Sunday, July 21, 2013

Last week at the MTC!

Only a few more days until I head into the mission! Wow time has flown by!

I cannot believe it is already July 18...WHAT?! I feel like I just arrived here, and I have am starting to feel so intimidated, knowing that I am about to being the REAL DEAL! It is SO incredibly exciting though. Our last day here is Monday, and we are supposed to be packing for the most part today for our Preparation day. Oh and last week, we meet our mission president, President Jackson and his wife! Well, we actually met them a couple weeks ago in passing because they were attending a baptism at the church building across from the MTC. We were headed to the gym to play volleyball and recognized them. It has been so exciting to see them! They seem so wonderful!! I already admire them so much. Each of them was so genuine, and recognized us from the pictures they have seen. They told us that they are waiting for us! We each felt so special! This gives me comfort in leaving the MTC, and makes me so excited to get to know them better. We found out that they will also be here on Sunday to speak to us, and to interview us before we meet with them again on Tuesday! It is crazy to think we have already been here for 6 weeks and we are already leaving, receiving new companions, and embarking on the journey that we were sent here to do! What an exciting time.

It is so bittersweet to leave this place. I am convinced that I am surrounded my angels here.  We have some truly inspired teachers, and we have grown so close. Our teachers are so in tune with the spirit, and they know our personal needs. I consider them some of my best friends here. I really hope to be back in this area to serve so that I can speak Spanish with them fluently and see them again! They always know what to say when I feel discouraged, and it is the FUNNEST thing in the world to teach lessons to teachers when they are acting the part of someone that wants to know more about the church. Sister Heims and I feel so ridiculous because it isn´t real, but we feel SO HAPPY when we see the gospel changing people.
Yesterday at dinner, I think one of the Italian teachers here was inspired to tell us about her mission. She is from Italy and served in the United States. Learning English was SO HARD for her. We were telling her of our concerns about knowing the language, and she showed us what she did with the scripture in Ether12:23-28. She changed the scripture and applied it to her life. So I did the same last night, and it has really changed my perspective.

This is the same scripture, for me, and for ANYONE that is discouraged because of weaknesses that they might have:

And I said unto Him, Lord the people of Spain will mock these things, because of my weakness in speaking. For thou hast made us mighty in word by faith but thou hast not made me mighty in speaking Spanish. And thou hast made it that I can speak but little because of the awkwardness of my mouth. Behold thou hast not made me mighty in speaking or writing like other missionaries here, for thou madest it so that they were able to speak mightily, even unto the overpowering of men that hear them. Therefore when I write or speak, I behold my weakness and stumble because of the placing of my words, and I fear lest the people of Spain mock my words. And when I had said this, the Lord spake unto me, saying: my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness. And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weaknesses that they may be humble, and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then I will make weak things become strong unto them. Behold, I will show unto you your weakness, and I will show unto you that faith, hope and charity bringeth unto me the fountain of all righteousness.

There is SUCH POWER in the book of Mormon. I know that this book is of god, written for our day. There is such power in applying the scriptures to our lives, again and again and again. Different scriptures apply to us at different times in our lives, and this is a means of personal revelation. I am grateful for my testimony of the prophet Joseph smith. I know that he restored the same gospel that Jesus Christ established while He was on the earth. I know that God loves all of His children. He loves all of us! And I am SO grateful for my family, and I know that we can live together forever!! I know this, and I am grateful for this knowledge. I love that I have the opportunity to share this with others.

