Hello my wonderful family and friends. I am so, so, so grateful that today is Monday and p-day, Hallelujah. It has been another wonderful week in Oregon City filled with some pretty cherished memories!
Monday was a much needed, laid back, sittin-around type of p-day. Not much was going on except for a wonderful 2 1/2 hour nap, I have never been so tired in my life as I am here on my mission. It is non-stop going until 9 PM and then I am ready to pass out!
After the few hours of sleep, cleaning and relaxing, we then joined a family for dinner. The mom is is the 78 year old hikers daughter and they all live together now. It was a great time, the dad had his birthday party and his mother in law showered him with gifts from the thrift store. They were all wonderful, slightly odd gifts, but so heartfelt! We were all busting up laughing as she handed them to him, one after the other. My favorite was a blue and white, ceramic buddah, holding a giant fish, with his lips making a kissy face. The dad didn't exactly know how to react, neither did any of us - so I just geeked out. When we were about to leave their home, the mother gave me a hug and said, "Sister Kerr, we have been so impressed with you as a missionary and just love how you got here, ready to work. You just hit the ground running here in Oregon City." It was one of the most thoughtful things I've heard and I really cherish that comment, because sometimes, I don't feel that way about myself!
Later that evening, we had an appointment set up with a different family to have a Family Home Evening. It was a feat even to set this up with the family. They have been so friendly to us though and each of them are so sweet in their own ways. The mom is a member, but no longer attends. The dad, daughter and son are not. We brought two of the young women from the ward with us and it went so well! We shared a message about our Heavenly Father, his love for us, how He has a plan for us to be able to return to live with Him and how He is working towards that. Their daughter had attended youth conference in July and she opened up to us about how she had felt the spirit there and how she loved it and wanted to feel that way again. She said, "It felt like warm butterfiles in my stomach!" It was such a great experience and I love hearing and seeing how the spirit effects people individually. I loved having her open up to us and feel comfortable enough to share something so special with us!
Tuesday we had our weekly district meeting! We practiced the art of asking inspired questions, and that truly is an art! We did a practice where we split into groups and role-played one of our investigators. I pretended to be an older investigator that we have met with a bit and the elders were so great at helping me to see what his needs are. I hate role-playing - I feel like a complete and utter idiot, and I always complain about it, but WHY DOES IT HAVE TO WORK SO WELL? Unfortunately, it was splendid, hahah - as Mom knows, I hate it when I am wrong! So, now I am looking forward to meeting with the good old investigator again :)
We had scheduled to contact less-active members all day from a list that Bishop had given us. We tried and tried and tried all day long and nobody, I mean NOBODY was home. Notta one. Good gravy I was getting awful frustrated! We had been going around for over 2 1/2 hours. The very last door of the night was a referral from mormon.org that we had tried probably 10 times since I arrived here. We go to the door, knock, basically positive that no one will answer, because no one ever does at this house. And then, miracle of all miracles - HE ANSWERS! A boy answered the door and invited us back to teach him and his parents on Thursday!!!! He shut the door and we hadn't even gotten off the front porch and I am kind of fist-pumping and doing the Kip Dynamite "yesssssss." It was wonderful and we are so excited. Never give up!
p.s. We had dinner tonight at a Relief Society Garden Party. They served broccoli salad, lettuce salad, and macaroni salad. I kept waiting for someone to carry out the main dish, alas it never came! No meat or anything? It was odd, I thought. I said something about to Sis. Stone and she laughed at me and said it wasn't that weird. Where I come from, it is wayyyyy weird!
Wednesday Sister Stone had her 6 month interview with President Morby. So, I being the luckiest girl in the world, got to sit and visit with Sister Morby for about an hour and a half. It was wonderful, I love and adore that woman! She was so funny, she is so sweet and genuine. She is just great. So, I got to enjoy me some mom/grandmother time, it was a wonderful thing!
