This last week was awesome! It was a little tricky working. Everyone was out of town or busy or drunk, but we were still able to get a lot done.
Firstly, we had an awesome baptism of a family of four yesterday! This family is very very well prepared. The head of the family (Fidel) was feeling the Spirit so much that we had to wait for a bit once he was in the baptismal font because he was crying too much... He is a really awesome convert, and his family is great. We are very grateful that we had the chance to find him and work with him. He is going to do great in the church.
Juan, the miracle that we found last week is doing incredible (the guy that prayed and then had a vision of the chapel and wanted to get baptized that same day). He came to church on his own last week and was very excited. He bought his own manuals and, decided on his own that he wanted to pay a tithing and fast offering. He took what he had out of his wallet (which wasn't much; he lives in very very humble circumstances) and put it in the envelope. He has his interview set for this week, and the bishop wants us to get him baptized this next Sunday. He is very ready.
We have a few other investigators that are also progressing really well. I love this area! There are so many people here that have been prepared by the Lord to hear and become active participants in the Restored Gospel. We had several meetings as missionaries last week to get ready for Christmas. It was wonderful. We all felt the Spirit and learned a lot. And it was nice to celebrate Christmas with so many missionaries. Among the many things I never expected about the mission was how incredibly powerful the Spirit is this time of the year serving as a representative of Jesus Christ. It is truly a special time of the year.
Hope that you all have a wonderful week, and that all can start off 2016 with a bang! Can't believe that my only complete year here in the mission ends this Thursday. Time flies.
Preguntas Bien Rapidito
Q: Who in the ward hosted you for doing your Christmas call home? Please thank them profusely from me.
A: Will do. That was the Martinez Garcia family. :) They are awesome. They always try to take great care of the missionaries. They gave us new ties and a whole boatload of candy after I got done talking with you. :)
Q: Will talking about come home plans over the next few months be okay or will that make you trunky and distracted?
A: That will be a ok. :) No te preocupes. Fire away. :)
Q: Are all of the Toluca wards in the same stake? If not, how many stakes are in the Toluca area?
A: There are two stakes that touch with Toluca. Toluca, and Metepec. Though rumores are that the Toluca stake will divide here soon (thanks to a really good ward named Haciendas and some work the missionaries were up to out there... :):):) ). Weee! :D
Q: What kinds of things have you learned to cook?
A: The really amazing mexican rice, tortillas, enchiladas, sopa, and a couple othjer things.
Q: Have you learned to make any desserts? Flan?
A: Desserts? nooo... :P I'll repent. :) Haha.
Sunset in my new area
Christmas missionary activity
Baptism of Fidel and his family. Notice everyone has something on their feet to stay warm...those tile floors are cold. Elder Kennington and Elder Zuniga are seated on the floor.
December 21, 2015
This last week was really really good. We have a family that we are currently preparing for baptism right now. They are a family of five. They are all really good. The father, Fidel, is going to be getting baptized this Sunday, and we are very excited. He is very sensitive to the Spirit. When we shared the first vision with him he began to cry and cry and cry, and the rest of the family just sat there silent. He loves the gospel and he loves the church, and he can hardly wait for this next Sunday. The rest of his family will be quickly following suit; we only need to help them get over a few problems with the Sabbath Day (they work on Sundays), and they will be there too.
We had a baptism yesterday that was truly a huge miracle. There is a woman who is part of a part-member family that hasn't been baptized for years simply because she has been living with her boyfriend and they don't want to get married. Her name is Judith, and this last week her boyfriend got stuck in jail for some false charges, and due to the fact that they aren't married the law has made it very complicated for her to help him (not being officially his wife), and they have had a lot think about. It sounds like her boyfriend will be getting out on the 11th of January this next year, and the first thing that they will be doing is letting us help get them married! And the boyfriend now wants to be a member of the church. Because she is no longer living in an union libre, she decided to get baptized just yesterday, and her baptism was a wonderful experience.
We also had a huge miracle yesterday. We got to church with a family of investigators, and when we got there, there was a man that neither Elder Zúñiga or I had seen before. As we talked with him after the services we found out that his name is Juan. He had been passing a lot of hard stuff in his life, and needed God. So he said a prayer and saw in his mind an image of the chapel, and came that very day to see why (this was a Saturday). The bishop from Universidad was there, gave him a pamphlet for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and then told him to come back to church the following day at 11:00 (our services). And he came. While we were talking with him he asked how he could become a member of the church and how long it would take, telling us that what he had seen and felt in the church was a confirmation from God as to where he needed to be. We went to his house later that night to better get to know him, and he was asking us about getting baptized that very same day. I love the gospel. And I love Christmas.
This next year is going to be so incredible. I'm, not gonna lie, I have all of this has come at the perfect time. This last week I have been feeling a little lonely (for the first time here in the mission, actually....). Last Christmas was incredible mostly because I spent it in a very familiar area with one of my best friends that I have made here in the mission, surrounded by members and converts that I know and love, but here I am having a really hard time with getting to know everyone. The ward had some recent bad experiences with the missionaries, so it isn't too keen on spending time with us. But it has given me an opportunity to really focus on my investigators and how I can serve all those around me. I am very excited to see what Christmas has in store. And not just because I am gonna get to talk with my gorgeous family that day. :):):)
Merry Christmas! Please don't ever forget the reason we celebrate it, and the proper way of celebrating the birth of the Savior. Have a great one. :)
Preguntas Bien Rapidito
Q: Tell me a little more about your companion?
