Monday, September 29, 2014

This was a good week.

Hello, everybody! 

I feel like such a happy missionary today! It was such a great week and it was so nice to hear from so many of you this week and see and hear how you are doing! And I am so happy that all of you seem to be doing so well. I quite literally can see the blessings that Heavenly Father is pouring down on our family - it has become very clear to me! I am grateful for this week that cleared up my vision and helped me to see all the good that is around and happening, from Oregon to New York and with everyone in between! <3

Last week I mentioned that I have a new companion, Sister Jensen! And I sent a picture of us has been concluded that both of us despise that picture. Haha! But, at least you got a picture. I love her to pieces! She has such a great personality that is so beyond easy to get along with and she is hilarious. I also just love having someone to talk to who thinks so much like I do, it has been really nice! I love companion study again! I love the Willamette Ward and I love serving with her as my companion. I know this is going to be a very fun transfer and that we will accomplish much together.

This week, I again was reminded of the importance of families. I have been thinking a lot about the way that we gain confidence and find worth in ourselves because of some of the people we are working with and some of the sisters in the mission. I realized that the best kind of confidence comes from feeling loved; loved by those around us, accepted by those around us, but also from feeling loved and accepted on a grander scale. We learn those feelings on a smaller scale first though, or at least we should learn them within our own families. I began to understand this week that I really am able to understand the love that my Father in Heaven has for me because I know how it feels to be loved from my family. Families reteach us the feelings of heaven! Isn't that so wonderful? I think it is so amazing that families have the capacity to do this, and it is a critical responsibility of families! We are working with several families at this time and are trying to help them live the teachings of Jesus Christ at all times in their homes; I know without a doubt that living those teachings does bring us SO many blessings. The way we love and teach others gives them the opportunity to understand the love Heavenly Father has for them, it makes it tangible!

Leads into...Phyllis! Phyllis is the woman we have been teaching for almost two months now. She is one who learned that God loved her through our relationship with her and the ward members reaching out to her. It has been so sweet and incredible to watch her change over the past couple months and find herself. She is so sweet and fun! She is always cracking me up, but so inspiring too. I really love her! 

There are also several younger girls in our ward without great family situations and I have really started to notice the things I was talking about earlier with confidence and self-worth. Sister Jensen and I are both really invested and ready to focus a lot of our efforts on strengthening the youth of this ward who do not have the family experiences that would help them most. I am excited to help them understand that they are loved for who they are and not for what they do. I really am prayerful that it will help them and that they will allow it to help them. It would have the potential to really change the direction of their lives and help them to be happier for eternity! 

Well, fambino! I love you all to pieces. Legitimately love every single piece of each and everyone of you. You give me more strength than you will ever possibly understand. I am so happy that I will get to spend eternity with my favorite family! I hope you all are finding joy in all you're doing. I truly love hearing about your adventures, big and small, they are exciting to me. I love love love you! XOXOXO. 

 {Who says Oregon is not an exotic mission? Haha, can you believe I did it!}

//Sister Kerr

p.s. On with the family theme...I can't wait for the sweet little kiddies coming to the family in 2015! I really am so excited to have some more Kerr's to love <3

Thursday, September 25, 2014

That was unexpected!

Hello, family. I am emailing on Tuesday this week because of dang transfers! Sister Olsen and I were positive that we would be staying together because we had both only been in the ward for 6 weeks and had only been companions for that short time. But, President Ballard wants to make sure to remind us that we are not forgotten by him and get us moved right along. Sister Olsen was transferred. I am still serving in the Willamette Ward with Sister Jensen now. I cannot keep my companions straight now. Goodness, I've had Benson, Olsen and Jensen within the last 3 months now! I can't keep their names straight. Sister Jensen is another cutie! She is from Alpine, Utah and has been serving for a little under a year now. She just came from the Hazeldale Ward where I served last Christmas! Fun little connection.

Highlight from this past week. We had our mission tour that happens about once a year! Elder Johnson from the quorum of the Seventy came to speak to us. He and his wife met in a small town in Idaho while she was working in a little restaurant there. Could it be...why, yes of course it was the Frostop! Haha, I do not know how all roads, ALL of them, lead to Ashton! His address to the Oregon Portland Mission was phenomenal though. I truly loved it! We talked a lot about our purpose as missionaries being to strengthen and bring others unto Christ. ALL others, members and non-members. Active and not active members too! He promised that as we focus our efforts on strengthening the ward members we serve with, we will find more opportunities to teach. He encouraged us to do that! I am excited to work with the ward members more than ever before! He also talked a lot about loving the Savior and how we need to earn the right to love Him. We cannot just love someone that we do not put effort into knowing or strive to develop a relationship with. It really made me ponder, Do I know Jesus Christ well enough to claim that love for Him? It was a great meeting and I encourage each of you to ponder that question as well! And this question as well, What can you do to earn that right, how can you come to know Him better?

