Monday, December 28, 2009

December 28 update

It was a little strange to email with Elder Kenison today, since we talked to him on the phone only 4 days ago!! We had a wonderful phone call on Christmas Eve. Based on the mission rules, he was only able to talk for 45 minutes. That time went by REALLY fast! But we loved hearing the joy in his voice and feeling his wonderful spirit. The hardest part of the phone call is saying goodbye and hanging up!

He sent us a photo of "Familia Tello Gutierrez this is at dinner chirstmas eve haha it was really good :D"

Not sure if the timestamp on the photo is accurate; 10:18 p.m. is a little late to be having dinner with a member family!

Here was his update of the work as it relates to the Christmas season:
this week has been crazy. i mean CRAZY! haha elder Alonzo and i have been knocking door after door. and no one is home. or if they are... they have family over. it's been kinda hard. one cool experience though. we had one day where we walked and walked and WALKED! NO ONE was home or had time. it was crazy. really we both felt like just going home or to a members house to 'paint monkey' (an expression that means 'to waste time' i don't know why haha) but we kept going.
Elder Alonzo said he was hungry and i was too. so we passed by a completo stand that one of our investigators own. we bought a completo and talked to him for a little. haha he told us that he's reading a book about Joseph Smith (a book from the Church). we were really excited. haha he said he's learned a lot.
After that we passed by for another investigator (actually the daughter of the guy that owns the completo stand.) The daughter, Pamela, invited us in. there was her entire family. her 4 daughter as we walked in I just said to myself "soy un misionero, soy un misionero, soy un misionero" (i'm a missionary i'm a missionary i'm a missionary) haha the dad of the family, Mauricio, was also there. haha then a friend came over. so there were in total... 7 people (6 of which were girls haha) and we taught them all. haha it was awesome! Pamela, the mom, had a LOT of questions. Elder Alonzo answered them and i just added a word or two haha it was good. yesterday we visited them again. this time we watched a movie about Jesus Christ haha it was awesome! :D the only problem is that they have A LOT! of questions. haha but it's been good. :D
It sounds like they have some promising investigators! Matt mentions the "completo" — a Chilean hotdog with lots of toppings. He sent us this photo showing a completo on the left and a variation on the right which has meat and cheese instead of a hotdog:

He mentioned to us that he's hungry a lot, even though they tend to have very large lunches; hard to believe! He also told us on the phone that many of his clothes are getting too tight because of the weight he's gained.

Here's another photo. He commented:
see mom i told you they like bread! haha they actually sell it by the kilo. so the prices you see are per kilo (for more info 1 dollar is about 500 pesos so the 'pan' (bread) here is about 2 dollars a kilo. haha which is actually CHEAP! haha pretty cool haha :D

This message was just a little hint of missing Utah at Christmastime:
Oh yeah i have a favor. Can i get a picture of the Snow haha. I just need something to kinda keep me on the time of year. On christmas day elder Alonzo and i had service. And so at 11 in the morning we were running over to the members house wearing short sleeves and shorts. And i turned to Elder Alonzo and said (only in spanish haha) "today is not Christmas. It's too hot to be Christmas." i just know it'll be the same on new years. Haha well yeah that's about it. Haha thanks :D
And finally, we have to share this photo. It was taken on Wednesday 12/23, when they had a mission "Christmas party" that included some sports activities. Elder Sam Poulsen, our neighbor and Matt's friend for many years, just arrived in the mission a few weeks ago. He's about 7 months behind Matt. We hope they have a chance to work together over the next year!

Monday, December 21, 2009

December 21 update

Gotta start out this week with a photo of a couple of happy missionaries! Elder Kenison and Elder Alonzo seem to be getting along great, and working hard together. (Click on the image to see a larger copy.)

