Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas Skype

We had not one, but 2 wonderful Skype visits with Elder K on Christmas.  We have a long standing tradition in our house where right at 6am - on the dot - we go up to see what Santa brought for Christmas.  Elder K had planned on Skyping with the whole family around noon, but just after 6am, my phone rang with a number from Ghana!  It was Elder Barfuss who told me that Sean wanted to set up the Skype call now and surprise his brothers and sister when they came up to see what Santa brought.  It was a little too late to surprise them they way he wanted to, but I guarantee - we were ALL surprised!!  He looked and sounded wonderful!  He took us on a tour of his apartment, bore his testimony, spoke some Twi for us and smiled the entire time!  Even when he cried, he smiled.  He said that this was the best Christmas he has ever experienced!  It was great to have that precious time with him.  He then set up his later Skype for 1:30pm

We had everyone who wanted to come over for the second Skype call and it was wonderful!  Jeremy's family was in Mexico, Jeff's family was in Portland and Josh's family was at Christmas lunch in Sandy, but we were able to get them all on Facetime and had a great visit that spanned the globe!  We ended our visit with a prayer offered by Sean.  I'm pretty sure we all cried.  He has grown so much.  We couldn't have asked for a better Christmas gift!!

Gavin has had a terrible toothache.  We were pre-occupied with getting him comfortable last night and I forgot to write my email to Sean.  At 6am I jumped up and ran to the computer figuring I'd be OK because we've never gotten an email from him before 7:30am.  Nope - he beat me to it.  Darn!  I sent him a response, but I guess that means he'll have 2 emails to read next week.

Dear Mom, 
I have some big news. Elder Barfuss got emergency transferred and Elder Wokporka went home, so now Elder Kaelin is my companion and we are the only Elders in Kwabeng. It was very all-of-a-sudden. He got the call Saturday night.  He's going down closer to the coast.
I will most likely have the baptism this week but I'll see on Sunday. I miss you guys and I loved seeing you on Christmas. My talk in church went well.  I shared my temple experience and I bore my testimony of the Savior.
Not a lot to report so I'll see how this week goes.
I love you all soo much and I'll write you next week.

Love, Elder Seanshine Keddington 

We are so grateful for the incredible trainer Elder Barfuss was to our boy!  He helped Sean through some tough bouts of homesickness and I'm sure has become a life-long friend.  We made the connection that he is from Aloha, Oregon and is in the same stake as Jeff and Janet, so we'll be able to stay in touch.  We will pray for his continued success!  

Sean seems more determined than ever to do the Lord's work.  I Love It!!!


Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas Week

Dear Mom, 

Merry Christmas! I miss you guys more than ever, but I have some great news! The mission is letting us Skype, so Barfuss and I bought a Galaxy Note! I'll be able to Skype you guys on Christmas! I'll be able to see you guys on Christmas!  It will probably come in the afternoon and I'll only be able to for 40 minutes.  Our plans for Christmas are wake up, open presents, do a white elephant, then caroling all day until the evening.  We'll come home and call you guys then have a Christmas dinner.  We will be in Kwabeng. 

Today we went to the Bingham's for a Christmas party.  they are the sweetest people.  We roasted a pig on a spit (a full pig, we killed and gutted it) and had a Christmas brunch.  We then had a secret santa.  I gave a nice belt and got bottle rockets! Christmas is when they light fireworks. Then Sister Bingham gave all us Elders a hand stitched African design stocking filled with caramel, popcorn and other cool stuff.  I love them so much. 

Next, my toe is fine. I've got something called plantar's wart. It's painful, but should go away within the year.

Third, YOU ALL ARE SO GENEROUS!! Thank you and thank everyone for the money, I have some ideas for what I will use it for. I will definitely put it to good use. Several people have put money into his account so that he can use it to buy some Christmas for people in his mission who need some help.  He has been really excited to do this!

Happy Birthday Hunter! I still have the luggage tag and I love to show the members him and our family.

So, I saved the best for last.  Last week we got to go to the Temple in Accra.  We did an endowment session and afterward I had a long heartfelt prayer with Heavenly Father in the Celestial Room. I asked for strength when I'm missing you guys on Christmas and almost immediately a feeling of peace and comfort came into my heart. I know it was the Spirit of the Lord and I know that he loves and cares for me. It was one of the most spiritual experiences of my life. I then realized that I was the last one in the Celestial room. :)

I love you So much mom and everyone. I hope you have a Merry Christmas and I know that this is the true gospel of Jesus Christ and that He lives.

