Wednesday, September 20, 2017

If The Savior is With Me, How Can I Fail!

Dear Fam,

So, we had some visitors last week and this week as well. Elder Soares, from the presidency of the seventy, and Elder and Sister Hayne from the Seventy. they had a devotional for the missionaries for those in the close zones, and I was invited. Elder Soares talked a lot about the "Center of Strength," and his own family and their conversion. It was a great devotional, and I learned a great deal. Elder Hayne is here for a few more days as he gives trainings, tours the mission, and evaluates. These are inspired men and women, and they speak the words that Heavenly father desires for us to hear at this time. 

we had a good week of work. We have a new investigator, we visited his home and asked if he knew someone we were finding, turns out that's his cousin. so, we set an appointment, and we visited and shared about the restoration. Great lesson, strong spirit. We go back Friday and see. we have another investigator who is the brother of a recent convert. He asked some amazing questions about the plan of salvation, and he understood it so well. we go back on Wednesday to visit with him again. lots of work done, lots of chances to teach.

I have been reading, and I think I finally understand what true charity is. Charity is a word that is used a lot, but I never truly understood what it was. Charity is basically doing what Jesus himself would do if He were me. It means kindness, patience, and thinking of others more then yourself. I understand it more, but That does not mean that I have it mastered. IT'S SO HARD TO DO THAT!!! I want that so much, and I want it so I can be like my Savior and help others as he did: unflinchingly, lovingly, and boldly. I hope some day that I will figure out how to have that type of love for others. a great example is President Argana, who traveled to Manila for the celebration of the 100th stake in the Philippines. Despite a 5 hour drive, a 1 hour layover in the airport, and the general tiredness, he still found time to bring back Krispy-Kreme for the office and assistants, something we don't have here in Tacloban. I want to be like that. I want to be able to remember other's needs and happily do them. I want to be thoughtful and considerate to those who pass my way. It's going to be a long road, but the Savior is with me, and if He is there, how can I fail?

Still busy in the office, still enjoying it while at the same time completing my work. it's pretty rough. busy couple weeks. But, I'm thankful that I can take an hour and email you all. I love you all, and I still know the church is true, I know that the Lord has restored his gospel through Joseph Smith. Many people have tried to convince me that that's not true. But, I have read the evidence, the Book of Mormon, and I have felt the Holy Spirit confirm to me that this is true. Who can argue against that? it's true, all of it, and I know that it is. 

I hope all is well. No news from home, so I assume that you all are ok and well, though busy with school. Go get it done. Love you all

Elder Kuehne
this is a quick follow-up. Last Sunday, we had a lesson about developing our talents. It was a great lesson, and I have felt a stronger desire to improve my talents. one of the suggestions is to ask family and friends for help in finding my talents and figuring out which ones are worth developing. I would like to do just that, Ask you my family and friends what you think my talents are. I really feel this is important, and I would love to hear an answer from everyone so I can develop my talents and be better then when I left. 
Elder Kuehne

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Helping Others Makes Us Better As Well

Dear fam,

Sorry for the late email, what a busy transfer/MLC. MLC this cycle was actually on Tuesday morning, so we had a lot of prep to do on Monday. better late then never, I say 😅

last week was very busy, as I said. it's been a wonderful time in the office, and we are slowly starting to pick up the proselyting. last week, Our area changed, so I have whitewashed 2 times so far. Yeah, it's hard. but, we are slowly finding some people to teach and we have a great ward mission program that is working pretty well. We have done some finding, and we have been doing some great work in the office.

Elder C is still my companion, but we have a trio now. The new missionary is Elder D, from Pampanga, the same place as my last companion, elder D. He was assigned in Sta. Margarita, my first area, but he has been having some health issues and President Argana wants him in Tacloban until his health stables. He was assigned to work with us, and he helps around the office. He's a good kid. Elder C is a bit hard to work with sometimes, and I feel that I may not be his favorite, but we are still trying. we will get it eventually. 

Balancing office work and proselyting work has been a real issue, but we have found the solution: set a time when we leave the office, and keep it. we leave at 5:30, and so far, We are all leaving because we help each other and remind each other. We do the same for our morning studies. helping others makes us better as well.

yeah, driving here is fun, by the way.

The mission is good, and all is well so far. Hope everyone is well and ok, and that some good is happening in your lives. 


