Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Moving and Cleaning

This first week has been full of cleaning and moving. Last transfer there was a set of elders and the sisters in the ward. But they closed down the elders area and we are the only set of missionaries in the ward. So we have a lot of area that neither of us have worked and we are really excited to see what will come from it. 

With them closing the elders area we had two apartments (the sisters apartment-old, elders apartment-new) and they let the sisters choose which apartment to be in. The elders apartment is directly behind the church and so we decided that we would move in there. That has been the majority of this past week. The elders left us a mess so we slept in the old apartment Tuesday and Wednesday night. 

Wednesday we had district meeting and then came directly back to clean the apartment. We spent the entire afternoon cleaning half of the kitchen.. there were dishes everywhere. We didn't know what was clean what was dirty. So we decided that we would clean everything. Cleaned all the dishes, wiped out all the cupboards, cleaned the microwave, cleaned out the fridge and freezer (it looked like some one had been killed in there), went through the food and decided to throw a lot of it away. The icing on the top was when we opened up the oven to see how gross it was and discover a pot of half eaten rice sitting inside of it. Why?? The bishop's wife was so nice and came over to help us clean. She offered to clean the bathrooms... what a saint! 

Thursday we wanted to be able to sleep in the new apartment and so we really spent time cleaning the upstairs. Oh! The kitchen, living room, a half bath, and the garage are downstairs. Then we have two bedrooms and two bathrooms upstairs. It will be really nice when we have everything moved in, settled, and cleaned. Their study room had six desks... and we only need two. So we moved the ones we didn't need down to the garage and then cleaned that room as best as possible. We scrubbed baseboards, wiped down walls, got scuffs off of everything, because they were on everything, and vacuumed. It took forever and we were finally able to move our beds into that room. It was bigger, clean, and our window view is our church! The baseboards were probably the worst part because they never cleaned out the lint in the dryer. Well after awhile it just starts going all over the apartment, and that is exactly what happened! 

Other then everything else that I have already mentioned here are a few more things that we have found odd in our new apartment: holes in random places, the shower head not working correctly, the toilet paper holder broken, the towel rack not completely attached, mouse traps..., electric socket plates broken or missing, broken drawers, a chair that is covered in something sticky, finger prints everywhere, trash outside, and work out routines pinned all over the place. This experience has really helped sister hill and I realized just how different elders and sisters are! haha 

As crazy as all of this has been, it has been fun to move into a new apartment. Sister Hill and I have been able to get to know each other pretty well this week, we have had a lot of fun. We are excited to see what this transfer brings. Tomorrow morning the housing coordinators are coming to finish moving the big furniture. Then the plan is to finish cleaning and moving in so we can be fully focused on the work this week.

As far as the work, we are working with Dede and she is awesome! She is dating Joel, who was less active. They both have been coming to church and taking the lessons. She has had all the lessons and so now we just wait... why? Because they are living together and not married. BUT! They are working on it. This past week we were able to go to a members home and have a lesson with the two of them. We talked about faith and all the changes that Dede has already made to come closer to Christ. It was so neat to listen to her as she spoke. We then committed the both of them to pray about Dede being baptized on the 14th of November. Joel then piped up and said, "You know that means we have to get married before that." We smiled and said yes. They have been praying together and really trying to figure it out. Sunday they were both at church and Dede told us that she knows the church is true, and that she wants to be married. She just now has to wait for Joel to ask her. So now we have to work with Joel haha but please be praying for them to receive and answer together. Sister Hill and I are doing all we can to have her baptized in the month of November so we can contribute to our missions goal of 100 baptisms for the month of November. I know God can answer their questions. 

Because of all the cleaning and moving that we did this week, we had a lot of tracting to do on Sunday. Well it is has been raining here since Sunday morning and so we tracted for two hours in the rain.. Never a fun thing! Hopefully this week it doesn't rain as much as it is predicted to rain. That is never a fun thing to do! 

The ward is great! This is definitely the richest area i have served in. There are two large neighborhoods that have huge houses! We aren't allowed to tract there but a lot of members live there. We have been fed every night. It is so nice, not only because of the food but because it helps me get to know the ward quicker. I am excited to be here! 

