Monday, August 24, 2015

Mucho Gracias Maria

Oh what a week! Monday for Pday we went to Vicksburg. We have a set of sisters there that we did exchanges with on Tuesday. But we went up and spent Pday with them. They have a park, Military Park, and it is all about the civil war. You can walk around and see where they actually fought. It was really cool! 

Me and Sister Dutton

 Military Park in Vicksburg


Mississippi River

This week has just been really slow. We weren't able to find any new investigators for the second week in a row.

Wednesday night we went over to the Smallwood's for dinner. She is the Primary president and he is the Ward mission leader. We have come to really like them and it has become a tradition since i have been here to eat there every Wednesday night. They are awesome and sister Smallwood helps a lot with Daja. 

Hanging out with Deja

Thursday was rough for me. I woke up that morning and felt terrible. We were in Mendenhall so i slept on a couch all night and I just felt so achy. Sister Cothern had a doctors appointment that morning so we stayed in and i slept till 12. I felt so bad for sister Dutton, but i needed it! The rest of the day i felt better but i still felt gross. 

We got to teach Alexis and Michael about prayer and scripture study. We asked Michael what his favorite story has been so far (from the Book of Mormon stories) and he said it was the one about Joseph. The very first story is the first vision! We thought that was pretty neat. 

We also visited two older couples that are less active, and both of them came to church yesterday! That was exciting to see:)

Friday morning we had an appointment with a less active, Paige. Her husband works all the time and so she doesn't like coming by herself with three young kids. It was a good visit. We just don't know what to do to help her come back to church. Any ideas? 

Okay, rewind a few days, we had been using our area book looking for former investigators. We found this guy who was taught about a year and half ago and we wanted to go see him. But he was too many miles away from where we were so we were going to try him later. Okay, now back to present time. We were on our way to see Paige and passed by the street where that guy lived. So on our way home we stopped to try and meet him. It was a trailer with a wooden porch. We knock and this older Hispanic lady, Maria, answers the door. She didn't speak a ton of English so she was a bit confused regarding why we were there. We explained who we were looking for and it was her son, but he didn't live there anymore. In the process of all this happening a red wasp came out of nowhere and stung the back of my leg!!! As i processed what had just happened it started flying at me again! I am running around trying to get away from this wasp, lose it, and then can feel it in my hair. so then i start freaking out, my bag is on the floor, my hair is a mess, and the stupid thing stung my head too! While all that was happening the lady had gone back inside, we thought to just leave us there to suffer. But then she came back out with some wasp spray and was spraying it everywhere. She let us in and gave me some ice. That helped the sting a bit. Good news is that i am not allergic and the pain went away by the end of the day. 

Anyway, we got talking with Maria and through the little English she knew told us that her son passed away earlier in the year. :( So that was a bummer. We consoled her and then were on our way. She wasn't interested in us teaching a lesson until her English was better. We are going to go back sometime soon. 

Saturday night we spent time with the Bishop and his wife, the Eady's. They are an awesome couple. They took us to dinner and then it was raining so we came back and did service. We decorated a ton of different ribbon for Daja to play with during primary. We were so excited to show it to her and then they weren't at church because of Alexis' MS was acting up. But it was a lot of fun to make. 
Sister Eady also made me this interesting drink to help my sore throat. It actually helped but every time i would drink some it was like a kick in the face! Oh i was glad to be done with it. 

Fun Crafting for Deja

Sunday was another long day. Church was great but the rest of the time we really spent tracting. We were out for three hours and not one lesson. It was a hard way to end  a hard week. And we are hoping and praying for more direction so we can pick up the work here. I am so grateful for the knowledge of this gospel! It brings so much peace and happiness. I love y'all lots! Have a great week.

LOVE, Sister Kelly 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Assembly of God

I am loving this ward! I guess I have told sister Dutton that every week since being here, but it is true. The people are so kind and really love to help us as missionaries. Monday night we went to a members house for a FHE and it was so much fun. We, well I, got to know them a bit better and just felt so welcome. They showed us a funny video, "How the apostles eat Reese's Peanut Butter Cups." Y'all will have to check it out.

The beginning of the week was a bit crazy. After MLC we as leaders are to teach the rest of the missionaries what we discussed at their district meetings. The zone leaders are usually the ones who teach but President Olson asked the sister training leaders to also help. So Tuesday and Wednesday we spent most of our time at the church teaching the different districts. We taught about cleansing the inner vessel and how it will effect our missionary work. It was a great topic, but by the third time teaching it we were pretty burned out. 

We also had interviews. It was the first one with President Olson, sister Dutton and I both had to agree that they were just different. We are still learning to adjust and so are the Olson's. But I am glad the Lord trusts us to be here at this time to help them in His work! 

