Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Consejo de lideres, getting sick and charangos!!

Dear Family and Friends,

Dad, Tarija is amazing, and the climate is just like Utah. I definitely am enjoying it. Today I bought a charango!!! It sounds like a ukulele banjo!

This week was amazing! Wednesday we left to Santa Cruz. The flight was amazing, but it was a little delayed so we got to Santa Cruz late but we were able to visit Herlin and Hna. Olga. It was so great to see everyone. Herlin and his family were so happy, and Hna. Olga made us some great apple pie. In the night, we also ate Papa Johns and in the morning empanadas. Yummy!

​Flying to Santa Cruz for the consejo de lideres with my great companion
​In the airport I saw my friend Adam Martin from Cedar High.  He is serving as a zone leader right now too!
Getting to visit with Herlin and Jessica
​Seeing Hermana Olga again!!
The council of leaders was very inspiring. Presidente taught us how one of the most important ways we can teach missionaries is through our example and also in exchanges and how to carry out a successful exchange.  Presidente Rodríguez is one of my heroes! In his Mission, Santa Cruz is going to receive its 3rd new stake here! Presidente truly knows the Master and loves us so much!
Attending the council of leaders
Well on the way back, my stomach was feeling funny, and when we got to the apartment it hurt a lot. So I asked my companion for a blessing and at night I threw up. Fun stuff, but if felt so much better, and that night, thanks to the blessing, it was one of the best sleeps I have had in the mission! The next day I was 100 percent better!

I know that the priesthood authority is here on the earth today! Yesterday after ending our fast, we gave two blessings to the members of the ward who were sick. One thing I have learned is that every time we fast, we are closer to God, and in these moments, he puts us in situations where we can use our priesthood to bless others!

I love the mission, and I love the scriptures.
Elder Matheson


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Emergency Transfers and Washing By Hand

Dear Family and Friends,

This week has been crazy and full of many miracles.

First off, Tuesday afternoon, Presidente called us and told us that an Elder in the zone needed help and so Elder Pineda will be the new district leader in Tablidita and will end the training of an elder, and my new companion is Elder Stewart!

Elder Stewart is from my same group and is from South Jordan, Utah! He is an amazing Elder and a great leader.
Elder Stewart and I using the internet on P-day
Now because we are both new learning the area together, it has been an adventure, but the big blessing is that Elder Stewart was serving in Barrio Progresso 2 months ago, which is right next to our area so he helped me learn the area and we also share the same church with his old ward.

This week we sure talked with many people, and the Lord guided us and we found many new investigatores!

Also, here in Tarija we wash our clothes by hand. I sure miss a washing machine. Washing your pants is hard work. Socks aren't too bad, but wow, it sure makes you grateful for clean clothes and helps you take better care of your clothes!
Washing my clothes by hand... oh, how fun!
Also, as a zone leader here, we have the responsibility of buying all the mattresses, lights, desks, and materials for the elders and sisters in the zone so that sure is new responsibility, but it feels good to serve the zone even though sometimes it can get stressful!

One thing I learned this week in my personal study from conference is that repentance is always positive. Repentance is for everyone, for sinners and for saints. Also, repentance without faith in Jesus Christ is just painful personal re-correction. Through faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement, we receive His divine power and assistance to become someone much more than we could ever become!

Also, I know the Book of Mormon is true, and as we read this book, looking for guidance in our daily problems, that stories in this book will come alive and will teach us how to return with God!

One good example of this is Nephi and Laman. Laman was obidiente many times to the Lord and his commandments but only because he felt obligated to be obidiente. But Nephi loved the Lord and was obidiente because he trusted the Lord.

Nephi was blessed and was happy. Laman was miserable and did not receive eternal life.

Wow, I learned that as a missionary, we have the opportunity to show our love to God by being obedient! As we do so, with faith, we will be happy!!


Elder Matheson

Wednesday, February 28, 2018


Dear Family and Friends,

This week sure as been an adventure! Mom I am like you now; I miss the heat! Wow, here in Tarija it is really dry which is great but it sure gets cold. I am now using my winter ware (and it is still summer)! Also, our hot water hasn't been working so we have been heating up water in a basin and then using a pitcher to shower to not have to use the cold water. Hopefully this week, someone can fix our hot water.

