Monday, March 24, 2014

Last Week of the Transfer Already?‏

24 Marzo 2014

Wow, all I can say is that this transfer has flown by! I have now almost been in Alcobendas for 7 months (5 transfers) and with the Mission Tour, and companionship changes that have happened time really has flown. I feel SO blessed to have both of my companions. I feel like I haven’t told you much about them. Hermana Sanchez is 22, the most prepared missionary I have ever met before, and she has the GREATEST sense of humor. I love speaking Spanish with her ALL THE TIME. I have learned so much! It just breaks my little heart to think of receiving the transfer call this Saturday and finding out that we will be split up. I hope she comes with me wherever I might go. I have been feeling quite a bit of closure here, because missionaries don’t normally stay in an area for more than 5 transfers, and I feel like the rest of our investigators have progressed as much as they can with me... it is an interesting feeling! It will be like leaving home again I think.... I feel so close to all of the ward members and investigators here. But at the same time I feel like there is something else waiting for me out there, I really just hope I stay with Hermana Sanchez! (I would stay with Hermana Hansen if I could :)

Speaking of Hermana Hansen, I think you would appreciate knowing a little bit more about her. She was baptized 2 and a half years ago, she is 24 years old, and no one in her family is a member of the church. That would be so hard. A lot of her struggles have been because her parents don’t really understand what a mission is, and don’t know much about the church. She is incredible, I can’t imagine deciding to serve a mission so soon after being baptized, and she is an incredible example of teaching with the spirit and loving the people. She also makes yummy treats :) I want you all to meet her. We can take a trip to Norway and Granada and you can meet my companions :)

Gustavo was confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Sunday! Our trio sang in sacrament meeting a mix of Accompañame and Quiero Amarte Salvador that we put together during weeks of companionship study every morning :) It went really well with three voices! Many people were crying afterwards :)

I love being a Sister Training Leader!!! Intercambios never fail to teach me that everyone works so differently as missionaries, and I feel so much love for different missionaries, their backgrounds, circumstances, and reasons why they decided to serve :) It is humbling and such a great learning experience.

Mom, there is a lady in our ward that has eyes like yours, just so you know! She always teaches in Relief Society and makes me think of you :) And the Relief Society President Ana, is incredible. She heard of a lady who is struggling, who left from church crying, and she asked me to go on splits with her and search for her and help her. We went to her house and nothing came of it as a result but I will never forget the example she showed me. It reminded me a lot of my own mother, who is always showing others that love that Christ has for them, and willing to sacrifice her time and energy to fulfill her calling. I want to be this person not only in the mission, but after as well!

Sorry this email is so short! Send some prayers this way. I think it will be a difficult week saying goodbye to Hermana Hansen and leaving the area perhaps. I love you all! Until next week!!

Love, Hermana Mather

Monday, March 17, 2014

Bautismo de Gustavo :)‏

17 Marzo 2014

Buenos Dias a todos, les quiero y les echo de menos. Ha sida una buena semana aqui in Alcobendas :)
[Good morning everyone. I love you and miss you all a lot. It has been a good week here in Alcobendas :)]

This transfer has been flying by, especially with the exchanges we've had. I went to Azuqueca to do intercambios with one of the sisters there, then to Guadalajara for their district meeting, then back to Alcobendas, teaching a handful of lessons, Gustavo had his Baptismal interview, and then the baptism!

I feel like every time we have a baptism, its a good time for reflection. The mission is like a marathon, we have to be in tip top spiritual shape, thus we have studies for up to 3.5 hours every morning (while I am training) and sometimes it is hard not to just get stuck in the routine of it all, with my head down at the pavement, wondering if I am changing, learning, and growing. I try to enjoy every moment of it, and sometimes that can be hard too!! Sometimes we just have to put our feet to the pavement and GO, trusting that the Lord sees the big picture, and that everything we go through will be for our good. So, this weekend was one of a bit of reflection for me, as each baptism or other big event is like finishing a leg in the marathon, realizing that God´s hand is truly in this work, and it will ALL be worth it in the end. :)

The baptism went well, and we all felt surprisingly relaxed, as the ward members really had everything figured out, and they have just welcomed Gustavo with open arms. He only had to be baptized once (thank heaven that part went smoothly too!) and the service was wonderful. :) He and others bore their testimonies. He was so happy! Once again, I find myself putting myself in his shoes... if some strange missionaries talked to me on the street, would I accept to meet with them? Would I ride my bike to church? Would I be willing to accept this complete change of lifestyle, change my standards and friends if necessary? Gustavo is an incredible example to me and I feel blessed to have seen this little miracle. He has been asking questions about what it requires to serve a mission... :) We shall see where that leads!

