Sunday, August 30, 2015

Birthday week/transfers

Hello all! First of all, thank you for the birthday wishes! 21 seems a whole lot older than 20, and well, I feel like I am well on my way to adulthood. Weird, but it is what it is. Time is flying by! 

This week was transfers, and i will be here with Elder Coello another transfer in Alto Misit. I am super happy, because we are working really well together and have set ourselves up for a ton of success here in september. We had a baptism last Saturday, Erika, and she was super happy to be baptized. Unfortunately, her mom had to go to the hosptial yesterday morning and she couldnt go to church, so I guess she´ll be confirmed next Sunday. Our investigators are progressing pretty well, we have a few possible baptisms for the first week of September, and if things go well, we could have between 5 to 10 baptisms this coming month. Lelia Chac√≥n is one of investigators. She is in her 50s and her son is a member of the church. She has been investigating the church for a lot of time now, but recently has been reading the Book of Mormon and has decided to get baptized. The only problem is that she wants to wait until her son gets out of drug rehab and is worthy to baptize her. So some prayers for her would be appreciated! 

Bishop Stevenson (presiding bishop of the church) will be here on Friday to talk to us and then we´ll have a leadership conference that night and Saturday morning. Super excited for that! Other than that, not a lot to report, just happily working in the vineyard of the Lord!


Elder Matheson

8/17/15 The Return of the Mata-Gringo

Holy cow, this was an awesome week. After writing home last week, we all went to the Arequipa Zoo for P-Day (i thought of you and your love of zoos mom) and it was probably one of the best PDays i have had here in the mission. The zoo is kind of a dump, but they actually have some pretty cool animals. The cages dont seem very safe, because there was a lion that i could literally reach out and touch if i wanted to. The lion was pretty ticked off and was roaring at everyone, but let me tell you, when you see a full grown lion up close like that... lets just say you should never mess with a lion haha. 

We had Elder Uceda here in the mission this week, and wow, what an experience. The 5 hours we had with him on Wednesday flew by, and we were all instructed. He basically emphasized the fact that if we want our investigators to progress, we have to help them pray, read, and go to church. It was something so simple, yet so powerful. Sometimes, we are so much more focused on teaching the lesson than helping the people we are teaching do the things that lead to conversion. As he said, talking is not teaching. If you have to spend 4 lessons in a row helping an investigator read the book of mormon, you have done a good job. We applied it to our investigators this week, and the results were incredible. We used our ward council to bring all of our investigators to church instead of inviting and waiting. yesterday, we had our leadership council with Elder Uceda and he asked us how we could help our investigators come to church and I raised my hand and shared D&C 84:106 and shared how using the ward council helped us have 6 of our investigators come to church. He called me up front, and with tears in his eyes gave me a hug and thanked me for our example of faith and hard work. It was a pretty cool experience! 

We should have a baptism this week, Erica, and we were able to fijar some more baptisms for september, so we should have some continual success. We are also seeing a bunch of progress with our less actives, and we should have 4 or 5 "rescues" to finish this month. 

Thank you for all the love and support! And Happy Birthday to Mom! (43, right?)

Elder Matheson

mama questions regarding the mata gringo:

Q:  You mentioned "return of mata gringo" but didn't say anything about it in your letter.  Que paso?
A:  Oh yeah, forgot about that....they fed us mata gringo yesterday.  I stomached it like a man.

Q:  What exactly is mata gringo and who fed it to you?  What are the chances that I may be asked to eat it when we come pick you up?  
A:  Mata-gringo is boiled cow stomach in a stew with corn, beans, potatoes, and peas, served over rice.  The worst is that you can see the little hairs on the cow stomach.  Gross.  You may be asked to eat it when you come, or chuno.

Q: Yikes.   So...what is chuno?  
A:  It is a potato that they throw in a river for a week and then eat it.  Kind of gross, but not terrible.

Q:  Ya.  I think I'd take the potato over the cow stomach.  How is the Risenmay gut holding up to the Peruvian diet?
A:  Going strong!  My comp from Honduras gets sick more than I do.  After eating the mata-gringo yesterday I downed a bottle of yogurt, and the people there called me a mad man.  Yet...I feel great, and have had no ill-effects.  Thank you for that!

