Tuesday, September 29, 2015

No Fear November

Monday evening was great! We had a lesson with Heather and Cody that night. Well something happened with Cody's mom and so he wasn't there when we showed up. He had left to go talk to his preacher about everything that had happened. So we had the chance to visit with just Heather. She really opened up to us. She has had some crazy stuff happen in her life so we talked about the Atonement and how we can be healed. It was a great lesson and it was the first time we felt like we connected with Heather. (Cody is usually the only one talking)  Afterwards we split up for exchanges. I went with sister Rueckert in Florence so i wasn't there, but the sisters finally finished teaching Carl the Restoration! and he prayed at the end of the lesson!! 

Wednesday we had a meeting with our entire Zone! That was a lot of fun. We are spread out and so we rarely have opportunities to be all together. But the meeting was great. The Zone Leaders, Sister Dobbins, and I were the one that taught. It was all about Unity. We made it a mini MLC with our Zone. Created ideas of how we could become more unified, what they expect of us as leaders, what we expect of them, and what they expect of each other. I loved the spirit that was there as we communicated and made decisions as a group. 
Somethings we decided to do:
Power Hour: Once a week for one hour the entire zone tracts at the same time
Daily Texts: One companionship per day picks a scripture or quote to send to the rest of the zone
Baptism Texts: Whenever someone in the zone has a baptism we text it to the rest of the zone
and my favorite is a mission wide decision! President Olson has the vision of every companionship in the mission having a baptism in the month of November. That would be 100 Baptisms in one month. Our mission has never done that and we are all really excited for it! No Fear November! D&C 6:36, Doubt not Fear not. It will be a great thing, and I am excited to see what our mission can do. 

The Clinton Zone

To finish the night we got to go see Heather and Cody again. It was a great lesson! We had asked him how it went while he was meeting with his pastor.... it didn't go well. Which is actually good for us. They loved that church but i guess when Cody had questions for him he wouldn't read from the scriptures. He basically told Cody he knew it all and didn't need to read from them. So Cody doesn't want to ever go back and really wants to come visit us. Now we just need to help Heather want to come.  We started teaching them the Plan of Salvation. And it also is surprising to me when people don't know that we lived with Heavenly Father before this life. And I love how as soon as we tell them and bare testimony of it that it just makes sense in their head. We also talked about the feelings of the holy ghost. Cody is very aware of the spirit! It has been fun to teach him. 

Thursday was a rather interesting day. One i will never forget. We are really low on miles this month and so we biked most of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. But Thursday we started out with some tracting. We met Angie at her boy friends house. Sister Dobbins and Sister Dutton had met her on Tuesday while we were on exchanges and she let us right in so we could teach her. It was a short lesson because she was headed out. As I was saying the prayer the strangest thing happened. The three of us were holding hand and i was saying the prayer. As i was praying I could tell that Angie was getting emotional. She let go of my hand, and i figured it was so she could wipe her tears away. Well that wasn't her plan. All of a sudden this lady starts to stroke my face.... I opened me eyes and she is just staring at me... Through tears she apologizes. I just closed my eyes and quickly closed the prayer. We got out as fast as possible. And after getting about half way down the road, far enough away so she couldn't hear me i told sister Dobbins what had happened. She had no idea because her eyes were closed! Oh it was the weirdest things ever! haha 

Friday we met with Carl again. We taught him about the pre-earth life and he too had never thought about us being anywhere before earth. It was a really good lesson! He opened up a lot and we were able to address some of his concerns. Please keep him in y'alls prayers. He is praying about a baptism date and we really want him to recognize his answer. 

