Monday, December 14, 2015

There is a story about an unbeliever who was a famous journalist who was about to die.  He published an article that said something like the following: "Death comes to all men, but somehow I believed that I would be the exception.  Now what?"  To this man and to all people, I testify that we go on to something better.

That doesn't mean that it's easy.  There's a lot you feel like you are leaving behind, and the unknown is always a challenge.  But it is always, always, always worth it.

My mission has been the hardest thing I've ever done.  Every day has brought a new and higher hurdle.  I never expected what would come, and I will never be the same.  I am not the same person that I was when I left, because that person wasn't me.  I now know what the gospel can be.  I know what happiness is.  I understand the gospel and the plan of salvation.  I have experienced the Atonement of Christ and felt to "sing the song of redeeming love."  I have come to know the Lord and come to realize that He knows me.

I do not want to leave my mission, but I know that now is my time to go on to something better.  I can't imagine it right now, but I know that it's there.

I know that this is the Lord's work.  I know that He is at the head.  I know that the Church has been restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith and that we have a prophet today.  I know that God has a plan for us and that if we obey Him we will receive all that He hath.  But I know most of all that Jesus Christ is my Savior and that He lives.  I know that and I testify of it in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.
Hermana Kirkland

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Something I have learned on my mission is that God gives us exactly what we want.  If we want happiness and love and success and families and miracles, He will give us just that.  We have to work for it, and pray for it, and when we do our tiny little part, He does the whole shebang.  If we want other things... well, He lets us have that too.  Whatever we want and are willing to work for.

I gave a talk yesterday on miracles.  Maybe I'll include it in my homecoming talk, so nothing more here.

We taught at zone conference on Friday on helping people get to church, and it was just that.  Do everything you can and God WILL make up the difference.

Expect a longer email next week...
Love you!
Hermana Kirkland

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

I'm thankful for the 18 months that I get to preach the gospel.
I'm thankful for my companion, who is the best missionary I know and my best friend.
I'm thankful that we had two investigators in church on Sunday, even if one of them was wearing a shirt that said, "Hustle to the Kick."
I'm thankful for the eleven new investigators we got this week.
I'm thankful for my mission president.
I'm thankful that we got invited to Thanksgiving Dinner by a member that used to not be very open to working with us but has changed his mind.
I'm thankful for all of the things that I have learned on the mission, and all the ways that I've changed.
I'm thankful for the Book of Mormon. 
I'm thankful for my family and that we can be together forever.
I'm thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ, that it was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith, and that we have a prophet today.
Love you, be safe,
Hermana Kirkland

Monday, November 16, 2015

We had a mission activity in the ward this weekend.  We worked really hard to get this activity and then worked really hard to get people there and it turned out pretty well.  We did a treasure hunt with the steps of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Atonement, Faith, Repentance, Holy Ghost, Endure to the End) with a prize (Eternal Life, of course, also a movie and nachos).  Someone had chosen out a 2-hour-long not-church movie so we had some gentle words with him and got it changed to Meet the Mormons.  I was surprised at how not-trunky I was during the Utah part (and how at-home I felt during the Costa Rica bit).  Anyway, the real miracle was when we invited a random guy in the plaza to come to the activity and he came.  He was a little out of place, but then he and a member figured out that they were friends 20 years ago.  And then he came to church on Sunday!  He lives alone so the elders will teach him, but there are prepared people out there.

We went to the beach for a sister activity today.  It was my last time as a missionary.  But it all turned out well considering we expected to be doing it next week, so that is a little private miracle I suppose.

I love you a lot!
Hermana Kirkland

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

We had a lot of miracles, though.  One was when it had poured all day and all of our plans had fallen through, so after we went back home to change we prayed to find a family with a mom and a dad, and a head of the household who would recognize us and be ready to be a priesthood holder for his family and would attend church on Sunday.  So we left the house and prayed for directions, and we kept praying until we got to a house, and without exaggerating it was the first house we contacted.  We knew they were there and they weren't coming out but the Spirit told both of us to sing so we did and they came out and we got an appointment.  They didn't come to church but hey that's just agency for you.

