Sunday, February 22, 2015


Hey Mom, Dad, Leilani, Auston, and Nika.

I'm really sorry that I forgot to write to you guys last week. It was SUPER hectic last week, because my companion Elder Correa got a call from the offices last week, telling him that he's most likely leaving that week because news came that the issues with his passport and him returning to Spain finally got resolved. So, we had to get his stuff ready, we had to say goodbye to some families in another part of Guayaquil that he used to know and teach, and we were just all over the place doing all sorts of stuff last week. Other than that and a couple of other changes, nothing really happened. 

I'm absolutely fine, I'm not sick, and I'm now serving in another sector in our zone in Guayaquil (called Las Americas) with my new companion and good friend Elder Alfaro. He was training another elder from Idaho, Elder Brown from Rexburg, but he had some pre-mission knee issues that ended up getting the best of him, so he had to go back home early (real shame too, because he only had 2.5 months in his mission, as opposed to my 5). So, because my companion left to go home, and Elder Alfaro's companion left to go home, we're now companions. But it's fine, because Elder Alfaro (he's from Costa Rica, by the way) is SUPER awesome, he has 20 months in his mission (about a year in Peru and about a year here, due to visa issues), and while I'm helping him learn English, we talk about Halo (hahahaha, thinking about Auston). 

It's a little hard not to think about home and stuff like that that's just waiting back at home, because not only is the airport in our sector, but the strip where the planes take off is literally behind our house. In other words, about every hour while we're still in our house, we get the fantastic privilege to hear the gigantic twin-turbine engines of a commercial airplane barely taking off. However, my favorite part of my new sector is the fact that IT HAS HOT WATER!!! I was SO happy when Elder Alfaro let me know about that, but it now makes it so hard not to take shorter than 10 minutes in the bathroom, hahaha! 

I wish I could send you guys all of the awesome pictures that I've taken, but I still need a cord that's compatible with my camera. It's a Canon SX160 IS PowerShot with 16X Zoom Lens, Serial Number 492020000802. I think the Model Number is PC1816, but I'm not sure. Still, I've been taking TONS of pictures, and I really wish I could send them to you guys, but I don't have the means to. Sorry :/

Effective next Tuesday, I have 5 months in my mission! Only 19 months (or 580 days for those technical people out there) until my service as a full-time missionary comes to an end. However, in the words of Jeffrey R. Holland, once a missionary always a missionary. Others may not be as willing to accept this calling as others, but what I know for sure is, even though this calling has come with trials without number already, I can't say that I haven't learned from the trials and tribulations that I've had. Through each and every trial, I've become more humble, more teachable, more educated, and overall, I feel that I become more and more of a tool in the hands of God with each trial that comes my way. My favorite video from the Church that I've found concerning trials and tribulations is called The Refiner's Fire:

I'm so grateful for the blessings that I have been given, but surprisingly, I'm also grateful for the trials and tribulations that my Heavenly Father gives me, because like it says in Ether 12:6, it's not until the trial of our faith that we officially are able to gain a testimony. I know that it's been hard, and it'll only get harder, but I couldn't be happier to be here, serving on this mission. I love you guys so much, and I can't wait to write to you guys next week. Till then, take care, and may the Spirit of God be with you through each of the trials that come your way.

Con Sinceridad,
Elder Conner Duane Parke

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Week 20!!!!

Hi, Mom <3. 

Things have been crazy lately, and crazy in a crazy way, at that, haha! But, through it all, I've been given more than enough signs that Heavenly Father's been with me every step of the way to help me through it all. Nobody said that a mission, in addition to being a Representative of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was EVER going to be easy, especially when it was NEVER easy for Him. I couldn't be more grateful for how, even though it's been slow, even though it's been quite the bumpy road up to this point, and it will undoubtedly continue to be bumpy, I now have an ever-growing testimony of how my Heavenly Father hears and answers each and every one of my prayers. It may not come in my timetable, or the timetable that I remotely expect it to come, but Heavenly Father will never, ever let down any of His children, especially if they are willing to come closer to Him and His Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ in any and all ways that they can.

