Cuiaba Brazil Weather

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Week #23 Brazil

E aí todo mundo! Que está acontecendo lá nos Estados Unidos? Espero que vocês estejam bom demais! This week shot by super fast as usual. I brought my journal to the lan house with me today so that I could remember the highlights of what went on during the week. Not the greatest week ever but we worked hard and The Good Lord blessed us. I found a quote last week that I wanted to share with you. It was given by President Boyd K Packer at the last conference April 2013 this is his quote" I have come to know that faith is a real power, not just an expression of belief." This  is something that I really need to work on. One of the things I learned in New York is when we have faith great things happen.  And thats something I am trying to apply now in  Brazil. Faith is more than just a belief, it as an actual power. Some of my favorite scriptures on faith are found in Ether chapter 12 verses 12-16. This illustrates exactly what happens when we don't have faith and when we do haev faith. When we have no faith nothing happens. But as well we must act on our faith and work. Faith without works is dead. I copied these scriptures down for you guys because they have  a much stronger significance to me now.  12 For if there be no afaith among the children of men God can do no bmiracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith.
 13 Behold, it was the faith of Alma and Amulek that caused theaprison to tumble to the earth.
 14 Behold, it was the faith of Nephi and Lehi that wrought theachange upon the Lamanites, that they were baptized with fire and with the bHoly Ghost.
 15 Behold, it was the faith of aAmmon and his brethren whichbwrought so great a miracle among the Lamanites.
 16 Yea, and even all they who wrought amiracles wrought them by bfaith, even those who were before Christ and also those who were after.
These are powerful scriptures especially for missionaries. 
When we go out and work we must go out with faith believing that miracles will happen and when we press forward in faith amazing things happen. So anyway on with the week, we got haircuts again this week which felt really good even though my hair didnt need to get cut super bad everyone else needed theirs cut so I had mine done too. We taught a family this week the restoration but it was kinda weird cause the mom was just breast feeding her baby the whole time. Elder Reed said you just get used to it and we are lucky to have not had it happen to much these last few transfers. Just another reminder that Im not in the states anymore. We had some graham cracker and marshamallows in the house that one of the Elders hadrecieved from home and so we bought some chocolate and then that night we had family home evening with a less active family in the branch and so we showed them how to makes smores. It was a hit among the Brazilians. It brought back good times of camping back at home. I think thats one of the things I miss most is camping and going on family reunions with the family. I went on splits with Elder Combs this Wednesday, he is from California and only has two transfers left on this mission. He is one of the Elders that only works with the less actives and so we went and met with alot of less actives. Its cool working with different Elders and being able to see the different ways they teach and interact with people. We also visited the parents of an active member that night, they are not members but they say they know the church and book of mormon is true, they jsut say they are waiting for the right time to arrive to be baptized, I think they have been saying that for years by the sound of things. Ww think alot of people dont want to commit to be baptized because being a member of the church is a lifetime commitment and is not easy and I think alot of people realize this and would rather not become a member cause it means that they actually have to do stuff. But wow they are missing out on so many blessings! funny thing on thursday we had all of our appointments fall through so we were just out trying to teach people lessons but no one was accepting for some reason, which is a little odd cause usually we can get into most peoples homes and teach them, so we are just going along knocking doors and making contacts and we get to this house and I made the contact with this old lady and I just said we are the missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ, and before I could finish she was like a hey me to I'm a Catholic, but the way she said it kinda was rude but we were just like whatever but her daughter was right behind her who is in her twenties and we were talking to her and she commented on my tie bar and shes like "oh I havent ever seen one like that before with the Angel Moroni and stuff" and we were like what!? you know who The Angel Moroni is and then she explained that she was an inactive member. So we talked to her for an hour or so and she explained all the problems and harships she had gone through. She hadnt been to church in about 5 years and at that times the branch was quite a bit weaker here but she said that in her hard times nobody  from the church came and helped her. So we spent time explaining that the church is a perfect church, but the members are not. We talked about the scriptures and challenged her to open her Book of Mormon back up and start reading again. She accepted. Im glad we ran into her because we feel that we will be able to reactivate her back into the church. Im glad that the Lord didnt let us teach in people before her because then we wouldnt have found her that night. Funny how the Lord knows whats in front of us and what will and can happen.  