Sunday, November 23, 2014

7 Investigators Came to Church! Christmas Lights on Palm Trees at the Orlando Temple, and More...

Family!                                                     November 17, 2014

This week just flew by and it was so busy!!!  We have seen some huge miracles. The biggest miracle of them all was Sunday..... we had a total of SEVEN investigators come to church. What!?! I was soooo ecstatic!!!!!!!! I feel like I've been saying this every week but I kid you not when God promises you something, He means it. I know that as I've sacrificed all and done all that I could to follow God's will that He would help the work in Olympia flourish... and as I've been looking back over the history of this area... I really don't think that this area has had so many progressing investigators. I just can't say it enough. I can't wrap my mind around how truly blessed we have been here. Ah! It really is so humbling to know that this work CANNOT move forward without God's hand being involved. He is closely looking over the area and these people. I can feel so much of the deep love that He has for them. It's so amazing.

On a lighter note :) This past week we planted Christmas flowers around the temple grounds!!! So cute! I've come to love Christmas lights on palm trees. Nothing compares to a white Christmas with pine trees but the palms trees are pretty cute ;) haha

We had a Zone Training Meeting. Sister Gonzalez and I gave training on iPads and rules for Internet proselyting. Seems boring but it was needed and I think it's going to help all of us be more effective and more proficient with the tools that we have. Sister Gonzalez and I have also been…well, going a little nuts... trying to juggle the needs in our area, exchanges with sisters and then a new responsibility from President for meeting with each of the sisters at least once a transfer to help them be more effective in planning and using their iPads. It's been a little crazy trying to fit it all in but hopefully we can get it down! It's been great to meet with other sisters in the zone and see what great ideas that they have for planning and organizing how they run their area. When you are an Sister Training Leader, you really do learn so much from other sisters! It's a huge blessing. We have some great sisters in the Orlando South zone right now :)

On Saturday, we went over to Anne's home for a lesson. Her daughter was visiting and she was sorely grieving over the loss of her husband this past year. We were already planning on teaching the Plan of Salvation. Teaching this subject was so inspired because she immediately perked up and wanted to hear more as we taught it :) The spirit was super strong and she said that she has been searching EVERYWHERE this past year to gain some kind of peace and to know where her husband is. You could tell that she was really feeling the spirit as we all bore witness of the Plan. She was kind of reserved and unsure when she first started talking to us but by the end she had softened up a lot and said that she wanted to meet with us again!! She doesn't live close by and she wants to meet with us and  Anne, her mom, so we are hoping to get together with her when she comes in town again in a couple weeks. It was a huge miracle! It was also so powerful to have Anne there and bare her testimony of how the Plan of Salvation has been able to answer SO many questions and give her peace. Anne also lost her husband almost a year from now so she relates really well to her daughter's struggles. The Plan of Salvation is so amazing and SO perfect!!! It really is the only explanation of "why we are here and where we are going"... and it brings HOPE, PEACE and you can see the love of God throughout the entire thing. He is always with us.. and He always will be there to love us no matter how we use our agency.

Saturday was just a super happy day. It was just one of those days where you feel so light and happy on your feet. Haha! Everyday is so happy but it was overall just a great day. We were able to talk to several new people that were super cool and had a great lesson with the Jean family again that night. Their power is still out... :(  We had Brother and Sister Aloisio come to a lesson and they were very moved by their humble living.... and they went and got a huge flashlight for the family to use while they don't have light. The kids were all nervous to go to church at first because they don't have any running water for showering and such..... :( but they came anyway!! It was so amazing to see them there at church. They are the cutest family and they are just down right good kids. We had a powerful lesson Saturday night on the sacrament and Sabbath Day. I have really come to love the sacrament. It really should be the most sacred time of the week to ponder on Jesus Christ. I really am so overcome by everything that He did for us... and that He continually does for us. :) I love Him so much. It's such a good/frustrating/wonderful feeling to have when someone has done something so kind for you and you just want to do everything that you can to repay them but it never seems like enough. I am grateful and hope that I can continue to try and repay through a broken heart, contrite spirit and giving my life to His will and His way.

I really can't believe that today marks one more month of serving the Lord here in Florida. It's scary, rejuvenating, sad, and exciting all at the same time. Haha! I'm SO grateful for this time that I have had to serve!!!!!! I know that I will remember these last few weeks the most ... and I'm going to continue to create great memories full of serving the Lord with all my might, mind and strength.

