Saturday, April 9, 2016

Moto-Taxis, Pink Trousers, and a Baptism


This last week was incredible! It was a week full of miracles.

First off, we were finally able to track down one of our investigators that was going to get baptized. She was really excited for her baptism and to be in the church, but the day before her baptism her work took her all the way out there do D.F., and since then we haven't managed to track her down. Then, Friday in the night, we had the distinct impression to pass by her house. There we found her, and she accepted a baptismal date for Sunday. In her baptism yesterday everyone felt the Spirit very strongly. Myrna has suffered a lot to be able to get to the point where being baptized is something that she wants to do, but finally getting there made it all worth it. She is very happy.

Secondly, we found another miracle on Wednesday. We had the appointment to go eat lunch with a member, but the member called us last minute and canceled the food. We were hungry, tired, and looking for something to eat, and then felt the impression to go with a certain recent convert that lives close to our house. When we got there we found the sister with one of her friends. Her friend is named Julieta, and is a member of the church. As we were talking with Julieta we discovered that she lives in our area. And that she hasn't been to church in 22-25 years. She just got divorced from her ex-missionary husband to whom she was sealed. As we were talking with her, she mentioned that she had a 13 year old son that wasn't a member. We met him, starting teaching them in her house, and the son, Ian, is going to be getting baptized this Sunday! They went to General Conference on Saturday and yesterday, and also went to Myrna's baptism. Woo!

And, on top of all that, I was finally able to work a lot out with my relationship with my companion. During the whole conference I felt like what I needed to do was try harder to demonstrate charity and tell him that I love him. After the conference we still weren't getting along, so when we got to the house I sat us down and we began to talk openly about what was going on. During the talk I felt inspired to tell him how much I want to be really good friends and how much I want to be able to help enjoy his mission as much as possible. And Elder Lara opened up. There was a lot that he was struggling with that I had no idea, simply because he didn't ever say anything. I am so grateful for the Spirit that we felt. After much consolation we went back to work, but able to work much better together. We are doing great now. :)

In the conference I learned a lot. My favorite talks were Pres. Nelson's talk in the Priesthood Session on Priesthood Power. I really want to increase my priesthood power and understanding. That will be one of the focuses of my personal studies this week. :) I also loved Elder Holland's talk yesterday. The General Conferences have always been sacred to me, and I couldn't have said it better than him. When we have celestial moments in our lives, when the hand of heaven clasps my hand here on earth in perfect fellowship, it is so hard to always realize that those moments come to an end. Just like the mission does. I will make the most of every moment that I have left.

And a pidgeon pooped on my only long-sleeved shirt as I walked under a tree. ... I guess that it "is precise that there must needs be an opposition in all things..." Haha. The pidgeons here are evil. I will condemn them all in the Final Judgment.

Love all of you to bits! And if you see a pidgeon shake your fist at it angrily for me. :)

Elder Kennington

Preguntas Bien Rapidito
Q:  Did you get to watch General Conference this weekend or will you have to wait for it?
A:  We got to watch it! I loved it!! I never expected a General Authority, let alone Elder Holland, share a meme in General Conference... XD

Q:  What was the biggest blessing from this past week?
A:  ... There were three! The miracle of finding Myrna and being able to help her get baptized was enourmous. It was also wonderful to be able to start reactivating and baptizing a wonderful mother and son. And a gigantic blessing to finally have my companions heart opened and softened so I know how to help him and help him to become the best missionary he can be. :) It was also a huge blessing that we recieved our monthly deposit. I was feeling rather poor. :)

Q:  WHAT DID YOU DO ABOUT YOUR TROUSERS????? Do you need $$ for new pants?
A:  Haha, I have them dry hanging up in my closet, pink as ever. :) Haha. I think the trousers that I have will last me out through these last 3 months, don't worry about it! :) I'm ok on that front!

Here is the story of the trousers from a week ago:

 I accidentally got chlorine on one of my favorite pair of pants, which completely discolored them. So I bought some dyes to try and put them back to their original color. I first had to take all the color out, and then re-dye them. First off, the dye reeked like heck. Think back to Harry Potter 1 when Petunia is dye-ing (no idea how to spell that anymore) Harry's new "school uniform." It honest to goodness smells like rotten eggs. Bleh.  

#1- After the complete discoloration  
#2- After trying to dye them back to their original gray. I swear to you that the dye was NOT pink. I even checked the package. But somehow they just finished pink. ... Harrumphf.

One of the many forms of transport here in México is by moto-taxi. You know how they have those attatchments for bicicles so that fathers can take their kids bycicling with them without making them tired. Just take a few pipes and sauder them together, put a tarp over it all and then fasten the whole lot to the back of a dirtbike and you have a moto-taxi. This is a really poor foto from inside of one. Through the little plastic window you can vaguely see the driver, and then the little door. They´re fun. :)

 Elder Lara is tired. :)

The baptism of Myrna 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

New Companion But Same District and Snails Named Gary

This last week has been crazy!

