Thursday, 29 August 2013

When your heart is in the right place, everything else will follow.

Last time I wrote it was about being emergency transferred. It's been 3 weeks since I got here. An intense 3 weeks! We've done SO much finding (knocking on doors/street contacting). The branch is so good. The members are wonderful. It's small, like 40 people or something, and the chapel is the old courthouse in the town. We went to the Skipton Castle for P-day (again) but with Sister Hedstrom, and the sisters from Keighly area for the first time for them (Keighly is a town like 20 mins drive from here). We had a really good day. It was Bank Holiday Monday, the sun was out, blue sky, really gorgeous day. 
 Yesterday was SO GOOD!!! We had a Northern Zone Conference. I love President Pilkington! He's so so so amazing. So inspired. He's all about if we have our hearts in the right place, everything else will follow. He's very centered on feelings and hearts. He brought a whole new light to D&C 4. We have to have our hearts right first, and then we use our minds, and our strength (thrust in our sickle with our might). We need to LOVE the members, LOVE the investigators, LOVE your companion, LOVE your area, LOVE your leaders...and all that is fuelled by our love for the Savior. It's hard to love everyone, but if we love even the hardest of people enough, they will feel that, and their heart will soften and they will be able to feel the spirit and feel God's love for them. It's that simple. Get your heart in the right place, and then everything else will follow. We learnt a lot about unity yesterday too. Leeds Zones and York Zone (I don't know if York has more than 1 zone) went to Billingham chapel for the conference on a big coach – a 2 hour drive. I talked to Elder Hynds for a while and came to find another Polynesian Elder from QLD is in the mission too! He came in last transfer. Can't remember his name. But we bonded over Australia, it was great :) He's a convert of 2 years or something I think. Legend! We had a great day yesterday, took like 293131289 of notes. I have to go like super soon, and there is SO much I want to write. The coordinating sisters are on exchange with us today and last night after the conference. So they slept over last night and I'm going with Sister Stromberg today and Sister Hedstrom is going with Sister Kinikini. Missionary work is the bomb! It's super hard sometimes…but you try to have as much fun as you can...or else you go crazy (no lie).

To everyone who I haven't replied to either emails or letters, I'm SO sorry. I'm just so busy and missionary work is hectic, but I do read every one of the emails and I'm SO grateful for them all. So THANK YOU! Keep writing, and I'll try to write back when I can.

I've been out 3 months next week. So weird. Don't even know where it's gone...yet I feel like I have ages ahead of me, even though I know it goes so quick. I miss and love you all. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. It's Christ's church, restored on the earth again today by the prophet Joseph Smith, with a modern day prophet to lead and guide us. I LOVE this gospel. I LOVE Jesus Christ. He paid the ultimate price for us to be able to repent and live back in God's presence with our ETERNAL families. I can't wait to be with my family forever. I always remind myself that I am representing Jesus Christ when I'm out…but that doesn't mean I just stand on the street and represent him and let people just stare at me, I'm constantly saying to myself 'What would Jesus Do?' and then I go and do it. Love people. Love everyone as Jesus loves everyone. The world would be a much better place if people had greater love for their Savior and if they followed Him. I love you all, count your blessings! :)

Monday, 19 August 2013

Emergency Transfer To Skipton

SO MUCH has changed since last Monday. Well, the story goes like this…on Monday for P-day, Sister McReynolds, Sister Peck, Sister Wynder and I went to Skipton Castle. It was wonderful! The travel there on bus took 8493024390 years but we got there for just over an hour and then had to we didn't get long, but we saw everything. We could've stayed easily for the whole afternoon, but seeing as P-day ends at 6pm, we had appointments and things we needed to travel back to Leeds for! As we were on the bus enjoying each others company having a gay old time..I get a call from the mission office, it's President Pilkington...The conversation went like this:
 President - "Sister Kuhn, I have a favour to ask of you...Sister A is going home tomorrow, I need you to go to Skipton to be Sister Hedstrom's companion"
Sister Kuhn - ....................."Wait, what excuse me?"
President - repeated himself
Sister Kuhn - "Ah yeees of course ?"
President - "Good. The assistants will call you later to let you know what time TOMORROW they're coming to your flat. So pack tonight and get everything sorted and they'll call you a bit later"
Sister Kuhn - In my head I wanted to give an army response like 'YES SIR!' but I just agreed and said "Yep no worries. Thanks President" as any dilligent faithful missionary would do (LOL)

