Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Changes in the Missionary Program!

I feel like each week I sit down and think. Wow a lot has happened. It is the best to be busy. This week consisted of Zone conference, Our stake report with the Stake President, Exchanges, and Stake Conference.

Elder Kelly, Tay Givhan, Elder Conley

Tay is still doing great! We were able to teach her twice this week.
She also came to stake Conference! The first lesson we taught the first half of the plan of Salvation and she really liked our knowledge of Adam and Eve and their story. Our Bishop was with us too at that lesson and he was able to explain it very well. Anyone reading this should go out with the missionaries and ask if you can help teach; it makes all the difference! Sunday we saw her at the stake center and then had a lesson later that night and she told us that she could feel the spirit while she was at stake conference. Tay is also reading from the BofM everyday! She is in the middle of 1st Nephi right now and has enjoyed it thus far. She hasn't 100% committed to baptism but she knows this is where she needs to be. She is just building up the courage to commit. I think if I was an investigator I would probably be the same way. Sometimes I forget how much we ask of these people to change in their life.

Kali isn't doing as well. We had an appointment with her on Friday that she cancelled and we haven't been able to connect with her since to reschedule an appointment. Hopefully everything is ok there and that she was just busy. But you never know.

Ivan is also doing well! He too is still reading from the BofM and is still looking for another job that allows him to have work off on Sundays. We were talking with Brother Johnson in the ward and we may have found one that will fit Ivan's needs and wants so hopefully that can start moving forward. We are hoping to help him make his date of the 22nd of February. We taught him twice this week too. His mom who lives with him makes us food every time we go over there and it is SO good. We had Empanadas and Tamales this week! I'll send pictures. I honestly wish I could know what she is saying because she is the best.

Ward Mission Leader, E Kelly, E Conley, Ivan, Fatina, Ian

Ivan's son

Empanadas and Tamales, from scratch! Mmm

Last week I mentioned that there was a soup and bread activity that Tay came to. Anyways E. Conley and I were hoping to have 5 non members there. And we counted it up and we hit the goal! Our dinner messages were all focused on helping members invite someone to that activity.
Now there is a Family Valentine's dance this month featuring Bishop DJ John at the Mic. It should be fun. But we are again hoping to have more non members there and are focusing on that.

On Tuesday we swung by a part member family. It is an older couple named Victor and Maria Matos. She is a member and he is not. He used to be a hair stylist and moved from Lima, Peru when he was 18 and speaks broken English. Well we go and share lessons about once a week to help her since she doesn't have a ton of support from him and hopefully one day he will be ready. Anyways, we were saying the closing prayer and we invited him to say it. One of the funniest prayers I've heard in a while. Imagine broken English with heavy Hispanic like accent "Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for my beautiful wife and her delicious meals she cooks. I'm going to get heavy.. It's her fault.
Thank you for these young boys coming over to bother us..." He kept going but that was the funny stuff.

This is Carol, a recent convert.  Elder Childress
actually found her when we were on exchanges. 
She is crazy but we love her.

Carol again.  I don't know why she had her hand up, but Elder 
Conley though she was going to hug him so he was uncomfortable. 
It cracked me up!

Random cool experiences from these last weeks:
- Asked a 5 year old named Evalyn if she wants to live with Heavenly Father again. Response I got, "I'm not big enough yet!". Classic and so true
- There is a family who came back into activity and the father in the home received the Melchizedek Priesthood last October. We asked them if they have been able to notice a difference in the home. They said there was less contention in the home, They were able to recognize the Spirit more easily, especially when it wasn't there any longer, A quiet peace in the home. Don't forget how blessed we are to live the restored gospel!

Dinner with the Giroux family.  They are sweet!

 Sunday at stake conference our stake presidency was reorganized and so there were two members of the 70 there who spoke to us and it was a great conference. Some of my favorite notes:
- There are only 3 times in the church when Revelation is supposed to happen instantaneously. When a mission call is assigned, when a patriarchal blessing is given, and when a stake presidency is called.
- We make covenants here on earth but have you ever thought that it is might just be a renewal of covenants? We already promised to follow God once in the pre-earth life. Shouldn't that allow us to take courage to withstand temptation to a greater degree. We already chose.
- We are agents unto ourselves. If you want to play the piano then practice and play the piano. If you want to be a master in the scriptures then put in the time and read the scriptures. If you want to be a better parent than re-evaluate what you are doing and set goals, if you want to make it the Celestial kingdom then check where your desires are and repent. #DoEpicStuff It is all about getting up and DOING!

