Saturday, April 9, 2016

Moto-Taxis, Pink Trousers, and a Baptism


This last week was incredible! It was a week full of miracles.

First off, we were finally able to track down one of our investigators that was going to get baptized. She was really excited for her baptism and to be in the church, but the day before her baptism her work took her all the way out there do D.F., and since then we haven't managed to track her down. Then, Friday in the night, we had the distinct impression to pass by her house. There we found her, and she accepted a baptismal date for Sunday. In her baptism yesterday everyone felt the Spirit very strongly. Myrna has suffered a lot to be able to get to the point where being baptized is something that she wants to do, but finally getting there made it all worth it. She is very happy.

Secondly, we found another miracle on Wednesday. We had the appointment to go eat lunch with a member, but the member called us last minute and canceled the food. We were hungry, tired, and looking for something to eat, and then felt the impression to go with a certain recent convert that lives close to our house. When we got there we found the sister with one of her friends. Her friend is named Julieta, and is a member of the church. As we were talking with Julieta we discovered that she lives in our area. And that she hasn't been to church in 22-25 years. She just got divorced from her ex-missionary husband to whom she was sealed. As we were talking with her, she mentioned that she had a 13 year old son that wasn't a member. We met him, starting teaching them in her house, and the son, Ian, is going to be getting baptized this Sunday! They went to General Conference on Saturday and yesterday, and also went to Myrna's baptism. Woo!

And, on top of all that, I was finally able to work a lot out with my relationship with my companion. During the whole conference I felt like what I needed to do was try harder to demonstrate charity and tell him that I love him. After the conference we still weren't getting along, so when we got to the house I sat us down and we began to talk openly about what was going on. During the talk I felt inspired to tell him how much I want to be really good friends and how much I want to be able to help enjoy his mission as much as possible. And Elder Lara opened up. There was a lot that he was struggling with that I had no idea, simply because he didn't ever say anything. I am so grateful for the Spirit that we felt. After much consolation we went back to work, but able to work much better together. We are doing great now. :)

In the conference I learned a lot. My favorite talks were Pres. Nelson's talk in the Priesthood Session on Priesthood Power. I really want to increase my priesthood power and understanding. That will be one of the focuses of my personal studies this week. :) I also loved Elder Holland's talk yesterday. The General Conferences have always been sacred to me, and I couldn't have said it better than him. When we have celestial moments in our lives, when the hand of heaven clasps my hand here on earth in perfect fellowship, it is so hard to always realize that those moments come to an end. Just like the mission does. I will make the most of every moment that I have left.

And a pidgeon pooped on my only long-sleeved shirt as I walked under a tree. ... I guess that it "is precise that there must needs be an opposition in all things..." Haha. The pidgeons here are evil. I will condemn them all in the Final Judgment.

Love all of you to bits! And if you see a pidgeon shake your fist at it angrily for me. :)

Elder Kennington

Preguntas Bien Rapidito
Q:  Did you get to watch General Conference this weekend or will you have to wait for it?
A:  We got to watch it! I loved it!! I never expected a General Authority, let alone Elder Holland, share a meme in General Conference... XD

Q:  What was the biggest blessing from this past week?
A:  ... There were three! The miracle of finding Myrna and being able to help her get baptized was enourmous. It was also wonderful to be able to start reactivating and baptizing a wonderful mother and son. And a gigantic blessing to finally have my companions heart opened and softened so I know how to help him and help him to become the best missionary he can be. :) It was also a huge blessing that we recieved our monthly deposit. I was feeling rather poor. :)

Q:  WHAT DID YOU DO ABOUT YOUR TROUSERS????? Do you need $$ for new pants?
A:  Haha, I have them dry hanging up in my closet, pink as ever. :) Haha. I think the trousers that I have will last me out through these last 3 months, don't worry about it! :) I'm ok on that front!

Here is the story of the trousers from a week ago:

 I accidentally got chlorine on one of my favorite pair of pants, which completely discolored them. So I bought some dyes to try and put them back to their original color. I first had to take all the color out, and then re-dye them. First off, the dye reeked like heck. Think back to Harry Potter 1 when Petunia is dye-ing (no idea how to spell that anymore) Harry's new "school uniform." It honest to goodness smells like rotten eggs. Bleh.  

