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
Elder Kuehne