Monday, August 31, 2015

Eternal Life = Family Life

Hey everyone! Hope you all are doing well!(:

We have been sooo blessed here in Green Bay! Seriously so many good things are going on and we couldn't be more grateful. We had Mission Leadership Council in Oshkosh this week so we were able to meet together representing the mission and talk about the many miracles we've been seeing! We had a sweet training about using Family Home Evening as a member missionary work opportunity and another training on learning to recognize the promptings of the Spirit more fully. As always it was great to see President and Sister Cutler and all of our mission friends(:

Looking for a Church:
So the other day Sister Elkington and I were about to leave an area that we were in when we got a call from a member wanting us to stop over at their house. We decided the best use of our time before we stopped over at their house was to tract a couple of doors. We knock on the door of this house and this guy walks out and before we can even say who we are he says "I've been looking for a church. Do you have any suggestions?" ... (: Sister Elkington and I looked at each other and were like yes, yes we do(: Afterwards we were chatting about it, and we just realized how much Heavenly Father plays a role in missionary work! If Brother Holcombe hadn't called at that moment we would've left that area to go work somewhere else and we wouldn't have met Ryan when we did. The Lord is in the details of His work!

Appleton Exchange:
Got to spend time with Sister Rosenblum on exchanges in Appleton - she's from Tennesse and has such a sassy Southern attitude, we had a lot of fun together! We met with this cute young Mom named Stacie and her daughter Lexi. We were able to get Lexi to YW and she loved it! Also met and found a few new investigators for them. All good things. Sister Elkington and Sister Trent saw miracles here as they got in contact with an investigator who was MIA.

The Grunden Family:
Highlight of the week was definitely the fact that the Grunden family got sealed!!! How grateful I am for the Priesthood power on the earth again - this power that binds families together and brings lasting happiness! Sister Elkington and I are both so grateful to know their family and to see how the gospel has changed and blessed them. ETERNAL LIFE IS FAMILY LIFE!

Sacred Sabbath:
We just had the most stellar Sabbath day yesterday! Our investigator Ashley and her husband Gabriel, and their 5 kids came to church and stayed all three hours! The ward fellowshipped them so well and really helped them feel loved. Gunnar and Alexa (recently returned missionaries / future newly weds in the ward) helped keep the kids quiet. It has been such blessing having them around the last few weeks to help with lessons! They are getting married on Friday! Anyway Ashley, Gabriel, and the kids all had a great time at church, they are doing so well(: Then Mariah was there as well and she is really starting to open up to us, she is such a sweet heart! She went to Bishopric Youth Discussion with Charley and some of the other YM/YW and really seemed to have a good time. Then Lori and Jamie were there and Bishop taught an incredible 5th Sunday lesson on keeping the Sabbath Day Holy. We've been sharing a fun FHE with people using ice cream Sundaes and putting different toppings on our Sundaes (i.e. ketchup is good, but not on a Sundae! So we had little labels like shopping is good, but not on a Sunday!) Not sure if that makes sense, but it is a cute object lesson that seems to get the point across and make everyone happy(: I am grateful for Sundays - for the spiritual recharge and the chance to partake of the Sacrament and recommit to do a little better each week.

Well that's all we've got time for, so many good things! Hope you all have a good week as school starts up and the leaves start to change(: I am so excited for Wisconsin fall! Wisconsin winter... ehhh not so much... But fall, fall is good(: This week is Sister Elkington's last one in the mission, it will be hard to say goodbye to her. This transfer together has gone by way too fast! She is such a consecrated
missionary, I've learned a ton from her. Her positive attitude is contagious and we're always laughing(: We find out about transfers on Saturday and because of Labor Day we'll have P-day on Tuesday, so I'll write to you then! LOVE YOU!!!!!

Sister Kelley(:

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Say yah to the U.P. eh?

Dear fam and friends,

We had a wonderful week and to top if off we had an incredible Ward Conference yesterday! Ward council was such a spiritual experience. Seriously this ward is so great! Ward Conference was all about reaching out in service and love to those around us. It was one of those meetings where everything that was shared seemed to be exactly what I needed(:

What We've Been Up To:
We are so excited to be teaching Mariah, she is such a sweetheart! She is the 12 year-old grand daughter of a less active in the ward. She went to girls camp earlier this summer and after that started coming to church and meeting with us! We had a great lesson with her where we taught the Plan of Salvation and testified about what it meant for us and our families while showing a picture of our family. It was fun for her to see what our families look like and ask about each of you - I am grateful we can be together for eternity! We had some solid lessons with our investigator Ashley this week as well. She wasn't able to make it to church yesterday though so we're super bummed): We met a couple cute young Moms as we were out finding - we are looking forward to return appointments with them this week. One of the GB1 Elder's investigators got baptized this week, he is 13 and his name is Sonny. He's been studying with them since I got here so it has been fun to watch him progress. Sonny is so great, it was a super happy day for them all(: Then last night we had a sweet lesson with Jamie, Angie, the Mills, and Sister Yang. Sister Yang (a semi-recently returned less active Hmong sister) is one of Jamie's visiting teachers and she taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ new member lesson! Having the visiting teachers involved in/teaching the new member lessons has been so nice! It is much better than us teaching them, it really unites the ward members and recent converts!

