Thursday, November 16, 2017

Technology and its Purpose

A week of Service and Cold and Technology.
Tuesday we had zone conference. While there we received our new smart phones. We have a Samsung. That has been weird. But what was weirder was setting up our FB accounts. That was extremely weird. I won't lie I have been extremely timid about using it because I just don't want to look at it. Instantly Satan tries to distract and I'm not about that. Before knowing about this coming to my mission I was almost at the point of never using social media again after my mission so this has been interesting.

I will say that I am grateful for the blessing it is to learn how to use technology more appropriately. Every time I use it I have a clear purpose in mind of why. Never will I use it to just look at stuff. We have been taught "Safeguards" for using technology. The four safe guards are. 
1.     Be in tune with Spiritual Promptings
2.     Be focused on the Missionary Purpose
3.     Be Disciplined (choose to overcome)
4.     Be One (with companion)
There are also three steps to take if you are feeling vulnerable
1.     Be aware and acknowledge
2.     Choose to Act
3.     Learn and Improve

The teachings that further explain these principles can be found in the Gospel Library. Click on Missionary. Click on Safeguards for Using Technology. 
Not sure if this is mentioned in that document but we also conduct device audits once a week where we review the other's device in an effort to keep each other accountable. 

Over a year ago we had a visit from a general authority and I prayed in the days leading up to that conference that I would be able to understand and know why I was called to serve in the Missouri Independence Mission. My answer was that I was called there so that I could learn how to repent. While sitting at this last zone conference as we were trained on using this technology to fulfill our purpose the Spirit taught me more specifically that I was called here so I could learn how to repent of using technology in the wrong way. 
The reason I am sharing this with all of you is because technology is here for the sole purpose of moving forward the work of the Lord. While there are many other blessings of having this technology we should not forget that God's work and glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. That is his biggest goal and focus. Technology has not been invented so that we can surf the web for endless hours or scroll through the same social media feed that we have already seen 10 times in the last hour. Technology is here to help bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
I extend the invitation to anyone reading this email to go read through the Safeguards for using technology and personally commit to begin applying these teachings. I promise that if you do so you will be protected against the temptations of the adversary. You will be inspired of ways to better use technology to fulfill the Lord's will. You will begin to see as Lehi and his family did with the Liahona that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass. These Safeguards and the other teachings are inspired by God and should be applied accordingly. 

Specifically to my family I will not be writing another weekly email until you have taken the time to read these safeguards and the teachings together and counseled about where you can improve. That includes Erika and Camden. I know you guys are all busy but this is seriously important. 

I have a testimony that the Lord's hand is in all things. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God and is just as much a prophet as was Joseph Smith or Moses or Noah. I know that we live in this the dispensation of the fullness of times for a specific reason. God's plan is perfect and our Savior Jesus Christ is the only way that we will succeed in fulfilling that plan. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Kelly

Lots of Service

This week we did a lot of service. Which is always enjoyable. 
There is someone in our ward working on re-roofing their barn. It was originally built in 1871 and was added onto in 1920. Our job was to pick up all the shingles that fell on the ground and take them to the burn pit. We went two days in a row and the first day while we were there it snowed for a few hours. We had a lot of fun that day. They have apple trees that were near where the burn pile is. We would work until we were cold and then eat an apple in front of the fire to warm up. 

Elder Kelly and Elder Denney at the burn pit

We were able to have another lesson with Becky Leamer and Toby again. Unfortunatly Raegan was not there but Becky's kids were there. Hannah (14) and Zayne (13). Becky told us that after last visit she knows she needs to come back to church. Toby told us that he would be willing to start coming to church with her. We talked all about the need for the doctrine of Christ. At the end Toby asked for a blessing of healing. This was exciting because the first time he has shown any sort of faith.

We had two more lessons with John Swenson. He really seems to be digging in the heels and hardening his heart. So in our second lesson we took a different approach and tried to talk only about Christ and invite the most amount of Spirit as possible. Turned out E. Denney, Sister Swenson, and I were all fasting that his heart would be softened. The lesson went well. We read 3 Nephi 17 and watched a bible video. He is still reading the Book of Mormon daily. 