Just some things I have been thinking about and studying:

There are many who, for different reasons, find themselves waiting on the road to Damascus. They delay becoming fully engaged as disciples. They hope to receive the priesthood but hesitate to live worthy of that privilege. They desire to enter the temple but delay the final act of faith to qualify. They remain waiting for the Christ to be given to them like a magnificent Carl Bloch painting—to remove once and for all their doubts and fears.

The truth is, those who diligently seek to learn of Christ eventually will come to know Him. They will personally receive a divine portrait of the Master, although it most often comes in the form of a puzzle—one piece at a time. Each individual piece may not be easily recognizable by itself; it may not be clear how it relates to the whole. Each piece helps us to see the big picture a little more clearly. Eventually, after enough pieces have been put together, we recognize the grand beauty of it all. Then, looking back on our experience, we see that the Savior had indeed come to be with us—not all at once but quietly, gently, almost unnoticed.

This can be our experience if we move forward with faith and do not wait too long on the road to Damascus.   -Deiter F. Uchtdorf

We have been studying this talk, trying to figure out what hold´s Alba and Walter and other investigators from being baptized.... and I am realizing more and more how baptism really is a step of faith, just like many other things we do in life, trying to put all of the pieces we have together. When we commit to be baptized, we show our willingness to the Lord, and that we need more pieces of the puzzle from him. As we do this, he promises to guide us and we see the picture more and more clearly as he walks beside us and gives us his spirit. WHAT A JOY it is to see people put the pieces together too. Let us move forward with faith and not hesitate to put aside our fears.

Well, all is well. Thank you for your emails, prayers, and support!!! I sure love you!!!

Love, Hermana Emily Mather

Dario, Gustavo, Yo, Hermana Sanchez, Hermana Hansen

Bustar Viejo
A Spanish family invited us to eat with them, they live in a cute pueblo.
What a breath of fresh air :)

Thanks to Hermana Chapple asking us to help her get a haircut,
we contacted Gustavo on the street 5 weeks ago,  and here we are!

Wahoo!!! Dario was so happy to be the one to baptize Gustavo.
I hope they both serve missions very soon!  

Monday, March 10, 2014


10 Marzo 2014

Happy March!  Happy week #4 of this transfer.  As we are getting into the groove of being in a trio :), I am learning a little bit of Norwegian. God morgen familie [Good morning family]. Just kidding my companion typed that. I love speaking Spanish 24/7 with them!

Well, it has been a P-day and a week full of adventure! We just got back from Segovia (we left early this morning and caught a few speed trains) and saw the amazing aqueducts and castles and cathedrals there! It’s nice to get out of the usual schedule sometimes :) And we saw Hermana Aagard!!!! Oh man, was it good to see her again :)  I miss that woman; she seems to be doing so well. I love that we make forever friends here in the mission! So anyways that was fun! Hermana Chapple, one of the senior missionaries (from Payson, Utah!) came as well as Araceli, the return missionary that served in Washington D.C. It was a blast! I will send some pictures!!

This week, we celebrated Gustavo's birthday with some good-old American style brownies freshly baked from our oven! Yum!! He turned 21 (This young man will serve a mission someday, I sure hope.) He never fails to amaze me. He really takes everything we say to heart, analyzes it, thoroughly reads scriptures, and applies everything to his life. WOW, sometimes I try to imagine myself in his shoes, since we are basically the same age, without the gospel, feeling like he did, like he was missing something and finally everything makes sense and his life is full. He amazes me in the way that he has accepted to live the law of chastity and the word of wisdom (even though he may not even fully understand the WHY, and even though he may not have lived accordingly before). This last week and the following week will be a bit stressful trying to get all of the lessons taught to him so that he can get his interview and be baptized on Sunday! I love him though, he says: "cuantas lacciones me faltan? puedo quedar este dis este dia, cuando puedo tener mi entrevista?" ["How many lessons are left for me to take? Can I keep up with this day after day? When can I have my Baptismal Interview? "] PHEW sometimes I think my brain will explode, and that’s when I know I just need to get to work, taking everything one step at a time. The next email will include pictures from the baptism!

