Monday, July 25, 2011

Well we´re IN our 5th week. I don´t know where all the time has gone. Where is it going? I don´t know. I passed 5 months on the 23rd. WOW!!!!! WHAT? How did that happen. I´m almost at hermana time now (18 months-joke) But seriously I don´t know where all the time is going.

Motril is really a beautiful town. La Costa del Sol (Coast of the Sun) is beautiful Mediterranean (I can´t spell) coast line. We went to a nearby city for District meeting on Tuesday and had to wait an extra hour for our bus so we went to this overlook point to the Sea and it really was beautiful.

It seems wherever I go I always make friends with homeless people. And I love them. I met this man from England who was traveling around Spain. We talked to him a few times while he was here. It's so interesting some people´s view points of the world. Its sad to hear people say there is no love in the world. I´m sad for them. He asked us to pray for his liver to hold up til he gets up North (jaja). We told him we would.

Also theres this woman who sleeps outside of our building and one night we said hi to her and she showed us these GIGANTIC pair of scizzors she carries to protect herself and she made stabbing motions at pretend attackers. Then just cackled and we ran inside. Oh how I love these people.

There's also something TERRIBLE that happens in Motril during the summer time. When Spaniards are hungry-they can´t pray!!!!!! (I hope you are all getting my sarcasm) Really we were told so many times by people that they couldn´t pray because they were hungry??? What?? We both just kind of laughed we didn't know what to say, so we just prayed instead and tried not to laugh. That is one of the funniest excuses I´ve heard.

Oh ya we go over every other day to this member´s house, he has some mental problems and LOVES when we come over. But we went over one night this week and he was watching the News and I have NO IDEA whats going on in the World. What happened in (was it Denmark?) some northern country. Bombings and attacks. And there's HUGE riots in Spain right now. I doubt they´ll come to Motril but there's a giant protest in Madrid right now that's going around Spain. Yikes. Missionaries and Protests are NOT a happy couple.

Oh and someone tried to steal my favorite pen this week. We were walking to our branch President's house one morning and these two guys came out of a bar DRUNK (it was 11:30 in the Morning) and they stopped us and were bothering us. We the courteous missionaries politely tried to tell them we had to go but they wouldn´t stop bugging us. Then one of the guys reached into my pocket and took my FAVORITE PEN!!!!!! Because he liked it and as missionaries we are supposed to give our stuff to other people to get them to join our church. Oh the polite missionary left. (I tolerate drunk people very little if they harass us). In Spanish there are two ways to talk to someone. In a polite "usted" form that we are taught to talk to people as representatives of Jesus Christ. There's also the street, regular form "tu" which is more used. So I started yelling at him in "tu" form and told him in not the kindest way that he had to give me my pen and I didn´t have time for him to be stupid. Then I grabbed my pen and left. Sometimes Spaniards just need a good slap in the face. (I didn´t slap him)

There are just a few more funny moments that happened this week. There are always annoying kids that yell at us and bug us--its just part of the job. What a job it is. I love being a missionary. It really is the best thing I´ve ever done, and COULD do as a 19 (almost 20) year old. I´m scared for the rising generation in Spain. There is really NO respect here. Not only that kids don´t respect us, but they don't respect their parents, and leaders, and teachers, and random old people on the street and public property and THEMSELVES. Its sad.

This week has had AMAZING blessings and very sad heartbreaks and disappointments, but its always like that. Its so very sad to see someone progressing seeing their lives change, seeing THEM change physically spiritually, everything going amazing and then just stop at turn back around. Its so very sad. I have no words to explain it, but I´ve thought a lot about the Savior. He, the perfect Son of God, went about teaching, doing miracles, being the PERFECT missionary and people still rejected Him. And me, the very imperfect missionary, running around Motril trying to teach people and talk to them about the Gospel and feeling the same heartache, except my sacrifice is nothing in comparison. Truly I find comfort in the Savior.

I know our Savior lives. I know He loves us. I love Him. I (the silly kid with a nametag) am on His errand. He takes us and makes us better than we can by ourselves. The trials are hard, but trials are just Him telling us that He knows we´re ready to grow. I Love my Father in Heaven and I pray for these people every day. I love the crazy people of Spain. Oh my they are CRAZY!!!!!!

I love you all and pray for you all too. Thank you for all your prayers and letters and love.

Elder Kirkham

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Oh my what a week. I think I say that every email.

This week was hard on me. But as always just awesome. Yesterday I was sick. I think it was from lack of water mostly. But we left our piso after medio dia and I just felt SICK SICK SICK. Cold sweats stomach pains. I felt like I was going to faint. But I made it through.

