Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Week 78 Last and Final weekly update!!!!


Well, this was my very last week as a missionary...I don't know how I feel! I feel like Pennsylvania is my home, so it feels very strange to be leaving. First I had to leave my home in Idaho, and now I have to leave my home in PA! It was an emotional Sunday for us here in Monongahela. I have grown to love these people like family. I will miss them so much, but I am so excited to see my real family again!

This week was a great last week! I was expecting it to be a long week, but it was probably the shortest week of my whole mission! 

We taught this wonderful family on Thursday. We followed up with their reading in the Book of Mormon, and the mother said she had read through HELAMAN. She continued to testify of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. She knew through the power of the Holy Ghost that it was true. She told of the spiritual experiences she had when reading in Mosiah about King Benjamin. I can't even explain the joy and the Spirit I felt when listening to her testify to me. I never thought I would be so happy at the success of others. I truly feel as Alma in Alma chapter 26 of the Book of Mormon:

13 Behold, how many thousands of our brethren has he loosed from the pains of hell; and they are brought to sing redeeming love, and this because of the power of his word which is in us, therefore have we not great reason to rejoice?

14 Yea, we have reason to praise him forever, for he is the Most High God, and has loosed our brethren from the chains of hell.

15 Yea, they were encircled about with everlasting darkness and destruction; but behold, he has brought them into his everlasting light, yea, into everlasting salvation; and they are encircled about with the matchless bounty of his love; yea, and we have been instruments in his hands of doing this great and marvelous work.

16 Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel.

I am so grateful to Heavenly Father for allowing me to be part of these miracles. He is rolling forth a marvelous work and a wonder. This work is REAL, and it's hastening. 

Okay funny thing...our investigator told us he would meet us at Dairy Queen on Saturday night for ice cream, so he could see us before I leave. We showed up and waited for a while in the car, and he never pulled up hahahah. We just chuckled because we got stood up by a 50 year old man...dang I didn't think we were that ugly! Just when we were going to leave, we see a couple from our ward walking in, and they invited us to have ice cream with them. I love how Heavenly Father works! He is so aware of us. I have come to love the tender mercies of the Lord. How do I know God is real? It is because I can see He is an active part of my life. If you're ever wondering if He is there, just look, and you will see He has been blessing you all along!

These 18 months have taught me a lot.........and I mean A LOT. I don't think I realized what it actually meant to have an eternal family before coming here. I've always loved my family, but being away with such little contact for 18 months really makes you appreciate what you have. Some of my fondest memories are with my family. I know the family is ordained of God. Heavenly Father doesn't intend for our family units to be close on earth and not in heaven. He has provided temples for us where we can be sealed to our spouses and children for time on earth and all eternity. 
I'm thankful to my parents who have taught me important principles as I was growing up. They taught me to follow Jesus Christ. Others can attest to the fact that I failed quite a bit in that area, and I'm sorry for all who I have hurt or offended. I will continue to make mistakes, but my heart now truly understands WHY I need to follow Jesus Christ. I will strive my best to develop his attributes. I love the Savior. He is our exemplar, teacher, brother, and friend. Follow him and keep his commandments. Great depths of peace will follow. 

I know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to the boy Joseph Smith and restored the Church of Jesus Christ established anciently. I know there is a prophet on earth today making this church a true and LIVING church. The direction we receive from the Apostles and Prophet is revelation straight from God for the whole world. If you want to be aligned with God's will, follow the prophet. You won't be led astray. 

Okay okay okay I love you all!!!!! I'll see you in a few days!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Gospel of Jesus Christ is true!!!!!!!  
Sister Sparks 

P.s. I'm touring Heinz field today!!!

