Hi, Mom. So, I've been doing a lot of studying, especially taking into consideration both what you and Dad say about "an eye single to the glory of God", and the past two Zones Conferences that we had that teach us about how exactly we can magnify and sanctify our callings, in order for people to "more easily" recognize us as representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ. I'm not going to lie, I can't say that I've been doing absolutely all that I can to maintain an eye single to the glory of God, and qualify myself for the Work. So, I was studying Doctrine & Covenants 18 (this morning), and the verse that stood out to me was verse 44. Surprisingly, the first person that I thought of when I came across verse 44 was Leilani. I hate to sound obligatory, but there are no words that can describe how miraculous the mission is, and how it can put such emphasis in how we are "instruments in the hands of God" for the Work and the Salvation of those around us. Before my mission, I was too admittedly timid to even speak to my church leaders of my own home ward. Now, I can speak to complete strangers (I don't mean that to sound as rude as it may). I can let them know how special this restored Gospel is to me, and I can let them know that I can't imagine how my life would be without it. I love this Church, and more importantly, I love all that it's done to help me. For that reason, it's going to break my heart to leave Ecuador in September. I love the culture, I love the people, I love the food, and like I said, even though it's not as "organized" as the United States, I've come to love being here like it were my second home. Without a doubt I have plans to come back, visit my converts, visit the other people that I've had the blessing of teaching and learning alongside here, and simply because I just can't say how much I love Ecuador.
So, I have the blessing of working with Hermana Wilson in this glorious zone of Orquideas, and after some small talk, I learned that she's the cousin of The Kellen Moore, ex-quarterback (and what some may call a legend) of the Boise State Broncos. She's super nice, super cool, and everybody thinks that she's going to climb up to Sister Assistant in no time. It was also super cool, because her companion, Hermana Quispe (prounounced Keespay) asked Elder Williams and I to give her a Health Blessing. I got the prompting that I should seal the blessing, so I told Elder Williams, and it was no doubt one of the most inspired blessings that I have ever had the privilege of giving here on the mission. They're a great pair of sister missionaries, and I look (and find, of course) the blessings of working here in my sector of Vergeles with Elder Melzer, and in my zone of Orquideas each and every day. It hasn't been the easiest, necessarily, but that hasn't stopped the four of us (or in the zone's case, the eighteen of us) from giving it our all. Last week was a little slow, because we were visited by a group of BYU Medical Students for a Health Seminar Activity for the Stake, we had a Zones Conference, and we were told last-minute that we have to rehearse in order to sing for a Missionary Fireside next Sunday. It's been a bit stressful for all of us, but this week seems like it will be less hectic. Sorry for forgetting my Camera Cable, but I have been taking lots of cool pictures of my companions, "tricimotos", super delicious food, and a lot of other crazy awesome stuff. I'll be sure to send them to you guys next week, but for now, thank you guys for all of the love and support, and especially for the prayers. I love you guys, I miss you guys, and until next week, take care!!!
Con Sinceridad y Amor,
Elder Conner Duane "Poderoso" Parke
PS: I hate to sound SUPER obligatory, but I feel like Leilani's "scripture" will be D&C 18:44.