8/10 Generic Title

So, we had a baptism this week! Carmen got baptized, and surprisingly, she asked me to do it. I was almost 100% certain that her husband would perform the baptism, but nope, she wanted me to do it. It was a super spiritual experience. The water heater for the font didnt work, and the water in Arequipa is FREEZING. No joke, probably 40 degrees. I couldnt feel my legs haha. Poor Carmen. But afterwards, she told us that she didnt even feel the cold. We were able to bring a lot of less actives to the baptism also. We are having some troubles with the investigators, but we are working a with a ton of less active members, and are having a lot of success with them. In the end, the goal of missionary work is to create eternal families, and sometimes we have to work with people who already a little farther along in the path. 

Erica, the girl who wants to get baptized immediately, had a lot of problems this week. She lives with her older sister, and the relationship isnt very good. The fight all the time, and her older sister likes to go out and drink and party and what not, and often leaves Erica (she is 14) to watch her 2 kids. It got so bad this week that Erica had decided to go and live with her mom, but i guess that wasnt a good option either, because her mom didnt really want her to go live with her. She isnt married and her boyfriend i guess is a jerk to Erica. We ended up talking to her for like 2 hours yesterday, and she finally decided to stay with her sister to try and be an example and help her. She is really super mature for her age, and the amount of responsiblilty that she has on her shoulders for being 14 years old is astounding. I really have a lot of respect for her. We will see how things go with her this week and if she continues progressing towards baptism. 

THIS WEEK I WILL OFFICIALLY COMPLETE 1 YEAR IN THE MISSION. Can hardly believe it. Time is flying by. This transfer only has 2 weeks left in it. WOW.

Elder Ulceda, the area president and member of the first quorum of the seventy, is coming to visit us this week. Apparantly he likes to burn missionaries, which is great, because in addition to having a conference with all the missionaries, he wants to meet with all the zone leaders in the mission home, where our screams for mercy cant be heard. If I dont survive this week, its because I was burned alive by the spirit of an general authority. Pray for me haha.

Love you all, have a great week!

Elder Matheson 

8/3 El Milagro de la Salchipapa

Wow, this week was a busy one. We have been working so hard it is crazy. Even with all of the administrative stuff we have to do as zone leaders, we have to set the example for the rest of the zone, so we have been working like crazy. We go on splits with the members a few times a week to be able to teach 2 lessons at the same time. It has been working out pretty well also. 

We had a multi-zone conference with President Zobrist this week. The mission has been really struggling to meet the goal that President has set for the mission of 200 baptisms every month. In fact, we as a mission havent met that goal while President Zobrist has been here. He talked about what we can do to meet that goal, and he said the key is to find and teach families. We will never have 200 baptisms as a mission if we dont baptize families. So we made a goal with our zone to contact every single family we see in the streets. We will see how things go. 

So, we witnessed a miracle this week. There is a family of recent converts that live in our area that has been struggling to stay active recently. They sell salchipapa in the streets at night (french fries and fried pieces of hot dog, covered in ketchup, mayo, mustard, and spicy sauce-- it truly is one of the most delicious things ever, even though it is literally diabetes in a bowl) and recently have decided to start selling Sundays too. We went to visit them Saturday night and told them that the Lord would bless them if they stopped selling on the Sabbath. She was a little hesitant because they are really tight on money right now, and we left not knowing what would happen. They came to church yesterday and we went last night to their apartment to visit them, and she told us that the night before she had made double product to sell, expecting a lot of customers. When we had visisted her the night before, she told us that she had hardly sold anything, and she was worried that she would have to throw away all the unused potatos and chicken and what not. After we left, she prayed and promised God that if she sold all her salchipapa that night, that she would never sell on the Sabbath again. She said that right after she said the prayer, The people started coming. She sold everything. She had never done that before. Haha we kind of laughed but knew that the Lord gave them a miracle, and we now call it "El Milagro de la Salchipapa." 

We have a baptism this coming week. Her name is Carmen, and her husband is an RM who served in Guatamala, Edy. Edy went on a vacation a few months ago to Guatamala, and brought back Carmen haha. I guess they met on his mission, but she isnt a memebr, so we arent exactly sure how all of that worked out, but she is super excited for her baptism. We have another baptism for later this month with this girl named Erica. She is 14 and lives with her older sister. She came to church by herself becuase she has friends that are members of the church. We taught her for the first time yesterday and invited her to be baptized for the 29th of August. She said no, because the date was TOO FAR AWAY FOR HER. She want to get baptized as soon as possible haha. We can help with that.

Thanks for all your love and support!

