Wednesday, August 26, 2015

JAMES IS HOME "The kingdom of God or nothing"

Home had multiple meanings this week. First it meant Utah-being home in a place that I love, and second it meant that for the first time in 2 years my family was all together in one home. It was magical.

My brother James returned from a 2 year mission to Seattle Washington on August 24th. The wait at the airport was worse than a 4 year old waiting for Christmas morning. We arrived at the airport at 6:40 but his plane wasn't supposed to land until 7:30. And so.. we waited.. and waited.. and waited some more. We were tracking his flight on some app on my Dad's phone and it seemed like he was never going to make it across Idaho to get here. 7:30 came and went and then 8 came and went. I think my heart had transformed into a giant drum in my chest.

And then.. he came. Down the escalators came a group of young boys and honestly as my eyes quickly searched and found his face, I am not sure what else happened. We all started bouncing up and down and screaming and yelling and crying..

Coming from a house full of women, I am not sure what James was thinking as a welcome for when he arrived home-but I doubt we surprised him with all our tears.

He walked into a cloud of estrogen and tears-with 4 crying sisters+a weepy mom and dad. There was so much love, I wish I could have just gathered it all up in a bottle and held it forever.

It has been amazing to see the change in James in the past 2 years. He left an 18 year old crazy kid and came back a selfless and humble spiritual giant.


I think James's last email home sums up how this kid has changed. It's amazing, he's amazing.

This is it.
My heart is full, but no words are coming to mind. There isn't a letter I could write, or a speech I could give, that would properly convey the feelings I have toward my mission and my Heavenly Father.
That's okay though; I believe the greatest sermon one can give is the way they live their life. I hope that when I come home, you will see the impact that my mission has had on me and who it has helped me to become.
It's hard to see changes in yourself, because change happens incrementally. One change I do see and feel is the presence of the Spirit. I have become well acquainted with Him and know why He is essential in this spiritual battle we are engaged in. I don't believe there is anything more important than keeping the Spirit close and learning to recognize His call.
I will forever be grateful for my mission. I wasn't a foreign speaking missionary, but I did learn the language of the Lord. I'm grateful for that.
The lessons learned, the friendships made, and the experience's the mission has given me mean everything to me and I wouldn't trade them for the world.
I love my Heavenly Father. I love my Savior. I love serving God's children.
I feel I have always known the church was true but serving a mission has helped me become true to the church.
The motto, "The Kingdom of God or nothing." has rooted itself deep in my heart.
I will always be a missionary for the Lord and have handed my life over to Him.
"I'll do what you want me to do and I'll be who you want me to be, dear Lord. If you ever need an errand run, James Kendell will run it for you."
I testify this is the work of Almighty God. He is real. This work is real. There is nothing more real! For real.;)
"You find yourself when you lose yourself" (David W. Hart) That is true.
I hope my offering is acceptable to the Lord.
I love you all! I'll see you real soon.
-Elder Kendell

Saturday, August 1, 2015

A Little Child Like Me

"Jesus once was a little child, 
a little child like me; 
and he was pure and meek and mild, 
As a little child should be.
So little children,
let's you and I
try to be like him, 
Try, try, try."

This was the song that came to mind as I watched my daughter Lydia sit beside a picture of Jesus for a good 5 solid minutes just staring.

When Brian and I were married I remember our sealer telling us to make Christ the center of our home and by so doing we would find great happiness in our lives.

When we moved to Chicago, I knew that our home would be entered by many who were not of our faith. I didn't want there to ever be a question on what we believed in and so in our front entryway we have this picture of Christ hung so that right when you walk in, it is the first thing you see. I have had many people comment on this.. friends, UPS guys, and repairmen. It has been a great segway into talking about what we believe. We have had some great conversations with people when they ask about this picture. 

"And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins." (2 Nephi 25:26)

Across from the picture I have hung a mirror.. this is for my own benefit more than others. Sometimes it is hard to always have positive thoughts about myself-especially when I look in the mirror. With Christ on one wall and the mirror on the other, as I leave the house and take one last look at myself in the mirror I see Christ in the background as I leave which is a reminder to not only think positive thoughts but to always represent my Savior and act like a disciple of Christ.

 “Seek the face of the Lord always, that in patience ye may possess your souls, and ye shall have eternal life” (D&C 101:38).

How can we seek the face of our Savior as I see my daughter doing? Surely it means more than just recognizing him in a picture for us.

I think it means coming to the understanding of who He is as the Son of God, our brother, and our Redeemer. It means understanding what He has done for us by His sacrifice allowing us to return to live with God our Father again. And it also means understanding what He wants us to do with our time here-turning our weaknesses into strengths through our humility and continually bettering ourselves and building up His kingdom through our love for him and others.

The next time you see a baby smiling in his sleep or laughing out of the blue as they stare off at nothing in particular as they play... think about the heavenly dreams that baby must be having or the wonderful things they can see because the veil is still so thin. They know our Savior and so should we.

One day Jesus’s disciples asked Him the following question: “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
Jesus, having summoned a little child, set him in the midst of them and said, “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

“Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:1, 2–4).
"Let's you and I
try to be like him, 
Try, try, try."