Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Jumper Cables & Speaking Portuguese

Heyo, loved ones.

 This is Hermana Mathis and Paulsen brought to you by: jumper cables!

 Well, no fires this week. Success! Almost... We had an even bigger  uh... happening this week. Let's start with our personal favorite story of the week:

 It all started when Hermana Mathis decided not to charge our phone Saturday night. (Mistake #1) Come Sunday morning, we were pumped and ready for Game Day unaware of the looming conundrum that lay ahead. 

 Things were going great. Great ward council. Great timing. Great member interactions. When, all of the sudden, while making our regular Sunday calls to remind people to come to church, the phone sounded informing us that we had neglected to give it its daily nourishment. Fortunately(?), we had a car charger at hand. So, being the brilliant and wise missionaries we are, we decided to charge our phone in the car and finish our calls. This is where mistake #2 takes place: Hermana Paulsen entrusted the keys to Hermana Mathis.

We charged the phone, woke up some drunk Latinos, and in a small way, edified the world. Remember, all was well. Church went swimmingly. Sunday game day (a day to ask for referrals) has proven to be very helpful.

 After three hours or so of whipping our team (the members) into shape, we slunk to our car exhausted. Mistake #3: Hermana Paulsen THEN asks where the keys are. Befuddled, we dug through our bags only to realize that... ... Here's the killer (literally): we had left the keys in the ignition with the battery on. All is well, verdad?. Wrongo.

We then walked the walk of shame to our missionary leader to ask him to jump our car. With our cheeks a delicate (or not so very delicate) pink, we were forced to explain how we had killed our car to the group of members still in the parking lot. Lesson learned? We shouldn't become casual about the keys we hold. This life is too short and too precious to abuse the time and talents we have been given.

Ok next story, this one and the ones following to be much shorter and much more uplifting.

 On Friday we had planned to do splits. For a couple weeks now a Brazilian member of our branch has been asking us to have family home evening with her and her family but we were never able to get it set up so this week we made a promise to her hat we would. Since she only speaks Portuguese and because Hermana Mathis is the senior companion in our companionship we decided that she would be going to the Portuguese lesson and Hermana Paulsen would go to an English lesson we had set up with another member. 

(Switching to Hermana Mathis voice) When I got to the members house NONE of her friends had shown up. So I just sat with them and talked for a half an hour while wiring for their friend to show up. What I wasn't aware of was that this dear sweet couple had invited every Portuguese speaking person they know to
 come! So by the time they did show up I was the only Spanish-speaking/American-raised person there! And I was expected to bear testimony of a lesson given in pure Portuguese! 

Luckily our members our the best and the lesson went really well. About the time we actually started, Hermana Paulsen and our other member had returned. We watched a seminary video about agency and it was a hit! Everyone participated in the discussion afterwards and they said that they actually could understand everything we had said in Spanish. We feel so humbled. We've also come to the decision that we're are changing our Spanish branch into a Portuguese branch ;)

 We had many adventures, teaching JWs, looking for a new apartment, and teaching random people in the street. We even met three generations of men named Jesus the last being born on Christmas Day. It was lots of fun!

 We had this amazing lesson with one of our investigators, Eduardo. Sergio, a recent convert, came with us. His testimony was perfect! Eduardo who hadn't come to church beforehand came for the first time. He's right on track for baptism. Sergio, who drove him home, said that Eduardo had a really good experience and loved church.

 Life has been an adventure this week. We'd like to end with a testimony that we know that God loves us. All of us. We love you. Got to jet!

 Con Amor de Sarasota,
 Hermana Paulsen and Hermana Mathis

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Importance of Keeping a Journal

Dear Family and Friends,

Sometimes it amazes me that so little and so much can happen all in one week. My first impression of last week was that nothing happened but when I was going through my journal trying to think of what to write I realized that a million things happened! Needless to say I've learned that keeping a journal is quite convenient. 

Here's my week.

Monday-We went out to eat with a couple in our ward as part of P-day. We asked them how they met and it turns out that he had a spiritual impression that she was the one while he was on his mission. When he finished his mission he flew out to her country and married her within 10 days! Yikes! They are the best couple though. 

After that we had family home evening with a less active in our branch and her friends. We played the family flour game, a game where you pack flour into a cup then turn it over and put a penny on top and everyone takes a turn cutting off a piece and saying what can hurt the family until the penny falls and then whoever made it fall has to collect it with their nose. Everyone loved it! 

Our members friends opened up to us and we ended up having a REALLY good lesson with them. After that lesson, our less active texted us and told us that her friends wanted to meet with us again. After that we went finding and talked with some of the local Amish population. 

Tuesday- Spent the day finding and met with a bunch of new potentials. That night we taught the Landeros brothers about the Book of Mormon. The spirit was really strong. We set a date with Eduardo and confirmed Juan's date.  

Wednesday- We had district meeting up in Bradenton, but had to leave early to go to a member-present lesson that we had previously set up. The lesson went great and our new investigator, Pedro accepted the invitation to be baptized and will be baptized on Nov. 1st! He is really excited about it and yesterday at church announced it to almost everyone he talked to. 

That night we had a lesson with one of our male investigators and because we can't go into his house we asked him to come outside. He was really shy and didn't want to. Later we found out that he was scared that we were going to try to force-feed him the sacrament in the parking lot! Haha! We taught him lesson 3 and assured him that we would not force him to do anything. He was so relieved and said he would be coming to church in the near future.

