Monday, December 1, 2014

I Give unto You This Privilege, This Once‏

1 Diciembre 2014

Can you believe this is the last email? Wow, I feel like I am in denial, it’s an interesting feeling! I have found some scriptures that have really spoke to me throughout my whole mission and explain so much better how I feel! Here are a few!

D&C 104:86

86 I give unto you this privilege, this once; and behold, if you proceed to do the things which I have laid before you, according to my commandments, all these things are mine, and ye are my stewards, and the master will not suffer his house to be broken up. Even so. Amen.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Alma 26:16...

16 Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel.

...Alma 26:35,37

35 Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all power, all wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name.

37 Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen.

1 Thessalonians Chapter 2

1 For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain:

2 But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention.

3 For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile:

4 But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.

5 For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness; God is witness:

 6 Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.

7 But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:

8 So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.

9 For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.

10 Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe:

11 As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children,

12 That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.

13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judæa are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:

15 Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:

16 Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.

17 But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire.

18 Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.

19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?

20 For ye are our glory and joy.

2 Timothy 4:6-7... Paul said it best...

6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.

7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith

As you can see from the pictures below, we had to opportunity to see Javier´s baptism this week! We learned that there is opposition in all things, especially when we had planned everything the best we could, and some things were thrown off and we had to deal with a few changes. I found myself thinking and worrying so much about everything else, and sweet Hermana Orrego leaned over and told me not to worry about all of the things that were not going is planned, we just needed to focus on how Javier feels and He sure did look happy. Sometimes in life we seem to do that don’t we? We worry so much about the little details and we start to miss the big picture! I was grateful for that moment to put myself in Javier´s shoes. He looked to comfortable and happy and he gave a great testimony afterwards. He walked out of the building just glowing. During church the third hour of church, it was priceless watching him finger through his new scriptures, excited to start reading The Pearl of Great Price :) THAT is what matters.

This week, we also saw so many miracles with Amanda!!! We have met with her every day this week, and she has progressed so much. She even sang a Spanish arrangement with us at Javier´s baptism of "Be Still my Soul". She LOVES to sing and feels the spirit so strongly with the music :) We have been working for a while towards her baptism, the 6th of December, quite unsure if she would be able to, because she needed to talk with her mom, and she has been a bit unsure and scared about a few things, but we were so incredibly happy and surprised when we asked her this week. She said she had talked to her mother, and that she can be baptized!!!! She is so involved with the ward (in her shy timid way) haha. She is so ready, and it sure is a tender mercy to be able to teach her. Ha she is so cute, she is allllwayys cleaning the house for her mother and doing her homework and when she is not doing that she with us or in seminary :) so fun.

So, it’s been an adventure. I received Nathan´s wedding invitation this week! So exciting! Oh and Dad I received your last mission letter too :) I haven't had time to read it yet, but I plan on reading it and writing my own last letter of my mission on the train ride from Gijon to Madrid in a week. It’s hard to even know how I feel right now let alone be able to express it all just sitting here at the computer, so I will write down all of my thoughts better when I have more time to reflect and think.

One thing I have been thinking though is how everyone keep asking me about how I feel, expecting me to be really sad or excited or happy, and I honestly don´t know what to say! I decided that serving with ALL THAT I HAVE and BEING HAPPY is how I feel. I get waves of sadness, knowing that I will never wear a name tag with Christ's name on it again, or have the incredible opportunity to become so close to my Savior in the way that I have here. It's hard now knowing if I will ever see any of these people ever again. But at the same time, I know that I was sent her to serve for a certain amount of time, and I will also finish my work here, but that does not mean that the work is over. I will just complete the Lord's will here and the moment will come when the Lord needs me to work somewhere else and serve Him in different way. We all have our unique circumstances and gifts to serve in the Lord's work. He is SO AWARE of us... of our strengths and our weaknesses. I know that is true. He has shown me His hand in my life so many times. I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have had to serve Him and His children.

There is a unique fullness of joy that only comes by serving the Lord. I love the way that Ammon describes it. We as humans have a small capacity to love in comparison to the way that the Lord loves us, but as I have served Him I have seen that He truly is mindful of ALL of His children, even those that we might judge as imperfect human beings. And as we serve Him, we begin to feel a bit of that love. I am grateful for that. Now this is my joy and my great thanks giving, and I will give thanks unto my God forever :)

Take care and see you soon :)

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith

Love, Hermana Mather

PS. Hey you should all watch the "He is the Gift" Mormon Message if you haven´t seen it already!

A billboard I saw that says "arrive to your home"

Making empanadas with members :) yum from Columbia!

Javier's Baptism!

We went to Oviedo this morning and hiked with all of the missionaries of our district to the Christus there!

It was rainy and cold but beautiful and completely worth it!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Lord, Have I Done Enough?‏

24 Noviembre 2014

Hey it’s been another great week here in Gijon!

