Hello Friends and amazing family!!How grateful I am for this holiday season and the precious time we have to reflect on all the many blessing our Father in Heaven has bestowed upon us. I had many instances this past week where I had to humbly kneel and thank my Heavenly Father. He is blessing us every hour of every day, whether we recognize it or not.The first grateful moment happened as I was on exchanges with another sister in the zone. As a Sister Training leader we are to go on exchanges with all the sisters in the zone and teach them through example. Being only in this area for 3 weeks, I was very nervous for this exchange and was praying everything would go according to plan. Let me just put it on the record that you don't realize how much your companion does until they leave the area and you are left to fend for yourself with a companion who doesn't know the area at all.
I was stressed, but was grateful that the sister I was on exchanges with was an incredible sister. We were trying to find the home of a less active member of the church and the GPS led us to a complete dead end. I was frustrated and didn't know figuratively and literally where to turn. As we pulled over for a minute and discussed what we would do, I just so happened to look over at a house on my left-hand side. Outside of the house was a big sign that said "Mathis!" I told my companion we had to go knock on this door! We got out of the car and walked up to this house, I didn't know exactly what I would say but we knocked on the door and prepared for the best. When the door opened, there stood an elderly man who looked more than excited for missionaries to be knocking on his door. He immediately welcomed us and let us in. I told him how we had found his home and I expressed to him how it was no coincidence we were led there. We laughed as I told him that he stole my last name! He has the best sense of humor I have seen, and can make anyone laugh. He lost his wife 5 years ago and as we briefly told him about the plan of salvation a light came on inside of him. He has 59 great grandkids and grandkids mixed together and is practically already Mormon. He became a new investigator that day and we are thrilled to be working with Mr. Mathis. Elder Holland said, "When making decisions, God expects us to pray, trust, and be believing and then not give up, panic, or "jump ship" when something doesn't seem to be going right." I am grateful we were led down the perceived "wrong road" because if we had not been led down that road we would have never found this amazing man.
I am grateful for the example of a Sister Missionary here in this mission. About a week ago an incredible sister missionary named Sister McIntyre, who entered the field when I did, suddenly lost all feeling in both legs. She was paralyzed from the waist down and there were no given signs or triggers that seemed to cause it. She was hospitalized immediately and doctors began working to find out the problem and attempt to solve it. As a mission we came together and fasted and prayed for her. The night we started our fast we all joined together as a mission on a conference call. During that call we were able to hear Sister McIntyre bear testimony. She is a beautiful girl and an incredible missionary, and here she was talking on the phone in the hospital being told she may be paralyzed for life. Instead of being down and discouraged when considering her circumstances, as it would be easy to do, she sounded as lively and happy as ever. She told the mission how even though she is being held up in the hospital, she has not missed an opportunity to share the gospel. In fact in the ambulance ride on the way to the hospital she had talked to the nurse all about the Book of Mormon and had arranged with someone to bring this nurse a copy of the Book of Mormon. That to me is an example of being grateful IN your circumstances. She has so much faith in the future and she knows the Lord will provide with whatever the outcome will be. I was so emotional as I listened to her and my testimony of gratitude was strengthened.I started this email with one of my favorite questions in the Book Of Mormon. Are we not all beggars? Brother and Sisters, Family and friends, I echo the words of King Benjamin. Are we not all beggars, do we not all depend on the same God? May we see each other through the divine eyes of our Heavenly Father and His beloved son Jesus Christ who see us all as equals. May we be a little more giving especially during this holiday season. One of my favorite scriptures in the Bible says, "the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised." Elder Holland in the most recent conference titled his talk, "Are We Not All Beggars." One of his points that continues to echo in my mind is "although I may not be my brother’s keeper, I am my brother’s brother, or sister, and “because I have been given much, I too must give.”'Because I have been given much, I too must give!Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I am so so grateful for all of you who continuously lift me up.Love Sister Mathis