Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Bikes, Tender Mercies, Temple and Pressing Forward in Faith!

Family!                                                              July 28, 2014

It's been another hard working week here in Olympia! We are seeing tiny signs of progress in the area.... lot's of small tender mercies from the Lord. I think the lesson that I have learned the most this transfer is putting my trust in the Lord and continuing to work with joy and faith in my heart even when times are tough!!

Last Tuesday I went on exchanges to the Windy Ridge Spanish area with Hermana Brooks.... I love that girl!!!! We had a really solid day! The crazy thing that happened that day was as we were on our bikes it began to POUR, but that's nothing new here in Florida ;)…so we looked AWESOME…sopping wet, trying to talk to people!!! Hahaha! People seriously think we are crazy when we come knock on their door in the pouring rain. It's great! We saw this family that was sitting out under their patio awning, watching the storm, so we parked our bikes at the front of the driveway and went up and talked to them. As we were talking with them, Hermana Brooks all of a sudden stopped paying attention to the man that we were talking to. I had a feeling to end the conversation, so I ended it quickly and we walked back over to our bikes. Hermana Brooks had seen a WHITE VAN (ah! haha! Yes! A white van!) pull up directly across from the driveway where our bikes were. As we grabbed our bikes, the guy turned his van, backed up and drove away...and on the back of the van was this big rack with multiple bikes that had just been thrown on the back of it!!! We ALMOST lost our bikes!!!!!!!!!!!!! Crazy moment. Hahahaha! Super glad that I didn't lose Hermana Monson's bike; that would have been bad! Funny story now though!

I also went on exchanges with my trainee, Sister Bracken!! It was soooo great to be back with her. We saw many, many miracles that day. I just love working with her! :)

The missionaries went through the temple this past week!!! It was so neat to be with my zone. Another crazy story though... there was an elder in our session that has been in the hospital this past week because of kidney stones. All of a sudden the temple workers had to stop the session in the middle of it because he was going to throw up... :( :( :(  I felt so bad for him!!!! Even though we had a unique sessions, It was a really neat experience to return to the temple though. I love the temple so much and the peace and spirit that it brings. I'm so grateful for the restored truths that we have so that we can learn and come closer to our Father :)

After the temple, a senior couple took Sis. Thompson and I and the Spanish sisters out to breakfast. Sister Thompson and I ended up with food poisoning. I’ve never experienced that before and NEVER want to again!!!!! We are totally fine now... but oooooh man…we were sick! Haha! It hit us both at like the same time. :( Not fun...

I've learned to have trust in God's will, faith in His timing, and continuing to move forward in faith. It was a good week to be reminded of the faithful pioneers that crossed the plains. They had so many trials and so much heartache. My trials and challenges come nowhere close to theirs’. I have always loved the song, "Come, Come Ye Saints." They were in such hard circumstances but they knew that God had them in the palm of His hands. They had such amazing attitudes!!! "All is well, All is well!!"

It is such a humbling experience to know that God has trusted and chosen ME to do this great work. As we read in 1 Corinthians 1:27,
“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.”

This past week, I have felt very humbled for the hard circumstances that we are in, but I'm soooo grateful that I know that "all things are possible through Christ which strengtheneth me." I was reading Moses 6:31-32 this week. Enoch was very humbled by the calling that the Lord had put upon him.
“31. And when Enoch had heard these words, he bowed himself to the earth, before the Lord, and spake before the Lord, saying: Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight and am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant?

“32. And the Lord said unto Enoch: Go forth and do as I have commanded thee, and no man shall pierce thee. Open thy mouth, and it shall be filled, and I will give thee utterance, for all flesh is in my hands, and I will do as seemeth me good.

It was a great reminder to me of the full trust that God has for each person that He calls to do His work. As Alma states, "Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things."

Got to go... I love you!

Sister Kirkham

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Splits with Sis. Haley Taylor from WXHS in Winter Garden! How can I learn more about God and WHO He is? How can I feel more of His love?


Work here in Olympia has been pretty tough lately but I know that God is refining me and helping me become more of the daughter that He wants me to be.

Last Tuesday, I went on exchanges back to my Winter Garden!!! It was so fun to be back to where I first started my mission. What was even more exciting is that I was on exchanges with Sister Haley Taylor from Woods Cross High School! Such a small world. If someone had told me a year ago that I would be an STL, in Winter Garden on exchanges with a friend from Woods Cross... I would have never believed it! It was amazing how many memories came flooding back to me as we rode our bikes up and down the streets: the foul smells, dirty homes, and humble people were all the same, haha, but it was such a great reminder to me that EVERYONE is a special child of God and that He LOVES every single one of them very dearly. I remembered how much love and compassion that I learned to have for those humble people last year... such a different transition this summer working in such a wealthy area. We saw great miracles that day and found a new investigator that the missionaries are still continuing to teach! It was great :)

