Monday, October 28, 2013

A final football note, camping and serving faithfully

Football is over!
Chase and his some of his Lehi H.S. football buddies
All four boys ended the football season last week and we finally breathed a sigh of relief. Chase lost his final game on Senior Night last Thursday against Lone Peak. As sad as it was to bid farewell to his teammates on the Lehi H.S. football team, Chase was happy to be playing against his friends from United Rugby on the Lone Peak H.S. team, whom he will be joining soon for the upcoming 2013-14 rugby season.

Mica and Quinn both lost their final games but Kenyon's team pulled out a narrow win in their final game of the season. He had the opportunity to play quarterback and hopes that it is something that he can work towards for next season.

We are proud of the hard work and determination they showed throughout this football season and look forward to watching Mica, Kenyon and Quinn play again next season.

The weather was perfect, the setting was beautiful and just about everything seemed ideal for a great time with the Scouts in our local troop. Seti has been having monthly overnight camp-out's with his troop since we moved into the Lehi 41st Ward a few years back. It's hard, frustrating, time-consuming work but it does have its blessings and rewards.

Troop 1241 - Lehi 41st Ward
It has been great being involved in the Young Men program over the years, especially as our own boys began moving through the program. It has been tough trying to mentor, coach and teach these boys because there are unique challenges with every youth. But we have to maintain and believe that what we do is for the greater good and that we are doing it to help build men.

Seti has been involved with each of our sons in the Young Men program and is now with Kenyon in the Deacon's quorum for a little bit longer. Quinn (who went camping with Seti on Friday to earn his Webelos badge) will be a Deacon a year from next March. Are we old? Only on paper :-)

Enduring to the end
Teaching young people on Sunday's is no easy task. We teach our 14-18 year-old's in Sunday School and then Seti teaches the Deacon's Quorum during the third block of our meetings. These callings have been taxing but it has taught us humility and it has given us a deeper love for our sons, a greater appreciation for the youth of the Church and a greater, more urgent desire to serve.

This past Sunday we had a rare unruly class. The Come Follow Me program is divinely inspired. Even though we have so many youths in our classroom all wanting to be heard at the same time - it is the Spirit that has calmed them and given them strength to be good young men and young women in the gospel. It is hard but it is so worth it! Especially when you see them develop and share their own testimonies.

A baptism
Elder Matua sent us an email today to inform us that he and his companion had their first baptism last week. He's enjoying the work so much but was very sad that he didn't receive any letters from us or from his friends last week. So, we are going to write him a bunch of letters tonight for Family Home Evening and send them off in the morning.

You can read more about Elder Matua's week and see some of his recent photo's on his blog.

Congrats uncle Adam
Jen, uncle Adam and the boys
We have been so blessed to witness the success of members of our extended family. On Sunday we were present to witness the passing of the guard from the outgoing leadership in Adam's battalion to their new leader Major Adam J. Kolowich. The military has been a big part of our life because of the service of Jen's brothers Adam (here in Utah) and Nick (who resides in Texas).

We want to once again congratulate Adam on this remarkable accomplishment and wish him the absolute best as he takes on greater responsibilities with his battalion. He's a great example to our sons!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

It's been another eventful week with just a few quick updates.

Another Eagle Scout
Chase - Rippy Literacy Center
Before the Eagle Project was started
We nag. We prod. We kick, punch and poke - Okay we don't really do the latter but you get the idea.
One of the primary goals that we set out as a family was for each of the boys to earn their Eagle Scout rank before they leave on their missions. We prefer that they get it done before they turn 16 but obviously each boy has their own way of doing things and both Kingston and Chase decided that they would get it done when they are 17. Regardless, Chase has finally done it! He did his Eagle Project in December 2012 (a new coat of paint for the Rippy Literacy Center) and had his final Eagle Board of Review last Thursday.

Chase w/Nancy (Rippy Literacy Center Manager)
after his Eagle Project was completed
We are so proud of Chase's hard work in fulfilling all of the requirements to earn his Eagle rank. We are working on getting Eagle projects selected and approved for Mica and Kenyon and hope to have one big Eagle Court of Honor for the boys. We will keep you posted.

