Tuesday, April 29, 2014



This last week was a bit of a struggle. My companion has a lot of health problems so we had to kind of take it slow. We spent all of Friday in the hospital waiting for her blood tests and had zero lessons. The rest of the days I felt like I was dragging her along. The poor thing had migranes because of the extreme heat we're in all day, and she has Colitis. Which basically means her intestines are really inflamed and it hurts every time she eats and walks. Which is basically all we do all day. 

I was doing my best to work as hard as I could, but when the week came to an end we fell short of almost all of our goals. I found myself asking why, a lot. WHY? Why when I am trying so hard to be good are we having such a crummy week? Where are all those promised blessings? I seemed to have lost them somewhere along the way. 

Then, during a lesson, I was listening to a member bear his testimony and he told us about times on his mission when he wondered the exact same thing and how, now that he is home and has a family and a different life, he can see the blessings so clearly. It really was exactly what I needed to hear.

´´Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don't come until Heaven, but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come.´´ --Jeffry R. Holland

. But the week wasn't all bad. We had a meeting of a ton of missionaries from the areas around here and a member of the Seventy came and spoke to us. And of course they asked me to share an experience in Spanish as part of the devotional to get things started. 

I was super nervous. Speaking in front of a bunch of people is hard enough, but speaking in front of a member of the Seventy, your mission president, and a ton of missionaries in a language I'm not too great at is WAY WORSE! I made it through ok, and after the meeting everybody was so supportive and nice about it. HERMANA BIEN HECHO! And lots of hugs and handshakes. I was just glad it was over.


We had a baptism this week! WOOHOO! Her name is Nubia and she is GOLDEN. A member of our ward invited her to her son's  baptism and after her experience there she wanted to know everything about the church and wanted to be baptized herself. Um wow. 

She's like the investigators at the MTC. She always keeps her commitments, she asks great questions, and it's pretty much guaranteed she's going to get baptized. Teaching her was such a beautiful experience. I'm pretty sure she taught me more than I taught her. 

She told me the other day that she wants her daughter to serve a mission someday too. Plus she's already referred us to several other family members of hers. She's a better missionary than three fourths of the people in our ward who have been members for forever! 

Love that woman. Her baptism was beautiful and perfect. Aaaand there was a cake afterwards. We sang a special musical number for her. I almost cried. It was awesome.


-Sat behind mini nacho on the bus the other day. He had on a luchador mask and his little chubby belly was poking out of his t shirt. Me and him chatted about our favorite color and whether it would be better to have a pet giraffe or a pet elephant. He got off the bus  before I could talk to his mom. I hope the missionaries find him some day.

-Sat down for lunch with members the other day and the mom put a plate of 4 huge hotdogs on the table. Thought they were for all of us to share but soon found out they were all for me. I ate them all. The power of prayer is real my friends.

-The people here eat so much jello its not even real. We had an activity in the church where people could bring desserts to share. 90% of the desserts were jello. Jello with yoghurt, jello with nuts, jello with milk, jello with fruit, plain old jello. I DONT EVEN LIKE JELLO. I have decided when I return home I will never again eat a jello. Ever.

-There's a family of spiders that live in the corner of our bathroom. It started out as just one, then he got a wife. Then they had two kids. Then the wife went away and lived in the other corner for a while. Then she returned. Then she died. Im thinking the husband killed her but theres no way to know for sure. The other day I was observing them as I washed my hands and I realized that this is what happens when we don't have a TV.  Instead of following the life of Juan Pablo on Bachelor, I'm following the latest and greatest drama of a family of spiders that lives in my bathroom. 

Gotta love that missionary life.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Feeling the LOVE

Got a new companion this week! Her name is Hermana Flores and she is from Durango Mexico! She speaks ZERO English and understands ZERO English también. Therefore...we are lost a lot of the time. 

I have a hard time understanding her Spanish because she kind of slurs her words together and mumbles, so that's kinda rough...I feel bad because I can tell it's frustrating for her because I don't know what she's trying to say to me. But we're figuring it out and getting better at communicating everyday! 

She is a little more serious than Hermana Monterrosas, but she is really obedient and I love that about her. She knows the lessons really well and she always helps me out when I'm struggling to explain something. She really is an awesome example and I'm learning a lot from her.

Feeling the Love:

Had a super awesome experience this week as we taught an old couple about prayer. How we found them was hilarious. We had extra time so I walked up to the nearest door and started knocking. An old woman came to the door and looked at my name tag. She brought her face really close to it and read out loud, "Herrrrmana Matesen...Jeeesuuu Cristo...JESUCRISTO?? Adalante! Adalante!" 

