Monday, March 30, 2015

Still Going CRAZY That I Am in BOLIVIA! Woo!

30 Marzo 2015

More about what Bolivia is like this week for those of you that are curious ;D so the city of Cochabamba is GINORMOUS! What in the world! It’s so crazy! The part of the city that I am in is campos [fields] than anything else and has mostly all dirt roads (which is a problem when it rains and we are trying to walk from appointment to appointment ;D)

I am still so surprised by how rooted the people are in culture. There are these cute, crazy strong, cultural ladies called Cholitas EVERYWHERE here! I didn't think that I would see that many, but they are all over! They wear these velvet skirts and lacy shirts and LONG black braids with things hanging out of them.


There is also trash everywhere. I start getting little OCD [obsessive compulsive disorder] urges to pick up trash and to clean it up, but there is SO much that I wouldn’t know where to start ;D

The mountains here are gorgeous... wow... they are huge and green and beautiful! I just am awestruck every time that I look at them. They are amazing!

I am officially addicted to the mangos here... I absolutely love them! YUMMMMMMM!

OH! We did service this week for a new investigator that we have! It is a little different than before because we had come to visit her in our regular skirt and shirt get-up and she answered the gate/door saying that she was busy working. We offered to help and she happily accepted ;D We were expecting to help wash the clothes or do something of the like, but we ended up using pick-axes and hoes to move a BUNCH of HUGE rocks out of her yard! hehe! It was actually quite hilarious since we were in skirts and nice clothes and this lady's son was telling us that we really didn't have to help the entire time ;D hehe! Oh, it was hilarious to me! I wish that I could've gotten a picture with my pick axe and me in my long skirt ;D

More on the spiritual side of things, one of our investigators has his baptismal date set! WOW! He is so great! He has doubts just like anyone else but he is so hungry to know about Heavenly Father and about everything the church has to offer! I am so happy for him and his family that they are taking such an amazing step in their lives!

Many people ask why baptism is so important, and I’m not an expert, but I really do believe the fact that baptism is a way to come closer to our Heavenly Father. Through baptism we are clean from everything the world throws at us. At times I feel like the world just has buckets of mud that they like to throw at people... Where we start out wearing all white, clean and pure and ready to make something of ourselves in the world. But with everything that happens and mistakes we make we all end up dirty and uncomfortable, just yearning for a warm shower to get EVERYTHING off. Baptism is our warm, comforting shower that we can take and the new, pure white clothes that we wear at baptism is the representation of that pureness and cleanness that we receive when we are baptized. I love that! It is so amazing that Heavenly Father gave all of us the opportunity to become clean and stay clean in this life and truly return to live with him when we align ourselves with him! WAY COOL!

Anyways, that is all I have time for today, but I am always thinking of and praying for you guys!
Hermana Mather

P.S. If there is anything that you want to know about missionary work or Bolivia or anything in general, let me know ;D I`ll try to answer in my next email!

P.P.S. I found out how much we walk every day! My compi from the CCM (love that girl!) gave me a pedometer before leaving and I found out that we walk around 10,814 steps each day (which is around 5 miles from what they tell me ;D) so.. There you go ;D

[Hemana Mather's Mission president's wife, Hermana Hansen, provided some pictures from their mission's Sister Missionary Conference last Saturday prior to the Women's Session of General Conference]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has the same organization set in place by Jesus Christ. We have a prophet, just like Moses, Abraham and other prophets in the Old Testament. We also have Twelve Apostles. These men lead our church under the direction of and inspiration of Jesus Christ, and our Heavenly Father.

 Saturday night the women of the church around the world gathered in chapels and homes with internet access to hear leaders of our church including an APOSTLE. Elder Henry B Eyring. We were counseled to be defenders of the family and we were reminded that the family is ordained of God.  Elder Eyring counseled us to be compassionate and loving, and reminded us of the role of the Holy Ghost as a comforter. 

This weekend will be our General Conference when we will be taught by all of our Apostles and the Prophet. I am excited. If you would like to know what a prophet of God has to say to the world today, join us on Saturday and Sunday April 4 and 5, at 10AM and 2 PM MST.

