Monday, September 30, 2013

Yet another Week (9/30)

Hi everyone!

I hope y'all had a good week!

I'm just going to do bullet points because I want to have time to send pics...

- We do what's called a "faith walk" when we have only a short amount o time between appointments, and it's where we pick a road to walk down, and just talk to everyone we see and have faith that we're going to find someone we can help or who is interested in the gospel. We did this on Tuesday, and we met a guy named William. We met him outside his home, and asked him if he would want to say a prayer with us, and he told us to wait and he ran inside. A few minutes later, he came back out with his entire family! It was so great! We prayed with them, and asked them if we could teach them, and they said we could. We gave them a Book of Mormon, and we're going back to teach them this week :)

Sister Pennington's district

- We taught a lesson to one of the recent converts in our ward, and he's been struggling recently and it was such a great lesson! We taught him about personal revelation, and it was so cool to see how perfect that lesson was for him at that time! It was an awesome lesson not just for him, but also for me! My companions are such spiritual giants it's great!

- Kind of sad, but also hilarious story... we accidentally ran over a baby raccoon, and Sister Goates is kind of like me about animals, but maybe even a little bit worse. Anyways, before our next appointment she said the prayer and she prayed for the raccoon. All three of us just started laughing in the middle of the prayer. I think Heavenly Father was probably laughing a little bit too :)

Tessa's companions :)

- The person who's baby shower we went to a few weeks ago had her baby! We went over and saw her and she was so cute! #2daysoldisprettylittle

- We had a great lesson with 2 of our investigators, Shunteen and Lenlu. They have little to no Christian background and they've been progressing very slowly, but on Saturday, Shunteen (the husband) volunteered to say the closing prayer. It was such a powerful prayer! It was amazing!

- Cindy came to church with us on Sunday, and during Sunday School, we met with the bishop, and we got into some SUPER deep doctrinal stuff by accident, and so that was a good time. I think it will be ok, but she was a little overwhelmed with all of the stuff that got brought up.

Sister Pennington and her companions with Cindy at church

- The ward mission leader, Brother Flemming, has a tradition of giving all the new missionaries a Swiss army knife that he calls a, "holy spirit knife"  because when we have the holy spirit with us we have lots of tools, and when we have our holy spirit knife, we also have lots of tools :) it was kind of adorable, and now I have a cute little white pocket knife

The kids in the ward wanted a picture with the matching sister missionaries ;)

- Yesterday was really cool because we had the chance to go to an open house/ desert night for a girl, Angela, in our ward who is leaving for the MTC next Wednesday. She's going to the Phillipines! It's hard to believe that I was in Angela's place three months ago! I remember the sisters coming to my open house, and looking at their confidence and their sweet determination to boldly do the Lord's work and thinking that I would never really feel like a missionary. I definitely still have moments of uncertainty, but the validity of my ordination and calling have been reaffirmed to me time and again as my mission has progressed. Before we begin teaching the lessons to a new investigators, we have a lesson with them where we explain our purpose and establish expectations. One of the points that we try to communicate to our investigators is that we have truly been called by a prophet of God to share what we know, and we know that our message is true.

I know that I have been called of God to share this message. I know that it is true.

I love you all so much!

Sister Pennington

All the sisters in the district who accidentally matched

Hi everyone!


I only have 25 minutes to write this e-mail, and I want to send some pics, but I'm not sure if I'll have please excuse my grammar and or spelling/ I might have to go with the bullet point approach...we'll see :)

Sister Pennington and her companions on P-Day

I'm excited for the fall here! It's starting to get cool and the leaves are changing! I definitely feels like home!

It was a good week this week! Cindy was able to make it to church on Sunday, and she really enjoyed it! It was so great! She is on my list of favorite humans ever made. She's the best!

Anyways, we didn't do anything too out of the ordinary this week. Just goin' though the day teaching people about the gospel an eating desert (EVERYONE feeds us desert). It's a good life.

We met with this really old Colombian lady this week, and so I tried to teach a lesson to her in Spanish. It was tough! I kept saying things in Portuguese or with Portuguese intonation...also she was really old, so I'm not quite sure how much she was able to retain...she did feed us cream puffs, though, so we must've done something right :)
The people we're teaching here are so wonderful and I love them so much. Almost all of the people we're teaching have severe financial, medial and or family problems. I was blessed to grow up without the same hardships that these people experience. Two specific examples from this week particularly stick out in my mind.

