Tuesday, July 28, 2015

21 Already...

Oh where to start...I am hoping this will be a good email, but i am extremely tired! 

I'm 21!!

Feeling Spoiled!  Thanks to all of you that made my day the BEST!

My Birthday was fabulous! We woke up that morning and opened presents! It was so much fun:) i am so thankful for everyone who sent cards and packages. I really was loved on my birthday. 
For lunch sister Garry took me to a place called Asian Paradise and that was fabulous! Such good food and a good birthday treat. 


(I have a joke with sister garry, and i always would say "A sock! Dobby is Free!" and so she put that in my scriptures haha she found the sock on the side of the road, took it home and washed it.. she is so funny!)

That afternoon we went and taught this guy named Stephen. He is about 75, lives alone, and has no AC... i don't know how he lives. But he is fun to talk to! Ill send some pictures of him!

Stephen was saying he didn't want to smile because he didn't have any teeth and he would look ugly!  Impossible!  He is the cutest old man!

Then we went out with Leighann and got some Snowballs (snow cones)

That night we went to the Shields home and that was a blast. They made lasagna! and then the chocolate cake you had sent! They decorated and sang and we got to sing with the kids, it was just so much fun to be in a members home! 
I continued to get mail everyday until i left this morning. It was the best!

 The Shield's for dinner

Wednesday was a lot of fun as well. We had District meeting that morning. They were all excited for lunch! It was the best. Thank you for making that day so fun:) Best Parents award! We had a ton of left over cake so while we waited for the food to come out we ate the remaining.  That night we went to our ward correlation and sister Naylor had brought more cake.. woof! i was so full but it was delicious!

District Meeting and lunch brought to you by Mom and Dad. (More Birthday fun)

That day for district meeting we talked about additional inviting which is just going up to people on the street or in the store. Well we had an opportunity to right after the meeting! We have been praying for chances to talk to our loud angry neighbors and we had one. We were leaving our apartment and he was sitting in his truck. We went to walk over, he rolled down his window, and says, "Hey are y'all missionaries?" "Yes! We are." "Sweet, I am a Mormon!" .... Me and sister Garry did NOT see that coming! He grew up in Idaho and stopped going to church when he was about 16. He hasn't been religious since but said we could come and meet his wife whenever. So I believe they are going to try to teach him and his wife. 

I honestly can't remember what happened Thursday.. sorry i am sleep deprived right now.

Friday night the Naylor's had us over for dinner and their three grandsons,Nathan, Cameron, and Jayden, were there. They were 7, 6, and 2 We got to know them and just messed with them. Sister Garry raced them but i didn't want to do it in a skirt. So we challenged them to another race the next day at the Pioneer Day activity.

 The Naylor's
Sister Kelly, Nathan (Naylor's grandson), Sister Garry

Saturday was so much fun! The Pioneer activity started at 11 but we were short on tracting so we had to get thirty minutes done before we went. The very first house we went to was Mr. Jim. He knew the Sones (a big family in our ward) and we were able to talk to him for the entire thirty minutes. A blessing from the Lord! He had only good things to say and we got to talk about Christ. My favorite thing! 

We headed to the park where the activity was. It was a stake event so most of the missionaries were there. It was so fun to have everyone together. It was SO hot though. After about an hour sister Garry and I went and changed into our pday clothes so we weren't quite so hot! I forgot how much of a difference that makes. They had one of those blow up water slides and me and sister Naylor went down it! haha it was so much fun and it really cooled me off! They also had a splash pad that we went and ran around on. It was fun to be around a ton of the youth from the stake. And they love the missionaries, which makes it way more fun for us! 

They had water balloons too, all the kids started attacking sister Garry. It was pretty funny! Right before it all ended we went and raced the Naylor's grandsons. I kicked butt! We spent a lot of time with those boys and it totally helped bring people closer to Christ. I'll explain later.. 

After the race we went and checked our phone. We had a missed call from President and so we went to call him back. I got transferred! I am now in STL in Richland, Mississippi. It is really close to Clinton so I will get to go on exchanges there. I'm really excited! My companion is Sister Dutton. She is also from Las Vegas, and was baptized 2 years ago! 

