Tuesday, December 30, 2014

come what may and LOVE it!

Brothers and sisters! YAY for the holidays and for happy hearts! it has been one heck of a week! Unfortunately I was sick AGAIN (Virginia does NOT like sister kennedy in December) and actually had to stay in for an ENTIRE day. which was the absolute worst... I think the worst part about staying in when you are a missionary is the anxiety of being home and thinking "What if there is someone who is outside who I was supposed to talk to who is ready for the gospel?" "I am not working every available moment! I am the worst missionary ever!!!" its like this constant mental STRUGGLE aaaaand it was the worst of the worst. But here we are :) happy and healthy now!

This was a fairly average week... we had interviews with President, which are always rad, and it is always so fun to talk with him. He knows exactly what to say and he can make anyone feel like a million bucks. WHAT A BLESSING he is to me. I am super grateful for him and for his confidence in me as a missionary, he keeps me going!!!

THEN we had interviews with our zone leaders. Now, mind you, our zone leaders are super intimidating and REALLY hard to relate with because they are in the Spanish program... The Spanish program has WAY more success than English. So they sat me down and asked me about training and basically told me I needed to step up my game. I told them that I just felt like I didn't know how to be a good enough missionary! I told them I felt like I had to say the PERFECT thing for people to accept our message and the invitation to be baptized. Elder Erickson just paused. looked at me and said, "oh sister kennedy... you thought they had to ACCEPT the baptism invite?" I was like "uh yes. of course." then both of them just started LAUGHING and said "SISTER KENNEDY!!! YOU ARE DOING SO MUCH MORE WORK THAN YOU THINK YOU ARE! STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP AND GO TEACH SOME PEOPLE!!! you don't have to say the right things! they don't have to accept the baptism invite!!! if they did NO ONE would have investigators!!!" moral of the story, I didn't know what counted as a new investigator, so I had been SUPER worried about finding and teaching using the PERFECT wording so that people would want to get baptized, when that isn't it at ALL! its WAY easier than I thought!!! NOW I AM SO PUMPED TO GO OUT AND FIND, TEACH, BAPTIZE!!!! WHOOOOO!!!

ALL of our investigators flaked on us this week. we had 5 investigators say they would be at church and 0 showed up...  #HOLLER but its ok, we have 2 lessons with potentials already set up this week and we are going to do a TON of finding this week. AHHH YAY!!!

We tracted quite a bit this week which is always interesting, you never know whats going to pop out of the other side of that door... hahaha we had one guy open his door and literally jump back and gasp as if he had just seen a ghost, I thought I was going to pee my pants. hahaha

THE KINGSTOWNE WARD ROCKS. like lets be real. I am SO OBSESSED WITH EVERYONE IN OUR WARD. The amount of love they show us is out of this world. we have literally been invited to like 15 peoples houses for Christmas Eve and Christmas. #rad. I LOVE THEM! and they are all really willing to help us out with whatever we need. like a lot of you know, our mission president has been pushing member work... and it is SO cool to now be seeing the fruits of it. He told us it would take a while, and it has, but now we are getting the referrals we want and we are building the relationships we want with the members so that they can have friends for us to teach. it is SO COOL. we haven't found any investigators directly through them yet, but I have faith that we will soon :)

I am SO GRATEFUL for the love I have felt this week through mounds and mounds of letters and packages this Christmas season! I get teary eyed every time I open the mailbox and I see all the sweet notes from home. I am feeling that coloRADo love all the way out here in Virginia and I am LOVING it.

