Monday, July 17, 2017

Last email from Utah!

It's bitter sweet!

I have loved every single bit of my mission! I am sad to leave this
place and the people I've grown to love so much, that have changed my
life, but they will always hold a special place in my heart! I'm so
grateful for the opportunity to serve, for the trials I've gone
through, the people by my side through them, and the lessons I've
learned! Most importantly I've come closer to my Savior and my
testimony has grown stronger!

This week was a crazy week full of every type of experience possible
haha, I'll share the good ones, and spare you the crazy πŸ˜‚

Yesterday was the best way to end my mission! Dario got his
patriarchal blessing yesterday and invited us! It was so special!!! He
has amazed me every step of the way and it was such a huge blessing to
be able to hear what the Lord has in store for his life! From the
beginning I've felt like I've know him longer than I have, that we
were best friends before this life too! I know that God has a perfect
plan and that nothing is coincidence, he is going to have a huge
impact on so many lives, he already has on mine! I am eternally
grateful for the friendships that I've made here!
Victor came to church with us Sunday too :) he is absolutely amazing
as well! He has such a good heart!! We taught him some of God's
commandments this week  and while he isn't living all of them, he
wants to! He wants to change and be better, he recognizes truth so
easily! Change is all that really matters, God knows our hearts, it
doesn't matter who we've been, it matters who we want to become, with
the Lord's help of course!
One of my favorite miracles this week happened Friday night! We went
to go talk to a group of guys that were drinking in a parking lot,
only one of them talked to us, he's here from Georgia on an internship
for the summer, he had to go because his ride came but we asked for
his number and he gave it to us as he left so he could text us his
address. We texted but didn't hear anything back, and we though we
might not, but the next morning he responded and it was such a
miracle! He said "if I give you my address, will you help me find my
way back to Jesus? I've been struggling lately and don't know where
else to turn..." WE WERE ECSTATIC!!! We had no clue when we talked to
him the night before that he felt that way, he seemed fine! When we got
that text I realized how amazing God's plan is, that he placed him in
our path, because He knew what he was going through. I feel so humbled
and blessed to have been a tool in the Lord's hand for that!

This week I learned how much more powerful it is to be motivated by
love rather than fear. Studying repentance in the New Testament, and
Christ's example of ministering to sinners, taking the opportunity to
lift them when they were down, really inspired me. At the end of my
mission, I realize I have not mastered the Christ like attributes, but
I feel silly for thinking that I would. I have grown a lot, but it's
far from over, I'm a huge work in progress, but I wouldn't have it any
other way. Recognizing my daily dependence on Jesus Christ is a good
place to be.

I'll end me last email with my favorite scriptures:

John 3:16-17

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have
everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but
that the world through him might be saved.

My favorite scripture still hasn't changed, because that is the reason
for everything! Without Jesus Christ, and knowing that He is our
Savior and Redeemer, nothing else would matter. This week we were
teaching someone who considers himself agnostic, he's not sure if God
is there or not, and I don't remember what exactly I said, but I was
talking about Jesus and he said "that seems to be your driving force,
everything you talk about has to do with Him, I can tell you really
believe, it seems nice" I don't think he realized how much that meant
to me. I am so grateful to have a personal relationship with Jesus
Christ, and the peace and happiness that it brings! I want that for
everyone!!! ❤️

Tomorrow, Tuesday should be fun! We get to go to the 3pm session at
the Oquirrh Mountain temple! My favorite one here πŸ˜ŠπŸŽ‰

I'm excited to see everyone in West Virginia soon. I'll be flying out
Wednesday morning!

Thank you so much for you love and support on this amazing journey!

Sister Kirkpatrick

Monday, July 10, 2017

Silver Lining

To everything, there is a silver lining. 

