Monday, October 31, 2016

Week 72: Leaving it all on the field

During our personal prayers one night this week, Hermana Kelley stayed on her knees for like 20 minutes after I had already finished my prayer and gotten into bed. I was thinking ¨wow, I should be a better trainer and have more sincere prayers at night. my daughter is the example for me!¨The next morning she told me that she had fallen asleep while praying... hahaha. That just about explains this week -- exhaustion. We´re leaving it all on the field. 

I don´t really know where to start... we didn´t even have time to write in our journals this week. Let´s see... oh yeah. We organized a musical number for the sisters training meeting! People like to ask me to organize these things with only like 2 days notice but luckily Hna Kelley is a PRO on the flute, who knew? And I already had a great arrangement of I´ll Go Where you Want me to Go so WA-LA! It was beautiful. I kept thinking of how excited I am to play on our piano when I get home... music fills me up. At the training, President shared Moses 6:63 I think it is, about how everything is a type of Christ and testifies of Him. Well, I think music definitely accomplishes that. It directs the thoughts and intentions of my heart to Him. I think it´s my favorite part of worship. 

OH and on the way to the training, we almost got into a car accident. It´s ironic actually... we never ride in cars or taxis here, it´s all moto-taxis or buses. But on Thursday we were in a rush to get to the training early to practice the number, so we took a taxi. (you´d think it would be safer anyways) But some crazy, possibly drunk, guy in a sports-like car came swerving into the road right at us all of a sudden. Our taxista had to swerve off the road and we barely missed getting into a crash. It was kind of scary. Luckily there was no damage done to the car, or us. We told our taxista that God definitely protected us! He´s Catholic and lives with his small family in Tacalá. We shared a bit of the Restoration, gave him a pamphlet, and he agreed to have the Elders visit him. Given that morning´s near-death event and clear divine intervention, I texted the Elders right away so that they could visit him that day. Apparently when they went, Angel and his wife were waiting for them! They are now receiving the lessons.

Speaking of the Elders investigators.... remember Lucia y Carlos? Familia Escudero? They are attending church and preparing to be baptized NEXT FRIDAY!!!! The more I reflect on it, the more miraculous the whole thing becomes. I think it was about a year ago that Hna Glunt and I decided to stop visiting them because they were so busy moving houses with their family and newborn, and weren´t coming to church. At the time it made my heart sick to think that they would never be able to progress in the gospel... but now I get to see it all come full-circle. So cool.

Oh and Keller is going to be baptized this Saturday! He was deathly sick with a cold this week but when we called Saturday night to remind him about church he seemed offended that we even asked if he would be there. He was like ¨hermanas, CLARO I´ll be at church. See you at 8:45.¨ It´s kind of incredible the changes he´s been able to make in his life, given that his family have this habit of drinking 87 bottles of beer on Sundays (this is our whole area, actually). 

A friend gave me some counsel this week that I needed: 
¨As great and amazing as all your companions have been, none of them deserve more credit than the Holy Ghost, your real companion.¨ The time is approaching when I have to say goodbye to Hna Kelley and all the wonderful people here... but my most important companion will be with me forever. I´m striving every day to live worthy of its companionship and guidance.. because I can´t live without it. 

Mandando saludos a todos,
Hermana Parks
Pics from the sisters´ training meeting! I hadn´t seen Hna Glunt! Such a happy reunion. 


The originals -- who left Lima on June 30, 2015 to start off a wonderful adventure in Piura. Love these sisters! Hna Tanuvasa goes home in a couple weeks. 

Noche de Hogar with Keller (investigator) and Hna Luzby and her husband.

Selfie after a member family gave us lunch to-go.... and Hna Kelley trying to remember 5th position from her ballet career 15 years ago :) 

We are dang proud of this reference box. We made it, along with a board dedicated to la obra misional for the chapel! We´re expecting to make head-way on references en el barrio Tacalá.

Hna Kelley trying not to get bitten by these aggressive parrots.

These things are HUGE. Also Peruvian zoos have absolutely no supervision or security .. so the elders almost successfully ran into their pen and stole an ostrich egg, hahaha

Everyone: ¨Hermana parks! Stick your head over there and the monkeys will get the rest of the lice out of your hair.¨

THEN IT GRABBED MY BUN and I screamed, haha. 

Never eat lunch pool-side with your zone after playing soccer for 2 hours in the burning heat.... because the temptation just may be too much :) 

Monday, October 24, 2016

The latest from Hnas Parks/Kelley

How could a week so difficult with the odds against us turn out to be SO incredibly miraculous? The only explanation I can think of is a merciful Heavenly Father who loves us... a lot. 