This week, I found a lot of comfort in the October 2008 conference talk "come what may and LOVE it" by Joseph B Wirthlin. First off, he is HYSTERICAL, and second off he talks about how there are so many things in life we cant control so we better control our reactions to be POSITIVE. Throughout my whole 4 months ;) on my mission, I have learned that there are a LOT of things we cant control, one of those things being the AGENCY of those around us. We cant decide what our investigators are going to agree to commit to. we cant control whether or not we are going to be screamed at, we cant control other people cancelling on us, BUT we can control our OBEDIENCE and our LOVE for the people and our DESIRE to do WORK.  I hope that one day I will truly be able to LOVE whatever comes my way. one of the funny stories he tells in this talk is this: "I remember when one of our daughters went on a blind date. she was all dressed up and waiting for her date to arrive when the doorbell rang. in walked a man who seemed a little old, but she tried to be polite. She introduced him to me and my wife and the other children; then she put on her coat and went out the door. we watched as she got into the car, but the car didn't move. eventually our daughter got out of the car and, rad faced, ran back into the house. the man that she thought was her blind date had actually comet o pick up another of our daughters who had agreed to be a babysitter for him and his wife. we all had a good laugh over that. in fact, we couldn't stop alighting. later, when our daughters real blind date showed up, I couldn't come out to meet him because I was still in the kitchen laughing"  hahahahaha that story gets me EVERY time.

may we all learn to truly LAUGH at whatever comes our way and LOVE it!

MERRY CHRISTMAS ALLL!!!!!! I hope you all feel so fully of the Saviors love this Christmas season because it is there WAITING for all of you!!!

keep it real and keep the faith,
sistah KENNEDY


 Presents from Uncle Kurt and Aunt Elisa!!

 Being crazy!


Sunday, December 21, 2014


BROTHERS AND SISTERS. WHAT A MIRACULOUSLY RAD WEEK!!! man am I grateful for all that has happened this week! WOW, so much good! I love it!

I went on exchanges this week with Sister Eddy. so lets be real. theres not anyone quite as rad as sister eddy. we had SO MUCH FUN. we met some hilarious people and got a lot of return appointments while tracting! which was SO cool! I learned A TON, she is a champ.

WE GOT 4 REFERRALS THIS WEEK!!! how cool is that? we have been trying SO HARD to ask EVERYONE for referrals, and it worked. I was SO PUMPED. and 2 of those referrals were from this random family we tracted into... #miracles.

We also had our Mission Christmas party! #HOLLER. so I got to see my mayn laydeez. sistah Ka$h Kelly and sitah "crocs" Williams. so much cool... I cant even take their swag levels. we had a BLAST and we learned SO much. President Riggs is SO inspired.

The "awkward" of the week. we were going through the Taco Bell drive thru... because that's our crib, and the guy at the window was SO AWKWARD. "hey pretty baby, what was your total?" "uhhh 11.51" "haha, guess again" "uhhh 11.52? I don't remember" "try again!" "I don't know, can you just swipe the card, there are people waiting" "it was 11.51 ;) nice try baby" LIKE GET ME OUT OF HERE. I thought sister malufau was going to fall over she was laughing so hard... hahaah good times in Kingstowneeee.

As of late, our mission president has really been pushing each and every missionary to put their personality into the work. This may seem super obvious, but after tracting 30 doors, your approach gets to be pretty rote sometimes. Same goes for the lessons we teach, when we are teaching the same principles over and over you start to say the exact same things, hahaha. SO this week I decided I REALLY wanted to take on this challenge.

I decided I would try to focus on my strengths and use them to better benefit me and work... well I couldn't really think of my strengths... So I prayed and prayed and prayed to know what I could personally bring to the table. And finally, I recognized in myself that I have a very natural ability to truly LOVE people inside and out. So I decided to use that... I tried SUPER hard to not only listen with my ears, but with my HEART so that these people we meet with can see my love for them. As I did this the results were INRCREDIBLE. all of the sudden, I was remembering talks, scriptures, and videos that related to what they were going through! I was able to teach these people what they needed to hear! we were CONNECTING with people so much better than before! We were in lessons with people and they would just start to cry because they felt of our love and of the SAVIOR'S love. it was so cool!!!

we went to check up on a potential investigator and he let us right in! #rad. so we sat down with him and his wife and we talked about LIFE. In a normal setting, we would get right into the gospel and try to commit them to baptism, but the spirit was telling us to "lay low" so we did! We talked about life, and then principles of the gospel EASILY made their way into our conversation! By the end of our time there, the husband looked at us and said, "because of how you have sat here and talked with me, without throwing your religion at me, you have made me want to change. I want you to come over next week and teach me more." #WHAT. yeah. that really happened. I thought I was going to cry. it was incredible. the spirit will work through us as we are sensitive to it and as we try to BE OURSELVES. THAT is when we connect with people and THAT is when people want to know what we are all about. Of course, HUMILITY plays a big role in this as well. I cant even believe how BLESSED I am. I am 110% certain that I am exactly where I need to be right now and I am FOREVER grateful.

