Monday, December 29, 2014

Love you!

Hello, well today slipped away mighty fast! We had a mission Christmas
party today and it ended up taking the entirety of the day. Sorry! It
was a lot of fun. My first week back in Oregon City has been heaven on
earth. I am so happy here and could not have thought of a better way to
finish my mission. Members keep asking if I requested to come back and
spend my last transfer here and I tell them no. But, Heavenly Father
must have known it was a request in my heart!

This week has been full of miracles. I love my companion, Sister
Petersen and I'm grateful for all she is teaching me. She is such a
sweetheart and a good friend. We received two referrals from members
since being here this week! I seriously adore this ward and I love
that they already trust me, it is amazing. We had ward council this
week on Sunday and it brought back memories of how hard I had worked
as a greenie to help the work progress with the members. And the
members know I'm here to do that still. Being around them brought back
many memories of the time we had spent working together and here I am ready
to pick up where we left off! My heart is so full that it has
overflowed into tears a couple of times this week. I'm just so happy!

The members I live with have most of their kids and grandkids home for
Christmas! It is so fun. The grandkids are the same age as Pepper and
Kade and it is making me about DIE from excitement to see all of you!
They were playing charades last night as a family and let me say this,
Third Times a Charm is coming your way whether you like it or not!

I love you. I love my mission. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ. I love
the confidence and joy his teachings have brought into my life. I love
my Heavenly Father and the opportunity he has given me, his weak
daughter, to serve him. I love feeling his acceptance each night as I
fall into bed exhausted! I've realized today that I feel so much less
stress each day as I focus on missionary work, trying to think about
home things or "normal things" freak me out. It is funny to see how
much it has changed. Focus is the key! President Morby taught me that.

I love you tons!


Sister Kerr

P.s. Talk to you on Thursday at 4pm!

Almost like home!

Hey there!

Well, I think most of you have heard by now, but if you haven't I got transferred to a little place called Oregon City 4th ward. Now, if you have been a true, dedicated reader of my blog you would recognize that name! I am back in OC 4th, the area I started my mission in. Isn't that pretty neat? I am coming back to my first area to finish my mission in. I am very excited to be here and it has already been such a joy! It feels like this is my practice homecoming!

Willamette was such a difficult area to leave, I absolutely love it there and will treasure my memories there forever and ever! Some highlights from there this last week:
//Christmas party @ Phil's - Phil is one of the volunteers we work with at the Food Pantry located in West Linn. He has a hoppin' Christmas party for everyone each December and this year, he decided to invite the missionaries for the first time! Oh my goodness, it was such a great time! These people absolutely adore us and the work we do to help at the pantry. I have rarely felt as loved in one sitting as I do around these people. It was so fun because we got to meet all of the volunteer's families and friends and they were so excited to introduce people to us. It was so different than a lot of interactions go with non-members. It was just absolutely amazing to see the miracles of service and the difference that it makes to people. The volunteers know we love them to death and would do anything to help out. Because they recognize that we love them, they are so much more willing to talk with us. I know they feel the spirit as they are around us. I love them!!

//Polar Express party - Well, my last Willamette party ended with a bang. I will always miss their parties! They are the best, no doubt about that. There were over 200 people who came to the party and probably about 30 of them were not members! I was so excited that people we had invited came and our members got out of their comfort zone and invited people. Christmas is such a perfect time to share a message about the Savior because the world is more willing to accept that. They shared a portion of each of the First Presidency's addresses from this December, mixed with some clips from the Bible Videos. It was such a spiritual and powerful message. Everyone loved it! And we had some people we had taught in the past, but haven't been able to teach in awhile, they were asking to see us again by the end of it! MIRACLES.

