Monday, November 24, 2014

Tell the Glove Story Again!

Dear Family and Friends,

This week has been insane! I felt like it was the longest/fastest/craziest week of my life!

Farewell WI Rapids:
It was so hard to leave Wisconsin Rapids! I am so grateful for all the experiences I had there and all the amazing people I got to work with. The ward members are incredible and I can't wait to hear about how our investigators with baptismal dates continue to progress! Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday morning were spent running around saying goodbye to everyone, plus I had to pack everything up and get ready to leave! On Wednesday morning we drove to the transfer point at Stevens Point where I got to say goodbye to the Wausau Zone. Saying goodbye to Sister Christiansen was so sad, we've had so many amazing experiences together over the last 4 months. I am so grateful I had to chance to serve with her! From Stevens Point I was taken to Oshkosh with the other transferring missionaries and a few sisters who were going home the next day! It was fun to see Sister Bennet, she served in Adams-Friendship and was in my District during my first transfer, again! She's home now! Then we were divided up according to where we were going and then I was taken to Madison!

Mad Town:
Madison is completely different from Wisconsin Rapids, but I love it! It was so weird to go from a little conservative town to a huge liberal city! Madison has such a 'college town' feel and rightfully so because the University of Wisconsin - Madison is right here! There are so many young people it's awesome! We talk with people all the time because there are so many college students out and about! Our ward is primarily made up of young couples and families studying at UW. At church on Sunday there were probably half a dozen young pregnant women walking around - so cute! The Mad 1 Ward is a lot bigger than the ward in Wisconsin Rapids. I think there are 4 wards in Madison total plus the campus YSA wards. There are 8 missionaries assigned just to our ward. 4 Spanish Elders, 2 English Elders, and us - the English Sisters! Oh another huge difference is the fact that Madison is a bussing area which means we don't have a car! Ha we get to use the busses to get around which is nice because it gives us loads of opportunities to talk with people!

The Glove Story:
I love finding on the bus! It is so much better than tracting! Plus you meet all kinds of people on the bus so it is just fun(: Last night we were on the bus when these drunk guys got on - they were SO out of it! This guy told us a story about how his French girlfriend had special gloves she used when she smoked. He said my gloves looked like good smoking gloves.. ha then his buddy was laughing super hard and kept asking him to, "tell the glove story again!" Ha Sister King and I were laughing so hard! These poor guys were soo drunk and had no clue what was going on or what they were doing. I don't know why anyone would want to be so out of it like that! I am so grateful for the Word of Wisdom - it was totally given for our benefit!

Sister King:
I was really worried about leaving Sister Christiansen right before the holidays! We had insane comp unity and taught well together, BUT Heavenly Father totally blessed me and I am so excited to serve with Sister King! She is amazing! She's from Provo and she went to BYU before coming out on her mission in January. She was actually in the MTC at the same time as Sister Christiansen so she has been out for 11.5 months. She's served in a bussing area her whole mission - one in Milwaukee and now in Madison! She loves sports and is super easy going, we get along really well! This is going to be a great transfer!(:

Hope you all have an awesome Thanksgiving this week and eat loads of turkey(: Thanks for all the letters, emails, and prayers! Love you guys!

Sister Kelley
Goodbye to Sister Wendt - she is such a sweet lady(: Love her!
Goodbye to Ethan and Harley - seriously will miss these two!
Goodbye to Carol! 
She is amazing, love her! I will miss her a ton(:
Brother Newsom made some delicious cinnamon swirl bread for me before I left - mmmmm(:
Brother and Sister Newsom! Love them! 
Sister New is an amazing cook and always had great food and a warm place for us(:
Goodbye to the Grunden family! Definitely didn't want to leave sweet Dylan!
It has been such a privilege to get to know them. 
Definitely gonna miss sweet Gabby and Lilly lots!! We loved helping them in YW!!
Peckham family! They are soooo awesome!
Goodbye to Deb - she's got the cutest twins ever! I will miss her(:
Sister C and I trying to pack... oh boy. Ha THAT was a struggle! I was totally wishing Dad was there to help - seems like he can make anything fit! But we figured it out and got everything loaded(:
Goodbye to Liz! Love her & will miss her! Saw her at 6:45 am before I left!!!!!
Goodbye to Shelley! Love & will miss her too, can you tell I'm sad to leave the Rapids?!?!?! 
Me & Sis. C
awwwwwwwww goodbye to Sister Christiansen!!!):
Sad to say goodbye!!!!! Excited for the new adventure though!
Goodbye to the Wausau Zone Sisters at transfer point!

