Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Miracle: Ed poured his alcohol down the drain!


I feel so bad because I really don't have any time to write today. Transfers are tomorrow and Sister PItts is moving :( I'm so sad that she is going but I'm excited and a little nervous for the next transfer! I'm now going to be with Sister Damato. She is a recent convert as of about two years! She seems awesome. I'm nervous to move the work forward in this area because my area is SUPER hard and has that reputation... but I'm working hard and moving forward in faith that we will see miracles. I can't believe that the end of next transfer will be December. Time is flying by. 

A miracle that happened this past week was Ed poured out all of his alcohol!!!! He doesn't want to be baptized until the first week in December because he wants to make sure that he is totally off of alcohol. Kind of a bummer that Ed’s baptism is pretty far in the future but we have faith that things are going to work out :) Michele seems so happy as a new member! She is so good for Ed. She is very firm and strong in her belief.

My district went to the beach again this morning! We wanted to get together one last time before transfers. I've loved this district but the elders are a bit crazy!
A lot really hasn't happened since Michele’s baptism last weekend. We have to get home so that Sister Pitts can pack :( I'm so sorry that I can't say more... but HOPEFULLY I'll be able to write more while she is packing. 
I love you guys so much!!!!! If you could mail me your emails this week that would be awesome... cause I wasn't able to read them this time :( sorry haha !
You are always in my prayers!!!! 


Sister Kirkham

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Michele's Baptism! :D :D :D

                                                                                    October 14, 2013


So much has happened this past week! Last Monday, we went to Sister Kohn's home to make some crafts for both the Westcott family as a "Thank you," for all they do for us and for Michele as a "Congrats," for her baptism. I don't really know how to explain it but we were able to print out a picture of Christ, do some cool, crafty magic, by rubbing the paper off on a canvas, and the ink of the picture stayed on the canvas! It was awesome! We had a lot of fun doing that and they both loved the gifts. I took pictures of the canvases so that you can see what I'm talking about. For the Westcott's, we added the scripture Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Such a beautiful scripture :)

We did quite a bit of service this past week! We helped paint a kitchen and helped move a less active member to a new apartment. Service is always a nice break from the normal routine of the missionary life. You get to wear PANTS and a T-SHIRT as well as let your mind focus on something else for a while. It's nice :) We I leave the people I’ve helped, I always feel such a sense of accomplishment, along with reciprocated love and support from them. Giving service builds relationships. We gain more trust, love and stronger friendships.

Friday was a CRAZY day. Long story short... we had to have THREE dinners.... ugghhhhh!!!! No wonder that people worry about gaining weight on their missions... hahaha!  I promise that isn't normal. I would die if I had to eat that much every night... shudder....but we had to Friday! I just ate small portions and be as nice and considerate as I could! haha! I gave a lot of extra compliments on how good the food was so they didn't feel bad when I didn't take more... hahaha… oh the missionary life is hilarious sometimes! One of the dinners was a little odd though! A 24-year old member in our ward invited us over to his apartment where he is sharing a contract with a girl, Sam and her boyfriend, Dane. Sam made us dinner and as we were just getting started discussing the church, two of Sam’s and Dane's friends barged in on the apartment – drunk! Okay, so that kind of ruined the spirit of the evening. We tried our best though. Sam is super cute and has some real potential. We hope to get another chance to sit down with her and Dane to talk more about it. We were super proud of the member, Ryan for being fearless when it came to sharing the Gospel. Love it!

So this week was pretty AWESOME. I had my first baptism! Woot! The baptism went really smoothly and great! Michele doesn't like a whole lot of attention placed on her and she wasn't very happy when she found out that there were supposed to be about 25 people showing up for her baptism. She was pretty nervous.  As the baptismal service started, we counted over 40 people that showed up!!! haha! Poor Michele... I think it made her pretty nervous but I'm so grateful that the ward is so supportive and welcoming. Judge Henderson, (the member that first shared the gospel with her.. and her boss,) baptized her. It was a really sweet experience to see how their friendship has blessed one another through this conversion experience. Before the baptism, Michele wanted to go into a quiet room with us and pray. I said the pray to give her peace of mind and to help her feel the spirit through this special experience. After the prayer, Sister Pitts and I gave her the canvas that we made her! She really appreciated it and she cried a little. I love her!

