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.