With all the love I can give,

Elder Seanshine Seaner Big Brother Keddington

PS: I heard Josh Groban on a cd singing Believe from the Polar Express and it made me think of you

He makes me cry.  I love this boy so much and can't wait to actually be able to "see" him on Christmas!  He is getting it!  He is learning to lean on the Lord!  He's exactly where he needs to be!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Lots going on

Dear Mom, 
This week was a long one and a lot happened in it.  So, we got a new brother, Brother Wokporka (work-poka) he is a 20 year old Ghanaian and he is super cool. He is from the Volta region of Ghana and speaks English, Eywe, and Twi.

This week we decorated the house with copies of The Liahona. We cut out all the green we could find and taped it on the wall to make an 8ft tree. It was a ton of fun. We also cut strips and made a huge paper chain all throughout the house.

We finally got Kojo ready for baptism and he will be baptized this week. I will do the baptism.
We visited a brother in the ward who was hit by a car that swerved in Accra and broke his leg in 2 places. Doctors said it would be a 3 month recovery, but when we visited him he asked for a priesthood blessing. I gave the blessing, its my first blessing for the healing in the field.  We visited him yesterday and he said that the bone was healing at such a rate that it would be a 1 1/2 month recovery.

We taught a record 9 lessons this week.

Yesterday after church we came home and found a 3 1/2 foot green mamba on our porch. It got away before we could kill it, so we are on the lookout.

So, we go to Accra tomorrow to be checked out by the doctor.  There is a painful growth on my left toe that is growing under the skin.  Hopefully it's nothing.  After that we go to the President's house to stay the night for the Christmas program. Our zone is singing "Silent Night" in Twi.

So that's My week.  I will be calling you soon so I will look forward to that. I'm starting to fall into the rhythms of Ghana and its starting to speed up. I've lost 27lbs!

Love You With All My Heart, 

Elder Seanshine Keddington 

 PS; I also tried lizard this week. It was good, but a very tough meat. ;)

Ummm - a little worried about the toe, but I'm sure he'll be fine.  This kid is changing!  He is becoming more a missionary and less a tourist and I love it!  I'm so glad that he is finding his groove.  I also love hearing that they are getting into Christmas however they can.  Sure do love this guy!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

New Pictures

With Elder Lords

Elders Barfuss, Lords, Kaelin and Keddington.  Quite the team

Monday, December 7, 2015

Getting Brave

Dear Mom, 
I can't wait to talk to you guys on Christmas. I'm probably gonna cry as soon as I hear you guys. Well, Elder Lords left this morning and it was very bitter-sweet. We will miss him here in Kwabeng, but he's going to Liberia finally. Elder Barfuss and I are staying together for another transfer, so if one of us leaves at the end, we will have been together for 4 1/2 months. Elder Kaelin is getting a ward missionary as his new companion so we will see how that goes.

I got my packages! The elders were especially happy about the beef jerky. We finally got invited to a members house for dinner and you know what, Fufu is actually very hard to eat. But I bucked up and ate an entire ball of it, plus the super spicy soup and made sure I didn't offend the member who made it. I was a little proud of myself. Also we had chicken and the only meat on my piece were the lungs. I ate both of them. :)

We weren't able to baptize this Sunday because Kojo went to a funeral. We will get it this week though. I taught my first lesson on my own and answered their questions with what I knew and with the help of the Holy Ghost.  Besides that, the work goes on.

When i call you guys it will either be in the morning or afternoon. I will call either your phone or the home phone, depending on where you are.

I love you all Sooo much and I will go forward in faith. I know this is the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

Love, Elder Seanshine Keddington  

Oh my heart!  I'm having kind of a tough time with him being gone this Christmas season and it sounds like it's not as easy for him as I was hoping it would be.  I'm sure some of it has to do with Elder Lords leaving.  The four of them have gotten pretty close.  

I have to say, I'm proud of him for eating the food without complaint.  For YEARS we have told him that he needed to try new things and not complain because "when you go on your mission..."  So glad to know that those words stuck in his head ;)

We are looking forward to talking to him and will continue to pray for strength for him, especially this time of year.

BTW - for anyone who doesn't know, my mom has called him "Sean-shine" since he was tiny.  It's funny to see him using it as his sign-off.  :)

Monday, November 30, 2015

First Thanksgiving in Ghana

Dear Mom, 
Thanksgiving was fantastic. We went to the Couple Missionary's home and like 40 people showed up. The Ghanians didn't know what it was about, but they were happy with all the food. We had grilled chicken with Sweet Baby Ray's Barbeque sauce. It was fantastic! After the dinner we played the summer sport of water balloon volleyball. It was so weird.

