Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Four December Posts in One

December 28, 2015 
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. 


Elder Kennington 

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. :) 


Elder Kennington 

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! 

Elder Kennington 

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! 

Elder Kennington

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.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A Courageous Convert

Hiya! This last week was wonderful. We are seeing lots of fruits for our labors.

Yesterday we had the baptism of an older woman that we have been teaching named Martha. She has been wonderful from the start, always very open and excited to have us over. We have high hopes that over the course of the next couple weeks her husband (who usually is in D.F. living with his mom to take care of her) and her son (who is often there who just has a couple struggles with the law of chastity), and her two grandkids (who usually leave on the weekends to be with the mom) can all get baptized too. They are truly a wonderful family.

The baptism was very special. Martha has a phobia of water very very deeply-rooted (even taking showers makes her extremely nervous), but she battled against that to get baptized. She got in the water ok, but the instant that she was submerged the trauma all came and scared her to bits. Thank heavens Elder Fjerstad managed to get her all the way under the first time and we didn't have to repeat the ordinance. Even though after about 10 seconds of trembling she was fine, I was very impacted. It was not easy for her to get baptized and she knew that she was going to be scared out of her mind, but she did it anyway. I want to be as dedicated to doing this work as she was to getting baptized. So that it doesn't matter what fear or pain or temptation I have thrown at me, I continue strong and faithful with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. That I am willing to even be bruised and beaten, if it is the Lord's will.

That is, after all, what Christ did. His complete submission led Him to bleed from every pore in Gethsemane. Though he knew beforehand that the Lord's will involved that, he drank from the cup. I want to be more like that.

Our work with the ward is going very very well. We have been spending a lot of time visiting the ward council in their homes to inspire/help/serve them so that they can be a little more self-sufficient in sharing the Gospel. And we are receiving a lot of support with the investigators. We continue finding new investigators and we continue bringing people to church. They really aren't a lot of people, but they are really really good people that are progressing.

Elder Fjerstad and I are doing well. We are looking for ways to find more investigators and to help them begin progressing as well. We have been working so much with the ward that we have neglected a little our own efforts, and we will be getting better in that. We have a lot of work to do. 

Love you all! Have a great week! :D
Elder Kennington

Preguntas Bien Rapidito
Q: Do people put up Christmas lights on the outsides of their homes there?
A: If they can afford them, yep! The Christmas Spirit here takes more form in fun breads, stories, banners, and the like. :)

Q: With no Thanksgiving holiday sandwiched in between Halloween and Christmas, when do you start seeing Christmas filling the stores, streets and homes?
A: We started seeing Christmas right after Halloween. I think I have officially become one of those people that starts celebrating Christmas obscenely early. I love Christmas so much!!

Q: How are the three sisters (Giselle and her sisters) and their mother doing?
A: They are doing great! In the last two baptismal services Giselle gave a talk, and Abigail (the youngest) said one of the prayers. We couldn't talk her into sharing a scripture... :) Catherine (the middle one) is doing ok. SHe started working Sundays, and we haven't seen her a lot. From what we see and know she is doing well. :) Hortencia is doing ok. She really really really really wants to get baptized, but her husband hasn't changed a bit. When people ask why she hasn't been baptized she says that she is Fiona and that her ogre is back home. :P :)

Helped the Elders out a lot with these investigators. They were the last members of a family that hadn't been baptized. Apparently they asked me to baptized them because Gollum sounds the same in Spanish as he does in English... Celeste and Marina. They are really good. Their mom is a powerhouse recent convert of the elders. :)

An awesome recent convert couple from another ward that helps us out a lot. Hermano Lopez. He is hilarious. And has a sweet ponytail. I want one. :):):)

Baptism of Martha. Left of her is her husband (Rogelio) and her son (Noe)

This is what happens after a week full of very hard work... :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Hot Week for Baptisms and Chiles

This last week was phenomenal. We spent it running around getting everything ready for the baptism of the Cordova Perez Family, but it was well worth the work. This beautiful family has been prepared so well by the Lord to be members of His kingdom here on earth, and I am so happy to see them so happy.

We are working very hard right now with a mom and her son, Marta y Noe. They both have baptismal dates for this next week and are very excited; we are only worried about Noe. He has to leave almost every weekend to go take his kids with their mom (he is divorced), and she lives in D.F. We are hoping and praying that everything goes well. This is another little family that has been extremely well prepared by the Lord. They have their hermanamiento*, the bishopric knows them, and they are doing great all around.