Moral of the story: I got emergency transferred on Tuesday to Skipton and that's where I am now. I had no time to say goodbye to ANYONE. I called Bishop Parr of Leeds 1st ward where I had been since I've been out and said goodbye and he thanked me for all I did, and called Tracey and said goodbye to her, and 1 other YSA…and then I got super bummed I couldn't say a proper goodbye to Ben. We'd just taught him such a good lesson about prophets and prayer and faith and I wanted to see him progress and schedule him and everything…and Kaaron…he should be back from his Dad's in London by now...but I couldn't say goodbye to him either, but he'll be alright, he's getting baptized on the 31st, I love that kid!  ...I wrote Ben a 2 page letter to give to Sister McReynolds who gave it to him. The Monday I got the phone call, we had 1 lesson planned at 6:30pm with Francisco (Paco's real name apparently) and Jeorge (his son). I can't remember what I told you about them but they're the miracle Spanish people we met a week ago on Saturday from Spain and have been here for like 3 weeks. We had SUCH a good lesson with them. We had a mother and daughter from Colombia in the ward who speak Spanish come with us and basically translate lol they were AMAZING!!! Francisco just wanted to know more and more. We scheduled them both for baptism on the 21st September I think. It was such a powerful lesson. I love Francisco and Jeorge!!!!!!! They were my last lesson in Leeds :) After the lesson I just went home and packed. We sent out a miracle answer phone to the zone about scheduling for baptism as well. When we were back at the flat,.. we get a call from our District Leader Elder Field congratulating us on scheduling..then I broke the news to him that I was being ET'd (emergency transferred) and he actually sounded like he was going to cry. We'd been in a district ever since I've been out. ... I felt like I was going to cry talking to him about leaving the District haha then the Zone Leaders called us to congratulate us on the scheduling as well (they do that - they're very supportive Elders!) and I broke the news to them about what has happened…and Elder Esteves said "Well, just know…that only the best missionaries get ET'd" that was nice of him :) I'm still in the Zone thank goodness. I love Leeds A Zone!!!! Elder Esteves gave me some good words of wisdom which was comforting. So while I was packing…I decided to put on a soothing relaxing BRIGHT GREEN face mask that I bought that day during P-day…Sis McReynolds did one too…about 3 minutes after we had smothered our faces in green stuff we get a call from the Zone Leaders...they were like "Hey we're downstairs!" Sis McReynolds and I have never rushed so fast in our lives...I was like "QUICK! WASH OFF THE MASKS!!!!" she rushed to the sink and I yelled "I'LL USE THE SHOWER!" so we washed off the masks in literally 0.7 seconds and ran downstairs to greet the Zone Leaders calmly and collected…they had mail for us all and a new microwave to take with me to Skipton for the flat. We then had a laugh when we told the Zone Leaders about the facial incident...We then all had a DnM (deep and meaningful) about me leaving and they said some really good things that have helped me a lot. The next morning, I was up at 5am (yuck), got ready, Sis Hedstrom and I drove back to Skipton which is like an hour from Leeds by car (p.s We have a car now - yay for getting fat(ter)!) Haha

The week has been really good though. Skipton is GORGEOUS. Seriously, like living in a painting every day. The town of Skipton is more of a tourist town but the area we 2 sisters have is the biggest in the mission I'm pretty sure. LOTS of farmlands and little villages. They say there're more sheep than people :)

We've already found about 3 new investigators and 5 or 6 potential investigators, scheduled 2 for baptism and doing A LOT of finding. Apparently all this success is unheard of. Sister Hedstrom who has been here for her whole mission so far (6 months at the end of the transfer) keeps saying how Skipton is on fire! There is A LOT of work to be done here. The people are hard hearted and 98% don't want to listen. .. But I know Heavenly Father is preparing people for us to teach. We found the Smith family mid-week. Selena is the Mum, her husband is away for work atm but they have 3 children, an 11 yr old girl, an 8 yr old boy and a 1yr old boy. We had a great lesson with her yesterday on the Restoration and we scheduled her for the 21st of September. We all had a laugh because her son's name is Joseph…Joseph Smith! Hahahahaha. Common names...but I've never actually met anyone named that. So she's great. And we're working on teaching her 2 children that are 8 and 11. We also met this Polish guy called Jiretz (it's pronounced Jatzik), he's in his early 20's, funniest guy ever…and very knowledgable about a lot of things. We had a lesson on the street with him. Talked for an hour! We're seeing him tonight, hopefully will schedule him as well.

