Friday, November 22, 2013

Smoke Alarms, Ice Cream and Baptismal Interviews!!!

                                                                                    November 18, 2013


It gets harder every week to remember what happened since last Monday... the days blur together  and then the weeks blur together and my mind and memory can't keep up with it all! Hahaha  I'll try my best to give you some of the highlights of the past week though :)

It was Sister Damato's birthday last Tuesday so we got sooo much junk food! Cake, fudge, lots and lots of ice cream, brownies..... ahhhh……we don't know what to do with all of it! We have been trying every chance we get to give it to people… hahaha!  Brother Westcott, in the ward, showed up early Tuesday morning with two bouquets of yellow flowers for us. It was so cute of him. They are so beautiful!!! Getting flowers just brightens up your whole day… plus it brightens up our whole apartment!  It was very sweet of him.

Cool story of the week: Sister Damato and I had dropped by to try and see a media referral that wasn't home. We were getting back in the car and had this strong impression that we needed to knock just a few homes on the street we were on. The second door that we knocked on was an elderly lady named Shirley. We asked if she could use a prayer and she really appreciated it. As we first began talking she was in awe at how much I looked like her niece. Apparently her niece had just been diagnosed with MS and is going through a really tough time. She had this impression that she needed to call her niece but she had been putting it off... When she saw us she knew she really needed to call her. She kept saying over and over again that she knew that God had sent us to her. I said a prayer and at the end of the prayer, Shirley had tears streaming down her face. We asked if she had a picture she could show us of her niece and at first she said "no" but then after a few minutes she let us inside and showed us a picture. The spirit was working on her!! The more we talked, the more she opened up to us. She told us that her husband had suddenly died of a heart attack in under 10 minutes. She said that she couldn't figure out what it was... but that she knew that she was missing something in her life. She wasn't depressed, but she wasn't happy. Times like these remind me of the Book of Mormon where Ammon was filled with joy when he saw that his brethren were going through a hard time... he wasn't happy because they were suffering, but he was happy that it would give them an opportunity to accept the Gospel. I truly felt that way as we told her that we knew what she was missing and asked if we could share a message with her. We ended teaching her the Plan of Salvation for about an hour and she was very intrigued with the thought of the Three Degrees of Glory and that she could be sealed to her husband in the temple. She asked us to add and to the bookmark tabs on her computer and asked for the Plan pamphlet. She was soaking it all in!! She then gave us a referral to go meet her grandson. Hahaha! It was such a powerful lesson of the Plan. She then told us a very cool story about how she knows that there is a life after this:

After her husband had passed away, she was kneeling down in her living room bawling her eyes out in prayer to God to give her comfort and a sign that her husband was okay. All of a sudden her smoke alarm in the hallway went off. She ran to the hall and could feel a distinct feeling of warmth directly under the fire alarm. She KNEW in her heart that it was her husband that was wanting her to know that he was ok. She said that she hugged the warmth until it dispersed.... such a cool story. Unfortunately, she didn't want to set up another appointment with us but she said that she was definitely going to pray and read about what we told her and that she would call us.... :/ We will try and go back this week to see what's been going on. She was very, very appreciative of us and kept saying that she just knew that God had brought us to her doorstep that night because someone knew that she was feeling very depressed and lonely. You really want more miracles to come from moments like that…and they may! But, even if you don't get to see them... it is so rewarding to know that no matter what the results of your service and efforts, that you are helping people increase their faith in Jesus Christ. The mission becomes so much easier when you realize that your efforts- big and small- are all just as important to help others come unto Him.

