Hi, Mom. So, this past week was General Conference (obviously). It personally helped me a lot, especially with how stressful it's been. A month until my last Skype Call in the mission, and only five more months until I bid farewell to Ecuador. One of my personal favorite talks was of Elder Quentin L. Cook, and how he utilized a "Temple Mirror", and the Twin Mirrors in the Sealing Room of the Temple with such symbolism and emphasis as to what they mean. It helped me learn that as long as we "keep our eyes on the prize", then we need not worry about the troubles and temptations of the world. I've been doing a little studying of my Patriarchal Blessing as to help me clear my mind, and aid me in losing myself in the Work for what little time I have left here. Part of my blessing that stand our most to me is how it invites me to be sealed to my future wife and children. One of my biggest hopes and dreams ever since I can remember is to be the "World's Greatest Father." Where my life was going, that dream felt anything but close. However, thanks to my mission, and all of the spiritual growth and strength that it's given me, I have faith that the Lord can help me make that dream come true.
I've been thinking a lot about Easter, and just what exactly does it mean. Far too many people, I've noticed, take the meaning of Easter for granted. Not enough people know the significance that the Atonement has in each of our lives. Others take advantage of it, and expect it to magically take away their problems for them. However, when one can truly look at how he (or she) can properly apply and appreciate the Atonement and what it can potentially do for their lives, it helps answer the question as to which of the thousands of churches upon the face of the Earth is literally the Church of Jesus Christ. I can't lie to you guys, I saw myself as a complete and utter failure before my mission. I had no idea what I was getting into, and I had no idea where it was that I was planning on taking myself. As President Thomas S. Monson stated: "If you don't know where it is that you wish to go, that it need not matter which path you take... No?"
I love you guys a lot, and there aren't words that I can find that describe how much I miss you guys. It's been one of the hardest fights that I've had to put up with. I already know what I'll say when President Riggins asks me in my final interview if I believed that I gave it my all or not. I may not have had 100% of the success I could've had in my mission (at least, not in my eyes), but I do have the faith that I gave it my all, and I let a lot of people know just how much I love my Lord, how much I love my God, and how much I love my brothers and sisters. I never realized just how crucial this Gospel is for my life, and if they can learn to see its importance, too, for their lives, as well. Until next week, I love you guys. Take care! Thank you all so much for the prayers, love, and support!
Con Sinceridad y Amor,
Elder Conner Duane "Poderoso" Parke
PS: Let Oliver know (even though I haven't met him, haha) how much I love him, too!