Monday, August 30, 2010

August 30 update

Elder Kenison is getting used to his new area in the Esmeralda Branch.  We asked about his companion, Elder Carvajal, and told him we assumed he was Latino when we heard the name - we were surprised to hear he was from SLC.  Turns out his father is Chilean!  The two mature elders seem to be getting along well:
we're loving it haha kinda hard with the spanish because people still don't ALWAYS understand us but it's all good. haha we're workin hard :D
Here's the current summary of the work in their area:
well right now we've been trying to find new investigators and NO ONE is there or they're not interested. but still we're working. the Branch is really good the members work but we just need references. for example we want to have more lessons where a member can come with us, and there are several that can, but we don't have investigators to teach. but we have a couple contacts that we'll pass by for this next week. haha
As for their apartment - apparently it's in need of repairs, or better yet, replacement:
the pension... well we'll be changing this next week into a new one. the one we're in just... well there is a lot of water problems haha the sink leaks and so there is always water everywhere. but really we just found another penison for really cheap and it's a lot bigger and nicer. haha it's out of our area but it's only a short walk so that is the down side but it's all good.
The branch members are working to strengthen one another in some creative ways:
every Thursday the elders get together and go out home teaching i don't think they have assignments but it's like a "mas o menos" thing not many people show up to it. just like 3 or 4. so hopefully that get get going that would probably be a huge help. haha
No new photos today (he left the charger for his camera at his old location and needs to wait for it to be sent to him).  But here are a couple from recent weeks I didn't post yet.  Apparently the Elders went to a Chinese restaurant, and Elder Kenison saw some interesting figurines that he had to try to emulate.

The first bore this caption/description:
a chinese resturant. just so it's not like apostacy i imagined him like Enos haha quote:

2 And I will tell you of the wrestle which I had before God, before I received a remission of my sins.
3 Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart.
4 And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens.
Enos 1:2-4

The second one says:
also at the restaurant haha i've noticed that i'm a very un-flexible person haha

Monday, August 23, 2010

August 23 update

Elder Kenison had changes this week!  We still struggle with the terminology.  Missionaries used to get "transferred" periodically, but now they "have changes" — at least in Chile they do.  I wonder where that came from.

Elder Kenison is now serving in a city called Talagante, which is about 22 miles southwest of Santiago.  He's in the Esmeralda branch.  The map on the right column of this page shows the location of the new city within the mission (click on the small map for detail).

This image from Google Maps shows the Talagante area.  It's a little mountainous to the north, but the area in general is pretty rural and agricultural:

The area where Elder Kenison is working is towards the lower left of the above map.  In the one below, you can see the Church building where his branch meets on the left center, next to a green lawn; his "pension" (apartment) is on the vertical street that is in the lower right corner:

His new companion is Elder Carvajal.  When we first read that name today in one of the first email messages, we were sure he was a native; but it turns out he is from Salt Lake City.  He's been serving for about 21 months, and will go home after two more "changes" (in about 3 months).  We don't know yet the reason these two "senior comps" are together — Matt didn't give us much info.  He did say he's a straight up stud. haha what more is there to know. pretty much he's just awesome.  And then:
Elder Carvajal and I are both senior companions so lessons are really chill. we both talk in lessons and both teach it's really cool.
Here is a photo of the two companions:
Elder Kenison commented:
oh by the way you'll have to tell Elder (Spencer) Mecham. haha he trained both of us haha we call the trainer our dad (weird) and so in that sense elder Carvajal is my brother haha (but aren't everyone brothers and sisters haha) yeah whatever but you'll have to let him know.
This was the report of the first few days of work in the area: 
we've contacted and knocked lots of doors and we've just met LOT'S of people who ended up saying "yeah i was baptized a long time ago and i'm inactive now" so we'll be helping them get to church
He seemed quite optimistic about the branch they are working in:
church was great! i'm acutally in a branch now. haha i'm pretty glad to find out how one works it's a little different. but there were 67 people in church last sunday (in Las Industrias 65-70) so pretty much the same
One highlight of the week was a conference on Saturday with Elder Richard G. Scott. The meeting included all of the Santiago West and Rancagua missionaries.  Elder Kenison reported on this unexpected topic of the conference:
it was amazing. there were a couple practices and then Elder Scott talked about marrying a good girl. haha it was a little surprising. he said "this may be the only time that we meet in this life, so there is some adivice i'd like to give you" haha he then asked the elders what they thought a good date would be after the mission, one elder said go to see the temple outside, elder scott reminded him that it was the first date not the last haha.
some elder said that group dating is better and how we should always date in a group. elder scott said that that is really just like hanging out. he asked the sister missionaries their opinion on the topic of having a group date and every one of them said that they wouldn't like it. haha (the elder really got shot down haha but in an ok way)
    some elder said "elder scott you said in the liahona last year.... and you said.... and so that is what you said..." elder scott looks at the sister missionaries and says "would you like that" they said no. then he said that that had been said in a different context to a different group of people. haha
it was interesting it made me think. what do i really want in a wife. but amazingly i didn't get trunky at all. haha it was cool. he then had us promise that we should marry a girl who is... oh i forgot the word, haha i wrote it down. like really just example. the idea i got is. work hard and marry up. don't be lazy and settle for less. pretty cool meeting. haha
Three classic photos to conclude.  His description of this first one said:
I rested my feet and studied (mom please don´t get mad they already had a huge hole in them and i didn´t have any others like them so they were the only pair. haha)