I am a little short on both words and thoughts today...Haha! Not a whole ton happened this week that I can think into make interesting to read about. So I will spare the time! 

I really am excited about the Book of Mormon challenge that Daddy issued! Can't wait! I love you tons and tons. I hope you're all doing it too! 

{Mt. Hood}


{Phyllis our investigator}

{Food Pantry we volunteered at, gathered 962 lbs!}

{Lindsay's baptism!} 

{Sister Jensen and I}

xoxox, Sister Kerr <3

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I sure am grateful for my family.

Hey fambino!

My family is pregnant! Holy guacamole! I am so excited and happy about
having two new additions to this family this year! Yippee!
Congratulations to the Copeland Family! You are so adorable!! Love you
tons! Xoxoxoxox <3

Greetings from the sick house! Sister Olsen was sick pretty much this
whole week, which was a bit draining. Haha! It is so hard to be the
not sick one and have nothing to do. Wow that sounds selfish. Haha,
woe is me because of my good health! Just kidding, I'm glad I was ok.
I hate not knowing how to help someone feel better when in reality,
every missionary just wants their mom when they're sick...not their
companion. I spent a lot of time on the phone with people we are
teaching, planning and reading lots of books!

We had some cool little miracles this week! One. A girl we are
teaching told us this week that her mom is Mormon! That was super
awesome. This girls name is Emily and she is doing so well with the
lessons we are teaching. I love teaching her! She loves being around
and feeling the spirit and she totally recognizes what things in her
life help her to feel that way. Recognizing the spirit is such a huge
thing to learn. I'm grateful to have my whole lifetime to continue to
develop it! Each of us do! Two. We are teaching an adorable family and
we have been trying to hook them up with an awesome family in the ward
with kids about the same age. We think they would have a blast
together! Two of my favorite families! Anyways, it just hasn't been
working out. But, the moms randomly met each other while at the park
this week! Haha! It was so crazy and super cool. They both texted us
right after it happened and were laughing about how cool it was to
have met the other one. Success! I feel like a mega matchmaker
sometimes. Three. We have been teaching a less active woman who is so
hilarious!! Gosh, we just love her. She is young, single, two kids,
recently joined the church about four years ago. She has a boyfriend
who is not a member but has expressed interest in learning about the
church. She is terrified of telling him more about the is
kind of funny! But, we had an awesome lesson with her this week and
really helped her to feel the spirit and recognize that that is what
she wants to share with him! So we committed her to talking to him
about it and to stop being afraid of him saying no. Miracle was, they
talked about it and he said, "I want to do this, can't you see I'm
ready to learn?" Yay! We are planning to teach them tonight! Four.
Phyllis, the woman we are teaching, had the best lesson ever on
Saturday! Ahh, it was so perfect. This woman is one of the most
faithful people I have met in my entire life. She cannot wait to learn
about commandments because she cannot wait to start living them
because she KNOWS without a doubt that she will be blessed from living
this way. I admire her so much and have learned so much from her! She
set her date for her baptism on September 27! Right after she decided
that, she looked at us and said "can you guys come, do you think you
could make it?" Haha, uh I don't know what would possibly keep us from
coming!! I am so happy for her. She was at church on Sunday and the
topic was on home teaching. After sacrament she was so excited about
having a home teacher come and teach her every month, then we told her
about a visiting teacher that would come too! She was so excited! I
don't know of any other church that is so involved in their members
lives. Phyllis will always have someone looking out for her, someone
to contact when she is in need. She will have friends, better friends
than she has ever had in her whole life. She is so happy about it and
I am so happy for her! Five. We found the most beautiful view in our
area this week - well one of them. It is on top of Pete's Mountain
Road. This road has some of the largest mansions ever with gorgeous
views! It made my heart so happy to be up there and looking out over
the area! I sure do feel blessed to live on such a beautiful planet.
Life is lovely!

