Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tomorrow Marks 3 Months!!! What?!

All of the Kersey's have been baptized now :) Wednesday evening we all met at the church at 5. Selena had her interview at about 5:15 and everything went well. Then Latasha and Selena went and got in their baptism clothes. Because it was so last minutes we decided to just do family. We had an opening prayer but no songs or talks. Selena was baptized first and it was so great! I was so glad i was able to be there to see her take that step. She was radiating with light and happiness after the baptism. The best part was she noticed it. I am so proud of her. After Selena's baptism Latasha got in. Latasha is their 8 year old daughter who was afraid of the water last Sunday and didn't get baptized. At first she realllly didn't want to be baptized. She was crying and telling her dad she didn't want to do it. So she went back in the bathroom and talked with her mom for a good 15 minutes and she still didn't want to do it. So we closed the doors to the font and let her talk to her dad. For another 15 minutes they talked and they had her swim around in the font to try and get use to the water. By that time she still didn't want to do go through with it so we were about to let the water out and she was leaving the font. Then she turned around and said she was ready. We opened the doors and her dad said the prayer. Instead of dipping her back like we usually do, he placed his hand on her shoulder and she just went under the water. It was so great to see the smile on her face as she came up out of the water. The whole family start clapping! It was just a really good day :)

Thursday we had interviews with President. I love him and sister McDonough! They really are my parents out here. Each transfer president has asked us to pick a Christlike attribute to work on and this transfer the whole mission is working on Faith. So every night we are to study faith for 5 minutes. We also made goals with him that will help us increase our faith. Our goal is 300 baptisms for the year and we need 50 more. If we have the faith and dedication to work I know we will be able to make it! 

So it is a new rule that sisters cannot be on bikes after dark. But that doesn't mean we can just go inside and not work when it is dark. Which is hard because it gets dark at 5:30 now. We talked to president about it and asked if we could do more service. We are limited to 4 hours a week. But he said it would be fine. So this week we have been working on decorations for the ward Christmas party. It has been fun! 

It is very rare that we receive referrals but Wednesday night we got one! Before we left the church someone called the church. We didn't answer it but someone else who was there did. It was a man who lives in Arkansas. He has a friend here in New Boston who is looking for a church and so he suggested our church. His friend agreed to check it out and wanted a copy of the Book of Mormon. We got his information and went and visited Friday. He is a really nice guy! He said that he has had a lot of interaction with LDS people and they never matched up with what he heard on the tv so he wanted to know for himself. His first interaction with someone who was LDS was with missionaries. He use to drive for Grey Hound buses and some elders were driving next to him and drifted into his lane and hit his bus! Kind of crazy. But we gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon asked him to read the introduction and then asked if we could come back and teach him. He was really excited for us to come back! We invited him to church but he had a doctors appointment and wasn't able to make it but he said he will be there for sure next week. We are meeting with him again tonight. 

Waiting for a ride. :)

Sunday was a really good day! The Kersey's were on time to church and had all the paperwork they needed. Bishop did all the confirmations. I love listening to the words they say. I took notes so they can remember what was said. For Sunday school we got to teach the teenagers because their teacher didn't show up. It was quite interesting. Me and sister Brog both said we hope that our attention span at that age was longer then their's was. But i doubt it haha After church we taught the Kerseys. They are so awesome! They brought two friends with them to church. Lucy is 15 and Christina is 11. Both of them have attended other churches and i asked them if they thought there was a difference. Both of them said there was! They like the feeling they get when they are at our church. We are going to the Kersey's Wednesday night and we invited them to be there so we can start teaching them! 

