Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mar  25, 2013
Hi Familia!

Ray, congratulations again!!!! I am so excited! ...and so glad you didn't think May was a good time to have a wedding ;)

I have been exhausted after sacrament meetings these past couple weeks- kids have so much energy! It is tough to interact with kids without holding them on your lap or getting close to them. Missionary work feels weird in that way :) 

Guess what? We will be getting a new companion! Sister Crabtree! She leaves in 3 weeks from the mission. Her companion that she has been training just had her visa to Taiwan come through, so she will be leaving on Tuesday morning. This will be the first time there will be a triple-up (3 companions) as training sisters in the history of Kirtland! We talked to President Vellinga about it a few times- we think it will make it more efficient to go on exchanges to have three, so we are going to try it out. She is an awesome missionary, and I am so excited to be her companion! We are driving up to the mission home tonight to conference with President to see how we can make this situation most effective. 

We took a family on tour yesterday. Families are SO FUN. They are still my favorite to take on tour. I love watching them interact, and watching how they bring personality and neat insights to the tours. Being on a mission and being in families homes has really strengthened my testimony of how the gospel blesses families. Heavenly Father knew exactly what He was doing when He put us into families! Even though you all have to put up with my wacko personality sometimes, it was meant to be, so good luck with that ;) 

LOVE YOU all so much! Have a good week! Happy Easter!

SIster Mahrt

Mar 18, 2013
We are missionaries...
This has been a good week! We have a Jewish neighborhood in our area, so we went tracting there this week. That was... interesting :) We kept trying different approaches- "Hey, this a book about prophets!" Slam. "...families can be together forever!" "We know!!" Slam. "We are missionaries..." <---- That was actually a funny one- complete melt down at the door. The slam came after the tantrum. Needless to say, we didn't use that approach after that :)

Sorry, this is super lame. Gotta go. Love you family! The church is so true!

Sister Mahrt

Our stake is really pushing missionary work too! We just heard that in the Solon ward (my last ward) the Stake President got up at 4:15a Sunday morning, and knew that he had to redo his talk to focus specifically on missionary work. Then he called the ward members to repentance! Mind-blowing! That ward is so solid, and I am excited to see how things change once they focus on missionary work. There are going to be miracles in Twinsburg for sure! 

We had our Kirtland fireside last night. The training sisters are in charge of getting that all together by asking for recent converts from the stake/mission to come and bear their testimonies, then find keynote speakers, musical number, etc. We had everything set up, when two days before Sunday our recent converts let us know they weren't going to be able to make it. We scrambled through all the recent converts to find someone, and everything got thrown together last minute. I was conducting, and we were making a bunch of last minute changes. Freaked. Me. Out. But you know what was so cool? Everything came together so perfectly! The recent convert who spoke had prepared quite a lengthy testimony, which was perfect for the investigators who came, and Elder and Sister Sorensen (Kirtland site directors) shortened their talks to a perfect length- they were short and powerful. The spirit was so strong, and afterwards everyone lingered for hours (much to the senior couples dismay- they are the ones who had to stay and lock up for the night :) It is amazing how well He knows what needs to happen, and how little stressing about things really does other than give us ulcers. He is so in charge.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Mar 11, 2013
Shake N Bake
Hi Fam Fam!

I have p-day on Mondays now! 

So- Transfer Info. I am now serving in the Shaker Heights ward (Shake n' Bake ward). It has been so fun so far. It is a totally different ward from any other ward I have been in, and I love it already. I am now the training sister in Kirtland, which just means I am in charge of serving the Kirtland sisters and the site director. One of our responsibilities is to make the schedule for the sites. Wow. ...just wow. That is something else! We had two new areas open up, and we don't have enough cars, so we have been trying to make the schedule work around sharing cars and ward activities. I am SO glad Sister Hillman knows what she is doing! She is so awesome- an amazing leader and such a good people person. She actually reminds me a lot of you, Lexy. We have been taking care of things at sites, and on Saturday I was able to go to our area. It was the funniest day- our plans were completely messed up, changed around, and by the end of the day we accomplished everything we had planned on doing, it was just in a completely different order. We even took a church tour in a church without carpet! (The carpet was being ripped up and replaced) We even had a family we are teaching come to church on Sunday! Mom and Dad, I have NO idea how you were able to keep us preoccupied and focused during church! It was insanity :) But they are the cutest little family, and we are so excited to be teaching them.

