Wednesday, August 29, 2012

August 27, 2012
I got DUMPED at the laundramat!!

Meg, how was your birthday?!?! I want to hear about it. I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU ARE 18! Stop freaking me out. 

We just got done doing our laundry, and guess what? Our investigator Ken came over and met us at the laundromat and dropped us! 

It was so bizarre. I have never been dumped in a laundromat before :)

Ken is one of my FAVORITE investigators right now. He is an older man in his 70s, and he has the best sense of humor! He has been anti-ed REALLY badly, and all of his neighbors have been ganging up on him since he has been meeting with sister missionaries (and they are all different religions!). The poor guy has been completely beat upon, and I am not going to exclude us missionaries from the beating :) He just needs to read the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it is true, and he won't do it! Instead, he talks to others who tell him all about us, and he goes on these websites that disprove the Book of Mormon by historical fact. He is so smart- he knows Korean and German, has traveled the world and has done everything you could think of- and so his intellectual side is having a difficult time with this mountain of 'facts' disproving the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He is so funny though- he knows more about us and the missionary's lives than any other investigator. He uses all the Mormon lingo- he even calls himself an investigator- and in his spare time he reads the White Missionary Handbook, Preach My Gospel, and True to the Faith. He even asks us to take certain questions he has to our district meeting so we can return and report on his concerns and roleplay for him! Haha, the guy knows way too much about everything! He is so good natured and fun to be around. It is really sad, because we have been having really powerful spiritual lessons, where his concerns seem to be relieved and he resolves to just read the Book of Mormon, but then when we leave he says these ideas come to his mind that these things can't be true, and his neighbors aren't helping the matter (they come and purposely interrupt our lessons when they see our car outside). This experience has really made me realize the need for personal revelation. There is no way that we can take people's words for gospel truth. In the end, the only way for us to truly know something is for us to take action, study it out and pray. It is strange how calm I feel about dropping him. If this were at the beginning of my mission, I would have freaked out, because I know how close he is to finding the truth (he knows it already, he just won't admit it to himself). But I have come to see the power in letting people find this out for themselves. I know that is the only way that he will find what he is looking for, and at this point we have taught him all that we can and brought the spirit as much as we could into his home. At some point, there has to be agency so they can learn and choose for themselves. It has been a hard, but neat lesson to learn. I hope he can see/feel the difference in these next few weeks.

This area has been incredible- it is exploding with new investigators, and I have been loving it! Normally finding is my favorite thing, but Sister Tok is pretty good at it, and it is amazing how much you can learn to enjoy something when you think of the 'why' behind what you are doing. Finding people to share the truth and eternal salvation with seems like a pretty good motivator :) 

I LOVE missionary work, I LOVE this area, and I DO NOT love bed bugs. Some people are getting them in the mission. Sick. Nasty. Disgusting. We better not get them.


Sister Kimber Mahrt

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Aug 20, 2012
OK, these have been the craziest past few days! Rewind to transfer meeting...

So, I am sitting there in the Kirtland chapel on August 15th, awaiting my sentence. I knew that I would be going out full-pros, and so I was looking around at all the full pros sisters that were at the meeting, trying to guess which one I would be companions with in the next half hour. President Vellinga is amazing, by the way. He talked about 'being one,' and how we are weird, and our companion is going to be weird, so we need to expect and accept, and then move on :) He is so cool. He is really good at being spiritual and fun at the same time. Anyway, Sister Lee went home :( She got up, and bore her testimony. She is the sweetest thing, and so when she was crying up at the pulpit my eyes were watery. Then President had all the departing missionaries get up front and we sang "God Be with You 'til We Meet Again.' I think I sang about three words. Then I had to stop or the maniac sobbing would have taken over. It was sad to say goodbye to her. But anyway, back to the transfers! After we were introduced to the new missionaries and their trainers, and we had an amazing musical number, they started calling us two by two in our districts to our new areas and companions. They went from the east zones to the west zones. Zone by zone, the missionaries were leaving the chapel, and one by the full pros sisters started diminishing until... there were no full-pros sisters left! I was SO confused. After about 5 seconds I had already deduced that out-zoned meant I was literally leaving... but they probably meant out-missioned! I was being kicked out of the mission and sent home! Probably because my sub-par fashion didn't cut it! Well, the wild ideas kept getting crazier and crazier until I heard my name, stood up, and looked at who they called as my companion. Another Kirtland sister! It was Sister Tokunaga, the training sister of Kirtland. And we were called to shot-gun (open an area) Bowling Green West! I was really shocked. First of all, Kirtland sisters don't normally shot gun a full pros area, and it is even more rare for TWO Kirtland sisters to be shot-gunning a full pros area! So crazy. 

