Monday, October 27, 2014

Coming to Know Him


This last week we heard a knock on the door. 
"It's the testigos again." announced Crystal as she peeked out the window to check.
The Jehovahs Witnesses were back, but this time I felt bad.  "How many times do we knock on doors and people don't open for us?"  I thought to myself, "I've been trying to be a more Christlike person lately, and I've been praying A LOT for charity" so I decided to give it a go. 

I went out to talk to them and invite them to the Noche De Hogar [Family Home Evening] acvitity (forgot what its called in English) for Saturday.  I went, and as soon as I had made it out the door a group of three other people started bashing.  

They never once asked my name, how I was doing, where I was from.  They didn't bother mentioning the lovely flowers in the yard or asking me anything for that matter.  They launched right on in.  They lectured without love and they talked to me like I didn't know anything. 

The whole time they talked, I kept asking myself. "What would Christ do?  How would He react? What would He say?  What would He not say?  "Love them Ruby, just love them.  Let them get it out and invite them with LOVE."  I listened.  I smiled.  I nodded my head as they went on and on and on.

Then one of them interrupted and starting talking down to me. Talking bad about our church and what I do all day everyday.  I tried to let it slide off me, but it hurt.  After a good 20 minutes of listening, I politely interupted and told them we had to get to an appointment and invited them to the activity. 

The lady told me she would not be going.  Cool.  As I walked back into our house I looked up to see my favorite photo of Christ starring back at me.  Then it hit me.  Tears ran down my face as I thought about how many times people Bible-bashed and lectured Him.  How very many times people made Christ feel small and insignificant and stupid.  And the thought came strongly and clearly, "It hurt him too."  Every lecture and cruel comment.  Not because He hated them, but because He loved them. And that makes it hurt even worse. 

Sometimes I think we try to hold back our love or only give out parts of it because when we really love with all we've got it makes it a lot easier to get hurt.  But in that moment I came to know Christ. I guess before, whenever I read or heard of accounts of people giving Christ crap, I figured because He was the Son of God and perfect that it slid off him.  That it didn't hurt.  That it didn't sting.  That it didn't affect him.  After all, He was the Son of God.  He was perfect. 

But in that moment, starring at that picture of Him, it hit me that IT HURT HIM TOO.  And it humbled me a lot to feel that.  In that moment I felt His presence and I felt my prayers being answered.  In the words of a good friend of mine, "Never forget what He did for you, but ALWAYS remember what you can do for Him." (shout out to Jake VanB for inspiring me the other week with his e mail)


So basically I have the best Mexican friends ever.  We started out the day teaching our WONDERFUL investigator Emma.  She made me a JELLO (woot) and bought me a little donut and a milkshake ( they're just TRYING to fatten me up I swear) and gave me a darling Bettie Boop wallet and a huge [?].  She also sang me the special Mexican birthday ballad.  I love her.

Then we went to visit Nubia and German - our CONVERT, and after the hymn they said, "Wait we want to sing another!" and as I searched for a good hymn they began singing the birthday ballad (the Mexican birthday song is way prettier than ours).  Then while we were saying the opening prayer they sneaked into the other room and set a beautifully wrapped present on the table.  German had made me a watercolor of a tree and Nubia had knitted me a flowered headband. I love them. SO stinking much.

Then later that night we went with our friend Martha to teach our investigator Alejandro.  Alejandro had boughten me a darling scarf and after the lesson they took me out to Mexican cheesecake and pie. They are darling. 

The next day we ate with the bishop and he bought me a cake too!  Also that night when we went to teach our dear investigator Rubicela, she had boughten me a cake too!!  Basically this whole birthday experience was a fattening one. But oh so wonderful.

It made me reflect on the things that really matter. For example: People. Friends. And the importance of surrounding yourself with good human beings.  There's a scripture in John that says,
12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 
13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends . 
14 Ye are my friends,  if ye do whatsoever I command you. 

Christ is the perfect example of a great friend.  And He explains very well what a good friendship should be like.  It's a two way thing.  He gave his life for us, now its time to give our lives to Him. Oh how very thankful I am for good friends and for the love I felt on my birthday. 


So this morning it was kinda cold.  I decided to get my jacket.  I slipped it right on without a second thought and then I felt something on my back/shoulder.  Then I felt something scratch my neck and fall to the floor.  I looked behind me to see a GIANT LIZARD running around.

There was a gigantor lizard in my clothing.  I, of course, danced around like a crazy person and screamed (the neighbors already think we're nutty so it's all good). We caught it and took a series of videos and pictures of it.  We then showed those picture to a member and she told us that it was WAY too big to be a lizard and that it was in fact an iguana.  It's not everyday you find an iguana in your jacket.  My life.

*Nubia and German each made me a handmade gift. German made me a water color of a tree and nubia knitted me a flowered headband. They also sang me the special Mexican birthday ballad. I love them.  [photo failed]

*Martha (a member) and our investigator Alejandro took me out to cheesecake as a birthday surprise. The scarf is the gift that Alejandro gave me all wrapped in christmas wrapping. I love them.