Since I have been at sites so much more, I feel like I have already gained so much more of a testimony of Kirtland. Yesterday we took a tour, and the entire time we were struggling to find out if he was an active member or not- it was hard to tell with what he was saying and the questions he was asking. It was a neat tour, and I felt like we were really directed by the spirit to share certain stories and facts we do not normally share. At the end of the tour, we were walking him back to his car, and he asked how many of the people who come are members of the church. We told him it is about 80% members, 20% people of other faiths. He paused, then shared with us how much he had needed the tour today. He told us his life in a nutshell- how he had gone on a mission, but then fallen away. After years and years, he had been able to come back, and had made a lot of progress in the several months. You could tell by his sincerity how much the church meant to him now, and Kirtland had really touched him. When people who come help share their testimony with us, it reaffirms once again how true the gospel is and how much of a difference faith in Jesus Christ can have in our lives. Faith makes all the difference in the world.

I love you all so much! Be good. Go to heaven. Don't get translated.

Sister Mahrt
Mar 5, 2013


This week has been the slowest whirlwind.  Time is so strange.

This transfer is going to be crazy. There are 29 new missionaries (I came in with about 13 missionaries and we were considered a big group. Back in those old days), 10 of them are new sisters. Six are Kirtland sisters. Which means there are a ton of areas training, being opened up, and it sounds like EVERY companionship will be affected this transfer. That is really saying something, because President Vellinga normally tries to make minimal changes. Next transfer is going to be a huge influx of missionaries again, and the one after that too. I don't know where he is going to find all the trainers he needs to train these missionaries! Good thing he is going by inspiration. He is going to need it!

We have been setting up Twinsburg for a new missionary. They are going to love Twinsburg, especially Sister Neslen and the ward. I am sad I am not staying here until the end of my mission, like I was thinking would happen, but it will be really good wherever I go, I am sure.

We have been doing service for an incredible lady we found. She just so happens to be a cook, and she made food for us the other day. Homemade lasagna. Woof. (Sister Neslen's exclamatory word) It was so good! Then we had angel food cake. It made me think of how we March birthdays would have angel food cake with strawberries for our birthday. Good memories :) She is so cool- she tried to invite her friend from work to meet with us because he is going through a hard time. That floored us! People are normally so scared to invite people over when we come over for dinner, but here, someone who is not even a member of the church, recognized that we could help and did all she could to get him there to help him. It made me see how much I need to improve when I get back home. Before my mission I would have never thought of having one of my friends come over for dinner so they could meet the missionaries! I think people go on missions so they can learn how to do missionary work :)

We have a bunch of stuff to go do to set up the apartment and area, so we don't have a whole lot of time to email today. Sorry! Just know that I love you all, and I could use your prayers right now.

Sister Mahrt

                      Love this District!  I served over half of my mission in the Solon District.
Feb 27, 2013
Drama and Faith

Zone Conference

Back AWAY from those boys! ;)

How's my little fam fam doing? Aw, I love my cute little family.

I had my II (Individual Interview) with Elder Sorenson (the new
Kirtland site director) the other day. It is amazing to me how regular
people get so good at following the spirit and knowing scripture!
Every time he has given a thought or a comment during meetings or with
me personally, it has been something I had needed to hear at that
moment. It is neat that the more we focus on improving ourselves, the
more Christ's light can shine through us to be a positive influence on
those around us. The Sorensen's are awesome!

Today I would like to share a little excerpt from my companion's email
that will give you a little glimpse into our last week and the soap
opera we sometimes term 'a mission:'
Hello everyone! I would attempt to go through and describe all of last
week but it kind of turned into a blur on Saturday night. I was
worried about my talk on Sunday that wasn't very well put together,
and we were just exhausted so I was on my bed half asleep. All the
sudden Sister Mahrt starts freaking out and said "PRESIDENT VELLINGA
IS CALLING!" She jumped on my bed and answered the phone and President
asked to talk to me. I answered the phone and then the bomb was
dropped. President Vellinga asked if I would train one of the new
missionaries coming out on March 7. Here is how the conversation went:

Me :(long uncomfortable pause) "President, are you sure?" (pretty sure
I started crying at this point.)
President: "Yes, I'm sure."
Me: "President, I don't know if I can."
President: "Well, you're a Mormon, aren't you?"
Me: "I think so."
President: "I know you can train and God knows you can train. So will
you do it?"
President: "Are you still there?"
President: "Are you breathing?"

