Monday, November 18, 2013

happy 4 months!

Hello world. How are you all doing? This week was just phenomenal. phe. nom. enal. PHENOMENAL. I loved it a whole lot and it helped me to realize why I am a missionary and why I LOVE being a missionary.

Tuesday started us off on an adrenaline rush that kind of lasted the rest of the week, I think! We were finishing up our training/companion study and about to head out to a lesson. When we were about to leave, we both noticed a very smoky smell, which is never exciting! We checked our vents and it smelled like it was coming from there, rats! So we began brainstorming as to what we should do. We both came to the conclusion that we should call the fire department...but we were both too chicken to do it. Hahah, so we started very quickly walking/sprinting to the main office to let them know that we smell a lot of smoke and would like them to come check it so that our apartment doesn't burn and we lose everything. They came and told us that it was just the resident below us, and that he had started a fire in the fireplace that morning and our apartment kind of became the chimney. Oh, THANK HEAVENS WE HADN'T CALLED 911. This is one of those moments that being a scaredy-cat comes in handy and is a complete blessing! Sister Dittmar and I laughed for hours, imagining how awful it would have been if the fire department had come.
Also on Tuesday, we met with one of my very favorite people in Aloha. Her name is Emily, she is a less-active, originally from Colorado and she is just about the funniest person I have ever met. I love her to death. We talked about the plan of salvation. In every lesson that I teach, something always, very prominently stands out to me, like it never has in the past. My testimony has been strengthened so much, and it continues to be every single day. In this lesson, agency hit me like a brick, I finally understood it so much more than ever before! We literally, like REALLY have the choice to choose eternal life with our Heavenly Father or not. Everything in this life boils down to that choice and we, completely individually, get to choose! It is just so incredible to me because what a simple choice that truly is.
 I think about where I am at right now, and the people who matter the most to me - right now - and I wouldn't know even one of them if I wasn't on my mission now, in Oregon. I would never have met these people who have become some of my closest friends! That has been my favorite thing of a mission, getting to meet and LOVE people that I never would have had the opportunity to even know.  

I guess you could say Wednesday started off with an adrenaline rush as well! We had zone meeting and did lots of role-playing (so the adrenaline thing was sarcasm). Role plays are so incredibly helpful, but I do hate them because they are about the most awkward thing ever! I do love meetings with other missionaries though. It truly is so uplifting to be around them and to hear of their experiences. And it is so comforting to realize that you are definitely not the only one out there trying to find, teach and baptize. Missionary work is hard, so it is nice to have this wonderful camaraderie between our zone!
The majority of the rest of Wednesday we filled with tracting! It was super interesting. We met an actor (who is too busy for us) with a vicious little Chihuahua. We met a woman who invited us to join her Christmas bell choir (yes, we are going to do it!). We stood on a doorstep where the side garden was decorated with probably 15 plastic horses, like the ones I used to play with for Barbies. Actually, one of the horses was the one that I had from Mulan, with the purple saddle and the tail that clicked back and forth when it walked! Hahah, I almost reached down and grabbed it because it reminded me of home. We knocked on one door, waited, nothing, so we went to the next door (x12). 
 We did have an appointment with Alex (9) and Olivia (5) tonight! We taught the gospel of Jesus Christ and made it into a game. They had to try and jump from the start line to the end (returning to our heavenly father), in one leap. They couldn't do it, so then we had to give them the steps of faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the holy ghost and enduring to the end. That was the ONLY way they could reach the end. They had SO much fun. We could not believe how well it went! They repeated the entire lesson back to us, with all the steps and what they each mean. It was so fun. We then played jenga and then created an indoor, home bowling alley with the jenga pieces. I became the champion of the house after winning both! These kids are the best, I love them to death!

