Wednesday, October 21, 2015

week 97

Well then, it seems this will be my last real email as next week I will really only have time to say "see you soon".

Where has the time gone haha.

I really don't have much to say. I'm stressed out, I'm super excited, I'm super sad. I'm a bit overwhelmed. Trying to pack, trying to say goodbye, trying to do some good. Its sure strange. Thought this day would never come and now that it is here it is a very bittersweet thing. I'm very okay with the mission being over, I'm not so okay with leaving SA.

On the bright side these last few days, and the next few, have been filled with fun. I know strictly speaking it is not supposed to happen, but I've never been so strict when it comes to rules involving last Thursday I went shooting for about an hour in the evening! Made my week, shot an elephant gun, got me a nice bruise because I flinched and pulled it away from my shoulder. Awesome. Today we had a zone activity, got to hang out with some of my best friends. Great day.

The rest of the week is filled with member lessons and service. Lekker.

Love, Elder Kelly

Thursday, October 15, 2015

week 96

Well lets see here, this past week was okay.

Last week on Tuesday I went on exchanges with Elder Tumare (A zone leader from Thahati) and we had an awesome time. Lots of fun. Even got a chance to work on a bit of family history that day.

Besides that last week was pretty standard except for having Zone Meeting on Friday. It was focused on the Book of Mormon and I was asked to talk about the blessings I have received from it.

Sunday was great, good classes and talks. That evening we had dinner at a members house (Sister Ruth) and she kept making comments about how I should marry one of the ladies in the branch.

Yesterday I was able to make my third trip to Krugar National Park. I have now been able to cover it from top to bottom! It was a wonderful day. We left the flat at about 4 am and got to the gates at about 7. (Took a while because we popped a tire on the way.) Immediately inside the gate we found a giraffe and some warthogs. The day started off quite cool and because of that a lot of animals were out. Around noon the day heated up and we were only able to see animals around the places with water. Problem being, it is the dry season, so there is very little water! (The last picture is of a dried up river.) In the space of about 8 hours we only traveled about 150 kilos, but it was awesome.

Because we didn't email on our normal day we only have a few minutes. Talk to you next week!

Love,  Elder Kelly

Monday, October 5, 2015

week 95

So, the big news this week... the past two weeks I have been having abdominal pain, but the start of the week it became extreme and Wednesday night it was unbearable. I passed out and ended up going to the hospital. There are two theories from two doctors. The mission doctor thinks I got food poisoning two weeks ago and it is finally busting forth with fury. The doctor who examined me at the hospital felt I have internal bleeding which I tend to believe since I had it before. Says me passing out was from blood loss. Now I've got lots of meds and a diet plan for the next few days (or weeks depending on how it goes).

I'm feeling alright now, still hurt quite a bit, but the doctor said that could take a few days to
go away. Besides the pain though I'm feeling much better! I'm at least able to go about doing things now, sitting in the flat was driving me up the wall! Couldn't stand it. It appears to not be ulcers, but I had some sort of infection and - yada yada - big doctors words that I didn't understand. Feeling quite a bit better now.
This week was of course interesting with the trip to the hospital and the two forced days off, but it has also been a week of firsts! On Saturday I traveled to Mokopane and gave a baptismal interview to a young lady named Betty. I of course have not been present at a baptismal interview since my own and it was wonderful to have a reminder of just how spiritual of an experience it can be. It was also quite interesting to see it from the other way around this time. Betty is much more prepared then I was when I was baptized so I'm sure she will do great. As of late in the Africa South East Area, the qualifications for baptism have been upped in hopes more people will stay active after baptism. Funny enough, it seems nearly all those being taught are rising to the new standards; great to see that it was an inspired move.
During the exchange I was with an Elder Novotney from the Czech Republic. (Can't spell his name or country!) and that was an absolute blast. We are in the same group so we both go home in three weeks and that made for an amazing day. I've never had such great lessons to be honest. We both know what we are doing and it made for a very stress-free day!
As of late there are two verses that I am focusing on in my personal life; 3 Nephi 20:8 which pertains to the sacrament, and 1 Nephi 21: 15-16 which speaks of Christ.

