Wednesday, August 28, 2013

First Baptism!!!

27 August 2013

Greeting to my dearest family and friends at home!

My exciting event this week: BAPTISM!! I sure hope the pictures I send work!! It was pretty incredible to watch my first baptism as a missionary. It was a different feeling... I cried!! haha. Kind of embarrassing. In the photos you will see Hermana Tabares and I, Alexis, and Elder Nunez and Cloward in our district who also had two baptisms. Alexis is 18 years old, and his mother and sister were baptized in January. It is incredible to see the strength that this gospel brings into families and individuals. I feel privileged to have been a small part in bringing the gospel to Alexis! He went to EFY [Especially For Youth] here and has made so many decisions to change and live this gospel. EVERYTHING we do here as missionaries is to bring the love of God to people, and the first step of finding more love from God in our lives is baptism. What a happy day. It is really also incredible to think that baptism is just the door that we enter into (3 Nephi 11) and that there is more happiness to come!! Being a member of this Church does not mean that we will not have challenges and problems... they still come. But we have a greater access to our ROCK, our Redeemer when we live the principles of this gospel. The baptism was beautiful!

President and Hermana Jackson also came and gave a fireside after the baptism about how members can be more involved in this work (and yesterday in church we watched the first half of "The Work of Salvation" - so far the ward members are responding so well, we have already been invited to more homes lately to take place in family home evening, and more eating appointments... yikes I hope I fit into my clothes). The Jacksons showed a Youtube video of a bunch of young adults opening their mission calls, I tears just started running down my face. I think it is so important to remember these times in our lives, when our faith is comformed, that this is what we are supposed to be doing. Opening my mission call was one of those moments for me. I KNEW that the Lord needed me here, for these people, speaking this language, at this time, etc. Sometimes in life we forget these moments when times get hard, but we have to remember, and hold on to that testimony that was confirmed once upon a time.  When we do this, we always have the promise of the Savior walking beside us through those dark moments. When we hold on to the truths that we DO know, the light soon comes, and our faith grows. I think that life is like a cycle of moments like this, and being on a mission is just going through the cycle more rapidly for me right now!

Do you have moments like this too? Mom I really enjoyed your quotes about hope, and I actually just read that talk by President Uchdorf - it is quite incredible "The Hope of God´s Light", if you haven´t read it in a while, go back and read it... it makes me smile.

Also, some other talk you all might enjoy: Improving Your Personal Prayers (Elder Kevin W. Pearson) I really enjoyed this one...I am working on improving my relationship with God.

Oh! And if you could please, look up a poem online... "The Race" attributed to Dr. D.H. "Dee" Groberg. It starts with "Whenever I start to hang my head low". Wow, this is an incredible poem that applies to anyone’s life, giving us witness that we always have a father in heaven, looking after us and cheering us on. And we truly win, if we rise each time we fall.

I will just leave you with a few spiritual thoughts!!

"It is serving God and others persistently with full purpose of heart and soul that turns testimony of truth into UNBREAKABLE STRENGTH!! -Henry B. Eyring

"In these latter days, we know something of God´s love through the Book of Mormon. We know how to make His love our own, and we become His disciples as we gain power to love as He does. As we keep His Commandments we become more like Him. We broaden our circle of love in reaching out to people of EVERY nation, kindred, and tongue" (this one gives me comfort in learning this language too.)

I just wanted to mention all of the letters I have received and thank these people: Carlson family, Jesseniah, Eliza, Anthony Viglione, Kurt and Jeanne, Aubrey, and of course the immediate family. Thank you for thinking of me, and I am slowly trying to write back!

I love you all and hope you have a great week! Crossing my fingers that you receive my letter! (p.s. shoutout to Krissy and Desi, I haven´t heard much from either of them, but just thought I would tell you a love you! And Lisa Kofford, good to hear she is doing great! and Julia Gramlich, I think of her so much, using her lovely journal to write scripture notes in!)


Love, Hermana Emily Marie Mather

Pictures of bowling last week for Hermana Tabares´Birthday!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Nada es Imposible con Dios!

19 Agosto 2013

Hola Familia Mather!