May we all seek this Christmas season to find our talents. As we do so I know that the Lord and our Heavenly Father will aid us in blessing the lives of others. I know that the Savior loves us. I know that Heavenly Father loves us. I know that the Savior died for each and every one of us individually because of the infinite LOVE he has for each of us. I am so grateful for this missionary work, I am so grateful for this gospel, I am so grateful for my family, and I am SO grateful for the Saviors atoning sacrifice. I love you all SO MUCH and so dearly.

Keep it real and Keep the faith,

sistahhh Kennedy
Merry Christmas From sister kennedy and Sister Malufau :)

 sister eddy and I on exchanges!!!

 sister Thomson and I at her birthday party we had!

 the whole group at the bday party!

sistahhhh ka$h kellyyyy

 my crazy comp loves spam. I guess its a Hawaiian thing...

 me being weird. hahaha



 at the temple with sister stolpe!


fasting works!!!

Oh my goodness. my beloved brothers and sisters. I wish I could put into words the MIRACLES of this last week. I am brought to tears as I try and express the love I have felt for the INCREDIBLE people of Kingstowne, member and nonmember alike. I am so so so so obsessed with missionary work, I am so in love with Virginia, and I cant even imagine what my life would be like if I hadn't made the decision to serve a mission. SO MANY MIRACLES!!! I am sure some of you are quite tired of me using that word, but there is no other way to put it.

First off, last week I had said that I read in Jacob that I need to WAIT before dropping our investigators, to "spare them a little longer". WELL this week we decided that we needed to get on our investigators who aren't progressing and figure out what is up. So we did. Cynthia is an investigator of ours that the elder passed to us. We have not been able to meet with her for weeks, so finally this week, we went by A ZILLION times until we caught her. It was actually SUPER cool. We knocked on her door and like usual, she wasn't home. I was a little frustrated to say the least and as we turned around to start walking down the stairs SOMEHOW I caught a glimpse of the backend of her dog across the street. yeah. #miracle. So we literally SPRINTED (and I am not using that word lightly) down the stairs and across the parking lot to catch her. She was so excited to see us and told us that she had finally found a job!! she has been out of work for a year due to a really bad car accident that left her with some brain damage and some issues with her memory. BUT she found a job. She said, " thank you so much for coming into my life. It has since brought me so many blessings. I want to praise God because of all that you have done for me!" what a darling. SUCH a miracles, and now we have another progressing investigator!!!

THEN! our investigator Jenny who has not gotten back to us in a few weeks told us she wants to still be taught!!!! #HOLLER. SUCH good news and she almost came to the Christmas devotional which would have been a huge step... it didn't happen, but hey. it was close.

Also this week! we were able to go with the youth and our recent converts to the temple for baptisms! WHAT AN EXPERIENCE!!! To see people that were led to the gospel because God prepared them enter into the waters of baptism is incredible. But then to so them perform an ordinance that they have just performed for themselves for someone else IS A MIRACLE. I wish I could express to you the amount of love that was in that room and the JOY that was shared and felt. so miraculous.

