Monday, September 22, 2014

Cool Story

Dear Family and Friends,

This past week we taught Roman and Jorge about every day to help prepare them for baptism. All is going well. We have FHE set up with both of them tonight with different families in our branch.

We had interviews with President last Thursday and also a training from the AP's. We're really trying to step up our faith.

The same day was my exact year mark! :) To celebrate we did weekly planning. Haha. We also did an exchange with the Port Charlotte sisters. It was great! It rained a lot but we still got to teach a lot regardless of our wet hair and bicycles. We saw miracles.

I'm sorry I don't have a lot to say about the last week but I have a really good story:

I wanted to send this video because it has a really cool story that goes along with it. Once upon a time the Sarasota sisters got stripped from their singles branch and put into the home ward where they had nobody to teach and thus were forced to go finding.

While riding around one day they stopped to talk to someone, the man was not interested, but suggested that they should go see the neighbors down the street. The very same day on exchanges I and Sister Day went to go see this referral. They too were only half interested and only spoke Spanish. I talked with them and we planned a time to meet again when I could come with my other "friends" who speak Spanish.

The next week we went to go visit them. The visit went well but the couple made it evident they didn't have interest. On the way home we stopped to talk with as many people as we could. We gave a card to a man who was sitting on the side of the road. We thought nothing of it and kept biking.

The next day the Sarasota sisters receive a media referral for that guy. I was on a split with them because my companions had to go visit someone at the jail and they only allow two visitors. While I was with the Sarasota sisters, we went to go meet with this guy. This is where it gets awesome.

We walked up and before we could even get off our bikes he comes out saying, "You got to be kidding me!" A bit alarmed, we invited ourselves in. He told us how he had been praying that we would come. We started with the classic how to begin thing bullet points from Preach My Gospel. We hadn't even showed him, "Because of Him," yet and he was tearing up.

We watched the video and then he just broke down. He told us how much he had needed this message right now, he told us that he was desperate for forgiveness. The spirit had filled the room. We were all a bit misty eyed.  We asked if we could come back the next day and he was anxious to say yes. It was amazing!

He is now one of the sisters investigators. :) Every referral you give to the missionaries makes a difference, Even if the person you refer doesn't accept their invitation. God knows each and every one of his children and their individual circumstances. He knows when they are humble enough to receive His messengers.

"When Alma heard this, he turned him about, his face immediately towards him, and he beheld with great joy; for he beheld that their afflictions had truly humbled them, and that they were in a preparation to hear the word."Alma 32:6

In the middle of the lesson I had the very strong impression to record whatever he was going to say next, I hit record on my iPad and this is what I recorded:

Monday, September 15, 2014

More Miracles

Querida Familia, 

"I Prayed and the Lord sent me you guys, why would I reject this opportunity?" said Roman's brother, Juan, when we asked him if he would continue meeting with us. Next day, we introduce the Book of Mormon and he states, "I believe this is another manifestation that your church is true." 
We ask, "So will you read it?"  He replies, "Of course!" Two days later we teach Roman. He commits to coming to church. The next day at church, he commits to being baptized next week. 

Me and Hermana Snow at Mayakka
As you might have guessed we had a pretty good week. 

It's amazing to me to see the changes that the gospel can make with time. This past week we had a lesson with Jorge about giving up coffee and cigarettes. He came to church yesterday and with a smile on his face proudly exclaimed to us that he hadn't had coffee in three days even though he had told us previously that he "could never" give up coffee. He's also quit smoking since we invited him to last week! He says he doesn't even feel tempted by those things. 

This last week we saw a change in his demeanor. This once woeful man is now smiling and counting his blessings. He is feeling the spirit and finding joy in reading the scriptures. He came to church and is making an effort to be a better father. Haha he even said that we could call him our father. 

Another Gator
Juan is a new investigator we have. He is Roman and Humberto's brother. When we met with him for the first time, we asked him to pray to know if the church was true and to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet. He told us that he ALREADY knew. I thought, "How could he possibly know it is true without asking?" Then he told us all about how he had met with the missionaries in Mexico and learned about the church from them!  What a miracle right?! 

Hermana Mathis and Hermana Snow

We're also now teaching their OTHER brother as well, Eduardo. This means that we are officially teaching all the Salazar Landeros brothers that live in the United States. It's pretty awesome!
We've had lots of lessons this week, it was really nice. I also had the opportunity to translate during sacrament meeting because our investigator didn't make it to the 11 o clock meeting so he came to the singles ward. Its not an easy task to do when people use words like juxtaposition. Our investigator understood though which was good. 

I hope all of you missionaries are seeing as many miracles as I am! I read about miracles today in Ether 3 (or 4). Moroni explains that sometimes God's works are small and cannot be recognized by men, but if we really look we will see them. I know this to be true. 

