Monday, November 30, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dear fam and friends,

Oh rats we really have no time to write today! Things have been crazy busy, but good news! We found out about transfers and Sister Hansen and I will be staying together(: We are both super excited about that and happy to keep working with the YSAs here. We are actually being put into a trio so Sister Dunlap will be transferred here to be an STL with me and we'll all get to work together for the next 4 weeks until I go home. I don't know anything about trios, but it should be an adventure!

Our Thanksgiving Adventures:
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving, we were so well taken care of. We played football in the morning with the Neenah ward and got a few less actives and potential investigators to come! We had a turkey bowl tournament and then just tossed the football around saying things we're grateful for, it was a blast. We ate lunch at the Richards with our investigator George - we shared a message and used Alma 26:37 which I LOVE! Sister Richards made a pecan pie which was divine(: Then later we had a dinner appointment with the Graves. They took us and the Neenah Elders out to Golden Corral! I was totally stuffed by that point. At the restaruant we ran into some other members and had a fun time talking with them. Plus the Graves brought one of their son's friends (their son is currently serving a mission) with them so we got to get to know him and share a message! We then stopped in to see a less active and eat some pumpkin bars(: Then a final stop in for a lesson with the Stoehrs. We made gratitude turkeys with their little girls, sooo cute(: Anyway it was a great day - I am so grateful for the many blessings I have been given and how mindful Heavenly Father is of me! I am grateful for His divine plan, it truly is a plan for our happiness! I am grateful for the restoration, for a living prophet, and the power of the priesthood. I am grateful for the scriptures and the peace they bring - grateful I can speak to my Heavenly Father in prayer and receive personal guidance and direction. I am so grateful for such a wonderful family, for the support you are to me. I am grateful to be a missionary in Wisconsin!!!!!!!!!!!!!! God is good(:

Well that is really all I have time for, but we had a great exchange with the Appleton sisters and are getting things ready for Cassandra's baptism this week! Hope you all have a wonderful week! Thanks for the package and letters! LOVE YOU!!!!!!!

Sister Kelley(:

Monday, November 23, 2015

Parking Ticket

Dear fam and friends,

I don't think I've ever driven so much in my life... Ha we spent a TON of time in the car this week, but despite the time we spent driving and the time we spent in meetings, we still got a ton of good work done!

Exchange in Fond du Lac:
So we started off the week with an exchange in Fond du Lac. I spent the day with Sister Jenson down there while Sister Passey came up here to be with Sister Hansen. Sister Jenson reminds me a ton of Sister Schlosser. Though she's only been out for 11 weeks she is incredibly bold! We got in with a former to teach the first discussion and we extended a powerful baptismal invite. We also street contacted into this super cute YSA who has recently been looking for truth. We shared a copy of the Book of Mormon with her and got her info to follow up. I really hope the sisters can begin teaching her!

Mission Leadership Council in Milwaukee:
After exchanging back with the Fond du Lac sisters we had a couple appointments and then hit the road again, this time heading to Milwaukee. We stayed overnight with Sisters Gross and Smeltzer in Milwaukee 1. Unfortunately we parked where we weren't supposed to... and now owe $10 to the city of Milwaukee.... UGHH. Ha and driving in Milwaukee was a JOKE! We left early the next morning to drive to the Milwaukee South Stake Center, but the traffic was so bad we were almost late for Mission Leadership Council! thankfully we arrived just in time and were able to go into the meeting with everyone else(: As always it was fun to see everyone, especially Sister Escobar and hear from President and Sister Cutler. Elder and Sister Schwitzer of the 70 joined us as well and Elder Schwitzer shared an inspiring training! A few fav insights include...
- 'repentance is a form of restoration'
- 'repentance is the key to gaining a testimony and receiving eternal life'
- 'don't invite out of duty, invite out of love'
- 'you can be the vehicle whereby miracles come to pass'
- 'we are fishers of men and members are the best fish finders'
- '3 P's of revelation: persue the facts, ponder the solution, pray for confirmation'

Contacting in West Bend:
Since we were down in Milwaukee we decided to use our miles effectively and spend the day contacting in West Bend which is part of our area we don't get to very much. It was fun because we figured out a YSA I used to work with in Green Bay had moved to West Bend so we went to visit her and her Grandparents.

