Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Goal Setting Works!

Dearest darlingest Mumsy, Popsicle and everyone else, 

This week was an absolute success, and like all other interesting weeks we've had together we decided to tell you about this one with our combined story-telling talent. 
The battle to go through all of the Sarasota potentials we received is still going on. New advancements this week include surrendering our date set to the scheming elders of the the YSA branch, and teaching a Haitian family (we're both really wishing we could speak French right now).

This week our sister training leaders and the mission-wide sister training leaders both wanted to do exchanges with us. It was positively enlightening. We had special training on how to better our planning. It was the best! We were able to receive more revelation than ever before. We never knew that planning could be such a spiritual and fun experience. 

With our renewed testimonies of inspired planning we knew just how important it was to meet all our goals for the week. We had set high goals for the week and by Saturday night we saw how far we still had to go. To reach our weekly goals we needed 3 more "other" lessons, 7 member present lessons, 3 less active/recent convert lessons, and 3 more baptismal dates set! And we only had Sunday to accomplish that. We were tempted to throw in the towel and laugh at the idea of 13 lessons and 3 dates set in a day. Well, we did laugh at it. But, it came down to the fact that either weekly planning was inspired or it wasn't. So, we said a mighty prayer and planned with God how to make it come to pass. And the next day, it did. 

All day, there was not a second to spare. We taught people in the streets to pray and repent, we had lessons back to back to back, and we were bold and fearless! There was never a point we felt confident we could actually pull it off, we just kept charging forward and praying like we never have before!! And we did it. We did it! We reached every single goal this week and we know we couldn't have done it alone. This is His work!

We know God answers prayers and that He lives and that He loves us. We testify that His church has been restored today. We have a prophet to exhort, expound, and clarify the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that one day we can live forever with our eternal and celestial family. This is His work and we invite you to join and enjoy it. 

Con Amor,

Hermanas Mathis & Paulsen

P.S. Our address is 2566 10th Street Sarasota, Florida 34327 for those who have forgotten. Us. #ifyouloveme#feedmysheep#fillmymailbox

For those who did remember us, you letters must have run away because our mailbox is so cold and empty. Please send more. :)

Props to any of you who still read these emails
Enviado desde mi iPad

Monday, November 17, 2014

One of the Best Weeks of My Life!

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was one of the best weeks of my life! I had so much fun and felt the spirit so strongly! First and foremost, Eduardo got baptized!! Wahoo! It was the perfect baptism (although, ha ha, I suppose any baptism would seem really good next to Pedro's). One dunk that's all it took! And because it was right before the Thanksgiving party EVERYONE came and brought their friends too! 

Eduardo, the first of the Landeros brothers was baptized!
We also had one of our new investigators and his member friend come to check it out. Although he doesn't speak Spanish, he said that he could feel the spirit and that he had a great time.

Eduardo and the Bizzaro family. Haha, I don't know why none of them are smiling.
The Thanksgiving party was a huge success. All the members came and brought their non-member friends that we have been working with. It was great to see them altogether in one room! The food was of course divine. Unlike last year,  this year we had a more traditional Thanksgiving feast with Turkey from 4 different countries, stuffing, mashed potatoes and of course rice. We also had a nice assortment of tres leches.    

Thanksgiving Party - Some of my best friends in the branch
We set 4 dates this past week, two with part member families, and two with potentials we received when we took over the Sarasota ward too. We also have been working with an investigator who announced that he is ready to be baptized but was out of town for the weekend, so we haven't been able to set anything with him yet. In other words, we're keeping pretty busy! 

Adis and Pedro! I absolutely love these two!
For finding this week, we went to a couple soccer games and to swimming practice with one of our members. As a result, we have met several new people. I've decided that going to activities with members is the BEST way to find and don't know why I didn't do it as much in the past. 

When we went to the swimming pool, we didn't even teach our member's friend, but just by being there made a difference. After we left, she began asking her friend questions. By the end of the practice, our member had taught pretty much ALL the lessons and her friend was intrigued. Our member called us later that night with a new fire in her heart. She was so grateful. It was so powerful for me to listen to her testimony. We really are ALL called to serve no matter where we are at in our lives. 

