Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Elli's next three letters..................


where do I even start? I can NOT believe it is already Monday again, the weeks are FLYING. for goodness sakes today marks 8 months as a missionary and I AM FREAKING OUT. where did all the time go? SO CRAZY and SO SO SO HAPPY.
the funny:
we had a lesson with a crazy less-active who tricked us into thinking he was going to jail for a year? but we arent actually sure if he was joking... the doorbell rang in the middle of the lesson and he started crying and told us he was off to jail but actually the front desk man was at the door dropping off some clothes for him... so we ignore that and keep teaching him and then suddenly he starts screaming as he stands up and is literally going crazy ripping his pants off because there was a spider on him that we found out later wasnt real... SO WEIRD, SO AWKWARD, AND SO DANG FUNNY.
our chinese investigators came to english class again and after class sister davis was asking duan about his new sweatpants he was wearing... he got a little offended because he didnt understand what sweatpants were and so he thought we were telling him they were "sweaty pants" hahahahaha
We had this NASTY mold growing above our ceiling so we told the front desk and they came and literally just cut the moldy part of the ceiling off. Later that day, I was walking by the bathroom and suddenly there was a stream of water coming from the ceiling and part of the wall fell off. hahaha gotta love the Aspen...
Sister Davis locked me out on the balcony this week and proceeded to tell me that she wouldnt let me in unless I knocked on the window 22 times, danced like a monkey for 20 seconds, and sing called to serve as loud as I could. so naturally I completed this task with multiple construction workers down below pointing and laughing #thankssisterd

SO BASICALLY this week was a dream. We had a lesson with Jean and one of our ward missionaries on monday night about TRUTH. He was EATING it up. He loved it and the spirit was so strong. He is doing SO well and LIVING THE COMMANDMENTS! It is incredible. He is SO close, we dont have him on date again, but we will soon!
Nick our AWESOME invsestigator texted us and let us know that he doesnt want to meet anymore. That was REALLY really hard for us and he wouldnt get back in touch with us for a while. the good news is that he finally called us back and apologized for ignoring us and asked if we could clear up his confusion regarding what he thinks we believe. We are really really really excited to teach him again, he is the greatest.
Duan and Danny came to church this week!!! which was AWESOME! they are both from China and are students here and are SO INCREDIBLE. they LOVE coming to church and mingling with the members that are INCREDIBLE fellow shippers, we have to pass them to the elders (since they are mandarin speaking) but we still get to teach them in English class which will be so much fun. they are just the greatest.
We got a SUPER RAD new investigator Rodney (surprise surprise another male investigator) who is the coolest ever. He met with the missionaries a year ago but was dropped because he was way hard to get a hold of, we were able to meet with him and testify SUPER boldly of God's love and the incredible peace we feel when we come close to him, it was an absolute miracle.
We were able to contact on the nothern virginia community college campus this week that is out of our area but we got permission since there is a large number of Young Single Adults and it was A DREAM!!!! we got 2 new investigators and even more potentials. It was so cool, the power behind testifying is INCREDIBLE. Man I LOVE THIS WORK
This week was particularly challenging in the sense that I was feeling SO DISTRACTED. It was really getting me down and making me not want to work... which then made me anxious... which then made me mad... man the struggle was real. but yesterday it was INCREDIBLE to see the power that comes to us when we really focus on others. We had a lesson last night where we felt impressed to show the "Because He Lives" video and while we were playing it I got emotional as I realized HOW HAPPY this gospel is.  There is no place I would rather be right now! There are so many reasons why I love being here, there are so many people that truly are waiting for this message, and there are so many miracles that come FLOODING when we let the Lord take the reins. MAN this is just SO GOOD!!!! The church is so TRUE and there are SO SO SO MANY blessings that we receive that we take for granted so easily. I have so much faith that when we really put this work and our LIVES into God's hands, he will BLESS US! He wants to bless us, he wants to make us happy, but so many blessings that we receive are conditional on our asking for them and on our personal responsibility to be OBEDIENT.  There is so much perfection in this sweet work, I am so blessed to have all of you in my life and I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ that truly does change our eternities.
keep it real and keep the faith
sister kennedy

