Monday, April 28, 2014

Awkward



Dear Friends and Family,

I thought I would tell you all about my FAVORITE things about Indiana. Because it all happens in the Spring and Summer! 
Maybe this will come as a surprise, but the snow and ice storms are not my favorite parts of being in Indiana.

But you know what is? The thunder and the lightning. It is so different here than it ever was in Utah. And I loved it there! But here... It's different! It's bigger and better and PRETTIER! And I love it. I really do. I love the rain. And soon.... You know what's coming? The fireflies!! They come out in June and I can't wait to see them again! (Mom, maybe we can come visit the temple in June next summer? And you can see them too!)

This week has been good. Alicia, the miracle girl I wrote about last week, should be getting baptized on May 10! She is so ready! I guess she's been wanting to be baptized for 5 years, but she was smoking back then and now she's clear of any problems she might have! I'm so excited! She didn't come to church yesterday, though, and I'm not sure why. But hopefully she's still good and we can get her there next week and she'll be baptized on the 10. Or we might have to move it a week, but either way, this is going to happen!

I've been thinking a lot about commandments lately, and how they work. Because some of the missionaries I'm serving around don't really appear to be being as obedient as they could be. And it's not like I'm perfectly obedient all the time! But I know I'm not outwardly making a point to be disobedient! And there's a lot of talk around here about how we are a "principle based mission". Which is true! We are a principle based mission. We focus on the principles of the rules, because we don't want to become the Pharisee's who were so focused on living the letter of the law that it just became tradition and not their connection with God. But just because we want to remember principles doesn't mean that we don't live the letter of the law too! I was trying to figure out how this worked though, because it can be confusing. For example, one of our rules is that we have to be in bed at 10:30 and get up at 6:30. The principle is that we need to get 8 hours of sleep so that we will have enough energy for the day and so we can stay healthy. So why can't we go to bed at 11:30 and get up at 7:30 and follow the same schedule of exercising, preparing for the day, and studying? I was thinking about this, and how it applied to how we regard "the letter of the law" vs. "the principle". The letter of the law, is important! In fact, the letter of the law is an application of the principle! If we want to live the principle, we first have to live the letter of the law. Here's an example. If I am in bed at 10:30, but I talk to my companion for an hour and get up at 6:30, I have been obedient to the commandment, but I have not lived the principle of getting plenty of sleep. This works with other commandments too. If I want to live the letter of the law in terms of the Word of Wisdom, I can just not drink alcohol, coffee, tea, smoke cigarettes, or do illegal drugs. But what is the principle? The principle could be interpreted to be to put good, healthy things into your body. So if I don't put any of those things into my body, but the only thing I ever drink is soda, that's not living the principle. But I have to live the letter of the law to also live the principle. 

So that's my rant! The disobedience that's been around me for a while has really been dragging my spirit down! I'm serious, it really does make a difference! Obedience brings the Spirit, and exact obedience brings miracles. But disobedience brings... discouragement! And it's just not fun to be around it all the time. There's not much I can do, because it's not really my place, but I've learned a lot about obedience because of it! So there's the upside!



Being a missionary is just awkward. But I made the most AWKWARD mistake this week. We were supposed to go do some service with Sister Rogers, a member of our ward. We were running just a little late, so I hurried and looked up Rogers on the ward list and typed it into the GPS. We drove over there and knocked on the door and a man opened it! I was pretty confused, because Sister Rogers is divorced. So I told him we must have the wrong person and that we were looking for her. And then... He told us he was her ex-husband. 

Awkward!
 Right?

I had typed in the wrong address for Rogers and it just happened to be her ex-husband's. He didn't seem super awkward about it. In fact, he kept talking and talking to us, I think he was glad to have someone to talk to, actually. But because of all that, we were way late to get to our service project. I felt so embarrassed after that! Haha!

But it's okay. Anyone could've made that mistake, right? And I'm blonde... So.... I have an excuse... Right?

Haha okay, it was just dumb of me. But it makes for a good story!



I ask Sister Hivner every time we pass the movie theater if we 
can go see Captain America. 
She always says no. 
All of you that get to see it; count your blessings! 
All I get is this little wooden mask!



Have a good week, everyone! Love you all!
Happy Spring!

Love, Sister Kimberly


Monday, April 21, 2014

Redhead at Heart??