Thursday we were in Mendenhall once again. We went to go see a lot of less actives in the morning. There is a family, the Creole's, in the ward where none of them are active.Grandma Creole was an active member and had all of her children and grandchildren baptized. Well now none of them are active and some of them don't even remember being baptized. And they aren't very receptive, but we are working on it! 

That afternoon we went and saw Alexis. She is doing amazing. We started teaching her son Michael the week before and so we got to teach both of them this week. We taught the plan of salvation. It was so cool to talk about how we will be made perfect and how her daughter Daja will be able to talk with her. It made Alexis so happy! 

We had given Michael one of the children's Book of Mormon picture books, and he loves it. We asked him what he read and he told us all about Nephi and Lehi. While we were teaching we helped him draw the plan of salvation in the back of the book so he will have it to remember. At the end of the lesson we asked Michael if he could teach us everything back.And he did! I think he taught it better then we did!

While we were talking about eternal families we asked Michael if he would also like to commit to being baptized. And he goes, "What does the mean." Oh! well I guess we didn't think about that! haha so we taught him about baptism and he committed to do it. We reset both Michael and Alexis to be baptized on the 19th of September! 

That night we went to the kick off for the high school football season. Brother Cothern is one of the coaches, their son is on the team, and their daughter is the athletic trainer. It was weird to be back in a high school setting! 

Sister Dutton & Sister Kelly at the game

Saturday we met Tracy and Howard. They are a coupe in their 60's and have started getting into church about a year ago. They have been through a lot and love the church they are attending, Assembly of God. But they let us in and we had a great talk with them about the church! They had lots of questions and we got to learn so much about how they worship. We ended up staying there for three hours just talking about Christ and his gospel. It was the best. We left them with a Book of Mormon and they said they would study it. Then they invited us to come to their church service. So last night we got to go! It is very different from when we go to church but it was good to experience something different. Sister Dutton and I got in the car and talked about how they love Christ and want to follow him but the spirit just wasn't there. We started singing hymns and it was such a great feeling as the spirit came back. 

Assembly of God with Tracy and Howard

I am so grateful for the spirit and truth in my life. I was studying Enos, Jarom, Omni, and the begnining of Mosiah this week. Something that i loved was how they were continually stating how important the scriptures were. That we need them to be protected and perfected. I am so thankful the prophets took all the time to record their dealings with God.
I love this gospel and know it is true! Love y'all, hope you have a great week.

Sister Erika Kelly 

I've been out one year so Sister Dutton made me
this little treat.  We didn't have a candle so we used this 
giant flashlight.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Helping the Blind. Literally & Figuratively

So we started the week off with an oil change and new tires on our car! It was really nice but it took all of Tuesday morning and into the afternoon to get it all finished. While we were there we got talking to this guy who gave us a little book about what we need to do in this life to make sure we go to heaven in the next. It was interesting to read. That evening we went to dinner with the bishop and his wife. It is always good to be able to get to know the bishop. I am excited to be working with them. 

Wednesday we had our district meeting so that took a lot of time out of our day. When we were on our way home a member texted us and asked for our help. She works in the high school and was setting up for school to start. (It started last Thursday) They are trying to start switching everyone over to computers, and they are working with a program called Canvas. I used that in college so I was able to somewhat help her. We got talking to her and  they have made it against the law to pray at all during any school event. It has been a huge ordeal and none of the teachers are happy about it. I asked if they were allowed to before sports and not even then. The coach can get fired.. So ridiculous. 

Thursday we went by and taught/ helped one of our investigators, Ada. She is in her 60's and had a stroke a few years back. Well the stroke caused her to lose her vision and so she just wanders around hoping she is doing things right. Like, she never knows what she sets her temperature at in her apartment, or the microwave. But we went there and helped her to schedule some doctors appointments and clean up around the apartment. She actually keeps everything pretty clean. But she lost her phone awhile back (she has since got a new one) but we searched the apartment for it and never found it. But we did find some awesome sunglasses! I'll attach a picture haha i guess her doctor gave them to her so that people could know she was blind. But she said she hates them so she gave them to us! She has a friend who has family that are members so she had lots of questions that we answered! I think that is my favorite thing to do, answer peoples questions. 

Friday night we went over and had dinner with Bobby Jean. She had cooked us Enchiladas and then strawberry shortcake for dinner. She is awesome. She is like my grandma on my mission. She is still really sick though, we hope she can start coming back to church. She just got one of those necklaces with the button you push if you fall. You know the, "Help, i have fallen and i can't get up", commercials? That is what she has! We are glad because she has already fallen twice and broken a lot. 

Saturday the stake had a Women's Conference. Sister Dutton and I went early to help set up. It was so much fun to be back at the Clinton building and see all of the women from the ward. I loved serving there so much! But it was also fun because I had the opportunity to get to know the women in the ward I'm in now! I really like the members here. 

That night we went over to Connie Smith's home. She is a less active and has gone through a lot of hard things. She has come to church both times since i have been here, and on Saturday she told us that she made it a commitment to come every week. She really does want to make a difference in her life. I am excited to be able to get to know her. 

