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Monday, August 26, 2013

Brazil Week #36

Hello everybody! So sorry that I didn't get my email sent off to you guys last week. I got about half of the email written but then I saw that everyone else had finished and was waiting on me so, i had to close everything up and leave, the hike was really good and we got some good pictures. But I don't think I will be able to send them this week because the computer I'm using has a bad usb port and my camera isn't connecting to the compute,r so sorry about that. But the hike was cool, it was in the middle of the city of Lucas where they have what's called a green area. Its pretty much a large area where they have left the nature untouched and haven't built a bunch of stuff. So it makes you feel like your were in the jungle, it was pretty cool I thought. The Sisters were kinda bummed because a baptism of theirs fell through the day before so we asked President Reber if we could have p-day with them to help cheer them up and animate them. So we took the bus there and back. The problem is that the bus on the way back was more than an hour behind schedule so by the time we arrived in sorriso it was about 6:30 and we still had to walk a half hour back to our house. We went to the mall but Elder Cordeiro felt that it was a really bad idea to be here at the lan house this late. So we just went back to the house. I was super bummed cause I wanted to finish up the email to you guys. But we both agreed that it would be better to not go email at such a late hour. We don't know what would have happened but we think something would have happened if we finished up emails. Who knows, but today I finished it up and got it sent off. I don't think this email will be very long this week has been very uneventful, Elder Cordeiro has been kinda sick, he has had a migraine and also his stomach and kidney has been hurting this week. So we have taken it pretty easy this week cause he cant walk a whole ton. Tomorrow, if it still hasn't improved, we will go to the hospital and have them check it out. We called Sister Reber last week and she said to take ibuprofen and drink alot of water, and if it doesn't improve to call her back. So tomorrow we will probably go get it checked out at the doctors. Tuesday we visited with our recent convert Miqueis for a while, he didn't go to church last Sunday so we visited him to see how he was, he said that he left that morning to go to church, but his leg was hurting so bad that he turned around and went back home. A few years ago he had an accident on a motorcycle that broke his leg, so he has some screws and stuff in his hip, and sometimes it causes him alot of pain. But he is doing well and he was at church yesterday and hour early to get interviewed to receive the Aaronic Priesthood. Wednesday, was kinda fun; We were up extra early to go to Lucas for district meeting, and randomly the Assistants to President Reber walked into our house. It was funny cause Elder Cordeiro was like ahhhhhhh! Robbers!  We talked to the assistants for a bit, they had come to have splits with the zone leaders. So we went to Lucas and had district meeting, and then we sat at the bus station forever cause there were some accidents on the highway, then as we got on the bus they said there had been another accident and that we would be delayed even more. We didn't get back to Sorriso until about 7, and we still had lessons that we had to get to. This week we have been preparing a young woman for baptism. Her name is Tainara and she is 16. She has had a pretty rough life, her dad died when she was young and she has already lived with a guy for  a year. But now she is living with her mom and is wanting a change in her life. We worked our tails off this week getting all the lessons taught to her, it was tough cause she lives a long ways from the house. She went to church last week and we had her baptism marked for yesterday. We had the font full of water and cleaned up and the leaks fixed, and Sunday morning we couldn't get a hold of her so we went to her house and her mom said that she had left to help a friend with something, we asked to have Tainara give us a call as soon as she got home. So we were going back to the church and she called us and was saying that she didn't want to get baptized anymore and that she had fears and stuff. She said that someone had said some stuff to her about church and her being baptized and now she didn't want to be baptized. Its hard explaining things over the phone and we tried to get things worked out over the phone but we ended up saying that we would visit her this week and get things worked out. After this we were still a ways from the church, and Elder Cordeiro was supposed to teach the adult class in 5 minutes, so we ran literally to the church, we arrived panting and sweating but we got there in time for the class. We were bummed that another baptism fell through. But we are going to work this last week to get her baptized next Sunday. Not much really the rest of the week, We spent a lot of time with members and less actives. Saturday I had a fast. That was a bad Idea, from the moment I started my fast, I was offered chocolate coconut cake, passion fruit mousse, barbecue, pizza, coke. Pretty much everything. haha but I was able to do it without eating anything. Yesterday, we visited some more people that are less actives and visited with the District President here in Sorriso, he would be the equivalent of the stake president. So yeah, its been a pretty uneventful week here. This is the last week of the transfer we will be receiving transfer calls this Sunday. Its almost a certainty that either me or Elder Cordeiro will be transferred, as well as one of the Elders from the other companionship that already had 6 months here. I'm thinking that I will be staying here in Sorriso. But I wont cry if I'm transferred, haha. We will see what happens though. Again keep the transfers in your prayers so that everything works out fine. Pretty crazy, today marks 5 months here in Brazil. Pretty crazy, its passed really fast it seems like just yesterday that I landed in Cuiabá. The language is coming fine I guess. Elder Cordeiro says I speak better than some Americans after 2 years. I don't think so, though. I can understand most things. I have to pay attention though. People speak really fast here. But yeah, that's about it. My computer will run out of time here in 3 minutes so Ill just let everyone know how much I love you all and how grateful I am to have such  wonderful family and friends. Everyone have a good week at work and school and everything. Até mais!
