Monday, November 6, 2017

WEEK 104: ONLY 1 WEEK LEFT & NO SLOWING DOWN

I can not believe that I only have one week left as a full time missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I want to soak in every single last second of being set apart to do this work.  Still has not hit me yet but I am sure it will once I feel myself leave the smog of California. 
Brother Gomez's baptismal service

This past week I was able to make it back to a baptism for Brother Gomez!  The service was absolutely amazing, there has been a ton of people that have been waiting and praying for this day to come and it finally did!!!  Elder Anderson and I taught him when we were in La Piedra together, and it was cool we were asked to do the presentation of the Restoration following the ordinance.

Elder Pennington and Bro. Gomez
on his baptism day

My past emails have been touching the Doctrine of Christ a ton haha I am sorry if it seems repetitive, but I have talked about faith, repentance, and enduring but this email is going to be about Baptism and the Holy Ghost!!!  They confirmed him at the Baptism as well, because he is a fire-fighter so he has kind of a weird schedule, but I was able to be a part of the confirmation as well which was awesome and usually rare when you go back for someone’s baptism, because they only usual do that during church on Sundays.  I absolutely know that as Jesus says himself, “Verily verily I say unto you unless a man be born of water and the spirit he can not  enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5)  It is an amazing opportunity to have the priesthood authority that is necessary to perform these ordinances, and there is always such a sweet spirit that is invited to baptisms. The Spirit does such an amazing job at testifying to truth and I feel that feeling every time I witness someone partake in this saving ordinance.
Captain America and Minnie Mouse
(last Halloween in California)

I love you all and I will see you guys soon! 4th quarter!!! Time to hit the pavement.

Love,

Elder Pennington 

Monday, October 23, 2017

WEEK 103: ITS THE END OF THE 4TH QUARTER

Elder Pennington with Phister and Dunn at his
final multi-zone meeting
Man what a week it has been, we have seen some miracles come our way that's for sure!  We added 8 people to our teaching pool this week so that was a blessing!  Something we received a training on last week was finding joys during your trials, and I know that is what my past few weeks have pretty much been about haha so sorry but life as a missionary doesn't make all the bad stuff go away because you are trying to bring people closer to the Savior.  This has been the best two years but also the toughest two years and I know that may not make sense for some people, but others who have been on a mission understand!

Last Multi-Zone Conference - mixed emotions
It was really crazy having my last Multi-Zone Conference and having to give my last testimony, but what made it even more crazy is we just so happen to have our conference in Jurupa.  That was the same pulpit that I gave my incoming testimony at almost two years previous.  It was definitely a spiritual experience.

King Elder Pennington - enjoying the last
Multi-Zone Conference!
This past week has been the realization of a lot of “lasts”.  My last transfer, my last temple trip (on the mission), my last interview with President, and next week I will have my last holiday.  There are some that people remind me about every time we meet as a zone, but it is pretty custom to poke fun at the missionary that is going home.....It is definitely coming in phases the realization that I am going home soon, but that is not stopping Elder Rose and I from finishing strong.  I have seen the difference between missionaries that just chill because it is their last transfer and missionaries who keep serving till they get released.  And obviously being the competitive sports lover that I am, I want to finish stronger than I started.  It most definitely is the fourth quarter right now and we aren't going to stop till that buzzer sounds.
Last mission trip to the Temple

Last Cafe Rio lunch after attending the Redlands California Temple


But the thing that I have been thinking about lately is that the end of my mission doesn't mean that it is the end.  I need to keep on applying the things that I have learned while I have been on my mission into “normal person” life when I get back haha.  No breaks until the time I enter into my holy rest. (that won't be until I am in my Heavenly Father's presence btw) But man I love the Savior Jesus Christ so much.

I was reading in the Old Testament the other day and was reacquainted with the story of Joseph and how his brothers sold him into Egypt.  He went through some trials and things of that nature but he just kept his composure and remembered that God was with him....and where did that attitude get him? Well as we know after he interpreted some dreams he was Pharaoh’s right hand man, and eventually he was able to help his family members out when there was a famine!!!!  It has become my favorite thing to apply stories in the scriptures to now, because we can learn a ton from them!