Since Sister Tok was the training sister, she had some inside information that she shared with me later. She said that President Vellinga had come up with what he thought would be good for transfers and presented the idea to Elder Edman (Kirtland site director). He told Elder Edman that he could make any changes he felt inspired to make, but the only companionship and area set in stone was Sister Tok and I. Interesting. I am really excited for this area! 

Bowling Green is really neat. It is the farthest west of any sisters area, and it is FLAT. Like a pancake. It has been really fun to shot-gun. It is like starting completely from scratch. We work really closely with the Bowling Green East sisters, Sister Carlson and Sister Smith. I came out from the MTC with Sister Smith, and talked with her on the plane. She is awesome! Sister Carlson has been feeling stressed because she has only been out for three months, and she is trying to organize everything (since she is the only one who knows the ward and what she is doing out here). It has been really fun to work with Sister Tok. She is from Hawaii, and her motto is to work hard and play hard. She is super intense (think Selina on steriods) and efficient, but then she really likes her down time on P-days (you would not believe how much she plans the best zone p-days ;) She doesn't really like writing letters or emails, so I may not have as much time as I have had previously to write, so just an advance warning :) She also says that instead of Bowling Green West, we should say Big Girls Win. Yep, she is a little weird ;) But I like her a lot and have LOVED serving with her so far.

So far we have two investigators- Ken and Devin. If you decide to come out here and pick me up, you are all meeting Ken. He is 70 years old, always smiling, slightly off his rocker, and basically the cutest old man ever. He has already claimed that Sister Tok and I are 'his,' and he loves coming to church and loves the Word of Wisdom. His neighbors are a pain though. They will come over during our lessons just to interrupt, because they don't like that he is meeting with us. Yesterday we were able to get a ride for Ken and Devin out to the fireside in Kirtland (a 2 1/2 hour way!) and it was AWESOME! We made a lunch for them and were able to walk around Historic Kirtland a bit before going to the fireside. The fireside had three speakers who are converts, and they shared their stories about how they found the church and what it means to them today. They were perfect for Ken! Devin liked them too, but he is a 17 year old kid that has anger management issues and not-punching-the-wall issues, and has a more difficult time recognizing the spirit. He is so humble though- you should hear his prayers! On top of that, it was so nice to be back in Kirtland! It really did feel like coming home, and even though it had technically been 5 days, it felt like SO much longer! And we were able to get 5 potentials! ...and three of them are in the other sister's area. Goodness! That has got to stop- we want to teach them! They are all really awesome.

As much as I like Kirtland, it has been so fun being full-pros. There is so much time! We can schedule times to meet with people any time we want, and we don't have to worry about our site schedule. The ward here is good- interestingly enough they are almost all inter-related in some way, so there are only about 5 last names we have to remember (j/k it is more like 7). We have the most incredible ward missionary. He is a retired older man, and I have never worked with a ward missionary that does their job so well. He works really well with Devin, and is working with his parole officer to lighten his sentence. I am learning a lot about being a member missionary, and I want to be like him when I get back!

When I was back in Hiram, we had the senior missionaries (the Riches- did you meet them Dad?) come with us to an appt. with Nick. Afterwards, Sister Riches looked at me and said, "No wonder Heavenly Father wanted you on a mission- you are so bold! You are the boldest missionary I know!" That was weird. I don't think 'bold' has ever been an adjective that has described me. But thinking back on the lesson I realized I had been very straight-up and to the point. I think as a missionary it is so much easier to be bold, because you have 1000 years of scriptures to back you up, and if you aren't bold and you beat around the bush, the spirit can't testify as truth as powerfully. Also, I am loving how much easier it is to receive revelation for others than it has been for myself. Actually, I think getting revelation is easier than I realized before, but when it is personal revelation you have to act on it yourself, and that is the difficult part. When it is revelation for others, you tell them about it and the spirit tells you what you are saying is true, so it makes it pretty clear. Acting is the most difficult part for people. Change is a big deal! But I am learning that this church isn't a church of preaching or saying, it is a church of action. You need to be righteous in order to gain a testimony, be converted, and to gain your salvation, and that is all there is to it. 

Love you so much my little fam-fam! Have fun in school!

