Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Last Three Weeks of Letters and Pictures

September 7, 2015
Wow. This last week was good. Full of surprises and other challenges.

First off, we had someone who was going to get baptized. His name is Arturo. He's about 40, with a 25 year old son who lives at home with all sorts of problems. We had the impression that we needed to visit him this last Tuesday. We got to the door and he was in tears telling us about the fight that he had just had with his son. We asked a couple questions, and then listened carefully as he told us what was going on.

After he was done telling us about what happened he looked us in the eye and said, "You know what? I've been thinking about it. I want to get baptized this Sunday." We were speechless. The Spirit was so strong.

But, the adversary doesn't leave anyone alone. That night his sister passed away suddenly in D.F., and he got swept up in funeral plans and mourning with the family, about two hours away from here. We haven't seen him since then.... But we have very high hopes for him. When he gets back we will be teaching him about the Plan of Happiness and how he can be with his sister forever.

The ward is doing well. We have a lot of people that are going to be a great support base for Arturo when he gets back, including the ward council. The bishop is really excited about the work that we are doing.

Elder Puca and I are doing well as well. We are learning how to teach and work with more unity every day, which is sometimes a little tricky due to the language barrier (because my Spanish is far from perfect), but he is very humble and loving. Something I really appreciate. We have a couple more people that, if we teach unitedly and with the Spirit, can also get baptized over the next couple weeks.

Thank you all for everything you do! I love you!
Elder Kennington

Preguntas Bien Rapidito
Q:  What is the latest you have heard on Jairo?
A:  It sounds like his health is a better. It's very hard to find out because the elders over there are being bums and forgetting to ask for me. :) Haha. :)

Q:  What is your most recent cultural experience or location you have visited?
A:  Um... Everyone is getting ready for the 15 of Sept., the Mexico Independence Day. This day is HUGE for Mexico. It is going to be a little crazy. :) Right now there are flags and banners and the cultural food EVERYWHERE. And lots of beanabag chilis wearing sombreros holding Mexican flags and beer decorating everything.

Q:  Do you ever have the older young men in the ward go on splits with you?
A:  Yep! We try to take out two every day. The lessons are always so much more powerful with the members here!

Q:  Do the missionaries play jokes on each other?
A:  Not too often. To be frank we are all so busy running around right now that there really isn't time. Just the one time that, when I was in the offices, the assistants and I jumped Elder Goodrich and shaved his legs. Yup. Nothing much else. :) Haha.

Elder Kennington claims this is a corn field...

The whole Mexico City West Mission, with Elder and Sister Christofferson.  Elder Kennington is on the back row, 16th from the right.  If you click on the photo it will enlarge.

August 31, 2015

We had a good week this last week, in terms of finally finding those good investigators that can progress towards baptism, along with finding a few miracles along the way. We have a lot of good leña right now that can become incredible members of the church and help this ward in its goal to divide again in this year that is coming. We have struggled a little bit with finding that incredible family that is really going to set this ward on fire.

After thinking and analyzing what was going on we found some of the things that we lacked and that we allowed to prevent us from doing so. I guess, that was the key right there. That we allowed the circumstances to get in the way of our plans, as opposed to creating the ideal circumstances ourselves. Being creatures of circumstance, as opposed to creators of circumstance, I guess.

In that, we also learned a lot in the conference we had last Tuesday and the conference with Elder Christofferson about teaching and working with the Spirit that we have been applying and seeing lots of success. We have high goals for the month of September, especially to make up for this last month.

The conference with Elder Christofferson was incredible. He was the first Apostle that I have met face to face, and it was wonderful. We took a quick photo right off the bat, and then all got to greet him. I could only think back to Elder Ballard's talk this last conference where he said that a handshake was almost as good as a personal interview for him, making me super self-conscious about everything as I waited in line... :) Haha.

The conference itself was incredible. The spirit was so strong. He talked a lot about the spirit and three keys to completing well the mission work. Having a spirit of revelation, a spirit of prophecy, and the authorization of the Holy Priesthood of God. These three things are what make us different as missionaries from everyone else that teaches about Jesus. When you throw the message of the Restoration on top of all that, it makes this work absolutely unstopppppable (sorry about the extra p's. The key stuck. But this work is pretty darn unstoppable, so it strikes me as appropriate leaving it as it is. :)). I hope to meet many apostles yet in my life. I would give anything to do so.

The ward is doing well, getting more animated about the work each day. We as missionaries are doing our best to visit the ward and keep them going and excited about the mission work. The secret to this ward is maintaining the missionary spirit here. If we keep visiting the members and encouraging them and loving them and serving them, then the references that we receive from them are incredible.

We just found a young woman yesterday, for example, through a member who has been going to church for months and has loved it. We have an appointment with her today, and we are extremely excited.

Elder Puca and I are doing really well. The harder we work and the more focused we get the more I come to realize how far I still have to go to become a Christlike missionary. I guess that has to do with the fact that each day we both come to understand better our Savior, and just how perfect he is. Today in our companionship study we spent time discussing this last month, what we were doing well, where we need to improve, and setting goals for doing so. We now have our plan, and we've decided to call it Plan Zapatos Rotos, for the hard work that it involves. We hope to see many fruits from it.

