Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sept 25, 2012

Sister Tok and I figured neither of us would be transferred this transfer- we just barely got out here, and besides, neither of us want to leave! Bowling Green is awesome! So we thought we had it all figured out. Then, Sister Tok decides to have a dream about being transferred to a triple-up with a Sister Gell and Sister Weaker (random names neither of us have ever heard of) going to Gyrone (a place that is non-existent). It was funny at first, but then we started to psych ourselves out. Maybe she was being prepared to leave! Then the other Bowling Green sisters started to think about it, and decided Sister Carlson has been here 3 transfers- there is a chance she could leave. Since then we have been trying to hold back our anxiousness as transfer info approached. We would discuss it in hurried tones before praying before we went in to an appointment, and we could tell it was on our minds as we drove silently in the car. By the time 10pm rolled around last night, we were FREAKING. OUT. I was sure we were being split up and we were having a anxious breakdown when the news came that... all the Bowling Green sisters are staying put! Whew! What we had expected all along :) How am I going to live normal life without the hype of transfers!?! 

We are SO happy we are staying together, not just because we have really enjoyed this last transfer, but because we have an investigator (who we LOVE) who decided she is too busy to have lessons each week, and asked us not to pass along her name after we get transferred out :( We were crushed! She has the most real intent I have ever seen in someone investigating the church. Her questions are so good- I am always learning when we have lessons because she is inspired as well. She is so kind- every time we go over to her place she has some sort of refreshment for us and she is very real and honest. I absolutely love it! She has been one of my favorite people to teach ever on my mission. So we are happy we have at least 6 weeks to continue to teach her. She came to church on Sunday, and even though it was so painful sitting through sacrament with her (the kids were hitting her chair and screaming all around us) she went around and talked to half the ward to say hi. I LOVE HER!!!! I can't say it enough!

Yesterday we went into one home of a recent convert, right after a visit with one of our investigators. It was so sad to see the stark contrast. The recent convert home was very busy and somewhat stressful, but there was so much hope and love in that home. The other there was so much chaos, frustration and apathy. It was almost tangible how different the two situations were, and Sister Tok and I almost got teary-eyed because it was so depressing how some people live. The recent convert bore her testimony of how real Jesus Christ is because He was able to pull her out of an impossible hole she had dug herself into. It is amazing to know what can happen when we turn to Him, and how sad it can be when we turn our backs :(

We have a baptism coming up on Friday! This kid is nine years old, and he could teach the Sunday school class! He is so smart! And stinkin' cute :) He is so ready for this. He is excited to invite all his friends, teachers, people on the street, ANYONE! It is fun to see his innocence and pure desire. We really do have so much to learn from kids. 

Oh, I almost forgot! On Thursday we woke up at 3:45am and headed for Cleveland to see Elder Perkins! He requested a personal interview with me, and I was a little shocked. There were only 12 missionaries out of the mission who he chose. How did he get my name?! But it turned out that the interview was more of a survey and he was just looking for information that could help the mission. Then he asked me if I had any questions for him. Well, I wasn't going to pass that opportunity up! I asked him when he knew that he was converted. He asked me if I had heard that talk Elder Bednar gave about revelation- how sometimes it is like turning on a light switch, and other times it is like the rising sun. I said I had heard it, and he said his was more like a rising sun and he couldn't pin point a certain time that he 'just knew.' Then he shared an experience where he knew Heavenly Father prepared him and he knew His will for him. It was so basic! I don't know what I was expecting. I guess a big experience? But it was really comforting to see how this life is the same for everyone. The big experiences are much less common, and probably shared less, than we would expect. What really helps us to grow in faith and testimony is those small, personal instances. It was a neat learning experience for me.

I learned a lot from Elder Perkins. What stands out the most right now is having 'revelatory experiences.' He said that 'meetings' is a really bad name, because we think we are going there to 'meet.' The real purposes of meetings is to gain answers so that we can change and act. He said we should always come to meetings with questions we have. He had us write down a couple questions. Then at the end, he asked if our questions had been answered. Mine had DEFINITELY been answered! But you know what is neat? Even the questions I didn't write down because I thought they were less important at the time, were also answered! Just the process of thinking what questions I had helped me to gain revelation for those I am teaching, and even my personal life. It was really neat! I am writing questions for every meeting from now on!

We had a movie night on Friday. We watched Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration. That is such a powerful movie! I love it. And it was a great success! We had seven people there who had never seen it before, and they were very impressed with Joseph and his life. He is an incredible man! Have you seen the John Tanner movie? Or the Stonecutter? Those are amazing too.