Sister Paulsen (my trainee), Eduardo Landeros, and me
One of the most spiritual experiences for me this week was going to see a 90-year-old potential named Iladio. He's Cuban and pretty much bed-ridden, but he has such desire to be baptized! It touched my heart to talk with him and hear his testimony of how his daughter being a member has helped him have peace in his life. He had received a blessing earlier from the elders and asked us if he could have another. He said that immediately after his blessing he felt healed! Although I can't put it to words. My love for others grew immensely as I listened to him tell stories of his life. I realized that God had put me here to find everyone, old, young, injured and forgotten.
On that note, we also met this really smart 10-year-old girl who is interested in the gospel! We have a less-active that we go to visit from time to time and every time we go by there are 3 little girls that come out and give us hugs. They are the sweetest little children! We've started teaching them along with our less-active. They love it and they learn so fast! It's been a blast teaching them.

Well that's all for now, once again have a great week! 

Con Amor, 

Hermana Mathis

Oh! and one more thing. We went to go meet a referral and they weren't home but they had this bush outside their house with a snake skin in it! Ew!!! Only in Florida. 

Snake Skin Bush

Monday, November 10, 2014

Comments From a Not-So-Perfect Success!

Dearest loved ones,

This week was a blast! Nothing will ever compare. Haha! And because the words of one person couldn't possibly do it justice we have once again decided to pool our brains to bring you another thrilling tale.

Where do we begin??

We'll start at the beginning. Pedro and Adis were married!!! Yay! On Tuesday we made them wedding cupcakes to celebrate. When we went over, Adis was all too excited to show us the gold imprinted and embossed marriage certificate. It was a sweet and private ceremony, sadly in
English, but that's ok because they're married right?

Pedro and Adis with marriage certificate
For Pday we went out to Myakka where we both saw and ate ... Alligators! Yum. It was nice to take a break from the busy city and enjoy some time with the Sarasota sisters before they were transferred.

We climbed a 75 foot tall treehouse and walked up in the canopies of the trees. Florida is beautiful. The day was the perfect temperature with just a slight breeze. Atop the tower we could feel the wind rocking us so we quickly climbed down.

After Myakka we spent some time with the Martinez family at Smacks. That night we visited a part member family and discussed with the father his fears about joining the church, by the end of the lesson he said that he was willing to give the church another try!  P-day was an overall success.

We are continuing to work with the famous Landeros brothers! Things have been moving quite nicely. Juan Eduardo is getting baptized this Saturday!! We're so happy for him and the conversion that has taken place. He told us the other day that he first came to church just to see how bad it was and was shocked to find that he really enjoyed it. He's really been diving into it! His brother is also doing well in overcoming his addictions.

Ok, let's be honest all we really want to talk about is the baptism we had because it was something else...Dun dun dun! Haha!

So we had everything planned perfectly right, wrongo! On Saturday, our Ward mission leader let us know that he would have to work during the baptism, our branch president also had to work and the first counselor had gone to Miami for a funeral. So we were a little short on priesthood but it was still ok. We still maintained the confidence that everything would go off without a hitch.

We arrived early to fill the font and prepare all the little things. Turns out that nobody showed up until literally the last minute. We quickly had Pedro change into his baptismal 70's outfit. This is where it started to get interesting. So unknowingly there were only two jumpsuits in the men's changing room, one was rather large and the other was, well...let's just say for lack of a better words, designed to make a man of Pedro's stature look like a little sausage. Seams straining, we began the service.

The talks were beautiful. Hermana Mathis played the piano and Hermana Paulsen led the music.
Now about the time of the second talk, Hermana Paulsen decided to split with our dear friend, Natalie Garcia, to go check on the font. When they arrived in the font room they were surprised (but not really because something always goes wrong) to find that the font was overflowing! So like a paragon warrior in God's army, Hermana Paulsen pulls up her skirt and descended into the font to let some of the water out. This is where it gets really interesting. We'll go back to the chapel where
everyone sat waiting for the talk to be finished. The final words were given about the Holy Ghost leaving all with the spirit.

