Friday, December 26, 2014

The Ward Took Good Care of Us

Well hello everyone! It feels like I haven't written an email in a long time and so much has happened. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends. And most importantly remembered Christ at this time of the year. I am so grateful for Him and all He has done for me. 

Last Tuesday we were at the Kersey's for dinner. They are all doing really well! The parents now have callings and are over Family History. They have a class every Wednesday which is about the same time as all the youth activities. So the whole family comes on Wednesdays and they are able to participate! We wanted to talk about temple work and how it is so important. We are really wanting them to work towards being sealed as a family. As we were talking Alex, one of the cousins, then asked when he would be able to be baptized for his dad. His dad passed away about three years ago and he wants to go and do his baptism work! We told him to talk to his scout leader and they could figure out a time when the youth are all going. It was so great to see how important it was to him for that work to be done! 

We also were able to stop by and see Xander this past week. They have had a lot going on the past few weeks and so we haven't been able to meet with them. But when we finally scheduled a time it was so good to see him and see the change of spirit in their home. The mission office had sent him a letter congratulating him on his baptism. He saw the Mississippi Jackson Mission on the outside of the envelope and he thought he was being called on a mission. He was so excited! We told him he better keep that excitement until he is 18 and can actually go! 

Christmas Zone conference was great! We didn't get iPads and don't know when they will actually be coming. But it was so great to see all the missionaries and President and Sister McDonough. The spirit is always so strong during those meeting and I am so grateful to be able to participate in them. My favorite part was when we talked about being rooted in Jesus Christ. If we aren't rooted in Him then we won't be producing the right fruit. 

Christmas Zone Conference

After the conference we went to an outlet mall and caroled. It was a lot of fun to sing about Christ. Some of the missionaries had made signs that said "He is the Gift" and they were able to talk to a lot of people. One guy tried to give us money!


Sunday we had two investigators at church! Tina and her son Dane. We met them in the hidden projects we found a couple weeks ago. Dane had been before but Tina never had. They said they both enjoyed it. We haven't been able to get in contact with them since but mostly because of the holidays. We will stop by again in the next couple of days. 

Ghetto Stop Sign

Monday was weird not having a p-day and working all day. But we met an awesome girl named Catherine. We also found a trailer park not too far from our house and that is where Catherine lives. She was willing to come outside and talk to us in the cold. She grew up religious but hasn't been since she graduated. We gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon and she invited us back the next day. She had read the chapter and really liked the verse all about repentance! She let us in her home that time and we were able to really teacher her a lesson. We explained to her that we were missionaries and that we were there to help her but that we were going to ask her to change somethings. She said she is willing and we are excited to continue teaching her! 

Tuesday we had an appointment and asked Sister Pierce to come with us. When we showed up they had left a note on the door and had to run to her parents house. So instead of teaching someone we went out with Sister Pierce and her two kids caroling. We went to a few members houses. It was a lot of fun and the kids really enjoyed it. 

Christmas Eve was a crazy day! We went to Atlanta Texas so we could get the car from the elders and then on the way home we stopped in Texarkana. We had some errands to run and then had the chance to go see Sammy. She has moved out of the apartment she was in and is living with another friend. It is so much more room than where she was and we think she will be happier there. It was so nice to see the wonderful changes she is making in her life. I love her so much and am so glad I was able to help her to come to know of the truth. 

Visiting Sammy

That night we went to a members home. We had dinner, shot off fireworks, decorated cookies, and played games. It is so nice to be able to spend holidays with members. It makes it seem not so weird that I am away from home. The members have been so kind and loving this holiday season. They have really taken care of us. 

 Christmas Eve Cookie Decorating

 The Bush Family is so good to us!

Thank you to all who sent packages, cards, and goodies. You really did make the difference in the Christmas season. I love you all, and am so grateful for this gospel. Remember Jesus Christ in all that you do. If it wasn't for Him what hope would we have?
Love all y'all!!

Sister Erika Kelly 

 The YW from ES1 sent me the cutest package! 
Thanks for thinking of me!

