Cuiaba Brazil Weather

Monday, February 24, 2014

Brazil Week #62 Ponta Pora

Olá my family good morning, Well this week was pretty interesting with transfers and everything, I left Campo Grande last monday at 5 o clock, and I arrived in Ponta Porã at about 10:30 at night. It was a good ride, I didn't really sleep much but the ride seemed to go by quick, I waited for a minute at the bus station in Ponta Porã until I got picked up my new Companion Elder B Souza. He was with our ward mission leader and another Elder named Elder W Santos. Elder W Santos is a good friend of mine and he was one of my zone leaders when I was in Cáceres my first area. He was going to be training an American but would have to stay with us in a trio until his companion arrived from the states which didn't end up being until Friday. Elder B Souza is a big funny dude from a state here called Rondonia, he actually was serving in São Paulo but his girlfriend got called to the same mission and so he was recalled to this mission when he had about 10 months on the mission. We get along great and we are both super excited to be working together. He is an excellent hard working missionary that knows his purpose on the mission, he is a convert since he was 17 but was inactive several years, but he cleaned up his life and came on a mission. We are more or less opening a new area here which is a super tough area because our area is the city center and half of our area is just stores, its just a bunch of super rich people, I have never seen such big and nice houses in Brazil and they are all in my area, its messed up we knock a door and people don't even want to know what we are doing, I feel like I'm in New york again with how the people are acting, we are stuck with what we want to do because we have to set the example for the zone and baptize but the way our area is looking it seems like we will never be able to baptize. Its never been so hard to find just one good person to teach. We will pray about it though. There has to be something we can do to have success here. The rest of Ponta Porã is super humble though. We worked alot in Elder W Santos area because we were in a trio and he actually has alot of good people to teach. The area that he works in is the poorest area I have ever seen on my mission. He is working in a place that doesn't even show up on the map and it doesn't have streets cause really all it is just a bunch of shacks that have been built from scrap wood that people have found. people don't have running water they just have wells  and candles. The people are super amazing and humble though even though none of them are married legally. Its humbling though because these people just have outhouses and they use tarps to separate their rooms and they are still happy people its hard to understand, they offer all that they have as well they aren't greedy or selfish, they offer all that they have even if its just a little. SO we have been staying in Elder W Santos house for most of last week just because me and Elder B Souzas house is super super tiny, its only one room, it doesn't even have room for desks. Its a nice place just super duper small. We got to know alot of members and we have a great ward here that is very strong. there was 120 people at church yesterday and there was a ton of people that were traveling. We have the strongest ward in Ponta Porã, we just have the worst area haha, there is 6 elders in just our ward so that is good. Friday we had to go to Campo Grande for a meeting for all the zone leaders in the south, we had a pretty open conversation on what we would like to see change in the mission and what we should do to help change it, we had a good discussion about the needs in our zones and we talked about alot of other stuff and had some trainings it was good. we left at 6 that night and got back at about midnight a member picked us up and took us back home. We got a call from President Reber on Saturday saying that he got some calls from some members saying that there is a missionary that isn't working in his area and is spending alot of time at his house, his companion is an American with 6 weeks in Brazil and has also been complaining that the missionary hasn't been doing anything and has been being disobedient and stuff. So Tomorrow we are going to have our zone meeting and training and then I will be going on a three day split with this Elder in his area, hopefully we can discover what his problems are and fix them. That will be interesting, we will be talking alot about the importance of working tomorrow, the numbers have been pretty low in our zone so we want to get everybody working hard and excited, there was only 4 baptisms in the entire zone last transfer so we have a lot to work on. The week just kinda feels like a blur but there wasn't nothing really crazy that went on. It was good though. Today we are going to play soccer at the church house and then we are going to to ice cream. Elder Payne is in our zone so it was cool seeing him this week, his Portuguese has improved alot he is already district leader. There has been 2 new Americans that arrived that will be in our zone so that will be cool with them sounds like they are already speaking well, there is one named Elder Richards that is with elder w Santos, we always have lunches together because we work in the same ward so that's cool being able to help. So I got a card yesterday from mom and dad for valentines day I think it was cool and also I got another postcard from grandma Dale, thanks for the cards. I'm blessed to have a wonderful family and I'm so grateful for your support. Looks like everyone had a good time at boondocks wish I was there haha. Sounds like Corbin is probably home by now hope he is well and I was saddened to hear that he had to go home, but I'm sure he will be able to help others at home. I'm out of time and I still have a bunch of stuff and numbers that I have to send and pictures to upload so I will talk to you all next week and will try to fill in some more details of Ponta Porã and stuff this week was pretty wild. But know how much I love you all and am grateful for all of you! Take  care and have a great week!
-Elder Kennington