We also had an investigator commit to be baptized and come to church but then she didn't come to church and apparently she told the elders that "the mormon lifestyle is not for me."  We think she just wants to be a rebel in front of her family (they're all slightly active members).

We also felt impressed to go talk to a group of men sitting in the park, and usually when we do that they just try and flirt or talk in English but we've been working on teaching to the culture and wow, did we have them captivated with the restoration.  We taught them and they accepted every commitment we gave them.  If they progress we'll give them to the elders.

I love you all a whole bunch!  Sigan adelante con fuerzas!
Hermana Kirkland

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

We had transfer calls yesterday (at 10:45 because the zone leaders apparently don't care about the sisters (THAT'S A JOKE)) and we have so many things happening!  One area is going to be whitewashed by elders and they are both going to San Sebastian (we thought we would get to drive there but we were disappointed).  One area (the zone leader's area, haha) is getting sisters (fortunately they already have an apartment).  And two sisters are training.  So every single area is changing except ours, thank heavens.  I'm staying with Hermana Stevens until... Christmas!  (That's the euphemism we use.  That, or "when I get a chance").

We had a powerful experience on Thursday.  Long story short, we felt a lack of the Spirit in the morning because we went to get pizza when we ought not on Wednesday, and when we were talking through it during companionship study we found a talk from April 2013 by President Monson: "Come All Ye Sons of God."  The Spirit came back and we repented and promised each other to never ignore the Spirit again.  This weeked was the longest run of the Spirit so strong of my entire life.  It's still there, we just got a little burned out.

We had a cool conference with Elder and Sister Christensen and Elder and Sister Cornish on Saturday!  We had a special MLC where we talked about the mission's needs, then the mission conference.  The major themes were conversion, repentance, and the Spirit (funny thing, Hermana Stevens and I always seem to have spiritual experiences to prepare us for what we are going to learn in conference).

It's here.  To make it count, Hermana Stevens and I are doing 50 goals for my last 50 days.  Some of them are fun, some of them are service, and some are spiritual, but it's going to be great.  "You hit the tape and you collapse!"  You give it all you got or you didn't do it right.  Well, I'm giving it all I've got.

Lots of love from PR,
Hermana Kirkland

Monday, October 26, 2015

I don't have much time left, but I wanted to testify about repentance.  We are working with a lot of less-actives, and they all need to repent of something, even if it's just not going to church.  But when they decide to repent and change, their lives are so much better.  And that holds true for all of us.  I have a quote on my agenda that says, "All of us need the Savior's Atonement to heal us.  All of us are lost and need to be found (Brent H. Nielsen)."  I testify that this is true.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I love you all and I hope you have a great week and a sugary Halloween!
Hermana Kirkland

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Today we had a zone activity, it was fun.  We went "hiking," which was on one of the random rock outcroppings that dot the San Juan area.  It was pretty.

We had a hard morning on Thursday.  It started with a misunderstanding that interrupted our studies, and then we could not stay focused during weekly planning, and by the time we left the house, we could tell that we did not have the Spirit like we needed.  We prayed and all, but leaving was hard and contacting was hard, and we were concerned because we knew that we needed the Spirit for an important lesson with an investigator that night.  So I remembered in Preach My Gospel chapter 10 when it talks about creating a spiritual environment in lessons.  I said, "What do we do to get the Spirit?  We sing, we pray, we testify," and I started bearing my testimony to Hermana Stevens and the Spirit rushed back so hard we both started laughing and crying at the same time.  It was incredible the difference.  It was a testimony to me of the strength of a real testimony.

Lots of love,
Hermana Kirkland

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

I think I will see how many times I can use the word "miracle" in an update in the next two months.  We had one this week!  Elba and Saul got baptized!  Finding them en si was a miracle.  Elba thought that she was a less active but we couldn't find her records and then Hermana Stevens had the bright idea to ask, "Elba, were you ever confirmed?"  She said, "No - does that mean my baptism doesn't count?"  She was so stoked that she got to be baptized again.  They are both very hyperactive but when they were confirmed (30 years late in one case) they were both extremely calm.

