Monday, February 25, 2013

February 25, 2013

Hola Friends and Family,

Well things just keeping looking up and getting better and better. Nothing about my days are changing but the attitude that I have and how comfortable I am is improving so much. I am finding so much more joy in the journey. Heavenly Father is blessing me in ways I never knew possible. It is incredible to see His hand in my life and come to realize that He truly does have a plan for me. One of those blessings this week was the opportunity I had to street contact with success. As a missionary you are encouraged to talk to everyone. This is something that I have been struggling with. Luckily it is one of Sister N's strengths. She isn't afriad to talk to anyone. I am trying so hard to follow her example. My testimony of opening your mouth and simply testifying of true doctrine was strengthened as I approched strangers on the street. Although, a lot of people do not listen those that do are what I remember. We had the blessing of coming across three new converts this week. You might think that is incredible and it is but I am quickly learning that in missionary world you are lucky if one of those three keepys their appointment. I am still new and filled with that untouchable optimism. I have faith in everyone. I don't want that fire to burn out. It is something that has helped my desire to talk to everyone grow. It is amazing how my heart and ability to love people has grown. It does not mean that it is always easy to love people but i pray to see how God sees them and it changes my persepective. I focus on who they can become not who they are now. Since we have been tracting and street contacting quite a bit this week our numbers were better than ever. I have come to realize that statistics really don't matter but they do help to motivate me to continue to work hard. When you put faith into action things happen.

Update on investigators:

Our investigators are doing well. We had two come to church yesterday which was wonderful. A continues to grow in the gospel but we have run into a hold up with her parents. They have nothing against the church but are afraid that A is too young to be baptized and is not ready to make that kind of commitment. We are working on them accepting to take the lessons themselves. The best case senario would be to teach and baptize them all together. Her parents are divorced which makes things a little more difficult but we are hopeful things will work out as we continue to teach and not be too pushy. Her father Tony sat in on our last lesson with her and said he would read from the Book of Mormon and pray to know if his daughter should be baptized as well as himself. He is definitely searching for the truth and we are so glad we are here to help him find it through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

P has felt the power of the Spirit but he is not confident that he can feel it when we are not there. We help him feel it while we visit with him but as soon as we leave the Spirit goes with us. He is a good man trying to do his best. He is slow to follow commitments but I think he will get there with our love and persistence.

And finally we have R. She is such a sweetheart. I told Sister N that I was going to be bold with her this week and get down to the real reason she is struggling to be baptized and when we were with her I just couldn't be as straight forward as I had planned. She is fragile and lonely and in need of a friend. I was however able to ask her some direct questions. She explained that she feels like the Book of Mormon is a journal and not as powerful as the Bible. We have made it a goal to read from the Book of Mormon each week with her and strengthen her understanding. She admitted that she is the one holding herself back from knowing if the gospel of Jesus Christ is true. She said she has a hard heart because of things that have happened in her past. She has endured much loss. I think she knows at this point that if she prays Heavenly Father will give her an answer but she isn't at the point of being committed to act on that answer. We pray continually that she will have the desire to change. We challenged her to being a question to church with her. She was there for all three hours and the lesson in Relief Society was all about the comfort and companionship of the Holy Ghost. It was like the lesson was hand picked by the Lord for R. We are so excited and curious to see what Rachels sabbath day experience was like when we meet with her later this week. I'll keep you updated!

I continue to seek guidance on how to be better from my Father in Heaven. I strive to be obedient and deserve the blessings I need at this time. I know He is aware of not only me but my companion and the people that we teach. It is amazing how when you are doing what is right and working hard the Lord will cause miracles to happen. I have seen the definition of miracle change in my life and I have become a lot more grateful for the little things. I have the opportunity to meet with President B this Wednesday for my first round of interviews. I look forward to reporting my progress and receiving council.

During my personal study each day I have been reading from the beginning of the Book of Mormon. Never in my life have I related to the scriptures more. The words of the prophets really do have something realevant to each of us. I'd like to share a verse from 1 Nephi 10:18-19:
18 For he (GOD) is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him (CHRIST).
19 And he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of teh Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round.
I love these verses because it really proves to me that God loves all His children equally and His gospel has never changed. he loves us so much that He has not only prepared a plan of happiness but a specific plan for each of us. All we have to do is seek after it and we will find it. I have been working at having the holy Ghost with me and standing as a witness of God at all times and in all things and in all places as an example to those around me. I want the people of La Habra to have the chance to know God and come unto Him through His son Jesus Christ who is the Savior of the world. My purpose is simple and powerful. It is hard but it is worth it. I am bringing salvation unto the souls of men.

