Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas in Wales

This past week was probably one of the best of my life thus far. Though it was a little slow, we were able to see quite a few miracles and tender mercies. With each day that I spend here, I hope more and more that I'll stay here at least one more transfer (or all transfers). And let me just say that holidays on the mission are way better than holidays at home. There was a whole new feeling to Christmas when the only thing I was thinking of was the Savior. In a letter I recieved (received?) just before Christmas, it said "Christmas is a time to reflect on the Savior and be with loved ones, and if you open you heart loved ones are all around."
This week started off quite crazy with the anticipation of Christmas. It was a little harder to actually find people to teach, but we continued to work hard and trust that we could meet our seemingly impossible goals if we did all we could. After Christmas, we got a little nervous as we felt like none of our efforts were changnig anything. However, like I've said before, God loves us and the Welsh and on Saturday night we had the wonderful opportunity to find and teach a family of four that came to church with us the next day. As they walked in to church, I was praying so hard that they would like it and the members would befriend them. I was so proud of our little ward as this family walked in and immediately people began to talk and laugh with them. I felt like they fit in so perfectly! During sacrament, the nine year old boy whispered in my ear "This is a nice church. The people are so friendly, and I feel something different here." I felt like I was in an Ensign article.
I have said this before, but I am assured of it each week: we cannot delay obedience in the pursuit of understanding. Many times out here, I've felt like I'm not making any difference, and right after I push through what I think is the impossible, that's when the miracles have come. I love my mission. It's perfect. I love my Savior and know that He lives.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Proverbs 3

Family and friends,
Transfers have come and gone, and I'm still here in Rhiwbina with Sister Heikki. We were extremely excited to hear that we would get to stay here for another six weeks. It still feels like winter over here in Wales, with quite a bit of rain, mist, and fog. Temperatures continue to drop, but it's not as cold as Utah. Thank goodness.
This week was incredible, as we got to attend a Christmas conference with the entire mission. It's nice to be reminded every once in a while that you're not alone in this. Seeing the other 280 missionaries all in one place made me incredibly happy. We are almost 100,000 strong across the globe, each of us with the same purpose. There are always challenges that arise, but I have support wherever I look.
Though this last week was good, it still had a few disappointments. We've been teaching a man who has really come to accept everything we've taught him the past few weeks. He agreed to be baptized, has been coming to church, and then told on Saturday that he has to move to Manchester on Wednesday because of family issues. I seriously almost started crying. As we talked with him and tried to find out what steps we could take next, I realized that I wasn't sad that we would be losing an investigator, but that as he moves to Manchester, he might not accept the gospel there. We've been praying hard for him the past few days and as we've done so, we've felt that everything will be okay. Though he won't be baptized right here at this time, I know he'll accept it someday. We've truly come to love this guy and become friends with him. I just hope and pray that having the beginnings of the gospel in his heart will help him later.
Well, Merry Christmas! I love this season, and am so excited to celebrate it here in Wales. I love you!
Sister Kuykendall
Proverbs 3 - A chapter that has defined my mission thus far.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Transfer dodge

Tonight, we get the transfer dodge. Meaning I'll know whether or not I'm staying in my beloved Rhiwbina. I hear that leaving your first area is just as hard or harder than leaving home, and I'm pretty sure it'll be true. Cardiff is my home now! I love the people here, and will miss them dreadfully if I move; however, I know that wherever I go, there will be new people to meet and serve.
Last weekend, we had stake conference. As I was listening to the stake president's talk, something he said really struck me: "Do not delay obedience in the pursuit of understanding." This past week, we've had a few investigators struggle with the fact that they want to know these things intellectually before they act on them spiritually. We are promised that as we obey, we WILL receive understanding and knowledge.
I'm not as homesick as I thought I'd be this Christmas season. I mean, I miss home and my family, but I feel like it's fine. Being on a mission has changed my perspective on so many things, and one of those is eternity. I never really thought about the concept of eternal life before. I just knew that it was very desireable. Now, I understand it's importance. I don't claim to know all things, but I am so excited to be able to spend eternity with the people I love most. Even though there is evil and pain in the world now, it's just a nanosecond on the timeline of eternity. And all we have to do to recieve that gift is obedience. Obedience is the first step.
I love you! I'm attaching pictures.
Sister K