I wanted to tell you about the experience of singing on the temple ground. We do this every Sunday and the Sullivans even bring out their electric piano to play for us. They were both in the Mormon Tabernacle choir for many years. Cool! The power of music is incredible. If you haven´t gotten a chance, look at their blog ( because I think they post the videos there. We sang "Army of Helaman" last week. We sang twice and I could not hold back my tears each time. I looked into the eyes of many people there, especially our teachers who are recently back from their missions and I could see their testimonies. I could see the many lives that they had touched because they had the faith to take a step into the darkness and go on a mission. I KNOW this is where I am meant to be and that there are people here in Spain that I am meant to touch. That night on the temple ground, a woman walked past, and was touched by our singing, and began to cry. The missionaries in the Madrid mission of course immediately began to teach her.
The other day, on our way to the park, Hermana Heims and I were talking to a lady in the metro, we have missed our metro stop, and I was a bit scared about finding our way back, but I have no doubt that this was the Lord´s hand. We got to know her, she showed us pictures of her grandchildren, and we came to find out that her husband had died. We each bore strong testimony that she could see her husband again. We told her about how much we love our families, and we KNOW that she can live together with her family... forever. What a sweet experience. I love the people here in Spain!!! I heard that it would be such a difficult mission, but the people are so ready to hear what we have to say.

My time is running out but I would like to leave one more thought...from a devotional that we have from elder Holland last Thursday titled "Don’t you dare go home!" haha
He said "we cannot promise heroic results, but I can promise my heroic effort" the salvation of Souls is a beautiful work and I want to live by this motto. We can always promise our heroic effort ALWAYS!!

I love you all so much! I hope to hear more from you... Mom, how is school for you?! Please tell me about your lives! I love you!

Love, Hermana Mather

This is the week of many pictures! Since I seem to have such little time to write emails, I am hoping that these pictures say MORE THAN 1,000 WORDS!!! I hope you enjoy them! I am not sure when I will be able to send more pictures next, since I have been using sister Heim´s memory card USB. There are pictures from various weeks here and I will do my best to explain them all!

This is the door of our classroom, we added the nice Buzz Lightyear addition to the window!

An attrictive picture taken on Pday with sister Heims, on the bus.
On our way to the mall to grab a few things that we needed.

We play soccer here EVERYDAY! It is so fun!

Some of the little member kids play too.  It is ridiculous how good they are.
And I am so bad. Slowly but surely we Americans will learn their soccer ways. Ahah.

The incredible Russian sisters that were only here for two weeks.
I Love them. What incredible examples to me.
I can´t pronounce their names but I will always remember the impact that they left on me!

The necklace that wade gave me, always reminds me of Him when I wear it!

Our classroom, where we spend about 10 hours a day…
preparing for lesions, learning grammar, having a great time as a district!PP

Preparation Day means temple day!! This is our district. I feel so blessed to have  the opportunity to attend the temple every week. I can even be brushing my teeth at night, and look out the window the see the temple beautifully lit up right outside!! I am so blessed to know each of these elders and Sisters. I have learned so much from them. It is hard to say goodbye, but it is incredibly exciting to think about the adventures yet to be had!

I could not have asked for a better companion. I have learned so much from her about selflessness and exact obedience.
There are few people that make me laugh as hard as she does! I knew that we would be great friends from the beginning, when we stayed in the Provo MTC together! She also wants to be a nurse, pediatric oncology like I do too. We are so similar it is scary sometimes

So excited to be missionaries!!! I still look down at my nametag occasionally and I just can´t stop smiling!!!!!

I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY! Is a such a blessing to learn more about the Lord´s works and be reminded EVERY day that every soul has worth in the sight of God.

Our district with the Mission President Jackson, his wife, and the Sullivans, a senior couple serving in the Madrid Area.

Sister Jackson, me, and Mission President Jackson

Our room! So homey Ü

Our closet…
I just wanted you to see the lovely mickey mouse laundry basket that I purchased out here!

This week was Sister Heim´s birthday! She turned 21! I can´t think of a better place to have a birthday. The Sisters here are wonderful. We made here this candy bar poster...

... and sticky noted the bathroom!

So, I was kicked in the shin last week in soccer. It hurt at the time, and every since my ankle has turned every color of the rainbow! Pretty huh?

So studious. I love time to read my scriptures!!
Missionaries in Front of the Madrid Spain Temple

Missionaries on the Escalator

Sister Missionaries with Mustaches

Friday, July 12, 2013

Coming up on the last week in the MTC!

Hola to Mom, Dad, Amber, Aaron, Wade and Nathan!!!

