Elder Kennedy's Mission Scripture

Elder Kennedy's Mission Scripture:

Omni 1: 26

"And now, my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved."

Monday, February 25, 2013

Upcoming basptism

Hey All!

I am digging my mission a lot even though it’s always hot here! And there is never air conditioning! I have a fan that I use at night, so I’m not too hot when I sleep so that’s nice. I really need to get a mosquito net because they drink me alive at night. Renee said dad might be sending me a mosquito net? I gained 10-15 lbs in the MTC!!!! I am the heaviest I have ever been. Right now I am about 70-71 kg. I don’t know how but I’m getting big, hahaha it doesn’t seem possible because I walk around all day and sweat like crazy, but when we eat in peoples homes for lunch I cant be rude and not eat so I eat and then they feed me more and more because they assume oh he´s hungry or really likes the food. Not the case! Although a lot of the time it’s really good food. But I am starting to burn it off slowly now because I’m walking around in the sun. I am definitely coming home with a wicked farmers tan. Wednesday I was in Recife visiting the temple and after I got to walk around, check out the shopping plaza and stuff. It was pretty exciting. Recife is really a cool city. Tons of cars, people and traffic. There are tons and tons of sky scrapper apartment buildings. On the outskirts it’s more shanty houses and dirt roads. Its the best city for transportation in Brazil because I live about an hour from the city and my companion and I take a bus to the metro station which goes along for a ways and eventually we get off and take another bus to where we need to be to get to the temple. It’s sweet because we only have to pay for the first bus, which is 2.25 reais. The language is coming slowly but surely. I can definitely communicate what I am trying to say to people, which is good, even though a lot of the time I have to repeat myself. Every time someone speaks to me I usually have to ask him or her to repeat the question or repeat what he or she are saying. When people speak slower I understand them, but it’s so difficult when they speak quietly and fast at the same time.

Beatriz is doing awesome! She was going to be baptized yesterday/Sunday night but her mom couldn’t make it so she is going to be baptized this Saturday or Sunday. I am super excited. Yeah since my companion only speaks Portuguese he pretty much does most of the teaching. I help him a little bit with English and I’m starting to teach him more and more as I get more comfortable with the language. That’s crazy about Meagan Bertha going to the Birmingham, England Mission! England or Germany would be my 2nd choice after Brazil. And Tj is going to Guatemala, that’s sweet. The Del Mar Stake is going to have like a hundred missionaries pretty soon. You asked about some insects that are in my mission, well there are at least 50 different species of ants and they are everywhere especially in houses. There are cockroaches, mosquitoes, flies, centipedes, and scorpions. I’m glad my area doesn’t have too many scorpions but some missionaries in the mission wake up and find a scorpion in their house at least once a week. I always check my shoes just in case. Oh there are tons of spiders as well. I don’t mind the insects here except for the mosquitoes. 

Thanks Mom and Renee for the i-pod I got it about 4 days ago it works fine and I like the music. Futebol...I don’t get to play a lot of Futebol. Well not in competitive games, it’s a mission rule because of the risk of injury (especially when playing with Brazilians). I pass the ball around a lot with kids in the ward, or shoot goals but I’m not really allowed to play in games. It breaks my heart. They don’t have a rule against rugby, so I’m starting to get into it. I can’t believe Ian is a Zone leader in the MTC!!! That’s nuts. I’m sure he is killing it and keeping his zone focused on good missionary work. In other news I had my 3rd shower with running water. YAY! It felt like heaven. I get to take about 2 showers (via bucket) a day, one in the morning and one at night before bed. I am loving life down here in Brazil. Everyday is a new experience but everything is getting more familiar to me. Thanks Renee for my blog and thanks everyone for reading my blog, and always sending your optimistic spirit and love.

Granny, Dad and Dianna- (Granny) I am happy to hear you received my post card from Sao Paulo. A lot has happened since my stay in the training center, but I am sure glad to be here in Ponte Dos Carvalhos (Bridge of the Oaks). Yes I think Carvalhos means Oaks and I am pretty sure my area is named after a family called Carvalhos. I assume they settled this area a long time ago. I am also glad you like the stamps. I thought they were interesting and different. I hope my Dad and Dianna receive their post cards before too long.
Mom- I’m glad you had a fun trip and got back safe. How was visiting Dana and the fam? Did you get to see Grandpa Jim? Life down here in Brazil is all good. Its sweet Ian is a zone leader.
Renee- could you please send me that talk by Elder Bednar on prayer? That would be awesome! I had Sunday school and talks in church about prayer this past Sunday as well. I’m also super jealous you and Joe went skiing! In fresh powder! Is Joe getting better? He will probably be better than me when I get back...haha psych!

