Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Keep Preparing...

Hello everyone!

Best Sign Ever!

Wednesday was a long day! All of our appointments fell through last minute so we were looking for things to do. That is never fun! But our neighbors, the Pierces, are moving to the apartment below ours. The one next door to us only has one bedroom so they had all four of them staying in one room. That afternoon we came home trying to call people to teach and she was moving stuff to the new apartment so we changed out of our skirts and then helped her. She had a lot of furniture she couldn't have carried by herself so she was very grateful we stopped by. We were so glad they were only moving below us and not leaving the building. They are the nicest family! 
The cute Pierce girls park their bikes next to ours now that they live downstairs.  Cutest

Sammy was sick at the beginning of the week still but when we stopped by on Friday she was all better! She had gotten ready, cleaned her house, and was herself again! She asked us what the Doctrine and Covenants were and why everything kept referring her to it. So we explained what it was and then brought her a copy the next day. She was thumbing through it and had a couple of questions. I don't remember what her question was but we said something about a modern day prophet and that was not something she could understand. She believes the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet. But she said she would pray and study to know the truth about modern day prophets. It was perfect! We didn't even have to ask her to pray for an answer, she wants to for herself. and she knows that is how she can receive an answer. Later that night she came to the Women's Broadcast with us. We watched it at the church on a little TV. But she really enjoyed that! Her favorite speaker was president Uchtdorf which was even better. She is going to come with us again this up coming weekend for the rest of conference. We are really excited! She hasn't gotten her results back yet for ALS so keep praying for her.  

We didn't get to see the Kersey family at all this week. Brother Kersey is testing for the police academy right now and i guess he had a really rough week. And then on Sunday 3 of them were sick. We are hoping they are all better this week so they can really be ready by the 19th for baptism. 

Sunday we had an investigator at church! His name is Trey. We found him tracting two weeks ago. He said he was going to come last Sunday and when we went to visit him right after church he just had a bunch of excuses. But he just showed up this week! It was awesome! He just walked in by himself and sat down. So we moved and sat by him. He enjoyed testimony meeting and said that he wanted to come back. When we told him about general conference he was really interested! So we are hoping he comes again this weekend! 

While we were tracting we met a girl named Rose. She is living with her boyfriend David and they are so awesome! They have recently felt like they needed to start going to church so they started going to a baptist church near by. They don't believe in coincidences and they know that we were led to their door. We left them a copy of the Book of Mormon and are meeting with them again this week. 

The members fed us a lot this week! And that was really nice. We don't want to be out when it is dark and it allows us time to get to know the members. The Smallwoods took us to Olive Garden and it was the best. They are one of my favorite couples in the ward! She is so funny and he is really quiet but we really enjoy our time with them. They were the first ones to take us out when we got to New Boston. 

Sister Brog's invention: Nutella Cookie Dough Quesadilla

Saturday morning we got a call from a member in the ward and invited us to a service project. It was actually the bishop's son's eagle scout project. We redid the soccer concession stand. They had to replace a wall, two counters, paint the inside (they bought the wrong paint and had to get more), and fix the roof. It was more work then they had expected. We stayed for two hours and then had to go out and work. 

I am sure you all have heard of the movie the church is coming out with on October 10th. It is called Meet the Mormons and it provides an amazing opportunity for missionary work. Please tell people; everyone you can about it! and then go see it! The more people who see it the more popular it will become. What a simple way to share something that means so much! 

Lastly, I have been studying a lot in Alma, all the war chapters. I love how prepared Moroni is. Even when the Lamanites aren't attacking, they are preparing. What an example! This is Satan's time to tear us down and we need to be using every possible opportunity we have to pull him down! I love this gospel and know it is the ONLY true church on this earth. It it for everyone. God loves us unconditionally. He loves us for who we are right now at his very instant. All he wants if for us to be happy and when we keep the commandments we can obtain that great happiness.
I'm so thankful for all the love and prayers you all send my way. 
Love you,