We also made our zone goal for baptisms last month and we are well on our way this month.  Hermana Stevens and I got really excited after MLC on Wednesday and sent out an inspiring text to everyone, and we found out today in the zone meeting that because of the text, one of the elders thought, "oh, so I should be setting dates for October!" and now they have a family of 7 that is going to be baptized.  We set goals as an act of faith and look at what the Lord can do when we have a lot!

Love you!
Hermana Kirkland

Monday, October 5, 2015

It was a fun week topped off by conference!  We had a miracle investigator whose favorite phrase is, "me entiende, ve?" closely followed by, "te voy a decir una cosa."  We even got the bishop and his wife to her house with us.  She is always expecting us, with a carefully prepared plate of snacks and the exact number of chairs we will need.  There are miracles everywhere you look.

Conference was beautiful.  I really enjoyed President Eyring's talk.  Hermana Stevens and I evaluate a lot (not just lessons, we evaluate everything) and we have noticed how the Spirit changes us.  Like, when we make good, specific plans for other people in the morning we have the Spirit better all day, which helps us in lessons.  And we notice immediately if we don't have it, because we can't teach (see Doctrine and Covenants 50, thank you very much).

Don't forget to share with everyone what you learned!  My verse this week is Alma 5:14.  Have you experience a change of heart?

Love you,
Hermana Kirkland

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

In short, Hermana Stevens and I are both so stoked about being companions again.  We already know each other, we get along super well, and we both love working hard.  We had a fantastic week full of miracles.  Like yesterday I took a wrong turn getting to a member's house, and we saw a woman on a bench and we both started talking to her and we got to answer a lot of her questions.  Her biggest problem with going to church was that she can't wear a skirt because she needs to wear tennis shoes because there is a big hill on the way to the church.  It's nice when people have little, easily-resolved doubts.

In the Bible Dictionary in English, it talks about Christ's miracles and says something like, "they were always in response to faith, prayer, and felt need."  That is something we are trying to implement in the ward right now. The members need to realize that miracles aren't going to just happen.  What they need is to notice something that they dearly need, pray for help, and then keep the commandments and do all that they can as a sign of their faith.  We've been applying it this week and it has been amazing.

Aren't you just excited for conference?  I am.  Funny story, at last conference Hermana Stevens and I were companions.

Peace out,
Hermana Kirkland

Monday, September 21, 2015

We had a miracle this week.  Actually, we had five miracles this week, and the name is the Cordero Rodriguez family.  Hermana Broyles and Hermana Sanchez contacted them in July (and Angel tells the story every time he bears his testimony) - Angel and Anthony were working on the porch and the missionaries offered to help, and he just started laughing at them and said, "You're all so clean and pretty and you want to help?"  But they got an appointment.  I came in the middle of August, and it's been a long crazy ride - health problems, car problems, quitting smoking - but it was all worth it when five of them stepped into the waters of baptism on Saturday.

It's also a good example of member participation.  The week before they were contacted the bishopric prayed and fasted to get some more priesthood in the ward, especially in the young mens.  So the sisters found a family with five potential priesthood holders.  Members make miracles!

So we have transfers tomorrow, and I'm having a fun time learning about logistics when you have fifty or so sisters and half are being transferred and you only have five cars and one day and no one can be alone and they have to bring their luggage with them.  It's like a giant crossing the river problem.  But the most important part is who my new companion is.
It is


I am so happy!  I cheered when the zone leaders told us.  It was what I was hoping for but I didn't know if President would be that nice/crazy.  Well, he does what the Spirit directs, but honestly, NOBODY gets to repeat companions!  I'm thrilled.  I could not have asked for a better companion to finish my mission with.

Always working, always happy,
Hermana Kirkland

Included are photos of the baptism and one of Hermana Stevens and I if you don't remember her.

Monday, September 14, 2015

This was a stellar week, with my record for investigators with a baptismal date and investigators in sacrament meeting.  I guess going for so long with out either paid off in the long run.

I don't understand how people make their blog emails long, I never have time.

This is Hermana Sanchez's last week and only one family has invited us to dinner, so that's good in terms of how much time we have to work.  When Hermana Gutierrez went home all we did was eat.  It was Thanksgiving weekend, though.

