Monday, December 29, 2014

The Savior

Family and friends,

Well, not much has happened since last I talked, but Christmas was absolutely amazing! It was yet another Christmas where everything I have was totally dedicated to the Lord. All I had this Christmas was the true meaning of Christmas. It's cool how with the Savior in mind, there is a natural peace that accompanies it. Everything seems to work out. I don't know how to describe my thoughts on the Savior. As I've born (borne?) testimony of Him throughout my mission, my beliefs have formed into a sure knowledge of Him. Whenever I speak about the Savior, learn of Him, read of Him, think of Him, the feelings and that come into my heart are unique. They are ones that are so special and specific that I cannot deny that they mean something. Some people tell me over here that the things I believe and know are all in my mind, that I just tell myself that it's true because it's nicer that way. But the thing is, this gospel is not always easy. There have been times in my life that I've found it easier to be complacent, to wave away the experiences and feelings I have had as just pure coincidence; however, I will never be able to deny the things I've learned on my mission. As long as I live, I will testify that Jesus Christ lives, that He is my Savior, that lasting peace comes through Him. I don't understand how it works, but I'm honestly happiest when He is the center of all that I do. And I've definitely tried putting many different things in the center. 

We had an amazing miracle this week with our cute little Vietnamese investigator. She's going to university here, and we've been teaching her for a while. Sister Bertha and I found her on one of my first days here. She didn't have many beliefs at all, but over the last little bit she's been coming to church and making friends. Slowly, she has been able to find that there is a God, and that he loves her. This is an extremely sharp masters student who is used to experiments and evidences and proof. We weren't sure that would even give it a chance. On Saturday, I asked her what her thoughts were on baptism. She thought about it for a few seconds, and then said, "I'm ready for it." The moment she said the words, the whole spirit in the room changed. I've never felt anything like it, even on my mission. God loves this girl. My companion and I just looked at each other wide eyed. She was so confident in her answer, and was so happy. I love her more than anything!

Anyway, life is good. I love Cov. Honestly never been happier in my life. I don't think that's a coincidence. The gospel makes me happy, and that's why I share it. Perhaps that sounds cliche, but it's true. Happy New Year! Make some goals.

Sister Kuykendall 





Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I L Y

I can't remember if I e-mailed this last week. I don't think I did. But this past week has been crazy busy. Sister Bertha leaves for home tomorrow, and we've had loads of stuff to do and people to see before things get super hectic. It seems so surreal watching her pack her things and get ready to go back to real life. I haven't felt like that will ever be me. Everyone keeps asking her how she feels about going home and such, and I've been enjoying the fact that no one knows when I go home. On Thursday; however, I had my last zone conference of the mission. It was a special one for Christmas, but Sister Bertha and I were asked to give departing testimonies in front of all the missionaries. I still have a whole 6 weeks, so I didn't think about it much until the day of. On that day, President Rasmussen called my name to go up. As I walked and stood at the pulpit, I felt like I couldn't even speak. I looked out at all the faces of my friends. These are the people I've loved and served with for the last year and a half. Thinking about it now even makes me want to cry. I know I'm being all #cheesy and #dramatic, but I really don't know what I'll do without these people once I go home.

Before I came on my mission, I was told that love is the most important part about serving the Lord. I heard it all the time, and I kept thinking "Yeah, yeah, whatever." As I've been here and I look back, I've been able to understand love on a new level. I loved people before: my family, my friends. But out here, it has hit me in a new way. I don't really know how to describe it. I've loved deeper and more freely than in any other time in my life. Even though my family isn't here, I've loved them more as well. With each new person I meet, I love them without understanding why. I just really love people! Sorry for my little rant. I've sort of been panicking about leaving the past days because it means I won't see many of these people ever again, and it makes me feel ill to think about.

On Tuesday, we went on our last exchange for the transfer. I stayed in Coventry with another Sister. It was freezing cold, and the winds were super bitter. We were just out talking to people, but honestly we were both quite miserable. We only had about an hour of finding, but I really wasn't sure if I could make it that long. There came a point where we both just looked at each other and just read each other's minds, "Keep finding? Or go hide in the car?" It's the same situation I'm sure every single missionary alive finds themselves in. Luckily for us, we decided to stay. Seriously 5 seconds later, we bumped into L from South Africa. He seemed cool, we gave him a Book of Mormon, and we set up a time to see him the next day. When we sat down with him in our lesson with him, he told us he'd read the chapter we'd given him, and couldn't stop after that. He kept reading and reading, and couldn't wait to return from work to continue reading. We were so so excited! He told us about all the things he'd learned, sharing insights from each verse and feelings he'd had as he read. Later in the lesson, we asked him to read something from another part of the book. He opened the page super carefully, and started reading. We realized pretty quick that he really struggles with reading. He was choppy, and he struggled to spell things out. It melted my heart just listening. I was so touched that he put so much time into reading when it's such a challenge. I guess it just meant a lot more to me that he'd read so much when I realized the sacrifice. 

Well, congratulations if you read this whole thing. I'll be honest, before my mission I just skimmed missionary e-mails. I love you! 

