Sunday, February 23, 2014

Spreading the Love


How I love you. This week I received so very many packages and letters and I FELT THE LOVE! So naturally I decided to spread that love. Whenever I get a package of treats or food I hand it out to others as I walk around campus. I try and look for new missionaries or those who look down and it's been oh so rewarding to share my spoils with others. It makes everyone hate me less for getting so much mail...

As you all know, Valentines day was last week and it was such a joyous day! I got a bunch of little pink heart shaped stickers in one of my packages and as I walked around that day I gave one/stuck one on almost every person I came in contact with. By the end of the day there was missionaries all over campus proudly sporting a hot pink heart on their tag or coat. It was such a happy thing to look around and see how many people I had been able to spread the love to that day.

And now for the THE MOST EXCITING THING that happened to Hermana Matesen this week:

It was Sunday Devotional. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's son Matthew Holland was scheduled to speak and there were rumors going around that his dad might make a brief appearance. We all prayed. And prayed. AND PRAYED that he would come. And good thing God answers prayers because GUESS WHO CAME?

JEFFEREY R HOLLAND of the twelve apostles was in the same room as me, Hermana Matesen. He even stood up and spoke for a few moments before his son gave his talk. It was glorious. It was amazing. I was so excited I could hardly contain myself. 

Haha you should've seen all of us elders and sisters sitting on the edges of our seats grinning from ear to ear. It was like Justin Beiber had walked into a room of 13 year old girls. The energy and spirit was so strong you could almost reach out and touch it.

Then his son goes on to give THE most profound and incredible talk about the life and story of Joseph Smith. And throughout his talk there was a professional choir that sang songs about Joseph's life and mission. It was the most amazing thing.

During the talk a young man sang a solo of 'A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief' a capella. It was the most beautiful moment. Everyone in the audience had tears streaming down their faces and the love of God filled my heart so much that I thought it might burst.

At the end of the talk the whole missionary choir (in which I am a part of) stood and sang Praise to the Man.  It was incredible. Hundreds and hundreds of missionaries singing their hearts out for an apostle and for the prophet Joseph Smith. It was amazing. Words cannot properly express the power felt in that room that night. Aaaaaand I got yet another close up on the BIG SCREEN (why the camera man always chooses MY face to zoom in on I will never know) So yes, it's for certain that Jeffrey R. Holland saw my face. YES. Miracles.

Another incredible experience this week was when my companion practiced teaching a person who may have doubts or fears. We were role playing with an 'investigator' and invited her to be baptized. She paused and answered no. We asked her why. She said she was afraid because her family would be angry and she didn't want to lose them. The emotions were high and we were at a loss of words. I had no idea how to help this woman. I had no idea what to say in english or in spanish. We sat there in silence and I said a quiet prayer in my heart, 'Heavenly father, PLEASE help me to know what to say. Help me to have the words to speak. Help me to help this woman."

And just like that I knew what to say. 

1 Nephi 3:7 popped right into my head and I turned there and had the investigator read it. In that scripture it tells us that the Lord will give no commandments to us unless he shall provide a way for us to do that which he asks.
I testified in choppy and bad Spanish that I knew without a shadow of a doubt that what that scriptures says is true. I told her that the Lord WILL provide a way. I testified of God's love and my love for her.
It was amazing. It was like the words coming out of my mouth weren't even my own. The spirit filled that tiny smelly apartment room and all of us sat there with tears streaming down our faces. 
WOW. Miracles. Everyday.
This work is so much bigger than me. I am simply an instrument in God's hands. 
It's the most beautiful thing.

Also during this week me and my companion had the opportunity to practice teaching an actual person who lives in Mexico through SKYPE! It was the coolest thing. He was the sweetest man and told me to write down the name of his grandson who's on a mission and marry him when he got home. It was darling.

Oh if you could only see me. If you could only be a fly on the wall in the lessons we get to teach and meet the people we get to love.

It's most definitely NOT EASY. Lots of times we leave lessons feeling confused, discouraged and frustrated. Half the time I have no idea what my investigator is even saying. But still, I am able to teach. It's incredible.

I love being a missionary. I love love love it.

-Hermana Matesen

The Funnies of the Week:

-When I was trying to share a personal experience in a lesson I meant to say "When I was 14..."
instead I said "When I was 40..."

