Monday, September 28, 2015

Fruit Ninja Warriors!

Dear fam and friends,

Did you get to see the moon eclipse thing last night? We were at Jamie's for one of her new member lessons with the Mills and we sat outside watching it for a few minutes - so sweet! I'm sure Zach took pictures so I look forward to seeing those(:

Exchanges with Green Bay 1:
So this week was good! We went on our first exchange of the transfer with GB1. I went to GB1 with Sister Adams-Hart while Sister Payne held down the fort here in GB2 with Sister Wright. While in the car Sister Adams-Hart and I listened to 'You Were Born to Lead, You Were Born for Glory' by Sister Sheri Dew. It is such an incredible talk! It totally pumped us up for all the tracting and contacting we did. We visited this former and had an awesome conversation with her! She said she had been thinking about baptism a lot after she stopped meeting with the missionaries and that her member friend had been reaching out to her as well. We set a return appt with her and are hopeful to see her progress!

Strength of the Youth:
Ahh Mariah is progressing so so well(: Her baptismal date is all set for October 14th - we are doing it Wednesday night as the youth activity so all of the young men and young women in the ward can be there! In our lesson at the Ross's yesterday Mariah kept talking about how excited she is for her baptism so she can have a fresh new start - how wonderful it is that we can all have a fresh new start each week as we recommit and renew our baptismal covenants through the Sacrament(: Ah we are so excited for her! This week we had a couple lessons in the Ross's home, one at the Rau's, one at the church with a bunch of the young women - it is amazing to see how all the youth have come together to fellowship her! It has been such a sweet experience to hear the simple yet powerful testimonies of the youth out here. They are incredible! This week was also our week to go out with the YW for less active visits. We went with the Mia Maid group and had a great visit/short lesson with one the less active girls in their class. It is so fun to see how the youth are getting so into missionary work here(:

Fruit Ninja:
We used this giant sword thing to chop up cucumbers and bananas. It was real life fruit ninja. BEST. THING. EVER.

My GB2 Peeps:
I could just rave for hours and hours about the members here. Seriously, soo many good people. There has been a huge focus in the mission to work with the members so we have member lessons and lessons in member's homes as much as we possibly can! We've been so blessed in this area to have such missionary oriented members who are willing to help us out. This week we had a fun general conference prep lesson with the Cook family which was a blast! Then we had dinner with the Vanderhydens last night which is always such a treat - I've had so many spiritual experiences sitting around their blue kitchen table! Last night the message was on prophets and we were all able to share our testimonies. I am so grateful for a living prophet who testifies of Christ, giving us guidance and direction!

Interviews and Women's Conference:
Highlights of the week include interviews with President Cutler and the Women's General Broadcast! Ahh how I love interviews! They always come at the perfect time. It was so nice to be able to talk with President Cutler and get the guidance and direction I needed. I am so excited for these next few months!!! Also the Women's Conf. was grand. Always a bit cheesy, but this time for some reason it was projected with an ASL interpreter and the interpreter for President Uchtdorf's talk was a character! Ha he was getting suuuuper into it. So so funny. Ha but the Women's conference messages about living the gospel joyfully and finding happiness in our journey were so great!

Oh and this old lady kissed me on the cheek this week, ha good times(: Well I'm super excited for conference and to hear/see Dan sing Saturday afternoon! Hope you all have a wonderful conference weekend! LOVE YOU!!!

Sister Kelley(:

Monday, September 21, 2015

Getting in the House

Dear fam and friends.

This week it was Sister Payne's 10 month mark and all she's been talking about for the last week and a half we've been together is about how much she loves cinnamon rolls and how she could really use
one. SO... I made up a cinnamon roll recipe thing and went for it! Ha they weren't even half bad! We had fun delivering them to people(:

3 Important Things:
So in Preach My Gospel there's this quote from President Hinckley about three important things a recent convert (and I think it applies to anyone in the church!) needs: 1) a friend in the church 2) a responsibility, a calling 3) nourishment by the word of God. It's been about a month and a half now since Jamie and Lori were baptized so we've made it our focus to make sure they are getting these three things. This week Lori was set apart to help out with family history and a calling was extended to Jamie! They have both made good friends in the ward and are keeping up with their scripture study. It has been such an incredible opportunity to see them learn and grow these past few months! It's fun to see how much they have changed as they've applied the Atonement of Jesus Christ. This week we were talking with Lori about all the changes she's made since learning about the church
and it suprised me when she said she had seen me grown and change during this time as well. Sometimes it is hard to see our own growth, but as we do our best to consistently follow the Savior we are changed!

