Monday, June 29, 2009

June 29 update

Ah, happy Monday! We sure love these missionary updates! It sounds like things are going well. They have a new missionary in their apartment, Elder Rawlins from Texas. Matt likes him a lot. He and Elder Mecham are working hard in trying to help their investigators and strengthen the members. Matt commented, "We mostly work with inactives because we don't want to bring people into a ward where there is barely any support." Good point; missionaries do a lot of good in strengthening and helping existing members.

Here's a fun story from today's letter, written in Matt's unique style:
one quick story haha elder mecham and i were walking down the street and there was a drunk guy. he was a big guy and he was wearing an army uniform thing haha. so we tried to avoid him. but he started yelling "elders! elders!" and then he said something in spanish. we kept walking. he said it again "elders! elders!" but this time he sounded mad. so i stopped. i turned around. then i did what i usually do. i reached in my pocket and gave him a picture of Jesus Christ. and he kissed it then put it in his pocket. i then asked him "¿cree en Dios?" (do you believe in christ) he said "yeah". he then stuck out his hand so shake mine. instead of shaking I said "uno mas" then i reached in my bag. And then he jumped up and did a karate stance and said "karate!" i was hoping that he wouldn't hit me. Luckily he didn't. then i handed him one more thing. a 'palabra de sabiduria' pamphlet. (the word of wisdom) he said gracias and then shoved it in his pocket. then... he tried to shake my hand again. So i did. One thing you need to know is in chile when to guys greet eachother you shake hands then give a short hug. (about 90% of the time there are two pats on the back haha) and then you shake hands again. So he gave me a hug. But this time he tried to kiss me on the cheek. Awkward. Lukily he got my head because i sharted to push him away. So.. yeah i got my first kiss in chile. by a drunk man. sad. So... yeah kinda crazy. Haha
I teased Matt a little today. I usually tell him each week about people he knows who just received their calls, who is just leaving, and who is just coming home. I think he knew from previous weeks that his friend Sam Poulsen had completed his mission application. In my first email to Matt today, I wrote:
Can you believe Sam got his call in the mail on Wednesday, but waited to open it until Friday when his Mom and sisters came home from girls' camp? That must have killed him to wait that long!! But we understand it was worth the wait.
Then I went on to talk about other missionaries. He responded:
so did sam get his mission call. you never told me where he's going. wait is this Sam Poulsen I'm so confused haha
Then in a second email, I wrote:
What do you think of this: "Elder Sam Poulsen - you have been called to serve in the Chile Santiago West mission. You should report to the MTC on October 7, 2009."
Matt responded:
WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THAT IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
He wrote a special message just for Sam which we will pass on to him. It will be pretty exciting to have these two guys in the same mission. I hope they serve in the same area or district at some point; it would be really wild if they were actually companions! Matt will be 7 months ahead of Sam.

Monday, June 22, 2009

June 22 update

Winter is beginning in the southern hemisphere, and Matt has commented that people seem to be leaving his coastal "resort town" to go to other areas. Attendance of members in Church meetings has declined. The weather is cooler and rainier, but Matt won't see snow in his mission. It's not that chilly in Chile (haha) except further south or high in the mountains. Here's an interesting story about how the "locals" deal with the cooler temperatures:
Apparently they have a weird myth here that EVERYONE believes haha if you drink something hot and then go outside when it's cold, your mouth with get crooked and you won't be able to fix it. Haha we keep knocking houses and people yell from through the window "¡mate!" and they point at their mouth. Saying that they're drinking something hot and don't want to come outside haha.
Among the highlights of the week was a special mission conference in Santiago with Elder Dallin H. Oaks. Matt reported the following:
It was awesome! He said lots of things that really helped. Something he really stressed on was "do your best and then give the rest to the lord." he repeated that several times. Haha i wish i could tell him thanks haha it was an amazing talk. All of the missionaries got to stand up and bump elbows with him (not shake hands because of the flu) when he began his talk he said "today i only bumped elbows with a few missionaries. I did with everyone in here but i can tell that some of you still aren't missionaries. If you're green (new) that's a different story. Haha it's not really a bad thing to not be a missionary if you're green. When I was ordained an apostle I didn't immediately become an apostle. I had to work for it." so that really helped me really want to become a missionary. Something really cool I remembered when I heard that was that was... when i first got here i asked a missionary (who now is leaving tomorrow) "when does the time start going by fast?" in the MTC they tell you "just make it till Sunday after Sunday everything goes by fast" but he didn't say anything like that. He said "it starts to go by once you truly give yourself to serving the Lord." I was suprised and actually have reflected that when I get trunky (miss home haha).
Matt is experiencing his first transfer this week. Fortunately, he and his companion Elder Mecham (whom he seems to really like) are staying together, but Elder McKay (one of the other companionship living in the same house) will be leaving. Matt really enjoys the other elders he works with.

Matt is having some trouble with his camera this week (already???) but did manage to get a photo or two — unfortunately, nothing showing him (we like seeing him in the photos!). Those who know him will appreciate his attraction for this particular setting.

