Monday, December 28, 2015


Hey all!

Wow! What a week! Christmas was truly amazing. I felt so so so happy. It is unlike any other feeling. I love Christmas in the mission. Yes, it was hard. Yes, it was wonderful.

Christmas Eve Hermana Mckendrick and I visited and sang to lots of Menos activos. It was so wonderful. The spirit of Christmas (Christ) was so strong. It brought so much joy! And everyone kept trying to give us food. Haha. Then we went to a huge park in our area and asked people if we could sing Christmas songs. We sang to probably about 30 people! And we got lots of addresses and numbers! OH! Funny story. As we were singing to a Less active she suggested we sing to the neighbors. Caroling is not something Chileans do so they were kinda confused. A 10 year old boy answered the door and then trying to offer us whatever they had he offered us cans of beer. We kindly declined with a chuckle and were given packets of ketchup instead. Haha.  The night of Christmas Eve we spend with Familia Latoja. Menos activos with a daughter on  a mission. The mom told us that having us there was like having her daughter there. :) So so sweet. I was so happy.

Christmas day we spent lunch with our Mamamita Andrea. She made us the cutest desserts. Thats where we skyped. What a blessing it was to see my beautiful family! I am so grateful to be an eternal family with those wonderful people! Yes, I cried. Yes, I laughed. I am also grateful for the Mieures who helped so much with that and I loved seeing them!

 Rosanna, Hermana Mckendrick and I on Christmas Eve.

I have been really humbled this week. Humbled by my Heavenly Father, my companion, our leaders, the ward. I know what it means when they say trial of faith by fire. In order for us to actually change and be better people we have to go through some uncomfortable and hard moments. More than 1 or 2. Being here I realize just how imperfect I am. I am trying to apply the atonement more. It is good that I am being humbled but yes I have had moments of resistance. Haha. It is all a learning process. Although, while much is a process, much can be changed in the moment. Your attitude, your vision, your accions. These things can change quickly. It is all up to us. This is something I am learning.

OH! Also this week, I pulled something in my knee on these hills and had to stay home ice it. Yet another experience to learn. My knee is fine now but I think Heavenly Father is really working on my right now. Its a blessing. :) I think. Hahaha. 

I love this work. I love being a missionary. I want so badly to be better.

I am so grateful to all of you who send me sweet Christmas emails. Thank you so so much. That means so much to me. I am blessed. Thank you.

Love you all!

Mucho amor! Olay!

Hermana Kelson

Monday, December 21, 2015

Feliz Navidad

Hola Todo!

Feliz Navidad!!!!!!!

This week started hard and ended great. Last Monday I was super depressed. So my companion suggested I get a Priesthood blessing. I did. WOW: The PRIESTHOOD IS SO REAL! IT WORKS! I have felt much better since then. I urge all to seek this beautiful gift whenever you can. 
Just a regular day in the Mish View :) Stunning, yeah?

I have been reading the conference talks for my langugage study. (in Spanish of course). Its easy for me to understand when I read. The talk by President Uchtdorf in the womans session of conference has really hit me. One quote that I really love, and I will paraphrase because i dont know it in English, says the best things in life, like homemade bread and marmalade, take PATIENCE and WORK. I am definitely learning those things here. Sometimes we just have to know that if we have patience and work hard, things will work out. They will get better. And we just have to smile along the journey. 
The Wall was just random while we were walking. Valpo is very artsy. Think of our Savior saying this.

We are teaching an abuelita named Maria right now. She is very catholic but very sweet. We are also teaching Alejandro and his mom Valentina. My companion and I think that Valentina is ready to progress and we hope that they keep their commitments. That is the hard part for people most the time, is keeping commitments. But that is the most important part because it is preparing them to make commitments with God: baptism, temple covenents, etc. 

The ward is good! We had a relief society activity this Friday. One thing I know for certain: Relief Society is the same in all the world. Haha. Okay, so not exactly the same. Chileans have better treats. You heard that right folks. Chileans have the best postres. Wowsa. Some think they are too sweet but I dont! We did a gift exchange and I got chocolate. CHACHING!

This weekend our mission put on a choral show for the public. There is a choir made up of 24 missionaries. No, I am not in it. They formed it before I came. But they are great! They sing choral Christmas stuff and Pentatonix too. Yeah, this is my mission, folks! They did it at the Playa de Deportes. Its like a stage with the ocean as the background. HOLY GORGEOUS! My companion and I had the chance to go twice. I got to see a lot of my friends from the CCM there! It was like seeing old friends or even family. It soothed my soul and helped me so so much to connect with them. Sadly, I didnt get very many pics with them.

