Tuesday, September 30, 2014

general conference


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


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


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



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