Monday, May 26, 2014

The Olympia Ward is Amazing! 1 Baptism/2 Confirmations/6 New Investigators

                                                                        May 26, 2014

Soooo..... Just like the hymn says, “Hold to the Rod,”.... I held fast onto the GOLDENROD...said goodbye... and I have now been blessed to make it to another AMAZING area in my mission!!!! I'm now serving in the Olympia ward back in the Orlando South Stake! You guys, I LOVE this area! I feel so spoiled to be here. Hahaha! First off, it's really weird to be back in the Orlando South Stake because that's where Winter Garden is! My first area! I have seen so many people and have already driven through the land of my “birth”! haha! The crazy thing is that it's almost been a whole YEAR since I've been here... and now I'm back!! So weird!!! 

I don't even know where to begin to describe the Olympia Ward... but it's so awesome. To start things off... the Orlando Temple is in my area!!! What?! Ya! SPOILED. I pass it every single morning. :) It's so beautiful and just makes me so happy!! Every other week, my new companion, Sister Welch and I will be doing Temple Tours around the temple grounds :) Yay!! I will also be doing temple service again where I can go do yard work and clean the fountains again ;) hahaha !

The members in the Olympia Ward are so awesome. Everyone that I've met so far is great. This is the closest I have felt to being back in a Utah ward since I've been here. Everyone is just so actively involved in their callings and ready to make things happen here. It's so exciting! There are some cool people in the ward as well. Many of them are from Europe and other foreign countries which is cool :) Elder Scott's brother is the stake president and current and former temple presidents are in the ward!! It feels like home with all of the church leadership! Many of the members’ homes are gorgeous mansions with their backyards overlooking huge lakes with the temple glowing behind it... ya! It's AMAZING!! I wish that I could just take pictures all the time of everything that I'm seeing... but I can't really pull my camera out in the middle of a dinner…hahahaha! The area, is for the most part, very wealthy so I was worried about people not being as receptive to us... but so far, everyone has been very kind. Because the ward is pretty wealthy, the missionaries are very loved and spoiled. The members serve us meals every day. They have also furnished our apartment. It is the most furnished and CUTEST missionary apartment I've seen yet. Hahahaha! So sweet of them. I could just keep going on and on about all of this... I'm just so happy to be here :) I like Goldenrod and I miss the people there, but I'm very excited and ready to work here in this area and to see what the Lord has in store for us and these good people!!! 

Yesterday was my first Sunday in the ward. Our church is right across the street from the temple :) Three other wards in the stake, including Winter Garden, gathered at the church building because they were realigning and creating a new ward.... So I got to see pretty much all of the Winter Garden Ward members!! Sadly, I couldn't remember all of their names.... but I was able to see the Couch's, Bishop Damewood, Brother Kampersheir (Ward Mission Leader), the Lee's, Sister Sharp, the Joseph's and all of these other people that I haven't seen in a year!!! Wow!!!! It’s so exciting and so fun :) I almost feel like I've gone back in time and that I'm back serving in the Winter Garden ward in the summer of 2013. It's crazy being back here. haha! 

Sister Welch and I are getting along great! We love each other and she is super cute! We have several mutual friends from back home like Trevor Wilson and Dillon Despain! Kind of fun :) She came out into the mission field with me so it's been fun to be at the same page as my companion in that way as well. We saw a lot of miracles this past week. We had one baptism and two confirmations of investigators this past Sunday! Yay! Good way to start out the transfer ;) Because of the two confirmations though, we need to make sure that we keep our teaching pool up in numbers! The Lord blessed us a lot this week... We found 6 new investigators! Wow! I really feel like this ward is ready and prepared to receive people and the Lord is ready to pour out blessings on us as we follow the spirit and work hard. Once again, I'm excited to see what this transfer brings :) Some of these investigators that we found this week were SOOO excited to hear about the Book of Mormon and the Restoration of the church. I just feel like these people get it and they are just eating it all up! It was such a relief and faith building moment for me to be reminded why I'm out here: It's to find those that are willing and ready to come closer to our Savior and accept Him. It's so cool to see when the spirit touches someone and it all clicks. 

