Wednesday, June 24, 2015

22 June 2015 - Sweating bullets, Eating turkey necks and Finding at Kroger's!

Oh my gosh what a week. It was super full of miracles. First off Happy Fathers Day Daddy, I hope it was as good as ever! Sounds like it was because y'all spent it in Maine! How cool is that? How long of a drive was it? I want to hear all about it.
      Sister Lanning is adjusting super fast just like I did. She seriously hit the ground running and it was a relief! We have had lots to keep up with and she is just as organized as I am so surprisingly hardly nothing has slipped through the cracks. But I don't give us credit for that it's totally God. We got a phone call this week from the Zone Leaders asking us if we would be willing to instruct on the Area Book at Specialized Zone Conference.... say what???? Us? Did you call the right Sisters? I am so grateful that in the first week of my mission I read in Preach My Gospel "How would you feel if you needed to present your area book to Jesus Himself to show your efforts?" I decided that I wouldn't feel comfortable because I really didn't know what was in it. So for 3 months we have been working on it. Now I would feel great presenting it! And I guess that is why they felt impressed to ask us to bring ours to present it and talk about why it's important. So that will be stressful but a neat experience.
        Tasha has really taken off with progressing. This week we taught the rest of the Plan of Salvation and she loved it! She said that it filled in all the gaps where she had had questions. We invited her to prepare to be baptized on the 11th of July. She accepted. So we went back a few days later and taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She just soaked it all in. We really stressed the importance of doing what God wants us to. It was spectacular, her desire to be baptized increased even more. She is truly being moved by the spirit. She opened up to us and told us that when she found out Sister Smith was leaving she was going to ask us to stop coming because she was getting sick of her heart getting so attached to us just for us to leave. But she said that she was talking to her sister, Missy and she told her that she couldn't quit that she had to keep learning. She then said that she thought of me and thought "Ok I'll still work with them." She also told us that she would have NEVER talked to missionaries knocking on her door but for some reason she did and in that split moment decision, that was influenced by God, has changed her for the good. This opened the perfect place for us to explain that we are here to bring her the Gospel, so no matter the missionary the message stays the same. She finally completely understood our purpose. She closed us off with a prayer and said "Thank you Lord God for these Sisters you send to me. I ask you Lord to keep sending them to me, even if they are new ones so I can learn your word and be directed to what you want me to do."
       Ms. Renee, her diabetes has settled so we were able to visit her again! We started reading the Book of Mormon with her. We read the Introduction and 1 Ne. 1 and likened the scriptures to her. She loved it! She said it was kind of confusing because she is so familiar with the Bible that it's just odd to learn new stories. We asked her how must she thought she could read before we came back. She decided on 1 Ne. 1-4 so we are excited to see what she thinks :)
        We met with Renee and Joshua, different Renee. They are not very educated, I really do feel like I am in a different country sometimes. Anyways we started the Book of Mormon with them. Neither of them read well but they aren't embarrassed to read poorly in front of us which is great! So we read the first 2 chapters of 1 Ne. with them. They said they really don't understand it at all until we explain it, so they are so grateful we are there to help them. They also told us they LOVE the feeling they get when they read it and they believe its true. It's almost like working with children, they are so sincere and trusting. We assigned them to read chapter 3 before we came back and Joshua said he was going to read through chapter 6 because he loved the feelings so much! He doesn't work so he said he was going to spend all his time reading it. I know that the spirit can work through people easier when their hearts are softened and that is exactly whats happening.
        We were at Kroger picking up some boxes for Bethany so she can continue to pack. we came out to the car and were about to load the boxes when a lady from the car we were parked next to said "Hey Sister!" I looked at her and I could not put a finger on where I had seen her before. She told me her name was Miata and I about died! Miata was an investigator we had met in April. We had a couple of lessons with her and she was progressing fast! We set a baptismal date for her on May 9th and then she just fell off the face of the planet! We knocked on her door nearly twice a week for a month. We were so heart broken when she never responded to any of the notes we left on the door. So at Kroger she told us that she had moved and had gotten our notes but she had no phone or way to contact us. She said "I was so sad when I lost my Sisters!" So she immediately gave us her address and phone number and told us she wants to meet with us again! I testified to her that I knew that it wasn't chance that we had parked next to each other at Kroger and that we were able to meet again. God is trying to talk to us! Her response was "No he is trying to talk to me! I know that I need to talk to you guys again!" It is amazing the perfect timing God has. I parked in a stupid spot and I remember thinking why didn't I just park over there where I could have pulled through so Sister Lanning won't have to back me. But God obviously needed me to park in that spot and to come out of the store at that exact moment when she would still be sitting in her car and He gave her the courage to call to me and say hello and even when I didn't recognize her she wasn't offended or annoyed. God prepares people and he also has a way of making things happen when they need to.
       We biked! The Elders fixed up our bikes last P day, it was so nice of them! My bike was adjusted for a 5'2" person and the tires were pretty squishy because we only have a tiny hand tire pump and so I just couldn't get them pumped up good enough. But now I fit on the bike and the tries are hard. It was actually really enjoyable. HOT but felt good to bike. We biked to a Less Actives house and she made us Lunch. She made us Turkey neck and beans and cornbread. It was so good! She didn't tell us it was turkey neck until after we had ate it all gone haha I literally was like gnawing on the bone when she told me what it was. I just started to laugh and though well that's weird! It was so tasty though. I would suggest all to try it! Speaking of food we have members who are friends with some Arab people. They cook food for them and so we got to try some, it was so good! It was like a creamy chicken spicy cilantro soup and it literally tasted like heaven. I could eat it everyday!
      We spent some time at the Nursing home this week and man it was fun. There is this one man there named Jimmy. I swear all men are named either Jimmy or Willie down here and woman are Renee or Cathy! Anyways her makes these little yarn Bible covers and so he made me and Sister Lanning one. It is so cute, I think I will keep all my letters in it. He is a sweetheart!