-Elder Kennington

Brazil Week #35 The Prophet Kennington

Hey my wonderful family! Sounds like everyone had a good, but busy week. This has been a tough week for me, I won't lie. Not much has gone right. But I am grateful that My Father in Heaven gives us these difficult weeks at times. Because it reminds us of how blessed we are, and also we are humbled and reminded of how much we rely on the Lord. So this week kinda stunk a little. But I'm grateful that I had it, because its been a while since I experienced a spiritually tough week. Every week of the mission is hard, there is no doubt about that, but some weeks nothing seems to go right, and that Satan works extra hard  on us and our investigators. Last p-day we just kinda bummed in the house, one of the Elders in the house has that movie called "courageous". I remember I watched it a while ago with mom. Its not made by the church but it is a really good uplifting movie and I enjoyed it alot. The movie was in Portuguese but it wasn't really too much of a problem. I was able to understand about 85% of the movie.  We were pretty excited for this week because we were preparing a boy named David to be baptized. He is 11 years old and will be 12 soon. He came to church with one of our investigators 2 weeks ago. I'm not sure why he came to church but we met him at church and instantly felt something different in him. He is only 11 but he has an air of maturity and responsibility about him. We taught him once the week before, about the restoration, his mom was there with him too. It was a really good lesson and after we asked his mom if she would support her son in being baptized if he wanted.  She said, "Oh of course I will support him in being baptized!" So we asked him if he wanted to be baptized, he said that yes he wanted to be. So we were excited for that. But we went back on Tuesday this week to teach him more. We got to his house but he was still at school so we waited at a members house that lives right across the street. Before long David arrived at his house on his bike, we called him over to us and started talking to him. Something seemed a little off about him he seemed a little down, so we asked him if he was excited for church this Sunday. He said oh, kind of. We asked why is was only kind of excited? He paused for a minute and said that his parents weren't going to let him get baptized anymore. We were just kind of like "what?"  So went over to his house to talk to his mom, we waited outside for a minute and she came out and said in a kinda snappy tone, "what do you guys want?" It was kinda funny cause Elder Cordeiro was like we are here to see how you guys are doing, what's new this week? We talked for a minute then suddenly the mom said we have decided that David wont get baptized. We are from the assembly of God and he will baptize in that church as well. We were kinda shocked, both Elder Cordeiro and me had the desire to ask her when the last time was that she took her family to church. But whatever. We left a powerful message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and of the importance of being baptized by one who has authority given from God. I think the Spirit burned her pretty good. But at the end she still said she wouldn't let her son be baptized. So we said thanks for your time, closed with a prayer and left. I was pretty bummed during the week because of this. I know that satan was working hard to discourage me. I feel that Satan has robbed us of so many baptisms, I get sick if I think of it too much. But I know that Heavenly Father is still testing me. I just wish we didn't face so much opposition sometimes. But I know that as I face these obstacles in the path I will gain knowledge and strength. And that by facing these obstacles I will grow and be able to be made strong. the next day on Wednesday we had district meeting here on Sorriso, then we went and tried to find some less actives in a part of our area that we