Family Time
In keeping with our theme to spend as many precious moments with our boys before they leave our home on missions, for school and to experience the world on their own, we took a drive up American Fork Canyon with some of our Kolowich family to experience the fall colors. We stopped at Tibble Fork Reservoir to let the kids run around and enjoy the fresh clean air and wonders of nature.

As we stood by and watched our boys interact with their younger cousins we reminisced briefly on our blessings and watched with admiration, the interactions between each set of parents and their own children. Our children grow up so fast - it may not seem that way when they are clinging to us as little toddlers but when they are off on they are off on their own you wonder more and more where all the time has gone. We are so grateful for every moment that we have to spend with our boys.

Can you suggest other family activities that we can take part in this Fall/Winter?

A Technology Challenge
In our Sunday School class we talked about using questions to effectively teach others about Christ. One portion of the discussion was dedicated to having meaningful conversations to strengthen relationships with those whom we interact with. As part of the lesson we talked about the benefits and setbacks of technology and showed the video "Things as they really are". The video highlights the remarks of Elder David A. Bednar and the gospel's stance on technology and how it can be used for good.

So much of our time is taken up by technology, particularly social media and gaming that we lose sight of what matters most. We even had a classic example of that on Sunday as each one of us had our head buried in technology rather than taking the time to have meaningful, heartfelt, relationship-building face-to-face conversations. We have taken up a challenge to be more conscious of these things by limiting our time on technology and focusing more on actual conversations. It has become a lost art that we hope as a family to reestablish and work on together.

What are your thoughts on technology?

A Missionary Challenge
Elder Kingston Matua (we clarify this point so as not to confuse with his cousin Elder Wilson Matua) is really enjoying the work in Kona, HI. He and his companion have made significant headway with part-member and non-member families in the area where he is serving and will have their first baptism today! Read more about it on his blog.

In this week's update Kingston shared once again his love for the work but one thing impressed us enough to share with you here - he wanted us as a family to have a missionary plan/goal to push the work forward here in our own community and Ward. President and Sister Warner challenged the members in the Kona area to have a mission plan to bring the gospel to others. We were reminded of this same missionary game plan by Elder S. Gifford Nielsen in the last General Conference in his talk "Hastening the Lord's Game Plan."

We aren't quite sure what we will do as a family to rise to the challenge but we know that we have a responsibility to do what we can to assist the work.

What can we do to help move the missionary effort forward?

We are loved
We are truly blessed to have friends and family who love and support us. We express our sincere love and appreciation for your kindness, your service and love. Our Heavenly Father has given us so much and we pray daily to find ways that we can repay your love and His through service.

We look forward to another productive, eventful and fun filled week! May you all be safe and blessed by His love. Soifua ma ia manuia lenei vaiaso!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Lehi Beats American Fork
On a rain soaked field, the Lehi High School football team did what they have failed to do for the past ten years - beat American Fork High School. Mica's team absolutely destroyed the home team last Tuesday night and on Wednesday in front of a stunned crowd, Chase's varsity team repeated the feat.

When the Cavemen jumped out to an early 14 point lead in the first five minutes of the game, the Pioneer faithful hunkered down for another long night of what everyone expected to be a blow out. But after that initial assault of points, the Pioneers found their defensive legs and held the Cavemen scoreless for the rest of the half to go into the locker room with 14-3 lead.

From the very beginning of the second half it appeared that Lehi was a team possessed. The Pioneers ran in 28 unanswered points and denied the Cavemen from scoring again until late in the fourth quarter for a final score of 31-21.

Both Chase and Mica did very well in their respective games and look forward to another big test this week against a Herriman team that sits alone at the top of Region 4. If Lehi can secure another win and Lone Peak and Pleasant Grove fall to their region opponents this week, Lehi may eek through into the playoff's for the first time since 2004.

Wish us luck this week!

Birthday Girl
Jen celebrated her birthday this year in an unorthodox way but it was exactly what she wanted to do - we started painting our bedroom and bathroom after Quinn and Kenyon made her breakfast. Since moving into our home here in Lehi we haven't done much to change the look and feel of our home but its time to brighten things up a bit and upgrade a few things to give it a newer, fresher look.

As an added treat, she spent the day with her sisters in Tooele visiting a dear family friend, Nanette Abarca who was recently diagnosed with a rare brain tumor. We are all saddened by the news of her diagnosis and prognosis but they were all uplifted by Nanette's positive attitude and outlook, vowing to fight the disease with the help and support of her loved ones and friends. We wish her the absolute best and ask that you keep her in your prayers.

