Monday, June 29, 2015

Beach Baptism

Me after a good days work. This is how we end each day. Sweaty, dusty, and exhausted.
"See that ye serve Him with all your heart might mind and strength."

*we got special permission to play a musical number at the BEACH BAPTISM of some elders in our district. We didn't know the kid but the Elders invited us because they know I play an instrument. Hna Hancock and I arranged a harmonized Nearer my God to Thee. We played it on the beach right before they entered the ocean to baptize the kid. Powerful. We were only there for like 45 minutes total. We had time to snap a small handful of pics and off to teach the gospel we ran!

*me and my trusty uke


Last Monday after we had left the internet cafe to get to work we went to an appointment we had with an American foreign exchange student who was studying here in Mexico for a year. Turns out she was hanging out with her German foreign exchange student buddy and we ended up teaching them both! We also brought two future missionaries from the ward to come with us so there we were, 3 Americans, 2 Mexicans, and 1 German. All VERY different personalities, cultures, backgrounds, situations. 

But for just a moment we could all connect on one thing. God. We talked about our beliefs in Him. We discussed God, prayer, and we introduced the Book of Mormon. There were a lot of great questions asked. It was cool to connect and bond with so many different kinds of people all in one moment. In the end we found out they were headed back to their countries in the next few weeks but it was a good seed planted. 

We invited the German kid to say the closing prayer, he said it in his native tongue of German. It was really beautiful. Sometimes as churches and as people we let the differences come between us but what I've found is it is always better to focus on what you have in common. Love and respect for all. Its a beautiful thing.


So a large part of my mission is the coast. Gorgeous beaches and popular tourist locations are a significant chunk of the Oaxaca Mission but in my whole year and a half they've never sent me to the coast. I've never seen the ocean or even gotten close to it. 

Our area that we're in right now turns out to be like 15 minutes from the coast. Haha I had no idea. The Elders called us half way through the week and informed us they were having a baptism on the beach. WHAT. They invited us and our investigators to come. We prepared a special musical number on my ukulele and it turned out to be really cool. We arranged a creative harmony of Nearer my God to Thee and it was pretty dang beautiful if I do say so myself. 

The baptism was quick and simple but super special. It was a teenager and the only member in his family. It was special to see the glow and the excitement in his eyes. We played the special musical number right before they entered the ocean and the sweet and relaxed sound of the uke, PLUS the sound of the crashing waves just blew everyone away. It was something real special. The spirit seemed to create a little bubble of love and smiles as we praised God with song. After the song they waded out into the water all in white. Everyone smiled as he came out of the water. It was a special experience, and an experience I will never forget.


So last night we were just sitting at our desks setting goals for the week to come and evaluated how things went this last week when my companions face turns white and she points behind me. She said one word, tarantula. I looked behind me to see our little hairy friend crawling its way towards the door. 

We of course screamed and stood on our chairs. We began to call our neighbors because we had no idea how to kill it or what to do with it. No one was answering. We than began taking a million videos and pictures of the poor hairy thing. After a fair amount of paparazzi we had successfully disoriented and blinded the poor thing with all the flash. It wandered around and tried to make its way under the door but didn't fit because it was too fat. ew. 

Our neighbors finally answered the phone and Isis our neighbor came over. She's our age so there we were, three 19-20 year old women trying to kill  a giant hairy spider and not die. Turns out they're not poisonous, but if they touch you it can irritate your skin and cause intense rash and itching. 

"Don't get too close!" shouted the neighbor, "They can jump!!" Great. After some more screaming and running around the house we formulated a plan. We would throw a towel over it and then smash it with a rock! Hna Hancock was in charge of the throwing of the towel, I was in charge of the smashing with a rock, and the neighbor was in charge of coaxing the thing out of hiding and into an open area. 

The plan was going perfectly until I dropped the rock in the wrong place and the spider came running out from under the towel. Terrifying. We then got it corned and I grabbed a stick and smashed it to death. It was all very exciting! 

Its leg fell off somewhere along the way and I taped it in my journal. Just so my posterity knows what it was like to serve a mission in Oaxaca. Haha so crazy. When I get home I'll be sure to show the series of videos we took. So great.

*found this little guy hanging out in our house last night...