I sure love you all, and I keep you each individually in my prayers and thoughts multiple times a day. I feel exactly the same as Wade -- I wish you knew EVERY SINGLE detail about being on a mission here in Spain. I wish I could have you here for a day to experience what we experience. I cannot tell you everything, but I try to save up some of my most favorite emotions and experiences to share. Thank you for being so wonderful to send off emails and letters to me!

WADE... how was your birthday?!?! I hope you got my letter.

And DAD! HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you!!!! Did you receive my letter yet? I sure hope you have! Tell me all about your birthdays please!

First off, I am not sure if Wade and I watched the same fireside from Elder Bednar, only available to missionaries, but it was JUST incredible. It was exactly what I needed. Ever since I have been in the MTC I have felt a little unsure about how I feel the spirit in my life. I have been so worried, because I am nothing without the influence of the Lord. I cannot teach others if I do not have the Lord with me. So I felt incredibly inadequate and unsure whether I could accomplish all of these tasks that have been placed in front of me. But this devotional was an answer to my prayers. Elder Bednar´s talk is basically summed up in this quote... "Be a good boy, be a good girl, keep and honor your covenants, keep the commandments of the Lord, press forward in the name of Christ, and your steps will be guided, your mouth will be filled with the utterances of God."  I could not contain my happiness when I heard this. Elder Bednar had this to say about wanting to know how the spirit talks to us... DON´T worry about it!!! As long as we are doing those things that we know we should be doing, as long as we are following the example of Christ, we need not worry about if we are following the impressions of the spirit. He said that the most important thing to remember was that we should never be idle. We are worse off if we sit and wait for impressions of the spirit to come, than if we just get to work! It renewed my commitment to get to work and do my best. I do not need to know at that exact moment that I am receiving impressions from the spirit. It is interesting because I look back at many decisions that I have made in my life that led me down the path that I am on now. Many feelings I had at the time were ones that I didn’t realize were straight from the Lord. Looking back now, everything was so divinely planned, unique to me. I did not know at that exact moment that I was following a prompting, but now I know. Each of these experiences led me straight to where I am today. Our Heavenly Father is so aware of each of us! I KNOW this. He will not let us go amiss (Elder Bednar shared this scripture from Doctrine and Covenants section 80... you should find it). He loves us and has a plan for each of us. This is my testimony.

That experience is just a fraction of ALL of the experiences we have the opportunity to have here at the MTC. I wish I could tell them all.  I do want to share another, more simple story. The other day, our teacher Maestra Martinez was in our classroom, getting ready to teach us some grammar. But she began to share her testimony with us. She speaks in sweet, broken English, but she is the most genuine person that I know. I want to be JUST like that. It is rare that you meet people like this... so in tune with the spirit and so close to Christ. She told us that right now, we do not represent ourselves. We represent our families and the Lord. That is why my nametag says "Hermana Mather" and "Jesus Christ" in large font. My job as a missionary is to do as the Lord would have me do. I need to be His hands to lift others up and help them to realize the happiness that they can have in this life through the Gospel of Jesus Christ that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints brings. I am His eyes, and His feet, always in search of His children on the earth that are prepared for me to teach. Her testimony was so simple, but so profound. God Lives and being a part of this church literally means that we are to be the Lord´s hands. We are to become more like Christ every day. What a blessing!!

Also! I have been dying to tell you ALL WEEK about this story. Not quite as spiritual, but I know you will enjoy it! hahah. So I had a dream the other night that I was with one of the sisters in my district (sister Nydegger) and for some reason Dad was throwing spiders at us. Do not ask me why I was having these thoughts in my sleep, but it happened. Ha. I have never even been afraid of spiders really, but in my dream, the spider that I thought was dead, landed on me and started crawling all over me!!! Apparently, I screamed SO LOUD and fell out of bed! hahaha. How embarrassing. I was so confused, just sitting on the floor at 4am in the morning. Oh goodness. I was hoping that no one had heard, but the Hermanas in my room asked the next day why someone screamed, and Sister Heims said she looked down after she heard it, and she was so confused because it looked like I was on the floor, kneeling to pray at 4 in the morning. HAHA! So dad, I hope you especially enjoy that! We could not stop laughing all day just unable to believe that had actually happened.

