Utica, NY

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Cristo e ja ressuscitou!

Dearest Brothers, Parents, and outras pessoas,
The lilies of the fields of upstate New York are beginning to blossom. The "harshest winter of the century" has ended and the 65 degree weather has come. The little squirrels are abandoning their holes to feel the warmth of the spring sky. I too enjoy warmth.
At the start of the week we had a grand Zone Conference where we went over a BRAND NEW teaching method to better apply the principles taught in Preach my Gospel and become more powerful teachers. This new method, "How to Teach Preach my Gospel" is a bit of an experiment that the Missionary Department in Salt Lake has developed, and we are a pilot mission. The main idea was for the mission to follow more closely following up on page 200 of Preach My Gospel, in case you have a manual handy. It includes teaching from the pictures in the church pamphlets in bit sized lessons (20 minutes) every to every other day of the week. The results so far have been wonderful for Elder Hougaard and I. I plan on using this method the rest of my mission, unless I ever teach an investigator who is blind. I luv it.
It was perfect to learn about this teaching method right as we began teaching Ben Foote. We have all really felt the spirit during these lessons more than ever before. Ben said yes as I was inviting him to be baptized by proper authority at the end of our restoration lesson. It was a great interruption! Yesterday he really enjoyed our Easter program in Church and we met with him for a lesson afterwards. He had questions about the temple from Gospel Principles class, so we taught him the second half of the Plan of Salvation. He marvels to know that because of the very first Easter, we will all be ressurrected to proper frame. He told us that the message was very hopefully for him because of some very difficult events that have occurred in his life. It was a beautiful lesson, and I don't think I've felt the spirit more strongly in any lesson I've ever taught. He hasn't committed to a baptismal date yet, but he is excited to have his brother from Rochester to baptize him. I REALLY hope I am here for that day.
A couple of weeks ago, we and the sisters of our branch developed somewhat of an activity to inrease our member missionary efforts in the branch. Last week we passed out a bundle of cute little blue and pink flyers to members to give to their friends to invite to our Easter service yesterday, giving them several easy ideas of how to do it easily and creatively. It turned out to be a huge success! We had TONS of new faces in church yesterday of whom we are trying to get into contact with. Member missionary work is the best way! Don't be tempted to think otherwise!
Christian Pedro Yarleque exceeded his baptismal interview this week! With flying colors, too! Yesterday when we met with their family, they talked about being sealed as a family in the temple. It made me so much more excited! Maybe if I'm still in Albany New York in a year, I will get to see them as a newly sealed family! Joy! Just remember, on May 3rd 7pm eastern time, angels will rejoice. Be part of it!
Yesterday was the best Easter I've ever celebrated in my short life! Sacrament meeting was fantastic, I just felt really close to the Savior, thinking of all the things he did for me, and all the huge things I wouldn't have if he never conquered death. Because of him, there is absolutely no reason to not be happy. Christ did everything for us, and the more we simply keep the commandments, the more we are blessed. We will always be is His debt.
Everyone needs to know that message. The restoration is now, and there is no better time to serve than now!
Elder Ja. Kunzler