Monday, December 2, 2013

Family and Friends,
This week has been quite a long one, as biking on the roads has become quite interesting. Sister Heikki and I are becoming super skilled at dodging patches of ice and biking in rain boots, heavy coats, and long skirts. And boy, do we love our area. Though finding people to teach is not easy, it has been strangely easy for us to love the people. One thing that we've noticed this week is how easily people can trust the missionaries. Like, just a random stranger on the street will simply tell us all their heartaches and trials and pains right on the spot. We were trying to figure out if it's just the culture, or because we're missionaries, but we've found that it's impossible not to love these people when you know the inner feelings and worries of their hearts.
We were tracting this last week on a street where we felt like every person was having a bad day. In other words, we were not being received (recieved? I can't spell) very well. As we got half way through the street and knocked on a door, both of us ready to run if needs be, but a young mom opened the door and listened to us. She was quiet and kind. We asked her about her beliefs, and she said that since her mother had passed away, she'd struggled with her faith in God. She told us some of the feelings she had and I realized then that the knowledge I have of eternal families is so precious. As we talked to her about our beliefs in the nature of God as a loving Heavenly Parent, she seemed to light up and asked if we could come back and answer more of her questions. Dude, we were so excited. Someone told me before I left that the mission is all about LOVE. And by golly, I think it is. I still don't know if I have a great capacity to love quite yet, but I hope and pray that it is improving.
I love you. Jesus loves you. Have a good week!
Sister Kuykendall

Monday, November 25, 2013

Friends and Family,
I love Rhiwbina! I think I've said that before, but honestly I do. I saw my president a few days ago, and he asked what I thought of the area. I told him I really wouldn't mind staying here for the rest of my mission, to which he smiled and said that chances of me staying here forever were quite slim. But oh well, I'll be fine.
So, the Brits don't celebrate Thanksgiving. Sad day, but there's an American in the ward who said he and his wife would love to feed us a nice, proper Thanksgiving meal. My Swedish companion is probably more excited than I am. As I am American though, I've been thinking, naturally, about the things that I'm grateful for at this time. One thing at the front of my mind is the Book of Mormon. This is a book that works miracles. As I've been out on my mission, I've become completely confident in it's converting power. This book is another testament of Jesus Christ. We can learn of him as the Master Teacher, the perfect Example, and a Friend.
This last week, Sister Heikki and I were taking to people in Whitchurch (another small town close to Rhiwbina) and a man came up to us and said "You're the Mormons, right?" To which I replied, "Absolutely!" We talked for a bit, then he asked about the Book of Mormon. I showed him a copy, inviting him to take it. He kept saying no and saying "That book is the problem." Finally, I said "Have you read the book?" Sheepishly, he replied that he hadn't. Right then, I realized I knew the book to be true, only because I had read it. I had taken Moroni's promise and read the book, and then pray to know whether or not it was true. This is most definitely a true book. We are challenged to simply ask, sincerely wanting to know, determined to act on the answer we receive, and having faith in Christ.
The physical and spiritual evidence from this book is undeniable. Here is a church that started with only six members in 1830 and has grown to 15 million worldwide. Yet besides this and many other reasons that I know the book to be true, I have read it and found it to be true from the contents. I challenge each of you to actually READ the book. If you've read it, read it again and again. Pray about it each time. I promise you as you do so with this promise in Moroni 10:3-5 in mind, you cannot find fault in it.
Okay, sorry for the longest e-mail I've written since I've been out. I love you guys!
Sister Kuykendall
Isaiah 41:10
D&C 122

Monday, November 18, 2013


Family and friends,
This past week, we've been quite stressed about the whole thing in the Phillipines. Our fellow missionaries out there were experiencing terrible conditions, and there was nothing we could do to help. There's a sister serving quite close to me from the Phillipines actually, and I learned a lot from her this past week. This sister had no idea whether or not her family was okay; however, her faith that they would be safe impressed me. She had a feeling of gratitude, which seemed quite appropriate since Thanksgiving is coming up. 

I've found that sometimes it’s easy to feel grateful, and other times it requires quite a bit of deep reflection. But everyone has reason to give thanks. Even the air we breathe is a gift from God. We simply cannot repay the blessings we have. But we can fill our hearts with thankfulness.

My mission president said that one single thankful thought raised to heaven is the most perfect prayer.  Gratitude reminds us of our dependence on God, our need for His love, His mercy, and His watchful care.   “Live in thanksgiving daily,” said Amulek, “for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.”

Mercies and blessings come in different forms—sometimes as hard things. Yet the Lord said, “Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things.” All things means just that: good things, difficult things—not just some things. He has commanded us to thank Him because He knows being thankful will make us happy. This is another evidence of His love.

I love this work, and I can't wait for what the next 14 months bring. I love you all!
Special K (what the members call me when they can't pronounce my name)

Monday, November 11, 2013

New Companion!

