Friday, July 1, 2016

Week 22 In the Field

Hey y'all it's P-day again!

We had a great week this week! I'm a little short on time, so this weekly update will be a little bit shorter. 

We began the week with Zone Conference on Tuesday. President Griffin talked about how he has had a three year plan for the mission to bump up the work. He recently began phase 3 and our mission had 257 new investigators with 118 baptismal dates for this week. While our area hasn't had any baptismal dates yet, we have found 35 new investigators. We're hoping that we will be able to get some people with dates soon!

This week we had lots of lessons. While we still got our 14 hours of finding in, we got 19 lessons in. That's a good amount for us, we have been averaging 5-7 this transfer, so it was nice to bump those up. 

We also got seven hours of service in. Most of our service was done at the local food pantries; where we were able to meet tons of new people and our cards out and even a couple new investigators! 

You guys won't believe this....we got officially accepted as members of the Spring City Pentecostal Worship Center! Now before you guys think I've gone full apostate, let me explain: they consider anybody who goes to their church twice "members" technically we're members, but we don't believe the doctrine. Chill fam. 

We held another lemonade stand at Roane County Park and was very successful. We made a very nice video on our way out that I'll attach for Lucy to post as well. 

Sorry again guys it's short this week. I'll make up for it this week I promise!

Until then,

Scott Kuhnen
The Great Tennessee Knoxville Mission

Monday, June 20, 2016

Week 21 In the Field

Hey everyone it's Monday again!

Let me give ya"ll an update on what we did this week. Finding. That's what we did. Finding. We really needed more people to teach and this week we found some solid new investigators. We are currently in Farragut getting out car fixed... so we are playing basketball, eating buffalo wild wings and having a good time in civilization. 
On Tuesday we met with one of our investigators, Scott. (he's pretty cool for obvious reasons.) Afterward, I tricked him into going and tracting his apartment complex. At first, he was pretty scared, and  it took a couple doors for him to feel comfortable coming with us up to the actual door. We found 2 new investigators with him. One of them, Richard, is a disabled man who lives by himself. At first Richard rejected us, but I asked Scott how his experience meeting with us has been for him, and after Scott's five star review, Richard agreed to hear the Restoration. He loved it. He loved it so much, that when we went back to teach him again, he was upset because he didn't have a Book of Mormon to answer the questions on the pamphlet we gave him. Elder Furrows and I are going back this Sunday, so hopefully Richard continues to want to learn more. 
On Wednesday, we had the chance to attend a Pentecostal church...which was freaking cool. If you don't know what a Pentecostal church is, well go find one and check it out. They are know as "Holy Rollers" because they get rowdy in church. The singing was incredible, now by no means was it reverent...they had drums, guitars, electric keyboards, etc. But the spirit was still felt there, in a different way. People in this church feel like the Spirit "touches" them, and when they feel like they've been "touched, oh boy, TAKE COVER! Shoes are flyin, people are hoping up and down, speaking gibberish tongues, and all manner of entertaining gestures. The pastor looked like Jay Leno and was hilarious. I think he preached more comedy than gospel. The best part about that evening was that we had two members of their congregation invite us over to share our beliefs with him. Im exited to see them in a couple days. 
On Friday and Saturday we helped a dude out by sorting a small warehouse full of household junk. Well, in the process, I acquired an electric acoustic guitar free of charge. I took a guitar class at Menlo-Atherton, and its been fun messing around with it. We also went and talked to people at a giant indoor Flea Market. We found lots of people  who were interested in seeing us again. At first I was confused as to why everyone in Flea World looked at me like they had seen me before. Well finally someone asks me if I'm the mormon missionary that made it in the Roane County newspaper that day. I wasn't exactly sure what people were talking about, but finally someone showed me a picture of me cooking Poke Sallet at the Poke Sallet Festival last weekend. Well, tracting that weekend was also pretty weird too. We knocked on several doors that let us in, but instead of wanting to hear about our church, they wanted to know how to cook Poke Sallet. Real quick: Poke Sallet is a green plant that grows wildly down in the South. Pretty much take California weed and take out the cannabinoid and you got poke sallet. So for the time being, we are holding off tracting for today and tomorrow
Sunday was a really, really hard day for us, but we had the most incredible spiritual experience. We had a good church service, and a couple visits afterwards, but then the day got ruined. Now let me tell you all something..all churches have truth. I don't care what you think you know about some-other church, they all have some truth. Also God has commanded us to love thy enemies as well as not bring down others. I hope nobody that reads this will ever speak out against another church by name in church or not. It's wrong, and that's exactly what we listened to on Sunday night at a local baptist church. We were invited by some very good friends of ours, who wanted to show us their church, but the pastor wasn't a big fan of it. The sermon was supposed to be on Joshua 20, but ended up being a anti-Mormon lecture. Throughout the sermon, he made comments and statements about our church that were not true. He tried to quote scriptures that would disprove the Book of Mormon as being inspired scripture. If it wasn't for the fact that the church was 20 miles away from home, and we were picked up, we would have got up and left. At the end, we were invited to bear our testimonies, and so we got up and did just that. If you want to get a loud pastor, and a congregation of 20 to shut-up real quick, just bear your testimony. You can't argue with a testimony that has conviction from the spirit. As we awkwardly walked down from the podium to the back of the church to leave, I could see the faces of the people and I made eye contact with every single one. They all had been touched by the spirit. None of them could say anything to us. The pastor went back to the microphone, and he had been momentarily struck dumb. He was moving his lips, but words did not come out until the second we were outside the doors of the chapel. It was amazing...was hard to believe at first that God would do something like that for US. All throughout the meeting, I was praying and asking God if I could dust off my feet in that church(Matthew 10:14) , but God sent me the answer that it would be all good.