Elder Kuehne

PS - Please tell grandma that I truly appreciate the package.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

People Know Who We Are

Dear Fam,

Last week didn't have a lot to it. I worked in the office, filled out orders, checked cars. As I type this, the going-home missionaries are here, and It's really nice to see these people for one last time before they get home. Busy Busy Busy. We met a guy named I, and we talked with him a little bit. he seemed excited to talk to us. as we talked with him, he had a cigarette in his hand, and he never took it from behind his back, until he threw it away. when we pass someone smoking, they stop until we pass. There was a day that we went to a party, and the majority of the people were drinking. we went passed to say hi to a member who was friends with the host (of course she wasn't drinking) as we passed by, saying hi of course, the drinking absolutely STOPPED. not a single person drank while we were there. They saw us, and they seemed a little ashamed they were doing it, and they didn't resume until we turned a corner. People know who we are, and they also know our standards. However, not everyone is as obvious as us, so, we need to tell people our standards. We need to be strong and consistent in the standards we use, whether it be about drinking, smoking, certain clothing, certain activities. Everyone knows, so it prevents awkwardness because no one offers. it is a strong reminder to me to always follow my standards and follow them to a T. 

I just got back from the Argana Family home evening. they invited all the missionaries that are going home to join them, and the office was in charge of games. It was so much Fun!!! President Argana also participated, and it was such a good time. after that, back to work. transfer day is this week, but its a fact I will not transfer from the office for about 3 more cycles. next cycle, I will be learning from Elder C how to be the travel manager, and then next cycle he will transfer and I will become the new travel manager. Hopefully, I can learn quickly, as 6 weeks barely covers all I need to know about his job. 

I have had a really good week. I found a new style to mark my scriptures, and I am absolutely Loving it! I have learned a lot from verses I have read a dozen times before. the scriptures seem to add to themselves sometimes. However, I have discovered one thing that  I lack: keeping a study journal/daily journal. so, I may start with those two things so I can get started. the prophets are always encouraging us to do these things, But I have never done it. oops. once again, Hope it works.

I love you all so much, and I enjoy my mission. I don't need to be care-free all the time to be happy, I just need to enjoy the happiness when It comes. 

with love

Elder Kuehne

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

I Have Stopped Trying to Seek Out the Storms, And Enjoy More Fully the Sunlight

Dear Fam,

this week has been absolutely killer. not a lot of lessons, no new investigators, no baptisms, and yet, somehow I am ok with that. I know that I am doing my best here. a bit difficult, but I have stopped trying to seek out the storms, and enjoy more fully the sunlight, as President Hinckley said it. it has made a pretty big difference. I am trying to stay busy, which means less time to stress. I am starting to learn how to cook, and so far I know chicken adobo. really good! I am also reviving my efforts to speak Tagalog, and so far, I am slowly working my way towards speaking Tagalog. it's pretty different from Waray, but I am absolutely surrounded by Tagalog, so it shouldn't take too long until I get the hang of it. hobbies are great things to have.

recently, I did 3 baptism interviews for the San Juanico sisters, and two of them are sisters. their mother, an RM, said that whoever did the interview would baptism them! so, I get to be there for the baptism of Sister L and Sister Z, and will be doing the baptism! it was a real sign for me, that the Lord still loves me and is allowing me this moment. I will have pictures for that. other then that, not a lot of work done in teaching. Next cycle, we may be changing areas, so we can have some real good investigators in the other area! I'm really excited for it. 

I really love the video of Elder Holland. that talk absolutely rocked my world, and was a bit turning point for my testimony. I love an opportunity to watch it again. It was really needed.

through all my office struggles, I have had a great revelation. despite all the hard times, there has been far worse. Joseph Smith and the early saints. Moroni, who was the last prophet and completely alone being hunted down by wild Lamanites. above all, Jesus Christ, who took everything I have ever felt, suffered through, or had happen to me, and suffered it. Not just me, but everyone. the scriptures say that He knows how to help us through our trials, because He knows them perfectly. No other church that I know of knows about that aspect of the atonement. it is such a wonder to me, and I have shed tears in sacrament meetings while thinking about it (I won't say how many times, so dad has less ammunition against me) I love my Lord and Savior, and appreciate the chance to serve Him.

