Monday, April 28, 2014

Week 9 Jean onesie.....

Hello everyone!
This week has been pretty great!
Monday: I LOVE P-DAYS!!! I live for them!!! Well, not really, but I love them :) We get to go shopping and I'm buying stuff for my future house...sorry mom. Last monday we went running for 2 miles, and I really hurt my feet because apparently my shoes are bad! I've been limping all week, but I got a blessing, so I should be okay soon :) I ate something called "pickled eggs" and THEY WERE NASTY!! They're eggs soaked in beet juice. I tried half of it, and then hid the rest of it amongst my strawberries hehe :)
Tuesday: We visited a part-member family, and the father doesn't usually like missionaries, but he is SO nice to us. He always invites us in and feeds us lunch :) The Lord is softening his heart! I'm so grateful the Lord has His hands in everything. We also taught our investigators Elsie and Rod! They are SO awesome. They have a sincere desire to follow Jesus Christ. They are having spiritual experiences as they read the Book of Mormon. I'm so grateful for the role the Spirit plays in conversion. No one can just take our word for it...they have to read and pray to know for themselves! It's by the Holy Ghost we can know the truthfulness of HIS church.
Wednesday: We visited Kerry who has been going through hard things. We were able to help her know Heavenly Father has a plan for her. He has a plan for each of us! He allows us to go through difficult things because those experiences help us put on the divine nature we need to become people worthy to live with Him again! I know we have the Priesthood power on earth to seal families for life on earth and in the eternities. I am seriously so grateful to have been sealed to my family--family is the most important unit. I'm grateful to know I can be married in the temple someday and be sealed to my family for eternity! How great is that!?
Thursday: We were able to talk to some people of different faiths today! It was a really cool experience! What I have observed is many people don't necessarily understand all that we believe as Latter-Day Saints. We were able to help someone understand we believe in the Bible--it is the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. We also believe that Jesus Christ is the MOST important gift Heavenly Father has given us. It is through Him and only Him can we be cleansed and live with Heavenly Father again with our families. We believe Heavenly Father has reached out in love and given us more directin--He continues to speak. It is through prophets he reveals His Gospel! The original truths Christ taught were brought back to the earth through Joseph Smith...not BY Jospeh Smith but THROUGH Joseph Smith. The Lord works through His prophets to reveal His will. Is this making sense? Prophets are called of God, but we don't worship our prophets. It is through the power and authority they hold that we can receive guidance from a loving Heavenly Father who wants us to know truth in an ever changing world.
Friday: We shredded papers for a member today. It was seriously so relaxing. Shredding papers is now my favorite thing to do. I overheated her shredder because I kept going and going hahaha...oops! ALL of our appointments cancelled today (even our dinner), but Sister Kittell took us to dinner, so that was sweet!! We went to this Italian restaurant and I ate a HUGE plate of spaghetti and a freakin' loaf of bread by myself. Mom, please don't sell the treadmill until I get back!
Saturday: We had our ward service day today! We picked up trash along a railtrail in Chambersburg, but there wasn't much trash. It was still fun :) I made my trashbag into a kite. Every single appointment fell through today. Our dinner appointment cancelled too, so we went to Pizza Hut. We saw a family in our ward at Pizza Hut as well, and they payed for our dinner :) Don't worry, Mom. I'm being taken care of! We were able to visit Sister Gonzalez tonight--she is going through REALLY difficult trials, so we were able to support her and assure her that the Lord always provides us with enough light to step into the fog and KEEP WALKING!
Sunday: Elsie and Rod came to church!!! I'm so glad they came! Going to church and partaking of the Sacrament are things we are commanded to do because we are able to renew our baptismal covenants in a place where we are surrounded by people who have the same goal in mind! Elsie and Rod aren't baptized yet, but taking the Sacrament can be a way of showing Heavenly Father they are working toward making those special promises with Him! I'm so grateful for the covenants I've made with Heavenly Father. These sacred covenants help us obey the commandments, love and trust Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father, be forgiven, and feel the Holy Ghost more abundantly! We taught Danny, our investigator, tonight too! We taught the Word of Wisdom. Our bodies are special, and Heavenly Father wants us to keep them healthy. He always promises us blessings for obeying His commandments. Danny had never heard the Word of Wisdom before, but it was evident the Lord was helping him feel this was a commandment from God and that he could accomplish anything with God's help! Danny committed to start living the Word of Wisdom by lowering his intake of coffee so he could eventually quit! He's also committed to work on quittting smoking! He said, "Ya know, this is so funny. I ALWAYS make a pot of coffee in the morning, and I didn't even think about making a pot today." I know this was the work of the Lord. He prepared Danny to hear the message we had to offer him. Danny's faith in Christ is increasing, and it was so amazing to see the changes we can make in our lives because of Jesus Christ!
This obviously isn't all we did on each day, but just a few highlights :) I want to share my testimony that I know Christ lives! He loves us! He came into the world and accomplished all He was sent to do, and He did it alone. He was ridiculed and mocked and spit upon--He was entirely and utterly alone, but He suffered for us so we wouldn't have to be alone. I am SO grateful for this Gospel. Through the principles of this Gospel and through Jesus Christ, I have been able to change. I don't know where I would be without the Atonement of Christ--I wouldn't be the same person! We are all offered the opportunity to come unto Christ and be cleansed, healed, forgiven, strengthened, and so much more! We can change BECAUSE OF HIM! Let's all choose today to be followers of Christ. GOSH I'm so happy, and I just want everyone to know of the joy this Gospel brings! Well, now that I've ranted, I hope you all have a great week! :)
Love, Sister Sparks

