Monday, June 23, 2014

Traslados...aqui en Tenerife con Hermana Palomino!!! Transfer 9‏

23 Junio 2014

Hello top of the mornin’ to ya!!!

Thanks for the email this week mama, it sure was good to hear about your adventures in the family reunion and all! How fun! It’s good to hear about all the cute little cousin goobers, I look forward to seeing them next time :) Please remember to take pictures and send em :) especially of the family reunion!

Sometimes I wonder if I am a broken missionary.. I have been out for a year and I still miss you all. I love my family!!!!!! I can't wipe the smile off of my face when I read about your progress and success and service. I hope you know I love you.

SO! wow its actually hard to remember what all happened this week... it’s been full of packing little by little with Hermana Burgos, lots of goodbyes said, and Victor still has not been baptized. I feel very calm about his entire situation though, he is looking for a new apartment and plans on sitting down with Alison and explaining that he will never leave her side, although he needs to sleep in a different apartment at night. I have noticed so much light and happiness in him. The gospel truly changes people's countenance... and he is excited to read the Book of Mormon, and came to the movie night we had of the life of Joseph Smith. He started coming to English class, and I love teaching him, he has a true desire to learn. Everything he does is 100%, and I admire that a lot. I have full faith he will enter the waters of baptism in the next two weeks. He already talks about entering the temple to do the work of his grandma in August in Madrid :) He went to church in Bolivia with her over 12 years ago, and he said she loved the gospel, but was never baptized. What miracles we are blessed to see.

I feel a bit emotionally exhausted with the goodbyes and packing and little sleep. I feel like a have some big shoes to feel here in Santa Cruz, as Hermana Burgos and Elder Parkinson (yeah, he left too, I was so sad) have left. Satan creeps into my thoughts telling me that I cannot do this, and that the ward will not like me as much, I had worried thoughts about my new companion, missing home knowing that Hermana Burgos is leaving. But TENDER MERCIES… I LOVE Hermana Palomino, I can already tell we will get along very well and see so many more miracles. I can look back at each and every transfer and companionship and see God's hand. I can discern their strengths and qualities that I should further develop. I have learned more about how to show and tell people I love them, patience, diligence, humility, and each of my companions have something (in most cases MANY things) that the Lord shows me I need. What a blessing! I met Hermana Palomino my third transfer on a P-day and I remember talking to her thinking, I could really be her companion :) and look, here we are.  I know that God knows the desires of my heart, has sent the companion that I was praying for: humble, obedient, ready to work! And I have the opportunity to speak Spanish all the time with a native! And he sent Hermana Aagard here :) It’s been so great to see old missionary friends and see how much we have learned and grown.

I feel rejuvenated to ready to make these next six months the best! I am reminded constantly how blessed I am to be here, surrounded my so many people I have grown to love, God sends me angels.

I hope you have a great week! I love you all so much!!! Tell me about your Oregon adventure!

Love, Hermana Mather

Made Hermana Burgos an agenda to return home, with pictures of happy people married and with babies to remind her of her future goals :)

Last night, saying goodbye to Elder Parkinson! He is a goober

This afternoon, after a 3 trips to the airport in less than 24 hours, getting everyone that was transferred all settle, we had a big lunch in our apartment!

My new companion, Hermana Palomino!!!!!!! She is so cute!! I met her my third transfer when she first entered the mission! She is from Ecuador, loves running, 25 years old, and very down to earth! I am so excited to start working with her! Its pretty incredible and out of the ordinary to have so many native companions as well, this will be my forth one (she has lived in Spain since she was a kid). I feel so blessed!

LOOK WHO CAME TO THE ISLANDS!!! HERMANA AAGARD will be serving in the south of the island Tenerife!! I was screaming and jumping up and down when we found out she was coming! We met up with her this morning when she flew in, I am sitting next to her doing emails and it feels like nothing has changed.. WOW!

We woke up early to get everything done and Hermana Burgos all packed, and look at the beautiful sunrise we saw :) wow, breathtaking

VICTOR AND ALISON!!!! They are so special :)

Alison loves church :) and gives us her little drawings and bracelets that she does in sacrament meeting, hehe.

Some less-actives that we have been teaching, Jeni and Aldis. We are trying to remind Jeni why she really got baptized and encourage her to come to church again.  And Aldis has a difficult family situation.

