Monday, December 29, 2014

Losing track of the weeks....

Hey! First off, hope everyone had a great Christmas! Mine was pretty good too! It was super nice to be able to talk to you guys for a while. It was good to see that nothing has really changed at home--still chaos and happiness haha. Even though this was the Christmas I've been farther away from home than I ever have before, it might be the best Christmas I've had. It was simple, but it was focused on the things that matter most. We sang in the Plaza de Armas and it was so nice to see a lot of the missionaries from my group from the CCM and talk to them for a bit. 

So Guido and Belarmina got married this week! Finally! We spent most of Friday with them at their wedding along with a bunch of other members of the ward that came to show their support, including Jorge and Vanessa, an awesome family in our ward who we ate dinner with X-Mas eve. Then yesterday Guido, Belarmina, and their 8-year-old son Jhojan (pronounced Johan) were baptized. I was able to perform the ordinance for Guido and Jhojan and the husband of the RS president here baptized Belarmina. The RS president and their family have been so helpful! Literally dropping whatever they were doing to help Guido and his family get married and baptized. I was also able to confirm Jhojan, and I was super nervous because we went up in front of the Sacrament meeting and the bishop asked who he wanted to confirm him, and he said "Elder Matheson." So their, in front of the whole ward, I had to remember how to do it. But I did it! And it was a really awesome experience. It was the first blessing I've given in Spanish but the words just came really easy and I was able to convey what the spirit wanted me too.

So Rodolfo.. that guy is awesome. He blessed the Sacrament yesterday and is helping us teach Ricardo, one of our investigators. Turns out, they live like one block away from each other! We watched the Restoration video and afterwards Rodolfo bore a powerful testimony about the Book of Mormon and his conversion to the church. And when Ricardo gets baptized, Rodolfo is going to perform the ordinance. I feel like a proud parent right now haha. 

Anyways, hope everyone has a great week! Keep me posted on the sports world, and dont forget to write every now and then!

Elder Matheson

Almost Christmas - 12/22

Hey guys! So this was a pretty interesting week with transfers and having a new companion and all that jazz. So Elder Ramirez is from Chimbote, Peru, and is a really interesting guy. He is literally the Latino version of Nathan Dougal. THE SAME PERSON. They look the same, act the same, laugh the same.. its weird haha. He's super quiet and we dont talk a whole lot when we're walking around, but he's a great missionary. We go to work! This might not be the most fun transfer I have, since we dont have a whole lot in common and he doesnt talk much, but we work hard and get stuff done. In one day this week, we had more new investigators that we found than I ever had in a week with Elder Perez. He just knows what to say and knows how to get to the root of the investigator. I learn a lot from him every day! 

So a miracle happened today! When a couple wants to get married here, they have to go and present all the paperwork and then the person who works for the Municipalidad have to accept or reject the paperwork and set a date. Usually after presenting the couple we have to wait at least 21 days to get them married, but we presented them today and the set the marriage for this Friday! It really is a miracle. We taught them about fasting this week and we fasted for them that the birth certificates would get here on time and that the people who set the dates would be able to set the date for this Friday and they were able to do it! I know the Lord had a hand in this, because if we would have had to wait for another date they would have had to cancel everything, tell their family not to come and all that bad stuff. So they're going to get baptized along with their 8-year old son this week and we couldnt be more excited for them. Look for some baptism pictures next week!

Rodolfo is a stud. We bought him the D&C videos and he already watched all of them, including the Joseph Smith video and some other church movies. He told us that the night of his baptism he faced more temptation than he ever had before. He drives taxis for his job and said that night some guy got into his taxi and was offering him free booze, a chance to meet a bunch of women, and other pretty bad stuff. Then he told us, "I told that guy to get lost, I was prepared for the crap." I almost died laughing! And then yesterday at church in priesthood meeting the teacher asked when the Relief Society was founded. I was like shoot, I dont know that, but then Rodolfo turned to me and whispered "1842" and smiled at me. How does he know that?! He's been a memeber for 3 weeks!!! And then he was talking to one of our other investigators named Ricardo and church and was telling him all about the church and how much he loves it and how happy it makes him, all that. We didnt know any of that until we taught Ricardo yesterday and now he wants to get baptized too. I swear, Rodolfo might be the prophet one day. 

Anyways, that was our week this week, hope you guys had a good one too! Merry Christmas! Everyone look up the video "He is the Gift" on youtube or, its awesome! Really reminds us what Christmas is all about!

Love you guys!
Elder Matheson 

with President Zobrist

Christmas skit???

Ahhhh...we found carpet!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Hey everyone! 

I guess I'll start with the big news of the week-- transfers. We got the call saturday night, Elder Perez is leaving for Camana and my new companion, Elder Ramirez, will be coming later today to our area. I havent met him yet, but from what others have told me he's really quiet and doesnt like to talk a whole lot, so I might have to kind of lead all the lessons and initiate all the contacting and what not-- pretty much the exact opposite of Elder Perez. It'll be an interesting transition for me for sure, because I'm not really used to all that stuff, but... so it is in the mission! So I'll let you guys know how all of that goes this week.

So this was a pretty depressing week for the work here. We finally got the birth certificates for Guido and Berlamina from the Cusco mission.. but they werent the right ones. We're scrambling to try and find a way to get these brith certificates as fast as possible because we're really pressed for time t get them married the 26th, and they're letting all the family know about the marriage so we're kind of freaking out. All of our important progressing investigators didnt show up for their appointments or werent there when we went, but there are weeks like that in the mission and I'm confident that the next week will be better!

Well guys, wish me luck with transfers this week, pray for me and Elder Ramirez! Love you guys!