Mission Tour in Green Bay:
The day after MLC we had Mission Tour in Green Bay with the Appleton, Wausau, and Green Bay zones! I got to see Sisters Payne and Schlosser again which was super fun! Plus a bunch of other mission friends. We got to hear from Elder and Sister Schwitzer and President and Sister Cutler and the APs. It was a great meeting - made us super pumped about our mission goal for the end of the year! I especially loved the special sister meeting Sister Schwitzer did in the morning. Again some of my fav insights:
- 'be really good at being you'
- 'the spirit doesn't dwell in a mess'
- 'don't forget to sing! Especially at Christmas time'
- 'You come from good stock. Hold you head up, pull your shoulders back. You can do hard things!'
- 'convert don't convince'
- 'once you invite a person to repent, you invite yourself to help'

Stake Conference in Appleton:
The day before Stake conference President Kindt called and asked if I would speak. Ha so I got to speak in Stake Conference with President and Sister Cutler! So that was fun! I was a little nervous, but it all came together and turned out well. I used the classic lighthouse story with hymn #335 and talked about what members can do to invite their friends. It was a good stake conference. Some of my fav insights include:
- 'conversion has no beginning and no end'
- 'the Sabbath day is not my day, it is the Lord's'
- 'life has a way of humbling you'
- 'part of the natural man is the natural mind'
- 'peace is less a reward and more an attribute'

Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving this week! I am so grateful to be a missionary(: I'm grateful for each of you and incredibly grateful for the knowledge of this gospel! I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father and for His Son. I LOVE YOU!!!

Sister Kelley(:

Monday, November 16, 2015

Is Not Easily Provoked...

Dear fam and friends,

This week has been good. Crazy, but good. I am loving the mission-wide study we are doing right now of 'The Living Christ.' Every week we are memorizing a new paragraph and studying a Christ-like attribute that corresponds with the paragraph. We're a couple paragraphs in and will end the last week of December. So this past week we were memorizing the second paragraph and studying charity. I love how charity is defined in the Bible dictionary as 'the highest, noblest, purest form of love' and the classic Moroni 7 'charity suffereth long...' Sister Hansen and I had a bunch of great comp study conversations about it and our catch phrase for the week was 'is not easily provoked' because a ton of unfortunate, annoying stuff happened, but we kept our cool or at least tried to(:

Sheboygan Exchange:
Ah so the exchange with Sheboygan almost didn't happen because of the craziness going on, but I am so glad it all worked out because it was such a good exchange. I was with Sister Carlini again and Sister Hansen went to Sheboygan with Sister Koyle. I absolutely love these sisters! Sister Carlini and I have been going on exchanges together since the beginning of her mission (7 months ago!) so I have been able to see her grow a TON! She is such a sweetheart and we got some solid work done while we were together. We took a less active with us to visit another less active and they both totally needed the lesson we taught and after the lesson they came with us to have a Book of Mormon read with a recent convert and later to see our investigator Cassandra - ha everyone was getting into the missionary spirit, it was so fun!

Pre-Thanksgiving Potluck:
Mmm we had this wonderful Thanksgiving dinner potluck with the branch after church yesterday. The food was great plus Cassandra was there and she brought a friend! His name is Danny. He was actually baptized into the church with his family when he was younger, but hasn't been to church in a long time. The YSAs did such a great job fellowshipping him and he said he'd be there again next week!

This is the Lord's Work:
AH so I know this is the Lord's work, but really THIS IS THE LORD'S WORK! We had this cool miracle happen where we really felt like we had a small glimpse of Heavenly Father's plan for this area. It is super neat because this revelation has been received by us, President Cutler, President Munson, and the Appleton Stake President - all these pieces coming together just showing that the Lord is working with and inspiring each of us to do the work He wants done with the Winnebago YSA branch. I am so grateful to be here and be a part of it! There is so much growth to be had here, I can just feel it!!!

Jaclyn's Referral:
So a couple weeks ago Jaclyn gave me this referral of her great Uncle Johnny and Aunt Teddy. They live pretty out of the way so we hadn't had time to contact them, but this week we had an appointment near their house so we dropped by to visit with them too! They were hesitant to talk with us at first, but when I explained that I had grown up with Jaclyn they got so excited and told us all about their family! They pulled out old pictures of Jeff and we looked through them and talked about families being together forever. It was awesome! Ha Johnny and Teddy are such good people! They agreed to let us come over one more time for a Christmas message in December(:

DVD Miracle:
Last night we had this sweet miracle showing the member involvement DVD. I don't think I've mentioned the DVD too much, but it's something President Cutler has been pushing in the mission for a few months now. It's a 10 minute video of some recent converts sharing their conversion stories and how the gospel has blessed them. President has asked that we show it twice a week to members and less actives in all the units in the mission. Honestly it's super cheesy, but we always end up having a great discussion about our personal conversion and we're able to ask for referrals. We had only showed it once for last week when our appointment cancelled last night): BUT we followed a prompting to check up on this less active YSA and his Mom in Appleton and THEY WERE HOME! We got in with them and were able to show the DVD and have a great lesson. Josh committed to coming to church next week too! We were pumped! It is humbling to see the blessings come for following the counsel of your priesthood leaders - even when at first you are a little hesitant because the DVD is so cheesy...(:

In other news... We're having toilet problems again. UGHHH.