Also the people talk in an Italian-Spanish accent. It sounds like they talk like they are singing, but there are very nice.

This week, my companion and I had a baptism. His name is Hno. Chirinos and is a very humble man. His family was baptized this last month and so it was great to complete their family!!

Right now we found a new golden family. Their name is the Echat Family. Part of their family are members but live in Argentina, but they really have desires to learn more about the church and have attended church a couple times. Please pray for us that we can teach them with the spirit and they can feel this message is true!

Also, here there are many mothers who are interested in the gospel but their husbands aren't or they are never home, but our goal is to find and teach all the family.

We went bowling as a district for P-day, and I won! Wow, that is a first. I got three strikes! In our district there is Hna. Maman, Hna. Zalbada, Elder Maravilla, Elder Vidal, and my companion and I.

My companion is great! I am teaching him how to play the violin because he bought one here in Tarija at Christmas because he has always wanted to learn. We get along well.

Pictures of the center of Tarija!

I love you so much and hope you have a great week!

Elder Matheson

P.S. Herlin was married and baptized!!!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Cambios a Tarija!

Dear Mom and Dad, Family, and Friends,

Wow, California sounds perfect right now! And please give Grandpa a big hug for me. Also, Michael is a pro at holding babies now!

This week has been pretty bitter sweet and so fun!!

First off, for Carnaval we got permission from President to go to the ward barbecue at 11 in the morning this past Tuesday. It was awesome. A Bolivian BBQ is a little different than an American one but mainly you have some good steak with some bratwurst hot dogs with hot rice and cheese mixed together with a little bit of an onion and tomato salad with yuca! Yuca is this white root that tastes really bland unless it is fried or has a lot of salt, but the people here love it. Hence the phrase, “I am mas camba de la yuca” or an American translation... I am more American than the hamburger. Something like that!  
Bolivian BBQ - Ward Carnaval BBQ

As we waited for the BBQ, we played futbol. When you play on a cement court, you play with a ball the weighs more so it travels faster and stays on the ground.

After the BBQ, we played futbol until about 5. It was so fun and Herlin came and made some great friends.

Making pancakes Monday with Olga and Ernesto and their grand kids. They love pancakes, especially when we added the chocolate chips!

Now for the crazy part of the week. Saturday is when we got the cambios and it is super fun because we get to announce them to the whole zone by calling them in the night. Herlin and Jessica had to postpone their wedding until this next Saturday, but Herlin had his interview and passed with flying colores. Anyway, my companion and I both thought we were going to stay together because we are both new to the area. NOPE!!!

It turns out that I have been transferred to Tarija where there are mountains, and my new companion is Elder Pineda and we will be serving as the zone leaders. He is from Ecuador and the native tribe there where it is a grand honor for the men to use braids!   ​
My new companion

Sunday was really special to visit our investigadores and converts, but it was really heart wrenching because I was expecting to see the baptism of Herlin and also Santiago y Maria Jose and Soledad this cambio, but I feel good because in this cambio with my companion we worked super hard and with the help of the spirit we planted the seeds of conversion for many people! Here are some of the member and investigadores.

Saying good-bye to Olga and Ernesto! They are examples of true saints and followers of Christ!

But one special blessing was to see Alan receive the Priesthood this week. In the third hour, Hno. Ernesto and 2 other high priests ordained him to the office of a priest. The blessing was so inspired and promised Alan that by magnifying his priesthood duties, he we would be blessed to finish his studies and would be the means of bring others of his family to the knowledge of the gospel! Alan is firm in the gospel and it is one of the sweetest feelings to see him progress and be converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

This morning we went to the offices at 3:40 a.m. UHHH we didn’t get a lot of sleep and from there we went in bus to the airport and then flew to Cochabamba and then to Tarjia!