Monday, February 17, 2014

Brazil Week #61 Transfer and Zone Leader in Ponta Pora

Well good morning everyone, today is transfers and I´m really short on time, because I´m being transferred 6 more hours south to the most southern area in the mission.     I´m going to a city called Ponta Porã which has 16 missionaries there, I think and is its own zone. President also called me to be a zone leader there, that's something that I didn't expect at all. President called me at about 4 yesterday and told me that he wanted to call me as a zone leader and wanted to know if I accepted the call. That caught me off gaurd and I was lost for words for a few seconds. I just told him that if the call came from Heavenly Father then I have to accept. That was a humbling experience for me cause I can think of many missionaries that I think would be great Zone Leaders, but I´m not the one that chooses. I'm excited for the chance to be able to help more people and other missionaries, I know that the ponta porã zone has had a very few numbers of baptisms lately, so hopefully we will be able to excite everyone and strengthen the zone. I'm grateful that Heavenly Father humbles us and reminds us of our weaknesses. Elder Tibbitts will be staying here in Marechal Deadoro and will be with a Brazilian who was just released as zone leader so that will be really good for him and the area here. We have alot of great investigators and I'm sure this next transfer there will be alot of baptisms in this area. Too bad I wont be here to see them though. I was really hoping to be able to stay and see the fruits of our labors, but the Lord has other things in mind, there are many wonderful members here that I have gotten to know well and will never forget. I'm grateful for the friendships I have made here and am grateful for the time The Lord let me stay here. This was one of my toughest areas, maybe even tougher than in Sorriso, I have been really stressed out this entire transfer more than normal, but It was all to help strengthen me and I am grateful for that. I have learned many things here in this area that I will remember and use for the rest of my life. It was a quick chapter that has already closed but hopefull this next chapter will be a little bigger and more full of learning experiences and joy. This week was a little different, I let Elder Tibbitts fill the role as the senior companion, he did really well and we accomplished many things. We had meetings almost everynight which made it hard to teach alot of people, but  we had a good week, we visited celso that went to church last week he said he enjoyed church and that he would go back again this week, but Saturday he said that he had to do something in the morning and so he couldn't go to church. Everybody during the week was firm on going to church but almost all of them cancelled out on saturday and said they had to work or the had some other matters of business to take care of, that made me kind of sad, when you work so hard during the week and then everything seems to fall through at the end it kinda gest annoying cause it happens quite a bit. We had a family home evening Saturday night with a family and they invited their neighbors over. I gave the message that night from the Book of Mormon when it talks about when the Lord helped and bless Alma and his brothers cause they were in Prison and he took the weight from their backs so that they could bear patiently their hardships and difficulties. It was really good and the wife went with them to church yesterday. She was our only Investigator that went to church yesterday, We taught alot of great people this week that I was really looking forward to teaching again, but I wont be here but I know that Elder Tibbitts will be with a great Elder and I think they will be able to harvest much fruit here. Yesterday after church we had lunch with a wonderful family here named Tales and Vanessa. They made us chili which was great and they made is special for us with lots of hot sauce and spices in it. Plus yesterday was a little chilly outside so it was great. Im sad that Im going to leave cause I wont be able to say good bye to alot of people here, but I will be able to stay in contact with them on facebook after the mission. Ponta Porã should be a good experience because its right on the border of paragay and eveything is supposedly really cheap down there, We arent allowed to shop and browse around in Paragay, before the mission could but not any more, sounds like we will have a strong ward there, there strongest that I will have been in so far, yesterday there were 150 at church, there is 6 missionaries just for the ward there. Im excited but really nervous as well, I dont feel very capable at being a zone leader, but I know that The Lord will help me alot. My companion is A Brazilian named Elder B. Souza. I think he has about a year on his mission. I met him once and for some reason I had always felt that he would be my companion one day. Weird how those things happen. Another cool thing is that Elder Payne will be in my zone and so that will be great to see him again. I will include more updates next week but I wanted to thank you all for your emails and prayers. I love you guys so much and this mission is passing by super fast. I;m grateful to be here in Brazil and to be a missionary in the Lords True Church. I love the scriptures and I love the talks by the apostles and Prophets from General conference, I have been downloading and listening to alot of talks lately and it has been wonderful.  I love you guys so much and I hope you all have a wonderful week. I hope that everything goes well so that I can get to the Bus station ok, I still dont have a ride to get there because everyone is working and I have to get there at about 4. It will work out ok though. May the Good Lord bless you all this week and in everything you do.
Com Amor
-Elder Kennington

