Monday, December 28, 2015


Packages and more packages
I would like to start off by saying thank y'all so much for the love, prayers, packages and letters that you sent me! Y'all don't know how much happiness it brought me. I'm so lucky to have wonderful friends and family who support me.

Christmas Conference
So we just had our first transfer. Elder Heelis and I lost our car to the Sister Missionaries. We will be on a bike for the next 6 weeks that we know of and lucky for us El Nino is coming and it has been raining with winds up to 70 mph lately so I guess you could say I'm pretty excited! Everyday is gonna be “leg day”, and sadly won't turn into arms unlike when me, Jack, and Drew would do when we went to go lift haha.

We officially put one of our investigators Gini on a baptism date for the third Saturday in January. She is awesome, and I am so excited for her. She really does have a love for Christ, and it is awesome to hear her testimony. We are officially in the Jurupa Ward now, and we will be splitting it with Sister Missionaries (who have our car, yes I know what a mistake) but yeah we are gonna fight to keep our same area that we had in our car and not let the sisters have more, so it'll be a good 5 mile bike ride to get to the area where most of our investigators are! I'll keep you posted!!

Monday, December 21, 2015


Pennington & Heelis at the Redlands Temple
On P-Day this week, Elder Pennington didn't have time to write his long letter because of internet problems at the church.  AND... we are getting to Skype with him in just a few days at 11am on Christmas Day so we will give him a break this one time! :)  We are sooooooo looking forward to seeing our missionary!
We heard he got to attend the temple located just north of the mission in Redlands, California.  In their mission they get to go once every 3 months which is a great blessing.

Skyping with Elder Pennington
Skyping with Nathan was a real treat.  He told us a lot of stories and experiences he is having - some funny as in the story about their encounter with an inebriated man.  Elder Heelis began to tell him that they enjoy sharing a message of Christ at this time of year and the drunken man told him he didn't want to hear his message and to go away.  Nathan just smiled at the man with his typical joyful personality and the man asked him, "What are you smiling about Smalls?" to which Nathan replied with a quote from the movie "Elf", "Smiling's my favorite!"  He also told us about teaching a family who had a pet pig in their house and others with chickens inside.  He also just recently ate a Mexican soup called Menudo which had pig's feet in it.  And of course there are spiritual experiences like the day their zone did service at the local high school for some less fortunate kids and wore elf hats.  He picked a 14 year old girl named Sophia who has a disease which has caused her body to age like that of a 90 year old.  As he shared his experience, it brought tears to everyone's eyes.

This Christmas was our best Christmas ever because of the hour and a half that we got to see his face and hear his voice.  He is really having a good time and enjoying his mission.  We are grateful for his service and the blessings it has already brought to our family.

Keep it up Elder Pennington.  You are truly "laying the foundation of a great work." (Doctrine & Covenants 64:33)

Mom had this ornament made for our missionary

Mom makes Nathan's favorite Christmas treat - Puppy Chow!

2 containers full - 1 to share with Elder Heelis

Mom found this post on Missionary Momma's FB page - She totally stalks her missionary!

Found out on the Skype that this was a Christmas Party thrown by the Stake
President at his house for all the missionaries serving in the Jurupa Stake

A sneak peek at Nathan's Christmas box before being shipped.

Monday, December 14, 2015


Elders Pennington & Heelis live in Bryce's home. He's 16
So this week has been good. One thing that was not so bueno is that all the boundaries in our stake got changed so that'll be interesting to see where my companion and I get put so I have no idea what area I will be in for January so it kind of stinks because regardless we will be losing investigators.

Yep, you heard him!  CHIC-FIL-A PIZZA
Anyways, I probably had the best pizza Saturday for dinner. We stayed home and had dinner with the home share kid Bryce who is 16.  We made a CHIC-FIL-A pizza, oh my goodness it was amazing. Get some pizza dough, chic-fil-a sauce all on the bottom then mozzarella cheese, and then cut up some fries and chicken nuggets and then put cheese on that. Oh my goodness, it completely changed the game.

