Monday, November 24, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Dear Family and Friends:

BIG NEWS! I am staying in Oakton for another six weeks! I am so excited! So this means that I will be in my 1st area for a solid 6 months! This doesn't usually happen and I want to thank all who were responsible for me staying here for the holidays. 

Sister Rossi (who by the way is a 100% angel) and I looked at our area/planning book and realized that if we want to meet goals, we need to re-vamp EVERYTHING. Here's hoping that with faith and prayers and hard work we can see miracles happen :) 

A transfer is every six weeks. And a new transfer is cause for reflection. Here are some more things I have learned about life these past six weeks.  

- Homemade cheesecake is better than store bought.
- Dogs can live without teeth.
- Working out gives you energy...who knew?
- Tracting at 8:30 pm is never a good idea.
- Raking leaves for Paster Singleton, a Methodist minister = Getting invited to speak to her Methodist congregation about what we as Mormon missionaries do out here in the mission field. Really excited about this opportunity.
- I cannot cook. Therefore, my future family will be going to Costco on Thanksgiving. 
- Just found out that Costco is closed on Thanksgiving Day. So in that case, we will be going to McDonald's. #amurricah
- I love Virginia autumns.
- I love Virginia homes in the autumn.
- Perfection is not expected of us, all that is expected of us is to try.
- Christ understands everything, so venting to Him is always a good idea. 

Love and Happy Thanksgiving...

Sister Elizabeth Kelly

Our new district. The only one that is new is Elder Adair...he is to my left. 

Us! Together for the holidays. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

And Many More Reasons To Love Washington, DC

Hello Everyone - 

This was another wonderful week. More awesome than awkward, and that is just the way I like it.

For recording purposes only, Sister Rossi and I decided to take photos of each other so that we can remember the last of the Fall color. Next post, we will be bundled up in the ice and snow. 

Did I mention I love it out here?!

Just enjoying the last of the Fall color. 

The last of the Fall leaves and I am proud to be a part of it. 
Awkward Notes

I will start with my weekly "awkward moments." And they are just a few...

Met a man on the street and he started talking to us. Sister Rossi and I thought to ourselves, "Yes, a new investigator!" Turns out, he has been a member of the Oakton Ward for the past 20 years. Unfortunately, we did not recognize him. A bit uncomfortable when we saw him in church yesterday. We waved to acknowledge him from across the chapel.  

I drove on the WRONG side of the road. Still alive! Still loving the challenge of driving! 

Awesome Notes - 

A few months back, I told you about Tian, who was baptized in August. She lives with the Muirs. Tian teaches the Muir children Chinese in exchange for less rent. Therefore Tian can pay her tithing and continue on going to school to earn her Master's Degree. Sister Muir has a nephew named, Haksong; and, he accepted to be baptized on December 13th. We teach Haksong English at our church building. Recently, we started reading the Book of Mormon with him twice a week. The full-time Elders (male missionaries) assigned to our ward have been teaching him the missionary lessons. We are so happy for Haksong. 

Sister Rossi and I experienced some amazing miracles this week finding people to teach. We received three missionary referrals and are anxious to get started teaching more people. 

Sister Rossi and I also took one of the high school girls in our ward out to teach with us. What an incredible experience. We got a lot done. When it was time for her to go home, we wanted to kidnap her and turn her into a missionary so we could be a trio...

What gets more awesome each week? Sister Rossi. 'nuf said.

But the best of the best this week was seeing one of my BYU soulmates, Sister Karenna Meredith! Last week she emailed me that she and her companion would be at the Lincoln Memorial, Monday, November 17, 2014 at 9:30 a.m. She is in the Washington, DC North Mission (I am in the DC South Mission). We do not know each other's phone numbers. This presented some challenges. So this morning, Sister Rossi and I went on some deep faith and a lot of prayers and off we went on the Metro into DC, in the freezing cold rain, hoping, just hoping Sister Meredith and her companion would be at the Lincoln Memorial at the designated time. And yes! There she was. A dream come true! Karenna is part of my family. She was one of the first BYU friends I had when I arrived for BYU Summer Term 2013. And to think now, as missionaries, we are so close geographically. She knows my grandparents on both sides. Since she is from the Bay Area...she is a SF Giants fan. Karenna saw my Grandma Kay in the Provo Temple while she was in the MTC. Ahhhh! Who knew my mission would have this gem of a memory attached to it? What a day. 

Thank you, again, for your love and support and your prayers and even reading my blog. I love you all!!!


Sister Elizabeth Marguerite Kelly

Just look at our smiles. 

This is the photo we sent my mom from Karenna's camera.

Star Spangled Spirit - Sister Kelly and Sister Meredith.

Monday, November 10, 2014

How Great Thou Art

Hello Friends and Family:

A quick post with some fun photos. My weeks are busy and that is a good thing. 

I participated in a violin and flute duet yesterday (Sunday) in church. We played "How Great Thou Art." It was a wonderful experience. The girl pictured with me is only 11 years old and she plays the flute beautifully. Impressive. I don't know what was more exciting, us playing "How Great Thou Art" or our coordinating outfits. I was so excited to wear my "saved for only special occasions skirt" that my beautiful San Francisco Grandma bought for me when we went pre-mission shopping in May. Also, please take note at my new hair-do. Chop, chop. It was time for a change. 

Look at our outfits. 
Ready to perform.