I invite and challenge all of you to look and pray for missionary opportunities and when they come TAKE THEM. The Lord will prepare a way for you in all things like it states in 1 Nephi, this included missionary opportunities. Beleive me, I know it is not easy but it is worth it. The knowledge of the gospel is priceless. It is something that others need. Share it.

I love you all very much!

Sister Kimball (Kris)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Greetings from La Habra!

Greetings from La Habra!

The hard times really don't last forever. I am greatful for that. Last week was a struggle. I definitely think I prayed more than I ever have. I still pray often and have times of doubt but for the most part I am enjoying the journey and looking forward to all the things I have to learn. I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ changes people in ways that they didn't even know they needed to be changed. I know that the work that I am doing is incredibly important. It is discouraging at times but that doesn't keep me from moving forward. I have been reading in the Book of Mormon a lot recently and I have come to the conclusion that faith truly is the root amd foundation of all things in the gospel. We have to put our trust in the Lord and act on the promptings we are given if we want blessings. This is not always easy. But if we have that faith and follow God he will hold up His end of the bargin 100% of the time. The gospel is simple and plain but it is hard because the work is never over. There is always something more. I have learned to look at this as a blessing. How wonderful that I can always improve myself and become better. As long as we try the Lord will bless you. I know that to be true from a lot of personal experience recently.

La Habra is at the northern tip of the mission. Our area is slow in missionary work right now and we are implementing many of our 'finding' tools to help us navigate to those that are prepared to hear the gospel. We ask everyone that we meet if they know someone that would be interested in the gospel whether they themselves are intertested or not. Sister N is incredible at talking to everyone that crosses our path and giving them a or passalong card. I still struggle to have that confidence but it is coming slowly. We tract most days. We don't have a lot of success. We are excited when people listen and accept our invitation to come back to teach a lesson but most times they are not home or don't answer their phones when we call to confirm our appointment. There is a lot of rejection that comes with being a missionary. I have learned quickly to shake that rejection off and seek out those that are ready for the truth. They are out there. I know they are. Faith plays a role in helping us be directed to certain places. We receive referrals from the Spanish Elders and none have proven successful yet but we are hopeful.

Our most progressive investigaror right now is A. She is 11 years old. She has been taught the first 3 lessons. I finally got to meet her on Friday and fell in love with her instantly. She loves to sing and is just so full of life. Her testimony and desire to follow Christ is inspiring. We taught her the importance of keeping the Sabbath day holy and she just gets it and commited so willingly. Her parents are divorced and they previous sisters have attempted to teach both her mother and father. Both are supportive of A but claim they are too busy to take the lessons right now. She is such an example to her family. I have a good feeling that as she progresses in the gospel her parents will become more curious. We plan to work on them this week. We extended an invitation for A to be baptized on March 24th and she accepted. We are hopeful that things will go according to plans.

My time is short. I want you all to know that I have a testimony of the gospel. I know that Heavenly Fatehr answers our prayers. Please do your best to be an example to those around you and be a member missionary. Read the scriptures they will answer any question you might be struggling with. I am so greatful for trials and the things we learn from them. The companionship of the Holy Ghost is one of our greatest gifts.

I love you all!

Sister Kimball

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

First week in the field

Hello All,

Wow this week has been hard to say the least. I finally made it to California last Tuesday. It was so weird leaving the mtc. I was in denial the whole way to the airport and even through security and onto the plane. I was simply going through the actions with little thought. I think it was better that way. I was greeted by President Bowen, the AP's and a few other Elders. I was assigned my companion and area later on that day.

I am serving in the La Habra area and my trainer is Sister N from the Philipines. This is her first time training and she is a little unsure of herself and nervous but she is very nice and patient with me. I have been homesick and having trouble adjusting to things. She says that she had the same struggle when she was new and understood what I was going through. It is nice to know that I am not the only one. I live in a small one room apartment with a kitchenette. It isn't anything special and I am told it is the worst apartment out of all the missionaries but it's all we need. We have a car and I am the driver. It is such a blessing to be in a car area. The weather has been colder than I was hoping in the low 50's but that is better than Provo so I try not to complain.

My ward is awesome. The people are so warm and inviting. They are full of encouragement. We have dinner appointements each night with ward members and it is my favorite part of the day. I know it is a time I will be around people that love me and share my beliefs. I can share my testimony openly and feel of the Spirit in their homes. It is a blessing to have such a supportive ward.

It was my birthday yesterday and honestly I tried not to think about it too much because it made me homesick. It was a good day. Church is nice because it is 3 hours of safe spiritual enlightenment. Our last stop of the night was to the ward mission leaders house. I thought we were going to talk over plans for the week but little did I know my district was all there for a surprise cake party. It was nice to see how much I am cared about. Although, I am still the new girl i am becoming more comfortable with my district and zone. The other missionaries in my district are ASL and are learning sign language. One of the elders is actually deaf. It is a neat experience to spend time with them and see how they do missionary work a little differently.