But yeah I hope everything is good in Memphis.  Christmas is coming up fast and you can tell there is a change in the air. It must be the lights all the houses put up that release the Christmas spirit because everyone seems so much more happier. Nothing really special happened, oh I know. My basketball shoes ripped on the inside! Unbelievable! That is two shoes back to back that meant so much to me....haha

Anyways the work here is good and one cool thing our mission president has challenged us to do out here is read the first two chapters of Matthew, Luke, and all of John. He said when we read these, to highlight Jesus Christ's name in a color, his attributes in a color, the doctrine of Christ in a color, and when he speaks in a color. The New Testament is looking so beautiful with all the different colors haha, it really helps me dig into the reading and I am getting a ton out of highlighting. We are focusing on the story of Christ’s birth and really studying it because of him being the reason for the season and I am learning a ton. So much better than studying for school hahaha.
On P-Day writing an email to the family at the
church. We think his tongue sticking out means
he's happy - like a puppy

Well that's all for this week, I am probably forgetting something but oh well. Good luck for everyone taking midterms and all that gross school stuff!


Elder Pennington


Monday, December 7, 2015


Hello my southerners,

This is very unfortunate, but it seems that my accent is fading fast. I talk to people and they ask me where I am from and I say Memphis but they don’t hear an accent. It is very upsetting haha anyways, yes I am okay. The shootings were like 30-45 minutes away from my area maybe a little closer but it is all good! I just feel bad for those poor families and that poor special needs clinic, like who does something like that?

Anyways, something interesting happened last week, so my companion and I try to make it to the gym every morning at 6am to play basketball. After we played as a zone and I told him about some plans about college after I get back, he has been determined to try and be my coach and keep me in shape for college basketball haha so not only out here in the mission is he my "Dad, but he is my DL, my trainer, and quickly one of my best friends. We are working great together. Anywho (JOSH haha) so one morning we went up to the Stake Center, and this church has automatic lights so we saw the lights were on so that was weird. So we walk in and I go and lay down on the stage to "stretch" or take a 5 minute nap whatever you wanna call it, but then I saw that there was a pillar of light right above my head whose glory was the sun because someone had opened the skylight that is above the stage so that was weird haha. SO later that day we had DDM at the Stake Center and me and Elder Heelis went to the library and it was trashed, we start walking around and everything was broken into –  the two bishop’s offices, two clerk’s offices, and the high council room. So we let the grounds keeper know and they called the cops, (luckily the church doesn't keep money on church sites it goes to the bank) so the next day he sees us and told us that the guy left a phone and a backpack full of stuff, and left it all while trying to run out of the other side of the church. He was walking out while we were walking in.  He had a huge crowbar and the cameras at the church had caught his face because he turned back so that was pretty hype, even though we had no idea what we did haha.

But the people here are so careless and rude.  Our church has some ones canvas and has graffiti on it so that was nice. So I would like to send a special shout out to AAA SERVICE COMPANY.  We racked up 10 hours of service this past week, and each one of those hours was us helping people move. This lady had a 10 ft truck and wanted us to put her completely packed storage unit on there that had anything and everything. It was crazy, so I would like someone to extend a shout out to MANUEL AND MY FRIEND ROBERT JOHNSON.  I packed that truck like a boss and we fit everything in there.  I have no idea how but we did. That was our third and last move that we had this past week. So my last job has definitely helped me haha.

Other than that, this week has been pretty good. The members are willing to help serve and sign up to give us dinner all the time so I have picked up 8 pounds hahaha but don't worry I’m not gonna get chubby because we do CrossFit and that has been kicking my butt but it feels good after. But other than that, I am starting to get the flow of things and the work is progressing. With Christmas time coming along people's hearts are magically softening so we can see if we can try and expand on that, and help people make Jesus Christ a priority in their life.  Spanish is hard and I don't think I’ll ever be able to pick it up. I am still English speaking, but EVERYONE here is Hispanic literally it is crazy. Thanks for the ongoing prayers and the support as I've hit my one month this past week, time is flying by. Hope everyone is good and I love you all.

