Monday, September 30, 2013

Photos and Videos (June - August 2013)

June 2013 Photo Album

July 2013 Photo Album

August 2013 Photo Album

Some photos have captions.  Also, there are some short videos.

Hulo there :)‏

30 September 2013

Weeellll Hello there family and friends!!

SOOOO just a few updates this week!! We had intercambios [exchanges] and I went to Azuqueca de Hanares with one of the sister training leaders. GUESS WHAT!!!?! Her name is Hermana Ally Frandsen, and she is one of Kiley Bodily’s (and Zachs!) good friends from BYU. We were talking about where I was from, etc., and she asked if I knew Kiley. It just went on from there. How fun to talk about Kiley and the Bodily family! It was like a little piece of home. I sure do love intercambios though, we spend 24 hours with another companion and learn different ways to work and interact and teach lessons. Hermana Frandsen taught me so much. She goes home in two weeks now, and so I wished I could just sit there and SOAK in all of her knowledge. I haven’t had a companion yet that is really old in the mission like her, so it was fun to experience. I was a bit nervous because I knew she would be going home so soon, and I didn't want to get all home sick thinking about how she gets to see her family soon and I am so far away. But it actually had kind of the opposite effect on me in a way. I loved hearing all of her stories, all of her knowledge, how she had changed, etc. and it makes me want to be so much better. It made me want to work that much harder! I want to be able to look back at my mission and feel like I have done all that I can, and served the Lord to the best of my ability!

She told me a few things that I want to share real fast! I told her about how I want to my mission to change me, but I do not want to come back a completely different person. We talked about how God hasn't called us to here to be anyone else. We can learn from each of the companions we have, and take traits that we like, but we do not need to BE them. BE YOURSELF!! There is also a balance between being a stressball and having faith in the Lord. I tend to be someone that gets stressed out very easily and a bit too serious sometimes, but I have learned a lot here about working hard when we need to work, taking a nice break when it is time to relax, and praying... all the time. And not having faith in the Lord really doesn't matter if we don’t have faith that he can work miracles through US. TRUE faith in the Lord is acting on our faith and expecting miracles. The Lord will always make up for our shortcomings when we do our best.

We have had a week of successful lessons with some really prepared and promising people :) we had two people we are teaching come to church, too!! During Mediodia [midday] we have been getting to know members better and cooking with them and sharing spiritual thoughts. I am constantly amazed by how everyone has a different story, and I love getting to know people, and how the gospel has touched their lives individually, and how the gospel WILL touch the lives of the people we are teaching :)

This work always has it disappointments when people reject our message, like a family that we taught a lesson to that asked us not to return, but the Lord always seems to close some doors and open so many more. Sometimes it still is hard to feel like we are making a difference here because we are a small part of a grand work, but how grateful I am to be a part of it!

We are finally getting to be better friends with the Elders here too! Wade, just some advice when you are helping the sisters get comfortable there, BE THEIR FRIEND PLEASE! We feel so much more comfortable that the Elders talk to us like friends, and we feel comfortable asking them for advice since we are so new at this. They really are such great examples for us or hard work and strong testimonies. We sure have big shoes to fill!

I just wanted to share one more thing that I have decided to start doing. My dearest family, will you please join with me? I have started reading the Book of Mormon again (this is the last time in English! next time, Spanish!) and I am highlighting every time it says CHRIST or any of His another names. And I am trying to mark it up like crazy, writing notes everywhere of how it applies to my life right now, and how I can use the teachings in my life to be better. I do not want to be preachy, but I want you to do it with me :) will you please! I think it would be so cool to share our experiences with each other. I just barely started a couple of days ago, and I just read a bit every day, but it is really cool. I LOVE THE BOOK OF MORMON!!! IT IS INCREDIBLE!!!! I love it. I love it. Never would I have thought that I would think it is so enjoyable and fulfilling to read the Book of Mormon all the time and church magazines. But this is what brings us true happiness :)

I love you all so much! Until next week!

Love, Hermana Mather

Last dinner with the Bocanegra family, my favorite Peruvian meal J with all the missionaries from my first Ward!

Cute little girl from my ward!

With Hermana Ally Frandsen!

Making Ecuadorian empanadas with a member J 

Hermana Frandsen again!

My beautiful companion, Hermana Aagard, outside of our piso!

