Monday, January 27, 2014

Dear Family and Friends, 

This week was fantastic! One of the most spiritually uplifting weeks of my life! 
I have very little time to write today so I'm just going to do bullet points for the week to let you know what's been going on:
  • Tuesday: we dropped off Hermana Newbill. It was very sad, but I'm sure she's doing well she's been transferred to Lehigh Acres. 
  • Also Tuesday we taught Paco and Antonia, they are a couple we are teaching. They are both progressing really well they haven't been to church yet but they have interest. 
  • We taught an amazing lesson playing MASH but instead we called it CHILD with some recent converts in our ward named Maria and Alexia. We wanted to teach them about being a child of God because they are really young but before arriving we had no idea what we were going to do. When we arrived I got the idea to play MASH, I haven't played that game in years! What we had them do was write some blessings of living the gospel on one side of the paper, some things they could do to follow Christ on the bottom, and on the other side some people they knew in their life. We then picked a number and unlimited answers as we went. The idea is to have one from each category that will describe your future. In the end mine said that if I would pray for Tachima (one of our investigators) I would be happy. Alexia's said that if she would serve her dad she would feel love. It worked out perfect. We told them that CHILD stood for Cheerful Hopeful Intelligent Loved and Divine which are all characteristics of a child of God. They loved it so much they wanted to play again and again. 
  • We had stake conference. It was amazing! Elder Kopiscke of the 70 spoke and also Elder Nelson of the Quorum of the 12! He gave a really good talk on all the basic doctrines of the gospel. I learned a lot about how to simply teach it to our investigators. In the Saturday night session the Recent Convert of our old District leader got up and spoke and made us all cry. She carried with her such a strong spirit and she gave us hope for our investigators. Also one of the stake leaders talked about how we need to teach our family first. It made me think of all the family I have that I could share the gospel with, even though they are all pretty much members already. 
  • We also had a conference in Brandon with the whole mission. I was so happy to see Hermana Brough again! Man I love that girl! The conference was SO GOOD!! I feel so spiritually energized right now! Elder Kopiscke was there too and he and an Elder Thompson from the area 70 spoke to us about our desires as missionaries and about obedience. They also opened the discussion up for questions. One question was how do we be bold in a loving manner? It was just what I wanted to know! They told us some stories their missions and also how it's best to just be clear when your teaching. 
  • We've been talking about being bold lately, so me and Hermana Duong decided that we were going to be bold last night in one of our lessons. It went so beautifully! All our appointments canceled but it was a member's birthday so we decided to go to her party instead and her non-member best friend was there. She was really sweet and let us teach her the beginning of the first lesson. So there we were in the middle of a birthday party teaching the first lesson to everyone present! It was awesome! By the end she agreed to meeting with the missionaries more and reading the Book of Mormon. She told us that she had always thought the church was weird and that we cleared that up for her. Haha she asked us if we all got planets when we died. I was like, "I call Jupiter!" We didn't have time to explain to her the whole plan of Salvation so we just told her the basics of what we believe about life after death. 
  • Also we had the most amazing lesson this week about the Holy Ghost with Alfonzo the spouse of one of our less actives. I can't even explain why it was so wonderful you'd just have to had been there to feel the spirit that was there. He is progressing super fast too. I will have to keep you updated.  
Anyways that's all for today, turns out I had more time than I thought. I hope you all have a wonderful week and for all you missionaries out there be obedient to every rule and when you've done that search out more rules to be obedient to and never miss a prompting. I know we can accomplish great things! I love you all.

Con Amor,
Hermana Mathis
Happy Birthday Romanee!

This is Elizabeth. She is a doll. She made us all our little hats.

We love the girls in our Ward!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,
Ok, so there is so much to say and not much time to say it, so here it goes:
First off, Hermana Newbill is being transferred, so I will no longer be in a trio. I've got to admit I'm kind of scared to be taking on more of the lessons, but I know that the Lord and Hermana Duong will help me. I'm really going to miss Hermana Newbill, she has helped me grow so much! Especially with the language.
This week we taught 24 lessons. This is our highest amount for the transfer. We are pooped!
We also decided that this week was a week of movies. We watched the Testaments with a few of our investigators and Finding Faith in Christ with a recent convert. We also were fed a lot this past week. We didn't have to make dinner once. We had shrimp, flautas, pork, rice, salmon, pasta, salad (this is a miracle people, just saying!), and soup. 
Right now we are focusing on getting people married obviously. This has been our focus for basically the whole transfer. This week we really got down to business. We asked people what their doubts were and taught them about the Family and the law of Chastity. It's been very trying, but we're starting to see more desire to repent.
The highlight of the week was probably setting a date with one of our investigators named Ema! She is very ready, she has a very strong testimony too! Every lesson with her just is better and better. We're also working on setting a date with one of our other investigators, Carmen who's sister is a member. We'll see how it goes. Other than that we may be dropping some people who aren't progressing because we just have too many people to go see.
Interesting story for this week, so we started teaching a woman who speaks Portuguese how to speak English through reading the Book of Mormon. It's quite interesting crossing two languages to teach one message.