-Overhearing some of the new elders in my zone talking:
New Elder: "Does Hermana Matesen ALWAYS have that much energy?" 
Older Elder: "Yep. Always.

-My new district was talking about before I came to the district they were making goals to have more fun and now they're making goals to be more quiet...

-When I received a package from my mom and everyone gathered around in hopes of getting some candy and instead got offered some essential oils. Hahaha. Oh boy.
 a pink heart for valentines day.
 me and my comp - always bumping our heads on this Jesus picture
 A picture of my district and my FAVORITE teacher  Hermano Waddoups.
Hahahaha it's such a gross picture but I love it.
 me and all the hermanas in my zone. Boy do I love these girls with all my heart.
 Another map picture
Ruby had special permission to go to the dentist for her last check-up before she leaves the country.  Max had the sweet privilege of taking her.  Photo credit:  Max Matesen!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Be a Rainbow Umbrella - February 13, 2014

Dearest Everyone,

I would just like to begin by informing you that everyone here at the MTC HATES me (but still totally loves me) because of the amount of mail and packages I've received this week. I can feel the love. Thank you all SO MUCHO!

This was a week full of rain, laughs, and lots of lessons.
I'm really loving my time here and I'm especially loving my teachers. My teacher Hermana Beck pulled us all aside one by one this week and just talked with us for a bit. We talked about our lives and our strengths and weaknesses as missionaries. I told her the story of how I decided to serve a mission and she cried. While we were talking she shared with me a brief part of a song called "A Window to his Love"

'I want to be a window to His love so that when people look at me, they see Him.'

Those were the exact words that I needed to hear. I want to live my life in a way that this is the case.

Because of the mass amounts of rain this last week everyone at the MTC has been busting out their umbrellas. At the MTC you see two kinds of umbrellas, black and navy blue. Turns out they asked you to bring umbrellas in conservative colors. Woops. Mine is rainbow.

As I walked through the crowds of missionaries that day I couldn't help but laugh. I stuck out like a sore thumb. But as I thought about it I realized it was the perfect metaphor. All of us here on this earth are just trying to blend. We so willingly choose the black and navy blue things in life. We want to stand out, but not THAT much. We want to be different, but not THAT much. We want to stand up for what we believe but not be THAT bold.

So today I challenge one and all to be a rainbow umbrella.
Be SO happy, be SO colorful, be SO beautifully different that people will have no choice but to ask what it is that makes you shine.

Throw out the Black and Navy blue in your life and hold your rainbow umbrella proudly. Because life is too short to blend. Now is the time to stand out.

Because the rain was so glorious and because I was so happy to finally be able to wear my new shiny red rain boots and rainbow umbrella, I confess I broke the MTC rules and DANCED. As I made a particularly impressive leap/spin I tripped over the curb and landed in a very large and muddy puddle. Everyone stopped. Everyone starred. And then everyone laughed. I lay there in the puddle laughing so hard tears streamed down my face! It was hilarious.

And now for more metaphor! Sometimes being a rainbow umbrella is hard. It calls a lot of attention. Sometimes that attention is hard because in life we often trip and fall into large mud puddles of our own and there's a large crowd of Navy Blues and Blacks watching to see what you'll do and how you'll react. So in order to be the best rainbow umbrella you can be. Laugh it off. Embrace the attention. Use it for good. Be such a AWESOME rainbow umbrella that everyone you meet wants to be one too! Be bold. Be different. Be you. Be a rainbow umbrella.

Ok so enough about flamboyant umbrellas and more about my mission!
In the MTC the phrase "Follow the Spirit" is used a lot. Like a lot a lot. And for the first few weeks it drove me Crrrraaaazzzzy. 
"What should I teach my investigator?"
Follow the spirit.
"What should I study during personal study?"
Follow the spirit
"When should I testify?"
Follow the spirit

I was frustrated. I got what they were trying to say and I got what they were trying to do but I just wasn't getting it. I was praying and praying. I was doing my best to be creative but I just wasn't able to do what they were constantly telling me I needed to do. I felt discouraged and mad. Then on Monday night we were assigned to teach a cute old man named Thomas Monson. No not the prophet. Just a darling old person who speaks Spanish and happens to have the same name.

