Elder Devin Kirk

Elder Devin Kirk
I am blessed to be the messenger that is permitted to bring this joyful message to those who are in great need. I have authorization from our Savior, Jesus Christ, to represent Him in this part of the world. I am given the ability to work miracles in the lives of the people. I am guided by His Spirit in all that I do and say. I am given power to testify boldly to all who will listen that Jesus is the Christ and that He has restored His Gospel in these days and that all can be forgiven and receive the blessings of living this Gospel. I cannot begin to express the gratitude I have to be called to this position and be blessed with this assignment.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Arizona Week 8 - Change of Pace

Hello Everyone,

Things are finally starting to settle down after transfers. My companion and I are getting used to the way the other works and are getting the meshing of teaching styles down now. The apartment is really fun with 4 Elders, but we get work done so don't worry. We learned on Friday that the number of missionaries in this Stake was not just a result of more missionaries coming, but was at the request of the leaders of the Stake to have this many. We've been bringing this up in Ward Council now. We tell them that they asked for us to be here, so they need to decide on how they will use us. We are trying to make a transition in our ward. Instead of us planning for people to visit and dragging members out with us, we want the members to take us to the people they would like to visit. We are here to assist them, not the other way around. The Ward Council is on board with this idea and is going to put effort in to accomplish it. We plan to see great success from this.

This week I received a letter in the mail from Sister Munger's CTR 5 class. They all drew me pictures and had Sister Munger write what they wanted to say to me on the picture. I would say my favorite one was a drawing that had a little girl and a cloud and some crazy yellow lines in the background. The caption read, "This is me..and some lightning. Have a good week." That little picture ensured that I had a good week. It was fun to hear about the kids excitement about learning the gospel. Sister Munger said they really liked the story of Abinadi, so I did my best to repay them with my own drawing of Abinadi.

My companion has been asked by the mission president's wife to make some videos for the mission's blog including some missionaries performing some gospel rap that he wrote and our zone leaders doing the first vision in sign language. I don't know how nice she wants these to be but Elder Clark and I both have the mentality of doing something to the full capacity. So that's what we're going to do. 

Funny story: we drove down to the mission office to meet with Sister Sweeney about these videos and asked if we could get some extra miles for making the trip. She said that we could, of course, and we asked about getting reimbursed miles for driving down for transfers (we were told to drive down for transfers but they ended up not doing anything with our car). She asked if we were supposed to have gotten a new car. We weren't sure but assumed we weren't going to. She then asked if we wanted a new car. Duh! We want a new car. So she's thinking about taking ours (because she doesn't want one of the new ones) and giving us one of the brand new cars. Fingers crossed.

Anyway, things are going really well and I'm excited about the changes that are happening. The work is moving forward and I invite you all to join in. I love you all and I will talk to you again next week.

Elder Kirk

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Arizona Week 7 - Transfers

Hey everyone,

So this week was transfer week aaaannnndddd.......I got mini-transferred. (I coined that phrase). I didn't move, but I have a new companion and now I only cover the Granite Reef ward. So Elder Morden and I had our area split, both got new companions, and were each assigned to one of the two wards we had previously covered. You're probably thinking to yourselves, "but they had a car, where did it end up?" That's a very good question everyone. I have it (because our area is bigger, and we live farther away). I'm obviously very pleased with this. But then again, we are the only companionship of Elders that has a car in our area...and everyone wants a ride to places. This will be a challenge that will need to be figured out but all will be well.

We added many new missionaries to our zone family. Prior to transfers, we had 9 companionships of elders and 1 companionship of sisters. We now have, 8 of elders and 3 of sisters. Every ward in our stake has at least 1 companionship assigned to it alone. The work surely is hastening on, and I'm very blessed to be a part of it. We all are.

My new companion's name is Elder Clark. He is from Washington State and has been out for 8 months. This will only be his second area. If you don't know about missions, it's unusual that he would stay in that one place for so long. No matter though, I'm looking forward to working with him. He's VERY in tune with the spirit and seeks spiritual guidance in all that he does. I can tell that we will change many hearts together.

So we now have 4 Elders in our apartment (Elder Clark and me, and Elder Morden and Elder Harris). It's a little more crowded than usual but it should be pretty fun.

I got to see some of the missionaries that were in my MTC district and that was very fun. Many of the sisters that were in the MTC with me (who have not finished being trained) are now training new sisters. I have full faith that they will be able to grow much quicker and that those they train will be extremely good missionaries.

I'm really looking forward to how much the work is going to progress in these coming weeks and months. It's good to be a missionary.