We are entering the dry season out here which is the hottest part of the year. It's so strange to think that it's December.  The apartment is holding up well. We currently have a colony of really big, mean ants in our yard that we are trying to get rid of.  These things are like the ones of Indiana Jones.  The pastime we elders have right now is lighting off fireworks we get in town.  Yeah, Christmas is when they sell fireworks. Another we have is baseball using Elder Barfuss's baseball and these pick axe handles you get in town.

The work is fine, slow as usual.  I feel like I'm ready to be a senior companion. The Ghanians are really nice, but recently I'm meeting the jerky ones.  They are very judgmental and will report us if we inconvenience them. Oh well, that's the way they are I guess. We weren't able to baptize Sunday because he hasn't met the branch president.  But we did finally get to watch the Sunday Morning session of Conference. It was about time!  Bless the prophet. My Twi is coming along well. I can greet people perfectly now and now I'm working on questions.

I can't wait to talk to you guys and I love the pictures you sent.  They were both comforting and hilarious.  I love You Guys sooo much and I think of you every day.

Love Elder Keddington
Ps: if you could send a skills mini basketball hoop like the one we have downstairs for Christmas, that would be unbelievable

Look at the size of that email!!  It's a Thanksgiving miracle!  I'm so glad he had such a great Thanksgiving.  We missed him tons around here, but what a great experience he is having.  Looking forward to talking to him on Christmas!!  Now - to see if a mini basketball hoop will fit in a flat rate envelope.  ;)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Transfers are coming!

At the Accra Temple after Sister Hill's memorial.  Reunited with Elder Bedell. (also with Elder Lords)
So - I asked him if he will give us a little more detail about the missionary work that he is doing out there.  Here is the "Sean version" of more information...

Hi Mom, Happy Birthday Dad!!

So the work is going good.  Elder Barfuss is an awesome trainer. I have another baptism this Sunday for a man in his 60's named Kojo. Transfers are coming up and Elder Lords is going to Liberia, so we are doing something fun this week. I've spent 2 months with these guys!

This Thursday we are going to the couple missionaries' home for a Thanksgiving potluck. I'm doing good with the food. I kind of eat the same stuff everyday. Lots of ramen.  The members don't have us over because they usually only have enough for just their families.
Besides that, not much else going on. I wish I could tell u more but its actually very slow out here. So I'll keep it updated best as I can.
I Love u all soo much and I'll write you next week.

Well - a little more info.  Kind of like the Cliff's Notes version.  It sounds like the "slow work" is at least fruitful work.  It's going to be very strange to have Thanksgiving this week without him.  I hope (and imagine) that he will hold up just fine.  He seems to really like having these new experiences.  I'm really going to miss the "photographer", Elder Lords, when he goes to Liberia.  Hopefully Elder K will be able to find a wifi camera next time he goes down to Accra.  
So much to be thankful for every year, but this year my heart is ready to burst with gratitude!  Love this guy! 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Week ten!

At Sister Hill's Memorial Service

Oh, how I love to see pictures of my boy - even if he is being a goof ball!!  This one showed up on the Elders in Ghana FB page and I almost passed it by without recognizing it was him.

Hi Mom! 
Things are awesome out here and I'm healthy. This past week we didn't do a lot of teaching because Elder Barfuss lived up to his name and was sick. He's better now. 
For my birthday the elders gave me journals and supplies and Chex Mix, which was awesome. MY PACKAGE CAME ON MY BIRTHDAY!!!! It was fantastic. We went to the soccer field and played football and then baseball. Then that evening we got fried rice and chicken. It was an awesome birthday.
By the way, I think it would be great if I could go to Accra to get a smart camera. I will keep u posted on that. For now, Elder Lords is the photographer.
I love U guys sooo much. I'll keep praying for Dad to come out here in 2 years. This place was made for him.

LOVE YOU ALL, Elder Keddington

For the love - this kid!  Poor Elder Barfuss!  Also, I imagine that he is, in fact, doing missionary work.  I think I need to remind him that we would like to hear about this work, you know, since that is why he is in Ghana and all.  Oh well, he will always be Sean.  You gotta love him - right?!  We do!  And I'm so glad he had a great birthday!  On to another great week!  