As soon as she saw the name Jesus Christ she was practically dragging us into her home eager and happy to listen to anything and everything we had to say. The husband is very old and has an injured (and infected), eye so he can't see very well...the wife can't hear very well. She is probably less than 5 feet tall (the people here are TINY, its adorable, and I've never felt so tall in my life). 

Their living conditions are very humble, but they are so full of love, they practically SHINE! As we yelled the lesson (we wanted to make sure the wife could hear) love flooded into that room. I felt so much genuine care and concern for these dear old people. I thought my heart would explode, it felt so full. When the lesson was over I hugged that little old lady tight. She kissed my cheeks and shed a tear and yelled in Spanish "May God Bless you Angels!" How I love these dear dear people. words can't properly describe my love for the people here.


Something I've noticed in my time here is... I'm changing. Before my mission I was super awkward and uncomfortable around crying people. I never knew what to do, what to say, how to help them. I was never very good at comforting people. But here in Mexico everyone and anyone spills their guts and their long list of problems to us, and many people cry. 

The other day we were in a lesson with our dear friend Carmen who has a long list of difficulties and trials. As she spoke with us she began to cry and her crying turned into sobs. Before I knew it I was walking over to her and I hugged her. I just held her for a while and she cried. She held me tight.

I held this tiny Oaxacan in my arms for a while and just let her cry. I offered some comforting words and bore testimony to her that we are never alone. Never. She cried some more. When we left I realized how far I've come. How much I've changed. How Im learning to be a little more and more like Christ everyday. 

Some days its hard to bear the weight of all these people and their problems. But at the end of the day I give it all to the Lord. I don't need to suffer for these people because He already has. All I can do is love, hug, and try and dry those tears. I'm really learning to do what it says in D&C "lift the hands that hang down" It truly is an amazing experience to be a missionary. We are His angels, we are His hands.

Looking back:

This week we had a lesson with the same family that was my first lesson here in Etla. At the end of the lesson we reflected back on my first lesson with them 6 weeks ago and laughed. "You were so lost!" they said. It was in that moment that I realized how far I've come. I still struggle with the language, and there is still days where I just feel completely and totally lost and unable to communicate, but I really can speak SO much more now and understand SO much more as well. Its truly a miracle. God's helping me out. I can feel it.


This weeks funnies:

-Having to chase down a giant lizard that was in our house in the middle of weekly planning.

-People yelling stuff at me in English, as they zoom past in their cars, my favorite this week was "I LUUUUFFFF YOOOOOUUUU!"

-Sometimes when I walk down the streets, little kids point at me and say to their moms "look at that lady's eyes!" And sometimes when I look at babies they cry because they've never seen blue eyes before and it scares them...haha great.

Monday, April 14, 2014

I am Happy. I want Cake.

 They pooped on me. But they were so cute I didn't care.


This week I started an ENGLISH CLASS in the church. We thought it would be a perfect way to get people to the capilla [chapel?] and we could share a little spiritual message at the end. It has been SO much fun teaching. So far my students have only been able to hold onto the phrases:

I am happy.
I want cake.

I have also been helping my comp learn English. So far the only words that I've taught her, that she remembers and uses, are:

-Corn Chowder

We're working on it. We have so much fun teaching and learning language together.

I'm holding onto the hope that con tiempo they'll be able to remember more...

The Elders in our district had a baptism this week and we went to support them. For the special musical number we all went to the front on the room and sang a hymn. The spirit flooded in and everyone in that room had tears in their eyes. I felt like flying. Being on a mission is the best.


Today is cambios entonces...Hermana Monterrosas is going to a different area, and I'm staying in Etla and in 3 hours or so I get a new companion! She is going to be the senior comp, so I'm pretty relieved about that. I can speak Spanish, but my problem is I CANT UNDERSTAND. It's so frustrating. And because I talk so much, people assume I can understand, and then when I can't they get frustrated or they give up and just talk to my comp. I'm giving it my all though. I'm studying hard everyday and I talk to everyone I can whether I speak very well or not. Yo puedo hacerlo


We've been having the problem where we're teaching people and they're reading and praying, but we just can't get them to come to church. Its SO frustrating. But this last week we had NINE people come! HOORAY!!! Miracles. And get this: THEY LIKED IT! boom. So happy for them.

This week was busy and crazy and fun as always. There were tears, laughs, wonderful lessons and lessons that were just downright disappointing...basically just a typical week of ups and downs.

Something that I'm learning more and more everyday is that I am here in Oaxaca because I need to learn the things that I could only learn here. The people here live in SUCH humble conditions. Whole families of 6 or 7 in a shack with one bed and things like that. They have such faith, they have such hope, they have such BIG hearts. I love them. And I'm so humbled whenever they love me right back.