I love you so much! Talk to you again soon :)


Sister Kirkham

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Jean Family have a Baptismal Date, Stake Split, Part of a Panel at the Stake Meeting

                                                                        November 10, 2014

This past week is all a blur to me now. It started of my last transfer and we definitely have seen some great miracles :)

On Monday we went over to teach a returning member and he was standing outside his house waiting for us. He immediately said that he had some one that he wanted us to meet so we went across the street to his neighbor’s house. He started off with knocking on the door and saying, "Gigi, (the neighbor,) these are the sister missionaries that I want you to  meet. They have helped me so much and I know they will help you. " WOW! We were able to talk to her a little about the Book of Mormon and set up a return appointment. She has started reading it! Pretty exciting :) It was really cool to see how much this returning member has grown since we first started working with him and here he is -- going out doing missionary work!! Whoot! Whoot!

We had some great lessons with the Jean family. They are so cute. I just love them. They really are just such good kids. We went by earlier this week and their house was practically pitch black because their power got shut off. They couldn't afford to pay their bill :( in all of their prayers they were all praying for help for their parents and that they would be able to make it through this hard time.) It was so heartbreaking but at the same time, it was just a beautiful moment to see a family coming together in hope and faith in prayer supplicating God to help them. They are so great! The only time we can get all the kids together is at night and so the kids set up candles for us to give our lesson. It's actually been kind of fun teaching lessons in the candle light :) We taught them the plan of salvation and it was a great lesson. The kids really understood it and had such great questions. We asked them if they had been praying about getting baptized and they all said that they had and wanted to get baptized soon :) we have set dates with all of them for December 6th!! I sure hope that we can help them get there. They want it and they need it so badly. I just know that if we are able to get the ward to wrap their arms around them that they will be just fine :) We took one of the young men over with us and he was so awesome. He was able to connect with a lot of their friends from school and made a huge difference. We are excited to continue teaching them :) they always ask earnest questions. Jeffery, one of the twins, asked, "do we wear clothes when we are baptized?" Hahahahaha! We all laughed and helped explain more about how it goes.

We also taught lessons with Marvin this week. He is awesome and I just love him. He is actually here at the stake center this morning with a couple of his fellowships doing family history :) It just so happens that both of his fellowships are family history consultants and he is loving it! We came by this morning to see him and he was so excited to show us pictures, names of his family, and those that he has been finding :) Please continue praying for him :)

When we went over to see Michelle this past week her 18 year old son came in and join us. He had so many questions!! We had tried teaching him once before but it just hadn't been working out to stay in touch with him... But we had a super lesson with him and are hoping to see him again this next week :D

The biggest thing that happened this weekend was the Orlando and Orlando South stakes were divided.  A third stake was created called the Lake Mary stake!! :) It was super cool to witness such a historical event of  "hastening of the work of salvation," and the rapid growth in the Lord’s vineyard here in Florida. Saturday morning, Sister Gonzalez and I got a call from President Berry asking us if we would be a part of a panel at the meeting..Ah! Hahaha! That evening Sister Gonzalez and I, along with the zone leaders in the Orlando stake, sat on the stage and were asked questions about
the hastening of the work by two members of the seventy: Elder Munz and Elder Clark...It was just a LITTLE intimidating! I mean, we were only being broadcasted to all the church buildings of 3 stakes (half of the LDS members of the Florida Orlando mission), 3 stake presidents, temple president, mission presidency, 2 stake patriarchs,
and who knows who else!!!! It was crazy. They were asking us random questions that we had to answer on the spot. We had no preparation nor nothing given to us on what to say. It's times like these where you really have to rely on the scripture, D&C 100: 5-6,"Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto this people; speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men; For it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say." I was praying that it, "shall be given [me] in the very SECOND..." Of what to say. Hahaha! I feel like I did ok though. :) Elder Clark is powerful and he really invited the
spirit into the conference to help each one of us see the importance of missionary work. It was very, very neat. He was very bold with me though for some reason. He commented on my smile and thought I could take more I guess... Ah! Hahaha! President and Sister Berry came up to me after the meeting and Sister Berry said, "He wasn't giving you the easiest time Sister Kirkham! I just kept thinking to myself, 'I've
got her back, I've got her back.” Hahaha! It wasn't that bad, but he was a stinker! It was fun to see so many people that I have served with in both the Orlando and Orlando south stakes :) the next Sunday we went to the other session of stake conference and so many people were, (and still are!) coming up to Sister Gonzalez and I and saying, "Hey, I recognize you...You were the sisters on the panel!!!!" ... Yep, that was us. Hahahahaha! Guess we are movie stars to the Mormons of Florida now ;) One thing that was super powerful at the meeting was when Elder Clark asked everyone in the audience to stand if they had a less active or nonmember in their family. I kid you not, almost every single person was standing out of the thousand people that were just sitting in the live session of the conference. It was so crazy. He went around asking people who it was and what they were willing to do to help get them back to Christ. Each one of them said "Anything". It was a powerful moment to ponder on what I am willing to do to help those I love come to Christ. So, I just want to reiterate Elder Clark’s question to you: “What are you willing to do?”

