Monday, October 26, 2015

Loco Lizard

Hey everyone! So I first want to comment on the title because its a big part of my life now. Back in Utah I had to worry about ants, mosquitoes, bees, and other annoying pests. Now days the pests in my life are lizards. There are lizards everywhere, they run everywhere, and when we walk at night I'm scared that I step on them everywhere. I'm not joking there are lizards everywhere and in every color, shape, and size. I feel like I'm in a Dr. Seuss book of lizards.

October 19: We have finally started finding people to teach!!! I'm so excited we've been knocking doors the past few days with absolutely no success and it has been a little discouraging and I've had some very fervent prayers with the Lord. And the Lord provides and this is truly #paradisecity. Today we met McFarlane and Jesus and they are both amazing. McFarlane is from Jamaica and has gone through some really tough stuff in life but despite all those challenges he never forsake God. He isn't a big fan of organized religion because he feels religion has mostly forsaken God for money and we told him that our church wasn't like that. Its awesome to think that our church is run by God and not by man. And Jesus is just amazing, he has been smoking cigarettes since he was 10 and now desires to quit smoking and we told him how the gospel can help. Also I forgot to mention that both of these amazing men live in a retirement community and just love it when we visit and come and teach them so that is an added blessing: someone excited when the Mormon missionaries come knocking on their door.

October 20: Once again God provides and he truly is a God of miracles. Today we found even more potential investigators and people to teach and it is such a blessing. We also went to the Gateway YSA Family Home evening activity and I love the YSA ward so much and they are just so excited for missionaries and to help progress the work in their area which is an added bonus for us as their part time missionaries.

October 21: Once again more miracles in finding people and I can tell that me and Sister King have been brought to Delray Beach to help it once again prosper because they haven't had a baptism since January and they are a really small ward and need the help of the Lord in expanding and strengthening their area of Zion. One funny one is Brother Allen (that's how he introduced himself after we introduced ourselves as Sister King and Sister Jennings) when we first knocked into him he didn't see me behind the door and so he invited Sister King in. When he turned back around he was like where did you come from and I said from behind the door. He then continued to get our names all mixed up calling me Sister King and Sister King he called Sister Jenny. He was just so funny as he talked to us about our names and the Book of Mormon and I can't wait to go back in a few weeks to see what he's read about the Book of Mormon and what he thinks of it.

October 22: Our first lesson with Jesus and he is awesome and has such a strong desire to stop smoking, come unto God, go to church, and read the Book of Mormon!!! Awesome!!

October 23: Member support in mission work is so essential. One of our biggest supporters is a teenager named Shonoka and she loves to go out with the missionaries. Tonight we had a lesson with some new potentials who are just so prepared and ready for the gospel (Lynchie and Sarah) and having a member there who was a recent convert was amazing. Lynchie and Sarah had questions about the gospel and Shonoka had previously had those same questions and was able to answer them perfectly. So challenge for the week: get more involved in the mission work in your area because member support is seriously so essential and it is the greatest blessing for the missionaries.

October 24: Seriously just abundant miracles as we find more and more people to teach. One of the miracles was Mercie. We knocked into Mercie and she invited us into her home, after saying a prayer Mercie confided in us something really cool. Mercie told us that she doesn't usually answer the door when people knock but for some reason she decided to and then when she gave us her contact information she once again confided in us that she usually doesn't give out the correct phone number when people ask but for some reason she did. It truly is a testament of the different spirit that we bring into people's lives and the Holy Ghost makes people do things that they wouldn't usually do and it is those things that truly bless us in the long run. We also got to attend a baptism for an investigator for the Creole Elders in our area. This is the first baptism in the ward for a long time and we are so excited to welcome Serge into the fold and watch him continue to learn and progress.

October 25: Today in church we learned a lot about the Just Serve program ( if you haven't heard of it check it out because it is absolutely amazing. It is the Craig's list for service and it is hosted by the church. Basically its a place to find out about service opportunities in your area and I'm so excited because the missionaries will be allowed to use and so we will get to do even more service and hopefully that will give people a better impression of the missionaries that we aren't just door knockers like the Jehovah Witnesses but that we love God and Jesus Christ and all we want to do is serve and help our fellow man. Also my family would be so proud of me. Today we got a call from a member in our area and her friend (who is in our ward) is in the hospital and she wondered if we ccould go and visit her. And despite my fear and hatred of hospitals we went and I made it in, had a long talk with this 97 year old ward member, and made it out of the hospital all without passing out. Once again God qualifies whom he calls.

Well that's all for this week just a reminder that missionaries love emails and letters and it really makes our day/week to hear from all of you.

