Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas! Our Savior's Birth

December 19, 2016

​Dear Mom, Dad, Family & Friends,

Mom I hope you get the message, but at 6:30 today Bolivian time I get to call you for 5 minutes and let you know more when I can Skype you on the 25th - Christmas!! (*Editor’s Note:  This did happen and it was wonderful. Mamacita actually only heard the conversation via phone because she was running one too many errands, while Matthew’s sisters, Mary and Sarah, conducted the Skype run through.  But things are now a go and ready for 4 p.m. Christmas day.)

Wow, Cousin Jeanna´s baby is big and has tons of hair.  I sure loved your poem mom; it made me simile. And that is so awesome you saw Mr. Hansen in Richfield.  It is so amazing to see how interconnected Richfield and Cedar is.  Thank you for the pictures.  I sure liked seeing Mr. Byers and Mr. Jordan conduct the famous CV Christmas program!  I bet they sounded amazing.  Thank you everyone for your emails.  My internet time goes so fast.  First, we email the mission president and then our families.  By then most of the time is gone so I am sorry I don't get to write to everyone individually.  I did get my first letter in the mail.  It was from Aunt Joyce and written around Thanksgiving time.

All Geared Up For The Bolivian Summer Rains
Mom you would love the weather down here. This week we didn’t quite have the crazy rain storm and streets with a flood of water, but this week was hace caloooor! In Bolivia, December through February is the wet, hot season.  March is the really cold season, and because of the humility, it is extra cold.

This week, has been wonderful and challenging.  For one, the heat and humidity sure made me appreciate water and sometimes an ice cream cone!  But this week we had many miracles.   Also, this week, it was a blessing to be able to give a blessing with Elder Salas to a baby of an investigator family.  The feeling that enters my heart when we give blessings is so sacred and is a constant reminder to me that I need to work and do my very best to be worthy to exercise the Lord’s Priesthood.  The blessing was full of the Spirit as I anointed the baby and as Elder Salas blessed the baby with health particularly for her eyes because there was a problem with them.  It is such a miracle to see that baby this week has had better health and her eyes are working good.  I am so grateful for the Lord’s Priesthood on the earth today and that I have the opportunity to exercise his priesthood.  Also, this week, I had the opportunity to go on a companion exchange with Elder Gonzalez.  He has only been out a transfer more than me, and he sure helped me realize what I can become at the end of my 12 weeks of training.  He has such enthusiasm for the gospel and a sincere love of the people.  During our companion exchange, I learned that you can be a very effective missionary and teach others through your example even if you are a new missionary.  This week, my goal is to have more enthusiasm for this great work of the Lord, especially on days that are very hot and to love and focus my attention on the people.  

Also, this week Elder Salas and I gave out lots of the illuminate the world cards of Navidad.  It was wonderful to be able to give people a card and testify of our Savior and that he lives and has a plan for us and then invite them to watch the video.  It sure is precious!  

I know Jesus Christ is our Savior and He lives, and I love every moment I get to testify of Him and help all of Heavenly Father´s children return to him!  

Here are some pictures! 

Missionary Breakfast

Mary I got one in a torito just for you!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Love and Service - 1 Month In Bolivia

December 12, 2016

Mom and Dad (Family and Friends)!

This week, Elder Salas and I had many miracles.  For one we had a interview with President Rodriguez.  During this interview I felt so much of the Savior’s love for me.  I expressed how sometimes I felt homesick, and he said this was completely normal and that he was homesick for his son who just left on his mission.  In the interview, President counseled me to make sure everyday I was having language study as sometimes we wouldn’t because of district or zone meetings.  I applied his counsel this week, and my Spanish knowledge has grown so much!  I know that President Rodríguez is called of God to preside over the Santa Cruz Mission, and I am so grateful I get to work with him.

Spanish bk mormonPresident Rodríguez challenged our whole mission to have one person enter the waters of baptism by the end of January.  Elder Salas and I prayed really hard to be able to find the people we need to find who are ready for the gospel and who we can baptize. This week, a young man named Adrian contacted us, and we started lessons with him.  He has attended seminary and institute and has read portions of the Book of Mormon and said he would like to be baptized!  Wow, what a miracle. This week, we teach him on Tuesday.  I know the Lord answers our prayers when we trust in
him and when we work. When you have time, if you would pray for Adrian and that Elder Salas and I can teach him with the Spirit, I sure would appreciate this!

Also, the primary program was wonderful.  It was so amazing to see how the testimony of the children illuminated the hearts and faces of all present in the room.  Heavenly Father sure helped me to play my best.  Through the piano, it has been such a blessing to gain the trust and love of the ward.  Oh and our ward is the Fortaleza Ward, Pirai Stake!  

This week, I tried also to focus and loving the people and to focus my study and my thoughts on them. As I did this, I felt the Spirit so strong and my feelings of homesickness left and I felt the strength of the Lord and a desire to serve. Each of us are Children of God, and as we see each other as Heavenly Father sees us, it is amazing to feel the same love Heavenly Father has for us.  I know this is the Lord’s work and that as we put him first in all things, in our thoughts, actions, words, deeds, that He blesses us with peace and happiness.

