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


September 25, 2017
It was a great week!
We were again able to meet with Anthony 3 times this week. He is doing well and has read all the way through 1 Nephi! Woot woot. We are going to the Liberty Jail this upcoming week and are looking forward to that.

Thursday we had exchanges and I stayed in the area with Elder Richins. This is his very first transfer and we had a really good time. We went to Nick's Nursing home again and had a really good time there sharing a simple message with the residents on having good language. We were also able to teach Michael Dolt again. He said he might come to church but then did not make it. He also did not read which was really concerning. We had a good lesson with him that was lead by the Spirit on prayer. He knows it is true but is slow to act.

Friday we were out with Brother Cooperrider the whole night. He is the guy with the big beard. We had a really good time with him and he seemed to have learned a lot from our lesson we had with Anthony. We taught the plan of salvation. Bro. Cooperrider is recently returning to activity so it is cool to see him learn. 

Saturday the Sisters had a baptism that we went to. The girl that got baptized is named Kim. They asked one of the 16 year old boys to baptize her. His name is Kannon. We helped him know what to do and got to be the witnesses for the ordinance too. Yesterday in testimony meeting he shared that he will now for sure be serving a mission! Love hearing that come out of a young man's mouth!!

I too shared my testimony! I love the opportunity we have to share testimony with each other. What a wonderful way to learn, feel the Spirit, and be edified. 

I know that baptism, the sacrament, or any other ordinance performed in the church only has any merit because those performing the ordinance have been selected to hold the authority of God. If we intend to find success in following Christ then we must align ourselves with priesthood ordinances and priesthood keys. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 

Wow x 2!!

Sept 18, 2017
Alright buckle up for another awesome week

Monday night after emailing for 5 hours... (we got permission to use the wifi where we live since our closest wifi is pretty far and we live with a member so I went a little crazy) we headed off to dinner with the Baldwin family. It was kind of crazy because they have a really young son who's name is Harrison. He is the first person on my mission that has my name. It was weird hearing them say it throughout the dinner.

Little Harrison with Elder Kelly

Well following dinner we headed out to a new move in named Karen Park. Her son is a non member that wants to learn and get baptized. He is 14 so we were pretty pumped to go visit him. Well we headed out and the sisters asked us where we were going that night since our dinners were in the same town. We responded and then a while later I realized it hadn't sent because of no service so I sent it again. Well to make a long story short we pulled up to the new move in house to find the sisters car there... we had just driven about 40 minutes to get there. Later we figured out the text hadn't gotten to them until when they were already in the lesson. A funny coincidence that could have been avoided so easily. We ended up teaching another part member family nearby anyways so it was all good. Just kind of crazy we ended up at the same place at the same time when we cover such a large area. 

Tuesday morning we had the "mid-trainers meeting". It is a meeting that is at 6 weeks after being in the field. So I got to go with Elder Denney even though I had only been training him for a few days. I snagged some cheap boots from Walmart while we were down there for the service opportunities we have. Later that night we set up a return appointment with a Mennonite family. We are excited to see how that goes. We are meeting with them later this week.

Sister Ratliff is the best!  French Toast, mmm

Wednesday we came down stairs to a huge plate of delicious French toast sister Ratliff had made for us! Later we went over to the Cooperrider home. They are building a wall in their house and we got to go help. His wife is a nonmember who is very nice to the missionaries but is not too interested in the gospel. We were over there for a few hours and then they fed us dinner. Basically we had these huge burritos that were delicious. 
Brother Cooperrider has a really long beard that the sisters had been asking to cut for a while. Well right before we got there he trimmed it up. So we took pictures to prank the sisters with so they thought he had let us cut it. Fun stuff.

"Trimming" Brother Cooperrider's beard.