I am just enjoying my paradise island, thank you very much!  Have a wonderful week!
Hermana Kirkland

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

We have a great investigator who has a bumper sticker on the back of the car that says, "Si este vehiculo esta conducido negligentemente, que se joda, el carro es mio."  Roughly translated: "If this vehicles is driven negligently, deal with it, the car is mine."  I don't know why I thought that was so funny.  Maybe because Hermana Sanchez was mildly scandalized by it.  But it's pretty typical of Puerto Rican driving.  I've turned into a very defensive driver.

I had my first Mission Leadership Conference this week!  It was uplifting.  Hermana Boucher talked about obedience and President Boucher talked about faith.  Two things that every mission needs.  They are wonderful and I'm so glad they were called to serve here.

Have a wonderful week!

Monday, August 31, 2015

We had a sister activity today and it went super well, but for that I have limited time!  We stuck suckers in the sand and one sister had to guide the other one, blindfolded, to search for the investigators.  Some of the sticks were colored yellow - "golden" investigators ready for baptism.  It was on finding with the Spirit.  It was really fun!  I'm a little sunburnt.

Love you!
Hermana Kirkland

Monday, August 24, 2015

I had my first companion exchange as a leader this week.  It's different!  Because as a leader, you don't ask the questions, you answer them.  Then, you might wonder, who answers our questions?  It's a good question!  But I really enjoyed it and I hope we helped those sisters.

I tried pastelon this week.  It's like lasagna, but with fried ripe plantains instead of noodles.  It's surprisingly good.

Well I'm out of time already, but lots of love to all of you alla afuera.  Good luck to all of those starting school now or soon!

Hermana Kirkland

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Vega Baja is so beautiful!  We had such a lovely week.  In Vega Baja we cover 7 pueblos, so it's easily the biggest area I've had.  But the great thing is that we can drive to the other pueblos, so they get attention too.

My companion is the lovely Hermana Sanchez.  She's going home in 5 weeks, but she's not trunky.  She loves the mission and so do I.

I thought I would explain some cultural things about Puerto Rico.  In a list!

  • Every time someone enters your house, you must offer them something to drink.
  • Every time you enter a room, you must shake hands or kiss cheeks with everyone.
  • If you are a foreigner, you must eat the food that they offer you.  They will be offended if you do not.  For some reason this rule doesn't apply if you are Puerto Rican.
  • Every time you see someone eating you must say, "Buen provecho."
  • Women's styles: muumuus.  All day every day.  With plastic shoes.
  • The States are "alla afuera."  Roughly translated: "out there."
  • Coffee is the cultural drink of the island.
Cultural things of the mission:

  • Apostasy jokes
Lots of love to all of you!  I took a lot of people off the list this week.  Well!  Good luck to everyone, especially if you are starting school!

Hermana Kirkland

Monday, August 10, 2015

"Es el Presidente!"
"AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH"  *picks up the phone*  "Buenas noches, habla Hermana Kirkland."
"Haha, hi Hermana Kirkland, how are you?"
"...................I'm okay, how are you, President?"
"I'm just great.  Are you doing okay?"
"I'm fine."
"Great, okay, well Hermana Kirkland, the Lord has decided [at this point I have to sit down because my chikungunya-weakened knees started to give out] to call you as Sister Trainer Leader, and we have decided to assign you to be Hermana Sanchez's junior companion in Vega Baja."

Needless to say I didn't sleep last night.  For those of you who don't know what a STL is, it's basically a zone leader for sisters.  For those of you who don't know what a zone leader is, basically this means responsibility.  Hoo boy.  I read recently in a conference talk, "don't ask for tasks to match your abilities, but for abilities to match your tasks."  It's good motivation to get on your knees.

We met a fun person this week!  Her name is Tiara, and she's an agronomist, which I loved because our ward mission leader in San Sebastian is an agronomist as well.  We finally contacted her this week - she was one of the elder's investigators - and first we had to help her plant.  For a thank-you gift she gave us both a plant of our own!  I'm so excited.  It's faith in action!  And then we talked.  She's read through 2 Nephi 13 and she is really good at understanding it and applying it to her own life.  I'm a little sad that I don't get to keep going with her, but Hermana Paniagua will do a good job.

