Monday, January 31, 2011

January 31 update

We had a very short letter from Elder Kenison today, and soon discovered why:
Me voy! :( chuuuuta jaja. yeah I've got changes. It'll be interesting. President sent me an e-mail that said that "it should be an interesting change." I don't know what to think about that. haha I'm kind of nervous.
"I've got changes" in current lingo means "I'm being transferred" for us old timers.  So Elder Kenison will spend the last change (6-week period) of his mission in a mysterious new assignment.  We don't quite know what to make of the President's comment either!  And unfortunately, we won't find out the details until NEXT Monday!  So we'll have to be patient this week.

A further comment on his feelings about the change:
meh. Glad... sad... in the middle. I just want to stick with Elder Hassler for a change more. He's such a stud. haha He's like my brother. Definitaly someone I'll remember.
We're happy they've had such a good relationship for the past 12 weeks.  It was unfortunate that part of that time was spent taking turns being sick. But we hope their good friendship will be able to resume after the mission.

Meanwhile, updates on the work:  the appointment with Familia Salinas mentioned last week (to teach the Plan of Salvation lesson) won't take place until this Tuesday, so Matt will have to pass that one on to Elder Hassler.  And in other news:
We're working with a reference [referral] that we got from a member (the President's brother) and we've been teaching Jaqualin (no idea how to spell her name. haha) but she's been progressing really well
We assume that's the branch president's family member — should be a good opportunity!

We also asked him to review a typical morning schedule.
This week was all service meetings and service. But normally we get up 7:30 and do exercises (which are rather pathetic, normally just stretches), study for an hour as a companionship and one hour alone. Then language study for 30 minutes. But this week was rather different just service service and more service. We sanded down wood, painted and cleaned haha
Interesting!  He promised to send photos and more details about the service projects next week; that was all the time he had for today.

Six weeks from now, Elder Kenison will be completing his final interviews and saying goodbye to Chile!  Hard to believe!!  We hope and pray his final "change" will be a wonderful, successful, and joyful one.

Here are a couple of bonus photos (not recent, but certainly typical):

Monday, January 24, 2011

January 24 update

It sounds like Elder Kenison and Elder Hassler continue to work hard and do their best.  This was the summary of the week:
Well we've passed by for several people this week. trying to animate them and trying to get them to come to church and stuff. We've been trying to pass by for people in our sector and teach them. We found Fanny!!!!! We set a cita and passed by and she wasn't there. So we decided. maybe if we don't set a cita she'll be there. So we just randomly passed by the other day :) it was awesome! The same thing with Rafael, a less active member. With work it's been REALLY hard to find him because he works a lot, but yesterday we felt like we should pass by for his house. and he was home!!! haha It was awesome!!! Also we got a time to pass by and talk to Familia Salinas :D it's kinda sad because they just let us know that their friend just past away, but we were already planning to teach... The Plan of Salvation. Elder Hassler and I will be doing some practices to try and get good at teaching it. Elder Hassler mentioned to me recently that he hasn't ever taught the second lesson. Kinda crazy. But I'm not surprised because it's SO hard to find people at home. Everyone at this time of year is working, working and working some more.
For the "Liahona project" (preparing copies of the Church magazine to be distributed in public places) he reported:
yup just gluing and gluing and gluing some more... haha
They've been gluing their contact information on the magazines; they need to get them distributed now so they can do some good!

We asked about his experience as a district leader, and what he tries to accomplish when they have divisions with other companionships.
Just be an example. Be animated and show them that you love them. Really I just want to get to know them, why they're here on their mission, what their family is like, stuff like that to help them. I try to help them with whatever I can.
As for the progress in the district, he reports:
In the district we have about 9 baptismal dates set with different investigators and more and more are coming to church (something we've been focusing on in our district and zone meetings).  Just kinda waitin on our sector to get goin. haha
There will be "changes" next week — and Elder Kenison will begin the last 6-week segment of his mission.  We asked what he expected would happen:
I don't know. I could stay because it's my last change but I might go. I'm kind of out of ideas in this area. If I stay I'll just do my best. haha I'd like to stay because there is NO way I could have a companion as big of a stud as Elder Hassler
He really seems to be enjoying his work with Elder Hassler as much as any companion he's had in his mission — that's wonderful!  He also commented about their time together:
I was sick a lot so we didn't get to do alot in the sector. But I got to teach him lots of Chileanismos (slang terms) haha and so he's been able to understand people a little better now. haha and now he's saying "ok hermana gracias por todo, pero tenemos que echar al pollo, cuidese mucho" meaning really, "hermana thanks for everything but, we've got to split, take care." haha People laugh when they hear that froma gringo. haha But Elder Hassler's Spanish in general is AMAZING!!! We had an appointment yesterday with less active members. They've been members for a LONG time and they know LOTS of missionaries. Somehow we started talking for little about how Elder Hassler is new. They were suprised that he's only been here for 3 months and talks so well. haha He'll be speaking better than I do when he has a year in his mission. easily. haha He's a stud
As for recent food experiences:
Elder Hassler has been talking about that. A while ago we had "prietas" and "riñones" - prietas is a mix of a type of meat and animal's blood, usually from a pig or cow. haha And riñones are kidneys hahaha So we've had a good experience. This wednesday we'll have lunch with the hermana again. I hope all goes well haha
Recently they had a multi-zone conference with Elder Corbridge.  Today, Matt sent this "annotated photo" showing people he pas particular connections with.  Fun to see his comments:

