Monday, March 31, 2014

The Power of Fasting

Dear Friends and Family,

Before I tell you all about my week, I want to tell you this awesome story! Yesterday was fast Sunday because General Conference is this weekend. So I wasn't really sure what I was going to fast for, usually I think about it a little before the day I start fasting, but this time I forgot to because it was on the wrong week. So when I realized I was supposed to be fasting, I decided to fast for the thing we are having the hardest time with: getting our investigators to church. 
So we go to church, and we're expecting one of our investigators who comes a majority of the time. And she wasn't there, neither were any of our other investigators, which is unfortunate, but expected. They've never come! So it was a bummer, but that's okay, because I know God can help us in other ways too! Like, we could always find a new investigator who will come to church with us! Or help us know how to help our other investigators to come. And then we were getting settled for Relief Society, and our phone starts vibrating. It was Levi, someone we met at Shalom, where we give service, and he wanted to come to church! Now, church was almost over, but that's okay, because he really lives in the other ward boundaries, the ward that meets in the same building at 1pm. So we hurried and set up a ride for him! And he came! He didn't flake out or anything, like all our other investigators seem to do. It was great! And I know he isn't really going to be our investigators after this week, but I am so grateful he came! And I know that we'll be able to find more investigators that will come to church too. I'm just so happy SOMETHING worked out!

Sister Jones and I got matching Indiana hoodies before we had to say goodbye!

My new companion is Sister Hivner and she's really sweet. Except she snores, really loudly! And I'm just not that deep of a sleeper! But it's okay, because I've been sleeping pretty decently the last few days. I think that's a blessing from God, because usually everything wakes me up!

I love Shalom! I think that's one of my favorite parts of serving here, in Bloomington! It's a homeless shelter where they serve food to homeless and low income people in the area. I really thought I would hate it, because that's just not really my cup of tea. But I have grown to love it! The people we serve (for the most part) are so grateful for us! And I've gotten to know so many of the people there! It's a great finding tool and it's just awesome! That's how we found Levi, the one who came to church yesterday! This week we had a lot of people come through that mentioned something to us about the Church. Like this guy told us he was from Salt Lake and a couple came through who are being taught by the Elders and attending church there. And then we saw CC, who is probably one of my favorite people! We can just never get in touch with her or anything to teach her! But she was affected by Hurricane Katrina and after that she was sent to Utah where everyone there was so nice and loving and willing to serve her, and from what I hear, she even met the Prophet while she was there! Isn't that crazy! I'm trying to figure out why she hasn't been baptized yet! I really just want to teach her, hopefully someday! Levi was there too, and he actually looked really good! Not nearly as sad as I'm used to. You know why? Because he read the Book of Mormon and he's starting to feel the effects of the gospel in his life! I love it! I love seeing that change! 

Roxanne is doing pretty good. I love her a lot! She is really skeptical about the Book of Mormon for sure, and she did have some tough questions, but I know the power that it has and that if she'll just read it, she will feel the Spirit! We just have to help her read it. The member we've been taking doesn't think she'll ever progress and is weary of going back because she doesn't want to have to defend what she believes. I understand, but I don't feel like she's ready to drop yet. So we will keep going back, and hopefully she will make some progress! If not, then we might have to drop her.

Pea Coat Picture with Rhonda
The Women's General Meeting was so good! I loved how much they talked about covenants, because that really is our purpose as missionaries, to help people make and keep covenants. Plus! I learned something new! When we covenant with God, we become one with Him. Meaning we begin to have the same purpose as He does! Which is to "bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." Or, in other words, the Missionary Purpose! My purpose as (a missionary/member/Christian) is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." So, as a covenant people, it is our job to invite others to come unto Jesus! And it all starts with the invitation! 

Now, that doesn't mean that it has to be nonmembers that we invite. Though that is important! It's also important, as members, to help Less Actives, and those who are just starting to gain a testimony. The youth of the Church should be a huge focus for us! And the young kids need to begin having that foundation as well. So as parents, friends, neighbors... It is our job to invite those inside our circle of influence to come just a little bit closer to Jesus Christ.
That's really all we're doing as missionaries, it's the little invitations that lead nonmembers to feel the Spirit, have that change of heart, and want to be baptized!

I love you all! And I love General Conference! I'd like to invite all of you to watch General Conference this weekend. Have a question in mind! That can help you get the most out of the revelation the prophets and apostles and women leaders in the Church have received for YOU! 

Theme Zone Conference
Also, if you want, tweet about it! Share the love! #LDSConf 

Love, Sister Kimberly

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Assistants are Liars...

Last Monday we didn't really get Preparation day because we got to go to the temple the Saturday before. We went to visit one of our potentials in the afternoon and it was so great! She told us she'd been trying to overcome an addiction. It was perfect because we've been learning a lot about the Addiction Recovery program lately! So we invited her and she was so excited about it! We did have to find her a ride. Unfortunately, she ended up having an emergency come up, but hopefully we'll be able to take her next week! She seems so excited about it!

