Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hola familia y amigos. Me cuesta mucho ahora escribir en inglés porque acabo de terminar un correo en español y siempre hablo español con Elder Rodriguez y toda mi mente piensa en una mezcla de inglés y español.

Its crazy what happens when you have a native companion. He is trying to learn English so sometimes we pray in English. The first time I did NOT know what to say. It was so foreign praying in English. Its so crazy.

Well this has been a lovely week. Lots of rainy days (which I love) we started wearing sweaters this week (which I also love). We were able to meet with an investigator who disappeared from Motril. She had gone home to Romania (She´s from Transylvania by the way) to visit her family. One thing that I didn´t realize before living here was how close everything is in Europe. It's super cheap to take a bus to a different country! And it takes just a few hours to get there. CRAZY! Considering California is basically the size of Spain, leaving the country was a bigger deal growing up.

I don't know how big Halloween is in Spain but everyone says that it gets bigger and bigger every year. Spain wants to turn it into Halloween like in the United States. Elder Rodriguez says Trick or Treating isn't that big in Madrid but it seems to be pretty big here (probably because there's more houses and it's less busy/big city than Madrid).

Well the people we are teaching are progressing so great! I just love these people! There's two people who have both said they they want to get baptized. And there's the daughter of a woman who is less active who also wants to get baptized. They came to church yesterday. I´m sad that I´ll probably leave Motril before they get baptized. We´ll see. I don´t want to leave Motril. we´ve been working so hard and I just want to stay ONE more transfer.

We watched the movie on the life of president Monson with one of our investigators. It is really just amazingly great all the resources the church has. The movies are just AWESOME! The gospel is just AWESOME!!!!! I love being a missionary.

I always forget what happens during the week, I´m sorry. I hope that later in my life I will be able to remember. The mission is just great! I love it so much!

Well, I love you all
Have a lovely week. What´s the weather like there?

Elder Kirkham

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hello Everyone

How are you?

This week has been a good one. We found a new investigator!!!!!!!!! And he´s just great.

There was a procession yesterday it was CRAZY we had to walk a super long way around to get to one of our lessons.

I don´t know FOR SURE, but it appears I´m getting transferred. President in his interview hinted a lot that I was going to get transferred. So that's in about a week and a half. So maybe don´t send any letters or anything. Just heads up. It takes about 6-7 days for a letter to get here.

Well. There's not a WHOLE lot of news. We visited this woman who hasn´t come to church in years, and randomly she told us that she quit drinking coffee. (She´s from Colombia- which was a huge deal) But she just told us, "I knew it was wrong but one day I just felt the spirit tell me to quit coffee, so I did". Now this woman who had A LOT of health problems is recovering SO WELL. Health problems not as a RESULT from drinking coffee, but the results from quitting coffee were direct. God always keeps His end of the bargain.

We are teaching a man who´s brother in law kicked him out of the house. He has no home, it's really really sad. But this time in his life, everything has led him to this point to find the gospel. He came to church yesterday, stayed all three hours, and then we met after church as well. He said that he honestly would have left and not come back if he hadn´t felt something different. He´s really sincere. He tells us "I don´t know if God exists but I´ll pray to find out if He does." This man also read the Book of Mormon in less than a week, and watched general conference with us. He´s just super super great.

We had a little problem with our Branch president, that left me really feeling down, but that happens. In short he put a lot of pressures and responsibilities (that missionaries shouldn´t have to do) and was not so happy when we couldn´t do those things in his timetable. That's all I´ll say.

Well life is wonderful. I am so so so so blessed to be a missionary. Elder Rodriguez likes our family picture, because NO ONE in Spain has family pictures like that. He also says that you all have "cara de buena gente, pero MUY buena gente" (you have the faces of good people, REALLY good people)
He also confirmed my theory that JT has Mediterranean heritage, he looks SOOOOO Spanish! But really SOOOOO Spanish. So Sharlene and JT find that out!

Also he wanted me to help him learn to pray in English so we do some of our prayers in English. WOW it is REALLY hard to pray in English. I always slip and say something in Spanish. Crazy. I guess that's what happens when you have a native companion.

Also I don't know if I told you, but I´m teaching the ONLY young woman in the branch to play the piano, which is difficult to do in Spanish, but its ok because its super super beginner.

Well that's the news. I love you all. I can´t believe how fast life passes by.

besitos for all

¡os quiero muchisimo!

Elder Kirkham

Monday, October 10, 2011

Hello All Wonderful Family and Friends

This has been a crazy week in Motril. We have been knocking doors like crazy. We have been walking and talking and working hard to bring people to Christ.
How great was conference? (I still haven´t seen it all but we watched Priesthood session this morning) How great that was.

This week we had Specialized training with President and Hna. Clegg. We went out to lunch and had interviews and practiced teaching with them. It was really great to have that personal time with them.

Needless to say, Motril hasn´t been the "HOT SPOT" of the mission. I don´t say that negatively, just honestly. There are no BAD AREAS. But anyways, I have been feeling kinda down. I really wanted to baptize someone in Motril. We have been so close so close. But I have to remember that this is the Lord´s work. This is His church. He knows who´s prepared. We find them and teach them and invite them to let Him change their lives. I had been beating myself up about that a lot. I struggled with it a lot. Am I working hard enough? Am I doing the things I should? Am I doing something wrong? It was nice to watch conference, nice to talk to President. And then this morning I got to listen to W Christopher Wardell (who just finished serving as the mission President in Barcelona, talking about a missionary who baptized 1 person on his mission, who thought he had failed, but who then met the son of that man who was a missionary in his ward, who was serving a mission, who's brothers and sisters had all served missions, who were sealed to parents in the temple. Its just like me to not see the eternal picture. We NEVER know the impact we might have on someone's life. Speaking of which I want to share our own miracle that happened in Motril.

