Monday, September 30, 2013

News from Katie

Hey Family!!
This past week was seriously one of the most memorable weeks of the mission. So much happened! The craziest part of the week was that this less active member family lost their father to Luegarics (however you spell that!!) disease. Pretty sad... he left behind a 16, 21 and 22 years old kids. The mom has always been active and she asked Sister Pitts and I to sing a duet at the funeral! ah!! It was pretty nerve racking... I don't know if I'll ever fully be able to get over my fear of public singing... but I will admit that it does get a little bit easier every time! I feel like we did a really good job. We sang "Be Still My Soul" and a lady from the ward made up a beautiful piano arrangement to go along with it! Later, we were talking with the widow and she wants us so badly to come over for dinner and teach a lesson to her less active kids as well as her sister in law! She is planning on taking her husbands name through the temple next year to do his work and she so badly wants her kids to be able to join and be sealed as well. How cool would that be? We are praying and hoping that these kids will be humble and feel the spirit directing them during this challenging time of their lives.
We were able to take Debra on a temple tour! It was my first time going through a tour of the grounds. It was cool and very well done. It was weird driving back through my old stomping grounds... it almost felt like I was going home! ... but not really... haha I was super excited to go back to that area though. I love the temple!!
We had a couple lessons with Ed and Michelle this week. At the beginning of the lesson we told Michelle that we had both felt very impressed to move her baptismal date up from October 19th to the 12th. As we said that, she said, "Oh! I was hoping you would say that! I was wanting it to come sooner as well!" hahaha I love Michelle. She seriously is SO prepared and so awesome. So we should be having a baptism on the 12th at 6pm! Please keep her in your prayers :) Michelle's baptism date and time was announced at church on Sunday! So excited! When we were at a lesson with them, Ed got really emotional when talking about how he had prayed and immediately after his prayer, it was answered. He wouldn't tell us what it was exactly but you can easily see the power of the Atonement working in his life. It is so amazing seeing that cleansing power work in people. He told us that he has felt so much happier since he started meeting with us and that we came just in time to help save their marriage. They seem so happy now. They were pretty much at the point of taking the wedding ring off and moving out... but now at church I see them hold hands and they look so happy. I love them sooo much!!!!!!! We are still working with Ed on making a goal of baptism.. .but I have no doubt that if he continues to exercise his faith the way he is now, that things will work out and the Lord will provide a way. :) This is kind of selfish to admit... but if they both get baptized.. they could go through the temple a year from now... and I could go!! ah! Not all sisters get that opportunity. I would looooove for that to happen. Of course because they would be sealed! But I would so love to be there to support them. So please keep them in your prayers that they will continue to have the courage and follow the promptings of the spirit.
This morning was the best morning on the mission..... I got to see the east coast for the first time in my life!!! :) We had a District Prep Day at the Daytona Beach. We met at the beachat 6:15 and were able to watch the sunrise, take pictures, play some Ultimate Frisbee and go have breakfast together. It was awesome!!! It's so sad that I live 10 minutes away from the beach and can't even get in the water.... :( oh well... I'll get to eventually ;) We touched the water though and it was super warm at 6 in the morning! It's awesome and very beautiful!! I took quite a few pictures so hopefully I'll get a CD of pictures sent home soon :)
The most frustrating thing that has happened out on my mission so far was Saturday... haha We found outSaturday morning that no one in the Relief Society Presidency in my ward had announced or was planning on showing the Relief Society Broadcast... so after talking with all the presidency.. we took it upon ourselves to get a Priesthood holder there for the night, call and invite all the sisters in the ward and set up the screen at the church. It was nuts and took up half the day to get it put together... but it worked out ok!! The broadcast was SO good!!! I loved all of the talks on making and keeping covenants. I have seen the importance of obedience more and more out here on the mission. You truly are so blessed for keeping your promises with God and doing all that you can to obey. I also loved the talk from President Monson on prayer and love. Wow. He is so awesome. I am so grateful for inspired leaders that help us stay on the right path through this dark and troubled world. Please take some time this next week to think about direction and quesitons that you have and pray to receive answers. God knows what is best for each one of us at this time of our lives, and I promise that He has something prepared for each one of us to hear if we will truly listen and try to apply what we learn. I'm SOOOO excited for General Conference this next week!
One last thing, it was so fun to find a connection between the Call family and the Jessups! The Calls are the cutest family. I love them! They really are one of the coolest families in the ward and I'm excited to get to know them more and more! Sister Call was actually the member that drove all the way to transfers to pick me up and bring me to this area! (It's about a 2 hour drive!) I got so excited to be able to talk about one my favorite families, the Jessups!! :) :) The Calls kept talking about how they always have good food there and that they are big U of U fans ;) hahaha love it!
Well, I better get going... but know how much I love you guys!!! I hope this next week is filled with laughter, love and the spirit :) I LOVE YOU!!!!
-Sister Kirkham