We rounded off the birthday celebration's with the Saratov Approach (highly recommended for too many reasons to list here). Jen cried through most of the movie because of what those missionaries had to endure but also because she's always thinking about her own missionary in Hawaii. We had a nice visit from Grandma Karen who always show's us so much love. We are grateful for her kindness, love and enduring support!

But the biggest surprise for Jen was receiving a care package from her missionary son in Kona, HI. What an excellent gift. It absolutely made her day.

Update from Elder Matua
Speaking of our missionary, we got our latest update and some photo's from Elder Matua that have been posted on his blog. He sounds so positive and upbeat after conference and transfers that its hard not to feel happy along with him. With the news of the tragic loss of two more missionaries this past week alone, we have been praying earnestly that Kingston and all of the missionaries around the world are safe as they preach the gospel. We are truly grateful for your prayers on Kingston's behalf.

Fall Break
The boys are headed back to school tomorrow after spending most of the time lounging about, hanging out with friends, complaining about doing their chores, asking to spend more time with their friends, complaining about doing homework and giving us headaches. But we still love them (somehow) because without them life would be boring, right? We have another busy week ahead as Chase completes his Eagle Scout paperwork, Mica and Kenyon work on their own Eagle Scout paperwork and potential projects, work, work and more work. Life is never dull in the Matua household.

Enjoy your week family and friends. Please email, Facebook, call or text to let us know how you're doing.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Bishop's Storehouse and another General Conference weekend

Monthly Service Project
For nearly three years now we have been attending the Lehi 41st Tongan Ward and as part of our ongoing commitment to serving others our ward participates in a monthly service project stocking shelves at the Bishop's Storehouse in Lindon. The project was started by our former Bishop, Stan Raass and has carried over with our current bishopric. We have made it a point as a family to attend every month unless there is another obligation that cannot be rescheduled. Even when only two or three of us can go, we would rather have some representation there than none at all.

It has been an absolute blessing for our family to understand the great support and assistance that the LDS Church provides those in need through the Bishop's Storehouse. So many lives are blessed through this incredible service but those of us who serve there also feel the blessings when we give our time and energy in an uplifting way to build the kingdom of God. We highly recommend that you, our family and friends, find service opportunities in your communities and in your local churches to serve others.

General Conference Thoughts
After General Priesthood Session
l-r Seti, Kenyon, Chase, Darius, Mica, Julius and Dillon
Holidays are a special time for all of us because of the traditions and the spirit that we feel, particularly during Thanksgiving and Christmas which are fast approaching. But General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints plays an equally significant and special role in our lives as family and as individuals. 

Every six months we have an opportunity to listen to living prophets, draw closer to our Father in Heaven and bare witness that Jesus Christ is our Redeemer. As we listen to the talks given on Saturday and Sunday each April and October, it is remarkable that each message holds something of value and importance in our lives and in the lives of the people we love. Some of the common themes were of course family, the atonement, missionary work, serving others and being faithful in our duties as men and women in the gospel.

There were of course controversies that were addressed but I'm impressed by the fact that even when these issues and concerns are addressed, the leaders of the church do so with kindness and love without malice. We have noticed throughout the years (and perhaps this has something to do with the urgency that our church leaders are feeling in these difficult times), that the talks are very direct. There is also a feeling that members of the church must be more bold in proclaiming the gospel and increasing our efforts as missionaries in our local wards. 

We have so much to do and we recognize immediately that our duty as parents in our home is to solidify our purpose as members, teach and encourage our sons to study and live the gospel and to be better examples in every aspect of our lives. General Conference was as usual inspiring, humbling and informative.

Elder Matua Update
We have posted the latest email from Elder Matua on the blog and hope that you will take a moment to read it. We are impressed by the mature tone of his recent personal letters and can feel the intense desire that he has to learn more, study with purpose and to work harder every moment he is teaching the gospel. We recently sent him a package with a stack of the recent issue of "The Friend" because he has been working with a lot of children in part-member and less-active families. He says that kids are drawn to him which really does not surprise us because of his relationship with his youngest brother Quinn and his 'kid at heart' nature. We miss him dearly and request your prayers on his behalf and for all of the missionaries serving throughout the world.