Just thought you would like to see the lovely picture I received of Wade hanging on my wall, and family pictures and quotes. I love you all so much J!

Our district at the temple!!

 Sisters at the temple!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Semana 4 en Alcobendas!‏

23 September 2013

Buenas Tardes todos!

Every night when we arrive in the apartment at 10:00 Hermana Aagard and I write HAPPY THOUGHTS for each day (even on the hard days) and I am so grateful for this, because each day feels like 5 days and I can hardly remember the week when I sit down to email on Mondays! Here are some of the highlights of the week:

I think that if anyone is thinking about taking any kind of marriage preparation class, then should just go on a mission! Haha. You will learn more about yourself and other people than you could ever imagine. It really is wonderful, we sit down every night and talk about what we did well and what we can do better, how we can improve our relationship with others, etc. Not that I am thinking a lot of marriage right now, but what good preparation to do this with a spouse, always trying to improve and become better together and learn from the other when they do things in a way that we would never have thought. And we are constantly praying and studying to make sure that we are united with the Lord, that is the best part!

I gave a talk in district meeting (all in Spanish... that still amazes me that I can communicate myself in the language sometimes) about sanctifying our thoughts as the first step to finding people to teach here. Hermana Aagard and I have really gained a testimony of this, because it has been difficult to see the Elders in our district baptizing people every two weeks as we start from scratch and have days were all of our appointments fall through, but our theme for this transfer is Joshua 3:5... Sanctify our thoughts! And make them full of faith in this work and the Lord´s timing, then He can work miracles! I also love everyone in our district! I felt like I was lacking some missionaries to really look up to last transfer for hard work and obedience, but this transfer I really feel like we have big shoes to fill, but it is a GREAT kind of pressure to have. Our Elders make us want to work harder every day.

We found TWO families to teach this week! one from Venezuela and one from Ecuador. We have some amazing experiences teaching them, and look forward to return appointments and getting to know them better. It felt just so real and comfortable teaching them :) We are constantly surprised by the Lord´s hand, as we realize the some people we have contacted on the street who we didn't think had potential have ended up being those we really feel like are ready for this gospel in their lives.

We had a disappointing lesson, that didn't take the route we had expected, and the member we have for the lesson was frustrated because we were a little bit late, and we felt like sometimes people just see all of the things we haven't quite got right yet. BUT our ward mission leader sure brightened our day, he said that he call tell we are working hard, because we are finally finding people to teach and filling out our weekly inventory sheet with all of the wonderful little fruits of our labors! wahoo! We have the best mission leader ever, I feel like he is an intimidating army Sargent sometimes haha.

We were teaching English classes the other day, and tried to hint to the elders (for the 500th time) that we are still eating on the floor and would like some chairs for our table, and maybe a sofa. We talked with our students about our "piso de sueno" or piso of our dreams, really emphasizing that our apartment could use these things. haha. The next day the elders called us and delivered a box from IKEA to build a futon that said on it: THE PISO DE MIS SUENOS! [the floor of my dreams] haha. So just so you know we no longer eat on the floor. woohoo!

We love to work hard and try our best to be obedient. I love that about Hermana Aagard! haha we stayed a little later than we should have at a member´s house, that was clear across town and actually ran home (in skirts I might add) in NINE MINUTES. haha. I have not sweat so much in a long time. We are also trying to figure out the bus systems here, and got lost headed to a town in the middle of nowhere. We seem to find adventure wherever we go! Oh and fun little side note, I forget what they are called but I used those bum-washer things that are in all of the bathrooms here! haha remind me what they are called? [Bidet] And fun little European fact: we do not have dryers, and the clothes washers are in the kitchen, we email at Locutorios [Booths] (stores with computers) and there are little stores here that have everything your little heart desires here that a lot of Chinese people own. Everyone calls them Chinos [Chinese].

