Monday, February 28, 2011

February 28 update

Another week, another companion, another transfer to another area, another very brief letter... and time is running out fast!

Elder Kenison is now serving in Cerrillos in Santiago, in the sector Amerigo Vespucio.  When he wrote us today, he had just met his new (final?) companion, Elder Rupert.  We don't know a thing about him!  We only know that the new area is near Maipú (where Matt served for his second area and where the mission home now is).  Matt said he'd fill us in with more detail next week.

So we're hoping he'll have a good, steady week of working hard in this new area with Elder Rupert.  On P-day next Monday, he'll have the opportunity to return to Cartagena, his first area, to visit members there.  He did promise to find time to write us!  We look forward to that.

In our stake office back home, we have a photo board where all the missionaries serving from our stake are listed.  This part shows all the elders; there is another section for sisters and couples:

New missionaries start on the bottom row, and gradually work their way up to the top as they serve their two years.  So parents and family members are always eager to come in to the office and find where their son is now!  Well, as of this past weekend, Elder Kenison reached the coveted "#1 position" on the top row left, much to the delight of his family:

The "best two years" are almost over. We have two weeks of mission left.  Feelings are very bittersweet.  We can't wait to have our son return to us, but we also are going to dearly miss the joy of his service and the anticipation of our Monday communication.


Monday, February 21, 2011

February 21 update

Elder Kenison has been in a threesome this past week (or a "trio" as he calls it), working with Elder Smith and Elder Van Dyke.  We learned about Elder Smith last week; this is what he wrote about Elder Van Dyke:
He's from  Kaysville in Utah, he has the same time as Elder Hassler, they were in the same district. Well he's... chill haha We always talk about hiking and stuff. It's pretty cool.
So he's pretty new in the mission, but it sounds like he's fitting right in!  This was Matt's description of working in a threesome:
The first lesson we had we all testified of each topic while teaching the lesson, so it took FOREVER. We only finished two principles, faith and repentance. It was interesting so we're decided that one should teach the doctrine then the other testify and then keep going and not add his thoughts like before haha it's been a lot better.
Report on activities during this week:
We've been working with a lot of less actives. We had 19 lessons last week just with less active and recent converts. So i don't really know a lot of the names but we've just been trying to teach as many people as possible
Sounds like some very worthwhile efforts.  As for Matt's future, he expects to be moving this coming Thursday or Friday to a new area.  Here's the speculation:
Yeah. Just close to here. I'll probably replace Elder Romero, he's in Santa Lucia right now with Elder Fuhriman a gringo from Oregon. So I'll probably go there.
That would give him a little over two weeks in the final area.

One other positive report for the week:
Yesterday we had a stake conference and it was broadcast from Salt Lake. Elder Packer and Cristofferson spoke. It was AWESOME!!! They just reminded us of the things that President Monson said about youth serving a mission and also couples serving. and Sister Dalton also spoke she talked about being prepared and worthy in all times in all things and in all places. It was pretty sweet! haha
Here are two photos for the week.  The first shows
Just a picture of Elder Smith and the Metro. Pretty sweet. haha By the way the blur was planned. haha

And this one said,
just trying to get a ride.... no luck haha


Monday, February 14, 2011

February 14 update

We had a pretty brief letter from Elder Kenison today.  With only four more weeks to go, his P-days are probably going to get busy!  The only mention of progress in their missionary activities was that their best investigator is the young daughter of a ward member who is making good progress.

We tried to clarify what the next few weeks hold.  We had heard that his companion, Elder Smith, would be going home three weeks early because of school.  But Elder Speakman, one of the other elders living in their 4-person apartment, will be going to the office this week.  So Elder Smith and Elder Kenison will be working in a trio with Elder Van Dyke.  But then it gets even more confusing:
Then in two weeks some elders go home early to study. So I'll have special changes and I'll be heading out to a different area. So in my last change I'll have a total of three different companions and two sectors. haha
So this will indeed be interesting — talk about a mixed-up way to finish!