Last district meeting. Hermana and Elder Hatch or incredible. They cook delicious homey meals after every district meeting. It reminds me of mom´s food :) we are so blessed.

I am teaching her to make silly faces…ew

Monday, June 16, 2014

Happy One Year!‏

16 Junio 2014

HOLA familia y amigos!!

This week, I turned one! I have been a missionary for 1 year now.  Wow, it has been a week of a lot of reflection and mind blowing thoughts of how blessed I have been in the Lord's service. Oh man, it has been a difficult week too! It truly can be a struggle every day.  Yes, we see miracles and I love being a missionary, but its hard for me to stay positive sometimes, and work through things mentally, especially when I think about all that I miss back home! So much that I love here, and at the same time feeling a bit overwhelmed with all there is to do, and knowing that change is coming next transfer, and my companion will be home soon with her family, that can be hard. All in all, sacrifices bring forth the blessings of heaven right, I firmly believe in that.

I don't have much time this week, but just so you know, Victor will be baptized this coming Saturday, instead of two days ago. Wow, its been a journey this week. It continues to amaze me the faith that this man has, and how God truly prepared him. We realized that he lives with Alison and the mother of his daughter in the same piso [apartment], and that to fully live the Law of Chastity he needs to move out (even though he only lives there to for the benefit of Alison and they live in separate rooms) We had a lesson with him last Monday to tell him the heart just hurt so bad as he replied and said that he just recently moved there because Alison and Veronica lived there alone, but one day he walked in and she was crying... they had been robbed. He moved back in to protect them. BUT he immediately said, wow, I wish I knew before. I am definitely willing to move out if that is what needs to be done, I just want you two to explain it to Alison, so that she isn't against the church or me when she sees I have to move out. It amazed me how trusting he is and especially the love he has for his daughter.

So we did a family home evening at their house, ate some yummy pizza and brownies with ice cream, and taught a lesson about families and feeling the spirit :) it sure was fun to get to know Alison better and play with her :) she is an incredible smart and loving little girl. She cried a bit when we talked about the changes she has seen in her daddy, she said that he is so much happier! And Victor couldn't stop smiling as she said she loves him so much! So all in all, to give him time to find a new piso, he will be baptized this coming Saturday.

In Second Nefi [Nephi] chapter four (MY FAVORITE CHAPTER OF THE BOOK OF MORMON!) I am reminded of how each of us should feel if we are truly converted to the gospel. I love it :) this will always remind me of Victor and his journey... and the true meaning of conversion.

20 My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.

21 He hath filled me with his love, even unto the consuming of my flesh.

22 He hath confounded mine enemies, unto the causing of them to quake before me.

23 Behold, he hath heard my cry by day, and he hath given me knowledge by visions in the night-time.

24 And by day have I waxed bold in mighty prayer before him; yea, my voice have I sent up on high; and angels came down and ministered unto me.

34 O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.

35 Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen.

I love verse 34, I will trust in the Lord forever! I love seeing the change in people´s countenance when they feel the Lord´s influence little by little. I love watching them reach a point that they only want to do good and be better. Luis sure has changed a lot too, I will have to send you a picture of him, he looks like a different person!

I hope you have a great week! Please pray for me as I am to receive a new companion and lots of changes are happening, and pray for Victor please!!

I love you all so much!


Hermana Mather

p.s. it was 94 degrees yesterday, and it feels the same today. I am going to die here this summer!!!

The Sunday Luis was baptized!

On a hike last week...

... by the ocean...

Victor, Elder Bird, and I
Thank goodness we work out for 30 minutes every morning...
it was hard holding that rock up.

Victor, Sergio, Elder Bird, Elder Parkinson, Hermana Burgos and I

Hermana Burgos and I

Monday, June 9, 2014

"Mistakes of the past don´t define you, they refine you"‏

9 Junio 2014

This week... has been incredible. Like always, when we are going through it, it’s always difficult to keep positive and maintain faith in God´s hand in all of the situations. But then, like always I look back and say, that is how it needed to be, and I feel overwhelmed and blessed to experience all that I am experiencing. Wow.

I would like to tell you a little bit more about Victor. I knew this man was so special from the moment we met him on the street. It was one of those unique contacts on the street where I almost literally felt like something pushed me towards him, telling me to talk to him. You know that he has had quite a past, and we found out this week that he wasn't just drinking, he was actually very involved with drugs as well, and he always seemed to have these addictions tying him down, tell him that he can´t change and he isn't strong enough. His journey with us I think of as his journey coming to understand that "mistakes of the past don´t define you, they refine you."