And now for some spiritual thoughts for the week! I have been reading the Fourth Missionary, and I would recommend anyone to read this wonderful talk, becasue really it applies to anyone living on this earth. It makes me want to be better. I love these scriptures: Omni 1:26 and Mosiah 2:34 which talk about giving all that we have, all that we are, OUR WHOLE SOUL to the Lord. That is what this life is about. Really, the odds are all stacked in our favor in this life! We have a loving Heavenly Father who created a plan for us to have success. When we open our heart freely to the Lord, that is when we can feel his power enter into our lives, and that is when we change for the better. The whole entire purpose of this life is change, and we are constantly changing. I try to ask myself everyday if I have changed for the better, gaining more light and taking rubbing off more of my rough edges. I love this quote from the Fourth Missionary (the kind of missionary that we should all strive to be): "I am doing my best. I have a lot of weaknesses and a lot to learn (I think we feel this way no matter what stage of life we are in). But I am withholding nothing from the Lord (where is my heart?) I am serving with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. I am faithful and giving all that I have to give.´´ :) Truly, the Lord knows us. he knows that my best may not be the same as someone else's best. He knows where my heart is. He knows this is hard! He knew that we would feel discouraged sometimes on our journey here on earth. We are tested, tried, and told to give up every day, but the Lord is so please when he sees us get back up, and open our hearts, acknowledge our weaknesses, then rely on his power.

I love this from Henry B. Eyring:

I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The dye has been cast! I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made; I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won't look back, let up, slow down, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I'm finished and done with low living, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tainted visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals. I no longer need preeminence, positions, promotions, plaudits or popularity. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk with patience, am uplifted by prayer, and labor with power. My face is set, my gait is fast, and my goal is Heaven. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my guide is reliable, my mission is clear! I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, divided or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won't give up, shut up, or let up, until I have stayed up stored up, and paid up of the cause of Christ. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till I know, and work till He stops me. And when He returns for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me. My banner will be clear.
Henry B. Eyring

We renew our desire to press forward everyday as we truly study the scriptures and apply them to our lives and pray to the Lord. It is that simple. "Just give up, surrender your will to Him. Unconditionally. Withhold nothing. All of YOUR desires, wishes, dreams, and hopes. Be true and faithful in your head and in your heart, not just in your behavior. Trust in Him. Trust Him who knows all things. Trust Him who has all power. Trust Him who alone suffered, paid and atoned for your sins, and for your WEAKNESSES (I love this aspect of the Atonement, because I am so imperfect) as well. Trust Him that He will make of you a masterpiece. You will create of you only a smudge. You will create an ordinary man. He will create a God" -the 4th Missionary.

I know without a doubt that this is the work of the Lord. I know it is anything but easy, but life wasn't easy for our Savior either. I know that through Him, we can be made into more than we can ever imagine, because He loves us more than we can ever comprehend.

Que tenga una buana semana! Les queremos muchissssssmo! MUAH! BESOS!!!

Love, Hermana Mather

Monday, September 16, 2013

We Met Elder M. Russell Ballard!‏

June 2013 Photo Album

July 2013 Photo Album

August 2013 Photo Album

Some photos have captions.  Also, there are some short videos.


16 September 2013

Hello from Spain!!

So we do not have much time to email today, so this will probably be a short email time, and I do not have money to print out emails so I have to save time to read them on here. Also I am broke so there is no money to buy stamps for the letters I have written to you so I will have to wait until next week to send those! So sorry!

I have wanted to tell Mary Murray and Jeanne thank you for writing me such sweet letters! Please do not stop writing even though I am terrible at replying :) I have been meaning to tell you that my companion reminds me so much of my cousin MISSY!! I want them to meet when we get back home. She always makes me laugh at her silly jokes and is so sweet and hard working.

Also fun fact! Elder Ward is in my district now! He came back to Spain after recovering in the US for a while from the train accident. He came last week (I think it was) and has been working in the office with our Elders here and will be for the next little while. I sure do love this Elder! He is so inspiring and bounces back from anything. Did you know he accompanied me and another Hermana in the MTC for a duet that we sang? He is an amazing pianist.

We got a surprise phone call on Friday and heard that Elder M. Russell Ballard was going to visit us on Saturday! We had the incredible opportunity to shake hands with an Apostle of the Lord, and hear his words in the little chapel next to the temple. HOW COOL! He said everything that I needed to hear, and really gave us a boost for this week. Elder Ballard gave a wonderful message. Part of it focused on D&C 11, where the Lord answers Hyrum Smith’s question, “What would the Lord want me to do?”

Verse 3 states, “Behold, the field is white already to harvest; therefore, whoso desireth to reap let him thrust in his sickle with his might, and reap while the day lasts, that he may treasure up for his soul everlasting salvation in the kingdom of God.”

And then, in verse 8, “even as you desire of me so it shall be done unto you; and, if you desire, you shall be the means of doing much good in this generation.”