If you have ever seen the Pixar movie Cars, you might remember the scene where Lightning McQueen has finished cleansing his damage on the roads of Radiator Springs and they turn on the neon lights at nighttime, and they play that song that goes, "Life would be a dream... Sha-dooby dobby dooby dobby, Life would be a dream." This week was filled with several moments where this song rang through my ears as I pranced through New York.. Alegria!
Before I go on with more important things to talk to you about, I would like to inform you about my haircut today, which was a rich new experience for me. This week when we were on splits with a member, he told us as we drove by a building that it was a haircutting school where they gave cheap haircuts. Just as Jacob and my father get excited when they find cheap deals, I decided to give it a shot today. As I walked in, the front desk got really excited and offered to give me a free haircut. Then they took Elder Hougaard and I into a classroom of about 15 young women who seemed to be shaving large doll heads. They rejoiced in seeing "a demo" (me) enter the classroom and all sat in their seats. They sat me down in front of these women and one of them volunteered to cut my hair with an instructor and another woman inspecting. They noticed that I looked a bit uncomfortable so they offered me something to drink. I didn't know they meant alcohol, but Elder Hougaard stopped them before they went and got it. I'm proud of my companion for helping me obey my covenants. :) The haircut turned out great, even though I felt like there was a surgery done on my hair. This was a great/different missionary opportunity, and Elder Hougaard will now be their regular demos for free future haircuts!
Remember how I said last week that we collected so many referrals? Well we were able to contact a couple of them, one of which was GOLDEN, like a goldfish. This man, Benjamin Foote, referred himself asking for a copy of the Book of Mormon. At his doorstep, we asked him if he would be interested to hear a little more information about the book. He kindly allowed us in, and we had a very spiritual visit. We found out that he is from Perry, a suburb of Rochester, and his brother, sister and mother are all converts and he became interested in learning more about why they are such happy people. His mother, Rebecca, was there as well. He doesn't have any religious background, but is very interested in our church. We returned on Saturday to teach him about the Holy Ghost, a brand new concept to him. We told him by this power he would be able to know in his heart that this will bring him peace and joy for the rest of his life. He showed up to church on Sunday with his mother Rebecca in a suit and tie a fresh new haircut, and had a glorious experience. Many members thought he was just a visiting member because he looks EXACTLY like a mormon. Elder Hougaard and I cannot express how excited we are to teach Ben. It is a humbling thing that made me think of that song from Cars.
Christian Yarleque is all ready, already. We went over the baptismal interview questions with him so he can have his interview this week and his Baptism will be announced this Sunday, since the following is Stake Conference. On the first question, he bore a powerful testimony of the love of God. It has been an incredible experience to see his tremendous growth in the Gospel. I wish you could all see it. He has never believed that there could be one true church on the earth, that there were just good elements in all of them, to him knowing in his heart by the spirit that this is the same church that Christ himself established in His earthly ministry. It was really good for him to witness his wife's baptism just a couple of months ago. Now their family will be able to be sealed in the temple for time and all eternity.
I cannot express the joy that comes from being a servant of God. It is indescribable. Just follow the wise words of Elder Ballard and study Preach my Gospel to know how you can do the same thing. I promise blessings. God can make of us so much more than what we can make of ourselves. All we have to do is be obedient to the Spirit!
I love you all more than baby otters love seaweed,
Elder Kunzler

Monday, April 7, 2014

As Mensagems Incrivels de Conferencia!

La Idioma Classe!

I really liked conference. Truthfully. I felt like I was my child form waiting for Santa to arrive Christmas morning. The energy I worked up for conference was far worth it. I learned so many valuable things from the inspired messages share by the Lord's servants. I heeded the council of my loving brother in France and wrote down six questions before conference began. Every single one was answered. Mostly during the talks given by Elder Uchtdorf and Elder Michael John U. Teh. I thought they were difficult questions to answer, but the spirit can answer all questions, and the spirit of Conference allows us to receive those answers.
We had a great week as usually in the work of the Lord, which is miraculous actually, since we had nothing really scheduled for this week because most of our investigators were out of town. At the beginning of the week we prayed for success as usual, and we received a downpour of referrals from Salt Lake, 7 to be exact. They came in spurts and I thought the phone was breaking because it wouldn't stop vibrating. We still have yet to contact most of these referrals and we are grateful for the blessings and help we receive in serving the Savior.
Jairo and Lucy Ruiz left us. We said our goodbyes after teaching our weekly language class on Tuesday. They were a blessing for our branch and in helping me learn Portuguese. Jairo volunteered every week to teach the spanish gospel principles class we organized and gave us the Gonzalez family to teach. They really were dear friends of mine. Luckily Jairo will be coming to Curitiba towards the end of the World Cup in July, so if I receive my visa by then, we will meet again. He and his wife were able to attend General Conference before going back to Ecuador.
We were able to meet with Christian Yarleque this week! We watched Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration. Christian was so engaged. After the part when Alvin dies, he paused the movie and asked if Alvin could be saved if his temple work was done. Elder Hougaard and I were surprised. It is such a treat to teach someone so thirsty for enlightenment.
Something I really learned from this conference is the importance of obedience to the quiet but repetitive invitations to follow the counsel of the spirit, even if the thing we are asked to do seems uncomfortable or might stretch our abilities. The only person who limits the atonement is ourselves. We can live a life of everlasting progression if we want to.
I am so grateful to be a worthy representative of Jesus Christ here in New York. I am grateful for the blessings and knowledge I gain from doing this day to day. I love the gospel. I love the Lord. I won't ever stop trying to being like him, even though I am far away from his perfection.
Com mutio amor para sempre,
Elder Kunzler

An estranged ice cube

Ele saiba como socorrer seu povo..