3 Nephi 20:8 "And he said unto them: he that eateth this bread eateth of my body to his sould; and he that drinketh of this wine drinketh of my blood to his soul; and his soul shall never hunger nor thirst, but shall be filled." This is a promise that I never really saw fulfilled in the first three or so years of my living the gospel. I suppose I just figured it should be a given at the moment you partake ,but as with most things in the gospel, I have realized that you only get out what you put in. A couple of months ago I realized how my mind would wander as the sacrament was being blessed and passed and how that really was destroying the whole purpose. Instead of considering my devotion to the gospel and the Godhead I was daydreaming. As of late (and I may have shared this before) I have done my level best to focus on the Christ and His doings amongst us here on earth, and it is amazing to see what a difference that has made. I've just begun to see this promise fulfilled: "His soul shall never hunger nor thirst" and that as been a great strength to me as of late.

1 Nephi 21:15-16 "For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me." Lately I have been teaching a lesson on how a team works. I've been using the Springboks as an example since everyone here knows them. Anyways, a few weeks ago at the beginning of the World Cup they lost a game to Japan, which was quite sad. The reason is because they were letting each other down and not really doing what they should have been doing. If they had, they would have destroyed Japan like normal (in 2007 they beat them 87-3... I think.) Each of us has a team on earth, whether we know it or not; our family, friends, teachers, leaders, and so on and so forth. But they have the same problem as the Springboks; they are good, but they are not perfect, and eventually let us down. Luckily, we do have someone perfect on our team: Christ. The verses above paint picture of the devotion Christ shows towards each of us, and His ever-willingness to help. This coupled with His perfection makes Him the perfect "teammate" in the game of life. It is amazing to think how blessed we each are to have Him be part of our lives if we so choose. As it says in Revelation 3:20 "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Our Savior is there; so often, we choose to go it alone. I tried tat for a long while, it sucks. As we rely upon Christ (and the other members of the Godhead) our burdens will be lightened. Life will never stop being hard, and there is no sense in making it more difficult than it needs to be. Have faith in Christ: that He is, that He can, that He will.

I'm sorry, but I very much struggle to put what I'm trying to say into words for some reason. I think it is because proper English has been out the window for awhile now. But yeah, those are two things that have been in the back of my mind near constantly for the past three weeks or so.

In other news, three girls have told me in the last two days that they "like white guys." Hmm... wonder why they would have mentioned that. That's about all I got, so yeah. I'll try to send pictures next week!

Elder Kelly

Monday, September 28, 2015

week 94

A group of my friends are driving here to see me today so I'm super excited for that! But it means that I have a very short time to email.
I had a very mixed week of good and bad. There was a holiday, so on par with every other holiday here, missionary work was near impossible. I did however go on exchanges with Elder Ndlovu and saw the first girl I ever taught and baptized on my mission! She is going super strong. Awesome young woman.
As far as investigators we have Corney, Nthabiseng, Khaukanani, and Mmanape on date for October the 25th. We are working with a number of less actives members, too: Brother Jonny, Klass, Sharon, George and Priscilla. We are seeing other people as well, but these are showing the most progress at the moment. I get to do a baptismal interview on Saturday!
Oh, I learned how to make a long bow this week, that was pretty fun. I also designed a handgun.
I will send a better letter next week!
Elder Kelly

Monday, September 21, 2015

week 93: back in Sashego

Well, basically, everyone said the same thing when they saw me: "You've lost weight!" Which I suppose is a good thing haha, it is definitely better then the alternative. Unfortunately, a few have made it a goal to get it all back on me in the next 5 weeks. I can't remember the last time I was fed so much.
Coming back wasn't exactly what I expected. I had about a two minute conversation with each of them and then I didn't know what to say and it was a bit awkward. I suppose the best part was to reconnect with those I helped baptize. All of them, besides one, are still coming to church. The one that isn't is due to health reasons. I guess that means I did something good while I was here last. 
I'm starting to feel nervous. I'm pretty excited to be done with my mission, but not so excited to come home. I already had one friend offer to sneak me into Mozambique haha. I'm toying with the idea of going home just long enough to make the money to come back. I already have some job offers here. One is working in the mines as a welder and the other is working as an armorer for a private military contractor that operates out of Somalia. The latter is quite tempting as it has always been my dream to play with guns for a living, but Somalia isn't exactly the nicest part of this earth. I don't know. I still don't like change. Or making big decisions.
I know I'm out in the boondocks again because I nearly ran two baboons over the other day that were fighting in the middle of the road. I like it here. Well, except for the crime and pollution. Besides that it is quite nice.
Hmm, well yeah. That's about all I got. Sorry, but my thoughts are currently elsewhere and it is difficult to come up with things to say. My companion wakes up a lot at night and writes in his journal so I'm pretty tired. P-day is the one day there is time for a nap, so I am going back to bed.

On Fridays we play basketball with some of the township kids. Funny times!

