Monday, December 30, 2013

Dearest Family and Friends,

    Thank you all for your love and support this week! It was so good to see my family on Wednesday! I miss you all so much and I'm glad to know that you're doing okay. You all look and sound great!

    For starters, on Monday we got to go to the beach for a party with our mission! It was so much fun! We had catering, football, we wore jeans, and we had some Hawaiian elders play us some Hawaiian hymns! It was so beautiful! We weren't able to get in the water, but we still had fun playing in the sand and taking pictures and talking with other missionaries. The ocean is so pretty here in Florida, we had a private beach, but you could still see the bridge going to the next key and it was lit up like Vegas at night!

    Tuesday for Christmas Eve, we celebrated by taking cookies to some of our investigators! For dinner we went to Hermana Tapia's (our ward missionary) and played games that she taught us. We ate fried pork fat... nothing like biting into something crunchy only to find more grease! :D It was great though, because Cindy and Cornelio were there and they all got super dressed up! We also had a lesson that day about the Plan of Salvation with some of our newer investigators named Paco and Antonia. The lesson went really well, they are both really excited to learn and they have a great fellowshipper!

    Wednesday for Christmas, we went over to our neighbors house, her name is Almida and opened our presents with her because she didn't have anyone to spend Christmas with. She was so surprised when we pulled out a stocking just for her filled with oranges, chapstick and candy canes. It was so good to see her face light up!  That's the part I love most about serving,  is the faces of those I've come to love lighting up with the brightness of Christ. 

     After that we went to district meeting where we had a very instructive training on how to sip hot cocoa from a tim tam cookie ;) After that we did a white elephant and I got some froggy socks!!! We then proceeded to give out cookies to as many investigators as possible, in the process setting up two dinners for that night. I've never eaten more meat in my life! We have agreed that we are going to try as hard as possible to only eat vegetarian this week! 

     We talked with our families around four which was probably the best present of the day! I call it my little family-in-a-box. The time went altogether way too fast! Afterward, I felt like I was in two places at once, because I was walking around in 89 degrees Florida but my heart was still in chilly Utah with my family for Christmas Day. 

     After that we went to the Arguetas and had more food with them (bleh!) and taught one of our investigators named Miguel about the meaning behind Christmas. The day was a huge success and so much fun!

     The rest of the week went by really fast. We did exchanges and another Hermana named Hermana Rasmussen came down and we taught with her. We had so much fun laughing and sharing stories about the mission. We went to a less-active members and he was really funny because he was trying to talk in English. Bless his heart, he was trying to say that he danced the "limbo" but he kept saying the "bimbo." We all tried so hard to stifle our laughter.

    The miracle of the week is that yesterday we had 7 investigators at church! Mike, one of our investigators who we've been trying to get to come to church for weeks, finally came! He loved it! At this point, I suppose he could be baptized this Sunday if he wanted! We also had Carmen come who is a really strong Catholic and she enjoyed it too! At our lesson with her, instead of saying "I'm not going to change" like she normally does, she said, "It's going to be hard to change." Our lessons with her are really spiritual too. She is beginning to change and it's amazing! What a blessing! I feel so blessed to be teaching these people right now, I love seeing the Lords hand at work.

     Well that's my week in a nutshell hope yours was just as fantastic! Loves all around!

Hermana Mathis

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Feliz Navidad!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas season, and enjoying the snow! Right now it is 89 degrees and sunshiny! :)
So this past week has been super fun! Because there are three of us and like a million people in our area to teach and only so many hours in the day we've been doing splits lately. This has actually been a really great blessing because we have been able to interact with the members and reach out to more people than normal. With the Christmas season people's hearts have been a lot more cheery and open to our message and it's been great.