Hanging out at the waterfall

"Hey guys - look!  A camera!  Guys?!"  Haha!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

More Pictures

These are from Elder Lords.  So thankful he has a camera that can send pics!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Sister Hill

LDS mission president's wife dies in Ghana

Published: Monday, Nov. 9 2015 1:50 p.m. MST
Updated: 8 hours ago

SALT LAKE CITY — Ryan Hill suspected the worst Sunday morning when his father, an LDS Church mission president in Ghana, phoned and asked him to hold while he added Ryan's siblings to the call.
Ryan thought there may have been a death in the family, but it didn't cross his mind that it could be his mother, Sister Raelene B. Hill, 64, who unexpectedly died on Sunday in South Africa from complications following a routine medical procedure.
Sister Hill, a native of Ogden, Utah, had been serving in Ghana since July 2013 with her husband, President Norman C. Hill, president of the Ghana Accra West Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"One of our ancestors is Rebecca Burdick Winters, who died as a pioneer in 1852 and whose grave is marked on the Mormon Trail," Ryan Hill said. "I've thought today about how my mom is like that. Our family has always been willing to sacrifice whatever the Lord would ask. She went on this mission because she knew it was important and the call came from the Lord."
Sister Hill traveled from Ghana to South Africa for a procedure to remove kidney stones and died when complications developed.
"(The Hills) are deeply loved by their family, church leaders and their missionaries," LDS Church spokesman Eric Hawkins said. "We pray for each of them at this difficult time and extend our love to President Hill and his family."
The Hills were members of the Klein Texas LDS Stake before leaving on their mission. Sister Hill was a former Texas Mother of the Year and a past president of American Mothers.
Sister Hill regularly taught the missionaries serving in Ghana that they could do hard things. Ryan Hill said she asked Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to confirm to the missionaries that they could do hard things when he visited the mission last year.
"I perceive you know a lot about that, don't you, Sister Hill?" Elder Bednar said.
She did.
"It wasn't necessarily easy for her to leave on a mission," her son said.
For one, she had to leave behind grandchildren; she now has 12, with two more are on the way. She worried about her parents, Neal and Faye Ball, who still live in Ogden and now are in their 90s.
Returning to West Africa, where President Hill had worked in business for five years, also was a sacrifice, in part because she suffered from several health issues that she managed privately and that caused her pain.
Sister Hill was born in Ogden. She and President Hill were Ogden High School sweethearts. She waited for him while he served an LDS mission, then for another year as he fulfilled the promise his mission president required of every missionary to wait one year before marriage.
They married in the Ogden LDS Temple, which she had helped raised money to build. She attended Weber State and BYU, where she studied home economics and education. She taught at Tintic High School in Eureka, Utah, before focusing on raising four children. A fifth died at birth.
"She dedicated her life to her kids and our interests," Ryan Hill said.
Sister Hill's previous church service experience included time as a stake public affairs committee member, ward Relief Society president and stake Young Women president, according to a February 2013 LDS Church News article.
The Hills' mission has been noteworthy. After the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the evacuation of the missionaries from the Sierra Leone Freetown Mission, President Hill doubled for a year as president of that mission, too. He wrote an article for the Ensign, a LDS Church magazine, about how church members in Sierra Leone dealt with Ebola, isolation and the lingering aftermath of the war.
Their missionaries also helped Accra recover from the effects of major flooding in June, when more than 160 people died.
Sister Hill helped one missionary shed his initial reluctance to help people who had badmouthed the LDS Church.
"Sister Hill, our mission president’s wife, is always saying ‘we can do hard things,’" said Elder Victor Uzoho of Aba, Nigeria, "so I soon stopped complaining in my mind and instead saw how much good we were doing. I think they see us differently now because we were willing to get dirty by cleaning out gutters and washing walls alongside them."

Monday, November 9, 2015

Big Birthday Week!!

It's the big birthday this week!  Elder K turns 19 on Wednesday.  It's going to be strange to not have him here to celebrate, but look forward to hearing how they mark the day in Ghana.

We got word last night that Elder K's mission mom, the Mission President's wife, passed away.  We haven't heard yet what happened, but we are praying hard for her husband, family and all the missionaries who will be affected by this.  I hadn't written my email before I heard the news, so I was able to address it when I wrote last night.  I actually woke up to an email this morning.

Dear Mom, 
Yeah we got word this morning (about Sister Hill). We will be getting a new Mission President. It had an really big effect on Elder Barfuss and Kaelin because they got to know her really well. But it's God's plan, not ours.  He will do the best for us.
Thank you all so much for the birthday money.  I have some very interesting things that I will bring home.

I've finally started to write in my journal every day. It is way surprising on how therapeutic it is. It gives me a chance to write my feelings of the day.

