Monday, December 28, 2015

Last One!!!

Dear fam and friends,

How do you sum up this whirlwind of emotions? Hmm.. I'm not quite sure. I guess I'll start by talking about what we did for Christmas...

Our Week of Christmas:
We had a wonderful week spreading Christmas cheer throughout Appleton, Menasha, and Neenah. We went around caroling and bringing good tidings of great joy in the form of copies of the Book of Mormon(: We also took around cookies and treats to those we're teaching. We were well taken care of by kind members in the Neenah ward and YSA branch. It was so fun to see the fam and get to talk on Christmas day(: Plus meeting Sister Hansen and Sister Dunlap's families was a blast(: We used the nativity coloring set you sent and had some great lessons about ways we can invite the Savior into our lives and how we can make room for Him this coming year. I'm so grateful for the birth and life of our dear Savior and I hope I can celebrate and show my gratitude for Him each and every day!

Oh rats, now comes the tough part... How do you sum up 18 months in a paragraph?!

Final Paragraph:
Talking about the waters of Mormon Alma wrote, 'how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer; yea, and how blessed are they, for they shall sing to His praise forever' (Mosiah 18:30). These past 18 months the state of Wisconsin has become my 'waters of Mormon' as I have come to a greater knowledge of my Redeemer. My relationship with my Heavenly Father has been strengthened as I've prayed and truly spoken with Him. I've understood Him speaking to me as I have searched the scriptures. The Book of Mormon especially has been KEY in strengthening my faith in and understanding of the Savior and His infinite Atonement. Consistently reading the Book of Mormon has changed my heart and brought me closer to Him. I've come to understand that not only can I be healed and cleansed through the power of the Atonement, but I can be enabled - given the power to BECOME. Through the miracle of repentance I can progress and become a little better each day. This gives me hope. Hope that because I've seen this work in my life it can and will work in the lives of those around me! As my understanding and testimony of the Atonement has increased, my desire to share it has as well! I've come to love teaching the Restoration - that a young boy with a sincere question was answered by our loving Father in Heaven. I know our humble prayers can be answered, that Heavenly Father speaks directly to us through personal revelation. His Priesthood is on the earth again today. This is His church. I testify that Jesus is the Living Christ. How grateful I am for the opportunity I've had and will continue to have to testify of Him.

AH it is so hard to describe all the emotions we've experienced in our little trio the last few days, but what I can share is that I know Heavenly Father is so keenly aware of each and every one of us. I am so grateful for the angels He has put into my life to support me through this incredible adventure. I've been so blessed to have amazing people in my different areas, wonderful companions, and such supportive family and friends at home! I can't wait to see you and HUG you!!!!(: Thanks for being such great examples to me and for the encouragement! I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sister Kelley(:

Monday, December 21, 2015

Testifying of the Living Christ

Dear fam and friends,

Can you believe there are only 4 more days until Christmas?! Celebrating the birth, life, and perfect example of Jesus Christ is what Christmas is all about - and what missionary work is all about! I am so grateful for this opportunity to be a full-time witness of my Savior at this special time of year. I know He lives! I know that He leads His Church upon the earth today. I am so grateful for His loving concern for each person on earth and His willingness to suffer for our sins and support us in our trials, troubles, and afflictions. Words can't express the gratitude I feel for the gift of His marvelous Atonement. I know that the Book of Mormon has been given to the world to witness of Christ's Atonement and to help us know that His gospel and priesthood power are restored upon the earth. For the 12 days of Christmas we've made a special effort to give the Book of Mormon as a gift to all the families and young single adults we meet. We've seen some neat carol tracting miracles this week and have seen people's hearts be softened to accepting it!

Thanks for all the support and love! I hope this Christmas and always we can all help bring others to the Living Christ. "His way is the path to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son."

Merry Christmas! LOVE YOU!!!!!

Sister Kelley(:

Monday, December 14, 2015

Let it Snow...Please?

Dear fam and friends,
So I understand there was a huge snow storm back home?! What is this?! Wisconsin is experiencing the mildest winter they've seen in over 100 years! I'm still only wearing one pair of tights and it is DECEMBER!!! It has been raining nonstop for the last few days and everything is gray and muddy. I miss the snow. Sister Hansen has been praying every night for a white Christmas and Sister Dunlap has been expressing her gratitude for the warmth... haha(:

Appleton Zone Conference:
This week we had Zone Conference in Oshkosh - my very last one! It was such a good meeting. Sister Dunlap and I did our first and only training together. We taught about recognizing and addressing the concerns of those we teach. The assistants, zone leaders, and President and Sister Cutler all gave great trainings as well, but the highlight was the Christmas song medley we did! We sang (or some missionaries performed) all of the Christmas hymns and recited paragraphs of 'The Living Christ' between each hymn. It brought such a special spirit! Then I had the chance to give my departing testimony - I kept it together for the most part, but at the end we sang 'I Know the My Redeemer Lives' and I totally lost it. Ah the spirit was so strong!!!

