Tuesday, April 29, 2014

He lives.

Happy, happy Easter, my loves! It was such a beautiful week and I feel
like I learned so very much about my Savior and myself. I have so much
greater of an understanding of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and
what that truly means for each one of us. I know that Jesus Christ
truly did break the bonds of death and now has made it possible for
each of us to do the same - we all will live again! What a beautiful,
happy message? The resurrection of Jesus Christ teaches us that He did
what He had professed to do. He claimed to be the Son of God, which is
a huge claim that could only be proven by something as magnificent as
the atonement. That atonement was completed with the resurrection.
Because He rose from the dead, we all can know that He truly was the
Son of God, the things He taught were truth and the plan He laid out
for us really is what will bring us home to our Heavenly Father. I
think it is absolutely incredible that God gives such miraculous,
incredible signs to prove that He is there, to give us little room to
disbelieve. To prove that we would live again He gave His own Son and
it worked. Jesus Christ performed His atonement and lives today! To
prove to us that His gospel has been restored to the earth again today
He has given us the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.
We would not have the Book of Mormon today without God reaching out to
His children through a prophet and giving us this ancient record that
teaches us of God's plan. Our Heavenly Father is a God of action, He
is actively doing things all around us, all the time to encourage us
to believe in both Him and Jesus Christ. I am eternally grateful for
the resurrection of my Savior and the Book of Mormon as well, and for
the witness that I have gained of their truthfulness. I know that my
Redeemer lives!

I came across this article in one of the Church magazines, it says:
The Atonement of Jesus Christ was an indispensable part of our
Heavenly Father's plan for His Son's earthly mission and for our
salvation. How grateful we should be that our Heavenly Father did not
intercede but rather withheld His fatherly instinct to rescue His
Beloved Son. Because of His eternal love for you and for me, He
allowed Jesus to complete His foreordained mission to become our
Redeemer. Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of all mankind, is not
dead." -Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

I hope you can feel of the love that I have for my Savior through
this, I never want to lose this feeling of conviction that I have
gained here on my mission. I know Him now more than ever before and I
know each of you can come to know Him better too - it is definitely a
constant growing experience! Onto recapping this week!

It was another really good week, looking back now I am having a hard
time believing that it was only one week ago! It feels like I've been
here ages, in a very good way. We had a lot of moments this week where
we were in the right place at the right time. I love that! It always
reminds me that I truly am doing Heavenly Father's work, not mine or
Sister Benson's, but His. One of my favorite examples of it this week
was on Tuesday! There is a woman who was just baptized a couple of
months ago in this ward, her name is Wendy. A couple of days after I
got here, before I had even met her, her 23 year old daughter was in a
severe motorcycle accident. She was completely broken and has been in
the ICU this past week. We have been doing service for her by feeding
her 3 huge, nasty dogs. We then decided on Tuesday we would go over
and clean her house some too since she had not been there for awhile
and everything had just been abandoned where it was at the time of the
accident. We had been there for about 30 minutes, when Sister Benson
came in and asked if the garage door had been open when we had gotten
there..."Uh, no. That's really going to freak me out now!" We go out
together to look in the garage and find that Wendy had randomly come
home to take a shower since she had been gone for so long! It was the
most perfect timing. She came running up, bawling and fell into my
companions arms and just kept repeating how grateful she was that we
were there. I love being placed in situations by God, it always ends
up how it needs to! She just cried and cried and was finally able to
let everything all out because she has been holding it all in since
being at the hospital. We really felt like angels, just going about
and helping God's daughter who was in desperate need. It reminded me
of my experience in Aloha with Rozlyn!

We had a happy and sad lesson this week with Kyle! He is 20 so we
really want him to start going to the Young Single Adult ward rather
than the family ward. That is why the lesson was sad, he handed him
over to the sisters in the YSA ward. It will be so good for him, but
we are so sad that we don't get to help teach him anymore. He is so
amazing and working with him, even for just a short time, taught me so
much! We set a baptism date with him though in the lesson that we
handed him over, so we will be seeing him again! He is so excited to
be baptized!

I was blessed to have an interview with President Morby this week. I
love interviews and having an opportunity to talk with him and get
advice and feel motivated to work even more! I shared with him one of
my favorite scriptures. It is in the Old Testament, Jeremiah 31:33-34.
You should look it up and read it! It is beautiful, I look forward to
the day that it will be fulfilled and have seen it begin to be
fulfilled within myself. I love the gospel! President reminded me that
I am here in Oak Hills for a reason and helped me to brainstorm ideas
to help the area really pick up. He also reminded me that I have
something special to offer here and that I personally am needed here.
There have been such amazing, strong sisters serving here before me
that it really is hard to feel like I have anything to offer that
hasn't already been offered, this area is just so different than
Aloha, haha. It was so nice to have that confirmation from him and
from the Lord that I do have something to offer! Heavenly Father will
help me to figure out what it is.