Heavenly Father sure knows alot more than we do. I have to repent every night for ever questioning the Lord why he allows certain things to happen to us, because I am always reminded that he is the one that is in charge. He is the Master Gardener here not us. So we have been working on several of our streets that we used the "inspired tracting" to find and we found several good potencials. We found a family that when the mom came out after we knocked on the door she was just like "flip" when she saw us, but we inroduced ourselves and shes like hmmmm I dont have time right now but I have some questions about and doubts about your church that I would like to have answered. We just said hey we can answer them right now really fast and so she asked us why are Church says that we are the Church of Jesus Christ but that we really just worship some other guy whou she forgot the name, haha it was funny cause we knew exactly who she was talking, we said Joseph Smith and she said yeah! him, so we explained that he was the Prophet who helped restore the church through the Power of Jesus Christ. After that she said that she was concerned about her son who she said had read some books and said that he was an athiest now. He is only 13 years old, we said that we could help  them with that problem. So we went back the next day and taught the restoration and introduced the Book of Mormon and challenged them to read it, the mom accepted but the 13 year old son was like naw I dont really want to, we just said dude you dont have to read the whole thing just a chapter that we will leave with you. Then he was like alright I will do it. So we left them with that. They really warmed up to us though her son showed us his room and his videogames and stuff. We decided that he really isnt an athiest but that hes just a normal 13 year old kid that didnt want to go to church one sunday so he used the excuse that he doesnt believe in God. But THey were cool, and were going to go to church the next day but she texted us the next morning and said that her kids had gotten a fever during the night and wouldnt be able to make it but she said that that we could come over whenever we want cause her son would like to play videogames with us. We thought that was pretty cool even though we cant accept the invitation and play videogames. That would be cool though. So we will keep meeting with them and hopefully they are willing to accept the Gospel and see its importance, beacuse they are active baptists. Also on Sunday we had bad luck with investigators coming to church. In fact there was alot of members that didnt go to church yesterday. We think alot were sick cause it was pretty cold saturday night and sunday morning was actually kinda foggy here, I was surprised cause I didnt know it could get foggy. But we actually went to some of our investigators houses that live nearby the church to see if they were going to make it to church, we ran to their houses during the first class but they all had the excuse of being sick and stuff. Oh well though. We worked alot this week and made alot of contacts with people. In one day we made 14 contacts with people, which means we talk to them get all of their address and phone information, and their name. This is a pretty easy way to figure if it would be worth going back to these peoples homes because you can usually tell if they are going to be interested or not, and usually we listen really close to the spirit, causue usually if we are in tune with the spirit we can know wether or not to spend alot of time trying to teach them. But thats about it for this week. I think we might go try and play some soccer with some today we will have to see. It is super hot today, well actually thats everyday. Anyway I love you guys. God bless you all, keep your prayers strong, study the scriptures everyday The Book of Mormon has power to help anyone overcome any tempatation or hardship. Eu Sei que A Igreja de Jesus Cristo dos Santos dos Últimos Dias é verdadeira. Jesus Cristo vive, ele é nosso Irmão e Salvador. Ele nos ama, e Ele nos conhece. Ele quer que nós sejamos felizes em nossas vidas. Eu testifico que José Smith foi e é um Profeta de Deus. Eu sou grato por ele. O Livro de Mórmon é verdadeiro. Eu amo esse livro. Convido todos, para ler, ponderar, e orar parar saber se ele realmente é verdadeiro.  Porque como Moroni disse "pelo poder do Espirito Santo, podemos saber a verdade de todas as coisas." Eu amo minha família, meus amigos,e acima de tudo, amo meu Salvador.  Love you guys all so much. Until next week!
-Elder Kennington

