Monday, June 23, 2014

Well...this is it!

Aloha for the last time....
So the tears have begun. Emotions are high. I am going to keep this short and simple.
The last week of your mission is a reflection period. You think back to life before you even left and then all that has happened to this current point. For me I had the realization that a mission was the last thing in the world that I wanted to do. It was never part of my plans and I didn't want it to be. I was on an exchange with one of my best mission friends and as we sat there with tears in my eyes I looked at her and said, "What if we had chosen not to serve missions? What if we had never met?" There are so many people that I could stop and have that conversation with and ask those questions to. There are so many reasons that I needed to serve a mission. Majority of them being selfish. I have been transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ into the kind of person that I have always longed to be. I am still so far from perfect but I have learned how to overcome the natural man. I have an entirely different view on the world and that is thanks to a deeper understanding of the plan of salvation. There is no such thing as coinsidence. I know that I hve been changed for good.
As i shared my testimony in District Meeting and church for the last times I was filled with the Spirit of the Lord and I talked about things that I hadn't even realized I have learned. I was overcome with emotion as I realized once and for all how blessed I have been because of my service to the Lord, my Savior for the past 18 months. You get to a point where you want to repay Him, by working harder but then your time is up. Luckily, I have the rest of my life to live in a way that shows my Heavenly Father how much I appreciate Him and all He does for me.
At the conclusion of my departing interview with my mission president I asked for a priesthood blessing. As president Orgill placed his hands on my head I immediately knew that the words I was about to hear were from my Father in Heaven. Turns out that my mission was a preparation for the rest of my life. The blessing sounded similar to that of a setting apart. I really did view it as a setting apart to never forget the things that I have learned. A setting apart to remember how to stay on the straight and narrow path and help others to do the same.
Although, the emotions are high and it doesn't quite feel like my time to go I am at peace. I know that I have served well. I know that the work I have done is eternal. I know that it matters more than anything else. I know that this was the best way i could have spent the last 18 months. I know that everything happens for a reason. I was meant to start in Anaheim and end in Irvine. My entire mission was made for me. I know that for a fact. It wasn't easy. It was actually the hardest thing I have ever done. But it taught me that I am capable of a lot more than I thought. I now know that I can make it through ANYTHING with the help of the Lord.
This gospel is perfect. It changes lives. It was restored by a prophet of God. The priesthood has the power to heal. The work done in the temple binds heaven and earth. Families can be together forever. Thank goodness.
I just want to thank all of you all one last time for your prayers and support. You have no idea how much I appreciate it. It is sometimes what kept me out here. The Lord is mindful of us all.
Have a wondefrul week! I will talk to many of you soon!
I love you all!
For the last time...
Sister Kimball

Monday, June 16, 2014

I have come to realize that part of coming to the end of your mission means you are asked to bear your testimony ALL the time and you randomly get emotional at weird times. But shockingly I have made it through each testimony without crying. How do you explain that one?
My testimony of bearing testimony has been strengthened this week. I know that as I reflect back on my mission and all of the people I have met and experiences I have had I see the hand of the Lord in my life. I know how inspired each companion I have served in has been. Each was to bless my life and help me grow. I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us.
I had my first official break down last night. I was praying and just started opening up to my Heavenly Father. I shared with Him how much my mission means to me. I shared with Him how scared I am to go home. I shared with Him how hard it is going to be to say goodbye. In the midst of all those emotions I was overcome with a feeling of peace and calm. Although, I still experience those emotions somewhat regularly these days I know that everything will work out.
The things that matter most are the relationships I have made. I am excited to teach my investigators for the last few times and to bear a bold testimony to each of them that in order to receive all the blessings they desire they must take a leap of faith and be baptized. I want them to know that I have a sure testimony of the things that I have taught them and the things that they will continue to be taught!
I have made so many amazing friendships. There are so many missionaries that I look to as family. I have created bonds with people that are far beyond my mission.
It truly has been the best 18 months for my life and I can't wait to finish strong in these last 10 days. I still have time to experience so many more miracles. They happen each and every day.
I hope you all have a great week! Pay attention to the little things!
I love you all!
Sister Kimball :)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Aloha Friends and Family!
I don't even know where to begin. I am just overwhelmed with the spirit and have a lot of gratitude in my heart for the blessings that Heavenly Father has given me. As I have thought lately of all the different choices that life brings I am still humbled by the fact that I made it out on a mission despite my pride. A mission was never in my original plans. A mission wasn't for me. I could do without a mission. I had my life pretty figured out. I thought I was on a pretty good path. And to be honest it wasn't a bad one. But Hevenly Father had a much better path prepared and planned for me. And now today two weeks from ending this amazing journey I can say without a doubt that a mission, my mission, was definitely for me. I have learned so many things. I have experienced the highest highs and the lowest lows. I have met eternal friends. I have become an immovable representative of my Savior Jesus Christ. I have learned a lot about myself. My weaknesses. My strengths. I have been converted through the power of the atonement. There have been countless experiences that help me recognize just how inspired my mission has been. I know I came when and where I did for a very significant and true purpose. I know that these past 18 months have prepared me for the rest of my life. I have tasted a piece of the celestial kingdom and I want others to taste it too. This is just the beginning. I want to and will work my hardest to one day receive that complete joy in the presence of my Father and Brother. And I will help others do the same. Life is full of twists and turns but as we hold to the iron rod and keep the commandments we will be blessed.
I know that my purpose is to lift the faith of all of those around me. Be a friend. Smile. Serve. Help others recognize their potential. I have been thinking a lot about what I want the last 2 weeks of my mission to look like. It of course is unpredictable but I know that I want it to be filled with those that I have come to love. I know that I want to bear my testimony every chance I get. I know I want to leave a mark of love and friendship. Time is one of the most valuable resources we have. My time is running out but I know that the effect I can have is still great. I want to make sure that I finish strong.
I often wondered why the first and second great commandments were to love God and then to love our everyone else as ourselves. I have reflected on this a lot. I know that it is hard for me to love certain people. The Savior is perfect. He is always there to help and uplift us. He is so easy to love. And that is why it is the first commandment to love Him, so we can practice the love we have for Him which comes naturally, on others. I know that when I have prayed for charity my heart is filled with the christlike love I have for those that it is easy for me to love. This feeling doesn't always come right away and it is very closely linked with my desire. I know that all the attributes of Christ come when we work for them. And when we put in the effort the joy that comes is unlike anything else.
I know that God has a plan for each of us. I know that no matter where we are we can always draw closer to Him and find more joy. I am scared to come home and leave my mission family behind but I truly know it is not an ending but just a beginning. Attitude is everything. Heavenly Father is real. He hears and answers prayers.
I hope you all have a wonderful week! Listen to the promptings of the still small voice!
I love you all!
:) Sister Kimball

