Monday, December 19, 2011

I´ve only been here a few days and already I LOVE Sanlúcar. Which I have learned is one word. Elder Pearce is my new companion and he´s really just great. He entered the mish a month before me but he´s definitely a much better missionary than I am. I just love this place.

There is a branch here but it is MUCH larger than Motril. There's a primary!!! And Youth!!!! and more than one Sunday School Class. And WE don´t have to teach it. Its great. The members are great. I just love them so much already. There's a recent convert named Matilde that is just, .... well there are no words. She carries around a tambourine singing her gypsy songs and I just love her. She already calls me hijo. (She´s NOT replacing You Mom don´t worry) Anyways. The missionaries lived with her for 10 years before they were taken out of Sanlúcar for 2 years. Then this summer when missionaries were put back they found her. And she got baptized. There are a lot cooler details and miracles with her story but I won´t include them all. So now she´s getting all of her sisters and cousins and aunts and EVERYONE to listen to the missionaries. One of them already got baptized. One will be baptized in January. We are fasting with one of her nieces so her parents will sign her permission and we continue to teach the rest of her family. They invited us to a birthday party last night and she literally took us around to everyone who didn´t know us and said they needed to be baptized and that they need to read the Book of Mormon and we would help them quit drinking and smoking. It was one of the most productive finding activities ever.

The missionary work in the rama oops (branch) is revolving around her at the moment. And she keeps giving us friends and families to teach. She is just amazing. We´ve seen her about 10 times since Wednesday, and every time she has had her tambourine singing her gypsy carols. Needless to say I love this branch.

This Saturday night we are spending Christmas eve with this great family and then they are going to let us use their computer on Sunday to Skype.

I am also the new pianist and I actually get to play a REAL PIANO. I already have been grabbed to play for two musical numbers next week. Its great. The work here is so different. The members help so much. Its just a great place to be a missionary.

I am finishing the Book of Mormon before this week and I´ve read about 200 pages in the last few days. I just love the Book of Mormon. We have been sharing a Christmas message with the atonement. Alma 7:11-13. That's one of my favorite scriptures about the atonement of Jesus Christ.

Elder Pearce and I are doing great. We both just had native companions so we speak in really bad Spanglish. But we both understand each other. He´s from Utah. Nobody can say his name and everyone just calls him P (pee). And I guess there was an Elder Kirkham who served here a few years ago so they all recognize my name.

Well next week I will be skyping you. I get out of Church at 1:30 (my time) and there is a 9 hour difference. Elder Pearce is going to be talking to his family early. 5-6 in the Morning Utah time which is 4-5 Cali. Which means I would be calling you about 6 California time. And I don´t know if you would like that. So THIS WEEK, no TODAY please tell me when I CANNOT call you. And make sure skype is on. I don't know when you have Church because of Christmas. So tell me when you DON¨T want me to call. I love you all. Thank you THANK YOU so much mom for the money. I really REALLY appreciate it. And thank you for sending me the package. I will get it after but that's ok. I love you so much. ALL OF YOU. I have the greatest family ever.

Oh and I´m glad to hear the Ohio Kirkhams are ok. The Lord really does watch over us. And bless us.
I hope everyone can feel His love this week And the rest of the year and the rest of their lives. Jesus Christ and His atonement is The BEST Christmas present we can get. I love my Savior. I love His gospel and I LOVE being able to share it with other people. Missionary work is kind of like what happened with the shepherds. The people of Spain seem to be "Sore Afraid" of missionaries. hahahahaha (slap the knee) oh I crack myself up. But actually the work is growing and the world is full of miracles.

