Monday, April 27, 2015

100 year anniversary of the Armenian genocide

So this week was REALLY great!
We went to the Genocide Memorial and and then went to do a Day of Service for a member out in a village. We dug and turned the dirt and then planted corn and strawberries and SUNFLOWERS!! While we were working the member kept making us laugh because he was calling the weeds we pulled "Lamanites" -- The Elders were digging up a pipe for the neighbor guy and after we finished we went over to try out the pick ax. See pictures attached.

Not tons to report on investigator wise -- V is great. On date and really excited about her Baptism. But others are struggling.

Some thoughts from Elder L. Whitney Clayton, in his talk "Choose to Believe" from the most recent General Conference.

"God requires that initially we at least desire to believe…

Every day each of us faces a test...will we choose to believe in Him and allow the light of His gospel to grow within us, or will we refuse to believe and insist on traveling alone in the dark?...

Belief and testimony and faith are not passive principles. They do not just happen to us. Belief is something we choose—we hope for it, we work for it, and we sacrifice for it…Our actions are the evidence of our belief and become the substance of our faith…

Sometimes progress in spiritual things can seem slow or intermittent. Sometimes we may feel that we have lost ground, that we have made mistakes, or that our best efforts to find the Savior are not working. If you feel this way, please do not give up—ever… In those moments when the light of your faith has dimmed, let your hope for the Savior’s love and grace, found in His gospel and His Church, overcome your doubt. I promise that He stands ready to receive you. Over time you will come to see that you have made the best choice you could possibly have made. Your courageous decision to believe in Him will bless you immeasurably and forever."

Sorry this is short this week but I love you!

          100 year anniversary of the 1915 Armenian genocide


Service project

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

General Conference

So, we finally watched General Conference. It was really great. We all thought it was a bit ironic because it was all on marriage and we're all missionaries. But we all still got a lot out of it. I loved Linda K. Burton's talk. It really hit me hard and had me in quiet tears the whole time. I also really enjoyed M. Russell Ballard's talk from the Priesthood Session. Also, Brent H. Nielson's was a really touching one. This conference was quite an emotional one for me and I'm sure for you and many others. It brought feelings of excitement for the future but also feelings of fear. It also brought feelings of sadness. But mostly it brought feelings of joy. What was your favorite talk?
So on Thursday we got a new addition to our companionship. We are now a tripanionship. Sister T and her new trainee, Sister N were in Vanadzor when something scary happened and they had to take sisters out of Vanadzor. So the decision that was made was that the new trainee, Sister N, would come and serve with sister B and I here in the city and sister T would go back to her old area with the Sister training leaders. So Sister N is quite shaken up. But it'll be a good transfer. I just really hope and pray that I'll be able to help her. I don't feel very adequate at this point but I hope we can help her overcome her fears and anxieties.
We have some really amazing investigators right now:
We're teaching a family of 5 right now who have a baptismal date for the 2nd of May. They are all really excited but we can tell there's something on the mom's mind. She wont tell us though. We've been praying for the gift of discernment but obviously it still requires her agency. It's hard to help someone if they wont let you know how.
Other investigator V is progressing really well. She reads like crazy and has tons of great questions her baptismal date is also for the 2nd of May. The only rough thing about her is that she lives almost an hour away. But it's so worth it. She is really amazing.
Our other investigators I actually haven't met yet because they left for a village for a while. But we hope to be able to meet with them soon.
We have already seen so many miracles this transfer. We met a really cute family on the street last week and are anxious to have us over. We have witnessed many other miracles.
I love you so much and I hope you have a great week.
-Sister Kuykendall

Monday, April 6, 2015

Happy Easter and new area!

So transfers came. And I'm in KENTRON!! or Center (translated). I'm serving with a really awesome sister. We already teach really well together and get a long really well. I really have been blessed my entire mission with great companions. The city is really scary and really big. I'm just a little village girl...but I'm slowly learning the ways of the city. The weather here is also tons warmer and a lot sunnier. So that is definitely a plus. We have a really cute apartment with an AWESOME view of Mt. Ararat. We have 8 progressing investigators and really supportive members. I have a lot to look forward to with this transfer.
Kentron has at least 500 members and about 30 of them are active. I think President (well the Lord aveli chisht) knew what he was doing when he called me here because I LOVE reactivating and loving the members. I feel like it is one of my strengths. I don't remember if I ever told you about the relationship that the missionaries had with the members when I first got to Charentsavan. But it was terrible. When my companion at the time and I would try and visit them (we were whitewashing) they would actually close the door in our faces and tell us not to come back. We had almost no one coming to church and they hated the missionaries. I really really should not flatter myself, so I won't (I give full credit to the Lord), but by the time I left Char all the members would fight over having us over and when they found out i was leaving they were all really sad. The members in Char are now some of the best we have in the Stake. Reactivation and Retention are just as important as baptizing.
My new sister and I have 8 progressing investigators. They're all awesome. I'm so excited to keep working with them.
The missionaries here are all really excited to watch conference this weekend. It's something we all really look forward to. I've heard a lot about it.

Well, I hope you all know that I know why we celebrate this holiday called Easter (my favorite holiday next to the fourth of July). I know that the Lord suffered for me and for you. I know that He loves me and He loves you. I know that because He gave everything for me the least I can do is give up 18 months of my life to help the people of Armenia come to that same knowledge. I know that because Christ overcame Physical death one day we will as well. I'm humbled as I think of the words of one my favorite hymns (my mom's favorite hymn as well) I stand all amazed. I invite you all to go read the lyrics and ponder them. What does the Atonement mean to you? Does just a cross come to mind? Does it have any real meaning to you? Try and apply it more personally in your life. I promise that as you do, you'll feel happier. It sounds lame but it's a promise. You will feel more love for the people around you and it will motivate you to be a better disciple of Christ.
I love you,
Sister Kuyks
Trying to smile with a brutal canker sore

Mt. Ararat from our balcony. Blessed. Picture does no justice

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Transfer week!

So as you already know, transfers are on Friday and I'm really sad about it because Char has really become my home. The people here are my family and I love everything here. But I've be really prayerful about it so that I'll be able to go where ever I'm called with a willing heart. I'll let you all know where this next transfer takes me.

So A is a 20 something year old guy. He is a friend of one of our members. We met him at her house and he was "far from spiritual things." But we've been working on him for a while and have been sneaking in all the lessons. :) It's been great. He came to church yesterday and Sister F and I were smiling the entire time. He now has a baptismal date for May 1. I'm really bummed that I won't be there for it. But he's come such a long way. He's really shy but he get's really happy anytime we come over. He won't admit it but we know he feels the spirit every time we have lessons.

M and V are a mom and son. The M just had a baby. Here in Armenia there's an unwritten rule that you don't leave the house for 40 days after having a baby. She's still inside her 40 days so she isn't able to come to church. But she is really excited to come to church as soon as her 40 days are up. V came to church for the first time yesterday. He was always to shy to come without his mom but one of our little members is his friend from school so we brought him with us and convinced V to come. It was great. After church we walked him home and he ran in the house and yelled,"I'm going to church again next Sunday!" He loved it. They don't have a baptismal date yet but we're planning on giving them one this week before transfers. I still haven't told them I'm leaving because I'm worried they'll be sad. Maybe I shouldn't flatter myself.

This transfer has been the best so far. I served with an amazing companion who I learned so much from. I served with great elders. We had lots of elect people baptized. We had a great branch and Branch President. My best friends are here. But I'm sure I'll love wherever I go next.

Have fun watching Conference! We don't get to watch it until a week after you do so I'm feeling a little impatient. But It's going to be great!

I love you!
Sister Kuykendall