Monday, July 29, 2013

First transfer, assigned as senior companion, staying and progressing in Winter Gardens

29 July 2013


I just found out about 30 minutes ago how my second transfer is going to go! Sister Conant is moving to Clearmont and Sister Hoyt and I are staying here in Winter Garden and I'll be the senior companion! Pretty crazy. I'm going to miss Sister Conant. She is such a sweetheart but I feel at peace about the decision. It's going to be really weird just working in two and I'm a little nervous about figuring out all the little details without my trainer... but we can do it! It's super crazy though because Sister Hoyt and I are going to have to finish training each other... it's going to be interesting. I can't believe I only had a trainer for the first 6 weeks of my mission... kind’ve freaky to think about! But I have faith that the Lord trusts Sister Hoyt and I and we will be able to create miracles. Please keep us in your prayers! haha! It may be a rocky ride for a while. Elder Norman, the one from Lone Peak is now my District Leader. One of my favorite lines that my (now former) district leader, Elder Patten would say is, "Keep working hard and keep smiling and the Lord will hook you up!" haha

This week has been pretty crazy! As a companionship we prayed for several days and fasted yesterday to know if we should drop Sonya. It's hard to explain the whole situation through email but we really feel like we had done all that we could to help Sonya... she has some health issues that seem to be holding her back and other issues that we just can't change on our own. We sat down with her yesterday and told her that it is out of our hands now and that our purpose is to invite others to come to Christ and help them receive the restored gospel... and we had done that for maybe too long... we told her that we know that if she does her part she will strengthen her relationship with Heavenly Father and grow a stronger testimony of the gospel so she can be baptized. It really is a difficult situation but we all felt at peace about it. She did tell us that she was going to see us next Sunday though so that was a relief and really good to hear that she is going to continue on her own. 

Another miracle: at the beginning of the transfer we had a note from the Elders, that were in our area previously, telling us that we needed to see a potential investigator named Mike. Before we had planned on finding Mike, we went to a less active home…after we left the LA's home we saw a man sitting outside across the street so we went over and told him a little about the Plan and he was interested in learning more. A couple days later when we were planning on meeting that man named Ray again, we looked through the potentials list to see who else we could try and meet that lived by Ray. We realized that Ray's address was the same as Mike's!!!! SO CRAZY. We learned that Mike is Ray's son. We have had a hard time this past transfer to find them at home and help them so we would occasionally drop off a Book of Mormon, Proclamation to the Family, clean their front door (cause it needed it badly) and other things. Last night we decided to drive by their home before we went home for the night and we saw Mike outside! We stopped and talked to him and he seemed very sincere about wanting to learn and we were finally able to set up an appointment with him. Then in passing he mentioned that his son just turned 8.... hmmm.... 2 baptisms by chance? ;) hahaha anyways, it was really cool :) 

I can't remember if I have told you this before, but almost every week the zone meets at the temple and we do yard work for the temple grounds! I LOVE doing it. It's just so nice to be outside, in front of the gorgeous temple and be with other missionaries. So cool. Have I told you how much I love this temple yet?? I think I may have... a couple times ;) but I love it!!!! I can't wait for you guys to see it yourselves.. it's so beautiful. Anyway, I have planted several flowers and other shrubs that I'm told will be there long after I have left on my mission. So I've left my mark on the Orlando temple for sure ;) haha

Another crazy miracle: Sister Chontos, a lady in our ward signed up to feed us dinner this past week. The day before the dinner, she got a text from a 12 year old former investigator named Yazay. Yazay wanted to meet with the missionaries again! So Sister Chontos invited Yazay to our dinner appointment and Yazay ended up bringing her friend Evalyn as well. It was so awesome!!! We asked Yazay why she liked meeting the past missionaries and why she wanted to meet with us now. She told us that she felt like the Book of Mormon was true and flat out told us that she wanted to be baptized. The lesson was so powerful! During the closing prayer, Evalyn, began to cry and we asked her what the tears were for. She told us that she felt like God had answered her prayers. I was blown away by the spiritual maturity of these 12 year old girls.. they are so amazing! The only worry is getting permission from Yazay's mom for her baptism. SO PLEASE PRAY FOR HER!!! Thanks :) This morning when we figured out transfers, we realized that Evalyn lives in the area that Sister Conant has now been assigned to! So Sister Conant will most likely be able to work with her! How crazy is that??! I LOVE seeing those small miracles every day. You can see God's hand in this work so easily every day. 