#1- After the complete discoloration  
#2- After trying to dye them back to their original gray. I swear to you that the dye was NOT pink. I even checked the package. But somehow they just finished pink. ... Harrumphf.

One of the many forms of transport here in México is by moto-taxi. You know how they have those attatchments for bicicles so that fathers can take their kids bycicling with them without making them tired. Just take a few pipes and sauder them together, put a tarp over it all and then fasten the whole lot to the back of a dirtbike and you have a moto-taxi. This is a really poor foto from inside of one. Through the little plastic window you can vaguely see the driver, and then the little door. They´re fun. :)

 Elder Lara is tired. :)

The baptism of Myrna 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

New Companion But Same District and Snails Named Gary

This last week has been crazy!

We got our changes.






I stayed. And Elder Costello went to Metepec (the area right next door :) Haha). And I am training again. .... Again. :) Haha. Super Excited.

My companion is named Elder Lara, from Oaxaca. He was in the mission about a year ago but for health reasons he had to go home right after he got here. But he is back now. THere were only two Elders that got here this change... Very few.

I didn't write on Monday because I was waiting for him in the Toluca Terminal. Haha I got there at 8:00 am to drop off Elder Costello and then my companion didn't get there till 6:00 pm. Eesh. Haha. I was there for about ten hours with another Elder just waiting. On the bright side I now have all of the brands and routes of the buses here in this area memorized. :) Haha.

We have been dashing out to Toluca every day of this week to take care of some marriage paper stuff for Elder Fjerstad because he is way out in the middle of nowhere. That's fun too. We will be finishing up all the paper stuff today.

And our baptism from last week fell because she went to D.F. Sigh. She just disappeared off the face of the planet last week. We hope to finally track her down today...

They took the Elders out of my district, just leaving the sisters. We have a new sister who is finishing up the training of the other. The new sister is kicking butt out there. We are struggling to keep up with them. :) Haha

That about wraps up this last week and a half. :)

Love you guys!
Elder Kennington

Preguntas Bien Rapidito

Q: How long does it take you to pack up your belongings to move on a transfer?
A: I can get all of my stuff packed in about 45 minutes to an hour. I got a little bit of practice now. :)

Q: What is the most common transportation mode for going to a new area? With whom do you travel?
A: Well, we take a taxi to the terminal, a bus to:
1. Observatorio, if we are going to be working in a D.F. area
2. Zitácuaro, if we are going to a Zitácuaro area
3. Toluca terminal, if we are going ot be working in Lerma, Metepec, or Toluca

Then from there we take a taxi with our new companion to the next area. It is sweet.

Q: Have you found any small shops that you enjoy patronizing?
A: There is this one street that I love that is filled with all this cultural hand-made stuff. It's really cool. Yup.

Q: What do most people do for employment in this area?
A: Construction, brickmaking, all sorts of stuff like that. :)

Q: What odd encounters with wild life or people have you have this week?​
A: Well, we are teaching this guy that has years of alcohol abuse, which has caused him a lot of damage to his brain. So while he is still a good, normal guy he has some odd quirks. Like the other day when he showed us this little fishtank that had a couple snails, telling us about his "Snail Ranch." He calls each one of them Gary. :) Haha.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Kindling Builders

Hallo mein familia tan bonita! :) Como c'est va?

This last week was full of ups and downs. We had a lot of investigators committed to church, but only about half came. The nice thing is that the reasons that they didn't come were real and valid life-just-happens sorts of reasons. They are all committed for this week, and we are very excited. We are just working on hard-core leña building (when you have a progressing investigator that isn't baptized we nickname them leña (kindling). Burning all the leña=Baptizing all the investigators and not leaving anyone behind for the next elders to teach) for the next change now. Next change will be a very good one here in Las Torres.

Thinking about changes, I am very excited to see what these ones have in store. Elder Costello and I are finally knuckling down our ability to work together in better unity, and I would love to stay one more change with him to enjoy that work. We have a lot going on here, and we want to keep it going. 