Also this week, today in fact, our mission did a big Christmas activity for all the missionaries. We played games, did skits, ate food, and socialized. I got to wear pants for the first time in 2 months! It was a blast! If you want to see more pictures than the ones I sent then go to our mission blog. I believe it is called Vamos a Viña but I am not sure. :) There I saw more of my CCM friends. SO wonderful! Also, Quinton Dickerson (OHS)

I have been studying Faith in Jesus Christ this month. Faith is not passive. Faith is very much active. I urge you all to exercise your faith in Christ by acting on the words He taught while He was here on this earth. I know that He lived and died for me. I know He lived and died for you. I know that He loves us no matter what and came here to pray the price so that we can return home. We can never repay Him. Ever. But you know what? He doesnt want us too. He just wants us to use His Atonement as His Grace. May we all take the time to reflect on Christ this Christmas: the real reason for Christmas. 

I love you all! Thank you for your sweet emails and letters!
¡Feliz Navidad! ¡Cuidense! MUCHO AMOR ¡Olay!

Hermana Leah Kelson

Monday, December 14, 2015


Hola All!

Wow. Missionary work has lots of highs and lows. But you know, there are so many miracles here all the time! This week was kinda hard because the investigators we had when I first got here are not progressing. We have been praying to find new people to teach and praying that people keep their commitments. Our zone fasted again this Sunday for miracles. Miracles do happen! We have been contacting some great people!

The more I am with this ward the more I love them. They are a young ward but really great. People are so kind to feed us. Anyone who has ever fed the missionaries should automatically be accepted into the Celestial kingdom. :) (jk, the doctrine of Christ is a real thing) People dont have as much in my area. The outsides of their houses look very run down, the insides are usually nicer than they appear but people really are great and humble. This was especially aparent to me with INTERCAMBIOS this week. (I think that is exchanges in ingles). The Hermana leaders exchanged with us and I went to a different area, closer to Viña with Hermana De La Torre from Argentina. SHE IS SUCH A GREAT MISSIONARY! Holy moly! I learned so much from her! We taught a ton in the streets, in homes, everywhere. But her area is very quico. (like ritzy). It was very suburb california and people laugh at you when you try to approach them. Very interesting. That area also has bikes. WHAT!? So I rode a bike all day that day. Yes, I was terrified. Yes, I almost biffed it multiple times. Yes, we wore helmets. Yes, it is very hard in a skirt. Yes, it was a BLAST! Haha. But biking here in Valpo would be death because the hills are literally straight up. My calves are already beautiful after 1 week. 

I am slowly adjusting. People comment on my Spanish often. (good things and bad things) These Chilean people are wonderful! Blunt but wonderful! Jaja. I am getting a better grip of the language but it is definitely a process. That is like with most things. GOD WORKS THROUGH PROCESS! That is His way. That is always been His way and will forever be His way. 

We had the primary program in our ward yesterday. There were only about 7 kids and they asked me to play the piano for it in the moment. :) Definitely using my music a lot. My companion and I like to sing for people. We are asking Presidente Diaz if i can teach piano lessons.

We found Rudolph in Chile!

I am so grateful to all of your for your support and love. I am overwhelmed by it actually. You all keep my going when things get really hard. I thank my Heavenly Father for all of you! What a blessing it is to focus on our Savior at this time of year. If you have not seen the new Christmas video by the church I invite you to watch it. He came to save YOU! And me. And all of us. And because he did we can return to a loving Heavenly Father! What a blessing!

Hermana Leah Kelson
4 Norte 1112 Casilla 631 
Viña del Mar, Chile

Mucho Amor! Olay!

Hermana Kelson

Monday, December 7, 2015

Goodbye CCM Hello Valpo

Hello from the FIELD!!

AAAHH! What a crazy 2 weeks. The CCM was so wonderful and I am so blessed to have been there. On Thanksgiving day we went contacting in the park and my sweet companion and I found a woman who was SO prepared for the gospel! Wow! We talked for like 45 mins. I hope that the missionaries get to her. It was an experience I will never forget. Such a spiritual high! The Chileans dont celebrate Thanksgiving but thanks to Hermana Doll (#saint) we still had a bit of a Thanksgiving dinner. We also had the Provo MTC Thanksgiving devotional broadcast to us where Elder Dallin H Oaks spoke to us. Also, his daughter Jenny Oaks Baker and family played several songs. What the coolness! 

My leaving the CCM was sad. I am going to miss my sweet friends there oh so very much. BUT I am so grateful to be where I am. On Tuesday the President and his wife (President Diaz) came to the Santiago temple with all the missionaries leaving from Viña. The APs did training with us while they did the session. Then off to Viña! 
We took pics in front on the Viña clock and then they assigned companions and told us to place a Book of Mormon and find the mission home. We only had the address. I was blessed with the only latina Hermana. Thus, we arrived first with 2 contacts and empty hands. :) Hermana Diaz cooks like an angel! That night the hermanas stayed in a ¨hotel¨. (interesting adventure! So fun!) 

