Greetings from the blessed land of Pickerington, Ohio!
Parting is such sweet sorrow: With Terri Huang, Sister Ure and Ellen
When I decided to serve a mission I don't think I fully realized how hard it would be to let go and move onto a new area and leave those you love dearly behind. It wasn't easy to say goodbye to many of my dear Ohio family members. One of my favorites was telling Dakota goodbye. I kept my composure until he came up and put his arm around me. Tears started to fill my eyes as I knew I would be leaving my little brother for a period of time. His response when he saw the tears, "welp see ya!" Gotta love little 10 year old boys! They sure do make sentimental tender times not as hard.So here's the latest news in the life of Sister Mathis! My new companion has been out for about 9 months. Her name is Sister Rogers and she is from Utah. I wasn't released from being a Sister Training leader, and now will train Sister Rogers as she is a new Sister Training Leader! We were doubled into our new area, meaning we both are brand new to the area. So we have been running around like chickens with our heads cut off for the last few days. It's been a blast. I have to be careful what I ask for. A few nights before transfers I was telling Sister Ure, "It would be fun to be doubled in. It's part of the mission experience." Well wish granted and here we are! The members of the ward we have met so far are incredible and we had the opportunity to attend Stake Conference yesterday. There has been a lot of changes in the last couple of days and we are still trying to get used to new things. I love the quote though that says, "there's no comfort in the growth zone, and no growth in the comfort zone." I know that change can bring out the best in us and that this will be an awesome opportunity to learn and grown closer to my Savior.We had a neat experience with a lesson Sister Ure and I had our last night in Newark. We were teaching a man named Kent. Remember the guy I talked about a few weeks ago, who called us back from our scripture text? Well we finally had a lesson with him. In between his traveling time he set up an appointment to meet with us. He showed great urgency and understood the importance of what the gospel could do for him. Well during the lesson we brought a wonderful member and Kent and this member completely connected. Before long our time was up and we had to get home for curfew. My companion and I didn't say much during the lesson, it was mostly Kent talking about some strengthening spiritual experiences he had, but as we got up to leave, Kent said, "I cannot believe the spirit you carry. I felt it the second you walked in the door and it remained here the whole time." I probably said two sentences during that whole lesson but the amazing thing about this lesson was the ability Kent had to recognize the Spirit without us even teaching. It reminded me of the power and the gift we as members of the Church carry. I love the quote from one of the apostles that says, "preach the gospel always, if necessary use words." Others can feel the Holy Ghost you carry, they can feel the power and the love of their Savior through YOU. Never forget that and strive constantly to be worthy of the beautiful gift of the Holy Ghost.
In honor of one of our modern day hero's Elder L. Tom Perry, here is one of my favorite stories he shared.“I was assigned to serve in Columbus, Ohio, just after I had arrived in the mission field. I knew absolutely nothing about missionary work and my senior companion, who had been out only three months, knew little more than I did. I had always been strong in the Church, and though my testimony had never been tested, I surely thought that it could never waiver.
“Well, my first full day of proselyting was spent going from house to house. We didn’t have much success until a kind Southern Baptist lady invited us into her home. She had a profound knowledge of the scriptures, and I’m afraid that my companion and I could not counter her persuasive arguments. I went home that day a converted Southern Baptist.
“The following day was not much better. I went home a converted Methodist. And the next day I was swayed toward the Lutheran faith. I finally decided that this kind of thing should not be happening to a Mormon missionary. I decided that before I could teach and bear testimony about the gospel it was first necessary that I know something about it myself.
“My companion and I lived on the top floor of a four-story rooming house. The landlady had granted us the privilege of using the kitchen, which was in the basement. I decided that each night I would go down to the kitchen after my companion had retired to bed and prepare a talk, beginning with the first four principles and ordinances of the gospel.
“The first night I studied and prepared a talk on faith that I presented to my audience: a mouse that I had coaxed out of his hole with a cracker. He stared at me for a minute, picked up the cracker, and went back into his hole.
“The following night the subject was repentance. The mouse came out and listened to me for some time longer than the night before, and then returned to his hole. I was making progress.
“The third night I came down and filled the dishpan with water and washed some dishes before I prepared my talk on baptism. Again, my friend the mouse came out of his hole to hear my presentation. He stood there and stared at me the whole time, and when I was finally finished he walked back to his hole in deep thought. I was a bit proud of myself as I walked upstairs, knowing I had really impressed my audience.
“The next morning my companion and I went downstairs to prepare breakfast and I noticed that I had not emptied the dishpan of water I had used the night before. I was greatly surprised when, at the bottom of the pan, I found my friend, the mouse. My little talk had really made an impression. In his stupor of thought he must have crawled into the pan: baptism by immersion!”
Elder L. Tom Perry passed away May 30, 2015
I love you guys from Ohio, to Reno, to Newark, To Delaware, To Columbus, to Heaven and back!Love, Sister Mathis