Tuesday, May 6, 2014

I've acquired yet another Best Friend.

Hello family! This week was very, very dramatic in so many ways. First
of all, the weather. Good gravy, it was raining and about 50 degrees
at the beginning of the week. Then, we wake up on Wednesday morning
and it was 85 and then 90 on Friday. We nearly died there was
absolutely no transition stage! Oh goodness, I am just really glad
that  I made it out of this insane week feeling like I have learned
from it, and especially glad that it is the start of a new week! I
learned that it really is such a gift that we get to feel emotion,
including extreme jumps between emotions. While here on earth, we can
feel such intense emotions including both joy and sorrow and I am so
grateful we can. I think that those feelings really allow us to live
and to learn and to love. I am so thankful that I get to be living my
life to the fullest (for a short time, here in Oregon), and learning
to really FEEL the emotions that are a gift from our Heavenly Father.
It is so very true that without feeling the low, we really would not
understand and appreciate what true joy feels like. Things of the
world try to numb and dull our senses, but when we are living the
commandments we are experiencing life the way that God intended, we
can really feel life!

I'll share a story from this week that really illustrated this for me.
We have a woman we are teaching, her name is Trish. She has been
living with a member of the ward as a roommate for the past couple of
months. She was the first person I met when I came into the Oak Hills
area. She is one of my favorite people I've ever taught. She is just
hilarious and is always cracking the two of us up. She is one of THE
happiest people I have ever met. Nothing gets her down, she lifts
everyone's spirits. She is the most fun person to bring to church,
Trish just soaks it all up. She participates in all the classes, asks
tons of questions, volunteers to do things, thanks teachers for their
lessons and makes great connections of how to apply the principles
she's learned. Each time we walk away from seeing her, we cannot wipe
the huge grins off of our faces, we are in LOVE with Trish! Yes, we
love her, but she is so difficult to set appointments with where we
can go in and teach. Early this week, we decide to just drop in,
invite her to a Book of Mormon study class. She wasn't available, so
we quickly rebound with an invite to a baptism on Friday night. She
responds in her hilarious voice, "What the heck. Why not? Let's do it,
I'm in." We were beyond excited. BEYOND. The time before that we
actually got to go in and talk with her, she opened up and expressed
to us that she just wants to feel the Holy Ghost and know who God is.
It broke my heart as I watched her cry out in confusion as to who He
was and why she didn't feel Him in her life. We knew that a baptism
would be a perfect place for her to feel that and were very hopeful
that she would come. Miraculously, (if only you could understand all
the details you would see how it was miraculous!) we made it to the
baptism with Trish safely in hand. Trish is probably the most
enthusiastic person that I have ever met, I can quite confidently say
that. So as we walk in she could hardly contain her excitement to meet
the man being baptized, President and Sister Morby and pretty much
anyone. We sit down together to enjoy the service. During the actually
baptism, when they were in the font, Trish begins to wipe tears from
her eyes. The feeling in that room was so beautiful and so uplifting.
The man went into the back room to get changed back into his dry
clothes and the missionaries who taught him handed out note cards to
everyone to right him a note. Trish snatched one so fast and started
scribbling away on it. She so proudly handed it to us afterwards to
read. Tears came to our eyes as we read her description of how the
spirit felt and the gratitude she expressed to this man for giving her
an opportunity to feel that way. As we were leaving, she said, "Hands
down, best thing I've done all year." She is so funny! But it was so
amazing to see her recognize that and recognize how she really did
feel different. That night was one of the most joyful experiences of
my mission. I loved watching her feel that and getting to talk about
it with her all the way back home.

Ok. Pause. I hope that you could see there a glimpse of how perfect
that experience was. We could not have planned for it to go better!
She even got to meet the Morby's and they loved her, she loved them.
The whole way home she just chatted our ears off about how amazing it
was! Fast forward two days. It is now Sunday morning and we get a text
from her telling us that she is not interested anymore, religion is
not for her right now, and asking us to please respect her wishes and
not visit anymore. Sister Benson and I were sitting on our couch when
we received this text and our hearts literally broke. The tears could
not and would not stop coming. And it was not at all because she was
one of the only two people we are teaching right now and we now only
had one investigator. I can truly say that it was a selfless cry. My
heart hurt and still hurts as I see Trish turn away from the spirit
that she so badly wanted to feel and that she did feel so powerfully.
I imagine how the Savior must have felt and must still feel everyday,
when so many people turn away and reject Him. I got to feel that in a
very minute way as Trish asked us to stop teaching her.

This area is really one of my hardest, but I am learning so much
already. Like I mentioned before, we really do not have a lot of
people to teach. Sister Benson and I really feel like we are giving it
our all and I really think we are, but people still get to choose. We
are here to provide people with opportunities to feel the spirit,
opportunities to remember God and remember what He has done for them.
We provide them with chances to make promises with Him through sacred
ordinances, such as baptism. But, they get to choose if they want to
do those things. One of my first thoughts yesterday as I really aching
was, "It doesn't feel like God is here helping us in the work, because
nothing is going right." I know that He is, even when it doesn't
appear that way. He will not force anyone to do anything, even if they
know they should! Even though Trish felt the spirit, God cannot force
her to act on it, neither can I. I know that Heavenly Father loves her
with all of His strength and He always will. How it must hurt Him to
see her turn away from.

I am really bad at describing how I feel, but I really hope that made
sense. We dragged our emotional selves to church after crying our eyes
out and trying to figure out our lives, only to have President and
Sister Morby greet us and ask about Trish. They were so excited to see
her after the experience at the baptism! That just started the tears
again as we quickly explained what happened. President looked
heartbroken too as he saw how invested we were emotionally. I love
that I got to experience this Christlike love for Trish and I will
always have it for her.  And I am especially grateful for my
companion, Sister Benson. This transfer, this hard transfer has
brought us incredibly close. I love her so much and am so grateful for
her. I am so sad she will be leaving next month, but we have already
started working on President to ensure that we get to stay together
until the end of her mission!

Also! I had my first Missionary Leadership Council Meeting this week
as a Sister Training Leader. It was incredible. There are some amazing
missionaries here in Portland and we have the best mission president
in the world. I really am nervous about having a new one! I'll tell
you about it more in detail later. I hope this email was ok. That is
pretty much all I remember from this week! It is pretty stuck on my
mind right now. Right before bed last night, President texted us and
said, "I love you, Sisters. Next week will be better." Next week is
always better, regardless of what happens! Because we have gained more
experience and have the opportunity to have an even better
perspective. I love my mission; every painful, joyous part of it!

xoxoxoxo, Sister Kerr


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