Thursday, June 30, 2016

Week 26...Weird

I don't have a lot of time to write today. But I'll give you a low down of all the good stuff that is worth mentioning.

Found out some really sad news on Thursday. We went over to Chris and Jeanie's home to just make a daily contact. Well we knocked the door and nobody was there and as we were walking back to our car Chris pulled up. Him and his brother get out of the car. He told us that him and Jeanie had split up and that she moved back to her hometown. Kind of a HUGE shocker to us since neither of them decided to text us the news when it happened a couple days before. So unfortunately, she now lives really far away but on the good side hopefully this allows for Chris to step his game up and get fully active. Just pray that the missionaries will be able to find her down there soon. We would send missionaries by through but we don't have an address or phone number for her and neither does Chris. :(

Denice is a new investigator who said she would come to church but unfortunately she decided to not tell us she needed a ride until right when church was starting. We as humans make some funny choices sometimes I must say. But she will be coming next week for sure because we were able to help establish an awesome relationship with a couple in our ward that was super kind to her. Missionary members are the best people on the planet! BE ONE!
Sorry it is so short.

I love the Lord Jesus Christ. So fascinating to think of the love He has for us individually.
Show Him your love by being true to his gospel!

-Elder Kelly

(Elder Atwood top center.)
 This is what it takes to bail an Elder out of Jail

Tuesday night We got a call from the Tiffany Springs Elders. The call went something like this.
"Hello this is Elder Childress"
"Hey Elder Childress this is Elder McLaws"
"What's up?"
"Soooo... Elder Atwood just got arrested and President told the Zone Leaders to go bail him out of jail and I need you guys to come pick me up because I am sitting here alone breaking a lot of missionary rules."
"Serious.....? Holy crap..... Ok send us your address we will be right there."

Apparently Elder Atowood had a ticket from a few months ago for a dead tail light that he thought was a warning. When he got pulled over the cop saw that there was a warrant out for his arrest and hand cuffed him right there and took him to the Platte County Jail. Such a funny story.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Spirit is the "Pump You Up Guy" in Missionary Work

Brother Mark Anderson, a ward missionary, with his two "body guards"

Well Last Monday we had to stay back at the apartment again because we are tight on miles. I won't lie those days are always long. The reason we had to save on miles is because we had two trainings this week. One training was down in Lenexa, Kansas with three other zones and the other at our stake center.  I will have to say again (I'm pretty sure I have said this before) but the meetings and trainings we have when missionaries get to together get me so psyched and pumped up to work harder and hit the ground running.  Well Tuesday was the training down in Lenexa. This training was quite a special one because we had a 70, Elder Hamula come and speak to us. The whole focus of the training was about what is repentance. The things that spoke to me are as follows:
- The reason I am serving here in Missouri Independence Mission is so I can learn how to repent. (I had been praying the previous week that I would be able to know why I was here.)
- Self Mastery is the key to repentance.  When we can learn to constantly turn to Christ by doing the small things over and over and over such as not swearing, eating healthily, watching better movies.
Even smaller: not speeding, getting out of bed when your alarm goes off, stop eating when your full even though it is so delicious. In reality anything that is enticing because of the natural man in each of us. The matter of the task does not become easier but instead our power to do is increased. (I'm paraphrasing a quote I can't remember verbatim).
- What is the center of Christ teachings? What is the most important thing? Elder Hamula taught that it is repentance because Christ taught that it is faith unto repentance, and baptism through repentance. Both point back at repentance. If we can learn what true repentance is then our ability to be what the Lord needs us to be is quickened.

So I would ask each of you reading this what are you working on changing at this time in your life. Can't think of one? or maybe you aren't making progress?  Be specific, set a goal, account on your efforts to the Lord and you will be able to become a true follower of Christ.  I decided to focus on my language. James 3:1-13 has given me a strong amount of hope that I can become as Christ one day as I consistently strive to refine and edify my language.

Caught checking out the sunset.

Sweet sunset with a storm rolling in.

Anyways story time.
We exchanged at the end of the meeting and I headed back to Parkville with Elder Staheli. We went throughout the rest of the day following our plans. Around 7:30 we felt that we weren't going where we needed to go. We pulled over, prayed for guidance on where we need to be. We went to the first street that popped in my head and went there anxious to see the Lord's hand in our efforts. It is an apartment complex and we knocked one door and had a good conversation but the guy wasn't interested. We walked down the street a little further to an apartment Elder Staheli wanted to go to and we saw a lady outside sitting on her porch. We went up and we were able to have a very constructive conversation about the restoration. She is Catholic and said that she always seeks guidance from the Holy Spirit even when it tells her things she doesn't want to do. She said she would pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true. She even kept saying, "what you guys are saying is totally possible. I never thought of it in that way." We testified heavily as we taught and the Spirit was definitely present!  Love those experiences. Haven't had a return appointment yet but we are praying and reaching out.