The next day after training in the morning we had our cambios meeting. All us new bees sat on the stand and we sang a musical number. Elder Ferrari (a very talented Elder from Chile) and I sang a duet. And then we got our trainers! My trainer is HERMANA McKENDRICK! She is so wonderful! She is from Highland Utah and has been out 6 months. Our area is her only area so she knows her way around! :) I know I will learn much from her, I already have! We are serving in the Valapariaso Oeste Almendral B ward. Valpariaso is so cool! Our view from our pension is stunning! The people here are in humble circumstances and I love them. The ward is very very brand new. (as of august) so there is lots of work to be done. 

My whole area is a hill. Like straight up. My calves are going to be beautiful. I am also glad I got over my fear of dogs a long time ago. (HA!) And we take colectivos (like loco taxis) everywhere or micros (loco buses). Even the drivers are holding on for dear life. 

Mission life is hard. But wonderful! We dont eat dinner in Chile. They have once. Which is like bread and cheese and cake at night. But we dont every have dinner appointments. Just lunch. Thus we eat at 2 pm and then not again until we get back to the appartment. Quite a change from the CCM. My body is trying to adjust. 

Also, I thought I spoke Spanish. I was wrong. Everyone in Chile finishes every sentence with Po. Dont ask me why. :)

God is Good. He has a plan for all of His Children. My companion shared something cool with me. She said that in order for that star to shine the night Christ was born, Heavenly Father had to plan it billions of years before. Just so it could shine on that one night. He does the same for us. He plans things for specific days and times all the time. There are no coincedences. 

I love you all! Thank you for your love, prayers, support, and for even glancing at my letters! 

Mucho Amor! Olay!

Hermana Leah Kelson

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

CCM is Heaven

Hola todas!

Wowsa! What a wonderful week! I literally feel like floating. The CCM is heaven. I wish everyone could experience this. Can you imagine spending 24 hours a day with missionaries from all over the world? Yeah, I know, its the bestest. 
Fun fact: Clothes pins are called ¨perritos de ropa¨ which translates to little dogs for clothes. Jajaja.
We have new teachers this week and they are maraviosas! Our lessons are really starting to have so much power. I feel so much for these investigators and they arent even totes real yet. Oh hannah. 
So everyone here has started calling me HerMAMA Kelson. :) We are the oldest district now and I have felt like mother hen. And I LOVE it! It brings me so much joy! I suppose some things never change. :) 
I will not have a PDAY next week because i will be heading into the FIELD!! AAAAAHHH!!!!!! I saw my mish pres this week, Presidente Diaz. He came for a conference and we met him. Totally Chileano and so so amazing! His wife is so grand too. It made it all slightly more real. This week we go contacting and on splits. IN SPANISH! Yeah, I could literally pee my falda, Im so excited!
So I had a definite Don DE LENGUAS experience this week. Here at the CCM for sacrament meeting, everyone prepares a talk and then they tell you in that moment who is speaking that day. You speak in front of the entire CCM (not that big but tons of natives) and it all has to be IN SPANISH! This weeks topic was obedience, and guess what? I SPOKE! And guess what! I didnt even read it! I said it all just from a few points and it was all in Spanish! And it made sense! I asked my latina roomates just to make sure. Wowsa. It was such a blessing. My Spanish is not even close to Chileano (fast and dropping letters like cray cray) but I can communicate pretty well. :) The gift of tongues is so real! THE GOSPEL IS SO TRUE!
So whenever I tell Chileanos I am from Utah they say ¨Fábrica de los Mormónes¨ which means ¨factory of mormons¨. I laugh every time. :) 
The Book of Mormon is so so real. It is so so true. When you have problems, trials, preguntas, or a heavy heart I invite you to turn to the scriptures in all that you do. It will bless your life. I understand the majority of the LDM in español now. It is beautiful. What a priviledge this is to learn a new language! I have never been so grateful! I wake up with gratitude in my heart each morning, even though sometimes my pillow tries to get me to stay. :) 
Never give up on the Lord. For He will NEVER give up on you. Sometimes He just sent you snail mail, and it might take a while to get the answer. :)
I love you all! I can feel your prayers! I pray for all of you often. Thank you so much for helping me get here! I read all your letters, just no time to respond to them all! 
Mucho Amor! Olay!

Hermana Kelson

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Bipolar Seniors

Hola Todas!
Shoutout to Richard Higginbotham on his mission call! So excited for you and Chip!