Elder Kennedy

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Survived my first transfer!

Things are great down here in old Ponte. I’m stoked to be getting some music sent my way pretty soon (thanks Renee). I’m lucky my companion has a bunch so I haven’t been without, but it’ll be nice to get my own. Thanks for praying for me. I still need help with the language. Sometimes my head hurts trying to keep up in the conversations, but I am paying more attention to what is being said. I’m definitely always out of my comfort zone. I do need to get better at speaking more, but the people we teach are super nice and include me, they always ask me questions about my life, "are you related to Pres. Kennedy?" "Are you from the United States?" Stuff like that. The hardest part for me right now is definitely getting out of my comfort zone and being really open with people, especially when I first meet somebody. After a few visits it’s a lot easier to be myself and share my feelings about the gospel and really listen to the person. I am so blessed to have a wonderful companion who can walk up to anyone and strike up a good conversation about anything and eventually bring the persons attention to the gospel. I’m learning so much everyday and I know I’m getting more and more comfortable as my skills in the language increase.

If you could please pray for our investigator Beatriz. She is so close to baptism I can feel it! Her mom is digging the church too. Carnaval is over with so that’s something. It was crazy hectic. We didn’t get to work to much because everyone was out partying or working, and we had to get back home by 5 o’clock.

I survived my first transfer in the mission! (For those who don't know, a transfer is a 6 week increment in the mission in which you may or may not get a new companion or sent to a new area.) I’m still with my comp and same area. I’m loving my area and my comp helps a lot with the language. Our zone is changing just a little bit. We had the second most baptisms out of all the zones in the mission. We were only one shy of tying. My companion and I had the most contacts out of our whole zone and 2 baptisms in this transfer. Alan did get baptized it was awesome! 10 missionaries showed up for his baptism!! haha he went through a lot of missionaries.

So a lot of you asked about the area I live in. Recife is a beautiful big city. From what I have seen anyway. I´ve only been in the area around the temple and the mission office. There are so many waterways and rivers. Many people use the busses for transportation and the drivers are crazy! I live about an hour out of Recife but I get to visit the temple again this Wednesday so I’ll be in Recife again. I live in Cabo Santo Agostinho, which is a pretty big city area wise. My area is a big neighborhood called Ponte Dos Carvalhos. It’s a really cool area and the ward is great. Everything is so green and tropical. There are tons of fruit vendors and markets that sell all kinds of crazy fruits I have never heard of or seen before. For some, we don’t get running water very often. In fact I have only had about 2 showers with running water so I take showers by scooping up water from a bucket and pouring on myself. The other day the assistants to the president (Ap’s) visited our house because they came to one of our baptisms. One of the assistants used to be in this area probably about a year ago and he said we have the worst house in the mission. Hahaha the mosquitoes here are killer. I’m sure it is because there is a huge river about a quarter mile from our house. Rio Jaboatao, Pernambuco (the state I’m in) is generally pretty dirty. There is tons of trash on the streets. Feral dogs, cats, chickens, and horses just roam around all over the place eating out of the piles of trash. Needless to say I get to smell some interesting things while walking around. In the summer-right now it doesn’t rain that much, maybe 2-3 times a week and not for very long. It will start picking up in about April and rain everyday. People drive around in their cars and blast music. There is always music being played. It is a pretty crazy environment but I’m definitely enjoying it. A lot of people´s homes only have one or two rooms. The floors are usually just concrete. I’ve only been in 1 or 2 homes where the floor was dirt and the one I remember well was when a cat walked in and died.

