Sunday, August 14, 2016

9 AUG 2016 Grinning From Ear to Ear

Brenna got baptized! It was so good :) So many people came! It was so full that we had a bunch of people in the back standing. Just as it was about to start I stood up and told everyone to move to the relief society room so that more people could fit! haha Everyone probably thought I was crazy but I wanted it to be a powerful spiritual experience for everyone there, and I know how hard it is to focus when youre standing! So once everyone settled in the relief society room we began! It was so focused on her, so it made it really special. Then we listened to the song "I Will" by Hillary Weeks, it's one of the main reasons Brenna wanted to get baptized so she really wanted to listen to it before she was baptized. Her less active mom came! She hadn't been to the church since she was 18 she is 40 now. Also, Brenna's Pop (grandpa) who is not a member pulled me aside to thank me for teaching her and helping guide her to this point. I smiled at him and he just responded with "She is on the right path!" I smiled big and told him "I think so too!" Then he quickly through out "I don't just think so, I know so!".... Sooooo I praying that the font will fill up again pretty soon! ?
We have this new investigator named Brooke. She has twin 4 year old girls and they are so cute. She was a referral from a vivint salesman, he had met her and just really felt like she could use the gospel! So we went to go see her, she invited us right in and we taught her the Restoration. She was literally amazed by the Book of Mormon! I shared with her John 10:16 and then 3 Nephi 15:21. The spirit was so thick in the room. She wasn't sure why she was crying or feeling the way she was. It made me recognize once again the importance of pointing out the spirit whenever it is felt! Not just for investigators but for ourselves, in our own little lives and worlds. Because if we acknowledge it every time it comes then we are spiritually prepped to hear God when He needs us to heed His counsel. She asked us what was a very real and serious question for her "So why don't all Christian religions allow you to come and educate them on what the Book of Mormon is? I feel like if they knew what it was they would act a lot differently! Everyone should at least hear what it is! Of course Jesus went to other children. I've literally always wondered about this!" It was really powerful. She is so sweet and has some pure desires! She has been about every Christian religion you can be and she said that all she knows is that the Bible is the word of God... but all the churches she has been to believe in the Bible. Once we explained the priesthood she got it! We are hoping to meet with her soon!

There is a returning to activity member Lacee, her 6 year old daughter is like my best friend! We sit with them during sacrament meeting :) But anyways she texted us yesterday and asked if we would come and teach her boyfriend the lessons! A member referral is a missionaries dream come true! I can't wait... She also said her daughter Eriah loves us too! Last Sunday she came and found me while I was shaking members hands and I asked her to save me a seat and she was so excited. I helped braid her pony's hair and bam now we are best friends! I love being a missionary.

Our investigator Caitlyn is getting ready for college! We talked all about having courage to take a big step into her future! Which wasn't planned, it just went that direction thanks to the spirit! It was exactly what she needed and also it probably helped remind me a few things too... since apparently my mission is ending soon! Its crazy to me that the mission has become my comfort zone and going home is going to be leaving my comfort zone big time! Ha which seems so silly because home has always been my comfort place. Dang the mish messes up your mind!

Life is good in Lafayette! Greatest lesson learned this week is that we are in control! WE can think what we think and say what we want to say and be who we are. This life is all about learning how to control what you think and say and do. By being in full control of yourself you can then allow so many wonderful things to fill your life rather then the negative ones! And that is exactly what Christ himself did. He grew up in a family and had a life just like we do but the way he chose to respond to all situations was perfect and that was because he was a master of himself! See yourself for who you are and then work to become a happier person because lets not forget that God named this plan the "Plan of Happiness". Give people the benefit of the doubt and forgive freely. Smile and the world becomes a much better place. I had my interview with President Hansen this week and it started off with him asking if I was really going home next month.... I cringed and told him yes I was. He just paused and then smiled and said "I know you will be an effective missionary forever!" It reminded me that the end of my mission doesn't mark the end of anything, it just marks a spot in my life! I am so grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ who is the bright light to my everyday. I am grateful for the love that comes when I need it most and even when I dont. I am grateful for the opportunities he gives me and I am amazed at the life I have been blessed with. I owe everything I have to Him, and that's why I'm here! He is my best friend! Always remember that He knows the desires and intents of our hearts. Allow that to give you peace or the kick in the pants you need.
Love y'all so much

