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."

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Next week is transfers!

Time is flyin by in Recife. I’m stoked for Joe graduating in 2 and a half weeks! Boa sorte com escola!!! There is a transfer April 1st. Only one more week that I could be here! I want to stay in Ponte for one more transfer. I’m stoked for General Conference. We go to the Stake Center and watch all the talks. I get to go to Recife on Wednesday because we have Zone Conference. Half of the zones will be there.

One thing i've noticed is that mail here is interesting. Sometimes it only takes a couple weeks and other times it takes over a month for a package to get here. Anyway I am so excited! I am able to write Ian and follow his blog. I have been able to email him as well. I am so happy he his loving Chile! He really seems to love his area in Santiago, which is great!

On P-Days like today we (my companion and I) are on our own as far as food goes. We will definitely have to start cooking more. My companion is from Rio de Janeiro and he is a pretty good cook. I know how to cook rice and beans, which is essential. I just remembered I received a few recipes in Sao Paulo that I will be trying out shortly. When I return I will definitely demonstrate my mastery of the Brazilian food culture. 

Living here has made me realize we are truly blessed to live in the United States of America. The teenagers and children living in poverty/ favelas live very humble lives but they are always enjoying everything. Young boys will play soccer barefoot in a dirty street and I mean DIRTY (rocks, dirt, dog droppings, and trash). The wealthy and middle class always ride around on their little motorcycles that are impressively loud. Brazilian teenagers are crazy! Similar to American teenagers. At night young skate punks skate around at a nearby park. I talk to them quite a bit and they are all really nice and funny. Young couples are always walking around at nights after school gets out to grab something to eat. There are at least 4-5 schools in my area and the students wear the same shirts so it is easy to identify students. People here really like America. Yesterday we were walking past a school and a group of young teenagers just looked at me and said “hi how are you?” assuming I was American and spoke English. I replied  “I’m fine, how are you?” and they laughed and smiled because they didn’t know how to respond. One mode of transportation I have figured out to utilize is walking. I don’t think they have much of it in the USA but it is a great, free mode of transportation! Haha

Elder Kennedy

Monday, March 18, 2013

Upcoming Baptism

Hey! So I will try and get pix in this week. I have a bunch from my 2 trips to the temple and a few other good ones haha. All is well in Brazil, Recife. It’s starting to rain more which is nice but it also brings on the humidity. I am really enjoying talking with all kinds of people and sharing a message about Jesus Christ. It’s been interesting to see a new Pope or Papa (in Portuguese). Some Brazilians are bummed the Pope is not Brazilian hahaha there is a strong rivalry between Brazil and Argentina. I think it mostly exists due to soccer.

Renee, you asked about what American foods I miss? In n out! hahaha and Rudy´s. I miss Reeses, Peanut Butter, m&ms, pretty much all candy. I miss American Pizza. The pizza here is strange! It’s good but not great. Business opportunity for Joe! Make super good American pizza and sell it in Brazil. If the people here like it I bet it would become a huge food chain here and we could be billionaires!

Brazilians eat a big lunch and nap afterward similar to Europe. Dinner and Breakfast are usually just a small snack. For breakfast we usually don’t eat or make a sort of grilled cheese just bread and cheese on a George Foreman type grill. Lunch is almost always at a member’s home around 12:15 and sometimes we leave at about 2:00 in the afternoon. Dinner is usually soup or bread with fruit.

That’s sweet you got to talk to Ian in Atlanta. I’m sure Santiago is dope, and he is so pumped to be in his city! I hope he stay’s safe and doesn’t get robbed! That’s legit he has an impeccable accent. I can’t wait to hear his Chilean style of speaking. Pernambucanos speak a little different than other parts of Brazil. Its like USA and England or the deep south and San Diego. I am really digging Portuguese and I can’t wait until I stop translating everything from English into Portuguese in my head. Granny gave a good tip about how communication is all about listening. I am definitely learning how to listen on my mission. These first couple months in Brazil have been no problem for me to listen 90% of the time and speak only 10% hahaha. 

Stuff/food here is pretty cheap. Reais are little more than half a dollar. 1 dollar is almost the value of 2 reais. On p-days we eat at a restaurant where the food is self-service kind of like a buffet but you only get one plate and you pile on a mountain of food. Its only 9 reais! So that’s sweet. Beans, rice, French fries, steak, fruit, salad. It’s awesome. 2 liters of coca cola at a market is about 4 reais.

We have a bunch of skate punks here but my companion and I are really good friends with them and we talk to them a lot and teach them more about the church. I also use one of their skateboards and bust out some tricks. People find it more interesting to listen once they learn you are a normal person and did normal things before the mission and after my mission I can go to school, work and get married.