I am so thankful for this gospel and the knowledge i have had my whole life. I was thinking a lot about those who have been able to get baptized since i have been out. All of them are still kids and that really made me nervous. One of my biggest fears is that those i baptized won't stay active in the church and it made me even more nervous that they were kids. Were they really ready?? Then i was reading in 3 Nephi 17 today and Christ has all the children come unto him. There was a quote from my study book that brought me a lot of comfort. "Let us not underestimate the capacity and power of today's children to perpetuate righteousness. No group of people in the church is as receptive to the truth." Just because they are children doesn't mean they are less likely to keep those promises. 
I also read in Alma 32 when I was studying faith and some of my favorite scriptures are in that chapter. Verses 26-27 are the best!! We just need to build on the things that we already know to be true. If we have faith and apply the principles of the gospel, that is when we gain our testimony. The Holy Ghost will testify to us whether the seed we plant is good or bad. 

I know that Heavenly Father knows and loves us individually! Don't ever forget that. Love you all!!

Sister Erika Kelly 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Kersey's got BAPTISED

This crazy last week of the transfer! Sorry this letter won't be too long. 

Biggest Leaf Ever


It snowed a little.  Brrr

Out tracting.

We have seen Liz a lot and she isn't really progressing. We are trying to think of new ways to help her be motivated but it hasn't been working. One day we went over and she was just having a bad day. It has been cold outside and so we were teaching her inside. There were soo many distractions and she wasn't really telling us what was wrong because there were so many people there. So i asked if she wanted to go on a walk so that is what we did. She just feels really overwhelmed right now. Her oldest daughter has a lot of health issues due to a car accident they got in when Liz was still pregnant. And her husband is not the best guy. He still won't let her come to church and yells at her a lot for having us over. But she said she is still going to have us keep coming. We just keep praying his heart will be softened. We also decided that we would make a calendar for her to look at. That way she knows what we will be teaching and what needs to happen before she gets baptized. 

The Cute Kersey Family

Guess what happened.... The Kerseys got baptized!!!!!!! It was so crazy. We went over Tuesday and taught their cousin, Selena, the lesson she missed. Then Wednesday we met at the church, finished teaching all of them and had the interviews. Well while the other kids were being interviewed we were talking to Selena privately and she told us some stuff that made things complicated. She didn't end up getting the interview and decided that she would wait, get things figured out, and then we would schedule another day. So then Sunday comes and everything is great. They were late to church and so that scared us a little bit, but they were all there. We had everything ready so it wouldn't be crazy like Xander's baptism. Well then during the third hour, while they were filling the baptism font, something happened. We could tell that it had to do with the font so we went out to see what the problem was. Well it was the coldest day yet and the water heater that heats the water to the font went out. So the water pumping into the font was freezing! We were boiling pots of water and dumping bowls of hot water from the kitchen. (there are two separate heaters). It was a crazy mess! But the baptism went on. The water was cold, but they were baptized :) Latasha is the youngest girl, she is 8. She was suppose to go first and was scared so she wanted to go last. Well she was so scared of the water she didn't end up getting baptized. Then after the baptism bishop was giving his welcome and told Latasha whenever she is ready she can be baptized. Well Selena, the cousin came up to us before we left and said, "The spirit was just so strong during the baptism i know that is what i want. I want to be baptized tonight." Ahhh We were so excited but it wasn't possible because she didn't have her interview. So we are hoping to do her baptism tomorrow night, along with Latasha's. She told her dad she is ready now! So we are hoping that all goes through. 

At our last district meeting.

Well i don't have much time to write much else i am sorry! But me and Sister Brog are staying together for another transfer! We are so excited.

Playing in Shreveport

More Shreveport fun.

I love you all! thanks for the support. Always remember your Savior loves you. He is always cheering you on :) Keep up the good work.