Love you all! You are all in my prayers

Sister Mahrt

Here are the pictures from this last week. This is my district, and Sister Tok with Elder Harris. He is leaving our district :( It is a running joke that together we make Mahrt 'n Harris (his ancestor was Martin Harris) But he is going to marry Sister Tok (she is his 8 cow wife), so I am out of the picture :)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sept 17, 2012
Not much to report this week. I keep saying that I am LOVING this area, and it is still so true. I. AM. LOVING. THIS.

This morning we had the chance to have a zone p-day. It was one of the elder's birthdays, so the sisters came together to make a pinata for him, full of year old Halloween candy, plastic bed bugs and satin hands lotion. Yep, what gems. It was a hit ;) (do you get it?!) We were able to play basketball, and volleyball. I love this zone!

We got to see Ken again! He intercepted us during tracting. Apparently two Sundays ago he tried to go to church, but no one was there. We tried to tell him that it was stake conference, but he is pretty persistent in telling everyone that the missionaries deserted him to go on vacation :) That guy is so funny!

We found a family to teach!! We are so excited! Tonight we are going on splits- I will be going to the new family, and Sister Tok will be going to Johnny's (our nine year old investigator) FHE. It is going to be fun. I am going to try a game where the family has to pop balloons and go on a scripture chase. We will see how it works out.

Eating at sketch homes is probably some of the funnest (is that a word?) times I have had on my mission! They crack me up!

This transfer is almost over! I can't believe it! Next week my P-day will be on Tuesday.

My mind has been with you all this week (not all the time, just at random moments). How was the funeral? How is everyone? Is the new house coming along? When are you planning on moving in?

I can't remember what happened this week... sorry! We need to go get our grocery shopping done!

Love you all!
Sister Mahrt

Sept 12, 2012
Zoned Out!
How's everything going at home?

Life has been SO good out here! I don't know what it has been lately, but I have just been LOVING the mission! I mean, I have been loving it this whole time, but this last week it was so apparent to me in everything that happened that serving a mission is so neat and I am so happy being here. I am so so glad I decided to serve- I can't believe I almost didn't come out.

The reason I didn't get a chance to write you on Monday was because it was Zoned Out, which was so fun! Zoned out is when half of the zones of the mission meet together to compete, get to know one another and listen to the mission president. Sister Tok was out here last year when zoned out happened, so she has been so excited for it the last few weeks. When there was a moment of silence between us, she would break the silence by chanting, 'Zoned out, zoned out!' and start quizzing me on dinner etiquette and Preach My Gospel scriptures. She was a little obsessed :) But then I figured out why on Monday. Monday morning we woke up at four and started driving. The elders in the zone (about 16 elders) took the mission van (18 passenger van) and the sisters followed in a mini van. We got to Cleveland and picked up the Lorrain sisters and it was a party getting to know them on the way to... HIRAM!!!! It was SO FUN to be in Hiram again! It felt like I was going home, and I almost freaked out when I saw the Johnson Farm again. I LOVE that place! I got to take turns driving with Sister Smith. When we got there, we split up into zones and rotated going to classrooms where we were competing (Kirtland jeopardy, Preach My Gospel scripture chase and Zarahemla mafia) and then we took a Johnson Farm tour. Seeing the Johnson Farm senior couples was one of the highlights of that day- LOVE those guys! It was fun to be taking a tour of the Johnson Farm rather than giving it. I was loving standing there, soaking in the spirit when the senior elder pulled a fast one on me and asked everyone to vote if they would rather have an 'old geezer' giving them the tour or a 'pretty young lady.' Little trickster. So I helped a little with the tour, but for the most part I was able to listen. Actually, it was fun giving part of the tour- I was surprised by what I remembered and it was fun to give the tour to my zone. But don't you ever tell that to the senior elder I admitted that! My favorite part was when President Vellinga finished up in the Revelation Room and talked about how easy it would be to be good if you only had a 5 second glimpse into the celestial kingdom. That would be all you needed to keep you making the decisions that would help you to go there. Then he said that is what we should be doing for our investigators. I have been seeing how important it is to see the people around you as children of God. When I had my interview with the stake president, he said I should envision all those whom I was teaching in white, because that is where we should see their potential- going to the temple. It is neat when I actually catch that vision of them. It is so much easier to be patient and do anything you can to help them, because you want them right there beside you, happy, in the life to come. Having a vision for yourself and those you are around is so important.

