Monday, August 25, 2014

Week 3 in this new place.

Hello family!

Wowie, I am at the start of my third week here in this new area...whoa. I can't believe it! Time legitimately flies, I know you are all probably so sick of hearing me say that. 

First off, I want to thank you all for my emails and letters this week. I know I have the best family on earth! Haha, I was laughing and smiling through all of my emails today. Please know you MADE my day. Macey told me the funniest story about these weirdos biking from New York to Portland who made a pitstop in Ashton...We are ALL connected!!!! Addey confirmed that the family member of a woman I met in Beaverton is on her volleyball team. Super cool! I finally found my connection to HOME! Yippee! Then, I find out from Whitney that Kyle is now the ward mission leader in Texas. That is SO awesome!! You guys will get to work with the missionaries so much, I hope you like them! Just pretend they are me! And Grandpa Tom sent me the best story ever about meeting my dear, sweet Grandma Joyce. Oh my gosh, I love it! I am always so amazed that our family's marriages last so well when they come from people who barely knew each other. It is SO cool to me though! Haha, God is so involved in our live's and guiding us to what will make us happiest. That's all I could think about in Mom and Dad's meeting and love story too. We are such a blessed family! Then, I finally got the letter Grandma had sent me, it had been sitting at my old apartment for a time. Grandma has a way of jerking those tears out of me. But, let's be honest, that is not hard to do! And of course, Mom and Dad's notes too! I loved hearing from you each and knowing that you love and care about me. I LOVE YOU ALL MORE THAN WORDS COULD POSSIBLY EXPRESS! Thank you for taking time to send me a note! 

This week was very, very good. One of the highlight's was that a family Sister Olsen taught was able to go to the temple to receive their endowment and then be sealed together as a family. I was the lucky companion who got to tag along! My favorite part of the temple was watching one of the men who was in their with us. He was severely handicapped, could hardly walk or talk. He was mentally there, because he could understand, but he could not be understood. As I watched this man in the temple and really listened to what the Spirit was trying to teach me, it became so very clear to me how real the Atonement is. It made it very evident that this sweet man would be healed mentally, physically and spiritually. I began to understand how applicable that is for me as well. The faith of that man made me cry! So many would feel cursed or deserted by God to be in that position, but there he was, in the temple of God, serving others! His faith in Christ's healing power really spoke to me. I have so much to be grateful for and so much still to learn! I really am so thankful for the comfort I can find in the temple. Things have been pretty crazy and I have been worried about a lot of things, but that all went away while I was there. I'm thankful for that!

We had some incredible lessons to this week. One of the women we are teaching, Phyllis, is beginning to recognize the spirit, which is the COOLEST thing to see people learn. She has began to connect the good feelings she has while praying and reading the scriptures, attending church and having our lessons, to God. She knows that those are her answers to her prayers. Yay for connecting dots! It seriously feels so good to see those that we are teaching begin to connect the dots. It is so wonderful to know that Phyllis now knows and has a testimony that if she is feeling distant from Heavenly Father or alone or hurt, she can pray to Him and He will help her. She has absolutely fallen in love with the feeling of the fellowship with the church. She began to cry at our last lesson when she started to talk about how she finally feels like she has friends who really love and care about her. She didn't have that before she came in contact with member's of the church. I am so happy she feels loved now! Everyone deserves that!

Sister Olsen's and my teaching styles are very different, but are working together really well. We both are good at different things, that really balance each other out. It has been so fun to work with her. My style is just to kind of fall in love with the person and somehow always end up tying the gospel into it and showing them how it actually applies to them. And Sister Olsen is SO good at teaching the doctrine. So, she will usually bring up, state, or teach a principle and I will then talk to them about how it actually connects for them and will apply in their life. It has been working so well. I love it here and love the people we are teaching! There is so much to learn from everyone we meet!

I unfortunately have to get going! We are going over to Oregon City this afternoon to meet up with the Chavez family that I taught last summer! I am so excited to see them! It has been a whole year since sweet Nancy was baptized, remember her? That was a year ago yesterday! Time flies.I am so happy for so many beautiful memories to reflect on from Oregon, but also from all of the time I spent with you! Those happy memories motivate me to work and give my heart here!

Xoxox, Sister Kerr <3

Monday, August 18, 2014

This was a fast week.