 So that's my week, always getting better but always getting more tired! I look forward to a day without a schedule haha but until then it's work work work all day long! Love y'all to the moon and back. Have a super blessed week and don't forget to send me pictures!

Love Sister Kerr

Safety first!

Jimmy's Bible cover he made for me.

Tasha's crew

Zy'Mirakah and I 

15 June 2015 - It's raining it's pouring and we are not snoring!

I had to say goodbye to Sister Smith! AHHH It was quite sad, she headed off to the Texas border. So we are literally as far apart as possible! Yikes. Tuesday I spent planning Destiny and Amber's baptism for June 13, 2015. I planned the whole thing while Sister Smith packed! It was kinda stressful. But I knew it would work out. I got my Trainee :) Her name is Sister Lanning. She is from San Francisco, CA and really is a doll. We have been working hard to do everything we are supposed to! We had a coordination meeting on Thursday and I always basically get ulcers when we have them because so far my only experience with the Branch mission leader is no matter what I do it isn't enough. It has been very discouraging! But this week we literally worked as hard as possible to accomplish everything he assigned! It seriously melted my heart when he gave me a thumbs up and a wink as he leaned around my new little Greenie to let me know I had done good!
     Things were very overwhelming at first, but now that I have given them to God I know that I can handle this through Him. My weaknesses are made perfect through HIM! My new favorite scripture is 2 Corinthians 12: 8-10. It talks about Paul begging the Lord to take away his struggles. But the Lord's reply was I can make you strong, you have to have struggles so I can do that! I saw how true this really is as I stood knocking on a strangers door feeling completely inadequate knowing that I was going to need to show my companion how to tract. It was so scary but now I know I can do it :) I know I am capable to do all that is needed of me. As we put our minds to work worries dissolve! I was reading a conference talk by Jefferey R Holland and he was talking about how the missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are the most prayed for people in the world. I really found strength in that this week. I could feel prayers being answered, I could feel strength that was coming from somewhere other than myself. What an amazing opportunity it is to be able to assist in this great work.
    The Baptism was on Saturday and it went so well! Sister Lanning was pretty excited to have a baptism on the 4th day in the mission field! Those girls are so sweet and so ready! Destiny is 10 and Amber 8, both are considered converts because their parents aren't members. They come to church with a member, Sister Elva, they are her grandson's girlfriends kids. But they have been coming to church for years! It was really cool to be able to participate every step of the way in teaching them and helping them grow to an understanding of why we need baptism and the gist of the Holy Ghost. They received the Holy Ghost in sacrament meeting and then in our primary class Amber was glowing! Our lesson happened to be on why its important to be a member of the church. She was so excited to answer every question on baptism and the Holy Ghost. Every few minutes she would say "UHHH I feel it!! I feel it right now!" It was the sweetest thing in the whole world!
      We finally saw Ms. Renee again! She is the one that I tracted into on my first full day in the mission field. She has been sick and in the hospital. I have been praying so hard for her. She is doing better and we went to see her and weren't really sure what was going to come of it. She is a member at the Church of Christ. We retaught the Restoration, which was not what we planned for at all. I just felt like that is what needed to happen. She loved it she said that she knows there is a prophet today! I asked her how she knew and she said it's because she had watched conference and her heart just raced the entire time! We then watched the restoration movie and she said she got that same feeling! Then she went on to tell us that had Sister Smith and I not come and visited her in the hospital she probably wouldn't have given us her time. But she said it was because we loved her and prayed for her when we didn't need to that she listened. And now her heart is prepared! I love this gospel and the change it can make in people!

