Monday, September 29, 2014

Baptismal dates set and ... a food stupor!

Family! :) :)                                                        September 29, 2014

Another great week here in Olympia!

Monday: We had a lesson with Michele. Sister Swasey came with us and it was such a powerful lesson! Sister Swasey totally brought the spirit into the room as she bore a simple testimony that she knew that Michele was a daughter of God and that He had a plan for her. Michele cried a little as she said it. It touched all of us so much. The spirit was strong while we were there... but then sadly, her husband walked in and we met him for the first time as we were wrapping up the lesson. He was pretty rude to us and Michele was so embarrassed. We taught Michele again on Tuesday and she was just horrified by the way her husband treated us. We told her that it comes with being a missionary and that he is just concerned for her. We have been worried about all of that but Michele is such a strong women. She keeps telling us that she knows that we are of God and that Christ comes first in her life... even over her family… and that she is willing to do whatever it takes. She is strong willed and very faithful. She is just so excited and determined to do what is right and come to Christ. We love her!! She will be getting baptized on November 2nd because of work situations but she is just so excited for what's ahead.

Tuesday: We had a lesson with Cheyenne and her mom along with Sister Hopfer, the Young Women's President. Cheyenne's mom had some normal concerns about just making sure that Cheyenne understood the commitment of things. It helped sooo much to have Sister Hopfer there so that Cheyenne’s mother could see that there are adults that will be taking care of and looking over her daughter. We were nervous with how the lesson was going to go but it went super well! Cheyenne came to church on Sunday and loves Young Women's :) She is planning on getting baptized the weekend of October 18th. The Young Women have all been sooo awesome at helping her. They pick her up for church and Young Women’s and help her feel so loved. They are also so great in lessons. It's so neat to see the young women get so excited about missionary work :)

Wednesday: We had several lessons with investigators. We taught Marvin and he told us that he knows that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that Joseph Smith is a prophet! He just soaks up everything that is said and is so smart! He just understands everything so well. He looooved church. He appreciated so much that there was not ONCE any "fire and brimstone" talk...but rather uplifting talks about repentance, hope, change and obedience. We are talking about baptism with him as well. I think he is a little nervous about the commitment and change that comes from baptism but we are working on it. :) He knows it's all true so it's just a matter of time.

We also went out to dinner with Anne and her great grandson, Allen. I love them so much. Anne is a recent convert that was baptized right as I got here to Olympia. She is the cutest southern gal EVER. Allen, is HILARIOUS. Every time we have dinner with them and Allen is with us.... I seriously split my sides with laughter. They are so great!

Thursday: We actually were able to TEACH Randall!!!! He is such a talker... but what a great guy :) haha! It was truly a miracle.... He has frequently told us about his older brother who is a pastor but we had never met him. Well, we pulled up Thursday to see a nice white, Mercedes in the driveway we hadn't seen before and I just knew that it was his brother. I was slightly nervous to see how the brother was going to take us... Family, I have never, ever seen anything like this in my life... We walked in and Randall's brother was sitting on the couch. We met him and invited him to join us for the lesson and we all said the opening prayer.... I kid you not, the moment we started saying the opening prayer, his brother was asleep... and he was out cold for the entire lesson.... literally up until the closing prayer. It was like something that you would find in the scriptures!!! As funny as it sounds, the thought kept going through my head that God had literally put him in a food stupor so that he wouldn't get in the way of our meeting with Randall.... hahahaha it's funny... but I truly do feel like that's what happened. We had the most spiritual lesson with Randall as we taught him the Plan of Salvation. He loved it and was so in awe with the thought of Pre-earth life. You could just tell that he was feeling the spirit so strongly… he just had a huge smile on his face. As we were getting ready to say the closing prayer, Randall's brother woke up so he joined us in prayer. After the prayer, I asked if there was anything that we could do for him and he asked me if I would say another prayer on his behalf because he was having a hard time deciding if he should stay in his ministry or leave it because of the politics involved. I said the prayer and he was very touched by it and said that he knew that God had sent him from his home (which was in Deland on the east coast) to his brother’s home that morning because he was suppose to meet us! It was so neat! We set up a return appointment with him for the next morning at his brother’s home but he didn't show..... but! I truly do feel that it was all so inspired and that God's hand was very much involved. It was so neat!

