Monday, January 30, 2017

The Blessing of Living Prophets!

January 30, 2017

Dear Mom and Dad and my wonderful family and friends!

Wow! I can’t believe the Cedar City temple is almost finished. We will definitely have to plan a temple trip!  

Mom and dad it is so awesome to hear that Josh is coming to church regularly.  I know the missionaries who are teaching him are just overjoyed to have you be his friends.  Members are so key in missionary work and helping investigators feel a part of this great family of the Lord.

And wow, Sarah has an even grander store in her house.  I am sending a special hug your way Sarah and Mary!  

This week has been so amazing, and I have gained a firm testimony of living Prophets and Apostles.

Wednesday, we had a worldwide conference with the missionary board which consists of Elder Oaks, Elder Bednar, Elder Nielson, and other General Authorities.  We received some powerful instrucción. The conference was similar to a big question and answer session where the members of the board had prayerfully selected questions to address that missionaries all over the world had.

One principle I learned was the importance of the baptism and how the Doctrine of Christ is all interconnected.  When we have faith in Jesus Christ, we want to follow him and desire to become like him.  This desire helps us to seek forgiveness of our sins and repent, but in order to become completely clean we need to be baptized and receive the holy spirit.  When we are baptized and receive the holy spirit we become completely clean.  But we all know we still make mistakes after baptism and sin, but through the atonement of Jesus Christ and by taking the sacrament weekly, we renew our baptismal covenants and we become clean once again.  The apostles explained this process of faith in Jesus Christ and repenting of our sins and becoming clean again by taking the sacrament and renewing our promise to God to keep His commandments.  This is how we can endure to the end and overcome every trial and challenge in this life and become like our Savior, Jesus Christ.  It was so amazing to see that when Elder Salas and I taught with this understanding and not just to teach the lecciones that the spirit was so strong in our lessons this week.  

In one lesson in particular with the Suares Family, we taught them in this way and asked do you want to become clean of all your sins and spots or manches de este mundo.  They said yes.  It was wonderful to see that they had this desire and faith to follow Jesus Christ. In this moment I invited them to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized on February 29.  They accepted!  

But one funny part of the story is they asked, “Wait February 29 is leap day.”  Oops..  Elder Salas and I thought that at the end of the month of February would be a great baptismal date, but we forgot February only has 28 days.  This sure was a funny moment and we fixed our baptismal date to March 4.

Also, in the missionary council they made changes to our schedule and now we don’t have specific times to study, but now we have specific amounts of time we need to study.  This change was huge.  Instead of waking up in the morning and having personal study at 8 am and companionship study at 9 am, we now have a time frame between 6:30 and 10 to get ready exercise and plan for 30 minutes and then study for one hour in personal study and then we can use our agency when we will study in the day for companionship study and language study.
Elder Matheson & Elder Salas attending Saturday's Conference with Elder Quentin L. Cook

But the most amazing experience this week was getting to see, shake hands with, and hear an Apostle of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  On Saturday we had this conference with our mission and the Bolivia Santa Cruz North Mission.  There were about 500 missionaries in one chapel, and the spirit was so strong!!  

Elder Cook started the conference early so we could all shake his hand. During this conference he was so inspired and taught us specifically how we could serve the Lord better.

Elder Quentin L. Cook
I can’t even begin to describe the feeling of love that was in the room and the witness of the Spirit that Elder Cook is indeed an Apostle of the living Lord Jesus Christ, but the part I would like to share is his blessing that he gave to the missionaries and his sure testimony of Jesus Christ.

Missionaries at the Conference

To conclude his remarks, He gave us an apostolic blessing, "I invoke a blessing upon you that the time will come when you will know that your mission isn’t just blessing you but everybody you love.  It will bless your parents, your brothers and sisters, and your future wife.  I promise you the time will come when you will know how seminal this blessing is."  

Mom and dad! I love you so much, and I know this blessing will come to pass.  He also said that our family members who were having problems of health would receive blessings.  I know this blessing is for Sarah and she will be blessed with health, and also he said that any of our family members who are having trials of faith in the church would be blessed in their testimonies. This blessing brought me so much comfort and peace, and I know that Heavenly Father will bless you and help you through all your trials, and that my family will be safe and that this mission will shape me into the Son of God Heavenly Father wants me to become.  

To conclude his testimony,  Elder Cook said, “I know the Savior's voice, and I know His face.”