We got our changes.






I stayed. And Elder Costello went to Metepec (the area right next door :) Haha). And I am training again. .... Again. :) Haha. Super Excited.

My companion is named Elder Lara, from Oaxaca. He was in the mission about a year ago but for health reasons he had to go home right after he got here. But he is back now. THere were only two Elders that got here this change... Very few.

I didn't write on Monday because I was waiting for him in the Toluca Terminal. Haha I got there at 8:00 am to drop off Elder Costello and then my companion didn't get there till 6:00 pm. Eesh. Haha. I was there for about ten hours with another Elder just waiting. On the bright side I now have all of the brands and routes of the buses here in this area memorized. :) Haha.

We have been dashing out to Toluca every day of this week to take care of some marriage paper stuff for Elder Fjerstad because he is way out in the middle of nowhere. That's fun too. We will be finishing up all the paper stuff today.

And our baptism from last week fell because she went to D.F. Sigh. She just disappeared off the face of the planet last week. We hope to finally track her down today...

They took the Elders out of my district, just leaving the sisters. We have a new sister who is finishing up the training of the other. The new sister is kicking butt out there. We are struggling to keep up with them. :) Haha

That about wraps up this last week and a half. :)

Love you guys!
Elder Kennington

Preguntas Bien Rapidito

Q: How long does it take you to pack up your belongings to move on a transfer?
A: I can get all of my stuff packed in about 45 minutes to an hour. I got a little bit of practice now. :)

Q: What is the most common transportation mode for going to a new area? With whom do you travel?
A: Well, we take a taxi to the terminal, a bus to:
1. Observatorio, if we are going to be working in a D.F. area
2. Zitácuaro, if we are going to a Zitácuaro area
3. Toluca terminal, if we are going ot be working in Lerma, Metepec, or Toluca

Then from there we take a taxi with our new companion to the next area. It is sweet.

Q: Have you found any small shops that you enjoy patronizing?
A: There is this one street that I love that is filled with all this cultural hand-made stuff. It's really cool. Yup.

Q: What do most people do for employment in this area?
A: Construction, brickmaking, all sorts of stuff like that. :)

Q: What odd encounters with wild life or people have you have this week?​
A: Well, we are teaching this guy that has years of alcohol abuse, which has caused him a lot of damage to his brain. So while he is still a good, normal guy he has some odd quirks. Like the other day when he showed us this little fishtank that had a couple snails, telling us about his "Snail Ranch." He calls each one of them Gary. :) Haha.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Kindling Builders

Hallo mein familia tan bonita! :) Como c'est va?

This last week was full of ups and downs. We had a lot of investigators committed to church, but only about half came. The nice thing is that the reasons that they didn't come were real and valid life-just-happens sorts of reasons. They are all committed for this week, and we are very excited. We are just working on hard-core leña building (when you have a progressing investigator that isn't baptized we nickname them leña (kindling). Burning all the leña=Baptizing all the investigators and not leaving anyone behind for the next elders to teach) for the next change now. Next change will be a very good one here in Las Torres.

Thinking about changes, I am very excited to see what these ones have in store. Elder Costello and I are finally knuckling down our ability to work together in better unity, and I would love to stay one more change with him to enjoy that work. We have a lot going on here, and we want to keep it going. 

The district is doing well. The sisters have struggled this whole change. They are always very on-the-ball trying to get stuff done; they are always very excited and happy to be engaged in the work of salvation. They're awesome! The elders are doing ok. One of the elders is more than ready to be a district leader. He has been doing great. :) 

Whatever winds up happening with the changes, I am excited for the next opportunity to keep working!

Our investigators that are coming to church are progressing really well. There is one in particular that is awesome that is going to be getting baptized this next Sunday. Her son and daughter-in-law are also progressing extremely well, and are getting ready to get baptized in a couple weeks. The son needs a lot of help with a smoking problem.

That about wraps up this last week. . ... Bye! :D
Elder Kennington

Oh. And we had a drunk lady in the street ask us a couple days ago if we were strippers. .... No comment..... Haha. We both about fell over laughing.

Preguntas Bien Rapidito
Q:  What spices do I need to stock up on before you come home with all those yummy Mexican recipes? 
A:  Hmm... The normal spices like oregano, dill... I will have to get back to you on that one. Where I am at the main centerpieces of the recipes are the garlic, the onions, and the frying and stuff. And I have a secret incredient that I am bringing home so we can find it and make realy tacos. :) 

Q:  What do you know about the mission offices moving? Why did they move? 
A:  They moved just a few weeks ago, about three or four blocks away from where they were at. Basically someone else decided that they liked our offices better than theirs and so they kicked us out. :P I am glad that I escaped the offices before that happened. :) 

Q:  How much longer do you have in this change? 
A:  This Monday is the last Monday of this change. Next Monday there will have been cambios. :) 

Q:  How are you doing with the money situation? 
A:   I think I am doing ok. Today I had to buy a new backpack 'cause my current backpack is destroyed. 

