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, June 30, 2014

Arizona Week 55 - The Dancing Drunk

Hey everyone,

There is so much I want to say about my new area and so many stories I want to share, but I just don't have the time to do all of it, so I'll try to hit the highlights. 

One of our first nights in our new area, Elder Gaebler and I were driving to pick up the other Elders on the way home. The night had been well spent and it was time to go back. Well, we saw that they were talking to a guy on the side of the road and it looked like it was going to be pretty funny, so we parked the car and walked over. Pretty much the first thing I noticed was a piece a horse's spine lying on the ground next to him; then came the over powering smell of alcohol. Well, he was an angry drunk but not dangerous (he was barely standing). If you blew at him strongly, he would have tipped over and been done for the rest of the night. Well, he wanted to fight with us and put his "fists" up.

I have to pause here and give location details. We were next to a church (there is no name on the building, so I don't know what denomination the church is but there was a revival going on at the time and the people inside were singing - loud).

Back to our story, so our Tongan District Leader said to him, "Brother, you should dance to this song." And I'll be darned, he totally did! The drunken man then told us that he wanted to go to that church, and he wouldn't go in without us. Well, it was late, and we wanted to go home, so we walked him over there. He gave us each a big hug; he tenderly whispered that he loved us and thanked us, and we went home.

Next story- Since there is so little to do in this town, a lot of people get involved in gangs. The two gangs here are the Bloods and Crips, and they are easy to spot (wearing all red or all blue), so we avoid them. 

One morning we decided to go for a jog. Elder Lomu wore a red hoodie. Elder Gaebler wore a red hoodie AND red gym shorts. Wow, that looks bad. So we're walking, and we see this guy that's eyeing us nervously as he rolls up his sleeves. When he got closer to us, he noticed that most of us in our group were white (Caucasian). With a sigh, the guy said, "Oh, I thought y’all were some (bad word) Bloods! I was sure you were gonna jump me, so I was getting ready to pull out my stuff (knife)." Following this encounter, we've decided to pay more attention to our outfits.

The Branch is very small. We had a white family from Vernon come to speak this Sunday. If they hadn't been there, and if the people we had invited hadn’t come, there would have only been about 20 people.

We're so excited to start working with the Branch Leadership and to strengthen the programs and the members. We love it here! I feel very privileged to be part of fulfilling the prophecy with regard to the gospel coming to the Lamanites. They are wonderful people, and I'm happy to serve with them.

We have a lot of ideas of how to strengthen the branch. Elder Gaebler and I are going to start an institute class and the other Elders intend on focusing a lot on the youth of the branch. There is much work to be done, but I have never seen a more prepared area with more prepared people. We can feel the Lord working through us to get it done.

Here’s a picture of the branch building and our trailer next to it.

The is a picture of my comps elbow. It got cut on a broken porcelain soap holder thing in the shower.

I hope you all are having a great summer. I love you and pray for you and hope that you do the same for me.

Elder Kirk

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Arizona Week 54 - Cibecue

Hello Everyone,

This week we had transfers. After serving 6 months in Pinetop, and maybe getting a little hint from the President's wife, I knew I would be transferred but didn't know where.
Transfers typically go like this: During the day, president will call people to new positions in this order: new zone leaders (or ones going to a new zone with same position), new district leaders, trainers, and that's it, I thought. Well the bulk of the day came and went, and we received no call. No big deal.
And then out of the blue, President called to tell me what assignment I would have because; although not "leadership" it is an important assignment. Three Elders and I will be opening a town on the Apache Reservation as its own area. The town is called Cibecue. Up until now, a set of sisters have gone maybe once a week for a couple hours. We were told that it would be a difficult assignment and that we would be sacrificing a lot of physical comforts while serving there and yet we are so excited.
We will be working with a branch that has about 20 people at church each week. The building is very small. If the steeple were to be removed it literally could fit in most stake center cultural halls. The "chapel" does not have pews or an established podium. The main room can be separated into two by the use of one of those accordion curtain doors thus creating the chapel and a cultural hall-with one basketball hoop. Up the stairs at the back are two small classrooms. Somewhere in this building is an office for the branch president (a man from Show Low). Church here is only 2 hours (Sunday School and then Sacrament Meeting).
We live in a single wide 2 bed 1 bath trailer that they plopped next to the branch building. There is very little around us. We will not have much in the way of comforts, we probably will seldom be fed by the members, and I love this area (already) more than any so far! I am so excited! I really can't even express it. This will be, by far, the coolest thing that I have done on my mission. It is seriously as if I were in a different country.
President has told us how much trust he needs to have in the missionaries that will be serving here. Further, he said that the chosen elders must have a lot of integrity because this place needs miracles. All of us have expressed the fact that we can absolutely feel the Spirit moving through this little town. We can see that this field is truly "white, already to harvest," and we are so eager to begin harvesting. President has told us that we were selected because he knew that we could handle a challenge (it will be a very difficult place to be).
Serving here are Elder Lomu (our district leader for the 4 of us) and his companion Elder Bateman (a brand new missionary), Elder Gaebler (my companion) and me. We are already having a blast.

