Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Hi :)

Alright I'm sorry for not emailing last week. 
We had a really great two weeks. President and Sister Love are here now and they are the best. They are very into hunting and we were able to see some of their hunting pictures. He shot a bear and put a caption on the picture that said, "President Love with a disobedient missionary." He is really into memorizing scripture and I'm all about that. 

Since I didn't talk about it last week I'll quickly mention it. The fourth here is crazy town. It literally sounds like a real war zone. I'm not really sure what people do that have PTSD to handle it. I was flinching all day because people were lighting off quarter sticks of dynamite and such all day. Actually it was basically all day the 3rd and the 4th. We're on exchanges on the fourth. Elder Boyce and I were walking when we came to a long driveway that had about 30 people or more all sittin in a long u shape on the edges of the drive way. We walked up and said, "Excuse me!!" Everyone went quiet and looked. It was great. We briefly explained who we were and what our mission was as missionaries. They were very kind to us and asked a few questions about our belief. We ended up testifying of the BofM to them and went on our way. It was pretty sweet. I love having people's attention with the gospel. 

This week we were in the third hour of church and a member asked us to step out in the hall. There was a man by the name of Jeremy that came in. He explained to us that after his personal study of the Bible he has concluded that our church is, "the head church of the last days" in his words. He is extremely excited to learn more and we will be teaching him on Friday. 

Last night we felt impressed to go to a specific area. We had about 5 sweet interactions down there. Only one of them turned out with a return appointment set but we were also able to bring down some walls with the other people about the BofM. I have realized that so many people have misconceptions of what we believe and who we are because we aren't open enough about with our friends. So many people think Joseph Smith wrote the BofM and a slew of other things. It is my favorite showing people how normal we are.

We also got an email from President Love I wanted to show you guys. We are really excited to see what happens. We have two Stake presidents in our area that are converts from the RLDS church along with our bishop. Here is the email, "I have been pondering on how we can better embrace those whose ancestors were once part of Christ's restored church. They are our brethren and their souls are precious. (Alma  31:34-35). Can we pray, as did Alma for success ?  I feel a sense of urgency. Can we council together on this at our next MLC?
I love each of you,
Pres. Love"

I know this is the Lord's work and we need to saddle up and start helping bring it forth. To this end were we born! In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Kelly

Weekly email

So this week was full of awesome experiences. So get ready.

On Sunday Elder Christensen and I wanted to go into the church right next to our apartment. It is a Pentecostal church and we have been trying to meet with other pastors to look for service opportunities with their churches in the community. Well we walked in and the smell of delicious coffee met our nose. We asked for the pastor and a very tall and large man walked through the door named Jason Huckabee. He looked me square in the eyes which is not a common occurrence. He had a southern drawl as if he was from Mississippi or something. We asked if we could meet with him at another time and he invited us back on Tuesday. 

Monday night we started exchanges with Elder Slesk and Elder Bowser. (side note: there is also a Elder Kirby in the zone) Elder Slesk and I were talking before we fell asleep and it turns out that his dad served in the Charlotte, North Carolina Mission the same years as you Dad! I had just finished telling a story from your mission and he told me his dad had some crazy stories from his mission. One of which was about a football game where an elder's arm got messed up! Sounds familiar! Haha that's when I asked what mission he had served in and what years he had served. His name is... Tim Slesk and was married in 91 so could have been serving during the same time.