 This was labeled as, waiting for the bread to cook, and killing flies haha — we like the homemade fly-swatter!

Looks like they kept the flies away pretty well.   making bread. haha (mom I learned so I can make you some when I get home because I know you like bread)

Continuing on the food theme, this one was: come y bebe (eat and drink) a "fruit cocktail" without alcohol haha just a popular thing that Elder Alonzo taught me to make haha it is DELICIOUS!!!

And here's Elder Hassler, enjoying the last of Elder Kenison's birthday cake (with the nice chocolate frosting we mailed down special for him to enjoy!):

Here's my study wall haha — he loves his photos!

And finally, this photo seems like Classic Matt:

Monday, January 17, 2011

January 17 update

This week's update on work with less active members:
Yup still passin by and still working with some of them. We've been talking to the Famlia Armijo (ar-mee-ho) they're awesome! Kinda just slipped away from the church because they live kinda far and they changed branches so it's kinda hard to leave all of your old friends behind and try to make new ones. They told us that they want us to pass by more. We told them that we would but only if they go to church and stuff. Because we don't want to be spending a lot of time with them and have nothing come out of it. haha They assured us that they would work hard and attend church.
That sounds encouraging!  Meanwhile, some additional progress:
We found two new investigators. AMAZING investigators. haha We received a reference from Hermana Espina (the hermana we ate dinner with on Christmas eve) and we passed by for Carlos and Alejandra. Alejandra has LOTS of questions and has kind of bounced from church to church so she asked a lot of questions. Carlos wasn't a part of really any religion so he was just kinda chill. he told us that he just wanted to listen. So we taught the first lesson (La Restoracion) it was awesome! With Alejandra's questions we told her that we would clear them up one by one, but over time. haha Because I've had the experience when you try to teach them and answer all of their questions all at once. It's impossible! So we're trying to go step by step in the process. So hopefully all works out with them. We've passed by for a couple of other people but they haven't been home.
I love that "Chilean" way of expression - "passed by for" someone!  haha

The mission recently had a visit from Elder Lawrence E.  FirCorbridge, a member of the Area Presidency and of the First Quorum of Seventy.  This was Matt's report on the content of his message, and of an application that soon came:
The spirit, the spirit, the spirit, the spirit, the spirit, the spirit, the spirit, and more about THE SPIRIT!!! It was cool because he asked,"If I was an investigator and I asked you, right after you had taught me a lesson, yeah well, why is this important? Why do I NEED to change my life? Why do I need to change religions?" (Which was interesting because Carlos asked us the same question later that day, and we replied just the same as Elder Corbridge told us to)

"Because in your life you can receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, which gift, is the greatest gift of God that we can have in this life."

Carlos then asked us, "But I've already been baptized." We then reminded him that we had talked about the authority to do so. It was pretty cool. So really Elder Corbridge told us to focus on the MIT the Most Important Thing. (he said it in English too haha) and so, for example, in the lesson about the restoration the most important thing (in most cases) would be the spirit, a gift that we can receive that helps us feel "peace, love, and every good thing"
We'll hope for continuing progress in these efforts in weeks to come!

Monday, January 10, 2011

January 10 update

Elder Kenison and Elder Hassler continue to spend much of their time working with less active members.  Elder Kenison described the efforts:
good just kind of frustrating. We have some of the most amazing visits with them (not because of us of course haha) but then for some reason they just don't come to church. But all it'll take is patience. and a little effort on their part. Hopefully they'll come around
No photos today, based on this report of the P-day activities:
We actually had a little "get together" as a zone. We played sports, soccer and kinda hit around a volleyball. And then we watched a movie, the Emma Hale movie. I'd never seen it. It was SOOOO good :D Then we ordered some pizza and ate it there. But SADLY I forgot my camera. :(  Sorry
We always hope for some fresh new photos, but can't complain since we're generally pretty spoiled.