On Saturday all the Sister Missionaries in the Cochabamba area gathered at our home for a Sisters Conference. We missed our Sisters in Sucre, Potosi, and Tupiza!

Our Sisters learned about stress reduction and exercise.

They loved learning about self-defense.

The mission home is not small . . . but we filled 3 areas with tables for dinner!
We also found and bought for paper plates! They are not easy to find . . .
and even most food court places and the cholitas on the street always use plates and cups that can be washed.
(President Hansen and the assistants who were helping with clean up were grateful!)

After the Sisters Conference and dinner we all watched the General Womens Conference through the internet projected onto a screen downstairs in Spanish and streamed to the TV upstairs in English.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I’m Still Looking Forward to the Day That I Have Dreams in Spanish! ;D

23 Marzo 2015

It's already Monday again? Wow! Every second of this week has been full of things to do, places to be and people to teach! WOW! Where to start...

My feet have hardened up! YES! By the end of my mission I will have leather for feet ;D but in all seriousness, no more blisters and I`m getting used to it! All the prayers and thoughts that you guys put out there worked (THANK YOU SOOOOOOOOO MUCH!)

I've been a little sick this week, sniffling and sometimes losing my voice in the middle of lessons but I think that I'm on the tail end of it! WOOHO!

I had intercambios (exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders) this week and I loved it! It is so great being surrounded by people who are here for the same reason as me and to learn from such amazing, experienced missionaries! I loved learning from Hermana Rossi and see her experience and different style of teaching with people. She has such a unique care about people that I love. She cares about the PEOPLE, not as just investigators or numbers or whatever, but as people! I love her!

I also got to do service for an investigator in my district leaders area where we were cutting and clearing weeds and bushes with crazy sickle/scythe-like looking things. And then we got rained out where all the roads turned into little rivers and IT WAS SO GREAT! LOVE the rain!

My Spanish is coming along! I'm still drowning a little bit but I feel like I have found a pair of floaties to stay afloat ;D one day I'll just be swimming along like it’s no one’s business... but for now, I just am staying afloat ;D It's coming slowly but surely, and I'm still looking forward to the day that I have dreams in Spanish! ;D

WAY cool family to tell you guys about this week! The familia Paniagua is a family of recent converts to the church and they are so amazing! Their little girl has cancer and they already live in humble circumstances. the GREAT and amazing part of this is that they are so firm in their faith and hope and love that they have for each other and this gospel! They are faced with so many challenges and hard things but their testimonies are strong and unyielding! Man, this life can be so hard at times, but I know that Heavenly father prepares us for those hard times and doesn't let us be thrown curve balls that we can't handle! Heavenly Father lets us have challenges and allows difficulties in our lives so that we can grow and become what he has given us the potential to be; we just have to let him. WE have to let him into our lives to make those changes!

Tender mercies from the week: I have amazing friends and family at home who write me, pray for me, and love me (If I may say so myself ;D LOVE YOU GUYS) There are awesome members and people here, our pensionista lets us choose how much we want to eat and doesn't feed us until we feel like our seams are ripping, I haven't gotten very sun burnt at all (I might even be getting a color line... hopefully it doesn't wash off in the shower ;D)

(My pep talk for the week...) Hold on guys! I know it’s rough and things are hard, but I know that we can do it!


Hermana Mather

Monday, March 16, 2015

Ay Ay Ay! I´m in Cochabamba!‏

16 Marzo 2015

Wow! Sooooooooo much to say! I´m in the real world, with real Bolivians! BAH! The mission field... feels like I´ve been here forever and it hasn`t even been a full week!

First about my trainer! Let me just tell you that I have been praying and praying and praying for my trainer for quite some time now and let me tell you, Heavenly Father gave me the best trainer EVER! Gosh, she's the best! Her name is Hermana Llanos and she's from Mendoza Argentina. She is so sweet and so helpful with learning this language! I'm her first hija [daughter] (trainee) on the misión and her last companion!!!! AH! She only has two transfers left and since when a missionary trains another missionary in the field, they have 2 transfers with each other -- I´m her very last companion!

