Monday, December 21, 2015

What a Week

 Golden Corral with Brother Graves and Sister Curry

What a week! This has been one of the best weeks I have had since being in Hattiesburg. Tuesday was a day full of great appointments! We were able to teach Russell in the Humphreys' home again. But it wasn't just Russell. They brought a friend, Kevin. It turned to more of a gospel discussion but went really well. I love teaching in members homes. There is such a special spirit. 

Wednesday was crazy. We spur of the moment had to plan a zone meeting. So Wednesday morning we met up with the Zone Leaders at the church, made breakfast and planned our meeting. It was fun to do something different than the regular schedule. The rest of Wednesday was spent in Sandhill for exchanges! Also good. 

Thursday we finally got in contact with Zac and were able to teach him. We asked him what he expected of us. And he really likes meeting with us to learn, not really to know for himself if it is true. So we explained that that isn't our purpose and he needs to be seeking for answers. So we committed him to come to church with a question and he promised to be there! 

That evening we met with Russell again and taught the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was a really good lesson. He understands the steps he needs to take before he is baptized and is excited to be baptized. During the lesson he said how he felt for a while that things in his life needed to change and that he was being led to do the better thing. He sat there for a minute and then says, "I have been thinking, maybe it has something to do with the spirit?" WHAT?! That is the best thing to hear. He gets it! and recognizes the spirit! YAY!!!!!! 

There is a girl named Whitney that the elders had been teaching for quite awhile. She comes to church often and to almost all the church activities. But we haven't been able to set up a time to meet with her until this week. We went to get to know her and see what she had been taught. She knows all the lessons and wants to be baptized but can't because she is living with her boyfriend. It was kind of disappointing but it will be good to work with her. 

Only in the South do you find scriptures on your granola!!

Saturday we were on exchanges again with the Petal sisters. I was in Petal but sister Bartsch had the chance to teach Russell again. They taught him the Word of Wisdom. He smokes but said the spirit has been bugging him to stop since meeting with us. So he is working on it this week. Please keep him in your prayers that he will be able to! 

Sunday was a slow day. We went to church and none of our investigators came to church. Zac was sick and Russell somehow got locked inside his trailer. After church we had been invited by someone tracting to go to their church, Venture. It was very interesting. Loud music, a short sermon on the birth of our Savior, more loud music, and then a party with food and pictures with a penguin. While we were looking around guess who we ran into... Zac! He was feeling better and was able to go to his own church.. Awkward! 

I am so grateful for this time of year that we have to remember our Savior even more. President Olson asked us to think of a scripture we can use through the holiday's to help us remember that we want to give back to the Lord. I picked Jacob 2:18. What will you do to give back to the Lord this upcoming year? 

Love y'all! Have a wonderful Christmas! 

Sister Kelly

Christmas Light with Sister Bartsch

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Elder Kopischke

Out tracting and there was a gentleman that wasn't interested in talking to us.  As we were leaving, his dogs followed us so we stopped and played with them because they were just so cute.

What a week! Monday was a great start to our week. We had dinner with an active family in our ward and a miracle occurred! They have a son in his 20's that has been less active. He has always left the house when the missionaries came over. In fact I had been to their house before and didn't even know he lived there. But he stayed this time! Not only did he stay for dinner but he had to leave to take their oldest daughter to practice and they didn't think he would come back until we had left. But he did! And he stayed for the lesson. It was really cool to see how happy his parents were. 

Wednesday was Zone Conference with Elder Kopischke. He is amazing. He spoke all about faith. He taught the faith cycle that changed my life! I have tried to explained it to multiple people and it just doesn't sound as exciting as he made it seem. But it was cool. He used Alma 32:27-29 to label the cycle (Which are some of my favorite scriptures). He spoke how we have to gain a desire to act, plant the seed, and experiment on God's word. That is our side of the cycle. We give everything we can to understand a topic or to accomplish something. Then the rest of the cycle it up to God. To enlighten, enlarge, then increase faith.  That is when the miracle happens! We are not responsible for the miracle so we shouldn't take the blame when it doesn't happen either. We have our agency to invite all we want and they have their agency to accept it or not. But if we don't use our agency then they can't use theirs. I hope that makes sense. But it was pretty amazing! I loved it. 

The Faith Cycle

Friday was MLC with Elder Kopischke. We reviewed everything that was talked about at zone conference and then applied it to the MLC. He has really good ideas. He put an emphasis on exchanges and my goal is to take them more seriously! His final request was that we come closer as an MLC. I liked that. Our mission is so large and so it makes it hard to be united but as the leaders come closer together then so will the mission. 

We haven't been able to meet with Zac since sister Hill left. 

Russell is doing well. We have been able to teach him twice this week. Thursday we taught him more of the plan of salvation. Sister Bartsch and I have been nervous that the only reason he was interested in the gospel was because he recently moved in with his uncle. But after this lesson and getting to know him better. He really has a desire to know and learn more. We taught him again on Sunday in the Humphrey's home.  They are a great family! We had dinner at their home last week and before we left Brother Humphrey asked if we were teaching anyone and if we could teach them in their home. So that was really cool! We taught him the rest of the Plan. All about the three kingdoms of glory. I love teaching about the wonderful hope that come from knowing the plan of salvation! It is so amazing. 