HAPPY ARE WE.... APRIL 13, 2015

The funny:
 THIS RANDOM crazy asian man came to church yesterday and he literally tried to convince our gospel essentials class that 1. our veterans also atoned for our sins so we should worship them as "mini-jesus's" 2. that Christ never actually died he was just "in a coma" 3. that God doesnt want peace, "He creates war, not us" 4. that rather than "are we not all beggars" we should say "are we not all harlots" and 5. The only reason Christ understands us is because "Pain is the greatest teacher of them all". Sister Davis was literally laughing SO HARD that tears were coming down her face. bad news is that we had 4 investigators there, 3 of which are from china and were already confused so there was ALL SORTS of commotion. #thankyoucolonial1stward


so thursday was transfers. yikes. our District Leader called and Sister Davis and I just cringed as we sat on our beds doing all we could to keep ourselves from crying... WHEN SUDDENLY HE TOLD US WE WERE BOTH STAYING AND WE LITERALLY SCREAMED FOR A SOLID 30 MINUTES. Sister Davis has been in this area for 3 transfers already and the only time our mission president keeps missionaries in one area for four is usually if their companion is going home or if they are training, BUT HERE WE ARE! HAPPY ARE WE! Because of this INCREDIBLE miracle that we are staying together we knew that the only way we could show our gratitude to our savior was through HARD WORK so we just started POUNDING THE PAVEMENT. holy smokes. SO INCRED.
So throughout the week we were seeing NOTHING, we were dropping people right and left and getting more rejections than we thought possible... so we decided that we needed to control what we could control and let God control the rest. AND THE MIRACLES WOULDNT CEASE.
So this week we had another lesson set up with nick, he texted us and told us that he didnt want to meet because he just needed to relax.  So we texted back and forth and he just kept telling us that he is just too tired and that this is "too much". That same day we had zone training and we were trained on PROMISING PEOPLE BLESSINGS. so sister davis and I prayed and felt impress to promise him that if he reads the book of mormon and PRAYS about it that he will have energy. Sounds crazy, but we send him this and he texts us back 20 minutes later with, "just prayed and started reading the book of mormon. immediately felt energized and the air smelled sweet". THE LORD blesses us with what we need to say when we are in tune with the spirit! such a miracle.
That night we were able to go to dinner with one of my mom's good friends from High School and it was SO GREAT! we had such a good time with such great people :) such a little miracle to find connections all the way out here on the east coast!
We had English class with Lucy, Duan, and their friend Danny and it was INCREDIBLE. we talked about general conference, what they liked about it, and what we can help them understand. IT WAS AWESOME. we talked about what the savior can do for us and why he is the head of our church. We ended with a prayer and invited them all to come to church on Sunday. THEY ALL DID. AND THEY ALL STAYED FOR ALL 3 HOURS. it was miraculous. They want to talk about testimonies, conversion, and Joseph Smith this week in English class. SO. COOL.