Notice the word DESIRE in these verses. The key to success is desire. Elder Ballard told us that all things that we desire and really believe in righteousness can be achieved.

Elder Ballard said, “Your success is directly proportional to your desire.”

Then, he asked, “How much do you love The Lord? Do you love Him enough to get up on time?”

He said that this had been a very busy trip for him. Then said, “Frankly, I’m tired. Sometimes I ask myself, ‘What is an old 85 year old doing running around like this?’” Sometimes he is tempted to get discouraged. When he does, he pulls out a small picture of the Savior that he always travels with, and looks into His face. He said that he keeps going because he understands Gethsemane.

In verse 17 of D&C 11 it says, “according to your desires, yea, even according to your faith shall it be done unto you.” And in verse 21 “Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men.”

Neat, huh? I need to remind myself that I do everything that I do because I understand Gethsemane, and when I start to stumble or question what I am doing in life, I had better study the Lord’s sacrifice for me, because then I will see that My Father in Heaven would never ask me to do anything that I cannot handle, or anything that is not for my own good in the end.

Like I wrote to Mom in a little email, I met a family who was baptized by Rachel Borup’s husband (8 years ago I think). I love how small the Mormon world is!! I sure hope that now this family has a little bit more contact with him, they will remember the covenants they have made with the Lord, and begin to attend church again. The Lord´s hand is surely there in our lives if we are looking for it. Circumstances like this remind me that I am her for a reason! All of our lives are so intertwined and planned specifically by our divine Creator that knows all.

Here opening this area for Sister missionaries sure tests our faith! Things finally seem to be picking up, but opening here means that we start from scratch with everything, while we see our Elders here who have baptisms every two weeks and know ward members so well. We try not to compare ourselves! But we do have a few people to teach now, and are getting to know the ward members. For one, the ward members are incredible!! More than half of them haven’t even been baptized for much longer than one year. They are all so on fire and friendly and willing to help us with missionary work. I feel so blessed to be here. Even though I feel so inadequate sometimes, I know that the Lord trusts us, because he has sent us two Hermanas here, who are not fluent in Spanish, and we need to find people to teach, teach English classes here, get to know our ward members, and keep everything else in line like showering daily (haha, just kidding, we always shower). But it really is difficult to find a balance.

All of our hard work will pay off here I know it! I really just have to pray so hard every night to make sure that the Lord accepts my sacrifice here, because I always feel so stressed out about doing better. We are doing a lot of seed planting here....and it is hard not to see the fruits of our labors right away, but it sure is neat to teach the people that we do have. We have started teaching such a sweet family here, that just LOVE reading about Christ and the plans that He has for their family.

Shoot, I do not have much time left and I want to read your emails, so until next week! i love you!

Please don´t stop writing! And don’t stop believing!! haha.

Love, Hermana Mather

p.s. Scripture of the week... MY FAVORITE!!  1 Peter 4:12-14.  Wow! Please read it!

Monday, September 9, 2013

First week in Alcobendas!‏

9 September 2013 

Buenos Dias to all my friends and family!!

I hope this email finds you all happy and healthy, getting started with school again, as fall is setting in. WOW the timing in the mission is still very strange. It is weird to me to think that it is September, and I arrived here almost 3 months ago, and I turn 20 in one month. Wow what a surprise it was to be transferred here to Alcobendas, I thought for sure I would stay in my area longer, with my trainer, but the Lord had different plans! Oh but I love it here, goodness gracious, it is just about 40 minutes away from my last area, but it is so different! The city is SO clean, there are trees everywhere, and I think there is a chance that I won’t die from secondhand smoke now. haha It wasn’t that bad in Cuatro Caminos, but I really do love this area. I feel a little more at home, it even smells like Colorado sometimes!

So Hermana Aagard and I arrived here Tuesday, signed papers for our new apartment with the mission office Elders, and found out that we live RIGHT across from them. We can see their apartment across the street from us, and many times throughout the day. It is funny though, there have not been sister missionaries here in 8 years, and all the elders in the area are SO AWKWARD and seem like they want nothing to do with us. haha we are trying to slowly warm them up to talking like normal people. SO these elders found us a really nice apartment, we are so blessed! It had nothing in it though... haha they just moved in a bunch of IKEA boxes full of our bed frame, desks, and chairs, and we have spent every single minute of our free-time building so that we can study on chairs instead of on the floor. We ate off of the cardboard that our desk came in for a few days. Haha. We joke all the time about how we are just like a newly-wed couple, making do with what we have.

