Monday, March 29, 2010

March 29 update

Elder Kenison has one of those really rushed P-days. He didn't give us much detail of what he did all day (of course - he's not big on giving detail!) but just said he had only a little time to write.

The work seems to be going better in this new area. He has several baptisms scheduled for upcoming weeks. He did give us a pretty good summary of some of his best investigators:
Hector is a member but his wife karín isn't. Hector has been inactive for a long time. and actually starting to fall into bad habits. but he's doing better. he's got some new friends at church and everything :D
Arecelli- she's the other investigator that is getting baptised. she's 9. and her dad is the brother of the bishop. but inactive for a long time. but he's going to church now and hoping to be able to baptize his daughter :D i hope so too
Ayram- is about 15. she lives next door to the church and has been assisting for a while. we're hoping to get a baptismal date for her this week.
Jocelyn- you know about her. haha her boyfriend is actually a returned missionary. and Awesome guy. haha so we hope they'll be able to go to church together.
Rosa- she's been an investigator for a long time. and really just has had problems with a member. the member is one of her best friends and so Rosa has been going to church with her. the problem in that the member really isn't a good member. so it's been difficult. but she came to church yesterday and hopefully will again this next week. :D
Nice to see some progress, especially in strengthening existing families. Chile went through a time of very rapid Church growth, and now seems to be trying to move more cautiously and make sure the members and converts are well-grounded and faithful.

Matt is very excited for General Conference this coming weekend. That's good evidence of the growth he is experiencing; that wasn't always the case!

We'll hope for more news and maybe more photos next week...

Monday, March 22, 2010

March 22 update

Elder Kenison is settling into his new area in Las Industrias. This was his report of progress this week:
well we found one investigator named Jocelyn. her boyfriend is a returned missionary. so we've been teaching her. it's been awesome! she came to church yesterday too!!! :D haha as for the other investigators. the problem is that school just started. so they've all been busy. one of our investigators had a baptismal date. but lost it because she hasn't been coming to church :(
They had a good "pool" of investigators when Matt came to the area, and so we hope they are able to follow up and make some good progress. Here's another experience that was quite meaningful to Matt:
Yesterday we had an awesome experience. We were teaching an inactive family who has been inactive for a while, due to a situation that happened with another member, and just as we were about to finish. Elder Tucto had the wife read Ether 12:27 to herself and then think about it. Afterwards said that we're here to help her out. Then there was a knock on the door. And 4 members (the elders quorum) walked in. one of the members has legs that are crossed so he can't walk very well. But he went anyways. and really I'd have to say it was one of the most spiritual experiences of my mission. haha it was AMAZING. The spirit was so strong as one of the members told the inactive family that they care about them. Then he invited them to an activity this Sunday. it was amazing. :D so hopefully I'll be able to remember the feeling I had. And be able to work hard this week :D thanks for your help :D
No new photos this week, but this one came last week. We're not sure if this is his new area or the old one. And we're not sure why he's sleeping on a bed with no mattress — maybe just getting extra ventilation!

Monday, March 15, 2010

March 15 update

Another week, another area, another companion! Elder Kenison has been transferred to an area called Las Industrias and is working with Elder Tucto, who is a native of Peru.