The district is doing well. The sisters have struggled this whole change. They are always very on-the-ball trying to get stuff done; they are always very excited and happy to be engaged in the work of salvation. They're awesome! The elders are doing ok. One of the elders is more than ready to be a district leader. He has been doing great. :) 

Whatever winds up happening with the changes, I am excited for the next opportunity to keep working!

Our investigators that are coming to church are progressing really well. There is one in particular that is awesome that is going to be getting baptized this next Sunday. Her son and daughter-in-law are also progressing extremely well, and are getting ready to get baptized in a couple weeks. The son needs a lot of help with a smoking problem.

That about wraps up this last week. . ... Bye! :D
Elder Kennington

Oh. And we had a drunk lady in the street ask us a couple days ago if we were strippers. .... No comment..... Haha. We both about fell over laughing.

Preguntas Bien Rapidito
Q:  What spices do I need to stock up on before you come home with all those yummy Mexican recipes? 
A:  Hmm... The normal spices like oregano, dill... I will have to get back to you on that one. Where I am at the main centerpieces of the recipes are the garlic, the onions, and the frying and stuff. And I have a secret incredient that I am bringing home so we can find it and make realy tacos. :) 

Q:  What do you know about the mission offices moving? Why did they move? 
A:  They moved just a few weeks ago, about three or four blocks away from where they were at. Basically someone else decided that they liked our offices better than theirs and so they kicked us out. :P I am glad that I escaped the offices before that happened. :) 

Q:  How much longer do you have in this change? 
A:  This Monday is the last Monday of this change. Next Monday there will have been cambios. :) 

Q:  How are you doing with the money situation? 
A:   I think I am doing ok. Today I had to buy a new backpack 'cause my current backpack is destroyed. 

Q:  What are you eating for breakfast and dinner these days? 
A:  Macaroni and cheese. Eggs. OH! And I started making some really tasty shakes for the both of us every morning that have: 
 -Two Bananas 
 -A mountain of oatmeal 
 -A couple coconut cookies- 
 -Chocolate powder 
 -A little cinnamon 
 -Two raw eggs I love it. :) 

Q:  Have you learned to make flan yet? I’m dying to learn how to make this myself. 

Q:  Do you understand the Hispanic method for last names? Please elaborate! 
A:  Yep! I always got confused at first. But it is actually really simple. Everyone here has their first two names like normal (Owen Harvey, for example) and then they have their two last names. Their first last name is the first last name of their father. And their second last name is the first last name of their mother. For example, here I would be Owen Harvey Kennington Harbrecht. We would be the Kennington Harbrecht family. :)

I forgot to take a photo of the pizza until the last moment. :) Last piece!! It was super good! I now know how to make pizza with a filled crust. :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Mamas Rely on Loving Members

There was never any question in my mind about sending Owen on his mission.  I was thrilled by his desire and worthiness to serve.  He has grown in so many ways being in Mexico, serving and sacrificing.  Still, as his mother I miss him terribly.  That has never eased, although I thought it would.  When members reach out to our missionary children, feed them, love them, and look after them in their mothers' absence, it makes this missionary mom's heart full.  It is extra thrilling when those members make the effort to share photos and experiences with the missionary mom.  The Garcia family in Elder Kennington's current district have reached out to me and shared extra tidbits I wouldn't otherwise get about how my amazing son is doing.  I love them.  Here is what they shared this week:

Brother Garcia said:  "Hello.  Today we got to do sushi.  Here is the evidence he is learning to make sushi:"
Come on Elder Kennington! It's going to be tasty!

Elder Costello looks just a little *too* happy about that knife!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Pizza -- It's What's For Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

February 29, 2016


This last week was awesome! We focused on finding new investigators and more people to start teaching, and found a lot of success. We found a couple new families to teach and a new investigator that is extremely ready for the Gospel. The new investigator is a woman that has passed through a lot in her life. She has lost children, lost jobs, gotten divorced, and a whole load of other things. But she has finally found where she can find the solace that she is looking for. She is going to be getting baptized on the 13th of March. We are really excited for her.

What really helped us out last week was looking for and asking for and begging for references from everyone in sight. We talked with everyone we could, and asked for people to teach from each one. We finished the week with a personal record for references recieved in a week (58!) the next week we will be getting at least 70. ... That is the goal anyway. We want to find even more new investigators that are ready to progress.

