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. 
Love,
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. 

love,

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!

Love

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










Monday, July 31, 2017

Things Have Changed

Dear Fam,
things have changed really fast. to start, transfers happened, and myself and Elder D both transferred from Palo. Elder D is now serving in Tacloban 2nd ward as our new Assistant! and me, I have been transferred to Tacloban 1st, and I am now working in the office. I have 3 responsibilities: Supply manager, vehicle coordinator, and District leader of San Juanico district. 
I wasn't really surprised with this transfer. I had a very strong feeling that Elder D would transfer, yet I also had the idea I would transfer myself. Something told me I would transfer and that I was needed somewhere. And now, Here I am!
working in the office is very different. We are in the office from 9 until 5:30 pm. after that, we get to work and proselyte. also, Saturdays and Sundays are full proselyting days. I will not lie, this office work has me absolutely slammed. It is not so much difficult as it is long and never ending. I always have something else to do. little proselyting time makes me a bit sad, but we are doing the best we can.
I also get to drive! I have a ford ranger that I use, even for proselyting! I can go anywhere in it, and it lets me carry more stuff as well. it's pretty fun.
I have some privileges this time in the office, the most important being that I can email any week day, as long as I still get my work done! so, I can email you all more! fun, diba? because of that, this email will be short. 
Love you all, and I hope that all is well at home!
Elder Kuehne

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Better Way, Which Is To Do It Because I Love It

Dear family
What a rewarding week. firstly, Sister A and Brother J were both baptized! and I had the opportunity to baptize brother J! it was really fun, because he was so short I didn't even get my polo wet. he is such a great kid. That means the entire A family is baptized and active! sister A has such a strong testimony, and she was such a great investigator. I will not lie, The A family has been perhaps my favorite family on my mission so far, and it will be a hard day when I transfer. transfer announcements are tomorrow, so we will see what happens there.....
this week was a great week. We got to work hard, and have a good time as well. not a lot happened this week for teaching, but we had a little miracle at church. 3 of our less active members, 2 of whom are a couple, came to church! the one not married has a brother serving in the Provo Utah mission, and has been less active for a long time. however, she came to church because she felt the need to. the others came because they want to start preparations for temple sealing. what a blessing to have others enter the temple. Miss it like crazy.
we had a lesson from the 1st councilor in the stake presidency. he gave a lesson about fast offerings and tithing. he made an amazing comparison, with the first great commandment, love God, being tithing, and the 2nd, love thy neighbor, being fast offerings. I never considered it. he shared a quote from president Heber J Grant, which said something like this: if we truly love the Lord, then there would be no need for reminders to pay tithing, to be generous with fast offerings, and to magnify callings. Before, I did things because I was asked to. now, I realize the better way, which is to do it because I love it. I love Heavenly Father, I love Jesus Christ, And I am now serving because I love them and love their commandments. it was a very life changing 3rd hour. plus, he showed a video about Elijah feeding the widow during the famine, and after he showed that video, we got 2 dinner appointments. hahahaha
lots of changes coming up in the Tacloban zone. We will see what happens with that tomorrow. 
I hope you all know I love you all and hope you know it. I miss Bountiful, especially after hearing about missionaries going home and their plans after they touch down. many people have mentioned cafe rio, inn-n-out, and movies. I just get to hang in there for another year for that to happen to me. I can do it. Lots of fish here, that will be alright for now :)
love you all, and now photos!
Elder Kuehne
just as I was about to send photos, there was a poweroutage, and it just deleted all my photos on my camera. sayung.

 
 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Controlled Chaos

Dear Fam,

this was a slow week, which never happens around here. we had MLC this Tuesday and Wednesday, and had a meeting Sunday with the stake presidency. also, Tuesday, we were getting our weekly planning done, and we got called and asked to go and take a truck and deliver solar lamps to my entire zone. we just drove through the whole mission delivering lamps. Elder D drove, and he was just like any other filipino driver....controlled chaos. It was nuts, but he needs to train for next cycle :) jokes la. but, it was really fun.

other then that, we taught maybe 5 lessons this week, because of all the meetings and what not. We are expecting a baptism this week, of sister A, and next week her son, J. I am so excited!!!! also, next Monday is transfer announcements. we will have to see what happens next week. nothing really new. the power is back here in Tacloban zone, and water is as well. so, I am happy about that. just us doing all we can.

Love you all, and will email next week

Elder Kuehne







 

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