I've learnt a lot about missionary work in this whole transfer ordeal. It's not about what I do, it's a collective effort of everyone. It's about unity. We all have the same goal as invite others to come unto Christ. I felt sad for leaving my amazing investigators in Leeds…but I know that they will be in good hands, I know that Heavenly Father is watching over them. The highlight for me this week, other than scheduling…is that BEN GOT SCHEDULED!!!! It was Wednesday I think...we got a miracle answer phone and we listened to it on the street in Skipton while we were finding…I cried haha I was so happy. I hope my letter had something to do with it..

Oh and the flat I'm in is AMAZING.

Another chapter of my mission ahead of me! Transfers are in 2 weeks, I have a feeling I'm staying here…I don't really want to pack again :)

P.S TO EVERYONE'S EMAILS I HAVEN'T REPLIED TO…I'm sorry! I'll do it whenever I have time I promise! I read them all and I LOVE hearing from you all! Keep writing to me even though I may not reply some weeks. Thanks heaps!

LOVE YOU ALL xxxxxxxx

Monday, 12 August 2013

A Week of Miracles!

My week has been AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!! Miracles everywhere! We studied faith last week, because we needed more! But the best way to get faith is by acting on it, so we tried…and tried...and tried...for the past few weeks we've been trying but getting pretty much nowhere. Not many wanted to speak with us or know more about the church or Book of Mormon…nothing. But this last week, the drought was over! On Tuesday 6th August we decided to do some finding in Hyde Park, but I needed to go to the bathroom, so we walked to the Institute building which was close to use the bathroom there, on route we met David T  from Liverpool. He was working in Leeds for the week. He was Catholic but was kinda open to whatever. He got a Book of Mormon and sounded really keen. We were able to talk with him about the Book of Mormon and prayer and how Heavenly Father has helped us personally in our lives. We got a return appointment with him for later in the week. Then on Wednesday we  had an ALL MISSION CONFERENCE. Elders Ballard,  Rasband, Toshera, and the newest Elder of the Seventy, Elder Dyches. Elder Ballard... is truly a man of God, an Apostle of the Lord. You could feel the spirit radiate from him, he was amazing. He was so kind and loving, but so bold and straightforward. And Elder Rasband…my old friend! Haha. RUSH MCKAY: IF YOU'RE READING THIS, ELDER RASBAND MUST BE FOLLOWING ME. We met him at the Multi-stake Conference back in Adelaide and were 2 out of 3 people to get a photo with him because he was so busy. He's a powerful man! The conference was so good. All things we've heard before but in a different light. Elder Ballard is hilarious. One of the things that stood out (a lot stood out, and I wrote about 3 pages of notes from his talk) but he said basically if you're scared to talk to random strangers on the street, if you're having problems with your companion, if you're having a hard time doing what you're supposed to...GET OVER IT. Haha. But seriously. That's what he said. And it was like music to my ears! I was desperately seeking some motivation to get over it and do what I'm here for. Talking to everyone can be a bit daunting, or you're tired and can't be bothered, or you think they'll say they're not interested…well, I'm over all of that now thanks to Elder Ballard. If we want to baptize more, we need to talk to more people, if we're scared of talking too much, we need to get over it and do it because that's why we're here. I love it! Sister McReynolds and I made a 'GET OVER IT' wall- I'll send you a picture haha we put all the things we are/were afraid of doing above the sign…and then wrote encouraging power statements underneath it. It's helping a lot. That's the kind of motivation I like…blunt, bold, and straight to the point. As I said, nothing new that he said, but he just shone a different light on it. The conference was the best. Definitely a highlight of the week.

