Monday, January 30, 2012

But it has been such a good week.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my wonderful Sister Jennifer. Felíz Cumpleaños. Hey remember that primary song? "Felíz Cumpleaños, that's how they say it in Spain". Well whoever wrote that never went to Andalucía. I´m rewriting it. "Felí Cumpleañoh that's how they say it in Cádiz" Happy Birthday Jennifer (and everyone else in January)

News: Antonio (investigator from Motril) GOT BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We found a lot of people to teach this week. I shaved with a manual razor for the first time in over a YEAR (my electric razor BROKE). Transfers (both of us are still here) we killed a GIANT moth in our piso. I went to Cádiz for the first time (for a meeting). I don´t know what else happened. We walked SO MUCH.

This week I´ve really just realized how much I´m going to MISS my mission. I love being a missionary. I LOVE the gospel. I love TEACHING the gospel. Its HARD. No matter WHERE you are but I feel SO happy. I KNOW that this message brings true happiness. When we follow Jesus Christ we are happier, and we have HIS promise that we can be happy FOREVER. I don´t even know what forever means, but what I DO understand is that it's a LONG time and I´d like to spend that with the people I love most. My family.

Why is the Restoration important? Because it is a restoration of a Church and a Priesthood Power and Authority that is the ONLY authority and power to seal family ties FOREVER. A power and authority that provides us with saving ordinances so we can return to our Heavenly Father and provide those who have already passed on that SAME opportunity. We can live with our families forever. What a great message to share. And I KNOW that it's true.

In the Book of Mormon I´m reading in Mormon where he sees the destruction of the people less than 400 years after the personal ministry of Jesus Christ. They had the witness of their ancestors who SAW Him, who FELT His hands. They were witnesses of Him. I think of MY ancestors and their testimony they leave for me. Early pioneers who sacrificed EVERYTHING to follow Jesus Christ. Who crossed the plains and passed through hunger, sickness, and death-- every physical trial that can be experienced because they KNEW that they were following the Savior. They Knew. How blessed I am to be a part of this work. It is TRUE. "Ask and ye shall receive" We have the promise of Heaven. If we pray with faith He will Answer our prayers.

I feel so overwhelmed. I wish I could do more than just SAY it. I Know its true! I just want to yell it from some rooftop. Pray. Talk to your Heavenly Father. He loves You so much. We are all His Children.

I love the Savior. I love his gospel. I am so grateful for every blessing I enjoy and that my family enjoys. I can never repay my Savior for what he did for each one of us.

I love you all. Keep Smiling!!!!! :D

Elder Kirky

Monday, January 23, 2012

Oh my. It's weeks like this that seem to make the mission.
For good and bad (this is a shorter edited version of what happened this weekend)

We started this week just like any other normal week. We were excited but working hard with Rocío because her baptism was scheduled for this week. We went to her house almost EVERY day to give her ánimo (I don´t know how to say that in English) and support. She was doing good she had smoked on Monday and Tuesday. To pass her interview she couldn´t be smoking. And since Elder Pearce is the District Leader we had to ask the Zone leaders to come from San Fernando to do the interview. So they called President but he said it would be better to wait another week so she's completely free.

We were sad because we have been trying EVERYTHING with her. CD´s, gum, grapefruit juice, candies, and who knows what else to help her. So we had to tell her that on Friday morning. She was sad but understood. She understands WHY it's important but she´s been smoking for almost 30 years (ever since she was 14!!!) and it's just taking time for her to kick these last 1 or 2.

Well Saturday morning we woke up normal, I was sad, but everything was fine. We leave the piso and go first to her house. We go up the elevator and as the doors open She and her family are JUST leaving their house. And she tells us that Matilde´s husband, son and grandson are ALL in the no no no no no no no no no no no no (my thoughts) so we leave and we´re standing outside looking at our plans and we decide to pray on a bench. So we pray and we both feel like we need to go to the Hospital with them (we mostly didn´t want Rocío to smoke during such a stressful situation) so we go back up to her house and get her gum from her son and run over to the hospital.

OH MY GOODNESS. Almost HALF of their family is already there YELLING and CRYING but remember these are all SPANIARDS. Matilde was now in the hospital too. We don´t know what´s going on. Everyone sees us and starts telling us what happened. There was a fight between the family and neighbors got involved and Matilde got punched and her husband who is going into heart surgery fainted and .............. everything. Then Matilde got rolled out in a wheelchair and starts calling my name. So we go over and wheel her over to a corner without anyone else. She starts screaming about her husband she wants to see him, a huge group goes in to see him and then the doctors prohibit visits because it made him worse and we´re trying to talk and calm everyone down and keep Rocío from escaping and smoking. And a lot of other things happened.

Later we went over to her house because her sister-in-law called us and told us we had to come over and calm her because she had gone crazy. We went over and she was yelling at her neighbors from her roof so we went up and were trying to calm her down. Then she went and started yelling at her neighbors (who were part of the fight) so we said goodbye and left...........

We then went knocking doors (because we were failed by our other citas) and found new people to teach (YAY!!!!) and had a good finish up to the night.