We were able to fill out Ed's baptismal records this past week! We went to Ritter's (a good ice cream place) to celebrate. Yesterday, a member of the mission presidency came for Ed's baptismal interview. Ed was nervous but I had total confidence. President Pratt came out of the interview saying that the spirit was very strong in the interview and that Ed and Michele were going to make a very strong member family... which I couldn't agree more!!! I wish I could show you how strong and faithful they really are. They are both so inspiring and I love them both so much. As President Pratt was talking about how amazing both Ed and Michele are (he also interviewed Michele for her baptism), Ed began to choke up with tears again. Every time Ed starts choking back tears from feeling the spirit I immediately start to as well... hahaha! His baptism is this Saturday at 6!! =D I'm SOOO excited for him!!!! He is so ready! He can't wait for the weekend. He did ask something of me though. He especially asked that I would sing at his baptism............. ahhhhhhhhhh!!!! Let's just say I'm freaking out inside.... hahahaha!  Let's just say that I don't feel comfortable singing in front of people.... ESPECIALLY when it's a solo!!! Sister Damato doesn't sing.... so it's all me.... yikes!!! I hate to ask for this.... but please pray for me that I can bring the spirit to his baptism!! I told Ed that it was a good thing I love him because I will only sing for a certain few.

I'm trying to remember what else happened this week.... haha…oh! My District Leader called this morning to tell us that our district (of 3 companionships, the smallest District in the zone,) is doing the best in  the whole zone! As a District we more than doubled the number of Progressing Investigators and those that came to church ... the zone leaders gave us District goals and we more than doubled (and sometimes tripled!) all of those goals!!! I can't get too confident or feel too comfortable in the work... because that's when God humbles me ;) but it is always so nice and reassuring to hear of our good work and effort. It's awesome!

Well, I'm out of time! We are getting together with the elders in the district and our playing volleyball! woot woot! Hopefully I don't make too big a fool of myself. I'm excited to play though! It should be fun :) You should know, there has been a couple cold days here but it's back up to the high 70's this morning. There is such a small difference in weather here that it just blows my mind that it's almost December! haha! Can't believe it! I hope that everything goes well this week. I love you all so much and am so grateful for all that you do :) I love you!!!!!!


Sister Kirkham

Monday, November 11, 2013

Miracle: Ed moved up his baptismal date! Ed and Michele are why I was sent to Florida, D & C 18


                                                                                                November 11, 2013


Such big miracles have happened this week!!! As you know, Sister Pitts and I as well as Sister Damato were all bugged that Ed's baptismal date wasn't until the first weekend of December. Sister Damato and I had talked about it quite a bit and then I got a letter from Dad asking me if I had talked to Ed about moving it up... Sister Pitts and I had talked to Ed and Michele about moving it up... but they said they wanted to keep it in December. ugh... I was so sad and so frustrated about it!! I have been praying for a long time about what to do... and this past week Sister Damato and I felt impressed that we needed to talk to him about it again. We sat down and went through the baptismal interview questions and Ed was choking up as he answered everyone. The spirit was so strong! At the end of going through the questions, we told him, "You're ready Ed!! You don't need to wait for another month!" We told him that we didn't want to pressure him into moving it forward and that we would respect his decision but that we felt obligated to tell him about our impressions. He immediately said that he would get baptized now if he could.... so why are we waiting?! hahaha Ed said that we needed to first talk with Michele because she was the one that had had worries. We talked to her a little later and she said that these past couple weeks she has felt like Ed is ready for it!! We set up an official baptismal date for November 23rd at 6 pm :) :) I'm SOOOO happy you guys!!!

I am learning the importance of having faith in the promptings that we receive from the Holy Ghost. God will move His work forward the way He has planned :)  We planned it for November 23rd so that Ed could quit drinking alcohol. We gave him a date to be totally done drinking by November 15th and both Ed and Michele were more than confident that he could do that.... On top of all that excitement... we were just shopping at Walmart and ran into Ed and Michele! Ed started off the conversation by saying... "You guys, I'm not going to be able to stop drinking by the 15th..." My heart sunk.... but then he said, "because I actually quite last night!!!" Hahahahaha… So mean of him...! but I'm SOOO happy for him!! He wants to get baptized so much. He is so ready and has such a strong desire to make those covenants with Heavenly Father. Ed is such a big miracle. I really hope that you guys get a chance to meet both Ed and Michele one day. I love them so much.

