Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy New Year!

Dearest momma,
Skyping on Christmas was so fun. So short. So crazy. But now it just kind of feels like a dream. You all look so beautiful!
Somehow Christmas has come and gone. It was definitely a different Christmas than normal. But it was a good one.
Goals and miracles: So our entire mission had goals for the week of christmas. From the way Charentsavan was looking at the beginning of the week, I knew Mini and I were going to need some miracles. The work was really slow because of the new year and NO ONE wanted to meet. I was praying a lot at the beginning of the week just pleading for some miracles. I'll admit my faith was running out and I was feeling exhausted. So on Wednesday I got an unexpected call from President Carlson asking me if I would be willing to let the Elders take over Char for a bit so that I could come down south to help Sister T in Ajabnyak. Of course I said yes. I can't exactly say no…So for the past week and for the rest of the transfer I'll be in Ajabnyak with Sister T. Mini is in Arabkir with Sister L. Sister T and I have been working really hard this week and WELL exceeded all of our goals (except for our investigator at sacrament meeting goal. We had to come to terms with the fact that our investigators have agency).
God answered my prayers. Not in the way that I thought He would. At all. But He answered my prayers. And the best part of it is, we worked for it. And it feels so good.

Testimony:
It's been a while since I've written out my testimony but I hope you all know that I have one.
I have a testimony that this is right where I am supposed to be. I have a testimony that there is no other work in the world that is more important than sharing this gospel. I know with all of my heart that this is the true church. I know that God is a God of mercy, a God of miracles and a God of love. This gospel has brought me more happiness than I can say and I want nothing more than for everyone else in the world to feel this same happiness. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know that through our Savior we can be saved. We can be clean. Through Him we can do anything. Nothing is EVER too late. It is never too late to turn your life around. There is no limit on the atonement. And I hope that we all use the enabling and cleasing power of it everyday of our lives. And if we don't, I hope that we will start today.
I love you,
Madie

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Family history

Momma,
This week was great! L got baptized on Saturday. It was one of the more spiritual baptisms that I've been to. She came out of the water crying. She bore the sweetest, most sincere testimony afterward. She really is so incredible. I am so blessed to be a part of this work.
We have A and S who will be getting baptized before the year ends. They are also just as incredible. They LOVE reading from the BOM and take notes! They have not once missed a commitment and always go the extra mile. They blow me away.
We just had a group come back from their temple trip and they all bore their testimonies on Sunday. The spirit was unreal. They all kept saying that they didn't know how to find the words but all they could say is that they desired for everyone to go to the temple. I know exactly how they were all feeling. There is no other place in the world like the temple. You cannot get the spirit and the peace that you do in the temple anywhere else. I crave that often and dream of the day when I get to go back. For those of you close to a temple, please take EVERY opportunity you can to go. These people here maybe only get to go once in their entire life.
Sister M and I have had a lot of Family History success here. People eat it up. I suggest you all get addicted to it. It's by far the healthiest addiction there is. And your ancestors will thank you for it. Go do their work! Missionary work on this side of the veil is no different from the other side of the veil.
“I hope to see us dissolve
the artificial boundary line
we so often place between
missionary work and
temple and genealogical
work, because it is the same
great redemptive work!”
– PRESIDENT SPENCER W. KIMBALL

Let's get to work!
LOve you!
Love, SIster Kuykendall

Monday, December 8, 2014

"There's a dog in every village"

գյուղ չկա որ շուն չլինի:

This is a saying that means: There's a dog in every village. People ask us a lot if America or Armenia is better. We usually respond with this saying. It pretty much just means that every place has their problems/they're both good, that kind of thing.
This week was very uneventful. But it was good. Transfers are next week and I'm actually feeling really sick about it. I'm not ready to leave Char and it's guaranteed that I will. I don't really know how to cope right now.
love, mads
Little handout spot in Char where all the papik's go to play hardy (backgammon).
Super cool stadium in Yerevan

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Miracles!

Happy Thanksgiving Momma!

Miracles!
This week has been full of miracles. I feel like I say that almost every week but this week especially. Sister and I have been trying really hard to visit every single one of our members once a month. Most the time they're not home or the don't answer but it has resulted in a lot of other miracles. One of the people we were looking for wasn't home but her daughter was and invited us in and was just so happy to see us. She sat us down and fed us and then insisted on taking pictures with us. Well, by us I mean sister M. She didn't want any pictures with me but kept having me take lots of pictures of the two of them as if they had been friends for years. But I'm not offended....:( Anyway, she said she really wants to be baptized but her husband won't let her. It's a really sad situation because she is super great. But I know one day she will get the chance.
Sister and I were searching for a contact who gave us a very vague address. She told us she lived on the second floor of a certain building. Which would be fine if the building didn't have 6 different entrances. We knocked on doors hoping to find her.(Our district leader accused us of tracting. But we really weren't! I hope President Carlson doesn't read this!) But one of the doors we knocked on belonged to a woman named K. She said she was sorry she couldn't help us find the person we were looking for and that she would invite us in if her mother wasn't sleeping. She asked us what we were doing and asked for our number. We then went on our way wishing tracting was allowed in Armenia. We knocked on a few more doors but never did find the woman we were looking for. As we started walking back, K leaned out of her window and ushered us to come in! We went and talked to her for about an hour. We're still not sure if she was real. She fed us chocolate cake and told us we were pretty and that we spoke great armenian. We talked about why we were here and left her with a pamphlet.
That day we went looking for a contact but the Lord had other things in mind. He really does lead the way.

I love you!!!
Love, Sister K
Winter is here!

Drowned rat after rain

View from an investigator's house

Monday, November 24, 2014

gratitude

Tis the season of thanksgiving: Sister M and I have decided to take this American holiday and bring it to Armenia. It has been a great success. We have printed off a lot of President Uchdorf's "Grateful in every circumstance" talks and have been doing little family home evenings with our members. We give them a copy of it, read Alma 26:37 and share what we are thankful for. We then invite them to do the same thing. It's been so great and everyone has loved it!!!! Just because this is an American holiday doesn't mean we can't be grateful in other parts of the world.

The ups and downs of blood pressure: We visited V again the other day (the old man with one tooth). He told us that his blood pressure was high because of the elevation. He randomly then walked out of the room and came back in with a blood pressure cuff. He then told me to roll up my sleeves. (He didn't believe me that my blood pressure was normal). He took my blood pressure and was very surprised to see that my blood pressure some how was normal. How about that. Then later that same day we went to our Relief Society President's house and for some reason she wanted to take my blood pressure as well. According to her device I have a high blood pressure. So I'm not really sure what to think. Is it high? Is it low?

Armenians have a different sense of humor: Sister and I were walking home from our last appointment of the day when we stoped to OYM (open your mouth) an old man near a little fruit stand. He was asking us the typical questions like why are we here, where are we from etc. He walked us over to the little stand that he told us was his and asked us what he could give us. We told him we didn't want anything really. The lady inside the stand looked irritated. She then told the man to leave and he sort of just walked away saying things under his breath. I then asked the lady if she knew the man and she said no. So this man was just trying to give us free stuff from someone elses store. It was really funny actually. The lady didn't think so.

