Monday, August 19, 2013

Hey family :)                                                                                         12 August 2013

This past week was SO HOT. August here in Florida is burning and so humid. Of course we had the bikes last week as well! But all is well. I really do like riding my bike. You feel like you get so much more accomplished in a day because you talk to so many more people than you do when you are in a car. Sister Hoyt and I worked super, super hard this week and have come up with four new investigators from it! We don't know how promising they really are yet but I will keep you updated on them. We biked a ton. We biked at least 10 miles every day. It was pretty nuts but I lost quite a bit of weight from it…hahaha! I don't have to worry so much about what the members are feeding me during bike week ;) Riding a bike in this Florida heat as a sister missionary is kind’ve funny... we have AWESOME tan lines. My feet are half pasty white and half black, my watch tan line is very noticeable and I have an awesome farmers tan line. You sweat sooo fast out here because of the heat and humidity that you immediately have helmet hair and your legs and feet are filthy after a day of riding around (especially during the wet days in Florida!).. so you pretty much give up on your appearance by the end of the day and just go with it. hahaha It's so hot here that you are always praying for the rain. It feels so good! It's just awkward when you have an appointment and you are soaked... 

Although this past week was physically exhausting, it was a good week :) I feel like Sister Hoyt and I are starting to get the system down of how to do this work with two of us as well as just being new missionaries! The first week together was super stressful but I feel like we have a better handle on things now :)

This past week we showed Yazay the 'Restoration' video. She told us after the video that she had prayed that morning to have a sign that the Book of Mormon was true and she felt like God had answered her prayers with the video. Pretty cool. The spirit was really strong in that lesson and I bore a simple testimony of the power of the spirit and the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and Restoration…yes, I got teary. I bore my testimony of the importance of striving to continually have those spiritual confirmations that this church is true so that her faith is always growing and being renewed. At the end of the lesson she casually brought up that she forgot to tell us her mom said she could get baptized! what?! Hahaha! It's so awesome to know that Yazay wants to get baptized and her mom is willing to let her be.. but I'm just nervous about baptizing a 12 year old that doesn't have a whole lot of support from home and doesn't have friends around her that are of the church. She is a strong willed girl but it still makes me uneasy. She could so easily slip away. Plus, we are wanting to make sure that she truly is getting baptized for the right reasons, which is because she believes this is the only true church. We don't want her to get baptized because she just thinks it is a "cool" church or that it is something "new" or whatever... so please keep both Yazay and us in your prayers that we will know what is best for her. 

We taught John the Gospel of Jesus Christ this week and he accepted a baptismal date! Several weeks ago when we first brought of proper authority and baptism he got very offended that his baptism when he was younger "did not count" and he stormed out of the lesson… it was the most awkward lesson. There was a lot of other things that built up to him being upset (a member that was with us was texting and arguing during the lesson). It has been a huge miracle and blessing to see John and his less active wife, Debbie, become so excited about the Book of Mormon and our message. Debbie even said that she was sorry for all the time that she has wasted. It was awesome! John was so excited to tell us about what he had been reading since we last saw him and was telling us detail after detail. It's so exciting to see the Holy Ghost working through him. I can't remember if I told you this already, but when he was telling us about how excited he was about the Book of Mormon he exclaimed, "I believe this is true!" and as he said it you could see the surprise that was written across his face as he realized what he had just said. Hahaha, so awesome! It's so important to realize that it is the Holy Ghost that is the teacher, not us. He has sat in on so many lessons when misisonaries would go over to teach his wife, but he never really grew a testimony or interest in it until he began to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it for himself. 

While we were out contacting, we ran into a 20 year kid named Dennis that was a former investigator! He was supposed to get baptized back in January but would not agree to living the law of Chastity... so the baptism fell through. We have had two lessons with him now and he says that he feels more ready and willing to live all the commandments now because he sees what he is missing out on and misses the feelings he had when he was with lessons with past elders. So we talked to him about the Law of Chastity (my first time doing so... woot woot!) and it really wasn't that bad haha! He told us that we brought up a lot of really good points with why it is good to live it and that he sees it in a totally new light having sisters teach it. haha He is praying about it this week and we are going to talk to him more about it next time we see him. So there is another promising baptism. 

I was so grateful for Sister Couch this past week taking Sister Hoyt and I to go get our toenails done. haha! She could tell that we really needed to take a break and it was the best way! Although my toes never see the sun anymore.. it's fun to have cute toes to look at night ;)

I gave a spiritual thought on Patience and Faith in Christ at our District Meeting. I will just send my notes home to you so you get the full thing but it was really good timing to study those topics. I used the story of Amulon not letting the people of Alma pray and how they had to use patience and have faith in God. It's found in Mosiah 24: 10-16. I pointed out that although there was opposition, they continued to be obedient to the Lord's commandments by praying in their hearts, trusting God's will and having patience in His timing and the Lord was able to make their burdens lighter and give them the strength to endure those trials. As missionaries, we need to remember that no one wants all His children back to live with them more than Christ and Heavenly Father do and so we need to be patient and trust that they know what is best for the people of Winter Garden. As long as we are being obedient to the missionary rules and work hard, having faith in Christ, His work will move forward. There is a section in Preach My Gospel under 'Faith in Jesus Christ' that I really like. It says that when we have faith,"He will help change the desires of our hearts." I love that. When we turn our hearts to Him, we will have more righteous desires to become better. 

We dropped by a "eternigator" (eternal investigator) to see why they weren't at church and he had pretty much been antied. We asked if he had read and prayed about the Book of Mormon and came to find out that he has not been praying with "real intent" like it says in Moroni 10. I asked if he had ever felt the Holy Ghost and he then told us of this experience he had where he had been taken over by the Holy Ghost and God told him that men were not supposed to be in space. It's different. I'll have to mail home this print out of his conversation he had with God. Not really sure what to think of all that! 

Elder Weston, the elder from the Allison's ward, called me and told me that a former investigator he had taught while in Winter Garden had been on his mind a lot lately. So we went and saw him! He seems like a pretty cool guy. He is a storm chaser and has a lot of crazy stories. Anyways, I'll keep you posted on what happens there. 

Reality that I am a Mormon, Utah girl has hit me hard this past week haha! I have learned out here that my stomach is very, very sensitive to gross, strong smells.... every time we go into a home that smells SUPER strong of animals or smoke.. I get a nasty stomach ache and dizzy head. hahaha It's kinda embarrassing and it goes away after riding my bike for a little bit but man... it is so nice to breathe fresh air again after some lessons.. it's pretty crazy. 

I'm trying to think of what else happened this past week... I feel like this week went by so fast yet so much has happened that it's hard to keep the weeks straight.... oh! I saw my first ever armadillo and possum up close on a bike!!! ... but they were both road kill... so cute. hahaha They are weird creatures. I think I'm okay that Utah doesn't have any of those. haha! 

How are things going with work in the ASB Angie? I'm soooo excited that you got the job!! You will love it there I'm sure :) Have you been up to see anyone at the Admissions Office while you are there? If so, give them all a big hug for me, k? :) 

Well, know how much I love you guys and am SO grateful for you. Some days I feel like I'm going to be home in no time and other days not so much ;) but I know that this time I have out here is blessing both of us so much and I thank my Heavenly Father for it every night. Thank you for your support, your letters and for always setting such a good example for me. You are all awesome and I love you so, so much!!! Until next week!!!! I LOVE YOU!!!! 


Sister Kirkham

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