We have another guy named Nathaniel that is doing well. He is the 18 year old boyfriend of a member, so we were a little skeptical at first as to the depth of his interest. As things turns out, he is extremely interested, and loves to learn about the gospel. We have a few weeks working with him. He has a testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, and says himself that he wants to get baptized. We are hoping that he could also make it for this Sunday, but it all depends on whether or not his dad makes him come on this forever-long vacation with the family.

Elder Fjerstad and I are doing extremely well. We work well together, with an awesome balance of working and having fun. In between finding new investigators and trying out new mexican recipes in the house after we are done planning, I have been very happy these last two changes; happier, I believe, than I have ever been in my mission.

There is also this chile we just discovered called the chile Miracielo. And Elder Fjerstad and I ate the thing raw. It is spicier than an habanero and the most delicious thing on the face of the planet.

I love you all! :D
Elder Kennington

*Mom note:  Google Translate has let me down.  It translates this as "twinning" but I am guessing he means "visiting teachers."

Preguntas Bien Rapidito
Q: How is the safety in your area? Kyle Thompson was saying Chamapa was actually a rather scary place.
A: There are a couple colonies here where we don't go after night, but apart from that where we are at is ok. :) We live in this tiny little gated privada, which is plenty secure. Haha... Chamapa was a lot of fun... It was very sketchy out there, but nothing ever happened to me. The only good story I have is where they crucified people as part of the Holy Week celebrations and with their crucifiction and road to Golgotha reinactment.

Q: Are there scary things you are not telling me so I don’t worry? You had better tell me! It won’t make me worry because I know the Lord is watching out for you; He is a much powerful guardian of your safety than I ever could be.
A: Nope! I still haven't gotten jumped, robbed, or anything like that. Last night we were out a little late in Santiago Miltepec, which gets a little sketchy after dark. We had this guy that was high on PVC glue that was wandering around shouting swear words and beating the tar out of this litte puppy he had. But he didn't touch the gueros. :)

Q: How are the juntas going? Do you feel like you are getting more comfortable conducting them? 
A: I feel like they are gettign better every time. The hard thing at first is that I didn't have lots of experience with talking in front of lots of people before the mission. Everytime I was in front of lots of people it was with a little fancy chunk of wood that made cool sounds, which is a heck of a lot easier in my opinion. :)

Funny Mom observation here.  Elder Kennington can stand very close to his companion or other male members of the church, but he subconsciously stands quite a bit further away from the sisters!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Weddings and Baptisms


This last week was all over the place. 

Firstly, we were running all around trying to get everything good to go with the marriage that we were going to do. To Ocoyoacac and back several times, with a whole lot of running around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to find an birth certificate that we were missing. It was a lot of fun... But it got done. It was a beautiful marriage, and the happy couple is indeed a happy couple. They (Antonio and Marisol) are getting baptized this Sunday, and they are very ready. We are extremely excited for them! 

We have a couple other families that are doing well, but all are struggling. They usually have just one person in the whole family that doesn't want anything to do with us or the Restored Gospel, and it is making it quite the challenge to help the rest of the family truly get progressing. Usually the big resistance that we are finding is someone that is catholic, and simply can't bear to let go of their traditions. We are looking to see if hermanamiento from the ward can help fix that. I love being in a ward that is more than happy to work. 

We do have one other family that is progressing nicely who will be getting baptized on the 29th (Marta, the mom, and Noe, the son). They are really excited about the gospel and, after having started tentatively investigating with the other son that got baptized more than 20 years ago, they are finally ready to become official members of the church. We have walked by their house a million times, but this a few weeks ago was the first time that there was someone outside (Marta, who was bathing the dog at the time), and we simply felt like we needed to talk with them. ... Now we know why. 

Our work is going well with the ward. We had a ward activity a couple weeks ago that dropped a mountain of references on our heads that we are trying to visit right now. There is one really good family that has come out of that list so far that we are certain are going to become great members of the church. 

Elder Fjerstad and I are doing really really well. I haven't worked this well with anyone for a very very long time in my mission. We have a really good rhythm down for teaching, finding, all while having the time of our lives. I am really enjoying these changes out here in Haciendas. I am a little heartbroken that it is possible that I won't spend Christmas here, as the changes are one week before. 

