Monday, October 27, 2014

Temple Sealing, Michelle's Getting Baptized on Thursday, Interview with President

                                                                                   October 27, 2014


This past week was kind of a weird week to say the least. Two of our investigators are in the hospital for different reasons. We are unable to see one of them but we are hoping to go see the other this week. 

We were really focused a lot on some of our exchanges this past week. There were some serious obedience issues going on in one we had to deal with that. It's soooo sad to see what some missionaries get themselves into and it's even more uncomfortable when you have to be the one to address it but I think things are on the way up for them! 

We had interviews with President Berry this past week. I just love interviews! It's so nice to be able to talk one on one with him and tell him how things are going. My whole mission I have only cried twice during interviews. This past week was one! It shocked me when I started crying  but no worries, they were tears of joy ;) It just hit me really hard that my mission is almost done. That was my last interview with President before I talk with him before I leave. It just makes my heart ache to think of leaving all these people, the missionary life, and the sacredness of the calling that I have. It makes me so sad to think that I can never truly reach out to these people the same way that I can as a missionary. There is nothing like it. In the interview I was just thanking President for the inspired direction that he has received during my whole mission; to send me to the places I have been called and assigned to and given the responsibilities that I have had. I have learned so much in each area that I could not have learned anywhere else. President pretty much was trying to “kill me off” already by telling me he was going to miss me. He even joked around by saying that if he had a son my age that he would have loved having me as a daughter-in-law. Haha! It was cute and flattering but also kind’ve funny coming from my mission president! It's not for sure yet but President also hinted that I will probably be leaving Olympia to go somewhere else for my next transfer :( I will go where the Lord needs me to go but it will be a challenge to be in a new area for my last 6 weeks. 

I have been contemplating over my mission this past week...I've been sooooo blessed! I truly feel like the first half of my mission I was able to see a lot of the fruits of my labor and the second half has been much different in the fact that although I have tried my very hardest to find those that are ready...I think that God has been doing His own missionary work on me while I have been serving others. At least that's how I feel at times. I have worked my hardest and done my very best and I know that God is proud of that. I just have to sprint to the finish line and give my Heavenly Father my all to the very, very end. I owe so much to Him and I know that I'll never be able to pay it back in full...but I can try :) and that's what I'll continue doing :) 

It's been amazing to see how many miracles have taken place here in Olympia. I have come to know more of WHO Heavenly Father is because of the challenges and triumphs that I have experienced over these past 6 months. I know that He has put dear people in my path that were ready to come closer to Christ. It's been amazing to have sooo many people to teach, that come to church every Sunday, and that are progressing! It's so exciting. These past 3 months especially have been heavenly bliss because of all the blessings that have poured out on us!!

I feel like I'm kind’ve blabbing but I hope I'm making sense. Although we have seen so many miracles I have wondered why we haven't been able to see more baptisms. Plus, this past weekend we were stressing out big time because Michelle is planning on getting baptized this week (yay!!!!) and we couldn't get ahold of her all weekend. As those thoughts were weighing on my mind I was studying D&C 117 and a verse hit me SO hard.

D&C 117:13!! The Lord said, "...His sacrifice shall be more sacred unto me than his increase." 

I read that and I just felt the spirit so strong. I know that God knows the thoughts and intents of our hearts. He knows what worries that we each have and when we turn to Him and look for help He can give us answers to our prayers through just a simple phrase that brings comfort to our minds and hearts. I just felt that God was telling me that He has seen all the sacrifices (big and small) that I have made for these people of Olympia and that is way more sacred and important to Him that the fruits that I may see come from my labors. Wow! I am so grateful to know that my Heavenly Father loves me soooo much, that He sees the hard work that I have done, and He not only cares for the people around me but that He also cares for my spiritual growth and well being. I have learned so much as I have tried my best to sacrifice and give my whole self to Him. I definitely still have so much more to give but it's comforting to know that He has accepted what I have given :) 

So, after I had read this verse and had accepted the fact that I may not see the fruits of things here in Olympia the way I wanted to, Michelle called us back!!! Hahaha! Long story short...she is still gung-ho about everything. She is just so excited for her life that is ahead :) She will be having her baptism this Thursday!!!! woohoo!!!!

