Monday, August 31, 2009

August 31 update

Elder Kenison didn't have a lot to say this week, but he sent some great photos! This was his explanation:
well i had the debate today... long explainations or pictures... i picked pictures this time. haha sorry.
He's getting along great with Elder Mejia, his companion from Honduras. Here are some photos (click to view larger):

It sounds like they are making good progress with some of their investigators, and we're hoping for an announcement soon. One couple they are teaching need to get married before the family can be baptized; that's often an issue in Latin countries due to complications and restrictions on divorce and remarriage.

Here's another nice shot of the four missionaries living in Cartagena, in front of a blustery-looking beach: Elder Romero (from Chile), Elder Rawlins (from Texas), Elder Mejia (from Honduras), and Elder Kenison:

They are approaching the end of winter. He commented that it seemed quite a bit warmer this week; that should help him get over his cough (still lingering from the bronchitis). People seem to be returning from their winter vacations; Matt commented:
umm something cool we had 106 people attend church this last sunday. the most since i've been here
Having the ward grow in strength and attendance will help the missionary work!

I wrote Matt a note this week telling him to be on the watch for a "distant relative" who recently arrived in his mission. Elder DeLong is the nephew of my sister on her husband's side, from Minnesota. We had learned that Elder DeLong's first companion was Elder McKay, who was living in the same house where Matt is for the first 6 weeks he was in Chile. Matt wrote:
also elder delong. haha we had a zone meeting and i saw elder Mckay. then i saw his companion. and i thought... 'humm what if?' then he said 'hey you're elder kenison! we're related!!! haha' pretty cool. i included a picture.

We are looking forward to another encounter in the future when one of Matt's friends, a neighbor of ours, Sam Poulsen, arrives in the Santiago West mission!

Here's one final photo for this week of our favorite missionary, engaged in two of his favorite activities: eating and writing in his journal:

Oh, and then this cute note to end on. Apparently someone was playing some music in the Internet Cafe where they were typing their emails:
GOSH I JUST GOT SO TRUNKY!!!! so people here like music in english too haha and right now Dust In The Wind is playing... :( I LOVE YOU MOM!!!!!!!!!!
(Mom has been known to crank up the volume when listening to that song at home...)

Monday, August 24, 2009

August 24 update

We had a wonderful letter from Elder Kenison this week; it made up for last week's brief note when he was sick. He is doing much better with the bronchitis. The "mission doctor" in Santiago told him what antibiotics to take, and it's helped a lot, though he's still coughing. It's been cooler and rainier in Cartagena the past week or two, which probably has aggravated his condition.

Things seem to going great with the four elders living together. Having a Honduran and a Chilean in their apartment is making a difference; he said that living with them is
pretty cool haha we enjoy it. i'm starting to understand a lot more spanish so it's gotten more fun haha
When we asked about his companion, Elder Mejia, he said,
he's hilarious haha we're always laughing going from place to place haha but it's so fun
Here is a photo of the four elders enjoying a nice "Chilean" meal together (notice who has the biggest piece):

He also sent this photo of a "completo" (I guess a hot dog with "everything") that he said he really enjoys. The Chilean restaurant in Provo advertises this, so now I have to go try one!

And while we're on the food theme, here are a couple of photos that he sent without explanation. Note the height on that second throw!!

In our last package to Matt, we included some brown sugar which he was not able to find in Chile, so he could make his favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe. This was his comment:
haha i laughed so hard when i saw the brown sugar haha we made cookies the other day and baked them last night. haha Elder Romero wants to say something...

I like de cookies!!! i'm a chilean missionary and i liked the reseta
(recipe) that you send for your son. send more!!!!

haha he's a funny guy. he pretty much loves anything with chocolate. haha actually the first couple times I made brownies he ate most of them haha then for two days he had Diarriah (whatever) haha so yeah he only eats a couple when i make them haha :D
For a P-day service project, the four elders traveled to a nearby city (
El Quisco) and helped dig a hole for an outhouse. It's amazing how much fun you can have doing unusual things when you're doing them for a good reason! Check out this wonderful photo of Elder Kenison (as always, click on the photo for more detail):

Here's another fun photo, which came without explanation — just the title of the photo, which was "Practicing lesson 1. with bob esponga.jpg"

We did hear some more serious and inspiring things today too.
elder mejia and I worked hard this week haha one investigator told us not to pass by anymore. elder Mejia bore his testimony. it was AMAZING the spirit was so strong. but they still asked us not to come back. it's sad how some people aren't willing to listen. i KNOW they felt something but they just decided to ignore it.

