Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Cambios y Fuerte 2

June 5, 2017

Dear Mom and Dad and my amazing family and friends!  

This week has been amazing, and I had 4 baptisms!  But before I get to that, I will try and explain all the amazing changes this week.
So first off Tuesday was Elder Alvarado's last day with me. And to start the day off we had a Zone conference.  I know that Presidente Rodriguez is called of God.  During this conference he told us we are fisherman and just like a fisherman who loves to fish we need to love to preach the gospel.  In the conference he focused on how we could use our time better, and one big change in our new daily schedule is that now we wake up at 7:00 a.m. instead of 6:30, and we now have to be back to the house by 10:00 p.m. instead of 9:30 and wait for it... we need to go to bed by 11:00.  It feels kind weird to have permission to stay up til 11:00 p.m. in the mission, but what this new schedule is doing is bumping everything back thirty minutes so that we can have more time to proselyte in the night when the dads are in their homes and in just these thirty minutes more in the night we have been able to teach so many more people.

Alright as for the baptisms, Wednesday Elder Alvarado went with the other elders of his group to visit recent converts, and I went with my new Zone leader,  Elder Hoffman from Bountiful, Utah on an intercambio because his campanion is ending his mission too with Elder Alvarado.  This day in Elder Hoffman’s ward he had a baptism so I got to help him clean the chapel, heat the baptism water with these electrical heaters that you plug into the wall and then insert into the water, and then see the baptism.  The service was amazing and the mother of Sister Sixta who was baptized is 97 years old and sealed in the temple. To end the baptismal service, she gave her testimony of how she has been waiting so long for her daughter to accept the gospel. As she gave her testimony in her hunched over and very worn body, it was amazing to feel the strength and power of her testimony as the spirit filled the room. I learned from Elder Hoffman that Sister Sixta wasn´t progressing for some time until she really started to read the Book of Mormon and found that this book supports the Bible and in reality is another testament of Jesus Christ.  As her testimony grew of this book and as she felt the spirit more and more, she made the decision to be baptized.  The service was beautiful!

That night I stayed with the secretaries, and they bought us Papa John’s pizza.  It was delicious!

Thursday,  I met my new companion.  His name is Elder Mazariegos, and he is from Guatemala (the only missionary along with Elder Lozano my friend from Mexico) who is from Central America.  My companion is so amazing and loving.  Through his own study he has taught himself English and is helping me so much learn Spanish.  Also, he is very obedient, and we get along very well.  I have learned so much from him in just this week, and I can wait to see the miracles that will come in this transfer.  

Also, my new Barrio or ward is la Fuerte.  It is really funny, this ward is in another stake de Barrio Piari y Fortaleza but it is right next to Fortaleza where the other Elders of our ward were serving.  The streets are full of sand and dirt and there are tons of trees and the people are so humble and ready to receive the gospel.  It is really quite humbling to go from Barrio Piari where some houses of investigadores had elevadores and was all pavement to this new area where some house are solely made out of tin roofing and bricks.  But it is amazing to see how these people, who all though they do not have much in comforts of the world, are so much willing to accept the gospel.

Also in our house, there are two other Elders - Elder Marcado from Ecuador and Elder Flores from Chile.  Grandma Matheson, in my house there is an Elder from every county that you and grandpa served in!  Elder Flores is a master of the acoustic guitar and Elder Marciedo is the only convert in his whole family.  I love our house so much and the Elders who are there.  We don’t have an oven (just an electric grill for frying pans and pots) to make cookies but we each have our own bathroom. Wow!!!  Mom do you think I could cook cookies one at a time in a frying pan?  I think I might try it!

Our new home

But this week, Elder Mazariegos and I had a baptism Saturday of Ronald.  For this baptism we sang When I am Baptized in the primary song book, and Elder Lay who was Elder Marzariegos old companion came and baptized Ronald.

Then Sunday Ronald was confirmed and also familia Ardaya who was baptized to weeks ago but couldn’t attend church because that Sunday Hna Ardaya had her baby.  Any way this Sunday they where confirmed, and I had the opportunity for the first time in my mission to confirm Hno Ardaya.  It was such an amazing experience to be able to use the priesthood of God, and with the help of my companion and the Lord the words came out of my mouth in Spanish.  


Also after their confirmation, Familia Ardaya´s two children were blessed in the church.  Wow, it was such an amazing sacrament meeting.  I know that this church is so true and that it is lead by Jesus Christ through His prophets and that we have the authority to baptize and confer the holy ghost through the laying on of hands!

Here is the letter from the assistants to the Presidente of the recent converts this week.
Los Discípulos ya Convertidos de esta semana son:

Sixta Meneses Cuellar [Roca y Coronado She is from the ward of our Zone leaders who I helped them with the baptism Wednesday] Familia Ardaya Méndez (José Luis Ardaya Paz y Maria Isabel Mendez Pereira), Ronald Miranda [El Fuerte] our Barrio or ward.  Wahoo! Viviana Ayala Noe [Guapilo] Ismael Ortea Povil, Rachell Ortea Povil [La Cañada] Abel Victor Aleaga Piluy, Robert Alexander Soliz Aguilera [Lucero] Aylin Mendoza [Fortaleza] Kevin Galarza [Nuevo Mundo] Kevin Fernandez [Suarez] Fam. Dorado (Gisela y Daniel) [Cupesí] Milen Garcia [San Bernardo] Rudey Margarita Romero [Rosedal] Luis Javier Fernandez [Tarijeños] Gustavo Otondo y Luis Mamani [Progreso] Carlos Camacho [Alianza] Alex Javier Videz Romero [Senac] Luis Alberto Guerrero Farfan [Panamericano] Paola Garzon Ramos, Luis Alexander Silvestre, Luis Rodrigo Flores Silvestre [4 de Julio] Indira Flores Condori [Tabladita] Gabriela Alejandra Vaca Olguin [Puerto Suárez]

Thank you so much for all your prayers and support which are bringing miracles from Heaven here to Bolivia.

Dad Feliz Cumpleaños!!  I am sending a big hug, 1 hour long back tickle, and some Bolivian ice cream your way dad.  I love you so much dad, and I am so grateful for all that you have done to prepare me to serve this mission and also for your example.  You are the best father for me dad and one of my heroes.  With each of my companions, I love sharing your mission stories and also war stories when we get discouraged or when we need encouragement, especially the one of Walish Marsh and the sister who lived in the trailer who was looking for the Book of Mormon. Thank you for being my father and for blessing our family so much with the priesthood and your inspired direction. I hope you have the best Birthday dad.

Matthew...Elder Matheson

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