I don’t have much more time but I also have to tell you of such a special experience that I had on Saturday morning!! Sister Anita Warner from the New Smyrna Beach ward contacted me on Facebook and invited me to go to her the sealing of her and her deceased husband. I don't know if you remember but when I got to New Smyrna last summer, I was over doing a lot of service for her and her less active kids. I also sang at her husband’s funeral. I was able to get permission from President to go to the sealing!!! I really believe that he only gave me special permission to do that because I lived in the area that the temple is in. I'm so blessed! It was such a special, sacred experience. I was able to see many different members of the New Smyrna ward including Brother Westcott. There was not one dry eye in that sealing room. Ah, I am sooo grateful for the temple!!! What a BEAUTIFUL blessing, full of so much HOPE, to be able to be with our family forever. I had gone to Jen's amazing sealing before I left for the mission but it was definitely an eye-opening experience to see it in such a sacred light for Sister Warner and her husband. It also opened my eyes and really humbled me to see that the little acts of service that I did for her and her family made such an impact on her. I was one out of 10 people that went. You just never fully know how much you are doing for someone. 

I know this gospel is sooo true. I just know it. There is NOTHING else in the world that brings such great hope, love and happiness. I'm so excited and grateful that I have this last transfer to share this with everyone around me. I hope that you guys are continually doing the same :) 

I love you!!!! 

Sister Kirkham

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Stake 5K, Ed and Michele, Pumpkins and More...

                                                      October 20, 2014

There is so much to say in so little time!

Monday we had a District P-day! It was fun to carve pumpkins and dress up in costumes! woot woot! Later that night we went to our ward mission leader’s home for dinner and their kids had just gotten these little sister missionary figurines... and they were like an exact replica of Sister Gonzalez and I.... including the color of our outfits we were wearing that day... it was super funny!!! Hahahaha!

We had several great lessons this week ;)

Frank is doing great! We had a lesson with him and Brother Scott on the temple grounds and it was sooo powerful!!! We covered different concerns that he had... and he was very tearful through the whole lesson because he was continuing to be touched by the spirit so strongly. He said the closing prayer and choked up really bad. It was really sweet. As Frank puts it, he is "a marshmellow on the inside." :) haha I love him! He really is such a cool investigator because he is smart and knows the gospel but he has an open mind and recognizes the spirit. He called us later that day to thank us for the lesson and to tell us that he had come that day with several different concerns and every single one of the concerns was address without him saying a word. How cool is that? Sometimes I forget how amazing it is to be set apart and called to be an instrument in God's hands to do HIS work.... when we trust Him and just follow the spirit we can do so much. His plan is so perfect and He knows each one of His children so perfectly.

Saturday was an amazing day but also an emotional one!! In the morning all the missionaries in our district met at the church with other people in the stake for the Orlando South 5K. It felt sooo good to just go RUN!!!! We were able to start and finish the race across the street from the temple, which was pretty fun. I was feeling it though! I'm excited to be able to do that on my own free time and get back in shape. All the elders dressed up in the shirt and tie with running shorts and the sisters made shirts :) super fun! The best part was being able to run with Dave and Theresa!! Well, not WITH them,  because they smoked everyone... but they were so cute to be cheering me on near the finish line and to have a good time chatting and cheering others on after I had finished. Super fun! :)

After the race I WENT TO LUNCH WITH ED AND MICHELE!!!!! Let me just tell you I was a like a little girl on Christmas. I was soooo excited to see them :) :) I can't believe that it has been 8 months since I had seen them last. That went by super fast. That's like half my mission time! It was so good to see them though. They are doing amazing :) The coolest part.... Ed baptized someone just two days before!!!! =D He has been going out with the missionaries a lot and was a great fellowship for this man that got baptized. This man was also about Ed's age, and was a former cop. There were a lot of other great similarities as well and Ed just kept repeating over and over again, "Two years ago you couldn't have paid me to believe that I would be doing this today." :) The Atonement has changed him and Michele is so many amazing ways and their marriage and everything is just going beautifully!!! Michele is doing well in the Relief Society Presidency, giving talks in sacrament and in Relief Society a few times. Ed is doing missionary work. He has received the Melchizedek Priesthood and is teaching a primary class of 10-11 year olds :) It just hit me just how amazing this work is.... you truly have no idea how much of an impact you leave on the world as you reach out to help even just one person.... the blessings are IMMEASURABLE! To think that because we helped Michele we were able to help Ed and because of Ed and Michele they have blessed countless people lives including this newly baptized member. Isn't that amazing? My mind can't fully wrap around how amazing this gospel is and how perfect God's plan is. To be honest, I was pretty emotional both Saturday and Sunday after seeing them...but it really was tears of joy. :)