I love seeing Agustina, Pablo, and Mervin just involved in their callings and really accepted by everyone at church. It has been different to teach someone like Gustavo, so much younger, but he is so, so talkative and friendly to everyone. It is a comfort to know that all of them are "in the fold" and God will take care of them!

We had Zone Training this week in Alcala, and as Sister Training Leaders, Hermana Hansen and I had to give a 15 minute talk (all in Spanish of course) in front of our whole zone. Eek! I was nervous! But it all turned out well. We emphasized Acts 4:19-20, 13 how we need to be BOLD in a way that we cannot resist sharing with others what we have seen and heard:

19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.

20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.

13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

I love this. I learn so much for myself personally when I am asked to teach, I really enjoyed preparing and speaking with Hermana Hansen!

Also, our investigator Gerson is back! It was so good to see him again. I still love teaching him, as he is open about his doubts and concerns. We had a very inspired lesson. I have no doubt that the spirit was guiding it. We had already read through 1 Nephi, but we asked if he had prayed yet... He said no, and said most likely out of fear that it is true. He realizes the changes that he has to make and knows that he needs to act on the answer that he will receive. It is so true! This gospel is ALL about change. Like you said Mom, making bad men good, and good men better. I love that! He committed to read AND pray. AH I am so excited for him. He also brought us snow globes from where he traveled in Portugal!

Like I said about our companionship last week, we are sooo different, different countries, languages, backgrounds, personalities, but we sure have a good time. We all love to laugh and balance each other out very well. I LOVE training, I love doing the twelve-week program with her and we both learn new things. Hermana Sanchez is so great, haha so practical and to the point about everything, takes everything very literally. Hermana Hansen is calm and sure about everything, and I really need that when I turn into a stress-ball. I can already tell it will be hard to see her go home after this transfer, both saying goodbye to her and knowing she is going to see her family again and all. I still get little spells of homesickness, missing my family and home sometimes, especially thinking about my companion going home. BUT I feel so blessed to have a home and family to miss :) I love you all!

Have a great week!

Love, Hermana Emily Marie Mather

Temple trip!

We luff cooking together!!!

MY BABY! Hermana Sanchez!

Our squishy study room, nightly planning :)

Crazy night drive in the center of Madrid!

Hermana Hansen, Hermana Sanchez, Hermana Mather

Hermanas Sanchez, Hansen, Mather

Monday, March 3, 2014

"Wherever you go, go with all your heart"‏

3 Marzo 2014

This week sure has been a week to remember, with lots of changes and out of the ordinary events! I LOVED hearing about Amber playing lacrosse :) how cool! And I hope Aaron starts feeling better. Mom, I love you for always serving others and making me want to be better. I know without a doubt Dad is working hard, no matter what he is doing. Nathan, I love hearing from you! Wade, you sound like the consecrated missionary, and I cannot WAIT to catch up on stories someday, haha will we ever have time for everything? I think of you all often everyday... you are my motivation!

This Wednesday we have a mission tour with Elder Texiera from Portugal, who is in charge of 30 missions in Europe. These mission tours only happen once a year, so we feel very special as missionaries to have general authorities visit. I left feeling so uplifted and motivated, and I thought my head might explode from all of the great ideas they had to improve as missionaries, and I love the spiritual high we feel (it reminds me of the MTC [Missionary Training Center]). Just a few things that really stuck out to me that I loved:
  • Hermana Jackson shared with us a story of her nephew... wherever he went, he went with all of his heart. I love that! It really made me reflect and think about how I want to get everyday, everything that I have! This can be hard on the mission. Just like in life, there are days when we just do not want to do what we need to do. But these are the days when we have to push through and trust the someone a whole lot greater than us knows how we feel. These are the days I find that studying the Atonement and serving my companion help. What a great motto this will be for our lives everyday? Do everything with PURPOSE and WHOLE-HEARTEDLY. That is what Christ did, and with His power we can do it too.
  • God does not ask many of us to die for the church, but He does ask us to LIVE for it. This can be a lot harder sometimes than just giving up the fight. God asks us to endure. Just as he said in the Bible, a true friend will give up his life for his friends, and we are asked to give up our lives figuratively to further his work and show his children that they are loved.
  • Llevala con honor (wear the missionary nametag with honor) we represent Christ and it is a privilege to do so EVERYDAY!!!

