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!

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