don't usually work in, everyone had moved so on the way back to our other area we passed through a park and made a contact with a guy. He seemed pretty open and I felt good about this guy, he started asking us about the "founder" of our church and about the Book of Mormon and stuff. I guess he already knew someone that had given him a Book of Mormon a while back and he had "searched" about our church on the internet as well. We sat down in the park to teach they guy and everything went down the drain from that point on. He didn't want us to give an opening prayer and he didnt accept the baptismal invitation either. So I started teaching about the importance of families and prophets and then he started asking questions and blabbing on about non-sensical stuff. We didnt really bible bash but for an hour we sat there trying to explain prophets and the priesthood and stuff. But the dude was a fool, he dug a pretty big hole for himself with his words and trying to find scriptures to prove us wrong but he was searching for scriptures that don't exist. We got pretty sick of listening to him talk apostasy to us. We stood up and said "sir,  we are wasting our time here arguing with you". But we both bore simple testimonies that today God does call prophets and that the Priesthood has been restored on the earth. At this point the guy almost desperately said no, no there are no prophets! There is no more Priesthood. It was kinda cool, at the same time me and Elder Cordeiro said, "No, there is!" Then we shook his hand and left, and the guy just stood there with his mouth open but with nothing coming out. It was kinda a joke after that in the house because this guy was saying there are no more prophets, but then he would say that we al are prophets. It was funny during the so called "lesson" because the guys was like there are no more prophets, but then he pointed and me and was like but you are a prophet. I just looked and Elder Cordeiro gave him a look of this guy is crazy! So the rest of the week Elder Cordeiro called me Elder Kennington the prophet. it was our joke. I don't think I have ever heard so many lies thrown at me before, by anyone. Oh well I hope that guy changes one day before its too late. Thursday we didn't have much to do, so we went to a park near the church and just made contacts with people, me and E. Cordeiro split up but stayed within about 50 feet of each other and we made a grundle of contacts. We found one elect lady but she lives in a city about 50 miles from sorriso that doesnt have the church there. We gave her a Book of Mormon and all the lesson pamphlets. We both felt strongly that she will baptize on day. Friday President Reber and Sister Reber came to Sorriso and held interviews with all the Elders, we had a good conversation, he said that there is almost 30 Americans waiting to recieve visas that will be coming to this mission, and so he said to be ready. That's all he said but pretty much that was code for you will probably be training when the visas arrive. The next day we had to go to Lucas to give a baptismal interview for the Sisters, we got lucky and President Reber gave us a ride there because he was going back to Cuiabá. We spent a long time at the interview the lady had alot of fears and questions. I think Elder Cordeiro was with her for over an hour interviewing her. That bad part it that she didnt even show up to church the next day, so we spent all that time there for nothing, hopefully will still get baptized in the upcoming weeks. Sunday was normal, I always enjoy Sundays I think I like Sundays even more than p-days. Like I said though it was a tough week, but It good to know that we are never alone. Well I need to start on my next letter to you guys, I had to write 2 letters today since I didn't finish this letter last week. Any way love you guys so much and thanks for the letters!
-Elder Kennington

Monday, August 12, 2013

Brazil Week #34 (8 Months mark) Fishing on P-Day.