The first is a couple named Dustin and Misty. We contacted them through referrals from members, and we went over. It took a while for us to be able to meet with them, because Misty is very sick, and we would always come over at bad times for her. We came over one day, and she was talking about how she couldn't afford her medication, so her husband was out looking for lawns to mow so that they could scramble money together to get her the medication that she needs. We went and cleaned her kitchen for her, and that was really all that we could do. She was so sweet and appreciative of our visit. We're going back this week to start teaching her. I'm so excited to be able to share the peace and comfort that can come from the gospel.

The second experience is with a girl named Jane. Before I got here, Sister Goates and Sister Jacobsen were teaching her and she was getting it and she was loving it. After a while, however, every time they knocked on her door, people would answer the door and say she wasn't home. The sisters tried back a few more times, but stopped going as frequently. Jane is in her very early 20s. Anyways, on Saturday, by absolute chance (i.e. the hand of the Lord) we found her on her front porch as we were driving by. We pulled over and went up to talk to her. She is so miserable. She wants to leave and move to a better place, but she feels like she has nowhere to go. We weren’t able to talk too much so we set up an appointment to take her out to lunch. I didn't want to leave her when we were done talking. She had said to Sister Goates and Sister Jacobsen that she felt safe when they were teaching her. I could tell that she felt safe while we were there. I got in the car, and I almost started crying and my heart just ached for her because of her bad situation. We called the relief society president and got some contact information for an organization that can help her in Oak Ridge, so we'll give that to her tomorrow. I hope that we can help her.

Sorry to end with kind of downer stories, but I hope that next week I will be able to write about how we were able to help, and I truly know that because we have the strength an power of Jesus Christ with us we can help others to overcome any challenges they are facing in their life. I absolutely love everyone I meet. I can see and feel deep in my heart how important each of these people are to our Heavenly Father, and I'm so honored that He entrusts me with finding those in need and using His power and authority to help them.

I love all of you so much and hope that you are all doing well!

Much love,

Sister Pennington

Sunday, September 22, 2013

I've lost track of what week it is...but here's yet another e-mail!

Hello everyone!

I hope all of you have had a truly wonderful week! I know I have :)

So I felt kind of guilty about the "incident" last week, so I e-mailed my mission president just to make sure that it was all good and here's what he said back,

"Sorry about your "Close encounter of the lecherous kind"! To avoid it in the future you might consider "pepper spray" or a taser."

This is why I love my mission president!

Anyways, this week has been really good!

Firstly, some facts about the Tennessee Mission...
last year, there were only about 100 missionaries, 20 of which were sisters.
Now, we have almost 200 missionaries, 80 of which are sisters. The mission has doubled, and almost half of the mission is sisters! Yay!

Because of the number of sister missionaries, they've created a new calling, called a "Sister Training Leader", and she has a similar responsibility to zone leaders, in that she does exchanges with other missionaries in the zone to help train them. We did an exchange with one of our sister training leaders, so Sister Goates went up to Chilhowe (I don't know if that's how you spell it) and Sister Burmingham, the sister training leader, came down here to Polar Creek which happened to be her first area. It was really cool for her to be back where she was 7 months ago, and so we went and saw some investigators and less active members that she had worked with when she was here. The coolest part of our day, was when we visited a less active member that Sister Burmingham had worked with. Sister Jacobsen had met her once a few months ago, but at the time she wasn't really keen on meeting with the missionaries, and she wasn't very open. When we went on Wednesday, however, she was so inviting and open! It was so cool! We found out that her 17 year old daughter was pregnant, and she actually invited us to her baby shower which happened to be on Saturday. (coincidence...I think not!) The baby shower was put on by the Young Women's presidency, which is probably a little unorthodox, but it was awesome! Samantha, the daughter, felt very loved and included by the members, and she seemed like she really liked us being there! I didn't think that the first baby shower I'd go to would be on my mission...but it's all good! I also enjoyed the fact, that of the three games that we played, we won two. Haha good times :)