I bear testimony of this statement.  Elder Cook is an Apostle of the Lord, and President Monson is the living prophet of the Church who talks with our Savior and receives revelation for the whole church.  This Church is true!!

Mom and dad this week I sure felt the Savior’s love for me, and I promise to give my very best!

Love your Son,

Elder Matheson

P.S. Thank you for the sheet music of Oh mi Padre and the instructions for the piano book! I will definitely use them!!

More Conference Pictures

Monday, January 23, 2017

¡Hace Calor, Mucho Trabajo y Gozo!!

January 23, 2017

Dear Mom and Dad and my most wonderful family and friends!

This week it was hace calor!!!  Mom you would have loved it.  Dad I think you would have been more like Elder Salas and I.  But Bolivia is so beautiful and Hot.  They say January and February are some of the hot times of the year, and then in June and July it is so cold because of the humidity.  It sure is hard to believe that though.  Yesterday,  Elder Salas and I had to take a 5 minute break in the shade because it was so hot.

Sarah´s meals sound so creative and awesome! One thing I don’t know if Sarah can eat but is really yummy and healthy is Arroz con Leche.  It is really similar to an American oatmeal.  I tried to get a recipe for it but many people just say to look it up on the internet, but it sure is good.  

Also, many people in our ward want me to teach them piano. So many of the ward members want to learn.  Presidente Rodríguez gave Elder Salas and I permission to teach them piano, especially investigatores or reicente converts.  I had the idea that maybe I could teach Adrian and he could receive the calling of ward pianist.  Mom if you or grandma have any really simple methods or the basics of piano you could send me through email that would be so great!  Oh and a really simple arrangement of O My Father for violin.  The member who I borrowed his violin asked if I had a simple arrangement of O My Father for his son to play.

This week, it also was such a blessing to receive so many letters from home.  Wow! The Jordan Family wrote me a very nice note that sure made my day.  I am so grateful for all your love and support mom and dad and of all our family and friends.

This coming week, we have the opportunity to hear from Elder Cook and President Montoya of the 70.  I am so excited to receive instrucción from them. The whole mission is excited too.  

This week Familia Peña agreed to be baptized on the 29 of February.  I sure love this family.  They have two older daughters,  Rosolio and Maria, who are 19-21 and their son, Georgia, who is 16, and the youngest son, 
Javier, who is 5.  Hermano Peña was so excited to show us his foot.  The gash is complete sealed, and he only needs to use one crutch to walk and can ride his bike for exercise.  Saturday, we had such a powerful lesson with them where we taught them the Plan of Salvation and how baptism is so so important.  It is our first covenant with our Heavenly Father and through baptism we are washed clean of our sins, and then every week when we partake of the sacrament we can become clean again.   Baptism is such an amazing, special covenant.  We explained this to Hermano Peña, and he asked what can I do to prepare to be baptized.  In this moment, we could see in his countenance that he has a sincere desire to follow our Savior Jesus Christ, and this made me so happy.  I was so eager to respond that two very important things to prepare for baptism is attending church and reading the Book of Mormon because through the Book of Mormon we can receive a testimony that everything in this church is true and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s church and has the priesthood authority to baptize children of God.  At the end of the lesson, Hermano Peña and his two daughter agreed to read Moroni 10:1-5 and asked our Heavenly Father if these things are true.  

I know that the Book of Mormon is true for everything in this sacred book of scripture helps us come closer to God.  I love the scripture in Alma 32:31 which talks about as we read the Book of Mormon and live the gospel, we will see blessings in our lives or fruits of the Gospel and how this is evidence that these things are true.

I love you mom and dad and I love this great work and I know this is the work of the Lord!

Love your son,

Elder Matheson!

The other day I used some of my money to buy these scripture cases.  They sure are special and help me remember the Savior.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Field Is White Already To Harvest…

January 16, 2017

Dear Mom, Dad, and my wonderful family and friends!

It is so crazy to think that there is snow right now in Cedar.  In Bolivia, the days are getting hotter, and there is lots of rain.  This week we didn't have too big of rainstorms, but it sure sprinkled/showered for a good 10 minutes and then was calm and the sun was fuerte!  

Dad I sure loved your combination of ingredients of oatmeal.  (My dad ate salsa and oatmeal together!) That made me laugh. Here I have been eating oatmeal a lot with bananas, sugar, and crackers because it is really fast and gives you good energy.  It sure reminds me of the early morning days when mom would make me oatmeal for school.  Yummy!  Elder Salas can´t understand why I would want to eat oatmeal.  He says that it stinks.  One funny moment we had was when we were in our apartment, and he looked over at my food, which consisted of oatmeal and bananas, and I looked at his food, which consisted of potato chips and Fanta!  We sure laughed at this!

