Monday, June 28, 2010

June 28 update

Things are going well for Elder Kenison and Elder Balling! We enjoyed the new mission logo received this week; note the flagpole is actually the outline of the entire country of Chile, and other significant symbols are included. Very nice. (Click to enlarge.)

It's a time of transition in the mission. President and Sister Jones are completing their service and returning home this week, and a new president will arrive. They held a farewell mission conference, which gave the missionaries a chance to get together. Matt was quick to point out,
We had a final conference with President Jones :D it was sweet. haha it was a conference not a going-away party. :D i saw several people there. haha
Here's a photo showing some of his friends and acquaintances. Elder DeLong (in the center of the photo) is a distant cousin.
some of the elders i know. haha originally the picture was just with Elder DeLong but then some others joined. haha the one on the far right is from my [MTC] group. Elder Smith (good luck finding his parents mom. haha) and elder mills. he's from Las Vegas. haha and on the far left. Elder Keogh (something like that) he's from Scotland. haha

And one more showing Elder Poulsen, Matt's buddy and neighbor from Orem:

One thing we were pleased to hear was that Elder Kenison really hopes he's not going to be transferred next week (the next time scheduled for "changes" which occur every 6 weeks) — he's loving his work with Elder Balling, got the apartment cleaned up and organized, and feels there is still plenty they can do together in their current area. It's always great to hear that companions are "bonding" together!

This was a photo we didn't expect: Matt with his dentist and dental assistant! He apparently went back in this week for a checkup of his recent work, and for his companion to have some teeth looked at.

The big event of the past week was the baptism of their investigator Auram.
it was AWESOME!!! haha besides the fact that the Calafont (water heater) ran out of gas and we didn't notice right away. haha but it was still good. the water wasn't to bad. haha for me at least. but of course i wasn't the one who went all of the way under. haha the hardest part was remembering her name. Ayram Javiera Almuna Cabezas. haha pretty crazy. but yeah.

the baptism. haha it was amazing. Ayram and her mom were there. and her Grandparents, who before didn't even talk to us, were there, it was really nice :D Elder Balling gave a really nice talk about The Holy Ghost. so overall it was a really nice baptism. :D

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

June 22 update

We waited all day Monday for our customary email, but nothing came. We worried a bit, but were delighted to receive the messages on Tuesday. Apparently the district had an activity at the zoo which is closed on Monday, so they postponed P-day. But visiting the zoo apparently inspires missionaries to strike poses like this:

In spite of the zoo experience, it seems the missionaries had a pretty good week. Their best investigator Ayram is scheduled for baptism this coming Sunday. She was a referral from a recent convert; but Matt observed,
:D now we just have to get that recent convert to church haha
He sent this photo of another young family he's been working with for a while. Wilson was an inactive member, and Debora has been very enthusiastic about the Gospel. They both are doing great now, but have a challenge with a divorce situation. They are making arrangements to be married in August, and Debora will then be able to be baptized!

He mentioned one other new investigator:
Marienela :D elder Tucto found her. but we passed by the other day and taught her the first lesson (the restoration, we had already taught her the second) and then we asked her if she would pray to know if it was true and she said. "well, i don't need to it just feels right, i feel like it's true. :D it just all makes sense. God had prophets before and he needs them now" :D it's awesome :D haha
Finally, this great story. This is one of the longest experiences Matt ever wrote; we really enjoyed it!
we were working the other day (yeah we do that alot haha wow i don't know why i started off like that) anyways. so we were passing by for references that we have from the ward and we passed by for a less active member. as we were looking for his house two women left from a house and then stopped us. they said "are you elders" we said "yes" they looked up in the air and said "oh thank you, thank you" (elder Balling and i got a little curious)

They invited us to go into a house. i've seen the house before and talked to a lady who was a member outside so we went in. when we walked in it smelled a LOT like smoke. we walk in and saw two guys sitting at the table. one big guy on the left (Julio) and one smaller guy on the right (Carlos).

When we walked in the big guy looked amazed. and he put his hands to his face and started crying. elder balling and i just stood there. one of the women that invited us in (probably Julio's wife) started patting him on the back and said, in a loving voice, "that's ok cry, just cry" he cried and cried. Then after a while. Carlos started talking he said. “wow, we were just talking about you. And here you are. This is Julio he is my best friend. And he’s going through a hard time.” He then told us that he was a member, he had the aaronic priesthood and Julio had the melchizedek priesthood and is actually a High Priest. But they’re been inactive for about 10 years.

After talking for a little more Julio stopped crying and asked us to give him a blessing. We gave the blessing and the spirit came into the room :D it was awesome! We then sat down and started talking. Julio and Carlos said that they were just talking about how they needed to go back to church. We talked to them and said, “ok, so what do you need to do to go back to church and feel the blessings that you did before?” they weren’t sure. So we pulled out the folleto (I don’t know the word in english haha pamphlet? ¿no?) The Word of Wisdom :D they looked at it for a little and then both dropped their heads. We read the blessings that come from following the word of wisdom and then we talked about it. They said. Wow we have a big problem with that. So we had them set a Goal. We asked “how many cigarettes are you smoking everyday?” “umm... about 20.” They replied. A little shocked we said. “ok can you set a goal, how many cigarrettes will you stop smoking from now, until Sunday?” Carlos looked at me and said, “Here’s how I look at it. If i needed to cut a dogs tail off I wouldn’t do it bit by bit but just once. Then it would be cut one time and heal one time.” “so...” we said. “that cigarrette that i had 5 minutes ago is my last” and with that he grabbed a boc of cigarrettes, (unopened) and crumpled it up in his hand and threw it in the trash. Haha. Elder Balling and I just looked and each other, stunned. Haha afterwards we shared a short lesson told them to keep going with the good intentions that they have and then we left.

