Monday, August 17, 2015

Emotional Rollercoaster

This last week has been an emotional rollercoaster.

We had a lot of success in finding new people to teach and begin in the path to conversion. I have learned a lot about how important it is to establish from the beginning with our investigators why we are there and what our purpose is, and what blessings they can expect as they begin to live the Gospel. In that, we have found some good new people who are ready to start progressing.

We spent a lot of time working with the hermanas in our district, trying to help them find new investigators and get their areas really going. They have been struggling really hard. One of the sisters just finished up her mission today (today is changes. Elder Puca and I are staying together here in Haciendas).

Also. You remember the older hermana that I mentioned in our last email? That we had to break into her house to help her because she had fallen? She passed away Monday. We were very sad about that. I had really enjoyed visiting her and trying to keep her happy and animated. Looking back on those experiences I am coming to realize that she did much more for me then I ever did for her. I learned a lot about what it means to have that Christlike love, charity, and to allow someone to feel of that.

The other experience for the week.

Elder Puca and I were getting back into the house this last Friday, when I got a call from the offices. It was Elder Thompson (my companion back there from Universidad). He told me that he had to go home from his mission six months early. His father had passed away suddenly from a heart problem, and he was needed back at his home. ... My heart broke.

Elder Thompson has been the best companion that I have had in my mission. I already miss him like crazy, even though I didn't see him that often anyway. I learned so much with him, and grew even more. He changed my mission. If you are reading this, I beg you to keep him and his family in your prayers. They really need it right now.

Anyway, that is about it for time and for this week. I hope that you all have an incredible week, and that you find someone new to serve and love.

Church is true!
Elder Kennington

Preguntas Bien Rapidito
Q:  Where specifically in Argentina is Elder Puca from? 
A:  He is from the North, from Jujuy. Apparently it is very hot there. 

Q:  What is typically grown in a Mexican home garden? 
A:  Typically Mexicans don't have gardens... Those who live on the outskirts of the urban areas have their fields (which are usually FULL of corn for the tortillas and for food for the animals), and then the ones in the city might have the occasional pot with herbs and the like. 

Q:  Do the families in the pueblos keep other animals besides dogs? Any chickens? Or bees? 
A:  On the outskirts, yes. Chickens, cats, and sometimes a hamster or two. Lots of birds. Parakeets, parrots, etc. I have only seen bees once on my mission, in my first area. :) 

Q:  Any more thoughts about birthday wishes? Besides socks? 
A:  Letters from people would be nice. I don't have time to really read in depth the emails I receive, and it is always nice to have something to peruse on a P Day. :) Chocolate, please. Minty things. Chocolate here is rather expensive and not the same, and tasty minty items that aren't chewing gum are nowhere to be found. I need a really good looking green tie (still haven't tracked one down :). Um.. Something for Elder Puca (a treat or something small). A fancy pen is never amiss. Photos. I hardly recognize most of my handsome family now... :)

A photo from the mini MTC activity held in their ward.  President and Sister Whitehead attended along with the sister missionaries.  Turn-out from the youth was amazing and enthusiastic.
You can see Elder Kennington on the back row far left.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Week.... I Dunno. What Number is This One...?

Hey there!

This last week was a party.

Yup. We spent the whole week running around like maniacs trying to maintain everything that we've got going. I felt kind of like a spider this last week. In that I was doing my best to help maintain everything in our web (the area), only to have an inquisitive toddler pick it all apart with a stick. :) Haha.

We are having to give some of our investigator families a little more time to progress, as they have decided they are not ready for the message of the restoration. Which, as always, is a little disappointing, but we made up for it with trying to find as many new people as we could. I have gotten very accustomed to street contacting. :)


The toddler messing around with our web didn't leave us totally in the lurch. We were going through the area book this last week and found an old investigator that we decided to visit. We went to the door, knocked, and then five minutes later she was telling us how she still had this crazy huge desire to get baptized. She has continued reading the BoM and the pamphlets, despite the fact that the missionaries had stopped visiting her ages ago. She started traveling, and was unable to come to church or stay up to manage her old baptismal date. We have an appointment tomorrow, and will be trying to secure a baptismal date for the first Sunday of the following change (transfers are a week from today!!).

Then we had a little bit of an emergency to help out with. There is an elderly sister in this ward (late 80's) that has terminal cancer that we visit and animate. She always asks for the same hymn (I Stand All Amazed), and we are happy to help. We got a phone call two days ago from her. She had been walking around the house, and had fallen and couldn't move. And her doors were locked, and she really really needed help. So Elder Puca and I did the natural thing, scaled her 18 foot cement fence and then broke into her back door to get to her (all on her orders, I must clarify :)). That was a party. 

Yup. That about wraps up this week.

 Oh. Elder Christofferson is going to come and visit the mission on the 29th. Totally going to meet an apostle of the Lord for the first time in my mortal life. No, I did not about start jumping up and down with excitement when I found out. :) Haha.

I love you all! Hope that you have an incredible week, and that it is loaded with all of the good things that life has to offer. 'Church is true!
Elder Kennington

Preguntas Bien Rapidito
Q:  Your former Toluca district was called “Universidad.” Does that mean there is literally a university there? Are missionaries assigned to college campuses?
A:  Yes, there are some universities there. Though not like we think of them (campuses and the like). They look a little like high schools. There isn't student housing, or anything like that.

