Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New 2 more days! Dakota was baptized!

                                                                                                December 30, 2013
Kirkham Family (aka the best family in the world!!),

Wow. What a treat to be able to Skype, talk and see you guys on Christmas day! That was so awesome. You guys all look so great! That was the best Christmas present ever and it won't ever be forgotten. I hope that the rest of your Christmas went well :) 

This past week was still very productive in our missionary work although we had Christmas. We were very blessed! We are still teaching Jesse and Meradith and have scheduled a baptismal date with both of them for January! I have a feeling that we will need to push the date back to help them be fully prepared but things are still looking up for them. We had jokingly been telling Jesse that he needs to talk to his manager to change his shifts so that he has Sunday off... and if he is able to get it off then it's a sign from God that he needs to go to church! ... and guess what happened? He got Sunday off! haha!

On Christmas Eve we went over to the Steflick's home for Christmas Eve dinner. They are the sweetest family. They had us over for Thanksgiving as well! We were spoiled with having the bishop's smoked turkey... mmm mmm!!!  Christmas morning, I Skyped you guys!!!! =D best 40 minutes ever! haha You could probably see the commotion going on in the background at the end of the call, but some people came over to join us at the Kidd's home for a Christmas lunch/dinner. We had fun meeting the Kidd's neighbors, and then the Kidd's wanted to watch the movie, “Joy to the World,” and sing some Christmas hymns. It was a good way to try and make it feel like Christmas, but in reality, it really just felt like another day ;)  It's all good though! I really am so grateful for the opportunity for being able to spread the word of God on Christmas. What an amazing opportunity! Later that day we met with some single, lonely members of the ward and sang some Christmas hymns to a member in the nursing home. It was a sweet experience to see her face light up when we came. No one had been to visit her on Christmas and we were so grateful that we were able to see her. No better way to be spending that special day.

Christmas night, the Sister Training Leaders came for exchanges and I went to Deltona for the next day. Surprisingly that was only the second time that I have left my area for exchanges. I learned a lot about how to work more effectively with members and enjoyed getting to know Sister Low (the STL) more. We have so much in common! Not to mention that we were born a day apart ;) I love her! During the exchange, we went to a member's home for dinner. She is a sweet lady that is very excited about missionary work. During the closing prayer that she gave, she prayed for practically everything including genealogy work. As she was thanking Heavenly Father for genealogy she said, "We are SO blessed to do the work for our great, great, great, greats, greats, greats, greats, greats, greats, greats, greats, greats, greats, greats, etc." (I think you get the idea)! hahahaha every time she said another "great" she would get more emotional too. It was a very sweet prayer... but it was soo funny. Sister Low and I were trying so hard not to laugh.

Saturday, we had two baptisms in the ward!! The elders had a baptism at 3:00 p.m. and then we had Dakota's baptism at 5:00 p.m. Dakota's family wanted him to have a separate baptismal service. They were both very sweet services. Dakota was smiling ear to ear after the baptism and he said that he felt so good. :) Cool thing: Dakota's uncle had been baptized 13 years ago, (December 2000- same year that Dakota was born,) in the same font that Dakota was baptized in! Crazy! So cool though. The spirit was very strong that night. The next morning Brother Westcott confirmed Dakota a member of the church and conferred the Holy Ghost. It was such a sweet blessing. In the blessing, Dakota was promised to be an example to his family, and that he would be able to fulfill a full time mission. My eyes filled up with tears with the thought that not only had we been able to help Dakota, but if Dakota stays strong, he will in turn be able to help so many others! It's just a chain reaction! The gospel is so true and so perfect. :) 

Last night we had the most spiritual member lesson that I have had on the mission. We were over at the first counselor in the bishopric's home. We had each person take a turn talking about what they know to be true and what they love about the gospel. After we helped them recognize that the Spirit was there as we had heard truth. We then helped them see that it's through the humble testimonies of those that share the Gospel that the Spirit will touch the hearts of others testifying and expounding on their words. You don't have to have eloquent words to share what you love and know!! It's in your heart, if you just have enough courage to START talking and open your mouth to share it with others, the Spirit WILL help you. This is the Lord's work, He is not going to abandon you when you are helping Him with HIS work. So don't be scared :) Be happy! Be Loving! Be an example! Share the simple truths that you love about the Gospel. Don't be afraid of reaching out in love to those around you. The Lord will be there with you :) 

Well, I better get off. Once again, I was so excited and so happy to Skype you guys!! I hope you had a merry rest of your Christmas and that you enjoy the New Year!! I'm so excited and so ready for the year 2014. There are so many GREAT things that are awaiting each one of us... up to the very end of the year ;) Wow. This will be a year to never forget :) I love you guys. Remember, never be afraid to share something that means so much to you and that you know would only do good to others around you. You will be blessed as you do so!! 

I LOVE YOU! I'LL SEE YOU THIS YEAR (and two days)!!! haha :) HAPPY 2014!!!! 


Sister Kirkham

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

It's Christmas Adam! Merry Christmas!

Family!!                                                                            12/23/2013

Wow! I can't believe that it's Christmas Adam! haha! Time is flying.... just like Santa's sleigh and reindeer... haha.. anyways! wow! Where to start with this week. We have seen a lot of miracles. I really don't have a whole lot of time to write... but I will try my best to write the highlights! 