A note about the members here...they are so kind to us and so supportive of us! Sister Monteirth, whose been sending you pictures from dinner, is so sweet and so excited about missionary work! We took her with us to meet with Cindy and they connected instantly! She is so great! We have another wonderful ward missionary, Sister Grant, and on her days off she goes with us to teaching appointments! She also lets us use her washer on P-day (because we don't have one) and feeds us all the time! Another excellent ward missionary is Sister Connley! She is so wonderful! She has a daughter serving a mission in California right now, and so she is very sensitive to us! She made us a wonderful "olive garden meal" last night consisting of the Zuppa Tuscana, salad (with the salad dressing) and bread sticks! It was so good! She's also doing a get together after conference in a few weeks, and she's inviting us and the elders and some investigators. We're invited Cindy and she's so excited to come! Sister Sorensen is another wonderful ward missionary, and she's driven us to zone conference, come to teaching appointments and fed us food. She's the best! Sister Scarborough and her husband were baptized just 6 months ago, and she just got the calling of missionary meal coordinator. She is so sweet! She wants so badly to do a good job! She wanted to make sure we had a meal every single night (which doesn't happen) so she signed herself up to feed us twice in one week! She is so sweet! (side note, we love working with Brother and Sister Scarborough in helping them to be sealed in the temple - they are so excited!) One of my absolute favorite people is Brother Flemming. He is the ward mission leader, and he magnifies his calling like no one I've ever seen! He is so wonderful! He goes out with the missionaries (usually sisters can only do team ups with females and elders can only do team ups with men, but because Brother Flemming is so awesome, he has special permission to go on team ups with us!) He is such a sweet guy, and he absolutely loves the missionaries and loves the investigators that we teach! He's the best!

Sorry that rant about ward members was so long, but I'm just amazed at the love and generosity that these people have for the missionaries! there are even more people who I didn't mention who are so great to us!

Cindy's still golden, by the way! She is the absolute best to teach! She couldn't make it to church yesterday, so we're pushing back her baptism to October 19th, but that's going to be perfect because it gives her a chance to watch conference, which she's really excited about!

All in all it's been a great week! I love you all so much and miss you all like crazy pants!


Sister Pennington

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Week 2 in the Mission Field

Hello, everyone!

I love you all so much and miss you all like crazy pants!

I don't remember if I wrote about this in my last e-mail, but my mission president and his wife are so wonderful! They are so sweet to us, and they really are like surrogate parents for us! Fun fact, Sister Irion is Elder Nielson's daughter ... we were taking a picture and she said, smile because Elder Nielson is going to see this! Kind of crazy ...

I'm growing to love Tennessee more and more every day! The people are just phenomenal! We went tracting in a very poor area of Oak Ridge (which is already not the most affluent town in east Tennessee) and the people were so open and kind, and we ended up giving out 8 copies of the Book of Mormon, and we got two return appointments! Although, one of the return appointments we probably won't be going to... So we did a peace and blessings prayer with this older man, who was missing his front 4 teeth. He was really sweet, but it was hard to understand him. After we said the prayer, he was talking, but I was having trouble understanding him. He seemed interested, and he asked for our number, which is normal, and we gave it to him. We asked if we could come back to teach a message and he said we could as long as we stayed for dinner, which again seemed fairly normal. He then started talking about how he needed to find a wife, and I didn't really follow what was going on, but it was all good, I didn't really think much of it. Anyways, we left and knocked on some more doors, and on our way back to our car, we saw him talking to some woman in the street. He saw us, and came over to me, and pulled me in for a hug and then kissed me on the cheek! I ran to the car so fast! My trainers were laughing so hard. It was pretty funny. Anyways, don't worry, I've realized my naivety, and so we're not going back. We're sending the elders, so they can have fun with Derek :)

Anyways, big excitement, we set a baptismal date for Cindy! She's going to be baptized on September 28th! She is so excited! There's a scripture in the Book of Mormon that says, "...Angels are declaring it unto many at this time in our land; and this is or the purpose of preparing the hearts of the children of men to receive his word..." (Alma 13:24) This is absolutely the case with Cindy. She keeps telling us that everything we're teaching her "clicks" and feels familiar. She is such a spiritual woman, and has searched her whole life to find truth. She says that everything she's done thus far has led her to hearing the gospel at this time.

She had the opportunity to attend the baptism of someone else yesterday, and she was just beaming the whole time. It was really cool, because as missionaries, we are entitled to receive revelation for our investigators. I really felt that during the baptism. During the service, I was able to discern exactly which parts were touching her heart, and sure enough every time I looked over she had tears in her eyes. It was so incredible.

I love you all so much and hope all is well with you!

Sister Pennington

Thursday, September 5, 2013

First Week in the Mission Field

Hi, everyone!