 Q:  Do you have an oven right now?
A:  More or less. I don't trust it enough to find out... :) Haha. It is nice and clean. It is just that no one here in Mexico uses the oven, so I don't know if they bothered connecting everything down there correctly. :)

Q:  How did the mini-mission go? Did you have a great turn-out of kids?
A:  The mini mission is going to be this Saturday. I hope everything goes well. President Whitehead and the assistants are going to be there... O.o

Q:  Any crazy farm animal stories to share?
A:  Umm.... The frogs in the area have been super busy. All of the little roads in the pueblo are coated with these tiny little frogs, and all of the puddles are full of renacuajos (Little froglets? I forgot the word in English...).

Q:  What are the pueblos like?
A:  Very calm. Very quiet. Very catholic. And super chismoso. [gossipy] Everyone talks about everyone else.

Q:  Any birthday requests? Clothing? Food?
A:  AAAAAAAAAAH I TURN 20 NEXT MOOOOONTH!!!! D: Umm.. Anything chocolate-y and minty, please. I miss mint. And Peanut butter. It is super expensive here. Ties. Socks are ALWAYS welcome. Photos of the family (Mine got wet. :P). letters. Yeah. Give me a bit to think. :)

Q:  How is the altitude there? Are the days still warm and the nights chilly (Elder K was in Toluca in the fall/early winter)?
A: Yep! That is how Toluca goes! A normal day: 
Holy cow Elder Kennington is a puddle 
Crazy rain. 
Colder yet 
My hand just froze to a doorknob cold

A snippet from his letter to his little brother:
The rain here is crazy. It comes once a day and it rains with a vengeance, complete with thunder and lightning. The works. It is a party! We try to take refuge when we can in the house of an investigator or member, but usually we get to spend the rainy parts running around outside trying to avoid the major puddles. :) Talking of puddles, about half the puddles here in the farmland areas are loaded with little tadpoles. When they become frogs I am totally spending a P Day running around like a maniac trying to catch as many as I can. :):)

Clouds here

The food is carnitas.  Absolutely divine.  Everything from a pig that is not bone is stuck in a taco with salsa and consumed.  Divine. :) :) 

Photos in the apartment

Toluca Zone:  Elder Kennington is on the back row, far right, next to his former companion Elder Taylor.  Elder Puca, his current companion, is on the back row far left.  I don't think that should suggest they are not getting along!

Elder Taylor and Elder Kennington

A family from Elder Kennington's old Universidad District in Toluca.

Sunday, August 9, 2015


It has been an interesting week.

Our best investigator family that is progressing is doing really well! The Juarez Jacinto family. They just came to church for the first time yesterday and loved it! They have baptismal dates for the 30th. We are very excited for them. They are smart, inquisitive, very faithful, and absolute explosions of energy. :)

The other family we have is a little struggling; We are thinking about giving them more time. One day the mom is super incredible, keeping all the commitments, and excited for our next visit. The following day she is shouting at us from her window about Satan and all that great stuff... .Haha. If I wasn't so concerned about helping her and her beautiful family I would have been laughing... We have high hopes for her kids, at least. They seem like they could be really good. Three teenage boys; 19 18 and 16 years old. They say they want to come to church this next Sunday.

Elder Puca and I are doing really well. He got put as district leader and he has been struggling a lot with being a strong, proactive decision maker. And he is beating that struggle quite well. I really respect him a lot. He is very hard working and very obedient. He reminds me a bit of the Elder that was talked about in this last conference who wasn't the strongest teacher or the most universally applauded missionary, but one of the most Christlike people I've met. I am so happy for the chance that I have to work with him!

This ward is very excited about the work. I have never been in such a missionary ward before. We are preparing a ward activity for this following Saturday where we are going to do a mini MTC for the youth, and President Whitehead, Hermana Whitehead, and the assistants are going to come and support. ... No pressure at all, eh? :)

Anyway, I think that about wraps it all up for now. I love you all so much! Thank you for everything that you do. Hope you have an incredible week.

Elder Kennington

Preguntas Bien Rapidito
Q:  You sent pictures with three different elders who could be Elder Puca. Which one is he?! 
A:  He is the short Argentinian one. ... The only one with a gafete. (Gafete = "badge" or "name tag")

Q:  Everyone on the MCWMM Facebook page was wondering who the other missionaries are in the photo where you are standing with one other elder and three sisters in front of a church building. Who are they and what/where is the building? 
A:  OH. OK. The Elder with me is Elder Greig (who is a Shakespeare addict as well... :):) ), and the three other sister missionaries that we had in our district. Hermana Alvarenga, Hermana Vega, y Hermana Hardy. (We moms share pics our missionaries send when they have other missionaries in them so maybe their moms will be able to see them) 

Q:  What are Mexican desserts like? Is flan popular there? 
A:  Flan is super popular here! The desserts are a lot less sweet here. I must admit. I miss a real cake with mint frosting! Oh. That is another thing that doesn't exist here. Mint. And here Jello is consumed only as a dessert food, as opposed to a part of the actual meal. 

Q:  How has your health been? Have you generally avoided stomach or intestinal yuck? 
A:  Yep! My health has been really good over the past little while. I have started doing some good exercise each morning, and I think that is helping. Also I am finally completely adjusted to the food. ... I love spicy. :):) Favorite chilis? Manzano y Habenero. 

Q:  Is Haciendas/Sauces district in the same zone as Universidad? 
A:  Yep!!! We are about forty minutes away from Universidad here. I am working on getting permission to go over there to visit my converts and see how Jairo is doing. This zone is Toluca. 

Q:  Why is Haciendas nicknamed “Sauces”? 
A:  The area here is called Sauces (Pronounced Saooses), and that is the name of the district that we are in.