We asked about the new area:
HAHA I'm in a place called Las Industrias. It's closer to Santiago. It's a little poorer area kinda I don't know. Really Maipu was all kinda the same. Here has more of a rich and poor area.
And this is the story about his new "compy":
haha his name is elder Tucto. He's from Peru. I was actually in maipu with him before. He's a stud. Time… Haha we both hit our year mark this last week. Haha personality. Well a stud. I learned a little bit about his story yesterday. He's a convert. He was 17 years old when he got baptized. Just him and his brother out of his family. He has 4 brothers and 2 sisters. The two sisters are the oldest but they actually both died from some disease. First one and then the other. He was living on his own when he turned 14. working and going to school because his family lives in the… campo… like an area with a lot of fields. HahHaha (I forgot what it's called… country, maybe… hahaha) so he moved to the city to be closer to school. And then later closer to church. His family lives 12 HOURS from church. Him and his brother are the only members. His brother is actually the bishop. (he's 34 years old) so yeah pretty but I told him hes a stud for serving a mission. haha
Elder Kenison has had quite a variety of "Latino" companions:
  • Elder Mejia - Honduras
  • Elder Urbieta - Argentina
  • Elder Alonzo - Ecuador
  • Elder Tucto - Peru
The area where Matt is serving had 4 missionaries temporarily; there were two elders serving there who were called to Concepcion and just arrived in Chile, but had to wait temporarily in Santiago right after the earthquake. Now, they are back to two, but it sounds like they have the benefit of a large pool of investigators, thanks to the temporary help from the other elders:
Kinda crazy. And apparently they worked hard. They had 27 new investigators last week. So needless to say. Planning at night has been really easy because we have so many appointments set haha. We had one baptism set but she didn't attend church yesterday so we have to make a new one.
It sounds like a bigger apartment:
hahahaha in comparison its HUGE!!! The last house was two little rooms. This house has one huge room for like studying and eating and then it has an upstairs. Haha kinda crazy
We asked about how strong the ward is:
there were 81 people in church. Haha so A LOT!!! Elder Tucto said that there were a lot of people. It was pretty cool. Oh there are actually like 3 people that speak English so they were pretty excited to hear a gringo came. Haha so ve been able to "practice" haha so my English won't be so bad when I call in MAY!!!! :D
Not that any of us are excited for that Mother's Day phone call... a little over 7 weeks from now....

The impact of the earthquake continues. The missionaries have felt a number of the stronger aftershocks. There was a massive power outage last Sunday evening that covered most of the country:
yeah. We were at a house getting our clothes and all of the power went out I mean ALL of the power. Haha so we quickly went home. We locked up everything good and tight because lots of gangsters (haha) leave and break into houses. Lucky our cell phone has radio so we listened to figure out what was going on. Were lucky we came home. Haha there's this thing called "toke de keda" and it's really just permission for the police to shoot, SHOOT anyone who is out of the house. So that got rid of the gangster problem. Kinda crazy.
Finally, here are a few photos taken with members and investigators in Maipú as Matt was leaving:

Thursday, March 11, 2010

March 11 - HUMP DAY!!

Elder Kenison entered the MTC on March 11, 2009 — so he has been gone for a whole year now! And in "missionary lingo" he is celebrating "hump day" — the midway point of his mission. It's all downhill from here!!

We asked him recently how he felt about approaching the halfway point of his mission, and what he thought he had done well so far.
yeah. spanish is coming GREAT!!! haha and Elder Alonzo is FINALLY showing intrest in english. haha so two goals accomphlished. haha but i'm excited for my next year of my mission. because i'll kinda know what i'm doing and i'll just get to work :D WOOT!!!!
And as for his goals or plans for the second half of his mission:
i want to become a missionary :D because i feel like i have yet to become one.
That remark comes some counsel given by Elder Oaks when he visited the mission back in June. Matt reported that Elder Oaks taught them:
"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 immediatly become an apostle. I had to work for it." so that really helped me really want to become a missionary.
We're sure that Elder Kenison will be a missionary, and a very good missionary, in the second half of his mission.

To celebrate the "Hump Day," Chile responded with another round of earthquakes. These were probably still aftershocks of the February 27 quake (magnitude 8.8), but they were the strongest ones yet — a 7.2 shock occurred at about 11:39 a.m. Chile time, located about 92 miles SW of Santiago (compared to 197 miles SW for the big one). We suspect the missionaries felt this one pretty good! It was followed in quick succession by a couple of slightly smaller aftershocks.

In the attached "ShakeMap" image (click to enlarge), Santiago is just outside the yellow area on the upper right. But we don't know for sure where Matt is now — he was transferred on Tuesday. His mission extends well down into the yellow areas, where the "perceived shaking" would be rated "strong."

So, the adventure continues! We'll hope that Chile soon quiets down and lets the missionaries get back to work.

