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, September 30, 2013

Arizona Week 16 - The Right Place

Hello Everyone,

It's been an interesting week. We had a Zone Conference and the Mission President and his wife revealed the exciting news they learned at the seminar in Texas. 

Remember, they were at a Mission President Seminar in San Antonio, Texas with all the Mission Presidents in the Southwest Region and their wives along with some General and Local Authorities of the Church including Elder Anderson and Elder Callister. They learned many things and heard some exciting news. They returned on Sunday. Elder Clark and I went to the Office on Tuesday to work on the blog and the training videos. They were very excited but said they couldn't tell us why for another hour. During that hour, they called all the zone leaders to tell them the news. After which, Sister Sweeney came in to tell us all of it. So there are 50 missions in the United Sates selected to be a part of the FIRST wave of iPad missions. 10 of those 50 are in the Southwest. 1 of those 10 is the Arizona Scottsdale Mission. They will be fazing them in, and we will have them by no later than February. There were a few other things but that was the really exciting one.

There is a woman that has been learning about the church for over a year, and she is very close now to being baptized. She has made huge progress this week and has been reading a lot in the Book of Mormon. Previously, she would use the Index to find a verse of two that talked about how she was feeling or what she thought she needed. She is now reading entire chapters and even multiple chapters on her own. She has gained a testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, and she knows that Joseph Smith is a Prophet. It's very exciting to see her get to the point she is at now. We even invited her to share the Book of Mormon and her testimony of it with her mom. After many attempts (we had only expected her to try once or twice) she has now decided to get her grandmother involved in the church so that the two of them can work together to share it with her mom. It's amazing to see the faith that she has and the desire that she shows in sharing this with others that she cares about. I suspect that she will make the decision to be baptized in the coming month.

So on Thursday, the family that was having us over for dinner wasn't able to so they dropped food off for us at the apartment. While we ate we heard a noise that we couldn't identify. We quieted down and listen more closely. It was a woman's screams. I walked over to look out the window and Elder Clark looked through the peephole. I couldn't see anything in the courtyard so I figured it must be next door. All of a sudden, Elder Clark saw quick movement towards the door followed instantly by loud pounding. It startled us so bad that I fell off the bed I was on and he ran into the next room. I finally gathered my senses and looked through the peephole to see our neighbor and what I assumed to be her boyfriend that she lives with arguing on the door step, and he shoved her back and slammed the door. We stepped out to see if we could help, but she was so much in shock that there was no hope of getting any information from her. The door to her apartment opened again, and she walked in so we went back into ours. We felt that we should not yet leave. This was about 7:00 PM now. We then began to alternate looking through the peephole and listening in at the shared wall for the following 45 minutes. We could hear argument and yelling for a while but most of that time was filled with silence and no visible activity outside of the apartment. At last the door reopened and she emerged with a garbage bag, a backpack, and a duffel bag. We waited a minute and went out to find her sitting on the stairs (she said she sat there waiting for us because she knew that we were men of God that could help her). She expressed the need for a place to stay and immediately we thought of one of the people we teach. This man is so generous and serves others every day. We knew that he would sympathize with her situation and that he would be able to assist her. We called him, and he of course, wanted to help. The three of us walked out to the front of the complex to wait. We tried to figure out how we could get all of us over to the man's house (he's married and has 3 kids, by the way). It was now a little after 8PM. We waited a long time for him to come get us (not remembering that he didn't have a license, and he didn't mention that until way later). When he did finally mention that he couldn't drive, we called another set of missionaries to see if they knew of a member of the church nearby that could drive us to the man's home. This was at 9:20PM. We finally made it up to his house, and he agreed to shelter her for the night and to get her to the airport or bus stop in the morning. So we travelled back home and prepared for bed. It was now 10:20PM. The next day, we went by the home to see if everything went ok. They said that everything went fine and that a friend had come and picked her up and taken her down to Tempe. She plans and heading back to live with her parents in Northern California. It is such a blessing to be used by the Lord to help another person in need. Although we were exhausted from all the effort and prayers we had put in, we felt very good about what we had done for this young woman.

I know that our Heavenly Father is aware of each of us and knows how to help us. I invite each of you to look at you life and try to recognize the many times that the Lord helps you and blesses you. I love you all and I'll talk to you again next week.

Elder Kirk

Monday, September 23, 2013

Arizona Week 15 - Fort

Hello Everyone,
It was a good week. I don't remember everything that happened but it was good. 

Elder Clark and I have continued doing work for the Mission President including a training video and being sort of administrators of the blog. We recently redesigned the layout a bit if you haven't seen it; I'd go check it out. 