Here's a summary of the week:
we've been working hard trying to find new investigators. haha it's been hard but fun. we found a street in our sector named 'Walt Disney' so we decided to knock every door on the street to find what kind of magic was there. haha we got 5 references and 1 family to teach. hahaha :D so pretty awesome!
We asked if the Christmas season was making things easier or harder for the missionaries.
it's made it a lot easier. We hand out pass-a-longs with a number to get a free DVD of the birth of Jesus Christ. It's been working pretty well. Haha it did on Walt Disney. haha
Here's a photo of the Church building where their ward meets in Maipú:

And here's the family that is featured in the main story of the week:

Here's what Elder Kenison wrote about this family:
Elder Alonzo and I both had our first baptism!!!!!! it was awesome! it had started when we got a call from a member in our ward. she said that her son, Alfonso, wanted to be baptized. when we went to visit we noticed that Alfonzo needed to be taught quite a bit. they wanted him to get baptized before they went on vacation. we told them we weren't sure if he could. when we went back to visit. we learned that Alfonso's parents had been teaching him. when we asked him some questions about lesson 1 he would respond with the perfect answer. haha
After a couple other visits, and talking to our district leader, we felt that Alfonso was ready to be baptized.
the best part was at the baptism, first off Alfonso's dad has been inactive for years. at the baptism he played the clarinet. it was awesome! while he was playing you could see the spirit working on him, in the middle of the song, stopped. and started to cry. Alfono walked over and sat next to him. the dad played the last couple of notes and then him and his son embraced. it was so awesome to see this family who had so many troubles get brought back together and reunited with Alfonso's baptism.
so that was the highlight of our week it was awesome.
Congratulations to Alfonso and his family, and to Elder Kenison and Elder Alonzo!

Monday, December 14, 2009

December 14 update

Another week... another companion! Elder Kenison is now comps with Elder Alonzo — he writes:
He's from Ecuador haha he's awesome. The best part is that he speaks really really good spanish. And he's been correcting me a lot. Haha so i've learned a lot :D so hopfully by the end of this change i'll have much better spanish. Haha that is if Elder Alonzo continues to be patient. Haha :D
Here is a photo of the new companionship:

Matt has now had companions from Honduras, Argentina, and Ecuador. He's getting a great introduction to different Latin accents and cultures!

They returned to their assigned area of "4 Poniente" in Maipú and got back to work. They were immediately confronted with a great prospect:
we have a Fetch!!! I mean a bautismal date! Hahaha for this Saturday :D we get a call from a member in our ward. And she said that her son, who is 13, wants to be baptized :D :D :D so we taught him. He's been attending church and mutual for a long time. So he pretty much knew everything. Haha the only problem is that everything happend so fast that we don't really know him. And he'll be leaving on vacation for 2 months next week. So i won't get to see him. Haha but he's an awesome guy. He'll be my first baptism, Elder Alonzo's too :D
We hope things work out for this young man. It's exciting for Matt to see this, but we hope the support will continue after he leaves for vacation.

Sunday was also an unusual day in the Santiago area:
This week was elections so church was earlier. 9 instead of 11 and it was only an hour long (just sacrament meeting) normally the barrio in Los Heroes meets at 10 and we meet at 11. but instead they joined us together. We had 38 people attend church this week — it was horrible. Mostly because lots went to vote and others were just lazy because the church is so far
Here's another classic Matt story. We're glad he's trying hard to improve his Spanish!
Also.... I have a story about learning spanish. :D So the other day i was telling a story about when sam shot a bird on his fence. The word for a little bird is Pajarito. But for the life of me i couldn't remember that word haha so i would say, "y mi amigo con su pistola le disparo un.... aaaaa..." and my companion would say "pajarito" haha then i would say yeah eso. Umm y un otro tiempo un........ my companion said "pajarito" haha again. So while trying to remember this word i remembered "elder kenison if you use it you'll learn it" so i decided to use it but i didn't remember it right so i said, "y mi amigo con su pistola le disparo un cucharita" Elder Alonzo gave me a weird look. Haha i looked at him then thought about what i just said "my friend, with his gun, shot a... little spoon...." hahahaha so for the past couple days whenever a bird flies by Elder Alonzo says "Mire Elder Kenison una Cucharita" haha then he laughs haha it's been funny haha
And then, he made the classic missionary blunder, that many Americans make in Spanish or Portuguese:
Ok i have one more :D Haha so another time i was telling a story about how i was embarrased from something. Haha but instead of saying embarrased (avergonzar) I said Embarazada which means pregnant so i told Elder Alonzo that after... something, i can't remember, I was really pregnant. Haha he laughed and laughed and laughed. Hahaha good times
Matt sure knows how to have a good time! One final photo. Not much description of this one; he just said it was taken in their area on the way home from an appointment:

Monday, December 7, 2009

December 7 update

Matt has continued this week to work temporarily with Elder Mawhinney in an area called "El Conquistador" — he said it's about 10 minutes away from his area (by taxi, we assume). They should both be getting new companions on Tuesday or Wednesday. We're excited that Matt's friend, Elder Sam Poulsen, will be leaving the MTC and arriving in the mission this week! We're not sure they will get to see each other right away, but will definitely be together for a Christmas party.

