayers and has a newfound desire to be fully active in the church. Wow. We just kind of sat there ... like wow. I testified that it´s definitely not us, it´s the Spirit that testifies and inspires and changes people. 

Anddd, we had a rad multi-zone this week on the Book of Mormon which had some mind-blowing teachings from President about the external evidence that the BOM is true (which can strengthen our testimonies after receiving a SPIRITUAL confirmation that it´s true) .. and also we had a scripture chase. Í was like Ï´ve been training my whole life for this!!!! Well, it was the 4th quarter. The entire 2 zones had been eliminated except Hermana Parks and Elder Abbott. We had 5 seconds to look up Alma 41:10 -- and my book of mormon just happened to have the pages stuck together on that exact chapter... noooo! So Elder Abbott walked away with the Chili´s gift card and President gave me some sympathy candy... hahaha but seriously, my testimony was strengthened so much in the conference. 

We fasted, found some great new people, including Karen who came to church!! (who totally belongs in Ashland, OR -- she´s vegan and backpacks through South America alone and has a pixie cut... so rad :)

I invite everyone to look up this scripture that transformed my week: 1 Corinthians 13: 1-2

 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
Hermana Parks
 Maria´s baptism!!!! It was perfect. 

With cute Hna Luzby who has been a wonderful friend for Maria ..

and right after she came out of the water! She was so happy. She just kept saying We did it! We did it! 

Beach time! We hit up Paita today with the district. 

another beach shot, 

and I caught a shot of hermana dionicio :)


and our district at the multi-zone -- can you tell that E Cloninger and E Ballero lost like 15 pounds each from the dengue?? still sickly..

rooftop pic at night

 more multi-zone pics! 

There are few times in my mission that I´ve gotten to play on a REAL piano (not a keyboard or way-out-of-tune upright)... so when we practiced our zone musical number at the stake  center I was in heaven. 

some of my favs at a noche de hogar! 


oh my heavens..... when you ask the Elders to drop off another box of Libros de Mormon... it might take you 2 days to find it, haha

enchiladas with the mexicana herself and hna janet :)


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Mission life week 59

Well, this week the hermanas in Chulucanas got chased by a drunk guy and the zone leaders were hospitalized for dengue ... so my week was great!! 

haha, seriously, so sad. I never thought I´d spend P-day visiting our zone leaders as a district. Elder Cloninger and Elder Ballero started with dengue symptoms on Wednesday and they´ve been in the hospital SUPER sick since friday. We´re counting our blessings over here! 

Remember when I was in the MTC and commented that I´d love having Hna Sepulveda as a comp?? Well, WISH GRANTED. This week I spent the day with her in Chulucanas! It was awesome. Their branch is going through some struggles and the missionaries are trying to regain confidence with the branch, but it was great working there with Hna Sepulveda! In every exchange, I feel a love for the area and the sisters just like for my own area and my own companion. I´m grateful to have the opportunity to learn from these exchanges -- we had one in Miraflores a week and a half ago that I forgot to write about, oops! 

OPERATION BOOK OF MORMON. One blazing hot street in La Primavera. 12 Books of Mormon. 2 determined sisters. An hour and a half. We did it! We were able to give out 12 Books of Mormon to people at the door (mostly at the door because it was in the morning and no one could receive us, except one cute old lady). Normally we´d just schedule an appt to come back if they were receptive but this time we left BoM´s with our testimonies and a part of Alma 7 marked! It was awesome. It increased our love and appreciation for the BoM and we´ve determined to be more BOLD in sharing it, especially in contacting. 

No time left, but it was a great week! Mark and Maria will be baptized on Saturday!! woo hoo!! 
This Spirit told me to do 3 things at the beginning of this week.
Pray with faith.
Love the people.
Repent often.

It was exactly what I needed! 
Hermana Parks
Winter in Piura -- aka palm trees, blue skies, and getting sunburnt. I´ve fallen in love!

Operation Book of Mormon
Can you find Hna Dionicio? haha
Exchange in Chulu on Peru´s independence day! 28 de Julio.

With Hermana Adria, a super sweet member in Chulu. 

...and then Hna Sepulveda had this genius idea to go on the roof and pour water on the hermanas when they came back to finish our exchange, hahaha it was so funny. They were down on the street waiting for us to answer the door and then we let down a waterfall .. 

sunset and helping a crying little girl find her sisters! so sweet. 

visiting the ZL´s in the hospital ... so sad!! They´ll hopefully get released from the hospital on wednesday!