We all shuffled into the font room. There we waited anxiously for the baptism. We split again this time Hermana Mathis and Vanessa Garcia went in the woman's side of the font to assure that all was well. To everyone's surprise the font was only half full! So ingeniously Pedro Fernandez, who was baptizing Pedro (confusing right? Don't worry there were two other Pedro's involved as well), decided that it would be ok to do the baptism kneeling down in the font.

This is where the interest meets its highest and greatest level. Pedro had to be dunked 3 times! Our poor dear Pedro! The third time wasn't valid either because his arm didn't go completely under so they decided it was just best to close the font doors and fill the font. (Hermana Mathis speaking) I will never forget the smile on Pedro's face as he laughed at the ridiculousness of the situation. Vanessa and I not knowing what else to do quickly grabbed some buckets and attempted to fill the font with water from the women's bathroom.

Pedros Baptism
Meanwhile Hermana Paulsen and Natalie led the branch in singing some hymns which is a very difficult task without a piano in a Spanish Branch mind you.

After about 10 more minutes they decided to do it again. This time it was a complete success. Fourth times a charm! The rest of the night went pretty smoothly except maybe a 15 minute long welcome into the elders quorum.

On Sunday Pedro was confirmed and the spirit was so strong! Adis was up to the brim with joy to see her now official husband confirmed a member of the church. After the confirmation, Pedro, now Hermano Valdez, sat smiling in the third row with his wife. It was all very sweet.

We hope you all have a magical week! With lots of love from Saraota!

- Hermana Mathis and Hermana Paulsen

Monday, November 3, 2014

Trick or Tracting

Dear Family and Friends,

Here's a quick update on my mission here is Sarasota, FL :

Pedro didn't end up getting baptized this past Saturday, but there is good story behind it! We went over to his house for his interview and after the ZL's had left we were just filling out his BCR when we got to their marriage date. Hermana Paulsen asks, "What's your wedding date?" Adis, his wife, asks, "What's tomorrows date?" Turns out they weren't actually married even though they had told us that Sunday was their anniversary! Her exact words were "We're not 'married, married'" Haha! They weren't married legally.

The next day they went to go get married so he could be baptized on the 1st but the judge told them they had to wait until today. So Pedro and Adis are getting married today and his baptism will be this Saturday. 

Halloween was fun. We taught the most interesting people! We taught an ice cream lady, a man who was baptized forever ago who just happened to be in the neighborhood, and a child-Athiest.  After that we taught a few other investigators, while on an exchange with one of the Port-Charlotte sisters. It was great. Then we did a bit of what I like to call "trick or tracting" and went to go see a couple potentials. We got some candy, so you know, it was kind of a success ;)

The rest of the week was pretty much filled with teaching. We had a trunk or treat on Thursday night which was a complete success. We met several new member-friends and gave away three Book of Mormons.

I almost forgot! We had a specialized training with all the sister missionaries in the mission on Tuesday! It was so great! We went to St. Petersburg beach and talked about a lot of questions that we had been having. We listened to Jorg Klebingat's talk, "Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence." I was so inspired! It's a great talk and I would advise all of you to read/watch it again. We talked a lot about applying the atonement every day. I really just loved it! It was so good to see Sister Holloway too, she's going home this week! Yikes! 

Sunday was the most spiritual for me. As we took the Sacrament I could feel so strongly of God's love for all his children. Sometimes as a missionary you imagine that your most spiritual moments will come in a perfect lesson, or a miraculous blessing, or at a conference, but sometimes they are the small simple moments of your mission. It's those moments that I've come to treasure the most. With all my friends and investigators around me I felt the charity that comes from being a member of Christ's true church. I know that this church is true with all my heart. Also when our investigator had work on Sunday and then said, "God first!" and did everything he could to get it off, that was a good moment too :) 

Con Amor,
Hermana Mathis