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. :)