Last thing I want to talk about it the new changed schedule missionaries have world wide now along with the key indicator change that was made by the brethren.
Our new schedule is pretty awesome in my option. There is a lot more freedom which allows for us to be "agents unto ourselves" and get more done. It also allows for way less stress in the evening and on preparation day. My journal has improved quite immensely actually.
I'll send a picture of the changes.
The other really cool thing that they changes is we now only have 4 key indicators.
1. Baptized/Confirmed
2. On Baptismal Date
3. At Sacrament Meeting
4. New Investigators

This is so awesome because everything that was happening before should still be happening but it is going to help us remember that the reason those things are done is to accomplish this four goals. Not to just do "stuff"


Elder Conley and Elder Kelly

 I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and I know that it is only through Him that we can have our heart filled every day with the peace that comes from the His Gospel!

Elder Kelly :)

Monday, January 30, 2017

Stinkley email

We had a ton of fun this week!
Tuesday night we went and visited a recent convert in our ward named Dan Larsen. He is actually a direct descendent of Joseph Smith and is in charge of planning all the Smith family reunions. I believe Joseph Smith is four generations back from him. He talks to Elder Ballard on a regular basis because he is also on the Smith family "board". Not really sure all that they do but he told us some really cool stories.

District Meeting

Wednesday we had exchanges with the Assistants and it was way sweet!
We have a new policy where when we exchange with our leaders both companionships stay in the leaders area. So we were both in their ward that day. I stuck with Elder Katoa and we were able to go teach a less active guy in their ward. We were at the VC and went through God's plan for the family. At the end we helped him identify the Spirit and he openly admitted that he could feel it. When we invited him to come back to church he told us he didn't want to come. It is always kind of unsettling when you see people ignore a strong spiritual witness. But the elders are going to work with him for a little longer and hopefully help him progress in some way.


Thursday we got back from exchanges and we finally went back to meet with a woman named Tay who we had met about a week ago. We had an appointment fall through but she actually kept the rescheduled appointment. When we went in we were able to teach the entire restoration and it was so great! We had a member with us and he was able to bear such simple testimony of the gospel helping him raise his kids. At the end we invited her to be baptized and she accepted :) we invited her to the Soup and Bread activity happening later that day and she came! We got there after she did and by the time we were there she was already totally enveloped by the ward members. It is so relaxing to know that the ward will take care of and love those we introduce to them!

Right before the appointment with Tay we had a few extra minutes and so we went and knocked some doors. The second door we knocked was a girl name Kali (pronounced Kaylee) She was so kind and we were able to give her a simple run down  of the restoration. We set a return appointment for the following day!

Friday was our first appointment with Kali and she is so prepared like Tay. She had read through the pamphlet and we had a great lesson with one of the return missionaries in our ward.

Saturday we had exchanges with Elder Tuala and Elder Gardner. They both came to our area and I was with elder Gardner. This is his first transfer in the field and we had a good time. Brother Johnson took us out to a buffet at a grocery store called HyVee. It's was probably the best buffet I've ever been to. Later we went and taught Tay and Kali again. Tay is on date for Feb 18th and Kali is praying if she needs to be re-baptized.

In Kali's lesson we had our ward mission leader and his wife both there. Kali shared with us that her mom had shown some resistance towards her looking into the "Mormon" church already. Sister Munoz was able to relate super well because she used to be Muslim and when a Muslim joins another church it is no good. People can get killed sometimes by their families for it. Long story short it was a great lesson. She actually kept her commitment too and read the entire Intro to the Book of Mormon.

Elder Conley and Edler Tuala that day were able to go teach Ivan again. He is still on date but we moved it back a little bit to the 22nd of Feb so he has time to get work off and come to church.

