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, October 28, 2013

Arizona Week 20 - Fire

Hey there everyone,

It's been a really good week. We had a mission tour where a General Authority of the Church came to instruct us. We were blessed to have Elder Teh visit us and it was an amazing experience. Everyone was able to receive revelation during the meetings and it was great to feel the spirit that was there. Afterward, he interviewed a few missionaries (I don't know if it was random or if they were selected for him or if he decided who we wanted to talk to), but I was the first one. It's a little nerve racking to speak one on one with a General Authority but he is such an inspired man and I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to meet him.

The other day, Elder Davis made eggs in the morning and it kind of got all over the place (the pan was too small for the amount of eggs he was cooking). So later I was cooking some rice, and we to the fridge to get something when Elder Watson said calmly, "Elder, there's a fire." I turn about to see flames encircling the pot I was using and reaching about 8 inches over the top of the pot. "Oh." I say equally calm as I reach to move the pot away from the burner, "How about you get that rag wet." And as Elder Watson soaked the rag, I blew out the fire. It turns out that some cooking oil had spilled under the burner. We decided later that we should have reacted more violently and awakened the other Elders to get them to flee from the apartment but, oh well.

So, Elder Watson wanted some ranch for his pizza one afternoon and searched the fridge diligently but found none. We referenced back to a previous joke that said if he had enough faith he could command the mayonnaise to be ranch. He replied that his faith wasn't that strong. So, Elder Van Meeteren walked over and, looked straight at us said, "I have faith!" He then reached into the refrigerator still looking directly at us, and pulled out a bottle of ranch dressing. We of course all freaked out and were astonished at the "miracle." It was one of the funniest things ever.

The neatest experience I had this week was at a care facility for the mentally impaired (mostly memory). This facility is within our ward boundaries. We were asked to assist in the Sacrament meeting held there on Sunday. It was a wonderful experience. There were not very many people but they, even with their health difficulties, could recognize the spirit and wanted to feel it whenever they could. It was wonderful to see their dedication and desire to take the Sacrament each week. Elder Watson and I blessed and passed the Sacrament and spoke in the meeting. I feel that I have a stronger appreciation for the blessings I have, but I feel blessed to have been able to help the wonderful brothers and sisters at the facility renew their covenants. I hope that I get to visit there again.

I can tell you all that I am doing better than ever before and I know that I have grown much in the past week. I'm so grateful for your prayers and I pray for you all as well. I hope that all is well.

Elder Kirk

Monday, October 21, 2013

Arizona Week 19 - Poor in Heart

Hey everyone,

Little bit of a crazy week. My companion and I came in knowing nothing about the area (white-washing) and so we had to learn quickly. We've met a lot of people in the area, and we LOVE the ward. They are great people and very close knit (probably because most can see 3-4 other member's houses from their front doors). They are very excited to have a set of missionaries assigned only to their ward. We have a woman that has decided to be baptized in November, so we will be preparing her for that. Her husband is nearing the decision to be baptized as well, so we're very excited for them. 

A bit of a change of pace for me training a new missionary and being a new District Leader, but I'm adjusting. My new companion is doing really good and learning a lot. I'm getting to know my District a little better and seeing their strengths. I had a District Leader Orientation with the other new District Leader and the Zone Leaders. They are awesome, and I'm so excited to work with them. 

You may remember me telling stories of the other District Leader, Elder Van Meeteren. He is the missionary that I took to the hospital for the broken hand. Also, he was one of the Spanish missionaries that we helped with putting that washing machine on top of the truck a while back. I'm so excited to be working with him. 

I can't think of any funny stories from this week, but I got to speak for a few minutes in church yesterday, and I'd like to share with you what I shared with them. We were asked to speak on faith and to base our talks around Alma, chapter 32 in the Book of Mormon. In this chapter, Alma is teaching a group of people when a second group approaches him. This second group is comprised of humble people in poverty that have been cast out from the synagogue because of their poverty. He begins to teach them about how to exercise and develop strong faith. I decided to focus more on the way the people were described. A few times, the chapter referenced them as they "whom were poor in heart". Things struck me and I started to explore what it is to be poor in heart (or poor in spirit as the footnote suggests). I decided that it was a feeling a hopelessness. They didn't feel like they had worth or that they could be accepted by man or by God. Later in the chapter, faith is described as a "hope for things which are not seen, which are true." So, if one does not have hope, they do not have faith (or at least not strong faith). There is a definite connection between the two. I also discovered in the Bible Dictionary that an effect of true faith is "an actual knowledge that the course of life one is pursuing is acceptable to the Lord". These people, lacking in hope and therefore lacking in faith did not have the knowledge that God accepts them or what they do. I feel that we sometimes experience moments of being poor in heart or poor in spirit. In these times, we need to hold to our faith and do what we can to strengthen it. The rest of Alma chapter 32 explains how to do this. If you fear that the way you are currently living your life is not acceptable to the Lord, I would invite you to take the time to strengthen your faith in Jesus Christ so that you can gain this knowledge and a hope for the future. I love you all and I pray for your safety and well being.