Well right before the party was about to end we went to get a Snowball. We were in line and there was a young girl behind us that came up and start talking to us like we knew her. We just figured she was from another ward until we realized who it was! Do you remember the 7 year old we tracted into who asked us "if God created us, then who created God?" Well it was her! Mia! The park that we were at had camping sites and so there were a lot of other people there. Her family happened to be there camping! They had been out of town and we haven't been able to meet with them. Well we got our snowballs and then went over and got to talk with Mia's mom, Teresa, again too! She was excited to see us and we just talked for a bit. After talking for a bit we found out she was our mail lady! She was like "Sister Kelly you get a lot of mail!" haha They were able to set up an appointment and I had to say goodbye. But it was such a miracle that we were able to meet up with them in that way. Side story! I went to check the mail on Monday and i had a mini package. Teresa and Mia wrote me a note and put it on my package! It was so cute!

Saturday night it started to rain and we were nervous that we weren't going to be able to tract more. We prayed that it would subside until we had tracted an hour. Well it did and we were able to teach two awesome lessons! The Lord is so mindful of each of us!

Sunday was another great day. Sister Garry spoke and did such a great job. We also sang in the choir. We sang pioneer songs and that was a lot of fun! Church was good, i just love being able to feel the spirit. 

That afternoon we stopped by and went to see Leighann. She had contacted us earlier in the week and said that she didn't know what to do. That she wanted her own experiences so she didn't have to depend on others. I really hope that she takes the effort to do that. Especially with school starting soon, her time will be really limited. But i know it could bless her life. Anyway! We got to talk, shared a scripture and then had to say goodbye.. :( I will miss her a lot. 

That night we went to the Clowers' for dinner. We got to help cook and cut up a lot of veggies. It was so yummy! I need to do better and including those into my diet. After dinner we went and finished our tracting. Everyone was so rude! and didn't want to talk. Then we met a really nice older couple who let us in. They are both retired and have a huge garden in the backyard. It was so pretty. We shared a short message and then were on our way. It was good to end our tacting on a good note. 
To finish the night off we went back to the Clowers' and they took us on a Jeep ride. It was the best! There was a storm coming so we went down to the beach and drove along their hoping to catch it.. but we didn't :( It was still a ton of fun! I love the Clowers' they are such a great family. 

 Jeep ride with the Clower's

Monday was a stressful day. I had to pack and it just was not fitting! I was trying so very hard... But by 5 we left and went to go see the Grover's. We played games with their kids and had a mini FHE lesson with them. Then we drove home and went to the Patrick's! We played a fun game called Tater Hole. It was something Brother Patrick's family made up and it was a ton of fun! I was so lucky to be surround by wonderful people! 

The Grover Clan

The Patrick's

I am so grateful for the gospel in my life. It really has brought me so much peace and joy! Know that i love you and i love this work! Stay strong in the faith my friends and family!

Love you! have a fabulous week! Sister Kelly 

 Sister Fresh, Sister Kelly
 The Best Missionaries Ever

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Birthday Pictures

These pictures and messages were sent to me, Erika's mom, 
from the sweetest member down South, via text.  
Pretty much made my whole day!!

Your Birthday Girl!

She is a GREAT Missionary.  
Thanks for sharing her with out family!!  
We will send you a singing Happy Birthday picture soon! :)

I hope you enjoyed them!  
We have enjoyed celebrating her birthday with her!
You have an amazing daughter! 
Our son (who is 7) just said I can't wait to go on a mission! :)
She is such a wonderful example!!

We texted this message back for Erika.  
(Matthew was in an airport in Phoenix. :(  )

A Week of Little Miracles

The Zone Leaders we work with:
Elder Hendrickson, Elder McCrudy, Elder Kamya, Elder Hainsworth 

This week contained two exchanges. and I am so glad we are done for the transfer! It will be nice to have a week break. Tuesday I was with sister Elms. She is serving in Picayune. we had a really good day. We met some awesome people who had great questions. I think that is one of my favorite parts about missionary work, answering people's questions! Because it really does change the way that people think about things.

Exchanges with Sister Elms

Wednesday we had dinner with our ward mission leader, Brother Sones. That was a lot of fun! It was right before our correlation meeting and he cooked mashed potatoes, gravy, and roast!
Thursday we were on another exchange and i got to be with sister Winkel. She came out the same time I did and went to Snow college. We had fun talking about our missions and experiences at Snow. She is an awesome missionary and i got to learn a lot from her! I was so glad that we got to go. 

Exchanges with Sister Winkel

Friday we had another good day of tracting where we got to answer a lot of people's questions. That alone helps me feel like a good missionary!