I have been praying so much to do the Lord's will and not my own will when it comes to Ed's date and I truly know that it was the Lord's will. Before the date change, I was just worried sick that transfers were going to come and that I was going to miss Ed's baptism by 5 days and then if Ed and Michele were to go through the temple next year... I would have probably missed being there by DAYS because I would most likely be home! But now, I will be there for Ed's baptism AND there is a bigger chance that I will still be here in Florida to see them go through the temple and get sealed next year. What an amazing way to end my mission! This experience reminds me of 3 Nephi when Christ knew the thoughts and righteous desires of the 3 Nephites' hearts. I just know that God knew of the righteous desires of my heart as well as Ed's and He helped make it happen.

Another crazy story about Ed and Michele... I took pictures of family and friends to share with them at a lesson this past week. I don't think I've mentioned this... but Ed kind of looks like a redheaded version of Dad... no joke. haha! It's so awesome!! I showed them a picture of the family and Ed immediately choked up and said that Dad looks like a spitting image of Ed's dad that passed away a year ago this month.... whoa. Kind of freaky. Michele was shocked by it as well. How cool is that? Michele then said, " Ed, there is no doubt that Sister Kirkham was sent specifically for you." ....and I couldn't agree more. I never thought that I would actually come to know WHO I was to touch with the Gospel... but I have no doubt that God sent me to Orlando Florida for Ed. Hopefully there will be more people I can touch out here... but I would be so overly grateful for Heavenly Father for just letting me help Ed. I have learned to love Ed and Michele sooo much and I'm going to miss them so much when I leave New Smyrna Beach. I've had the scripture in D&C 18 repeatedly run through my head:

"And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto thispeople, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy withhim in the kingdom of my Father!

 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto meinto the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!"

This past week we had a Zone Training Meeting in Deland. I was asked to play a musical number. I played a pretty version of "I Know My Heavenly Father Loves Me" on the piano. I was a little nervous to play because not only has it been awhile since I performed something... but it's been more than 5 months since I actually played something other than hymns! How sad is that?? :( I felt really good about my performance though. I miss the piano... it has definitely been something I have sacrificed by being on a mission. But I don't regret it. There are bigger more important things to be doing... like helping people like Ed and Michele. :)

In the Zone training Meeting two exciting things were announced:

1. Our October goal of reaching 33 member referrals reached an actual of 68 member referrals!

2. President Berry has announced that we are going to start internet proselyting soon. He said that not everyone will start using it all at once but that it is now becoming part of our mission. I have a feeling that I won't be one that gets to use Facebook- at least not immediately- but I'm okay with that for now :) haha  I don't know if I want to get on Facebook... that would be so weird. haha! Speaking of Facebook, will you check my account every once in a while and make sure that you add people from Florida that are wanting to be my friend? Thanks :) I would love to keep in touch with them after the mission!

Well, I better get going... but know how much I love you guys!!! We had a pretty busy day today and I don't know how much I'll be able to write today but I'll do my best. You will be happy to know that I finally got all of my pictures on a CD's and I'm mailing them home!!! :) Please take good care of those pictures! I've been too afraid to delete them off of my camera... ahh! Haha!

I hope that everything is going well. Thank you so much for all of your prayers on behalf of Ed and Michele. They have been heard!! You do so much more than you will ever know. I love you!!!


Sister Kirkham

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Handwritten Letter, Nov. 4th


Oh my gosh!…I love getting letters and emails from you. Thank you so much for them. I eat up every word that you guys send my way. Funny how when times are more challenging on the mission, how much sweeter your letters are as well as how much more emotional I am when I read them haha! Do you guys see a lot more missionaries around now or would you say its about the same? I still catch myself every once in a awhile realizing … “Whoa! I’m really a missionary!” haha, it’s weird to actually be one of those kids you always see.