One of my favorite realizations this week has been about change. We had Elder Hallstrom come to our stake conference, and he talked about change. How we never have the excuse of saying, 'that is just the way I am,' because Jesus Christ made change very real and possible. We should be changing for the better constantly, and he challenged us to find a something we should change about ourselves and work on it this coming week. I have come to see that I can really work on reaching out. Zoned Out was so much fun, and I loved playing basketball and learning so much, but I realized that my very favorite part of zoned out was when I went up to a new sister that looked like she was having a hard time and talked to her. We talked for about 20 minutes, and I feel like I love her so much already and I hardly know her! The most fulfilling things in life are with other people, and I want to be better at being aware of others and how I can serve them and help them feel included.

Hearing that Grandma passed away was really sad to me. She was such a neat woman! And she was always reaching out. I think that is really neat. The morning after I heard she had passed away I was really sad, so my companion asked what she could do for me. I had her sing A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief to me, because it reminds me of Grandpa Nelson and Grandma Hanks because they would play/sing it together. I realized when Sister Tok was singing it that it described her life- a life of service. That was really neat to me. That helped me feel a lot better. This week I am going to try to be more like Grandma Hanks and be more inclusive of others. I am excited that she is with Grandpa Hanks now. I hope they recorded their reunion- I want to see it!!

I love you all so much! Good luck with the funeral- you all will be in my prayers- especially you Mom! Love!

Sister Kimber Mahrt

                                               Pictures from Zoned Out.
I designed the shirts! ...and Sister Tok helped :) One picture is of the Toledo Zone,
 ...the other is of the Bowling Green Sisters (me, Sister Tok, Sister Smith (tall) and Sister Carlson (short)) and then Sister Smith and Carlson together.

 Elder Ingersol (tall) is on of our zone leaders and Elder Dransfield (red head) was the AP when I came out

 My favorite of these pictures is the one in the mission van. Elder Laycock had gotten car sick on the way there, so we gave him a plastic bag just in case he needed it. We had to spray the van with Sister Smith's perfume- Sensual Amber- so they could survive the rest of the trip. The elders smelled like sisters, but it worked pretty well!

This is a pictures of our zone on the Johnson Farm steps. The sisters are taking the 'sisters of Kirtland' pose :)

 Sister Tok sleeping on the way to Zoned Out. She is a gnarly sleeper! She was snoring and I think if you look closely, you can catch that she is drooling ;) When she snores at night she will be snoring away, then suddenly pop up and ask in an intense whisper, "Was I snoring?!" It is cree-eepy!

Sister Tok STUFFING her laundry into the washer. There was a case of bed bugs reported in our mission, so now everyone is CRAZY about making sure they don't get bed bugs. Whenever the missionaries find out that there are bed bugs in someones home, they break out metal chairs from their trunk (confiscated from the church) and try to persuade the family to have the lesson outside :) Sister Tok is one of the bed bugs most obsessive opponents. But she just might get us kicked out of the laundromat if she keeps stuffing her entire bed into those machines

Lorrain sisters and BG sisters by the carriage house on the Johnson Farm. LOVE these sisters!

The first picture is at transfers when Sister Tok and I first became companions. This picture was before the 3 hour drive- we looked a little more... weathered after the trip.
The picture with me on the floor was our first full day, and we spent SIXTEEN HOURS figuring out our map and trying to draw the new boundary lines. It was killer. Zoom in on my eyes- they are different sizes because I can barely keep them open!
Me demonstrating the 'missionary claw.' As I have observed missionaries, the ones that really get into what they are teaching have a missionary voice, missionary eyebrows (they are super expressive!) and a missionary claw. I am pretty good at pulling out the claw when I get intense or can't describe something. Sister Tok is trying to help me keep it under control, but it has a mind of its own!
The next one is when I was tricked into giving part of the JJ Farm tour. My favorite part of this picture is Elder Simmons look from across the room. If looks could kill!
The one with me at the table I just thought my face looked goofy.

The last picture is with the Smiths, who left after Zoned out! I can't believe they are gone! Dad, you remember the Blacks who took you on tour in Kirtland? They are gone too! Almost all of the senior couples are leaving either this month or next month. I wonder how next busy season is going to work...?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sept 5, 2012
I heard the news.
President Vellinga called me last night with the news about Grandma Hanks suddenly passing away. I was really shocked. How are you doing Mom? 