God can help us. He will always be there for us when we need Him. He won't send the Warriors a championship if we pray for it (unfortunately) but He will bless us in our own personal times of need. Miracles and blessings also come more abundantly when we are striving and actively choosing the right. 

Well, I hope y'all have a good week. Stay tuned for next Monday when we find out what the cure for humidity is! (Hopefully) 

Take care everyone!

Scott Kuhnen
The Great Tennessee Knoxville Mission

Check out what my my friend serving in Tokyo, Mika, is up to!

Week 20 In the Field

Hey everybody it's the Sabbath hangover: Monday! Boy do I have some stuff to tell ya'll this week! 

First off we just had transfers on Wednesday and Elder Patterson is out, Elder Furrows is in. This dude is pretty cool. He's from Idaho Falls and loves the gospel...and driving the speed limit. We have been getting along great so far and I say this only because he is 8 years older than me. It's a little weird to be living with a guy that is 26, I mean there are guys that are 26 and have 2 or 3 kids. A father, he will one day be (yoda voice that). Nevertheless, he is a awesome missionary we were in the MTC together, and so we are both about to hit out 5 month mark...TODAY!!!!!!! Man, I feel like all those 39 year-olds that (on their 40th birthday) have this sudden realization that they are no longer a relatively *youthful age*. Their are more than enough missionaries ahead of me to make me feel like I'm pretty fresh out of boot camp, but then now I see this ever increasing group new kids off the plane that look at me like I came straight outta Vietnam. That's tracting for you. 
We formed a Country Band: The Harvest. Debut album coming soon!

So we had some fun and spiritual experiences this week. On Wednesday, after I grabbed Furrows from Knoxville, I took him down to Spring City to go do some work. Last week, I set some return appointments with 3 people who lived in a trailer park outside the town. Furrows and I drove down their to go visit them, and just our luck...they all weren't home. So we decided to go drive around the corner to a less active's home and knock the doors on her street. For the last month I have felt like the area needed to be milked, so we strapped up and did just that. Nobody answered the first 2 doors we touched, but on the third door...woah. This guy opens the door, and as I start to make noise out of my mouth, he's just all like "Cmon' in boys". This guy, Larry..hands down one of the coolest dudes I've met. For one, that was the first time I've been let in without even having to do anything other than knock; and two, Larry was prepared to hear the gospel. He had read the Book of Mormon before about 20 years ago, but had decided that their was no way that Joseph Smith could have found the gold plates. We asked him if he had prayed about it, and he said no. I was thinking to myself, "Well thats your problem gotta pray about it". Worst part was, that he wouldn't take a copy of the book to try it out. But as we continued to talk to him, the spirit softened his heart, and at the end of our 1 hour visit, he accepted a copy, committed to read and PRAY about it, and let us come back! Not only did this experience strengthen my testimony of tracting, but also my testimony of obedience. With Elder Furrows, we have decided as a companionship to strive for exact obedience, even if the mission president doesn't enforce certain rules in the White Bible. 

Thursday was a challenging and very rough day. Our faith was tested big time. We decided to go work Oakdale, a small redneck town that their is no stuff that is comfortable to work. Missionaries tend to tract apartment complexes, houses that are close together, trailer parks, downtowns. Not backwood cabins, and people that don't want to be found. Well, we decided to go visit these people. We began the day by parking off the side of a windy road and walking to the first drive. As we began walking down the long driveway, 2 dogs came running at us...and we turned around and booked it back to the main road. The dogs stopped and we walked over to the next driveway. Well about 30 feet down the road, we got 4 pitbulls chasing us, but this time they didn't stop at the end of the property, they kept coming. Luckily for me, they all went after Elder Furrows, so I wasn't too worried about getting hurt. Elder Furrows swung his bag around and popped one in the face, and then they stopped...but it was still pretty scary. As we drove off and found a place to pull over and cool off, (at this point my heart was                                                                                                                                                                                                beating faster than it does during an aerobic workout)..Elder Furrows reminded me that the Lord had protected us, and that never during those 10-15 minutes of terror had he felt scared. He reminded me that before we began, we prayed that the Lord had protected us. As I reflected on that experience, to see the Lord's protecting hand in my life was a testimony builder that He does answer our prayers. When we choose to acknowledge Him, and put Him first everyday, he'll bless us tremendously. After those doors, we decided to keep going, and we were able to find a couple people who want us to come back and teach them. It was a blessing to have success that day. I know the Lord had tested my faith, and because we were dedicated to thrust our sickle with all our might, He allowed us to find 2 people who He had prepared. 