AND NOW FOR THE BIGGEST MIRACLE!!! This Sunday was fast Sunday and I have been really really really worried that we are not finding enough people to teach. Our finding efforts just haven't been sufficient and nothing we are doing seems to be helping. So I fasted that we would FIND people to teach. It was an incredible experience for me spiritually to feel the holy ghost come over me and tell me that I am doing all that I can and that we will find people SOON. I was SO excited. We had decided, after we broke our fast, to go tracting.. The only woman who opened the door was very sweet and prayed with us. She blessed us with safety on our journey and thanked us for our service. She wasn't super pumped to hear our message, but she was darling. We had to get to another appointment with a recent convert so we left after that door. While we were driving I just kept thinking, why didn't we have success? why didn't we get a new investigator? All these things were troubling me and as we got to the home of the recent convert I remembered that there was a referral we received that lived in that same neighborhood that never got back to us. I had a SUPER strong impression to go by there first... Brothers and Sisters, we knocked on that door and she opened the door SO excited that we had finally come back!!! she had lost our number and didn't know how else to get ahold of us. She had been waiting for us to come by again. I have NEVER IN MY LIFE seen someone so prepared for this message. She told us that she saw "Meet the Mormons" and that she sobbed her way through it. She told us that she went to our church with her friend last month and that she felt like she was finally home. She told us that she just wants us to come and teach her more and more because she wants to get baptized so bad! We were about to JUMP out of our seats!!!! our fasting WORKED!!! We gave her a pass along card with all of our information on it and she told us that just earlier this week she had had a dream that there were two sister missionaries on her couch who gave her a picture of Christ with their number on it and the church address on it. She said that the pass along card we handed her was even the same HANDWRITING that she had seen in her dream. She just kept telling us that she KNEW we were sent from God and that we were supposed to teach her right then, that day, for a reason.

Brothers and Sisters HAVE FAITH TO SEE MIRACLES!!!! THEY WILL COME!!! Do what you have to do and then HAND IT OFF to the Lord!! He wants to help us!! let him!!! I know without one doubt in my mind that this is the most joyful work ON EARTH. I know that miracles come when we TRULY do try as hard as we can and as we work every available moment. I am so so so eternally grateful for missionary work and for this true, restored church.

The mission is a miracle, it changes our eternities. I so testify of these things, in the name of Jesus Christ. amen

Keep it real and keep the faith

sister kennedy



 More DC...

 SWAAAG.... Rockin it!

 More DC... with Sis Davis and Sis Duncan

Happy Preparation Day with Sis Davis and Sis Duncan!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Two Letters In One and lots of pics! :)