Our days, as always are full of tender mercies and trials, and we learn to laugh our way through it all, that is so important. So much has been on my mind I have been thinking a lot about what Elder Mather shared in his last email about pleasing Our Father in Heaven and how when we do that, everything will work out for our benefit. On the mission we learn how important it is to "rendir cuentas" [Be Accountable, e.g. Return and Report]. I have learned how important it is to share with the Lord our desires, worries, goals, and plans, and return and report to the Lord. Like any good Father, He is loving and accepting, and always desires our success.

In the last Zone Conference, Hermana Jackson shared a story about a missionary who learned this importance in his mission as well. Throughout his whole mission, he would ask the Lord in prayer if he was doing enough, if he was doing the Lord's will. Instead of receiving an overwhelming peace and a reassuring YES, he felt that the Lord accepted his service and told him that he could do just a little better the next day. And so it was throughout his mission, and he wondered every day if he would ever feel by the end that he had accomplished EVERYTHING that the Lord had sent him there to do. He felt a peace, but Heavenly Father knew there was more for him to do. By the last day of his mission, he still had the question deep in His heart, as he was brought to the train station. As he sat there on the train, luggage by his side, he was able to reflect on the past two years of his life in the service of the Lord... and as the members and friends waved goodbye, the train pulled away, the scripture came into his mind:

His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. (Matthew 25:23)

As he waved goodbye to these people, he was grateful for the opportunity he had to make a difference in their lives as they changed his life as well. He was not sure if he would every see them again. But he knew that the Lord was pleased with his efforts.

Isn't that an amazing story? It comes to my mind almost daily as I think of the experience of being a missionary. I have felt that so many times as a missionary.  Even if we aren't full time missionaries, I am sure we can feel the same as leaders, parents, teachers, etc. I constantly wonder if I truly have done enough. I believe that the Lord stretches us to meet our potential in this way. I know that it is in those moments of stretching when it is hardest to see the light, but we can look back and say that the Lord knows us perfectly. I know that I have had the trials I have needed to be able to grow in ways that I never knew were possible. Have you felt that way before too? I am grateful for a Father in Heaven that cares enough to stretch us, and I pray that I have that same feeling in the end.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve here in Gijon! Javier sure was a miracle to find the first week of October, and has progressed and changed so much! I will send a picture next week. He randomly showed up at General Conference after an invitation to come to church one year ago. We have loved teaching Him... he is so much more confident and he has slimmed down quite a bit. He said he wants to be a "good Mormon" like all of the general authorities he saw his first Sunday at general conference, haha.

Do you remember I told you about Amanda? She is 13 years old, from Brazil and lives here with her parents! She has been a tender mercy here. I have never met a sweeter more mature 13 year old girl. Her parents came to church last Sunday to see what see has been up to. She comes to allllllll of the young women’s activities and family home evenings in the church, and has started working on her Young Women Personal Progress. We went to her house to teach her a lesson yesterday and talked about her goal to be baptized and how goals and reading the scriptures, going to church, and praying help us to assure that Christ is our rock. She is soo shy but she opens up a lot once you get to know her. He timidly told her mother about how she had been working on divine nature. Her mother said "you want to be virtuous?!", surprised and happy with the decisions her daughter is making :) She loves to sing the hymns of the church, and I believe that is how she feels the spirit the strongest, she finds great peace and comfort in listening to the singing and piano. I love her! It was a wonderful spiritual experience in the lesson with her yesterday. I feel blessed to have been a little part of her life. I wish I could stay longer to see more of her conversion process.

And EVA!! The 62 year old recent convert from Paraguay!! She is constantly praying for opportunities to share to gospel and share her testimony, and she finally had the chance to do so :) we started teaching her friend Noemi this week. When we asked her how she saw the influence of God in her life, she just looked at her and said "Eva" :) she said she felt such a peace when she entered her home and didn't want to leave. Talk about an answer to her prayers!


I am grateful for...
  • A supportive and loving family, I can feel your love in every letter and email and prayer :)
  • Being happily exhausted at the end of the day, tired, with a smile on my face
  • Continuing revelation from living prophets
  • A companion that happily shares the load and has one the most contagious laughs i have ever heard.
  • Nathan, getting married in the temple!!!
  • Parents who raised me to love the Lord and know what is most important
  • Wade, who is faithfully serving a mission and giving 100% and loosing himself every day
  • Amber, always goofy and always laughing, working hard in school
  • Aaron, his sweet and tender little heart -- all of the fun memories we have together
  • Rain. Yes I am grateful for the rain and the green grass it brings!
  • Eyes to see the tender mercies that the Lord sends constantly
  • Umbrellas that work, haha
  • A faithful and kind mission president and his wife (did you know that he son is getting married in December. Hermana Jackson can go, but President Jackson has to stay here. How difficult would that be? They make lots of sacrifices. I am grateful for their example!)
  • How the Lord continually shows us that when we sacrifice anything, we receive 10 fold of whatever we thought was a sacrifice
  • How life means so much more when we focus on others and their needs :)

I hope you have a greeeeeat turkey week :)

Love, Hermana Mather

10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

"To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world. Smile! You are someone’s world!"