I'm reluctant to post this picture, but Olivia is a silly character so I'm sure she's cool with it.  She won't know until she gets home anyway :)

and some normal(ish) ones

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Week 8 Easter

weekly update:
Hey everyone! Sorry I don't have a lot of time, but I wanted to let you know that I love you all! I hope everyone had a good Easter! Being on a mission during Easter has really taught me why we celebrate! Of course I've always known Easter is about Christ's resurrection, but I didn't really "get" it. I have come to know my Savior Jesus Christ. He strengthens me on a daily basis and also allows me to be forgiven. I am so grateful for His pure, righteous love for us. He is so amazing, right?? It's comforting to know that because of the Atonement, we will all be resurrected! I stand here today SO amazed at the changes I've seen in myself, and that was only possible through Jesus Christ. There's nothing I've felt that He hasn't felt first, so He knows EXACTLY how to help me. I'm so grateful for what the Gospel has done for me! How has the Gospel influenced your life? What is your relationship with Jesus Christ? I want to bare my testimony that I know Jesus Christ lives and offers us so much hope. If we come unto Him, love Him, trust Him, keep His commandments, we will experience so much joy!!! I hope you all have such a great week! Write me letters!

Sister Sparks

Friday, April 18, 2014

Week 7 The Holy Ghost

weekly update:
Hello from Greencastle! How is everyone!? This week was good!! Our investigator Elsie has been making great progress! She has felt the Holy Ghost testify of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. She said, "As I was reading, I felt a burning in my chest, and I just couldn't stop reading." How cool is that!? The Holy Ghost plays a HUGE role in conversion. I've been thinking a lot about how the Holy Ghost still plays a huge part in my life as well. Just because I've felt the Spirit confirm the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon doesn't mean I don't the Spirit anymore! Whenever I lack wisdom, I ask Heavenly Father, and He usually answers my prayer through the Spirit. The Holy Ghost doesn't just bring us comfort--it tells us truth, warns us of danger, teaches us new things, shows us things to come, testifies of Jesus Christ and God the Father, and so many more things! I am so grateful for the role the Spirit has played in my life.
I came across an awesome scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants 100:12. It says, "Therefore, continue your journey and let your hearts rejoice; for behold, and lo, I am with you even unto the end." How cool is that promise? So many times I've wanted to just give up and just take a break, but then I'm reminded HELLO! YOU'RE ON THE LORD'S ERRAND, AND HE WILL BLESS YOU! As I just pick up my feet, keep walking, and talk to everyone, the Lord blesses me with courage, strength, words to say, and He helps me see everything that is good in my life. Just take a moment to recognize all of the blessings you've been given! They might not be big, but I bet there are a ton of little blessings from the Lord. Many times I've felt the Lord bearing up my burdens. I encourage you to study Elder Bednar's talk from Conference-- "Bearing Up Our Burdens With Ease." It has helped me so much. The Atonement is real, and Jesus Christ lives. He is so willing to forgive, and He is SO willing to help. I love him!
Funny things in Pennsylvania: We had dinner at a member's house, and the father said, "bless your heart!" 12 TIMES!!!!! I just laugh so hard when I hear that. Everyone has a dog here too. Some of the dogs are really sick...not gonna lie. One little dog with long hair jumped on my shoulder, and my initial response was to sort of punch it and get it off, but it's okay because the owner didn't see....hahahaha. I sound terrible, but I was grossed out! I did hold a duck though!
Anyway, I'm doing well, and I'm seeing so many miracles! Have a good week, and remember the Savior!
Sister Sparks