Some things that I am grateful for:
1. This gospel
2. My family
3. Armenia and Armenians
4. My friends and support group back home and here in Armenia
And many more things

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sister K

Hike up to another old abandoned church. So Scary. So cold. So cool.




There's an Armenian saying, "Pulling a donkey out of the mud". Look up what it means.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Delayed miracles

Momma,
Charentsavan is so great. I have been here for 4 months and I never want to leave. Transfers are weird this time around because they're sending missionaries home before Christmas but we're not bringing in the new group of missionaries until the middle of January. So we're not really sure what's going to happen. A lot of moving around. I am praying that I stay. I'm not ready to leave Char.

Another stressful/blessed Sunday: Yesterday was great. We had R come to church again. She didn't want to stay for the last 2 hours but she promised that she would stay for all of church next week. V promised he would come to church but didn't show up. I was heart broken to say the least. We did have a lot of less active members come. It was amazing. It was adorable because a few of our inactives who came yesterday came up to me and asked me if I was proud of them. I love them so much and I'm glad that they know that I'm aware and miss them when they don't come. They all had huge smiles on their faces.

Delayed miracles: A few sundays ago Sister and I fasted that we would be able to find the people who don't know God. We worded it that way but unintentionaly. As you know, Armenia is very Christian. So we have never come across an athiest. Ever. But we found V. V is a rough old man. He argues with everything and likes to tell us that we have silly ideas while he smokes his cigars that he roles himself. But he LOVES us. He is rough on the outside but has the softest heart. I asked him if he would come to church with us and he said he couldn't because he wouldn't be able to go 3 hours with out a smoke. I then asked him if he was happy. He said yes but he wishes he had teeth (he only has one tooth on the top right in the middle). I told him that I couldn't buy him teeth but that I would buy him applesause..... (i promise I'm a good missionary but desperate times call for desperate measures). We then promised him that we had the one thing that would make him happy. It took some convincing but he eventually considered that two little 20 year old girls may be able to help him find happiess. I can't wait to show him.
God answered our fast as we found the one Armenian who doesn't believe in God.

Jam time: Sister and I have this ringtone on our phone that is so great to dance to. So we started putting random, meaningless alarms on so that we can have jam sessions everyonce in a while. It's great for relieving stress.

Sorry about no pictures. Both of our cameras aren't working now. We'll figure something out.

Some counsel: I recently started a study journal. I should have done that at the beginning of my mission but I didn't. But since i've started, I love it. I write about why certain scriptures mean certain things to me at specific times. It's really cool to read back over.

My favorite lesson in PMG: I LOVE teaching a first(The restoration). I sound so missionary right now but I get so excited when I know we'll be teaching a first. It's so great.

I love you!!!!!
Love, Mads

Monday, November 10, 2014

Hastening

Momma,

We have been blessed lately with people just popping into our lives. Member referals, former investigators, old tatiks randomly coming up to us on the street asking us when we're going to come to her house to teach her. The Lord is hastening His work and He isn't letting anything get in His way. The work here is incredible. I love every second of my mission. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world.

R came to church yesterday! Which is a big deal because we have been trying to get her to come to church for a few months now. She is an investigator of ours who belongs to a chuch called shabataba. Their sabbath is on Saturday. She loves the doctrines that we teach her but she has a really hard time with the fact that our sabbath is on Sunday. But she is progressing really well and I know she'll figure things out. She seemed to enjoy her experience at church yesterday. I was REALLY nervous to say the least. I was praying the whole time that at least one member would be nice and talk to her after church. Our members have a hard time with that. My prayers were answered as our Relief Society President and a few others came and introduced themselves. It was more than I could have asked for.

I love you momma!

Mads

Monday, November 3, 2014

First snow

Momma,

Sister and I are just doing finding right now.

Listen to the spirit: A few days ago we were just walking from member to member's houses giving spiritual thoughts and asking for referrals. We were about to go to the church to take a break when I had a former contact pop into my head. We had knocked on her door a few times a she was never home so we kind of just forgot about her until that moment. We went over and a girl my age opened the door and invited us right in. We walked in to see a few other people none of which were the original contact. We sat down and asked them about themselves. We found out that they were our contact's daughters. They were very friendly and just loved us. As we were talking to them about our purpose slowly more and more people filtered in. By the end all 4 of her daughters and their kids were in the room listening intently to us. They were really excited about why we were there and agreed to meet with us and receive the lessons. They didn't come to church yesterday... :( but they're golden.

This week was great and I love my mission!
I love you!!!!
Love, Mads
P.S. Our first snow was last night!
First snow!
Bright red lipstick was all we could get away with for a Halloween costume


Monday, October 27, 2014

Sevan

Momma!
I am the worst daughter ever. I forgot my notes from general conference agian!! I'm just going to take a picture of the notes I took from my favorite talks and I'll send that to you. It's super lame, I know, but I know that it's the only way to make sure it happens.

I realized that I haven't been telling you when our investigators get baptized! So I'll tell you right now. So O, I, M, A, Y, and L all got baptized. They're all still active except one and they are so incredible. I isn't coming to church because she lives in a far away village.

Investigators: We have 6 investigators right now. None of them came to church yesterday which was really disheartening. But we're not getting down on ourselves. We both know this transfer has a lot in store for us and Charentsavan.

Weather: It is getting so NIPPY here! I've already broken out my heaving winter coat and mittens and gloves!

I'm really sorry that this letter is really short this week but I really needed to write Em. That was really important to me. I think about her often and really miss her.

I love you momma!



Trip to Sevan


Monday, October 20, 2014

Happy Fall


Momma!

Favor: Will you send me some recipes. Just simple ones. Breakfast ones, dinner ones, a few pastry ones. Ones that are easy to make. Just if you have time. Thanks!

So Halloween is not celebrated here. I'm really sad about it because I love Halloween.

Transfers: Transfers went really smoothly. A lot of my best friends in the mission were in the group going home so it was hard saying goodbye. I'm staying in Charentsavan again. I'm really happy. I've grown to love it here. My new companion is Sister M from my MTC group! Do you remember her? She's the one that we watched her opening her call before I got into the MTC. The one that was really loud, and excited? Haha I hope you remember. I LOVE HER. She is the most pure, sweet person ever. We have already had such a blast together. We have huge goals and lots of expectations for this transfer! We are both really excited to work hard and be successful!

Most spiritual moment: The elders and us went after church to our investigators house. Her little daughter is super sick and we offered her a priesthood blessing. We are all pretty new in the mission (Sister M and I are in the same group and The elders are both new) and so it was a little rusty. I listened nervously as the new elders tried to explain about the priesthood power and the blessing they were about to perform. I looked up at her to see how she was taking it all in since we had only ever met with her twice before. She was listening intently. One of the elders asked her if she had faith that her child would get better. She sincerely replied that she did. From the moment we walked into her house the child was hysterical because of how sick she was. But as soon as the elders laid their hands on her head she stopped. She hiccuped a little bit like children do after they have be crying. The blessing was in broken Armenian with stuttering and mispronounced words but the spirit was beyond powerful. After the blessing the child tried reaching out to me. My heart melted. We all left on cloud 9 I think.

