Monday, August 25, 2014

Some pics from the MTC...just received

Sister Kelley and Sister Kunz

Sister Biro and Sister Kelley

That's the gas light?

Dear Family and Friends,

Hey hope you're all doing super well(: Sister Christiansen and I both survived transfers this week so we are still kickin it in good ol' Wisconsin Rapids. At the end of this six week transfer period Sister Christiansen will have been here for 9 months! That's half of her mission! I bet she'll leave next transfer though because her dislocated ankle is getting much better. She's off crutches, out of the boot, and now just hobbles around in an ankle brace. She's a trooper!

The Gas Light:
On Tuesday we drove to Adams-Friendship (about a 45 minute drive) for district meeting and on the way back the gas light turned on... but we were in a hurry to make it to an appointment so we didn't bother stopping for gas. The appointment went well, but ran long so we had to hurry over to our next appointment across town and just figured we'd get gas on our way back home. Unfortunately we pushed the poor Jeep just a bit too hard and we ran out of gas while we were driving along the road! I'd never run out of gas like that before so it was a bit of an adventure, but I managed to pull into a parking lot safely and a member brought us enough gas to make it to the station. So yeah next time I guess I should pay heed to the gas light! Ha the experience ended up being a blessing in disguise though because we changed lesson plans for our later appointment with Adrian and Megan and had an incredible lesson led by the spirit! It was so great!

Not one, but TWO baptismal dates:
The miracle of the week came after the crazy running out of gas adventure when we were able to teach our investigating couple, Adrian and Megan. We had a powerful lesson with them and at the end they accepted the invitation to be baptized! Their baptismal date is set for either September 27th or 28th depending on Megan's work schedule. They have been coming to church with their 3 little boys and are progressing really well! We are praying that everything will go smoothly so they can be baptized that last weekend in September. The next major hurdle will be explaining that they need to get married BEFORE baptism... so far we've talked to them about marriage and they plan to be married, but were thinking sometime next year. We are praying their hearts will be softened and they will want to get married sooner! They are such great people and have really strong testimonies already! While teaching them on Tuesday night I truly felt the strong love our Heavenly Father has for them. Sister C and I were freaking out afterwards, we were so excited!(:

Humidity Hits Hard:
In all honesty I really missed my iPhone weather app this week! Ha the weather here is so unpredictable! On Thursday it was pouring rain in the morning so we went out in cardigans, but by that afternoon it was blazing hot! I feel like I'm constantly moist from the dang humidity and my hair can't be tamed - it's just a curly poof on my head! One of our recent converts always teases that my "dry weather hair" can't handle the humidity of Wisconsin. I tried to straighten it the other day and it was just curly again by the time I went to bed. Ha good times. Also on Saturday there was this weird fog/mist stuff that fell all day, but it was still sorta hot. I felt like I was in the rain forest or something! People here say this summer has been really mild and that usually it's hot and humid like it was this week all summer long.

Saturdays = Sunday Prep:
Saturdays have become our "work super insanely hard and see loads of miracles happen" days of the week and I love it! We taught 2 lessons with a member present and had 7 other lessons, contacted 2 referrals, found 2 new investigators, visited 1 less active and 2 recent converts, AND passed out 4 copies of the Book of Mormon! It was a stellar day(: And we definitely saw the fruits of our labors when we had 5 investigators show up at church on Sunday! They even stayed for second hour (Gospel Principles) where Sister Christiansen and I taught chapter 29, the Lord's Law of Health. I love working hard and seeing miracles happen! I know this truly is the Lord's work!

Well I hope you all have a fantastic week! Thanks for all the emails, letters, and prayers - they mean so much! Read Mosiah 2:41 sometime - it's a scripture I've liked a lot this week. It made me think about how keeping the commandments brings happiness. I know as we are obedient we can make it to that state of "never-ending happiness" which sounds awesome!(; Love you all!

Sister Kelley
We do community service once a week at a local thrift shop called Bathesda's. It smells. I found this
hideous cat rain coat and died laughing. It was well worn - you could tell somebody truly loved that thing.
Sorry there aren't a lot of pics this week, we've been teaching all day everyday!

Monday, August 18, 2014

More pictures...

At the Cheese Factory

At the Neukirchen's (members home)

Spiritually Stuffed

Dear Family and Friends,

I hope you've all had a good week and that you're enjoying the last little bit of summer! Here the weather is starting to get lots cooler and a few of the leaves are starting to change... winter is coming and man am I scared! Everyone says it's going to be super cold in WI this winter! Brrr!

