Monday, September 22, 2014

Week 30

Hello everyone!! What a fantastic week!!! I honestly can't remember anything we did haha!
This week we received 4 referrals from Church headquarters. Basically, someone went on and requested a Bible, and they live in our area, so we were sent their information to visit them. It turned out all four of those people were Chinese, and they all have families! Unfortunately, we aren't the missionaries who teach families, but it was still SUCH an amazing experience to talk to them. None of them could speak English very well, so we had to speak in very plain words, but the Spirit helped them understand. As we talked about the Bible and the Book of Mormon and how they're the word of God, their eyes lit up as they started to really understand what we were saying! I'm so PUMPED for China to open up to missionaries! I want to serve another mission! Also, I'm just obsessed with Chinese people now. They're the sweetest people ever! 
So I'm actually not being transferred! I thought for sure I was! My situation now has definitely brought struggles, but I feel closer to God because of them. I'm having to rely on Him HEAVILY. Sometimes it feels like I can't possibly keep going, but Heavenly Father comforts me and helps me push through. I'm so so so grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The Lord love us and is so aware of our situations. He has felt everything we have, so he knows exactly how to succor us. I have felt His friendship and support. Even when I feel alone, I know that's not possible! Christ will always be there for us! I just used a ton of cliche sayings, but 'tis true! 
Last week I said I was going to email Saturday because GUESS WHERE WE WENT!??????? A PENN STATE FOOTBALL GAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yeah!! Are you a little bit jealous? I mean, I understand if you are because it was SO awesome. The Beaver stadium is (I hear) the 2nd largest in the nation? Man, that place was PACKED! They played Massachusetts and totally creamed them. It would've been more exciting if it wasn't a total blow out, but it was still fun!!! I seriously can't even believe I went there!!
Last night the branch and some of our investigators and recent converts got together at the church to watch Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration. It was SO good. I could watch that movie over and over. Why? Well, because it is such a good movie, but also because every time I watch it, I receive a spiritual witness that he was a prophet called of God to restore Christ's church on the earth. I know that since Joseph Smith, there has a been a prophet on the earth. We even have a prophet leading the church today! We also have twelve apostles just as Jesus Christ did. I know these men hold the Priesthood authority of God. Oh how amazing it is to be a part of Christ's church and receive saving ordinances by proper authority. AH! Jesus Christ is so real, and His whole purpose to help us return to Heavenly Father. He is THE way we can return. Abide in Him permanently :) Well, I have to go! Hope you have a good week!!

Sister Sparks

with the branch last night watching the Joseph Smith movie!

. sister pau'u is leaving

. happy thanksgiving!

last district meeting with all of us!

 boom baby
 waiting for our appointment to show up....she never did lol

  more waiting

in front of beaver stadium!

The Gibbys. we love them!!!

Brother owen! he bought tickets for 15 people at $40 each...and for a tailgating spot and for food....I am in so much debt to him! He just gives and gives and gives. i love brother owen

. it was PACKED

. it was PACKED

the bishop family!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Week 29

Limited time again! Sorry about that! This week has been super super busy! We had an open house at the new building, so we were preparing for that almost every day this week! We had awesome posters with information and tours going on, and we made 260 cookies hahaha. Little children were running around with 5 cookies in their hands...their parents loved it! Jokes. The open house was awesome! We had a few people from the community come, and others that we invited came to check it out. Mostly members came to hear the dedication. The dedicatory prayer was offered by the Stake President, and it was awesome! He asked Heavenly Father to protect the building from weather and from those who might try to harm it. The cool part was that he said, "Please protect this building from extreme weather and from those who would try to harm the building. We pray and ask that those people either be restrained by the Spirit to walk away or be converted by the Spirit that is felt here." That was literally word for word, but it was still way cool! 
We had Zone Conference this week! It was fun to see all of those missionaries I've grown to love! It's always such a great experience to meet with President and Sister Johnson. They are the sweetest people ever! We learned a lot about family history. We are now able to spend up to 3 hours working on our family history each week. The idea is that we will eventually be able to help others do their own family history. I'm so sad I didn't take family history seriously when i was at home, but when I return, that will be one of my main focuses! Temple and family history work is SO important. Heavenly Father wants all of his children to return to live with him, so it's the least we can do to take their names to the temple and perform saving ordinances for them. For those who don't know, my grandpa passed away last week, and though sad, I rejoice because I know he still lives! I know he is with his family on the other side of the veil. I also know he is with me while I serve. The Plan of Salvation is soooo real, so I encourage everyone to do all you can to go to the temple and perform those ordinances for those in the Spirit World waiting!  
Well, there's a chance I will be transferred in a few days, so don't send any mail! I'll update my new address if I do leave. I also will be doing my emails on Saturday this week because we will be doing something SO FUN on Saturday. I will keep it a secret until Saturday though :) Hope you all have a good week!