Elder Matheson

7/27 Kind of half way/Spartan missionaries

So, this week marks the kind of half way point for me! Yes, that´s right, one year from now I will be done with my mission. It really is crazy to think how fast time flies. I am excited to get back and see all the people and do all the things I havent been able to do for the last year, but I am super grateful that I still have another year to do things that I will never be able to do again. Our time here in the mission (and in life, for that matter) is so incredibly short, and if we dont take advantage of every second, it will pass us by. Life is happy in the service of our God!

It was a very normal week here in Arequipa. Almost nothing interesting happened. Just.. normal. One of the sisters in our zone had an emergency transfer, but they were in a trio so it was kind of expected. Being in a trio is pretty much the mission hot seat, because if something happens in another companionship, boom, you´re gone. And that is exactly what happened here. One sister in the mission got sent home, and they shipped Sister Guzman out immediately. Our zone is super cool though, there arent any trouble makers, which makes our job as zone leaders much much easier. The missionaries just work hard, which makes me happy. The only problem is that most of them have less than 6 months in the mission, so they lack a sense of how to work effectively. Little by little we will train them and get them working hard and effectively. We had a service project as a zone on friday, and it involved moving these giant boulders around. we got some ropes out and went to work, and we did some spartan yells and pretended we were the Spartans from 300 and it seemed to help us move the boulders and now the missionaries think they´re spartans. Whatever floats their boat haha.

Oh, one very unnormal thing that I just thought of happened last P-Day. We played soccer as a zone last week, and the sisters even participated. We were all having a good time until Sister Uriona somehow booted the ball over the 20 foot fence that surrounds the chapel (she was only like 10 feet from the wall, i dont know how got that much ariel velocity on that ball). It all seemed to happen in slow motion-- I was analizing the trajectory of the ball and thinking, that ball is going to go right through that 3rd story window. It DESTROYED the 3rd story window. The rest of the zone ran away, and Elder Coello and I looked at each other, laughed for a second, and then went to talk to the lady whose window we destroyed. She was chill about it, and we just have to pay for a new window. The chapel is in the sisters area, and Sister Uriona and Sister Perez went to talk to her also, and ended up teaching her the gospel and are now teaching her every couple of days. The Lord works in mysterious ways!

Love you all, have a good one!

Elder Matheson

7/20 Fastest week ever

Well, this was quite a busy week! All the zone leaders and sister leaders had a 2 day conference with president zobrist in the mission home, and lets just say there are a lot of really nice perks of being a zone leader. they rent a super nice soccer field with artificial grass and let us play there for a few hours, eat wherever we want to (100% reimbursable, thanks for your tithing) and then we eat in the mission home. we had some real american barbeque burgers, which is something i have not had in a while (like 11 and half months) and then enjoy a spirit filled conference for 2 days. Not too shabby. We all ate and were filled physically and spiritually. President talked a lot about family history and just how important the work is. In the end, what we are doing every day with the investigators and less actives we are teaching is the same thing we do in family history work. Its interesting, because in D&C 2 it talks about how Elijah will restore the priesthood keys to Joseph Smith, and that if that were not the case, the whole earth would be "utterly wasted at His coming." President talked about how the whole purpose of this earth is to create eternal families, and if we didnt the priesthood and the sealing ordinances, this whole mortal experience would essentially be a waste. So we are going to be teaching hardcore family history to get these people ready for the temple in Arequipa. 

Our investigators are pretty good. We are teaching a number of people, but their progress is slow. We are kind of in a searching process right now. We are leaving behind a bunch of investigators that arent really progressing, and looking and looking and looking for new people that want to progress. To help with that, my comp and I have decided that we are going to schedule like 6 family home evenings every monday with part member families and active members and ask them to invite their friends. We will see how things play out.

My area is very very different from Pedregal. Pedregal was all farmland, super quite, and super laid back. Alto Misti is the city, and everyone always seems to be in a hurry. The area isnt nearly as big as Pedregal, but it is super nice. After being in super impoverished areas for the first almost year of my mission, I am in an area where the people have money. Everyone has internet, a car, nice houses-- its a lot like the States actually. But still, no carpet in the houses :( 

That was my week, have a good one all!