This morning i started reading Alma 5 and found my first ponderize scripture! Alma 5:16. "I say unto you, can you imagine to yourselves that ye hear the voice of the Lord, saying unto you, in that day: Come unto me ye blessed, for behold, your works have been the works of righteousness upon the face of the earth?" What a wonderful joy that would be to hear my Lord express those words to me. This is what I, and hope all of you, strive for. I know it is what Heavenly Father wants for you as well! 

I love you all and love this work. Hope you have a fabulous week!
Love, Sister Erika Kelly 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Goodbye Richland...Hello Oak Grove

Dear family! I am hoping I can fit everything in. The time limit is restricting. But i will do my best.

This last week in Richland went by too quickly. We had exchanges in Greenville, which are always fun. I love the sisters there and it is always fun to road trip! We had a zone meeting the next day and so we got to ride down to Clinton with the sisters. Zone meeting went really well. We talked about being united with God and how the depth of our conversion helps us to be more and more dedicated to the work. 

Me, Sister Mitchell, Elder Rankin

Carl is doing well. He is constantly being tempted to do what is wrong. He is surrounded by the wrong people at work but can't quit. Sometimes he gets discouraged. We taught about the strength that comes from keeping the commandments. We committed him to read the scriptures every night and promised that he would have added strength from that. He said it has been helping! Carl had also been worrying about not being ready to be baptized. So we brought him a teaching record that showed what we had taught and what we still needed to teach. That helped him understand and we set him with a baptism date of November 21st! I am so excited to see him progress and continue to put off the things of this world. My last night to see them we went by and taught about obedience. He just sat there and we could see the spirit working with him. He knows what he needs to do, now he just needs to do it. 
Sister Kelly, Ada, Carl

Saturday we had an activity with the youth. Except not a lot of youth showed up. But we went to the park and played kickball. That was fun for a bit but then i taught them how to play ultimate frisbee. and That was fun! The youth were wimps though and we kicked their butts. The sad part was that i woke up the next morning sorer then ever! I can't wait to be able to really work out. 

This week has been stressful knowing transfer calls were coming. Sister Dobbins and I had no clue as to what could happened. But I really wanted to stay and continue to teach Carl and be part of the ward. But Saturday while playing kickball we got the call and I got transferred to Oak Grove, Mississippi. It is in the Hattiesburg area and my companion is sister Hill! We are the sister training leaders still and I am excited to work with these sisters. 

Me and Sister Hill

Saying goodbye to people was really hard this time. I met some amazing families in the Florence ward and will definitely have to go back to visit. 
Bobbi Jean

Jean Cooper

The Smallwoods and the Shields

I know this is the work of the Lord and I am so excited to be in this new area! Love y'all!!
Sister Kelly 

Berry's: the most Christian buffet you'll ever see

Monday, October 12, 2015

May Have Been the Craziest Week of My Mission

Alexis and Michael finally did it!

Got to start the week off with an exchange with sister Dutton! It was a lot of fun. We got to go see a lot of people she wanted to say goodbye to. And it was just fun to be companions for a day. She got her trunky mail (plane ticket) that day too. So i still got to be there when she opened it. That was hard.. 

Wednesday is when all the craziness started to happen. Sister Dobbins and I got up and went running that morning. When we got back i pulled my water bottle out of the fridge and it wasn't even that cold. I said something about it to sister dobbins and then went and got in the shower not thinking much about it. When i got out and went to eat breakfast I find that sister Dobbins has taken everything out of our freezer and is whipping it out.. I ask her what she is doing.. Well our fridge and freezer when out.. I started to help her clean it out and put it all into plastic bags. Thankfully one of our members, Bobbi Jean, lives right around the corner from us. So we gave her a call and she was nice enough to let us leave our food in her fridge and freezer until it was fixed. The most annoying part of it all.. We went into the office about a week and a half ago because i didn't feel like our freezer was keeping things as cold as it should have. When we came home they left a little work notice saying that our freezer was just too full.... If they would have just fixed it then everything would have been fine. Thankfully though, it was all fixed by the end of the day and we could go back to get our food from Bobbi Jean's. She is the best!

Because of the whole fridge thing, we missed our studies and then had to go straight to district meeting. It was our last one of the transfer and sister Dutton's last one ever.. that was weird.