Sister Ferris, the LA that hadn't been to church in over 7 years and came to church for the first time last week is doing pretty good! She invited another LA to church yesterday. Boom! haha So awesome. 

This past transfer has been so miracle filled. They have been small miracles but so much has improved. For one, the ward has really warmed up to the missionaries. That was a serious problem at the beginning of the transfer. We were having a hard time with getting members out to help and now the members willing to come out to lessons with us has tripled. The members really love coming out with us as well. They are finding the work is spiritually nourishing. They are sharing their testimonies and feel the spirit that is in the lessons. I highly recommend asking the missionaries if you can go out with them. It's so helpful and such a blessing for everyone :) 

Were you guys able to go to Vegas? I can't believe that Rilee is almost 13... that blows my mind... haha so cool! I bought a Birthday card that I'll be sending out to her :) ... oh wait... I NEED HER ADDRESS! man... could you send their address to me? hahaha dang it... next week ;) 

I really can't believe that it's almost August. Time has gone by so fast. Angie, you are almost a college student! What?! So awesome. That is so sweet of you to drop by the Admission Office. I miss those guys sooo much. ugh. Angie, tell them they need to write me ;) hehe When does Tanner, Mike and others start coming home? Keep me updated on what is going on there :) 

During transfers, mail gets delayed for a while.. so I will be able to respond to your emails in a letter but I probably won't get your letters until the end of the week. 

One last story that I think is kinda funny.... we had dinner at a member’s home last night and Sister Conant used their bathroom. She said that she saw about 10 cockroaches in the bathroom while she was in there and a SWARM of nats flying around... yuck!!!!!!! There can really be some crazy, dirty homes here. Winter Garden is full of really filthy homes and really nice homes. Pretty funny! Kind’ve fun to get a taste of both. More things to write home about ;) hahaha 

I love you guys so much! Every day I feel my testimony grow stronger and stronger and my love for my Savior grows deeper. We are so blessed to have the truth of the restored gospel. I see so many people that live such difficult lives because they don't have the gospel. It's so amazing to see such remarkable changes in people as they accept our message. You can literally see them glow as they feel of God's love and accept his gospel. This is a beautiful work and I'm so grateful to be a part of it. There will be a lot of changes starting tomorrow... but I am excited to move forward in my mission and in His work. 1 transfer down, 12 more to go!! ;)
 I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!! 

-Sister Kirkham

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Pioneer Day Blessings in Winter Gardens

                                                                                                22 July 2013


I’m so sorry about my last email. I had typed out a long email that took about 40 minutes long and then I lost it somehow…ugh!...really not happy about that.  I’ll try my best to write out what I had in my email.

This past week was a lot better than the week before. We saw quite a few blessings and miracles. We were out knocking on doors when it was raining a couple nights ago.  We were out on the far east side of our area near a lake. I think it is called Lake Apopka. (While we were out there we saw 5-6 peacocks.)  We met a man named Curtis. We told him who we were and that we were in the area blessing homes and families with a prayer, and asked if he needed anything in particular in a prayer. He began to cry telling us that his 14year old boy was in I.C.U. and had his colon removed. His son was still in a coma. We prayed with him, taught him about the priesthood and asked if he would feel comfortable having elders go to the hospital and give his son a blessing. He was all for it and very grateful.. That was the first time that I caught a true glimpse of what the Savior had to go through …I felt so bad for this man and I couldn’t help but be so grateful for my Savior going through what He did so He would know the pains and sickness of that family.

We also saw a lot of Less Actives come to church this week! We were only expecting about 3 to go but 4-5 showed up! I was so happy!! There are a lot of times on the mission that it’s easy to get discouraged but it doesn’t matter once you have those small moments! It’s all worth it! One lady that came hadn’t been to church for over 7 years and she stayed the whole 3 hours and loved it!

