Hi, Mom. We had to go to the Cyber to write early, because we have to go take a couple of buses from here in El Empalme all the way to Guayaquil for a Zones Conference, as well as to go to the Temple tomorrow in the morning (woohoo!). So, I got some good news and bad news. The bad news is that I won't be able to send any pictures this time. But the good news is that I do indeed have some pretty awesome pictures for everyone to see. Anyway, everything's been going surprisingly well lately. Yesterday, we had our Ward Conference, and we had an attendance record of 250! I mean, it wasn't our bishop's goal of 500, but we tried our hardest to invite as many people as we could, Less Active Members and Investigators alike. I understand that it hasn't been the easiest, and it probably won't get any easier, but I still couldn't be more grateful just to be here, doing the Lord's Work. Onto the good stuff, we had the privilege of having a "Capacitacion Conferencia" (Training Conference) this past week from a member of the Seventy, Elder Calderòn. The topic of his discussion was how we, as missionaries, expect to have all this success, without making the sacrifices necessary, such as Exact Obedience to all the rules and limitations. If we, as missionaries, are truly giving it our absolute all to help our brothers and sisters Come Unto Christ. Obviously, I have been paying attention to and obeying all the rules, but even the slightest hiccups, such as not saying my prayers each day, just helps me see that I'm not having as much success as I could humanly, possibly have during my mission. One of my biggest tremors and fears are when I go home, and the same thing happens to me. The last thing I want to do is come home after my mission, and feel like the two years that I (supposedly) dedicated to God felt... Incomplete. I love being here, more than anything. It's been admittedly hard being away from all you guys in order to be here, but I honestly wouldn't trade this opportunity and blessing that it's been to be here for anything in the world. I'm so grateful for everyone's prayers, love, and support that have kept me going for this long, and without a doubt, I'm going to give it 110 percent this coming week. I know in my heart, and I can testify, that if we missionaries, future missionaries (Leilani), and Returned Missionaries, give it all we can, then not only will it bless us, but it will bless those all around us, and those people will come to know that we are children of God, and He loves each and every one of us. If there's anything I learned recently, it's that God doesn't pick favorites. Which is why He desires all of us to return to His presence. Missionary Work is extremely difficult to do (as a missionary or not). But, it's not impossible. I couldn't be more fired up from the training that Elder Calderòn gave us, because it helped me see just how much potential and capability I have at this time as a representative of Jesus Christ and His Church that has been restored to this Earth in these Latter-days. I love you guys so much, and I can't wait to hear from you guys next week. Till then, take care, and I'll try to send you guys a TON of pictures as soon as I can!!!
Con Sinceridad y Amor,
Elder Conner Duane Parke
PS: I have not received any mail (letters or packages) lately. Please make sure that everyone knows that my mailing address changed so as to make sure that as little mail as possible doesn't get hopelessly lost. Thanks, and I love you, Mom!!!