Tuesday, May 26, 2015

It's a Great Day to be a Missionary!

Funnies of a mission
  • "She's got more wrinkles than an old road map!"
  • "When you're going through Hell...DON'T STOP!
  • Teaching a little girl about the apostasy..
Missionaries-"Christ's original church began to crumble."
Little girl- "Well they should have used bricks!"
  • Neighbor- "I have a niece named felony.   
Missionaries- "Is that spelled with an f?"
Neighbor-"No with a PH"
  • Dakota- "I don't want kids right now I can't take care of them."
Tammey- "Well that's good seeing as how you're 10!"
  • If you think you can or you think you can't...you're right"     -Henry Ford
I absolutely love my mission. I cannot fully express the joy I feel for this sacred work. It has been another eventful week! A couple of highlights from the week included...an I-PAD training! It really was one of my favorite trainings ever. Elder Watson from church headquarters came and spoke to us and I was impressed at how spiritual the meeting was. It wasn't so much about i-pads as it was about helping us to not lose focus of our purpose and the emphasis the Quorum of the 12 Apostles  is providing on the use of technology and also protecting us from the "wiles of the devil."
In other news my best friend, Sister Ure, finishes her mission this week. I am incredibly sad to lose my partner in crime, my companion, my teacher, and my guide. I feel much like Alma and the Sons of the Mosiah and the love and brotherhood they developed as they were united in the service of the Lord.  She is a powerful ambassador for the Lord and I know we will be friends forever. I am grateful everyday that we had the opportunity to serve and grow together.
We had zone conference this last week and a major theme of the conference was the power of the atonement. Our loving Savior Jesus Christ, both holds power and extends power to us. In the book of Matthew, Christ says, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." What are the powers we can receive from the atonement?
Powers of the Atonement
Brothers and Sisters, family and friends, let the beautiful powers of the atonement come into your life.  Let them heal you and comfort you. We are better than settling for anything less than living with Him in a royal court prepared on high. Don't compare yourself to anyone. Compare yourself to your best- who you are through Him because of the power of His atonement. I invite you to take one of these powers or add one of your own to the list and study it deeply for a week. Look for scriptures or words from modern prophets to see how the atonement is able to provide these gateways. Each of us may wonder, how is it done?

I testify that although I do not know all the answers, I know one thing for certain, my Savior lives, and loves me and each of you deeply. His atonement is real, and through the irony of it our garments can be made white and pure through His atoning sacrifice. While Christ was on the earth He performed miracles, He healed the blind and raised the dead, but in the words of President Daines, "All that would not have mattered if He did not drink of the bitter cup." That was His whole purpose in coming to earth. He was foreordained and willing in the preexistence. Others could have performed miracles, there were many that went before Him and that followed Him that did just that, but there was no other person who could fully and completely carry out the atonement save it was, the Prince of Peace, The Only Begotten of the Father, our Savior and Redeemer, even Jesus the Christ.
I love you guys so so much, but more importantly your Savior loves you. The good Shepherd calls out to all who will hear His voice. May we listen a little more intently to Him.
It's a beautiful day to be a missionary!

Love, Sister Mathis

To Teach and Preach and Play as Missionaries Do?

A member of the Zanesville Ward went to the NBA Playoffs and brought Lauren and her companion souvenirs knowing what a Lebron fan she is. These two are spoiled:) 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Teach and Preach and Work as Missionaries Do!