Marquette Blitz:
Oh another thing we did this week was drive 4 hours up to Marquette to blitz! It was a long drive, but we got there in one piece and made it back okay too! On the way we stopped at a little cheese shop and got cheap UP shirts - they are great, I'll have to take a picture and send it later! It was great to spend time with Sister Payne and Sister Twitchell. It was fun to realize we were all at different points in our missions - Sister Twitchell 1/4 of the way Sister Payne 1/2 way, I'm about 3/4 of the way, and then Sister Elkington about to go home. We talked and shared experiences together, love those sisters! Then the next day while in downtown Marquette, Sister Twitchell and I met this cute non-member couple who have a nephew currently serving a mission. We chatted with them and asked if they liked reading his weekly emails. They commented about how his emails seemed 'too happy' like everything about missionary work was sunshine and wildflowers all the time. They said it was hard to relate to because in real life we have ups and downs, sometimes we struggle. Now I'm sure this dear Elder has had plenty of struggles and that he is good about writing home and sharing the good experiences, but I wanted to let you all know if I haven't already, missions are tough! It's a lot of hard work. There is disappointment, rejection, fear. BUT it is soo worth it! Sister Twitchell and I were able to talk together about the different ups and downs we've had and the stretching we've undergone. It is so incredible how these experiences mold us and help us become who Heavenly Father knows we can and wants us to become. I am so grateful to be a missionary through the ups and downs!

Grateful for Green Bay:
Words cannot even express how incredibly grateful I am to be serving here in Green Bay! It has been such a blessing to work in this area - there are great places to talk to families, a good number of the people we tract into are kind enough to talk with us, we can refer Spanish and Hmong speakers to the local Elders, I have an incredibly diligent and hard working companion, the members are willing to have us in their homes and want to do missionary work, the ward does a good job of fellowshipping, many of the Relief Society ladies are willing to come to lessons with us, our ward mission leader is trying hard to learn and fulfill his calling, we have a fabulous ward council, the Bishopric is genuinely concerned about the needs of individual ward members, the Stake Presidency has an awesome vision for missionary work, etc., etc., etc. This area has all the tools to have BOOMING missionary work go on and I sometimes feel discouraged that my own inadequacies, shortcomings, and struggles slow things down. As I go on exchanges with the Sisters and see some dysfunctional situations I wonder why Heavenly Father has blessed me so much to be serving here in Green Bay 2. I just hope I can serve in the way He wants me to and be a part of fulfilling Elder Martino's statement that GREEN BAY IS GOING TO GROW! I want to have the type of faith that Preach My Gospel talks about - faith to make good things happen in my own life and in the lives of others, but I feel pretty helpless on my own. That's when I'm reminded it goes back to developing stronger faith in the Savior. The Atonement study we're doing as a mission is really helping me with that. I am grateful for the enabling power, for the lifting I feel when I turn to Christ. I know He lives!

Peckham Surprise:
Last thing real quick, the Peckham family from Wisconsin Rapids drove up to Green Bay yesterday to attend Sacrament meeting with Sister Elkington and I! It was so fun to see them again after so long! We visited and had fun catching up - love them!

Glad you got to go to Sister Pope's Homecoming as a family, isn't she great?! Also glad to hear everything went well for moving Zach out, can't believe he's starting college! Love and miss you!

Sister Kelley(:
The Peckham's came to visit!
Fun sign!
I will definitely use caution!!!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Double Exchange

Dear fam and friends,

The time is literally flying by out here, seriously since when is it August? Sister Elkington and I just go as hard as we can everyday! It's been such a blessing to be serving with her(:

Since I never really explain what we do on P-days I just want to take a minute and write about what we've been up to today! This morning we woke up and ran as usual then had studies. We did our laundry, cleaned our apartment, and made homemade bread (it didn't turn out like yours Mom, but I tried). Then we toured Lambeau field with Sister Wright and Sister Adams-Hart. It is starting to get busy here in Green Bay as the Packers prep for the season and today they had practice so there were tons of people there to watch! The practice field is right across from the stadium so traffic was backed up a ton. All the locals say this is just the beginning of the madness... I am excited to see the town come alive! Now if only we could help these people be as passionate about the gospel as they are about their Packers...(: It was fun to hear the history of the team and run through the tunnel out onto the field. We had a great time and grabbed lunch together after. Then grocery shopping at Aldi - this great cheap little place where you can get loads of produce! We ran into Dianetha from the first ward who recently returned from serving her mission in Kennewick, WA - turns out she knows Rebecca Little! We had fun chatting and took a picture(: Then to the church to email and in a bit we have dinner with the Mill's and FHE at the Ross's with our investigator Mariah!