Well me and Elder Slesk went together the next morning to visit Jason Huckabee. We sat down in his study in the back of the church building. He asked a little about who we are and we explained our purpose as missionaries and where we are from. He seemed genuinely impressed by our efforts and was so kind to us. He explained some of his walls he can't get over in relation to the Book of Mormon which we were able to clarify. Things like the idea that Joseph Smith wrote it. etc.  He then asked.... "So we see by statistical studies that the slowest rate for building membership in a church is through street contacting and door to door with random strangers. In fact the fastest way is what is called "Personal Evangelizing". It is when you are at work and you see that your co-worker is struggling and he needs help. Well you invite him to church. He comes to church, feels the Lord and realizes he has found what he needs in his life. That is how we bring people in." This nonmember just explained to me, member missionary work and seems to understand it better than many active members. We were blown away. We explained our desire to bring further unity to the faiths in the area via service and he liked that a lot. He then explained some of his beliefs using the New Testament. Specifically Acts 2, 10, and 19. They believe speaking in tongues is required to know you have received the Holy Ghost. I won't lie if I had not grown up knowing that this was the church of Christ and was seeking truth I would of ate everything up he said in a heart beat. The power that came just from using the scriptures in his teaching made me seriously marvel. We closed with a prayer by putting our hands on each other shoulders and after he invited us out to lunch after he gets back from a trip. Over this week I have reflected time and time again on our meeting. It has built my testimony of the power and authority of my calling as a missionary and the influence we can have on others by the Spirit we bring. 

As I was reading the Book of Mormon this week I saw an example of how we can't force the Spirit into ones heart but can only bring it unto. Alma 10:6 "Nevertheless, I did harden my heart, for I was called many times and I would not hear; therefore I knew concerning these things, yet I would not know; therefore I went on rebelling against God, in the wickedness of my heart.." I was struck by the phrase "therefore I knew concerning these things, yet I would not know" I have reflected time and time again about what things I am not fully allowing into my heart. I have also thought a lot concerning the fact that if Alma had disobeyed the angel then Amulek would still go on unbelieving not to mention the many converts that followed.

Love you guys!! 

Elder Kelly

Running out of Subject Lines...

Well we visited with Terry Johnson three more times this week and he was able to come to church too! We actually were able to meet with a less active member this week and we asked them to take Terri in hopes they would stick around too. Unfortunately they just dropped them off and left.  We taught Terry and his member son, Donny about the Word of Wisdom on Thursday. He has already been trying to stop smoking and is down to less than a pack a day. When we explained that coffee was also not in line with the commandment he was shocked. His response was, "What? I drink 15 to 20 cups of coffee a day! I don't even drink water! It tastes gross!" He committed to try and stop. In the closing prayer it was asked that his desire to have coffee and smoke would leave him. Elder Christensen and I also prayed that night that the desire would leave him. On Saturday we came back and he told us he had only smoked 5 cigarettes and only drank 2 cups of coffee! Our jaws basically hit the floor. We asked him how he was able to cut back so much. His response was, "They both started to taste gross....?"

We are blessed here in this ward! We always are fed by members and have many people to teach. We were able to make plans with multiple families this week of how they were going to help their non member friends come unto Christ. It is so powerful when the members make a plan and follow through with it. The Lord always pours out blessings upon their families even if the individual declines the invitations extended both by them and the Spirit. Usually those families get pretty excited about missionary work and it is as if we introduced a friend to a delicious BBQ place we can enjoy together. 

This is a non-member's license plate

We live in Blue Springs.  The cool part about Blue Springs is that it is half boons and half city. It is a lot of fun.

Love you all! I know that the power of Payer is real. I know that Heavenly Father is Listening to you when you reach out to Him. I know that Christ's grace is sufficient. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen

Friday, June 23, 2017

Transfered...(: :)

Well I am now out of the Overland Park 2nd ward. I am now serving in the Fleming Park ward which is in KC, MO. My new companion is Elder Christensen. He came out a transfer before me. 
Tuesday night we got the information that I would be leaving. Wednesday I packed up and then had the opportunity to say quick good byes to Jeanie Foster and Jim Brown, the Giroux family, Bishop, and Tay and Georgette. It was really weird.... when I said good bye to Jim and Jeanie Foster we got in the car and I started to cry. I didn't even cry when I left home. I don't think I have ever cried over something like that. Elder Limon and I were laughing at myself for the rest of the day because of it. It was weird.