Elder Pennington

Monday, November 30, 2015


Well it didn't take long for some bumps in the road to happen. We got dropped by a couple of PI's which stinks. (Mission language for progressing investigators) We have about 10 people we are teaching right now, and we are gonna find more tomorrow so that’s good. We should be able to have more opportunities now that the church let out an AWESOME new Christmas video that is like two minutes. Go watch it as soon as you read this email it is called A Savior Is Born. It is on YouTube it is so powerful!

Look what I found for my room - Michael Jordan cut out!
So me and my trainer Elder Heelis were out talking to people, and I found a cut out of Michael Jordan!  How awesome is that, it is now hanging up in my room there should be a picture added. But anyways things are going pretty slow out here, My English is slowly turning into Spanglish so that is a huge plus. I am thoroughly enjoying the packages and letters. It is like a mini-Christmas every time I go to the mailbox so thank you so much!

So getting use to this lifestyle is pretty tough. I’m lucky to have an awesome trainer that I get along with so that is making the adjustment easier. I have been living off of bacon and cheese sandwiches because I had to spend money on a pillow and blanket and some other stuff so this month has been a struggle, but I have been managing my money good (shout out to dad for teaching me to cheaply buy things)

But thanksgiving went really well. We ate at a sister in our ward’s house, who had a ping pong table, pool table, and a foosball table which was awesome! She had all her grandkids over and one was a boy that was Jake’s age so I got to pick on him instead. I got full permission from his grandma and everything it was awesome! Miss you Jake haha oh and there was a girl that was Sam’s age that was on her phone so I messed with her about boys so it was like I was home for Thanksgiving!  I hope everyone else had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!! I’m thankful for all of you for supporting me and for keeping in touch. It means a lot to me!

Cactus everywhere...
So here in California it is like mandatory to have a gate around your backyard and your front yard and everyone has at least 5 or 6 dogs, it is crazy. There is nothing green and no pavement at all except for some of the main roads. There is cactus everywhere. There is one cactus that is like a tree but it is nothing but cactus everywhere. It is crazy, and it is actually getting chilly down here, people don't know what cold weather is down here and it is throwing them off, because  “El Niño” is coming and is giving us some weird weather.
The ward here is good. I spoke last Sunday, and everyone came up to me talking in a southern accent trying to be funny, but little do they know that country accent they are talking with is gonna stick and I’m gonna give everyone the best southern accent :) Something really really sad happened this week. Y’all better sit down for this one. So my slippers that vibrate ripped on my left shoe, how sad is that??? They still work but jeeze I would be lying if I said a tear didn’t fall from my eye.

The people out here are pretty cool, they definitely aren’t as friendly but that is okay, it isn’t gonna stop me from waving and talking to everyone I see. Jesus Christ got denied and offended a ton of people so if he can’t get people to accept his message that makes me feel a lot better all the times I get rejected. I love you all and I hope all is well! Keep in touch everyone! 

Elder Awesome
Oops sorry auto correct Elder Everyone's favorite missionary 
Dang it sorry 
Elder Pennington


Thursday, November 26, 2015


No letter from Nathan since it is mid-week, but momma was worried about his first Thanksgiving holiday away from home.  She posted on the Missionary Mommas FB page that if anyone in the Jurupa area knew our son, she would appreciate it if they could make sure he was well fed for the holiday.

His first Thanksgiving away from home
What a surprise when someone replied to her post stating she lived in that stake and would see what she could find out.  Later, a picture of our missionary eating Thanksgiving dinner was posted!  This sweet sister in the church had investigated all day long and was able to find out where Nathan was serving as well as where he was eating dinner.