I love you so much, family and friends! You mean so much to me. I love
and appreciate your emails and letters and packages, they make my
heart swell! I feel so close to you out here. Guess what. I did a
musical performance with my companion. It was actually really good!
We'll send you a copy once we record it ;) Love ya!
{Picture time}

{After or musical number}

{Me, Sister Benson, and Jeanette}

{The musical number}
xoxox, Sister Kerr

Thursday, April 17, 2014

I love it here!

 My dear, sweet FAMILY!

This week has been really, really good. Time is so warped out here on
the mission, but especially so the first week of a transfer in a new
area! Oak Hills ward is wonderful, there are so many great people and
I am excited for you to come to love them, just as you have the people
in my last areas. It is so special that our whole family gets to be
involved in my mission - you all helped make me the way that I am, so
everyone I meet has you all to thank! Description of the ward. It is
higher class than Aloha, by far, there of course are some lower income
places too! There is just a lot more variety than there was in my last
ward. There had not been any baptisms in this area for YEARS, until
this past December and there have been 3 more since that! Our work is
definitely cut out for us, we have LOTS to do, but we are so excited
to do it. Everyone in the ward that I talk to raves about how amazing
the past sisters are who have served here (there have only been
sisters in the area for about 9 months), I definitely have big shoes
to fill, but am so grateful that the ward already trusts us! I feel
like I really am going to be stretched in this area and forced to
become a better missionary. Stretching is hard, but it will be so
worth it!

We are working with some really incredible people here in Oak Hills.
First and foremost, Kyle! Kyle is 20 years old and has very little
religious background. His friend from work, a woman in the ward,
invited him to come to church with her and he accepted! He then
decided that he wanted to learn more, Sister Benson and her past
companion started to teach him and he was not catching onto things
very quickly. I went into the lesson expecting that! We sit down and
we ask him about the Book of Mormon and how reading it has been going.
He starts rattling off about Nephi and his three brothers, Laman,
Lemuel and Sam. He tells their whole story about leaving Jerusalem
because of the wickedness of the people and wandering in the
wilderness. Our jaws dropped! It was so incredible, the spirit was
really working on him this week and helping him to keep the things
he's reading and really remember them! He kept texting us throughout
the week and telling us how HAPPY praying and reading is making him.
It was seriously incredible. Every single text he sent us, we looked
up at each other and just about died because they were just way too
good to be true! But, they just kept coming. We invited him to the
fireside that was in Beaverton by Nela Otuafi, a Samoan songwriter and
he texted us back later that day asking if he could invite his
friend...of course! Then he texted us again telling us about how much
joy he feels when he is telling his friend about the gospel. It really
was so incredible. Each of you, follow Kyle's example and DO
missionary work. It really makes you so happy!!

We are teaching a man who was excommunicated and desperately wants to
return to the church. It is one of the most amazing and powerful
experiences that I have ever been able to be involved in, I feel so
blessed! We taught him over at the Morby's home this week, which was a
really cool and special experience. He shared his testimony of our
Savior, Jesus Christ with us and it seriously was one of the most
powerful, spiritual things that I have ever listened to. He is amazing
and is so excited to do every commitment that we invite him to do. We
asked him to pray about the restoration and the Book of Mormon. His
response: "Oh my gosh! I can't wait to go home and pray about it!
Thank you so much for inviting me to do that." It is so cool to teach
someone from this perspective, he knows so much and is loving this
repentance process. It has really helped me to see how repentance
truly IS a gift.

My district is called the Five Oaks District and yes, that picture
shows that I am reunited with my MTC companion, Sister Bloxham! She is
in the ward right next to mine. It is so fun to be with her again :)

Favorite family thus far, the Rueppel's! They are so awesome. Renee
has been a member her whole life, but not active. Her husband, Barry
just was baptized about 5 years ago. Neither of them are super active
right now, but are working towards it. They are the sweetest couple
and make us feel so loved! We went and did service with them on
Saturday and planted their garden. They did it very differently than
at home, it was the most tedious garden experience ever! But, we of
course enjoyed it! Then, I helped Barry put up fence. I yet again
proved that "growing up in New York" most definitely does not mean
what everybody thinks it does. They are so amazing, and SO fun! I love
them. We committed them to praying and asking Heavenly Father what the
purpose of their trials. I really, really hope that they do that. I
know that it will bring them guidance and comfort! They have been
through SO much and I want them to gain testimonies that it really was
for their benefit. I know that Heavenly Father loves them and each of
us and puts us in difficult situations so that we can learn things.