Love you all,
Sister Jennings

My address:
2031 S. Congress Ave. Apt #113 
Boynton Beach, FL 33426

Monday, October 19, 2015

#Paradise City

Hey ya'll long time no email. It has been forever especially with MTC p-day being Thursday then leaving for the field on Tuesday morning and the mission field p-day is on Monday. So its been like a week and a half without getting to email and receive emails and let me tell ya its been a long time and nothing makes a missionary happier than logging on to an email full of emails.
So here is a rundown of the week and wow let me tell ya I've seen so many miracles (I've also not seen all the miracles) that God has bestowed upon me so don't think that what I tell ya is all that is happening because as it says in Malachi 3:10 "there shall not be room enough to [write] it."
Friday October 9: We got to meet and hang out a little more with the awesome new district that I talked about in my last email. Man these guys are so cool and California, Colorado, and Missouri are so lucky to receive such awesome missionaries.
Saturday October 10: Erika told us that she didn't really care what God thought about her but what the people around her did, and this made us super sad because if you always compare yourself to the others around you then you will never be happy. We told her that as she impresses God she will impress the man that she wants to marry. But for everyone as we impress God we will make the friends and acquaintances that we need to because God puts the people in our life that we need to meet and as we strive to have a better relationship with him he will help us improve the other relationships in our life. Also as we taught Dawaun I learned that we need to follow all of the promptings that we receive and I missed an opportunity to help Dawaun because I didn't follow the prompting. But don't worry I repented and in my next several lessons with different investigators I followed the promptings and was blessed for it.
Sunday October 11: So we finally had a normal Sunday where we go to lots of meetings (as a Sister Training Leader you have to be a part of all the ward meetings). We also got to go walk up to the temple which was awesome. I love the temple and I love the peace that we can feel on temple grounds and the love of God that we can feel in his houses, so if you haven't been to the temple recently then you need to make an effort to get back to it because it is AWESOME!! Even better than going to just any temple, I got to go to Provo temple which is my temple! Also today we had sacrament and the 2 districts headed to Florida all got up and sang a special musical number The EFY Medley (if you don't know what it sounds like YouTube it), and it turned out amazing which was awesome because we really did not have a lot of time to practice singing it. Today we also had a departing devotional for all of us missionaries leaving the MTC and our leaving group was so big they had to put us in 2 rooms. There were 500 missionaries leaving Provo and headed out to the field to help the Lord do his work. That is amazing!!!
Monday October 12: Today was my last day in the MTC since we leave tomorrow morning very early to head to Florida. We got to practice teaching Less Actives and we were teaching Kara and JC (these are once again our teachers but when we walk in the room to teach they are no longer our teachers but our investigators). I learned while teaching JC that sometimes you need to be bold and those your teaching may not like the things you tell them but if they want their life to improve then they need to listen. Also our teacher shared an amazing scripture with us: Mosiah 18:30. "And now it came to pass that all this was done in [Florida], yea, by the waters of [Florida], in the forest that was near the waters of [Florida]; yea, the place of [Florida] , the waters of [Florida], the forest of [Florida], how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer; yea, and how blessed are they, for they shall sing to his praise forever." Man I am so excited to serve in Florida and I know that the Lord has prepared people for me.
Tuesday October 13: Leaving for Florida begins at 3:30 am, that's right as in the morning like before the sun early. We got to the airport and some nice people let me use their phone to call my family. So lesson for the day if you are ever in the airport and have a little extra time on your hands and you see a missionary let them use your phone because if they hadn't have let me use their phone I would not have been able to call my family. Also on our first flight we were traveling with a group of people going on a church history tour and the tour leaders were the writers of Meridian Magazine (an LDS magazine) and they took some photos of us and are going to be publishing them in their magazine (supposedly). So if you see the picture you should email or send it to me.
Wednesday October 14: Transfer day!! Found out I'm serving in Delray Beach South which is part of the Paradise City Zone so that is why its titled #Paradise City because that's where I'm at. My trainer is Sister King and she is awesome. Also we are whitewashing our area (they took both missionaries out and are putting two new missionaries in).
Thursday October 15: This is my first full day in the mission field! Found out that we will be doing a lot of knocking right now because we have absolutely no investigators. But hey that's okay because that means the Lord is just preparing some amazing people for us to teach. So funny story from knocking we were in this Haitian (kind of ghetto) area and there were a group of kids playing on the sidewalk and one of the kids ran up and gave me a hug. As we kept walking we overheard his friend say to him "Why did you hug a white person?". Hahaha kids are so funny but the cool thing was is they can see the light of Christ emanating from us and they want that.
Saturday October 16: I know I skipped Friday and that is because this is a ridiculously long email and we mainly experienced a few miracles while knocking (because we do a lot of knocking). Today we had a young woman from the ward come out with us and she loves coming out with the missionaries. Everyone, the missionaries love it when you volunteer to go out knocking, teaching, etc. with them. Also saw a funny sign  on a church board "If Satan offers you a treat, its a trick" so just remember that Halloween themed message because its true!
Well that's all I have time for and I know this was a really long email because I haven't had p-day in forever. Just know that I love all of you!
My New Address:
Sister Kelsey Jennings
2031 S. Congress Ave. Apt. 113
Boynton Beach, FL 33426
Love you lots,
Sister Jennings