Monday, February 10, 2014

Brazil Week #60 Max

Wow week 60, I remember it seems like yesterday that it was week 50 and last week
that it was week 1 at the mtc. Wednesday, I will hit 1 year and 2 months. Its been a long time since Ive seen Roosevelt or mom and dad and the brothers. Its been more than 400 days since Ive been gone, but I am so grateful to be here on a mission serving our Heavenly Father. I know that He loves us and is very aware of what we are doing and what we are needing, His hand is strong and he has blessed us much this week. First off everything worked out and went well with Max´s  Baptism. We had his Baptism Saturday at 7 o clock. Everything went well and the Spirit was strong. We had Valderi´s baptism set for the 22nd of this month but he had to travel for work and couldn't make it to church yesterday so we remarked his baptism for the first part of March. I was very pleased and grateful to our Heavenly Father and that he allowed everything to work out so perfectly this week with Max´s Baptism. We had a member named Renato baptize him, Renato was baptized one year ago on the 8th of February, and exactly one year later he got to perform his first baptism on February 8th exactly one year to the day after he was baptized, I thought that was cool that it worked out perfectly. Max even said the closing prayer at his own baptism and there was even a little girl there that is the daughter of the second counselor in the ward that sang the song about baptism about how I want to be as clean as the earth right after rain, she is only four and sang a solo at the baptism that made me very happy I was pretty worried honestly this week that something would happen that would keep Max from being baptized, but the Lord´s tender mercies were everywhere and he was very very good to us. Tuesday we taught The Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity. He accepted to live them without questions and told us that he was happy that we were teaching these things to him so that he could learn more and become better everyday. Wednesday we taught tithing and fast offerings which he also accepted without questions and Thursday we taught the plan of salvation which he enjoyed greatly, Friday the zone leaders came and did his baptismal interview which he passed with flying colors as well. Saturday was his baptism. We invited most of the members and the relief society made delicious cake. We had a good turn out, maxs cousin even went to see his baptism. Sunday he was confirmed an official member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The first counselor confirmed him and we had just me and Elder Tibbits stood in the circle and helped him. There was just the three of us in the circle. After he was confirmed Max looked up at us with a big grin on his face. Church was good we had 4 investigators there, 3 youth that a member brought and a man named Celso that we had been teaching, he had to leave a little early because he had work at 11 but he said he would be back next week. We will work with him this week, I don't think he is married legally but he is a really good guy is was born in Paraguay. I was sad that Valderi didn't go cause now we have to push his baptism date back a week. Hopefully I will still be here. We are teaching alot of good people now and I want to be able to stay and see the fruits of our labors. Everytime I have been transferred out of an area there has always been at least 2 of our investigators that have gotten baptized within the first two weeks that I left, that's how it goes though I learn more and more everyday is that baptisms don't mean a whole lot but they sure do bring a great happiness to many people. So this week didn't have much because we were so busy with teaching max preparing everything for the baptism and doing the interviews and also on Wednesday we had a mission conference for campo Grande. It was good and we talked alot about planning taking care of our area book, that was stuff that we had already been taking care of but I know that its a big problem that our mission has is there isn't very much planning that goes on and the area books are in terrible shape and many haven't been updated for years. We have still been looking for houses, but we haven't had much luck, So this already is the last week of the transfer, yeah it snuck up on me as well. I am pretty sure that I will be staying here but our zone leader here is convinced that I will be taking his place as zone leader but I highly doubt that I really would much rather stay training for the rest of my mission if I could. Sounds like there is going to be another 15 or so American arriving this transfer that got their visas so that will be cool, I'm not sure where they are going to find all the trainers but at least the Americans are finally starting to arrive. But yeah, I am almost certain that I will stay here in my area but who knows, I think that Elder Tibbitts will be staying here with me as well but like I said, who knows? This has been a really quick transfer for me though, it has been one of the hardest so far and most challenging but we have worked hard this transfer and Heavenly Father has blessed us richly. Last week on p-day the assistants from the north got here and so we went to the center again and got some stuff, I drank a bunch of sugar can juice like I said in the letter from last week it was good, I talked alot with the north assistants they are good friends and missionaries and it was good being able to talk to them and get to know them better. Also this Friday it sounds like the Zone leader will have a baptism so I will get to do my first interview so that will be cool I think, I hope it goes well. Well, I want to thank you all for your prayers and fasting in behalf of our investigators I know that Heavenly Father blessed us and acknowledged our righteous efforts and desires, I'm grateful to know that its him who is in charge and not us as humans. o before I forget we visited max after church yesterday and he explained that after he was baptized his entire body felt warm and prickly but in a good way, and then on Sunday during his confirmation he said he got goosebumps and was shaking a little bit but it was also in a good way, he said that he felt alot more emotional after that and he knew that he was really a member of The Lords True Church, and he knew that God had accepted his repentance and baptism. I always love to hear how people feel after their baptism, because its always different for everyone, but they always receive an answer and a confirmation that they made the right choice. Well I'm glad you had a good time in Moab and I enjoyed the pictures, wish I could have gone with you guys moab is a beautiful place and it has a special place in my heart. I want to wish aunt Kellie a happy birthday and i hope its great. I love you all so much and am grateful for you all! Have a great week!
-Elder Kennington
Max & Renato