Want to hear another miracle?  He ate dinner in a home where the sister of the church there is the aunt of a member in our ward here in Memphis - Leecy & Tyler Ward.  What a nice surprise and a special blessing for this missionary momma.

A sneak peek at Nathan's Thanksgiving Box before it was shipped

Monday, November 23, 2015


The house we stay in with some members of our ward
So y'all are probably wondering why the subject says North Mexico, and it is because my first area Jurupa is like NORTH MEXICO. So instead of sidewalks they have wide dirt and gravel pathways for HORSES. I saw a guy texting while HORSING like who does that, it was crazy!!

So luckily we have a car but our car is only used to drive to a point, park, and then get out and go contact. So we don't go door to door. We catch people outside in their garage, on the sidewalk, in parks or stuff like that. Our Mission President said door to door gives us a bad name and there are quite a few salesmen and so we don't wanna look like we are trying to sell the gospel so that is why we don't take that approach.

The view of our neighbor's home in Jurupa
 My first area is Jurupa. I am staying with members who are awesome. There are chickens horses, goats, sheep, bunnies and cats roaming the streets as well so contacting is pretty fun and my shoes are super brown from the dirt haha. Anyways my comp and trainer is Elder Heelis and he is awesome. He is a redneck country boy so I am basically paired up with Josh hahah.(Josh is his best friend)  I already have one baptism I just need to set a date. A 17 year old named Ureal so that's going great. Getting to know the members is okay but most of them love missionaries, and we have like a dinner appointment every night.

People out here are kind of rude too, I'll be walking down the road and wave and people will just stare at you and then look away so there's no southern hospitality, speaking of which everyone loves it out here so that’s great. My accent and the way I say yes m’am and yes sir will probably help me be able to talk to people about Jesus Christ haha. Anywho <------That was totally a joke used to make fun of Josh who used that word so much in his emails they were like periods!!! (hahaha insert laughy emoji here) but yeah the work is going strong and I am getting use to the life style. I hope all is well with my Memphis peeps and the letters and packages mean so much. Thanks again for all the support y’all give me!

Love y’all,

Elder Pennington 

Got his Ray-Bans on and found Serendipity Rd

Thursday, November 19, 2015


President & Sister Mullen welcome Elder Pennington
We are so grateful to have Elder Nathan Charles Pennington join us here in the California Riverside Mission! It was exciting to meet him at the airport. I had the opportunity to interview your missionary and we were able to hear his testimony before having dinner together. We have been impressed with his testimony and desire to serve. It has been a privilege to get to know him.
Elder Pennington is now hard at work in his new area, the JURUPA Zone with his companion Elder Stetson Saul Heelis.

His first companion & trainer Elder Heelis
Preparation day is Monday; most missionaries choose to email their family on that day. We encourage you to write or email weekly as well. Thank you for keeping your letters positive, uplifting and encouraging your son to work hard and take advantage of the time spent here in doing the work of the Lord.
Eating lunch after the flight from SLC to San Francisco to Ontario
As we visited with your son this is what he said about his family: "They are the best, and we love each other. I  remember singing’ I hope they call me on a mission’ when I was little. I am excited that I am finally here. I am anxious to see the light of Christ in people’s eyes."
We look forward to a wonderful experience together with your missionary.  Thank you for preparing one worthy to serve.  May God continue to bless you.
John H. Mullen, President

I spy Nathan at his first mission testimony meeting.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Elder Pennington with his trainer - Elder Heelis.
I made it to my first mission zone called Jurupa. I got my first awesome companion Elder Heelis. We have a couple appointments today, but President Mullen wanted me to get on to tell y'all that I am not dead. 
Hope everything is great in the 901 and the way it works out here all letters and packages need to be sent to just the mission office and then they get it to me personally. 
Love y'all hope all is well. 
Elder Pennington

Monday, November 16, 2015


Beautiful snow capped mountains in Provo, Utah

Elder Pennington, yes I just used my name in third person.  My companion does it all the time so he is rubbing off on me. So this week went by super quick, of course I learned a ton and my teachers are two sisters and they are the B.O.M <----------Punny!