I love you all and thank you so much for the prayers, they are felt here in the California Riverside Mission!!!! (Best in the West)

Love,

Elder Pennington

Elder Walker at Cafe Rio

Elder Pennington at Cafe Rio

Elder Dunn at Cafe Rio

Elder Pennington at Cafe Rio
Elder Pennington with the Chinese-speaking missionaries

Elder Pennington with former companion, Elder Dunn

Elder Pennington and a missionary friend

Elder Walker & Pennington at his last temple trip

Elder Pennington & Elder Phister

Elder Pennington and Sister Goodwin

He called this pic a "visit from the old homies"
We recognize Elder Westenskow (Bruins T)

Last box to the mission field with personal letters from family for the flight home

Last box to the mission field with treats for the flight home.

Last box to the mission field with strict instructions to not open until Nov 7th

Monday, October 16, 2017

WEEK 102: SHALL I FALTER OR FINISH?

This past week has been another trial week haha!  Seems like the work went super slow and not a ton of things happened, but the beauty of being in the work of the Lord, and having the knowledge of the gospel is that you can find blessings in everything.  You can find the positive in everything you do.  So when you have that one week that just feels like crap and then you go into the next week and it turns out to be crap as well, just keep going, things will get better.


There is a quote that I like by our modern- day Prophet Thomas Monson and it says, "Shall I falter, or shall I finish?"  We all have those times where we are partaking in a hard task, and we have to take a step back and think... should I falter or should I keep going and finish.  Especially when you have the mindset of doing things for others.

I personally feel, and this is just the philosophy of Elder Pennington, but as we look at things that try and stop our progression, we need to realize what attitude we have during it.  If we let these things trip us up, it is going to cause others to have to deal with your bad attitude or “debbie-downer” state of mind.  This scripture is perfect about why we as followers of Christ need to keep going.

2 Timothy 2:10 Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.


This scripture has power to me personally, because it is telling us to endure these hard things not because we need to do it for ourselves, but we need to have others and those around us in mind.  We need to all help each other until we all become one unified group.  That is what we need to strive for, we obviously will mess up, but that is the beauty about a loving Savior Jesus Christ, who will be there for us when we slip up.  So just remember when you are going through something or going through a slump that seems never ending just know and remember to endure.  Because God loves you and wants you to endure not because of yourself but because of those around you who look up to you.  Endure for the elects sake.  Keep going so you can help others.  There are people out there who need you, and you can't get to them if you’re laying on the ground, giving up.  Keep going!!!!

Love,
Elder Pennington


P.S. Another quote "Keep on keepin' on" - Joe Dirt hahaha

Monday, October 9, 2017

WEEK 101: LOVE THE GRIND, PRAY, AND ENDURE

This past week has been pretty good.  We are doing really good at using some members of the newly combined ward to fellowship with some of the people that we are teaching.

This week has had some ups and downs, and some things trying to get in the way of my working but through all the trials and adversities, all I know how to do is grind.  I love the grind, I love the work, and I think the theme of this email is just based off of the word “Endure.”  We all have those times where we have joy in the tender mercies of the Lord, but where do those thank you's go when we are in a trial or we are conflicted with something?

Elder Pennington kneeling to pray in his car?!  Pray always
But, for real, how does he fit? Lol
How come our knees aren't the first things to hit the floor so that we can offer up a prayer to our Father in Heaven?  Why is it the words we want to read are of others on social media?  I think we get caught up in the world too much when instead we need to search God's words in the scriptures.


I really like a quote by Eric Thomas, he says "Pain is temporary, it may last for a minute, for an hour, or a day.  Or maybe even a year, but eventually it will subside."




A scripture I really like that talks about that is 2 Timothy 2:3 "Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ."  I really like this scripture, and how it encourages us to keep on keepin on!






I love you all and keep enduring even when you feel like there is no light or no way out, there is.

Love,

EP

Last Zone meeting... RIP


Yep! That's our crazy son, kneeling to pray in the car...

Monday, October 2, 2017

WEEK 100: I LOVE ICE CREAM... AND THE SCRIPTURES!

Thrifty's Ice Cream... Mmmm good!
So this last week was pretty sweet!!!  So as you all know and if you don't, I have a confession.  I fell in love with Thrifty's ice cream!!!  It is so good, but yet so bad for me.  I don't have an addiction I promise, and anyways something good came from my Thrifty’s ice cream run before calling it a night.

So there are a ton of homeless people out here porque (because) there is a business that supplies people with signs and idk how it works but they had this thing where they followed the people and they aren't homeless, but anyways that isn't the point.  The point is that everywhere you go there are people with signs wanting something.  I think the funniest one that I have seen said  "I am not going to lie to you guys I just need money for a beer" haha!!