Elder Staheli and I after a sweaty day of work

Friday was zone training. The zone leaders told us that after a survey that was sent to each missionary, President Vest gathered that less than half of the missionaries serving in this mission get up on time.  😳😮.....💀. They challenged us to strive to always have perfect mornings in reference to the schedule because it is how you get a kick start for your day. We are already doing pretty well as a mission so it will be exciting to see what will change as more of the mission strives to be exactly obedient.

After zone training we exchanged with the zone leaders and I went to Platte City with Elder Katoa! Woot Woot! We were both pretty pumped for the exchange and we had a good time working hard that evening.  Every now and then it felt like it was the beginning of my mission again.

This week we found 3 solid new investigators!!
-Jordan was a potential and we had stopped by his house a few times when we had the chance because he lives right by us. We taught him the full restoration and set up a return appointment. He is a young adult and those are my favorite people to teach by far.
- Evalyn is a lady who said that she has talked to missionaries back in her native country.  We taught her the plan of salvation and she said she wanted to keep meeting with us and we set another meeting up.
- Dalton is a kid around my age who is pretty religious and was willing to let us come back by the same evening we met him. We were just driving down the street and Elder Childress said, "Let's go knock that house."
"I don't know"
Knocked and it was definitely the spirit leading Elder Childress. We have taught him two lessons now.

I love and miss you all and would just give a friendly reminder that God needs you to be a good example to those around you searching for truth. Be sure to let you right shine!!
-Elder Kelly

Dinner at the McCarter home.  
Elder Childress and Elder Kelly

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Crankin' Up the Heat

I had a great birthday!  Thanks to all of you!

This past week has definitely been the hottest so far for me out here in KC, MO. It was in the 90's this week with a really good amount of humidity. You feel like you are sweating before you even start sweating. BLAH!

This past week we had a zone training on Tuesday because the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders were trained by an area 70 last week and they were supposed to recount the trainings to us the best the could. One of the trainings was on goals. Well they posed the question of why we don't hit our goals. (Specifically we are talking about Key Indicator Goals)
-We forget about them through the week
-We loose fire or don't feel accountable to them later in the week
The area 70 said, "I am so glad that none of you said because ultimately it is up to the choices of the investigators and people you meet, because that isn't true. When you reach your goals it is because of your efforts and the Grace of God." 
In my head, "What?! How can he say that?!" 
Holy Ghost, "Wait a minute. Just think about it. It is definitely true"
In my head, "Dang it. I need to pray more sincerely and then try harder than I already am"

Isn't that such a bold statement? It is powerful because it is true! In all reality if we set a goal and feel accountable to it and try our very hardest to achieve it then we will be lead to where we need to be, say what we need to say, and talk to the people we need to talk to to reach those goals. Pretty exciting in my opinion.

After Zone Conference we went on exchanges with Tiffany Springs and Elder McLaws came to Parkville with me and we didn't have time to change out of our suit pants. Well we were walking down a street and we went over to help this guy on a riding lawn mower get the mower up into his trailer. (He seemed to be struggling) Well we get over there and see that he is trying to drive up onto his trailer using a door as a ramp. Well the door kept moving when he would drive up onto it and so we held the door in place and he began to drive up onto the trailer. He got half way up and the door just folded in half. Well he was all but on the trailer so I got behind him and began to push so he would get up because his wheels still had a little bit of traction. Well it wasn't moving anywhere so I took a step back with my left foot and then another step back with my right foot. "Wait a minute... Where did the ground go?" SMACK!   In my head, "What the hunk of Satan just happened?" (Seriously my mind couldn't comprehend what had happened and I was mad because what ever just happened hurt)  I remember the first thing I realized was that my suit pants were touching dirt and the dirty street. (Ok now I am really mad) WHAT JUST HAPPENED?! I finally realize that I am down in a hole. "No wait a minute.... How did only my right leg fall in a hole?" Well I pulled my leg out and started dusting the semi-muddy dirt and dust off my suit pants. There was a hole seriously right next to the curb. Not really all that wide.  This hole was literally 5 feet deep. Totally natural looking. My foot didn't even hit the bottom. My left knee smacked the curb and my right thigh caught my whole body on the dirt edge of the hole. Such a weird experience. Just so random.

On the investigator side of things. 
Jeanie: should be on track to be baptized on June 25th
Sharon: Going to do baptisms for the dead this week!!! (We get to go with her)
Sarah Petty: Finally un-grounded and we will be meeting with her this week.
Kandace Eichorst: Have a meeting with her this week with the Patterson family 

Less Actives:
Chip: We read scriptures with him and help him out with stuff that he can't do when he gets sick or when his body decides it is to old to move around.

