Monday, November 29, 2010

November 29 update

We had a short report this week.  Elder Kenison and Elder Hassler are trying hard to get over their illness — it's especially frustrating to not feel well as a missionary.  This was the summary about their physical condition:
meh. ok. Still a little sick. when we're inside we're fine but when we walk around outside we feel terrible so we've just been working like part days. Kinda lame. But just doing our best
They're also "doing their best" to keep up with investigators, encourage them to attend Church, and continue learning.  We'll hope and pray for improved health and better progress in the coming week!

We were pleased to get a few new photos this week.  This one shows the two missionaries on the day they met, with President and Sister King in front of the Santiago temple:

And here is a closeup of the two happy companions:

Monday, November 22, 2010

November 22 update

We (Elder Kenison's parents) both have jobs where we spend a good portion of the day in front of a computer screen.  So we're often watching on Mondays when the emails from Chile start to arrive, and we've enjoyed the chance to "interact" by replying to emails while Matt is online. In addition, he's been replying to a lot of our individual comments and questions in the emails we send to him.  But it looks like there will be a change in that procedure in the future.  Matt opened his email to us today with this notice:
we recently had a meeting this last week and president talked about how we shouldn't plan on sending e-mails back and forth to the family. I asked him myself if it was ok because my parents work with computers and are always on and lots of times it's just about questions that I've got.
I still don't understand why but he told me, and all of the other missionaries, that it is better if we send one letter to the family. I don't know why but the "why" really isn't important. The fact is he's my leader and I should do what he says. So I'll be reading your letters and everything but I won't be responding to them like I did before.
 We were a little disappointed about that, but at the same time, thrilled that Elder Kenison is willing to be obedient and do his best to follow the instructions he is given!  We feel that's a significant sign of growth and maturity, and are proud of his commitment.

Meanwhile, there have been some challenges this week in Talagante.  Last week Matt mentioned that he had a persistent cough, but it looks like things went downhill:
to tell ya the truth we haven't been working very much because I've been pretty sick. I've felt like I've been able to work so we did a little but then when I heard that I had gotten people sick. We decided we'd stay home. Elder Hassler is getting a little sick too. But we'll be passing by for a doctor this week "¡si o si!" so we can both get better. But the investigators are doing good
He did feel well enough for a little district activity today:
today we all ate together at a little place it was pretty good. it was "comida jarabe" haha just kind of like a sandwich wrap with meat and chicken it was pretty good :)
This was the update on his new companion, Elder Hassler:
He's a stud. haha We're pretty much like brothers. Like the same jokes and stories and stuff it's kind of funny. lots of people we're saying the it's really stressful to be a district leader and a trainer especially both at the same time. haha But I've loved both of them. haha "despite being sick haha" but for training it's pretty easy, I often forget that I'm training because Elder Hassler really just acts like he's been here for a long time. He knows the people, his Spanish is actually pretty good. He'll be speaking like a Latin when he finishes his mission. haha He just struggles with understanding what the people say. haha but Latins, who speak perfect Spanish, have a hard time understanding Chileans for a long time.
We're grateful to hear that he continues to love his companion and the work they do together.

He concluded his letter with this:
I heard something cool in church yesterday. An Hermano said that when we're in church we need to LEARN, then ACT, and then SHARE. I know it's kind of obvious but I was thinking. "do I do that?" when I learn something does it help me be a better person. Then do I share that with other people, even if sharing is simply through my example

I have a scripture that I found that I like haha that despite being sick and stuff it can still be applied to Elder Hassler and I, It's

2 Nephi 5:27
"And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness"
We still didn't get any new photos this week.  But I found one on a Facebook page of one of the other missionaries who is connected to us — one that really portrays that part of Matt hasn't changed!

Monday, November 15, 2010

November 15 update

Elder Kenison has been serving for 20 months on his mission (including the 2 months in the MTC), and this week met his 11th companion, Elder Jared Hassler.  We asked where he is from:
Elder Hassler is a "greenie" — just barely arrived from the MTC — and so will have some of the normal challenges of adjusting to the new culture, getting comfortable with the language, etc.  But it sounds like they are off to a very good start together.  Matt is pretty easy to get along with, but we believe he has been very blessed to have wonderful companions throughout his mission.  We were able to contact Elder Hassler's mother today, and she also reports her son said the two have become best friends already.  We're looking forward to photos and more reports in the future.