Hello Sister King!!!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Transfer Trade Up (New Madison Address Coming Soon!)

Dear Family and Friends,

Man the last few days have been crazy! We got the "transfer text" (which is just a text they send out to everyone in the zone about who is being transferred) on Saturday morning. Sister Christiansen has been here in WI Rapids for 10.5 months now so we were pretty sure she would leave or we would both stay. To our surprise we read the text and found out that I AM LEAVING! I was sooo heartbroken! I have come to love the people here so much and really didn't want to leave right before the holidays! All week I had prayed that the right thing would happen with transfers so that I could learn and grow in order to become the missionary and person Heavenly Father wants me to become. I'm sad that my time here in Rapids is up, but I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who is so mindful of me and is giving me this chance to learn and grow in MADISON! Yup that's right, I'm headed to Madison to serve with Sister King who I've heard great things about(: Can't wait for this next adventure!

Learning from Lot's Wife:
I was studying in the Old Testament about Lot and the story of what happened to Lot's wife. Remember that one? She looks back on the wicked city of Sodom and Gomorrah and turns to a pillar of salt! It is so sad that she didn't have enough faith to trust Heavenly Father and leave her old life behind! There's an awesome Mormon Message called "Look Not Behind Thee" that we shared with a few families this week. I totally recommend it! It talks about how we each experience difficult moments when we want to turn back like Lot's Wife. It is in those difficult moments we need to have faith that what is ahead of us will be just as good if not better than what we are leaving behind. Heavenly Father knows what is best and what we need, we just have to have enough faith to trust Him and let Him guide our lives. I love the promise in Helaman 12:1 "the Lord in His infinite goodness doth bless and prosper those who put their trust in Him." I know as we put our trust in Him, He WILL bless us!

Trying to Keep Warm:
The Flinders family have been letting us come over this week to exercise. It has been so nice! They have a couple treadmills and loads of weights! I have absolutely loved it! Sister Christiansen hasn't been able to workout much because of her ankle, but when we go to the Flinders she can walk on the treadmill or lift weights while I run! Oh how I've missed running! It is nice to start the day with a good workout and warm up because outside it's freezing! Seriously though.. it is starting to get sooo cold here. Everyone says it's way colder than normal already and they're anticipating a rough winter... yikes! We layer up hard core!

District Meeting all about Families:
We had a DM all about the Family Proclamation this week! It was awesome! We discussed the roles of mothers and fathers and how they help one another. We talked about good parent examples in the Book of Mormon and shared things our parents had taught us. My favorite line in the Family Proclamation is, "Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ." It is so true. When we center our families around Christ we will experience peace and happiness! I am so grateful for how the gospel has blessed my family!

I don't know if I've ever mentioned this before, but Sister Christiansen and I laugh SO much! Ha her laugh is so contagious and when you get her going it takes a few minutes to calm her down! Ha this week we spent loads of time laughing! I'll attempt to explain one funny thing that happened, but it's probably a 'you had to be there' experience.. Ha but enjoy. So we were visiting April, one of our investigators, this week and her 10 year old daughter Grace asked if she could give us makeovers. We let her go at it and by the time we were finished we were covered in purple and blue sparkly eye-shadow and little barrettes! Ha we looked like super creepy clowns! Then we tried to share a message and we just couldn't stop laughing because we both looked so ridiculous! We probably laughed for like 10 minutes straight...(:

Our Oath:
We were out and about when we felt a prompting to go contact a potential investigator. We knocked on her door and someone looked through the window, but didn't answer. UGHHHH. It was snowing and dark, but we could see someone across the street walking their dog. Cold and disappointed that our potential hadn't answered the door, we headed back to the car. As we walked away we realized we were totally wasting this opportunity to talk to the person outside walking their dog so we went back, but they were gone! We tracted around the area with no luck. Disappointed in ourselves at our failure to talk to everyone and anyone - we made an oath to talk to everyone we possibly could after that! The next day we were walking from one appointment to another and we saw a guy walking his dogs. This time we were ready! We stopped and talked with him which was great!

