Wednesday, August 15, 2012

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.

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