Saturday: The General Women's Broadcast was so awesome! I am super excited for General Conference this upcoming week. There are many things that I got from the Women's Broadcast, but the two things that I really loved were 1) we need to be as the 10 virgins and be prepared for not only the Savior's second coming... but the covenants that we make in the temple. As we live the covenants that we have made, we will have power in our homes and I will come to know of my REAL self. I also LOVED President Uctdorf's talk. It was so inspiring! I am so grateful for the knowledge that I will ALWAYS be a daughter of God... and even if there are times that I may forget that divinity... I will ALWAYS have heavenly parents that are watching over me and love me. I know that as we learn more of our origin and who God is... as well as the more we keep the commandments and the covenants that we have made... the more we will learn more about ourselves... who we are. :)

Sunday: it was a magical day!!! We had 4 investigators at church! Cheyenne, Frank, Dave and Randall.... and next week we should have Marvin and Omiz as well!!! I can't say it enough... but blessings are literally POURING out on us. It is amazing. We have had 4 investigators at church for at least a whole month. To think that just a little over a transfer ago I didn't have any investigators and no one coming to church. It was so cool :)

I know that as we just follow the spirit, keep the covenants that we have made with God and trust in Him that all things will be for our good :)

I love you all so much and am so grateful for your example, love and support. You are always in my prayers.


Sister Kirkham

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Staying in Olympia! Welcome Sis. Cami Horrocks!

Family!                                            September 22, 2014

First off, transfers are this week... and I'm NOT being transferred!!!! I've never been so torn in my life for staying in my area or going to the transfer meeting... hahaha! I really wanted to go to the transfer meeting because so many of my missionary friends are going home tomorrow. Ed and Michele are planning on going to the meeting to say 'goodbye' to Sister Pitts and I wanted to see Sister Horrocks soooo bad!!!!! But, I know I'll see her soon enough :) Not sure when, but she very well could get called to the Orlando South area. There are a couple of sisters here that are going to be trained :) Keep your fingers crossed that I'm her STL! She will probably land here in Florida within the next several hours. It's sooo weird to think that she will be with President and Sister Berry so soon. Weird! I'm SUPER happy and feel at peace about staying here in the Olympia ward for another transfer. I just feel like I have been working sooo hard in this area and literally giving it all that I have and we have seen so many blessings this past transfer and so much potential for this upcoming one! I'm excited to see what great miracles and blessings we will see these next 6 weeks :) 

One thing that is so crazy to me: I have 12 weeks left. ah. That's as long as Cami's training...weird. 

We saw some great things happen again this week! 

Michelle: We had a Family Home Evening over at the bishop's home and it went really well! She is so cute and everyone that meets her, loves her. We also had a lesson on the Word of Wisdom and she took it like a champ. She hardly has any problems at all and she said that whatever God wants her to do, she will do it. She has so much intent and commitment to follow God. I just love her! We are still praying that she will be able to get some Sundays off of work so that she can come to church. Yesterday, she called and said that she was going to work her hardest to get off work at 4 so that she could make it to see a baptism. She made it and was just sooo excited! She looked at the baptismal program. It said, "The Baptism of so-and-so (the man getting baptized)”... she asked, "Will I get a program like this?" We told her yes. She then asked, “People are going to come see me get baptized?” We replied, “yes.” She was just so in awe with it all and soooo excited. I love her! Please continue to pray for her that we can figure things out with her work so she can come to church and continue coming to church after her baptism easily. She needs all the prayers we can get! 

We had a lesson with Cheyenne and talked about the commitment and importance of making and keeping covenants. We talked about her baptism and the promises you make and she understand and was excited to continue coming to church. Well, Saturday night she got in a big argument with her mom and she couldn't come to church... we have had plenty of conversations with her mom and she was super supportive with Cheyenne getting baptized and all that before. We aren't sure what's going on. We are going over tomorrow night to talk with her and her mom about things. I'm a little nervous about it but I hope that things work out. Please pray for that as well! Cheyenne was so bummed... 

Marvin: He was probably the biggest miracle of the week. We taught him earlier this week a couple times and he just loves the Book of Mormon. I have been teaching him for 3 months now and the biggest struggle has been getting him to church. He committed himself to come to church on Sunday... and HE CAME!!! It was a miracle!!! Poor guy was literally sweating BUCKETS. His maroon shirt was SOAKED in sweat because he was so nervous.... :( :( I felt so bad! We had tried multiple times to try and take him on a tour of the church building so that he would feel more comfortable coming to church but he always said he didn't need it or want it.... hahaha, anyway... he came and he absolutely loved church. :) :) I definitely think that he will be coming back around more often. Him going to church on Sunday was kind of the make it or break it with him.... but he made it and we are excited to see him this next week and talk to him more about it. He was just beaming after church. 