Yesterday, Michele was confirmed in church by Brother Westcott. Brother Westcott gave the most beautiful blessing. It was very powerful. It just so happened that  Fast and Testimony meeting was yesterday as well and there were a lot of strong testimonies that brought the spirit to church. Judge Henderson was the first to stand up and bare his testimony of the restored Gospel as well as what a big difference you can make in someone's life by reaching out to others and not being afraid to share the Gospel and your testimony. It was powerful. I feel like the ward is slowly starting to get more excited about member missionary work. Michele and Ed have both been miracles and blessings for the ward. Michele couldn't have joined the church at a better time. After the big emphasis on member missionary work in General Conference and then seeing the miracles that come from sharing the Gospel, like Judge Henderson did, they are really starting to catch the vision of missionary work! We received 3 member referrals just this past week. It's awesome!!

Ed, Michele’s husband, came up to us at the baptism and said that this weekend was to be focused all on Michele but later this week he wants to have a talk with us about his baptism!!! :) He still has some Word of Wisdom problems that we are trying to take care of but we are going to have a talk about it tonight. We are excited/nervous/hopeful that things are going to work out for Ed to be baptized within the next couple weeks as well! We are a little nervous that one of us, Sis. Pitts or myself, are going to miss his baptism though because transfers are next week :( We will see what happens... but we are so excited and happy for them!

I personally am getting nervous about the work in this area after Ed is baptized... New Smyrna Beach is pretty much DEAD. Finding is super hard here, we only have a handful of the members of the ward in our area and only about 5 or 6 out of the FORTY less actives in this area want anything to do with us... kind of scary. In spite of this, I have faith that the Lord truly is hastening His work and that we will be guided to know how to help move the work forward in this area.

One more thing that I want to mention-- a small but very amazing miracle to me. Last week, I got a letter from Mom talking about Grandma being found singing a hymn while lying in bed one night Mom said that Aunt Becky went into check on Grandma, and that Grandma got super excited saying, "He has blue eyes!!" I was very, very touched by that story and knowing that Christ is watching closely over Grandma as she is going through a challenging time. That story echoed through my mind for several days. Several days later, we were teaching a less active member and she told me a story about how she had had a lot of health issues and that she has experienced being on the other side. When she was on the other side... all she could remember was seeing God standing before her, dressed all in white, with long, wavy hair... and piercing blue eyes. While she was describing her vision of God, I was hoping in side that she would mention His eyes and when she said that He had blue eyes, I felt the spirit so strongly! Some would probably find it as a coincidence... but I know better than that. That was a very special moment to me as God and Christ became more real to me than ever before. It's such a blessing to read, study, pray, and notice God's hands in our lives as we are given those "hidden treasures of knowledge." I love my Father in Heaven and my brother Jesus Christ. I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to be a part of the glorious work of bringing others to the truth of the restored Gospel and to feel the joy and peace that comes in knowing that Heavenly Father and our Savior are both watching over us and our loved ones. I have come to know more and more how true Paul's statement is: "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

I love you guys so much! Continue to build your relationship with Christ. He is the only one that will bring you the true happiness that you are searching for, He will be a light in the darkness and your Rock when you need to stand strong. Thank you so much for all your support. You are always in my prayers. I LOVE YOU!!!!


Sister Kirkham
P.S. Please keep Ed in your prayers this week as we help him prepare for baptism! :)

