Monday, May 26, 2014

Teaching Ray

Dear Friends and Family,

I'm going to start a little backwards this week. On Sunday Hermana Holloway and I gave talks in the Largo Spanish Branch. Our topic was hastening the work. We both did a great job! Hermana Holloway talked about Ammon and King Lamoni and how when Ammon was teaching Lamoni he was his friend and even was willing to give his life for him when Lamoni's father threatened to kill him. She explained that we need to be friends to everyone so that when they do decide to investigate the church, they have someone to look to. 

We were talking about it and we both realized that we know people back in UTAH who could use the lessons. No matter where we are, we can find people who need to hear the gospel. Her talk reminded me of one of the members of our Stake High Council who said, "Oh, you don't have friends you can share the gospel with? That's ok, you can repent."

For my talk, I talked about using the internet, personal talents and your own personal testimony to do the work. I taught them that everyone is needed. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, "There is a way for everyone to participate in this great work. We can each find a way to use our own particular talents and interests in support of the great work of filling the world with light and truth."

This week we started working with a new investigator named Ray who's sister is a member. He is very friendly and positive about the gospel. He accepted our challenge to be baptized after our deist lesson and came to church this week. We feel very blessed to have met him, he simply came to the church while we were there teaching the youth the first lesson and asked for the missionaries, how cool is that?!

Teaching Ray
For the most part, we're still teaching in Spanish. According to the branch, I've come eons with my Spanish. I hope it's true! I really want to continue speaking in Spanish throughout my life. I'm so glad God's plan includes growth and progression and not exactly strength and perfection. This week my wonderful aunt Donna sent me this quote and I liked it so much that I decided to share it with you, "It is wise to seek immortality, because time defeats all other ambitions"  (Vernon Howard) 

We also did exchanges this week. It was my turn to leave the area, so I went down to Seminole with Sister Fox. I love going on exchanges because it gives me a chance to learn from all the other sisters and get to know our area better. Sister Fox and I went out contacting and received several emails to put into the new RAIN system that sends insightful church videos out to potential investigators and also members. It was great because we were able to set a specific goal and then reach it. We felt so accomplished. It was the best, and now they have several new people they can teach.

On Wednesday, we taught in district meeting about teaching simply. Our training worked out perfectly with the ZL's training because they taught us how to help people connect the dots. Their training was so inspiring. The gospel is very simple and can be understood by anyone. Everyone can know for themselves.

For Memorial Day we had a Memorial Day breakfast with the Seminole ward. I love getting to know the English members, the saints of Florida are really so amazing! The funny thing is as a Spanish speaking missionary, you kind of forget that you are in the south until you talk with someone in English and they break out into a sweet southern accent, haha! Florida has turned out to be not at all what I thought it would be but ten times better than I could have ever hoped it would be. Sometimes I look back on the last 8 months of my life and think, "Have I really been doing this? Yes I have! Que chèvre!" (Cool)

That's it for the week!  

Monday, May 19, 2014

From Largo with Love On My Birthday

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you all for all the love and support! Thanks to everyone who contributed to my birthday package!!! It's been a great day so far!
Indian Rocks Area

Blustery day on the bridge
I wanted to start this weeks email with something a bit more spiritual because I normally just jump into the week without sharing how much it really means to me to be out here on the mission.

This year in general conference, Elder Neil L. Anderson talked about the nature of the Latter Day Saints. He said:

"In nature, trees that grow up in a windy environment become stronger. As winds whip around a young sapling, forces inside the tree do two things. First, they stimulate the roots to grow faster and spread farther. Second, the forces in the tree start creating cell structures that actually make the trunk and branches thicker and more flexible to the pressure of the wind. These stronger roots and branches protect the tree from winds that are sure to return.4  

You are infinitely more precious to God than a tree. You are His son or His daughter. He made your spirit strong and capable of being resilient to the whirlwinds of life."

I am so grateful to have a loving Heavenly Father who created me strong enough to resist evil and carry on during the hardest times. I feel so blessed to see this amazing change taking place in others.

Sick with colds
We had several great lessons this week, despite having colds half the week. We taught Ema about the restoration again and she said that she wanted to come to the English ward (because she lives 5 min. away and can't make it to the Spanish Branch) even though she can't understand it because she wants to feel the spirit. She says she feels it every time we're there.

We found another dolphin!
Elouisa and Juan came to church! Yay!! We're so happy. We had a great lesson with them earlier this week about keeping the Sabbath day holy. I can really see them striving to live God's commandments, it's wonderful.

