Monday, August 31, 2015

Instrument in the Lord's Hands

31 Agosto 2015

I have been thinking a lot this week about what I could share with everyone back at home about this week... and I hope that it can somehow help all of you out there who are reading this ;D  

Funny things that happened this week before all the spiritual stuff: there were 2 new investigators that we had in sacrament meeting this week! Sadly, we can’t teach them because they don’t speak Spanish or English- they speak dog! hehe 2 dogs snuck into sacrament meeting this week so that was hilarious ;D Luckily some of the members were able to lead the dogs out of the chapel without making too much of a big deal. ;D

This week I think that I have better realized that truly in missionary work I really am only the instrument in the hands of Heavenly Father. This really isn’t my work here, its Heavenly Father’s. It’s weird to think that while I am here 24/7, working every moment that I can that I am just a missionary here. Without the lord`s help I really wouldn’t be making a difference. But, in this work, the work of salvation, I know that the Lord’s hand is in all things. I know that he is helping me and my companion find people to teach, that he is touching the lives and hearts of the people here and he is truly working alongside us! He doesn’t make missionary work easier, he makes it worth it.

This Sunday we were talking about sacrifices, and I got the special opportunity with the other missionaries of our ward to bear my testimony in one of the classes about sacrifice. Something occurred to me right then and there. Before my mission (and the first few months of my mission) there were times where I thought of serving a mission as a sacrifice that I was making. A sacrifice to leave my family, my friends, college, my job... everything that I knew to give 18 months of my life to people that I didn’t know yet (some of which who wouldn’t accept the gospel or what I was doing for them). But let me just tell you... NOW I can’t look at the mission as anything other than a privilege that I have. A privilege to see the difference that the gospel can make in the lives of other people, to grow as a missionary and person, to grow my testimony, to bear my testimony, to love the people here no matter if they except the gospel or no, to come closer to my savior and to give my time to the lord in all things, and to work with all my heart might mind and strength. I think that it really is a privilege to sacrifice things for the lord because we can receive so much more than we give (really-- it isn’t a sacrifice ;D). I know that there are times where things are hard to sacrifice – time to go to church, to read scriptures, to pray, to fast on fast Sunday, to follow the principles of the gospel, and to go to seminary. There are so many things that I can think that we are asked to do, but if you think about it – it isn’t a real church and faith if you don’t have to sacrifice something. I know that sacrifice brings blessings and growth and that through sacrifice we receive so much more than we give up!

SO, this was this week for me ;D hehe I love you all, keep up the good work, keep working hard, playing hard, loving, living, laughing, and just be you (it’s the best person  you could be!) I love you all and hope you have a great week!


Hermana Mather

Service this week: giving dogs hair cuts and washing them!
(Don't judge my face... Its early and I was tired... :P)

Me and my lovely compi!

We played beach volleyball with our zone this morning! woo! 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Bednar Was in Cochabamba!‏

24 Agosto 2015

This week was a week of my mission that I will truly never forget. We as missionaries in the Bolivia Cochabamba Mission had the opportunity to listen and talk to Elder David A. Bednar from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for 3 amazing hours! Wow.... where can I even start? There really is no description for the strength of the Spirit that a living breathing apostle can bring into the room!

The overarching theme of the conference was that we are all agents and not objects. Some of you may be thinking ´huuuuh?`, but I`ll explain ;D It is all about actions and if we are all acting or if we are being acted upon. To be an agent is a LOT different than being an object! When you are an object in life, you are sitting there sometimes waiting for things to happen, waiting for the answers to your prayers, waiting to receive a testimony, expecting to be acted upon instead of acting for yourself. When you are an agent this is when you try to do all you can to answer your own prayers. This is when you step into the darkness with faith that it will work out and that Heavenly Father will help you. You pray with the real intent to act when you receive an answer, you read the Book of Mormon searching for your answers, you truly do your part to receive – you act! We were given our agency in this life to act- really it is the ability to act and not be acted upon! After this conference, my vision of the words Faith, Testimony, and Prayer were changed. These words are not just nouns – they are verbs that you work to act on. I invite everyone who is reading this email to really think for a moment – are you acting or are you being acted upon? Are you praying with true faith?  One example that Elder Bednar gave was: in the church are you praying for `the people who were not here this week so that they can be there next week` but not acting and going out and searching for those people? This was so powerful for me! And, just like me, if you can be better with acting, start today to act and not be acted upon!

