Cuiaba Brazil Weather

Monday, September 23, 2013

Brazil Week #40 Seeing some old familiar missionaries.

Oh minha família amada. How I love you all so much. I really do miss you all alot. No missionary exists that doesn't miss his family and home at times. I had a dream Friday night that everyone in the family and also alot of friends came here to Sorriso to visit me. It was an interesting dream seeing and talking to everyone. It seemed like it lasted for a while as well. But eventually I woke up and realized that it will still be a while before I get to see and hug my family again. That made me kinda sad. But its in those times when I have to get down on my knees and thank Father in Heaven for my wonderful family and friends. It´s hard when we look at how long it will be before I am home, but then I look at the other side and see that it's even sadder that I only have a year and a few months left on the mission. I have more than 9 months on the mission now but I feel like I haven't done very much to help The Master. We work so much but harldy any of our investigators go to church. Sorriso is supposedly the second hardest area in the mission. I am almost embarrassed to bring investigators to church because there is hardly anyone at church. And we have a few overbearing members that jump all over our investigators the minute they walk in the door. On Sunday we had 30 people to church. I remember walking into sacrament meeting and thinking "This is the Church of Jesus Christ. Why are there so few people in the Lords true church?" I got a little discouraged with these thoughts and then remembered that these are just things that come from Satan. I remembered that scripture that talks about straight is the way and narrow is the gate that leads to eternal life. And few there be that find it. Or something like that I don't remember exactly. But I'm glad for the time that the Lord is giving me here in Sorriso so that when I am transferred I will be able to appreciate the trials and difficulties that I had here. We are pretty blessed to have such a strong ward back at home. That's something that I took for granted. But so this week was pretty good I guess. Last p-day after sending emails we left to cuiabá at about 2 pm. I got to sit by Elder Molina the whole way to Cuiabá. He is from Chile and is super awesome.  2 of my favorite missionaries are Chileans. Elder Molina and Elder Paredes that I was with in Cáceres. We all chatted during the 8 hour ride to Cuiabá. Sorriso and Lucas and Sinop all went on the same bus so there was 10 of us on the bus together. It was a good time. We stayed in the houses of the Secratartes in Cuiabá. They live really close to the mission office. The Sisters had all the luck though and got to stay with President and Sister Reber at their house. So we stayed with the secretaries who are really cool guys. The next day we had the conference. We learned alot about obedience and the importance of working with the members. We also learned why we have one of the hardest missions in Brazil. So our mission is huge and contains millions of people. But our mission has only about 3,000 active members in it. This is the second lowest number in the missions of Brazil. That's tough I think Roosevelt itself has that many members alone. Our mission is the second hottest mission in Brazil, so its hard physically, but also our mission has very very few members to give references and help give support, so its also one of the hardest work wise. Its so much easier working with members and working from references that they give. But Unfortunately we have a tough mission with that, especially here in Sorriso. But that's why President wants us to strengthen the members. Our mission is baptizing alot less than it has in the last few years. But we are seeing real growth. The baptisms that we are having are staying firm in the church. We receive a graph that shows the number of people at church each Sunday in the entire mission. And almost every ward and branch has a higher frequency than the year before. I think there was only Sorriso and one other branch that hasn't grown. President Reber is helping the mission see real growth, and not just a bunch of baptisms but nobody staying active in the church. Our church in our mission is strengthening. Slowly, but its growing. I got to see two people that I knew from the mtc. I got to see Sister Clark who was from my district at the mtc and Elder Linton who wasn't from my district but arrived the same day at the mtc and also he served in New York as well with me. It was great seeing them and talking to them I will send a picture that we took together. Everyone in our zone left that day except for me and Elder Geisler and Elder Molina and his companion Elder Mayolo from Washington because there was a training for all the district leaders and also for their Companions and well. So me and Elder Mayolo had a training with a few other Elders. The assistants gave the training to us which was really cool. I learned alot. This training was on Wednesday and the conference was on Tuesday so we got to stay for two nights. Also we ate at McDonald's on Tuesday. Which was good but super expensive. I miss those days of a mcdouble for a dollar instead of like 10 bucks haha. I got to talk alot with the Elders in the office and the assistants. Oh and also I played the piano at the conference. Called to serve which went good. So on Wednesday we left at 4:30 to go back to Sorriso, This time my seat was next to Elder Mayolo who is from Washington. He has 6 months on the mission right now. He arrrived 2 transfers after me in Brazil. He served a transfer in Montana. He is super cool and I want to be companions with him one day. This time on the way back to Sorriso we were all alot more tired and we slept most of the way there. We arrived in Sorriso at about midnight and we got a taxi and went back home. Thursday we taught that guy Giomarley that went to church on Sunday. We waster another 2 hours at his house cause he just wanted to talk and talk and talk. But this time we were able to give the restoration lesson to him. He enjoyed the lesson but was like oh I don't think I need church, I feel that I can be spiritual in my own house. We explained the blessings of church and we  must go. But we were