Monday, April 28, 2014

Missions-When Nothing is out of the Ordinary

Hello family! How is everyone? I hope you are all doing well! Life here in Puyallup is great! This week was...well, kind of strange. It was a great week, just strange. Which explains the subject line of the email....I'll tell you more about it throughout this email :) Just warning you though, some of it is pretty disgusting. 
I'll start off with the gross story so we get it over with pretty quickly. :) So there is a trailer park in our area that a couple of members live in and some people that have investigated in the past. We went there several times this week and met this guy the first day we were there. He was sitting outside his trailer with several cats surrounding him. While talking with him we discovered that he has SIXTEEN cats!!! That is A LOT of cats. But, that is not the disgusting part. As we were talking with him, one of his cats felt the need to go to the bathroom fairly close to us. The cat farted and had disgusting diarrhea. It was so gross and the guy just laughed and said, "you didn't have to go where we could see AND hear you!" Sister Hopkins and I were mortified. It was probably the most disgusting thing I have ever seen. Also, I've never heard a cat fart before. That was weird. (Mom, you don't have to post that story on my blog. :))
I learned a lot this week about how Heavenly Father truly is looking out for us and that He has a plan, even if we can't see it. I have been struggling feeling like we are in this alone in this area because there are not many people who are willing to help us. On Sunday at ward council, I went in prepared to be disapointed. However, Heavenly Father had a way different plan. He showed me that the members really are willing to help and they love this work. Not only did that happen, several of the members that are less-active that we have been visiting were at church! And we had an investigator there! It was amazing! Then, this morning in my personal study, I read in Alma 29. Verse 3 says, "But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me." I realized that I had been wishing for things to be different here. That I was wishing the members would know what we needed without us having to shove it in their faces. But that is not what the Lord has given me. I am learning so much about humility here! It's great! :) 
We had exchanges with the STL's this week. It was great! I love exchanges because they allow me to learn from other sisters! Sister Taylor came to my area and Sister Hopkins went to hers with Sister Wolfe. Sister Taylor is amazing. She taught me so much! 
We had a mission devotional last night for members, their friends, recent converts, and investigators. Sister Hopkins and I sang in the mission choir. We sang "Sweet Hour of Prayer" and our mission hymn, "Hark All Ye Nations." It went well and the Spirit was definitely felt by many! There were so many people in attendance! The whole Chapel was filled and the cultural hall was filled almost all the way back to the stage! And it was our first one! I got to see Angie there! It was great to see her! She should be getting baptized next month! I am so excited for her! I WILL be there! :D 
Well, that is about all there is to report this week! Wait, have any of you been studying from Preach my Gospel? If not, you should definitely get a copy and study from it! It was great that we, as members, were counseled to read it in this past General Conference! Preach my Gospel is not just for missionaries! It helps us ALL to know how we can improve and become more like our Savior! 
Stay strong, Pray fervently, and Live courageously! I love you all!
Sister Keele

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

April 21, 2014

Hola Familia!! How are you all? I hope you all had a great Easter celebrating the Resurrection of our Savior! If you haven't gotten a chance to, check out the video on It is a great video titled "Because of Him" that really touched my heart! I'm sure you will all enjoy it! 
On to this week! This week was an interesting one. We have been struggling with meeting our goals each day and feeling like we haven't succeeded. I have been slowly realizing that it isn't our numbers that matter. If we witness a miracle and can't count it as a lesson, oh well! It counts to us and to Heavenly Father! I'm so glad that I have been given this chance to realize that!
We live in this apartment complex that has little pods of 4 apartments grouped in a circle. There are about 10 pods and next to ours, there is a little playground for the kids. There's a little boy that always plays there named Colin and he is a little bugger. But so cute! He lives with his grandma and when we found that out, I admit, I judged his parents for not being there. All I could thing was how sad it was that this little 6 year old boy was being raised by his grandmother because his parents couldn't do it. But, I learned a lesson when Colin wanted us to meet his grandmother. We ended up talking to her for about 45 minutes and in the course of our conversation, we found out that Colin's father isn't around because he is very sick and has some pretty bad heart problems. He has just had a pacemaker put in and is waiting for a heart transplant. I felt so bad for judging them righteously. It is by no fault of their own that they cannot be there to raise their child. It just showed me how much we need to always give people the benefit of the doubt. We are ALL Heavenly Father's children and we ALL deserve to be treated as such! This was reiterated on Sunday when our Stake President got up and spoke in Sacrament meeting. He said, "Is deservedness criteria for charity? NO!" He then went on to talk about how we are trying to become like Jesus Christ and He performed the Atonement for us when we did not deserve it, even a little bit! I am so grateful for that! And I am grateful for being able to learn this lesson this week! I am truly learning so much! 
There isn't much more to report this week! But I am VERY blessed to be serving a mission! I love it so much and I am so excited for what is to come in the future! I love you all! Have a great week!!!
Sister Keele

