Monday, April 27, 2015


They called us late last night to let us know the changes. They are sending me to Salina Cruz, on the coast. Its one of the hottest areas in the whole mission and May is the hottest month of the whole year down here...haha oh man. I am going to be opening an area which means that me and my companion are going to be showing up without anyone to teach us the area and I will be training a newbie! My first "child"! Im so thrilled and excited for this new adventure. Its going to be hard but Im ready for the challenge! 

I've been in this last area of Guelaguetza for 6 months now and its going to be hard leave. When I first showed up my companion sat me down and told me that there were basically ZERO investigators or anything going on the area. We went MONTHS without one person coming to church despite of intense efforts to get them there. We walked and walked and worked and worked and CONTACTED every person we came across of and I am so very grateful to say that my last day and Sunday in that area we had 11 investigators show up to church on Sunday. 

In all my 15 months on the mission I have never even come close to that kind of success.  I won't be there to see the many baptisms that are coming up in the next few months but I'm ok with that. They are not my baptisms anyway, they are His.  I just got to come along for the ride.  

I also got a text from Nubia and Ursula from Etla.  Nubia is going through the temple tomorrow. SO happy. So thrilled for her.

For all those going through rough times or who might just feel like things are not going the way you would like, even after a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, just keep walking, keep working, and keep believing.

In the words of Elder Holland 
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.
so believe it. Live it. And JUST KEEP SWIMMING.

Love you all and I promise a much longer and more interesting e mail next week. Gotta run and pick up my daughter. Love love love. 

-Hermana Matesen

*my district at the temple

*This is Gillermina, the one who sells us candy and sings us christian hymns. We love her.
*some of my favorite hermanitas!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Positive Perspective


Hermana Madsen is our mission president's wife.  Last week she sent us a text and told us she would love to come out and work with us one of these days when we have time!  We were more than thrilled.  We invited her to come with us on Tuesday.  We set up a time and a place to meet and she was stuck in traffic so we had a few minutes to spare.  Instead of wasting time just sitting around and starring off into the distance we decided to contact whoever was nearby. 

We found a guy sitting by a lamp post and holding a pineapple.  We struck up conversation and explained to him who we are and what we do.  He didn't seem too interested, but he was nice about it. I felt like we shouldn't give up so easy though, and I began explaining to him the Book of Mormon and other things that make our church unique.  He started to show more interest and we left him with just the right amount of pamphlets and books and headed off to find someone else to contact. 

When we turned around we found President Madsen and Hermana Madsen sitting in the car right behind us. They had been watching the whole time and Hermana Madsen was even taking paparazzi pictures from the car window.  

We hopped into the car and President took us to where we needed to go (SO nice to ride in an air conditioned, clean car, that has seat belts.) We ended up having a super busy and wonderful afternoon and evening.  We used up every last minute and we contacted EVERYONE in our path.  

It was a great feeling. We testified of CHRIST out the wazoo and were really able to help animate and connect with a lot of struggling people who really are trying to change their lives.  At the end of the night we got a big hug and a little praise from Hermana Madsen.  We all learned a lot from one another. 


So as Sister Training Leaders here in Oaxaca we are in charge of 2 zones worth of sister missionaries. Both of these zones decided to have their big zone conferences this week and they planned them back to back.  We were in charge of giving half of the training and presentations and coming up with what we were going to focus on and talk about.  It was a little stressful...but we pulled it off in the end. 

As part of both conferences, the focus was ATTITUDE.  We wanted to make it fun and interesting so we decided to do a skit to kick things off.  We were talking about attitude and how we can choose how we see the world and how we see our situations.  We decided that it was kind of like glasses.  So we made two pairs of cardboard glasses.  One pair was neon yellow and the other pair was dark blue. One represented a positive outlook on life and the other represented the negative. 

