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