I am a little flustered that it has been a whole entire week again already and I am here emailing you again! Time is so weird. This week has been a good and crazy one!
I wanted to start off though with something that Sister Berrett and I were talking about this morning. I want to thank my family, especially my parents, for being so wonderful. I met a lot of people this week who have been through some really insane and difficult things in regards to family relationships. Life can be so hard! But, I am so grateful for you! I am so thankful to have been raised in a home where each of us were best friends with each other and we wanted to be around one another. I feel SO blessed. Like really, SO BLESSED. I know it is not just chance though! I know that family relationships can and will be the strongest when based upon the teachings of Jesus Christ. Even the simplest of things were enjoyed and loved when we were together as a family! Even stacking firewood... So thanks, Mom and Dad for teaching us to love our FAMILY. Muah! You all are very love-able!
This week has had some really, really great things go on! We have been playing Ultimate Frisbee every Monday night with some members and bringing some of the people we are teaching, mainly teens. It has been so much fun and it has helped them so much to have good interaction. It really feels like we are creating a little family with them! Same concept as the paragraph before...when you love people, it doesn't matter what you are doing with them, you are happy! Even though we all kind of stink at it, it is still so fun to be with each other. There is a special feeling that abides in a family setting that really cannot be replaced and I think everyone craves it, especially a lot of these younger people we have been teaching who come from different backgrounds. I love being around the people we work with and watching them be healed. I want to do this type of thing for a living for the rest of my life!!!!
One of the women we are working with is finally beginning to progress! She has been meeting with the missionaries for years...and nothing has ever come of it. She is not really willing to take action. We have been focusing on her a lot and she has opened up to us and trusts us! It is so amazing, I just love her SO much. Her life story is heartbreaking and makes me cry, but I know Christ can heal her, so we are not going to give up on her! We finally were able to have her meet a member from the congregation which was miraculous! We have been trying to set this up for ages. And ages. And ages! Early this week she called us, really afraid and crying - there were just some hard things going on for her. We asked her what we could come over and help her with to keep her distracted and so she would have someone to talk to. She said we could help with laundry. Laundry it is! We were going to go over to the laundromat with her and do it there, but then we had a brilliant idea! Let's do it at a members house. We called up a member who has kids the same age and she said it was absolutely fine! I am sososososo happy this finally worked! We went over and helped her for about an hour while all the kids played together, then we had to go - but she got to stay and develop a friendship in the ward!! Lindsay was the happiest thing on earth after that day and throughout the rest of the week. Seriously, such an improvement! I am SO happy.
We did so very much service this week, which was just great. We did some type of service for someone at least once a day and sometimes a lot more than that. It really is incredible for me to see people's hearts be changed and see them open up to us as we serve them. I love people and am so grateful we can express it to them in this way!, we started the day off at our next door neighbor's, helping her paint her bed frame. She is so amazing, I care so much for her as we served her and helped her and heard her story. People are so incredible. Then, we headed over to the retirement home and helped them play bean bag toss. Haha! They are so funny, I love it there! Then, we spent pretty much the rest of the day at the community Party in the Park! Woohoo! It was so much fun! I was assigned to paint faces...I have no idea what they were thinking. I ended up being pretty decent. It was so awkward though when I would finish, hold up the mirror for the kid, and excitedly say, "Doesn't it look good!" Then they would just half smile and slide off the bench. NO! I'm sorry! Even worse though, was the parents breathing down my back watching. All I could think was, "Look, I know you are most likely better than me at this. But, I am the one wearing the bright blue volunteer shirt, so please, STEP ASIDE." And even worse than that, was when one of the parents would ask you to paint their own face...oh gosh. Let's have your child do it instead, then I don't need to be blamed for this. haha! It was an overall great time. We then were assigned over to the inflatables. My inflatable I was responsible for was this giant, horse that was lying on his back with his feet straight up in the air. Child after child asked, "Why is the horse on his back?" in a very whiny voice. My answer was always an animated explanation that tummies are bouncier than spines! I only had to climb in a couple of times and rescue some parent's child who would not get out after I had called time up. Kids are hilarious and people watching is still one of my favorite hobbies.
We went to the visitor's center with one of our families last night! It was so, so, so awesome! I love it there and I love this couple. We had a blast walking around the temple grounds and we had such a spiritual moment as we watched one of the videos about families and all cried. Actually, I didn't cry for like the first time ever. But, I loved how I felt there with them! Families are so special!!
Yesterday was the farewell for one of my favorite people! Her name is Shaine, she is leaving for the Missionary Training Center in Mexico. She will be serving in Virginia, Spanish speaking. She gave THE best talk I have ever heard a person give before leaving on their mission. I teared up several times and learned so much. She talked about how her life began to change about a year ago when sister missionaries were assigned to the Oak Hills ward, instead of elders. Her testimony developed as she tried to model her life after all of the sisters who have served here because they were HAPPY. She wanted to feel that because even though she had been a member all of her life, she did not feel that joy she saw in them. She is incredible and so humble and willing to change! I have spent a lot of time with her over the past 4 months of being here and just adore her! She will be such a good missionary. Her parents are incredible and thanked us afterwards for all that we have done for their daughter in helping her to get there. She will do such wonderful things!!
Well, I have to get going. It has been a GREAT week and things continue to get better! I love being here. Oak Hills has a special place in my heart, for sure! Right along with Oregon City and Aloha <3 I truly feel blessed!
Love to you all!
Xoxoxo, Sister Kerr