Oh one more funny story! So, a companionship of elders in our district taught a lesson with an investigator. They came back from this lesson looking slightly confused. They said that their investigator had left the lesson for about 5 minutes, then came back saying that we was very "constipado" today. haha they were so confused why he had shared this personal information with them, thinking he said he was "constipated". Ha. This silly word in Spanish actually means "congested" like a congested nose. We all had a great laugh after the teacher came in and had to explain that it wasn´t really what we thought. I have had so many experiences with words that do not quite translate well. Sister Heims and I have had some wonderful laughs! She and I are so similar, it really creeps me out sometimes actually. Ha I love her though.

Well, sorry this is a bit of a short email this week. I love you all. Once again, sorry for the lack of time to reply to everyone. I have been trying. I love you!


Hermana Mather

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Fourth of July!!!

Hola Mi Bonita Familia!!!

Wow I wish I knew where to start my emails!!!!!! Well first off... HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!! haha the Elders at the MTC this morning woke up this morning ten minutes early to belt out the star spangled banner! hahahaha. I was in the shower, but It was wonderful to hear some American spirit! I hope you are all in the United States blowing things up for me!! ha.

WELL! It is the highlight of my week to hear from ALL of you! I apologize that all of my emails seem so wimpy compared to most people, and I apologize for not being incredibly great at replying. Just know that I feel your prayers and cherish every letter and email!

It was so wonderful to hear from Wade! I just skimmed over the email, but it sounds like he is doing great. I skim through and print them out to read after so that I have most of the time to email all of you. This seems to work best. Also, because many of the keyboards here are weird -- and for lack of time -- I apologize for spellling errors. Whoops! there one is! haha I hope you fix them before you send them out dad, it is embarrassing! [Editor note: Yes, the spelling errors are being corrected, except for the “spellling” error above.]

This basically sums up the MTC for me.... Pray as if everything depends on your prayers, and then get off of your knees, and work as if everything depends on your work!! We are constantly told that obedience will bring blessings and exact obedience will bring MIRACLES!! So I am trying my VERY BEST to be exactly obedient to all of the mission rules. I pray harder than ever here. Times can get hard. But then I think of the great work that I have the OPPORTUNITY to be a part of. And I have an army of support back home. I sure do love my family!

So Wade explained a lot of how it works to teach investigators here. I wanted to tell you a little bit more about that. It was so scary at first!! We actually teach our teachers, they just pretend to be different people. But it is truly INCREDIBLE!! We have to teach them completely in Spanish, too. Yes.... it is intimidating! Holy cow. Sister Heims and I would take hours on end to plan out every single word in Spanish so we could sort of read a script for the lesson. I am pretty sure everything is written wrong too. Ha. It is such an adventure though. We really have come so far, and I completely agree with Wade that you learn to just love the people that you teach. Even though they aren´t truly investigators, I think that our teachers or role playing as people that they taught on their missions, which makes it that much more meaningful. Everyone that teaches here is a wonderful example to me. I have seen so much improvement in learning that we are teaching people, not lessons. It is very difficult when I know few words and I can´t conjugate verbs properly. And, I am not sure how to form sentences, but that is where the Lord steps in. Our past few lessons have been more geared towards the investigator´s needs! It is SUCH a wonderful feeling to express my thoughts and feelings of some sort. Through this I have learned that language barriers should not stop us from sharing the gospel. I get so impatient with myself sometimes, but this week I have learned that the Holy Spirit does not need a language to speak to people´s hearts. I am trying my best to remember that the Lord always provides a way. It is incredible to feel the spirit even when different languages are being spoken, and I do not understand the entirety of what has been said.