Elder Kelly

Monday, September 14, 2015

week 92

I got the news Saturday that I'm being transferred Tuesday back to my first area, Seshego. I'm going home! And then in six weeks I'm going home home! It feels like I will be there now now. (Adding an extra word adds power to what you're saying...kind of. Like if someone says they will be there now, expect to wait for an hour, but if they say now now it should be within a few minutes.) Also I've been asked to be a District Leader and follow-up train. Last six weeks, might as well be hectic haha.

I very much hope my package gets here, it would make my life. Today is going to be hectic, I think 3... or maybe 2... people are feeding us. Plus we have to do most of the normal stuff.

Tomorrow is transfers, so that will be fun. I'm the only one I know that will finish in the area they started it, I'm quite excited for that. Already know all the members and the roads and such. I'm quite sad to leave Attridgeville so soon. There are some truly amazing people here and we were supposed to have a baptism this Sunday! Darn. It should still happen though! We just won't be here.

Oh, I forgot to say Attridgeville is merging with another area so my companion and I are both leaving. It seems I'm either sent to an area to speed the work up, or finish it up so that it can be closed. It has been a terribly tiring ordeal! President Dunn even told me when I left Nelspruit that the balance of my mission would be spent reviving areas that were extremely unproductive and it seems he was on key with that one.

Yah know, my first year I was in just two areas and this past year I've had five so far and as of Tuesday it will be six. It makes me sad I haven't gotten to spend the time in other areas that I did in Nelspruit and Seshego, but it is amazing to see what the Lord can accomplish given a few short weeks and a (most of the time) willing heart. Alma 26:12 is coming to my mind: "Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever."  Yes, I'm aware that they spent years out and about, but it is still applicable as far as I'm concerned. God is pretty darn good at getting work done.

Well, it is now time to pack and clean, so I'll send some pictures and move on!
Bishop and family

Sister Ouma and me

Stella, Colyn and me

Stella, me and Phindale

Love, Elder Kelly

Monday, September 7, 2015

week 91

The week was very good, but I'm still struggling with my companion. Seven more weeks...

Yesterday at church I had two visitors from long long ago! The first was Sister Makunye from the MTC and the other was sister Bridgett from Nelspruit. It was awesome to see people I quite enjoyed being around since there ain't so many like that in Atteridgeville.

I was privileged to confirm Thozama yesterday, that went very well. Elder kenyah is mad that she didn't ask him; I told him that if he showed an interest in her and didn't just flirt with her sisters at each visit maybe she would have. He didn't talk to me for the rest of the day haha.

Let's see here, I always forget what I want to say.

A verse that has carried much to my heart as of late is 3 nephi 20:8 "And he said unto them: He that eateth this bread eateth of my body to his soul; and he that drinketh of this wine drinketh of my blood to his soul; and his soul shall never hunger nor thirst, but shall be filled." Christ is explaining how fulfilling the sacrament and the gospel can be. Often I've found myself partaking of the sacrament but worrying about investigators instead of pondering the Atonement. I'm working to correct this and wow it has been great to see the difference, it feels as though I'm actually doing something now. I taught Gospel Principles yesterday and we discussed this quite in depth.

There is a rumor going around they are closing the area next to mine and as of next week I'll be covering two areas. Should be fun, and better yet we will no longer have to share a car and the flat will stay clean! Woo! I'll know for sure later on in the week if this is truth or not.

I wrote (well continued writing) another poem this week. It helps me focus my thoughts. I don't like the beginning much, but overall I enjoy it, so yeah. Here it is:

In the beginning was the Word
It was with Him I could be found.
In our homeland Eternal hope did abound.

To this apostate world have I been sent
hope is dimmed by the lessor's spite.
The path may fade; strife shall rail
In this life I may even feel condemned to fail.
Yet upon His palms does my weakness reside
and for this reason I'll never be over-tried.
After the darkest night the sun shall rise
the refiners fire will burn to the end of mortal time. 
Hope is opposed to doubt, with faith we need not fear
for as time slips by the Savior's return becomes ever more near.

Also, let's send some pictures for once...

It ain't much different from home here.

This is Thozama, the one we just baptized and confirmed.

Thabang got married and is working on getting sealed now. He is awesome. 

Spring is here!

I don't think you ever saw Elder Bryner. Best companion ever. 
Mountains surrounding the area we start. Hartebeesport (spelled that wrong, sorry neh!) 

So, I'm trying to make a plan of what to do when I get home. I'm all over the place, from living under a rock to becoming an astronaut. Well, not literally, but that pretty much shows how lost I am. What do you think I should do? I'm thinking military or WVU.

