Monday, April 27, 2015

Family History Frenzy

Dear family and friends,

Hope you're all alive and well! This week was great - so many answers to prayers and tender mercy moments(:

Family History:
This week we did a lot with family history! There is a small family history center in our church building so early in the week we went and took a class so we would be better able to answer our investigator's and recent convert's questions about using Ancestry and Family Search. We helped Richard, one of the Elder's recent converts, get his family history information added into Family Search and prepare his father's name to take to the temple this Saturday! He was so excited when we printed out the name(: We also used family history a lot in our finding. We were walking by this old cemetery and there was a headstone with the name Mary Smith on it, my Grandmother's name, so I was thinking about her and had the prompting to talk with this grounds keeper there about family history so we did and he was super open!

Wear and Tear Repair:
This week the strap to my bag completely tore - ha I guess I had too many copies of the Book of Mormon with me or something! I ended up using a hair tie as a quick fix and then yesterday Brother Bush in the ward was able to sew it up for me with his leather tools. Such a tender mercy he was able to help!

Wet Hair and a New Investigator:
We got stuck out in the pouring rain waiting 20 minutes for a bus - ha needless to say we were completely soaked! We hadn't packed our umbrellas or coats and there wasn't really anything to stand under nearby so we just stood there and took it. Ha it was awesome! Thank goodness for my trusty water proof bag! The bus finally came and we got on and just stood in the isle because we were so wet, but this nice man offered us a seat so we went over and chatted with him. His name is Chris and he is from Nigeria - such a cool guy! We're getting him to attend the campus congregation!

Madison Stake Women's Conference:
This week we got to go to the Madison Stake Women's Conference which was all about being happy. It was fun to get to know the Relief Society Sisters in the Stake a bit more and help our people get fellowshipped. Sister Feriante gave us a ride there so we got to help her take down the decorations at the end and chat. I just love her! Oh and as part of the women's conference thing they did all these minute to win it games and had a photo booth thing so I will send pictures..

Lesson on a Park Bench:
Last week we met this guy named Lun Cheng in the park and we set a return appointment with him planning to meet at this cute little park bench. Honestly I doubted he'd remember and I was already thinking about which neighborhood we would go tract when he didn't show up, but then HE ACTUALLY CAME! We sat on that little park bench and taught the Restoration super simply and the spirit was so strong! Lun Cheng is so prepared. He shared with us that just two days before we talked to him in the park he had been praying to God about wanting to start going to church again in the summer - then he met us and we invited him to church! The spirit was really strong as he shared this experience and as we realized we had truly been an answer to his prayer. I am so grateful Heavenly Father put him in our path!

We had interviews with President Cutler this week - ah what an incredible experience. It was just what I needed. He gave me a Priesthood Blessing and I just cried and cried! Ha I am so grateful for the guidance he gave and how in tune with the spirit he is - I felt so much peace and know this is where I am supposed to be!

Recent Convert Temple Trips:
This week Jenny and Gary (who I got to work with in Wisconsin Rapids) and Shaun were all able to go to the temple to receive their Endowments. I am so happy for each of them and grateful for their testimonies and examples!

Well I think that's about it. We find out about transfers on Saturday so I'll let you know next week. Love and miss you!

Sister Kelley(:

Pics from Madison Stake Women's Conference!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Homemade Jam(:

Dear family and friends,

Hola everyone. Hope all is well back home(:

Cleaning Inspection:
I felt like I was back in Heritage Halls this week as we had to frantically deep clean our apartment for the routine cleaning check! Our apartment was pretty nasty so it was good to spend the time scrubbing and de-cluttering. The place looks loads better now and we are going to get a microwave that actually works so we're super excited!

