Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Trials Help Us Grow!

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was hard and wonderful.  Me and my compañero were having a few difficulties and disagreements because sometimes our personalities are really different, and I still haven’t mastered Spanish yet.  But within in these trials there were so many blessings.

One thing I have learned it that a lot of times Heavenly Father will not give you a companion who is exactly like you because then you would never learn and grow.  Elder Alvarado is really direct, and at the first my feelings got hurt a lot, but it has been amazing to see that during this time with him I have learned to communicate with clarity my ideas and not let little things hurt my feelings but to keep going.  Elder Alvarado also has sure helped me learn how to teach the restored gospel direct.  Sometimes when the people would reject our message I would just say muchas gracias and walk away, but wow with Elder Alvarado I have learn to be bold and declare repentance and the gospel regardless of if the people reject you.  This week, we knocked on a door of a man and he told us that he had his religion and didn’t want to talk to us.  Well we persisted and testified to him of the Book of Mormon and how this book is the word of God and is true.  It is so true.  He still rejected us and I was sad because the Book of Mormon has been a source of love and counsel with my Heavenly Father when I have difficulties, discouragements, or sicknesses and this man rejected this truth. But I know Heavenly Father loves each of his children, and I have faith that in another day the missionaries will knock his door again and he will receive this joyous message that Jesus Christ lives and again just like in times of old he communicates and guides His church through a prophet and 12 apostles and that He has given us convincing evidence that this message is true which is the Book of Mormon.  And if we read this book, ponder its teachings and ask God he will let us know that this book contains his words of healing and love for each of his children!

Wow, I sure invite you all to read the Book of Mormon everyday for this book contains power and as we hold to the teaching of this book and the Bible just like an iron rod, Satan can never overcome us with his tentaciones and his fiery darts or his lies or his feelings of inadequacy.

Also, one experience that was really funny was that we left the house in the rain and we were trying to catch a micro.  I crossed one lane of traffic and was waiting for the other cars to pass, but I didn’t look in front of me at the 4 or 5 inches of water that was in front of me.  Well the traffic passed, especially a big truck and it was just like in the splash zone of a water park.  

Gosh, I got soaked!  But the blessing was I had my windbreaker on so only my pants got soaked.  SO if you are in Bolivia in the rain watch out for the 
This past week it has rained through the whole week and I have been using all the rain and winter gear you sent with me. 

I had a Companionship exchange with Elder Moore from Utah.  He came to Bolivia in the same group as Elder Barazoto and his testimony is amazing and he is so fun.  One thing I learned from him is it is important to have fun preaching the restored gospel.  One way to celebrate a successful day where we found 5 new investigadores was to buy salteñas.  Wow it was delicious and sure felt good.  

For our  Zone activity.  We ate a KFC.  It was good! 

Wow, I sure love you and I hope you have the best week.

Love your son,

Elder Matheson,

Extra... Info Shared During The  Mother's Day Skype Call on May 14th:

The weather in Bolivia is now really rainy and cold.

Elder Matheson learned he is going to be an uncle in September 2017!

The Spanish language…it’s coming but it sure is humbling…oh man!  I am starting to understand all the Spanish pop songs that play in the micros and around town.

In my new area all the streets are paved in cobble stones and all the people are super nice.  The members are really great and are helping us out a lot. Where I used to live there were lots of dirt roads.  Now we don’t have to polish our shoes as much. 

This is what a typical day is like:
We wake up at 6:30 a.m. pray, then usually have to go to the bathroom really bad. (I am getting used to having diarrhea.  It’s kind of a constant.)  Then we exercise for 30 minutes.  Next, one of us showers and the other eats.  For breakfast we have been eating plain oatmeal mixed with chocolate milk.  It’s really good. We start our studies at about 8 a.m.  Personal study is the best.   My testimony has grown so much.  Then we plan and do companionship study then 30 minutes of Spanish language training.  At 10:30 or 11 a.m. we go out contacting until lunch – almuerzo.  The food here is the perfect food...lots of flavor but not too spicy.  They have 2,000 different types of soup. After lunch, we are really tired, but we go straight out and start contacting again. We talk to a lot of people walking in the streets.  We teach into the evening.  Usually we don’t eat dinner but we buy a loaf of bread for about 10 cents at the tiny stores located on almost every street corner. Sometime members will give us lots of soda or we might buy an empanada.  We return to our house around 9 p.m., write in our journals, and get ready for bed.