Thank you so so so much for all of your letters, love, and support. I promise I read every email but dont have much time to respond. I take pictures of all your emails and read them throughout the week. What a strength you all are! Muchas muchas gracias a todos!
Im a senior now here at the CCM! Its so crazy! These last two weeks have FLOWN! It makes me terrified that these next 17 will too. (and also a little relieved, I gotta be honest). I only have 17 months left! That is so depressing! I have so much to do!
I SAW EVA VANCOTT! That was a tender mercy this week. Im pretty sure I scared her with all my crying but it was so wonderful to see her beautiful smiel and be uplifted by here. She has always been an example to me and I know she will do miracles even when she comes home today. I love you Hermana Vancott! Thank you much!
Last pday was extremely hard. I was really really depressed and extrememly homesick. We went to the temple (WONDERFUL as always) but it was really really hard. I cried a ton. I was feeling like I couldnt do this for 18 whole months. Then I realized that the Priesthood is there for a reason and asked for a blessing of comfort. It was amazing! I have not been homesick since. (I still miss home and there are still hard moments but nothing near that). The Priesthood power works miracles. Speaking of miracles. Chileans believe so much in miracles! It is wonderful!
I am missin the snow at the moment but Santiago is HOT! I actually really like it. It is great to go outside and talk to all the bus loads of people that come to the temple on the weekends. It is such a blessing to be here at the CCM!
This week my district all got really down and felt like we were in a rut. One of our wonderful teachers, Hma Alegria, had us go in a circle and tell strengths and talents of each person in the district. Talk about spiritual experience! Sometimes God uplifts you through others. In fact, its more than we ever realize. I love this district with my whole heart. I know we are meant to be together. They are so patient with me when I break down and lift me up countless times. I hope I can be at least half as helpful as they are.
The language is very hard. That is what I have struggled with this week. The more I learn the more I realize I dont know. I get frustrated sometimes. I know that the gift of tongues is a process though. I am trying to be humble and patient. There are funny moments though when people say that they know the scriptures are vegetables or when they say we can be saved from our fish. Legit things peeps. :) We have laughed so hard weve cried.
I love the scriptures so much! They are so true! If you need comfort, strength, hope, love, motivation, happiness, faith, etc THE SCRIPTURES will give you those things when paired with the Spirit. Yo sé que las escrituras son verdaderas. Cuando yo leo las escrituras yo recibo mucho consuelo. Dios halba a Sus Hijos mediate las escrituras.
We have had soccer tournaments ever morning as a CCM for exercise. My team won! Now dont be too surprised. I promise i did nothing. And dont laugh too hard while trying to imagine me playing soccer. 
We all claim that the CCM makes us bipolar. Actually the mission makes you bipolar. We experience a wide range of emotions all of which are wonderful. How can frustration, hopelessness, despair, and sadenss be good things? you ask. It is because those are the moments when you grow the most and when you grow closest to your Heavenly Father. How can he calm the storm when there is no storm? How can he strengthen us when we already feel strong? How can he comfort us if we dont need to be comforted? Be greatful for trials.
Scripture that accurately describes the CCM: Proverbs 20: 13. Everyone loved this one when I found it. Hermana Doll kept it too. :) (SO MUCH BREAD!)
Things I wish that I would have done pre mission (for all you preparing now)
1 Writtten down more spiritual experiences and brought them with me
2 Studied the BOM and PMG more (and marked them LOTS)
3 Studied my mission language more
4 Learned how to rely on him more
5 Learned more about my mission country
Its a real thing yall.
I know that this gospel is true! I cannot doubt. It becomes more apparent to me daily. I love you all so dearly and pray for you all more than you know.
Mucho Amor! Olay!
Hermana Kelson

Mailing address:
Sister Leah Kelson
Chile Vina del Mar Mission
4 Norte 1112, Casilla 631
Vina del Mar Valparaiso
Package Mailing Instructions:
Sister Leah Kelson
Chile Vina del Mar Mission
4 Norte 1112
Vina del Mar

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Earthquakes, New View, and Sacerdocio