We had a really great lesson with one of our investigators this week named Ema. When we first got to the house, she wasn't there and only her 3 sons were, but she had told us she would be home at that time and they assured us she was on her way, so we decided to wait and teach them the first lesson because two of them had never heard it before. We started teaching and they all because very interested. When we taught the first vision, Mateo, who we had given a Book of Mormon to, said,"Lehi had a similar experience!" We were astounded! He understood perfectly and he's 16! So we kept teaching and we had their full undivided attention. They read the introduction and asked questions. About the time we had taught them the whole first lesson, Ema returned with her sister. She insisted that we teach the whole lesson again, so we did! Then with our little audience, we asked them if they would be baptized and all said yes! It was possibly the best lesson I've ever taught since coming in the field. Everything went perfectly. I even knew all the right words in Spanish! That's a first!

We also had the chance to run a 10K this week. Wahoo! I think that I should just state right here and now that before this I had never run a 10K in my life... or six miles. So when I hit the finish line, I felt very accomplished that I had not only ran the whole thing, but that I had passed out cards along the way! It was a great experience for all of us missionaries to reach out to the people in our area. Most of the elders in our zone ran it and so did about 5 other sisters. Me and Hermana Nebecuer (my running buddy from another trio) finished before everyone else excepting a few elders, and we received medals! (I think they were just handing them out to the first 100 people in or something). I know that I could not have done it without the help of God or without the help of the scriptures. Yes, the scriptures, because when my heart felt like it was going to give out on me and my lungs were going to burst the scriptures are what we quoted to keep our minds distracted. I will send pictures next week if I have them by then.

Hermana Nebecuer & Myself after running a 10K
I read something this week that really stuck out to me that I would like to share with you all this Christmas season. It is a scripture in 1 Timothy ch. 6 v. 5-6 and it says "Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain."

I wanted to share this because in the world today there are many who seek gain, especially with the Christmas season, but godliness, or rather striving to be like Christ, is "great gain." I know that as we strive to be like the Savior the blessings that we gain are far greater than anything earthly. May we all have our hearts turned to Christ this season.

Merry Christmas!
Hermana Mathis
Ecclesiastes 3:1-10
"He hath made every thing beautiful in His time."

Monday, December 16, 2013

 Ok, I have so much to write about this week so I'm just going to jump right in.

This week we have done so much! We started the week with a good lesson with Mike and it has just been going rather splendidly since. We were able to visit most of our progressing investigators this week and everyone's talking marriage! We're hoping to have 3 marriages by the end of this transfer,  but we'll see.

Christmas at Cindy's
We've been seeing so many miracles. One of those miracles was that we had 5 investigators at church yesterday!
Me, Newbill, Ema and the pizarros
We had a Christmas party Friday. Mostly all of our investigators came to that as well. The members have totally been befriending them and we're starting to see some rapid progression.

Matching for the Christmas party!
This week we met with Chavela who has been investigating the church for over a year now and we finally committed her to baptism! Yes things are really going well.
Santa and Cindy
The highlight of this week was obviously the Christmas party. I love the latino culture so much! They went all out. We had lights, decorations, more food than you could ever dream of, a DJ and dancing! And when I say dancing, I mean everyone dancing with everyone. It was a blast and a huge success. Like I said,  most of our investigators came and they had fun! People were talking with them and exchanging numbers and it was awesome! It was so fun to goof off on the dance floor with all our friends.

Tachima, Alex y Moises con Santa Clause
Also this week, we had a false alarm as far as food goes. We thought we had heard Cindy say that our plate of delicious meat and rice was dog meat, but it was just beef. I'm so relieved, but we went like two days believing that we had eaten a domestic animal! It made us all sick just thinking about it.

Is that... dog? This is a plate of food the Cindy and Hermana Tapia fed us, they said is was dog jokingly so we thought it was but then we asked them later and they said it was just beef... so I guess we didn't eat dog afterall.
Anyways I really have to go, but I love you all. Have a good week

Hermana Mathis
Stocking Mom made me.
Dear Family and Friends,

I would first like to point out that contrary to the title of this email this week was not easy, however many people did feed us cake so, yes, it was very much a cake week. 