Porch Prayer:
We stopped by to see Ashley this week, but she wasn't home. Instead her husband Gabriel answered the door and we were able to have a great conversation with him and even pray with him on their porch! It is such a blessing he is so supportive of Ashley, but we really hope we can help him see how the gospel can change his life as well! Obviously we want them to be an eternal family!(:

Getting Through the Door:
This week we had dinner with the Clark family and all the Elders. It was super fun to share mission experiences and hear more about Brother Clark's mission. He was giving us some pointers on how to go from just teaching lessons on the doorstep to teaching lessons in people's homes. It was super funny and the next day when we were out tracting we tried it and actually got into someone's home! Ha it was super great and now we have this solid new investigator mom and son.

Quick Overview:
All in all it was a decent week - we had a birthday party for a less active in a member's home, organized youth fellowshipping at volleyball, got in contact with a less active guy (who had been MIA) because Sister Payne understands Ham radio, got soaking wet when we forgot our umbrellas out tracting, sneakily stopped by at a member's when their non-member daughter-in-law was visiting, set a solid baptismal date with Mariah, ya know the usual missionary stuff(: Honestly I was having a bit of a hard time, but it's amazing what scripture study and prayer can do for a person! Ha I am feeling humbled and more motivated about life so things are good(: Also we had a miracle moment when this less active we have been working with for forever, came to church unexpectedly! Her visiting teacher sat with her and helped her feel comfortable and loved, it was so perfect!

We've been loving the changing fall leaves and the slightly cooler weather - hope you're enjoying it too(: It was super fun to hear you were able to help Kendall out with family history stuff - I love her!
I am so grateful for the chance I had to meet her in Madison, missions are the best! I am so grateful for the chance to be a little part of this great work! LOVE YOU!!!

Sister Kelley(:

Monday, September 14, 2015

Improper fractions and the first three discussions

Dear fam and friends,

This week has FLOWN by. I know I say that every week, but seriously. The time is flying! Transfers are always busy so I'll chalk it up to that. It was crazy getting Sister Elkington all packed up, but such a fun time too(: Her last proselyting lesson was SO powerful. We drove out to Denmark to meet with Mariah and her little brother Daylan to teach them to pray often. Mariah was able to share her testimony about prayer with her younger brother and help teach him how to pray - the spirit was so thick in their little kitchen. Such a tender experience(: Saying goodbye to Sister Elkington was tough - I miss that girl! But on Wednesday Sister Payne arrived and she's hilarious so we have a good time(:

Word of Wisdom:
This week we had some great lessons with our investigator Ashley. She has been having a mini family scripture study in the morning with her boys before they get off to school, she is so great!(: We taught her the Word of Wisdom this week and had Sister Winchester come as our member present. Sister Winchester was able to bear powerful testimony from the experiences of her son and by the end of the lesson Ashley said she felt the Word of Wisdom was true and committed to give up coffee! We're having a lesson with their family in the Mill's home tomorrow night and can't wait!

Working with the Young Women:
We've been working with Sister Ross, the YW's President, to start this new thing where we go out with the young women once a month to visit some of the less active young women and leave them with a short spiritual thought. For the YW activity this week we met with the girls to discuss our game plan and how we can help these inactive YW feel loved - it turned out really well and is something I am super excited about!

Math Help and the Restoration:
We had an awesome Restoration lesson with Alejandra, an investigator we tracted into a couple weeks ago and have been helping to learn more about God and Jesus Christ. She has been praying and reading the Book of Mormon so when we taught the Restoration again she really understood it and was excited! She also asked if we'd help her with some math homework so we went over when her husband would be home so he could watch the kids and we could help her with math, but when we got there her husband put their little girls in their room so he could ask us about the things we'd shared with his wife. As I sat and helped Alejandra with improper factions, Sister Payne sat with Jerrardo and taught the first three discussions! He was asking so many sincere questions, the spirit was exploding into our math session. I have never felt the spirit so strongly while doing math problems. Ha it was SO sweet! As Alejandra and I finished the math assignment, she turned to me and began asking about baptism and how she could prepare to be baptized. It was THE coolest thing. We said a kneeling prayer all together at the end and there was no denying the spirit was there. Both Alejandra and Jerrardo recognized it. Sister Payne and I got in the car and were talking about it non-stop till we went to bed(:

De Pere a dud? Think again!:
Earlier in the week we used a bunch of miles to drive out to De Pere, but our appointments cancelled so we were feeling pretty bummed and annoyed we'd wasted our miles. We were really trying to be lead by the spirit as we contacted potentials and visited less actives, but NO ONE was home. Then we were driving along and we saw this less active we haven't been able to get in contact with for weeks! We parked and ran over to her and were able to talk for almost an hour. Such a tender mercy. Then we street contacted some people near there and met this solid couple, Ace and Rachel. They do a lot of self study from the Bible and listened as we explained the Book of Mormon. We shared a copy with them and have been texting back and forth about it with Rachel since then. We're really hoping they come to church Sunday!!! We felt so blessed it ended up being a good day in De Pere.

