Monday, July 27, 2009

July 27 update

We understand today's P-day was a little bit crazy for Elder Kenison; he didn't have much time to write. His companion, Elder Mecham, leaves for home next week, and apparently on their last P-day they are allowed to visit past areas to say goodbye to families and friends. So we think Matt got to have a little tour of the mission today with his comp! Next Monday, they will go together to Santiago, and Matt will drop off Elder Mecham and pick up his new comp. So we're not sure if we'll get much email next week either. But it will be an exciting time of change for Elder Kenison. I know he'll miss Elder Mecham a lot.

The photo shown here is Matt with one of the Latino missionaries, Elder Sornoza. He sent this picture to us last week; we didn't get any new pictures today. We're not completely sure about the two-finger salute we see in so many of these photos... we need to ask about that. (Maybe they just had a tie in a "rock-paper-scissors" game.)

We asked about his Gospel study — for example, does he read "Preach My Gospel" in English or in Spanish? This was the response:
i'm actually reading the Book of mormon and the Libro de mormon together. i'm actually starting to be able to hear what people are saying so soon i'll just be reading my libro de mormon. but i do study the spanish version (of PMG) a little. mostly the book of mormon though.
Nice to hear of progress in his language ability!

In other news, they have five new investigators to work with this week through tracting efforts. We'll hope something good comes of that! Their best investigator should be returning from a vacation soon, and they are hopeful to pick up where they left off.

Here's another typical Matt story. We asked if he saw many of the local people playing soccer.
yeah lots. haha when i was on divisions with elder marquez the ball came rolling down the hill. haha he went chasing after it for the kids it was hilarious haha mostly because elder marquez is a big guy but afterwards we got a good contact out of it with one of the kids parents haha
That's the spirit, Elder! Keep on working!

Monday, July 20, 2009

July 20 update

Missionary, you said? Does THAT look like a missionary?? Well, if you look close (click to enlarge), note that he DOES have his nametag on. So we assume he's still "anxiously engaged" in the work. They had another zone excursion to the beach on P-day, and Elder Kenison seems to really enjoy that (even though he can't go "ride the waves" like he used to).

Matt was sick earlier in the week, then his companion Elder Mecham was sick. So that slowed down their efforts. But they're both much improved (I'm sure the beach helped) and moving forward again. He commented:
I did go on divisions. Elder Mecham went to El Quisco, about 20 minutes away by bus. and Elder Butron came here haha he's an AWESOME elder haha he told me at the end of the night that I walk fast. haha I think i got it from walking with dad haha oh well... we got a lot done though :D thanks dad haha
Here are a few more thoughts he shared about the mission experience so far, to pass on to his friend who will be coming to the same mission later in the year:
Chile is the greatest haha crazy fast spanish though... haha but the people here are great!
some of the food here is interesting. you GET to have lunch with the members every day except p-day. and pretty much they feed you a TON!!! it's great (lunch is the main meal here not dinner). most of the time it's soup. they have a special soup with chicken (like a full chunk of chicken haha) and noddles and stuff. or you have beans and noodles. not a lot of rice but that's just the coast.
oh also the people here are EXTREMELY nice they try to give you Anything they can and most the time they barely have anything. and if you don't eat it they'll get offended sometimes most of the time they understand haha but you just tell them that you don't have time and call it good...
also get ready to see LOTS and LOTS of dogs haha they're everywhere it's crazy! and get stoked Chile is the best i couldn't imagine a better place to serve a mission it's awesome!
Those of you who remember Matt's love for chocolate chip cookies will be interested to know that he requested the recipe (he lost his copy) so he can make some for some members. They won't be quite the same, since he hasn't been able to find brown sugar. But I'm sure they'll enjoy Matt's special treat like so many others have!

One more photo of the whole gang on the beach:

Monday, July 13, 2009

July 13 update

As we've watched the weather forecast for Elder Kenison's area of Chile this week, it's been cool but sunny. Since we're in the peak of summer in Utah, we're expecting them to be approaching the peak of winter. The average temperature (daily high) was about 60° F, which didn't seem too bad. However, Matt reports "kinda a chilly wind though which makes it kind of cold." He also reported:
I've been kinda sick for the past two days. mostly just a bad cough and my throat is dry but i ate a grapefruit last night (which reminded me of grandma haha) but that helped. but i'm getting better luckily.
Elder Mecham, Matt's companion, has less than a month left in his mission. Matt will likely stay in the same area and get a new companion when Elder Mecham leaves. He reported that Elder Mecham is NOT getting "trunky" at all — "haha he's doing really good. and we're working hard haha."

Matt was excited to participate in a baptism this week, a young man named Luis who was taught by the other companionship living in his apartment. The best investigators he and Elder Mecham are teaching, a woman named Olga and her granddaughter Natalia, were sick this past weekend and had to miss church meetings (must be a lot of "stuff" going around Chile).

Finally, here's the "cultural insight" of the week:
also random fact about Chile. so before you take a picture you say "cheese" right. well i was curious if they said something different here. and they do they say "whiskey" which i'm sure with all the drinking here it makes some people smile. haha kinda crazy

Monday, July 6, 2009

July 6 update

Elder Kenison and his companions apparently celebrated the 4th of July with a successful baking experiment (thanks to a recipe from Alessandra):
well 4th of july was fun. haha all of the members when they saw us mentioned it. haha we actually made a cake. it was DELICIOUS!!! all thanks to Ale haha that was really fun. also we had a member come to church who hasn't been in about two years. that was awesome.
Matt's camera is still broken, and we were sad not to get any new photos. We have a new camera on the way to him, to help remedy this crisis!

The work continues somewhat slow in Cartagena, given the time of year and the exodus from the coastal resort town. However, he did have some positive news about new investigators:
well we have really what seems like a golden investigator. we were teaching an older lady named Olga. we taught her about twice. then on our next visit her grand daughter, natalia, joined. she has been following along and asking questions shes been doing really great. Yesterday we took a member along, kenna. And immediately they became best friends. It was kind of funny. The first time we met Natalia we had to tell her that we can't kiss on the cheek we just shake hands. So when Kenna came she didn't know when to do. So she asked kinda sticking out her hand. Haha Kenna knew when she meant and immediately said NO and gave her a big hug and the traditional kiss on the cheek it was funny.
So far, most of the investigators Matt and his companion are dealing with have been female. That's not necessarily a reflection of Matt's unusually good relationships with members of that gender; it's a common phenomenon in Latin countries. We'll hope he eventually finds some strong, complete families to teach!

Matt ended his weekly letter with this note — we really love how he has come to appreciate the scriptures more than ever:
Oh one more cool scripture :) D&C 64:33-34 :) oh and a i read 2 Nephi 29 earlier this week :) AWESOME! Haha the Book of Mormon is true!