Crazy side note... my first night here, we had dinner at a members home; the Rahters.. and guess what? Sister Elizabeth Rahter was my cousin, Liz Kirkham Mayberry's roommate in college! haha! Crazy! Kind of Fun :) I didn’t ask for her maiden name; sorry. 

We are starting up exchanges again this next week! It's going to be super crazy busy.. we have Zone Conference (which Sister Welch and I are giving a 25-minute training session), Mission Leadership Conference, exchanges to Winter Garden, giving temple tours, and doing temple service... in addition to trying to teach up to 20 lessons and finding people. It's going to be a little crazy... but I know that the Lord will provide as we work diligently! 

I hope that everything is going well! I sure love all of you and am so grateful for you!!! 


Sister Kirkham

P.S. I got Jane's wedding invitation... I cried a little. Give her a big hug and tell her that I love her. :) 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Katie has a new companion in a new area. She transferred to the Olympia Ward Area! Loving it already!


I have some shocking news...I'm leaving Goldenrod!! I didn't think that was going to happen…at least not this soon. Sister Pugmire and I booked up our whole Tuesday with appointments because we were so sure that we were staying together for another transfer :(   So sad that I'm leaving Sister Pugs and missing out on teaching Skye and Krystal.... :(

….But it's ok. I'm excited for a new area :) I'm also glad that I get to go to the transfer meeting because there are a lot of missionaries going home this transfer and I get to hear their departing testimonies! :) One of those missionaries going home is Elder Dane Peterson! It is so weird that he is going home... I remember when I was at his home for the opening of his mission call! Who knew that I would end up following him out here to good old Florida? :)

This past week was interesting. Literally every appointment we had scheduled ended up not working out or being rescheduled... It was the craziest thing. It was really cool to see how Sister Pugmire and I continued to work hard with faith to follow God’s will and we still were able to teach a lot! Something that I have feel impressed to focus on
even more this next transfer is the importance and power of recognizing the promptings of the Spirit and receiving and acting on personal revelation. The ONLY way that we can find success in missionary work is by knowing what God’s plan is. When we are doing our weekly and nightly planning, we need to know what God’s weekly and nightly plans are and align ours with His ;) We were able to see that a lot this past week! Even when things fell through minutes before the appointment we would stop and say a prayer to realign our will with God’s and ask where we needed to be. I love those moments of following the Spirit and seeing how perfect God’s plan is. For example, yesterday we went to a street that we had planned on finding in our weekly and nightly planning... When we got there... there were literally 3 homes on the whole street... Haha! We were about to turn back and do our back up plan on another street to find... But I had one of those great moments of feeling the Spirit nudge me to stay on the the original street we had in our plan.... The Spirit nudged me once and I pushed it away. It nudged me again and I paid more attention to it… Then it nudged me again even more strongly so I decided it would be a good thing to listen to it;)   We parked the car and got out just in time to talk to a woman that was walking towards our car. We were able to talk with her and we ended up teaching her right there on the side of the road. We were also able to set up a return appointment! I love moments like that. It's just confirms and strengthens my faith and I stand in AWE of the blessings that come from relying on the Spirit and putting my full trust in God. He knows who is ready to hear the gospel. He knows what is best to help his children. :) I just love this gospel so much!! It's so comforting to me to know that I have the gift of the Holy Ghost so that I never have to worry about what to do... whether it's missionary work or my own personal
decisions, I need to make, God knows and sees all. All we have to do is
put our trust in Him that He knows what's best for us :)   If we can learn to follow the Spirit and ask for God’s will in all that we do, we will never have to worry about the decisions we make. We can have the faith and comfort knowing that we are on the path that God wants us to be on... The path that will lead us to the most blessings in the end, whether we receive those blessings now or in the future :) How amazing is that??

This next week is going to be crazy with packing, moving, unpacking and getting to know a new ward and area! But I'm excited to see what this next chapter of my mission is going to be like :)

I'm so sad that I'm missing all the celebrations for Jane’s wedding coming up... but tell her how much I love her and am SOOO happy for her :) She looks so happy and beautiful!!!! Give her and Jen a big hug for me. Also, tell Jen happy 1st year anniversary!!! Ah! That's SO weird that she has been married a whole stinkin’ year!