Randall: We had a talk on baptism with him this past week. We thought that we had lost him for a little bit because he wouldn't answer his door or respond to our calls. Saturday night he text us saying that he wasn't going to church on Sunday and he wouldn't tell us why. We asked if he was home so that we could drop by for a few minutes and he said that he wasn't home… so we decided that we would go buy his favorite treat in the world... Jalepeno Cheetos, leave them on his front porch, and heart attack his door. Hahahaha as we were walking away from his front door.... he pulled up in the driveway! Heaven sent! We were able to talk with him and he said that he was just trying to sort everything out in his head. We left it up to him whether he should go to church but told him that he knew where he needed to be. The next morning we decided to drive by to invite him to church again and as we were pulling up to his home... we saw Randall, dressed up in his suit, getting in his car. From the car window we yelled out... "Randalllll!!!!!!!" We were sooooo happy to see him coming to church!!! He just had this sheepish little look on his face that we caught him coming to church :) hahahahah! It was seriously the funniest thing. I wish I had it on video. Sister Gonzalez and I were just laughing and so happy that whole way back to the church. He really liked church as well :) 

One of the spiritual moments of the week was meeting with our Muslim friend, Omar. We talked about Jesus Christ being the Savior.... it was such a neat lesson. He has made some bad choices in his life and he feels really guilty about it. We testified of the Savior and that He can take that away from Him. I felt the spirit so strongly as I told him that literally the ONLY thing that took the pain and guilt away from me was Jesus Christ. It was such a good lesson and he could feel it so strongly! We told him that the spirit is what testifies of God and Jesus Christ and helped him recognize it. He said that last time that he met with us he left feeling so much more happy and he couldn't explain the feelings... it was so neat to be able to help him recognize that and to testify of the power of the Atonement. That is truly my favorite thing to teach and to help people apply into their lives. 

I'm out of time... but I love you all sooooo much!!! Thanks for all that you do for me. I know that Jesus is the Christ. I know that it is only through him that we can feel the love of God and become who He wants us to be :) 

I love you!

-Sister Kirkham

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Another great week in Olympia!

Family!                                                              September 8, 2014

Another great week here in Olympia :)

Monday: We had dinner with President and Sister Wood (He is in the Mission Presidency). It was so fun! They are great. We had a wonderful time talking about missionary work and talked about how they could focus their personal missionary efforts. It was a very positive lesson.

Tuesday: I went on exchanges to the Windermere Ward with Sister Pike! To be honest, I was a little nervous about the exchange at first... but we had a blast together and worked really hard. We had a full day of service starting with yard work on the temple grounds and then helping someone move out of their apartment. I was TIRED! But we had an awesome day as we went out and taught multiple lessons and talked to many people! One thing that has always been great about being an STL is that you get to see so many different areas! The fun thing about the Windermere ward is that it covers Disney World and Universal Studios... I live so close to Universal that I've seen the Hogwarts castle multiple times .... but this time I was able to see the dragon that is part of the newly created Diagon Alley! Pretty neat ;) anyways... back to a more spiritual note! If Sister Pike and I were to work together... we would be unstoppable!! haha I'm not gonna lie, I thought she didn't like me... so I was nervous to spend a day with her but by the end of the day we just loved each other and have plans to play together in Provo when we get back ;)  I really feel like the negative feelings that she might have had towards the Missionary Leadership has died down a little as I did my best to just show her that I was there to love her, that I was a normal missionary like her that was there to learn from her just as much as she was there to learn from me. It was overall just one of the best exchanges.

Wednesday: We taught Michelle. I LOVE MICHELLE. She has faith that I have ever seen. She has such a strong desire to come closer to God. She wants to get baptized so bad... we just have to work through her work not letting her go to church on Sundays :( :( Please keep her in your prayers that she will be able to find a new job or something will work out for her. She is very, very shy with praying out loud ... the first time that we taught her she tried to say the closing prayer and just freaked out in the middle of it because it was the first time that she had ever let someone else hear her prayers. It was so sweet. At the end of this lesson on Wednesday, we asked her who she would like to say the closing prayer and she said that she wanted to try saying the prayer again... it took some effort to start because she was so nervous... but when she starting... wow. It really was the most powerful prayer that I have ever heard in my life. It was directly from the heart. One of my all time favorite things about the mission are moments like this.... hearing someone exercise their faith and talk to their Father in Heaven. They are the most beautiful prayers that I've ever heard... because they aren't rote... but they really are talking to their Father as if He was face to face with them. Even when they stutter or fumble over their words... it's so beautiful and the spirit is always so strong. Michelle ended her prayer and she had grabbed a hold of Sister Carr's (an awesome member) hand and was clinging onto it as she was praying. She had tears streaming down her face as she ended.... ah! family... I just wish moments like that could be recorded and I could play back on them all the time.