Well, I love you!  Have a wonderful week!
Hermana Kirkland

P.S. It did take me a whole day to remember that the word for "sequia" en ingles es "drought."  Oops :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

So this week was smoke week; because of the record dryness, fires just keep starting.  I've heard it's spontaneous combustion, but I'll keep listening.

Also, sorry if I owe you a letter - I am out of stamps.  Hopefully I'll get to the post office soon.

Yesterday we had the coolest testimony meeting I've ever been to.  We've been reading the Book of Mormon as a mission, and yesterday we all finished together.  And then the entire mission met up for the second time since I've been here and we had a two hour testimony meeting.  As well you might imagine, there was a significant line to go but Hermana Partridge and I went up and waited together.  All the missionaries were bearing their testimonies in about one minute, and the Spirit was so strong!  Plus I got to see all of my favorite mission people and hear about everyone's recent miracles and my old areas.

I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.  I know that it was translated by Joseph Smith and that he was the first prophet of our dispensation.  I know that this church is God's kingdom on earth and I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Hermana Kirkland

Monday, July 27, 2015

Investigator of the week: Norma, who walked an hour and a half to church yesterday despite being an active Catholic.  She is super funny and very religious (can you say religiously religious, or is that sacrilegious?  Haha).
Lots of very Puerto Rican love (hug hug kiss kiss BIG HUG little kiss),
Hermana Kirkland

Monday, July 20, 2015

I send this to a lot of my friends on missions, and most of you are going to be getting back in the next few months.  Let me know when so that I can take you off the list.

Some week I write down beforehand what I'm going to write everyone so I can remember it all.  This week was not one of those weeks.  We had a fun service with the ward where we packed and handed out loads of donated backpacks.  After we packed the backpacks we made it into a game to see how much of the food they gave us we could fit into our bags.  Free food is not to be taken lightly.  Just another way that the mission is preparing me for college (or college prepared me for the mission??).

Another cool member is Pamela.  She was baptised in England in 1958 against her husband's will and then moved to Puerto Rico.  She was the first member here in Caguas and didn't have any contact with the church for years.  Her husband ripped her baptismal certificate up when he found it but she still has the pieces.  Though he was never baptized, he gradually became more supportive and she has been faithful up to today.  And she speaks English with a sweet British accent.

Well, off to work!  In about two hours.  Two very precious hours.
Hermana Kirkland

Monday, July 13, 2015

Survivng the Puerto Rico San Juan Mission Rule #7 - always know where your agenda is.  If you have your agenda, everyone will think that you are a responsible missionary and will be happy to loan you various other things, including a hymnal, a Book of Mormon, any of the pamphlets, a Bible, a triple, a pen, a pencil, a toothbrush, clothing, food, water, hair supplies, soap, toilet paper (but not a towel).  I lost my agenda for one night this week and didn't feel like a real missionary.  It's almost as bad as losing your nametag.

I am in Isaiah in my Bible reading and am really enjoying the last days prophecies (plus in 3 Nephi 23 Christ literally tells us that studying Isaiah is a commandment).  One of my new favorite scriptures is Isaiah 41:10, which says, "Fear thou not; for am with thee: be not dismayed;foam thy God: will strengthen thee; yea, will help thee; yea, will uphold thee witthe right hand of myrighteousness.
Isaiah is sweet.

Contact of the week:
"Hi! Can we share a card with you!"
"Only if I can share something with you."
"...uh, what?"
"...a rosary."
*leaves.  We hastily pull out a Book of Mormon and a Restoration pamphlet.*
"Here you go!  It's made in Jerusalem.  Out of olive wood."
"Thank you!  Here's a Book of Mormon, an ancient record of scripture about the ancestors of the American continent [I don't know how to say these things in English anymore]."
"I respect all religious beliefs... but do you really believe that!"
"Of course!"
In the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Hermana Kirkland