And to add to the excitement, Sister Rossi and I were invited to teach the 8-12 year old girls in our ward about what it is like to serve a mission. Being from Milwaukee, I am not used to so many young girls from that age group in a ward. These girls are an impressive bunch.  

Just look at these girls. I love them!
And then there was Saturday (Nov. 8th). Our ward helped Pastor Dawn-Marie Singleton from the Oakton United Methodist Church rake the leaves in her home. Pastor Singleton had all kinds of great questions about missionaries. She told our ward mission leader, Brother Noel, that she was very impressed with what Sister Rossi and I are doing as missionaries. She invited us to come and introduce ourselves to her congregation and explain what we do. We were so excited. 

Pastor Singleton and the Sisters. 

We love the great outdoors.

I have so much joy in my life. (I guess jumping in a pile of leaves has now been crossed off my bucket list. Ha!) But I have this immense joy, continually. I love this work. I am so thankful to be out here. I love my mission so much. I continue to learn something new everyday about myself. Stretching and growing has its many perks.

Love to all,

Sister Kelly

Monday, November 3, 2014

I Had No Idea...

Hello Everyone:

Another week that was full of unexpected highlights. Awkward lowlights still abound. I have come to learn that these moments keep things interesting.

And again with the highlights - 

#1 - Sister Rossi and I are having a wonderful time teaching the members in our ward the missionary lessons. It is amazing. 

#2 - Elder Kopischke, a General Authority from our church, came to visit our mission and he spoke to all the missionaries. He is from Germany. I am beyond impressed with his ability to express himself. Amazing. I learned so much from his words. Without a doubt, one of the biggest highlights of my mission. 

#3 - One day this past week, Sister Rossi and I arose at the crack of dawn to teach Seminary to the high school freshman. There are so many youth between the three wards that share our church building that they have to spilt up the Seminary classes into the four high school age groups:  Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior. The students were amazing and we had a blast teaching them. 

#4 - We "boo'd" three doors to celebrate Halloween: one of our sweet recent converts, our incredible ward mission leader and the hilarious member couple that meets with us each week to help us plan each day.

The orange and black are not because it is Halloween.
Congrats to the 2014 World Series Champions
The San Francisco Giants!!!
#5 - This highlight is for my mom, dad, grandparents, Kate and Jack (Mitchell). This Sunday in church I am playing my VIOLIN with an 11 year-old-girl who plays the flute. We will be playing, "How Great Thou Art." I am so excited. I play the violin everyday and I take it to the missionary lessons that Sister Rossi and I give.

#6 - We are hoping to start teaching some of our ESL students! They are seriously so prepared. I really hope it works out. I have become quite close to so many of them. They are my friends.

#7 - This isn't very missionary, but how 'bout those San Francisco Giants? My mom sent me photos of our family celebrating. My dad and brothers have their pulse back. I wore black and orange all week long, and it wasn't because it was Halloween. Go Giants!  

And again with the awkward lowlights - 

#1 - We just returned from a hike. We went to The Great Falls of the Potomac River. I hiked. Plot twist...I enjoyed it. I have become an avid outdoorsman.

#2 - Due to sleeping in a weird position I have had some awful neck kinks. I am now a proud owner of a rice bag and I wear it around my neck all day when I feel the kink. I make it look like a scarf. The golden trick works.

My scarf/rice bag. Works for me!

#3 - As the designated driver of our companionship, Sister Rossi has developed nerves of steel. I make a lot of mistakes behind the wheel. The other day, I made a wrong turn, down a wrong street and there in front of us was a HERD OF GEESE THAT WOULD NOT MOVE OUT OF OUR WAY. I officially hate geese. 
The famed geese

And here is the "I had no idea" portion of my blog entry.

Last Sunday, Sister Rossi and I were asked to speak to the Young Women in our ward about why we came out on a mission and what we do each day as missionaries. We were also asked to each them how they can prepare to serve a mission. Preparing for the lesson allowed me some time to self -reflect.  

Ever since I was eight-years-old I knew in my heart that I was going to serve a mission. At the age of eight, we are baptized. Afterwards, we get a blessing to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost which provides us comfort and guidance throughout our lives. We are given this blessing by someone who has the proper authority. In my case, it was my dad. My dad laid his hands on my head to give me this blessing. During the blessing, he paused for a few seconds and then blessed that I would serve a mission. When the blessing was finished, my dad shared with my mom that he was not prepared to say anything about me serving a mission. He felt in his heart that these were words from God. My parents often shared this story with me throughout my childhood. It was a huge motivation for me to prepare to serve. It also helped that both my mom and my dad went on missions. I loved hearing their stories. 

I went on a mission with a knowledge that it would be an unforgettable experience and that I would have a life filled with service and love. 

I HAD NO IDEA - that my mission would change me for the better. And, I am only four months out. 

I HAD NO IDEA - how much I would grow, spiritually as well as emotionally.

I HAD NO IDEA - how much my weaknesses would be magnified so that they would be turned into strengths.

I HAD NO IDEA - how much refining and polishing I had to do. I thought I was already OK?!?! I guess OK isn't good enough. 

NOW I KNOW WHY - people say that serving a mission is one of the hardest yet best things you will ever do.

What will the next 14 months hold? I can't wait. Good or bad.

Love you all...a lot! 

Sister Kelly          

She still loves me, despite my driving.

This pic is for my mom. When she was an intern on Capitol Hill,
she would wear her sneakers to "work" so as not to scuff
her good shoes on the sidewalks. It's a look that screams,
"I can get the job done!"