Here are some photos:

Trio Companionship: Sister Olsen, Me, Sister Peart

MTC District: Elder Millard, Elder Turner, Elder Bean, Elder Shipaanboord, Me, Sister Olsen, Sister Peart

Florida Fort Lauderdale Missionaries (FFLM): Sister Peart, Sister Olsen, Me, Elder Welch, Elder Lewis, Elder Lloyd, Elder Deklerk

Me and my New companion Sister King

Thursday, October 8, 2015

12 Day Miracles

Hello everyone! I promise I am not dead though it may seem like it since it has been more than a week since I entered the MTC. Well having P-day on Thursday means that I only get one here and my next email will be from Fort Lauderdale (or my first area in my mission). So to get everything I want to say I am just going to go day by day.

September 30: First day in the MTC and man it is crazy and a rush of getting everything you need and finding your class and where you live and being totally lost in our new little city. So my District is 4 Elders and 3 Sisters so you guessed it that means I'm in a trio and so I have two companions Sister Peart and Sister Olsen. Also our zone has two districts that entered today and all 15 of us are going to Florida except half of us our going to the Florida Tallahassee mission and the other half are going to the Florida Fort Lauderdale mission. As we continued through our day we gathered as new missionaries and sang Called to Serve and it truly was amazing and sounded like an army of missionaries singing and the power in the room was just incredible and words cannot describe it. Also on the first day at the MTC you get an orange dot on your name tag (the Dork Dot) and because of this magical dot you get said "Welcome to the MTC" like a million times.... in reality it was probably only several thousand....just kidding again it was probably like 3,000 times. Also today we taught our first investigator like the MTC believes in baptism by fire because we were instantly thrown into a room with 30 other missionaries and expected to teach 3 different investigators and let me tell you it was like the most frustrating thing ever. Like I thought it would be hard to be unified with my companion (did not think that I would start out being in a trio) but with 30 people being unified is next to impossible and so those poor (real) investigators were probably just incredibly confused.

October 1: Today we learned that at the MTC you majorly teach yourself like we don't have teachers except for like 6 hours a day and so the majority of our time is spent studying on our own without supervision, which on some days is not the best and other days I feel like I grow immensely. Also today we found out about our first two investigators Dawaun and Shirley. These new investigators are actually our teachers Brother Aston and Sister Eaton, but once we enter the room to teach them they are no longer our teachers but our investigators. I mean at night we pray for our teachers but we also individually pray for our investigators and we ask for help for them and guidance so that we can teach them better. Also today we had our first zone meeting and my companions and I became the new Sister Training Leaders (STL) this is like the female Zone leaders we help to lead our zone and will participate in zone meetings on behalf of the sisters.

October 2: Today was our first day at gym and I was surprised at how fit I seemed to be as I didn't get as tired as I usually do when I exercise for 45 minutes. The Lord truly does bless his missionaries and he is definitely blessing me with health both in the ability to run and not be weary and kneel without knee pain. Also today we found out about our new 3rd investigator named Erika and I am super excited to teach her. Turns out the Sisters in our zone who are leaving this week also taught her and said that they think she is a real investigator and not just a member pretending to be an investigator so that is a little more pressure on us but I am just so excited to teach her!! Today we got to teach our two other investigators and it was absolutely amazing seeing the power of God but also seeing how much room I have for improvement as a teacher. We taught Dawaun in the afternoon and it was the first time teaching and I definitely was super nervous. As a companionship we had planned a lesson and all had fervent prayers in our heart that we would be able to feel the spirit as we taught and that we could be guided. As we went in to teach we were in no ways perfect and messed up a whole lot of things but the spirit was there and it filled the room and we received the coolest inspiration on what we should talk about but more importantly what we should not mention at all and it was amazing to see and experience that direct talking with the Holy Ghost.