The rest of the week was pretty rough. It was a lot of finding on our own efforts, in the wonderful sun of Florida =D, and working with members to try and find people through them. I have found joy in the small things this week. One great miracle that we saw is when Sister Thompson and I were out finding people last Thursday. We were teaching a lady who was sitting out on her front porch about the Restoration when a potential investigator that I had met previously drove into the driveway next door! After teaching the first lady, we went over to talk to the potential investigator: Geeta. She was sooo excited to see us! She had actually just jumped in the shower when we rang the doorbell but she had wanted to talk to us so she hurried and dressed although she was sopping wet, hahaha! We had talked with her one other time before about the Book of Mormon and she wanted to learn more... so we watched the video, "Because of Him," and then read 3 Nephi 11... it was such a powerful lesson!!! We helped her see through the video and through the Book of Mormon that Christ truly lives and loves us. She said the closing prayer and in her prayer she thanked God for helping her "feel so alive" when we read the chapter of scripture. So neat! We are hoping to see her again next week :)

Another miracle that we saw last week happened on Friday. A couple days earlier, the Elders in our ward were riding their bikes to the church and a man in his car pulled over and told them that he wanted them to come by and teach him! He is in our area, so we dropped by on Friday! God's timing was so perfect. Right as we pulled up, Manny (this man,) pulled up in the driveway and invited us to come inside his home! We came to find out that his wife his very against all religion and if we had not met Manny outside his home and been invited in, we may not have ever met him! He was a former investigator that is still searching for truth. He expressed to us that he felt like he hadn't gotten an answer to his prayer last time he was meeting with the missionaries but that he wants to give it another try. We promised him that he would feel the spirit as he follows God's will and is receptive to the spirit. It was neat!

I want to share one cool insight that I had this past weekend in my personal studies: Lately, I have been asking the question in my studies: "How can I learn more about God and WHO He is? How can I feel more of His love?" Well, I'm still studying this because I love it! But a couple things that I learned:

John 17:3, "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." Through our whole lives here on earth, we are trying to come to know God and His will but we will never know it perfectly until the next life ... when we have eternal life. Ok... duh, right? But when you truly think about it, it's powerful to know that one day all of us will truly remember who our Father and older brother are …PERFECTLY.

I was also reading a powerful talk from Elder Holland in the 2003 November Ensign called " The Grandeur of God". In it he says that God has continually called prophets to try and help his children come to know and remember who their Heavenly Father is; that God in His ULTIMATE effort shows us WHO He is by send Jesus Christ to be an example of His love. Christ is the perfect example of God. He was created in his very likeness and image. Christ served, loved, forgave, warned and spoke the way our Father does :) So as we come to know Christ, we know who our Father in Heaven is as well :) I love this gospel!!!

I love you guys! Out of time!

-Sister Kirkham

Friday, July 18, 2014

Family!                                                     July 14, 2014

Another super busy week has gone by. We had three exchanges last week so I feel like I haven't seen my own companion, Sister Thompson at all!!! haha! We saw some neat tender mercies of the Lord this week. I want to share two of them with you! 

1. Last Monday night, President Wood, the 1st counselor of the Mission Presidency, invited us over for dinner at his home. They had invited a recent convert over… but they didn't realize until 5 minutes before we got there that the recent convert had also invited a nonmember friend! Those things happen every once in awhile so it wasn't a big deal... :) His name is Silas. He is a super cool guy from Jamaica! He is super in-tune with the spirit. He is one of those people that knew that he needed to find a church so he got in his car one morning and found himself at the Silver Star chapel, (the building that I attended when I was in Winter Garden). The Silver Star chapel is super hard to find... even for members because it is in a very secluded area and is hiding behind trees!!! He was definitely led by the spirit to that church.  He began to take lessons from the missionaries last fall but wasn't ready to get baptized although he has a pretty solid testimony that this church is true. Anyway, just from the conversations over dinner we assumed from what we heard that he was still meeting with the missionaries and that he was going to President Wood's ward so we committed him to read the Book of Mormon and to continue meeting with the missionaries.... well.... President Wood called us later that night and said that he realized after we had left that Silas isn't even in their ward boundaries.... he's in our ward!!!! ... and not only our ward... but in OUR area!!!! What are the chances that God would place Silas in our paths? He was like.... “Well this will be easy! The sisters are going over for dinner on Monday at the Woods... so I'll just have him meet them there!” hahahaha so crazy! I love how God truly is in the details of our lives and his plan is perfect! 

Silas also told us a crazy, cool story that he had about following the spirit when he was down in Haiti. He was driving down a street in Haiti, literally just a couple days before the earthquake in Haiti was going to hit. As he was driving down this street he could see a great view of this mountain in front of him and all of a sudden he had this vision of the mountain crumbling to the ground.... The next day, he was driving down the same street and when he got to the same exact spot on the street, he had that same vision again of the mountain coming down and he knew that something really big was going to happen in Haiti soon. He got the first plane ticket that he could to Orlando and flew out 2 days before the earthquake hit. Crazy right? He is super in tune with the spirit. 