So I hope you know that this just might be the most stressful hour of my whole week, because I feel like there are so many things I should write you. I want send you every picture, every scripture I have read, Take you through every experience I have had, the good the bad and the sad. I want to just have you here with me for one day and let you experience everything! Or send you my eyeballs! But, sadly, I can´t, and I realize there are so many things that I just need to let go of here. Like Wade, I thought I would hit the ground running, teaching lessons like crazy and know the language right off the bat. But this most definitely was not to be. This is not the way the Lord works ... little by little, every day, and it is so hard to see progress. It is so difficult for me to focus on what to do during the day, because there are SO MANY DIFFERENT ways I can improve and things I can improve. I have learned to accept those things that I cannot change right now. Well, I should say I am learning to accept it. I am learning to work hard and leave the rest to the Lord. The Lord cannot work with me very well if I am too stressed out trying to write down every single Spanish word and not listening to the Spirit!

I have so many pictures to send and stories I want to tell, but first I want to share my testimony with you. Sometimes I wonder if I truly had a testimony before I came here!  As we study the scriptures every day, the Spirit confirms to me again and again that this is the Lord´s work. We agreed to this plan before we came here! Even though we saw each and every one of the struggles we would have here on the earth, we KNEW that we had hope for a better world … we had hope to be better people. WE came here because we knew that we would have a Savior. This is so beautiful to me! I know that the Lord lives, I know that He is my Savior, and I know we each have a Father in Heaven, waiting for our return. We cannot remember what they look like, or what happened before this life, but this Gospel is incredible... anyone who listens to it seems to feel like they have heard it before... because they have! I also know that this gospel was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. What an incredible story....and I think I really had a hard time believing it before I came here ... more than I realized. Now, set apart as a missionary, I watch the story of Joseph Smith´s life, and I have feelings I have never experienced. We watched it last night with the Familia Bocanegra and the Spirit was so strong. But once again, the more I study this, the more I feel in my heart that this has been the Lord´s plan all along. He created this earth for us to learn and grow and gain experience THROUGH trails, and gives us prophets because he knows we need the guidance!

Speaking of living prophets, I LOVE THEM!! Wade sent me some talks that have saved my life this week: "Cast not Away Therefore, Your Confidence" and "Mountains to Climb" and I also read "Lord, I believe".  PLEASE read these if you ever have trails or doubts arise what you feel like you can´t handle them. It is incredible to me that we have such inspired leaders in this church that speak the words of the Lord. I never really realized how tough a mission could be sometimes. But it is! I am learning that the Savior can be your best friend though. Nothing in the world can give us peace like the Lord gives. I am grateful for the foundation of this gospel when trails come, because we are taught to cling to that which we know, that which we knew was right at some point or another. Sometimes the Lord asks us to take a step into the dark so that we can really appreciate the light that the Gospel brings. The Lord will never forsake us (D&C 100:12).  He is with us to the end!

I never knew I would have so many fears here...but we also know that fear does not come from the Lord (2 Timothy 1:7).  Only power and light and confidence! So even though times can be difficult here, we are promised that the Lord will be there with us, bearing us up, and he always consecrates our trials for our good.

Also, I want to tell you a bit about some of the people we are teaching! We have our first baptism this Saturday!!! His name is Alexis (from Ecuador, I believe). His mother and sister were baptized in January, and he wanted to be baptized with his father, but his father won´t be baptized for a while...but Alexis has decided to be baptized!  It is amazing to see the comfort this gospel brings to the mother, who is dealing with an unfaithful husband, and she is holding on the foundation the gospel brings. We also have Jaquelin from the Dominican Republic, scheduled to be baptized in 2 weeks. She has 2 rebellious daughters and 1 son, her boyfriend (I do not think they are married) is unfaithful and comes home drunk in the early hours of the morning. He does not have a job. All of the weight is on her shoulders, she works and cooks and tries to keep a peaceful home. After she told us all of this, we took her to the temple, for the peace that we find there. Wow. What an incredible experience it was. She kept saying how much better she felt ... such a peace. She is so special! We also have the Bocanegra Family scheduled to be married in October, and then baptized. We will see what this next transfer brings, if we are still here. All in all, people are incredible!!! Everyone has their own story and circumstances and we have the privilege to teach them how they can find this peace and happiness. We still have trials that is for sure, but this gospel helps us to rely more on our Redeemer who suffered all of these things himself so that if we come unto Him, we do not need to suffer. I am grateful for the opportunity we have to repent daily and become better- try to become more like our Savior every day.

I am going to try and send some pictures now, and hopefully send my memory card this week! I hope you enjoy them! I am also going to try and read or print your emails now. I love you!

