Monday, June 24, 2013

Hi everybody.
our friend from Iran is  getting baptized in two weeks.  we found out from president Leavitt that after looking into all the rules and regulations and guidelines and after having met with Him via skype and learning some things about him and his circumstance, he decided through revelation and prayer I'm sure, that as a child of God, our friend (name removed for privacy) can be baptized.  he is glad.  in his own words he said that he is speechless.
so it's kind of funny, so I'll tell a little bit about what happened with all that this week, because as you can assume it was an emotional roller coaster, and I'm glad that I survived it, and that my companion can just be happy now.
I'm going to name him Michael because I can't keep referring to him as he.  Michael had his conference call with president Leavitt on Tuesday, and when we got to talk to him about it he pulled us aside privately and asked us if everything was alright.  to which we asked the same question and he was like "well, we talked and it was good, but sometimes I was uncomfortable.  it was like an interrogation, lots of questions, and some of them were upsetting."  apparently President Leavitt accused his parents of hiring an assassin to kill Michael after his baptism.  haha good times.  Michael thought we were all crazy and that we had terrible misconceptions.  so we talked, and asked him if things like that don't happen and he was like "they do, but I'm not important enough for that."   hah.
he also didn't understand why it would be a higher consideration ( considering the whole church) and so we explained to him that his baptism is a private affair, but people tend to hear about things like that and blow them out of proportion.  take the whole Jewish people in temple work for example.  it's a matter of not offending anybody who could ever possibly be offended, because if they can, from experience they will be, mostly because they don't understand. 
so all in all, things are great, because Michael knows and understands his savior Jesus Christ, and is excited to follow his example and now can be baptized.  yay for happy endings.
also the missionary broadcast was great,  if you guys didn't get a chance to see it, I encourage you to look it up because it was awesome.  (sometimes a bit corny, but who doesn't love happy families?  it kind of is part of the whole meaning of life.)
so basically i should stop writing so much and let the other sisters have a turn, because today's a holiday and apparently everything and it's outhouse is closed on holidays in Newfoundland, and we're emailing on the church's one family history computer.
I love you all, I promise I'll write letters today!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Hey all!
I've gotten a lot of mail this week, the district leader and some other Leadership peeps went to Halifax for a day and came back with my mail!  so that was good to see the things that you'd sent before I learned my NF address.  I'll work on replying to those today so that you can stop thinking I'm a terrible person, who never replies to her mail.
oh man what a week.  can I just say, sometimes I get stressed? I didn't think it would happen out here, but I realized that it still does.  I just hope that I'm justified in my worries, because man oh man, my stomach's in knots.

so then there was this one time when we were teaching two really awesome and interested children of god.  each were found separately and each is learning and growing in their knowledge and testimonies of the gospel at their own rate.  they both have a Muslim background, both are insanely smart, have PhD's in pharmaceuticals and masters in nanotechnology and whatnot, and both happen to be from Iran.  this was all fine and good until one of them brought up the concern when we asked him if he was considering baptism, that if he doesn't get permanent residency in Canada and has to go back to Iran, (which in all honesty would happen because his family lives there) then he would almost undoubtedly be shot and killed.  Martyrdom is great.  haha just kidding no it's not.  so then we asked our other investigator what his knowledge was of this and he was like "yeah, I know the consequence. Death. But it's not about You.  it is about you're responsibility to God."  so we asked the mission president what to do.  because we have no intention of sending people to their death.  he called up the line of church authority and found that we are advised to not even teach people from Iran, because we're not supposed to baptize them, and just waving the benefits of the gospel in front of their noses while withholding the ability to participate would just be cruel.  
so now we have an investigator who has a solid testimony that Jesus Christ is his savior, keeps the commandments, and is ready to hop in the baptismal font without us, and we aren't even supposed to be teaching him.  like at all.  and President hasn't yet told us what to do.  so I'm stressed.  it's great.   and he hangs out with the YSA Girls. and Victoria is openly flirting with him.  and he might not be able to be baptized.  and I don't know what to do.  I'm hoping that something will happen, somehow they'll be given a route to citizenship or something, because everything I've learned about Christ so far would suggest that he would not prepare the hearts of these people so well, without having a plan for their happiness.  so that's happening.

but on another note, we had a pretty cool experience in church this Sunday.  one of the former investigators from mount pearl came to church, and sat in on the Gospel Principles class on baptism.  she's been coming to church off and on and her parents are Mormon, but she was never baptized.  toward the end she had an epiphany that was better described later in relief society.  she'd said that she had been having a lot of trouble trying to make ends meet, and last night that from a little extra money she had she could have gone out for a night of dancing but instead decided to stay in and read (later revealed that she'd read her scriptures.)  the next morning she woke up in time to make it to church which apparently never happens (and also had time to get a Tim Horton coffee on the way which she then sipped through sacrament, but little steps.) while waiting in the parking lot she had the money that she had the night before and decided that she should pay tithing.  as she decided how much to give, she came to an amount that gave her peace, knowing that she wouldn't have enough probably to pay bills. and turned it in.  as a result she gained a spiritual witness to an answer that she'd been looking for for more than 25 years.  she said and I actually found it quite profound, "I get it now!  I've always had concerns about the authority, but now it makes sense.  Women were given the ability to create life, and Men were given to cleanse it."  of course she was much more dramatic than the text sounds, because she's got more blackitude than most Mississippians.  but it is always cool to see someone else's testimony grow, and gain that witness yourself as well.
so basically, life is normal, I guess?  I'll write everyone back as best I can today, and hopefully you will get letters soonish.  and by that I mean a couple of weeks.  the post is slow on the rock.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