Family and friends,
Sorry I didn't write this last week! Sister Lambert has left me, and though I was freaking out for a while because my trainer was leaving my side for the first time, my new companion has calmed all my fears. Her name is Sister Heikki, she's from Sweden, and we like to laugh. Which is good because on our first day together, 12 people told us to go away. But we love it here anyway. I feel so lucky to be able to be in a position where I can meet a hundred new people in one day. When I got called to the Englad Birmingham Mission, I had no idea the I would become so familiar with the people and culture of Wales. I know the city of Cardiff better than most of the people that have lived here for years, and I can now understand the accent. I've even been told that I'm gaining a bit of an accent myself. But by golly, I love the Welsh. I think I've said that often, but I really honestly do.
Remembrance Day here in the UK is pretty big. I thought it was yesterday, but the guy at the computer next to me has just said it's today. So now I don't know. But at this time, everyone feels really close, and they all remember the people that have died for their freedoms. In sacrament yesterday, we spent a moment in silence remembering the people that died for our physical and spiritual freedom. I thought of my grandpa Doug, and the fact that he served his country with great pride and spent the last few months of his life serving his God. There have been many people who have gone before me who have been martyrs for the truth. Though I don't have much time, I'd like to leave you with my simple testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and that through him priesthood authority has been reestablished on the earth. Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world, and our Heavenly Father loves each of us no matter our background or weaknesses. I love this gospel, and I could not be here if I did not have a firm faith that this is Christ's gospel, exactly as he had it in New Testament times.
I love you! I'll send pictures later because I stink at taking pictures and actually don't have any new ones since the last time I sent some.
Sister Kuykendall

Monday, November 4, 2013

Letter from a sweet family in Wales

To the Kuykendall Family,

Greetings from Cardiff,  Wales UK. Thank you for sending your delightful daughter to us on a mission here in Cardiff. You can be very proud of her. She has a strong testimony, is a good speaker, a great teacher and works very hard. Also she has given lots of service including to us. Every few weeks Sister Kuykendall and her companion pop by and help us in the garden. One of the biggest time-consumers in the garden is dead-heading the flowers which helps to promote new growth. Well they have been doing that, which has helped us to get 1st Prize and the gold award in the "Cardiff  in Bloom " competition this year. Some photo's enclosed. Sister Kuykendall has blessed the lives of the people in our Ward and I know your lives will be blessed too for all the sacrifices you have made to make this possible.

Thank you again, our best wishes

Paul and Teresa

Monday, October 28, 2013

Family and friends,
This past week, I've been freaking out as transfers are coming. I'm pretty darn sure one of us is going to leave, and since Sister Lambert has been in this area for a good six months, I'm pretty sure it's going to be her. And then I'll have to teach a new girl how to navigate this area. I really don't know if I can do that. The good news is, there are no new sisters coming in until February of next year, so I for sure won't be training.
Anyway, I've been thinking this past week quite a bit about the missionaries that have served or are serving within my family. One of the reasons I considered going on a mission was because of these examples. I remember my uncle Erick returning home from his mission and being really impressed with the love that he had for the Peruvian people. I've wanted so badly to be the same way. I think about this example often as I meet new people. I also think about my grandpa Doug often. I didn't get to hear many of his missionary experiences, but I do know that he is the hardest worker of anyone I've ever met and that he loved the gospel. Though I don't know much about his mission, I was able to take his Preach My Gospel book with me on mine. As I was studying it this week, I found something written in his handwriting on one of the notes pages:
"At the end of my mission, I want to have had the courage and patience to do the hard things over and over that make a difference in people's lives. I want to have moved out of my comfort zone and flown."
This was written for me. It's no coincidence that I have his PMG and found this note at that time. At times, it seems impossible todo the hard things over and over like Grandpa said. Yet, my grandpa did them because he knew that would be the thing that made the difference. And that is what I will strive to do. I'm so lucky to have had the examples I do. Erick, Grandpa, my uncles, Michelle, and many others. I'm so excited to be apart of this!
Alma 26:12
Sister K

Monday, October 14, 2013

Finally some pictures!

Family and Friends,
Okay, so I'm still learning how to send pictures. And it took me like an hour to get just five sent. And I'm not even exactly sure which five I'm sending, but I hope you like them and they're all that you hoped they would be. I'm pretty sure it's just me with other missionaries and such. Also, I think I'm gaining weight so if you notice, someone please be a peach and tell me so I can change my ways.
Anyway, this week was absolutely super. It started out looking like a pretty slow and dull week, but as it went on we were able to teach lessons and gain investigators through simple conversations on the street. In one such encounter, we met two women who were enjoying the nice quiet hours of the early morning. One was in a wheelchair, and we began speaking with them. Upon hearning that we wanted to talk about Jesus Christ, the woman in the wheelchair became very reverent and began asking us about everything we knew about Him as if her life depended on it. Her voice was quiet, but she asked question after question. We told her of His love for her and how the Book of Mormon is another testiment of Him. We handed her a copy, and she carefully opened the book and began to read Moroni 10 out loud. The incredible reverence this woman had for her Saviour made me stop and think about my own attitudes. Sometimes it's easy to think of the Book of Mormon as a book about some cool guys who fought other guys and some prophets talk about how to be righteous in the middle. When you see the book as it really is, a book about the mission and doctrine of the Saviour, our whole perspective and attitude should change. This is a book that was preserved for our time and testifies of the Saviour and His love for us. This woman understood that, and I hope that I can also emulate the reverence that she had toward Him every second of every day. 
Also, we also had the opportunity to see the first LDS chapel in England with all our mission where prophets and great missionaries have been before us. The spirit of the place was incredible, and I loved being able to walk in places that great men and women have gone. And, I got to see my first fairytale castle with my district last Monday. Ah, it was absolutely beautiful. I hope that at least one of the pictures I'm sending is of the castle. Anyway, I hope that you all have a good week and that you remember that our Saviour and our Heavenly Father are there for us always. They know our potential and give us guidence so that we can meet that potential. I love you guys!
Sister K