This weekend I got to go back to Aloha for the baptism of Holly and
Jenna! It was such a spiritual and special experience. Marc was able
to perform the baptism for his wife and daughter, which was incredible
to experience the special spirit that was there! Their sights are set
on the temple, to be sealed in one year! I love them and am so
grateful to have come to know and love their sweet family so much.

There is much to do here in Oak Hills and I am so excited to be here
to do the work of my Heavenly Father! Please know that I think about
you often and love you to pieces. You mean the world to me! Learning
more about the gospel has helped me to understand better the purpose
of families. I KNOW that the family is central to God's plan for His
children. I know that families can be eternal through sacred covenants
and promises we can make in the temples, the House of God. Thank you,
Mom and Dad for loving us enough, to go to that sacred, special place
and seal our family together. Our's truly is eternal. What a happy,
happy message! I am missing you all so much, but that's OK because I
know that if we are faithful we are promised eternity together! Keep
being faithful to those covenants you have made and prepare yourself
for the covenants you will be making!

Read the talk, "Your Four Minutes," again! It is so uplifting and heed
the counsel he gives.

{sweet little Jenna Marie} 

{Nela Otuafi Fireside in Beaverton!} 

 {Sisters in the Five Oaks District!}

 {the baptism of Holly and Jenna}

{the Daley Family!}

I love you. Xoxoxo.

Sister Kerr

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Another starting line!

Hi family, from the new area of Oak Hills! I was of course, so very
sad to leave Aloha and Sister Porter and all of the people we were
teaching there, but I am excited about this opportunity to begin again
in a new area with new people to meet and come to love. My new
companion is Sister Benson. She is from Mapleton, Utah and has only 2
transfers left on her mission. She has 2 brothers and 4 sisters. One
of her sisters is on her mission in Arkansas right now and one of her
brothers is in Oklahoma on his! I love these mission serving families,
I think it is beyond cool. They are so blessed to have each other to
relate to throughout this time! I am so grateful to have Skyler who
served his mission to talk to, and soon Macey too! I was called as a
Sister Training Leader this transfer and she will be training me here
in this area before she goes home. President and Sister Morby are in
my ward here now and that is so exciting to me! We are teaching a
lesson in their home on Thursday to a returning member. Haha, we are
SO lucky! I will most likely be the sister here welcoming in the new
mission president and his family, since Sister Benson and the Morby's
all go home together in June. I feel so incredibly blessed to have yet
another opportunity to serve the Lord with all of my heart and to be
surrounded by so many amazing examples and influential people. I feel
pretty nervous and very intimidated by this call, but am humbled that
Heavenly Father has some plan for me to help the sisters here in the
Oregon Portland Mission and the people here in the Oak Hills area.

It was such a great week to end off on in Aloha 2nd Ward. Sister
Porter and I had a wonderful week and were able to teach several
lessons and really see the people we are teaching PROGRESS. Oh, it
felt just wonderful! I know that I will be going back to Aloha a lot
to see these people be baptized and make those sacred covenants with
God that make it possible for them to return to live with Him again.
Seeing others make these important changes in their lives always helps
me to realize and better understand the changes in myself. I become so
attached to these people because they come to embrace and we share the
MOST important aspects of life together. We grow together and really
share tender and special experiences together, coming to know of
Heavenly Father's love for us.

One of my favorite miraculous moments this week was on Wednesday. We
went over to say hello to Juana, who was baptized back in January. We
walked in the door and her little 6 year old daughter, Olivia runs up
and gives us hugs and then introduces us to her little friend, Ariana.
Right taking off, Ariana started asking us questions about the Book of
Mormon and prophets. On the spot, we got to teach an awesome lesson
about prophets and the Book of Mormon with a member there with us! We
invited her to come to conference with us and she begged us to come to
her house and teach both her and her Grandma! We found some new people
to teach. It was amazing and we truly were led there to find her and
her family. I am so excited to hear from Sister Porter how it all goes
with them!

