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. (mormonnewsroom.org/facts-and-statistics/) 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!