Monday, June 22, 2015



First of all.  Good byes really stink.  I'm personally not a huge fan.  This last week we had to say good bye to Natali and Jesus, the family who got baptized last week.  Their little daughters gave us a pair of their matching dolls as a parting gift.  They told us they are going to be missionaries someday. 

I brought my ukulele and we sang hymns while we waited for Jesus to get home from work. The spirit was powerful. Natali and Jesus both shared a few words. It was really special. They thanked us for our time and support and said a million beautiful and tear jerking things. What stood out to me was Natali telling us that we're going to be great moms someday and Jesus calling us warriors. 

We ended with a kneeling prayer together. Tears and hugs all around. They forever changed our lives and Christ forever changed theirs. SO thankful that God let us be His hands. It wasn't us who made the change. It was Him. We were just there to answer questions and bug them about their goals. Persistence. 

They had their ups and downs, but now they are SOLID. No worries about those 2. Even though work and family took them to another state, our thoughts and prayers are still with them.


Went back and saw our investigator who got hit in the face. That afternoon we were with Hermana Madsen the president's wife! They were in town for a training meeting, and she wanted to come out and work in the afternoon. 

We had a great lesson together. Instead of teaching the original plan we taught to the needs of hit-in- the-face-girl. At one point in the lesson she began to cry. "I just want to change, I don't want to be this person anymore!" 

We all put a hand on her, and Hermana Madsen wrapped her arm around her. I leaned in real close and told her how much we love and care about her and how much MORE God does. We told her about how change is possible and HOW TO change. We ended the lesson with a kneeling prayer. Hit- in-the-face-girl humbly and sincerely told God she needed help. So cool to be there for that special moment. If felt as if God sighed for relief, "Finally." He smiled. 


Something I've learned this last week and throughout my mission is that happiness and positivity is really truly a choice. Yes, there are a TON of mosquitos and my arms and legs itch all day everyday. Yes, our house is sketchy and buggy. Yes, the people lie to us, disrespect us, and insult us. Yes, it is almost 100 degrees and 80 percent humidity outside all day everyday. Yes, our shower is the hose that we weaseled through a hole in the bathroom window. Yes, our hot plate has problems and burns everything. Yes, sometimes I don't like the food and it's really hard to eat. But, do I have to get down about that and whine and complain?  NO.  It just makes it a million times worse if I do. 

So I, Hermana Matesen, I choose to be happy. I choose to kill the bugs we find or make a game out of trapping them and releasing them into the wild. I pretend the hole-y hose is a fancy moveable shower head. When I sweat so much I fill the chair I was sitting in in sweat I choose to laugh about it and take a picture! When people are RUDE I just kill them with kindness and continue to wish them a very good afternoon or send a have-a-great-day their way every time I see them. 

There are a lot of things in the mission (and in life in general) that we just don't have control over. But ya know what we do have control over? Ourselves. So choose to be happy today. Sometimes its not easy. If something fails or goes wrong, try to find the humor or the irony in it and let yourself laugh about it. Remember, it could always be worse! Look for the silver lining in everything. Choose. And choose wisely. Choose happiness.

In 2 Nephi 2:27 it says:

 27 Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.

 You are free to choose. If you choose to be whiney and negative you literally are letting Satan win. Don't let him win. Lets go with Christ on this one and choose LIFE and LIBERTY. To be happy is to be free. And happiness is a choice. Think about it.


Monday, June 15, 2015

Let it Rain

*it literally rained for 3 days and nights straight. It was a great excuse to pull out my old friend the rainbow umbrella. The people stared at us even more than they usually do and we just smiled and waved. Spreading sunshine.


It was really rainy this week.  For about 3 days and nights straight it just rained, and rained, and rained some more. Sometimes it sprinkled, sometimes it poured. All the streets turned into ponds and rivers and all things turned muddy. 

We enjoyed the rain and splashed our way through a lot of puddles. It was still hot though...I couldn't ever quite tell if the water running down my face and body was from the rain or if it was sweat...Salina Cruz probs. 

One morning we went out in the pouring rain to go teach the gospel and all our appointments rejected us. They were all home, but all came up with one creative excuse or another and there we were. Sweaty and wet and with no where to go. 

We wandered around for a while trying to contact or knock doors. Nothing. So we decided to search for a reference. We walked about 30 minutes and finally ended up running into the street we were looking for. We found the house and knocked. They rejected us. Ouch. We were tired, wet, hot, frustrated. We had worked so hard for so long just to get turned down. It was rough. We weren't about to give up though so we starting knocking more doors. 