One last thought: "Nefi no oró para que sus circunstancis cambiaron.más bien, oró para tener la forteléza a fin de cambiar sus circunstancias" Sometimes we ask the Lord to take away our trials because we aren´t strong enough. The truth is, we aren´t strong enough. BUT if we pray for the strength that is not our own, the Lord will amaze us. "You should not pray for trials to match your strength, but strength to overcome your trials. Then your answered prayer will not be the miracle... YOU WILL BE!"

Until next week.... BESOS Y ABRAZOS!!

Hermana Emily Marie Mather

p.s. You al all in my prayers DAILY and I think about you all the time. I love you

The desk in my Madrid apartment


19 Agosto 2013: An email from Hermana Mather to her Mission President, forwarded at her request.

Hola Presidente!!

First of all, I really want to thank you for what you said in my interview this week, that you look at me as your own daughter, and even though you know she will have difficulties as she leaves for the MTC in one month, you want her to go anyways, because you know it is good for her. I think this is how our Father in Heaven looks at us. There are still moments where I feel such a fear of being here, not being able to speak this language, so far away from home, but I learn to turn more to the Lord. I didn´t even tell you that I was having some feelings, but you knew what to say. I HAVE been feeling like I do not have a personality here and that I have to just sit back while my companion does all the teaching. I want so badly to make a connection with people and let them know that I am not a robot, and I do have a personality. You shared with me that you felt the same way when you went to Columbia! Thank you for that, I believe it was truly inspired.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

We have 4 baptisms coming up!!!!!

12 Agosto 2013; a letter in response to questions from her brother, Elder Mather, excerpts are included here at her request.

Oh my goodness gracious!  Yes, I am in the mission field.  Is the timing here crazy or what?  I am not sure what to think!  Sometimes I just have bad days and life drags on, but then I think … wait! I have been here for two months?  Really?

Overall, those first few weeks have been the hardest adjustment, I think because of culture shock, not knowing this language well … on and on and on.  But the most stressful things is that I cannot tell you everything.  So, I am going to try in the time I have for this letter.  I will answer the questions you asked, that seems the easiest!

  1. My trainer: Hermana Tabares Insuasti.  Ha.  It was funny to meet her.  I said, “do you speak English?” and she didn't understand.  Ha.  That was my answer.  She is very independent and quite opposite from me in some ways.  She loves how clean I am and the apartment clean but everywhere she goes it is like a bomb went off!  Ha.  And she doesn't like to run or anything.  This is very hard for me.  It is hard for me to know if I am being exactly obedient because we can’t always communicate well.  I am trying though.  Be grateful you have someone to run with while you can.
  2. I am in Madrid – Barrio Uno (Madrid 1st Ward).  We have six missionaries in our ward!  Myself and my companion and two sets of Elders.  Wow.  There are so many people packing into this city.  There are also people that live in pueblos (like a place called Majadonda) and I have just fallen in love .  We visit quite a few less active members there or find old investigators to meet up with from our area book.  I am probably going to die of secondhand smoke here though.  Ha.  Everyone smokes in the city!  Yuck.
  3. Everyone lives in apartments here, very small; and most very humble.  Everyone has little clotheslines out their windows and hands their clothes out to dry, I will have to send pictures.
  4. I love the ward here!  It has been hard to feel included or to show them that I really want to work because there really is so much to say that I can’t say, and I actually have felt the least comfortable with the Bishop, because I do not understand him especially, and I felt like he was always laughing at me, so that was hard.
  5. I didn't have to wake up too early to leave the MTC and we had a nice lunch at the mission home; burritos, just like mom makes   ;^).  I LOVE the Jacksons.  They are so down to earth and have truly sacrificed so much to be here.  Actually, today I tried to call the mission office and accidentally called President Jackson.  He said, “Wait! While I have you on the phone, I wanted to tell you that I have been getting your weekly letters to me and I am so aware of you.  I am praying for you.  I think of you as my daughter, who leaves for the Mexico MTC in one week! How kind!”  They truly are wonderful.  He told me everything will get better.
  6. Yes, the Madrid MTC was amazing!  I am glad that you saw my pictures.  I hope to send more next week.  This week sure was a disaster; I didn't even get an email sent, really.
  7. The mission field most definitely is not easy.  Yes, it is comforting that you have felt the same.  Thinking of you gives me strength.  Thanks for the scripture you sent: Doctrine and Covenants 122:5-7; that was helpful and come right when I needed it.  Seriously.  I read this after a long day.  It was one of the nights that I knelt down to say my prayers and the chair where my arms were folded was soaking wet with my tears by the end.  I have had a few of those days.  But I turn to the Lord and there is always a new day.  The Lord is my best friend.  He has been my support through all (2 Nephi 4:20-21).
  8. Ha the accent, yes it is funny when the people that don’t hardly have any teeth speak it.  HA!  But it truly is beautiful when some other people speak it.  I spoke with the “theta” or “ceta” in the MTC, but got out of the habit because my companion is Colombian and doesn't have the accent.
  9. I loved what you said about obedience … JUST DO IT!  I agree.  There are so many things that I do not understand but I do it anyway.  This actually REALLY stressed me out at first … I want to understand better so that I can be obedient!  It’s comforting that you are still getting it down.
  10. Yes!  Writing in our journals every night is SO important!  And yes, I never really feel rested when I wake up in the morning.  You feel this way too?  And I agree, memorizing names and getting to know ward members is SO important.  This has been a struggle because I have 1000000000 Spanish words floating in my head and I feel like their names go in one ear and out the other.  But, I have started to write them down because I know this is important.  Oh most of them are from Ecuador and Peru … yummy food.