Other Adventures:
We met this older lady who needed help vacuuming so we went over to her house this week and were able to spend some time helping her out and teaching her about forever families. Later in the week we scheduled back to back appointments at the church so we sat there for a few hours with people just coming to us to be taught - ha it was sweet, but we were happy to go out and walk around that night! We had a lesson with a less active and she brought her non-member friend!!! We got to teach the Restoration and answer questions.

Exchanges with Sheboygan:
Sister Koyle joined Sister Hansen and I here in Winnebago YSA for this exchange - it was a good time! We worked super hard and saw some sweet miracles. We got back in contact with this potential YSA named Alex. We had a great conversation with him and he accepted a Book of Mormon and wanted to read about the story of Alma the Younger. We also got this sweet referral for the Spanish elders and contacted a few of the referrals we had. Then later when we were driving this one house stuck out to us so we went back to knock it and met a Pastor and his family. We had a cool discussion with them and they accepted a Book of Mormon and invited us to their live nativity next week. Also Sister Koyle is stellar, she's going to be such an anchor for the mission.

Oh one last thing - we started going carol tracting and it is straight fire! People love it! And being in the trio makes it less awkward because 3 voices>>>2 voices. So yes. Success. We've been giving 'A Savior is Born' cards out like there's no tomorrow and so many 'gift' copies of the Book of Mormon! I am so grateful for this time to be serving as a full time missionary testifying of our loving Savior! As we rely on Him we won't make the difference, but we will BE the difference in the lives of those around us! We can truly be instruments in our Heavenly Father's hands at this time of the year and always(:

LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!
Sister Kelley(:
Isaiah 55:12
Receiving a package from home!

Feeling the love!

Sister Koyle and I, she's stellar!

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Sound of the Water Running in the Church

Dear fam and friends,

Wow this weekend. WOW. That is all I can say. Ahh it was the craziest, most spiritually filling weekend ever. So many good things! Heavenly Father is SO SO SO keenly aware of each of us. It is so humbling!

The Trifecta:
Everything for transfers went smoothly this week. We picked up Sister Dunlap in Oshkosh and have managed to fit all her stuff into the apartment with ours! I was honestly a little nervous for the trio just because it is something I haven't experienced and I've heard a few horror stories, but it is so great. We all get along super well and get work done! Teaching is the trickiest part - just figuring out how to involve everyone and not talk over each other, but we are getting a lot better at it. We have already seen some super cool miracles together! Sister Dunlap is from Reno, Nevada and she's a twin! Also she is half Filipino so I have one half Filipino companion and one half Swedish companion! Then there's me... full American? Ha but yeah Sister Dunlap is one of the kindest, sweetest, and most powerful missionaries I have met! I love serving with her and Sister Hansen!

Cassandra's Baptism:
Ah I just can't explain everything that happened this week! There was so much opposition leading up to Cassandra's baptism, it was unreal. It seemed like everything that could go wrong did and yet everything came together on Saturday afternoon for one of the most spiritually uplifting baptisms I've attended. I know that is because of Cassandra's preparation and her righteous desires. It was amazing to see the physical change in her countenance as she came up out of the water. She kept saying how she felt so free and light, that all the heaviness in her heart was gone and that she was at peace. Her confirmation yesterday was equally beauitful and afterwards she couldn't stop smiling(: The branch totally embraced her and supported her through this trying week. I am so grateful for each of them and the many sacrifices they make to help lift each other. At the beginning of the baptism a few of the recent converts shared their testimonies and the spirit engulfed everyone there - like wow. So strong. I am so grateful for the ordinance of baptism for the covenant we can make and the blessings of the Father. He is over all. He hears and answers our prayers and carries us through!

Hope you all got a chance to watch the 1st Presidency Christmas Devo - we are listening to Christmas music non-stop and talking with everyone about the 'A Savior Is Born Video.' How grateful I am that our Savior was born! LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!

Sister Kelley(:
Isaiah 53
Something random - so funny!

It all came together!

Our "Trifecta" and Cassandra

Me and Cassandra, she couldn't stop smiling!