Anyways, I'm sick and my meds have me on the verge of passing out, so I'll sign off here.

Love, Elder Kelly

Monday, August 31, 2015

week 90

Yah know, I had a very hard week, nothing seemed to work out. Most of the people we teach were elsewhere, our Ward Mission Leader changed, I got an eye infection, and well yeah. Lots of other stuff happened; it was hard. I'm doing my best, and luckily that's all that's needed.

On a daily basis I'm reminded by the members that I'm short timing it, less than 60 days left now. I'm pretty darn excited. I'm pretty sure I've told you that a lot, I guess that shows how excited I am.

We got a new bishop yesterday as well, he is a nice old guy. The church is growing amazingly fast here in Pretoria, mostly from reactivations since that is our focus.

I've now participated in 19 baptisms and 61 reactivations. Pretty darn good if you ask me. I guess its not a ton; as of late I've been praying for the confirmation that I've been a good missionary even with all my flaws. Each time I've gotten a positive confirmation. So that's something I suppose.

Yesterday we baptized Thozama, it was pretty darn awesome but unbelievably hard to organize. With all the changes in the ward it was difficult to get things moving after church. She asked for bishop to
baptize her, this Sunday I'll do the confirmation.

I wrote this recently, I suppose you can share it, but please put a disclaimer that I claim no talent in writing. I think it describes pretty well where I'm at.

I'm now near the end,
but was lost from the start.
I've climbed to the highest peak
and searched the darkest abyss
I lost the way
I found it again

I'm not who I was
I'm unsure of who I am
I've gained new faults
I've smoothed old flaws
I've overcome the darkness just
to run from the light
I feel it inside
yet I can't comprehend
the potential locked within

Some believe I wasted time
I feel it was a gift divine
the journey was long, the road hard
yet a sacrifice it was not
I gained, I grew, I learned to love
how could this not be from above?

Soon I'll leave this land
my time is now at a close
its part of the plan, its supposed to be
yet I feel its being torn from me

The task of life is to continue
even when what you love is gone
when one period ends another begins
hope, happiness, and love abound
if you can see this great eternal round

I left my world behind
over time the seemingly strange became mine
from whence I came shall I return
yet within my heart Africa will live on.

Elder Kelly

(Editor's note: I think Kelly has GREAT talent in writing, don't you?)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

week 89

Well, this week was pretty darn good. Had quite a few lessons, on Tuesday and Wednesday we covered two areas because an Elder had to go to Botswana.

Thosama will be baptized this Sunday, Kabelo has been postponed. His grandfather passed away this past Saturday and the funeral will be this upcoming week. Yes.... African funerals last a week. Besides them, we have a few others progressing. If they set a date I'll tell you about them.

I've continued studying the Book of Mormon, only made it through two chapters this week. I am really studying, but I need to speed up if I'm going to finish by the time I get home!

My companion... not good. Yesterday before church he told me I shouldn't partake of the Sacrament this week because he thinks I stole his sd card. He lost it... but nothing is ever his fault. Ack. Alright I vented and now I can move on.

I'm typing on a very small phone for email this week so it is extremely difficult. But the work is good.

That is about all I got.

Thank you for everything!

Love, Elder Kelly

Monday, August 17, 2015

week 88

Man, can't remember what I said last week haha, but it must have been pretty terrible!

Well to be straight, I'm struggling with my companion, he can be kind of lazy. When he gets upset with me for making him work he won't say anything at our appointments. Ack nier... I talked to the Zone Leaders though and there may be a change.

A good thing might be that the struggles I'm having with my companion and flat mates are serving as an opportunity to strengthen my relationship with the Lord. This week I studied the Book of Mormon about five hours a day and wow has it been outstanding. I'm going incredibly slow, currently I'm at 1 Nephi 13, but I've never gotten more out of it.

In connection with all this studying the spirit was extremely strong and as such the week was amazing! There are a whole bunch of "eternal investigators" here; it seems some previous missionaries have been afraid of saying what needs said; I fixed that this week. I've never testified of Christ and the restored gospel so strongly, the confirmation that comes from the Spirit when you cease to fear is amazing. It is hard to say, well explain everything that happened this week. I suppose some of it is best kept private anyways, but I feel like a different person than I was a week ago. It is almost like I'm a brand new missionary again, but with 22 months of experience. It has been great.

One thing I've struggled with recently is finding happiness in the work, but this past week was amazing. I've completely lost my fear to do what needs done and say what needs said and it has been absolutely amazing! The lessons this week were outstanding, we should even have two baptisms in a couple of weeks. Please pray for Thozama and Kablo, they are on date for the 30th, but you know how the devil is, has a way of ruining things!

