Monday, January 30, 2017

A true Filipino

Helllllllllloooooooo fam!

This is the beginning of my last full week in Sta. Margarita. Turns out that I will transfer next week. I don't really want to leave, but I am excited to see how different my next area will be. Hopefully, I will still speak waray....

Last week was a week. not sure what else to say about it. we had patron in solsogon, which means there was a party EVERY NIGHT at the basketball court next to our house. some lasted until about 5 AM. That was super, super hard. loud music, not even super good music, playing all night. that was a little rough. but, it's over, and it won't come back until next year. All the girls keep calling to elder R, and he is not a big fan. it's kinda funny, honestly...

not a lot of progression coming from our investigators right now... or less actives.... it's a pretty rough week, just trying to get some momentum going, get some new investigators. we do all we can, but depends on them. We have had a lot of work with members, and I love it so much. Much more work from members makes life easier.

Hope Ty is hanging in there. not the easiest thing in the world for him to have that surgery, but it had to be done. hope he is hanging in there, make sure he knows I love him and am supporting him.

I had a little moment of true happiness. We were visiting with president V, the branch president, and we were talking about the work. he learned that I would transfer, and he says to me, "when you came, you were American, now, you are true Filipino." it was such a great chance to know that not only did he appreciate my efforts, but he really believed I did all I could. it was such a beautiful thing to hear, and I really needed it. I know I am progressing, though sometimes it is hard to know.

We have zone conference in Catarman on Thursday. President Maurer says he will be showing us a new Daily schedule. That is a big deal. lots of things will be addressed, wish me luck.

With love, until next week,

Elder Kuehne

**A few things he wrote to Morgan:

when we focus on the gospel, life is easier, not easy. We have to work, but, if we really work hard, this life is full of happy moments. I am glad you learned that early. Took me 19 years to figure that out

for scripture study, I recommend you have a time every day to read. that always helps. don't be afraid to mark your scriptures! so many people are worried about it, but I feel that if done appropriately, marking scriptures is the best way to remember the things you learn. make sure you have a little prayer before and after, and listen to the spirit. you can learn a lot from the spirit, and if you are making an effort to read, the spirit will tell you things and bring thoughts to your mind. if possible, read with a question in mind, and you will find answers through the scriptures. I have, and I know you will too.

Some of my favorite scriptures:
Mosiah 2:41
Ether 12:24
Doctrine and covenants 4
Joshua 1:5
1 Kings 3:5-14
Jacob 7:12
to name a few. Happy reading

Monday, January 23, 2017

Tapping into permant happiness

Dear FAM,

We are moved into our new house! it is pretty big, lots of pink, and little furniture. however, it is home, and through it, we will be able to do much more work here in Sta margarita. I don't have any photos because my camera is being kinda dumb. haven't been able to take photos too well. I may go camera hunting here....

This week has been rough, but good. very low sacrament attendance, and I was feeling really down about it. Add to that a sore body, a tired body, lots of hard work, and a companion who goes to bed WAY early before the water turns on, and life can be a bit difficult. but, everything that happened in church seemed to be the Lord combating my sadness. we started with a talk about parenting, which I took to mean trainers as well, haha, songs that really talked about happiness and joy, Me teaching the Sunday school lesson about the first vision, and a lesson about finding joy from the life of Gordon B. Hinckley, who was happy most of the time. I really do feel better. just need to tap into my permanently happy self and use more of it.

We got to use a bus the other day to travel from one side of our area to the other. the whole bus has a stereo system, and as we tear down the road at maybe 60 miles per hour through residential, it is playing Whip it, and I just couldn't help but laugh. it was pretty surreal, but also really fun.

We are meeting with B, and he is an amazing investigator. so smart, so understanding, so accepting of the gospel and it's teachings. comes to church, participates, prays, and while he hasn't quite gotten his answer that the church is true yet, I know it will come when he is truly ready for it. Until then, we will continue to work with him.

I went on splits with Elder E, my Zone leader. we went to his area for a day, and it was an amazing, amazing day. We start with M, a young man with a seriously weak body and impaired thinking. Elder E starts the lesson, because M speaks Cebuano, so it's pretty hard for me to understand. We then had the most sacred opportunity to review the baptismal questions with him. To see this person who can't walk, barely control his body, hard time speaking, answer the baptismal questions was so humbling. Elder E let me ask some of the questions, and M gave me the greatest answers! after, we asked what he would like to sing, and he says, families can be together forever. So, we did. It was so humbling. Elder E bends over the bed he lays on so that M can give him a hug, and I did the same thing. I felt his love and his knowledge of the gospel, and I knew that he was ready for his baptism this Saturday. We visited with G, their recent convert, who I had met a couple times before. She started out doing bad things, but now, she is so committed to the gospel. her dad has leg problems, but he works out and does therapy everyday to help his legs so he can one day go to church with his daughter. it was the most humbling day ever.

At this point in the email, I have a favor to ask. Could you all make me a Facebook account? all the members and recent converts ask for mine so they can stay in touch with me after my mission, but I don't have one, so it is kinda weird. I would love one so I can stay in touch with everyone I meet here.