When President told me last night, I was kind of numb. Sister Tok offered to go get ice cream or go for a run, so we went running. It was hard to get to sleep last night, and this morning was a bit of a mess, but I have been very blessed to have Sister Tok here. She has been an angel. Mostly I keep thinking about you. How are you doing Mom? Are you alright? All I want to do is hug and hug and hug you!!! And since I am unable to do that, President Vellinga's offer to email seemed like the next best option. 

I feel so blessed to be on a mission right now to the only mission in the world that the Plan of Salvation was revealed, and that the sealing power was received. I have had many opportunities to think about families being together forever in the revelation room of the Johnson Farm, and I am always amazing thinking about how well Heavenly Father knows me and you and the entire family and cares for us so much. It is funny to think that when I first got called to Ohio I was a little disappointed, because there is no better place in the world for me. The only better place I could think of would be home with the fam. Being out here when the fam is going through all this is torture! But if I want to look at it selfishly, this is a nice place to be because it is kind of distant

I want to hear how you are!
President Vellinga talked to me a little about all my grandparents passing away, and then said I should make sure to write in my journal that night and the next few days how I was thinking and feeling, because they would be special experiences
Sept 4, 2012
No Faux!

A bird had the audacity to poop on my shoe. I couldn't believe it! I was teaching Cleto about church, and while he was off on a tangent about how a guardian angel protected his hand from a rock, the bird let 'er fly! Cleto's lessons are by far the most wild- you never know what is going to happen!

This morning we went swimming for exercise a.k.a. we went running and it was so humid that we had to paddle through the air. Humidity is so cool! I really like it! Plus it saves me money on lotion. 

The Zone leaders have assigned us sisters in the district to do a musical number. A Child's Prayer. Please pray for our audience.

This week we broke both of our records for tracting on our mission. So cool! I have really come to enjoy finding. I like meeting so many different people and hearing their opinions and their experiences with relying on Christ. There are amazingly faithful people in this world!

My favorite lessons are those that are with people who know religion and have an open mind. It is neat having religious discussions with others. It has become one of my favorite parts of being on a mission. The Bible is incredible!

We have had the opportunity to fast quite a bit because our ward is doing a 40 day fast. When a family doesn't sign up, the missionaries fast. I have been blessed with some neat inspiration while I thought about the people we are teaching when I would fast. It is so neat to see how much Heavenly Father cares about every single child he has. How does He do it?! It has been fun lately to feel like I can be myself, but also be a missionary. At the beginning I felt like I was learning something new every hour and I was doing things I had never done before and it felt a little strange. Now it is just part of life. While I still have a bunch I can work on to become better, it is nice to feel like I have a grip on my life again. 

I have been studying the apostasy a lot recently. I never thought a whole lot about the great apostasy after Christ died, I just accepted it when I learned it. But since I have had to describe what exactly it is, and why it happened to others, it is amazing how much the scriptures and Christ divulged about what would happen in the median of time. It may seem a bit confusing if you look only verse by verse (actually REALLY confusing) but when you look at all of the information we have from the Old and New Testament, the Book of Mormon and Doctrine & Covenants, it makes so much sense! I have gained a testimony of looking at the big picture. If you are stuck looking at the small minute details, any subject can be difficult to understand. We have some people who are very stuck on a single detail, and that is keeping them from progressing. Especially when it comes to archelogical eveidence that the Book of Mormon is true, since there are no horse skeletons in the USA and the Book of Mormon says there are horses. Really? Wouldn't it be sad to be kept from the truth because of a horse? 

Life is great. I am loving Bowling Green and working with the missionaries out here. Keep smiling! 

Love you all!

Sister Kimber Mahrt

P.S. My subject is no faux because I cut my hair! No more faux bangs, just real ones. I would send a picture, but I haven't taken one and I look a worked right now. But one day I will send one :) My hair goes crazy when it is short and in humidity! You should have seen what it looked like when I woke up this morning... 

The group we brought to Kirtland our first Sunday in BG. Ken is the older man, Devin is the darker teenage boy, the asian girl is a recent convert and the teenage girl is the daughter of the family that sent you that email when we came to dinner (the Chase family). Yes, my eyes are closed. Whoops.

Sister Smith and Sister Carlson during Zone Conference. They are the full pros BG East sisters we work with every day. They are awesome!

These are all the missionaries that came out with me from the MTC in the Toledo zone. We are taking over! 

This is my view of Sister Tok during personal study. She is going to love that I sent this to you :)

The BG sisters practicing for our musical number. Sister Tok and I are super excited about it...