Tuesday, July 26, 2016

I have fought the good fight

Oh, the last day's here, of these long two years... (you're all singing now)

Well, I never thought this day would come. But alas, here it is. It has been a great week for me and my companion. I have never worked so hard in my life. We taught more lessons than I ever have in a week in my whole mission. We were able to find an investigator that will be baptized this Saturday, and an investigator of more than 3 years has finally committed to be baptized this Saturday as well. The Lord has placed so many people in out path this week, it has been incredible. This week has been a little tender mercy in my mission, and I have seen so much improvement in my companion as well. He is so excited to work and to finish his mission strong now. Really, I couldn't have asked for a better week to end my mission.

This week, well... tomorrow I am going back to be with Elder Blanco and to finish off the last few days doing my assistant duties. I also wasnt able to say goodbye to hardly anyone in Umacollo so I am going to take advantage of Tuesday and Wednesday to say goodbye to everyone who I didnt get the chance to see before I left and whom I wont be able to see this weekend. So basically, I have seen the end of my mission working days. 

I have so many mixed feelings about all this. But I am so grateful for my mission and for the experiences I have had here. It has been incredible. I really dont know what to say here, other then that the gospel is true and really does change lives. Thank you all for your love and support these last 2 years. I'm so excited to see you all soon!

Much love,

Elder Matheson
Misión Perú Arequipa

Happy 4th

First of all, hope everyone had a fun 4th of July and that many things where blown to smitherings in my honor. Next year I will celebrate a 4th of July to make up for the last 2 I've missed. Anyways, hope it was a good one for everyone. We celebrated by going to the pensionista of one of the Elders from my group in our zone and making hamburgers and hot dogs, and finishing it off with some brownies and some peach cobbler. Not a bad day!! 

Things are going well with President Johnson. He is super excited to work hard and we have been working our butts off with him these last few weeks. We had interviews with all the missionaries in Arequipa this week, as well as MLC. There were a few days this week where we kind of hobbled home and after planning for the next day just kind of collapsed in bed and passed out until the next day. I dont think I have ever been so tired, but I love it. I think I might be going home on a stretcher. President and Sister Johnson look pretty tired too. But they are troopers and are just plugging along. I think they are really enjoying being mission presidents. He interviewed me yesterday and it was really cool. Since becoming a zone leader, I really havent had an interview with my mission president. Pres. Zobrist would just kind of look at me and ask, "is everything ok? any sins to confess? No? Alright, keep up the good work." In his defense, has his assistant I spent more one on one time with him than probably any other missionary in the mission, but still, it meant a lot to me that President Johnson took the time to interview Elder Blanco and me. 

This next week we are hitting the road. We go to Pedregal on Wednesday, Camana on Thursday, and then we are going to Mollendo on Friday and coming back that same day. More interviews. Should be another busy week, but one we are excited for. We need to make sure every last second of the day we are working hard. And it's interesting, the other day I was thinking and thought to myself, "man, I really want to just be in an area where I can work the whole day, not have to worry about leadership responsibilities, nothing like that, just work." I actually started to get kind of frustrated. But then, the thought came to mind, "are you willing to sacrifice what you want for what I want?" I guess it was kind of a wake up call that this isnt really about me, but about learning to do what He wants me to do. We are working in a very different way, but we are still doing what we are supposed to be doing. 

Leslie and Arturo are doing pretty well. Their aunt died this week, and they were pretty bummed out, but then Arturo had a dream where he saw Isabel (the aunt) dressed in white calling him by name, saying, "Arturo, I'm ok." Then she went through a while curtain and her family was there to greet her on the other side of the curtain. There were a few people there that Arturo didnt recognize, but after describing them to his wife, she was able to identify them as Isabel's grandparents and great-grandparents. It was a really cool dream and they were able to find comfort in knowing that she is ok. It's interesting, because Isabel and all of those family members who he saw with her were members of the church. I hope we can help them just realize that they need to get baptized!!!! 

Anyways, that was our week. Hope everyone is doing well, have a good one!

Elder Matheson 

Friday, July 8, 2016

7/2 Changing of the Guard

Well this was quite the week for us!!! President Zobrist is now at home, are we are now with President Johnson. It was definitely weird to say goodbye to President Zobrist. After 23 months with the same president, that can be expected though. The good news is that even though we miss him a lot, I'll him in like a month so no worries there. 

This was a crazy week. We basically went running around all over the place with President Johnson just doing our best to make sure everything was going well. They are very, VERY excited to be here haha. He has a vision for this mission that involves baptizing a lot more people than we are right now. He told a story about he and his companion in his mission went to open an area that hadnt had a baptism in over 3 years. They set the goal to baptize 25 people in the first month they were there. After a number of miracles occured, they baptized the 25th person on the last day of the month. Then they decided, well, if we can baptize 25 in a month, then why not 50? So the next month they baptized 54 (as a companionship mind you). Then they said, if we can baptize 50, why not 100? So the baptized 107 people the next month. And finally, if we can baptize 100, why not 200? So long story short, they ended up baptizing A LOT of people and he knows we can do the same here. They really are super awesome and we love them already. The only problem is they dont really speak Spanish, so I have been translating for them this week. They'll pick it up though.