On Friday we had district meeting which was pretty boring. I'm not trying to be a Debbie downer....but I'd rather read my scriptures than listen to people talk about how their week was. I'll do that when I retire so I can fish every week, and give travel logs during testimony meeting. But after district meeting, we went over to a non-profit organization that runs a horse ranch for people with disabilities. We got to chuck 761 bails of hay into a barn. It was pretty cool, but I think I'll pass on any agriculture career. 

Saturday we got to work at the Polk Sallet festival. What I can't get over about the South is all these small festivals popping up everywhere! This was the first one we've attended, and it was so much fun! We got to help our the American Legion cook food, and talk to hundreds of people. I got to fry tomatoes, okra, and cook up batches of polk sallet. It didn't taste very good...but I love okra, so it was all good. We got to hand out lots of pass-along cards, and pamphlets. We made a corn-hole tournament, and challenged people to play us, if they lost (which all but one team did), they had to take a Book of Mormon. It was a great day to change up the method of missionary work, and have a ton of fun doing it. 

Well that's all for this week. Stay tuned for the next week when we baptize Megan Fox. :) (She's from Rockwood)

Scott Kuhnen
The Great Tennessee Knoxville Mission

"We ran over a snake. What kind of snake? A dead one."

Week 19 In The Field

Hey everyone, it's Monday again...P-Day!

This week has been amazing. Seriously, I had my best day on the mission so far this past Wednesday. But I'll get to that in a bit. We have some big news coming out from the Tennessee Knoxville Mission: we are expanding the boundries. Recently, the Mcminnville Stake (part of the Nashville Mission) split into 2 stakes. We have absorbed the brand new Cookville Stake and it will now be the Cookville Zone. So we now have Ashville, Cumberland, Kingsport, Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Cookville zones/stakes as our mission. It's one of the largest missions in the region...we are in both the Eastern Time Zone and Central Time Zone. 

For P-Day today, we taught an early morning lesson to a guy who works at the local scout camp and has to work all week. It wasn't the best lesson, but luckily the guy is super good at understanding and is very interested in the gospel. Then we went to Ozone Falls, a giant waterfall not too far outside our area. With the absorption of Crossville into our mission, we were able to go. It was a blast! We hiked about a half mile to the top and then a few miles down to the base. 

This morning we had the transfer call. I will be staying in Rockwood, but Elder Patterson will be leaving and headed to Cleavland, TN (down by Chattanooga). Replacing him will be Elder Furrows from Rexburg, Idaho. He's a pretty cool guy who was in the MTC with me.  It'll be a little weird because he's 26 years old and I'm 18. Think we will have a good time though and there is a TON of work that needs to be done out here!

Recently, our mission president instituted a new rule of 14 hours minimum for finding. Finding is going out and trying to find people to teach so stuff like: tracting, walking the downtown area, talking to peeps, booths, and basketball. (we play at the courts and talk to the kids our works). Elder Patterson and I have avoided knocking doors as much as possible because we both don't really care too much for it. But this week I gave gained a personal testimony of tracting. I realized that our teaching pool was pretty small and we needed to grow it, but Elder Patterson and I just couldn't agree on anything for finding. He wanted to go try and visit people on the "not interested" list, and I wanted to go knock doors. Well, what ended up happening was that we did both.  First we contacted Elder Patterson's "not interested" names on Tuesday and we had zero success. Watching paint dry would have been a better use of time and miles.

On Wednesday I took Elder Parker (serving in the other companionship in the ward) to Spring City with me. He gave a fantastic talk on gaining a witness and testimony in different ways. (He even quoted a talk by Russell Hancock...who is in the stake presidency in Menlo Park....I'm still not sure how this mission has the talk). Sister Warren, who makes us call her "Mom",  asked Parker to come give the talk to her non-member husband Phil, who missed church. We began the day with service at the local food pantry. Its always fun to go do service, and be able to switch up the morning routine a bit. One of the older volunteers I really like, lost his Mother the day before and the Volunteers were raising money so they could buy a plaque for the funeral. I had $20 in my wallet and was going to buy me some groceries, but instead, donated it. You guys should realize that these people in Rockwood don't have any money.  It's a very economically depressed area. Elder Parker, after hearing the story, also gave $20...and between us two, we completed the funds required to buy the plaque. It felt very good to be able to help out in some small way. The guy collecting the donations was worried he wouldn't get enough money, and was very thankful when we showed up that day to help. The Lord blessed us though; he didn't let us go hungry...the food pantry gave us enough food that'll last us about 2 weeks. Service leads to blessings. 

