Friday, June 15, 2012

June 13, 2012
OK, I have decided where we will be going when/if you guys all come out to pick me up.

Have you ever heard of Nelson Ledges? It is Sister Palmer's birthday today, so she decided she wanted to go hiking with Rafael (one of our investigators). It was SO FUN! This place is beautiful and there are so many different places to go! Dad and Lex, I am sure you would love taking pictures there, and we would all have to explore all the little 'cascades' (waterfalls) and it is so GREEN!

After our little hike we went to Rafael's bakery and he taught us how to make pumpkin bread and white bread, and we made a pizza. He has a hammock in the middle of his store that we took turns taking naps in. His wife died a month ago, so we kept talking about God and the Plan of Salvation (as much as he would let us). The pizza was SO GOOD! (and so easy- we will have to make it sometime) and I have decided that when you come out here you also have to meet Rafael because he is the craziest, friendliest, most free-spirited 60 year old you will ever meet. He wants to meet you too :)

This week we had a picnic with the community of Christ, and I have really been appreciating being in a zone with a ton of sisters. They are all so different, and it has been a lot of fun getting together with them and learning from their unique styles. The Giffords (senior couple) will be leaving on Friday :( We get to go up to Cleveland tomorrow for the 'mission tours.' I have no idea what we are going to do, but they have something to do with President Sorensen leaving in a few weeks.

Sites have been picking up. We get done with one tour and have to pick up the next right away. It makes you appreciate the senior missionaries, because they do it so much more than us (every day) and it is EXHAUSTING! Really fun though- I love meeting all the different people who come through, and I feel like their contributions always help me personally, like they are there to help me rather than the other way around :) It is neat.

I know there is so much more that happened this week, but I really can't remember anything else, and I am out of time :/ 

Sister Kimber Mahrt

Nelson Ledges State Park
June 6, 2012

Happy Anniversary!!! What are you doing to celebrate today?!

Guess what? I got to give Elder Jensen a tour at the John Johnson Farm. He is the vehicle coordinator for the Rochester mission, and he had to come to our area for a vehicle. Anyway, him and his wife are super sweet, and it took half the tour to make the connection that he is Elder Jensen of the seventy's brother! I love Elder Jensen's talks! He was a neat guy, and shared a story about how he would share the top bunk with Elder Jensen (of the seventy) and he would always get kicked off. But he doesn't hold it against him, since he is a general authority and all :) He is a funny guy. Plus, he knew the Winerts since he serves in their area! I love making connections on tour.

Speaking of connections, Ray, do you know a Kyle from BYU? There was a little family that came on tour- it was a husband, his wife and their little girl, and then the wife's brother was on vacation with them. From the beginning of the tour I felt like the brother looked familiar, and it was all I could do to keep from staring at him until my brain would figure out where I had seen him before. At the end of the tour we talked for awhile, and he finally said that I looked familiar. I was so glad, because I have broken down on tours before and said someone looked familiar, and it completely freaked them out, so I was happy he brought it up! He said he used to be an Exercise Science major, so maybe we took classes together...? Then he said, oh wait, I know your first name! Rachel! Haha, not quite. So maybe he knows you? I wish I knew his last name, that would probably be more of a help... Do you think you know him? He is a psychology major, taller, black hair...?

Another guy that came to the Kirtland sites really looked familiar! He had a yellow t-shirt on from the Day of Celebration (remember when we did that?) and he was tall and had dark hair. He was a cousin visiting extended family in Ohio. We couldn't figure out why he looked so familiar, so we eventually dropped it. Now that I think about it, he looked a lot like the bishop in your ward (this is awful that I can't think of his name...) Does he have a younger brother or something?! They look so alike.

I got to see Sister Lee yesterday! She is coming back to Kirtland, but she had to stay out full-pros until the sister that was detained at the MTC for sickness was able to come out and take her place. She was supposed to come yesterday around 11:00, and I was really happy about that, because I needed to leave at 2:00 for district meeting. But she didn't come and didn't come, and then it was time to leave. So I was walking out to the car, when the mission president pulled up with Sister Lee in the car! I waved when she got out, she saw me, dropped everything and ran at me. And then I did the same! It was seriously like one of those really dramatic soap operas, especially when we got to each other, hugged and started crying.
sidenote: I feel so bad for the elders in this area- surrounded by sisters :)
It was SO GOOD to see her! It was funny how happy I felt-  seeing her again made me think of all the good times. Same with Sister Hatch. I was able to have a sleep over with her in Kirtland on Monday night. We had a heart to heart, and it felt amazing to be able to talk to her again. I think it is neat that Heavenly Father can help bless us to remember the good times better than the hard times. He has definitely done that for me!

