Monday, December 27, 2010

December 27 update

It's been a great week for the family of Elder Kenison!  Do we look happy in this photo, taken on Friday December 24?

This is the reason we're happy:

We were so delighted that the missions in Chile (or at least our mission) received a letter from SLC just before Christmas informing them that missionaries are allowed to use Skype for their semi-annual phone call home!!  Since this would be our last call, the notice came just in time to allow us to benefit.  It was such a joy to not only hear Matt's voice, but to see his face as well.  We were instructed to talk between 45 minutes and an hour, and we were just under an hour total.  The sound quality was good, but the video a little "jerky"; but we certainly won't complain.  The connection stayed solid for the first 40 minutes, then we lost it a couple of times - but always got it quickly re-established.

Elder Kenison sounded SO GOOD - happy, enthusiastic, loving the work and his companion and his assignment.  We were very pleased to have all that reconfirmed and know that he's moving forward.  We asked him in today's email if he had any goals for the end of his mission (the last 2 1/2 months), and this was his response:
Just to give it all I got. I hope to just collapse off of the plane because I'll be so tired. I want to leave it all here (in the sense that I'll take advantage of every second.)
That's a great missionary spirit, and we hope he does his very best and comes home knowing it!

It's been a busy week, but different than most due to the holidays.  On the 23rd the missionaries assembled in Santiago for a mission conference.  They held meetings with a member of the Area Presidency (whose name I don't recall) and had other activities.  Sounds like that was a great day for them, inspiring and encouraging.  We asked if he noticed any different local customs related to Christmas:
Just about the same as in the states. Just without snow and not everyone celebrates it. Kinda sad but still I saw kids riding around on their new bikes and stuff like that. haha Kinda normal. The biggest difference is that everyone has a huge dinner the day before Christmas. haha Kinda weird. We ate with Familia Espina. We ate SO much!!! I could barely walked out of the house we ate turkey. haha
Nice that they were taken care of!  It looks like the elders also enjoyed the Christmas presents they got from home, including lots of "treats" (some of the stuff in this photo that is still wrapped is for Matt's birthday, that is a couple of weeks away)::

This photo has a little less traditional "Christmas spirit" but more local character.  Matt wrote:
Just chillin in our house Christmas night. We had our dinner with a family on Christmas Eve and so on Christmas we stopped by the neighbors to buy a Completo haha and as usual in Chile a Coco-Cola haha
 Not a terribly festive Christmas Dinner, but they were happy, and that's what counts.

Otherwise, they've been trying to work more (sounds like their health is much better) and keep the work moving forward.  There were about 50 people in Church on Sunday, a good attendance compared to recent weeks.
We had several meetings with the ward which was AWESOME!!! It was a really good experience. We've set up a couple of plans for the next year. haha pretty sweet
We continue to hope and pray for safety, health, and success in their labors!

Monday, December 20, 2010

December 20 update

Today's email was even briefer than normal, because we're only FOUR days away from the PHONE CALL!! Every missionary family around the world is bursting with eagerness this week.

Elder Kenison and Elder Hassler seem to be on the mend.  We asked if they saw a doctor and if he diagnosed or prescribed anything:
It was a girl doctor and she just gave us like cough medicine and stuff. She's not a real doctor though that's the bad part.
Not quite sure what that means... but something must be helping.
yeah. we worked quite a bit this week :D haha
Here's a brief update on the work:
We're trying to work a lot more with the members. We passed by to talk to President Reyes recently and he says that he's really worried about the Branch and that he'd like if we work with activating them and stuff. So i'll be trying to do that.
On Thursday (Dec 23), all the missionaries in the mission will travel to Santiago for a mission conference.  We're sure they are going to have a wonderful experience.  And then on Friday (Dec 24) at 5 p.m. Chile time, Elder Kenison will call home to talk with his family!!

There was one very exciting announcement in today's email, though, regarding the highly-anticipated Christmas Phone Call.  The missionaries in the Santiago West mission have received permission to use SKYPE for their calls!  That means we'll get to SEE each other, as well as talk together!  What a joyful blessing. 

We appreciated, as always, the photos that came in today's email.  How fortunate we are to have all this modern digital communication!!
At our Christmas activity Elder Hassler and I were pretty much the only ones. haha Then other people came.

Our branch. Most of the people at least haha

just chilling at home. haha

Here's a picture of some of the missionaries from Orem haha and Elder Hassler from Provo haha

I sure wish we could find a way to make these two companions for a few weeks before Matt comes home!

