Monday, September 24, 2012

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!

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