Exchanges with Sheboygan:
Sheboygan, Wisconsin is seriously SO beautiful. Look it up! For our workout we ran along the board walk and beach bare foot. It was divine(: It was so fun to work with Sister Carlini again (Sister Elkington was with Sister Strait) and see how much she has grown in the last couple transfers. She is such a people person(: We taught two really powerful back to back lessons about the Plan of Salvation with some solid investigators. I taught the Plan of Salvation a lot this week and was able to spend time thinking about and studying it. I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who has a plan for each of us. His Plan truly is a plan for our happiness! I know the Savior is central to this plan and makes salvation possible!

Exchanges with Green Bay 1:
We had two exchanges this week which is a bit exhausting, but also so much fun! I love the Sisters out here so much! I got to be with Sister Wright for the exchange while Sister Elkington was with Sister Adams-Hart. We were able to teach a lot of really solid other lessons together. Sister Wright is great at setting goals that make us stretch! She can also teach from the scriptures super powerfully! We had a great lesson with a part member family, the Bairds. The spirit was so strong their 9 year old son Talon said, "I feel so happy and warm right now!" It was the best thing(:

Green Bay Stake Conference:
The mission has definitely taught me to love Stake Conference, especially the Saturday night session! I felt like I received so many answers to my questions and guidance from Heavenly Father. They talked about observing the Sabbath day and the importance of ward,couple, and family councils. They talked about ministering to others like the Savior did. I loved that they put an emphasis on ministering to the individual. I know Heavenly Father is so mindful of each one of us and that we can have personal relationships with Him and our Savior. The spirit was especially strong as Sister Fischer sang 'Savior Redeemer of My Soul' I never wanted to leave that pew. Ah so good. Then the
Sunday session was great as well. Especially because our investigator Ashley and her husband and kids came!!! The kids were little angels and everyone fellow-shipped them really well! I am so excited about her! Oh and the Stake President's daughter returned from her mission in New Zealand late Saturday night so it was fun to see their family reunited, the Jones's are such wonderful people. I am constantly in awe of how much the saints sacrifice out here to live the gospel. Many of them traveled hours to be at Stake Conference, what incredible examples!

Hope you all have a good week - it was so fun to see the pictures of you at the temple with Sister King and Kendall! AH! LOVE THEM! Good luck getting Zach all moved out! Love and miss ya! Be good.... for once!

Sister Kelley(:

P.S. Sorry for no pictures lately! I have to get a new memory card due to some technical difficulties... ha we tried to get one when we were shopping today, but the power went out because of the rain and they couldn't ring us up! Hopefully next week!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Growth in Green Bay

Dear fam and friends,

AHHHH I just love that you got to go to Sister King's Homecoming, isn't she THE ABSOLUTE BEST?! And you met Kendall?! Aw man I love them SO SO much! I was also happy to hear Zach survived his surgery - pretty sure I was way more swollen than that though! Sounds like your week was jam packed! Ours was busy too, so many good things!

Green Bay Zone Conference:
The Marquette Sisters got to stay the night with us before Zone Conference which is always a blast(: Then randomly we didn't have to present a training so it was a nice relaxing meeting for us! As always it was great to see President and Sister Cutler, they both gave inspiring trainings. President asked for a volunteer and had Elder Baldwin eat a snickers bar in front of everyone. He pointed out the phrase on the wrapper: Snickers - Satisfies. He asked Elder Baldwin if he felt satisfied after eating the Snickers bar and he said that he did. President then went on and asked him to eat 4 more Snickers bars one at a time. Ha poor Elder Baldwin was dying by the end, but President made his point. Snickers don't satisfy. He went on to teach about what brings true satisfaction. He expounded Lehi's dream and blew our minds. Ha being on the path working toward eternal life, family life, is what brings true happiness and satisfaction in this life and the life to come.

Lesson Highlights:
This week we had an object lesson with Jamie using s'mores - we talked about what we can do to have s'more and s'more of the spirit in our lives. It was a bit sticky, but a fun lesson nonetheless. Later in the week Jamie came to an appointment with us - she is such a great member already(: In other good news, we got back into contact with Ashley and had a powerful lesson with her. She opened up to us a lot and talked about how she has noticed a different feeling in her home when we come over. She said when we leave that feeling leaves, but she doesn't want it to ever leave! We explained about the spirit and invited her to be baptized. She is now working towards a date. Then there is Sharon, a less active lady we found and have been working with. She is wonderful! This week we asked if she was ready to come back to church. She said she had been thinking about pulling her skirts back out... (: We are taking Sister Vanderhyden to a lesson with her this week so we hope with that friendship she'll have the courage to come back into full activity! Then we just began teaching Mariah, the grand daughter of a less active lady in the ward. Mariah went to Girls Camp a month or so ago and loved it! She has been coming to church and wants to learn more. We are involving the YW with her lessons which is super fun!