Geeeze, I´m pretty sure I was sitting here yesterday emailing you guys, this week passed by super quick...again. Sadly it wasn't a super productive week. We have good weeks where we feel like alot has been accomplished and then we have weeks where we look back and think "man did I accomplish anything this week?"  This feels like one of those weeks for me. At least it went by quick. So last p-day we went fishing! The first time on the mission! I think its probably been about a year since I last went fishing so I enjoyed it alot. Fishing here is a little different, we just have these bamboo poles with about 7 or 8 feet of line on the end, and a little bitty hook. When we arrived at the members house to go fishing he was in his front yard digging for worms to use as bait. So we got down and started digging for worms. Our work proved to be quite fruitful and we got a good 60 or so worms. SO then we went to a river are that was about 20 minutes from the members house. Its located right by the road and is basically just a place of where the water out from under the road and makes a good hole for fishing. So we just bummed out there for 4 hours and stuck our lines into the water and pulled out little fishes. Most of the fish are just these little guys maybe 3 inches long. But still it was alot of fun. We went with the member and his son so there was 4 of us altogether. Between the 4 of us we caught 65 fish. They kept all of them because they like to eat fish alot. I didn't understand why they would take the time even with these little fishes. It would take forever to gut and clean them, but they said to keep all of them so we just stuck them in some pop bottles with the top cut off. Ill include a few pictures for you guys. About 30 minutes after we arrived about 6 kids showed up and started swimming in our hole where we were fishing, whatever though we kept fishing. Kids are funny here in Brazil, they have no fear and just talk to whoever and like to show off, I love the kids here. Another funny thing here in the Brazil is that the kids call anyone older than them that they don't know uncle or aunt. So while I was fishing they kept yelling Tio! tio! look at me! and then they would do a cannonball or something. I talked to them for a little bit and they asked me where I was from and so I talked to them about the United states for a little while. I get asked pretty interesting questions alot. The kids were asking me if the united states had rivers, or if it had fish. Questions like that, I love the kids here though and I enjoy talking to them alot. We had a good time fishing, we left when it got dark when I got home I made chocolate cake, then I put some cream and condensed milk in the blender and mixed it up and poured it on top of the cake and the cake absorbed all of it. So I made Bolo de três leches!  (Tres leches cake) It was good! but it was super strong I used to much sweetened condensed milk. But still it was awesome. It reminded me of one time when I made it back at home. So Tuesday we went back to the members home that we had fished with the day before, we sat down and they brought out all the fish that we had caught the day before. From a ways it looked pretty good but when I got my plate I was a little surprised to see that the fish and only been thrown and cooked in oil, they still had all the scaled and bones, they had just been squeezed until the guts shot  out of the fishes bum. I thought "geeze, are you serious?" nevertheless I sat down and ate, it actually wasn't too bad at all. Luckily we ate the fish with bread so it was a little better. The strangest part was feeling the head crush in between my teeth, I could just imagine brain splattering in my mouth haha. Luckily it wasn't like that though. I did get some bones stuck in my teeth though. The next day on Wednesday we went to Lucas again and had district meeting with the sisters. It was good and we didn't have any problems with the buses this time. We got back and went to some investigators homes and taught, we met a man from Haiti. Its pretty easy to recognize people from Haiti here in brazil, they are usually alot darker and have a special glow about them. There is quite a few here in sorriso. I know that they had alot of problems in their country and so they left and Brazil was about the only country that would accept them. None of the speak portuguese very well, whenever we see someone that looks like they are from Haiti we always stop and make a contact with them in the street. This man that we met from Haiti is named Jacque. He lives here with his wife. He has about 8 months here in Brazil and he speaks ok Portuguese. We got his address and phone number and said we would come back and teach him the next day. So we went back the next day and met his wife who has been here about a month, she doesn't