Monday, November 28, 2016

Día de Gracias!!

November 28, 2016

Mom and Dad, Family and Friends!

Thank you so much for telling me about the annual Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas tree hunt, and the family activities. I am sure Mary and Jason will find a great new car, especially a mission car. Wow and it is so wonderful to hear how Dad´s vision for the Co-op is coming to pass. I sure love you very much.

This week was full adventures, miracles, trials, and blessings.

For one, my stomach adjusted to the culture here this week through the means of the trial of diarrhea. Sometimes, Elder Salas had to make an emergency stop here. I know though, Heavenly Father was mindful of me for every time I had to use the bathroom, we were at home or close by a member’s house.

On Tuesday, I was able to go on a companion exchange with our district leader. I learned so much! For one, as a missionary, you need to learn to walk fast (thanks to you mom and Grandma Polly, I was able to do it! ) Also, I learned the importance of sharing the gospel with everyone you pass. We are all children of God, and every person needs to know they have a loving Heavenly Father in Heaven and a Savior, Jesus Christ.  One funny story though was we were passing a lady on the street, and I was so excited to talk to her. I told her that we were missionaries and asked her (Usted le gustaria comprar un mensage con usted) it turns out that “comprar” means to buy and actually I meant to say “compartir” which is to share. Oops! But the spirit spoke to her and she agreed and we taught her and her mom! I am so grateful for Heavenly Father. I know that this is his work and he is in charge, and if we will do our very best He will work miracles through us.

One miracle was teaching a man named One. He was outside chopping some weeds, and Elder Salas offered to help him while I talked to him. After talking to him and letting him know that we would like to share a message about our Savior Jesus Christ and our simple service, he let us in and was very receptive to the message of the Restoration, and I was able to give him a Book of Mormon and testify to him that this book is true and that this is why I am here to bring this knowledge to other families so they can know these things are true and that they have a loving Father in Heaven who as a plan for them and that Jesus Christ is central to that plan.

That day I had been feeling just a bit homesick, but serving and testifying of our Savior Jesus Christ help me overcome those feelings and remember my purpose to help others partake of the greatest gift of Heavenly Father - the gospel of Jesus Christ!

I was wondering mom and dad if you or Mary or Sarah or Michael had any advice to help me when those feelings of homesickness enter.  Sometimes in the night, I have dreams about the family or friends and then I wake up and I miss home just little.  

Dad how did you overcome your feelings of homesickness and be a tracking machine?  We sure walk a lot in the day and my feet get sore, but I often think of you dad and how you were a tracting machine and I want to be a tracting machine who serves the Lord with my whole heart.

Those were a couple of the trials this week, but I know this is where I am suppose to be and that my Savior, my Heavenly Father, and my wonderful family and friends love me very much and this helps me serve with vigor and purpose.

Thank you for your stories, your prayers, your examples!

I am so grateful for my eternal family!

Love, your son,

Elder Matheson!

P.S. Here are some pictures of these two amazing weeks!
Oh, and the mission office said if you want to send packages to send them in the bubble wrap envelopes instead of the boxes!

My address is:
Elder Matthew Keith Matheson
Bolivia Santa Cruz Mission
Calle Independencia #610 Esq. Lemoine
Zona Central
Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz

Catching the Trax from Provo to the SLC Airport

Illimani Mountain, the highest mountain in the Andes in La Paz, Bolivia
Arriving in Bolivia early in the morning

President & Sister Rodriguez at the Mission Home
Views of Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Our second night in the mission all the new missionaries had Papa Johns Pizza!  It was so delicious.

The corn here is massive

Last Sunday we had lunch with a family that lives across from us.  In our ward there is Elder Salas, me, Elder Escobar from La Paz, and Elder Fabria from Brazil.  The members in our ward are very kind to me and patient with my Spanish. Sometimes they refer to me as the Gringo, which means North American.

Companions - Elder Matheson & Elder Salas

Monday, November 21, 2016

Hola From BOLIVIA!!

November 21, 2016

Dear Mom and Dad and my wonderful family and friends!

Bolivia is amazing! The people here are so amazing, and almost every person here is of Christian Faith and loves Jesus Christ.