We had a couple more snakes in the compound. One was a cobra, but it got away. The mission gives us machetes to deal with snakes because the risk of someone getting bit is too great, so the black mamba we caught, we had to kill it.  And i know that the mission says no touching, but the monkey was on a leash and i wouldn't get that chance in America. ;)

I can't wait to talk to you in 47 days. I love you all soo much!!!

Elder Keddington

I am so grateful that these missionaries have each other during difficult times.  Sister Hill's death will give them all an opportunity to learn how to support each other and will be a real experience for growth and learning.  It sounds like he will be a good strong support for those sweet missionaries.

We love that boy (and wish that the snakes would just stay way!) and are grateful for all that he is learning and the man he is becoming! 


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Finally - a few pictures!!

Elder K's camera won't link up with the old computers that they have in Kwabeng, so we haven't received any pictures of him since he went into the field.  One of the Elders in the same apartment has a smart camera with wifi, so he was able to send me a couple of pictures today!

Don't drink the water, but the Coca-cola is safe!
It's a little rainy there

Not quite how I pictured Africa

I think this is the waterfall they climbed

Huge thank you to Elder Lords!  He says he will send a few more close-up shots next week.  I'm pretty sure I know what I'm sending Sean for Christmas - a Samsung Smart Camera with wifi!!  It's so good to see my baby!!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Short and sweet

I love that the emails are coming on Monday again.  It's short and sweet today...

Dear Mom, 
It's been pretty slow here.  My Twi is coming along well.  Contacting is pretty tough here. In the streets you'll find missionaries from different churches and people are used to it, so convincing them to listen is kind of tough. But I will keep trying. 

Dad will like this. While in my other village, Anyinem, I got to feed a monkey out of my hand. I was very nervous. Also, 2 weeks ago, there was a Black Mamba on our porch. I caught it and put it in a bucket. We had to kill it. Just some interesting wildlife stories
So for my birthday, could you put money on my debit card? There are some neat things here that I would like to bring home. If you could that would be amazing. I haven't received the first package yet, but I'm sure I'll get it. Thank you for the other two packages sooo much. (filled with candy for him to give to kids for Christmas)

Thank you, I love you all so much.  I'll write you next week with updates.

Love, Elder Keddington  

Sounds like they have their work cut out for them.  One of my biggest hopes is that one day he will truly expound in his email about what he is doing on a daily basis.  Of course, it was tough to get that kind of information out of him before.  Other information (dinosaurs, etc), however,  we got in abundance! ;)  I imagine lots of service is being performed.  NOT thrilled with the Black Mamba story!  Snakes are my worst nightmare and my child handling one does not fill me with joy.  Yikes! 

We're coming right up on his birthday, the 11th.  I can't believe he's going to be 19!  I will definitely take a 19 year old serving and bringing the gospel to others in a foreign country over some of the alternative 19 year old activities out there!  We are so blessed and grateful for this experience!

Monday, October 26, 2015

A little homesick

So, with the crazy email schedule we've had, I was absolutely delighted to find a Monday morning email!  I had asked him if they just write when they can find and internet signal.  I also asked him about some of us putting money into his debit account for him to use to buy some much needed food and supplies for some of the families there for Christmas.  We figured that it would be a much better use of resources to just equip him with the means to take care of it on that end.  I wanted to find out about how they shop for their food, etc. He's getting so much better at answering my questions!  How I love this boy!

Dear Mom, 
We do write emails on days when we can. Today we found a new cafe so hopefully we can get back to Monday email. Life here is good. 

So what we do for food is we usually buy a bulk box of ramen or 5-6 loafs of bread and make it last. Food is a big money hole here. There are a bunch of individual shops. You walk around and barter for a deal, but there is definitely a market for produce on TuesdayTuesday is market day.  As for the money for Christmas, I would be honored to do that. Thank Julee and Dedi for me. 

I forgot to tell you last week, but last Saturday was the day my emotions came out. I finished a very intense workout, I walked inside and saw our family picture then out of nowhere I started to cry. I sat down and thought of you guys and how much I love and miss you. Elder Barfuss came right to my side and comforted me. Then Elder Lords, who I came out with, start to cry to and told me he knew what I was feeling. I feel better now. I'm thankful for the support these guys give me.

My next baptism might be on Sunday. I cant believe I'm almost 19. I'm dropping weight like crazy. I look like I did a month after our cruise and its still coming off!  Tell the kids I love them all so much. I love you all a ton and I miss you. I'll write you about my progress this week.