Yes we have a marked baptism this week! Breno is 8 years old and he is awesome. We also had a family reference that we visited and they really like us. They live about 3 miles from the church and our house so we walked for a long time. Their son Kyle was at church yesterday and I know he wants to be baptized. The night we taught them we met at their home at around 730 p.m. and ended up leaving at about 10 because they had so many questions and are really interested. They asked what their son (Kyle) needs to do in order to be a missionary like us hahahaha so sweet. The walk home was pretty sketch, but peaceful. Joe graduates in less than a month! Glad dad and Dianna are going to make it out there. Last week was awesome and this week is going to be even more awesome!!!

Elder Kennedy

Mom-The story about Lorenzo Snow and Alma Smith is awesome! I knew the story about Lorenzo Snow being in Hawaii and having his companion save his life. I just didn’t know it was our relative. That is so awesome and inspiring.

Dianna- I miss hand and foot like crazy. Ill have to get a couple more decks of cards and teach my companion. I heard Dad jammed at an open Mic night. That’s so awesome! Anyway hope all is well, I am loving my mission and so excited to be here. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

4 months out!

Hey All!

Again, all is well in Ponte Dos Carvalhos and I love life! The people are super generous here. They don’t have much money but they spoil us with food and laughter. haha I have to lay off the carbs. But don’t worry, I promise to have a 6 pack when I come home! That’s a promise.
Portuguese is rough but coming along slowly but surely. It helps when I receive compliments from Brazilians that I talk to about how good my Portuguese is. It motivates me to study harder and speak more confidently. I try not to let the hard language get me down. Difficulties with the language is the source of stress on my mission but I’m buckling down and working harder. What I do know, is that God lives! I know that I am here to help others come unto Christ.

Anyway this week has been golden. Yesterday we taught 2 new families and they seem interested in learning more about the gospel and are going to read The Book of Mormon.
Renee, thanks for the spiritual advice on the use of profanity. I like the sections from Elder Oaks talk “Revenant and Clean” that you pointed out. Brazilians use the Lord’s name in vein quite a bit and Brazilian’s learn English curse words and say them just to show off their English I guess. They are respectful once I tell them that those words are offensive and I start to teach them useful phrases in English. My favorite scripture to read right now is the one we always share with investigators; Moroni 10: 3-7. It’s really cool to share because it demonstrates the difference in our religion and others. People wonder why we have a “Mormon bible” and a lot of time people struggle with the Restoration. We invite them to read, ponder, and pray about the truthfulness of The Book of Mormon just like it says in Moroni’s promise. People are always amazed with this challenge and I see a change in them when they honestly decide to read and ask God if this book is not true! 

My companion is now District Leader so that’s cool. More responsibility and pressure to work hard and set a good example. We have a transfer in 3 weeks and i hope to have one more with my beloved companion Elder J Franca. He has been in Ponte his whole mission (7 months) so it’s possible he will be transferred. But he was just called as a District Leader -you never know with transfers what’s going to happen. It’s possible I’m a trainer, who knows? I imagine I may be staying here and he may get transferred (just because of how long he has been here already). I’m so stoked Ian is heading out into the field tomorrow! I sure he is bouncing off the MTC walls with excitement! I was dying to get out of the MTC the last few weeks. I hope he gets to call you guys from the airport.

Thanks Joe for the RHCP paraphrasing and surf lesson reflection. Im going to put my best foot forward and have a good p-day and an even better week! “Plant your feet and stand strong.” I better coin that phrase. hahaha soon you and Renee will be enjoying the pacific ocean again. That’s sick you remember that I told you to plant your feet and not move them when you were learning to surf. I do remember that day. It was so fun. hhuueeaahh! I get surf withdrawals and start shaking sometimes. One day I will have to come back to Recife and show these Brazilians how we do it in so-cal. 

Hey guess what? My birthday is on Mother’s day! Waahoo! It will be a great day to talk to family! Thank you for your prayers, they help a lot.

com amor,
Elder Kennedy

Mom- I´m sad you are not feeling too well this week. Pain in the throat is a real bummer and I have empathy for you. Please don’t feel bad about last year (wow that was almost a year ago) when I had strep throat and mono. Im just bummed Im not there to give you a blessing. Thanks for the notes from Elder Bednar. I had a companion in the CTM Elder F. who is in the Maceio mission! I’m so jealous they got to hear him. Anyway I love you so much Mom. No one on this earth makes me want to be more like Christ than you!
Aunt Jeanine-You really don’t have to send me anything for my birthday. You are too kind. I do miss American candy and peanut butter! I’m sorry its not much but that’s all I can think of. I’m not in need of anything. I am so grateful you sent the bible quad to my friend from Mozambique. I will make sure he received it and I’m sure he will be/ is absolutely thrilled! I love you so much and I am so blessed to have such a loving aunt. Thank you for all that you do and may God continue to pour blessings upon you.
Joe- You better get good at surfing quick these 2 years so we can shred it up.
Dad- That’s awesome you are performing your song at an open Mic night! Good luck! 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Californian in Brazil