My goodness, this week flew by so quick! I cannot believe we are already into this transfer a week. I know that I have been put in this area for a reason, it has been so miraculous and has been a really perfect week. I will tell you all about it! First though, my niece is walking! That is so fun. I cannot wait to see my sweet little nieces and nephew again, I miss them SO much. I really do! But, I cannot believe how soon it will be that I do see them and all of you again. Since we are new here we both have to introduce ourselves to every single person and tell them where we are from, where we have served and how long we have been out...when I respond 13 months I nearly die because I realize how long that is! That is such a long time!! Then they all respond, "Wow, you're on the final stretch, almost done." Bah! What? 18 months really goes so quick, it is really weird. Especially now that all the missionaries I looked up to are going home. It is so strange to be the older sister!

Onto recounting the miraculous week in Willamette!

Two of the people we are teaching have baptism dates now. It is so exciting to teach people about the restored gospel. But then to teach them how in the world that applies to their life is even better! And that is where we are this week. I love teaching with Sister Olsen, we really are doing so well together. The feeling in the room when we taught was so powerful, several times this week. One of them is as 10 year old girl, she recently moved in with her grandparents who are members. She is so sweet. We taught her several times this week in preparation for her baptism on August 30! We went with her to the visitor's center yesterday and had a fun day talking about eternal families (all day! That was the topic of the entirety of church as well! Makes me miss you, but I am grateful I get to share it with other families). They're such a cute and sweet family! Oh, funny, crazy story! She wanted to wear her jeans to church and her grandma told her no, she needed to wear one of her dresses to church. She kept refusing and grandma put her foot down and told her she was leaving without her then. She didn't think her grandma would actually leave her (we all know better than that in the Kerr Family!!!!), so she WALKED to church! I need you to understand the area I live in. I basically live on a mountain, at least a mountainous hill! And the church building is at the very, tippy, top! Haha, she walked the whole way there! I was so proud of her for doing that! She lives far too, it was well over a mile straight up. She really wanted to come! Definitely made me think of what I would be willing to do to get to church! Someone offered her a ride when she was about 3 blocks away and she told us, "God told me this was a nice lady and I should ride with her the rest of the way to church." Well, that's great! Slightly frightening, but I know Heavenly Father was helping her to get to church and be safe. It was cool because we have taught her about prayer a few times and receiving answers. So, it was a great little answer to her prayers that helped her to see how God talks to her. She is so sweet and adorable! And she looks so much like Taylor Bowman when we were that's weird! 

The other woman we are teaching is in her forties. She also lives with a member of the ward, just friends! The elders who were here before had taught her twice and hadn't seen her for awhile. We went to introduce ourselves to her this week and she is so ready to be taught the restored gospel! We taught her twice this week, starting the lessons over and invited her to be baptized. She was so overjoyed and excited! She said. "Ohhh, I would really like that." She loved church when she came yesterday and is finding a lot of great fellowship in the ward. I love this ward already! They are so wonderful! 

We contacted a lot of people that the elders had taught throughout the past and made good contact and will potentially get to teach several of them as well! But, we had so many awesome finding experiences this week all on our own! Finding our own people! That is what is so fun about white-washing, you spread your very own roots in the area, not just depend on the past missionaries experiences. I love all the people we have met, they are so awesome! Last night we went to a member's home to give them some referrals. Hahah! Did a bit of a reverse role there. Our ward is heading up a food drive for the local pantry, so they are supposed to be going around to their neighbors and inviting them to donate. We tracted this one street down by the river, the whole street and found some amazing families who are newer to the area and don't know many people yet! So, we went to a member's home who lives close by and referred these families to them to invite to the food drive. It was great and I really feel like connections in the ward is the only thing that is going to get the work moving here! Mom mentioned that someone said this is a wealthy area. It really is! Everybody is pretty set and good to go, super nice, generally not searching for something though. But, they really are the friendliest wealthy people I've met on my mission. West Linn is great! I know member relationships will help so much with these amazingly nice people we have met!

My companion has been kicking my butt into shape with running every morning. Goodness, you never realize you are that out of shape until you try and run. I have felt like death every single morning, but I keep telling myself, "This too shall pass" the entire time I am running. I can't really say I am grateful for it yet because I still kind of hate my life while I am doing it, but when I get home and am in better shape than I was when I left, I'm sure I will be grateful for it then!

