Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Oct 29, 2012
So, today we have to be inside our apartment by 1pm because of the hurricane. Have you heard of the Franken-storm? Well, I wouldn't have, except because of the hurricane we are getting some inclement weather (what does inclement mean? I can't use a dictionary, but it just feels like a good word to use here, so I am using it) and we are supposed to stay inside until Wednesday!!! What are missionaries supposed to do if they have to stay home?! I have no idea. We were going to go fishing today, so we are sad our p-day was compromised. The reason I am telling you all this is because I don't have a ton of time, so my email may be short.

This week has been filled with drama, because there is a family that wants to be taught by us rather than the east sisters, for basically no other reason than they know us better (there is a lot more justification surrounding that, but that is what it boils down to). Don't get me wrong- I am so thankful to have an opportunity to teach anyone who wants to hear more about Jesus Christ, but it hit me how much they are limiting their own progress by claiming to be an 'exception to the rule.' That is such a common idea these days. And so selfish! It has been a neat experience to be on a mission, where you have almost no control over your life. You give up where you live, what you will be doing, what you will be thinking about, what your purpose is, everything, and give it up to Heavenly Father. It is funny how many of us want control, but when we are actually able to let go, it is so refreshing! We are put in circumstances that help us to grow and progress in ways we never thought we could. If we try to control and maneuver things to what we want all the time, we are cheating ourselves of experiences or situations that would benefit us so much if we would just see them through. I especially love being with companions I didn't choose (and probably wouldn't have chosen), but that I have grown to love so much! I can't imagine what sort of experiences I would have missed out on if I would have been sucked into thinking I needed to control everything and make things the way I would have preferred. Life is so cool that way.

For one of our dinners this week, we went over to a family's home and the little 3 year old girl said the prayer. I felt the spirit so strong as she spoke- it was so cute! It is neat how simple the gospel is, that even a 3 year old can understand that she can talk to Heavenly Father and He will listen.

This week has been filled with cupcakes. We helped someone make 100 cupcakes for an activity they signed up for, there were cupcakes at the munch and mingle after singles ward, there were more cupcakes at the baptism we attended, we got some cupcakes door-bell ditched at our door, and we had a cupcake fight in our apartment (I won). I am now officially sick of cupcakes.

We were able to get a lot of members out with us to our lessons. It was a reaffirmation to me about how the members are doing the real missionary work. Every one of those lessons were so much more powerful and effective because they were there. It's amazing how far little actions and words of encouragement will go.

We were able to go to a Coptic Orthodox baptism with our Egyptian investigators. Everyone was so nice! We were in a super small room, and the family of the baby kept pushing us closer to the font to make sure we could see. Then after the baptism they wanted us in their pictures and they were so excited for us to be there. Their church was beautiful! Afterward, they made us our own individual loaf of holy bread. It was so neat! I love learning about other people.

Love you all!

Our holy bread.

Blowing out the smoke alarm since I burned my Macaroni & Cheese (hey, it happens to the best of us!) It looks like I am teaching it the doctrine.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Oct 22, 2012
Sliding on Cardboard
This week was crazy! Some investigators were dropped and appointments fell through, so we set our personal records for longest time tracting for both of us. It was actually pretty fun- I got to know Sister Tok on a whole new level. It was so much fun! I love her so much, and I am not looking forward to when she gets transferred the first Wednesday of November (or at least that is what we are assuming will happen). Yesterday was awesome- she locked herself in the bathroom!! She thought I was holding the door, so she was saying stuff like, "Haha, Sister Mahrt, very funny!" Then she would sing Be Still My Soul to calm herself down, then she would pound on the door and say, "Sister, we are losing hours of accountability!!" I was in the kitchen wondering what was going on, until I figured it out and sat on the couch to watch it all unfold. It was great :) Then she finally is able to get out of the bathroom, and, after accosting me, she accepts that she had done it all to herself. I run in the bedroom while laughing my head off so I can record what just happened in my journal so I don't forget. It doesn't take me long to finish, when she puts on her shoe to leave, and SCREAMS... because she finds that I had just put Waldo (the rat we hide around the apt) in the toe of her shoe. So then I had to go BACK in my room to record that incidence as well. All in all, it was an awesome day! I got a pretty good journal entry in for it at least :)

This morning we teamed up with the East sisters to go sledding down Conneaut Hill. It is the ONLY hill, or even slight elevation of ground, for MILES! We found some cardboard boxes to slide down with, and if it worked well, we were going to invite the elders in our zone over for some sledding races, but... it was an epic failure. We had to scoot ourselves down the hill inch by inch. Good ab work-out. Bad P-day activity. Good thing we tested it out first! We walked off the field around 7:55am, and these gathering of runners stood and watched us haul our soggy cardboard sleds to the car. They were probably very confused. 

