Monday, July 28, 2014

The Chickens are Loose!

Random thought #2: Why do kamikaze pilots wear helmets?

Hello friends!! Hope everyone had a splendid week last week!

This week has been a good one! It was a busy one. We have transfers coming up in less than two weeks. I cannot believe another transfer has come and gone. By the end of this transfer I will have been out on my mission for 6 months! That is just crazy to me. I honestly just feel like I got out here!

A couple neat things happened this week.

This last week we weren't finding too much success and people were kind of grumpy. We had a hard time trying to spread the gospel and even share short little messages with those around us. People were being pretty brutal with us. Normally I am pretty good at shaking it off and going to the next door, but on this one particular day some things people said to me were really getting to me. I was beginning to get discouraged and having a little bit of fire, I wanted to fight back with these people, but I knew the Savior would not respond in that way. On one particular doorstep I sat and listened as a lady ridiculed me and told me my beliefs were nothing but lies. I kindly smiled and walked away. I remember looking at Sister Schauers and we were both thinking-- we can't take this anymore! Right when I was having my moment of weakness the words of Elder Holland came to my mind in a talk he gave to missionaries and all disciples in training. He said, "When you struggle, when you are rejected, when you are spit upon and cast out and made a hiss and a byword, you are standing with the best life this world has ever known, the only pure and perfect life ever lived. You have reason to stand tall and be grateful that the Living Son of the Living God knows all about your sorrows and afflictions. The only way to salvation is through Gethsemane and on to Calvary. The only way to eternity is through Him—the Way, the Truth, and the Life." I thought to myself with the Savior's help I can get through this. I can find the light at the end of the tunnel. I said a prayer to help us find someone who was prepared, someone who would be kind to us, and someone who would recognize us as servants of the Lord. It was the very end of the day. We had a few minutes left before we were to return home. We ended up knocking on a door. We were looking pretty ragged after a long day in the hot and humid Ohio sun. We knocked and out came a sweet lady who was so sweet and kind from the moment she stepped out onto her porch. She explained to us how she is a cancer survivor and how the Lord has helped her so much in her life. I can't remember what we said, in fact I know we didn't say much, but our prayers were answered as she recognized us immediately as servants of the Lord. She spoke to us with tears in her eyes and thanked us for the service we do. She said, "I wish my own daughters were more like you." As we walked away the last thing she said to us was how beautiful we were. I looked at Sister Schauers and she looked at me. We were filthy, sweaty, and exhausted, but this tender hearted lady saw us for who we were on the inside. She looked at us as the Savior would. She did not care about our outward appearance.  She looked and saw us for who we were underneath all of that.

Last night we also had another cool experience. At our dinner appointment, a member in our congregation shared with us how sometimes in life Heavenly Father will take us to Point A, in order for us to reach point B. Right after the dinner appointment we went out to do some tracting. We tracted a street named Oak....nothing. So we went to a street named Fair...nothing again. We decided to wander over to a completely different street that we didn't even have written in our plans and see what we could find there. The very first door we tried on this particular street we found someone who was interested in hearing more about the restored gospel. It was a tender mercy. Sometimes the Lord will push us to see how far we will go. Sometimes we have to go to point A, and maybe even Point B, to eventually get to point C. We are taught in the scriptures that we receive no witness until after the trial of our faith. How true that statement is. Whatever your trial is, keep pushing! After the trial comes the miracles if we are willing to endure and show the Lord that we will keep fighting.

In church yesterday the four of us Sister Missionaries were able to sing the song Joseph Smith's First Prayer. We hadn't practiced much and I was a little nervous about singing in front of the congregation and singing Acappella. As we started to sing, the spirit filled the room and took over. Instead of singing, I felt like I was bearing simple testimony of our beloved Prophet Joseph Smith. I was emotional as we powerfully sang the last verse and I looked into the audience and  looked into the eyes of our investigators in attendance. I am forever grateful for the Prophet Joseph Smith and the legacy he left. I am grateful he was so diligent and he would not doubt the things he knew to be true. He is an incredible example, an example we should all strive to be more like.

The funny story of the week goes as follows: Sister Schauers and I were out in the country planting some strawberries in a beautiful garden. Well this farm had chickens and somehow the gate to the garden was left open and before we knew it there were 8 chickens running around the garden. Picture this, two city girls that somehow have to find a way to get these chickens out of the garden. So I pick up the rake and start chasing them around. Those little suckers are hard to catch. They are stubborn little things! Sister Schauers and I are running around completely clueless trying to get them out. One of them started to fly and scared Sister Schauers half to death. 