Thursday- taught and planned all day. We taught lesson one to our less-active's friends again and they all accepted the soft-commit to baptism. We started the lesson with the usual (using the pamphlet and whatnot) but we could tell they weren't listening to it so we took a more personal route. By the end,  all three of them were crying because the spirit was so strong. Our member testified and it was beautiful! 

Friday- We taught Pedro lesson two and spent the rest of the day finding and biking around. That night we helped a new senior couple move in to their apartment which is right above ours and got to know them. Their names are Elder and Sister Anscough and they are from Salem, anyone know of them? They are amazing and we are so excited to have them here! 

That night we had a really awful object lesson with one of our other investigators. I was so embarrassed. For all of you missionaries who know of the tea-bag rocket lesson, NEVER do it outside on a windy night. The thing flopped and our investigator was more in shock than in awe... enough said. Luckily we recovered really well and he opened up to us about some things that have been holding him back from joining the church. What do you know, God really does "make weak things become strong unto us" ;) 

Saturday-We were going through our potentials and found this random guy we had never met. We called him up and asked him if we could meet up. He was more than willing to meet up and said, "Bring your Bibles," so we were really skeptical at first. What we found when we got there though was quite the opposite of what we had thought. 

His name is Ronnie and he's actually really interested. He told us all about how much he loves the Bible and how he has read it several times. He says that he just wants to know who Gods real people are because from what he's gathered from the Bible he knows that there was a falling away and that it is supposed to come back. He says he thinks its come back but he's not sure which one it is. As you might  imagine we were MORE than happy to clear some things up for him :) He's quite a talker so we didn't get to finish lesson one, but we left him with a good cliffhanger so our next lesson with him should be really good. 

We also met this really sweet old man walking around who had met the missionaries before and wanted to know more. 

Sunday- We had a really good day at church. We worked with all the youth in the ward to help them see how they could do missionary work. We pulled them out one by one and talked with them. It just so happened that one of our investigators was there that day and when it came his turn we were able to teach him and set a baptismal date. That makes 3 dates set this week! 

After church we had a lesson with our ward mission leader and one of the Landeros brothers. It was spectacular. I've learned that there really just isn't any other way to teach than with members. 

Then after that we went contacting for a bit. We went to this house where we had met three Cuban men before. The last time we had walked by they didn't seem all that interested and we couldn't even remember their names.  I wasn't feeling up to knocking on their door but my sweet little companion insisted so we did. I was so glad. We were able to strike up a conversation and then have a lesson. 
As we taught he gained more interest. I'm so grateful that we have people to help us in our journey through life when we have doubts or fears. 

After that we went to a part-member's home and had a dinner of beans, eggs (my favorite... not) and squid. Add that to the list of new things I've tried on the mission! The lesson was really good, it was one of those lessons where I knew that the spirit helped me to speak because my Spanish was a lot smoother than it normally is.

Monday- We went out to Longboat today to see some of the sights. It was beautiful! The island is super touristy probably due to the gorgeous beaches located nearby, so there's lots to look at. Florida is just starting to cool down and temperatures are perfect. We had so much fun going around and seeing new things. 

So there you have it some bits of my week. I hope you all have a great week! 

Con Amor,

Hermana Mathis  

Monday, October 6, 2014

I'm a Trainer!

Dear Family and Friends,

This week has been amazing! I was so sad yesterday when it was over. I wanted it to keep going. 

So for starters I'm training now! It was a crazy turn of events but one morning before transfer meeting President called us and said that he needed Sister Gustafson to go down to Naples (commonly known as the "land of milk and honey") and for me to finish training Sister Paulsen. We packed as fast as we could and then made the switch. 

At first I was a little upset to let Hermana Gustafson go, but I love Sister Paulsen so much already! She has become one of my best friends (as have all of my companions). She is always positive and smiley. Her Spanish is also very good, she knows about as much as I do and she's only been here for 6 weeks! (I'm so blessed to have her as a companion)

Conference was in Jorge's words "grandioso!" It was such a pleasant surprise to listen to talks in other languages. We watched both morning sessions in English and both evening sessions in Spanish. It worked out perfectly that our investigators came to the sessions where people spoke in Spanish! We couldn't help but let out a few cheers ;) 

Aside from the fact that there were a few talks in other languages the conference was just what I needed! I love that every time that I watch conference I feel as though the speakers knew what I was wondering about beforehand. I especially liked Elder Bednar's talk of the final session. I loved that he addressed our investigators. It was interesting to watch their eyes light up as he spoke. 

After the conference I asked one of our investigators (Roman) what he learned, I was shocked when I looked at his paper and saw that all he had written was: read, pray, go to church, family home evening and go to the temple. I had thought for sure that he would have taken notes like me and my companion had, furiously scribbling several thoughts and impressions. I was humbled by the simplicity of what he had learned. Aren't those the most important things to learn anyways? Those are the very things that bring us closer to our Heavenly Father. I'm thankful that he was able to learn and understand those key steps.

We met several of our goals this week and have met several new potentials. I'm so glad to be serving the Lord right now. It is the sweetest experience, I don't ever want it to end. 
I hope you all have a great week. Keep up the good fight! 

Con Amor,
Hermana Mathis