Monday, October 27, 2014

Wausau Stake Conference

Dear Family and Friends,

It's been a whirlwind of a week - I can't believe Halloween is just around the corner! Where has this month gone?! People here in Rapids go all out for Halloween - seriously almost every house has some type of spooky decor up and people have already started carving pumpkins!

Experiences with the Book of Mormon:
This week my testimony and love for the Book of Mormon grew SO much! I've loved reading the Book of Mormon with a special emphasis on Jesus Christ and His Atonement as part of a mission-wide Christmas challenge. While I was reading this week, Jacob 3:1-2 really stood out to me and I thought a lot about what it means to have a firmness of mind. The cross references in Alma 57:27 and Alma 58:40 are super cool - look them up(: Early this week Sister Christiansen and I had the opportunity to attend a Relief Society scripture study activity where we read/answered questions from a few chapters in Mormon and Moroni. I'm grateful for the efforts they made to keep a record of their people and to keep the plates safe! Then later in the week we implemented some zone training we'd received a few weeks ago and taught our investigators Dakota and Jeff about the Book of Mormon by drawing a map of the world and explaining how God revealed things to the Jews and His people in the Americas. We also talked about the similarities between the BOM and the Bible. Both lessons went really well and we were able to commit them to read and pray for a witness of the truth. Oh how I love the Book of Mormon!!!

Bathtub Issues:
The pipes in our apartment complex got backed up this week so we had junk coming up from our bathtub drain! It was super nasty! Our apartment manager is a super nice guy so we got in contact with him and he called in the repairmen. Unfortunately it took a few days for the repairmen to come out and fix it so we couldn't shower... Ha so we washed our hair in the bathroom sink which was an adventure(:

Wausau Stake Conference:
The Wausau Stake Conference was definitely the highlight of this week! It was so cool to see everyone gathered together to receive instruction and be edified. President Worthin, a member of the 70 and the current BYU President, came and gave two super powerful talks! His invitation was to live the gospel joyfully and invite others to act! He talked about how now is the time for us to increase our faith. Faith is not only a feeling, but a decision. We can increase our faith by developing a closer relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ through prayer, studying the life and teachings of Jesus Christ by reading the scriptures, and making and keeping covenants. The entire conference was about hastening the work of salvation and the spirit was soo thick. As we sang the closing hymn I thought my heart was gonna bust open it was so full! At that moment I felt such a strong love for the people of Wisconsin and the members of the Wausau Stake. I just want to go out and serve them!

Priesthood Power:
As if Stake Conference didn't give me enough of a spiritual high - one of our recent converts, Gary, received the Melchizedek Priesthood right after conference on Sunday! Standing in the room with him and his family was such an incredible experience. I felt the spirit so strongly and couldn't stop smiling! Gary has such a strong testimony and will be a great source of strength to his family and friends! I am so grateful for the power of the Priesthood and how it blesses families!

Thanks so much for all the letters, emails, and packages. I love and miss you all very much, but I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have to serve the people here in Wisconsin(: Hope you have a Happy Halloween and a great week!

Sister Kelley
Happy Halloween from WI!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Meet the Mormons!

Dear Family and Friends,

This week went by crazy fast! We did lots of service and taught some really good lessons as well. Just the typical missionary life I guess(: Hope all is well for you guys back home!

Mission Wide Christmas Book of Mormon Read:
At the beginning of the month President and Sister Cutler invited us to read the Book of Mormon together as a mission. What a cool opportunity for us to come closer to Christ and show our faith in Him! They promised reading the Book of Mormon together would help unify us as companions and help us become more effective witness of Christ. As we read we are marking scriptures about the nature of Christ and His Atonement in red and the scriptures about what we need to do to receive power through the Atonement in green. We read about 7 pages a day to stay on schedule which takes a while, but has been so cool! I am learning so much about Jesus Christ and His infinite Atonement! We'll have a red and green marked Book of Mormon just in time for Christmas(:

Zone Training in Wausau and Meet the Mormons:
On Tuesday the Adams-Friendship Sisters (Sisters Ostler and Roper) drove down to Wausau with us for Zone Training. It is always fun to be together as a zone(: Plus President and Sister Cutler came! We had fun talking with them and getting to know the new missionaries who transferred in. During the training we talked about how to make our personal studies more sacred and then got to watch the new church documentary 'Meet the Mormons'! It was so nice to watch a full-length movie! Ha I would definitely recommend it(: I hope lots of people go see it and that it helps non-members understand more about who we are!

Birthday Ninjas:
This week Sister Christiansen and I were super sneaky birthday ninjas! Ha we totally surprised one of our recent converts by heart attacking her family room while she was sleeping in the other room. We are soo stealthy(:

Strictly Service:
We got to wear pants so much this week - it was the best! Ha but really I love doing service! On Wednesday we helped Amber, a less active lady who works a ton, deep clean her bathrooms, assemble her new vacuum, and clean out her couches. On Thursday we helped Sister Stoflet tape her drywall so they can begin mudding and get their new house built before winter! On Friday we helped out at the Rehab Center and on Saturday we helped the Khang family pack up and move!

Mediterranean Meal:
We were invited over to the Bishop's house for dinner this week and they made Gyros - this flat bread with fresh veggies, meat, and yogurt sauce! Mmm! It was fun to get to know the Black family better and we had a good lesson with them where we invited them to pray for one of our investigators. The next day we had an incredible lesson with her and knew it was because of their prayers! When the members and missionaries work together miracles happen!

Miracle of the Week:
Speaking of miracles.. I better explain this 'incredible lesson' we had. We were teaching Carol, one of our most promising investigators, about tithing. We were a bit nervous about teaching this principle to her because her financial situation isn't the greatest. We prayed she would be open to our message and that her heart would be softened. Sister Neukirchen came to the lesson with us on Thursday and it went SO well! Seriously don't think it could have been more perfect. I definitely felt the spirit and know Carol did as well! We began by telling her that the church doesn't have a paid ministry. She really liked the fact that the leaders of the church fulfill their callings because they love the Lord and not just because they want to be paid. We explained that when we pay our tithing the "windows of heaven will be opened to us" then we testified of the blessings we've received from paying tithing. Carol committed to pay tithing when she gets baptized and was talking about baptism a ton! Now she just needs to get rid of her male roommate... Ha one miracle at a time I guess(:

Well I think that's about all for this week! Thanks for the letters and emails, I love hearing from you!

Sister Kelley
I love doing service!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Not going to Heaven??

Dear Family and Friends,

How are you all doing?! Hope things are going well(: I've gotta admit this week was a little long at times, but Sister Christiansen and I sure had a lot of fun and saw some sweet miracles!

P-day Adventures:
Alright so I'll be honest.. our P-days basically consist of doing laundry, writing letters, grocery shopping, emailing, and cleaning the apartment all day, BUT last Monday afternoon some members in the ward took us to a nearby game farm! It was fun to drive through and enjoy the bright colors of the changing leaves. About halfway through the farm there was a trail head so we hiked up to this big lookout spot! It reminded me of hiking up at the cabin which made me miss the mountains a ton! It was nice to go on a little hike here though and spend some time outside(:

Painting, Pants, and the Plan of Salvation:
This week we helped Leslie, a less active in the ward, paint her nursery! We'd been to visit her a few times, but while we were doing service she really opened up! She talked about her testimony and her desire for her husband to join the church so they can come to church together. They are expecting their first child together and she hopes this 'big life event' will make him think more seriously about God and want to learn more. She said we can come teach him about the Plan of Salvation in a family home evening sometime soon! Yay! I love doing service! Oh and any excuse to wear pants is a plus(;

Highlight Lessons of the Week:
This week we had some really cool lessons with our investigators Carol, Sara, and BeeJay. Carol is in her 60's and has been investigating for a while now. She reads the Book of Mormon faithfully, but can't be baptized because she has a male roommate... We taught her about the temple on Thursday then we saw her again on Saturday and she said she had been thinking about the temple a lot and really wants to go inside someday! She understands that she must be baptized and be living worthily in order to enjoy the blessings of the temple so we are praying she will have the desire and strength to make the necessary changes! We also taught Sara who is in her mid-20's and is a super cute, hip, young Mom. She's expecting her 3rd child and is due any day! We met her while out tracting and have been over a couple times, but she hasn't taken our lessons very seriously. This week we taught about the Plan of Salvation and she asked some really good questions! We are praying her heart will be soften and that she will be open to learning more! Finally BeeJay. Ha BeeJay is just the cutest Grandma ever! She is very Lutheran, but loves us coming over to teach her new things. We got into a really good discussion about repentance and working each day to become a little better than we were the day before. It was awesome and I felt the spirit super strong for sure. We're struggling to get investigators to want to progress right now, but we are praying the Lord will continue to work with them and soften their hearts! I know as we teach by the spirit their hearts will be touched!

I Guess I'm Not Going to Heaven?:
Oh boy.. this was the worst. Ha we'd gone to see a potential investigator, but she wasn't home so we started tracting around the neighborhood. We noticed a cute house across the street with a car parked out front so we walked over there and knocked on the door. A woman answered and started talking with us... ha she explained that she was Baptist and therefore knew that she had been saved through Jesus Christ and that she was going to heaven when she died. She proceeded to tell us that what we were doing as missionaries was pointless because one cannot 'work their way to heaven.' At that point we were trying to leave, but she noticed the Book of Mormon in our hands and went on about the Bible being perfect how it is and that nothing should be added to or taken from it. We tried to leave, but the woman just kept going! Ha finally she informed us that 'if we continued on the path that we were on we would not make it into heaven...' Ouch. Ha as we walked away Sister Christiansen and I just had big smiles on our faces - we figure if you don't approach and leave the door with a smile you've lost half the battle.

Lincoln High Homecoming Week:
It was Homecoming week at Lincoln High so we heard all about spirit day, the football game, and the dance from the youth in the ward(: On Saturday we helped Liz, a recent convert, get ready for the dance. We had a blast doing her makeup, nails, and hair! It was so much fun and she looked darling(: Her dress was sleeveless, but she made the choice to wear one of Sister Christiansen's cardigans. She's amazing!

Well I think that about sums up my week. We said goodbye to Elder Broadus and met Elder Neville who will be serving here in Rapids with Elder Kirk. We're doing our best to find people who will strengthen the ward and who want to progress. It is cool to see how the gospel changes people - I love how it is changing me and all that I am learning. Being a missionary rules! Keep doing the little things, I love and miss ya all(:

Sister Kelley
Our hike up Sandhill with the Elders!

Sunset on the hill.

Fall is beautiful!

Powderpuff with the Young Women!

Getting ready for Homecoming!

Cute hair-do by Amanda!

Ready for Homecoming!

Monday, October 6, 2014

General Conference

Dear Family and Friends,

Man, everything this week just revolved around General Conference - it was awesome! I hope you all had a chance to watch it(:

Conference Prep:
Sister Christiansen and I wanted to get our investigators, recent converts, and less actives pumped about watching conference so we taught a bunch of really cool lessons about prophets and receiving revelation to help people get excited! We love object lessons so we came up with a fun one to talk about the importance of going to conference with a SPECIFIC question in mind and preparing to receive an answer to that question through personal revelation. I'll do my best to explain the lesson, but if it doesn't make sense just know it was super awesome and we felt like geniuses because we made it up ourselves(: So we had a bag of bread with a twisty tie, a jar of peanut butter, a bottle of jam, a knife, and a blind fold. We blind-folded one of the people we were teaching then asked them to walk us through the steps of making a peanut butter and jam sandwich. They'd walk us through it, but weren't specific in their instructions so usually the bread never made it out of the bag (because they forgot to tell us to untie the twisty tie) or they'd forget to have us open the peanut butter jar. Anyway we'd unblind- fold them and they'd realize they hadn't been specific enough. So then we'd discuss how we need to ask specific questions in order to get specific answers - super cool lesson.

Watching Conference:
As missionaries we watch conference at the church and are allowed to watch one session in a member's home. We wanted to get loads of people to watch it at the church with us so we told everyone about it! We also promised we'd have hot chocolate chip cookies waiting at the church if they came to watch it with us so we did a lot of baking and had a great turn out - lots of investigators, recent converts, and less actives came! Ha we used Sister Cutler's recipe (which can feed a small army) so we had plenty of cookies to go around(: We also made conference bingo cards which everyone seemed to enjoy. Sister Christiansen and I watched the Sunday morning session with the Rapids Elders at the home of one of the members in the ward. Conference was such a great experience - such a spiritual feast!

Touching Talks:
Picking a General Conference favorite is hard.. they were all so good! I especially liked Elder Klebingat's talk about increasing our spiritual confidence before God. Oh and I thought it was cool that a few different speakers talked about how the Sacrament should be a sacred experience. The Sacrament is such a blessing in our lives and lately I've been trying to make my experience during the Sacrament more meaningful so I was grateful for this guidance. I am excited to talk about Conference with our investigators this week and to put what was taught into action!!!

Transfers - Goodbye to Elder Broadus:
We got the transfer text on Saturday and found out that Sister Christiansen is staying in Rapids! She will have been here for 10 months - that is 7 transfers! Crazy! Her ankle is finally healing though so we are guessing this will be her last transfer here, but we are excited we get to stay together! We celebrated by making a missionary rap(: One day maybe you'll get to see it.. the file was too big to send.. Anyway we are excited to be together, but we are loosing Elder Broadus - one of the WI Rapids Elders in our ward! We will miss him, but he is going to be a great District Leader in West Bend! We are looking forward to meeting Elder Kirk's new comp next week.

Reaching out to the Less Actives:
Another highlight of the week was a lesson we taught to a less active in a member's home. We didn't know this less active very well, but knew she was friends with one of the ward members so we set up a time to meet all together. Being in the member's home made all the difference in the world! We got to know the less active and shared a powerful spiritual message with her. Though it is sometimes hard to coordinate around busy schedules, working with members is key to helping less actives feel loved and important!

Hope you all have a great week and apply what you learned during conference!
Sister Kelley
Our district!

Wisconsin Rapids Elders and Sisters!

Farewell to Elder Broadus!