I love you all!

Love, Mads
Fall in Charentsavan


Fall carving



Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Gatas



Momma,

You asked about how I've been studying the Atonement. I have just been reading about it in Jesus The Christ, True To The Faith, The Bible dictionary, the different accounts of it written in the end of the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. I've been looking at modern day talks as well. At the beginning of my studies I have been praying for the spirit to be with me so that I may better apply it to my life, so that I may better feel of his love, and that I may feel of the enabling and cleasing power of it.

​We're about to have transfers!!!! It is a huge deal here just because our transfers are 3 months long where in other missions transfers are only 6 weeks. So it's going to be a huge change! We have 17 missionaries leaving and 16 coming in. For the small size of the Armenian mission, that is a lot of missionaries. Transfers are this Friday.

L is still getting baptized this Wednesday! She is just as amazing as ever. She is SO ready for baptism.
One of our members though has been stalking her and wants to marry her so our Branch President is trying to get him to stay away from her. It's really sad because she is just a single older lady living all alone and she is afraid because this guy keeps trying to like climb in her window and stuff. I'm just glad he hasn't scared her away from the church. Honestly that says a lot about her testimony already because if it were me I would stay far away from any place that had my stalker.

Conference: I totally forgot to bring my notes today! I had so many thoughts that I wanted to share! So I'll do my best to remember all the things I wanted to rave about. Well now that I'm trying to think of what to say, I really do just need my notes. But I do love how much everyone talked about loving and sustaining the prophets. We all get so caught up in the world worrying about not offending other people. Which we should do our best to keep peace. But we should fear God, not man.
Man, I am so sorry. This is all this week that I have to say about conference. I promise next week I will bring my notes because I have a lot to say about this October's amazing conference. Also, I loved seeing Christian in the choir for the Priesthood session. What a stud.

To my family members: Will you prayerfully read the Book of Mormon? Again?

There really is not a lot to write about this week. But with transfers this week I can promise that there will be a lot to write about next week.
I have a testimony of this Church. I am so grateful for the opportunity that I had to listen to the words of our prophets this week. What a blessing that is. I love my Saviour. I love my family. I love Armenians.

Longer letter later,
Sister Kuykendall

So for the whole transfer Sister B and I have been in charge of our branch FHE every week because the elders kept forgetting and other things...(We still love them). This last week they finally promised that they would do it but then flaked again. So we got stuck with it again. Hence the following two pictures. Gata is an Armenian pastry.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Char life

Hello momma!

This week has been great! Our only investigator right now is L. I mentioned her in last weeks e-mail. I'm not really sure what to say about her except for if there ever was a perfect investigator, she'd be it. She has really dived into the BOM and reads from the Ensigns everyday. She reads all of the pamphlets we give her from cover to cover and the teaches US what she learned. So pretty much we're not even teaching her because she is just doing everything herself. She's just perfect. She is so excited to be baptized and has a sincere desire to follow Christ. She will be baptize on the 15th of October. She'll be gone in Yerevan all of this week which is a bit stressful because we still have a few lessons and her interview to do all before her baptism.

I've been studying the Atonement... again. I've been reading in Luke in the New Testament. For me nothing brings the spirit quicker than reading about my Savior's everlasting Atonement. It's one of my favorite things to study.

Our investigator couple A and Y got baptized on Friday and received the Holy Ghost yesterday. Their baptismal service was beautiful and the spirit was so strong. They are absolutely the cutest couple. They both bore beautiful testimonies in church yesterday and I just cried like a baby. They are so incredible. Y (the husband) is incredible for this reason: A few minutes after he received the Holy Ghost one of the elders' new investigators (just a super adorable, old man) walked in and was just standing nervously in the back. Y got up, walked over to him, took his arm in his and sat him down next to him and his family. It was beautiful.

Well, really we are just doing a lot of finding lately because L is our only investigator. But I'm absolutely loving the Char life ;)

I love you so much!!!!
love, Sister K (the 2nd)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

general conference


Momma,

You asked about general conference: we will get to watch General Conference a week after you. We get together with our zones and watch it from the internet. I'm SO excited momma. I can't even tell you. I've been waiting six months for this! So don't spoil anything for me ;)

Spiritual Moment: A lot of my spiritual experiences have just been while I've been studying in the morning. Lately my favorite thing to do is just dive into the scriptures. About a month after I arrived in Armenia I decided to read the BOM cover to cover. I am genuinely embarrassed to say that I have never before done it. But last week I finished the BOM, cover to cover. It felt AWESOME. Every morning as I read I felt the spirit so strongly. Really, reading the scriptures is the fastest way to bring the spirit close to you. I'm sure you all have read the BOM cover to cover many times but I would like to challenge all of you to do it again (or for the first time if you haven't before). If you're LDS or not LDS. If you're active or not active. It is the word of God just as the Bible is. I can testify of that. I have read and prayed about this book and I can tell you that doubtless, this book is true. What does that mean? It means that God still speaks to His children. Why? Because He loves His children today just as much as He did in the olden days. This also means that Joseph Smith was called of God to restore Christ's church again to the earth. If I did not know of these things with a surety I can promise that I would NOT be here in Armenia teaching these people about it.

Funny: This week we were just walking home in the dark. Sister B is TERRIFIED of the dark which makes me feel like I should be too. So we were both just walking trying not to think of all the creatures lurking in the shadows. We sort of wearily eyed a dog digging through the dumpster wondering whether he would think we looked tastier than the garbage he was eating when all of a sudden we hear what sounded like gun fire! Some people when they are frightened run, some's first instinct is to fight. Mine: freeze right where I am. So my companion and the dog took off running and I'm just standing there not able to move. Eventually after the 3rd gun shot I started to will my body to move, so I start trying to catch up to my companion and just end up tripping all over myself because the gun fire is still going and I'm beyond flustered. I eventually am able to get ahold of my footing and catch up to my companion. We stop and sort of just look at eachother and then bust up laughing! We still have NO clue what the loud gun fire sounding noise was. But we can only imagine how silly we looked for anyone that happened to be watching. We're just happy we could make someone's night.

Cannibal: So we went on another split from Sunday till today (Tuesday), which is why the emailing schedule was off.... I went to Hrazdan again. All was well until we were walking to an appointment and saw a weird little dog chasing away a baby cow. After the dog was satisfied with the distance he had put between himself and the cow he trotted back to where he had been before. The dog appeared to be eating something which we assumed was just garbage. As we got up to where the dog was we saw it eating not garbage but another dog. A dead one. That's all I have to say about it.