It’s crazy that we are down to 12-13 fast Sundays before I return…so weird! Time is going fast but so slow all at the same time. I just can’t believe that it’s November.  It’s finally cooling down here enough to make me feel like it’s the beginning of September…yet Winter is creeping up on us! I can’t believe you got snow!!! It’s so weird and such a foreign thought to think that I’m still sweating most days when I go outside. hahaha! I also can’t believe that I’ll be 21 in December! THAT’S GROSS! AHHH! HAHA!

I’ve talked to Ed about moving his baptismal date up…he wants President Henderson to confirm him but they are going to be out of town for Thanksgiving so they wouldn’t be able to move it a week earlier…and I guess any sooner than that is too soon for Michele L I want to cry every time I think that I could be missing Ed’s baptism. I just feel bad trying to push it closer for selfish reasons. I really don’t think it’s going to change though. They are pretty set for December 7th L

That’s great that you went to see Jonny Byrne is a play! How did things go with the play? You know…for some reason I’ve actually had these thoughts that maybe I should write him a letter…he is such a good friend. Do you have an address for him?

Dad, it sounds like you had an awesome time 4-wheeling and shooting! Where in Utah did you go? I would love to go shooting when I get home!!!! So Dad, were you able to talk about the gospel to the guys you were with? I thought all of them were members. That’s so awesome!!!! I get so excited when I hear that you guys are reaching out to others :D

I sure miss Snowflake. How is her health? I always think of her when I see dogs…which is a lot...haha!

I’m sorry to hear that Lori Sim’s dad died. That was nice of Angie to help out though. Pass on my love to the Sims!

Here in New Smyrna Beach (well, I’m actually serving in Port Orange,) we have full use of a car, but limited miles so we use our bikes a lot. I always feel like I’ve worked extra hard on bike days.  New Smyrna Beach has the most shark attacks in the world or nation..can’t remember. Kind of crazy…so when we come to Florida, let’s not swimming here okay? Hahaha!

Mom it sounds like you had an awesome school day on Halloween! How fun! You are the best teacher there is Mom! I wish you could have been my teacher…haha! That’s great that you had such good support from parents as well :D

I haven’t heard from anyone in the Admission’s Office L L They sent me a package when I first went to the M.T.C. and I loved it. I sent them a letter with a picture of Sister Allred and I together a couple of weeks ago but I don’t know if anyone is going to respond. I would LOVE it if they would!!!! I miss all of them, especially Travis and Sue L L If you see them Angela, pass on my love as well as let them know they need to write me?! Haha!:D

That’s so fun that you got to talk with Elder Nelson at the grocery store, Mom and Angela! Thanks for passing along his advice to me D: He’s totally right…the mission really will be over all too soon. Right now it feels like I have a long way ahead of me but I look back and can’t believe that I have been gone since June…weird. Do you know why he is coming to Orlando in January? That would be awesome if I got to see him and talk to him! That’s so exciting that Danny Smith is home!  Who else is home?

I’ve been carrying a heavy load lately…it’s true. But I have faith that things will get easier and better as time moves faster. Thanks so much for your support, love and prayers.

Angie, did I forget to tell you about Halloween at BYU? It’s so hilarious!!!! What other costumes did you see? Last year a huge group of kids met outside the …oh no…I can’t remember the name of the building ! Is it the JFSB? The newer one? Hahaha! Oh gosh! Well they met outside there and danced Gangnan style! Haha! pretty funny.