We had a lesson earlier this week with Jesse and Meradith (the investigators we found on my birthday). The spirit was very strong as we talked. The most surprising part was that Meradith had started reading from the Book of Mormon and was all the way to Words of Mormon! So sweet! I think she understood a big majority of it as well. :) A couple days later we had a second lesson with them and committed both Jesse and Meradith to be baptized on January 18th! I know that Meradith is feeling the spirit guide her. Jesse is going along with it but we are hoping that it becomes more sincere as time goes. They need some time to prepare for baptism... but with a broken heart and contrite spirit all is possible! :) We have high hopes that things will work out for them. They had both met missionaries back in Tennessee but moved for Jesse's work. There are small miracles left and right that have been showing them the restored gospel. :) 

Ed and Michele are doing well! Ed had a meeting with the bishop and is planning on getting the priesthood pretty soon. We are so excited for him! Today is actually his one month mark since he got baptized!!! I can't believe that it's been that long already.... They got me a cute, green Christmas scarf. So cute! love them. 

We had a less active member named Shawn come to church for the first time in YEARS. A member of the bishopric was totally floored when he saw him at church. We had a lesson with him and he is really just trying to change his life around for the better. I've come to learn on the mission how sweet the joy and spirit is of those that need not just to be found... but those that need to be rescued. There are so many members of the church that have lost their way and simply just need direction and love to know how to feel the love of the Savior again. It's so exciting to see them return! We had another less active couple return and go to church for the past two weeks as well and hope that we can continue helping them return.

Dakota is getting baptized this next Saturday! We are so happy that this time has finally come for him. He is such a sweet kid. I can't believe that he is Rilee's age... just blows my mind. He's got good support within the family and within the ward so we see a bright future for him. Continue to keep him in your prayers especially during this last week before his baptism! 

On Friday we had a Trainer Follow up Meeting. It went really well and we all received great advice. President was also very pleased to tell us that all of the trainees were adjusting well. I know that Sister Bracken is doing really well! I love her! 

After we had a Christmas Mission Conference! It was my first time being together with the whole mission. It was super fun to see all of my old companions and other missionary friends that I have made these past 6 1/2 months! You really do make life long friends out here in the mission. I love them so much! It's funny how much more you realize you love your companions after they are gone... cause once you see them  again you get so excited! haha! As I mentioned last week, I was asked to give a musical number for the conference. I played 'Oh Holy Night' and felt really good about it! :) I had a lot of people compliment and thank me. Man... you don't realize how much you miss playing the piano (or playing soccer, etc.) until you get a real taste of it. I miss playing!!! I'm getting pretty rusty... it's sad and scary but hopefully I'll be able to pick it back up when I get home. It's all worth it though!! The best part of the Conference was that at the end President Berry read off the lyrics to a song called, 'Strength Beyond My Own', which is all about temples... and then he had us watch this gorgeous music video to the song (and of course the Bountiful temple was the first one it showed!!!). I just knew that President wouldn't torture us about talking about the beauty of the temple unless we would actually be able to go.... the thought of being able to be back inside the temple walls made me start crying. ha I MISS THE TEMPLE SO MUCH. I never thought that I would miss it THAT much. But I do. I miss the peaceful, sweet feeling of the spirit inside and ahhhh I just yearn to go back.... anyways, President Berry was being the sweet man that he is... and announced that we can now go, as a mission, to the temple once in January and once in July!!!!!!!!!!!! =D I'M SO EXCITED! Seriously... the best Christmas present that President Berry could have given us. It was such a joyous feeling hugging and crying with all these other missionaries that were also so excited to go back to the temple. It's a moment that I will never forget. It reminds me of when the Kirtland temple was first built and how the Saints gathered together rejoicing with having a temple. There really were no words to express how happy we all were when we found out. I hope that I never take the blessing of the temple for granted ever again. It has been such a big blessing in my life. "I love to see the temple.... I'll go inside... in January!!!!" haha :) 

Today we had District P-day and we made graham cracker houses!! Glad that I was able to keep the tradition going ;) We made a Florida home during Christmas.... which consists of bright colored homes, lots of green and water... and Sister Missionaries!!! ;) haha I'll have to send you a picture :) 

Well, I better go.... but I'll see you on WEDNESDAY!!!! ah!!! I'm soo excited to talk to some of you guys and see your faces!!!! I LOVE YOU!!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!


Sister Kirkham

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Katie shares "All within a couple hours, we had three new investigators and one new former investigator to teach! Happy Birthday to me!!!...It was definitely a gift from God."

                                                                                      December 16, 2013

I seriously can't remember much of what happened this past week…It's all a blur. haha I'll try my best to remember! 

My birthday was a very happy birthday! Thanks so much for all the sweet gifts and love that you sent my way. It means so much. I love you!! It's super weird to think that I'm the big TWO-ONE!!! ahhh.... weird!  Also weird to think that I'm now less than a year away until I'm done with my mission.... didn't I just get out here?? How in the world have I been out this long?! Hahaha! The day of my birthday we had interviews with President Berry. Everyone there greeted me with 'Happy Birthdays" and I had an interesting interview with the President! The whole interview was pretty much about online proselyting in the near future. I don't know a whole lot other than out there somewhere is a chance that we will be starting Facebook, etc. at the New Year.... we will see! Honestly, I'm a little intimidated to get on Facebook... haha! It will just be weird. I'm excited for the opportunities that are ahead to help move the work forward though :) 

