Monday, July 10, 2017

Miracles are Happening

Dear Family,

Fasten your seatbelts, this may be a long email....

to start, you know that we had a big earthquake in my last zone. it was a 6.5, and completely shut down all power to all of region 8 (aka Tacloban mission). however, just earlier today, there was a second earthquake, from a different area. So, the whole mission is without power and many without running water. Most people can't afford generators, and this place is pitch dark by 6:30 or 7. so, we have modified our daily schedule a bit so we can be home before it gets too dark. No one has been hurt, but we are unsure when the power goes on. Rumors in the Philippines fly REALLY FAST, so we have heard it will be back in 3 days, or a month, or 3 months. We have no idea when. we are just enduring until the power returns. It is so hot in the apartment, and we tried sleeping on the balcony the first night. However, at about 3 AM, it started pouring rain, so we booked it back inside. that was pretty fun. 

We have some very exciting news. I have mentioned Nanay A many times. she is the mother of A, our recent convert. She has decided that next week she wants to be baptized!! she will have her interview this week so we can announce it in church. I am so excited for her!!!!! she is the best. She reads every day, reminds her children to read everyday (something they sometimes need) and they all come to church. In addition, her 9 year old son J also wants to be baptized, and will be on the 29th of July. He asked me to baptize him, and I hope I don't transfer, so I can be there for that. Miracles are happening, and I believe that it is the faith and work that brings them. We have a saying here "obedience brings blessings, exact obedience brings miracles." I have seen some amazing miracles on my mission, and this is one of them. another is we had 11 investigators come to church. what an amazing thing that was! one long time investigator came as well, and it was so fun to have her there for church. more on them later as they progress....

It has been a very challenging week, because President Argana has been asking for daily updates on the missionaries in this status. We have to check up on them a lot. but, I have learned something from this experience. It is how to truly care for someone. There are people that it is easy to love and care for, like family. However, the Savior did not just love his immediate family. He loved complete strangers, his disciples, and even his enemies. I believe the Savior only made it through the atonement because His love for others is complete and unconditional. Yes, He expects things from us, He wants us to improve and work, He expects us to follow him. But, He still loves us, even when we are not obedient or true. It has been such a blessing to see the love of the Lord in my life and the life of others. 

We had a bit of a funny p-day experience. We usually spend p-day with the assistants, because they are so close. So, they were asked by president Argana if they wanted to go get a haircut with him and his wife, since they were going to get one. We enter the mission home to wait, they welcome us in, they have some snacks for us, and they are wearing p-day clothes, something I never saw president Maurer do. then, still in my basketball shorts and a t-shirt over my jersey, We go with him into Robinsons and go get a haircut with him. It was such a normal experience, and President Argana even forgot his nametag!!! the Lord calls normal people to do amazing things. President and Sister Argana are just normal people like me, but they have a call from the Lord to serve. They still love to joke around with people, they still love to play sports and be with their family. they are so good at introducing the Lord into their daily life, and sometimes they mess up, just like me. But, we still love them and I am very thankful that I was able to spend a morning with them doing these things. 

I personally am doing really good. Despite the challenges we have, I still really love the work and the Lord who allows me to serve Him and help His glorious work roll forward. It is a great blessing in my life. I love people and desire to help them because of my mission. Yeah, I hit my one year mark on the mission last week, and I really love my mission. I hope it stays with me for the rest of my life. *I am still safe, I am still well, and I enjoy the chance to serve and work with the best in the mission. This week, We have another MLC, so we can introduce President Argana to the zone leaders, the mission culture, and the specific rules that are in Tacloban mission. we also visit a different DTM this week, so we can see how they are doing and how to help them. the assistants are sleeping in our apartment tonight, so that should be fun. Party party.

I love you all, and 1 year more to go! I hope you all are learning new things about yourselves and your roles in the puzzle that Elder Anderson talked about. I know a little more about my role, and Cannot wait to continue to learn. 

I miss you all so much, and hope that all is well. 

until next week,

Elder Kuehne

Earthquake Update

President Argana
 We are reporting that all Tacloban missionaries are safe from the earthquake.
Hi all! We are experiencing power blackout in all three islands so we have minimal contact with the missionaries today. We assume their phones ran out of juice already from the back and forth reporting to their leaders. There is one apartment in Baybay zone that had cracks on the walls. The missionaries are a staying at another missionary apartment close by. We will give you a full report on Tuesday after our Missionary Leadership Council with the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders. Please be assured that all of our missionary sons and daughters are safe and being seen to their needs. Thank you very much for your prayers, love, and support. #miraclemission #baptismoffire #faithtoconquerall

This morning at around 9:41 we experienced another tremor here in Tacloban City. The quake originated from Ormoc City again with a 5.4 intensity. We readily contacted the missionaries there and said they were all fine. We will be visiting them and the Baybay Zone missionaries this Friday. All missionaries were finding a way today to email their family. We are hoping that they will. But to those families who have received nothing today, please bear with them. It might be two more weeks before the power would be restored. Please know that your missionary is fine and we are doing everything we can to monitor their condition. We are going to visit the whole mission and would finish this July. We promise to update you with news from here. Thank you for your patience, prayers, love, and support. #nothingcanstopthework

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Focusing on Our Purpose

Dear fam,

What a strange week this has been. President Maurer has officially left the mission, and he sent one more email before he went. he wanted us to focus on the work, be a preach my gospel missionary, and he strongly supported us in our work. It was hard to see him and sister Maurer leave, and I know that they really did love the missionaries and the mission, but their time has come. I actually just met president Argana. He walks in the office, and that feeling I had when president Maurer walked in was exactly the same. I know the Lord called him to serve as the mission president, and I can already tell that indeed, he is the man the Lord called. I am excited to work with them

We went on splits with the assistants... for 4 hours. I was able to teach a family. I can't remember the name of the nanay or tatay, but I remember their daughter, G, and their son, C. We started, and the first thing C says is "Can I be the opening prayer?" melted my heart to see this family work so hard to understand the gospel. Brother was a little bit hesitant because his family doesn't want him to change religions, and he has taken lots of abuse from the family. But, the rest of the family wants soooooo much to be baptized and learn the gospel, that all we need to do is help him recognize the truth. The assistants have a very full schedule, and they won't work in their area for probably 3 weeks because they will travel the mission with president Argana and his family. they have asked us if we can visit maybe 2 or three families in their area, including the one above, and teach them, and continue to prepare them for baptism! hopefully, we can find time to do that.