 PJs from Gma Sharon
 Bum Saver!
 Fun stuff from Sis Slaughter!
 Gifts from Family

Loads of Book of Mormons complete with testimonies.  
Thank you to all who helped put this together for me to share with others.  

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas is Right Around the Corner

So the beginning of the week we were on bikes. On Monday we each had packages delivered but they can't leave them at our door so we had to go to the post office the next day and pick it up. Well the package y'all sent was like 20 pounds! and i had to balance it on my bike handles so i could make it home haha it was a good time.

Our cute tree all decorated

On the 1st day of Christmas...we got decorations

The RS President bought us gifts.  
And there is the 20 lb package you sent 
next to the table.

Wednesday we had exchanges with the STL's. (sister training leaders) That morning we had district meeting so they just met us there and the rest of the day we worked. Because we haven't had much going on it was hard for us to plan enough to double work the area. I was with sister Welch and we tried so many people but no one was really in the mood to talk or listen. But that night we all went to the church. Bishop was there and we needed to talk to him about some stuff and then a member took us to Walmart. She bought us the matching pajamas for the party. We tried on some women's but they were all too short so we ended up getting men's. They are really comfortable.

This week we met a really cool guy name Shakeem. He was just walking around outside while we were tracting and he actually talked to us before we could talk to him. He is 23 and has two kids. We told him who we were and we asked if we could come back sometime and teach him. So he had us come back the next day. He lives with his girl friend but when we went back the next day she was gone and so we couldn't go inside. It was raining and cold but he said he still wanted to talk so we all huddled under his little pouch and taught him about the gospel. Sister Brog asked him what the most important thing is that he wanted to teach his boys was. He thought about it and then said.. Football. And we just sat there.. and Sister Brog goes, "That is the most important thing?" haha He said, "oh, no not the most important. I just want to live with my family forever, even after this life." It was really cool! So we taught him all about the plan of salvation and how we can receive the blessing of exhalation one day. He really enjoyed it and we are going back later this week.

Friday we got a call form President McDonough. He was asking how things were going and then he says, "I have a special gift for you two." He told us that we get an extra 200 miles for this month and that its just for us. Not the elders. So it is a secret! But we are so glad. We were going to be have to be on bikes even when we had the car just so we could make it to Shreveport twice this transfer. Our mission President is the best.

Friday night we went out with two sisters from the ward. We went visiting teaching with them and actually visited with Xander's grandma. We talked for a little bit, taught a principle of family prayer, and then were on our way. We invited them to the Christmas party and then they made it the next night. We were so excited!

Saturday was a crazy day. We still had quite a bit of tracting to to do for the week so that is what we started with. We met a nice man who had met with missionaries before and had a copy of the Book of Mormon. He said he reads from it every once and awhile. He invited us in but there wasn't a woman home. We are going to try him again this Saturday when we go out with a member.

That night was the Christmas party and it was a lot of fun! Brother Lewis was the conductor and he looked so good! They printed out golden tickets just like the movie and we made train tracks they had to walk on to get to the polar express. Sister Brog and I got to be the ones who passed out the tickets from our little booth. And then the conductor was waiting at the door to punch everyone's ticket. They bought a snowflake paper punch. It was so cute! The Young Women made hot chocolate and they played the hot chocolate song while they passed it out to everyone. They had a huge dinner with turkey and ham and all kinds of sides and desserts. We had a couple of performances from the kids. And they set up a projector and showed He is the Gift. 

Then to top it off all the kids made a train and we moved into the RS room that was decorated like the North Pole and Santa was in there. It was an awesome activity and a lot of people showed up. We invited Shakeem but he didn't make it :(

Sunday was a stressful day. Sister Brog and I spoke in sacrament and we were the only two speakers. I was able to prepare half of it during the day on Friday but had to finish after the Christmas party. I was really nervous I wasn't going to have enough prepared and I would leave Sister Brog way too much time. In fact i was so nervous i couldn't eat breakfast. It was ridiculous. But once I got up there everything went fine.