Sister Erika Kelly 

Mailboxes in the South

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Deep Fried Cheesecake Bites

Remember the bug that got stuck in my eye last week?
 Sis. Brog made me an eye patch the next day when it was still bothering me. 
Our week started out with having the STLs (sister training leaders) come stay with us.  They got here Monday night. We went on exchanges Tuesday and I worked with Sister Giddins. She came out the same time sister Brog did and she is awesome! We went tracting in Hooks which is a small town in our area and found 3 new investigators. We were scheduled to meet with them the next day but they didn't answer the door. So we called and rescheduled for this Thursday. 
That night we had our first lesson with the Kersey family. (they have the three kids and nephew who are getting baptized the 19th of October) They are an awesome family! They had studied exactly what we asked them to, plus some. We had a really good lesson about the restoration and left them with the Restoration movie. After the lesson we had dinner. Brother Kersey made apple pie pork chops and they were reallllly good! He promised to make it for us again! Their niece also joined the lesson and on Sunday also committed her to being baptized that same date. Brother Kersey is also working on getting the priesthood by then so he can baptize them all! It is such a great experience seeing this family grow closer together and closer to God. 
 I LOVE the South!

Sammy is amazing! This past week has been amazing to see the change in her, even in such a small amount of time. She has still been really sick all week. So Tuesday (when we were on exchanges) Sister Brog and Sister White taught her about priesthood blessings and then asked if she would like one. She said she did and I was so sad i couldn't be there! Sister Brog said it went really well and Sammy just loved it. Thursday was really scary though! She hasn't been getting better and so we were just going to give her a short lesson and then leave. At one point in the lesson we had asked her a question, she looked down at the Book of Mormon and her notes, and then didn't say anything. Sister Brog and I just sat there waiting for her to answer and she didn't. She has been taking a lot of different medication so i thought maybe she had fallen asleep or something. We went over to her and she kind of mumbled. She wasn't really responding and was having a hard time focusing so we had her lay down. We said a prayer with her and then told her we would be back later that night to check on her. When we left we called a member in our ward who is doctor. His name is Brother Woody. He told us that we need to go back and if she still wasn't responding that we needed to call 911. When we got back probably 10 minutes later she was much more responsive. She informed us that she has seizures a lot if she doesn't take her medicine and she hadn't. So she had a seizure during our lesson! Brother Woody told us that seizures aren't always when someone freaks out but they can just fade out, exactly what happened. He told us to let her sleep and check on her tomorrow. The next day she didn't remember anything that had happened and that really scared her. She had been to the doctor that morning and they took some blood samples and are running some tests. She could really use the prayers right now! Thursday we were talking with her and asking her a lot of questions. She told us she knows the Book of Mormon is true and the Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. Ahhh!!!! we were so excited. She was so full of emotion and it was amazing to watch as she realized that she had found the truth that she has been looking for for the past several years. She has a baptism date for October 26th! 

Saturday our RS had a Super Saturday, Christmas in September! It was so much fun! We made Christmas ornaments and painted a Christmas tree. We got to know a lot of the sisters more and it was fun to just visit. Me and Sister Brog made ornaments for our mission! They are really cute. 

This week i had the awesome opportunity to give a Harvest Prayer. A Harvest Prayer is a special prayer only missionaries can give and blesses people's homes. There is a phrase you are suppose to begin with at the beginning and I didn't have it all the way memorized yet so i messed up like three times! But it was cool to feel the special spirit that was present. I love this work so much and am so grateful for the blessings it gives me. 

We went back to teach Monique and her three kids this week but Monique wasn't home. She was still working so we taught the kids the restoration on the front porch. They are amazing kids. We had given them one Book of Mormon to share and they had each read some of it every night. They asked for their own copies so they didn't have to share. We are hoping to set the family with a baptism date this week! 

Monday we had our New Missionary Meeting! It was in Shreveport, which is about 2 hours aways. We have members that live in Texarkana but are assigned to the New Boston ward. Our ward mission leader is one of those people. We had dinner at his house Sunday night and instead of driving all the way back home to come back through the next morning we just stayed with the Wake Village sisters. The meeting was really good. We practiced having short planning sessions so we know what we want to say in lessons, how to get the ward excited, give commitments boldly, stuff like that! On our way home from the meeting we passed a bunch of cotton fields so we stopped and picked our own cotton! 