ready to drop him as an investigator. So we tried visiting a few people after this we visited a family that me and Elder Cordeiro had visited alot before. Their mom was in the hospital with some problems with her heart I think. We left a message with them and talked with them for a bit. So the day after we tried a new neighborhood and knocked some doors and taught a few lessons. We taught the entire first lesson to a lady standing at her gate cause she didn't want to let us in her yard but she wanted to hear our message, then we found a really cool humble guy named José. I saw his house and knew that we needed to make a contact there. So we made a contact and he invited us in even before we had really introduced ourselves. He was curious with what we do and had alot of questions. We talked a bit and then started the first lesson, but then this guys friend showed up, I don't remember his name cause it was something really weird. These guys were both active in the assembly of God. But one was more humble and open than the other. We started over again on the lesson and gave it to both of them. It was a good lesson and I know they both felt the Spirit. We asked them how they felt during the lesson. And José started talking but his friend cut him off and started talking saying how its good that we are out spreading the word of God and he said that he believed our experiences that we shared about how we gained our testimonies but he pretty much told us with directly saying so that he didn't believe that Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ. And then he told us that we should only teach about Jesus Christ and not about other things. So he pretty much told us that we shouldn't talk about Prophets and about the first vision and Apostles and the Authority of God that we had, to them.  The Lord was testing me again that day. Because the ignorant comments of this guy grinded my gears pretty good. I looked him in the eyes and told him in the most direct way that I could that this is the Church of Jesus Christ and not of man. I bore my testimony and said some other things that weren't my own words, but the words of the Spirit. After that he shut up pretty quick. They wanted to show us some videos of what its like in their church. It was of just some pasture guys yelling and screaming halleluhah and a load of balogna. I just watched with mouth open cause I was so surprised by how this pasture acted and the things he said. I couldn't believe that someone would teach about Jesus in such a rough tone of voice and yelling and stuff like that. We had a prayer and the video was still playing so I asked if they would pause it and the pasture guy in the video was screaming at the top of his lungs. I almost asked them if they thought the Savior taught in the same way as that guy in the video. But I kept my mouth closed. We had a prayer and left. We plan on coming back but to teach José who was alot more humble and open, I think he will like the Book of Mormon alot. Saturday we had several appointments fall through but we had a few less active lessons and lessons with investigators.  We had dinner at a members home that night because they were celebrating the birthday of one of their daughters. We ate steak sandwiches with homemade mayonnaise which was pretty good. Sunday, There was only 30 people at church none of our investigators showed up to church as well as the other missionaries didn't have anyone. We had lunch and then we went with our mission leader in the branch to teach some lessons with him. We taught some interesting people with him, that he knew. We will go back and teach more this week. That night we got a call that one of the women in our ward had passed away suddenly. Mother of the family that we had visited during the week. She was doing better but then had suddenly worsened and had passed away yesterday evening. Her name was Sister Eunice she had helped me and Elder Cordeiro a bunch, she came with us to several lessons and was our member present, show was a wonderful lady that was a convert of about 5 or 6 years. She had been sealed to her husband and everything and was active in the church. But the Lord needed her back I guess. She will be a powerful missionary in the Spirit World. I called Elder Cordeiro and talked to him and told him the bad news because he was close to this Irmã as well. He was saddened. He is doing good I talked to President Reber about him and he said that Elder Cordeiro is doing better. He hasn't had a surgery yet but he is having less and less pain. It was good talking to him last night. So that's about it for this week the funeral of that irmã will be today already. A weird thing about Brazil is when someone dies they have the funeral the next day. I'm not sure if it will work for us to go or not. Oh, also I haven't provided very much about Elder Geisler my companion. He is from Dixon California. His name is Nathan and is 21 years old. He hit his one year mark on Wednesday so Friday he burned a shirt and Elder Lima burned pants because he had already hit a year and a half and still hadn't burned pants and also I burned a tie finally even though it was more than 3 months late. I burned a really ugly tie that I found in Cáceres. we videotaped it and it was pretty funny. Elder Geisler is legit. I am going to help him with language study, because he speaks with alot of accent and everyone thinks that I have more time in the country than him. But I am going to help him with the language. This transfer is going by super quick and is already halfway over. I really am ready to be transferred from Sorriso, but most likely I will stay until December just because I want to leave. We will see what happens. This is the Lords work and I will do what he wants. So yeah this email has taken me a long time to write. But it was cool reading about your week this week and sounded fun. But I love you all so much and I know that every difficulty  I experience and every time we face rejection, I know that my family is being blessed. May the Good Lord bless you all. Thanks so much for all the prayers and support. I am always talking with Kaiden and Jetson and Robby. They are doing well. Amo vocês muito! Have a great week this week!
-Elder Kennington

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