Monday, December 30, 2013

El Testimonio de la Hermana Mather [The Testimony of Sister Mather]

2 December 2013  [a written letter written in Spanish (below) and translated by her brother Nathan]

During my mission, I have realized that the gift of life is beautiful.  Life is precious, and my family is extremely important to me.  I testify that the Book of Mormon is true and can bring us closer together as families.  This book testifies of God’s love and concern for us.  God wants us to return to him and live forever.  To achieve this goal, God has provided a plan … a marvelous plan!  A plan of happiness!  The Book of Mormon says many times that the Plan of Salvation has been prepared from the foundation of the world.  I know that we accepted this plan before living on the earth.  We saw all of the challenges, difficulties, problems, and sorrows in the pre-earth life, but instead, more importantly, we saw the family, the moments of inexpressible joy that come from obedience to God’s commandments.  I have met many people here in Spain, and all have their own difficulties, but no matter their circumstances, the gospel of Jesus Christ brings them security and reason to keep moving forward and fight for the good in life.

In the beginning, we accepted this plan as spirits – to obtain a body and live outside of the presence of God.  We knew that it would be difficult and that we would fall.  But most of all we knew there would be a Savior, our brother Jesus Christ.  The coming of Jesus Christ to earth gives us an example of a perfect life and of God’s love for us.  God showed His love for us by sending us His Son and Jesus Christ showed us His love by sacrificing himself for us.  I love my Savior.  I know that only through Christ, we can be clean and overcome our imperfections and sins.  Only by the sacrifice of Christ.  Life is difficult!  My mission isn't easy either, but it is one of the times of humility that I see the power of Christ the most.  Christ has sustained and lifted me.  At times, He is the only One that understands what we go through – the sorrows, the disappointments, our thoughts, sicknesses, etc.  Only He knows.  Thanks to Jesus Christ we always have the one friend in the entire world that never failed us (Romans 8:28-29).  I have seen the power of the Christ’s grace by pressing forward when I think that I can’t.  In truth, I can’t according to my strengths, but with God all things are possible.  ANYTHING.  Because of this, I want to remember the sufferings of Christ every day of my life, because it makes me think how I can improve and serve others.  I am extremely thankful for the atonement, this miracle in my life, and I want to share it with everyone!  Only through the atonement, we can feel clean of our sins and receive the power of the Father.

I love my family and I know that it is ordained of God.  It is in the family that we can feel the most joy and pain because we have close ties.  In my patriarchal blessing, it says that, “you were blessed to be born into a family of parents and siblings who love you.  Memories and experiences with your family will be significant to you for the duration of your life.  You will remember the experiences that you learned at the feet of your parents and the special feelings and relations with your siblings, and these things will strengthen you.”  I don’t have my family by coincidence.  They are the ones that help me in any moment and we were ordained to be a family before the foundation of the world.  The principles I learned at the feet of my family mean the world to me and God knew that I would need good parents and siblings.  Truthfully, these relationships strengthen me and support me in difficult times.  My testimony grows with the support of my beautiful family.

I testify that God’s power is real.  According to my own strength, I’m weak (Alma 26:12), but when I can’t continue moving forward, the Lord comes and lifts me up.  In fact, God is there every step along the path.

I know that everyone on earth is fallen and imperfect.  God only has imperfect people to work with.  More than ever I see my weaknesses every day, but I have seen that God uses us to work miracles.  There are people prepared for this gospel, and even though I’m not perfect, God makes me humble to see His hand more in my life.  God is all powerful and wants to help us at all times, even if we turn away from him.  I am grateful for my weaknesses because we can come unto Him, and see that weak things can be strengthened through the power of Jesus Christ (Ether 12:26).

I Love You, My Beloved Family :)

Move forward in this path.  Please, send me your testimonies as well (in English if it is easier)    :)

With Love,

Sister Mather


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2 Diciembre 2013

El Testimonio de la Hermana Mather

Durante mi misión, me ha dado cuenta que el don de la vida es hermosa.  Vida es preciosa, y mi familia es sumamente importante a mí.  Testifico que el Libro de Mormón es verdadero y puede acercarnos como familias.  Este Libro nos testifica del amor y preocupación de Dios para nosotros.  Dios quiere que regresemos a su lado y vivamos para siempre.  Para lograr esta meta, Dios ha proporcionado un plan … un plan maravilloso!  Un plan de felicidad!  El Libro de Mormón dice muchas veces que el Plan del Salvación ha sido preparado desde la fundación del mundo.  Yo sé que aceptamos este plan antes de vivir en la tierra.  Vimos todos los desafíos, dificultades, problemas, tristezas en la vida preterrenal, pero en cambio, más importante vimos la familia, los momentos de inexpresable gozo que vienen de la obediencia a los mandamientos de Dios.  He conocido muchas personas aquí en España, y todos tienen sus propios dificultades, pero no importa sus circunstancias, el Evangelio de Jesucristo les brinda un seguridad y razón para seguir adelante y luchar por lo bueno en la vida.

Al principio, aceptamos ese plan como espíritus – obtener un cuerpo y vivir afuera de la presencia de Dios.  Sabíamos que sería difícil y caeríamos.  Pero más que todo sabíamos que sería un Salvador, nuestro hermano Jesucristo.  La venida de Jesucristo a la tierra nos da el ejemplo de una vida perfecta y del amor de Dios para nosotros.  Dios mostró su amor por nosotros por enviarnos su hijo, y Jesucristo mostró su amor por sacrificarse para nosotros.  Amo a mi Salvador.  Sé que solamente por medio de Cristo, podemos ser limpios y superar nuestros imperfecciones y pecados.  Solamente por el sacrificio de Cristo.  La vida es difícil!  La misión para mí no es fácil tampoco pero es uno de los tiempos de humildad que veo el poder de Cristo lo más.  Cristo me ha sostenido y me he levantado.  A veces, Él es el Único que entiende lo que pasamos – las tristezas, las decepciones, nuestros pensamientos, enfermedades, etc.  Solo Él sabe.  Gracias a Jesucristo siempre tenemos el amigo en todo el mundo que nunca nos fallaba.  (Romanos 8:38-39)  He visto el poder de la gracia de Cristo para  seguir adelante cuando pienso que no puedo.  En realidad, no puedo según mis propias esfuerzas, pero con Dios, todo es posible.  TODO.  Por eso, quiero recordar el sufrimiento de Cristo cada día de mi vida, porque me hace pensar en cómo puedo mejorar y servir otras personas.  Estoy sumamente agradecida por la expiación, este milagro, en mi vida, y quiero compartirlo con todos!  Solo por medio de la expiación, podemos sentir aliviados del pecado y recibir poder del Padre.

Amo a mi familia y yo sé que es ordenada de Dios.  Es en la familia que podemos sentir lo más gozo y pena porque tenemos vínculos cercanos.  En mi bendición patriarcal, dice que “tu fue bendecido a nacer en dentro una familia de padres y hermanos que te aman.  Memorias y experiencias con tu familia serán significativas a ti por la duración de tu vida.  Recordarás las experiencias que aprendiste a los pies de tus padres y los sentimientos especiales y relaciones con sus hermanos y estas cosas te fortalecerán.”  No tengo mi familia por alguna coincidencia.  Ellos son los que me ayudan en cualquier momento y fuimos ordenados ser una familia antes de la fundación del mundo.  Los principios que yo aprendía a los pies de mi familia significan el mundo para mí y Dios sabía que yo necesitaría buenos padres y hermanos.  En verdad estas relaciones me fortalecen y me apoyan en momentos difíciles.  Mi testimonio crece con apoyo de mi familia hermosa.