We were able to visit with Anthony Park again yesterday and he found a family name to take to the temple this week. 

Please don't forget to read the scriptures daily. We're specifically invited to read from the Book of Mormon every day. If we will do this Christ will be more a part of our life! It is the word of 
God with the Bible. There are no two better things to study and spend time in. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Love you guys! 
Elder Kelly

Their beautiful property

Elder Denney and Elder Kelly

Their son's awesome truck

Passing over the bridge at the same time as the train

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Stake Conference

Oct 30, 2017
Lots of good stories from the week!
Monday we taught Anthony his first new and return member lesson. Actually we didn't teach much at all. We had two priests come with us and they taught the whole lesson. That was rather fun. Anthony should be in the temple sometime this next week to start doing baptisms for the dead.

Crooked River Ward Halloween party

District meeting!
District meeting we were sitting there having a discussion on prayer. In walks this guy from off the street that slightly had a crazy look in his eye. He asked if he could join in so of course we said yes. But then he started to interrupt and not just participate. Eventually he pulled out sun glasses put them on.. then pulled out a camera and started recording. He said, "ok.. I have one question. You guys believe in Christ right? Only way to salvation is through him." We all responded with a yes. We then asked why he was recording us. His response. "Just need to make sure I do my job."  Then he asked where in the Mormon Bible it teaches that we become like God. We told him that it is taught in the New Testament. He was puzzled by that. He was just trying to catch us in our words or something. He eventually left after he did a solo on the piano. It was super weird. It was really uncomfortable. All of us expressed after how we were tense and thought he was going to pull a gun or something. So we are glad it was just a camera.

We taught John Swenson again. John feels that every faith as long as it is centered on Christ can produce salvation. We taught from the Bible and BofM that there is plainly a correct way and that not any idea made by man can lead one to salvation. After we explained he still seemed unsatisfied but did accept the challenge to pray to know of the truth according to God. We feel that he will indeed receive an answer because he has been reading the BofM daily for almost two weeks now. I would challenge you. If you can't tell someone what is required for salvation then you should probably find out because you need to know! I know I couldn't tell someone clearly and with certainty until I was a missionary. Not good. No man can be saved in ignorance.

This Sunday was also Stake Conference.
The Carnahan family didn't make it but we did meet with them. 
John Swenson made it to church.
Harry Cooperrider came to church for the first time in 6 months. We had a lesson with him spur the moment on Friday. All we did was ask him about his conversion and how he knew the Book of Mormon to be true. At the end he committed to come to church! He has told us no so many times prior to this. Harry is the father of George Cooperrider. The guy that has the long beard.

Bishop Causse, the presiding bishop of the church, was at Stake Conference. He spoke all about the power of the Book of Mormon. He also made a statement that I found very impactful. He said that he was asked to go to the Vatican and inform them about the temple being built in Rome. Well they asked what the differences of the church were. Bishop asked if they could instead focus on the similarities. Instead the man proposed that he come back in a month and bring the experts on the doctrine of our church and he would bring the experts of the doctrine of their church. Then they would have a discussion. Bishop Causse said that he was tempted to say he would bring his kids! They did not set that meeting up because he felt that it would not be productive. 
He went on to explain that it is not about being and expert on doctrine. It is about being a witness. We must be a witness. That has more power behind it than just knowing doctrine. 



I love you guys! Don't forget to make your head knowledge heart knowledge too! That is how we become a witness.
I know that God actually wants to further witness the truth to you through the Holy Spirit. We must simply ask, seek, and knock! I know that Christ is the son of God and that they gave us families so that we can be happy in this life and in the world to come. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Elder Kelly

Sunday, October 29, 2017


October 23, 2017

Because puppies are cute
Elder Denney, Elder Kelly

Tuesday we visited an old woman named Carolyn Dawson. She is one of the lost sheep that we found a few weeks ago that is not on record but was baptized back in the 90's. She is currently 93 years old and gets around very well. She can drive and lives on her own. She told us that she left the church when she moved away from where she had been baptized. In my opinion she didn't really ever feel a part of the church. She shared a story of when she went to a RS activity where they were all sewing. Apparently they all brought their own machines and no one talked to her I guess. Also she shared that she never really got into reading the BofM. As I have reflected on this it has just made me wonder what her life would be like now if the missionaries would of tried harder to help her get into the Book of Mormon. Or what if church members would of reached out to fellowship her without being asked or invited to. Obviously we don't know if those things didn't happen but it just makes me wonder.
We met with her again on Sunday and she had read the Plan of Salvation pamphlet. She said she would start on the BofM this week.  Excited to see how it goes.