Elder Matheson 

elder perez with the skittles we sent him 
Derek's zone

scripture case that derek had made

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Hey peeps! 

So this was a pretty good week! We had 2 baptisms, and the one that didnt happen this week should happen withing the next week or 2. Rodolfo and Jenny were baptized and I was able to perform the ordinance for Rodolfo, which was a really cool expierence. Literally. The water heater for the font wasnt working so the water was freezing. Like numbingly cold. I'm glad I was only waste deep haha. There was actually one little girl from the ward who was also supposed to be baptized, but she didnt go down all the way so they had to do it again and she couldnt do it because it was too cold. So it will have to be another week for her. But the service went great and they're both super excited to be members of the Lords church. 

Thanksgiving was this week! I really didnt realize that it was Thanksgiving until that night when I looked at our calender and realized it was Thursday. I was able to spend Thanksgiving with Elder Larsen because we were on divisions again, and it was actually super nice to spend an American holiday with another American. We talked until like 1130 at night on the roof of our building overlooking Arequipa and all the lights of the city. We had rice and what I think was a chicken hamburger patty for dinner. I was expecting turkey and potatoes with gravy so I was a little disappointed haha.

So we're teaching a new family right now that isnt married. Guido and Berlamina, with their 8 year old son Johan and their 7 year old son Jhon. We went yesterday to teach them with our Relief Society President and she was awesome. They have all the desire in the world to get married and join the church and set a date for the 27th of December for their baptism and marriage. She took down ALL of the necessary information and told us she was going to take care of it. To get married in Peru, you need a birth ceritficate, obviously. But they dont have digital copies of them here and so to get your birth ceritficate you have to go to the city were you were born to request it. Luckily, we have someone who works for the mission whose job is to hunt down these forms, but still. Just another way Satan is working to slow down the work here.

So, that was my week this week! Emma, happy super late birthday! Theres an Elder her from Utah who finishes this transfer and I'm going to send some stuff home with him to send to you guys for all the birthdays and what not that are coming up, so look for that in the mail. Love you guys, have a great week! 

Elder Matheson

PS: cant belive its already december!!!!!

Week 15

Hey everyone!
This week was kind of slow numbers-wise, but it was still probably the fastest week I've had on my mission so far. We're working really hard with our investigators that have baptism dates for this coming Saturday, and with any luck they all get baptized! Nothing remarkable happened this week. Just a normal week as a missionary here in Peru. We did meet this one really cool family who we're teaching now, but they, like every couple in Peru, aren't married. Nobody is married! We've already been robbed of like 4 or 5 baptisms because people arent married. Satan really is working super hard to destroy the family. I'm hoping we can get these guys married so they can get baptized and enjoy the blessings of an eternal family. 

So something truly miraculous happened this week in Chachani. Remember how we have a bathroom under some stairs? Well this week an announcement was made that the desague systems are working now, so we no longer have to go under the stairs to take care of our business. We have a real bathroom now! That toilet under the stairs doesnt even exist anymore, they removed it and put some pretty plants there. Really makes the entrance to the house that much prettier haha. 

Anyways, this was a pretty boring week. Pray for us so I can send a whole bunch of baptism photos next week! 

Elder Matheson

Monday, November 17, 2014

Week 14

Hey everyone! Kind of an interesting week here in Chachani. Things are FINALLY starting to pick up with the investigators here. We now have 10 progressing investigators, and 7 with a baptism date, and 6 of those are for the 29th. Of those 6, we think we can dunk 4 of them! A little run down on our investigators, Deyvis is one of our new investigators and he is a total stud. Before our first lesson with him we asked if he had questions for us and he said, yeah, what do I have to do to be baptized and go on a misison? Legit. We have a new investigator that the Hermanas were teaching but it turns out he lives in our area so they gave him to us and hes super ready to be baptized too. A little surprise, Jenny, one of our old investigators who moved away a few weeks ago showed up at church yesterday and told us she wants to be baptized and that she's moving back to our ward. The Lord really is putting people in our path to teach and baptize. 

I got to go on splits again with Elder Larsen this week, and we killed it. Placed 3 baptism dates and taught like 8 lessons. The Spanish wasnt half bad for us either. I had an interesting experience last night, we went to teach this reference from the ward and we started teaching and it was pretty obvious that this chick just wanted to Bible bash, and my companion and she were just arguing and it was kind of sad. I started to bear my testimony of how I knew Joseph Smith was a prophet and what not and she just starting laughing at me and Elder Perez, and this feeling of peace just came over me, like yeah, shes mocking us right now, but I know whats right and eventually she will too. What I'm doing is the right thing, and what other people think doesnt matter!

Well thats my week this week, hope everyone has a good one!

Much love,
Elder Matheson

Building a wall....service project

Monday, November 10, 2014

Week 13

Hey everyone! So the big news for this week was we had our first baptism!!! Nelson finally decided to get dunked. His mom never showed up, and told him that she wouldnt be able to come until January, but we convinced him the best gift he could give his mom would be to be a worthy priesthood holder and pass her the sacrament when she comes. He called his mom right then and said he was going to get baptized. And it was awesome! Feels good to have that milestone under my belt. Finally feel like a real missionary haha. 

So this Tuesday, we had more comp drama. It was worse than last monday too. I dont know exactly what happened, but my comp just got super.. weird during our district meeting, and when we were putting our weekly goals, he wouldnt talk and made me do everything. We talked to the zone leaders afterwords, and it ended with him yelling at the zone leaders, telling me he wanted a new companion, and then requesting a transfer from President Zobrist. So we went to the stake center where President was, he talked to both of us, and decided it would be best if we had an emergency transfer. I told Pres that i wanted to work things out, but after talking with everyone, he said he felt a transfer was necessary and that he would call us that night to let us know what was going to happen. About an hour before he was going to call, I talked with Elder Perez and the two of us decided to stick things out and call president. He told us that we could if we wanted too, and so Elder Perez and I are still comps! And our relationship is better than ever right now. We still have some stuff to work out, and he even told me all of our problems have been his fault and he needs to work on that. But things are going well! Still not super obedient, but we work hard when we work.