Finally we came across someone who had enough compassion to let the poor tired and wet Americans sit down in her dry house. After some chatting we figured out that she is the mother of a totally golden investigator we had found one time but then lost contact with and that old lost golden investigator lived in that very same apartment! It was cool to see that God really had led us to that door after hours of walking and sweating and getting rejected in the rain. Just keep swimming.


We had a last minute baptism this last Saturday. On Thursday night we were teaching our amazing investigators and they let us know that their baptism that was supposed to be next week wasn't going to work out because they were moving for work. They asked if Saturday could work. Like in 2 days. 

Why not? So we made it happen. We had Friday to throw something together. The ward came together and we had probably one of the most beautiful baptisms I've ever been to. There was so much love. 

These last few months of teaching Natali and Jesús has been such and honor and a blessing. Its a great story. For the type of work that Jesus does he knocks doors to find clients. His work shirt is white too. He's kind of like a missionary. Except he sells pots and pans and doesn't teach the gospel...anyways, one day he knocked a door and the lady invited him in. She was Mormon and the missionaries were there with her. They invited Jesus to listen and gave him a Book of Mormon. 

They invited him to general conference that sunday and he showed up! The sister missionaries contacted him there and started visiting him and Natali. The rest is history. They overcame obstacle after obstacle and inspired us all with their diligence, sacrifice, and faith. 

I feel so honored and blessed to have been permitted to be a small part of their conversion. Such a beautiful family. Three young kids. Natali has started talking to her daughters, "so when you go on a mission...." haha we love them so much. 

The baptism was powerful. We played Families Can be Together Forever on the ukulele. Both cried leaving the water. They understood what they were doing and it impacted everyone present. Powerful.


So whenever we teach people we give them a Book of Mormon and invite them to ask God if its true. We usually explain that God won't be sending them a message on facebook or hitting them in the face, but that he will answer through feelings and thoughts. 

However, something peculiar happened this last week. We went and saw a new investigator and asked her if she read and prayed. She said she had. We asked her how it went. She then told us the GREATEST story ever. 

She has been reading the Book of Mormon and was thinking about it and praying to God in her head when she bent over to get something on the floor and someone opened the cash register and it popped out and smacked her right in the face. 

It was heavy and metal and HURT. But our investigator told us that on any other day she would have cussed out the person who opened the register or pushed them or gotten really mad but that she didn't even let one swear word slip. Instead, she laughed. "It was so unlike me!" she exclaimed. "It must be because I was thinking about that book! Like maybe thats my answer!" 

Her cousin, who joined in the lesson, piped in, "maybe it's a sign from God!" We just smiled. Who says God can't answer by hitting you in the face with  cash register? The Lord works in mysterious ways my friends.

*The first hermana to ever teach them who has since finished her mission was able to see the baptism via i phone! Hermana Purcell, we love you!!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Work, work, and a little more work

This week was a miracle week. We worked our little hearts out and Heavenly Father blessed us SO much. We kicked off the week with a cool experience and it just got better from there....


So a while back I made a personal goal to always sit next to a stranger when we take the bus to be able to make the most of out time and contact them. We dont hardly take any buses or taxis in this area because there really arent any but every week we have to take one to make it to our district meeting. So always on our way back I tell my comp, "You going to contact somebody today?" For language barriers and sometimes because no one sat down next to her shes never had the chance or the guts to go for it. But as I chatted with the person I was next to I glanced over and saw my darling and BRAVE companion contacting the person she sat next to. Such a proud mama moment. This Hermana Hancock is making leaps and bounds. So next week when we get to take the bus again and I say, "so, you gonna contact somebody today?" Im pretty sure I know what the answer will be.