Funny story of the week! Thursday morning on our way to work out sister Brog asked me if I had heard anything during the night. When she said that I remembered that I heard her praying out load at about 1:30 in the morning. I remember thinking, "I hope everything is okay, but she is praying so I'm not going to interrupt her." So i rolled back over and went to sleep. Well when i told her that the next morning she told me she hadn't been praying on purpose. She was half a sleep and thought it was morning and she was saying the prayer to start our studies. When she looked at me and saw me sleeping she was really upset! Until she looked at the phone and realized it was 1:30 AM! She doesn't remember what she said but we were both laughing pretty hard. 

Do you like our "moonshine" water jug?

Random facts:
-Our district leader made us a chocolate cake!
-We tracted into a lady named Loopy
-We bought the best watermelon ever! and ate it in two days
- Sister Brog ran over two frogs and the way home
- We tracted for and hour and forty five minutes on Sunday so we could get our 7 hours for the week
-Blue Bell's peach cobbler ice cream is my favorite 
-We asked sister Pasley if there was anything service we could do for her and she had us make her family chocolate chip cookies before we left her house
-We celebrated the night we set Sammy with a baptism date. We got dessert at Sonic. Deep fried cheesecake bites.. amazing! 

Deep Fried Cheesecake Bites???  Yes please!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Week of Adventures

With MTC instructor, Sister Mitchell
This week was quite an adventure!

Joey, the one who thinks he is God, dropped us this past week. He left a nice note on the door so when we showed up for our appointment we didn't even have a chance to talk. We haven't seen him since but he has a copy of the Book of Mormon and president likes us to get them back if they don't want to meet with us anymore. It shows them how important it is to us.

But the same day Joey dropped us we had something awesome happen. We tracted into Samantha the second day in the area. She told us she has been looking for the truth and has been studying with different churches. When we first met her she was studying with the Jehovah's Witnesses and so she wasn't giving us much thought. But after Joey dropped us we felt we should go visit her. So we stopped by and she was not having the best day. She had gone to her study class that morning and they talked about how if you have a blood transfusion you have dirty blood and can no longer be saved. This really hurt Sammy because she was in the service and has had three blood transfusions.  She didn't understand how that could be true. She hadn't done anything wrong. So we told her we don't believe that and shared a message of hope and that we can all be forgiven and return to live with our loving Heavenly Father again. She was so excited and decided that she is going to stop studying with the Jehovah's Witnesses and start studying with us! She committed to come to church and  we were all excited!!! and then she got food poisoning. Sooo she didn't come to church yesterday but will be this up coming week! We are hoping to set her with a baptism date later this week!

Another miracle for the day! Last Sunday was fast Sunday and me and Sister Brog fasted to be able to find and family to teach. While Sister Brog was closing her fast she had the thought that we needed to tract Pine St. She didn't know if there was a Pine St. in New Boston so the next day we looked it up on my GPS! There is one! So we decided that we were going to tract that street until we have talked to everyone that lives on it. So we get to Pine St. and there is only one house on that street... So we go and knock. No answer. We knock again. No answer. We ring the door bell. No answer. As we began walking away a 18 year old boy opens the door. He grew up Jewish with his mom but his mom died when he was 7. He agreed to meet with us but he is in college now so we didn't set up an appointment. We are calling tomorrow to do so.

Wednesday we had zone meeting. President wants us to have 300 baptisms by the end of this year. Right now we have 170 so we need 33 every month for the rest of the year to reach that goal. This mission has never had that many baptisms and so it is a really big goal! Me and sister Brog really want to help contribute and we are getting so close. This month the mission has already had 11 so we are on our way! Anyway we have to share the car with some elders in another area so after the meeting we had to give up the car. It was very sad! We had a member from the ward pick us up and take us home. They were really nice. Biking in a skirt is kind of difficult haha i am definitely figuring out which skirts work and which do NOT. 

Another miracle! Wednesday night we had dinner with a member that lives right around the corner from the church. She is the sweetest old lady! I think she said she was 84. She (and her house) reminded me a lot of grandma Rose :) after dinner we went over to the church. Every Wednesday night they have family history. When we walk into the building one of the youth leaders comes up to us and says this: "There is a couple working on family history. Their family has been inactive and wants to start coming to church. Oh and by the way, they have three kids that want to be baptized." WHAT?? We were so excited! So we go in and meet this couple. They are so nice! They came to church on Sunday with their whole family. (Plus a cousin who would also like to be baptized) Their kids are sooo excited to be baptized. We talked to the whole family after church and set a baptism date! We are working to have them baptized by October 19th. YAY!!!!