I am short on time! My new companion's name is Sister Petersen. She is probably one of the sweetest people I've met. She has not stopped complimenting me since we got together yesterday. I am so excited to serve with her for this last transfer. She is from northern California. We both go home in January, which is really sad we'll both be leaving. When we came out summer of 2013, there were so many sisters that they were opening areas for sisters to serve in. The influx is slowing down and we are losing almost half of the sisters in the next 6 months. More will be coming in of course, but not enough to fully replace. Sister areas are having to be closed now. So, that is what we are doing. SAD! There are still going to be elders in the ward, so the work will progress. My goal is to work mainly with the ward members this transfer. Their influence will carry on so much longer here than mine will. So my hope is to strengthen the faith of the members and really get them to exercise their faith regarding missionary work so that miracles will happen in their lives and they will see the blessings of faith! I'm really excited. Back with Bishop Carlson and Brother Squires as our leaders. Time to party!
 {Throw Shani in and it is bound to be a good time! I will miss teaching
the sweetest woman alive!}

 {Two of the best mission parents in the whole world. They can't wait to meet you!}
 {Lonnie and Phil and their lovely wives!  (They're the ones who took us
to lunch right before last transfer). It's Phil's party!}

 {And for sure the best mission grandparents. Hal and Kristen! They're
from the food pantry.}

 {Merry Christmas from West Linn :)}

{Maury! The member who runs the pantry :) Love her!}

Xoxo! Love you so much. 

Sister Kerr 

p.s.How are you embracing the gift of Christmas this year? This is an amazing time to turn our thoughts to the Savior! 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I love miracles.

Hello, family! Happy December! Our first full week of December and I
must confess, I sure do miss the snow. Winter is pretty boring and
plain without it. Luckily there will probably be plenty of that in New
York to make up for how much I've been missing it! We went to a
Christmas parade this week down the street from where we live. These
Oregonians had to make their snow and it wasn't even real fake snow,
like it didn't melt. It was shredded foam. Haha! Everyone is still
asking and talking about Buffalo too. I need some more details on it
so I can tell them stories. They're fascinated by it!

This week was really good, a lot of amazing things happened. I hope I
can tell you some of them and that you can understand!

Gwen and Scott. This couple is friends with the Thomsen family! They
are the ones who were invited to come and watch conference with them.
This last Sunday we had an amazing miracle with them. Bishop and us
went to their home to talk with them, getting in their home with
bishop was a miracle in and of itself! They had been stuck up in the
snow at Mount Hood, buried in their trucks for the fifteen hours prior
to us coming. We thought it was a no brainier that they would cancel,
but they didn't! The spirit was so strong as we were in their home and
talking about the blessings of faith and of the gospel. Scott told us
that he feels like he is an outsider looking in when it comes to
religion, especially our religion, but he wants to learn about it. He
and Bishop set up a time to sit down and chat and Scott plans to come
to church! Gwen is so sweet, I love her to pieces! She has not been
progressing, basically since we started teaching her, she just wasn't
ready. But, as we sat and talked with her and her husband, it finally
became clear at she needed Scott to be on board with her and on the
same page. Gwen couldn't do this alone, she needs him to be there
alongside her in it. I see them progressing now, slowly, but
progressing. It is amazing to see the spirit bring peace into their
hearts and see it change people for that moment and forever. I am so
excited! Gwen is so talented, she does acrylic nails and can do about
any design on there. She loves to sing and sang to us as we helped her
set her house up for Christmas. She is so very sweet. You should watch
"Men's Hearts Shall Fail Them" tonight, it is a Mormon Message and one
of my favorites. We shared it with Gwen and Sister Thomsen, it was
spot on for their needs and for mine too! Faith conquers fear, nothing
else does.