That's all I have time for! Hope you have a wonderful week(: Celebrate lots for the anniversary Mom and Dad! Thanks for being such great examples(: I am so grateful for each of you and for the support you are to me! I am incredibly grateful for my Savior, for His example and atoning sacrifice. I love being a missionary, I love Wisconsin, I love this work and of course, I LOVE YOU!

Sister Kelley(:
1 Nephi 16:29
Sister Hansen and I
Sister Carlini and I
Us with Cherie:)
Sister Hansen and I with Uncle Johnny!
Fun pics of Jeff and Joni that Uncle Johnny & Aunt Teddy shared:)
Awww, so cute!

Monday, November 9, 2015

The YSA Life

Dear fam and friends,

Oh man, time is going SO fast these days - since when is it Monday again?! Today is Sister Hansen's two month mark! My little trainee is growin up(: Since I'm only half training her I'm her step mom as far as the mission lingo goes, but since she was also trained by her cousin for a couple weeks after an emergency transfer with her original trainer, I am actually her 2nd step mom - so yeah her poor family tree is a little crazy(: But she is wonderful and since I don't think I've mentioned too much about Sister Hansen I'll try to fill you in a bit - she's from Salt Lake, she's 19, she LOVES kids and loves to talk(:, she was studying at the U before the mission, she is half Swedish, she loves Chinese food and she's 6 feet tall! She is such a sweet heart and so eager to jump in and learn. We're laughing all the time(:

YSA Work:
We have a couple solid investigators that are now both on date, but we're working hard to find right now. We did have an incredible lesson with our investigator Cassandra this week where we were able to set a baptismal date! Cassandra is a member referral who has been studying with the missionaries off and on for almost 3 years. She has come a LONG way and is so sweet. She truly wants to change her life. She called us earlier in the week saying she'd been reading Enos and totally connected. We read through the chapter with her and felt the spirit soo strong in verse 27. AH the scriptures are just soo good(:

Toilet Explosion:
Ugh. This week our toilet exploded during studies. And when I say exploded, I mean EXPLODED. Our bathroom floor was inches deep in toilet water... and since we only have a couple towels we had to sop up the water and wring out the towels in the bathtub. I've definitely done more pleasant things in my life. Ha ugh! Sister Hansen was dying laughing and sat writing in her journal about it, documenting the entire process. We made an epic video and after lots of scrubbing we have a clean bathroom once again! Phew!

The Branch Members:
I could just go on and on for days about how incredible the branch members are here! They are SO good to us. It's humbling to see how they are each sincerely trying their personal best to live the gospel. Whether they are are preparing for missions, working, or going to school they make time to help us out. They really are so great. This week during a new member lesson with a recent convert named Alvin, he told us how much the gospel has changed his life and how he went for a church to THE church. AHH. A good chunk of the branch members are converts and they carry the branch. Not only do we have great branch members, but we're also lucky to have a stellar branch mission leader and assistant! Viking and Tyler are planning a mini MTC experience for the ward missionaries this week which will be great to help them catch the missionary spirit and know how to fulfill their callings. We are working hard to find new YSAs to teach and to get connected with some of the less active YSAs who live a little farther away.

Oshkosh Exchange:
This week we had our first exchange with the Oshkosh Sisters, Sister Coley and Sister Lyons! They are both in our district so we get to see them a bunch which is fun(: They are both so sweet. So I spent the day in Oshkosh with Sister Lyons which was fun because we've been on quite a few exchanges together. The crazy thing is Sister Lyons grew up in Wisconsin and then moved out west and got her mission call to come back here! She is currently SERVING IN HER HOME WARD! How crazy is that?! We talked about ways she could reach out to her friends and invite them to learn about the gospel. We invited one of their investigators to baptism and happened to meet a couple less active YSAs! I am so excited we get to do exchanges so we can travel and meet with some of the YSAs (and hopefully their friends!!!) we wouldn't normally be able to see!

Sunday Miracles:
Yesterday was so so good. We set a high member present lesson goal this week and were really trying to get out with the members, but we were still 2 MP lessons short when we went to church. At church though we were able to get 2 lessons set up and arrange for a couple of the branch members to come with us to each one! It was such an answer to prayer and made us super happy! Little moments like that just prove that Heavenly Father is soo aware of us and He respects our righteous desires! I am just so grateful for that and for our Savior! I know He lives!!!