Basketball players reunited at the MTC

Anyways one of my friends from BYU camp that was talked to by a BYU-Hawaii scout with me at the basketball camp is here!!! It was awesome seeing him. I can't send pictures now, but when I get to a different computer I will send some.

So every Sunday there is a huge devotional when someone important speaks, and it's in front of the whole MTC and it is like a MTC General Conference, well anyways I got to get on the big screen and give a 15 minute talk in front of everyone.  It was insane. Okay that was a lie. I'm sorry.  All I did was say the prayer haha but it was definitely an awesome experience. I tried to get someone to take a pic of me on the big screens, but it didn't happen but they did get a pic of me on stage so that's cool.

FACS represent
MTC group selfie
Anyways thank you for the packages everyone. It meant a lot and means a lot to me that y'all are taking the time to send me stuff.  It brightens my day and gives me something to look forward to. The Gospel is true and I challenge everyone to read a verse a day because it changes lives.  I can see a change in my life extremely, and I am spending 8 hours of my day searching, pondering, and praying. I love you all and wish you all the best.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015


Elder Pennington and his MTC companion Elder Walker
Hello Everyone!  Day 7 out here in the jungle and I am still alive and breathing. The MTC is like spiritual boot camp, but in a good way. The teachers are great at teaching with the Spirit and helping you feel the Spirit as well, but still give you time to have fun. I am learning a ton and this Gospel has never meant so much to me.

Elder Pennington and his MTC companions.
So in my district it is me and my companion Elder Walker (I'm the senior companion btw) and then it's Elder Smith and Elder Hubbard, and then a tripanionship consisting of Elder Anderson, Elder Corbridge, and Elder Langly. Sadly an Elder, Elder Ashcroft had to go home because of health reasons. But he is going to try and come back out so keep him in your prayers.

It's snowing...
So we are meeting with a PI named Shantele. Our first two lessons went great and then the third we didn't even get to finish. the lesson went in the direction we were not expecting but thats alright. We ended up answering her questions and invited the Spirit. I challenged her to pray about what we were teaching her and if she thought it was true and if she did find out that it is true, if she would "BE BAPTIZED"-Nacho Libre Quote. but anyways she said she would so that's awesome, we meet up with her again tomorrow so I'm pumped. Also tomorrow we have a first appointment with Ny. She's an investigator we got assigned to that was referred to our missionaries so pray for Elder Walker and I and also for Ny so that we can be able to get her baptized. Also, for the Spirit to be recognized in our lessons, because one thing I have come to find out is you don't convert or teach the investigators, the Spirit does.

... wait! It's sunny!
The lessons are already getting easier and my studies are getting harder so I guess that's pretty good.  I'm ready to get out in the field, but also I know there is a lot more things I need to learn.  Food is great here, the weather is not. I thought Memphis had bipolar weather but this, this is ridiculous. It's been sunny, sunny and 75!! and then it has hailed and sleeted and snowed and rained. This is ridiculous thank goodness I brought chapstick because that is awful as well.

I can't send any pics here yet because apparently I have an $11 dollar adapter I have to buy just for the MTC and my inner Jon Pennington is telling me "no", so y'all will just have to wait until I get into the field for that.