Monday, June 15, 2009

June 15 update

We were a little sad not to get any photos today; we've been spoiled recently! The photo to the right is one I don't think I posted previously. It shows the group of missionaries who arrived in Chile with Matt on May 13, taken in front of the Santiago temple. Many of these were his companions or district in the MTC.

Matt really seems to enjoy his situation in Cartagena. He and Elder Mecham are living with another pair of missionaries, Elders McKay and Marquez. They all seem to get along great. They are speculating that one of the other companionship will be transferred in the upcoming "change" (6-week period). And then, Elder Mecham will be going home after the next "change." So there will definitely be some new experiences in the future!

Here was one comment on the status of the work (in his inimitable style):
something was wrong with this week and barely anyone was home for example when i first got here there were about 85 people in church this week there were... 30 so everyone is gone for some reason but hopfully they'll be coming back this next week. we have talked to a less active member though his name is aldo. his brother is actually in the stake presidency. (1st counselor the best calling ever right dad haha) anyways so for some unknown reason to me aldo stopped going to church. so we invited him back (haha more as a joke to see what he would say) and he said he would like to! i was suprised. everytime we walked by his house (he fixes furniture so he's always outside) we'd remind him about church. we had a sita (date) set to visit him on saturday. so we did and he said he had a lot of work to do but that he was going to get up early so he could maybe go to church. when we went to pick him up the next day... he wasn't there. his son said that he went to go to a mechanical shop to buy some things
Missionaries have to deal with that kind of disappointment a lot. Someone seems to be sincere and progressing, and you get your hopes up; but then all too often, you're disappointed when they don't follow through. But it's worth the wait for the times when someone does follow through!

Then this additional note:
on a happier note. one of our favorite people to visit is a recent convert. Fresia. haha she's really nice. her daughter isn't a member but she often sits in for some of the lessons. we visited her yesterday and we taught a lesson. elder mecham has been teaching them how to remember the ten commandments with hand movement things. haha he always shows them one per visit. haha but this time Fresia's daughter, Marcela wanted to see two. Elder Mecham agreed to. IF she came to church. haha she promised that she would. so we'll see how that turns out. hopefully good.

Monday, June 8, 2009

June 8 update

Elder Kenison writes this week that he and his companion are spending some good time with recent converts and inactive members. In addition, they have a new investigator, a woman named Rosa, whom they found tracting. Matt noticed that the only people they were teaching in apartment buildings lived on the top floors, so when they were knocking, Matt joked with his companion that they should just do the top floors. They did, and Rosa invited them in to teach her!

We were glad to hear him report that he's understanding a lot more Spanish. He describes conversing with the members in Church and occasionally misunderstanding them, but he's definitely making progress in his Spanish skills!

We asked for some photos of his apartment. There are four elders living here — Matt says it's small but comfortable. He also sent a photo of one of his favorite desserts, called "manjar y manzanas" — apples with caramel "except manjar is better that carmel haha"

For today's P-day activity, his zone of missionaries played soccer on the beach (he promised they did NOT go swimming!). Looks like a spectacular setting, and they obviously had a lot of fun:

Monday, June 1, 2009

June 1 Update

We're already craving our Monday emails from Chile! Can't Monday come more frequently? Can't it last longer so we get longer letters? We feel we're just getting a brief, superficial glimpse of what's going on in Chile and wish we could get much more. But we have to trust in the Lord's plan and support our missionary as best we can!

Elder Kenison seems to really be enjoying Cartagena. He loves being close to the ocean (this photo was taken on the street where he lives — nice view, huh??). He mentions that the climate is still pretty temperate (based on the coastal location), though we expect rain to increase as the winter begins in the southern hemisphere. Getting around in Cartagena is easy, since public transportation is very cheap; about 150 pesos (30 cents) to go most places by microbus or taxi. But they do a lot of walking, except on p-day when they go to the store.

We asked what he likes most about Chile so far:
the people. and the food. and the weather. and the view. haha the sunsets are GORGEOUS!!! haha I don't know pretty much everything.
That's the Matt we know and love, isn't it?? Pretty typical. I bet he's taken many hundreds of sunset photos in his short life. This one was apparently somewhere near their house. Thank goodness for digital cameras; not only do we get to see photos much more quickly, but we save having to buy hundreds of dollars worth of film so that Matt can take more and more sunset photos!!

One of his interesting experiences recently was to have a "division" (exchange of companions) for a day. Matt spent the day with an elder (shown in the photo) who didn't speak a word of English — that was probably very good for him! But we're sure he was glad to get back to his own apartment. We don't know if this picture was in his apartment or in the other missionary's.

He closed this week's email with this:
YO SÉ que el Libro de Mormón es verdadero. YO SÉ que Jose Smith vio Jesucristo y Dí­os. YO SÉ Jose Smith tradujó el Libro de Mormón por el poder de Díos. YO SÉ. YO SÉ que la iglesia de Jesucristo de los santos de los Últimos Días es verdadero. en el nombre de Jesucristo. Amén.