Testifico que el poder de Dios es real.  Según mis propias fuerzas, soy débil (Alma 26:12) pero cuando no puedo seguir más adelante, el señor viene y me levanta.  De hecho, Dios está allí cada paso a lo largo del sendero.

Yo sé que todos en la tierra están caídos e imperfectos.  Dios solo tiene personas imperfectas con quien trabajar.  Veo a hora mis debilidades cada día más que antes en mi vida, pero he visto que Dios nos usa para obrar milagros.  Hay personas preparadas por este Evangelio, y aunque no soy perfecta, Dios me hace humilde para ver su mano más en mi vida.  Dios es todopoderoso y quiere ayudarnos en cada momento, aún si le dejamos.  Por eso, estoy agradecida por mis debilidades porque podemos venir a Él y ver luego que las cosas débiles pueden ser fortalecidos por el poder de Jesucristo (Ether 12:26)

Les Quiero, Mi Querida Familia  :)

Sigan adelante en éste sendero.  Por favor, envíenme sus testimonios también (en inglés si es más fácil)    :)

Con Amor,

La Hermana Mather

The true Christmas Message is not seasonal, it is eternal :)‏

30 December 2013

Merry, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Family, it was so nice to talk to you all on Christmas! That was the fastest hour of my LIFE! haha. Like I told you, I hadn't slept for the past 2 nights, because I was excited, and nervous to talk to you. I really do love all of you so much! I am sorry I cried the whole time!!!! I really turned into an emotional mess since we were able to see each other for the first time since I saw you all as I rode the elevator down at the airport and I saw all of you goofballs waving at me and making silly faces.

Christmas Eve and Christmas really was a unique and unforgettable experience. We had a little Christmas miracle, when we got a call a couple of days before from a lady that we met our FIRST day here in Alcobendas almost four months ago. We hadn't heard anything from her for months, even after she had agreed to be baptized, but she called us again, because she walked past the church and thought of us! What a blessing that she remembered us, thought to call us, and invited us to visit with her again! So, on Christmas Eve (it was POURING rain all day) we rode a bus out to Algete and caught up on all of the difficult things that has passed in the last few months, how she had been reading the Book of Mormon, and she has time to meet with us again and change her life. A little tender mercy miracle!

The night of Christmas Eve, all of the missionaries in Madrid got together for a wonderful devotional where President and Sister Jackson talked to us and their friends that are in charge of the Jerusalem center came and spoke to us about the holy land too! As missionaries, we felt very special, and even though it is hard to be away from home, we know that we are supposed to be here, and next to home, this is the best place to be! And everyone is experiencing the same thing! It was incredible to hear about their insights of Jerusalem, where our Savior was born. I loved what one of them said, that the true Christmas story is of covenants and promises, the promise God gave to us to send His son and gave us the Plan of Salvation. And we have a chance to talk about it every day! Also, Hermana Jackson gave us a picture frame of many of the names of Christ, which was really neat, because I just finished reading the entire Book of Mormon, highlighting each time Christ is mentioned. I love the extra emphasis we are able to have of Christ as missionaries this time of year especially. We have really enjoyed warming up members and investigators lives by giving them simple gifts for Christmas and reading The Living Christ with them.

Christmas Eve night was fun! Sister Aagard and I set up our beds on the floor the sleep by the heater (almost as good as the fire and a big Christmas tree!) and we woke up, still did exercises in between opening little presents that we bought for each other!! Good memories. My favorite part of Christmas morning finishing the section of Jesus the Christ about His birth, and reading The Living Christ. WOW. We cried through the entire companionship study... I felt the Spirit strongly testify to me that Christ is my Savior, and that he came to earth to suffer for my sins. Then, we had the incredible opportunity to eat breakfast at President Jackson´s house, and lunch at the Bishop´s house next door! These are the only houses I have ever been to in Spain (the rest are all little apartments) and it was so homey and felt like being with family. The bishop was sweet to give all of us missionaries gifts and we played games like Pictionary while the turkey cooked. My favorite part of the day was what followed... TALKING TO FAMILY!! Oh goodness it was so great to see all of you and catch up a little bit. 

This Saturday was also Pablo´s baptism!!! Oh I love this man. It is incredible to see the change in these people as they accept the gospel, and it happened so fast. This man has had 8 lessons from us total. We simply were instruments in the Lord´s hands that found this man when we had searching for the truth for much of his life – the perfect example of a prepared man. There were 5 baptisms total from our ward this day. INCREDIBLE! There were so many people in white. I will hopefully get some pictures sent to you. Our investigator Agostina came and is excited to be baptized in 2 weeks (she is 67 years old and her dad told her over 50 years ago that one day she would listen to our message... how cool!). We have seen so many miracles here in Alcobendas, and I feel so blessed. I know this gospel is true. I have seen the power of the Book of Mormon in my life and in the lives of so many others!! I love you all.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

Love, Hermana Emily Marie Mather :) 

Our district with the ward mission leader… SEGUNDO!!!

Pablo´s Baptism!!  Hermana Mather, Alcobendas Bishop, Pablo, Hermana Aagard  :)

Below: we love eating a Rosa´s house. She is like my Bolivian mother here!
She is the one closest to me, and the other is her sister Maria

Cool grafitti. Sanse [your city] is short for Sansebastian de los Reyes, where we serve!!

Christmas day at Bishop´s house!!!

Pablo, Hermana Mather, Hermana Aagard, Mervin

Last day of baptisms at Alcobendas!
What a great day. Mervin, our recent convert, baptized someone for his first time,
one of the people that the Elders had been teaching!

The Chapples! The new senior couple here that work in the office. Sister Chapple knows [Aunt] Sandy and [Uncle] Noel. She is from near Spanish fork. I love feeling like I have grandparents here in Spain :)

Mayte, who I told you about a few weeks ago, who had waited a year to be baptized, and finally was!

Breakfast at [the Mission] President's house!

Monday, December 16, 2013

9 Days 'Til Christmas!!!

16 December 2013

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

We went to the temple again this week and I had a fun intercambio with a crazy little new missionary from Ecuador, I loved it :)

Well, I received a packages the other day from the Bennion and Crisler families (I don't know if I told you already!) and also from Shauna Sperry! I have been trying my very best to wait to open them!!!!! We have a little foot-tall Charlie-Brown-esk Christmas tree and I have kept them close there, but just so you know, I got them. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! I It's wonderful to feel so much love and support while I am away from home for the holidays :)

A little overview of this week! I know that God truly takes some of the strangest situations and makes them just perfect for the people we are teaching. haha, this week, we had a lesson outside of a little art museum with Dominga (we love having lessons out of her house, because then she focuses less on the depression she has, and gets ready for the day. She is so much happier) when we got there, we found an old Spanish man sitting there talking to her. The old Spanish men sure love to just talk and talk and talk and talk. We did not get ONE WORD IN. Ha. it was quite amusing actually, as we tried to take everything he said about living through the war and how we sing like angels and tie that to a gospel topic. Sometimes lessons are just this way, but Hermana Aagard and Dominga and I just had the biggest fit of laughter I have had in a LONG time. (Mom, it reminds me of how hard we laugh together haha). But I think Dominga needed that. We felt like we reached a new level of friendship with her, and I truly believe laughter is the best medicine. I am so glad that not all lessons are that crazy to control.

Speaking of Dominga, we are planning on her getting baptized very soon! We were shooting for the 21st, but she wants to feel sure and completely ready. We have already seen so much progress spiritually. She is so much happier when she is busy, and she doesn't read very well, but whenever she feels tempted to pick up a cigarette (she has smoked for 40 years), she says she picks up the Book of Mormon and reads. What a powerful tool! She is already reading and understanding so much better. some lessons we just sit there and have her read the little pamphlets, checking for understanding after every sentence. She has such a desire to learn.