I hope you know I love you all and want to return, but that is not the Lords plan right now. I am content to simply say "I love you" to all of you and wait until June 2018 to more fully express it. 

With love,

Elder Kuehne

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Sweaters are Really Gwapo Too

Dear Family,

This was the hardest week ever, and it was also a great opportunity to learn and grow. we taught ONE lesson last week, because we were always backed up with office work. many times we were ready to go outside and proselyte, but some last minute, very important thing popped up that had to be done. even Saturday, we went on splits to Palo, but we didn't get to go until about 1 in the afternoon, and we returned at 5 to drop off a missionary that is going home. Sunday we had meetings. It was the most frustrating week of my life? Why am I telling you all this? because Life sucks, and it most certainly doesn't go where we think it will. But through all of it, I felt something, like the Spirit trying to speak to me. I am ashamed to say that I ignored it for a while, just being stressed and angry that nothing was working like I wanted it to. But, just yesterday, we had some Sunday talks, and they were about trusting in the Lord and accepting his will. The speakers spoke mostly English as well, which most definitely meant the message was for me. Life is hard, but the Lord has complete control over it and will NEVER leave us alone. It took me a long time to trust that I am in the office for a reason. I don't know it, but I can definitely enjoy it while I am here. Lots of great opportunities in the office. there are opportunities in our challenges, and if we focus too much on the struggles, we will not be ready for those possibilities that are coming up

quick note of the hair: I miss my hair before. The barber messed up, and now I am just waiting for it to grow back. 

My Companion, Elder C, is the travel secretary, and because I am his companion, We are always taking missionaries to the airport and picking up missionaries returning home from other missions. It has been so sweet to see these going home missionaries so strong in faith and courage come home to their reward. As for the new missionaries, it is a mix of fear, excitement, and determination. They are good people. I love missionaries.

The sweater is dope. Everyone always talks about my sweater. It's so nice! It gets really cold in the office, and rain season is coming up, so I have to prepare. Sweaters are really gwapo too, so that helps. That was the zone conference that you saw. The lunch was a chop suey veggies and beef, with rice. It was so GOOD! Sister Argana has been feeding us a lot recently, and is always inviting us from the office for a quick dinner or lunch while we are in the office. I had cheese for the first time in a year last week! so delicious! it's the little things that make me happy.

Life is still good here, and I just want to do the best I can. All is well here, just filling out orders and getting stuff. All I do is shop, pack boxes, and answer complaints about vehicles. It's harder then it sounds, I swear.

I love you all, and hope all is well with you. School starts soon, and I'm unsure if that is super fun to you all, but just work, hang in there, and party hard while you can!


Elder Kuehne

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Mission has the Ability to Change People

Dear Fam,

this was a week full of office work. I got to take a trip to a pretty far area, San Isidro Leyte, and check out their apartment. Many missionaries are requesting new apartments, and that makes my life a bit harder. There are many big responsibilities I have, and that makes my office experience all the more insane. the people I live with (Kabalay in Waray) are all Filipinos, and they are really the best in the business. they are pros at office work, and they have helped me adjust. I have a lot of trips to make to check out apartments and deliver supplies. 

you asked about the tatay (trainer) of Elder C. Elder B was one of my best friends in the mission. He was the last companion of Elder D, my trainer, and we just got along so well. Before the mission, he really wasn't following the gospel too well. Now, he is a powerhouse. the mission has the ability to change people. Yes, everyone can change, and a mission is such an amazing way to grow and improve. it strengthens testimonies, plants a seed of obedience, and helps others align their will with the will of the Lord. I have seen that in myself. the growth I have experienced is pretty amazing, considering I was pretty lazy in the gospel as well before the mission. now I see it in the light I should have seen it before, and that is a life-changing and strengthening experience.

 The office allows emailing, and It would be great to continue to connect with you all. I hope that my emails can help some people who are struggling and need some help in their life. I am not perfect, but everyone can do something :)

I love you all so much. As I get to work and bring families to the Lord, I cannot forget that I too have a family, that is on the right path and can receive that blessing of eternal families. always continue to be strong in the faith, and grow everyday you can!

with love

Elder Kuehne

P.S. why is this email so short? simple: nothing happens around here :)

Big of a Blessing a Mission Is

Dear family,

What a long week....