I gave a talk yesterday in sacrament meeting, and i almost felt fluent in Spanish. No doubt the gift of tongues kicked in haha. We also had that service project (see pictures) to clean out the church "parking lot." It's basically a bunch of dirt that people throw garbage in. We found all sorts of interesting things in these Peruvian garbage piles, like half decayed dogs, fully decayed dogs, dog bones, and recently deceased dogs. Completely normal, dont worry, this is just the first picture i've sent of the dead dogs here. 

Anyways, thats my week here, hope everyone had a great week too. Love you all, keep it up with the letters!

Elder Matheson

Elder Matheson - aka Elder Wreck it Ralph

ONE TRANSFER DOWN. My goodness the time flies here in the mission field. Even though I'm not to the point in the mission when times flies haha. Well, this was probably the weirdest week I've had as a missionary. It started off this P-Day with us going to the institute building and playing ping pong and soccer and what not, which I know sounds awesome but it turned out to be the worst day I've had here. My comp and his ex-comp, who are both super disobedient at times, decided to leave writing time an hour early to eat Papa Johns with a female member in the area. I knew they were going together, they've done it before with permission, but i had no idea they didn't get permission this time. Naturally, when the zone leaders found out after asking me where my comp was, they had to deal with the problem. My comp was not happy. I went and tried to talk to him, saying that I was trying to be a tattle tale or anything, but that he cant keep doing things that are against the rules that I dont know about. He handed me the keys, tolded me he was never talking to me again, and then told me I was going to have to do everything from here on out. Later in the day he told me hated me, and re-emphasized that he was never talking to me again. Long story short, president was involved, we had a whole intervention and everything. The day ended with him telling me he was angry with the zone leaders, not me, and that he was sorry and vowed to be perfectly obedient for the rest of his mission. I was so happy! And so was he for the next few days, but then friday he slept in until 11 so there's that. He's going to be my companion for the next 6 weeks too. Pray for us! 

So both of our baptisms fell through this week. Miriam doesnt want to get baptized because she doesnt have a lot of friends in the ward, but she also doesnt go to church so thats great haha. And Nelson's mom still hasnt come but promised to come friday so hopefully we'll finally get our baptism this week. It's been hard working in this area, but maybe the Lord is trying to show us that there are other ways to have success here in the mission. Maybe we need to work more with the ward or something, because these last few weeks have been a struggle. We contacted over 50 people this week and only have one or two people who want to meet with us. Frustrating, but I'm glad I'm getting all this yucky stuff out of the way at the start of my mission haha.

Yesterday we got a call to go help someone with a service project, and we thought we'd be doing something pretty mundane because it was a Sunday. WRONG. we showed up and they handed us a sledge hammer and chisel and we got to work cutting stone. We literally destroyed a house yesterday. I felt like Wreck it Ralph haha. Also, I read "the consecrated missionary" by Tad R Callister this week. Amazing, puts a whole new perspective on missionary work. 

As far as weird things I've eaten, the only thing is chuno, which is rotten potatoes. Not as bad as everyone says, put enough salt on them and they're not half bad. The mail strike has ended, and i'm hoping my stuff gets here soon! A typical PDay here goes something like this: we write from 10-12, eat lunch, and then usually do something as a zone. We havent done the same thing twice either. And the bunkbed is holding firm! 

Love you all, thanks for the letters and support. 

Elder Matheson 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Arm wrestling for church/Week 11

Alright here it is guys. This week was kinda interesting. Definitely a week of ups and downs. My companion got hit with a case of terrible terrible depression and was physically unable to leave his bed for a few days. Which was super frustrating because we had lessons with people that we couldnt go teach and you can only watch Josepsh Smith, prophet of the restoration so many times before you´ve memorized every line haha. Yeah, my comp had a pretty bad week. But, despite all of this (he´s doing better now), we still were able to commit 2 people to baptism for next week and we might have a third. We were supposed to have one this last saturday, but I guess he wanted to wait for his mom to be in town next week or something like that (what a chump lol) so his baptism is next sunday. Because we had to stay home for a good portion of this week, it was a rough one. But.. things will get better! I've been kind of thrown into a tough situation with my comp and this area, but i'm just putting my head down and taking what comes and trying my best to love it. 

Funny story of the week: yesterday we went to try and talk to this less active member and we actually found him, which was super surprising because we've tried to find this guy a number of times and he's never home. He's a bigger guy and he's pretty funny, and after talking to him for a while, he looked at me and was like, "ok, we're going to arm wrestle, and if I win, I'm not coming to church for 3 months, but if you win, i'll go to church this sunday." he will be going to church this sunday with a very sore arm. We also found a couple new investigators this week too.

This week is Halloween, and it is a very big deal here apparantly. People love their halloween here haha. My comp is excited for it too for some reason. But all the little stores here are decked out for halloween and our pensionistas kids are ready to go with their homemade costumes too. Apparently they go nuts for X-mas here too, but the majority of the celebrating happens on the 24th. 

Transfers are this coming sunday, and I dont expect anything to happen to me and elder perez. Training lasts for 12 weeks, and usually they dont transfer trainers, but its definitely happened before and it could very well happen to Elder Perez. I dont know if i want a new comp or not haha. It would be nice to have an English speaking companion but that's probably not going to happen haha.

Anyways.. love all of you, hope you guys have a great week! keep it up with the letters too!

