Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Festival de Danzas

Dear Family and Friends,

Here in sunny Santa Cruz it is hot and humid again. One blessing though is that there aren´t a ton of mosquitoes in our area because most of the area is pavement.

But this week my companion and I worked hard and the Lord blessed us with a really prepared family. Last Monday we were contacting and passed by a house and we saw a wedding photo through the window so we decided to contact them. A lady came out and told us that her cousins are Mormons too. Her husband wasn't home so we set a return date. When we came back, the one lady wasn't there but her brother Humberto was, and he let us in.

Humberto and Sandy Gallardo have been married for 5 years and they have two kids. During the lesson we learned that they don't assist any church but do want to learn more about God. Humberto told us, ´´I have a hole in my life. I feel like something is missing in my life.”

So we taught them the plan of salvacion this week and they accepted a baptismal date for the 4 of August. Saturday we invited them to church. Hno. Humberto said, “My wife and I want to go to church, but in every church we go to we feel uncomfortable because everyone is dancing and shouting.” (When he told us that, I thought this family is like one of those families that you read about in Preach My Gospel or in conference talks.) But we testified that this is Christ's church and that because it is His church, it is a church of order. They agreed to go Sunday, but when we passed by Sunday they had had some family problems and could't attend. (There is an opposition in all things.) Please pray for them!

Big news! Ivan, Elvis and Carlos all received the Aaronic priesthood this week! And Yovanna and Her Mom came to church too!

Friday, the stake held a huge dance festival. It was held in good sized basketball/futzal stadium. We got permission from President, and the entire zone went as long as we brought an investigador with us. Before the festival started, the whole zone contacted and tried to invite as many people possible from the street to attend.

​Our zone!

​In the festival, every ward had a specific department of Bolivia. This is barrio Trompillo they danced a dance from Santa Cruz.

Piari (my old ward a year and half ago was there too. I got to see some ward member too) They had the department of Oruro! Their dance was my favorite!

Some other adventures this week:

​Intercambio with Elder Gonzalez. He is from Peru and plays rugby.

​If you haven´t heard, France won the world cup! It was crazy on Sunday. During the match there wasn't a single car on the street. In South America the world cup is like the super bowl. In memory of France we went to the ramada and bought some France soccer jerseys.

​My companions!
Elder Stewart was my previous companion
My companion now - Elder Huanecune
 ​KFC! There is one in Santa Cruz. It was delicious!

I know this is God´s work and that the Book of Mormon and the Bible are the word of God and that as we read them we receive power and comfort from on high!

Have a great week!

Love,

Elder Matheson

This Hna. Helen and Her Family


Helen is a  member who is coming back to church. She cooks so well. She made us empanadas! Her daughters Yovanna and Joselin are investigating the church!

Monday, July 9, 2018

Happy 4th of July!

Dear Family and Friends,

Wow, Seth, Kyle, and Seleck look great! You can tell they finished their missions well! Thanks for the photos too!

That hilarious with the dog cut out! Good job Michael in protecting the house!! And dad that is awesome you made muffins for mom! Mom, I hope you had an extra special birthday because you are an extra special mother!

Joel is an investigador of the sisters in 4 de Julio in Tarija. He asked me to baptize him.

Please tell Sister Pace hi and give her a hug from mi!

This week went by fast! Wow, we are in week 3 of the transfer!

One highlight this week was el consejo de lideres. It is the leadership counsel that President holds with the assistants, zone leaders, and Sister training leaders of the whole mission.

My companion and I at consejo

In this counsel President talked about the importance of ministering to our zones. He told us that a powerful intercambio/exchange can bless and change the course of a missionary. I sure respect Presidente and Sister Rodriguez. This month they hit their two year mark in the mission, and President expressed his love for us and told us that he saw us as his fellow brothers in this great battle for our Savior Jesus Christ.

Also, I got to see Elder Stewart! He is doing great and he told me that Marilin and Josselin are still going to church. Also, Caudia´s dad gave her permission to be baptized if she commits to go to church each week. What a blessing!

