Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Lots of people to teach! Yippee!

This Tuesday was sister Brog's birthday! I decorated the apartment with the stuff you sent. It was lots of fun. I took pictures while she opened all of her packages. I'm a lame companion and just wrote her a card. But it is really hard to buy a present for someone you are ALWAYS with! She doesn't want me to get her anything but maybe i will still try to. haha That night we went to a members for dinner and birthday brownies. But they weren't just brownies they were black bean brownies... Interesting the next day but pretty good right out of the oven. To end the night we went to DQ and got dessert for our final celebration! 

The weather here has been really bipolar. The mornings are usually pretty cold but during the day it is still pretty hot. Well Wednesday morning it was cold so i had my coat on. I brought my little ear warmer in my coat pocket in case i decided i wanted it. Well i did and so i tried to be cool and failed miserably. I took my helmet off and hung it on my handle bars, took the ear warmer out of my coat pocket, and then tried to put it on while continuing to ride my bike. Well i got all the way to the part of putting it on when i pulled it too far, covered my eyes and then swerved into Sister Brog's back tire. Thankfully i wasn't hurt. i very graciously ran away as my bike crashed to the ground. The only thing that happened to my bike was the chain fell off and that was an easy fix. 

Sammy is moving this week and we are really excited for her! She went and met sister Gower (that's who she is moving in with) last Monday and they cleaned things up a bit. The apartment is all ready for her to move in. She just needs to finish packing things up. She is going to be moving Friday and we talked to the ward so there will be men there to load up a truck. She is moving into the Texarkana ward sadly but she will be in the Zone Leader's area and they are excited for her to come. They talked to their ward as well so we will have members there helping unload. 

We were able to teach the Kersey's twice this week! The kids are amazing. We didn't see them for about a week and a half and the last lesson we taught was the Plan of Salvation. We were reviewing and they could remember everything. It was awesome! We are working to get them to church more often. I think we need to teach them about the importance of church and how it can strengthen them as a whole. The kids are so ready to be baptized. We just need the parents to be a little more dedicated. We are hoping the baptism will happen by the end of this transfer. 

We started teaching Liz this week. We met her tracting and she is the best! We have given her a copy of the Book of Mormon and most of the pamphlets we use and she loves them. She kept saying things like there is something that keeps pulling me in to read, and i just feel so happy and calm when i read or am visiting with you. We let her know that was the Holy Ghost and that if she was willing to take the steps necessary she could be baptized and have that with her all the time. She committed to prepare to be baptized on the 16th of November! She smokes and we let her know that she would have to stop that. We are going to start the Stop smoking workshop with her the first week in November because that is when she can get to the store to buy the things she needs. But she has already been cutting back by herself! She wasn't able to come to church because she doesn't have a car but we have a member that lives around the corner and she will hopefully be able to bring her next week. 

The STL's (sister training leaders) also came and did exchanges this week. I was able to work with sister White and it went a lot better then i thought. I was so scared for exchanges last time. Probably because i was new and had no idea what was going on but this time was way better and i was able to see the progress i had made since last time. 

We have been really busy with teaching so that has been really nice. Thursday we were so busy we didn't have time to eat lunch until four! That was a long day. It didn't help that i have a head cold this week and im soo tired all the time haha but that is okay, it will go away soon enough.

We also taught a lady named Renee this week. We have taught her twice and i don't know how promising it will be but she was giving away a couch! We have a recliner in our living room but it is broken and she was just going to throw it away. soo we asked if we could have it. She said she didn't care so we loaded it into the back of her truck and she brought it over for us. Our nice neighbor friend was outside when we pulled up and he carried it up the stairs for us. 

I can't believe another week has come and gone. But I am so grateful for everything the Lord blesses us with. He will always be a loving God. I know this gospel is the one true church and through Jesus Christ we can all return to live with Him again. The little things like reading your scriptures and saying your prayers are what make the difference. If things aren't working out evaluate how much time you are giving to God. 

I love you all and hope you have a good week! 

Sister Erika Kelly 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Baptism, Zone Conference, and P Day, Oh My!

PDay errands
Playin at the park on Pday
WalMart makes us do crazy things

The fridge went out.  And I'm planking...

We know from experience that this is NOT true!  