Love, Sister Erika Kelly 

Friday, November 14, 2014

And It Makes Me So Happy

This week has been awesome! We have been able to teach a lot of people and it makes me so happy:) 

We started teaching a lady named Michelle. She is in her 50's and has been married 7 times.. Yes, 7 times but she is so awesome. She has been wanting to find a new home church and enjoyed the message we shared. We actually met her tracting and at first didn't want to talk to us. But we told her we would be quick! She invited us in and ended up talking to us for an hour. We were able to share the restoration and she really liked it. We loaned her a copy of the Book of Mormon and had her read the introduction. We went back two day later and she had read the intro three times as well as all the testimonies in the front. That morning she didn't feel well and was about to text us to not come over. Then she had the feeling to pray. So she prayed that she would feel better so we could still come. And she felt better! It was so awesome to see her exercise faith so well. We taught her all about baptism. Sometimes it becomes a touchy subject to talk about the proper baptism in the south. Because so many people have been baptized and then we come and tell them that it didn't actually count.. So we taught her that it needs to be done by the proper authority. She said that it made sense and that she would pray about it. If she found it to be true she committed to be baptized on the 7th of December!

Two Places at Once: Texas Arkansas Border

The beginning of the week we had rainy and really cold weather. Well Wednesday was the worst day. It rain alll day and we had to go out tracting. I realllly didn't want to go out and work but i have an awesome companion. We were on our way out and she knew i wasn't in the best mood. The pumpkin we carved for Halloween was still outside our door and need to be thrown away. She handed it to me and told me to throw it over the railing. So i did and it was lots of fun haha I went down and picked up all the pieces. Took them back up by our apartment and we tried to get them stuck in the tree. It was fun and helped me be in a better mood so i was ready to go out and work. 

So we went out tracting in this little neighborhood. Because it was raining no one really wanted to talk to us. But we met a girl named Felicia. She is 26, married, and pregnant. She invited us in and let us teach her the beginning of the restoration. We lent her a copy of the Book of Mormon and asked her to read Moroni chapter 10. We went back the next day and she had read it! So we went through and talked about it more. She was interested and wants to keep meeting with us. Later that week we saw her at Walmart and she came up to us. She was with her husband and introduced him to us. At first we didn't think she was that interested but we aren't going to turn away someone who is willing to read from the Book of Mormon! 

 We were able to go out and visit two less active sisters with their visiting teachers. It was awesome! The first one we met on Tuesday. She didn't have much to say about the church but we just got to know her a little bit and shared a message. The second lady we met on Thursday and she had lots of question about church. She hasn't been in over ten years and had people give her some false information. We were able to talk to her about them and challenged her to start reading the Book of Mormon again. It was great to be able to work with the sisters in the ward! 

We have still been teaching Liz everyday! She was having a hard time remembering what we taught so we got her a notebook and had her take notes in that. It has seemed to help a lot. You can tell she understands it better as well. She is still working on keeping the word of wisdom and we weren't able to start the stop smoking workshop this week so we pushed her baptism back to the 30 of November. The hardest part though is that her husband doesn't like her talking with us. He won't let her come to church. And if her husband won't let her be baptized we can't let her. The church is focused on the family and so if they are married, the spouse has to be okay with it. So please pray that his heart will be opened. 

Sammy still keeps in contact with us! She is doing great and loves living with Sister Gower. On Sunday she texted us and it was the best news ever. She had a really spiritual experience. She said she was crying and was happy at the same time. The elders explained to her that it was the spirit. She said she finally received her answer about the Book of Mormon. She knows it is true and wants to do everything she can to be baptized. She was so happy to find the truth and that she was going to do everything she can to endure to the end in faithfulness. It was sooo good to hear that!! The spirit just testified to me that this is what I'm suppose to be doing. It makes me so happy to know i was able to help someone, who i came to love, find the truth! 

Liz's kids have been collecting pecans for us for the past week. They have a big tree outside their house and they are all over New Boston. So we have also been collecting them. Well, we told them we would make them a pie so we got the recipe and made a pecan pie. We made one for us first to make sure it tasted good. Then we made another one for Liz and her family. Then we had more pecans so we made another one for us! It was lots of fun and the pie was delicious. I will have to send you the recipe. 
Shelling Pecans is Messy!