We taught him about prayer and I came but with The Parable of the Telephone (we've been trying to teach like Jesus this week, hence the parable). I drew a crappy drawing of an old telephone and explained that when we pray we not only speak but we listen, and that when we listen God sends answers. The lesson went so amazingly I can't even properly describe it. I strayed from the lesson plan. I shared an experience IN SPANISH and the spirit was so strong you could just fell it EVERYWHERE! I finally did it. I finally did what everyone had been telling me to do all day everyday. I followed the spirit. And boy was it the best feeling ever. After the lesson the old man looked us each in the eye and told us we were great missionaries. Boy, I needed that. And he asked to keep my crappy drawing of a telephone. It was a wild success.

On Tuesday nights I've been singing at the giant Devotionals in the MTC choir. There are 100s of kids in the MTC choir and it's a really awesome thing to take part it. However, while you perform they film you on the cameras and put you up on the HUGE JUMBO SCREENS at the front for all the hundreds and hundreds of missionaries to see.

Ya know how in general conference when the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings they always zoom in really close on like one or two people? Well guess who got the zoom. Yep. Me. There I was SUPER HUGE AND ZOOMED IN the HUUUUGE screen in front of hundreds of missionaries and a member of the seventy and his wife. Oh boy. It was hilarious. It was SO hard not to laugh.I definitely cracked a smile And ever since then missionaries keep coming up to me and being like "HEY you're the close up girl who laughed on camera!!" Yep. I'm missionary famous.

The actual devotional however was AMAZING! My very favorite quote was when the speaker got super serious and passionate and she said 
"WHO I am and WHAT I do has EVERYTHING to do with Him."
Wow. I want to be like that.

Everyone here at the MTC is sick except me and my companion. Good thing for you Mom or I'd be sick with the rest of em! I'm drinking tons of water and taking GREAT care of myself though so there's no need to worry.

We've taught 7 lessons this week so far, teaching 1 tonights, 2 tomorrow, and maybe 3 the next day. All in Spanish. BOO YA. The gift of tongues is REAL. With God ALL THINGS are possible.

We got a new investigator this week, her names is Nayelli. We meet with her at the TRC so there is a high possibility she's actually a REAL LIFE INVESTIGATOR not just a teacher or a paid actor. It's so awesome to teach her. She's feeling it I just know it. We team taught her yesterday the first vision and it was the most amazing thing. As my dear friend Hermana Fullmer recited the first vision in Spanish, tears streamed down her face and I just wanted to stay in that moment forever and ever. Then we sang her Joseph's Smith's first prayer. In that moment I felt like I got a little glimpse of heaven. I love being a missionary.

In the words of Emma Smith "We are going to do something extraordinary."

Love you all,
Hermana Matesen
 Trying to eat my cookie with my head out the window because eating in class is not allowed...
 Me in my room!

Me and the Hermanas (Sisters) in my apartment.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

February 6, 2014 - LETTER NUMERO DOS

This MTC experience is like nothing one can possibly get across in words. I love it here.
This week was full of some of the hardest days of my life and some of the best days. .... These are loooong days but they are full of the most amazing miracles. ....

This week started with a trip to Vegas to pick up our visas. WOOT. We had to be at the chapel at  4:30 in the morning (ouch) and we drove the airport. ....  I talked to so many and always was sure to mention that me and all the kids I was with were out to teach others about Christ. I met all sorts of interesting people and it was so much fun. .... 

We then went to the Mexican Consulate and sat in the waiting for FOREVER. And the grouchy old Elder dude wouldn't let us talk! It was painful. Everyone there was speaking spanish and it was then that i realized I really know zero spanish. .... 

I am growing to love my new district of Hermanas SO MUCH. They are so loving and I really feel like God put me in this district to help them. I have become particularly close with Hermana Fullmer and the other day we were laughing and walking to our class and she said "Oh Hermana Matesen I just don't know if I could've survived the MTC without you. I can laugh with you and it's saved my life here!"
I'm where God needs me to be.

On Monday night me and my companion had the opportunity to teach some real life people at the TRC ..... The people we were teaching were obviously lost and confused and I had no idea what they were trying to say and I kept forgetting the words I had practiced to say and overall it was just a trainwreck. I felt so inadequate. I felt so discouraged. I had forgotten the tune of the hymn we tried to sing, forget the word for build for faith which was the whole message of our lesson ..... 