President and Sister Sweeney went to a conference or seminar of sorts in Texas with the other Mission Presidents in the Southwest to receive instruction and counsel from Elder Anderson. Many of them commented on our mission's blog and were very impressed to hear that 2 Elders in the mission were running it (I'm one of those if you didn't know). Many of them have decided to start their own blog. They learned of things that will be coming to our mission and new ways to share the gospel being implemented. We went to the office to work, and they were obviously very excited about what they were told. But, they said, they couldn't tell us for another hour (they had to tell the zone leaders first). But right after they told them, Sister Sweeney came to the mission home and told all haha. Unfortunately, our zone leaders have not made it known to everyone just yet so I still have to keep it a secret since I'm technically not supposed to know. But I will reveal it next week.
I've had some good fun this week. I showed Elder Harris a trick where I made a quarter disappear. He kind of freaked out and wouldn't relax until he found it, so we starting messing with him a little to see where we could get him to check (one of which being the room on the opposite end of the apartment. He finally figured it out when he felt my tie and found the quarter inside but Elder Clark recorded it with my camera so it's documented.

On Friday morning, an Elder came up from the office to deliver a dresser that we asked for. We spent quite a bit of time figuring out where to put it. We finally rearranged the beds a bit by rotating Elder Clark's and putting it against the wall. The dresser was placed at the foot of his bed with the drawers facing him if he were lying on the bed (so we can't use the bottom three drawers (they're broken anyway)). 

This caused the head half of my bed to be enclosed on three sides by 2 walls and the back of the dresser. 
After a comment by Elder Clark that I was closed off the idea came to use that extra blanket we have to build a fort around my bed. 

Missionaries can have fun too.

The Spanish missionaries contacted me the other day to inform me that I am to speak about the Holy Ghost at one of their baptisms. The woman being baptized asked for me by name (in a way). I have only met her once but, due to my glasses, she thought I looked like Clark Kent. So, forever more she refers to me as "Superman". And, when asked who she would like to speak on the Holy Ghost, she replied, "I want Superman to do it." And here we are. They have now told me that the service will, of course, be in Spanish. This woman does understand English but I have yet to decide which language I will speak.
A woman that we are teaching is nearing baptism. Previously, she would almost cringe at the word because previous missionaries would push it so much. She is now able to not only say the word "baptism" but knows that she needs to do it. We're helping her to understand more about what it will require and that it is not meant to destroy her English heritage (she holds to tea for the culture aspect we think). Also, the woman with the fear of churches, went to an activity at the church and walked around with a Sister in the ward that she has grown close to. So, a lot of exciting things are happening here, and we anticipate that it will continue.
I love you all and I pray that all is well in your lives. Take care.
Elder Kirk

Monday, September 9, 2013

Arizona Week 14 - The Price of a Soul

Hello Everyone,

It's been an exciting week. We have been continuing work on our ASL video. We need to get original music so that we have no risk of lawsuit if we ever post it online. So we've been asking around for pianists. The name of a member in our stake came up, so we gave him a call. He was happy to help us, and we set an appointment to come to his house. We received a call the night before from one of the Spanish Elders saying that he needed to get his bike fixed at the shop. Fortunate for him, the shop was on the way to this man's house.

So the next morning, we got to the shop, and they started looking at the bike while we browsed the shop. The bike guy comes over and starts talking about how they really need to train us about basic bike maintenance and repair before they send us into the field. "You guys destroy bikes!" was his forceful statement. And it was met by hysterical laughter from all of us (except the one with the broken bike). This poor Elder is a regular at this shop. He has been in there for more repairs than, I would say, the rest of us combined. The guy began to explain that the front derailleur is demolished. Upon discovering that he couldn't even describe it well enough, he decided to show this missionary. He took the missionary behind the counter to another bike that they were tinkering with to show him "what the front derailleur is supposed to look like". He then stated, "Let’s go look at yours. This piece should be on the other side of the chain. I don't even know how it could have gotten to be like this...this is all supposed to be one piece of metal. Yours is two..." The whole while this is happening, the other three of us are dying of laughter. Especially because the guy pointed out that the missionary had only had this bike for a month.

Anyway, we continued on to the man's house, excuse me, mansion. What the man had that told us about his piano skills completely undersold him. This man was beyond fantastic. He was able to do exactly what we had imagined from the begging of planning this video (and with these types of things; that never happens). Even better, he called on friend of his that has a recording studio (we learned later that this place normally costs around $42,000. to rent for an hour). Anyway, he tells the friend that he has a bunch of young missionaries from the Church that need some help recording. In his words, "You can either join the Mormon Church by letting these boys baptize you, or you can let us use your studio." So we will get to use his studio but we'll work towards the other option as well. We may even be blessed to have a violinist that studied at Julliard and performed with the New York Philharmonic. She's a member in a different stake. Oh, and did I mention that her violin is over 400 years old? I feel like the video itself is going to pale in comparison to the music within it but we are so excited.