We are expecting more miracles this week! I cannot wait to tell you more about them next Monday. I know this week will be good, especially since we scrubbed the car this morning. Elders' cars are D.I.S.G.U.S.T.I.N.G. I know that alone will make this week a good one! Oh! Something cool. Since I am so close to Oregon City again, I will be meeting up for lunch with some of the people I taught there! I CANNOT wait!! The Chavez Family may be coming to see me today! Also! One of the families I was working with to prepare for the temple back in OC moved to this ward last year, while I was still in OC. I got to see them this week now that they have been sealed! It was a happy reunion!

I have got to get going! Much, much, much love.

Xoxox, Sister Kerr <3

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

My new area is a beauty.

Hello my dear, sweet family! Welcome to the Willamette Ward! I am now serving in West Linn and let me tell you, it is so incredibly beautiful here. I am in love already, I never ever ever want to leave and it has been all of 18 hours that I have been here. I will have to send you some pictures very soon. I truly am in love! This transfer brought some things that I was not expecting at all! As a sister training leader there are only certain areas that we generally serve in because we each get transferred around within those areas. So when I received the news that I would be transferring, I had a pretty good idea of where it was I would be going and who my companion would be. At least that is what I thought. At the transfer meeting I was totally calm when the Lake Oswego Zone popped up because there are not any sister training leaders for me to go be companions with there. But, out of nowhere I see my face on the screen with a sister I was not at all expecting! Sister Olsen and I are opening up a new area in the Lake Oswego Zone. This is going to be so much fun. I cannot even believe how excited I am. Sister Olsen is from Manti, Utah and has been serving for 14 months, so one transfer more than me. She is super sweet, we really are excited to serve together! Oh, FYI, West Linn is right across the Willamette River from Oregon City, so I am emailing you today from the same exact library that I was one year ago! Haha, we have come full circle now. I can see the Oregon City 4th ward right across the river :) It feels so good to be back in the beautiful tree-filled area rather than the city. I have missed it so much. 

Last week was absolutely amazing! One of the best weeks we ever had in Oak Hills, it was so great, but so sad to leave when I was so perfectly happy there. Two of the people we are teaching, Lindsay and Darin both set baptism dates! I feel so blessed to have been there to finally, FINALLY set those dates with them. It has been so miraculous to see them begin to progress, really progress! They are changing so rapidly and are just absolutely in love with the gospel. I know that God was truly blessing me by allowing me to be there for that after all the time I spent in Oak Hills and not seeing any fruit, this meant the world to me and the ward! I will be going back for their baptisms at the end of the month and in September! Happy day! I truly feel so full of love, it really is so hard to explain the way that I feel.Sunday night before I left, we got to go spend some time with both of their families. I love families so much and their families are so wonderful and have truly made me feel like I am one of their's! I felt like I was leaving my very best friends behind. We also met the most incredible woman that the sisters will get to keep teaching! I am so bummed that I don't get to anymore, but it is okay, I am just glad I got to meet her!
The elders in the Sunset Ward told us to go meet her, she lives in the apartment building over from them. She had shown up on their back porch a couple of weeks ago at 11:30 pm, completely COMPLETELY drunk. But, she had been sober for 11 days when we met her and she is completely committed to changing and looking for support because she does not have any. The church is the place to find that! I have seen this ward change lives, I know they will take care of her! Thank goodness I get to be on Facebook now though and will get to keep in touch with all of these people forever and ever! 

Funny story. So we were with Wendy a lot the last three days that I was there because she had a wedding coming up that she was doing the flowers for and she needed help. We did the floral arrangements for some ladies wedding and it was a blast! That is not the funny story and is besides the point, but just know that my Floral Design class at BYU was not a complete waste! On to the funny part. We were leaving Wendy's to go and meet a man we are teaching at a baptism that was going on in the stake, he really enjoys going since the spirit is so strong there. We had just left and were driving over to the stake center when we get a call from him telling us that the baptism is not going on today because of a funeral. We protest and insist that it is, we ask him to go and check the Relief Society room and if they are in there for the baptism. He responds, "Sisters I already checked, there is a body in there..." Awkward, awkward, awkward. Haha! The body was in the room where the baptism was supposed to be going on. Luckily our investigator with 2 crazy little kids had bailed on us and had not shown up with her kids in the room with the corpse. Those nutso kids would have lost it! I thought that was a funny moment!