If you haven't guessed yet, the gigantic, main reason that I say that is the absolutely mind-blowing fact that I got my camera back. When I visited the Offices because my companion was having some financial issues for still being on his mission, I was told that a package was waiting for me, and it was addressed from the CCM of Mexico City. When we got home, I couldn't be more curious and bewildered as to what could be waiting for me in the package. The $40 that I still haven't received in the mail? Anything that, by chance, I left at the CCM? Sure enough, when I opened up the package, what was waiting for me inside was none other than my camera case with the camera inside. Obviously, all the pictures that used to be in it were gone, and the menus and stuff had been changed to Spanish, but other than that, it still completely works, and I've been able to take some awesome pictures with it. The bad news, however, is that I gave away my camera cord to my friend from the CCM, Hermana Neilson, because (1) I thought I'd never get my camera back, and (2) she didn't have a camera cord that she could use for her camera at all. So, I felt kinda bad that I had a cord, but no camera, and she had a camera, but no cord. Still, I got my camera back, and I couldn't be absolutely happier that Heavenly Father gave me such a grand blessing at this time.

I forgot to mention, I did get your guys' package with the shoes in it two weeks ago, and let me just say that I absolutely LOVE them. They're EXTREMELY comfortable, and they look AMAZING. Also, I've been sharing the Sour Patch Kids and Swedish Fish with my roommates, so that's been awesome, too. Overall, I would like to say that this week has been a pretty good week, despite some irritating trials (no sleep, headaches, and the Work being a bit slow). I love you guys so much, and if I had some more time, I would share more, but I just wanted to take the time to share that with story and testimony with you guys while I could.  Because He hears me, He answers my prayers, and I know that through Him, as well as through Jesus Christ, everything is going to be okay. May the Spirit of God be with each of you guys, and take care, until next week! I love you guys so much!!!

Con Sinceridad y Amor,
Elder Conner Duane Parke

week 19!!!

 Elder "Poderoso" Parke with yet another mission blog update. Week 12 is underway, and until my shiny new trainee comes, I have a "temporary" companion by the name of Elder Correa. Not only is he a good friend that I've already made, but he is also from Peru, but he is going back to his family in Spain after he finishes his mission (if I translated that correctly). If I'm right, Elder Correa's been having some technical difficulties with traveling back to his family - concerning his visa and other travel/mission documents - so he's been with more than enough companions temporarily, due to him having to wait until he can safely end his mission and travel safely back "home". From what I've heard, the only "issue" that others have had while serving with Elder Correa is the fact that he snores louder than a family of grizzly bears when sleeping at night. For the record, I'm going to try and see if I can get away with sleeping downstairs in the hammock we have... Just so I can try to get some actual sleep while I have Elder Correa as my companion, hahaha.

I couldn't feel more blessed to be here, and more blessed to know that not only have I been serving a mission for 4 months, but also because my Heavenly Father and His Spirit have been with me every step of the way to comfort me, to guide me, and to give me the strength, love, and faith that I need, in order to continue to bless the lives of others while I'm in this specific sector in Guayaquil. I may not have a trainer anymore, but what I see in that is that... Things are moving forward. I'm moving forward in my mission, and things are moving forward outside of my mission, too. Obviously, I didn't expect time to stop, and for everything to be waiting for me exactly the way it was when I left. But I also didn't expect for time and everything else to be passing by as quickly as it is. It won't be too long before I'm already halfway done with my mission, and soon after, I'll be packing my bags and getting ready to say goodbye to the unique, special country of Ecuador. I'm so grateful for the opportunity that I have to write these things this week, and I can't to see what else that I'll be able to write about next week. I love you guys so much, and take care!!!!

Con Sinceridad,
Elder Conner Duane Parke