Tuesday night we received transfer calls and all four of the missionaries serving here in the ward got to stay! We were all pumped.  We found out on Sunday that several ward members had been praying for all of us to stay. Sure do love serving here.

Wednesday. We spent several hours helping Brother Anderson work on his barn. We were roofing the entire thing. It was a tiring and stressful effort because of the wind that was blowing. If we weren't careful the sheets of metal that was the roof would bend at the catch of any air.  Thankfully missionaries aren't allowed on roofs but we were able to be a huge help by sending the sheets up. Each sheet was probably a few feet longer than 20 feet and probably 3 feet wide. We were walking through a lot of tall grass too. So the chiggers had a really good time biting the two of us. Thank goodness for no ticks.

The barn we helped re-roof

That night we visited with the Carnahan family. They consist of 6 people. Brother Carnahan, Brock, Cassandra, Christian, Cody, and a mystery person that won't come upstairs whose name I cannot remember.  Christian (12) and Cody (8) both are not baptized. All the others are baptized. Our visit with them was strange. We didn't feel to good while there. Our first visit we committed them to read from the Book of Mormon. The second lesson was much better. A much better Spirit was felt.
On Sunday they came to church! We have another appointment this week.
We are hoping to get them all active and the kids into the water.

Friday we contacted several referrals that we had received from Brother Anderson. We contacted 4 of them and had a return appointment with one of them on Saturday. It was Pamela and Jeff Sparks. We taught the Restoration. Pamela has great faith and had many experiences where her prayers were answered. When we invited them to be baptized Pamela said resounding, "YES!" Jeff "NO". They are both characters. We are excited to work with them.  At this lesson we were in service clothes because we had planned on helping them out around the property. We headed to dinner right after and had our proselyting clothes in the car. We had dinner with the Acosta Family again and they committed to share a Book of Mormon with someone. We promised them that angels are preparing the minds of people now and that they can find those individuals if they will but ask God where they are. The Spirit was strong as we closed in prayer.

Missouri Spiders!

Fall Colors

We then had a baptism to get to. The Sisters had a man named Jim Foster who has a PHD in theology ready for baptism. He read the Book of Mormon in hopes of disproving it only to find that it is true. :) Well we rushed to the church building and still had to change into our church clothes. We hurried and changed only to find that I had forgotten church shoes and all I had were work boots that were not going to work with my fitted slacks. So I went into the baptismal service with black socks on instead. Many people noticed. Many people did not. Thankfully I did not play any part in the service.
Jim's family will be baptized in the coming weeks.

Sunday night we had a combined youth fireside with three other wards.
We had a great turn out and are hoping to help the youth be heavily involved in missionary work over the next 6 weeks.

I overheard one youth saying they had the best missionaries
in their ward.  One of the youth in our ward strongly disagreed 
and then gave me this picture they'd drawn afterward.  :)

To close the week we were driving to visit someone in Lawson when we saw a less active woman outside smoking as we drove by. We had only met her once before and decided to go back to talk. Her name is Sister Leamer.  She invited us right in and we were able to teach her, her BF Toby, and Toby's teenage daughter, Reagan.  Reagan had several questions about faith and wanted to understand how she could strengthen her faith. We read Alma 32 and had a great discussion with all of them.
They committed to begin reading from the Book of Mormon daily and Reagan seemed to be full of faith rather than doubt as she had been at the beginning of the lesson. Sister Leamer said the closing prayer and the Spirit was very strong and she cried as she spoke. We are hoping to help her make it back to church and possibly baptize Reagan and Toby.

So much is happening here in the Crooked River Ward and it is because the days of miracles have not ceased! Members are exercising a particle of faith and fasting for greater success. We really are on the Lord's errand and have seen his help everyday.