Investigators: We have been blessed with INCREDIBLE investigators. I'm starting to lose track of what I have already written about them so I appologize if I retell you anything.
L is our new investigator. She is perfect. Two Sundays ago I watched her walk into sacrament meeting and sit in front of me. I didn't recognize her as a member so after the meeting ended I asked her if she was a member. She told me that she wasn't but knew someone who was. We went and met with her that night and saw a BOM on her night stand. We asked where she had gotten it. She told us that she had just seen it at the church and wanted to read it. She also had grabbed a few pamphlets and had started to read them too! She will be baptized on the 15 of October. I love her.
A and Y got their marriage liscence! I'm not quite sure how to explain the miracle of that. But just take my word for it. Also Y quit smoking. Cold turkey. They will be baptized together this Saturday!
Our other investigators are doing great as well. I am the happiest missionary out there. Man, I love this!

Well this Email is super long so I better end it here. But I love you and I hope you have a great week! xoxoxox
Sister Madie Kuykendall

Monday, September 22, 2014

I love my investigators



Momma,

Splits: So we had 24 hour splits this weekend and I went to...... VANADZOR!!!!! It was the best 24 hours of my life. It was so nice to see all of my family there. I walked in the church and I guess someone told the ward that I was coming and so they were all there to see me! They just drowned me in kisses and hugs. I was so overwhelmed but it was a good kind because I was just so overwhelmed with love. Not that Charentsavan people aren't lovely but it was just nice to be reminded that I still have some fans in this part of the world. Best split EVA!

Vernasage: So before missionaries go home here they have the opportunity to go to a place called Vernasage with their companion. My companion is leaving so we got to go on Saturday. It was so fun! It is just a huge Armenian market with all sorts of awesome souveniers and homemade Armenian things and Soviet stuff! It is sooooo cool! She got some really cool stuff. It kind of made me sad because I realized that I didn't actually bring any spending money on my mission...What was I thinking?? But I've got a while before I have to worry about that. It ended up raining but I was super fun anyway.

Investigators: We had to drop G this week as an investigator. She was the one, if you remember, that was just so embarrassed to be seen with us. We went to go pick her up for church and she saw us on the street and literally shooed us away because she didn’t want anyone to see her associating with us. I felt like a dog. But we’re not giving up on her quite yet. We'll see if she feels the absence of light in her life for a little bit and see if she gives us a call when she recognizes that it’s missing.

We may have to spend less time with J. She’s my favorite investigator so I really don’t want to but she just won’t come to church. She is almost through with the Book of Alma! She knows that this church is true and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. She’s told us that she believes it but she is having a hard time leaving her Word of Life church.A is great. She has a great knowledge of the Bible and is so friendly. We’re just not sure if she loves to have us over just as guests or as missionaries. She keeps begging me to marry her brother and live with her. We have made our purpose clear and I really want to believe that she is sincere but part of me says that she just likes us as guests. I’ve been praying for the gift of discernment so I hope that we will be able to move in the right direction with her.

A#2 is golden. She is sooo ready for baptism. I don't even have words. She and her husband just need to get a marriage liscense and then they're both ready for the font.
H is so cute. He's the little 8 year old that I was telling you about. He has been loving our lessons with him. We're not too creative but I don't doubt that the Spirit has led us in every lesson that we have had with him. He should be baptized really soon as well. We are doing a "3rd" with him tonight.

Earwig: There was an earwig just chilling on our bathroom wall the other day. If anyone doesn't know me, I hate them. So much. And Sister B made me kill it! All by myself. Gross.

R Papik: R Papik is one of our new convert's husband. He is just so old (I have a soft spot in my heart for sweet, old men, don't take that the wrong way, I just love them with all my heart) and his job is to go up to the 'center' to turn the fountain on and off everyday. We saw him a few days ago and went over to talk to him. As soon as he saw us he wrapped us both in a hug and gave us a kiss on the cheek. It's not allowed, but you can't just refuse a papik hug! After we talked to him for a bit he bent down, picked a few roses for us and sent us on our way.

I can't imagine being anywhere else in the world right now. I love Armenia and I love this people.
Love, Sister Madison Kuykendall
Caught in a rain storm…again
M is for Madie! (Armenian M)

Something artsy that I thought I should photograph

You know you're a missionary when…..


Monday, September 15, 2014

Unity

This week went really well. Sister and I have been getting along really well and I feel like I'm happier than I have been all transfer.

Nothing in particular happened this week. But it was still a great week. We taught lots of lessons and found new investigators. I feel like I'm a little bit on cloud nine lately. Of course everyday there will be things that let us down, but lately I feel like everything good that has been happening just kind of makes those small misfortunes not so rough.
I can really say that I have a HUGE testimony of companionship unity. For many different reasons. We have had better lessons filled with the Spirit. We have been having fun together which people can see in our countenances. We're more in tune with eachother and people can see that. I wake up happy and go to sleep happy. Companionship unity is everything.
I'm doing absolutely everything that I can to be the best most pleasant companion that I can and I can tell that Sister is really striving to as well.

We were going to have a baptism this week but we will probably have it next week instead because she is really busy moving into another house and we are hoping that we can baptize her at the same time as her husband. He is the elders' investigator and has a smoking problem. They will actually be going to get a zox (marriage liscence) today. So they should both be ready, if not by next week, then the week after. We are also teaching the husband's mother. She is so elect but just won't come to church. She feels like this church is true but she also doesn't want to give up going to her Life's Word church. We are really trying to encourage her to come to church, plus she is almost all the way throught the whole BOM!
We are also teaching 2 young girls (24ish) and they just absolutely love us. I was worried at first that they just liked the company(which I think is also true) but we made sure to establish our purpose and they still want us to come over. I have high hopes for them.

Stinkers: So we live in an area with lots and lots of children. And they just play outside all day long. They just do all sorts of kid things like play in the mud, chase the poor neighborhood dog with only 3 legs, throw a ball around, throw spit balls at the 2 innocent sister missionaries every time they walk out of their apartment and on occasion will come up and spank their bums and run off giggling because it's so funny. We love every child of God and we're not afraid of little kid bullies.

Wasps: So we always have a bedroom window open because it's just so dang hot and stuffy all the time. But as I went to open it this morning I saw something that made me change my mind. I guess the Lord really does love us because somehow this whole time we have had a huge wasps' nest right outside our window and not once have they flown in our window 3 inches from their beautiful little nest. Church is true.

Testimony: I think it's been a while since I've born my testimony to you. The things that I know for myself and that I know with a surety are these: God loves each and everyone of us. He is aware of each and every one of us. He wants to bless us and will undoubtably bless us as long as we keep his commandments. I know that we can all live together as a family in God and Christ's presence one day. I know that we are responsible for our own attitudes. I know that Joseph Smith restored this Church; the same church that Christ established during His time on the earth. I know that my Redeemer lives. And I love my family more than life itself.

I love you. Love, Mads

Monday, September 8, 2014

Hidden blessings



Dear Momma,

Baptism: We had our second baptism on Saturday. It. Was. Awesome. When we first met this lady she was kind of a sad presence to be around if I may be so bold to say. But as we met with her all the way up to her baptism we saw a gradual but incredible light overcome her. She jokes around and laughs and is incredibly happy. She has so much faith and such a desire to follow Christ. Before her baptism we had only met with her for a few weeks and she had read all the up to the Book of Moroni! The spirit was so strong at her baptism and she is already an amazing contribution to our little branch.