Something you guys need to all understand: If you aren't inviting your nonmember friends to spend time with you, come to activities, come to church meetings, take the missionary lessons, or read from the BofM you are withholding the joy that the everlasting gospel brings from those who desperately need it. The church did a study and interviewed 30,000 converts to the church. The top three reasons they found of why people decided to learn more were:
1. They see the closeness to God that members have in their life
2. They see the purpose and direction members have in their life
3. They see the peace and love that members have in their life
We need to be inviting non members to be around members. 
Don't ever just hang out with members alone. That is what we call lighting a candle and putting it under a bushel.

Sunday was stake conference! Such a good conference! The whole focus was Celestial marriage. The stake president got up and talked about how just because we have eternal marrriages it does not mean that it is a Celestial marriage. Eternal marriage is only but the perfect foundation that a celestial marriage can be built upon. It is only the means by which a Celestial marriage can be built.
So ask yourself. Do you have or are you shooting for, an eternal marriage.. Or a Celestial marriage? How do you build a Celestial marriage? Seek the good light.
D&C 88:67-68
67 And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things.

68 Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will.

Love you all!   God is real and his teachings are here on the earth and can be found in their fullness in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Jesus Christ is our savior and through him we will return to live in the presence of the Father.

-Elder Kelly :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Scriptures are so Powerful

The clouds here are so pretty and move at a ridiculous speed sometimes.
This is the Missouri River

I'm not trying to be a bum. It's just that not that much exciting stuff happened this week especially in comparison to last week. But I did want to tell you guys about something that was pressed very firmly against my mind by the Spirit this week.

I have been trying to memorize all those scriptures I sent a couple weeks ago and I was working on the Atonement one:  2 Nephi 2:6-7

"6 Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth.

7 Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered."

That is a pretty profound scripture. One morning during my morning prayers I asked Heavenly Father to help be able to use the scriptures I have been memorizing in lessons. I didn't mean recite them, but use the principal they teach and/or have the investigator read it. Well that day or the next day we were teaching a lesson to Sean and Mary (some neighbors up the street we helped move in two weeks ago) They had lots of wonderful questions and it was a lot of fun answering them as we taught. One thing that Mary asked was, "Why, if Heavenly Father is all knowing... and can do all things... did He have to send his Son into the world to suffer and die for us? Why doesn't he just forgive us?" When she asked that I won't lie I was a little bit stumped. I thought, "That is a really good point... Why did he make his son suffer. Seems kind of tedious if God could just forgive us." And then the Spirit was singing in my head and I explained to her what Nephi is teaching us. Jesus Christ had to suffer literally in the physical and spiritual sense. Why? Because there were laws irrevocably decreed in heaven before the world was. When we abide by or break those laws there will be a consequence, good or bad depending on the choice we made. Well someone had to suffer the consequences of the bad choices if God also declared that we must be perfect but put us in imperfect bodies. Some one had to physically and spiritually take on the consequences for any misstep, any mistake of all of God's children so that we can all be lifted from the physical and carnal state into the spiritually eternal state. That way we don't have to suffer the consequences if we are willing to sincerely turn to Christ with a broken heart and contrite spirit prepared to change and be made new.  Justice is swallowed by grace. Isn't it just marvelous? The love that is shown is both thrilling and almost impossible to comprehend. How joyful it is to know that we have a Savior. How exhilarating it is to know we can change and experience a rebirth through Christ! This thought and idea has filled my heart with rejoicing over and over again as I have continued to ponder it throughout the day.

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed that little thought. There was one really cool thing that happened this week. Sister Snider (best cook in the whole ward) heard it was my birthday this next week and so she made a special dinner for me when we came over on Saturday. She made fondue!  We had steak chicken and pork that we could fry up in some peanut oil with 3 different sauces to dip it in. Oh my goodness I ate so much food. She even made me a cheesecake! The Horrocks family came over since sister Snider's husband past away years ago. I'll send a pic of the dinner.


I hope you are all enjoying the start of summer!

-Elder Kelly

Found us some sweet $.50 sunglasses at a yard sale.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Very Interesting Week

What up!!!
Super fun week with tons and tons that happened.
To start last P-day was a super chill and relaxing P-day. We didn't drive the 20 minutes to the church to go play sports and stuff because we were really tight with the amount of miles we were aloud to drive this month. We emailed at the library and then went to the apartment and studied and slept and ate some food and studied and slept. It was super relaxing. The whole day it was dumping rain too. Way close lighting the whole time so it was nice to just read with the back door open.

Tuesday we got to teach Sarah Petty again and we taught her the plan of salvation. She enjoys meeting with us and is excited to continue to learn. She was supposed to come to Sharon's baptism but she got grounded so that was a no show.