We had dinner with another L.A. named Lillian. She is the cutest, spunkiest, 60 yrs. old black lady. She told us that she desired to feel the Spirit again like she did when she was baptized but she couldn’t seem to get it. She also said it was really hard for her to get back to church. We promised her the blessings of going and it went really well. The next day we were at a ward Pioneer Day party and she came. She pulled me aside and told me that we were heaven sent and she was so grateful for us. She said that she would have never come to the party and she wanted to have and share the same light that we have. It was really sweet. Then she came to church the next day!!

The Pioneer Day party was fun! There was a man that came from the Florida Church Ranch and taught us how to rope a cow (a wooden cow). There was dancing, ice cream, homemade pie, and the bishop put a band together and played!! HAHA! He was on the drums and they were, surprisingly, really good! It was a lot of fun to see a bunch of older men having fun : D  Between when the band would play, they would play other music and I have to admit, I was freaking out when “22” by Taylor Swift came on! I wanted to just get up, sing, and dance across the gym floor. Hahaha! It was awesome though because there were a lot of members that invited nonmembers! It was a missionary’s dream come true—being stuck in a room full of members and their nonmember friends! So perfect! We are trying to organize a “laid back” get together like that once a month and emphasize the missionary work that could be done by bringing friends.

I really can’t believe that Lauren is engaged! Actually, I can but it’s still so crazy! How exciting! Will you send me or have the Allison’s send me an invitation? I want to see it! When is the date?

I feel really bad and bummed that things aren’t going to work out seeing Kim Kirkham. That would have been really cool but I don’t want to break any rules L Tell her I love her!

For District Prep Day last Monday, we went bowling at King’s Bowling. It’s the nicest bowling place I’ve ever seen! …And, I kicked trash!!!!! I got 3 strikes in a row for my last round! Ohhh Yeah!!! Funny thing is there are only 3 sisters and the rest are elders. Plus, I creamed one of my Zone leaders (Elder Norman who went to school with Jeff and Dane.) Sweet revenge!

Please keep me posted as to what is going on in our neighborhood.

It’s so weird to think that Ryan Checketts and Troy Perry are home and living normal lives. I miss them. Will you please give them big hugs for me? It kills me that I have to wait longer to see them!!! That’s so exciting that Atticus is home! Wow! That’s fun that you are having F.H.E. with the Peterson’s. Tell me how that goes :D

I hope you all know that I’m doing “fine and dandy” right now! There are challenges every day but I’ve learned that when you just focus on the work then home sickness and all of that goes away a lot faster. I love this quote from Elder Benson:

I have often said, one of the greatest secrets of missionary work is work. If a missionary works, she will get the spirit. If she gets the spirit, she will teach with the spirit, and if she teaches with the spirit, she will touch the hearts of the people and she will be happy. There will be no home sickness, no worrying about families, for all time, talents and interests are centered on the work of the ministry. Work, work, work—there is no satisfactory substitute, especially in missionary work.

Great quote!

By the way, I’m not having a problem with my wet shoes! They just take a couple of days to dry, if I get caught in a bad rainstorm, (which is quite fun)!

The family that had a baptism date on July 20th dropped all contact with us. We have tried every possible way to get a hold of them but haven’t been able to. It’s so sad. We find that out here a lot. Someone seems to have potential and next thing you know, you will never see them again. It’s difficult and frustrating but we have to remind ourselves that it’s all in the Lord’s hands.

The members have been quite good with keeping us fed. They like to feed the sisters more than the elders. Poor elders.

My bike is holding up well! Haven’t had any problems. Thank you so much! I’ve really enjoyed riding my bike. It’s nice to be outside and the day seems more rewarding after a day on bikes  :D   Plus, you get to stop and talk to a lot more people on bikes than in cars.

So transfers are next Tuesday. AH! I have no idea what is going to happen! Haha! Transfers happen every 6 weeks but it’s up to the revelation that the President and other missionary leaders receive to decide if you are going to stay where you are at with the same companion or get moved. It’s crazy. I’ll find out in an email next Monday and maybe I’ll have to pack and move out with a new companion by Tuesday. I don’t think we’ve had any new missionaries come since I got here. I would think that some may come in next week though at transfers.