Thursday we had District Meeting. Elder Barlow is our District Leader and this is my first time serving by him since the MTC. He asked each of us which doctrinal point from PMG we felt like we knew least about or wanted to know more about. Well he asked me and another sister to give training on the topics we had told him. Very clever because I did learn a lot. We also had interviews with president which is always a blessing. We found out that our mission along with 11 other missions in the world have been selected to receive iPhones! We will be getting them in October. That will be sweet!
That night we taught a man named Lindi who is really old. He is partially blind and deaf. Our lesson was basically us speaking very loudly. My throat was a little tired by the end of the lesson. Elder Denney and I have laughed about it a few times.

Friday we helped a new family move into the ward, the Acosta family. We were there with the sisters and a few ward members for the majority of the afternoon. They are a way cool family and we are excited to have them in the ward. That night our ward was doing a ward campout but since we live in the boons they basically camped in a big open field in someone's back yard. We had dinner there and before dinner we played the ultimate game of tag with all the kids. Elder Denney and I were dead tired by the end. 

Moving Day
Elder Kelly, Elder Denney

Saturday we taught a man named Mel. The sisters sent him over to us on the area book and he seems pretty interested. That night we taught Anthony with the sisters. We decided it would be best for us to teach Anthony and they are going to teach Anthony's non member aunt who he is living with. He set a baptismal date for Oct 8th and is very excited. We also set up appointments for 3 times a week so he can learn quickly. He already knows a ton and we got to teach him again Sunday night. We have another appointment tonight too. Haha.

Sweet Country Views

Sunday we had the primary program and we got to sit up with all the kids and sing the songs. It was sweet. We also had homemade bread bowls that night with loaded potato soup. To say the least I am really enjoying the country and really enjoying the food!

Don't forget that your Heavenly Father loves us and because He loves us He expects much of us!

Love you!

-Elder Kelly


September 11, 2017
This week has been SWEET!! I did get transferred and it was a a pretty big change. I am now serving in the Crooked River Ward in the Far West Stake. This has been a ward for about a year and has a good history in relation to missionary work that has happened in the past. I am serving with Elder Denney from Idaho Falls, Idaho. He has been in the field for 6 weeks and I am his follow up trainer! We are having a blast so far. We live in the boons. Actually we live in the boons of the boons. The closest town is called Lawson. We live about 15 minutes out of town in a members home. The members we live with are Brother Ted Ratliff and Sister Marcie Ratliff. They are somewhere in their 60s I think. All their kids are out of the house and I think they have 4 kids. 
At first I was a little nervous to be living with members but it is sweet. Basically everything is the same except we have nice things. For example. water pressure, a good vacuum, clean walls, a nice kitchen, good carpet, a toaster oven, etc. 

Elder Kelly and Elder Denney

My last week in Fleming Park was pretty sweet too. We were able to meet with Sam two more times before I left and snagged another picture with him. We also had a night that was awesome. Elder Christensen and I went on splits and were able to teach some good lessons. I went with Brother Tuaui to have our second appointment with Jimmy and Audra Reiker. We were able to talk about the BofM. Jimmy did read the introduction but unfortunately Audra did not. At the end we asked if Audra would pray and she declined but Jimmy was willing. In the prayer he said, "I submit my pride to you Lord, and ask for the truth in relation to the Book if Mormon." Brother Tuaui and I both remarked that it was probably the best prayer we had heard someone say in a long time. I think they are going to get baptized for sure.  After the appointment B. Tuaui and I went knocking some doors because E. Christensen and B. Fry were supposed to be back soon. B. Tuaui had never knocked doors before but was willing and we had a good time.

Elder Kelly, Sam, Elder Christensen

Elder Kelly, Jason Huckabee, Pentacostal Preacher,
Elder Christensen

Elder Kelly, Elder Allen, Elder Gardner, Elder Christensen
at Kneaders

Saw Terri in Fleming Park!