Working with members. Our mission has experienced a HUGE push to work
with members more consistently. I don't know if it has been as
emphasized in the Utica Mission, but we have had general authorities
come do training for us on it and then return to do the training for
us and our Ward leaders. This past week we developed a plan with
Bishop Chandler and Brother Wolthuis and went to it! We prayed and
selected ten active families that we are going to work very closely
with to strengthen them and push me in their missionary efforts. We
had a miracle from it on Tuesday! First of all, I have a huge
testimony of God directing our lives to benefit us, but also to beep
edit our brothers and sisters around us. I know that God knows where
we are, physically and spiritually. He knows where we are and he has
placed us in locations where we can reach out and share with those
around us. I read a letter from Daddy this week, it was an old one,
where he was telling me about our big move east over twenty years ago.
How he and Mom didn't know why we were going there, didn't know how
long we would stay, didn't know why we had to be thousands of miles
from family. But, I know and my parents know that God knew what was
best and they trusted him! Now we can see ways that it has blessed
each of our lives, and blessed the lives of so many that we have gone
to church with, gone to school with, worked with. God knew where the
Kerr Family was and was going to use us. I saw this again in one of
the members we had selected. We went into their home and taught,
brainstormed ideas for their efforts, and asked who was coming to
their mind as they felt the spirit. Immediately, the husband gave us a
name and address to go and visit! He knew him from work, very randomly
because they worked in very different departments. Right after we
asked, he told us he had been thinking so much about this guy
recently, but couldn't figure out why. I love seeing the hand of God
in our lives and especially in the lives of the members here. I love
getting to point that out to people and help them act on the pro
prints of the spirit.

Service miracles! This week was the week of our volunteer family
dinner. Oh my gosh, it was so much fun! I have been serving every
Thursday for the past four months at the West Linn Food Pantry and I
have made the best of friends there. I love being around the happiest,
most loving people in all of West Linn, I feel spoiled to have so many
fantastic friends here in town. I love it! Hal and Kristen, the
cutest couple ever had us over for dinner on Thursday night. Let
me tell a quick story to illustrate how adorable they are. One of the
first times talking with Hal, we asked him to tell us about his wife.
He went off about how wonderful she is and all this sweet stuff,
they've been married for fifty plus years. We asked him his favorite
memory of all time with Kristen, he thought for a minute and then
said, "I really think it would be our first date. We went and saw a
movie together and had ice cream afterwards." That was when they were
14 and 15 years old! And it's still his favorite, I love their
simplicity and ah! They are just too cute. Dinner was one of my
favorites of my whole mission, I will remember it always! They invited
their friend, Jan who recently lost her husband from cancer. They are
all wonderful Christian people and they had so many questions about
Mormons and especially missionaries. We had the opportunity to share
with them about everything we do and why! I have never felt so praised
in one sitting in ll my life. They loved us and what we represented.
They loved our willingness to sacrifice and the willingness of our
families to sacrifice as well. They appreciate the focus of the church
on family values and on our Savior. It was absolutely wonderful! We
shared the new Christmas video and shared our testimonies of God as
our loving Father and Jesus Christ as our Redeemer. A perfect night! I
love them so much.

Christmas set up! We had dinner with a family returning to activity in
the church. They had called us before and asked us to spend some time
with their family afterwards setting up Christmas with them. We agreed
and thought it would be really good to be in their home and help them
out with it. It was a good thing we were there! If we hadn't, I'm
pretty sure things would have been a disaster. First, we start by
putting the tree in the stand. It was a little crooked after the
husband screwed it in and we (his wife and I) were directing him. He
stood up and blew up at the same time. He was so mad that we had let
it go crooked. His wife is so calm and comes up with a plan of how to
fix it, he hated the plan and stormed out. Luckily, we were there to
help the wife put up the rest of Christmas. Haha, it was so funny! We
ll just laughed and she joked about how he is a perfectionist and
always wants things done his way. It was hilarious, but slightly
frightening. I just wanted to start rocking and saying, "Remember the
reason for the season. Remember the reason for the season." Haha, all
in all it was good fun and the husband returned and approved. He hated
the way I put the lights up though.

It was such a good week. I love being a missionary, I love sharing my
testimony and I love serving the wonderful people here in West Linn. I
love to feel the spirit and be deified by it daily, actually hourly. I
know our Savior truly does live again and I am thankful for this time
that we have to remember his life. And to remember the significance of
his birth and the life he lived. I know that Jesus Christ is the
embodiment of the love our Father in heaven has for us. I cannot fully
understand God's love for me and those around me, but I do know it is
real and that we can feel it always. Think of what you can do this
season to show our Father our love for him, since this season reminds
us of what he did to show us His love.

I love you so much! So so so so much! Xoxo.
<3 Sister Kerr