 Juana, Alex and Olivia's mom, invited us back over to join her for lunch. She had a stroke a few years ago and is mostly paralyzed on her left side, so she asked us to help her fold laundry. This was such a major pivotal moment for us! When someone asks you to come help with something, it means they trust you! We were ecstatic to go fold laundry. As missionaries, we are constantly asking for opportunities to serve, so for her to accept and request it was just amazing! Nothing makes you love someone like serving them - write that down and don't forget it!
We then met with a less-active family, the Reel's, Mandy is the mom. They are definitely not your typical mormon family and I think that is why I love them so much. They have been through so, so much in their lives and are such a close family. They may not appear it from the outside, but once you spend some time with them, you see the deep love that they have for each other! They have the most beautiful faith too. I have never met people who look at their trials more perfectly. They see them for what they are and they so easily connect the struggles that they have been through to the people they are today. Oh, I learn so much from them! We invited them to go to the visitor's center with us on Friday and they accepted! They have never been to Portland Temple grounds, so we are all SO excited. We have set a goal to go to the visitor's center at least once a week, and now this opportunity presented itself! 
Dinner tonight was with the Levenseller's, which have kind of become my Aloha 2nd ward family! They are amazing and just a blast. They invited Heidi and her son Noah and the elders to dinner as well. It was a big dinner, with tons of people and just such a good time. I could feel the love radiating from everyone there, and I could see Heidi just soaking it up. She is so ready for her baptism. I love her so much! 
Something that I have also been thinking a lot about this week is how I have been able to bond SO well with people, regardless of the age gap. Haha, I really feel like Heidi is one of my closest friends, and she is like 35 years older than me! I can't wait until we are all in heaven together, and are all in our prime and age really won't matter. And I will get to be best friends with my Grandparents and parents and all the adults I have met here!
So flashback to my Best Two Years moment last week when the girl, Janelle, texted us back and wanted to set something up - so we set up a time to talk on the phone with her and that was tonight. It was so strange to talk on the phone with an investigator for like 45 minutes. It was very difficult! She had so many questions and any answer we gave she battled us, in a friendly way. It was good to try answer her questions, but we don't feel like she is very open to our answers. She just wants to give us a difficult time. We will see where it leads. I guess in all reality it wasn't quite like the Best Two Years, at least not yet!
Mandy called us tonight to let us know that she had gotten the flu shot right after we left and was now running a fever and didn't think thattomorrow would work out for the visitor's center...meh, we were so upset! There went our goal! 

This morning we had a lesson with Claudia again. We went over some more of the commandments and started setting things up for her baptism which will be on the 30th. She is so excited! She is 18, as of yesterday, and just the sweetest thing.
We then headed over to the church to use the computers to look some things up for our investigators, when I randomly thought, "Let's text Mandy and see how she is feeling and let her know we are thinking of her!" Less than a minute after I sent it, she texted back saying, "Heck yeah we are ready to go! We will pick you up in 5 minutes!" Hahahah, it was the most wonderful, miracle and tender mercy in the world. I had been feeling incredibly discouraged the night before because I didn't like how things went with the Janelle and then Mandy had cancelled, and I was super homesick and know we had zero solid plans for the day. So in my prayers I prayed and prayed and prayed that God would bless Mandy and help her to feel better so that we could go to the visitor's center still, I really needed it. When she texted back that she was ready it really answered my prayers, it sounds like such a simple little thing, but I KNOW that Heavenly Father did hear my prayer and regardless of how simple that prayer was, He knew i really needed it. And more than needing to go to the visitor's center, I think I needed to easily see my prayer be answered. I know He is watching out for me :) And the visitor's center was perfect for them! They learned so much about temples, and want to go inside so badly. We now have a perfect thing to work with them towards! I love this!!!!!
Dinner tonight was with the Wheeler's. They joined the church about a year ago and just went to the temple and were sealed a month ago! We did a pizza and game night with them, which was just a blast. 
We then headed over to Heidi's to spend her baptism eve together! We talked about the big day and any worries she had and how excited we all were. It was so fun and special to spend some time over there with her right before her baptism!

We went and cleaned and did dishes at Heidi's this morning. She tore her ACL right when we started teaching her, so we wanted her knee good and rested before the baptism. We always have so much fun over there. I seriously love service, nothing makes you happier faster than service. If you don't believe me, try it out!
We then got to go spend some good quality time with Claudia. It was the day of her birthday party, so we decorated the whole house with her. Her mother is a member, but less-active, so we got to spend time with all of them, which truly was a lot of fun and much needed! They invited us over for Thanksgiving, which is the most loving gesture ever. 
For dinner today, I had a corndog from DQ, which was probably my favorite dinner this whole week! Then we hurried along to the church to prep for the baptism. The service was wonderful and just absolutely perfect. It was so personable and direct to Heidi. She kept responding to people during their talks and thanking them and bearing her testimony. Oh, I just love baptisms! The spirit was so strong there too. She was so incredibly happy, just glowing! After the baptism, we went over to Heidi's and did a gamenight with her and Noah (11). We played scrabble (I won. I'd like to thank my mom, dad, Grandpa Tom, and Grandma Joyce for showing me how it's done), and then played spot-it. The change in the spirit of Heidi and the home was SO evident. It really felt different around her, which I wasn't expecting! It was a PERFECT day. 