Angela, I’m so sorry to hear that it is so tough to say goodbye to your friends leaving on missions. It’s hard to say bye to friends. I remember how hard it was freshman year. You get so sick of saying goodbye to people. Things will get better :D Although your missionary friends and I aren’t a phone call away…you can still write and email us!!! Seriously, if you every want to just let your thoughts out, write them on paper…do it in a letteror email to me, okay? We will both benefit from it :D hahaha! But really… know that I’m always thinking about you and praying for you. I miss you so much but the time is getting closer and closer all the time until we will be together again :D Just think, we will be together at Christmas time next year!!!! Are you still writing to Zach, Matt, Connor, Cole and T.J.? How are they?

I love my mission. You learn so much more about the gospel out here. It’s the hardest thing I have EVER done in my life, by far the hardest.  I don’t regret one moment of it at the same time. I have come to know my Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ more than I ever think I would have otherwise.  He is watching over all of you and will answer your prayers as you humbly ask Him for guidance and help.

Angie, you should know that I wear our necklace every day and the “HOPE” ring you gave me at Christmas last year. Yes, every day. I love them :D

I love you guys so much! I’m out of time so I better go…but know that you are always in my thoughts and prayers.

I love YOU!!!!


Sister Kirkham

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Small miracles, using my muscial talents, and the cayenne pepper burn!

                                                                                                            Nov. 4, 2013


Hey family :)


This past week was kind of weird because of Halloween and everyone celebrating the holiday but surprisingly  we were still able to get a lot done. For Halloween we were invited by Dakota's grandma to come for dinner. She is the best cook! She had two types of homemade chili, corn bread, warm caramel popcorn, etc. etc. It was awesome! We had to be back home in our apartment doing paperwork by 6 pm that night though so that we were safe. I wore those cute candy corn earrings that you gave me! Thanks ;) haha


We saw a bunch of small miracles this week. We dropped by a former investigator's home to drop some things off and she was so happy to see us! At the beginning of last transfer, Sister Pitts told me that she was sure we were going to baptize her together... but then the investigator (Diana,) had to go through radiation treatments and we thought that we had totally lost her. We had tried going by a couple times, to see if we could help with anything but she always turned us away but this week she was so excited and happy to see us! She let us in her home, we shared a message and she told us that she has continued to read the Book of Mormon. She has been going to church with a member of the ward for over 6 years now. She told us that she has felt at peace as she reads the Book of Mormon and wanted us to come back and teach her this next week. So things are looking up there! This past week I have really seen the potential that this area has to explode in members. At  the end of last transfer I was so afraid of not having anyone to teach... but we are being so blessed with so many promising investigators! We still are planning on Ed's baptism the first weekend of December, Dakota's baptism by the end of November and now, I wouldn't be too surprised if Diana was baptized within the next transfer. So many blessings! The Lord truly is hastening His work. I realized that the Lord did not call more missionaries to go out and find more.... but that the Lord needed so many more missionaries because there are SO many people ready and waiting (whether they know it or not) to accept the restored gospel. It's so awesome! The Lord works in such amazing and mysterious ways.


During Weekly Planning, Sister Damato and I decided to pray about what members we should reach out to and help with missionary work. After the prayer I had the thought of calling a certain family in the ward. We immediately called them and asked if there was a time this next week that we could meet with their family. As we were hanging up, the dad began telling us about how he gave a Book of Mormon to a friend the day before and how his daughter had invited a nonmember friend to mutual that week!! I told him that we had just been praying to know who to call, that they had come to mind, and what a miracle and testimony it was that the Lord is watching and directing this work. It may seem like a small miracle, but those small miracles make all the difference in the world and are what continually build our foundation in the gospel. This is the Lord's work!!