I love my new companion! She is about to complete 6 months in the mission and I have so much to learn from her. She is full of fun and I haven’t laughed so much in a long time. Last transfer I felt like a was losing a bit of my personality and ability to have fun, but Hermana Aagard sure reminds me that we can still be ourselves and have fun! I am more of a morning person, she is more of a night person, so it is great! She doesn’t always like it, but she will even go running with me in the morning, and she is so bold and dedicated to this work. She is a contacting machine! We are ready to see miracles raining down. I am lucky to have her. Scratch that! It was not luck; it was a blessing from the Lord!!!

It is definitely difficult; we are at about the same level of Spanish, so it really takes a lot of concentration on both of our parts to understand what others are saying and to be able to communicate ourselves. It is pretty incredible though, because we both had native companions before this, and had quite a few of the same feelings and experiences. And we have really witnessed the Lord’s power to step in, because we both truly have no idea what we are doing here. It has been exhausting, contacting all day, not having all of the materials we need, trying to get our apartment set up, and feeling like the bar is set SO HIGH by all of the office Elders here who have so much time in the mission and know what they are doing. They all seem to think we are silly and needy and do not know what we are doing, so we have kind of had to fend for ourselves. Slowly but surely. We are far from perfect, trying to meet everyone from the ward and find our way around the city (we look so silly walking around with maps all the time!). And we are already exhausted. haha It is already so painful to get out of bed every morning after walking all day!

Our ward is incredible. It has doubled in size in one year. Half of our ward is very recently converted to the gospel, and our ward is one of the highest baptizing wards in Madrid, which is crazy because the Elders are in the office all day until 6, and only proselyte after that. This shows the power of references from members. So many of the members are members because one family was baptized, told their friends, and so on. We feel so welcome in the ward, everyone wants us to come visit and eat at their house. They are excited to have sisters here and we are excited to be here! And talking about tender mercies.... the Bishop speaks English! And so do his two daughters and wife. Interesting fact, our baptisms are held at his house in his pool because the church building does not have a font. Cool huh?! There was a baptism this last Saturday, it was a beautiful experience.

So, all in all, I am convinced that each portion of the mission will be difficult in its own ways. This is still hard, but there is something that is always constant in my life... it is this gospel. Everyone deserves to have this blessing in their life.

Really quick cool story! We were contacting along the street and met a lady who was waiting for an appointment, and had an hour left to go, and we asked if we could teach her a lesson, so we taught her about the restoration right there on the bench. She was so cute, and asked if she could right down the scriptures we shared because she liked them so much. She told us about how she is living in Spain alone, her children are in her country, and her husband deserted her, but she knows she can always feel so close to the Lord. SUCH GREAT FAITH! She closed our lesson with a prayer, thanking the Lord for sending us to her. And she had us both crying, and said afterwards, that whenever she prays she can feel His presence near. Such a neat experience. We meet with her again tomorrow. We are so excited!

Well, that’s all for this week! Have a great week, I feel your prayers, and I love my friends a family! OH and thank you to Jeanne and Mary and Wade for letters, I feel so loved :)

I just remembered something that I wanted to share!! My companion shared this analogy about being on a mission, or really about life in general. We are all very pointy rocks. I happen to know that I am incredibly pointy. In the sense of being on a mission, we are put into this nice little stream that starts to smooth off this pointy parts. Then we are put into the mission field, this very fast-moving river that where it is difficult to take everything in all at once. Sometimes it is so painful to experience all of the changes and hardships and see all of our weaknesses all at once. This applies to people who aren't serving missions too! We all know what these time are like. We feel vulnerable, alone, or just simply inadequate, but these experiences smooth us out and help us draw nearer to our Savior. I think that is a wonderful analogy. I still feel like such a pointy rock, and I can see so many things that need to be smoothed out, but we all have the same goal – we want to be nice and smooth and shiny. All of our rough edges are always smoothed out through Christ’s Atonement.

One more thing!  This is a quote from Elder Jeffery R. Holland in his talk "The First and Greatest Commandment":

"What I need, Peter, are disciples—and I need them forever. I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs. I need someone to preach my gospel and defend my faith. I need someone who loves me, truly, truly loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned me to do. Ours is not a feeble message. It is not a fleeting task. It is not hapless; it is not hopeless; it is not to be consigned to the ash heap of history. It is the work of Almighty God, and it is to change the world. So, Peter, for the second and presumably the last time, I am asking you to leave all this and to go teach and testify, labor and serve loyally until the day in which they will do to you exactly what they did to me.”