zone conference was sooo much fun! it was a very spiritual thing, and president Maurer talked about how to do a perfect fast. I followed his steps, and I have never had a better fast. It was so amazing to have a fast like that. He talked about how fasting is supposed to help us control the natural man and have our spirit take the lead. and I felt it. other then that, We gave a training about the mission purpose, and it was amazing to see how many problems we can solve by simply focusing on our purpose. We watched an amazing mormon message, called the music of the gospel, and it really put things into perspective for me. very spiritual zone conference.

we got a text from a less active member. I visited the family before, and they knew the truth, but they were offended, so they really didn't try to come back. It was from a member of that family. she said she really wanted to be active in the church again and wants us to help here. Of course, we were amazed by that, and set up an appointment. we will see how that goes.

I still enjoy the mission. Lots of nice things are happening to us, and we have eaten at soooo many members homes this week. lots of yummy food. 

I am so happy that Lo and Molly both were baptized! they get to experience the gospel at a young age, and that is a great gift from the Lord. congratulations to them and to their families. I apologize that I sound so formal, I can only be so intimate when I am emailing from across the world. I will have time to more properly speak with everyone when I return.

Lots of missionaries are getting trunky. Lots and lots. I hope that I am not. in a few days, I will be halfway through the mission experience, and that is mind blowing to me. I enjoy all the opportunities the mission presents, and I hope I can keep working hard.

I hope all is well. I got a package from grandma Kuehne, and I love it so much! so does my companion :) the Filipinos barely get packages, and they never get American candy and food. they are very grateful for the things they receive, and they are just as quick to give. they are a special people.

Other then that, that is all. Work happens. We have interviews this week, along with exchanges. work all day

I miss you all and love you all. I enjoy the mission, and know the church is the true church, and the way for us all to return to Him. I may be different when I return, and I know the Lord is shaping me to be more like who He needs me to be. What a blessing that is

Until next week

MAHAL KITA!!

Elder Kuehne

Monday, June 26, 2017

My Testimony Gets Stronger, and my Drive Faster

Dear family, 

What a good week! we had MLC again, always fun to see the other zone leaders and the sister training leaders. we discussed some things, policies, and the protocol, as we always do. this was the last MLC for President and Sister Maurer, as they are leaving THIS SATURDAY!!!! the new mission president, President Argana, has been set apart by the brethren and will be here Saturday or Sunday. the senior couple, Elder and Sister Nelson, are also leaving the same day. it will be so strange to have a new mission president. He could change the entire mission, and nothing will be the same. He could, and if he does, that just means the Lord wants this mission to do things differently. Doctrine and Covenants says that whether the voice comes from Me or from my servants, it is the same. so, honestly, I am okay with that. The Lord is still in control, and I am grateful for what President Maurer has done. He was a mighty servant, and I expect President Argana to be just as dedicated.

Not a lot happened this week, because of MLC. slow week, not a lot of work. really nothing special. We have zone conference this week, And I go on exchanges with the assistants right after that. All these opportunities to learn, and I love it. They are chances for me to grow and prepare for the new mission rules. Palo needs a pick up, and I really want to help it grow. nothing is better in life then seeing the mission area grow because you are helping it grow stronger. 

last Saturday was a minor holiday called "San Juan," so named after John the Baptist. How do they celebrate it? well, to start, by throwing water in the windows of public transport. I was sitting in the jeep going to Tacloban, and there were like 5 little kids on the side, all holding ice water (which is water placed in a plastic bag, which to drink, you bite the top and suck, it's cheaper then a bottle). they then throw them at the jeep! they weren't very good at throwing however, and missed. I got a little wet from the splash, but nothing serious. Later, we were riding a trike to a lesson, and a truck was behind us with people riding in the bed. this huge group of people threw at least three buckets of water at this truck, and one guy ran beside the passenger window with a squirt gun, getting  passenger and driver. No bad feelings either, everyone was laughing and enjoying life. I swear the driver of the pick up slowed down a bit just to make sure his passengers felt the wrath. everyone here loves having fun.

I personally am good. I still love the mission, and have a really strong testimony. Whenever someone tries to argue about what we believe in, and present the scriptures or logic about "why we are wrong," my testimony only gets stronger, and my drive gets faster. We met a man from America, and he was convinced that no church was true, because in Hebrew, there is no "J", so the name of the Savior could not be "Jesus." made little sense, but he said some very complimenting things, like "I see all these churches taking care of no one except their own, while y'all are going through the ghettos and bukids sharing the word of God with others, making them better people." he encouraged us to keep doing what we were doing, and be good people. I wish him success on his journey, and hope that he finds the truth some day.

Just a little one this week, because really nothing happened. I still love you all, and though I cannot be with you all right now, I still love you all.

always remember the rock you have built upon. Work hard, play hard! and if anyone wants to email, I encourage it! 

-Elder Kuehne


 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Find the Bright Side in All Things

Dear Fam,

Transfers happened, and I am still here in Palo! I am really excited for it, because we still get to work in what may be the greatest area in the mission! 

this week was a pretty good week. lots of meetings last Sunday. We started with the ward council meeting, then we took president Maurer to the L family for their baptism, and then went to Tacloban stake center for a stake presidency meeting. as if I wasn't busy enough with proselyting...  joke lang, all is well. We are working, and we hope to find success soon.