And Pablo, a man from Chile that we contacted on the street, is just thirsting for the gospel in his life. He has been searching religion for many years, baptized in the Catholic church, and has finally found what he feels to be the truth. This man is incredible, he is reading the Book of Mormon by looking up all the scriptures by topic in the guide to the Book of Mormon, and takes notes and writes answers in his pamphlets. He will also be baptized by the end of this transfer, depending on his work schedule :) He sure studies things out, but most importantly he says he FEELS in his heart that it is true. He also came to church this week (his second time) on 1 hour of sleep after a night shift and still came all cheery and full of good questions.

Also, Augustina!! Another lady from the Dominican Republic. We have taught her a few lessons and she has been to church twice now :) and she loves it. She is probably about 60 or 70 years old, and is a very "go with the flow" lady. She left us with a closing prayer the other day where she asked The Lord in her prayer to help her to know when she should be baptized because she knows she wants to be. And she told us an incredible story about her father that before he died she told her that she would listen to the Mormons. 40 years or so later, here we are, and she is feeling the truth of our message. Miracles happen!

As usual, P-days are crazy packed and stressful, so I do not have much time left, but I wanted to tell you one last experience. Like Wade said a while ago, Sundays are the most stressful days as a missionary, as we are stopping by to pick up investigators or calling people or waiting for them at the door or finding members for them to sit by...etc. Don´t get me wrong, I love Sundays, but they just take a toll on me!!!! I leave feeling very stressed out, but my favorite time to just sit and think is during the Sacrament. This sacrament was special. Last week, Mervin blessed the sacrament for the first time and this week he happened to be the one to pass the Bread and Water to us. Here I was, in my stressed out state like usual, and then Mervin comes by in his new white shirt and tie that the bishop gave him to pass us the sacrament. I just started crying, feeling incredibly blessed to witness this little miracle here. I thought of that first day we had a lesson on a bench with him, and met with him almost every day since, and how this man has not missed one Sunday since the day we invited him. He is incredible. After family members, he is the first man I would love to just give a big hug to after my mission! He is always serving and never thinks of himself. He was also called as Ward Mission Leader and goes out with the elders all the time, and we are sending the missionaries to his family in the Dominican Republic :) wowowowow.

Well, that is all for now!

Christ gave His life for you! What are you giving to CHRIST for Christmas?

Love, Hermana Mather            3 Nephi 5:13

p.s. Family, I miss singing with you so much! we have a missionary Christmas concert tonight in Madrid by the temple with 150 missionaries and a couple is directing for us who were in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for 18 years, and I am suuuper excited, but it is not the same. I can't wait to sing around the piano again :)

p.p.s. "Perhaps it is true that we are weak, perhaps we are not wise or mighty. But when God works through us, no one and nothing can stand against us." -Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas is in the air!!!!‏

9 December 2013

FELIZ NAVIDAD!!!

It sounds like it has been CHILLLLLYYY in Colorado, Amber and Aaron are little lucky ducks with two days off of school and a delayed start! Wow I can't even imagine what a snow day would be like anymore. It has been getting VERY chilly here, I am so grateful for the coat that I have.

I have really enjoyed starting off this Christmas season with reading The Living Christ every day. I hope that you all decide to join me :) I learn something new every day, and I have started marking it with different colors to show: different names of Christ, truths restored through the restoration, truths about the plan of salvation, and all of the things Christ has done for us. I am a missionary, and we extend invitations every day, so I feel like I should invite you to read this wonderful document about our Savior with me every day until Christmas!! I think it will be great to be a missionary during the Christmas season, I love that we are putting SO much more emphasis on Christ, exactly where it should be. Ha, we even taught our English class to sing "Silent Night" in English, and they loved it. That was really fun.

We will be having a huge Christmas concert at the temple in Madrid with 150 missionaries and we will invite all of our investigators. There are even Christmas lights all set up outside! It is almost like Temple Square!

All in all, a great week! We will be having intercampbios [exchanges] every week now, which I actually like a lot, just getting out of the groove a little and learning from other missionaries, and I went to another part of Madrid this week. There are many things to learn from every missionary I have been with, I love it. But it really always reminds me of how much I love my companion and this area. I feel so blessed to be in Alcobendas. This week, one day in particular was full of lessons with people who we feel like have A LOT of potential. It was incredible because after one of our lessons (I believe it was on Wednesday) we walked out and we couldn't even remember what we had said. Hermana Aagard said that I had sounded like her trainer before she went home when we were teaching that lesson. I didn't even remember what came out of my mouth, but we both left feeling that it was the Spirit working through us, having the Lord saying what He needed us to say. That feeling is incredible, I am certain I was sent here to not focus so much on what was said but rather whether we were teaching in accordance to what the Lord would have us say. We are teaching one of my favorite men, named Jorge, from Barcelona, who reminds me a lot of Dad, very intelligent and sincere. He jokes with us and is just a real person who wants to know the truth.

There were a couple of miracles we had this week, just when we were starting to get a bit down, looking at all of the people we had who weren't progressing, and how we haven't seen ANY of our street contacts turn into solid investigators, but we actually had two people that we contacted on the street come to church this week. The Lord sure seems to step in right when we start to lose faith. I love seeing little miracles like this.

This week, we decided to write down a few reasons of why we love being missionaries, and I would like to just share a few with you next week because I forgot to bring the paper that I wrote them down on!

Oh, we also got a new senior couple that will be in the office here! They are Sister and Elder Chapple, and she knows [Aunt] Sandy and [Uncle] Noel. She is from Spanish Fork. She just loves Sandy and Noel, and we are so excited to have them. It was their first Sunday there and she was scared to death and doesn't know any Spanish whatsoever. She is terrified... it reminded me of my first day in the field feeling terrible because I didn't understand much and I was overwhelmed by culture shock. I tried my best to translate our Relief Society class for her (mom, our class was on Joseph Smith, too!) and we had a great time eating at President's house after church so I think they are feeling more and more comfortable.

There was also a baptismal service yesterday!! Mayte, the 17 year old girl that is not baptized because her mom wouldn't let her. But she is always sharing the gospel with her friends and at every young women's and seminary that there is. It was a miracle. The whole ward has been helping her and supporting her and hoping for her baptism very soon, and finally a set of Elders in our ward had the impression to ask her mom once again if she could be baptized, and long story short, she was baptized yesterday!

Well, that's all for this week! I love you all and hope you have a great week!!!

Love, Hermana Emily Marie Mather

Friday, December 6, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy December!!!‏

2 December 2013

HHEELLLOOOO there!

You would be very proud. Hermana Aagard and I made our own version of pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies and pumpkin pie from scratch (we found chucks of pumpkin that they sell here and put it in the blender and shake it up real good for about 15 minutes haha) and we had the Elders make some chicken. I will have to send you a picture next week. It was really fun :) The American family invited me and my companion over and one set of elders and we sure got all stuffed. Mom, I missed you, they ALMOST tasted as good as your rolls :) haha. Then our Bishop invited us over yesterday and we had some German dumplings and goulash, homemade Oreo and chocolate chip cookies. AH! It is not often you have delicious food like this that just tastes like home!! We were so happy to be there, and that they invited us over for Christmas, too!! It will be nice to be with a family celebrating some fun German traditions.

This week was a pretty normal week!! Hermana Aagard and I did a presentation and practice at district meeting about the importance of the Restoration of the Gospel, and every time I study this topic my heart is touched, because I see the incredible dedication and determination it took for Joseph Smith to restore this gospel. And what a loving Heavenly Father we have to bring back to the earth the power and authority to efectuar [perform] ordinances to return to Him. This makes our message different from any other! The mission is such a life-changing experience in this way, helping me realize how I can be better every day, ensuring that I can show the Lord I am willing to do his will so that he might be able to work miracles through me. I am trying to do all that I can so that the Lord will put prepared people in our path and put words in my mouth so that I can testify of the restoration.