That about wraps it up on this end. I love you all!
Elder Kennington

Preguntas Bien Rapidito
Q:  How big is your ward? How does it compare in size to previous wards you have been in?
A:  I am still not certain about how many members the ward has, but we do have about 130 coming to church each Sunday, which is AWESOME considering the ward just split this last May. They are doing so well that the goal is to divide the ward again this coming year!

Q: Is there bull fighting in Mexico still?
A:  Ummm.. Not that I have gathered. I wouldn't be suprised. The thing is that the closest I get to the news here is catching the odd unfortunate glimpse of a magazine (which is unfortunate because they are usually reporting some brutal murder or porn. :P), so I have kind of stopped paying attention to things that don't happen commonly right in my area... Aside from the escape of el Chapo. That was all over the place. :)

Q:  Have you learned how to prepare any authentic Mexican food?
A:  Yep! I will be making tortillas for you when I get home. Try to get the family ready for spicy, beacuse Mexican food isn't the same without it! ;) I really want to learn how to make all of the rice they do here. It isn't our boring water and rice combination, but a mix of tomatoes and spices and everything heavenly this world has to offer. :)

Q:  What did you think of the contents of the last package I sent you? What was especially good? What wasn’t useful/helpful?
A:  It was awesome. The food was all great. I still haven't found a creative way to use the hamburger helper or the spices, because good safe meat is so hard to get where I am at. I don't trust the missionary fridge. :) Haha. I loved the little packaged foody items like the caramels, the Jif peanut butter things, and the like. Quite frankly, the package was awesome. :):)

Elder Puca

I believe the above picture explains the below picture...

Photo from the Mission Conference with Elder Christofferson.  It was a gigantic mission reunion.  Elder Kennington got to see former mission companions, missionaries with whom he had arrived in the mission, and even missionaries from his MTC district in Provo, Utah.
A mess o' missionaries?  A mass o' missionaries? A flock? A congregation? A platoon?  We need a good collective noun for this.  Maybe a Mission of Missionaries?

Elder Goff from Elder Kennington's MTC district a year ago.

MTC buddies from the same MTC district a year ago. Elder Kennington and Elder Gale

Elder Kennington and Elder Fjerstad, another elder from Elder Kennington's MTC district.

I believe these are the elders that Elder Kennington arrived with in the mission a year ago.

Elder Gavilla and Elder Kennington, with a photobomber in the background. Elder Kennington trained Elder Gavilla.

Elder Medina, Elder Kennington's second mission companion from Universidad in Toluca.

We'll try this again, sans glasses

That Elder Medina, always a ham!

August 24, 2015
AGH I have no time right now!

This one is going to have to be a little bit shorter.

Elder Puca and I got to go to the [Mexico City] temple open house this last week with some of our investigators, and they loved it! We are so excited for them. A married couple we brought loved it in particular, we have high hopes for them in these following weeks. If you could please keep Don Arturo and Leticia in your prayers, that would be incredible. They have a very great potential.

I am really really excited for the chance that we will have this week to listen to Elder Christofferson. He is coming on Saturday to visit the mission, and it is going to be incredible!

Also can't believe that we are now wrapping up with August. Time is flying.

 Love you all! Hope that you have a great week!
 Elder Kennington

Preguntas Bien Rapidito
Q:  What is this story about eating grasshoppers?
A:  This member family went on vacation to Cuernavaca and they brought them back for us to try. I loved them. Elder Puca gagged a little, but said he liked them through watering eyes. :) Haha. Crunchy.

Q:  Tell us a little more about what Elder Puca is like?
A:  He is very quiet with me. He is hard working, and doing his best to learn here on the mission. As he spent eight months in another mission waiting for visa, he is struggling with getting used to how things work here. It is the polar opposite of how it was.

Q:  Who are you teaching right now?
A:  We are teaching a married couple that we found through some members that we are really excited for. We just went to the temple this last Saturday for the open house and took all the investigators we could, and these in particular loved it! We are very ecxited about them. You remember the family that we were teaching with the mom and four sons? The mom and two of the sons got a little disinterested, but we keep working with the oldest son. I am almost exactly one year older than he is. He turns 19 this September. :) Our investigator pool is pretty big, but we still don't have that family of gold to cap it all off. We have high hopes for some of the first appointments that we have this week. :):)

Q:  How did the mini MTC activity go?
A:  It went really well! The youth got really excited and have been sharing the Gospel like crazy since. We have spent a lot of time doing divisions, for example, with the priests. These youth are going to be incredible missionaries. There are about forty young men and women in this ward, and all of them want to serve missions. It is going to be incredible when they all make it out!

The Mexico City Temple Open House:
Exterior detail

Temple flowerbeds

Elder Kennington, Elder Puca, and an investigator?

Elder Kennington and Elder Puca; Mexico City Temple

Elder Puca

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