Elder Hougaard and I are going on 4 TRANSFERS. We are both staying, which means I have the priviledge of being his final companion. I don't think I have spent as much time with anyone in my life. 1/4 of my mission is shared with Elder Hougaard. Craz-y. I get the priviledge of witnessing the baptism of Christian Yarleque, which will really rock my socks off!
Last week we recieved a Referall from Utah for a guy who really wanted to make us some burgers from his very own burger shack. His name is Dave Khan. We both decided that we like burgers and we enjoy teaching the gospel, so we went during lunchtime with our bellies empty. We found a small pakistanian man with a thick accent wearing a white chef's cloak. We about burst when we perused through his menus. He sells nearly every kind of exotic meat there is, see for yourself on the photo I attached. 

My favorite part was his description of the Alligator Burger. Thinking I was getting a kangaroo between two buns, he brought us out by surprise a couple of burgers and hot dogs he made in a couple of minutes. Unfortunately I didn't eat anything exotic, but they were some delicious morsels of food. Dave Khan sat and chatted with us about the nature of God while we ate. He was telling us how angry he is with God for not giving his business success. He was very angry and seemed like someone who feels like God is a terrible person, and that he is the reason there is so much bad in the world. It was an uncomfortable and difficult conversation, since he backfired at everything we would say, but at the very end when we were about to leave he started laughing and said the whole thing was a joke. He is a member in the Schenectady Ward who wanted to play a dirty trick on us. I still don't believe he was joking, because if he was he is a pristine actor. It felt real.
Remember Cynthia Blackshear? She is a referral we picked up last week. She is YEARNING for more and more gospel knowledge. We were able to follow up with her and teach her the message of the restoration. She read everything up to 1 Nephi, and prayed about it and believes it is true. She was a little worried that we are trying to replace the Bible with the Book of Mormon, but that has been resolved. After this very spiritual lesson, she committed to be baptized! Her boyfriend is moving in this week from Texas and she wants us to teach him as well.
This week I spent a lot of time reflecting on my feelings of my mission and set new long term goals for myself. In some study time I thought a lot about my weaknesses that I want to work on, and I've thought about the trials I've had that have tested those weaknesses. I came to know more fully through the spirit that God is a God of love and mercy. He loves us so much that he gives us specific trials to strengthen where we are weak. Sometimes these weaknesses are prolonged when it takes us a while to find the remedy to overcoming our obstacles, which is of course the atonement of Jesus Christ. In Alma 7, It hit me strongly that Jesus Christ "know[s] according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities." Jesus Christ has been through every trial that we've had and wants to lighten our load. He runs to assist us when we need him most. There is never a trial we cannot overcome. The atonement is infinite-only we can limit it. As we humble ourselves, endure with patience, rely on the strength of the lord, we can move mountains of grief and pain. I know that.
I love you all and wish you a grand week.
Elder Kunzler
VISA UPDATE: The Brazil government has all of my documents now, but they just barely asked for two new passport photos since the last ones are expired and I don't look quite nearly as much as a baby as I did a year ago. This means that they have actually looked at my application! I am sending the new ones in today and then the process continues until the lord wants me in Brazil!

A live blood sucking vampire bat with an injured wing. I thought about giving it to Dave to make a burger out of it. "One! One batty bat!"

life is sweet

Hello Family!
I don't have too much time to write today since we got back much later than we had planned to go bowling as a district. Yes, Bowling. I'm still in America. the Beautiful. Bowling is kind of fun. Sorry for my lack of preparation on preparation day.
Elder Hougaard and I picked up 2 new investigators this week!
The first, Cynthia Blackshear, just recently moved here from Houston, TX and is looking for some joy in her life, so much that she referred herself to the missionaries (us) on mormon.org. She is very interested in the emphasis of families in our church and has a firm belief in Christ. We excited her about the Book of Mormon and it's ability to answer our many important questions and give us the fulness of the gospel. We also talked about how we bring people closer to Jesus Christ and God. She couldn't wait to begin a new adventure in the Book of Mormon. It was pretty funny, actually. She shouted, "Imma startin tonight!"
Our other new investigator is named Janiece. She is a young single mother who recently had a daughter and has been having trouble supporting her while working and paying off her many medical bills. She is in need of help in her life to ease all her stress. She is also very very interested in learning more about the gospel of Jesus Christ, so we decided to teach her the gospel. With Janiece, we talked about God's plan for her and how we can overcome trials with faith and diligence in studying the scriptures. We gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon and testified of it's remarkable power.
Life is not easy, but it is so much easier and better when we keep the the simple commandments and study the scriptures each day. I know that that is true. I've need been more happy in living my life in any other way. I challenge you each to begin your day with some earnest scripture study. I know that your days will be brightened when you invite the spirit into the beginning of your day.
Muito amor,
Elder Kunzler