Wednesday we went up to Independence for transfers. Elder Write was moved to OP2 and so I know it is being left in good hands. We technically live in the city Blue Springs not too far from Independence. So far we have had a lot of good experiences!   We felt impressed to knock a door on Friday and we introduced ourselves and felt impressed to ask if we could come in. Our request was quickly granted and we were able to sit down. As we talked to the man, Terri, we learned that his son, Donny, was baptized into the church a while back and when he moved up here he wasn't able to find the church! They scheduled to meet with us three times a week! Should be fun. 

Our dinner last night was with two families. Both of those families have non-members in their home on a regular basis and we purposed that we set goals and make plans to help them enter the waters of baptism. Both families readily accepted the challenge and we will be making the plan with them this up coming Friday! We are very excited to see where this goes.

One of the members of the ward served in the Vegas mission back in 2002-03. Another family just moved from Vegas about two years ago and know President Waite's son who I think was their Bishop. I showed them a picture of you guys, mom and dad, and they said they knew you. I'll have to send pictures when we eat with them or something. 

Our apartment wasn't too bad but it was in need of some serious cleaning. Elder Christensen and I spent about 3 hours today. It was great. We also have been exercising in a member's gym each morning and it is killer. We work out with another companionship and one of the elders is super buff and he keeps putting us through crazy work outs. We did this 800 rep arm work out Saturday Morning and my arms are going to fall off. Me and the weights have never been friends before and I'm not sure how much I like it. 

Our bishop here is actually a convert from the RLDS church. 
We knocked on a door yesterday and after no one answered we walked away. We were a little ways up the street and we heard the door open so we turned around and as we were walking back he says, "So which one of you is Alma, and which one of you is Amulek!?" We proceeded to have a long conversation about all the splinter churches out here. Feels good to be back in the Independence vibe.
Love ya!

- Elder Kelly

Next Week is Transfer Week...:( Hopefully I stay

Monday night we had our weekly appointment with Jim Brown. He has been reading from the children's Book of Mormon everyday and expressed to us that the same thing happens over and over in the book. "They turn bad and then end up in jail or something and then the walls crumble and then they are good and then all starts over!" He is the best. The stories between the good and bad people are getting mixed up in his head it sounds like but he has changed a lot since his baptism. A lot more of his personality has come out it seems and it is so fun to teach him. When we taught him later in the week we taught him how to liken the scriptures unto himself using the classic "read it, find it, use it" tactic. Read the story, find the principle taught in the story, how does that apply to me? We read chapter forty in the Children's Book of Mormon about Samuel the Lamanite and we were able to help him draw 3 connections to his own life. There were many more. So grateful the scriptures help us learn how to follow Christ when we apply them.

Tuesday we had our last appointment with Mike Fremont. He is now officially moved. Thankfully Vegas is a hub of a lot of business conferences so he said he will be out there several times in the future. Fingers crossed we can link up again. He is a really awesome guy who has changed a lot over the last 4 months. All because he has listened to the Spirit that came from reading the Book of Mormon. 

Wednesday during the day was our last MLC with president and sister Vest. :(  We received some really great training on the Doctrine of Christ by the mission presidency and many other missionaries. As I have pondered about the Doctrine of Christ I had a realization about the restoration that we wrote up in our weekly ward email. It is below in italics. I will greatly miss President and Sister Vest. But I am sure President and Sister Love will be just as great.

MLC (Missionary Leader Council)

President Vest, Elder Kelly, Sister Vest

As missionaries we share the the message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is easy to teach the restoration without even touching on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We can talk about prophets, priesthood authority, Joseph Smith, and much more without even speaking of Christ and his atonement. 

Christ taught his gospel in the Book of Mormon, "Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day. Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do;"

We must not forget that the restoration was a restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The church is a means to give others the opportunity to live His gospel properly in their lives. Much of the world was and is in confusion about salvation and how to qualify for it. But because of the restoration we know that faith in Jesus Christ leads to repentance. As we repent we qualify to be baptized and confirmed by proper priesthood authority. As we continually prepare to renew our baptismal covenants through the sacrament we are able to endure to the end and will qualify for salvation. 