In our area, we are now searching, praying and finding new people to teach! Since we had baptisms the past month, we felt like we really didn’t have anyone to teach – just a few people here and there. But, this area is literally full of miracles and we have been able to come across a few different families that we are teaching! One family was a reference from a member in the ward, and they are so amazing! We only met them the other day, but my companion and I could feel that they have just been waiting for the gospel. They have a lot of family problems but it was amazing to see the hope that they have that the gospel can make things better in their family. Another family are relatives of a less active member in the church that other missionaries have taught before and they had baptism dates that fell through before because the mom has a lot of doubts about the church and Joseph Smith. We have been trying to help them to `act` to know the truth of these things ;D (such as reading, praying and coming to church ;D) SO we have a lot of hope to be instruments in the Lord’s hands with these families to be able to receive the full blessings of the restored gospel!

I TESTIFY that this church is true. I know it will all my heart and soul. I know that this church is led by true prophets and apostles that receive revelation for every single one of us. I know that we can all receive personal revelation by the power of the Holy Ghost and we can truly hear things from him that aren't spoken in our meetings which is fit for us at this time and place where we are in our lives, I know that Heavenly Father wants all of us to be happy and cares about every single one of us. I know that we were put on this earth to be able to us our agency and to act and not be acted upon. ALL of these things and more, I testify in the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

I love you all!

Hermana Mather

After the mission conference with Elder Bednar,
(We couldn't take any pictures with Bednar :(((,
but we took one together as companions so its alright ;D

From 6 de Agosto which is like the 4th of July for Bolivia!

We had alphabet soup the other day and we just couldn't resist!

Our new investigators ;D hehe preaching to one and all the Gospel of Christ.

Service for our recent convert crushing up bread to make a BUNCH of bread crumbs.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Birthdays and Baptisms‏

17 Agosto 2015

Well, this week was officially amazing! WOW!

To start.. My birthday! I am officially 20 years old... how weird! I am no longer a teenager... WHAT!?! I’m old... @.@ hehe but anyways, I thought that my birthday was going to be a regular old day of missionary work and no more, but my amazing compi surprised me with a ´party´ that night at my pension [apartment]! How cool! We were on splits with some members of the ward where I go with one member and she went with another member. While I was visiting people and teaching, she was getting things ready in our pension for a birthday party of sorts ;D it was so great! I went to a family home evening and they surprised me with a cake and a present. SO nice of them! And, then we went to the pension for dinner and the lights were off... I should have known ;D I walked in and everyone yelled ´Feliz CumpleaƱos [Happy Birthday]!´ My compi is so great! She had the Elders from our ward, and some members come and they made Pique Macho (yummmmm) and cake! It was just so special! I love the people here! They are so nice, fun, and special!

Second, the baptism that we had was so so so so so so SOOOOOOOOOOOO amazing and special! You can really just feel when someone is truly converted and truly has a testimony of all these things, and Nair, Gronel, and Gabriela have testimonies! Wow! The most impactful thing that happened was after the actual baptism in the font, they changed out of their wet clothes, and they got the opportunity to bear their testimonies. There was SUCH a strong spirit present there! It started off with Hermana Gabriela (who is 81 actually...) her faith is so amazing to be baptized at her age when it is even hard for her to walk... she is so amazing!) and she talked about her gratitude to God for the opportunity to find the truth and to grow in her faith even at her age.

And then there was Gronel... The most impactful thing that he said in his testimony was that when he started to learn and read the Book of Mormon and come to church, there was a voice that told him ´You don’t have to search anymore. Here it is. This is what you have been looking for.´ And after he was baptized, he said ´I’m at home; I’m home.´ Then, there was Hermana Nair who has such a powerful testimony of everything that she has gained... who said that she felt like she was literally walking on a cloud after her baptism... I am SO happy for these amazing people and for the difference that the gospel could make in their lives! SO AMAZING! I wish that you guys could have been there... it was truly amazing!