One sad note though.... Ed and Michele told me that they were planning on getting sealed in the temple on December 6th or something...that way I could go and so could Sister Pitts (who is now home) because she is returning with her family that week.... well, they heard that the temple is closed down for cleaning and for the holidays that week so they can't do it then. They also can’t get sealed on the week of Thanksgiving, (which is the earliest they could do it after Ed's one year mark,) because "the Judge"-Brother Henderson,(who introduced Michele to the church,) will be out of town with his family that week. So, the earliest they can do it is on like January 6th.. or something like that -- the very next day after we leave! I'm double checking on the day with Michele and need to hear back from her but that totally burst my bubble! …but it's ok. I'm just happy that they are so set on being sealed. They love each other and they need this beautiful day :)

Sorry, but I’m out of time! Please keep the investigator, Michele, in your prayers; that her husband will be ok with her getting baptized. She should be having her baptismal interview this week and getting baptized the end of next week if all works well :) She is so excited!!!

I love you guys! Thanks for all that you do.

-Sister Kirkham

Monday, October 13, 2014

October 13, 2014: Marvin's Got a Date! Meet the Mormons, Part 2

                                                               October 10, 2014
My Favorite Family Ever!

Hey guys! Another week has flown by... holy cow! Time is just going by faster and faster. I feel like I'm on my bike... going down a hill...and the brakes have stopped working…I'm just going faster... and faster...down the hill...and yes, going down a hill, on your bike, without any brakes is almost as terrifying as it is coming to the end of your mission!... hahaha!

This week was another busy one! I went on exchanges last Tuesday with the Conway sisters. Conway is a lot like Goldenrod...planes flying over head, a busy city with lots and lots of people to talk to. I think the one thing that I learned the most from that exchange is the power of charity towards your companion. This sister that I was with touched me so much.... she came out with me from the MTC and for the last two transfers of her mission she has been able to train :) She has sacrificed sooo much for her trainee. Here are two examples:

1. This sister’s trainee didn't bring a pillow with her out on the mission. Now, I'm not sure why they didn't just go buy a pillow but this trainer gave her pillow to her companion to sleep with. She has gone without a pillow herself for a whole month. She has just balled up a bunch of her clothes and uses that to sleep on. Wow! (Thankfully, we had a spare pillow in our apartment and will give that to her this next week when we see them next.)

2. This trainee has had some struggles adjusting to the mission life. They have a hard area. They aren't teaching anyone so it would be a huge adjustment. The trainer told me that everyday while the trainee is in the shower, she writes a page of all the great things that her companion has done that day and the miracles that they saw. She is going to give it to her for a departing gift and Christmas present. How cute is that? I love seeing the amazing examples of the other sisters that I am over. I truly feel that I was called to be an STL because there was so much that I needed to learn from all the other sisters. I'm so blessed!

On Wednesday we literally taught back-to-back-to-back lessons alllll day long. That's pretty much how our weeks have been because we just have so many people to teach. It's so amazing. :) We taught Marvin and brought up baptism again. He has been telling us that his daughter always says that he is going to become a member by the end of the year and he agrees with her :) We asked him when he was thinking of getting baptized and he said probably at the start of the new year. Then we told him that we thought that he could get baptized a lot on November 22nd due to some circumstances ;) He immediately sat up straighter and said, "Wow... that's interesting.... November 22nd is my grandma's birthday." Now get this, as long as I have known Marvin he has brought up his grandma and the amazing example that she set for him. It was because of his grandma that he came to know God and to become the good man he is today... we all sat in silence for a few minutes as we thought about the significance of that and we testified to Marvin that we know that November 22nd truly is an inspired date from God. Marvin said that it's a "projected date" so we will continue working on that with him ;) He really has been pondering over that so much though and has brought up multiple times since then that he really believes that it's his grandma trying to help him out again :) So neat! I don't doubt it!!