Monday, April 14, 2014

Social Boundaries: GONE

Hello Family! How has your week been? I hope good! I've had a good week here! Hard, but good! I love being a missionary. It is the greatest thing I have ever done!! 
So we have been visiting a lady in a private neighborhood recently. There are members that live there as well, so sometimes we go see our investigator and then walk to a member's home. We came out of our investigators home and found a sticky note on our car that said, " To whom it may concern, this car is seen in this neighborhood often. You are not visiting friends or family. No soliciting is allowed- see sign at gate. If this continues, I will have your car towed away." When we read that, we were shocked. Was someone really that angry that we were there? Did he have nothing better to do with his life than put angry sticky notes on our car? How rude! We were sitting there in shock and not knowing what to do. We were so upset. We prayed and asked Heavenly Father to help us to forgive the person that did it. We prayed that his heart would be softened and not be upset by our being there. I immediately felt comfort. I hadn't forgiven him completely yet, but I felt comforted. The next time we were there, nothing was done to our car. I am still working on forgiving, but I know that no matter what, we are all children of Heavenly Father and that He loves us unconditionally. 
I got a letter this week from Sister Carlin. All it said is that Angie, Laine, and Isabel are getting baptized on the 26th!!!! I am so excited to attend that baptism!! I will be there, no matter what it takes!!! I am so happy that they have chosen to be baptized! I cannot wait to see them again!! 
We go to an adult group home every week and there is the cutest little 82 year old man there. He had gotten a haircut this week and Sister Hopkins said to him, "Jim! You're looking spiffy with that new haircut!" To which he replied, "Oh you like that huh? It's alright...I just feel like an airhead now!" We were dying laughing!! It made it even funnier that he was laughing so hard at his own joke! It was great! There is also a 35ish year old man there. He has epilepsy and some complications because of that. We were talking to Jim about something and he got frustrated and wanted to say something. He started yelling Sister Hopkins name and getting frustrated that she wasn't answering. It was hilarious! He was able to come to church this week and he loved it! He keeps asking us to baptize him! He doesn't quite understand that Sister Hopkins and I can't do that. haha
So this week Sister Hopkins and I were trying to do different things to try and find more people to teach. We walked so much! But it seems like everyone runs when they see us! ha. So we saw this woman and said hello to her but she just kept walking and didn't stop to talk to us. After she was already down the street, I got the impression that we needed to give her a picture of Christ. AFTER she had already walked away. We literally ran down the street to catch up with her. When we finally caught up with her, we said, "We saw you down the street and felt like we needed to give you this picture." She said, "I have my own Bible. I'm Pentacostal. I don't need that." We tried to explain that it was a picture and we weren't trying to change her religion. She wasn't having it and just walked away from us. I was so bummed. We have been struggling to find more people to teach and we tried so hard to follow the Spirit and we were turned down. But then Sister Carlin's voice came into my head saying, "Sometimes we are asked to follow a prompting so that Heavenly Father can show us that we do have faith. It isn't always to show Him our faith, sometimes, it is for us." Even though it was disappointing, I learned something about my faith. And I am grateful for that! And now you know that as missionaries we have no social boundaries. We run after people on the street. haha. 
To end this letter, I wanted to share something with you all that I learned this week. I was studying about hope. In Preach my Gospel there is a quote from President James E. Faust. He says, "Hope is the anchor of our souls." I loved that! As I was studying about hope, I learned that an anchor is a source of confidence. and that hope is expecting that something will happen. So if we say, "I hope that Heavenly Father will answer my prayers," we are really saying, "I expect that Heavenly Father will answer my prayers." That doesn't mean that we are demanding things, it just means that we understand the concept of, "ask and ye shall receive." The real question is, is our anchor in the right place? Is our source of confidence something of the world, or is it Jesus Christ? I know that if our anchor is Jesus Christ, we can never fail! We will triumph over all! We will still need to work and work hard, but we will not drift away! I invite you all to evaluate where your anchor is this week and make changes in your lives, if necessary. I can promise you that you will be blessed if you do so! I love you all! Have a great week!
Sister Keele