Pecan Pie  Mmmm

Saturday we ate dinner with the Caswells. They had asked us if there was anyone we were teaching that would want to come to dinner. Earlier that week we received a referral from Mormon.org. It was a guys mom. He lived in Hooks, which is part of our area, and didn't know how to get a hold of the missionaries. He doesn't have a phone or internet so his mom just did it for him. We called her and got more information. We had his address and so we stopped by Wednesday but he wasn't there. So we talked with the man he is living with and gave him our phone number. Oh, his name is Jesse. He was baptized as a kid but has never been active. Later that night he called up from his roommates phone. We invited him to dinner with the Caswells and he said he was able to make it! He said he knew where it was and would meet us there. So we got to the Caswells and he never showed up. He called us during dinner and told his he couldn't find it. He was already back home and so we told him we would just come see him after dinner. He was sad he missed dinner but he was really nice. He has made a lot of wrong choices but wants to strengthen his relationship with Christ. We are meeting with him again tomorrow. 

Sunday was a good day! The lesson in gospel principles was on the law of chastity and i really didn't want to have to teach it. So earlier this week i called the man who is suppose to be teaching the class and told him i wasn't able to teach. So if he wasn't able to make it he need to find someone. He was there Sunday! That night we met with the Kersey's. They weren't at church because they didn't wake up on time. So we had a little come to Jesus meeting. We talked about the importance of church and that they all individually need to do their part to be up and ready for church. We also talked about their baptism date. They (the parents) kept putting it off and when we told them we might be getting transferred this week they decided to make a decision. So they are suppose to be baptized this Saturday morning! We are really hoping everything goes as planned. 

I love this gospel, the joy it brings me and the joy it brings those i teach. The Savior is the only way we can make it through this time. There are going to be hard times. Just like Christ had to drink of the bitter cup, we will all have bitterness we need to swallow. But Christ is an example and hope to us that we can all be happy. We can overcome the hard times and find joy once again in this life. 

I love you all and am so grateful for all the prayers and thoughts. Well this is the last week of this transfer and I can't believe it. This is all going by soo fast! You won't hear from me until Tuesday or Wednesday next week. But you will hear from me.

Love, Sister Erika Kelly 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Halloween in the Mission Field

Another week has come and gone! It is so crazy how fast it is going.

Eating cereal in my mug because there were no clean bowls.  :)

Tracting on Halloween and came across this house. 
 The sign next to the legs says,
 "I Grounded the Teenagers on Halloween."

Um, they are all out of candy! What?!

 Sammy is all packed up and moved! We went over Tuesday and helped her pack everything in the kitchen up. She told us that everything we saw was all that needed to go plus her bed in the back. We thought, oh sweet! This will easily fit into a trailer and truck. Well we moved her Thursday evening and when we showed up the stuff that needed to be moved has doubled in size! I couldn't believe how much stuff she had in that tiny house. When the priesthood showed up we loaded as much as we could and there was probably still half of it in the house. We told her she was going to have to leave it and we would try to have someone else come get the rest the next day. So the next day we had Brother Woody (I will talk about him later in the email) bring his truck and we loaded that as well. And guess what, it still didn't all fit! So we packed as much as we could and told her that she would have to figure out the rest. Thankfully she wasn't mad or anything. The elders that are now going to be teaching her were there when our ward showed up to help unload. When we called the next day to tell them more was coming they said well that is interesting, there isn't room left in the apartment.. So i don't know what they are going to do with all of that stuff! Sammy came to church on Sunday so that was nice to see her :) But i am sad we won't be teaching her anymore. 

