Monday, March 20, 2017

51st week in Japan; 3rd Area. "God gives his toughest battles to His strongest soldiers."

Konnichiha Everyone!!   Happy Spring!!

"God gives his toughest battles to His strongest soldiers."

It's amazing how many great weeks I've had, but also hard days.  We've seen many miracles working in Kasukabe and helping people.  Bringing joy to other people's lives through the gospel and sharing the blessings I've been given brings happiness!!  It brings happiness and I feel God's love in abundance through the miracles Sister Burke and I have seen.  Even through the tough times, there is miracles because God is always working in our lives. :)

I'd like to share my testimony of the power and love of God by sharing sometime when I felt overburdened.
I've been having some days that are really hard to get through and it came to one day that my companion told me that I should go into the tatami room (where we sleep) and pray aloud to Heavenly Father and ask for help.  So I did. I remember when my companion left the room I could just feel a welcoming presence inviting me to pour out my heart.  I felt so much love!!  and my asked questions and I listened and I can testify that I did have a conversation with God.  I wrote down all the thoughts and impressions that came to me and I followed them. From the words of the prophets and apostles that I've been lead to study and ponder, I've truly learned that there is an enabling power that can only be received by and through the atonement of Jesus Christ.  We cannot get through this life without depending on the Lord and His strength.

Like form the Book of Mormon, in Alma 31, Alma and his brethren were to teach the Zoramites.  They were afflicted by the wickedness of the Zoramites who had fallen away from the true God and had separated themselves.  But the Lord provided for Alma and his brothers..

"and he also gave them strength, that they should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ. Now this was according to the prayer of Alma; and this because he prayed in faith."

I think often, prayer may seem like something that can take away agony or circumstances or that we can be free from our trials by asking for it to go away..  But that's not always what God will do.  Because we only learn and become like the Savior as we strive to be like him during our own times of Gethsemane.  Because the Savior suffered our pains and afflictions first he is the only one who knows how to reach out to us, succor us, and strengthen us.  When we ask Heavenly Father to give us strength to conquer our lives' enemies, we can have joy. Because of Jesus Christ we can have joy even in our trials.  And I can testify of it because I've read it and I've experienced it.  And everyone has frightening or terrible or easily besetting experiences but all of them can be overcome by asking for the enabling power of the atonement of Jesus Christ to be strengthened.

“I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs. …
“And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord” (Mosiah 24:14–15)

I testify that God is an all-powerful, all-knowing being who is the Father of our spirits and loves you and knows each everyone of you you name.  He reaches out to you daily.

I invite you all to have a conversation with God and listen with your heart that you may feel His love! His love truly soothes aching hearts and fixes broken souls. It is the strongest bond in families and is the source of happiness. God's love is perfect and it lifts every soul that hangs low and raises joyful ones even higher. And all that is needed is a humble heart willing to act and ask.

I love you all!! :)

心を込めて、With all my heart
パーカー姉妹 Sister Parker

Sent from the white fields of Japan 🍲🌅

Life is not always serious-- here are two videos where I appear less than polished...

video
I was tired of doing planning meetings in this video.  I hope it's okay to show this.



video

HIccups...

Monday, March 13, 2017

50th Week in Japan; 3rd Area. Using the gospel to help get over heartbreak.

We are helping that one family from Sri Lanka go to the temple. They have their recommends to do baptisms now but we are just picking another day I think.

[Responding to a comment in the family letter about some workers and their behavior]  I thought of Alma 37:37
37 Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.

Sometimes we can be spared experiences with certain people if we ask God if those particular people we could be associating with in work or business or other meaningful relationships like dating or marriage are worth having in our lives--Always thinking beforehand and asking God if what choice you're making is right, is incredibly important. God knows what we need in order to be happy and he will always guide us to what is right.