​Evidence that we went to Cochabamba  
Santa Cruz to Cochabamba to Tarija

Traveling to Tarija!
Tarija is amazing and there are mountains!!!! And there aren’t a lot of mosquitos and it isn’t humid!! It really feels like am in Utah again! But this week is going to be fun!  We are in 4 de Julio ward.
 These are some scriptures that mean a lot to me:

4 For many times you have desired of me to know that which would be of the most worth unto you.

5 Behold, blessed are you for this thing, and for speaking my words which I have given you according to my commandments.

6 And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father. Amen.

Wow, how blessed are we as members of the church to have the restored gospel in our lives and to know that the greatest happiness will come as we share it with our brothers and sisters so that after this life we can rest or be with them in the kingdom of our Father forever!


Elder Matheson

P.S. You have got to see Coco the Disney movie. It teaches us about family history work!

Streets of Tarija

Monday, February 12, 2018

Carnaval & Happy Valentine’s Day

Dear Mom and Dad, Family, and Friends,

Thank you so much for the early email! We got one hour today to write our families and friends. That is so awesome that you got to see Mrs. Cooley. Can you give her a big hug for me and thank her for everything she taught me. I still remember her boat and castle!

This week has been full of miracles.

On Wednesday, we did an intercambio, and Elder Rodriguez came to our area with me. We had so much fun, and we worked hard. He is a good elder and can eat fast. Hna. Olga made us this huge plate of Columbia rice and chicken, and I ate one plate and a half and he ate 3! It was so delicious!!
Hermana Olga's delicious rice and chicken.
Also, we were walking and Anna, the family member of Familia Vargas, came out and said hey my parents are home do you want to teach them. So we said sure and went and taught her parents about the restauracion. They were very receptive.

Herlin and Jessica are going to be married this next Friday, and Herlin will be baptized Saturday. It is so amazing to see the change. At first, when we got there, their relationship as novias was normal. But now as they are preparing to be married, the spirit is with them and you can see that they are happier. Truly the commandments are blessings!

Also, Belen, is doing super well. Yesterday she understood the restauracion and believes what we are teaching her is true. Please pray for her and Yankel and Maria Jose and Santiago and David and Alex and Adalir and Soledad and Lidia that they can gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon.

As for carnaval, it is a Catholic tradicion where for three days you can sin a lot before you need to repent, and here it is also 3 days of non stop water/mud fights. Not the best place for missionaries but we are going to study a lot, see some church videos, and eat yummy food with Olga y Ernesto! Also, the church takes a lot of jovenes away from the city to do youth conference for the 3 days!

This week my new goal is to be a better teacher. I have been thinking about the ability to teach the gospel is a tool that you need as a missionary, parent, in your job, and in every aspect of your life so this week I am going to study more of ch 10 to try and become better.

Also, this cambio flew by. Next week, Saturday, we will know who his going and who is staying in the zone. I think I am going to stay, but you never know.

I love you so much!

Have a great Valentine’s week.

Elder Matheson
Exercise time

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Drenched, Hard Working Zone, and Cotoca

Dear Family and Friends!

That is super funny with the rat eating Grandma Polly's avocados. Right now there are so many avocados here. And they are the size of gatorade bottles. They are huge. But I haven't seen a possum in any of the trees. This week we didn't get a lot of snow but si we got tons and tons of rain. The huge 20 foot canal by our house almost overflowed!! We got drenched Thursday, but when we got back from the zone meeting we were able to put on our irrigation boots and raincoats.


Also, our zone is working super hard. Our goal is that this month we can have 20 baptisms! We had three this week in the zone and we had about more than 60 attend church. And we found over 157 new investigatores in one week. When you look at a zone you really can see the Lord’s work flying forward!

This week, mom and dad, we have 9 people with baptismal dates! One of them is Soledad. She is 15 and has such a strong desire to follow Christ that she agreed to be baptized on 25 of February in the first lesson and attended church this week and loved it!!

Also the new chapel is amazing! I will send pictures! It is so much bigger and the AC is divine and the members are so grateful to have the church so close! This Sunday so many people came to see the new chapel and it was so full of people and many inactive members!!

This week flew by. My companion and I have been working really hard, and every night we when we get ready to pray we almost fall asleep on our knees. We are doing well!