Sister Kerr

1 AUG 2016 Biking Sisters

When I woke up this morning I felt like I had been hit by a bus! My body is definitely feeling like I've been a missionary for 17 months now. So this week we ran out of miles for our car so we biked our little hearts out! We did 12 miles on Friday I have so much more respect for the biking missionaries because 12 miles isn't even very many! It was so hot it was unreal. We stopped at this sketchy gas station cause we were just to tired, Sister Nelson ran in and bought water, I watched her through the window so I could stay with our bikes. She came out and told me she didnt have enough money, she was 14 cents short but the lady felt bad for her so just let her leave... haha OH man we felt pathetic. These are the days! End of the month= NO MILES & NO MONEY! We biked to the soup kitchen, St. Joseph's Diner. Mom and Dad we are totally volunteering there when y'all come. It is the greatest place and the people have so much attitude. I wish I could video it to show y'all this lady Barbara who doesn't share well. She volunteers with us and she is the one who passes out the food trays when the people come through. If someone grabs there food tray off the counter without her handing it to them she goes ham. I laugh so hard every time because she says the same thing in the angriest voice "Do not take my job from me! Let me serve you! DO NOT TAKE MY JOB AWAY!" So much love bottled up in that little woman... but you cant feel it when she talks to you :) While we were there we served with some ladies close to our age who are personal trainers. Sister Nelson and I somehow got a free class scheduled for today in the park haha! We are taking out investigator Caitlyn with us. Hopefully they don't kick out butts because we aren't paying them... But I know exactly what my mother would tell me "It's good for ya, Mace!"
I got to go back to Baton Rouge this week for exchanges and I didn't realize how much I love and miss that place! We went and delivered a Bible and Book of Mormon to a lady who had requested some. The poor thing had a very interesting life story and I just was in awe with how messy her entire life has been. I literally can't even imagine experiences ONE of her experiences let alone all of them. It really got me to thinking about how important it is to respect ourselves. A lot of her situations and almost all of my other investigators situations could have been avoided if they had just had more respect and love for themselves. I never thought of it being a gift to be confident in who you are until now. Ms. Shelley just kept telling us that all these people who hurt her were people she knew were crazy but she just wanted them to change and love themselves. She kept saying "If only they would love themselves more, then they would love me more! I will change them!" It just made my heart ache because she is missing the fact that if she would just follow her own advice then she would love herself enough to avoid those situations. OH Shelley, if only she could see that she is a daughter of the Most High God who loves her more than she can comprehend she would treat herself differently. Well hopefully she will see that soon. I seriously had no idea how spoiled I was until I came to Louisiana! The things that I thought to be common sense are apparently things my mom and dad sat down and taught me, shout out to you two, I love you to the moon and back!

 We taught Michelle the plan of Salvation this week and she asked us if animals were going to be in the Celestial Kingdom. (She has this cat covered in fleas named Cleo and man, she LOVES Cleo!) We told her yes, that Cleo would be in the Celestial Kingdom. She got so excited and started yelling "Yay, Cleo! Im going to be with Cleo! I'm want to be with you Cleo!...." Then she looks up at us and says "Oh and I'll be with Heavenly Father and Jesus too." haha Sister Nelson and I died laughing :) After we left Sister Nelson said "Who knew all we had to do to motivate her to change her life would be to tell her her cat would be in the Celestial Kingdom! Makes for the ultimate motivation!

