Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Candy Land!

Dear Family & Friends, 
I failed to mention last week that the library where we email was closed yesterday because of Memorial Day. This last week was good overall. We had 4 Member Present lessons. We finally broke that barrier. It is mind-blowing I've been out for a whole transfer. I have been told it only gets faster from here. I've had some good days as well as not so good days. At the end of the day, I pray for a better tomorrow. 
Last week we met Brother Howells (Sister Howells husband). He just got back from Pennsylvania, I believe. He is retiring in November as a Drill Sergeant and has been in the Army for 21 years. He is great and that family loves to make us feel welcome. They had a BBQ last Sunday and they invited my District to it. Everything was delicious and we met some cool people. You will never guess where I went yesterday! I went to the National Infantry Museum just off of Ft. Benning. I felt like I was in Candy Land. I got a lot of amazing pictures that I will be sending as often as I can since I took around a 100. Brother Howells took us and the other companionship in our District as well. We were there for almost 3 hours. I just loved soaking it all in. The had artifacts, vehicles, weapons, videos, paintings, pictures of Medal of Honor recipients, and so much more. I loved it so much and I can't wait for another opportunity to go back. 
This week was generally better. My comp said some things about some people that did not sit right with me at all. I did not talk much to anyone after that to avoid contention. I feel better now. I realize I will have companions that I won't have much in common with. That seems to be the case with Elder Stewart and I. Focus on the good, learn from the bad. 

Transfer calls were last Saturday at 9 pm EST. I am staying in Phenix City for at least one more transfer (this week is the first of my 2nd transfer). My companion will 'die' at the end of this transfer and it is likely I will stay. Some missionaries stay in one area up to 6 months. This may be the case, but I won't know until early July. I have driven a little while here. I have driven on the last exchange and Sunday when Elder Stewart wasn't feeling well. We are actually going to be calling Elder Cole (vehicle coordinator) if I can be the designated driver.
 Elder Stewart has knee problems and they act up when he drives. We'll see if it can happen. We traded cars last week with Sister Missionaries in a different area and got a 2014 Chevy Cruze. We had a 2015 Toyota Corolla (it was nice). We've also had bad luck with cars. We were actually stuck at the Firestone in Columbus, GA for nearly 2 hours while they put 3 new tires on and try to get a hold of Elder Cole to receive permission from SLC. Not too fun at all.
I got a haircut about 3 weeks ago. It wasn't a buzz, as I kinda wanted or at least short enough where I don't need to actively manage it. My hair is growing back now and it is getting somewhat bothersome. I am down to shaving everyday. What once took around 5 days, I grow back in about 30 hours. Man, it is true. I hope you had a great week with Ben graduating and definitely send me pictures of the wedding this Friday. Hope to hear from you soon. 
Elder Kestner

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day..God Bless America

No email today due to the fact that the library is closed for Memorial Day.

Here are some pictures that Elder Kestner has sent that I thought were beautiful and one that I know he would love since he is currently serving near Fort Benning. God Bless America!

 “The purposes of our God are great, His love unfathomable, His wisdom infinite, and His power unlimited; therefore, the Saints have cause to rejoice and be glad.” —Joseph Smith

 John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Beautiful architecture 
A church in Columbus, Ga

Monday, May 18, 2015

Stronger in the Gospel & Southern Food

Elder Kestner & his companion Elder Stewart from Nampa, ID

Dear Family & Friends,

Another week gone by. I am now in the last week of this transfer. I can't believe I've been in Phenix City for 6 weeks! This week went by really quick due to a few things. We were busy and we now have 6 new investigators and one of our investigators from a few weeks ago is on date for baptism. He is on date for October 31st. His name is Matt and he is 40 years old and he just married a member. He is growing so much and getting stronger in the Gospel. I love seeing investigators progress. 

We went with our recent convert, AJ, to the home of a less-active family. AJ bore his testimony in pure simplicity. AJ has progressed so much since his Baptism on May 1st. 
I find that the most effective means of finding come from referrals and with help from members. The members are great here and they sure feed us well.

