Tuesday, August 18, 2015

17 August 2015 - The Work of God.

Whoa we had a fantastic week! First off Brianna and Dottie  got baptized! It was such a special day, they were so excited, happy and overwhelmed by the spirit. We were able to plan a beautiful baptismal service and Elder Ross performed the baptisms. We went and saw Bri on Friday to make sure we had the right size baptismal suit and we prayed with her. She offered it and my favorite part was "Lord, please come into my heart before I get dipped and after." She is so so set on becoming closer to Christ and I know that the steps she just took will help her so much. After her confirmation she just told us how much peace and comfort she felt. She loves the Holy Ghost! Dottie cried when she watched her daughter, Bri get baptized and had to cry in my arms before she was ready to be baptized herself. It was such a joyful moment to see people willing to make covenants with God. We made them baptism memory books, little 4x6 photo books. We passed out index cards and had every member write down their testimony, then we put them into the photo album so when they struggle or get knocked down or doubt they can stand on the Faith of others until they find theirs again. Sister Hansen gave us the idea and they loved it! During sacrament meeting I took on the job of hushing Emari while the sacrament was passed, she is 4, the one who wore my name tag :) I leaned over and told her that they were going to bring us bread so we could remember Jesus. Her eyes got huge as she asked me "Is Jesus coming here right now?!" It was so cute, little kids know more than you think, she really loves Jesus and it's adorable. She was coloring throughout sacrament meeting and one of the speakers mentioned the Book of Mormon in their talk and her head popped up and she asked "They read the Book of Mormon here too?" Emari will one day make a phenominal missionary. Dottie was telling us that Emari had her 3 year old cousin over and what they ended up playing was missionary. Emari got all the pamphlets out of Dottie's pile and then sat across Hailee, the cousin, and asked what she saw in the pictures and then when they got to the end and they saw the picture of the lady praying, Emari taught Hailee how to pray. I guess that goes to show kids absorb everything! So I challenge you Sky and Whit to fill your kiddos heads with good because they are so capable of learning the gospel now. That reminds me, Whitney sent me a letter about her kids playing missionary too. They were all dressed up with boots and backpacks and when Whitney asked where/ what they were playing they said "We are missionaries in Bermany!"
           We had a couple of experiences this week including the gift of tongues.... We first met Lloyd in the mall when we were picking up some supplies for the baptism at Dollar Tree he stopped us and talked to us for a while. He was an old man who had lost his wife. He would talk and then we would relate a gospel principle. Just about everytime we would finish talking about a gospel principle he would just about gag on his words and then appoligize because he almost "slipped". We were so confused, then he saw that we were confused so he told us he was just so full of the spirit talking to us that he was struggling to hold back his words. So not sure exactly what he meant by that I just told him to go ahead and talk. The secod I said that the flood gate to gibberish dropped. As he mumbled unknown words I just turned to Sister Lanning thinking what is happening. The only word I recognized was Lord. So that was interesting. Then later that day we ended up seeing him 2 other times. He came up to us when we were talking to someone about the restoration and stopped us to tell the person we had just met and were teaching that we were Angel girls... Sister Lanning quoted "O that I were and angel..." from Alma 29:1 and I just giggled my head off because that is my favorite chapter of scripture as of a couple of weeks ago. We had to laugh it off because it really was so interestingly weird. Never thought that would happen in my life. Then later that evening we tracted into a lady named Connie and she was super against the idea of the Book of Mormon but as we taught the Restoration she softened up and agreed to take one and read it. Its amazing how the spirit can soften hearts, but anyway I was saying the closing prayer and she spoke in tongues throughout the whole prayer I was so distracted! I wasn't expecting it at all so as she mumbled I just prayed along. The only word recognized that time was Jesus. Im super confused because the Bible talks about the Apostles receiving the gift of tongues, defined as all the Apostles came from different countries and spoke different languages but when they were together they were able to understand and communicate with each other through the gift of tongues. The gift of tongues is a spiritual gift to be used to help people understand each other, and that is not what happened with the two people we met. If anything the lack of understanding nearly overpowered the entire conversations! We had a lesson with Mr. Joe and we read in 2 Nephi how they were blessed witht he tongue of Angels and he was confused. Sister Lanning explained beautifully that it is a gift from the spirit that guides our words to help others understand our testmonies and teachings better. Then he understood :) Speaking of Mr. Joe he came to church for all 3 hours and accepted a baptismal date! So excited for him. He has changed so much. He told us in our last lesson that his mom told him when he was over there to take care of her that he is changing, he is a lot less irritable and grumpy, that he is becoming a nicer and more patient person. It was the prime opportunity to be able to bear testimony that we knew it was the Book of Mormon changing him!
            Well we welcomed 2 more lizards to the house! They just sneak in whenever we opn the door, whatever if the keep spiders out, come on in! Its been a great week and I know that God is in charge. That is one of the hardest things to learn. Plus I am a super planned person so when something falls through or doesn't work I get flustered because we worked so hard to det up those plans! But Sister Lanning pointed out to me yesterday that we have to embrace very moment to be a missionary, and because we did that we were bale to meet several people we wouldn't have. I swear she is training me. I know that this is where I am needed and I am grateful for the time I am able to spend here. These are my people. I love yall and thanks for the emails ma and pa you are the best :) Allow the work of God to change you, like it has me. I can honestly say I have grown more in this past week than I have in the entire 5 months!
God bless yall
Sister Kerr