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Excerpts of a handwritten letter, 9/22/13

                                                                                     September 22, 2013

I'm sorry I have been so bad at writing the past couple of weeks. Things are starting to slow down so hopefully it will get easier to write.

Thanks so much for the C.A.R.E. package with the shirt, skirt and soccer cleats! That was so nice of you. I've worn the shirt already and I wore the shirt today. Thank you!!! It's so nice to have new things to wear. Especially because your old clothes get worn out from being worn and cleaned so much. I also enjoyed reading the Ward Missionary Messenger!

My companion, Sis. Pitts and I just listened to a voicemail from President Berry, our mission president. He said something along the lines of: "Sis. Kirkham and Sis. Pitts, God bless you! I'm just looking at your numbers and saw that you had 3 new investigators at church this Sunday. I just wanted to call and say, 'Way to go!'  and thanks for all your hard work." How cool is that!?! I've never had the President call to compliment us on our numbers before. It is definitely motivating and feels really good knowing that our leaders are recognizing our hard work. :D It is really a blessing because this is Sis. Pitts and my first time having that many new investigators at church on the same Sunday. Pretty awesome :D

Please tell Lauren how happy I am for her and I so wish I could be there to see her and support her on such an exciting day as her sealing. So crazy to think she is married! I got their wedding announcement but haven't had time to write back and congratulation them. Tell her that I love her.

Sounds like Angie is having a blast at school. I'm glad to hear she is making good friends down at the Y. She will have so much more fun at school as she continues to strengthen relationships down there.

That's great to hear that Mar is so happy and that Isla is healthy.

I'm so excited for General Conference coming up. I can't even tell you!. Things are so much more appreciated, so much more exciting and special out here on the mission. I can't wait. I can't believe it's been a year since the missionary age change. Time sure flies . Now look where I am! I hope things go well for Kenzie Knell! When does she leave?

You should know that Sister Pitts and I have been asked to sing a duet at a funeral thing Thursday. Ahhh! haha! The dad that past away was only in his 50s and left behind teenagers. Pretty sad. I must admit that I'm really nervous to sing. Pray for us!

Well, I better get going. I love you guys! Thanks so much for all you do. I sure love hearing from you and how you are doing. Know that I'm doing great here in New Smyrna Beach with Sis. Pitts :D

I love you!

Sis. Kirkham

Text from Ron Jessup re: friends having dinner with Sis. Kirkham

Dear Ron Jessup texted Kent the following forwarded text from his daughter and son-in-law:

"The following text is from our daughter and son-in-law's friends Chewy and Adina who are in Florida as he attends chiropractic school.

"FWD: we have Steven's friend Katie Kirkham, who is on her mission, in our house right now for dinner. She says "Hi," to Kristin. Apparently she loves the Jessup's. Of course who wouldn't. LOL!"

So fun to hear that our dear daughter, Sis. Kirkham has been recently transferred to New Smyrna Beach, Florida and is being blessed by past, present, and new relationships. From the Kirkham's to Chewy and Adina: Thank you for watching out for our daughter! You are so sweet to treat her and Sis. Pitts to dinner. God bless!

Thank you Ron! As they say in Orlando, "It's a small world after all!"

