Monday, January 26, 2015

Not All Super Heroes Wear Capes

The Super Heroes of the Ohio Columbus Mission

This morning as I got on to email one of my good friends wrote me and said, "Sister Mathis, not all super heroes wear capes. I'm so proud of you for the work you're doing." I loved that quote. Sometimes super heroes come in the form of suits and ties, or skirts and dresses and who can forget the staple of the black nametag. It is a beautiful privilege to wear my Savior's name over my heart everyday.  I remember when I first came out on my mission being somewhat embarrassed by that black nametag that defined me. I stood out. People were always looking at us, because we were different. I now cannot bear the thought of one day having to retire that precious nametag. I love how it defines me and I wouldn't trade it for anything. 

This week has been one of the most beautiful weeks of my mission. Yesterday we had the divine privilege of having Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles come and speak to us. As a missionary I have learned to try new things and go out of my comfort zone. I have also learned to not miss out on amazing opportunities, so my companion and I decided to sing in the choir that would perform at this special fireside. We were so fortunate to be able to sit up on the stand for this fireside. Our ward mission leader worked hard to fill his car full of less active members, and investigators. In the crowd I looked down and saw Ellen, Dakota, Clarence, and many others I have such love for. I could not help, but let a few tears flow down as I thought to myself, "there is nowhere else I'd rather be right now." The anticipation built up and finally it was time for the meeting to begin. A hushed reverence spread throughout the packed church as all arose and an apostle of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ entered the room. I felt love, I felt peace, I felt my Heavenly Father's presence, I felt I was exactly where I needed to be. The choir opened the meeting. We sang the beautiful hymn "come follow me."
After a testimony from President Daines and a convert of about a year, it was Elder Christofferson's turn to address us. He walked up to the podium with only his scriptures in hand. He started by making a few jokes. He explained how as an apostle he has the opportunity to assign mission calls. He explained to the large crowd how inspired those calls are. When referring to mission calls he referred to an old Hallmark slogan that would come on cards that said, "when we care enough to send you the very best." He looked at all the people in front of him and said, "we have sent you the very best."  He explained how just a few weeks ago he was assigning a particular girl her mission call. He looked at her picture, she had platinum blonde hair and pale, pale skin. He chuckled when he told us he felt impressed to send her to Zambia. He then said, "I would have loved to see the mother's face when she found out her daughter was going to Africa." He was comfortable and relaxed, but spoke completely with the spirit. He spoke of baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. One of my favorite points in his talk was when he said, "I've never heard someone say, 'oh man I wish I would have been baptized later in life!'" He talked about the importance of not delaying such an opportunity. He ended his talk by saying "we cannot go forward in life missing out on so much."  The gospel is for everyone. It has the power to transform and make better any person who has ever walked this earth. The gospel has filled my life without it I would be missing everything. 
At the end we got to sing one more number. Elder Christofferson was directly in front of me, only about 5 feet away. I was nervous as ever. We started singing the song "Come Thou Fount." I felt the spirit so incredibly strong. As I was singing, I was not only singing, I was bearing testimony, I was pondering the words, and I was emotional. I love that song. I love the line that says, "Jesus sought me when a stranger." I have been that stranger at times in my life. I now can fully say I know my Savior. I don't just know about Him. I know Him. As a missionary I feel so blessed to help those that are strangers to Him, come unto Him. 

Afterwards the Beloved Elder Christofferson took the time to walk down the aisles of the church and shake the hands of those in attendance. I felt so lucky to stand right before Him and as I looked into his eyes I felt the Christ-like love he has. I also felt the  power and authority of his sacred calling. I felt much life Lehi in his vision of the tree of life. After partaking in such a beautiful experience I longed for others to partake. I ran and grabbed Ellen and we made our way through so she could meet a living apostle of the Lord. She was beaming, full of light!  I will never forget that beautiful and sacred day.

I love this gospel. It is absolute truth. If any of you have doubts or questions, go to the source. Seek our Heavenly Father's assistant. He is there to help. I love my Savior, I love his many servants upon the face of this earth. I know we have a prophet on the earth, even Thomas S. Monson who leads and guides us. I know we have Twelve Apostles today, exactly as Christ had when He walked this earth. I love work! May we all work together to labor in the Lord's vineyard, to spread this knowledge we have, and to be the true super heroes of this world!

Love Sister Mathis

Monday, January 19, 2015

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day

What a beautiful week it was to be a missionary! I was grateful especially for the Lord's hand throughout this week. Really every week is beautiful even though it's challenging at times. There's a saying I like that says "there's no comfort in the growth zone, and there's no growth in the comfort zone." Sometimes the path has to be a bit rocky in order for us to grow and luckily we have a Savior to help us through. I love the footprints in the sand poem that talks about our Savior carrying us. He has blessed us with so many tender mercies this last week, and truly carried us through various challenges and adversities.