so friday night rolls around and we are NOT receiving any revelation as to where God wants us that evening, so we decide that we are going to go check on an investigator who hasnt returned our calls for a couple days, we go and we had an extremely awkward lesson with him that left us feeling frustrated that we werent where we needed to be, so we left and went to go street contact the pier but we did NOT feel that that was right either, so frustrated we started walking back to the car stopping and talking to the people on our way. While we were crossing the street, I hear Sister Davis scream, ANDREW!? and lo and behold HER COUSIN IS CROSSING THE STREET TOWARD US. He was FREAKING out as he told us that he was in town for 3 days for a work conference staying with some friends who arent members! we were able to meet their friends and have a great chat with them. later, andrew emails sister davis and tells her that this friend he was staying with he felt a very strong prompting to share the gospel with but every idea he had to bring it up or to share was NOT WORKING. We met them on their way to dinner, they changed their dinner plans 5 or 6 times until they finally decided where they wanted to go and when. Andrew was stuck in traffic for a while, finally found a parking space, was running over to the restaraunt when we ran into him. AFTER we met him and his friends, they were asking him questions about the church and about what we really believe, by the end of it he ASKED ANDREW if he could have missionaries sent to his home to teach him!! SO STINKING COOL! we will be heading their way very soon :)
SATURDAY is just as miraculous, still feeling like we are not receiving much revelation, we just start driving to a part of our area that is pretty far out and pray that God will bless us with people if we show our faith and ACT. So we get to the Washington Square apartments and decided to park and start knocking, as we are walking up to the building we want to knock, there are 3 men sitting on their porch that we stop and talk to. All of them were from Ghana (HOLLER) and one of them is a preacher in North Dakota. We sat on his porch talking with him and teaching him for close to 45 minutes and we shared the "Because He Lives" video. IT WAS INCREDIBLE. No he didnt want us to come back, and no he didnt want to learn more, but there is so much POWER is listening and testifying. We read in the Book of Mormon with him and in the Bible and we discussed why we need both records to receive a FULLNESS of the Gospel of our Savior Jesus Christ, he committed to reading the Book of Mormon and PRAYING to know if it truly is from God. so so so cool.
Then we were walking and we saw a guy parking who looked like a Young Single Adult! #holler. that does NOT happen enough... but MAN WAS HE INCREDIBLE. His name is Brian and he is just a total miracle. He has met with missionaries in the past and he wants to meet again, SO COOL.
fast forward to sunday night... STILL not really receiving revelation as to where to go so we just pick a random apt complex and GO TO TOWN. we are knockin and talkin all day and this way we found these 3 sweet south african women. one of which told us that she used to go to our church with her auntie when she was a little girl in south africa! We we totally shocked and THEN SHE STARTED SINGING I AM A CHILD OF GOD. #wut. is this real life? We showed her "Because He Lives" and then we started teaching her the restoration. it was an absolute miracle. We are going back to teach her more :)
and now for the greatest miracle of all, after the south african ladies sister davis had to go to the bathroom WAY bad so we were debating driving somewhere or walking to the gas station. we decided on the gas station so we could talk to more people on the way. as we were walking, there were 2 people walking toward us who looked super scary and were not very approachable, and when we got closer they started walking away from us to get to the other side but we lightly jogged over to them and started talking. We told them about God and His love for them and handed them Because He Lives cards. They were expressing their gratitude so deeply for us and stopping and talking to them. The woman looked at the man and said, "Kareem, I think this is the answer to your prayer". He got a little choked up as he told us that he has a wife, 2 little boys and 1 on the way and him and his wife both just lost their jobs. Because of this, they just lost their house and now they are just bouncing between friends in maryland, dc, and virginia. This woman (romaine, his cousin) and himself had just been in the store for 2 hours deciding what to buy with the few dollars they had and they were discussing what the next step is for his family. With tears in our eyes we asked if we could pray with them and right there on the corner of this busy street we all bowed our heads and asked God to bless this family. Romaine looked us in the eyes and said, "you 2 are the angels sent from heaven that I have been asking God for. I know He sent you here to us at this time today for a reason. you have something that can help us." and right then and there we bore testimony to them of the truthfulness of the gospel. We have a family home evening lesson set up with them and their families tonight and I couldnt be more grateful and excited.
I KNOW that God places us where we need to be exactly when we need to be there. I KNOW that God KNOWS and LOVES all his children so much and so fully that we cant even begin to comprehend it. I KNOW that the message of the restored gospel that we share is PERFECT, complete, and life changing. I know that Jesus Christ loves each of us so deeply that he truly did take upon himself every pain we have, are and ever will feel. I know that this church is true and I know that I am supposed to be right here, right now, for a reason. I love this sweet work and I love my sweet family that have raised me in a home with this knowledge so that I can have the opportunity to be here sharing it with everyone I see. I love you all so much. I am so incredibly blessed to be here.
keep it real and keep the faith


