Monday, August 25, 2014

A visit from Elder Hamula, lots of meetings, 4 new investigators, and...Bronchitis

Family! :)                                         August 25, 2014

This past week is such a blur... It started out great with Elder Hamula of the Seventy and his wife touring our mission! We had a wonderful fireside last Sunday, a great Zone Conference with him on Tuesday and a special MLC with him on Wednesday! We had a big spiritual feast!! 

At the Tuesday Zone Conference... the thing that Elder Hamula emphasized the most was the importance of inquiry... or asking questions. What he told us was the importance of not just asking Heavenly Father for knowledge... but asking him what we need to DO to gain that knowledge. I have been trying hard to focus more on asking Heavenly Father on what I can do, asking questions in my prayers, pausing and trying to listen for an answer or direction before moving on to something else in my prayers. It's been neat! Prayer is suppose to be a communication between you and God... so let Him speak to you and more importantly.. LISTEN! :) It reminded me of the story of Angie when she was younger and Dad went in to kiss Angie goodnight and she was kneeling in prayer... so Dad waited awhile for her to be done praying and went back and she was still kneeling so he thought that she had fallen asleep on her knees. When Dad went to help Angie into bed, Angie said.... "Shh! I'm listening!" haha :) So cute! But such a great example of how we should be communicating in prayer to our Father. 

The special MLC was really neat because Elder Hamula pulled up a bunch of statistics of our mission and the surrounding southeast missions and pointed out that the effectiveness of our missionary work is double that of the surrounding missions. Elder Hamula opened up to us saying that the church worldwide is puzzling over a problem... although the numbers of missionaries has increased... the number of people baptized has stayed about the same as before... why is that?? He emphasized to us as a Missionary Council that we are to make sure that we "don't leave anyone behind". The work is continuing to move forward and that all missionaries have the power and authority given to them to create miracles but that we need to help them be more effective and make sure that they aren't falling through the cracks with the work hastening and moving forward. It was a good meeting to see the power that we can have as leaders to help these other amazing missionaries to be just that much better. Elder Hamula also pointed out that because our mission is so much more effective, it shows our dedication and obedience and that the church is going to closely watching what we do to be a model for other missions in being more effective as well. Pretty neat! I'm just so grateful for the leaders in this mission... especially President Berry. We truly do have a wonderful group of servants of the Lord here in the FOM (Florida Orlando Mission!!!) FO=M!... or in otherwords... Faith+Obedience= MIRACLES! haha :) 

The Lord truly blessed us this week. I hope that I can talk about all of the goes!! 

We met Michelle and taught her the Restoration. She has such REAL INTENT and faith to find God and do His will. It's amazing. I have never had a more powerful Restoration lesson than I had with her... I recited the First Vision... and the spirit was sooo thick. After we talked about it, Michelle said that she felt the spirit so strongly while talking about the First Vision that she could literally feel it under her skin. :) We came to find out that she is from Haiti and her mom never sent her to school... so she can't read :( She has always had a burning desire to want to read the Bible and when she was giving the closing prayer of the lesson, she prayed hard to be able to read the Book of Mormon. It was so cool to realize that God knows Michelle's needs. God knows that Michelle can't necessarily read the Book of Mormon... so that's why He let the spirit touch her so strongly about the First Vision. She will be able to listen to the Book of Mormon... but still! God knows each of us and our needs.... I'm excited to work with Michelle and see where it goes from here :) She works on Sundays and she prays everyday to have it off... so please keep her in your prayers that work will be flexible for her. 

We also took Marvin on a temple tour this week! =D His wife passed away from cancer… so it was a neat experience for him. We had another lesson with him later in the week and he rehearsed to us the conversation that he had with his daughter about the temple tour. He was just sooo excited with the thought of being sealed to his wife for eternity... I guess he said something to his daughter like, "I can be with her for eternity!! This church says that it IS possible!!" I just love how much hope that the gospel brings :) :) How can it not be true? I'm so grateful for the Restoration of the gospel and for these plain and PRECIOUS truths that have been restored so that we can feel of the love, hope and faith of the Atonement that Christ offers us :) 

We were also able to talk about baptism with Cheyenne and she wants to get baptized! It was sooo perfect... because her mom listened in to the lesson and was very, very supportive to Cheyenne's decisions but emphasized the importance of enduring to the end to Cheyenne... perfect!! We are excited to continue working with her and helping her get there :) 

After all of those miracles happened...I got hit HARD...well...actually I wasn't feeling very good starting last Monday... but Wednesday came with the special MLC with Elder Hamula and than I had an exchange on Thursday... and it just took it right out of me. I have Bronchitis…which is super fun…haha! There is something going around the mission right now... so at least I'm not the only one ;) I'm doing just fine but I'm grateful for Heavenly Father helping us still get so much done this past week although I've been so sick. Amazingly enough we found 4 new investigators this week although I had a billion meetings and have been sick. He knew I needed more of His help. Please keep me in your prayers that I will have the health to go and do multiple exchanges this week. 