Monday, April 7, 2014

Hello family! This week has been great! I love my new area and my new companion! Her name is Sister Hopkins and she is from Provo and has been out almost a year. We get along great and have lots of fun, almost too much fun! haha! So the apartment that we are in has had missionaries for a really long time and there's a bunch of random stuff in the apartment. We have two bedrooms and there's one bedroom with a bunch of bags of clothes and other random things, so we decided to go through it on one of our lunch breaks. The clothes were ridiculous...definitely from the 90's. haha. Sister Hopkins put on almost all of the clothes, at the same time. We took a picture and we were laughing SO HARD. I will send you that picture in a different email. :) We also found a Nerf gun and a little spud shooter. We have been having fun with those during our lunch and dinner breaks. haha. Missions are so much fun! :) 
Now to explain the subject of this email. To make a long story short, there's a kid that lives in our apartment complex that is a complete spaz. He sort of terrifies me. haha. I got out of the car one day to go eat dinner and he came over on his bike and was trying to run my feet over. Yes, this little 6 year old kid was trying to run my feet over with his bike. I was trying to get away from him and so I put my hand on his shoulder and kind of jumped to the side. He then screamed out, "haha!!! You touched me! Now you're a slobber zombie!!!" I almost died laughing. This kid also likes to tell people that he's John Sena (I think I spelled that correctly). He came up to us one day and said, "I'm John Sena! You can't see me!!!" and then told us we had better good or he would get us. Hence, why the child sort of terrifies me. haha.  
Now on to more important things. :) We had a lesson with one of our investigators who is basically a less active member, but has never been baptized. He went to the singles ward in Everett for 2 years and loved it and was taught all of the lessons, but wasn't baptized. We asked him how his Book of Mormon reading has been going and we were a little disappointed because he said he hadn't really read. But then we asked him how his prayers have been going and he lit up! He said that he felt like he had been forgiven as soon as his prayer was done. And that he felt so good inside and that the feeling was almost too much to hold inside. We read Doctrine and Covenants 9 with him and explained that that was the Holy Ghost. We invited him to be baptized on May 10th. He is now praying about that day! We texted him a few days ago and asked how his prayers have been going he said that he felt enlightened. Hopefully he will recognize the answers to his prayers, along with that great feeling!
Did you all get a chance to watch conference? I hope so! It was so good! If not, it should be online in the next few days! I loved every second of it! Conference is like Christmas to missionaries! And it comes 2 times a year, not just once! :D I really liked the talk about being grateful. I can't remember who gave the talk though. He said that we shouldn't be grateful FOR things but that we should be grateful IN our circumstances, no matter what they are. He told a story about a man that went to a restaurant to eat. At the end of the meal, the waiter came and asked how the meal was. The man replied with, "It was great, as usual. But more bread would have made it even better." The next day the man came back and the waiter doubled the amount of bread. At the end of the meal, the man still had the same reply. The same thing happened the next day when the waiter, again, doubled the amount of bread. Finally, the next day the man came back again and the waiter had a great idea. She grabbed a 9 foot long loaf of bread and cut it in half and gave it to the man. At the end of the meal she asked how it was. The man replied with, "It was great, but I see you're back to only giving 2 pieces of bread." I hope that we can all be grateful in our circumstances, no matter what they are. There is always something to be grateful for. Last night we were talking with a family that are potential investigators. We told them this story and her young boy said, "What if I'm being bullied at school? Is there something good in that?" His mom looked at him, concerned, and was about to reply when her son said, "Well, I guess if I got pushed to the floor, I could find a lucky quarter!" We established that her son was not being bullied at school and kind of moved on. I thought about his comments after we left and realized, that even in the worst of times, we can find that lucky quarter. The Savior is that goodness for us. He understands us completely and unconditionally. I am so grateful for that! I hope that this week we can find the good in our circumstances, no matter what! 
I love you all! Have a great week! 
Sister Keele

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Transfers: Monday April 1, 2014

Hello family!! SO this week is transfers...and I GOT TRANSFERED!!! I'm going to the other side of the mission in Graham. I'm really sad to leave Tiffany Park, but I know Graham will be great as well. I feel like I am leaving home. I love the people here so much and I could stay here forever. It was sad saying good-bye to our investigators and members. But, I know that this is the Lord's plan for me!
So this past week was a great one! We had a lesson yesterday with our investigator, Angie. When we first met her, she wasn't sure if she believed in God or not. This week, she bore her testimony to us of the Savior and how she doesn't need to rely on anyone else, but Him. It was amazing and we were all crying. Yesterday, we had a lesson with her, and I had to say good-bye. It was one of the hardest good-byes I've ever had to say. But, we also committed her to be baptized on April 26th, so I will be back in Tiffany Park in no time! It is amazing the love that you have for the people you teach. It is unlike any other love!
I'm not sure what else to write this week. But, I'll send lots of pictures to make up for it. I have learned so much here in Tiffany Park and I'm so grateful that the Lord sent me here! I am going to miss it here and I'm going to miss Sister Carlin, but I am going to love Graham! Heavenly Father knows what is best for us, and I trust Him! :)
I love you all!
Sister Keele