Meanwhile back in Talagante, the work is progressing.  Fanny came to church on Sunday but her boyfriend Francisco didn't make it.  They're hoping to have a baptism soon with that couple!

There are two young women in the branch named Sindy and Simone, and Matt reported:
They're both been working a lot, passing out Books of Mormon and stuff really trying to help us out. It's been awesome! We taught one of Simone's friends, Ivan, and one of Sindy's friends, Carlos. It was pretty cool. both of them are pretty interested. :)
We loved this little story.  When he was waiting for his new companion to arrive he worked for a day in Maipu, near where he served previously:
When I was in Maipu on divisions on Monday Elder Merino and I (my companion for the day) were walking down the street looking for an address. and we stopped and talked to a lady. When Elder Merino said, "Hi we're servants of Jesus Christ, and we'd like to bless your house by saying a prayer." She looked at us and started to cry. I don't mean cry like cry I mean cry like.... she was bawling.
We went in and blessed her house, and she said that we could not have come at a better time. Her husband had made some bad choices and had left the family. It was pretty crazy. But it was such a good feeling to help. I'll have to check up on how they're doing later. haha it was awesome! :D
 As I mentioned, we didn't get any new photos this week.  But here is one from last week that I found intriguing.  Matt said
some guy a little drunk just sitting on the curb. and my zone and i were waiting to take a bus (when we went to pomaire) and so i just sat down and talked to him. about nothing really he just wanted money. so we said that he could go and get a job and stuff . haha it was prety cool though.

This is typical of Matt's personality — just talk to anyone, even a stranger on the street dealing with some challenges.  But to have him comfortable enough to do that in Spanish is one of those good signs of his comfort level in the language!

Here's a final photo, showing Elder Kenison with Elder Urbieta, one of his previous companions, who also went home (to Argentina) last week:

Monday, November 8, 2010

November 8 update

 This was a busy week for Elder Kenison and Elder Carvajal, who is now on his way home!  During the final week of their missions, the elders are allowed to visit two of their previous areas, and Matt was able to accompany him.  They visited Maipú, where Matt worked previously himself, and the Llo Lleo, out on the coast near Cartagena, Matt's first area.  Matt commented,
I've realized how amazing the coast is. haha the air is AMAZING! i didn't realize that when i was there because i was new and didn't know what the air in santiago was like. it was good though i love it. i miss the people in the coast. haha then we go to maipu and i miss the people from there haha
And of course, they spent time saying goodbye to members and investigators in their own area.  This photo shows Elder Carvajal with Carla and Mitchell; Matt said,
she came to church last sunday and said that she really liked it :) that it was a good experience and that she'd like to attend more.

 This is another investigator named Fanny — she and her boyfriend are investigating:
yeah they're progressing great. haha they have a goal for their baptisms :) but i think we'l have to change it because they didn't come this last sunday because they went to a birthday party for a friend.

The best news of the week was the baptism of Angel.
Elder Carvajal and his last companion found him knocking doors. we've taught him since i've been here. his wife is not a member, she's really nice though but never wants to talk to us when we pass by. he does have children but they're older now and have moved out
He was baptized by the Branch President, Presidente Reyes:

This is a photo of the district where Matt and his companion have been serving:

And this is the Talagante Zone — they look like they have lots of fun:


This was a fun photo from an event a few weeks ago.   Matt wrote:
this is from the "weekend misional" the two youth were with me on Sunday and the couple was with both of us on Saturday and with Elder Carvajal on Sunday. pretty sweet. the couple have a daughter serving in Peru

This was a classic missionary story, about trying to continue to teach and nurture:
we stopped by for Familia Salinas. an awesome family. the dad though didn't really want to listen more. he handed the Book of Mormon back to us and said, "about the prophets and about Christ we agree. but once you add the point in about Joseph Smith and him writing some book, i don't believe" we said, wait, Joseph Smith didn't WRITE this Book. in fact there is NO WAY it would be POSSIBLE for him to write a book like this. he translated it, like the Bible, prophets wrote this book. the difference is that this book was translated by a prophet who was given power from god.
we handed him the book back and said, "would you like to read from the start? you can read the introduction and the testimony from Joseph Smith that is written there. maybe that will resolve some questions." he smiled and said that he would read.
so hopefully it all goes well. out of I think every investigator I've had I've prayed more for him and his family than for anyone haha.
We will hope and pray too!