Elder Matheson 

Week 10

Alright, here it goes! I just finished week 10 (10!!!!) of my mission! Times is starting to fly, and I know I haven't even got to the point where time flies yet haha. My training is coming along pretty well I think, but I keep having this reoccuring feeling that when my training ends Dec. 14 I'm going to be a trainer for a gringo who knows absolutely no Spanish. Which frightens me, but has really motivated me to study the language even harder. I'm trying to read the BoM in spanish right now, and It's coming along pretty well, I can understand pretty well what I read and I've found I actually get more out of it because I have to try really hard to understand every word, so I'm already coming across things I've never noticed before. Interesting stuff! So anyway, this week has been one of highs and lows, the high being wednesday, the low being thursday. On wednesday, my comp and i went and got to priests from our ward that are preparing for missions and took them out with us. We went on splits and went to different parts of our area to contact to try and find new investigators to teach. So it was just me and this kid named Samuel running around Arequipa trying to talk to people. It actually went pretty well! We found some people and made appointments to come back and teach them later. We ended up having 10 lessons with members present in one day, which is actually the weekly goal for the mission. That night we had a lesson with one of our investigators named Miriam, who is 14 and is the sister of a less active that we teach with her. We invited her to be baptized and she is going to pray about it, but she's ready, I know it! The next day was pretty awful. We had no success. Which was pretty ironic because that day we fasted as a mission to have success haha. Every single appt we had fell through, all of our backup plans fell through, and everyone we tried to talk to was not interested at all. At one point we sat down on a rock in the middle of the street and tried calling just about everyone in our contacts to find someone to teach, and nothing. It was awful. My comp actually said it was the worst day of his mission. 

We've been trying to work on our family history a little bit, and need some help! Mom, can you send me some stories from our family history? We have these little booklets called MY Family that we need to fill out, and basically it has stuff we need to fill out for every grandparent and great grandparent. And stuff like birthdays and full names of all their siblings too. If you could help me out with that, that would be awesome! 

So we went running the other day, and my comp ended up hurting his knee. He's doing a little better now, but yesterday we couldn't leave the appartement. As far as what happens on P-days, we do all sorts of stuff. We went to the Plaza de Armas one week, last week we went to these waterfalls (pictures to come) and today we're going to make food and play bored games in the Stake center. Our ward is interesting, and nobody shows up on time. Nobody can play the piano either, so I'm trying to practice a little bit so i can play some hymns in sacrament meeting. It's a lot different than anything in the States haha. 

Anyways, that was my week this week. I dont think i have any pictures inside the appartment, but i'll see what i can do for next week. Love you all, thanks for everything!

Elder Matheson

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Baby llamas and Peruvian General Conference

Wow, what a week. Its been an interesting one for sure. We had a multi-zone conference with President Zobrist this week, and it was super awesome. He talked a bunch about Family History work and taking care of our new converts by teaching them all 5 lessons again after baptism and continuing to meet with them for at least 4 months after baptism. We havent had any baptisms so far, but when we do (i think we're getting close with a few), we'll defintely keep that in mind. We really only had one normal day this week because of general conference and all the meetings we had in the morning, and so we didnt get to teach a lot of lessons this week and most of our appointments fell through anyways. Super frustrating, but we met this new investigator named Silvia who is quite literally a golden investigator. We've met with her twice, and she just keeps telling us that she will do anything to have the happiness and joy that comes from the gospel. Yeah, she should be baptized as soon as she can get to church the required 3 times. We went to visit Paulina this week, and she was flat out drunk, to the point that she couldnt even remember her own name. Obviously we cant teach someone like that, so we had to leave and come back another time. So we went to see her last night and again, just wasted. That was probably the biggest dissapointment of the week, because she seemed so ready to hear the gospel, we just have to find a time when we can go when she isnt hammered. 

I got to go on splits with Elder Larsen this week, who, like me, is brand new in the mission field. So it was just me and him, wandering around Arequipa, trying to find our appointments and talk to people in VERY broken spanish. We had fun though, cuz he was one of my roommates in the CCM and in my district and what not, so it was nice to be able to speak English and catch up. We actually were able to teach a lesson that went surprisingly well. I guess the gift of tounges is real haha. 

This weekend was Peruvian General Conference because of the elections last week. All of us Gringos in our zone (theres 6 of us), went into the high council room and watched it in English with a bunch of snacks and drinks. It was kind of like our super bowl haha. All of the talks were super good! I really loved Elder Robbins talk, Elder Hollands, and the whole priesthood session was really good too. It seemed like all of the talks were directed right at me and our investigators. During the priesthood session, the power went out randomly and they had to fire up the generator and everyone missed most of the first talk, but everything worked out in the end. 

Mom, to answer your questions, the food is good. Mostly rice, some type of potato, and either chicken or fish. Most of the missionaries I've met actually havent had cuy (guinea pig) here because its a delicassy and super expensive. Definitley not going to be eating it in my area haha. I am actually sleeping on the top bunk, and its pretty sketchy. Nothing terrible has happened yet, which I'm grateful for, but keep me and Elder Perez in your prayers cuz if it falls at night, hes dead. The weather is super sunny all the time. Not even a hint of anything resembling rain here. We're also at like 9000 feet elevation so half the time i feel like i need an oxygen mask here haha. The shoes are working out great. Super comfortable, i'm hoping they last the whole time, but who knows. My pension has a family. Her husband, and her two little kids, who are super cute, but SUPER annoying too. They never leave us alone! 

Thanks for the letters this week! Things are getting better everyday, but there's obviously still highs and lows. Love you all!

