Saturday, February 27, 2016

2/13 Office - Week 1

Well, I survived week number 1 as AP!!! It was a doozy too. I will kind of give a little recap of what happened by day:

Every Monday we write a letter to the missionaries throught their emails. One of us writes to the mission as a whole, and the other sends one to the mission leaders (zone leaders, district leaders, sister training leaders). It was my turn to write to the the mission as a whole, and I was kind of nervous, but I think it went well. I used Alma 41:15 to explain how our attitude towards the situations that we face in the mission makes a huge a difference. If we think that we are going to have a crappy week, then we are going to have a pretty crappy week. After that I was able to write home and tell everyone what was going on, and thankfully everyone wrote me before Saturday. Trust me, this is weird for me as well. At about that time, President walks into our office and tells us that he is going to change the leadership council from Wednesday to Tuesday. Well, that left us about an hour to put together our entire presentation for the zone leaders and sister training leaders. To make matters worse, about 45 minutes into it, the powerpoint erased itself. Whoops. We were able to scape it together again in the little time we had left, then we had to head out to the mission home to train the missionaries who were going to train. It went pretty well, very low key, not a lot of pressure there.

We woke up and headed off to pick up the new missionaries from the airport and then take them on a tour of Arequipa. This was probably one of my favorite parts of the week. A whole lot of memories came flooding back from my first day in the mission, looking around, trying to figure out who was going to pick me up, all that stuff. The newbies had the same lost look of their face that I am sure I had 18 months ago haha. The tour bus driver also happened to be one of my good member friends from Chachani, so we were able to catch up on how things in the ward are going. We took the new missionaries to the temple site, to the Plaza de Armas, and then to the mission home for their lunch and training. We did the whole "companionship reveal" thing and then did a training for them and then shipped them off to their new areas to start their missions. We had a about two hours to put the finishing touches on our leadership training schedule, and then the zone leaders and sister leaders from the whole mission came to have leadership council. The first day is when the zone leaders report on how the zones are doing and then the mission secretaries talk about their stuff. It also went pretty well, and it was really cool to see a lot of my mission friends.

Part 2 of leadership council. This time it was our turn to teach. We did our presentation, and we had solid participation from the other missionaries we were teaching as well. We talked about the Doctrine of Christ and how the principles that the Savior taught apply to us as well as our investigators. Having faith, repenting, remembering our own baptism through the Sacrament, using the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end apply really well to us as missionaries. I think it went super well, and the missionaries seemed to enjoy it as well. President then announced that we were going to end the meeting early because... you´ll love this... their was a bull fight that he wanted to take all of the missionaries to. So yes, our mission president took us to a classic Arequipa bull fight. It was awesome!!!! It is not at all what you would expect. The bulls literally fight each other. There are no matadors, nothing like that. Just 2 giant beasts going at it. I forgot my camera, but some of the other missionaries sent me the pictures so I will forward them to you guys. 

We were finally able to breathe a little bit. We still had some stuff to do in the office, but nothing too stressful. We have the keys to the transfer board, and part of our job is to update it when the transfers come. So we spent the mornings doing that, and we were actually able to work in our area for a few hours. 

As far as living conditions, stuff like that, we live in a really nice apartment in downtown Arequipa, equipped with a fridge, kitchen, and bean bag chairs. We live with the other 4 office missionaries as well. We dont have a pension, we cook our own food. The mission also gives us a ridiculous amount of money to spend on groceries, apart from the money we get every month for transportation. So the fridge is always loaded with really good food. Well, for me its awesome because its American food i havent eaten for a year and half, like a glass of cold milk, or a cheese stick, or whole wheat toast. It doesnt sound like much, but it is quite the luxury for someone who has eaten rice and potatoes for a year and a half straight haha. The office is in downtown Arequipa, so we eat out every single day. There are healthy eating options, dont worry. We are also running to the gym every single morning (its about 1.6 miles from the house) and then work out there for a while. There is a guy whos job is to drive us around wherever we want to go, so he swings by the gym at 7 to pick us up and take us back to the house. He also takes us to our appointments, to the office... we are very spoiled here in the office. I´m glad I am finishing my mission here and not starting here haha. We also have a lady who washes our clothes and returns them to us all folded and ironed. #spoiledspoiledspoiled

So far I like being AP. It is a very different kind of work. We still have time to work in our area, but it really kind of depends on the day. Our area is really two areas actually. The area is called Miracollo, because we work in the areas of the other office missionaries, which are Umacollo and Mirador. It will take some getting used to, but it should be fun. We start the zone conferences this week. Thursday and Friday we will be in Moquegua, going on the splits with the zone leaders there (Elder Evans haha) and then we will do the zone conference. 