Ellen is the biggest miracle and blessing. She continues to amaze me with her desire to learn, and continues to teach me from her example. Her testimony in just the few short weeks we have been meeting with her has grown immensely. I wish you could all meet here and be able to witness her growth. One thing that I have learned from her is the spirit and the power that can come from prayer. She says the most beautiful prayers and there's no doubt she knows who she is talking to. Before she starts her prayers she always takes a moment to sit there and ponder. As we sit in silence the spirit has the ability to come in so strong and touch the hearts of those in the room. She prepares to talk to her Father in Heaven and she does not treat such an opportunity lightly. She has been telling everyone about her baptism and has even taken initiative to ask people to speak at it! She loves the word of wisdom and quite frankly I was nervous to teach it because I knew it would require some changes. She explained how much she loved her Father in Heaven and if her Father in Heaven commanded her to do this, she would do it. She prayed about a specific date to stop smoking and felt such a peace and a confirmation in choosing a date. I know she can do it, and more importantly Heavenly Father has full faith she can do it. I feel so fortunate to be here at this time working with such a precious daughter of our Heavenly Father.

Transfers are coming up this week, and I am slightly nervous about them. They really could go either way. I would be devastated to leave Dakota, Ellen, and others we are working with here but if the Lord calls me another way I will follow. 
Sister Chadburn and our friend Jamie 
I came across a great scripture this morning during my studies in Romans. Paul is spending these chapters just testifying. I have loved the Book Of Romans thus far. The scripture that stood out to me this morning reads, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." I know this to be true. At the end of the chapter Paul finishes by saying, "If God be for us, who can be against us?" I love these inspired words he speaks and bears testimony of. I add my testimony to His. I know that with the Lord on our side we are capable of so much more. Trust in Him, trust in Heavenly Father's plan and as Elder   Holland said, "believe in good things to come."

If anyone wants to read a funny story in the bible go to Numbers 22. It is about a talking donkey. I read it yesterday and laughed my head off. I truly feel the Lord and our Heavenly Father have a great sense of humor.

Remember to smile today, and be grateful for the freedoms we enjoy. Have a wonderful holiday today. I am also grateful for Martin Luther King Jr. and the measures he took and the courage and desire he had to unite the people. He is a great example especially as a missionary.

The gospel is absolutely true. There's not a shadow of a doubt it's not. I love it and I am forever grateful for it. Love you guys!!  Sister Mathis

National Champions- Ohio State Buckeyes! 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Go Buckeyes!!

Just a little shout out for Ohio State who plays for the National Championship today!

Handmade gifts from a special friend
Hi Guys! There's a Mormon message we have been showing a lot lately that I love. It has to do with the new year, and moving on. It is called Look not Behind Thee and it focuses on the story of Lot from the bible. It is quite humorous, but the Moral of the story is to not look back, to trust God, and to believe that the plan He has for us is bigger and better than the plan we may have for ourselves. I love showing it to people and having them visualize where they want to be in this upcoming year. With that being said our bishop has come out with an inspired 5 step pattern in order for us as members and faith building Christians to strengthen ourselves spirituality. I will share it with you in hopes that you can join with me  and my ward here and strengthen yourself spiritually.

The first part of this pattern is to pray daily. Prayer is such a simple, yet beautiful aspect of the gospel. Without prayer I would have no direction, and I know for certain I would not have a relationship with my Heavenly Father. The power of prayer is real. I have learned to rely on Him. In all reality, I cannot do anything without Him. Like Ammon said, "As to my strength I am weak" but with the power of the Lord we "can do all things!" Call upon Him. He is your Father and He longs to hear from you. I invite you all to get into the habit of daily prayer.

The second part is to read the scriptures daily. How grateful I am for the time we are given every day to study as missionaries. I have always had a copy of the Book Of Mormon and the bible in my life, but I regret not always taking advantage of them. I love the inspiration, and the comfort and peace I can receive from reading our Savior’s teachings. I have a testimony of the scriptures. I love the Book Of Mormon. Our teacher in church yesterday said in comparison to our world today "these scriptures keep getting everything right. We need to trust them."

The third part of this pattern is church attendance. I testify to you all of how real, cleansing, and vital the sacrament is. It is a beautiful opportunity to draw nearer to our Savior. I love the scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants that says, "Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you." I know that church is one of the absolute best ways we can fulfill this promise.  

Part number 4- pay tithing and fast offerings. In the book of Malachi there's a great scripture on tithing. It says, "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." If you do not have a testimony of tithing I encourage you to find it.