The L family had their interview, and they cannot be baptized, because they remembered the date they started living together. so, unfortunately, the baptism will have to wait until December 17. however, something interesting happened. as we went back to the car, president could tell we were down, and he asked us "so, what did we learn?" that's it. he just wanted us to learn from it. 

we learned a big lesson from it; don't get frustrated. yes, they cannot be baptized yet. BUT, they will be. yes, I won't be in Palo for it, BUT someone else will. the bright side can be hard to find, but if we do find it, It can illuminate new possibilities and blessings. find the bright side in all things

after that, he asked us where we were going. We had some time, so we decided to go to a nearby investigator for a short lesson. and he says "lets go!" so, we went and had a lesson with the mission president as our Responsible adult! he doesn't know any Waray, but he gave a testimony about the gospel and the Book of Mormon, which the kids understood! after that lesson, he asked us where we were going, and we still had time, so we planned to go contact a referral. when we said this, he got in the car and said "let's go!" we taught two lessons with the mission president! it was great, because I learned so much from these 2 lessons. 

this week, we discussed how we can get more referrals from members. we came up with a top-secret plan, code name "lesson 6" lesson 6 goes like this; we visit a member family, and prepare a lesson. we tell them we will start with a hymn, and give them paper and pencils, and tell them that while singing the hymn, their job is to write down as many names of neighbors, family, friends, co-workers, as they can possibly think of before the hymn is over. we then invite some one to pray, we share our lesson, preferably about the plan of salvation, then we go over the lists and talk with the family members about their lists. we test it tonight, with a very active member family. we really hope that it works, because tracting is really hard in Palo. the area is big, and we can never be sure what area has been "found out."

we have a new investigator, Brother R. Elder D found brother R on exchanges, and taught. right off the bat, he asked "how do I become a member?" and he meant it. I met him last week, and we finished talking about the Book of Mormon and he asked "when I go to church, what should I wear?" unfortunately, Saturday, his brother, who is in the army, died, and he went to Catarman for the funeral. but, we expect him to come next Sunday.

I personally am still good. I think life is still great here in the Philippines, and all seems to be well. I still love the mission, and enjoy my life here. I have a hard time picturing how my life will be after the mission. I picture myself squatting over the sink doing my laundry in the sink. I picture myself ordering a one piece chicken and rice from McDonalds. I picture myself just speaking Waray when someone frustrates me. lots of funny little things I picture myself doing when I return. 

Happy fathers day to everyone! I hope it was enjoyable and relaxing. I miss you all, and I will be seeing you all next week.

--Elder Kuehne

Sunday, June 18, 2017

I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me

Dear Fam,

this was a very busy week. sorry for the late email, It was in my drafts, fully typed. Somehow, it didn't send. so sorry about that.

Last Sunday, We had an area broadcast, for the Philippines. We had Elder Lynn Robbins, Elder Shayne M Bowen, Elder Ian S. Ardern, Sister Bonnie Oscarson, and Elder David A. Bednar share messages to us. they have all had personal contact with the Filipino people, and to hear them express their true love and admiration for the people here was a beautiful addition to my love for them. so far, I still enjoy their jokes, and somehow they enjoy mine.

I went on exchanges with the assistants, and my companion was Elder S, from Iloilo. He was companions with elder R after I was. and honestly, Working with him, I felt really inadequate. He taught by the Spirit, and when he was teaching, I could feel it. he went all over the place, talking with pretty much everyone we saw, and he found one kid, in his house. After basically walking in this house (there aren't many things you CAN'T do here), this young man talks with us about how his parents both died in Yolanda, and Elder S was on it. he talked about the plan of salvation, and life after death. I almost cried... he was so spiritual and knowledgeable, I simply felt I wasn't working hard enough. But, I have learned something else. Phillipians 4:13 reads "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Though it is easy to look at people like elder S and say, "I can never be as good as him," that is a lie. We all can do it, because the Lord promises us that we can do ALL things. Elder S was a great example, and a very humble man as well. I learned a lot, and know if we all try, we can work like this humble young man and rely fully upon the Lord and his merits.

Transfer day will be Thursday, and announcements made this Wednesday. I am really anxious, because, I don't want to transfer. Palo is such an amazing area. I love the members, Less Actives are returning, Elder D is the man, And many baptisms are planned. One miracle is the L family. to make it short, Filipino law says they cannot be married until 5 years after they have lived together because of special circumstances. Well, church rules are if 2 people are living together, they need to be married or split up in different homes. splitting up is not the best option, as they are very close, have almost no money, and just had a new baby boy. however, they started living together in 2012, which was five years ago. so, they can be baptized!!!! they will need an interview from president Maurer, but they can be. They have been investigating for a solid year, and have come to church ever since, but due to that problem, they haven't been baptized yet. When we asked them if that was alright, Brother C got so excited! it was so amazing, and I look forward to them joining.

I saw the photos of the temple, and I am jealous as can be. I miss the temple so much! I want to go there!!!!!!!!! when I get home, I expect to more fully partake of my temple privileges. 

Dad, Happy birthday! it's a little late, but here it is. Everyone here looks a lot younger then they are. There was a lady out doing yard work. I thought maybe she was 60, until we asked her (again, lots of things we can't do in America, we can do here), and she says "77." I just about tipped over. so, you look good for your age. be happy about that.

Congratulations to Heather and Justin with baby Ren! he is a gift from the Lord, and He should be proud of his parents. the Lord picked two of the best. 

I hope that you all know that whether you be a Stewart, a Kuehne, a McMullin, a Slater, a Clark, or anything else, I love you. the mission has strengthened me in so many ways, and my testimony has strengthened. I know God lives, I know Jesus is the Christ, and he died for us so that the Father's plan could work, and we can live with our families again. This family I have is forever, and I look forward to the day when the Savior will return and We will all recognize him as our redeemer and salvation. I miss you so much, But I know that this is the way, and I have a unique opportunity to help others. I hope you all are seeking chances to help others have the happiness we have!

Paghinay kamo, and I will email next week (on time, this time)

Elder Kuehne

No photos, because My SD card got wiped. all my photos are gone. I will just have to start over.

Our Words Will Ring True

last week, sorry! didn't send, was in drafts folder

Dear Fam,

this week, We had a lot of work done. We taught a lesson to the Y family. this family is actually 3 families in one home, and they welcome us. it's a really nice change of pace to people who just make excuses. they are so nice! we also had one new investigator, E, who's neighbor and best friend is an active member preparing to serve a mission. She has read "gospel Principles" almost every night because It is just so interesting to her. she also came to church. she has some concerns, but the Lord has said that we can help people and our words will ring true, so we are not worried.