When we got home that night it was pouring rain. Side story... I really like to watch people from our window... i don't know why but it like to know who lives around us and what cars they drive. Anyway the people who share our bedroom wall are really loud. They are always yelling and mad... at like 3 in the morning. It is awful. Sister Garry and I have been talking about going over, then sharing the gospel with them. And when we got home we had an opportunity to do so! She had left her truck window down. So we were going to go over, ask her if she was the one who drove the red truck (didn't want her to know we stalk them), and then tell her the window is down. So we walk over and they are sitting on their balcony. We just yell up, ask if it is their car, and then informed them the window was down. We walked back to our apartment and watched from the window. Well she never rolled it up! I was so mad haha just trying to be nice and get to know them so we could share the gospel and it didn't work out... ha 

Rainy Days

But i think that Saturday was my favorite day. We started by trying potentials. We went to a lady sister Garry had tracted into on exchanges. She wasn't home but her daughter was, she was older and just visiting. She mentioned that there was a lot going on and she didn't know where her mom was. We started to introduce ourselves and she goes, "Yeah, i know, i met you at the Exxon." Well me and sister Hartley had met her one of my first days in this area! We asked if we could share a message and she said yes. We just shared 2 Nephi 2:25 and bore testimony that God loved her and wanted her to be happy. By the end she was crying. She was eager to go inside and so we just left her with a pamphlet. But it was cool to watch as the Lord placed us there the same time she was so we could share a needed message with her. 

Then later that day we decided that we would go tract in the really rich part of Diamondhead. We had prayed to know where we needed to go and that is were we felt we were needed. It was really hard. People in Diamondhead don't like us there very much as it is, so tracting in the ritzy part made me nervous. We tracted for about 30 minutes and the few people that answered the door made it clear we were not welcome. With five minutes left we met Ruth! She was the nicest old lady. She didn't let us teach her anything but she told us that her husband had dementia. We were able to bare testimony that her husband would be resurrected with a perfect body and that they would see each other again after this life. We got to talk to her for a good 15 minutes before we had to go. But we gave her our number and told her to call us if she needed any help. She was so appreciative of us coming and we were so glad we listened to the spirit! 

That night we went and taught Inia with sister Patrick. She is the one that came to church two weeks ago. She enjoyed church and enjoyed listening to our message. But she let us know that she was happy where she was in her own religious beliefs. But she committed to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. And that is all we ask! 

Sunday I spoke on seeking the best gifts. It was really great to prepare. I read a talk from LDS.org while preparing. It talked about how we are here for one reason, to prepare to meet God. The material things don't/ won't matter. I shared the experience of when we did LIFE for youth conference and had to drop all the material things at the door. Then i spoke about setting goals to acquire those gifts. It was a great topic to study. 

Beauties of the South

That afternoon we went to contact a referral. That didn't work out so we decided to tract the surrounding streets. We knock on this man's door and invited him to a ward party. He didn't seem too interested in that but says, "Are you going to leave a book?" Uhh... never had that response before. He had friends that were members and had been wanting a book. Well turns out we were given a referral at the beginning of March and the address was wrong. But this was him! We found him tracting and were able to give him a Book of Mormon. His wife was sleeping so we couldn't teach him but we will definitely be going back! 

Later that afternoon we went on splits with two members. I went with Sister Grover and we were able to contact a less active sister on her visiting teaching route. Sister Garry was with sister Clowers... well i thought they were out visiting.. no everyone else was in on the plan but me. It was all a ploy so they could set up a birthday dinner for me! The made steak, mashed potatoes, and salad. With an awesome "better then anything" cake! It was a great night. 

Happy Birthday to me!  Thanks to the Clowers 
and my awesome companion! 

With all the wonderful things that happened we had a not so happy thing happen. Leighann decided that this church wasn't for her. She had done some research and decided that it wasn't all true. She of course still respects us and was very kind about everything. It was just hard to see someone you have grown so close with turn away from something that means so much to you. 

But i know this church is true, with my whole heart. I know that God loves us. and i know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. i am so grateful for the experiences i am able to have on my mission. As well as the amazing people that i get to meet. 

Hope y'all have a great week! Thank you for all the birthday wishes and gifts you have sent. Love y'all!!

Sister Erika Kelly 

Yummy Lunch!!

I love this girl!!!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Raising the Bar by Preparing with a Purpose

What a crazy week!

Tuesday afternoon we went to Gulfport to meet our new mission president. President and sister Olson are great. they are still learning the ropes but what else would we expect right? They introduced their family and talked about their expectations. It is good to have them here.

After the conference we went and did some service... Sister Garry cut one of the elder's hair. That was an interesting experience and i am glad i was not the one cutting. Too much pressure for not knowing what the heck to do. 