Needless to say, we accomplished the task and successfully got them all out, but it was no easy task.
At the Zoo today with the Morgan Family--So Fun!

Well I love you guys mucho! This gospel is amazing. It is happiness!!

Love Sister Mathis

Hi Friends!

I never know how to start my emails so I'm going to start with a random thought. Why do drive- up atm's have brail? Just something for you all to think about. Well it has been a tremendous week here in Delaware Ohio! The weather has been absolutely perfect and the work this week has been incredible.

At the beginning of the week we met again with our wonderful mission president and his wife for interviews. He is so great! When I went in for my interview about halfway through he said to me, "you seem mature, how old are you?" I laughed and told him I was 20 and it surprised him.  He had me share my favorite scripture which is a hard thing for a missionary to do since every scripture is amazing, but I picked a scripture in Alma 26. I realized how much like Ammon we are. Ammon had three assignments. The first was to be a servant, the second was to tend the flocks and the third was to gather the sheep. Aren't we just like Ammon?! We as members of the church are to be the Lord's servants. We are to tend the flock and uplift and serve those around us and we are to find those lost sheep and bring them into the fold.

Miracle number one of the week came on Wednesday morning. Sister Schauers and I were having our regular companionship study when all of the sudden the phone rang. We ran to see who it was and were ecstatic when it was a number we didn't recognize. We answered and found a man on the other line. He said to us, "You came to my house the other day and talked briefly about religion and left me with your card. I have been studying your religion, and instead of trying to find my answers online I figured I would go to the source, so I called you." Rewind this story to a few days prior when we knocked on this man's door and  he did not look interested at all. In fact I remember turning to Sister Schauers as we walked away and saying to her, "man we blew it." And here he was days later calling us to find out more about our church! It was a miracle for many reasons. Reason number one....most missionaries know that most people toss the cards as soon as they get them. So him keeping the card was a miracle in itself. Reason number two he went online to and researched our religion a little more instead of going to false websites. Reason number three, he had sincere questions and so he called us. In our district meeting that day we were telling the other missionaries the story and one of the AP's said, "Man I've been waiting my whole mission for someone to call from a pass along card!"

Our second miracle of the week was with our amazing investigator named Sam. Sam is 16 years old and really has never had a belief in God of Jesus Christ. She never denied their existence, but at the same time she never really believed they were there. We started meeting with her about a month ago and she was actually a referral from one of the youth in our ward. She was in London for a family vacation and had returned to Ohio this week. We were extremely excited to meet with her again after it had been over a week. We knew we had to figure out where she stood and if her faith and belief had increased. She shared a personal experience with us that touched my heart. While on her trip she and her family were ready to get home, but things weren't working out. She said she prayed they would be able to get home. We were taken back for a second we said wait Sam, you prayed?! She said yes, and then she explained how her prayer was answered. It was so neat to see her recognize that she was talking to a higher being and that her prayer truly was answered. We then pulled out our scriptures to read a scripture with her and I noticed her scriptures had sticky note tabs all over the place. I said to her, "Sam have you been reading!?" She said, "yes I have been reading 5 pages everyday. I am on page 65." We were blown away and better yet, she understood what she was reading. She loved Lehi's vision on the tree of life. She put herself into that story and told us that is how she felt right now in her life. Since she has been to church she has had friends mock her and question her, but she feels like she needs to hold onto the "iron rod" because she knows what lies in store.

There are miracles all around us. This is just two of the many I have seen this last week. This week we also met with a less active family. I had a great time talking to Dan, the elderly father about old western movies. At the end of our visit Dan offered a prayer. In his prayer he said, "Heavenly Father we are grateful for
these sister missionaries. They remind us of our children, but they are a lot easier to get along with." We had a great laugh at that one.

This gospel is incredible. It is life changing. There are so many out there who do not have this joy in their lives, it is our duty to not deny them of those blessings.

I love you guys! Have a tremendous week!