We had divisions on Wednesday and I sent little hna Hancock off with one of the sister training leaders to go work in another area for the day. The other sister training leader came with me and we got right to work! We contacted, we found a new family and invited them to all be baptized with a specific date and they accepted, we taught a powerful lesson to some of our progressing investigators who finally have been succeeding with their goals to stop drinking coffee and alcohol! It was one great thing right after the other. So this family of progressing investigators are amazing. They started out strong but there was a time when things just got hard, the trials came and they stopped praying, reading the scriptures and completing their goals but after a powerful lesson on Sunday they picked themselves off the ground and have been on fire ever since! They have been reading the book of mormon as a family every night! And they havent drinken one drop of alcohol or coffee in a whole week! Weve been sending texts of animo and even dropping by with little sodas or cookies to help them out with the temptation. We love them so much. They have come so far! We also ran into the father of the family on our way to another appointment later on that same day. We stopped his motercycle and came over to talk to us. He was beaming. He proudly told us how well he has been doing with his goals, especially leaving alcohol behind. He literally seemed to glow as he told us of all the miracles and blessings they are beggining to see. Then halfway through  a sentence he stopped and began to silenty cry, "Hermanas, Im just so thankful and so happy. I know its not going to be easy but I taped the plan of salvation drawing on our wall and Im keeping my sights set. We are going to keep fighting and staying strong just like you told us. Thank you so much hermanas." I was smiling so big I thought my mouth might fall off my face. I love them so much my heart just about melted. God is working miracles with them. At the end of the day we reported as usual. Our leaders were so thrilled with the success we had that they ordered us tlayudas and had them delivered to our house. BEST zone leaders ever.


So we had a hard morning the other day. Studies were hard. Animo was down. We were just plain old tired. We left the house and it was HOT and no one was home. The food was late. But once we got to the afternoon things took off. 

We found another new family and invited them all to baptism and they said YES. We ended with a kneeling prayer and as we left the mom stopped us. "I think God sent you guys here today." I grabbed her hands, "I know he did." I assured her. 

We also went around searching for a contact we had made the other day just to set up an appointment for another day because we can't enter into a home where a man is alone. And lo and behold, as we wandered around very lost in a new part of our area that we had never been to before, looking for this guy we said a little prayer in our hearts, and in that very moment he drives past and happens to have a member in his car. Glory glory. 

We ended up teaching him a fabulously powerful lesson and he accepted a baptismal date and is more than thrilled about reading the Book of Mormon. These are only a few on the marvelous and amazing things that happened this day. 

The day started out hard but turned out being the best. It's a pattern I've seen a lot on the mission. Just when you feel like giving up and that you can't handle one more rejection or can't take one more step THATS when the miracles happen and when the prepared people are put in your path. It reminds we of a scripture

For verily I say unto you, blessed is he that keepeth my commandments, whether in life or in death; and he that is faithful in tribulation, the reward of the same is greater in the kingdom of heaven.
 Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation.
 For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand.
 Remember this, which I tell you before, that you may lay it to heart, and receive that which is to follow.
D&C 58:2-5

Good stuff. It was an amazing week. Probably the best week I've had in maybe my whole mission. The zone leaders personally called to congratulate us. But we all know who really was doing all the work. Christ. We just came along for the ride. We gave Him our all. Heart might mind and strength. I LOVE being a missionary.

*we took a lot of pictures..

 *these bowls are hand painted and 20 years old. Its a cultural tradition in the pueblos here in el Itsmo to dress up in these fancy HAND STICHED outfits and fill these kinds of bowls with fruit and candy and throw them to the crowds as they walk through the street. It takes full time work of 6 months to be able to finish one of these kinds of outfits. The ones they let us try on today are worth 1000 american dollars. It was a fun monday spent chatting about cultural traditions! I love Oaxaca.
*sometimes the houses we go visit have a limited number of chairs so sometimes we teach people sitting in a hammock. EVERYONE has hammocks here. This particular hammock is an arch enemy of mine. Its really hard to get out of and it makes my legs fall asleep. But it always gives us a good laugh! Good memories.
*Our zone leaders bought us Tlayudas for working so hard and having such success! Best day ever. Here where we live they have tlayuda delivery. All you have to do is call and 20 minutes later a delicious tlayuda with a variety of salsas shows up on your porch! Best ever.
*more tlayudas
*best fish tacos ever. I also ate the eyeball. It was...interesting.
*everyone here carries things on their head. I tried it once with all my scriptures, its not as easy at they make it look...

Monday, June 1, 2015

Right Place Right Time


This last week we studied planning a lot. How to make a good plan. How to set a good goal and how to make it happen. We watched some training videos on our tempermental (and ancient) dvd player and Richard G Scott said some inspiring words on how if we can come up with a solid plan and take it to the Lord and ask for His help, just about anything is possible. 

