Tuesday, March 31, 2015

One of Those Good But Hard Weeks

Hola! This week was really good. I learned a lot about what it means to really truly rely in and trust in the Lord.

We spent the majority of this week trying to help the people that we are currently teaching to be able to make it to church. The family that we are teaching that has the really obstinate dad is still progressing. The daughter really wants to get baptized and can, as soon as she has permission from her dad. The parents have to be in agreement before a child can get baptized, and she is 12 years old. And a powerhouse! She has a lot of potential. This whole family, to tell the truth. We did a fast this week for the heart of the dad to be softened.

And this week culminated in having five investigators come to church. And the Lord brought every one of them through his members of this Ward! We sat there in happy shock watching as one of the members brought a family of their friends for the first time! We worked really hard this week, and the Lord came through.

This change has been my hardest so far in the misión. But this change has also been then one where I have grown the most.

Gotta run for know, but know that you are all in my prayers and thoughts. And in those prayers and thoughts I am hoping that all of you are excited as I am for the General Conference!!! AAAAH! Can hardly wait for this Saturday and Sunday.

Love you all!
Elder Kennington

Preguntas Bien Rapidito
Q:  How does the affluence in your area differ from your area in Toluca?
A:  It is both poorer and richer at the same time. The majority here are without as much as they have in Toluca.

Q:  What is the most unusual thing that happened to you this week?
A:  Uumm... I got kissed by a cousin of an investigator.... :P It is a custom here in Mexico that the men hug when saying goodbye and the women say goodbye with a kiss on the cheek. And she had no idea... Haha. The investigator freaked out and she laughed a Little less then she blushed. I just shrugged it off and shook her hand smiling... :) I will not lie, I was a little shocked however... :)

Q:  Any requests from home for the next package I'll send out?
A:  Music CDs that have the church seal on them please!!! Like the MoTab CD "Showtime" or "Home for the Holidays" or "Réquiem." And ties. And chocolate !!!! :D

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Elder Kennington and the Week of Awesome

This week was really really good. Elder Taylor and I worked very, very hard to find some new people and to help them come to church, and the Lord saw fit to give us just that! We have been working with one family for the past week and a half that is great. A mom and her three kids. The mom is named Lupita, with Itzel, her oldest daughter, and her two younger sons, Miguel y Gail. They are a great family with a lot of potential. They love coming to church and are having a great time with the people there! The only struggle is the dad. The only way I could describe him thus far is by pointing you towards two Book of Mormon characters named Laman and Lemuel. The dad has told us to our face that the Spirit has told him to support his wife in this and that he doesn't care. It is very disheartening sometimes, but the faith of Lupita and her three kids always works to pick us up. 

We have two other families as well, that are looking like they will be coming to church with us for the first time this coming Sunday, and we couldn't be more excited! We are going to do all we can to help them to make the right choices and receive the blessings and testimony thereof. 


And something so, so, so awesome I can hardly stand it! Do you remember me talking about Hermana Xochitl, back in Toluca? She just got baptized yesterday! Elder Thompson sent me a photo. It made my day! She was one of my favorite people back in Toluca, and one of the people that I miss terribly. She looked so happy. I wish that I could have been a part of it. 

That about wraps it up for this week! I gotta dash now. We are going to go play soccer again, this time with Lupita's kids, and hopefully they won't destroy us as badly as they did the last week... Haha. Football (the real kind) is really infectious down here. I love you all so much! Hope that things back home are going well, and that life continues getting better and better. Never forget the little things, because the biggest blessings come from them. Like family time, personal scripture study, going to church, and praying whenever the idea comes to mind. 

 Take care! 

 Elder Kennington 

Preguntas Bien Rapidito
Q:  How many active members attend church each week in your ward? 
A:  We have, on average, about 90. 

Q:  Are there neighborhood parks for families to go to for picnics and playgrounds? 
A:  Nope! At least, if there were it would be kind of hard to find them underneath the graffiti. :) 

Q:  Is it common for families to keep a pet? 
A:  Everyone here has dogs. Not everyone knows that they have been adopted by one, however. 

Q:  Now that the Mexico City Temple open house and dedication has been officially announced are there any fun rumors about missionaries getting to participate? 
A:  If there  would be, it would be the Mexico City East mission, because that is where the temple is found. Wouldn't complain if some rumors came this way though! 