I had the opportunity to speak on Faith and Repentance. And that is what i want to end my letter with today. Faith is such a basic step in life. But it can't be faith in just anything. We must have faith in our Savior Jesus Christ. As i was preparing i found a talk by Elder Hales i believe, that talks all about finding faith in Jesus Christ. He gives us 5 stpes: Listen to Gods word, Let is sink in to your heart, Hunger for righteousness, Keep the commandments, and Pray to know that Jesus Christ is our savior. When we do this we are able to strengthen our faith in our aspects of Christ teachings. And that will lead us to repentance. When we act on our faith our testimonies will grow and we will become more like our Savior. I know that Christ is our Savior and when we follow His teaching we are happier. I am so thankful for this Christmas season we have to think of Him even more. I love you all and hope you will always remember the true meaning of Christmas.
Thanks for all the support and love!

Sister Erika Kelly 


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Sammy Is Solid!

This week has been realllly slow! We dropped Liz and had a really hard time getting in contact with any of our potential investigators. So we did A LOT of tracting this week. 

Wednesday we had district meeting and then a member came and picked us up. Her name is sister Garrett. She took us to lunch and then we went back to her house and met with another member, Sister Edwards. Sister Edwards has gone through a lot of the less actives information and updated it and tried getting in contact with them. We talked about how we can help the ward be more effective in visiting these people and taking us to meet them. Then they let us teach them a practice lesson about life on earth. I love teaching! Even when they are members. 

Thursday morning we went out tracting for 2 hours. and we talked to a lot of grumpy people! It was very frustrating. For lunch Sister Freeman came and picked us up. She is fabulous. Her and her husband have served 5 missions and do a lot for us. Whenever we need a ride somewhere we call them first and they are almost always able to. She feeds us a lot too and she is a great cook! She also invited a member who is somewhat active. Her name is Sister McCrary. She is a covert of about 9 years. we asked her what her favorite lesson was when she was taking the lessons and it was when they taught her about the spirit world. So that is what we taught her. I love the spirit that i can feel when we teach! It is amazing. 

After lunch we went tracting again. Right before we had to finish we met a nice girl named Tyler. She has a little 6 month girl and she let us teach her. But when we went back the next day her grandpa was outside and told us she wasn't home. We don't know if that was true or not. He called us scam artists. We need to go back soon! 

Friday we had a special thing happen. We went out that morning to teach and our appointment didn't answer the door. So we were trying some potentials and no one was home. I suggested we try a girl name Victoria that we had met about a month ago. She has a crazy work schedule and shouldn't have been home but we rode by and her car was outside so we went and knocked on her door. She was home! It was her birthday and had the day off. She was nice enough and let us in. After about 5 minutes her boyfriend showed up. We ended up teaching the both of them! Victoria had to work Sunday but we invited her boyfriend Jimmy. He said he would think about it. We got his number and told him we would call Saturday to remind him.

The afternoon was slow, once again.  All of our appointments fell through and so we decided to ride our bikes around until we felt like we should stop. We went down this road that looked like it was just lined with trees and would lead to the highway. We got down to the end and that is when we had our tender mercy! At the end of that street we found another street that was full of houses and a section of project homes. I told sister Brog that Heavenly Father knew we wouldn't have ever found that area unless we had absolutely nothing else to do. 

The rest of that night was pretty crazy! We needed to get to Texarkana because guess what... Sammy got baptized!!!!! and we were speaking. But we didn't have a car. The only people who could give us a ride could take us Friday night. So we had to call and get permission, pack, and get a hold of the sisters staying in Wake Village to let them know we were coming. We thankfully got it all figured out and made it to Wake Village. 

Sammy borrowed Sister Gower's temple dress for her baptism.
Doesn't she just glow?!

Sammy's baptism was amazing. The spirit was so strong and it was so good to see the spirit in her. The elders did such a great job of teaching her. Plus she is just amazing! She finished reading the Book of Mormon about two weeks before her baptism. Her and Sister Gower (the member she is living with) decided that if Joseph Smith could translate the Book of Mormon in 40 days they could read it in 40 days. The read it in 11 days and finished it the night before her baptism. She also got to the point that when the elders went to teach her they didn't teach! She would teach them everything she knew about whatever topic they asked her to study. She is amazing i know she will stay strong in the gospel.