There is a member here, who´s husband is less than supportive of her being a member. I won´t go into details but he does everything he can to keep her from going to church. On Saturday morning we received a call at 7:30 from this member. Who for years has not been able to come to church. Who the missionaries are not allowed to pass by. She called us, and told us that she had been praying the night before and that the Spirit prompted her to call the missionaries. She had been keeping (hiding) the phone number of the missionaries (our phone number) in an old Bible (her husband took away her Book of Mormon) and she called us and asked for a blessing. She snuck away from her house, and we talked and we gave her a blessing of health. She had been taking heavy drugs for migraines and other injuries she had. Immediately after she said that her head stopped hurting. She felt a peace that she hadn´t felt for years. A miracle for her is just to FEEL ANYTHING after what she had been through. The next day she escaped from her house and came to church.

We were also able to meet a family who invited us to teach them right outside their house. After teaching them about the Restoration they told us, "well we know that you are REAL children and servants from God". That's the power of the spirit. That's the power of the message of the Restoration. There are people SEARCHING for the gospel. They just don´t know where to find it. THAT'S WHY WE'RE HERE!

Life is good. The work is SUPER HARD! Elder Holland was NOT exaggerating. Missionary work is the hardest thing that I´ve EVER done. But its the greatest.

The gospel is true. Heavenly Father loves every one of us. He loves us so much. he has so many blessings for us. We CAN live with our families and loved ones FOREVER! That is God´s plan for us. He has told us how we can do it. Have faith, obey the commandments. God wants all of us to be happy. There is much more waiting for us! So much! Always better times ahead.

I love you all so much!
I hope you knew about that blog too.

Keep Smiling


Oh and Elder Rodriguez and I are getting along SWIMMINGLY! I´ll send pictures. Hopefully soon

love you

Monday, October 3, 2011

Oh my Conference is SO GREAT!
I actually only have seen 2 sessions so far (I´m so happy that there´s still 3 waiting for me to learn and feel the spirit)
Elder Rodriguez, I, and another member (and his friend) watched conference in our branch President´s Office on his computer. Because of time difference and our Bedtime rules, we were only able to watch the Saturday Morning (on Saturday night here) and the Sunday Morning (on Sunday night for us) both live. It was great. So strange to watch in a different language. I missed hearing President Monson´s voice, Elder Scott actually translates his own talks into Spanish beforehand so it was nice to hear his real voice. I loved the messages that I heard. I loved Sunday Morning´s music ending with I Believe in Christ. The music was so glorious and loud that it blew out half of my speaker (that's the power of the spirit for ya) jaja joking (mostly). But it was really nice to hear the Choir and to see my Music Civ. Professor in the Choir as well. A connection to the real world. I remember when I was in the CCM or MTC seeing and hearing the apostles was like seeing and hearing family members (almost) but it was so nice. Conference is like Christmas for a missionary.
I was so glad I got to hear the New Temples announced. The Provo Tabernacle is going to be turned into a temple. I was so happy when I heard that. I was thinking about how it was such a sad thing when it burned down, but NOW we will have something EVEN BETTER!!!! How great. That's so exciting. And Temple in France! (Progress on a temple in France) THAT is news. France has a law that buildings have to be open to everyone, I don´t know exactly the details, but that would be a HUGE thing for the members here in Europe. The first temple here was in England, then Germany, then Switzerland. For YEARS the VAST majority of Europe had to go to Switzerland if they wanted to go to the temple. Then in 2001 We got a temple here in Madrid that served for Spain, Portugal, France, Italy (there are signs and workers from all of those countries who speak those languages which is interesting) and now in just the next few years, Temple in Rome Italy, Temple in Lisboa Portugal, Temple in Paris France.(Hopefully) I´m so excited to be here in Europe at this time. The church is growing. Its so amazing to be a part of it.
We´ve spent almost all of our time this week finding new investigators, its been a LONG week, and HARD week. Lots of doors in the face, lots of yelling, well I could go on. Just a hard week. And then the wonderful blessing of Conference. How great it is. Missions are hard. I feel pretty inadequate MOST of the time. It's hard, it's emotionally tiring, physically tiring, I feel overwhelmed a lot, but the joys and the blessings are just amazing. I am so grateful for the things I am learning, for the testimony I´m developing. I´ve never had to trust more in the Lord, but because of that, I´ve never been as close to Him. I get really hard on myself, it's hard for me not to. I want to be the best missionary I can. I want to know that the work I´m doing is acceptable to the Lord. It's hard and I feel like I´m getting pulled in a million directions at once, but I´m so grateful to be here, and there's nothing else I would rather do right now. Everything else just seems secondary right now. I miss family, I miss friends but this work is what I´m supposed to be doing. I´m supposed to be here.
When we have an eye focused on God, its a lot easier to see the good stuff, even if we´re surrounded by bad.
I hope everyone enjoyed conference, and if you didn´t watch it, WATCH IT! I am so grateful to be able to hear the words of a prophet of God. I am so grateful to know that if we keep my covenants and follow Christ and do ALL that we can, that He will make up the rest, and He will give us Eternal Life, I can live with my family and loved ones FOREVER. What great news that the Church of Jesus Christ is on the earth and we can return to live with Him and our Father in Heaven.
Keep smiling. When you can't change your circumstances-change your perspective and you will find happiness. ALWAYS
I´m so grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ and for the many joys in my life.
I love you all
Elder Kirtland (so says one of our members)