We also had a great MLC meeting this past week. There is always so much to get out of it. The thing that hit me hardest was when one of the AP's, Elder Flood gave a short training on our "exciting" purpose as missionaries. He goes home with me this transfer so it hit home a lot harder to hear his testimony on just how amazing this time of our lives is. There truly is NOTHING more sacred, more exciting, more humbling and more glorious than the calling of bringing others unto Christ. It definitely made me cry out with so much gratitude for this time that I have had to serve and grow as a daughter of God through the Lord’s refining. I will never forget this time of my life. I am soooo excited to continue working hard and diligently these last several weeks for Him. I cannot let any precious moment at this time of my life go to waste.

I love you guys so much!!


Sister Kirkham

P.s. Thanks for the Liahona.... I guess I better stay on the “straight
and narrow path” so that it guides me back home... In 5 WEEKS. ;)

Hahaha! I love you!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Michelle was baptized on Thursday. And...Katie will continue to spend the next 6 weeks in the Olympia Area!!!!!

                                                               November 3, 2014


I need to start off by telling you of the two biggest pieces of news! :) 

1. Michelle got baptized last Thursday and confirmed on Sunday!!!!! I'm so happy for her :) We saw God's hand in her life so much. The biggest miracle (besides her baptism) was that her husband, who before was very against us told Michelle that she can do whatever she wants. It's sad that he is so against it right now but I'm sooo happy that he is allowing Michelle to live and exercise her beliefs the way that she wants. We went over to see Michelle last week and found out that it was her husband's birthday that day and Michelle had been slaving away cooking food! We stepped in and helped her for about an hour and I think it helped save her quite a bit of time. Not only were we able to try some amazing Haitain and French recipes, (she was born in Haiti and lived in Paris for 30 years,) but Michelle also told her husband that evening that we had helped out and I think his heart softened quite a bit when he heard that.

Michelle had to be baptized on Thursday because she has a crazy work schedule. There is never a set time for when Michelle clocks in and out of work so we were stressing that Michelle would be okay and make it to her baptism on time. She called us about an hour and a half before the baptism and said, "Ladies, I won't make it. I have to work overtime tonight."   Seriously, I almost burst into tears but right before I did she started laughing and saying that she was kidding. AH! NOT FUNNY! Hahaha! I almost had heart failure! She skipped her lunch, dinner and her break at work so that she could do her best to get to the baptism on time. She definitely did…with time to spare! It all worked out so well. She had great support from the ward. She was a little nervous about immersing completely under the water so when she came up out of the water, she had this HUGE smile on her face, shook the water out of her hair real quickly and burst out with, "Did I do it?!" Hahaha! Everyone was happy to tell her that she did and she was just sooo happy :) She is going to get along great with some of the women in the ward. They all love her so much. She is a huge example to me of faith in Jesus Christ. She literally said and DID everything that she could that is in accordance to God's will. She was always telling us, "Whatever God wants me to do, I will do it." She is so strong! I love her :)

2. Transfers are tomorrow... and I'M STAYING IN OLYMPIA!!!!! I can't believe it.... Olympia is my last area :) and Sister Gonzalez is my last companion :) It's sooo surreal but I'm so happy and feel so at peace about it. I'm really grateful that I don't have to go somewhere else for only 6 weeks. It's just crazy to think that I will have been in Olympia for a total of 5 transfers...7 1/2 months AND with Sister Gonzalez for 3 transfers…4 1/2 months. I’m not sure if you guys haven't noticed but I have had a different companion pretty much every transfer except for when I trained and when I stayed in Winter Garden with Sister Hoyt at the beginning of my mission. It's a shock to not have any change…but I like it :) Sister Gonzalez and I have seen SO many miracles these past 3 months and we are super excited to work really hard these next 6 weeks!! 

On to other things that happened this past week! 