Q:  Do you need some quick-to-prepare nutritious meal ideas/recipes? 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Elder Kennington and the Balancing Act

This will be super super short because time today doesn't exist! We are going to go play soccer with some of the members in about two minutes. 

 This week was really good. We worked hard trying to find people to bring to church and that can progress. That is one thing that I love about this area. There are so so many people, so the number of people that are ready and prepared to progress is bigger too, and we hope to find some new people this week! 

 Trying to balance the work in the mission is much more of a trick than I thought it would be. I didn't realize before the mission just how many different factors went into a single day in the mission. Contacting, teaching investigators, menos activos, miembros, y despues todos los demas. Contactando y buscando referencias*. Working with the members to go do visits. Then realizing that we keep forgetting to eat in the morning and night cause there is just so much. Haha! 

I have never been so busy in my life! I already feel like the time is flying. And it just gets faster and faster. The biggest challenge right now? Trying to avoid the friendly drunk guy who likes talking with us for extended periods of time who lives in our neighborhood. :) 

 The email for next week will contain much more, I promise! AAah! I love you all so much and thank you for your continued love and support. If you write to me and I don't answer please know that I still love you lots. It's just that I only have ten fingers that are accustomed to using the computer once a week. Hope that you make this the best week of your life, and learn something new every day. Hasta luego! 

 Elder Kennington
* " Contacting, teaching investigators, less actives, members, and then everyone else.  Contacting and calling references."

Preguntas Bien Rapidito
Q:  How does the 500 baptisms goal affect the focus of your work in Chamapa since the ward there has so many inactives on its rosters? 
A:  It is kind of interesting. This mission likes to baptize- A LOT. The thing I am struggling with is that many elders are under the impression that as soon as the investigators have gone to church enough, so many of the recent converts go immediately inactive, often without being confirmed. This is pretty common in Mexico right now. There are roughly 1,500,000 members total in Mexico, and according to Elder Ortiz, one of the area seventy, there are only 200,000 active members. I am still trying to figure out what to do there. 

Q:  Is your weekly shopping any different there from Toluca?
A:  Yup! There was a WalMart five minutes away from the house in Toluca. Here the only thing is a tiny little Mercado in the area. I bought 1 kilogram of cereal today and milk, and just about bought the entire mercado itself doing so. :) 

Q:  What is it like getting a haircut there? How much does it cost? 
A:  Super easy. There are esthetics (literally, "aesthetic" but colloquially, "beauty shop") on every corner in the street. For example, Elder Taylor got one today and it cost about 35 pesos. (Mom Note: That's about $2.25 here)

Q:  You’re looking so tan. Have you given up on sunscreen (wink wink)? 
A:  Haha... Haven't touched the stuff in about 4 months... 

Q:  What is your Chamapa ward like? 
A:  They are good. The members are very kind and very loving here, especially the recent converts. When they visit we have to be careful to not spend more than about half an hour to fifteen minutes though, because if the members could do it they would have us stay all day. And we are kind of missionaries, so we have a pretty loaded schedule.... :) 

Q:  Have you organized any choir practices yet? 
A:  No!!! I am super excited but bishop hasn't called me back yet! I can hardly way to see what teaching opportunities come from this. 

Q:  Is Elder Taylor fresh out of the MTC? Which MTC? Yup. He went to the Mexico City MTC. 

The photos. The money is the Mexican money. I am missing the 20 peso bill, which is the smallest, blue, and has a picture of Benito Juarez on it. And the 5 peso coin. Which looks exactly like the two and the one coins, but a little bit bigger with a five on it. Another photo is me with the teachers quorum president here. And the other is of Elder Taylor. 

A beautiful handmade leather scripture case made by a local member that Elder Kennington has his eyes on.  

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Two-Fer

March 9, 2015 

This week was crazy! We spent the whole week running around (literally) so I could get to know the area quickly and find some new investigators. The last elder who was here left us without ANYTHING so we are basically opening this area. And it is super populated. Eesh. 

I spent so much time this week talking that I have almost completely lost my voice. Elder Taylor's Spanish is still coming along, so I spend the vast majority of our time doing the talking. Still trying to get him to be willing to take a dive off of the high dive, but can't quite help him to really get into the work quite yet. I am very excited to work with him. He will be a great elder. 