Monday, March 8, 2010

March 8 update

Elder Kenison reports that the missionaries have been busy this week in Santiago. They made lots of offers of service, but in his immediate area, didn't find a lot of need.
Everyone was ok. (which is good :D) but the main plaza is closed. And power was cut off for a long time. In some parts of our sector they got power on Thursday. Pretty crazy. But all is good. The biggest problem for me was that i didn't get Money placed back in my account for this month. So i took some out so i could eat. thanks
All week, we've been hearing about aftershocks from the earthquake. There have been well over a hundred that were magnitude 5 or greater! We asked Matt about the aftershocks, how strong they were and how they felt to him. This was his description:
5.something haha well really it feels... lame. nothing compared to the other. really it's more of like your stomach growling but it's a lot louder (A LOT!!!) and it's the ground. kinda freaky haha
As far as relief efforts and work they've been doing:
yeah we've been helping with the "hogar de cristo" it's a church here that la iglesia de Jesucristo de los santos de los Ultimos dias has united with. We woke up at five Saturday morning and heading out to the stake center there were about 100 youth in total and then the missionaries from Maipú it was cool. We all stationed out in different stops for the metro and talked to people to see if they could donate non-perishable food. It didn't work too well because if you're in the metro you want to leave. Not go back home. So we started knocking doors (elder alonzo and i and two other youth boys.) we got 17 different items haha which was good most groups didn't get any. But all is well. We were exhausted afterwards. haha
He did report that Church attendance has been much stronger than usual, including people who have been inactive in the Church for a while.

The other big news of the week is CHANGE. Elder Kenison will be moving to a new area tomorrow! We'll be eager to hear next Monday about his next assignment. He has really enjoyed working with Elder Alonzo in Maipú, but having new opportunities is a blessing too.

Monday, March 1, 2010

March 1 update

It's always a joy to hear from Elder Kenison on Mondays, but never more than today! We were so thrilled to receive emails with descriptions of the weekend and answers to our questions.

We asked him to share as much as he could about the actual earthquake. He said he didn't have that much time to type, but had recorded a detailed video explanation which he'll get to us soon! But he said he thought he woke up within 10 seconds of the start (3:30 a.m.) and that it seemed to last 3 minutes. His initial summary of the earthquake was:
in short 3 nephi 8:11 :D
Pretty clever — that verse reads: "And there was a great and terrible destruction in the land southward."

But this was a little more detailed:
i woke up with the whole house shaking. always thinking that all would be ok if there was an earthquake. but i couldn't imagine the noise. haha it was crazy. i woke up and flipped around and started praying. haha "Padre Celestial Ayudame Ayudame Ayudame!!!" that is, "heavenly father help me help me help me" a little after the middle of the earthquake i jumped onto my companions bed (we have a bunk bed and i sleep on top. haha) after everything slowed down (literally everything) we went around to find what broke. just a watermelon. our neighbors (we live behind a house of two elderly people) helped us a lot. they had candles and lots of other things to help out.
We were so touched to hear that his first thought was to pray — and that he was praying in Spanish! This photo was the only one he sent of earthquake impact, showing the total of the damage that occurred in his apartment.

We asked about aftershocks:
they were nothing. there was a 4.0 (or 4. something) aftershoke yesterday at like 8. Elder Alonzo feels all of the aftershokes and stops and says (in spanish) "still going... still going.... still going...." i just sit there.. "what?" haha yesterdays i felt though. haha
Other comments and insights:
we haven't really seen many things. but we went to the supermarket today. haha wow. they cleaned up but you could tell that there were alot of things on the floor before. but really just at night there are like sections without electricity. haha
We asked about power and water supplies:
no power outages but they shut the power every once in a while. we heard that they were going to shut the water off at like... 4 yesterday so we collected water. (we have two five liter bottles of good drinking water and one bucket of... mas o menos water for showering)
So in general, we were grateful that Matt was in one of the safer, less-impacted areas of central Chile. He felt enough to appreciate the power of the earthquake, but was spared any harm or danger.

The transfers that were planned for this week have been postponed one week. Matt is still expecting to be moved, but he'll have another week to help clean up and say goodbye to the friends and members in Maipu.

We were also pleased to get a series of photos, with this comment:
sorry i'm sure you were expecting lots of earthquake pictures and not pictures of making empanadas. but really there wasn't any damage here. and i haven't really seen much damage. but yeah all is well thanks for everything :D
One of the families in the ward, Familia Gonzalez, had the missionaries over for lunch and let them use their computer for emails (since most of the computer places were closed). Elder Kenison and Elder Alonzo took turns helping cook while the other was sending email to the family. (We'd love to know why Matt appears to be covered with flour in that last shot.)

Here are two more — Elder Kenison enjoying a dinner Elder Alonzo cooked before the earthquake, and appreciating a big, full moon (which doesn't look that big in the photo but seemed "huge" to Matt - "we checked to make sure the moon was white and not red. haha ")