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