Hidden blessings: On Friday we were alone in the church filling out some paperwork when we heard some pounding on the door. We opened it and a lady bursts in and says, "I want to be a member of your church!" We were a little weary of her intentions at first because, let's be honest, people aren't usually that excited to be baptized without hearing anything about what we believe first. But we set up an appointment with her. The next day we went to her house and visited with her for a little bit and we discovered that she was desperate. She was desperate for love, for happiness, light. She was desperate for something and she wasn't quite sure what. She saw us on the streets and said she saw that we had something; Money or.....perhaps the Light of Christ. All she knew was that she was desperate for something different in her life. This lady, like many Armenians, has a rough life. She has lots of kids and grandkids to take care of and no income etc...... But the Lord has a plan for her. All of these things that she is going through has caused her to turn to Christ. Maybe at first it was for money or help similar to it but it resulted in a desire to be baptized, to find the happiness in life. I know that this was God's plan all along. And it worked. She has accepted a baptismal date for the 4th of October. She will be ready.
In our lives we have similar things. Maybe we don't have full responsibility to keep our 3 kids and 8 grandkids alive or maybe we do. Maybe we have bigger problems or maybe smaller but because of these trials we can humble ourselves and turn to the Lord. We need Him.

Marriage proposal: Sister and I were waved over to talk to a couple sitting at a table doing something that Armenians do with their fruit. We got started talking about our purpose and what we believed. It was going really well until the lady interupted and said, "Do you want to buy my son?" Which translated really just means do you want to marry my son. I kind of just brushed it off by saying that I had a boyfriend at home (it's okay sometimes to tell lies, just so you know). But she persisted and said, "Well what if we kidnap you?" (I'll write more about that later) I wasn't really sure how to respond so Sister cut in and said, "But she's in love!" They kind of gave an understanding nod and then we sort of just slipped away. (I'm not really in love btw)

This church is true. The Book of Mormon is true. It's all really true. I promise.
I love you from the bottom of my heart. I think about you and pray for you all the time.
Love, Sister Mads

Monday, September 1, 2014

Baptism!



Momma,

This week was a little uneventful so I don't have a whole lot of news other than we had more in-actives come to church today as a result of our heart attacks! So we are so happy about that. We had a last minute baptism on Saturday. She is moving far away and really wanted to be baptized before she left so we had a cram session and taught her EVERYTHING the night before her baptism! It was crazy! So that all went pretty smoothly. And then we have another baptism this week for our investigator who is almost through the book of Ether!
Sick: I've been feeling kind of sick lately. Just really light headed, always feeling like i'm going to pass out. It's quiet obnoxious but I just don't know if there is anything I can do about it.
I don't have any pictures this week :( but i sent a ton last week! :) I haven't gotten your packages yet but Sister Reese said that there is a hold up somewhere because they haven't received any packages for anyone for almost 2 months!
I love you so much momma! i hope you know that. Thank you for fasting for me. I feel your prayers.
love, Mads

Monday, August 25, 2014

heart attacks

This week was......

Heart-attacks: So our ward really needs strengthening. A lot of it. In the past Char has bee known for it's crazy high baptism numbers but the retention is terrible. We have 100's of inactives. So Sister and I decided to Heart-attack some members and less actives. we cut out tons of hearts and put scriptures and nice things on them and then tape them all over their door. And the results have been miraculous! I cried like a baby during sacrament yesterday because almost all of the people we had heart attacked had shown up to church dressed as nicely as they could afford. They were sooooo happy! Hugging and kissing us and best of all sat through sacrament. What a miracle. I cannot tell you the joy I felt yesterday. Sundays are really rough for missionaries. I think I can speak for most missionaries by saying that. But I loved yesterday! The Lord really is helping us tremendously.

Investigators: Our investigator couples came to church yesterday!!! And we even got some members to be nice to them and sit next to them! It was truly the best Sunday ever. One of our Investigators (I'll call her M) is in the Book of Ether!! We've only been meeting with her for a few weeks! She thinks it's really interesting but she is having a hard time seeing why we need the BOM. She's really amazing.

One of my favorite scriptures is in the New Testament in Matthew 28:19-20:
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe al things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you alway even unto the end of the world. Amen."
Sometimes you just need the little reminders.

Love you all,
Sister K

Monday, August 18, 2014

Lamb chops

Momma!!
This week was a great week!

Sister L: So I'm really sad that I cannot say names. But our Branch Presidents mother is the person that I will refer to as L. Mom, I have always felt your love for me. I've never doubted your love. But..... This lady might love me more than you do. Let me explain myself: when she sees us she says, "My sweet dear! My little doll! My kitten! My cherry! Oh, I will eat you up! There is not a candy in the candy shop sweeter than you! I love you!!" All the while she is pinching my cheeks and kissing me and hugging me and I'm never quite sure if I'll make it out alive. I love her!
She just has the BIGGEST heart and I know that she is going straight to the Celestial Kingdom.

Locked out: Yes, again. This time the lock wouldn't just hammer in easily like last time. How many Armenians does it take to break in a door? Well, apparently 1 and 10 to stand by and watch. It took a good couple hours to hammer the darn lock in again. But we finally got in. And the solution to the gaping hole that is now in our door is....a bandaid.

Lamb: So we were at our missionary coordination meeting with our Branch President and the elders when two girls from our ward walk in. Our BP said, "These girls just slaughtered a lamb and you are going to buy 4 lbs of it." I guess you could say that our Branch President thinks that we have a lot more money than we actually do. So we now have 6000 dram worth of bloody lamb in our freezer. Bless his heart.

Investigators: We have picked up 2 families and 2 couples in this past week! We are so excited! The two coulples are especially exciting because the men are awesome and we could use a few more strong preisthood holders in our little branch right now. I can count right now on one finger how many priesthood holders don't have a word of wisdom problem in our branch. So this will be great!


Love, Sister Mads

P.S. Don't forget to pray! And read your scriptures! And go to church! Those are all commandments you know, not just suggestions :)
Fruit drying season
Wool beating season

count carefully

One of the surprise pictures my comp took

On our way to Kate's old companion's house
Long day - so pathetic
This picture is one of my favorites - so middle eastern looking
P-day hike to an old church


Monday, August 11, 2014

Great family

So this past week everything fell through. We had appointments lined up with members, investigators and less actives and all week they fell through. We were so devastated. But as we were walking yesterday we started talking to a tatik and her grandkids. She eventually invited us in and we did how to begin teaching points. Her hars then came in and we taught most of a first to all of them. Some how it got brought up that the husband is agains the church so we got a little nervous. Right as they said that, he walked in the door. He came in and sat down and started to kind of pick at us a little bit. And then the tatik and hars started defending us! We had to go shortly after that. But the dad was joking and laughing with us by the time we left and we think that we won him over. They are a great family. We have another lesson with them tonight so we will see how that goes. Anyway, that lesson made the whole week worth it.