We are having a baptism this week! Our investigator Brenna is getting baptized :) She is 15 and her Grandma is a member. She is so excited and the cutest thing ever. We have been loving teaching her. Her baptism is Saturday at 4! Yay for covenant making people!

God Bless, Sister Kerr

25 Ju;y 2016 Ima Jesus Lovin

Ok  y'all, I feel like this might be my confessions week! I remember way back, when I left on my mission telling myself I would not become some nerdy weird missionary! I was willing to do whatever it took to be completely normal and return completely normal. Well folks, this darn place has ruined any hopes of me returning as I was before! My mission has made me such a baby. Let me just paint this little picture for you. We had a lesson this week with our investigator Michelle whose life is so messy! She was explaining to us that her life is hopeless and that there is no way she will be able to fix anything. Our lesson completely changed gears, we went from just reading from the Book of Mormon to teaching the Atonement. I then explained to her that my life too was hopeless without my Savior Jesus Christ. That literally there would not be one thing that would work to our benefit without His Atonement, that is why we need Him so badly! I just had tears streaming down my face, she asked why I was crying and I just told her because the lesson that we were teaching her applied just as much to me as it did her. When I said that you could see that she finally understood the Atonement. The light bulb went off! Shoot, it went off for me too, I don't think we will ever be done understanding the Atonement. I just can't believe the things Jesus has brought me to and brought me through. So, I know that He can do it for Michelle, and you too!

Also, Mormon messages get me every time, its pathetic. Sister Nelson and I were sitting in Relief Society and they showed a Mormon message about the priesthood power, which is what I want to focus this email on today but we both cried through the whole thing and all the little old ladies thought we were just the sweetest things :) It made me shake my head and giggle at my life. But the video is called "Sanctify yourselves" by Jeffery R. Holland. Anyways it explains that we must be ready NO MATTER what! That nothing is worth being caught off guard. So family and friends SANCTIFY yourselves! I promise that the Gospel is worth it and that we are capable of doing and succeeding in any situation if we are just willing to be spiritually prepared! I know that it is a lot easier said then done, especially coming from a missionary... But let me explain, if anyone has experience with this it is a missionary! I'm not sure what everyone else thinks/thought but for me when I got set apart I thought that I was going to be a completely changed person, basically a super hero, not subject to illness, fatigue or distractions! That did not happen, I was as me as ever and yet the assignment was to sanctify myself. It is something that must be done constantly, just because we were sanctified yesterday doesn't mean we are today. We must show God our devotion. Day after day I wake up, still tired and still as me, so when I want to sleep more or when it would be easier to not read my scriptures or write in my journal I just ask myself "Sister Kerr, how much do you love Jesus Christ? What are you willing to allow to get in between you and Him?" This has changed my attitude and has made me realize that if I was wonder woman I would not be learning the discipline that is vital to being a disciple.

Haha now that I have called y'all to repentance, (myself included because just like with my experience with Michelle, this Gospel applies to me just as much you) I have some hilarious only in Louisiana stuff to share! We have this recent convert named Kenny, he is probably 65. He calls us every morning to give us a weather report, he asks us to reject the call so he can just leave voice mail's. He is so funny, he usually leaves about 3 messages every morning with a 10 day forecast... every morning. Also, his accent is ridiculous and I basically cry laughing every morning because it makes the day so much better. Favorite quote this week from him is "Sisters! Heat is the almighty issue on this day!"