Both of our new investigators from last week, Mary and Barb, accepted
the invitation to be baptized. A date has not been set, but they have
both agreed that if they come to know the Book of Mormon is true and
Joseph Smith was a prophet, then they will be baptized! This was a
major step for the both of them, since neither wanted to be baptized
INTO a church. The spirit was so strong in their lessons and it truly
strengthened my testimony to know that Heavenly Father is there with
us in our lessons, guiding us! Shauntah and Alexis are both really
working hard to know if and when they should be baptized. Please pray
for these women, I love them so much and feel so distant from them
now. I KNOW that Sister Porter and her new companion, Sister Harris
are there at the exact time that Heavenly Father needs them, to help
these people progress the way they need to.

Conference was amazing of course. I loved it so much. It was such a
blessing to hear the words of God through His servants. I felt so
uplifted and strengthened from it. I loved that the overall message
was to love, lift and help one another. What a beautiful and joyous
message that was to hear. I know that Heavenly Father loves us each
and if we profess to love Him, then we need to show that love in
selfless service towards others!

I am so excited for the new opportunities that lie ahead here!
Transfers mean change and change is good for me! I am excited for a
new companion and new people to teach. With this new call, we go on
exchanges a lot to help the other sisters - I cannot wait to come to
know the sisters better and really come to LOVE them and serve them
and help them to grow and improve. I know that it will help me so
much! I love having a trainer again and learning with Sister Benson.
She is such a sweet sister and I know that we will have a lot of fun
together. I am now serving in the Oak Hills ward with Sister Benson! This is the
ward that President and Sister Morby live in. How cool? We are Sister
Training Leaders here and are over 5 companionship's of sisters in the
mission. I am really excited and know that this is what will push me
and force me to become better! Sister Benson goes home in June with
President and Sister Morby, so I will be the sister here in the area
when the new mission president, President Ballard comes into the
mission with his family! This put a total twist on my mission that I
was not expecting!

I love you all dearly! Thank you for your love and prayers, I draw
strength from you daily. Please be safe and know that I really do love
you so very much. Remember to read your scriptures and pray daily,
Heavenly Father is there and will listen and direct your paths.

xoxox, Sister Kerr <3
{Sister Porter and I at the Oregon Zoo}

 {Shauntah and Alexis}

{Sister Benson and I}

{The beautiful Portland!}

{Jessica! My Oregon version of Whitney and one of my best friends!}

{Cute little gals.}

Friday, April 4, 2014

Another beautiful week!

Hello, hello! This past week was INCREDIBLE, I just know we are so
blessed and I LOVE how I feel out here on my mission. I have been so
blessed with my amazing companion, sister Porter, amazing people to
teach, lovely ward members who make me feel like family, and so many
miracles! Let's begin recounting.

One of my favorite things this week was dinner with the Wood family.
They are from Rigby, Idaho and fed us (drumroll please) ELK STEAKS!
Haha, I was so excited to have them, felt like I was back with my big
brother, hanging out in Ashton. It was delicious, but Sky's is of
course better. They are the sweetest family and have such strong
desires to do missionary work, they just moved in and are already
inviting their neighbors. They are going to be great!

We had a phenomenal lesson with Shauntah again this week! And it was
on Facebook! :) Whoa, how cool? We talked about receiving personal
revelation and answers to our questions. We sent her an incredible
video about how we can receive answers like the rising of the sun or
like a light switch flipping on. She said that when she first got the
Book of Mormon and read it that it felt like a light flipping on. But
now her answer to her question about baptism is like the rising of the
sun. She feels like it has risen about halfway and that she is still
awaiting the full risen answer. It was so great! By the end of the
lesson, she messaged us saying that everything felt a lot more clear
and that she was filled with hope that she would receive her answer. I
love helping people!

We had a couple of really miraculous lessons. Two women that we had
been wanting to meet with had not been able to set appointments for
quite some time. They weren't going to be able to meet at their homes
and both miraculously agreed to meeting us at the church house. The
spirit is so strong there and I never even realized it until we taught
there. They loved it and we loved it. They both came to the General
Women's Conference with us, to church, and to the visitors center at
the temple! Holy miracles! I just love them and cannot wait to keep
teaching. They are incredible.

I'm sorry this is such an awful email, we just got back from the Oregon
Zoo and I am wiped out and now we are at a zone pday and I CANNOT
FOCUS. Lo siento. This is such a pity because it really was like the
best week ever and this is the worst email I have EVER sent. Just know
that I am doing BEYOND splendid and am happier than ever and sweet is
the work :)

I love you all and am grateful for the letters/emails I received this
week, they made me so happy!

Xoxoxo, Sister Kensey Kerr