January 1, 2018


Fifth Area - Salem, OR


Elder Kersten

Week 69

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all have great New Years resolutions that will help you physically, spiritually, and any other -ly way! One goal I have for 2018 is to increase in the Christlike attribute of knowledge. I know that will help me be able to teach more powerfully as we teach God’s children we find here in Oregon!

This past week was a rollercoaster! We had a fun experience Christmas Day after p-day ended. I guess I should back up. Friday morning I woke up with pain in my tailbone area, to the point where it hurt to stand up, sit down, and lay on my back. It didn’t hurt too bad, I just noticed it bugged me a lot. As the weekend progressed, it got more and more painful, to the point that I was in excruciating pain to do anything. Even standing caused me intense pain. So, that is how, on Christmas Day evening we ended up in the Salem ER! It was pretty funny, I’m sure. We walked into the ER room, and the Triage nurse who directed the flow looked at me and said “oh, you need to be seen, don’t you?” Since I couldn’t sit down or bend over, I stood in the ER for a couple hours until we could be seen. I’m sure two LDS missionaries, one sitting down, and the other standing in the ER on Christmas night was an interesting sight! 😂 They figured out I have something called a pilonidal cyst, which is something you are either born with, or not. Its a pouch of fluid that sits at the base of the tailbone, and, if gets clogged or anything gets in, becomes infected. So, they drained the abscess that was currently there, which was the most painful thing I’ve every experienced in my life (not really) and gave me antibiotics to make sure the infection is gone. Phew! So, eventually after my mission I’ll need surgery to have the cyst surgically removed so it doesn’t run the risk of becoming infected again. For now, I’m doing great, and not in pain!

After Monday’s slight fiasco (its totally funny looking back on it), we got out and hit the streets hard! We found that as we committed to the Lord to try our hardest to talk with everyone, and get our 10 contacts, that He would provide people for us to talk with. It was by no means easy, and not every person we saw was right in front of us. Sometimes Heavenly Father required us to hunt people down before we could talk to them. My testimony of finding has been strengthened because of what the power of faith and diligence do. We have been able to set up return appointments with many of the individuals we met this past week, and we’ve seen how the Lord blesses us with tender mercies big and small as we do His work.

Friday night to Saturday night we had an exchange with the Assistants to the President, Elder Patterson (yeah, the very same!) and Elder Klima! They are powerhouses! I stayed here in our area with Elder Klima, and it was amazing! I learned so much from him about how to be bold, how to lead by example, how to better study for investigators, and how to be humble, just to name a few. I love him! That was probably the highlight of my week, other than going to work with Elder Kersten every day!

One experience that stood out to me happened on Wednesday: We had a lesson with Angie, and she brought a young man who’s a family friend (he’s 18) named Anthony with her. He’s gone through a lot in his life, and as we taught them both the gospel of Jesus Christ, it was amazing to see how this young man we just met, who is close to our age, listened to what we taught. He looked like he wasn’t paying attention, but we both noticed he would be able to answer questions when we asked them. As we taught the steps of the gospel, I felt very strongly that we were helping this young man in ways that maybe we wouldn’t see, but in ways that nonetheless would bless him. Anthony left for his house yesterday after visiting with us twice, and I know that we met him for a short while because Heavenly Father needed us to teach him what we did. That is the power of Heavenly Father’s work. He directs it, and knows perfectly what each of His children stand in need of. The privilege comes from being His hands and instruments.

I love you all! Have an amazing week!


Elder Kehl


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