Have a great week all!

Con Amor,
Hermana Mathis
Dinner at Margaritas! That is traditional Mexican corn on the cob
made with mayo and lemons with queso fresco and chile seasoning.  

Monday, September 8, 2014

Hey Everybody!

This week's email has got to be short because we don't have a ton of time to write today because we are having our Zone Development Day and we have to get to a training meeting.

This past week we got a third companion! Her name is Sister Gustafson and she is the cutest sister ever. We absolutely adore having her here, it makes everyday feel like a party. She was trained by Sister Holloway so her teaching style is a lot like hers. It's a great addition here in Beneva.

Sister Snow, Sister Mathis, Sisster Gustafson
We had our missionary leadership conference this past week in my old area. It was great to go back to some of the old familiar places where I had served. We talked a lot about keeping an "eye single to the glory of God." That alone basically encompasses every thing that we do as missionaries.

We were trained on how to follow up and help other missionaries set baptismal dates. We also had a training on planning. Before my mission I never would have planned out my life like I do now, but now I'm thinking that I may turn into one of those people who carries a planner everywhere and has to schedule EVERYTHING. The blessings that come from planning, like having time to do every thing that needs to be done, are just too great to pass up!

Family Night with the Bizzaros
We weren't able to teach a ton of lessons this past week due to some bugs that are going around but we did have a few great member-present lessons. We also learned how to make tamales while teaching the Restoration one day! (These are the perks of being a Spanish-speaking missionary)

We made these!
Right now our most progressing investigators are Jorge who is going to be baptized at the end of this month, Frances who just had her baby, and Margarita whose husband was just endowed in the Orlando temple :) Your prayers for them would be much appreciated!

Have a great week!

Con Amor,
Hermana Mathis

"It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship. ... There are no ordinary people. ...Your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses."
-C.S. Lewis

 "37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
 38 This is the first and great commandment.
 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

MLC on the beach

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Missionary road trip: MOTAB, Cheezits, and Miracles

Querida familia mía,

This week went by super fast. Wow! We've been keeping super busy as sister training leaders. We went on two exchanges this week one with the YSA sisters and another with the Sebring sisters. It was great! I loved going to Sebring and meeting the Hispanic members there, it was cool to put faces to all the names I had heard about from my trainer and from my MTC companion who served there.

The Spanish branch there was dissolved so the sisters were excited to have us there to go visit all the Spanish families who are now going to their English ward. We were also so fortunate as to find a new investigator for them who actually goes to play basketball at the church with one of the members!

The trip out to Sebring was like taking the road trip from Spanish Fork to Beaver, UT. Maybe not quite so far, and not as brown, but there was certainly lots of farmland. It was beautiful and reminded me of home. Granted at home we wouldn't have driven through an impromptu storm, but still.

That brings me to another cool story! I was on an exchange with Sister Trebotitch (she's top notch missionary for ya!) and it seemed the whole day was going downhill. Many appointments fell through and we had run into several crazies that morning, then while we were teaching our recent convert it starts to downpour. We decided rather than wait awkwardly for an hour underneath his porch we would brave the storm. It just so happened we had decided to walk that day. So with our iPads secure in a plastic baggie and an umbrella to share we made our way into the watery windstorm.

The streets were flowing with water, appearing as though they were actual rivers. Then God surprised us with a miracle. In the middle of the drenching downpour we found one of the sisters investigators! We taught her and were able to respark her interest in the church! It was such a blessing! After the lesson we finished walking home, water up to our knees splashing and singing. This is just more evidence to me that God is so aware of the work we are doing as missionaries.

As for our own investigators, we set a date with Jorge and Margarita who fasted with us about baptism. Yesterday was a really slow day and by the end of it we were ready to throw in the towel, but with 20 minutes left we couldn't just give up. We had visited all of our Sunday usuals and nobody else seemed to be able to meet with us. We were about to resort to Facebook when a potential I met last transfer on an exchange came to mind. We pulled up to her small humble home and knocked on the door, fully expecting her not to answer, but she did! We had a great lesson with her and were able to set up another appointment. So many amazing things happen on missions, all the stories I heard when I was younger I never thought I would actually live but I'm finding that walking through rivers and last minute lessons aren't as crazy as I thought. Miracles can happen every day with a great deal of faith.

"For I am God, and mine arm is not shortened; and I will show miracles, signs, and wonders, unto all those who believe on my name. And whoso shall ask it in my name in faith, they shall cast out devils; they shall heal the sick; they shall cause the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak, and the lame to walk." D&C 35:8-9

Have a great week! Love you all, sorry I haven't been able to write you all personally.

-Hermana Mathis