Thanks for everything guys! I really appreciate the support!

Elder Matheson

Friday, February 12, 2016


Well, based on the title, you can tell how this week went. CRAZY. Elder Evans and I finished off our last week together strong, just working like always. Eduardo and Joanna... well, they want to get married but they dont want to do it until they pay off the debts, or in other words, until next year. We´re sad that they arent going to progress as fast as we wanted them too, but they are still really cool and want to keep going to church and meeting with the missionaries, so we´ll keep supporting them and helping them progress. I think that one day they will just realize how important it is and then just do it. Other than that, our week with Elder Evans was pretty normal. Nothing really out of the ordinary... until the transfers came.

So there we were, Saturday morning, studying and getting ready for the day, when the assistants called and told us that they sent the changes in paper form and that we could go pick them up and look at them to be able to buy bus tickets for the people who are leaving. Usually they call Saturday night and just tell us, so this was all pretty new for us. Well, we go and get the envelope with all the changes, and then we starting heading to the bank to take out money for the reimbursements and decide to open up the transfers in the taxi. And... I am no longer in Moquegua. I opened up the changes, and right there, in big letters next to my name: ELDER MATHESON- AP. Holy cow... I feel very unqualified to be the new assistant. I really did not see it coming at all. Sunday after church (which went very well by the way, almost everyone came on time, even the investigators) I headed off to Arequipa to go to the office. I am writing this right now from our laptop we have in our air conditioned office in downtown Arequipa. This is going to be super weird. One big change... our Pdays here in the office arent Monday, they are Saturday. So if you want to write me, you gotta do it a few days earlier. 

We have a really full week. Today we have to train the missionaries that are going to be training this change, then tomorrow in the morning we have to go pick up the new missionaries and then train them, and then we have leadership council, where we have to to train the zone leaders (that will last 2 days), and then I have no idea what is going to happen for the rest of the week, but this change we are doing zone conferences, and we have a member of the Seventy coming to visit the mission. Long story short, this is going to be very busy. I feel a little overwhelmed, but I know that I will be strengthened as I do my best.

Well, thanks for everything! Have a great week!

Elder Matheson

Thursday, February 4, 2016

2/1 Traveling & Interviews & Stuff

So this week was a pretty busy one.. we did a lot of traveling. Tuesday we had to head off to Ilo to visit the District Meeting of one of our district leaders there, which takes a good chunk of the day out. It really is exhausting to travel and get back and then just go start working immediately, but that is what has to be done. Thursday we had to go back to Ilo as well, President Zobrist was in Ilo so we took advantage of that to go and visit with the stake president there with President there. The meeting went well. I dont know if I have commented it yet, but Ilo as a stake is really struggling. Almost none of the wards are having ward council, and when they do, it is super inefficient. But, we have been working with the missionaries a lot so that they visit their ward leaders and get them activated in their callings. We have seen such an improvement in the stake over the last month or so, it really is incredible. Miracles are happening in Ilo right now. We ended up not getting back to our room until like 11:30 that night (President knew, dont worry) and then the next morning we woke up early to go down to the stake center in Moquegua to get things ready for the interviews with President here. They went well, and President said he really enjoyed being in Moquegua. This week is also transfers week, and President told Elder Evans and I that we are going to have a transfer. We have both been here for the same amount of time, so we dont know who is going or who is staying. One thing that President did say is that 15 of the 18 zone leaders in the mission are from consecutive MTC groups, and we all go home about the same time that President goes home, and that it would be very irresponsible to leave the mission without leadership. So, long story short, a lot of zone leaders are going to be either training new zone leaders, or are going to be junior companions to district leaders to help train the next generation of leaders in the mission. I have no idea what is going to happen with us this change. I guess we´ll know on Saturday :)

Eduardo and Joanna came to church again this week. They are super cool. The ward council is really getting involved with them, and hopefully we can get them excited to get married as well. they have a hard time coming to church on time (as does everyone in this country). We start with priesthood meeting and end with sacrament meeting but that will change next week stake-wide. It could be an interesting sacrament meeting, considering that at 9:00 when church started yesterday, there were a total of 7 people in the chapel (the bishop was not one of those 7 haha). I kind of lovingly burned the whole ward council and basically told them that nobody would have a spiritual experience at church if it didnt even start on time. We all made plans to be at church 30 minutes early, and hopefully they all follow through with that. 

Thank you all for your love and support, have a great week!

Elder Matheson
Zone P-day trip to waterfalls

1/25/16 Missionary Broadcast

Hello all!

Well, just to start off, the cat is doing well. Seems to have forgotten that he is rather "bound" and is doing his normal cat things. He is a little lazier now, doesnt want to play as much, but then again, I wouldnt either. In any case, the damage done has reached the point where it cant be undone for the little gatito. 