Alexis is doing great! We didn't get to teach her this week because we couldn't go to Mendenhall with the Cothren's. But she came to church even though she wasn't feeling well. I ended up sitting in the hall with Alexis and her three kids while sister Dutton sat with Connie. Thankfully we could still hear the meeting but it was hard to stay focused while watching Deja (She is the one who has downs syndrome) at the same time. I don't know how Alexis handles all three of her kids by herself. 

That night we had a cottage meeting with some of the less active in Mendenhall. It is something that the wards do to help the less active still have fellowship and hopefully come back to church. Well investigators come as well so Alexis was there! We talked about modern miracles and shared stories with each other. it was really good. While we were on our way out Sister Cothren says, "So Alexis found out we don't drink coffee." We looked over at Alexis and she says, "Yeah, i only had a tiny bit this morning! I am trying to wean myself off of it." Sister Dutton and I just sat there in shock. We haven't even taught her about the word of wisdom yet and she already committed herself to live it! She is solid! 

It has been such a great week. I am so grateful for my time here. It is going by so fast. Sister Dutton and I are getting along great and are doing our best to spread the work here. I know that my Savior lives, and I know Heavenly Father loves us all. I am so thankful for the scriptures and the comfort they bring. 

I hope y'all have a fabulous week! Love you!
Sister Erika Kelly 

One of my amazing tan lines haha

Monday, August 3, 2015

Haven't Even Unpacked

Well hello Family and Friends!

Week one is done and i swear time keeps getting faster. This past week had a lot of travel involved. Wednesday we had out district meeting in Brookehaven, which is about an hour and a half drive. By the time we got home it was almost 3. And then that night we went to the church to meet up with a member. Our ward is in Florence, we live in Richland, and part of our area is in Mendenhall. Mendenhall is about 40 minutes away and so we go there every Wednesday night, spend a night with a member (the Cothern's), and then Thursday sister Cothern comes out with us all day. It is really fun! They live in a huge southern home. I will have to get a picture one day.

We have a progressing investigator, her name is Alexis. She has three kids that are adorable! We got to go see her on Thursday and teach her the beginning of the Plan of Salvation. She really enjoyed it and i really enjoyed getting to know her.  She is amazing! She is a single mom, has MS, her kids are 9,7, and 3 months old. And the 7 year old has down syndrome. I don't know how she does what she does. I am really looking forward to teaching her. She has a baptism date for September 26! 

Friday and Saturday we had MLC in Jackson. It was fun to see everyone again so soon! and i loved not having to travel all morning before and then all evening after! We got to work in our area, instead! It made things way less stressful. But MLC was great. We talked all about cleaning the inner vessel. How we purify ourselves in order to improve and help others. I am making it a bigger priority to really focus on my goals this transfer. Because that is how we improve.

Elder Beckstrom trying to be skinny.

Elder Guillaume and his Tabasco tie.

Love Sister Garner

Elder Taylor

Sister Garry, love her

Sister Dutton, my new companion from Las Vegas!

Saturday night we were tracting and met this lady named, Jennifer. She was really apprehensive to us teaching a lesson. But we talked to her for about an hour all about different beliefs that we have. She was really interested in prophets! She kept asking questions like she was trying to find something she disagreed with and never did. I hope that she lets missionaries in the next time they come by. It was a great discussion! I love being able to talk to people like that because there is so much false information about us. It is nice to correct those things and allow people to feel the spirit while we do it!

Sunday was great! Alexis came and really enjoyed it. Our lesson in gospel principles was on tithing and at the end of class she told us that she wanted to pay hers. We told her that she could but didn't have too until she was a member. She insisted on paying! Afterwards sister Dutton told me that she was nervous to teach tithing because Alexis is really tight with money right now. We were so glad that everything worked out how it did! 

That afternoon we went tracting and met Donte and Jeffery. They were both younger guys (which is ALWAYS awkward) but they were willing to listen! We had a great lesson on the Book of Mormon and each of them wanted a copy. When we gave them our card it had the picture of Christ in his red robe on it. Jeffery goes, "I have a bigger version of this picture at my house." What!! We told him that that picture is one from our church.. We are interested to see if they really read! 

That night we went over to Bobby Jeans house. She is a recent convert that i had already met on exchanges when i was in Clinton. She is awesome! She is in her 70's and just recently broke both of her arms so she can't get out much. But we love going over and teaching her. Her daughter, Angela, is living with her right now and so we teach her too. She reminds me a lot of Sammy! I love it. 
Well i know that this church is true! I am loving my mission so much and it is going by way too fast. 

I hope all at home is well. Thanks for all the love and support! 

Love. Sister Erika Kelly 

Elder Lords on the far right is from Las Vegas. 
His dad was our dentist when we first moved there.
Small world.