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, December 30, 2013

Arizona Week 29 - Christmas

Hey everyone,

I hope you all had a good Christmas. Mine went well. I am now completely overrun by a variety of junk food and sweets; my soul is happy but my body opposes.

Things are going very well though. It was a good Holiday but it will be nice to have everyone back in town and to resume our routine of teaching. We did have opportunities to teach, of course, and we were able to find opportunities to give service throughout the week. In fact, on Saturday, we helped out an elderly couple with some branches that they had cut from a tree that was to be removed from their yard. We helped break up the sticks and put them in the bins. We were able to have a good conversation with them, and we received the payment of cookies and milk. We also set a time for us to return and remove the stump from the yard also. I have a good feeling about the future of our relationship with this couple. 

We were able to celebrate Christmas with the other missionaries we serve with. We had a Secret Santa gift exchange where the rule was that it had to be a homemade gift. The Elder I was to make a gift for played baseball in high school. I found an old piƱata stick in the apartment and carved it into a small baseball bat. He loved it, and I had a great time making it. The gift I received was not homemade, but I still liked it. It was a box of Aloha chocolate covered macadamia nut clusters. 

Yesterday, during church, Sister Casas (the woman that we recently baptized) received a calling to work in the primary. We're very excited for her.

We have some neat things coming up:

On New Year’s Day, we will have an activity with the missionaries in our zone and three other zones. We also recently learned that we will be able to take people to the Gilbert Temple Open House. But the really exciting one happens in January. Three missions will be together for a special meeting with Elder Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. We are looking forward to that opportunity with a lot of anticipation.

I hope you all have a great new year. Love you all.

Elder Kirk

Monday, December 23, 2013

Arizona Week 28 - 170 Ties


I hope everyone is getting ready for Christmas and really enjoying this time of year. I also hope you all stay warm, I know I am. It's been an alright week. Many people are beginning their vacations with families and aren't home when we come knocking. However, when we do meet with people around this time it's a very nice experience. 

I see Christmas a little differently this year. I've been noticing many people that don't have much going on for Christmas or they have nowhere to go. I'm very pleased with my ward members that are reaching out to have other people join them for Christmas and doing other little kindnesses that are much appreciated. I would encourage you to seek for people that could use a family during Christmas. Ask the Missionaries if anyone they teach needs a place to go for Christmas Eve and day. 

We met a man this week that lived next to missionaries in the past. He talked about how he'd always like chatting with them and how they had helped him with things. He then had something click in his mind. He said, "You boys want some ties?" we paused for a moment, and he said, "Of course you do! You're missionaries!" He escaped into his apartment and returned with 2 BOXES. He emptied the boxes into 2 garbage bags that were then completely filled. He insisted that we take them all.  He told us that we could share them with other missionaries. We went to the church and counted them up. 170 ties total. We selected the ones that we definitely wanted and later literally  threw the rest of the ties to a group of Elders that tore through them like lions. What a great Christmas!

As for the rest of the week, it was fairly ordinary. We've been enjoying the difference of feeling around town as more people seem kinder and more generous toward others. 

I hope you all can feel it too; Merry Christmas to each of you. Have a great week.

Elder Kirk

Monday, December 16, 2013

Arizona Week 27 - It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas?

Hey everyone,

It's been another great week here in sunny Arizona! Hard to believe that Christmas is coming when its 60-70 degrees outside and there are no clouds in the sky. For some reason I don't think that I will be having a "White Christmas". Nevertheless, there is definitely the Christmas spirit in the air here. We have met many people that are nicer than you'd expect them to be. I do have, however, some stories about very unchristmasy happenings.

A few days ago, we went to visit a man that is not very active in the Church. He has some mental struggles and a smoking addiction. As soon as we walked in, I could tell he was a little off. A few minutes in, and he admitted to doing "something wrong." He told us that he was pretty high. Apparently he had given food stamps to a friend and the friend repaid him with "spice." He told us that he had smoked some a few minutes prior, and he did not like what it was doing to him. He made the decision to get rid of the rest of it. He pulled out the containers (2 of them, they were clear plastic cylinders with a black plastic twist on lid, much like something that would hold make-up) that had this herbal looking drug in them. He asked us to dispose of them. There was no way we were going to touch it! We said, "We think it would be best if you got rid of them. Just open them and flush the stuff down the toilet." He agreed and then asked if we could read Doctrine and Covenants 89 with him (he wasn't aware that it was the doctrine discussing the Word of Wisdom (which is a kind of health code that we follow) so that was kind of neat). After we left him, we started to exit the complex when we heard a woman yell HEY to us. We went back to see what she needed. When referring to the man that did the “spice,” we could defiantly say that it was a depressant...this woman was on something else. She spoke sooooo fast. The bits and pieces I caught were about "walking with Satan" how he's in her apartment every day, "the Holy Spirit in the Church helps with all" "the Church is true" "it talks about Ezra Taft Benson in the Bible" and she said she knew we were busy and bid us farewell. None of it made sense; then she was gone as quickly as she appeared. 

We have been able to get hold of a Christmas tree that we placed in our apartment. It's pretty basic but we really like it. 

We also acquired a scorpion. It came from one of the members who lived on the reservation. It was dead, but we had it for a bit.