As we walked home in the cold tears of frustration and disappointment rolled down my face. I felt so discouraged. These TRC lessons are supposed to be the easiest teaching experience we get here. I got home and fell to my knees. I prayed so hard. I prayed for God to help me. To hear me. Ayudame. Help me. And then came the peace. I know this is hard and I know God knows this is hard. But I know that He knows that I can do this. 

I am capable of so much more than I can even imagine and God knows that. When I was reading my scriptures the other day I came across the scripture Mosiah 26:38. I read it and thought wow those missionaries were walking with diligence but with all that persecution and all those trials that just doesn't look very fun. Then I looked in the footnotes and there it said 'walking with God.'

When times get tough, when the trials of life hit us in the face like a ton of bricks I think of this phrase. When we're walking through the freezing cold in the early early morning  and studying for hours in the late night I think of that phrase. I may be walking a difficult path but I am not alone. I am walking with God. It brings tears to my eyes and joy to my soul to know that. He walks with all of us and when the way gets too rough he carries us. I know it. I can feel it. This is true.

Yesterday I was sitting in the cafeteria eating dinner ..... and a ton of the new missionaries came flooding in. " They all look so well rested!" said hermana Ridge and we all laughed. As I talked to some of the missionaries and as I tried to make everyone feel welcomed and loved I realized that I was in their shoes exactly 2 weeks ago.

I don't even feel like the same person! I realized how much I've changed. Every night as I lay in my bed I can feel that I am changed. Changed for the better. I slowly but surely becoming my best self. I'm becoming everything God knows I'm capable of being. It's not easy but it's beautiful.

I was thinking about it the other day and the sentence I use most in lessons is "Porque Dios nos ama..." Because God loves us. Everything we have and everything that can be ours is because God loves us. 

Oh my goodness and good golly gosh the CHURCH IS TRUE. I want to dance down the streets and yell it a the top of my lungs! JOY guys. This is true JOY.

Hermana Matesen              

P.S.  Bought a big block of cheese at the mini creamery by my house so I could eat crackers and cheese and I thought of Grampie. We must be related.

 Feasting on the words of Christ...

Sunday, February 2, 2014

January 26, 2014 - One Week Down

MY DEAREST PEOPLE. Where do I even begin? I have 40 minutes to tell you a bajillion different things. I've survived my first whole week at the MTC. Weird.
 Let's start at the beginning shall we?

The first few moments in the MTC were crazy! I had people shoving books in my hands and clipping tags to my shirt and I just couldn't believe any of it was actually happening! I then was directed to get on a bus and go to a place called west campus. 

So here's the deal, you know the MTC building? The one all missionaries have gone to and been in since forever? The one across from the Provo temple? Haha turns out I don't actually go there. I'm at the WEST CAMPUS .... It's pretty ghetto fabulous. Our cafeteria is an a portal and the gym is in these giant white bubbles. 

So anyways, back to the story! I got on the bus and who do I see? GABBY GONZALES! My dear friend from high school! We embraced and got a few prime selfies together. Then I realize that sitting behind me is one of my companions (yes there is more than one.) !! Her name is Hermana Mitchell and she is SO beautiful and cute. She is from Roy, Utah and is SO smart. She took some spanish in high school and remembers SO much it's insane! Later I met my second companion, her name is Hermana Bigelow and she is from Palmer, Alaska! Isn't that crazy? She is SO kind and sweet and fun!! We immediately clicked. I LOVE MY HERMANAS! 

Eventually I found myself in my classroom and the teachers only spoke spanish to us so I was pretty lost. Eventually after a lot of pointing and acting out I figured what the heck they were talking about.

I think what I learned most the first day was missionary work is all about LOVING PEOPLE. And I also came to the realization that I have A LOT to learn. This whole spanish thing is awesome but it's really hard.

I do know how to pray and bear my testimony in Spanish which is WAY AWESOME! Honestly it's amazing how much of the language I've learned since being here. It blows my mind. They challenged us to speak as much spanish as we know all the time so I am constantly speaking in either really bad spanish or some kind of spanglish. Half the time people don't know what I'm saying but at least I'm trying right? Haha oh geez. If you could only see me.