Love you all!

Elder Kirk

Monday, June 16, 2014

Arizona Week 53 - Snowflake Day

Hey everyone,

The day has come. We are finally not sick…neither of us are ill to the point of confinement. For those of you that are keeping score at home that totaled 3 weeks that we could not work. In other words, half of this transfer was spent in the apartment. So, now we will endeavor to tell everyone that we are not dead yet and that we are still planning on visiting them on a regular basis. Many people were worried that we were not going to teach them anymore. Surprisingly, none of them thought to call us and ask; interesting.

Wednesday was spent in Snowflake. We had a zone conference that morning and then we went to the temple. After we left the temple we were going to go to dinner at Trappers, which is a pretty good restaurant. On the way, we saw that some of the Sisters had pulled onto a lot in town and had the hood up. So we (Elder Russell, Elder Stott, Elder Freckleton, and I) pulled in to check on them. The coolant was empty...and it had been filled up just a few hours previous. Well Elder Russell and I took off to find more coolant. This proved to be a difficult task because it was around 7 o' clock in the evening, meaning that everything was already closed for the night. Snowflake is a sleepy town I guess. We finally found the right kind at a gas station and returned with the coolant. A mechanic had arrived in the meantime and informed us the water pump was cracked and would drain the tank again. The sisters called the vehicle coordinator and he counseled them to leave the car there and travel home with the other sisters. So that's what they did and then we all went to dinner. I felt really bad for Elder Russell because that coolant was expensive. Then, someone paid for our dinner at Trappers. We don't know who, but I've gotten used to accepting the kindness of others when they want to be anonymous.

We are no longer allowed to help people with moving. The reason, you ask? Bed bugs. We have 3 or so companionships that are now unable to work for awhile because they have a bed bug infestation in their apartment. Bummer.

Transfers are coming up next week. I will probably be moving this time, so we'll see where I end up.

Hope you all had a good Father's Day. I know I ended up getting a lot of candy at church.

Love you all!

Elder Kirk

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Arizona Week 52 - Show Low Days

Hey everyone,

This weekend was great. The city of Show Low had its annual "Show Low Days" fair. There are vendors, food, rides (kinda), and music. It’s pretty neat. We (we = us plus 6 other Elders and 4 Sisters) were asked to be volunteers to help with setup, moving things and lifting things, etc. We began at 6 AM on Friday with setting things up and helping the vendors. As it neared time to open (12 noon) we overheard that there were booth plots that had been left vacant. We quickly seized the opportunity and secured ourselves a booth plot for the missionaries. As fast as we could, we got all the things we needed to hastily put together a booth: tables, chairs, a canopy, whiteboards, supplies, pictures, etc. The first day we were there was not well organized, as you can imagine, but we had better plans for the second day to make it look better (less crowded). The first day basically looked like a table with innumerable copies of the Book of Mormon (if one could count the sands upon the seashore) and an equal number of missionaries behind the books sitting in chairs. Not effective by any means. Day two was much better. Only 2 missionaries at a time, fewer things on the table, and it worked much better. 

Also on Saturday, Barry got baptized. It was a wonderful meeting. Many friends were in attendance from the wards he has lived in and were very happy for him. Great testimonies were shared, wonderful music was sung, and the spirit was present and seemed to be felt by all. Before the service began, the stake president turned around and asked us if President Sweeney was coming. We replied that we had not heard anything about that and that we had not directly invited him. To which our dear stake president told us that he had invited President and Sister Sweeney. At that very moment, in walked President and Sister Sweeney. I was so happy that they came. They always bring the spirit with them in great measure. 

And about us getting back to work, yeah that isn't true anymore because now I am ill. Hopefully, it won't be as long. But at least we had a good weekend.

Love you all,

Elder Kirk

Monday, June 2, 2014

Arizona Week 51 - Working Again

Hey everyone,
Well my companion is well enough to start working again. I'll be honest, it's a weird transition; a bittersweet experience, but I am happy to get things going again. We have not been out and about because of my companion's illness. This caused a lot of people to be worried about us because we hadn't been coming around. 
Not much has happened because we have been indoors, but we are excited for the baptism this Saturday. 
Hopefully I have more to write about next week.
Take care everyone.

Elder Kirk