Last, but certainly not least, attend the temple regularly. The spirit in the temple is indescribable. The work that is performed inside is sacred and beautiful. Souls are being saved and many of them are our ancestors. As a missionary we don't get to go to the temple often, but after my mission I plan on attending weekly, I echo the words of the primary song "I love to see the temple."

Friends and Family! It is a goal of mine this year to strengthen my inner vessel. To prepare myself against the wiles of the world. In order to do that I need to build upon and strengthen my faith. I know through these 5 ways, we will be able to do so. 

Our bishop played football in high school and one year he was playing for the state title. There was a point in the game where the game was on the line and he was prompted to call a timeout. He ignored that prompting and as a result they were unprepared and the opponents scored. Salvation is on the line, and there may be times in our lives when we need to call a spiritual time out, to be less casual with divinity, to read our scriptures, to pray. Do not miss out on the promptings of the spirit because the clock is winding down.

We had a neat missionary moment for the week. I was on exchanges in Zanesville and we went to contact a potential investigator. He was an older single man who seemed pretty depressed. We started talking to him, and found out his wife had recently passed away. He wasn't very interested, in fact he told us he would not like to know more about the church. Well the spirit prompted otherwise and after a much needed silence, I asked if he believed he would see his wife again. He looked at me as we made direct eye contact and as tears began to fill his eyes said. "I'd like to hope so." I then testified that I knew he could see his wife again, but it was dependent on his actions and his faith. The spirit touched his heart and he then let us into his home. He went from wanting us to get off of his porch, to having the light of Christ touch and soften his heart and he desired to know more. I am grateful for the subtle promptings of the spirit. I know if and when we follow them, the Lord can bring about great things.

I love the song Called to Serve. It was an answer to prayer to hear that song as I was praying about serving a mission. On Sunday we sang that song and I loved the line that said, "God our Strength Will Be." I testify HE is our strength, there to lift us up in the hard days. Turn to Him, rely on Him, and do everything in your power to grow that faith you have no matter how small or large it may be.

I love you guys! I am grateful to be a missionary. It was a harder week, but I came away learning things that I knew Heavenly Father wanted to teach me.

Sista Swag at the Ice Skating Rink

Ohio Ice Cream is Great in Any Season

Monday, January 5, 2015

Eleven Months In Ohio!

Sometimes you just have to bring your
Superhero alter ego to the lesson with you

Happy 2015! What a great year this year is going to be. Today marks my 11 month mark as a missionary. I cannot believe how fast time flies and how around this time last year I was setting goals, and making resolutions on the type of missionary I wanted to be. I was preparing to enter the mission field and now it surreal to think I have almost been out a year. I know I say this all the time, but I am so humbled and grateful to be a missionary, to be a fighting force for the Lord's strong and fearless army. This last week I was feeling inadequate as a sister training leader, and as a missionary. It's easy to let the natural man get the best of you and make you feel that you are not good enough for a certain task. Satan is always trying to undermine and hide out potential. As I was feeling this way, and feeling like I wasn't quite measuring up to the high standards, I read a scripture that illustrated my Father in Heaven's love for me.  In the book of Acts, Paul has an incredible conversion, and ends up being a huge instrument in the hands of the Lord, but at first he feels unfit for the position. He was a chosen vessel in the hands of the Lord despite the weaknesses he knew he carried. He ends up testifying and saying how hopeful he is finishing this journey of ministering to the people with joy. And then he says the words, "have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God."  When I read that I felt the trust my Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ have in me. They received me with open arms and trusted me, knowing my flaws and imperfections to teach the precious message of the gospel. Heavenly Father trusts me with His children. I am grateful to be one of His many hands on this earth to further the work. Paul finishes the chapter by saying these uplifting words from our Savior, "take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flockover the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseersto feed the church of God."

We had two pretty neat moments this last week. We got a media referral from church headquarters which is always exciting and so we decided to go immediately. We had little information about the person we would contact, just a name and we knew he wanted a copy of the bible. We tried over three times to contact this individuall and he was never home, but his parents were. It was so hard to meet Calvin! Finally we decided to give it one more try. We knocked on the door and out came this little nine year old boy, sweet as can be and just beaming with light. He said, "Are you the bible girls?!? I have been waiting for you!" I have never seen anyone so excited to learn more about Jesus Christ. We went back the next day and he had already read some of the bible and loved telling us about it. We gave him a Book Of Mormon stories book and hope to be able to start teaching his family. They seem open to the idea. We are grateful for the miracle of this little boy who had the courage to go online and look for where he  could get a copy of the bible. I love working with little children. We are working with a lot of them in this area. Little wonder that Christ tells us to become as little children. They carry such a bright spirit.