Hope you all have a wonderful week! Thanks for the support and encouragement always(: LOVE YOU!!!!
Sister Kelley
Enos 1:27

Monday, November 2, 2015

Happy Halloween!

Dear fam and friends,

Happy late Halloween!! Hope you all had a wonderful week(:

Blisters for days:
So lets see, this week my companion and I thought we had ran out of miles for the month (well actually enough miles for us to drive only 7 miles a day haha) so we decided that for that week we would be walking everywhere. This proved to be rather difficult. On Tuesday we had our district meeting in Oshkosh and that's what used up all our miles since it's 45 minutes away and we also went up to the university in Oshkosh so on Wednesday is when we began to trek ourselves everywhere. We decided to walk over to the Myers and drop off an invitation for the Neenah ward's Trunk or Treat event. While this is maybe a 10 minute drive, it somehow turned into an hour long walk, maybe 3 miles? (to be fair our GPS was malfunctioning for half the time and you know how awful I am with directions) After that we had an appointment with one of our investigators at 3:30 so at 1 we turned around and started the walk back in the opposite direction to Neenah. At about 3:00 we weren't even halfway there and we realized there was no way we were gonna make it on time so we called him and asked if we could push it to 4:30, which he thankfully said worked. At 4 though we had walked 4 miles from the Meyer's and still were barely half way to our appointment. Thankfully a member was able to pick us up at a gas station that we were able to find refuge in. Oh yeah, it was also raining and the bottoms of my shoes have holes in them... so wet feet and lots of walking made for some nasty blisters. Ha I think I'll have to retire my holey shoes!

MTC Crew:
Friday was our Mission Leadership Council meeting, and since it was in Oshkosh we had to use our car and they were able to reimburse 30 out of the 38 miles that it took to get there. So we were able to drive a little, but still were hurting for miles big time! Anyway MLC was as wonderful as ever - President and Sister Cutler are just so great(: It was fun to see Sister Payne again and a bunch of other mission friends.

Branch Scavenger Hunt:
We had a branch activity scavenger hunt where we had to take pictures of ourselves and film us doing crazy things. Some items on the list included playing patty cake with a stranger, serenading a stranger, and trying on the craziest outfit at walmart. We had done all these things and more, and my companion and I were able to hand out some pass along cards and share a few short messages so it was a win win! Plus a bunch of less actives and recent converts we're working with showed up as well!

Reverse Trick or Treating:
Saturday was H A L L O W E E N and that was a busy day indeed. Another member was able to drive us to our appointment with our investigator Cherie (who showed up to church this Sunday woo!!) and be present for that lesson with her. She was also able to drive us to a lesson with a recent convert, oh, she is a recent convert herself as well and we are absolutely obsessed with her. Her name is Karlene and she loves the Packers, just like everyone else here haha. Well she was able to drive us up to Appleton as well for a lesson we had scheduled with Alvin. From there we met at a members house waiting for Alvin to arrive there and in the mean time sewed little puffs of cotton unto a shirt with the number 9 on it, if you can guess what the costume was you win. Afterwards we left to go to bake cookies at a family's house from the Neenah ward and had a lesson with them and had dinner. Then took the treats around as a reverse-trick-or-treat(:

Miles Mishap:
When we got home we calculated the miles we had used for the month. We were given 1125 miles and guess how much we had used... only 1076... that means we had close to 100 miles left that we could have used. Long story short, pay attention in math class. And the members here in Wisconsin are the most charitable service oriented people I have ever met. To have so many members be willing to drag us around city to city, and to provide for us is such a humbling experience. Even though this week has been crazy as ever, I know that the people here will always have our backs.

Fasting Miracle:
Yesterday we were able to see a huge miracle where we had three of our investigators attend church and even a potential who had met with missionaries years ago and since hasn't been to church but felt the prompting to attend yesterday! His name is Clinton and I was able to talk and get to know him more and although we were unable to get his contact information, Sister Hansen and I are hopeful that we will see more of him in our future as we continue to be obedient and faithful, we have truly seen so many tender mercies and miracles through our mission fast and we are so thankful for the strength our Heavenly Father gives to us every day!

LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sister Kelley

PS Huge highlight of the week was when Liz, one of the recent converts I got to teach in Rapids came back from school out at BYU Idaho and came to the YSA ward on Sunday! We got to see each other for a bit and it was THE BEST THING! Love her!
Carving pumpkins on FHE.
Us not being able to use our car....
Sister Hansen and I .
MTC crew reunited at MLC.
Sister Escobar, Sister Kunz and I at MLC ! My MTC buds!!!!!!!!!!
Liz (recent convert from Rapids) came to the YSA ward
on Sunday to visit! I was SOOO happy to see her!!!!!!!!!!