Elder Matheson 

pics of a real baby llama and Peruvian Papa Johns

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Week 2 in Arequipa

Hey everyone! Sorry for my super depressing letter last week. It turns out missions are so much better when you can leave your appartment. Still, this week hasnt been easy, and I think that I might not have an easy week for the next two years. HOWEVER, this week has been sooooo much better. I feel like the language is coming along much better too. Unfortunately, I'm starting to realize that my companion is pretty lazy though. There are times he doesnt get out of bed until 730 or so, and it's been kind of a struggle at times. Its also been super frustrating because since he's peruvian, he has no sense of punctuality. Like yesterday for example, we had an appointment at 3, and he was talking to the pension of some of the other missionaries in our area until like 330 and we were a long way from our appointment. I was trying to get him to hurry, but i guess its just not a big deal at all if you just miss an appointment and go back another time. Half the time we go to our appointments nobody is home anyways haha. Oh well, i guess i need to get used to the culture here a little more. 

I got to go on splits with our American zone leader, which was awesome. I got to speak English for an entire day with Elder Cromar, and he's a fantastic missionary too. I learned a lot about how i can teach better and how we can work more effectively too. I actually get to speak English a lot more than i thought i was going to be able to. We have 5 or 6 american missionaries in our zone, including two of my friends from the CCM, and we meet 3 times a week. On top of that, one of my friends is assigned to the same ward as i am, so i actually get to speak English once or twice a day usually. It honestly keeps me sane. I can kind of convey what I want to say in Spanish, but not how i want to usually and thats frustrating, so its nice to be able to vent every now and thenn. But my language skills are definitely improving every day! 

I actually dont get to watch general conference until this next weekend because this week was elections in Peru. And they are a very big deal. Elections are on sunday, and it is against the law not to vote here. On top of all of that, you have to go to your hometown to vote, and no one is allowed to consume any alcohol for 24 hours before voting (still doesnt stop anyone though haha, we saw a bunch of drunks all over the place on saturday). The campaigns are crazy too, and the politcal party symbols or whatever are hilarious too. One of them is a chicken kicking a soccer ball. Another one is a women breast feeding a baby. Crazy peruvians haha. 

Our teaching has been pretty good this week! We work a lot with less actives here because a lot of people who get baptized end up falling away. We've been able to get a few to start coming back to church though! The people here are super nice too. We've hardly had anyone who doesnt invite us to their houses or at least talk to us in the streets. We have a lot of investigators right now too. My favorite investigator is someone we havent even taught yet though. Her name is Paulina and we ran into here on the street the other day and talked to her for a while. She's catholic and reads here bible everyday and we gave the Restoration pamphlet and we made an appt for this wed. with her. We ran into her the other day while we were walking to another appointment and stopped to talk to her about the pamphlet and how she was doing. She told how awesome everything in the pamphlet was and how she wants to know more about that Book of Mormon the pamphlet talked about. We gave her a Book of Mormon right then and there (duh) and she took it, kissed the cover, and clutched it to her chest. There are some people who are just super prepared! 

Hope everyone has a great week this week, thank you all for your letters of encouragement, it was much needed! Love you all and miss you a bunch!

Elder Matheson 

Picture of my house, street and area:

Sunday, October 5, 2014

First week in the field!!!

Ok, here it is, the long awaited letter!
I honestly dont know where to start. The last week in the CCM went by so fast, it was unreal. We had a bunch of firesides and farewell stuff, but it all still felt surreal, like it wasn't really happening, like we were going to be in the CCM forever. And then Tuesday morning came, and we woke up super early and hopped on a bus to take us to the airport. They threw us on a plane to arequipa and as soon as we got there, President Zobrist and the APs were there to pick us up. From there they took us on a tour of the city, to the temple ground here, and then to a stake center for orientation. And it still seemed so surreal. We got our comps too. Like i expected, my new companion doesn't speak a word of English. So i think i'm gonna learn spanish pretty quick here haha. His name is Elder Perez and he's been out for almost 15 months now. He says my spanish is about 5/10 haha. I can understand probably about 60 or 70 percent of what is said has long as people are talking about normal things. anyways, after we got our comps they shipped us out. and thats when reality came crashing down. I guess it never hit me that i was in peru. in the ccm i was always surrounded by white people in an environment more or less like the united states. but as soon as i said goodbye to be CCM friends and was in a taxi on my way to chachani, i was like holy crap, this is for real. it was pretty rough. I felt pretty alone, just really disheartened. Needless to say, this week has been pretty rough. it sounds like this is pretty normal though. there are times where i just want to lay in bed and forget i'm here. but, in spite of all this, i've been happy too! all of the good that has happened has definitely outweighed the bad. I've already seen miracles in the people i teach. 

unfortunately, i ate some bad food and spent the next few days... in bed. due to that we havent had as many opportunities to teach as i would have liked. I had a lot of time to think about everything though, and i've decided that i'm going to be ok. i also read about 300 pages of Jesus the Christ because theres only so much you can do in an appartment for 3 days without TV or a phone or what not haha. Our appartment is tiny tiny tiny, and our area is in the most impoverished in the entire mission. Compared to the houses around us, our appartment is super super nice though. we have a bathroom with a shower and a tiny little bedroom with bunkbeds (im on top) and two little desks to study at. The people in this area are so nice too. We haven't had a single person turn us away. 

Peru is crazy. The busses are crazy too, i never thought you could fit so many people into a little bus, but apparently you can haha. well guys, sorry this letter was depressing, but know that I know what I'm doing is right. I know things will get better, but right now its frustrating to be in such a new environment with someone who you can only have very basic, slow conversations with. It will get better! I know it will! Love and miss you all a lot.