Sunday Tay came to church! She also brought her mother Georgette!!
They both enjoyed church and we have another appointment with both of them this upcoming Thursday. I was asked to speak in church and just briefly share why I served a mission. I talked about how I never had this huge experience that told me I needed to serve but I shared how I had had a lot of small experiences with the Spirit throughout my life and how I had felt the power of the Atonement in my life. It was really enjoyable and low stress because it was only supposed to be five minutes and it was such an easy topic.

Something that has made such a large difference for me and Elder Conley this week is how consistent we are being with our follow up in all circumstances. if it's  missionaries, members, or investigators we follow up with our commitment the following day so that we can help them progress and know we actually care.

By the way it is Elder Conley's 21 birthday today! You should all email him really fast and just tell him happy Birthday for me!! His Email is Mark.conley@myldsmail.net

Love you guys!!!

Elder Kelly

Food #EAT

Weekly Email

This week has been an interesting one with all the weird weather and such. Elder Conley started off the week with a lesson that our bishop came to with us. We were teaching a woman named Jennifer Ornelas. She is married (we haven't met the husband) and has two kids. She has been taught before by previous missionaries but doesn't want to move forward with baptism with out her husband who doesn't show much interest at all. So Bishop on the fly invited her over to have FHE with the whole family. That will be happening tonight and we are pretty excited. There is also a soup and bread activity this weekend that we are hoping they will be able to come that will help soften her husbands heart.

Tuesday we had dinner with the Cox family. When we went inside they had a large amount of Kansas City Joes BBQ.  Holy cow (no pun intended) it was delicious. It's probably the only BBQ I've liked so far. So so good.

On Wednesday we went over and taught a man named Ivan. He speaks Spanish and lives with his mom with his two kids. His mom is Sister Diaz who is an active member of our ward. His two kids are also baptized members. These lesson can feel quite long for me but hey it's ok.. I still get to help make the lesson plans at least. We always make sure we bring with us another Spanish speaker from the ward and they help Elder Conley teach. It has been funny getting a report on what happens after the lesson because I can get a general sense of what is being taught and talked about but no details until after. On Wednesday we invited him to be baptized on the 8th of Feb and he accepted! Then on Saturday when we visited him again. Elder Conley was discussing the baptism and I guess they wanted to move the date up a few days. I didn't find this out until a few hours later when we were talking to the ward mission leader in correlation. Kind of funny.

Well Wednesday night we found out there was supposed to be a huge ice storm that was supposed to start Thursday night and go through the weekend. If it was going to go as predicted everything was going to be coated in about an inch and a half of ice. People were dooms day prepping out here. I guess Walmart on Thursday night was very very busy. I was kind of excited I won't lie. However each day it would kind of freeze but never hold at the freezing temperatures long enough to really do anything. Everything was cancelled. School, work, all of it was cancelled on Friday. But then nothing happened. I think it hit way harder on the east side of the mission but out here in Kansas we just had a wet and could weekend.

Sunday church was cancelled and the fleet was grounded for part of the day. We finished up a report we had and called a large chunk of the ward roster and made sure they all knew about the ward soup and bread activity this weekend. We invited all of them to invite a friend as well. Hopefully we will be able to see some new faces at the party!

Just finished Luke and John! So good to get all the extra stories that are in those two books I loved it. Now I'm going to read 3 Nephi 9- through the end. Pumped to get the next part of Christ's earthly ministry.

I love you guys Have a good week.

Elder Conley and Elder Kelly

Mmm can't wait to eat this!

Overland Park 2nd Ward

My companion is Elder Conley.
We are having a lot of fun thus far!

Elder Conley in the Flesh

Lexena Zone

In this ward there is so much opportunity for part member family work.
We were able to meet with over three different families that were part members. The most successful one was a couple. They actually got married in Vegas in "The Little Neon Chapel". It wasn't on the fly or anything like that they just wanted to get married in Vegas.
We taught them the restoration and as we taught there was such a good spirit that entered into the room. As we visited with them Kathy bore her testimony of the power of prayer and her husband Jerry told us that he would read the Book of Mormon. My favorite part about teaching people is it is almost impossible for there not to be a Spirit in the room if the people are at least listening.