I feel that every moment that I am a missionary is important time preparing God's people for the next life.  I read a talk by Joseph Smith called "the King Follett Sermon" I think and he talked much about God's character and it enlightened my understanding.  I look at all these people and they are all preparing to meet Heavenly Father again.  It would be terrible to end this life and to realize that they didn't prepare as well as they could to meet God again.  Not perfecting or tuning themselves.. (as Jesus said that we are to be perfect like our Father in Heaven (Matthew 5:48).   I imagine it could be terrifying in a way.  There's such a need for these people to know, and more people are becoming willing to listen to the gospel.  And even if they aren't, they need to hear it and exercise their agency to accept it or not.  I say this because I love God and want to do his will. God doesn't want us to have heartbreak.  But he promises that through the atonement of Jesus Christ that our heartbreak can be healed and forgotten and lifted.   When we come unto Christ by repenting of our sins and keeping God's commandments, living according to our covenants we made, we can experience and have the joy that Jesus Christ's gospel brings.  Even when we feel bad, we can have and hold joy in our hearts because of the hope it brings.  But we don't need to feel bad or heartbroken for a longtime. Yes, it can be hard to forgive, or let go of things, but it's simple. And he is always there with open arms. 

There's an artwork picture of Jesus Christ knocking on a door with no handle.  We have to let him in, he can't come in himself without us letting us in.  I've had times where I have felt unworthy or just heartbroken or lost but when I have followed the way that Jesus Christ teaches in the scriptures, I have found peace and my burdens have been lifted.
I love this scripture because it's true. All the scriptures written by prophets of old and today are inspired and revealed by the power of the Holy Spirit. There is no deceiving.
Matthew 11: 
"28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 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.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

I know that there is a Savior for us all.  God loves you with all his heart and it is unchangeable, eternal, and always there. Whether or not you feel it or believe it. I was going through one of my studies and answering the "Why" questions to the gospel according to the pamphlets that I have. Many of them said, "Because Heavenly Father loves his children, he sent his children to earth. Because Heavenly Father loves his children, he sent his son Jesus Christ. Because God loves his children, He established families.." :) 

(Changing topics...) We have been using the ukulele a lot for fun examples in teaching. The "Lord, My Redeemer" song has some hard chords and I can't figure out the strumming pattern, but we've been playing children's song book. Speaking of teaching, I recommend studying "Teaching In the Savior's Way" book. It's great!

And I think it's great that you're visiting people at their 🏡 homes.  This ward in Kasukabe needs help.  As I've gotten older and am learning more and more how to care for other children of God, I can see who is hurting and what is going on in the ward. I want to help them the best I can. The daily miracles, or a word for evidence of the hand of the Lord guiding his children, I see is great! We have been helping strengthen the members little by little, helping them do member work, while still declaring the gospel with the angels round about us.

Thank you for your love and support!! Sister Burke is doing better by the way. :)



This is from today!! By the way Sister Griffin (on the right) is from San Diego.


(This is to her sibling:)
Have you ever eaten these Oreos?



Love,
Your missionary daughter,
Sister Parker

Sent from the white fields of Japan 🍲🌅

Sunday, March 12, 2017

49th Week in Japan; 3rd Area. Emerging as a missionary.

03/06/2017

こんにちは [Hello}、、皆さん!  ٩( ᐛ )و [Everyone!]

We've really been able to see miracles these past few weeks!  As I have adjusted to the missionary life, I feel emerged in the ways of a missionary. I feel like all I know is missionary work!  But I've never felt more happy or joy.  Although there is many trials and stresses, I always feel God's love and the guidance of the Spirit.  Every new trial that comes, Heavenly Father helps me overcome it and I get stronger and stronger everyday.

Our teaching pool has grown in Kasukabe and we've been working with the ward [congregational area] better. Building relationships, seeing more smiles, and finding and teaching more people. 
We have one investigator who we found in our Areabook.  She was an Eikaiwa [English class] student but stopped coming because she got sick.  One day, we called her up to invite her and see how she was doing and one of the first things she said was, " I'm so glad to hear from you Sisters! When I thought of you, I thought I want to go to church and pray to God.."  Since then we haven't been able to meet her but we have taught her over the phone. Just this week, we sang Her the children's hymn:  "I am a child of God."  She was so honest with her words about her life and she said she wanted to change her life.  She has come to believe that God does exist and loves her!! Especially as she has been healing we have been trying our best to help her become stronger and learn by the Spirit.  The Spirit is so so important in order to understand and believe in Heavenly Father. 