Hmmm crazy foods I’ve eaten: nothing too gnarly yet. Most meals are rice beans and meat. Yesterday I had crab. I beat the shell of the crab and sucked up the meat. Renee would think that’s gnarly. Joe would be jealous because I’m sure he loves crab. I eat yams, pasta, fish, chicken, rice, beans, steak, pork/sausage quite regularly. Everyone here drinks Coca-Cola and Guarana. Guarana is the best drink on the planet. The nastiest drink I had was Cevada. It’s like coffee but made from wheat and its really bitter. Yes Joe, I love Yerba Mate!!! I’ve had it like 4 times. I’m going to get a bag full so I can have it more often. I’m glad you all had a nice Valentine's Day! I almost forgot but we had a district meeting that day and my Zone Leader’s (ZL´s) reminded me. They are pretty cool. There are only four Americans in our zone including me and there are 13 Brazilian’s or something like that. I like my district leader. He is getting a new companion today.

Mom-that’s crazy that Elder’s are having an even harder time getting Visa’s. I’m so happy I got mine when I did. I know I was frustrated to have to go to Provo but when I was there I loved it and I loved being in Sao Paulo too. Oh yeah there are a lot of “snakes” (women who try to seduce missionary’s) in the mission. I’m glad I don’t have any in my ward, but the missionaries make it known right away when there are “snakes” around or certain areas that have a lot. hahaha I have been proposed to by a lady that was 30 though.

I am so excited I get to go to the temple for the second time on Wednesday. I’m stoked to get to visit Recife again. I love the city and the temple is pretty sweet. I’ve been out for over 3 months! Time is flying by and I know I just need to keep on working hard because before I know it the mission will soon be over.


Elder Kennedy

Monday, February 11, 2013

Loving Ponte Dos Carvalhos

Hi All!

This week has been awesome. I’m super stoked its p-day! P-day is cool. We wake up and do push-ups and sit-ups (the usual) and leg exercise is just walking around all day. We have this ghetto weight bar made from rebar and on each end are concrete cups like the size and shape of a gallon bucket. After we shower and get ready, vamos to the Internet café. I have like an hour or more for emails now. Later we eat lunch at a restaurant, play volleyball with youth in the ward. That’s basically it. Then I read myself into a nap, haha I love p-days. I didn’t get a mosquito net yet but I have tons of repellant....I’m starting to question if it even works haha. I will start looking around for one and get one this week. Yeah, my mission has a lot of dengue, one of my zone leaders got dengue his 3rd week here.

Carnaval is pretty crazy! Tons of people acting crazy, loud music, dancing, and more hooliganism. I have to return to my house by 5:00 p.m. until Wednesday I think. So Elder J. F. and I have to rush to visit all the people that we need to teach. Everyday there are more fireworks, music, dancing, and craziness. It’s pretty calm in the mornings, so that’s nice. I love Brazil more and more as the weeks go by. The language is slowly but surely coming along.

We have a baptism this Saturday his name is Alan. He is legit and he has had a testimony for a while but he feared his mother would not support him and stop paying for him to attend the University he is enrolled in. Another couple is close but need to be married first. We are going to have two others marked for baptism real soon probably this week or next. So exciting! I’m looking forward to this week and I hope all is well with you guys.

I know Ian is a little stressed about the language. That’s normal. The MTC really throws you into the fire and forces you to teach in your mission language by the second day, and everyday after that. It’s really good because you are forced to study hard and rely on the spirit to comfort and guide you. I will write him something for encouragement. Anyway, all is good here in Ponte Dos Carvalhos. Portuguese is so hard but so fun! I’m always speaking Portuguese even in my head. Pretty soon I’ll be thinking and dreaming Portuguese. I hope it comes soon but I definitely am learning patience on my mission. I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH. I wouldn’t be here without your love and patience with me. Take care.

com amor,
Elder Kennedy

Renee- that’s gnarly Joe sang a solo in Church. Props, I’m sure he melted their faces. Thanks for sending Ian’s letter. I will send him some words encouragement and I will pray for him. I’m so jealous you guys are sending Ian Coco Bean for Valentines Day! His comp is going to love you guys too.

Mom- that’s so awesome your going to Disney World!!!!!! I’m so thankful Aunt Jeanine sent the bible! I know she is being blessed for her kindness and service. You both deserve this trip. Have fun!!!!!

OLD Pictures from the Provo MTC

These are some pictures Elder Kennedy took between November 13, 2012 and December 4th 2012.