After interviews, ALL of our appointments fell through... ugh. Those days aren't the best. We just followed up on our back up plans though and saw many miracles! We tried dropping by a less active's home and they weren't there so we started knocking on doors. We knocked on the 3rd door and this man named Cord came out and immediately sat us down to teach him. His mom who lives a little ways up north is reading the Book of Mormon right now and he was interested in learning more. We taught him the Restoration and he wanted us to come back. Literally FIVE seconds after leaving Cord's home, this lady was walking onto the sidewalk from getting out of her car and asked us what we were doing. We told her who we were and she invited us into her house! We went inside and taught her and her husband and they have been reading the Book Mormon! We left their place and we decided to try dropping by a former Investigator (Jason's) home who lived a couple doors down. As we were walking up to the front door, Jason leaned over the balcony above the front door saying, 'Hi'. He said that he had seen us walking around and hoped that we would come by his place. Apparently missionaries had started teaching him back in the summer but after both of those missionaries left the area, the two new missionaries that white-washed the area either lost contact or didn't try seeing him.... so he was super excited to have us there! All within a couple hours, we had three new investigators and one new former investigator to teach! Happy Birthday to me!!! haha! It was definitely a gift from God. I don't think I've ever seen anything like that so far on my mission. It was awesome :) I was very spoiled by some members in the ward as well. Brother Westcott doorbell ditched a bouquet of flowers off (and we saw the whole thing through our window hahaha), What a great guy! Ed and Michele gave me a Christmas teddy bear with the year '2013' on the foot along with a big ice cream cake from Ritter's that they handed out at a scripture study class later that night. So cute of them!! I also received a lot of  texts and calls as well. Let's just say that I felt very loved. Thank you so much for all of the cardigans and things! I will love those for the winter time. It really was such a great way to celebrate my 21 years of life! haha :) 

We had a lesson with Wayne again. His member friend from Orlando that gave us the referral came to the lesson. The spirit was super strong in the lesson. We had tried committing him to baptism before but he kept putting it off and talking about "next summer". At the end of the lesson, I had a very strong prompting to invite him to baptism. I did, and he said 'yes'! I didn't feel like it was the right timing to push him to commit a date yet though. So we are getting there ;) It was such a miracle though! He commented on how at the last lesson he wouldn't have said 'yes'. We asked him what had changed and he said that he is coming to know Jesus Christ more than he ever has in his life and it's changing him. We really are seeing changes with him and hope that things will work out for Wayne :) He's a great guy. He lost the bottom half of one of his legs last year... but he has the best attitude about it. He is actually carving out a wooden leg! It's sick! hahaha! I promise I will get a picture and send it to you :) It's just so him. He was a former sailor and he has carved out a black anchor on the front of it. So awesome. 

We went over to a less active's home called the Santana's. They fed us Puerto Rican food (super good!) and then we had a lesson with them. They opened up to us and told us why they hadn't been going to church. It was a big miracle for them to do that... they haven't told anyone else about it. We talked through things and they decided that they would go to the Ward Christmas Party and church this weekend. They went to both and I think they felt very loved, missed and welcomed back into the ward. I sure hope that they continue coming. They are a great couple. Please keep them in your prayers! 

This next week is going to be super crazy. Our whole week is pretty much already full and scheduled. That's NEVER happened to me, not even close. We are being soo blessed right now!! We are working super hard but are seeing so many blessing from doing so. :) I'm a little nervous about this next Friday though... the Assistants asked me to give a musical number at a Mission Christmas Devotional.... yes, the whole mission will be there.... first time I've been with the whole mission. ah!! There is a member in the ward that has some piano music... so I'm going to be playing a version of 'O Holy Night' on the piano... I don't have much time to practice it because of our crazy schedule... so PLEASE PRAY FOR ME. hahahaha I'm getting pretty nervous about it. I'm honored to play though! 

Well, I can't believe that we are almost a week away until I get to Skype you! ah! I'm sooo excited to talk and SEE you guys! ah it will be the best Christmas gift I could ask for :) I still don't have a specific time of day for sure of when I will Skype you guys... but keep your Skype open, ready and waiting in the afternoon. I will for sure email you next Monday with a more specific time. I love you guys so much! I hope that you are enjoying having Christmas Break. Angie, GOOD LUCK WITH FINALS! You'll be awesome, I'm sure. I love you!!!! 


Sister Kirkham

Sunday, December 15, 2013

New Smyrna Beach pics

I'm a trainer


So... I have to let you know.... I will be getting my first daughter/TRAINEE tomorrow!!!! AHH!!! hahaha :) gotta love missionary lingo ;) but seriously, I've been called to train! I'm super excited... but super nervous. I know that it's going to be a very humbling experience for me. I'm very excited to love and serve my trainee with all my heart :) I just pray and hope that I'll be able to help her feel loved, welcomed and help her confidence grow as a daughter of God and as a missionary. The first couple months as a missionary can be a roller coaster ride and with Christmas around the bend it might be a little shaky. But I have faith that a lot of great things are going to come from these next several transfers! Since I am training (which takes 12 weeks/3 months) I will most likely be here in New Smyrna Beach for a total of 6 months! 1/3 of my mission! That is kind of a weird thought... but I'm very grateful for it. I'm so grateful that I'm going to be surrounded by the people of this area for the holidays and to be with Ed and Michele longer. I was so worried I was going to leave!