Sister Kimber Mahrt
Aug 14, 2012
I am SO sorry, I have absolutely NO TIME this week!
1) I have been tired this week because I have been up every hour these nights with Tom Cruise dreams. Yes, Tom Cruise!! How long has it been since I have even seen those movies?! I will wake up and be like 'that was weird...' and hour later, 'am I still dreaming about this...?' and hour later, "Really?!" It is so weird
2) Sister Hatch and her family came back to Ohio to visit. It was SO good to see her!!!! It is neat how you make such good friends on the mission. Doing the work together really solidifies friendships.
3) OK, so the info you have been waiting for... I am BEING TRANSFERRED!!! I can't believe it! But if that isn't enough, I am being OUT-ZONED! Which probably means that I will be too far from the Kirtland sites to be giving tours this next transfer. cRaZy! Other missionaries keep guessing that I am going to Massillon, where I would be companions with a sister missionary who doesn't have arms. That would be pretty cool.
I am SO sorry this is short, but this P-day has been insane. Love you all!
Sister Kimber Mahrt
So... we took too long and we missed Sister V's hair appt...
So I get more time to write! Whoo!
We had a training meeting a few weeks ago in Kirtland about looking good as a missionary, since we are representing the Savior. It began as a modesty lesson, then took a turn for the worst- they started talking about being fashionable. And looking cute. They said that as missionaries representing Christ we should look really classy and shouldn't be two casual. Their rule of thumb of things that were too casual were it should have ruffles, lace or a gather. I looked at my shirt. It was super plain. Great. So I have begun a little something I like to call Project Ruffles. It is my attempt at getting clothes that are cute. Every P-day with our plentiful time, whenever we drive by a clothing store, we veer into the parking lot, park, and all I have to say is 'PROJECT RUFFLES!' and Sister V is on my heels throughout the store, frantically searching for a fashionable shirt, skirt or accessory. To no avail. I think Heavenly Father has a little bit too much fun with His sense of humor. Of all the missions to send a fashion-challenged sister, He decides to send me to a visitors center. In fact, fashion-challenged is too nice of a word- I think my fashion is backwards! Whenever I get hand-me-downs from other sisters, some of the things they give me I kind of grimace and say, 'oh how cute!' but really I am plotting how fast I can get it into the donation pile without them seeing it. If I don't have an opportunity to get the clothing in the pile fast enough, another sister always finds it and says, "oh, why haven't you worn this?! It is SO CUTE!" I end up being talked into wearing it, and then guess what? Those days I get hit with compliments wherever I go! "Lookin' sharp Sister M!" "Where did you get that? It is CUTE!" "Lookin' so fresh!" What is that all about?! I am just about to go on a shopping spree to buy all the ugliest clothes I can find! I am sure Heavenly Father has been entertained.
I can't tell you how excited I have been about going out full pros. I don't even know why I am excited- it is the same work OUT of Kirtland Zone than it is IN Kirtland Zone! I love Kirtland, I love the sisters, I love the tours... but I guess I am excited for a new adventure. I had been secretly hoping that I would be out-zoned for a few weeks, because this would be the perfect time! I want to be in Kirtland for Christmas, and I want to die in Kirtland. Besides, the tours have slowed down a lot since the Hill Cumorah Pageant. I think Kari's parents are supposed to be here in Kirtland sometime in August, so I may miss them, which would be sad, but I can't WAIT to hear where I am going tomorrow! When I heard the news that I was going full pros, I started freaking out and gave my companion a hug and almost squished her to death (its alright though- she likes hugs. During one of our companionship inventories she said she wanted me to hug her more. So we set aside a five minute 'hug time' so she can get her fill. I fulfilled her need in about 2 seconds, so it was more efficient that way). Then when I went to bed that night, it felt like I had electricity going up and down my body, so I had to get up and study until I felt tired (it didn't come for awhile...) Anyway, long story short, missions are awesome, and you know you are a missionary when thinking of transfers gets you pumped ;)
Mom, Sister V says thank you for the medicine you sent with me. She has had a lot of nasal congestion, and the pills you sent have helped a lot. Remember how you were stocking me up and stuff and I kept saying, 'no, that was fine, I didn't need them?' How come whenever that happens and I end up giving in, I actually need the stuff you give me? You must be a mother or something!
OK, I really will go now. I will respond to all your emails next week- I hope my companion likes to email, because we are going to be at the library awhile so I can catch up :) I love emailing you all! You are all so fun! I LOVE the pictures, I LOVE the updates, and I LOVE. MY. STINKIN. FAMILY!
Sister Kimber Mahrt
P.S. Dad, that Kimber solo is SWEET
Aug 8, 2012
This transfer I have really come to love my calling. I have loved Ohio and thought it was beautiful from the beginning, but lately I have felt like Heavenly Father really knew what he was doing when He thought to send me here. Kirtland and Hiram are so perfect for me!
We had a picnic with the Community of Christ on Monday night. They are such nice people! It is neat that we have a good relationship with them. They made hot dogs and we had a little cook-out. Then the next morning we had transfer breakfast (can you believe it is transfers again?!) and we had quiche, fruit and danishs. We had SO many left-overs that afternoon from dinner and breakfast. I sat there looking at it all, and I realized why I have gained so much weight. No wonder! It all came together.
I can't remember what I did this week... why can't I remember anything when I am on the computer?! The senior couples are so sweet- they have been loading us up with fresh produce they sell close by the Johnson Farm, and we even took a field trip to the Hiram cemetery to see Symonds Ryder's head stone. Symonds Ryder was only in the church for a few months, and left in a huff because Joseph Smith misspelled his name (not hard to believe- look at how weird his name is!) He became one of the ring leaders in opposition against Joseph and the church, and was one of the chief organizers of the tarring and feathering. Anyway, the best part of the story is that on his tombstone, it tells that he went on to become a member of the Disciples of Christ church. But on the tombstone, 'disciples' is spelled 'desciples.' Haha! Isn't that awesome?! The poor man is probably rolling in his grave!
We get to teach a 14 year old girl (Mackenzie) tonight outside of our area because she wants to meet with sisters, not elders. It is a member referral (which are the BEST!) and these members live in a home that has wild alligators, monkeys and lions in their basement! I am so excited to go over there! ...especially to teach the Restoration to Mackenzie, of course.
I've been working on completely forgetting what I want and simply doing His will. It is so neat! Really, it isn't that difficult. He really does qualify us to do whatever He asks. It is just our natural man that gets in the way. Going up to random people and generating a conversation about religion can be so awkward- but it doesn't have to be as awkward as we think it is. It is actually kind of neat how well you get to know the people just in a few minutes conversation. And you wouldn't imagine how many people have perfected the 'I am completely freaked out right now' expression. People are so funny! But the Lord really does help you do hard things. And those hard things become the most rewarding when you just rely on Him to help you through it.
Love you all! Next week my P-day will be on Tuesday because of transfers!
Sister Kimber Mahrt