Saturday was the Stake Day of Service. That was a ton of fun! We went to the Jackson Zoo and helped clean up. Sister Dobbins and I helped clean out these flower beds. They were filled with leaves and pine needles. We didn't even really do that big of an area but it took hours to finish it all. I was so sore the next few days! But it was a lot of fun to help. We also worked with Elder Durland. He is one of the senior missionaries that works in the office. I talked to him for probably a good 2 hours. I asked him what his life advice was. He said, "Do everything you can to get married. To someone you love." I thought that was great advice. He is a great guy and a wonderful example. I will have to get a picture with him and his wife next MLC.  When we finished that we went and helped paint a wall. We got to work with one of the members from Clinton and that was a lot of fun to catch up with her. We also worked with all the sisters in our zone! That was also good to be able to get to know each of them on a more personal level. Before going home we got to walk around and look at all the animals. That was a lot of fun!

The Florence Ward Missionaries

Serving at the zoo

Working with Kara Cothern, a laurel from the ward

Driving home

That night was the women's conference. We went back with the Florence sisters and got ready at their apartment. Before it started they had a pot luck! That was delicious and I was glad i didn't have to cook.  I loved all the talks and how they added the videos. I can't wait to see what the rest of conference brings. Before going home Bishop Eady and his wife took us to Sonic for shakes. They are such great people!   Well funny story.... While sister Dutton and I were companions we made up a little song about her favorite thing to get at Sonic so i started singing it. Well apparently the workers can hear you before you push the button and so they heard me singing! When they brought us our orders the waitress asked if we were going to sing it... ah no! All the workers were fighting over who was going to take our order because they thought we would sing it haha that was all funny until Bishop said, if you come back out in 15 minutes they will really sing you something. What the?! So they ended up coming out, all with their phones ready to record us. We sang How Great Thou Art. haha it was funny looking back on it all. 

We love Bishop and Sister Eady!

Sunday we were so excited for church! We were planning on Carl, Heather and Cody to all be there. It was rather disappointing when none of them were able to come. Carl slept in. And Cody go sick. But we will hopefully have them there next week. 

Oh finally on the last day! Emailing is stressful sometimes! Monday was another great day. We had a training for all the new missionaries and their trainers. They can ask any questions and then the AP's, ZL's, and us STL's answer those questions. That went most of the day. That evening though we went by and taught Cody. It was the best lesson we have had with him. Last time we gave him the Restoration pamphlet to read. He had read it and then we were able to teach about it. We were teaching all about authority and how important it is. He was sitting there thinking and then goes, "So if you aren't baptized by the proper authority it doesn't really count. That makes perfect sense." He expressed how he has been baptized 5 or 6 times but hasn't really ever felt different and now he knew why! He committed to work towards being baptized on the 14th of November! Please keep him and his wife in your prayers! We are really excited for the both of them. But we are going to have to do a lot more teaching with Heather before she is ready. She asked us to come back on Wednesday during the day when it is just her so she can ask questions! 

I am so grateful for how much i am learning. This gospel is so amazing! It is the only way we can find true joy and happiness. I hope y'all have a great weekend with General Conference. Come with questions in mind and have an open heart. The spirit will help you know what to do. I love y'all!
Sister Erika Kelly   

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Bad GPS!

This week was crazy! We started our week out with exchanges in Vicksburg. They are about an hour drive away when your GPS takes you the right direction. But when it doesn't take you the right direction you end up going through crazy small scary towns, driving over old bridges, and finally getting there two hours later! It was terrible. Thank goodness the drive back was much better and we were able to get home in an hour but we were way late getting home. 

The exchange was a lot of fun. I was with sister Elliot. She just got here at the beginning of the transfer and so i had a day to train a new missionary again! And the coolest part is that she came from Washington, and knows Treyden Ellis! He served in her ward and told us about each other. But we didn't think we would actually cross paths! 

Sister Kelly, Sister Bennett, Sister Elliot, Sister Dobbins

This week we have spent almost everyday with Carl and Ada! They never have anything in the evening hours which is great because that is sometimes the hardest time to fill. But we have been teaching the Restoration. We still haven't finished the whole thing because Ada likes to go off topic or Carl with have lots of questions. But I enjoy teaching them. Carl is really understanding the gospel. We taught about the apostasy, which is really hard for people to understand. I don't know if it is just in the South or everywhere but it just doesn't click for people. But Carl understood and asked, well then how did we get it back...?  It was a great moment! Carl came to church again and so did Ada this week! We went by earlier that morning and helped her get ready. 

