Friday, December 26, 2014

Elder Kennington and the Christmas Festivities

The Mama Note: We got to have 40 minutes of video chat time with Elder Kennington Christmas morning. It took a little while and several phone calls from Owen to finally get something working, but we succeeded (I had such a hard time telling if he was talking to me or someone else in the room because it was 3/4's Spanish and some halting English on the phone calls as we tried to hash out technical issues. Does anyone know how it is possible to video chat in FB?). It was so good to hear his voice and see his face. His speech has taken on a definite Hispanic cadence -- the rise and fall of his voice and how he would pause in his speaking. Love it!

The pumpkin that keeps re-appearing is Jeffrey, created by Evan out of one of our garden pumpkins. He has graced our kitchen since October. I think he looks like one of the Plants Versus Zombies zombies, but don't tell Evan I said that. 
Owen said he needed to get off at 11:40. Here we are, waving good-bye at precisely 11:40 a.m. -- check out the clock in the upper right hand corner.

He talked to us about the challenges of contacting people there. They are very reluctant to be straightforward about where they live, when they'll be home, even what their names are. Owen said they have an extra chapter in their versions of Preach My Gospel that focuses entirely on technique and using creative ways to get around people's innate caginess. He also explained he has always felt very safe and hasn't had any experiences yet with being mugged or anything. He did say he got he and his companion lost once and that was unnerving, but they finally figured out where they were and made it home safely. He has had some powerful experiences with the Holy Ghost working with him and his companion as they have worked with the less active families in their ward there, including helping one family stay together.

Anyway, there is a little extra to share from his Monday email, plus lots of pictures. Enjoy!


I need to start by saying that it is seriously weirding me out that Christmas is this week. *Estoy muy animado que ten ere la oportunidad por hablar con mi familia.

Because it is Christmas this week we had an all-time low for church attendance yesterday, 35. But of that 35 people that were there, there were three of our investigators that we brought and six more menos activos [less actives] that we worked with in the week. We are hoping to start seeing some serious fruits from our work, even hoping to **sacar una fecha baptismal por uno de nuestros investigators, se llama Jairo. El tine como 22 amos, per vea como 16. El es muy bueno, muy curioso y con muchisimo hambre por conocimiento.

We had our Christmas mission conference this last week, which concluded with a little Christmas themed talent show. I got to sing a beautiful arrangement of What Child is This, and then afterwards I played a few Christmas numbers on the violin. Really, it was a blast, and it brought home to me the power that music really has.  Two hundred missionaries crammed into a chapel all dying of hunger and wanting to head to the cultural hall next door, chatting and having a marvelous time, all went quiet to listen to each person that had something prepared. Really, music is incredible.

Additionally, we watched a documentary called Meet the Mormons that was released in the United States recently. It was to help other nonmembers understand us, and it is incredible. I would highly recommend it.

I don't have much time left, so I will rely on my family this week to give a more satisfactory report on everything, as I will be calling them in a few days. :)

Nos vemos!! Les amo mucho!!
Elder Kennington

*I'm very excited to have the opportunity to talk with my family.
**take a baptismal date by one of our investigators, called Jairo.  He has about 22 years, but looks like he is 16. He is very, very curious and with much hunger for knowledge.

This picture with me and Elder Lanza has each other elder that he has trained so far in his mission. :) Elder Lanza is my new Zone Leader!!!!

Elder Thompson!

Owen has purchased a violin to use for special musical numbers. He is keeping it in the mission home safe-keeping. Other missionaries who play will be able to borrow it until Owen comes home from his mission, when he will bring the violin home. Owen's viola at home is a little jealous.

We went to the ward Christmas party, of which the highlight was the annual live Nativity Scene with the Primary kids. This year it didn't work so well because Joseph had a crush on Mary and it was obviously not returned in the slightest. I thought Mary looked a little too murderous....Baby Jesus didn't exist because the baby's mom had the cold, so they just left the little blanket open. If He hadn't been born yet I guess I understand what Mary was a little less than complacent. Also, five minutes prior to this moment the angel had been stealing food from the kitchen and acting more like a little Satan than cherubim.....Ha ha

I asked Owen about this picture when we talked on Christmas. He said one of the speakers talked about the blessings Jesus brought with His birth. Everyone in the audience had a slip of paper with a blessing brought by the Savior and as the speaker mentioned that blessing, the person holding it joined the Blessing Train led by this little engineer as they paraded around the cultural hall.

Elder Thompson gives the violin a go.

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