Then we go to church the next day and FERNANDO comes early. (he was also supposed to get baptized Saturday but got a job in Jeréz everyday except Sunday) but he came to CHURCH!!!!!!!! YAY FOR BLESSINGS AFTER CRAZY DAYS.
It was a good thing he left after Sacrament meeting because their was a HUGE fight (not Matilde gitano fight) but a battle of cutting words in Sunday school.

Ok crazy things done

We had an amazing lesson with the wife of a member we´re teaching, she FEELS that the Church is true but says its hard for her to "change". She´s really awesome and I feel like she will be baptized soon. Also after the crazy weekend we went to the house of a different sister of Matilde and taught a lesson. Rocío told us that one of her nieces wants to start going to church. (we have taught her and she has wants to get baptized but says she can't find time to meet with us or go to church) so hopefully she wants to make some changes (she also has to quit smoking).

Matilde´s family is crazy but they like the missionaries and they like the church.
This week I had a very special experience when we were teaching Rocío where my testimony was strengthened so much. I know this is the Lord´s work and that He is helping us.

I love you all and I´m so glad you all had a great time in Disneyland. This was a long story but I thought I´d share just a more detailed story of this weekend. I really apologize for my terrible emailing. There are a lot of things that happen in my life, I just forget them when I´m typing. Stories for when I get home.

Ok love you all besitos. Say your prayers. GO TO CHURCH! Read the scriptures. In obedience there is happiness. ;)

Elder Kirkham

Friday, January 20, 2012

Hello Everyone!!!!!
I got my Christmas Packages!!!!!!!! YAY!!!! Thank you everyone who sent letters and love. We had a conference last week in San Fernando (where President gives us all the letters and packages sent to the office) (and I got the ones sent to Motril as well) and I had a HUGE bag of packages and letters. Everyone kept asking me "are those all yours?" "oh these, oh yes, see I am very loved by my friends and family and I love them too" hee hee hee. I didn´t tell them that they were from Christmas. heee heee heee (cackle)

Well its raining here on the Atlantic coast of Spain. Its cold. I'm sick. I woke up yesterday with a sore throat (we were fasting) so I couldn´t even drown it out with fluids. but I guess its ok because I couldn't swallow anyways. But we are happy and good. We are having a baptism this Saturday with Rocío. She´s a sister of Matilde (crazy lady) but Rocío is more normal. She´s fighting to stop smoking. She´s averaging 0-1 every day which is amazing from 2 months ago when she was smoking 40 DAILY!!!!!!!!!! So we were fasting for her. Today when pday ends we´re going to her house with pictures and inspirational signs to put up alllll over her house. She has her interview on Friday and she will be SMOKE FREE before. She´s SO excited to get baptized.

Tobacco is terrible. Don´t smoke. EVER!!!!!!!!! Its a HUGE problem here. But the biggest problem is that NO ONE REALIZES that it's a problem. Rocío is telling us that she realizes how terrible it is and that it's a waste of money just to kill you faster!!!!!!!!

Our other investigator who was going to be baptized on Saturday is living in Jeréz now Monday-Saturday because he got a job in a discoteca (which is basically a rave/night club) NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

We´re praying for him to not have to work there. Better with a different job.

In our weekly newsletter from our president he told us each to buy a notebook or something to write down all the special/sacred/important experiences from our missions. I guess I really need to do that or I´ll forget them. Not good.

He also told us to write scriptures and quotes that helped us or inspired us in the Mish. He gave us 10 that he found in HIS mission. I like them.

1) Like storms upon the earth, the storms of life are essential if we are to grow. At the time they seem difficult when in reality they nourish us. WE NEED THE MOISTURE!
2) Mountain of the Lord = The Temple = Our life is to climb the mountain. We will see better at the top.
3) I'm not what I wanna be, but I thank God I'm not what I used to be.
4) Don't let yesterday hold tomorrow hostage.
5) The Gospel of Man is to "out-do" others. The Gospel of Christ is to "Do For" others.
6) Sanctification is (a) Live the Gospel, (b) Serve others, and (c) Share the Gospel.
7) Desires govern our choices and choices take us where we want to go. Alma 29:5.
8) From inconsolability, it is a surprisingly short distance to bitterness and hatred.
9) You can't dine and dance in the great and spacious building and hold on to the iron rod at the same time.
10) The righteous are whomever are repenting and the wicked is whomever is not.

I have a journal but there's a lot of crazy stories that have no spiritual value. SO I´m gonna buy this book. Probably from a gypsy.

Oh which reminds me. Matilde is taking us to "los gitanos" which is where the gypsies sell their stuff. (not evil stuff) but cheap socks and shoes and whatever else. (maybe some evil stuff, I AM in Spain) just kidding.

On a more spiritual level I had a really good interview with President Clegg (who sadly is leaving in June) and he told me that he just thinks I'm a good missionary and that he just trusts me. I´m not trying to toot my own horn I was just feeling REALLY down about my self. I beat myself up so much in the mission. So I´m glad he gave me those nice words.