District Meeting

Elder Clyde (Headed home soon) and Elder Beckstrom

Elder Creeger is our Zone Leader and will be heading home soon.  :(

After district meeting we went to talk to Heather and answer any questions she had. Well we get there and there is obviously something wrong. Cody wasn't suppose to be home and was, and we are pretty sure that they had just been arguing. Heather ended up not being able to stay and so we stayed and talked with Cody. He is really studying the scriptures and receiving so many answers from the spirit. I love teaching him  He wanted us to come back the next day to talk with him and Heather about the stop smoking workshop but we had MLC and didn't know if we would have time.

Thursday and Friday were both really good days. At MLC we talked about being a unified servant and how we become more unified with Christ as we become more converted. It was a great lesson. I can't wait to study more about it this week. Then while i was studying on Saturday I was in Moshiah 28:3. All about how the sons of Mosiah were so converted they had the desire to share the gospel with everyone.  Thursday night all the sisters got to stay at the mission home and that was blast! We all stayed up talking way too late but it was so much fun to catch up with everyone. 

Carving pumpkins at MLC

Friday was another good day of MLC. At the beginning of the meeting each zone goes around and we talk about numbers. Well in the middle of it we got a call from Cody. We didn't answer but I felt like we needed to go call them back. So we went to call them back and ended up talking with Heather. Well, Heather and Cody had been living in Cody's sisters house. Her name is Nola. She really doesn't like the church and has been trying to convince Cody to stop listening to us the whole time. And Heather had agreed with Nola up till this point. Well, Heather wanted to know why Cody was so into this religion and so started studying for herself.  And she got an answer!! As we were talking to her on the phone she told us that she now understood why the church had so much opposition. She knew it was true and that Cody was trying to do what was right. Well because of all this, Nola was kicking them out of the house. 

Friday evening after MLC we got a call from Cody asking if we could meet them somewhere in the area. He had to go pack the van of their stuff and Heather isn't allowed at the house anymore. Well, Bobbi Jean lives right around the corner from Nola. So we called an asked her if it would be okay if we came by. She of course said yes and we got to teach Heather with Bobbi Jean. She was so great and just reassured Heather that everything would be okay, she just needed to do whatever she needed to to take care of her own family first. It was a great lesson. 

When Cody was finished he came back to get Heather and then drove to Ethel Mississippi. That is where Heather's grandpa lives and so they will be staying with him until they figure out where to go next. The sad part is that Ethel is an hour and a half away :( 

After saying goodbye to them we went over and taught Carl! He is doing awesome. He has cut back on smoking and is really trying to do better. We taught him the rest of the plan of salvation and it was a powerful message. I always love teaching that lesson! It answers so many peoples questions and brings them so much hope. We think it really touch Carl. 

Saturday was yet another crazy day! That morning Heather and Cody came back down to Richland to get the rest of their stuff. We met them at the park across from our apartment and hung out with Heather and their two boys while Cody loaded the rest of their stuff. It was so fun to play at the park! They have a four year old boy, Caden, and a 2 year old boy, Jeremiah. It was a blast and really made me miss Tess!  When Cody came back with all their stuff we said goodbye again. They said we will see them again but we aren't sure when. 

Saturday night was Alexis and Michael's baptism! It was so good, lots of people came to support them. Carl even came! It was good for him to see what it would be like. He said he really enjoyed it. I got to give the talk on baptism. I always love being able to participate in the program. They were both just so excited! I know this is something they have both been waiting for and now they finally have it. That is what makes the hard days of a mission worth it! 

Sunday was a great way to end the week. We had to tract for three hours straight.. that wasn't fun. But we got a new investigator and were able to talk to some really great people. Carl came to church again! I really think he enjoys the atmosphere of it all. He has never been around something like this before and it brings him a lot of comfort. We ended the day teaching him a lesson. We answered some of his questions and he wanted to know how to be more organized. haha so we showed him our planners and gave him some helpful hints. OH! and i have a favor to ask everyone who reads this. What are some good things for Carl to do so he isn't bored and won't want to smoke? 

We also heard from Cody and Heather. They were not able to go to church but studied the scriptures together. They are still receiving a lot of anti from friends and family so please keep them in your prayers! 

