Tuesday, March 15, 2011

March 15 - HOME AT LAST!!

There is no thrill quite like the thrill of welcoming home a missionary as he returns from faithful service.  The anticipation builds as you wait in the airport terminal (we had "Flat Matt" with us, wearing a sign that said "Coming Soon in 3D").

You join other missionary families, and see their excitement and joy as their son comes down the escalator, and you impatiently wait your turn.  Then, FINALLY, you see him!  His face is glowing with joy and eagerness, and you wish the escalator would move faster.  Mom breaks away to get the first hug.  But there are enough to go around - the hugs are sweet and the tears are plentiful.

Sarah had a fun announcement for her brother.  He caught on pretty quickly!


Monday, March 14, 2011

March 14 update

SURPRISE - one more mission update! Elder Kenison will be spending most of today in the mission office for final meetings and interviews before getting on a plane late this evening, headed for Atlanta and then SLC. But he did get online briefly to check email and send this brief message:
Dad, thanks for the letter. I got on just for a second to tell everyone hi and that I'm excited to see ya. But most of all to say, Dad we HAVE to come back to Chile and visit. As much as I want to go home and see "ya'll" (as mom would probably say as of now haha) I wouldn't mind staying a little longer. I'll miss the people here and I'm sad to say that I didn't have enough time to visit near all of the people I wanted to visit. But it's all good. I hope all is well with the fam. Thanks for everything :D I LOVE YOU!!! See you soon :D

-Elder Kenison
We're grateful to hear that he loves his mission, the people, and the experience.  But that he's also eager to see us!  The mention of mom in that message relates to the fact that her mother (Matt's grandmother) is here now, and when Bonnie gets around her mother, the "southern accent" appears in full force!

Meanwhile, we were pleased (and a little concerned) to read an update from Elder Kenison's last companion, Elder Rubert.  He wrote:
The only bad thing was that E' Kenison got really sick. Stomach cramps and worse.  (we got him some good drugs and he got a little better by the end) but regardless of that he still forced himself to get out of the house and go to our citas and teach. Way good elder.
Later in the message he mentions the doctor said he was sick because he was dehydrated, but we're wondering maybe if it was the other way around?  But that forced them to stay indoors a little more, and Elder Rubert worked on cleaning and painting while Elder Kenison rested.

There was also this wonderful tribute:
Well my experience with E' Kenison taught me a few things. 1- i dont have to be a robot to be an obedient missionary so in other words just be yourself within the boundaries 2- Chilean culture (the dichos, the mate, the insence) all are very much chilean and make me feel like a bit of a hippi but hey its all good 3- Enjoy where you are, and what you are doing because you wont be able to do it again. 4- how to make "as close as an elder can safely get to sex cake" (better than sex cake) and 5-if its broken...fix it. and do it right.

Actually this morning and last night he was packing but kept on saying that he really just didnt want to leave chile and that was good to see an elder who loved his mission. THANKS E' KENISON (and good luck with your frosty orchata)
That warmed our hearts!  And so did these two photos — the first appears to be the famous cake, and the second Elder Kenison and Elder Rubert:

This was also a nice view of Santiago:


Monday, March 7, 2011

March 7 update

Well, the day has come.  Our email again today was pretty brief, but sweet; and may likely be the last email we receive from Chile!  Elder Kenison will finish his service a week from today and get on the plane Monday evening.  He doesn't expect to be able to write us next week, so if we do get a letter, it will be a surprise bonus.  WOW — hard to imagine that this wonderful phase of our lives is coming to an end!