We asked if they had any special zone or district activities recently.
We had an activity today in the apartment of one of the other elders. We chilled up on the room though! On the 26th floor!!! haha It was awesome! They had a pool up there too but... we can't go in. haha But I decided that I want to own a hotel someday and have a pool on top and my house right next to it haha. 
Dream on, buddy!  Here are some photos from that apartment; pretty spectacular with the Andes in the background:

This was a fun photo; he wrote,
On Saturday we had an activity and played soccer with the young men in our ward. No one came haha but we took advantage and fixed some on the nets. haha service!!!

And then this was the best:
Just chillin on the swings haha Elder Speakman is on the left and Elder Smith on the right.


Monday, February 7, 2011

February 7 update

The week after a transfer is always suspenseful until the next Monday, when we find out the news.  So we were happy to learn that Elder Kenison will finish his mission in an area called Carlos Valdovino, in the Republica area of Santiago.  It's apparently pretty far downtown (see map in the right column of this blog), but seems to be a nice residential district.  Here's a photo he sent of the area — he said it's from a different elder's pension. but i guess you get the idea. haha (Click any photo to view larger...)

Here are three photos from "Google Earth" that show the location in the city (way downtown), the general neighborhood, and the approximate location of the elders' apartment (near the corner of Mozart and Haydn streets):

Elder Kenison's new companion is Elder Smith, from Rocklin, California (near Sacramento).
When President said that this should be an interesting change I think he said that because Elder Smith is from my same group. So we BOTH go home this change. So I don't know what happens to the area. The area though, Carlos Valdovino, has four elders. We also live with Elder Speakman (from Kansas) and Elder Van Dyke (from Utah, who is from Elder Hassler's group) so we think that Elder Smith and I will leave and the area will just be left with two elders.
Here are the two new comps:

We heard from another source (from Elder Hassler via his mother) that Elder Smith might be going home three weeks early; in that case, Matt might either get a new companion or be left in a threesome for the final three weeks.

In spite of the sadness of leaving Elder Hassler behind in Talagante, Matt seems quite excited about his new area.  We asked about the church building and the ward, and he responded:
Bigger than my other sectors though. there were about 76 yesterday. and the ward is AWESOME!!!
Really friendly, the bishop was called about 3 weeks ago so he has that "new bishop fire" it's awesome!!! He'll be coming with us this week to work with us all day :D He's awesome! The other leaders are too! :D
That's encouraging; having support and enthusiasm from local leaders can make a tremendous difference!  Elder Smith has been in the area for one change, and this is the status of their current investigators:
yeah there are some good ones, and we're finding some news. Yesterday we knocked a door of the house of a guy that Elder Smith and his last companion contacted, and the wife came out and said "Hey! we've been waiting for you" haha Her husband was sleeping but we have a time to pass by for them today. Hopefully it all works out.
Matt also sent us about a dozen photos of families and individuals from Talagante that he appreciated.  Here are a few, with his captions:
President Reyes and his wife. what a stud.

FAMILIA ESPINA haha I love this family the little boy's name is Mateo (Matthew) and he was always walking around and yelling at church. They would always make the joke when he would do something crazy "wow, all Matthews are the same." Referring to me of course

Familia Rojas. This is the family I had lunch with for my birthday. Hna Betty, the mom, is the music director for the branch, and Valentina who is only 18, is the Primary president. haha an awesome family :D

Marlene and Antonio. The ones who wrote me on facebook haha We passed by for their "store" (almacen) a lot because they have really good bread and stuff haha I would visit Talagante just to go to their almacen haha

Familia Muñoz. haha I love this family. This is the family that gave us the crazy food. (because we asked for it of course haha) they're awesome!

Simon. He's the only one in the young men's group in our branch. He came with us a bunch to teach people and gave us some references. He's going to be an AWESOME missionary! We traded ties when I left. :D

After today, we now realize that...