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