This map shows Santiago. The red dot is the mission office; the blue dot is Matt's area in Maipu; and the green dot is where we believe El Conquistador is. Click for more detail; and note the Andes mountains just to the east of the city.

It sounds like the two missionaries have been working very hard, doing lots of tracting.
we have knocked TONZ of doors. Haha and made cita's to pass by but pretty much everyone has been gone. we've had a good practice on our diligence this week haha it's been CRAZY. We knock like 20 doors and everyone says they're busy. But then we knock one more and we get invited in. and we have an opportunity to teach. Haha we've met TONZ of people! Haha elder MaWhinney said last night that he has SO MANY people to visit and barely any time. Hahaha
They did go briefly back to Matt's area to check on a few things; we know he'll be eager to return there with his new companion and focus on his own investigators. They did have one other fun experience while doing some street contacts:
Yeah one really cool experience. Haha elder MaWhinney and I were walking down the street on Saturday. Haha and we turned the corner and there were about 20 kids all standing in a little park playing. Haha one of them walked up to me and said "hello." (like pretty much every person does). I at the time had a bunch of Laminas de Jesucristo (a direct translation would be slices but just 8X10 pictures of Jesus Christ.) I had about 30. after the kid said hi I gave him a Picture. Haha and wow can you say Pandora's Box hahaha every single one of the kids ran up to us. Haha elder MaWhinney started passing out pass-a-long cards and I kept passing out laminas. Haha then Elder MaWhinney told them all to call the number on the pass-a-long card to get a free DVD BUT they have to ask their parents first. Haha after talking to them for a bit. They asked for our Autograph. Hahaha so elder MaWhinney signed each Lamina "'Los Elderes" hahaha it was hilarious. Haha I wish I had had my camera. Haha
We didn't get any new photos this week, but did want to share one from that past that we received recently. This is classic Matt - his "ear flap" hat and a necktie for a headband, reading and drinking, and with a goofy expression. We love you, Elder Kenison!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December 1 update

Elder Kenison's email was a day late this week. We waited all day Monday for news, depressed when nothing came. But we finally heard from him on Tuesday. Apparently they had postponed P-day so they could have a zone activity at the city zoo, which is closed on Mondays! We were glad to hear from him.

The main news of the week is that his companion, Elder Bench, was released to go home early due to medical issues. So Matt was temporarily paired with a missionary named Elder Mawhinney who is from Heber, Utah, and whose companion also had to leave for medical concerns:
Elder MaWhinney is… well too say the least, a lot like me. Haha we've both been laughing and having fun. But when we work. We work. Haha we've knocked SO many doors and passed by for SO many contacts. Haha it's kinda crazy because I just moved into his sector/area. So the ward of 4 Poniente doesn't have missionaries right now. But next week i'll probably get a new companion and i'll go back there. So that'll be interesting....
he has 6 more months than me so he'll be going home pretty soon. haha oh one more cool thing. his first sector/area was also Cartagena haha so we've been talking a lot about what's been going on. haha pretty crazy.
There were some great photos today, with Elder Kenison's typical delightful commentary:
this is a picture of district meeting last week. elder Simmons, seen outside of the circle on the left, got pictures. haha and when everyone found out... well... to make a long story short. missionaries just really like pictures haha :D hint... hint... hint... for all my friends haha
so this is elder Mawhinney. we had a air freshener and i was bored and tore off the wrapper. haha and Elder Mawhinney decided to draw a picture on it. haha it's a skull and it was ''Warning, Poison'' haha so now if it ever smells bad we say. ''where's the poison?'' haha
While we were walking along. Elder Mawhinney and I noticed a small (emphasis on small) little house. Haha so, being missionaries, we decided to knock it. (see picture #10) Sadly no one was home ?

Elder Mawhinney and Elder Kenison on the bus, returning from the zoo:

Matt writing email to the family. He said this is probably the "freshest" photo we'll get — taken just minutes before he sent it to us!

Christmas at the zoo:

And in the city — "Haha I took this picture to prove that Chileans love Christmas. Haha"