Yesterday was probably the craziest Sunday I have ever had.... haha THANK GOODNESS that we had Day Light Savings.... an extra hour of sleep! NINE hours of sleep?!! what?! hahaha it was great :) Sunday morning we had Ward Council at 7:45, then I had to run into the chapel and play prelude music before Sacrament meeting, then I had to play the hymns for Sacrament meeting, then I bore my testimony on the Godhead. During the second hour a counselor in the Primary was freaking out because they needed a pianist for 3rd hour... but I couldn't help because Sister Demato and I were teaching Relief Society and presenting the Hastening of the Work of Salvation Broadcast!! I also had to play the piano in Relief Society. Then after church we went to Ward Choir where I accompanied them. haha! It was a crazy Sunday…doing that, on top of fasting, and having to bike for an hour and a half... woooo…fun day ;) (I had told one person in the ward that I could play the piano and now EVERYONE is asking!)  There is only ONE pianist in the whole ward! How crazy is that!? I'm okay with it though because it feels good to play, even if it is just hymns. The Zone Leaders texted me yesterday as well asking if I would come up with a musical number for a Zone Training Meeting this week... ahhhhh! I a little nervous about that one…it's been a long time since I actually performed anything let alone practiced!!! yikes! Thanks so much for sending me that sheet music though! That was PERFECT timing!! haha!


Funny story of the week:

We went to a member’s home for dinner. She lived really far from us and we couldn't afford using our miles on our car so she was nice enough to come pick us up. We sat down for dinner and she realized that she had accidentally put in two tablespoons of cayenne pepper instead of paprika in her crock pot meal!!! It was SOOOO hot!!!! The husband LOVES hot food... so of course he ate it all up and the wife had just had a baby so she didn't want to eat spicy foods.... soooo I had to endure eating the HOTTEST food of my LIFE! ah! Hahaha! It's a funny story now... but I was in pain. oooooh man. Hahaha! The next day was bad too... I had the WORST stomach pains from it... but it's ok now. I'm a survivor! Hahaha!

In my studies the past couple days I have been reading a little from the October 2007 General Conference Ensign. It caught my eye in the stack of Ensigns we have. I began reading it and realized that it covering the first General Conference since Uncle Jim had died. It was cool to see the honor and love that everyone had for Uncle Jim and his dedicated service to the Lord. The older I get, the more I wish that I had been given more time to learn more from and about Pres. Faust. One day I know that I will! I'm just impatient!! This might sound funny Dad, but I've always thought that you guys kind of resembled each other.. even though you aren't blood related! Pretty cool though :)


I ran into a talk by President Uchtdorf that I really liked called, "Have we Not Reason to Rejoice?" I want to share the ending with you. The message touched me deeply. I have always loved his words and his positive perspective on the gospel. He said:


"My dear brothers and sisters, there will be days and nights when you feel overwhelmed, when your hearts are heavy and your heads hang down. Then, please remember, Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, is the Head of this Church. It is His gospel. He wants you to succeed. He gave His life for just this purpose. He is the Son of the living God. He has promised:

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

“For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee” (3 Nephi 22:10). “I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer” (3 Nephi 22:8).

My dear friends, the Savior heals the broken heart and binds up your wounds (see Psalm 147:3). Whatever your challenges may be, wherever you live on this earth, your faithful membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the divine powers of the gospel of Jesus Christ will bless you to endure joyfully to the end."

 I just love his words. They are so true!! Although life is hard, we truly have reason to rejoice!! This week as I have run into people of different faiths, I have become very grateful for the fullness of the gospel.  God loves us and restored ALL of His truths. We have some of the most plain and PRECIOUS truths. I bore my testimony yesterday on the Godhead... I am just so grateful that we have the Book of Mormon to get rid of the confusion of the world and to help us understand our relationship with our Heavenly Father. It's just such a beautiful, plain and precious thing to know that my spirit, my SOUL was created and is loved so deeply by God!! Of course we have reason to rejoice!!! It makes me so sad to look at the people around me and that they don't even realize their divine potential and that their Father in Heaven is just yearning to hear from them, to feel of their love and respect for Him.The more I study the Gospel and its simple truths, the more grateful I become, the stronger my  love is for the Godhead and my desire to more fully understand and learn of the restored gospel increases.