Q:  What are you eating for breakfast and dinner these days? 
A:  Macaroni and cheese. Eggs. OH! And I started making some really tasty shakes for the both of us every morning that have: 
 -Two Bananas 
 -A mountain of oatmeal 
 -A couple coconut cookies- 
 -Chocolate powder 
 -A little cinnamon 
 -Two raw eggs I love it. :) 

Q:  Have you learned to make flan yet? I’m dying to learn how to make this myself. 

Q:  Do you understand the Hispanic method for last names? Please elaborate! 
A:  Yep! I always got confused at first. But it is actually really simple. Everyone here has their first two names like normal (Owen Harvey, for example) and then they have their two last names. Their first last name is the first last name of their father. And their second last name is the first last name of their mother. For example, here I would be Owen Harvey Kennington Harbrecht. We would be the Kennington Harbrecht family. :)

I forgot to take a photo of the pizza until the last moment. :) Last piece!! It was super good! I now know how to make pizza with a filled crust. :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Mamas Rely on Loving Members

There was never any question in my mind about sending Owen on his mission.  I was thrilled by his desire and worthiness to serve.  He has grown in so many ways being in Mexico, serving and sacrificing.  Still, as his mother I miss him terribly.  That has never eased, although I thought it would.  When members reach out to our missionary children, feed them, love them, and look after them in their mothers' absence, it makes this missionary mom's heart full.  It is extra thrilling when those members make the effort to share photos and experiences with the missionary mom.  The Garcia family in Elder Kennington's current district have reached out to me and shared extra tidbits I wouldn't otherwise get about how my amazing son is doing.  I love them.  Here is what they shared this week:

Brother Garcia said:  "Hello.  Today we got to do sushi.  Here is the evidence he is learning to make sushi:"
Come on Elder Kennington! It's going to be tasty!

Elder Costello looks just a little *too* happy about that knife!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Pizza -- It's What's For Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

February 29, 2016


This last week was awesome! We focused on finding new investigators and more people to start teaching, and found a lot of success. We found a couple new families to teach and a new investigator that is extremely ready for the Gospel. The new investigator is a woman that has passed through a lot in her life. She has lost children, lost jobs, gotten divorced, and a whole load of other things. But she has finally found where she can find the solace that she is looking for. She is going to be getting baptized on the 13th of March. We are really excited for her.

What really helped us out last week was looking for and asking for and begging for references from everyone in sight. We talked with everyone we could, and asked for people to teach from each one. We finished the week with a personal record for references recieved in a week (58!) the next week we will be getting at least 70. ... That is the goal anyway. We want to find even more new investigators that are ready to progress.

Elder Costello and I are doing well. We are both missionaries that have time in the mission and that have a decent amount of experience, which is nice. It makes doing divisions with the members particularly effective. Love it!

The ward is doing well. Chugging along. Nothing much to report.
Elder Kennington

Sunset in Metepec

And we ordered a huge pizza. Pizza and the BoM. Can't get much better than that. :)

This is a joven that always comes with us. He is twelve years old and a few inches taller than I am. I'm short.

The Elders baptized an investigator on Sunday. His name is Rey David. We totally baptized King David. :):) He is awesome!

The font water was green. It looked like gatorade. Bleh.

And finally, a family that Elder Kennington and his companion spend time with during the week (and who apparently feeds them well!) sent me some pictures they took of Elder Kennington and Elder Costello making pizza at their home.  This is the same family that Owen Skyped from at Christmas.  They are the Garcia family.

Were you caught licking the bowl again?

Nice hairnet Elder Costello!!

Where was Elder Kennington's hairnet?

Glad to see our missionary is displaying the gracious table manners with which his mother sent him into the field.

If you will compare this pizza with the anemic one they purchased above, I think that will explain their glazed, awed expressions.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Baptism and Birds


This last week was all over the place. In some ways it was very successful, and in others it was a little tough. 

We had a baptism yesterday. The young man that we found a few weeks ago just barely got baptized. He has been really excited for a long time. We found him because he broke the law of chastity with a member, and she just had her little baby. Last week he had his interview, and it was incredible. He is a phenomenal example of what it means to have a broken heart and a contrite spirit. He told us after his interview that he had talked with his girlfriend and they had decided to take a lot of steps to make sure that they keep the commandments until after they are married. He sacrificed a lot to get baptized, including being able to live with his parents (they kicked him out when they found out that he was listening to us), living a normal easy life (instead of abandoning the baby he started working full time to support his baby and girlfriend, despite maintaining his education), among many other things. 