I'm sorry that it's been so long since I've had a chance to e-mail you!  But my new p-day is Monday, but since yesterday was labor day, the library was closed and we had nowhere else to e-mail. No worries, though, I will be able to e-mail next Monday :)

I don't have my new address in front of me, but you send everything through the mission office. I'm sure you can look up the address of the Tennessee Knoxville Mission online (it's in the city of Farragut if that helps... [aside from Christie, it was extremely difficult to find but here it is:
11320 Station West Dr. Ste 101
Farragut, TN 37934
It is still easier to send her email, but if you need to send a letter use that- now back to Tessa]).  And if you send any packages, you have to send them priority or first class so that the post office will forward it for free...otherwise, my stuff will be stuck in Farragut...

Anyways, I'm absolutely loving Tennessee! The people here are so nice and I'm absolutely loving getting to know them! My area is Oak Ridge TN, in the Poplar Creek ward. Apparently Oaks ridge was the site of the Manhattan project, so the high school mascot is an atom, which is kind of fun :) Also, they have nuclear hazard drills occasionally, which is also kind of fun :)

I traveled from Salt Lake to Knoxville with a group of 28 missionaries! We had a full battalion of Heleman's army.  I sat next to one of the Elders from my district at the MTC, and we ended up talking to a man across the isle from us, and we gave him a Book of Mormon. I bought a few and made a cute little scripture chain about the purpose of the Book of Mormon. He liked it and said that he'd read it. #plantingseeds

We got to the mission home, and we met the mission president and his wife, and they are so sweet! I like them a lot! We spent the night there, and the next day we went to transfer meeting, and I met my new companions!

I'm in a trio, by the way, so I get to have two trainers instead of one! Their names are Sister Jacobson and Sister Goates. They are both so sweet! They're both from central/ southern Utah and have been out for around 4 months. They compliment each other really well! Sister Goates is extremely loving and gentle, and Sister Jacobson is very bold! It is so interesting teaching with the two of them.

The members here are so sweet, and so excited to help us missionaries! My first night here, all of the missionaries in our ward went to dinner at a member's home. This family, the Reanos, has 8 kids. In our ward, we have both sisters and elders, and the elders are also a trio. So Sister Reano made dinner for her 8 kids, 6 missionaries and herself and her husband. It was so crazy pants! Her youngest (an 11 month old) was chillin' under the table for a while, and the kids were running around. I loved every second of it! It was so much fun!

Sister Dods is an 83 year old member in the ward here, and she is by far our best missionary! She is so excited about missionary work! She sends out weekly e-mails to ward members, and upon seeing that we didn't have enough dinner appointments, she wrote a very strongly worded e-mail to try and encourage members to have us over for dinner. It was adorable. She also texted us one night (yes, she texts) and said, "you have to get over here right now!" We thought she'd fallen, or something, so we rushed over there and when we got there and asked her what was wrong, she said that she had had a brilliant idea while she was on the toilet. (this is all a real conversation, keep in mind). Anyways, she said that she had the idea that she would go around to doctor's offices and "donate" a Book of Mormon to the reading table with the missionaries numbers in it and an address and time for Sunday church. She was so excited about it. I love sister Dods!

Tracting here is a little different here than it is in other places. We go around and do what's called "peace and blessings". We knock on people's doors and ask them if we can say a prayer with them, and in the prayer we say, "by virtue of our calling as missionaries, and as representatives of Jesus Christ, we ask for the Savior's peace and blessings on this home" and then we say a normal prayer. It's really cool, and invites the spirit. We did it to this one house and when the woman opened the door, she barely cracked it and was hesitant to let us pray with her. After the prayer, however, she opened right up and we talked with her for over an hour! She even accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon!

I don't really have more time, but next week I'll have half an hour longer so I'll talk more then!

love you loads!

Sister Pennington

Another picture sent by a member who had the missionaries over for dinner!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Knoxville, Tennessee

Hello all!

Tessa has made it safely to Tennessee!  Once she has a P-Day she will email us her address.  Until then, you can email her (  If you really feel like sending her a snail mail, you can send it to the mission home and it will get to her eventually (this is not the best way to get it to her, but will work ;)  The mission home address is:

11320 Station West Dr. Ste 101
Farragut, TN 37934

I will update this with her next letter and her new address as soon as we get it!  Thanks!

Arrived safely in Tennessee!

*Update- Dad just got an email from a member in Knoxville who had the missionaries over for dinner today (Sunday).  They sent this picture:

"Your sons and daughters were in our home for dinner today.  What a great bunch of missionaries!  You have much to be proud of.  They are all serving in our ward (Popular Creek) here in Oak Ridge."