Anyway I got to go, but I love you all! Have a wonderful time serving, studying and working.
Con Amor de Largo,
Hermana Mathis

Monday, January 13, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

We're finally all moved into our new apartment! It's apartment #149, just so you know in case you were going to send a letter. It was a ton of work, but so worth it. We now how two bathrooms and bigger kitchen space to work in, not to mention we actually have a study now. We were very fortunate to have the help of our ward mission leader and his younger brother to help us move all the furniture. I think we chose one of the coldest days of the year in Florida to move though, haha, typical. Plus that night we accidentally left the window open because the new apartment smells like cat, so it got really cold. I woke up feeling like they had changed my mission call to Antarctica! 

Tuesday we taught one of our newest members who had just moved here from New York! He's awesome! He totally made our day; already he has been a help to us. We also taught our date set about the family, we're still trying to get them married, overall though the day was really great.

Wednesday was also one of the coldest days of my mission so far. We did car checks outside at 9 in the morning and it was so cold we could see our breath, yes! in Florida! We passed our car check with flying colors. I think it helps that our car is brand new and still looks perfect. (We drive a 2013 Chevy Cruise.) After car checks, we had our Zone meeting. I think it was the best Zone meeting I've ever been to! We talked about using the Book of Mormon in lessons and being the most enthusiastic missionary you know. I took several notes and am feeling that greeny fire all over again! I also gave a member a haircut on Wednesday too! So much fun! It gave us the chance to talk with her about missionary work and to calm her fears.

Thursday we just taught all day, we were pooped when we got home. The miracle of the day was that we were able to teach Meyra for the first time. She is that girl who I talked about earlier who may or may not be a member. We taught her about the Book of Mormon and she said she felt something she hasn't felt in a long time. We could feel it too, the spirit was so strong! Later that night we saw Cindy and Cornelio and we taught them. They are so good to us. I could never leave this area because of them, I love them so much they just have the cutest family! Cindy is really close to baptism, once again, they just need to get married!

Friday was a very long day as well. We taught a lot of lessons. We also contacted this guy who is completely crazy! When we called him to confirm he said, "I saw you in your house, it was nice! Are you going to get the vegetables?" He's really cooky! We couldn't teach him at all because he wouldn't let us, he had his clothes on inside out and his bird tied to his shoulder by a string. He kept telling us how he casts out devils of all his neighbors. I was seriously scared! We will probably not be contacting him again. Nope.

Saturday was our spiritual day. We taught Carmen who is gradually progressing. Every lesson we have with her just gets better and better! We had a member come to her lesson this week and I think that really helped. Even though her sister is a member, it helps to have someone else testifying too. We also taught Mario and Elsa, I'll have to tell you more about them later, they are amazing.

I'm out of time, but just know that things are going really well! We're actually exceeding all our goals now days! The only thing we're lacking is baptisms, well there's not much we can do about that, people have their agency. But hopefully we'll be seeing some marriages and baptisms soon.

Love you All!
Hermana Mathis 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Family and Friends,
Buenos Dias! How was everyone's New Years? Ours was really fun. It was one of our investigators Moises's Birthday so we brought him cupcakes and watched the Testaments with him and Tachima. The spirit was so strong and Tachima started crying at the end... again (she's already seen it). She's so cute she was like, "I'm sorry but this *sob* get's me*sob* everytime *sob,sob*" After that we went outside and watched while they lit up fireworks for their little boy, Alex. We took pictures, I'll send those to you later.

This week we explored more of  the southern half of our area and we have been working with some new investigators. One of those is Mario and Elsa. We actually didn't expect to find them at home because they were up in New York for the holidays but they were there so we set up a lesson with them. We taught them the beginning of the Plan of Salvation. Elsa however was more interested in learning about the Book of Mormon and the meaning of the word Gentiles. So we taught her about that, after reading the "other sheep" scriptures she sat up paused. After a while of intense thought she just said, "wow" everything you've taught me makes sense. I think I learned just as much as she did in that lesson. The spirit had to have been there because the questions she asked us were deep doctrine that none of us had really studied before but we were able to answer them perfectly and simply. 

This area is really just taking off. We beat our record of 7 people at church last week and had 8 at church this week!! I don't even know who to sit with anymore there's only three of us! I'm really beginning to get the different accents at church too I'm really proud to say, however I am still working on speaking it, everyone says I have a very Argentine accent... I don't know.

This week we are finally moving from our tiny apartment into a bigger one with two bathrooms! It's going to be a lot of work but it will definitely be worth it.

Hope you all have a great week!
Hermana Mathis