It’s really sad, but we sat down as a companionship in prayer and decided to reprioritize the people we are visiting. We dropped quite a few from our L.A. list. Pretty sad, but we feel at peace about it and we have seen blessings come from it because we have had more time to focus on those that are more interested and could be ready. Dropping people is one of the hardest things about the work.

I feel like there is so much to tell you but it’s impossible to write it all out…even in my journal. I’m doing pretty good at writing in my journal though, no worries :D

I honestly don’t know when I will find the time to play the piano on P-days, but could you possible send me classics and church stuff to sing and play? It would be fun to just have on hand. I’m sorry that I keep asking for things….haha! Thank you so much though! I got the hymn book just barely and am so grateful for it! I can’t believe I didn’t think to grab that! Thanks!

How are things going with work? School? Home? Etc.? It’s funny…one day I will feel like I have more energy and that I’m finally getting use to 10:30 p.m.-6:30 a.m. for sleep every night, but then the next day I just want to pass out! You can get pretty tired out here but it helps on bike week. Biking really wakes you up but your super tired, sweaty, dirty, and wet from the rain by night. It makes for a good feeling at the end of the day knowing we worked hard. There have been a couple of times that I’ve had to be the one to get the other two sisters moving…it gets a little frustrating sometimes, but all is well! I don’t mean this in a rude way, but my trainer likes to sit…haha…so I feel like I’m always trying to keep us focused on everything we are doing for the benefit of the work. It’s hard for me at times too but not too bad. The days fly by when you just focus on the work and not think about anything else. They days are so long but weeks so short! How is it that we are in our last full week of July ? I was just celebrating the 4th of July ! Which by the way, I got that 4th of July/Eaglewood Cove  t-shirt! Cutest surprise ever !! Thank you!!! I’ve been wearing it to bed :D haha! Who wrote “FOM” next to my name? Who knows what this is?! That stands for Florida Orlando Mission! HAHA! By the way, Sister Berry has started a blog of the mission and I’m on it a couple times already! The website is   :D    So go look at that !!!!!

I hope you are okay with this but I want to send some keepsakes, scrapbook things back home instead of carrying it around with me. Is that okay to just put in my room or whatever? Thanks.

Wow…my arm is building muscle from writing so much. Oh yeah! I don’t have much more time before it’s 6 p.m. and my P-day ends and work begins again! Oh great…I just heard the rain start and I’m on a bike. Woohoo! Wish me good luck! Haha!

I love you guys so much. I’m so sorry that my email was so lame. I’m so sad I lost all of my good work. Thanks for all of your letters. As always, it means a lot.

I love you!!

Sister Kirkham

P.S. Uncle Mark sent me a card with $50 in it. Tell him thank you. I’m sending him a thank you as well. So nice of him!!!  

P.S.S. Will you give me Jane’s address? I NEED TO HEAR ABOUT ALEX! Ok, thanks, love you, bye!!!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

June 15, 2013 letter, first talk in Sacrament Meeting, D&C 88:81

                                                                                                15 June 2013

Hey family :) 

I can't believe another week has gone by! I'm almost done with my first transfer!! It's very exciting but also kinda scary to see who and where I'll be in the next little while. I feel like I'm just barely getting to really know the ward and area! We'll see what happens ;) haha

This past week was a pretty tough week. We had a lot of appointments cancel and things fall through. It's always discouraging when that happens but we have kept working hard and saw a lot of blessings Saturday night and all Sunday! :) 

Sonya is progressing and is still committing to cutting back on smoking! She has come to church several weeks in a row and the members are really reaching out to her which is helping sooo much. 

Saturday morning we got a referral from the Haitian elders that had found a Haitian who spoke enough English for us to teach him. Later that night we had already planned out to go tracting in a certain part of town and we found a Haitian family. They invited us into their home for us to share a message with them and to pray with them. We didn't realize until later that that was the same Haitian family that the Elders had given us that morning! The funny thing is that they didn't mention meeting the elders. So funny! Anyways, crazy miracle that we ran into them. Then Ronald, the 28 year old son showed up to church and stayed! There were a ton of people welcoming him with open arms and I think he really enjoyed it. 