I made an online store purchase, some good stuff that will really help, including some extra garments. Loving my mission, so happy to be here. Love you all, and hopefully, I can get a new camera and get some pictures.


Elder Kuehne

***Side note from Mom - I created Blake a Facebook account that I will administer until he gets home.  Please send a friend request to him and I will get you added!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

House Hunters - Philippines Edition

Dear beloved fam,

this week has been a real tough one. I say that because 3 investigators came to church. There are times when I feel like I worry too much about it, but we have about 15 active investigators, and only 3 came. hopefully, those 3 will be able to continue, because they are greatly improving. just need to continue to help them and work hard, while also slowing down. sometimes, if I am not careful, the stress can build up. I was NEVER this stressed in school, but I sure am now 😅. I have ways to combat stress, though, so all is well.

just another week here in sta. Margarita. we will soon be moving to a new apartment that is actually in our area! probably tomorrow, and I am pretty excited. The owner has renovated it really well, and the rent is pretty cheap. I think it is a nice house. All the doors are pink, which is a little funky, but still a nice house. We will be moving in tomorrow. pretty excited all about that. I felt like I was on house hunters: Philippines edition or something. pretty nice opportunity, means we can get more things done! 

I did receive the package from the ward, and it was amazing! I loved reading all those things from everyone! made my day. 

the sister who will go on a mission is still progressing, and she invited us over for FHE with the fam. she was the only one in the family who went to church. She is trying so hard. I did indeed order a PMG for her. hopefully, we get that soon so she can start studying. Brother J has also been praying about if he should go on a mission, and so far, the answer is YES! we will be getting one PMG to him soon as well. other then that, this week, we sort the wheat from the tares. many investigators aren't progressing, so, we will be limiting visits to them and focus on progressing investigators. WE CAN DO IT!!!

to Tyler, real proud. Mom says you are getting better everyday. Keep doing it! at bountiful high, if you take a charge, you get a special pair of basketball socks. keep it up, bro. See you in 1 1\2!

a quarter of my mission is gone, and it feels so strange. I will be transferred the second week of February. where I go, no one knows.

Elder R is still progressing. his language is way better then mine when I was in training. just need to help him with some other things, and then he will be a fine missionary.

Just a short one today, but still lots of love to you all

-Elder Kuehne

Monday, January 9, 2017

Reactivating and working hard

Dear beloved fam,

this week was really nothing special overall. we go to work everyday, we work really hard everyday, find people, try our hardest to follow our plan and hit our numbers, things like that.

Last week, We visited with a less active family. one of them, an 18 year old girl, has been reactivated, and comes faithfully to church, reads every night, and prays less like a prayer, and more like she is talking with God. we visited, and after the lesson, she asks where she can buy a Preach My Gospel. Naturally, I asked why, and asked if she is looking into serving a mission. She says, maybe next year, after I save. How great is that? she was LA, busy all the time, and now, she has rekindled her desire to serve the Lord and do all he asks. Couldn't be prouder of her. Now, she really wants her family to read and go to church with her.  We will be doing all we can to help, but, She will spearhead that. As missionaries, there are times when we need to step back, and realize that though we want to just go and teach, sometimes, there is a different way to do things, and usually, that's the better way. So, we will work with her to help her family.

We visited a new investigator, BB (that's a nickname, because his name is really long.) one of his relatives as she passes by - just kinda asks "why are you here again?" we say why, and she says, rather Nonchalantly "oh, okay. You aren't really serving the Lord. no need for offense." then walks out.  Well, I wasn't offended, but I was indeed cut to the core. People have said it before, but this time, it really hurt. I don't take it personally, because I know that as a missionary, If they deny me, they deny the Savior. so, We started talking about the plan of salvation, and as we shared, I truly felt the plan was real. All scripture points to it being real, the spirit has confirmed the plan is real. In the book of Mormon, Aaron, one of the sons of Mosiah, was talking with some apostate Nephites. He opened the scriptures to teach them and to confirm his words, and they just openly mocked him and refused to listen. some refuse to listen to even firm, sound, scriptural truths, and even though they don't believe it, I do. I know it is true, and if others choose not to open their hearts, Then I have done my part, and we move on. I hope that as we all look to the scriptures, the words of prophets, and other reliable sources, that we will work to receive a testimony that it is true, that the gospel is the plan of the Lord and that through it, we will return to his presence. 

good to hear everyone at home is good. hoping good weather to you all. 

Everyone here knows the big names of basketball. We had one member and we talked about the NBA. he said his favorite player was Patty Mills (ask dad). kinda funny to see all that. Ty would be in heaven here at the Basketbolhan (court). real good time for everyone. ball is life/

Hi to ty, love you bud. I heard you're pretty good at basketball. We'll have to see when I get home, huh? practice hard, have a good time out there.

Dad, love you. Working hard, doing all I can to be obedient and successful. so far, I think I am succeeding.

With love, I will see you all next week

Elder Kuehne

Just a nice little photo we took

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Happy New Year 2017

Dear fam,

Happy new year! another year, another chance to improve and serve the lord on his errand!