On Thursday 8th August we visited like a bagillion members and less-actives. We got like 3 referrals from them and we spoke to a lot of people. It was a full on day and it was great! On is now called Miracleday for me. It was SO GOOD. To start the day off we got on a bus, we sit separately on buses now (Sister McReynolds and I) so we can talk to more people, and I started talking to this man. He was Malaysian and his name was Money. LOL. I gave him a Book of Mormon and he was interested in meeting with us. This was already a rare occurence for us lol Because we were getting his contact details, we went about 5 stops after our stop, so we had to walk a little bit. As we were walking up the road, 2 guys across the road smiled and were looking at us, one older man and a young guy. We waved and smiled back. They then stopped and said 'Wait a minute!'…they then STOPPED, WAITED for cars to pass, and CROSSED the road to talk to us. Sister McReynolds and I were like ?!?!? Nobody has ever crossed the road to talk to us, they usually cross the road to avoid us! They were from Spain, been here for 2 weeks. Paco and George. Father and son. Paco lived with a Mormon family back in Spain and wanted to know more about the church. It was such a blessing. We're seeing them tonight with a lady who speaks Spanish from the ward. So exciting. We were just overwhelmed with love for our Heavenly Father for all the blessings we received in the last 20 minutes. We went and found a grassy patch to kneel down and thank Him for what just happened. Afterwards we sat on a wall for a second and then this guy walks up, I say 'Heyy what's up what are you doin?' and he said he was off to the pub, he was very smiley and happy to talk to us. He then said 'Wanna walk with me??' so we walked with him to the was a few minutes walk so we talked about The Book of Mormon and church and religion...we met his mate Nathaniel, I talked to his mate and Sis McReynolds talked to Rowland. We got his contact details too. We did some more finding, talked to some more people, and then went to see Ben right when he finishes work. We had an AMAZING lesson with him. He still struggles to understand how God has a body of flesh and bone and he struggles with knowing what it feels like to feel the spirit and things. So we talked about faith and prayer…and then we brought up prophets and apostles...and we told him there was one on the earth now (we seem to have to repeat ourselves a lot with Ben lol)..anyway, we ended up watching a talk from President Monson called 'The Race of Life'. Ben got his phone out and got on Youtube so quick when we said we have a prophet who gets revelation from God for all of us. It was the most perfect talk we could have chosen to listen to. We watched it all..standing up. It was about 20 minutes I think. I felt like it was written for Ben to hear. If you get a chance, watch it if you haven't already. It was an answer to our prayers. I kept thinking of a commitment to leave with Ben afterwards…so after the talk finished, I just said, after a pause, 'Ben...will you pray and ask if this man (pointing to President Monson) is a prophet of God?' He said he would. He was silent after we watched the talk. It talked about the Plan of Salvation and about life…and he didn't have any crazy questions for us, he just watched it, and then agreed to pray (after we specified how to pray) and then we left. It was a miracle. We didn't plan to talk about prophets or anything…but it worked. When you act on the promptings of the spirit, miracles happen.

Then on Sunday (yesterday - 11 August) the Relief Society president brought her neighbour to church, Linda. She was great! She's terminally ill with cancer…we spoke with her and she loved being at church and said she'll be coming again. She came to get a blessing for the second time...but she stayed for church which was great. We're seeing her this week and she agreed to us teaching her :) so we got a new investigator…on top of our 3 or 4 potential investigators. It's been an amazing week. Truly a week of miracles.

Sister Kuhn

My District and Birthday (photos)

Our new District: Elder Jaeger (new), Elder Field, Sister Peck, Me, Sister Wynder, and my companion/trainer Sister McReynolds

The photo above is a pic of our OLD district. Our old district leader, Elder Randall, in the blue suit and his companion who is now the new District Leader. This was at the All Mission Conference with Elder Ballard on Wednesday 7th Aug.

My birthday celebration. 

Monday, 5 August 2013

I love being a missionary!

What a week! It's seriously flown by! August already?! I've been out 2 months :) 16 more to go! I was studying charity last week...the pure love of Christ. I absolutely LOVED it. Sister McReynolds and I are studying 1 Christ-like attribute a week in depth and then applying it in our lives and our companionship and to the people we meet and teach. This week we're learning about faith in Jesus Christ. I've learned so much about myself and about Christ and about the gospel in the time I've been a missionary. I LOVE IT.