Monday, October 7, 2013

General Conference was so great. Seriously. It was so nice to be able to watch something that I'm so familiar with and always brings me comfort. Sister Lambert and I were able to get one of our investigators to one of the sessions. His name is Idris, and he's an older man who's extremely sensitive to the spirit. We had him on a baptismal date once upon a time until we taught him word of wisdom. So we're still working with him. I was super worried the whole time that he would hate it. We didn't tell him it was two hours long because we thought he would end up saying no, but at the end he said he enjoyed it.  Whenever anyone said something about missionary work in conference, I tried remember every word. Sometimes I think I'm on a mission just so that when I get home, I can be a better member missionary. I sorta have no idea what I'm doing sometimes, I'll admit it. But I feel as if I'm learning things out here that will be extremely useful when I get into my own wards. So here's some advice from a 21 year old girl who has no idea what she's doing: be a missionary now! You do not have to have a tag to do so. Pray to find opportunities to serve and share the gospel. My mother is an incredible example of being a missionary, as she has moved back to California, out of the comforts of her friends and family in Utah. She has shared the gospel in countless ways, and at times has not recieved the best response; however, her courage is admirable beyond compare. Be like her. More importantly, be like Christ. Christ has asked us to feed His sheep. You don't have to stop random people on the street and bring up the gospel from nothing (and be grateful this is the case). Live the gospel, pray for opportunities to share it, and they will come. And let me tell you, the missionaries in your areas will be eternally grateful for your work and sacrifice. Missionaries want to serve and teach. They CANNOT do so until they actually have a real person to teach the gospel to. Members of the church are full-time finders. We are told this time and time again, and I am sad to say that when I was home, I failed at this, and I hope that I can make up for it until the end of my life as I work to help the missionaries teach my friends and aquaintances.
Anyway, life here in Cardiff is still super. I cannot say enough that I love this wheather. Gah, it is always perfect and foggy and overcast and I get to be outside in it all day. Sister Lambert and I are becoming pro bikers, and are learning how to be graceful while riding our mountain bikes up hills in our long skirts. This last week, my skirt got caught in my bike brake while riding through the middle of town, and like the refined woman that I am, I ripped it out while going super fast down a hill, and nearly flashed all the people nearby. Well, I love you, Jesus loves you, and hope to hear from you all soon.
Sister K

Monday, September 30, 2013

When in Wales

Family and friends,
So things here are still superb. I'm loving Cardiff, though I haven't seen the sun for about a week and a half. It is pretty dark until about nine, and gets dark again around seven. In between that, it is really overcast and foggy.
I didn't think it was possible, but each week I get more and more excited about being a missionary. I get to talk to people with completely different upbringings from my own about things that make me happy and I know can bless their lives. Seriously, this gospel is amazing. I love that I can help people find peace by helping them come closer to Christ. It's honestly that simple. As you make Christ central to everything you do, everything in life is positively effected. I can promise you that. I don't know how to be a teacher, how to find people to teach, and how to even get around the area, but I'm figuring it out. I use the line "I'm new here, so I don't know what's going on" nearly every day. 
Anyway, I think I've mentioned this before, but I love the people here. There is one lady that we visit from the ward who has been sick in bed for the past 40 years, and she's a little crazy. But seriously, she's like our best friend. We always look forward to our visits with her. I feel like most of the people in Wales just need someone to talk to. I've never heard someone talk so long without a breath like the Welsh can. A bunch of the people in our area know who we are. We have friends on like every street. I'll be super sad to leave this area when the time comes, as I've grown to love the ward and the people of this city.
This last week, I started studying the New Testament again. I took a class with Hailee at BYU, and we absolutely LOVED it. I absolutely love learning about my Saviour and His life and works. One chapter that I've read over and over is John chapter 8. It has the story of the woman caught in adultery and describes perfectly what an incredible teacher our Saviour actually is. My professor at BYU taught us that in each of these stories, the details are what matter. Christ was perfect in every possible way. He was a perfect friend, a perfect missionary, a perfect example. I hope that in every aspect of my missionary work, I can strive to become like Christ.
Well, Jesus loves you! He loves the Welsh. Can't wait to hear from all of you next week.
Sister Kuykendall