Thursday we went over to a members house for breakfast and it was soo good! We had scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy, and sausage. After when we were talking with them she was telling us about her daughter and grandson. He was born deaf but still manages to be successful. Well the longer we talk to her we realize there is a Mormon message about them! So you have to look up Sherri Patterson McRae on mormon.org. We might get to meet her at the end of October! 

When we got back from breakfast it started raining. Not just sprinkling but pouring rain! We didn't have a car so we were just waiting for it to let up. It finally did and so we decided to go out tracting. Bad idea! It started pouring again. Thankfully we had umbrellas but by the time we got home we were drenched. We were almost home and there was a tree that had fallen down on a power line. There were people there cutting it down but they wouldn't let us just go by. Our house was just on the other side of the tree and we would have had to go all the way back around the neighborhood so we just sat and waited in the rain till we were done. By the time we got home all my clothes were wet and my mascara was running down my face haha


Friday it rained all morning again and so we didn't do much running this week haha But finally it let up after studies so we went out tracting. The rest of the day it was pretty nice out. 

Once a transfer we have apartment checks and ours were on Saturday. So Friday night we spent really cleaning the house which lead to rearranging the furniture. Sister Brog's bed was really squeaky and so she likes sleeping on the couch better but we are suppose to sleep in the same room sooo we decided to move it. We moved her bed into our study room. The nasty couch that was in the study room into the living room. and the nice big couch that was in the living room into our room. First of all the hall way connecting all of these rooms is NOT large. It took some serious work to get everything through. It didn't help that the nasty couch had a pull out bed so when we tilted it to get through the door, the bed just fell out! at one point I thought it was going to be stuck there! But the hardest part was getting the nice couch into our room. We tried for thirty minutes! and still didn't have success. But when decided to try one last way we got it in to the room in less then a minute. Frustrating!! 

Saturday we had the cleaning inspection and I'm sure you got the picture with the golden mop! We passed haha 

While we were tracting Saturday afternoon we met a kid named Gagan. He is from India and studies the Sick religion. We didn't even know what that was and he really didn't explain much but we talked to him for about twenty minutes. One of our goals this week was to have more faith when we hand out copies of the Book of Mormon. We haven't been giving them out unless we felt like the people were actually interested but we decided to try something different! We had faith and challenged him to read a chapter in the Book of Mormon and we got a return appointment out of it! We have been praying that he recognizes the Holy Ghost testifying of truth while he reads. 

On Sunday bishop surprised us had us say the opening and closing prayers in sacrament. We didn't know until he announced that sister Brog would be giving the opening prayer. You never know what to expect on a mission! At least that is what the bishop told me when I was walking off the stand. 

That afternoon we were out tracting again and found another amazing family. There is a mom and three kids. The kids are 12, 11, and 9 and they all have testimonies of Jesus Christ. We gave them a copy of the Book of Mormon and are returning on Friday to teach them about the restoration. They were so excited to start reading and learning more. Their family has been through a lot and I know they have been prepared to hear the words we have to teach! 

The last story I have to tell is quite comical. We were riding our bikes home last night after stopping by Sammy's and a bug flew in my eye! Sister Brog described me like I was swerving my bike in every directions and then i ran into the curb, and threw my helmet to the ground. It hurt sooo bad! and i couldn't get the stupid thing out of my eye!! She came over and was able to tell me where it was so i could pull it out. My eye water the rest of the night and i have been wearing my glasses since then! We think it might have scratched my eye a little bit because it still was bugging me this morning. But it will heal soon enough :)


Clothes Lines

Smashed Armadillo

Sister Brog decorated my planner
 I love you all and am so thankful for you examples! Your Heavenly Father loves you and the more you align yourself with his commandments the more He blesses you!

Sister Erika Kelly 

We Found the Most Interesting Investigator!

