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