Elder Matheson

7/13 The craziest week of my life

Ok, this has been like the craziest week ever. I am exhausted haha. So this is what happened. Monday after writing you guys, President Zobrist called us and told us that he was going to close our area and that I would have a transfer. I had a week to make sure my area was in tip top shape for the other missionaries that would be taking over our investigators and what not. We had 6 missionaries in Pedregal, but now we have 4, so they split my area and gave half to the Elders and half to the sisters. So I was already going to have a hectic week showing my area to other missionaries and what not. But then on Wednesday at 730 pm, the APs called us and told us that I needed to pack up my things and leave first thing the next day to go to my new area, because my new companions companion finished his mission and he also didnt have a companion. So i said goodbye to the members, packed up my things, and first thing Thursday (6am) I got on a bus to Arequipa to go to my new area, Alto Misti. I am in the Manuel Prado zone with my companion Elder Coello, and we are the zone leaders here. Basically, we are in charge of all the temporal needs of the missionaries, and when every single companionship has a transfer and they close 2 areas in your zone, there are a lot of temporal matters to attend to. But, my new area is awesome, and the ward is super awesome also. My companion goes home in 12 weeks and is super excited to work hard to finish his mission, so we should have a lot of success. in the last few days, we placed 2 baptism dates for the coming weeks. 

So that is what happened this week. I will keep you guys up to date on all the stuff that will be going on. Love you all!
Elder Matheson
new companion

nasty soccer turf burn..

our room condition when we arrived...don't worry we cleaned it!

7/6 What a week

Well, let me start with the big news of the week.  Saturday night we were in our room and we got a call from the mission president.  Elder Cerezo's father suffered a major stroke and is in a coma on life support.  After praying and fasting, Elder Cerezo decided that he needed to go home.  He needs treatment for his leg, so he will go home for a month to be with his family and get treatment for his leg, and then return to the mission.  he has handled the situation very maturely and only expressed his gratefulness for his knowledge of the plan of salvation.  Keep him in your prayers!

We had been fasting for success in our area, and, as it almost always seems to happen like this when we fast, nobody that we are teaching came to church.  We were disappointed.  That night, Arturo (an investigator from a long time ago that we are teaching again) came to the farewell meeting of one of the missionaries in our branch that is finishing her mission this week.  He had been unable to get baptized because he was working in the mines and only comes home every 20 days.  I don't know how he knew that there was this activity in the church, but he came and told us that he has a new job now and that he won't be traveling.  So long story short, our payers were answered and we should have a baptism this week.

That's all from me, have a great week!
Elder Matheson

6/29 Peru for the Win!

Hello all!
This week was a good one! Elder Cerezo, who foolishly decided to play soccer 2 weeks ago despite doctor´s orders to not play, had to go to the doctors last P-Day in Arequipa, and we had a great PDay there in Arequipa. We met up with Elder Larsens zone, had a picture scavenger hunt in the Plaza de Armas, and then headed back to Pedregal. Then we had to go back to Arequipa for his follow up appointment Thursday. Bad news for Elder Cerezo. Looks like the damage to his leg is bad enough that there is a very good chance that he will get sent home. He has an appointment with a PT this Wednesday in Arequipa, and we´ll know then. He´s holding up pretty well though. He is the only member in his family, and since leaving, the rest of his family has been taking the missionary discussions, and his girlfriend too, and they all seem like they are getting really close to baptism. He told me that if he goes home for a month or two to recover it wouldnt be the worst thing in the world because he would be able to baptize his family. Poor kid.
We had the baptisms! Jose and Bryant were baptized, and we had a good turnout for the service. We had 3 more investigators that went to the service, as well as Jose´s family, who we will now be visiting. They were both beaming after the service, and it was nice to finally have a baptism after 3 months without one. We are working hard with some other investigators for July. If all goes well, (and I think it will) we will have at least 4 or 5 in July. I think Alex and Claudia will finally get married this month. Alex and Claudia opened a restaurant this last week, and it look likes we are finally making some progress here! We set their date for the 24th of July for the marriage, and the 25th for their baptism. We just have to work super super super super carefully with them and work more with the members, and they might finally do this!
So Peru is playing really well in the Copa America right now, and they are in the Semi-Final. They play Chile tonight to see who will play for the Championship this saturday. Peruvians and Chileans DO NOT GET ALONG. If Peru loses tonight, there will be blood. We have appointments tonight, but we´ll see how they go. It is very likely that we will end up teaching to some very distracted Peruvians tonight haha. Brazil lost to Paraguay, and I can only imagine what is happening in Brazil right now.
Have a great week!
Elder Matheson