Monday, February 27, 2012

Carnaval and Miracles

Well this has been just a great week. A lovely week.
I have to tell you that it was Carnaval this week. Cádiz is the "cuna" (cradel) of Carnaval in Spain. It is basically a more vulgar version of Halloween but there's not even any trick or treating!!! WHA-???? The young people just dress up in costumes and because no one knows who you are, everyone loses their judgement and does stupid things and drink and other things. Not good. So we saw people in costumes and empty alcohol bottles ALL weekend. SO fun. We actually went home Saturday night and there were 6 "devils" waiting outside our building. So funny. (as my eyes roll) Thankfully we really weren't bothered much because everyone was SO drunk. Tender Mercies of the Lord. OH!!!! but I have to tell you. We were stoned (in the biblical sense) last week. We were walking home and some kids started throwing ROCKS!!? at us? Wha-? Really? But now I can say that I have been rejected and stoned while on my mission!!!! YES!

In more positive news
We have been planning Rocío´s baptism (who has quit smoking)(YES!!) who will be baptized TOMORROW! President and Hermana Clegg are coming and Hna. Clegg is going to talk. YAY!!!!! Rocío is SO determined to get baptized. We sat in the church and we showed her a picture of Christ being baptized and talked about all the blessings that come and asked her if she would follow Jesus Christ´s example. The Spirit was there and bore witness to all of us the importance of baptism and that it truly was what Heavenly Father wanted for Rocío. After that it wasn´t she was getting baptized because SHE wanted to or WE wanted her to or her SISTERS wanted her to. She was determined to do WHATEVER to follow Jesus Christ. That's what changed in her to quit smoking. This morning we set up the portable baptismal font. I love this family SO SO much.

Yesterday during church a member came to Elder Pearce and gave him the address of someone she works with. She works as a in home Nurse for lack of better word. She helps people with special needs who can't do everything for themselves. She had met a man who had been in a moto accident a few years earlier and started talking about religion and said she had two FRIENDS who could come over and talk more about her church. So after medio dia we headed out. Well the street wasn't even on the map but she said take the highway and walk til you see a sign and turn and...etc. So we started walking a little hesitant to walk SO far to someone´s house who was probably still sleeping, who would tell us to "come back some other day" but we went anyways. We literally were walking and said if we don't see it before that round-about we're going to go back and try another day. Sure thing we saw the sign and turned and found his house. We knocked and a man on crutches answered the door almost immediately. "Do you know María José?" "Yep we're missionaries fro-" "COME IN!!!!"
So we of course go in. We start chatting and he tells us,
"I saw some guys who looked like you helping an old lady throw away a giant garbage bag. Was that you?" We had helped an old lady throw away a giant garbage bag the other day. Probably the only lady in a month that had LET us help them. (Everyone is scared of us) And he told us that because of his accident he NEVER leaves his house (he´s doing rehabilitation from always in a wheelchair to crutches) that day he had decided to leave. It was the first day ALL YEAR he had left his house. He was on a bus that drove by right as he saw us helping a lady with her trash and had thought "What great people. Young men all dressed up who stop to help a little old lady". Tender Mercy.

Putting ALL of us in the same place with a lady with SO MUCH garbage.
Then the city hired María José who just HAPPENED to be a member and returned missionary who wasn't scared to talk about religion and ask for us to come over. This man has had an amazing life, he has been looking for a church his whole life that wasn't just for tradition or culture. He believed there was more. He had studied with every church other than "them crazy Mormons" but God put everyone and everything in its place so we could find him at that point in his life. Truly a miracle and tender mercy of the Lord. This is truly His work and He is working. President Clegg ALWAYS tells us the Angels are all around us preparing and putting people in place.