Dallin H. Oaks said, "As we speak to others, we need to remember that an invitation to learn more about Jesus Christ and His gospel is preferable to an invitation to learn more about our Church. We want people to be converted to the gospel. That is the great role of the Book of Mormon. Feelings about our Church follow conversion to Jesus Christ; they do not precede it. Many who are suspicious of churches nevertheless have a love for the Savior. Put first things first." 

We testify that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the center of everything The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does. We promise that if we are willing to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ then we will find great peace in his life because we will stand clean before God. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Wednesday night we had splits again and this time I went to teach Ivan with a member named Marcos Chavez. On the way over to the appointment he shared mission stories from when he was on his mission down in Mexico. He received an assignment from his mission president to go find the missionaries that just disappeared in the field by their choice. Once he had to go find and elder he had actually gone to high school with. He was walking down town with his companion and it was getting late and they had not been able to find him. They went over to a private spot, prayed, and felt directed to knock a house after walking a little ways. The person who opened the door was brother Chavez's old school mate with his shirt off. Apparently he had gotten married in the Catholic Church. Haha thought that was a pretty crazy story. They stayed married and now are sealed in the temple apparently. Thought that was pretty crazy. 
At the appointment Hermana Diaz brought out food and offered us some of it. I told her that I would like poqito considering I had just eaten 30 minutes earlier. Well turns out I ate a lot more than poqito by the time we were gone. My stomach was about to explode. 

Friday we went out to dinner with Tay and Georgette. They took us out to a buffet and it was a pretty good time. Georgette is dying to have work off on Sundays officially. She hasn't been able to get it 100% off yet she is getting a little frustrated and is searching for work else where. 
We were also able to meet with a new couple that moved into the ward. Jordan and his wife. I can't remember her name. They just got married in the singles ward and he was baptized in September. We get to finish up his new member lessons. He has a really sweet conversion story. His boss invited him to meet with the missionaries so he could change his life and here we are now 9 months later! I love the power of invitations coupled with a testimony. 

Today elder Limon and I along with Kaw River Elders went out to Pepperjax grill for philly cheese steak sandwiches. They were delicious.

Elder Aparicio, Elder Booth, Elder Kelly, Elder Limon

Hope you all have a great week and that it is full of scripture study and prayer. That is what actually makes a good week. I know that the power of prayer is real. When we pray God is listening because he is our Heavenly Father. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Elder Kelly :)

Here is another ward email I would like to share.
When a problem arises in these days often times the world's response is decorated with intricate solutions with ambiguous application or unrealistic expectations. As we seek to solve our problems with these answers we come to find that the desired result may only be short lived or only slightly solve the matter at hand.

The Lord teaches, "Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not." D&C 6:36. We look unto Him when we search the scriptures daily, kneel in prayer, and worthily partake of the sacrament. As we allow these simple practices of faith to form our life we will find that our ability to bear the cross we carry is increased. We truly live in the strength of the Lord.

"I have observed that those who are deliberate about doing the “small and simple things”--obeying in seemingly little ways--are blessed with faith and strength that go far beyond the actual acts of obedience themselves and, in fact, may seem totally unrelated to them. It may seem hard to draw a connection between the basic daily acts of obedience and solutions to the big, complicated problems we face. But they are related. In my experience, getting the little daily habits of faith right is the single best way to fortify ourselves against the troubles of life, whatever they may be. Small acts of faith, even when they seem insignificant or entirely disconnected from the specific problems that vex us, bless us in all we do."

We too testify that if we will look unto the Lord in every thought we will have the capacity to over come our doubt and fear as we live in the strength of the Lord. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017


Zone Conference

Monday! Charles committed to be baptized on July 1st! He and Sierra have been reading through the BofM together and so far are enjoying it quite a bit. They have lots and lots of questions. Some that are hard for us to answer and we have to really think about it or get back to them. Me and Elder Limon are enjoying it a lot. They were at church on Sunday and fit in pretty well in the Gospel Principles Class. Charles is pretty shy and so we are working on getting him good fellowship so that he will open up. We have a team up coming with us tonight to help teach.