IS IT AN INCONVENIENCE? OR AN ADVENTURE?   letter from December 1, 2014

my beloved brothers and sisters! what a week!!! I wish I could express to you my love and appreciation for this restored gospel and for this beloved work that I am a part of. This week had its share of challenges, but holy smokes, the blessing FAR outweigh those challenges.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING! we had such a wonderful thanksgiving doing service and spending the evening in the homes of the members. I was able to do the honors of cutting one of our recent convert's hair hahaha (for those of you who don't know, I don't cut hair. never done it before.) and we were able to help cook some wonderful thanksgiving meals :) what a wonderful and beautiful time of the year to show our gratitude and love toward our savior!
so our car was in the shop this week as it broke down thanksgiving morning. hahaha yeah. a squirrel ate some wires under the hood and it wouldn't start. so it was borderline hilarious... but it also caused us to be stuck. haha we had no way to get ANYWHERE so we had to get picked up and dropped off. luckily there are many gracious and wonderful members of the kingstowne ward who were willing to do so, so we were very blessed :)
This also forced us to TRACT. for a whole night. we didn't have a car to get to any of our appointments (the day after thanksgiving) so we went tracting instead. here in Kingstowne we haven't done much tracting because we are so focused on member work... so this was one of the few times I had actually done it. I was pretty nervous but I knew I had to be a good example for sister malufau. so we went! and we went with SO MUCH FAITH and such a strong desire and love to do this work! we were rejected by everyone but HEY, rejection builds character and it got us out of our comfort zone.
sidenote: one of the areas we tracted was ALL Spanish people. hahaha we didn't know that so they all answered and told us they couldn't speak English... LUCKILY I had such a Spanish Book of Mormon in my bag and I acted like I could speak with them. we got a lot of blank stares and a few of the people were high... but it was an experience!
There is a Mormon message called "Wrong Roads" that I love. Jeffery R Holland tells a story of a time when he had to choose which road he should take to get home. He felt he should go right, and he did. BUT it was the wrong road. When his son asked him why they both felt they should go right he said "The Lord wants to get us on the right road as quickly as possible with some reassurance that we are on the right road. and sometimes he does this by leading us first on the wrong road." WELL this week I had a similar experience. our investigators are not progressing. I had NO idea what to do. logically we need to drop them, but I was really unsure. I was reading in Jacob and I came to a verse that said "spare them a little longer" and I knew this was my answer. SO... we decided to spare them. this week we went to Anju's house ready and prepared to teach them. we have been praying for them and studying for them for weeks. AS SOON as we got in the house I felt like we should leave. We sat down, and waiting for Anju and the spirit LITERALLY stood me up and started walking me out the door. we told them we couldn't stay and got out. Sister Malufau looked at me like I was crazy and was like what the heck!? we didn't even teach them! haha... I explained to her what happened and I knew that that was my answer from Heavenly Father telling me that I had done the right thing by sparing them a little longer, and now I know and have reassurance that we need to stop teaching them because it is the Lord's will.  I AM SO GRATEFUL for the spirit that guides and directs us to do the Lord's will and we willingly listen to it.
ANOTHER MIRACLE! when our hearts and minds are prepared and willing to help people come closer to Christ, it will happen! this week, I came to love and gain a stronger testimony of STUDYING the scriptures. Last night, we were teaching a recent convert and his less active wife who are coming back. we walked in with full intentions to teach out of ether 12. as soon as we sat down, the spirit told me, NOPE. you are teaching 2 nephi 31. which was so bizarre, but I followed that prompting and we started rolling. ALL of us wrote down any sort of question or concern we had at all about anything. we all prayed individually to know what we needed to write and then we testified saying, if you do this with FULL FAITH that Heavenly Father with answer your questions and concerns, it will happen. and it did. The spirit was able to guide our words and our teaching because we were so diligent in our studies and because we have come to love and hunger after the scriptures. I know and I can testify that when we come to feast on the words of Christ and we EMBRACE them that we can truly come to help those around us.  This lesson we taught was one of the most spiritual times I have had on my mission. I truly felt Heavenly Father working through me as His instrument.
I have full faith in this restored church. I know that his work is exactly what Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ want me to be a part of. a wise elder Jacob Jensen once told me, "don't you ever get homesick. why? heavenly father is more homesick for his children than you will EVER be for home". brothers and sisters HOW TRUE THIS IS! help the missionaries out in your area. We need YOU to fulfill our purpose and to help this great work! I know church is so true, I know the atonement of Jesus Christ is SO real, and I know that as we take every day as an adventure, rather than an inconvenience we will be blessed and will receive so many blessings for that.
thank you all for being such a good example to me. I love you all, I pray for you all, and I am GRATEFUL for you all.
keep it real and keep the faith
sister kennedy

HAVE AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE!!   Letter from November 24, 2014