Sister Sparks

Zone Conference

Roleplaying hahah

roleplaying with Brother Done

josh and jess!!!! branch mission leader and wife. love them! Jess reminds me sooo much of Whitney it's crazy!

i love sam!!! She reminds me EXACTLY of amy! She's HILARIOUS

sister stocking at zone conference

elder olsen's last zone conference

the lovely bunch

huddled up with a curtain because it was so cold

 president hanscum

. double chins with pres

 Miranda Night

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Week 28

Well hello there!! My time is winding down, so I will have to be brief, but OH MAN what a fantastic week!!! We picked up a few new investigators, so that was such a blessing! It's always such an amazing experience when we "run into" someone who is prepared to hear the 
Gospel. I know Heavenly Father knows ALL of His children. My friend Brook reminded me of a scripture I absolutely love. 1 Nephi 11: 17 says, "...I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things." Nephi totally hits the nail on the head with that verse. We don't know everything, and we're never going to know/understand everything while on this earth, but the most important thing we need to know is that GOD LOVES EACH OF US. He loves His children perfectly. When we truly feel the truth of that statement, everything else follows. We don't need to worry about everything we don't know. Just focus on God's love, and He will give you the wisdom you need.

Soooooo here's the thing...I have to go. I hope everyone has such a fantastic week! I know I will! Be positive and ask yourself in every situation, "How can I be more like the Savior?" Thoughts will come :) Love you all!
Sister Sparks

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Week 27

Hello everyone! I have no idea why I've totally gotten out of the grove of sending updates! Hopefully this one will be a bit better! 
The biggest highlight of the week is that TWO PEOPLE WERE BAPTIZED ON SATURDAY!!! It was an AMAZING experience. Adrian  (our investigator who just got baptized) asked me to give the baptism talk, and I was so glad he did because I think I understood further the importance of baptism. There is a straight and narrow path that leads back to Heavenly Father. It's not a scary path but one that is BEAUTIFUL! I like to picture a bunch of trees and pretty flowers on this path. There's a gate we enter to get onto this path, and that gate is baptism. When performed by Priesthood authority, we make sacred covenants with God that put us on this beautiful path. Baptism and confirmation seal our repentance and give us the strength and help we need (namely, the Gift of the Holy Ghost) to continue to follow Christ. Sorry if that made little sense! The baptismal service was very nice! Adrian just GLOWED when he came up out of the water. He had a huge smile on his face! AH! I know Heavenly Father is so proud of him. 
His confirmation was also a neat experience. He will be a shining example to his family and those around him. He's such a special son of God!
A lot of awesome stuff happened this week, but I want to share just two more highlights!
I think it was Wednesday that we were downtown waiting for our ride to pick us up for dinner, and we waved to this guy walking past. He stopped and pulled out his earphones and talked to us for a while. It turns out he had really been thinking about his relationship with God lately. WHAT!? Okay MIRACLE! We met with him a few days later, and the Spirit just totally worked with him. When we talked to him about Joseph Smith and how God continues to call prophets, he looked at us and said, "Wow." He is now reading the Book of Mormon, and we are excited to see him again and tell him about the perfect plan Heavenly Father has for us--the Plan of Salvation! Amazing, huh?? That was a blessing from straight from Father!
Another miracle happened just before we came to email! We were on the bus, and this girl sat behind us, and I noticed she had the exact same bag as me! Of course, having a missionary mind, my thoughts were, "Okay perfect way to start a conversation!" As we talked, she looked at our name tags, and she asked about what we do. We bore testimony to her about how God loves all of His children, including her, and how we can gain a relationship with Him. She looked at us for a second and said, "You know what? I was thinking yesterday about how I'm not happy and how I need to go to church. I'm not even a religious person, and I felt like I needed to go to church. Now I REALLY feel like I need to go." GOD IS PREPARING PEOPLE EVERY DAY TO HEAR ABOUT THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST! I PROMISE YOU THAT! We will be meeting with her in a few days, and I'm so excited to tell my sister about God's love for her even further!

I'm so so so so grateful to be out here, and I just can't contain my happiness right now! When we feel God's love, it changes us. I truly have come to know that happiness comes from closeness to God. I used to think it came from other sources, but it doesn't. I'm not saying that nothing else makes us happy (trust me, clothes make me happy), but I'm saying LASTING, ETERNAL happiness comes from following God. I know that to be true, and I hope everyone can feel that! I hope you all have a good week!

Sister Sparks

morning jog

giving an underdog to sister Bradshaw hahaha

Sister Zaugg


all the sisters :)