I love this gospel and the wonderful blessings it brings to our lives! Your Heavenly Father is always there to comfort you! 
Have a fabulous week!

Love, Sister Erika Kelly 

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Authority of God

What a wonderful week full of inspirational words from men who have been called of God! I hope we can all take the time to really ponder their words and do all we can to allow our Father in Heaven to mold us. 

This week has been wonderful! We met with Cody and Heather on Friday and were able to answer some questions. It really cooled off here and they had a bonfire in their backyard so we taught them out there, it was fun! Cody had done some research and was getting a little skeptical. He doubted some of Joseph Smiths choices and didn't fully know what to think. But we explained more of his story and told him to pray about it all. We committed them to come to a session of general conference. Heather still isn't sure and wanted Cody to go first to see what church was like. So we encouraged him to come. Well he did!! He came to the church and watched the Sunday afternoon session. He kept shifting in his seat and I was so nervous to see what he would think. But as soon as it finished he just sat there for awhile. It was only him and the missionaries in the chapel so we just waited for him to say something. He looked over at us and says, "This is it. I feel at home. And I know that those men were speaking with the authority of God." YAY!!!!! It was so exciting to listen to him bare such a sweet testimony of the truth that he was discovering. He is so excited to come back and to continue to learn more about the gospel.

While we were driving home Sister Dobbins and I were talking about how we need to help Heather to understand the gospel. We need her to be involved or it is going to be hard for Cody to be fully committed. As we were talking the phone rang, and it was Heather! She doesn't usually sit in and listen to the lessons with Cody so she just hears bits and pieces. But she told us that Cody came home from the church and loved it. He had shared his experience with her and now she wants to meet with us one on one. She wants to understand why her husband is so excited about this. The spirit of the gospel really is contagious! We are going to visit with her on Wednesday and answer the questions she has for us.  It has been wonderful to watch how the Lord has blessed this family and really prepared them little by little! He has a plan for us all! 

Carl has also been doing well. He has been working crazy hours and so we haven't been able to meet with him a ton this week. But we saw him Saturday evening. We asked how it was going with him praying about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. He said he hadn't really taken the commitment as serious as he wanted to. So he recommitted to pray about it. It was nice to see him make the commitment with himself. He really does want to know for himself. We taught about recognizing the spirit and how important it is. If we don't know how the spirit speaks with us then we don't know what we are looking for. We went and taught him Sunday evening as well. We weren't sure what we were going to teach and the first thing he asked us was if we could drink caffeine. So we taught the word of wisdom. He drinks energy drinks and smokes and he feels guilty about both. We asked him why he does those things and he honestly couldn't give us a good reason. He just drinks them because... and I was taught all growing up that because isn't an answer haha and he smokes because he is bored. He knows he needs to stop but he couldn't make a definite decision to stop just yet. We told him to pray about it and ask the Lord for strength. So please keep him your prayers!
He was also able to watch conference! He watched it at home on his phone though. He said he enjoyed and wants to watch the other sessions. It is amazing the spirit that we can feel as we listen to those who have been called to lead Christ's church. 

We also went on exchanges with the Clinton sisters this week. I got to be in Clinton again! It is always fun to go back there. I was with sister Bradshaw, she is a new missionary and we had a lot of fun! We had about 30 minutes before an appointment and so we went and tried some potentials from when I was there. Nothing came of them, but it was fun to go back to those same houses. To end the day we went did some service for a member that was moving out. We helped them move things around and I actually got a Duck Dynasty Sweatshirt out of it! They had a deer head hanging on the wall and weren't going to take it with them. One of their sons said, "If you know someone who wants it they can have it." Sister Bradshaw and I looked at each other and said."We will take it!" After we finished helping them they took us out to dinner and it was delicious. They took us to a southern style buffet and i wish i could have just kept eating! haha That evening we and our companions went and left the dear head on the zone leaders door step! haha the best part is they were so excited and are now working on getting it hung up in their apartment! 

Well that is all for this week! I am again so grateful for the restored gospel and that we had the wonderful opportunity to listen to the leaders of Christ's church. It is such a great time to reset some goals and strive to become better disciples of our Lord and Savior. 
I love y'all! and hope you have a fabulous week.

Love, Sister Erika Kelly 

Flu Shots, why don't they take my insurance?!