I love you all so much. I'm so grateful for this gospel and the happiness and hope that it brings us... amidst the trials. I truly feel and know that the adversary knows that I am willing to give it my ALL to make this work move forward. I’m not going to make a few sniffles stop me ;) haha! Good luck with school starting up. You are all in my prayers... as always :) 



Sister Kirkham

p.s. tell Kaitlyn I LOVE HER TO DEATH and welcome home :) 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Marvin, Interviews w/ President and FINDINGS!

This past week was a lot of meetings but we were able to see some neat things.
Monday: We taught a second lesson to Marvin. Marvin is super cool and LOVES the Book of Mormon! He has studied all kinds of religions but this is the first time that he has felt that things are getting tied together and making sense :) It's been so neat to see the spirit teach him and testify that the things that we teach are true. After teaching him, we were doing some finding in his apartment complex and met this lady that told us about a spiritual experience she had when she was 12. She had somehow ended up in a coma and while she was in her coma had this dream of a man standing underneath a tree beckoning people to come to him.. and next to the tree was a river...!!! As she went forward to the tree she felt the love of God and then came out of her coma and turned her life to God.... Sister Thompson and I were wide eyed as she was describing her dream as if she was telling us about Lehi's vision of the tree of life in 1 Nephi 8!!! It was sooo crazy. We pulled up a picture of the tree of life on our nice little Ipads and read some versus from chapter 8 showing her the vision....... sadly.. she thought it was neat but wasn't interested in learning more... which totally blew my mind! but! Everyone has their agency and I know that it was a good seed planter :) It was a miracle to both Sister Thompson and I!
Tuesday: I had interviews with the President and told him about my worries about the area not progressing the way I hoped it would and he gave me the most comforting words! I just love President Berry :) He reminded me that it's all in God's timing and in His own way and that I have such a sacred calling of helping the other sisters within my zone. It was a good reminder to me of how truly blessed I am to be able to help the sisters here in the FOM. It might be hard and really exhausting at times.. but what an honor that God would trust me to help these special and elect daughters of God. President said that sometimes the service that we render, love that we show and impact that we leave on others is not put on paper like a baptismal date... but it's much greater! I may not know all the things (big or small) that I am doing in my area and for these sisters but one day I will :) It helped me a lot of hear that from President and to remind myself of how truly blessed I am.
Thursday: We had MLC! Elder Flood is not an AP with Elder Patten and they are awesome! We talked about finding... even in the most awkward of situations and role played it!!! It was so fun.. but sooo AWKWARD! loved it!! haha! Sister Thompson and I are making our days more fun by looking for all people that we can talk to ... and laughing through the awkward moments ;) As missionaries, we are awkward all the time... so might as well embrace the awkwardness for another 4 months! hahaha!
Saturday: We had temple tours in the morning... and the Deland stake was having their temple day!!!!! So... I got to see many New Smyrna Beach people!! I was talking with some ladies in the ward when all of a sudden... Joel and Krystal Dayton came walking up to the temple!!! Ah! I almost burst out in tears with happiness seeing both of them!! It was so reassuring and made me so happy to see that Krystal was doing so well.... I asked her, "How are you doing?!" and she said," Well... I'm here aren't I??" :) hahaha They are so beautiful and love them so much. They are still planning on me having them at their sealing in the Salt Lake temple April 2 next year :) :) I just felt that God knew I was working hard and wanted to give me a little gift and tender mercy for my efforts by letting me see and talk to Krystal :)
Sunday: It was a great spiritually filled day at church! The funniest thing happened during Relief Society Meeting... Sister Swasey was teaching the lesson on "Home: a House of Learning"... and all of a sudden she is telling the whole Relief Society the story of me teaching the Plan of Salvation to that Japanese journalist that came and stayed with us during the Salt Lake Winter Olympics.... haha! Thank you, Mom and Dad, for sharing all my stories to Sister Swasey when you had lunch with her... ;) at least they were all good stories because I swear the whole ward now knows all about me! haha! Honestly, I have had members left and right bring of stories that you told Sister Swasey that I totally forgot about hahaha I was pretty red in the face for the rest of the lesson.. but all is well :)
I don't have much time left to write... but I do want to mention that for some reason this week... I have just gained such a great respect and gratitude for Joseph Smith. He went through sooo much so that we could have this gospel. I feel like the trials in my missionary work are nothing compared to the trials that Joseph went through.. and even more so.. all that Christ went through as they faithfully served their missions. Whatever our missions to the Lord are... they may not be easy... but I know that it's worth it. I'm so grateful for all those that have come before me and their example of faith and love toward God. They may not have seen the impact that it had for the world at the time... but it's made a world of difference to us all now. :) I'm so grateful for this opportunity that I have to serve the Lord and others around me. I love this gospel!
I love you!!!
-Sister Kirkham 

P.s....14 months... what?