Hey Todos!
Did I get your attention with the title?  I experienced an earthquake! Dont worry I only lost one arm. JK! Ja ja ja. It was at 4:30 am on Friday night (sat morning). It happened in Ovalle, Chile (my mission) and was a 6.8. We only got tremors. All the sudden I was bouncing my bed and I was really confused. Until I woke up and realized, It was an earthquake! I thought Id dreamt it until my companion said something in the morning. :)
I have a new room! We arent the new bees anymore. We had new kids come in, c6 of which are norte americanos. I love them so much! Part of what has changed me this week is serving and helping them. The more i try to reassure them, the more reassured I become. My new room has a perfect view of the temple. It is stunning! My companion and I are the only ones inthere so it makes it easier to get ready. We listen to music every morning and it has helped change my mood. Happiness is totes a choice. That is an eternal principle. (totes and all :)) I think the change was a good kickstarter to my change this week. I have become a completely different missionary. I was so sad, depressed, crying a lot, and homesick the first 2 weeks. I wasnt happy. At all. But through His infnite grace I have completely changed. I am so much happier. My soul is lighter. ( Mosiah 24: 13 through 15 and 1 Nephi 10:6) He hasnt taken away the hard parts or the greatness of the task but has helped me be happy despite the hard things. I am happier than I have ever ever been.
With the new week we have new teachers. I love them! That also means new investigatores. (teachers) This time is way smoother now that I know more Spanish and more fundamentals for teaching! It is wonderful. We already have one commited to baptism! The spirit is strong in lessons and if we prepare, our language flows much much better. The language is coming. Slowly, but surely. Please keep praying for my district and I to have the don de lenguas. I need all the divine help I can get for that is the only way I can do this. When I rely on Him and realize I cant do it alone is when I progress the most. I had a latino tell me that I am starting to loose my American Accent!! I think he was just beingt nice but he didnt say it to anyone else.:) All my prayers are in Spanish now. And I can say all that I want to say.
One of the Hermanas hurt her ankle. (English?) She asked for a blessing. It was just our district in the room. No one else. It was the first time this Elder (or any of them I thinkI) had given a blessing. Even though he read the words from the missionary handbook and the blessing was simple, there was so much power. The Priesthood (sacerdocio) is so real. It is literally power from God. And even 18 year old Elders can have and exercise that power. I know it is real. I have seen the miracles it brings. Dont doubt the Priesthood.
I encourage everyone to read about the life of President Monson. He is truly the profeta on this tierra. He speaks for God and is His instrumento. I know this.
Thank you so much for all of your prayers. I can feel them so strongly! Dont stop but please pray for my future investigatores too. We learned that when you knock you dont knock all over the door but in the same spot. It would be silly otherwise. That is how we recieve answers, but continually knocking in the same spot.
I memorized DyC 4 in Spanish!
Approach every day with: Have I done any good in the world today? Have I learned something new? Have a become closer to the person Heavenly Father wants me to be?
Missions are a sacrifice. But how can we expect to be in the highest kingdom of heaven without making sacrifices unto Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?
Im so sorry I dont respond to all your emails but I love you all. I read them all (I take pics of them and read them thor!ughout the week). YOu have changed me, lifted me up and saved my poor depressed soul. Thank you so very much.

Olay! Mucho amor! El vive! Yo se!
Hermana Kelson

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Getting Over the Hump

What a long, wonderful, depressing, and wonderful week. I have never felt so bipolar in my life! We all blame it on the mission!
Pday we get to explore Santiago. The only ones in the world of Mtcs. SO AMAZING! THey have all the American stuff here. Like all of it. Even their own walmart (Leider). I ate a cumpleto today. They are definitely as good as they sound! We also had chilean icecream. SO SO SO great! I love the people here! Because we life on  temple grounds we get to see all the people that go. On the weekends it is PACKED! Whole bus loads come and stay here at the CCM. We talk to them all during breaks in our broken spanish. They are so wonderful! I also decided I am adopting every Chileno baby ever born.

The CCM is so great. We wake up every morning to songs over the intercom. They play everything from gospel choir to motab to primary songs to vocal point. (yes folks, they play vocal point) The hardest though is when they play OVCCs Glorious. I cry every morning that it comes on and am sometimes so homesick I cant eat. But other moments are glorious. We eat lots of bread. And they have lots of Nestles icecream. Wowsa. So much food.
My district did a musical number at our devotional on Sunday. My district sany  Joseph Smith{s first prayer in Spanish to the tune of Come Thou Fount. I played my favorite come thou fount arrangement and made up the rest. The mission President of Santiago Sur (maybe oeste) and his wife came and spoke. It brought me so much hope. Sunday will always come! No matter what hard times you are going through, know that Sunday will always come! Although sometimes Mondays suck the next day too. :)
I finally got Spanish scriptures. I study them a lot. Its easier to understnad them with the gift of tongues. REAL STUFF! Our district is trying to memorize dyc 4 in Spanish.
Last week we went to the temple.
 It is beautiful and small. I was really sad that day because we had written home right beforehand and I was really homesick.  But I felt peace and didnt cry the entire time we were in there. It was great! And our session was in English. :)
My fav Chilean words so far: bakan (bacan) for cool. It just makes me think of bacon every time. And I also love: Paralelepipedo. Paralelegram.
My teachers are the most amazing men. Hermano Meneses is a walking miracle who had a stutter as a boy and had a blessing that healed him. His dad became reactivated while he was on his mission and they were sealed as a family 2 days after he got home. Each teacher acts as an investigator. The investigator he acted as was his dad. It was powerful. Hermano Traverso speaks English really well. He learned it from video games and then more on the mish. He is married with a baby. He helps me feel the spirit so strongly. His conversion story is powerful. He served with David Archuleta. Hermano Pino is a punk and a spiritual giant. :) He does the whip for us when we have bad days. He can also beatbox (not as well as Jonathan) too and its so cool! They ahve changed my life and my heart. We dont get them after this week. :( Also the latinas that we arrived with and the 6 weekers left this morning. Super emotional. I love them all so deas rly. They have all helped me through my hard times. (Kate, if Chileanos try to add me on fb then add them! :) It is probs my teachers)
I can feel your prayers and your love. Thank you! Let me be brutally honest. This is not easy at all. I have never felt so hopeless. And yet so loved. The language is frustrating and I often want to give up and go home. But the wonderful moments are happy and I cant want until these people are real.