Friday, February 7, 2014

Cuiaba Brazil Week #59 Campo Grande

Bom dia Querida família, espero que vocês estejam bem hoje! I´m grateful for another p-day here in Brazil and another day here on the earth that Heavenly Father has given me. I love my Heavenly Father and have felt close to him this week. I know that he is aware of me and all of us. I´m grateful for fast and testimony meeting and for that opportunity that I had to thank The Lord and bear my testimony of the Gospel. I know the Gospel is true and that families can be together forever. And I know that this is the only true and living church here on the face of the earth. And I know that we are never truly alone and the Father in Heaven is always holding us by the hand. That I know. We were blessed with a good week here in Campo Grande. We spent alot of time looking for houses for rent but we didn't have any success, but we were able to make alot of contacts with people which was good. Me and Elder Tibbitts are trying to teach more when we find and find when we teach as it teaches in Preach My Gospel. We worked hard this week and met some good people, Max was was visiting his family the entire week in another city but he got back late Friday night. We visited him Saturday with a member and he said that he was excited to go to church on Sunday and he was still excited for his baptism this Saturday. That was a relief to me because I was really worried that he would have something happen to him during the week. Last week I had already told him that there would be people that would dissuade him from being baptized and Saturday he said that people had talked bad about the church and baptism and stuff, he said "Elder Kennington, you are right they said the exact same things that you said they would say to me."  But he was still excited to go to church and be baptized. He said that he feels good in church and the Holy Spirit has already testified the truth to him. I know that your prayers and fast help protect him. We have prayed and fasted alot this week and I know that Heavenly Father recognized our efforts and blessed us. This week we were really busy and it passed by super quick, nothing super noteworthy happened. We made alot of contacts and talked to and taught alot of new people. We met a man who had been baptized 15 years ago but hadn't been to church for a long time. He was married and now had a new born girl. He played the guitar and sang for us which was cool, They were going to go to church with a member, but something happened and they had to travel on Sunday, but it sounds like next week they will be able to go. His name is Ricardo and his wifes name is Michelle. Tuesday I went on a division with Elder Miguel one of our zone leaders here, I stayed in my area with him. We visited several people and visited a while with a family that he knew already and had helped alot in the past. Elder Miguel is from Rio de Janeiro and is a really good friend of mine. I lived with him for a transfer in Sorriso and did a few splits with him there. We had our ward family home evening that night which was nice and we had a good time. We visited with the people that went to church this last week, Adrielly which was one of investigators said she thought church was a little bit boring, she is used to people shouting hallelujah and banging on drums and stuff at church, but I know that deep down she liked church and felt the Spirit, her husband Junior,  on the other  hand loved it and wanted to go back but he had to work this Sunday so they couldn't go yesterday. Hopefully this week they don't have to work and will have the desire to go. Josíe also had to work yesterday and couldn't go it was only max that went. It was good though. During the week we were looking for some houses and making contacts and I made a contact with I guy that was with his friend, after a minute of me talking to him his friend cut in and said that he had heard from a reliable source that missionaries receive 1000 reais (about 500 dollars) per month from our church. I explained that the opposite was true then he started interrogating us asking us a whole bunch of retarded questions about us and our church. That's one thing that I don't have a whole lot of patient for but I answered all of his questions. He then asked how we are supposed to know which of all the churches on the earth is right since they all say they are right. We just told him that that is something that only the Holy Ghost can tell us. Then we testified that we knew that the church was true because the spirit told us it was. After