And a religious inspirational sign, they are always the best!

Ms. Renee and I, she is so cute!

Yolanda the second

Pam at the nursing home :) Love her.

Ms. Ruth or Babay from the nursing home, sweetest woman eve and is so funny!

Mr. Joe after our last lesson, I told him he needed to smile this time.

Before and after Baptism pictures! Bri has the orange hair :) Love these ladies!

Dottie's baptism book

Bri's Baptism book

Sister lanning and I after walking through the rain storm without rain jackets because it was too hot!

Dont mind the hair... this storm just happened.

Our moms know us both so well. Jerky included in both of our packages :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

10 August 2015 - Tragedy strikes McComb.

Heart wrenching things take place all over the world. I wouldn't say I grew up sheltered but I definitely grew up protected. Things happen here in Mississippi that I literally never ever imagined I would experience on a mission. There was a little 10 year old boy, who was shot and killed by his 22 year old cousin high on drugs this week. Our investigators cousins house burned tot he ground she lost everything in that fire including her husband. Ms. Shirley at the nursing home had a heart attack days after her 78th birthday. Ms. Sheila was placed in a nursing home at the age of 42. A tree fell at Joe's moms house. Ms. Dottie's mom is in the hospital. The list seriously goes on and on. The poverty here is sometimes unbearable. The illiteracy is rampant. And apparently the tolls placed on human lives are heavy. I have really come to realize that no matter who you are bad things happen. Sometimes my heart can't handle the messes here in Mississippi and I just want to get away because there is literally nothing that a 19 year old girl can do for people who are so stuck in ruts that it is normal to live the way they do. But then I remember that this is a whole lot bigger than a 19 year old girl, this is a whole lot bigger than the murders, sickness and disasters. This is way bigger than the state of Mississippi. When we zoom all the way out.. I mean ALL the way out, we see galaxies after galaxies. How are we even ever seen or noticed by our God? Do the horrific things happening to the people of McComb matter? Yes ma'am they do. God sees us and hears us and loves us. No matter how small we feel or how buried we feel or how burned we feel or how scared we feel He knows. I think the greatest thing people could ever realize is there is a God and He loves each one of His children more than we can imagine. We are nothing without Him, and to Him we are His everything. Out of all the names of deity, God asks us to call Him Father. This is very significant. He is literally our parent and as we understand that we see that He is so concerned about all that goes on! If bad things didnt happen to good people, people would never learn. So as we need to recognize our Saviors role in all of this. Only He can relieve our sorrow, only He can be that beacon of light. So basically even though sad things happen there is good going on all around. Everyone experiences things so differently and because God knows that we have prayer and scriptures! The Gospel of Jesus Christ truly blesses families. We can take the Gospel and apply it to each one of those tragedies and then we gain an understanding a sense of peace and a true love for our Redeemer! I just want to bear my testimony that God is everywhere! He is with me everywhere I go! Someone told us yesterday that we were glowing :) I know that in a darkness that is when light or truth can be seen the most! This mission is so different than I thought it would be! But I love it and it's changing me.
         On a significantly brighter note, Dottie and Bri are still on to be Baptized on Saturday! They are such amazing people and are so ready. They have taught me a lot and I now really understand what it means when people say that people don't get truly converted by you, it's by the spirit. I really am unsure of what we 2 new missionaries taught well and explained clearly but apparently the spirit translated. Fear is the opposite of Faith so as we go about doing good knowing God will speed we can touch the hearts of many souls who are wondering in darkness because of tragedy.
         I love yall so much! I hope your week was filled with as much learning and understanding as mine! I wish I had more time to study the scriptures. I have forgotten what it feels like to not have a schedule, or to just sit down on the couch and read a book. So family do it for me. Thanks for all the wonderful updates. Oh and Pepper went to fiddler camp???? Was it at the fiddlers hall of fame? lol that is seriously the coolest thing eva!
      Stay golden family, because we are forever!
Love Sister Kerr