Our ward is so much fun! We had a Relief Society dinner Friday night and then the Ward Christmas party Saturday. It is always fun to come together as a ward and be involved. It reminds me so much of home and brings so much comfort. 

I am so grateful for the holiday season that we have to celebrate the birth of our Savior. He has given us so much and I am doing my best to give back to Him this year. I love y'all so much! and hope you can always remember what He has done for you. 

Love you. Sister Kelly 

I trained Sister Burgess who trained Sister Morris and Sister Golder

Monday, December 7, 2015

Oh Holy Night

Don't forget it

Our stake put on a very large production for the Christmas Holiday. They had members of the stake bring any nativities they had and set them up throughout the gym. They had over 200 nativities donated for the event. Then they decorated it all cute of course. A member in our ward owns a Christmas tree farm so he donated a ton of real trees that were all throughout the building. Most of the week we spent helping them set up. Friday and Saturday they held the event. The missionaries were the greeters/ security/ towns people. In the primary room they made it look like old Bethlehem and had actives for the kids. Throughout the evening they had musical performances. It was so pretty and I was glad we got to be a part of it. 

At the Christmas Tree farm

Sister Kelly and Sister Bartsch

All the Nativities

The last choir to perform was a mix of members from our church as well as a Methodist choir. The Methodist choir director has had a ton of experience and is good friends with Mack Wilberg. Because of it, he knows a lot about our church and has made it so our church is more accepted within the community. It was an amazing performance. 

Zac was able to come to the event Saturday night and stayed for the entire thing. He met a lot of members and reconnected with quite a few members. It seemed to be a really good experience for him. We were glad to see him there! One step closer to coming to church right?

We also started teaching Russell, he is 21. He is the nephew of a member in our ward. His grandfather was a member of the church and recently passed away. Before his passing he spoke to Russell about the importance of the Book of Mormon. It sparked his interest and we are now teaching him the discussions. He committed to be baptized on the 9th of January! We are really excited for him!

I love y'all! Hope you have a great week and know that your Savior loves you! #ASaviorisBorn

Sister Kelly 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Goodbye Sister Hill

This last week of the transfer has been a lot of fun. Sister Hill and I had quite a bit of opportunities to teach, and we were able to get a lot done. 

We decorated for Christmas

We went on exchanges at the beginning of the week. I got to go with sister Garner, and that was a ton of fun! We went on exchanges when she was my STL and then we went with me being her STL. Kind of funny. The area is really tiny and out in the middle of nowhere. It reminded me a lot of New Boston. I miss that place. 

When we got home we went and taught Zac again. We taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ and he was having a hard time focusing. He kept asking lots of random questions. But it was really cool, he asked us if we believed that Jesus Christ and Satan were brothers. Because of the experience we had with the lady while tracting the previous week we had gone and looked up scriptures in the Bible that defended that belief. The Lord was preparing us for Zac's questions! God really does know everything :) 

Afterwards we tried some potentials. We had met Adrian the week prior as well. She was busy cooking but let us in anyway. She had met with missionaries when she was 17. (Now she is in her 30's) She remembers reading the Book of Mormon and was willing to read from it again. It is always the best to watch how the Lord prepares His people. She had the cutest 2 year old son! We were sitting on the floor and he was just standing really close to me and would just stare. After about five minutes, without breaking a smile, he leaned down and gave me a hug. It was the cutest! 

My new friend

Thanksgiving was the best! It was such a relaxing day. We took our time getting ready. Had studies and then went to lunch with the huge Trussell family. Their extend family makes up about half of our ward. It was fun though! Lots of good food and it was fun to be around so many people. It reminded me a lot of being home and having everyone piled around each other. We went home took a nap. That was delightful. And then we tidied our apartment. That night we went out to see all the madness of the early black Friday shoppers. It was insane! We went to the mall, so for dinner we went to the food court and got Chinese food. It was delicious! 


Chinese at the Mall

Friday and Saturday we spent a lot of time tracting. But we finished again and only had to do 45 minutes on Sunday. It was a joyous day. While out we met an awesome girl named Santanna. What was so awesome about her... She let us in to share our message. We taught the Restoration and she recognized it as Godly. She told us that she could tell immediately that we were Christian. Because of it she was willing to listen to a message and read from the Book of Mormon. Again, the Lord is preparing people in every land. Alma 13: 24. 


Yesterday, Sister Hill and I enjoyed the day. She finished packing and we went out to lunch. That night we were able to teach Zac again. We teach him at his friend's house. The whole family was there and so we had a good family home evening. We watched the Restoration DVD.  I felt the spirit so strong. I love receiving the witness of the truth over and over again. Brother Norton shared his testimony and it was so good! It was a great lesson and I hope Zac is really listening to the spirit!

I am so grateful for this time of my mission and for this Christmas season! Don't forget to spread the joy wherever you go! 

Love you! Sister Erika Kelly 

District Meeting

Sister Kelly, Sister Hill, Elder Blair

Some missionaries were being disobedient so we tried to steal their tire...

That didn't work so we just took their license plate.  

Black Santa ho ho ho