Also, thank you for the wonderful letters.  This week, I received the family Christmas card, a card from the Hintons, cards from Kaylin and Daniel, and one from Taylor Drew and her friends!! Thank you all for the words and notes of encouragement.  Dad I will follow your counsel and work extra hard, enjoy the meals and food, and then work extra hard again. Mom, thank you for your words of love and encouragement.  I am so grateful for you mom and dad and for your example and your teachings.  

This week was full of miracles. The greatest of them all was that Adrian was baptized and confirmed as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  During this wonderful week, I sure learned that Satan tries extra hard, especially during baptisms, to stop the work of the Lord, but I love the scripture in Joshua 1:9 "Fear not, for I the Lord God am with thee." 

On Saturday, Elder Salas and I prepared for the bautism (baptism) by setting up the chairs for the service and making sure the font was all ready.  When Adrian showed up to the baptism, we could tell something was wrong.  He asked to talk to us in private and then explained that during the day, his Godfather talked to him.  His Godfather is of another Christian faith but said some untrue things about the church that sure shook Adrian´s testimony.  One of those things was that if you get baptized you won´t be a part of my family.  When I heard this, my heart was so sad, but just like Joshua, I tired not to fear and to trust in the Lord because through the Lord and prayer we can always conquer Satan.  Elder Salas talked to Adrian and asked him how he felt when he read the Book of Mormon and when he prayed about the Book of Mormon and if this church was true and if Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.  Adrian said he felt peace and tranquility. During this moment, I received an impression that we needed to say a prayer.  I then invited Adrian to have a prayer with us.  When went to a room in the chapel where we then knelt down, and Elder Salas offered a prayer, asking Heavenly Father to strengthen Adrian and help him feel the Spirit.  After the prayer, Adrian firmly said, “I want to be baptized now.”  I know Heavenly Father lives and that He hears every prayer and answer every prayer and that through his spirit hearts can be changed and fears can be erased.  The baptism went smoothly and I was able to play Nearer My God To Thee on a member’s violin right before the baptism and express through music that Heavenly Father is only one prayer away and he is always watching over us.  After the musical number, Hermano Beito, Adrian´s friend in the ward and president of the single adults program baptized him, and Elder Salas and I were the 2 witnesses. When Adrian came up out of the water, I was so grateful for him and his desire to follow Jesus Christ, and I felt such a strong love for my Heavenly Father and my Savior, Jesus Christ, and for their great work of bringing each child of God back to Heavenly Father and into our grand eternal family!

I know God lives and that through baptism, our first covenant with God. and constantly renewing this covenant through the sacrament, we can return to and live with our Heavenly Father!!  

I love you so much mom and dad and all our family and friends.  Thank you for your prayers for Adrian!

Love your son,  

Elder Matheson

Elder Matheson, Adrian, Hermano Beito, Elder Salas at Adrian's Baptism

Fortaleza Ward Members
Elder Matheson and Adrian

Monday, January 9, 2017

Fasting & Priesthood Blessings

January 9, 2017

Dear Mom and Dad and our wonderful family and friends!!

This week, my health is back to normal, and I can eat all the delicious foods here.  The only things we can’t eat is Chancho, unless we have special permission of President Rodriguez, strawberries, and fish.  As for the members and investigators, all of them are very kind and share food with us, and if it is one of these items or unbottled water, we simply tell them that it is bad for our bodies and they understand.  As for the water, we can shower and bath in it and brush our teeth in it; we just can´t use it for drinking.  

This week one funny experience was to have a man think that all Elders were members of the FBI.  This experience made me chuckle.  Elder Salas and I explained we were simply missionaries for the Lord and expressed our Savior’s love for him.  

Also this week we have a baptism scheduled for Adrian.  Elder Salas and I have been working extra hard to teach him and prepare him to meet his baptismal date this Saturday, January 14th.  Adrian is so amazing and wants to serve a mission.  Yesterday, we taught him the Word of Wisdom and he was a little surprised about how we can´t drink coffee, but he agreed to keep this commandment.  If you would keep Adrian in your prayers, mom and dad, that he can overcome any last minute trials Satan might try to throw at him I would be so grateful. I am so grateful for all your prayers and can feel them giving me strength each day.