It sure was wonderful to hear you voice mom and dad and Mary when I called. Sorry about how blurry the connection was, but hearing you voice warmed my heart and gave me courage to serve with my whole might so other families can be together forever just like our family!

The plane ride to Bolivia was awesome. I sat by a man from Germany going to Bolivia to go hiking, and I set by a minister of an Evangelical Church. It was an awesome experience to talk with this minister and express how even though we were of different churches, we both wanted to help others to come unto Christ. This man was named Larry. I pray that some day Larry will join our Church and receive the fullness of the Gospel!

From Miami, we flew to La Paz where the aircraft refueled, and then went to Santa Cruz. On this plane ride, I sat by another man who was from Wisconsin but grew up in La Paz and was on his way home. He was Methodist. We talked about the culture of Bolivia, and here and there we would talk about our Savior Jesus Christ. He told me that he loved Latter-day Saints and how strong we believed in the importance of family and that we were examples to the world. What a blessing it is to have the gospel and knowledge that families are forever and that we have the opportunity to share this knowledge with others through our words and examples. This experience taught me that people of all other faiths look to the Lord´s church as an example, and how important it is to represent our Savior, Jesus Christ everyday through our actions.

When we arrived in Bolivia, the humidity hit me. Wow, it is a lot warmer and more humid than Cedar. My favorite moment in the airport was when we were able to meet President Rodriguez and Sister Rodriguez. They gave Elder Gooch, Elder Tillet, the other Elder from the Colorado Mission, and I a big hug. When we met President Rodriguez and Sister Rodriguez, I could feel this is the mission the Lord needs me to serve in, and the President and Sister Rodriguez are called of God to lead this mission.  From the airport, we went and were able to go and sleep in the missionary residence halls for new missionaries and from there we had our first Bolivian meal in the President’s house.  Sister Rodriguez is an amazing cook, and the food was so delicious. Here in Bolivia, they eat a lot different dishes of rice, chicken, and potatoes.  Also, there is fruit juice and Fanta soda in every type of fruit. The mango Fanta and grape juice they have here is especially yummy.  That night, we had a testimony meeting, and they asked if anyone knew how to play the piano. I volunteered, and we sang Come Follow Me. President Rodriguez thanked me for playing and said I did well. That made my day.

Thursday was a wonderful day. This day, the assistants to the President and the Presidents secretaries took us to a park and we placed our first pamphlets and pass along cards. The people of Bolivia are so receptive to the gospel and love to take time to learn more about Jesus Christ, our Savior.  One man and his family where over by a bench, and Elder Van Horn told me it was my turn to lead the discussion. I was a tiny bit nervous but trusted that the Lord would help me, and He did. It is so amazing every time we open our mouth to testify of Christ, it is filled with the words that Heavenly Father needs us to say. The man understood our Spanish and was very kind to us and freely gave us his contact information so we could visit him again.

Later that day, we received our trainers. President Rodriguez lined up all the new missionaries on one side and all the trainers on the other and then he read of who our trainers would be. In my heart, I was praying that I would receive the trainer who would be obedient and help me learn Spanish. How my prayers were answered. My new Companion and Trainer is Elder Salas. He is from La Paz, Bolivia and is very obedient, kind, and patient. I know Heavenly Father hears our prayers and knows what is best for us. We are serving in the Fortaleza area in Santa Cruz. For travel in our area, you use the micros (buses), taxis, or toritos (it is kind of like a 3 wheeled slug bug). The members here are very kind to the missionaries, and every visit whether they are an investigator or member they always share some food or some juice or water with you.  We never eat dinner at night because every house feeds us. Wow, sometimes after appointments it is hard to walk.

I know that this church is true and that the gospel of Jesus Christ is going to all the world, and that the Lord´s hand is constantly at work in our lives and that He loves his children.

Thank you for your love, prayers, and support.

I love you mom and dad and our wonderful family!

My new trainer and companion, Elder Salas, from La Paz, Bolivia

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Elder Has Arrived

November, 15, 2016  
6:55 a.m.