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Aug 1, 2012
Fam Fam!
This has been a really interesting week.
Whenever we see Nick his lesson always turns into a thrashing on repentance. I promise it isn't our fault- he always brings it up! No matter what lesson we prepare, he finds a way to put in that he is not ready to commit to living the Ten Commandments or get baptized. He knows the gospel better than anyone else I have taught! He even knows the blessings of repentance and being baptized, and he wants that peace, but he is digging in his heels resisting change! Human nature is so illogical sometimes.
I LOVE Hiram! I remember that whenever I get to be around the members at church. I absolutely love this area, and if I don't get transferred on August 15th, I will be in Hiram for half my mission! Can you believe it? There is only one other sister that has been in her area for 6 transfers, so we'll see if I stay. I wouldn't complain :)
Audrie committed suicide. We got a call on Saturday night at a dinner appointment from Kevinna who could barely talk because she was crying so hard. The night before we had received a text from Audrie that said, "I love you." Apparently she sent this text to a bunch of people, including Kevinna and her family, then overdosed. She died, but then the EMTs recessitated her. She is in the hospital on life support. She has kidney and liver failure, huge blood clots in her legs and an impending annorism(sp?). Her legs were swelling so badly that they had to cut them from the top of her thigh to her knee to keep it down. It was so crazy and surreal. It makes me really angry at Satan. How can he be so callous and hateful that he would convince someone that they are so worthless, and that ending their life will be a solution to their problems? She has her daughter that just turned one last week. She is the CUTEST, best natured baby I have ever seen, and it is hard to believe that Audrie found her life so difficult that she would even consider taking her life, and leave her little girl to fend for herself. I don't know how to express how sad I have been about it. Satan is awful.
Giang's daughter came to live with him for a month. She is a cutie. Vietnamese people are the sweetest. I love them!
I think I am learning why missions are such roller coasters. You can feel SO happy and elated one minute, and then turn around and feel sadder than you have ever imagined the next. I think it is because of love. The people who wrote the white handbook were definitely inspired. It is so neat to have a time in your life that you are almost completely free of any distraction. Your money is taken care of, when your windshield is cracked there are people that take care of it (not that I am speaking from experience or anything...), you don't have much time to think about yourself or what you want to do with your life. You are completely free to think about doing His will and helping others. That is it. Being set apart seems to have enhanced my ability to give and receive love because you need it for the work. It is neat! ...and also tiring when you are in the lows :) I can't imagine how Christ felt- I am sure his sorrow for those who wouldn't follow Him and, as a result, be completely happy, would be overbearing! If you are really trying to fulfill your purpose as a missionary, it is impossible to do it without love.
Deb just came in and used my computer. Did I tell you about how she dropped us? We had two lessons with her, and she came to church twice, then she said she was going to start going to a different church. We barely heard from her, then we saw her today and she said she wants to come back to church because it was the most refreshing church to be in and it had answers to her questions. Have I ever mentioned how amazing the gospel is?
Love you all so much! Enjoy the rest of the summer!
Sister Kimber Mahrt
July 25, 2012
Fam Fam!
This has been an incredible week! There has been a lot of self-realization lately. I have learned a lot about life, myself, and the Savior. I love how there is so much to learn, and the mission seems to accelerate the learning! (sometimes in a painful way...) The mission is the experience I never knew I needed in life, and I am glad Heavenly Father was able to get that across to me so I could serve. I feel like my future has never been so defined, and I have been able to see life much more clearly than it ever has been before.
Last week I was Misses McGrumpy Pants, and I learned a lot about being happy. I studied about it, and thought about it with the people we are teaching, and how to help my companion be happy, etc. I came up with two conclusions 1) I am going to be one obnoxious spouse and 2) How much of a choice happiness is. Reading and learning about happiness from a gospel perspective was really neat, and applying it was even more insightful! My companion has a lot of amazing strengths, and has been able to give me productive feedback on how I can push myself to be a better missionary. It is so nice when you are working together with someone so you can both grow. Even it if can be annoying sometimes as you step on each other's toes ;) My favorite part of learning about happiness is that it really isn't somewhere you get to, but more of a form of travel (I think a general authority said something like that, just a tad more eloquently). Happiness is more of a byproduct of doing Heavenly Father's will than it is a destination. You can become happier more quickly by forgetting about what you want and getting to work than you can by always focusing on how you can be happier in the moment. It seems like EVERYTHING is that way! It reminded me of when I was trying to forget myself, but I couldn't because I was focusing on forgetting myself too much :) The easiest way to get the greatest fulfillment out of life is to get outside of yourself and do good. I know I have been learning that since Primary, but it has really hit me this week. Who knew that would take so long to learn!
We had a neat experience with Charly recently. You remember her, right? She was the first investigator here in Hiram I helped to 'find' back in FEBRUARY! We have been teaching her forever! She wants to do good, but has been slow to carry out what she knows. Sister Voievodina and I had a lesson planned, but as we talked with her and listened and asked questions (something we have been pretty good at together!) we were able to find out a concern we had no idea about before!! Her mother suffered for 6 months at the end of her life as she slowly died from cancer, and Charly was so angry with God that she vowed to never step foot in a church again. Wow. No wonder she has been reluctant to come to church! What a difficult experience. But it was a neat lesson for me- there is no way we can help these people without the help of the spirit, because we have no idea what has gone on in their life and what their real concerns really are. In Preach My Gospel it compares people to iceburgs, because there is only a little bit of the surface we can see, and a bunch under the surface we have no idea about. Only them and the Lord know anything about that hidden part of the iceburg, so relying on the spirit is the only way to help. It is so neat! Missionary work is so much easier than I ever imagined! When we completely give up our will to do what He wants us to do, and rely on Him for how to work with others, we can do so much more than we could ever do with only ourselves. It is an amazing feeling to know that I am only an instrument doing His work-- to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. Isn't it neat that He allows all of us and trusts all of us to do His work? I can't think of a more inciting compliment or a more sacred responsiblity.
Sister Voievodina is so funny- she is tired during the night, but right before bed, she comes alive! She wants to talk talk talk. I asked her the other night what surprised her the most when she came to America. Bad question. Don't ever ask a Ukrainian about what they think about Americans. It was very eye-opening to see things from an unAmerican perspecitve, and I was surprised to see how defensive I got about our nation. I guess I have been a little sheltered, because I think highly of our nation, even if it hasn't always made the right choice. I feel like most people in America are really good people. I guess I don't know as much about the world as I thought! It has also been interesting for her to point something out that Americans do or how ignorant they can be. I originally will scoff at her generalizations of the American people, but then everyday specific things she pointed out are all over the place and are very humbling. Whoops. Americans aren't perfect I guess. I want to learn more about other people and other countries because I am realizing after having Sister Lee and Sister V as companions, I really know very little about the world.
OK, I have been taking forever. I love you all! Love every moment!
Sister Kimber Mahrt 