A couple months ago President Whitehead gave us all the challenge of reading the Book of Mormon before Christmas, and I took the challenge to heart. I am currently finishing up Helaman, and loving it. I have learned so much from that little blue book over the past few months, and I have had a wonderful Spirit pervade my work since the day that I started. There are few ways that God has shown His love for us as His children as powerful, compelling, and valuable as the Book of Mormon. So many lives paid for our opportunity to open and read of God's dealings with His children. 

I love you all so very much! You are wonderful! 
Elder Kennington 

Preguntas Bien Rapidito
Q: What do you do on Sundays? 
A: We dash around like maniacs trying to get all the investigators up and going and coming to church, then get to church (the services here are at 1:30 pm. SUPER LATE. UGH. :) Haha. ), while we are at church we use that as an opportunity to coordinate all of our work with the members during the week (and one of us goes to consejo de barrio -- ward council -- whenever we can), and then we finish up, help out with one of the baptisms (there are four wards that use our chapel to baptize), get home, eat, do some last visits, and then dash on back to the house. Sundays are usually the most tiring days of the week. 

Q: Are you still district leader? 
A: Yup. In our district we have Elder Medina, who is training a brand new missionary, Hermana Sanchez, who finishes her mission this change, and then another sister, who is just kind of... Here. :P

An awesome family home evening that included Marisol y Antonio y Renata, their three-year-old daughter.  Elder Kennington and Elder Fjerstad are in the middle of the photo.

Stopped in to visit a recent convert and discovered it was her birthday.  Elder K and Elder F sang to her, which tickled her whole family because apparently "not a lot of people here that have an idea of how to sing."  

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

One More Change in Haciendas


Phew. We are excited. :) 

We are seeing a lot of success with the ward here. We just did a ward activity this last Saturday that worked really well. We sent up a bunch of carpas (how do you say that in English?) and had a little open house with little booths for each church organization (Relief Society, Quorum de Elderes, etc.), and then had the biggest tent reserved where the ward mission leader and the ward missionaries conducted people on a little path that explained about the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and other topics that feature the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation. We saw a lot of success, and have more than 20 references to visit this week, many of which have large families. We are very hopeful. 

Today we went out to Ocoyoacac to get marriage papers in for a couple that is getting married this Friday. The family is incredible, and very excited for their baptismal date. They will be getting baptized on the 22nd. The mom and dad (Marisol y Antonio) are both ecstatic about what they are learning in the church and the Spirit that they feel there. Marisol comes from a Catholic background, and Antonio was completely athiest. They have both progressed so much, and are so happy that everything is coming together. They will be phenomenal members of the church. 

We have one other family that is really awesome that we just found. A mom (Jessica), the dad (Gregorio), and then three sons between the ages of 8 and 13. The oldest son has been studying with the Jehovah's Witnesses, but has not been corrupted yet. He understands really well the scriptures (better than most adults and even some missionaries :) ), and is really excited. The dad isn't all too impressed with us, but from what we could tell it has to do with fear. Fear of something new, güeros, and something that implies commitment. We are working through that now, and hope to see them becoming members of the church this next change. 

Elder Fjerstad and I are doing great! We have found a great balance of having fun and working hard, which is also yielding lots of fruits in our everyday work. I could not love the mission more. 

Thank you all so much for all that you do! I love you so much! Have a wonderful week! 

Elder Kennington 

Preguntas Bien Rapidito 
Q: Did you get all of your ward mission lesson things all written up and ready to go? 
A: Yep! And we are working on more. The idea is that the ward missionaries go around sharing them and teaching and inspiring the members becase missionaries come and go. Elder Fjerstad and I want to have an impact that lasts far beyond the length of our stay. I am really excited that we have one more change to make it even bigger. :) 

Q: How are the three newly-baptized sisters doing (Giselle and her sisters)? 
A: They are doing great! Their dad is getting worse and worse. Hortencia (the mom) is seriously considering getting separated from him. It breaks my heart to see the family struggle, but they are becoming stronger because of it. They are incredible incredible converts. :):) 

Q: Any news on Jairo, your first baptism who had cancer? 
A: No. I still haven't found out anything, aside from that he is still alive and doesn't believe in God. :/ Things are looking pretty dismal for his family. The dad is worse than ever. Italia is still active, but struggling too. Sigh.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Working Hard With a Side of Volcano Hiking

Hey all!