List of hard things:
- I was declared with the worst case of head lice ever seen by my pensionista (and being a mom of 5 in a third world country, she´s got quite the experience with piojos). She and Hna Kelley spent 1-2 hours after lunch all week picking them out egg-by-egg. Then in the night Hna Kelley would work on it some more. By divine grace it is basically GONE! And what I´ve learned from this experience is how incredible my companion is. So so patient, she didn´t complain once, in fact she declared it fun! (?)
- Not enough proseltying time with the lice infestation, multi-zone conference, ward activities for the week of ward conference, and doing divisions with the hermanas in Tambo Grande.
- THEN, I came down with one of the worst head colds I´ve ever had. (again). I couldn´t talk for 48 hours on Friday and Saturday -- literally my voice was completely gone, I couldn´t do more than a whisper. At first I was like why is this happening!! I can´t be a missionary if I can´t talk! But Hna Kelley got to step up to the plate and do... well, everything! I would just whisper things into her ear during lessons, and we tried to get members to help us. 

But the BLESSINGS. Oh my goodness, I´m just overwhelmed. This is what Alma was talking about in Alma 31:38 about all the trials being swallowed up in the joy of Christ. 
We had 14 investigators at church. 
Never have I seen such a huge Sabbath day miracle on the mission. 
How did this happen? I think only the Lord knows.... I just wanted to hug each and every one of these investigators yesterday! 

- Eric. Saturday we found him, he was a member reference and is very receptive. (his grandmother passed away just a month ago). He accepted a baptismal date and came to church the next day! 
- Nelida & Sharon. A month or two ago a cute 10 year old girl and her friends contacted Hna Dionicio and I in the street asking us where we were from and if we spoke english! Sharon gave us her address and I think we passed by once, but they weren´t home. Fast forward several weeks when Hna Kelley and I were knocking on doors! A little girl opens the door and says ¨Hermana Parks!¨ She remembered my name! As we began the lesson, her mom told us that she had just gotten married in the Catholic church (and civilly, woo hoo!) and also had baptized Sharon. Obviously I wasn´t thinking they´d be golden since they´re so rooted in their current faith.... but something amazing happened. The Spirit took over (and Hna Kelley, since this was the day I couldn´t speak at all) and at the end they accepted a baptismal date, Nelida was in tears saying she felt so much peace, and they came to church! We love them so much already. 
- María Rosas Santamaría and her 8year old twin boys who we contacted in the panadería! María is reading and praying about the BoM, she has been looking for a church for a long time! 
- Mark - who is doing awesome. When I asked him this week why he wants to be baptized he said it´s because he knows beyond doubt that the BoM is true... and that testimony came after a long long time of reading, meditating and praying. He is so solid! It´s looking like he´ll be baptized in late Nov or early Dec. after getting back from Mancora.
- Fiorella (girlfriend of one of our recent converts)
- Jorge Enrique and his kids!!!! His wife has a lot of doubts but it´s inspiring to see Jorge´s resolution to bring the gospel into his teens´ lives! 
- cute Claudia who is still getting over her fear of water :)
- Keller! Who is just awesome, we thought the word of wisdom would be an issue for him, but it turns out that he stopped drinking in July and has no intention to go back to that old habit! 
- Cesar! 15 years old, a friend of a member family who came by himself and really wants to learn more! 
- And Frida, a non-member who belongs to an inactive family. First time that I´d seen her at church! 

Did I mention that I had to give my ¨death testimony¨ in the multi-zone? Definitely not something I was looking forward to... but as I prayed and prepared for that moment, I felt incredible peace. I was able to express my absolute love, appreciation, and awe for this mission experience and the gospel of Jesus Christ. I mentioned all the nights there have been on the mission when I´ve knelt down at the end of the day and wondered WHAT my companion and I had done to deserve so many blessings and witness so many miracles... and the conclusion I´ve come to is that we DON¨T deserve it. Not even the smallest part of it. But this I know.... that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us. Who sent his Son, so that we could have eternal life. This restored church of Christ and the gospel taught therein is the path to get there. It´s true, all of it.

Les amo a todos!
Hermana Parks
COLAN. I´ve been wanting to come to this beach for almost a year and a half now :)

Me: ¨take a picture of me looking off into the distance¨

Hna Kelley: ¨you are ridiculous¨

soccer, ultimate frisbee, and teaching the latinos how to play futbol Americano!

elders photobomb

Shark washed up on shore! Yikes..


Have I mentioned that I have this addiction to papaya? 

And Hermana Kelley has an eternal hatred for it :) hence the facial expression after members gave us a nice big slice and a spoon. 

Our cute young women were all matching for ward conference! They and the young men sang great (after me raising my voice on a few sunday practices when the young men were being punks :) 

a few shots from our dusty area of La Primavera

I´m going crazy taking pictures of all the every-day things so I don´t forget this simple, wonderful mission life! 

Multi-zone conf! Here´s our lovely Zona Miraflores.

This is our district hermana-parks-has-piojos pic! (piojos=lice)

A few of the June 16, 2015 group. It´s fun to be in the same ward as these elders and see how they´ve changed over this year and a half! 

Hermana Rasmussen calling for a group hug with all her oldies going home soon...

one night we were chilly during planning so we put pants on under our skirts and took pics...then hermana kelley decided to hang from the ceiling. she cracks me up!