This was a 24th of July Pioneer Celebration at Morley Farm.
Sister Voievodina is standing next to me on the far right of the picture.
July 18, 2012
We have been a week into transfers, and it feels like so much longer! I feel like I have been with my new companion forever! It has been a good week.
Sister Palmer was set on going full proselyting, but she was actually called to Ravenna (Ravenna is almost full proselyting because it is out of the Kirtland Zone, but they still come up and serve at Kirtland sites once a week and the Johnson farm twice). She was a little disappointed, but I think she is starting to enjoy it. It is weird seeing her walking around with another companion! I feel like she is my little child who is off on her own now. Missions are so weird! :)
My new companion's name is Sister Voievodina (vaa-yih-vO-den-a) and she is AWESOME! She has been out for a year now (she only has 4 months left) and she is a very diligent missionary. She is from the Ukraine, and she has very good people skills, so teaching lessons together has been a lot of fun. Sister Hatch went home! I can't believe it! She will be back to visit with her family in August. Since this transfer is only 5 weeks, Sister Lee will me leaving in the middle of August! Both my trainers will be gone. So strange!
Sister V and I are almost starting over in Hiram. We are looking over the people we are teaching, dropping those who are not progressing, and focusing on finding. We have been tracting a lot more, and on Friday night we got caught in a rain storm. It was so fun! We were completely soaked, and we still had to walk back to our car. So we looked like two very wet, very out of place Amish people in this residential area.
We had interviews with President Vellinga yesterday. What a loving man! He is amazing, and his wife had girl talk with us while we waited out in the foyer. They are going to make such good leaders of this mission!
Tours have been INSANE! We literally get off one tour and head back out on another one. It is tiring to be entertaining for so long, but it has been neat to see how the Lord has helped me. Sometimes when we finish a tour and I am excited to sit and stare at the wall for a minute or two, and we are grabbed as we walk in to start another tour I wonder how I am going to make it through! Prayers in your heart for strength really work, and He qualifies you to be able to do what you can't on your own, that is for sure. Besides, instead of staring at the wall I settle for staring down some of the people on tour while I talking, so it is a nice compromise ;)
The people coming through sites now are most really good families on their way over to the Hill Cumorah pagaent. It is amazing how much they build me up just by listening to their comments and testimonies. Kirtland really is such a sacred place, and I am so blessed to be able to be here day after day. One tour that stands out is a YW group that came from PA to see the sites. They were very energetic and shared neat stories about their personal prayers being answered. When we went into the School of the Prophets, I was talking about how much Heavenly Father loves every single one of them, and they can know and feel that as they pray to feel that love (Moroni 7:48). Then when I looked around at all their faces, I really did feel a strong feeling that He loves them so much. The rest of what I said was a little broken because I had to talk through the tears, but it was a neat spiritual experience. The spirit was there, and it was neat to know that Heavenly Father is very mindful of us and cares for us so much.
Love you Fam! Love every moment
Sister Kimber Mahrt

