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