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