On Wednesday we also taught Randall! Randall is so cool! He was the potential that called and told that he was going to church and stayed all 3 hours. Well, we went by to teach him for the first time and he had read the whole Gospel Principles Manual that he had gotten in the Gospel Principles class on Sunday. He is a BIG talker... so we weren't able to teach him much... but he is so open to learning. We went back over a few days later and taught him PART of the restoration (he talks so much!! haha!) and he had read Mormon... like the book of Mormon... within the Book of Mormon... if that makes sense haha! And he had read about half of 1 Nephi! He is truly seeking. We invited him to church again this Sunday and he said that he would go.... On Sunday we decided that we should stop by his home before church to make sure that he was coming. He came for his second time and he told us after that he had been wondering if we were going to call and invite him to church again that morning… and then after awhile he though that maybe we were going to drop by and see if he was going to come... and he thought, "nah... they wouldn't do that..." but right as he thought that, the doorbell rang and we were there inviting him ;) hahaha he said," I knew that I had heavenly messengers from God." :) So cute! He is a great guy.

We also went on a temple tour with Frank on Wednesday night. It went well! He seemed to enjoy it and learned and understood more from going. Keep him in your prayers that all the questions that he has will be answered and he will gain a clear understanding and recognize the spirit that he is feeling.

Because of times sake I need to rap things up a bit... but Cheyenne came to church this Sunday for the first time and LOVED it!!! The Young Women were so great at helping her and she felt so good being there. We also had the most solid Fast and Testimony meeting that I have ever had on my mission... there was no weird stories or anything! yay! hahaha She felt the spirit very strong just within the first hour. She has been saying for awhile now that she wanted to get more involved with the church but as she pulled me aside on Sunday she said that she wanted to become a member :) yay!! We will definitely need to make sure that she understands everything and the importance of baptismal covenants but I'm very excited for her. She is such a sweet girl and is so sensitive to the spirit. 

Dave also stayed for the second hour of church for the 2nd Sunday!!! He seems to be getting more comfortable with church and likes going to the 2nd hour. He is just sooo awesome. Sister Helsel, Dave’s wife, told me later that he talked to his parents and is getting a bunch of his genealogy work put together. :) :) How cool is that?? I just love them and hope that I can stay in contact with them after my mission.

One last thing... we had ZTM this week... and the Zone Leaders gave us a specific topic to present for our training.... and then we got to ZTM, we looked at the ZTM program... and the topic of our training was totally different!!! AND the Zone Leaders were doing TWO separate trainings and group discussions on the very topic that they had asked us to give!!!! ahh. hahahaha Sister Gonzalez and I were not happy campers to say the least. haha! The cool thing that I've noticed on the mission though is how much calmer I can be in situations like that ;) hahaha the spirit was definitely keeping me calm. A little flustered, yes. but calm. It was cool! Sister Gonzalez and I said a prayer for help and wow!! Our training went super well!!!! It's amazing how God helps us and lets the spirit lead and guide our words when we need them.... haha The Zone Leaders owe us BIG time for that one! Plus, President Berry sat in on our ZTM. haha! It all worked out way better than I though it would. It was a huge tender mercy of the Lord!

Well, I'm out of time.... but I'm just so grateful for this gospel and the joy that it brings. I have learned so much and I know that I will continue to as I let God mold and shape me into the daughter of God He needs and wants me to be :) Just as Mom told me in an email this morning... I cannot believe that I only have 99 days left on the mission. wow. That really puts things into perspective and it's very bitter sweet... but I'm SO excited for what these next 99 days bring :)

I LOVE YOU WITH ALL MY HEART! You are always in my prayers.

-Sister Kirkham

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Feeling better, working hard

Hey Family :)                                                     September 1, 2014

A lot happened again this week!

