Monday, March 24, 2014

So the freak out has begun. I am in 'ah, I have to get everything I have ever wanted to accomplish as a missionary done in the next 3 months mode' and let me tell you it is nuts. It is strange to think that my life as a missionary has an expiration date on it and it is just around the corner. I was focusing a lot on the 'I have to get this done because it is always something I have wanted to do as a missionary' which isn't always bad because it keeps me focused. But at the same time I kind of lost sight of whose work I am out here doing. There might be a lot I want to accomplish to feel like I served a successful mission but in the end it really all boils down to whether or not I fulfilled what the Lord would have me do. I studied chapter 1 in Preach My Gospel a lot this week. I realized that the most important thing I can do right now is focus on helping others come unto Christ. All of the other little goals just don't matter. I have the rest of my life to accomplish those things but I only have 3 more months to be the Lords ambassador full time. I can rest assured at the end of the day that the Lord is pleased with me if I have done all I can to listen to the guidance of the Holy Ghost. I know that there is still a GREAT work for me to do. I have the opportunity to change many more lives. I just need to stay focused on what really matters.
I have the opportunity to practice teach quite a few newly returned missionaries in my ward as well as many that have been back for some time. The number one thing I have learned is that a full time mission really is just preparation for the rest of my life. Sure I won't be able to focus ALL my time, efforts, and energy to missionary work but I can still make it a priority. I have come to see that the gospel of Jesus Christ is what truly matters in this world. If we will make time to continue to develop and work on the simple doctrines (faith, scripture study, prayer, etc.) life is all the more manageable. It is amazing to see the brilliant power and spirit the message of the Restoration brings each time I share it. The message never gets old and I have the opportunity to learn from so many different people about how it relates to them and see that it truly is a message for EVERYONE. It changes lives. It changes mine each day. Sometimes I am spiritually in tune and other days I am not. The great thing is the gospel is alway there ready for us to pick up where we left off. It is a plan for imperfect people to work toward their potential. It is a plan of hope and happiness. It is something that I want to share with all of my brothers and sisters!
I know that God lives and He loves us. We are His literal spirit children. I know that Jesus is the Christ. I know that He died for our sins. I know that we can be forgiven of all the mistakes we make no matter how terrible they may seem. I know the atonement can cure all things bad. I know that families can be together forever. I know that the gospel has been restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. He saw God the Father and His son Jesus Christ. I know that the same church Christ established is back on the earth today. We have the priesthood to bless our lives. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and contains the fullness of the everlasting gospel. And finally I know that you can know that these things are true too. All you have to do is ask. Prayer works. God is listening. He is there waiting to answer. All you have to do is ask and listen. Life is not perfect. Life is not easy. But it is possible. Because of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I hope you all have a marvelous week. I love and miss you all!
Sister Kimball :)

