Monday, September 8, 2014

The Blessed Land of Ohio and the Strength Of the Youth

Just Gearing up for Fall

Hello my lovely friends! Hope you are all having a tremendous day! I am coming up on the end of another transfer here in Delaware which is crazy to think about. I was sitting at church last Sunday and looking around at the people who have become my family here in Ohio. I looked at Gabbie and Cesar and their beautiful children and how happy and radiant they looked, I looked at our investigator Sam who is so young but has developed such a love for the Savior and has finished the Book of Mormon in just a few short months. I looked at many of the ward members who are so eager and delighted to share the gospel with those around them. I am starting to see more why I was sent to this blessed land, not so much because I needed to help these people, but because of the help and the strength they have unknowingly provided me. I have been out over 7 months now, which is so surreal. I am grateful for each and every day the Lord has given and will continue to give while I am out here laboring in the Lord's vineyard of Ohio.

The other night I let the natural man get the best of me. I started to feel alone as many of us have probably felt at one point or another. I felt like I had to fix everyone around me, and help them to overcome their problems, which isn't a bad thing, that's what a mission is for right? I was absorbed in the "forget yourself and go to work" mentality, but I had a moment of weakness where I wondered who I could turn to. I noticed my prayers had turned into more of a one way conversation. I was simply asking the Lord for a long laundry list of things I needed to do. That night as I got on my knees to pray, I focused on expressing my gratitude, and remembered that I was talking to my Father in Heaven. What a privilege that is to be able to talk to Him.  I paused in about the middle of the prayer and just sat that and listened. Before long a beautiful image came to my mind of the Savior kneeling beside me listening to my prayer and together we were talking to our Father. Even though sometimes I may forget it, I know I am never alone. As I have said before, the Savior walks with us every single step of the way no matter how long or how difficult that next step will be. I am grateful for the answer to prayer I received that night. I am grateful my Heavenly Father was able to show me that I am never alone and that he was listening to my plea.

This week we also had a very neat experience. We recently started teaching a girl named Tessa. She was a referral from one of our young women which by the way our youth are on fire! They are so eager to share the gospel, to invite their friends to meet the missionaries! One of our young women named Ana wrote her testimony in a Book Of Mormon and gave it to Tessa, in turn Tessa was able to meet with us and we were so fortunate to teach her about the Prophet Joseph Smith and the restoration of Christ's church. It was one of the most powerful lessons I have been in and I know that the Spirit was the true teacher. I have grown a deep appreciation for the Prophet Joseph Smith and especially his determination to finish the work he was called to do. At any moment he could have easily given up the fight, but he didn't. In fact the morning after he was tarred and feathered and probably felt broken both physically and spiritually, he went out and continued the work and preached to a congregation. I admire him for his courage when it was never easy. Well, at the end of this lesson with Tessa we asked her if she would be willing to say the prayer. She had not been to church in over 6 years and I honestly don't know if she had ever even prayed before. She agreed to pray. She started her prayer by saying "Dear Heavenly Father" and immediately broke down. She felt a connection to her Father in Heaven and she knew who she was talking to. The spirit that filled the room was indescribable, but I know her Father heard her prayer as she knelt down and asked if Joseph Smith was a true prophet. I am grateful for experiences like this that continue to strengthen my testimony. Everyday I am growing and changing and everyday I am striving to become more like my Savior and to help others do the same.

I love this gospel. I am especially grateful for the Prophet Joseph who was so faithful. Our church would not be here today if he would have given up and said, "it is simply too difficult. I can't do it." May we all press forward with the faith and determination of Joseph Smith. I love you all. I am so grateful for you. I am grateful to be a steward of the Lord's vineyard here in Delaware Ohio and I am grateful for every experience my Father in Heaven gives me to bring me closer to Him.

Love Sister Mathis

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