One of the coolest things that happened this week was on Saturday. We didn't have anyone signed up to feed us, so we called one of the families that said they wouldn't mind having us over on short notice. But he was out of town and she was sick. We didn't; however, feel the urge to call anyone else. So dinner time came, and we drove around looking for a place to eat. We found "The Pizza Buffet and much, much more". The name of the establishment alone would have turned me away in a different situation, but we felt like we should eat here. We went inside and paid for the buffet (which came out to about $8 each) and started to look for a place to sit. My companion felt like we needed to sit all the way at the back kind of close to the arcade so we did. The food was bad; really bad but while we were eating, Elder Clark looked back into the kitchen area that was only visible from where we were sitting. He saw some cabinets and there was just a little space between the tops and the ceiling. In that little space, he could see a picture frame that contained a portrait of Jesus, the same one that we give out to people. This sparked our interest and we began to see why we needed to be sitting where we were. Before leaving, we asked the manager about the picture. She replied that it had been there since they first opened 8 years ago. We explained to her that it was the picture that we receive from the church to give to people. Then everything clicked together. She remembered that her grandmother had 2 missionaries come and bless the restaurant before they opened and that they had given the picture to them. We asked if she would like to know more about the church and she expressed that she knew very little and was willing to learn about it. So, we spent a total of $16 for food that was not kind to me later that night but It was very much worth it to me to be able to find this young woman who is seeking the truth. As it is said in the scriptures, "the worth of souls is great..."

I can tell you that we, as missionaries, are guided daily to find those who want to know more. I can also tell you that you can receive the same experience if you ask for it and as you look for opportunities to share what you know to be true.

I love you all and I miss you dearly. May God bless each of you.
Elder Kirk

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Arizona Week 13 - Hospital

Hey everyone,

We had another transfer this week (why I'm emailing on a Wednesday) but I'll get back to that later. This past week went pretty well. It feels like it was very busy as we had a deadline for our ASL video. We worked hard on it and it paid off. We were able to present it yesterday at the transfer meeting and received many good comments. As it turns out, I narrated the whole thing, but we modified my voice for the first one so that I would sound like the guy on the TV commercials. 

I would say that this week’s temporal highlight was at the hospital. We were playing sports on Monday morning and one of the Elders collided with another Elder's...finger. The injured elder was holding his hand close to his person cradled in his other hand. When he removed the cover of the uninjured hand, we were able to see the injured hand. We could see that his right ring finger was leaving his hand at an odd angle that placed it behind the pinky finger. Realizing that this isn't how it should normally be, we decided that he should go to the hospital. Being the driver of the only car we have, that responsibility fell on me. What a blessing. This Elder is one of my closest friends on the mission and gosh dang it we had a good time! During the two hours that we were there, there was very little time that I wasn't laughing. I have no doubt that everyone in the ER who interacted with us had their morning made (and quite honestly they really needed it because it was early). This Elder now has a cast, a sling, and has been referred to a hand surgeon. He has also been transferred. And this makes me sad. But we got to keep his mini fridge so it makes it a little better. He and I have grown very close over the past few months, but I know that he will enjoy the new area that he has been sent to.

Another good highlight is the baptism that I attended on Saturday. One of the Spanish Sisters asked if I would sing with her at the baptism. I agreed because I had sung with her at a previous baptism. Saturday came, and we met at the church building to practice. I was surprised to hear her say, "I can't find a Spanish Hymn book." I was in shock and immediately assured her that I did, in fact, NOT speak Spanish. Her reply was, "I have faith in you." So after much trial and error, I sang "Yo Se que Vive Mi Senor" at the baptism. Which, being interpreted, is “I Know that My Redeemer Lives". People assured me afterward that I did sing real Spanish words which was good enough for me. I learned later that one of the members of the Spanish branch bore their testimony about how they had never paid attention to the words of that song until we had sung it at the baptism. It always amazes be how the spirit can cross language barriers with ease, and I was so grateful for the opportunity that I had to participate in the baptism.

So transfers. I have not been transferred. I am remaining exactly where I am with the exception of being a part of a newly formed district which I am finding to be a huge blessing in my life. My companion and I will continue to work on projects assigned by the mission president. We're both excited for the things that we are getting to do. 

As for the spiritual highlight, it would be our lesson with the Chester Family. We have been meeting with them for a while with the intention of strengthening their family and getting them more active in the church. They've been struggling much. However, this time when we visited with them, it was different. The room felt different. They looked different. They sounded different. My companion and I both felt it. They were happy and so were we. We all smiled and spoke freely together. To think that we have had this much influence on this family brings a peace to my heart and motivates me to continue. I'm so happy for the changes that this family is making and how their faith is being strengthened. 

I pray for you all, and I pray that my words may be inspiring to you. I pray that you too can feel the joys of the gospel as I feel it. I love you all and miss you dearly. 

Elder Kirk