Everyone here believes in Christ, which is really awesome.  The hard thing is in helping them know about the restoration and the importance of having the restored gospel. 

We live in our area this time and there are tons of streets and not a lot of dogs in this area.  It’s really nice.  We used to get tons of street dogs chasing us but we used our scripture cases for protection.  The dogs would get really close but they never bit us.  Elder Barazoto got nipped once. 

Here there are 4 missionaries for each ward and 2 areas per ward. 

The Bolivian hour here is usually about 45 minutes to 1 hour late.  A lot of times when we go to an appointment people are usually 45 minutes late or they are not there.  But they are really nice.  

The ice cream here is a little bit different. It’s good, but it just tastes really different in Bolivia.    Also milk is sold in little bags.

The clouds here move so fast, and it is so beautiful.  There are no mountains where I live.

At church Elder Alvarado conducts the music, and I play the piano for sacrament meeting.  If I don’t know the hymn, it’s a good right hander.  A lot of times in the Forteleza ward I played too.

There are native tribes here from Quechua and Guarani  I am picking up some of those languages and a little Portuguese.  But I am still learning my Spanish.

In our area in Santa Cruz we have a man and his wife who washes for all the missionaries, but in all the other areas of our mission the missionaries wash their clothes by hand.  So probably soon I will wash my clothes by hand.

I think one reasons we go on missions is so we learn how important families are because I sure love my family.  

I want to let you know that I know this gospel is true and that Jesus Christ lives.  It has been the best. The mission has been the hardest thing but I have learned so, so much.  But the thing I have learned most is how blessed I am to have such a wonderful mom, and such wonderful sisters, and brother-in-laws (and a sister-in-law), and such a wonder dad, and brother and grandparents, and I love you all so much.  I think one reason why we go away for 2 years is so we learn to appreciate the blessings that we have been given.  I sure know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is true.  That has become my best friend.  Sometimes when I don’t understand the people here or just getting along with your companions is a challenge just reading the Book of Mormon it sure has helped me.  I want you to know that I love you mom and I hope you have the best mothers day and I am so grateful for you as my mom.  In my patriarchal blessing it says you have been blessed with a mother who knows her calling and I know that is so true and also a dad who honors his priesthood and also such wonderful siblings. Jason I look up to you too so much and your service. And Sarah, whenever I get sick or whenever it gets hard, I think of your example.  I have the best sisters I love you so much.  And Mary how to relate with people and to always be so happy.  And Cameron to be calm and sure in everything and how you have been taking care of Sarah… thank you so much.  Just all your examples and Grandma I remember your prayers… patience my child.  Sometimes I sure feel like that.  I just love you so much.  I can’t wait to eat some ice cream with you in a year and a half.

Thank you so so much for all your prayers and all your help.

The gospel makes so much sense… it make so much sense.



Monday, May 15, 2017

Happy Mother's Day - FELIZ DIA DE MADRE!

Dear Mom and Dad and my wonderful family and friends!  

It was such a blessing to be able to talk to and hear you all.  Wow, that was the best rejuvenation. Mom,  Grandma Matheson, and Grandma Polly and all the amazing mothers,  HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY O FELIZ DIA DE MADRE.

Truly motherly love is one of the closest things to the eternal love of our Heavenly Father.  As I told you yesterday, I always thought cross country and my senior year of high school was the hardest thing I have ever done, but wow, truthfully, serving a mission is the hardest thing I have ever done, but as you explained dad, we are in rocket ship mode and my testimony of families and the principles of the gospel has grown so much.  One of the biggest tactics that satan uses here to destroy families is the law of chastity and not having parents married because it is so much easier for satan to break families and tempt them with sexual sin who are not married and then sealed in the temple.