We had the chance to help organize the ward missionary work. We have a LOT of ward missionaries, and each one is excited to get to work. They will be doing finding for maybe 2 hours a week, so we can spend more time teaching. also, they signed up for days to work with missionaries, and most of them picked Sunday and Saturday!!!!! School starts June 5, so we cannot blame them for that. I am so excited to get some help in the work! one of the missionaries is sister J, too! she has grabbed the gospel by the horns and takes her work seriously. it is so great to see a recent convert so.... well, Converted. unfortunately, not all recent converts are like that. Sister A missed church twice due to an old friend who she found and following his bad example. hoping she will accept our help.

but, how are you all? hopefully, my email catches you in good spirits (for dad, that may be a bit hard ;)) I personally love life. I just find that life is easier when we put our trust in the Lord and know He is in control. If we follow the commandments and be good, then the Lord guarantees blessings, not to mention that we can make it. Elder Cornish talked about that in November for conference, and It is one of my favorite talks.  I love the mission. Life is so good here.

Lots of people in Palo like cycling. like, pro cycling. I introduced myself to one biker, named R, and we just talked about his bike. He likes Giant, and as the son of a dedicated "Specialized" user, it was a rough conversation 😁 but, the people here are just so friendly. Nowadays, everyone asks me if I want the cavs or warriors to win. everyone is watching the finals, Every store is watching it. so, I know a good deal about what is happening. 

Just a short one today, telling you I am in good spirits and doing all I can to bring the gospel. I am happy because of it, And I want others to be happy just like I am. The best chance to find happiness for life and the life to come, Is through the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know what sin is, and It is NOT happiness. following the commandments brings happiness, though that can be hard to understand for some.

that's really all. Love you all, and next week will be better.

Until next week,

Elder Kuehne

Fetching Ridiculous

Dear fam,

Life is good in the Philippines.

we had a baptism this last week. it was sister J, and she has officially joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints! she is amazing! the day she was confirmed, she went with us to an appointment, shared her testimony about the Book of Mormon, and she told us she has a referral for us of one of her friends. sister J just talked with her friend about the church she was about to join, and the friend was super interested! we will contact her next week, when she gets here to start school. She is one amazing person. of course, I will add a photo.

at our zone conference, we had the chance to have a very special guest. It was the mission president of President Maurer, who served in Manila, and this man was also the first missionary called to serve in the Philippines!!!!! he shared about some of his experiences, his time here right after Typhoon Yolanda came through, and how he succeeded. this man was a sight to behold, and the spirit he brought with him filled the room. He expressed gratitude to us for being bold enough to come on a mission, and told us that we need to be strong, work hard, and simply share with people the great message we have about the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. it was a great experience. the zone conference after was just as memorable, and taught me some things I needed to hear. the food was good, I saw lots of my old missionary buddies.

I have had the chance to see lots of people, and I am convinced that there isn't a single person in the world who would NOT benefit from the gospel of Jesus Christ. everyone needs to hear about it. I have tried to think about this as I talk with people about the gospel. 

Palo is such a great area. it is a HUGE area, with lots of members. In fact, We are talking with the stake president, who says that Tacloban is almost ready for another ward, and in a couple months, could even split into 2 STAKES!!!! the church is growing so fast in region 8. the 98th stake in the Philippines was just opened over in a place called Palawan, and the stake president wants to be a part of the growth. just another reason to get the missionaries in my zone moving and baptizing, so we can help as many people as possible and be a part of the amazing things happening in the Philippines.

this week, at church, I had a little surprise. in addition to the members, in walks a family from Sta. Margarita! they were visiting family near by, and decided to come to church here in Palo! it was so good to see them again, and to hear that a person I found there, L, was baptized recently! such exciting news!

I have heard that down south, in Mindanao, Marshall law has been declared. These are the last days, and we can surely expect that the world will get worse and worse. There are many missionaries and members there, and it is sad to think of them being in those dangerous circumstances. however, I am confident the church will role on and the gospel will continue to spread, until the Savior returns. I know He will, because He said He would.

I still love the work. It's such a blessing to work with my current companion, Elder D. He works, has fun, and is such a good time to be around. miracles do happen here, the Lord still loves us, and wants whats best for us. I have a great testimony that this is the way, and It is such a pleasure to share it with others. I feel my own growth as well. I am not the same as before. I feel so much better in every way. 

I love you all, and look forward to hearing from you all

Elder Kuehne

P.S. every missionary here says "fetch." every. single. one. Even me, I started, and it's fetching ridiculous. :)




Blake's email to Morgan:
just a short little email to tell you HAPPY BIRTHDAY (because I can't do it ON your birthday, this will have to do) 16 is a very special age, because you have lots of new privileges such as driving, dating, and others. I encourage you to drive your heart out, Date away, but never betray the trust of the Lord, or mom and dad. as you do these things, be smart, be honest, and you will both enjoy and endure this tough time of high school.
Love you sis! I wish you all the blessings you deserve! just one more birthday, and then I will be seeing you in person again. Here's to a good year
love,
Elder Kuehne

 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Message to My Entire Family, Especially My Younger Siblings and Cousins

Dear fam,

what a good week. and to top it all off, it ended with a baptism! sister A has officially joined the Lords church! what a huge blessing it is to have someone so willingly and happily enter the waters and come back up with a big smile on her face. her confirmation was just as blissful. her mom came to the baptism, and her sisters and mom came for the confirmation. everything worked out so well. I will attach a photo, which I took with my new camera ;). we have another person coming up, sister J. she is just as committed as sister A, and more so in some ways. she took part in the stake choir for stake conference, and has come to church as long as I can remember. so, baptisms wise, good couple weeks.

We had a ward conference, and the stake presidency came. President T, the 2nd counselor, was absolutely crazy. he talked about how the church members NEED to go and find good jobs. region 8, AKA, my mission boundaries, is one of the poorest areas in the Philippines. lots of people are underpayed, big jobs are understaffed, and people are getting degrees only to go and work at a clothes store or something else. it is a hard place to be, and many people just don't want to take a risk. to be honest, neither do I. but I am learning that education makes a bigger difference then I ever could have realized. I slacked in high school, but I can't afford to do that any more, so, I am going to work hard, and try to come up with what I need to make my future happy and secure. the church does so much for others, such as the self reliance program, to help others and prepare them for a better and more successful life. I want that now. 

lots of funny people. the Filipino people are natural jokers, and enjoy having a good time. I really love being here, because I connect with these people and it makes it easier to love them. 

