Monday, June 29, 2015

Change Is Constant

Hugging my Grandma Kay.
Saying goodbye in front of the
MTC, almost one year ago (!) on July 9, 2014.
Changes were awaiting.  


So many changes...

As of tomorrow, (Tuesday, June 30 2015) our mission president, President Riggs leaves us.  A mission president serves for three years. His time is up. Not gonna hide the fact that I cried like a baby when he left. ELDERS even cried. Actually some Elders cried even harder than me. President Riggs is incredible and changed my life in so many ways. He taught me to be forgiving and spiritually self-reliant - two things that I will always try to achieve. He also taught me to serve others and never expect service in return. Also, I learned from him, the importance of making the scriptures a part of my life. I could go on for days about all the things he taught me. 

This past Thursday, we all said goodbye to President Riggs at a mission-wide conference. I was able to see all of my former companions. It was so great. I deeply love them and cannot wait to see them after the mission. Sad at the fact that some of them are going home in a few months. I looked around the chapel during the mission conference and felt an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for all the friendships I have made here. Already excited for mission reunions. Our new mission president, David Huntsman arrives tomorrow. He's going to be awesome and I'm excited for the future changes that will happen here. If there's one thing I've learned about life, it's that CHANGE IS CONSTANT. We eventually need to learn to ride with it.

Most importantly, on Thursday, I received a new companion. Her name is Sister Corey. She is fresh out of the MTC (I am training her) and she is ready to run. Sister Corey is a rockstar. I am so grateful to be her companion. She's almost 25 yrs. old and has an interior design degree. We get along really well and I'm excited to watch her grow and learn as a missionary. 

In short, I love the ward I am serving in and I love being in the Washington DC South Mission.  

Some typical occurances that happened this week: 

- averaging 5 hours of sleep a night
- getting caught in 2 major rainstorms and almost ruining my iPad
- getting lost in Crystal City
- ALMOST getting into a major car accident but luckily our "car angels" were on guard and helped us out :) 
- chilling with a group from Ethiopia
- catching wifi at McDonalds
- dreaming of Taco Bell but realizing that I'm too broke for Taco Bell
- driving through Old Town (Alexandria) and reminding myself that the world is beautiful 
- watching "He Is The Gift" because I'm obviously preparing for "Christmas In July"

Have a great week and Happy 4th of July

Sister Kelly

Monday, June 22, 2015

Another Costco Connection and Other Mid-Summer Miracles

Met up with Grumpy Cat

Hey Everyone!

Sister Tescher is the best companion ever. She drove 20 min so I could go to this place where you can pet puppies and kittens for free. We just got back. This is what we do in NOVA (aka Northern Virginia). I promise we're cool...and that we have lives...and that we have friends. Furry friends?

Yesterday, (Sunday) so many of the people that we are currently teaching, came to church! Our ward members did such a great job of welcoming them:) It was amazing! We also found so many people to teach this week which was a total blessing. We worked hard and met some wonderful people. Recently, we have met so many great people in the ward and on the streets of Arlington and Alexandria. 

Some of my favorite encounters have been:

A couple people that have been featured in the "I'm a Mormon" videos.

A Professor of Geology who took a submarine to the bottom of the ocean floor off the coast of Japan.

Administrators for C-SPAN.

Numerous people that work closely with Senators, Congressmen, and Obama. 

Former Taco Bell managers (my personal favorites).

Former Walmart managers.

Ex-Marine Core "Doctor Who" fanatics.

Also, we had another Costco Miracle...get ready.

We had a prompting to go to Costco for lunch (my fave kind of prompting). And, as we tried to find a picnic table in the food court, this big tough guy with loads of tattoos and bulky rings motioned for us to sit by him. Since he was obviously a Costco Member (probably an Executive Member), we felt totally comfortable sitting by him. Turns out his wife is a less-active member in our church. Their family just moved to NOVA and has been searching for the missionaries for the past few months. He isn't a member but said that out of all the religions, our church has never told him that he's going to Hell for not being baptized into their church. He even said that he loves the missionaries and wants us to teach his family again. We have an appointment to teach them this week and we are so excited!

President Riggs, our current mission president,  leaves in 8 days and I am so very sad about that. 


Love you all,

Sister Kelly

The couple in the middle are recent converts. All of us missionaries pictured here either taught them before or after they were baptized. They are some of my favorite people. Pictured to the far right is President and Sister Riggs. 

Candid and Classy
Benny the Jet - a beagle


Casual funnel cloud

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Learning Complete Trust In the Lord

Hey Everyone!

This week was less of blur. However, Sister Tescher and I were still pretty tired and sick. There were definitely a lot of moments where going out and working was the LAST thing we wanted to do. But the interesting thing was that in those moments where we didn't want to go out, but did anyway, the Lord granted us the biggest miracles. 