Thursday and Friday we had MLC. That was great! and just what i needed. We talked all about unity. It is something we really need to strive for as a mission. The APs shared Genesis 11:6. The people were building the tower of Babel and even though it was a wrong thing to do, they were so untied that nothing could stop them. I really liked that. If they were so untied that nothing could stop them, think of the wonderful things we could do in our mission if we just all united together!

Elder Beckstrom and Elder Clyde in their matching ties

My new companion, Sister Dobbins

Saturday was rough! We went out to work and decided to walk so we could save miles. Well it was hotter then it had been for quite awhile and so I was just drained. I hadn't been feeling well as it was and so by the time we were finished walking I had to lay down. Sister Dobbins was nice and let me sleep for about an hour and then we went and finished the evening up. Well when we got home it smelled really strong of natural gas... Our apartment doesn't have anything run off gas so we didn't know what to do. After making what felt like 100 calls, we finally got things figured out. There had been some kind of leak but the city was aware of it. They said we would be fine to stay at our apartment but President Olson suggested we stay with the Florence sisters that evening just to be safe. So we packed really quick and then headed down to sleep. 

Church was great but i still wasn't feeling very well. When we got home we ate and then i slept. When i woke up i still wasn't feeling well. Sister Dobbins insisted that we call the mission nurse and she told us to stay in for the day. So we made it a bum day. i couldn't believe how fast it went though, and it was really nice to be able to relax. I think i made myself sick with so much stressed. But i am now managing it better! 

To top off the crazy week we got a letter in the mail saying that our car had a few recalls and we needed to take it in to the dealership. That is how we started our morning. They ran a few tests, ordered some new parts, and we will have to go back in the next week or so.

If anything, I learned the importance of unity and love this week. It is so important to align yourself with your church leaders, who should be aligning themselves with God. We must do all we can to allow our will to be swallowed up in Gods. Mosiah 15:7.

Love y'all! hope you have a great week, Sister Kelly 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

New Adventures

This week has been full of all new things. I have been on a mission for a year and there are still new things happening! 

Wednesday Sister Dutton and I actually spent most of the day together. We had to figure out our new boundaries. And getting that all worked out took way longer then we thought. So our companions went out and worked while we were at the library. We were glad that we finished though so we knew where to work!

Thursday was a long day! It was the first full day that I had to work in Richland without sister Dutton. I really had to depend on the Lord to know where we needed to go. This whole week has actually been that way. But it has really helped me focus on God and His work instead of what I think would be best. 

Before the new transfer started Sister Dutton and I went tracting and found this family. Cody and Heather, they have two kids and let us right in to talk. Cody was involved in a lot of evil things and then had an experience that made him change his life around. He loves God and has lots of questions. While he was changing his life he read almost every religious book ever written and so he had read the Book of Mormon. He said he believed it to be true but there was one part that he didn't agree with. It was some verse that said you couldn't repent.. So we told him we would go home and look for it and then come back. So sister Dobbins and I were able to go back this week. We told him that we weren't able to find the scripture and he said he wasn't either. Then he told us that while he was looking he had realized it wasn't in the Book of Mormon. He told us that they had had financial problems come up in between us coming and he felt impressed to read from the Book of Mormon. He felt the spirit, prayed about it, and knows that it is true! It was a great lesson! Later that week his son and nephew were having a birthday party and they had invited us. We stopped by for about 30 minutes and they were so excited to see us there. We are so excited to help their family find the truth! 