This last week was phenomenal, and full of hard work. Elder Fjerstad and I are really trying to find another good family of five that can get baptized this next change, and we have felt a lot of the guidance of the Spirit this week. Though we had a couple of fechas fall, it was still very productive and helped us to see best where we need to keep spending our time.

Elder Fjerstad and I just finished a few lesson plans that we have put together to give the members, with the goal of helping them to want to share the gospel and magnify their callings (which always has resulted in more baptisms from what I have seen before), and we are really excited to start edifying the members. The idea is that we have them written down so that the ward missionaries can give the lessons, because we, the elders, only stay a short time in each area and often when one elder leaves all the work he left behind with the members just kind of dies away. The goal is that we can make a lasting impact on this ward in such a way as to result in continued teaching and working together, members and missionaries.

The work with the members is going well. We have a big open house this Saturday that the bishop has organized with the goal of giving us a mountain of references and we are very excited. They even printed out flyers and the like, and we will be handing those out over the course of this week. The bishop has very high hopes for the turnout of this activity. We have even higher. :)

The district is doing ok. I am very worried especially about the sisters in Sauces 1. They really don't have anyone progressing, and each time that we go out there to try and help them teach or look for new investigators, I gather that the reference that they got is not good, or that the investigator isn't home, and the like. The Elders have also been really struggling. We will be doing lots of interchanges this week to keep them going and excited. It is a huge privilege to have an ex-zone leader and an ex-assistant in the district to help me out and teach me how to do things. I have learned a lot from the elders and sisters here!

That is about all that I have for this week. Thank you all so much for everything you do. I love you guys! You're the best! Go eat lots of chocolate for me. :)
Elder Kennington

Preguntas Bien Rapidito
Q:  When is/are the next change dates?
A:  The next change date is the ninth, one week from today... O.o I would have to check. Next change is only five weeks, and the following one will be seven. Weird Christmas flight stuff. :)

Q:  Has Presidente Whitehead said anything about his July release?
A:  He gets released TWO WEEKS BEFORE I do.... :( That means my last interview with Presidente in the mission will be from someone else completely different. I know he will be an incredible man, and perfect for me and the mission, but I was a little disappointed after I found out. :)

Q:  How was Dia de los Muertos? (it’s becoming bigger here)
A:  It was pretty normal. Unfortunately here the Halloween cultura is doing a massive takeover. It was more Halloween than anything. it was a lot more tranquilo. Lo que pasa es que aca no tienen tanto, asi que los niños y niñas no salen con disfraces y todo esto para pedir dulces. Me gusta mucho mas Halloween en los Estados Unidos. :) [it was a lot more quiet. What happens is that here they do not have much, so children do not come with all this costume and trick or treating. I like Halloween much more in the United States. :)]

Q:  What are some of the “hard” questions you get asked as missionaries about the gospel or about God? -
"So I didn't get baptized by the priesthood. Does that mean that my baptism isn't valid?"
 - "Well, God is everywhere. All religions are good, and they all believe in the same God. So it doesn't matter where I am because everything goes to the same end in their own way, right?"

Q:  How do you handle those questions? Maybe give one answer to one of the questions you get asked?
A:  We always try to handle them very carefully, especially that first question. The way that we answer it is usually the difference between a baptism and an offended investigator. We do our best to just show them how Jesus Christ was baptized. There is a scripture story that I always like using too that is in Acts, where some people who were baptized by John the Baptist later got rebaptized by Paul. It usually helps them to see the truth without feeling like we are attacking them.

Picture time...
I painted Elder Fjerstad's face Halloween night just for fun.  He is a handsome stud!

A visit to Nevado de Toluca, an extinct volcano located southwest of Toluca.
The peak is 15,354 feet above sea level, with the crater basin at about 13,800 feet. There are two lakes in the crater: Lago del Sol (Lake of the Sun, and the larger of the two) and Lago de la Luna (Lake of the Moon).

Elder Kennington said the drive took about 2 hours to get there, although he did not say who took them.

I just had to take a Smeagol picture. It was perfect for that. :)

Badges under the crystal clear water.

I totally won the rock skipping competition. :)  11 skips, thank you very much :) Lago del Sol:

Elder Fjerstad and Elder Adams.