We had so many blessings this week. I'm sure every missionary says that EVERY week so allow me to join that bandwagon for a moment. I have to say I was kinda discouraged this week. Our investigators aren't texting us back, I was SO out of it (Sister Tescher has some pretty great stories), and our appointments with really awesome people kept falling through. I was totally running on empty. But I realized that sometimes it's ok to be running on empty because sincere prayers really come out of it as well as complete trust in the Lord. 

We also have Facebook back but there are a lot more restrictions so it will be different. We are also getting a new mission president in three weeks which is crazy...and sad! We are all going to miss President Riggs so much!  

Xoxo to everyone! 

Fingers crossed that Brendah (from Uganda) is still on Facebook... 

Monday, June 8, 2015

A Post of Pix

Hi Family and Friends - 

No post this week. Here are some pix. Happy Birthday to my dad. I love you so, so, so, much.  

The above photo is when I went to the Arlington Cemetery. Comment from my June 1st blog entry explains the photo. 

"Oh, also, on Saturday, we went to the Arlington National Cemetery to pick up dried up flowers that they placed on the graves for Memorial Day. There is such a special spirit there and I loved taking care of the graves. I was able to visit one of my dearest friend's sons, Christian Pike, who was killed in combat 2 years ago.  His mom used to live in Franconia but she is moving. I promised her I would visit Christian's grave. I am so grateful I found him!" 


Sister Kelly

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Sister Kelly's Missionary Birthday #memorable

Sister Kelly's 20th birthday with Katy and Lucy Banks.
June 1, 2015

Dear Family and Friends:

How can I ever thank Katy Banks and family enough for taking Elizabeth out to dinner at the famed, Cafe Rio, on her birthday? And the cake and the roses and the memories and your entire family waiting for Sister Kelly and her companion as they battled through the DC traffic? This was a birthday to remember for all.   

Katy texted me today and shared that she loved having it just be the four girls:  Katy, Lucy, Sister Kelly and Sister Tescher.  Say, "YES," to the GIRL TALK.

Katy also shared that an investigator treated Sister Kelly and companion to a "Georgetown Cupcake" and lunch at his food truck." One more reason this birthday will be one to remember.

So it is only fitting...Elizabeth saw Katy on her birthday, in December. And, Katy saw Elizabeth on hers, in June. 

I love you, Banks Family...

Thank you for making turning 20 as a missionary be so amazing. 

xoxo  Marya

December 22, 2014 - Katy's Birthday
June 1, 2015 - Elizabeth's Birthday

Monday, June 1, 2015

Happy 20th Birthday To Me

Sister Kelly - May 1996 

Hello Everyone!

It's my birthday today. I'm now 20. 20! How is this possible? I still feel like I'm 17 yrs. old most days. I also still act like a 13 year old, so there's that too. 

Since I'm a missionary, I decided to read the Book of Mormon at a certain pace so that I could finish on my 20th birthday. I thought it would be a fulfilling gift for me as well as for Heavenly Father since He's had to put with me for 20 years on this earth. 

This week was once again another blur. I really don't remember much...probably because we get home late and I never have time to journal...or even do laundry for that matter. On second thought I totally remember surprising Whitney for her 17th birthday (had to get permission though) and almost getting hit by a car....and almost setting the apartment on fire. Oops.

Oh, also, on Saturday we went to the Arlington National Cemetery to pick up dried up flowers that they placed on the graves for Memorial Day. There is such a special spirit there and I loved taking care of the graves. I was able to visit one of my dearest friend's sons, Christian Pike, who was killed in combat 2 years ago.  His mom used to live in Franconia but she is moving. I promised her I would visit Christian's grave. I am so grateful I found him! 

But, back to the Book of Mormon. I know it's really, REALLY cliche for missionaries to all of sudden develop this "dramatic" LOVE for the Book of Mormon. But, whatever. I totally fell victim to this cliche and I have to say, I really LOVE the Book of Mormon. So instead of giving a stereotypical answer as to WHY I love the Book of Mormon, I am going to give you 20 reasons why  YOU should read the Book of Mormon through things that the Book of Mormon taught me and WHY I am grateful to have read it. 