Monday, September 23, 2013

Family and friends,
I feel like I finally understand what's going on in mission life. I'm still in Rhiwbina with Sister Lambert and we're enjoying our second transfer. We're finally starting to get busy with teaching appointments, service and ward activities. We're teaching quite a few people, but the one family we've been meeting with in particular seems most excited about the gospel. They absolutely love the concept that families can be together forever, as the wife and mum died just recently.
I want this little family to be happy so badly, and it's been so fun to see the difference the spirit has made in their lives thus far.
This past month, we have seen an incredible amount of miracles. We have been blessed to be in the right place at the right time, we've seen hearts soften by saying just the right words and we've found people that have been looking for this message. I know without a doubt that the Lord's hand is in all this. These things may seem small, but they are undeniable. And I haven't just seen one or two miracles since I've been in Rhiwbina, but at least one or two miracles a day. The Lord is hastening His work, and I have loved being apart of it. There was even a time this week where Sister Lambert and I were riding our bikes down a hill and I saw a monster of a slug in the middle of the road. I dodged to miss it, and nearly rammed straight into a tree on my left. As I stopped to catch my breath after the incident, I realized this was just another miracle that I was able to witness in my time here. In Ether 12 (another favourite chapter in the Book of Mormon- go read it) verse 12, it says that the reason miracles are brought about is because of faith. I've  been striving to have that great faith since I've been here. I know that I am where I need to be at this point in my life. I know that I am called of a prophet of God to help bring people closer to His Son. I love Wales. I love you. I miss Cafe Rio. Have a great week!
Sister Kuykendall

Monday, September 2, 2013

Dear family and friends,
I'm sorry I was not able to write last week, as I had the chance to play football (the European kind), so it was either play or e-mail. Oh, how I've missed it. Anyway, the last two weeks have been pretty good. I had been really looking forward to coming to Britain because of the weather. I hated the hot and dry Utah weather, and some nice British weather was exactly what I wanted. Well, it's really starting to cool down and it's absolutely superb. I thought that it would be raining pretty hard most days, but instead, it actually does this lovely thing I like to call misting. It really just mists all around you for hours on end, and you feel like you're in a fairy tale. Anyone who knows me, knows I love rain and fog. But now I really love the mist. It's one of my new favourite things. But, enough talk about the weather. The missionary work here in Rhiwbina is going quite well. Seriously, 95% of the peoople here are at least 100 years old and remember when America used to be under British rule. They're absolutely lovely, but I think they mostly just need someone to listen to. When they realized that we'll actually sit and talk with them on the street, you can see them start to light up, and really get excited as they beging to tell you about their lives from day one, which most of the time can actually be quite interesting. Many of them also ask about our accents, and when I say I'm from America, a lot of them will get all pumped up and say "My grandson lives in America! His name is Josh. Do you know him?" Usually I just tell them yes, and it makes them really happy. So in summary, I really love the people here. Each of them have incredible stories and lives, and I've loved learning about the culture while also helping them to come closer to Christ by teaching them about the restored gospel.
Also, a couple people have asked me about how the biking is going, so I thought I'd tell you in the big letter. My bike is toast. The highest two gears are broken, so I have to work with four gears, which means I peddle like a maniac to make it places. At one point this week, one of the elders in my district tried tying my bike to the back of his on the way to a district meeting. It really didn't work as well as we thought, and we got quite a few funny looks, but at least I'm getting places. Haha, I'll work on getting a new bike soon.
To conclude my e-mail I wanted to tell you a bit about what I've learned about myself this last week. Each week is hard, but I honestly love the work; however, I've had to rely completely on the Atonement and my Saviour as I've gone through the last few weeks. It's been absolutey essential for my progression as a missionary. One person I met this week, upon telling him that I could help them come closer to Christ, replied "I can rely on myself for things. Why can't you be self reliant too?" I was sorta taken aback, and I almost got offended because I've always taken great pride in being quite independed. I would hate for people to think that I couldn't fend for myself. It's something my mother might not like that much, but it's just how I am. But as I thought about that question, I realized I really am self reliant; however, I'm glad that I have trusted in the Lord and relied on Him as well, because I have now been able to become the BEST version of myself. Sure, I could rely on myself and disregard the Saviour. I could actually make it through life doing just fine. But why settle for fine, when I could settle for exceptional, extraordinary, or incredible? There are definitely exceptional people out there who have made it without Christ, but think of what they could have become if they let Him into their lives and let Him bring them just that little extra ways to their best selves. God knows everything. He knows how to guide us so that we can become our best. I've been learning more and more how to apply the Atonement to every single aspect of my life. Alma 7 and Romans 8 have been two chapters of scripture that have changed the way I look at my mission. I have the potential to be pretty darn good in this life. But it's my divine potential that makes me excellent. There's my thought for the day.
Good luck to everyone starting school this next week! You'll be fabulous. I'm so happy I'm not there.
Sister Kuykendall