It seems that Lauren was too busy
this week running into things to take any pictures
so thanks Ellen for posting this one.
Well first things first. We are alive!  We survived some severe tornado warnings. During our preparation day last week the tornado sirens were going off like crazy and the weather was a bit daunting. We were held captive in Target as the workers tried to make sure we were safe. Luckily everyone was safe, it rained cats and dogs and we saw a couple of trees that had fallen down on the drive back to our apartment, but no sighting of a tornado. Darn! It would have been pretty neat to see one! The rainy humid summer season is upon us! We have been walking to as many appointments as we can. One particular day it was rather warm and and we were sweating buckets. We finally reached our destination. Upon our arrival one of the little kids in the home of the family we were visiting said, "what's all over your shirt!?" We both looked down at our shirts and Sister Ure promptly responded, "that my dear is sweat."  Don't worry Dad- we are staying hydrated, after all water is the driving force of nature.
Well, let's just say another embarrassing thing happened in the life of Sister Mathis this last week. We discovered a new ice cream place called Dairy Isle. It is amazing. After talking one of our favorite members out teaching with us we decided to stop at the ice cream place for our dinner. After we ordered, the cutest family approached the counter to order their own ice cream. The spirit prompted me to give them a mormon.org pass along card. I was all giddy about meeting a cool new family and was oblivious to what would happen next. As I turned to talk away, two ice creams in hand, I came face to face with a cement pillar and ran smack dab into it-completely crunching the ice creams.  Within seconds a goose-egg formed and tears of laughter and slightly tears of public humiliation escaped. What is up with me running into things?! 
This week I have really tried to focus on the Christ-like attribute of humility. After going on an exchange with a new missionary I was able to think back to the beginning of my mission. I remember being scared and feeling completely inadequate, but the beauty of being a new missionary is the ability you have to rely completely on the Savior. You don't yet know your own skills and capabilities as a missionary. You don't know what works best for an area and you don't fall into a rut of doing things your own way instead of the Lord's way. I think naturally as a missionary the longer you've been out you develop the "I've got this attitude. I know what I'm doing" when in reality we don't have it at all. I was deeply humbled this week as I was once again reminded how this is Heavenly Father's work, not mine.  As I reflected on this exchange I longed to be as dependent on the Savior as I was at the beginning of my mission. Throughout this last week especially I tried to turn to my Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ for every decision. I tried to follow any prompting that came regardless of how small. 
A huge highlight of the week was watching the beautiful and incredible Arnott family all walk into the church together.  Dakota's older brother came and it was honestly hard to hold back tears at the joy I felt to watch them enter such a sacred and special place, a place of refuge, a place that unites families and builds them stronger.  I also learned an important truth at church yesterday. The missionaries are the first to call up to the stand when the speaker doesn't show up.

We had a couple incredible miracles this last week as we turned to the Savior and our Father in Heaven and let them lead this work.  One morning during studies we had a feeling we should send out a scripture text to some people in our phone contacts that we did not yet know. I love having such an inspired companion. She had the idea to send these verses in Corinthians.

"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will Irather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when Iam weak, then am I strong."
A few days later we received a call from an older gentleman who had recently lost his wife. He just kept saying over and over on the phone how amazed he was by the timing of the text message we sent. In our phone he was marked as an investigator, but we had no record or information about him. We had no idea the suffering he has been enduring with the loss of his sweet wife, but Heavenly Father did. With all the gratitude in his genuine heart he thanked us for sending that scripture in a time when he desperately needed it. He kept repeating how amazed he was by the timing of it. He is out of town for the funeral, but will return at the end of the week and we will meet up to teach him a lesson about our Heavenly Father's beautiful plan of happiness. 
Last night was a beautiful night and we decided to park the car and walk the rest of the night. We made a goal to talk to everyone we saw. As time was running short and we were making our way back to our apartment we saw a precious family outside. The father was playing catch with the daughter and the mother was sitting on the porch watching the two play and holding the most adorable baby I have ever seen. We knew time was short but something told us "do not let this opportunity pass you by" and so we walked up and started talking to them. We found out that they have 5 little kids that are all tremendous athletes, but what was even more impressive than the athletic aspect was the family's love for the Savior. They read the bible and pray daily as a family and are a wholesome family established on good principles and values. Truly you could see their love for the Savior and others in the way they treated us. They live their religion. We are so excited to go back next week and bring them a copy of the Book Of Mormon.  We were immediately blessed for following that prompting in many ways. The funniest part was since we had spent time talking to them we knew were were going to be late back to our apartment because we still had to walk the rest of the way home. Well literally right after we left this family's home we received a call from one of the sweetest members. She asked us what we were doing and where we were. We told her we were out walking and immediately she responded, "stay where you are. I'm coming to pick you up."  I love love love this work and the Spirit that works in unity with us.
It's a beautiful day to be a missionary! Go out and share with others what makes you so happy! Love you guys!
Love, Sister Mathis

Monday, May 11, 2015

Prayer-Our Direct Line to Heaven!

A Picnic in the Country

Don't worry Mom, I won't try to sneak one home!