Our second miracle was finding sweet Ellen. She just moved into our area, so we went over to help her move. As we were helping her move and had literally just met her she turned to me and said, "I really want to be baptized into your church." I sat there in utter confusion for a moment and thought to myself, did this really just happen? Talk about a golden investigator. She is incredible and it is easy to see how she has been prepared by the hand of the Lord. She has a 9 year old son who joined the church a year ago and she attended his baptism. She felt a spirit like she had never felt before as she watched that sacred ordinance take place. She has been baptized in two other churches but explained to us that something was different about her son's baptism into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She longs to have what her son has. We were over quite a bit the last week and had some incredibly powerful, spirit filled lessons. We extended a baptismal date of the 14th of February. After we invited her she sat there for a minute and then exclaimed with a reverenced excitement how right that felt. We told her to pray about it and find out if it truly is right for her. Tonight we are so excited to go over and see if she has received a confirmation from the spirit. My heart was touched as we were in a lesson with her, and I was emotional. I felt such a strong love for this struggling mother who is so ready to get on the straight and narrow. Heavenly Father is filling me with so much of His love for this sweet lady, and I have reason to think that I have known her before because of the strong connection we made right away. I love this gospel. I love how Heavenly Father place certain people in our life who we need and who need us. I know His tender hand is in ever detail of this work.

On a funny note I have been kissed countless times this last week, on the cheek by a few 70 year old ladies that are missing some teeth. Don't know what I did to deserve that haha.

The Buckeyes are amazing! Sounded like a great win. We had an investigator try and get us to watch the game with her. Her claim was, "I will pray and ask God if you can watch it." I couldn't help but laugh at that. I am excited to see how this next big game goes down! Fans are intense here and we would be foolish to knock doors during the game unless we were asking them for the score.

Have a tremendous week! Set goals, work hard to achieve them, and have fun this new year! As President Hinkley said, "Life is to be enjoyed not just endured!" Love you guys!!

Love Sister Mathis

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

The Great Ohio Columbus Christmas Devotional 

Hope everyone had such a tremendous Christmas. What a memorable holiday it was for me to spend as a missionary. We spent a good majority of the day going and visiting people who we knew would be spending the holidays alone. We made cookies and delivered them to many people we are working with and went caroling. One of the highlights of the day was being able to Skype my beautiful family. It was an emotional little while, and I hope they could see the passion I have for this work and the love I have for my Savior. What a tender time it was to see and talk to them.

Caroling with Dakota

On Christmas Eve we went and visited the sweet little boy we are working with. We caroled his home. He loves music and was so excited when we appeared at his door. He begged his dad to let him come with us and carol a couple of his neighbors' doors. As were out in the crisp Ohio
winter air, I felt such a warmth as we sang songs with this incredible boy about the birth of our Savior. He just lit up and was more than excited to hand his neighbors a "He is the Gift" pass along card. I love this little boy and I get emotional just talking about him and the potential he holds. He has such a pure and deep love for his Savior and at the young age of 10, he is the one teaching me.

I have loved being able to spend time weekly on my family history. I came across an incredible ancestor this last week named George Barber. George is my great great great grandpa and he was such a stud. He talked in his own journal entry about pirates, about fighting in the Indian War, and about his conversion to the Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Of his conversion he said, "As strange and as marvelous as it now appears both Benjamin (his brother), and myself were impressed and knew it was true." Three weeks later they were both baptized. Shortly after his baptism he went and taught a sect called Plymouth brethren. Many later were converted and brought to the knowledge of the truth.  Family history work is critical, there are many souls to save. I am grateful for the testimony of George Baber who was incredible example to future generations.
Christmas with Sister Chadburn

Here's a little funny story for you. We helped a lady move this last week who is amazing. She looked at us and told us she wanted to start coming to church and she wanted to be taught the lessons. As we were moving all of her stuff into her new house I had the privilege of carrying in her coffee pot. Well unfortunately I turned my head for a split second and the pot slid out from under me and came crashing down on the cement into a million pieces. All the missionaries kind of chuckled as we joked about the word of wisdom concern being eliminated, but I felt terrible for breaking it. Out of all the things that could have broken, it was the coffee pot. Little does she know that this will help her in the long run:}

I appreciate all of you so very much. I have had times where I cannot fully explain the help I have been given as a missionary. I have had times where I literally have to stop and pause and where I can feel the power of your prayers. This last week I had kind of a hard day and was getting down on myself. During this moment I was overcome with a feeling of tremendous love and I knew that love came because someone was praying for me. I needed that prayer. So whoever you were, thank you for praying for me. A little prayer can go a long way. 

I love you all. I hope you had a very Merry Christmas. This gospel is the most beautiful thing in the world, how grateful I am to have it in my life and be able to share it with others.

Love, Sister Mathis