 This has been one of the toughest weeks of my mission. I've seen a lot of sad things happen to people I love. I've learned a lot of lessons though. It seems like every thing that could have gone wrong this week did go wrong, and it would be really easy to just throw my hands up and say well why does any of this even matter that I've done for the past year and a half, and just forget it all for the last week and have fun, but that's exactly what the adversary would want me to do. I believe that part of trusting God and His plan for our lives is continuing to do what we know is right, even and especially when we don't get the results we hope for. It's easy to keep doing something when you're seeing immediate results, but when you aren't it takes a lot more trust to keep going. I believe that is when your true character is defined. 
I've learned that agency is such an important part of God's plan, the only thing that's regally ours in this life is our choice. That's why it means so much to God when we make choices to come closer to Him, because He will never take our choice from us or force us to do anything, although He knows which choices will bring us happiness and which ones won't. We as humans tend to want people to make the choices we know will bring them happiness and keep them from the ones we know will bring them pain. While that isn't a bad desire, I don't believe it's the Savior's way. Of course He wants to help us be happy and not get hurt, but He still gives us our choice. At the end of the day all we can do is love people no matter what. I know that repentance can bring so much joy into our lives because it lifts burdens we don't need to carry, ones the Savior has already paid for. We can only change because of what He has already done for us. He never runs out of second chances when our hearts are sincere. Something I heard someone say that has stuck with me is "the worst sin is the one you think you can get away with". It's so true! The only person that really matters already knows us and our hearts better than we do! 

I know that God is so aware of each one of us, and He answers prayers! Sunday morning, when the weight of everything that happened this week was catching up to me, I just happened to be reading 2 Nephi 2 next, and it helped me to trust in God's plan even more. 
Verse 11 & 16 really helped me:

11 For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.
16 Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.

I don't know why so many tough things happened all at once this week, or why these people have to go through these trials, but I know God loves them and He has a plan. I believe that they will come out stronger and more converted to the Lord as a result of this opposition! 

Have a great week!! 
πŸ€— Love, 
Sister Kirkpatrick 

- 4th of July zone meeting
- almost burnt the house down, forgot about the chicken 😱
- sister McCarters zone flag! 
- Andrew got baptized! 
- trying to spell YSA πŸ˜‚


I hope everyone has a great 4th of July tomorrow! πŸŽ†πŸŽ‡πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

I'm making the most of the time I have left! 😊 we had a great week!

We met two new people this week, Colton and Amy! Colton was so excited
to come to church and learn more and meet people, and when we gave him
a copy of the Book of Mormon, he said "No way?! πŸ˜„" he didn't come to
church Sunday though, so we went by to see if everything was alright,
and his parents told us that he had over dosed on heroine and his 14
year old brother found him dead, but the medics were able to bring him
back. It was so sad! I feel so bad for his parents, they are hoping he
will finally get some help now. We're going to go do some service for
them this week 😊
We also met Amy, we met her brother running and he told us we could
stop by. When we did he wasn't there, but Amy was and she talked to us
for awhile, she said her faith was so important to her that she had
seriously considered becoming a nun. She said now she wants to be a
nurse because she loves service so much, she's awesome! We told her
about callings and opportunities for service in our church and she
really liked it!
We had some great lessons with Victor this week! 😊 he's doing so
good! He is still reading the Book of Mormon and he understands way
more than I did the first time I read it! He has started living the
word of wisdom, he stopped drinking coffee this week! He is so excited
to get baptized July 26! I'm sad I will miss it but I'm just so happy
for him, and I know it's the Lords timing!

I got to go to the salt lake temple twice this week! Once with all of
the departing missionaries and President and Sister Lansing, and again
with Dario and Dallis! It was so much fun being in the temple with
everyone, the Lansing's are so great 😊 It was fun watching Dario see
everything there for the first time 😊 he and Dallis stayed to do
baptisms in the temple after we left!

This week I feel like I learned a lot about the importance of how
beautifully simple the gospel is. This scripture has been my favorite
this week:

1 Nephi 11:17
And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless,
I do not know the meaning of all things.

That is true for me for sure! I do not begin to have all of the
answers, but I know that God loves me. I know that because He sent His
Only Begotten Son to live and die for me. I know that what ever you
shine the light on will grow. If we choose to shine the light on our
questions or doubts, it becomes a downward spiral. But as we choose to
center our minds on our faith in Jesus Christ and the truths that the
spirit has taught us, that's when we continue to grow in our faith. I
know Jesus Christ is my Savior and He suffered for me individually
because I've felt it. I've felt peace in times where it didn't make
any sense at all to feel peace, other than knowing that Christ knew
exactly how I felt. I know that as we keep Christ at the center of our
lives, we will always have joy, no matter what else changes around us.

❤️ Sister Kirkpatrick

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Super fast week!