Last week seemed like we walked and walked and walked and walked. Almost ALL of our lessons fell through (downside of having the playa so close). I got frustrated but it was still a good week. We mainly visited members. That was nice. It was a crazy crazy week though. I think I have about 4 blisters because we WALKED so much. Oh and there's this one member from Brasil (oh her Spanish is hard to understand) but she just LOVES me. jajaja she´s CRAZY.

Today me and my companion are going to watch the Joseph Smith movie in the capilla. We just learned that its on the Church´s website!!!!!! We were so excited. Nothing else planned. We both need a quiet day. We need it bad.

Its amazing to see changes in people´s lives. Honestly amazing. What blessings and miracles we see every day. We had SO SO SO many people in church yesterday. It was GREAT!!!!! We were so happy.

This week we also went to one of our little pueblos (just little cities that are in our branch boundaries) We walked around for over an hour and found NO ONE home and NO ONE in the streets. We walked back to the bus stop and watched the waves of the Mediterranean while drinking poweraid (yes we found it randomly)
I can´t brag that I´ve been in the Mediterranean but I´ve SMELLED it. So that's about as much I can do as a missionary. Still haven´t seen Africa. Although I did see KIND of the shadow while I was in Malaga. But oh well.

It´s so fun to hear all the fun stuff you´re doing at home. I´m glad you all got to have a fun week. I miss you all but I´m having my own adventures here. In two years we shall have to enjoy all of the fun festivities of summer.

Not a lot to say this week but life is good. Life is great. I love Andalucíans so much. They´re completely insane. Honestly think of my big fat greek wedding and that's what I get to enjoy EVERY SINGLE DAY. (sometimes enjoy isn´t the right word jaja) But seriously I love these crazy people so much. They´re crazy like me.

Well have a wonderful wonderful week. All of you

Elder Kirkham

oh I found out that my investigator in Sevilla got baptized!!!!!!!

Jill- I laughed really hard at your letter and the fact that its printed on the back of some physiology worksheet that I didn´t understand at all
Alexis- EMAIL me when you get your call, I can´t email back but I can get them from you. I´m so excited for you!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Today we made a surprise visit to the ALHAMBRA!!!!!!

That's right. One of the 7 wonders of the WORLD!!!!!!!!!!! Except it was sad because we came to Granada for a meeting (later tonight) and we said, let´s go to the Alhambra, but the sad part is that we could only get into the Palace (we saw the rest of the wonder) but we couldn´t get into the Palace until later tonight when we had our meeting, so. Another time.

Jennifer- you would love it. I was thinking of you and the CD you have with the Irish lady from the Alhambra, then while reading emails, STING came on!!!!! And then guess what came on? NEW RADICALS!!!!!! I couldn´t believe it. It was a day filled with Jennifer memories!!!!! So I´m thinking of you.

President Clegg came and visited us this week (we might be on the blog) and we talked with him and his wife for our (specialized training) so it was really specialized. It was awesome. And Exciting things are happening in Motril now. (Not just because of President) But we´ve been working with the members this last week, and 15 people came to church yesterday. That's DOUBLE what we had last week. AMAZING! its a milagro. De verdad. And now if we get 20 people to church ONE time, we´ll get a bigger capilla- a Bajo (bottom story) which is AWESOME!!!!!

So things are growing in Motril. And, we have 5 baptismal dates!!!!!! So it seems like we always have to pass through the hard times but the blessings always come. Oh and just so you know, our entire ZONE has 10 baptismal fechas (yes we have half). Jaja but no really anything that we "do" is just the work of the Lord.

Alrighty we also found this week BROWNIE MIX!!!!!!!!!!!! ¿in Spain? Now that's a REAL milagro. (miracle)

Oh president also brought the last two months of mail.

Thank you for all of you who sent me mail. And Jana!!!!!!!! For some reason your letters got sent back???????? SO Apparently Spain correos doesn´t want us to talk. But I´ll try send them again double checking your address.

Family and friends, I hope you have a WONDERFUL 4th of July. I was reading about the Willie and Martin handcart companies this week, and wow. I couldn´t help but cry knowing that my ancestors were there. One of them after said (and this is a terrible paraphrase) "it was through our trials that we became acquainted with the Lord". Those words give me a LOT of strength and Hope.

A little about Elder Rodriguez, he´s short and Texican (Mexican heritage but born in Texas) and he´s from San Antonio. (Tyler´s mission) But he´s awesome, We spent a few days in Madrid together (he got his visa late) so we have the same amount of time in the field but we´re just doing great. The shock of Sevilla to Motril has passed and oh boy do I love it.

Its a little sea side city that's FULL of tourists. Its small but it has some expensive eating and shopping places because, well because people spend money on trips. But its great.
I Love it so much.

Andalucíans are insane. I´ve just decided they´re insane. Well no, they are. And I think that's why I love them so much. The culture here in Motril (and Andalucía) is so laid back. EVERYTHING is scheduled around the 4 hour Medio Día. Seriously NOTHING is done. NO ONE walks around on the streets. NO ONE is open. Its just great.