I really am so super excited to be here in this area. I cannot wait to really figure things out and get things going in this ward. We met our Bishop last night and he is heaven sent. His whole entire heart is poured into moving the work forward in the Willamette Ward. He shared his goals and the things he has been praying for. Everyone in Oak Hills kept telling me I was going to be an answer to many people's prayers by going to my new area. I wasn't exactly sure how much I believed that. But, Bishop made it very clear that Sister Olsen and I are an answer to his prayers. I have received so many spiritual confirmations already that this is where I am meant to be. Though it was sad to leave, I know this is where I am supposed to be! 

I have got to get going. Thank you for your many prayers! I love love love YOU. 

Sister Kerr <3

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

short and sweet.

Hello, family! 

First off! Mom, I did get my package for National Lollipop Day! Haha, I LOVED it so much :) Best lollies I've had in ages and enough to share! Thank you!

The highlight of this week was Lindsay! That is for sure. I have so much to do today, but I want to be sure to tell you about this week! I also want each of you to understand how extremely happy I am right now. I sure do miss each of you and I really don't like being so far away from you all and only hearing from you once a week. It is so hard to not have you. But somehow, I am still SO happy! It doesn't make sense, but it does. I never really believed that completely forgetting yourself truly would make you happier, but now I know it does. I am so thankful for this opportunity I have had to actually try that one out!

So, Lindsay! She has been meeting with sister missionaries for well over a year now. That is such a long time! She has NEVER been to church, not even once. Until yesterday! I am so happy. The past couple of weeks have been absolutely critical for her progression and it all happened BECAUSE of the ward members. I know with all of my heart that God is in control and has a plan and has certain timing for each of His children. We have tried time and time again to use the members of the congregation so that she could develop friendships and feel comfortable enough to come to church and it has never worked out. And suddenly, this week! It all clicked. Lindsay must have finally been ready to progress and God knew it and everything fell into place. She was fellow-shipped by so many amazing people from Oak Hills and helped and loved by so many people. I am so grateful I have been here to experience her progression. It has taken such a long time, but I know God loves Lindsay and He has made it possible for her to move forward. We had a great lesson with her this week right before church. We talked about how meeting with us really has helped her faith to increase and we helped her to see how that was true. We talked about how her faith has been steadily increasing to the point where she is now where she can apply that faith into an action - coming to church! We then talked about how she can continue to increase that faith and continue to put into actions. Like baptism! We will be setting a date for her baptism soon, we are so excited because she is finally seeing progress in herself. I love her! Anyways, I love the gospel and I love teaching it!
{Lindsay and her two SWEET, crazy, cute boys who joined us for church. They are an amazing family and I love them with all of my heart! It was one of my favorite Sundays for sure.}
 {making cupcakes with my favorite CHY!}

{Macey! I got to lick the sour cream spoon. Remember how I used to think you were revolting. (disregard my oily face! It is SO hot here!)}

 {This is Mama Paez! We love her :)}
{The Visitors Center with Barry and Renee! I love them SO much}

{Hiking in the Oregonian Forest!}

 {We made it to the top. We are @ Pittock Mansion and looking over all of Portland!}

{Pittock Mansion w/ the ELDERS}

{Our Bishop's ginormously fat cat, lying amidst the sea of Nike's. He is a designer at Nike!}

{My shoe that Bishop designed and gave me. The secret message he left me in the shoe!}
{My spoils from the Bishop and his wife. I <3 the Young's! Nike's he designed. Herbal tea to get rid of my acne. And oils to also get rid of my acne. It's been a big problem of late! But, I am spoiled here!}

 {I hope this happens to me for the rest of my life. I forgot I had a stack of cards in my pocket! I will miss being a missionary!}

 {Playing with my favorite kiddos!}
 {Sunday pictures!}

 {Sunday Pictures!}

{Sunday Pictures!}

Sorry this is so short! I am so out of time. WE HAVE SO MUCH TO DO TODAY! I love you and I hope you are having a great, great week! Keep enjoying summertime :)


Love you forever. Love you for always!

Sister Kerr 

CHALLENGE: Please write and tell me your plot to get happiness. What have you learned that makes you happy? I LOVE ADVICE!