One more thing to add to the list of crazies: We have now encountered Scabies! Great. Haven't gotten them which is a miracle because we have been at this home once a week for the past 3 months! God loves us! So now I have encountered Lice, Fleas and Scabies all in 3 months. Last night We got home and Sister Lanning smelled her hair and nearly gagged. My only response was " It smells like Mississippi, doesn't it?"

Well sending all my love to my beautiful family! I love each of you so much! Love Sister Kerr

Amber and I

Destiny and I

Cleaning out the font!!

All of us!

First picture with Sister Lanning!

Last picture with Sister Smith!

Crazy story! So Sister Smith and Sister Neeley were MTC Companions Then they trained Sister Woodward and I, Mtc companions. Now Sister Woodward and I are training Sister Langford and Sister Lanning, MTC Compnions! Weird!!

09 June 2015 - Well look who's training!

What a fun week! So we got transfer calls! Sister Smith is heading out and I am training a newbie! I really am excited. We were definitely getting comfy here in our marvelous McComb. I am excited to start this next journey!
    So for this week, we went to Klieberts!! It's an Alligator farm in Hammond, Louisiana. It is where the Swamp People originated! Say what? It was pretty legit. Especially because our tour guide was missing all his fingers and just had his thumb. We learned some pretty cool alligator facts and I got to hold a teenage alligator. I was kinda nervous but wanted the experience. So when I was holding it the tour guide told me it was peeing on me so I threw it....... Not good. I threw and alligator on the ground! The whole zone won't let me live it down. They keep saying that that was there favorite part of the day. It was so embarrassing. Needless to say I am still my oober dramatic self. I also got to hold a snake, around my neck! It was so insane. I had to do it twice, the first time I had an anxiety attack and wanted to die and my companion was sure to capture the moment. Then I got it off me took a breather and tried again so I could get a cute picture.
     Bethany, our less active with the three boys called us and told us she wasn't feeling well. She asked if we would come distract her kids so she could lay down. We debated because we aren't supposed to babysit but then we decided it would be fine because her bed is on the living room floor, where we would be distracting! haha So we taught a primary lesson on prayer and on the Holy Ghost. Then we taught about Abinadi and when he testified to King Noah and his priests (Alma). And through the power of the Holy Ghost Alma knew that what Abinadi was preaching was true. It turned out so cute. Those boys have really stolen my heart. Sadly they are moving to the Covington, LA ward this month. We brought some boxes from the grocery store over yesterday and helped tape them together for her.
    We went to see Ms. Carolyn in the nursing home. Poor things feet were terrible swollen! When the nurse came she told her to elevate them and got her a 6 inch stool. Like that is going to help! Her feet are huge! So instead of the stool I had her put her feet on my lap and I iced and rubbed them for her. The swelling went down a bunch just in the hour we were there. While I did that Sister Smith read from the Book of Mormon. Ms. Carolyn prays so hard for us and she is so lonely. Every time we walk in she says "Thank God, I prayed y'all would come to see me, God answered my prayers!" I'm glad we were able to serve her the little that we did.
     We went on exchanges this week. I went to Albany, LA. hahha not NY. And Sister Blaylock was sick so we stayed in and she slept. So meanwhile I read the General Conference Ensign. It is so good! It was so weird to just sit on a couch and read though. I kinda felt guilty. But it really did feel so amazing. We changed back at stake conference. One of the speakers at stake conference shared a story. It started off about a Sister Fisk and a little primary in Liverpool, NY. It went to say that they went on a temple trip to the Palmyra temple they laid out blankets and ended up stirring up a wasps nest. Every kid got stung and so when it came time to touch the temple they were afraid. So the parents formed a protective gate around them so they could one by one go up and touch the temple. I thought how in the world does she know the Fisk's from the Liverpool ward? I ran up and asked her at the end of conference and she laughed and said it was just a story she had found online! I told her that that was a lady from my stake :) It is such a small world!
      Amanda and Jimmy texted that they were cancelling their appointment with us and that they need to pray about meeting with us. I knelt down and just cried and prayed. I then sat up and thought well one thing I know is God answers prayers. I know God will answer theirs and this out of my hands. They will be directed back to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I know it! We went and saw Brianna, Tasha's step daughter. We went and saw her at her real mom's house and her mom is amazing! We ended up teaching her mom about the restoration and we left her a Book of Mormon. So exciting to share such good things. Then she prayed for us. The way southerners pray is so different!! We all stood in a circle and held hands. They are so grateful when they pray its amazing. throughout the prayer those who are not saying the prayer say "yes God." every time they agree with something the person praying is saying. It's really really cool. I have started accidentally every time some one prays I say "Yes God" in my head. It makes me pay attention to prayers so much better. But anyways she was praying for us and she said "Lord I ask you to be with the sisters, to guide them, protect them, and to take them to those who are searching. Help them Lord to to thy will and to help all those around here to come to your word." and all at once all of her family in the circle said "Yes, Lord". It is really spiritual! I love being apart of these people! Later that night we found out about transfers so we went to see Tasha. We got there and Sister Smith told her she was leaving and we all three just cried. Then we sang primary songs to Sister Smith's Ukulele and then Sister Smith shared her favorite scripture. Talking about the journey we go through to know Christ, and once we know Christ we must follow Him through baptism. She bore her testimony about how this gospel is for Tasha and that it is specifically designed to bless her. Then Tasha said "I've been thinking a lot about being baptized." She just said it as a whisper. the spirit was so strong and I could feel her true desire. The Book of Mormon is amazing. I wish y'all could see her progression the spirit truly is astonishing! We told her goodbye, stepped out on the porch and closed the door behind us. Then Sister Smith and I hugged tight and sobbed. My heart is seriously broken. But it's okay because God needs her elsewhere and has something in mind for me!
    Well I for certain know this church is true. This mission is molding me and it really is hard. It really wasn't what I expected. I'm not sure what I expected but it's different for sure. And I am grateful for that. Y'all have a blessed week, I love you so much! Thanks for the pictures and encouraging words.
     Sister Kerr