So we gave it a try. We made a really awesome plan to find prepared and chosen people. We kneeled down and we prayed a fervent and powerful prayer. We told God the plan and then we got up off our knees and made it happen. We contacted every breathing thing in our path and we found 2 solid new people. 

The first was a reference from a contact that didn't want anything to do with us. We taught her a really great lesson. Something that stood out to me was her answer to a common question I like to ask people. 

So as missionaries our job is to teach to the peoples needs. It's not just a list of doctrine we've come to throw in their face but we're really here to heal and change eternities so we ask questions in order to help know what it is that this person needs to hear. So we asked the common question, "what is your greatest desire/biggest goal in life?" 

Most people say, graduate from high school, or get a good job, or be happy or other obvious/common things. This girl's answer was different and surprised us. She responded "live with God someday." Wow. Thats not something you hear everyday. We were able to help her see that as representatives of Jesus Christ we can help her get to know Him and that He is the way to make it back to God. She was pretty pumped about that.

The second woman we found we contacted in a whole of 5 seconds or less. We were late for an appointment, but I had made a commitment to talk to everyone in our path so we told her who we were and what we do and asked if we could come by another day. She looked surprised but said sure!

She told us she lived close by on a hill next to a big tree. I scribbled that down and off we went! Later that day an appointment fell through and we found ourselves near a hill with a GIANT tree at the top. Then I remembered the random person we talked to for 5 seconds and off we went. And sure enough, below the giant tree was a house and inside that house was the woman we contacted. 

As we got to know her a little better she confessed that as she was walking along that morning she had been praying in her head and asking God for help and direction. In the middle of that silent prayer we showed up. Pure luck? Fate? Nope. Prayers answered. Two prayers answered at once. Right place, right time and all thanks to HIM.


This last week we stopped by to see the family of deaf/mute people. It was an interesting mix of three languages. English, Spanish, and Spanish sign language. I was surprised at how fast I was able to learn and apply the signs. Whatever signs I didn't know I made up, and my facial expressions also helped. By the end of the lesson we were all laughing. It was a great time. Maybe I'll pick up sign language when I get home too. Three languages would be nice.


Our bishop shared a quote in sacrament meeting yesterday that really hit me hard. I loved that. Times are rough. God needs strong women on his side. Proud to be one of them. He has made me a lot stronger in these last 16 months. I'm not who I was. I'm better. Stronger. 

Yes I still talk too much and like to take advantage of a good photo opportunity. Yes I still have fears and hopes and dreams. Yes I have bad days and sometimes a bad attitude. I make mistakes. But thanks to HIM, It's ok. My best is enough. And yours is too. So give yourself a pat on the back. Right now. And congratulate yourself on all that you are doing right! 

God loves you right now and forever. You are one of his army too. A little black piece of plastic isn't what makes you a missionary. Opening your mouth and proclaiming glad tidings does. So give it a go. Share the message and be a part of the army. It's hard, but it sure is fun too. So cmon! What are you waiting for? 

the quote:
"Many young women are serving missions. Many are preparing to serve. Not because they aren't married or have nothing to do, but because they have a desire to serve and are therefore called to the work. The reason so many are going is because in the next generation, Heavenly Father will be sending His priesthood army to earth and wants to send them to mothers who have been properly trained and taught in the gospel. What better training can a young woman have than a mission?"


We had a really great lesson with a golden family we've been teaching. They are really excited about their baptism but have been having a lot of road blocks and obstacles. Satan knows how powerful they can be and he does NOT want them on Gods side. 

We went over to try and get their animo back up. The lesson was powerful. So much LOVE and concern. The love was almost tangible. You could've picked it out of the air and put it in bags to sell. We love them a lot and we expressed that love. They felt it. We felt it. Angels were there. 

We are not alone in our trails. Not one of us. Whether you believe in God or no - he is there. Loving and teaching and helping. Even when we're too busy with our lives to notice. He loves us. I just know it. And because he loves us, he lets us go through hard times. I am thankful for my trails and I tell him so everyday. Try thanking Him for the hard stuff in your prayers today. It helps.

*I've always been a hat person
*Our fan club - we love the book of mormon
*blood blister - it doesn't hurt. We just found it the other day. Who knows how long its been there!
*we washed clothes at our neighbors house and she took some pics of us. Thought you would appreciate!