On Sunday we went to the assisted living home to see one of our investigators, Sarah Hosey. She is so cute! She made me a heart that she painted so that I can hang it up in my apt and remember her. She is really with it, and last time we were able to talk about death. The more I teach, the more I realize how it is more to do with having a discussion and listening than it is about telling people what to do. The light of Christ is so much stronger than I realized. If people are real with themselves and you ask the right questions, for the most part they can teach themselves principles of the gospel. It just makes sense. It was humbling talking about death with someone who is surrounded by it. She is a little apprehensive about it, but she was being so open about talking about it. That is another thing I am learning. I truly feel that there isn't anything two people can't do if they are both open and humble. My favorite investigators are those who are real- they don't say they will keep commitments they don't think they will keep, and they don't pretend to be feeling something they are not. They are upfront about everything, and that way we can discuss and fix things rather than mire around in muck, spin our wheels and not get anywhere. The same is true in companionships. What have we got to lose by being open and completely honest? If we feel like we are doing right and being our best, we won't feel like hiding or getting defensive. It is neat to see how much can be accomplished with that attitude.

I am learning so much. It is crazy how happy and sad you can be in one day. One night in my journal this week I listed out all the emotions I felt that day. I had gone from happy to complete despair, to excited, to...everything! I went through the entire spectrum of emotions about twice that day. No wonder I am so exhausted by the end of the day! :) I like how much I get to learn in such a short period of time.

One more story! I went to Pioneer school the other day, which is where we teach elementary school students about what the pioneers did. It isn't at the sites, it is at a historical museum that we are asked to volunteer at. The missionaries teach the kids how to make candles. We prepare the stations, help the kids dip their wicks in the wax and the water, and then help clean up. This was our second time going, and when we showed up, the lady in charge told us that she couldn't be in there with us, so we had to do the lesson about candles back in the day. I had heard her give her schpeal only once before, and it was a few weeks ago. But you know what? I wasn't even anxious. I got up there, did my best, and it was so fun! I realized that I really love teaching kids. They are so fun! I love how much they wanted to participate, their answers to my questions (Me: What kind of wax would they use to make candles? Kids: Earwax!) and afterward I just felt happy from being around them. Fun! They really lifted my spirits, and one of the girls drew a picture of me and gave it to me. So cute :)

OK, I talked too long! We are going on a bike ride today, and we are so excited about it! Love you all!

Sister Kimber Mahrt

Sunday, June 3, 2012

May 30, 2012

Dad, I can't believe I didn't see you!  You were here for almost a week.  Ahhhhh!  The senior missionaries thought very highly of your decision to not try to see me.  But were so close!
On Saturday I was at the John Johnson farm all day, and we had over 300 visitors! We had four buses of youth come in for a youth conference. It was so busy that we decided to all take a room and just stay there, break up the buses into smaller groups and send them on through. I was given the assignment to share the Revelation Room (talk about INTIMIDATING!). The tough part was to 1) give the revelation room in 5 minutes (there is so many amazing things that happened in that room!) 2) give every group a good tour with the spirit and entertainment (they were falling asleep) and 3) remember what I had said! After about the 5th presentation, I started forgetting in the middle of a group what I had already said and what I didn't. The senior missionaries have it easy, because they can excuse these times as 'senior moments,' but the younger missionaries don't have such a convincing excuse! :) It was a neat experience though.
The most rewarding part was when the spirit really was strong, and then to read their comments on the cards. One of the kids said something like, "I have never felt this way...ever...and I really like it," or "I don't know what this feeling is, but I want to feel it more!" Isn't that so cool?! These sites are a very neat place to be. The kids were so cute, and so many of them referred their friends. I love how open they are to sharing the gospel. We are told that the youth normally have less reservations about sharing the gospel, and it really seems to be true! I don't know how they do it- I have always been hesitant to share the gospel with others, especially when it comes to referring friends to the missionaries. They have a lot of faith. One of the people I called from the referral cards on Monday said that he would love to have a Book of Mormon, and he was open to hearing the missionary lessons after his mid-terms for medical school was over. Calling on the phone hasn't been as difficult for me recently, and there has been some really good experiences! So neat that we have the opportunity to share the gospel that way.
We started riding our bikes! We are like a joke in the mission. Whenever the senior missionaries see us, they ask us how bike riding is going. They all think we are pretty hilarious :) Riding to the John Johnson Farm on Saturday was a lot of fun! Besides feeling like I was going to die up the uphills (there are so many more uphills when you are riding a bike! I don't know where they come from!) it was great to be outside and seeing the greenery. I am still loving how green it is out here. 
Ohio=the best 
Love you all!
Sister Kimber Mahrt
Giang says he went to school and learned how to paint nails (at least that is what we think he said...) he is always looking for ways to serve us, and so he asked if he could do our nails. Sister Palmer was right on that, so here he is painting her nails. He was surprisingly good! Maybe he really did go to school for it...