Love, Elder Keddington

I am so incredibly grateful for this wonderful trainer that he has!  He has been so great for Elder K.  I am just so happy that these wonderful young men and women are having these great experiences.  It's unlike anything that they could have dreamed of here and it's so good for them!  We are very very blessed!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Life in Kwabeng

I am learning patience.  It's something I desperately need to work on and always have.  Having to wait until Wednesday this week to hear from my boy gave me another opportunity to exercise that patience.  I imagine it is just about grabbing an internet signal when they can.  This is good for me! 

I asked him to send me some examples of the way the kids there lived so that I could share with my kids how blessed (ahem, spoiled) they are.  The wait was well worth it:

Dear mom,

I have seen some pretty jarring examples of poverty here. For example, showers consist of a big bowl of cold water that the kids sit in and wash themselves. Every kids shoe has a hole in it and they live in concrete shacks with tin roofs. But they are always so full of energy and excitement. For them a piece of bubble gum is like Christmas.

This week is a bit of a slow one, but on Sunday we hope to have another baptism. I confirmed Prince last Sunday, but I messed up on the prayer so they had me do it again after the meeting. I'm losing weight and my belly is almost gone again. I promised the Lord that I would stay humble this time and not gloat about my physique this time.

Tell Seth Happy Birthday for me.  I've got the kids some souvenirs already but I will keep getting them things. Hows everyone?  Tell Hayden Bush I miss him and I will see him in 3.

Mom I love you all soo much and I am doing alright out here.

With all my love, Elder Keddington 

I love how he says things are slow, but they should have another baptism on Sunday!  Sounds like the work is good.  And I love that he promises not to gloat about his physique.  He did tend to do that when he got so skinny before because it was rather unlike our family, but good for him!  Yay for a belt!

I've been wondering what to send him to give to people at Christmas.  I think I will just send a couple of packages stuffed with candy and treats.  I've heard many times that it's so hard to get there and they love it when they get it.  Done and done! 

I'm so proud of this kid!  He makes my heart happy!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Some Answers

I'm starting to wonder if P-day has been moved to Tuesday because 2 weeks in a row now, we've gotten Elder K's email on Tuesday instead of Monday.  Regardless of the day - we are always so glad to hear from him!  Here is today's letter:

Dear Mom, 
Life out here is very camping like. My diet consists of mostly ramen, bread, eggs, rice, and chicken. We cook on a gas lit stove because the electricity is unreliable. It goes in and out. Every day there is a thunderstorm. we do our laundry every Monday. A sister from our branch comes and hand-washes all our clothes for 10 cedis. 
The church is very nice here. It is actually a very nice building with open hallways and class rooms. The talks are all in Twi, so I can't understand them. Oh well, I still feel the spirit. Sunday was our district conference and President and Sister Hill came. All us elders sang Press forward Saints then a verse in Twi.
The confirmation is this Sunday and I will do it. Besides that not much else is going on. 
No one got transferred so I'm with everyone for at least 8 more weeks.
Love you Mom soo much and I will find a way to send pictures.
Love, Elder Keddington
It's nice to finally get more information from him about the way he is living.  I need to figure out how much 10 cedis is in American currency.  My kids are getting off way too easy!  ;)  We sure love this boy!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

It came!!

It was a day late, but I was oh so happy to get my email today!  Sounds like he's starting to figure out this whole missionary work thing...

...Last week was a slow start but it ended beautifully. We didn't teach that much. Teaching in the bush is super slow and appointments fall through all the time, but we keep trying. I'm continuing to lose weight, but the big thing that happened this week was my first baptism! His name is Prince.  He plays futbol and is 20 years old. He is really shy, but last Sunday he was baptized by Elder Barfuss. Next week I will confer the Gift of the Holy Ghost. After the baptism itself, he got up and gave a 10 minute testimony about how as soon as he came out of the water, he felt the spirit so strongly. It was an amazing testimony builder.  Our focus now is on a man named Kojo. He is a 50 year old man from Anyinem.

Me and the elders are wonder if there will be changes. Transfers are next Tuesday, but besides that, pretty much the same.  We won't see conference for 3 weeks.

...I love you all So freaking much. Tell all the kids I love them a ton

Love with all my heart,

Elder Keddington

 p.s.  Just be sure you use small parcels and plenty of tape with the package. Elder Barfuss is from Oregon and when we go again he wants to be there

My heart is so happy!  A fun little coincidence - Elder Barfuss is in Jeff and Janet's stake in Oregon.  After getting today's letter and seeing that he is from Oregon, Janet looked up their stake missionaries out of curiosity and sure enough - he was there!  What a small world!  Grateful for the friendship these two have started!