Car Mat Picnic:
We got to meet with Kendall a couple times this week which was great! She is such an incredible woman. I seriously look up to her so much! She has such a great energy and spirit about her and constantly lifts other up. I am so grateful to have been able to help teach her and know her! We did some family history work together at the church family history center and then had a picnic in the park. We were all in skirts so we grabbed her car mats and sat on those - genius! It was great to have a lesson and enjoy the sunshine together(:

Cramer Couple:
That awkward moment when you almost street contact a totally active couple... Ha that happened yesterday when we were out tracting. We saw this cute older couple walking by on the other side of the road so we said hello and walked over to try to street contact them, but as we walked over we realized it was the Cramers in the ward! Ha so instead we chatted and they ended up having us over for dinner an hour later after we'd finished tracting out their neighborhood! It was so fun to get to know them at dinner and hear the story of their conversion. Brother Cramer just doted on his wife and kept filling up our soup bowls - ha we were absolutely stuffed afterwards!

Memorial Union:
This week we had a lesson with our investigator Sarah at Memorial Union, a beautiful UW outdoor study area right on Lake Mendota! It was such a pretty day and we had a really good lesson together. We explained more about the Priesthood and she said she 'got the feels' while we were talking about how she needs to be baptized by the proper authority - ahh so solid!

Peyote on the Bus:
Met this Native American man named Jimmy on the bus and he pulled out some peyote for me. So that was good. We had a nice conversation. We're friends now I think.

Surprise Package:
Pretty sure I have the world's best trainer - this week I came home to find a package from her Grandma! Ha I guess Sister C had asked Grandma Worthington to send me some of her homemade jam because she used to get it when we were companions and I loved it! So sweet Grandma Worthington, a woman I don't even know sent me delicious homemade jam in a nice little package! Aww seriously so kind and such a fun surprise! Sister Christiansen is the best(: This morning we went shopping with the STL's (Sisters Christiansen and Vang) and the Sun Prairie Sisters (Sister Cosgrove and Jensen). It was super fun to hangout with the sisters, but so sad to say goodbye to Sister C! She is going home this Thursday to spend time with her Mom. Please keep their family in your prayers!

Public Speaking Practice:
This week I was asked to give a training in District Meeting and give a talk in church! It seemed like they both went well. In DTM I presented a training on Diligence which is the Christ like attribute I am studying this transfer. I love the definition given in Preach My Gospel, 'diligence is steady, consistent, earnest, and energetic effort in doing the Lord’s work.' D&C 58:27 also sums it up nicely
teaching that we should be 'anxiously engaged' as we go to work we give the Lord something to help us with! Then later I was assigned to speak with the High Councilor on how to fellowship. I used the light house/lower lights analogy about how the Savior is the lighthouse leading us back to our heavenly harbor with the Father and we are the lower lights that should help our lost brothers and sisters find the light of the Savior. I talked about how we must 1) turn on our light - by strengthening our own testimonies and becoming truly converted and 2) hold up our light - by reaching out to love and serve our brothers and sisters. Then closed with the words of 'Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy.' Afterwards I got quite a few compliments on it and Brother Sorensen, the high council man who also spoke, referenced back to things I'd shared. The talks seemed to go well together and brought a special spirit.

We're struggling to find new people to teach, but we are working hard and learning loads. We have just two weeks left of the transfer so we are trying to go hard and finish strong! Thanks for the prayers and encouragement - it means the world(: Love and miss you!
Sister Kelley(:
Cleaning for cleaning inspections - the top of the fridge was
DISGUSTING! Ha soo much dirt and dust! 
Sister Schlosser, our investigator Sarah, and I at Memorial Union
Terrace for our lesson this week. Beautiful overlook of Lake Mendota!
Such a fun treat from Grandma Worthington (Sis C's g-ma.) THANK YOU!!!
Remember how you used to buy that Greek Goddess
yogurt stuff? I thought it was horrible! Now I love to get it as a
treat and eat it on top of fresh fruit! Also I made a spinach cheese
omlete and felt really fancy.. Oh and this week I had this fancy fish
that Kendall made for us with homemade mango salsa and it was
delicious. (Can this be OUR DAUGHTER raving about fish???)

I am saying goodbye to Sister C! 
I'm sure gonna miss Sister C!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Jammin' to Kanye

Dear family and friends,

This week was a whirlwind! Hope you have all been doing well(: Glad to hear you guys made it back safe and sound from Orlando - the pictures are amazing!!!