Monday, May 20, 2013

Brazil Week #22

btw the picture with all 6 missionaries is all of us at the lunch the day of the baptism. On Mon, May 20, 2013 at 1:48 PM, Richard Kennington wrote: Família!!! Como vocês estão!?!?!?! So this week went by so quick, I blinked and it was gone. It was indeed a good week, but at the same time I know that Satan was working hard. Because There were very few investigators to church on Sunday, even though there were many that promised they would be to church. Every time an investigator misses a week at church we have to push their baptism back another week. Because you have to go to church for at least 2 times before you are baptized and alot of our investigators still haven't made the commitment to get up in the morning to church. But we will go and rough them up in a good way this week and make sure they make it to church on Sunday. So yeah last P-day we went to a "waterfall" I wont lie it was pretty weak. Maybe like 12 feet high or something. But we got to hike around a little bit by it and see the natural beauty of Brasil. We saw a couple toucans and some beautiful views. I will include some pictures for you guys to all see. We were blessed this week to find a Lady that wants to be baptized. We were meeting with some investigators that we had found through inspired tracting. First let me explain inspired tracting. Its pretty much my favorite thing to do on the mission in order to find new people. The best way to find people to baptize is through member referrals. The chances are much more higher of people progressing when they have a member friends backing them and supporting them. But what is even better is when we receive a referral from The Lord. And this is how we do it, its a pretty long process but well worth it. So first each companion spends several minutes in their own personal prayer, asking for inspiration, help, pleading for forgiveness, and for the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Then after this we pray together as a companionship doing the same thing. Asking for forgiveness of our faults as missionaries, and pleading for the Spirit to be with us and guide us. Basically we humble ourselves before our Father in Heaven. Then we look at map of our area. We pick a general area and then each companion picks ten streets that he feels impressed to chooses Then we compare our lists of streets. And never fail there is several that are the same. So we then take these streets and pray over them, asking Heavenly Father if there is people prepared to receive the Gospel on these streets that we will be able to find them. Then we go out and do it. And guess what every time we did it we found several people who want to be baptized. All of which we are currently still working with. Unfortunately we don't do this very much and I would really like to do it more so me and Elder Reed decided we are going to start doing it again this week. But when we go through these steps and are guided by the Spirit it is the same as if the Savior himself gave us the street and said "Go forth on this street and feed my Sheep." So anyway we were meeting with a family that we met through inspired tracting that is ready to be baptized today except for the stinking fact that they aren't married! And marriages here take at least one month to make legal, I don't understand it, and the family hasn't taken the steps to get married yet. But as we were leaving their house a Lady that lives right across the street in a big house with a huge tall all around it, with no buzzer or way to seen inside she came out and asked us if we had already taken her info down. We were like what? Not yet! And we got all of her info and phone number and stuff. And We taught her on Friday the restoration and she accepted to be baptized. Her name is Carmen and she is a really timid shy lady, but she seems genuine. It appears that the Lord had more multiple people on that street that we had been directed to tract. So by the way we had my first two baptisms this week! Two little girls named Alline and Adriane. We basically had to do nothing. Their mom is a member but not active in the church and I don't know about their dad. But we were like hey how come you guys aren't baptized yet? And they didn't have an answer and so we talked to their mom and asked if we could teach them a little and baptize them, and she agreed! So we set up a date to baptize them. It was about as easy as it gets, they have already gone to churches many times but our zone leaders said that we needed to teach them a little to make sure they know why we are baptized and stuff like that. They were baptized by their Cousin Diego. Who is a returned missionary of about a year. He is a super cool dude and is actually engaged to an American named Ruth that is here in Cáceres right now. We get to talk to her fairly often she is from Washington and is going to school at BYU Idaho. But we fasted on fast Sunday that we would find people to baptize during the week and thats what happened! That Lord always blesses fasts. Wow the Saturday you guys had sounds like a pain the neck. Funny cause our Saturday was a pain in the neck too until we had the baptism that evening. We had like 4 people that we had set up to go and see and every single one of them wasn't at home. It was the pits. Nothing seemed to go right. No one wanted to hear us that day. In truth it really was a tough week. It was cloudy almost everyday like it was going to rain but it never rained. It was funny cause it got to about 70 degrees and people were dying of the cold. Everyone had the sniffles and a cold and whenever we visited people they were wrapped up in blankets and everyone had layers and layers of clothing on. It was kinda funny actually. But also its kinda hard cause it really does affect your mood when the sun isn't out. There seemed to be alot more grim faces out in the streets than usual, and I know that Elder Reed and I felt very un excited to work during the week. Most days we feel good about being out doing stuff, but this week just felt different. There really us power in light, especially the Light of Christ. Even though it seems dark and there might be no sun the Light of Christ can warm in heart and lift spirits no matter what is happening. But the baptism was a really cool experience. Its definitely different than in the states. Its just a simple opening prayer singing of hymns a spiritual thought on baptism, the baptisms and then a closing hymn. And even though it doesn't seem like much the spirit was super powerful and the feeling of peace and comfort was upon everyone in attendance. The other missionaries baptized a young woman named Laryssa. She is 13 and has been investigating the church for many many months and had finally decided to get baptized. She is in one of the pictures as well. But I'm grateful for this week and I'm really looking forward to this upcoming week. Thanks for your letters and prayers. I'm gonna spend a while trying to upload as many pictures as I can cause its still really slow here. But I love you guys all so much, and I am so blessed to have such a wonderful family! Até mais! -Elder Kennington