The other day we had an incredible lesson with Dominga, the lady that we found while knocking doors the other day.  Mervin went with us so that she could start building relationships with members better, and it was incredible. She suffers severe depression, but she sure lightens up when we share gospel messages with her. She can´t read all that well, but tries her little heart out when we ask her to read the Book of Mormon. I love that she calls us her little rescuers. Mervin showed her how he reads the scriptures and highlights words when he doesn't understand. And He gave her his number and is going to help her to find work and feel more self-sufficient. He gave her to sweetest long hug after and told her everything will be alright. God´s Hand is present in this story where the lives of Mervin and Dominga cross. Of course, I started tearing up, and ended up walking out of the lesson trying to pull myself together. I feel so blessed to witness miracles like this. Mervin also told her that the Book of Mormon is like his "office" haha. Any questions he has, that is where he goes. I love him. He also made us pizza! yum!

With this being our third transfer together, Hermana Aagard and I have been trying to really look at what we are doing and how we can be better missionaries, and change our desires and actions to be more like Preach my Gospel Missionaries. We still have days that we call sanctification days where God humbles us, but just in time for us to appreciate little miracles.

Sorry it’s a short email this week!! I sure love you all and look forward to reading your emails every week!

Con Amor [With Love], Hermana Emily Mather

p.s. I thought of my dear parents this week when I read Helaman 5... I am reminded what great principles I was raised on like these men in the Book of Mormon. I sure love you. Read this chapter and you will see why I thought of you. Also... we have been invited to read The Living Christ everyday up until Christmas to keep Christ in Christmas more. Will you do this with me? And watch The Christmas Spirit Mormon Message :)


Monday, November 25, 2013

We Are Staying in Alcobendas!!!‏

25 November 2013

OOF Hermana Aagard and I have been worried all week about what would happen with transfers since most people only usually stay together for 1 or 2 transfers. We went on exchanges the day before we were supposed to find out transfers and it was a big wake up call to the incredible companionship that we have. Hermana Aagard is like my sister (no one can replace my beautiful sister Amber!!). It is incredible to me that we have lived together, 24/7 for about 3 months now and we haven´t killed each other. What I love more than anything is that we make missionary work FUN and we are always laughing together. But we feel the spirit so strongly together in lessons, and we can really always relate to each other with how we are feeling. I love that she ALWAYS not only pushes me to be a better missionary but a better, more charitable and loving person. She was also just made one of the new sister training leaders! She is an incredible example to me and I think president saw that so many other people needed to learn from her so I have to share her now. I have no doubt that God knew I needed her in my life (especially for another 6 weeks together!! We have spent our birthdays together and now we will spend Thanksgiving and Christmas together too! What I blessing!

We are so blessed to stay here in the ward (although it is getting VERY chilly here and the islands sound nice haha). This ward is incredibly willing to help out with lessons, and is very loving to all of us. I already cannot imagine leaving the ward members here (including our "little rock" Mervin, who loves helping us out in lessons!)

Also, we had an interesting couple of lessons with a lady named Marta that I do not think I have told you much about. She is the Sister of Luis Morales.  We give all of the people we are teaching "baptismal calendars" where it has a scripture for them to read a day and shows them their progress as they work towards their baptismal date. We gave one to Marta for this past Sunday, the 24th of November, and we went over to teach her on Tuesday and we realized how fast she had really progressed, and we asked her the baptismal interview questions. She hasn't drank coffee for 2 weeks now, which was something that she was really struggling with, and she answered with affirmation all of the other questions, where 2 weeks ago, she would be saying that she was very unsure. The only thing that is holding her back is her husband, who always seems to be drunk and emotionally abusive to her. He is not very fond of the church. This woman has been investigating the church for 10 years now, and she has always had a fear of being baptized because she feels like she will not stay strong afterwards, and she has had a fear of her husband finding out. Now, she has the firm desire to be baptized, and as of Tuesday, we really saw it happening and had faith that her husband's heart can change. She texted us later and said it all needed to wait because with her husband it can't work. We went over there today and found her crying, and confided many things with us about her life, talking about possibly divorcing her husband because she hasn't felt valued or loved or respected for 22 years, and how her father died when she was young and her mother was abused by another man and ended up dying. I would never even think any of this just from looking at this woman. It just hurts my heart to think about. I wish I could do more, but sometimes as a missionary I think we are just here to love people. This woman really needs to be loved, and we may not have a baptism with her anytime soon because of her husband but I am grateful that she trusts two young girls around the age of 20 to listen and try to comfort her. This experience really touched my heart and made me grateful for all that I have.

We also found a new woman knocking doors the other day! This was my first experience of someone that let us in. Immediately she started crying and told us of the pain she felt because she felt so unvalued because of the sickness she has and her daughter that she lives with does not give her the time of day. She said that she didn't feel like she had any point in living. The Lord placed us there when this woman needed it, she calls us her rescuers. I do not know anything greater that could testify of the Lord´s love for his children. Her name is Dominga, from the Dominican Republic, and we have met with her every day since. After two days, she already said that she has stopped crying and felt so much comfort from the Book of Mormon. She came to church and loved it :) This gospel has a way of healing deep wounds and filling in the holes in our hearts. This best kind of acceptance comes from our loving Heavenly Father. I feel privileged to be a messenger of this message.

I am feeling EXTRA grateful for the love and support I feel from everyone at home. The ward, friends, family! Thank you for your prayers and support! Hermana Aagard and I tried something new this past week that we love... we realized how much we complain during the week. And we decided every time we complain we have to say two positive things that we are grateful for. We have seen our attitudes about everything change TREMENDOUSLY! Just in time for Thanksgiving especially. I am grateful for the freedoms I grew up with. I am grateful that my family all lives together in the same country (many many people live here trying to find work for years away from their small children who they do not get to see grow up) and that we grew up in this gospel. I am grateful for my companion, and how similar our life circumstances have been. I am grateful for the woman that my mother is and what an example of hard work she has always been. I am grateful for Dad and his dedication to our family. I could go on and on and on!!

Also, look up the song from "Arise and Shine Forth" Especially For Youth (EFY) called "Never Be the Same". I love it.

How is everyone doing on their Book or Mormon reading??! Are you going to finish by the end of the year with me?

Have a great week! I love you all!!

Love, Hermana Emily Mather


Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Hardest Thing :)‏

18 November 2013

Good morning to all of you in the US :) Family, I loved hearing those stories about Amber and Aaron; it is nice to know we are missed. I love that you had the missionaries over and signed a contract! Yes! We started doing that my first transfer and I want to start doing it again. Will Amber be feeling better soon? Mom and Dad, you sound so busy, I hope you get a break soon!! Good job Aaron with wrestling!!! Is it getting chilly there? Goodness, it is starting to get a bit chilly here, and I am sooo grateful that I bought that coat. Is it snowing there yet? Can you believe that it is the middle of November?

Well, this week has made me think a bit about home, and how I won't be home for the holidays. That will be so strange! But after reading Conor´s email I was thinking about how I feel my family´s love ALL THE TIME. I feel the prayers of family and friends and that makes it okay. Every day is hard in one way or another on the mission, but it was never easy for our Savior, and he is just trying to shape us every day. I wanted you all to listen to "The Hardest Thing" by Nashville Tribute Band, because this explains my feelings of the mission better than I can.