Zone Training Meeting:
The Madison West Zone rules - seriously love the Elders and Sisters here so much! The Sister Training Leaders talked about our mission culture and how we want to be more dignified. Then the Zone Leaders did a training on sacrifice and consecration. They talked about how we need to ask ourselves what our motivation behind our obedience is - is it 1) fear, 2) blessings, or 3) love. Obviously it is good to obey regardless of our motives, but we will be more powerful if we are truly motivated by our love for our Father in Heaven, our Savior, and those we serve. Elder Anderson shared Mosiah 2:34 about how we must render to God all that we HAVE and ARE.' All that we HAVE meaning to make sacrifices and all that we ARE meaning to become consecrated. They invited us to fast for 24 hours and let the spirit guide us as to what we can do to become more consecrated and then to make that change with a 40 day fast. We started with the 24 hour fast yesterday and already I have felt the spirit so strongly helping me to keep moving forward and BECOME better/more consecrated through the power of the Atonement.

Surprise Exchanges:
This week we went on a surprise exchange! The Sister Training Leaders called us and wanted to switch up our exchange times which was great because we had actually got the dates switched on our calendars and had thought they were going to be this week anyway. Turns out we all really needed to go on the exchange and that was definitely a blessing in disguise that we had planned things out accordingly. I got to go to Madison 2nd Ward with my lovely trainer, Sister C and Sister Vang came
here to be with Sister Schlosser. Spending time with Sister Christiansen was just what we both needed! She's been going through a ton lately with family stuff so I was grateful to be there to talk things through with her. She is an amazing missionary and such a great example to me! It's been fun to be able to go on exchanges and see how we have both grown and become better missionaries since we served together. Plus we always have a blast reminiscing old times in Rapids(: I sure will miss Sister C when she leaves in May!

Bussing Probs:
Oh man the buses totally messed us up so many times this week. Ha we had some epic adventures though and even got a new investigator out of it, huge tender mercy! So we took the #14 for a change and it took us borderline out of our area so we were all stressed and had to find our way back and it started to rain super hard. Ha so there we were walking in the pouring rain, completely drenched and a bus miraculously appears and takes us back to Sheboygan! Then we were stranded in this sketchy area late at night because the buses didn't run so we asked directions from this little family and they kindly gave us a ride to the transfer point! The husband driving was blasting Kanye West's new album - ha which was super obscene, but we totally turned it into a teaching environment and prayed/gave a Book of Mormon to them!

Lucy's Baptism:
Gigi's daughter Lucy was baptized this week so we got to help the Spanish Elders set up for that. The service was all done in Spanish and I am happy to report I am starting to understand more and more of it! Hermano Chaupparo is always trying to teach us Spanish and we try to teach him English - it's a hoot! The spanish members are the best(: I got to help with the music, the spirit was so strong I loved it!

Checkin out the Singles Ward:
We got permission to go to the campus ward Relief Society this week with our investigator Sarah - it was super fun! It seemed like Sarah enjoyed it so we are hoping she will be comfortable staying on her own now that she knows what it is like. The YSAs did a great job of fellowshipping her which we were grateful for! I hope you all are great fellowshippers too - if you don't know someone you see at
church, introduce yourself and help them to feel comfortable and loved!

Ring Check:
Seems like we're constantly doing the 'ring check' when we meet people because we want to teach families! Single adults are great and all, but we'll save them for the campus elders(: Ha we work pretty closely with them handing off investigators and giving each other referrals, but this week a hand off went totally awry! So we have been teaching Jianguo for the past month or so, but we got a strong impression that Elder Feist and Elder Christian needed to work with him. At first we didn't want to give him up, but we decided it would be best since he was unmarried and still YSA age. We had a great hand off lesson, but as we walk out the Elders told us that Jianguo had told them separately that he is actually married and his wife lives in Beijing! Say what?! Ha we had NO IDEA!!! So now we are in this predicament of having handed him over to the YSA, but he should actually be in the family ward.. so we gotta sort that one out. Apparently not everyone wears a wedding ring.. or mentions their spouse..