Today we got locked out of our apartment (typical Armenian missionary problems :)) We went and got our groceries and then went home to put them away and our key wouldn't work. We called our landlord who is a recent convert and then we waited outside our appartment for like 45 minutes surrounded by our groceries snacking on anything we could for fear of starving... and then he finally came. He couldn't get the door open either so he ran down the stairs and then came back up with a hammer. And then the most Armenian thing happened: he just hammered in the door. I mean, it worked. The door opened after a few swings at it. But now we need to get our door repaired. I thought it was hilarious but I think sister was a little annoyed..

So I just wanted to say that sometimes email time stresses me out because there are so many people that I love that I would love to write long emails to but time is very limited. So I hope no one is offended when I don't send very detailed emails. I love you all so much and appreciate and feel all of your support. I wish so badly that I had the time to email everyone.

Love, Sister K.

Monday, August 4, 2014

The language will come....

momma,

I am so sad I missed Jilly's baptism but I am so proud of her!

This week nothing happened really just because we are still pretty new to the area. We have been meeting with a lot of potential investigators.
We are teaching two very elect ladies right now that are both so ready for baptism. We are so excited. The spirit is so strong in our lessons and I can't wait to see them as members.

Fast sunday: Again?? Wow. I love this privilege that we have to fast once a month. I definitely had plenty of things that I was fasting for. I hope everyone took advantage of the great opportunity to fast yesterday. I can testify of the many great blessings that we receive from fasting.

Language: So you probably all know by now that this is a touchy subject for me. My mind doesn't seem to retain things very well therefore making learning a language very difficult for me. But I am going to swallow my pride for a minute for the sake of some people that I know will be learning a new language very soon. I feel that in the English language I am able to speak well. I am able to bear my testimony and say the thoughts of my heart and express myself well. Here in Armenia speaking the Armenian language has taken that from me. I cannot say everything that I want and am forced to say very little of what I actually feel and want to say. But I know that the gift of tongues is real. Learning a language is the most humbling, hard, frustrating, annoying things I have ever had to do. But it's worth it, because it is through this language that I will be able to help bring these people closer to their Savior. My companion is so amazing and takes the time to help me with the language. I have learned so much from her in the week that I have been with her. The language will come. To the person that I have in mind, I hope you know who you are, you are about to be an incredible missionary. You are about to be humbled more than you wish to be by the hard language you are about to learn but trust me it will be worth it and I am so proud of you.

I love my family, this gospel, my Savior and Redeemer and my Heavenly Father.
The church is true. I bet my life on it.
Love, Sister Mads
xoxoxox

Monday, July 28, 2014

Transfers!

Momma,

Transfers: Oh my heck. Such an uncomfortable thing. I have been transfered to a tiny town called Charanstavan. My new companion and I are white washing the area so it's been a stressful past few days. We're starting to get things figured out though. The aren't many members here but the few that are here are great. I've never felt so loved in my life. They LOVE the missionaries. Also we are supposed to moving into a new apartment today but from the looks of it we might be living out of our suitcases a little bit longer.

Waterday: So Armenia has a national, annual holiday called Water Day (Vardavar). It is an ancient holiday and legend goes that the Godess Asthgik spread love on Armenian earth by pouring water from roses. But after adopting Christianity the holiday has had changes and now it is in celebration of the event of Christ's transfiguration on Mt. Tabor when He appeared to His disciples in his brightened appearance. (Vardavar means transfiguration or brilliance). But some people also say the holiday is to celebrate Noah's Ark settling on Mt. Ararat (here in Armenia) after the Flood. He orders his sons to pour water on each other in remembrance of the Flood. Anyway, this holiday is exactly what it sounds like! It's a day where everyone runs around throwing buckets of water at everyone. NO ONE is spared. You can't walk out of your apartment door with out a bunch of people waiting to get you. So we walked around all day soaked from head to toe. Hopefully I can send some pictures. We lived the whole day in constant fear. They take this holiday very seriously and will not show mercy to ANYONE. I think we should start this in the states.

I'm lame: Sorry that this email is lame but we are SO busy right now with whitewashing. It is beautiful here. We have been finding lots of contacts on the streets and everyone is very kind here. It is about an 1/6 of the size of Vanadzor. You can walk from one end to the other in like 20 minutes. We would know. :)

Reading assignment: my new companion and I have been going and getting to know all of the members here in "Char" (translates into 'evil'). The verses that we have been sharing with them is Alma 31: 34-35.

I love missionary work. It is SO hard. But it is soooooo worth it. I can't believe I have already been here for almost 6 months. I hope the time slows down a little bit. I'm so sorry that my emails are all over the place but we're a little busy with converting people to the gospel and stuff :). I love you all.
Love, Sister Madison Kuykendall
Candy cane dress from our recent convert
A flower from the Haglunds, one of our senior couples.
Stop sign in Armenia??
First five minutes out on Water Day!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Alma 17-23

My week has been goodish. I love Vanadzor. Transfers are this week. I've been having some stess and struggling a bit. It will be okay though. I'm just learning so slowly. It's so discouraging.

So we've been lucky to find lots of new investigators this past little bit of time. But for some reason this week every one disappeared. We had an AWESOME family that we were teaching. Golden, golden family but they just all of a sudden stopped answering and we haven't seent them forever. Definitely a result of gossip. Same thing happened with another investigator of ours. She used to gush over us everyday about how dear we are to her and then she just...stopped. She glares at us now everytime she sees us. Our other investigator is thinking about marrying this man but he wont let her go to church or meet with us anymore. We also started teaching this adorable little girl who is 11. She was so excited about the gospel. So eager to follow Christ. But when we went back over there her dad forced her to give us her BOM back. I bawled the whole way home. We went from having 7 investigators to having none in 1 week.

This past 2 days we have had so many street contacts though. So many people ASKED for our number. They WANT to meet. So we have a few potential investigators!!!! That is a miracle.

Reading assignment to get everyone excited about missionary work: Alma 17-23. Read it. You wont regret it.

love, Sister Kuykendall

Monday, July 14, 2014

Ping Pong, Pizza and Packages



Momma,

About pictures: So I am not allowed to send any pictures home at all that are of anyone other than just me. Or else you would be getting so many more pictures every week.

About the language: It's a really difficult language. Nothing really can translate over into English. You have to have a completely different mind set. But I'm getting there. I have come SO far since I've been here with the Lord's help. His hand in my life is so apparent.

2nd Coming?: So this week we had lots of suspicious things happen here in Armenia that maybe you've heard about already. First is that we have had a few earthquakes this week. Second is that we had a huge hail storm. I'm not sure I can really explain the craziness of this hail storm we had. They were literally the size of golf balls. Sister and I weren't complaining though because we were in a not very interested investigator's house when the storm started and so she was forced to let us stay :) and we ended up having a really good discussion and now she likes us again. And then the hail storm resulted in floods. Yep. It was awesome. But you know those really cute flats that I brought with the big bows on them? Yeah, I think it's their time. The weather got the best of them.