Monday, July 6, 2015

In the mission, you'll find yourself moving around quite a bit (some more than others) and for that we have a very important rule: Travel Light.  Baggage is not a fun thing to move around, whether in suitcases or relationships.  2 suitcases and a carryon is all you've got to take home, so there's really no point in having more stuff than that.  And as far as relationships go, I got really close to the members in San Sebastian, and it has been hard to leave them.
As far as whitewashing goes, though, Caguas is the ideal.  It is a super supportive ward of I don't know how many people.  Too many to count.  It's a good thing I'll probably die here because there's no other way I'll get to know everyone.  It's city (when I called the office the first day, the senior missionary said, "Oh Sister Kirkland, you're back in civilization!"  Shut up, don't remind me), so there's a lot to cover, but the members are always available to give rides.  And there are a lot of funny people here.  Morgan, who is a convert from Provo who served a mission and met her Puerto Rican husband on LDS Singles; Nancy and her daughters Tatiana and Damara, who are all very spunky; and Aida, who insists that we call her "abuela" but also insists she's 15 (sometimes 13).  Our ward mission leader has set a goal of 30 baptisms for the year, which is a bit lofty but something to work towards.  All in all, we're ready to work!
We have 4 sisters and 2 elders here, and everyone mistakes me for Hermana Gassaway.  The members actually feed us (to the point where they call us and ask if we've eaten, and if not they buy us food).  People trip over themselves to give us references and accompany us.  It's a good thing Hermana Paniagua knows how to work with member because I am out of my league here.  Whatever happened to the hard side of missionary work?  What happened to contacting?
Going crazy en la isla del encanto,
Hermana Kirkland

Monday, June 29, 2015

I'm a little sad.  I got transferred for the second time in my mission.  I'm leaving San Sebastian and going to Caguas on the other side of the island.  I love love love San Sebastian, and I know I'll love Caguas (if I keep it up I'm going to die there) but I will miss my area here.  In six months you can get really close to the members, and I have.

We had a good week.  My companion has made huge steps, which as a trainer that is exactly what I want to see.  I know she'll take good care of the area.

This week I had an interesting spiritual experience.  I was reading Jesus the Christ, finishing for the third time in my mission, and while I was reading the restoration chapter, specifically when he quotes JS-H 1:5-26, the Spirit hit me hard and I knew it was true.  It was unexpected, and to be honest I teared up a little.  I've been on a spiritual high the whole weekend.

It looks like I'm whitewashing, which will be interesting!  We'll see how that goes.  I'm going to be really good at contacting (you think you can't get any better, but actually you can.  That is a theme of my mission).

Lots of love from your Borricua-at-heart,
Hermana Kirkland

Monday, June 22, 2015

We had an activity (as part of the effort to have more spiritual church meetings our ward mission leader is teaching "Teaching: No Greater Call" on Thursdays), and he said, "There are many people who want the truth, but why can't they find it?"  I said, "Porque estan cocinando" and my companion said, "Porque estan saliendo ahora."  (The correct answer was, "Because they know not where to find it").  We just have lots of investigators who are never at home whose phones are disconnected.

We also had Zone Conference which was the best one yet.  We're focused on finding, baptizing, and reactivating.  Hermana Boucher talked about fasting and keeping the Sabbath Day holy, and one thing I loved that the President said was, "If they want blessings they have to do something."  Nothing is free.  Except resurrection.

Lots of love,
Hermana Kirkland

Monday, June 15, 2015

A year ago I had my farewell.  A year ago Thursday I entered the MTC.  Time flies when you're having fun.  And working hard.

Keep praying!  I love all of you!  I'll try for a longer update next week.
Hermana Kirkland

Monday, June 8, 2015

So we are allowed to tract.  This is a big deal.  Saturday we left the house at 8 because we had an appointment in Hato Arriba with a reference at 11 and we didn't know how long it would take to walk (it took two hours) but another family randomly invited us in and gave us lunch, and we taught the restoration and they accepted the initial invitation to be baptized.  And so did the reference.  Then we went home, ate lunch, sat on the couches waiting for our new beds to be delivered (so nice) and then picked up a less active girl who went tracting with us for 4 hours, where we yelled at literally every house in one of our neighbors, passed out all of the supplies we had with us (do you know how hard it is to contact with the chastity pamphlet?  Super hard), and got at least 36 contacts and 3 new investigators.  I love tracting.

I have two favorite lines from hymns this week:
"Por sacrificios se dan bendiciones" (Praise to the Man)
"Solo el que trabaja se siente feliz y Dios le recompensará" (Have I Done Any Good in the World Today?)

I hope you all have a great week!  Love you!
Hermana Kirkland

Monday, June 1, 2015

All four of us have had a fun time coming up with words to "I love the Mountains" this week.

In other news, the weather has decided that it would be perfect to start pouring immediately when we leave the house every day.  It doesn't matter what time it is, it just starts raining when we leave.  But at least it's cooler.

My recent convert passed the sacrament for the second time yesterday and I was SUPER STOKED.  One of the great things about staying in an area for a long time is it's easier to see progress.  If you're doing it right.

I love the mission, I love P-Day, I love the sisters, I love my calzoné, I love the whole world and all it's little things...

Hermana Kirkland

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

I love my nametag, I love chocolate on toast, I love the gospel, I love the Holy Ghost, I love the whole world, and all it's little things

Positivity!  It's fun when you make it fun.  That works for everything.

Training is fun!  My companion is a very willing missionary.  If asked, she would probably tell you that my favorite phrase is "Do it."  I sound like a dumb jock egging his friends on, I think.  "Hey, go contact that person."  "What?  No!"  "Come on, do it!  Doooooo iiiiiittt."  And then she does it.  In Spanish, my favorite phrase is "No me importa" -  I don't care.  It's raining?  Whatever!  Keep moving forward.

We're hoping to drop a couple baptismal dates this week, so keep your fingers crossed!

This has been an update from your favorite (or at least second favorite) Puerto Rican missionary,
Hermana Kirkland

Monday, May 18, 2015

Transfer gossip: Hermana Partridge is going to Bayamón, and Hermana Pinto is going to San Germán, and we're getting two new sisters who are whitewashing the area (and training!).  I'm still here, shocker, finishing training.
Here is a good story:
The experience of the week(!) was with Gynoshka, whom we contacted literally four months ago and this was the first lesson with her. She's recently married (she told us that she insisted they get married instead of live together) and her husband is also interested but has the madrugada shift so was asleep during that visit. Even though we haven't been able to visit they've stayed on our radar because they live next to less actives and Ive had a good feeling about them. We re-contacted her and her friend last week with the restoration and she asked, "is that the pamphlet I have?" It wasn't because we had given her 4 months ago the plan of salvation. So we gave that to her friend too and said, "this answers three questions," and she said, "It really does, I don't like reading but I read that entire thing more than once." So we had our first visit on Saturday. We got to know her for a while. It's really easy to relate to her because she's close in age. She said that she will keep visiting churches until she finds the one that "me llena." Then we taught the restoration, and it was gold. Here were some of her questions: "Why are there so many churches?" "Why didn't Christ come to the Americas?" My companion did the first vision and it was spot on. Then when we taught the Book of Mormon we turned to 3 Nefi 11:1-10 (because it is never a bad time to read from the Book of Mormon) and she was all, "wow," and then we said, "well do you know what there is a way to know if this is true," and we turned to Moroni 10:3-5 and she read it and the Spirit was SO STRONG and my companion asked, "how do you feel about this promise?" and she said, "I have this feeling in my heart... I don't have any words" and then she was crying and I was crying and Hermana Wilkinson was going, "This is the best day of my life!." She accepted the invitation to be baptized but not a date yet (that's okay because her husband needs a date), and she texted us afterwards and said, "Gracias por la visita... Espero que se repita la visita cuando mi esposo esta despierto." We have an appointment Wednesday.

We learned this week with Elder Cornish that it isn't necessarily obedient missionaries that baptize.  It's missionaries who expect to baptize.  To be fair, if you expect to baptize you might just baptize anyone so that you can get them, but it is possible to baptize people who are actually ready and still have a lot.  Just gotta have faith.

Love you!
Hermana Kirkland

Monday, May 11, 2015

Thank you all for the birthday wishes.  I can't believe I hit twenty already!  That happened fast.  That's probably how I'll feel at the end of my mission.  Actually it's how I feel now.

We had a good week.  We got a lot of new investigators which was nice, and a record three new references, all of whom we contacted.  Give out references, people!  It's so much better!