I have a testimony that God truly loves each one of us and that He has a plan and He wants us to be happy. I know that the gospel is true. The Book of Mormon is true. Joseph Smith was truly indeed a prophet. I know it. And Jesus Christ leads and directs us today. I am so grateful for this blessing in my life. At the end of our lesson this man told us "What an awesome thing that you two were born in this church and your family has it too." A blessing indeed.

I love you all. Keep smiling. Trust in the Lord. Trust that He is mindful of you and He knows you.

Elder Kirkham

Monday, February 20, 2012

Greetings from (almost) Gibraltar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I´m actually in the Spanish city right next to the Gibraltar border. But we can see the rock. We´re waiting for the bus that will leave in a while. We got special permission from our president to go on a ferry. YAY!!!!!!!!! but the ferry line cancelled today! BOOO! So we have to go on a bus. Oh well.

We shall climb up the giant rock and feed and play with monkeys. They just climb around the city. But I´ve heard you have to be careful because they like to steal things. And apparently they´re very good at it. There are still foggy clouds because its morning but I shall FINALLY get to see AFRICA!!!!!!!!! hurray!!!!!!!!

I don´t have much time I´ll just give you the highlights.
We were only in our area for about 3 days this week. We had a baptism interview that Elder Pearce had to do, then we had to go to Cádiz because Spain gave him a WORK permit. Not what he needs. Then we did exchanges the rest of Wednesday. Then Thursday we went to Sevilla for Zone Conference. The Zone leaders asked if I would play my HARMONICA!!!!!!!!!!! I told them that I had only started learning on the mission, but that I would do my best. I played Called To Serve and only messed up a few times. I just started laughing after. I felt so funny getting up and pulling a harmonica out of my pocket. Good thing it was after lunch and not after a really spiritual talk from pres.

Well I love you all. Don't have more time. Maybe I´ll get to write you after.

Elder Kirkham




Hello!!!!!!!!

This is what happened today

~Mordor Stair up to the tip of the Rock of Gibraltar. My legs were literally trembling- they were shot
~Monkeys!!!!!!!!! Monkeys on my shoulder, on my head, trying to open backpacks
~SEEING AFRICA!!!!! I actually could see houses and buildings! It was so cool
~Sitting on buses for FAR too long
~I think I´m getting sick. Not good

Well I love you all. I hope to write more next week. I´ll be sure to send pictures of the monkeys. Be good. I love you!!!!!!

Elder Kirkham

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hello. Buenos Días. ¿Que tal? Saludos de Sanlúcar.

As we speak my fingers are FREEZING while typing this letter. Its rare, almost impossible to find a building or house with central heating and air in Spain. New AND old. Almost every night this week we have had below freezing temperatures. AHHH! COLD!

Let me tell you how Spaniards stay warm. Its quite ingenious and I´m thinking about introducing it into my own home in the future. In Spanish culture its normal to have a little kitchen with a little breakfast table. Most of them can fold down for more space. There's no space in Spain. Then in the main living room (Salón or Comedor) you have a 2 couches around a normal height table. But these aren´t any NORMAL tables. They have THICK THICK table cloths that hang down to the floor and a shelf about 2 inches off the floor to put your feet on. Then comes the magic. In the shelf there´s a hole where you put a circular HEATER (copa). And you sit around the copa on the couches and you pull the table cloth basically blanket that keeps the heat trapped inside and you warm yourself. I LOVE it. As a cold missionary you put your scriptures on the table (perfect reading height) and pull the blanket over your torso and hands and feet and you read and teach and stay warm. Thank you España. We have made our own copa that doesn't work so well because we only have bed sheets and a wee little heater but we stay warm when we study in the morning. That's the magic of the Copa.

Well this week has been EXTREMELY difficult. We have been using almost ALL of our time in knocking doors and chasing down people on the streets and planning the fireside we´re having this week. President Clegg is going to come so yesterday Elder Pearce and I did splits with the Mission leader and Elders Quorum President. We went to all the members houses and invited them to the fireside and gave them invitations to give to their friends to come too. We did reach our lesson goal though because we got the work done twice as fast on splits. We just wish this week we will have more investigator lessons.