I will just end with a few experiences/stories of people we taught.

  1. The Bocanegra familia – so special.  I cried my first night there.  We all were singing hymns off key, but the Spirit was there.  They will be baptized this coming month.  It is my favorite thing to picture them kneeling around the alter in the temple, sealed as a family for time and all eternity.  I have started trying to picture ALL of our investigators like this and it has helps so much. I feel such a love for them.
  2. Thank you for the “sanctification fast” idea.  How great!  I started a little while ago and it is on my mind all the time.  I am trying so hard to eliminate negative thoughts and fears.  I have faith that the Lord will see my efforts and help me.
  3. I love the scripture Mosiah 3:19 about putting off the natural man.  I feel like the Lord wants me to learn this.  This is so applicable to missionary work as we constantly strive to “become a saint” and turn outwards rather than think of ourselves.  We hardly have time to think, overwhelmed by all of the topics we can by studying, putting off personal matters, because THIS IS WHAT THE SAVIOR WOULD DO.  That is what the gospel is all about!  I am trying more to turn OUTWARDS rather than thinking of my struggles.  It really makes a difference.  EVERY lesson we teach reminds me why I am here.
  4. I truly do love my companion.  We have our difficulties, but she is incredible to watch teach, because she has a genuine love for the people, and love for this gospel.  I cannot wait until I can speak this language!  I want so badly to teach and I feel so held back.  But I have a different role right now.  I have faith that the Lord has more in store for me and learning will come line upon line.  Do you feel this way sometimes?  I try  not to compare myself to others who can preach in English because I wish I could say what I have to say, but I heard a quote: “ We are called to preach in the language we can testify the strongest.”

You have angels round about you (D&C 84:88).

Love, Hermana Emily Marie Mather

Sealed with kisses!!!  Besos y Abrazos de Espana!

MY COMPANION! Hermana Tabares Insausti! From Columbia! Spunky and independent.
I understand for the most part all that she says to me and the stories she has to tell,
but I wonder if she knows anything about me... haha someday.
My Spanish is getting better little by little.
I am understanding quite a bit, but speaking is SO DIFFICULT!

The kiwis here are DELICIOUS! Like candy.
We have mediodía (midday) from 2-4pm, which I struggle with a lot, because I would rather be outside working.
It is during this down time that I feel sad and homesick and discouraged with the language.
SO I have tried to watch church videos and study the language and write in my journal.
So far it has been quite lovely.
The Bocanegra Family! I met them the first night I was here. What a sweet, humble family.
I haven't been to a home since the mission home, everyone lives in apartments here.
Maria and Roger are so humble and have a beautiful family (Roger, RosaMaria, and Jesus).
Roger and Maria will be married this month and they will their daughter will be baptized in the next couple of weeks!
They are so sweet and patient with me even though I do not speak very well.
They told me I have a sweet spirit.

It is hot and hard work out here!

August 5, 2013

First of all, Amber and Mom, happy birthday this coming week!! I really hope to send I lovely little package, it is going to be late though :(

We have called the bus station and the police I think but nothing has turned up. The first week was the most difficult week ever because that happened, and I couldn't communicate anything to my companion to tell her we needed to call the bus station and all.