Good Morning,

On account of President and Sister Rodriguez we would like to let you know that it is a great blessing to receive your son, Elder Matheson, safe and sound here in the mission of miracles. We know that he is already becoming an amazing missionary. It will be an honor to serve at his side for the rest of his mission. We know that as he serves the Lord, your whole family will be greatly blessed. We humbly testify with certainty that the mission will change his life and yours for the better from here on out.


Signature Elder Van Horne 

The three Elders from the Provo MTC and another who joined the travelers in Dallas, Texas were warmly welcomed to the Santa Cruz Bolivia Mission by President and Sister Rodriguez  early this morning

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Open Your Mouth!

Dear Mom and Dad and Family and Friends!

I can't believe it;  I am finishing up my final week at the MTC! For one, I got my flight plans, and I leave for Bolivia on Monday, November 14th. We report to the mission travel office at 6:50 a.m. and then we head up to the Salt Lake Airport, where we will catch a flight to Dallas, Texas and arrive around 3:38 p.m.. From there we catch another flight to Miami, Florida at 4:25 p.m. and arrive at Florida at 8:10. There we have a two hour layover until we catch one final flight at 10:06 p.m. all the way to Santa Cruz, Bolivia! Wahoo! I am so excited. We should arrive in Santa Cruz at 8:16 a.m. on the 15th. I am so grateful that this is where the Lord needs me to serve and that He would provide a way for me to get a VISA. My goal on the airplane is to give one Book of Mormon away in English and Spanish to someone who is searching for the Gospel!

Also, a really awesome part is that in one of the airports we get to call home! I wasn't sure what time would be best for you and dad, but I was thinking either calling in the Salt Lake airport in the morning before we leave at 12:00 or calling when we are in Florida around 8:00 or 9:00. If you have a preference just let me know mom and dad. I love you very much and can't wait to talk and hear your voice.

As for the rest of my week, on Sunday, we had a special speaker come and not just speak to us but perform with her family. It was so amazing to hear Jenny Oaks Baker's story of violin success and how before every single one of her major performances she would ask her father, Elder Dallin H. Oaks to give her a blessing. Sister Baker would go back and forth between talking to us over the pulpit and performing some of her amazing compositions, and the amazing thing was one of her daughters accompanied her on the piano, another daughter harmonized on the violin, another daughter played the cello, and her youngest, a boy of 11, played the finger style classical guitar. Wow, it sure reminded me of Uncle Kent's family playing at family reunions and everyone joining in and Christmas Eve at Uncle's Brett's house and all of our family singing, playing instruments, and bearing our testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ! 

On Friday, we had infield orientation where we learned that effective missionary work is accomplished when a ward and the missionaries work together and counsel with the Lord and follow His divine instruction to do His work. One particular quote that really motivated me was this: "Believe that you can Baptize." When we have faith in the Lord and we then have action and do our very best to work hard, listening and following his spirit, we will have success and be able to find the Lord's lost sheep. Also, our spiritual sword in this battle of good and evil is the Spirit. He testifies and teaches Heavenly Father's children. In order for us to wield this spiritual sword, we need to open our mouths and testify of Christ. It is so amazing in the practice lessons that we do at the MTC, when you open your mouth, the Lord fills it with his words and touches the hearts of all in the room with his Spirit. I know Jesus Christ lives and we are all engaged in doing His work and bringing Heavenly Father's beloved, glorious sons and daughters, our fellow brother's and sister's, back to Him!
I love you so much Mom and Dad, and Sarah, Cameron, Mary, Jason, Michael, Delaney and all our wonderful family so much.

Thank you for the candy mom and dad. It sure is yummy, and to thank our teachers Hermana Johnson and Hermano Nash, we all contributed from our candy stashes and gave them a bag full of candy along with a "Muchas Gracias" card. Hermano Nash and Hermana Johnson are such spiritual giants, and I am so grateful Heavenly Father blessed me to be able to have them as my teachers.

Oh and one last thing. Today we are packing for Monday! And I got a couple more books than I thought so I think I might send some things home to you.

Thank you for all the letters throughout the week!  I love you very much!