I think we can insert each of our names where it says "Peter". I try to renew my commitment every day to be this kind of disciple of Christ – someone who truly loves the Lord. I can give up my desires and teach and testify and serve if that is what the Lord asks.

Have a great week, I love you all!

Love, Hermana Emily Mather

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Week of transfers...drumroll please.... me voy a Alcobendas!!‏

2 September 2013

WOW WHAT A SURPRISE!!! We found out Saturday night that I will be leaving Barrio 1 [Madrid 1st Ward] and opening an area (Elders are there, but sisters never have been) in Alcobendas. It is just 30-40 minutes away from here. I feel so blessed! This is the ward that the President normally attends and all of his mission office Elders as well. I have heard so many good things about this ward, because the members really trust the missionaries there, and the missionaries are so obedient and hard-working. I could not have asked for anything better :)  I have had a hard time sleeping the past few nights though, because my companion is fairly new in the mission as well, and opening an area is a HUGE task. BUT we just spent the morning picking up my companion (who will stay here in our piso [apartment] tonight) and she seems incredible. The first thing that she said to me was "hey do you like to work?? GOOD! Because I want to be so exhausted EVERY night, knowing that we have tried our very best and worked our hardest every day." How lucky am I??? She is from Kaysville, Utah (I asked her if she knows the Borups... she does not!) and I can tell we are going to have an adventure and learn SO MUCH. Her name is Hermana Aagard. I have heard so many great things about her. I am nervous, that is for sure. I feel like I do not know how to do anything, but the Lord sure does know me perfectly, I have no doubt. He knew that I needed to go to the Spain MTC and experience the closeness to the teachers there and become accustomed to the Spanish culture little by little. He knew that I needed Hermana Tabares as a companion, even though it was SO HARD in the beginning. I will miss her so much! She has such a character and is very sassy. But the truth is, I wouldn´t take it back for anything. She has taught me so much. And the Lord KNOWS that we can open this area, speak Spanish, and reach out to people in Alcobendas. Now I just need to pray for more faith in the Lord and less faith in myself, because I know that without Him, I am nothing!

SO just so you know, send letters to the mission office for now! NOT to my last apartment. Hermana Tabares is going to keep my letters and get them to me at some point. And I hope to write letters today to send from our new address tomorrow. We will see how that goes....hopefully! Then you will have my new address. But for now, if you write to the office, that is fine, because I will be right next to it!

Fun side note, I ate COW STOMACH here!! haha many of the dishes here are from the immigrants (Peru, Ecuador, Philippines) and I had a stew with really chewy meat, I asked what it was after, and yep... yummy cow stomach. I have to say not my favorite in the world. Ha but it was pretty adventurous.

Oh and I wanted to tell Nathan that there is an elder in our district that reminds me so much of Him. He is goofy, but still hard working. But reminds me of Nathan more than anything because he is always so willing to drop anything and everything to help others out. He is very kind and loving and charitable and I feel like a have a little piece of my brother here with me :)

Also, I wanted to share an incredible talk that I read this week. It is called "The Lords Grace is Sufficient" By Brad Wilcox. WOW. This truly was exactly what I needed to read this week, because ever since I have gotten here, I have felt like ALL of my weaknesses and imperfections are emphasized. I am no good at speaking this language, playing soccer like all of the natives, I have felt so quiet and insecure at times....and I am afraid to lose myself in this work. It is a strange feeling. More than anything I want to lose myself, I really do! It has been hard when I haven´t been able to make great connections with people, but on the other hands it scares me a little when I forget how to say some words in English. BUT nonetheless, the talk helped me a lot. PLEASE read it. It helps us to understand that we do not need to be perfect, we just need to try our very best, that really is all the Savior asks of us.

Here is a little snippet:

Christ’s arrangement with us is similar to a mom providing music lessons for her child. Mom pays the piano teacher. Because Mom pays the debt in full, she can turn to her child and ask for something. What is it? Practice! Does the child’s practice pay the piano teacher? No. Does the child’s practice repay Mom for paying the piano teacher? No. Practicing is how the child shows appreciation for Mom’s incredible gift. It is how he takes advantage of the amazing opportunity Mom is giving him to live his life at a higher level. Mom’s joy is found not in getting repaid but in seeing her gift used—seeing her child improve. And so she continues to call for practice, practice, practice.