We are struggling to find good strong people that are progressing. We are working a lot with the members and the less actives and the recent converts. We are looking for and working really hard to get references so we can start teaching all their conocidos. So far we have found a lot of success with this, including finding someone that is really, really ready to hear the gospel. We found her in her house, and then thirty minutes later we were planning her baptism with her for the 14th of March. She is awesome! 

Elder Costello and I are doing well. He has a completely different way of working from what I am used to, so we have spent a lot of time these last couple of weeks trying to figure it all out, but we are getting the hang of it really well. He has a lot of experience here in the mission, and I am certain that I am going to learn a lot this change. It would be awesome to stay another one together! 

We have to figure something out about our house. We have a little patio out behind the kitchen where we wash clothes and put them on a line to dry. I keep putting out all my laundry freshly washed, but we have a little problem with pigeons in the apartment complex. And I come outside every day only to find that my freshly washed laundry got decorated by the local flying rats. Absolutely covered in what they were eating the day before... Sigh. I am about ready to track down a BB gun and wait for the little buggers to get there. Harrumphf. :) 

Welp. That about wraps up this last week. 

Elder Kennington

 Zone Conference.  The first missionary Elder Kennington trained, Elder Gavilla, is on the far left middle row.  His most recent companion, Elder Fjerstad is right in front of Owen on the front row.  Owen's current companion, Elder Costello, is wearing a red tie on the middle row. And here is a "It's a Small World" connection for you:  Elder Costello was Elder Thompson's MTC companion, and Elder Thompson was Owen's companion in Toluca a year ago. So an MTC companionship shared a mutual companion in the mission field! Crazy stuff.  

Francisco (white shirt seated front row) and his future in-laws at his baptism.  Elder Costello and Elder Kennington are on the back row right side.

Inside the church building before the baptism.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Plucking the Sisters From Danger

Hi there!!!

This last week was completely upside down.

The sister missionaries that we have in the district had a fun time. They woke up last week with a group of men trying to break into their house in the middle of the night. And then the days following afterwards they could hear their footsteps on the roof, they could see guys watching their house, and all sorts of creepy stuff like that.

We spent most of the week out there in Atlatlahuca 2 helping out the sisters with looking for a new house and then helping them move. Where they were living was really insecure. Finally on Saturday we were able to find a house in the center of a really safe pueblo. We are going to help them finish up the move today. They won't have anymore problems in this house. And we didn't even have to crack any skulls or break any kneecaps. :):) .

Elder Costello and I are doing great. We are working hard and I am learning a lot. We get along great, and aren't having any problems with teaching unifiedly or anything of that nature. I love these kinds of companionships!

The ward is doing great. We have been working a lot with the bishopric in getting the ward involved in sharing the gospel with non-members, and visiting those who do not come. We have a big ward-wide family home evening this Friday that will be a great opportunity for the members to be able to participate in just that.

We have an investigator that could potentially get baptized this Sunday who is in kind of an interesting situation. His name is Fransisco. He is a joven of 19 years that was dating a member, and then got her pregnant. Rather than running away from responsibility and trying to simplify his life he started working in addition to going to school so as to support his new little girl (the daughter just got born in December) and his girlfriend so she can keep studying too. He even started listening to us and really wants to get baptized, and for that interest his parents kicked him out of the house. So he is currently living with the family of his girlfriend. But I am not certain if they have to get married before he can get baptized, because they are living under the same roof? The mom is completely against marriage, but everyone else is game. His interview is scheduled for this Wednesday. We will find out this week. :)

Oh. And I forgot to tell you that I am a district leader again. I've been all over the place with my assignments. :) Haha...

Hope that you all have a lovely week!
Elder Kennington

Mom's Quick Questions
Q: What has your mission president said to the missionaries about the Zika virus?
A: umm... What is that....? :P

Q: What is the name of that electronics shopping mecca you told us about? Where is it?
A: It is in el Zócalo in D.F. I have no idea what it is called... It is a huge store that has a lot of individual booths and sellers. It isn't owned by a specific company or anything. Big specific companies are a little hard to find here in México. :)

Q: Introduce us to your new companion. What is he like?
A: Elder Costello is a stud. This is his second to last transfer in the mission. He is from the generation of Elder Thompson. Actually, he and Elder Thompson were companions in the MTC. :):) He is really calm and collected, has a lot of hilarious stories, has a girlfriend that is in the mission, is 20 years old, is from Mesa Arizona, and is super hilarious. :)

This is like the Mexican version of the Tree of Life. It is really famous here in Metepec (not sure why...). But you've got Adam, Eve, the serpent, the Angel with a flaming sword, and a bunch of weird stuff. I thought that they looked cool. :)