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Week 6: General Conference

Hello! This week has been great! We've been blessed with a lot of people to teach! I'm struggling a bit with teaching because I'm so awkward sometimes! I usually just look to my companion, and she does the talking. I know I need to start speaking up and declaring what I KNOW to be true! General Conference was amazing, wasn't it?? We watched it at some members' homes. I love the ward here! They're taking care of me :) OH, but how blessed are we to have living prophets who give us counsel from the Lord? God is our loving Heavenly Father, and He continues to speak.
Our investigators are doing well! They are such great people who have a sincere desire to follow Jesus Christ. I love the word "follow." Follow is an action word! By becoming a follower of Jesus Christ, we ACT--we keep the commandments. We read the scriptures; we pray and take the sacrament; we serve and help others; we take care of our families; we repent. Do we know how much the Lord loves us? My testimony of the Atonement has increased GREATLY this week. I've had some rough trials as everyone has, and I've learned that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can not only be forgiven of wrong doings, but we can also receive help and strength from the very One who suffered the sins and infirmities of the world.
Study the Atonement this week! I promise you will be blessed as you strive to understand and apply the Atonement in your lives! We have a loving Heavenly Father, and He knows YOU. He created you, and He is there for you. We have a loving Savior, Jesus Christ, who is reaching out to us. Repent and follow Him, and you can experience that peace and joy I have felt. The Atonement is real, and we have living prophets on the earth today. I love you all! Have a good week!


Sister Sparks

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

week 5 10 lessons!

weekly update:

Hello everyone! How was your week? We had 10 lessons this week, so that was an improvement from past weeks! Being a missionary is definitely difficult, and I would be lying if I said I didn't struggle sometimes, but it is honestly worth it. I'm learning to rely on the Savior. One of my favorite scriptures this week is Matt 11:28-30, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." I know I'm not in this alone, but I WOULD NEVER LASTED THIS LONG IF I WAS! I've felt the Savior's help :)

Every night for the past two weeks we have had Mexican food...I might die. I mean, the food is great, but my stomach is refusing Mexican for a while. For those of you who know I'm a picky eater, you would be SO proud of me!!!! I've eaten all sorts of stuff I never would have touched when I was home! I've eaten cabbage and corn beef, tomatoes, oranges, apples, peaches, salad, enchiladas, and I'm pretty sure I ate a mushroom yesterday. The Lord is definitely helping me in that area too!

There are a ton of graveyards in Pennsylvania, so we've been having fun looking at them! I went on exchanges in Gettsyburg, and it was great! The scriptures I studied in my personal study time in the morning were PERFECT for the people I saw in Gettysburg...must have been the Spirit or something :) A few less active families have been coming to church, and it is great!!! I'm loving the people of Pennsylvania! OH, but I'm starting to talk like them! I catch myself saying, "ya know?" after every sentence, and "so uhuh, what have ya." I HAVE GOT TO STOP. Also, I met a man who looks like Gru from Despicable Me, so I thought you all would like that. Thank you for the mail!!! I love getting letters!! I expect a letter everyday! Just joshin...but I'm sort of serious, so get to it! :) 

This week I'm going to work on being charitable! Charity is the pure love of Christ, so I know there's no way I can obtain it in a week, and I probs will struggle with it my whole life, but I know having charity is so important, and LOVE is one of the keys to being a missionary. I hope you have a great week! Read the scriptures, pray, and go to church! Tis the best :)


Sister Sparks

Week 4 one month mark!

Weekly update:
Hello from the little Podunk town of Greencastle! My companion and I wrote a rap about it the other day while we were tracting, I'll have to type it up and tell you guys! This week has been good! Being away is still a little difficult, but it gets easier each day! The weeks go by SO quickly! I cant' believe I've already been out for more than a month! I've had some great experiences! I've really been studying my scriptures and praying for something to inspire me to do/be better. I'm reading from Mosiah in the Book of Mormon, and holy cow is Abinadi inspiring! I've learned a lot from my scriptures, and I want you all to as well! Pray before you read...and after :) The Lord has truly been helping me, and I'm so grateful! How is everyone?? Write me letters!! I always run around the apartment when I get a letter in the mail! We've been someone named Danny (I can't remember if I've mentioned him before or not), and he has truly been prepared by the Lord to hear the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. I love him, and it has been such a great experience teaching him! The Holy Ghost is real, and he testifies of truth! Always be sensitive to those promptings. The Lord loves each of you! I am so grateful to be out here hastening the work! I miss my little Idaho, but ALAS, I'll be home soon :) Have a great week! Be happy for goodness sake!!

Sister Sparks