Monday, September 23, 2013

Leapin' Lizards and Jumpin' Frogs: New Symrna Beach, New Apartment, New Investigators, New Scripture Study Class, Hopefully a New Phone

                                                                                                September 23, 2013

Hey Family!! :) 

This week was a super crazy but good week! Last Monday we spent all of P-day moving everything out of our apartment and into our new apartment!! Oh my goodness... the new apartment is 10x better. The old one had been used for 13 years by missionaries... it was pretty beaten up. The new one is bigger, much more light comes in, it's clean, and we have a washer and dryer. It's much, much better. We have been trying move in and clean a little bit each day in between appointments... we finally were able to finish everything this morning. I'm so done with moving!!! Haha! 

We have started a scripture study class every Tuesday night at the church. It's been super successful! We have more people come every week. Sister Pitts and I trade off every other week with the elders in the ward. We taught 1 Nephi 16 last week. The chapter is about the Liahona and Nephi's faith through difficult times. Something that I learned from that study was that when Nephi's bow broke, he made plans (made a new bow),  turned respectfully to his father, the family Priesthood holder for direction (although Lehi had been murmuring himself,) and they prayed to get a confirmation of their plans before they went out and executed the plan. It was great! There are so many things that you learn in the scriptures every day. I try really hard to make sure that I am confirming my plans with the Lord so that He can direct me where He needs me. 

Our main investigator, Michelle, is so solid. To make things even better, her husband has come to the past two lessons and has come to church the past two weeks!! Apparently Michelle has tried having missionaries over for the past couple years but every time the missionaries would try to see her at her home, her husband, Ed would send them away. We were finally able to meet with Michelle and teach her because we would meet at the church for lessons. Michelle had made comments about how her husband has realized the changes that Michelle is making and now he is coming! He told us in our last lesson that he has been reading the Book of Mormon an hour a night. He was brought up Catholic and is only use to ROTE prayers... but without us even teaching him about how we pray, he told us that he has started changing the way he prays and it's more personal! It's amazing what the Spirit does and how he teaches us :) We are hoping that both Michelle and Ed will get baptized together. We are still a little uncertain with Ed, but we have faith that he can come around and be on board the way Michelle is. They are miracles!!! At church yesterday, Ed was awestruck that he was able to take the sacrament. He has been through a divorce. In the Catholic faith, divorce makes you unworthy to take the sacrament... so sad. He was nervous to take it but you could tell he was at peace knowing that he could actually partake of that sacred ordinance! On top of that, the Gospel Principle lesson just happened to be on the Sacrament. I think he was really feeling the spirit. 

There was a baptism of a member that had been excommunicated this past weekend. Michelle and Ed were able to come to it! The spirit was very strong... there were a lot of talks on how much God really does love each one of us and that we can always start anew and come unto Christ. Michelle was crying. 

We met or did more than our goals for this past week which is awesome. It was kind of a challenge to get it all done though because our phone has decided to freak out on us... we can't make any phone calls or send any texts... and the phone won't ring but just leaves voicemails... and we can't even connect to hear the voicemail!! We should have a new phone coming today or tomorrow (hopefully) but we have had to go over to member's homes to set up and confirm all of our appointments, etc. so it has been nuts!! Last night was super funny.... our phone was the worst it has been yet. We had to give our weekly numbers (how many lessons, contacts) and let our district Leader know that we were in and safe... but we couldn't get a hold of anyone!!! Luckily, we connected with our District Leader for like 5 seconds... but as I was quickly trying to say, "Before the call drops...we are in and safe!!"... the call dropped before I could say "in and safe"... hahahaha we watched our voicemails add up from 3 voicemails to 13!! ah!!! hahaha Kind of bad.. but we got things figured out... hopefully we get that new phone soon.... 