Sister Kuykendall

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

#sharethegift

This is the first time I've gone a whole week without writing in my journal. Ha, and it probably wasn't a good week to choose because there was a crazy amount of ish that went down, and I really wish I'd had the chance to record it all along with my feelings. That's what pdays are for, right?

First off, district unity came with a price this week. After spending pday together last week, we were all quite ill for the rest of the week, but not sick enough to keep going. We has loads to do this week. Some highlights from the past week....

#sharethegift: On Tuesday, we went to a meeting with all the zone leaders in the mission. Our mission president told us about the Christmas initiative going on this December all over the world based on the video that the church made about the true meaning of Christmas. If you haven't seen it, that's sad and you should. Christmas.mormon.org. The video is amazing, and we try and share it with as many people as possible on the street because it immediately brings in the spirit to any situation. I'm part of something huge. Every single missionary in the world is part of this big initiative. We're all sharing the same video and talking about the Savior it every opportunity. Coohuh? Even the missionaries who have struggles back home or out here are finding it easier to set those things aside to focus on the Savior during this month. 

Lights: We went to street contact in city centre, and were surprised to find that there was a huge party going on for the beginning of the Christmas season. They turned on loads of lights right as we got up there, and then a group called Union J came out and started singing in the middle of everyone. Apparently they're a big deal over here? It got us super pumped for the month to come. 

Thanksgiving: We ate too much food and were sick for the rest of the night. Still fun though! 

Baptism: Our investigator was baptized! Chaunli is from China, and loves Jesus and the Atonement. He's absolutely amazing. Two other investigators in the district and ward were baptized at the same time, and there was a really good turn out. It was probably the most powerful experience on my mission. These people become your best friends. Even the investigators of other missionaries become your own. We all help each other to reach the same purpose, and by the time all three were prepared for baptism, we all felt so proud of them. My heart felt so big. After the baptism, all 10 missionaries from the ward and our investigators and newly baptized converts went to eat Chinese food. 

Happy days. Love you!

Sister Kuykendall

Monday, November 24, 2014

Sudden bursts of courage

I absolutely love reading the e-mails of people just coming out on the mission. In a way, I envy them, that they can be in that stage now. But I do remember how hard it was just coming out and feeling like I had no idea what was going on... I guess because I actually didn't. I don't want to get super deep, but I do remember that at the beginning of my mission, my trainer would encourage me to have "sudden bursts of courage." She probably doesn't remember saying it now, but I remember being terrified like nearly every second of the day, but the moment I had to do something hard, I'd somehow work up a bunch of courage and bravery, and all of a sudden I'd find myself talking to the guy with a big pit bull and loads of tattoos. I think it was a repetition of those brave moments that kept me going at the beginning, and now I feel like I've had no problems with fear for a long time. However, a few days ago, I had a somewhat emotionally exhausting day. I felt like I was completely at the end of my rope and couldn't do anything more. Perhaps I'm being a bit dramatic, but that's what it felt like at the time. I remembered my first transfer on the mission, walking up to everyone and anyone. I really have no idea how I did. On this day, that same phrase came into my mind. I could hear my trainer saying, "Just a sudden burst of courage is all it takes to change a life!" So I did it. I saw a man about 40 feet ahead of us. He had a huge ugly dog, and I was honestly terrified of it. But all of a sudden, I felt my feet running towards him. I yelled to him, he stopped (probably because he thought I was insane and needed help), and we ended up having an amazing lesson with him. I was able to continue to share my testimony throughout the day. #blessed #thankful #devildogs  

Grateful: Family, Book of Mormon, China, running, soccer, music, technology, instagram, hashtags, kind leaders, friends, violin, snow, baptism, the Holy Ghost, cameras, Cafe Rio, members, investigators, Coventry, Wales, autumn, advent calendars, the Atonement, warm blankets, journals, handwritten letters, Warwick University, recent converts, missionary friends, and spontaneous adventures.

I love you! 

Sister Kuykendall

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Unity

Hello Everyone!

Our district has had some major problems with unity in the past transfer. Since transfers have just come around, we're all excited for the new fresh start with each other. This morning, everyone ran from their flats to the city centre. It was pouring rain, but everyone still came. We huddled around in the dark square and said a district prayer to start the morning. As we prayed, I felt a huge surge of love for these people, my friends. The mission is surreal. My best friends are all out here by my side. We all have the same goal, and we all are excited to share our miracles with each other. I know it sounds cheesy, but I just love them. I feel as if it's going to be impossible to come home. I was homesick for home for a week or so in the beginning, but I feel like I will always be homesick for the mission after this. 

The walk to church: Though we have a car, some of the elders in the district have been telling us we're weak for not just walking to church. We promptly made the decision that we would walk to church from then on, because we are far from weak. On Sunday, we organized a walk from city centre to the chapel with all the missionaries and their investigators. It was so cool to walk up to the meeting point and see about 20 people waiting there ready to go to church. It was about a 30 minute walk, and we were about 5 minutes late, so we made a huge scene, but the unity we all felt as we walked and talked together and fellowshipped each other's investigators and recent converts was amazing. #chineseswag

We had a really amazing week. It's felt so surreal. Seriously, I'm in love with the people here. Our district, the students, everyone is amazing. We're apart of something so real and amazing. The gospel is so incredible. It's true, and it's brings all sorts of people together. I cannot adequately describe the happiness I've felt this past week as we've continued to work alongside all the other missionaries. I'm honestly the luckiest girl on the planet.

