Monday, October 27, 2014

All my friends,

This week we had Stake Conference which was SOOOO GOOOOD.  Elder Claude R. Gaviette was presiding, which was funny because he doesn't speak Spanish.  He got up and said, in French-accented English, "Well, we'll see what the Lord is thinking calling me to speak in Puerto Rico."  But he was such a dynamic and fun speaker.

The conference was largely missionary work-themed, which as a full-time missionary in the Ponce zone, I wholeheartedly support.  Saturday evening Elder Gaviette straight up had the stake president pull up the quarterly report so everyone could see it.  There was some interesting stuff.  (Adjuntas has had the most baptisms!  My companion rocks).  I don't remember a lot of what was said Sunday, but I do remember Elder Gaviette's talk.  He really is a good, inspired speaker.  He said, "I need your prayers because I never know what the Lord is going to have me talk about until I get up here."  And halfway through he said, "I feel like talking about the Holy Ghost now."  He talked largely about repentance.  That repentance isn't just something for big ugly sins, but we can repent daily for stuff like not living up to our potential.  It was really interesting.  My companion said later that nobody likes being called to repentance, and I agreed, but sometimes it's good.  Repentance is a joyful miraculous thing.

Saturday night he talked about his experience as a branch mission leader.  He said that he prayed to ask the Lord how many baptisms he should have.  The answer?  Thousands.  But he set a goal of three.  Monthly.  He told us about all the miracles that happened to achieve this goal.  The six months before he was called the branch had had 1 baptism.  The next six months they had 15 (they didn't have any when he lost focus in September).

So if you want to get involved in missionary work, here is what you can do:  Go up to your nearest missionary.  Say, "Hello, I am so-and-so, and here is my number and address.  If you guys ever need a member present, here are all the hours I am available to help you (because member-presents are the key) and here is a list of all of the people I know that aren't members complete with their addresses and phone numbers.  And here is some food.  If you need anything feel free to call!"  And then follow through.  Members make all the difference!

I love you!
Sister Kirkland

Monday, October 20, 2014


The biggest news of the week is I'm not getting transferred!  Which means that the return address on all those letters I've sent out is good at least through the end of November...  Also this means I will be killing my companion, who isn't super trunky, but her body seems to be giving out, so we'll have that to look forward to.  She is 100% convinced that Gatorade is magical for her, so we'll be buying a lot of that.

This week was the Plan of Salvation week.  We taught somewhere around 25 lessons, and probably 20 of them were on the plan of salvation.  We got really good at that lesson.
And all of our lessons were really long!  You know how it says somewhere that lessons shouldn't be generally over 45 minutes?  Well, when you have a companion who really likes to explain in detail, and investigators who ask lots of questions (i.e. the best kind of investigators) your lessons tend to be two hours long.  Really good lessons!  But not very many.

We have some fun investigators.  They have been married for 26 years and don't have kids.  But they're super fun, and have so many good questions!  Their biggest problem is that they think they need to know all of the doctrine before committing/ being baptized.  Fortunately we have another six weeks!  I love mission life.

Much love to all of you!
Hermana Kirkland

Monday, October 13, 2014

First: There is a hurricane warning today and tomorrow.  Everything will be totally fine.  We're buying groceries, stocking up on water, our landlords live on the floor above us and are part of the branch/ relief society presidency, and we have to be home by seven o'clock tonight.  So no worries here.

Dear Soon-to-be-Elder Jake Brown,

Welcome to "the most dope mission."  I look forward to not writing you for the remainder of my mission.  I hope you're ready to work hard, because it really is the best two years.

First of all, the MTC.  I assume you're going to the Dominican Republic, which is good because Santo Domingo is wonderful, the teachers are fantastic and overall it's a blast.  But work hard.  My district worked hard.  Another one didn't.  One of the missionaries from that district told me, "Yeah, the day I arrived I was like, wow, I wish I had worked hard like Benjamin District instead of just goofing off."  Seriously.  It makes a difference.  But it is so fun!  Play some ultimate frisbee.  Practice Spanish with the natives.  Enjoy happy brownies.  Really enjoy Sundays (they're really chill).  Really really enjoy the temple because you ain't attending for another two years.  Work hard during contacting and intercambios.  Eat some oreos.

For the field:  The harder you work the happier you are.  The harder you work the less homesick you are.  The harder you work the easier it is to get along with your companion.  The more you enjoy working the easier it is to work hard.  i.e. DILIGENCE

Some games I've learned to play:
1. Is it raining or am I just sweaty?
2. (when it is raining) Is it a street or is it a river?
3. Is it a bar or is it a general store? (It's probably both).

Remember President Monson's talk last week.  Esp. 1 Samuel 15.  LEAVE BEHIND ALL THOUGHTS OF DISOBEDIENCE.  That is serious.

President and Sister Boucher are amazing.  Puerto Rico is amazing.  Stock up on your bug spray because you really really (really really) don't want to get dengue/ the chikungunya.  You will learn to dread the word chikungunya.  You may at some point think you want a tropical storm so you can stay in and take a nap.  This is a lie, you don't want that.

Anyway, I wish you the best of luck!  Prayer, faith, and real need make miracles happen.  So serve the Lord with all your heart, might, mind and strength!

Yo sé que vive mi Señor...
Hermana Kirkland

Monday, October 6, 2014

My lovely friends,

This week was super inefficient because we had to go to Ponce three times.  The second two times were good.  The first was not.  We spent eight hours at Pep Boys and it was agonizingly boring.  We tried to contact and study to distract ourselves from the TV.  Really horrible.  At one point I wrote a fourth verse to "Ye Elders of Israel."  Because I was bored.

The war is protracted but we won't despair
We fight for the freedom that we want to share
Our ranks are united, our leaders are strong
We'll come home to Zion in glory and song

The other two times were good because WE WENT TO CONFERENCE.  I just felt so good all weekend.  It was beautiful.  Our recent convert and one of the less actives we've been working with even came!  It was the best.

A note on conference - one of my favorite things to teach is "endure to the end" and one of my favorite things to say is, "If we are baptized and afterwards don't keep the commandments, what does our baptism mean?  Nothing!"  The same thing goes with conference.  If we listen to the prophet but don't apply what he said to our lives, why did we listen?

We're hoping to get some baptismal dates set up this week!  We got a really good couple of families.  Just got to get them reading and get them to church.  That pretty much goes for all investigators everywhere. LOA - leer, orar, asistir (read, pray, attend).

Keep spreading the gospel!
Sister Kirkland