We were asked to sing at the ward Christmas party with elders and our ward mission leader. Oh my goodness, it is going to be so interesting. And SO difficult to keep myself from laughing while singing. It is like at Addey's baptism when Macey, Addey and I lost it. It is exactly like that during every meeting we try and practice. It is just horrible!
There was a linger longer after church today. Heidi went to Noah and said, "Do you wanna stay for the linger longer today?" He goes, "are you speaking english?" Haha, I have no idea if that is funny to any of you, but it was hilarious! Noah is like the most mellow kid ever and he just looked so confused by the mormon lingo. He is so funny!
We had dinner with the funniest kid and his family. The Bill's, they are from Sugar City, Idaho! We talked about Big Judd's and the place she stored her stuff in a barn! Hahah, I loved it. Their son, was 5 and seriously the funniest thing ever. He did not stop talking the entire time and kept trying to feed us dessert, which was fine by me! I love dinner appointments and getting to meet all the members in the ward. Aloha 2nd is FULL of great people.

Well to wrap up, this week truly was incredible. Looking back on it now, I see how it really is the little tender mercies that make life good. This week showed me that God really does know me, Kensey, individually and that He knows exactly what I need in my life, no matter how small of a detail it may be. If this is true for me, I know it is true for all of God's children. He loves us and knows us and will help us in everything we ask Him to. 

Favorite scripture this week: "I have commanded that none of you should go away, but rather have commanded that ye should come unto me." 3Nephi 18:25

Act on this invitation and come unto Christ. He is always inviting us to Him and never pushing us away! This verse is from the Book of Mormon when Christ comes to the people on the American continent, after His resurrection. The people begin to weep as He prepares to leave. I know that Christ is our Savior and that He loves us unconditionally, why else would He have atoned for our sins? It is only through Him that we can find salvation. Make that choice and come unto Him.

I love you allllllll the way to the moon and back! 

xoxoxoxo, Sister Kerr

Saturday, November 16, 2013

gettin chilllllllay in aloha!

well hello my family and friends! this week was very, incredibly good. i didn't realize it until we looked back last night over the whole week and counted up our stats and then saw how flippin' great it had been!

also, i only got one acceptance response on my book of mormon challenge! and that was from my mom (youda best ma!). so, challenge going out once again: I would really like to challenge each of you reading this email to read the Book of Mormon along with me on my mission. Please read for just 10 minutes a day and I PROMISE YOU, blessings and answers will come to you, and most of all, you will be able to feel the love that God and our Savior, Jesus Christ have for you. PLEASE take me up on this and just send me a quick email, letting me know that you are going to do it! Ten minutes a day isn't too much. I love you all a whole ton, a WHOLE TON - that is why i want you to do this! because i love you and i KNOW this book is true.

so onto recounting this week!

MONDAY (the beloved prep-day)
real brief. we got fresh french bread from the grocery store, which was heaven for me! ah, just absolute heaven.

the highlight of today was just disappointing in the long run. so, sister dittmar and i are trying to get better at tracting. we spent the entirety of our study time this morning trying to figure out how to improve our door approach and to focus more on the restoration. so, by the end of study time, we were so ready to go! we head out, pick a street that was on our map and start driving in that direction. we get to the street we picked and there was no where to park, so we just wrap around the corner and park down there and begin on a wonderful adventure of tracting!  and guess what! we found 2 people who said we could come back - that is incredible success for tracting, especially for us! i am doing everything that i can to keep myself from just jumping up and down on the way back to the car. once in the car, we check the map one more time and discover that the past HOUR we had tracted the elders in the reedville ward's area. i wanted to cry! at least we found them though...bleh!

