Monday, June 22, 2015

Hello, Hello!

I thought I'd start this email off with the funniest comment of the week made by a random citizen whom we had just approached and had not yet said anything to.

His comment- "Stop asking me if I've found Jesus. I never lost Him. Ya'll keep losing Him!" 

I am so grateful to have my own personal testimony of the Savior, to have "found" Him and to have a deep and abiding knowledge that He lives. I am grateful that beautiful knowledge in my life has never been lost, that I grew up singing the words "I'm trying to be like Jesus" and even at a young age I saw who I was striving to become. As a missionary that desire has only increased each day as I put on my name badge that boldly contains my name and the Savior's name. How honored I feel to go out each day and represent Him as I continually better myself to become like Him.

This last couple of days as I have reflected on the importance of Fathers and the many father figures that have shaped my life, I have felt an abundance of gratitude for how my Heavenly Father has reached out to bless me. In our dinner appointment last night for Father's Day we asked each of the kids why they are grateful for their Earthly father and then followed up by asking why they were grateful for their Heavenly Father.  When it was my turn to respond I told the family I am incredibly grateful for my earthy father because he is my number one fan. He supports me in all that I do and is rooting for me every step of the way. I told them for that for the same reason I am grateful for my Heavenly Father. Our Heavenly Father is a proud Father who delights when we strive to follow Him. His is the one fan that will never leave our side regardless of our performance. He supports us as we have righteous goals and ambitions and walks with us through the challenges and trials we face along the way. I remember a particular race in high school. It was the track state meet. We had prepared all season to let our talents shine. I stepped onto the line, the race began and I prayed that Heavenly Father would help to carry me after the hard work, the many practices, and the mental and physical preparation I had put in. At the end of the race I felt a sense of joy and satisfaction in the race I had just run. I looked up into the stands. Standing up amidst the sea of people with his hands in the air cheering loud for all to hear was my Father. Right there on the finish line tears began to fill my eyes as I looked into the smiling face of a proud father. As I have reflected on this tender moment I am continually drawn to my Father in Heaven who is much the same. I imagine as we take steps toward Him and make and keep sacred covenants with Him we can feel the loving hands of a proud Father raised up I'm the air saying the precious words "this is my beloved son/daughter in whom I am well pleased." How grateful I am for my Heavenly Father and also for my wonderful earthly Father that my Heavenly Father blessed me with. 

We met an amazing family that has recently moved from Africa. Sister Rogers and I despite the rain felt prompted to walk to the street we were going to tract instead of drive. Because we walked we were able to find this precious family along the way! This lovely couple has an older son who moved from Ohio to West Virginia. He used to meet with the missionaries frequently but when he moved he somehow had lost contact. Luckily he was in town visiting his parents and we were able to reach out to him and his family. The son testified of a time when the missionaries he was meeting with gave him a blessing and through his faith and the power of the priesthood he was healed. He spoke positively of his experiences of attending church. He also was able to teach his parents practically the first lesson as we were there to teach and testify with him. We were able to get his information and send it to the office so that missionaries can come in and continue to teach him and also were able to leave the door open to come back to his parents home to teach them. What a neat opportunity it was to be guided by the Holy Ghost to one of our Heavenly Father's children that had fallen through the cracks. A few days ago after a long somewhat discouraging day of little to no doors opening, we humbly prayed to our Heavenly Father to ask Him where He wanted us to be. It was a little after 8 o'clock and the time was winding down. We felt impressed to go try this family again.  We drove to their house and once again offered a prayer to confirm with Heavenly Father that we were where we needed to be. We went up to knock on their door and waited for answer. Luckily we saw a note on the door that said, "we're in the backyard." It was as if they were waiting for us and expecting us. We were able to teach them about the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Father was deeply moved as we taught him about faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost and the importance of enduring to the end."  He asked us to write down the the things the spirit had just helped us to teach him so that he could in turn teach his family. The mother was pleading for her own copy of the Book of Mormon. I testify that just as the scriptures say there are people prepared to receive the message we are so fortunate to bring to them. 
Sister Rogers and I with Dan at His Baptism
I had the opportunity to return to Delaware to watch one of Heavenly Father's precious sons enter into the sacred covenant of baptism. I was picked up with my companion by the one and only wonderful Clarence and his beautiful daughter Tina and together we drove to Clarence's stepson's baptism. How tender it was to spend time with them as we drove and reflected on the blessings the gospel brings us. As we entered Delaware I felt such a sense of peace and gratitude for the time Heavenly Father allowed me to labor among His children there. I began to get teary eyed as I reflected on the growth that occurred within me there and the privilege I had to meet so many wonderful people. The spiritI felt moved me as I knew I had entered into one of the specific parts of the vineyard the Lord had placed me in for a point and time. That Delaware is a blessed land and I wish I could adequately describe how I felt and how all the memories returned as I was there.

Thank you all for your love and prayers. I sure love this work. Shall we not go on in so great a cause? Courage!

Love Sister Mathis
With some of my beloved Delaware Family: Dan, Tina and Clarence
Sam Beck performed the musical number 

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