Playing headbanz for district meeting!

Bethany and her boys!

Randy and I... That kid is crazy!

Look how many turtles!! Holy Cow!!

Look how beautiful the swamps are! 

Panicked snake picture.

Snake picture take 2.

Baby Alligator time!

Our tour guide... with one thumb!

Alligator farm! And Sitting on a tortoise.

The Alligator I threw!

Alligator eating a rotting steak.

I can do that sweet yoga move that I couldn't do back in January! I am getting flexible!!

Us super sad........ 

Monday, June 1, 2015

1 June 2015 - Fire Ants, Fleas, BB Gun welts and Trusting God.

Well I can't believe its been another week! I am so glad to hear from every single person in my family this week! It was a miracle. I love you guys!!! It's been a year since I graduated from Dental Assistant school! Have y'all looked up when my license expires yet? It's in the top of my closet in an envelope.
     So this week was so great :) P day last week we went fishing in Liberty, MS. Fun fact sweetened condensed milk was invented there. We met the Elders in our district and went fishing at a pond across the street from the Liberty Elders apartment. Today we are going to Hammond, LA to go to an alligator farm! Woot woot. We had a memeber take our whole district (4 elders 2 sisters) to Golden Corral. He is so stinking nice his name is John. He doesn't consider himself less active because he is always with missionaries but its been forever since he has been to church. His mom is Grace the super Anti. Lunch was so good and I really could only think of the 2 other times I had been to Golden Corral. In Florida for Thanksgiving and in Pocatello to meet up with Whitney, Kyle, Addey, Pepper, and Kade this past summer. I just can see Pepper's face as she is gliding her cotton candy on a stick through the chocolate fountain... Priceless!!
       We went tracting and we met a lady named Patsy (which is an adorable name!) She was busy but she didn't want to be rude so she asked for some literature because she is a retired school teacher. So I gave her a restoration pamphlet. Then I thought, a restoration pamphlet is for rookies!! Not a retired school teacher. So I gave her a Book of Mormon and she was really excited and so shocked when I told her it was free. She said that she had always wanted to read it! So great. Then she said that her church, I don't remember what religion she was, teaches that they need to be more like the Mormons, willing to share their beliefs. I thought that was so great. Made me feel worth while. People are seeing the example we are setting.
      Dang then I got out of the car at our next appointment at a Less Actives house. They were all on the front porch so I got out and started waving like a goon then without even watching where I was stepping planted my foot in a fire ant hill. They are as bad as they sound... no worse! I some how managed to get my shoe and socks off and shake out the ants and get them back on before anyone noticed. But through the entire lesson I used my water bottle to itch my foot. Now that its been a week they (all 9 of them) have blistered. They itch so bad. Thanks mom for the anti-itch. We knew I would need it! It doesn't stop there though. We went to Tasha's house to share a lesson and we walk in and I get shot my a like 7 year old girl holding a BB gun. She didn't even know what she was doing, just accidentally shot me! It stung... and I got a welt. I leaned over to Sister Smith in the middle of the lesson when Tasha was on the phone and showed her and she about died. She had no idea I had got shot. Proof