Me and Elder Pearce continue to get along well. We have a lot of fun. We bought a huge roll of tape from a Chino the other day and last night I wrapped up in a blanket and he taped me up and I had to escape. I did it in 2 minutes. I might be a missionary but I´m still the same weird me.

I hope you are loving Disneyland. The sun, the fun, the magic, the sweet innocence of youth, you know all that stuff.

I was just thinking of how blessed I am. How blessed my family is. How blessed I am to have good friends. Some friends helping out where they are, their friends on missions. Life is just so good. I take a LOT of blessings for granted sometimes. Actually a LOT of times. But I am so grateful. I know these blessings come from the gospel. Happiness comes from obeying the commandments, from serving others and from the hope that Jesus Christ and His atonement brings. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. I´ve never truly understood His love for me and for others until being here on my mission where I am part of HIS work. I love you all. Have a lovely week. I´m praying for you. The gospel is true.

Elder Kirkham

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Short Letter

We went today to Jeréz. I´ve gone down too many suit sizes. I almost bought a Spanish suit. But I´m going to wait till the big sales in the summer.

I got candy thrown at my face on Thursday Night. They have a huge parade with the Reyes Magos (three kings) and they throw cheap toys and TONS of candy at all the people.

I´ve been searching for a bathroom ALL DAY!!!!!!!!!

I lost my name tag. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!

Our investigator quit smoking.

Another investigator came to church.

They both will get baptized soon.

I will write more next week.

I love you all

have fun at Disneyland

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Feliz Año Nuevo!!!!!!!!!!!!

This has been another crazy week. I don´t think there are any NORMAL weeks in Spain. It was la Noche Vieja (the old night) jajajajaja. That's what they call New Year's Eve. Before I describe Noche Vieja, I have to tell you what happened this week.

1. I was ROBBED!!!!!!!! AT GUNPOINT!!!!!!!!!
Ok not really. Just kidding. Don´t have a heart attack Mom. We went to Puerto de Santa María for district meeting and we were walking to the bus station because we had to take a bus back, well the Bus came EARLY!!?? What?! And it left without us. So we had to wait 45 minutes for the next bus. So we were sitting on the bench and I took out my little change wallet. (It was the coolest thing ever!) Anyways I took my change thing out of my pocket to count my money and to admire the different varieties of Euros from different countries that I had. Then I set it down next to me. I was looking in my backpack for something and when I stood up.......twas GONE!!!!!! Someone had walked by and "dropped" something next to us and bent down to pick it up. Well they took a little regalo with them as well. (regalo means present) They stole a total of 3 Euros!!!!!!!!

2. An Old Spanish woman tried to hijack us!!!!!!! Minus the fact we were NOT in an airplane.So it was just normal kidnapping.
We were walking to a cita and we walked by this tiny tiny old woman. She was seriously 4 feet high. And we said hello because we are model citizens. Well she stopped and started telling us how she went to misa (mass) that morning and how when she got back to her house she couldn´t open her door and then her neighbor started yelling at her and I don´t know what else she said. So She asked if we could help her..........well me being the kind warm hearted good Samaritan I told her we would try. After all she only wanted us to unlock her front door..........So she led us through the streets of Sanlúcar (she had TOLD us she lived just around the corner) but we were walking for almost a half hour. She started freaking out saying she had to hide from her neighbor or she was going to report her for trespassing. Then she started yelling at this man on the street. Then she saw a couple in a car and started looking really shifty and paranoid that they were sent to follow her. Then we finally got to her "House". She led us to an old abandoned house with a block of wood in front of the door. She started banging on the windows yelling for Rosa to open the one was in that house. So then we told her we had to go and then we ran away. True story

I shall finish now with the crazy stories.

So this New Year's Eve business. We went to the store and bought this SUPER popular drink here. Its fake wine (no alcohol) from one of our pueblos in Motril. If you´re not drinking REAL wine, you´re drinking fake wine. So we bought this really delicious grape juice basically, its so good. I´m almost sure real wine doesn´t taste like that. Because it smells HORRIBLE. Anyways, We had to stop proselyting at 6 and be in our piso before 11 because its not safe. There were SO many drunk people in the streets. We were going to spend New Year's in our piso because we had bought the food and the fake wine, but we stopped by right at 6 to wish a family a Happy New Year and they invited us to stay. So we stayed and ate with them and it was fun.

The HUGE tradition here is to eat 12 grapes right at midnight. You eat a grape after each strike of the bell at midnight. We were in our piso at midnight but we used our clock to know when to eat the grapes. I almost choked.
The next day there were almost NO people at church. There were a LOT of drunk people passed out in the streets, but not a lot in the chapel.

Well that's it for last week. THIS week is Reyes. The 3 Kings day. Santa´s got a little break because in Spain the 3 wise men put presents under the tree on January 6 not Santa Claus on December 25. THE HOLIDAYS NEVER STOP!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well I love you all. Happy New Year. Make it the best year yet! I hope we can all ponder on how we can improve ourselves. There's always more to learn, more to do and more to experience. Jesus Christ makes it possible for us to leave our past behind us and start brand NEW. Happy New Year. I love you.

Elder Kirkham