Elder Costello and I are doing well. We are both missionaries that have time in the mission and that have a decent amount of experience, which is nice. It makes doing divisions with the members particularly effective. Love it!

The ward is doing well. Chugging along. Nothing much to report.
Elder Kennington

Sunset in Metepec

And we ordered a huge pizza. Pizza and the BoM. Can't get much better than that. :)

This is a joven that always comes with us. He is twelve years old and a few inches taller than I am. I'm short.

The Elders baptized an investigator on Sunday. His name is Rey David. We totally baptized King David. :):) He is awesome!

The font water was green. It looked like gatorade. Bleh.

And finally, a family that Elder Kennington and his companion spend time with during the week (and who apparently feeds them well!) sent me some pictures they took of Elder Kennington and Elder Costello making pizza at their home.  This is the same family that Owen Skyped from at Christmas.  They are the Garcia family.

Were you caught licking the bowl again?

Nice hairnet Elder Costello!!

Where was Elder Kennington's hairnet?

Glad to see our missionary is displaying the gracious table manners with which his mother sent him into the field.

If you will compare this pizza with the anemic one they purchased above, I think that will explain their glazed, awed expressions.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Baptism and Birds


This last week was all over the place. In some ways it was very successful, and in others it was a little tough. 

We had a baptism yesterday. The young man that we found a few weeks ago just barely got baptized. He has been really excited for a long time. We found him because he broke the law of chastity with a member, and she just had her little baby. Last week he had his interview, and it was incredible. He is a phenomenal example of what it means to have a broken heart and a contrite spirit. He told us after his interview that he had talked with his girlfriend and they had decided to take a lot of steps to make sure that they keep the commandments until after they are married. He sacrificed a lot to get baptized, including being able to live with his parents (they kicked him out when they found out that he was listening to us), living a normal easy life (instead of abandoning the baby he started working full time to support his baby and girlfriend, despite maintaining his education), among many other things. 

We are struggling to find good strong people that are progressing. We are working a lot with the members and the less actives and the recent converts. We are looking for and working really hard to get references so we can start teaching all their conocidos. So far we have found a lot of success with this, including finding someone that is really, really ready to hear the gospel. We found her in her house, and then thirty minutes later we were planning her baptism with her for the 14th of March. She is awesome! 

Elder Costello and I are doing well. He has a completely different way of working from what I am used to, so we have spent a lot of time these last couple of weeks trying to figure it all out, but we are getting the hang of it really well. He has a lot of experience here in the mission, and I am certain that I am going to learn a lot this change. It would be awesome to stay another one together! 

We have to figure something out about our house. We have a little patio out behind the kitchen where we wash clothes and put them on a line to dry. I keep putting out all my laundry freshly washed, but we have a little problem with pigeons in the apartment complex. And I come outside every day only to find that my freshly washed laundry got decorated by the local flying rats. Absolutely covered in what they were eating the day before... Sigh. I am about ready to track down a BB gun and wait for the little buggers to get there. Harrumphf. :) 

Welp. That about wraps up this last week. 

Elder Kennington

 Zone Conference.  The first missionary Elder Kennington trained, Elder Gavilla, is on the far left middle row.  His most recent companion, Elder Fjerstad is right in front of Owen on the front row.  Owen's current companion, Elder Costello, is wearing a red tie on the middle row. And here is a "It's a Small World" connection for you:  Elder Costello was Elder Thompson's MTC companion, and Elder Thompson was Owen's companion in Toluca a year ago. So an MTC companionship shared a mutual companion in the mission field! Crazy stuff.  

Francisco (white shirt seated front row) and his future in-laws at his baptism.  Elder Costello and Elder Kennington are on the back row right side.

Inside the church building before the baptism.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Plucking the Sisters From Danger

Hi there!!!

This last week was completely upside down.

The sister missionaries that we have in the district had a fun time. They woke up last week with a group of men trying to break into their house in the middle of the night. And then the days following afterwards they could hear their footsteps on the roof, they could see guys watching their house, and all sorts of creepy stuff like that.