Exchanges in Wausau:
This week started off with Exchanges in Wausau with the Sister Training Leaders (STL's)! I went to Wausau with Sister Jardine and Sister Christiansen stayed in WI Rapids (because of her ankle) with Sister Pearson. Usually they make the new missionary stay in their new area, but Sister Christiansen's ankle is still in a big boot (though she is off her crutches!) so they kept her here to make things easier. That was fine by me because it meant I got to see another part of Wisconsin! Wausau is really hilly so driving (yes I was the designated driver again) was fun, but I can't imagine driving there in the winter when the roads are icy! Yikes! I got to drive the STL's car and must admit I've been spoiled with our Jeep! Ha but exchanges were really fun and I learned a bunch. Sister Jardine is from Canada and has been serving for just over 12 months. She is a great listener and very bold. We had a lesson with one of their investigators, a Hmong girl named PaDay, which went really well. PaDay has two albino Hmong sisters who are SO cute! They look Hmong, but have strawberry blonde hair and really fair skin - they are so adorable! PaDay is so prepared, but her parents won't let her get baptized. I only knew her for a day, but felt SO much love for her! It's crazy how much you learn to love the people you serve out here!

Weird Food of the Week:
Sorry I talk about food so much.. Ha but this week I had to share the meal we had on Tuesday night! We went over to a member's home for dinner and ate RABBIT! But get this, it was a rabbit that had been eating the vegetables in their garden so they caught it and cooked it up for dinner! Ha surprisingly it wasn't bad and I was adventurous enough to try it so I count it as a success.

Madison Mission Tour:
Elder Martino (a member of the Seventy) and his wife came to our mission to do the yearly Mission Tour training this week. Sister Christiansen and I drove 2 hours to Madison on Tuesday night and stayed with the Madison 4th Ward Sisters (Sisters Arnold and Askerland - who knows the Hogue Family in our ward!) before attending the Mission Tour the next day. Our zone and two other zones met in Madison for the final day of the tour. It was great to see some of my MTC friends - Elder Merrill and Sister Kunz - as well as the missionaries in my District and Zone. It was fun to have such a big group of missionaries together and to get to know some new people! The Mission Tour itself was incredible. We were definitely spiritually fed, ha in fact I felt spiritually stuffed!!! Elder Martino really motivated us to work harder and more effectively. He counseled us to 1) open our mouths, 2) increase our faith, 3) become one with God, 4) work smarter and 5) work with members better. He talked about working with members a lot so we are going to try to be better about that this week! Also I loved what he said about becoming one with God. I think this happens as that "mighty change of heart" takes place within each of us and as we more fully align our will with God's. I know God has a plan for each of us and that His plan is always far better than ours. In the Bible Dictionary we learn that through prayer we can align our will more fully with Heavenly Father's - it's so cool that we can talk directly with our Father in Heaven. I know He loves each of us so much and wants to hear from us!

Working Towards a September Baptism:
After the Mission Tour Sister Christiansen and I were pumped to go out and get to work! We've been setting high goals for ourselves and working diligently to meet them. We do a bit of tracting each day to try to find people who will accept a copy of the Book of Mormon and agree to read a specific part of it. We taught a couple of ladies who were out selling vegetables which turned out to be a pretty cool experience. We have a lot of investigators that we are teaching too, but don't have any baptismal dates set right now. There is a mission goal for one baptism in every area before the October General Conference so we are praying to set a baptismal date soon because the WI Rapids area hasn't had a baptism for the goal yet! We are teaching an awesome couple who will hopefully accept a baptismal date this week!

Thanks for all the support and encouragement! I love and miss you all a real lot(:
Sister Kelley
Sister Askerland and I together at Mission Tour. I guess Jennica Hogue is dating her little brother! 

Pics by the WI river

Me and Sister C on the bank of the WI river.
View of Wisconsin River and me making a "W" for Wisconsin

Me just chillin by the WI River - we taught a recent convert a lesson by the river which was sweet!

This is a water tower in our city - how cute.

Playing Ninja attack with Ben (a recent convert's son)

Wishing I was in London... Ha at least they have red telephone booths in WI too!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Greetings from WI Rapids

Dear Family and Friends,

Man this week flew by! Here are some of the highlights...

The Cheese Factory:
Last Monday a member family in the ward took Sister Christiansen and I to tour the local cheese factory. It was cool to see how cheese was made and check out all the weird varieties they produce. Some of the weird ones were the jalapeno, blueberry, and chocolate cheese! I finally tried 'squeaky cheese' and must admit it was a bit strange... Ha we got ice cream afterward and talked with the ice cream lady for a while. People in Wisconsin are really passionate about their dairy products!

Old Fat Book = New Favorite Book:
During personal study this week I spent a lot of time learning more about the Apostasy. The light of the Restoration contrasts the darkness of the Great Apostasy so intensely, it's crazy. PMG suggested studying from Talmage's Jesus the Christ, but I must admit I was a bit intimidated to actually open up that book... IT'S HUGE! Ha but I decided to read chapter 40, "The Long Night of Apostasy" and found it to be super insightful! It was cool to understand the history of what was going on and why a reformation wouldn't cut it. I know that Christ's church truly has been restored to the earth in these latter-days and I am grateful that it will never be taken from the earth again.