Later that day we visited with Sarah, a new investigator who found the missionaries booth at a festival in Knoxville. She's been pretty interested and she took us out to lunch after our appointment. We taught her the restoration but focused on the Great Apostasy and who Joseph Smith was. She accepted a Book of Mormon and committed to read it! 

Now this is where the testimony of tracting begins. We had some time before our next appointment and I had been feeling promptings to go find in Sarah's neighborhood. We also had a referral from a member in that area so we just couldn't put off tracting it out anymore. In 1 hour, we found 3 new investigators...We found Josh and Jaine, who told us they could use a message about Jesus in their home and lives; and Richard, who was curious about the Book of Mormon. The best part was that we didn't have any rejection - we were a solid 2 for 2! 100% success, can I get a "Amen"? (That's what you hear 50% of the time from a Baptist preacher). The Lord blesses those who are willing to do the work.  D&C 4:4 says, " For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul;". That's something that in this upcoming transfer, I'm going to focus on....thrusting my sickle as deep as possible. Find as many people as the Lord has prepared to hear the gospel. 

On Sunday, we attended Mt. Teman Baptist Church. We have friends that attend there, and the sermon was on why Baptists are in danger. The pastor was calling his own people out for not going door to door, visiting and bringing people back to church. Afterward, I thanked him for his message and told him that it's hard to go proselyte in any religion, but that it was a great thing he recognizes change is needed. Instead of agreeing, he just said," Yeah, you cults are doing a better job than Gods' people!" That took me back, and offended me deeply, and the bash began. To make a long story short, Revelation 22 was used on me, I used Deuteronomy 4:2 to refute that. Then I attacked him with Ezekiel 37, and went in for the killing blow with John 10:16. The pastor, who was probably in his 50's, had nothing left. He stormed out of his own chapel. Now I didn't intend to bible bash in a baptist church, but if the pastor (of all people) wants a fight, they'll get it from me. Our friends who go there, actually heard us arguing, and listened. After we went outside, they asked for a copy of the Book of Mormon and wanted to read it. I guess I should mention, that I kept my cool but when I say I argued, I didn't raise my voice or anything...I just simply gave him scriptures down his throat. Later that evening we got a call from our friends asking us if we could come by and teach them about our church. That's my first investigator by way of bible bash. It was a pretty cool story to tell the other Elders, but I hope it never happens again. 

Well that's all for this week. Stay tuned to hear about how Hillary Clinton is praised in Rockwood! 

Until then,

Scott Kuhnen

The Great Tennessee Knoxville Mission

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Week 18 In the Field

Hey Everyone....Happy Memorial Day! What a great day to take some time out and remember those who have died while serving the country! Let me tell you about some crazy stuff that happened this week!

One of the members of our ward that we've been working with traveled to Sacramento and met Grandpa Kuhnen at Recycling Industries! Check them out:

This week we taught Chris, a new investigator who moved in with a member, about the Plan of Salvation. He loved it! It answered many of his questions about life and it's purpose. He had read a little of the Book of Mormon and liked it too. He believes this is the church for him, but wants to wait one more week before he commits to be baptized. So stay tuned to hear more about him!

We had to drop a lot of our investigators because they weren't progressing and we're working on going through the area book to sort through the potentials we've found over the transfer. This transfer ends on June 8 and I think I'll be staying in Rockwood so that's nice. I have some plans as to how we can really beef this area up. I'll talk more about that in subsequent weeks.

We were out finding on Friday and we ran into this guy named Church. Yeah..his name is Church. He is the funniest guy ever. We talked for probably an hour about how gay San Fransisco is. Somehow we ended up talking gospel and he was interested in our idea of repentance and that it's something you work for. He was raised with the idea that you give 10 hail marys and call it good. We set a return appointment for this Thursday so we shall see how that goes. Planning on teaching the restoration. 

So in the food department this was the week for authentic southern food that you only find here. We got invited to a members home and she served chicken wings, pork rib, corn, mashed potatoes....and gator tail...and frog legs.  I can now finally say I've had alligator tail and frog legs. The legs tasted like fish, and the gator tail tasted like chicken. It was pretty good. But my stomach did feel a little uncomfortable afterwards, but I'm all good now. We have so many leftovers from's a weird thought to think that I have 20 frog legs and part of an alligator tail in my refrigerator. 

For Memorial Day today we got invited to the local Freemason lodge for a homemade biscuit and gravy meal and to hang out with some of our investigators. Then we went shopping at Wal-Mart and then hit up the disc golf course at Roane County Park. Now here in a couple minutes we are headed to a different investigators house for a BBQ! What a great day! I hope you all are having a splendid Memorial day!
Until next week!

