Monday, June 30, 2014

Meet the Mormons

Family and friends,

On Thursday of this week, a program called "Meet the Mormons" was broadcast over in the UK. Perhaps it was elsewhere as well, but as far as I know, it was only over here. Basically, it was a show that followed around a missionary in the Leeds mission and sorta portrayed the church in a negative light. When I first heard about it from a member, I got super discouraged. In my head, I was thinking, "The work is already hard! I really didn't need this." Right then, another thought came into my head, "Why are you worrying? The Saviour Himself is over this church." And with that, I felt completely fine and at peace. And you know what? Though the program was negative, this was probably the best thing that could have happened to us at this time. People have approached us, asked us questions, we have been asked to come for a visit by former investigators and random people we meet. We even got another media referral! I This has taught me to trust in the Lord. Though I may panic and worry, it's totally in the hands of One who knows everything, the end from the beginning. One person we're friends with in the area even came up to us and said matter of factly, "It's a load of rubbish! You guys are great. I don't believe a word of it." And honestly, if God be for us, who can prevail against us?

So, our week was filled with weird questions, people, and experiences. But in the best kind of way. I absolutely loved it. I love being on a mission. This Wednesday is transfers. I have absolutely no idea what's going to happen, and I decided I won't guess this time like I did last. I haven't said goodbye to anyone. Usually in our mission, missionaries don't stay in an area more than 6 months. But I honestly don't know. I'll let you all know next week. Maybe I'll serve in England? Since that's where I was called.

Funny: One of our investigators had watched the Meet the Mormons show. She had texted and asked if we could come sooner than we had planned because she had loads of questions. We got into her home, and the first thing she blurts out is, "How can I go to one of those Mormon dances? They wear clothes! And have fun while drinking punch! Is that real?"

Sad: I've been feeling a tiny bit ill lately, but only slightly. It's more just annoying. My stomach constantly feels a bit nauseated. I have been notified that it might be a slight intolerance to dairy. So for the next few weeks, I've been asked to stay off dairy to see if it makes a difference. "And no more happiness!"

Testimony: This church must be true. It just has to be. With all the 18 year old boys and girls (and 22 year old me) that are asked to drive in Britain on the wrong side of the road with no previous practice and hardly any accidents, the Lord must be looking after us. Seriously, it's just not plausible without having divine help.

I love you guys! Jesus loves you. Hope you have a great week.

Sister Kuykendall

In our natural state

Cutest kids you ever saw. Some of my favorites from Newcasle Emlyn

Monday, June 23, 2014

The bad fermata

We had a super preparation day today, filled with sun and sports. Our zone all went down to a beach in Swansea and played football right next to the ocean. There were loads of people on the beach as well, and quite a few joined in. It was a really neat finding opportunity actually. Our transfers are coming up soon, and I'm just realizing that I may not be near the ocean for a long time after this. What if I'm sent to the middle of England? I'm really loving Wales. I don't know if I'll be able to handle it over there.

This week had some really cool ups and downs, but mostly one big down that sorta made us depressed for the rest of the week. We had a really solid (or so we thought) investigator that just this last week told us he didn't want to meet with us anymore. As he told us he wanted to be done learning about the gospel, some of the thoughts going through my mind were "I thought we were friends!" "How could he do this to us?" "This was totally unexpected." It was like a break up, but worse.

As we walked out of this lesson though, we were able to talk to someone really neat. Actually, we were pretty depressed, so I don't think I was up to talking to anyone. But this guy in his late 20's calls to us and asks us why we're dressed all nice. We explained that we're missionaries. He told us that he was atheist, but then proceeded to tell us of this experience he had at a bible camp when he was a teen. He explained that as someone was praying, he got this overwhelming feeling that everything was going to be okay. Essentially, he described the Spirit. It made me realize that God is so so aware of each person I meet and talk to and already know. God knows ME. He knows YOU.  

But here are some other moments from our week:

Funny: On Tuesday, we had zone conference in Rhiwbina. However, I couldn't even enjoy being there because I was stressing out about a musical number I was asked to be in with some other missionaries. We were all supposed to sing this song that sounded like EFY (and if you know me well, you know I really don't like that kind). It really sounded dreadful throughout, but the worst part was at the end of the song when we were all supposed to slow down for the last note. Like put a fermata on it. Put simply, half of us did, and half of us didn't, and we ended up just making everyone laugh instead of feel the Spirit. That's the end of my singing career.

Also funny: Boy about my age tried to give me a hug on the street as we were shaking hands. I sorta ducked down and he ended up hugging the air above me.

Sad: I'm dying that I'm missing the World cup right now. Seriously, dying. And it's also sad because during any sort of World Cup game, everyone seems to disappear. No one is on the street, and no one answers their doors. It's like a proper ghost town.

Testimony: I know my Saviour lives. I know He loves you and each person I talk to. I know this gospel has been restored through a prophet. Man, I love our prophet. I know the Book of Mormon is true because I feel peace when I read it.

One last thing, my mother has informed me that my grammar is started to get really bad. I'm sorry if any of you have noticed. I'll try to start reading through my e-mails before I send them. But I'm not looking over this one. Sorry.

I love you guys!

Sister Kuykendall
Me in a place called Cardigan

Football on the beach

We received flowers from a 3 year old 

Also, I found root beer here 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Friends and Family,

First off, happy birthday to my best friend. Man, Madie is 20? I feel old. And happy Father's Day to the best daddy in the world. I miss you a lot. But I totally agree with Madie: I have never missed my family less, but loved them more since I've been here. So, I love you all a whole bunch.

