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