The Grass Cliff:
I'm not sure if I've written home about the grass cliff or not, but we're taking care of a member's non-member mother's lawn trying to do service and teach her a bit and she has a HUGE grass cliff we attempt to mow. This week the elders came over to help because it was growing out of control! They tied a rope to this push lawn mower and lowered it down the cliff then pulled it back up again and repeated all the way down. I'm not sure if you're getting the mental image here or not, but it was hilarious and we all died laughing. Joan, the sassy 74 year old lady we're helping got a real kick out of it and absolutely loves us all(:

Stir Fry and Priesthood Blessings:
The Vanderhydens had us and the English Elders over for dinner last night - it is always such a treat to go over there(: They made this delicious stir fry and we had a great discussion about Priesthood blessings. We went around the table sharing experiences we've had receiving or witnessing the power of a priesthood blessing and how faith was a key component in those experiences. I am so grateful the Priesthood has been restored to the earth and that we all are able to receive those blessings as we exercise faith and ask!

I am so so grateful to still be here in Green Bay. There are so many good things going on right now and we're seeing so many miracles! I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve as a full-time missionary, I love this work! Keep helping the missionaries back home and praying for opportunities to share the gospel(: Well we're off to go frisbee golf with some of the zone, hope you all have a wonderful week! LOVE

Sister Kelley(:

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Sister Elkington's Last Week

Dear fam and friends,

Oh man this week has been INCREDIBLE! Seriously so many good things. Oh and you're all probably wondering about transfer info so we found out on Saturday that I'll be staying here in Green Bay 2 and Sister Payne will come STL with me! Sister Elkington is headed to the mission home tomorrow and then flies back home Thursday. I sure am going to miss her, this transfer has flown by way too quick! I am excited to serve with Sister Payne though, we've been on exchanges together and get along great!

Ross Family FHE:
This week we had our investigator Mariah over at the Ross home for family home evening! We taught about keeping the Sabbath day holy and we used the ice cream sundae object lesson. It was a big hit! The Ross family has been such a huge help to us this transfer with teaching Mariah. She feels comfortable there and can recognize the spirit in their home. It's also been a huge blessing to have Gunnar (the Ross's oldest son who got back from his mission earlier this year) and Alexa (Gunnar's wife) come to lessons with us and help. They are both returned missionaries and are so missionary minded! They got married this week and everything turned out wonderfully for them(:

Green Bay ZTM:
Zone Training Meeting went super well, but we were almost late because the GPS rerouted us to this random road. We scared the Zone Leaders a little, but made it on time in the end(: As always it was fun to see the other missionaries from the zone and hear how things have been going. There are so many miracles happening throughout the mission right now and we are working toward our mission goal! It's been so neat to see the mission unite with the special Atonement quick read we're doing of the Book of Mormon. ZTM was all about the Holy Ghost and using Family Home Evening as a missionary tool. Sister Elkington and I lead the FHE training and it turned out super well! We did an FHE role play with an object lesson and a treat, everyone seemed to enjoy it(:

Exchanges with Manitowoc:
This week Sister Lyons came up to Green Bay for the day while Sister Elkington spent the day in Manitowoc with Sister Peterson. Sister Lyons has a lot of health struggles, but she's such a good teacher. We were able to teach some really solid lessons together. We also met this neat lady named Flo who we chatted with on her driveway for almost an hour. At the end of our conversation we prayed together for her son who is struggling right now and after she was in tears. It was such a tender mercy to be placed in her path this week, 'right place, right time' missionary moments like these are my favorite. Just goes to show how mindful Heavenly Father is of His children(: Another miracle from our exchange was a lesson we had with our investigator Ashley in the Stephens home. Sister Stephens dropped everything to have her over. The members here are rock stars!