Yesterday was a super crazy day. Us sisters had to give talks in sacrament meeting on missionary work! I spoke on D&C 88:81 which pretty much says that those that have been warned and told the restored gospel (aka the members AND missionaries) are all to go out and warn others. I will have to send you my talk through the mail so you can read it. After sacrament meeting we had so many people coming up to us with referrals and wanting to help. I also watched the members reach out to the investigators a lot throughout church and the spirit was so strong because everyone was working together! It was so awesome! I hope that they are able to stay motivated to help reach out. 

The coolest thing happened after church, a member came up to me with tears streaming down her face as she told me that she saw angels standing behind me as I spoke in Sacrament meeting. How amazing is that? She said that she kept taking her glasses off, wiping them and putting them back on to make sure she was seeing correctly but she couldn't deny what she saw. Wow... so cool. It reminds me of the scripture found in D&C 84:88 which says that the Lord's spirit will be in my heart and His angels round about me as I go forth with His work. You should read that scripture ;) It was a super amazing thing to hear and I too began to tear up seeing how overwhelmed she was with what she saw. This might sound weird... but I really wish I had been able to see that!!!! haha! It makes me wonder who those angels were and if I know them :) It's such a comforting feeling to know that I really am doing the Lord's work and that His angels, possibly even my close loved ones, are there helping me on the other side at all times. I couldn't ask for a bigger blessing out here on the mission. I am in good hands :) 

We went to a baptism on Saturday and I played the piano for it all, plus a musical number for a family that sang. It feels good to play the piano again! I miss it. After the baptism, the Relief Society president and her family took us to dinner at Four Rivers... the best BBQ place EVER!!! It was sooo good!!! oh great... now I'm all hungry... haha! I didn't realize when she was taking pictures of me on her phone that she was planning on sending it to you! It was SO fun to see your cute faces and to hear from you! She text and read what you had to say. I LOVE YOU GUYS!!!!!!!!! =D It helped put me back into perspective that there is a world outside of missionary work. Sometimes I feel like I'm going to be doing this forever hahaha 

Today we have District Prep day. We are going out bowling and eating! AND we got permission to go do all that in pants!!! WHAT?! big news! hahaha It should be fun. Hopefully I'll get over 100 pts ;) 

We got a call from some elders yesterday needing some information and at the end of the call, one of the elders asked if I knew Greg Allison from Cottonwood Heights!! I got excited to tell him it was my uncle. He said that he knew of me the week that I got my call. Kinda fun! haha It was Elder Weston that is in the Allison's ward. Kinda fun! Tell the Allisons hello and that I love them :) 

You should know... I'm sitting in the library trying to email you guys and there is a little show going on for kids... and they are playing all Phillip Phillips music. I love Phillip Phillips…especially “Home”, ugh! kill me!!! ;) hahahaha actually the kids are super loud and distracting and I'm kinda having a hard time focusing on what I'm writing.. hahaha

I am having a hard time remembering what else has gone on this week.. it really has just been a tough week and been doing a lot of back up plans because of things falling through. We are doing good though and things are looking up! :) 

I sure love you guys. I say this every week, but I absolutely love getting letters from you guys and hearing how you are doing. I can't believe that we are half way through July already.. it blows my mind. Summer is half way gone for you guys! what?! Angie.... you have some exciting times ahead :) GET EXCITED!!!!!! There are several BYU Alumni in my ward and they are always talking about BYU sports... I'm so glad that you got your All Sports Pass. You'll be glad you did! It's so much fun!! :) When do you move in?? 

I better get going, I love you all sooo much! Although things have been tough this week, I'm doing great and feel comforted and loved knowing that I am a disciple of Christ and that I have His support in all that I do. I have seen and know that God is blessing our family while I'm out here. It's amazing! :)
I LOVE YOU!!!!! Until next week :) 

-Sister Kirkham

P.S. I forgot to mention... an embarrassing thing happened a couple weeks ago. I was at a members home and one of the members was asking what everyone wanted to drink. He asked, "Katie, what would you like to drink?" and I immediately responded... to realize several seconds later that he wasn't talking to me... he was talking to his daughter Katie...hahahaha For safety reasons, etc. we are advised to not give out our first names... it was an awkward but funny moment!! haha!  Yes, I'm still blonde ;) but I'm getting use to not listening for my first name any more ;) the things about being a greeny! love it!!! and love you! 