I love you guys!!!


Sister Kirkham

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Sweetest Mother's Day!

                                                      Mother’s Day,       May 11, 2014

It was so fun to talk to you yesterday and to see your beautiful faces!!!! You all look so great. :) It was funny how normal it felt to talk to you guys!!! It felt like we had just talked at Christmas. It's kind of spooky how fast the time is going. Thanks so much for your love and support. You don't know how much it means to have such amazing
people like you in my life. I've had a few companions that really have challenging family makes me so sad to see any of my dear companions hurt. I really see how truly spoiled and blessed I am to have you wonderful people in my life. It made me cry to see the pain my companion was experiencing trying to talk to her family on Mother's Day. I was so touched to feel of your love and support in letter and in Skype!
Wow! You guys have ALWAYS been there for me... Through EVERYTHING....even the little details in my life....whether I appreciated it in the moment or not ;) I SO appreciate it now. I couldn't ask for a better family. I thank my Heavenly Father for letting me be apart of your lives. :)

A lot of great things happened again this week!!! I went on exchanges with the College Park sisters and was serving on the UCF campus all day. It was fun but pretty intimidating too! Worldly things are just thrown right in your face and there are so many people to talk to.... You just have to pick and choose who to talk to! You really have to just let the spirit lead and guide you! I love working with Y.S.A. though. I feel like I really relate to them and the members are so excited and so willing to help out. Plus, I got free sunglasses and a t-shirt that says "summer selfie" on it... Gotta love it! Haha!

I talked about our lesson with Krystal a little bit over Skype with you...I just love her so much! We had such a powerful lesson on the Plan of Salvation with her. It was probably the most powerful "Plan" lesson I've had with someone. She was so excited to learn and hear of these simple truths for the first time! I'm continually being reminded of how blessed I am for simply knowing the basics of the our Heavenly Father’s plan for us!! The Plan of Salvation just brings us so much peace and comfort as well as grounds us in being able to see more clearly what is most important in our lives. It helps me keep that "4-minute attitude" that was talked about in this past General Conference.

We are still teaching Skye! We taught her the "Plan" this week as well and she came to church again on Sunday! She is great. There is a baptism of an 8-year old in the ward tonight. Hopefully she will be going to that to see what a baptismal service is like. After, we are going to go back over to the bishop’s home to teach her the gospel of Jesus Christ :) It should be a great night tonight :) Please pray for Skye, that she will recognize the spirit at the baptismal service and it will increase her desire to be baptized!! :)

We have many other people that we are continuing to teach but as for now, Krystal and Skye are the most promising. They are both so cute and I love them a lot. It's been a really neat experience to teach in the bishop’s home as well and get to know them better. The bishop’s wife, Sister Sharp, expressed in Relief Society yesterday, what a big blessing it has been to their family to have us teach in their home. She said talking about these simple and important truths of the gospel really brings the spirit to their home. It's helped her family so much and said that if you ever have a kid that you are worried about... to have the missionaries teach someone in your home with your child present. I do feel the spirit a lot as a missionary... It was touching and reassuring to hear the bishop’s wife talk about the spirit that we bring into their home... The simple truths of the gospel are the most powerful!!!

Well I better get going... But thank you again for such a wonderful day yesterday!! I loved to see you and talk to you :)  I can't believe that the next time I see your faces will be in the Salt Lake International Airport!!! Ah! You are always in my prayers. 

Love you :) 

Happy Mother's Day again Mom!!!


Sister Kirkham

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Pray for Skye! Splits with Sister Pitts and Sister Allred, Blessings in Walmart!

Fam!                                                        April 29, 2014

Things are a little crazy and I won't have much time for anything
today... We are sacrificing a big chunk of our P-day to teach the
bishop’s daughter’s best friend this afternoon. We are excited to see
how it goes! It seems really promising. Please keep their friend, Skye
in your prayers. If you will, pray that she will receive us well and she will receive answers to her prayers!