We spent most of the week out there in Atlatlahuca 2 helping out the sisters with looking for a new house and then helping them move. Where they were living was really insecure. Finally on Saturday we were able to find a house in the center of a really safe pueblo. We are going to help them finish up the move today. They won't have anymore problems in this house. And we didn't even have to crack any skulls or break any kneecaps. :):) .

Elder Costello and I are doing great. We are working hard and I am learning a lot. We get along great, and aren't having any problems with teaching unifiedly or anything of that nature. I love these kinds of companionships!

The ward is doing great. We have been working a lot with the bishopric in getting the ward involved in sharing the gospel with non-members, and visiting those who do not come. We have a big ward-wide family home evening this Friday that will be a great opportunity for the members to be able to participate in just that.

We have an investigator that could potentially get baptized this Sunday who is in kind of an interesting situation. His name is Fransisco. He is a joven of 19 years that was dating a member, and then got her pregnant. Rather than running away from responsibility and trying to simplify his life he started working in addition to going to school so as to support his new little girl (the daughter just got born in December) and his girlfriend so she can keep studying too. He even started listening to us and really wants to get baptized, and for that interest his parents kicked him out of the house. So he is currently living with the family of his girlfriend. But I am not certain if they have to get married before he can get baptized, because they are living under the same roof? The mom is completely against marriage, but everyone else is game. His interview is scheduled for this Wednesday. We will find out this week. :)

Oh. And I forgot to tell you that I am a district leader again. I've been all over the place with my assignments. :) Haha...

Hope that you all have a lovely week!
Elder Kennington

Mom's Quick Questions
Q: What has your mission president said to the missionaries about the Zika virus?
A: umm... What is that....? :P

Q: What is the name of that electronics shopping mecca you told us about? Where is it?
A: It is in el Zócalo in D.F. I have no idea what it is called... It is a huge store that has a lot of individual booths and sellers. It isn't owned by a specific company or anything. Big specific companies are a little hard to find here in México. :)

Q: Introduce us to your new companion. What is he like?
A: Elder Costello is a stud. This is his second to last transfer in the mission. He is from the generation of Elder Thompson. Actually, he and Elder Thompson were companions in the MTC. :):) He is really calm and collected, has a lot of hilarious stories, has a girlfriend that is in the mission, is 20 years old, is from Mesa Arizona, and is super hilarious. :)

This is like the Mexican version of the Tree of Life. It is really famous here in Metepec (not sure why...). But you've got Adam, Eve, the serpent, the Angel with a flaming sword, and a bunch of weird stuff. I thought that they looked cool. :)

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Sombrero-Wearing Taco Chef Checks In


I stayed here in Las Torres, and am now with an Elder named Elder Costello. He is in the last two transfers of his mission (he was going to finish this change, but he extended), and is already a good friend of mine. We have seen each other all over the place, and we are both really excited to see what this change has in store.

Elder Zúñiga went to an área called Los Arcos, which is right next to Chamapa, in Naucalpan (I was in Chamapa roughly a change and a half).

Talking of Chamapa, I just heard from one of my convert families that I have out there, and they are doing GREAT! La familia Avila Aceveda, or Gabriel, Maria Ines, and Meredith, are a bunch of studs. Gabriel and his father-in-law just got the Melchizedek priesthood yesterday, and all have callings. Gabriel teaches the elder's quorum class, and Maria Ines teaches two Relief Society classes. I am so proud of them. :):):) We have a few investigators that are progressing right now, but that need a lot of help. If you have a spare moment it would be awesome if you could pray for them.

This last week was a little tough. Firstly, it was just one of those weeks where nothing seems to work with the investigators but, secondly, a good friend of mine got hurt. Elder Nielson, one of my friends from my district in the MTC fell from some stairs and broke his ankle really, really badly. He had a five hour surgery yesterday to try and rectify everything and it went well, but even then he will likely not walk the same again. As soon as he is well enough to travel, he will be going home. I love him to bits and miss him like crazy. Please remember to keep Riley John Nielson in your prayers, along with his family.

Hope that you all have a lovely week and that you feel the hand of the Lord more constantly.

I love you!
Elder Kennington

Preguntas Bien Rapidito
Q:  Do the families in the pueblos have vegetable gardens on this side of Toluca?
A:  Not really. The people here don't eat a mountain of vegetables. Lots of meat, tortillas, caldos (I don't remember how to say that in English), sopas (that either), and the other such things.