Well, we saw Carlos a couple days ago, riding his bike (he actually came to us). And asked him how he was doing. He said. “i’m chewing so much gum.” Haha but in the three days before he hadn’t smoked a single cigarrette. :D Pretty cool :D haha as of right now i don’t know how they are doing. Haha but we have a cita with Carlos Tomorrow so hopefully everything is ok. Haha !vamos a ver¡ :D
What a great story! We were very proud of how Elder Kenison and Elder Balling handled the situation. They seemed to be very blessed.

Of course, like much of the world and especially South American countries, "World Cup Fever" is rocking Chile right now. The Chilean team won their first two games, but has to play a strong Spain team next (on Friday) and must at least tie to guarantee advancing to the next round. Matt said the country is crazy about the games. We asked if they had special instructions about their work around game times:
during the game no. but after yes. this friday we'll probably get instructions to stay in till 5. because there is A LOT of things that go on. a pizza place got broken into and stuff. kinda crazy. i don't get it. but yeah so we'll probably be staying inside. if they win.
Food was also a theme this week. These pictures show Elder Kenison digging into one of his favorite meals (a missionary staple), mac & cheese with hot dogs and ketchup. The second photo looks much better to us — a nice lemon meringue pie we think was given to the missionaries by a member!

One more photo. Since they are now entering winter in Santiago, the air pollution is picking up. Matt observed,

Sunday, June 13, 2010

June 13 update

Elder Kenison has been serving for 15 months on his mission! Time continues to fly... Hard to believe there are only 9 months to go until he returns!! He continues to feel great joy in his service, and desires to grow and improve in his missionary duties.

We shared with Matt some of our experiences during this past week which were a bit challenging (a large stake youth activity in Wyoming that encountered some weather problems) but had a great final outcome. He responded with this reflection:
that's awesome! even though it was a hard trip I'm sure i would say it was a great success. i remember in the MTC when my companions and i taught a lesson and we thought it was HORRIBLE! (especially when it was given in Spanish) we were So disappointed. but then our teacher would ask us "how did this person come unto Christ" and then we would think about it and find some ways. so... applying that to the trip. i think that it was a success. because there may not have been the firesides and everything but there was still a lot of learning going on. and they still learned a lot. i'm sure almost all of the youth that went on the trek have much more respect for the Pioneers than they did before :D SWEET!!!
His best news of the week:
we have a fetcha with Ayram for her baptism!!! i mean AYRAM HAS A BAPTISMAL DATE :D HAHA
We also asked a little about the senior/junior companion situation, which Matt has been downplaying. He clarified the mission's approach, and his personal attitude — we loved this comment:
yeah our mission does [have the concept of a senior companion]. but elder balling and i kinda don't. really if there is a problem or opinion needed we BOTH work to fix it. but if a leader is correcting us for doing something (like... getting in late or something) then i would be responsable for it. but as for like teaching and deciding what to do with investigators. we work together. :D
As for whether he likes having a "gringo" as a companion for the first time in a long time, he commented:
yes and no. we try speaking mostly Spanish. but elder Balling is in that stage where he doesn't understand everything. but he's understanding more and more. so it's kind of hard to talk to him in spanish. but he's been a Baller and he's been really patient and trying to understand. haha he's a stud.
And do they speak Spanish or English when they're alone?
probably english because we're always telling each other stories about stuff. Elder Balling knows A LOT! about like chemistry and mathamatics. haha so i've just been asking random things. haha like "how does a bomb work?" haha
Bombs??? That's important for missionary work, right???

We didn't get any photos from Matt this week, but here are a couple that came recently that I never posted.
'dancing' with a dog. haha aquiles he likes to jump on you so i grabed his paws haha and as a joke started 'dancing' (you know i can't dance) and elder Tucto took a picture haha
And then this nice action photo...
service hahaha cleaning out a yard. SWEET

Sunday, June 6, 2010

June 6 update

Elder Kenison has settled in to working with his new companion, Elder Balling. We asked what he likes most about him so far, and this was the compliment he paid:
he's animated and obedient.
He also reported that he has good, solid Spanish grammar, which will help Matt; though Matt perhaps has a bit more confidence and fluency. So they can work together well.

It turns out that Elder Balling is the nephew of a wonderful couple who live in our stake here in Orem. We'll see if we can establish a connection to the family!

Matt reported:
so elder balling was sick this week so i made smores :D they were pretty good :D haha
We're not quite sure the correlation between a sick comp and chowing down on snacks — maybe because he had some free time? He doesn't seem to be offering the food to his companion to help him recover!

He did mention later, when we asked what the best experience of the week was:
best experience. well. working yesterday because elder Balling isn't sick anymore haha it felt GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!

President Jones, the current mission president, will be finishing his mission in a few weeks. Matt has really loved and appreciated this good man. He reported:
we had interviews with the president (our last one with President Jones) so i took advantage and took a picture.

Finally, this photo, which has a great story behind it.
this is a cool picture/story these are people from my ward. :D the two in the middle just got sealed with their family. the husband (mauricio) was actually in-active for 15 YEARS! he was drinking, doing drugs and stuff like that. his wife, margarita, kept going to church every sunday she would get their four kids ready and go :D then one of their kids, benjamin, asked his dad, "dad when am i going to get baptized?" mauricio immediatly decided to fix his life. he stopped doing drugs stopped drinking and started fixing his life. and here he is about 6 months or so later getting sealed in the temple :D he worked hard. and now (as of yesterday) was called to be the young mens president :D amazing no?