Monday, May 13, 2013

Week #21 Brazil

Bom Dia Família! Beleza? Wow it was so good talking to you guys yesterday! It was really heart warming and refreshing! I'm sure you all enjoyed it as much as I did, I was sad that your end was having quality problems cause I didn't have really any of that happen on my end. But the Lord blessed us and it all worked out for the most part. You guys all looked and seemed so good its crazy seeing you guys after 5 months but it seems like its gone by super quick yesterday was 5 months to the day that I entered the mtc in Provo! Crazy! I will have been out over a year the next time we get to talk though that's a crazy thought. I'm scared that my mission is going by too quick there are too many people to help and not enough time to do it. Its weird that you guys will be finishing up this year of school really soon, you guys will have a fun summer up ahead of you, I'm a little jealous in some ways but I think about it more and realize that I would rather be down here in Brazil spreading the Gospel of happiness. So we had a good week here in Cáceres. It was extremely hot as usual but the Lord blessed us and we found several new good investigators to teach. One of my favorite things about being a missionary is when we ask people if they prayed about our message of the Restoration, or the Book of Mormon or the Gospel as a whole and they respond that yes they prayed and then we asked them how they felt and they said they just felt so good and peaceful and that they believe these feelings come from God. That just makes me so happy to hear that from people. Now we just hope and pray that they will act on their feelings and be baptized and join the church, and more importantly that they will be truly converted to the Gospel, cause it doesn't do any good do baptize tons of people if none of them are truly converted because then they will just go inactive. The key to really helping people become converted to the Gospel is through the Book of Mormon. As they read their lives are blessed in so many ways and they recognize the goodness of God and the Church. So last P day was cool we went to the town center and checked out some of the stuff there. Cáceres has a huge Catholic church that is always open for the public so we went in and checked it out, there was hardly anyone in there. It was cool but really strange at the same time. It just kinda has a neutral feel inside. It just strange seeing plastic almost life size figures of Christ hanging on a cross with really detailed features of where he had nails driven into him. But every church is different and does their own things. It was also kinda cool cause they had this burial plot thing right in the chapel of where a former catholic bishop or something had been buried. One thing that I have realized on my mission is most everyone is trying to do whats right, by going to church and reading the bible and stuff they just don't have all the truth because they know not where to find it,as the scriptures say. That's why we are here as missionaries is to find the honest in heart who when they hear the truth are ready to hear it and embrace it. Another thing we realize is that all other churches aren't evil. They are just people trying to become closer to Christ. After we got done looking at the Catholic Church we went to this little lunch place that said Tapioca on a banner in front of it, I got really excited cause I love tapioca pudding! But tapioca is different here in Brazil, they use it to make these like thick patty pancake things that they fill with meat or coconut or chocolate filling. Aw its