I have not tracted yet and that is what freaks me out the most. I am ready to overcome that fear and just learn to talk to everyone. I forget sometimes that the message that I have to share is lifechanging and something I would want to know if I didn't have the gospel. I pray for the courage each day and Heavenly Fatehr is helping me. It is interesting to see that I don't have any problems teaching a lesson. I am confident and know how to connect with people. There is no difference when you are tracting other than the fact that they aren't planning on you. I am still getting used to the fact that it is my job to be bold and talk to everyone and be a representative of Jesus Christ at all times. It is the struggle that I am working on the most.

It has been hard for us to meet with our investigators. We have stopped by many of their houses many times and they are not home. I have however met and taught a few lessons. I met with B  who is about 30 years old. She is married and has 2 daughters. Her husband was meeting with the missionaries in Long Beach and they had been to church a few times but then they moved to La Habra and lost contact with the missionaries. Now she is the main one getting the lessons and we are hopeful that she will progress. We taught her the plan of salvation on Friday and she loved the idea of eternal families like most people do. We are hoping she will pray and receive an answer. If not we will pray with her during our next lesson.

We also met with a former investigator J. He was too busy to meet with the missionaries but says he has time now. No one was home when we were there so we taught him a short lesson on his pourch about turing to the Lord in our trials and set up another time to meet with him. He is a nice man and I can tell he wants to learn more. I am excited to meet with him.

When I am with investigators and less actives I forget about my worries and focus on them and the gospel. It is when I am the happiest. I am hoping as I get more used to missionary life I won't struggle with being homesick anymore. I know that Heavenly Father answers prayers. I have turned to Him a lot this past week and He has been there to comfort me. I know that as I am obedient and do everything I can to be the best representative of Jesus Christ I can be I will be blessed with the things that I need at this time. I know this is true for everyone. I encourage all of you to pray for missionary opportunities and take them when they come. I know you will be blessed. It isn't easy. I know that. But it is worth it.

The gospel changes lives. I am being more and more converted everyday.
I appreciate everyones prayers. I pray for you all and think of you often. Probably more than I should. lol But that is okay.

I love you and God loves you. Never fotget that. Have a good week!

Much Love,

Sister Kimball

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Week 2 - January 29, 2013

Greetings from the MTC!

I can't believe I have been here for two weeks and I am leaving for Anaheim a week from today. The days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like months. I am literally on the go from 6:30 -10:30 everyday. I am tired all the time but you just get used to it. I can't explain it in any other way than the journey here is an emotional roller coaster. I am slowly learning that they kind of tear you down in order to build you back up. It is a humbling process. I am coming to a realization that I am not the best teacher but when I teach with the Spirit I do so much better. I was called on to speak in sacrament meeting this week. We are all required to write a 3-5 minute talk each week on a certain topic. This week it was on finding faith in Jesus Christ. Usually being called up with no warning would freak me out but I wasn't nervous at all. In two weeks I have become used to sharing a principle of the gospel and my testimony at the drop of a hat. Faith has become one of my favorite topics of all. We can literally do nothing without it. We must put our trust in the Lord and follow His example. It is an action word. Like is says in the scriptures, "faith with out work is dead". I know that this is true. When I am nervous for a lesson with my progressive investigators and don't feel like I am prepared and don't think that I can do well I don't. But when I do all I can and trust that the Spirit will be there with me I know what to say and I can relate to the investigators much better. One of our investigators names is Roland. He is a film student that grew up Catholic and has a belief in God and a desire to follow him. He opened up about an addiction problem that he has been struggling with. We taught him about the atonement and explained that he could repent. I could see the hope return to his eyes. As we explained baptism and the remission of our sins I knew that it was exactly what he needed. Inviting him to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God was an incredibly powerful experience. Hearing him accept this invitation was literally music to our ears. I have gained such a testimony of the power of faith and prayer. Sister Sowards and I pray all the time. As do I on my own. There is nothing like being in constant contact with God.