Muchas gracias for all your prayers mom and dad and everyone.  I love you so much and am so grateful that through our Savior Jesus Christ we can be a forever family!  

Love your son,

Elder Matheson!

Oh and one cultural experience that I had that was a little bit funny was in Bolivia, the women greet each person with a kiss on the cheek and in return you do the same.  As missionaries though we just give them a firm handshake, but in one lesson, I was trying to stand up to shake the hands of a sister and accidentally she thought that I was going to shake her hand and greet her with a kiss so she shook my hand and kissed me. That surprised me a little!  Elder Salas sure laughed hard after the lesson and let me know that if that happens, accept the greeting and then just explain after why we can’t greet with a kiss. 

PS.  I am sorry I don't write to everyone.  This email time flies so fast.

Also here are some pictures of my first really rainy day in Santa Cruz.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Week 3 - The Blessings of Fasting!

December 4, 2016

Mom and Dad - Family and Friends!

Wow the co-op is becoming the Shakespeare Center of Midvalley!  It is so exciting that so many people can see the beautiful building and use it.  Dad your vision is coming to pass!  Also, that is so awesome the Madrigal choir sang at our ward Christmas Party. I bet they sounded amazing.

Thank you for the update at home and letting me know it is normal to feel homesick.  It was a blessing this week to have Heavenly Father help me realized that just because I can’t talk to you everyday you are always there and love me.  Also, I tried to look for different ways that Bolivia was similar to home.  One thing similar in Bolivia is ice cream is just as delicious. In the stores on the street, they have big bins of drumsticks called Coco Chocos. They are chocolate ice cream cones on top with coconut. You sure would love the coconut mom, and dad the ice cream I know you would like it for sure!  :)  

Another blessing, my diarrhea went away. That was a big relief! This week, I practiced the piano with the primary for their primary program. We are singing Praise To The Man, I Love To See The Temple and other primary songs.  The ward is sure appreciative of my piano knowledge, and I am so grateful for you and Grandma Polly and Mrs. Pressgrove for helping me learn.  Next Sunday we perform in Sacrament meeting.  Also, our zone is preparing for a mission conference on the 22 or 23 of this month. I sure am excited, and they even found a violin for me to play and another sister missionary they have a saxophone for her to play.  We are going to be telling the Christmas story with hymns in between scriptures, just like at Grandma and Grandpa’s! To conclude we will sing Holy Night.  It is so amazing to see in every culture, music is a language of the Spirit.

This week, Elder Salas and I found Hermana Jaquoline. She is a wonderful sister who has a sincere desire to learn about the gospel and to be baptized.  Her husband is in jail for a long time so we need to work with the Bishop and President Rodriguez on what to do, but if you would pray for her that she will continue to have a desire to learn and come to church, I know Heavenly Father will bless her.  Also, yesterday we taught the Limachi Roce family. Elder Salas baptized this family a few months ago, and now we are working with them to go to the temple.  Last night we taught them about The Family: A Proclamation to the World.  They each felt the spirit and had a sincere desire to attend the temple and to become a forever family.  At the end of the lesson, I was able to testify about the importance of family and how I know our family will be together forever, and this makes me so happy and grateful for my Heavenly Father´s Plan of Happiness for all his Children. And how through the temple we can become a forever family.

Mom and dad,  I love you so much and look to your example and can´t express in words what a blessing you are in my life and how grateful I am sealed to you forever and that we are a forever family.  How the Lord has blessed me richly with the choicest parents. Each day, I try and work my very best to honor you and things you have taught me and the son of God you want me to become!

Dad, thank you for your example of hard work and for always honoring your priesthood and for your missionary stories.  They give me so much strength as I try to find the Wallace Marshes and the family in the trailer who is looking for the Book of Mormon. I love you Dad.  And I know my mission is refining me to be an honorable father like you.

Mom, thank you for your nurturing hand and love.  How I am so fortunate to have you as my mother, and just like the Stripling Warriors, I know my mother knows the gospel is true and raised me to serve the Lord and each day I promise to serve with my whole heart.  Thank you mom for your counsel and your example of service.  When I get tired or worried, I remember your counsel to put the Lord first in my life and everything will fall into proper place.  

How I am so blessed to have you as my parents mom and dad!

I pray for you and our family and Sarah daily, and I know the Lord will bless you.  Thank you for all your love, prayers, and support!

Love your son,

Elder Matheson!

P.S. You asked as for anything I need, some chocolate, Snickers, Resees, or any candy would be awesome!  Oh and some morning exercise ideas would be helpful. Does Michael have any ideas for how many sit ups or push ups is a good amount or how long to exercise then have a rest period? But your prayers and letters mean the most!

Here are some pictures of a mango tree. There are 4 or 5 different mangoes and they are massive.  They are like elm trees and grow everywhere.