July 10, 2010
Good news!  We had two investigators come to church yesterday! Deb loves church and this is her second time, and Nick FINALLY came! He has had excuses all the time about why he can't be at church, but he came and he enjoyed it. ...even though the subject for the day was eternal marriage and he has had a lot of trouble with his ex-spouse in past years (same with Deb). ...but I think they still liked it.
Anyway, do you want to hear about transfers?!
These transfers are CRAZY! All but three companionships are being switched up... including ours! The verdict is... that I am STAYING in Hiram and Sister Palmer is being out-zoned (meaning she is leaving Kirtland)! Isn't that nuts?! We were mentally preparing for me to leave since I have been here the longest, so the news threw us off a little. We are slowly coming to terms with it, and trying to guess who our next companions will be. I think my new companion will be Sister Voievodina (don't ask me how to pronounce it; she is Ukranian) but we will see. Good thing I love Hiram! Things are starting to pick up again, so it will be fun to bring in a new sister to the area. I will miss Sister Palmer though- life is NEVER dull with her around!
For about a week we have been warning people that one of us would probably be leaving, and they have been so cute about it! Kelly, a less-active that we have been working closely with (and he is changing his life around!!) said that he was really sad, because we are two of the most influencial missionaries he has ever come in contact with. He said he used to hide whenever he saw the missionaries come to his door, but he has loved us coming around. That is so neat to hear that as a missionary! I feel like a lot of people don't recognize that we are real people and so when we get sincere compliments like that it is SO great! Rafael cried. I think these last two transfers have definitely been a challenge, but Sister Palmer and I work really well as a team because we balance each other out. We have been able to reach a lot of people.
This is a picture one of the Cleveland senior missionaries took of us after a tour. It is in the JJ Farm Revelation Room
Opps, I sent that other one too early- I wanted to tell you about my fourth of July!
There is a family in the ward- the Senders- who have taken care of the missionaries, so they made sure they invited us over for dinner for the 4th of July and for fireworks. It was so fun! The BBQ was amazing, and the fireworks were amazing!! They live in the Barrington houses, which is a gated community with HUGE houses on an enormous golf course. They have their own fireworks they shoot off on the golf course. We had the Barrington fireworks right in front of us, the Aurora fireworks on our left side and a lightning storm on our right side- it was INCREDIBLE! It was like surround sound and a show everywhere you looked. About 10 minutes into the show I felt a rain drop, and thought, "oh, I wonder if it is going to rain...?" I hadn't even finished my thought when it felt like a bucket of water got dumped on my and it didn't stop! Everyone grabbed all the chairs and ran for cover- it was the most sudden rain storm I have ever been through- I was drenched in a matter of seconds. The neat thing was that it wasn't cold outside- it was warm rain, so the Sender kids and I watched the rest of the fireworks outside before going home. When we went home, the lightning storm was still going on and there was lightning lighting the sky every few seconds! It went on for half an hour. It was the COOLEST thing I have ever seen. I am pretty sure Heavenly Father was celebrating the 4th of July as well :) This is an awesome country!
What did you all do for the fourth?
July 4, 2012
Happy Fourth of July!
We met our new mission president on Saturday! President Velinga, his wife and his 16 year old daughter got here on Thursday. It is so strange that President Sorensen is gone, but I am excited to get to know this new president for the rest of my mission. They are so fun! They were really spiritual, but they also were very spontaneous and fun. They opened up the meeting to questions we could ask them about themselves or about the doctrine, and we eventually asked their daughter Christin to play something for us on the piano. She played Love At Home and we all sang different verses. Then he asked me to come up to the pulpit and share an experience when I felt love at home. It completely took me off guard, so I just said the first memory that came to mind, and it happened to be the time that Mom got Lupus and family life was confusing and strained, but then we came back together and I was able to realize how amazing it was to have parents that have always worked together and supported each other, and to be surrounded by wonderful sisters who I loved so much and I knew they loved me back. President then told me to testify, so I talked about how I have been able to learn about my Heavenly Father's love because of my parents example, and that families truly are inspired by God. It was so interesting that it was that experience that came to mind, because I had forgotten about it. While I talked about you guys it was hard not to get emotional because I love you all SO MUCH, and testifying of that in the chapel gave me a powerful impression that what I was saying was so true. Isn't our family awesome? I really love you all! I am so glad Heavenly Father put us together as a family!