I had a really sweet experience this week. On Tuesday, I had a really crummy day. I had been on exchange, and I went out even though I wasn't feeling well. I was feeling super sorry for myself, and at the end of the day after I was back in Coventry, I was trying so hard to fake a healthy countenance as I sat in our coordination meeting with all the other missionaries. However, in some very specific ways, I was able to receive comfort and direction for things I'd been praying about and agonizing over. Though some of these things aren't a big deal to anyone but me, I was reminded that God knows me. And not just me, but each of us. Every person I talk to, every missionary, all of us. Though it's so simple, I know God loves us and hears our prayers. I also have a testimony that God's ways are higher than ours. He knows me better than anyone. 

I love you!

Only 39 days until Christmas.

Sister Kuykendall 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Next door

Transfers have come and gone, and Sister Bertha and I are still together here in Coventry. It's her last transfer, and my second to last, so more than likely I'll end my mission here, which is totally fine with me. We are loving it here. 

This last week, the berth got pretty ill. We had to stay in the flat for 2 days, and things were dreary and quite boring. You can only spend so many hours updating the area book, catching up on your journal, and taking selfies before you feel like you're going to go completely insane. We also had some really high goals for the week, so we were bummed that 2 days of the week were taken from us. But it was sorta neat, because then that meant the moments we did get to go out were quite precious, and we really wanted to use it wisely. For example:

On Saturday evening, we had a ping pong tournament at the chapel. Though Sister Bertha hadn't been well the whole day, she wanted to go so that we didn't go crazy in the flat. We did well, I beat some of the Asians (not sure if they let me), and then the tournament ended at about 8:30. We had a half hour before we needed to go in. We decided that instead of going inside, we would do 20 minutes of finding for the day. As we drove to our finding spot, we prayed and asked Heavenly Father to bless us with one person that wanted to be baptized. We got out of the car, and began walking. For some reason, no one wanted to talk to two coughing girls in the dark and rain. We stopped a girl coming from the train station. I was a little miserable at this point, and sorta just word vomited on her. I can't remember exactly what I said, but in the end, she said she's been trying to find out if God is there, and feels that baptism is the right thing for her. Ha. It almost felt unreal.

Prayer: As we were teaching one of our friend's last night, we asked how his prayers have been going. Here's how the conversation went.
Us: "How have your prayers been going?"
Him: "Gooooood. Good."
Us: "Do you feel like anyone is listening when you pray?"
Him: "Uh....... yeah! Next door."

On Sunday morning, some elders in our district had a baptism. Their cute  investigator is from Hong Kong, and he's a bit scared of girls, but we love him. It was a simple service, but the Spirit was amazing. The whole thing was in Cantonese and Mandarin, so I had no idea what was going on, but the atmosphere was just so nice. The gospel is so cool. It's so real, and it's the same wherever you go and in whatever language. We all sang "I am a Child of God" in Mandarin at the end. We all fluffed our way through, but this boy from Hong Kong seemed totally at ease and at peace. I love the gospel. 

I love you! Jesus loves you.

Sister Kate Kuykendall

Domestic skills

Monday, November 3, 2014

Artsy

Our favorite pal Ray was baptized this week! He's from South Korea, and he really figured these things out for himself. It's amazing how much God has been in the details for his conversion. He recognizes that there will still be lots of hard things in his life, but he is the epitome of GOLDEN. Seriously. As he came out of the water, he was smiling so big, and just kept saying, "Thank you. Thank you everyone for being at my baptism." And he would do a little bow. My heart melted inside. Everything he says is so perfect, and already he's loving the YSA in the ward. Life is gooooood. And though I make this whole story sound like it was a piece of cake, it wasn't completely. We definitely had bumps in the road, and a few unforseen events. But in the end, our friend has been baptized and he has been so happy. In his words, "I was happy before, but this is different. Things are harder, but I feel so good." 

Also, we met an amazing guy this week named Ryan. Honestly, when I saw him in city centre, I had no intention of stopping and talking to him. He looked quite artsy and unique with beautiful wavy hair and funky glasses. I immediately thought, "SURELY, he won't be interested in what I have to say." Anyway, Sister Bertha stopped him, so of course we all talked. He ended up being the coolest person, and he's had loads of questions about God lately. He kept asking, "How are you guys so normal, but love God? You're not like regular church people." I feel like everyone we meet over here in Coventry is elect. We meet our best friends every day. We're struggling to keep up with how amazing this place is.

I'm freaking out about transfers on Wednesday. This was seriously the fastest transfer yet. It was probably the best as well. I feel as if we were both able to lay everything completely on the line and totally maximize our potential together. Perhaps this sounds cliche, but I seriously could not be happier here. Every moment I have something eternally significant to do. What fun! Anyway, Coventry is amazing. 

