This email won't be super long because I wrote my dear family some individual emails, and I'm sorry I can't get everyone!! But I love you all so much!!
This week was crazy and super fun! Last Monday, after we emailed, we had a super fun Memorial Day. A nice worker at Macey's gave us a free bouquet of flowers! Then we had a zone activity and a BBQ at a nice member's house and then we played some wiffle ball. I wasn't too bad! I got some people out! Then we had a dinner appointment with a couple who both served missions in Brazil!!! It was so fun because they told me all about Brazil! And this Friday they're making me, Sister Kirkendall, and our companions a Brazilian lunch!! We're all stoked! Then we went out and the wonderful Ramirez's saw us and drove us to our next destination!! No one was home, but we went across the street where a bunch of neighborhood people were together outside. So they informed us that they had chickens (26!!) AND they were going to be killing some of the ones that eat the eggs!!! So we stayed, and it was kind of horrifying but also kinda funny..... Don't hate me animal lovers!! Only funny because the first one they let go of the body after the head was...you know... and the body like goes crazy! Flapping its wings and flying around! Kinda horrifying because it was headless. Anyway a bunch of neighborhood kids were all there yelling and screaming haha so they had fun.
So many great things happened this week - just good lessons and meeting new people and having new people to teach! I had my first opportunity to commit a girl to baptism who accepted!! So that was awesome! She and her family are less active so we hope they'll start coming more and do our invitations so that she can be baptized!
So today so far had been up and down. I woke up a little happier because it was preparation day haha. I checked my email and had an email titled "visa update" so my heart obviously picked up but then I read it and it just informed me that they haven't forgotten about me and that they're working on it and yeah. No news. Then I got an email from sweet Sister Smith from my MTC district and she told me that they (the four sent to Montana) all got their visas and they were leaving for Brazil today. And Sister Kirkendall leaves next Monday for Brazil. So my whole district from the MTC will be in Brazil in a week. So that was kinda hard. I kinda shed a few tears and just felt like I was always getting bad news and having bad luck and everyone was getting the opposite. So Sister Diuguid asked if I wanted a blessing and I didn't really want one. I don't like admitting that I'm weak and asking for help or a blessing. But she called our elders anyway and they came over and gave me a blessing of comfort. I was really nervous before they came because I was embarrassed but during the blessing and after, I just felt calm and at peace. I know I'm supposed to be here right now, and I knew that before I got their news today too. It's just hard to be left behind. And I can feel my love for Brazil and the people growing every day. I'll be honest - I want to be there so bad some days!! But I truly love the people here too, and I know I am meant to be here for them. It will honestly be hard to leave some of them! I want to stay to see all of them become more active in the church or be baptized! So I will be here for as long as the Lord needs me to be here!
Today we also had a district activity, and we got those big bubble balls!! The ones you get inside and run into each other with, you know?? It was so fun but so hot and exhausting!! Haha so that was a fun activity.
We've been teaching the Restoration a lot after dinners because President encouraged us to do that. So a couple nights ago we taught the Fishers, a couple of empty nesters. And Sister fisher reminded me of something I really liked which was, "the more you share your testimony, the more it grows". And I think that's so true. I think at the beginning when we started to teach the Restoration at dinners, I bore the usual testimony of Joseph smith and the church, but the last few times I've just really felt the Spirit and have been overcome by my feelings. When we talked about the priesthood and how it blesses their family, I like almost started tearing up connecting what they were saying to my family and how grateful I am for the priesthood in my family! As we've taught the Restoration and what we know to be true, my testimony of it grows too. And we usually eat with members who already know the same story, the same doctrine. But that doesn't mean you learn it once and never hear it again. Our doctrine in the church is repeated over and over in church. But we still go because just like commandments, we don't follow them once then never follow them again. We recite the story of the First Vision each time slowly and pause after. It's crazy how it can bring the Spirit. The Spirit is testifying of its truthfulness.
And though I'm still bearing my testimony on the same doctrine, I think it's grown a lot, because the more I say it, the more I realize I DO know it's true. The more it's confirmed to me through the Spirit that it's true. I've never had a powerful experience with the Spirit, and Heavenly Father isn't going to appear to us or send us an angel because that isn't faith. Faith is hoping for things which are true that are not seen. But I know how I feel when I teach, when I hear other people's experiences where He has helped them, and when I go to church. That's why repetition is so important. It's never a bad thing to keep having your testimony confirmed.
Eu amo vocês!!!!!
- Sister Parks
Sister Diuguid and me at the Payson Temple!