Tuesday, 28 January 2014

As representatives of Jesus Christ, we knock and wait for people to open the door, just as He did.

Week 2, Transfer 6

Straight down to business. Dot point week:

- Went on exchange to York, it was great. The sisters there are fantastic!
- Our investigator Alex went to YSA FHE Monday night with Sister Pacis and Sister Shmidt (Sister Scott's companion) they're comps while we go on exchange.
- Had a lesson with Alex, a lesson with a potential investigator called Med. Both African. Med is great, he's married with kids who live in Germany but he lives in Hull and is doing his PhD in accounting I think. 
-Had zone training all day. President and Sister Pilkington came. President instructed for an hour or 2 about FINDING. Apparently it's something that the missionaries in the mission don't like or struggle with the most. President has come up with so many techniques for finding and so many approaches we can use. He's very much about using our resources that we have ie our accents, family, home country, interests, sports, hobbies, talents etc. So we use them on the street. It's been a lot of fun actually, trying new approaches to get people to slow down (hopefully slow down enough to then stop and talk to us). He just wants us to be ourselves and not the robot missionaries everyone apparently thinks they have to be. I love finding (street contacting and knocking). It's good fun! 
- Had ward council in the evening at the chapel
- Had weekly planning 
- A lesson with Alex, we scheduled him for the 14 Feb but not sure if he's accountable or what so we're still thinking and praying about him
- Visited Hayley (a potential the zone leaders found while they were knocking in our area when we first got here). We had a brief chat. She has a gorgeous 4 year old called Joey and the dad's name is Sam. I asked her if there was a Tom around anywhere..that'd be half my family! We spoke to Sam for a bit, he had some funny things to say about how he believes in science. I told him 'Yep, so do we'. And he continues..'Yeah but I believe in things you can prove'. Now, keep in mind, he was a lovely lad, but..yeah..anyway, he's a son of God. I love talking to people about science and religion. So the conversation continued, it was all friendly by the way, it never gets unfriendly or disrespectful. I asked him what he believes and he says 'Evolution..the theory of evolution...theory of (blah blah blah)..big bang theory..' etc. every time he said 'theory' I said 'Yep, theory'..then when he was finished I said 'Well, they're all theories mate, haven't been proven'. Hayley started laughing. It was all in good fun though, he had a laugh and we bore our testimony about the Book of Mormon and how we have so much evidence that God is real and he is there and that he exists etc. It was just another seed planted and nourished with our testimonies and the Holy Ghost! :)

So, back on what President is saying about using different approaches. He tells us (some) that other missionaries are using and that he's come up with on his own, so for the past few weeks Sister Pacis and I have been trying these different approaches. Unfortunately, I don't think we picked our candidates well enough because we tried the 'I'm looking for someone, someone to listen to our unique and remarkable message..I think that someone is you' approach..and the guy said 'Nah it's not me guys'..and kept walking. We had a bit of a laugh to ourselves. We also tried the 'My friend is from the Philippines and is learning English (Sister Pacis is from the Philippines and is learning English) can you listen to 3 sentences and then tell us what you think?' Then she would say a short restoration spiel but that isn't too successful either haha we'll keep trying! It's a means to an end to get people to slow down enough for us to talk to them. This world is so hectic and crazy, we just need to slow them down so we can stop them and talk to them. We did, however, without even thinking about the approach (it was just natural), we spoke to a lady and walked with her for a bit, she didn't seem SUPER interested, and then after about 10 seconds of talking to her she says 'So are you from Utah?'..and I say 'Nope, Sister Pacis is from the Philippines and I'm from Australia'. She was walking quite fast and we were walking with her because she was on her way to uni (she was an older African lady who knew we were missionaries), and when we said where we were from in a casual conversation, she didn't only slow down, she STOPPED dead in her tracks and turned to us and said 'REALLY?'. We then had a brief conversation, started walking again to the end of the street, gave her our card and she hurried off to university. It was a pleasant surprise for someone to literally stop like she did. 