Right after our time with the Morby's we met up with one of our members, Brother Turpin, and set out for our lesson withthe investigator i had to pretend to be on Tuesday. This was my first time teaching him a real lesson, rather than just visiting with him. Between it being my first time, and the role-play experience - I was so pumped! We met him down at the park near his home, which just so happened to be jam-packed with a van-load of daycare children who had clearly been cooped up for too long. They were nuts, we were kind of nervous about that ruining the lesson. But the spirit was so strong he didn't even notice! Between his old age and the spirit, he didn't hear those kids a bit :) I still cannot believe the love that I feel for this old man, with a busy beard, and long stringy white hair, who was coughing up a lung while reading from my Book of Mormon. I truly was able to see him as he is, a child of Heavenly Father, as my brother! I feel so very blessed that I was blessed to be able to see him in that way. And for the first time, he learned that he had lived with his Father before he came to earth and he loved that! I know that he felt the spirit, I know it. I think that scared him a little bit though, who isn't afraid of the unfamiliar. He is Baptist and is comfortable with that, but at least now he knows what we shared with him. He doesn't want to meet again until next week, which is killing me. But I extended a commitment to him. I said, " If you pray about the things that we have taught you and about the Book of Mormon that you been reading, to know if they are true, and you get the answer that they are, will you be baptized?" He said yes, but that was a very light commitment, who wouldn't say yes to that! I just pray that he will have a desire to know if they are true, because if he does have that desire, then he will get an answer! I love him so much and it is because I love him that I want him to know for himself.
Later on, we joined the Young Women for mutual and helped them all write their own personal creeds. It was really great, I enjoy those girls so much. One of them, was so silly and reminded me of my Addey so much! I love this ward.
p.s. this ward is pretty large. the henrici chapel is generally full and there are three wards that are in our building. the oregon city stake center is about 10 minutes away and there are two more wards in it. there is a pretty good amount of members in the area! our ward had not had any baptisms in 5 years i think, but there have been 2 in the past 3 months now!
Thursday morning we went to meet a less-active woman. There has been quite a lot of excitement around this woman! Neither Sis. Stone or I had ever met her and anytime we mentioned that we were trying to contact her, people would always say good luck or start giving us tips. Then I pulled out the ward directory to get her address and next to her name it said "do not contact." Ahhhhh, we were slightly nervous, but we felt like we needed to meet her. We were so nervous that she was a mormon-hater now and going to yell at us to get off her porch, with a yappy little dog chasing us back towards our car, which was parked at the end of the street. I was quite worked up. But, she was a doll and invited us back anytime! She is a ceramics teacher and she wants us to come play on the wheel with her sometime!
I GOT A PACKAGE FROM MOMMY AND DADDY. Best day ever, ever, EVER. Thank you.
Friday we took the adorable 78 year old investigator to the Visitor's Center, it was my first time as well! We had a wonderful time and on the way there, she infomed us that she is giving up her driver's license. At this point she was bouncing up and down between Sis. Stone and I, clapping her hands, and saying, "Now I don't have to study anymore for that blasted test." It was the funniest thing ever! The spirit was so strong at the VC and the sister's there were wonderful. They showed us a video about families and it was great! You all need to go to the nearest VC and watch it, I cried...shocker, I know.
Then we took her to the baptismal font and showed her how it would all go and picked her out a jumper! She is so excited now :) She won't have her hearing aids in for the baptism, because of the water, and now she is a nervous wreck that she won't hear when her son in law says amen, and that she won't be ready and will just get dunked! Hahh, she is so cute, but what a legitimate worry. Before we left her daughters house, both the dad and mom asked me, "Sister Kerr, have you ever modeled for UHAUL?" Now that is a question I never expected to hear, hahahah. I guess they had seen a girl on the back of truck that looked like me.
p.s. the day after we were at the VC, Elder Jeffrey Holland (my favorite apostle ever), showed up at the Portland VC, just randomly. Just my luck, I missed him!
Saturday there was the ward picnic which was wonderful. I love our ward and we had a lot of fun with all of the members. There were not nearly enough less-actives there or investigators! But, it was still good.
I GOT A PACKAGE FROM WHITNEY, MACEY, ADDEY, PEPPER AND KADE. Thank you so much, it meant the entire world to me.
Then, there was the baptism for the 78 year old hiker! It was so wonderful. She showed up to the baptism with her younger brother, in his bright blue mustang. She kept talking about the wind blowing through her hair on the way there. She is so great! The spirit was so strong there and I enjoyed it so much! I got to get up and bear my testimony briefly about the restoration, and I could not break eye contact with her. This woman is such an example to me and I truly have learned so much from her!
Sunday was Sister Franzen's farewell. She leaves on her mission on Wednesday to Seattle, from Portland! Hahahah :) She is great and it was a wonderful talk. Then Bro. Cook spoke briefly and bore his testimony on missionary work and specifically about Sis. Stone and I. We are so appreciated in this ward, it is wonderful. I love it here.
p.s. the YW in this ward sent a letter to Pres. Morby about 4 months ago specifically requesting sister missionaries. they love us so much here! we are the only sisters in the whole stake too, we are kind of spoiled!!
Well I love you everyone! There is so much work to be done, so let's get to it.
xoxoxox, Sister Kerr