HOLY SMOKES WHAT A GOOD WEEK! so so so many miracles! I am so blessed to be here at this time with sister Davis seeing the work progress in this little part of the vineyard :) SO so so great
the funny:
1. So people here think I'm cool because I'm a hip hop dancer... (key word, THINK). and as missionaries we have to "back" our cars out of every parking lot, so I usually throw in a couple moves here and there to keep things exciting. SO yesterday, the elders in our district caught a glimpse of this and now they insist on "doing the kennedy" as they back up their cars and it is probably top 5 funniest things to watch, EVER. #worldsbestdistrict
2. yesterday sister davis and I were running out of a dinner appointment to get to a lesson to find that our car had been towed... we call our district leader who is laughing uncontrollably as he tells us that towing tickets aren't paid by the mission #ouch. $135 later I think we learned our lesson.
3. sister davis and I have an imaginary friend named susan that we like to blame everything on (yes. crazy, but you gotta do what you gotta do) and we have convinced the elders in our district that she is a real person that we are teaching hahahahaha.
5. Sister Davis and I thought it would be really funny to cut all my hair off last night. so we did. #9incheslater #soccermom
6. We street contacted into this creepy man who kept trying to hug me and get my number because my last name is Kennedy and he thinks President Kennedy is my great grandfather. #sorrybud
7. The man on the computer next to me is watching videos on how to do witchcraft.

SO as I am sure you all remember (because you all read my emails so thoroughly I am sure) we were supposed to have a baptism on easter! well, unfortunately that didnt happen and that was somewhat of a hard pill to swallow... BUT we learned soooo much and Jean is SO MUCH closer to baptism than he was last week, it is incredible. Now when we talk about it he tells us that he really wants to be baptized and he is excited to make this covenant he just wants to have more FAITH so that is what we are working on this week with him. He is such a miracle :)
Also this week, I went on exchanges with sister funk, what a champ. That night, we taught Lucy and Duan in English class. While we taught them, they told us that they really want to come to church! So we talked to them alllll about church and how it will help them come closer to Christ! They asked TONS of incredible questions about WHY God loves us when we are so imperfect and HOW they can feel that love, wow. It was incredible. At the end, Duan told us that he wanted to learn how to pray so that he could feel close to God. He prayed the most beauitful sincere prayer and the next week they came to conference! They told us that they couldnt understand much BUT they could "feel good from God" when the choir sang. SUCH a miracle :)
A HUGE PART of this week was METRO CONTACTING!!! AS A DISTRICT OF 9 MISSIONARIES WE GAVE OUT 2500 HUNDRED "BECAUSE HE LIVES" CARDS IN 6 HOURS. yeah. IT WAS SO SO SO SO INCREDIBLE! We have elders in our district that have special permission to have cameras and laptops to make movies/videos for the church news. ok. cool kids. SO thats why the pics I sent are such high quality.SO RAD. they are sending all those pics to church headquarters to show them what DC South is made of. so so so cool.
Now let's not forget NICK :) HE IS A CHAMP. Man he is just so incredible. We had a lesson with him this week about the gospel of Jesus Christ. HE. IS. SO. GREAT. We were planning on teaching the plan of salvation and when started, the spirit was NOT there at all. He was getting frustrated, we were getting frustrated, it was just BAD... but once we asked HIM what he needed we were really able to guide our teaching to his needs, it. was. awesome.  HE LOVED it and he LOVED knowing that God has put forth a plan for us to follow to be successful in this life and to be able to return and live with him again. He also came and watched conference and after the session he looked at us and said, "Sisters! I feel the spirit! I loved the speeches!" it was such a miracle.
I am SO GRATEFUL to be a part of a living church. I am so blessed to be here in Alexandria taking care of the incredible people who never cease to amaze me. I am so blessed to be companions with sister davis and to be working SO HARD that sometimes I want to cry because I am so tired. I am so grateful for President and Sister Riggs and for all that they do for me. I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and for the knowledge that I have that I can have TRUE JOY as I follow the teachings and prophecies in the Bible and the Book of Mormon. I am SO GRATEFUL TO BE A MISSIONARY! I am serious when I say I will never come home, I love it here. I love working hard. I love seeing miracles and I love the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. 
keep it real and keep the faith
sister kennedy

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