Scott Kuhnen
The Great Tennessee Knoxville Mission

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Week 17 In The Field

Hey Ya'll, it's time to come together indirectly over the internet again and tell yunz about this awesome week I had! 
Oh boy, I'm in a really good mood right now because looking back: our week was SOLID. We had so much happen this the words of Grant Malquist "it was incredible!!!!". Finding and teaching wise...this has been one of the most successful weeks of my mission. We found 2 solid new investigators and 4 potentials. (I'm sure some of you who served in South America are saying "really!? We found 20!"). I got to teach some some investigators we found last week and see them begin to progress. Let me tell you about a few things that happened.

So there is a member who has a boyfriend named Chris. Chris has never heard about the church and asked his girlfriend lots of questions about the LDS church. It got to a point where instead of just answering, she called us over and we taught him the Restoration. At the end of the lesson; Chris said," Wow you guys answered a lot of my questions, and I feel like this is the church for me." It felt like we dropped a spiritual bomb on this guy. I mean we try and do that to everyone we meet, but Chris was something else. He's going to take the rest of the lessons and be baptized sometime soon. 

Also at Chris's place, was his cousin Austin. Austin has been soul searching for a while and met with missionaries before in Knoxville. During our Restoration lesson with Chris, Austin also decided that this is the church for him as well. So really in just one day we hit a 2 run home run. It's just a matter of circling the bases! It's so awesome to see people change their lives. This was a testimony building that the spirit can testify truths to those who are ready and prepared to listen.

Later on in the week we were contacting former investigators and we found this one dude named Ryan. Ryan is 28 and hadn't slept in 24 hours and looked like a heroin addict. (I assume everyone is a heroine addict before I talk to them). If you were here you would understand. But Ryan was just off, he asked me if I was a CNA, if I was a professor at some nursing college, or in a sorority...WORD? Well anyway we tried teaching him the Restoration but he wouldn't shut up about some girl. He talked about Jesus but then would just start sharing memories of his girlfriend! Without any proper English transition...or connection to anything! Well finally after telling us that he wanted to find her (after 2 years and still hasn't gotten over her) we told him that we hope it all works out, but don't do anything stupid and that we had to leave. As we were getting up he was like "Any recorders?" What? "Are you guys recording me" Uh No? We're missionaries.... You guys work for the Feds huh? No....dude look we carry scriptures...pamphlets etc. Well he didn't believe us and was getting pretty mad and in our face. Luckily his cousin; who plays basketball with us, was home and he came and dropped Ryan to the ground. We got out of there quick and will not be going back. Scary moment, but Ryan's cousin Chris, now wants us to teach him what we're all about. Can I get a #blessings

So we're at Chris and Austin as the two solids, and Chris as one of our 4 potentials. This kind of stuff doesn't happen by accident. The Lord will lead us to those whose hearts have been softened. But we also have to throw skin in the game.

Last week we had a Zone Meeting and President Griffin decided to get rid of meal appointments unless a non-member is present. At first I was vexed, but now I realize why. When missionaries are eating at members home usually between 5-7 that's prime time to catch people home. We need to be out finding people then or teaching lessons, not hangin out with people who already know what we teach. We're lucky we have meal appointments with part member families every week so another reason to not turn green. 

Well that's all for this week. Guys the fullness of the gospel is here on the earth RIGHT NOW. If you haven't ever checked out the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints you should. It's a pretty dope church. I look at all the big questions people ask themselves "where did I come from?" "What is the purpose of life?" "What happens when we die?" "What about those who couldn't hear about Jesus?" "How can I know for myself?" "Why are there so many flippin churches!?!?!" These are all questions we have answers to. If you want to find answers to your questions go check out the website: and request a visit from the missionaries in your area. Or ask me... and if you live in the big 650 of yay area, I can hook you up with some cool dudes. 

Anyway: Hope yunz have a good week! Roughly 168 hours till the next report!

Scott Kuhnen
The Great Tennessee Knoxville Mission

Week 16 In the Field

Hey everyone it's makeshift P-Day!   Yesterday we had a Zone meeting in Knoxville so P-day was moved to today.

Me and a pure bred French Bull Dog...
It was another good week this past week, but I have to tell you guys what we did this morning was so cool. We went fishing and I caught 7 fish.  The fishing was nice, but the breakfast we ate afterwards was legendary. We went to a members farm and they cooked pancakes with farm fresh colossal eggs and freshly slaughtered sausage. Guys,  you don't understand the flavor of true sausage. I'm just letting y'all know that your missing out! . When you get extra large eggs that are fresh, the flavor cannot be compared with anything you get in the store. Maybe the celestial kingdom has better eggs, but these are awesome!  

So this week was filled with appointments, appointments, and more appointments. We taught 20 lessons this week, which for our mission is good. We've gone from 10 a week to 20, so hey, we got something going on here!