Transfers were on Thursday. I went into the chapel with all the other trainers and waited for the new missionaries to come in. After several of them came in I saw walking in was Elder Clay!! I jumped up and gave him a big hug. It was crazy to see him. I think he is the first person I have seen from back home since I left.  Well they called all the trainers and trainees one at time until I was eventually left there by myself with a few other trainers. We were all follow up training! We hurried outside and I found the transfer roster and found that I was serving with Elder Denney. I had no idea who that was so I just started walking around yelling, "Elder Denney!! Denney!! Eventually I found him. 

Hey look! It's Elder Clay!
(he is waiting for his VISA to come through)

We got the keys to a red RAV4 along with an address to a place neither of us had been! Sweet, we now know we are white washing. Then we found out we are actually opening a new area. The Crooked River Ward has had sisters for the past year and they are now putting in Elders. We had to drive another companionship up to Liberty and after we helped them get some food to make it till pday we headed out. They were also opening a new area.  We got up there and the housing coordinator was there with our bed frames and mattresses. 

The Ratliff home

Yummy pumpkin and carmel cake 
made by Sister Ratliff

It took us about a day and a half to get all the way set up in our room. We put our beds together and tried to unpack as much as we can. That night we had dinner with the Armstrong's. I actually knew their son from Raytown Ward in Independence. After dinner we wouldn't of had much of a direction to go with proselyting other than trying to meet new people via door knocking and street contacting. Neither of us had the area book yet. But thankfully the sisters let us know who we were eating with and gave us a list of people around them that we could go try! Super nice of them. We went and tried a recent convert from a few months back that had recently gone less active. No one had been able to make face to face contact in a while. We knocked and he let us right in. His same is Micheal Dolt. He is a really nice guy. We had a good lesson on scripture study and he committed to read from the BofM. He said he wouldn't come to church this week but would come next week. We were able to meet with him a few days later again. The ward was pretty happy about that. 

Adjusting the driving is definitely a struggle. Everything is basically planned around where your dinners are located otherwise you would crank up the miles we drive. That makes it a little harder to visit as many people as I am used to. But that is ok. Also since it is harvest season up here we have a ton of service opportunities. I am probably going to go buy some work boots from Walmart or something so I don't have to wear my tennis shoes every time. We already got to dig a little trench. It was really satisfying to do work like that. I haven't done something like that in a long time. Funny how that works.

Saturday was a really good day. We were able to be taught by D. Todd Christofferson. He met with the whole mission and I learned a lot. Here are some highlights:
  • A few members of the 70 came with him and one told a story of a friend who took the missionary lessons for 8 years. He wouldn't let his member wife read the BofM. Eventually he did get baptized. It was on missionary number 23 and 24. He told us at the end of the story that that man was him. He was encouraging us not to give up.
  • D. Todd Christofferson talked about the difference of being spotless and guiltless. All of us will one day suffer for our sins if we did not repent. Only those that repented through Christ and his atonement will not have to suffer. But eventually the unrepentant will have suffered for all their sins and justice will be satisfied. Therefore they are guiltless. But they are not spotless and will still be unable to enter into the Celestial Kingdom. Only those who have utilized the atonement of Christ will be both spotless and guiltless. This was extremely eye opening to me. 
  • He also emphasized that those who endure to the end will never fall off after this life and will all eventually reach exaltation. That is why it is so unnecessary to compare ourselves to others and try to elevate ourselves above them even if it is only in our mind. Some are given 3 talents to watch over and some are given 5 talents to watch over. Loved that.
  • D&C 121:43 The word Sharpness can be interpreted as clarity in this scripture. That was in response to a question on how to correct others in a loving way. 
  • A half-hearted effort brings a half-hearted blessing

Sunday was a good day. We had ward council bright and early. The ward members are pumped for us to have two sets of missionaries. We hope we are able to accomplish much while we are here!

I know that the Lord's hand is in all things. I promise that our Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers. If we take our prayers seriously then so does Heavenly Father. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Elder Kelly

First Day in the RAV4

A Missouri Paint Job

Waiting for the train

Saying good bye to the Graff family