It has been neat to be a missionary during Romney's campaign. Even if people don't want to change churches, many of them want to know what Romney's beliefs are so that they can make a better decision on how to vote. It also helps when they have the little Romney banners in their yard. Sister Tok LOVES those! I can barely hold her back from sprinting up to their door when she sees them! 

Love you Fam! 
Sister Mahrt

Monday, October 15, 2012

Oct 15, 2012
Guess what? Prayers are answered!! This week has been a week of answered prayers- it has been really neat!

One prayer that was answered was a member's. We went over to dinner at a young couple's home. They both served missions, and both are eager to introduce others to the gospel. The husband was saying he has been praying for a missionary opportunity, but none have presented themselves. We talked about that a bit, then decided that we would all pray for him specifically to have a missionary opportunity. Then next day we were tracting, and knocked on a door of someone who was excited to see us! (that is so rare that Sister Tok and I were completely caught off guard and took a few seconds to compose ourselves :) She immediately said that she knew God sent us to her, because she was just thinking about the campaign and decided she needed to look up what Mormons believed because of Romney. She had just begun when we came to the door! She asked us some questions, and then we asked her about her beliefs and her family. The kids were on a soccer team, and we told her we know a lot of people that play soccer from our congregation. Then it came out that the soccer coach of her kids team was this husband we had dinner with the night before! She said she was happy with her church, but would love to come to church to find out more about what we believe. We were able to call up the husband, and he was very excited be involved in missionary work with this family. It was so neat! The prayer was answered so quickly!

The other prayer that was answered was my own. There has been a lot of questions coming our way about the lack of historical evidence, or contradictory evidence, for the Book of Mormon. It has been like an avalanche. There has been a lot of questions fired at us, that we have had to truthfully answer, "I don't know," sometimes throughout the entire lesson! We have been teaching about the need for faith, and the need to pray for answers, but the concerns have been very entrenched and not easily dismissed. We have been going through this for about 8 weeks now, and no answer we have seems to be good enough. It came to the point that last week, I was really tired of all the questions that are unanswerable. Why is there so much information and 'factual evidence' going against the Book of Mormon? I know it is true. I know it has helped my relationship with the Savior and I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet called of God to restore His church. So what was going on here?! It turns out the answer was in a place I have read over and over again- the Book of Mormon introduction! We had our district meeting, and the sixth paragraph (the one talking about how the Book of Mormon is the most correct book on Earth and people can grow closer to God by abiding to its precepts) came up for our roleplay. Then it came up again during personal study, and then again later in another roleplay with the young women during mutual. When we went to go see our investigator that night, he brought up his concerns again. They are the same concerns he has always had, but I thought of something I had never thought of before.

We are not mortal beings having a spiritual experience. On the contrary, we are spiritual bodies having a mortal experience.
We are here on Earth to learn and progress. Progressing requires faith.

Isn't there some serious wisdom in having a book that can be read and confirmed spiritually, yet not historically/physically? I am sure Heavenly Father could 'prove it' historically if He really wanted to, but where is the growth and progression from that? The Book of Mormon is designed so that in order to come to know that it is true, people have to come closer to God (just like it says in the introduction.) They have to read His word, pray, receive and recognize revelation.

It is a simple answer I think I already logically 'knew' in a sense, but I have never had to explain it to someone clearly and simply. As I was teaching it, it was reconfirmed to me that what I was teaching was true. Even though he didn't think too much about what I had said, Heavenly Father had led me to find the answer for myself. It was so neat! His concerns don't bother me as much. Heavenly Father knows what He is doing. It is so nice to know that we have someone who is completely perfect to rely on!

Another thing I have noticed- it really is a choice to be happy. We have gone into so many different homes in completely different circumstances and situations, and there is no real predictor of happiness. If it is a really fancy home with a nice car out front, or a trailer. A big family or small. If the people are overweight or skinny. Busy or not much going on. It really doesn't matter. Happiness is a choice. There are people in this world who have the worst luck, and definitely what you would term a 'hard life,' but they are so happy! It is really neat to see.

Missions. Are. Awesome.

Love you all!

Sister Mahrt

P.S. This picture was taken during companion study. The ear muffs were on because she was 'on air' for Music and the Spoken Word. Quote: "The dews from the drops of heaven let me know that I am His child" She is pretty poetic

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Oct 8, 2012

Wasn't conference great?! We watched it at Gma Pat's house. She makes sure that all of the missionaries here know they are an extension of her grandchildren, so she completely spoils us. She is so sweet! I think out of my whole mission, it is at her place this weekend that I felt like a normal person, enjoying conference at grandma's house. So fun :)

Mom and Dad, thank you for the under armor you bought me last Christmas (is that when you got it for me...?) It has been getting colder, and it has been so nice to have them during our morning runs. We are actually getting fall weather! I am in for it ;) And thank you for funding my mission!!! I should thank you more than I do- I am loving it out here and learning so much! Thank you thank you thank you!