Okay first I'm going to start with some random information. President gives us two hours every week to use Mormon.org and LDS.org so we can be familiar with it and help investigators if needed. On LDS.org I can look up the ward directories for our stake in Las Vegas and you can see all the missionaries that are out. Not only from our stake but you can see the missionaries that are assigned to each ward. So I was looking at all of those as well seeing if I knew any of them from the MTC and I do! Elder Cook was in my district and he is assigned to our home ward! So you have to tell everyone there that I know him. Sister Brog also had people in her district in the MTC and so she was looking at them with me. Elder Patterson is in the Arbor View ward and knows sister Brog so you have to tell Allison! Here is the list of all the Elders in Las Vegas right now: Elder Walker, Elder Schlesinger, Elder Peterson, Elder Browning,and Elder Cook. Lastly, you can look at a map of all the mission boundaries on a map and my mission borders Blake Truman's. Depending on what area he is in right now we could be like 30 miles away from each other.. kind of crazy!

Last week I told you how President really wants us to take time to get to know the ward. So we have been trying to visit families every night and I love being in their homes. It is so nice to feel the sweet spirit in the members homes but it also a cool experience when we teach them. Everyday we make choice that determine if we are going to move toward God or away from him and as we talk with these members we help them find ways where they can improve each day. We commit them to doing things that will help them improve and then one of my favorite parts about being a missionary is promising blessings. We give a challenge and then always testify of the truth and blessings that will come from being obedient. And the spirit is always backing us up as we make those promises. It is the Best! 

Tuesday we were driving to a small town, Hooks, that is in our area and about 10 minutes away from home I realized I didn't have my name tag!!! I felt so stupid, but we were already so far away we didn't want to turn back and waste that time so for half the day I didn't have my name tag on. Anyway we went and saw an older lady in the ward who hadn't been coming to church. She was the sweetest lady ever and the reason she hadn't been coming is because she had been with her daughter in North Carolina all summer. And then she also had to find a ride because she can't drive anymore. So we called Bishop and let him know. They found someone to pick her up but didn't get a hold of her soon enough so she wasn't ready Sunday morning. But now she has a ride every Sunday and she will be coming! We visited with her for a while and then took her little dog on a walk. It was a good time and she was so thankful we offered because she can't do it herself anymore. 

We also started running this week. I hate running! and sister Brog loves it so at first I wasn't so sure but we found out that the high school keeps it's track open to the public so we go there and she can run at her pace and for as long as she desires and I can do what I want. It is really nice. I am soooo out of shape though! I thought I was going to die on Tuesday. And running in the humidity is the strangest thing hahaha In the mornings when we run it is so humid we have to drive with our windshield wipers on so we can see. By the time I'm finished with my first lap every part of my body is dripping wet. Gross! 

This week we started doing this thing we call Chalk Talk. It is so fun! There is a park we go to that has a walking path and we bring chalk and write inspiring things. The first night we didn't see anyone but we have gone a total of three times and have talked to people about what we are doing! It's pretty cool.

Tracting this week was rough and there weren't a ton of people interested. But we tracted into one of the members and she has been awesome! Her name is Sister Ward. She is an older lady and her 20 year old daughter was over. Her daughter isn't active and I made a total fool of myself! We left them with a scripture and sister Brog asked me if i wanted to shard one. I was all excited because I had one to share from my study that morning. As I began to share it I realized how bad of an idea this was. I had read in Alma chapter 41 I believe. And it is all about how Alma is calling his son to repentance and that he needs to remember the things he was taught as a child. I had already started sharing the scripture and so i just kept going with it. Her daughter didn't say anything but hopefully she doesn't hate me now and hopefully it was what she needed to hear and will start coming to church again. Sister Brog after was like that was a brave scripture to share.. hahaha 

Wednesday night was went over to a families home for dinner. Our GPS got us lost so we had to call her and ask for directions. Before she hung up she said, "See you soon, I have dinner ready on the stove." When we get there we see that she has boxes of pizza on the stove, we were laughing pretty hard! But their family is awesome. The wife is a convert and she has got a crazy background, I never would have guessed. But we enjoyed visiting with them! They have two little kids. A 7 year old boy and a 5 month old girl.  She is a ward missionary and we are excited to work with her. 

Friday we did "Thirsty Thursday" again and I now know that my blue skirt is not a biking skirt! It was such a bad idea!! Sister Brog kept laughing at me. And then it started raining, that made things even worse! 