We also saw Randall and talked a lot about General Conference and his impressions of it. It was a good lesson of just answering some questions. I'm not really sure why we did this but usually we ask the investigator to say the closing prayer. For some reason the member ended up saying the closing prayer. As we were getting up from our knees after the member finished the prayer, Randall stayed on his knees and started praying out loud. We stayed on our knees and listened to such an amazing, heartfelt prayer. He was just asking God for direction, to know the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith were true. Ah! It was just so neat. Randall cried through his prayer and was really touched by the spirit. It was powerful! After the prayer we helped him recognize that was the spirit touching his heart and answering his prayers. He was deep in thought. The next lesson we went over and I told Randall; "Randall, I KNOW that you have felt the spirit reading the Book of Mormon, I KNOW that you have felt the spirit at General Conference, I KNOW that you have felt the spirit at church and I KNOW that you felt the spirit in your prayer last lesson.... so what does that mean?" Randall, just got this big grin on his face. It was one of those grins that he just couldn’t help showing but it was one of those ‘try to hide’ kind of grins...ya know? haha! He is such a stinker. He won't admit that he knows it's all true because he is just fighting some things in his head because it's all so new. We have faith that he will continue to learn, understand and feel the spirit testify it's truth. This past Sunday was his 7th Sunday in a row that he has come to church.

We had a combined ZTM this past week as well and I got to watch 'Meet the Mormons' again for the second time!!! It really is a great movie. If you haven't seen it yet I highly recommend it. I bawled my eyes out and I know that you guys would too…haha!...especially the Missionary Mom part. Ah! Haha! Dave went to go see it with Theresa this past weekend. Theresa was telling me later that he cried but wouldn't admit it to her ;) hahaha!

Dave flew out to D.C. this weekend for work and a 10K. He told Theresa before he left, "I'm not taking the Book of Mormon with me on the trip." Theresa didn't really know what to say. Then he said, "... because I will be staying at a Marriott hotel and they have one there." haha! He’s such a tease! He sent a picture to her on Sunday of him holding a Marriott hotel Book of Mormon and said, "Lets see what King Benjamin has to say." Hahaha they are so funny. I love them so much and I really hope that you guys can meet them. They are great!

Also at ZTM, Hermana Monson and I sang the duet 'Come Thou Fount' and Hermana Allred played the piano. Sometimes I surprise myself out here on the mission that I allow myself to get in those situations. Why did I sign up to do this again? Hahaha! I'm grateful that I did it though. I just love that song so much!

Last funny story...I was on exchanges this past Friday with Sister Nelson in Olympia. We were out to lunch and this cute couple came up to us so excited! They are parents of a missionary out here that's only been out about 2 1/2 months. They had come down for the BYU vs UCF game and had just been at the temple. Their missionary didn't know they were even there! haha! Anyway, they were asking all sorts of questions about the mission and it just brought a smile to my face because it reminded me sooo much of two others parents that I know who have done the exact same thing for the past 16 months ;) hahaha! We had been talking for a little bit and all of a sudden the mom burst out, "Wait! Are you Sister Kirkham?! I have been reading your blogs!!!" hahahahaha! Apparently her and another missionary mom follow my blogs because their sons don't send very detailed emails so they read my blog trying to imagine the type of things that their sons are out here doing. It was flattering but funny! I have actually gotten that several times out here. I have had several new missionaries come up to me and tell me that they were following my blog before they left for the mission! ah! Who knew?! Hahaha! I hope that I can continue helping people see the amazing miracles that come through serving the Lord here in the FOM :)

I'm out of time but I'm super excited for this week and I can't wait to update you on how it goes!!! Amidst all the missionary labor, I've gotten permission to run a 5K that the stake is putting on. It’s headed out by Brother Kite (a former NBA player for the Celtics and the Magic.) It’s in the Olympia ward area this next Saturday. I'm so excited to just go RUN!!!!!!!!! (Although I'll still have to have a missionary by my side. Hopefully that works out ok!) Dave is actually a really big part of helping put that 5K together too. The race starts right out front of the Orlando temple. It will be pretty fun!

The other super, duper exciting thing happening is that I got permission for Ed and Michele to come up to the Olympia area this next week for lunch!!!! AH!!!!! I can hardly contain my excitement for seeing them :) :) Michele's one year mark since she got baptized was yesterday! I can't believe it! The other amazing thing? Michele sent me an email today saying that Ed has been going out with the sister missionaries in the ward and has done a lot to help teach a man that is getting baptized this next Thursday... and guess what? The man asked Ed to baptize him!!!!!!! =D =D I'm just like bursting with joy right now! I'm so proud of them and all that they have done and most importantly, who they have BECOME this past year. It's so cool to think that Ed helped bring someone else to the fold less than a year from when he was baptized. I just love them so much. Next Monday I'm sure I'll have more updates to tell you about them and how amazing they are!

Know how much I love you!!!!


Sister Kirkham

October 3, 2014 General Conference and Meet the Mormons!