We also had the opportunity to start teaching a guy named Carl. We met him through Ada, the lady that is legally blind. She helped raise him and he is trying to get his life in order so she let him move in. He is 29 and hasn't made the best choices but really had the desire change. We had the chance to teach him three times this week. He knows that God is real and that Christ paid for his sins but he doesn't know how to better his life. We had given him a Book of Mormon and a Restoration pamphlet and asked him to do the questions in the back of the pamphlet. Well, there was some miscommunication so when we had come back he hadn't done the questions but he said he had read. So we asked him what he had read. He started talking about Nephi building a boat.... He had read up to chapter 19 in the Book of Mormon in two days and was understanding all that he read! I love watching as people catch the fire to continue learning about what God wants them to do! It is truly the best! We talked about baptism and he is wanting to be baptized to get rid of the guilt that he has. He came to all three hours of church and was able to meet lots of great people. One of his biggest trials is finding good friends right now and he was able to really do that Sunday. Our ward mission leader is his same age and picked him up for church so we are hoping they will become friends. 

Alexis and Michael were suppose to be baptized this weekend but we are going to have to move it. Michael has been coming to church and scouts on Wednesday. He loves it so much and is even going to participate in the primary program next week. He had his baptismal interview this last week and is ready to go. But Alexis' MS has been acting up so she has missed church the past two weeks and hasn't been able to get her interview. They aren't in my area anymore but the sisters are still working with them and will have to push it back a few weeks. 

Sunday was great to have an investigator in church and I had the opportunity to speak. I spoke on moving forward with faith. I always love preparing for talks and learning. I used the story of Peter walking on water throughout my talk. We know that Satan will tempt us but as we stay focused on Christ and allow him to help through this journey, all will work out. 

All in all it has been a great week! I am stressed but sister McDonough said one time, "If you're not stressed your dead. So good stress is good." I know that the Lord is hastening His work. I know that the south is ready for the gospel. and I am so glad i have the opportunity to help in this wonderful work!! 

i love y'all!!! Sister Kelly 

sorry don't have pictures this week :( but i will have lots next week!! Promise 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Transfer Calls

This week has been full of all sorts of adventures! 

Tuesday morning we woke up early and drove to Greenville for exchanges. It was about a two and a half hour drive through swamps and farm land. At one point the gps had us drive on a road named Sunflower River Road. Well this road, which looked abandoned, was in the middle of farm fields. We both agree that we would not like to drive on that road at night because it was so sketchy. The road took us about 15 minutes to drive and so we wrote a scary movie! It was a fun way to make the time past. 

The exchange went so well and we got to know the sisters really well. I love that part of being an STL. So many wonderful sisters to get to know. 
The next morning we woke up early again a drove back to our area. We wrote part 2 of Sunflower River Road, and made it home safe! 

Transfer calls came this week! Well we thought that sister Dutton and I would be staying together until the end of her mission but the Lord had another plan in store for us. I am staying in Richland and my new companion is sister Dobbins. She has been out for almost 11 months and i am excited to work with her! Sister Dutton though is not far away. Last transfer our area covered Richland and Florence. Now i cover Richland and sister Dutton covers Florence. She is training and will do a great job! We are glad that we will still be in the same ward! I am going to miss her as my companion though. 

 District Meeting

Sister Kelly, Elder Kulu, Sister Dutton

Sunday evening we were able to go over and visit with Alexis again. We went through the baptismal interview questions and we finalized all the details for their baptism. Their interview is this Wednesday and they are ready for their baptism next weekend! 

I am so grateful for this gospel! It is amazing and I love being able to help people to come closer to Christ. 

Love y'all! Sister Kelly 

Ps Sorry this email is short. We had to be fast. 

The city of Yazoo has been "dusted" to missionaries so we stopped to take a picture.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Are You the Mormon Missionaries?

This was a really good week for us! 