Oi family,

That’s sweet Katie is going to Thailand! Doesn’t our ward have missionary in Bangkok already? One of the Clark boys? I can’t believe Ian leaves in about a week! I’m so stoked, he is going to be culture shocked that’s for sure. At least I was in Sao Paulo for 6 weeks and got to walk around outside on p-days. I can’t imagine jumping right into the field in a different country! It’s going to be sick!!! I love the Arabian horse story you mentioned Renee. The video the church has is pretty good. I’m sure you watched it. That’s awesome about all the new missions being created. Especially in Brazil!

Snow/Skiing/anything cold sounds wonderful right now. Time is flying by. I think Joe is going to graduate before my next transfer. I hope I’m in Ponte at least until Mother’s day. I believe we get to Skype home that day. I can’t wait! Ponte Dos Carvalhos= Shanty town. That’s probably the best way to describe it. I love it because the streets here are usually filled with people (more than other surrounding mission areas). But, life is good in the Recife Mission. My area has its own ward and we (my companion and I) are only responsible for this ward. Some missionaries have two wards, but for the most part there are enough missionaries for each of the wards. My comp and I go to ward council meetings and they are pretty sweet. The members help us out a lot with investigators and planning stuff. I have a bunch of favorite members! We visit at night sometimes around 8 o’clock at Rogerio's house. His mom is a hardcore Catholic but loves us missionaries. Every time we come over she cooks us food, we never ask, she just always does. So sometimes, when we are hungry after a very long days work we head over to Roger’s house and talk with him and his mom. Another person I really like is Arthur. He is a recent convert, 15 years old and he is all swagged out. haha he let us cut his hair. 

Transfers go like this...I guess. The zone leader talks with the President and whoever is training goes down to the mission office and has a little conference and then President walks in the room, talks for a while and then tells everyone who is companions or who is training who. It’s pretty cool. Then the trainer and the new missionary catch a bus or train to their area. If you’re not a trainer, you just find out where your new area is and your companion and yourself take a bus or train to that area. People dig Americans here. hahaha and they often guess that I am an American because I’m so white. There’s a ton of black people here as well, which is cool. A bunch of people usually little kids or teenagers ask me to speak English for them. They always get a kick out of it and laugh. When I tell them I’m from California it probably makes their day that they met a Californian- especially a surfista. The people here are so humble and love the United States because most people in America are rich compared to here, that’s for sure. It definitely is a truly humbling experience everyday and I try to keep my pride way way way down. People are way shocked when they find out why I’m on a mission- living here for 2 years and not on the beach in San Diego. I tell them its because I know the gospel is true and I love brazil/ I love being here. Except for the dang mosquitoes! They can burn in the inferno.

So, funny story. One day (Wednesday) my comp and I were contacting in the park about 2-3 blocks from our house. We were talking with some skateboarder friends that skate around in the park. There were about 10 of them they are all really cool and really nice. We got a new investigator and his first name is Kennedy, (that’s the funny part). He seems really interested in the church. I gave him a Book of Mormon but he told us he doesn’t read much and doesn’t enjoy it. We told him he could read a few verses. It was about 8 o’clock at night and all of a sudden we heard gunfire from the street right next to the park and saw a car drive off super fast (drive-by). We were about 150 yards away. And the whole park of about 300 people started running away and fleeing the premises. People started returning and walking up to the area that the gun fired. We all thought someone got shot and was dead on the street because of the huge crowd that accumulated around the scene. Turns out the car that drove by had shot another car, luckily the people in the car weren’t shot and no one was hurt. Just another day in Ponte Dos Carvalhos.
com amor,
Elder Kennedy

Renee- The photo you sent of Ian, Elder Rice, Elder Meiling and Sister Calder in the MTC is awesome! Del Mar Stake represent! I’m stoked you and Joe are moving back to San Diego in a month! Crazy! Good luck Joe!!!!
Dad- Thanks for sending a mosquito net. No worries about shipping time. I’m surviving just fine. Can’t wait to attempt a ski jump in your backyard when I get back. That is sweet you are going to Joe's graduation. I will send some thoughts and impressions about Recife. I didnt know you were writing a song, ill send some material right away. Good Luck!

P.S. I like everyone's questions! If you guys have any more questions feel free, i know im horrible at explaining/answering them.