This Thursday, we had the baptism of Hermana Etelvina Escobar, and right before the baptism she and her husband were legally married and completed their last requirement for Hermana Escobar to be baptized, which was keeping the law of chastity.  The words, ´´I now pronounce you Marco Escobar and you Etelvina legally married under the laws of Bolivia´´ filled my heart with joy!!  
The ring ceremony
Elder Barazoto and Elder Matheson...Wow, the work of 6 months paid off!
The wedding certificate
Right before the baptism with Hermana Escobar outside the baptismal font
Right after this, everyone who was present went straight to the baptismal font where it was such a blessing for me to be able to baptize Hermana Escobar.  Right after the baptism as we were walking up the steps, I asked her how she felt, and she said I feel so clean with an amazing smile.  Then her husband greeted her at the bottom of the stairs with Kayla, their daughter, in his hands.  They were so a happy, and I can’t wait to see this joy become eternal in one year when they can enter the temple.

Wow, I know Heavenly Father has a perfect plan of happiness for each of his children, and I am so grateful for my beloved mother and my grandmothers who have taught me this plan. 

Mom and dad and everyone, I love you so much, and I am so grateful for your love and support!


Elder Matheson


​Hermano Izzac left and Hermano Miguel right were the two witnesses

​A view of Bolivia yesterday with the rain!  It sure is beautiful and chilly.  I love it so much!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Piray 1 and Happy Mother's Day!

Dear Mom and Dad, Family, and Friends!

I am so happy to know that Sarah is getting better!  I just can´t help but smile and smile!  I love you Sarah! Also, my stomach is feeling 100%.  Also that is so awesome with Cason and his papers.  He will be an amazing missionary.  Maybe he will join me here in good old Santa Cruz, Bolivia.  

My new area is called Piray 1, and it is in the 2nd and 3rd ring of the city of Santa Cruz. It is is really close to the center of Santa Cruz and there are a lot more rich people and all the roads are pavement.  It is so weird to not have to wash my shoes every night to clean off all the mud.  Also, the new area is hace calor.  In the center it is a little lower than the 8th ring where Fortaleza was at.

Area Piray 1 - Located in the 2nd and 3rd Ring of The City...See the Piray River in the background and Bolivian traffic in the 2nd ring and 3rd ring taken from a micro or the bus we were in.
Our house is the dream house for a missionary.  It is on the 3rd floor of a member’s house. Familia Rojo live on the bottom floor and familia Justianna live on the 2nd floor and they are our pension too.  One day we eat with familia Rojo and the next we eat with familia Justianna.  Also Hermano Justianna has a piano!!!!  And yesterday before lunch I was able to practice more of the hymns, and he helped teach me about chord progressions.  Thank you so much Mrs. Pressgrove.  I was able to understand and review everything you taught me about how chords work and that you can just use chords for the left hand and just use the melody on the right!
Our Home

Our new house has an oven!  We are going to make chocolate chip cookies today!​
     The view from our missionary apartment 
Also, we live in our area and the church is about 9 blocks from our house, and the ward is so loving. We have started doing a ward movie night - an activity where members and the youth can bring friends to learn and watch the church films. This Saturday we are going to watch Ephraim’s Rescue and have a good message of the restauracion.

As for my new Companion, his name is Elder Alvarado, and he is from Lima, Peru.  Thursday he just finished his 24 months in the mission but has extended his mission for 1 month.  He sure has a lot of experience, which been a blessing to learn how he teaches and how to work with the ward and our investigatores.  One really cool fact about him is he does gymnastics and is pretty strong.  You would get along with him really well Michael!
Transfers with Elder Barazoto and his new companion and my new companion Elder Alvarado
Also, we have a companionship of sisters in the ward, and all the ward members are so supportive.  It is such a good area, and I can’t wait to find and baptize the families who are waiting for the gospel here.
Also, the amazing news is I checked with Elder Barazoto and the wedding and baptism for familia Escobar will take place this Friday, and I should be able to attend because our area is only 20 minutes away in micro.