Q:  How do you get out to the pueblos?
A:  We usually walk, but when we are pressed for time and we have money we take a bus (camión, entre comillas... Aquí todo está bien roto. :))

Q:  Tell me about one or two of the active member families there in Metepec you enjoy working with or spending time with.
A:  I love going with a the Garcia Martínez family. They have an investigators friend that we are teaching right now that is progressing rapidly, that will be getting baptized in a couple weeks. Just in time for the visit of President Whitehead. :) This family is very loving, and we always leave their house loaded down with a mountain of food.... That is the family that I skyped with for Christmas. :)

Me cutting onions with Hermana Julietta.  She is the momma of Monserrat, who got baptized last month. 


This is what we were cooking.

I am cooking tacos. With a sombrero.

I found some aviator sunglasses! :D 
Elder Zuniga y Elder Kennington
Our district last change.  Elder Nielson is the one second from the left.  (From left: Elder Zuniga, Elder Nielson before his broken ankle, Elder ???, and Elder Kennington 

This guy had a statue from a favorite family comic (Beetle Bailey).  

And I LOVED this graffiti.  I thought it would make you laugh.  The people here are incredible artists.  They can do magic with spray paint. :) 

This is a less-active family we just finished activating.  The father coming back is a HUGE miracle.  The mom is a returned missionary. :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A White Week

This last week was all over the place. We spent the majority of the week working on getting everything ready for the baptism yesterday. The baptism went really well. We had a lot of people from the ward show up (a great sign that we are getting the trust of the ward back a little bit), and the service went really well. It was a young girl named Monserrat, who is part of a family that was less active just a little bit ago, that we've been working with for a while. Even though she is terrified of water and had to get baptized twice (because her hair came up out of the water...), she was a real trooper and toughed it out really well. She is awesome.

We are kind of struggling with getting our investigators to church because, while there are many that we are teaching, we still don't have the help of the ward on Sunday mornings to go pick them up ("it's sooooo early in the morning" or "I can't go because I've got to visit ____ because they are sick," and all sorts of stuff like that. We have been passing by for the majority. Even with that considered, it is going well. Elder Zúñiga and I have high hopes for February. We just barely found a couple days ago this huge family that lives in this pueblo out in the middle of nowhere, who just happen to be family of some recent converts. We are excited to start teaching them.

Elder Zúñiga is doing well. He has grown and learned a lot this change, and I am enjoying the time that we have left in this change. I cannot believe that there are only two weeks left until transfers. Time is flying!

It snowed on the volcano this last week. It is gorgeous! Elder Zúñiga and I tried to go today, but there was too much snow and they wouldn't let people go up because of all sorts of "hazards." They told us with wide eyes that there was roughly FOUR INCHES of snow on the mountain. Good grief. School back in Utah keeps going even if we get a foot and a half... :) Haha. But we wandered around for a little bit, enjoying the peace and the quiet. :)

Elder Kennington

Preguntas Bien Rapidito
Q:  Can you buy wool socks to put on your feet while you are sleeping? If you wear wool socks to bed that will keep your feet warm through the night. Wool socks would also keep your feet warm during the cold mornings/evenings.
A:  I went and got myself a pair a couple of weeks ago. It has been about 30-35 degrees Farenheit here! O.o

Q:  When is the next transfer date?
A:  The first of February. That day I start my last block of changes in the mission... :( Four more changes after this one...

Q:  How is your convert (Juan?) doing? (the one who just showed up at the church building having seen it in a dream)
A:  He is doing AWESOME! He just blessed the Sacrament yesterday. :):) He keeps talking about saving up a lot of money to buy the house where he is renting, moving, then having the missionaries live there with all their groceries bought and not having to pay rent. :) He is doing really well. The bishop feels like he is ready to get the Melchizedek Priesthood two weeks from yesterday. :)

Q:  What is your favorite Alan Rickman (Prof. Snape) role?
A:  The obvious Proffessor Snape. He was the perfect actor for him. ... Man.... I have no idea what everything is going to look like when I get home... Everyone is getting married, getting older, going to school, and dying. Man.... O.o

El Nevado with snow

Baptism of Monserrat

Elder Kennington

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Warming Hearts -or- Lions & Tigers & Bears/Flamingos/Snakes/Owls Oh My!!!