Speaking of other languages... we got a new batch of missionaries last week! They are all Russian speaking and they are just wonderful -- all coverts to the gospel. One of them a convert as of a year ago, and her family does not support her in going on a mission. And another is the only active member in her family. How hard would that be? I look at myself and think would I still be doing this if that were my situation? Then my answer is YES!! I sure hope so. I am surrounded my incredible, strong, valiant missionaries.

Speaking of incredible people, I am convinced that I have the best district in the MTC. We have become so close, and I think I have made some lifetime friends. I feel like we have known each other for so long. Ha, like someone said the other day, we are not monks, be we aren´t monkeys either! We work hard when it is time to work, and I love laughing together when we need some comic relief. I will send you some pictures of our district this week hopefully! We went to the Prado all together last week which was cool! My favorite part was walking through the city actually. It is BEAUTIFUL. I thought I would be homesick, missing nature. I know that I still will be, but these cities here are filled with clean streets and huge trees! I will try to send some pictures of that too. The Prado was.... cool. haha Not really my cup of tea. Many dark pictures of Christ and war, but I am glad we had the opportunity to go. The best part is the people that I am able to spend time with there.

The highlight of my week here is always the temple. It’s interesting how it always comes right when I need it to. Part of my session was in Spanish today too! I can´t really say I knew exactly what I was saying or hearing, but once again, the spirit is the same, no matter what language. How wonderful.

Also! Two days ago, our district (Hermana Nydegger, Fowers, Heims, and me and Elders Franklyn, Benton, Dunn, and Holt) all decided to have an ENGLISH FAST day, where all we could speak was Spanish! This was probably one of the hardest things I have ever done. haha. It was either very quiet all day, or very broken Spanish being spoken with long pauses between each word. haha. The longest day of my life! BUT after all was said and done, I believe that we progressed so much, because speaking the language makes such a difference. I would say now that I understand about 90 percent of what people speak in Spanish (ha, if they are talking slow) which is quite an improvement! Speaking the language lags far behind what I understand, but I think that is normal. So this day of only speaking Spanish was very helpful, even though I thought I might not make it. I am so relieved that I didn´t die. We plan on doing it at least once a week now.

I am going to eat lunch now, then I have a half hour after to email! I will email more soon! I hope you are sleeping great! haha. [email arrived at 5:05am Mountain Time]


Lunch was wonderful today! The mission president and his wife decorated the entire upstairs for Fourth of July and we had BBQ-type food, with ICE CREAM! Oh how I missed ice cream! Oh goodness. I hope to have time to send pictures of that too. Just made my day to have a little bit of America!

That fireside sounded wonderful from Tyler Haws. I loved going to watch him at BYU basketball games!

I need to make sure that the pictures attach, but just one more thought. (Sorry these emails are so crazy and scatterbrained). I have been thinking a lot about this quote this week.... Everything you are doing now is preparing you for something else! I love that. This applies to EVERYONE! When times are rough here, and I want to give up, I think of how the Lord knows everything. He knows what I need. I need to patiently persevere. Patience is knowing that it is in the waiting rather than the receiving that we grow the most. I am receiving so many lessons in patience and humility. And I am learning little by little, better ways to see the personal revelation that I receive in my life. I have always struggled with that. What an incredible experience. I love you all so much!

Until next week, my beautiful family!


Love, Hermana Mather

My favorite food here so far at the MTC! YUM! Salmon and jello.
The pears here are AMAZING!!! I think I eat 4 pears a day.  The fruit is just wonderful!!

Walking through the city on our way to the prado

03 My companion, Sister Hiems, and I at the Prado!! MUSTACHES!

... and Elder Franklyn too!

MTC Sisters at the Madrid Temple

Beautiful Madrid sunset!!! (Madrid Temple; from the MTC window)

Madrid Temple

Missionaries in Madrid

Paseo del Prado (one of the main boulevards in Madrid, Spain)

Today at the temple!!!

Yum! First cupcake I have had here!!

All of the missionaries in our MTC for our Fourth of July lunch!

Fourth of July lunch!! So fun!!  (MTC companion Hermana Heims)

My MTC teacher's cute little son!!