We were able to see Xander this week before we gave up the car! That was the most stressful lesson I have ever been in. We started talking with him just to see how things had been. Well, his Grandma was in the kitchen and came in and started arguing with him. One thing led to another and they started yelling at each other for almost 45 minutes. We sat there and just didn't know what to say or do. The grandma wants us to council him about dating. We told her that we have taught him what the prophet has asked and now it is up to him to make that decision. She wants us to force it upon him. We just kept saying that isn't our job and she finally let it go. We really want to have a lesson with just the grandma and let her know that the spirit isn't going to be in their home until they all start living the commandments best they can. And Xander isn't going to listen to what she has to say until she starts living the gospel. There was just so much anger in that house. I hope will figure out a way to help the spirit be their always. When we left the appointment Sister Brog could tell my head was about to explode because I didn't feel well and i was stressed. We took a break at Sonic and I was able to de-stress. She is the best! 

Mississippi Jackson Mission

The cute Pierce kiddos from downstairs came to trick or treat.

That same night we went to a member's house for dinner. We taught the kids about following the prophet and then played "The Prophet Says". It is just like Simon says. Their kids were crazy! we had to do jumping jacks and then they said do ten push ups and the dad was like NO pick something else haha We have a lot of fun in members homes. When we were leaving I saw my first possum! They are nasty things. It just looks like a large hairy rat. 

Wednesday was the longest day of my life. I felt really sick that day and so I was really out of it. That night was the trunk or treat in Texarkana and so we were looking for a ride. Well, our RS president lives in Redwater, which is close to Texakana, and was working in New Boston. So she offered to pick us up and we just went and tracted in Redwater that afternoon. I felt so sick! so we called her back and she came and took us to her house. Each family was suppose to bring a dozen cupcakes and so sister Brog made some for the RS president while I laid on the couch. The trunk or treat was a lot of fun though and we ate lots of good chili

Liz has been doing alright. We go and teach and she likes to visit with us but we feel like she just likes visiting. Our goal this week is to help her have that desire to be better and improve. Not just have visitors over everyday. She is still reading her Book of Mormon when we ask her to and we are suppose to start the Stop Smoking Workshop this Saturday.
Liz's crazy dogs

So we have been really trying to get the sisters to sign up for specific times that we can out and teach the less actives in the ward. Well it hasn't been working but this past week one of the sisters did! Sister Caswell signed up and she asked if we could go see the Kersey's. We told her of course and so we called the Kersey's and scheduled and appointment. We have been really trying to think of ways we can get them to realized how important it is to be at church every week. So we talked about how baptism isn't the last step we have been asked to take. And we challenged them to work as a family so they can get sealed in the temple. We are starting little and have asked them to pray every morning as a family. Having sister Caswell there was so nice. She was able to testify and the spirit was so strong! We talked to President McDonough and he has asked us to visit them at least once a week in their home. This is going to be hard because they live 14 miles outside of New Boston. But he said it will allow the members to step it up a little bit. haha he is the best! We still need to reschedule them with a new baptism date. 

So we don't get referrals very often and we got one this week! A member contacted us and let us know that one of her physical therapy patients had visited with the missionaries before and would love for us to stop by again. She is a 90 year old lady and just had hip surgery. We were on bikes and so typed it into the GPS and it was 6 miles away. But we really wanted to contact her, especially because she asked for us to come by. Well we biked out there and it was more like 8 miles! i was so sore and tired! We got off our bikes and we go up to the house. She was laying on this bed next to a large window and was talking to sister Brog through that. We couldn't really hear her and she was suggesting we come back at another time. I was not about to leave so fast! So i just opened the front door and went inside. I asked if we could just visit for a little bit but "she wasn't feeling up to it" and asked if we could come back later... So reluctantly we left WITHOUT  teaching her. I was so sad! We walked our bikes to the end of the driveway so she couldn't see us and I told sister Brog i wasn't going to get back on my bike until i could feel my butt again haha so we took a break and then started our 8 miles ride back. It was a really long afternoon!

We are really struggling to find people teach right now. But i know that the Lord is preparing those in this area and we just need to find them. This work is amazing and i am so grateful to be apart of it. God is our loving Heavenly Father and he will provide a way for His gospel to be spread.
I love you all and am so thankful for all the support! Hope you have a good week, and remember obedience is key! 

Sister Erika Kelly