Some fun facts about them, they both went to the U, love to ride horses, and are both Diet Coke addicts. Sounds like mom and dad will get along great with them :)

Our investigators are doing well. Arturo and Leslie are coming along really nicely. Arturo wants to get baptized, as well as their daughter, but Leslie is having a real hard time letting go of her Catholic traditions. She says she needs more time to make a choice. Its frustrating for us because I know she knows its true. She has felt it so much. She just needs to make a choice!!! 

Anyways, that was our week. This one will be equally brutal. We have interviews every day of the week, and on top of that we have MLC. I havent even had time to think about anything else but the work, and I wouldnt have it any other way. But hey, it's July, so I guess I can say see you this month!

Love you all!

Elder Matheson 

6/25 Chao Presidente Zobrist

Alright family, another week down, and it was another busy one for us. First of all, President Zobrist is NOT done yet. He finishes on Tuesday. President Johnson will get here on Tuesday as well. He is staying at the hotel (it's like 2 blocks from the mission home) because they are remodeling the mission home a little bit before President Johnson gets here. So I still havent met him. I'll let you know how it goes this week :)

So this week we received another new group of missionaries from the MTC. It's the last group I will receive, and it was President's last as well. I always love getting the new group because it reminds me of when I was there and all the excitement we had to get out and work, and how nervous we were to have our new companions, and I see the same in all of them every time we pick them up from the airport. 

President Zobrist was in the office talking to me the other day about his mission and his experience and how much he has loved being the mission president here, and then he told us, "you know, I brought one book to read here in my mission, you know, in my free time. In three years, I have probably read about a third of that book." I'm sure Grandma and Grandpa can relate haha. I've really loved having him as our mission president, and for the chance I've had to really get to know him and the great man he is. He told us the Zobrist Bed and Breakfast is open whenever we come through Las Vegas. 

Leonidas is going to get baptized later today. We are sooooo excited for her. Seriously, we love her so much and are really estatic for her baptism. I think the whole ward is coming to her baptism as well haha. Yesterday we placed another baptism date for the 30th of July with the lady that cuts our hair. She is really really awesome. Her name is Diana, she's about 35 years old, and we have been teaching her for about a week now. She has an 8-year-old son, Diego as well. They are coming to church on Sunday, as well as Arturo, Leslie, and Daniela, the family we are teaching now. They are progressing really well. They have been praying together as a family and are reading the Book of Mormon. We had them read Moroni 8 and they read it and said, "you know, as Catholics, we were all baptized really young, but this makes sense. Children really dont need to be baptized." They have a baptismal date pending for the 30th. If they end up getting baptized that day, we would all be able to go. If not, the most important thing is that they get baptized. 

Funny story of the week: We were contacting the other day and stopped this guy in the street to talk to him and give him a pamphlet. It was probably 7 at night and it was kind of dark and couldnt see what this guy had in his left hand (this will important later). We shook his hand and started talking to him. He wasnt super receptive so we gave him a pamphlet and asked for his address to try and stop by another time, and he said "hey sorry guys, I'm a little....uhhh....intoxicated." Then we finally saw what he had in his other hand, which was a big fat marijuana blunt haha. We kind of just stood there kind of shocked and he went huffing and puffing on his way. I think that pamphet might get put to "other uses." 

Wish us luck this week. It's going to be a crazy one! Love you all!

Elder Matheson 

6/18 USA!

Hey everyone! Hope everyone had a fantastic week, and that everyone is enjoying the beginning of their summer vacations. This was another action packed week, and I'm coming to realize that just about every single week for the last almost 2 years has been so. This was the last week of the transfers, which meant lots of administrative work in the office, running missionaries to the airport, farewell meetings, and all sorts of good stuff like that. With this group going home, I am now officially in my last transfer of my mission. It was actually really sad seeing this group go home, because a lot of them have been my good friends for almost my whole mission. Elder Evans is now home also. This coming transfer, well, it's going to fly by. We have a change in mission president, welcome to the mission meetings, interviews, and then it will all be over. Bring it on. 

After the farewell testimony meeting in the mission home on Thursday night, President decided to let all the missionaries do pretty much whatever we wanted too. So, we got two TVs going, one with game 6 of the NBA Finals, and the other with the USA v Ecuador quarterfinal match up in La Copa America. The group that went home was almost all gringos who love sports, and so yeah, I saw game 6 and saw the USA whoop up on Ecuador to make to the semifinals. After we scored the second goal of the game, Elder Taylor, one of the elders finishing his mission, jumped up and actually broke a wooden beams holding up some lights haha. Good thing they are in the process of remodeling. 