We also found a couple that we taught the restoration to. As we shared the first vision that same Spirit came into the room. Very subtle but definitely there. They committed as well to read from the Book of Mormon!

Elder Conley and I have been talking about goal setting this week and we have been super focused on the goals we set. It makes for much more productive weeks and you feel so accomplished! It's great.

In our ward right now there is a member missionary class that is three weeks long and they are taught how they can become more powerful member missionaries. All of the material is pulled from the book "Power of an Every Day Missionary". I recommend giving it a read.
Makes missionary work for members way more digestible.

The members in this ward are also so motivated and happy to do everything it feels like. We have a bread and soup activity in the ward that we set a goal to have at least non members there from invites by the members. We have left them with that commitment in every dinner this last week and all of the members are excited for it.

So Elder Conley are trying to keep our work outs amped and right now I'm trying to do this thing where I do ten burpees every minute for ten minutes. I guess I'm just weak sauce but I made it my transfer goal because I have a long way to go. Haha. You guys should try it.

Anyways I love you guys!

E. Kelly

Monday, January 2, 2017

Transfers Again!!

Well I'm no longer serving in the independence zone. I am now in the Overland Park 2nd ward which is in the Lenexa zone!
My companion is Elder Conley! I served around him for 6 months in my first area and I'm so excited to serve with him. He served with elder Katoa back in the day. So far we get along very well. Everything is just so unified it's great. Oh! And we are in a nicer part of the mission and our apartment is way nicer than the last one.  Makes it way easier to keep clean because I'm just motivated because it's nice.
Elder Conley is from Cottonwood Heights Utah.

Thus far the ward is so awesome! The bishop is somewhere in his 30s.
He actually used to be best friends with Elder Conley's older brother over 10 years ago pretty crazy. There is so much going on here too!
The ward has a lot of energy and so we are making plans to go to the ward council with the Part member Families in the ward that we want to either help become active again or help the non-members in the family feel welcome in the ward. There is a soup and bread event happening at the end of this month that we are hoping to help everyone come to.
This last week we did a lot of rearranging to give us more space in the apartment and so far it's great. Every time we walk in and it smells nice and it looks nice I'm so excited. It's great.
We went and taught a part member family by the names of Melody and Monte. Melody isn't a member and Monte is.  Both have crazy backgrounds but have changed a lot through Christ. We taught the restoration and Monte was able to bear testimony to his wife of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. Very powerful testimony.

Elder Childress just served here and so it's been fun to talk about all cool things about him and elder Katoa with elder Conley. The ward loved Elder Childress.

Cool miracle and then I have to go. So back in Parkville (first area) we went on exchanges and I left the area. Elder Childress stayed and while they were out working they met a lady named Carole who was somewhat interested. Well after I got moved out of the area she started being taught but ended up moving out of the area. Well elder Childress got moved to this area a couple months later and figured out that had moved here! She was taught and baptized within two weeks.
Well now elder Conley are teaching her all the lessons again.
Definitely a cool miracle for elder Childress and I'm so glad I got to meet her because I've heard so much about her.

I love ya!!!
E. Kelly

Christmas is Always Fun

Christmas was great!
This week was kind of weird but. There was some good stuff that happened.

We were able to be secret Santa for two families in the area and it was so much fun!! We went shopping with a couple in our ward and they helped us shop because we kept running out of ideas! They were very helpful. One of the families texted us and wished us a Merry Christmas and they mentioned that they had had a great Christmas because some one had been their secret Santa and it invited the Christmas spirit!

Service really is the best part of the Christmas season. It interesting that the time of year that we focus the most on Christ is the same time of the year that we do the most service for others. As we draw closer to Christ we do more of what he did.

Love you guys!
Elder Kelly

Puppies at our Christmas Dinner

The Ward Mission Leader with his family.
Tony getting psyched in the back

We framed the Ward Mission Leader's picture from LDS Tools
and gave it to him for Christmas

We made corn chowder.
Then I was sick on Christmas Eve from it.

Delivering Presents

Korinda Byzeck
We framed this picture and gave it to her for Christmas

Ice Storm

It is freezing!

Morning Sports

Every time the Chiefs get a sac it's BOGO!

Elder Kelly and Elder Odland

Made it to the gas station just in time!