I don't really know what to talk about this week.  the work is going well.  I'm fine.  apparently there was a hurricane I didn't know about.  ...yep.
I don't really know if anybody's reading my letters at this point, but that's all fine and well, as it's helped me focus a little better on what I'm doing.  I now get up on time every morning, and work my hardest to to what is right.  we went running three times this week, and I think my companion doesn't hate me for it?  I don't really know  wish we could run for longer intervals than five minutes, It seems like we just barely start to hit cardio range and I look back to see she's walking.  but at least she's running.  that's better than it was.  
Yep.  I'm still waiting to learn things about her that aren't annoying or backwards,  it seems our personalities are built like yin and yang, and though we are headed in the same direction, we go about it by completely different means.  they aren't either one wrong, but the fact that they're not the same path makes it pretty confusing at times.  it's like being back in chemistry and the forest of confusion.  only now it's my companions feelings and not equations I'm balancing.  huh.  weird. it also seems like she takes everything that I say and tries to put some meaning behind it that isn't there.  because of something about a communications major.  I'm pretty sure that you couldn't get farther from my understanding and personality, so we pretty much just go about not understanding each other, and usually that includes me offending her, all the time.  
but that doesn't mean that she doesn't have great strengths.  she cares a lot about how people think by focusing on how they talk, and that shows the deeper need to understand through words.  her intentions are gold, and I can see her trying to improve every day, to be a better missionary who can help the people here to the best of her abilities.  she also treasures up the spoken word, or the teachings and talks by the prophets and apostles of our day.  which is something that I haven't put too much emphasis on in the past.  I need to do better at looking past the little things to the heart.  for god judgeth not as a man judgeth, but looketh upon the heart.  or something like that, I don't remember that reference exactly.
send me mail!
otherwise I don't know what your addresses are and cant send you anything, try as I might.
Love, Kelsey.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Hey all!
this week flew by.  it seems like I was here just a couple days ago doing the same thing!  missionary work is weird in the fact that its all consuming, but it seems to take no time at all.
This week the theme seemed to be obedience, which, surprise surprise, I'm not the best at.  sometimes getting up on time is just not going to happen.  It's my Achilles heel.  And it seems my companion finally ran out of patience.  so that's cool.  But I've come to know that no matter what anybody else thinks, including myself, there is power in following the rules.  It keeps us safe, it keeps us prepared, and the lord will bless us for doing what he asks.  President Monson's talk about it last conference was amazing, and if you haven't had the chance to go over it  again, here it is for future reference.
So, we went on exchanges this week with the other sisters, to look up some of the Branch's less active members.  (A branch is like a ward in that it's a church congregation, but smaller in numbers.) It was a lot of fun, and we got to put some faces to the long list of names that haunt our rosters.  We met a guy who hadn't been to church in years, but said that recently he'd thought about taking the steps back to activity.  His remark was that whenever that happens missionaries magically show up on his doorstep.  to which I laughed and said, "we come when we're called!"  and it's so true.  so many times we seem to just be in the right place in the right time to catch somebody, or to spread hope where it's needed.  Sister Olson did a great job talking with him, and letting him come to the realization himself by talking about things what it was he needed to do.  and the answer hasn't changed.  we need to continually be building our faith by studying the scriptures, praying, and keeping Gods commandments, one of which is coming to church. 
And then there was this one time when we got a new investigator because he decided to come to church on his own.  I thought he was someone that the elders were working with, but no, he came to church all on his own.  it turns out that he'd met missionaries in France, and actually attended church there in a branch for a while, but had moved to Newfoundland to go to graduate school ( and PHD it sounds like?  His grad is in physics.  He's amazing.) he had a French Book of Mormon once, but lost it some time during the five years since he's investigated.  He loves the feeling he gets around church, and constantly talks about the feeling of tranquility that prevails.  He's great.  the spirit is working on him.
The greatest thing I learned this week though is that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is constantly working in our lives.  Someone told me once that it is impossible to stand still in the Gospel, once you've entered the gate of Baptism you're either progressing, or regressing, and it all hangs on how much you do the little things, with real honest intent.  Every time you do something that brings you closer to God you're using the atonement, every time you pray to know, every time you study, every time you turn toward god you're erasing that separation that sin creates. Of course, there are steps of repentance for a reason, but the way to stay on the path is in enduring, in keeping in remembrance those things that we need to be doing every day and every week, to continually change ourselves to be better.  And I'm still not perfect, I've got a long way to go, but it's comforting to know that God will always be there for us, we need only to turn towards him.
I love you guys and I have to go!
have a good week.