Oshkosh... Oh my gosh:
This week we traveled to Oshkosh to attend the new missionary training meeting. We drove down on Thursday and stayed with the YSA Sisters in Manesha before driving the last little bit to Oshkosh the next morning. Oshkosh is crazy. There are soo many roundabouts! The GPS had to redirect us a bunch! Ha but eventually we made it to the Stake Center and met all the new missionaries from my MTC district, their companions, the AP's, and President and Sister Cutler. It was fun to see all my MTC buds again, especially Sister Escobar! I love her! The training was really helpful and definitely motivated me to keep progressing. Because there are so many different parts of missionary work and so many high expectations I feel a bit overwhelmed and inadequate at times, but I am determined to do a little better each day! I know that if I am doing my best the Lord will take care of the rest - this truly is His work!

Anticipating Miracles:
After training Sister Christiansen and I were super pumped! We set some really high goals for ourselves and prayed that as we worked diligently we'd be able to accomplish our goals. So we set out the next day and worked as hard as we could and sure enough.. miracles happened! We were given a service opportunity to help a recent convert with some yard work, visited a few less active members, invited an investigator to church AND THEY CAME ON SUNDAY!!! We were discouraged that the referrals we tried to contact weren't home, but we tracted in those neighborhoods instead and found a new investigator! After all the role plays we had done the day before at training, I felt confident as I taught and was able to pass out a couple copies of the Book of Mormon with specific reading assignments as well. I was so grateful for the miracles we saw and can't wait to see what this weeks brings!

Hope all is going well back home! Thanks for the letters and emails, they always make my day(: Love you lots!
Sister Kelley

Visit to the cheese factory!

Chocolate Cheese!

Monday, August 4, 2014

I'm One Happy Missionary

Dear Family and Friends,

Greetings from the wet little city of Wisconsin Rapids! It's been pouring here today so driving was a bit sketchy, but we've been able to do our laundry, grocery shopping, and make it to the library to email so life is good(:

The Adams-Friendship Missionaries:
This week we got to drive to Adams for district meeting! We've got 8 missionaries in our district - 2 sets of Elders and 2 sets of Sisters. Elders Williams and Hadlock are serving in Adams and Sisters Bennet and Roper serve in Friendship. Then there's Elders Broadus and Kirk who serve with Sister Christiansen and I in Wisconsin Rapids. We switch off locations for district meeting each week, but this time it was in their area so we got to drive through part of the great Wisconsin wilderness! Ha it really seems like a wilderness of sorts because there are SO many trees! They're everywhere along with the many random little lakes and streams. Wisconsin is a pretty place, but I sure miss the mountains! Anyway district meeting is always fun because the other missionaries serving here rule! It is fun to hear about their missionary experiences and to learn and grow together. Elder Williams, our district leader, taught about how to use the Book of Mormon more effectively in our teaching. In Preach My Gospel is says "the Book of Mormon, combined with the Spirit, is your most powerful resource in conversion" (page 104). I thought that was super powerful and want to encourage each of you to spend time studying the Book of Mormon this week. I know it will help deepen your own conversion.

Faith to Find:
As part of our daily study we have what is called "12 Weeks Training" which is just a manual my trainer and I study together. It goes through the fundamentals of missionary work and we role play a bunch of different situations to practice what to say and how to say it. This week part of the training was about developing the faith to find people to teach. Sister Christiansen and I studied this section together then had a really cool tracting experience where what we had studied totally applied! So we were knocking doors trying to give out a copy of the Book of Mormon without much luck when we saw a nice old lady outside who was trying to set out her garden hose. We were excited to see someone outside and thought she'd be the one for sure! Unfortunately, she really didn't want to talk to us and sent us on our merry way almost immediately. We kept walking though and had faith that we'd find someone we could give a copy of the Book of Mormon to and BAM! We met a lady named Tricia who was outside smoking and playing with her grandson. We got talking with her about families and were able to get her number and will be teaching her sometime in the next few weeks! It was such a great testimony building moment for me as I realized that if I have the faith to find, Heavenly Father will make it possible.

A Full Pew at Church:
We were pretty bummed when none of our investigators showed up at church this week so we sat down in the chapel with a young mother and her kids. Then while we were singing the opening hymn, an investigator family we've been teaching walked in! They filed into the seats next to us and as I sat squished next to Sister Christinasen I just couldn't help smiling! I am one happy missionary! They stayed for all three hours and had a great experience. The ward was very welcoming and the little boys loved primary. It was awesome! I can't wait to see how Adrian and Megan continue to progress.

Greenie Meal:
This week we had some pretty delicious member meals, but the highlight was with the Flinders family last night for Break the Fast. Since I am a new missionary or "greenie" they served what they call the "Greenie Meal" where all the food is green! They made green eggs and ham, green potatoes, green waffles, and a green fruity drink. The members here are so good to the missionaries - what a fun missionary tradition!

Oh one more thing that happened this week... I officially reached my 1 month mark! Hooray! To celebrate, a member family is taking us to tour the local cheese factory in a little bit - ha should be a real adventure(: Hope you all have a great week!

Peace and love,
Sister Kelley
Sister Bauer took us to lunch at Jim's BBQ. Pulled pork sandwich, mmm!

Sister C and I. We use this picture on our missionary board.

My first Culver's experience! Culver's is way popular here.

My "greenie meal," it was super tasty!