Next, about my area! My area right now is Colcapirhua ([Colcapirhua Ward/Barrio, Cochabamba Bolivia Los] Alamos [Stake]) and it is GINORMOUS! It is outside the [main] city of Cochabamba and it is HUGE! I wish that I knew the dimensions of the area to tell you... but we walk sooooo much! I have blisters all over my feet from all the walking (;D). I wish that I could show you guys my area right now, but I can’t because my camera is on its way here from Peru (yeah... I´m forgetful... but I´m working on it ;D)

The truth of everything is that: I wash my clothes by hand (my compi taught me all the tips and tricks today ;D), it’s really hot during the day, there are dirty, sad little dogs and cats and cows and donkeys everywhere, I get a bunch of catcalls, whistles honks and yells from passing cars (I guess that they have never seen a redhead before ;D), I have bug bites ALL over the place (the count is up to 25 bug bites today ;D), ANDDDDDD:::: I LOVE IT! The people here live in such humble circumstances but are so open and loving! There is such a strong spirit with my compi and teaching with her is SO wonderful.

To tell you the truth, it is insanely hard to want to have conversations and not have the words to even begin. Spanish is hard (any language is for the matter..) and it’s really hard not being able to express myself or tell jokes or even respond to questions fully, BUT I know that I was called to serve in the Cochabamba Bolivia mission speaking Spanish for a reason!

Every day here is so long (and I haven’t even been here for a full week) but it is SO worth it! I love seeing the difference the Spirit and the Gospel makes in people’s lives! The Gospel is such a blessing! THAT is why I want to share it with other people and why I am here on this mission! I am not here to convince or to argue or to force my religion on anyone, I’m here to share something that has blessed my life enormously and has helped me become the person that I am today!

Tender mercies from this week: Everyone here is so helpful and understanding that I don’t know this language, my compi is the BEST! I’m able to do everything, everyone keep´s telling me that I am progressing quickly each day with the language, I have a warm shower and a bed to sleep in. I have been told that I have the best pensionista in the whole mission (which I can believe ;D) and our pension family is so kind and loving! Love them! (Pensionistas are women in the area who the church gets to cook lunch and dinner for us since it´s hard to know what is good and what is not good when it comes to food here- better safe than sorry!)

That’s all I have for this week! have a good week, and please pray for my feet that they will be able to take all this walking!

Love you guys!

Hermana Mather

Hermana Mather and her companion's Barrio Colcapirhua area boundaries.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Pictures of First Day in Cochabamba, Bolivia

10 March 2015 (later that day...)

Here are the pictures from the Mission President's wife of the arrival and first day of Hermana Mather in the Bolivia Cochabamba Mission:

Hermana Mather (fourth from the left) and the other new missionaries at the Cochabamba Bolivia Airport
greeted by Mission President and Sister Hansen (fifth and sixth from the left), the President's Assistants and office Elders
[Greatest Generation of Missionaries
Welcome to the Best Mission in the World
Bolivia Cochabamba Mission]

Hermana Mather and the other new missionaries with Sister and President Hansen
with the city of Cochabamba Bolivia in the background
from the city overlook at Cristo de la Concordia

Hermana Mather and the other new missionaries with Sister and President Hansen
with the Cristo de la Concordia statue in the background

President Hansen, Sister Hansen, Hermana Mather

Hermana Mather pointing to Cochabamba Bolivia.
Her new companion and area to live and work in are out there somewhere...

Hermana Mather and President Hansen at the meeting to assign new missionaries to their new companion/trainer...

.... Hermana Mather meeting her new companion/trainer for the first time...

... Hermana Mather, her new companion/trainer, and President Hansen

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Nosotros Somos Aqui!‏ [We Are Here!]

10 Marzo 2015

I'm here! I'm finally here in my mission! After a crazy night of leaving yesterday at 6pm from the CCM in Lima Peru, semi-bawling on the way to the airport (you know, missing friends and English in general since I traveled with all Latinos) and then getting to talk to my mom and dad on the phone from the airport and bawling even more (I didn't even know that I contained that many tears :D) and then traveling through the night to Santa Cruz, Bolivia, trying to sleep at the airport after arriving at 2am in the morning and then leaving at 7am in the morning for COCHABAMBA, BOLIVIA!