 The train tracks say Omni! Like the Book of Mormon prophet! 
I think there might secretly be a lot of Mormons here in Bloomington!

Tuesday was supposed to be awful. We didn't have our car back yet and we had to walk everywhere! We had no appointments and no members in town because of Spring Break. But guess what! It was probably one of the best days we've had in a long time! It's funny how things always work like that! We stopped by one of our "investigators" who we don't meet with very often. In fact, we only taught her once, and then the appointment we had set fell through. We didn't have a lot of expectations for her either, because she didn't seem super ready to commit to changing or anything. But we stopped by Julia's house anyway and she let us in! She had been having a really hard time with a member of her family who had joined the Army and she was just worried about him. We talked a lot about the Book of Mormon that day. What it was and why it was important. She had a LOT of interest in it. She was so excited to read it that night! And then we committed her to be baptized (again). In the past, she's always said no, but this time she didn't! She didn't say yes, either, but really, it's such a huge step in the right direction! She said she'd have to read and to talk to Jesus about it. Which is awesome, because that's exactly what we want her to do!! It was great! 

Being a missionary is awesome. We get to talk to people that, otherwise, I would never even consider talking to. But, the rule is, we have to talk to everyone! So that's what we do! And this week, there was this big, scary looking guy, who I KNEW wouldn't talk to us, but we tried anyway like good little missionaries. And he opened up a LOT! He loved talking to us! It was awesome. I love it when things like that happen, it just shows me that anyone can be religious. Even if they don't necessarily look like it :)

Chris disappeared, the person he was staying with told us he'd gone back to Martinsville with his family for good. We were bummed, cause he's so GREAT! But he came back a couple of days later! He's planning on moving up there real soon, but I think he'll be here most of this week. He brought some of his friends and we taught them as well. And Chris just bore his testimony of the Book of Mormon so strong! He kept saying he knew it was real. And he knew it had helped him. And it's true! I can SEE it. He was in a really bad place when I first met him, and he is doing so much better now! I love it! The gospel is real!

We also found out another one of the investigators that we had been teaching went to jail. Why is it that we teach all the people that go to jail?! I don't know. Missionaries are just in with the rough crowd, I guess.

One of our investigators told us they needed an exorcist for their house! I don't think we can do that. But we always pray with them. I think they like our visits because it brings the Spirit into their home! They even say things are a lot calmer for everyone when we're around. Then he invited us out to dinner this next week! It'll be fun, as long as they don't bail on us! 

We visited with this Less Active, Part Member family this week! The Ayers. I love them so much! They are so fun to talk to, especially Brother Ayers, the nonmember. He's Pentecostal, and he always talks about how he'll be baptized if every member of the Church would send him a dollar. He's so generous and even says he would give half of that to the Church! ;) He's funny. But both of them remind me so much of my grandma and grandpa! So it's fun being there! I hope they will start coming to church, but I don't really know if they will right now.

Transfers this week! Last night was the worst. We got a text from one of the Assistants saying we were staying while we were planning for the next day. Yes! I wanted to stay with Sister Jones so bad! So we were making goals for our next transfer and talking about all the awesome things happening, like Conference and the Women's Conference and a ward activity coming up... Life was good! And then we got a call from the Mission Home. I was confused why, but I answered it! And there was President. He told me I was staying and I was getting a new companion. Then he told Sister Jones she's leaving and training.... Our blissful life was a lie. Oh my goodness. I can't believe it! Here we go! Another transfer meeting, another companion! I'm going to miss Sister Jones so much!

Mommy sent me GIRL SCOUT COOKIES! That is true love, right there!
#mommylovesme (thanks for not opening them and eating half of them like with the candy bars!) 
You know Samoas are my favorite! 
When people share their Girl Scout Cookies with you, that's how you know they really, truly love you!

But, hey! For all the women out there! The General Women's Conference is this Sautrday! 6pm MST (or 8pm EST ;)) Be there! Or be square!

Love, Sister Kimberly

Monday, March 17, 2014

It's Not a Temple, It's a....

Dear Friends and Family,

A miracle happened this week! We were able to go to the temple! Sister Jones and I got to go with our Ward Mission Leader and his wife with a couple of the Elders in this area. It was so fun! And I was so happy to go! It's been way too long! When we went in I saw SO many familiar faces though! A group of the temple workers in our ward just happened to be there working this Saturday, and I saw someone from the Fishers ward, and someone from the Franklin ward! Crazy! I've never seen so many familiar faces at the temple in my life! 