He called us Monday night, very drunk :( after 1.5 months (from the first day that he met us) he was deceived by a "friend" and fell again. He called us, so down and sad, he felt so unworthy and like such a failure, doubting himself and feeling like he couldn't change again. He said that he felt so weak. It broke my little heart. But we met with him the following day, he received a priesthood blessing, and talked about repentance. I have never understood the repentance process so well after studying it all week. The blessing gave him a lot of comfort and strength, promising him so many blessings for him and for Alison. God truly knows all and has his own timing. Life is all about falling and getting back up again, learning that God is by our side, no matter what our struggle. I truly wish I could just record every lesson we have with this man, he has CHANGED MY LIFE. I will never think of the repentance process the same, as a have seen a changed man develop, he has become so humble and willing to accept God´s will,  I am so grateful for Our beloved Savior Jesus Christ who made the miracle of forgiveness possible. I thought of this scripture the night that Victor said he felt so weak: (how many times do WE feel so weak too?)

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.

The Lord gives us His strength. But it truly had to happen this way. Victor now knows that he needs to avoid situations like this where he finds himself tempted. He has found power in the Book of Mormon. Since he stopped taking drugs and drinking, he has trouble sleeping, but as he reads two chapters a night, he can sleep well. Little Alison follows her dad's example and love reading too. He talks like a member with the testimony he has gained through trails, all that he has felt and lived and experienced. I could go on forever and write a novel about my love for this man, but I will just end by telling you about the look in his eyes when he said that he will be baptized the 14th, this Saturday!!!! it was UNFORGETTABLE!!! He had to hit the lowest low to help him realize truly how God sees him, not how he is now, but the man that he can become. He will embark this process when he is baptized this Saturday :)

Eek , I wanted to briefly tell you about Sergio as well, he is the man who we met on the street the other day, said that he was probably a waste of time, he doesn't believe in what he doesn't see, but gave us his number anyways. We have met with him for ONE WEEK. and the guy (23 years old) we call him our social timid friend. He says he is timid, but he seems very outgoing and fun! Anyways, we have had some of the most spiritual lessons with him, as we teach, he will say "I always leave here with a smile, I can't stop smiling and I don´t understand why... I feel my heart beating so fast and I don't understand, I have never really believed in God before". We know this is the Spirit working within him, telling him that he has heard this before, we are simply reminding him. He said he hasn't cried for seven years, but he felt like he was about to. This is the most rapid change I have seen in anyone, I love teaching him too, he just can't stop smiling, and feels like he just wants to know more and more. I love it. Ah i love being a missionary.

Those are the most important things from this week, other than that, there are two weeks left in the transfer, and Hermana Burgos will be going home, she finishes her mission! Her mom and her sister moved to New York while she has been on her mission so she returns to a place different from home, make sure to add her to your prayers. It can be hard for me to see others go home, because I miss family, but I know that I am supposed to be here. I just think, wow I will be here for a lot, lot, lot longer, hah. So we are just still here trying our best to work hard and love and serve, then I will receive a new companion and area train her. Yikes! All exciting. Change can be hard, but I feel SO BLESSED to have found so many people that have changed my life, my companions being some of the biggest parts. I am grateful for Hermana Burgos and all she has taught me.

Well, I hope this makes up for all that I haven´t written the past few weeks I am going to send some pictures now!! I love you! I hope you have a SPLENDID WEEK full of miracles. I LUFF YEW.

Love, Hermana Mather

YESSSS thats VICENTA!!! with Hermana Sanchez in Alcobendas,
Hermana Mather's previous area.
 SHE WAS BAPTIZED!!!!!!! How exciting huh?!?!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Luis´ baptism and Zone Conference!‏

2 Junio 2014

I have a little bit more time this week!!

I have to apologize for how crazy these past few preparation-days (P-days) have been with barely any time to write. Wow I feel like there is so much to catch up on, and so little time! I am looking back at my planner and all of these pictures, realizing how FULL this week has been. Wow a lot has happened!