On Sunday Sister Palmer and I were driving to church when we realized we were behind a drunk hippie. They were weaving on either side of the road, stopping suddenly, then speeding off, and they would just miss oncoming cars and almost bumping bikers. Their hair was insane. We backed off a ways for our safety, and contemplated calling the police because they were seriously out of control. We followed them FOREVER, and slowly we began to recognize little details, like the handicap sign hanging from their rearview mirror and that it was actually a woman with big hair, not a man hippie. After 20 minutes, they turned onto a little street that leads to the church, and all the puzzle pieces fell into place. I said, "Is that DEB?!?!" And it was! It was our investigator that we had invited to church! WE ALMOST CALLED THE POLICE ON OUR INVESTIGATOR! It was the trippiest thing! Why can't we invite normal people to come to church? (Haha, I am totally kidding about that last part- Deb is actually really amazing and faithful. For the past couple of months the investigators we have brought to church have been... interesting, and the members of the ward are awaiting someone a little more normal :) ) I told you about Deb, right? The lady that we offered service to, and she was super grateful and wanted to investigate the church because of it? Our first lesson about the Restoration was amazing! She believed everything and couldn't wait to start reading the Book of Mormon. She asked us why not everyone reads it, since it is scripture and people should be seeking more truth if it is available :) Yes Deb, we couldn't agree more. The neatest thing is that she has been curious about the church for a long time because she worked with men who were in boy scouts, and she has always been impressed with how they held themselves and stuck to their standards. Everyone sends messages to others just by how they live their lives, and it is neat to see that people really are watching!
Next week is transfers! Sister Palmer and I are wondering if we will be transferred or not. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to think about it, because there really is no way to tell what is going to happen, and you know that the Lord is going to do what is best, but it is tough not to let ideas creep into your mind about where you will be the next week. Next week my p-day will be on Tuesday instead of Wednesday. Do you think I will be transferred?! It is weird to think about.
We took a few bus tours these last couple days, and one of the was for the R-LDS church. That was SO interesting! One of the men was the president of the 12 apostles. They like that they are a smaller church because the leaders are able to mingle with the members of the church. One of the problems they have is that they are so small, that if you move out of church headquarters (Independance, MO) you are considered inactive because there aren't very many churches in the world (they have a branch in India). It was strange to have so much in common with them, yet have so much different. I wasn't sure of their beliefs, so it was interesting trying to tailor the tour to them. What really threw me off was when they told me they don't believe in celestial marriage or families being together forever! Isn't that crazy?! If you are going to take anything away from a church, why would you take out the most comforting doctrine of all? It blew my mind. They were very nice though. We had a tour the other day with a cute little family, and this little 10 year old boy shared an experience where he lost a baseball glove, and was able to find it through prayer. Isn't it neat how much Heavenly Father cares about us? He was this little kid, yet he had such a profound knowledge that God loved Him. It was really neat. I am really starting to enjoy tours. I caught myself smiling to myself a lot as I brought the tours through the sites on Monday. I have never been against giving tours, but sometimes it is tough to really click in with the people coming through and enjoy it. But it is coming along, and I am loving the early saints more and more. They are awesome! I can't wait to meet them.
Tom and Charly are thinking about splitting up. Nick Jeffries is LOVING the Book of Mormon and has committed to coming to church this Sunday (he better come!). Rafael told us that he is super mad at God and doesn't believe one word of the Book of Mormon. We aren't quite sure what to do with him. It is difficult to know when someone needs persistence or needs to be dropped. His cinnamon bread is amazing, and I am buying some for morning toast when you come out to meet him and ride in his kayak. We are hoping that our curse is lifted soon (almost all of our investigators have been in the hospital lately). Lisa is still crazy. Etienne and Ronan are sure cute, but we don't think they will make their baptismal date (July 14th) :( Dad's have a huge impact on their kids- it is a good thing, but can also be a difficult fact. Wow, it is important who you marry! (right mom?) Jim Frame is either a tad senile or really good at throwing gospel discussions off topic. Anyway, I won't give you an update on all the investigators so I don't bore you, but just know that the people in Ohio are awesome, and that flea markets are the bomb-diggity (according to them).