I am beginning to realize what Moroni meant when he said that he could not write a hundredth part of his feelings in the Book of Mormon. Haha that is how I feel every week writing home, but I try. First of all, I didn't tell you much about Toledo!!!! Oh it was really spontaneous! The elders were supposed to come with us, but ended up not being able to the last minute, and so Hermana Aagard and I just ended up getting on a train and going ourselves!!! It was a fun, exhausting adventure. It was like we walked into a dream of castles and knights and swords in this medieval town. We toured the Cathedral with a little audio tour (Dad, you would have loved it, I kept thinking of you) and walked these cobblestone streets that were thousands of years old. Ah it was like a 4 hour fairy tale. Preparation days are only so long! And we were sooo exhausted afterward!!

We began meeting with a new lady from Venezuela named Veronica. She loves reading and is a psychologist, so she really reads deep into things doctrinally. I love teaching her! She tells us how she used to be so happy and smile so much, but she just hasn't for a while because she is worried about her family and out of work. So now she is looking closer at her relationship with God and trying to make plans to go to the US where things look a little brighter for her. I love seeing her smile when we tell her that she is a daughter of God. I love hearing her prayers after we visit with her, because she thanks God for the peace that she feels when she reads and meets with us. What a blessing it is to be a missionary!!!!

I love the temple. I feel such a spirit overcome me every time I go and just sit in there. I feel so blessed to be able to go to the temple here in Madrid and feel the incredible peace there.

We also found a fun little Medieval Festival here in the center of our little town this week! It was so fun to listen to some bagpipes and look at all the little knickknacks and see people in costumes dancing around!!

Oh we there is also a lady in our ward who is a cancer survivor and just recently completed her final chemo treatments. She has a powerful testimony and we love visiting with her. She also has a lot of friends who still have cancer, and we have been visiting on of them in the hospital. They have told her that she has about 2 weeks to live, because her breast cancer has metastasized to her brain. So we have been visiting her in the hospital. She is from Cuba and actually speaks quite a bit of English. Her face lights up every time we talk to her in English. Her best friend is with her there every day and sure is having a hard time. So we try to cheer her up and share scriptures and last time we even sang Christmas songs for them. Eli (the lady with cancer) sang along :)

Last of all, Mervin received the priesthood on Sunday!!!!  I COMPLETELY agree with Wade (and I think any missionary will agree) Sundays are so stressful. The investigators that we were hoping for didn't end up showing, but of course we see Mervin walking, without an umbrella, in the pouring rain, right up to the chapel. We call him our little rock. There was such a peace in the room as they ordained him to the Aaronic Priesthood. My favorite part was that right afterwards, he was able to help set apart a man in our ward for his calling. All of the sudden, I felt tears running down my face.. I couldn't stop crying! I saw him standing there with his hands on this man´s head, and I pictured him giving priesthood blessings to his family. I was thinking of Dad, and what a comfort it was to have the priesthood in our home, for blessing before the school year or when we are sick. I vividly remembered when Nathan and Dad gave me a blessing after I had my wisdom teeth taken out... and I was reminded of how grateful I am for worthy men that hold the priesthood that have blessed my life. And now Mervin is THAT MAN for his family. Or he will be when they are reunited! Ah... Alma 27:8 describes how I felt :)

Well, I hope I finally filled you all in a bit more. I love you and pray for you!!! p.s. I can´t wait to talk to you for Christmas! do you think there is any way I can talk to Wade too?

I love you!!!
Love, Hermana Mather

TOLEDO!!!!! It seems like dream!!!

More Toledo!

Breathtaking!!!

Mervin´s Baptism!!!

LOVE Hermana Aagard!!!!! What a fun P-day trip


Niños clases de ingles that we teach!!! 



Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mervin´s Baptism!!!‏

11 November 2013

Buenas Tardes Familia y Amigos!

Phew, it has been crazy stressful week!

Every week as a missionary is pretty stressful and tiring, but this week was even more so! Oof I wish I could tell you every minute of every single day, but I will try my best in this little email time!

I love having lessons with members, who can really relate to the people we are teaching. A lady named Graciela who was just baptized 1 year ago likes to help us in our appointments and she always talks about how it helps her keep her testimony strong. I LOVE teaching the little niños clases de ingles!!!! This is the best kind of service ever, as we get to teach little children, and the mothers are starting to open up and ask questions about the church and like that we pray before the classes! And they want to learn how to make American brownies from us! There is also a return missionary that just got home from Washington D.C. that lives in our ward, who served a Spanish speaking mission, but learned English on her mission, who goes with us to lessons and we learn a lot from her too! I love this work!!

During our Thursday planning session, both Hermana Aagard and I had been feeling really down on ourselves after having a zone conference that told hit a lot of points that we can do better at as missionaries. We just got to the end of planning, then had companion inventory, where we talk about the strengths of our relationships, how we can do better, etc. and before we knew it, Sister Aagard was crying and I started to cry as we both felt like we would never be the missionaries that the Lord wanted us to be. I would describe it as the feeling that we are standing at the bottom of one of those 14ers that we like to hike as a family, wondering how we will ever make it to the top. I was hit with another wave of homesickness this week that came out of nowhere! And here we were just wondering how we could press forward as representatives of Jesus Christ when we feel so imperfect. But, we cried it out, and then went back to work! haha it was pretty weird, and I think that the adversary was just hitting us pretty hard before we had our baptism this week.

We met with Mervin every day this week to help him finish up the lessons and get him all ready for baptism! We have been having little "Family Home Evenings" with him in the homes of the members so that they can get to know him. I love this man! It was really neat talking to him again about how he would take upon him Christ´s name, the power of God that he would hold when he receives the priesthood, and how he can spread this happiness to his family that lives in the Dominican Republic. AH! This is what we work for every day. To see these souls come unto Christ. This is why we study for hours, spend all day walking and contacting people and building relationships with members. And it was incredible to see it all come together as this man dressed in white stepped into the water and committed to follow Christ. He bore his testimony afterwards and said that he felt clean of things that tormented him before and that he had never felt so content :) Then to see his face as we sat in church and he was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints was just the best. And as everyone raised their hand to affirm that he was accepted and sustained as a member. I loved looking as Mervin´s face. He looked so content. I am convinced that there is nothing better than to bring this gospel to people, as we come to understand their needs and circumstances and what principles of the gospel they could use most right now. We are surrounded by God´s children who will each one day come to the truth, and we were so blessed to be a part of helping Mervin make this commitment!

So now, we feel like we are starting over a little bit, as we are trying to find a lot of new people to teach. I am reminded how much I love getting to know new people and bringing them to the restored truths. There truly are people being prepared everywhere, we see the Lord´s hand every day.

I wish I had more time to write now, but just a few more highlights! We get to go the temple this week and see the new movie, I am SOOOOOOOOO EXCITED!!!!  And, I ate cow tongue! Nathan, you were right, it is so tender and delicious!!!!!! yum, we didn't even know what it was until after haha. We also went to Toledo today!!! I will send those pictures next week!

I love you! Dad and Mom, I bought all of you Christmas presents in Toledo to send next week. I want you to be here exploring it all too! Please pray for me too, I am nervous for the next transfers and have been feeling homesick again, not sure why.

Have a great week! I love you!!

Love, Hermana Emily Marie Mather


Hermana Aagard, Mervin, Hermana Mather

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Milagro = Ver una vida cambiando por medio la expiacion‏

4 November 2013

Happy Halloween Family and Friends!!!

It was weird not being home for Halloween this year! I sure hope everyone had fun asking for free candy. What a wonderful tradition we have haha. Aaron and Amber, I hope that you did not stop trick or treating until you had a pillowcase full and enough left over to send me :) But really, I have been in Spain serving as a missionary for a little over 4 months now, does that blow anyone else's mind? Sometimes time does go kind of slow, but when we are working hard and having fun the time flies!