Cheesecake Heaven:
Sister Winchester took us to lunch after coming out with us this week in the rain! Ha she was such a trooper! She spoiled us by taking us to this cute cafe called Cheesecake Heaven. My Lemon Poppyseed slice was divine. I've got to admit I'm a big Cheesecake fan these days Mom... sorry for always whining before(;

Exchanges with Winnebago YSA:
Sister Lamprecht came here with me while Sister Elkington went to the YSA Neenah/Appleton area with Sister Gifford. Sister Lamprecht is so stinkin cute and so great at relating with people. As we were pulling up to Jamie's for a lesson there were some people wearing skirts/suits and Sister Lamprecht was like, "are they Mormon?" We pulled up and it was Sister Pope and her parents! They came back for the baptism of a girl Sister Pope had taught in Milwaukee and then drove up to Green Bay that night to come to the lesson with us! It was such a fun surprise and so great to see her(:

Surprise Visit:
Elder Martino and Elder Scott of the seventy visited the Green Bay 2nd Ward this week! They both spoke in sacrament meeting and brought such a strong spirit. Elder Scott talked about the importance of the Sabbath Day. Elder Martino talked about how he had felt inspired to come to Green Bay and had planned this unexpected visit. He said he came because this stake has great potential for growth! He challenged the members to become more converted themselves and to reach out to those around them. It was an inspiring meeting. I am so grateful to be here and hope I can be doing my very best to contribute to this growth in Green Bay! We are excited to work with the members building off of Elder Martino's counsel!

Love and miss you, but I am so pumped about the work here in Green Bay! Things are good, I am learning and growing so so much. I know the Savior lives and the power of His Atonement is real!

Sister Kelley(:

Monday, August 3, 2015

So This Week Happened.

Dear fam and friends,

This week has been a blur, ha so many crazy things! Honestly so much has happened I just can't even begin to explain it all so I guess it's going to be one of those stories for after the mission.. But I will try to fill ya in on a few things. On Wednesday morning we finished getting Sister Pope all packed and sent her off on her way! Sister Wright, Sister Dunlap, and I waited at transfer point with the Elders until the transferring missionaries made it up to Green Bay. Sister Elkington and I got together and immediately started talking about everybody in Wisconsin Rapids - we've been talking about Rapids nonstop since. Ha it is so fun that we both had the chance to serve there! Sister Elkington brought a few letters for me from people there which was the absolute best, love them!

Lori's Confirmation:
So backing up a bit, on Sunday, Lori was confirmed by Brother Sieber! Her confirmation was truly beautiful. She said she felt like she had butterflies pouring from her heart because she felt the spirit so
strong(: I love that in the confirmation blessing the words are, 'receive the Holy Ghost' and that it is our choice to receive it or not. Even after we are baptized and confirmed we make that choice each day as we choose to do things that invite the spirit and help us to be in tune!

Sister Pope's Last Day:
We were still low on miles so we were having the time of our lives busing and biking around(: Ha it was an adventure for sure. We had some solid lessons on Sister Pope's last day here and were able to say goodbye to Jamie and Lori. We had a lesson with Lori and her husband Steve to talk about everything after the baptism and confirmation.

Sister Elkington:
Okay the last few days have been wonderful! I love Sister Elkington already and am so so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who is allowing us to spend her last transfer together! I have felt so confident that Heavenly Father loves me and is aware of me this week - through the craziness there have been so many tender mercies and being companions with Sister Elkington is definitely one of those! We set some great transfer goals during our weekly planning and received some revelation during Mission Leadership Council about how to help the work progress here and help the sisters we exchange with. It was exciting to hear about the mission wide success we've been seeing and to plan ways to untie as a mission more! This transfer is jam packed and I cannot wait to get to work!

Crazy Connections:
This week we received a couple referrals we are extra super stoked about! Kendall, a recent convert I taught in Madison texted us about her Uncle moving back into the Green Bay area. Turns out he had been in Utah and had met with the Provo Sisters 3 times and they had set a baptismal date for him! He just moved back to Green Bay so we reached out to him to set up a time to meet together. While we were talking on the phone we realized that I had met him in person at Kendall's baptism in December and now we are going to be working with him!!! Also a former I had contacted while in Madison just moved to Green Bay and we have an appointment set up with her for tonight - so crazy that all these connections are being made up here!

I know our Savior lives and loves us, how grateful I am for the chance to share this knowledge everyday! Hope you all have a wonderful week,

love you!
Sister Kelley(: