Monday, May 31, 2010

May 31 update

We knew Elder Kenison got a new companion last week, and were eager to find out who his new one would be! He sent us this photo, claiming he was "in a trio" — yeah, right:

This is his "real" new companion, Elder Balling from Centerville, Utah:

Matt has LOVED having Latino companions, and they've helped him tremendously with learning to speak better in Spanish. But we're sure he'll have a good experience with Elder Balling, who has been serving about 8 months. When we asked how he felt about the change, he responded:
good :D we've got potencial!! but we have to get better (health wise) first haha
That wasn't very nice of him; now we'll spend the week wondering what's really going on "health wise"!!

Last Saturday they held a baptismal service for a young man named Gabriel they've been teaching for several weeks. There were about 40 people from the ward who attended — good sign of support! Matt commented about the baptismal service:
(i don't have a lot of time but) it was good. i want to say thanks to dad though. we, well Gabriel had asked some of his friends to help, one give a 'talk' and one say the prayer. i forgot to tell them so i told the guy who was supposed to give the talk like 20 minutes before the service. and he got kind of mad. i said "hey just read this scripture in 2 nephi 31 and bare your testimony and how you feel knowing one of your friend is being baptized." he said that he didn't want to do it. i just said "it's just something short, like 5 minutes you can do it" he still resisted. then the kid that gabriel asked to give the prayer said that he didn't want to. haha i was like "are you serious! this isn't hard! haha" so i gave the talk. and the one who was going to give the talk gave the prayer. so i want to say thanks dad. for telling me that i'll do things i don't want to do. and also helping me learn to ALWAYS be prepared. haha it helped.
We were proud of Matt, being able and willing to "jump in" especially in Spanish!

Finally, a couple of photos —
helping the bishop build another room for his house :D

Monday, May 24, 2010

May 24 update

This week, Elder Kenison "lost" his companion, Elder Tucto. They have served together since early March, and seem to have had a wonderful relationship and have accomplished some good things together. Unfortunately, since our letters are exchanged on Monday and the new companion is assigned on Tuesday, we won't know details until next week! But Matt seems to be chillin' and ready to move forward.

Here's a district photo - seems like they enjoy each other's company!

As for the week's progress, Matt didn't have much time to write (less free time because of his comp's transfer). In a short update, he reported some progress with a family that seemed to be fading last week but is bouncing back:
wilson and Debora yes. Debora found work where she doesn't have to work on sunday :D pretty sweet :D haha also wilson's grandma came to church again :D haha she's awesome
He had hinted about a new program and we asked for some more details:
there is a 'plan misional famililar' in the mission that has the members work with the investigators. it's a way to get more references from members and then have them help us teach. so we'll be doing that in our ward :D
That sounds encouraging!

This last photo was especially fun. Matt wrote:
suprise. haha i found this ballar writin his fam. haha he's sutck her in internet. haha pretty crazy. can you send this to his mom. his computer is being crazy haha thanks
I guess Matt still talks "teen" in addition to Spanish. But running into his old friend and neighbor, Elder Poulsen, is always a lot of fun. We sure wish they could be companions together! Maybe... who knows...

Monday, May 17, 2010

May 17 update

We loved this new photo received this week of Elder Kenison and Elder Tucto, his Peruvian companion. They really seem to have a great relationship!

We asked Matt about investigators who attended Church this week, and learned about a new young man he's working with:
well... Gabriel was the only one. we passed by for several yesterday. (actually we did divisions so we could pass by for more. i went with one hermano and Elder tucto with another. but not much luck.) but Gabriel came :D he's a stud. don't know if i talked about him. he's a reference from a member. he's 14. (kinda cool to teach the story of Joseph Smith) but really when we pass by we ask, "do you have any questions about what you read recently?" (we normally left like a pamphlet or a chapter in the Book of Mormon for him to read) he would say yeah. "who's Nephi?" and we'd explain. then we'd ask what he learned. and he'd give us like a full break-down of the chapter he read (or pamphlet) haha he's amazing. he has a baptismal date for the 30 (sunday) but he wanted to change it to the 29th (saturday) so he could be baptized on his birthday. haha pretty cool.
The work is slowing a bit; Matt mentioned they will need to start tracting more to find most people to teach (they currently spend about an hour a day knocking on doors). They are also continuing to work with members and are getting some better support there. Here was one fun experience during tracting:
haha we 'knocked' a door once. and the person yelled "no estoy" (i'm not here). we laughed and said "hola, ¿como esta?" and they said. "no, encerio, NO estoy" (i'm serious, i'm not here)they were, serious. so elder tucto and i said,"ok cuidese" (take care.) haha and we left. haha kind of weird.
Matt has a little glass desk ornament with the Salt Lake Temple etched inside, and his companion really loved it; Matt asked if we could find one and send for his comp. They received the package this week, and Elder Tucto sent us this very nice little note:
hola soy elder tucto ... en verdad no tengo palabras para agradeserle por el hermoso regalo que me envio muchas... muchas grasias ..
estoy muy agradesido por estar junto asu hijo trabajando en esta maravillosa obra del señor ...el es un muy buen misionero , tiene mucho animo para trabajar, aqui en chile, con las personas que nesecitan tener esta falicidad que nosotros tenes con este evangelio de jesucristo , grasias por ser buenos padres ...lo cual esto anhelo que tambien mis padres sean mienbros algun momento ...
aaaaaaaaaa muchas grasias tambien por enviar los deliciosos dulces ... grasias por todo ...
Very nice note. He thanks us graciously for the gift, and then says how grateful he is to be working with Matt who is a very good missionary with much enthusiasm for the work. He thanks us for being good parents and hopes that his own parents will some day be members. A very kind message.

Finally, here are a few photos of a district activity last week at the local bowling alley! We asked if the alleys there are pretty similar to the ones here, and he said they were — except for the crack in the ceiling from the earthquake. Unfortunately, he didn't send a photo of the crack! (Click on any photo to view larger.)

In the next photo, that looks suspiciously like a "gutter ball"...
and doesn't that last one look like "classic Matt"?!?!?

Monday, May 10, 2010

May 10 update

There was certainly less to email about this week, since we had a wonderful phone conversation just two days earlier. But there are a few things we can share. No new photos, though... :(

It sounds like Mother's Day in Santiago was interrupted by stake conference. We asked if they celebrated Mother's Day this week as well.
yeah they did. ''Dìa de madre''. in church we actually had Stake Conference. President Nuñez. (the last president) was called in the last General conference to be an Area 70. so they called a new one. and he's a JOVEN (he's young) he has two kids. one is 5 the other 3. and they've only lived here for a year and two months. haha he came and got called as a bishop and now as the stake president. haha
This was the update on one of the good families he's been working with:
well we're trying to get Wilson and Debora Married. but there are a lot of problems with that. the grandma doesn't really want them too. (we think because they live with the grandma and if they get married they might want to leave. and the Grandma and Grandpa will be alone) but also Wilson is on a medical leave from work because of his neck. i think i said once. he's a horse Jockey haha so a little guy. but he fell of the horse on the first of April and hurt his neck so he's had a brace on. he's doing better but still needs therapy before he can work again. so it's kinda hard on the money problem. so Debora's been working. BUT she works on sunday so can't go to church. haha so many things. but we're hoping to sort things out. we gave Debora a number and address where she can call (or go) and get a job from the Church. which will mean. no work on sunday. and also we've trying to get them to talk to the bishop so that they can figure out the things for their wedding. so HOPEFULLY it all works out haha
We'll continue to pray for his safety and success in his endeavors. Meanwhile, he promises to send us more photos next week — that's always a joy!!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mother's Day Phone Call (one day early)

We had the delightful semi-annual opportunity today to talk with our missionary! Based on the mission rules, he had to call us; but then we were able to conference in Brian and Sarah, and Matt's grandparents, from Virginia. We had just a little trouble with our connection but once it was set it worked out great. What a joy to hear his voice! The sound was clear and prompt, with very little delay. The time went by very fast.

I was able to record part of the conversation, and then extract a few fun excerpts. His voice sounds so pleasant and happy, and he really seems to be enjoying his mission experience.

This first clip tells a little about his challenge of speaking Spanish almost all the time (his current companion is from Peru), and then occasionally having to switch to English:

This clip talks about a new habit Elder Kenison has developed since being in Chile: studying!!

Remember the huge "completo" (Chilean hotdog) from a previous week? He talks about that, and about his weight gain:

How do you pronounce "Kenison" in Chilean Spanish?

Some unique aspects of Chilean Spanish:

And another language comment:

The joys of missionary apartments — a wonderful shower:

The mysterious "haunted room" in his current apartment:

Finally, some memories and impressions about the earthquake:

Monday, May 3, 2010

May 3 update

Today's letter from Elder Kenison was VERY short and sweet. In some of our questions where we asked about the people he was working with, we appended the note "Tell us as much about them as you can!" to try to encourage a little more detail than normal. But his responses were mostly one-liners — worse than normal. We think he's holding out for some reason....

Could it be because of an upcoming phone call??? We did make tentative plans to have our Mother's Day Phone Call on Saturday afternoon!! We hope to beat the rush and be able to enjoy a more leisurely conversation. We also had a complication with Bonnie needing to catch an airplane on Mother's Day. So it was nice to work this detail out!

At one point, Matt did comment after one of his short answers, "sorry don't have much time." So it appears he had a busy P-day.

One of the questions we asked was about his participation in the local Church meetings — whether he'd had the chance to give a talk. He commented,
yeah i bore my testimony yesterday. gave a class the sunday before and had a talk like a month ago.
We see lots of evidence like this that his Spanish has significantly improved!

One last little "gift" that Matt forwarded to us at the request of his mission president, President and Sister Jones. This was nice. I'm sure things are a little poignant for them right now, since they have only 2 months left before they return home.