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Monday, February 18, 2013

Week #9. New York-First Week in the Field

This picture is of Skyler and his MTC Companion, Elder Saxton. Hey family! it has been such a crazy crazy crazy week. Our p-day is on monday and we never had the chance to write home because there were 25 new missionaries this transfer so there was no time for anybody to write home. I thought that the President Wirthlin had sent home a letter with a picture of us in it but maybe not. As you know it was so hard for me to leave the mtc. I have felt an emptiness inside me that is slowly being filled. This last week we haven't been able to get hardly any work done at all. in 4 days we have been to the emergency room 5 times for my trainer Elder Burton. His jaw has randomly popped out of place almost everyday since thursday. On thursday morning we were doing personal study and I guess he yawned and his jaw popped out of it's socket. I didn't notice it and it wasn't until companionship study that he said that we have to call the mission presidents wife, because his jaw was locked. I was surprised and didn't have any idea what to do. We called Sister Wirthlin and she right away called around trying to find a place that he could go to have it fixed. We ended up just having to go the the emergency room at the nearest hospital which was only about a mile from our apartment in Carthage, New York. We went there and they fiddled with Elder Burtons jaw and couldn't get it back. They said they would have to give him muscle relaxers to relax his jaw enough to put it back into place. So they gave him several shots, and he was out of it. They came in again and were able to put his jaw back in right away. We left after that and went about our day. We had to stay in the apartment because he was so drugged up and quite nauscious. So he slept and I sat in the front room of our apartment and read the scriptures and preach my gospel and napped a little bit. He didn't get feeling better until that evening and we were able to go to our dinner appointment with a nice young family named the Downers. They fed us chicken tacos that were really excellent. Our gps got us hopelessly lost as we were trying to find their home. We ended up calling them and then talking on the phone for almost a half hour trying to get directions to their home. Its a true blessing from the Lord that we were able to find it even with help from calling them. I just told Elder Burton to take random turns, that I had no idea why we should, and then somehow it led us to a bank that we were able to use as a new focal point and were able to make it to their home soon after that. We ate chicken tacos that were excellent. We left them with a spiritual message and went home for the night and prepared for our next day. The same thing happened the next three days Elder Burton would have to go into the ER and he would then be drugged up and out of it for the rest of the day, so we would just have to stay home and do nothing. After talking with President Wirthlin and praying much it was decided that there was no way that Elder Burton could stay out in the field with this huge problem. He is on a plane back home to Arizona right now on medical leave. He is determined to come back, but it sounds like he has a pretty big surgery to fix the problem. It was a pre-existing problem where he can't bite down all the way in front and his jaw would lock sometimes but he could usually get it back into place. So they were planning on fixing it all after his mission because his doctors wanted him to grow more and thought he would be ok. But for whatever reason the Lord wants him back home right now. So right now I am at the Mission Presidents home about two hours from my assigned area. We just picked up my two new companions and so I am now in a trio. Their names are Elder Menlove and Elder King. They have both been out for over a year and Elder Menlove was Elder Burtons companion before he got transferred less than a week ago so he knew the Carthage area and the people that live their well. He has served their 6 months already. It sounds like there is too much good happening in Carthage and so President Worthlin pulled the two Elders our of their area because theirs was a new one that they had only been to for 5 days and were opening so there wasn't much that they were having to leave behind. Last tuesday we were met at the Syracuse New York airport by our wonderful Mission President and his wife. President Joseph B. Wirthlin. He is the son of the Apostle Elder Joseph B. Worthlin. He is such a great man and I was so happy to see him at the airport. You can truly see the light of Christ in him and his wife and they stood out from everyone at the Airport. They loaded us and our baggage all up into two vans and a trailer hooked on to one and they took us to this pizza joint so that we could get "real" New York pizza. It was great food and the pizza slices were huge! It was for sure some of the best pizza I have ever had. They took us to the Utica stake center after that, which also doubles as the mission office. We dropped all of our luggage off their and did a little bit of training. It was about 6 in the evening by this time. Everyone was super tired and so President had us get our essentials for the night. We stayed at a new missionary couples apartment named the Cutlers. They are really nice people from St. George. The mission home was full of the other missionaries so thats why we stayed there. The next day we got up and went to the church again which was very close and we did a little more training. And then they had us go to the chapel where we were assigned our new companions. Out of the 25 missionaries I was the last to be assigned my new companion and trainer. Elder Burton. What a sweet, humble companion he was. We were only together for about 5 days but he was a blessing and a comfort to me. I was very saddened that the first full day of our training he started having major problems with his jaw. But it was the Lord's will I guess. I just wonder why he waited until I was his trainee till he started having problems. I told him to look you up on facebook. His name is