I also felt a new thing this week. I realized how much I miss everyone, I suppose I have tried to avoid feeling it for the most part for the past while, but wow am I excited to get home! As of tomorrow I have 10 weeks left. Hopefully they all go as smoothly as this one past.  I'm not sure what has come over me, but it is like I've been lit on fire or something. I don't feel that I've ever been a better missionary then I was in this past week and I really hope I cant keep that up. I feel that after a time of struggling I'm being helped to finish strong by the grace of Christ.
Time is about up. Have a good week!

Love, Elder Kelly

Monday, August 10, 2015

week 87

Let's see, well this week wasn't exactly what I expected to be honest. So my new companion, Elder Kenyah, is from Ghana. He is about 6 months behind me on mission. He is cool. As far as Attridgeville, it is a bit rough. I was assaulted twice this week by drunk racist black dudes. Didn't go well for them, but I suppose that's a matter to discuss once I'm home.

The ward is uhm, alright I guess. Again, being the only white guy there, I can tell they look at me differently. However, the work is going amazing, and I had a dozen or so amazing lessons this week! My companion is still in that phase of "teach everything as fast as possible" while I like to take it kinda slow, and I think that's what this area needs right now. The investigators I have visited except for one were a bit off track. For example, one was drinking and drinking and drinking, but Kenyah kept teaching away haha. But we are fixing it now, and that's what matters.

This morning we went on a hike with the men of the local church and had a braii afterwards. It was amazing, until I jammed my knee on the way down. It is all sorts of swollen now. Oh and guess what? I managed to burn my hand again, it took my entire allotment to pay to have it taken care of, so I don't know how I'm going to eat this month. I literally have less then 3 usd at this point. But thus far Heavenly Father has always provided a way when I had nothing, so I'm sure it will be fine.

We should be having some baptisms soon, and I have met quite a few amazing people who I'm sure will be on date soon enough.

I've felt quite lonely again this week to be honest. I'm in an apartment with three Africans who seem to cling together wherever I'm not, and this area seems to be full of blacks who dislike whites, and that has been a bit disheartening. I've managed to find comfort in the words of Christ. I've been reading the book of Mormon and have been able to gain a lot of positivity.

With that I'm out of time.
Love, Elder Kelly

Monday, August 3, 2015

week 86

Well this whole transfer has been extremely challenging for me. In fact, I'm not sure if I have ever experienced a harder time in my life. Up to somewhere around 18-19 months the mission was quite easy for the most part, of course there was the occasional struggle, but it was far from an every day sort of thing, but these last few weeks have been rough haha. I'm still trying to figure out why, but hopefully it has passed because these past few days have been quite awesome.

Saturday morning President Wilson called me and told me I'm being transferred to an area called Attridgeville to be with Elder Kenya on Tuesday. My seventh and most probably final area. Oh yeah, President doesn't know when I'm going home, but he said if he had to bet it would be the end of October. Better yet I'll be flying out of Botswana according to the current plan, so that should be awesome! So I have twelve weeks left, which goes by in just about the blink of an eye. Also, I think I'll be flying into Seattle, which days of the week does Kurt go to that side? I think my step dad will pick me up, and it would be awfully convenient if I could ride back with Kurt.

Anyways, towards the middle of the day on Saturday it kind of hit me I'll be leaving so we went home a bit early so that I could begin the long process of packing all my junk. After a few minutes I gave up and began writing, for some reason I seem to feel the Spirit strongest while writing poetry. Not sure why since I don't really find it to be one of my strong suits, but I had a wonderful confirmation that Heavenly Father loves me. I had been trying to find that for months. I've never been home sick, but the longer I've been here the more distant everyone feels, I'm down to getting 2-3 emails a week (I started at about 30 a week haha) so it was good to have that experience on Saturday. Life is quite hard when you feel you're going about it alone.

I'm getting new clothes and such to bring home, luckily they are pretty cheap this side, so it makes it easier.

I've started a new thing for these last three months. I'm going to read the Book of Mormon through every month until I go home, and each time I'll be looking for different things.

Anyways, times about up.

Also, thank you for your emails this week especially, they made me feel the Spirit, and that right there is lekker.

Also, I'm going to a Tswana area, so in the next three months, I'm going to do all I can to learn Tswana. Hopefully that goes well, I'd like to share my testimony my last Sunday in Africa in a local language.