I absolutely ADORE my district (a district is the people I always am with. A district is kind of like your assigned class.)
My district is me and my companions and 4 elders. I love them so dearly. We laugh SO much! We have such a fun time. And we're learning tons as well. I love my teachers and they are so helpful and loving. Even if I have no idea what they are talking about 80% of the time. I know they love me.

Gym time is super fun! I like to go play volleyball because it is the most social! Every time I go I make so many friends! It's wonderful. ....

So Friday rolled around and me and my dear companions went in and taught our dear investigator Victor about God's LOVE! Dois nos ama. God loves us. I said that a lot...and smiled and nodded a ton too. I was reeeally scared to go in and teach my first investigator on my second real day in the MTC .... WE DID IT! And it went really well! We spoke very bad spanish and read a little from our notes but the spirit was there and our investigator committed to pray and asked us to come back! HOLLA!!! 

As soon as we left our investigators "house" we sqeauled and jumped up and down and hugged each other. Then Elder Fishback (my dear buddy from my district) yelled "Let's celebrate!!" so we all ate some tic tacs in celebration of surviving our first lesson. Haha that's how we celebrate here at the MTC! Woot. I may or may not have told the investigator that the the gospel can bring us fish but it's whatever...

Not going to lie, it's pretty hard here. As soon as your done giving a lesson you start planning and practicing for the next one. .... My schedule is constantly BOOKED. 

The second day in the MTC we finally got to the check the mail and ALL the letters were for me!! I was thrilled but I think everyone else hated me....but THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO WROTE! Honestly getting handwritten letters and packages at the MTC is like winning the lottery. Everyone cheers and your day is made so PLEASE oh PLEASE write me hand written letters and send little packages. It boosts a missionary's mood more than you can imagine.
The MTC is like a rollercoaster. High HIGHS and LOW lows.
But thankfully I'm usually too exhausted to have any energy to cry and I'm too busy to think about anything that would make me homesick or sad.

I have seen several people I know here and it's always SUCH a happy time to see a familiar face.
My first Sunday SAVED ME. Relief society was taught by Janice Kapp Perry. Look her up because she is SO awesome. She wrote basically every GREAT primary song in the history of singing time. As part of her lesson all the hermanas sing a medely of the songs ....  I bawled through the whole thing. God knows me. God loves me. And when I feel my lowest he picks me ups and sends me things to keep going. Such a strong spirit. Then this huge room full of hermanas all sang "The Sisters of Zion" which is a remake of "As Sisters in Zion." The words were rewritten for us sister missionaries going out to spread the gospel in these days and it was THE MOST POWERFUL SONG I'VE EVER SUNG IN MY LIFE. ....

So here's the deal. On Monday part way through the day my branch president showed up and asked to talk to me. He informed me that another sister from another district's companion went home and that because of my friendly and happy nature I was being transferred to a new district. It was really hard. Here I was just barely starting to get a hang of things and feel somewhat secure and comfortable and I was being asked to leave it all. Leave my companions that I LOVE. Leave my district that I ADORE. Leave the teachers that I already feel like I can't live without. ....

But I really love my new companion too. Her name is Hermana Dahle and she is from Sacramento California! She is super sweet and kind and we're starting to get to know each other better. ....  I felt so angry that I got moved to a new companion in a new district that I didn't know and I had to teach an awful lesson while my old companions got to teach an awesome lesson. But then the next morning things got better!!! ....

I am slowly getting to know and love my new district. They're all hermanas and are so sweet. They easily get stressed out though. The branch president told me a big reason they moved me was because this district needed to have more fun and they figured I'd be able to help them. Haha, I may not be able to speak very good spanish but I can sure help a group of people to have more FUN yes? ....  I saw the elders from my old district at lunch and one of them said "Oh Hermana we miss you SO much! The district lost it's personality when we lost you!" Then my new companion chimed in "But we need her! We need the personality!"
Ah, I love them.

There's SO much more that I would love to say but I am running out of time! PLEASE WRITE HANDWRITTEN LETTERS! Please oh please. I love you all SO very much.
God is taking great care of me out here. This is really hard but it is SO amazing.

Te Amo.

Hermana Matesen

January 22, 2014