This week we had Zone Conference (we have this meeting every three months, so it was my first one) with President Jackson and His wife and intercambios (exchanges) with the Sister Training leaders. I loved Zone Conference. I think it came just in time, as I felt like a have needed a little bit of a push to work harder. I have never really been a lazy or disobedient person, but lately I had felt the need to get my heart in the right place and let my desires be more in line with those of the Lord's. It is hard when we get up at the same time every day, exercise, study, and basically the same schedule...it is hard not to become complacent. BUT I do not want to become comfortable with what I am, because I know I will always have something to improve on. I completely agree with Wade´s last email, that it is sometimes really hard to deal with all of the stresses and demands of the mission. I happen to also be a perfectionist in many ways, and I came out into the field thinking that if I worked hard enough I could be the perfect missionary. How wrong I was. It is still hard sometimes (once again I agree with Wade) because I do not always feel happy and I never truly feel adequate, but the Lord never asked us to do this alone. He asks us to come unto Him and let him change us. a big theme of zone conference was "Nuestro exito es directamente proporcionado a nuestros deseos - tanto en la mision como nuestras vidas" which translates to "Our success is directly proportionate to our desires - both in our mission as our lives". Our desires lead to what we change about ourselves, what we achieve, and what we become to be. We talked about how to receive more righteous desires and how we can be happier and see more success in repenting and changing out desires to make them in line more with the Lord's. I feel like I always have so much to change and I can always be better. I will never be the perfect missionary. That is discouraging sometimes as I feel all of my weaknesses are shown! But I loved what the shared at Zone conference as well: Nunca vamos a llegar al final de la mision y quejarnos por haber obedecido o trabajado arduament. This translates to "We will never come to the end of our mission and complain about the fact that we were too obedient or worked too hard", but you will regret it otherwise.

We also watched: "Sanctify Yourselves" Mormon message, and Super Sid (Sid Going) Mormon message. Both very powerful and of course mad me cry.

Also funny story, the man who will be baptized this weekend... his name is MERVIN not Melvin. haha. Sometimes we still do not understand the crazy accents of the Dominicans here. But we sure love him. He had his baptismal interview a couple of days ago. He ended up being in there for AN HOUR. Sister Aagard and I were getting a little nervous because it was taking so long. But, he came out with a big smile on... happiest moment of my mission. He will be baptized November 9th as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This man is our miracle (Milagro!). The miracle of the mission is seeing a life changed through the Atonement. This man gracefully accepted each of the lessons we taught, so willing to live the law of chastity and not move in with the woman he loves. Apparently he had been drinking quite a bit up until we met him, and he immediately stopped once we started teaching him. He has a little bit of a hard time reading but we have already seen his abilities improve with reading the Book of Mormon. What a journey and a privilege it has been to teach this man and see his life change. When he gives answers in Sunday school he likes to read ahead in the manual and stand up and give the answers in his own humble manner. And then Sister Aagard and I cannot stop smiling. And he made us brownies!

We also have another man named Marcos who accepted a baptismal date for December 1st!!! This man has also progressed relatively fast and has some really in-depth, well thought out questions when we meet with him. I love teaching him as well! Sometimes it is hard to feel like we are making progress here, when there are some days where all of your appointments fall through, or no one is answering their phone, or people just plain aren't progressing. But I know the Lord´s hand is in this. We know the ending of this story... the gospel is meant to be taken to all the ends of the earth and it is a privilege to be a part of it!

We also ate with an American family in our ward on Sunday! OOO it felt like home, it made me miss you guys and I loved speaking English and eating American food for a while:) Do you miss me? It is nice to know I am missed sometimes! You should check out their blog lavidadelhubers.blogspot.com i think it is.We will also be going to Toledo next weekend (YAYAYAYA finally some exploration and sightseeing!!) so you can see pictures of that on their blog. I might not be emailing for very long next week.

This is a long e-mail, I hope you've got a little bit of time to read it all. But one last thought: The powers of the Atonement do not lie dormant until one sins and then suddenly spring forth to satisfy the needs of the repentant person. Rather, like the forces of gravity, they are everywhere present, exerting their unseen but powerful influence. The Atonement is, in fact, the most powerful motivational force in the world to be good form day to day and to repent when we have fallen short. The atoning sacrifice was designed to motivate us, to draw us unto Him, to lift us to higher ground, and ultimately to assist us in becoming as he is."

I love you all! I sincerely apologize that letters are coming back so slowly to all of you. I want to write you all back and TRULY appreciate all the love and support. I promise I am trying to write you all back. Please keep them coming. I sure love Family and Friends (Mom, Dad, Nathan, Wade, Amber, Aaron, Mary, Eric Louis, Travis, Eliza, Kristen, Aubrey, Jesseniah, Jeanne, Kurt, Susan, Grandma... this list goes on and on!!!)

Love you all, Hermana Emily Marie Mather


I just wanted you to see the cute little Spanish man named Pepe that we keep running into here! hha. He sang to us. I have a video to send you of it soon! hehe.

Monday, October 28, 2013

I love being a missionary!!‏

28 October 2013

Hello Family and Friends! Buenos Dias!

Thank you so much for all the of birthday wishes, I felt so loved yesterday!!! Family, the package you sent was so great... it has been funny how much I have learned to appreciate AMERICA here! I miss the candy and I was even happy to just get a simple box of that Mac N Cheese haha. Thank you so much for the photo book, that must have taken a lot of time Mom, I really do appreciate it! I loved the card, all of your little messages were so sweet. I love my family!

Hermana Aagard sure made my birthday special! It was so fun to have both of our birthdays in one week! On her birthday, we did our exercises, then she got in the shower and I made her pancakes and made a little scavenger hunt of pictures for her with 22 reasons why I love her (those were not hard to come up with of course!). She received calls from ward members singing and wishing her a happy birthday. For my birthday she actually did something similar, hehe we think so alike! There was a little trial of 20 reasons why she loves me all over the apartment with everything for the family package all scattered around everywhere. And I had told her that Mom always makes us breakfast in bed, so she made omelets and French toast and we ate it while we sat on the bed and talked and I read birthday letters. I have the best thoughtful companion in the whole world! I hope I can be as sweet and charitable like her someday. I am also convinced that Sunday is the BEST day to have a birthday in the mission field! We had 5 investigators come to church!!! And the ward members sang happy birthday to me in English!! There were lots of hugs and kisses and pictures. I don´t really like being the center of attention... but Hermana Aagard told everyone it was my birthday. I felt so loved though. Haha the Elders from our district bought me non-alcoholic champagne too. So thoughtful of them.

Oh and this man Melvin that will be getting baptized on November 9th… He is incredible. He seemed a bit hesitant last week about his baptismal date, we have been meeting with him every day since we challenged him to baptism, and I can get it out of my mind when he said "estoy decidido" (I am decided) about baptism! He really enjoys coming to church and blends in well with all of the members. He is so humble and simple, but incredibly determined to choose the right path in this life. He is always reading what we leave for him and more, and calls us when he can’t find page number of what we have given him to read in the Book of Mormon. He may not know everything yet (and the truth is, we as missionaries are always learned new things about the gospel everyday too!) but he has received the answer to his prayers that this church is true and he has genuine desires to take Christ´s name upon him. He is an incredible example to us of someone humble and willing to accept teachings of the gospel that will be a little hard for him to live.