So honestly, this week was a little sad. Our investigator that came to church last week told us on Tuesday that he didn't think he'd be able to come to church ever again because he gets extreme anxiousness and mini panic attacks when driving in cars. He was in a super serious accident about ten years ago which he miraculously survived, but left him in a wheelchair for over a year. We were devastated. I had no idea that a little piece of news could make me as deeply sad as it did. He told us he'd like to continue to learn, but he wasn't sure if he would ever progress. Anyway, we continued with him throughout the week. On Saturday, he cancelled a lesson because he fell off his roof, so he was in the hospital. In my head I was like, "Really? This cannot be real." We decided to call by his house later in the evening, even though we weren't sure if he was home yet. We just wanted to check up on him and invite him to church. So, we prayed that miraculously he would say, "Yes! I'd love to come to church and then be baptised next week." As we walked up to the door, I expected a miracle. I wanted it so bad. We knocked on the door... And he opened! He said he wasn't doing too well, and sorry he had to cancel. We invited him to church and... He said heck no. He could barely move, let alone try and get over his panic attacks from driving and travel the distance. We walked away feeling really let down.

Sunday morning, we were both a little silent. This investigator had been quite solid, and seeing everything sorta fall apart made me want to run into a wall. On our way to church, we got a text from our investigator saying, "Sorry to be a pain, but could you get me a lift to church?" And then a text immediately after that saying, "Nevermind, I found a ride. See you soon." I was dying. I felt like it was a joke. We both hurried to church, and sure enough, there he was! With his back brace and everything. He explained that he'd gotten up this morning, and he didn't know why but he woke up and decided he was going to church. He found himself walking to a member's home around the corner and asking for a ride. He came on his own. This never happens. This was truly a miracle that I will never understand. I don't even think our investigator understood completely why he'd made a whole bunch of sacrifices to come to church. But in Sunday School, he admitted that he didn't know why, but he felt a burden lifted from him after coming to church, and a peace throughout the week that he'd never felt and couldn't describe.

Funny: Thursday night, after a long and sad day, we got back to the flat and were about to plan. As I walked across the flat to pray, I tripped over my bag, and landed flat on my face pretty hard. Sister Allred laughed pretty hard. I did too, until I felt this super sharp pain on my foot. I looked down, and the metal part of my bag had stabbed my toe super deep and ripped a huge part of my skin off on my left big toe. The bleeding didn't stop for a while, but luckily I didn't need stiches. But now I have special permission to wear sandals until it's healed. 

Weird Milk Lady: On Wednesday, we were talking to some people in Lampeter. One woman told me I was of the devil and a hypocrite because I drink milk. I tried to ask why, and she just kept saying, "Vegan life! Vegan life!" Sister Allred drinks about a gallon of milk a week, so I think it sorta upset her.

The ward: I've grown super close to this ward, and I'll miss it a bunch when I leave. I've made some really good friends. They even told me I was part of the family. I wanna stay here forever.

I love this. I love being here. Even the hard days are worth it. Do you understand how much fun I'm having? And how many cool people I get to meet? I get to walk around the streets of Europe and tell people that Jesus loves them.

Sister Kuykendall
My toe at a non-gross angle

Me with an Armenian that met Madie


Monday, June 2, 2014


This week, as I was studying, I came across a study tip in Preach My Gospel. It suggested that we start writing down questions we are asked and find answers to them in our studies. I got super excited about this suggestion for some reason, and decided I would try it out. As we talked with people on the street, in lessons, whatever setting, I would make a mental note of their question(s) and write it down later. As I gathered all my questions together, I came to the conclusion that 90% of the questions stem from the same basic question: "Why do bad things happen?" We get this question so often, that I can almost predict our whole conversations. It's a valid question, and one that has taken me years to understand. Actually, I still don't completely understand. But as I tried to study for the answer, I realised something. If only good things happened to good people, and only bad tings happened to bad people, it would be too easy to be good. This life would no longer help us grow and improve and build character. Our trials are simply opportunities for us to prove our courage, strength, valour, and humility. Maybe you all knew that, but for some reason, this thought just seemed to click with me this week. A friend e-mailed me a quote from Elder Nelson that says, "With celestial sight, trials impossible to overcome become possible to endure." I love the perspective that the gospel offers.

I mentioned an investigator a few weeks ago that's really starting to gain this celestial sight. He's the one that was not liking the thought of giving up his tea and pretty much kicked us out. Fortunately, he allowed us to come back this week four times. Oh man, he's legit. Our first time seeing him this week, before we could even follow up on how he was doing with tea, smoking, and the word of wisdom in general, he solemnly declared that he'd given up tea. I accidently yipped for joy. It was somewhat humorous because he said it in such a serious manner, but I could tell he was proud of himself. He said that he'd prayed and knew it was what God wanted, though he didn't quite understand why. "But why not experiment?" he'd said. But we are stoked. This man is the most humble person on the planet. Though his progression has been slower than most, it has been perfect for him. I've loved being apart of it.

Funny: We talked to a woman at a bus stop the other day. She didn't really want to talk to us, but when she realised we had accents, she offered us her grandsons for marriage, saying "You look like you're from Hollywood! Look at those teeth! My grandson could use a woman." Self esteem shoots to a new high.

Change of scenery: I got to serve in Merthyr for a day this week. It has loads of church history there, so it's super neat to serve where great missionaries of the early church have served. The accent there is super wonky.

Sad: My heart broke over Madie's e-mail last week.

I love you all! This gospel is perfect. Jesus loves you.

Sister Katie Kuykendall
I got to sit on a tractor! Yay. This is my favourite spot because it's where the dog can't get me. And don't worry, I didn't operate it.