2. Two weeks ago we were talking with a member family, the Kite's (p.s. Brother and Sister Kite both played at BYU and Brother Kite has a couple national championships from playing with the Celtics! cool huh?).. anyway... he is a home teacher for a less active family. We have been working with their son but have not been able to get in touch with the daughters. We made a plan to try and meet the other sisters and help them get back to church so that their 7-year old son could get baptized next year. We went by last week for an appointment with the son and one of the daughters happened to be there! She didn't know that we were going to be there but she joined us and LOVED it. We changed our lesson last second to help her and I know that the Spirit totally led Sister Thompson and I to know what to say. We talked about the spirit... what it is, why we need it, how to recognize it, and how to invite it into our lives. She was crying and told us that she felt the spirit!! We are going back to see her again this week :) It doesn't matter whether we help nonmembers or returning members... the joy that you feel when you see the power of the atonement working in someone's life is the same. I love having this time to be a missionary to see those miraculous moments. 

I'm out of time and wish that I had more time to write... but I know that as we have the courage to do follow God's will through His spirit that we will be guided to where we need to be. God's will and plan is PERFECT. As we put our trust in Him, and work our very hardest, we can know that He will help us :) 

I love you all!!!! 


Sister Kirkham 

Friday, July 11, 2014

July 4, 2014

When Things Get Tough, Build Your "Attitude of Gratitude"

Family!                                                     July 7, 2014

Another transfer has gone by and…I only have four more left ... wow! I feel like it was just yesterday that I came out to Florida. It's exciting to think back on all the amazing experiences that I have had and really how much I have grown. Missions are the best!!!! 

This past week was super stressful and really tiring so I'm glad it's over with! haha! Due to the fourth of July holiday, a lot of our appointments fell through and not many people were receptive to talking to us. In addition, we had training sessions in Zone Training Meetings, and had to schedule in all of our exchanges among our already super crazy schedule for this next transfer... District Leader, Elder Forrest is very inspired and suggested that I read Elder Uchtdorf's talk entitled, “Gratitude in Every Circumstance” from this past General Conference. I loved it! It was a great reminder to me that we have so much to be grateful for no matter what trials and struggles we might be having in the moment. Instead of being grateful for THINGS ... we will be blessed if we have an "attitude of gratitude" IN OUR CIRCUMSTANCES. Our stresses and sorrows of life will be eased and replaced with peace, patience and understanding in God's timing. I'm excited for this next week and for the things that are in store. Please pray that my new companion, Sister Thompson, and I will have the energy to do it all! We are doing 3 exchanges alone this week...which means that we will be doing something every night for exchanges. Ah! It's going to be crazy! But, I know that as I work hard, have an “attitude of gratitude” for the callings and situations that I am in, and have faith that the Lord will help us...We will see miracles! I can't wait to be able to tell you all about how it goes next week!

I was asked to give a training session last week in our Zone Training Meeting on some changes that have been made in Preach My Gospel! It was kind of exciting to teach!  Missionaries will now be teaching all FIVE lessons to investigators before they are baptized and are also in charge of ensuring that those five lessons are taught after baptism as well. It was kind of funny telling the zone. "Preach My Gospel is so inspired!! (Except for these few lines that we are now changing!" hahaha Just kidding.) I am so grateful for continued revelation and that the Lord knows what’s best for us. I feel excited knowing that this change has been made so that we can better prepare our investigators for being members. It will help them see what truly is expected of being a member of the church and what will help them continue to progress after baptism. It helps them see that baptism is just the beginning of how we come unto Christ and that there are so many amazing things beyond baptism and by being a member of Christ's church. The Lord is really sifting out those that are prepared and who will continue to help His church and gospel grow. :) So exciting! 

For the Fourth of July we were not able to be on top of the temple to see the fireworks like we did last year so last year was the one year that we were given the opportunity to do it. I'm counting my lucky stars for last year and hoping that the zone in this area was able to! This year was just as great though! We went to the Herzog family’s home. They have an AWESOME view from their 7th floor apartment overlooking Universal, Disney, Sea World and TONS of other resorts shooting fireworks off directly across from their apartment balcony. We were in the best location ever. There were literally fireworks SURROUNDING every side, in a big circle, around the apartment. Cool huh? It was fun!! 

Funny story that happened that night... so I can't remember if I told you this already or not... but Elder Mckay Jensen (who went to Woods Cross) and Elder Forrest are the elders that share the ward with us. They were also at Herzogs at the 4th of July party. We were all out on the balcony watching fireworks and someone closed the glass door to the balcony... and Elder Forrest didn't notice and totally smacked his face on the window trying to walk in. I think he was a little embarrassed so I didn't laugh too much... but oh man.

Speaking of fellow missionaries that are from Woods Cross... we have so many that are out here and WILL be out here (Cami Horrocks!!) Sister Taylor (can't remember her first name) was serving in Australia and just got reassigned to our mission! She is serving in the Winter Garden ward now so I'll be with her next week :) She was in the jazz band, if that rings any bells... So cool! 

Anyway, I'm excited for this next week and what it has to offer. I hope that you are all doing well. Remember... when things get hard, don't let your “attitude of gratitude” diminish!! Keep it burning bright! You will be so much happier! :) :) I love you all!! 


Sister Kirkham