good! I have a picture, it was nothing like I expected it kinda weird because the shell thing has a really rubbery texture. But I like it alot maybe I will get another today cause they are cheap. So We had one of our zone leaders come down this week with another Elder that served for 2 transfers here in Cáceres back in November and December, I went on splits with him all of Friday it was cool. His name is Elder Morais a Brazilian from Curitiba. He was almost 25 and is a convert for two years. He only has 2 more months than me on the mission and he is a really awesome missionary. And pretty much all day we ran around and visited the people that he had baptized. It was actually pretty exhausting, we went to a members house and asked if we could borrow their bikes for the day cause we had so many miles that we needed to cover, so we got to ride around on bikes for the day it was sweet but my bum was killing at the end of the day cause there are pot holes everywhere and my seat was a stinkin rock! But it was cool. I ate lots of egg sandwiches this week cause its cheap and I didn't want to buy hamburgers every night cause their cheap too but its unhealthy and it cuts into our personal time at the end of the day that we have to wind down and shower and throw clothes in the laundry. Blah seems like there is so much we to do in the last hour and a half of the day between 9 and 10:30. But they don't have miracle whip here, they have plenty of mayonnaise though. So I just use that and alot of hot sauce. Its good and cheap. Also we have been making breakfast shakes in the morning, we have a pretty nice blender in the house and so a member here showed me how to make good little fruit smoothie things, you just need fruit and milk and a little sugar and ice. And you mix it together and its stinking good! Also last p-day we went down to the river and went swimming. Haha just kidding! but we did go down by the river and take some pictures it was cool and it was a nice cool day that day. I have some pictures that I will upload for you. I don't know that about sums things up not a ton to write about. Again happy mothers day to Mom yesterday I didn't even wish it to her until the end I just completely forgot everything as soon as we started talking but that was so great talking to the family yesterday that's a great blessing to be able to talk twice a year. But at least we get to email every week I'm sure grateful for that. But yeah it sound like today we will be going to a waterfall or something I am stoked for that it should be really neat. But I sure love you guys all and am so grateful to have such a wonderful family. Just never forget that the only true happiness comes from the Gospel and from our Heavenly Father. There is no other way, no other path that we can take that brings and leads to as much happiness. There are many, many roads that we can go down but it is only the straight and narrow path of the Gospel that we must follow, It isn't the easy path and its not the most traveled path but it is the path of our Savior and it is the path that we must walk. I'm so happy that we already have the path laid out before us. The Savior never said it would be easy but he said that he would always be there, and as we put our trust in the Lord all things work out. That is the truth. Well I love you all so much and I am so happy to be here in Brazil! Oh and by the way I emailed the mission president and he said he will make sure he gets the letter sent back to grandma, so I'm guessing you should be getting it within the next week or so. But until soon! Much love! -Elder Skyler Kennington