The gospel is true. Merry Christmas. Feliz Navidad. Regocijaos Jesús Nació. Os quiero a todos vosotros. Que Dios os bendiga y os ayude. Feliz navidad.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I am being transferred to Lan Lúcar which is in Cadiz. Which is in the Zone of San Fernando which also has Gibraltar. Which means I will see Africa some day hopefully. And take a picture with a monkey on my shoulder. I leave in 2 days.
It also means that I will not be here for Christmas. And I will NOT get the Packages you have sent. I actually might never get them because the lovely Spanish mail system requires GOVERNMENT photo ID to pick up letters and packages. Because everyone lives in pisos (apartments) nothing gets delivered TO YOU. They leave a little slip in your mailbox and YOU have to go get it at their office. But not to worry. We´ll figure out what needs to be done. Missionaries are crafty. That's the problem with sending packages to the mission home too because they CANNOT pick them up if you´re not there. Then after a few months they just throw the packages away. So DON'T send anything except letters to the mission home.
This Christmas we get to use SKYPE. Well I have an awesome mission president so he always lets us use Skype. But yes. I honestly know nothing of when except it will be sometime on Christmas Day. The 25th is a Sunday. So I hope you are at home and are waiting for a call. I´ll have one more p day to finalize everything.
Well this week has been normal. Well, no. It has been really good actually. We found 3 new investigators. Which is great in Motril. It has been a very long week. I´ve been very tired. We had a cosecha in Nerja where all the missionaries in the zone go and just do contacts for a few hours. Then on Saturday morning we got a call from our Zone Leaders asking us to bring something to the DOUBLE ZONE COSECHA that NO ONE TOLD US ABOUT. Hay que ver con esta gente, de verdad. Anyways we ran to the Bus station and hopped on a bus to Granada. We had to then get a taxi to the capilla and we STILL got there late. But that's ok. They had planned a huge activity with all the youth and JAS (young single adults) from Málaga and Granada and surrounding areas to go out with missionaries and "tract", I think that's what it is (we never say tract in the mission and I don't even know what it really means). They did contacts. We felt like black sheep afterwards but the two of us found a lot of references. So it was really great. How great it is to be a missionary.
Antonio (our investigator) is just awesome. He´s just awesome. He´s excited to be baptized and the only thing keeping him back from getting baptized today is his addiction to smoking. Which is helping him trust more in God so in the end it will just help him more. Like ALL of our trials and tests in life.
We visited the family of the little girl we baptized and she gave us little hand made cards. Those are seriously the best. It was just really great. That family is so special. I´m so very glad I got to meet them and be a part of their lives. Again how great it is to be a missionary.
Oh I also made cookies this week. mmmmmmmmm delicious. I don't know how to spell that. I cannot believe a year has passed since last Christmas. AHHHHHHHH December is 10 months on the mission. I can´t believe it. Where has it GONE???????
I´m glad things are good at home. Christmas activity, alien lights, decorations. I´m glad that Emma is getting a special Christmas. There are just always so many great things in life. I am so grateful for everything the Lord has given us. I need to be more grateful for the little things that I look over so easily.
Merry Christmas Season. I love this season to be able to think about our Savior Jesus Christ. I love my Savior and what he has done for us. I was listening to a talk today about the atonement. Really truly Christ loves us so much. He loves us perfectly. During this season I hope everyone can feel that love.
Signing off from Motril, this has been Elder Kirkham with the weekly update. A very merry Christmas season to all. Keep Smiling (with some hot chocolate)
Elder Kirkham

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hello family and friends. How are all of you. HOW IS IT ALREADY DECEMBER??????????????
Well this weekend we baptized a little girl named Nazaret. Everything went great. She had a lot of family from Madrid who are not members. Everyone could feel the spirit. It was a really great day. I´ll send a picture.
Another investigator Antonio came to the baptism (which was in Granada because there´s no baptismal font here) and he is just really excited about his baptism. He was talking about it yesterday at Church. Which is scheduled for the 14th of January. We´re working with him to quit smoking before then and last night we set goals for him to gradually cut down. This morning he called us and said HE DIDN'T SMOKE THIS MORNING. HURRAY!!!!! He said that is when he has the strongest desire to smoke and he kicked it today. HURRAY!!!!!!!
Like I said we had to go to Granada on a bus and we were waiting for our BRANCH PRESIDENT to come... and he wasn´t coming, so we had to get on the bus without him. Right as we were pulling out of the station he came up to the bus and we yelled STOOOPPPP!!!! And he got on. PHEW! I sat down next to a couple from New Jersey who were here on vacation. It was so strange talking in English. REALLY talking in English-not the weird mix that I SOMETIMES get to speak with other American missionaries. He was Jewish and she was Chinese. he made a joke about that- how we Mormons are smart and have lots of Mormon babies and all the Jews just marry Asian women...........I laughed........
Also this week, the mission met our goal of over 300 baptisms this year. Which is historic in Spain. And we still have almost a month left of the year. Its been a REALLY great last few months. I Love being a missionary. Its just so great to be a part of someone´s conversion. To see them change their lives and take steps to follow Jesus Christ. What greater thing could I be doing in this time of my life? Seriously? Its so awesome.
Well, we sinned yesterday. On Saturday after the baptism our bus home was full so we had to go on the later one (a LOT later) and we got home late and hungry so we got Kebab to celebrate and because we´re lazy. In our laziness we forgot that it was FAST SUNDAY!!!!!!!! and that we had an EATING APPOINTMENT with a less active family the next day. See, almost everyone here in Spain fasts: dinner and breakfast because LUNCH is the biggest meal of the day. So we didn´t fast yesterday. But its not like we haven´t fasted already this month. Oops.
It's really cold here. Its 10º in the morning. in CELSIUS. Which i don´t know how that converts. I just know that it feels REALLY cold. Especially with no heat in the house. But we manage. We actually have the tiniest tiniest heater ever- that's a fan with a heater coil behind it. Which we can´t have on while we sleep because we might die. But in the morning it is a treat to stick your feet right in front of it. As not to die.
There are TONS of Christmas lights all over the city. Which I assume will look nice because they haven´t lit them yet. I hope I get to see them. Here there's a holiday called dia de los reyes (day of the kings) which is the first week of January. Its to celebrate the 3 kings that came to bring Baby Jesus the three gifts (which I can´t spell) That's when they all give gifts here. Its kind of nice in such a Catholic country because Christmas is more about family and Christ centered.
This week is Elder Rodriguez´s birthday as well. I´ll make him a little treat. I don´t know what. I´m cooking alot here in Motril. Its nice.
Ok. I love you
This is probably my last full week in Motril but I´ve been here for almost 6 months. 1/4 of the mission is a long time.
Elder Kirkham