Monday, January 26, 2015

Highlights From Fabulous Franconia

Hey Everyone!

I hit my 6-month-mark on January 9, 2015
It's been a few weeks. Last Monday was a holiday, as you know. Then, when I went on Wednesday to email from the public library, the computer system was down throughout all of the Fairfax County Libraries. I couldn't use the computer. But here I am, finally. 

My Preparations Days are full of preparing for the next week:  laundry and shopping, emailing from the library and doing some sight seeing. Today I went to Old Town Alexandria with the other sister missionaries serving in Kingstowne: Sister Kennedy and Sister Malufau. We had such a good time. 

Last week, Elder Hallstrom and Elder Perkins, two General Authorities from our church came to speak to the missionaries. They taught us some amazing things. One gospel principle they focused on was FAITH and how to build it. One point that sticks out in my mind is that FAITH can be a power in your life. It can be a power IF we have a desire to build it. I've realized that on my mission, the truest form of power comes through faith, hope and charity. If we can acquire these things in our life, nothing can stop us. I am so grateful I am learning this essential principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Highlights of my new life in Franconia: 

- My companion, Sister Wright and I befriended a girl in our ward who is training to be an Olympic boxer. She's the coolest person ever.  I love being around her. 

- There's also another woman in our ward who is training to be a Special Agent for the FBI. Amazing. 

- Every Wednesday, we go to a less-active's home to translate documents from England in the early 1800s. I'm literally indexing family trees and baptistery names that were written over 150 years ago. Sometimes I feel bad touching these "ancient" papers but the lady trusts us and we touch them minding that our hands are NOT greasy...  

- We are teaching this awesome 16 year-old girl who is hopefully getting baptized soon (we are just waiting for her mom's consent). She is wonderful for many reasons. She has such a desire to learn more. Another great part of our friendship is that we have totally bonded quoting lines from "Mean Girls" and "Scandal." Recently, I was telling her about my decision to serve a mission and how I was actually planning on doing a Study Abroad first. I had a strong feeling to put studying abroad on hold and serve a mission first. After I said that she said, "I'm so glad you decided to serve a mission first Sister Kelly, otherwise I wouldn't have met you!" Having her tell me that literally made my entire week! It's nice to hear every once in awhile that you're making a difference...because sometimes you feel like you never are.

- We are teaching another boy who is getting baptized in February. This young man is solid. He comes to church every a suit! He's 15! Last week his mom came to church with him and loved it. Hopefully, we can teach her too.

- My friend, Tian, from the Oakton Ward (baptized inAugust 2014) is taking names to be baptized in the Washington DC temple this Saturday. My companion and I have permission to go with her. I can't wait!  

With Tian at her baptism, August 2014, in Oakton, VA


Sister Wright and I have a great relationship with an awesome recent convert who has a 15 year-old daughter who has not joined the church yet. The daughter either hasn't clicked with the missionaries or she became too attached to them. Well...she is obsessed with the British Boy Band, ONE DIRECTION. (AHH. So am I. Went to the One Direction concert with my cousins, August 2013. Do I need to mention we were on the third row?!?!) I clearly understand what this young lady is talking about. She told us that she will not sit in on a lesson that we teach, unless it involves something to do with ONE DIRECTION. 

Problem solved. 

We found a life size cut-out of HARRY STYLES at a party store. It was really expensive. We shared our situation with a member in our ward and she gave us money to purchase our very own "Flat Harry Styles." We purchased him and will be getting a missionary name tag for him that will say, "Elder Styles." He will be attending every lesson we have with her. Elder Styles is even coming to the district meetings we hold with the other elders and sisters. Not sure if Elder Styles has been invited. Who cares? We are sooooo funny!?!? 

Remember that FAITH can be a power in your life. Thanks for reading. Thanks for your support and love. 

xoxo Sister Kelly

In Old Town Alexandria with Sister Malufau, Sister Wright, Sister Kennedy and me.


It was raining really hard and when that happens, our mission president does not allow us to
drive our car. So we walked. In the rain. For about four miles. We got drenched.

Car inspection time. Clorox Bleach wipes were a lifesaver.

Just another Franconia sunset. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

We Wait Until Wednesday...Again

Dear Family and Friends:

We received an email from Elizabeth via her iPad. The libraries are closed today because of the Federal Holiday. Those in her mission received permission to email on Wednesday. So, "We wait until Wednesday...Again."

What she did tell us in her short email is that she loves her new area and ward. She knows this is where she should be. 