Alcohol: Was offered some free beer last night. "Don't worry!" He said, holding out a huge open can, "You don't even have to pay me for it."

Men in suits: We brought our new 21 year old investigator to church yesterday. We introduced her to one of our 22 year old male members. After they were done talking she walked up to me and said, "I really like the way the men dress here. The suits are highly attractive." She looked around for a few more seconds, and then said, "I think I'll come next week." 

Halloween: We had to be inside our flat early on Halloween, so we celebrated by making a fort and filling it with glow sticks. We can't bear to take it down now.

Sorry for the many general and vague comments in this e-mail. I feel like I sometimes run out of things to say. I have seriously loved my life here though. 

Sister Kuyks


Monday, October 27, 2014

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween! This week has been busy busy, but oh so good. 

Car: I passed my driving test! I will now return home with the best souvenir you could ask for - a British driver's license.

Another great quote!: (as we were teaching our investigator from China about tithing): "So, you said it's sorta like a tax, but that sounds more like an investment." He teaches us more truth than we teach him apparently.

I'm so sorry, but the elders are getting a bit antsy. There's a new one right behind my shoulder waiting to write his girlfriends that he talks about so often. So I'll send a few pictures, and make sure next weeks e-mail is planned out a bit in advance. Sorry mom! Love you.

Sister Kuykendall
P-Day activity last Monday

Something called hot pot. Lots of raw things. Somewhat vile, but we couldn't stop eating it. Went with our friends from China.

I love investigators!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sorry so short

I feel like our feet are running faster than our minds and strength can handle. We decided this week that we would skip our weekly planning, a few meals, some of our preparation day, etc. so we could talk with a few more people and such. Since we have quite a bit of travelling and meetings, we don't get to do as much in a day as we'd like. We only ended up killing ourselves. Haha, we learned our lesson. We still had an awesome week, and I got to do an exchange in Peterborough with Sister Carter! The sister I trained. I also got to see my cute little recent convert there. Overall, life is good. Honestly, this week was quite a bit more challenging that most in many aspects, but I must say that God does answer prayer. He really does. 

Saddest moment: We had an investigator from China who dropped us this week. She has been super excited for baptism, but she's been forbidden from learning with us :( We were absolutely heart broken. It's not even that we're losing an investigator, but she's become one of our best friends, and now we'll never see her again.

Anyway, not to be depressing, but I'll just do the one sad moment. And now you're going to hate me mom, but I don't have much time to write today so I'll end there. I'm happy and loving life. Coventry is still super. 

Sister Kuykendall the 1st

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Amazing week

We had an amazing week, and were blessed to meet some really incredible new people. Also, I'm sorry I start every e-mail with the same sentence. 

This week, we had two exchanges planned. Because of a string of mishaps, the one we planned for Thursday evening ended up being a lot later than we expected. We were in a rush, and as we sped down the motorway at 8:30 at night, our car started to make funny noises. It sputtered, slowed down, and we eventually pulled up to a complete stop. We started to panic because first, we don't know anything about cars, and second, we needed to be in before 9. We tried looking in the hood, but let's be real, we didn't know what we were even looking for. Then, Sister Bertha got these mortified look on her face. She went into the car again and we both realised that we simply had not put petrol into the car in about 2 weeks. We were completely empty. We called our friend Sam, and he drove us to a nearby ASDA, but he had to get somewhere right after, so we were left to our own devices. We sprinted into ASDA, bought a fuel can, bought like £2 worth of fuel, sprinted back to our car, and filled it up. We still had barely enough to make it back to the petrol station, but we made it, filled up, and sped on. Though it was an adventure, and we laughed and took a video of our stupidity, we were really blessed with some kind people along the way, and safety in the dark. Small miracle.

Funny conversation:
90 year old man: You're not from around here... What's that accent?
Me: I'm from America.
90 yo: Oooooooooooooo! Really? Are you really? 
Me: Yeah, have you been there?
90 yo: Nope. But I've got a bus pass.

We met a boy this week from China on Thursday who is absolutely increidble. When we showed him the Book of Mormon, he got so so excited. Seriously, it was the cutest thing. He was bouncning up and down, and he told us he had stolen his roommate's copy of the book. We asked if he wanted one in Mandarin. It almost looked like he was about to faint his smile was so big. He told us he'd always wanted a Book of Mormon, and now he could understand it :) He clung to the book, and wouldn't let go. When he came to church on Sunday, he was still clutching that same book. It already had some wear on it. It made me really thing about how I think of the scriptures. I mean, I do love them, but I think I take them for granted sometimes. 

Being in this area has increased my testimony so much. We are teaching about 7 people from China, and each of them either have a PhD or are working on a PhD. One is working on her second PhD. These are incredibly bright people that are working on and studying things that will change the world. Many of them have also never really heard about God, and don't know who He is in any sense. The idea is foreign and new to them, but they've decide to experiment and see if He's actually there. Each of these investigators have felt the warmth of the Holy Ghost and have accepted the idea that God is there and we can talk with Him through prayer. They aren't dumb. They don't accept it without lots of thought and studying and experimentation. But these people just get it. How amazing is this? These are some of my best friends. 