Also, I told you earlier about the Morales Family, who knows Rachel Borup’s husband (Elder Johnson baptized their son Marlon). The father of this family is an INCREDIBLE example to us. He has always been a member, but there was a time in his life that he got really dragged down by the things of the world, and was drunk all the time. I still do not even know the whole story, but I can tell you that this gospel has the power to change people. This man now has an incredible testimony and would do anything to have his whole family active in the church now. We love going to visit this family. I feel like they are my second family here in Spain! They actually saw us the other day on the street from their car and started yelling "BICHOS!!!" which means bugs in Spanish, because we are always calling them bichos! We have a great time laughing with them and working with all of them to come to church again. Luis Morales called us the other night and said that when we came to his house that night, we would bring 3 new investigators for us (WHAT! the best gift as a missionary!) and he told us: TRAE LA LUZ! which means bring the light. :) We had a great lesson and we were so grateful for this family willing to share the gospel with their friends. Their lights had been cut, we think because of failure to make ends meet that week, but of course they still feed us incredible Ecuadorian food. They are so generous and loving and just real. I feel so blessed to have crossed paths with all of the incredible people in our ward.

This week our ward also had a "Dia de España" fiesta! There were dances or songs from all of the countries (we have people from Bolivia, Argentina, Columbia, Spain, Ecuador, Peru, the Dominican Republic, our bishop from Germany, and a family from America!) It was really neat. The missionaries all sang the national anthem. I almost cried! I sure do love our country! I love eating all of the food and experiencing the culture out here, but it also makes me realize how much I love my country! I get so excited to cook American food and I am so proud to say I am from America.

Being on a mission is incredible. There are countless ups and downs, the timing is difficult to wrap my head around, and my head is in 1238473894759 places at once. BUT I am constantly reminded what a privilege it is to be here! Learning this language has been quite the humbling adventure but I try not to let it get me down when I don´t understand everything. I have learned an incredible lesson about listening. I can understand more than I can speak this language, but sometimes that is all people need... I have learned really how much people just need us to LISTEN sometimes! I have listened to peoples conversion stories, talk about their families, bear their testimonies, and I am convinced that I was sent here to learn to just learn to LISTEN and LOVE people. I still have a long ways to go but I am learned to talk less about myself but learn more about people and help and serve them. I love it. We have been taught many humbling lessons, but it is so neat to be seeing the "fruits of our labors!” watching the people we have contacted on the street come to church and make friends and accept the gospel. What other time in our lives could we just randomly approach people on the street and talk about God, then invite them to partake freely of something that we make them happy for the rest of eternity?!?! I can´t think of anything better I could be doing right now!

Well, that´s it for now folks. Hasta el proximo lunes, les qiero un monton, y pienso en ustedes a menudo. Oro para ustedes cada dia!! cuidanse!

Con Amor, Hermana Emily Marie Mather

p.s. Oh and President Jackson called us the other night and asked if we would mind having a 3rd companion for a night, we said of course not! She was a visa waiter for her mission in Salt Lake City Utah, and she is from northern Spain, she is so cute! She hasn't even been to the MTC yet, but we had fun talking to her and letting her get a feel for what the mission is like.



Hermana Aagard and I, some of the children from the Morales Family


Ideas for how to mark your scriptures in the cheap copy of the Book of Mormon, here is what mine looks like!!!

Car ride to district meeting!


Picture of Edna Mode [The Incredibles movie] drawn by Elder Stevens in our district!
"You are a missionary, PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER!!!

Stake Conference

Some members at Stake Conference


The Morales family


Birthday package

Eating a Rosa´s house! Yummy Bolivian food!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Fastest Week Ever!!‏

21 October 2013

My beautiful family,

I love holding your letters in my hands knowing they had been in yours day a few days before! I will be writing back next week! And I have received your package! I made Sister Aagard open it and peak to make sure there wasn't anything I needed to open right away. I just used the wallet since I have needed one. THANK YOU I AM SO EXCITED TO OPEN IT! Wow and I have a new little family member. How cute!

So for news this week! I feel like this has been one of the fastest weeks of my mission, and I think it is true that time flies when you are working. After a rough, disappointing week last week, we had the most lessons we have ever taught in one week. We had a little miracle happen... we found a man on a bench in a park where we live last Thursday and have been meeting with him every day this week. His name is Melvin and I sure love him!!! He is in his late 30's, from the Dominican republic, and is the first person we have ever taught that takes the little pamphlets that we had out after we teach, then he goes home and reads all the scriptures and takes notes about them in addition to what we assign him to read! We already invited him to baptism, and he has accepted to be baptized on the 9th of November (how cool is that Wade... we have a baptism on the same day!!!!!) He already came to stake conference here (which was really, really neat... all about missionary work) and loved it. They say that it takes people about 7 contacts with the church to become converted. When we first met Him, we were counted all of the times he told us he had come in contact with missionaries or with the church in his life. We feel so blessed to have crossed paths with this man. He told us his worries about not being smart enough or rich enough to go to church, but I loved Elder Uchdorf’s talk in conference about how everyone has their own talents to add. This man is incredible, and he has so much potential that he cannot even see! We are so excited for him to take this step in his life.

Oh I also got a letter from Neva Nardone! THANK YOU!! I am so excited to make that friendship bread and use your advice! I want to hear more mission stories from her :) what a nice surprise! Along with the ward Halloween package! What a wonderful surprise as well :) I am really learning to appreciate America as I have been away. I love Halloween and it was nice to get some candy corn and googly eyes still for the holidays. What a perfect spooky package! Thank you! (from Sister Ackley?!?)

We also have another lady, Rocio, from Spain that I told you about, she s progressing very fast as well, we just need to get her to church, which is hard because her father has cancer and she is always taking care of him on the weekends.

Oh and we teach little English classes for children now, in hopes to teach some of their parents the gospel, this has been fun! I miss little children so much! I love doing service here!


I don´t think a prophet could say it better. Thank you... family and friends for everything. The mission is not easy. We missionaries have hard days and I constantly feel like I am not cut out for this! But I feel your love and prayers! Thank you for all that you do! More to come next week! And I will be better about writing letters.

Love, Hermana Mather

Breathe Out Fear, Breathe in Faith

14 October 2013

Hey Goobers!!

Tell me how this letter finds you...happy?  healthy?  Probably tired as usual.  No surprise there.  I sure love that you make time to write me.  I am just not really ever sure what to write back any more, because I feel like a mission is almost like something you just have to experience to understand what it is like.  Ha, my body feels like it has aged 10 years since being here, and it hurts to get up every morning.  It makes me a little bit worried.  I haven't napped for my 2 hour Sunday naps in two months, I feel un-put together all the time, but I feel so happy.  It is hard to describe!  I love feeling the love that Christ has for people and looking for warys to serve people all the time.  I love learning the doctrine so deeply, well enough to be able to teach it in Spanish to people (that is a crazy experience).  I love the Book of Mormon!  I sound like crazy person... but I look back at how I was before, and how some days I would forget to pray, or I would spend weeks without reading the scriptures, but I am realizing how incredibly important it is here!  I used to just fall asleep during General Conference all the time (their voices are still so soothing ;^) ) but how it makes me sad just thinking about missing the prophet's words.  I never realized how many doubts I had before the mission, and how much more there is to know.  But now, it is one of my favorite things to just sit and read and just soak in the words of the Liahona.  AH I love it! I love reading the Book of Mormon!  Will you please read it with me as a family?