We are going to have a baptism next Saturday! Leonidas is going to be getting baptized. We are really excited for her and for her baptism, and so is she. We are teaching a few new people also. Juan Carlos is the father of a less active guy here in our ward. His adopted son got back from his mission in Argentina and Juan Carlos has been really receptive. We taught him last Sunday, but havent been able to get back to teach him since. We have an appointment with him for this Wednesday though. We'll see how it goes, he seems really cool, somebody who could progress really quickly if he does his part. 

We are also teaching a new family (families are the best to teach). We met them last Sunday when we went with our Relief Society president to give a blessing to her sister who is super super sick in the hospital, and we started talking to Wilma's (RS pres) niece and her husband. They are obviously worried about their aunt, and were really receptive in having us come and teach them. We went back last night and they recieved us with open arms. Arturo, the father, owns a grill-type restaurant and when we came in they gave us popcorn and apple juice and then shut down the restaurant and turned off a Peru soccer game to listen to us. Dedication (Peru lost in penalty kicks, everyone is mad). We taught Arturo, his wife Leslie, and their daughter Daniela (12 years old). We hadnt mentioned baptism or anything yet, and Arturo told us, "you know guys, we've been Catholics for our whole lives. Change isn't easy. But maybe God has placed you in our lives because we need to get closer to him. My wife and I, along with Daniela, are going to talk about this and pray and see if we are going to become Mormoms." They seem to have a real desire to learn and do the things they need to do in order to know for themselves. We taught them how to pray and challenged them to pray as a family, something they had never done before. Arturo told us all he had ever done was say the Lord's Prayer, and at the end of the lesson he gave the closing prayer like we taught him and it was such a humble and sincere prayer, and he told us he felt so good he almost cried. These are important steps. We are going back on Tuesday and we are going to teach them the Restauration and challenge them to prepare themselves to be baptized.

Well, that was our week. This is President Zobrist's last week, and then President Johnson gets here. We have another new group coming in this week. Anyways, have a great week. Happy Father's day to all of the wonderful fathers out there. Have a good one!

Elder Matheson

6/11 Flying by...

Hey everyone, not a whole lot to report this week. Just a lot of busy days in the office getting ready for transfers next week, and we had two more zone conferences here in Arequipa. President has been doing the zone conferences at night to be able to invite the bishops and stake presidents, and we have had a remarkable turnout from the church leaders here. The only problem is, when we do the ZCs at night, we dont have any time to work in our area. We did splits with the zone leaders as well here in Arequipa, so all in all, we had a total of 1 lesson this week. But, it was a good lesson with Alex and he seems to be progressing well. He committed to come to church tomorrow so we'll see how that goes. The weeks just seem to keep flying by. This next week is the last week of the transfer, and then I'm down to my last 6 weeks. Never thought I would ever be in the situation haha. But here it is. I'm excited to keep working. We sent the July schedule to President Johnson and he actually emailed us back, and it sounds like he is ready to work and get to it. He told me he might need me to extend until November, so Mom, maybe cancel the trip next month, I might be staying another 3 or 4 months.*** 

Thanks for all the love and support. Sorry this is a short email, not a lot happened this week. 

Elder Matheson 

***MOM NOTE***   Not funny joke about the extension.  

6/4 The Sax Man

Hey all! It was a great week for us here in our area, and it was just a great week overall. We finally have investigators with baptismal dates for the first time in like 2 months, and we are really excited for that. The first is named Leonidas, she is the mother of the YW president here in the ward, and she has listened to the missionaries forever, but could never commit to baptism. She has finally worked through whatever she had to work through, and is excited to be baptized. We are working towards the goal of the 25th of June. The other is this guy named Alex who we contacted this week. We were walking through this park and we heard this guy jamming on the saxophone and we felt like we needed to go talk to him, and we ended up chatting for a good 20 minutes. He listened to the missionaries about 6 years ago but was never baptized. He feels kind of lonely, becuae he's in his late 30s early 40s and is single, lives by himself. He teaches music and plays a bunch of different instruments. He's a really good guy. We taught him yesterday for the first time and he accepted the Restoration of the gospel and is excited to read the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it is true. He accepted baptism in the first lesson and we are working toward the 10th of July for his goal. Keep them in your prayers! 

So on Saturday, our ward had a party and rented out this big park and we played soccer and had a BBQ and played games as a ward. It felt like I was in the States for a second. The ward invited all 6 of us office Elders, and the young men and YSA of the ward challenged us to a 6 on 6 soccer game. We destroyed them. We probably played for like 2 or 3 hours and we won 9 straight games against them. Poor kids, didnt know what hit them. I played goalie this time, didnt allow a single goal in those 2 hours we played. Then to finish off the day, President Zobrist had recorded Game 1 of the NBA Finals and invited us to go watch it with him. AWESOME. You really get to know someone watching a basketball game with them, and President Zobrist is awesome. Hilarious. And he knows his stuff when it comes to basketball. All in all, a good week and a great Pday for us. 

Christian, congrats on a great season. I'm sorry it ended that way, but use it as motivation to work hard in the off-season and beat them next year. 

Thanks for all your love and support, see you all NEXT MONTH! 

Elder Matheson