Hey beautiful people!
This is going to be a short email this week, but I want you all to know how much I love and appreciate you. It was wonderful to be able to skype my family yesterday. We laughed as we relayed funny stories to each other and for a moment it felt like we had never even been apart. I love how the spirit works and although I am far from home the spirit allows me to feel complete comfort and peace.  At the end I loved being able to bear my testimony to my family. My testimony has become one of my most cherished and precious things. Daily I am working to build upon that testimony. It is something that no one can take from me. A testimony is something that is never finished, but is quite the opposite. It is growing each day, line upon line, precept upon precept, both through experiences and through study.
This last week we had an exciting holiday for a missionary. Well actually two...Mother's Day, and National Day of Prayer!! We are working to put together a video where we interview random people on the street and ask them what prayer means to them. I have been so inspired and impressed from some of the responses we have seen. Prayer is as the young woman of the Newark Ward said "our direct phone line to Heaven." My testimony was strengthened as I heard both those of our faith and those who are not bear testimony of the power of prayer and how it has changed them. We have seen the broken-hearted, those who are battling cancer, those who are carrying the weight of their sins, those looking for a source of help and guidance, and those wanting to feel loved turn to their Father in Heaven and beckon Him in prayer.  Prayer is not a last resort, it is the only option. When we call upon the powers of Heaven, hearts are touched and lives are changed.

I love you guys so very much! Go make today great and remember you are so worth it to our Father in Heaven. He is not waiting to love you until you are perfect. He loves you perfectly now. Reach out to Him. I encourage you to get on your knees and talk to Him. Now is the time and will forever be the time to talk to your Father in Heaven.
Love Sister Mathis

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Is Lauren in Heaven?

Checking my email this morning I came across a funny email from my mom. She told me of a little story that involved my precious three year old cousin Charlotte.

She said, "While holding Charlotte last night and visiting with cousin Lauren Thorpe, Charlotte proclaimed, "there are two Laurens!" Which she then followed up with, "Is Lauren in heaven??!" Just like Ray Consella in "Field of Dreams," I promptly replied, "No, she's in Iowa."  Just kidding, I  I said Ohio!
My cute little cousin must have known there is something "heavenly" about serving a mission and often times as I share the gospel I think I get a little glimpse of what Heaven is truly like. I'm not to Heaven yet, but I am grateful to have opportunities as a missionary that let me feel a little piece of Heaven on earth.
This week has been such an exciting week! Here's a couple of stories that I hope will warm your heart, I know they warmed mine.
The other day we were sitting on our back patio eating our dinner when two cute neighborhood kids road their bikes over to us. They began talking to us and showing us sweet tricks on their bikes like the infamous bunny hop. When they recognized who we were and what apartment we lived in they excitedly said, "We love your picture of Jesus in the front window!" Sister Ure ran into the apartment and grabbed them their own picture of the Savior. They graciously thanked us. The next morning as we set out for the day we happened to glance at our neighbors windows and saw the pictures of the Savior posted just like ours in the front windows of the two apartments of the little boys. It made our day seeing the pictures of the Savior around the apartment complex and to see other believers. I don't think our apartment manager will mind too much seeing as how he is a member too! Hopefully the other neighbors don't think we have some sort of secret combination going on, ha ha!
We had the opportunity to go to a care center for disabled adults in Utica, Ohio and bring a little bit of sunshine to the patients there. What a neat opportunity it was to see and know of God's love for them. They are faced with different struggles and mountains to climb in this life, but God does not love them any less then He loves you and me. They were handcrafted and perfectly made by the One who knows all. One of the ladies we talked to for awhile seemed to be best friends with everyone in the center. When it was time for their pizza party we journeyed up to the dining area to talk to more people there. When we saw her she was sitting at a table surrounded by men. We kind of teased her and said, "Wow,are these all your boyfriends?!" She promptly responded back, "Oh no! One is enough!" 
There was a quote from conference that I really have been reflecting on. I can't remember who said it but he said, "Don't let those things you do not understand unravel the things you know to be true." This gospel is amazing. It is beautiful in many ways. The gospel is true and it only gets truer. Hold to what you know. Defend what you believe in and don't compromise the precious truth you have.
Lastly I just want to give a little shout-out to all the mothers around the world and especially to my angel mother. Yesterday my companion said to me, "Your mother seems wonderful. I can't wait to meet her one day." I couldn't ask for a better mother who has supported me since day one. Who carries the spirit with her and follows the promptings she receives. She knows no strangers and is constantly doing something to serve someone else. She emulates charity and truly is my best friend. "Who can put a price tag on the worth of a mother?" I love my mother and I also love all those here in Ohio who have adopted me as their daughter while I have been away from my family. Happy Mothers Day to all the wonderful mothers around the world! We would not be here if it weren't for you!
Love you guys!
Love, Sister Mathis