Love you all so much, ya cuties (that includes you Dad!)
Sister Kimber Mahrt
President and Sister Sorenson on the left, going home. Sister and President Velinga and their 16 year old daughter coming in.
June 27, 2012
I am in the library today. It is a cute little library!
I don't have much time, but I wanted to tell you about an experience this week. We were driving to church on Sunday when Sister Palmer asked what we were going to teach our members who invited us to have lunch with them after church. I immediately said, "Ways of knowing the Book of Mormon is true," before really thinking about it. After I said it, I thought it was weird that I would say that- the members have been in the church for a long time, and are very active. Normally we talk about General Conference talks or teach the doctrine and ask if we can help them with their missionary work. But we didn't talk any more about the lesson, and we went to our meetings. The very first person to come up to us in sacrament was this member we were planning a lesson for, and she said she was excited because her daughter (who normally goes to another ward) came to church with a friend and she wanted to introduce us. She is a cute 14 year old girl name Mackenzie who has been given a Book of Mormon and is reading parts of it. Church went pretty well... (I won't go into detail- but she was put on the spot WAY too much!) and then afterward we had lunch and shared our lesson with the family. It was so perfect! We asked them to share their testimonies of how they came to know the Book of Mormon was true, and there was a powerful spirit that was felt. Their experiences were so neat and definitely strengthened my testimony of the Book of Mormon. Afterwards, the girls went to clean dishes and the member came up to me and said that her testimony of missionary work was strengthened, because the lesson was inspired. She went on to say that her daughter had been asking her about her own testimony, and the mother had been looking for a moment to bear testimony to her daughter, and this situation had been perfect. She had also had little feelings that had her invite her daughter and friend to this ward, the bishopric had felt prompted to have her give a talk in sacrament, Sister Palmer and I just so happened to have the exact Ensign we needed in the car because a lesson to a less-active fell through... all these little things fell into place, and there is NO WAY it was a coincidence. It was so neat to sit back and see all the things the Lord had done to make that a perfect lesson for all of us in different ways, and it was all by small and simple feelings and promptings that none of us would have recognized as the spirit until we saw the big picture. The spirit is so subtle, but so powerful!
Also, we had the opportunity to help a family move. They are moving to New Mexico, and they are 'free spirits.' They decided to only bring the things that would fit in their little car, and they are going to 'start over' in their new home. Holy Chaos. It was one of the strangest experiences I have ever been a part of, and I don't even have words to describe how weird it was. weird!!! She is less active, and her valiant visiting teacher saved the day. I have no idea what they would have done without her. I think the most interesting thing was to see their priorities. They were so confused when not everything in their house fit in their car, so they just started cramming in boom boxes, a billion shoes, rugs and wall hangings while leaving out the photo albums and pots and pans. They sat on the side, being overwhelmed with their friends, shouting, "Priority! This bag is a priority!" to the visiting teacher and I as we packed the car trunk and back seat. After 5 hours, Sister Palmer got in the car to go home we were silent except for the occasional, "what just happened...?" "Sister, that was the single most weird thing I have ever done..." It felt like the twilight zone.
By the way, service works! Sister Palmer and I always see this woman come into the lobby, so we always say hi. She is always pretty intense. She has a daughter with MS who she takes care of, and there is always a lot of drama with the hospitals that take car of her. She was feeling particularly overwhelmed this week, and Sister Palmer and I offerred to help her out. She was SO grateful, and after we set up the date and time, she left. It wasn't long before she called us up and said how impressed she is with the us and the church, and talked about how she has had previous good experiences with Mormons. It turns out she has a new preacher in her church who she does not like at all, and she is looking into other churches. She wants to come to church with us next week and take lessons from us! We love giving service!
Love you all so much! Enjoy your summer- I can't believe it is almost half way over!
Sister Kimber Mahrt