Last week when we taught them about prayer I told them how when I was younger I put tape on the doorknob to remember to pray before I left the house and then this week as we were leaving I noticed they had tape wrapped around their doorknob... coincidence? I think not!

We're really starting to work with the Seminole ward a bit more. It's exciting and a little strange. I am not used to speaking with members and investigators in English. We went to the Relief Society activity on Wednesday and although we didn't have any of our investigators there, we met a potential and each of the English sisters had investigators there, it was a great success!

Thursday we went to the park because we had a couple hours to do finding and when we get there, we see one of the Seminole sister's investigators. He works at the little kiosk-thing there and told us that if we wanted, we could ride some of the cool 2-people bikes!! "Missionaries ride free." Yup, those are my sisters, creating a good name for the church and missionaries everywhere. He also gave us free cookies and told us to have at it!

Biking in the park is a blast!
We chose the cherry red tandem car. It was a blast! And an excellent way of contacting, I might add. Lot's of people were interested merely because we were two girls in skirts...on a two person bike car.  Funnest day ever! 

Then on that note, we were up in Clearwater walking to our car from a recent converts house and we see this guy we had run into two times before and he gave us free treats from his supply truck because he is the person who stocks all the tiendas. It's amazing how as a missionary sometimes it feels like the world hates you and then other times it's like the whole world adores you! :)
The sweets that our new best friend Roberto gave us!
For my birthday so far, we had a bit of cake for breakfast, I opened my package, cleaned the apartment, went for a run and had Chilis.

I got the package!
Hermana was trying to light the match for my cake and dropped them all over the floor. Haha!
Me cutting my cake...dramatically
For my Birthday, Hermana Holloway took me out to Chilis because she had a gift card. We had lots of fun just talking and eating some yummy food. We were surprised to find that some new inventions have come out while we have been on the mission.

Hope you all enjoy your week!

Hermana Mathis

Monday, May 5, 2014

With Love From Holiday to Bradington and Back

Dear Family and Friends,

Guess what? It's that time again, one of the two greatest days of the year... MOTHERS DAY!!! I hope you're all as excited as I am, mothers are truly an amazing gift, especially mine. I'll be skyping home around 4:00 MST, just so all of you know.

This week was an adventure, we agreed last night that it feels like we've done nothing and everything all at the same time. It's been a long one so here we go:

Monday- We had a Zone Development Day. So what happens on a ZDD is we all get together for some training and activities. It was a complete success! Everyone had fun. So what we did is the Zone Leaders trained us on committing people to baptism, then we trained on companionship inventory and the other sisters trained on personal study. 

For our training we had 6 companionships link arms and then race to get underneath a table and stand back up again. It was pretty hilarious, and a lot harder than you would think. Then we talked about how we can get through hard lessons if we lean on our companions for support. It was pretty short, but everyone enjoyed it. After that, we all went to the park and had a BBQ and played Ninja and Signs.

With Gloria
Tuesday- We went on exchanges with the Seminole A sisters. I stayed in the area with Sister Wakefield. It was a good day filled with lessons. We taught Elouisa and Juan again, we brought President Lopez and he talked with them about marriage. They are super close...

Wednesday-Our one scheduled appointment fell through, so we decided to do weekly planning instead of on Thursday because we were booked Thursday. Regardless, we were able to have some good lessons. We went to Cindy's and taught the 10 commandments and made cake balls with a kit she had from a member in the ward. We also found out that we are now teaching in mostly English; Largo has been changed to a Zebra area. (Spanish and English)

Pizza at Cindy's
Thursday- More lessons all over the peninsula.

Friday- We went to MLC in Bradington. We were so excited because it was going to be on the beach. We got there and were all huddled underneath a pavilion because it was storming all day. We would have stayed at the beach,  but the hurricane warning went off, so we had to go to a church instead. I love MLC meetings though, because it's great to discuss with all the other leaders of the mission what's going on and how we can resolve problems. News is, some of us are not doing facebook anymore and emails are in full swing. 

Saturday- We had lessons with most of our investigators and a couple members. I got to see Antonia's new baby, he's so cute! 

Sunday- We had the Ft. Lauderdale Temple dedication. Wow! I loved it! Even though we were just watching the transmission, the spirit was SO strong. I realized more than ever how blessed I am to have the opportunity to go to the temple and to be a member of this church. It was so amazingly beautiful. We watched two sessions, one in English and one in Spanish. I can't wait until I can go through the temple again!

So that's it. Hope you all have a great week. 

Con Amor,

   de La Hermana Mathis