On a more humorous note, we had quite the experience earlier this week on Tuesday night. We all went to bed as usual not knowing that we were in for a weird and unfortunately funny experience. I woke up to a strange noise at about 1am. It took me awhile to realize that Sister Sowards was throwing up. She was so sick and since she was on the top bunk didn't have time to make it to the bathroom. I asked her is she was okay and before she could respond she ran to the bathroom. I followed after her to see if she was okay. She said this was the second time she had been sick tonight. Our other roommates were up at this point. One called the front office and told them what was going on. Before she could finish the call she had to run to the bathroom and be sick herself. It is awful but we all couldn't help but laugh. The two sick sisters went to the main office together to meet with a doctor. Sister McKay and I were left behind to figure out what to do with the throw up. Our room smelt awful. We were told that someone would be sent to clean up the mess. We didn't know where to go. We finally decided to move our mattresses into the hallway. Right as we were laying back down a couple security guys come around the corner. They were the ones sent to deal with the mess. We felt so bad for them. They looked like a few BYU students. We lead them to the mess and apologized that they had to clean it up. As they looked through the supply closet and tried to figure out what to do we overheard them talking. One said to the other "Dude we should just vacuum it up!" The other responded, "you can't vacuum up barf." Sister McKay and I got the giggles so bad. It was a weird night to say the least. In the morning the girls were still sick and we had a day off to stay with them. I was able to go on splits and make it to my afternoon classes which was nice. Luckily, Sister Sowards is doing better. We said a lot of prayers on her behalf. And as if that wasn't depressing enough to other members of our district had the same stomach virus. We were falling apart. Elder Noall from our district was sent home for medical reasons. He is losing sight in his right eye and they think he might have a tumor. We all took it pretty hard. He stayed so faithful though. As I said my goodbyes he looked me in the eye and said "You will see my in Anaheim sometime. I know it. The Lord has a work for me to do." His faith was so inspiring. The people here are so dedicated to serving the Lord. It is amazing to be surrounded by such incredible spirits and testimonies.

My time is always short. This was a blink in my week but two of the things that stuck out the most. I am becoming more confident in my abilities. All things are possible with the help of the Lord. Every second of everyday has taught me something. There is value in the good and the bad times. I have witnessed miracles. Although, small they were the hand of God working in my life. I challenge all of you to do the same. Look for the hand of God in your life every day. I know it's there you just have to be aware. God loves us all. He knows our trials. Turn to Him in all things. The gospel is true. It changes lives. It's already changed mine and affected me in these two weeks.

I love you all!

Sister Kimball

p.s. I love hearing from you. I might not email again until I am in California since I leave on my P day! 

Week 1 - January 22, 2013

Hello All,

I can't believe I made it to my first P-Day. I'm not going to lie I've been looking forward to it. We had the chance to go to the temple this morning which was incredible. It is nice to have the chance to wear sweats and have some me time. The mtc has been an interesting experience to say the least. You never know what it is really like until you experience it for yourself. It is incredible to feel the love of my leaders, teachers, other missionaries, and most importantly my Heavenly Father every minute of every day. I have had some good days and some bad days. This is definitely an emotional roller coaster. That said I have already had countless opportunities to go out of my comfort zone and do things I would never really do. As a missionary you are constantly busy studying, in class, eating, or practicing on fake investigators. It has been hard to teach and I still feel like I have so much to learn. I have struggled to feel adequate but have constantly been reminded that through God all things are possible. I know that through my obedience and faith I can succeed.

A little bit about my district...they are incredible. My companion Sister Sowards is from San Antonio, Texas. She is 20 and a BYU student. We get along well most of the time. We both had a similar experience in deciding to go on a mission which has made opening up to her so much easier. She is going to Anaheim as well. The other sisters in our district are a threesome, Sister Folsom a 19 year old nursing student at the UofU from Salt Lake, Sister Wasdon from Rexburg, and Sister Mickelson that goes to BYUI as well. They are going to Long Beach along with Elder Mann from Houston and Elder Miller from Mississippi who are both powerhouse converts with incredible conversion stories. Elder George and Elder Jensen are going to Long Beach as well both born and raised Utah boys. And finally Elder Morin from Montana and Elder Noall from Utah are going to Anaheim as well. I knew Elder Morins brother from BYUI. I had a crush on him back in the day. Elder Morin says he's still not married and he thinks I should write him. :) We are all so different and have different strengths that we bring to the district. I know that Heavenly Fatehr put me with them for a reason. Elder Miller who's 24 and I can been coined "grandma and grandpa' of the district. We have fun together but more importantly we help each other become more confident and effective missionaries.

My time is running short and I feel like I have so much more to say. Once I am in the mission field I will have more time.The most important thing I have learned is that I need to forget myself. Everything I do is for my investigator. It is incredible to focus all your time on others. It was a hard transition but I am loving it. My Branch presidency is incredible. They are kind but bold. We are taught regularly to be exactly obedient and I am striving to do that. We are taught that we must fully convert ourselves before we can convert others. I have been working diligently and striving to gain a deeper testimony, in turn becoming a better example. You can only teach that which you know.

Thank you for all of your prayers. The church is true. Pray to Heavenly Father, He's there! Keep the dearelders coming. They are one of the things that help me get through the tough times. Oh and I am still on the 3 week track. I am planned to leave 2 weeks from today on February 5. Thank goodness for that. I need all the practice I can get. I will write more specifics to individuals!!

I love you all so much!!

Sister Kimball