Oh, my heavens family this was such an incredible week. I may not say it every week but dang I know this church is true! I know Joseph Smith was a prophet, I know that the Book of Mormon and the Bible are the real deal. I know that families can be together FOREVER! I know that God has a plan for me and I can just feel Him near me. I love the opportunity to pray and to voice my opinion to Him, I love that He is willing to voice His opinion to me. I know that success comes from putting ALL our trust in the Savior. As we depend on Him life seems not just doable but happy :) I see so many people daily who do not know where even to look to find happiness and there are days I forget where to look for happiness! I was talking to Sister Langford last night about how quick we, as in human beings are so quick to forget miracles that happen to us! Or, how quick we are to dismiss spiritual experiences because we just get flat out distracted. I actually bore my testimony to Sister Langford about keeping a journal last night. I was reading my journal and I was just hit by a ton of bricks. The MIRACLES Y'ALL....THE MIRACLES. My favorite quote in Preach my Gospel is "You can know Heavenly Father is pleased with you when you can feel the Spirit working through you." I just am so grateful for the journal I have kept and even though I have not missed a day there are so many experiences that never got wrote down. I am just grateful for the constant reminder that I have sitting on my desk telling me that God loves me, Jesus Christ lives and I am a choice daughter of God. And that I am doing HIS WILL. It all just comes to life, seeing that my actions line up with the fact that I claim: I LOVE THE LORD. It was funny because then I got on today to read my email from Daddy, which is his journal and he bears the same testimony "It also made me ponder over why I do it(keep a journal). As I look back over it, I find I have done really well for, well, literally decades. The entries are fun to read and help bring back meaningful memories. Also, maybe more importantly, keeping a journal helps me to see how blessed I am, as a husband and a father. Before I write, I spend a few moments thinking about my day, and I begin to see the hand of Heavenly Father. Taking time to write in my journal is really taking time to ponder how wonderful life is. It helps me to see evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not recognized in the busy moments of my life. The pondering nourishes more than gratitude, it strengthens my testimony. I am certain Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. My journal is more than a chronological list of my memories. It is a record of God’s kindness." I couldn't have said it mo' betta myself!
So, I have been studying so much about Faith and I just am obsessed with FAITH. It is literally the answer to everything. If you can understand FAITH you can change and become anything God needs you to. So I was reading all different stories about FAITH, my favorites came from the New Testament because that is when Jesus Christ Himself measures people’s FAITH and lets them know where they are at. For example, Peter got the response "Oh ye of little FAITH." The woman who washed Jesus's feet with her tears and then dries His feet with her hair got the response "Thy FAITH hath saved thee; go in peace." The sickly woman who touched Jesus's garments to be healed got the response "Daughter thy FAITH hath made thee whole; go in peace."
Also these verses in Ether 12 talk about the need for FAITH too.
12 For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith.
13 Behold, it was the faith of Alma and Amulek that caused the prison to tumble to the earth.
14 Behold, it was the faith of Nephi and Lehi that wrought the change upon the Lamanites, that they were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost.
15 Behold, it was the faith of Ammon and his brethren which wrought so great a miracle among the Lamanites.
16 Yea, and even all they who wrought miracles wrought them by faith, even those who were before Christ and also those who were after.
I love thinking about this last verse, 16, because it talks about those who come after Christ and that is you and I folks... you and I, our faith matters just as much as theirs did and to that same degree things won't happen until AFTER the trial of our faith. So keep that one in mind when you start to fear for whatever is to come because just like our Mama always says "It will all work out." So family and whomever else may be reading this remember the faith you have and continue to let it grow.
Next, Sister Langford and I were in charge of the YM/YW mutual so after tons of prayer we both got an answer. I got the "Tree of Life" story form 1Nephi 8 and Sister Langford got the Plan of Salvation. So we decided to morph them together. We chose 4 different areas around the church. Our church is set up exactly like our stake center in Syracuse so you can picture it perfectly! The relief society room was the Pre-Mortal earth; in there we drew the Plan of Salvation on the board and just had an open discussion step by step about the plan. The Elders investigators came so we had 2 nonmember youth there, Johnathan and Jeron. So after teaching the plan to everyone and talking about it then we brought up the Tree of Life and how it ties in and relates to the plan God has for us. We then had everyone line up at the door where we had a white sheet hanging representing the veil. So we had them all grab hold of the Iron Rod which was a rope and we walked them to the Telestial Kingdom and the Great and Spacious building which was set up on the stage. We had made this great big building with some boxes and paint, and then used the stage lights to make everything dark and red. It was a really eerie feeling. It was stuffy and hot because there were so many people and not enough room which made it PERFECT for what we were trying to make everyone feel. Up there we had the 2nd counselor in the Bishopric, Brother Coleman, speak about the Telestial Kingdom and also about what the Great and Spacious building represents. We handed out Snickers candy bars to point out that all the people from the building were snickering at them. From there we had everyone grab back onto the rope and we trailed everyone outside to the pavilion. Out there we had fog machines going and everyone sat down at the picnic tables. This was the Terrestrial Kingdom and the Mist of Darkness. We had the 1st counselor in the Bishopric, Brother Vaifanua speak on the Terrestrial Kingdom and what the Mists of Darkness represented. It was about 40 degrees out so everyone was uncomfortable and cold. Once again perfect for the feel we were shooting for. Brother Vaifanua told all the youth that they deserved better than this cold and misty place. We handed out moon cakes to remind them the Terrestrial Kingdom is comparable to the glory of the moon. From there we led everyone back inside the church and headed for the chapel. In the chapel, we had a tree lit up with white lights with tall white window shutters covered in tulle as a back drop. We also had a platter of white chocolate covered apples on a tall white pillar next to the tree and then projected on the front wall (Where they always project conference) we had the painting of Jesus Christ descending out of heaven with His Angels. It was stunning. They first had to walk through another white sheet representing the veil and then sat down in what represented the Celestial Kingdom with the Tree of Life representing the Love of God. The spirit was so strong when you walked in, it was wonderful! We had Bishop Owen talk about the Celestial Kingdom and the Tree of Life. He pointed out the difference of feelings between each Kingdom we visited and helped the Youth to recognize the spirit that was in the chapel. It was so good. Then he opened it up into a testimony meeting and most of the youth shared their testimonies! After it was all done and we sent the youth off the Bishop came up to me and just gave me a bear hug and he said while choked up "Thank you!" It just made me realize how much we can make a difference and how the little things really do matter! It was such a good night and I will forever remember it as being something that shaped my mission.