Saturday night I found out about transfers. It was pretty crazy. My District Leader, Elder Flood, called us and started talking about Sister Damato leaving... we were super confused with how he knew she was leaving because we usually wouldn't know about transfers until Monday morning in an email. We didn't believe Elder Flood until the Zone Leaders called us and told us that Sister Damato really was leaving! Within MINUTES after getting off the phone with the Zone Leaders, President Berry's ringtone went off and my stomach did a couple flip flops... President then asked if I would train! Apparently there are only 4 sisters coming in this transfer... and there is only 1 other sister out of the other 25 sisters that I came out with that have yet been trainers, so that was flattering to hear from the President! But I also know that I've been asked to train because I have a lot to learn. Please keep my trainee and myself in your prayers. I'm sure I will have a lot to talk about next Monday! :) While we were on the phone with the President, he also told us that he has changed how transfers how happening. From now on if there is a change in transfers, the zone leaders will call those that will be leaving and let them know. Then those missionaries that received a call will meet at the Wetherby chapel in Orlando for a devotional, the announcement of companionships and areas, departing missionary testimonies and lunch! Sounds fun but also stressful! That will be crazy to find out who you are with and where you are going like that! It should be fun though :)

This past week we saw quite a few members because of Thanksgiving. In the morning, we had quite a few extra miles on our car so we decided to take an hour and heart attack several of our members to say "thank you". My adrenalin got pumping a little when we thought we were going to get caught! haha! We went over to the former bishop's home at 1:00 p.m. for Thanksgiving. Four different old women in the family started talking about how I should start writing their missionary, Jeff, who is serving out in California... it was sooo funny. Sister Damato was making fun of me so much and I was trying so hard not to laugh! hahaha! We went over a couple days later to rake leaves for one of those same elderly women and she pulled out all these pictures of the missionary and kept bringing up how I should write him... hahaha People are trying to set me up out here!! haha! But no worries. I've got my "missionary goggles" on tight!!! Later, on Thanksgiving evening, we went over to the Stelflick's home and had dinner with them and the Call family (the Jessup's friends)! It was a lot of fun to be with them :)

We had a member cancel on us last second to come to a lesson with Wayne... we had tried getting a hold of everyone that we could... and I had this thought come to mind that we should ask Ed to come! Ed was super excited to come and he was SOO awesome in the lesson! :) I was bursting with pride as I watched him bear his testimony of how he came to know of the truth and how it touched his life. It was a really neat experience. It was also a miracle and answer to prayer... Ed surprisingly related very well with Wayne. It was great!! =D Ed is so awesome.

Yesterday, Wayne came to church for the first time. He hadn't ever been to another church service other than Catholic. He kept saying the whole time that he felt very comfortable. There seemed to be more members than usual that came up and welcomed him (which is always such a relief as a missionary). He felt very welcomed and loved. Long story short... a member ended up taking him into High Priest third hour. They were talking about how they needed 3 men to be Wise Men for New Smyrna Beach Christmas parade float that the ward is apart of. Wayne immediately raised his hand and volunteered to be one!! Sweet!! Wayne knows and understands a lot about the church. He has been a little hard to teach because he seems to focus more on making everything logical instead of focusing more on his feelings... so we are working with him on feeling and recognizing the spirit. He is great though! Ed really helped with that during the lesson... he said that as a cop he has always had to look for reasons and evidence to everything but once he put all that aside and humbled himself so that he could receive inspiration, it came :) I have high hopes for Wayne!

We also were finally able to set a baptismal date with Dakota for December 28th! I have seen so many miracles out here... it's awesome! We will be blessed to see at least one baptism a month out here! It truly is evidence that the Lord is hastening His work :)

Well, I better get going... we have a lot to do to get Sister Damato packed, as well as prepare for my trainee to come tomorrow!! =D I hate to ask for prayers, but I would really appreciate if you sent up some prayers for my trainee and I. Thank all so much for all that you do! I love you!!!!!!!


Sister Kirkham

P.s. 6 months down!!!! one year to go! :)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Smoke Alarms, Ice Cream and Baptismal Interviews!!!

                                                                                    November 18, 2013


It gets harder every week to remember what happened since last Monday... the days blur together  and then the weeks blur together and my mind and memory can't keep up with it all! Hahaha  I'll try my best to give you some of the highlights of the past week though :)

It was Sister Damato's birthday last Tuesday so we got sooo much junk food! Cake, fudge, lots and lots of ice cream, brownies..... ahhhh……we don't know what to do with all of it! We have been trying every chance we get to give it to people… hahaha!  Brother Westcott, in the ward, showed up early Tuesday morning with two bouquets of yellow flowers for us. It was so cute of him. They are so beautiful!!! Getting flowers just brightens up your whole day… plus it brightens up our whole apartment!  It was very sweet of him.