We then drove to Biloxi and met up with the sisters there. We had about 45 minutes to work before the end of the evening so we went tracting for a bit. I was with sister Frandsen and we had a great thirty minutes of tracting.

Funny story: We walk up to this house and the only door is on side. So we have to walk through the car port, past the car. We knock on the door and we wait... Right before i go to knock again sister Frandsen goes, "Oh!" I turn around and there is a guy sitting in his car, talking on the phone, and just watching us. Awkward!!! Then it was even more awkward because he just sat in the car while he talked to us.. He wasn't interested.

Then we went to the next house. There was a lady sitting outside who saw the whole thing next door. She expressed that she was sorry people were so rude. She appreciated our hard work. After talking with her more we found out that she was a Less Active that had just moved there. We were able to get her contact information and she was willing to talk with the sisters again! 

The next day also went well for exchanges. That evening we drove to Ocean Spring for another exchange! The night before i had slept on an air mattress and was so ready to be able to sleep on a bed again. That exchange was also fun! I was with sister Barney and she is a trooper. She has been out the same amount of time as sister Burgess (which has already been six months..) and turned 19 right before coming out. They are in a car share and it was their week on bikes. It had been a good minute that i haven't had full access to a car.. that was an interesting experience. She didn't like biking so we walked everywhere. But we are about to leave the apartment after lunch and it starts to down pour. She goes inside grabs her rain jacket and two umbrellas and says, "Lets go!" What the!!! That would not have been my first choice. I probably would have called a member to see if we could do service or something but she wanted to go out. So i put on my happy face and we left. The rain only lasted about 30 minutes thank goodness! My shoes were soaked though and we had a meeting that night. So i had to throw them in the drier before sister Garry came to pick me up so we could go.
We have a stake correlation every month. I don't know if i have told you about it. But it is really beneficial to have. Our stake president is really on board with missionary work too!
By the time we got home it was time to pack and get to bed so we could be ready for the weekend. 

Friday morning we woke up did our studies and then drove to Pervis Mississippi. Some of the sisters there were getting a new car. So we left our car with them and then drove theirs the rest of the way to Jackson. I love MLC for the fact that i get to see so many awesome missionaries. It was a lot of fun being able to be around the Olson's! We got to know them a lot more.


This MLC focus was Preparing with a Purpose, hence the title of this email. Friday night was a great meeting. President Olson asked us a bunch of questions on where we thought our mission was in certain aspects. He called it taking inventory so that he can know what he wants to do. 

Saturday was also really good. We talked a lot about our missions music rule. We are only allowed to listen to music sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in General Conference. It has been a big debate with the missionaries wanting it changed. We discussed it for almost two hours. What principle we could teach if we changed it, what we would change it to, why we should keep it. After we all voted and decided that our mission needed it to stay where it was. President Olson just sat back and listened until we had made a decision. He then stood and said that he thought that either choice would have been fine with him. But that our missions goal was to raise that bar. He spoke about Moses coming down and giving the people the law. That they were not prepared to live the higher law and so they were given the 10 commandments. He voiced that he felt that is what our mission needed. We need to continue to raise the bar so we can be prepared for what the Lord would have us to do. 

I loved the theme of this MLC. It is a great thing to do in every aspect of life. We should be preparing, and we should always have something we are preparing for. Striving for the best in all things. I am so grateful for my mission and all that i have learned! 

Keep being amazing people. I love you all! Thanks for you examples, love, and support. Have a fabulous week!

Love, Sister Erika Kelly

 I just realized i didn't write anything about Sunday. 
So last Monday we met one of our neighbors. She just moved in and is from Brazil. Her name is Inia and is working here. We told her who we were and she said we could come over any time to teach her. She just wanted to get settled first. We gave her our card and then she said she would text us so we had her number. Fast forward to Saturday. On our way home she texted us. We told her that she was more then welcome to come to church with us the next morning. and she came! She only stayed for sacrament but really enjoyed it and wants to come back. We are teaching her this Friday!

Well because we were out of our area most of the week we only had finished an hour and a half of tracting and we are suppose to get 7 each week. We were determined to get it. Well we talked to the ward council about it and the relief society asked for volunteers. We got two people to come out with us so we could go on splits. We went for an hour and ten minutes and because we were split it counted as 2 hours and twenty minutes. Thank goodness because the rest of it was so hard to get!
But we saw a lot of blessings while tracting. We had found these apartments in the middle of nowhere that we tracted. Our very last door ended up being a less active member. She was born and baptized in New Zealand. Her grandma was a member, and she made it seem like she was never really active. She then moved to Australia. She met with missionaries but never was active. She has since gotten married to someone in the military and moved to the states. They just recently moved to the coast. The were previously living further north and missionaries had also tracted into her there. She says, "you are my second set of missionaries to knock on my door since being here. I think it is a sign." We are going to teach her sometime this week.

