Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Called to be a Sister Training Leader, Ed passed the sacrament for the first time, Katie loves the people of New Smyrna Beach ward

                                                                                          February 24, 2014

I really don't even know where to start in expressing my emotions that I have had living my last week in Port Orange. It's going to be super tough to leave but I am also excited to start a new chapter of my mission. Last week, President Berry asked me if I would accept the calling of Sister Training Leader. The assignment would begin this next transfer. A Sister Training Leader is the highest calling a sister missionary can receive and similar  to being a Zone Leader. Sister Training Leaders, (STLs) are over the sisters in their zone. It's going to be a big responsibility but I feel at peace about it. I know that it will be a challenge but if Heavenly Father believes that I'm ready for this calling, than I guess I'm ready! The Lord qualifies those whom He calls... but please keep me in your prayers that I can be an example, strength, and support to these sisters I will be serving. I don't yet know where I am going. I will find out tomorrow morning at the transfer meeting and, at the same time, I’ll find out who my new companion is!! They are doing transfers differently now... kind’ve crazy!

Yesterday will definitely be one of the most memorable days of my mission. The bishop asked if I would say the opening prayer in Sacrament meeting as well as share my testimony. Right before I went up to bear my testimony, I watched Ed pass the sacrament for the first time!! I can't explain to you how much joy I felt as I saw Ed happily passing the sacrament.... the sacrament has always been a big deal to Ed because when he was part of the Catholic church they wouldn't allow him to take communion after he had been divorced. It was so amazing to see Ed, not only be worthy to partake of the sacrament again and to feel of the grace of the Savior, but to see him pass and give others the opportunity. The Lord has blessed me to have seen so many blessings come to Ed, Michele and so many others. I will be eternally grateful for the time that I have had here. I had been crying during sacrament meeting...I was already a huge mess when Bishop Webb asked me to come up right after the sacrament was passed to share my testimony. I'm pretty sure I stood up at the pulpit for a full minute before I could compose myself...hahaha…I finally started though!! I can't remember everything that I said, but I just had such an overwhelming feeling of love and gratitude for the people of the New Smyrna Beach ward as well as for the Savior. I bore my testimony of our Savior, my gratitude for all of the any miracles and blessings I have been able to witness and the stronger foundation I have found in Christ while I have served here. I said that one of the main things that comes to mind from serving in this area is found in 1 Thessalonians 2:8  "So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us." How true that statement is!! I truly do feel like I have put my whole heart and soul into serving these people. I have never felt greater joy and love than I have being here. As I was walking back to my seat, a sister from the ward got up and gave me a big hug... haha and then I sat down next to Ed and Michele. Michele wrapped her arm around me for the rest of the meeting.

Ah! I don't want to leave.... but I know that it's the Lord's will and that He has other work for me to do. He has other people I need to serve and to love. He has other blessings and miracles I am to witness and be apart of as I follow His will. This morning, I read a passage in Luke that was a good reminder to me. Luke 9: 61, 62  "And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house (or in Port Orange!). And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."

I think you all know that I have always had a really hard time with goodbyes... but the Lord is right, I need to look forward in faith, that wonderful life that is ahead of me, and not live in the past of being here in Port Orange. I will always keep this time of my life very close to my heart along with the dear people. I also know that there is so much that lies ahead in these last 9 months of my mission!

I know that this truly is Christ's church. There are too many miracles, blessings and PURE JOY from the spirit that comes from doing this amazing work. As Paul says in Thessalonians 5:21, "Prove all things; hold FAST that which is good." This work and this gospel is not just good…it is sooo great! If you ever doubt or if you want to find more direction and happiness in your life, I can promise you that this gospel has an outpouring of blessings awaiting those that grasp and hold firmly to truth.

I love you guys so much!! Thank you for your example, support and love. You are always in my prayers!!


Sister Kirkham

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