Dear Friends and Family,


I got THE worst sunburn this week. I mean, it was really bad. I haven't had one that bad in a long long time! On Saturday, we were out walking for 3 or 4 hours trying to find someone to teach and it was pretty hot. So when we went in to eat lunch, I made sure to put on some sunscreen because I KNOW how easy it is for me to get burned. Either it was too late by then, or the sunscreen didn't help or something, because later that day, I was red. Everywhere. My face, my neck and shoulders, my chest, my arms. So was Sister Hivner. Her burn looked worse than mine, but I think that might be because it looked darker because she's more tan than I am. I'm not sure! All I know is my burn still hurts and hers has turned into a tan. I think... My hair might just be a little red. Or something... I hope. I need an excuse for being so white!!


We had the best miracle ever happen this morning and because of it, that's about all I can think about right now! 


The director of the Institute at IU called us this morning and we missed the call, so we called back and he had the best news ever! He got a call this morning from a girl that had just come from Utah. I guess while she was there, she learned about the gospel and she wants to be baptized! She heard about Brother Tibbs, the Institute director, because she lived in an area where he used to live and I guess they knew he lived out here now. I mean, these are crazy coincidences that just don't happen! So we called her and we'll meet with her tomorrow! I'm so grateful! I really have no idea what we did to deserve this kind of a blessing, but I'm stoked! Seriously. Miracles happen!


Easter was so good! I really loved it. This was probably the most spiritual Easter I've ever experienced in my life. I know a lot of missionaries say that about Christmas, but I didn't feel like Christmas was SUPER different. I think Christmas has always been a time when I focus more on Christ and everything, but I think in the past, Easter has just kind of been... Overlooked. At least the Jesus side of it, of course I've grown up with Easter eggs and bunnies and chocolate and dresses! But the real reason for Easter has always kind of been pushed to the side. Which is sad! But I learned so much about the Atonement this year! And I'm grateful for it. I've learned a lot of new things that I never knew about it before. But also we got to celebrate with an Easter Egg Hunt! Our district got invited to a members house. They have a lot of land and most of it is a forest and they went out there and hid a whole bunch of eggs for us missionaries to find. It was so fun! It was actually like hiking. Believe it or not, there are some really steep hills here in the Bloomington area! I guess it's not as flat here as it is up north! It was great, felt like home. Almost. Not quite as big of hills, obviously. But it really did seem like hiking up the mountains, it was fun! Then we roasted marshmallows and ate s'mores... Fun stuff! I loved it!



Dying eggs: Mom will be so happy that I didn't have to make this mess at her house.

S'mores


MTC trio, almost exactly 1 year later!

Exchanges

Popcorn Popping on the apricot tree! Spring is here!

Easter Egg Hunt



This week I was able to go on exchanges on campus, and I loved it! I really LOVE teaching the people that are my age that are in college. It really is great, they have so many ideas and views on life... It's fun! The only problem is if I were on campus full time, I think I might get a little tiny bit trunky. It really does make you want to go back to school! Which is good, but also... Bad. I still would love it though. Love love love love it!


We had a Sister's Conference in the mission and it was probably the best day of my whole mission. So we started and we had a couple of people speak. There were some really good people, some of the topics were about Women in the Scriptures where Sister Lambert, a member around here, talked about Abish in the Book of Mormon. And then President talked about Joan of Ark and likened her bravery and greatness to the things we do every day as missionaries. It was so cool and I was so pumped up by it. And then... We had lunch. And you know what they got us? Cafe Rio sweet pork salad! I think they might know what we Sisters like :) After that, we had some more members in the area come teach us about eating healthy (kind of... they know it's hard for us because we have no control over what we eat half the time) and then we talked about exercise! We learned about Tabata, probably the best thing I've ever heard. It's where you can do a set of exercises at your max for 4 minutes, and if you do it right, you will burn calories for up to 12 hours after you finish! It's a miracle worker for missionaries! And then we did Zumba! I think that was my favorite part! I love love love love Zumba! A lot! Zumba is probably the best thing that's ever happened to me, and it was so fun with all the Sisters in the mission. I think that's the funnest kind of exercise known to man... Or woman I guess ;) 


It was a good week! Hope you all had a happy Easter! And I hope you all shared that Because of Him video. It was good!!