Canes with Elder Limon

Tuesday we went to Brookdale to sing songs for the old folks again. While we were singing there was a particular old lady who seemed really interested in elder Limon. She apparently thought he was quite a catch. It was hilarious. The people there are so nice. 

Wednesday we were able to meet with Amber Niederhauser. We had another appointment at the same time so we went on splits. I went to the appointment with Amber and Brandon and Elder Limon went to Ivan's appointment. Me and Brother Methner were together and it was quite the experience. Brother Methner is the past president of the quorum of the 12 in the Community of Christ church. We taught again the importance of the BofM and he was dropping scriptures left and right from the Bible as we taught. He could say the chapter, verse, and quote the scripture. It was awesome. Some of it went over my head but Amber seemed to really like it because it was all scriptures in reference to the BofM in the Bible. I learned some new stuff so I enjoyed it too. She committed to baptism on the 24th of June and committed to come to church. They did not make it to church unfortunately so we will have to see about that date.

Saturday night we had an appointment with Koolaid but he wasn't there. :( we walked down the street and there was a woman named Tonya who called us over to talk. We chatted for about 30 minutes and taught about the BofM/restoration. She had talked to the missionaries about 10 years ago and watches the BYU channel ever morning. She accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon and said we could meet in a month because she is going on travels and will read it as goes. Hopefully that works out!

Right after we saw a family party going on across the street. There were a ton of cars and children running and screaming everywhere. We walked up to the door which was open and waved in at the people inside. We asked if we could come in and they let us in. They were all from Kenya. Loud music was playing so we asked if they could turn it off and we began sharing the message of the restoration. We started by stating that we had been set apart as representatives of Jesus Christ and given the authority to teach the gospel. They immediately asked where this authority came from and we stated that it came from Jesus Christ through a modern day prophet. They were not too fond of that. We tried to teach the restoration and it ended up basically becoming 8 against two. We would say something and then they would question us kind of aggressively. It went down hill pretty fast but it was a really good experience and it made for a good story and we stood as witnesses of Christ and the restoration. 

I know that this is the Lord's work. I know that redemption comes only in and through the Holy Messiah because he is full of grace and truth. Cleave unto him and our lives become much more enjoyable. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Last Week of May

Alright not a lot of time because of our Memorial Day picnic and I tried to send more personal emails. 
But here we go!!!
We had our second appointment with Sierra and Charles. Their last name is Andrews so I'll start referring to them as brother and sister Andrews. They both accepted to read from the BofM daily and the very next day Sierra expressed that she already knows the book is true. When she knelt down to pray and ask she said that she already knew the answer. Charles is having a harder time understanding the old english but he will get there. Charles made a soft commitment to a specific date for baptism but seemed hesitant at making a for sure commitment.

We finally had the opportunity to teach the Niederhauser family again. Amber and Brandon. Not sure if you remember but Amber is the non member and Brandon is a member. She committed to read from the BofM every day and is willing to meet twice a week. She is looking like she will get baptized on the 24th of June. In the closing prayer Amber prayed that she would be able to keep her commitment to read everyday. Not even baptized but she is already asking for strength through Jesus Christ! So great.

We met with a guy named Akolade and he told us to call him Koolaid. We are meeting with him again tonight. He committed to read from the Book of Mormon. He is going to college out here and is probably 21 or 22. 

This week Elder Limon and I decided to work on Virtue by no longer quoting movie quotes, old songs, and trying to quote scripture to each other throughout the day. Well we were definitely tested by the Lord with various situations that I never expected to happen on my mission. I won't go into details because it really was weird but I also made it a goal to memorize the Articles of Faith this week so those came in handy. So I just want you all to know that prayer is real and God will always answer you in his timing. I also testify that scriptures and hymns have real power to set the stage of your mind hundreds of times throughout the day. 

I know that this is the Lord's work. I know that he lives and loves us. I know that Christ is the only way to Jesus Christ. 

I love you all!
Elder Kelly