One miracle this week was with the Peña familia.  Hermano Peña is so similar to Grandpa Matheson.  He works so hard for his family, loves, and prays for his family.  One trial in his life has been when he has assisted/investigated any church he has not had work for his family, and when we taught him the first time he wouldn’t come to church because of this fear.  This week, he really hurt his foot with an electric saw and he can´t work for his family. During an intercambio (companion exchange), Elders Salas visited him with Elder Legren, and he asked for a blessing the next day.  Elder Salas and I fasted for the spirit that we could give this blessing and that the Lord would honor this blessing.  When we went to visit Hermano Peña, he was sleeping and his family didn´t want to wake him.  I was just a little bit discouraged that we couldn´t give him a blessing, but none the less Elder Salas and I fasted even more for his health and his family.  The next day we returned, and Hermano Peña was awake and wanted a blessing.  We explained the importance of faith in the blessing, and then Elder Salas anointed him with oil and I had the opportunity to give him the blessing.  It was such an amazing experience to listen to the Spirit and seek the Lord’s will.  In the blessing, I felt inspired to bless him with protection from infection in his foot and to feel his Savior’s love for him and that our Savior knows the things he is going through right now and will help him.  Also, I blessed him that he could return to health and be able to provide for his family.  When we closed the blessing, Hermano Peña was very grateful, and he asked us if we thought he could attend church.  Both Elder Salas and I said yes.  Yesterday he came to church with his crutches, and we were so grateful to the Lord and for Him answering our prayers and our fast.  

I know our Savior lives and that sharing the gospel is His great and marvelous work and that through our  Savior, Jesus Christ, we can have a family forever.  Thank you all for your love, support, and emails.  Each day I am adjusting more to missionary life, and I am learning so much on how to follow the Spirit, get along with others, be on time, and give myself to the Lord.  

I love you so much and pray for you daily that the Lord will bless you!!

Love you son,

Elder Matheson,

P.S If you would pray for Usto Peña and his family this week!

Thank you and I love you!!!
Christmas Dinner with President Rodriguez.  Chancho or pig - it is sure delicious, but don´t eat it and milk or else you get a stomach ache.

More Chancho!

I was able to get a picture with President Rodriguez and his family.  His daughter just returned from her mission and attended the conference, and the other Elder next me and Elder Salas is one of the Assistants to the President, Elder Eswardo.  He is such and example and is just like cousin Brandon and is an amazing leader!

Here is a picture of Hermana Cluff, Elder Zarate (the Elder standing up) and  Elder Gonsales.  Hermana Cluff directed our zone choir for the conference with the President, the Christmas story in costumes and music just like at Grandma and Grandpa Bourgeous' home.   Elder Zarate was the pianist, and I was the violinist.  The three us worked really hard to help our zone sound good and President Rodriguez thanked us for our time and the music.  I think Grandma and Grandpa Bourgeous would have got a kick out the program.  I got a video of the program and will make sure I save the video to show you mom and dad!!​

​Elder Zarate and I in our shepherd outfits​

Our Zone at the Christmas mission conference

​Christmas lunch with the Luna family!  They sure made me feel just at home and gave me some yummy crackers and rice for my stomach. :)

​Hermana Rosemari, our amazing pensionista, the Stake President's wife, and pharmacist, who sure helped me when I was feeling sick.  This week I have felt so much better. And I can eat food just like normal.  Wow, what a blessing!

​This Elder is from Parowon and knows Jeffery from GHA.  Sometime in the mission I hope I can work with him.

Our apartment interior

Our apartment exterior

​A mini playdough replica that one of the children in the ward made for me during our lunch visit on Sunday with them. The children here sure are sweet!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Feliz Año Nuevo

January 2, 2017

My most wonderful beloved mother and father, family, and friends!  It sure is different to see your photo of snow and not mango trees!  I sure hope Uncle Keith and his family had a blast visiting you.

The pictures also of Annie’s wedding at the Newport Beach Temple sure were beautiful for that is the purpose of this life to have a family forever.  How I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for His plan of happiness and that we can be a forever family.  

One thing I learned this week is that Elder Salas loves me as his companion because he is always so willing to help me with my Spanish and the daily struggles of missionary life.

 This week was full of miracles.  

I have a testimony that Heavenly Father hears and answers every prayer!  I found this scripture in my studies this week.  In Alma 37 verse 36 and 37 it says "Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever.  Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings and he will direct thee for good.”