So technically my area is called New Smyrna Beach... but I live in Port Orange. Everyone here is super laid back in all that they do... for example, we were at a dinner appointment with the former bishop's family last night. We had finished dinner and were in the middle of sharing a short message with them and their son started calling them on Skype.. so they both jumped up and started talking to him and left us their confused with our scriptures open on our laps.... hahahaha so funny! I love these people but you are surprised everyday by crazy things. haha 

Another funny thing that happened this week...we were driving down a really busy road and all of a sudden Sister Pitts screamed and freaked out...because there was a MASSIVE frog that jumped and chilled on our windshield!! haha! I have no idea how it got on our car in the middle of such a busy street! It was hilarious and we both had a good time laughing about that. Seriously, Florida is like no other place. It's GREEN, super wet, humid all the time, lizards everywhere and frogs jumping out of nowhere. It's crazy! I love it here... but I also miss Utah. I know that I will be sad when I have to move home. Florida is my home!! Just like that Phillip Phillip's song, 'Home' says, Florida is my home for the next year or so. I love the quirkiness of the people and that I get soaked in a matter of seconds!

Thanks for the care package. That was so sweet of you! I love hearing from you guys. I have pictures that I'm going to send home today :) I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Please keep Ed and Michelle in your prayers... as well as that we will be able to find more people teach. XOXOXOXOXO


Sister Kirkham



Monday, September 16, 2013

New Companion, Sister Pitts and Sister Kirkham Hit the Beach...New Symrna Beach (that is)...Running!

                                                                                                        September 16, 2013


First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!!!!!!!! =D I hope that you have an awesome day. I'm so glad that you got my birthday card :) I hope that things go well at work today and that you feel much love from everyone around you... and especially from me!! I'll be singing 'Happy Birthday' out loud with Sister Pitts today ;) haha love you :) 

I can't believe that you got to meet and talk with Becky Baird!!! That is sooo crazy! I literally saw her a week ago today! How fun is that. :) 

This past week has been the most miracle filled week of my whole mission. Hands. Down. The Lord has a lot in store for Sister Pitts and I! I love New Smyrna Beach! I live 10 minutes away from the coast which is kind of fun. Sister Pitts is the sweetest, most fun girl EVER. We clicked immediately and have had so much fun together. I really have no complaints. We teach really well together also! Companionship unity comes so naturally with Sister Pitts and I :) I LOVE IT!!! My mission is really starting to get fun! 

The Lord really does have so much in store for Sister Pitts and I. Sister Pitts said that last Monday while she was looking at the transfer list that her phone started going off with tons of referrals! It was a testimony to her that these referrals needed Sister Pitts and I as a team. Pretty cool huh? We have two SOLID investigators. When I say solid, they are both the most prepared people both Sister Pitts and I have seen on the mission. The first is Michelle who was referred to us by a member. She goes over and beyond everything that we ask her to do. She told us that the only problem that she had was knowing that Joseph Smith had translated the Book of Mormon, but after some explaining and prayer, she told us that it's not a problem at all for her anymore! Woo Hoo! She is so ready. We are actually planning on moving her baptismal date up a week because she is progressing so quickly. 

The second referral is Debbie. Debbie was given a Book of Mormon by her good friend back in 2005. She told us when we first met her that she has really considered becoming a member. In our first lesson we were going over parts of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and all of a sudden she was like, "So when can I be baptized?!" hahaha It took Sister Pitts and I by surprise! We are so blessed to work with two very prepared women! It's very exciting. There is a “night and day” difference between recognizing those that have been prepared and others you are trying to almost CONVINCE if that makes sense. The prepared don't need convincing, they are ready and the Spirit is doing literally EVERYTHING. It's so awesome. 
Yesterday was Stake Conference. Michelle and her husband actually ended up coming as well so we may end up teaching him also! Debbie also came and they both seemed to be touched by the people and the messages that were given. Sister Berry spoke on "Rescuing" and made me cry. haha Brother and Sister Wescott drove us and Debbie to the stake center. Brother Wescott is the cutest man ever. For almost everything that Debbie would say, he would get super excited and try and make some connection. For example, Debbie was talking about going to a chocolate factory in Germany and Brother Wescott got super excited and said, "Oh my goodness!!! My wife is a chocoholic!!" Because of stake conference I haven't been able to meet a whole lot of the ward members yet but the ones I have met are so sweet. The ward is made up of people 50 plus in age or in the 20's.