speak hardly anything. She speaks French and creole, and he speaks, creole and Spanish, and Portuguese. So We got there and explained a little bit of what we do. And then we taught them the first lesson. Luckily Elder Cordeiro knows quite a bit of Spanish cause we taught them in Spanish for most of the lesson cause the husband understood better that way. Good grief I forgot all my Spanish so I mainly just stuck to teaching in Portuguese but with very simple words. Elder Cordeiro taught about Joseph Smith and the first vision. He had read the first vision like twice but somehow he quoted it almost perfectly in Spanish. When it got to the part where it says "This is my Beloved Son, hear him!" The power of the Spirit was like a wave that rolled over us. It brought a few tears to my eyes. It is times like that when my testimony is strengthened of the Prophet Joseph Smith. I don't know how much of the lesson the couple understood, but one thing I do know is that they understood the language of the Holy Ghost. That was a cool experience for me. We will go back and teach them this week, they had to work this Sunday but they said they would go to church this upcoming Sunday here in a week. It was a pretty normal week, we had ALOT of appointments fall through, we would arrive at the house and there would be no one there or our investigators would have just left, it was kind of a disappointment. We went to a birthday part of a part member family and ate some peach cake and visited with them for a bit. It was kinda funny when we left their house we were walking by a home with 2 big dogs, when we walked by I was pretty tired and kinda out of it, and Elder Cordeiro said the dogs are coming, luckily the dogs are gated in but I looked up and the dogs were running at us really fast, I yelped and jumped off the sidewalk and ran halfway into the street before I realized that the dogs were gated in as usual. Elder Cordeiro almost died laughing. It was pretty funny but for a second my brain though that I was about to get trampled by two great big dogs. Saturday on our way to lunch I commented on how I really like the beans that the sister makes. This sister is married to a member but she is super catholic and doesn't want to change, but usually she makes these really good red beans to put on the rice.  I shouldn't have said anything cause when we arrived I saw that she had added something to the beans that I was hoping I would never have to eat again. She added thick fatty chunks of pig skin to the beans, the last time I ate it was in Cáceres with Elder Reed. This skin is really fatty and chewy and sticks to your teeth when you chew it. Luckily it doesn't have much taste but I find the texture horrible. I tried hard to not scoop up too much of the fatty blobs, but still I had quite a few on my plate, I ate most of them and I threw the rest to their dog who was more than happy to eat them. I like Brazilian food alot though. Sure its rice and beans every singe day but usually the members have hot sauce and I like to add that to my meals. We visited with some families on Saturday and our branch mission leader, we went to visit some people with him but we got a call from the branch president saying that he was at the church all alone cleaning, so we went to the church and helped clean, which was good cause the president would have been there all night long cleaning. Church the next day was a little disappointing. It was cold that morning and I think alot of people weren't in the mood to go to church. We only had one investigator to church and he left early for some reason. But still it was nice partaking the sacrament and remembering my own baptism. Well that's about it for this week, it should be  good week this week, we are going to work and try and get a baptism this next Sunday. Thanks for your letters from everyone, I thought it was super cool seeing that clip from the newspaper about Jordan and Kaden. It makes me proud to have two excellent brothers. O yeah today marks 8 months since Mom and Dad and the Brothers dropped me off at the MTC in Provo, Weird it´s passing so quick. Before I know it I will be back at home again. I think I will cry when that day comes. Of course I will be happy to see everyone again but I think I will miss my mission alot. Nothing compares to a mission, we learn more everyday, more about ourselves, more about others, and more about The Savior. It´s cool being on a mission cause we get to see how much The Savior really loves us. I know our Savior lives, and I know He loves us. He is my Master and my Captain. And I am grateful that he has given me so much. May we never forget all that Our Savior has done for us. Oh btw yesterday was fathers day here in Brazil, so happy Brazilian fathers day dad! Have a good week everyone! I love you all very, very, much!