I love you all,
Hermana Kirkland

Monday, May 4, 2015

This week the missionary from San Sebastian finished her mission and came home from Saint George, and we met her at the Mother's Day dinner on Friday!  It was hilarious.  She is super cute, and she is definitely still in mission-awkward zone.  When the bishop gave her a hug she did this funny little flinch thing, and she said to us, "I'm going to go get water in the church... ALONE!"  Poor thing.  That will be me before I know it.  But she really wants to go out with us, which is something every missionary wants.

I am enjoying training.  We're starting week 5 tomorrow, which I can't believe.  Where did April go??  I don't know!  We had something interesting happen this week when we found this really prepared investigator, gave him a date, and then he told us the next day that he's leaving for Florida for a while because of a family emergency.  So fun.  He said he'll call us when he gets back.  Peggy still has a date but is still having a hard time getting to church, so she could use some prayers, probably.  Her husband, Vicente the recent convert, turns 81 today!  You wouldn't know he's 81.  That's a common thing in Puerto Rico, they all look younger than they are.

I'm having a great time.  Hope you all feel the same.
Hermana Kirkland

Monday, April 27, 2015

That´s a good sign it´s time to take a nap.

Training is definitely an adventure, and I´ve learned what a real ¨baby¨ is.  I was blessed to have a lot of the language down when I got here, even if I couldn´t understand the Puerto Ricans.  It´s been a learning process but we are both growing and improving in marked ways every day.

Last night for a ward activity we watched Meet the Mormons.  100% would recommend.  It was a great movie and we´re borrowing it from the stake president so we can watch it in English.  The best part was that we got three less actives to the activity and they loved it.  They really miss being active but it´s hard to keep going.  That´s why we´re here!  I don´t know, as a missionary I feel like I have so much motivation it´s really easy to give it away.

This week I learned how much service can mean to people.  They are pretty lazy about giving us service opportunities, so we decided to heart attack the same less active family on Friday.  We got caught by the kids, but then they helped us sneak through the jungle around the back of their house so we could make it a surprise for their mom.  Twenty minutes down the road we got a very teary call from the sister, saying that she had been feeling really down and she had really needed that.  The next day we visited and she gave us dinner as a surprise, and then she and the two kids that had helped us came to sacrament meeting and the activity.  She looked so much happier than she has been since I met her.  And now the ward is starting to get excited about helping them back.

I love love love the mission!
Hermana Kirkland

Monday, April 20, 2015

Still training.  Stay the course.  Keep moving forward.
Love you!
Hermana Kirkland

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA  I love training!  It's also terrifying.  The trainer's meeting is where President figuratively grabs you by the head, stares deep in to your soul, and says, "TRAINING IS SO IMPORTANT.  IT IS THE LIFEBLOOD OF THE MISSION.  YOU ARE THE GOOD MISSIONARIES THAT I TRUST BUT DON'T MESS IT UP."  It's a lot of fun.  My companion is Hermana Wilkinson from Seattle, which is where Hermana Partridge is from!  They know a lot of the same people.  She's training Hermana Pinto from Brazil.  It's cool because she's so innocent and ready to work, not super jaded like the old missionaries (wait... that's me now.  Oops).

I'm running out of time but I will try and talk more next week!  Faith always points forward!  Prayer makes miracles!  I love you!
Hermana Kirkland

Monday, April 6, 2015

Well, all good things must end.  Except families.  And the Atonement.  Well, there are some good things that don't end.  But the best trio of all time had to end, and we knew it was going to be this transfer.  Hermana Stevens is going to Aguas Buenas, and Hermana Partridge and I are both training in San Sebastian!!!!  Hoooooo boy.  I'm really excited.  There's no way it could be worst than last time. right?  Don't answer that.

How awesome was conference?  It was very awesome.  I am especially stoked for three new temples, and one of them in my area!  (The Carribean, not San Sebastian).  I loved loved loved Sister Burton's talk Saturday morning, and President Uchtdorf's talk yesterday morning.  I got a lot of answers I needed.

So I'm in my own area again, which I'm basically reopening, except I already know where everything is and all the ward members.  But no dates, no progressing investigators, hardly any investigators.  This will be interesting.  But miracles happen in training.  I'm excited.

And we might have a wedding this week!  I'll send pictures if/when it happens.

Love you!
Hermana Kirkland