Love Sister Mathis

Monday, July 14, 2014

The King is Returning

First of all Lebron is coming home say what?!?!  I have to say I was a bit heartbroken to hear he was leaving the Heat, it was bittersweet. I love the heat, but being here on a mission in Ohio it's pretty cool that he will be back here in the same state I'm serving in! It's funny because when we knock on doors I find quite a few people wearing Cavs shirts so I have asked them what they think about the whole thing. As much as they hated him when he "betrayed" them and left the Cavs they are suddenly his number one fans again. It'll be a good season so all you guys will have to keep me posted!

Anyway onto missionary things! This week has been a good week! On Sunday of last week we were out tracting and we met a man named Ben. We knocked on the door asked him how he was doing and he responded with a enthuastic "I'm doing fantastic." Before we started to even talk about the gospel, he basically bore his testimony of the Savior to us. We talked to him for awhile on his doorstep and found out his wife had recently passed away. We expressed our sympathy and asked him if he believed he would see her again. He told us he knew he would. We set up a time to come back and teach him more. When we went back we were able to teach a powerful first lesson to him. We gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon and are excited to meet with him again sometime this week. We have high hopes for Ben.

We also met with our investigator Judy. Judy has met with missionaries for practically her whole life. Her husband who is deceased had read the whole Book of Mormon all the way through. Her daughter joined the church when she was 13 and years later was sealed to her husband in the temple. Judy knows so much about the church, and we know one day she will accept the gospel. I remember the first time I met her, it was my first week in Delaware, she didn't have much time to talk, in fact it was probably only a five minute conversation. Most of our visits we don't share too much about the gospel. It's more of a "how are you doing? or "how can we help you visit." However a few days ago I felt impressed to give her the talk from Elder Holland, "Like A Broken Vessel." She loved it. She read it right after we left! She said she even read it multiple times and she felt like the talk was written for her. She wants us to print off more talks for her to read. She even told her daughter all about it. Yesterday when we were over we shared a quick spiritual thought with her. When we finished she looked at us and said, "Is that all you are going to read? Are you going to read anymore?" She has made a ton of progress from not wanting to hear too much about the gospel to wanting us to read more and I think the reason she has made this progress is because we loved her first. We didn't treat her as another number that we could record, we truly care about her, and want to do all we can to uplift and strengthen her.

The funniest moment of the week was when we were visiting a lady in the ward named Mitzi. Mitzi is amazing and has so much love for everyone. Every time we are there someone new walks in the door. This time when we were there a big black guy named RJ walked in. He introduced himself to us and so we told him our names. He was confused why we were called "sisters." We told him that we were missionaries so then he asked us "so what do you do? Do you go around selling bibles." We told him that we don't sell anything that we go around giving people the Book of Mormon and helping people come closer to Jesus Christ. The conversation unfortunately didn't go much farther, but on his way out he said to us, "Goodbye Lady Saints." We all had a pretty good laugh.

A missionary shared a quote this week from the movie Rocky that I loved. The quote said, "If you know what you are worth, go get what you are worth." If we could see each other as God see's us we would be blown away. We are living below our potential. We are so worth it to our Father in Heaven. He will do everything He can to help us to return to Him. Go get what you are worth! Strive to be that son or daughter of God you are and have a wonderful week! I love you guys more than you even know and am so grateful you are a part of my life.

P.S I am getting pro at painting houses, planting gardens, and I eat all my veggies when people give them to me. You'd be so proud mama!

Love, Sister Mathis

The Miracle of Forgiveness

Greeting loved ones!

Another  week has gone by in the cute little quaint town of Delaware and guess what?! We have a new mission president. It definitely was sad to say goodbye to President and Sister Nilsen. They truly did so much for their missionaries and when you were with them, there was no question how much they loved you. Our new missionary president is great! We have only seen President Daines once, but we have interviews coming up in two weeks so I look forward to getting to know them better. President and Sister Daines are hilarious and so loving. They are from Texas and have two kids who will be living with them in the mission home. It was fun to hear the kids speak about their excitement in coming here to Ohio not only to live, but to do their part to share the gospel with those around them.