But anyways I saw this older gentleman that said he was a Vietnam Vet and he just needed anything.  So in Rite Aid I bought some trail mix and a big powerade so as we are going past him I gave him the trail mix, the powerade, and I felt prompted to give him a Book of Mormon.  It was really cool, as I told him that this book will bring him comfort he said he already could feel it.  I also was able to promise a guy that we were talking to outside of his house, that if he were to open up this book anywhere and read in it that it would answer the questions of his soul.  We are meeting with him Wednesday for a church tour so I hope all of that goes well!!!

Also, we were walking around as we do every day for a couple of hours, and I see this guy walking away from a car and as we greeted him he told us to go away or something idk, I couldn't understand his french.  But as we passed the car that he walked away from, there was a woman that was crying and you could just feel the sadness from outside of the car.  We walked past and after 20 feet or so I just felt horrible, so I went back to her car and tapped on the window.  As she rolled down the window, I told her that God loved her, and that if she were to open up this book anywhere she would be able to be comforted and find the solace and refuge she needed at that time.  She then told us that she had just finished praying and with a smile on her face we walked away.  I love the Book of Mormon so much, it can do many mighty and great things.  I love the Bible so much, it can do many mighty and great things.

As I continue to ponder and feast upon the words of Christ that are given to us in the scriptures, my faith and my desire to share the gospel begins to grow.  I love the Book of Mormon, it is the keystone of my testimony.  I love my Savior Jesus Christ.  He is my Redeemer and I know that He lives. 

Love,
EP

Monday, September 25, 2017

WEEK 99: RETURN TO HEMET FOR A BAPTISM

Wow I can't believe that I am in my last transfer. Things kind of feel surreal. It hasn't really hit me yet, but in my mind I am just thinking like this is all you have left. One more transfer to shine.....That is exactly what I am going to do!!
 
Bro. Murphy's Baptismal Service

So I had the opportunity to go back to my old area in Hemet for Brother Murphy's baptism! This guy is a stud, I found him while on splits with our Ward Mission Leader. We felt prompted to visit a family in the ward, so we went to our apartment complex and I was like hmm the open parking is kind of far away and there is usually never open spots...lets just go see if there is an open one anyway so we went and parked to go visit the family because miraculously
Bro. Murphy's baptismal service
there was an open spot, and then after some knocks and some rings there was no answer. I was like man what the heck Spirit why did you tell me to come here....As we were walking back to the car a gentleman greeted me before I said hello and that never happens, especially in California. We talked to him and he said that his wife had passed away because of a drunk driver a couple of months before our encounter and we told him that our message helps answer the questions of where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going after this life! It was pretty sweet, we invited him to church and he came and we taught him and then I got transferred :/ They lost contact for a little bit, but then got the ball rolling and he was able to be baptized a month and a half later. It was an awesome experience to be a part of, and to see the change that he was willing to make in order to live in harmony with God's commandments.

Elder Pennington (Grandpa), Elder Avei (Son), Elder Simpson (Grandson)
Pennington trained Avei who in turn trained Simpson
Other than that this week has been good, we got calls and Elder Rose and I are staying together for another round in good ole Perris, CA. I love my Savior Jesus Christ and his gospel. I am so grateful for the opportunity we have to exercise his Doctrine and apply the Atonement of our Savior to our lives. It was really cool, I am trying to read through the Bible again before I go home, and I was reading in Leviticus and it was talking about how the people had to go to the temple before the priests (Aaron and his sons) and make an atonement (or sacrifice) to be able to be forgiven. They went through the repentance process, and it was cool how they were receiving forgiveness by offering their own atonement.

Christ's Atonement in Gethsemane
I am grateful for a Savior that was chosen before this life to come down here for us all and save us from our sins, sadness and infirmities. Because he went through this significant event, He knows how to perfectly succor us in our times of need. I hope these next six weeks go by slow so I can live through every single minute of it, but I hope you all continue to keep me in your prayers as I journey to help the city of Perris become translate because of our righteousness ;)

Love,

Elder Pennington

Monday, September 18, 2017

WEEK 98: A COUCH IN THE DESERT

Reading the scriptures on a couch in the desert
Once again, no letter was received from Elder Pennington.  He was able to send in a few random pictures that tell their own story.  If you know Elder Pennington, he can turn anything into something fun.

ENJOY!



Missionary exchanges with Elder Maughn
Time to relax and chill...

Time for a little talk...

Catching some air!
Dinner with the Wilson's