Wednesday was awesome as usual because district meeting is always awesome and gets you pumped up! We taught Kandace Eichorst (Emma Patterson's other friend) and we had an awesome lesson on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how through it we can find strength. We shared a few scriptures from Mosiah 9 and 10 about going to battle in the strength of the Lord and she seemed to really like the idea of have the strength of the Lord with us. At the end of the lesson we invited her to be baptized on June 18th. She committed to pray about it and see what Heavenly Father said. At the baptism on Saturday she expressed to Emma that she wants to be baptized just more toward the beginning of July. #SWEET!!!

The District

Thursday! First day I have done the whole day on foot and it turned out to be way interesting. Elder Childress has asked that we don't ride bikes because he has a way bad shoulder and will have to get a shoulder replacement by age 40 guaranteed because of two passed injuries. He knows if he some how falls on it he will mess it up again and will be sent home without question. Good to know he is afraid of riding bikes ;) that's what I like to tell him at least. During the studies that morning it was down pouring and hailing (around golf ball size) and it was looking like we were going to have to drive.
Thankfully it cleared up when it was time to leave. Heavenly Father is the best guy to have on your side. We hit the day on foot and had to walk a pretty far ways and thankfully it was still stormy skies so it was nice and cool. We had rain coats on with umbrellas just in case. It seemed to be storming all around us but wasn't hitting us. Well we got about 10 minutes away from our destination when the tornado sirens sounded. Well my first thought was, "Oh cool they are testing them.  Wait a minute it's not the first Wednesday of the month. Wait is this real??? Why is nobody reacting." Seriously no one seemed to be flinching. Construction workers just kept doing their thing. We asked a guy and he said it was real but wasn't moving that fast (not at all actually) to find shelter. We continued on our way towards our destination. I think 3 different people offered us rides to shelter within the next 5 minutes. (2 of which were members) we were so close to our arrival we said we were ok. After the third offer to get a ride we were walking and everything went crazy still. The wind, the rain, the animals, the trees. Nothing moved. That scared us the most and we began to pick up the pace (we were already walking very fast) got to our destination and chilled in their basement for about 40 minutes until we were no longer on tornado warning any longer.  Yes we know we were stupid and should have taken the rides. We have been chastised and harassed by several members of the ward already.  Good to know Heavenly Father is patient with even the stupid missionaries.

When the siren sounded...

Friday! We were on exchanges with the Zone leaders and Elder Hunt came to Parkville with me. We went down to the visitor center and had a way awesome experience with Sharon. We went through God's Plan for the Family and at the end one of the sister missionaries directed a question at Sharon. "What kind of comfort does it bring you to have a knowledge about the Plan of Salvation. Sharon began to cry and expressed that she loves knowing that she will be able to see her mother again. Another girl that was with us in our "tour" was a return missionary who had gotten home only a month ago. Her mom had passed away when she was on her mission and so it brought the Plan of Salvation to a whole new level. They were able to talk for a little bit afterwards and shed tears together. Love how the Lord is always showering us with tender mercies. Afterwards Elder Hunt interviewed her for baptism and we headed for a hot dog place nearby. (Best hot dog I have ever had) #ChicagoDog Later that evening we were again on foot but Elder Hunt is thankfully not afraid of riding bikes. In fact he is from southern Utah and went mouth in biking on the daily. We hit up the bikes and it was so much fun. Parkville is so hilly so by the end of the night we were both sweating some serious buckets.

Sweet Picture of he Kansas City Temple

We are so sweaty!!!

Elder Hunt's stupid selfie

Baptism baby!!
Such a happy day to be apart of. Sharon was baptized and there were a lot of members there to support her. I think the entire YoungWomen group showed up and the sang during the program. Emma spoke as did the seminary teacher that Sharon learned from for the past couple months.
Sister Patterson literally had the whole thing planned by Wednesday, fancy programs and all. We just showed up, filled the font, and set up the chairs, and then enjoyed the spirit. The Patterson family truly is amazing. She asked Elder Katoa to baptize her and me to confirm her.
Her boyfriend, Dad, and Grandma showed up as well and they were all very supportive. Hopefully they felt the spirit like I did.

Elder Kelly, Elder Katoa, Elder Childress

Elder Childress, Elder Kelly, Sharon, Elder Katoa

 Sunday was joyous because it was Sunday. The spirit is always stronger and the opportunity to confirm Sharon made it even better. She was beaming the whole day and even got up with the young women when they sang a musical number. She heard the Lord's voice and truly followed it.

I think the best part of the whole story is that most of the missionary work was done by the Patterson family and the ward. We just had to be there for the lessons to make sure material was properly taught really. #MemberMissionaryWorkOrDie

I love you guys and hope and pray you share the gospel with your friends. God is real and Christ is our Savior :) Shouldn't we all be beaming?

-Elder Kelly

After eating dinner with the Cowley Family

When a missionary is creepin' on you.