I have played lots of basketball. the people here love it, and my companion really wants to learn how to play. so, we got up at 5 and played for almost 3 hours. I can really knock some poor kids over. I played one day, and there is a member named AJ. he is a big dude, and is honestly really good. but, They can't body up with me. I am just to big for them to have a chance. and yet, we still can have such a good time playing and being with them.
I got your package, and I think it is the best package ever. a camera, girl scout cookies, and some tic-tacs. All i need. I have found that I am missing the food back home now, and this package helped a lot. Thank you so much for sacrificing to give these things to me. 

to close this email, I want to share a message to my entire family, especially my younger siblings and cousins. I know this church is the true church. I chose one day to go on a mission, and so far, I still love that decision. I love the chance to have been born in this gospel, to have it early in my life. Many of you have had that blessing, to be raised by strong member parents. I know with all my heart that this church is the only way that we can return to Heavenly Father's presence. I feel that a mission is the greatest blessing in my life, but I also get to help others and bring them the true gospel. Heavenly Father loves us, and will help us with all our trials and our struggles. I am no perfect man, but through the gospel of Jesus Christ, we can be perfected and live with Him for all eternity. no greater blessing. I love and miss you all, but, I am spending 2 years away from my own family, just so others can be with their families forever. And I don't regret it. I love you all, I will try to email you all more often, as time allows. Busy week, we have a zone conference, so, hopefully, it runs smoothly this time around. until next week, Trust in the Lord. 

-Elder Kuehne

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Mothers Day Skype

Testimony in Waray
video
 
video




 

Do What the Lord Wants Us To Do

Dear Fam,

I love the chance I have to Email you all and tell you about my week. it is such a good time to spend some time and email you all.

Palo is a great place. Lots of great people are here, and I am so blessed to be with them and work with them. I just got back from a CSP. we demolished a home so the family can get a new one. a really fun activity/ I really love the chance to work with others and get to know them better. plus, destruction

the A family, who I talked about last time, is still doing GREAT! the youngest sister will be baptized next Saturday, if all goes well, we had to change the date for the nanay, but, she was 100% understanding of it, and actually encouraged it. I only hope that they can hang in there until the day comes. but, it approaches. and, they are still on time for it. hopefully, all will go well for them.

My new companion, Elder D, is a great companion who really works hard. he is from Angeles, Pampanga. I know almost nothing about that place. he loves to cook, and has taught me a couple great recipes that I am really excited to use. the food is amazing, and it is completely unique from food in the states. I may need to write them down so I can cook them when we return. It's simple food, but still so delicious. chicken curry, Bicol Express, Adobo, White Adobo, all of it is amazing! the food here is wonderful.

I am still Zone Leader, Still busy always. Elder D has never been a zone leader before, So I have to train him on some of his new responsibilities, especially working funds. You don't want to mess up with the reimbursements, or else someone will be very, very annoyed that they can't get their refunds. but, he is getting it done really well. it gives me more chance to focus on my own work and improving myself.

it's interesting you wrote about C. He was a great guy, no doubt about it; however, I still wish I could have been able to bring him to the gospel. He never took it supers seriously, and that makes me really sad. However, It is great to hear from him and know all is well in Sta. Margarita. 

really, not a lot to talk to you all about. kind of a boring week. But, I am excited about some of the less active members. We have 3 less active members who are one Sunday away from being considered "active" once more, one of whom really impresses me. Tatay M has been a member for a long time, and knows the gospel is true. He reads and prays, however, one problem; he can't come to church, because he is missing his right leg. but, a couple weeks ago, he comes in on his crutches to church. He walked there.... and his home isn't exactly close. Many people have talked about how hard it is to sacrifice to come to church, but after the experience with M, I no longer see any of them as valid. If we have faith, then no excuses will rule us. we will make a way, and do what the Lord wants us to do.

MLC is this week, along with zone interviews. we are just never done being busy. just work, work, work. I still love it though.

Not a lot of time to talk today, because I have a survey I need to take from the church. much to do, we will be busy this week.

I still love the mission, love you all too. though I don't have a lot to say this week. 

for skype, I am thinking 11 AM, my time. that way, Elder D can skype too. We have to go downtown to find webcams, so that explains the late start. hopefully, that will work. Love you all

Until next week

Elder kuehne

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Small Miracles

Dear Family,

What a week. as I read, I am looking at the transfer announcements, and this may be tough.

I love Palo. it is an amazing area that I really do enjoy being a part of. the members are great! we get to do activities just like in our ward! it is so much fun! in addition to that, we get a lot of work done, allowing us to get to work and progress this area. we have 2 such investigators, sister A and Sister A, who always come to church and activities, because the members reached out and really fellow shipped them. it is such a blessing to see that they care about the progression of missionary work and really help it move forward. we actually had some amazing attendance last Sunday, with 7 less active members coming to church! what a blessing to have these souls make an effort to come back and get the blessings of the gospel again. 

my new companion is named Elder DM. I met him once, and no one has anything bad to say about him. hopefully, we can get the work going and have this zone work the hardest possible. as I email you, I am with a branch missionary, Brother AJ. while I email, he is playing DOTA. everyone here loves DOTA. so, starting tomorrow, transfers happen and the ball gets rolling. 

I had a small miracle this week. we went on splits, and I went with the ward mission leader to visit a less active family. However, for some reason, I forgot where the house was. we went down a way that looked familiar, but it was nothing, so we went back to the main road. when we did, who drove by on his tricycle? the brother who's house we were to visit. he said to us he was supposed to go to his mothers house, but for some reason, he felt he should go home first. If I didn't get lost, and the spirit didn't impress brother D to go home, we wouldn't have taught the family, who is really wanting to go to the temple for endowments and sealing. that is a big deal here, where it is hard to have such goals. the point is I messed up; however, the Lord corrected it and made it better then if I didn't mess up. that is a hard thing for me to grasp, about how it's ok to make mistakes. I hate making mistakes, however, if the Lord will cover them like He did, then I have no reason to worry or fear my mistakes. the Lord has really helped me see what I can do, if I simply rely on Him.

the mission is fun. in America, it seems wrong to talk about religion to other people. However, here, everyone does! no shame, and no hate either. so much fun.

