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


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


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

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. 

Sister Kuykendall

My mum away from home

My favorite investigator of all time

The root beer fairy came #heaven