There are now 9 weeks to go in Matt's mission.  There will be one more "change" in three weeks.  He really loves being with Elder Hassler, but chances are they will be separated with this coming change.  We suggested to Matt that he should give a gentle suggestion to President King about being near Elder Poulsen for his last change.  He apparently did pass on the suggestion:
Yeah I did. I told him, "On behalf of my mom, and kind of myself, I just wanted to "mention" that I wouldn't mind being around Elder Poulsen for my last change." haha I told him at a conference that we had recently so Elder Poulsen was right there so Elder Poulsen kind of asked him the same thing when I asked him. It was pretty cool haha
This was the final thought from this week's letter:
Well one weird one. haha A couple nights ago I was exhausted and so I went to bed and feel asleep right away. haha And while I was sleeping I dreamt of me walking around, and I was SO tired (in my dream) and then I woke up. haha It was weird. I dreamt of being tired. Kinda random.

Here's a cool quote, "Live every day like it's your last, and you won't regret it once time has past."
Thanks, Elder — keep working hard!

Monday, January 3, 2011

January 3 update

As we enter the new year, we (Matt's parents) are now aware that we have only 10 p-days after today.  That's all!  We will miss these wonderful days of communication.

We were delighted today to hear that the elders are "alive and kickin!"  Good to hear they are back to full strength and working hard again.  Elder Kenison said Elder Hassler is making great progress in learning "Chilean":
Awesome! He had an hermana say yesterday after he said the prayer, "Eres kapo el Elder Hassler!" haha pretty much saying, "Elder Hassler is a stud" haha he speaks EASILY better than I did when I had a year in my mission.
We asked about the earthquake that occurred Sunday in Chile.  It was magnitude 7.1, which is not as big as last year's 8.8 but still very large.  It was about 300 miles south of Santiago, and fortunately appears to not have done much damage.Matt commented:
No I didn't feel it we were walking around the street really fast. haha But i did hear about it. That's crazy!
As for New Years traditions and celebrations, this comment:
Yeah there was a firework display thing. And there is a custom here that on new years you give a hug to the people at the beginning of the year to wish them luck. haha So we didn't knock many doors because people would think we're wanting to give them a hug. haha but it was good. There were hugs and kisses and everything given to everyone yesterday at church. haha Elder Hassler turned to me and said, "Too much love!!!" haha I just laughed, and said, "Welcome to chile... haha"
It sounds like they continue the focus of working with the members to encourage better involvement and support:
We've been working a lot with the members and also trying to get the new area organized so that we can make sure that EVERYONE gets a chance to accept or reject our message, so that we can be the most effective. We've been visiting the members that live there, even though there are only three families and only one of them are really active. We've tried to visit them and get to know them a little more. like their families and also their schedules so we can know when they're working or available. :)
We found this story particularly interesting:
We passed by for a less active member recently, Nestor. haha he's a stud. He speaks English too so we'd randomly switch off from one to the other haha it was kinda annoying for Elder Hassler I'm sure haha. But we talked to him a bit. He let us know that he had talked to his boss and that he won't have to work on Sunday anymore. We were excited to hear that. But also we just talked to him for a bit. He told us that for new years and stuff he just spent it all alone. We felt kinda bad that we hadn't heard of it sooner but we just talked for a little to get to know him. Then he asked us if he could share a couple of ideas that he had to help us as missionaries. haha
We told him that he could. He told us that we need to "dejar huellas" which means like, leave prints, or a path. For example, he said, if you want a dog to come into your house, you'll leave treats along the path so that they'll go where you want. He told us several different ideas that he has to do that with people really, to find the ones that want to learn more, and if they want to learn more, (want more treats) they'll follow the path.
One of the ideas he had is that we could pass by for the houses of members and ask if they have any Liahonas that they're not using and then with those we could pass by for "pelucarias" (hair cutting places) hospitals, or anywhere where you would have to sit and wait. And we could leave them there. But also put a little piece of paper on every 5 or so pages that says "if you have any questions, or if you would like to learn more, call this number......." Then we could leave our number there for the people to call if the want to learn more. He told us that he has TONS of ideas. So yesterday we spent a good part of the day passing by for members. haha Now we have more than a hundred Liahonas! haha We just need to print off the little papers and glue them on. haha Nestor says that his ideas are that the investigators come looking for us, not us for them. So we're going to give that a try. And for this week just do what we normally do and kind of give that a while to start and hopefully some people start calling. haha
Here's a picture showing the results of that effort:

Interesting idea!  We'll be eager to see how this goes.

Two more photos.  Elder Hassler is trying to get Elder Kenison to like sauerkraut on his completos:

And then this "mission photo" — Elder Kenison on the lower right, Elder Hassler on the far left: