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Monday, March 4, 2013

#11 Letter New York, Utica

Hello to my precious family! We had a good busy week this last week. We visited a lot of less actives and have actually been able to help two less actives to start coming back to church. And better yet their non-member spouses have been interested in the Gospel and we have been able to start teaching them too. It's so much easier to convert people when they know someone who is already members of the church. Every member a missionary! Everyone one of our investigators or recent converts were interested and willing to take the discussions because they had a friend or family member who was a member. We must always be willing to share the Gospel with our friends and always be righteous examples. We gained a new golden investigator this week. Her name is Teresa, and boy has The Lord prepared her. She has a family member who lives several hours away who is a member and forever reason she was compelled to go to church and start learning about her Gospel. Last week she went to a ward outside her area because she didn't know that we had a chapel here in the Carthage area. The missionaries in that area talked to her there and she told them how she wants to become a member of this church. She met with the Sister missionaries a few days later in our area and they handed her over to us because she is in our area and is too far for the Sister to drive to teach her. On Thursday we went to her house so that we could introduce ourselves and so the Sister missionaries could explain to her that we would start teaching her now. We all talked together and she expressed her deep desire to be baptized and to follow Christ and do whatever she has to in order to become a member of his Church. She told us that she has to stop smoking but she is willing to do whatever she has to. She said that her family member who was a member of the church told her that she needs to get the Elders over so that she could receive a blessing. She didn't fully understand what a blessing was or how it worked so we explained to her about how it is all done by the faith of the person and the power of God. We explained the different types of blessings and the different significance of each one. We explained why and how we anoint and seal blessings. She was very desirous of a blessing and so me and Elder Menlove gave her one. I was blessed to be able to seal the anointing and bless her. I don't remember hardly any of what I said but I know very well that the Holy Spirit put every word into my mouth. I remember I blessed her that she would be able to quit smoking and told her that this was the correct path and the our Savior was very pleased with her and her righteous desires. I remember telling her that Satan would do all he can to stop her from being baptized but that she would have the strength to resist all his temptations. There was alot of stuff in between that I don't remember. But I remember as we finished the blessing there was a very strong peaceful feeling in the room. She was crying and told us that she had felt so much peace and comfort during the blessing. She thanked us and then she gave a closing prayer out loud for her first time. It was beautiful. She was at church yesterday and seemed to drink everything in during fast and testimony meeting and during the rest of the day. We introduced her to some great sisters in the ward and they instantly took her under their wing, and gave her comfort support. She said she still hasn't stopped smoking but it's only been a few days and we have full confidence that she will be able to stop especially when we set her up with a baptismal date during our next lesson on wednesday. She is so hungry for the Gospel and has told us she never felt so hungry to learn about Christ in her life. It's like it came out of nowhere. She was a catholic but she said that once she learned of the Gospel she hasn't been able to stop wanting more. It talks about this in Preach my Gospel that as investigators learn more of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ their spiritual appetites are caught on fire and only more knowledge can stifle that hunger. What marvelous things the Gospel does and how it changes us inside and out. My good companion Elder Menlove has an excellent work ethic and he makes sure we stay busy. We weren't able to go out and tract this last week but I guess thats good because we have been busy with other things. Whether it's strengthening recent converts or visiting less actives and inviting them back to church and inviting them to drink from the fountain of all truth and happiness which really is the Gospel. We acquired two more investigators this last week from working with less actives. The Lord truly blesses us as we stay busy. It's like we just run into these people at the homes of those less-actives that we visit and they are interested in hearing more about the Gospel. Hopefully we are able to be blessed by Gods almighty hand as we are diligent and use our time wisely. Mom asked a few questions, my companion is the one that look like Devin a little bit. Elder Burton my first companion is doing ok I think. I know that he got back home to Arizona just fine but that he has to get major surgery on his jaw in order to fix multiple problems, a member called and talked to him when he got home and said he seemed a little down because it will be probably more than six months till he will be able to come back out onto a mission again. I don't think he has had the surgery yet because it sounds like the muscle inflamation in his jaw still needs to go down which could take up to a month. So again keep him in your prayers. P-days here go by super fast. Unfortunately there are no nearby Church history sites in our mission. Palmyra is about two hours away from here and is in The Rochester New york mission boundaries. Elder Menlove says that at the end of his mission they let him go to the temple once before he goes home. Pretty much on P-day we go grocery shopping at about 11. There is a walmart in our area and so thats where we usually go. Today I bought some fruity dyno bites, poptarts, yogurt, pizza rolls, milk, and some sriracha rooster hot sauce. Like the kind they have at china star and stuff. We are always fed dinners so we don't have to worry about cooking much. I usually have cereal in the morning and poptarts as snacks later in the morning if I get hungry during personal study or something. We miss lunch alot because we have appointments to be to but if we get the chance we will alot of times boil up some pasta and have some alfredo or something. I like my pizza rolls with my rooster sauce though. I have been going down on the ice cream here though. Members feed us ice cream often after dinner and We always have a few pints in the freezer. This last week I ate two boxes which I guess is a gallon of ice cream. I make a malt out if it since we have a blender. I do this at about 10 every night after our planning session. Don't worry though I always brush my teeth afterwards. and I still weigh the exact same as when I entered the mtc. anyways after we go shopping we usually wash and vacuum the car and the we go to a recent converts house and he lets us do his laundry there for free! which is a huge blessing and makes things easy since our apartment doesn't have a washer or dryer. Then we just chill at his house and place some pretty complex but fun board games. Usually after a game or two its about 4 or so and we go to the Carthage library and do emails. We left a little early today to do emails because we have to go back to a recent converts home and give him and his wife a blessing. They called and asked if they would give us blessings. We sure do alot of blessings. In the last two weeks I will have either given or participated in 9 different blessings. Mostly for people who are sick or feel like they are in need of comfort. After we do emails we will usually then go and have dinner at a members home and then go to an appointment and teach someone. Tonight we will do our weekly planning though, we were supposed to do it on thursday but we were so busy with teaching and helping members that we weren't able to do it. But again it was a good week. We commited another investigator to be baptized at the end of this month on the 31st I think and he accepted. He is a 19 year old in the army that we met through teaching one of our less active members. What a cool thing! We helped a member paint a wall in his house. i attached a picture of it. I got a little crazy and got paint in my shirt. Good thing it was an old shirt. Btw a few thoughts and questions I had I was super excited in the mtc when you told me they found Rikki and that she was ok. What a blessing and miracle from the Lord. I forgot to comment on that. Also I was wondering if the Bank knows that I am in New York so that if I buy something on my card it won't get shut off as a safety precaution. Also fast was good yesterday it was a 24 hour fast and seemed to go by quick. We ate at a family named the Debucks yesterday and we were talking about rock climbing and stuff and they mentioned Wade Rhineharts name! I was like What!? You know Wade!? I told them about how our families were good friends and how they were some of my favorite sunday school teachers. What a small world. The De bucks were from New Mexico and were in New York because of military stuff. So that was cool. Anyway I love you all and I have thanked Heavenly Father so much this week for my wonderful family and friends. Thanks so much to Grandma Dale and Dad and Mom for your wonderful letters each week. They all make my day and I always look so forward to them. I'm trying my best here in Upstate New York and The Lord is taking care of the rest. I love you all. No word on visas yet. I doubt I will get them before this next transfer on the 21st of this month. No worries though. The Lords will be done. Everyone have a great week. I love you all so much. and am excited to hear all the mission calls that everyone is getting. Take care again!
-Elder Kennington

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