We set up signs saying which was which and then went through an average missionary day.  The skit went as follows, we were sleeping and the alarm went off.  I woke up and put on the negative glasses, my companion woke up and put the positive ones on.  We then did exercise, studied, contacted, and a bunch of other missionary stuff.  My companion reacted SUPER enthusiastically and positively to everything and I was extremely negative and dark cloudish about it all.  We made it relatable to a Oaxacan missionary and it brought a lot of laughs. 
We were overdramatic to make it fun and the missionaries really seemed to appreciate the humor. At the end of the skit we go to the "zone conference" and I decide to change my negative glasses out for some positive ones.  In the end it was a really fun activity and the missionaries got a kick out of something new for a change.  Being a leader is a great opportunity to touch lives and change perspectives.  It also helps you think outside the box and be more creative.  It was a good 2 conferences.


An appointment fell through the other day and we decided to get some contacting in.  We saw a random fish store (not the kind you eat, but the kind you put in a tank of water and keep as a pet) and struck up conversation with the owner's son.  The store was tiny and nothing special.  A few guppies and a beta fish or two.  It was the size of a small bedroom in all. 

He seemed to know an awful lot about fish and we had some interesting convo.  He then asked us if we would like to see even more fish.  We said why not.  He then opened up the backdoor and revealed a whole other WORLD.  His backyard was HUGE.  Tons of plants and vines growing and climbing up walls and the ceiling.  There were tons and tons of big buckets of water filled with all kinds of water plants and fish. 

There were also a million and one guinea pigs of different hair lengths and colors.  There were doves of different shapes and sizes and a giant PEACOCK.  Yes. I am being serious.  In the middle of nowhere dusty road Mexico.  It was crazy.  And super cool.  We ended up setting an appointment to come back another day and share our message with him, but it was really cool to get to see all that.  I wish a took picture, but I only took a video.  Oh well.  Next time.


Lately, we've decided that we want to be better leaders and so in an effort to get to know our hermanitas a little better and establish a little more trust we had an activity!  We decided to have a P day party.  We watched a Pelicula (a movie), ate Pizza, Pepino (cucumber), Papaya, Piña (´pinapple), Popcorn, Pastel (cake), and broke a Piñata.  It was a good time.  Not very many hermanas showed up, but we ended up having a really wonderful time. Lots of laughs and good food.  I really love my hermanitas.

*All of our P foods. Popcorn, Papaya, Pinapple, Pepino (cucumber), Pastel (cake), Pizza....
*a little peek into my world. We were teaching them outside but it randomly started to pour rain so we ran inside for cover! The make shift metal house you see in the background is their kitchen/their dogs house.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Oh it is wonderful, wonderful to me.

*we went and played soccer as a zone today!  we all left very sweaty and very sunburnt, but we sure did have a good time.  I got to chat with the hermanas who are in El Tule now (my favorite old area) and they say that just about everyone they talk to or contact remembers the skinny white girl who used to walk around talking to everyone.  So fun to walk down memory lane with them and talk about our favorite places and people of El Tule.  I love the mission.  It's a love that just keeps giving.


This last week I got a very happy surprise phone call from my convert Nubia from Etla.  She had very happy news.  Her first happy news is that she will be going through the temple for the very first time this month and the second happy news was that her little daughter was going to be baptized the next day and I HAD to be there. 

We reorganized our schedule a bit and were ready to go.  When the time came to take a taxi to the baptism we received the news that all of the city of Oaxaca was blocked up.  Oaxaca is famous for its marches, demonstrations, and blocking the main roads with the buses to make a point, or to try and get a pay raise. 

So basically the whole city was craziness because all the main roads to get anyone anywhere were blocked off by giant groups of parked buses.  I was so bummed.  We called Nubia to tell her that we wouldn't be able to make it but she was not taking no for an answer.  She explained how to WALK there.  So we did.  We walked for an hour down a giant Mexican highway among masses and masses of other tired and sunburnt Mexicans who were forced to walk their way home.  It felt like the end of the world a little bit.  Random people walking down a random highway like a giant parade. 

We finally got to the end of the highway and found some taxis that could get us to Etla.  We showed up VERY tired, VERY sweaty, and VERY happy.  It was a beautiful baptismal service.  The opening hymn was "I Stand All Amazed".  As we sang, I realized the last time I was in that room of that church it was for Nubia's baptism which happened almost exactly a year ago. It hit me in that moment how much has changed in this last year. It hit me how much I have changed, or really, how much CHRIST has changed me. 