I love you all dearly! Please forgive me for not writing you all individually. I may have more time in the field but no promises. I really really appreciate all of your support. It makes it worth it right now when I feel so hopeless and in deep dispair.

This church is so true! I wouldnt be here if I didnt know that. God is a God of miracles. And He is also a God of process. Our learning here is a process. And that process includes learning to rely on him through the process. I love this gospel. I love my Savior. (Missionary Work and the Atonement)
Hermana Leah Kelson

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Bienvenido al Mision!

 Thank you so much for all the love this past week! I am overwhelmed by it. Thank you thank you thank you.I dont have much time here in the CCM so please forgive me for not responding. I  would LOVE hand written letters. Send them no later than next week. Once Im in the field I will have more time to write. :)
The plane was awesome and crazy. I met up with 3 missionaries (2 hermanas and 1 elder) in SLC and then the rest of my district in Atlanta. (more on my district later). I spoke to a man on the plane ride to Atlanta that asked me a lots of questions about the mission. He was impressed. :) He could have been Brother Boyers cousin by the way he acted. :) I slept impressively enough on the plane ride here because I had enough no one next to me. 
The first day here was the longest of my entire life. We got picked up by members and I used my Spanish the whole time so I felt pretty great about myself. Then got here and met Presidente Doll y Hermana Doll. They are literally Saints. We had about an hour to clean up and then we were good to go. We didnt sleep until that night. Here in the CCM we wake up at 645 and go to bed at 11. Appparently Viña is a 7 to 11 mission too! Interestante!
The food is so good! I love it. I will definitely be fat. :) We have carbs and meet for lunch and dinner and it is very heavy. And for breakfast I usually have bread and cereal. All of our bodies are feelings so bad though because its so heavy. Im blessed because I am getting more used to it more quickly.
The language is really really hard. Please please please pray for me to have the gift of tongues. I have never been so humbled and fallen to my knees to many times! The wonderful thing though is that I am surrounded by Chilenos every day. The fon the same plot of land as the temple. We walk out from our apartments (like hotel rooms with bunk beds and mini closets for everyone) and the temple is BOOM right there. It is such a blessing. I have only counted 50 missionaries here. Its so tiny. I have gotten to know all of them. It is so homey and wonderful here. This is literally the happiest place on the earth.
The schedule is wake up, personal study in the institute building (same plot) in exercise clothes, breakfast, exercise at a park outside the CCM that is beautiful!, get ready for 50 to class, lunch, class, dinner, class, planning for half an hour, half an hour of time to chill and I like to play the piano then, and then get ready for bed. SO MUCH STUDYING!
My district (district 4) is the most wonderful district ever!
Elder Brooks: From Washington. Reminds me of Josh Carlile just shorter. :) Met him in the SLC airpot.
Elder Braithewaite: District Leader. From California. Everyone calls him justin beiber. Super smiley and nice. Met in Atlanta. A year at Byu i first. 
Elder Clifford: From Arizona. Serious but nice. His older brother entered the MTC the same day and is serving in SARAH HERRINGs mission! They probs know each other.
Hermana Huntsman: MY COMPANION! So so wonderful. From Melba Idaho (mom?) and went to a year at SVU before coming on a mission. We are perfect for each other. So blessed to have her as my companion. She is also Mary Moores cousin.
Hermana Walker: From California. So valient with learning the language even though its hard. Good at going and talking to people. Year at byui first.
Hermana Pitts: The one from the temple! From Arizona! So good at laughing.:) And keeping me in good spirits. We are kindred spirits.
Hermana Morris: From Calif. Year at BYU first. Super cute and short and sweet and an example to me.
Hermana Fletcher: The literal female version of Pa Riser. So so so wonderful. Like me, she is right out of high school with a birthday in September. From Ceder City. Such a light and a cheer leader for our district.ra
My district is the best. PLEASE pray for us to have the gift of tongues!
I have never felt so happy and so frustrated and full of sadness at the same time. But it is so wonderful! I cant imagine myself anywhere else! 
Sometimes I want to kill all missionaries that spoke their native language. But then I remember thats bad. So I repent. :) I am humbled daily here. 
I can pray in Spanish. It is already so so so sacred! I pray for you all!
More info and pictures to come! Thank you for everything!
Forgive any spelling or grammatical errors. Its really hard to type on this computer so quickly.  Please pray for me! I could use any help I could get. 
Yo se que el libro de mormon es verdadero. Yo se que Jose Smith fue una profeta el vio Padre Celestial y su hijo Jesucristo. Este es la iglesia verdadera.
OLAY! Pday subject to change.