Javier, Hermana Orrego, and Hermana Mather

hmmm pan de chile

Hermana Mather and Eva

Brownies service and elgish! With Alba and Diego 

Visiting Gris, Nuria, and Sebastian!

Monday, November 17, 2014

He Is with Us‏!

17 November 2014

Its been a great week! The days sure are blurring together lately and I am doing my best to continue to be 100% diligent and obedient. It can be strange and stressful thinking of classes and housing and plans that need to be thought out for when I return home -- and still balancing everything here in the mission. I am doing the best I can. I LOVED zone conference and it helped me a lot. Hermana Orrego is a great missionary. We laugh a lot together, that is a great need for me, and I feel so blessed to be her companion. We like to sing together and make cool raps, we set up our "Christmas tree", haha its seems to be missing a very key part in the middle. Oh well, its special! hehe.

This week we attended Zone Conference with President and Hermana Jackson (my last one!) and it was incredible. I just wanted to share a few of my thoughts as we felt the Spirit very strongly and I felt strongly of God's love. The night we arrived, we had a devotional and watched "The Lamb of God" and talked and reflected a lot about Christ and what He has done for us. We each personally answered the question "What has Christ done for you in your life that has brought you to this point?" (what a great question that we should each think about often)

I wrote: "1.5 years in His service has changed me. Christ has been so patient with me. I know that He paid the price for all of my weaknesses, faults, sins, and lack of faith, charity, and strength. I know this because I can feel inner peace despite each of my weaknesses and struggles. I can feel that I am not alone and that He is there, supporting me. He supported me in moments when I didn't even realize He was the one by my side. Christ has given me so many second and third chances, patiently waiting for me to recognize His power, and realize that HE has been there all along. He gave me my family, the gospel in my life, and has lifted me up countless times and shown me many paths that I should not take in life, and shows me those paths that will truly make me more happy, and the happiness I find always has to do with reaching out to others and showing them the love the Christ has for them. He is the power that I have felt push me when I didn't think I could go any further. I owe him EVERYTHING because he has made me who I am.

I am so grateful for and love my Savior. I know that He has made all of this possible. I know that He is always blessing us, even when we don't realize that it has been Him all along :) In the beginning of my mission, I didn't think I could do it. I even thought about going home a couple of times, but then I realized that I truly am not alone... in these moments of weakness the Lord wants me to recognize His power, and there really is no other way to create this relationship with Him. Whatever price I have had to pay to come to know My God has been worth it because I know it was really the only way to come to comprehend at least a little bit of what He did for us. We all need the love of Christ, and I can't deny those times I have felt of His love, everyday! When he sent exactly the people I needed in my path or when I have felt exhausted and He gave me strength.  If it weren't for Him, I wouldn't be here today! (Romans 8:38) If God is with is, who shall be against us!!!? God has filled me with His love and I know that our goal is to get to the celestial kingdom ALL TOGETHER. That will be so beautiful :) I know that there are always people to serve, and the best expression of love is sharing the gospel with them.

I read in our call letter we receive as missionaries: "Greater blessings than you have ever experienced in your life await you as you serve the Lord with a humble heart and prayer in this LABOR OF LOVE."

This is so true. I always want to be involved in a labor of LOVE. Love for God, and love for His children :)

I few scriptures to remind you that The Lord is always with us:
D&C 100:12
Luke 24:48-49
Romans 8:31,38-39
Mosiah 26:20
How Firm a Foundation
D&C 84:88
D&C 38:7
D&C 6:32
D&C 29:5
Isaiah 40:31
Isaiah 41:10

I know He is with us, and the veil sure is a lot thinner than we know, I pray that you can feel His love and recognize his power everyday :) I love you and pray for you EVERYDAY!

Love, Hermana Mather

PS. I just wanted to share one more story with you that touched me. Hermana Jackson talked about an elder they knew who learned the importance of returning and reporting. I will share it next week :)

 Our deformed Christmas tree, hehehe. Hot chocolate and scarves :)
Oh, and pass along cards and little copies of the Book of Mormon to decorate!

These are the missionaries of Gijon.
Mom, you will probably ask why I am wearing these glasses...
Lost a contact and didn't bring extras to Oviedo.
...but the other sister had to same prescription! Tender mercies!

Yep, ate cow stomach again. This time I didn't get sick, haha

With our Ward Misión Leader, Santi!

