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