Monday, July 28, 2014

My First Week in DC!

Hey everyone!
     I AM IN DC!! Well, actually I am in Oakton, VA!
     I love it here! It is so beautiful! The ward is absolutely incredible. A ward is like a parish. You are assigned a ward based on where you live. We get so much support here as missionaries. Brother Noel our ward mission leader, is a saint. He is an incredible person. We teach so much. My companion and I already have two baptism appointments. Yay! We have been teaching a lot of less-actives too. I love them. They are hilarious and I just want to hang out with them all day. I also teach an ESL program with my companion for people who want to learn English. It's free. I taught two girls from Somalia who never had schooling. It broke my heart because they are SO smart and intelligent but they had to help their brother; so, they never had time for school.
     My companion is Sister Savage. She is from Logan, Utah and has been out for only six months. This is her first time training a missionary (I still have to be trained for 12 weeks, ugh) and my first time being trained soooooo sometimes we have no idea what we are doing. But, that's, okay. 
     I am so glad to be here. It is NOT easy. Actually, this is by far the hardest thing I have ever done. But my favorite quote right now is, "I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it" true.

    Obama Update: No sightings, as of yet. But Senator Orrin Hatch and two former Chief of Staff members are in my ward. I am having dinner at the Senator's house in we shall see.

xoxo Sister Kelly

Additional note from Marya and Meredith:

We received a text from Brother Roane Noel.  He is the ward mission leader and wanted to connect with us about Sister Kelly's progress on her first day as a missionary.  Here are his words.

Hello, Brother and Sister Kelly. My name is Brother Roane Noel. I am the ward mission leader in the Oakton Ward (in the Oakton, Virginia Stake). Sister Kelly has been assigned to our ward. We are excited to have her. She and her companion, Sister Savage, seem to be getting along very well. Again, we are grateful to have Sister Kelly. I actually just took them to visit a less-active sister (Sister Rainette Lopez) who just moved into our ward. We helped her unpack her kitchen. She has historically not wanted anything to do with the church, but just recently started accepting some help. Sister Kelly stepped up at a key moment. As Rainette was getting emotional telling us about all her recent challenges, Sister Kelly gave her a hug and said, "Sometimes when we need help, God sends angels. We're here to help you, Rainette!"  Rainette burst into tears and thanked them for being her angels. Rainette agreed to have her church records moved to our ward, and she agreed to meet with the Bishop. Not a bad start for Sister Kelly!

New Adventures In My New Town!

Me with my new companion Sister Savage

Found Diet Cokes with my name on them, literally!  

Here I am at the Lincoln Memorial.  I can't believe it. 

Me and my roommates from the MTC. 

The Washington Monument.  The Reflecting Pool.  No words can describe. 

Land of the free and the home of the brave. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Makin' Lemonade Out of Lemons #2weeksofMTC

Celebrating two weeks in the MTC with my girls

 With Elder Okazaki, one of my BYU favorites.  Can't believe we were in the MTC together!
 All of us heading to the Washington DC South Mission.  The fun is just beginning. 
 This photo is for my dad.  I am the first Sister Kelly on his side of the family.  

 Here is where I spent everyday all day, with these elders in this classroom with one window and...

 This Elder is one of my favorites.  He reminds me of my brother, Adam.

 Running into another BYU homie, Elder Erickson
My district

 We are the Army of Helaman.  Thanks to all of our moms.  


Week Two in the MTC...but who's counting?

Hello family and friends!

     Well, I found out something tragic about my roommates/companions. NONE of them have ever listened to Beyonce and two of them have never been to Chipotle. Crazy. Unacceptable. I leave the MTC tonight for DC! I can't decide if time flew by or took forever in here. These past two weeks were the most humbling weeks of my life. The MTC is NOT easy. But that does not mean it is terrible in here. To think of how much I have learned in two weeks is CRAZY! Two weeks before entering the MTC I was binge watching "Scandal" and sleeping in until whenever. Now I am a totally different person!
     Here are a few things that I have learned in here that changed me. Signs that I am maturing:
- I get up at 6:30 every morning and by some miracle, it's not even hard! I thought I would have a full on temper tantrum every morning. Never happened. For example:  One of the girls in my room, Sister Johnson, threatened to kill me this morning for saying, "Hello Seesters! It's time to wake up!" Yeah.... I pretty much feared for my life. Getting up is a lot easier than I thought!
- I actually eat fruit! I live off bananas! Yay for health! I actually eat super healthy. #miracle
- I cry. The tears are happening everyday. But it's mostly happy tears. I feel like an emotional grandma because I cry over the sweetest stuff. Like when I got the Whitman's package or the Nuttall's cupcakes or Susan Keller's cookies (SHOUTOUT TO YOU GUYS. THANK YOU SO MUCH).  Every letter from my family or friends? Tears. I'm not a crier.  What is happening to me? I'm a mess.
- I have learned so much about the gospel of Jesus Christ. I learned how to be an effective teacher to those who want to hear our beautiful message!
- My testimony has strengthened so much! In just two weeks! Probably because I have never prayed harder in my life than these past two weeks. I pray a lot and I feel so much closer to Heavenly Father.
     MAJOR HIGHLIGHT THIS WEEK. MY BEAUTIFUL, BEST FRIEND, KARENNA GOT CALLED TO THE WASHINGTON D.C NORTH MISSION! I balled like a baby when I found out (ugh, typical Sister Kelly) God knew that we needed to be close. He just knew.
     One last thing. (Gotta leave this on a spiritual note)
     Yesterday I did NOT want to go to Zone Study. I hate Zone Study. But I felt strongly that I should go. I somehow felt that if I go to Zone Study, I would be glad I went. So I did. In Zone Study, we do teaching drills where we teach certain doctrines of our church for five minutes to practice teaching the basics without the fluff. We switch partners every five minutes. For the "Family Can Be Together Forever" principle, I had a strong feeling to ask Elder Swapp to be my partner. Elder Swapp's brother past away last month; he was 13 and mentally handicapped. Elder Swapp is from rural Utah (going to Minneapolis, MN on his mission). He is super shy and has a really hard time opening up. After reading a passage in "Preach My Gospel" about the comfort of having loved ones die because families are sealed for time and all eternity, I looked up at Elder Swapp and blurted, "Elder? Do you sometimes feel your brother watching over you?" Tears welled up in his eyes and he said, "Yeah. I feel him all the time." I responded, now teary, and said, "I know you feel your brother with you because I can feel my grandpa (Poppa) with me all the time." We both had a moment. It was such a sweet experience. One I will cherish forever. 
     I want to end my 2nd blog entry but FINAL entry from the MTC by sharing my testimony. I know that families can be together forever. Families are so important. I know that I will see Poppa again. I also know that Elder Swapp will see his brother again.  