Phew.  Crazy last week. :)

We are working really hard with the recent converts and the less actives right now. We have a baptism for this Sunday, which is the young 9-year-old daughter of a less active family that we've been working with (named Monserrat). This family is doing really, really well. The family couldn't be happier.

We are also working with another young man that is the son of a recent convert who looks really good. His name is Ismael, and even though he has a lot of doubts about organized religious activity (He had some horrible experiences with some local pastors when he was younger), he is progressing quite nicely. He went to church for the first time yesterday and he really, really liked it.

We also found a miracle yesterday who also has a lot of potential. Her name is Fabiola, and she is passing through a lot of really hard stuff right now. Her two children are both in the hospital thanks to some really bad accidents and need operations (they are 3- and 2-years-old), and her husband is almost never home thanks to his work. She came to church on her own looking for help and comfort, and found some. :) We are excited to start teaching her this week. She lives in a pueblo that is super Catholic, which is a huge step for the work in this area.

The ward is really warming up to us right now. Many of the families here always invite us out to eat and to spend time with their family. We have to be careful so as to not cross the line of being friendly with the members to wasting time. :) But it is a line that I am grateful exists, because I really struggle in wards where I feel abandoned by the ward. I work best when I feel love and support from those around me. And in my last three areas, Palmas, Haciendas, and Las Torres there has been no shortage of that. :)

Oh. And today we went to a zoo out in the middle of nowhere. I was expecting a dinky run-down sort of place, but it was actually really nice. Almost as good as the Hogle Zoo. :) We went with Ismael (our investigator) and another young guy from the ward. Twas a party!

Hope that you have a wonderful week!
Elder Kennington

Preguntas Bien Rapidito
Q:  Why do you think the Lord kept sending Lehi’s sons back to Jerusalem on retrieval missions instead of having them gather everything (plates of brass, future spouses, etc.) the first time they left?
A:  Probably for the same reason that I now have more than a year in the Toluca area, and I have three different areas as part of it. I keep coming back here as well. I consider it a huge blessing (even if Laman and Lemuel didn't). It was an awful lot that they had to do. The Lord isn't interested in us having everything all at the same time, even if it would be more "efficient." He has our growth perfectly scheduled. We will not become stronger in the Gospel faster than we are able, and certainly not faster than is His will. I am a firm believer in steady, strong, and constant growth. The strongest converts are always the ones who come to church a few times, reading constantly the Book of Mormon, and all that great stuff. Much stronger than one who just shows up at the chapel and gets baptized that very Sunday. I imagine that there were specific and distinct lessons for Nephi and his brothers on each trip.

Q:  Do you get the Teachings of the Prophets manual for Priesthood to read/study for church?
A:  Yep! I made off with one last Sunday and have already devoured the whole thing... :)

Q:  What was your most interesting encounter this week?
A:  Was it the pack of dogs that chased us around for half an hour? Was it the drunk guy that passed out in front of us and face-planted in the asphalt? Hm. I think it was probably the miracle that came to church on Sunday that I mentioned in my email. :)

We had frost on the ground this morning.  Elder Zuniga about had a heart attack.  It was the first time he had ever seen anything like that.... Ha ha :) Mom Note:  If you look closely you can see how pink his face is from the cold. Love messages from my missionary!

Zacango Zoo Pictures!
El Nevado, the volcano Elder Kennington got to visit before Christmas.

With Elder Zuniga, Elder Kennington, a boy from the ward, and Ismail.

Me and Evan in a nutshell. Ha ha.  Two little angry raccoons!!

I love lions.

Elder Zuniga and Elder Kennington

I found Hermes, the owl that belongs to the Weasley family.  He was having a bad day.

I hope Elder Kennington actually bought one of those.

Elder Zuniga studying in the apartment.  They do not have electric space heaters down there, and the gas ones are too dangerous.

I found a demon Rubik's Cube.... O o

Elder Zuniga got tired.

They had a white tiger!!!

The reptile house was my favorite.

The coloration on this snake reminds me of a popcorn jellybean.

Missionary gorilla and lion!