This past week was such a spiritually filled week! I hope that everyone enjoyed General Conference as much as I did. There are so many things to learn from the prophet and the leaders of the church. I truly can feel so much of our Father in Heaven's love for us as we hear these humble men bare testimony of our Savior and this restored gospel. I also can't believe that this past weekend marked TWO years since the missionary age change.... who would have ever thought that morning two years ago when we heard the age change that I would be out 16 months on a mission in Orlando, Florida? I remember bursting through the garage door as I had been listening to General Conference on the radio as I was driving home from BYU that weekend and feeling such an amazing feeling of excitement and spirit of this work. I remember talking with my parents and telling them the feelings that I had that this might be something I needed to do... as you all may know, my decision to come on a mission was not easy.... but I will forever be grateful for the decision that I made to come. It reminds me of a talk given this past weekend by Elder Carlos A. Godey on how even the smallest choices that we make will make a lasting impact on our future.... deciding to serve a mission was definitely was a BIG decision that has left the BIGGEST impact in my life. There is no other choice in my life that has brought more fulfillment and joy than that. I know that the leaders of the church truly are inspired men of God. I know that as we pray about the council that they give us, the promptings that we have received and then have the faith and courage to LIVE it we will gain a stronger confidence and knowledge of this restored gospel and our living prophet and apostles. They speak truth. :)
I have so much more to say about General Conference! I felt the spirit so strong as Elder Packer started off Conference Saturday morning. It touched me so much to see his strong spirit and will to bare testimony of Christ and to gain stronger personal strength although his physical well being is diminishing with age.
President Uchtdorf... wow. He just brought it home in both the General Women's Conference last week and this past weekend. I am so grateful for personal revelation that we can receive more and more light and the fullness of truth as we diligently seek, ponder, ask God and then LIVE those teaches. I have seen that so much on my mission and I'm so excited to continue to diligently learn for the rest of my live to come to know my Father in Heaven and Savior.
Elder Holland just wanted me to run out the door and find the first person in need that I could find. Anyone else? haha :)
President Eyring just is the most tender hearted man ever. I love him so much. I sure hope that I have and will continue to make my parents "exceedingly glad" as I receive my own confirmation revelation of things they and other examples in my life have taught me.
I thought it was super fun to hear Elder Hamula of the Seventy speak because I was just having zone conferences, and MLC meetings with him a few months ago! I know that as we go to church to partake of the sacrament that it truly is showing our Father in Heaven that we are remembering Christ... that we are covenanting to always remember Him throughout the week and, bare witness of Him through word and deed and to allow the Atonement to refine and sanctify us. What an amazing blessing. I have gained such a deep love and appreciation for Christ and the sacrament as I have been on my mission.
I of course LOVED Elder Bednar's talk when he was addressing all the nonmembers about why us as latter-day saints are so enthusiastic to share the gospel sometimes... hahaha :) it was wonderful :)
We had a whole middle row bench full of our investigators both Saturday and Sunday this past weekend. MIRACLE. It was soooo cool!!! Randall watched all 4 sessions... what. He was taking all kinds of notes and was soaking it all up. Marvin, Michele (her first time to church!), Ron and two member referrals came as well!! :) Dave stayed at home and watched it with his wife there. There is no better way for them to gain a testimony of the restored church than to hear and feel the spirit of truth from our inspired leaders.
So funny side note: Yesterday was the weirdest day ever. There was not a SINGLE cloud in the sky.... I have NEVER EVER seen that in Florida... and the weather was in the 60's and 70's... with a cool breeze. There was like no humidity (at least it felt that way).. it felt like UTAH!!!!! what. It was a dream. hahahaha who would have ever thought that I would be so happy about the weather dropping? haha!
It was a great week and I'm excited to see what else is in store. This next weekend is a special weekend for me... because it is Michele's year mark since she was baptized (October 12th). I cannot believe that it has been a whole year... but I'm so proud of her and Ed and all that they have done to follow Christ. They just bring me so much joy. I love them!
I had MLC this past week and the exciting thing is that we had the opportunity to watch Meet the Mormons! woot woot! It is a well done movie and really touching. I would recommend going to see it! It does a good job of not pushing our faith on anyone... just seeing how much joy and goodness comes to the lives of those that live it :) 

Well, I better get going.... but know how much I love you and am so grateful for the family that I have that is centered on Christ. How was I ever so blessed to grown in a home with the restored gospel in my life with such wonderful people to be my example? :)
I love you!!!!
-Sister Kirkham

P.s. Tell grandma a happy happy birthday for me :) and that I love her! Give her a big hug and kiss :) xoxo