Sally Deford's song "If the Savior Stood Beside Me" was the theme of our zone conference.

Cool huh? We talked about the importance of listening in Zone conference

Mmm Colombian empanadas!

Eating in the hallway of a members house. The strange things we do as missionaries.

Monday, November 10, 2014

God Blesses Us Many Times More Than the Measure of What We Give :)‏

10 Noviembre 2014

Hullo there!!

Mom and family, thank you thank you for emailing every week!  It sure sounds like you've had a busy week. I am excited for all that you are involved in :) wahoooo. Running, wedding invitations, and lots of work. I appreciate you taking the time to keep me updated!!

This email might be a bit short. ha, I hardly sleep lately!  We are here in Oviedo, we had P-Day here, playing soccer and we will have a devotional tonight and the conference with President and Hermana Jackson tomorrow!! Therefore, we don’t have very much time to email.

Just to tell you a bit about this week, Javier is progressing a whole bunch and Judy too. I am amazed by the love that we begin the have for the people here. All is well, more to come next week. Good thing pictures say a thousand words, because I haven’t had time to say much :)

"I can´t do everything, but I can to SOMETHING. I will do what I can through the grace of Christ"

Even though what we do may seem like a drop in the ocean, at least it is one more drop in the ocean!

I love you!!

Love, Hermana Mather

My umbrella broke. It flew up backwards 4 times in a row! Hahah

And our zone playing soccer today :)    

Monday, November 3, 2014

Paying the Price‏

3 Noviembre 2014

Happy November!

It’s pouring cats and dogs today.

It’s been an easy adjustment switching companions! I love how we can learn new things from each companion, and I think with every companion is becomes easier. It’s wonderful being able to get along. I am grateful that she likes to work hard and laugh! She arrived here a bit sick with a bad cold, and so every moment we could, she was in bed trying to get better. We hope she stays well with all of this rain coming in! At least we are getting some great use of our umbrellas!! hehe.

We have been working with a lot of people from the Dominican Republic this week!!! I didn't even realize it, until I looked down from the stand where I was playing piano in the chapel, and I saw the row of Dominican ladies, less-actives, and investigators, whom we had all been working hard with that week!!! We were blessed to have Judy in church yesterday (I don´t know what my problem is, but I always seem  to mess up people´s names, haha I thought her name was July all this time). SHE CAME!!!! It was a stressful morning, we needed to be in two places at once to stop by and pick them up because neither of them knew how to get there, we chose to stop by Cristina (a new lady we have been working with this week, from the Dominican Republic, lives down the street from us) and hoped that a member could stop by and pick Judy up! We arrived at the church with Cristina and just hoped that Judy would make it, etc. haha, It's was a whirlwind, but nevertheless, we did not give up! I had to go play prelude and we hoped that the others would show. And they did! Therefore, once again, I was shown that although we feel like our efforts are imperfect and scattered and we feel like we are running around like chickens with our heads cut off, THAT IS WHEN the Lord is able to show is His Hand, it was neat to see yesterday. They all looked so happy and content to be there!

I have been so lost in my thoughts lately, reflecting a lot, and thinking about what I have done in the past year and a half. Many thoughts come to my mind, but yesterday I was thinking about how EVERYTHING that is worth anything in our lives comes with a price. The price that we pay to come closer to our Savior will not be easy (and it shouldn't be). The price I pay physically / mentally / emotionally is all worth it. What makes it worth it? The LOVE that I feel for those around me. Being a missionary gives us an incredible ability to be able to obtain a glimpse of the Love that Christ has for others. The Love that we are able to express of Our Savior for others. The outpouring of love that we feel when we begin to see others come unto Christ by reading the scriptures, praying, and coming to church. What will I truly remember from this year and a half? Relationships and love. I will remember the look that people get in their eyes when they feel the Spirit and begin to comprehend His love.

Oh Javier has been doing great as well! We teach him English once a week. The first week we just talked about normal events in our lives and such, and he came to us the next week and said he wants all of the pamphlets and the Book of Mormon in English because he want to be able to review all that he is learning. He is able to comprehend from a different level, it’s really cool!

Amanda is progressing so well too!!! Eduarda´s cousin (Eduarda is a member). It’s been so cool to teach Amanda, she is the most innocent, sweet, pure 13 year old I have even met that truly wants to understand Gospel Principles.

Keep swimming over there :) I suuureeeee love ya´ll :)

Love, Hermana Mather

Our angel Eva hehe

I don't think I have told you much about Pablo and Marta.
They are from Spain. We teach their children (Alba, Diego, and Raul) English!
They are SUCH bright children and they are a very united family.
They are also VERY Spanish, Haha. We love it.

Hermana Orrego, yo, Vicky, Carmelo, Katy!
We ate some yummy food and Vicky made a cake for my birthday. yumm

3 Nephi 5:13