Belated Birthday: So after emailing last Monday, someone from the office came up and brought the mail when he came. I had all sorts of fun birthday mail and packages! Our district all got together in the church and played pingpong ate pizza and opened mine and Sister's packages that we got for our birthday's! Momma, I loved the package you sent! The food didn't last through the end of the day but that's just because it's always more fun to share. The whole package was just so exciting. Thank you thank you thank you to everyone who helped put it together. I have the best family.

Testimony: I have a testimony of families. I know that they can live together for eternity. I love my family more than any words can explain. I want to do everything I can to make sure that we all make it to the highest kingdom one day. I can't wait for that day. I love this church. I am so grateful to have been blessed with a testimony. I will never be able to deny the things that I have felt here. The Church is true. I know it.

xoxoxo
love, Sister K

Monday, July 7, 2014

Independence Day and the stalker



Dear momma,

This week was the 4th of July. My favorite holiday (next to Easter). I am sad that I missed all sorts of fun celebrations in both Utah and California. As you could probably guess, Armenians do not celebrate the 4th (though they seem to celebrate every other day of the year. For example, they have a Kid's Day) but Sister and I made sure to have our own little celebration. We went and played soccer with the ward and some investigators and then tracked down some hotdogs (tough, grainy links of mystery meat. Yikes). We went home for a meal break and made our hotdogs and sang patriotic songs from the back of the hymn book. All day Sister was telling everyone we ran into that it was our country's birthday. For some reason not many people seemed to interested haha!

I hope everyone had a fabulous fourth and really thought about why we celebrate it. I am so grateful to live (not currently) in a free country. Especially now. I have many hero's in my life, one of who's presence I've felt with me all week this week.

Damsels in distress: So Sister and I have had to be really careful lately of who we say hi to in the streets lately. There's always going to be those annoying teenage boys that cat call or whatever. But lately we've had some interesting encounters. We were teaching in the streets the other day when I made the mistake of barev dzez-ing a man (greeting - saying hello). As we kept walking he started to follow a little ways behind. We started to kind of zig-zag from one side of the street to the other to kind of shake him off but he would not get lost. We happened to run into the elders after about 15 minutes of trying to dodge him. They pointed out that the guy had been following us for a while (like we hadn't noticed) and that they would keep an eye on him. The man disappeared for a while so the elders left and we continued to make our way home only to look back and see him following us again. We went into a little shop and called the elders. They said they were going to come get us and walk us home. As we waited inside the store we saw the man just waiting outside, pacing the doorway. The Elders came and we kind of hurried and skipped out. We got home safely. :) We saw him again yesterday. And he followed us again. We're not really sure what he wants because if he wanted to learn more about Jesus you'd think he'd just ask us and not be weird about it. Oh well. I'm sure he'll find something better to do soon. But until then, we have the elders on speed dial.

Fast: I hope everyone had a great fast sunday yesterday. I love the opportunity to fast. The Lord promises great blessings to those who fast. One of the many promises He gives us is that we will be more receptive to the spirit and for me that's what I need right now. I always fast for my family and friends. I pray that you're prayers will be answered.

Sister and I fasted to find new investigators a long with other things. We've got a few potentials now so I can't wait to tell you the result next week!

I love you so much momma!
                         You have no idea how excited we were about these hotdogs.
                                             Armenian missionary style fourth of July.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Baptism!



Hello Momma!

Baptism: Our investigator finally got baptized! It was amazing. The spirit was so strong despite her loud personality. I have to admit (and I probably already have) when we first started teaching her I had the hardest time having charity. She was always interrupting, very loud etc.... But as time went on I started to love her. She still drives me crazy...But now I love her despite her craziness. She will be an awesome contribution to our ward.

Where did the time go??: So is it only weird to me that I have already been out for 4 months?

Spiritual: So this past week I've been a little down because I didn't feel very fulfilled. I felt like I wasn't making a difference. I read a talk on giving yourself up to the Lord. It was incredible. I realized that that is what I am missing. I thought I was doing that but I wasn't all the way. I have decided to actually completely consciously give myself up to the Lord. It's hard. I'll let you know how it goes.

Testimony: I love my Savior and I know he loves me. I encourage every young person who is reading this to go on a mission. Period. Just. Go.

Love, Sister Kuykendall
Is this real life??
And they say this is the Telestial kingdom...

Fairy tale picture


Shh. One of the kitties outside of our shank. Cuter in person - both of us.

This is how much my companion loves me :). Breakfast=Success

Monday, June 23, 2014

kittens and Russian milk lady

Hi momma.

So here's my week in a nutshell:

Yay: So our investigator gets baptized this Saturday (28th). She is quite the character. She is very loud and might have a small case of ADHD x100 but she is ready to enter the waters of baptism. We are very excited.

Kittens: So I think I mentioned before, but there are wild cats and dogs everywhere. So ouside of our shank (building) that we live in there is like a little pile of hay and this little family of kittens lives there with their momma. I have a video that I am going to try to send. Too cute for words. Like I die a little everytime I see them because my companion won't let me steal them. She's the worst. But not really, she's actually the best.

Russian Milk Lady: I don't remember if I talked about this last week or not. So every morning we go running down Tigran Metts and we always see this russian lady probably no less than 78 years old carrying these milk pales somewhere. We don't speak russian and she only knows russian so everytime we try to help she just protests in russian. But this morning she finally let us!! It was so great!!! We soon discovered why she wouldn't let us help her the previous times. It wasn't that she didn't want the help, it was more that she knew that we wouldn't be able to carry it. She would carry 1 in each hand. But she motioned for us to share the weight of just one while she carried the other. (we take what we can get as missionaries) IT WAS SO HEAVY!!!!! Each of those pails that she was carrying in each hand weighed at least 50-60 lbs each. The people here are so strong its ridiculous.

Fat: So I'm getting fat. The Armenians don't know what the word no is when it comes to food. Sometimes when I actually think I might just puke on their table I have to tell them aggressively that I don't want it. They get really sad when you don't eat their whole 5 gallon pot of cilantro/mushroom/mystery soup. I've never been fatter. The Armenians tell me so.

Spiritual: We had our first lesson the other day with a lady that we met at the park. She is a super nice lady so we were really excited to start teaching her. I started to teach a first and before I even finished saying, "We are His children" She started telling us about how no one has seen Jesus. It was so random because 1.I hadn't even mentioned Jesus yet and 2. She had invited us over to learn more about our church. Or so we thought. As politely as I could I told her that if she wanted to learn from us that she would need to listen patiently and try not argue with everything we say. She agreed and I proceded on with the lesson. I told her that God loves her and she immediately cut in again saying how wrong I was because of how hard her life is. At this point I was about to jump out the window behind me. But I took a breath. I then said a quick prayer in my head, looked at her and bore my testimony. I told her that even though life is hard God knows her and loves her very much. I bore testimony of everything I believed to be true. She didn't interupt me one time. I remembered every vocab word I wanted. She watched me intently and when I was done she didn't say anything. We then asked her to read the BOM and pray about it. I gave her a BOM and told her to call us if she wanted to learn more. I don't know when or if she will call us. I don't know what she felt if she did feel anything. But I do know that the Lord loosed my tongue and inspired me to say the things that I said.

