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.
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.