Love, Sister Kimberly

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Wrong Side of the Tracks



Dear Friends and Family,

I knew we lived in a pretty sketchy part of town, because... Well because a lot of our investigators are on drugs or going to jail or homeless.... And I knew that when we were walking around people would ask us what we were doing, and we'd say we were teaching people about Christ and they'd say, "well, this is a good area to do it. People here need it." But this week, we went tracting for the first time in a while. We were up on The Hill, which is what everyone calls the area where all the Section 8 housing is where there are quite a few scary people. We were walking around there, and I just... Didn't feel good at all! I knew it was bad, but I didn't know how bad. I mean, I've walked around there before, but not for very long. But it's okay, we got over it and we talked to a few people! So that's good. But, now I know we really do live on the wrong side of the tracks... I just thought all of Bloomington was like the West Side, but I guess not. I guess the rest of Bloomington is pretty normal! I just haven't seen it!

I got to watch 17 Miracles last Monday because of some circumstances we had and Preparation Day got moved to night time for us. It was awesome! Especially right after watching Conference and someone spoke about knowing the stories of our pioneer ancestors.

The temple!  It's looking good!

We went to the hospital this week to visit a woman in the ward who is pretty ill. I know a lot of you reading this might not know me, or even know this about me. But I hate hospitals. I remember ONE time I went to a hospital and I remember I hated the way it smelled, and I remember I ate Swedish Fish while I was there. I hate Swedish Fish now, not because they don't taste good, but because they remind me of hospitals. Gross. So this was a big step for me! We went to the hospital and we were only there for a few minutes. But it was good, I think the Sister we saw was glad that we came.

That day we didn't have any time! In fact, we had so many appointments we didn't even have time for a dinner break! We saw Roxanne that night, too, and it was... A rough lesson. She is so Pentecostal! We read a story with her in Mark 9 and then we read Alma 32:26-28 with her. She loved Mark 9! But then when we brought out Alma 32, she was SO critical of it. In fact, she asked me if it was telling us that we were spiritually fed by our "unbelief". I don't understand why she asked that, because I was obviously tying it in to the story in Mark. And I'm pretty sure Mark didn't say anything like that. She was just twisting the words and being cynical. But I was annoyed, not because she was being cynical, but because I am LITERATE! I can read and comprehend things, and she was asking questions that made it look like I was the one not comprehending what was being said. And then she went on and on about how when people get the Holy Ghost in the Bible, they all speak in tongues... And how the evidence that we have the Holy Ghost is when we speak in tongues... And I tried to explain to her how the gift of tongues IS a gift of the Spirit, and God will sometimes let us use the gift of tongues to help someone else come closer to Christ. Because that is true! That's why missionaries have it. And one of the stories she told me was even to help someone else. So... I don't know. She didn't buy it. But I don't understand why God would use ONE and ONLY ONE gift of the Spirit when we get the Holy Ghost. Why wouldn't we display EVERY SINGLE ONE? Anyways, I don't understand. But whatever. I just wasn't raised that way!

We've been practicing giving church tours, and the other day I borrowed the wheel chair that's always there and decided that I would role play as a paralyzed investigator. Hey! It's all good, the church is wheelchair accessible!

We saw Chris at Shalom, the homeless place that we do service at every week. I guess he's back in Bloomington, but he didn't say anything to me, and I didn't say anything either. And you know what's funny? We saw Rhonda, the Less Active that he's friends with. She was supposed to move to Florida!! But nope, she's still here! For a while, anyway. That was kind of... an odd day.
   
 #AggiePride even all the way in Indiana!



We've been trying to find a lot lately, and it's been pretty good! I mean, it's hard. And it was hard to get used to tracting again. But once we started it was a piece of cake. And I've had the best feeling! We haven't found anyone yet, but I know that I've been working my hardest, and I guess that's what matters, right! I think so, because I've definitely had the Spirit confirm to me that I've been doing the best I can. So it feels good!

This week is Easter, so will you all share with someone (via Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest or in person) the video on mormon.org/becauseofhim with someone?! I know I will! And I know that it will touch people! You can even use #BecauseofHim too! It's a thing! 

And you better do it. This girl LOVES hashtags! And I can't access social media right now! So you need to make up for me.