This week has flown by! At the same time, things that happened on
Tuesday already feel like it was so long ago! I went on exchanges with
sister Hinchcliff on Tuesday, and got to go visit people from my old
area 😊 We got to have a lesson with Amy ❤️ I love and miss her  so
much! The relationships you make are the best part of serving a
mission! She knows she will always be my friend no matter where life
takes us πŸ€—

Nic Watson got baptized on Saturday! It was so exciting! It sounds
like he faced a lot of opposition leading up to his baptism, but his
whole family still came to support him! He shared his testimony after
his baptism, and it was great, because Marci came with us and she
really felt the spirit! 😊

This Sunday we had a cool miracle! A girl texted us and told us she
was coming to church and bringing her coworker to church for the first
time as well and asked if they could sit with us! His name is Edwin,
he is so nice! We showed him around the church and had a lesson
afterwards, and he is excited to come back next Sunday! The priesthood
authority that Christ gave his apostles really seemed to make sense to
him, and he wants to be baptized himself!
Vincent and Marci also came to church Sunday! Vincent is great, his
heart is so good and I know God is very aware of him!

This week I had a lot of experiences, where the spirit taught me how
important it is for someone to gain a testimony that the Book of
Mormon is true for them self. Monday we went to go see Vincent with
our new ward mission leader Sebastian, and we told him a little about
Vincent and that he was praying to know if he should be baptized or
not, and that he had just started reading the Book of Mormon
regularly. Sebastian said "well until he gains a testimony of the Book
of Mormon he shouldn't be baptized anyways right?" And we said well
yeah of course! We knew that already, but it just struck me how true
it is, once you gain a testimony that it is true, and that it's the
word of God, everything else just falls into place. Someone else at
church was asking about someone they met last week, and we told them
that they'd decided to read the Book of Mormon every day, and he said
"Oh they're screwed, if they read it every day with an open heart
they're going to know it's true!" It was funny, but so true! I also
loved talking about it with Amy, she asked why the Bible wasn't enough
or why the Book of Mormon was better, and I told her it wasn't better,
they should be read together, because they both testify of Jesus
Christ, and just give us an even more full picture of His life.

 We looked at an example:

 Luke 22:42-44
"42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me:
nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was
as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground."

& Alma 7:11-13
"11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and
temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled
which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his
12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of
death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their
infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to
the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his
people according to their infirmities.
13 Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God
suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins
of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according
to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony
which is in me."

In Luke we read about Christ's experience, nothing can replace that.
In Alma we read why Jesus did what He did. It doesn't take away from
or discredit Luke, it only testifies of Christ's love for each of us
and gives us more truth!
Those are some of my favorite verses. I am so grateful to know how
much Jesus loves me, and that he lived his life and died for me, so
that He would know the things I go through in this life, I am never
alone because of what He did. I always have someone who knows exactly
what I'm feeling. And I can return to live with God again because of
His sacrifice for me! I know He loves you so much! Having a personal
relationship with Jesus Christ is the only way to find true and
lasting happiness! ❤️

Sister Kirkpatrick

Monday, June 19, 2017

Another Crazy week!

So much has happened! I need a nap! Haha it's been a good week though,
I'll spare you some of the craziness and just share highlights!

First of all, Eli got baptized!!! That doesn't even feel like it was
this week! Haha! It was such a sweet baptism! His little brother
talked about baptism and made everyone cry! Then his dad baptized him,
it was his dads first baptism, he was just baptized a couple years
ago, after his younger brother. Tanner gave a talk on the Holy Ghost,
and made everyone cry again, and then at the end Eli shared his
testimony, and had everyone crying! The spirit was so strong, it was
such a happy day! I'm so proud of Eli and the way he's changed his
life to follow Jesus Christ! 😊

This week we met 4 new people, it was awesome! Last Pday, at the car
wash, we talked to Gauthier, who was vacuuming his car next to us.
He's been here for four years, from Congo, and he's never met with
missionaries! He gave us his number and told us we could come over
this week. When we did, we found out he has 2 other siblings and one
of his brothers girlfriend Paula was there as well. They are all here
studying chemical engineering, they are all so nice! Only Gauthier and
 Paula could join us, they speak English, French and Swahili! It was
really neat being able to share the gospel with someone for the first
time. We asked them how they felt after hearing the first vision, and
they both said they would never be the same after that! They shared
experiences growing up in Africa, going through tough things and
losing loved ones. They said those were the times they felt closest to
Jesus, their faith is amazing! It was so refreshing to see someone be
so happy to receive a copy of the Book of Mormon for the first time!
😊 Unfortunately they did not make it to church Sunday, and Gauthier
is going to Arizona for the month of July πŸ˜₯ but I'm so grateful for
the time I will be able to get to know him more before he leaves!
Dario is sharing the gospel with his friend Victor! He's being an
amazing member missionary, we met with Victor this week too! He is
trying to get work off on Sundays so he can come to church as well 😊
We also met Marci last night, she is so sweet! She just moved back
here after getting her masters in Virginia! She started meeting with
missionaries and going to church for the first time there a couple of
months ago and she loved it! She's trying to find God and religion for
the first time in her life, she loves taking the sacrament each week,
she missed two weeks for vacation and she said she can tell, she
already misses it so much!