I've never had too much trouble with finding, I actually really enjoy finding. I LOVE knocking as well. Most other missionaries tell me that's unusual because a lot of them don't like knocking or street contacting. I like it, I don't know why, but I do. I get to be challenged. Especially at doorsteps, because you don't know who is on the other side and you get to have great conversations and teach and plant seeds. It's what missionary work is about isn't it? Being disciples of Jesus Christ? How different would missionary work be if we just waited around for referrals or for people to come to us. Christ never did that. He knocked and waited for people to open the door and even though a lot of people rejected Him, he still loved them unconditionally and set a perfect example. We are now doing that as His representatives, and I really enjoy it :)

Alex came to church on Sunday. We're not sure if he's accountable or not. He's just a bit strange..but he's a previous investigator and he passed his baptism interview apparently but then the baptism didn't go ahead because he txted or called off another number and said the church is just trying to control people and then said to leave him alone. I'm not sure if it was his family who pressured him but oh well. We'll keep praying about it. We have a few other potentials as well that we are trying to progress. The work is moving forward!
Gotta go! Love you all!
The month is almost over and I have no idea where it's gone!

Sister Kuhn xxxxxxx

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Overcoming opposition can be just like weights training.. the weight doesn't get lighter, YOU get stronger.

Week 1, Transfer 6

 Hull, Hull, Hull…what am I going to do with you..

I've honestly had more marriage and date proposals here than I ever have my whole life (and that's not saying much because I never got many/any anyway). We met a lovely DRUNK Rob at the bus interchange last night, he even got on the same bus as us and then blamed us for telling him it was the right bus for him when we had no idea where he's even going. You meet a lot of really interesting people as a missionary, especially at 8.30 at night (Rob being one of them). Haha oh bless them all.....

So, last week..well,

Broken boiler, no stove or oven for 2 weeks, no hot water, no heating + winter = the life of a missionary :)

It's not as bad as it sounds, but since we moved into the flat (which used to be the Elders flat and they never told the mission office about ANY repairs) there's no stove or oven, the boiler is broken (it worked up until yesterday but that's another story), there are doors that have fallen off so they simply just didn't use them and they rest up against the walls wherever there's space, and it's also been freezing the past 2 weeks.

So yesterday the cooker FINALLY came and the people hooked it up to the gas and everything. It's great. We can now cook normal food. I don't know how the Elders survived A WHOLE 6 WEEK TRANSFER without a cooker. They survived on microwave meals. Yuck. Anyway, the gas man had to turn the gas on to hook up the cooker, and he went to turn it all back on but the boiler wouldn't turn on, so he tried to do it manually and the switch doesn't work which means the pilot light didn't turn on which means no hot water or heating. So we call the mission office and tell them the situation, they find us somewhere to stay last night (which was AMAZING by the way). We stayed at a members’ house a bit out of Hull called the Graffs. They're from Orange County, California. Here for 4 years, been here for 6 months so far. Brother Graff works for an oil refinery company. They're GREAT. I LOVE AMERICA! They have a huge house. Indoor huge swimming pool, a slide, a backyard you could fit like 3 tennis courts on and a lovely big kitchen (most important!). We basically had our own WING in the house haha so we stayed there last night. Might have to stay there tonight as well if the boiler doesn't get fixed today. So that was the last 2 days.

Rewind to the start of the week. We had District meeting on Wednesday which was great. Elder Pollock from Arizona is our District leader. We are the only sisters. I can't even remember what I wrote last week so I apologize if I repeat. I have a bad enough memory as it is :)

We got like 5 referrals last week as well. Mostly from members. It's been SO good! Brett didn't come to church this week because he was called into work but he's coming next week. We still haven't been able to meet with him outside of church but hey at least he's coming on Sunday! That's usually the hardest thing to get people to come to. We keep calling and scheduling appointments with people from our area book - former investigators and potential investigators. We have 2 new investigators :) Danielle - she referred herself to mormon.org in December. We got the referral and visited her on Wednesday last week. She wants to be baptized. She goes to Salvation Army and is pretty involved in it, but she wants to be baptized and Salvos don't do it and the Church of England won't do it for her because she's been christened and they take that as baptism. Danielle knows what a legit baptism is meant to be so she googled BAPTISM CHURCHES and she found ours :) So we're teaching her and she's come to Institute on Thursday and a YSA activity on Saturday AND a double baptism in Hull 2 Ward before the YSA activity and a CES broadcast last night at church and we're seeing her on Tuesday and Wednesday and she's just great :) There are a few concerns but nothing that can't be explained and sorted out.