For December 31, January first, and today, we are to be in our apartment at 6, on account of the partying and drinking. many times, as we walk by, people offer us alcohol. No thank you. our neighbor offered, we said we don't drink, so he came back 5 minutes later with soda water and chips. Those, we did graciously accept...  We catch up on studies, sleep, exercise, just hang out with the zone leaders and anyone else who is staying with us. we went to Tacloban for a Christmas devotional, followed up by food and singing. I have a couple photos, you will enjoy those.

this week was a good week. We have 7 new investigators, and I think they are all quality investigators too. Our friend who loves coffee, we found out he stopped. Just like that. He stopped! He is changing his life really quick, and he is such a wonderful kid. if ready, he may be baptized this week, and if not this week, for sure, next week. Really excited for that! he improves, and we see the fruits from our labors.

This time of the year, Calbayog sounds like a war zone. Fireworks, big and small, go off all the time, and every kid hand makes a big cannon out of canned food that makes a ridiculously loud BANG! I still jump sometimes.

the mission created a new zone, and they selected my district leader last cycle to be the new zone leader. He was not excited in the least. I don't blame him. his first assignment as zone leader, and he is going to lead a new zone! however, whom the Lord calls, he qualifies. It may be hard, It may be a real struggle, but he can do it, and I know it. the Lord knows it too.

We were given a book of Mormon, and told to read it, marking every reference to Jesus Christ, the gospel of Jesus Christ, and his words to us. It is a unique challenge, but I love it, And I learn more and more about the importance of the mission of Jesus Christ. He really is the focal point for everything, and to think he gives all the credit and glory to his father is absolutely mind-blowing! He is the picture of humility, obedience, and Integrity, and I want to be like him.

Elder R doesn't like to talk to people, especially not in Waray. If the person even tries to talk to him in English, he assumes he can talk in English. I am going to try to help him with that. I'm no Elder Dela Cruz, But i'm sure trying. 😅

So great to skype. Everything looked in order, the house wasn't burned down, so that's good.

When I get home, I think playing with dad would be amazing, Whether I am playing with or against him. I miss little things like that. However, I might play like a Filipino, and NOONE is more terrifying to play basketball against then a Filipino. He better start practicing...

that's really it. Love you all, Happy new year, and here's to a good week!

Elder Kuehne

pictures: all the elders from my batch in Samar. They are amazing, and it's wonderful to see them all again.

Me, Elder R, and Elder E with SANTA!!!!

the last district photo of the cycle. This is our cycle in a nutshell. The more you look at this photo, the funnier it gets

I couldn't help but zoom in and add one more picture - just cause he looks so happy!!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Christmas Skype!!

One week until Skype!

Dear Fam

Good to hear from you, as always. Sounds like a lot of change is happening with surgeries, therapies, and all that jazz. Change happens so much, and it can catch us off guard. Many of my friends are Terrible at adjusting to change, I am glad to hear that you all are doing all you can despite what life throws at you. Please continue to do so.

I got some news about a friend from high school who went to Africa on his mission. He lost 60 pounds in one month, and is sick beyond all sickness. He is going home for a season so they can get him feeling better. More reason to not get sick and take care of myself, I guess.

The full swing of Christmas is finally here. everyone is getting ready for the special day. how do that do that, do you ask? they drink. they party. it's a very different kind of celebration. but, that's how they do it here. when they are drunk, their english is perfectly fluent.

We have been having a drought with investigators coming to church. We only have one right now, he comes to church every Sunday, prays, and is in alma right now with his reading. The plan is to have his baptism the 31st of December, and so far, that looks very, very likely that that will happen.

Elder R and I are doing much better. We can talk and teach together much better, we are figuring out all the little things we need to do to be successful. so far, lots of challenges , but we are still working as hard as we can, and that is the sign of our success.

Lot's of people here are catholic, but they are a EC church goer, which is Easter and Christmas church goer. it strikes me as very odd that anyone could be so passive in their beliefs. I personally know this church is true in part because We have to DO something about our belief, not just say I know it is true, we must show the Lord that we believe it is true. An idle mind means the adversary can do his tricks. If we are active in the gospel, then we can start to see how much better our lives are when we follow the gospel.

We visit lots of less actives. One family is now reactivated in the church, and comes regularly. Some just need a little more time and faith to better develop their desire to go to church. until that happens, we can only do so much but visit and do all we can to share our knowledge with them.

later today, we have a Christmas concert in Calbayog. We will be singing and having a good time sharing with them our Christmas message. then tomorrow, we go to Tacloban for a little Christmas celebration/meeting. Pretty excited, except we have to get up at 2 AM to make it there in time. Not super excited for that, but the meeting will be fun. I will get to see Elder D, so I am pretty excited about that. He was great!

sounds like we may have to stay where we are apartment wise. If we move, then our zone leaders need to as well, because It is pretty expensive to live where we are. We will just have to see how all that goes

Got the email about the info for skype. Super excited about that! We said Monday at 9AM, Filipino time. may have to do the math to figure out when that is for you.

Excited as can be for that chance to call. Love you all.

Elder Kuehne