Hi, Mom. First of all, I just want to give a huge thanks to everyone who wished me a happy 21st birthday on Facebook. It was honestly one of the hardest birthdays to celebrate while being away from home and my family. It started with having to spend the entire morning helping our branch president and his secretary complete the history of the branch (callings that were sustained, money withdrawn, baptisms, etc., all from this past year of 2015), because they had a leadership meeting to go to. I won't forget to mention that the other two branch presidents of branches Vinces 1 and Vinces 2 were there, in addition to the District Presidency. Obviously, we didn't go, but it was still a nice and tedious act of service to help with this. So, because of a lack of communication, the branch president didn't end up coming back to retrieve the hard copy of the Branch History until 2:30 in the afternoon. On top of that, just about all of our appointments fell through. I have to admit, though, that if it weren't for the surprise birthday party that my companion managed to pull off planning and executing at 8 o'clock really made my day.
For all of my Christian friends out there, one of the Scripture passages that have rang true for me personally up to this point of 18 months in my mission is Matthew 10:22. "And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved." We get doors slammed in our faces, we get cussed at, spit upon, trash thrown at us, harshly and unnecessarily rejected, and even flat out ignored and hung out to dry - by active members, less active members, and non-Mormons alike. For two years, as the Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland puts it, "[we get to be] standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the best life that this world has ever known. The only pure and perfect missionary who ever lived." It's not our job to knock on someone's door or enter a neighboring congregation, Bible and other Scriptures at the ready, and say: "Your Church is all wrong, and this is why!" We aren't sacreligious, we don't hate other Churches, and we are definitely not looking to "Bible Bash" with a couple of Jehovah's Witnesses or Evangelical Pastors in the middle of the street. We are Mormon Missionaries, hoping to share with all that we come across the message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as well as the other messages that we have. It's a little hard for some to grasp, I've learned, but I'm going to continue to do my best to let everyone know of this one-of-a-kind, remarkable, life-changing message for all to hear.
We've been finding a number of clues for the past couple of months that Elder Reilly and I have been companions, and finally came to the conclusion recently that our apartment had a mouse in it. So, we decided to have our own Mouse Expedition Hunt effective last week. We bought some Mouse Killer Food in the grocery store, and confirmed our suspicions. This morning, while we were talking, we saw something little and black jet from one side of our room to the other out of the corner of our eyes. We dug around a little bit, found the little guy, and caged him. However, little varmint managed to escape, but we re-found him, and beat him with a wooden dowel and a crutch, hahahaha! As we tried to straighten up and clean our room, lo and behold, we found ANOTHER mouse. Luckily, Elder Reilly and his ninja bo-staff skills managed to smack him into next week. Not exactly how I had spending my first 21-year-old P-Day in mind, but I guess it works, haha! We told President Riggins afterwards through a text, and he simply replied to us, "Well done. Two in one day is quite impressive." Afterwards, we looked at each other, and said with a sigh, "We gotta find a new apartment."
I love you guys so much, thanks again for all of the love, support, prayers, and especially the birthday wishes! I miss you guys a ton, but I'm also so grateful for all of the things that the
has taught me,
and helped me grow closer and closer to my Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus
Christ. Until next week, take care!!! Mission
Con Sinceridad y Amor,
Elder Conner Duane "Poderoso" Parke
PS: I'd KILL to get simply a ton of candy in the Easter Package that you guys have plans to send. I love you guys, thanks!!!
PSS: I included the photos of the mice we had as unexpected house-guests.