We ate with the bishop our second day here and we finished up the food by singing a song. He listened, and now I have an unofficial calling in the ward.... Haha. Apparently I am now the choir director. I am really excited about this because this gives me a greater opportunity to get the ward involved in bring more friends and family to church, and helping them become even more excited about the work of the Lord. 

I am a little intimidated, I must admit, at how much there is to do here. In addition to working with my own investigators there are a few less actives in this ward... Something to the tune of about 1,200. If this ward had even 80% attendance than it would be a stake or two. But I am very excited to do this! This is a great area, and a great opportunity for me to grow. I am very happy with the trust that the Lord has put in my by placing me here training, and I will do my best to make Him proud. 

That about wraps it up for this week. I love you all so much and I think about you all the time! 
Love you all! 
Elder Kennington 

Preguntas Bien Rapidito
Q:  How long of a drive/train ride was it to Chamapa? 
A:  It was a two hour busride from Toluca to the Terminal in D.F. and then another hour in Taxi. The guy tried charging us 40 bucks for it! D: 

Q:  What is the area like compared to Toluca? 
A:  Toluca is very flat. Here it is pure hills! But because it is 1000 feet lower than Toluca and I now have more oxygen to work with I have taken to running up and down the things to get to appointments. And these hills are gigantic! 

Q:  How are you supposed to handle drinking water in your apartment? At members’ homes? 
A:  Ok. Well, drinking water inside a house doesn't exist in Mexico. They have these huge jugs of 20L water that they sell in these little tiendas [shops] that are all over the place that we buy. 

Q:  Your elevation is about 1000 feet lower in Chamapa. Have you noticed a change in climate? 
A:  Yes, I can breathe here! It is also much much warmer. I must admit I am missing how nice and cool Toluca was. :) 

What my new area looks like

Monday, March 2, 2015 

Things just got turned on their head. I have been transferred. I am now in D.F., in Chamapa. The Zone is Culturas. It is close to Naucalpan. And it is CRAZY here! So so many people! I saw one tree on the way over here, and it was painted on the wall of a house. :) Haha! 

It seems like the people here are good. Open, happy, and all around great. High hopes. And my new companion? Well... I am training now. His name is Elder Taylor. He is from Tampa Florida, tall and white as all get out, and worked as a cable guy before the mission. Haha. Very excited to work with him. We will spend a lot of time working on Spanish and contacting. :) 

This area is very new to me. I am a little intimidated due to the fact that I don't know it or anything about it, but excited because the Lord has shown a great amount of trust in me in giving me this challenge. Elder Taylor has a lot of potential, and I am very grateful to be able do my part in helping him achieve it. 

 Not much to report right now other than that. Elder Thompson stayed back in Universidad training as well. Was very sad to leave the people there. Gotta run now. I

 Love you all so much. 
 Elder Kennington 

 Preguntas Bien Rapidito 
Q:  Have you had any Mexican candy? How was it? 
A:  There are some good candies here. I am not a huge fan of the candies and the chocolates. What they do have, however, that is absolutely divine, are the cookies and larger savory things. All of the food here is very rich, and there is a particular brand (Chokis) that is to DIE for! It is like Chips Ahoy squared. 

Q:  What are your favorite Mexican treats or desserts? 
A:  Ummm... Probably the same. There is a really good drink here called atole. And sweet tamales. Yeah. I like those. :) 

Q:  What was talked about in your big conference on Saturday? 
A:  This upcoming mes and what we need to do to get ready. This mission has a goal for 500 baptisms this month, and there is a lot of work to do. 

Q:  What do you do to get packed up and say good-bye when you get transferred? 
A:  Well, I spent all day visiting the members and recent converts of mine, and then all night packing. ... Sleep? What is that? :) Haha. Then in the morning we meet in Terminal, and then talk with the other missionaries there and then find our new companion. 

Q:  You’ve mentioned mice before. What are the bugs down there like? 
A:  The bugs aren't too bad during the day. Some houses have bedbugs, but I haven't encountered that. Also, sometimes cockroaches are a big problem, but I have had the blessing of avoiding that thus far as well. :) Chinchas y cucarachas. :)

Saying good-bye to families and investigators we worked with and the area I worked in.

My new companion Elder Taylor