Elder Matheson!
Two amazing Elders who are in our Zone.  The one on the left plays the violin!  Both are dear friends and Spiritual Giants. 
Our District with Hermano Nash
Hermano Nash, our teacher, served in Chile on his mission.  He has helped our District learn so much about teaching and planning with the Spirit.
This is our District with Hermana Johnson.  Herman Johnson is an angel teacher and teaches with so much love and spirit that we have grown so much!  She reminds me of Cambry Jensen and has strengthened our district and each of our testimonies by teaching us to rely on Christ.
This is Elder Ziebler (middle) and Elder Stone (right).  These were the amazing Elders who I was able to perform Savior Redeemer of My Soul with while in the MTC.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Week 4....Almost 5!

Dear Mom and Dad and Family and Friends,

I have had another great week at the MTC! This past week, I battled a pretty gnarly cold but through faith and prayer, you can conquer anything, even a nasty cold. On Tuesday I was 100% percent better. On Sunday, It was such a wonderful experience to be able to perform Savior Redeemer of My Soul for Sacrament meeting. We could feel the Spirit there especially when we reached the crescendo part at the end. I am so grateful for music. It is truly a universal   spiritual language of the Soul.

Speaking of powerful music, for Choir practice, we worked on Mack Wilberg's arrangement of "Praise to the Man". Brother Eggat, our choir director is so in tune with the Spirit and knows so much about each piece of music we sing. He taught us how the writer of the Song W.W. Phelps fell away from the church for a time and harmed the church much and was one of the main reasons that Joseph was sent to Liberty Jail but, through the Atonement, W.W. Phelps was able to receive forgiveness and then just a couple months after Joseph's martyrdom he wrote this prophetic song. On part of the song that was particularly meaningful was the part the says "Millions shall know Brother Joseph again." Brother Eggat explained we are all part of fulfilling that prophecy as we spread the gospel at home or abroad through our examples, words, and deeds. As we sang this song for the Tuesday devotional, my gratitude for the Prophet Joseph Smith has grown so much and I know that he is a true prophet and that through Joseph Smith, our loving Savior, Jesus Christ restored His church and His gospel so all of Heavenly Father's children can return to Him forever!

Also, President  Russell M. Nelson came and spoke to us. It is so amazing to see in the countenance and eyes of the Apostles that love of God they have for each member of the Church. Some counsel President Nielsen gave that I would like to share is this; We should all strive to have the Gospel of Jesus Christ written in our hearts and become living Epistles of Christ. I had never thought of myself that way before but through our trials and through our actions, Heavenly Father is writing another testimony of His Gospel on us and we can simply share this epistle with others through loving and serving others as Christ does.

This week, was our last week teaching our TRC investigator Julio. Elder Gooch and I both were so grateful for Julio. He is always very fun to teach and very patient when we don't know what to say in Spanish. (In one of our lessons, we were trying to help him understand Lehi's dream and compare the Book of Mormon to the iron rod in the dream, but I had no idea what "iron rod" was. After multiple attempts of trying to say iron rod, Julio helped us figure out the word. When we still couldn’t  say it, he wrote it down for us on a sticky note.) Julio has taught us that by striving to love others as Christ does, you can become best friends with someone in only couple of short visits and see them as Heavenly Father sees him. We taught Julio about Baptism and promised him that as he would continue to read and pray about the book of Mormon and go to church with his LDS friends that he would become ready and want to be baptized.

Thank you for your love and support Mom and Dad and all family and friends. Your prayers help me everyday!


Elder Matheson

P.S. Today or Monday we should get our flight plans and word of our VISA's. It is like another mission call or Christmas eve waiting for them. Our whole district is so excited!

Meeting Sister Caroline Potter, from Cedar City, UT who is preparing to serve in the Paris, France Mission on the Provo Temple walk way

  It is so amazing to see so many people like Elder Davis and Elder Steffensen in the MTC!  (Former Canyon View Cross Country Team members and fellow MTC Missionaries Elder Caleb Davis, Elder Matheson, Elder McKade Steffensen)

This is what Sunday lunch looks like. It is my favorite as you get steak or cordon bleu with ice cream and soup! Yummmmyyyy!