Monday, December 13, 2010

December 13 update

We were sad to hear that the elders are still not feeling well!  Elder Kenison indicated:
we'll be contacting the doctor again because... I am sick of "home"
Unfortunately, there has been a setback with the young woman named Fanny they were fellowshipping along with the branch members.
She didn't come to church but we did pass by in the week and she told us that she can't be baptized. Her parents are really really evangelical and she doesn't want to go and do all this behind their backs. We told her that that was a good idea. But we asked her to also remember the importance of it and try to talk to her parents about it soon. I hope everything works out. She's really an awesome person.
The other good prospect, familia Salinas (the family that tried to return the Book of Mormon but Matt insisted they keep it and read it) also is progressing slowly:
but with us not being about to work much and the dad of the family working a lot it's been hard to set a time. but we're still working with them
One of the things they've been emphasizing in the mission recently is working closely with the local leaders in the branch, and recognizing their stewardship.  We thought this was a fascinating approach:
Working with the members and the leaders, we've read 1 Nephi 16:23 with them. It says:
"23 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did make out of wood a bow, and out of a straight stick, an arrow; wherefore, I did arm myself with a bow and an arrow, with a sling and with stones. And I said unto my father: Whither shall I go to obtain food?"
Then we told our branch president that he has the authority to tell us where to work so we asked his where we should work. He told us that he would need to think about it.  A couple days later he told us that he thinks that we should work in "La Palma" which is on the left side of our area. The place that doesn't have a map made yet. We told him that we'd start working there, which, with our investigators all kind of stopping progressing will give us lots of time to do so. The only problem is that it is really really far from where we live. So it'll be hard to work all of the way over there for right now. But we'll just have to go forth with faith. haha Luckily there are a couple of good members over there. haha I just hope they like missionary work. They'll be getting lots of opportunities haha
What a great way to involve the branch leaders and use their insight and inspiration to strengthen the efforts of the missionaries!

We asked Matt if he had any Christmas decorations in his apartment.  In response, he sent the series of photos that follow, along with these descriptions.  (Click on any photo to view larger.)
just getting ready. haha we found a couple of Christmas things in the closet :D

Elder Hassler remembering how stupid Christmas lights are.

struggling to put the lights on

attempting to top it off with a star. First Elder Hassler tried

then I tried

shoot failure

both trying

I think we're missing something else

darn... nothing... still. haha Elder Hassler is crying. haha

Well at least the lights work haha woot!!! We'll just have to be patient till we can "finish"

We were sad along with them to look under the tree and see nothing!!  The packages are in the mail, and we're praying for safe and timely arrival — we don't want Elder Hassler to keep crying!  We also noted that they appear to have identical ties on... new mission uniform???

Sunday, December 5, 2010

December 6 update

Elder Kenison is feeling better, but his companion Elder Hassler has struggled with his health this past week.  They've had to spend more time at home than they'd like.  We got this update about investigators:
Well Fanny is doing good. She's really the only one we can find at home. But she for some reason couldn't come to church this last week so we AGAIN have to change her fetcha (goal) for baptism. But hopefully all is good with her. For Carla we've been trying to pass by as much as we can and she just hasn't been home. She woks a lot. But hopefully all goes well. As for Angel who recently got baptized haha he's doing awesome! He went to the district conference we had yesterday
Last week, they had a 2-zone conference with the nearby Penaflor zone.  Matt reported:
Well really it was the same as a normal zone meeting (the meeting we have every Tuesday) but this time it was just with more missionaries. And President was there. He came in when we were split into our separate districts and he listened in. haha I was teaching the lesson, haha but it was good. he talked afterwards, with all the missionaries, about how we can better involve the bishop/president in the missionary work in our ward/branch. It was really good.
The main joy of the week was that we received TWENTY-EIGHT photos — a new record!  Matt wrote:
Well consider this your Christmas present for now haha I'll give you your actual presents in about 3 months haha
We'll share some of the best, and save a few for future weeks when we don't receive any (which often happens).  A few weeks ago they had a zone activity where they apparently hiked to a nice overlook.  In this photo, Matt wrote just loving all of my companions in the zone — these are all former or current companions!

This one shows more of the fellow missionaries, including some familiar faces:
chillin with some of the missionaries haha from left to right: hermana Redondo (honduras), hermana Collahuazo (Ecuador), elder carvajal (utah), me haha, hermana Smith (haha utah and from Orem!!!) and hermana Landeen (also from Utah)

And this is "classic Matt" — he wrote just trying to get some extra energy before the hike. :) haha  Any guesses what that is he's about to eat??  (Remember, this is the guy who ate a cockroach in high school when the "pool" got high enough!)

When the last changes occurred, Elder Kenison went to the office to pick up his new companion, and in the process saw some former companions and friends on their way.  This photo is sayin bye to Elder Simmons and Elder Rawlins. :(

Last week, to celebrate some birthdays in their area, they made a cake.  He also wrote HAPPY BIRTHDAY NICOLE!!! (even though it was on the 27th) in honor of a friend back home.

Next step:
finished frosting but... it's missing something and we don't have sprinkles, but.... we do have no bake cookies haha :D WOOT!!!

This one was captioned divin' right in haha
And then, dang... no more cake (a couple days later haha

Two more nice photos.
so since we've been inside we've kind been talking a lot haha and one of these days (Thursday) Elder Hassler and I got REALLY trunky haha so...
This is Elder Hassler wanting to pet his dog haha

And finally...
This is Elder Kenison (me haha) thinking it's crazy that everyone is getting married, so I made some brownies, but didn't want to wait forever and cook them so.... I just ate the batter haha