Saying Goodbye:
I'm really excited to serve in Madison, but I will miss Wisconsin Rapids! If someone would've told me when I got here that I would be sad to leave, I never would've believed them! Ha but I have grown to truly love the people I've met here! I've been so blessed to get to know so many amazing people and to be influenced by their testimonies and good examples. I love how the gospel brings people together and allows us to learn and grow with each other!

Well I think that's about it! I'll write to you next week from Madison! Stay warm, love you guys!
Sister Kelley(:
So here is our cute district...
I am seriously going to miss these missionaries! Love them!
Grace - one of our investigator's daughters did our makeup! HA we look crazy!
Here I am with BeeJay - an investigator in Rapids
Liz, Sister C, and I by the Christmas lights we put up in the snow!
Here I am with Sister Macedon - she's the sweetest lady ever!
Saying goodbye is the worst...): Here I am with the Bauers...LOVE THEM! 
Here I am with the Dubson Family...LOVE THEM!

Monday, November 10, 2014

P-day Again?

Dear Family and Friends,

Another week has come and gone here in good ol' Wisconsin Rapids! Yesterday we woke up to snow on the ground again so we listened to Christmas Hymns while driving to church(: I'm getting a little scared for the winter out here because I'm already freezing to death... Ha the dang wind is bone chilling!

Exchanges in Wausau:
This week I went on exchanges in Wausau with Sister Jardine! Sister Anderson, the new Sister Training Leader (STL), came to Rapids with Sister Christiansen. It was fun to go to Wausau again and spend time with Sister Jardine. She's an amazing missionary who teaches boldly and simply. I always learn a ton from her. On Tuesday morning we bundled up and went on a sweet hill run, but when we came back we were locked out of the apartment... Ha so that was an adventure! Thankfully the Hmong Elders live nearby and we were able to enlist their help in breaking in! It all worked out, we got on with our day and saw some awesome miracles! We taught a lady named Nancy who I actually met the last time I was in Wausau on exchanges. It was cool to see how much her testimony has grown since then and to realize how far I've come since then as well! Sisters Anderson and Christiansen found a new investigator and had some cool lessons as well! Exchanges are always a good time(:

Wausau Zone Conference in Gresham:
The Adams-Friendship Sisters slept over Tuesday night so we could all drive together to Gresham Wednesday morning, so that was fun! It was good to see everyone in the zone again and we had a great Zone Conference all about the Book of Mormon! Teaching from the Book of Mormon is powerful. I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon and the focused study we are doing as a mission. We had a chance to share what stood out to us with our districts and I learned a ton! I really like Mosiah 27:25-26 realizing that the Atonement of Jesus Christ changes us! We can become so much more through Christ! I am so grateful for my Savior.

Working with the Youth:
A few of the young women in the ward really want to serve missions so they had an activity this week introducing them to Preach My Gospel and talking about missionary life. They asked Sister Christiansen and I to come in and share with them what we did to prepare for our missions or what we wished we would have done and what a typical missionary day is like. We advised them to read the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, and to start studying Preach My Gospel. The most important thing they can do, or any of us can do really, is to take Elder Anderson's advice from the recent General Conference and realize that, "Now is the time to adjust your own spiritual oxygen mask so that you are prepared to help others who are seeking truth." As we strengthen our own testimonies we will be more capable of helping others strengthen theirs. It was really fun to spend time with the young women - they are so strong! Being a member of the church out here is HARD! They are good examples to their friends and will be incredible missionaries. On Sunday we got to spend more time with the youth when we were asked to teach Sunday school! We had a good discussion about how we find answers and spent some time searching for answers together in the scriptures. Speaking of working with the youth.. Ha we are teaching two teenage boys, Ethan and Harley. They are both super great! Harley doesn't have any religious background at all, but we taught him that he has a loving Heavenly Father and this week he prayed for the first time!!! I am so grateful that we can pray to Heavenly Father and that He is so mindful of us!

Carol's Answer:
This week we were finally able to set a baptismal date with our investigator Carol! I have such a sincere love for this woman - it's crazy! She has been through a lot in her life, but the gospel has truly changed her and given her so much strength! She's been investigating for a while, but her living situation was keeping her from progressing to baptism. This week Carol prayed and asked Heavenly Father what he wanted her to do and what direction she should go in her life. She told us that she immediately thought about moving out so she wouldn't be living with Tim anymore. We were so glad she recognized this answer to her prayer. She filed out a few housing applications, but there are long waiting lists. We are praying she will be able to get into the right place at the right time - this is all on the Lord's timetable! But we have faith that it is possible and that Carol is ready for this next step. We are excited for her to continue to learn and grow, she's great! She even invited a friend to come to church with her this Sunday! She introduced us to her friend Wendy who didn't seem interested at first, but once we started talking with her she lightened up and we were able to give her a copy of the Book of Mormon - Carol is already doing missionary work!

Day at the Doctors:
Poor Sister Christiansen had to get a steroid shot in her foot this week to help reduce the pain caused by her plantar faciitis. The needle was GIGANTIC and it seemed super painful... Dr. Torhorst was super nice though and I got to watch the nurse take X-rays of Sister C's ankle which was cool. I think that kind of stuff is super interesting, but I don't know if I could give someone a shot..

Recognizing Promptings:
We were out trying to contact referrals on Saturday night when the name of a less active in the ward kept popping into my mind. I've been trying to become better at recognizing promptings so I told Sister C that Al's name kept coming to mind. We decided to stop in and see if Al was home, but it seemed pretty unlikely. We've gone to visit this lady half a dozen times and we've never been able to get in. Sister Christiansen has been here for 10 months and has only been able to get in once! So we decided to go visit Al and SHE WAS HOME! She let us in and we had a really good discussion about the Plan of Salvation. Her 16 year-old daughter Haley was also there so we got to know her and when we were sharing the message she was definitely touched. I was super grateful for the prompting I'd received to go see them and that I had been able to recognize it!

Well I think that's about all I've got for ya! Hope you guys are all doing well and staying healthy! Thanks for all the support and encouragement! Love you guys!
Sister Kelley
A death mask of Joseph and Hyrum Smith
and an original copy of the Book Of Mormon
 they had at Zone Conference!
Me and Sister Kunz reunited at Zone Conference(: She was in my MTC District.
Go Cougars!
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
It's Cold! Brrrr!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Dear Family and Friends,

Well it's been another week. Ha I'm not sure where the time is going, but as of yesterday I've officially been out for 4 months! Can you believe it?! Man time is flying by out here!

Carving Pumpkins:
Last P-day after emails we wanted to get into the spirit of Halloween so we decided to carve pumpkins with the Elders! Sister Christiansen carved a Harry Potter pumpkin which turned out great then I scraped out the pumpkin guts while Elder Neville carved what was supposed to be a one-eyed monster... it looked terrible! Ha epic fail. We all had a good time though(: Then we did some service raking and bagging leaves. We had a blast jumping in the piles of leaves and enjoying the fall weather!

Painting, painting, and more painting:
I don't know what it is with us and painting lately, but we've been doing a ton of it for less actives, members, and investigators! Ha this week Sister Stoflet, our ward Relief Society President, needed help painting her house so we spent some time over there helping out. They've been working really hard to get their new house all finished before the snow flies! Hopefully they can start getting things moved in soon!