I don't have much time to talk right now, but I just have time to say that I'm safe and happy and I LOVE MY MISSION! And I have only been here for a few hours! I will keep you guys updated and let you know how things work out for the next few days! Love you all! (Pictures to come soon from my mission president’s wife!)

Hermana Amber Mather

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Roller Coaster!

4 Marzo 2015

Oh the Roller Coaster!

Wow! If this week could be summed up into just one word it would be Roller Coaster! This week has been full of ups and downs and loops and turns and twists and drops that leave my stomach tingling and gives me goose bumps! Just like any roller coaster, first, going into the week was scary and exciting and exhilarating all at once! My compi [companion] had to go home to get ACL surgery (which you know from last week :D ) and that was tough for the entire district! We all miss her SO much- but it is such a comfort to know that the Lord is looking after her and she´s being well taken care of! The next turn was that I was put into a trio (with some AMAZING sisters!) instead of the regular 2 by 2 companionship. And there was SO much more that happened that I just can't write all of it, But just like everything, these twists and turns are all a part of the ride! They are hard and scary in the moment but afterwards, I can look back and appreciate it and maybe ever want to go again!

To keep it simple, my new companions (Hermana Oteo and Hermana Johnson- I love them SO much!) and I have been getting used to teaching as a trio and learn and progress in the language and missionary work together. They are such a strength to me and we have become SOOOOOOO close in the past week! My whole district is for that matter! We are truly a family. I can’t imagine saying goodbye to them next week (AHHHHHHH! SO SOOOON!) and heading off to our separate missions... but I know that we´ll see each other after the mission and that we will be emailing and staying in touch! ALL of the Elders and Hermanas are going to be SUCH amazing missionaries to the people of Peru (everyone is going to Peruvian missions except for me ;D )

I can’t believe this is actually happening... next week I´m going to be out in the field... WHAT!?! That happened so fast! I WILL BE IN COCHABAMBA! BAHHH!!!! I am still in shock... this is my last time emailing from the CCM in Lima and I´ll be leaving for Bolivia at the beginning of next week! Wish me luck!

Really quick, this week, Brother Lane Steinagel, one of the managers over all the MTC´s around the world O.O, came to visit our little Lima Peru CCM and check how everything is going here. He has been here all week and left yesterday but on Sunday we had an amazing devotional from him, and IT WAS IN ENGLISH! My first English devotional since I have been here! (We have translator headphones for all of the other ones :D )

I just can’t express how amazing this devotional was! It was all about how as missionaries (and non-missionaries!) we always need to push ourselves to be better! You guys, never settle! Heavenly Father didn't put us on this earth to settle for anything! Life is way too short to settle or sit off on the sidelines and sell ourselves short! GO and DO! Don´t settle for less that you can do and don´t let anyone tell you that you can´t reach your goals! Sure, sometimes we make goals that are too high for us to reach, but it pushes us SO much farther than we would go on our own! (Man have I learned that the hard way!) Sometimes, as humans, we can get set in our ways and plateau in our progress, but we just can’t let that happen! I have made a decision this week that I won´t give up, let down, or slack off, because I know that I have been given so much more potential than that!

I really can´t express to you guys how awesome this devotional was, but the bottom line is ´have fun, work hard, expect great things, don´t settle for less, embrace the gospel, and missionary work and be filled with the love of God. In the words of Elder Bastian from my district, ´Fortune favors the Bold, so get to it, be BOLD!’

Sorry for the ginormous email this week guys, but really quick, just have to tell you all the tender mercies for the week: my new companions are AMAZING and loving and welcoming! I’m loving Spanish (who knew that it was possible?) I go into the mission field next week! We got a video from my lovely companion who is back home and she is ALIVE! YAY! There are fun Latinos riding on the plane with me to Cochabamba! I have an amazing district (as always). From what I hear the CCM food will be the best food that I get for a year and a half, so I´m grateful for the food! The awesome chance to study Spanish and the Gospel for 6 weeks here in Lima is almost over and a new journey is beginning!

Love you guys!

Hermana Mather

The trio with my teacher!

Me and my teacher from the CCM!