Cool story of the week: Sister Damato and I had dropped by to try and see a media referral that wasn't home. We were getting back in the car and had this strong impression that we needed to knock just a few homes on the street we were on. The second door that we knocked on was an elderly lady named Shirley. We asked if she could use a prayer and she really appreciated it. As we first began talking she was in awe at how much I looked like her niece. Apparently her niece had just been diagnosed with MS and is going through a really tough time. She had this impression that she needed to call her niece but she had been putting it off... When she saw us she knew she really needed to call her. She kept saying over and over again that she knew that God had sent us to her. I said a prayer and at the end of the prayer, Shirley had tears streaming down her face. We asked if she had a picture she could show us of her niece and at first she said "no" but then after a few minutes she let us inside and showed us a picture. The spirit was working on her!! The more we talked, the more she opened up to us. She told us that her husband had suddenly died of a heart attack in under 10 minutes. She said that she couldn't figure out what it was... but that she knew that she was missing something in her life. She wasn't depressed, but she wasn't happy. Times like these remind me of the Book of Mormon where Ammon was filled with joy when he saw that his brethren were going through a hard time... he wasn't happy because they were suffering, but he was happy that it would give them an opportunity to accept the Gospel. I truly felt that way as we told her that we knew what she was missing and asked if we could share a message with her. We ended teaching her the Plan of Salvation for about an hour and she was very intrigued with the thought of the Three Degrees of Glory and that she could be sealed to her husband in the temple. She asked us to add and to the bookmark tabs on her computer and asked for the Plan pamphlet. She was soaking it all in!! She then gave us a referral to go meet her grandson. Hahaha! It was such a powerful lesson of the Plan. She then told us a very cool story about how she knows that there is a life after this:

After her husband had passed away, she was kneeling down in her living room bawling her eyes out in prayer to God to give her comfort and a sign that her husband was okay. All of a sudden her smoke alarm in the hallway went off. She ran to the hall and could feel a distinct feeling of warmth directly under the fire alarm. She KNEW in her heart that it was her husband that was wanting her to know that he was ok. She said that she hugged the warmth until it dispersed.... such a cool story. Unfortunately, she didn't want to set up another appointment with us but she said that she was definitely going to pray and read about what we told her and that she would call us.... :/ We will try and go back this week to see what's been going on. She was very, very appreciative of us and kept saying that she just knew that God had brought us to her doorstep that night because someone knew that she was feeling very depressed and lonely. You really want more miracles to come from moments like that…and they may! But, even if you don't get to see them... it is so rewarding to know that no matter what the results of your service and efforts, that you are helping people increase their faith in Jesus Christ. The mission becomes so much easier when you realize that your efforts- big and small- are all just as important to help others come unto Him.

We were able to fill out Ed's baptismal records this past week! We went to Ritter's (a good ice cream place) to celebrate. Yesterday, a member of the mission presidency came for Ed's baptismal interview. Ed was nervous but I had total confidence. President Pratt came out of the interview saying that the spirit was very strong in the interview and that Ed and Michele were going to make a very strong member family... which I couldn't agree more!!! I wish I could show you how strong and faithful they really are. They are both so inspiring and I love them both so much. As President Pratt was talking about how amazing both Ed and Michele are (he also interviewed Michele for her baptism), Ed began to choke up with tears again. Every time Ed starts choking back tears from feeling the spirit I immediately start to as well... hahaha! His baptism is this Saturday at 6!! =D I'm SOOO excited for him!!!! He is so ready! He can't wait for the weekend. He did ask something of me though. He especially asked that I would sing at his baptism............. ahhhhhhhhhh!!!! Let's just say I'm freaking out inside.... hahahaha!  Let's just say that I don't feel comfortable singing in front of people.... ESPECIALLY when it's a solo!!! Sister Damato doesn't sing.... so it's all me.... yikes!!! I hate to ask for this.... but please pray for me that I can bring the spirit to his baptism!! I told Ed that it was a good thing I love him because I will only sing for a certain few.

I'm trying to remember what else happened this week.... haha…oh! My District Leader called this morning to tell us that our district (of 3 companionships, the smallest District in the zone,) is doing the best in  the whole zone! As a District we more than doubled the number of Progressing Investigators and those that came to church ... the zone leaders gave us District goals and we more than doubled (and sometimes tripled!) all of those goals!!! I can't get too confident or feel too comfortable in the work... because that's when God humbles me ;) but it is always so nice and reassuring to hear of our good work and effort. It's awesome!

Well, I'm out of time! We are getting together with the elders in the district and our playing volleyball! woot woot! Hopefully I don't make too big a fool of myself. I'm excited to play though! It should be fun :) You should know, there has been a couple cold days here but it's back up to the high 70's this morning. There is such a small difference in weather here that it just blows my mind that it's almost December! haha! Can't believe it! I hope that everything goes well this week. I love you all so much and am so grateful for all that you do :) I love you!!!!!!


Sister Kirkham

Monday, November 11, 2013

Miracle: Ed moved up his baptismal date! Ed and Michele are why I was sent to Florida, D & C 18


                                                                                                November 11, 2013


Such big miracles have happened this week!!! As you know, Sister Pitts and I as well as Sister Damato were all bugged that Ed's baptismal date wasn't until the first weekend of December. Sister Damato and I had talked about it quite a bit and then I got a letter from Dad asking me if I had talked to Ed about moving it up... Sister Pitts and I had talked to Ed and Michele about moving it up... but they said they wanted to keep it in December. ugh... I was so sad and so frustrated about it!! I have been praying for a long time about what to do... and this past week Sister Damato and I felt impressed that we needed to talk to him about it again. We sat down and went through the baptismal interview questions and Ed was choking up as he answered everyone. The spirit was so strong! At the end of going through the questions, we told him, "You're ready Ed!! You don't need to wait for another month!" We told him that we didn't want to pressure him into moving it forward and that we would respect his decision but that we felt obligated to tell him about our impressions. He immediately said that he would get baptized now if he could.... so why are we waiting?! hahaha Ed said that we needed to first talk with Michele because she was the one that had had worries. We talked to her a little later and she said that these past couple weeks she has felt like Ed is ready for it!! We set up an official baptismal date for November 23rd at 6 pm :) :) I'm SOOOO happy you guys!!!