Week 77


We had an amazing lesson this week with a member we're working with to
get to the temple. We are retracting her the missionary lessons, and
helping her keep the commandments! We taught the Word of Wisdom last
week, and her commitment to live it was pretty weak. We decided to
follow up that lesson with a lesson about following the prophet. We
read a bunch of scriptures how God speaks through his chosen prophets.
D&C 1:38 says,"...whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my
servants, it is the same." We watched a video of the current prophet
and apostles testifying of Jesus Christ, and by the end, she gave a
solid commitment to keep the Word of Wisdom. The Spirit was so strong
in that lesson. I really felt that Heavenly Father was so proud of her

On the opposite side of things, we met this woman right outside of her
house. We were walking past, and she was sitting there smoking with a
gloomy look on her face. We testified of the evidence of God's love
and power through the Restored Gospel, but she wouldn't listen. She
was thoroughly convinced that this life is the hell we have to go
through before we go to heaven. WOW am I so grateful for the Plan of
Salvation that teaches us the purpose of life. I know God wants us to
find joy. He also wants us to become like Him. As I keep His
commandments and strive to be like Him and His Son, I am more
joyful...they go hand in hand. I love this Gospel!!

On Wednesday we went to a member's home and made bouquets of flowers
to bring to the widows of the ward. It was so fun! We learned how to
do a little bit of floral design! Mine looked really bad, so I just
used a bunch of flowers to make up for it hahaha. I'll send a picture.
It was such a great feeling though to brighten someone's day! We
learned about Service in Sunday school yesterday. Honestly, if you
have problems in your life, focus on others, and God blesses you in
your problems. Whether it be your problems going away or your "tunnel
vision" being widened giving you a greater perspective, God helps us
when we serve others. Do it!

I went to my last zone training!!! It was so sad! We learned about the
power of the Book of Mormon is conversion. My conversion first came
from an experience with the Atonement, but as I read the Book of
Mormon each day, my conversion deepens. I know that Book has come
forth in these latter days to prepare us for the Second Coming. Read
the Title page of the Book of Mormon and why the Lord says it has come
forth....pretty cool! After zone training, we all went to a park and
played sports. It was so fun! I got stuck in a tree for a while and
was too scared to jump down. Sister Ewell dominated everyone at
football, so that's pretty cool. I learned I can't do any pull ups,
and to never order Italian dressing on a Subway sandwich.

We had an amazing second lesson with the woman we met from the service
project last week. We were planning on teaching the Plan of Salvation,
but we taught the Restoration again BECAUSE her friend decided to meet
with us too!!!! It was so cool because at the end, his concerns came
out about how he struggles to feel God listening and answering his
prayers. We were then able to address his concerns by the Spirit. It
was so cool to see his attitude change from semi-interested in reading
the Book of Mormon to very interested in becoming closer to God
through His word. I love the Book of Mormon!! Read it!

Okay I feel so absolutely blessed to be a part of this experience....
We met the sweetest girl at Kmart last week. She asked us if we were
religious people, and we obviously said yes. Her eyes filled up with
tears as she asked, "Can you please pray for me?" My heart literally
melted. We exchanged information and went to her house this week to
meet her family. That family may be the most prepared family I have
EVER met. We honestly said about two things and they were all crying.
The mother said, "I know God has sent us to you. It's been so hard.
I'm lost, and I need help." I can't accurately put into words how I
felt at that moment. I felt a complete love and compassion for this
family come over me. AHHHH so hard to explain, but it was the most
amazing thing ever!! I'm so sad I won't get to see them progress in
the Gospel I love the people of Pennsylvania!

We set our investigator who is in a wheelchair with a baptismal date.
It was so awesome! We asked if he would be baptized, and he said,
"Heck yeah!" Hahah. We also had a lesson with an investigator we
haven't been able to meet with for a while. We had the lesson in a
member's home, and the Spirit was so there. Our investigator closed
the meeting with the most sincere prayer ever. She was crying as she
apologized to God for pushing Him away for so long and thanking Him
for never leaving her side. He continued to send people in her life to
help her come back. Wow, it was so powerful.

So many amazing things are happening! I love this place so much! I
love my companion, I love the Gospel, I love being a missionary, I
love helping others, I love backing Sister Ewell up every time she
drives, I love checking the mailbox everyday, I love helping Members
do missionary work, I love EVERYTHING. Kloveyou!