Elder Fjerstad, Elder Adams background.  Elder Kennington looking thoughtful.

Nevado crater walls.  The last time it erupted was 10,500 years ago.

Elder Adams, Elder Fjerstad, Elder Kennington, Elder Medina. Lago del Sol (Lake of the Sun).

Lago de la Luna (Lake of the Moon).

Lago de la Luna on the left and Lago del Sol on the right.

We took the son of a member with us and he got very tired. Heck I was out of breath after about 2 minutes of walking up a slight incline.  I am not kidding!  :) But it was wonderful.  It is ridiculously high above sea level.

This is in the car going away from the Nevado. It was BEAUTIFUL. Quite frankly, I felt like I was in a temple while I was there. I really want to take you beautiful folks out here one day. :):):) The drive over there was decent ( a couple of hours), and though the hiking trail was very short it was very laborous. There is almost no oxygen up there!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Ups and Downs

Hiya! :D 

This last week was full of ups and downs. 

We had the two confirmations of the daughters of Hortencia, one of the women that just needs to get married so she can get baptized. She is very excited to have her three daughters now members of the church, and for the Spirit that they now feel inside their home. All four of them are very excited; actually, they talked with us last week saying that they had decided to do a fast so that the father's heart would be softened and that he would listen to us and get married with Hortencia. We joined in with them, and it was one of my favorite fasts of my entire mission. Fasting together with recent converts is something else. 

We are kind of struggling with another woman who got baptized about a month back. Right after she got baptized she lost her job, and she blamed it on the church and on God. It was extremely disheartening to see someone who was so ready and so excited to follow Jesus Christ turn right around and then attack the very thing that she accepted. It kind of reminded me of situations when someone receives a heart transplant to save their life, only to have their body reject the new organ. We are working hard to try and bring her back. 

Our work with the ward is doing really well. The bishop created a ward missionary family plan that we are giving to each member of the ward with their families, so as to get this wonderful ward even more involved. Elder Fjerstad and I have been developing a series of little messages and lessons with the goal of helping them complete with this plan by making them more spiritually autosufficient. 

Elder Fjerstad and I are doing great! We just found a family of four a couple days ago that came to church yesterday for the first time, and they loved it! We are so excited for them, and will be putting a goal for baptism with them in our appointment tomorrow night (we didn't have a lot of time to really get into baptism when we first found them). They are really excited to start coming, saying that they learned more from one day in our church than a lifetime in the Catholic. If at all possible, I would love to stay with Elder Fjerstad one more change to make sure they get baptized next month. 

That about wraps it up on this end. I love you all so very much! Thank you for everything that you do! 
Elder Kennington 

Preguntas Bien Rapidito  
Q:  What do you enjoy most about being district leader? 
A:  I love doing interviews. They are incredible spiritual, and it is such a rich environment to be able to help some resolve doubts and realize that they are indeed ready for baptism. 

Q:  Does Giselle’s dad seem any more inclined to marry her mother? What do you think is holding him back? If they get married can Giselle’s mom get baptized? 
A:  As soon as they get married, Giselle's mom is going to get wet. :) SHe is awesome. Her family and us just did a fast so that his heart could be softened, because as of right now it doesn't seem like anything for him has changed. I think what is holding him back is tradition (he is Catholic), fear (he still has never come to church), and a little bit of pride (he always has to be in the right. 

Q:  Do you take public transportation much in this area? What is it like? 
A:  Haha... They are called camiones. Imagine big old rickety buses racing each other down the freeway. Mexico is fun. :) 

Q:  Have you been out to the volcano yet? Was it amazing? 
A:  That, hopefully, is next week. I can hardly wait. I have heard that it is gorgeous, and I will be taking lots of photos. 

Q:  Does the ward do any kind of a party to celebrate Dia de los Muertos? 
A:  Still haven't heard anything on that front. I am hoping so... :) 

Q:  Has Hurricane Patricia done anything where you are? 
A:  Not really. We escaped everything. We were very far away from where all the action was.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Cold Feet Doesn't Mean What You Think

This last week was really good.

First off we had two baptisms that have been a long time in the making. The other two sisters of Giselle (who got baptized last week) made it for this week, and they were very excited. We were very worried, as we didn't even see one of them throughout this week (because she is a little bit rebelious and spends all day out in the street with her boyfriend), but she got to church on her own and held true to her goal to get baptized today. I cannot express how excited I am!