Saturday night we had a ward ice cream social. We show up and they have removed everything from the chapel and set up chairs like a gym. Well it isn't actually a chapel, it is called a multipurpose room. Me and sister Brog were a little skeptical at first but there isn't any where else to do it. The young women sponsored the activity but because there are so little youth me and Sister Brog helped scoop ice cream. My fingers were so numb by the end. When everyone had finished eating they had minute to win it games. It was a really good activity and the ward seemed to all enjoy it. One of the games was to keep a balloon of the ground but you could only use your head. They did a group of adults and one of the men in the ward was trying to be funny, jumped really high, and came down and sprained his ankle... It was one of those things I probably shouldn't laugh at but it was funny. Later that night they did the cookie challenge where you have to place it on your forehead and then try and get it into your mouth. They did a couple rounds of that and so there were random cookies all over the room. The wife of the man who sprained his ankle got up toward the end of the party and started walking to the back of the room. She then stopped, took two steps back to a random table, broke one of these random cookies in half (she has no idea where that cookie has been), and ate it! Me and sister Brog just stared at each other. The only other weird thing that happened at the party was that one of the primary aged kids was having a birthday party that night so the mom just brought all the kids from the birthday party to the ward party. Our ward is definitely one of a kind and I love it. 

At the end of the party we had to set up for church service the next day. Our bishop is so particular on how he wants the chairs. He steps off how far apart each row is and he had this laser pointer thing he puts on the ground and lines up each chair just perfect.. It was stressing me out. I couldn't help or I would do it wrong. 

Sunday was a little more normal this week. The only strange thing they do here in the south is that you don't have to go to the pulpit to share your testimony. You can if you want but a lot of people just stand where they are and give their testimony from the congregation. 

The last thing I want to talk about today is the investigator we found while tracting. His name is Joey. He is a single man and so we have to find a woman to go with us when we teach which has been nice because it allows us to work with the members. But Joey is this really depressed guy. He says he has been looking for the truth in all things and hasn't been able to find it. He has created this theory that God hates us and that agency is a curse instead of a blessing. At the end of his first lesson he asked what we wanted him to do so he could get these answers. So we challenged him to start reading the BOM. We scheduled an appointment for the next day. We came back and he had listened to it and read all the way to 2 Nephi 16. We were so excited!! We kept talking to him and he had kept all his commitments and had lots of questions. But the more we talked he gave us his theory. He has mental problem called solipsism. Basically he thinks he is the only thing that truly exists in this world. And he thinks he is God.. Yeah me and sister Brog were like.... uhhh you aren't God. we didn't say that but we have a return appointment on Tuesday and we are going to say it.. in a nice way. So please pray for us. He is really sad and depressed and we feel like we can really help him be happy in this life. We are meant to be there! 

I love you all so much! Thanks for the prayers and support! 

Love, Sister Erika Kelly 

News from New Boston, TX

Okay... where do i start...

Sister Brog is the best. We have had a good first week together. She is the second oldest of 9 kids! But she loves sharing the gospel and i want to be able to teach like she does. At this point i have done a few door approaches and i give a couple comments during the lesson but mostly she does the talking and i love being able to learn from her. Everyone in the South is so open to talking about Christ and God. We say prayers on people's door steps probably 8 times a day and no one thinks twice about it. The hard thing about that though is they all think they have been "saved" and that's all the need. NOT!! but that's okay everyone has their agency. We met a lady by the name Lawanda our first day out and have a return appointment with her tonight. She loves Christ and seemed pretty interested. So im excited to teach her. We also met a lady named Samantha. She says she has been searching for the truth for quite some time and right now is studying with the Jehovah's Witnesses. We have had two lessons with her and are going back later this week. Tracting is fun, well in a sense. I love meeting all these people! and i want to share this gospel with all of them so bad!

We have found 8 new people to teach this past week and we are really excited about it. The elders before that didn't have a ton of luck finding new people so we are off to a good start. On Saturday we found a lady named Brooke. She is a single mom of a two year old boy, she had such a light about her. We feel really strongly we need to definitely keep teaching her. She is busy with school so we have an appointment with her next week.