Where to begin.. Zone Conference was amazing! Elder and Sister Zwick are awesome people and we learned so much. They started off the conference by asking us what are we willing to change? At one point we were doing practices on simplifying and testifying. It is so much more powerful that way. We had to pick a principle from PMG, share an experience/story, testify, and then share a scripture. There were three different zones there and so they had a companionship from every zone go to the pulpit and give their example. Well because I am still a new missionary we got picked! So we shared the principle that when we teach members in their homes they will be more prepared and willing to go out and teach with you. We had done that with a recent convert and then had her come to a lesson with Sammy and it went really well. Then Sister Brog shared part of Helaman 5:50 where "many were convinced." But because we went up and demonstrated we got our names in Elder Zwick's PMG! So that was really exciting. 

Sister Zwick, Sister Kelly, Sister Brog, Elder Zwick
(Elder Zwick is the one who spoke a conference ago about his wife jumping out of the truck with their baby.)

At the end of the conference we had a testimony meeting and they were only suppose to be 40 seconds long. There was and elder at the front timing them and then he would raise his hand when time was up. The spirit was sooo strong! I love testimony meetings. They can strengthen us so much if we are open to listening to the spirit.

I got to see Sister Garner, my MTC companion, at our Zone Conference!

Sister Kelly and Sister Brog

Elder Zwick also announced Ipads!! He said that we will all get one in the next 30-60 days. I am not sure how it is all going to work but they are only going to cost about $270 instead of $400. I will let you know when i have more details. 

That night they had a big stake meeting about member missionary work. Elder Zwick spoke then as well and just gave all these ways on how members can be better missionaries. He challenged everyone to have the missionaries in their home for lessons with an investigator. Whether you find the investigator or the missionaries bring someone. Missionary work is so much more successful when the members are involved. 

Zone Conference was in Shreveport and that is about a two hour drive from New Boston so we stayed the night and then had meetings in the morning as well. We stayed with the sisters in the area, Sister Zemp and Sister Huffacker. Sister Zemp was one of the Sister Brog's trainers and Sister Huffacker came out with me. It was a lot of fun to talk with them! Before this trip sister Brog had told me how bad of a driver sister Zemp was and i got to see it first hand! We were driving to the church building after dinner and all of a sudden all these cars are honking at us and sister Zemp says, "Oh! i am going the wrong direction on a one way road!" What the heck!? so then she starts honking her horn to let the people coming know that we were coming! Thankfully there was no accident but we were freaking out! 

The next morning we met back at the church and talked about everything we learned during zone conference. It was really good to review and take more notes. After we got to watch Meet the Mormons! It was soo good! We loved it and it was like a mini break from the missionary world, kind of weird. 

We drove home after the movie and on the way stopped by Xander's for his final lesson! It went really good and so did his interview the next day! 

Sister Kelly, Xander, Sister Brog

Saturday was the baptism, and it happened! But it was the most chaotic thing ever! We got to the church at two and started filling the font and making programs. At three we had to leave so we could meet with Sammy. Then we came back to the church at four and had an hour to get everything ready. The programs weren't looking how we wanted and then they wouldn't print. The bishop was the one who baptized Xander and he didn't show up until 5 minutes before we were suppose to start. The two men we thought we were going to be here to witness ended up being late and so we didn't know if we were even going to be able to have the baptism. The main point is that he was baptized and the spirit was there at the end of the meeting. His grandma is a little crazy and she was the one who was suppose to give the closing prayer. She wanted to read from Psalms and until we told her we don't give recited prayers. It was crazy! But I was able to give the talk on the Holy Ghost and that was really special. I am so proud of Xander. He is going to be an example to the rest of his family! 
This is what our faces do when everything is crazy before a baptism!!!

Baptism Day!! 10-18-14

After the baptism we had a scout auction and chili cook off. It was a lot of fun and there were a lot of cool things they auctioned off. Me and sister Brog made a cake and it was so yummy! and amazingly decorated. Sister Brog is an amazing baker. The ward members are all so friendly. There is so much dessert donated to the auction they didn't have dessert with the chili cook off. But when someone buys a dessert they cut it all up or pass it around and everyone gets some kind of dessert. It was a lot of fun!

Our practice cake.  Mmmm

The finished product!

We have miracles happen all the time but this week we had a big one. I don't remember if i have told you but Sammy is being kicked out of her house. The guy that owns the house was a friend of hers and because she won't sleep with him she wants her to leave. So she has been looking for a place to move. Well we went to the Caswell's (a family in our ward) for dinner on Thursday and sister Caswell's mother was there. Right as we were leaving she asked if we knew anyone who was looking for a place to live... Yes!! We got her information and gave it to Sammy. They have talked to each other and are moving in hopefully at the end of this month! Because Sammy has been so busy with moving we decided it would be best if we moved her baptism date back until the middle of November. But she is doing so good studying and reading. She is almost half way through Alma now and just keeps going. We gave her an Ensign and she has read most of that as well. She just needs to commit and that isn't going to happen until she is moved in and not thinking about other things. 