Elder Matheson 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Last week in the MTC

Holy cow, week 5 already. Tomorrow is the last real day of classes in the CCM. We leave next Tuesday for Arequipa, though I dont know what time or how we're getting there or anything. From what I've heard from other missionaries, it sounds like we'll probably leave super early in the morning though. I have no idea what to expect of that day or what will happen when we get there or anything. They keep us in the dark here most of the time. Anyways, after 5 weeks in the CCM, there isn't a whole lot to talk about as far as new stuff. We've had fried eggs and bread every morning for 5 weeks straight and to be honest, its getting kind of old, but we've learned all sorts of tricks to try and keep it interesting. Like making an egg sandwich. Or putting jam on your eggs, or putting the ham-from-a-can stuff on it. Whatever changes it up haha.
As i mentioned last week, my comp and I are the zone leaders here. Our last ZLs werent very good. They let anything slide, never talked to the people they were supposed to. Nothing. They didnt even plan the meetings they were supposed to. One of the districts we are over told us they didnt even know who their zone leaders were the last two weeks. Needless to say, that was not going to be us. Every night, we go to all the districts and see how they're doing, ask the district leaders what they've been working on in their districts, and ask what we can do to help them or their district members. Turns out there's a lot of people who are really struggling and its been so awesome to have an opportunity to help them. We only had to crack a few skulls, most over conduct with the Hermanas here. I over heard some Elders talking about one of the Sisters here at the ccm in a way that would be completely out of line even if we werent missionaries, and Elder Endicott and I "reproved them with sharpness" so to speak. Needless to say we didnt have anymore problems with that this week. Being a zone leader is a lot of fun, but its a lot of responsiblity and it takes a lot of patience sometimes. Like this morning, when we were in charge of getting about 30 elders and sisters who had never been outside of the walls of the ccm and somehow getting them to the temple and to the stores and back without losing them. And we almost did lose some people! We were looking around for these 6 elders we couldnt find after being in the stores and were actually getting pretty worried, but it turns out they were trying to buy soccer jerseys and talk to people with their vast one week of ccm spanish ability. Its like babysitting 4 year olds sometimes haha.
So usually on Tuesday nights we have a Devo from an area 70 here in spanish, but last night we were able to get a live stream from Provo to hear Elder Scott speak. It was actually one of the best talks I've heard in a while. It was all about prayers and how we should never take them for granted. If you have time, look it up, its a great talk. He kept saying that Lord has called us to succeed, not to fail, and that while a mission may be hard, there will never come a time in you life where you regret serving. He said that everything good thats come from his life has been a direct result of his decision to serve a mission. After, one of the people in my district talked about how much they love the song "A Childs Prayer," and it made me miss teaching primary. Oh well. Sorry this has been kind of a slow week. I dont know if I'll be able to email next weeek because I'm missing the p day here and i think p days are mondays in the field. So the next time you hear from me i'll be a real missionary in arequipa and should be able to send some pictures (I'm sorry i know you're dying mom). Love you all and hope you have a great week! Keep me posted on BYU and Packers and all the lovely sports news i dont get here in Peru. Oh, and keep writing!
Elder Matheson

Monday, September 15, 2014

Week 4

Hello everyone!
So the big news of the week is that my companion Elder Endicott and I have been called to be the zone leaders of the CCM. We will be in charge of about 50 missionaries for the next two weeks, although the responsiblities of a zone leader in the mtc are rather mundane. basically, we are in charge of making sure people go to bed when they're supposed to and planning one sacrament meeting as well. basically they told us that we really need to be examples of obedience in the CCM, where its really hard to obey all the mission rules as well as all the rules of the ccm president. so i guess we have a lot of extra motivation now! haha we talked to our teacher hermano bejar and he said that he was a zone leader for 15 months of his mission, and that the most important thing to remember is to be an example. he said to strive to be like Christ in everything you do. and remember that even though Christ was perfect, people still said bad things about Him and still crucified Him. I should be more worried about what God thinks of me than what other people think. the new people arrived last night and there were some elders on our floor who wrote a note to them telling them to be up at 630 (they get to sleep in until 745 on day 1) and they put sheets over the doors and what not. it was super mean and i wasnt sure what i should do because we arent technically the zone leaders until today, but i decided to just go tell them that they needed to take down the sheets and change the note. and they were a little disappointed but did it anyways. it pays to stand up for you think is right. we all kind of do things to mess with the new elders, but nobody did anything mean like that. the funniest thing i saw someone do was place about 200 chastity pamphets all around the new elders side of the room. like they were everywhere. on the desks, the walls, the ceiling, under the bottom of the top bunk. hilarious, and all in good fun (i think?)
We got to go proselyting again! We went to a different area this time, but it was still an awesome experience. my companion was latino so it was 100% espanol for me haha. we actually got to teach some lessons and i could basically understand nothing haha. I had one cool experience though. we were teaching this lady and her elderly mother and they started arguing with each other and we werent really making any progress with her, and after about an hour of teaching, we finally just decided that we needed to leave. before we left, i got the feeling to share alma 7:11-13 so i flipped open my libro de mormon and read it and bore my testimony in very simple spanish about the atonement and how it can bless their family. they settled down and stopped arguing, and we were able to teach them for a few more minutes and they actually agreed to come back to church (we teach less actives)!! it was a really cool experience. the church is true and the spirit is so strong when youre serving the Lord!
One last thing-- the people here are so nice. Every group of latinos that comes though is just awesome. i was pretty good friends with the last group that came through, and one them wrote me a note in my journal and told me that he had been having a really hard time being away from his family for the first time and that he had seriously considered going home, but my friendship, which to me seemed so simple and not even a big deal at all, helped him to be able to stay out on his mission. The message is, you never know how what you say or do will effect someone, so always be nice!
Love you all, thanks for the updates. Sounds like BYU is kicking butt so far this year too! Keep me updated on things guys. Much love to you all,
Elder Matheson