Jason Rolly Burton from Snowflake, Arizona. I hate to say it but I'm nervous right now. I have a little anxiety and I don't know what the Lord has in store for me here yet. We haven't been able to teach a single lesson yet. I feel that there is much of the Saviors precious time that I have wasted. But my companion was too drugged up to be able to do anything and so I have felt the comfort of the Lord telling me that it is ok. I have had so many hours in our apartment of just me since my companion was passed out on the bed. I have had too much time and i haven't been able to keep my mind busy and so it has often gone back to my amazing memories and experiences at the mtc. I have the alot about my family, and especially of Mom and Dad. And for the first time in over 2 months I have had pangs of homesickness. Satan has been working on me telling me that my task is too large to handle and that I might as well give up because i am doing no good. I have thrust those evil thoughts from me and have relied on prayer this week more than I ever had in my life. The Savior really is our master, and he does raise us up and walks with us as we do his missionary work. I have felt your prayers this last week. As I have sat not being able to do anything I have gotten really down and have felt that there is no hope. But then it is like a light comes into my soul and warms me and reassures me that all is well and that everything will turn out fine. Thank you for your prayers. This has probably been one of the hardest weeks I have ever experienced in my entire life. I have been brought low and humbled and I know that his is a trying and testing time in my life. I'm grateful that Heavenly Father is allowing me to experience it now. I'm glad I can taste of the bad so that I can truly recognize and savor the good. But don't worry about me I will be fine. There is no greater support than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He knows me and what we all feel, he truly knows how to succor us. So some cool things about being out hers is that we have out own car. It's a nice Subaru, and I have been able to drive it quite a bit here in new York because me companion was too drugged up to drive. The way it looks and feels here we could totally be in Utah. The trees and snow and houses and cars look so much like back at home. It is cold here but not too much worse than back in Provo. I'm doing fine. We do alot of work with less-actives here, it sounds like there is usually quite a bit of success with helping to reactivate people. There are a few progressing investigators here with baptismal dates set but they aren't until April and may. So I probably won't see a baptism during my time here. Thats just fine though, hopefully I can help a few people and plant some seeds. Like I said the main town that are area is in is called Carthage. It's probably about the same size as Roosevelt. Something thats cool and different is that in our area there is a military base called Fort Drum. It doesn't seem too different besides its a good sized town with stores and everything. We need to have our drivers licences with us whenever we enter the base. There is no proselyting on Fort Drum allowed unless there is a definate appointment set up, so we can't tract or randomly ask members or investigators if we can teach them without first setting up an appointment. As a whole the mission doesn't do much tracting unless there is nothing else to do. And theres is always someone that we can visit or teach so I probably won't get to tract much while I am here. I'm not sure how Elder Saxton is doing or where he is at but I think he is doing good and has probably done alot more than I have this past week. I miss the feeling of Utah. It feels alot different here, but as we were in church yesterday I felt the Spirit strong and I knew that the Church is true here in New York, it's true back at home in Utah, and it's true in Brazil. We have a good ward with almost 500 members. But only about 200 are active so there is tons of work that we can do here. Many of the members are in the military so they come and go quickly and randomly. The Bishop here Bishop Olson has only been a Bishop for about a month. We have a good ward though, I was able to bear my testimony at church as the new missionary and Elder Burton was able to bear his testimony and I explain while he was leaving. The ward was very sad to hear that he was leaving but I had a good reception and had 3 or for of the member come and talk to me and tell me of their missions in Brazil and Portugal. i just asked President and he said that they should soon send a letter with a picture of him and his wife and me. If you send any letters send them to this Address: 12 Slaytonbush Road, Whitesboro NY 13492. It is the mission home and they will forward all letters to us. If you send packages it needs to be sent buy usps priority mail or parcel or something of that sort. But it can't be ups or fedex because then theu cant forward it to us or something. But please keep Elder Burton in your prayers. He has been wearing band-aids on his face to remind him not to yawn or open his mouth to wide. It locks to easily. He has only been able to eat yogurt and smoothis these last few days. I hope he gets home fine, we dropped him off at the airport at about 9 this morning. We drove to the Mission home last night and stayed here. i dind't sleep much last night because I was afraid his jaw would lock and we would have to take him to the Emergency room. But me and President gave him a blessing last night that everything would be fine. I had Elder Burton give me a blessing as well last night of comfort and strenght. i felt better after it. well we will probably be leaving soon but thanks for your emails. i have been really close to the spirit this last week and as I read my Patriarchal blessing and the blessing that dad gave me and the letters you wrote I wept often. But The Lord has helped me and comforts me. And again I know that this is a time of refinement. I need to go now but I love you all so much. Thanks so much for your prayers and thoughts. Until next week. -Elder Kennington

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