on a happy note for us elder's we had 10 investigators come to church. elder mejia and i had 5. elder Rawlins and Elder Romero actually had an investigator who is a priest from a Evangelical church come. i was with elder rawlins when we first met him. we were just going to pass by. and not say a word (i don't know why) but he said "hello, how are you?" i flipped around "you know english?" he said "no" haha we laughed and started talking to him. he said that it would be ok if the missionaries came by. haha so elder rawlins and elder marquez passed by and now elder rawlins with elder romero have passed by. haha he, ismael, told elder rawlins that he has a problem. elder rawlins asked why. haha and Ismael said "Yo se que el Libro de mormon es verdadero" (i know the book of mormon is true) haha so he's moving along nice. haha for us we had a family come. the parents of the family, Juan and Marisol. want to get married so they can get baptized so we're pretty excited :D
Finally, those who know Matt are aware that he can never pass up taking photos of waterfalls and sunsets. So far, we haven't seen any waterfalls from Chile; but here's the latest sunset:

Monday, August 17, 2009

August 17 update

Elder Kenison wrote a short email this week, telling us he has been struggling with a case of bronchitis. We were somewhat comforted that he knew it was bronchitis and knew how to spell "bronchitis"; that probably means he's getting some kind of medical attention!

We learned a little more about his new companion, Elder Mejia, but still no photos. He's been serving about 8 months. His mother and sisters are LDS but his brothers aren't (no mention of a dad). Matt enjoys speaking "a lot more spanish. and we walk a lot more. haha"

He'll be in our prayers, and we'll hope for more news next week!

Monday, August 10, 2009

August 10 update

We were excited to hear that Elder Kenison's new companion, as of last Tuesday, is Elder Mejia, who is from Honduras! We know very little about him other than that; we'll have to ask more questions next week. In addition to Elder Mejia, there's a new housemate from Chile — Elder Romero, who is companion to Elder Rawlins (from Texas). Matt has now been in Cartagena longer than anyone else in the apartment!
it's been pretty crazy learning so much spanish. haha it's been crazy. i found out that elder romero loves Brownies (we make them from scratch haha) and he's amazing at cooking Pan (bread) there is a really popular bread that we cooked the other day haha it was awesome
Matt mentioned he was going to send photos of some of the things (like his bread), but we never got any photos from himis week. Either he ran out of time, or there was a problem in sending. Or he forgot. :(

The weather continues to cause challenges for their proselyting efforts. Matt commented,
it's really hot well warm for about 4 hours, usually about 12-4 then it gets FREEZING!!! haha mostly just windy.
And then this summary of the work:
it's been crazy. no one has really been home. Olga and Natalia are still gone. but we found 3 more investigators and taught lots of inactives. we got them to say that they'd come to church. but we actually had a stake conference in San Antonio. and some didn't want to make the financial sacrifice. well actually alot of them didn't. but we'll get them to come this week haha WOOT!
Meanwhile, back home in Utah, Matt's sister Sarah was married on Friday August 7 to Brian Wright (who served his mission in Honduras, where Matt's current companion is from).

I think it was probably a little poignant for both of them; they have become very close over the years. So I arranged for Matt to be there "in spirit" — and in a life-sized photographic likeness! It was a lot of fun to have him with us, symbolically. He wrote a personal note to Sarah which I read to her when I "unveiled" the cutout at the wedding luncheon; that was a highlight. Everyone enjoyed having Matt around. He was especially popular at the restaurant where we had the wedding luncheon, Los Hermanos, because Matt used to work there before his mission!

Monday, August 3, 2009

August 3 update

We were worried that Elder Kenison wouldn't have much time to write today, but it actually worked out pretty well for him. And we got a great set of photos in addition, more than usual! Happy day!


Elder Kenison's first companion and trainer, Elder Mecham, is on his way home to Arizona. Matt has really enjoyed working with him, and seems to have been "well trained." It sounds like Elder Mecham went up to Santiago on Friday to go to the temple, and Matt stayed with another missionary in a nearby area. Matt will go to Santiago on Tuesday to pick up his new companion.

This picture was titled "Fresia and Marcela saying bye to Elder Mecham":

And this one is "saying bye to Elder Mecham... sad story":


Matt had the chance to have a "mini tour" of the mission with Elder Mecham last week, who was given the opportunity to visit his former areas before he went home. He commented,
yeah it was really fun. i saw lots of different places. i enjoyed seeing the mountains haha i've missed them. there aren't really any actual mountains in Cartagena. but there are huge hills haha
In Santiago, the Andes mountains are not far away and if the weather is good, there are spectacular views. But we are sure there will be chances for that in the future.

Matt has been working with Elder Sornoza temporarily while he waits for his next companion, in an area he calls Leo Lleo. We're guessing from the map we have that it's really Llolleo, a city south of Cartagena. Here's a great photo of Matt in that area:

Matt mentioned Elder Sornoza a couple of times in the past — seems like they get along well. I suspect from these two photos that they have enjoyed working together while they each wait for their new companions:

And here's another classic Matt photo, having lunch with an unidentified companion:

In the midst of all the busy-ness of the week, they did have time for some teaching:
Marcela has stopped drinking Tea. for our next visit (with my new companion) we'll ask her if she will be baptized. so hopefully things turn out the best. also changes to El Quisco were fun and changes to Leo Lleo were awesome pretty cool. gorgeous places haha
Today's letter closed with,
I LOVE CHILE!!!!!!!!!!!
That's pretty definite! We're sure glad he does.