Saturday, March 7, 2015

WEEK 23!!!

What is goin' on, my wonderful family and friends? Elder "Poderoso" Parke with a special, five-month-aversary entry of my mission blog!! It's so crazy to believe how long I've been away from home, as well as how long I've been in this wondrous place, haha! So like I said last week, I'm now in a new sector in the same zone with my good friend and companion, Elder Alfaro from Costa Rica. Since last week, we now have 3 Baptismal Dates, and I also learned that this woman that I was teaching before in Sauces that lives up north in Quito GOT BAPTIZED! So, technically, I GOT A CONVERT! I'm not happy that I got a baptism, to be honest, but I'm happy that I was able to help someone come closer to Christ, and help them see how being a faithful member in this true Church is one of the greatest decisions that someone can make in this lifetime. I can't wait to see what the future has in store, and for more opportunities that I know that I am going to have to convert many others.
So, I learned that before I came into this sector, Elder Alfaro already has tons of Investigators, Less Active Members, and a few Recent Converts that we have the grand privilege of teaching. I find it really exciting to have all these different people to teach, because none of them are the same. Each of them may have more or less the same issue that's impeding them one way or another from following the Gospel to their fullest extent, but that's why my companion and I are here. To help them in any and all ways that we can to overcome whatever it may be that's impeding them. For example, we have a Recent Convert named Gonzalo, he's around 50, and he joined the Church around Christmas. Before his conversion, he had an addiction to Alcohol. He overcame that addiction, and got baptized in this Church. Last week, we found out that he's been having some stress-inducing issues going on his life, so we encountered him on the street one night... Drunk. He was stumbling over himself, barking at people walking their dogs, and saying anything and everything that came to his mind. We felt awful for him, so we walked him to his house, and made plans to visit him the following week, and just see what we could do to help him. More importantly, to help him NOT relapse. Not now, and not ever again. During my personal study, I found the Conference Talk by Elder Jorg Klebingat (I am so sorry if I butchered that name) of the Seventy in the Liahona, talking about Standing Before The Throne Of God. Obviously, none of us are admittedly nowhere near ready to be judged before God right now, but this got me thinking: What would you do if you were to be judged by God the very next day? Interesting question, to say the least, I think, haha!

I'm not going to lie, this mission has been insanely hard. I've had to overcome obstacles that I honestly never would have thought that I was able to before. I've eaten more eggs these past 4 months than I have in the past 10 years of my life, I've been able to administer blessings of the sick and blessings of counsel in complete spanish, and like I've already said, I'm happier than ever to have been able to "bring one soul in the kingdom of my Father" (D&C 18). It also says, “And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!” I couldn't be happier to be serving here, even though it's been beyond difficult, and it probably won't get any easier. But thanks to the help that I've been able to receive from my Heavenly Father, as well as from each and every one of you, it hasn't been easy, but it has been possible. Before I go, I just want to give a shout-out to the two spunky, adorable baby girls that I got to home teach before leaving for my mission: Jordyn Taylor (and her adorable smile), and Kaita Lennberg (and her adorable spunky attitude). Thank you all so much for you love, support, and prayers, and may God and His Spirit be with each of you, to help you overcome your trials, and continue to endure to the end "with all your heart, might, mind, and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day." (D&C 4)
Con Sinceridad y Amor,
Elder Conner Duane Parke

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