WEDNESDAY (the movie worthy edition of a missionary day)
so, today was raining, allllllllllllll day long.  as we left our apartment we were thinking to ourselves, "oh how lucky that our day is completely booked with appointments on this dreadful, blustery day!" so we set off and i am not kidding when i say, every single appointment was cancelled! oh my, my, my it was so frustrating! the funny part was that we ran into the elders literally everytime an appointment cancelled. so they witnessed everyone of our appointments falling through. everything just seemed to go wrong that day! 
but, the day did end well at the temple! i got to go and see ken be sealed to his wife for time and all eternity! it was so special. he was so nervous, he looked like it was his wedding day all over again! i was so happy to be there, just wish i could have given him a hug. it was oregon city 4th ward's temple night though, so i was able to see so many people from OC. i was in heaven and just so happy to be in the temple with all of those wonderful people :)

THURSDAY (the day that made everything worth it)
so this morning i would say i was having a mini heart attack, but it was actually pretty major. i get so anxious and worked up about things! the topic of today was Heidi's baptism. I wasn't sure if she was going to be ready for her date on the 16th. we still had some big, important things to go over and didn't want her to feel overwhelmed (it was just me being overwhelmed). we went and taught her about the word of wisdom and tithing, which are a really big deal. as soon as we finished, she whole-heartedly accepted them. like completely, no doubt or question. well she did have a question - she asked us to help her go through her kitchen and throw away everything that went against the word of wisdom. and she wouldn't sell or donate anything either because she didn't want to support anyone else in it. my jaw literally dropped several times that morning and i now have no doubt that this woman is ready! the crazies thing ever was after we taught the lesson, she laughed and said, "i wish you would have taught me this tomorrow so i could've had one more cup of coffee. but, now that you've said it, i KNOW that i can't do it. i know it now and can't go against it." i jumped up and hugged that woman, because she deserved that. i have never heard of something quite like Heidi!
we also were able to go to the visitor's center today with Juana. I don't remember if I have talked about Juana. we were given Juana because she moved into our ward boundaries and she has a date set for the 17th, which is incredible, but so overwhelming because we don't know anything, but need to finish her up and get her ready for that date, and plan the baptism. holy cow! she LOVED the temple grounds and being in the visitor's center. it was incredible. the portland temple has a room that nonmembers can go in, called the atrium. the spirit is so strong and it is just wonderful to bring investigators in there, they really can feel God's love for them. 

FRIDAY (no wonder this week was great!)
third day at the temple grounds and visitor's center, that's why this week was so good. today Heidi got to go to the visitor's center with us! it was splendid. i have another CHALLENGE for you: INVITE a friend to the temple grounds and visitor's center. people are always fascinated by those big, beautiful buildings and have lots of questions that the missionaries can answer. regardless of how interested they are, they will enjoy it and learn things! :)
at dinner tonight, bishop brown asked us to start visiting all of the members in their homes and getting to know them so that they can begin to trust us. this seemed a bit daunting to me and slightly intimidating, but we are going to give it a whirl!

today we tried out what bishop said and went and saw 2 member's families and it totally built my faith in this task. it was great and i feel a lot more connected to the ward already. great advice from a wonderful bishop! 
funny story. so we were tracting again (in the right area) and met a woman, Janelle. She was pretty hesitant at the door, but informed us that she had friends when she was in high school who had given her a book of mormon. we gave her our contact info and told us to please call if she had anymore questions or if there was a time we could come. that's never a very hopeful thing to just give our number! so on the way back to the car and start quoting the movie "the best two years" because that always lifts my spirits. the part when elder callhoun gives out a book of mormon with his number inside and says, "please bless that young man that he may call." we both laugh and shrug it off, get in the car and start heading to our dinner appointment. we park for dinner, check the phone and guess what! Janelle had texted us to set an appointment up. holy cow!!!!!!! the best two years is right on the dot, glad i have it memorized!
at the same time that we got that text, we got a voicemail from a bishopric member asking us to speak in sacrament meeting. are you kidding! very short notice, but less time to worry!

both juana and heidi had their interviews for baptism today after church and both are ready for baptism! two baptisms next week!!!! so crazy, we are being so blessed :) all four of our investigators were at church today AND some of the less-actives we are working with. it was insanely good. i love sundays!

it is a beautiful life out here in the mission field and i am loving serving. the people here are incredible and i find myself loving them more and more each day. the other morning we finished up studies and were taking our lunch. i wrapped up my book of mormon reading and made a sandwhich and went to sit down and eat. my mind could not stop thinking about the book of mormon and what i had read, it was just racing! i was just about dying because i wanted to pick it up and keep reading. hahaha, i have NEVER experienced that feeling before for the book of mormon. everyone knows i am a pretty avid reader and will stay up all night to finish a book, and i am so in love with this book now. it is incredible and i am learning SO much from it. so please do read it and if you dont have a copy, go and order a free one. it will be delivered and all for free and just READ it. 

i know that this church is true, now more than i ever have before. but, i can't convey it's truthfulness to you. so luckily, we have the book of mormon as evidence of it. and STILL dont just take my word for that either. read it, ponder it, heck just even hold it and then pray and ASK God if it is true. if you want to know, you WILL know. 

i love you and you are always in my thoughts and prayers! please keep me in yours.
xoxoxxo, Sister Kerr

highlight of this week : MY FIRST LETTER FROM MY BIG BROTHER. you made me bawl my eyes out, nothing quite like your brother telling you he is proud of you. i love you sky! and it helped that there were pics of rosie in there, that sure did soften me up :)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

book of mormon challenge.