Com todo meu amor
-Elder Kennington


Brazil Week #33

Hey family!  Another week has come and gone. Strange how the time passes so quick on the mission. We has a busy week this last week. We opened up a new neighborhood this last week. Here in Brasil all the cities are separated into Bairros. Which I think the equivalent is neighborhood in English. So there is probably a 15 or so bairros in our part of Sorriso. We have been working in the same 4 or 5 bairros for the last 2 months and we have been getting very little results. There are tons of less actives in those areas and alot of people to teach but they all make the excuse that church is too far from their house. Most people still don't have cars just bikes and motorcycles. So this week we decided to open up a new neighborhood that is alot closer to our house and the church house. This week we searched for some of the less actives in this new neighborhood and made contacts with about everyone we came in contact with, while we were searching for these people. Unfortunately alot of the less actives had already moved but we met alot of cool people and some not so cool people as well haha. We taught a lot of lessons this week and made alot of contacts with people. Some of the more memorable lessons was we had one with a man that is missing his right eye, we made a contact at his house cause we were looking for some less actives and he came out and before we even said anything he was like whoooo! I sure like when people come to talk with me and talk about God and stuff. He was obviously a little bit drunk cause we could smell it on him. We talked to him a bit and said we would come back the next day to teach him. SO we came back and taught him the next day. He was sitting out in front of his house and said I've been waiting for you guys! I knew you would come! This time he wasn't drunk but he had a rotting pile of garbage and beer cans behind him that wreaked. We had like a 50 minute lesson and I was holding my breath the entire time. It was kinda annoying cause we would talk for 10 seconds teaching the lesson and then he would stop us and go off on some tangent that didn't make sense. It was almost comical sometimes cause he was cutting us off so much. I got a little distracted during the lesson when he was talking cause he had bugs and flies crawling all over his feet. I kept thinking to myself "man this guy needs to take a bath" eventually we were able to finish the lesson. He said that he would be baptized but he wasn't legally married and obviously had word of wisdom issues. He said he would go to church on Sunday. We convinced him to offer the closing prayer. I had a hard time not cracking up during the prayer. In the middle of the prayer he stopped and was like "hey God are you listening? I'm here talking are you listening? Then he paused for a second then said oh yeah of course your listening. The way he said it was comical though. I took a peak at elder Cordeiro and he was having a hard time not laughing as well. Funny the things that people do sometimes. As missionaries we experience alot of things that would put alot of people into depression and discourage them. But in The Lords infinite Love and mercy he allows us to find much happiness and laughter in his work. We are away from our families, friends, toys cars, regular music, games, t.v, just the normal things of the world. Most people would go crazy. But the Lord blesses his missionaries and supports and strengthens us. We are never alone in the Lords work. The other day Elder Cordeiro was saying that he has never laughed so much in a transfer. I'm glad that the Lord gave me a family with a sense of humor and that I was able to learn from them. Another funny thing happened we were at the home of a member family talking to them, they had the radio on and there was a random part where the radio was playing some random thing in English it wasn't even a song, but it randomly dropped the f-word. No one understood it except me and my companion. I just muttered to myself Caidaço, which is that word we use when something bad or not cool happened. My companion just looked at me and we started laughing. The members were like why are they laughing, we explained what happened and they thought it was funny too. Luckily they turned the radio off after this. The radio stations here play alot of songs in English and most of them are unedited. Not many people understand the swear words except for me. There is alot of cars that just drive through the city and neighborhoods blasting music and radio adds. It sure doesn't help the spirit when we are teaching a lesson and a car with speakers strapped to the top of it is blasting music and drives by right in the middle of the lesson. It is what is though. We taught several more great families that accepted to be baptized but they aren't legally married! What a curse! This week I  we had over a dozen people accept to be baptized. And Yesterday we had about 15 people that said they would be to church. But you know how it goes. We had 2 investigators show. A lady who isn't legally married and her nephew. We will keep working with them but it was kind of a disappointment yesterday at church. But that's missionary work for ya.  Miques was confirmed yesterday and that was cool. He is making friends with the young men in the ward so hopefully he will be able to build a strong relationship with them and stay active. The picture that I added was taken at a members home that just moved into the ward. We had lunch at their house, and they have this really sweet motorcycle there. One of the things I miss is riding motorcycles back at home. Here there are tons and tons of motorcycles and so its a little hard to not day dream about motorcycles sometimes. So today we are going to go fishing with a member. I am super excited for that. The last time we planned to go fishing on the mission I was emergency transferred the day before, so I was glad that I didn't receive any calls last night saying I was being transferred. We bought these bamboo rods that they sell here and we will fish with them, they only cost like 3 bucks. It should be cool and I will get some pictures to you next week. well not really a whole ton this week, we will be working our tails off this next week probably so it should be good, the time passes quick when we are staying busy. It sounded like the Brothers had a good time at Grandma and Grandpa Kenningtons over the week, wish I could have been there. Anyway love you guys all very much and hope you are all well. Thanks for all the prayers and everything. Until next week!
-Elder Kennington