Elder Kenison is really enjoying his final companion, Elder Rubert.  We asked him to tell us about him:
One word.. "¡trabajador!" haha He's a good missionary, he's workin hard so I don't get trunky haha
Elder Rubert reported a little more detail in his letter home to his family. We're grateful they shared it with us!
well my comp is freaking awesome. The first thing he said when he got to the pension was look around and say something to the effect of, we got to get this pension listo (in shape) for your next comp so that you can get some really good work done, and also we need to get the ball of baptism rolling for next change.
He got in and worked right away. (cool) but more than that he is soooo chill.... He also introduced me into mate...Which is AWESOME and ridiculously delicious.
the one problem is that we talk and chat a little bit too much so we are in bed on time but we don't sleep (i suppose there are worse things) but we tore up the moldy walls and we are going to paint the whole pension...
We also cleaned the whole house and got rid of all of the junk that was left around the pension. All in all things are going really well. I told him he was my favorite companion...  :)
That's an impressive description.  We hope the desire to clean and work doesn't get lost on the plane home from Chile!!

He's had a hard time getting immersed into the area for such a short time.  This was the report on investigators and the progress of the work this past week:
Just visiting tons of people! haha I can't keep everyone straight so I just memorize the names before the appointment and then forget them after haha. kinda crazy.
We just hope Elder Rubert is keeping them all straight!  It sounds like they have a couple of investigators who are close to baptism, but that will happen after Matt leaves.

We joked in our email that we might have time to send one more package to him if we hurry, and asked if there was anything he needs.  He responded:
Yeah. A girlfriend would be nice :).
Aha!  So there IS a sign of being trunky!!  But he's not letting it slow down his service.  We're very grateful for that.

We were glad to get a few photos of some recent visits and companions. We just wish he had sent one of his current companion and area!  This shows his last zone:
This photo includes Elder Cevallos, Elder Smith, and Elder Kearsley:
This is Elder Leavitt, who he's encountered a number of times during his mission and enjoyed getting to know:
And finally, Elder Dallon Smith, who said some nice things about Matt last week:
It's STUNNING to look at these photos and then realize that we'll be seeing Matt in person in JUST EIGHT DAYS!!


We love you, Elder Kenison, and can't wait to give you UN ABRAZO GRANDE!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

March 3 bonus comments

When Elder Kenison wrote us on Monday, he had just met his new companion and didn't know much about him.  However, we've since learned a little more on our own (thanks to Dorothy Hassler, mother of one of Matt's former companions!).

His name is Elder Corbett Rubert.  He has served for a little over 4 months (2 months in Chile).  He wrote this about his new companion (note he got the spelling of the name wrong, just like Elder Kenison did (he wrote Elder Rupert)):
His name is Elder Kineson, way nice, and has two weeks left for his mission... which means i get to go and see his other sectors too (and he served in the coast WOOT) Pres. King assured me that he is not trunky. :) well we will see how it goes. He is from Orem UT, and not freakishly tall. well that is about it for him i will update when i know more about him...
but because of his leaving, this is technically his last real p-day, because next p-day we visit his sectors (woot) and then for real changes in two weeks i will get a permanent comp. so yeah that is it for that. ),

In addition, this nice comment appeared on Elder Dallon Smith's blog:

"I went to Santiago again this week...  I got to also hang out with Elders Smith, Kenison, and Van Dyke.  We did an activity where all the missionaries worked in one sector.  It was so fun and I got to know the other missionaries really well....
"Elder Kenison was absolutely hilarious!  I am sad that he is going home.  It would have been cool to get to know him better."
Sorry, Elder Smith — his family back home is even more eager to get to know him (the NEW him) better!!

Monday, February 28, 2011

February 28 update

Another week, another companion, another transfer to another area, another very brief letter... and time is running out fast!

Elder Kenison is now serving in Cerrillos in Santiago, in the sector Amerigo Vespucio.  When he wrote us today, he had just met his new (final?) companion, Elder Rupert.  We don't know a thing about him!  We only know that the new area is near Maipú (where Matt served for his second area and where the mission home now is).  Matt said he'd fill us in with more detail next week.

So we're hoping he'll have a good, steady week of working hard in this new area with Elder Rupert.  On P-day next Monday, he'll have the opportunity to return to Cartagena, his first area, to visit members there.  He did promise to find time to write us!  We look forward to that.