1. Courage is not easy to obtain. In the very beginning of the Book of Mormon, Nephi and his idiot brothers had to obtain the brass plates that contained scripture from a wicked king. Our Mission President pointed out to us that Nephi kinda chickened out and he didn't really sacrifice much towards his calling in the beginning (1 Nephi 3:11, 22). It wasn't until he had to slay Laban that he became truly consecrated to the Lord.
2. So out of all the stories in 1 Nephi, I am especially moved by the story of him breaking his bow--especially his reaction vs. his family's reaction. If Nephi can have his bow break with a starving and murmuring family and still be grateful to the Lord at the end of the day, then we have no reason to complain. (1 Nephi 16: 18-25, 39)
3. Our purpose in life is to have joy. So despite all the hardships life has to offer, we must always keep in mind that life also offers happiness. (2 Nephi 2:25)
4. We need to pray all the time. Even if we don't feel like it. Even if we don't feel worthy enough. Even if we feel like we don't need God right now. He still wants and needs to hear from us, and we need to make that a life habit. (2 Nephi 32:8-9)
5. It's okay to "wrestle with the Lord" in your prayers. It's okay to have your soul be "hungered". Enos did it and he felt pretty great afterwards. (Enos 1:2-6)
6. I'm pretty sure every political leader needs to be like King Benjamin and if you're currently in a leadership role, you should definitely read his words to his people. I am always so amazed at his character and his advice!! King Benjamin pretty much told me I needed to get my act together, and for that I am forever grateful. (Mosiah 2-4)
7. If we are faithful and diligent, we WILL overcome our trials. The trick is that it's in the Lord's time which sometimes takes a while. But I have learned that the Lord's timing is always at the best time. (Mosiah 7:33)
8. Sometimes we sacrifice a great deal for something or for someone and we never get to see the result of it. I feel like that all the time as a missionary. But I am always comforted by the story of Abinadi. Here he is getting burned alive for preaching the gospel and he thought that NO ONE listened. I can't even imagine how awful that must have felt. But little did he know that someone (Alma) was listening, became converted, and baptized hundreds. All because of his sacrifice! (Mosiah 11-13, 17-18)
9. Sometimes being a missionary is HARD. On a lot of levels or a lot of reasons. I definitely get discouraged or burned out sometimes but from the Book of Mormon, I realized that no matter how "depressed" our hearts are, we need to have patience knowing that Christ is watching out for us and we WILL succeed. (Alma 26:27)
10. SHIBLON. We need more Shiblons in the world. I absolutely LOVE Alma's address to him. I want to strive to become like Shiblon. (Alma 38 and the April 2015 General Conference talk : "Truly Good and Without Guile")
11. While we're on the subject of Alma 38, one thing that really struck me as I was reading, was that by putting trust in God, everything will work out eventually. Trust is easier said than done sometimes, but if we show that type of commitment, we will be so blessed! (Alma 38:5)
12. I also was really moved by Alma's address to his other son, Corianton. Corianton is known for being the naughty son who had a serious rebuking session with his dad, But, I love how as you read on in the Book of Mormon, you find out that Corianton repented and was forgiven. He even held a leadership position. This proves to me that the Savior WANTS to matter how badly we mess up. And the best part is that part of the Atonement is bouncing back to who you are supposed to become. (Alma 39, 42:31, 43:1-2, 48:18, 49:30)
13. The Savior coming to the Americas is a huge highlight of the Book of Mormon. One of my favorite passages from that account is where Christ is telling the people that God takes care of them. If God tends to plants and animals, then why would He not tend to you? As children of God, we need to all remember that from time to time. (3 Nephi 13:27-34)
14. Learning how hope is an anchor to the soul was life changing. Also, wishing for a better world is a good thing. Simple as that. (Ether 12:4)
15. I think a lot of times, people get mad when they pray for something and God doesn't "appear to them" or answer them, right away. But in Ether 12, I learned that we don't receive a "witness" until AFTER the trial of our faith. I'm actually so grateful for that that is how God works. God would cease to be God if He didn't make us work and learn a little bit :) (Ether 12:6)
16. AHHHH Ether 12 is my favorite as if you couldn't already tell. But verse 27 is my very, very favorite. When weakness is shown unto us, it means Christ loves us. He wants the best for us and the best us! The scripture means so so much to me. (Ether 12:27)
17. I asked my dad who his favorite Book of Mormon prophet was at the time and he mentioned Moroni. So I decided to really study him. Wow, that guy was amazing. He faced so many challenges. Loneliness, fear, war, name the trial, and he probably had to endure it in some way shape or form. But, I love his simple testimony he shared in the very beginning of the Book of Moroni. (Moroni 1:3)
18. Charity is the lure of love of Christ and if we can strive to develop faith, hope, and charity...we got it. Plain and simple. FHC is real people, it's real. (Moroni 7)
19. Perfect love casts out all fear. So I guess if I start to love crackhead hobos and snakes....I won't be afraid of them. (Moroni 8:16)
20. So all in all, this Book of Mormon has changed my life. It kinda took 20 years for me to realize that. From having a scowl on my face during family scripture study to risking my life (literally) for the sake of inviting people to read this book. Christ loves me and He loves you. That's why He gave us tools like the Book of Mormon for us to reach back to Him and our Heavenly Father. It has made me a better person. It has made want to become the person I know God wants me to be. That totally sounds corny but it's really true. I am grateful to wake up at the crack of dawn to work 14 hours a day in sweat to preach the gospel and to introduce people to this Book. It's true. I know it is. 

And that's my bday wisdom :) I'm starting to realize how long this if you read through this whole thing, you're a champ. 


Sister Kelly