Monday, July 15, 2013

Got a text and picture of Katie from her Relief Society President who was taking the sister missionaries out to dinner.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Hey family!

I seriously can't believe that's it's Prep day already... weird. Time is such a paradox out here. This past week was a really weird week but we did see quite a few miracles from it! We are currently teaching a Haitian family! They are so awesome! They don't have a lot of religious background and are so open to everything we say. We taught them the Plan of Salvation and Sister Conant said that it was the most powerful lesson of the Plan that she has ever taught. We were able to commit all of them to a baptismal date on July 20th! So hopefully it goes through... haha Pretty exciting! We are getting ready to drop Sonya... she has a lot of problems and her smoking habits are not going any where even though we have been trying so hard to help her see that through God she can find the strength to stop. This past week we decided to just be very straight forward with her on repentance. At the end of the lesson she took all of her cigerettes out, broke them all in half, put them in the garbage and had us throw the garbage away at home. So that was encouraging! But we haven't been able to see her since.... so now we are wondering what is going on. One thing that is really hard out here in the mission is knowing who is prepared and ready. I've heard a lot out here that those that are prepared are so easy to teach. You pretty much just spoon feed them everything and they do the rest. Which is the way it should be!! It's dissappointing when you have to drop people or when they drop you. We had another investigator named Jason drop us because he had looked things up on the internet (which we told him that there is a lot of misconceptions on the internet and gave him the correct websites to go to) and his family discouraged it. ugh. so frustrating! He had a baptismal date as well which is frustrating. 

It was kind of a tough week for studying and teaching this week because we had a lot of meetings. We had a district meeting, temple yard work, zone training meeting and a training follow-up meeting all last week. It takes a huge chunk of time out of your day to do other things. I finally got to meet President Berry and his wife at the training follow up meeting though! They are ADORABLE. I LOVE them!!! The moment I walked into the building, Sister Berry came up to me with a big hug and knew me by my name! Impressive! President and Sister Berry both made me cry and different times. They were just talking about how we are all new, including them, and that they know how we feel being new, etc. I wasn't crying from stress or anything haha! I just felt the spirit very strongly as they were both speaking and I can tell that they are both very loving. I'm going to love having them around =D 

For the 4th of July my companions and I and some other people from my zone got to watch fireworks from the roof of the Orlando temple!! So fun! You could see firewords going off everywhere all over! We could see some from Disney World and Sea World and a ton of other parks. Really cool. There are some people in my ward that get TONS of free bread and desserts from a store called Publix every week. They just get all the food that doesn't sell. So every Sunday they load of their van full of all the food and it's all up for us to grab as a ward! so awesome!! We have been taking things over to new investigators, etc. it's great! We found a big thing of red, white and blue cupcakes so we took those to eat in the parking lot of the temple on the 4th :) fun memories :) Something bad happened though... we got back to our apartment at 10:30 (which we had been given permission to be out an hour later that night) and we went straight to bed. Sister Conant forgot that we had put the phone on silent to go through the temple and we had 19 missed calls from the zone leaders, AP's, district leaders, etc. hahahaha so bad! They couldn't get a hold of us so we woke up to a knock on our door at 11:30 that night to some elders in our area checking up on us to see if we were alive.... kind of embarrassing and my trainer was super embarrassed. I guess the elders were still out and about doing things though so it wasn't too big of a deal. It was a weird night though! 

Yesterday at church, I introduced myself and bore my testimony in church! As a whole ward we decided to fast on misionary efforts and we actually got invited to be apart of the bishopric meeting that morning to talk! Still kinda weird... and not the same as ward council... but it was a huge blessing and answer to our prayesr that they even did that! The ward has also been struggling for a long time with the ward missionaries fulfilling their calling... so that is somehting that we are now working on at a stake level. yay! So hopefully things will shake out and work better soon. Please keep the ward in your prayers. 

