I don't think I have felt so confident or so humble in one week. Missions are crazy! :)
So, the big news this week is that I will be training a brand new missionary straight from the MTC. Can you believe it?! After you are out on your mission for 12 weeks you are supposed to be ready to train a new missionary, and next week is my 12 week mark. Can I just tell you how unprepared and inadequate I felt? REALLY inadequte! What is interesting is that I felt like I would train probably an entire week before President Sorensen called me. That has been a real tender mercy in my life- I feel like I have been warned when a big 'crisis' is about to happen in my life. Maybe crisis isn't the word... maybe trial? Or hardship? Something that will rock my little Kimber world. But as hard as those times hit, it has always been tempered from the foreknowledge the spirit has given me and helped me to be prepared and cope with it. Isn't that so neat? It isn't a huge feeling, just little inklings of feelings that I probably wouldn't have noticed if I didn't look at them in hindsight. But as much as I 'knew' I would be called as a trainer, I still so over taken by shock when President Sorensen called at 10:30 on Monday night that I chucked the phone at Sister Hatch. She kindly handed it back after answering, and I numbly accepted to be exactly obedient as I trained this new missionary. Then I don't remember what else he said because I was numb at that point :)
Since that time, I have gone through so many emotions that I am not even going to try and describe them all. But I will say that through it all, being on a mission has been so neat, because everyday experiences make you wonder how exactly Jesus Christ felt. It is incredible how alone you can feel. You can be surrounded by people, but if your companion isn't on the same page as you, it seems like there is nowhere to turn other than to God. You can't really go anywhere else for comfort. It makes me realize Jesus Christ must have come to know Heavenly Father so well because no one else was on His level. He was completely and utterly alone His entire life. I realized how much I have leaned on my previous companions as justification for behavior. But if you are leaning on someone who is imperfect, you can easily use their weaknesses as justification for yourself. Only by relying on the Lord can we overcome weaknesses and do things we never thought were possible. Didn't you love that General Conference talk about the Savior seeing the potential in the fishers to become apostles?! I LOVED that part! Mom, I didn't pick up on the end of Elder Holland's talk (The time is short) How exciting! :) When I was first realizing I was going to be called as a trainer, I felt like they were asking me to jump off a cliff- I feel like I have so much more to learn before I can teach someone else! But now I feel excited to run to the edge and do a little pocahontas swan dive off of it, and Heavenly Father can help me out :) Heavenly Father is in charge, right Dad? ;)
Oh, by the way Dad, would you do me a favor? President Sorensen told us it might be a good idea to get a GPS so that we don't have to be wasting the Lord's time, miles and gas trying to find places. With Sister Hatch's GPS, missionary work has been so much better! Plus, these roads are crazy out here :) Would you mind using some of my money and mailing me a GPS? A good one, but one that isn't too expensive? We won't have any time in the next few P-days to go to a store like that, and you are so much better at picking out good stuff like that :) If you can't or don't have time, just let me know and I can make things work out. But I would really appreciate it!
This week has been a little week of miracles. Audrie has successfully stopped smoking, so she is good to be baptized on the 22nd of April! Whoo! She is INCREDIBLE! It is so neat to see her progress from when we first started teaching her until now. She could barely understand one verse of scripture 6 weeks ago, and now she is reading whole chapters, applying them to her life and her confidence and faith have been amazing! She loves to read scriptures with us when we come over, and she is taking really difficult steps in her life. As a missionary, I don't feel like I am doing anything! There hasn't been the heartache of her not keeping commitments and wondering if she will turn on us in our next visit. It is remarkable the change that occurs when you live the gospel. It is funny, because she can't see it, even though it has been such a stark contrast! I guess that is how we feel about ourselves- it is diffcult to see ourselves progressing when it is so gradual. It is neat to be able to see her from the perspective of a missionary. It is such a testimony builder!