I am learning the importance of having faith in the promptings that we receive from the Holy Ghost. God will move His work forward the way He has planned :)  We planned it for November 23rd so that Ed could quit drinking alcohol. We gave him a date to be totally done drinking by November 15th and both Ed and Michele were more than confident that he could do that.... On top of all that excitement... we were just shopping at Walmart and ran into Ed and Michele! Ed started off the conversation by saying... "You guys, I'm not going to be able to stop drinking by the 15th..." My heart sunk.... but then he said, "because I actually quite last night!!!" Hahahahaha… So mean of him...! but I'm SOOO happy for him!! He wants to get baptized so much. He is so ready and has such a strong desire to make those covenants with Heavenly Father. Ed is such a big miracle. I really hope that you guys get a chance to meet both Ed and Michele one day. I love them so much.

I have been praying so much to do the Lord's will and not my own will when it comes to Ed's date and I truly know that it was the Lord's will. Before the date change, I was just worried sick that transfers were going to come and that I was going to miss Ed's baptism by 5 days and then if Ed and Michele were to go through the temple next year... I would have probably missed being there by DAYS because I would most likely be home! But now, I will be there for Ed's baptism AND there is a bigger chance that I will still be here in Florida to see them go through the temple and get sealed next year. What an amazing way to end my mission! This experience reminds me of 3 Nephi when Christ knew the thoughts and righteous desires of the 3 Nephites' hearts. I just know that God knew of the righteous desires of my heart as well as Ed's and He helped make it happen.

Another crazy story about Ed and Michele... I took pictures of family and friends to share with them at a lesson this past week. I don't think I've mentioned this... but Ed kind of looks like a redheaded version of Dad... no joke. haha! It's so awesome!! I showed them a picture of the family and Ed immediately choked up and said that Dad looks like a spitting image of Ed's dad that passed away a year ago this month.... whoa. Kind of freaky. Michele was shocked by it as well. How cool is that? Michele then said, " Ed, there is no doubt that Sister Kirkham was sent specifically for you." ....and I couldn't agree more. I never thought that I would actually come to know WHO I was to touch with the Gospel... but I have no doubt that God sent me to Orlando Florida for Ed. Hopefully there will be more people I can touch out here... but I would be so overly grateful for Heavenly Father for just letting me help Ed. I have learned to love Ed and Michele sooo much and I'm going to miss them so much when I leave New Smyrna Beach. I've had the scripture in D&C 18 repeatedly run through my head:

"And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto thispeople, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy withhim in the kingdom of my Father!

 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto meinto the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!"

This past week we had a Zone Training Meeting in Deland. I was asked to play a musical number. I played a pretty version of "I Know My Heavenly Father Loves Me" on the piano. I was a little nervous to play because not only has it been awhile since I performed something... but it's been more than 5 months since I actually played something other than hymns! How sad is that?? :( I felt really good about my performance though. I miss the piano... it has definitely been something I have sacrificed by being on a mission. But I don't regret it. There are bigger more important things to be doing... like helping people like Ed and Michele. :)

In the Zone training Meeting two exciting things were announced:

1. Our October goal of reaching 33 member referrals reached an actual of 68 member referrals!

2. President Berry has announced that we are going to start internet proselyting soon. He said that not everyone will start using it all at once but that it is now becoming part of our mission. I have a feeling that I won't be one that gets to use Facebook- at least not immediately- but I'm okay with that for now :) haha  I don't know if I want to get on Facebook... that would be so weird. haha! Speaking of Facebook, will you check my account every once in a while and make sure that you add people from Florida that are wanting to be my friend? Thanks :) I would love to keep in touch with them after the mission!

Well, I better get going... but know how much I love you guys!!! We had a pretty busy day today and I don't know how much I'll be able to write today but I'll do my best. You will be happy to know that I finally got all of my pictures on a CD's and I'm mailing them home!!! :) Please take good care of those pictures! I've been too afraid to delete them off of my camera... ahh! Haha!

I hope that everything is going well. Thank you so much for all of your prayers on behalf of Ed and Michele. They have been heard!! You do so much more than you will ever know. I love you!!!


Sister Kirkham

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Handwritten Letter, Nov. 4th


Oh my gosh!…I love getting letters and emails from you. Thank you so much for them. I eat up every word that you guys send my way. Funny how when times are more challenging on the mission, how much sweeter your letters are as well as how much more emotional I am when I read them haha! Do you guys see a lot more missionaries around now or would you say its about the same? I still catch myself every once in a awhile realizing … “Whoa! I’m really a missionary!” haha, it’s weird to actually be one of those kids you always see.

It’s crazy that we are down to 12-13 fast Sundays before I return…so weird! Time is going fast but so slow all at the same time. I just can’t believe that it’s November.  It’s finally cooling down here enough to make me feel like it’s the beginning of September…yet Winter is creeping up on us! I can’t believe you got snow!!! It’s so weird and such a foreign thought to think that I’m still sweating most days when I go outside. hahaha! I also can’t believe that I’ll be 21 in December! THAT’S GROSS! AHHH! HAHA!

I’ve talked to Ed about moving his baptismal date up…he wants President Henderson to confirm him but they are going to be out of town for Thanksgiving so they wouldn’t be able to move it a week earlier…and I guess any sooner than that is too soon for Michele L I want to cry every time I think that I could be missing Ed’s baptism. I just feel bad trying to push it closer for selfish reasons. I really don’t think it’s going to change though. They are pretty set for December 7th L

That’s great that you went to see Jonny Byrne is a play! How did things go with the play? You know…for some reason I’ve actually had these thoughts that maybe I should write him a letter…he is such a good friend. Do you have an address for him?

