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

Week 70

Hello everyone! This week was awesome!! It was full of strange
experiences and cool experiences.

This week I attended my last zone conference. It was so sad! I gave my
"departing testimony". I went up there with no plan, and what came out
was a true, sure testimony of things I've come to know. One thing I
KNOW is God is a forgiving God. I have forgiveness from Father in
Heaven, and sure feels good! I  know we have the potential to become
like Him through the Atonement of Christ.

I learned today in Alma 33 why we pray in the name of  Christ. I had
studied this out about 6 months ago, and I couldn't find an answer
that completely satisfied me. I read in the Bible dictionary about when
we pray in the name of Christ, we pray in the mind of Christ. We pray
for righteous things that God would grant. That quenched my thirst a
little bit, but in verse 11 of Alma 33, it says, "And thou didst hear
me because of mine afflictions and my sincerity; and it is because of
thy Son that thou hast been thus merciful unto me, therefore I will
cry unto thee in all mine afflictions, for in thee is my joy; for thou
hast turned thy judgments away from me, because of thy Son." Heavenly
Father can grant us mercy because the Son satisfied the demands of
justice. It's so simple to me now! What an amazing truth the Book of
Mormon taught me. That Book is from God!

We got hardcore rejected by a lot of people this week, so that was a
bit sad, but along with the lowlights came the highlights!!

This week we had an awesome lesson with the man we met a few weeks ago
on his porch. He committed to being baptized when he received an
answer. He emailed us and said he was devoting all day after church to
read the Book of Mormon :) It's exciting when you see that kind of
dedication! The two young girls we're teaching came to church for the
third time. The older girl gave a talk on the Holy Ghost which we
helped her write. It just warmed my heart to see her teaching eternal
truths that will bless her life forever. They also attended the
baptism of an eight year old girl on Sunday. They absolutely loved the
baptism and expressed desires to have their own baptism by "the
Priesthood". I'm so happy for them!!

Okay well I have to go!
Sister Sparks

Ps. We got our hands kissed by a drunk man in McDonalds, so thereyago

 Sister Sibley!

 Dinner at the Aders is always fun...I won the contest if you were wondering

Week 69

This week was great! I literally love our ward soooo much! They are HILARIOUS! We teach a Book of Mormon class each week, and this week I honestly was trying not to crack up. We were reading 1 Nephi 3, and we were focusing on the principle of faith. Somehow the conversation went from faith to, "Now what I'm wondering is why did they bring tents? What kind of tents were they, and how many did they have to bring?"  "Well what about their teeth? Wouldn't they be all gross? They would have so many cavities." "No, it's all about the gum disease." Hahahaha I just die! I love them all so much! 

This week we had plans to do service at St. Vincent de Paul's, but a series of unfortunate events happened, and we weren't able to. It worked out perfectly though because we got a call from a lady in our ward who really needed help at that moment. We got our work clothes on and helped her load tree branches into a trailer . It was cool to see how God's hand was in that day. Everything cancelled which made us pretty sad, but then we filled the day with a really meaningful activity! 

Thursday was a complete miracle day. We went to one of the sketchier parts of our area, it we came out alive, so there's that. Just from being there for 3 hours we set an appointment with people we haven't been able to get a hold of lately, teach another lady about the Book of Mormon and committed her to read it, and found a new investigator! 
We had met this younger woman probably 3 weeks ago, and she was very interested in learning about the Book of Mormon, but we could never find a time that worked for us to stop by. We left it alone for a while, and then we ran into her at the store. She expressed she was looking for help because they needed food. We promised we would try to help, but then we weren't able to go to that area for about a week and a half. During this time we gathered up all the food we could find and put it in a box and then into our trunk just in case we would see her randomly. SO a week and a half later (which was this Thursday), we stopped by her house, and she wasn't there. Her father answered though, so we talked to him. We were walking off the porch, but we really felt like we needed to just give the father the food we gathered. Right before he shut the door, we hollered, "Wait!! We have food for you!" He was so thankful and welcomed us right in! We were able to teach them about the Book of Mormon!! Her mother had read a couple of chapters already and invited us to come back :) We were so excited!!!!!

Saturday we taught two young girls about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I haven't taught many children on my mission, so it was a pretty new experience for me. In Preach My Gospel, the book Missionaries study from, President John Taylor said, "It is true intelligence for a man to take a subject that is mysterious and great in itself, and to unfold and simplify it so that a child can understand it." I'm not saying I'm intelligent, but I am saying Heavenly Father has helped me understand this message over the course of 18 months of study, that I felt confident in simplifying so these little girls could understand. It's hard to express in words how I felt, but it was a neat experience for me. These little girls glowed! They loved what we taught, and they came to church the next day. We are so happy!!!
I spoke in church yesterday! The subject I was given was how knowledge prepares us to serve God. It was an AWESOME topic, and I learned a lot! It's a bit hard because I really wanted to prepare for the talk, but there was never time haha. I pondered the subject of course, but I basically just got up there and talked about the revelation God had given me on the subject. It was super cool because I never felt like I ran out of things to say. I'm grateful Heavenly Father helped me organize my thoughts and present the message. I also remember feeling a distinct warmness inside. I'm grateful for the Comforter who is sent from God to help us in all situations. 

Well, that's all the writing I have in me today! Actually I'll share a scripture I read this morning. Alma 28, "2 And thus there was a tremendous battle; yea, even such an one as never had been known among all the people in the land from the time Lehi left Jerusalem; yea, and tens of thousands of the Lamanites were slain and scattered abroad.

