Happy transfers! We had transfers last week and guess what? Sister Rogers and I both get to stay in Pickerington! We are extremely excited for this next transfer ahead of us!Last night we drove home to close the day in an intense Midwest rain storm. In less than a half hour I could not believe how much water was on the ground. I felt like we were driving through a lake. It was quite difficult to see where we were going. The winds were strong and the rain was continuously falling in great amounts as to allow a .5 second window for us to see clearly. When we pulled into our parking lot we discovered the beautiful pond next to us was overflowing onto the road. We stepped out of out car into what felt like a Great Lake. I always thought Lake Erie was further north. Turns out it's right in our parking lot. Upon safely entering our top floor apartment we received a text from the zone leaders "Congratulations! We baptized all of Columbus." We found that quite humorous as the Noah's ark story came alive to us.Another humorous event of the week. We were leaving an appointment and running to our car when suddenly we heard a young man probably close to our age yell out "hey can I get your number?" My first instinct was "creeper alert! Run away" but then I decided that everyone is a Child of God and why not contact this guy. I turned around to face him and said "as a matter of fact, yes you can. We're missionaries and we love to teach people about their Savior Jesus Christ." He was sorely disappointed when he heard the word missionary. Oh well at least we tried and who knows, maybe we planted a seed?!There is an incredible talk in the Ensign for this month titled "The Coming Forth of the Book Of Mormon." What is even cooler about it is that I was at the MTC when it was given by Elder Holland's son. I remember loving it when I heard it the first time in person but to go back and read it allowed the Spirit to come in just as strong as I reflected on my own testimony of the Book Of Mormon. There was a quote that I loved at the very end of the talk that said "You have a Brother who watches over you, ready to rescue you and advance your service with arms far stronger than your arms--far stronger, in fact, than all other arms of the flesh combined. Those arms are there to sustain and bless you, “in every time of trouble” (D&C 3:8), no matter how alone and discouraged you may feel. Therefore, as you move forward with your life, trust in those arms and “be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid … for the Lord thy God, He it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (Deuteronomy 31:6).Joseph discovered this and changed the world. You can too."I also read another talk titled "Matthew Cowley’s Mission to New Zealand." In this talk I loved what this young missionary said on his mission. Elder Cowley said "With all this work before me … you can expect me home sometime during the millennium.” I thought it was a very fitting statement for the current position I'm in.
At the Columbus Temple with Bellawe had the opportunity to go to the temple with Bella! We walked around the grounds and even went inside the front entry so she could peek in and feel the instant spirit that comes from entering the house of the Lord. What was also very spiritual was at the exact time we were there, there was a wedding going on so Bella was able to see this bride in her beautiful gown step inside the temple as she prepared to be sealed to her husband for time and all eternity. I hope it allowed Bella to see the importance of setting our sight on the temple and preparing for a temple marriage. It was the first lesson I had ever had with someone at the temple and it was a neat opportunity to testify of the blessings in my life that have come from going to the temple. Bella is so excited to be baptized on the 25th! She is wonderful and each time we meet with her I am blown away by how much she has grown.Recently I've been reflecting a lot on a question. It's a common question that we generally ask many that we come in contact with. The question is how do you feel God's love?I have really come to know my Savior this week, and the love my Heavenly Father has not only for me but for those around me. It's hard to pinpoint God's love because it exists all around me. It existed when Sister Rogers and I felt inspired to try a lady that was not even on our plans but suddenly we felt great urgency to go and see her. She opened the door looking warn and distressed and an immediate look of relief and joy crossed her face when she saw two missionaries standing in front of her. She said to us "I was going to call you today, how did you know that I needed you?" We were shocked by that response especially because she wasn't really one we visited often. We responded, We had no idea, but Heavenly Father did." We testified to her of the great power of the Atonement and there it was again. I felt God's love in great abundance. I felt His love during this last week as it filled me and allowed me to reach out to my companion during a couple of hard days. I felt His love as I read about the Saul Paul conversion, about who Saul was and who he became as Paul. I thought about my own life and how prior to my mission I was Lauren and have now become Sister Mathis, a full time ambassador, a missionary called to proclaim to truth to my Brothers and Sisters. I felt His love as I was exhausted and He carried me. I felt His love when I was discouraged and no one wanted to listen to me. I felt his love as I looked around at this beautiful world He created for me. I felt His love when I recited the words of the first vision, or when I read His words from the scriptures. I felt it so strong when I saw someone else smile because of the message of hope and joy we gave to them. I felt His love at the end of a long day when I knew I had given all I could to Him. And yesterday I felt His love as I partook of the sacrament and contemplated the great amount of love and courage it took for Him to send down His only begotten Son to redeem and save us all. His love is all around me and if I am open to it I can feel and notice it everyday.There's a quote I just want to end with by President Uchtdorf that says, “Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely. …“What this means is that, regardless of our current state, there is hope for us. No matter our distress, no matter our sorrow, no matter our mistakes, our infinitely compassionate Heavenly Father desires that we draw near to Him so that He can draw near to us [see D&C 88:63].”Your Heavenly Father loves you. He has given us an older brother, a perfect example, a friend, a Savior. "God be thanked for His matchless gift of His divine Son."I love you! This work is true. As we seek out to find the lost sheep I can promise you we come to know our Heavenly Father better and will feel His love in greater depths.Love, Sister Mathis