If you would keep praying for familia Escobar this week and also for Jose Andreas, a new investigator here in this area that we want to baptize this week or the next.

I love you so much, and I am so excited to talk to you Sunday!


Elder Matheson!

Saying good-bye to the amazing members of the Fortaleza Ward

Monday, May 1, 2017

Adventures & Photos!

I am sending a fresh cooked salteña and some really good Bolivian fried chicken your way!  

Mom thank you for sharing you and dad’s talks about grace. It sure helped me a lot!  I sure loved that phrase, we need to learn our way to heaven and that no unclean thing or unchanged thing can dwell with God!   I am so grateful for you and everything that you have taught me through your examples and love.  When I read my patriarchal blessing it talks about what special parents I have been blessed with.   Dad thank you for marrying mom and mom thank you for marrying dad and for having us kids.  I love our family so much!!

Oh, and mom and dad thank you so much for all the letters from family and friends.  Every Thursday at our district meetings we receive material to teach with and also letters or things from the mission and home.  I just love reading the letters. They sure make me smile!

OH and Michael and Delaney!  Congratulations!!  You both looked great in the graduation pictures and the food you ate looked pretty yummy too. :)

Here are some pictures of the adventures Elder Barazoto and I had these last two weeks!

Miguel and Julie Lopez

Miguel and Julie Lopez are our new pensionista.  Hermana Rosemary´s son is going to graduate this year and is getting ready for his mission and she reluctantly gave up the pension of the missionaries to have more time with her family.  Familia Lopez are amazing too!  They sure love to cook together.  Hermana Julie is from Peru so we also get to try some really interesting food from Peru.  Also, Hermano Miguel his portion sizes are like a scout camp leader.  Usually with Hermana Rosemary we would ask for two plates because her food was so amazing but with Hermano Miguel if you finish your plate of food you barely have room for desert, similar to Grandma Perkins!  I sure love this family.  Hermano Miguel served his mission in Peru and has some amazing stories just like you dad, which motivates us to work harder and harder!  Also, I know that they have a Facebook too, and I think sometimes they post things going on about our ward.
Hermano Izaac Peña
Hermano Izaac Peña!!  He is a recent convert who just went through the temple and is our ward mission leader.  His testimony and faith are like Enoch!  He sure has been a blessing in our lives and has helped us some much in teaching Familia Escobar!!
Our ward missionary force!  Pretty soon they are going to call Adrian to be a ward misionero!!
Alvaro at the bottom, Hermano Coyar on the left, me, Hermano Izaac, and Diego Coyar, our gospel principles teacher.  He sure likes to say, “What’s up gringo!”

But as for this week, it has been another fast and wonderful week.  I think I caught another stomach bug because Saturday and then today my tummy hasn´t been happy, but I one good thing I am sure collecting a lot of immunities so in two years I don´t think I will get sick again! :)

But Familia Esocbar is doing great!! We are going to have family night with them with Hermano Izaac to plan how the ward can help.  If all goes well, our plan is to have their wedding in the church around 4 and then their baptism at 6 and then a dinner at 7 or 8.  That day is going to be amazing!  But if you could keep them in your prayers, I know satan might try something new this week but no matter what I know if they keep reading the Book of Mormon and pray and we do our part we will superar or overcome satan!  

I love you so much mom and dad!  And I am so grateful for our wonderful family and that we are a forever family!

I hope you have an amazing week!
Love your son,

Elder Matheson!
A big fruit tree - I am not sure what kind of fruit is above me but is was bigger than a bowling ball!
Visiting the Snake exhibit
Bolivian Chinese food after the zoo
A very emotional and gentle ant eater from the zoo