Monday, August 19, 2013

Dear friends and family,
Hiya! Cardiff here is still learning to love me, but I sure love it already. The weather has finally been rainy (which means I've been soaked to the bone a few times), but it's always the best feeling to come home after a day that you know you've worked hard. Sister L and I have been finding quite a few people that seem somewhat interested in our message, so hopefully we can keep them interested and show them that we mean no harm. Also, if any of you are ever even in the slightest bit mean to a missionary, I will hunt you down and hurt you. Anyway, I'm still learning how to work hard without getting discouraged because of the lack of success. I love this area! Really I do, but i really hope to get a greater understanding of how to help these people the longer I'm here.
This week, we decided to travel up to a city where we knew not many missionaries had gone within the past few years. The area is called Taff's Well, and it's one of the most gorgeous places I have ever been. There are continuous rolling hills, lots of rain, and trees galore. We found a small community that seemed prime for finding people. As we walked through the town, it seemed deathly quiet. We were about to leave, when we met a man just sitting outside his flat. We began talking to him, and found that he was Athiest (nearly 90% of the people we meet claim to be Athiest). It was sorta like the guy I mentioned in our last e-mail. He didn't have a belief, and didn't want to believe. We listened to his concerns, and just talked with him. After about ten minutes, we told him we had to leave. He looked at us a little funny and told us, "If there are people like you in the world, then I think I believe in God. Can I come to your church?" Okay. Haha, this was definitely the first kind compliment I'd had all day. Anyway, he's a single dad with an 8 year old daughter, and wants to bring her to our church activities to meet kids that have our same beliefs and standards. See, it's times like these that everything else is worth it. Also, my trainer fell off her bike twice within the space of 10 minutes, which also makes this whole thing worth it.
Well, I can't wait to hear from you all! I'm still loving it here in Rhiwbina. I miss you and love you.
Sister Kuykendall
P.S. As soon as I get a computer cord for my camera, pictures will also accompany these e-mails

Monday, August 12, 2013

Tales from Wales :)

Dear Friends and Family,
I'm finally here in Wales! I'm in a city called Cardiff in a suburb area called Rhiwbina (Roe-bye-na). The people here are incredibly kind, but not incredibly interested in change. There are a TON of old people here, and they mostly just love having someone listen and talk to. This whole mission thing has taken some getting used to, but I'm getting there. In our area, we do ALL bike riding. Every day, all day. The first day that I didn't have a bike, we walked about 10 miles all together. Now, we bike about that same amount. I'm going to be absolutely ripped when I get back home. One thing I was surprised to find when I got here, was that many of the older folk speak a lot of Welsh. Yay. So every time I talk to them, I try to listen and understand what they're saying based on the few words I know in the language, which are "school bus" and "welcome to Wales." Some of the words don't even have vowels in them, so it seems nearly impossible to learn, but so far I've managed.
My mission so far has been hard, but mostly physically. Walking and biking around has been exhausting, but I think I might finally be used to the bruises on my backside from sitting on the seat of my bike. The people I've met here are so nice, and they love to talk and meet new people. One of the ladies that we have been visiting, named Carol, Will talk for a good hour straight without letting us get in a single sentence. My new trainer (Sister Lambert) and I still need to find good ways to teach and serve people as well as listen. Sister Lambert has been amazing. She finished training the day before I got here, so we're both very new and very inexperienced. I love this work. I love the people here. I can't think of anything better that I could be doing! I've learned to completely rely on my Saviour and trust Him with all my might. Yesterday, we were talking to a man in the park. We asked him about his belief in God and Jesus Christ in which he promptly told us there wasn't one, and we were wasting our time. It was like my second day, but I decided to go ahead and bear my testimony on the Risen Saviour and His atoning sacrifice. He stopped for a second, I could see something in his eye, like he wanted to believe and the said quietly, "It's not for me." I see this happen with many people around here. They say they don't have a belief in God, yet when you bring to their rememberence the love God has for them, they sort of get sentimental, like they wish they could belive but think it's impossible. I hope I can change that in people. The peace the gospel and Jesus has brought me is incredible. I absolutely know it's true. It has to be. I miss my family too much to be here for 18 months talking about something I didn't think was true. I love you all, and can't wait to hear from you in the next week!
Sister Kuykendall

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Sister Kate Kuykendall's first area!