Sorry for the scattered e-mail. That's how my brain has been the past few months. Love you!

Katie
Exchanges

Conference

Celebrating an early Christmas with Sister B

Sister B, Sister Rasmussen (President's wife) and me

Monday, October 6, 2014

Best week

This was probably the best week of my mission thus far. Though there wasn't a baptism, or anything of major significance, I met some of the most amazing people, and I was able to share my testimony with them. And the week ended with an amazing conference that quite a few of our investigators were able to attend and feel the spirit. One of our friends came to the Saturday morning session. He's from China, and he's about 22 years old. At the start of the conference, he was feeling a little bored. He doesn't know English as well as he'd like, at he didn't exactly understand what he was getting into I guess. He stayed because we had treats, but by the end he seemed a bit frustrated. I asked what he thought of the conference, and in his broken English he said, "Why do I feel the peace in my heart if I didn't know what they say!" Bless. We love him. I'll include a few more investigator quotes from the week:

When explaining the Holy Ghost, our investigator from Korea who's about 29 years old said, "So it's like wireless internet between you and God?"

When we asked one investigator if he receives answers to prayer, he said, "God has given me answers. He gives it in the form of information, that I can either use or not. He can't force me to use it." He's really wise.

Also, I'm in love with investigators' first prayers. They're lovely. One 21 year old boy from Coventry said, "Heavenly Father, I don't know if you're there, but this prayer thing is really cool, I think you're really cool, these girls are really cool, and it's cool I can learn about you." 

Exchange: I got to go on an exchange to Bedworth this past week! It's a way cute leelte place. I was in a trio for the day. A bit #awks, but loved being able to see more of England. 

#ldsconf: One of our investigators came to conference a bit drunk, though he took LOADS of notes. I'm not sure what on, but we're hopeful that it was spiritual impressions.

We set some pretty high goals for this week, because we were surprised at what we were able to do this week. We're quite busy with exchanges, travelling, and meetings, but our hoping our faith will allow is some miracles.. ha. Anyway, sorry if this is short! I'll send some pictures. Love you.

Katie






Monday, September 29, 2014

Goodbye Peterborough

JK. Remember how last week I said I was completely not worried about transfers? After only 2 transfers in the wonderful land of Peterborough, I have been placed in Coventry. The closest to Birmingham I'll probably ever be. It was a super sad move, as I didn't have any time at all to say goodbye to my friends. Seriously right after e-mailing, President Rasmussen called and asked if I would accept a leadership assignment over here in Coventry. I'm back in a car, I'm in a massive ward, I work with loads of the sisters in our area, and I'm near a university with loads of diversity. I was super bummed to leave Sister Carter after only a transfer, but now I'm serving with Sister Bertha from San Diego. She's legit, and we're loving life together. We both want the same things for the area, and it's been a super smooth transition. In the few days we've been together, we've seem some amazing progress in the area, and have gained quite a few new investigators and are seeing people actually progress towards baptism. MIRACLES ABOUND. I love life. I absolutely love it. 

This week was also a bit overwhelming with moving and getting oriented into some of the new responsibilities I have as what they call a sister training leader. I have been incredibly humbled the past week. Each day I notice a new weakness, and there are certain things that I've struggled with throughout my mission that are still working their way to become strengths. I've relied a lot on prayer. The week before I got the call that I was leaving was really hard. I was overwhelmed with training and some of my current responsibilities and inner struggles. I was still working hard, but I didn't know why I was. I just knew that I was happier when I worked that when I did anything else. But I still didn't understand what was wrong with me. I was praying to have something change to push me and force me rise up. Many times during my life, I have felt as if I'm only enduring, not thriving. I wanted to thrive. This transfer has been an answer to my prayers. I am so happy. I don't know how to describe it. Happier than I've ever been in my life. It didn't come all at once. It actually was a decision I made. I know I say this each week, but being a missionary has changed the course of my life for the better. As I have magnified my calling, I have been happy. I've met my best friends. Here's a quote that Lori sent me that went along perfectly with how I feel about this last week:

"If we are always taking our temperature to see if we are happy, we will not be."

and.. “We find that experience can produce a high spiritual yield. Laban, for instance, was reluctant for Jacob to leave his employ, “for I have learned by experience that the Lord hath blessed me for thy sake.” The modern Church even today is instructed to “wait for a little season” to build up central Zion. Why? So that we "may be prepared…and have experience.” (D&C 105:9-10) We gain knowledge through particular experiences, but only incrementally, “in that thing.” (Alma 32:34) Hence, the ongoingness of it all, and perhaps we can be forgiven for wondering, “is there no other way?” Personal, spiritual symmetry emerges only from the shaping of prolonged obedience.”

Hence, I'm still learning. I'm worried that I don't have enough time left to learn what I need to know. I'm worried that I'll leave not having accomplished all that the Lord had set for me to do. Even with my 100% effort each day, I feel like I'll still have more that needs to be finished. 