Dad, it sounds like you had an awesome time 4-wheeling and shooting! Where in Utah did you go? I would love to go shooting when I get home!!!! So Dad, were you able to talk about the gospel to the guys you were with? I thought all of them were members. That’s so awesome!!!! I get so excited when I hear that you guys are reaching out to others :D

I sure miss Snowflake. How is her health? I always think of her when I see dogs…which is a lot...haha!

I’m sorry to hear that Lori Sim’s dad died. That was nice of Angie to help out though. Pass on my love to the Sims!

Here in New Smyrna Beach (well, I’m actually serving in Port Orange,) we have full use of a car, but limited miles so we use our bikes a lot. I always feel like I’ve worked extra hard on bike days.  New Smyrna Beach has the most shark attacks in the world or nation..can’t remember. Kind of crazy…so when we come to Florida, let’s not swimming here okay? Hahaha!

Mom it sounds like you had an awesome school day on Halloween! How fun! You are the best teacher there is Mom! I wish you could have been my teacher…haha! That’s great that you had such good support from parents as well :D

I haven’t heard from anyone in the Admission’s Office L L They sent me a package when I first went to the M.T.C. and I loved it. I sent them a letter with a picture of Sister Allred and I together a couple of weeks ago but I don’t know if anyone is going to respond. I would LOVE it if they would!!!! I miss all of them, especially Travis and Sue L L If you see them Angela, pass on my love as well as let them know they need to write me?! Haha!:D

That’s so fun that you got to talk with Elder Nelson at the grocery store, Mom and Angela! Thanks for passing along his advice to me D: He’s totally right…the mission really will be over all too soon. Right now it feels like I have a long way ahead of me but I look back and can’t believe that I have been gone since June…weird. Do you know why he is coming to Orlando in January? That would be awesome if I got to see him and talk to him! That’s so exciting that Danny Smith is home!  Who else is home?

I’ve been carrying a heavy load lately…it’s true. But I have faith that things will get easier and better as time moves faster. Thanks so much for your support, love and prayers.

Angie, did I forget to tell you about Halloween at BYU? It’s so hilarious!!!! What other costumes did you see? Last year a huge group of kids met outside the …oh no…I can’t remember the name of the building ! Is it the JFSB? The newer one? Hahaha! Oh gosh! Well they met outside there and danced Gangnan style! Haha! pretty funny.

Angela, I’m so sorry to hear that it is so tough to say goodbye to your friends leaving on missions. It’s hard to say bye to friends. I remember how hard it was freshman year. You get so sick of saying goodbye to people. Things will get better :D Although your missionary friends and I aren’t a phone call away…you can still write and email us!!! Seriously, if you every want to just let your thoughts out, write them on paper…do it in a letteror email to me, okay? We will both benefit from it :D hahaha! But really… know that I’m always thinking about you and praying for you. I miss you so much but the time is getting closer and closer all the time until we will be together again :D Just think, we will be together at Christmas time next year!!!! Are you still writing to Zach, Matt, Connor, Cole and T.J.? How are they?

I love my mission. You learn so much more about the gospel out here. It’s the hardest thing I have EVER done in my life, by far the hardest.  I don’t regret one moment of it at the same time. I have come to know my Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ more than I ever think I would have otherwise.  He is watching over all of you and will answer your prayers as you humbly ask Him for guidance and help.

Angie, you should know that I wear our necklace every day and the “HOPE” ring you gave me at Christmas last year. Yes, every day. I love them :D

I love you guys so much! I’m out of time so I better go…but know that you are always in my thoughts and prayers.

I love YOU!!!!


Sister Kirkham

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Small miracles, using my muscial talents, and the cayenne pepper burn!

                                                                                                            Nov. 4, 2013


Hey family :)


This past week was kind of weird because of Halloween and everyone celebrating the holiday but surprisingly  we were still able to get a lot done. For Halloween we were invited by Dakota's grandma to come for dinner. She is the best cook! She had two types of homemade chili, corn bread, warm caramel popcorn, etc. etc. It was awesome! We had to be back home in our apartment doing paperwork by 6 pm that night though so that we were safe. I wore those cute candy corn earrings that you gave me! Thanks ;) haha


We saw a bunch of small miracles this week. We dropped by a former investigator's home to drop some things off and she was so happy to see us! At the beginning of last transfer, Sister Pitts told me that she was sure we were going to baptize her together... but then the investigator (Diana,) had to go through radiation treatments and we thought that we had totally lost her. We had tried going by a couple times, to see if we could help with anything but she always turned us away but this week she was so excited and happy to see us! She let us in her home, we shared a message and she told us that she has continued to read the Book of Mormon. She has been going to church with a member of the ward for over 6 years now. She told us that she has felt at peace as she reads the Book of Mormon and wanted us to come back and teach her this next week. So things are looking up there! This past week I have really seen the potential that this area has to explode in members. At  the end of last transfer I was so afraid of not having anyone to teach... but we are being so blessed with so many promising investigators! We still are planning on Ed's baptism the first weekend of December, Dakota's baptism by the end of November and now, I wouldn't be too surprised if Diana was baptized within the next transfer. So many blessings! The Lord truly is hastening His work. I realized that the Lord did not call more missionaries to go out and find more.... but that the Lord needed so many more missionaries because there are SO many people ready and waiting (whether they know it or not) to accept the restored gospel. It's so awesome! The Lord works in such amazing and mysterious ways.