Family: He lived with his mom and his little sister back home.
Stuff he likes: He loves dancing, fiestas, going places with his friends, and spending time on the beach (he lives about 15 mintues away on foot).
Hobbies he has? Dancing. And more dancing. And a little more dancing on top of that. :)
City in Chiapas state where he is from: Tonalá
His favorite thing about the gospel: Su abilidad para cambiar vidas. [It's ability to change lives]
Q: Your favorite thing about the gospel:
A: I love seeing to joy light up peoples lives and eyes as they accept it. I love seeing the difference in peoples lives as they allow it to envelope them. The light and peace that comes. The way that I feel around them after they accept completely the Gospel is completely different. I love its perfection, and its ability to perfect. Man. Do I have to choose just one thing? ... I love how perfectly it demonstrates God's love for us as His children; as His work and as His glory.
Q: Do you know what your Christmas Day calling details are yet?
A: I will be calling around 9:30-10:00 am (the hour here :) ). It sounds like we will have half an hour to talk. I would be disappointed if I weren't seeing and hugging you in seven months anyway. :):):):) I can't believe it.
Baptism of Judith
The ward Christmas activity. In Mexico pinatas are only used at Christmas.
An investigator sent all of his religious images home with the missionaries after being taught the importance of only worshipping God.
December 14, 2015
Hey there! :D
Welp. There were transfers. I am now in Metepec (which is on the other side of Toluca. I now have more than a year here in the Toluca area.... Five months in Universidad. Six months in Haciendas. And now I am starting here in Las Torres (the name of the area and the ward.) And I am training again. His name is Elder Zúñiga, from Chiapas (one of the other states here in Mexico, south and all the way down). He looks really good. He doesn't know a whole lot (until a couple of years ago he had been inactive for roughly 14 years), but he has more desire to share the gospel than just about any new missionary that I've seen. I am very excited to start working and learning with him.
The area looks really good. It has a LOT of little tiny pueblos out in the middle of nowhere, and we will be spending a lot of time out in the boonies. :) The ward also looks pretty good.
Fun fact. This ward is the other ward that shares a chapel with Universidad, so I will be seeing all those members and converts each Sunday. I am so excited I can't stand it!! Haha. I just can't seem to escape Toluca.
Elder Fjerstad stayed back there in Haciendas (about 30 minutes away :)) with a Brazilian companion. He looks like he will be really good as well. We are gonna see each other around Christmas. I am super excited. :) Haha.
Christmas is right around the corner. I can hardly believe it. It is blowing my mind how quickly time is flying. I still don't know when exactly I will be talking with the fam. It will be Christmas day sometime in the morning, but that is about all I know. :)
I love Christmas so much. The Spirit is always so strong for me. We get to just go nuts as missionaries contacting and looking for people to teach. :) That about wraps it up on this end.
Love you all so much!
My gorgeous new area
A Christmas present from Hortencia and her family to Elder Kennington (I didn't cry. I just started sweating from my eyes, that's all :) ) --
A cool souvenir Elder Kennington found in Haciendas. He described it as being made of concrete.
Night-time in Metepec on Elder Kennington's street.
December 7, 2015
This last week was ok. Elder Fjerstad and I struggled a little bit with bringing all the families that we have to church. We are finding families right now, but we still haven't found that one golden family that the Lord has perfectly ready for us quite yet. We had a few over the last couple of weeks, but they all got baptized. Finding more chosen and prepared people is going to be our focus this coming week.
We had a stake conference this last Sunday where they called a new stake president! The stake conference was phenomenal. Presidente Whitehead and Elder Piper of the seventy were there. We will be applying a lot over the next few months, especially the keeping of the Sabbath Day. So many of the members here still don't understand that completely. I was rather frustrated to see them, right when we got back from the conference, in restaurants eating, in tiendas buying food, and outside playing soccer, all right after having been told by a seventy/member of the area Presidency that these things were not to be done on Sundays.
I am very excited and rather anxious for the changes that we will be seeing here over the next couple weeks. First off we have a new stake president (to whom our bishop is now a counselor), we will be getting a new bishop now, the zone of Atlacomulco will be joining with Toluca, and this district with be receiving two more areas. I am so excited to see what will happen. I would love to stay here one more change to try and help with everything that is going on and give even more to this ward and district and zone, but I also know that revelation is very real. And I trust that whatever happens will be the best thing possible.
Love you all!
Bye bye Haciendas :(Elder Fjerstad y Elder Kennington con la familia Santillan.
Antonio y Marisol in Haciendas. Elder Fjerstad and Elder Kennington.
Marisol y Antonio have a cute little turtle named Peppa
La familia Perez Estevez that always took awesome care of the missionaries in Haciendas. Elder Fjerstad and Elder Kennington.
My zone leaders love me.