Porch Scene:
One of my favorite moments of this week was when we went to Mariah's house for a lesson. She lives in very humble circumstances, and life at home isn't the easiest, but she is just so wonderful! We ended up having a lesson on her porch, with her brother and his friend and her two sisters. We were all scrunched up on the little porch together, but it was one of my favorite mission moments. Mariah just has such a desire to follow Christ, and it was so fun to see her teach her brother how to pray, and to see how much she has grown. This whole transfer, Sister Elkington and I have been praying for a baptism, and that night Mariah told us she wants to be baptized before Sister Elkington leaves. We have more to teach her yet, but for us that was truly and answer to our prayers. She won't be baptized before Sister Elkington goes, but she will very soon. We're so thankful for that answered prayer.

Randomly Recognized:
So usually people think we're nuns, but this week we had a couple random guys recognize us a missionaries! We were out tracting and we talked to this guy who wasn't really interested, but a few minutes later we were walking back to our car when suddenly this barefoot guy came running over to us saying 'hey, are you Mormon missionaries?!' Turns out his dad came in after talking to us and casually mentioned we'd stopped by, he had studied with missionaries in Milwaukee and ran out to see if we knew the Elders he had been taught by. We had a great conversation with him and he kept saying Mormons are the nicest people he knows, ha so that was fun. Then today we met a member from the Fuji islands who is here playing in a reggae band this weekend! So sweet!

Ashley's Answer:
Another highlight of the week was when our investigator Ashley told us she got an answer about the Book of Mormon! She has been reading it and praying about it since we've been meeting, then this week she had an amazing experience. She read the 'How Can I Know' section of one of the pamphlets we had given her and she asked Heavenly Father to help her recognize a sign of if what we have been teaching her is true. She felt impressed to open up her Bible and she turned to Isaiah 66:20 and read it and got her answer! She recognized the subtle promptings of the spirit and knows this is the right thing for her(: As she was telling us about her experience I couldn't help but think how she had such pure intent to know, so neat(:

Lost and Found?
The first week I was in the mission field a woman named Barb (taught by the Elders) was baptized in Wisconsin Rapids. While I was serving in Rapids the sisters began teaching her the new member lessons so Sister C and I would go over there and help her out. Sister Elkington eventually worked with her too, but Barb moved to Green Bay and she lost contact. BUT now we are all in Green Bay so Sister Elkington and I did a bit of searching and were able to find Barb! Her face when she saw us both standing on her doorstep was PRICELESS. We had such a fun time talking with her again(:

Oshkosh Road Trip:
We took an unexpected road trip to Oshkosh this week for Sister Elkington's final interview with President Cutler. I sure am going to miss her, it has been such a blessing to serve together. She is a hard working, obedient missionary. We've seen a lot of miracles together! I'm grateful for her example of finishing her mission strong, she's a wonderful example and friend!

Simple Prayers:
This week we kept meeting solid spanish families! The elders are loving all the referrals(: I am so grateful for the little bit of Spanish I know so we can talk a bit and pray with them. I can't say very much when I pray in Spanish, but the simple prayers we've said on doorsteps this week have been powerful. It is so neat that Heavenly Father hears and answers ALL of His children.

Fast Sunday Miracles:
We fasted as a mission - such a cool experience. We are so grateful for the success we are seeing here! This week Ashley came to church with her boys and a less active we've been working with for a couple months came for the first time in years! Such a wonderful day!(:

Labor Day:
Yesterday we had a prime proselyting day! Some highlights were teaching a lesson about the Sacrament to Ashley, Gabriel, and their oldest boys Gabriel and Luis. The little boys are so sincere in their desire to learn more about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Little Gabriel asked how Jesus's suffering covered people's sins who lived before/after He was born. We talked about how Christ's Atonement is infinite - as we explained the Atonement simply the spirit filled their living room and little Gabriel was smiling so big(: We contacted a head quarter referral who was home and expecting us, it was great to teach her about the Book of Mormon. We ate dinner at the Dodson's and got to talk with their foreign exchange student Calo who is from Italy. We invited him to church Sunday so hopefully he'll come(: Then to top off a good day when a sketchy appointment with a potential fell through we felt prompted to stop by this potential family's home and they were there! We had an incredible lesson about prayer and at the end Alejandra said she is excited to learn more and to try praying everyday! We are so grateful to have met this family and we're excited to teach them!

I am so grateful to be a missionary and so grateful to be here in Green Bay! I know this is truly Heavenly Father's work, He leads it! Hope you all have a wonderful week, LOVE YOU!!!

Sister Kelley(:

Sportin' some Packer style! #swag