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.



Rain!









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!

Love,

Elder Matheson



Playing futbol as a zone


Areas of the Santa Cruz Mission



Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Adventures In Bolivia

Dear Mom and Dad, Family and Friends!

The snow and the Temple sure made me smile. You have to enjoy the cold for me mom, and I will enjoy all the humidity here for you! Dad congratulations on you calling! You are just like Myron Jones. You will be the best music director. Please take a picture for me! And thanks mom for the arrangements of music and for the update on my friends.  Every week it makes me so happy!

This week, mom and dad, was full of miracles. Thank you so much for your prayers. I felt them. At one point in the week I was super worried if we would be able to complete the assignments given by Elder Enrique R. Falabella of the South America Northwest Presidency and visit all the converts in our ward and ask them for references and coordinate the musical numbers for the upcoming mission conference. I think it was Monday or Tuesday night when I was exhausted, but when it got around time to teach our investigadores it was if all the stress went away. I felt so much peace and also happiness and knew everything would work out, and it did!

Pampa Zone with Elder Enrique R. Falabella of the South America Northwest Presidency and Seventy
We were able to complete the assignments of Elder Falabella and the musical number was great. For the final verse we had Elder Jones and Elder Zimmerman playing the piano, 6 other Elders singing the two songs mixed (A donde me mandes iré and Llevaremos Su verdad al mundo), and I was on the violin.

Also, before the conferencia began, we had the opportunity to shake hands and speak with Elder Falabella with all the other líderes de zona. It is amazing to see that our leaders are called and ordained by God to preach His gospel. He asked me about my family and what I like to do with them, and I told him I loved being with them and that we make good biscuits and gravy! During this mini meeting with Elder Falabella, I was able to asked him how he controlled the stress that he has as a General Authority. He responded that the first thing you have to do is keep an eternal perspective and know that challenges will come, but we are here on the earth to learn and grow. The second thing is to write down all the things you need to accomplish then prioritize which things you need to get done first and then do them! Just this simple counsel helped me out so much!

Also, we learned that as missionaries we are in charge of preaching the gospel to the living and helping them bring the gospel to their ancestors! Wow, I never thought of that, but as missionaries and members there are thousands of spirits waiting for one of their family members to be baptized and do the work for them. We are in charge of teaching that to the people in this area, and as members, we have this commandment to do the work for them.   Mom and dad your temple work is divine! And I know it is blessing so many people living and dead!

Also, one huge miracle is that Herlin and Jessica have plans to be married the 10th of February!! And that day or the next week Herlin wants to be baptized!! Their parents have told us that the gospel has brought so much more love and happiness to their relationship. Please pray for them that they will take this step of faith and be married!

I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that we are led by living profetas today! Right now I am reading in Ether, and I can't wait to finish the Book of Mormon and start again. Elder Falabella taught us that in 24 hours there is about 1400 minutes, and in all this time we surely can give 5 minutes of this time to the Lord and read the Book of Mormon. If we do so we will be converted!


I love you mom and dad and the whole family and my friends!


Elder Matheson

Playing futbol as a zone. Herlin came.
Thank you for the Christmas Cards that recently arrived


Monday, January 15, 2018

Opportunities To Grow - Adventures & Blessings

Dear Wonderful Family and Friends!

Thank you for all the pictures, your love, and support! This last week has been full of opportunities to grow and a lot of stress and adventures and blessings!

Saturday, I was able to baptize Alan. When he left the baptismal font, he was so happy. You could see that he really had repented and changed his life and was so happy.  Also, his former girlfriend, who gave us his name to visit, and his return missionary friend came to the baptism!
Alan!
Elder Iparraguirre, Alan, Elder Matheson
Alan and his friend who returned from a mission!
Sunday, my companion confirmed him a member of the church. Also Sunday it rained and rained, and it was so hard for the members to make it to church and our investigadores, but we picked up Juana and she attended church for the first time! All the streets were pretty muddy so we have been using boots these past few days.

Hermana Olga made us more pie!​
My new companion is a great leader and teacher! He sure is helping improve my Spanish. This past week, all the responsibility of running the area and teaching my companion the area and helping the zone and practicing the musical number was a little crazy. But my companion is learning the area and we are working well together. I am learning so much and my companion and I are doing well! Today we are going to play capture the flag as a zone.

I know that God lives and through Him we can overcome our weaknesses and become more like our Savior Jesus Christ. Also, I know Presidente Monson was a profeta and what a blessing is to know that he is with his wife and family and that the Lord continues to call new prophets.

Love,

Elder Matheson

P.S. Mom can you look for an arrangement of “We’ll Bring The World His Truth´´ with ´´I’ll Go Where You Want Me To Go”? The musical number is coming, but we are still trying to put the two songs together.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Miracles, Cambios, Eye Disease!

Dear Family and Friends,
 
This week flew by so fast and so much has happened, I don't even know where to start.

What a blessing to be alive at this time when the gospel is spreading over all the earth and the Lord is moving forward his great work! How blessed we are to have a Prophet and 12 Apostles. I sure am grateful for President Monson and happy that he is with his wife and Savior, Jesus Christ. Truly he is a prophet of God.
 
This week in Santa Cruz it rained so hard that many houses flooded, and here there are so many canals that floods aren't very common. In one part of our ward, the people had water in their front yards and in their house up to their knees. In Gaupilo, a part in our zone, there were houses that had water all the way up to people’s chest. The members who followed the counsel of the prophet to have a bag for emergencies were greatly blessed. We had a fun time bailing out water. For about 2 hours Tuesday night we bailed water out of a house in our neighborhood. It felt good to serve these people just like the Savior would.

Now for the part about the eye disease. So in Santa Cruz, everyone is getting a sickness called cojuntabities, or it is like pink eye where the eye swells up and yellow fluid comes up. Now for the adventure. My companion got it! He woke up Thursday morning, and his eye was shut.
To protect his eyes he wore some awesome sunglasses we found in the house.  Thankfully I haven't got it yet.

Also, Alan is doing great. He didn't get baptized this week because his friend is returning from the mission and she wanted to be there to see it so it is going to happen this week for sure! He attended church again and loved it. It has been amazing to see the process of repentance in his life and how each commandment he learns about he keeps. With each commandment he keeps, the spirit illuminates his countenance! Truly the gospel makes us happy. As Alma taught his son, “wickedness never was happiness.” But flipping the phrase, righteousness always brings happiness!

Alan and Elder Harris - Alan got this crazy eye disease and didn't want anyone to get it so he wore his sunglasses
 This week we had cambios, and my companion and I got to announce them to the zone. That was super fun, but what we didn't expect is my companion is going to Yacuiba. I sure am going to miss him. He has been a great leader, teacher, companion, and friend. And he has helped me progress so much.   Since my companion was transferred,  I am in charge of the musical number for the conference with Elder Falabella. Can you pray for me?

Elder Lamont, an Elder in our zone has been sick for the past two weeks and has been in the hospital. This week, my companion taught me the importance of service, and we were able to visit him and bring them food and help them in their baptismal service. Elder Lamont got permission to leave the hospital and he and his companion baptized 1 brother and 3 sisters. It felt so good to go to their baptismal service and help them with the musical numbers and filling up the font. Please pray for Elder Lamont that he can be healed.

Anyway, being a missionary is the best and your companions build you, help you, and change you.
Our great district! Elder Ward, the tall American, is our district leader and is a fantastic missionary!
Saying goodbye to the Gonzales family with Dulce y Fernanda and the Soliz family!   
 

My new companion is Elder Iparraguirre. He is from Peru and entered the mission one transfer after me. We are excited to work together!

This gospel is true, the Book of Mormon is the word of God as well as the Bible, and Jesus Christ lives.  Through faith and his name, repentance of our sins, baptism by water and by the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end or enjoying to the end of this brief mortal experience, we can become like our Heavenly Father and live with Him again!

I hope you have a great week!

Love Elder Matheson!

Tim Tam Slams Together...Thank you so much for the cookies.  They were delicious!


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Wow, It Is 2018 - All The Many Blessings


Dear Mom and Dad and My Amazing Family and Friends, Happy New Years!!! Wahoo!!!

Wow, it is 2018! It is so crazy to think of all the many blessings the Lord has given us. I just want to point out 8 of these blessings:

1. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, and His gospel

2. Our covenants of the Temple that bind us together as a family forever

3. The Book of Mormon, which contains the fullness of the gospel of all the things we need to do in this life to return to our Heavenly Father

4. The Cedar City Temple

5. BABY EMMA!!!!! Our family is getting bigger. I’m just trying to guess who is going to have the next baby.

6. Sarah is better and is healthy

7. Mom and Dad you are temple workers!

8. We are a family, and we are healthy, happy, and strong in the church and have a new year to progress and become more like Jesus Christ!

Mom and Dad it was such a blessing to see you and talk to you on Christmas. It was was my favorite Christmas. And it just made me so happy to see you. I was just so grateful to see you.

I have some good stories to tell you.

So for the Christmas Conference...

To start it off, President and Hna. Rodrigues shared their conversion stories. President Rodrigues, in his words, was a “freaky kid” because by the age of 15 he had read the New Testament 3 times and the Old Testament twice and was very Catholic.

One day his brother brought home a Book of Mormon, and he tried to convince his brother that the book of Mormon was evil because he had heard that it was all about Jose Smith. But his brother said he was going to read it. President then flip threw the book, and the first scripture he read was Moroni´s promise. And as he read it he felt a powerful feeling enter his heart. So he decided he would read it. He took the book with him on vacation for 2 months, and he read the whole Book of Mormon and then he asked God if it was true and received his powerful testimony that it was.  (On a side note, Presidente Rodrigues doesn't get very emotional, but every time he talks about the Book of Mormon he cries.) 2 weeks later he was baptized, and now all of his family are members and 5 of his children have served missions wow!!

He was so grateful for the missionary who had felt prompted to give the Book of Mormon to his brother. Just like this missionary, we too need to give the Book of Mormon to others. Because just what President Nelson taught, the Book of Mormon is worth more than all the gold and diamonds in the world. This additional knowledge of Jesus Christ is priceless.

Also, as a zone, we did a skit of Samuel the Lamanite with the believers and how Samuel gave the sign, and 5 years later only a few believed and the wicked were ready to kill the believers. To make this realistic, we got all the wicked missionaries machetes!! And right when they were about to kill the believers, the lights on the stage stayed on and then they ran off the stage in fright or started to believe. And that is when Elder Chapman started to sing Silent Night and Elder Zimmerman, my companion, and I sang a 4 part harmony and then the whole zone sang! It was so powerful and fun.
 
Our Christmas Skit

It was awesome! They served a huge meal with potatoes, salads, bread, and pig and turkey. I didn't risk it so I just ate the turkey this year, and it was amazing.

This week Hna. Rodrigues just gave my companion and I the assignment to organize a special musical number for the next conference were Elder Fabella of the Seventy will visit our mission!

Also, Alan is progressing so much. We have been visiting daily, and now we are teaching him all the commandments and he is so excited to be baptized. He is going to be baptized this next Saturday. He is truly a miracle. We have never had someone progress so fast. Yesterday, he went to church and loved it and the members are so great and helping him have friends! Please pray for him that he will be willing to live all the commandments.

I know that this is God’s work. He lives!

Love your son,

Elder Matheson

 
Christmas with Familia Escobar.  The fish was so delicious, and it was amazing to see them!  They are active and preparing to go to the temple this May!.
My companion and I tried doing a picture of the American Gothic Farmer