Sister Sparks

Monday, August 10, 2015

Week 76

There was no update for week 75

Hello everyone!! I'm going into week 11 of training....which means I
have two weeks left....CRAZZZZZZZZZZZZYYYYY!!!!! How did this
happen!??? It seems like O just came on my mission and was crying
everyday because I didn't know how to talk to people hahaha. Sister
Ewell is such a good missionary-- we more prepared than I was. Things
in Monongahela are seriously AWESOME!! We've been seeing soooo many

A member of our ward saw an advertisement sort of thing on Facebook
where this lady was looking for help fixing up her neighbors yard.
This lady noticed her 95 year old neighbor couldn't give the yard the
attention it needed, and over the years, it got completely out of
control. It honestly looked like a jungle. The lady in our ward signed
up our ward to help. We joined the youth in taming these trees and
bushes and vines and shrubs. It was SO HEARTWARMING to see everyone
together helping this sweet old man out. This woman that started the
project is honestly probably the most giving person I've ever met. She
prays and ask God to lead to someone who needs help and does whatever
she can to help them. We talked to her about following the example of
Christ and how it's important to us to. She expressed she was
searching for a church to go to, so she agreed to meet with us. We
taught her the Restoration, and she totally loved it! I'm so excited
to meet with her again 😀

I'm sorry I'm out of time, but WOW I'll see you all soon! Love you!

Sister Sparks

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Week 74

Week two of my last transfer....ah it's going by way too quickly! This
week was full of packing up our old house and moving to another city!
We spent a lot of time cleaning and washing things down and getting
rid of old junk missionaries left in the house. It took a lot of time
away from proselyting, but the Lord somehow helped us have enough time
to teach a lot of lessons too! This week was honestly one of the most
fulfilling weeks I've ever had. I just know service to God and His
children brings happiness. I know God answers prayers. I don't want to
share all details of what happened this week over email, but we had an
experience where we saw Christ heal a man. Just as Jesus did while he
was on earth, he healed this man's body. Jesus Christ lives today, and
all things will be made right through His Atonement.

We had a stake fireside last night called "Why I Believe." There was
music and testimonies and video clips, AND Chris Hoke, a two-time
Super Bowl champion with the Pittsburgh Steelers, spoke to us. He is a
member of the Church and a Bishop in a ward in Pittsburgh. It was so
refreshing to see someone who is "famous" set such a good example. He
truly is a man of integrity on and off the field. It was inspiring!

Well, sorry that's not a lot of details for ya. Hope you all have a good week!!

16 Eggers Avenue Apt #1 Belle Vernon, PA 15012


Sister Sparks

My favorite District!

Sister Sibley 

 Me and Chris Hoke!

 My favorite Lady!

 Dark Alley

Goodbye to Haley to Pocatello mission!

Sam finished the puzzle I gave him!

Week 73

Hello!! Honestly this week was EVEN BETTER than the week before. It's
so amazing how the Lord puts prepared people in our path, and all we
have to do is open our mouths and talk to them!

Tuesday we were able to go to the temple in Columbus, Ohio. I haven't
had the opportunity to attend the temple in 17 months, so it was a
powerful experience to be in there again. Honestly the temple is where
I feel closest to God. I was reading the Book of Mormon while I was
there. I was reading in Alma how Moroni fortified the Nephites cities
to protect themselves from Lamanites. It was those walls that kept the
Nephites safe from harm. Of course the Lord protected them because of
their righteousness, but I was able to draw a connection from that
story. What are OUR walls of fortification to protect ourselves from
Satan and his temptations? Daily prayer and scripture study, weekly
church attendance, and keeping the commandments were four basic things
that came to my mind. If we do those things with a sincere heart, we
will be protected from the adversary, and the Lord will bless us.