We also had a neat experience with Bob. Bob is a man we ran into tracting, but we haven't been able to get a hold of him when we try to contact him. Finally the other day we were able to see him and his wife sitting out on their porch. They were very angry and disgruntled- they were getting kicked out of their apartment- and Sister Hatch and I were feeling a little uneasy about starting a lesson with them because they weren't feeling the spirit at all. Finally, Sister Hatch had the courage to ask if she could pray for them, and they said yes. She said a wonderful, simple prayer, asking Heavenly Father to be mindful of them and to be with them at this time. And they softened right up! We went in, talked about the Book of Mormon, and they both commited to be baptized once they found it to be true. The wife was incredibly prepared! She had been searching for a Book of Mormon ever since her pastor took away one she had ordered from a TV advertisement and has wanted to read one for awhile. She told us she would read half of it that night, because she really wanted to know if it was true. Isn't that neat?! It was SO cool!
And my favorite miracle of the week... is that Giang will be coming to church again! The last few weeks we have really limited our contact with him, because we knew that Giang couldn't progress anymore with just the missionaries. He needed the ward members to be involved for anything to happen. It took so much faith to step down and allow the ward to take over!! I love that man SO MUCH and I knew that not visiting him would throw him in the deep end and he would either sink or swim. We have been trying to get members to invite him to game nights or go over to teach him English, but everyone is really busy. This weekend some members picked him up for general conference. And now he said he wanted to come to church again!! I know it is still going to take a lot of steps to get the entire ward involved. It is amazing how much difference one person can make when they look out for the welfare of others! If the ward can see how vital they are to Giang seeing the truthfulness of the gospel, he is going to do so well. I can't wait to see how things turn out!
I got to give my first John Johnson tour alone yesterday! Ahh! Haha, it actually wasn't very scary. I did really well remembering the facts! I actually impressed myself. But something I left out was my testimony. And you know what? The tour didn't have a whole lot of depth. It was factual, but the spirit didn't have a chance to be there, and it really made a difference. I think I am beginning to understand how crucial it is to do things by the spirit as a missionary. The feelings are what stay with someone, not the facts. I have felt the same with hearing music in public places. It is fun music, but not very fulfilling. The spiritual stuff in this life gives our lives so much more depth than the secular! Kind of cool to be surrounded by spiritual all the time :)
As excited as I am to meet this new sister who will be my companion, I am sad to have Sister Hatch leave :( It is crazy how close you can get with someone in a matter of weeks, when you are with someone constantly! I love that girl. But she won't be leaving until July, and Sister Lee won't leave until August, so I still have time with them. I am so glad Heavenly Father has put them in my path. They are so opposite, but so perfect for the beginning of my mission. I received a letter from Sister Lee the other day- it made me so happy!
Just curious: what exactly do you want to hear from me? Would you rather hear my thoughts? Or about my investigators and their experiences? Is anything boring to hear about? If something is kind of boring to hear, just let me know! It would save me time in typing ;) and I don't know what is good to hear from a missionary since I haven't really been on the receiving end before. Are these too long? I do sort of go on for awhile... :) Anyway, any feedback would be great! And it would be great to hear from you too! I love you all so much! I hope you are all doing well.
The pictures are of the Giffords, one of the senior couples we give tours with at the John Johnson Farm. Elder Gifford kind of became my comfort after Grandpa died- he reminds me a lot of him
The Waroquet family is the one with the two boys and a girl. They are HILARIOUS! He is french, she is from hungary, and their boys are getting lessons to prepare for baptism. They have the greatest sense of humor, and are pretty good at listening to our lessons. :)
Audrie, Okey and the little baby are AWESOME! Okey is less active, but getting ready to receive the priesthood, Olivia is the CUTEST baby who army crawls and almost never cries, and Audrie is planning on being baptized April 22nd. I love them to death! Sister Hatch got all these pictures because she will be leaving, so I am reaping the benefits ;)
Sister Kimber Mahrt
P.S. Ray, I told Sister Hatch a little about our childhood. I thought they were pretty funny stories, but for some reason Sister Hatch feels sorry for you...? I don't really get it :) But just know you have a fan