Well, that is all that I have for this week! I’ll talk to you again this next week!

Hermana Mather

The cakes and the tradition that people have of shoving your face in the cake ;D


Baptism! Wow! How amazing!

After party of the baptism!

PS.  Old photos that never sent...

Its been rainy and cold this week (its usual for the cold, but not the rain ;D)

Celebrating 4th of July in the pension (our pensinista is seriously the best!)

Monday, August 10, 2015

Preparing for Baptisms!‏

10 Agosto 2015

Wow! Another amazing week in the mission! This week we were able to go to the temple and have zone conference which was so amazing to be able to listen to advice and lessons from our president of the mission, and then this week we were preparing Nair, Gronel, and Gabriela for their baptism which is going to be this Saturday!

This family (Nair, Gronel, and Gabriela) is AMAZING! They have problems like any family or any person has to deal with in this life, but they have so much faith and trust in the Lord! I am always blown away by their love, their charity, and their true desires to follow the path that Heavenly Father wants for them. I remember the first lesson that we had with them. Both my companion and I were feeling really sick and just couldn’t make it through a lesson. Hermana Nair gave me a coat to warm up and they ended up walking us to our house because we weren’t feeling good. They are so amazing and I can’t believe how blessed I have been to be able to help them to learn about the gospel and help them to know that they can receive answers to their questions! I can truly feel that this family is so ready for this step in their lives. This Saturday will be so special. Not only because it is a baptism, not because baptism will take away all of their problems (because it won’t), but because I KNOW that this is a step in the right direction for this family to be baptized with the proper authority (priesthood) and then they can receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. How Special! Wow! I can’t wait to send pictures and everything!

Well... everyone, eat some cake and ice cream for me August 11th (or ice cream cake! woooo)! It really doesn’t feel like it will be my birthday tomorrow... how weird... it is probably just going to be a regular, normal missionary day, but at the same time I am going to be 20 years old... how weird!

Missionary words of advice ;D -Keep reading your scriptures -keep praying -keep going to church. I can see the real difference that all of these things can make in the lives of others, so keep it up! ;D hehe

I love you all!

Hermana Mather

Zona Sacaba at the Cochabamba Bolivia LDS Temple

Monday, August 3, 2015

Seeing Miracles Rain Down in Villa Graciela‏

2 Agosto 2015

Wow! This week has been SO amazing! We have been working so hard, until we are dragging ourselves up the 5 flights of stairs at night to plop into our beds and sleep and sleep and sleep (until we wake up at 6:30 and do it all over again ;D) but we have really been seeing the miracles of missionary work! This week we had our first baptism in Villa Graciela of an amazing family! The miracle of this is that this whole family was baptized together! To be honest, there was a whole mix up on who needed to do what and there was a possibility that one of the kids was not going to be able to be baptized with the family (you know, Satan really tries to mess things up sometimes...) but everything ended up working out perfectly! I can tell you, right here, right now, that awesome things are in store for this family and that Heavenly Father is doing amazing things for this family! I can’t wait to see all that we can help this family do!

A quick talk about our other investigators! There is another family, which is made up of Nair, her son Gronel, and her mom Gabriela, who are getting ready for baptism as well! This is such an amazing, sweet, and faithful family! I am so amazed by them every time we meet with them! The most amazing thing to me right now is that Gabriela is more than 70 years old. And, and it is hard for her to get around and even sit down. But, she has so much faith that while we were teaching her one night she just ended up looking at us and asked `so how are you going to get me into the water? because I need to be baptized`. Both of us were so surprised with how much faith that this cute little lady has and we just can’t wait to see how this family will progress!

That is all I have time for today, but I love you all! Everyone eat some American food and cake for me on August 11th in my honor please! You guys are awesome!


Hermana Amber Mather

Villa Graciela Ward boundaries in east Cochabamba, Bolivia.

Our first baptism in Villa Graciela! WOW!

My cute compi and I ;D

Our new pension [apartment] is AMAZING!
Dinner at the Mission Home!