Monday evening we had dinner at the Stake President's home, President Shill, along with his business friends, the M’s. To give you somewhat of an idea of both the Shill's and the M’s... President Shill is like the CEO/head surgeon for a big hospital here in Florida. He has a beautiful home in our ward. The M’s are also very successful. The Shills invited us to join them for an elegant meal with the M’s; a very intelligent, successful couple. Mr. M. had so many questions and was sincerely interested. We were able to teach Mrs. and Mrs. M. the Restoration. It was a very powerful lesson. I truly felt God guiding my words. I don't feel like I have ever taught the message of the Restoration more clearly than I did that night. It was really neat. Mrs. M. has actually read the whole Book of Mormon already while she was staying in a Marriott Hotel in Utah once. She only had good things to say about it. Mr. M. was very excited to be able to read it and said that he would try to read it in 4 days and then let us know when we could meet again…so we will see what happens! President Shill really appreciated and was very relieved with how the lesson went. He came to Michelle's baptism and was part of her confirmation on Sunday. He really went the extra mile. It was nice of him :)

Tuesday we had a Chili Cook Off/Trunk or Treat combined with another ward! It was super fun! I love the Olympia ward. The people here are so great! There were some huge miracles. A lot of inactive members and nonmembers showed up…more than we thought there would be! :) Sister Gonzalez and I were trying to figure out how to still look like sister missionaries but be festive in costume, so we found matching, bright dresses that we both have and put a Hawaiian flower in our hair to be Hawaiian sister missionaries! ;) haha! That's about as clever as we could make it. Haha! 

We’ve also had several lessons with the Jean family. They are the cutest family. They are from Haiti so of course they are gorgeous. Haha! The teenagers have been reading and praying about the Book of Mormon all on their own and actually understand it really well! It was super exciting to see that. We read from the Book of Mormon with them this past week and they were really focused on what we were reading. They are sooo cute! My favorite part was that one of the twins, Jeff, who has always been really good at saying prayers was encouraging and helping his other siblings to say the closing prayer. I really hope that we can help this family. The struggle is that they don't have a car and their mom is always working on Sundays but we are doing are best to help them with their situation. 

Marvin is doing awesome too. He still has some issues with committing fully to church every Sunday and setting a specific baptismal date but we are getting there. We went through the baptismal interview questions with him to see where he was at and he straight out told us that he knows everything is true and that he knows and wants to work towards living all the laws of God. He has downloaded the Gospel Library app on his phone and LOVES it. He has been studying sooo much. He knows so much too! He even knows about the missionary video series, “The District!” haha! He is so funny. The coolest miracle that we have seen is literally EVERY, SINGLE TIME we go over and introduce the topic of the lesson he has studied up on that topic just the night before or morning of. How cool is that? The Lord is guiding Marvin in his studies and he has such a strong knowledge this is all true. Now, we just need to help him understand the blessings of going to church on Sundays and that baptism in not a burden but a blessing! Keep him in your prayers please. 

Frank situation makes me so sad :( We had a feeling that we needed to call Frank two Saturdays ago and he told us that he was going to have to call us back later because he had an emergency. He did NOT sound good over the phone. Later, we got several texts from a relative that he is in the hospital because of an aneurysm :( :( :( We continued getting updates on him but he has been sent to Jacksonville and then life-flighted to a hospital in Gainsville. :( I'm so sad. I really hope that he is okay but he has been in intensive care for over a week. One tender mercy: Our ward mission leader, Brother Scherer, just moved from Gainesville and knows the Zone Leaders there in that mission area. Bro Scherer asked them to go give him a blessing last night. We haven't heard anything yet but I hope that it works out. Pray for him!!! 

Halloween was a pretty typical night. We had to stay inside once it got late so we did our weekly planning in the evening. We were trying to come up with some clever ways to make Halloween…well…more Halloween like.  The only thing that we could come up with was watching the church video “Together Forever,” after our nightly planning. Hahahaha! It's a pretty cheesy 80's video. Good times…hahaha!

Saturday we had dinner again with President Wood, one of the counselors in the mission presidency. He thought that I was getting transferred so he set up a departing dinner for me just to find out that I was staying ;) haha! These people of the Olympia South Stake can't get rid of Sister Kirkham ;) I have served 7 transfers in the O'South! 

Well, I really can't believe that this is my last transfer. Truly, it hasn't hit me yet and I'm okay with that :) I want to sprint to the finish line. I'm so grateful for Heavenly Father's loving hand in my life and in the lives of everyone around me. I can't help but have a smile on my face as I see and recognize his hand in all things. He really is with us ALWAYS. He has a PERFECT plan for each one of us. All we have to do is try to trust and love Him the way that He does towards us. He knows what is going to make us happy and more importantly what is going to shape and refine us into better daughters and sons of God. 

I love you guys!!! 


Sister Kirkham