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!!!