Mom, I REALLY enjoyed that “wow” sticker that you sent in your last letter. I hope to be getting letters at my new address now! HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMBER AND MOM!!! I hope you have a great one!! And wade, than you so much for your letter. It meant the world to me. I started that fast and it am really looking forward to the strength and direction I will receive from it.

So, also, I will be back on around 4 or 5 tonight. We get to go to an amusement park today! Weird huh?! I never thought I would be doing that on P-day! But our president is okay with it. I will let you know how it goes. I have an hour later this afternoon to send pictures and email president so we will see how that goes. UNTIL THEN!!!

Love, Hermana Mather


Sorry I am really short on email time today we just got back from the amusement park and have an appointment to get to. I will work on the debit card, not sure what else to do...

A highlight of my week (journal entries)

30 Julio 2013 Martes

I feel so grateful today. I feel bad yesterday for sending home an email of disappointments and complaints. I love this Gospel! Sometimes I wonder if a truly had a testimony before, because it has grown so much. I have to depend so much on the Lord every day. I love my companion and try to serve her as much as I can. I try to be patient with myself and with her when we cannot communicate well. She calls me Corazon and Linda which mean Heart and Cutie! She is sooo spunky and independent. She has a true love for the people that I really admire.

My testimony has become so strengthened in the power of prayer. Yesterday I asked the family to pray for me because I was having such heartachy feelings of homesickness, and I literally would start shaking when I thought about how I never knew what I was doing, where I was going, or what anyone was saying. I constantly feel this pressure over my head, like I cannot accomplish everything that is expected of me. Obedience, learning this language, conjugating verbs right, scheduling appointments, serving my companion, being patient. BUT I could literally FEEL the prayers of my family today. I even wrote this is my agenda because I felt a power from my pleadings with the Lord and I felt a world of difference. I felt power to be happy and not feel so alone. Sometimes God needs us to walk in the dark to help us realize just how beautiful the light is.

31 Julio 2013

I have heard that we should cherish every moment of our mission, even the hard times. WOW today was one of those days. It really still is such a roller coaster ride here. I go through countless indescribable emotions every day. We had many appointments fall through and I haven´t been able to understand ANYTHING today. Sometimes these days just come for some reason. I am not sure what is happening and I ask myself why I am here. It is really hard for me to hear about missionaries that have the opportunity to preach the gospel in English, because I want to be able to express how I feel and reach out to people. Long story short, I have to ask Hermana Tabares to repeat things 10 different times on days like this. This day ended up with my short break down of tears in the middle of the street as my companion was frustrated that I couldn't understand, and frustrated that she couldn't explain and I felt like I couldn't handle it anymore. I read D&C 121:7-9 Thy trials shall be but a small moment. I always know tomorrow is a new day.

1 Agosto 2013

We had companion inventory today and we both decided on things that we can each do better! We are so different. She is so independent and says that her true frustration is with herself not being able to express what she wants to say! And I can´t help much and express my feelings. It all works out though. I continue to find scriptures that are applicable to me, no matter the moment. It is incredible. I will have to share more of them next week. One of them was about Ammon I think, and it said that RIGHT when they were about to turn back, the Lord comforted them. The Lord never fails to be there for me. He always supports us in our trials.

People are amazing! I love the people we teach, you can feel free to pray for those we teach! Arthur, Belen, Darma, Edwardo, Rosemaria (Mom´s name. I love it!), Maria and Roger

2 Agosto 2013

I have never had something test my patience so much, than learning this language! Sometimes I feel so isolated and I feel such an outlet to be able to speak English sometimes! I feel so quiet. No one expect the Lord can know how I feel, but this really brings me comfort. I have so much to work on; I can be more patient with my companion. I have started the "sanctification fast" that Wade suggested and I really look forward to concentrating my efforts on being accountable to the Lord with my thoughts, actions, and dedication to this work! I have set some goals to eliminate negative thoughts like thinking I will never learn this language, and eliminating my FEARS. I know that fear is the opposite of faith and I should not be afraid to speak to everyone that I can, always opening my mouth, without fear of rejection or sounding funny.

I see so many tender mercies of the Lord every day. I just have to be looking. The ward members here are so kind!