Our friend Sammy

Sunday we had Elder Houston come to the ward. He is the second councilor in the Mission Presidency and it was really good. He taught the third hour lesson all about allowing us to come into members homes. He told them that because i was a new missionary i needed to be giving lots of practice lessons and if i don't give them now it is going to be their fault it im not a successful missionary haha we have a meal appointment i think every day this week now! So that should be really nice! 

Thank you all for the thoughts and prayers. You are all such great examples to me. I know i say it every week but i love my mission. I love feeling the spirit all day and helping others to also feel of that spirit. This gospel blesses lives and when we are willing to give everything we have Christ will make up the rest. In my studies this week i was reading in Helaman and the Lamanites are the more righteous ones. In chapter 6 towards the end of the chapter the Lamanites hunted down the Gadiantan robbers until they were all the destroyed. What an example to us. We are surrounded with sin but we shouldn't just avoid it or dance around it. We should be hunting it and destroying it from our lives. And then filling it will the light of Christ! The scripture are amazing. Make sure you are reading them!

I love you all, have a good week.

Love, Sister Erika Kelly 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Still Moving Forward

Xander is getting baptized on Saturday!! We have been teaching him a lot this past week and he is the best! When we first started teaching him he was the typical 13 year old attitude. He wasn't really focused. but that has totally changed. We taught him about the Word of Wisdom at the beginning of the week and he wasn't so sure about it. He loves his tea and everyone else in the house drinks tea and coffee. But he has kept his commitment! And all the other ones we have given him! We joke around with him like he is our little brother. It is fun. He is always worried about what he looks like and so when we had him try on the jumpsuit yesterday he didn't like the look of it. It wasn't cool haha but he is really excited to be baptized! And he is doing it for the right reasons. I have been greatly surprised at his dedication. 

Sammy came to church this week! and she is scheduled to be baptized this next Friday, the 26th. She is still looking for answers and we are giving her everything we can to help her receive it. I guess we just need to be patient. She has been studying the Bible with the Jehovah's Witnesses still because she likes their workbooks. She told us she doesn't agree with all of their doctrine, just the workbooks. She has a hard time remembering things because of the injuries she had while in the service so she likes the questions. We ordered her a study book so she can start using that with the Book of Mormon. She has to stop smoking by this Friday so she can be baptized next week so keep her in your prayers!

We were finally able to meet with the Kersey's this week. The kids are all really excited to be baptized. They were scheduled to be baptized this Sunday but the parents are having a hard time working everything into their schedule so we are going to try and push it back a week. That will also give Bother Kersey time to receive the priesthood so he can baptize them! 

Sunday after church we had a pot luck. I guess we have one every second Sunday of the month. Me and sister Brog didn't know about it so it was a great surprise! I also got to teach the lesson on Sunday for gospel principles. The teacher has had to start working night shifts and because I'm the new missionary I get to have the practice of teaching! It went a lot better then i thought it would. I didn't have anything prepared but it went really smooth. I loved how the spirit spoke to me and had me share scriptures that I had read in my studies a few days earlier. I love this gospel! 

While out tracting this week we met a man named Neil. He had studied with missionaries about ten years ago for a while, and was never baptized! He said he is too addicted to smoking. He tried the Stop Smoking program and it didn't work. We challenged him that this was another time to try it! We have met with him and his girlfriend twice and they are really nice. They have twelve chickens in the backyard and offered us eggs! So when we go back this week (and when we have the car) we are going to take some. 

We also met another lady who came out and just started talking to us. She was really nice and then started talking about the gospel... We were like uhh are you a member?? Apparently she hasn't been to church in thirteen years. When she moved from California they never had their records moved so no one knew they were here! We are hoping to start teaching her and her husband. 

Sunday night there was a really bad storm! It woke me and Sister Brog up at about 5:30 in the morning. You could hear the electricity before the lightening struck. It was crazy! The thunder was soo loud and it looked like someone just had a flash light shining in our room the lightening was so frequent. Monday morning we had to stay in for about two hours longer then we had planned because it was raining so bad. 

Well, i love  you all so much! Thank you for the thoughts and prayers. I know this is the only true gospel on the Earth today. God loves us all individually and no matter what we do that will never change. This week I was studying Helaman chapter 3. Verse 35 talks about becoming sanctified and there was a quote from the study book i use that says, "Our greatest hope should be to enjoy the sanctification of our souls." This is a time to be enjoyed. God wants us to be happy! 