If you are feeling like life is getting too hard to bear... remember that is WHY Christ has laid out the Gospel. When we diligently live the Gospel, the things of the world become trivial and we are able to bear all things so much easier. The Lord is just waiting for us to look to Him for help.

I love you guys so much and I’m so grateful for your testimonies and prayers. You are always in my heart. I LOVE YOU!!!!


Sister Kirkham

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Trunk or Treatin' with Michele and Ed, New Companion -- Sis. Damato, Leading the Zone, Teaching Dakota and Judy

Hey family!! 
Wow! I feel like it's been awhile since I've been able to email you. I'm sorry again about last week... I felt terrible about that! I'll try to not do that again. The P-day before transfers is always so crazy though.
I can't believe that it's been a whole week without being with Sister Pitts here in New Smyrna Beach. L I love her to death and miss her terribly. I'm now serving with Sister Damato from Hemet, California. She is cute! She got baptized 3 years ago but went inactive until about a year ago. I have so much respect for her courage to come out on a mission and to preach the gospel when she has only known and truly lived the restored gospel for about a year. Crazy! She has great insight though and a great take on many things. I'm learning a lot from her already. I was really nervous when the transfer first started out because I felt like I still was trying to get to know the area and some of the people, etc. This is my first OFFICIAL time being a Senior Companion (the first time I was senior companion with Sister Hoyt doesn't really count since we were both at the same stage of the mission.)  
I look back on the week and I amazed to see the Lord's hand in my life every day. He has helped me so much to stay organized, calm and working hard. We had accounting this morning with my District Leader, Elder Flood, and he was very complimentary of our hard work from the past week. He told us that the Zone Leaders have commented on how the zone is really boosting in numbers and we are seeing so many miracles. Elder Flood said that in all seriousness he felt like the area that is helping lead the zone is our area... that's a lot to say and I don't know how much to really believe that but Sister Damato and I really have been working our tails off !  I don't want to come off as boasting, but it felt really good and helped motivate me more as he told us that he has noticed our hard work. Getting that reinforcement from my leaders and their acknowledgment of my hard work really does help me to keep working hard and motivates me to push myself even more. I know without a doubt that I wouldn't be able to do everything that we have been able to do or see the miracles that we have seen without the Lord's hand in our lives. My testimony grows stronger and more deep everyday as I realize that this truly is not MY work... but the LORD's work that I have the privilege of being a part of.
We have been teaching a 13-year old boy, Dakota. I can't remember if I’ve told you about him already, but his dad (not a member) refused to let him get baptized when he was 8. Sadly, his dad just died in a car accident a couple weeks ago so now, Dakota and Dakota's less active mom are taking the discussions from us. Dakota was worried about baptism at first because he thought that he would immediately have to pass the sacrament after he was baptized.  We told him that wasn't true and to just focus on one step at a time. His faith is growing as is Judy’s, his mom. Judy came up to me the other night and told me that she feels like she has known me her whole life. It was really sweet. It's so sweet to think that I was probably super close with these people that I'm coming in contact with when we were all up in the Pre-Mortal world. Judy is probably right: we probably have known each other our whole lives!  Judy also told me that she is using the rest of her vacation days to go to church on Sundays. We are seeing a lot of miracles with them as well. Hopefully we will see Dakota get baptized this next month! 
Ed and Michele are the best as ever. I’ve come to love them more and more every time I'm with them. The ward had a Halloween/Fall Festival party this past week. Sister Damato and I went over to help Ed and Michele decorate the trunk of their truck with cobwebs and other Halloween decorations for the "trunk or treat.” If there was an award, Ed and Michele would have won. It looked AWESOME! We had a lot of fun spending time with them. The more I serve them and spend time with them, the more I don't want to leave them. I get so scared thinking that I'm going to miss Ed's baptism by a week if I get transferred..... ahh! :( :( :( 