Softest shirt in the world! $2 buy at salvation army

Sister Lanning peed her pants on the kitchen floor and we didnt have any paper towels so we used pads... I told her not to be embarrassed because i had experienced worse with my mom haha 

Jacob and Jasper with our helmets on, we did a service project over at their house. Weve been biking a lot! 

We ate our sacked lunch in popeyes because it was so hot out!!!! little embarrassing.

Pops, at bingo. He is VERY hard of hearing and so without us missionaries he wouldnt be able to play. Love him!

03 August 2015 - The Start of Week 3.

Its been a good week! I am so glad Kensey and Addey are having so much fun on their road trip! Everyone sounds so happy! My week was good too! Laugh for the week..... I literally dropped my scripture case in a puddle of baby puke then picked it up and put ti on my lap without knowing. Then I looked down during the lesson and my skirt and scripture case were dripping. YUCK! Oh and we also welcomed a new roommate, her name is Yolanda and she is a lizard. We came in the other night and she was just hanging out. So we grabbed a couple of pictures and then she scurried into the wall..... Great. Whatever she can stay, she is a lot more welcome than Earl Wolfgang (Gigantic Wolf spider.)  Yolanda is like tiny, maybe 2 inches :)
           We were able to teach Mr. Joe about the word of wisdom and he has decided to quit smoking! Yay! He has been smoking for 45 years so bad habit doesn't quite cover it, its more like a way of life! But he is willing to change which is just beyond amazing, we know that its the gospel because nothing else could cause anyone to believe there is hope after doing it for so long. And he came to church! He showed up and sat with one of our members that has been coming to the lessons with us. He said he really enjoyed it and that he would stay for the full 3 hours next week. We also had Ms. Dottie come to church, she also bore her testimony. It was so simple and beautiful. She stood before everyone and just said that she doesnt know what she is supposed to say, but she knows the Book of Mormon is true and that God has sent her the missionaries so she could become better and change into the person God has in mind of her becoming. It was truly amazing. She is so ready to be baptized on the 15th of August. Same with Bri, at their house we had a lesson and talked about the last of the commandments with them. One of their cousins, Courtney sat in like she always does. She is very reserved and doesn't like the idea of leaving the church she grew up in. We asked Bri if she was sure she wanted to be baptized because it was a big commitment and she said "Yes!" Then Courtney asked her if she was just going to belong to 2 churches now, her church she grew up in and this new church. Bri answered saying "No, I will only have one church, this one. I have been praying the past while that God would make a way that I could get closer to Him. I know that I will get closer to God in this church more than I was in my last church. I am so excited to get baptized and keep getting closer to God!" I was so happy at that moment. I bore my testimony on how each and every person is prepared by God throughout their lives. I know that everything Bri has experienced has brought her to this moment where she would truly be prepared to receive an answer to her prayer. She can really grow that relationship with God now that she is ready. I love this marvelous plan God has and His patience in working with imperfect people such as I to carry out a work much bigger than my beautiful companion and I. Its been a super great time in Mccomb... I don't want it to end! I sure do love Mississippi!
Love Sister Kerr

Yolanda the lizard

Mr. Joe's door, we attacked it with motivation!

Oober short stop sign

 We drove 50 miles to find this beaut. Delivered a Bible and a Book of Mormon and left them in the mailbox because she wasnt there. #Mississippifinds 

Mr. Joe at church :)

Joshua and Renee! Joshua and I matched.