During Weekly Planning, Sister Damato and I decided to pray about what members we should reach out to and help with missionary work. After the prayer I had the thought of calling a certain family in the ward. We immediately called them and asked if there was a time this next week that we could meet with their family. As we were hanging up, the dad began telling us about how he gave a Book of Mormon to a friend the day before and how his daughter had invited a nonmember friend to mutual that week!! I told him that we had just been praying to know who to call, that they had come to mind, and what a miracle and testimony it was that the Lord is watching and directing this work. It may seem like a small miracle, but those small miracles make all the difference in the world and are what continually build our foundation in the gospel. This is the Lord's work!!


Yesterday was probably the craziest Sunday I have ever had.... haha THANK GOODNESS that we had Day Light Savings.... an extra hour of sleep! NINE hours of sleep?!! what?! hahaha it was great :) Sunday morning we had Ward Council at 7:45, then I had to run into the chapel and play prelude music before Sacrament meeting, then I had to play the hymns for Sacrament meeting, then I bore my testimony on the Godhead. During the second hour a counselor in the Primary was freaking out because they needed a pianist for 3rd hour... but I couldn't help because Sister Demato and I were teaching Relief Society and presenting the Hastening of the Work of Salvation Broadcast!! I also had to play the piano in Relief Society. Then after church we went to Ward Choir where I accompanied them. haha! It was a crazy Sunday…doing that, on top of fasting, and having to bike for an hour and a half... woooo…fun day ;) (I had told one person in the ward that I could play the piano and now EVERYONE is asking!)  There is only ONE pianist in the whole ward! How crazy is that!? I'm okay with it though because it feels good to play, even if it is just hymns. The Zone Leaders texted me yesterday as well asking if I would come up with a musical number for a Zone Training Meeting this week... ahhhhh! I a little nervous about that one…it's been a long time since I actually performed anything let alone practiced!!! yikes! Thanks so much for sending me that sheet music though! That was PERFECT timing!! haha!


Funny story of the week:

We went to a member’s home for dinner. She lived really far from us and we couldn't afford using our miles on our car so she was nice enough to come pick us up. We sat down for dinner and she realized that she had accidentally put in two tablespoons of cayenne pepper instead of paprika in her crock pot meal!!! It was SOOOO hot!!!! The husband LOVES hot food... so of course he ate it all up and the wife had just had a baby so she didn't want to eat spicy foods.... soooo I had to endure eating the HOTTEST food of my LIFE! ah! Hahaha! It's a funny story now... but I was in pain. oooooh man. Hahaha! The next day was bad too... I had the WORST stomach pains from it... but it's ok now. I'm a survivor! Hahaha!

In my studies the past couple days I have been reading a little from the October 2007 General Conference Ensign. It caught my eye in the stack of Ensigns we have. I began reading it and realized that it covering the first General Conference since Uncle Jim had died. It was cool to see the honor and love that everyone had for Uncle Jim and his dedicated service to the Lord. The older I get, the more I wish that I had been given more time to learn more from and about Pres. Faust. One day I know that I will! I'm just impatient!! This might sound funny Dad, but I've always thought that you guys kind of resembled each other.. even though you aren't blood related! Pretty cool though :)


I ran into a talk by President Uchtdorf that I really liked called, "Have we Not Reason to Rejoice?" I want to share the ending with you. The message touched me deeply. I have always loved his words and his positive perspective on the gospel. He said:


"My dear brothers and sisters, there will be days and nights when you feel overwhelmed, when your hearts are heavy and your heads hang down. Then, please remember, Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, is the Head of this Church. It is His gospel. He wants you to succeed. He gave His life for just this purpose. He is the Son of the living God. He has promised:

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

“For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee” (3 Nephi 22:10). “I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer” (3 Nephi 22:8).

My dear friends, the Savior heals the broken heart and binds up your wounds (see Psalm 147:3). Whatever your challenges may be, wherever you live on this earth, your faithful membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the divine powers of the gospel of Jesus Christ will bless you to endure joyfully to the end."

 I just love his words. They are so true!! Although life is hard, we truly have reason to rejoice!! This week as I have run into people of different faiths, I have become very grateful for the fullness of the gospel.  God loves us and restored ALL of His truths. We have some of the most plain and PRECIOUS truths. I bore my testimony yesterday on the Godhead... I am just so grateful that we have the Book of Mormon to get rid of the confusion of the world and to help us understand our relationship with our Heavenly Father. It's just such a beautiful, plain and precious thing to know that my spirit, my SOUL was created and is loved so deeply by God!! Of course we have reason to rejoice!!! It makes me so sad to look at the people around me and that they don't even realize their divine potential and that their Father in Heaven is just yearning to hear from them, to feel of their love and respect for Him.The more I study the Gospel and its simple truths, the more grateful I become, the stronger my  love is for the Godhead and my desire to more fully understand and learn of the restored gospel increases.

If you are feeling like life is getting too hard to bear... remember that is WHY Christ has laid out the Gospel. When we diligently live the Gospel, the things of the world become trivial and we are able to bear all things so much easier. The Lord is just waiting for us to look to Him for help.

I love you guys so much and I’m so grateful for your testimonies and prayers. You are always in my heart. I LOVE YOU!!!!


Sister Kirkham