that the man completely changed almost like a light came into his eyes. We testified more and left him with the pamphlets with our number and the church address and times. That experience reminded me of the importance of a simple testimony. Almost always people don't grasp the importance of what we are saying but they always feel the peace of the spirit. The Spirit is super important in missionary work, without the spirit we are nothing He is the one that teaches. We went down some sketchy trail roads to finds some investigators houses but it worked out good. Elder Tibbitts is doing great and is learning alot, I think he is teaching me more than I am teaching him,  he is a great example of dedication and obedience and I have been reminded that I have alot to improve as a missionary, but I know that the Lord is blessing us and His arm is strong. last p-day fell through we got to the center and the zone leaders said that the sisters were still doing emails and weren't gong to make it in time or something so nobody even went to the trail thing we were going to visit.  I was kinda bummed out because of that. Today we didn't do much either we already went to the center I bought some hot sauce and then we drank alot of sugarcane juice that they were selling in the street and now I'm really sleepy and hungry. Also this week my companion was wearing some bug spray that smelled exactly like some bug spray that Grandma Dale had used before. Its weird how smells remind us of things and how quick it brings back memories. I just kept thinking of getting firewood with Grandma and Grandpa Kennington every time I smelled the bug spray he had on. Weird how little things like that leave deep effects sometimes. Also yesterday we marked a baptismal date with a man named Valderi, I had already known Valderi for a while and he had known the missionaries for over 4 years. We were finally able to meet with him yesterday and he demonstrated a huge desire to change and be forgiven of his sins and start over. He said he will set aside Sundays just so he can go to church. I think he probably drinks so he will have to overcome this problem but I really hope he has enough Faith to act and to go church and  be baptized. Please pray for him and Max. This week we will teach the commandments to Max like the word of wisdom and law of chastity, I doubt he has any problems but nobody can ever know so tomorrow we will teach him the commandments, please pray for us and him so that he can accept everything and live it. Sunday he told us that from now on he will never mark anything for Sunday mornings he will always set the time aside so that he can go to church on Sunday, he even bore kind of a testimony in elders chorum saying how good he felt and how he knew that he was in the right place. That was great to see. Thanks so much for your fasting and prayers I prayed and fasted much this last week as well. I know the Lord is with us and that he will let everything work out fine. I want to thank mom for the pictures of my baptism that she found and sent to me, I never imagined that she would have to go through so much digging to find it, if I had know that it would be so hard I wouldn't have asked but I thank mom for putting in the time and effort and doing that for me that meant alot to me and the picture brought back many good memories and a few tears of happiness. I will never forget my baptism and the feelings that I had afterwards, I know that God accepted my baptism because my dad was the one that baptized me and I know he had the Priesthood authority needed to perform my baptism. I'm grateful to know that dad is a worthy holder of the Priesthood of God. Well I am really excited for this week, I'm a little nervous but it should go fine, also we had our district meeting this week which went great I gave a training on prayer and the importance of praying for our investigators by name it went well and also I will be doing interviews this week as well for a baptism for our zone leaders I think we will go on splits and we will do the interviews at the same time a zone leader will interview max in our area and i will go to the other area and interview there. We will be doing our baptisms on the same day at the same time so there should be alot of people there. I think it will be around 5 o clock just please pray so that everything can work out fine. Well yeah so that's about it, please pray for us and our ward here, thanks for your love and prayers and letters, I am always praying for you all, Have a great week and I love you guys so much!
-Elder Kennington