Monday, October 27, 2014

Many Treats This Halloween

Hello Everyone-

I hope everyone is doing well. All I have to say is, Go Giants!!! I am getting up dates here and there. So excited. 

Since I already suffer in the journal department in terms of "lengthy entries" here are some bulleted updates or "Treats" since it is Halloween-time. 

Treat #1 - As you know, as a missionary, you are assigned a companion. Mine is Sister Rossi. Our mission president assigned me to be the designated driver. Yes. I drive. Everyday. Sometimes on the freeway. I know. I'm still in shock too. Sister Rossi has worked wonders with me and is very patient. The learning curve is high and I am enjoying the challenge.

Treat #2 - This past weekend, our ward hosted their annual Trunk or Treat. Sister Rossi and I did not have any candy to pass out so we got creative. We passed out cards....suprsingly the children took it well. The best part of all is that whenever we have a ward activity we invite the neighboring churches. Members from the near-by Presbyterian and Methodist congregations joined us.  We had about 250 people attend our Trunk or Treat Activity. It was fantastic.  

Treat #3 - Ruby, our sweet 14-year-old investigator from Nepal, went to the Halloween Stake Dance on Saturday night.  She had a blast! One of the reasons it was so wonderful for Ruby is that two girls from our ward went with her and it was so much fun. Another example of how amazing and supportive the Oakton Ward members are. 

Sending the girls off to the dance. Ruby is on my left. 

Treat #4 - We had a great turnout with our Less Actives and Recent Converts at church yesterday! It was so great to see them!

Treat #5 - And then there is, Sister Childs. She recently returned from the New Mexico, Farmington Mission. Her family is in our ward. She mostly served on the Navajo Reservations. She is such an example to me and Sister Rossi. We can't wait to work together. We have so much to learn from her.    

Treat #6 - Yesterday in church Sister Rossi and I taught the Young Women, ages 16-18, about missionary work. Preparing for the lesson gave me a chance to reflect on my experiences as a missionary. I shared with the girls that before I came on a mission I had this "idea" of what it was going to be like. Now that I have been out for almost four months, it is nothing like what I thought it would be. I shared, with conviction that I know that Heavenly Father knows me and takes care of me. I have learned so much about life and myself. I am grateful to be a missionary. I don't know where I would I be or who I would be if I hadn't decided to serve. I am so grateful that both my parents served and that I have that example in my life.

Love to All,

Sister Kelly 

We love being missionaries.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Throwback Thursday Film Short

Once again, for recording purposes only, Meredith and I decided to add this super-short film short to Sister Kelly's blog. Our family loves this video clip of Sister Kelly, minutes before entering the MTC. Our Sissy was "so excited" to be starting her mission. And for that, we are very grateful.   

Throwback Thursday

Dear Family and Friends:

For recording purposes only, Meredith and I decided to do a "Throw Back Thursday" photo montage of some memories we have of Sister Elizabeth Kelly before her mission. Enjoy. 

With my Grandma Kay reading my mission call at my
Mission Call Opening Party.
With Meredith right before being set apart as a missionary.
These are the ones I love the most.

My first best friend ever. Saying goodbye at the Milwaukee Airport.
Matt looks like he doesn't want me to leave for 18 mos.
My Grandma Kay took this photo of me when I arrived at the SLC Airport.
She doesn't remember seeing Poppa there. We all agree that this is Poppa's first "photo bomb" on my/our mission.

Grandma Kay and Sister Kelly.
Minutes before entering the MTC.
Grandma Kay holding it together at the famed
"MTC Drop-off." 

The final wave.
Walking in. My hostess, a missionary in the MTC, 
the one in the green skirt, recognized my Grandma Kay.
Why? My Grandma Kay works in the Provo Temple. 

Reflections of a Missionary Three Months Out

Dear Friends and Family:

Sister Kelly sent us next to nothing for her usual Monday blog post. She did send us a photo of a Virginia sunset. Hopefully, the photo will inspire you to be just a little bit better this week. Remember, a picture is worth 1,000 words.

Inspirational Virginia Sunset

Actually, I love that she sent us hardly anything to post. To us as her parents, this only means that Sister Kelly is focusing on the task at hand...being a missionary. 