Monday, May 6, 2013

Week #20 Brazil

Ola Minha Família!  Esta semana foi chato demais!  (This week was really annoying!) haha it's alright though. First it was transfer week which is always super hectic for everyone especially when you receive 2 new missionaries in an area. Me and Elder Reed spent a lot of time helping the new companionship get oriented and train them on where everything is in the city and where all the members homes were that they had for lunch and stuff. What a pain but we got it all sorted out now and this week Elder Reed and I should be able to go out and WORK, WORK, WORK!  We had to spend a lot of time in the house this week waiting for people to show up with stuff. First we had to bum at the house cause we were waiting on our new fridge to arrive they said they would come at a certain time but they didn't show, so we left to go work and we came back and called the people and they said they would be their right away so we end up waiting for another hour and they finally show, ha then the next day our washing machine broke down so we had to call some people to fix that and then the same thing happened where we had to bum in the house waiting for them to come and drop it off, then the next day we had to go shopping because our new missionaries had nothing and we had nothing as well cause we had to throw away all of our stuff in our old fridge that we gave to the missionaries that had to move to the new house of theirs. So We didn't have food so we all went shopping and we ended up with a lot of food between the four of us. Here in Brazil they have a thing where they will deliver your groceries to your house for free because hardly anyone has cars here just bikes and motorcycles. So we did that and they said they would be about 3 hours getting it to our house. They were a little slow and it ended up being 24 hours till they actually got all of our stuff to us. Kind of a pain this week it was frustrating for everyone. Just felt like one of those weeks where we are worthless bum missionaries but we cant really do anything about it. I hope we don't have anymore problems cause I want to go out and spread to message of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. Well enough of the Reclamando( Complaining) The two missionaries we received our some cool dudes. Elder Combs and Elder Duehring. Both Americans from California and both only have two transfers left on the mission. They will finish their missions out here in Cáceres. They are both really good missionaries and we get along really well with them. They are only working with the less actives in the Branch here which I learned yesterday had 630 members on the records. They sure have their work cut out for them. So yes not a whole ton to write this week. We had a good day at church yesterday had 4 of our investigators their. And we finally got one of them to go to church that we had found about a month ago, I really have gained a greater appreciation for church and the Sacrament since I have been here on my mission. What a miracle the expiação (atonement) is in our lives and I'm so grateful that we can remember our baptismal covenants and renew them every week. That's something that I think too many of us including me take for granted. Yesterday also we had a great lunch that was a first for me. We ate piranha! It was pretty dang good, we just had a big piranha fish fry. Tasted lick chicken and was all white meat. Its a little strange cause they just gut the fish and throw the rest in. So your eating this fish with these big eyes and sharp teeth that look back at you. Lots of bones though it was kind of a pain having to pick through all of those. All be honest there is alot more crazy/drunk people here in brazil that just hang out in the street. There is the ones that we are already familiar with that usually has something to say to us when we pass him. I included a picture of me and a random dog the we named Nephi. Cause we were hanging out on a street curb waiting for this drunk that always gives us a hard time to leave our street. He was outside everyone house asking for money so that he could go buy beer and we were waiting for him to leave so that he wouldn't know where we live. This dog had been following us around for miles. Don't worry he was chill and I washed my hand well afterwards. Usually a few times a week we have drunk people yell things at us like Elders! Your church only has robbers and some that say very loudly oh no the Americans! My companion usually replies no  we are Germans! Its kinda funny. We have random old drunk dudes want their picture taken with us and then afterwards High five all their buddies for getting their picture with american Mormon missionaries. I guess last week when we went to that class to talk about our counrty alot of people took pictures of us and now there is many pictures of Americans on their facebook. For most of them it was the first time they had ever seen Americans in real life. But life is good here. No luck with Kelly we dropped by her house Saturday and she said she was planning on just going to church with her mom. So for now we are going to drop her, but We will check up on here every so often, we haven't given up hope yet. But I'm excited to talk to you guys on Sunday via skype it should be a good experience! I made an account her at the Lan house but I still have to set it up more on the lap top that we will be using, I will do that during this week and add mom and send you guys a confirmation email on the time and stuff. I'm not quite sure how we are going to do it since we only have 1 computer for me and Elder Reed and we are both looking at  the same times to do skyping. But for now plan on doing it at about 5 o clock your time and 7 o'clock my time. We will confirm it with you during the week. Also I found out that the card grandma sent me is in Carthage and so my companion from their was transferred but he was going to try and get it forwarded to me or back home to Grandma. Also the desk in the picture of me in my green shirt is not mine, its elder laws. I will take a picture of my desk for you guys some time. But I think thats about it for  this week. We went running the other morning and my legs are super sore now. I didn't realize how long its been since I had last ran. But its been almost 5 months on the mission now. Its sure gone by so quick. I hope everyone is well at home and I love you all. I hope I have more interesting stuff to tell you in my letter next week. But I love you guys and thanks for everything. Talk to you soon!
-Elder Kennington

Cochroach at the President Rebers Home, first Day in Brazil
                                     A friendly Pooch that followed Skyler around for miles