Leah's MTC mailing adress:
Sister Leah Kathryn Kelson
Chile Vina del Mar Mission
Chile Missionary Training Center
Pedro de Valdivia 1423
Providencia, Santiago
Region Metropolitana (Santiago)
No packages are permitted in the Chile MTC, and letters are taking up to 5 weeks to arrive right now so any letters sent after early November might be best sent to Leah's mission home in Valparaiso.  She will leave the MTC and go to her mission right around Dec. 1st.
Mucho Amor
Hermana Kelson

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


I am here. I made it safely. I am exhausted but so so so happy. I cried when we flew over Chile. Already using my Spanish skills. I have a name tag! (kelson) Pictures to come and more info later. 
Love you all! Olay!
Hermana Leah Kelson

Mailing address:
Sister Leah Kathryn Kelson
Chile Vina del Mar Mission
4 Norte 1112, Casilla 631
Vina del Mar Valparaiso
Package Mailing Instructions:
Sister Leah Kathryn Kelson
Chile Vina del Mar Mission
4 Norte 1112
Vina del Mar

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Things they dont tell you about pre-mission life- PART 2

After post number one about pre-mission life I knew that another post had to be written. While there are plenty of hard times that accompany preparing missionaries, there are countless blessings as well. I would love to share some of them that I have experienced these last few months.

One of the biggest blessings I have had the opportunity to experience since receiving my call was being endowed from on high. The covenants we make in the temple give us literal power. I have realized a shift in the ways I think and act; I focus more on the important things and less on what the world thinks is important; I am filled with peace and understanding. I agree with Elder David A. Bednar when he said, "The temple is a point of intersection between heaven and earth. In this sacred place, holy work will be performed through selfless service and love. The temple reminds me of all that is good and beautiful in the world."

The convents I have made in the temple become more sacred to me the more I attend the temple. Because there is a lot to learn in the temple, going once will not allow you to gain a perfect understanding of all things. The more I attend the temple, the more I understand AND the more peace I gain from it. I encourage preparing missionaries, with the counsel of their Bishop, Stake President, and the Holy Ghost, to receive your endowment soon after getting your call. And then to attend as much as possible. It will bless your life like it has blessed mine.

Something that I have found a new understanding of through the temple is the sacrament. Elder L. Tom Perry explained "By partaking of the Sacrament we renew all covenants entered into with the Lord. . . " While I am not perfect, this opportunity to renew ALL the covenants I have made has blessed my life. I view the sacrament with more reverence than I have in the past because I realize the significance of this ordinance more fully.

How many times have you been present during a prayer in which the missionaries are prayed for? Probably like 3 billion. (Okay, so maybe that is an exaggeration, but it's close.) Missionaries are prayed for in 29,621 congregations, 188 languages, and 148 temples. ( And that doesn't include the 15,000,000+ members that pray for the missionaries in personal prayers. While I , along with many others, have not yet been set apart, I humbly believe that those prayers benefit preparing missionaries as well. I feel those prayers as I prepare and I am extremely humbled and strengthened by them.

I was blessed with a family that raised me in the gospel, a loving and supportive ward, and wonderful friends. All of these groups of people support me in my decision to serve a mission. Their support is what strengthens and sustains me when things get tough. I have people that believe in me and love me.

Not everyone is blessed into families that have the gospel and there are plenty of people that do not support preparing missionaries. If this is you, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! The Prophets, Apostles, and leaders of the church, all divinely called, support you. They trust you. Heavenly Father trusts you. 18 year old boys and 19 year old girls are capable to be missionaries because Heavenly Father qualifies those whom He calls. Don't worry, as Neil L. Anderson has said, "You know enough!" Furthermore, there are legions of angels behind you. 2 Kings 6:16: And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. 

After getting a mission call, suddenly every talk, hymn, Sunday school lesson, Facebook post, and conversation can be related to missionary work. In reality, we all do this is whatever stage we are at, whether you are a new mom, giving a talk on the Atonement next week, or have been struggling with saying your prayers, we tend to relate things to our current situation especially when guided by the Spirit. But the great thing about missionary work is that you have a new purpose! Now your studies turn to helping OTHERS grow closer to Christ and the Restored gospel. Studying becomes more purposeful and exciting. Reading the Book of Mormon this last time around I have related so much of the beautiful stories and testimonies to missionary work. I read it with a new hunger that I have never before felt and it is so exciting! While I have studied the scriptures so much for my own benefit for the last 19 years, the opportunity to study the scriptures for others has helped me gain so much more insight! It is one of the coolest things ever! 

The Lord blesses His missionaries, including preparing missionaries. I am amazed by the tender mercies I witness on a daily basis. There are miracles every single day. I think they are Heavenly Father's way of showing His love and support as missionaries prepare.