Well that's about it! Thanks for the prayers and support - I've definitely been feeling them! Please keep Sister Christiansen and her Mom (she's battling cancer) in your prayers this week too! The Savior truly brings us strength and comfort during the hard times. Love and miss you all!

Sister Kelley(:

Me and Sister C!

Bus stop in the rain!

After we got home, I'm all drenched!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Easter AND Conference? What could be better???

Dear family and friends,

It looks like the Orlando trip has been a success(: I loved seeing all the pictures! Enjoy the sunshine and roller coasters these next few days and travel back safe!

Ultimate Frisbee:
Gotta through this in here for Zach - we got together with the zone last P-day and played Ultimate! It was so much fun! Hopefully we'll do it again today in a few hours(:

Cupcakes with Rachel:
On Tuesday we celebrated our recent convert Rachel's birthday with her and her sweet family! It was fun to enjoy a vegetarian meal together. Rachel was telling us about why/how she became vegetarian and how her husband Bob converted over to being vegetarian as well. I teased him about being super good at converting...(: Ha we hope one day Bob will join the church, he's such a great guy! I love that Bob supports Rachel with everything she does - I am grateful for their example of a relationship that works!

Looks Painful:
We were knocking doors this week when we saw this super bright teal house on a corner. There are so many sweet looking houses here in Madison! Ha but anyway we knocked this teal door and met this guy who was in the middle of giving himself a tattoo! It looked so painful! He was super excited to show us this corpse mermaid thing though so we listened then talked to Him about Jesus! Ha good times(:

Directed to Trevor:
This week it seemed like we missed our buses a lot so we'd be stranded somewhere randomly for a little while waiting for the next bus or walking for a really long time to our next appointment. We made the best of those situations though by trying to listen to the promptings of the spirit and talk with the people placed in our path. We met a few solid people this way, but the highlight of the week was when we met this college student named Trevor. His apartment building had stuck out to me, but when no one answered the first bell we turned to leave to catch our bus. Then Sister Schlosser felt prompted to ring the other bell so we did and out came Trevor! We got talking with him and found out he was having a hard time after a bad breakup - we prayed with him and the spirit was super strong! I'm grateful we listened to the spirit and were being diligent despite the buses not working out.

Jada's 1st Temple Trip:
This week we were able to help our recent convert Jada get to the temple with the Young Women! It was fun to bus her to the church and talk to her about what the temple would be like. We told her about the special spirit that is at the temple. I miss being able to go to the temple and hope you are all making temple attendance a priority! We are so blessed to live at a time when there are so many temples on the earth. The temple truly is the House of the Lord, a place where we can feel peace and renewal!

General Conference:
How grateful I am for a living prophet who leads and guides the church! President Monson is such a great Christ-like example of love and service. We are so blessed to get to hear from the prophet and
apostles twice a year - conference is the best! I am grateful for the answers I received and for the strength I felt come from listening to conference. I liked what Elder Eyring taught about fasting and am excited to make fasting a more spiritual experience. I was also grateful for Elder Bednar's thoughts about overcoming fear - fear truly is the opposite of faith! Then Elder Holland and Elder Uchtdorf back to back talks about different parts of the Atonement was SOO powerful! I am excited to study them more in depth and apply the things I learned! We had fun watching conference at the church with investigators, recent converts, a few ward members, and the other missionaries. In between the sessions we had a big lunch and enjoyed talking about what we had learned(:

Easter Sunday:
In preparation for Easter I took the time to study the last week of the Savior's life. I am so grateful for Him and His perfect example. He was motivated by love and performed the Atonement to fulfill the Father's will. I know He lives! He is there to lift and comfort us! Rely on Him. Turn to Him. Find Him. I love my Savior and am so grateful for how my relationship with Him has been strengthened while serving as a missionary!

Hope you all had a wonderful General Conference/Easter weekend - if you didn't get the chance to watch conference check out to catch the messages again then go and apply them! Thanks for all the support and encouragement! Love you guys(:

Sister Kelley(:
Happy Easter!

Near Tenney Park, Lake Mendota