I know that God listens to our prayers! If you are unsure if He does or are seeking to improve your prayers, exercise a particle of faith and do it! Pray out loud, start kneeling, make a prayer list, ponder before you pray, sit and listen for answers. Pray about the meaning of scriptures, pray for inspiration on how to help family or friends. I know and promise that God will answer. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Learning is Great

October 16, 2017

The Ratliff's were out of town and we 
wanted to serve them in some way so
we cleaned out their fridge.

Elder Denney gettin it done!

Wow Wow! 
All is well here in the land of Missouri.
Tuesday was a great zone conference. Elder EchoHawk of the 70 came and spoke. Not sure if you guys remember but he spoke to our stake a few years back and I remember some of his stories he told. He was the man who was one of the first Native Americans to be in a certain political position but I can't recall what it was. Anyways while there he talked a lot about the difference we make as missionaries by telling stories from his personal life experiences. Those stories always light a fire in me. After the end of the meeting I asked him about how he studies the scriptures. He shared a few thoughts and then told me that M. Russell Ballard read the entire standard works in the month of July! That is super fast! Elder EchoHawk said that currently he is making sure that he reads at least 10 pages of the BofM each day.

One of my favorite things to do is be inquisitive towards those who have much experience in serving in the church. This week we had the opportunity to talk to a Patriarch who I asked, "What helps you follow the Spirit." His response. "Remember everything good comes from God. When you receive the prompting think about your Priesthood line of authority [and I would add calling]. Then as you move forward on the first prompting pray for the necessary help to accomplish the task." This has been very insightful to me thus far. 

On Friday and Saturday we were able to serve at the "Lathrop Living History Festival".  Basically everything there was old fashioned including steam engines, an apple press, saw mill, huge generators, candle making, Abe Lincoln, a barber shop, and much much more. We were assigned to help at the apple press both days. We cranked and cranked that thing and made a ton of apple cider. At one point we raced the sisters to see who could crank out one batch the fastest and we finished our batch in 2 minutes and 15 seconds. That really was cranking it out too. I don't know if E. Denney and I could have gone any faster.  Right next door was apple fritters that were to die for too. I had a lot those!

Elder Denney by a steam engine

Apple Press

Steam Engine

Old Giant Generators

Saw Mill

At the end of the day on Friday we were at the barber shop and started talking to the lady there. Her name was Marge. She asked if I wanted a haircut and I was in need. I said no at first because we needed to go. Well we ended up in a great discussion on Christ and faith and so the Spirit told me it might be a good idea to ask for a haircut so the conversation did not get cut short. She had already told us she wouldn't meet with us so of course I took the opportunity and I got a great haircut. My previous conversation with the Patriarch gave me courage. I kept praying about what to share and I felt strongly to testify of the BofM. Elder Denney and I were able to teach all about the restoration and helped her better understand a lot of the misunderstandings. She committed to read from the BofM that night so we could talk about it tomorrow. The following day we visited again and she told us that she had a really hard time understanding what she had read and in fact read several chapters multiple times. We did our best to answer and explain certain things. Well at the end she still was not interested in meeting but it was a wonderful experience to be able to teach her anyways and follow the Spirit. Love these experiences. They are always more far reaching than I realize.

Saturday was Anthony's baptism! He is doing great. He bore his testimony at the baptism and that is always very rewarding to hear. His old HT came to baptize him which was also a good experience for Anthony. The old home teacher is the Patriarch I mentioned earlier in the email. We had been coordinating baptism details over the phone when I asked him the question.

Patriach/Home Teacher, E Kelly, Anthony, E Denney

Update on Michelle Templeton. One of our ward members went over to her house on Wednesday to help her start her family history. Well while there Michelle opened up about the fact that she had a dream Sunday night that her family alienated her because she joined the church and so she is now really hesitant to go forward. We haven't been able to meet since. :(. I don't think she is completely done because as we spoke at the door one night this week she said she was still reading the BofM but is just busy. 