I got your care package! Thank you so much!!! That was super cute of you. I probably won't have time for writing today because we are actually moving apartments! I have been living out of my suitcase this past week... so fun. My whole Prep day is going to be super busy with moving, laundry, shopping and cleaning.... sorry :/ but I will try my best!!! 

Always remember when life gets tough and nothing seems to be going right, that you turn to the Lord in prayer and do your best to be obedient. When you are being obedient, you will come closer to Heavenly Father and His spirit will be with you to guide you, protect you, and comfort you :) There is a reason for hard times... and there will be better times to come!! Thanks for all your support and love. You don't know how much it means to me to hear from you. Thank you for the pictures you send of the family as well. It made me cry. haha I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!! 

Love, Sister Kirkham

Monday, September 9, 2013

Transfer to New Smyrna Beach! Love the people of Winter Garden.

                                                            September 9, 2013

Hey family!!! 

So guess what?! I'm getting transferred and moving to New Smyrna Beach! It's along the East coast. One of the elders that is in my zone served there for about 5-6 months and said that he loved it there and that the beach is only 3 miles away…crazy! I'm super excited! I'm going to miss people in the Winter Garden ward, they have been such Christ-like people.They are so easy to love! I’m very excited to meet some new people, see a new area, and have a new companion :) It's kind of weird to think that I'm just a normal missionary now...I'm not a Newbie! haha! It's awesome though and I'm super excited. Sister Hoyt was convinced that we were staying together for another transfer but I had a feeling deep down that I was moving. The Holy Ghost definitely prepares you! haha Anyway, you'll probably look up pictures of the area before I even get there... but I've heard it's one of the most beautiful beaches! :) 

This past week I had my last temple service :( I love temple service because you get to spend time with other missionaries and be on the beautiful temple grounds! I'll miss that..but for my last time there I got to clean the fountains! I got to roll up my pants and walk around in the water while I cleaned.. it's probably the closest to swimming that I will get my whole mission! haha It was super fun and felt SUPER good! Sister Hoyt and I also helped clean out a recent convert's home as they were moving out...I have NEVER seen so many cockroaches and bugs in ALL my life. It was so sad to see that a family had actually been living in that situation...You would literally pick something up and about 5 thousand cockroaches would run out from underneath... ugh! So gross and so sad! The family was pretty much living in a shack. The floor was wood paneling and they had just thrown down linoleom floors on top of it... The floors were peeling off and you could see the ground between the floor boards. Pretty sad. But! The good news! We helped get her and her family into a new apartment and it is 10x better. I'm so relieved for them!! 

Sister Becky Baird, a member of the ward, asked us to put a Missionary Mutual together for the Young Women. It was awesome! We helped them role play in different situations where their friends may ask them questions about our beliefs. I think they really enjoyed it and we were able to help them pass something off in Personal Progress! Speaking of Sister Baird, Sister Hoyt are going out to lunch with her today before I head off and move tomorrow! She's such a fun lady. 

This morning we were talking with Elder Norman, our district leader and he was giving us advice on how to help our area improve. He told us that we should consider having a "drop talk" with John. John hasn't been progressing and won't commit to coming to church... and if he isn't even committing to church then he isn't going to commit to baptism or the Word of Wisdom at least right now he won't, so we should be using the Lord's time elsewhere. Dropping people is one of the hardest things as a missionary. It seems so heartless, but we have been promised that when we are doing all that we can to use the Lord's time wisely that He will guide us to those that are ready and prepared to be baptized and make promises with God. I guess I don't have to give the drop talk with John... Sister Hoyt will have to deal with that!

Something that I thought a lot about this week was the temple. I am so sad that I can't go into the temple while I'm on my mission but I have been deep in thought about the amazing blessings that are given. I have never fully comprehended what we are doing when we do work for those that are dead but as I have studied the Plan of Salvation more, the more deep of an understanding I have! When we pass on from this life, we will either go to Spirit Paradise or Spirit Prison in the Spirit World. Those that are in Spirit Prison are unhappy because they are living with the temptations and sins that they lived with when they died... those that are in Spirit Paradise are happy and at peace because they know that they have followed Christ's plan in this life. When we are doing baptisms for the dead, we are giving those people in Spirit Prison the opportunity to accept the work we have done for them in the temple and they can be relieved of those burdens and unhappiness and enter into a state of peace and joy!! I have heard before that when we pass on from this life that we will be welcomed by are family, friends and those that we did work for in the temple and accepted the work. Can you imagine being welcomed on the other side by those that we did work for and realizing WHO we did it for?? We will realize that they are people that we knew and loved in the life before this. I can't even imagine the joy that comes from doing temple work! Go to the temple whenever you can! Don't take it for granted. There are people that are waiting for you to help them and you will be so blessed for doing so. 