On Tuesday, we taught a family who we've reconnected with now, and the Mom is doing great! She has been reading the Book of Mormon and trying her darndest to find time get to church. She works on Sunday, which is a problem, but we still go over twice a week.  We have a couple ward members fighting us to let them come to the lessons.  Shark tank much? We also said goodbye to the Lance family as they travel cross country back to California for a couple months. But we are FaceTiming with them and teaching them while they go have a little fun in the sun.
Wednesday we were at the Spanish Apartments so Elder Patterson could teach a dude he's been working with from Guatemala. This sketchy looking dude came up to us while we were knocking on dude 1's door. He was all like "So you guys Mormons?"...uh yeah...."So do you have like a Bible I can have?" Heck yeah we got one! We gave him a copy in English ( because we were a little surprised he spoke English), but then he busted out in Spanish to his friend so we also got him a Spanish one...and Book of Mormon. This dude had read the Book by Friday and loved it. We're going back to those apartments tomorrow and I'll be teaching this guy...Michael in English, while Patterson teaches dude 1 in Spanish. Awesome day for us in Spring City!
Gone Fishin' 

Thursday we got to go help set up a booth at the Tennessee Medevil fair. Got to meet some guys that make
 custom weapons and armor. Weapons I understood, but you could get custom black knight armor suits for $3,000!  I'd rather get one of those suits for church instead of Versace!

Jacob has gone AWOL on us.  We have tried stopping by and calling and no response. He was the one negative thing that happened to us this week! Other than him, everyone else is doing great. We have 7 progressing, 3 new, and 2 potentials at the end of last week. Our teaching pool is bigger than that, but those are our most recent additions and closest to baptism. It's good for us here in Rockwood!

Well, that about sums up the week. Thanks Menlo Park Elder's Quorum for the shutout! 
Hope you all have a good week!
Scott Kuhnen 
The Great Tennessee Knoxville Mission 
Me and a ferret. They look like really big tempura styled shrimp.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Week 15 In The Field

Hey everyone,
 It's Monday again! This week went by really fast. Hope everyone had a good Mother's day, I know I did. We did a lot of fun things. Talking to the family was very nice. We took some J Golden Kimball talks on our iPad and played them over the pulpit at church. Did some foolin around on the Piano, and ate Pizza! Today we are at our apartment using our monthly free pass on Xfinity wifi so we don't have to drive 10 miles to wifi. Then we are going Downtown to hit up the pawn shop and antique store, then a members house for lunch. Then probably play monopoly for the rest of the day. 
This week we taught 22 lessons, with 11 of those with members present. It was a very good week. Here's a little update on some of our teachees:
We had our weekly visit with Jacob; and we've come to a halt in his progression. Jacob has two problems: 1. Smoking. he keeps telling us he wants to quit smoking, but he never really tries. We showed him the 15 step guide that LDS missionaries have, but he says he's already tried everything. 2. Law of Chastity. Jacob lives with a woman and they are not married. He told us the reason they live together is because she needs him to take care of her. She cannot live by herself, and he doesn't make enough to live on his own either. So they do it together, but he refuses to marry her. So we will continue to visit Ronnie, but we have come to a few road blocks. He knows the church is true, and that Thomas Monson is the prophet, but will not exert faith and change his environment. Jacob is a fun guy though, he gave me 2 of my 3 confederate flags. He also told me he wants to buy me a cop taser. Like the type you shoot at people. He bought my companion a guitar, Uke, and Confederate flag. The guy before me got a Keyboard, Banjo, Amp, Knife, and Confederate Flag. So who knows what I'll be walking out of Rockwood with. 
Scott, a dude whose been investigating the church for what seems like an eternity, came to church this week. First time in 5 years. He always has the missionaries over, feeds us, but would never come to church. Well; he finally came, and said that he would be back next week because he felt something when he walked in. That's called the spirit everybody. Take notes. Scott is having us over tomorrow so that lesson will be exiting!
William is a 18 year old dude, who hadn't been to church in a year. We were looking for his mom (whose records were sent to us by their old ward); but we ended up finding William instead. He said he wanted to come back to church, so we took him and after church he expressed to us that he wanted to serve a mission. Woah. I didn't even want to serve that bad. First day back in church after a year,  at a new ward trying to relearn doctrine...asking to go on a mission is the last thing I expected. Another testimony that only the Holy Ghost is what really "converts" you. Not people. We  teach doctrine, the Holy Ghost teaches and  confirms truth. That's how everyone who believes the LDS church to be the fullness of the Gospel came to know. Anyone can as well, it's just a matter of will YOU try? Will YOU do the scripture study, prayer, and other work and effort to find out for yourself. Joseph Smith didn't just claim to see God one day randomly. He studied and was religiously confused for many years. It all happened with a sincere prayer. God knows the desire of our hearts, we can't fool him. If we go through the motions, God won't give us answers. Haggai chapter 1:5 "Consider your ways". 

Sorry this has been shorter, We don't have much time to email today. I need to get back into the habit of pre-writing these posts so they'll be more descriptive. Part of the problem is that now that I'm in a car, we do a lot more teaching; instead of tracting and getting funny stories. So I promise to do better next week.
Hope you guys have a good week!