One of the Zone Leaders went on exchanges with me, and we worked in his area with his other companion (2 Zone Leaders with 1 other missionary = their companionship so I just swapped with one of the Zone Leaders). They serve on the Indian reservation here. A lot of crazy things happened but the biggest one was in the evening. A member was performing the "hoop dance" at the casino, and we were invited to go watch it. The hoop dance is done with hula hoop type rings that they place together and intertwine on their bodies to make the shapes of various animals such as the turtle, eagle, etc. So we drove to the casino. We went inside and experienced an overwhelming smell of cigarette smoke. We asked the first person we found that works there where the hoop dance was so that we wouldn’t just wander about. They weren't aware that it was happening but they said to check the "showroom." We searched for it for a minute and had to ask another worker, "Where's the showroom?" With a confused look on their faces the pointed us in the direction we had asked to go. It turns out that there was a "Christmas" show happening in there. I place that in parenthesis for reasons I'm sure can be figured out. We then learned that there are, in fact, two casinos on the reservation...we ran from there like we were fleeing from Sodom. We quickly drove to the other casino and the cycle restarted. We asked for the showroom in this casino and received the same turning of heads and confused looks. Then, we learned that the show we were looking for was just outside the casino, and we could have found a way to get there without going through the actual casino at all. We showed up just in time and saw the hoop dance. It was really neat to watch. Apparently, some of the performers were in a music video for Nelly Furtado. The fastest way back to the car afterwards was...through the casino. We again waded through this land of sin and busted out the other end as if to be fleeing from Gomorrah. We were still in awe that this had all happened but at least we got to see the hoop dance. 

Those are my exciting experiences for the week. It's been a good one. I hope you all are having a good holiday season so far. May God bless you all.

Elder Kirk

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Christmas Card

Elder Kirk sent us a Christmas card. 

He and his companion had previously gone to a ward 50's style Halloween party where they put on these hats and called it, "good." 

Then, they decided that their pictures would make an awesome Christmas card. I agree!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Arizona Week 26 - Fire Revisited

Hey Everyone,

It's been an alright week; fairly ordinary. It's been cold. One day, it was in the 80s and 90s then the next it was in the 30s and 40s...and it's been the same ever since. Pretty cold for a bike but it makes people feel more inclined to inviting us into their homes. 

Three interesting things happened this week. The first was when we came home one evening. At the top of the stairs, we found two little kittens. We pet them for a minute then went to the apartment. When we opened the door, they both bolted inside. We let them roam around the apartment for a while until one of them left a little present on the broom...that got them a ticket back to the outside, but they hung out around the door for a few more hours before heading off.

The next thing was our trip to the Visitors Center at the Mesa Temple. They started a tour for missionaries to learn about all the different things we can use there. The cool part was what we rode in: a limo. One of the members of the Church in our Stake has a limo and drove us all down there in it. So that was pretty cool.

The last one was the Christmas party for our ward. It was a 1950's themed party so we just added era style hats to our wardrobe and it totally worked. We got a lot of compliments and pictures taken of us by people there. 

Earlier in the day, (here's where the fire comes in) we were up where the food was to be cooked (they had steaks for the party). In our ward is a young man from Russia that was adopted when he was young and he's about 15 now. He was driving a homemade go kart (I'm not sure who it belonged to). He did power-slide in front of the house we were stopped at. We all thought it was pretty cool. So, he took off going down the street, and we heard a pretty loud crash. Turns out he had tried the same thing but this time he flipped the kart. We soon realized that the motor was on fire. The flames continued to rise and spread onto the pavement from where the fuel had spilled. Fortunately it did not explode as many thought it would. Unfortunately, I did not have my camera with me so I do not have a picture of it. 

So yeah, pretty ordinary week. Hope you all are having a good holiday season. Love and miss you all.

Elder Kirk

Monday, December 2, 2013

Arizona Week 25 - Organization

Hey everyone,

I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving. I know that I enjoyed mine, all three of them. Apparently, everyone wants to feed missionaries on holidays. So we went to one at 12:00, one at 3:00, and one at 6:00. I don't advise doing this if you have other options. It was a dizzy bike ride home.

With the added generosity of the holidays, we have obtained a great deal of furniture. Most were things that people were ready to completely throw away but hey, a couch is a couch. So, the Spanish speaking Elders that we live with got a leather couch and seat and a fabric seat from someone’s front yard on the reservation. (We Lysol’d, bleached, and permethrin'd all of them to be entirely sure that they would not bring any infestations into the apartment). Then we got a 6' x 6' L-shaped IKEA desk and a bunch of office chairs. In the excitement of getting all these things, we didn't think about how they would all fit in the apartment...we have had idea after idea and diagrams drawn, measurements taken, feelings hurt, and tears shed. OK, so that is a bit of an exaggeration but it isn't too far from the truth; it's been a struggle. Hopefully next week I'll be able to tell you that it all got worked out but for now we have an upside-down couch in the middle of the room, and we aren't sure how to get it to where we want it.

Other than that I've had a great week. We went to the lighting ceremony for the family that we helped with the Christmas lights. It was a big celebration with a lot of people. Inside the house was just as spectacular as the outside. They have, in total, 41 Christmas trees of various sizes and styles. They like Christmas I guess. It's been fun though. I hope you all have a great week.

Elder Kirk