Here is us on bikes in all of our sister missionary glory. Yikes. If we didn't look weird walking down the street in church clothes and nametags, this is a whole new twist on it. Riding bikes in skirts isn't as bad as I imagined it would be.  :)

May 23, 2012

Hello Fam!
Your little trip is coming up! Yay! Pictures, people, pictures!
I have been thinking a lot about how we will come to personally know Christ here on this life. I have been thinking about how He was perfect, and what that would have looked like. I was reading the parable of the talents (you know, the one where he gives one man 5 talents, one 2 talents and the last man 1 talent, and then all of them multiply their talents except for the last man, who buried his talent?) I think it is so interesting to read the response of the last man. Instead of admitting he had done wrong, he blamed the man who had graciously given him money in the first place and said that he 'reaps where he sows not.' (or something to that effect- I am paraphrasing). So basically what happened is he saw his own faults reflected on the man who gave him the talent. Do you think if we saw, walked and talked with the Savior today that we would be able to recognize that He is perfect? Or do you think we would see 'faults' in him because we will see our own weaknesses reflected back at us? It makes me wonder how clearly we really see the world.
I really like this quote. I have been thinking about why it seems so easy for so many people to mire in their own problems rather than step up and change your circumstances when you realize what to do (live the gospel!). 
Marianne Williamson:  “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.' We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others”.
Isn't that so true?
Sister Palmer and I are getting so good at teaching together! We met a man named Frank tracting the other day, and were able to teach him the Restoration. It is so neat to see progress! It is difficult teaching with someone else, let alone someone who is very different than you. But it is very rewarding! I love her! She is so funny and I love getting to know someone one such a personal level that you probably would never meet or associate with in 'real life.' Haha.
Love you all! Have so much fun on your little vacation!
Sister Kimber Mahrt

May 16, 2012

It was so good to see you all on skype!!! I love you all so much- I just loved looking at your cute, somewhat jerky faces (I don't know what was wrong with that computer...) I am saving those memories in my head for the next 8 months!
One thing that has been awesome through all of this is being able to communicate. I know I mentioned that Sister Palmer and I communicate well, but it really is such a blessing! There have been moments of tension and irritation, but we are always able to talk about it really soon and we are friends again, enjoying each other's company. It has been a learning experience, to say the least!
Guess what? Charly and Tom are finally reading the Book of Mormon! And they read it TOGETHER! That is so awesome- we were worried that we would have to drop them because they are not keeping their commitments. We watched The Lamb of God with them and Nick the other night, and when the movie finished it was silent for awhile, then Tom said abruptly, 'Is that really how Jesus died?!' He didn't realize He was crucified! Can you imagine going through life not knowing about the basic details of Jesus Christ's life? It would be so different.
I think I am starting to get used to people instantly sharing all their sins with the missionaries. At first I was blown away that someone would share such intimate details with a complete stranger, but now when they take us aside and start listing off all the illegal drugs they have had and how many cats they intentionally ran over, I just take it in stride :) It will be weird when people stop treating me like a therapist!
Anyway, I LOVED seeing all of you! Glad you are all doing so well, and I want to hear of any missionary experiences you have! They can be so funny! :) People crack me up 
Sister Kimber Mahrt