To start off, this week we had a worldwide broadcast for missionaries and mission presidents. The speakers all came from the missionary department (AKA all of Grandma and Grandpa´s friends) such as Elder Bednar, Elder Andersen, Elder Oaks, other members of the Seventy. It was the first one they had done in over 10 years so I feel blessed to have been part of it. It was cool to think that as I was watching it live in Peru, Grandma and Grandpa were there watching it too. All the missionaries in the whole world receiving the same instruction. They spoke of getting back to the basics. They basically taught all the fundamentals outlined in the training booklet "The First 12 Weeks" (the handbook that the new missionaries and their trainers use). President Zobrist has been encouraging all of the missionaries to use it now for last few months, and it really is a blessing to step back and go back to the basics and think about all the things we really need to do better. If we cant do the fundamentals, we can never be extraordinary missionaries. Elder Andersen taught that we should always be prepapred to give testimony of the Savior. I have been trying to do that more. Sometimes as missionaries we get so caught up in teaching a certain principle or lesson that we forget that we need to testify and teach the doctine of Christ-faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. We have seen a lot of results, and just an increase in the spirituality of the lessons we do teach. The church is just so true!

In our area, we are seeing more progress with Eduardo and Joanna. As part of the Plan of Salvation, we also taught them the law of chastity and they understood is so well, and committed to being married. We dont have an exact date for them yet for a marriage, but we are going to try and work so that it happenes next month. They are reading and praying and they have both expressed that they feel that what we teach is true. They feel the spirit when they read the Book of Mormon, and they went to church again yesterday. They now know most of the ward council, and the members have been awesome in helping us with them. They really are some of the most prepared people I have taught in my mission. Keep praying for them! 

This week we have interviews with President Zobrist. We are going to be traveling to Ilo twice this week (blahhhh) and so it could be a slow week in our area. We are just going to be working when we can. Thanks for the love and support you give, have great week!

Elder Matheson

1/18/16 Cat-Stration

Hello Family!

Yes, the title is exactly what it sounds like. Our pension (her name is Herminia by the way) has a little kitten named Michi (its Quecheua for cat) that is adorable, and the missionaries that pension there always feed it and play with it and that thing loves us. But... the cat is starting to leave to go out in the street to find a "lady friend," so Herminia handed us a few rubber bands and said, "Elders, its time to fix the cat." I guess since we always take care of the cat, it was our responsibility to "fix" it as well. Well, this poor cat. We held it down, and I was given the honors of "placing" the rubber band. It walked kind of funny for a few minutes but the next day it had seemed to calm down. Now we play the waiting game.

Other than that.... we did have a pretty good week doing missionary work as well. We had our zone conference, and it went SOOOO much better than the last one we had. Nobody got locked into any chapels, everything was ready to go on time, and the spirit was a lot stronger in the meeting. The missionaries came prepared, and as a result were able to get a lot out of the meeting. We talked a lot about humility and about patience and love. Humility really is such an important factor of missionary work, or life for that matter. It brings patience and love to our relationships and helps us recognize the Lord´s will in our lives and then carry it out. Humility is something I have tried to really learn the last few weeks. I think I have always been kind of a prideful person, but it is something I am working on and think I am getting better at.

We found a new family that is super cool. Their names are Eduardo and Joanna, and they have two little boys (they are adorable btw). They are a young couple (late 20s early 30s) and they aren’t married but live together. We haven’t taught the law of chastity yet, but they really do care about each other and their family and so they should accept it and get married. They accepted a baptismal date for February and came to church yesterday and participated in the classes and made friends in the chapel, so I think they had a really good experience. Prayers would be appreciated for their progress!

I realize that I have neglected to include in my emails stuff about my studies in the morning, my ponderizing scriptures, stuff like that. I ponderized D&C 11:9 this last week, and I don’t know which one to do this week. Suggestions? I am currently reading through the BoM for the third time in Spanish, and I am in Alma 46. I want to finish it 2 more times before going home. As I realize that my time is running ever shorter here in the mission, this scripture in Jacob means even more to me:

 70 And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard senthis servant; and the servant went and did as the Lord had commanded him, and brought other servants; and they were few.
 71 And the Lord of the vineyard said unto them: Go to,and labor in the vineyard, with your might. For behold,this is the last time that I shall nourish my vineyard; forthe end is nigh at hand, and the season speedily cometh;and if ye labor with your might with me ye shall have joyin the fruit which I shall lay up unto myself against thet ime which will soon come.
 72 And it came to pass that the servants did go and labor with their mights; and the Lord of the vineyard labored also with them; and they did obey the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things.

Well, that is about all from me. Hope everyone is doing well at home!

Elder Matheson