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 drive...one 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