We are excited to be serving with your daughter.
She has been assigned to serve in Rhiwbina, Wales
with Sister L.
More pictures will be available soon on the mission blog:
President and Sister Rasmussen

With her new trainer/companion at the Birmingham Mission Home before leaving for her 1st area

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hello everyone!
This week has been insane. The flight was fully packed with 43 missionaries all headed off to Manchester, and boy did we get a lot of looks. Everything that isn't manmade here is green. Really, it's all mossy goodness.
The MTC is beautiful, but very different from what I'm used t. My companion, Sister D, is from Brazil, and barely speaks english. And I'm not sure if it's just a Brazilian thing or what, but she doesn't like to hurry. She takes her time in everything she does. Which sometimes drives me crazy, but I'm learning to be patient. My family will like that. Like I said, every single girl in my room speaks a different language: Norwegian, Portugese, Japanese, Spanish, and whatever language they speak in Madagascar. Whenever I try to speak to them, I immediately think "Oh, my entire dinner group speaks these languages. Let me go find them." And then I remember, ah yes, that won't work. Ha, I'm so used to turning to a group of boys on campus and saying "We have a Portugese speaker over here! Who can help?" And 12 hands go up and run over to show off their skills. It's been actually sorta fun all speaking different languages, as we've sorta come up with our own broken english to communicate. Except the language barrier can be bad, especially when you're trying to teach a lesson. Here's how one of ours went:
Sister D: Will you follow example of Jesus and baptize?
Investigator: I've already been batized.....
Sister de Souza: That information make me so much very happy. When can we plan date for baptize?
Sister Kuykendall: O_o..........  So, can we come back tomorrow, same time?
Anyway, I LOVE my district. I have a couple of the missionaries already picked out for Madie to date when they get back. No worries. They found out I have an 18 year old sister, and they can't get over it. Ha, It's been fun to learn from all the people here. My teacher here got off his mission just three months ago from Manchester, and he loves missionary work, so it's been easy to get excited.
Also, I've only recieved one letter here. You know who you are, and I will love you forever. The rest of you, send me a letter!! E-mail is so fun. And I promise I'll send one back. I don't have much more time to write, but I love you all! And can't wait to hear from you.
Sister Kuykendall

Thursday, July 25, 2013

I love you! And I wanted to let you know that I have made it to England safe and sound. I'm at the MTC with about 80 elders and 12 sisters. We were in a group of 42 elders on the way here from Salt Lake. Boy did we attract a lot of attention. Everyone thought we were crazy. The boys are ALL eighteen, and us 4 girls on the flight were 21, 21, and 23 and a 19-year-old. I love the feeling here at the MTC, this place is ABSOLUTELY beautiful. So so great. the grounds at the MTC are a perfect mix of foggy, rainy, and gorgeous. If I weren't a missionary, I would already be wandering off to go explore.

The people I have already met are fantastic. Except I think I scared away one poor elder who I accidently flashed when my dress got caught in my suitcase. Other than that, everyone is cool with everyone. Most of the people here in the MTC are going to the Scotland and Irelad mission. Also, not one of the girls in my room speak english. So, it's sort of terrifying. All six of us speak different languages ranging from Hungarian to Portugese to English. So far we haven't done anything in the classroom, but I'm about to see who my comanion will be! So pumped. Also, I think I know why Jordan likes it here so much. Every single car on the roads is a nice one. Either a Mercedes, a BMW, an Audi, etc. And all the English boys dress nicer than me. Okay, I'm done. Again, I love you! Jesus loves you, my traveling worked out perfectly. Don't worry about me quite yet. I'll let you know when you'll need to start.

Sister Kuykendall

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Katie's Farewell

Katie gave a beautiful farewell talk. The bishop asked her to speak about her ancestors and how they have strengthened her testimony and also about her preparation for her mission.  She talked about how she recently took a Family History class at BYU and learned that the majority of her ancestors are from England and many of them were converted to the church by the first Latter Day Saint missionaries there. She expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to serve in the same country that her ancestors were converted in. Here is her talk in her own words:

"My 4x great grandmother, Hannah Tapfield King, was raised in Cambridge, England in the early 1800's. She kept an incredible journal that I have been able to enjoy the past couple of weeks. She talks about the missionaries with great admiration.  She said that they served her in many aspects, not just in her conversion. They were truly concerned with her well being. They served and loved her family, though many of them were not interested in the church. At times they were her only friend. They never once judged her, her family, or anyone they came in contact with. 

In Moroni 7:47 it reads: "But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever, and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him."

So that is the kind of missionary I want to be: one that has the pure love of Christ, which leads to true charity. I want to serve others, no matter their background, their religion, and develop true Christ like characteristics. I want to be a true friend and show my love for every single person I meet, whether they are interested in my message or not. 