These last two also convey a unique aspect of his personality:
the caption of this one is "Like MarLyn, I too have a hard time "describing how much I really love Nutella" haha (and don´t worry i did get the little bit left haha
Elder Balling then FALSELY accused me of eating HIS Nutella, but i told him i´m innocent haha he wouldn´t take my innocent face. I never figured out why. haha

Monday, August 16, 2010

August 16 update

It's that time again — "changes" for Elder Kenison!  He learned today that he will be transferred to a new area in the next few days, but doesn't know where yet.  And so, that means we won't know until next Monday!  We'll be very eager for next Monday's email.  We asked what he would miss about Las Industrias:
the people, the people and more the people. haha oh and being close to a huge mall that we can go to every monday. haha
In addition to "changes" this week there will be a special mission conference that will be held next Saturday.  All the missionaries from both the Santiago West and Rancagua missions will be meeting with Elder Richard G. Scott.  Matt is very excited!

Elder Balling is STILL not back to full strength - poor guy!  We hope he'll be much better soon.  The elders have continued to work as they could, and rest and study in between.  This was the latest update about Marienela, one of their favorite investigators, who is struggling with a very busy life:
yeah really it's her younger son. hes in a wheelchair and sundays are HIS days really. so his dad (who doesn't live at home) comes down and spend the day with them. so, she said that its really out of her control but that she'd ask her "husband" if they could start the day in the afternoon at like 1 or 2. when church gets over. :D hopefully she asked :D
In anticipating "changes" this week, Elder Kenison wrote:
right now i'm just a little nervous for changes. at the rate that President King is going this may be my last area :D please pray that i get a good area :D like meaning a hard one so i'll learn a lot. :D haha my goal is to see a ward change. the one here is SLOWLY doing it. but if i'm going to be in my next area for a long time i'll have time to figure everything out, follow the spirit and hopfully work hard so that i end my mission (in chile because my mission will continue on forever.) haha
We love the attitude of eagerness to work and serve!  Matt has mentioned previously that he would love to go to the "campo" — the more remote areas away from the city and from the coast.  That would be nice for him to have that kind of opportunity.  With seven months to go, I'm not sure he'll have only a single area for the rest of the mission.  But we'll be eager to hear about his next opportunity!

Here's a photo from last week showing Elder Kenison in front of the Santiago Temple:

Monday, August 9, 2010

August 9 update

It was another tough week, as Elder Balling continues to work through his illness.  We asked Elder Kenison if he's being careful not to catch "the bug."
yup :D i'm good. eating a LOT of fruit. haha
Here's one experience from this week:
well recently i actually went on divisions with another elder. because elder Maldonado is also sick. so we stuck Elder Maldonado and Elder Balling in our pension and then Elder McMurray (a straight up baller from Washington State, see photo) and i worked in their area. and then two days later worked in Las Industrias. and we passed by for Marianela. the problem is that she does a lot and so Sunday is her only "free" day with her son. but we'll find a way to get her to go. haha she's awesome! and her son recently said that he's always wanted to be a member but hasn't had time. haha
Here's the photo of Elder Kenison and Elder McMurray:

Matt seems to be enjoying his new mission president:
we recently had a conference with him. it was AWESOME!!! haha he's been talking a LOT about the Book of Mormon. haha it's been really cool.
Here are a couple of photos Matt took at that conference with some of his former companions!  He really enjoyed the chance to see them again.

Monday, August 2, 2010

August 2 update

Elder Balling wasn't feeling much better this week, so it was another slow week.  It sounds like they had minimal contacts with members and investigators.  They were checking in again with the doctor, so we're hoping and praying for a full recovery!

Meanwhile back home, I had some email contact during the week with a member who lives in their ward in Las Industrias.  He said some really nice things about Matt — how hard-working he was, and how he hoped his own son would be that kind of missionary.  I asked Matt to tell me more about Hermano Mauricio Parra.
he's... AWESOME! haha he was literally a miracle. he was the one who was making some mistakes and was inactive for 15 YEARS! and now he's active actually he's the young mens president and his wife was recently called as the Relief Society President :D pretty awesome :D haha but their son, Paulo, was the member who gave us Gabriel as a reference. and recently we started teaching another one of his friends. haha the family is AMAZING!!!
It was wonderful to hear such positive things about Elder Kenison coming from someone who sees him in action!  Mauricio concluded with, "My commitment to you is to care for him and provide all my support, as if he were my own son.  I greet you my brother from my heart, brother Mauricio Parra."  Wow.

There was one other story that some members of our family will appreciate.  One of Matt's aunts on his mother's side is named Kristin.  For reasons that are too long to explain, she used to have the nickname of "Fern."  More recently, she's been called "Aunt KK" — and that's the background for this comment:
ALSO haha funny story. so mom, i'll have to call your sister Aunt Fern from now on. haha because KK in spanish or "queque" (sounds the same) means cake, but in chile it means "butt". so if you say "hermana i like your cake" they laugh and say "elder no it's "torta". so "hermana i like the torta" it's better. but i've decided that, unless Aunt "KK" is ok with me laughing every time i say her name she'll probably just have to get use to the name Fern hahaha :D
Typical missionary humor!

The only other thing to report was that we received an envelope from Elder Kenison with some letters to some of his friends here (it's cheaper for him to send four letters in a single envelope to us, and have us re-mail them).  On the outside of the envelope he had affixed this sticker of the flag of Chile, with a little addition that made one person in our home say "Awwwwwwwwwwwwww..."