I know I sounds like a crazy person ; ^ ) dont' worry I am just a little crazy.  I was talking to my companion the other day and we said we should write a book about everything the mission is that no one warned us about, ha.  How you really never look like all of these really put together missionaries on the websites.  Or, how sometimes members feed you so much that you just about puke.  But most of all how the mission is so awkward all the time.  It really is a bunch of awkward and spiritual experiences tossed together.  It is quite amusing, and you get used to the awkwardness.  I love this quote that Hermana Aagard found the other day though: "When we act in faith in Jesus to do His work, He goes with us and blesses us to say just what they need to hear.  What we actually say and actually do may feel a little (or a lot) awkward or not very polished... but the Savior takes our words and actions and He carries them through His spirit to the hearts of the people.  He takes our sincere but imperfect effort and turns into something that is just right, indeed into something that is PERFECT."  Kim B. Clark

Isn't that wonderful?  I don't know about you but my efforts to serve people and teach people sure feel awkward and unpolished sometimes.  I sure feel uncomfortable and awkward learning this language.  But the Lord makes up for that ; ^ ).

I love you all... Goobers!

Besos (kisses),

Love,

Hermana Mather


I just wanted to show you my favorite pass-along card!  "Faith Brings Hope"  ;^)


Me and my companion, Sister Aagard!

WOW!  Yummy enchiladas!

Buenas Dias!!!‏

7 October 2013

Well hullo theeere family and friends!!

Can I tell you HOW HAPPY I feel when I open up my email and see lots of emails from my favorite people in the whole wide world?? And letters!! I feel so loved and so supported and I would love to send you all personal hugs and kisses right along with letters (I sure hope you know that if you have received a letter from me, I personally kiss each letter I send!!!) I hope that this email suffices for now. I tell myself every p-day ´´I will have time to write lots of letters, especially a long one for my family´´ and we end up being so busy!!! I blink and P-day is over, so I hope you all understand.

First of all, Family, I was hoping to send you a big letter this week... looks like that is not going to happen... I was going to write it on the bus ride to president´s house today (we had a sister activity there with 45 sisters... crazy fun!) but the bus ride ended up being 5 minutes and I got 2 sentences done. Soooo hopefully I will finish that next week, but I wanted to add my words to the letter that Wade sent to all of us, but I believe it was TRULY inspired what we both asked the family to do... buy cheap copies of the Book of Mormon and READ TOGETHER as a FAMILY!! Will you please do this? I could not believe what I read in Wade´s letter to us all, because I had been praying so hard to know how to help the family back home, and this is what I came up with to. I couldn't believe it when Wade’s letter came and he said everything that I had been thinking I wanted to tell the family, so basically I second everything that He said. I know that the power of prayer is real. I know that our family can grow closer together if we do this. Will you read the Book of Mormon with me? There is nothing more powerful than sharing your testimonies together my dear family. I listened to conference thinking so much of our family and went through and highlighted what stood out to me. Here are a few:

"Our lives will be infinitely more blessed as we read the scriptures"

"We gather together at conference to hear the words of the Lord, and return back home to live them"

How do we strengthen our family? We keep our covenants and use the POWER of the priesthood. Strengthen the home with it!

Anyways, just know that I know you are all so busy, but I know that, although it seems so simple, truly diligent daily scripture study and prayer is soooo important. I know our family can grow so much closer together as we do this :)

Sooooo it has been a great week! I got a bit of a cold… which was hard. Being sick on the mission is the pits. I am feeling better now, but I sure do not like feeling unmotivated or tired. Being on the mission is the BEST if you are WORKING HARD. I have learned that. It was interesting because we went to an incredible zone conference this week, very, very spiritually uplifting and I felt like it was just what I needed. Really, I wondered if someone had been reading my mind. In all reality, the Lord just knew what I needed to hear, because it was all about not comparing ourselves to others, but to take the things we see in ourselves as weaknesses, then take it to the Lord. We can leave these things at the Lord´s feet. The only person we should really be comparing ourselves to is to our Savior. We re-evaluate everyday what attributes we can change, turn away from the natural man and come unto Christ so that He can change us. I needed that because it is so hard not to compare myself to all of the missionaries I see hear every day we can speak this language and teach lessons and know who they are, and I still feel so inadequate. So it was a great message to help me remember that is so okay that we are so imperfect, because we are just being humbled to carry this perfect message :)

So we really seem to be making some great progress here in Alcobendas! We should be seeing baptisms very soon here, which is very exciting! It has been really wonderful seeing that we have started from ground 0, where our agenda really had nothing in it the first couple of weeks, just contacting every day, to being scheduled full of lessons with growing testimonies of this gospel! We recently started teaching a family, the mom´s name is Nancy; she is from Ecuador. She told us that people had always approached her to talk about religion on the street before and she always refused, but for some reason with us, she accepted. We teach her little boy Jeremy English every time we go over, and she has two other really cute children. Our first lesson with them didn't go over the best, we walked away thinking that we had just ruined our chances with teaching them possibly… But the Lord sure does send us tender mercies. Just when we have hard days and feel like we aren't making a difference here. Our next lesson with them when really well, we felt the spirit very strong, and they are starting to get excited about what we have to teach. It is so cute to hear about their little family reading the Book of Mormon every night.

Also, I know we shouldn't have favorites but we started teaching a little lady from Peru…Our first short little lesson with her we decided to talk about the love of God for us, and how we see that love through his Son Jesus Christ. We asked her who Jesus Christ was to her, and she just started crying and couldn't speak. She said that she feels so much love and her heart swells when she thinks about it. We love teaching her and showing her pictures of our family, hearing about her family who are all far away in Peru while she is working here. I feel like she is my second mom. She gives the best hugs, has so much love for the Lord, and loves to say cute little English phrases to us to practice her English. We will be setting a baptismal date for her hopefully tonight when we take her for a temple tour ;^) She came to church last week and two sessions of conference. The first time she came in jeans, then the next in a skirt, looking just like a member. I love her so much.

We are also teaching a lady from Spain (which is a pretty rare occasion!) and her name is Rocio. She has such a desire to know her purpose in life and often reads more than we even ask her to. I feel the spirit so strong as we are able to tell people that they DO have a purpose here in this life and they have a Heavenly Father that loves them so much!

Also, wasn't general conference just so wonderful? From what I understood at least, it was great ;^) I saw one or two talks in English and the rest we watched with our ´´friends´´ (investigators) in Spanish, which was a little difficult. I will work on reading them. It was really neat this time though, because I wrote down questions and things I was struggling with before conference, then took notes at conference, and went through and highlighted every single answer that I received. Our leaders are so inspired. I love this gospel. I love how the relief society and first session were so based on COVENANTS that we have made. I have a renewed desire to remember and fulfill the covenants I have made with the Lord and serve Him with all that I have.

Some of my favorite quotes from conference (paraphrased… haha I was translating from Spanish to English I hope this is what they said!)

´´Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith´´

´´We were not placed on this earth to walk alone, from the beginning our loving Heavenly Father promised us He would be there with us. He loves us NO MATTER WHAT.´´

´´It is not important where we serve but what we do. It is not so much where you have been or what you have done, but what you WERE and ARE willing to do´´… sometimes I wonder why I was called here. I feel like I struggle to speak this language sometimes, I wonder if I am being the missionary that the Lord wants me to be. But I am realizing more and more that a willing heart and a strong desire to follow this Lord is truly what it takes."

´´Cling to your Covenants and the Lord will lift our Burdens´´

I love you all so much! I am so grateful for a loving companion that has shown me how to have fun and work hard. I am grateful for a Mom and Dad that have always taught me the ways of the Lord, I always knew what they expected of me. I am grateful for worthy priesthood holders in my life. I am grateful to be serving a mission, in this great work of Salvation. I am so grateful to be serving at the same time as my brother and sharing experiences! I have really learned how much I love America from being here and for the cultures and freedoms we have there. I am grateful for living prophets and apostles to guide us. I am grateful to be an instrument in the Lord´s hand here in Spain. I am grateful for trials that keep us humble and help me turn to the Lord. I am grateful for all of you, especially my family ;^)

I love you so much! Have a great week!

Love, Hermana Mather