For me as a missionary, I feel the spirit constantly. Like the Liahona, compass, that led Lehi and his family through the wilderness,  in "Alma 37: 40 And it did work for them according to their faith in God; therefore, if they had faith to believe that God could cause that those spindles should point the way they should go, behold, it was done; therefore they had this miracle, and also many other miracles wrought by the power of God, day by day." 

Day by day, I feel the Spirit, I try to follow it, and I learn by the Spirit.  Same for anyone.  In order to understand that there is a high power who rules or understand things that cannot be seen that are true, needs to be understood, learned, and practiced through the Holy Spirit.

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf's words: "The Apostle Paul encourages us to seek the voice that speaks to our spirit, not just to our ears.  He taught, “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.”"

It's studying and feasting upon the words written by prophets in our scriptures, praying and conversing with God, having weekly family home evenings and counsels, and thing alike attending the temple regularly that keep the Spirit in our lives to guide us and help us during this period as we prepare to meet our father in Heaven. As his ways are higher than our ways, or we don't always understand why God does things, it can only be understood by the Spirit.

Sometimes it's hard to follow the Spirit or do what's right, but God is patient with us and he promises to help us when we choose to do follow Him and His ways. I know it! Even though I mess up all the time, I am still progressing upwards as I am giving my best. I try to talk to everyone and study Japanese in order to become a missionary that God can lead and trust to do His great work. 
I'm learning everyday of the importance of this and the need for a Saviour.  Jesus Christ really is our Saviour.  Repentance, stopping what is wrong and doing what's right and what God wants us to do, lifts burdens, changes lives, and brings peace.  Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of a peacemaker, a Giver, Leader, and a brother.

Love to all!! This week, try to find something new you can improve to become more like the Saviour. :)  



Here's a picture of us with an investigator, and a member from the Koiwa Ward (she actually is from our home town in Utah!! On the right. She got back from her mission in April, she went to the Japan Kobe mission.)
Our investigator is from Vietnam, although we had a drop lesson this day, but she just isn't ready right now. :)



Here's a wonderful family from Sri Lanka. Their testimonies are so strong!!!. They really feast upon the words of Christ and want to learn everything they can. They were baptized together two years ago and we are just finishing up their A.B. Lessons.




Potetoman  (Potato-man)



Sister Parker
パーカー姉妹。[Sister Parker]
Sent from the white fields of 日本 🌅  [Nihon = Japan]

48th Week in Japan; 3rd area.

2/27/2017

Hello,

I may not write much this week.  My companion is not feeling well, but I'm going to try and write some emails at the apartment and send them at the convenience store.  However if I can't, then I will just say that this week has been good!  I am so so so so so happy about the progress in the things you wrote me about!!! I know God is too!  I love you all so much.

We had transfer calls today and we, Sister Burke and I, are both staying this transfer.  We just started transfer 9, whoop whoop!

Sister Parker

Sent from the white fields of Japan 🍲🌅

picture from internet--Japanese flowers


47th Week in Japan; 3rd area. Remembering, teaching, volunteering.

2/20/2017

Time was just kind of everywhere today, we went bowling with an investigator and the Zone missionaries, and then rain came, and then a couple members called-- one of them is so sweet, bless her heart, but that took a little bit a time.  Elder Holland came to Japan and he spoke to the Stakes [multiple congregations] of the Tokyo mission. That was so cool! And here's something I wrote kind of recently:

There is something I've been pondering about lately and that is remembering. At the missionary zone meeting we had discussions about obedience and repentance and how they are closely tied together. I am such a forgetful little もの [thing], but all humans are forgetful, if we remembered everything we did and felt and saw then we would remember the consequence of sin and not repeatedly sin. But then that would be against God's plan. It often and repeatedly says in the Book of Mormon to remember, remember how merciful God has been to our fathers. But also as we remember the moments that we have and the spiritual experiences and understanding we are getting, it keeps us having hope and joy in life. One way we can always remember Jesus Christ is remembering those experiences, especially the good ones!!, because he is central to everything and he is there with us in every step we take.