I have only been a missionary for about 9 and a half months. however much I try that I am older, that's not true. but, that's ok. love the work, enjoy the chance to work for others and really trying help others change their lives and make them better then before I met them. the Spirit plays such a big part of that conversion. we work hard, we do all we can to be worthy to carry that spirit with us always. It can be hard sometimes, but in the end, it comes down to obedience. obedience brings miracles, so, be obedient. big commandments, small commandments, just do them.

Love you all. Hope all is well. sometimes, life is as boring for you as it is for me. work hard, continue to follow the gospel, and things always work out. love the emails I get from you all, the packages and love help as well. Love you, praying for you.

Until next week,

Elder Kuehne







Monday, April 24, 2017

Finally Finding the "Right Moment"

Dear Fam,

This week has been wonderful. busy, of course, but so wonderful.

you wrote about sister A. we have two members of that family that are not yet members; nanay A and sister A. Nanay A also has 2 daughters that are members, though less active, and 1 son who is 8. they are amazing! they have baptisimal dates for June, and are speeding toward them! Nanay joined our gospel doctrine class, and absolutely blew us away with her answers and thoughts. she fully recognizes the blessings, and after years of waiting for the "right moment," she has finally found it! so amazing! great family! we also found a really nice family that seems interested. Excited to find them so I can have some good Investigators lined up for my next companion. 

Elder A is in the final week of his mission. he himself says he is so trunky! he is right, he really is. But, he still works and gets things done. He wants to set this area up for the next missionary, just like me. He really is a great companion. He loves to have fun, work, and things just work out. I am curious to see who my next companion will be. lots of zone leaders are going home, so we will have lots of new missionaries accepting leadership roles. Right now, my companion could be pretty much anyone. 

I just got back from a zone activity. we planned for the zone to come to Tacloban to play some games indoors. I have never had so much fun! just little games really got everyone excited and that was really enjoyable. we have an FHE set up for tonight, and that will be fun, because it is with a less active family we are working with. they came to church, so they are progressing. lots of less actives in the Philippines. many people forget, are too easily offended, or just lose track of their church life. it is really sad to have that happen to people who once had all the blessings the Lord has to offer, but have lost their privilege to them. hopefully, we can help them feel the spirit again and they will be returning to the church soon. we just have to keep working with them.

personally, I am doing well. I am working on staying on time and getting things done. Still love the work, still know the church is true. being a zone leader is a bit hard, and a bit hectic, but all in all it's great! I have continued to lose weight, but only a little. Daily exercise is stressed during this new schedule, and the apartment has a barbell. Elder A doesn't like to cook, and prefers eating out. I will be changing that, because no more money if we do that. 

the members here are really special. they are strong, and usually, willing to help, whether it be food, lessons, referrals, or anything else. lots of member meals means lots of enjoyment and time to get to know the area. Palo is huge, and lots of areas are just too hard to visit to make it worth it. but, we still visit as often as possible. I feel pretty comfortable with this area, figuring it out. Hopefully, I can work on it and improve. still love the work and all it has be do. zone leader is hard, but I can do it. 

Lots of love to you all. not a whole lot to report on this week. Next week may be more interesting, as it is the last week of the cycle. many people will be going home, and that means lots of different experiences. until then, love you all.

Perhaps we can make sure the skype works and then resend me the information so we can be ready for that. Thank you, love you all.

Elder Kuehne


 

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Message I Carry is About a Living Christ!

Dear fam,

to start, happy Easter to you all! Here in the Philippines, Easter is a holiday, but it is overshadowed by "Holy Week." allow me to explain. Holy week is a chance for people to remember the Saviors atonement and death. they sometimes have a big party down the national highway. in the party, they have a little parade, with someone actually lifted on a cross. outside of that, everyone is in "mourning" and don't leave the house. Traffic that day was non-existent, and most of the stores were also shut down. it was a really hard day, because almost all of our investigators are out at the cathedral, or inside the house. they also had a big showing of "the passion of the Christ" at the cathedral. however, the event is so big that president had all missionaries avoid heavily populated areas during those 2 days, just to avoid any issues and contentions. The issue I have is that this is a reenactment of the death of Christ. However, no one seems to mention the resurrection of Christ. the message I carry is about a living Christ, who died and was resurrected so we all may do the same when our time comes.

I personally am ok and well. I still love the mission, despite the hardships that come from it. so many meetings, so many other things to do and take care of. I learned that 5 missionaries are going home from my zone, and that means the transfer announcements are going to be BRUTAL, because it will be just me that will be doing them, with a ward missionary. we will also be closing down 7 areas this coming May, due to lack of missionaries. mighty things this May

Elder A is a great companion. He wants to finish strong and work hard. I will be sad when he leaves.

It has been a slow week. With a zone training meeting, 2 exchanges, a bad storm on Saturday, and a meeting with a baptismal interview yesterday meant we didn't get a lot done teaching wise. lots of punts, but also, some good finding. just another week. zone interviews were nice, President Maurer gave me some very constructive advice, and I will be sure to use it. I got lots of advice from my exchanges with the assistants, and with the newest missionary in Tacloban zone. So much learning, It is so nice to learn! Zone conference is Wednesday, and that is the last big event we have. after that, I will have time to focus and prepare for transfer day so I can know more of the area and investigators before I lead the area. hopefully, All will go well. wish me luck.

I do remember Sister J. I went on splits in San Juaquin, and she was awesome! such a great person. I miss the Calbayog district. Maybe some day, I will return there. I can only hope so. so many people I would like to see again, and who knows? maybe I can be the zone leader in Calbayog, Work with the saints there. That is honestly my dream right now; to return to Calbayog district.

but, with all these busy things, the blessings come also. There are so many blessings, and I feel so loved to be able to receive the help that I have received, from the Lord, people here. It is such a blessing.

the Lord lives. I know it, and I wish everyone else did too. I love all the fam. I am especially proud of Ty and Morgan, for both moving forward, Morgan with driving, and Ty with 3 for 3. That is called skill.