Monday: We took Michelle on a tour of the church building and at the end talked to her in the chapel. I love the chapel. One thing that I have noticed a lot on my mission is the spirit that truly is in the chapel.... the spirit is within the whole building... but there is something so neat and special about the chapel. We talked to Michelle about the sacrament. She doesn't have much knowledge of anything... she didn't even know what the last supper was or what the sacrament stood for. She has such a strong desire to learn and come closer to Christ though!! It was really neat to teach such simple doctrine to Michelle about the Atonement and all that he has done for us so that we can come to church every Sunday and receive the blessings of the sacrament. I'm so grateful for my Savior... I'm so grateful that I have the ability to CHANGE. There is so much joy that comes within our hearts as we allow the Atonement refine us and change us into a better son or daughter of God.

Tuesday: I was on exchanges with a sister from the Conway area. They have been really struggling as a companionship and so we had to have a talk with them... As much as I don't like being the bad cop or the "mom" of some of these sisters that I have stewardship over… I really do find so much joy in helping them.

Wednesday: We had another MLC and Elder Patten, who has been my District leader, Zone Leader, and an AP for 9 months gave his departing testimony. It was so powerful!! He bore a powerful testimony of the joy that comes to this work as we forget ourselves and give all to the Lord. There was one thing that he said that really hit me. When he first had become Zone Leader he was talking to President Berry and said that he was having a hard time with the added responsibilities as well as trying to help his area. President gave him such great advice and said that as a leader we are to find joy and success in our missionaries' success. If we truly love and care about them... we will rejoice more for their success than our own. I have been trying to be more diligent at praying for each sister by name every night and I've noticed such a significant difference in my love for each one of them, I'm more aware of their current needs and I have received more guidance of knowing how to more effectively help them in their work. There is so much power in prayer!! As Preach My Gospel says, Charity is a GIFT that we need to continually ask God to have.

Also, at MLC I was asked to give the Special Musical Number. I played an arrangement of "I know Heavenly Father Loves Me". Man.... I can't tell you how much I miss playing and performing. It felt so good to play again and to know that it had touched those that heard it. It was funny.. after I played, Elder Flood, the other AP stood up to continue the meeting and he was like in a daze reminiscing about his dad. That was his dad's favorite primary song. Everyone began laughing as he shook himself out of the daze hahahaha!

We had great miracles happen with getting people to church this weekend!! We had three people come and we were expecting 4! Dave and Frank came and stayed for the second hour of church for the first time!! They both enjoyed it and were enlightened by the things that were said. Marvin was suppose to come... but he didn't show for some reason :( Keep him in your prayers. We will be figuring out more later. We had another miracle this week though! On Thursday evening we were out contacting and met Randall. Honestly... I didn't think twice about him after we had contacted him because.. well... he is one of those people that you ask one question and 30 minutes later you are still standing there talking about his health and crazy stories from his past... haha! We were only able to slip in a few words, give him a card with our number and time of the church and invited him to go. Well, Saturday, we got a call from Randall telling us that he wanted to come to church and wanted to know if he needed to wear a suit! He came to church, stayed all three hours and loved it! We will be teaching him next week. It was a good reminder to me that I really don't know who is prepared and willing to act and whose not. It's not up to me to judge, but just do all that I can to continually reach out and invite all those around me to learn more.

Saturday I was on exchanges in the Lake Reams area. It was a great exchange! I have been nervous for that companionship all three transfers that I have been here. We talked a lot about faith and expecting things to happen as we do all that we can. We went out and talked and found so many great people!! The sister I was with was shocked by the great day that we had. I hope that exchange helped her have a better view and faith of the potential in her area. Earlier that day we actually did service for some members in the Lake Reams ward. I had the opportunity to have lunch and do yard work for the Smart family!!! yes... Elizabeth Smart's aunt and uncle. It was really neat! They are such good people.

Well, I'm out of time... but so many great things are happening here in Olympia and I'm sad of the thought of leaving this area in 3 weeks.... but I also can't believe that I will most likely be seeing Sister Cami Horrocks in 3 weeks at transfers!!! ah! That will be so neat.

I love you all so much. Good luck with school starting up this week. Can't believe that another school year is starting. I feel so grateful and blessed for the miracles that have been happening here in Olympia and the great things that are in store here. I love this work and that God loves me enough that he cares more for my growth than for my temporary happiness. I know that when trials come... they are for my ETERNAL happiness and I have definitely seen that happen in my time here in Olympia.

Have a great week. I love you!!!


Sister Kirkham