A room with Ping Pong and Basketball - He's all set

Thank you everyone who has sent me packages!!! It makes me feel loved and for those who haven't I mean what can I say no one's perfect haha just kidding your prayers are more than enough.  But if I were to send some requests out Sprite, Powerade, and candy and stuff like that would be appreciated hahaha. so our dorm room is sweet. We got a ping pong table and a basketball goal so we basically are living the fancy life out here. I don't really have much else to say and I'll try and figure out the whole camera thing so bare with me on that I know everyone misses my beautiful face! Oh and mom guess what I think I found the fountain of youth cuz I don't have a single pimple! Okay I'm sorry I forgot missionaries can't lie, but to make you feel better I'm putting my medicine on day and night to try and get these constellations off my face. Oh one more thing, I'm gonna leave a challenge with you Dad. Go watch Elder Bednar's Christmas devotional he gave at the MTC and accept his B.O.M challenge. By the time I get back you should have like 30 copies of the Book of Mormon marked up and on a shelf. Good luck bishop.

This goes to the young men in the ward. STUDY YOUR SCRIPTURES. STUDY YOUR PREACH MY GOSPEL. This will make your MTC experience so much better, don't be afraid to "LARP'' or role play because you'll be getting alot of that here. Practice talking to random strangers, doesn't even have to be about the gospel. We had a teacher Brother Farr who has taught us to where I can now teach the third lesson in 60 seconds.  So if I'm ever standing in line somewhere and only have that amount of time then I am good to go. It's awesome learning with the Spirit. If I had the spirit in school I would be going to Harvard. I hope on the plane I get to sit next to someone random because they are gonna have to listen about the gospel :) Well I hope all is well and y'all are all in my prayers. 
Elder Pennington

Elder Langley and Elder Pennington looking like the FBI
instead of Mormon Missionaries

Not sure who this Elder is.  His hand is covering his tag.

Elder Pennington playing with his digital camera - no
kissing on the mission Elder

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


Elder Pennington saying goodbye for 2 years at the Memphis Int'l Airport.
November 4, 2015 came much quicker than we expected.  We arrived bright and early at the Memphis Int'l Airport with our newly set apart missionary - Elder Pennington.  Everything he would need for the next 2 years was packed away in two suitcases and a carry-on bag.  He was nervously excited but had faith that the next two years would truly be "The Best Two Years" of his life so far...

Elder Pennington with Bishop Pennington at the Memphis Airport- 11/4/2015

Elder Pennington with his big brother Josh Kennedy who just got home from his Mission in Brazil only 1 month earlier.
As we were taking the last of our pictures, a gentleman approached us and asked if he was headed to Salt Lake City.  He was headed there too and brought great comfort when he said he would keep an eye on our missionary for us.  Below is part of his "momma's" FB post that goes with this picture:
(this picture was just sent to me by a sweet man on the same plane as my son heading to SLC letting me know they were boarding and he is watching over him. God is always aware of our needs and places people in our lives at the right time we need them)
Elder Pennington arrives safely at the DFW Airport - thank you kind gentleman for texting us this photo.
Elder Pennington made it to the SLC Airport and was met by his cousins - The Brandon & Amber Moore Family and the infamous Harper too!  We have a nice picture of this reunion too thanks to that nice gentleman who watched over him for the duration of the trip.

Elder Pennington meets his ride in SLC - Brandon, Amber and Harper Moore!
After being picked up, he had a little time before his scheduled arrival time at the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, Utah so they made a quick stop to eat at Café Rio and guess who surprised him next at the restaurant...  Aunt Ginger and Cousin Dawson!!!

Elder Pennington at Café Rio with the Moore's and Ginger & Dawson.  He looks like he's doing OK :)
Hurry up and finish that burrito because the next stop is the MTC in Provo.  He had two more surprise guests waiting for him there to say their last good-bye's - Brigitte Andersen and Wesley Stokes.  Brigitte surprised him with some homemade cookies and his favorite Utah treat - a Fruity Pebbles Smoothie from Jamba Juice.  Below are the final pictures of him before he entered the MTC for the next 2 weeks of intensive missionary training before heading to Riverside, California:

Elder Pennington getting ready to fit in with all the Californians - Hang Loose!
Elder Pennington's last picture - man, he looks GOOD!

Missionaries who have already been training come out and help all the new incoming missionaries bring their luggage into the MTC - there's no turning back now!!  :)