*Love them. Martha y Alejandro.

*Martha's gift was fancy cookies and hot chocolate

*The bishop bought me a cake. It was delicious and they made me eat two pieces.

*Another investigator Rubicella bought me a cake and sang me the birthday ballad as well. I should have told her what I wanted for my birthday was her at church on her.

Monday, October 20, 2014



This week I turn 20.  This week is hump day.  Nine months.  Lots have been asking,  "What have you learned?  How have you changed?  What has all gone down in that period of 9 long months?"

The one thing I've learned (well the one of VERY VERY many) is the importance of bravery and what it means to be brave.  To be bold.  To live it and to love it.  To kick fear to the curb.

As I was thinking about what I could write this week, I sat back and thought through all the stuff in my life that got me to the point of serving a full-time mission.  An experience in Young Women's came to mind.

In a Laurels class we all took turns sitting in the middle of the room while all the other Laurels wrote a word that described us and stuck it on us explaining why they chose that word to describe us. When it came to my turn I took my place in the middle of the room and my dear friends and fellow Laurels started going around putting stickers on me and explaining the word they chose. 

Then it came to Emily Nydegger (SHOUT OUT) and she stuck the word FEARLESS on my arm. Her word surprised me.  Fearless?  I had a lot of fears.  It was at a point in my life where all I wanted to do was please the crowd and go with the flow.  But she helped me realize, in that moment, that maybe I was braver than I thought. 

I think that's how we all are.  Braver than we think.  Stronger than we know.  And with talents and abilities that we have such a hard time seeing.

Something else I've learned on the mission:
-LISTEN. To myself. To the spirit. To others. 
-LOVE. With all I've got. Not holding back. Not expecting anything in return. Even when I'm tired.
-PEOPLE. It's all about people.
-SPANISH. I've learned Spanish. I can speak Spanish. And it's pretty darn cool.
This is all I've got for you guys this week. 

Let's go out and LIVE what we believe, whatever that may be, and do it fearless.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Natural Man is Dying


This last week me and Crystal (Hermana Crystal) talked a lot about the natural man.  There is a scripture somewhere in The Book of Mormon that mentions that the natural man is an enemy to God, and we were discussing what we thought that really meant. 

Who is the natural man?  What is he like?  How do we not BE him?  As human beings we're pretty much used to being fairly focused on ourselves.  I'M hungry.  I'M tired.  MY feet hurt.  I'M lost.  We take care of ourselves, our wants, our needs, our desires, our opinions, and everyone and everything (including God sometimes) comes second, or third, or fourth. 

Being a missionary is rough stuff at times because one has to ALWAYS put others first.  We talked about it a lot and decided to set some pretty steep goals for ourselves as a companionship and for our area.  As we were writing these lofty and difficult (but oh-so-genius) goals down, Hermana Crystal mumbled something.  "Huh?" I responded.  She looked right at me and answered loudly and clearly. 
"The natural man is dying."

At first her comment confused me.  The natural man is dying...but how?  And who?  And....huh?  But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.  We were killing him.  Every time we roll out of bed at 6:30 AM and onto our knees he dies a little more.  With every step, every lesson, every testimony, every scripture, every contact, he dies.  

There have been times on my mission where I have been tempted to cry out, "I AM TIRED AND HUNGRY AND HOT AND I WANT TO JUST TAKE A DANG NAP."  Or something along those lines.  Sometimes I don't want to put myself out there and bear my testimony to the people we walk past on the street because lots of the time they tell me no or they ignore me and keep walking. 

Sometimes I'm tempted to sit down in the shade and just take a minute for myself.  Sometimes I want to sleep in or listen to something other than Spanish EFY music.  But that is my natural man putting up the fight.  Well joke's on the natural man because just like Hermana Crystal said,  He's dying.  I'm killing him.  With hard work and heart.  With love and testimony.  With hugs and smiles and prayers. With fasting and saying "have a great day" to the man who told us off the other day.  Were killing him with kindness.  He is dying.  Everyday a little more.  Crystal was onto something there.  The natural man is dying.


I received an e mail last week from a dear friend and fellow missionary who told me about a goal that him and his mission had set to contact a minimum of TEN people everyday.  His lofty goal made me think.  Could it really be possible?  And could I, Hermana Matesen, do something that big? 

In our weekly planning session, as we came up with our battle plan to kill the natural man, we decided to bump up our wimpy and doable 4 contacts a day to 10.  I looked at Crystal, "Do you think we can actually do it?" 
"I don't know, do you?"
"I don't know."

We sat and we thought.
"Lets do it." I said.
And we did.  We put a big yellow number ten on our door and stuck sticky notes all over the house with the number ten on it to get us pumped and ready to go change the world.

"Ten." said Crystal.
"Ten people." I responded.
"Ten souls," she said.
"Ten of our brothers and sisters," I told her.
"Ten children of God." whispered Crystal. 