Anyway. Sorry for my rant/sermon. I haven't been able to write in my journal for about 7 days, so I'm hoping Mom will print this out so I can just use it for my journal entry for the week. 

Car: I'm back in a car. And I'm already missing the bike.

Christmas: We decorated the flat for Christmas already because Sister Bertha will be leaving before.

University: I can already tell I'm going to be completely at home here. I'm loving it :)

Sister Kuykendall





Monday, September 22, 2014

Nice

Family and friends,

Sundays are always miraculous. Yesterday was perfect. We had a nice morning with nice studies and a nice walk to church. I wore a nice flowy skirt. We got into church and sat with a few of our investigators. I looked behind us, and saw a woman and man I didn't recognise. I got up and walked over to introduce myself. The man was a member that hasn't been to church in a while. The woman had been raised Catholic. When I asked about her religious background, she said, "I want to have faith, but I don't have it in my old religion. I'm looking to be converted into your church. Do you know who I speak to about this." Once again, I pretended like this happens all the time and said that she could definitely talk with us. We set up a time to see her this week. I smiled through the rest of sacrament. I felt like the luckiest girl as I sat next to my friends. My investigators have really become some of my best friends. The members in this ward have really taken them in and made them feel at home. They deserve these miracles. I don't know if I can say I'm worthy of the miracles we've seen, but the ward definitely is.  

Tracting: Since I've been in Peterborough, I've resorted mostly to street contacting to gain new investigators. I told Sister Carter that tracting doesn't work in this area as well (because it really didn't when it was Sister Williamson and I). This past week, we had an appointment fall through. I went to get back on our bikes, but Sister Carter was like, "Maybe we could tract?" I really didn't want to, but I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to show her that tracting simply does not work here. We knocked on the first door. They opened. They were perfectly willing to listen and invited us to return. We knock on the second door. They open the door and told us we could teach them. We knock on the third door. They opened. They invited us in and we taught them. We knock on the fourth door. The girl that opened was super stoked to see us and seemed excited to hear from us. Anyway, we knock the entire street and literally every door that opened was interested in our message. I have been sufficiently humbled.

Bike: We had our first serious bike accident with Sister Carter. As we were coming down a hill, I heard this huge bang behind me. I looked back and saw Sister sprawled out on the ground. With her bike a few feet from her. Literally 2 minutes before, she'd been complaining to me about how stupid the rule is that we have to wear helmets. I sorta just said tough luck, and made her put it on anyways. Boy am I happy. She was completely fine besides a few bruises and scratches and hurt ego, but I'm not sure how fine she would have been without the helmet. I think she was sufficiently humbled there.

Well, transfers are on Wednesday, but nearly 100% sure that we're both staying right here. So nothing exciting happening there. I would die if I left Peterborough. I have to stay here. I'm dreading the end of this next transfer. I love it too much. I just want my family and friends to all come out here with me.

New favourite missionary scripture - John 15:5.

I love you! 
Sister Kuyks

Monday, September 15, 2014

Pink violin

Fam,

I'll be honest, I don't really know what else to say in e-mails. I feel like you guys are sick of me saying, "My mission is great!" or "We had so many miracles this week!" I only speak in cliches now. But that's only because I don't have words for the experiences I'm having. 

This past week was busy, as we tried to juggle our teaching pool and the few big meetings we had. We had quite a bit of travelling to do including to Birmingham and Leicester. We had a zone conference, a trainer's meeting, and a Europe area sister's conference. We didn't have nearly as much time as we would have liked to actually talk with people and teach, but again, "We had so many miracles this week!" I'd like to share one:

We've been meeting with a girl a little older than Jill ever since I got here. She reminds me of my Jilly, so obviously I love her to bits. Her family less active, and she isn't baptised as a result. Though her parents are fine with us teaching their daughter, they want nothing to do with it themselves. They don't want to take her to church, and don't really talk to us except for the occasional, "You alright?" This week, we went to teach her. Her parents were doing some work in the kitchen where we were talking with her. We'd planned to show her the Restoration DVD and ask her about her feelings with the Book of Mormon. Her parents worked loudly in the corner and hardly looked our way. I was frustrated because I was hoping for this to be a spiritual experience for their daughter. I kept praying that they would leave. Finally, I just put on the video and we started to watch it over the noise. As the video went on, I realised that her parents were working a little quieter. The kept looking over their shoulder to see what we were watching. The dad turned to the mom and said, "This is a good video, this." They both became completely quiet and watched intently, though I think they were hoping we wouldn't notice. The first vision came on the screen. I felt the spirit testify to me that Joseph Smith's experience is true. I prayed that these two parents and their daughter would feel the same thing. I stopped the video after the first vision. I think the parents realised they'd started watching, and hurriedly became busy and loud again. Before we ended the lesson, the mom asked when church started. We told her. She pretended to be all nonchalant and said, "Maybe we'll come sometime." I tried to hide my huge smile. We talked and laughed with them for a bit, and were able to build a small relationship with them. Seriously, an amazing tender mercy.