Love you all! 

Sister Kelly

P.S. If you would like to contact me next week, email me at: because as of today, my MTC address is no longer valid. I will have my DC address next Monday.  

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

First Week as Sister Kelly

Hello Family and Friends!

Saying Goodbye to My Family in Milwaukee
     First of all, thank you all so much for the support! I've received a package or a letter everyday and it literally means so much! 
     I survived my first week at the MTC. For those of you that don't know, missionaries have to be trained before they go to their area. Since I'm staying in the States and speaking English, I'm only here in the Provo, Utah MTC (Missionary Training Center) for 2 weeks. Thank heavens. Some missionaries going to places where the language is super difficult like Thailand or Hong Kong have to be here for 9 weeks. Seriously, don't know how they do it. 
     They say you can either treat the MTC like a prison or a paradise. Ummm I'd say it's both. It's a prison because: helllllloooooo you're in a quarantined area all day all week except for temple trips/devotionals, you have inmates (companions), there's no sunlight because you're inside all day except for gym time, and the cafeteria food is pretty mediocre. Oh and there are so many rules. SO MANY. My favortie stupid rule is that "you should wash your hands for at least 2 sung hymns in your head"....yeah right.  The other day we had a 2 hour seminar on rules here at the MTC. I wanted to barf.  Two hours completely wasted on stuff we are told over and over again! Like helllloooo, we're missionaries. We get it. HOWEVER, the MTC definitely has it's paradise moments. Everyone is so kind, I LOVE my classes. I learn so much. My teachers are so incredible and they make me want to be not only a better missionary but a better person at the end of every class period. I feel loved all the time and I know what I'm doing is right. A quote that always helps me is that "There's no growth in a comfort zone and there's no comfort in a growth zone". This is so true people. So true!
     My companion is named Sister Otteman. She's from Arizona and is the sweetest thing, She's a convert to our church and only joined one year ago! CRAZY! She is so strong to be out here since her family is having a really hard time having her be gone for 18 months. We work really well together! We always know we can open up and vent to each other which is so nice. 
     One thing I have learned out here is learning to love others. My district consists of 6 Elders and 2 Sisters (me and Otteman) and I have nothing in common with them. All the boys are 18 and from rural areas of Utah! Oh goody. I don't think any of them get sarcasm (found that out the hard way). None of them know were Wisconsin is. I tease them about it all the time. One Elder thought I was foreign. Poor thing. Sometimes when I wanna kill them (we spend every waking moment with each other so naturally we all get kinda sick and tired of each other) I remind myself that we're all out here for the same purpose and I really do grow from them. It's such an incredible experience when you are humbled and taught at the same time with a group of people. We've gone through a lot together. I consider them family. I love them. I really do. 
     My roomates are also going to the DC South Mission! They're great. We're really close. None of us have similar personalities and it's actually such a blessing because we all compliment each other and we form a really strong unit. We're able to laugh  about how different we are and it's so great. The girls next door left today for Phoenix, AZ! Oh how we miss them. They were in our zone and taught us so much. I got so close with them. One of them, Sister Rowland, is from Richmond, VA and is one of the most inspirational people I have ever met. So incredible. She's a convert of 4 years. Her story is so amazing that it needs to be published. I love her so much! 
     I met missionaries going to Milwaukee! I got so excited when I met them! I talked their ears off about how great Milwaukee is! They're already pumped for Kopp's Custard and Lake Michigan! 
     I see BYU kids all the time. It makes my day when I see them! S/O to Elder Okazaki, Sister Wallace, Sister Woster, Elder Curtis, Elder Pyron, so much more for keeping the BYU spirit alive!
    God speed my friends! Love all of you! Write me and I'll promise I'll write you back...kinda like a "like for like" on instagram.....LOL

Sister Kelly