I probably won't get any letters from anyone until the end of the week because of transfers but I can't wait to hear more from you! I hope that school is going well for Mom and Angie. I can't wait to hear about all the adventures!! Dad, I can't wait to hear about work as well as how Mar, Seth, Declan, and baby Isla are doing! Thank you so much for sending Sister Couch pictures of Isla so I could see her :) She is so beautiful!!!!

 Sister Kirkham


P.s. If I have time today (between packing) I will send pictures home on a CD :) love you!!!! 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Zone Conference Conference, Soccer in the rain, Meeting Weekly Goals, Softball with 5 investigators, Testimony of Christ (3 Nephi)


                                                                        September 2, 2013

Hey Family :) 

Another P-day out in the field! It's so crazy how much faster every week gets out here. I swear I was just here writing you! After emailing you last P-day, we had soo much fun.  The whole Zone got together and played soccer out on the grass behind the stake center across from the Orlando Temple. We played for about 2 1/2 hours and it POURED on us for about 20-30 minutes. It felt sooo good and I have never played soccer in rain like that before. It rained buckets! We were all laughing and having so much fun. The awesome thing about the rain here is that it's warm and it feels so good to get rained on. I LOVE IT! Of course after it stopped raining, the sun came out and we all got fried from being wet standing in the hot sun. Haha! It was awesome though and I hope that we can get together and do that again soon. It was such a good way to relieve stress. The normal hard work of being a missionary can be so stressful. Just being able to go run and have fun with other missionaries was the best! I got to know a lot more of the missionaries from my zone. It's so fun when we are able to get together with other missionaries. You are able to feel somewhat normal again when you do ;) 

This past week, Sister Hoyt and I were able to meet so many of our weekly goals. It was awesome! Ever since I have been in Winter Garden we have only had about 1-2 members present at lessons per week... but this week we had 6 different lessons with a member!! It was such a miracle! The lessons when members are with us are so much more powerful. 

This past week we ended up teaching the neighbor of Eugene, (the man with the stroke that I taught when I first got here.) His wife has a lot of health issues and she was willing to have us bring a member to the second lesson to give her a priesthood blessing. They were very open to the message about Joseph Smith seeing God the Father and Jesus Christ and are willing to read the Book of Mormon together as a family. They have a son, Billy Junior, who has been getting into bad things with friends and they are wanting their family to get closer together. They seem to understand and feel that we can help them get closer. It's so exciting! I love meeting people that are truly looking for help and guidance from the Lord and are willing to do their part. I will keep you updated on how things go with them, (if I'm still here in Winter Garden to see what happens...). This is my last week of my second transfer... so crazy. I think sister missionaries have 13 transfers all together...? Crazy! Crazy! 

This past Saturday the ward had a softball activity at the Veterans Memorial Park. We had 5 investigators show up for the activity! Such a blessing! I think that going to a laid back activity like that really helped them feel comfortable with the people there and to see the kind of people that are members of our church. Yazay, the 12 year old, walked a really long way to get to the park... I felt bad that she walked such a long way, but she really wanted to make it to the party! So it was awesome to see that she was determined to go. That's always a good sign :) At first it was really frustrating because none of the members were welcoming and talking to the investigators... so it was really stressful and awkward.... but after talking to some of the members privately and asking them to go talk to them, things went a lot better. I was one big stress ball!!! 

