Hi, Mom. So, according to President Riggins, because we are coming closer to Christmas Time, we are entering into our little version of "Black Friday". What this means is that the Spirit will be more with us, so long as we are willing to work for it, and it will help us testify of the truth, and how those around us here in El Empalme can truly come closer to God and Jesus Christ (which clearly is through the Church of Jesus Christ). That being said, we have a new Christmas Initiative that is going to help us earn the trust and understanding of the people more easily. It's called "A Savior Is Born (Ha Nacido Un Salvador in Spanish)." So, the purpose of this new Initiative is to help others understand that our beliefs and their beliefs aren't so different. What I'm trying to get at here is the whole "
(Holy Mary) thing. President Riggins helped shed a little more light on this
subject by showing us a few passages in the Book of Mormon that, believe it or
not, show quantifiable evidence that we, as "Mormons", do indeed
believe in Mary. HOWEVER, because we believe in Mary, that is not the same as
worshipping Mary. Instead, we believe, we respect, and we even give thanks to
the fact that Mary was chosen - both in this life and in the pre-existence - to
be the earthly mother of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I'm personally
really glad that President Riggins helped clear this up a little more, because
you have no idea how much it pestered me to see a little Holy Mary figurine on
the dashboard of half of the taxi drivers here. Now, we can utilize that to
help people like them come to know and recognize us not only as Mormons, but
also as representatives and messengers of Jesus Christ who also believe in Mary
as they do. Santa Maria
I'm still a little depressed about how Chloe's days here on Earth are now very numbered, but at the same time, it helps me strengthen my testimony of the Plan of Salvation. I have faith that I'll see her, as well as my family again after this life. While I was serving in
extremely good friend Elder Finch, I learned that a splendid way to contact
people is to mention the Plan of Salvation that God has for us, especially
because most of them are truly unsure if they will ever get to see their loved
ones again. By testifying of this great and wonderful Plan, we can help them
strengthen the faith that they already have in God, as well as fortifying it
with more truths. If I remember right, one of the last things that
Great-Grandpa Larry Parke wanted me to do was sing. I told him, "Nah,
maybe next time, Great-Grandpa." But then, he got sick, and his time to
leave this Earth came soon after. I loved him more than ever, and to be able to
share with others that I know I will see him again is a great part of my testimony. Guayaquil
I've been tempted a lot lately to murmur against my companion. What I learned this morning is the fact that I have no right to murmur against him, or anyone, for that matter. This is why my mindset, for a while now, is this: I am a loser. I'm not saying that this means people have to feel sorry for me, and I'm not saying that I don't deserve anything. What I'm trying to say is that, I don't deserve to complain, I don't deserve to bicker, and I don't deserve to show any hard, cold feelings of hate, anger, or contention towards anyone or anything. This world is dark, this work is hard, and it's sometimes difficult not to admit that I feel alone, sometimes. But, to believe that I am alone is to disregard the truth that God loves me, and that I was chosen to be here, to represent His Beloved Son and His true Church. These people, although they may not know it as well as I do, are my brothers and sisters. Each of them are special, and each of them deserve to know how they can see the hand of God more often and more easily in their lives.
Before my mission, I was lazy. One of the things I liked to do most was sit on my laptop computer and play video games. Little did I know, that I was being distracted from doing far more productive and far better things with my time. It would make me full of anger and hate, and virtually no one would want to be around me. I felt alone, even in my own house, even around my own family, and it would only make me angrier and hate everything (including myself) more. When I learned for myself that I'm never alone (and never will be), it filled me with this burning desire to do more... It especially filled me with this burning desire to show my Heavenly Father just how much He means to me, and just how grateful I am for all He has given me. Perhaps, that is why my heart was so set on my serving a mission. Two years was the least I could give to my Father in Heaven in exchange for the blessings that He's already given me, in addition to the blessings that are to come. The mission has helped me learn so many things, and I can't wait to put what I've learned into practice when I return home, when the time comes. But until then, I'm going to make the absolute most of the time that I have here, and take full advantage of the burning, strong, and ever-growing testimony that I have been blessed with.
Until next week, guys, stay strong, stay true, remember God loves you, and He will never let anything happen to you that you can't handle. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, both physically and spiritually. Keep praying often, because God always hears and answers our prayers. Trials may come to pass in our lives, but witohut those trials, we couldn't notice all the miracles, both big and small, that are all around us. I love you guys so much, and I'm so thankful for the love and support that each of you guys give me!!! Take care!!!
Con Sinceridad y Amor,
Elder Conner Duane "Poderoso" Parke