When we were at the Halloween party, I felt like I really got closer to many of the ward members. I was having a blast moving from person to person talking with people. I never thought that I would love this ward the way that I do now. They are all such great people! The bishop really opened up to us as well. I feel like he has always favored the elders, but he showed us quite a bit of attention that night. I was describing to him where my home was…by the Eaglewood Golf course and what the golf course looks like because he loves to golf. While I was describing it he realized that he had golfed there!! Long story short, years ago, he got a call from Elder Hales who had just flown to Florida and had heard that the bishop of the New Smyrna Beach ward was “big” into golf. So, Elder Hales called Bishop and asked if he wanted to golf with him! haha! A couple years later, Bishop flew out to Utah and played golf with Elder Hales on Elder Hales' golf course (Eaglewood!) Kind of fun! Such a small world in the world of Mormons!
We had Zone Conference yesterday at Lake Mary. Elder Walker from the 70s came and spoke to us. I learned a lot from him! He served a mission in Japan and kept speaking in Japanese throughout the conference. I picked little things here and there up which was fun :) there is an elder in our mission, Elder Nakatska, (I don't know how to spell it,) who is from Japan. He actually served ahead of me in Winter Garden. He is the CUTEST little Japanese elder EVER!!! Elder Walker kept calling him forward to speak to him in Japanese. Dad, you were on my mind a lot yesterday as they talked about Japan :) One thing that Elder Walker said that really stuck out to me was: "If you don't work hard for the Lord, then who are you ever going to work hard for?" I think that is a really profound question. It's so true.... if can't find the motivation to put my whole heart and soul to God and what He wants from me, then who will I ever be true to? Another thing that was brought up at Zone Conference was the Book of Mormon Musical. It is coming to Orlando the first part of November and they were preparing us missionaries to know what to say if the media starts asking us questions. The Church has handled the situation so well. They came out with a statement that said something along the lines of, "The Book of Mormon musical may entertain you for the night, but the Book of Mormon will bring you closer to God and change your life forever." haha I love it! Hopefully I don't have to be faced with any media that have questions, but if so, I will just bare my testimony of the blessing of the Book of Mormon! 
The craziest thing that happened at Zone Conference yesterday BY FAR was that I got to see the one and only ELDER DANE PETERSON for the first time!!!!!!! It was soooo weird!! haha! I had been keeping an eye out for him all morning because I knew that he was supposed  to be there but I hadn't been able to find him. I was talking with some other missionaries when all of a sudden Elder Peterson comes running up, grinning ear to ear with an outstretched hand for a handshake. Man. I can't tell you how weird it is to see old friends out on the mission. It's nuts. It was super fun to catch up a little with him and to see how much he has grown. He looks exactly the same… haha!  I've heard that he is a great District Leader and missionary. So fun to see him! Hopefully I'll be able to see him more often now. I can't believe that it took 5 months for us to finally run into each other out on the mission. So fun :) 
I got that package you sent me. I LOVED IT!!! Thank you sooo soo much!!! I love the CD's and piano music. I actually have been asked to play the hymns in sacrament meeting next week along with prelude... so I'll have to pull out some of that church music to play for the prelude:) thank you again so much! I was listening to one of the CD's you gave me one morning when having breakfast and "Savior, Redeemer" began to play. I literally choked on my breakfast as the song immediately took me back to when Angie and I use to sing that together. I could distinctly hear Angie's voice singing the song. Man... I miss you Angie. SO MUCH. I'm so very grateful that you sent me our little "Always Sisters, Forever Friends" necklace. I cried a little when I put it on hahaha! I wear it all the time now and don't want to ever take it off. I love all of you so so much and don't know what I would do without you and your support, prayers and love. I hope you know how much each one of you means to me. I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!! 
I hope that I was able to make up for my lame letter home last week. You are always in my prayers and I’m so grateful for you! I hope that you guys have a fun Halloween. :) You should dress up for me ;) hahaha Until next week!!!!! 
Sister Kirkham
Sister Kirkham