Me and my companion enjoying some ice cream

I went to Cotoca on an intercambio with Elder Dubiel this week. IT IS SUCH A FUN TOWN but is very catolico!

Cotoca’s beautiful colonial style church

Cotoca is located about 20 kilometers to the East of Santa Cruz

Cotoca is known for its handmade clay artwork

Also, carnaval is next week so we are going to be in our house starting Sunday till Tuesday. What an adventure!

I love you all!

Elder Matheson

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

A Clean House, Yucky Worms and Missionary Work!

Dear Family and Friends,

Good job dad on leading the sacrament hymns! And Mom the reference you gave me was where I used to be with Elder Avarado. It was my 2nd area. Barrio Urbari is a pretty rich neighborhood. I went there a lot with my companion. Right now the whole area is closed, but I will talk to Elder Lorzano so that the reference gets taken care of. Mom do you think you could get a telephone number from the family and a name of the head of the household. That would make the reference easy to contact and more likely that the Elders from another area can go and find the reference, but that is so amazing mom and is a miracle! Oh and right now we are in Barrio Lucero for the 8th ring for the Pampa.

As for the protests, here in Santa Cruz everything has been pretty normal. Some days there have been blockades where people put branches in the street and cars to block the highways to protest and so these days we just walk like normal and don’t use the bus. But Presidente Rodriguez told us in the last conference that as missionaries, there is nothing to worry about because we have permission to be here. If the law does pass, they probably wouldn’t implement it. But if they did that, they would take the missionaries out. But as for right now we are doing great and there hasn't been any problems so don't worry we are all good!

Please pet Gracie for me and I am glad she is learning how to roll over again!

This week we had a house inspection and Hna. Rodriguez came to our house. We cleaned the house good Monday in the morning, but just in case we cleaned more in the night and the next morning. When Hna. Rodriguez got there she said everything was good but that we needed to do better cleaning the tile in the bathroom and on the origination of our study supplies. But we passed!! Also the refrigerator had been smelling really weird, and we cleaned everything. But we found some worms or maggots on the foam padding that seals the fridge, and when we cleaned it is smelled even worse. So Hno Pedro, who works for the mission, came by and took off the door and washed around the foam padding and he found a tiny hole where hundreds of little worms - they are called goozanos here - had entered, and it was so nasty. He washed out the hole and tons of worms came out. Needless to say now our fridge smells a lot better and is worm free!

Our clean house with our cool mosquito net

Also this week, we get to go to our new chapel, and the chapel will have AC !!!!! The whole ward is excited and we think many less active families will start going back to church. Many families went inactive because for the past 6 months we have had to go to a different chapel farther away, but the hope is that in 3 or 4 months in the new chapel the ward can divide too!

Also, Alan accompanied us to a leccion this week and his testimony was so powerful as he testified of the importance of repentance and being baptized to be clean! He is knows the church is true!

This week we found a new investigador named Belen. She seems really receptive, and she accepted a baptismal date for the 25 of February. Herlin, David, and Alex also have a date for the 17th. Please pray for them!

One huge miracles is that we started teaching Santiago y Maria Jose. They have been investigadores for about 2 years and haven't been baptized. We went to teach them and we prayed to know how to help them progress and during the leccion they told how they loved going to church but they had doubts about the Book of Mormon. Wow, now we know what to focus on. This week we have been reading the Book of Mormon with them and they are starting to see that this book is true and it testifies of Jesus Christ our Savior! This week we are going to invite them to be baptized.

Two quotes I found from my personal study today was this..

Service is the very fiber of which an exalted life in the Celestial Kingdom is made! - Presidente Marion G. Romney.

´´The sacrifices we make to keep our covenants and the service we give sanctify us and make us holy.´´--Sister Carol F. McConkie

This week I learned that in order to have the spirit guide us we must sanctify ourselves. By sacrificing to keep our covenants and serve others and keeping the eternal plan in our vision, we can navigate the storms of this life and be refined and return home to our Heavenly Father!

I love you Mom and Dad and my family and friends!


Elder Matheson

Playing futbol as a zone

Areas of the Santa Cruz Mission