 WADEEEEEE: do you remember Elder Frankie Portis from your ward in Salt Lake, you will never believe this, but he is in my ward here. He looked really familiar to me, but I didn't think much, but we got to talking and we have met before! He taught your friend Melissa!! Wow what a small world! We took a picture together, and I will have to send it next week. I have soooo many pictures to send home, and I hope to have more time next week! How does that sound?  Also, a lady from your ward emailed me and she is a life saver, gave me some great advice about adjusting to everything here, especially the language. I believe she served in Malaga. Please tell her thank you, I really appreciated it.

Amber: Do you LOVE running again?? What have you been up to?

Nathan: How is life at home? What do ya plan on doing now?

Aaron: My goober, I miss being called Emalooba! What have you done this summer? Excited for school?!

Mom: what surgery is this I hear about?? Are classes done?!?! Are you getting excited for nursing? I really enjoy your letters!

Dad: you should send pictures from your races and of the family and such if you have a bit of time in your weekly emails! How is work going??

All in all, the mission is not what I expected at all, like Wade said I expected to hit the ground running, but I can see that I will ALWAYS be learning and improving and adjusting here. I think of you all often and pray for you. I love you!! HASTA LA PROXIMA LUNES! [UNTIL NEXT MONDAY!]

Hermana Mather

BESOS AND ABRAZOS TO THE WHOLE FAMILY!! (hugs and kisses!) (and to everyone that reads the blog, hah)

My First Area!!!

July 29, 2013

Oh my goodness! I do not know where to start! Right when I begin to get comfortable at the MTC, everything changes. I have formed so many lasting friendships with everyone there and t was really hard to leave. I loved my district and MTC President. What incredible people.

Mom I haven´t received your package yet, but we have zone conference Wednesday so maybe they will bring it to me then. If not, I heard I will not receive package for another 3 weeks or so... oh dear. And no, my wallet has not shown up sadly. It was mostly sad because it was the wallet Nathan brought back for me from Argentina! It will all be okay though.

I am so glad that you got the email from the Jacksons! They are INCREDIBLE! Just wonderful. We really enjoyed spending the day at the mission home, in anticipation for receiving our new companions and areas. Yikes. I actually started feeling VERY, very nervous the night before, and felt like I should receive a priesthood blessing from President Sitterud. I do not know why I felt this way, I had just been thinking about how inadequate I felt because I do not know this language, I didn't know what area I would be sent to, and I was questioning my testimony. But I am so glad that President gave me a blessing. In it, he assured me that my sacrifice in serving at the MTC was accepted of the Lord, and that all was well with my family back home. He assured me that all would be well with getting to know my new ward and things would go well with my new companion. He gave me some advice that I have thought of often since then. He said that sometimes Heavenly Father does not give us a definite answer in our prayers, and this was the point I was at. This is when we just need to go on in faith, and then Our Loving Heavenly Father will bless us with more light and knowledge.

So...I had been praying for a native companion and guess what?! I got one! Well, she is from Columbia and her name is Hermana Tabares Insuasti. I have really questioned whether this prayer should have been answered though, because she knows only a few words in English...oh, my, gooodness, really, what, I, do, not, understand. haha. WOW I keep thinking to myself, what have I gotten myself into? This is by far the HARDEST thing I have ever done. I have found myself thinking a lot lately about home, and how this is the farthest from my comfort zone I have ever been. It really has been wonderful, please don´t get me wrong. We taught our first lesson the first night I got here, and have taught lots since, but it is so difficult for me because I want to make a difference in these people´s lives. I want to touch them like my companion can, but I do not speak their language and I am not sure how to make a connection. I am so lucky to have her though. She is very obedient and dedicated to this work, even though she has only been out for 4 months. Her whole family is inactive but she is still her serving. She is 24 years old. It is pretty amazing that we have kind of gotten to know each other, because it is just the two if us in our apartment, and I speak so little Spanish! But I am so lucky to have such a great teacher!

Every day is a new adventure.... I never feel like I truly know what we are doing or where we are going because we can´t communicate all that well. It is interesting that is for sure. We have taught recent converts to the church, less active members, new investigators...the work surely is not slow here! Many of the members are from all over, mainly South America, I believe. I just feel like my head is going to blow up all the time, especially at church. 3 hours nonstop of Spanish, so many vocab words and names running through my mind! Also, I gave my first talk in church! haha I had to write it out word for word and have Hermana Tabares translate for me, but it went well! I can speak well when it is written out, and I understand quite a bit normally, especially when conversations are slow and gospel related. My motto: POCO A POCO which means: little by little.