Office life is pretty difficult, and can be a real pain in the butt the majority of the time. many people think all we do is mess around on computers while sitting in an air conditioned room and drive around in cars. while we do have air con and cars, the work we do is ridiculous. It helps me be more sympathetic to those who do the work now. We do get some proselyting time, but not too much, and we have not had too much success. we hope to have some baptisms in September, but we aren't totally sure about that. saiung.... but we are doing the best we can with the situation. 

Elder C is my new companion. he is from Lucena City, Quezon providence. He is the travel secretary, so he arranges all the travel for missionaries coming in, going home, and even people from other missions who live here in Tacloban. He is busy, but he is also a great missionary. His trainer is one of my best friends in the mission, and he and I are getting along great. I live with the other office elders, Finance and Recorder, and the assistants. it's a party always.

I mentioned how people drive in the Philippines before, but Let's review..... it's nuts. Motorcycles are swerving in and out of traffic, sometimes carrying 3-4 people, pedicabs are on the edges looking for passengers, all the cars on the road drive like they have somewhere to go, something to do always. they are fast. even the big vehicles like dump trucks, buses, things like that, the drivers drive those things like they are sport cars, weaving in and out of traffic and FLYING down the road. Many people here drive even though they don't have a drivers license. and somehow, I have only seen 1 accident before. so, when I drive, super defensive mixed with not backing down. Lots of cars, If you are not bumper to bumper with the other car, You can expect him to try to pass you. If I can drive here, I can drive anywhere. 

In the office, all 3 other office elders are the same batch, and they are all native Tagalog. That means I am left out of a lot of discussions. Before, I hated things like this. But now, I can understand a little bit more about the situation. They don't speak Tagalog just so I don't understand them... they just are more comfortable with that, just like me with English. They hang out a lot, but they are also batch and best friends, having been together in the office for 2 cycles now. I had a bad habit before of assuming people are just out to get me and mess with me, but now I can see they are normal just like anyone else and are comfortable with each other. I have learned to not be so worried about those things all the time anymore. It's been a long ride, but I really enjoy the lessons I have learned in the office so far.

I am so happy about the hygiene kits you all made for the missionaries down south. They are having a hard time right now, and the area is especially dangerous to foreigners, who many people would be happy to get rid of. Martial law has been declared, and from news stories I can actually understand, there are many gunfights between the government and rebels. In a time of hardship, I am so proud to see the Kuehne clan come together and help the people I have come to love and care for. Many great missionaries here went home/will go home to those places, and to think that you all are sacrificing to give these needed things to those people I love so much means a great deal to me, and more to them. 

I hope that everyone can see how big of a blessing a mission is. It's hard, it's rough, but the trials make me better. The Lord compared trials to a refiners fire, which burns away the chaff and leaves behind a cleaner, more beautiful diamond. we are better when we have trials. Now, that doesn't mean that we run around looking for trials... but, it does mean when trials come our way, we hold to the iron rod and push, no matter how bad it may look. We resist the adversary and his tricks so we can be better then before. I have only been here 1 year on the mission, but it has changed me so much. many of the missionaries before they came were living very different lives before. the mission is the fire, and people become closer to Jesus Christ. I have seen that, in my own life and others too.

I had a special visitor last week. It was my first zone leader in the mission, Elder F. (well, now, it's brother R.) he was such a great example to me, and it was great to see him again. he brought someone else with him, Brother N, a member from Calbayog. If he were married, he would be a member of the 70 dayon. he is a temple worker in Cebu, and has many, many spiritual gifts. We talked for a while, and he reminded me that he made 2 prophecies: the first being that elder F would be AP, which he was, and that I would be transferred to the office, which he was right again. just another reason I know spiritual gifts are real.

Harrison, Congrats on the baptism! everyone I have baptized has been very happy to be baptized, and it is a great gift from Heavenly Father to be baptized. Be a good boy, and endure till the end. Always be a good example, be kind to everyone, and do what Jesus would do. The scriptures tell you how to do that, and so will the Holy Ghost. trust them, rely on them, and you will help others.

I love you all so much. In addition, the office has permission to email any day, as long as the work gets done. So, I can spend more time talking to you all! yay. I also got to talk to Elder E, apparently he is moving to Utah. party,party

With love,

Elder Kuehne