We have been working really hard this week to see all the people we need to see. I have officially been out for a whole transfer in Florida woot! We were scared that one of us would have to leave this transfer but we are staying together for one more at least. We are going to loose our other Spanish speaking companionship though, they are both leaving and thus we get the whole peninsula! We now have added on to our plate several investigators, more less actives, and all of the south to go finding in. We have been so busy that we haven't even had the time to set up our Facebooks yet. We should be getting those set up this week though, we will see. 

Hermanas Birch and Larsen left us! So sad.
We're going to miss them so much!
We had a quite a bit of member present lessons this week. We are so happy to have the members to help us in lessons. I in particular am happy for the fact that they can speak the language and explain the lessons in more detail than I can. The language has been trying, but I feel like I'm starting to make a lot of progress again. I gave a talk in Church yesterday about hope and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ all in Spanish. I thought it was a little speedy but everyone assured me that it was perfect and that they could understand what I was saying. Phew! What a relief! 

Happy Birthday Tachima!
I have only the best things to say about our investigators. They have all been doing so well. With the holiday season and with the flu going around it's been hard at times to get to everyone we want to see, but the Lord blesses us daily with people to see. We were even blessed with the chance to meet with a few people who we thought we had lost. I really love these people. I thought about what it would be like if I were transferred the other day and I began tearing up! These people just have such great spirits about them! They really are the greatest. 

Love these girls! 
For those of you who may be wondering what the weather is like here. I think that it is perfect. Lately it has been all sunny skies and cool breezes. The palms are starting to yellow and it's really beautiful because it's not a dead yellow, it's a very vibrant yellow. With Christmas season coming, we see lots of poinsettias about more so, for me, than usual. I've grown quite accustomed to the crystal-like water and the emerald patches of forest. I'm lovin' this city by the bay :) 

Have an amazing week! I love and miss you all. 

Hermana Mathis

Monday, December 2, 2013

Dearest Family and Friends,

How was your Thanksgiving? This week has been one of many meetings, much traveling and lots of Turkey. Thanksgiving was great! We had three dinner appointments! Luckily we only ate 2 and a half. We spent most of the day giving out pies and setting appointments but it was really good. I may never eat turkey again, especially not Mexican chili pepper turkey, but like I said, all is well. 

I was really impressed though how dressed up people get for Thanksgiving even though for Hispanics it's not really a holiday.  It's very different, instead of stuffing the turkey with bread they stuff it with more meat and instead of mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes they eat rice or pasta. 

We have experienced a lot of miracles this past week. Most of those being that we finally got in contact with people. Funny story: We met with one of our contacts, Myra and when we showed her the Book of Mormon she was like, "Oh yeah! There were missionaries like you back in Mexico, lots of them! Yeah they had this 'presentacion' where people were dressed in white and they dipped them in a little pool, and 'me hicieron' (they did it to me)." You can imagine our shock. We were like, wait...what? So she may or may not have been baptized but either way we are going to start teaching her and if she hasn't been baptized, she's very open to the idea! 

We also were inspired to show up at just the right time to some places. Yesterday we went to go visit Tachima, who we have been trying to get a hold of for a while now, and when we came she was moving out! Had we come one day later she would have been lost. 

It also turned out that she was super frustrated because they don't have a truck and needed some help but nobody would assist them. So we called up one of our members and he came and helped them out. Her husband, who was super opposed to the church, now has a more open heart towards us and a friend. He and the member we invited (Jose) really "hit it off." They are totally friends now, it's awesome! 

It's just so amazing when we stop worrying about our time and start to realize things happen in the Lord's time. He really does have a plan. He knows where and when and how things need to happen to bring His children back into the fold. It's easy at times to get discouraged as a missionary when things don't go the way you planned, but I know that the Lord has a plan and he is executing it. I feel so blessed to witness it.

Have a fantastic week!

Hermana Mathis
Me and Hermana Tapia. Cindy was doing her hair when we came over and she put this walmart bag on for a cap I thought it was pretty funny. Hermana Tapia is a hoot we love her!