I have been reading the Book of Mormon for my personal study and just finished 4 Nephi. I have really felt increased love and gratitude for my Savior this week as I have been reading about Him coming to the Americas. One morning I sat down and wrote a big journal entry on what I had felt and learned from my studies and I just want to share it with you guys: 

"While I was reading in 3 Nephi 16 and 17, I was moved by the thoughts I had imagining Christ being the Americas. What a miraculous time for not just the people of the Americas, but for Christ Himself. In 3 Nephi 17: 20-21 Christ says, "Blessed are ye because of your faith, and now behold, my joy is full."  Verse 21: "And when he had said these words, He wept." I was so touched by that... A couple of days ago in companionship study we were studying charity and pointed out that the 2 times that the scriptures point out that Christ wept were when He was looking over Jerusalem and when He mourned with Mary before raising Lazarus from the dead. Both of those times he cried because He was sad...but in 3 Nephi when He is in the Americas, He cries with JOY. When you put things in perspective, Christ came to the Americas right after He had gone through so much pain and died for our sins and then overcame death through resurrection. That would be far from easy to accomplish. Christ had just gone through SO much sacrifice and suffering for ALL of us, even those that did such evil against Him. No wonder Christ wept with joy when He saw the faith of the American people. He was able to see and be reminded of WHY HE suffered for us and that there are still many of Christ's brothers and sisters that are striving to be good and are desirous to understand and strive to become like Christ. He was able to see that His suffering and sacrifice was not in vain but that there were good, righteous people on the earth that LOVED Christ, that wanted to follow Him…not tp spit upon Him and mock HIs teachings. I could keep going on and on about this…but, as you can see, the Holy Ghost taught me a ton this morning about Christ and some of the actual thoughts and feelings He had when He visited the Americas. What a beautiful, glorious day for HIM!! I absolutely love moments like this where the spirit teaches me so much more about my brother and my Savior, Jesus Christ. It's times like these that I so badly want to see Him, wrap my arms around Him and talk to Him face to face. I have had a strong desire and love to know Christ this past year but the desire to know Him more and more grows deeper and stronger the more knowledge I do gain. Even though the mission is hard, it's times like these where I feel the love I have for my Savior so strong that my spirits are so happy and all the little trials seem but nothing compared to the bigger picture because I know that my older brother is watching over me. I hope and pray that when I do finally come face to face with Christ that He will weep with JOY that I have come home at last." 

I had to share that journal entry because I couldn't put it in any other words than I could at that moment. I love my Savior and have such a strong desire to come to know Him more. I really hope that you are taking enough time every day to study personally and as a family to come to know Christ and His gospel more. Christ is truly where you find pure joy, peace, strength and comfort. While I'm out here, I don't know exactly what is going on at home... but I know that no matter if you are struggling or loving life, the Lord is always the one and ONLY way to find true happiness. I have seen that more and more out here in the mission. Yes, the mission is hard. Yes, I get homesick. Yes, sometimes I just want to snuggle up in my sweats and a blanket with hot chocolate when it's pouring rain instead of go ride my bike out in it... haha… but I have found the most joy in the work at those times when I feel closest to Christ. 

I love you guys so much. I hope that work, school and everything else is going well. You are always in my prayers and can't wait to hear from you again.  


Sister Kirkham

P.S. Will someone please write me a letter? I'm kinda feeling forgotten... :( haha I love emails but I don't get to see them until Monday! If you have any time I would love to get anything from you guys!! Love you. 

P.S.S. Check out it's a blog of one of the senior missionary couples and apparently I'm on it a couple times!  

P.S.S.S.!!! Angie, On September 13 (14th? sometime around there...) Sister Becky Baird, a lady from my ward is going to be a part of an old BYU comedian group called Garrins?? Or something closer to that... starts with a 'g'. Anyway, keep an eye out for that and go to the show!!! She is HILAROUS. She does quite a few shows at DisneyWorld... and is the voice for some Monsters Inc. show as well. Pretty funny! I think you would love her. If you go, which you should, you need to try and talk to her afterwards!!! Love her. 




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

August 25, 2013 Letter, meeting with Sister Kara Allred!