The Zone Leaders, with Sis Kelly, Sammy and Sis Brog

As she came out of the water she just started crying she was so happy. It was the best moment. It was so great to see all the changes she had to make and that she was able to do it! The atonement of Jesus Christ is truly amazing. 

The rest of the day we spent tracting in the area we found the previous day. We met this nice couple and hope to start teaching them. We talked to probably 8 people (not really a lot but more then the rest of the week ha) and invited them all to our ward Christmas party this weekend. It is going to be a lot of fun!

For fast Sunday we fasted as a mission to have the faith and strength to reach 300 baptisms for the year. We need 42 this month! But i know if we work hard that we will be able to reach that goal.
We had the opportunity to teach primary about the sacrament. I love the primary children. They are so spiritual. 

After church the Freemans gave us a ride and just invited us over for lunch. It was delicious as always but i ate so much i felt so sick haha That night we went to the Pierce's for dinner and celebration. Their 6 year old daughter, Gwyn, just finished reading the Book of Mormon all the way through! So we had cake and then went around and shared our testimonies of the Book of Mormon. It was a cool experience. 

Celebration Cake

Cute Gabe...and Cute Erika ;)

Fun with the impressive Gwyn

I am so grateful for this amazing life i have to live. I am learning so much on my mission. I know that as we keep working hard the Lord will bless us. I just have to be patient and that is hard. But i know through the Atonement of Christ it is possible. Thank y'all for everything you do! Hope you have a Merry Christmas. 

Love you all!!

Sister Erika Kelly 

Sis Brog also finished her Turkey Ticket, 
but we just got a picture of it this week.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving Away from Home...Weird

Well this week was definitely interesting. Being away from home on Thanksgiving was weird! And i can't say i would like to make a habit of it haha but we did have fun with some of the members. That morning we woke up and went to Texarkana so we could play in the Turkey bowl with the ward there. It was a lot of fun, i am glad we went! They had a lot of members and investigators come. We had probably 20 people on each team so that was interesting. Especially because we didn't know any of them but it was still fun. Our team won!! 
Turkey Bowl with other missionaries

We got back home got ready and then went downstairs to the Pierces for lunch. She is from the Philippines and this was her first thanksgiving meal to cook. It was really good! We had turkey and mash potatoes and gravy and lots of pie and sweet potatoes and salad. It was great! We stayed there for quite awhile and then went back upstairs.  
Our Thankful Headbands with the Pierce's

We were so exhausted so we took a nap for about an hour and then got up and left for our next appointment. That was in Texarkana and so it took us about 25 minutes to get there. The GPS took us some crazy way and we thought we were lost! But we did eventually get there:) We ate with the Grant's extended family. They were so kind and just invited us right in like family. They aren't members and so they had lots of questions about missions. It was great! On our way out their grandma ran out and gave us a each a pair of Christmas gloves :) We might go back for Christmas dinner! 
I filled in the Turkey Ticket you sent me.  Phew


When me and sister Brog were planning what to teach this past week and going though all of our investigators we felt we needed to make some changes. We really enjoyed visiting with Liz but she had gotten to a point that she wasn't keeping commitments so we had to drop her:( We told her that when she is ready to change she can call us and we will come over but that we couldn't come see her everyday. That was hard! I just really hope she recognizes the difference when we don't come by

We were only able to teach Adrian once this week because he was in the hospital so much but we were able to stop by and just visit for a few minutes. We are going by again tonight to teach him. He is awesome! He had a lot of questions about some of our beliefs so we answered those our first time. Tonight will be our second time teaching him.

I am so grateful for this gospel! In this Christmas season i hope all of you will do your part in sharing the gospel. If you got the Ensign i know you have seen this but please share the gift! He is the gift. #sharethegift

Chalk Talk in the Park

Love you all!!

Sister Erika Kelly 

My Christmas Decorations
12 Days of Christmas from home.  Thanks family!