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


Quick update on my investigators and that is all you are getting this week. I have a lot of good stuff to report next week!
Our area is doing wonderfully. Missionary work is really taking off for us.
We have Nikki who has a baptismal date in August and is progressing very well. She loves our visits. Loves church. She is reading the Book of Mormon on her own as well as with us. She has amazing questions. Her member boyfriend who introduced her to the church will be in town this next week and we are anxious and excited to meet him. She is right on track.

Natalie has taken a few steps back but it is for the best. She had a baptismal date for this Friday but she has a job right now that keeps her from coming to church. She felt like being baptized was too big of a step when she is unable to commit to coming to church right now. She takes all of this very seriously. So right now we have shifted our focus to trying to help her find a new job which she is very open about so that she can come to church. She is scared of the commitment. She just wants to make sure that she is doing the right thing. We have been focusing a lot on faith, prayer, and the guidance of the holy ghost. Slowly she is becoming more comfortable. In one of our most recent lessons with her we talked about our role as her helpers and how we will love her no matter what. We felt that she needed the feeling of pressure to be completely removed. Especially, since her member friend that lives in Northern California has been pushing it a little. So we are taking a few steps back together and reevaluating how to get her to her ultimate goal of baptism when it feels right.

We picked up Jessica from the Laguna Beach elders. She is a Chinese girl here as a nanny for a family. She has been meeting with a bunch of different missionaries over the past 5ish months and has expressed that she likes the singles ward the best because there are people her age. She is 25. We are excited to be working more closely. I was actually serving in Laguna Beach when she was found and met her a couple times at church. She has been the last couple of times and is slowly getting integrated into the ward. It is exciting to watch.

Life is so good. I love the work. I love my ward. I love my companion. I love my mission.
I hope you will all pray for missionary opportunities this week or for those returned missionaries out there, reflect on your missions and the lessons you learned.
The Lord is waiting to bless us.
I love you all!
Have the most spledid week!
:) Sister Kimball