Before my mission, talking to people always came so easily to me. I never felt weak in a social situation. I never needed that much help. I was pretty capable and indepedent. But here, I need help, always. And I'm learning not only to accept help from others but how to accept help from the Lord. Because I can't do this on my own. I'm learning to listen, I'm learning to let there be silence. I'm learning to be a better me. And I can see it everyday. Me, becoming someone better. Because all my life I've had plans. But I'm slowly coming to realize that God has got some pretty big plans for me and His plan is always better than mine. AND His plan is always a lot harder than mine...
But I can do it. I know I can.

Love you with all my corazón.

-Hermana Matesen 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Cannot Fall

This week sure has FLOWN by. Only one more week and we have changes. What the.

First an amazing lesson:

This week we went back and taught the miracle family that we somehow were lucky and blessed enough to find. We had planned out and practiced a lesson about the restoration, and I felt ready and excited to teach them. We came in, sat down and asked the mom how she was doing. 

She looked up at us with tears in her eyes, and told us about her 15 year old son who doesn't believe in God. He has problems with drugs and alcohol and all sorts of other stuff. She struggled to speak through her tears, and as she struggled to speak I struggled to think of what I could do.  What I could possibly say to help this woman who was so obviously in so much pain. Then it came to me. A tiny, itty bitty, subtle thought "the Atonement" it said. "Jesus Christ," "Forgiveness."

And before I could open my mouth my companion (who I love and ADORE) launched into a lesson on just that. Wow. I don't know these people, but God does. He wants to help these people just as much as I do. And he's there helping us every step of the way. 

We had a member with us and she had a rebellious son the exact same age, who just 2 weeks ago started coming back to church and changing his life. She bore powerful POWERFUL testimony of Christ, His love, and His HUGE desire to love and forgive everyone. 

Everyone in the room had tears streaming down their faces. At the end of the lesson we asked one of the family members to pray. She's my age and we're pretty much the same person. I love her to death. As she prayed she pled with Heavenly Father for her brother to come back, to believe, and to change. 
She sobbed her way through that prayer, and we sobbed along with her. 

When she said amen, my angel of a companion did the most Christ-like thing ever. She stood, walked over and hugged her. She didn't say anything. She didn't need to. The spirit was so strong in that little cement room. The love and the testimonies we shared were amazing. 

I went around handing out tissues (thanks mom for the little tissue packets, they've really come in handy) and then I went around, one by one, and hugged everybody too. When I got to my buddy, we healed each other tight and cried together. It made me think about how Christ and God must feel when we rebel. Not angry, not wanting to punish or yell, just sad and wanting more than anything that we return safely. Its a lesson I'll never forget.

My companion:

At first I was less than thrilled to be with my companion. She's more quiet and reserved, and it seemed like we had nothing in common. PLUS there's the whole language thing, so it was hard to get to know her or even communicate with her. But these last 5 weeks I have learned to LOVE my companion. Her quiet and Christ-like example means everything to me. I wish she could be my companion for the rest of my mission! 

We have so many inside jokes. We sing together in the streets, we laugh SO much I just love it. She is perfect for me because she is showing me how to listen, how to let there be silence, how to love these people more. She always has a hug and a listening ear for these people. They trust her. They love her. I can see it. I am so thankful for Hermana Monterrosas.

Conferenia General:

Got to listen in English. GOD ANSWERS PRAYERS. Wow I have missed English! I watched it with two other white girls, and we loved it. I cried on and off throughout the whole thing partly because the words were so beautiful and partly because I could actually understand the words. A favorite scripture of mine sure was used a lot Helaman 5:12  

And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storms shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

I sure have felt the mighty storms beating upon me during my time here, and sometimes I feel that hail. But it really hit me that I've got a FIRM foundation and I, Hermana Matesen, CANNOT FALL.  Satan can give me stomach pain, cold bucket showers, and coakroaches. He can send rude people, unkind words, investigadores that won't keep commitments. He can send forth those whirlwinds. But jokes on him because I've got greater power on my side. I am built on the rock of Christ. I cannot fall.


We had a SUPER fun activity where we got to play soccer with a bunch of Elders and Sisters. I scored 3 or 4 goals and had a BLAST! I always got chosen first for teams because I was the only Hermana brave enough to actually play. It was a blast. I love the people in my mission so much,  my heart wants to burst sometimes.


-When I wear my hair down all the little kids yell, RAPUNZEL RAPUNZEL! and get all excited.
-They smash a million and one people into the tiny taxis here, and I always talk to whoever I sit by because they can't run away from me. The other day, I was smashed between a guy with no arms and a really old lady with no teeth bearing my testimony about repentance and change. Hahaha... My life right now.
-My comp jumped onto the bus as it was starting to move away, and I looked up from my planner to see the bus starting to drive away. I sprinted alongside it, grabbed on the bar inside, and leapt in - just in time! Sometimes I feel like I,m in an action adventure movie.