And with that we marched on out the door and made it happen.  We have contacted TEN or MORE people everyday since.  And we sure saw some pretty great results.  We told our district leader about it and that inspired him to tell the whole district about it, and now it's spreading like wildfire.  So to all missionaries out there who may read this, I hearby challenge you to kill the natural man and JUST DO IT (go with Nike on this one).  Ten.  Ten people.  Ten souls.  Ten brothers and sisters.  Ten children of God.


Went to go visit some investigators, turns out they were throwing a surprise birthday party.  They dragged us in, sat us down in front of a HUGE MEXICAN BAND, and told us to request a song.  I did, and they began to play my favorite Mexican jam (Como te Voy Olvidar by Los Angeles Azules, go look it up).  It was hilarious.  We always seem to find ourselves in the middle of a Mexican party. Mexicans like to throw parties.  And I like to attend them and contact people.  It's a wonderful combination.

*its really hard to take a good stache picture when you can't stop laughing long enough for the mustache to stick.

[separate email]
*yesterday i sat in sacrament meeting and i had a very random and very strong pang of I MISS MY FAMILY.  It hit suddenly like a arrow through the heart.  They don't come very often, but when they come they come hard.  Sometimes I just really love you guys way too much. but then i recomposed myself and focused back in.  Do you get random missing attacks too?

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Rainbow Umbrella Strikes Again

*Crystal owns a lot of black.  I tease her about it.  She teases me about being too colorful and mixing and matching patterns.  As we left the house the other day, I burst out laughing because she was in ALL black and I was in ALL florescent colors.  I love that Crystal.


As some of you might remember, when I was in the MTC [missionary training center], I had a rainbow umbrella.  Everyone else had black.  I stood out.  And it was awesome. 

I am now in Mexico.  I still have a rainbow umbrella.  I now stand out more than ever.  And people ask a lot of questions like "Why are you different?"

I just wanted to follow up on the whole message of the umbrella e-mail [go here], and ask one and all, Are you being a rainbow umbrella?

Do you live your life in a way that your friends and those that know you would say that you are different, special, or out of the ordinary?  Do you seek to blend in or stand out?  Do you share your testimony with others or avoid bringing it up?

Something that I seemed to hear, read, and notice this week was a lot about being BRAVE.  It takes a lot of courage to be a rainbow umbrella.  Some people might stare and tell you you're weird.  Some people might tell you that your a little crazy.  Some people might ask you why you don't just go and buy a black umbrella like everyone else. 

Embrace the rainbow in you.  Let it show.  Don't be ashamed if you believe in God and in Christ and don't be ashamed to let it show.  Be brave.  And be different.


Basically it was fabulous.  I don't know what was better - sitting and listening to someone else teach the lesson for a change, or all the inspiration received.  The two things that stuck out to me were (1) I DONT FEAR MAN and (2) that KINDNESS IS POWERFUL.

About the first point.  It's something a lot of us face.  We want others to like us, to approve of us, to follow up on Instagram and tell us our clothes are cool.  There's nothing wrong with being likeable or popular, but what are you popular for?  For being the nicest kid around, or for buying the right shoes?

That's something that I've struggled with on the mission.  I forget that I'm not inviting the people to come unto me, I'm inviting them to come unto Christ.  Because its HIM that can help them.  Not me.

But I will be bold.  I will talk with everyone.  And will SHARE with everyone that Christ loves them and can change their lives.  I will INVITE one and all to come unto Him and change their lives and their eternities.  Yes that makes me a little (a lot) more vulnerable.  Yes that leaves a lot more room to get hurt.  But it all leaves a lot more room for success.

About the second point.  Kindness really is power.  I can be bold, but if I'm not kind no one will ever want to hear what I have to say.  You can teach an investigator all the right stuff and at all the right times and with all the right doctrines, scriptures, and questions, but if you are not kind to them and if you don't show that you love them and care about them it never really gets you too far. 

Be kind.  But what does that even mean?  Telling someone you think their hair is cool?  Or helping a little old lady across the street?  For me, kindness is channeling Christ.  Doing as He would and being the kind of person He was.  Not only in words but in actions and in thoughts.  

I will follow the counsel of the prophets in these days and those of old.  I will pray for my enemies. The lady who was mean must be having a really hard day, I tell myself.  That person who said they would be there and didn't show up must have had a last minute situation come up.  I pray for them.  I love them.  And not just with words.  With my heart. 

My heart sometimes gets a little bumped and bruised along the way, but you know what?  Its worth it. Put yourself out there and be kind.  Be brave enough to be kind.  To not just those who are easy to love, but those who are really hard to love too.


We got together as a big activity of Elders and Hermanas to play soccer this morning.  I was so excited to be finally playing an actual sport that I was WAY too hard and came home throwing up and feeling so hot I thought I might die.  Heat exhaustion. 

So apologies for any strange and uninteresting things that flowed out of my fingers this week.  I still feel delirious.  Love you all, and thanks a million for all the support and prayers.  I feel them.

*We eat bugs now.  "Just eating some bugs.  Totally normal."