May 9, 2012

Hello my fam!
It's almost MOTHERS DAY! :)
Yesterday was my first exchanges on the mission! We went on exchanges with the training sisters, Sister Bills and Sister Tokunaga. It was a special privilege, because normally missionaries don't go on exchanges their first transfer (six weeks) out in the mission (Sister Palmer has been out 4 weeks). It was fun to go with someone else and be able to learn how to be a good leader. Sister Tokunaga (from Maui) was a great example of being lovingly bold, which is a neat talent to have. Sister Palmer enjoyed herself too, even though she has been having anxiety about it (it gave her so much stress last week it made her sick!) It is neat to be surrounded by people who want to do what is right and have a lot of Christlike attributes you would like to emulate.
Can I tell you how much I LOVE Charly and Tom? Those two are so funny. We played Bingo with them the other night so they could introduce us to one of their friends who is interested in being taught by us (his name is Nick Jeffries). His beliefs are completely in line with the gospel from what we have heard so far, he just doesn't EVER want to return to church because he has sinned and doesn't feel comfortable (we think). We need to help him see that EVERYONE at church has sinned- Christ's perfect church is made up of imperfect people- and try to help him come. Our ward is AWESOME! I LOVE the Hiram ward! We took one of our investigators to church on Sunday. We were a little nervous since it was fast and testimony meeting, and this lady hasn't been very good at listening to what we are teaching (she would rather talk at us than with us). She has had a difficult life, and we have been on the verge of dropping her because she hasn't been very teachable. But church went soooo well! I was praying so hard that this would be a good experience for Lisa, and it seemed like church that day was made particularly to fit her needs. Testimonies were centered on families, and she trying to be a really good mom for her kids. The entire meeting she was saying under her breath, "that's right," "Mmmmhmmm" "Amen girl!" It was SO funny! She has such attitude. Then our ward mission leader who teaches Gospel Principles was sick and almost didn't come to church, but he felt like he really needed to, so he came. He taught the lesson SO WELL, and it was completely tailored to Lisa's needs. After class I asked her what she thought, and she said she felt so good, decided she wasn't going to go to bars anymore and that she was definitely going to be coming to this church more often. Then when church was over, we overheard Lisa saying to some of the sisters, "hey, you are neat people. When is a time this next week that we can get together." It was a MIRACLE! Sister Palmer and I left church that day awestruck and so grateful! We talked all the way home about how our testimonies of church were strengthened that day. I realized that church is important because we get to renew our coveneants and learn, but mostly if we go to church to inspire others rather than waiting to feel inspired, we will make so much more of a difference. I am starting to understand Mosiah 18 better, where it talks about part of the baptisimal covenant is helping those who stand in need. It was SO COOL!!!
Sister Palmer and I were looking through our area book to find potentials that we wanted to visit. We came across a name (Melissa) that has been in the book since August 2011, and we decided to call. When we contacted her, we quickly found out that her family was going through a difficult time because their house had caught on fire, and they were trying to get everything taken care of. We offered our service, and they allowed us to come over to pull weeds. We were able to spend some time talking to them as we worked, and by the end, Melissa had started asking us what exactly we believed about what happened when people die. By the time we had to leave, they were so thankful and invited us to come to dinner to share our message with the family. It was so neat! They were the nicest people, I love them so much already, and I can already picture them in church and loving it, because they are going to LOVE it! They are so prepared! Dad, the family has all girls too, so Melissa's husband sends his condolences to you :) You guys are so weird ;) Service is the best- I wish we were able to do it more often. It is difficult to find ways to serve people when you don't know them well and they can't think of a way you can serve them.
The other day we went to go see Charly and Tom, and we saw their next door neighbor trying to carry grocery bags into her home. We offered her help. Two hours later she had given us an extensive tour of her trailer, talked our ears off (she is so funny :) ) and then... asked us if we could teach her what we believe!!!! I don't know if you are very well acquainted with missionary work, but that just doesn't happen! People are more likely to try to desperately end conversation with you than to pointedly ask for more information about the church. It was so neat! We were just about to get started when Tom comes and says, "Mahrty, Shorty, what are you doing here?!" That man cracks me up, and I love him to death, but I was SO not happy to see him at that minute! Tom ended up talking to his next door neighbor until it was 9 (time to go home), so we told her we would come back and share the message with her. Isn't it so great that he calls me Mahrty though?! It cracks me up! All my companions have been nicknamed Shorty because they have all been shorter than me :) You need to meet them sometime. You will get a kick out of it!
We've already taken way too long. P-days are way too short :) LOVE you all so much, and I look forward to talking/Skyping tomorrow!!!!