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, April 28, 2014

Arizona Week 46 - Of Grills, Cookies, and 15 Pound Livers

Hey everyone,

Boy it has been a busy week! So much has happened and there is so much work in our area (almost too much). As we focus our attention to help this set of people move forward and get the teachings they need; then this other group of people slip back, so we have to go work with them, and then the first group of people don't get the attention that they need and deserve. It's too much for just 2 missionaries to handle effectively. I’m really hoping that they split our area so that we are able to focus better on the people we serve.

So, the man that we live with told us that he had purchased a new grill online a month or so ago. The grill required some assembly and the man got part way through and then gave up because building really isn't his thing. He's a photographer and that's what he does well. As it turns out, he found someone that was selling a really nice used grill in the neighborhood for much less than what the other one cost, so he got it. While he was telling us this story, he said, "If you can put that other one together then you can have it." So, guess who put it together during lunch hour…ME. So, now we have a grill, and we're really excited to use it because cooking burgers and chicken on a frying pan just does the meat no favors.

Another grill story, there is another man in the ward that said he had a grill that he would give away if we found someone that needed one. Well we did. So, we took him up on his offer and loaded his old grill into our truck and took it to our home so that we could give it to this family later today. So now we have 2 grills in our garage. How about that?

That brings me to the cookies. A lady up here is in charge of ALL the Girl Scout cookies for Springerville all the way to Snowflake (basically the whole White Mountains). Well, the troops that she supplied didn't sell very well this year, and they gave ALL the left over cookies back to her (they aren't supposed to do that). Well, her garage was full of Girl Scout cookies and her porch was stacked high with them too. She finally got so tired of trying to sell them that she decided to donate them to the Love Kitchen. So, one clear morning, we headed over there, loaded up over a hundred CASES, not boxes of cookies (a case has 12 boxes of cookies in each) into our truck and went to drop them off at the Love Kitchen. Unfortunately, they didn't have enough volunteers that day and were still expecting deliveries from WalMart, Safeway, and the Food Bank. So, we stayed to help out. They were very grateful. At the end of the day, they had more food than they could store so anyone and everyone could take whatever, especially the cookies. So we left with 3 loaves of bread, an apple pie, three boxes of donuts, some other various things and 10 cases of Girl Scout cookies. Yes that means 120 individual boxes of cookies. We're planning on sharing so don't worry about me eating them all.

Now, we must go back to the man that gave us the grill that was meant for the other family that we know. He offered us some meat as well. So, he gave us a couple elk steaks, and we were about to leave when he asked if we knew anyone that liked liver…well, we did know of someone. So, he ran to grab this 15 pound elk liver that he kept in a trash bag. We took the liver to a family that we know likes liver (There was no room in our freezer to hold onto it). They received it with much rejoicing.

And that's been our week. A little unusual but that's Pinetop for you.

Elder Kirk

Monday, April 21, 2014

Arizona Week 45 - Dogs

Hey everyone,

It's been a bit of a slow week. They say that holidays are a good time for visiting people because they are together as families and at home. In reality, it's very different than that. Most people are out of town not just on the holiday but several days before and after. And if they are home, they don't really want missionaries around. We understand though. Easter was good. We had stake conference and it was a wonderful meeting. We have a very strong stake presidency and it is wonderful to work with them. 

So, there are many dogs here. I now know many of them, and they know me. This makes for some interesting dynamics. One dog that lives at the home of someone that we have been trying, unsuccessfully, to contact for a while really doesn't like me (or anyone for that matter). I have learned something interesting. It is that the viciousness of a dog is in direct correlation with the thickness of the chain links that hold it. This particular dog has very thick chain links. There is a metal post that the chain is attached to. So, the dog is able to travel in a defined circle around the post. When I say "defined" I really mean it. The dog is so often on the boundaries of that circle that there is actually a well defined line that the dog has made herself. Inside this circle is a dog house where she lays in wait for her prey to approach too closely. When we draw near she is out of the house and to the end of the chain in a time that would make Usain Bolt weep like a child. (Usain Bolt is a Jamaican sprinter who is widely regarded as the fastest person ever – added by Mom.). Well suffice it to say that we want to make this situation more exciting…so, the first one of us to touch the post that her chain is attached to receives a reward. 

There are nice dogs here also. They are few but there are some that will walk around McNary with us. We have begun to name many of them but are starting to run out of names to give. 

We may soon go to a meeting at a Baptist Church in McNary. We invited a family that we teach in that town to come to church with us. The kids kept asking us when we would go to their church. Their mother has told them that since we invited them first that they needed to go to our church first and then we would go to theirs...this deal between the mom and the kids (and us) was made without us saying a thing. We asked our mission president what we should do about this situation. He told us that we could go as long as it didn't interfere with our own church meetings, and we needed to tell the clergy at the church what our purpose was for attending their meeting in the first place. We are determined to find a time when we can attend. And if there be "Amens" and "Hallelujahs" flying through the church, 50 % of those will be from my mouth. If I go there, I am going to GO there! 