Oh and Ivan (they spell Yban here) is doing much better. Thank you for your prayers. He is on his feet working again. After the counsejo my companion received a great impression to ask for clothes for Ivan. We talked to Hna. Rodriguez and we were able to get some dress shirts and pants for Ivan from the mission storage of clothes (when elders go home or new elders come in with a ton of extra clothing, you can donate it to the mission so that investigadores and converts can receive needed clothing)

The next day we gave Ivan his bag of clothes. He didn't say much but he had a genuine smile and we could tell he was very grateful for the clothes. When we left, I felt really happy and that we had completed our call to represent our Savior Jesus Christ and minister to him.

35For I was an hungred , and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger , and ye took me in:

36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren , ye have done it unto me.

This week, I felt the truth of these scriptures and learned that there are many people in need that we can minister to!

Saturday, Elvis got baptized! My companion baptized him. After his baptism, he told me, "Wow, I really feel clean from my sins!"


Elvis and his baptism


Sunday: We did divisions to pick up investigatores. I went to pick up familia Cardenas. We invited 4 of their neighbor's kids to go to church with us and they went! It was 8:55 and church was in 5 minutes and a miracle taxi pulled up and we fit 5 kids in the trunk, 4 adults (me and Julio included in the middle seats and the driver, Hna. Alexandra and her younger sister up front.

In total we fit 12 people in a 1997 Toyota Corolla hatchback. Oh, what a sight. But we made it to church on time!

I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ! It brings joy and peace to all children of God! This Church is true and what a blessing it is to have a latter day prophet and 12 apostoles who guide us!

Have a great week!

Love,

Elder Matheson

To celebrate the 4th we wore American colors and ate ice cream. My companion’s sweats are like the guy from Napoleon Dynamite. They make me laugh


Week 1 in Antofagasta

Dear Family and Friends,

Wow it sounds like quite a week! The mountains sure look pretty and that is very interesting sunset with the temple!

So the mission has a mission doctor which is Dr. Lopez. He is Boliviano and gave me my huge penicillin shot but there is also Hna. Willis. She is a missionary and mission nurse. She is in our zone and is super awesome. When ever we get sick or have health questions we call her. If it is something serious we talk to Hna. Rodriguez and Dr. Lopez.

As for the ward, it is great! This week was nice and cool but then heated up. The area is really nice because it has a lot of pavement and looks just like California, but the people are good and receptive.

Our bishop is awesome. He works in a trucking company and has 2 sons studying at BYU and he really likes gringo missionaries so we get along great. Also, the ward has a lot of return missionaries and there are many investigadores. In all it is a really healthy, happy ward.

Also, this week, we had a baptism. Carlos got married to his girlfriend who is a member and then Sunday morning he got baptized!

Saturday we got permission to go to the villa (my old zone in la Pampa) and see them sign the marriage certificate with a lawyer.

The baptism turned out great! Carlos is 20 years old and really has a strong testimony. In his baptismal service and in sacrament meeting he testified of how he prayed and fasted to know if the church was true and was able to receive an answer from the spirit!

Carlos´ baptism. Bishop baptized him.

Also we had a family night with Familia Gutierres. They love the missionaries. Their son is going to Mexico in Ooctober. They also had one of those spiky hamsters (I don´t know what they are called) but I got to hold it with a glove.  It tried to spike me!

We got permission from Presidente and we got to watch one match of the world cup. Brazil beat Mexico. It was really fun to watch. My companion played semi-professional in clubs in Peru and taught me a lot of futbal.

The work is going well here. This next week, Elvis is going to get baptized. He is so eager follow Christ but has a hard time remembering to read the Book of Mormon. Please pray for him.

If all goes well Christian, Yovana, and Joselin will get baptized this month. Also, a recent convert, Yban has been going through some problems. He has been struggling with liver failure and problems with his family. Yban is 26 but has a mental illness and is like a humble child. Please pray for his health and the other investigadores!

One spiritual thought from my personal study: God is our loving Heaving.

Blessed are ye because of your faith. And now behold, my joy is full.

21 And when he had said these words, he wept, and the multitude bare record of it, and he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them.

22 And when he had done this he wept again; 3Nephi 17:21-22

Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us and weep with us when we suffer and are happy when we obey their commandments.

Love,

Elder Matheson

Joel is an investigador of the sisters in 4 de Julio in Tarija.  He asked me to baptize him.                                            

A few photos with members and investigators and our zone and district in Tarija just before I left



 

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Transfers!

June 26, 2018

Dear Family and Friends,

Wow, the family reunion looked awesome! Good job Sevy family! I really appreciated the idea of grandpa´s legs event! That’s funny! Also the orchestra looked great! And I am so proud of Audrey! She is going to be a fantastic missionary!

Sooooo Saturday we got the transfers, and I have been transferred to (drum roll) Santa Cruz! I will be serving as a zone leader in Zona Central, barrio Antofasgasta, and my companion is Elder Huanecune. He is 25 and is from Peru. He is from my same group but is cutting his mission a transfer short for schooling so voy a matarle or I am going to be his last companion.

One interesting thing about our zone is that is has all of the center of Santa Cruz or all the really rich people. Also there are only 8 elders and 4 hermanas. It is really small, but the zone has great missionaries and includes the secretaries, mission nurse, and assistants.

Transfers are always kind of emotional, and getting used to a new area and companion always makes me a little anxious, but all is well. Our new house has two bathrooms!!

But yesterday it was great to say goodby to the members and investigators in 4 de julio. I am going to miss them.
​This my new companion! Elder Huanecune
Elder Vidal and Hermana Mamani came with me from our zone to Santa Cruz
​Goodbye mountains
This is Jose! He is the ward mission leader in 4 de julio. He served in Chile and got back recently.

​Dian and Fabiana Conejo. This family is helping us help Josselin have friends
​Hno Oscar Martines!
This is Hna. Jimena and her sister! Hna. Jimena is such a faithful member of the church! They love the elders and do so much good for others.
This is Wildard! He is Elder Iparraguire's convert and is 16. He always accompanies us!
Hno Miguel and his mom Feliza. They are great converts. Miguel is getting ready for the mission and his mom has been helping us visit Marilin!
And I tried making biscuits and gravy. We didn’t have sausage so I used boiled hot dogs. It wasn’t quite the same but it still tasted alright.
​Here is a dog from Tarija. It gets really cold so they put these shirts (they look like dresses to me :) on their dogs
I am grateful for change because it really helps remind me to be humble. I love to think of Heavenly Father as a master craftsmen of metal or the most loving black smith. In order to turn a big chunk of rock into something beautiful, a blacksmith must put the material into extreme heat or in this case different or unique circumstances and then he must pound out the imperfections and then cool the metal in water.

I feel that life and the mission is like that. They are times of refinement, times of trial which help us trust in the Lord and become more like him, and times of joy!

16 ¶ For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  John 3:16

As we go through this mortal life and as we are refined, I know we can find comfort as we believe in Jesus Christ. He lived to show us a perfect example, died and suffered for our sins and afflictions, and rose from the dead so that all of us will not perish but be able to live after death and according to our obedience, live with Him again.

I hope you have a wonderful week!

Love,

Elder Matheson

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Last Week In The Transfer

Dear Family and Friends,

Wow, that is so crazy that Morgan and Joe are back from their missions and that Macy got married! A lot of important things happen in 2 years!!

Tell dad Happy fathers day for me!

​Me and My son! Elder Barazoto is the best!
This is the last week of the transfer! Elder Stewart is the best! I sure am grateful we have gotten to serve together. In our whole 4 and half months together we have never gotten into a serious fight or argument. So that is quite an accomplishment because sometimes after weeks together with the same person it kind of wears on you but we are getting along great!

We both are nervous for transfers because we are from the same group and have the same time in the area so only the Lord and President knows who is going where!

This week was very eventful!

On Wednesday we had interviews with Presidente and then we practiced a musical number with Elder Barazoto /my son/, Elder Lefgren and Elder Martines. (Elder Ponce didn't want to sing but he was a judge to help us sound better) We were trying to include guitar, ukulele, and violin all together but it got too complicated so we just went to singing and Elder Stewart and I played the violin.

Then we went and hauled 4 mattresses to the house of Elder Pineda. The Elders from Bermejo were coming in the night to stay over for the conference because in the past they have had to wake up at 4 in the morning and take a tiny minivan to come to the conference. The road is apparently really rough with a lot of ups and downs and turns and the fitting all the elders in a trufy in the morning makes it a hard time to have an enjoyable conference, so that is why they came early.

After that, we picked up pouch and then went to work finally! In the night, we had exchanges with the assistants and Yosselin had her baptismal interview.

Thursday was the multi-zona! It was great! Presidente taught us about the doctrine of obedience! Obedience is a sign of conversion, but it is not between us and president or even the prophet but the Lord himself. Presidente testified to us that how we obey on our mission will be a foreshadow of our life after the mission. He invited all of us to repent and be more obedient so the Lord could continue blessing the mission and hastening his work through us! I know President is called of God and am so grateful to learn from this great man!
Conference, Elder Vidal! He is from Santiago Chile and is one of my best friends in our zone!
 Also, Hermana Rodriguez liked the musical number!

This week, I learned that Satan has power to tempt and discourage us! President also told us this, that in this life we will go through moments of suffering, but even in these moments, we must be obedient so the Lord can bless and deliver us.

Yosselin was all ready and excited for her baptism! Saturday came and we had the baptismal font and all the members invited and a cake ready and then she called us at 9:30 a.m. telling us that she didn't think she could be baptized. Some family members had told her that they didn't think she was ready for baptism and satan really discouraged her and she told us how she was so scared to be baptized because she is afraid to sin afterwards and a lot of other doubts came out so we canceled her baptism.

But this week we are going to try and help her see that she is ready and that the Lord has answered her prayers and that she should follow this commandment and be baptized. Please pray for her and for us that Yosselin can overcome her doubts and be baptized this week!

Also, we asked President for guidance about Marilin and he told us that the important thing is that she gets married for civil and then can be baptized and if her family wants them to be married in the catholic church it is alright.  She is a lot more excited. This week she had a karate tournament and sold shirts to get money for her marriage papers! Please pray for them.

Also if you can pray for Claudia, Sulma, Poal y Fernanda, Lucia y Jilberto, Alex y Margot!

This week, general conference magazines got here! I have been trying to study 5 to 10 minutes of a talk everyday! I know this is the Lord´s church. We have a prophet and 12 apostles called of God!

Love,

Elder Matheson

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Week Four Of The Transfer

Dear Family and Friends,

This week passed by like a blur! Friday Elder DeCocq, the President’s secretary, called Elder Stewart and me to buy our plane tickets home. He told me Elder Matheson you are going to have transfers and are going home. (My first thought was, hey I haven´t done anything wrong why am I going home, and then it hit me that I am going home in a couple of months.) Kind of a weird feeling. I want to serve these last 3 months with all my heart. I will be going home with those of my group to the Salt Lake airport.

But this week we had some miracles!

Yesterday morning we went and taught Yosselin. We asked her if she had prayed and she told us that she had and felt an answer that she should be baptized this Saturday. What a blessing! We just have to teach her about the temple and service in the church and have her interview and she will be ready. Please pray for her that she can make it to this Saturday and be baptized. Also her and her older sister sell clothes Saturdays and Sundays in a big street market called la vibora negra (the black viper). Please pray for her that she can be blessed with a lot of sales on Saturday so that she can have the faith to not work on Sunday!

Also this week, Marilin called us and asked us for help cleaning her karate gym. We had to ask president for permission because it was in the other zone and in the afternoon, but he gave us permission. We called Bishop and Hna. Jimena (her family is the family that let us use their computers on Mother’s day) and they came with us, and we helped Marilin sweep and mop the gym.
We also had a great lesson with Marilin and the elders quorum president came with us. During the lesson we taught about temples and eternal marriage, and we could see that Marilin was a little bit bothered by something so we asked her if she had any questions and she then told us how Ever´s family wants them to get married in the catholic church and she said, “Pero yo no soy catolico yo quiero ser mormona´´ so she was a little discourage because if her husband is not a member she will never be able to get sealed in the temple. It was really hard to see Marilin so discouraged, but we testified the Lord would provide a way for her to get married and be baptized and that Ever will come around. Every time we visit we always invite him to come but he never does because he is too busy studying. Please pray for Marilin that we can teach her whole family and that they can be converted to the gospel and she can be baptized soon!

President Nelson’s challenge - The youth here saw the devotional. One of our members, Bryan, he is 14 and always uses his phone, but Sunday when we went to his house he was on his 7 day social media fast! President Nelson is a prophet.

I know this is the Lord’s work, and I am so grateful for His love and patience to work with us who are such imperfect servants! But just like Nephi, I know the Lord provides a way to obey his commandments that as we are obedient we are blessed. The Bible is the word of God. I have been studying the first books, and I am in Lucas. What a blessing it is to have the Bible which contains the life and example of Jesus Christ. I also know the Book of Mormon is true because it fills my heart with joy and comfort and brings to my mind peace and understanding and testifies of Christ!

I hope you have a wonderful week and that you are reading the Book of Mormon daily!

Love,

Elder Matheson!

As a zone we went to Bella Vista, it was a lot drier this time but still beautiful.   
​Elder Ortiz cooking the meat
​Hna. Gonzales seasoned the meat      
We ran up the hill to get this view!
 
 
We bought fried chicken from Poal and Fernanda!  There are progressing well and then we bought pizza from the young men who are doing a fundraiser to go to the temple!  The pizza was really good!  
Also, I got the package will all the treats and ties and cards and everything!  Thank you! The girl scout cookies are very good. Every night or after lunch for dessert it has been the best to eat a tootsie roll or a starburst!  I love candy!!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Strep Throat and Cold

​Hace Friooooooo!
Dear Mom and Dad and my wonderful family and friends!

We have officially entered winter. It was so cold this week. It only got down to about 35-40 degrees, but here it is kind of humid so the cold bites right through you. We bought jackets today! Friday and Saturday were especially cold, but we made it through the week. This week is supposed to be warmer!

So last Monday I felt really sick but my companion gave me a blessing and the next day my fever and body aches were gone, but my throat hurt a lot. It got a little bit better but then on Wednesday I completely lost my voice. Being a missionary without of voice is like being a knight without a sword. It doesn't work too well, but my companion sure helped me and did a lot of the talking that day.

Thursday during our district meeting, Dr. Lopez flew in from Santa Cruz to give us a health training about how to avoid rabies and have good health. After his presentation, I asked him about my throat and he looked into my mouth and said, ´´Wow, you've got a lot of bacteria. You need a shot of penicillin.” Gulp... I don't remember the name of the bacteria, but I think it is strep throat in English. But....Elder Stewart had a similar sickness before he came here with me, and he started laughing and told me this shot wasn't going to go into my arm.
The needle was huge and the shot was about as thick as a nickel.
So we bought the medicine and shot and Doctor Lopez mixed the medicine up and injected it into my backside. OUCH!! That was the longest shot of my life (10 to 15 seconds) and that needle wasn't very small either!

But in the night I felt a lot better. I have been drinking some good cough syrup and my voice and throat are almost all the way back together.
My cough medicine (It kind of has a cherry chalk flavor)
But this week as a zone we worked hard to try and find more through the members. This week, we found Fernanda and Paol. They are member references, and all of Fernanda’s family is a member and she really wants to be a part of the church because she has seen the blessings her family has received from the gospel.

Also, we watched the video of Joseph Smith, the Profet of Restaurcion with Marilin and Yosselin in the house of Familia Duran. They both loved it. Marilin went to church again yesterday. And during one of her lessons she told us, I don´t know if I can be a member of the church because sometimes I lose my temper with my brothers. She is striving so hard to obey all the commandments! Please pray for Iver, her husband, that he will have the desire to listen to us!

Also, Claudia is doing great! She turned 15 this week, and we gave her a small note and some bon bons! Her dad still doesn't want to give her the permission to be baptized, but we are working hard to answer her questions and help her gain a stronger testimony of the Book of Mormon!

Thank you for all your prayers and support!

Love,

Elder Matheson

​This was last week traveling to Santa Cruz for the leadership council
My pictures is getting farther up on the board. I am getting older in the mission.
Familia Arteaga!  This family is amazing and even though they have had some trials they are very active in the church!
Paola, Leo, and Mitchel It was wonderful to see them.
​Today we went to an overlook of the city!  This is a good view of Tarija from different angles.

  

​Sunset in tarija