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

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