Second blessing! We were on our last hour of tracting and i was DONE! I said a little prayer in my head that i needed some add strength to finish with a positive attitude. The very next door let us in for the remaining hour! It was perfect. The Lord truly blesses us! 
Okay, now that is all i have:) LOVE YOU 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Happy Birthday 'Merica!!

Well i can't believe that this transfer is already half way over.. It keeps getting faster and faster.

I started the week off in Slidell Louisiana for an exchange. It was fun to be working in a different area. I love being able to see so many different parts of the mission. The sisters are doing well and i love being able to watch as they help their investigators progress. 

We met with Leighann twice this week. Wednesday she taught us about keeping the Sabbath day holy. It was good to see what she found. We really want her to be able to do her studies on her own and hopefully that helped. 
Leighann has been doing well at not drinking. We didn't ask her to stop, one day she just mentioned that she had. We were talking about it and she expressed that it was really hard just because it was something she couldn't do. She had some alcohol in the freezer. To get rid of the temptation she dumped it down the drain. I think we had more fun then she thought was necessary but we loved it!
Thursday night we went with her to a member's house. It was great! We had dinner and then taught about the spirit world. It was good to help her know more of the members so when we leave it won't be as big of a sting. 
She is out of town with her family so we won't see her this week. Which is okay because we wouldn't be able to visit her anyway. Our week is going to be crazy! 

The Fourth of July was so much fun! The day was long because everyone was out and busy. But sister Garry and I went and bought a watermelon and then some hamburgers. We had a little picnic on the balcony, it was perfect overcast weather! Then that night Waveland had a big celebration. They were heavily effected by Hurricane Katrina and haven't had a firework show since then. One of the residents wrote into a company, Distance America. They sponsor celebrations and the story won the contest. So they came and threw a big 4th of July celebration. They had lots of free stuff, live music, and then a huge firework show. It was great! We could go down and had the opportunity to talk with lots of people while still enjoying ourselves. It was a lot of fun! 

Sunday was a great day! I love the opportunity to take the sacrament each week. I have really been trying to make it a spiritual experience each time i take it. In our stake conference our stake president spoke all about partaking of the sacrament. He asked, "What was the most memorable sacrament you have had?" It really made me think. And then he said, "The most memorable sacrament should be last week." We should make sacrament meeting so special every single week. So i have really been trying to prepare starting that morning and i really like the difference it makes. 

But this week was extra special because of it being fast Sunday. Sister Garry and I had no new investigators for the week and were having a hard time being focused on the work. So that is what we fasted for! Help to find people and using our time more wisely. Well we did really well yesterday. We found three new people to teach. I especially want to tell you about Milton and Willie. They are an older couple. We were walking up to their door and we could hear a dog growling at us. We couldn't really see it at first and then it came out from behind the car. Well, after my experience last week, and the fact that I'm not comfortable around dogs as it is, i backed off. Sister Garry just stood there and it started barking at us. Waiting for sister Garry to decide what to do the owner, Milton, came outside to see what was up. He told us that his dog was in training to be a K9 dog. Soo glad i backed up! But anyway, we started talking to him about the church and he was awesome! He loves history and Jesus Christ. We explained the Book of Mormon to him. When we asked if he would read it he didn't hesitate to answer yes! He brought up Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. He believes they were inspired of God and thinks highly of them. That was rare! Sister Garry's parents had sent her some copies of the Book of Mormon with their testimonies in it for her birthday. She had one in the car and she wanted to give him one of them. So we ran to get it. When we got back his wife was also outside. We got to talk to her and they both were excited to read it. We are going back in a week to see if they liked it! 

I am so grateful for the week we had! This upcoming week is going to be so busy! Zone conference tomorrow so we can meet our mission president! Wednesday we are going to Biloxi for an exchange. Thursday going to Ocean Springs for an exchange and ending that day with a stake meeting. Friday and Saturday we will be in Jackson for MLC! It will be great! 

I love you all! And hope you have a fabulous week:) Don't forget your Savior in all you do . 

LOVE YOU, Sister Erika Kelly 

My Companion thinks she is funny!

Sister Garry gave me a trim.

Gotta love parks in the South!!