I have never had such a test of my patience in my life! Holy cow I want to understand everything NOW and be able to speak and teach and touch people´s hearts. But I need to trust in the Lord´s timing. It is all come around. That is what the American missionaries here keep telling me.

But I would like to ask the family to please pray for me. I do not want to feel these aching feelings of homesickness. I have not had it this badly yet because there were people in the MTC that I could speak English to all the time. My heart aches for my comfort zone, and I feel such a fear that I won’t learn this language or be the best missionary that I can be. I know there are so many things I can do better every day. I have gained a testimony of purifying our thoughts, pushing away thoughts of discouragement and replacing them with thoughts of faith and hope and happiness. This really makes a difference. I think it would really help me if you pray for me to adjust to these changes and to feel comfortable here. My heart aches to be home. Please pray for me. I feel so alone sometimes, even though I know that I truly am not. My savior is there, always there to listen.

Mom, I really appreciated your letter from last week! Thank you for all of your kind advice and  I LOVE that quote about pressing forward and turning our fear into faith. That has helped me a lot this week. I read a quote that really helped me the other day when I was having a rough time:

It isn't as bad as you think it is
It all works out, don´t worry
I say that to myself every morning
It will all work out
Put your trust in God
And move forward with faith
And confidence in the future
The Lord will not forsake us
If we will put our trust in Him
If we will live worthy of His blessings
He will hear our prayers

I know that our Savior is ALWAYS there listening. I really appreciate all of your faith and prayers for me.

I received letters from Jeanne, Kurt, Denae, and Travis before I left the MTC. These all mean so much to me. I am slowly trying to write back. I can only write on P-days now, so that makes it hard. I am trying! You now have my address though, so please send letter and packages here! That is best!

It is so impossible to tell you all everything that I want to!

I love you all so much! I hope to send pictures next week, sorry I haven’t for the past couple of weeks, they wouldn't attach.  More to come next week! I love you!

Love, Hermana Mather

Bienvenida, Hermana Mather!‏

July 27, 2013

Dear Parents of Hermana Mather,

We received your daughter into our mission Tuesday morning. We brought her to the Mission Home and fed her lunch. She was excited, and seemed ready to get to work. We enjoyed spending a good part of the day with her,  to tell her about our Mission and to get to know her better. She is wonderful.

We met with her trainer to discuss the new 12 week training program. During this 12 week period, your daughter will have an extra hour of companion study each day, and will be given specific things that she must report to the Mission President. We know that this is an inspired program, and will help missionaries learn to be better teachers and better followers of Christ. Please encourage your daughter in this program. It will help her to develop tools that will help her to have a successful mission, and a more successful and fulfilling life after her mission.

Hermana Mather has been assigned to the Madrid area in Barrio 1. She will work with Hermana Tabares, who is from Spain/Colombia, as her companion. She is a happy, obedient missionary and will be a good first companion for your daughter.

Our Preparation Day is on Mondays. Hermana Mather is instructed to email her immediate family every week. We look forward to getting to know her and working along side her in this great work here in the Spain, Madrid Mission. We already love her. Thank you for sharing her with us!


President and Sister Jackson

PS I am sorry that this has taken so long to send. We are sure that you have heard of our Elder Ward, who was in the horrible train accident on Wed., as he was traveling to his first assignment. He is doing well and is stronger every day. We traveled to A Coruna on Thursday morning, to assess his medical condition and needs. He was able to be released from the hospital late Thursday night. He is bruised, has stitches in his scalp and on his chin and forehead, and a fracture of his neck that we will watch carefully, but, amazingly, he is doing well. There were definitely "angels on his right and on his left bearing him up". Over a third of those on the train were killed, and the majority of the survivors were critically injured. In the midst of such a great tragedy, we have been part of a miracle.

Hermana Mather, Sister Jackson, Mission President Jackson, Spain Madrid Mission

Lost my wallet!!

July 27, 2013

Hello Family...

Sorry I do not have long, my P-days are on Monday now, but I got special permission to email you and have you cancel my debit card because I lost it today. ah, rough day. My companion and I are going to look for it right now, but so far we haven´t had any luck. I think it fell out of my purse on the public bus system which is a bummer. If i find it I will keep you updated.

My new address is:

Hermana Mather
Calle Lerida 8,4,2B
Madrid, Spain

More to come on Monday. Sorry I do not have time now, but all is pretty good. I do not know if you heard about Elder Ward, but I knew him. He seems to be doing well.

I love you!

Love, Hermana Mather