This week I am focusing on just how grateful I am for all of the
people the Lord places in my life, and the relationships we form. I
have been so blessed to see so many people develop relationships with
Jesus Christ, and the way their lives change as a result of that. It
is such a blessing to be able to come back to this area and see Maddy
and Dario and others continue to grow! They are both getting their
patriarchal blessings soon! Maddy just got a calling in relief
society, and Dario is blessing the sacrament now! 😊

Hope you all have an amazing week!

Sister Kirkpatrick

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Transfer day!

We still don't know what's happening for sure, all I know is that I'm
being transferred and released as a sister Training leader for my last
transfer! It has been such a good experience! 7 transfers of learning
from so many amazing sisters that have changed my life! I'm so
thankful for them and so excited for another sister to have the
experience now! 😊

Okay, so miracles! We had the best week ever!!!!
First of all, Randy Swensen (from West Jordan) got his endowments at
the temple on Saturday and I got to go see!! It was so sweet! I'm so
grateful for his example and so excited for him and Jennifer to be
married!! I love em both so much! Their journey and testimonies have
strengthened mine so much! There will be pictures at the bottom 😊
Also, Gage is awesome! He's been praying about being baptized on June
10th, and he said he knows God wants him to be, but he wasn't acting
like he was really going to on that day. When we went over on Thursday
for our lesson, we asked him if anything was happening on June 10th?
And he said "actually, I was wondering if we could do it the 9th?" I
was so excited my country accent came out! I could not contain myself,
it blew my socks off! I am so so so excited for him! He has been
getting so many answers lately and he's going to act on them now,
wahoo!!!! And then he texted us later that night and asked if he could
do it the 8th instead, so he's getting baptized Thursday!
And we met the coolest guy, Ben, Friday night. We knocked on his door
with like two minutes of the night left, and he answered, he thought
we were looking for someone else, but we asked him if we could share a
message with him about Jesus Christ and he said sure! He invited us in
and we shared our testimonies with him. He actually met with
missionaries while he was in prison in Washington, but he said he was
out of it because he was detoxing. But he is doing great now, he lives
in a sober living house and he said he's been coming closer to God and
getting his life in order, but he still feels like something is
missing, and he thinks this is it! We went back Saturday and taught
him more and he is just so excited to keep learning! He came to church
and loved it! He was worried about being accepted but everyone reached
out to him and he made a ton of friends! We're going back to see him
again tonight! 😊😊😊
We also had two other temple square trips this week with Nic, Katelyn,
John, and Eli! Pictures at the bottom 😊

A story that one of my sisters shared with me this week really
impacted me. She said that in a meeting she heard someone say they
were afraid of breaking, and another person say, why not let yourself
break? Christ can heal you. And then she remembered a story she had
heard before she came on her mission, she said that in Japan they
break china bowls on purpose, and then seal them back together with a
gold glue, and the idea is that they now have these gold veins running
through the bowl, and they are more beautiful now than if they had
been whole the entire time and never broken. She compared that to our
lives and said that we are all broken, but it's good because Jesus
Christ is what holds us together, He's the one who heals us, and that
much better than never having been broken in the first place. If we
were whole we wouldn't need a savior, and that would be so sad to me.
I'm so grateful for the trials I've gone through, because that's when
I've felt Jesus the closest to me, and I wouldn't trade that for
anything. I am so happy to know that He is the one holding me
together, I NEED Him in my life! ❤️

Miracles are so real! They are all around us, we just have to notice
them! I know that there is nothing that bring more lasting joy than
sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with others and helping them come
closer to their Savior!

I hope you have an amazing miracle filled week!
❤️ Love,
Sister Kirkpatrick