Immediately after the phone call I ran into the bathroom sat in the
shower and cried my eyes out. There was some hyperventilating and lots
of praying. The rest of the night was spent in fetal position crying.

The next day we were driving to church and I was a hot mess. Poor poor
Sister Mahrt. I'm pretty sure the tears were freely flowing the whole
15 minutes to the ward building. I had just found out I was going to
be training, I had a talk to give that I wasn't ready for, and we had
to give the gospel principles class without any time to plan. To say I
was stressed is a gross understatement.

P.S. I am fully aware that this is the most dramatic email I have ever
sent. Just love it."

Isn't my companion the greatest? :) She is so right- last week was so
dramatic. Honestly, it may be included in the category of 'most
stressful weeks of my mission.' Stressy Stress Stress. But it is good
stress! It is good that we have the ability to change and improve
because of the Atonement. What I have been most amazed by is the power
of faith. I mean, I have always heard that faith is a power, but it is
neat to FEEL it. It is neat to be in a situation where there is no
where else to turn but to Him, and to see that He is right there, and
has been there the entire time. I have been learning a lot about faith
recently, and I absolutely love it. It has been interesting to learn
not only WHAT faith is, but HOW to apply it. Missions are the best!

Love you Fam!

Sister Kimber Mahrt

Feb 20, 2013


I am sitting in the library and looking outside- it is a complete Snow-rnado out there! It is really pretty! ...to watch from inside. This week we were tracting in it, and I LOVE that we are from Arizona. When people ask where we are from, Sister Neslen turns to me and I say, "Arizona..." and have the most pathetic look on my face. We are hoping that compassion will be on our side :) It hasn't worked yet, but we are working on it. Yesterday while we were tracting, a man we were talking to told Sister Neslen that she was being too pushy (which she really wasn't. Believe me, she KNOWS how to be pushy, and she was totally toning it down for this guy) and he called the cops on us! First time for me. And I have been out for over a year. Not too shabby.
Have you ever heard the quote that goes something like, 'the quality of your life is directly a result of the quality of the questions you ask?' I have really gained a testimony of that this last week. I have been reviewing my journal to find when I have had the most people to teach, and I was surprised to find that the times on my mission that the most was going on missionary work wise was not with my most obedient companions. You hear a lot about the importance of being obedient as a missionary, that being obedient brings blessings, and being exactly obedient brings miracles, so wouldn't it make sense that the more obedient you are, the more the Lord will trust you and lead you to those who are prepared?
I had thought and prayed a lot about this recently. I eventually asked my mission president what his thoughts were. He told me to continue to look for the answer myself for this last week, and I said I would. It seems like since he turned the question back on me, the windows of heaven have been opened, and I have been hit by an avalanche of answers to my questions. I was asked to give a talk in sacrament on Alma 32 (Faith applies to EVERYTHING!! So simple, yet complex), I was asked to give spiritual thoughts and little testmonies during lessons, and all of them brought new answers and new insights. The revelation has been coming in so fast and so frequently that I can hardly keep up with it! It is amazing how aware He is of each of us, and how much He is willing to help us with our concerns when we turn to Him. It really is true that the more we participate (including asking questions) the more we are inviting the Holy Ghost to come into our lives to teach us.
We had zone conference on Valentines day. Guess what? The theme of this conference was chastity and virtue. OK, strangest, yet most memorable valentines yet :) President Vellinga is so amazing! I hope you get to meet him one day. He is really good at story-telling and just making the gospel LIVE! He said that people without the gospel are eating at a lousy restaurant, and we are offering a place at one of the most succulent restaurants. Do we realize what we have?! It was neat to see the gospel in terms of food. Who doesn't like food? And who wouldn't suggest a good restaurtant to someone else? Why is the gospel so much different?
I love you, my little family! Be good! Ask questions- it is a really neat experience to receive direct answers from Heavenly Father
Sister Mahrt
Sister Neslen was sick. The joy of nasal spray
Angry Eyes
Feb 13, 2013
...and then you two showed up!
Hi Fam!
This has been a neat week. We were tracting awhile ago, and met this woman who said she already had her religion, so she was politely disinterested (the reaction of many Ohians) then when we shared part of the restoration and asked how she would come to know that it was true or not. She was quiet for a minute, and then slowly said, "...I guess I would have to listen to you." Inspired questions are the best! Thank you Sister Neslen! We went back that Friday, and in the middle of the lesson, she said, "You know, it is so interesting that you ladies came when you did, because I have always had a good relationship with Christ, but recently I have felt more distant, and I have been questioning my church. I have been praying for Him to show me the way... and that is when you two showed up." So neat! She is an incredible lady, and we are excited to teach her again this Friday.