Love, Elder Kelly

Monday, July 27, 2015

week 85

Well, the hike last week fell through. Long story. At the African shop I got a whole lot of stuff, but I ended up giving my tekkies to an African and that was a bit sad. Oh - tekkies are shoes. 

Let's see here, man so much happens, but once Monday comes my brain is empty. 

For the next week, we have to go to Pretoria today, exchanges with the Assistants to the President on Tuesday, Zone Conference in Pretoria on Wednesday, no appointments yet on Thursday, and Friday there is a game on we can't watch haha. Darn. 

Right now I feel like a mission should be 18 months. Then I was still all excited and spiritual and such, but now... I'm just tired of everything. I'm tired of ward leaders, I'm tired of worrying about what people will say during lessons and talks at church, I'm tired of people not keeping commitments, I'm tired of always being told what to do and just about everything else. It seems like everyone else over 18 months in my district feels the same way. It is even hard to get out of bed. The "glamour" of Africa has worn off. I told my Mission President this, and he laughed and said "yeah that happens." Not as helpful as I was hoping he would be haha. But I guess it is good to know it is normal to feel this way. The Mission President said I've been running for 19 months and it is time to start walking. He also said this avoids a crash once I get home. But I just need to keep moving.

I'm still not sure what I'll be doing in three months. Funny enough, I've been thinking a lot about the military lately, and I got an email from a recruiter this past week. I will have to get to work. I might go to university the following fall, or maybe join the military in spring. 

I just tell you the same things over and over haha... then again, I guess mission is the same thing over and over... so it makes sense why I do that. 

I'll try and get robbed or something this week so I have something exciting to write home about. 

Elder Kelly 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

week 84

Well, the hike last week was awesome to say the least. I suppose it was more of a walk then a hike, Africa is kind of flat... but we saw some awesome sights and a bit of wild life. I'd send pictures, but the computer I'm using surely has viruses on it, so I don't want to plug my camera in. Today we are going on another hike, and it actually is a hike this time. The church owns a mountain on the other side of Pretoria, so we are going there, and afterwards we are going to an African shop and I'm going to trade my old worn out things for stuff I can bring home.

It is kind of cool, they are splitting our ward and making a new branch. This is just a couple of weeks after they made a new stake and a half dozen or so wards in the Pretoria area. The work is really moving forward! Not so much in our area unfortunately, but as a whole it definitely is. We are struggling right now to help a whole bunch of less active recent converts. There was a string of missionaries a few transfers back and they baptized anyone and everyone. One of them is even a witch doctor. I just don't understand some people.

Anyways, let's see here. I have an email in to President Wilson, I'm trying to figure out when I'll be home. They keep going back and forth and such so it has left me a bit confused. All he said was"Elder McClellan- Hooray for you!" ...what does that mean haha? Well this is awkward and I'm still in the dark. Awesome.

I've pretty much given up on BYU- Idaho. Of course that leaves me with a problem, there ain't really anyone to date anywhere close to where I live, but I guess that doesn't really matter. I'm too poor to pay attention so I most definitely don't have money to spend on women. In fact, I'm still kind of in the mind set that the more I spend on women the less I have to spend on guns and things that won't disappoint me.

I've been working out a bit lately. When I came on mission I wore XL shirts and now I'm down to medium. Pretty great. Unfortunately that means none of my stuff fits, but Africans don't understand the concept on having things fit properly, so no one really cares. Now I think I actually need to stop losing weight and start gaining it though. But I'm kind of lazy, so we shall see.

I have either 14 or 20 weeks left. I'm hoping for 14 to be honest. I'm getting tired haha. I'm still thinking about joining the army, at this point its mainly just to get back out of Manson once I get home. I'm sure my desire to date will return soon enough and I'm pretty sure any girl worth thetime of day has left for university since I've been gone. The stake is forever away. So yeah, it may be best if I just get out of Manson again. Still praying about it though. In fact, if I came back here Icould be married within a month haha, for some odd reason there are a fair few women who have shared with me their interest. And now that I have rambled on to the point of writing what seems tobe a decent length email I feel content. I'd share more about the area, but its just been disappointing lately since no one seems willing to do anything to help themselves.

Also, there is a good chance I wont be able to email next week. I'm kind of out of money. So yeah. If you don't hear from me don't be worried or anything. I'm just poor.

Love, Elder McClellan

Monday, July 13, 2015

week 83

Let's see here. This week was amazing. We taught a lot! We met a whole bunch of new people and had to go to Pretoria twice. On Wednesday we went and met President Wilson. He seems pretty great and on Friday we had Zone Meeting. It was funny though, with the change in boundaries our zone is more like a district, haha. Not many of us at all. 