From March 10th

It is SUPER hot in the library and I haven't had anything to eat so I am feeling a little light headed staring at the screen so I am going to keep this short and simple. It has been a pretty eventful week. I will give you a rundown of the highlights. Some funny, others exciting, and then some downers.
1. We got back to our apartment after emailing and shopping on Monday and our door is ajar. We were super confused and wondered if we had forgotten to close it sicne we were all half asleep when we left to take S. Semones to the airport. We sat outside the door for a minute and then I just decide to kick the door open. As I do we see a guy standing in our living roon looking right at us. S. Rawle screams and and a lady comes from around the corner into the living room. I start busting up laughing. Turns out it is Elder and Sister Johnson doing our apartment clean checks. I saw the white shirt and tag before I had a chance to freak out. It was so funny. We were relieved to say the least to see that it was them and we hadn't gotten robbed or anything. Leave it to the senior couples to freak you out!
2. We had zone conference this week and President Orgill gave an amazing training on the difference between the forces of light and the forces of darkness. Both are around us all the time. We invite Satan and his followers to tempt us each time we break a commandment and as we justify our actions that multiplies the influence that they can have on each of us. They can pick up on our actions and attitudes and use that to their advantage. But on the flip side when we use the atonement and do what is right we have angels to beat us up. We have forces of light around us to help us. But we must invite them to help us. They will always be there with more power but unless me seek their help they cannot help us. Satans power is real. But so is Gods. We have the opportunity to personally bind Satan out of our lives by making good choices and following the example of the Savior. That is incrdible if you ask me. We are more powerful than we think.The other thing that he talked about that really struck me was who we were before we came to earth. I know that we are spirit sons and daughters of God and that we lived with Him before we cam to earth. President said, "If each of you were to get a glimpse of the strength you had and how righteous you were before, we would all have an increased desire to be better here and now." When he said that it made me want to be better regardless. I want to reach my potential and I know I can. It won't be easy but I have so many tools to help me. Like prayer, repentance, the atonement, scriptures, family, temple, church, faith, etc. We have it all. I want to have the forces of light around me. And I am working on telling the forces of darkness that pick on my weaknesses to get lost. I know you can all do the same and see how much joy comes from being your best self.
3. So you might be wondering, how is the work going? Well, at the beginning of teh week things were pretty slow but now I am happy to report that miracles never cease. It is amazing how the moment you have real faith and work your hardest the Lord provides you with blessings. Every single time. We went to contact a couple referrals that are roommates and as we did one was home and the other was not. We set up a lesson for Saturday. We show up to this lesson not sure what to think. We learn that he is a recovering addict of about a year and is in a place in his life where he needs a change. We had an awesome spirit felt lesson and invited him to be baptized on April 11th and he accepted. He is great and excited to learn more and figure out if the things we are teaching him are true. To give you an idea of what it is like working in YSA...when we asked him what it would mean to him to know that the experience Joseph Smith has was real, he paused for a minutes and said, "that would be super chill!" We agreed with him. He likes the ides of modern day prophets and the priesthood a lot. I can't wait to keep you updated. His buddy Norm is going to be there at our lesson with him this week. So we are banking on picking him up as an investigator and extending a baptismal date to him as well. We are super excited. The Lord is aware of us and helping us find those that are ready. It is interesting how in missionary life you can go from close to nothing going on to someone progressing towards baptism in just a matter of hours. It really is an exciting and unpredictable work. I know that everything happens for a reason. I am just helping the Lord in his work.
4. So super random experience that once again shows that the Lords hand is in everyting. I had the impression to facebook a friend from BYUI, Kelsey Flora, because she is from around where I serve and ask if she had any friends we could go visit. I end up running into her at the church building and being able to grab her number. We saw her last night and she told us that she was trying to figure out how to get in touch with the missionaries and then she got my message on fb. She is leaving on her mission soon and wants to go out with us as much as she can. It is weird to see her not in Idaho. It was a small example but we were an answer to each others prayers. I am excited to take her out with us. I have had so many little experinces like this on my mission that just help strenthen my testimony that Heavenly Father really is in charge. He knows us and loves us and want to help and bless us.
5. We had a little bit of a tragedy this week. We were over doing some service for a member when we get a phone call. It is for S. Rawle so I hand the phone over and she starts to go white in the face. Turns out one of the families from her first area (like the family that she fell in love with) the wife out of nowhere had a hurnia and died on Friday. Her husband was a nonmember that they had been working with and to make it even crazier S. Rawles sister served in Carlsbad years ago and brought the lady who died back to the gospel. So the husband wanted more than anything to track S. Rawle down which he did because she became like family. So needless to say she was a wreck. It was like finding out her sister had passed away. She is being really strong but I can tell how much she is hurting. It is so hard to see her so hurt. We have been talking a lot about the unexpected. How nothing is a for sure in this life. It just made me realize how every day really does matter. The small choices me make matter. It has been a really valuable learning experience. It has made me reflect and thank Heavenly Father that I ahven't had to go through anything like that before. But you just never know. You can never be too safe.
Life is full of the good the bad and the ugly. It has been a week full of that as well. But the Lord is always there to help us out. Sister Rawle said something super profound to me a couple days ago. She said, "I know that my friend that passed away is just a force of light in my life on the otehr side now." It makes me emotional just thinking about it. What an awesome perspective she has. She is such a wonderful example to me. I love being a missionary. I love seeing God run His work. I love knowing that I am where I am supposed to be doing what I am meant to be doing. His work is real and I love that I am a part of it.
I hope you all have a marvelous week! Cheer someone up this week. There is always someone worse off than you. Trust in the Lord. Seek for His help in all things!
I love and miss you all!
S. Kimball :)