Sister Langford and I went out to see one of our investigators and she didn't open the door... she was inside though, she peaked through the curtains. :( But that wasn't going to scare us off that easy. We left her a note with a plan of salvation pamphlet in her door. We have hopes of getting a hold of her soon! Then we both got the feeling we needed to tract in that area so we just parked the car and started. We met several NOT INTERESTED people, which made up for our sweet Alexis who was interested. We talked to her about the restoration on her door step and I was coughing the whole time because it smelled like she was sauteing jalapenos (Addey do you remember when you sauted jalapenos and dad and I walked in and started choking and hacking?? ya same thing here haha) Anyways we end up inviting ourselves in and surprisingly my cough went away! She introduced us to her Husband Windell and then he left. I was really bummed because to invite ourselves in I asked if her Husband would be interested too! She said he might be but when he disappeared I was a little disappointed. But then he came back with jeans, shoes and a shirt tucked in. I was so impressed because he was decently dressed in gym shorts and a shirt before he left. Trust me I've seen much worse. So when I saw this I was so impressed! We started with Alexis saying a prayer and then we taught the Restoration. We talked about each principle and step by step they smiled and LOVED it! Then we got to the priesthood. I asked Windell what he thought was going on in the picture where Peter James and John are giving the Priesthood to Joseph Smith. He said "Oh I know, he is getting the calkezadek priesthood right?" I respond well ya he is getting the Melchizedek priesthood! He got so excited and said "My friend Rico from my last job was a Mormon and taught me all about this, he was actually preparing to receive the Melchizedek priesthood!" Oh my goodness, he was so excited to tell us how his friend Rico had already given him this pamphlet and a Book of Mormon and that by us missionaries showing up and knocking on his door and him actually being home because he works so much was a miracle. He knew God had sent us there. We invited them both to be baptized on February 27th by someone holding this priesthood authority and they said yes! It was completely spirit led because I didn’t even know what I was saying and I didn't even know what day of the week the 27th was on but God told me to promise them that they will know if they need to be baptized by the 27th. Then at the end of the lesson Windell closed with a kneeling prayer pleading for God to tell him if it's true and to please allow us Sister Missionaries to come back to teach him and his family. Best part was the lesson was thirty minutes on the dot and we were just made a promise from our mission president that if we will shorten our lessons we would see more success! Bring on the blessin's....
We went to a Mardi Gras parade and it was a hoot! So funny and the food yall... the food was splendid! I tried my first King Cake and got tons of beads! I promise I still had my name tag on haha. Life is good here in the grand ole' south.
This week we received 16 free Bible requests.... we only had 3 Bibles. Dang we can't even keep up with the demand!! But I get it the Bible is pretty great :) But we had some Elders in our district pitch in some of their Bibles and with their help we now have about 13 Bibles. so now its delivery bus time! I have always wanted to be a FedEx driver!
Holy cow y'all I have so many more stories to share but I’m sick of typing so just know that there are too many blessings and miracles to count and I pray that it is the same for you. If its not its because you aint lookin hard enough. God's hand is all around us especially in this family. I love yall. Shout out to Grandma Kerr for being so brave. Shout out to Kensey and Josh for their exciting announcement. I am so happy for y'all and I am having the same reaction now as I did when I was a small child at the airport saying goodbye to my Pence Grandparents "I want to cry.... I just cant!" haha I know God is keeping them tears from me! Shout out to Addey Pence who wants to serve a mission! Shout out to Pepper and Pennie HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Shout out to Kyle Copeland for hanging in there and pushing through, you too Whit cause I know it wasn't easy for you either! Shout out for my Mama and Daddy being reunited. Shout out for the BRONCOS winning Superbowl 50! Ya thats all I got for now.... If I left anything out know that I’m sorry!
Love all yall to the moon and back
Your Sista Kerr