Love, Sister Kimberly



Monday, April 7, 2014

#OldLadyStatus



Dear Friends and Family,

I think... I'm getting old. I had a District Leader once tell us that the longer you were on your mission, the more you would start having the same symptoms that old people get, like hunched backs and sore joints... I thought he was just being funny, or just talking about the Elders... But no. This week, I hurt my back and I was so sore one day when I woke up. It was hard to want to do anything that day! But I did it because I'm diligent! Don't worry, I just had pulled a muscle while I was exercising the day before, and I'm feeling a lot better now, but I really felt like I was 20 going on 200! 

April Fools was this week! What did I do? Not a lot, but I did wear my nametag upside down... I don't know if that's really a prank, but it was fun anyways. Until I was telling random people what the name of my church was and pointed at my upside down tag. I'm pretty sure they couldn't really read it. Oh well. April Fool's right?!



I love Finding here in Bloomington. People are always outside, so it's easy to just walk around and talk to them. Teaching is a little rough, though. I think it's because our side of town is the wrong side of town, everyone lives in Section 8 housing and have other welfare programs supporting them. Not that that's bad! It's just we run into a lot of flaky people who want to change, but aren't necessarily willing to work for it. So finding is fun, but teaching to help people "progress" is a little harder.

We got to teach Linda, she's so great! I don't know why she won't get baptized. But hopefully if we start reading the Book of Mormon with her, the Spirit will touch her heart. She's been taught by missionaries for about a year and a half now, and she comes to Church pretty regularly, so that's great! She just needs to get baptized!

One of our investigators that always bails on us actually let us in to talk this week. She is so great! She told us all these stories about her past and the things that she's done to change, and it was so inspiring! She even told us she had quit smoking a couple weeks ago. She really is a miracle, but we went back yesterday and no one answered the door. Hopefully we'll catch her again soon, because she's so perfect!

We are learning how to give church tours as a mission now and I am so excited about them! It will be such a cool way to help members introduce their friends to the church. I'll probably tell you more about them later, though!

Crazy news though! 

Afterward, we all went out to lunch and that was pretty good, as always. But we all finished lunch and all of us Sisters went to the bathroom before we headed out. We had all gotten a call from Elder Hodges, the missionary in charge of all the cars in the mission. It was kind of weird, but he'd left everyone messages. It turns out all the Chevy Cruzes were recalled because of some defective part. And there are SO MANY of those cars in the mission. We had to take our car in immediately to have them check it. So we saw half the zone there again, because everyone drives that car. Everyone's was fine, except ours. But it turned out okay because it's safe to drive, they're just going to replace the part sometime soon just to be safe. But it's safe to drive for now, so we are lucky ducks!
We had Zone Meeting the next day... And it was just a normal zone meeting until we started practicing giving church tours! Levi walked in in the middle of our meeting! I guess the Elders were going to teach him in the afternoon, after lunch, but he came WAY early! Sister Hivner and I were about to start our practice, so we decided we might as well just practice with him! It was pretty cool, Sister Hivner was really nervous, but we had some awesome Spirit there! And I know Levi felt it. He kept saying there was something there and he just couldn't quite put his finger on it. SPIRIT!

A cute little boy in our ward that we taught a few times to prepare him for baptism got baptized this week. His name's Wesley and he is adorable! And so smart for a 7 year old (8 now). I loved teaching him, and I know he wasn't technically an investigator or anything, but he's still my baptism :) And he's good friends with Naciye's daughter, so he invited her and Naciye brought a couple of her kids! We scheduled a time to go back to see her, so we were able to teach Naciye a little bit about baptism. I love teaching Naciye, because I actually learn a lot from her! I know she's Muslim and I'm not, so we don't necessarily believe the same things, but we really kind of do! I love it! And she's totally open to finding the truth, if that's not Muslim, she'd definitely be willing to change. 



General Conference was awesome! In honor of the talk about following up, I am going to follow up with all of you! Did you watch Conference? And did you tweet about it (if you could)? I hope so, because I love when #LDSconf is on the list of the top ten hashtags or whatever. I loved Conference, I hope you all did too! :) Tell me what your favorite talks were, and why! I would love to hear all your thoughts! Send me a letter or a quick email, I want to hear!

It's been raining all week, though. April showers, I guess. It's great, though, I love the thunderstorms here! They are nothing like what we get in Utah, they're better!

Love, Sister Kimberly