From March 3rd

I like Spencer was not the smartest tool in the shed and kept my weekly email until last so my time is a little far spent but I will highlight the week. I liked the format Elder Kimball used in his email so I am going to be a copycat. That is the nice thing about getting his weekly email before I write my own...and can I jsut say that he is one awesome missionary and an amazing example to me! I am one luck girl to have such an awesome brother!
(Keep in mind that these are in no particular order...)
1. Life in YSA is definitely not the same as life in a family ward that is for sure. There is a lot of activities and drop bys and getting to know people. Everyone is my age(ish). Weird. But at the same time I feel like I can connect with them on a different level than I could with "older" people. It is interesting to learn what is important to different individuals and tailor the docrines of the gospel to what will help them. It is like a game. I would always fall back on the importance and blessing of eternal families but that isn't what is on a lot of young peoples minds these days. We don't have any progressing investigators right now which is always a little tough. I feel like a lot of my mission has been being put into areas where there isn't a lot going on but it all always seems to work out. There is so much potential in my area. We cover 2 stakes and have one of the best ward mission leaders around. It is going to be a great transfer.
2. A lot of this week was focused on getting S. Semones ready to go home. She had her departing interview on Tuesday. While she was doing that we orcestrated a surprise lunch for her with S. Orgill and all the office ladies that have become our adopted moms. We had that lunch on Friday and it was a blast. She was super surprised and happy. We also had her departing dinner at the mission home last night. There was delicious food, funny stories, and lots of laughing. It was fun to celebrate S. Semones and S. Risley (another sister going home, who was my very first exchange in the mission). They will both be missed.
3. Oh random funny story, on our way home from the mission office on Tuesday we stopped at Cafe Rio for lunch and bumped into some spanish elders. They came in right as we were finishing up. It is always a little funny when you show up at the same place as other missionaries. We said hi and chatted for a minute and we were on our way and didn't think much of it. Then after we were seated at Olive Garden on Friday for the surprise lunch who else is seated at the table next to us but those same spanish elders out of their area for lunch. We just start laughing when we see them. And joke around that they are following us. Turns out that they had a baptism the night before and one of the elders had a giftcard to Olive Garden but told him mom that he wouldn't use it until he was celebrating a baptism so they got permission to go to lunch there. What a small world. What are the odds that they would show up right behind us to lucnch twice on the same week. Fun times.
4. It has been super rainy here for the past week which has been a nice change. It hasn't slowed us down any and California needs it so it is a true answer to prayers. It makes talking to people while we are out a challenge but kind of fun at the same time. We made a goal to talk to a red heard, a black person and get a sticker for our tags on Saturday and we acheived all three. Who says being a missionary can't be fun? :)
5. I love life and I am happy. The Lord truly is aware of each of us and the trials and struggles that we face. The Atonesment is for everyone and everything. I watched a lot of different mormon messages this week and it really opened my eyes to the way that we treat ourselves and others. I would encourage all of you to ward the new mormon message on bullying. It is frighting the way that peopel talk to each other these days. We have made it a goal in our companionship to stay positive and talk about others the way we would if Christ was around even when what we might want to say that is negative is true. We are all children of God and he loves each one of us. I am trying to develop that love for ALL that I serve around. It is not always easy but the blessing of the atonement is slowly making it possible! Don't let pride get in the way.
6. Finally, we dropped S. Semones off at the airport this morning. It was weird to see her off. I think I mentioned this before but it is a tradition for some missionaries to grad a baggage tag and put the elastic part around their wrist to remind them how short our time as full time missionaries really is. I put one of those around my wrist in addition to the one I have from when S. Bergau went home. It is a good reminder. Sometimes the reality of a mission actually ending is hard to grasp. She was ready. It was her time. I can't wait to hear how her homecoming experience was. S. Semones served an awesome mission and impacted a lot of lives including my own. As we were walking out of the airport with President he confirmed my departure date for June 25th and it was weird to hear. I know my time is short and I want more than anything to do ALL I can before I go. I know there is still work for me to do. Sometimes it is hard to be companions with someone that is leaving but it really wasn't. It was her time but it wasn't mine.
7. S. Rawle and I continue to get along great. We have a blast together. We are going to get so much work done. We are both so excited to help this ward progress. I am happier than ever! This church is true and the gospel changes lives. It has changed mine and continues to everyday.
I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!
:) S. Kimball

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