This week we got a media referral which just means someone went on and requested a missionary visit. We gave this person a
call, and it turns out they were already a member but hadn't gone to
church in a while and wanted to get back into it. Awesome, huh!? We
had a meeting with them a few days later at the church building where
the Spirit was so strong. We committed them to come to church, and
THEY CAME! They even brought a friend 😀

Also this Sunday another investigator and her two children came to
church. It was so awesome fm have them there. The children really
enjoyed primary and didn't want to leave! Their mother reared up in
almost every meeting. She's very aware of God's presence and knows He
is calling her in this direction. We're just helping her progress
toward being baptized by Priesthood authority and be united with her
family in the Holy Temple of the Lord. It brings me so much joy I
can't even explain to see someone making I,Portland steps toward God.
I'm going to miss this soooo much when I come home, but I'm so
grateful to have one more transfer left! Sister Ewell and I are
working our booties off!!

This week we went around visiting all of the members of the wars that
we hadn't met yet. None of them were home, but in the process of
finding their houses, there was ALWAYS. A neighbor outside who was
prepared by the Lord. In one day, we found 5 new investigators. So
cool!!!!!!! I'll share a little bit about of those people.
We were sitting in our car after having taught a lesson. We were
entering the information into our iPads, and Sister Ewell looks out
the window and sees a lady walking past. She says, "We should talk to
her," in sort of a joking voice because it would be nearly impossible
to get out of the car in time to catch her at her pace and not look
crazy. I thought, well everyone thinks we're different anyway. Let's
do it! We both drop what we're doing and hop out of the car and stop
her in her tracks. She expressed her need to keep walking, so we just
walked right with her for a few blocks. ☺️ We learned of her current
struggles with losing a very close family member and her inability to
cope with the pain. This woman was searching for peace. We whipped out
our iPads and showed her the Because of Him video. She was just
bawling...we testified of the reality Jesus Christ's resurrection.
BECAUSE OF HIM, we will all be resurrected. We can see our family
members again. As the video says, "Death has no sting. The grave has
no victory." She hugged us and thanked us for the message we shared
and invited us to meet with her again. We exchanged information, and
she was on her way again. We walked the few blocks back to the car so
grateful for the courage given to us to talk with this lady. We were
instruments in the Lord's hands, and we sure did feel fulfilled.

Those are just a FEW of the miracles we saw this week. I am
overwhelmed with gratitude toward the Lord for blessing us with people
to help. Serving the Lord changes you. If any of you are debating on
whether to serve a mission, my advice would be GO AND DO! As you lose
yourself in the service of others, you find yourself. Who would've
thought the counsel Christ gives in Matthew 16:25 would be true....

Well, I'm signing off for this week, but I love this Gospel so much,
and I'm more than happy to be serving in this part of the Lord's

Love you all,

Sister Sparks

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Week 72

Hello everyone!!
This week was literally AMAZING!!!! Seriously it might have been the best week of my mission so far. 
Monday we went to Kennywood which was seriously soooo fun!! We rode a whole bunch of rides, and we even got to share the Gospel!! We rode something called the Sky Coaster. Sister Ewell, Sister Duncan, and I were in a harness, and they hooked us all up to this big cord and raised us super super high up into the air. Of course they picked me to be the one who pulled the lever, so when we got up as high as it would go, someone spoke through a microphone and said, "3, 2, 1, Fly!" I pulled the lever and we totally just dropped hundreds of feet and flew in the air hahahaha. Sister Ewell was crying, but it was so fun!!

Wednesday we went to Girls camp for the day. We taught a little workshop on "sharing our light." I love a quote by President Monson who said, "If you want to be a light to others, you have to glow yourself." In Matthew 5:16, it says, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Christ indeed teaches us that we need to share our light. 
Well, in 3 Nephi 18, Christ has appeared to the Nephites in ancient America, and he teaches them about light as well. I love what he says in verse 24. 
"Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up--that which ye have seen me do." Christ defines light as HIMSELF. Yes, we need to shine our light, but first we must develop the light that comes from Christ. 
Everyone both onto this earth is born with the light of Christ in them. The light of Christ is, according to Moroni in Moroni 7:16, the ability to know good from evil. 
"For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God." 
SO we're all born with this light, but we can grow and develop this light as we follow Christ. I don't know about you, but when I'm consistently trying to do what's right, it's easier for me to feel what is good and what's bad. If I'm reading my scriptures every morning, it's so much more easy to make good choices throughout the day. 
Going back to the scripture in 3 Nephi, we need to share our light, and that light is CHRIST. How can we develop our light further? I can think of four things off the top of my head that are MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR contributors-- prayer, scripture study, church attendance, and obedience to God's commandments. I know when we do those things, we grow in our light. The only reason I know this is because I've consistently done them for a while now, and I have seen how they have blessed my life--they have brought me closer to Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ. 