Last week was great. A few highlights:

1. Kaaron (scheduled for baptism on the 31st August) bore his testimony in fast and testimony meeting on Sunday!! He’s the man! He said he knows the church is true and he's excited to be baptized. He's so good! Then after church, the Zone Leaders and the District Leaders came up to us and said they interviewed him for his baptism during church…Kaaron was Elder Field (our new District Leader)'s baptismal interview :) he said Kaaron is SO ready. We went over the baptism questions with him and he knows it all. And because he's had his interview he can be baptized before the 31st ...basically as soon as he gets back from EFY and from visiting his Dad in London. So hopefully like the 25th or something! Sister McReynolds and I are SO EXCITED. We love Kaaron!!

2. Ben. Haha...where to begin. Well, we saw him last week in his shop. We have a system...we'll go into his shop 5 mins before it shuts and he'll usually stay in the shop after he's closed it up and talk with us for way longer than he has time for. That's the best way to teach him. He's so great though. We taught him the Plan of Salvation. LOL lets just say he FREAKED OUT at the pre-existence and when we talked about the spirit world. Haha oh man...he's a very visual guy, and he kept saying he just couldn't picture a spirit world. He's arty, kind of a music artist, super talented, quite philosophical, reserved but upfront and loud a lot too, creative, a deep thinker...and it was difficult to wrap his brain around the spirit world and the pre-existence. He didn't say he didn't believe it, he just wanted to understand it first. He had somewhere to be after work at 6pm...and HOUR AND A HALF LATER…he's still talking to us. We were talking to him for TWO HOURS about the Plan of Salvation. It was worth it though. One day…it'll just click for him. He knows he has to stop smoking too.  he hasn't come to church YET but he promised he would...just didn't promise when. He's so great though. We love teaching him and talking with him. He's got a lot of potential.

What else...hmm…oh we did a member visit with the most sweetest member ever! An old Jamaican man called Harry Lamont. He is THE.MAN. We went to his house and he had lunch for us...he didn't even tell us he was making food for us. And then we had the best time ever…showed us heaps of photos…told us stories…asked us about ourselves and where we're from and our families...then he gives us a referral to top it off. What a legend! I'll try get a photo of him so you can all see him. He's so great haha

This week has been good - we've gone from not speaking to anyone on buses to teaching people on buses! We take the bus basically everywhere (or we walk)…and our finding (getting new investigators) hasn't been going as well as we'd we created an action plan (we make action plans each week according to what key indicator we're struggling with the week before). We made an action plan on finding, focusing on bus finding...which is what a lot of missionaries struggle with. So we're hitting the nail on the head early (well I am anyway seeing as I'm out only 2 months lol) and then I'll be a pro at talking to people on buses soon enough! What it comes down to is that it's kinda scary (well it was) talking to someone on a bus, because you're not just talking to that person, you're talking to the whole bus! It's about charity...loving everyone. Because perfect love casteth out all fear. I know that to be 110% true. Charity and faith in Jesus Christ that he's got your back...all we need to do is take a step into the dark and let the light follow us to show us the way. Now I have no problem really talking to people on buses. The 3rd thing Sister McReynolds and I came up with being the solution to this problem is that we have black badges that have the churches name on it…most people know we're missionaries...they know we talk to EVERYONE, so we may as well put them out of their misery and talk to them anyway! And that the black badge basically gives us a license to do crazy things like sit next to a complete stranger and ask about their life. It's genius! The black badge…so much power. Haha. And the fact we're set apart to be missionaries. It's the best!

I'm here to invite others unto Christ...and that's exactly what all missionaries are here to do! It's just keeping that mindset on our purpose and always having that motivation to talk to everyone and keep your spirits high.

Missionary work is amazing. For everyone who is deciding or not sure about going on a mission…make it a matter of prayer and fasting and ask Heavenly Father. I know I don't regret the decision one bit. It was a huge sacrifice. But sacrifice is only giving up something good for something better. And a mission is the best thing a person can do.

I can't remember what else happened this week...they're just all flying by and meshing into one! But I know England Leeds is where I'm meant to be and I am LOVING it here :)

Much love,  

Sister Kuhn xx