One of our investigators (she´s young) is dating a young man member but we have heard by ANOTHER youth that he´s going to break up with her to start focusing on preparing for a mission yay. So we shall see. If she keeps going to church every week (her parents won't let her get baptized, she´s already passed her interview) her parents will see that she´s really interested in the gospel and not her boyfriend.

Its been a hard week. Its very VERY easy for me (and every missionary) to feel very inadequate and down on themselves. Its been one of those weeks, but we have faith that if we work and do EVERYTHING we can, the Lord will work through us and what needs to be done and what needs to happen will happen.

I was reading an OLD church magazine, and they put local church news in the Liahonas here. Well I was reading that in 1998 there was a branch in a city called Murcia. Now Murcia is a Stake. The church is growing in Spain and in all of Europe. There will soon be temples in Portugal, Italy, France who all share the temple in Madrid, and before 1999 when the Madrid temple was built- they went to Switzerland!!!!!! The church is growing. In 40 years Spain has gone from a dictatorship without religious freedom (everyone being forced to be Catholic) to having a temple. It is so sad to hear so many people who hate and have NO trust in God or religion because it was so closely related to the government. The gospel will spread throughout ALL the world. And that's what I´m doing. :D

Well I love you all. Stay warm. I´m praying for you. The gospel of Jesus Christ brings joy truly to our lives.

Elder Kirkham

February 6, 2012

Hello everyone. How are you?

I´m tired. I don´t think I´m ever NOT tired. But its been a good week. A HARD week but a good one.

We knocked a LOT of doors this week. But REAL knocking doors. Most of the time you can only stand at the door and ring all the little intercom doorbells. But we KNOCKED on doors this week. Whenever we saw houses we would just go and knock on the doors. We are having a lot of difficulty with investigators right now. Everyone just seems to be stuck in a rut. Not a lot of noticeable progression this week. But we keep working.

Yesterday was SO SO good.
There was a special "Stake" Conference. There was a special broadcast for only Portugal and Spain from the Conference Center. Elaine Dalton, W. Craig Zwick, Elder Christofferson, and President Uchtdorf spoke. They all shared experiences of visits to the Iberian Peninsula (Portugal and Spain). Sister Dalton shared a story from before the church was allowed to send missionaries here where she came here with the BYU Folk Dancers to do a tour. They stayed in monasteries on straw beds (I thought that was funny). She said she had a translator who she got to know (they were there a few weeks) and this translator BEGGED her to give her her Book of Mormon and teach her about the gospel. Because of the laws (under the dictator Franco) she couldn´t but told her that one day she promised that missionaries could be able to come to Spain and that they would knock on her door. She has no idea what happened to that woman but maybe from this conference she will be able to find her.

Elder Christofferson talked about following leaders and taking advantage of the blessing of having a temple in Spain (and soon Portugal). Then President Uchtdorf once again gave the council to ALWAYS have a current temple recommend. Even if we economically or geographically can´t go to the temple (or if you're a missionary without a temple in mission boundaries :D) to always HAVE and CARRY a temple recommend. And then he pulled his out and said it was the most valuable "thing" he carried with him everywhere. And if we are following the standards in For the strength of Youth then we can know we are worthy to enter the temple. It was really really great. The members liked hearing stories and personalized messages for THEM. Oh how I love Spain.

I love being a missionary. It's hard and I complain too much but I am so so SO grateful for all of the blessings and JOY that come while in the Service of God. I know that we truly have a prophet today and that Jesus Christ leads this, His Church.

I love you all. Take time to ponder on all of the blessings the Lord has given to all of you. Que el Señor os bendiga en todas cosas. Oro por vosotros mucho. Os quiero muchísimo. Yo sé que esta es la iglesia verdadera y me ha bendecido en mi vida saberlo.

besitos

Elder Kirkham