^^sorry, I'm just so excited about the lesson we were able to share, and I know these things to be true 🍼🎃

Thursday we went on exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders, but we blitzed our area which just means both sets were in our area doing work, so we were able to see double the amount of people we're usually able to. This was honestly one of the very first days we had completely open. Recently we've had a lot of different trainings to go to and we were spending hours updating and transferring records onto our iPads, so it felt so good to get outside. Each set went to different cities and went finding those the Lord had prepared, and BOY DID WE EVER! 

Sister Palmer and I stopped by an investigator's house, but she wasn't home. Instead of getting in the car and driving to the next place, we walked down the street and saw a lady working in her yard. She took very good care of her yard, so we complimented her on it. We kept talking to her and found out she was having a pretty hard time in life. We were able to share with her principles of the Plan of Salvation with her. We testified of an afterlife and the opportunity to see our families again. 

A few minutes later, we talked to a guy sitting on his porch. He knew about the Book of Mormon already, so we testified it was from God and set up a time to come back. 

A FEW MINUTES LATER we met a lady by total miracle who had taken the lessons in Ohio anut a year ago and just moved here. She recognized the Lord sent us to her, so we talked about how this Gospel changes lives and transforms families and set up a time to meet 😀😀😀😀

I'll just mention one more miracle that happened this week. Two nights ago, I lost the phone. We searched EVERYWHERE around the house and in the car and outside. It was about 10 o'clock PM, and we couldn't find it anywhere. We sad a couple of prayers and still couldn't find it. The thought came to ask a neighbor to call our phone. We knocked on the only house with lights turned on. This guy answered the door and invited us in. We talked with him and his wife, and they were just the sweetest people ever! They just returned from seeing Donny Osmond, so that was a cool gateway into talking about the gospel. Anyway, they walked up to our house and called the phone, and within 2 minutes, we found it in the couch cushions WHERE WE HAD LOOKED MANY TIMES BEFORE. I truly believe God wanted us to find this couple. It was a miracle😮👫 

This week was full of miracles! Oh, and we get to go to the temple tomorrow 😻 I'm so excited!!

Okay have a god week!!
Sister Sparks

Week 71

Hello everyone!

This week was so great! I wish I could tell you everything, but we
have to leave soon to go to Kennywood. It's an amusement park here in
Pittsburgh. I'm so excited!!!
This week we taught the plan of salvation to two young girls. It was a
great experience to break down the plan of salvation into simple
truths. I watched their faces light up as they learned about life on
earth and how we can live with God again if we obey his gospel.
We also taught in primary on Sunday. There was a certain song we sing
about the Holy Ghost. "Listen to the still small voice.
Listen...listen. When you have to make a choice, he will guide you
always." Isn't that so simple? The Spirit filled the room as those
little ones sang that truth so boldly.
Well I would share more, but we have to go soon. I know the gospel of
Jesus Christ is true. I know he has restored truths to have been lost
off the earth for many centuries through the Prophet Joseph Smith. He
was a normal man, but he was chosen by God to do a great work. We
acknowledge that Joseph was a great man, but we do not worship him. We
worship God the Eternal Father. I know God lives, and I know he loves
us. He sent his son Jesus Christ to give us the opportunity to become
clean from our sins and live with him again. Because we can't see God,
he gives us a way to know truth. That is from the Spirit. He confirms
and teaches us truth. I hope that all makes sense. Gotta go!!!!

Love, Sister Sparks