I'm SO grateful that you sent that backpack to me! THANK YOU! I had some serious back issues this past week from biking with my satchel.... so I'm really grateful to have that now. THANK YOU SO MUCH! so cute of you. Plus I loved getting all of that from you. It's just so fun to get mail. I love it! and you! Just so you know, my back is doing so much better now. Friday my back was in so much pain that I almost burst into tears during one of the lessons... so we called my district leader to have him give me a blessing. He was soo sweet! He rode over on his bike and gave me a blessing. Everything he said in the blessing was just what I needed to hear.. and guess what! The next day, I didn't feel ANYTHING in my back until like 7 that night. It was a HUGE miracle and I could totally feel the power that comes from the priesthood. Missionaries really do hold power so strongly. It was really cool and I feel so blessed! I feel a ton better ever since. So cool. :) It's just another testimony to me that Heavenly Father knows me personally and will answer my prayers when I act in faith. I love Him! 

Well my time is pretty much up. I swear email time goes by sooo quickly. It's the fastest hour of the week!! :P Know how much I love each one of you!!! I'm printing out your emails this time so that I can handwrite them =D I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!
Sister Katie Kirkham

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Katie ... week 3 in Orlando


HI!!!!!!! hahaha, I swear I was just at the library writing you last week...weird! This week we are emailing in the family history center in the stake center across from the temple. SO GORGEOUS. I love this temple! I haven't even been inside but it takes my breath away to look at it. haha

This week we have seen quite a few miracles. At the beginning of the week, we were headed over to a recent convert's house to teach her a lesson. One street away from her house Sister Conant fell off her bike (ouch!), Sister Hoyt's bike chain started doing weird things (which got fixed,) and my shoe flew off!!! hahahaha We were on that street for like 10 minutes and we were running short on time to get to the convert's house on time! As we got to the end of the street, we saw 3 kids walking towards us. My trainer had the thought that one of those boys was another recent convert named Ishmael who hasn't been coming to church and that we haven't been able to get a hold of. We stopped to talk to them... and one of the kids was the convert!!!! Such a miracle!! We were able to set up an appointment with him. So cool! After that we went to our appointment, and Ruby (the RC) wasn't there. Right as we were getting ready to head out, she pulled up apologizing for being late. I had asked earlier, "Why in the world did all of those crazy things happen to us on that street?" "Satan is trying to keep us from making it to Ruby's!!" but we realized that it was God and His mysterious ways that delayed us for 10 minutes so that we could run into Ishmael and be there when Ruby got home. So crazy right?! 

Later on in the week, we were on my first exchange! (which went pretty well!) We went to Ishmael's home. We used the address out of the area book that the elder's had given us ... no one answered the door so we thought that Ishmael had ditched. I had written down in my planner earlier that day a potential investigator that lived in the same apartment complex as Ishmael so we went over there as a back up plan. Guess who answered the door of the potential investigator's home?! ISHMAEL!!!! haha! Apparently the elders before us wrote down the wrong address in the area book...but somehow we still were able to find Ishmael. It was such a miracle to just see him open the door waiting for us with his it! You really do see so many miracles out here. 

We did a couple hours of service for a member/less active family. A lot of their family has physical problems. They just moved in but haven't been able to do much cause of their disabilities so us sisters scrubbed down all the moss and dirt off the outside of their house and cleaned some of the inside. It looks so much better! 

We had to drop Gene this past sad. He told us that he thinks that Joseph Smith probably really was a prophet but he doesn't see the need to read the Book of Mormon because he doesn't see how his faith in Christ could grow any frustrating... :( 

Tracy and Kelly have had a really tough week. I almost feel bad when we find new investigators cause I know that Satan is going to take them on a tough ride....they got robbed 3 times!!!! They have bolted their doors and everything...they are just really stressed and depressed about it. They are really tight on money and there are a lot of other problems so its been really hard on them. We took a small cake and letter over to them last night, talked with them, shared a message and prayed with them. It was good that we were able to show them that we don't want to just shove the gospel down their throats but that we really do care for them. Sweet people. 