At the beginning of each transfer we have meetings with the President so we had ours on Thursday. and then we had district meeting after. President McDonough is soo nice. He had surgery on his lungs a couple years back and so now he talks in a soft, high pitched voice. I was not expecting it the first time i talked to him. but now i can't see him with any other voice. Usually at district meeting we will switch the car with the other elders in our district but because we are both new to the area and have no idea where we are going, they are letting us have the car for the first two weeks. It is so nice! But one thing the mission does is "Thirsty Thursday's". Even if you have the car,  everyone bikes on Thursdays because that is the day that the Prophet and his councilors go to the temple and pray for the missionaries. I thought that was pretty cool. Because we had meeting's in Texarkana on Thursday we biked on Friday. It was interesting! haha i haven't rode a bike in a long time and it was even harder in a skirt but i'll get use to it fast enough. The bike works great! When i first went to put my helmet on i couldn't figure out how to adjust it to fit to my head and thought you had sent the wrong size... But i figured it out eventually. 

It has been interesting being fed by the members. Growing up whenever we were feeding the missionaries we would have them over to eat but the first family took us to a Mexican restaurant. The second lady bought us Chinese take out, dropped it off at our apartment and then left. But we ate with the bishop's family last night and they made us dinner. We had tacos and that was pretty good. I haven't had anything crazy yet. Thank goodness. 

Well Sunday was probably the most interesting day of the week. Our ward is tiny! we had 100 people in sacrament and that was a good day. Our building is the smallest thing i have ever seen. haha there is no gym and because there is no gym there are no side doors, just front and back ones. There are no benches, just the fold chairs in the chapel. The stand only has one step so you are basically at the same level as everyone else in the congregation. They do things a little different.. so we were singing the sacrament hymn, and we finish the full song. (mind you we sing really slow) and so i shut my book and then realize that they are still singing. So i look over to see if they are still preparing for the sacrament. They aren't! they just sing every verse in the book, even the ones that are written at the bottom of the page. different! 

We sat on the second row and in front of us was an old couple. (most of the people in the ward a really old) They had a grandson with them and he kept playing with his grandpa's hearing aid. He would put it in his own ear and then was playing with the wrinkles on his grandpa's face. And then he looks says, "Papa, take out your teeth!" me and sister brog were trying so hard not to laugh! it was awesome haha 

This ward hasn't had sister missionaries in a reallllly long time so everyone is so excited. Which is good! we need all their help. But because we are new they had us introduce ourselves in sacrament and bare our testimonies. 

After sacrament we went to the gospel principles class and the teacher wasn't there so guess who taught the lesson.. We did! It was on being honest and actually went pretty well. I was surprised we made it last the full hour. Because it was fifth Sunday we were combined and the lesson was on family history work. They had a big projector and anyone could ask questions. By the end of the lesson half of the ward had left and gone home.. weird! hahaha

Our main focus in this ward is to help it grow specifically in priesthood and by January. Our ward boundaries go into Texarkana, which is about thirty minutes away so they have talked about splitting the ward and making New Boston one by itself. But if they do that then we would become a branch. So we really need more priesthood holders. 

While we were at the bishops house he went through the ward directory and told us who was active and inactive. The whole directory is 15 pages but you could fit all the actives on probably two pages. So we are focusing a lot on the part member families at first! 

Well the only other weird thing i should tell you is that the street lights are side ways here. the poles are a lot lower and so they have to post them horizontal instead of vertical. They also have so many random dips in the road! the roads here are really bad because of weather and then they don't really fix them.. 

Oh a little about New Boston. Sorry i feel so scatter brained when i write emails. The town is really small. Most of the houses here are old and falling apart. But that also means the people are quite humble. excited to work with them! 

Oh!! one night we were finding things to do so we went and introduced ourselves to everyone else living in the building. One of our neighbors lives there alone and she cooks. so later that night she came over and gave us her left over spaghetti. It was soo good! and so kind of her. We are hoping that turns into a teaching experience. She said she will bring us food whenever she has leftovers. Score!

Love you all. Thank you for all the support and love. Remember that God loves you always and you have never gone too far down the wrong path. A lady in sacrament shared this story. "if you were running a marathon and half way through realized you were running in the wrong direction you would not keep going in that direction. You have been training and working for the finish line so you would stop wasting your energy and turn around." The same is in life. If you find yourself on a wrong path you are never too far off that the atonement doesn't apply. That is the beauty of the Atonement. It can help us through any trial we may have.

Love, Sister Erika Kelly 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Few Pictures

19 New Missionaries in the Mississippi Jackson Mission

Sister McDonough, Sister Erika Kelly, President McDonough


These pictures were sent to us by Sister McDonough shortly after Erika's arrival.