Matt was able to arrange a "surprise farewell party" with some members of the branch for Elder Carvajal.  He sent several photos of the fun they had:
starting out, waiting for the people to come, haha playing the piano. "chop sticks" haha
Maragarita (left) and Claudia (right) margarita is the hermana that cooks SO good haha we've made so much stuff in her house. and she sells completos that are SO good haha and claudia is a recent convert
this was realy happening. haha all of the hermanas were telling elder carvajal "eat this, oh have you tried this" those cookies in his pocket were not put in for the picture they were already there haha

The rest of the photos show what happened when missionaries get carried awake with cake and frosting, and then before you know it, the branch president gets involved!

Monday, November 1, 2010

November 1 update

Elder Kenison's companion, Elder Carvajal, is now entering the last week of his mission!  That means some special activities for the missionaries.  Elder Carvajal has some relatives in Chile and has permission to visit them before he departs; and it sounds like there was a mission conference, and some other trips going on.
this week we've been going to all sorts of places, santiago and stuff, now i'm in san miguel close to my last area. because elder carvajal has permission to say bye to his family. haha but we've had to cancel lots of lunches this week (so i took out money to buy lunch, for more than one day) so really i've missed eating really good food haha
It's nice that he appreciates the "really good food" provided by members in his assigned area.  Eating on the road probably means the Chilean equivalent of "fast food."  The travels will continue; on Saturday, they will go to two of Elder Carvajal's previous areas (Maipu and Llo Lleo, out on the coast).  Then on Monday, Elder Carvajal begins his journey home and Elder Kenison waits to hear who his new companion will be!

There has been some progress with investigators.  We learned today for the first time about a man named Angel (pronounced Ahn-Hel) who is 60 years old and married; we're not sure of the family situation or how he got connected with the missionaries.  He is having his baptismal interview today!  We only learned this:
Angel is the investigator that we have that has read the entire Book of Mormon and half of the principles of the gospel book. haha he loves to read. we were kinda surprised when he accepted the challenge to be baptized. but hopefully it all works out :D
That's great news — we'll look forward to more details next week!  We also heard about a new investigator named Carla:
she hasn't been able to go to church because her husband gets drunk the night before. so we're kinda trying to find a solution
We did get this second insight about her:
she's a progressing investigator. she's really cool, but she works at a hospital and so she has to work a lot, and sometimes on Saturday night so it's hard to go to church. we're just trying to get her to attend church. but we're guessing that her husband is finding ways to make it so she can't go.
And then he shared one additional experience:
yeah we passed by for a new investigator, Fanny, (pronounced F-aw-ny) haha, and we talked to her a bit. she said that she LOVED reading and so we gave her a Book of Mormon and had her start from the start. then she asked us if we have like meetings or whatever in the church. we told her that we did, every Sunday at 10.
On Saturday we passed by again, actually it was interesting because we had an activity in our district where some people from other districts came over and we had a "weekend misional" (missionary weekend) there was a missionary couple that came with us for a little and then on Sunday two kids came with us. it was AWESOME!!! we stopped by to see Fanny with the couple, and Fanny told us that she read the first 20 pages, and didn't understand it (because of all of the names) so she read it again, she still didn't quite get it so she read it a third time. so we described who the people were in the Book of Mormon, the family and everything. and she said that she'd keep reading.
On Sunday (yesterday) she came to church :D haha with her boyfriend (who lives in a different house than she does) and she brought her daughter. it was AWESOME!!! we watched a video about he plan of salvation and she asked "how can i be baptized?" haha we laughed (out of excitement) and told her. she told us that she would be continue coming to church and everything. :) i was awesome :D hopefully all goes well with her.
Nice to see some enthusiasm, and some good new prospects in the work!

Finally, Matt admitted that his official release date, according to the "trunky papers" received last week, will be March 15.  So the countdown begins: only 19 weeks, or 133 days to go!!