Halloween Festivities:
On Halloween morning we woke up to snow! It was really pretty, but I'm not ready for it to be that cold quite yet! Thankfully most of it melted before the end of the day. We shared a message with our investigator April and got to see her girls get all dressed up to go out trick-or-treating! We enjoyed a delicious dinner at Sister Bauer's house with the Elders then played a few minute-to-win-it games where we all looked like complete fools. I'd say it was a successful Halloween for sure(:

Ward Fall Festival:
Instead of a ward Halloween party they do a ward Fall Festival so that was held on November 1st! I was bummed the little kids didn't come in their cute costumes, but we had a good turn out and there were lots of fun activities. During the week we ran around like crazy visiting all of our investigators, less actives, and recent converts to invite them to the activity! It was great to see some of them there and introduce them to other members of the ward. Oh and they did the classic 'Chili Cook-off' so that was fun! The missionaries were the judges so Elders Kirk and Neville and Sister Christiansen and I had to taste test all the Chili and pick the winners! There was a Chili made with ghost peppers that absolutely killed my throat.. ha it was soo spicy! Also people in Wisconsin sometimes put noodles in their chili so that was weird... hadn't seen that before. Anyway it was a super fun activity(:

Catholic Mass:
The Elders were invited to attend Catholic Mass by a lady who they met while out street contacting. They gave her a Book of Mormon and taught her the Restoration, but she is very Catholic. She asked why our church didn't have sister missionaries and they told her that the church actually does have sister missionaries.. so they brought us along to meet her during Saturday morning Mass. So yes, I went to a Catholic Mass this week! Ha it was actually really interesting, but weird too. You couldn't feel the spirit like you can in our church services. They were celebrating All Saints Day. Ha some of the stuff they did/said made sense, but then you could see where the truth had been lost. I am so grateful for the Restoration! We ended up going out to breakfast with this lady and had a great conversation about what we believe. We talked about the Great Apostasy a ton and bore testimony of the Book of Mormon. She said she would be interested in coming to one of our Sunday services to see how we worship so we'll see what comes of that!

The Church is True:
I'm not sure if it was just the contrast between Mass the day before or the fact that we had 4 investigators attend Sacrament meeting(:(:(:... but I felt the spirit SO strongly at church this week!!! Sister Christiansen bore a really powerful testimony and I had a super cool fasting experience. I am so grateful for the Restoration of the gospel and the knowledge we have of the truth! I'm grateful for the power of the Holy Ghost and the fact that we can receive our own personal witness of the truth. The gospel requires ACTION and as we act our testimonies will increase in strength and we will become truly converted!

Understanding Testimony:
Dylan, Jenny and Gary's son, is an 11 year old recent convert who I absolutely adore! He totally reminds me of my little brothers(: He is seriously the sweetest kid and has a heart of gold! He is such a good example to me - I learn so much from him. This week in preparation for Fast and Testimony meeting we talked with Dylan about bearing a testimony. He was nervous about it and wanted to practice in a Family Home Evening setting. Even in FHE he was scared, but he bore his testimony and did great! As a missionary I go around bearing my testimony to people everyday, but just like Dylan sometimes I get scared! Ha but the more I do it the easier it gets. In my Book of Mormon reading this week I read from Mosiah about Abinadi bearing his testimony so boldly and powerfully to wicked King Noah and his Priests. The power of his testimony touched Alma who then touched THOUSANDS of lives by bringing others to the knowledge of the truth. Bearing testimony is powerful! I am grateful for the chance I have to share my testimony each day with the people of Wisconsin(: Being a missionary rules!

Thanks for the prayers, support, and encouragement! It means a lot(: I love and miss ya all! Hope you have a great week!

Sister Kelley

On halloween we dressed up as ultra old fashioned sister missionaries!
Then we realized how hideous we looked and we changed before going out in public...
One more old fashioned pic...

Playing Minute to Win It games

Look how long my hair is....I'm so proud:) And I love my new orange hat!!!
Thanks Grandma Cathy (Cloward) for making it and
Grandma Barbara for sending it along with the yummy oatmeal fix-ins!