Until next week,

Elder Kuehne

Sunday, April 9, 2017

It is a Party Here in Tacloban, and Everyone is Invited

Dear fam,

This was a rough week. Lots of work going on. busy, busy, busy. with a big Mission leaders conference, general conference, exchanges. SOOOOOOOO muuucccchhhh work!!!! but, I still love it.

played ball earlier today, had some members come. We really connect with members and even investigators to take some time and have some good quality time playing ball with others. however, my body is soooo sore. we may be playing volleyball next week, and maybe even tomorrow, if time permits in the morning. It is a party here in Tacloban, and everyone is invited

Mission leaders conference was pretty interesting. It was the zone leaders and sister training leaders coming together and receiving training, then discussing some important points about missionary everyday life. Everything from new water to headphones. It was actually really interesting, and a real pride of mine to take part in helping the mission better achieve its goal. My zone is also so amazing! everyone is a real hard worker, and we see lots of growth every week. it's a blessing to be here in Tacloban.

We had exchanges, and during that, we had a great lesson. We oym'ed someone to ask them about a name I never met, and she didn't know either. Then, as we are leaving, she calls out "Brother!" everyone here calls us brother, because we call them that. we go back over, and it turns out the daughter and nanay have a Book of Mormon from a while ago and LOTS of questions. So, we shared a message to them about the Book of Mormon and the restoration of the gospel, commonly known as lesson 1. It was an amazing experience, because they participated in the lesson, asking and answering. such a wonderful message. we plan on returning next week.

this April's conference was truly an amazing conference. there were so many amazing talks that definitely are staying with me for a long time, including some calls to action. one of the larger ones was Elder Ballard inspired me to start working on goals. I never was very confident in setting goals, and a little hesitant of failure. But, I don't need to be. also, rule #6. to top it all off, President and sister Maurer even invited us and our investigators to the mission home for a lunch of peanut chicken and chili. the generosity they share is so amazing, and they truly do love the work and the people here. 

We ate at a members home, and they said they would look me up on Facebook. one did, and I asked how many friends I had. She told me, and It blows my mind to think that the account was only made maybe 3 months ago. 

not a lot to say this week, just lots of meetings. This week, we have zone interviews and zone training meeting, which I will be helping to teach. I love interviews, where I can get some personalized advice from the president, who of course holds the authority to lead the work here. He has said many things to me that have been so helpful. next week, we have zone conference, so just another thing to prepare for.

I actually received a package, and I was pleased to see it came not from Utah, but from Idaho. Huge thanks to the Slater family and Grandpa John for the candy and love. Elder A loved the Reeses bunnies. such a nice gift to receive, thank you.

To Tyler, I heard about the trains and how they didn't come. Life just sucks. but, all will work out. there are different opportunities to find some. Just work hard in school, be smart, and build your testimony. Everyone needs to know about Jesus Christ and his church, especially the ones who are already members!

to Morgan, Whatever the issue is, the answer is universal. the answer is Heavenly Father. He has a way of knowing how we feel and helping us. You have a testimony, You have my testimony, You have the testimony of Tyler, Mom, Dad, and all the family, that He WILL help us in our times of need. Just work hard, focus on school and activities, and let Him take control. Life is easier when we allow Heavenly Father to steer us in the right direction, while sometimes He allows us to make big choices. He does love us, after all, and we have our agency. and when school gets really hard, Just remember: Blake is done with high school ;)

Love you all, and I will see you all next week with an email.

Peace out

Elder Kuehne

p.s. In home gym. I couldn't be happier about it :)






 

Life is so much Sweeter Knowing the Facts

Dear Fam.

This week was a punt week. Lots and lots of people being busy. Filipinos hate to turn you down, so they do so by being "Busy" or having excuses. it makes some of the work extra hard because Everyone pulls the same excuse, so you know that most of the time, they aren't being super honest. but, sometimes, they are genuine, and you can tell.

My companion, Elder A, is a great companion. We can have fun and kid around, but He also is able to teach unlike any other of my companions. And so far, All is well with us. His language is dizzying. He is fluent in Waray, Cebuano, Tagalog, and Inogaynon, his birth language. his English is pretty good as well. Today, he has an English test at the mission home, so We have been speaking English all week to prepare him for it. feels nice to practice my English every once in a while :)

For Zone leaders, Elder A is technically Senior Companion because he has been in the mission longer. However, I believe that I count as a Senior Companion technically because I have trained, and been here pretty long. I think that counts. But to be 100% honest, Not too sure how that works. That said, I am the youngest zone leader, so ANYONE is older then me as of right now. 

We have a really busy week ahead of us. We have to go to Mission Leaders Conference this week, we have exchanges later this week, We have to arrange catering for zone conference next week, we have to get the zone T-shirt started, SO MUCH TO DO!!!! we can sometimes make it a little better with some down time. This morning, We got up at 5 to play ball with some members. Really fun. at least for MLC, Sister Maurer will be cooking. She knows how to cook. Although I love Filipino food, and am starting to learn some bigger dishes, I also love some American food. Elder A said last MLC, She cooked lasagna, So I am dying to know what meal she will be making this time around

Brother T had a little too much fun with some of our OYM's. He introduced himself to a lady of the jeepney, and started with the plan of salvation. He somehow got to temple sealings, after which, he got on to baptisms for the dead. The poor lady looked so confused! he also gave us a shoutout over the pulpit at testimony meeting and encouraged everyone to feed us and to give us referrals. I was dying! He is the funniest person ever! he also really loves Americans, as well as girls. He is single.

Palo is such a ready place. We had a baptism yesterday, Brother J. He was an investigator for a really long time, and finally was ready. His son will be coming up soon. we have 28 people with baptisimal dates, and I hope they all come through. It's harvesting time here. I love this work so much!

in my last email, I said I would be starting to learn Tagalog. That will actually start this week. I have a lot of resources to do so, as Tagalog has a place with all the church publications. I may start with the first vision. A lot of people know no Waray, Tagalog only. one here only speaks Cebuano, but his English isn't bad. Before his conversion, he was a Muslim living in Mindanao. He still remembers all the things he did during that time, such as prayers, celebrations, etc. It was really interesting to hear about a faith that actually doesn't center around Jesus Christ. But, he thinks the LDS church is number 1, so that is amazing.