Monday, October 7, 2013

I have been soo spiritually fed this past weekend. General Conference was seriously like Christmas morning! I LOVED it!!! Saturday was my fourth month mark of being out on the mission as well as the one year mark since the missionary age announcement! It's crazy to think that my life changed in a matter of seconds a year ago.... who would have thought that I would be 4 months out on a mission on the East Coast of Florida?? So. Crazy. I am learning to love the mission more and more everyday that I am out here. Sadly, I forgot to grab my General Conference notes so that I could refer to them in the email!! Sorry :( I received so many answers to my prayers and so much guidance from this General Conference... just like the prophet said, I don't think that there has been a more revelatory conference than this one. There were several times throughout the sessions that I felt like God was speaking directly to me. I hope that everyone was able to feel the strong spirit that comes from hearing truth and the word of God. I will have to go more in to detail on the talks I liked when I have my notes with me.. sorry :( but I loved Elder Uchtdorf's, Scotts (yes I didn't fall asleep!! His gentle voice didn't get to me this time... haha I was actually wide awake!), Oaks, Nelson, President Monson's (made me cry) and of course Elder Hollands. There were so many others and I have been talking none stop about each of the talks with Sister Pitts all weekend. We are so blessed to have prophets and apostles of God that can help us stand firm and resist against the storms of the adversary.
 Throughout all of Elder Ballard's talk I was thinking about you guys. I hope that you will reread it again and truly take his talk to heart. You guys are looked up to by so many people and reach out in love to so many already so naturally... Will you sincerely pray individually and collectively to know who to reach out to? I know that it is scary to share the gospel with others because you don't want to be rejected or offend them... but if they know you are doing it out of love, they will not be offended! By praying for guidance, reaching out to them, inviting them to different activities (in the church or out) and sharing the gospel with them whenever you can, I can PROMISE that the Lord is going to be there to help you. Dad, I'm sure you remember the Spirit working through you and helping you say the right thing or directing you to do the right thing to help others accept the gospel when you were on your mission.... There are so many promises throughout the scriptures that promise that the Lord will be there to help you... you just need to act in faith that He will!!! The amazing thing, is that all you have to do is get it started... be a friend, be an example... and by inviting them to learn a little about the gospel, you can then turn the teaching over the missionaries. If they ask hard questions... don't be afraid to tell them that the missionaries would be better people to talk to! The Lord really is hastening His work, and the longer I'm out here the more I truly see that us missionaries... we really can't do this work without the help of members. There have been tons of "new investigators" that I have taught... but out of all of those investigators, the one baptism that I have on the mission so far is Michelle-who was referred to us by a member. Plus, because this member was a good friend, shared little things about the gospel with her and invited her to meet with missionaries, we will most likely be baptizing her AND her husband!!! This work is truly inspired. It's the Lord's work! If you have any questions or want some guidance to know how to reach out to someone... ask the Lord. I would love to hear about it myself and I'll give my two sense... but the Lord will not leave you abandoned in His work. He wants His children to receive the gospel more than we could ever comprehend.
Wow... sorry that was a crazy rant... but I can promise that you will see more happiness and blessings in your life and the spirit more fully in the home as you do so. Elder Ballard said something along the lines of, "The Lord has commanded us... now is your decision to follow."
After General Conference yesterday, Ed got really excited talking about getting white shirts. haha He told a member that he knows that the gospel is true in his heart, he just needs his mind to make up its mind now...! AND he came up to Sister Pitts and I and said that he might as well join in on these last lessons that lead up to Michelle's baptism this weekend so that we don't have to reteach them to him when it's his turn..!!! hahaha I love Ed!!! We haven't been able to get a baptismal date with him but we felt that if we were patient with him that he would come around. Michelle's baptism is this week and I'm so excited to see that blessings that are going to come to her and to Ed as they continue to exercise their faith. They are so awesome and so prepared!!!
We took Ed and Michelle on a temple tour this week. They have been going through a really bad rough patch in their marriage before we started teaching them... but you can see them growing in love again. As they were talking about the blessings of the temple and eternal families, you could see how much it meant to them and how much they meant to each other. There is a huge difference in the home and in relationships when the Spirit is there and when the couple are working together to come closer to Christ. I know that it's probably been weird/sad to be empty nesters now, Dad and Mom.... and I know that the spirit is in the home and in your relationship... but I know that if you continue to exercise your faith together that your love for each other will grow even deeper. Doing family history, going to the temple, reading, praying, singing hymns, reading gospel literature, taking the Lord's commitment to find someone to reach out to for missionaries before Christmas... all these things will make what may seem the hardest year as parents, your happiest year.
I love you guys so much and am eternally grateful for your example and love for the Lord. You both are so in tune with the Spirit to know how to help me as your daughter and to help those around you. Stay strong through the tough times and keep your "spiritual self in shape".
Please keep Michelle and Ed in your prayers, especially this next week as we get ready for Michelle's baptism. Thanks for the idea of writing down their daily impressions in a journal as the baptismal date gets closer. I will tell them about it tonight when I see them :)
I LOVE YOU GUYS SO SO SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sister Kirkham