October 3: Today our schedule was messed up but that's okay because the reason it was messed up was GENERAL CONFERENCE!!! The opportunity to hear the prophets speak and to receive that personal message from God. I'm not going to share any insights now because I don't have like a tremendous amount of time but anyone who would like to talk conference I would love to get your emails and talk about what we learned during conference because it was absolutely amazing! 3 new apostles!!!

October 4: More conference and it was totally awesome to hear from our prophets and church leaders. While during the breaks between conference sessions we were sitting by a district of Elders headed to Russia and we challenged each other to a riddle conference and it was a fun way to get to know other districts and to grow in camaraderie as the MTC and not just our district. Today is also Sunday and so there are just even more amazing experiences to here to partake in. So we always have a Sunday devotional and this week it was Vocal Point. If you don't know who that is (I didn't before today) then go and look them up they are an amazing LDS a Capella group that sings church music and they are absolutely amazing. After devotional it was movie time and the MTC has an amazing selection of LDS movies and talks that we can watch but before coming I'd always been told to watch "Character of Christ" by Elder Bednar because you can only watch it in the MTC. Let me tell your it was life changing and mission changing and it was absolutely amazing and I wish that I could watch it again after the mission.

October 5: Today was our first day teaching Erika and she has an absolutely amazing story that I will have to tell the full extent of later but for now I'll just tell ya that She has the missionaries for over 4 years and has been taking lessons here at the MTC for 4 months and she doesn't see baptism being in sight. Today while teaching Dawaun and Shirley we got them both to pray. Dawaun was super nervous about it but I just promised him the blessings he would get and told him his Heavenly Father just wanted to talk to him and he then became willing to pray. Okay now for the funny stories of today because I feel like so far I haven't really shared how much fun the MTC is and it is not all class and learning but we actually have a lot of good laughs here. So today at lunch the guys started arm wrestling and man they are super strong and it was funny to see how determined they were to win because they were not going to lose. It then evolved to Chinese Arm Wrestling which is basically trying to get your companion to slap his own face. Well the Elder that slapped his own face (very jokingly) stood up all offended said goodbye to the ladies and stormed off and for the rest of the evening kind of jokingly held it over the Elders heads. Also while we were at dinner Sister Peart was sitting next to an Elder from another district and they were all talking and conversing. The Elders left and a few minutes later we left as well. As we were walking back to class he came up to us to ask for Sister Peart's email. Sister Olsen was then like "Are you like asking for her number?" and the Elder was like "Yeah, the Missionary way". Super funny though is Sister Peart has a boyfriend and so she told the Elder to get mine and Sister Olsen's emails instead. So that is how I got the email of a random Elder. [Note: this is not appropriate Elder behavior to flirt and ask for Sisters numbers/emails].

October 6: Today I realized that I could potentially become a runner. I know the apocalypse is happening for anyone who truly knows me, I believe that running should be saved for life and death situations, so I never thought that I would enjoy jogging. But beside that, today we found out why Erika is  such a challenge, she wants to know all about the deep doctrines of the church before she gets baptized so that she doesn't feel inadequate. Also kind of funny today the Elders in my district have decided to call our teacher Sister Eaton Mom. Today we participated in choir and it was an amazing spiritually experience of learning more about the power of prayer through music. Our devotional was Linda K. Burton the General Relief Society President for the church so needless to say it was amazing.

October 7: We got a new district today and they are headed all over the United States which is cool but also kind of sad for them. Today we also got to do service which is basically cleaning and maintaining the MTC but it was awesome. The guy who was in charge of us goes to BYU so that was cool to talk to him. Today as a companionship we were totally not unified and everyone could tell like I never understood that before but now after going through it being unified is the most important thing because it affects everything: how you learn, how you teach, how you react, etc.

October 8: Today, yes this is today, right now, as I sit on this computer having an amazing P-Day.

You see so many people at the MTC that you know so here are a few:
Sisters - Boden, Bills, Miyazawa, Price, Davis
Elders - Carter, Bradford, Wood, Lloyd, Thorpe, Seaman

Man the MTC is so cool and I am loving it and it seems super weird that I leave on Tuesday for the mission field. Sorry this is such a long email and that it seems so chaotic and sporadic.

Also your probably wondering why this email is titled 12 day miracles. Well that is the nickname for groups like us, we are only in the MTC for 12 days and so as we leave we are literally 12 day miracles.


Sister Kelsey Jennings

P.S. get on and send me an email they get printed off like mail and missionaries love to get mail and I mean like love to get mail. My unit is 79 and my departure date is OCT 13. Send me something like seriously.