Friday, September 5, 2014

Birthday Hat-Trick

Hey everyone!!! ok so this week has been kind of slow, nothing really
amazing has happened. it wasnt proselyting week, and once the new of
everything wears off here in the ccm, its pretty boring. although this
week has absolutely flown by. its true what they say, the days are
slow but the weeks are fast. ummm, so after laboring for the first two
weeks to try and score a goal in soccer, i was blessed with a birthday
hat-trick (thats 3 goals in a game mom), and scored 3 more over the
next week, so i guess the church is true after all. i'm sorry this
letter probably wont be as long as they usually are, but next weeks
will probably be better becuase we're going proslyting this week.
also, we're not allowed to send pictures in the ccm, but as soon as i
get to arequipa i'll send some. we're all obsessed with ping pong
here, we play it at every opportunity. it keeps us sane around here.
actually, anything to get our minds off of 12 hours of spanish classes
is awesome. soccer, ping pong, slug races, anything haha. so last
night we had a devotional and the area 70 here came and spoke, and of
course our headphones and translators didnt work so i had to do my
best to understand his spanish. i could acutally understand almost
everything he said and it was an awesome talk! probably my favorite
thing he said was that in this life and in missionary work, success
isnt free, and the price is hard work. i'll keep that in mind as time
continues on. also, if you get some time, look up elder hollands mtc
devotional from may 2014. one of the best talks you'll ever hear. we
listened to it on sunday and it seriously was incredible. look it up.
seriously. well mom, im sorry this email wasnt very long, but nothing
really all that exciting happens on a day to day basis here. crazy to
think im halfway done here in the ccm though! anyways, love you all,
have a good week, and thanks for the letters! --elder matheson

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Earthquakes and Lamanitos

Hello everyone,
Glad to hear everything is well at home. I know you'll be a great RS president mom! And yes, we felt the earthquake! It was actually pretty funny, I was studying on the floor of our distict room and kind of swinging my feet around and one of the Hermanas was like, "wow, it feels kind of like an earthquake!" So i stopped swinging my feet and sure enough the earth was actually quaking! This week has been full of so much new stuff, i'll try to get it all in. My email last week took like 45 minutes to write and i have like 25 emails this week so i'll try to get back to everyone! Ok so probably the coolest thing this week was proselyting. every two weeks they send everyone out into the field to be real missionaries for a few hours, teaching less active members in various stakes and contacting people on the steet. they have 4 buses that you can get assigned to and i got assigned to bus D, which meant going to the absolute ghetto of the ghetto. It was like the favelas in brazil but less colorful. theres literally crap everywhere and the people basically live in scrap metal houses. And you know what? it was awesome. we were climbing up and down mountains, talking to people the best we could, and enjoying our libredad from the walls of the CCM. My companion i was assigned to was actually pretty much fluent in spanish so it was nice to be able to double check that what i thought the people were saying was actually what they were saying. probably the coolest thing about the whole experience was just how nice and happy the people are. they literally have nothing, yet they're happy, humble, and love to hear any message about God and JesusChrist. Literally everyone will listen to you. They understand what really brings happiness. when we ask what is most important in their lives, every single answer was my family and god. we could all learn a little from them.
they switched my companion for teaching the fake investigators because Elder endicott is really stuggling with the language and i tend to dominate the lesson because i know more spanish. so my new teaching companion is elder flickinger and he and i have a pretty similar language level and we teach together really well. every time we teach we feel the spirit and know exactly what we need to say. its weird because they're literally just our teachers but if you take it seriously, it feels real and the promptings are real too. powerful stuff.
our district has gotten really into ping pong recently. they have tables to play on so we spend our physical activity time to work on our pong skills. the mtc president occasionaly comes out and challenges people to play, and i dont think he's lost a game yet. he skunked the best player in our district. its just kind of funny because hes this little old columbian man whos really strict and mean and can make you afraid for your life if he looks at you too long. i dont know if all columbians are like that but im sure travis would know haha.
so today was p-day and we got to go the temple this morning in lima, which was really awesome. the temple is gorgeous here, even though its actually really small. then they actually set us free in the city to go shopping and what not, so i picked up this sweet jersey for like 15 soles, which is basically 5 bucks. word on the street is that the trujillo temple is going to be dedicated in the next few weeks and that elders bednar, ballard, and andersen will be at the  ccm while im still here, which would be absoluteley amazing. we actually had a general authority speak at our sacrament meeting this last week and he talked about how missionaries are similar to jesus chirst. he mentioned that as christ was suffering in gesthsemane that we must have been up in heaven, pleading with him to keep going, to hold on a little longer, so that we could be saved, and how god sent him an angel to strengthen him. then he mentioned that as we as missionaries go out tracting, to remember that there are more prayers being offered on our behald on the other side of the veil than on this side. people pleading with us to go on a little longer, to hold on for a little more, just so we can teach their posterity, so that their temple work could be done and they could be saved. it was a really interesting take that i had never thought of before.
so theres this kid named Elder Randall who comes into our room and plays on our nerf hoop every night while we try to write in our journals and have quiet time. so to change that, i talked to my latino friends and raised an army of about 40 Lamanites to not so peacefully remove him from our room. we had everything planned out and i even wrote an invigorating braveheart-like speech to pump them up, but presidente gonzales came walking through the hall and the next day the latinos left for their missions so my lamanite army attack will have to be implimented with the new wave of latinos coming through. they were really pumped to be in an army and kept yelling "lamanitas, lamanitas!" so now i understand why it was so easy for the lamanites to raise an army of 50000 to attack the nephites.
anyways, my time is running short, but know that i love you all and enjoy hearing from you! please keep writing, i look forward to reading them all week! the church is true and the book is blue!
Elder matheson

Friday, August 22, 2014

Week 1 - First letter

Hello Friends and Family!
Wow, what a week. I don't even know where to begin. The trip here to lima was super long. Elder Wagner and I got to be pretty good friends on the way down here. I was feeling kind of nervous about everything, but having someone was really nice and Elder Wagner is a super nice guy. We even placed our first Book of Mormon on the flight to Minneapolis. Anyways, we had just enough time to grab some subway and jump on the plane to atlanta. We had to check our carry on bags in atlanta cause they couldnt gate check it for some reason. Oh well. We didn't get to atlanta until like 30 minutes before our next flight left, but this super nice lady on the plane looked up where our flight was so we were able to just run there and made it just in time. The flight from Atlanta was brutal. I was feeling super sick and was able to sleep on and off but it still was pretty brutal and we were all exhausted by the time we got to Lima. There ended up being like 30 or 40 missionaries sitting in the back of the plane which was really awesome. There was this guy sitting a few seats down from us coming from Ireland to meet his girlfriend in Lima, and I guess he was a lot like Megan because he hated flying. The guy pulls out a bottle of xanax and an entire liter of captain morgan and just went to town. He ended up dowing the whole bottle and somewhere between atlanta and here his pants came undone and he was passed out haha he kept asking the missionary sitting next to him if he wanted to drink with an irishman hahaha. We didn;t get to the CCM here until about 3 in the morning and they generous allowed us to sleep in until 730, but the next day was still awfully long.
My companion was a guy named Elder Searle, but the first morning they gave me a new one named Elder Endicott. He's kind of weird, but he's a good guy. He actually lived in Puerto Rico for two years so naturally he doesn't speak any spanish haha. I probably wouldn't have been friends with him back home but we get along just fine and are able to feel the spirit together so it doesn't really matter. The other guys in our room are really funny. Elder Diedrich is real chistoso (jokester). Anyways, our lives are planned out to the second here in the CCM. We wake up at 630, eat at 7, start personal study at 730, companionship study at 815, and class starts at 9. We have class until noon when we eat lunch, and by 1245 we are back in the classroom. at 3 they let us go out and we have time to play soccer, ping pong, basketball, football, work out, whatever. We just have to go outside. It actually says in the CCM packet, no studying during physical activity haha. I acually scored a goal while there were Latinos on the field yesterday! Then at 430 we're back in the classroom until dinner, then after dinner until about 930. they serve the same thing for breakfast every day. eggs and bread, with a slice of mystery cheese and ham from a can. put it all together and it actually makes a decent sandwhich. for lunch and dinner, its rice with some kind of potato and chicken or beef prepared in various ways. they have amazing rolls though, and the soup isnt bad depending on the day. so the food isnt half bad! its just arroz con todo.
The language is coming along really well. I can understand a lot of what is said and i remember just about everything from high school. I learn more everyday and i'm hoping that by the end of my time in the CCM i can actually understand the language and not just sit there like an idiot during lessons. our teachers are really funny. we have hermano aguilar in the moring and hermano bejar in the afternoon. neither of them speak a lot of english but i try my best to talk tp them in spanish and i feel like they like me haha. i actually made friends with some of the latinos here, which is cool because i can actually have conversations wiht people in broken spanish. i'm going to get bettter though!!
 The spirit is so strong here in the CCM. you can just feel it everywhere you go. there is no way we could get through the 12 hours of classes we have without it.
I had a really cool experience this week. on p day they let us go to the temple in the morning and then shop for 2 hours in the city. I was super excited to go and just relax for a day until i saw they had scheduled me to go to migrations last night and then interpol this morning, meaning i would miss the p-day morning festivities. I was so bummed, like almost crying. the first week in the ccm is so long and stressful and i was just trying to make it to pday. so instead of going with everyone else in my district to the temple, i went with some other missionaries to interpol to stand in various lines while people yell at you in spanish. before i left i felt like i should bring a spanish book of mormon to read while i waited, and while i was waiting with some of the other missionaries, we started talking to this guy who understood english and he told us that he moved to lima from ecuador to change his life and make money for his family. we started talking about the  church (that tends to come up when you;re wearing a name tag with Jesucristo on it), and one of the other elders asked if he would read a book of mormon if he had one. he readily agreed so i gave him the one i had, which was just one of the blue paperback ones they give you. One of the hermanas with us had a pass along card and gave it to him too. the other missionaries got taken to another line so it was just me and him and i just felt prompted to tell him about how reading the book of mormon with his family would bless his life and strengthen the love and relationships in his family. then i got ushered away and thought that would be the end of it. as we were leaving he came running up to me and told me it was his birthday and that he was so excited to start his birthday with a new life and a new book. he said he was going to go on and have the missionaries come teach him! it was a real lesson in humility and putting your trust in the lord. even though i missed out on going to the temple, the lord placed someone in my path who was ready to hear the gospel and i;m sure i got more out of teaching him than i ever could going to the temple. all and all, it;s been a good week.
also, after we went to migrations last night, they took us to pizza hut. apparantly in peru, pizza hut is like a nice sit down restaurant and they had waiters and everything. the pizza however, was exactly the same. it was nice to have something amercian though. even though i've only been gone a week, it seems like so much longer, yet at the same time, it seems like i just got here. missions do weird things to time, man. thank you all for the letters and support! it was so nice to hear from you guys, know that i'm doing fine here in peru. love and miss you guys, can't wait to hear from you next week. the church is true and the book is blue!
Elder Matheson
(or elder mother-son, as the peruvians call me)