what a great week full of learning and growth!
last Monday sister schooley and I were able to go to Arlington cemetery which was INCREDIBLE. I learned so much and we just had such a great time. it was a very successful last preparation day as a companionship.
we were also able to say goodbye to a lot of people that she became really close with AND see her family because they came to pick her up :) it was such a joyful time and we all just really enjoyed being together! what a great week it has been! and holy smokes the changes that have occurred have been CRAZY!
FIRST OFF! MY NEW COMPANION SISTER MALUFAU!!!! holy smokes shes great. she is Samoan and from Owahu Hawaii. she is SO RAD and sings in the shower like nobodys business. she is the most service oriented person I know and all she wants to do is HELP ME! and im her trainer! how cool is that? She is also the most grateful person I know. yesterday we were having lunch and with tears in her eyes she said, "sister Kennedy! we have a fridge, a sink, a dishwasher, an oven, and even a toaster. we are just SO blessed. wow... we are truly just SO blessed." she Is SUCH a good example to me and I already LOVE her so so so much!
1. our zone now has Spanish missionaries in it. #wut. I don't know how that's supposed to work, even our zone leaders are Spanish missionaries! how crazy!
2. I am now the designated driver. you can imagine how horrifying that is coming from a one stop light town to now DC.
3. I am a trainer. and I was only trained for 11 weeks so I don't really know what Heavenly Father was thinking there, but here we are!
4. I didn't think this mission could get more diverse, and then I got my companion. who is samoan. #holler
BASICALLY there has been a LOT of adjusting going on.  and it has been really really really hard. I know that my emails are usually very happy and I always seem really excited but I decided that this week I was going to get real with you guys...
MISSIONS. ARE. HARD. when people told me that before I came out, I didn't really believe them and I didn't understand. and honestly even if they had explained it I wouldn't have gotten it because you just have to experience it to understand ( that was  a really confusing sentence... sorry). there are SO many times that I just feel so so so incredibly inadequate. and there are so many times when I am so close to giving up. and holy smokes I don't think I have ever made so many mistakes in my life. BUT we keep moving forward. I am exhausted, I am frustrated, I am stressed, and sometimes the work just isn't going the way we planned. but we just keep moving forward.
EVERY investigator we have cancelled on us this week. SO many lessons we had set up fell through. So many people didn't want us to teach them, and yet we keep moving forward. and it is SO HARD.
You can imagine how disappointing this gets and you can imagine how hard it was for me as a trainer to try to stay positive when all I wanted to do was get on my knees and cry. this is NOT the first impression I wanted sister Malufau to have of the mission field! I was ready and waiting to see miracles! LOTS OF THEM! and I had the faith to see them! and the more I asked Heavenly Father why we weren't seeing miracles, the more he was telling me to STOP looking for baptisms...
We have been seeing miracles! TONS of them! just not the miracles I was looking for! I was waiting for us to teach our investigators and have ALL of them accept baptism dates! I was waiting for someone to walk up to us on the street and say "sisters! come teach me and my family!" and holy smokes that certainly didn't happen!
we DO have 4 dinners this week with less active members/recent converts because we have taken the time to build relationships with them and they WANT us over to teach them!
We DID have 7 less actives/recent converts at church (and one of those was a family of 8) and that is more than we have EVER had.
Sister Malufau and I are already great friends and we are both striving SO hard to be exactly obedient!
We DID get an in with a family that has been UNRESPONSIVE to the ward since they have moved in because sister Malufau is from Hawaii and so are they!
I MEAN HOLY SMOKES!!! look at all those miracles! heavenly father is blessing us so much and I was TOTALLY blind to it because I wasn't looking in the right direction. Heavenly Father is blessing each of us SO MUCH every day, but if we don't take the time to LOOK for those blessings and show gratitude for them, then it wont even matter.
I challenge ALL OF YOU, especially this thanksgiving season, to pray at least once a day to your Heavenly Father and ONLY express gratitude to Him for all that you have. As you do this, I can PROMISE you that even things that seem like burdens, will in time be turned into blessings. Our Heavenly Father is ready and willing to bless us, so LET Him. Be obedient! Strive to FOLLOW the Savior, Read your Scriptures! PRAY earnestly and frequently and you will see blessing POURING down upon you. I can promise you that blessings will come as we will earnestly strive to be gracious.
I love each and every one of you so much and so deeply. THANK YOU for your prayers and for your love that is so graciously poured out to me. I am eternally grateful for each one of you.
keep it real and keep the faith,
sister kennedy
 This one is for Turner :)

 Arlington cemetery

 Arlington cemetery SO COOL

 with my boi JFK

 yay for JFK!

 Just chillin in front of this cool fountain, that obviously was not on #awk

 me with Elder Taylor right before he got his Visa to go to Bulgaria!! What a stud!!

with my mission grandparents :) the sampsons. I LOVE THEM.

 Me in front of the Unknown Soldier tomb

 Virginia and it's BEAUTIFUL trees!

 My New COMP!!!  Sister Malufau!!

 yay for new COMPS!!!!!!!!!

 First comp pic ever taken #holler

 Thanksgiving with the Campbells!  :)

 Sharing "He is the Gift" Mormon message with the Fitzgerald family after having Pie and playing Charades on thankgiving :)

 Playing Charades I was playing a Dr. with "Dead" Jacob :)

 Sister Malufau teaching us how to HULA!

 Getting ready to have pie!!

 Me and the cutest kids ever!!

 My face before I open the mailbox.....

 and after. when I realize I haven't gotten any letters... write me peeps.
7103 Rock Ridge ln. Apt. J
Alexandria, VA. 22315

 Thanksgiving service! getting ready to CUT CAROL'S HAIR! note: I have never cut anyones hair before...

 In the process of the haircut!

 on our daily walk with carol! she recently had a leg injury and we are meeting with her until she improves enough to walk on her own :)

In the library checking our emails!