This week, We will be going on splits. I am excited. A new rule says that all exchanges take place in the model area, and because we are the zone leaders, we will be here in Palo. MORE WORK DONE!!!!

The work goes on, lots of exciting things are happening. President Maurer will be released this coming July, as well as the senior couple and the self reliance couple. A lot of missionaries are also out the door this coming May. Big changes are soon to happen, and I just want to survive through it. 

As I think more and more, I think I was born in the church for one of two reasons; either the Lord wanted me to get started and be able to help others, or he knew I wouldn't recognize the truth in this life if I wasn't. it's odd to think about, but it still says to me that the Lord is in control, That he is guiding the work, and that Through my mission, I get to help Him do this marvelous work. It is a true miracle in my life to have this. I thank the Lord every day that I know the Gospel.

Hope all is well on the home front. I am curious; what is my room being used for? there were so many ideas thrown around, I would love to know what use it has. I really miss music, I miss road trips, I miss home-made food. But, I can have plenty of time to mess around with those when I return. Until then, I am on the Lords errand, and like Nehemiah in the bible, I just say to all the temptations below me "I am doing a great work. Why should It stop, While I come down to you?" the church is true, the gospel is perfect, And life is so much sweeter knowing the facts of life through our Savior, Jesus Christ. In America, I was a bit shy to talk about religion, because people there are so touchy about it. But here, That's all people talk about. Every jeepney, pedicab, car, and truck has some sort of sticker or painting of a scripture or the Savior. and don't forget plenty of crosses. I don't need to teach faith to anyone. We simply need to help them redirect that faith toward the restored church of Jesus Christ. it's the best job I can ask for.

I love all you. Enjoy your time with the Slaters. Poor dad is working so hard. Sometimes I wonder how he can get through the boatload of "office work" he has. I love messing with him.

Mom, You always send emails, you always encourage me to work, and that makes me want to work harder. Thank you so much!

Morgan and Tyler, Both of you may be punks, but I still love you both, and hope the Lords greatest blessings upon you. keep growing, keep improving, and enjoy this life. It is to be enjoyed, not just endured, after all. That is from a prophet, so it's important :)

Till next week, peace out

Elder Kuehne (OR as president Maurer always says, Elder Queenie)

Monday, March 27, 2017

New Areas, New Callings, New Experiences

Dear Fam,

To start this email, I want to say it won't have much to do with San Miguel, Because I transferred. One cycle only in San Miguel. It's a real shame. I am now in Palo, Tacloban. And to make things more interesting, I am the new Zone Leader. Yeah, terrifying. as if district leader isn't hard enough.

Palo is on the southern side of Tacloban. it's nice because it has great restaurants, good internet shops for emailing, a real transportation system, and is pretty nice.  It is a wonderful area, with a thriving church membership. we had the chance to see 140 people come to church. My new companion, Elder A, is batch with Elder D, and is from Davao, Mindanaw. You know, the place I can never go because of the whole kidnap Americans thing happening down there. he is a real hard worker, if not a hair trunky. this is his last cycle, and he is really trying to go out with a bang. But, he really does work hard, and it is so nice to have a companion who is older then me that can teach me new things. such a nice thing to have. 

I went on splits, and my companion was Brother T. He is an absolute fireball! he was baptized in '95, and wouldn't leave the church for anything. He pedi-cabs during the week, and on weekends, he loves to work with the missionaries. He knows EVERYONE! members, less actives, even all our investigators! he is simply amazing. 

the work of a zone leader is hard, but it also has several key blessings. I have the chance to help not only our investigators, but also can help the missionaries in Tacloban zone, or my zone. I collect numbers, and am in charge of helping others do the work. I see it as a big chance to help others. lots of paperwork. not a big fan of that.

we had the chance to go and have dinner with a family. They have one person in the family, a little boy, who is as white as me, and speaks only English. His father is from Denmark, and is a member. The strangest thing to speak English to someone not from America. 

we had a CSP, where we built a new kitchen for a family. Building here is down to earth and not fancy at all. nothing more then wood, some nails, no building codes, and aluminum. I was able to help because I could get heavy things higher then the others. for support, we just nail bamboo to the frame, and then people start climbing up it. no fancy tools, just a hammer, nails, a saw, a level, and some string. yet, we built a whole kitchen, with furniture, in about 6 hours, and it's not too shabby. I think I like this style, it's less complicated. 

in this area, Waray Waray is used, however, there is a great deal of Cebuano and even Tagalog. I was actually recommended to start learning Tagalog from my companion and a couple members. So, now I dive into this strange new world of an organized language with national usage. hopefully, it will be easier then Waray, since the language structure is almost identical. Different words, some different markers, but that shouldn't be too hard. so, I think while I learn the Waray, I will start Tagalog. Wish Me luck with that.

I miss march madness. Really, I do. I have no way of knowing how that is going. Well, Ty, you always were ridiculously lucky when it came to the tournaments, so get er done, Ty.

Dad, sounds like you are enjoying the travel. should be pretty enjoyable. trip to Moab, then to Oregon. Some jobs have better benefits, I guess. 

Morgan, I am so glad you are still doing well. I will not lie to you, I miss the temple. I can't go, due to travel constrictions, but nonetheless, I really miss it. I am definitely going to enjoy it when I return to the good ol USA.

That's really all for today. Working hard, getting some things done. We are meeting my old zone leaders at a place called the Texan, which apparently is REAL American hamburgers. Couldn't be more excited! I will be withdrawing today, because I am told it is a little mahal (expensive, I just type Waray as a reflex), so that is personal funds for that. other then that, I will be talking with you all next week, 

good luck to Grandma and grandpa on their journey to Germany. Next time, Take me with you, eh?

LOVE YOU ALL, AND PROUD TO SERVE THE LORD IN HIS VINEYARD OF THE PHILIPPINES!!!!

Elder Kuehne