At the start of last week I really wanted to find something in the scriptures that would help me to finish strong. My motivation comes from Paul (Romans 12:1)

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

I found this scripture a day or two after interviews last week and it helped me to realize that I may be in Africa and teaching the gospel, but in a few ways I've never made the sacrifice that was asked of me. But with this as motivation I was able to break through a few of those disruptive habits that I either brought with me from home or picked up from past companions. I feel better now than I've felt in a long time, my study time has been more productive, and the guidance of the Spirit has been stronger. And that is why this week was so great I guess. I still have plenty to work on of course, but I'm sure now that these last 3.5 months will be the best yet. It is also awesome to be able to see the wisdom of Heavenly Father in this, if I had stayed in Johannesburg I'm sure I'd have stayed the same until going home. It was just kind of the norm, but now that everything has changed it has given me an amazing opportunity to see where it is I need to change.

With the help of Bridger I found a new option for when I get home. WVC has two year degrees that transfer directly to WSU in horticulture, physics, mechanical engineering, and computer engineering. Pretty cool since those are the majors I'm interested in. As much as I don't really want to go to WVC it seems kind of like a smart choice since it costs next to nothing. Do that for two years, WSU for two, then go somewhere else for graduate school. What do you think? (Also this is how I understand it works, but I very well may be confused.)

For the first time in three months we are actually doing something fun for P-day. We are going on a hike! The other guys like going to the mall in Pretoria and such, but that's uhm... never really been my idea of a good time. But a hike? That'll do.

Oh, Saturday was great. We went to President Nish's home (Branch President of Witbank) and did some service. I was given a sledgehammer and told to go and destroy a bridge. Awesome. Next we lit a field on fire and controlled the burn across it. Awesome. It made me miss working.

I asked President Wilson if the mission change affected my going home date. Basically he told me I'd be a waste of space if I stayed until December haha. Not really, but that's how I took it. He says he will get back to me when he figures it out. The problem is my visa expires. So yeah. Its complicated.

Anyways that's what I got. Please make sure if you can that Joe sends me his contact details.

Love, Elder Kelly

Monday, July 6, 2015

week 82

How is the new mission? Well nothing has changed as of yet. Still in the same place with the same people, doing the same things. There is literally nothing to do here. There are no game parks, no hikes, no nothing. I'm pretty tired of Kwa Guqa to be honest. I'm probably feeling negative because nothing happened this past week. It was a holiday so there was no one at home. We didn't meet any new awesome people because almost everyone was drunk. We didn't teach any good lessons because no one was home. So yeah.

Uhm, lets see here. I'm sending three pictures. The one of the house is a typical African township house. Notice it has a TV dish on the outside? But if you were to go inside there would be no food.
Interesting eh? 

The other two are of me and my zone saying goodbye to President and Sister Dunn.

Oh, I'm not sick anymore. So that's good news. Basically everything I could tell you I already have, so yeah. Not much to say. Sorry Neh?

Love, Elder Kelly

Monday, June 29, 2015

Letter from Botswana/Namibia Mission President

Dear Friends and Family of Missionaries, 

It is with great excitement we welcome each of your sons into the Botswana/Namibia Mission. We met with our new missionaries for a couple of hours after the mission realignment announcement was made at the Pretoria, South Africa Stake Conference. They are a wonderful group of 37 Elders and 4 senior couples with the desire to serve the Lord where they are called to serve. We know there will be some apprehension and disruption as we make this change over. Please know we will do all we can to reassure your son is where the Lord wants him at this time of his mission. We know it was through inspiration that they were assigned to their particular District and Zone. In the 2 years we have been in Botswana it has been witnessed to us many times that the Lord is in charge of his work of salvation, and if we will be the instruments in His hands we will be able to fulfill all He asks us to do. We have learned to put our trust in the Lord and lean not to our own understanding. We are very grateful for President and Sister Dunn and the service and love they have given to these Elders and Couples. We know they will be greatly missed. We are looking forward to this new growth in our mission and know it will be a blessing not only to the missionaries but to the members as well. We will continue to see the hand of the Lord in this area of the vineyard. Please continue to encourage and help them through this transition. 

Our mission includes the countries of Botswana and Namibia and the northern part of South Africa. At the present time we are located in Gaborone Botswana, but will travel to all areas of the mission each month. Botswana is located to the west of Pretoria, SA. The church has been in Botswana since 1990 and a stake was organized in 2012. There are also 4 branches which are under the direction of the Mission. The past 2 years we have faced difficulties in receiving work visas and at the present time only Botswana residents are being called to serve in Botswana. Namibia is to the west of Botswana and on the Atlantic coast. The church has been in Namibia since the 1990’s also and a District was created in March of 2015. At the present time we have 4 Elders serving in Namibia and are hoping we will be able to increase this number. Both countries are well developed and very receptive to the gospel. They are a very peaceful and loving people.