This week we are going to spend a lot of our time with Christian, one of our other really good investigators. He has a lot of potential in the church, and has changed a lot. He comes from a past full of drugs and all sorts of other nasty stuff, but is turning everything around. He has a job, has cold turkeyed all of his addictions, and is doing very well. We are hoping that he keeps progressing and doing well. He has also said that he is very interested in getting baptized. I think we can help out with that. :)

We are also going to spend a lot of time helping the Elders (who have a huge family getting baptized this Sunday), and the Hermanas (who are really struggling with finding anyone that will listen and progress). This is an extremely good district, full of powerful missionaries, and I am very grateful to be have the priveledge of being able learn from such phenomenal missionaries.

Elder Fjerstad and I are doing great. I would love to spend more than just one change with him. We are working really well together, doing our best to follow the Spirit and be in the right place at the right time, so as to have a better advantage against the adversary.

The ward is also doing very well. We are trying hard to work with the bishopric, and they are very cooperative, but the rest of the ward leaders are proving to be a bit of a trial. A few are only interested in being "seen of men," not willing to help us out our even put us in contact with willing members from their organizations. My companion and I are looking for ways to serve them to try and see if that helps.

Thank you so much for all that you do! I love you all, and pray for you every day.
Elder Kennington

P.S.  The floor is really cold in the chapel, being tile. So I saw fit to wear my boots. I almost considered baptizing in them...    :) Elder Fjerstad is a stud!

Preguntas Bien Rapidito 
Q:  Can you get the following at your local Walmart? Just put Y or N next to each item 
 a. Bisquick, Krusteaz, or some other just-add-water pancake mix si 
 b. maple syrup or fruit syrup si 
 c. fresh eggs you trust si 
 d. frozen orange juice concentrate si 
 e. bacon you trust si 
 f. yogurt, and do you like yogurt any more si y no el yogurt de Mexico me destruyo... :P 
 g. I am thinking of depositing money in your checking account so you can buy locally the ingredients for a yummy Christmas morning breakfast. What do you think? Estaria genial. Hay muchisima comida aca. :) Ojala que me quedo hasta la navidad. 
[It would be great. There's plenty of food here. :) Hopefully I'll stay until Christmas.]

Q:  What are the chances of you being transferred out of Toluca and away from Walmart before Christmas?
A:  son buenos. Porque todavia son dos cambios despues de este hasta la navidad. Vamos a ver. Me gustaria quedarme por lo menos un cambio mas. 
[are good. Because they are still two changes after this until Christmas. We'll see. I would like to stay at least one more change.]

Q:  Is the district leader position one that tends to keep you in place for a change or two? I mean, is it more likely you will stay in Toluca/Haciendas for at least one more change because you are district leader?
A:  Mas o menos. eso aplica mas a los lideres de zona 
[More or less. That applies more to leaders of area]

Q:  Do you need any new Christmas violin music to get ready?
A:  SI! O Come o Come Emmanuel, o Carol of the Bells. No se. Una o dos ideas estaria perfecto. 
[YES! O Come O Come Emmanuel, or Carol of the Bells. I dont know. One or two ideas would be perfect.]

Q:  Kyle Thompson mentioned something about a brother there giving you a suit? Details?
A:  Jaja si habia un hermano en mi barrio cuando estaba en las oficinas que vio que mi traje estaba algo destruido. Este hermano es super rico (la semana pasada visito a 4 o 5 paises nada mas porque quiso visitar a un amigo...) y me regalo una. :):)
[Haha There was a brother in my neighborhood when I was in the office he saw that my suit was destroyed. This brother is super rich (visit last week to 4 or 5 countries just because a friend wanted to visit ...) and gave it to me.]

Junta with the ward mission leader, who was sick that day...

Elder Fjerstad being tired

The ward mission leader


One morning I woke up to somebody lifting up the mattress. The bed moved, trapping me in between the wall and the mattress in a mound of blankets. Looking up I saw a camera and a crazed look on Elder Fjerstad's face: "Let's go EXERCISE! " :D. I responded by going back to sleep.

I got revenge that night as Elder Fjerstad was reliving his childhood and blowing bubbles with his gum. I chucked a lid at the bubble. Twas hilarious. :)