Wednesday, July 8, 2015

17 Months Down-1 Transfer Remaining!

Zone Conference

I feel really humbled and grateful for the many experiences we face throughout this mortal journey. I am so grateful for this beautiful thing called life, this beautiful opportunity we have to learn so much about who we are and who our Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ are. I have learned a great deal about my Savior Jesus Christ and about the Spirit in the last few days especially. 

This last week I caught some sort of bug. I felt incredibly weak, had little to no appetite, was battling hot flashes and cold chills, and felt like my strength was gone. I knew we had a full busy day ahead of us and tearfully expressed to my Heavenly Father that I didn't know how we'd be able to accomplish it with me being so sick. There was no time to be sick! I plead with him to give me strength to go out and do His work. As 10 am came around and it was time to set out for the day I didn't feel much better. In fact I think I was progressively getting worse. Now I know exactly what my doctor dad is thinking reading this. "You need to take care of your body before you set out to work." Well me being a bit on the stubborn side I decided to tough it out and get to work knowing that the salvation of others rested in my hands and then the most incredible thing happened. As I was talking to people and in the midst of lessons I didn't even notice how sick I felt, but the instant we got out of a lesson all the symptoms came back. We even did service on a farm where we raked up big piles of hay and put them into buckets to then carry them to a different location. I know for a fact that the Spirit is what carried me. Exhausted and frail, the Spirit is what allowed me to go on and accomplish the work and not just any work, Hard backbreaking work. As I was anxiously engaged in His work...He carried me. It was a couple of the hardest days of my mission but I realized much like Ammon "as to my strength I am weak therefore I will not boast of myself but I will boast of my God for in his strength I CAN DO ALL THINGS!" How grateful I am for the confidence and strength the Holy Ghost can provide especially in moments of weakness. This experience also reminded me of the first presidency talk in the Ensign for this month titled "All is well." As I read this talk and reflected on my little experience, I grew an even deeper appreciation for the pioneers. President Uchtdorf said of the pioneers, 

"I am very much aware that all was not well with these Saints. They were plagued by sickness, heat, fatigue, cold, fear, hunger, pain, doubt, and even death.

But despite having every reason to shout, “All is not well,” they cultivated an attitude we cannot help but admire today. They looked beyond their troubles to eternal blessings. They were grateful in their circumstances. Despite evidence to the contrary, they sang with all the conviction of their souls, “All is well!”'

I love those strong and determine pioneers and am striving to develop more of the "all is well" attitude in all that I do. 

This last week we also had the opportunity to teach a lady and her family the message of the restoration. We were able to teach this precious family from Africa in the home of a member. As we started to teach the simple doctrine that God is our loving Heavenly Father, the Spirit instantly illuminated the room. I love how this particular member explained the Spirit. At the beginning of the lesson he pointed out "the Spirit is so big right now!" I loved hearing it described as being "so big" as to encompass an entire room. As we testified to her I had the privilege of reciting the first vision. The instant I started to say those beautiful and sacred words, I felt the instant truthfulness of them reaffirmed to me. I know God and His son Jesus Christ did appear to the boy Joseph Smith. After the lesson with tears in both of our eyes Sister Rogers said to me "I haven't felt the spirit that strong in a long time." It was one of the absolute best and most spiritual moments of our mission. 

With the Salt Lake Temple Float
We got to participate as a ward in the annual Fourth of July parade. We had a float that had a pretty accurate replica of the Salt Lake temple and together as Saints and defenders of truth we marched. Sister Rogers and I had the banner at the front that said "the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." What was neat and caught us somewhat off guard were all the young teenage girls not very modestly dressed who pointed out how much they liked our missionary outfits--Totally made our day because as a missionary you don't always feel the best dressed, sometimes you feel frumpy, but to see these young girls appreciate our modest outfits definitely helped us to remember the examples we can be even with something as simple as dressing modestly. The members of our ward marched alongside the float and handed out countless copies of the Family Proclamation to the World to the large crowds. 

Something neat that Sister Rogers and I realized this last week is that both Elder Packer and Elder Perry in the recent conference  (their last conference addresses in this mortal journal) talked about the importance of marriage and family. I know the prophet and his apostles are so divinely inspired. I know how inspired their messages were especially after the great attack we have seen on the family recently. I am so grateful that with all that is uncertain in this world I am able to put my trust in inspired leaders who seek clear and direct revelation for our day. What a neat opportunity the other day it was to teach a lady about our belief in a modern day prophet.  She felt complete comfort when she heard that truth. 

There's a quote that I love from sweet Elder Packer that I would like to share in memory of him.

“It had become critically important,” he remembered, “to establish this intention between me and the Lord so that I knew that He knew which way I had committed my agency. I went before Him and said, ‘I’m not neutral, and you can do with me what you want. If you need my vote, it’s there. I don’t care what you do with me and you don’t have to take anything from me because I give it to you—everything, all I own, all I am.’"
I too am striving to give everything I own and everything I am to Him who first loved me. A man asked me the other day how long I had been out on my mission. I panicked for a minute as I realized that very day I had been out on my mission for 17 months. It makes me feel sick that my precious days in the full time service of the Lord are winding down. I was emotional as I told him in all honesty that this experience has been the best experience of my life. There are not adequate words to describe this experience. I never want it to end. Shall we not go on in so great a cause? Courage!
I love you guys! 
Love Sister Mathis

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