March 31, 2014
So my new area is Katy and yes I am on cloud 9. This has been a stellar week. God is so good to me!
First off I just have to tell you about my last night in Louetta. The picture enclosed is from the last lesson that I had. We did a noche de hogar with some of my favorites (please tell me you can point out Francisco- and yes he is smiling. this foto is already hanging on my wall in my new apartment). Anyways, it was a really special night. Obviously I was a mess when I bore my final testimony. We talked about desires. For a fantastic talk, look up, "according to the desire of (our) hearts" by Elder Maxwell. Basically I just know that nothing is too hard for God and I know that if we have even a little particle of desire to be good people, God will work with it. It is not done in a single moment, like Elder Maxwell says, but rather it is a process of time. I know that through the atonement, our greatest desires can be turned into a reality. We just need to have that desire. So start fueling it!
I think one reason I am so grateful for the mission is the passion that it has given me for the gospel. I love it! I thought I had always loved it and been grateful for it but now, wow its different. I mean, I really love it. I am so happy to know and feel the truth on a daily basis. It is true joy.
I bet you are all just dying to hear how Katy is. Well let me tell you. Its amazing. It is completely different than anywhere else I have served and I am so glad because I really think I need this place. The ward is unbelievably strong. The women here are inspirational. I haven't even been here a week yet I already feel like I know how to be a better wife, mother, friend, leader, and disciple. Yesterday during testimony meeting, it was only hermanas that spoke and they shook the ground. Literally. It was one of the most powerful meetings I have been too. I am so glad to be here. The majority of the members are from Colombia or Venezuela which is so fun. There is this one lady from El Salvador who is already my best friend. I don't know how I always get attached to them. The Spanish here is different. It is beautiful- very elegant and emotional. I realize that might sound a little weird but I don't know how else to put it. One reason I love this ward so much is because I feel like these Hermanas are my kindred spirits. We literally are the same people and its fun. I haven't laughed so much my entire mission. It is going to be a great next few months. The missionary work here is different but I am so excited for it. The investigators that I have meet are amazing. And yes, they are already my best friends. There is this one family that Hna Tanner found (yes Hna Tanner served here, how perfect is that) who I am obsessed with. They are the Moreno family. Keep an eye out for them in letters because good things are about to happen.
My first day here a member gave me crepes. How did they know? Literally, I think that was a tender mercy from God telling me this is where I am suppose to be. There is also a keyboard in our apartment, when I saw that I just about cried. God knows even the LITTLEST desires of my heart. There is also a little lady here who is obsessed with sailboats. Honestly, I have never seen anything like it. She talked to us for an hour straight about sailboats and the ocean. It reminded me of Kayla and her little phase when she was obsessed- except this was 100% more.
This week I have really gained an even deeper testimony and appreciation for the sacrifice of my older brother Jesus Christ. There is a man in my ward who was excommunicated for some reason. He was just re-baptized a few months ago. Last night at dinner he told me his whole life story. Never once did he separate himself from God. Sure he made some bad decisions and yes he was a little too prideful to admit to them. But he testified that the spirit changed his heart. Through a modern day profeta, he received direct revelation from God that he needed to start his repentance process. So he didn't even wait for the conference to be over to find his bishop. He still went to church every week during this trial. He just was not permitted to participate- not even read a scripture, sing a hymn, nada! I saw how that broke him when he was recounting this experience. By the end of the story, I was so grateful for Christ's sacrifice just for this hermano. He is a different person because Christ paid the price. He is the most humble man I have ever met. He is now a teacher over the young men. Him and his wife will be sealed in the temple this December. I know the atonement is real. It works when we truly let the spirit work on us. It is not easy. The hermano even testified of it, but he and I can assure you that it is possible because Christ lives.
I am still in the same stake as the Louetta ward so I was fortunate enough to go watch the women broadcast in my old building and see my many mothers there. Afterwards, at 9 o’clock was the Acuna baptism. I literally thought that I would not be able to stay because I live 1 hour away and a member was had taken us to the broadcast. But again my pray was answered and 5 minutes before we were going to start heading home with the member, my old ward missionary leader caught me and said that he and his wife would be more than happy to take me and my companion back to the apartment after the baptism so that I could stay. Without a doubt that was the kindest gesture anyone has ever shown me. I got to see Collette's dad baptized. I also go to hear Yesenia speak at the baptism!!! That was the cherry on top because I literally had no idea that was going to happen. As missionaries we sang Nearer My God to Thee while they were changing and when I looked out to the crowd I just lost all composure. I was no help singing that song. The spirit was so strong. I know God lives. We are His children. His church is on the earth today.
This feels like the longest email I have ever written. I have more to say too but I think this suffices me. I am extremely happy. I know I always say that but it is true. And even if it is hard to believe, I am happier every day. The 18 months to be a missionary so to help me remember that happiness truly does come from service. There is no other source
that we have in this life that invites God in like service. So go serve! I promise you will be happier.
I know that I am in God's hands and there is no place I would rather be.
Hermanita "Katy" Parry