Oh Spain. I love Spain. Oh and The Mountains of Granada remind me SO MUCH of Northern California. ITS CRAZY!!!!!

Well I love you all so much. I´m SO SO excited for everything that's happening with EVERYONE in the family. Just so exciting.

Well love you.

Oh, the Alhambra--just about it, Its this Arab Palace that the Moores built back when they ruled Spain. So all the architecture (wow I forgot how to spell that word) is Arab. Its really neat. And the really famous part is the giant basin on the backs of 12 stone lions. There are a LOT of gardens and we went to the top of the watch tower and you can see the whole city. But we didn't get to see the inside of the palaces for reasons already explained. But another time.

Alright that's it. Oh and Elder Rodriguez reminds me of David a lot. He just has the same quirks that David has.

Well I love you all. Thank you for the pictures and letters. I´m trying so hard to write. (Trying so hard because I´m so busy going to ancient palaces) jaja just kidding, Well serious. I´m gonna try really hard to write and not fall asleep on the bus ride back to Motril.

Well I Love you lots. I´ll try to send pictures soon. But I appreciate ALL ALL of your letters.

Elder Kirkham

Sunday, July 10, 2011

My Address:

Elder Matthew Kirkham
C/ Nueva 3 3º D
18600 Motril (Granada)

love you all
send me letters


and Elder Rodriguez gives besitos también

My first transfer in the beautiful town of Motril. It hasn´t even been a week yet and it feels like the longest MONTH of my mission. I have no other transfer to base it off of, but this has been a HARD week. HARD HARD week. A dark lonely hard week. Its been hard to have faith, hard to have hope, just hard.
There is a branch here in Motril, the branch president´s name is Pres. Izquierdo. Yesterday at church there was Presidente Izquierdo, Hna. Izquierdo, Elder Rodriquez, Elder Kirkham, Encarnación, and Celia. 6 people were at church. Total. I just started crying. I had no idea what to do or say. I just cried. Then I bore my testimony-along with everyone else, but then something happened. I kept crying but not because I was sad. These members were SO SO grateful for their little apartment chapel. They were so grateful that they had somewhere to go to church. They were so grateful that they COULD go to church, that they were free to worship how they WANTED to. I just couldn´t stop crying. I seem to be crying a lot in this little town.
There's about 60 members on the member list. About half of those have told missionaries to never come by, and about 12 members total have been off and on coming to church for YEARS. The last baptism in the area was a year ago. The last Sunday he came was when he was confirmed. In just the last year there have been TONS of natives, and an assistant to the president, just awesome AWESOME Elders, and the work just isn´t showing fruit. I feel so overwhelmed. Honestly its hard to KEEP having faith in the work. I know that we can have success here, but I´m not going to lie and say its easy. This is the hardest thing I´ve ever done. I just cry every night. I´ve been thinking too much about home, thinking too much about myself. But it is HARD. I shouldn´t complain but I´m just being honest. I wanted to go home on Saturday. I´m struggling. I´m struggling in Motril.
I know the gospel is true. I KNOW. I KNOW the Book of Mormon is REAL SCRIPTURE. That God loves us and we have prophets today. I KNOW these things. And I stay here because I KNOW these things. I Stay here where we get rocks thrown at us, and people laugh at us, and yell, and fight to do EVERYTHING they can do to put us and the Book of Mormon down. But I KNOW. ok. Don´t ANY of you have any doubts that Elder Matthew Joseph Kirkham KNOWS these things are true. I´m just me. But I´m here. There's no more fence sitting. There's no more easy living the gospel. It wasn´t easy for the early Saints but they did it.
But I love Motril. I Don´t know what this email sounds like because I´ve experienced too many emotions writing it. But this is how I feel. I´ve been as real and honest as I can be. This truly is Christ´s work, and saving souls is not easy. But I love Motril. I love all of you. I´m sorry if I don´t write a lot, I TRULY am sorry for those who have sent me so many MANY great funny amazing letters and I don't write back. I´m SO SO sorry I don't write back. But I love you. And you are so so important to me. Family friends, I love you so much. Be so so grateful for our blessings. We have so much. There are so many people here that have nothing.
Have hope as I have more hope. I will and do have more hope here. Be grateful and HAPPY :D ¿vale?
A big grand 'ol hug to all of you (imagine me in an American Flag jump suit, giving you all hugs on this wonderful 4th of July) Be grateful for our independence and how LONG we´ve had our independence. Spain has not had independence for very long.
Always be happy

I found the most delicious chocolate chip cookies today at the grocery store. it was a 4th of July miracle.
Be greatful for your chocolate chip cookies ¿vale?
Love Elder Kirkham
And Enjoy your 4th of July!!!!!! Happy Independence day AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!! (I miss the USofA)