All in all, we learned so much, I wish I could tell you everything, but one thing I have loved is that he invited us at the beginning of lessons to ask the people we are teaching if they have any family or friends who would benefit from a special prayer in their lives. This is made a 180 degree change in our lessons, as the people realize that we aren't here to just go through the same routine and teach the same lessons. We are here for THEM specifically to meet their needs and let them feel of God´s love. In fact, we saw a little miracle from applying this principle... We contacted a man on the street 3 days before who didn't want to hear anything about the gospel. Then we went to have an appointment with an investigator and this same man was there, hardly listening. We asked for family members who might need prayers, and his heart softened, and decided that he wanted to really know the truth of our message. Cool huh? I encourage all of you to always be aware of the needs of others and never forget the power of prayer :)

After the mission tour, there was the leadership meeting for another 2 hours with Elder Texiera & President and Sister Jackson. What an opportunity! I love being a Sister Training Leader and feeling like I might be able to help this work, and especially the sisters here. It is incredible to see all of the "behind the scenes" work that goes on and the power of obedience in leadership. I pray that I can apply all that I learn, once again my head felt like it was about to explode a bit. hehe. After, we were getting ready to go home, and it turns out, President wanted to take us all to the center of Madrid and get burgers at VIPS, it was already 8:30 at night! Wow, we actually didn't end up getting home until 1 AM with problems due to transportation, it was the strangest night of my mission, after following such a strict schedule for 8 months, then  going out to eat with President and he was okay with us enjoying our time. It sure felt weird.

Friday, one of the Sisters in our area went home due to health issues, and we were put into a Trio: Hermana Sanchez, Hermana Hansen (from Norway), and me! Wow, God knew I needed change to keep me on my toes and keep me working hard. I completely agree with Wade in the fact that it is easy to fall into a routine and change is good. It is hard, but good. We have slowly moved her into our little apartment. Trios are so POWERFUL, but very awkward hehe. Everything is a little bit squishier and cramped, but 3 times as fun. Hermana Sanchez is very organized and mature, 22 years old, and really knew what to expect on the mission since her two siblings when on missions and she kept in close contact with them. She was very mentally prepared for the mission, and she makes yummy salads. It’s always a little hard at the beginning of a companionship to get comfortable with each other and mesh routines, exercising, means of teaching, living with someone 24/7, etc., but we have adjusted fairly fast. We are quite different in many ways! But I love it; she teaches very clearly and inspired. Then to add another curve ball we are now with Hermana Hansen! She is so great! She speaks English, Spanish, and Norwegian fluently, and she will go home at the end of this transfer. We are also very different, she always seemed so quiet to me but I LOVE getting to know her. We all laugh and have fun. It has been interesting mixing the two pools of investigators, and teaching lessons. I love it!

I just wanted to add a little snippet about Gustavo, our investigator who will be baptized the 15th of March. He is incredible! The most prepared person I have ever met. He is 20 years old. I believe I have told you quite a bit about him. But he was just like any other contact on the street, and these past two weeks of teaching him have changed my life. Yesterday, in fact, he was sitting in front of us, next to a member at church during fast and testimony meeting, and he got up (I thought to go to the bathroom, but nope, headed towards the stand!) and bore his testimony. I have never heard of an investigator doing this! He is so bold and knows the truth. My heart was beating very fast, hoping he would not say false doctrine or something, haha. But what he said was so touching and I immediately started crying. He thanked us for finding him, and said that these past two weeks he has felt so good, and he is excited to prepare more for his baptism. The whole ward came up and shook his hand and thanked him. He has changed my life, and I am so grateful for the chance to teach him. What a miracle. This makes every hard day on the mission worth it. Plus, cool thought, he is 20 years old and can serve a mission too! WE shall see.

Well, there is enough from me this week! I can´t wait to hear from you, have a great week! Here are a few quotes I love:

“When you are involved in the work of The Lord the power that is behind you is always greater than the obstacles before you.” Elder Dallin H. Oaks

"The church does not require anything, but the Lord asks us to consecrate all" - Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Que Dios les bendiga! [God bless you!]

Love, Hermana Mather