Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Hey Family!!

There is sooo much that I need to update you on since we talked on the phone last Monday! Time flies by so quickly out here. I can't believe it's been a whole week since I got out here.

Pres. Hall, his wife and some missionary couples picked us up at the airport and took us to the mission home for the night. They are the sweetest people. I'm sad that they are leaving this Friday but so excited to meet my new president! In my interview with Pres. Hall he told me that he remembers you dad and to tell you hi! ;) The next morning I found out who my trainer is!!!!.... AND I found out that I am in a TRIO! woot woot! It's been awesome! I secretly was wishing for a trio. It's been so much fun. My trainer's name is Sister Conant from Seattle. She has been out four months but they had her training after 5 weeks... scary thought... my other companion is Sister Hoyt from California. They are both darling girls and we work really well together. :) As we were leaving to our new area, President came up to us and said that we were going to be a strong that's comforting!

On the way to our apartment, we drove by both Disney World (I saw the Harry Potter castle.. Angie, be jealous,) and the temple!!! We have whitewashed an area (meaning that sisters have replaced elders,) of Winter Garden. It was a bit of a challenge at first because the elders before us weren't very organized...or clean :/ ...but things are working out :) Once we got to the apartment, we immediately starting working. We have been working nonstop. It's tiring at times but I'm hanging in there. I ended up getting a little sick for the first couple days (just a cold) so that wasn't very fun but today is the first day that it hasn't bugged. No worries :)

I just have to mention how beautiful and green it is here. There are ponds and lakes everywhere! Just so wet! and green! love it! ..but so humid. I'm not looking forward to August here. When it rains here, it POURS. I almost got caught in the rain but we found shelter just in time. It's so funny.. the moment it starts raining, it just all comes down instead of gradually starting to rain. hahaha! You have to be ready!

My first lesson is definitely an experience I'll never forget. The lady we taught had been meeting with the elders daily and is close to baptism (she needs to work on quiting smoking). We have the lessons outside her front door so we can get some air circulation. We had one of the ward missionaries with us as well. He was very patient with her. She has had a lot of loss in her life. She has friends that help her. It's been a struggle with her physical problems, but we are trying to work through it all. Through the whole lesson, we were being attacked by tons of mosquitos, flies and lizards! Everywhere! Haha! So crazy!

Sister Conant is so spunky and bubbly. She is very patient as well. I think we all work really well together. At our last district meeting we did some role plays and one of my zone leaders, Elder Norman (who knows Jeff and Dane from high school,) really didn't have much to say to correct the way we had been teaching. Obviously there is a ton of work I need to do to get better but it's awesome knowing that we already have such great unity as a companionship. We are actually teaching our district about companionship unity tomorrow at our next district meeting! By the way, my district leader, Elder Patten, is 6' 9"! You could say that he really 'stands out' in a crowd.

Last week, the missionaries from our district did yard work on the temple grounds. It was fun (and hot)! The temple is so gorgeous. I learned that we aren't allowed to go to the temple while we are here though which is a huge bummer. :(

This past week we have been meeting a lot of the members, less actives (LAs), investigators, and a little bit of finding. We are planning on tracting more this week now that we know the ward and area more. It will be hot! We have bikes every other week. This week we are on bikes ;) I've biked for two days now. It really isn't all that bad in skirts. I just don't like biking with a satchel :( They told us in the handbook to not have backpacks but my trainer got herself one... so I think I will to. It would be a lot easier to ride with for sure.

Two nights ago... I saw my first cockroach. YUCK!!!!! They are DISGUSTING! I got the heebie jeebies really quickly hahahaha Just imagine three girls freaking out ;) we killed it and I picked it up and threw it away. You should be proud of me ;) I almost cried though from laughing and freaking out all at the same time hahaha I'm not looking forward to the next one... :(

Two moments from the past week really stand out to me. The first was of a man named Gene. He had a stroke during Christmas time, has lost his job and can't do very much so he has depression. We met with him and the moment we started talking to him he just burst into tears. I had met with other people that would begin to cry... but when he cried my heart ACHED for him. I shared with him that my grandma also had a stroke during Christmas time. I told him that my grandpa has always called her 'Faith' but I had never really had a reason to see how much faith my grandma had until this past year. I told him that although it has been a huge struggle for her this past year, that she has found the strength to carry on by having faith and leaning on Christ to help her. It was a really sweet experience. The whole lesson I just felt this confirmation that this is what I'm suppose to be doing right now in my life. It is such an amazing thing to be doing. It has been super hard at times and I can get a little down at other times.. but those moments are so sweet.

The second moment that stands out to me is our first lesson with Tracy and Kelly. Kelly has been searching many different religions for a long time now and just really wants to belong somewhere. They had a lot of questions about the Bible and Book of Mormon but they seemed content with the answers that we gave them. At the end of the lesson, we asked Kelly (the wife,) if she could give the closing prayer. After she said the prayer, she told us that she felt like crying but she didn't know why... and then some tears fell from her eyes. We helped her recognize that the feeling she had was the Holy Ghost. The spirit was SO strong and SO thick. I don't think I have ever felt the spirit so strongly before. I swear I could have almost reached out and touched it.. it was so real. I had the chills really bad ;) haha It was just such an amazing experience. I can't believe that I've had an experience that powerful within the first week. If this is the way the rest of the mission is going to be like.. then BRING IT ON!!! ;) hahaha .. I know that it's going to be super hard at times.. and I'm not looking forward to being a trainer myself... like at all... that's just freaking me out... but I know this is what I'm suppose to be doing :) I LOVE YOU ALL!!!! I'll talk to you next Monday... can't believe it will be July by that time... crazy!!!! I LOVE YOU!!!!!!

So I totally forgot to mention the Leadership Devotional. Wow... sooo good. It was so powerful. I'm so glad that all of you were able to see it!!!! I really didn't realize it until I was out here how important it is to have the members reaching out to people. The work really won't do much if members aren't there to support them. Just put yourself in their shoes, it would be so hard to change so many things about your life and not have anyone reaching out to you while you are there. So if you see anyone new, PLEASE go make friends with them and help them. I couldn't agree more with all that was said during the broadcast. It was all so amazing! ... I'm still really bitter that I missed being there in person and singing in the Leadership Conference choir by 6 days.... grrrrrrrrrr!!!! Fun that something that big was at BYU thought! awesome!!!

I really don't have time to be emailing all of you personally, so Angie, I just want to tell you how excited and proud I am of you for your desire to serve! If you change your mind as the time gets closer know that it is okay.. but also know that this is the BEST but HARDEST thing that you will have ever done so far in your life. I have only been here a week and I am getting a taste of how hard it is; but sooo cool!!!!! love you :) :) :) :)

There is so much more I want to say but I just don't have the time to say it all. Sorry :( Family, PLEASE send me letters. I love getting a couple of emails, but I just don't have time to read all of them and then write back... Plus, if you send letters then I have things to read throughout the whole week instead of just Mondays ;) I haven't gotten the package you said you sent but hopefully it will come soon.

How is everything going? How is Angie and her new jobs? Her wisdom teeth?

I love you all so much! Send letters to my mission home and they will forwards it on :) I LOVE YOU!! got 20 seconds! ah!!!!!! MUAH!!!!!!!


Sister Kirkham

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