**Still no pictures, so I'm putting up some of the village he's in, Kwabeng:
Kwabeng Chapel

Kwabeng School

The Kwabeng Health Center


Monday, September 28, 2015

Dream Big

Yay for Monday!  It's quickly becoming my favorite day of the week!  Elder K's email came quite a bit earlier in the day this time and I was pretty surprised when I looked and saw that it was there:

Dear Mom, 
... Hey, I have a big proposal for you and dad and Connor. So my mission doesn't have any wildlife reserves or exotic animals. I was rather down about it then Elder Barfuss told me that when he gets released, his family is going to come here and stay for a week and go to one of the preserves and see his mission. So I was thinking, if you and dad could save up and do the same it would be amazing. The exchange rate for money here is way in our favor. $1=$3.5 Ghana Cedis. I know it seems a ton, but I'm over here already and you wouldn't have to pay for me. Even just a day safari would be incredible beyond all belief. I'll save money here and you can pull from my US bank account. would you talk to dad and seriously consider?

So last Tuesday the Elders and I went on a hike to Tini Falls. It was breathtaking! Then we climbed up the waterfall to the cave behind the water. I wept a little because it was a major confidence boost.  The Elders take me to the soccer field every morning to run laps and play to help me lose weight.  I'm starting to get back into shape.
I'm also feeling right at home here. No one in Kwabeng believes me when I say I'm 18.
Anyway, I love you all so much. 
With all my love,

Elder Keddington

I got done reading and went back to my email inbox and noticed a little P.S. regarding the package I'm sending had just come in from him, so I sent a quick message asking him if he was still online.  He responded right back and we were able to "chat" for a bit.  Not surprisingly to ANYONE who knows Sean, the "chat" conversation consisted of me trying to get more info out of him about missionary life, when he'll get to watch conference, etc. with him responding with info about the wildlife preserves that he would love to go visit and begging us to try our hardest to make it work.  I'm going to go ahead and call this a bit of a "SQUIRREL" for Sean.  He is very easily distracted and tends to get a one-track mind about that distraction.  I checked to see what flights are to Ghana, and let's just say it's going to take A LOT of praying for it to happen!  It's one of those tough things.  I would hate for him to leave Africa without the experience of visiting one of the places he has always dreamed about and he can't go to without us coming to take him, but it's financially in the clouds for us, so I guess we'll see what happens.  I figure we have some time.  ;)   Hopefully by next week, he will be back to telling us about the work.  Silly guy!   

Sean's dream!


Monday, September 21, 2015

First - The Jungle

The new missionaries of the Ghana Accra West Mission

You hear your whole life how hard it is to have a missionary gone.  Even though there is NO other place you would have them, you definitely feel the void (even though your grocery bill drastically decreases!)  I have missed Elder K so much this week.  I'm sure it had a lot to do with the fact that he when we last heard from him he was just heading into the field.  We've spent the week wondering, imagining, hoping and praying.  He did so well in the MTC - would it translate to the field?

It took until late afternoon for us to get his email today and I was going a bit crazy wondering if we would really get one.  Internet access can be sketchy in several parts of Ghana.  I'm not too proud to admit that the tears flowed freely as I read today's letter...

Hi Mom! 
My mission is incredible. I'm in the small village of Kwabeng. It is 3 hours Northwest of Accra. I'm in the mountain jungle region. Unfortunately I cant send pictures because the cord doesn't work with the tiny internet cafe so when I get home I will put together a slide show. 

The people her are so nice, they welcomed me with open arms. They call me "abruni abollo" which means big white man. My companion is Elder Barfuss.  He has the size and look of dad in his youth - red hair, freckles, the works. He is super awesome and chill. He is teaching me Twi language. I use a lot of Twi here. I live in a small spider infested apartment and I sleep in a Mosquito net. but it's awesome. I'm learning how to make money and food last. It is so amazing here I love it. 

MY FIRST BAPTISM IS ON OCTOBER 11TH!  It is for a man named Prince. I cant wait. I've given 2 Books of Mormon away. I'll keep you updated on everything i love you all so much! 