What I (her mom) picked out from her email to us is that she is loving her new companion, Sister Rossi. They are having so much fun teaching members in their ward the missionary lessons. I, personally, loved doing this on my mission in Spain. Craig, Elizabeth's dad, who served his mission in Haiti, reflected that he taught (or re-taught!) the members the missionary lessons as well. When Craig and I receive the weekly emails Elizabeth only sends to us, we reflect on our own missions and how inspiring it was being around the members. Sister Kelly loves the members in her Oakton Ward! So, even though it is on Mondays when we receive her weekly emails, Craig and I have our own, "Throwback Thursday," each and every Monday. 

     Monday emails from Sister Kelly + Craig and Marya's reflections of their missions
                                                        Throwback Thursday

I gathered from her personal email to us that she loves personal scripture study in the morning. She shared that it seems strange that she is meeting all of these wonderful people that have made such a huge difference in her life and we (her family) do not even know who they are. She said, "There are so many stories. I love these people out here so much. I will just have to wait to tell you everything when I get home." My favorite memory of Christmas 2013 was on Christmas Day. Sister Kelly sat on our bed, with her laptop and told us ALL about her BYU friends and the stories. All good ones! We can't wait for the post-mission-wrap-up from our girl. 

Enclosed are photos Craig and I received from some families in Sister Kelly's ward. You can tell by her smile that she loves being a missionary.

Making new friends. 

Making more new friends <3.
Using Admiral for an object lesson. 
Sisterhood and Eternal Friendship


Monday, October 13, 2014

Stretching Has a Purpose

DearFamily and Friends:


When I think of myself as a real, grown-up missionary, the first thing that comes to mind is...NO MORE STUDYING FOR THREE HOURS A DAY. This does not mean that I know everything. My learning curve is still high. The "training" portion of my time as a missionary is in my rearview mirror.  

As of last Thursday, October 9th, I have a new companion. Her name is Sister Rossi. She is such a blessing. We work so well together and I am grateful to call her friend and companion. I am now what you call a "leader" in my area of Oakton, VA. This is exciting and I am up for the challenges and good times. 

Here are some things I learned these past six weeks:

Sister Rossi and Sister Kelly
We will be a stretching success.

- You cannot "hijack" other people's trials. 
- You can never be too compassionate.
- Sticky notes are a language of love.
- Subaru's drive very nicely.
- I cannot parallel park; but, this city girl is learning.
- Shutting down and not moving when a vicious dog with a frothing mouth (!!!!!!) encounters you does not help. THEY CAN SENSE FEAR. 
- Laughing at insults has better mileage than crying at insults.
- Target is better than Walmart.
- Costco Deprivation is a real disease.
- Brother Noel (our ward mission leader) is actually an angel.
- Oakton Ward is too perfect to be real. 
- Your mistakes have already been paid for through the amazing grace of Jesus Christ.
- Heavenly Father hears all our prayers...doesn't matter who you are. He hears ALL of us.
-You come on your mission to learn. To grow. To STRETCH. 
-You came on this Earth to learn. To grow. To STRETCH. 
-ALL of us are here ON EARTH on PURPOSE.  
-People learn and grow in all different levels in their own way.  

But bottom line, we were sent here for a reason. 

When life get's hard, please know that it is because there is something your loving Heavenly Father wants you to learn. I have definitely had to learn that the hard way. 

Also know that stretching is part of our earthly experience. I have learned to laugh at the fact that stretching is painful sometimes...but if we did not stretch, how would we become better?
"The Easy Way Out Fairy" does not exist.

We must work hard, endure to the end, and TRUST in our God! God loves us no matter what we have done. We, as human beings, cannot comprehend how much HE loves us. But I tell you that He does. I will admit that often I do not feel I deserve so much love from God. But this is not true. Homeless crack addict? He loves you. The Candy Bomber? He loves you. (See the awesome movie "Meet The Mormons" to understand that reference.) So take advantage of this love and live your life in joy and peace. It's never too late to change or transform into the person you want to become and who God wants you to become. He loves me. He loves you.  

Thank you for your support and prayers <3

xxoo to all!

Sister Kelly 

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Seeker of Truth Behind the Wheel

Hello Everyone!