Hello family and friends! It has been just a great week, GREAT. Everything is feeling a whole lot more adjusted and I am feeling a lot more prepared to get to work here! 

This week I did a lot of personal inventory and tried to figure out what I need to improve on, spiritually to become a better servant of the Lord. Not that I was bad before, but I do have a lot to work on to become the best that I can. There were a few things that I studied this week that really stood out to me. I was reading the talk "Trust in the Lord", by Elder Ballard. He says, "Trust the Lord. He is the good shepherd. He knows His sheep, and His sheep know His voice; and today the voice of the Good Shepherd is your voice and my voice." This was such an exciting thing to read and so uplifting to know that God trusts us to be His voice! Each of us, not just His missionaries out here, but each and everyone of His members. I can testify that God does know us and He will help us to know what to do and say to bring souls unto Him. I can testify of this because He is doing it through me everyday! Every night before I go to bed I think back and reflect on the day and am so impressed and fascinated by the things we did that day. God is helping us in our work here in Aloha. 

I also was reading in Alma 26 this week. Holy cow, I love the book of Alma and the Book of Mormon. It helps me so incredibly much! In Alma 26 it says, "Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions and I will give unto you success." Not going to lie, the beginning of this week was incredibly difficult. Nothing seemed to be working out, we had hardly anyone to teach and I was beyond frustrated! Then I read this verse, and at this point, my heart was most definitely depressed, I was wishing I could turn back, and then the Lord comforted me through the Book of Mormon. All He says to these missionaries, is, "Go and serve. Forget about your problems right now and GO AND SERVE. Then will you have success." How true it is. This week just ended wonderfully after I applied these principles to my experience in Aloha!

(sorry this is not written very well! i am in the family history center and there are two men going around talking about remodeling and i CANNOT focus. this is probably scattered!)


There are 2 elders waiting to email and they just biked here in the rain. I am going to be fast so they can have a turn!

1// We found a less-active member who WANTS to meet with us. She WANTS to meet with us!!!!
2// Had dinner with a blogging chef. Her website is She is great!
3// Contacted a referral, found out she is already taking the lessons from the spanish elders. BUT, she asked us to teach her 9 year old son, Alex, so he can be baptized!
4// I got a package from my mom and dad full of candy and a toothbrush. My teeth better not rot out.
5// Taught Alex his first lesson and he offered the sweetest prayer that just about made me cry.
6// Did Frankystein's makeup for Halloween! 
7// Ate two entire meals within the time period of about 2 and a half hours. PAINFUL.
8// Set a baptism date for Heidi. She is going to be baptized on November 16th
9// Heidi's daughter, Chelsea accepted our offer to begin teaching her the lessons. (Which is just as exciting as Heidi's baptism date.)
10// Heidi bore her testimony in church.
11// We found a second less-active who wants to meet with us. MIRACLE.
12// Got news that Ken from Oregon City is going to the temple on Wednesday to be sealed!
13// Got an email from my Grandma Joyce, telling me how proud her and Grandpa are of me. (That made my day!)

The work is progressing and beginning to present itself to us. I am SO excited to be serving here. God definitely pushed me close to my limit this week, but now that i get to look back, I also see how much He has blessed Sister Dittmar and myself. We are beginning to find those who have been prepared to teach!

Please keep praying for me, I  most definitely have need those prayers. I can promise you that God does answer our prayers, it may not be how we expect, but He does! Please, don't just believe me though. Ask for yourself and test Him. 

I would really like to challenge each of you reading this email to read the Book of Mormon along with me on my mission. Please read for just 10 minutes a day and I PROMISE YOU, blessings and answers will come to you, and most of all, you will be able to feel the love that God and our Savior, Jesus Christ have for you. PLEASE take me up on this and just send me a quick email, letting me know that you are going to do it! Ten minutes a day isn't too much. I love you all a whole ton, a WHOLE TON! 

xoxoxox, Sister Kerr