We had Zone Conference.  President and Hermana Jackson came here from Madrid, spent P-day with us and we spent Tuesday morning and afternoon in the big meeting with all other missionaries from the islands. It was a truly inspired meeting.  I wish you could all be here to experience it and feel the spirit that we felt so strongly. Wow. Sister King and I sang "His Hands" a song by Kenneth Cope, and it was a version translated to Spanish. Oh I love the lyrics, you should look them up :) many times that I was rehearsing it, I found myself crying from the message that it all portrays. It went along well with the theme, they talked a lot about Christ's love and how it was His motivation for all that he did, and it should be our complete focus. We should be obedient, diligent, pure, and all of these things that classify a missionary BECAUSE WE LOVE CHRIST. There are so many reasons that we have for what we do, but if love isn't the biggest driving factor, then we don't have much reason to do what we do. Wow, this was all an incredible answer to my prayers, The Lord prepared me for this last transfer and a half to hear the words that were spoken here.... I have been studying about charity and love and sanctification, all the while evaluating myself personally, thinking about what a truly successful missionary is like, and if I measure up to who the Lord wants me to be. It has been like a big tornado in my mind lately!!! But as President got up to speak, he read an email from an anonymous missionary, speaking of service and love. I recognized the words right away... That was MY email that I sent to President a few weeks ago, when we painted the room for the lady in our ward. I received such a confirmation that the Lord is pleased with our service that how we are trying to serve and love more. President came up to me afterward and said that they had, in fact, based the whole zone conference off of that one email that I sent him. I was so shocked and grateful for the perspective it gave me. It was a day full of fun seeing other missionaries and feeling the spirit!!

You will see from the pictures that we also did service for a ward member with Luis! Her smile when all was done was worth all of it, Luis sure has opened up a lot... little victories! When we first met him, he hardly looked at us and was shaking because he was nervous, but he slowly opened up and I see him smile at various times each day now!! He was also baptized yesterday!! It was a great service, he has come to be good friends with our ward mission leader Hermano Parria, (He reminds me SO much of dad, with the way he is very organized and hard working. He has a great sense of humor with the people; it’s like having a little piece of dad here!) Luis gave his testimony, different and interesting, but very sincere. He has started to read the Book of Mormon for the second time and can explain perfectly the need of the restoration! Wow. Luis has been the Lord's lesson for me not to preach with "exception of persons".

And Victor!!!! We taught him the Word of Wisdom, and come to find out that the DAY we met him for the first time, he had stopped drinking, even when he goes out with friends... even before we had taught him these things. We truly don't even have to open our mouths sometimes...the spirit speaks for us. His daughter Alison is SUCH a smart little girl, and really loves all of the changes she sees in her daddy, They came to the ward activity that we ended up being in charge of (we played lots of relays and minutes to win it games!) and they had a lot of fun. Alison even brought her English book to practice English together and do her homework. AH I LOVE HER. She is so smart and cute. Please pray with me that Victor will have a enough trust in the Lord and himself to accept a baptismal date. It is his time :) He's just scared that he will fall into the temptations of the world again.

OH we also met a really cool guy the other day named Sergio, 23 years old, who said that he didn't believe much in God, but agreed to meet with us... it was INCREDIBLE after talking with him to see how much faith he truly does have...we read Alma 32 as we asked questions and explained to him, HE realized that he does know God exists, and he wants His influence in his life more. Haha it was funny, he was confused why he couldn't stop smiling afterwards, we knew it was The Holy Ghost touching his heart, we felt it too.

I wish I could tell you more and go into sooo much more detail about everything, I hope all the pictures say 132,987,402,384,750 words because I am short on time. It is so good to hear about Dad working closer, Mom and Amber have callings :) How fun! And Nathan is getting married... Its official!!! What beautiful pictures!!!!! I am so excited for all of you :) Keep me updated on your lives :) I love ya!!

Love, Hermana Mather

p.s. I played piano "Con El Salvador Al Lado (If the Savior Stood Beside Me)", by Sally DeFord in sacrament meeting yesterday for the little Primary kids. They sing her songs even here on a little island of the sea, so cool. I love this gospel!!!  It is the same everywhere we go.

p.p.s. How is family prayer and scripture study and Family Home Evening going?

Luis' baptism

Ward activity we were in charge of

Along with the other picture, doing service with Luis at a member's house,
clearing lots of weeds and trees from her yard!

We had a ward activity last weekend.

Pictures of us from today... We went biking around the city!! So fun!!!

Alison even brought her English book to practice English together and do her homework.
AH I LOVE HER. She is so smart and cute.

La Zona de las Islas del Mar