Monday night we had a bout 15 minutes before we were going to see a recent convert. We decided to tract for a bit. The first door a lady looked out her blinds and walked away. The second door though a teenage girl came out. We were talking with her and her sister came out the door all excited, "Are you the Mormon missionaries?!" A little apprehensive we responded that we were. And she goes on to tell us that her and her husband were members. She had been baptized about two years ago in Georgia and they had recently moved here. She had been praying for a friend and help earlier that day. It is always so amazing to me how mindful Heavenly Father is of each of us. We shared a short message and then were able to go back the next day. Her name is Leslie.

Tuesday was one of the best days of my mission! We were able to teach lessons all day! That morning we decided to try two less actives that we haven't been able to get in touch with all transfer. Well we were able to meet with both of them. We now know when they work and when the best times to go see them are. They both expressed desire to come back to church and so we will be helping them make the steps to do so! 

After lunch we went and visited Ada, she is the lady who is blind. We had a good talk with her and might start teaching one of her friends. He is about 30 and is wanting to get into church! Later that day we went a visited Leslie. It was a very interesting lesson. We talked with her and her husband Austin for about 45 minutes. Well more like they talked to us for that long. They have had a lot of crazy things happen to their family. They are both young but have three kids that were taken from them. The story didn't really add up.. so we don't really know that story and we didn't have much to say. We reassured them that Heavenly Father loved them and was aware of their situation. We encouraged them to read the Book of Mormon again and start praying as a family. Well the cool part about this story is that the entire time we were talking to them, Leslie's mom was cleaning the house/ listening to what we had to say. I had planned to talk to her before we left but she ended up talking to us first. She was sweeping, stopped, looked at us and says, "Okay, what is this Book of Mormon thing anyway?" We were able to teach her about the Book of Mormon and some simple truths that have been restored. She loved it! We are going to start meeting with them later this week! 

That night we finished by visiting a less active. I don't know if you remember me talking about Connie. But that is who we went to visit. It was a really great visit. She has been coming to church regularly with her granddaughter. We are going to try to do  FHE with her and her daughter's family sometime soon! Her daughter is also less active. 

It was so good to have a day that we were able to really teach people (who were interested) about the gospel truths. 

Wednesday was a crazy day! We had to weekly plan because of other things that came up so we left the apartment at about 1:30. We had to clean our car for zone conference so we stopped by the library to ask where a good car wash would be. Well when we went back out to our car it wouldn't start.. We had to have someone jump start it and then we had to go to Firestone. Thankfully it just needed a new battery but we spent most of the afternoon waiting for it to be fixed. 

Alexis and Michael are doing great. We got to teach them on Thursday and Sunday. They are on track to be baptized. But we taught about fasting and they are both nervous to try it this up coming week. Alexis is also struggling without her coffee so please keep praying for them :) But they came to church and enjoyed it like always. When we talked to Alexis during the week she hated not being able to go to church the previous Sunday and said she would do everything she could to be there. 

Friday we had Zone Conference! It is always so good to see so many missionaries. We had a lot of fun. The previous night the sisters who were serving in Greenville came and spent that night because it was such a far drive. it was fun to get to know them better. We learned more about finding and we were reminded that the gospel is exciting! So we practiced being excited when we extend commitments instead of being so serious. It was a great reminder! 

Sister Dutton, Sister Kelly, Sister Nash

There are 6 missionaries in our mission from Las Vegas 
and we are all serving right by each other!  Crazy

I got to go on exchanges in Clinton this week! it was so fun to be back in that area and be reminded of all the fun times i had there. It is a wonderful place! 

Exchanges with Sister Morris, Sister Nash, Sister Dutton, Sister Kelly

Sunday night was a great end to the week. We went to Bishop Eady's house for dinner and it was delicious. We had roast with mashed potatoes and gravy! And they are always such wonderful people to be around. Great examples of what to strive for. 

I am so grateful for this gospel and for a loving God who is so mindful of us all! Never forget what our Savior has done for you! Love y'all so much! Have a great week :)
Love, Sister Erika Kelly