At the present time the mission office is located in Gaborone, Botswana. The following is information about mailing letters and packages. If letters have already been sent to the Johannesburg mission they will be forwarded to our mission. Letters can be sent in envelopes using appropriate international postage. Packages should be kept small, clearly marked "Missionary Supplies" and be valued less that P300 ($30) to avoid high customs fees, which will be paid by the missionary. Packages sent by surface mail take about 2 months to arrive in Botswana, whereas packages and letters sent by air take about 3-4 weeks to arrive.

Mailing address:
Elder _____ 
Postnet Kgale 
AD 172 ADD 
Gaborone, Botswana

Maintaining contact with families is important for missionaries so we urge families and missionaries to write or email an uplifting letter once a week. More frequent communication than this can take a missionary's mind away from his mission and foster homesickness. Also, unless there is a specific need modest packages should be limited to birthdays and Christmas. Most necessities can be readily purchased here. Expect the mail to take about 3-4 weeks to arrive in Gaborone. Delivery to remote areas of the mission may take additional days and sometimes weeks. E-mail is available in all parts of the mission. Missionaries are allowed to e-mail family members on preparation day which is Monday. Facebook, chatting, instant messaging and SMS is not an approved means of communication according to the Missionary Handbook.

In accordance with Church policy, phone calls by missionaries to their families are limited to Christmas and Mother's Day. Families are urged to help the missionaries keep the rules by not calling at other times.

In an emergency we can be contacted by:
Direct phone number for the Mission Office:  00 267 393 3536
Mission email: 
President Wilson 00 267 7134 0325
Sister Wilson 00 267 7130 6273

We are looking forward to getting to know each of your missionaries. We know we will come to love them as we do our own boys. If you have any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. 

President and Sister Wilson
Botswana/Namibia Mission

President and Sister Wilson

week 81: big changes!

Well, this has been a bit of a crazy week haha. Its kinda like I got dropped on my head. I'm still sick, but its not so bad anymore, I just think the virus likes me and doesn't want to leave. And yes, as of Wednesday I will be part of the Botswana- Namibia mission which is crazy haha. Two years ago when I had the dream I would be in Botswana I was pretty darn sure of it, then my call came to South Africa (just months after Botswana left this mission) and now I'm being reassigned haha. I'm kind of at a loss for words about it to be honest, and the feelings are pretty crazy. Like, I've been in Johannesburg for 20 months. All the people I've grown to love are here, most of my friends are staying behind. Its hard. At the same time I'm extremely excited for what the next few months will bring,. Funny thing is I don't even know If I will ever make it to Botswana, with 4.5 months left they may not be able to get a visa. Part of the Botswana mission but odds are I'll never see it. I'm sad and happy and a bit angry. I find it amazing that Heavenly Father prepared me for this two years ago, he told me I was going to be in the Botswana mission. He has some pretty darn good foresight.

I feel like a brand new missionary again. Everything is starting over, but I have very little time on the clock which is a bit discouraging. I wish I could stay another year now, but that's pretty much impossible. 

As of now I'm staying in Kwa Guqa. The northern part of the Johannesburg mission was absorbed into the Botswana mission, and this area is part of that. 

Its pretty cool, Elder Cook (the Area President) said all of our names were sent to the First Presidency and they prayed about who it should be that would change missions, and they choose 36 of us out of 180. 

(photo of missionaries who are moving to Botswana Mission)

(At the farewell luncheon with Sister Dunn)

Here is some info on the Botswana mission: There are 4 missionaries in Namibia, 7 in Botswana, and now somewhere around 40 in South Africa. There is 1 assistant and 2 sister missionaries. Yeah. Its a small mission covering 3 countries. Awesome!

I really hope I get to go to Namibia before I go home, from what I hear its one of the most beautiful places in Africa. 

Also, the chances of me coming home in October are a lot slimmer. I'll most likely be home in December now. 

I'm at a pretty comfortable point on my mission, but as of Wednesday everything is changing. I don't really like change, but I'm taking a lot of comfort in this promise the Lord gave: D/C 84:88 "And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up."

That's about all I got this week. My head is still spinning a bit about all of this; I'm sorry if what I wrote didn't make sense.

Love, Elder Kelly