One miracle that I experienced was the day I was endowed. The other sister being endowed that day in my session is going to my mission the exact same day. There are no coincidences. I have had dreams of revelation, words of encouragement at the exact moment I needed them, more money in my account than I thought, enough gas to get to the temple, safety in countless situations, and so many more miracles that I cannot see or cannot name. 

I know that while the adversary increases his attempts to thwart our plans, Heavenly Father increases the blesses that rain down from above. My cup has indeed run over tenfold.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Things they dont tell you about pre-mission life- PART 1

Since getting my call I have spent every waking minute studying the gospel, practicing lessons in PMG, speaking my mission language, and buying mission gear. I have not gotten discouraged, scared, or disheartened. I have been excited for the work every second of the day.

Lets get real. I haven't actually spent every waking minute doing those things. I get discouraged way more than I ever thought I would. There are plenty of days that I do not have excitement for the work. There are some days that I am so scared that I cry until my head hurts. I fall back into old habits. Feelings of doubt sometimes feel like they will overcome me.

What if I don't know enough? What if I don't learn the language well enough? What if I get really homesick? Am I even capable of being a missionary? What if it's not what I expect and its just too hard?

Why is the time between getting a mission call and entering the MTC so hard?


Satan knows us. He was with us in the premortal life. He is our brother. And because he of such, he knows us on a personal level. He understands our strengths, weaknesses, and fears. Because we have agency and Satan does not it is his desire to take away our agency. He, the father of all lies, will tempt, persuade, and trick us into losing that agency. The work of salvation, of bringing others unto Christ, allows others to understand agency. Satan does not want the work of salvation to progress. He will do everything in his power to thwart this work.

Whenever one of Heavenly Father's children approaches a decision, event, experience, or blessing that will bring them closer to their Heavenly Father, thus moving forward with with work, Satan hits harder than ever. As blessings increase, so do Satan's attempts to distract, discourage, and destroy us. Joseph Smith stated, "The nearer a person approaches the Lord, a greater power will be manifested by the adversary to prevent the accomplishment of His purposes” (in Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1967, p. 132). We see in Joseph Smith's story that Satan tried to overpower Joseph Smith as he knelt in the grove of trees right before seeing God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. "I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction." (JSH 1:15)

Is it possible to overcome the power of Satan?

Yes! Absolutely. Undoubtedly. Yes.

How do we overcome his power?

 Joseph Smith shows us in his example: "But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me." (JSH 1:15) Joseph called upon the powers of God to deliver him. Doctrine and Covenants teaches us "Pray always, that you may come off conqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work." (D&C 10:5) Not just "making it through" or "hanging in there" but conquering Satan. Moses is another example of conquering Satan. "And now Satan began to tremble, and the earth shook; and Moses received strength, and called upon God, saying: In the name of the Only Begotten, depart hence, Satan. " (Moses 1:21) Heavenly Father is ever willing to help us overcome the adversary and will answer our pleas when we cry. However, like Joseph Smith, we may not receive help until the "very moment when I was ready to sink into despair."

2. WORK 
Mormon says to his son Moroni, "And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God." (Moroni 9:6) Satan loves lazy people. Lazy people don't help the work progress. But if we choose to labor and keep ourselves busy, then Satan cannot occupy our thoughts, hearts, and actions when we give him no room to do so.

James E Faust counsels, "We need not become paralyzed with fear of Satan’s power. He can have no power over us unless we permit it. He is really a coward, and if we stand firm, he will retreat." The apostle James tells us, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4:7) Satan can only use his power against us if we let him. Don't fester negative thoughts, doubts, or fears. Afterall, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7) 

President Ezra Taft Benson said: “There is a power in [the Book of Mormon] which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path” (“The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion,” Ensign, November 1986).  Personal study of the scriptures brings joy, hope, and excitement for the work.

The bible dictionary explains grace as such: “The main idea of the word, {GRACE}, is divine means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ." If there is every a time when we need divine means of help of strength, now is the time. How do we access this power? By asking for it and calling upon the atonement of Jesus Christ. Ether demonstrates this in Ether 12:36 when he says, "And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord that he would give unto the Gentiles grace, that they might have charity." As we use this power we can do and overcome in ways that we could not do by ourselves. Through grace our weaknesses can be turned to strengths.

President Monson in the April 2015 General Conference promised us, "My brothers and sisters, in our lives we will have temptations; we will have trials and challenges. As we go to the temple, as we remember the covenants we make there, we will be better able to overcome those temptations and to bear our trials. In the temple we can find peace." I received my endowment in July and have been so grateful that I did! Having 4 months to go to the temple before I leave has helped me combat the powers of Satan. I gain eternal perspective, faith, hope, and peace as I go to the house of the Lord, just as President Monson promises.

Preparing for a mission is hard. Many times you feel like you are treading water in the ultimate limbo because in reality, you kind of are. :) But it is also a very happy time. (Wait for the next blog post. :)) I have grown closer to my Father and my Savior than ever before. HAVE HOPE!