Scott Kuhnen
The Great Tennessee Knoxville Mission

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Week 14 In the Field

C'mon Vamanos! Everybody lets go! C'mon lets get too it! I know that we can do it! Where are we going? Kuhnen's Blog! Hurrrayy!

Alright that's enough Dora the Explorer...although I came up  with several Nickelodeon twists to this post, I'll save ya'll the grief. 

So this week was a very good week for us in Rockwood/ Spring City/ Oakdale. We packed our schedule with appointments, and a few service opportunities...and we had a BAPTISM on SUNDAY. I'll talk more about it after these temporal observations.

If there was one thing I learned this week it was that you don't talk trash about the South (cough* cough* Shaan Chilikuri) The people here want you to know a few things: 1. You got a problem with their battle flag or way of life? Come say it to their face. 2. Come try and take their guns and you'd better come with a group of people because you and as many as they have bullets for are going to get a casket. 
That brings me to my next observation: Guns. In Tennessee; the local high school has a gunsmith class, where kids can bring in guns from home and learn about how to fix them. Out West, we see gang violence; and guns being misused by immature people. Guns are viewed as tools only idiots or evil people have. Why would anybody need them? Well in the South, gun ownership is a method of teaching kids to mature. Everyone we meet over 16 has a gun with them. Parents have taught them from an early age about the reality that scares everyone out West: Guns allow people to kill easily. But they don't just give guns to anyone...the kids have to earn them. They learn to respect the weapon, take care of them, learn the "rules" of using them etc. Nobody points the gun at anyone unless they are willing to shoot right then. When everybody knows that everybody is armed, it makes it a big incentive to not try and start anything or commit crime. 

Apparently Obama laid out some new gun regulation proposals; and everyone down here just is chuckling because nobody is "buying" guns anymore...they're buying the parts separately and then assembling the weapon themselves. Can't register parts, so if you build it yourself, the government doesn't know you have it. It's becoming more popular than buying guns from stores like Walmart or Gun Shops that require registration. 

Last gun remark for the week. Every home we go into I ask how many guns the people have. I've been in 3 homes in Knoxville that didn't have one home in Spring City that has 55 guns. (I counted them myself). I'm keeping track in a tab and the average household has 5 guns. One family I've met is in the process of mounting a 30 cal machine gun on their roof. So if the government does end up trying to squeeze the right to bear arms, the people will give the government the right to bear the arms of the dead back to the funeral homes. 

So don't try it guys. Many times when I tell someone I'm from California...I get these messages. 

Ok, SO WHAT HAPPENED THIS WEEK? Well...Here's a look from 11am -8pm from this past week. 

This isn't entirely accurate. Blue is scheduled lessons, green is finding, yellow is service, purple is studies, red is meetings. But we try to stay busy. 

We found some new investigators, and lost a few. I'll expound on a few of these blocks that turned out real well.

We recently found the Sealis family, they are a large family that somehow grew up not religious. Unlike California; where religion isn't important anymore, it still plays a major role in the South. It's called the Bible Belt for a reason. Anyway, we taught them the restoration and it wasn't going so good at the beginning, but then we started talking about the Great Apostasy and the need for a restoration. BOOM, spiritual bomb was leveled on this family's head and everything made sense. I can't remember what we said, or anything I just know that they had a very big Ah-Ha! moment. We were pretty much commanded to come back after that lesson. They came to church this Sunday; wish we could have them at the baptism, but all things in due time. I'll continue to update yall's on their progress. 
The Baptism on Sunday.

Jacob is having a rut.  He doesn't want to put in effort to quit smoking, but he tells us every time we see him that he's going to do it the next day. He comes to church and everything, just needs to muster the strength to get er done. 

Scott (hey) is doing great. He is learning about the restoration and finds the restoration of the priesthood to be of great interest. He can't get enough of the Great Apostasy. Scott is working towards being baptized, it's just a matter of understanding and feeling right about it. He believes in everything we teach him, he just wants to understand more before he gets involved, which is totally OK. 

The Baldwins are a family that have us over for bible study. They like how we can explain things, and won't ask for money. It's been hard to teach them only because they are strong in their church, but we taught the Plan of Salvation 2 weeks ago, and they showed up at our church early yesterday. It was pretty cool to have them come and feel the spirit. They enjoyed it and said they would be back again. 

What Tennessee will do to you...
Finally, we had a baptism this week. The ward actually had 2 on Sunday. We had our baptism with Cheyanne; and the other Elders had Barbara. We had most of the Ward there to witness it. It was a great experience, and it's my first baptism that I actually taught all the lessons. She was super exited and invited her school class and teacher, who got to hear the message of the Restoration. We could possibly be meeting with the teacher this next week, so hold onto your hats! Baptisms are a great opportunity to learn about the church. (Especially when it's a convert) It's a time where people can gather and witness for themselves the change in a person.  They can see what baptism is really all about and how important it is to God's plan and especially why it should be done with priesthood power.