The week before this week at Zone blitz, we went to a library and asked to volunteer and we exchanged contact info. The lady we spoke with said they were interested in us reading English books to children. She asked if we could volunteer over many libraries in Saitama or just the one in Iwatsuki that we were at. We told her there are missionaries all over so they could probably help volunteer too! That was miracle!
She gave us a call a couple days ago and we set up a time to meet and talk about it more! Next transfer will be on March 15th. We are hoping that we can get mission school more sponsored by this or just give them fliers to keep!   [K-mom:  I don't know exactly what "mission school" is-- a new term to me!]

Some of the greatest miracles this week was first, when we were visiting members, there was this one less-active we were trying to meet but she seemed to be busy at the time so we were going to come back in ten minutes or so. So we pray, and go housing [looking for potential people to teach in their residential areas]  at a complex across the street. On the fourth floor (but not last door), there was a lady who answered. We introduced ourselves and she said she's sorry that she believes in Buddhism and regularly practices it, but she has always had an interest in the cross. This was pretty cool, we talked a bit about Jesus Christ and his church being restored and I felt power come through me. She was so interested in what we were saying and I could see it in her eyes. So I asked her if she would meet us next week to learn more with a time and she said no. But! I felt the Spirit testify through me. She actually is a clothing repairer so she happens to start work and will be busy all week. She does have our phone number though and we are going to try to visit again sometime.

Half-day exchanges we so fun! We went visiting less-actives with a member and one member we finally were able to talk to! We shared the area Stake [multi-congregation] plan and gave her the little brochure. It was really effective sharing this with her. She usually doesn't come to church because her body is not healthy, but when we testified and talked about the 'JOY' triangle and the loving, strengthening, increasing part we felt the Spirit [K-mom: "JOY Triangle" I assume is a teaching technique which she hasn't explained to me before]. It was simple and I felt like it was really good for her especially as a less-active [less involved/attending] member. We were able to help her feel the spirit and we were able to help her want to grow closer to God. I know that the area plan will help people find joy!! Especially as we are sharing with others our experiences as we focus on Jesus and others and then ourselves.

At the global family and friends community last night, we talked to a few people and this one lady comes right up to us and says she's looking to give a job for another English teacher. Of course we can't because we are volunteers, but she was very interested in us and church and mission school.  Everything! We gave her a chirashi [flyer] and pamphlet and said she really wants to come to church and read the pamphlet.  She also wants to come to our Toeic class (a type of English skills class) on Saturdays. She's free on the weekends. She has such a strong desire to learn so we expect to see her soon! Unfortunately, we were not able to get her phone number, but if she is ready, she has the church address and phone number so she can contact us.

I really feel the love of Jesus Christ growing in me for the people of Kasukabe. When sitting in the congregation at church, I think the Spirit told me who needs strengthening. I could see in some of the children who need more help or strength from the gospel and I think that's a blessing God has given to me to perform my calling. 


Cultural Note in response to K-Mom's question about Matcha:  Japanese Matcha is だめ [not good] for the body。In replacement of tea, the LDS members usually drink herbal tea like robust tea or mugicha (barley tea).




Bowling with the investigator and the missionaries


video


Love love ❤️ Love, Sister Parker

Sent from the white fields of Japan

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Apology for the pause button

3/8/2017

K-Mom here:  Sorry it's been about 3 weeks since I've done a post for Sister Kirsten Parker, my daughter.  She is doing fine.  It's just mom here that is struggling with some things.  I'll post a couple of her letters soon.