I really do stand all amazed.  Amazed at the change. This last year has been full of tears, laughter, disappointment, success, doubts, and faith.  It has been amazing.  Truly and wonderfully amazing.  A tear ran down my face as I sang at the top of my lungs, "OH IT IS WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL TO ME."  Isn't it though?  Wonderful.  Amazing.

Oh and there were tostadas and cake at the end.  It was all very Mexican and very darling.  Nubia bore her testimony.  It was powerful.  I feel so blessed to have gotten to meet her.  She is NOT my convert.  She is God's.  One hundred and ten percent HIS.  I just got to be there to make sure all the lessons were taught & understood, the paperwork signed, and the white clothes ready to go.  She is amazing.  She is my hero.

Oh and if you want to read more about how WONDERFUL the gospel is, you should definitely read this talk: Is It Still Wonderful to You?

 Just ask yourself, Is it still wonderful to you?

Monday, April 6, 2015

Keep Trying


So here in Oaxaca A LOT of people seem to get answers to their prayers through dreams.  We had a cool experience with it the other day.  So like we always do we taught the first lesson with a new investigator and invited her to baptism.  She told us no.  She was already baptized in the Catholic church and she would never be baptized again because it would be showing doubt and disrespect to God. 

Instead of throwing a lot of scripture evidence and "your wrong and I'm right" comments, we just nodded and then asked her if she would be willing to ask God what He thought.  She stopped to think for a moment and replied, "yes." 

So we set up another appointment and came back a few days later.  We asked her how her prayer went, and she told us that she had had a dream that she was by a river and saw two men enter into the water and one baptized the other by immersion, she then said that she heard a voice of someone telling her that she needs to be baptized the way Christ got baptized and do it by immersion. 

We basically just listened and nodded and smiled.  Another evidence that we are simply instruments in the hands of God.  He's really the one who's doing all the hard work here, I'm just along for the ride.


Hermana Mitchell stoned someone this week, but it wasn't a prophet.  It was just a random guy who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  So there are a lot of random and fierce dogs here in Oaxaca, and as we walked down the road one day a dog came out of no where and started running towards my companion to bite her. 

So we did as any good Mexican would do and picked up the nearest rock and threw it at the dog.  My rock missed (haha, baseball never was my thing) and my companion's rock got close but barely missed the dog. 

BUT just as Hermana Mitchell threw her rock, the owner of the dog came out of his house and the rock richoted ((ri co shayed) how do you spell that word anyways?) off the ground and nailed him right in the knee cap.  She threw that rock pretty hard too.  He doubled over in pain grabbing his knee and moaning.  We tried to apologize, but he told us it was fine, but that he would like us to leave....haha woops.


This last week we had a leadership council with a lot of the leaders in the mission.  We talked about mission issues and how we would resolve them and what we could do to better help the missionaries we are in charge of to be obedient and have success.  As we sat there sharing ideas and making goals a wave of inadequacy washed over me.  In that moment everyone else just seemed so much more scripture smart, spiritual, successful, and effective than I was. 

I began to compare.  Thoughts of "you're not good enough" and "everyone is better than you" sneaked into my head.  I left the meeting feeling inspired but at the same time wondering where to begin.  So many great topics were thrown around, and I hardly knew where to start.

The whole way home I was wrapped up in deep thought and prayer.  The mission has a way of magnifying your weaknesses.  But I chose to do as Prophet Gordon B Hinckley's dad once told him to do, "forget yourself and go to work." 

I began contacting the people I was sitting by on the bus and it helped me get my mind off of what I'm not good at and back to what I am good at, chatting peoples ears off about the gospel in the bus.

But then when conference rolled around God sent me answers and comfort.
So I decided to get over myself and keep trying.  I'm not perfect.  But I sure am going to keep trying. And you know what?  That's enough.  Just keep trying ok?  Don't give up and don't focus on the weaknesses.  Just try.

eggs - watching conference in ENGLISH with my fellow gringitas. So fun to be with so many white ladies! 

happy easter!!