Well I hope you all have a great week this week. Sorry about the gun rants, I was really bored in Seminary this morning. Stay tuned for next's coming real soon!

Scott Kuhnen
The Great Tennessee Knoxville Mission

Monday, April 25, 2016

Week 13 In The Field

Week 13 has arrived and it is a transfer week.  I'm not leaving Rockwood and neither is Elder Patterson.  The exciting thing this week is we got a new car! We originally had a white 2013 Ford Fusion (Grant Malquist would love this car), but we just got a brand new 2016 Nissan Altima. It's a pretty nice car, but the sound system is absolutely terrible. Classical music doesn't even sound good, so I can't imagine Future or Drake would sound like. Anyway, it still has new car smell and I haven't smelled that since I last got to drive Grant's new Lincoln MKZ.  Well, enough about cars.

The only pitbull I'll ever hold...
This week was a good week for the Lord in Rockwood. The Rockwood Ward has 16 active Elders and 8 High Priests, and the number is slowly going down as a few people have recently moved or are scheduled to move this summer. This week we were blessed to be able to find some members who are perspective Elders and willing to come to church. The first is William.  William is 18 and is going to college locally. He hadn't been to church in Rockwood before, and had not been in over a year. We got his address from the church in Iowa and were able to contact the fa
mily. The family as a whole wouldn't come to church, but William would. William felt the difference (the spirit) this past Sunday. He loved church so much, he came out with us to help us teach 3 lessons afterwards. He taught about the Savior's earthly ministry, part of the lesson of the Restoration. William has decided to come back to church completely, he is committed to go to college through December 2017, but then wants to go on a mission. All this change in just a week. Truly the Lord's hand was present in his life, and can be for all who accept it.  I know that the Atonement can cover all.  It's an infinite atonement and can work for William, myself, and everyone else who will accept it.

The other guy we found is Mike. Mike and Janet are from Sacramento, close...yet so far. Ha. :)   Anyway, they lived in California for 28 years and joined the church in 2000. Mike was never advanced in the Priesthood past the office of a Priest. After they retired , they built a home in the middle of no-where, Tennessee which happens to be our area.  They have been living here for 3 years without knowing the church existed in Rockwood. They RV all over the country, for long periods of time, and had just never really been around to move their recordst. We ran into them by chance at Walgreens. They noticed the LDS missionary tag, and they were surprised to find out the church out here in the 'Sticks of Tennessee.

Mike and Janet, are the only members in their family, and they had forgotten much of the doctrine of the church. We've been doing what I called LDS crash course 101. It's been all the lessons really in depth, but compiled into super lessons, with extended Bible study along with each principle. It's been working out so far, and our goal is to see them enter into the temple.

People keep presenting me with these when they hear I'm from California.
Something cool that we talked about in Church this week: weakness. Isn't this the best topic? I absolutely love talking about it. Ether 12:27. But this time the conversation was centered on leadership, and God's mouthpiece, the Prophet. We spend a lot of time talking about our weaknesses, as regular people, members of the church, families, work etc, but what about those that are called of God......big time callings like the Prophet and Apostles. They had weaknesses too. In fact; if you really look at it, nobody in the Bible could pass a modern day background check. I mean come on! Look at Paul, LOOK AT HIM! We all know Paul's story, because we know his name hasn't always been Paul! When Paul was Soul, he persecuted Christians, he would march into their homes and arrest, kill, attack people for believing in Christ. Then he has his little encounter, and all of a sudden...almost the rest of the New Testament from that point is him preaching repentance. Paul clearly states that among sinners, I am chief among you. Moses told God he couldn't do his job because he had a speech impediment. Nephi tells us that he hates writing, but does it anyway because God strengthens him. Joseph Smith clearly made mistakes. You can read all about them in Doctrine and Covenants. Joseph Smith could have chosen to remove those accounts and sections out of D&C to make him look more professional and perfect, but he left them in. Why? To show us that he wasn't perfect, and he knew it. He sought the Atonement, and needed it just as much as any other person on Earth. 

So all this to say that ALL men (and women) have weakness. Read Ether 12:27 again if you don't believe me. Just because someone is called to serve a mission, or someone is called to be [insert calling, office, job etc] doesn't mean they are perfect. God calls us because He wants us to learn, and have experiences.   With the Atonement: all sin can be forgiven, all weaknesses can be made strengths, and any day can be the day a person chooses to come closer to Christ. 

Well, that was my spiritual rant for the week. 

It has been a great week complete with some tracting,  some fantastic meals, and even had a lesson in Spanish with a drunk guy that almost resulted in a bar fight. But I've decided that those stories are best kept in my Journal for now... 

Hope yalls have a good week!
Elder Kuhnen
The Great Tennessee Knoxville Mission