Elder Kirk

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Arizona Week 18 - The Phone Call

Hello everyone,

This week was transfer week. But I would like to start with a phone call that I received on this past Saturday:

I answered the phone, "Hello this is Elder Kirk"
"Elder Kirk. This is President Sweeney. How are you?"
"I'm doing just fine, President."
"Well I'm about to change that" and after some silence.. "for the better I'm hoping"
Some relief...
President, says to me, "We're going to transfer you to the Papago Zone, and we have a new companion for you. He will be arriving from the MTC on Monday, and you will be responsible for training him. Also, we are going to ask that you serve as a District Leader there. Would you be alright with doing these things?"
A little in shock but trusting the inspiration President Sweeney receives I replied with a yes. 

Interestingly, I am replacing a District Leader here, and he will still be in my District. President Sweeney explained that they do not do that very often but that is what needs to happen. He said he wasn't even sure the purposes behind this transfer, but he feels very strongly that this is the will of the Lord. He anticipates that this will begin to make sense in the long run. 

Regardless, I am now serving in the Mesa 20th Ward with my new companion, Elder Watson, who is now in his second day in the mission field. Elder Watson is from North Carolina and is fresh out of high school ready to take on the world. I have to keep explaining that we don't do door-to-door "tracting" anymore. He is just so excited to be a missionary that he wants to knock on every door to tell them that the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Priesthood of God have been restored. I can tell that we are going to have a great time working together.

The transfer meeting went well. We were able to show another video that we had made and people really enjoyed it. It is hoped that Elder Clark and I will continue working on these things but it seems like it won't be nearly as much as before. No matter, I had a great time doing all of those extra things, but I am grateful to be able to focus myself on teaching people about the church. 

We walked the ward boundaries last night. Yes, I said "walked." From one end to the other, it takes about 25 minutes on foot. It's a very small ward but there are around 300 members of the church in the few square mile area of the ward. We met a few of the members last night, and they are wonderful people. 

It was difficult to say goodbye to the many people that I grew close to, but I know that the Lord has need of me in this new place. I am looking forward to the things that I will do here and the growth that I will have. I love you all and I hope the best for you.

Elder Kirk

PS congratulations to Megan and Sophia on your mission calls. I know that you will be wonderful missionaries and that you will love the work you will do. Best of luck to you both.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Arizona Week 17 - Just Stopping By

Hey everyone,

This week has been a little crazy. We received a text from the Mission President and then from his wife asking, "Will there be a video to show at the Transfer meeting?" which, being interpreted is, "I hope you have a video ready for the transfer meeting because we expect one to be shown." So, we've been scrambling to put together some things that we've been working on. This week, will be even crazier because we have until Saturday. But we'll get something together in time, I'm sure.

Tomorrow we will be going to a recording studio to get the music done for our ASL video. Once we get that done, we will be able to post it on the blog so that you all can see it.

The coolest thing that happened this week was a few nights ago. We had written down in our plans to stop by the house of a family in the Ward. We weren't sure why we were going to stop by because it's a good family, and they are doing well. So, we stop by and it turns out they were having dinner with some company: a man and his wife and son. We were invited in to visit for a while. The man that was visiting stood up, walked over, and with a big smile gave a firm handshake to us and boldly proclaimed to both, "Hi, I'm Jim. I'm a Catholic, and I'm proud of it." At that moment I knew that it would be a fun night. We spent the next bit of time eating and answering many questions about missionaries and missionary work. The conversation took a turn to more doctrinal matters and it was at that point the members answered most of the questions and bore their testimonies of the church and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was amazing to see that this conversation continued for a half hour or more. Feelings weren't hurt, no one was offended, and no one was rude or pushy. It was a pleasant Gospel conversation between friends that we just happened to be there for to unintentionally start. The visitors left at the end of the night and the members were very grateful that we just happened to show up.

I would encourage you all to seek for opportunities to speak about the gospel with others; especially speak with your friends. They trust you and if it is done with love and kindness they will not be offended.

I pray for you all. I hope that all is well.

Elder Kirk