With all my love
Elder Keddington

I told him in my email that I would be putting together a small package to send soon (anything larger than a USPS Priority envelope usually won't make it) and asked him if there was anything he was in need of.  This was the reply:
ps: In the package(s) send a couple copies of the card game BANG!, send FARKLE, Send HI-Chews, gummy vitamins, caramel chews, SEND RIPS!, Cowtails, and Big Hunks, and skittles some of these requests from the senior missionaries. Send as much as you can

Yep- there's my boy!  And while I was reading his email, I received emails from his companion and the two other Elders that share their apartment.  These guys crack me up.  Some of the great info I got was...
From Elder Barfuss:
 Dear Sister Keddington,
 Over this short time I have been with your son, I have grown to love him like a pet gerbil. I'm just playing. (There was more, but this made me laugh!)

From Elder Lords:
HI!!! I am Elder Lords!!! I am in the same apartment as your son!!! I love your son!!! He is such a happy dude, and all his Disney quotes and songs are amazing! He is seriously an example to me for how happy he is!! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!! \

From Elder Kaelin:
Your son is a wonderful man and missionary... He is a lot of fun to have around and always makes missionary work a blast. He mentioned a package being sent... It helps sooo much having things sent from home and gives us some comfort while being here.

Good news travels fast - haha!  I already love these sweet boys so much!  I'm so grateful for them and that they have taken Sean in and are helping him.  My heart was put at ease.

**It must be noted that help has been given to all the Elders regarding their punctuation and capitalization.  Haha!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

We got a wonderful email from the MTC President on Elder K's last night in the MTC:

Dear Keddington Family,

Your missionary is bigger than life.  He single handedly won the hearts of the teachers, all the missionaries, and the administrators.  All referred to him as the “Big Show” – from a wrestler he supposedly looks like.  He was so loving and embraced the culture quicker than anyone I have seen.  Sister Robison and I were out walking during their sports time yesterday and one minute he was dunking a basketball, then on his knees so the smaller missionaries could use his back so they could dunk and then he was out on the soccer field with an African being carried on his back.  They love him here!

Last night he gave the closing prayer in our farewell devotional and it was a tender moment for him because he loves the people so much.

Warm regards,

President Robison

We are so proud of that boy and pray that he maintains this great spirit throughout his mission!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Into the field he goes!

Well, Elder K's MTC stay was short and wonderful!  Here's this week's excerpt:

By the time you read this I will be in the field. I passed all my my teaching tests with flying colors. I feel like I'm ready to take on the mission. I will be safe and smart. I love you all soo much!

That's pretty much the extent of his letter and that actually makes me really happy.  I'm hoping short emails mean he's not too homesick.  Every picture we've seen confirms that he is having the time of his life.  He was featured a couple of times in the Ghana MTC blog, so I'm attaching the links: 

We are so excited to see what will happen as he goes into the Ghana Accra West mission field.  We pray everyday that he will be ready to be the Lord's hands in serving these wonderful people.  We know he is where he is supposed to be and couldn't be more grateful!

The entire population of the Ghana MTC

He's super excited to go to the area devotional!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

One week down!  Sean has loved the MTC so far.  We are so fortunate to have him at a smaller MTC.  The MTC President does a wonderful job of keeping up a facebook page and a blog.  We have been treated to many pictures of huge smiles!  Here's a little excerpt from the email we received today:

My Companion Elder Bedell is one of the nicest guys I've ever met. He helps me when I need help. He sees me as his "little brother" because he's 23 and I'm 18. My other friend Elder Kaivelata is one of the coolest dudes ever.  We love chatting about zombie survival and sports. All the other African and American missionaries gave me the nickname "Big Show" because I'm a giant compared to the African missionaries. but they are some of the nicest people I've ever met. They all give me high-fives and bro hugs. I absolutely adore it here(except for the humidity) I just got back from the Ghana Accra Temple! look for the pictures on the blog.
Tell the family I Love them And That I love It here. With all my love
It needs to be noted that Elder Keddington lost at arm wrestling to his companion, Elder Bedell!  Keep him humble Elder Bedell!
The first day!

Thank you to all who donated clothes!  One missionary came with only 1 white shirt.

The Jacob District

No words!

43 Americans!  The most they had at one time before now was 15

At the Ghana Temple

This picture was labeled "Fast Friends" on the MTC blog.

At the Ghana Temple

Monday, September 7, 2015

He's outta here!  Elder Keddington has been called to serve in the Ghana Accra West Mission.  He arrived at the Ghana MTC on the morning of September 4th with 42 other American missionaries - a record number for that MTC.  We will miss him terribly, but have no doubt that he is doing the work that our Heavenly Father need him to do.  We look forward to seeing how these two years change him and help him to grow while serving the people of Ghana.