If the child sees Mom’s requirement of practice as being too overbearing (“Mom, why do I need to practice? None of the other kids have to practice! I’m just going to be a professional baseball player anyway!”), perhaps it is because he doesn’t yet see with Mom’s eyes. He doesn’t see how much better his life could be if he would choose to live on a higher plane.

In the same way, because Jesus has paid justice, He can now turn to us and say: “Follow me” (Matthew 4:19); “Keep my commandments” (John 14:15). If we see His requirements as being way too much to ask, maybe it is because we do not yet see through Christ’s eyes. We have not yet comprehended what He is trying to make of us.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has said, “The repenting sinner must suffer for his sins, but this suffering has a different purpose than punishment or payment. Its purpose is change” (The Lord’s Way [1991], 223; emphasis in original). Let’s put that in terms of the child pianist: The child must practice the piano, but this practice has a different purpose than punishment or payment. Its purpose is change.

Our works, such as repentance and keeping the commandments, do not save us, but they are requirements set by the Savior to help transform us.

The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can live after we die but that we can live more abundantly (see John 10:10). The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can be cleansed and consoled but that we can be transformed (see Romans 8). Scriptures make it clear that no unclean thing can dwell with God (see Alma 40:26), but no unchanged thing will even want to.

This is what life is all about! … trying to see more and more through Christ's eyes, and practicing. Practice, practice, practice. It is not about being perfect, I know for a fact that I am not perfect, and I see that every day. But His grace is always sufficient for us, and we show our appreciation for the Lord's sacrifice by trying our best every day. What a miracle this gospel is. What I miracle the Atonement is. I have gained SUCH a testimony of the reality of the power we can gain from the Atonement because I would not be here doing what I am doing if I had to depend on my own strength. It simply wouldn't work. I know the Lord lives and loves us. He is my Savior, and I GLORY in my weaknesses, because through them, I my eyes are opened to the Hand of the Lord in my life (2 Corinthians 12:9 and Doctrine and Covenants 67:13).

Well I am going to read your emails now! I love you and hope you have a wonderful week! Please read this talk, it is amazing!

Love, Hermana Emily Mather


Hello, I have a little bit more time after writing president and I just wanted to let you know once again that I love you all. And I also love the people here! Yesterday and later on today is full of goodbyes to people in the ward and investigators. I have only been here for 6 weeks and it is still hard! The truth is I feel like a have a little piece of family here, as I have found comfort in ward member who treat me like I was one of their own daughters. Even last night, we ate dinner with the Familia Bocanegra, who really struggle with making ends meet, but feed us  amazing Peruvian food *all six missionaries in the ward*. They are so charitable and kinds to us. And patient with my Spanish. Various ward members offer up their time to accompany us to lessons and share their testimonies and help this work move forward. One of the less active ladies in our ward actually even told me that she had a dream about me the other night, because I had told her about a bit of the hard time I was having, with the language and homesickness. She had a dream that I was crying and has been so worried about me. I think that is what this church is all about... all about LOVING people as they are. I sure feel loved in this ward, and I hope to continue to spread the LOVE that this gospel brings to others. It is a beautiful chain reaction.

I also said goodbye to Jacqueline, our investigator who will be baptized Sept 28th of this month, who has found so much peace and solace in this gospel throughout her crazy life. I was so touched, because I do not feel like I have done much to bring the gospel into her life, because I cannot speak this language very well at all, but she cried when we said goodbye, and said I am always welcome to come back and visit. She gave be a beautiful necklace to remember her by. Tonight we will say goodbye to the Familia Arana, who have strengthened my testimony so many times since I have been here. I am realized how incredible hard it will be every transfer, because it is so bittersweet! I love the people here even after 6 weeks, but at the same time I am excited to meet knew ward members and get to work... even if that means we have to start all over, street contacting all day. I love missionary work.

"It is not just that the Book of Mormon teaches us truth, though it indeed does that.  It is not just that the Book of Mormon bears testimony of Christ, though is indeed does that, too.  But there is something more.  There is power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you being serious study of the book." -- The Special Book of Mormon Edition Liahona -- you should read it!!