Love you all,

Elder Kirk

Monday, July 15, 2013

Arizona Week 6 - Found

Hello everyone,

This was a long week but I had some neat experiences. I find it so fun when a person finds the Gospel to be "familiar" because we have heard it all before. One of my MTC teachers said "we aren't “teachers” but we are “reminders”". It's so true. Here's an example:

Whenever we talk about the Priesthood, we talk about it as power and authority. We use those two words together every time. One guy we've been teaching for a while (whom we have never talked about the priesthood with) said that he knows God has a job for him and he doesn't know what it is. He went on to say that he feels like he can't do it yet until he receives some higher power and authority.

It's amazing how many people we find that are looking for something, they aren't what it is or where to find it, but they know they need it and they want it desperately.

More news on Harry (the one who got baptized last week) he was praying about how he can better prepare himself for the priesthood and was prompted to read in the Book of Mormon. The scripture he read talked about giving alms to those in need, and he had the feeling that he needed to share this great gift he recently received. Next time he saw us, he asked if he could come with us for a day to teach people. We're of course very excited for this.

We had a zone training meeting and many rules were changed, eliminated, and added. There are new dress standards being enforced. One thing that changed about it is the elimination of backpacks while proselytizing (with the exception of camelback types for bicycle areas in the summer months). We now must use one strap shoulder bags. We are now allowed to use the video feature on our cameras. This is of course is in preparation for the arrival of Facebook accounts. Also, my mission is allowing the possession of musical instruments now. Things are moving forward quickly and by the end of this month, every ward in our stake should have its own set of missionaries.

As missionaries, we still find time to have fun. We play sports most mornings and have invented our own version of Quiditch. This was inspired by the fact that when the basketball hoops are raised up in the gyms, the hoop is vertical like a Quiditch ring. We've been playing for a few weeks and, not to boast in my own strength, but I'm pretty darn good at it. This has earned me the nickname among the others as "Wizard.” The most recent time we played, they brought me a broom that they wrote "Nimbus 2000" on and a Santa hat with stars drawn on it in marker. So yes, we have fun too.

I think my favorite experience of this week happened on Saturday. We were on our way to our dinner appointment and there was a man working on his car in front of his house (which neighbored the home of our member that would feed us that night). We took the time to ask if he needed help. He declined the need for help but was impressed by us young men sharing the gospel with people. We talked for a while but he was uncomfortable speaking English (he's from Romania). When he discovered that we were Mormons he said that there was a Mormon living with his family, and they take care of him. He talked about the man watching General Conference every time it's on and that he, himself, enjoys it as well. We were invited inside to speak with the member. The man had many health problems, the most prominent being paralysis. You should have seen his eyes light up as he said, " You...you're Mormon Missionaries!" After speaking for a while, we learned that he had been excommunicated for 20 or more years. He was extremely repentant and was near tears as he said, "I don't want to come back. I NEED to come back!" He told us that he didn't know what to do to come back and that he had been praying for someone to come find him. And find him we did. It brings great joy to be the answer to the prayer of another person. I love being here and I love the things I do and see. The many miracles that occur around me confirm my faith and testimony.
I love you all and I'll talk to you again in 1 week.

Elder Kirk

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Paradise Valley Zone

Devin with the Paradise Valley Zone

This zone serves central Scottsdale – From L to R and Front to Back – Sister Crowell, Sister Schneider, Sister Sweeney, President Sweeney, Elder Davis, Elder Kirk, Elder Hemi; 2nd Row – Elder Stockdale, Elder Sessions, Elder Soto, Elder Van Meetern; Elder Ostlie, Elder Russell, Elder Broomhead, Elder McNabb, Elder Swanson, Elder Wood, Elder Quiner, Elder Lomu, Elder Beers, Elder Vete, Elder Morden

Monday, July 8, 2013

Arizona Week 5 - Baptism

Hey everyone!

I hope you all had a good 4th of July! I know I did. I was able to go out and share the gospel with others the entire day. In other words, I celebrated the freedoms of the nation by showing others how important it is that we have these freedoms and also how this gospel can free them from sin. And we got invited to a few BBQ's so that was nice along with our preaching. 

One of our wards had a breakfast that morning that we attended and, of course were able to share a spiritual thought. It was a lot of fun, and we gained a lot of trust from the ward by building relationships with the members. People are getting really excited about the work we do and how much of it there is. We've received a number of compliments on our hard work and have been given words of encouragement and support; which is nice to hear as a missionary due to the rejection we receive daily. But, the work is progressing.

We met the new Mission President and his wife. They are wonderful. They are so excited to be here and it shows. They have a great energy that will be infectious to the missionaries here. I anticipate that we will see massive strides in the coming months. Speaking of which, within about 6 months we will all have Facebook accounts that we will use to find people interested in the gospel (which may or may not be in our mission boundaries). With this, referrals will be able travel in and out of all missions and the work will move forward universally. Also, tablets and smart phones are likely to be found in the coming year. Things are changing and it's a blessing to be a part of it.