Love you all,
Sister Erika Kelly 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Keep the Prayers Coming

A couple weeks ago we had another woman come to church with her two grandsons. Her name is Valerie. She has been a member for a while and has been inactive. She wants to start coming back to church but doesn't have a car and lives in Hooks, about 15 minutes from the church. When we talked to her after church that Sunday she mentioned that she had a friend that might be interested in taking the lessons. So we decided this past week, since we had the car, that we would spend some time in Hooks. We stopped by Valerie's house and her friend was actually there. We were able to talk to them but then some family issues came up and her friend had to leave. But we started talking with Valerie again and found out her grandson, Xander, is 13 and wants to be baptized. We taught him the first lesson right then and went back two other times last week. I think he really does want to be baptized but he is still 13 and so we are doing everything we can to keep him engaged and interested. He is scheduled to be baptized the 18th!

Please pray for the Kersey family! They have had a lot come up these past two weeks and we haven't been able to meet with them. We are going to have to reschedule their baptism for later this month. But just keep them in your prayers! They are a great family and having more principles from the church in their home will strengthen the family as a whole. 

We have also continued meeting with Sister Daniel. I am not sure if I have told you about her yet. She is a less active in our ward and has a lot of health problems. About a year and half ago they found a tumor growing in her brain. Because of the location and size they aren't able to remove it. The right side of her body has since been paralyzed and she is confined to a wheelchair. But visiting her has really seemed to lift her spirits! We love watching Mormon messages with her! She is really crafty and so this past week she invited us over to make soap. She has had this soap kit since before everything happened and now she can't use a stove so she asked if we wanted to help. It was so much fun! She had lost the directions and so we were just experimenting but it was a lot of fun. We got to pick the scent and if we wanted to add color to it. They turned out really cute and we all got two bars of soap. 

Sammy! This week we got a member to come to one of the lessons with her and it went really well. The member that came with us, her name is Sister Hall. She is a recent convert and so it was cool to have her bear testimony to Sammy. The spirit was really strong!  Sister Hall also gave Sammy a ride to the morning session of General Conference. She really enjoyed it. And I am glad that she was there for President Uchtdorf's talk about receiving personal revelation. We are having her reread/listen to it so she can implement it in this experience. We also had the opportunity to share the Word of Wisdom with her this week. She wasn't a huge fan of it. She likes her occasional glass of wine, bottle of beer, cup of coffee, and cigarette.  But she really doesn't want to give up her traditional cup of tea before bed. But we told her to pray about it. When we asked her if she had received an answer about modern day prophets she said no. We asked her how she was praying and then we realized our mistake. She was praying for wisdom and understanding. Well that could mean 100 different things! So we told her that specific questions receive specific answers! She also wanted to move her baptism date from the 26th to the 24th. We aren't sure why but she does and we aren’t going to argue!  

Funny things that happened this week! 
  • There was a really bad storm and so while we were grabbing a few things at Walmart the lights kept flickering on and off. They told us we all had to go to the front of the store and check out because they didn't know how long the registers were going to stay on. 
  • Sister Brog loves green smoothies! she has one almost every morning. Well the salad she was using was about to go bad so she asked if I would like use it. I agreed and so she told me what to put in my smoothie and then blended it. I have never tasted something so awful! I was sick for the rest of the morning. But it was healthy...
  • Sister Brog has acquired a friend that found her on Mormon.org. He writes her letters and emails. But this past week he sent her (and me) a package for Halloween. It was fun! It was full of candy and Halloween decor so we had fun decorating our apartment.  
  • We went to the Pierce’s for dinner on Sunday.  Their kids have to finish their salad before they move on to the main food. Their little boy who is three was having a hard time finishing but he eventually did. (their table is really small so we eat on the couch and the kids eat at the table) About 20 minutes after he had finished his salad his older sister found a bowl under the table. Instead of actually finishing his salad he had just slid the bowl under the table! How sneaky. 

Well I love you all so much! I am thankful for the support you give and all the prayers. They really are helpful, please keep them coming. I love this gospel and the opportunity we have to be blessed with the knowledge of the entire truth. God is our loving Heavenly Father. He knows us all personally and I know it. When we are following Christ's path we are blessed. The trials don't go away but we are able to strengthen ourselves. And He is always there to help us. 
I love you all!

Sister Erika Kelly