3 Yea, and also there was a tremendous slaughter among the people of Nephi; nevertheless, the Lamanites were driven and scattered, and the people of Nephi returned again to their land.

4 And now this was a time that there was a great mourning and lamentation heard throughout all the land, among all the people of Nephi--

5 Yea, the cry of widows mourning for their husbands, and also of fathers mourning for their sons, and the daughter for the brother, yea, the brother for the father; and thus the cry of mourning was heard among all of them, mourning for their kindred who had been slain.

6 And now surely this was a sorrowful day; yea, a time of solemnity, and a time of much fasting and prayer.

11 And the bodies of many thousands are laid low in the earth, while the bodies of many thousands are moldering in heaps upon the face of the earth; yea, and many thousands are mourning for the loss of their kindred, because they have reason to fear, according to the promises of the Lord, that they are consigned to a state of endless wo.

12 While many thousands of others truly mourn for the loss of their kindred, yet they rejoice and exult in the hope, and even know, according to the promises of the Lord, that they are raised to dwell at the right hand of God, in a state of never-ending happiness."

After reading that, go to and watch "Because of Him" 
Because of Christ, we can overcome physical and spiritual death-- two things that would keep us from living with God again. Rest assured there is a resurrection and a life after we pass from the earth. If we live righteously, we need not fear death so much or have as much pain as the Lamanites did at the death of their loved ones. Yes, of course we would mourn if one of our family members died, but we would have a brightness of hope that we would see them again and that they are in a state of peace and happiness. 

I hope that made sense! Okay well I love you all, and I hope you all have a chance to come to Pennsylvania because it is the best place on earth!!!!!!!!!!

Sister Sparks 

One of my favorite people EVER!!! Linda

Week 67 and 68

There was no update on week 67 but below is week 68.

Hello! Sorry I haven't updated in a while! I'll try to share some good
details this time!!
Okay so my companion's name is Sister Ewell (pronounced "you'll"), and
she's from Henderson, Nevada. She just came from the MTC, so she's on
fire! She's such a great missionary! It's been a great first week.
We're already able to be freaks together, so that's a good sign.

One of the first nights we were together, we were planning for the
next day in our room, and we heard this big crash from the living
room. I didn't think much of it, so I went out to see what it was. As
soon as I poked my head in there, Sister Ewell grabbed me by the arm
and pulled me back in our room and shut the door. She proceeded to
freak me out by telling me scary stories and telling me we needed to
get weapons. She grabbed a baseball bat, and I had my pocket knife. We
yelled to the "intruder" that we knew Taekwondo. It took us a while to
build up the courage, but we ran into the living rook just to find
that around the corner, I picture frame had fallen to the
least we will be prepared for next time! Hahaha

This is soooo funny. Okay so one night I was dreaming about a man
giving me a piece of white gum that looked like a little ball. I
gladly took it from him and held it in my hand for a couple of hours.
Later in the day, (still in my dream) I remembered this piece of gum
and bit into it. I suddenly woke up from my dream with a weird taste
in my mouth...that piece of gum turned out to be my wax earplug that I
had apparently taken out of my ear and bit into hahahahaha. I just
wiped it off and put it back in hahaha.

Okay so spiritual highlight! We have been super busy with zone
trainings and iPad trainings and planning that we didn't have much
time to be out. The Lord ,are the little time we did have effective!
We were searching for a less active member's house, but we couldn't
find it for the life of us! We out the address into my GPS, and it
took us to an Italian Club. We figured we were in the wrong place, but
we thought we would try, we ran the doorbell, and the bouncer came out
and asked what the heck we were doing hahaha. We tried to convert him,
but he said no. He directed us toward our destination though, so that
was nice! We parked and walked around trying to find her address, and
it was literally non existent. I was a little bit frustrated and
wanted to give up, but I just felt like we should walk down a certain
road just in case. At the end of that road, we saw a guy sitting on
his porch in a wife beater and a speedo smoking and drinking and
listening to Led Zeppelin. Naturally, I'm thinking, "GOLD. Let's talk
to him." Sister Ewell looked like a scared little sheep thinking,
"What the heck!?" We can't talk to him!!"
To make a long story short, we shared with him the message of the
restoration, and he readily accepted. Friends of his had given him a
Book of Mormon years ago, but he said, "I haven't read it with the
real intent that Moroni guy talked about." It was such an awesome

God knows His children. He planted him there, and He told us to walk
just a little bit longer. Heavenly Father is a loving God. He created
us, sent us to learn to be like Him, and fully intends to have us
return to love with Him. He gives us the tools we need in this life to
accomplish those purposes--to become like Him and return to live with

You have an earthly Father and a Heavenly Father. Ponder that!!
Love, Sister Sparks

Week 66

No email update this week, just pictures.

Bishop's gremlin dog

 saying goodbye to Julia

 Sister Zaugg

 Sister Wade

 on our way to ipad training

 the gang back together!! Pitt 2nd gang...

Week 65

No update this week, just pictures from Sister Sparks.

horse days

 Trigger is his name

 lots of cobble roads

Sister Hadzik telling my future hahaha

 last district meeting!!

 Sister Wade!!!

 we cleaned out the apartment…

 pday...she's terrible at backing me up hahaha

 Sister Martin's horse!!!

 out with Hayley Hoffman

 playing the drums at a referral's shop. I took a video of me playing the song from That Thing You Do

Week 64

There was no update this week, here are a few pictures Olivia sent.

senior center service. I look crazy haha!

 jenga after district meeting