This past week was a full-blown roller coaster ride of emotions. It
was fun though because I got to go on exchanges with both Sister
Pitts and Sister Allred--two of my missionary best friends! Love
them! It was weird being with Sister was like we had gone back
in time and were serving in Port Orange again! It was like I was just waiting for an appointment to come that day to go teach Ed and Michele! Haha! I miss them! Sister Allred was super fun too....but she got a serious
migraine in the middle of the day and threw up like 3-4 times... :( I
felt so bad for her! She was super positive about the whole thing
though and we were still able to have some laughter ;)

We had a huge miracle happen on Saturday. Sister Pugmire and I were
walking down a street to find people to talk to and we walked up to this man sitting outside on his front porch. We asked if we could share a scripture with him. Long story short, we were able to teach him a really solid first lesson on the restoration and commit himto be baptized on June 7th. He was willing to read the Book of Mormon and come to church the next day!!! I seriously was sooo happy. I love moments like that. I just knew that we had been placed in his life. He talked about how he had been praying just the day before for positive people and influences to come into his life and that he wanted direction because he didn't want to make a wrong choice and “go to hell.” He was super happy as well and text us later saying that he knew that we were from God and that things were already starting to work out with a struggling marriage and all this kind of
stuff.... Sister Pugmire and I were floating on a cloud! We were so happy!!!
The next morning, Sam, (the man,) text us and said that he was reading
what we assigned him before he came to church. Then he arrived at church 15 minutes early! ... Seriously--the most solid investigator ever. We had a really powerful testimony meeting and he really liked it as well.
Then we went into our Gospel Principles class. He was asking all kinds
of great questions and making all these great comments... We were so
happy!!! But....dun, dun,dun…the lesson ended up going way, way too super deep than it should have on the Abrahamic covenant. Then the lesson diverted to things such as the Word of Wisdom, pre-ordination, and onto political topics, etc., etc. Sam was so flustered. As soon as the class
ended he booked it out to the parking lot. Sister Pugmire and I chased after him. He was super frustrated and took all the deep stuff out of context and thought that we were bigoted, arrogant people that are trying to force our beliefs on other people.... Ugh! It was so bad! Sister Pugmire and I tried our best to fix the damage but it was too late. Sam wouldn't listen to us and was just super flustered. He literally kept backing away from us and wouldn't let us get closer than 5 feet to him… like we were going to cast a spell on him or something! It was soooo crushing! I've never felt so crushed by seeing something like that. Anyway, we are keeping him in
our prayers, but I really think that he is gone.

On a happier note though, we are going to be seeing Skye tonight for
the first time and she seems awesome :) The Goldenrod area is really
hard but it's improving for sure. Sister Pugmire and I are working
super hard. We keep our focus on the stake and mission goal of
teaching 20 lessons a week and WE ARE REACHING IT!!!!! This area is a
tough area. The most lessons any missionaries had taught in a week during the past year before this last transfer was 15…and that was rare. We are working our tails off. Hopefully we will be able to find some solid investigators.

I love this work so much! Missionary work brings seriously the greatest joy I have ever felt but it also brings the most crushing blows. I've learned the importance of agency and how hard it is to let people make such sad decisions but that it's the way that God wants it so we all have the chance to be happy. What a hard thing it must be for God to see His children make wrong choices that pull us away from Him. I'm so grateful for the knowledge of this gospel and that we have the opportunity to invite people to learn, pray and come to know for themselves. There is no other way to find the truth!!! I love you!!!!


Sister Kirkham

P.S. (This was part of Katie’s handwritten letter that she wrote later in on the same day.) The coolest thing happened when Sister Pugmire and I went shopping at Walmart today. We were getting ready to have our groceries rung up and this man came up to us and said that he was going to pay for our groceries! He had a son who just came home from serving in Fiji. Sister Pugmire and I were so shocked and overwhelmed that we both teared up and cried as we were standing in line. Haha! It made my whole day…to know there are still good people out I the world!!!!! It was kind of cool to be reminded of how good it feels when others are kind and serve you. It just made we want to go out and work that much harder to help others feel the way I did!! So cool!