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)