In our stake office back home, we have a photo board where all the missionaries serving from our stake are listed.  This part shows all the elders; there is another section for sisters and couples:

New missionaries start on the bottom row, and gradually work their way up to the top as they serve their two years.  So parents and family members are always eager to come in to the office and find where their son is now!  Well, as of this past weekend, Elder Kenison reached the coveted "#1 position" on the top row left, much to the delight of his family:

The "best two years" are almost over. We have two weeks of mission left.  Feelings are very bittersweet.  We can't wait to have our son return to us, but we also are going to dearly miss the joy of his service and the anticipation of our Monday communication.


Monday, February 21, 2011

February 21 update

Elder Kenison has been in a threesome this past week (or a "trio" as he calls it), working with Elder Smith and Elder Van Dyke.  We learned about Elder Smith last week; this is what he wrote about Elder Van Dyke:
He's from  Kaysville in Utah, he has the same time as Elder Hassler, they were in the same district. Well he's... chill haha We always talk about hiking and stuff. It's pretty cool.
So he's pretty new in the mission, but it sounds like he's fitting right in!  This was Matt's description of working in a threesome:
The first lesson we had we all testified of each topic while teaching the lesson, so it took FOREVER. We only finished two principles, faith and repentance. It was interesting so we're decided that one should teach the doctrine then the other testify and then keep going and not add his thoughts like before haha it's been a lot better.
Report on activities during this week:
We've been working with a lot of less actives. We had 19 lessons last week just with less active and recent converts. So i don't really know a lot of the names but we've just been trying to teach as many people as possible
Sounds like some very worthwhile efforts.  As for Matt's future, he expects to be moving this coming Thursday or Friday to a new area.  Here's the speculation:
Yeah. Just close to here. I'll probably replace Elder Romero, he's in Santa Lucia right now with Elder Fuhriman a gringo from Oregon. So I'll probably go there.
That would give him a little over two weeks in the final area.

One other positive report for the week:
Yesterday we had a stake conference and it was broadcast from Salt Lake. Elder Packer and Cristofferson spoke. It was AWESOME!!! They just reminded us of the things that President Monson said about youth serving a mission and also couples serving. and Sister Dalton also spoke she talked about being prepared and worthy in all times in all things and in all places. It was pretty sweet! haha
Here are two photos for the week.  The first shows
Just a picture of Elder Smith and the Metro. Pretty sweet. haha By the way the blur was planned. haha

And this one said,
just trying to get a ride.... no luck haha


Monday, February 14, 2011

February 14 update

We had a pretty brief letter from Elder Kenison today.  With only four more weeks to go, his P-days are probably going to get busy!  The only mention of progress in their missionary activities was that their best investigator is the young daughter of a ward member who is making good progress.

We tried to clarify what the next few weeks hold.  We had heard that his companion, Elder Smith, would be going home three weeks early because of school.  But Elder Speakman, one of the other elders living in their 4-person apartment, will be going to the office this week.  So Elder Smith and Elder Kenison will be working in a trio with Elder Van Dyke.  But then it gets even more confusing:
Then in two weeks some elders go home early to study. So I'll have special changes and I'll be heading out to a different area. So in my last change I'll have a total of three different companions and two sectors. haha
So this will indeed be interesting — talk about a mixed-up way to finish!

We asked if they had any special zone or district activities recently.
We had an activity today in the apartment of one of the other elders. We chilled up on the room though! On the 26th floor!!! haha It was awesome! They had a pool up there too but... we can't go in. haha But I decided that I want to own a hotel someday and have a pool on top and my house right next to it haha. 
Dream on, buddy!  Here are some photos from that apartment; pretty spectacular with the Andes in the background:

This was a fun photo; he wrote,
On Saturday we had an activity and played soccer with the young men in our ward. No one came haha but we took advantage and fixed some on the nets. haha service!!!

And then this was the best:
Just chillin on the swings haha Elder Speakman is on the left and Elder Smith on the right.