Pink violin: Sister Carter played in one of the same orchestras as me back home (Jack Ashton), so we talk about that a lot. We were at a member's home for dinner, and told them about our common ground. They were super excited, and brought out an old violin and told us we could borrow it. We opened it up, and much to our surprise, it has been painted bright pink. So we feel super hard core as we play a 3/4 length hot pink violin.

Water please?: On Friday, we didn't have time to go back to the flat for dinner, so we decided to get some snacks at a convenience store. As I walked out, a slightly drunk but very European dressed guy about my age walked up to me. He gave me about 10p (about 6 cents) and asked if I'd buy him a beer. I said no. He asked if I'd maybe buy him an energy drink instead. I said no again. Then he blurted out, "I LIKE YOUR FACE. Please can you get me some?" I gave him my water I'd bought. He seemed to be satisfied with that.

I love being here. I really do. I'm sorry for the lack of creativity each week, seriously I don't know what else to say. This experience has been amazing. I shudder to think of the person I would be without it. I love you!

Sister Kuykendall


Monday, September 8, 2014

Uncle Erick

Hey.
 
We had our fair share of strange happenings this week, but overall I'm happy. Peterborough is just a really special place sometimes, but I love the fact that most of the people I meet are different countries all over the world. I cannot express adequately how much I love the ward I'm in. It's incredible. It's family. I absolutely love them. I've never felt such a connection to people than I do in the Peterborough 2 ward. I feel so blessed to be apart of the work in this area at this time. I'm simply happy. We worked hard this week, and I've been super proud of Sister C. I feel like such a proud mom! She's learning everything so quickly, and I don't feel like I trained her. Anyway, here's for some details of the week.
 
Uncle Erick: As we were street contacting this week, I saw from afar off a man who looked EXACTLY like my uncle Erick. I literally sprinted to him through a busy street with the intention of giving him a huge hug. I was thinking, "Maybe he came looking for me in Peterborough?" Anyway, it wasn't my uncle Erick. It was a guy from Persia. For some reason, I thought Persia wasn't a country anymore….? Isn't it now Iran? Anyway, this guy said it was a country and that he speaks Persian. He moved here 15 years ago though, so it could have changed since then, right? This man became a new investigator right then and there where we met him. We told him we are Christians and talk to people about God and Jesus. He got super excited and said, "I love Jesus!" I was surprised because it seems like most of the people we talk to are Muslim in our area. We began talking with him about baptism near the end of our conversation. He asked us in his super broken English, "Why do I get happy feeling when you talk about Jesus?" SO CUTE. We invited him to church yesterday, and he came in a full suit. I have high hopes for our Erick look alike.
 
Football: This week, the elders in our ward and us decided to try a new route for finding investigators. We've started weekly soccer at the chapel and invite people we meet on the street. We get people that speak different languages and come from all over, and so far it's made for some of my favourite soccer matches of all time. Sister C and I haven't found any new investigators from it but our elders have and I've loved playing with people from all over Europe. #luckiestgirl
 
Alma 33: This chapter was an answer to prayer this week. As I read Alma 33:8, it touched my heart more than any scripture I've ever read up to this point. I don't know why, but it was exactly what I needed to hear. I won't try explaining my thought processes, but I'll just say it's a nice chapter. Go read some of the word of God.
 
Sister Kuykendall

Monday, September 1, 2014

Best day

This week was a bit rough. Due to some somewhat humorous events (they won't be really humorous until after my mission), a baptism we had planned for Saturday fell through. But that's okay, because it will happen later. The Lord knows everything, and apparently this weekend wasn't in His timetable for her baptism. 

Our ward just got some new elders, so we both combined our efforts and set up an FHE with them this past Monday. We played some games and got to know each other, and at the end we were all talking. We started going around talking about the best day we'd ever had. Of my top 10 best days ever, probably at least 7 of them have been on my mission. My birthday this year is one of them. As it was almost my turn, I was thinking about why it was my favourite. We'd gone about our normal day. We'd taught a lesson to one of my favourite people of all time, we'd done some service, had dinner with a member family, done our normal studying, etc. No one really knew it was my birthday, but for some reason I still thought it was special. I think the best days in my life have been those that are associated with the Spirit. I think it's amplified the happy times by 3543574364. But I thought about that throughout the week. My happy moments have always been in connection with the Spirit. God's hand is constantly in our lives whether we want it to be or not, whether we believe in Him or not. As I listened to everyone else tell about their best days, they all had to do with family, loved ones, God, etc. I think that was evidence to me of the reality of God. I don't know how to describe my thought process through this, but I just kept thinking, "These are people from all different backgrounds and beliefs. If the things that make us all happy are universally the same, they must be good and true." I know God is real. He is woven into everything we do. I know it. 

Atonement: Sister C and I have decided to be obsessed with the Atonement. We've been studying it and talking about it and want a greater understanding of it. When we decided to do it, I was thinking, "I know loads about it. I'm not sure what else I could possibly understand." I'm surprised I wasn't struck down right there, but I'll just say I was dreadfully wrong. I studied it loads at the beginning of my mission because of a promise in Preach My Gospel that says, "As your understanding of the Atonement increases, so will your desire to share the gospel." Well, this is a magic promise because it simply works. It never ceases to amaze me. 