This past week, the people we are teaching have been going on roller coaster rides- believing one day that they have found what they have been looking for, the next finding concerns, then they want to drop us, then they come back and say they received an answer, then... it just goes on and on! The tricky thing is that they are all on different roller coasters, with different needs at different times. Mom, is this what your life is like?! It is crazy! Never a dull moment, that is for sure!

We have a family that we have been seeing recently and the lessons we have had in those homes have been utterly insane. Utterly. Insane. We decided to play a game last night with the entire family, and I cannot begin to explain the drama and chaos that ensued. It was two hours of being mocked, loved, yelled at, defended, and trampled, all rolled up into one. I SERIOUSLY have a testimony of building the family on the gospel of Jesus Christ. When we go into homes that are 'crazy,' but they are rooted in the gospel, the crazy is not the same type of crazy, that is for sure. But it is fun to see how much Sister Tok and I love getting to know this family more, and love them more and more as time goes on. Heavenly Father really does love each and everyone of us. No matter how insane we are.

It is neat how conference is so inspired. I thought of the people I am teaching over and over when I listened to the talks. It is neat to be in a position to receive revelation for others. I can't get over how neat that is. I still have an unsatiable desire to read the scriptures. I have always loved reading the scriptures (or at least as far as I remember) but since I was set apart I have felt it even stronger. I thought that the feeling would subside once I got into the whole missionary thing, but it seems like the desire just keeps increasing! Personal study is some of my favorite time- you are so close to the spirit and you can feel its influence before you really start your day. And then it is over! I try to read the scriptures every spare minute I have, but it still doesn't feed the craving. The scriptures are so inspired, and they really do have answers to individual questions and challenges. It is fun to be part of others journey to discover it for themselves!

Something I have been discovering with Sister Tok. She is very good at sharing our experiences with others and telling people how she feels. I think I have naturally shied away from that sort of thing, not wanting to step on others toes or get in their way. But sharing stories about your life and sharing your opinions really does help with unity! I don't know where I got the idea that sharing opinions and stories is a burden to other people. It usually isn't! Funny that it has taken me so long to see that :) I am trying to be better at actually having an opinion and thinking of stories I want to share with others. It helps a lot.

I absolutely love talking and hearing from you!!! It was so sad yesterday when the library was closed and I didn't get a chance to hear how you all are doing, or get to tell you how things are over here. I love you all so much!!! I am so glad we are a family!

Hope all is going well- Love and miss you!

Sister Kimber Mahrt

On our way to a corn maze. Sister Tok was excited- she has been waiting so long to go to a corn maze!

Also on Sister Tok's bucket list was to go to Big Boys (for no other reason than she thought the name was cool). She finally convinced the district to go there. She was stoked!
Oct 1, 2012
There were so many amazing things that happened this week! But my favorite was Johnny's baptism. It was the best baptism I have been to according to 'missionary standards.' The spirit was so strong, there was strong support from the ward and the family, almost all of our investigators were there (the number of non-members almost doubled the number of members!), almost all of the missionaries from our zone were able to bring their investigators there as well. Baptisms are awesome to have people to come to because of the spirit (D&C 84:20). Sister Tok and I 'whacked' the Restoration talk (whacked is a Sister Tok word. I think it is synonomous to 'slam dunked' or 'did incredibly well'), even with Ken critiquing us in the audience (he is SO FUNNY! Just wait until you meet him!) Johnny was so ready to be baptized. He was so excited! If he would have had it his way, his invitation would have had flames bordering them, there would have been rockets going off, and a brass marching band going through the chapel! I think 'excited' is an understatement to how that kid was feeling. We were able to help the family's stress level a little, and it was neat to get so close to the family in the process. I am telling you Bowling Green is an incredible place to be. I LOVE IT!!! I can't say it enough!

Ok, I am running out of time--

The first picture is showing how we got attacked by bed bugs! The East sisters found a spare key to our apt and attacked our beds with bed bugs. Sick! 

 The pictures are showing why everyday women do not wear skirts. Especially if they like to ride bikes.

Bonnie's cat is the CRAZIEST cat you have ever met!!! The cat meows at you and wants to be picked up. When you pick him up, he hugs your neck and plays with your ears!!! It is hilarious! When even I pick him up I start laughing just thinking about it! And Bonnie is right next to me. I LOVE her!!! She is so sweet and intelligent- it blows my mind!

                            Johnny's baptism (don't we look like twins?)