We also got Joyce, who is from Africa. We met her the first 2 days we were in Hull. Sister Pacis and Sister Shmidt went to see her while I was on exchange with Sis Scott in Louth. They taught the first lesson and she said she'd be baptized if she found out the Book of Mormon is true :)  She's so great ..we love Joyce! We're seeing her again on Friday and she said she will come to church this Sunday, same with Brett and HOPEFULLY Danielle but she's still very involved with the Salvation Army. Hull has so much potential.

We have ZONE P-DAY today. We're a little behind schedule since we slept at the Graff's house and all had to shower and get ready and drive back into Hull etc. but hopefully we'll make Zone P-day for a little bit! Sister Scott and I are also going on exchange today to York because the assistants didn't want us to wait until Thursday to go. So we're off to York after P-day finishes! We will take the train and Sis Scott and I can talk about the 15 minute instruction we're giving at zone training this Thursday about Finding. So many things to do! But as a missionary you just have to take it in your stride and go with whatever happens knowing that everything will be ok and to not get stressed.

Church was great, we met with the Relief Society president and she ran us through all the sisters who need help or could do with visits. It was good to touch base with her and know what we can do to help the ward here in Hull and to help the members.

I don't know what else to say but there was so much that happened this week. Church is great, the area is great, going on exchange is great…hard and challenging, but great. Opposition is what makes us grow. The gospel is there to help us against opposition. But just because we're obedient doesn't mean life gets easier. It's just like in Mosiah 24:13-16 ..the Lord will EASE the burdens. He won't take them away. He will either ease them or help make us stronger so that we can overcome the trials. Just like weight training..the weight doesn't get lighter, YOU get stronger. That's how it works. That's life. We just need to try our best to keep our feet planted firmly in the gospel doing all we can to fulfill our purpose as members of the church and to share the gospel with other people so they can have a better perspective on life and challenges. The gospel is for everyone. No-one is exempt or doesn't qualify.

I'm out. Love you all! Thank you for the letters and emails everyone. They're SO appreciated xxxx

Sister Kuhn

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Getting organized in Hull

Week 6, Transfer 5

This was at Transfer day last Wednesday. Sister Edgington and Sister Zurcher and I all wore our Primark skirts and even our white cardigans without coordinating! UNITY ! 

I'm in Hull now everyone! They pronounce is like 'ull apparently, without the H. That's what the locals tell us anyway. I'm with Sister Pacis, my favourite Filipino sister! She would've come out with me (if I went to Preston MTC) so we've been out the same time. We are in a flat with Sister Arrive from France and Sister Huang from Taiwan. We're very multi-cultural here in 'ull ! Speaking of multi-cultural, there are loads of middle-eastern people here. LOADS. Bradford has heaps as well..but that's about 15 mins out of Leeds. All the Muslims we've met are so nice. 

So our flat..well..let me tell you..whoever said missionary work is hard..
They are exactly right. Especially when you move into what used to be a 4-man elder's flat. Oh boy....they must all be visually impared and they just never saw the mess (just kidding - they're great). Not only was it messy and pretty blehffjewefwja..it was also really really cold. Well, it still is really really cold. It's like someone has always got the window open or something. We have to shut every single door we go in and out of (it has a lot of doors) to keep the warmth in from the wall heaters that hardly work. It's so fun! The life of a missionary....love it. We live above a hairdressers that's being refurbished, and the street we live on had loads of restaurants and bars. It's also in like a uni area because the other sisters are Chinese (speaking) uni sisters and they live with us too. Lucky we're all really heavy sleepers or we'd be awake all night with the shenanagans on the street outside on Friday and Saturday night. It's an adventure that's for sure haha

So as you open the door, you walk about 3ft and have to step up, and then you walk a bit more and step up and to the right there is a flight of stairs. You walk up the stairs, turn left, and you step up again, then you can either go left or right up either way up about 4 or 5 stairs. if you go right you will go up to the bathroom, toilet, and kitchen and if you go up the left stairs you go to the lounge room, 1 of the study rooms, and another flight of stairs to the bedroom and the other study room. It's so confusing. I'll get you all pictures next week. There are SO many stairs. We are in a room with 2 bunk beds and we're all in there together. As I said, lucky we're all heavy sleepers! Sister Arrive and I have been chomping at the bit to re-arrange our lounge room. It was SO bad! Couches everywhere and the table was never used. There were still boxes with pamphlets, Books of Mormon, so many resources! (President Pilkington has a thing now that we need to use our RESOURCES) ;)  Anyway we got in there today and it looks so lovely now. Like a real home! :) We're also getting the heating checked and we finally got a cooker (oven/stove top) delivered today. We hadn't had one since we moved in. Well, we did, but it was the wrong one when it was delivered so we've had to wait until Monday to get one that actually works. Happy days all around! Feeling organized!

Still freezing inside, but hey, it's only winter! .............
Hull 1st ward is great! The members are so supportive and friendly. We talked to a lot of them. It's quite a big ward as well! Takes like an hour on the bus to get there from our flat. We have to bus into city centre and then out again on a different bus. When Sister Pacis and I first got here, because we're whitewashing, we went straight to the area book and started calling the potential investigators the elders had previously. We got a hold of Brett, who we invited to church over the phone and he came yesterday! He said he'll be there next week. He's married but not sure about anything else. We didn't get to talk to him very much but we hope we can see him this week some time! Then Proscovia is an African lady from Uganda. She was SO happy to talk to us. She is so humble and sweet and loves us a lot. She calls us 'her sisters in Christ' :) She invited us to a thing at her church on Saturday night, so we went and it was really nice. Had 1 or 2 people think we were there to convert everyone but we didn't start any religious conversations with any of them. They were always the ones to start them haha it was good though. She's coming to a Family Home Evening at the senior couple's home Elder and Sister Gibb tonight. She's so great. She has 6 kids and is married :) She came to the church a few times like a year ago as well. Potential everywhere here in Hull! Good things happening :)
Alrightly then I'm off! I've been out 7 and a half months now. Time really does fly! 8 months soon and then 9 and I'll be half way done. No idea where the time goes to be honest. I just want to give it all I've got every day. Even though being a missionary is so hard at times..a lot of the time..it's so great. Such an amazing feeling it is to help someone draw closer to their Heavenly Father and get to know personally their Savior and their brother Jesus Christ. It's a miracle every time. Anyway, time is so precious! Use it wisely!

Love you all!
‪Sister Kuhn

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Transfer to Hull as a Sister Trainer Leader

Week 6, Transfer 5
First of all, it's currently Week 6 (TRANSFER WEEK!). We got transfer calls last night. I got called as Sister Trainer Leader and I'm moving to Hull!!!!! Sister Trainer Leader is the highest responsibility a sister can have on a mission. Nothing will change basically but I'll go on exchange with the other STL in the area (Sister Scott who is from Scotland LOL and she is AMAZING) every week, and we'll go to a mission leader council every couple of weeks with all the zone leaders, the AP's, President and all the STLs in the mission. It'll be a great learning experience :) I'll probably be one for the rest of my mission. That's what usually happens. I'll be so tired :)
Ok, back to last week…
We have one of our zone leaders (Elder Short) going home this week :( He's the tall red head in any of my photos I've sent. He's a great Zone Leader, and a good friend too! He's going back to Utah. We had loads of member visits last week actually. We love the members here in Leeds 1! That is the secret to missionary work. LOVE THE MEMBERS. Love love love love love love them. Everything will work out if you just love the members.
We were doing our 1 hour a week we get of mormon.org time and it was about 2pm on a Friday, which is usually prime finding time to be out talking to people, but we both felt like we should do mormon.org. It was weird because we were sitting there thinking "This is prime proselyting time.We should be out talking to people"..but for some reason we stayed. 30 mins went by, and I logged off and went and sat next to Sister Edgington while she finished watching a film about Christ. Just as we were doing that, this man sits next to us and says 'Are you watching Jesus?'. He looked middle-eastern. He was very interested in what we were watching so we had a great conversation in the library about Christ. He explained his Muslim beliefs and we explained about our Christian beliefs. He told us he goes to a church near here and he was so open to knowing more. We got his number and address and just before we were leaving he asked if he could have a Bible in Arabic. I told him we didn't have one but we could get him a Book of Mormon in Arabic. We then explained about the Book of Mormon and he said he wanted one. His name is Salah, and he's GREAT. He's been here for like 10 years and open to religion. We're passing all our potential investigators and investigators to the Leeds 1 elders and they can work with them all :) Salah also came to church on Sunday! While we were trying to explain to him where the church was, the guy next to us on the computer joined in explaining where it was, and then the 2 guys next to HIM helped explaining to him haha it was like off a movie! I was waiting for the whole room to bust out in a song or something. Glad we did mormon.org time and listened to the spirit that's for sure :)
So many great things happened last week but I'm a bit short on time!
We had New Years Eve at the flat, which was great. Well, we got invited to the Vingoe's until 10pm (that's how late we were able to stay out at a members house). We had a really nice time there. Then we went back to the flat determined to stay up until 12...we lasted until 11.30pm and we all threw in the towel and went to bed. I'm surprised we lasted until then! We got to sleep until 8am as well. The life! Haha..back at home, 8am was early for me. As a missionary, it's like candy canes at Christmas.
Sister Edgington is going to Harrogate with Sister Cunningham who is AMAZING and is also from Scotland. She has a heart of gold and Sister Edgington will LOVE it in Harrogate. It's nice and posh and apparently everyone's American because it's an army base :)
Oh haha I just remembered to tell you all about Muriel at the hospital. We went to go see a member at the hospital yesterday. We've seen her a bunch of times. All 4 of us sisters were in there talking and the other sisters were saying a prayer with her. This lady called Muriel walks in the door of the room from up the hall and starts to tell us how she used to own this hospital and she had 2 strokes and they took it from her. She told us all these crazy stories. We knew she was making them up but we just tried to be as understanding as we could. She then turns around, points to a lady hunched over looking like she hasn't got long to live and says 'She used to be a Millionaire. She owned all the hotels, and I owned a few hospitals, and they took them from us!’ She was getting quite upset about it. As we were on our way out the door (all the wards in the hospitals have locked doors you have to press a button to get out of) so we were walking through the door and Muriel latches herself onto Sister Edgington and says 'Take me with you!' she then tries to escape and she goes out the door. The nurses are trying to entice her back into the hospital ward and she's trying to head for the lifts to get out. They called security and everything. Muriel looked super old and she had more wrinkles on her face than hair on her head I think. The nurses were holding her so she couldn't go anywhere else and she started saying 'They're trying to kill me!' ('they' being the nurses). We got her back into the ward and were walking her up to her room and she kept saying 'I’ll go with you to the door and go outside and then you can leave'. She had major mental issues. Anyway I was holding her cup of coffee the nurses gave to her and I put it on her room. She was latched onto mine and Sister Wynder’s arm at this point. Then I got my arm out of the lock she had it in and she grabbed hold of Sister Edgington. We kept saying how we needed to go and she would be taken care of. She then yelled 'No, please don't go. They've tried to kill me EIGHT TIMES!' We were trying SO hard not to laugh. But this lady was bonkers. I felt so sorry for her. If she genuinely believed that, then she must be having an extremely hard time in that hospital. She also yelled 'Somebody get me a knife!!!' she was CRAY to the CRAY. Anyway, I don't know where the nurses were this whole time but they eventually showed up and took her off our hands. She scratched Sister Edgington because of how hard she was holding on to her. It was mental. Bless her cotton socks, poor lady. There's a story for ya!
I thought I was going to have a great and normal mission. Turns out that's not the way the cookie crumbles!
I'm off now, love you all. Hope you had a happy New Year!
Thank you for the cards and emails and presents etc. as well. You're all amazing!
I wish I could write more but I gotta go. There's always so much I could write!

Sister Kuhn xxxx