I'm getting frustrated now because I feel like all the things I want to say I can't because I don't know how to put them into words. But let's just say I'm happy. So so happy. My life as a missionary is far from perfect, but I'm loving the growth. I've found one truth on my mission that has meant a lot to me: Heavenly Father is much more interested in my growth than my comfort. I'm grateful for that. 

Sorry for the lack of details in this one. I would say I'll try to write more of those next time, but I might not. 

Love,
Sister Kuykendall

My mum away from home

My favorite investigator of all time


The root beer fairy came #heaven


LOVE

Monday, August 25, 2014

worst trainer

Family and friends,

Today is something they call a "Bank Holiday" over here. It's a day that they call a holiday for no apparent reason and then everyone gets work off and the libraries are closed. So finding a place to e-mail today was an adventure, but here we are. 

We are absolutely loving our investigators over here. I am convinced that we have the best ones in all of the UK. One of our little investigators is only 10 years old. We taught her how to pray a few weeks ago, and she's been doing it often since then. This week, she told us how she's been really bullied at school. It broke my heart to hear about some of the really sad things she's been going through. She said that every time other kids make fun of her, she says a prayer in her heart. Through doing this, she's found confidence and happiness. She kept saying, "I think it's magic!" She described the Holy Ghost to us as a "tingling" whenever she thinks of Jesus. I've been with her since the beginning. I have not given her the words to say or told her exactly what she will experience when she prays. But as she described what she feels, my testimony was once again cemented a little further. This is true. Feelings are not made up. They are not coincidence. I don't know if I'll be able to fully explain my feelings about how I feel on a daily basis over here, but I wish everyone could feel this and be inside my head for only a time. I love my life.

Chav: As we were riding through a part of town that's very heavily populated with eastern Europeans, a group of European boys were blocking the bike path. We had to slow down, and when they saw us, one boy grabbed a stick and held it up to his mouth like a microphone and started to sing something in whatever language he spoke to the tune of "Beautiful Girls" by Sean Kingston. #flattered

Worst trainer ever: We were riding our bikes home yesterday from an appointment. I was super lost in my own little world. I had been riding for about 5 minutes when I looked behind me and saw that Sister C wasn't there. I panicked and raced back to find her skirt totally tangled in her brakes and back tire. I remember those days. 

Anyway, I love you! Jesus loves you. A scripture that meant a lot to me this week - Mosiah 2:21.

Love,
Sister Kuyks

Monday, August 18, 2014

New companion and more miracles

Family and friends,
 
Though I'm still in Peterborough, there have been loads of changes this week. My dear Sister W has left me to Nottingham, but Sister C is now here. She's come straight from Holladay, Utah. Today is only her 5th day, but the past few days have been good. Because I don't have too much time, I'll give a few small details from the week.
 
Small miracle: I absolutely love the fact that Madie and I are serving at the same time. I believe wholeheartedly that we are meant to be in the places we are at this exact time to intereact with certain people. I received a letter from Madie this week telling me she's serving in Sister Grigoryan's (my previous companion's) ward. They've been able to work closely together, and it's absolutely making me trunky (homesickish) that they get to interact. I love them both.
 
Brakes: I secured Sister C a bike before she even got here because I absolutely refuse to take the bus. So within our first 5 minutes of riding on her first day, we have to go down this huge hill. We get down about half way, and I hear this huge scream behind me. I turn around to see Sister C with her legs off the peddles and outstreched on both sides and holding on for dear life onto the handle bars. I stop my bike and just watch helplessly as she flies by me into a curb/bush and nearly topples over. I run over to see if she's alright, and we find very quickly that the brakes decided to go out the moment a new girl, less than a day out in the field, decides to ride it. Just my luck.
 
Big miracle: This week, one of our investigator's mums asked if she could speak to us. We set up a time. I was afraid she would ask us not to see her daughter. Instead, she told us that because her daughter had been investigating the church, she had started to do her own research. We had shared a Book of Mormon with her a few days before. She said she was completely not interested at all, but wanted to see what her daughter was getting herself into. She explained through tears that because of us, her family would be staying together. I cannot for the life of me remember what Sister W and I said that made it possible for her family to stay together, but for some reason, she gave us the credit for it happening. We didn't even know she was having problems with her husband or family. She told us that the things she had been learning about the church had been giving her comfort. She was surprised because she hadn't gone into her research with any sort of intention to change. Now, she has desires to be baptised and has started to keep the commandments on her own without learning them from us. I feel like we should be in an Ensign article or General Conference talk! The cool thing about all of this is that we seriously did not do a thing. We were missionaries. We gave her a book, shared our feelings and testimonies, and the spirit did EVERYTHING else. Everything. I am so blessed.
 
Well, time to wrap up. I'm sorry about my bad grammar and spelling. I see the red lines under some of the words, but I honestly cannot be bothered to fix them. I love you! Jesus loves you. The spirit is real.
 
Sister Katie Kate