My trip last week into Washington DC was incredible! We went to the National Art Gallery and I fell in love and did NOT want to leave. I found a book in the gift shop that featured portraits of cats reinacting scenes of Shakespeare plays. I died of laughter.

We have been working a lot with "B" and he is making progress! We also have a family from Nepal on date for baptism! 

I have news. We recently had a district meeting with our mission president, President Riggs. A district meeting is when the missionaries in our area (Elders and Sisters) have a mini-conference with the mission president to discuss how to be a more effective missionary. President Riggs pretty much put a kibosh on tracting. This is when you go door-to-door, looking for people to teach. I took this news well, even though (plot twist), I love tracting. To me, it's fun to see the reaction of people, who are so used to yelling at our elders, open the door and see two sister missionaries. So in a way, I am going to miss tracting. But I understand the reasoning behind the "kibosh on tracting."

But anyway, member lessons are a "go." It has been so great teaching members the missionary lessons. Having a knowledge of how to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ builds their faith and helps them feel comfortable to share their beliefs with the people they love who do not believe in the Savior or have a strong relationship with Him. Our members are SO fantastic. Some members in our ward (and there are many) have been such an example to me. They help me become the person I want to be. At 19 years of age, I am still trying to figure out my life. Trying to help others figure their lives out while I am trying to figure out mine, has actually been a blessing in disguise! Getting lost in serving others is the gift that keeps on giving.  

This past Friday, we had a five hour Driver's Education Seminar for Missionaries. I almost lost it when I found out I was going to be driving for five hours. I grew up in a walkable community in urban Milwaukee. Never needed to drive (only to church and seminary). Not interested in driving. No, not me. Another reason I was sent to this mission. I needed to develop the "drive to drive." I needed to stretch. I must be the driver I know I can be!   

It turns out, I had so much fun at the Five-Hour-Driver's Ed. Why? The seminar was conducted by the senior missionary couples! (Spouses who are retired who come and serve a "couple's mission") I love them and have such a renewed appreciation for their devotion and service to us  youthful missionaries. I discovered some interesting facts about being a senior missionary:  they do not have the rules we younger missionaries do, they are encouraged to take naps (very jealous) and they use their personal phones in order to keep in contact with their family members and friends. Sign me up when I am a senior citizen! In short, the senior missionary couples are awesome, kind, humble and hilarious.  

We had a blast testing our ABS (anti-braking system) and learning to parallel park, etc. I did such a horrible job parallel parking that one of the senior missionaries, Elder Collins, whipped out his phone and started taking footage of the drama surrounding my parking skills. Humbling. You know the struggle is real when you see an 80-year-old senior missionary, whip out his iPhone to tease you. It all worked out. End result? I LOVE DRIVING. 

Every six months (in October and April), our church, world-wide, listens to our church leaders deliver messages from the Conference Center in Salt Lake City. This past weekend was General Conference and as always, it was really powerful. The Saturday Afternoon Session was my favorite. I was grateful to be able to hear the words of our beloved prophet, his apostles, as well as many other leaders of the church. Elder Dallin H. Oaks' granddaughter is in our ward. She told us last week about the church leaders being able to deliver their speech in their native language. I loved watching and listening to those whose first language is not English, deliver their testimony in either Chinese, Portuguese or Spanish.  

What I love most about General Conference is that every time, without even planning it, the speakers always have a consistent theme in their talks. Finding a theme can often be a personal preference. This is because your thoughts, concerns and inquiries are personal and you can gain a lot of comfort and answers from listening to General Conference. I loved hearing from different speakers about being a SEEKER OF TRUTH. Also, if you have any questions regarding ANYTHING, take it up with God FIRST. This speaks for everyone. Trust me. I know He hears and answers your prayers and my prayers. He always has things figured out for you. And what I have come to realize and cherish is that there are multiple different pathways you can take in life and they will be the right ones. God has a thousand different back-up plans for you so as long as you continue to press forward, keep the commandments, and use wise judgement. We do not need to fear about our lives! That's something I definitely need to remember always.

I love you all. Thank you so much for the support!

xoxo Sister Kelly  

One of my bests ever, Pauline, from my ESL Class

Five hours Behind the Wheel, never felt so good for this city girl.

Called to serve and loving it. 
I could live here...