Well, we are playing volleyball in the sand courts again this week for
pday. Third week in a row and for 4 hours straight each time! It is SO
fun. Love it! Today the whole zone is going to get together for it.
Should be fun. This week is already the last one of this transfer.
Geez, I've already been in Willamette for an entire transfer! I am
pretty sure I will stay, but who knows now with President Ballard's
style...way different than President Morby! We'll see!

Well love you tons and tons!

Xoxoxo <3 Sister Kerr

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

This last week must have been a dream!

FIRST. Happy Birthday my little Kader Tot! Auntie Kensey love, love, loves you! <3 OIE!!

I woke up Saturday morning and was in some strange room, with very different surroundings than normal; a weird alarm had gone off, I couldn't find my glasses, it was darker than normal, the door was on the wrong side of the room. This is what exchanges do to me! I get so confused every time I wake up on an exchange in a different area, with a different companion...and this is pretty much weekly for the past 5 months! Haha! But, really this one was way worse because I was sure the week had just began, but my companion for the day convinced me it really was Saturday. THIS WEEK WENT SO FAST. I swear I had just started the week and it was already Saturday morning! I don't know where the time went, but we had such an amazing week. I think I must have slept through it all and just dreamed it up, because it was SO good and SO fast!

This week consisted of so many wonderfully random, great things! I loved it!

One of the first things that happened this week was actually really tragic. Another family I love was affected by attempted suicide. This has actually happened much,  much more than I had ever expected to see or be involved in. These people love and trust the missionaries so much (I know it is because we have the spirit with us and they really feel closer to Heavenly Father around us), we are some of the first people they open up and tell about these situations. It breaks my heart to know that so many people in the world do not feel needed or that they belong. I love them so much and I know that God loves them. I have come to learn the importance of expressing to everyone the love you have for them, and also how valuable they are to you. Tell everyone how much you need them, why you need them, why you love them - we each need each other because we really are brothers and sisters to one another! We are family, forever. I want everyone reading this to know, that I, Sister Kensey Kerr, love YOU! I know that you are a child of God and that He has a plan just for you, to help you be happy. He will do whatever it takes to bring you that happiness, just never give up - because someone needs you :) Even if no one in the world seems to care about you, rely on the fact that God does. That fact has carried me through a lot of times on my mission! No one quite understands what I am going through here, and that can get lonely sometimes, but I know that even if no one gets it or experiences it, my Father in Heaven does. And that is all that matters, I am understood and loved by at least one person! That is what I want each of you to know! 

A couple of my favorite funny moments...

We attended a random wedding by accident. Haha! Happens all the time...just kidding, it most definitely does not! We were at the church on Wednesday morning, using the wifi to update our iPads, when we see the bishop walk up to the front door. Following him are a bride and groom and each of their parents. Bishop asks us to attend, we look at him like he is crazy and he says, "No, please come! You will increase our attendance by about 1/3!" Oh gosh. So, we stayed! We met the families and got put on music duty. I sang a musical number while Sister Olsen accompanied on the piano. I sang, "Wind Beneath my Wings." The one Whitney sang at her graduation. I'm totally kidding, just wanted to keep it interesting to keep you reading! We were on music duty though. We were handed an iPod that was plugged into an old boombox. The iPod had some song from YouTube pulled up and we were instructed to push play while the bride and her father walked down the aisle. So, that's what we did! I am holding their marriage license, Sister Olsen is holding the iPod, we get the thumbs up to push play and here comes the scratchiest version of the classic wedding song. They begin to walk down the aisle, next to us, and I realize that we are completely in all of her aisle pictures...But, what bride doesn't want two random sister missionaries in her wedding pictures? Haha! It was so hysterical and one of those moments where you are just like, "How on earth did I get into this?" About 7 minutes later the wedding was complete and the father came up to us and asked us to be in their pictures outside. It was so funny! We declined and left as soon as we could. It was so hilarious! 