Hey family :) 

This past week has definitely been the fastest week on the mission so far. It's so crazy. I swear I was just here at the stake center emailing you last week!! Which by the way, the stake center is directly across the street from the temple. loooove it! :) 

We had Zone Conference this past week. My first one! It was pretty fun. Sister Kara Allred and her companion picked us up bright and early so that we could go to it together (we were on bikes that week...) The ZC was good! A lot of our leaders spoke and I had fun getting to know other missionaries. At the end of the conference the President talked about Moroni's 'Title of Liberty' and showed a Orlando Florida Mission banner that was to be our own 'Title of Liberty'. On the banner it says, "Do your personal best - leave your mark!" and then we left our thumb print and name on the banner :) Kind’ve fun! We also talked about the Godhead and how important it is that our investigators first understand the Godhead before they can understand the restored gospel. They shared a talk from Elder Holland concerning the Godhead... so of course it was super good and very powerful! We are actually planning on implementing that into our lesson with Mike tonight. Hopefully that will go well :) 

District Prep day was a lot of fun! We did glow in the dark mini golf. It was super fun! It was 12 elders and then Sister Hoyt and I... hahaha kinda funny. It was fun to be with the elders though. Sister Hoyt and I were talking about how much more fun elders are than sisters. Elders know how to have fun! If there had been 12 sisters and 2 elders.... it just wouldn't have been as fun. haha We kept score and I took 5th out of the 14 missionaries there... not too shabby! After golfing we had lunch at Fuddruckers, a burger joint. 

I also went on exchanges with the Sister Higley this week! She is super cute and we had fun talking all day. haha I went to their place in Bueno Vista and got to enjoy having a gym for once! It was so nice haha Sister Higley is very laid back and comfortable in the way she teaches and I feel like ever since the exchange I have felt a lot more comfortable and laid back in my own teaching as well. Exchanges really help you so much! I learned a lot and it was a lot of fun to see another area. Angela, you will be jealous to hear that we drove right by the entrance to Disney World... hahaha 

This past week was super weird and not so good number wise... partly because of all the meetings and things that went on this week. Yesterday was such a miracle filled day though! John came to church for the first time!!! YAY!!! The topic in church was the blessings that come from Church and the temple. It was such a perfect subject for him to hear. After church we got invited to Ward Council for the FIRST TIME EVER! Amazing. We were only in there for about 5 minutes... but that was a miracle all in itself.

We had dropped by to teach the first lesson to a potential the other day and the man canceled on us.. but as we were there his roommate, Carlos, saw our pamphlets as he walked by and asked if he could have some. We talked to him a little and were able to meet with him again yesterday. He had read the pamphlets, has a very sincere desire to come closer to God and we were able to set a baptismal date with him for September 14th! Hopefully things will go well as we teach him. He is so cool. 

One frustrating thing about our ward is that we NEVER receive member referrals... but we got FOUR this week and three came yesterday! WHAT?! so crazy. We were super excited to receive them. 

Last night we dropped by a less active member, Sister Phillips. She hasn't been to church for four years, ever since her husband died. She was a temple worker and everything! We had a very powerful discussion with her on the importance of church. She told us that the main reason why she hasn't been coming to church is because church reminds her of her husband. I felt really prompted to tell her about how a member in the ward had seen angels standing behind us sisters as we spoke several weeks ago and promised to her that there are angels in Christ's churches and temples and that her husband will be there with her, rejoicing to have her back. It was really cool. 

Today, the Brazilians elders have put together a big game of soccer outside.... =D so I'm going to go play! woohoo! I'm so excited. I'm probably terrible now... but it doesn't matter. It will feel good to just get out and run haha How are things going now that Angie is all moved out?! that is sooo weird but I'm SO excited for her!!! Please fill me in on all the details! AH! You are all in my prayers. I love you so much!!!! Now that I know that Angie is moved in.... you have no more excuses to not write me anymore... so write me!! :( haha! 

As hard as the mission is.... I love it. I had a strong testimony of this church before I left, but my love for this church and for the Savior just grows deeper and deeper every day. Please stay close to Savior and strive to feel His love more in your life. He will help through all the trials and hard times as well as all the good times to come. He loves you!!! and so do I :) MUAH!!!!
Love, Sister Kirkham