I have another ancestor who has influenced my testimony of Jesus Christ and has inspired me to serve a mission at this time.  Today is my Grandpa Doug's birthday. He was incredibly service oriented and I always admired the way he lived his life through service to others. 

After I went off to college, my family moved to California and, as many of you know, I struggled for a long time without them. My family is my world  and I almost felt betrayed that they felt like it would be ok to leave me alone in Utah.  My grandpa knew this and let me know a couple of times that if I ever needed something, he would be there to help me. He seemed to know what I needed even before I did at times. When he and my grandma left on their misson to Washington D.C. I knew I would miss them so much. They'd become my second parents since my family left. I remember one afternoon when I was at their house my grandpa asked how I was feeling about them leaving. I told him that I was feeling a bit abandoned. I didn't really have anywhere to go home to now and I was struggling with the thought that for the next year and a half I wouldn't have them or my family. 

He sat there for a second and then smiled and said, "Isn't it neat that we know as a family that we can be together forever? See, the next little bit might seem like a long time, but that will be nothing compared to the time I can spend with the ones I love in the life to come." This brought me so much comfort. 
Before my grandpa left on his mission, he gave me a letter that I have kept. I want to read a small section from it:

"Dear Katie, I feel so blessed to have such loving and thoughtful grandchildren. Each of you with unique virtues, which reflect the love our Savior wants us to have for each other. It makes life here on earth feel like a bit of heaven. By our Savior, Jesus Christ, and only by Him, it is possible for us to return to our heavenly home and live together as family and with our loving Heavenly Father. Jesus knows and has experienced every kind of hardship, struggle, and pain we will ever have. I trust Him to know how to help me and I know His is the perfect example to follow."

These were his last words of counsel to me. When he passed away just a few months into his mission, I felt like I would never be consoled, yet, as I read his testimony again, I realized that the words he had said to me that afternoon were true. Now I have made a newfound goal to really get to know and understand my Savior and His life and sacrifice. To help me with this, I decided to take a New Testament class at BYU. There has not been a single class that has changed the way I think and act as much as this one. 

As we went through each part of the Savior's life, my professor pointed out that the last chapters of Matthew, Mark and Luke; the last two chapters of John; and the first eight verses of Acts contain the only New Testament accounts of the risen Christ. 

When he said that, I thought about how incredible it would have been if I had actually been one of his disciples at the time. I would have been able to experience His teachings first hand, I would have experienced the feelings that would have accompanied His crucifixion, I would have been able to behold the risen Lord. If this was you, can you imagine how attentive you would have been to His actual message? The overwhelming message in each of the accounts of the risen Savior was to preach His gospel.

In Matthew 28:19 Christ said, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."

As I read this passage I thought about my Savior and His perfect example of missionary work. I thought about my grandpa and how his Christlike attributes had blessed his family, friends and even complete strangers. I thought about other people who I look up to who had served missions. 

The more I researched, prayed and fasted, the more I wanted to follow their example and serve; however, I still felt nervous just thinking about it. I realize that at times the world does not view the church very favorably and I have always been afraid that I would offend someone if I said too much. Because of this, I've been hesitant to share things pertaining to the gospel that are so sacred to me with someone who might not want to hear it. I had a great desire to share the gospel but felt inadequate to do so. 

The gospel is something that has defined who I am and what I want to become. It has given me joy, happiness and peace and sharing it with others while serving them and loving them seemed like the perfect way to do that. 

We can all be missionaries in our own way. Doing so may seem daunting, but I have a strong belief that if we cease to judge or criticize others and start doing simple acts of kindness, regardless of background or circumstances, that we can do more good than we have ever imagined.  

I am so excited to finish what my grandparents started when they set out to serve a mission a few years ago.  

I know that there is a God in heaven. I know that He wants His children to be happy. I know that God would never create us and love us, yet separate us from the things that have brought us the most joy, therefore, I know without a doubt in my mind that I can be with my family for eternity. 

I love the gospel, and if you get nothing else from this talk, I want you to know that I would NOT be serving a mission if I did not know that the things I will be teaching are true. I would not be sacrificing 18 months of soccer, 18 months of being with my family and friends, 18 months of Cafe Rio, 18 months of my life if I did not know that what I am doing is the true work of God. 

I know that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. I have read it and prayed about it sincerely and know it to be true. There is no way that any single person can genuinely read this book, want to understand it, and give time to study and ponder it, and then pray about it and find that it isn't true. Anyone who reads this book with absolute pure intent, with an open mind and heart, wanting to know if the contents are true will find that they are. 

I know above all that Jesus Christ is my Savior. I know that He died for me. I know that throughout my mission I will rely on Him for much of my strength, just as I have done since I was a little girl. I cannot wait to share this testimony with the people that I meet in England.