Number 2. Friday we had our monthly leadership council. It always begins at 8am at the mission president's home, in my last area, which is about 30 minutes away from my new area. Friday morning comes, we get ready and leave at 7:25! I was so impressed with our punctuality! We are driving along on the freeway, without a GPS, because we are both experienced enough and are going back to my old area, that we just went to last week! Driving, driving, driving and all of a sudden I realize that NONE of this looks familiar. What?? I KNEW I hadn't missed an exit, but I somehow ended up in the completely wrong area. But, I had missed an exit. I hate it when I'm wrong. Now it is already like 8, and we are just getting turned around and heading the right direction again. Actually, it took us a few times turning around too. Oh my gosh, it was so hilarious! We could not figure out how the heck we had ended up here, we were all the way to downtown Portland. We finally got to the correct location and it is now 8:40 and I am praying that there is food left still because I had such a bad headache now and was starving; we have breakfast there from 8-9, then begin our 8 hour meeting! Haha, we get there and there is not a soul. We walk up to the door and we're like, "Today is Friday right?? Did someone change all our clocks? Did they all go out for breakfast and we missed it because we were late?" Oh my gosh, we were so confused and SO late. We go in anyways and find President Ballard and the Assistants. They don't seem shocked at all that we are so stinking late, so we start asking questions. Apparently, breakfast had been cancelled and they forgot to send us the email because our email is not on their list since we are white-washing our area! Hahahah. I kept asking, "Is this real life? Did all of that just really happen?" Yet again, another dream like experience. It was so funny and surreal, we had a really enjoyable ride though and were cracking up laughing. President gave us some boiled eggs and yogurt because he felt so bad. Great time! The meeting was absolutely incredible though. Brother Hemingway, the Head of Proselyting for the whole church was there. Whoa, I don't know how we got so lucky to have him there, but it was phenomenal! We talked a lot about online proselyting. The Oregon Portland Mission is at the head of the church with all of the different tools that they are allowing missionaries to begin to use. We are so blessed! But, we talked a lot about purifying our hearts. It was so my kind of meeting. I hate rules! I hate them because I feel like they restrict us from doing things the spirit prompts us to do at times. I dislike worrying about if I am allowed to do something good, pure, and beneficial to others because of a petty rule. That is pretty much abolished now. These petty rules filtering our online proselyting are being lifted in this mission, our hearts must be the filters (D&C 112:28). It was an amazing meeting! I am so blessed to be serving in this mission where I am learning to live this way, learning to live in the world (even in my mission field), but to be lifting people out of the world, with the tools God has given us! I cannot wait to continue to use the things I am learning here after my mission. And I won't have filters tying me down at home, besides the filter of my heart. I am happy that is how we will be living here now too!

Lindsay's baptism was Saturday and it was so joyous! I didn't cry until the very end. She and Darin both asked me to say the prayer to close the meeting at their services. And I felt the spirit so strongly! Lindsay is home now. After I said the prayer I went to her, bent down where she was sitting and gave her a hug. She wouldn't let go of me and we both cried happy, happy tears! I am so full of joy for my dear friend, Lindsay! She said her face hurt so badly from smiling all morning, I had so been there too! It was such a sweet, special day. 

Last thing! Someone we are teaching here is part of a religious choir. She invited us to her performance on Sunday evening. It was happening in Portland and a member was already going to support her, so we got permission and rode down with her. We are driving along and it is getting pretty far and I was thinking that none of this even sounded familiar, it can't be in the mission. But, I figure I must have no idea. We get there and Sister Olsen and I look at each other and both reassure each other that we are most definitely NOT in the mission! Haha! It was so hilarious. But, we had permission and were already there. So, we got on the shuttle that took us to the church this was being held at. It was at a Seventh Day Adventist church and was the greatest moment that I ever could have imagined to finish off my already crazy week! We walk in and are SO the minority in every way imaginable, it was like a Southern church you see televised. There were hundreds of people, standing up, swaying, clapping, singing, dancing, and praising. It was SO fun! Our investigator, Shani, was up there in the choir just singing her heart out. It was seriously so wonderful to be around so many people who truly love God. Our faith may be shown differently, but we believe in and love the same God. It was so energetic and passionate in there, I couldn't stop smiling at all these wonderful people. They probably thought I was some wacko, because I was white and a Mormon missionary (both were very obvious), but it was just so happy! When Shani is baptized, I definitely think she should become the ward chorister! We have such beautiful hymns, but we sure do need some more energy and life in them. She will be perfect for that! 

I had such a good week! I didn't even get to mention so many things. Just read between these lines make up the rest of the week for me! I love you all SO very much. I am thankful for you! 

AHHH! I almost forgot! There was a red truck sitting at the stop sign a couple blocks from where I live. I was driving and came around the corner - HE HAD A LONG LAKE BUMPER STICKER AND NY LICENSE PLATES. Sister Olsen thought I was dying because I was freaking out so bad! I was so tempted to follow him :( Then, I got my postcard from Mama from Long Lake. Home was near!