Wow, how this scripture is true. This week, I prayed really hard and pleaded with Heavenly Father for His help especially with Spanish, and He answered my prayers.  During one of my language study times, Elder Salas suggested that I focus on a particular book that they gave us in the MTC more and not to worry about memorizing so many phrases but worry about learning the language. This week I felt so much more confident in the language, and I can talk with the people and ask how they are. Also, in some of the lessons the investigators have been impressed with my Spanish. Thank you for all your prayers mom and dad and for the whole family.  I feel them give me strength everyday. And I know Heavenly Father loves us and that he is waiting to bless and help us.  We just need to ask Him.

Another amazing blessing this week was Elder Salas and I taught the Olguine Family.  In previous lessons they were a little interested but and many questions about Joseph Smith, especially the mother of the family. In our last lesson, Hermana Olguine, Fatima, expressed how she did have faith and she liked the parable of the sower in the Bible. Before our next lesson, Elder Salas and I studied this parable along with Alma Chapter 32.  During the lesson, we taught her about how faith is like a seed and that if she and her family would give good ground for the seed of the Book of Mormon and the message of the restauracion that they would see the wonderful fruit of joy of this message.  It was so amazing to see during this lesson how their faith increased and how you could see in their eyes that the spirit was there testifying of the truthfulness of the Gospel, that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, and that our Savior, Jesus Christ, through him, restored His church again to this earth.  I am so grateful that we have this priceless knowledge.  Victor and Fatima Olguin agreed to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it.  If you would keep the Olguin family in your prayers I would be so grateful. They are such a wonderful family and are married! Elder Salas and I have the goal to baptize them this month!

Also, I overcame my sickness at Christmas.  On Tuesday my stomach had a little relapse, but I made it through the day.  Hermana Rosemary, our pensionista, is also a pharmacist and helped set up a diet of Powerade and crackers and ungreasy foods without milk for the week.  The diet worked, and today I can start to eat things like normal.  This quick trial has sure helped me be more grateful for my health everyday, and also helped me learn that when we have a hard trial,  divine help is only a prayer away.

I love you so much mom and dad and promise to put the Lord first in my life and mission and to serve with honor.  I know Jesus Christ is our Savior and that through Him we can have the strength to overcome any trial of homesickness or health, and we can become clean of sin and return to live with our Heavenly Father forever!  

I love you mom and dad!

Your son,

Elder Matheson!

Next week I promise to send so many pictures. My computer flash drive didn't work today. :) 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Christmas in Bolivia 2016

December 26, 2016

Dear Mom and Dad!

Christmas Day Skype
Thank you so much for all your love and encouragement in your letters and via Skype.  That was the best Christmas gift ever to see your faces and hear your voices. Thank you mom and dad for the encouragement to give my very best. I promise to do so and to serve with my whole heart.  The annual Christmas Eve party looked like a blast and the BBQ meat looks delicious!!  Wow, and the Christmas tree looks beautiful!

I am so happy to report that I feel so much better today and that I got a good night sleep last night.  Brandon´s advice about the diarrhea sure was comforting to know that lots of missionaries have the same trial. I sure like the scripture in Mosiah about the sons of Mosiah, and after many spiritual difficulties as well as physical difficulties of fatigue and hunger and thirst (and probably diarrhea) they had success among the Lamanites.

As for our ward, it is pretty big. I think there are 200 people in our ward, and it is about a 20 minute drive in a taxi from the mission office, which is really nice in case of emergencies or we need to interview with the president.

After our Christmas Skype, Elder Salas and I went to teach the family Gabriela Villgamez, and she wasn't there.  But we were still blessed to talk with another man close to her house who owns a small public pool and teach him. This week we will definitely visit her again.

One special tender mercy was to have a Christmas with our neighbors the Luna family.  We had a gift exchange just like at home, and it felt just like Christmas at home.  And when I was battling my diarrhea and stomach ache, they were so kind to lend me toilet paper and crackers to eat for my stomach.  I know Heavenly Father lives and that through trials we can be more refined and become more like our Heavenly Father!! I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that as we put him first in all of our actions, thoughts, and deeds we will become the sons and daughters of God He needs us to become!

I love you so much!  

Here are some photos.  Sorry there are only a few. My computer was having a hard time uploading them, but next week I will send more!!

Christmas Day at the Luna Family Home
Elder Salas' gift from the Luna Family Gift Exchange