We had a baptism on Saturday. It went very well. The man who got baptized invited some of his family that are not members of the church. While they changed after the baptism, my companion and I taught the Restoration of the Gospel. As always, we leave a commitment at the end of each lesson and, as the new missionary, I am supposed to leave these commitments. So, I left them with the commitment to be baptized. We gave his aunt a Book of Mormon afterwards and answered a lot of questions from his mom who seems to be interested now. It was a great event.

At church, we got to teach Sunday School because the Gospel Principles teacher was out of town. We now have 2 new investigators. I just get so excited about finding people that the Lord has prepared for us to teach and baptize.

In other news, we almost died yesterday. An SUV blew through a stoplight going about 45 MPH just as we cleared his lane doing a left turn. And it was one of those 'left turn yield on green" intersections (which is what most intersections in Phoenix are) so we were basically stopped in the middle of the intersection waiting on a truck going the opposite direction. When the truck finally put on his turn signal, we were able to start moving again. If the truck had waited one more second to put on his signal, my companion would be dead and I would likely be in the hospital severely injured. I have come to the conclusion that the driver of that truck never puts the turn signal on but felt like he should this time. That's my theory. I was actually oblivious to the whole situation because, as the passenger, I was texting members and investigators to set up a lesson. Either way, I'm still here.

I almost forgot to tell you about the new Scottsdale Mission itself. It's big. We lost Mesa and Apache Junction, which amounts to barely any land, and added all the way over to New Mexico. We have about 100 square miles of New Mexico in our mission now. I wish I could describe it better but perhaps there's somewhere you can find a map. It's just exciting how much more area we have now and how much of it is the Northern mountainous regions where it snows. I hope I get assigned up there at some point. But for now, I will serve in the desert of Northeastern Phoenix with a smile on my face knowing that this is where I need to be.

Things are going very well for me and I am thoroughly enjoying myself. I love you all. Stay safe and I look forward to hearing from you.
Elder Kirk

Monday, July 1, 2013

Arizona Week 4 - Scottsdale

Hello Everyone,

We are officially the Arizona Scottsdale Mission! Which doesn't mean a whole lot just yet but it's kind of neat to say that I will have served in 2 missions. A lot has happened this week so let's get started...

Things are picking up the pace and members are really excited about helping us as much as they can. We've picked up 7 new investigators this week and many came from member referrals. They are all excited and interested in learning more, and I feel like I'm a lot more effective at helping them find truth that I was even a week ago. Teaching by the Spirit is unparalleled by any other experience. I'm able to promise amazing blessings to people for obedience to God's commands. When they do what they need to receive these blessings I get so excited.

We have a baptism this Saturday that will be fantastic. The man getting baptized is such a wonderful person. We're teaching his brother who also has a baptismal date. It will be amazing to see this man who is fresh in the Gospel receive the priesthood and baptize his brother. The Spirit of that occasional will be undeniable.

We've given a lot of service this past week. We helped a man move to a 2nd floor apartment on Saturday when it was over 118 degrees (still in shirt and tie and suit pants). We had to go back to the apartment to change our clothes before our next appointment, which was helping a woman reorganize her apartment (she has a hoarding issue and also has low mobility). I feel like we were able to give her a lot of help and comfort before she goes in for surgery. Not only were we able to render a lot of temporal service, but we gave a lot of spiritual service. In 2 days, we participated in 4 Priesthood Blessings; 3 of these blessings I was asked to personally administer.

We've been working closely with leadership of our wards to help the work be more effective in quality and quantity. We plan on teaching a combined Sunday School or third hour class on how members can effectively do their own missionary work and share the Gospel. I'm really looking forward to seeing the effects of this.

We had exchanges this week so for 2 of the days, I was left here and my companion swapped places with another missionary in our district. That meant that I was in charge of our area 2 days this week because the other missionary has never been there. I did quite well if I do say so myself. We were able to get a lot of work done and I didn’t get too lost. 

Best story of exchanges though: We were going to eat dinner with the Clines family and so I flipped through our directories to find their address. Dinner time came around and we went to the address. Knocked on the door and they said, "Come in!" We walked in, and they said, "Oh, we're not interested." The problem was that in my mind, this was the family that was going to be feeding us...the look of confusion on my face had no hope of being ignored. I awkwardly stammer over my words asking if this was the Clines' home to which they gave the affirmative and promptly said once again, "We want nothing to do with the church." Again I stood in a silent state of disbelief before asking if they had any relatives in the area to which they said they didn't. Then, they sternly asked for us to depart, and we complied. We called the number we had for the family and got the real address (which was on the other side of our area). By this point we are 30 minutes late for dinner and thoroughly embarrassed. Regardless, it made a great story during dinner at the real location.

Things are moving forward and as missionaries we are all excited for the things that lie ahead. I miss you all but I wouldn't miss this opportunity for the world. Take care and know you're in my prayers.
Much Love,

Elder Kirk