Xoxoxo, my loves!

Sister Kerr <3

Saturday, September 6, 2014

It's my Grandpa's Birthday!

Hello, my loves!

This may be quick because my fingers are going numb and I am shivering here in this darn library! I do not like it when they do freeze-outs in public places. Yeah, so I don't know how much I can handle of it!

{Happy Birthday, Grandpa Tom! I love you to pieces and am so thankful to have you in my life! You are one of my best friends. Love, love love you!!}

This week was great! I am so in love with this area I am serving in and the people we are teaching. I will share a few highlights!

1// Darin, from my last area was baptized on Saturday! Happy, happy day! I think this was definitely one of my favorite baptisms I have ever been to. The feeling there was so wonderful and I was so filled with happiness! His parents were there and we were all so happy to see each other. His dad, Barry, was able to baptize him! And his mom and I stayed teary-eyed together the whole time. It felt so good to be back with the people I love so dearly in Oak Hills! Darin changed how I see prayer and greatly affected my view on our relationship with Heavenly Father. I know He is there because I have seen Him answer the prayers of one of my dear friends when he decided to try and pray. He is very aware of us and our needs and desires. I love my Father in Heaven and I know He hears our prayers. I am so grateful to know Darin and to have been able to experience this mighty change with him. I am so happy for our friendship! And the gospel is what allowed us this opportunity to grow and learn together! 

2// Taylor was baptized too! Taylor is the young girl(10) we are teaching here. She just moved here with her grandparents and has been coming to church with them. We started to teach her the week we arrived in West Linn and she was ready to be baptized. It was a special day! She is so sweet. Taylor is really smart and so sweet. She loves frozen yogurt and loves to make funky combos whenever we go out with their family! Her favorite song is, "I Love to see the Temple." That is what we sang for the closing song. She had just learned it on the piano and played it herself to close the meeting. It was so cute! The ward was wonderful and very supportive! Willamette is the best. 

3// I read a really cool passage of scripture from the Doctrine and Covenants! It said that we are commanded to assemble together and instruct and edify each other. I thought this was so wonderful, especially since we have been trying to meet a lot of members here in the area who are no longer actively coming to church. I realized that we really NEED each other. Each of us have something to give and something to gain from joining together. We met an incredible man, named Tom last week. We took our Bishop with us to go and meet him this week and I saw how true this scripture is! I know there are members in the Willamette ward who need Tom there, to edify and instruct, to build and enlighten each other. God said the purpose of that is to know, "how to act upon the points of my law and commandments." WE teach from each other about our Father and how to act more fully upon our faith. Our faith really is developed from sharing our experiences and knowledge with each other. I loved it! And i loved how much I learned from chatting with Tom, his testimony is so wonderful, even though he is not actively practicing, his faith in Christ is beautiful and most definitely something I could learn from. 

4// The Mormon message, "The Hope of God's Light" has changed my life! I LOVE it so much. You ALL should go watch it. It is so well done and it really helps me to have faith in those we are working with. I love when he says, "For two years God was nurturing a questioning soul." God IS involved throughout our whole life's journey, not just at sporadic times when it is evident and clear to us. He is nurturing and preparing us, giving us little by little in our experiences until we are prepared to receive our answer. I love that message, especially at this time in my life. I know my interactions with people here, regardless of the outcome, is part of God's nurturing plan. He is preparing them to feel His perfect love for them. My job as a missionary, and as a member for the REST of my life, is to follow the spirit and help in their experiences and journey of finding answers. What is cool, is that this is true of me too! I know my Father in Heaven has nurtured me and given me bit by bit in preparation for a more powerful and personal relationship with Him. I KNOW He lives and I KNOW He loves me. 

Lindsay from Oak Hills is getting baptized this weekend and I cannot express my excitement in adequate terms! I love Lindsay so very, very much and am so excited to see her again. She is so excited for her baptism and to finally find where she belongs. I have decided that is what I want to do! I am committed to being someone that makes more people feel needed and like they fit and belong right there with us. I was reflecting on the beginning of my mission and trying to figure out what helped it to be such a great start and experience and a smooth transition. The Morby's were so good at that! They were so wonderful at making me feel needed and valuable. I am so grateful for that experience and for all the other experiences I have had that have helped me to feel loved. I want to give that to other people for the rest of my life!

I have to get going! Have a very happy week. You're in my thoughts and prayers! 


Sister Kerr