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