We have been finding a lot of people recently, which has been a lot of fun :) Teaching is the best. We have also had our testimonies strengthened about chat too. So many prepared people come to chat on Mormon. org, and it is neat to be able to talk to people openly. I think online people are a lot more open to talking about religion, since they are not face to face with someone. Interesting how that seems to make people more honest!

Sister Neslen says I have to tell you our tracting story. So, it is a running joke that I am about 40 because out in BG there were multiple people who thought I was either married with kids, or 40 years old. Anyway, we tracted into this guy named Roy about a week ago, and he is talking with us, but mostly with Sister Neslen. At one point he randomly stops the conversation and asks Sister Neslen, "How old are you?" Sister Neslen was surprised, but said that she is 21. Then this guy goes off on how she doesn't look a day over 17, and how young she looks, yada yada yada. The ENTIRE TIME that he is fawning over Sister Neslen, he is TOTALLY and pointedly ignoring me. So I kept interrupting his compliments with comments about the Book of Mormon, and he wasn't having it. When we finally got off the doorstep, he said to Sister Neslen, "It is so good to know that there are YOUNG women out there who have such dedication and faith to do this!" Then he said, "Bye" to me. He totally thought I was an old woman! SO rude! Sister Neslen has been very good at telling everyone at sites that story :) It is pretty funny. So now some of the Kirtland sister say that Sister Neslen is like the Kirtland highschooler and I am her mom :)

Sister Mahrt

Feb 6, 2013
Priesthood Power
Sorry about last week's letter. A little lame. But this week was SO good! I think last week was there to humble me and get me ready for the things I learned this week. SO good!
After transfer meeting on Wednesday, we went to the senior couples to ask for a blessing. Elder Polous (he is so cool!) said he would be able to give us blessings. We had been wanting one for weeks, but with the craziness with the Edman's leaving, we hadn't found a good opportunity. Last week I had hardly been getting any sleep because my mind was insane. It would be going 100 miles/min 24/7, and I couldn't seem to shut it off. I was going throughout the day with little to no sleep, and my mind was being hyper. It was the weirdest feeling, and I wasn't sure what to do about it. When we went to get our blessings, we simply asked for a blessing of comfort and counsel. As soon as he laid his hands on my head, he almost immediately said (after the precessory stuff) 'let your mind be at ease!,' and instantly my brain quieted and I was finally able to feel peaceful and calm (something I have been looking for, for a couple weeks now.) It was so powerful. It was just what I needed. The priesthood is incredible. I am always amazed at how surprised I am when I rediscover how much Heavenly Father knows and loves me. He knows us so well. How do we forget that so easily? 
We had to take pictures of our companionships and send them to the APs for President's birthday (or anniversary? I don't remember). So here are the pictures we took, since I haven't sent pictures home recently
THEN, as if my testimony of priesthood hadn't grown enough at this point, I had the opportunity to see more blessings yesterday. Sister Neslen hasn't been feeling well, so our ward mission leader was able to give her a blessing, and then he received a blessing from Elder Pontius (district leader) because he had messed up his back pretty badly shovelling snow the previous night. He was shuffling around and could barely get up and stand up straight. Sister Neslen's blessing was beautiful and so personal, and his blessing was very powerful. As soon as the blessing was over, he jumped out of the chair, looked surprised and said, 'that is the first time that I have been able to get up without wincing all day.' He then proceeded to leave our meeting like a normal, non-hunchback person. Powerful.
We studied light, gifts of the spirit, and about the Kirtland temple dedication this morning in studies. Whoa. This church is so true.
Love you little munchkins!
Sister Mahrt
                                                                This is our district.