We have been fed almost every night here. The ward is ecstatic that sisters are finally in their ward. Apparently the elders are having a hard time getting fed now cause everyone wants to feed us... hahahaha woops!) We didn't have the car this past week so we biked a TON! I really liked it though. I have an awesome watch tan line and have lost quite a bit of weight haha Not going to complain!

I'm REALLY looking forward to this week. The Zone Leaders invited us and a couple other companionships to watch the 4th of July fireworks... get this.... from the TEMPLE ROOF!!!! ahhhhh!!!! I'm SOOOO excited. Apparently you can see all of Disney World's, Sea World's, etc fireworks from the temple. Plus, we won't be doing any sessions in the temple as missionaries (so sad,) but the temple president is letting us walk through the temple to get to the I'll get to see some of the inside!!! YAY!!!! I was getting homesick for the first time thinking about missing the 3rd if July celebration at home...(which I still am a little,) but the thought of being at the temple really helps;) it's definitely a once in a lifetime experience and I'm sooo pumped!!! 

Last Friday, President and Sister Hall were replaced by President and Sister Berry! I haven't heard anything from him yet but we are having a Zone Training Meeting (ZTM,) this week...maybe he will be there for that as well?? I'll let you know ;) 

Thanks for the emails. I love getting them! Also, thank you for the pictures!!! Angie's graduation pictures made me cry. You are sooo beautiful Angela!! That's so cool that the Taylors are now home from their mission. That is pretty crazy. How exciting for Gibby to go to Australia! He will come home with an awesome accent ;) hehe I don't have a whole lot of time left to email so I will have to handwrite to respond as best I can to your emails :) It sounds like you guys are staying super busy! It may be too late at this point which is totally fine but if possible... it would be nice to have a leather backpack that keeps out as much water as possible. haha If you have already sent a backpack, that's fine cause honestly I just need one! (my back is starting to hurt from carrying a heavy satchel everywhere :/) So thank you so much for sending one!!!! =D 

It was POURING the other day. We were out riding our bikes and all of a sudden it just came down on us. It was really fun! hahaha I don't think I have ever been more wet in all my life. I was soaked to the bone! We were all really enjoying ourselves though. Just to help put your minds at ease, we are to go home if there is lightning ;) My leather satchel did fairly well in the rain but still got some pamphlets and Book of Mormons a little damp. But not too bad ;) Sister Conant doesn't have a leather backpack and all of her stuff was soaking :P felt bad for her. 

So the way Sister Conant sends pictures is going to Wallgreens, downloading the pictures on a CD or something and then mailing it home. She doesn't delete the pictures off of her camera until her family has told her that they received the pictures. Does that seem like a good plan to you? I'm going to try and do that today. That way I have more time to read and write on email instead of working on downloading pictures the whole time.

A challenge that we are facing in our area is that we have SO many less actives in our ward. Just in our area (which is half of the ward) we have about 35 less actives...not cool. This area is known for being really "productive" but that "productivity" doesn't last long when the converts don't stay. They were baptized too early. A lot of the less actives we have been teaching haven't even read the Book of Mormon!!!  One of them told us that the only times they had read the Book of  Mormon were a few scriptures here and there when the missionaries were over. It's been really hard. I can see how easy it is to want to just get big numbers, but it's so much more important to see the bigger picture. It's been hard work but we are trying hard to keep teaching new investigators as well as work with those less actives that don't even know some of the most crucial parts of the gospel! Pretty crazy...

Anyway, I only have a few minutes left but know how much I love each one of you! I can't believe that this week is my month mark... WHAT?! 17 more fast Sundays, Dad ;) hehe It's hard work out here but know that I'm doing great and loving the hard work. I'm sorry that I'm not doing all that great with responding to your emails personally... hopefully over time I will get better at it. And no worries about FedEx etc. I am just happy to hear from you whenever I get the chance. Which by the way... I got Angie's and Dad's first letters that were suppose to get to me my first week in the  MTC LAST WEEK! What?! weird... oh well. ;) It was really good to just hear from you no matter how long ago it was ;) hahaha! I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!! Take and send pictures!!!


Sister Kirkham