Best part of the email was that she was able to finally meet Jonathan Stewart!!! He is in the Alexandria Ward which meets in the same building as Sister Kelly's new ward (Franconia Ward). He is the ward mission leader in his ward. Jonathan's parents, Ralph and Judith, have been friends with Craig's family for years in Menlo Park. They have been such a part of Craig's family, that they feel like family! Ralph and Judith attended our wedding in the Los Angeles Temple. Even better, they were one of the first people to ever see Elizabeth, right after she was born, in the Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City, CA. Such memories. Thank you for making the effort, Jonathan. 

Until Wednesday. Thank you again for reading.



Monday, January 12, 2015

Feeling Fine in Franconia

Hey Everyone! 

It happened. I got transferred. On Thursday, January 8, 2015, I was told by our mission president, President Riggs that I will be moving or transferred to the Franconia Ward in Alexandria, VA. Which really means I am that much closer to one of my new favorite places, Old Town Alexandria (this town sits right along the Potomac River). I knew it was time to leave the Oakton Ward when I started calling some of the members by their first names. I would have been totally fine serving the rest of my mission in the Oakton area. But much to my dismay, it was time for a change. 

I felt so loved in Oakton and there are so many people there that changed my life. Seriously! They all touched my life in such amazing, unique ways. First off, I am going to miss Lee...the mailman. He was awesome. All missionaries appreciate the mailman. I left a part of my heart in the Oakton Ward. The people, the memories. SISTER ROSSI!  Shoutout to that rock star. I don't know what I would have done without her.

I was actually terrified of transfers. I had so many amazing experiences in Oakton, I was convinced it was all going to be downhill from there. So you can only imagine how sad it was to leave. I kept my composure (sort of) for most of the families that I said goodbye to. I started to really shed tears leaving the Noels. It all just didn't feel real. Until the next morning when we were driving to "transfer meeting." That's when the waterworks hit. I could not stop crying. I had bottled up the tears and they would not stop. It was so embarrassing. I had to say goodbye to some missionaries (Sister Richins) who were going home. It was so hard. I felt sorry for my new companion who was watching all of this tear shedding.  


My new companion is SISTER WRIGHT! She is from Clovis, CA. She has been a missionary for one year.  

Sister Wright is so so sweet! Wow, do I love her! She is super easy going and is an incredible missionary. I am so blessed to have her as my new companion. We work really well together. It's funny how God just knows where you need to be and who you need to be with. I was so afraid of the adjustment of a new area but the Franconia Ward has made the adjustment super easy. I'm already starting to really love it here. 

The missionary work in Franconia is on fire! We are teaching a 15-year-old boy named Andrew who is so awesome. His friend, Ryan, invited him to church a few months ago and he's been to church every Sunday since then. He reads the Book of Mormon (what?!?!) and prays on his own (double what?!?!). His mom finally agreed to allow him to get baptized so now we just have to wait for his dad to say, "Yes!" We are also teaching a 16-year-old girl named Whitney. She is from Cameroon and already has a firm knowledge of God's love. We have people to teach and are super busy feels great! Everyone in the Franconia Ward is on top of things. It's a huge reason the adjustment has been so easy. The Oakton Ward was really on top of things as well. I have seen some amazing leaders who really understand missionary work.

A fun fact about Sister Wright...she has amazing music. It's Christian music. I love it! 

And Sister Kennedy is in my district. Even more good times!

I will have more photos in a few weeks. I'm in a new library and I don't really know how these computers work. But for now, here is a pic of me and Sister Kennedy emailing our family and friends at the library. And, here's a pic of my new companion, Sister Wright, doing our laundry.

Thank you for reading. Have a great week! 

xoxo Sister Kelly 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Here Is What We Know...

Good Evening Family and Friends:

Elizabeth's mother here. This will be the shortest blog post ever because, simply put, Elizabeth never sent a blog post. She sent us a quick email saying that she didn't have much time because the Noels from church were taking her and Sister Rossi (drum roll please) to COSTCO. Another wish come true for our Sister Kelly. 

We know that this week, Elizabeth will be moving out of Oakton, VA and to...who knows? It's called a, "transfer." New area, new companion, new ward, new everything. She said in her email to us that the goodbyes this week haven't been that hard because she knows she will see so many of her new friends again. Sister Kelly loves the Oakton Ward and Sister Rossi.  

So, that is what we know and it is all we know. Hopefully, we will be hearing from Elizabeth before next Monday so that we know where she is "hanging her hat." 

Much Love,

Marya/Elizabeth's Mom and the rest of Elizabeth's family.