Chase lost in a real shoot-out (final score was 71-50) against Riverton last Friday. It felt more like a basketball game on ice than it did a football game. Let's hope they find some defense to compliment the offense tomorrow against American Fork, a tough region rival. Thanks to grandma Karen, grandpa Matt, uncle Kevin and his boys, auntie Alisha, uncle Adam and everyone else who have come out to support and cheer our football players.

Mica is painting a mural in his room. We have pictures of his progress but he's too embarrassed to share them with the world and promises a meltdown of nuclear proportions if we share with others. So the pictures will be coming soon because ... we love meltdown's. HA!

Kenyon will someday be a world leader of some sort. We are always amazed at the number of friends that kid has and how he seems to be surrounded by kids who are twice, sometimes three times his size. If he is not some kind of politician than he's probably going to be a news anchor or sports analyst because he has a lot of insight on just about anything. We would not mind having an ESPN analyst in the family.

Quinn? Well let's just say we're trying to stunt his growth and skip his birthdays because we can't stand the thought of him ever leaving us. But Quinn has plans of his own plan's of his own. His teacher tells us that he is quite a leader among his peers. We don't like that one bit - he's supposed to follow us around forever!

Until next time family and friends - be good, be of good cheer and cheer for all that is good in the world.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Heroes, Mascots and Missionaries

With Chase before Homecoming Dance
"We're making memories!"

That has been our family theme since last year when we realized that we have such a short time left with our sons before they leave for missions, college and .... other stuff :) We tried desperately to make sure that every 'first' for Kingston (drivers license, prom, graduation, temple, etc) was a major milestone and we're doing the same with Chase this year as he prepares himself for the next phase in life - the life beyond high school. It is such a bittersweet time for us but we are so proud of our boys and the examples that they are setting for their young brothers.

Heroes and the Mascot Bowl
Jen had the incredible opportunity to spend the day with the wife of a firefighter who lost his life, along with 18 of his fellow Arizona Granite Mountain Hot Shots colleagues in July. Juliann Ashcraft's husband Andrew perished in the fire but his memory lives on in the way that Juliann and her children are living their lives and through the inspirational story of the "Be Better" wristbands that were inspired by Andrew in one of their final family home evenings together. In the short time that Jen spent with Juliann (she and her husband were honored at the Lehi High School Mascot Bowl), they were able to form a bond through their love of family and the gospel.

(L-R) Kelcey, Jen, Cosmo and Juliann
As part of his Sports Marketing class at Lehi High School, Chase took part in the organization and fulfillment of the 10th Annual Mascot Bowl which has become a highlight for many here in Lehi and surrounding communities. Chase said it was exhausting but it was well worth it because of what the the Mascot Bowl represents and what it does for the community. Since we moved here to Lehi, Kingston, Chase and Mica have been privileged to play in the bowl game and Kenyon had his chance last night. This has been such a great thing for Lehi and for our family.

Hot Chocolate and football
Chase got his first interception of the season in their homecoming game against Spanish Fork on Friday. After the heart-breaking loss against Pleasant Grove two weeks ago, the victory against SF helped to ease the pain and it was a good way for the team to enjoy their homecoming weekend.

Mica's team earned another victory on a cold and blustery Thursday. They did so well against the Spanish Fork sophomore team that their coaches were able to give their entire team some playing time. Mica has really enjoyed playing this season but he is very happy that he is learning and working hard to put more muscle on his frame.

Quinn's team had a bye this week but they used the time off to work on their fundraiser. If any of you are interested in buying a case of apples for $20, please let Quinn know.

Finally, Kenyon's team fought hard but eventually fell to a very disciplined American Fork team. Kenyon plays hard on offense, defense and special teams but he's always looking for more ways that he can contribute to the team.

More aloha from the Big Island
Every Monday we look forward to an email from Elder Matua in Hawaii. You can read his latest update on the blog. They are getting shorter but we hope that this is due to the fact that he's too busy doing the Lord's work :) We have also received some heartfelt letters from him in the mail and are encouraged by the growth that he has experienced already in the short time that he has been in the field.

He sends his love to all and says that he prays for all of us at home. He is having such a wonderful time and he is making his own memories as he serves the people of Hawaii.