I'm out of time to email. But I love you!!!!!!!!

Love, Sister Kuykendall

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Kamats kamats



MOMMA!!

You are right about people here sounding so different than people in America. The culture couldn't be more different. But I love it.

Spiritual: So Saturday night I was informed that I would be giving a talk in church on Sunday (my birthday). I tried not to cry, I promise. But sister J told me that my testimony would be more appropriate. So I didn't sleep at all that night because I am so terrified of public speaking, especially in Armenian. I was shaking all through out the first two meetings and trying to work out an escape plan. When it came time for sacrament meeting I was calm. I was nervous but not a wreck. I walked up to the stand and bore simple testimony of the things that I know are true that are most important to me. Those things are: This gospel is true. Christ lives. I love my family. I know that I can live with them with God forever. And the Book of Mormon is the word of God. And that was it. That was my whole testimony in silly, broken Armenian. I felt a little silly, I'll admit, because the other missionaries always give such profound talks. But as I looked out over the congregation while bearing my testimony I could feel the spirit touch so many people. Tears filled so many of the members eyes and I no longer felt silly.

Before church I prayed that I would say everything right (because Armenians are ruthless and very honest and will tell you if you speak terribly and I didn't want my birthday present to be unwrapped insults). After Church a girl that speaks english very well came up to me and said, "Sister, you said everything perfectly." Even though it was a silly request, God didn't want me to be humiliated on my birthday.

Also Spiritual: The members from Alaverdi were all bussed down to go to church. These people are so poor that they can't afford transportation to church. So every so often the church pays for a marshootni to go get them. So there were sooooo many people at church!! it was so amazing!!! best birthday present ever. There was not a seat empty in the whole chapel. Such a miracle

Dog: Sister and I went and sat on a bench under a cute little arch of roses and flowers to rest after walking a mile or so to visit a less active.(she was clearly home but did not answer the door. what a stinker :) We were just sitting there talking to the member that we had brought with us having a nice time. I kind of looked over to the left a little to see a dog lying in the grass. (there are thousands of wild dogs here) I kind of studied it for a minute wondering why it looked a little funny. As a looked a little closer i could see that most of it's neck was kind of.....eaten away i guess you could say. so the dog was just dead. So we got up and went somewhere else.

Sad: We saw one of our members on the street the other day smoking. (not the first time)

Birthday: I had such a good birthday! Some of the members bought me cute little presents. Bless their hearts, they have NO money. So it was so sweet. I went home a cried.

Investigators: We have so many investigators right now!!! Yep, believe it!!! 3 of them are moving to Georgia (the country) and we are soooo sad because they are incredible. but there are missionaries where they are moving to so they'll be in good hands. Another one of our investigators was showing signs of creeperism. So we gave him to the elders to teach and then he was miraculously not interested in the church any more.. weird.

Not new: language is still killer but i'm learning. kamats kamats (little by little)

I'm sure there is much more but I always come to internet time remembering nothing.

I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
xoxoxoxo Sister kuykendall


Monday, June 2, 2014

Gru and little miracles

Thank you momma for your sweet email. I hope you had a great week! Katie and I have been writing a lot and I just love her a lot. I miss her so much. I know England loves her so much. She's incredible. This past week was hard but I learned so much. SO MUCH.
Okay, so here we go:


What's up: So our investigator's baptismal date got moved to this week but she's kind of stuck and we might move it again. Our other investigator with a baptismal date dropped of the face of the earth apparently. But then we have this AWESOME investigator that hasn't accepted a baptismal date yet but she will. Her husband left her and her son died in the banak (army) 3 years ago so she's in great need of the gospel. And she realizes it too! Oh man, I just love her and I am so excited for her to get baptized. We also picked up two new investigators at church yesterday. So we're rockin the mission right now :)

What's funny: So yesterday we went street "teaching" (because we're not allowed to proselite). Oh. My. Heck. It was such an interesting night. So we were walking up to the church when this man sort of just ran up to us and was like, "Jesus loves you. Right? And He loves me too. God is our Father which means that we are brothers and sisters." So he pretty much just taught us the beginning of a 1st. And then as he walked away he said, "God is with you." And we both just kind of stood there not really sure what just happened and if it was even real life. Then I was just like, "We can't just let him go!" So we started to walk in the direction we saw him go but we never found him. But we deciede to keep walking. We then saw a man that we had taught a lesson to before but stopped teaching because he was….interesting. He walked up to us and just kept saying Kuy-ken-dall over and over again. Going on about how the 3 syllables of my name meant that I had to travel around Armenia in a Mercedes. He then opened my BOM and pointed to the first number he saw and said, "Oh this is so good. She'll be back by the 16th." He kept going on about it but long story short, he was dead set on giving us a tour around Armenia. After we told him we couldn't a few times he just skipped off. But THEN just about 2 minutes later a guy in his mid 20's asked us in English, "Excuse me, What the time is?" We then told him what the time was and he thanked us politely and walked off. At this point we were just waiting for our next encounter. But it wasn't until we were on our way home that we had our last and final encounter. We were walking past a flower shop past a group of boys when one of them said in English and in a Gru voice (you know, off of Despicable Me), "You know, you are very wonderful." We kind of just chuckled and said thank you as we walked past. Then, as I looked back he pointed at us with his finger and said, "I am in love with you." Still in his Gru accent. And that concluded our night as we tried very hard to contain our laughter until we got home. It was quite a night.

What's amazing: The restored gospel of Jesus Christ is the true church on the earth today. Wow.

What's weird: So on Saturday night I was informed that I would be singing in church and giving a talk the next day. So that was scary. Sacrament Meetings here are a little less organized than in the states. But we ended up going 15 minutes over so I sang but I didn't end up giving a talk. Phew!!! I sang a duet with Elder Sarafian of A Child's Prayer in Armenian. It actually turned out really great!

So church was just all around amazing yesterday. So many of our district's investigators came to church. And our closing hymn was so beautiful and it touched so many of the members that people were in tears. And I think the 2nd councelor in the bishopric just panicked when he saw people crying, because after the hymn was done he got up and told a super lame joke. UGH. I could just feel my investigator shifting in his seat next to me. So lame. But he still wanted to meet after church so I guess he wasn't too turned off. Yay!

Man, the Lord really is hastening His work. We are seeing so many little miracles each week. It's incredible.



Side thought (something that I've discovered since being here): I have never missed my family less but loved them more since I've been here. I love my family more than words can express. And family, after all, is at the very center of this beautiful Plan. And all we have to do is keep the commandments and repent when needed and He'll work out the rest. So simple. Not always easy. But always so simple.

I love you so much!!

Love, Sister Kuykendall