This last week I came to the conclusion that I really, really love my mission. I cannot sum up in a short email pressed for time the emotion and love I feel for this sacred work. Nothing can compare, and nothing can trump the pure joy I feel each day as I lose myself a little more in this beautiful work. This last week was one of the best weeks of my mission and it was a good reminder to me of why this work is so vital.The week started with a wonderful lesson with our investigators, the Smith family. I haven't shared much of their story and I will just briefly explain the miracles we have seen with this beautiful family. We were out walking one day and walked right past their house. Sister Ure commented to me "maybe we should try that house." I told her that I definitely felt like we should as well. So we turned around and make our way back to their house. We knocked on their door and talked to the husband for awhile about the Book of Mormon. We set up a time to come back and teach them together. During that first lesson we learned that just a week prior the wife had been praying for direction, and for truth and then lo and behold who came a knockin' on the door? The missionaries! That first lesson, as we taught about the restoration of Christ's church and the reality of God's love, was powerful. We invited the Smith family to pray and ask if Joseph Smith was truly one our Heavenly Father's chosen prophets. We also invited them to ask God if this was the true and living church. We went back for our next lesson and followed up on how their praying had been going. Sister Smith began to get emotional and said immediately after they had prayed together and asked the question about Joseph Smith, they felt "overwhelming joy and peace." I know our Heavenly Father answers prayers and I know it is through those fruits of the spirit we can seek spiritual confirmation. The Smith family has read all of first Nephi and has jumped right into Second Nephi. They came to churchand commented after that "we will definitely be back." I adore this family already. Sister Ure and I were laughing yesterday as we calculated that we have only known them for 13 days but we feel like we have known them forever!We had interviews with President and Sister Daines this last week. Can I just say how inspired and how needed Mission Presidents are. Ray and Cindy, I am so excited for you to be such an inspiration and a beacon to your young missionaries. You will excel and make such an impact on your missionaries. I know my mission President and his sweet wife have made such a lasting impact on me. I have been praying and debating for some time now what to do about school and the end of my mission. I get home from my mission just days before school starts and have been a bit stressed about what to do. I have thought about going home mid-transfer to have a week more to prepare for school in the fall. As I met with President Daines, I felt the spirit confirm to me that I needed to stay until the very end. I told him I had never been one to quit a race before the last lap. He then told me "and if you know running techniques, you know you are supposed to run through the finish line. Not just to the finish line." He then with tears in his eyes promised me that I would feel such peace in my decision and the Lord world bless me tremendously for finishing the race I had entered to the fullest. I felt so much comfort and somehow knew that everything will work out when that time comes and until then I don't have to worry about it anymore!I cannot even express to you guys how amazing little Dakota's baptism was. It was the most spiritual baptism I have ever been to, and it was for a 10 year old kid. He was beaming. This whole last week he had been counting down the days until his special day where his life would change forever. When the day finally came he was grinning from ear to ear. He invited anyone and everyone he saw to his baptism and was such a powerful missionary. One of the most tender parts of the whole baptismal service was watching Dakota look up at Bishop with adorning eyes as the Bishop recited the baptismal prayer in the font. You could see in Dakota's eyes how important his baptism was to him. He did not treat it lightly but understood the promise he was making with his Father in Heaven. After his baptism we had a chance to ask him how he felt. He said with all the excitement of a ten year old boy, "I feel so much better!" His mom and Grammy gave beautiful talks and the spirit was ever present the entire meeting. I feel so privileged to be a part of this family's life and to have had the sacred opportunity to work with Dakota. As Sister Ure and I have taught him I have learned more about my Savior. I think that it's little wonder the Savior spent so much time with the little children. Dakota has taught me more then anyone about my Savior and his love for me. They have been such examples to me and I can't imagine my life not knowing them.
We had an North American/ North East conference yesterday. It was a broadcast and we were delighted to hear from Neil L. Anderson along with other righteous leaders. One thing Elder Anderson said that I loved was, "We should not be afraid to share those things that have helped us to become who we are."Shall we not go on in so great a cause?I love you guys. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!Love, Sister Mathis