The Newsome's
On Saturday, we went to the home of the Newsomes. They are an older couple in their late 80s and early 90s. We went there with the intention of sharing a message and then going to our next scheduled stop. That wasn't the case. We got there and they immediately offered to fix us a plate of food. Sis. Newsome gave us a plate of Roast Beef, corn on the cob, rolls, and cabbage. As well as drinks. we ate it and it reminded me of your Roast Beef. When we were about done with our plates they offered us a glazed cake and a scoop of almond  ice cream. I was so full after eating all that. The funny thing was that we had a dinner appointment at 5. We were there from 3 to 4. We ate the food provided out of courtesy and thanks. We will have to plan our dinner appointments more carefully if we stop by the Newsomes.

All in all, it was a good week. 6 new investigators and we are improving for sure. I am getting 'thicker skin' in relation to my companion and others. I find that if I fire back what they put out, it all works out great. 

I hope your week in DC was good and that the funeral service was good. 

Love you mom!

Elder Kestner 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Finding Peace in Trials

What a great opportunity to have Elder Zwick and his wife tour our mission the end of April. We had two combined zone conferences while he was here.
Hi Family & Friends,
It was great talking to you and the others yesterday. It was a huge boost to me and I really loved it.

I had a feeling Grandma Jane would not live through my mission. It's weird, because the same occurred with Ethan when Grandma June passed, but now with Dallin and I. I'm not too sad, but I regret not emailing her. I'm disappointed in myself that I didn't. I am joyful knowing that she is now reunited with Alvin and is most likely being taught by her own son. I am grateful for that knowledge we have.

Last week was a little rough. We only met two of our goals and it was hard staying positive for a day or two. But I got over it and moved on. I didn't have much to report from this last week, but it should pick up this week. 

Thank you for everything. I hear your voice when I make a decision or when I do laundry. Thank you for being my role model.

I'm trying hard now to not get too upset. Some things that the other Elders do drive me crazy. I'm trying my best to stay positive and keep a cool head. I don't have much in common with my companion and I am struggling to find common ground. I guess this part of the transfer is one of the most difficult. 

Anyways, trying to stay positive. 
Music brings comfort to me when I have a bad day or I feel discouraged, or I don't get along with my companion a particular day.
Thank you for all that you do to support me in my missionary work.
With love, your son,
Elder Kestner

Monday, May 4, 2015

Absorbed in the Work

The Baptism went great on Friday. My companion performed the baptism and I did the confirmation. It wasn't perfect, but Bishop Zeh helped me out.

I am more and more absorbed in the work and I cannot believe I've been out a month.  Anyway, I am halfway through this transfer. Time flies when you work hard.
I have not yet received the package, but I will check later today.

All is well here. I feel like I've about lost what I gained in weight at the MTC. I am up to 2 sets of 30 crunches every morning and 2 sets of 10 push-ups. Food is good. I've had a bit of BBQ here, not that I'm complaining. I love BBQ. Btw, I have had cereal just about everyday in the field and I am not ashamed to say that haha.

Weather is getting warmer and the humidity is rising as well. But I am adapting to it well.

I am trying to do the best I can. I am grateful for the scriptures and prayer and how it gives me strength. I listen to my music everyday and it really helps. The other Elders in my District have a collection of music that I will soon put onto either a USB or CD. They have a bunch of music that I love. They have The Piano Guys, Prince of Egypt, and an adaptation of Baba Yetu. If you see anything at the store that looks like something I would like, feel free to email me and use some money from my account. I will be celebrating Star Wars Day by listening to the soundtracks I have with me on the iPod.

As of scriptures, I am in Helaman 15. I loved in 13 and 14 about Samuel the Lamanite and his prophesying of the Savior's birth and death.

I hope all else is well at home. 
With love,
Elder Kestner
P.S. Pictures coming! With Skyping, I will send the chat invite at 4 pm EST or 2 pm MST. We will be at the same home as where the video is from. Sister Howells is her name.
Love you lots and I am looking forward to seeing ALL of you!