There are so many things that happen on my mission that would literally NOT HAPPEN anywhere else! I will never have these experiences again! So sad! We went and saw our investigator Regina, the one that last week I described as the definition of Louisiana... She was telling us how much she loves gumbo and how she was just craving it so bad! I asked if we could come make and eat the gumbo with her. Haha This was only my second time meeting this lady but I couldn't miss out on such an opportunity! She said "Sure, y'all can come! Turkey neck gumbo ok?" hahhaahaha please tell me everyone just cringed at that too. Sister Nelson and I just smiled mischievously at each other and said it sounded great! She could see right through us and just said "Excuse my comment and don't take no offense, but you white people don't know whats good to eat!" Sister Nelson then says "Well then Regina, since no one raised us right you're going to have to show us!" It was so funny. So I videoed us making the gumbo with her for 2 reasons, 1) I need to remember how to make the gumbo and 2) I knew non of yall would believe me and that I would need proof... so I got it ;) The gumbo was delicious, turkey neck is fantastic and honestly I think the juices that came off the boiled shrimp head is what made it taste so good. But while we were there cooking like 3 different people just showed up and walked in. They were all so surprised by the two fancy dressed white girls and would ask who we were. Regina would just tell them "These are my babies, they don't know how to cook a gumbo, so I be showin' 'em." The other visitors would just nod and then act like the situation was completely normal :)

We had a less active cook us corn beef and cabbage because some how it got brought up that its my favorite thing that I've tried down here! It turned out to be a very interesting experience. Good thing I've got the stomach of a champ, definitely got that gene from you, Daddy. Anyways I slammed my down and that was that. I looked over at my companion who was struggling big time with the slimy cabbage and just the amount of cold food still heaped on her plate. She whispers "Sister, I can't do it!" So when the less active looked the other way I passed her my empty plate and gulped down hers too. The things we will do for the ones we love :)

This has been a wonderful day in Lafayette, Louisiana! Don't you worry we are safe, sound and happy. The innocence really is bliss, its y'all I feel bad for, for having access to the news!

I love y'all so much and I know I am where God needs me. Missions are the best, Addey, keep  prepping baby girl you'll love it!

Sister Kerr

18 July 2016 Exceedingly Great Faith Requires Exceedingly Great Trials

This week was one thing after another! My poor companion has been suffering with awful migraines. She only gets them when it storms and dang this week that was every single day! I felt terrible for her. I ended up getting attacked by some unknown bug and ended up with 25 welt like bug bits! They are terribly itchy and BURN! they feel so similar to fire ant bites but I know they aren't because you know when fire ants bite ya, these little guys snuck up on me! I think they are chigger bites is what we have decided. We are hoping we don't have bed bugs. I cleaned everything possible this morning.... Oh my heavens pray for us. I thought the bites came from walking outside through something but now Sister Nelson is having them pop up all over her now too! I have found that my body is neutral to Benadryl... I have been taking 3 at a time and still nothing. So I have been grinning and bearing it.

But we did get some good stuff done! We have a new investigator named Brenna, her grandma is a member and she really wants to be baptized! We are so excited to have her, she is 15 and the sweetest thing on the planet! We also had a splendid lesson with Ken and Lewis. They were telling us how there is just something that they have been missing and that they love the plan of salvation. They just kept saying that they never thought that Adam's fall was for us all to have joy! The simple truths are what bear the strongest testimonies! We also saw Regina again! She is so wonderful and has such great character! She is so Louisiana and admits that loud and proud! She has a desire to be truly acceptable to the Lord at any moment in her life. I could definitely relate! I feel like the closer you get to the Lord the more your central desire is to please HIM and only HIM! I love seeing the pure intentions of people. I feel like I have been praying for that for over a year but in the past few months my eyes have truly been opened to how sincere people are. It is almost like I can see more clearly how pure and direct someones desires are! But its not in a judgmental way at all I feel as though this is God helping me judge less and see myself among these people. I can solely relate to Regina when she says she wants to feel comfortable, prepared and confident before God. What a beautiful desire! It made me realize that on the outside Regina and I couldn't be anymore opposite but on the inside our deepest desire is identical. I think that is because we are both children of God and filled with the light of Christ which is driving us home! I love this Gospel so much. It has molded me into a greater person and it has prepared me for brilliant opportunities!

We are safe and all is well even though sad things are happening!

Love you! Love Sister Kerr