that I'm not always a dramatic baby. I must be growing up. Anyways during that lesson with Tasha and her step daughter Bri we were talking to them about their reading. It was so loud and so crazy but then Bri looked at us and said "Before, I had no desire to read the Book of Mormon, but today I got a feeling that I needed to. So I started over and I've been reading all day. I am on 1 Ne. 17!" The spirit was so strong and I was so taken off guard because the environment was not what you were expecting to be able to feel the spirit so strong!
       We were visiting someone this week and it was like our third visit of the week because we are trying to help them get into the habit of reading scriptures daily. We are sitting there trying to read the Book of Mormon and then one of the little boys yells "aww these flea bits are so bad and itchy!" Sister Smith then says " Y'all have fleas?" and they just reply nonchalantly "Yes" Then the next little boy yells "Oh no Sister Kerr you stepped in the pile of dog poop in front of your chair!" Lets just say I showered with my crocs on and they are the greatest tender mercy!!
     We went back to Tasha's and washed her car! Then we went back later and had a lesson. because it's summer break all her nieces and nephews were up form New Orleans. We decided to read 3 Ne. 11 when Christ descends to the people of the Ancient America's. There were like 8 kids ranging form age 11 to 3 months. But it was quiet and you could feel the spirit. I was amazing how familiar the kids were with the Bible so it was easy to explain the role of the Book of Mormon. Tye, one of the kids that is always there for lessons then closed with a prayer saying "Thank you Lord God for sending Sister Kerr and Sister Smith. If it weren't for them we would have never heard of the Book of Mormon and would still be missing half of your word." It brought tears to my eyes. I love these people!
           The McComb Elders got a car! Yay for them the hills are pretty bad here! My companion had a birthday :) The Rayborns threw her a birthday bash. It was cute. Every fifth Sunday is a potluck and man McComb Branch knows how to cook! Ridiculous amounts of food. They sent us home with leftovers, this was a sign of we are loved! Last time they sent home all the leftovers with the Elders but this time they split it. We are important too :) Now that they know us!
          We saw Amanda and Jimmy again. We taught plan of Salvation. They are really progressing. We brought them a teaching record so they can mark their progress as we go for themselves! It's so great. They know our purpose and they are so interested. Jimmy prayed to know if God would just let them know about the Book of Mormon. He also said that they were willing to switch religions if that is what God wanted for them! I love them.
        Last night I was so tired I went straight to bed. Sister Smith stayed up doing things but when she came to bed she said I asked her if we had eaten dinner. I have no memory of this. I may talk in my sleep now! She said it wasn't a groggy voice either. I sounded wide awake.
        Well it was truly an amazing week because God's hand was in literally everything we did. Miracles are happening left and right and I know it's because of Him. I love y'all have a great week.
             Sister Kerr

Ice cream machine at golden corral!

Chicken truck.... So stinking sad they are every where because there is a chicken slaughter house.

Max AC. There is no other way down here!

Sister Smith and I :)

Tasha's nieces and nephews at the car wash!