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

29 Days

It is officially June gloom weather. It is overcast most of the time. The nice thing is it is still warm but you don't have the sun beating down on you. I am hoping that I am still able to get a little color through the clouds. It would be embarrassing to come home from Southern California pasty white. I am sure I will have some horrific tan lines to figure out #missionaryproblems. 
Anyway, it has been a terrific week. The learning never ceases. 
I have been thinking about my mission a lot this week. I was thinking about all of the mistakes I have made. I was thinking about all of the miracles I have witnessed or been a part of. I was thinking of all the amazing people I have met and created lifetime relationships with. I was thinking of the good times. The bad times. The funny times. The spiritual times. And everything else in between. But in the end all the natural man in me really focused on was all of the missed opportunities. All the things I could have done better. When the clock is ticking it makes you second guess things and wonder if you really are "returning with honor". Like countless times before the Lord opened my eyes and helped me to see all of the good I have done. He blessed me with multiple tender mercies. Many of them small but of great worth and significance to me. 
I would like to share a couple of those experiences with you:
1.There is nothing quite like someone complimenting you. Especially when you are feeling a little down in the dumps. I think that most of us get a little uncomfortable or awkward when they are being paid a compliment. I know I do. But the feeling of joy that accompanies it is so great. My companion Sister Wilkerson and I don't always get along. But we love each other. We are both strong willed and stubborn. But we are also willing to point out a strength when we see it. As we got back into the car after a lesson she just sat there for a minute and then said, "You know what? You are an amazing teacher. You just connect with people on such a genuine level. You are real. You don't fake it. You teach them what they need. You listen not only to the Spirit but to them. You have a gift for teaching and connecting with people." I am getting emotional as I type this up. What an amazing compliment that I am not sure I deserve. But it came right when I needed it. Right when I was feeling like I wasn't making a difference. I am the biggest believer in Spencer W. Kimball's idea that many times the Lord answers our prayers through other people. That was very true in this instance. 
2. There has been a lot of stress in the mission. There are a lot of people in SoCal. There are so many opportunities to baptize. But the work is hard. Not everyone is interested. We have a lot of missionaries with extra needs. But there are still Standards of Excellence (goals produced by the mission president and assistants) to uphold and pressure to bring people into the waters of baptism. Sister Wilkerson and I were out walking around a nature park right across from our church building on Sunday before church talking to people. No one was interested. Everyone was busy biking or hiking. We felt kind of useless. We found a boulder in the shade and went and sat down on it. We sat there in silence for a good 15 minutes just thinking. Then out of no where the 1st counselor in our mission presidency, President Ellis shows up. I have worked pretty closely with him and grown to love and admire him a lot. He told us what an awesome idea it was for us to be sitting out in the park. He went on to talk about how there is a lot of stress in the mission because our measure of success is skewed. When Elder Anderson was here he talked about the importance of lifting the faith of those around us. He talked about how we never know what influence we are going to have on people. A lot of times a simple hello or acknowledging that someone is there goes a long way. P. Ellis told us how we are being missionaries when we are just out and about wearing our namtags loud and proud. We will never know the impact we will have on someone's life. Often times we freak out thinking if we don't talk about the church right away the opportunity is lost. But maybe all that person needs is someone to talk to. Isn't that true for all of us? In many ways we want instantanious results. We want a baptismal committment within 10 minutes of talking to someone. We challenge the will of the Lord with our personal wants. The Lord will do his work on His timetable. We are asked to invite, to love, to lift faith. If we are doing those things the Lord will bring the miracles and he will guide His children to us or us to them when the time is right. We need to stop trying to do it our way and do it His way. It was a blessing from heaven that day to talk to P. Ellis. He put a lot of things into perspective. And while we were sitting there feeling lame, he complimented us for being out and allowing others to see us. It all has to do with out motives and perspective. Sometimes the little things are the things that have the most impact.
3. Sister Wilkerson and I were talking about pride. So often we allow Satan to get into our heads and distract us from what is right in front of us. This has definitely been true for me many times in my life and specicially with all the negative thoughts about my mission. Along with that there have been fears of going home. Worry of what it will be like. Will all of the things I have planned for myself work out. And so on. What we realized is that all of these thoughts are selfish. We came to the conclusion that the past doesn't matter because of the Atonement. Every day we can repent and have a fresh start. The future is out of our control and when we worry about it we forfeit our faith. We get so caught up in thinking about the past and the future that we miss the present. Now is the time to learn and grow. All the yesterdays are turning us into the person that our Heavenly Father wants us to be in the eterneties. There are always things that we can do better and that is what the tomorrows are for. When we fear things our trust disappears. I have realized that fear is natural. So it is kind of dumb to say "I am going to overcome fear all together." Instead the frame of mind should be I want to develop the natural response of turning to the Savior any time I feel that fear. We can improve how quickly we do that. It is something I have been working on my whole mission. I am still far from perfect but I have made a lot of progress and the best part of all is I am a lot happier. We don't know everything. But God does. Trust in Him and have hope that it will all work out in our favor. Beacuse with His help it will.
Pitty parties don't get you very far. Feeling sorry for yourself just leads to unhappiness. But using the Atonement and prayer do work. They bring a new found sense of hope and peace. None of us are perfect but we are all enough in the Lords eyes. He loves us and accepts us regardless of our shortcomings and faults.
I encourage all of you to compliment someone this week. Say hi. Smile. Serve. You never know the impact it will have and it will make you feel good.
When we make time for the Lord, He will make time in our own schedule for ourselves. We can still get it all done. We just have to sacrifice to show Him that He is worth it.
I hope you all have a great week! I love you!
:) Sister Kimball