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