I know that Jesus is the Christ. The immortal son of God. He once was dead but now lives! :) He has overcome death and sin so we can too. I promise that He knows you and that He and His Father reach out to you daily. We must simply tune in. I also know that we are where we are for a specific reason. To influence others, to experience success and failure , and ultimately to prepare to meet God. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Love Elder Kelly

Thursday, October 26, 2017


Bowling Fun

All the Peeps love Elder Denney

Exxchanges with Elder Richins

Interesting copy of the Book of Mormon

We get to live on 24 beautiful 
acres with a pond

So Much Is happening All the Time

October 9, 2017
Lets jump back to last week. No I did not write a weekly email last week. Why? To be honest their was a sweet game of dodgeball going on and I was dying to play. I hadn't played sports in a few months. For the record.. I totally won. :)

Last week we had a really good opportunity to serve the Gifford family who I believe I have mentioned before. They were taught by the sisters a while back. We were able to buck hay for them for a few hours last week. That was fun. Conference was way sweet too! I love General Conference. Also in case one of you didn't get the message..... READ THE BOOK OF MORMON EVERY DAY!! We cannot afford to not read them just as many of us have clearly learned that we cannot afford not to pay tithing. 

District Meeting

The area book app got updated this week. That has been almost comical to learn how to use. I feel like an old person trying to use simple technology but for some reason can't figure it out. 

Sunday morning we were supposed to watch General Conference with a girl name Michelle Templeton. We met her the first week here and kept having appointments fall through. Well she was sick and again unable to meet with us. We finally did have an appointment this week and it went very well. We actually had a total of 3 appointments with her this week. One on Wednesday another on Thursday and the last on Saturday. She told us she had been praying to get back to church three days before our arrival at her home. She accepted the baptismal invitation and set the date of the 21st of Oct for baptism. The Saturday appointment was actually service first. We did lots of yard work for her and then taught her and her boyfriend, Cory. Cory was also very receptive.

Michelle attended church with us on Sunday and received a warm welcome from the ward. One of the family history consultants who is also a ward missionary set up an appointment with her on Wednesday to get her started on Family Search. We also will be meeting with Michelle tomorrow evening at Bishop Mayne's home. 

This last Thursday the Sisters who were home sick informed us that there were signs outside of the Lawson Bible Church that said "Big Serve" and that it might be a good opportunity to check out. We went over and it turned out to be a dinner for the community along with a food pantry for those in need. While there we found a lost sheep who has been flying under the radar, met a nonmember woman who used to feed the elders back in the day, and had a great conversation with Pastor Aaron. We will hopefully be meeting with him soon. Oh and we had great chili. Yum, this is a once a month activity that we will be attending regularly.

Service In Richmond

Fishing in my Fight the Devil thrift store hoodie

Saturday there was a stake service project in Richmond, Mo. This is where the three witnesses monument is and the town where David Whitmer was mayor or something like that. There were several things we were doing in the community. Elder Denney and I ended up working at an old grave yard. Apparently it hadn't been taken care of for about 30 years. You couldn't even walk through the brush and trees it was so thick. We cleared a ton of it out and poked around in the dirt and found some slightly covered head stones. I felt like a little kid again digging in a sand box for dinosaur bones. This grave yard was the first African American grave yard after the civil war. Apparently on record there is a slave that was buried there who lived to be 120. Unfortunately we couldn't find that head stone. We did find about 7 others though. 

Each morning we have also been chopping down trees for our exercise it has been the best. We look forward to it every morning.

An insight from my studies:
Anger can cloud our judgment and actions as we move through life. Teancum was fighting for the freedom of his people. He and his men were known for their strength and skills in war. In Alma 51 we learn that Teancum heroically slays Amalickiah in the night without being detected by putting a javelin to his heart. Later in chapter 62 Teancum  goes to slay Ammon in the night but this time he "cast a javelin at him which did pierce him near the heart". He was caught by the guards of Ammon and was slain himself. What is the difference? Why did he not do it in the same way as before? After all he was successful once. My opinion is it is because he was acting out of anger. Verse 36 of chapter 62 states, "and it came to pass that Teancum in his anger did go forth into the camp of the Lamanites." Maybe I am looking too far into it but it was just a thought I had.

I know that the Lord wants to work through each of us the only thing in the way is us! I promise if we are following the words of modern day prophets we are in reality following the Savior! In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Love you all!
-Elder Kelly