The Louisville Kentucky temple is so small!! I guess it's one of the mini temples that was built a while ago and it really is SMALL! There was a stake center built right next to it, and I'm pretty sure the church was bigger than the temple was. Everything inside was just so small! Elder Ledesma, one of the Elders serving in my ward, is probably one of the funniest people I've ever met. We drove for two hours down to the temple, and one time during the drive, Sister Jones asked where we were, and Elder Ledesma piped up informing us that we were in the car! Haha! But when we got to the temple, he was like, "It's not a temple it's a temple. Hahaha we have been laughing about that for days. It was so good though! I'm grateful for the temple!

We have not had a car all week! It's been terrible, it's hard to get around without one! Luckily, it's been a LITTLE warmer this week and we've been able to do some walking. And members have been giving us rides. It's all been working out okay, but hopefully we get that car back tomorrow!

Last Monday we did the best thing ever! President Coach Cleveland came and had all the missionaries in the stake come and play basketball. Well, we mostly just did drills and stuff. It was cool, he brought a ton of basketballs that said Touch All the Lines on them (that's President's motto). Of course, he had us run line tags at the end, and of course I touched all the lines! 

I was so sore for a long time afterward though! So sore. It's been way too long since I actually for real worked out like that! It's been too dark outside and we aren't allowed to go running in the dark.
But hey, President complimented a lot of my shots! Even though I didn't make a single one of them! He loved being a coach again, I could tell!

On Wednesday, we walked and walked and walked for a long time, talking to a few people, but not many. It's been a long time since I've had to walk that much, so it was nice. But I was really really thirsty, and we didn't have time to go back to our apartment, so we were going to try to ask this person that Sister Jones had met a while ago. We were walking up the street and we saw someone getting out of her car. We said hi and asked her name. She said Tammy Thayer! She is a Less Active we have been trying to meet forEVER! And there she was, nowhere near her house! It turns out she's related to the person we were going to ask for water. And she is the coolest woman on the earth. I love her a lot! So we talked with her and taught her a little bit. It was just too big of a coincidence to be a coincidence. #miraclesrock

We also met a preacher that day. They're always fun to talk to, but this one introduced himself as Reverend Cox kind of like he expected us to understand what he was and leave. But we didn't, we stayed and told him about the temple! Stubborn Mormons I guess!

We had a miracle day on Wednesday! We helped a member pack and get ready to move to Idaho, and she had a 19 year old nonmember girl there who loves to learn about religion! The members told her a little about Joseph Smith and the sacred grove, which was cool. She's so nice I'm excited to meet her again! She really would be just the cutest little Mormon girl! (Like me!)

Then we taught this man at the library, and we weren't sure it would happen because library lessons are really sketchy. But he showed up! his name is Gardet and he's homeless. He told us his story and he is having a really hard time because he wants to stop drinking and fix his life, but he feels trapped by the alcohol. We invited him to baptism, and he said yes! But we haven't seen him since then, I think because he's drunk and lost all the time. It's sad, really, but we have so many resources to help him. In fact, this week, we went to the Addiction Recovery program that the Church has, and it is so good! For everyone! It teaches you how to apply gospel principles into your addiction recovery, as well as just making yourself a better person! I love it! I think I'm addicted to addiction recovery ;)

We also have been teaching this man named Eddie. He's an ex marine and he worked at a prison and has seen SO many bad things in his life! He has PTSD pretty bad and his life is just kind of a mess. We taught him about the Book of Mormon and told him to read one of the war chapters because that's something he could connect with. We saw him a few days later and he pulled over to talk to us. He said he'd been praying for the strength not to be violent towards some people that did him wrong and felt like he should stop and say hi! So he likes us! Which is good! He told us this life is just like the life he grew up in, it's just sad to see that once you're in that life, it's hard to get out!

Chis came to the church and we gave him a tour! In the chapel, we taught him a quick lesson and asked him to be baptized in May. He said yes, but he also said he is getting ready to leave Bloomington. And he has no idea where he's going, so I don't know how to help him find missionaries in his next place. Hopefully we can figure it out soon. But Chis is so great! He has such a desire to change and be baptized! He has a lot of work to do, though!

There's this guy we do service with every week who has a lot of questions about God, so we taught him this last week and it turns out he is golden! He believes in God and Jesus Christ, but he doesn't really have a religious background. So he's really just barely learning the importance of God in his life! It's awesome! He asked all the right questions and had all the right responses, it was great! Levi is so perfect. He has a lot of stories about war too, and a lot of guilt from it. He really just wants to be relieved from that guilt. Which is exactly why we need Jesus! So it's perfect! Repentance and forgiveness will really help him! I'm excited to watch him go through that process!

One day we went out to eat at this place called Which Wich, a sandwich shop. And they have these brown paper bags that they put the sandwiches in. Everyone draws on them and hangs them on a wall in there, so we did that and told everyone to visit (I sent you a picture of mine) Sister Jones and I are so cool! We also wrote on a public chalkboard that we saw in a building where students live... We really just like spreading the gospel everywhere we go!

YOU can do the same thing! Try it! It's fun!

Love, Sister Kimberly