Happy Easter everyone. I hope yours was enjoyable.

Elder Kirk 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Arizona Week 44 - Is it Lawful to do Good on the Sabbath?

Hey everyone,

This week has gone well. We used a technique that President Sweeney introduced to the mission called a "Miracle Window". The essence of it is that you plan for an hour or so of time when you covenant with the Lord to be in a certain place and to talk to everyone that you see. 

Well our area is not known for having people gathered in public places. People don't just walk around in Pinetop. We figured that our best bet would be in the neighborhoods of McNary (The town on the reservation that we cover). So, that's what we did, for an hour. We spoke to 5 people. Four of these people agree to hear a brief message, which we shared, and also a time for us to return. It was really neat to see how that worked, especially in our area.

It's yard sale season here. We must have seen 7 or so yard sales on Saturday. We sometimes stop at them to talk to the people there and see if they will hear our message. We stopped at one and starting looking around hoping to speak to the owner...he didn't give us chance to though and his shirt was a little inappropriate. But, we made a good find there. He offered to sell it for $8 but this wasn't my first rodeo, so I talked him down to $5. Here is a picture of me with the item.

Sunday came around and as we were preparing for a morning meeting we received a call asking if we could help a family move that morning around 10:30 or so. We figured, why not? So, we finished getting ready and went to our meeting. We attended the Sacrament meeting of one of our wards then, went home and changed. We helped the family move, went back home and got back into suits, and then went back to church. It is something I felt the Savior would do, and I am almost, almost certain that the prophet has done something similar. 

We were also able to attend a fireside for the youth of two stakes. It was wonderful to hear their testimonies and see their strength. It has been an enjoyable week.

I hope you remember me talking about finding a skull last week. It was a cow skull. Here is a picture of me boiling the skull and a picture of it hanging out to dry.

Until next week,

Love you all,

Elder Kirk

Monday, April 7, 2014

Arizona Week 43 - Ice Cave

Hey everyone,

So we went on our hike last Monday. The scenery was really pretty and we were hoping to see the "ice cave"...yeah, we didn't find it. We learned later that it is actually just a lava tube...and it's fenced off. But we still had a good hike. 

We had a family that came to the stake center to watch conference with us and that was very exciting. We weren't able to catch them afterward to talk to them, but we'll see them tonight or tomorrow and see how they liked it.

Conference was awesome. I really enjoyed all the messages that were shared. I feel that, in essence, many of them were saying that it is time to decide where you stand and if it be on the Lord's side to be there always. It is evident that the time is now to truly decide who we will be.

We volunteered some of our time at "The Love Kitchen". It's a place for the homeless and needy to get a meal prepared for them. We had the privilege of driving to Wal-Mart to pick up the food supply. It was a new experience to be in the warehouse portion of a Wal-Mart. We plan to go and help there again. They are wonderful charitable people, and we believe that there could be one that would accept the restored gospel. 

So, today is arts and crafts day for us. We are going to make tomahawks with a Pima man, then we are going to work on cleaning a skull we found. After that, we're hoping to find some antlers on a hike. Wait, I’m not done, then we're going to make pens with one of the Bishop's. It will be a busy, busy day but it is going to be fun.

I hope you all took the opportunity to view General Conference and to learn from their messages. I also hope that you will take the Prophet's invitation to study the talks again once they are available. I know that great happiness can come as we heed the Prophet's counsel and especially as we study the words of our leaders. I love you all and wish the best for you.

Elder Kirk

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Arizona Week 42 - Family History

Hey everyone,

This week was transfers. My companion and I are both staying here. In fact, most of the Show Low zone is staying. Only 4 people got transferred. Kind of unusual.

The week has been good though. We are still very busy, but we have been able to find time to familiarize ourselves with family history and the family search website. We learned a trick for finding names that are ready for temple ordinances from a man in the ward. In 3 short hours, (total time from different occasions) I have found 120 or so names ready for ordinances. This trick involves following a line back a number of generations, beginning at their tree and following lines down their posterity until one is found that is ready for ordinances in the temple. It's a neat trick and very enjoyable.
 I don't recall many specifics from this week but I did discover that the new banner photo on the missions blog (the one at the very top) is a photo of the sunset that I took on a hike.

We plan to go hiking today so I'll try to take some pictures to send next week. I'll also attach photos from some exploring we did last week.

Several people asked if I was able to finish the large burrito from my last post. We had eaten a late lunch that day and took an early dinner. Under the right circumstances, I could have easily done it, but I saved some for the next day and left the restaurant comfortably full. 

However, let me tell you of another story. When a single sister in the ward brought KFC to Elder Burggraaf and me. It was a standard bucket, 2 large mashed potatoes, and 6 biscuits. Well, I learned that he doesn't like KFC chicken....So attached is me with the bucket that I ate entirely myself that very day in a little less than 45 minutes. So yes, I do believe that with a little effort I could have done the whole burrito.

Love you all,

Elder Kirk