 This last week we actually had a really neat experience. We met a man named Kyle a few weeks ago who really was an answer to prayers. His excitement about Jesus Christ and his faith in Him rejuvenated me. We had a great time talking on his door step and watching the spirit come in and take over. It is pretty amazing how even amidst the chaos as cars were driving by and we were standing outside, how powerful the spirit can still be felt. We invited him to our church building for a chapel tour and guess what, he showed up! On time and everything! We began walking around the church and pointing out various pictures of Christ and explaining what they meant, when we neared the picture of Joseph Smith, I gave a background of Joseph Smith and began to recite the first vision. Tears came to my eyes and I felt much like the missionary in the best two years when he recites the first vision. Never before had I felt such power behind those words. After I testified of the truthfulness of the prophet Joseph Smith and expressed to Kyle that I know Joseph Smith saw what he said he saw, we just stared at the picture for a few minutes. I know Kyle felt the spirit. He had a reverence come over him that we had not seen in him before, and he said to us, "this is one of the most powerful pictures I have ever seen."  It was one of my favorite moments of my mission so far, and it was so simple yet so powerful.

We had an amazing lesson in church yesterday. We talked about becoming purified through Jesus Christ. I love the atonement and I am forever grateful for it.  I remember a couple years back when I had just gotten my drivers license, I made a mistake and got a nice dent on the back bumper. I was terrified. I cried thinking about how I would tell my dad. I was scared to approach him, but I knew I had to do it. It wasn't something I could hide, and I knew it would be dishonest to try to hide it.  I finally gained the courage to tell my dad, and I couldn't help but let tears fall out as I expressed how sorry I was for what I had done.  And this is the part that shocked me most of all. Instead of yelling at me and making the situation worse, my dad had compassion on me. He already knew how hard I had been on myself. He responded to the situation much like our Savior would respond to the situation. He was calm, he loving, he expressed how much he still loved me despite what I had done. The Savior is very much the same. No matter what we do, His love will never change for us. We do not need to be scared to approach Him. He will lend us his forgiveness and He will forgive us of our weaknesses. 

In church yesterday one of the teachers made reference to one of my favorite books, "The Hiding Place." I want to just share with you the part she shared with us in regards to forgiveness.

Corrie ten Boom, devout Dutch Christian‍ woman, found such healing despitehaving been interned in concentration camps during World War II. She suffered greatly, but unlike her beloved sister Betsie, who perished in one of the camps,Corrie survived.
After the war she often spoke publicly of her experiences and of healing and forgiveness. On one occasion former Nazi guard who had been part of Corrie’s own grievous confinement in Ravensbrück, Germany, approached her, rejoicing at her message of Christ’s forgiveness and love.
“‘How grateful am for your message, Fraulein,’ he said. ‘To think that, as you say, He has washed my sins away!’
“His hand was thrust out to shake mine,” Corrie recalled. “And I, who had preached so often … the need to forgive, kept my hand at my side.
“Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, saw the sin of them. Lord Jesus, prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him.
“I tried to smile, [and] struggled to raise my hand. could not. felt nothing, not the slightest spark of warmth or charity. And so again breathed silent prayer. Jesus, Icannot forgive him. Give me Your forgiveness.
“As took his hand the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along myarm and through my hand current seemed to pass from me to him, while into myheart sprang love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me.
“And so discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodnessthat the world’s healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, Hegives, along with the command, the love itself.”

I testify that the Savior is there to help us through anything we may come into contact with. Sister Daines asked me the other day, "what have you learned being out on your mission." I think the thing I have learned the most is how this is the Lords work and He is very much apart of it. We are never left alone. He promises us that He will go with us. He is on our left hand and on our right hand and He sends angels to help bear us up. I love this work. I am grateful to be apart of it. Remember you can always turn to the Savior. He will help us with our shortcoming and He will lead us to those who are in need. Pray for opportunities to help uplift and strengthen those around you because I know they are out there.

Scripture of the week: Alma 2:  And now, ask, what great blessings has he bestowed upon us? Can ye tell?
 Behold, answer for you; for our brethren, the Lamanites, were in darkness, yea,even in the darkest abyss, but behold, how many‍ of them are brought to behold the marvelous light of God! And this is the blessing which hath been bestowed upon us,that we have been made instruments‍ in the hands of God to bring about this great work.
I know that the Lord has blessed me so much being out here. I know we are His instruments taking part in His work. What a blessing and a privilege that is.

Funny Moment of the Week: We were tracting and a lady said to us "I don't agree with you 150%" I looked at her and said, "wow that's a whole lot of percent" and then we walked away. Sorry folks that's all I have for you!
Heart warming moment of the week- An elderly less active man who is one of the people I just connected with right away here in Delaware said to us, "Thank you. You have reformed me." He has since started reading the Book Of Mormon again.