Monday, February 8, 2016

A Labor of Love

Hola Amigos....
This is it...
Here I am... everyone says it... and they say it because it`s true...  I never thought this moment would come... Well I mean I always knew it would, but just not so fast... "It passed away like as if it were unto [me] a dream. (Jacob 7:26)" An incredible dream. 

 A mission is not an easy experience, it is mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausting. Heavenly Father has truly shown me my weaknesses, but as I have come unto Him, He has made weak things become strong unto me. These 18 months have been months of growth and learning, I have learned to…
· ·         LOVE learning especially the Beautiful Spanish Language
· ·         Understand the pure love of Christ
· ·         Love ALL God`s children and understand that I have something to learn from EVERYONE
· ·         See God`s Children as HE sees them
· ·         Work with, love and sustain Church Leaders despite their human weaknesses
· ·         Understand the CRUCIAL importance of Visiting Teaching, and Family Home Teaching
· ·         Love, admire, and appreciate my family, especially my parents
· ·         Seek out the sunlight amidst the storms
· ·         Accept rejection with a smile
· ·         Overcome the natural man
· ·         Focus on what truly matters most
· ·         Stand up for what I know to be true
· ·         Work as a team
· ·         Have an eternal perspective in the face of trial
· ·         Humbly accept counsel from others
· ·         Examine and LOVE the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon
· ·         Appreciate the unique message of the Restored Gospel
· ·         Understand the blessings of obedience and the consequences of sin
· ·         Accept the timing and will of Heavenly Father
· ·         Depend on and trust in the power of Prayer
· ·         Develop a love and testimony for Sabbath Day observance
· ·         Understand and cherish the doctrine of Christ 
·                 Understand the workings of the Spirit
· ·         Teach the gospel clearly and effectively
· ·         Understand and apply the atonement of Christ
·                Depend on my Heavenly Father 

I have so many emotions right now... So many different thoughts and feelings coming through my mind... but the sum of it all is JOY and LOVE.

 I feel as Ammon…”My joy is full, yea my heart is brim with joy and I will rejoice in my God.” I have come to learn what pure happiness is, what joy is- happiness that comes as a result of seeing others happy, vicarious happiness. True joy is seeing my brothers and sisters receive this beautiful gospel, experience the peace and joy that I too have experienced from the restored gospel in my life. There aren`t words to express the joy one feels as you experience one of God`s children kneel down to pray for the first time ever, or the joy of watching them enter the doors of the church for the first time, or as they enter the waters of Baptism and come out pure, clean as new disciples of Jesus Christ.

I also have come to understand what real LOVE is. Unconditional Love, love that  "is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, that seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things and endureth all things." 
I have felt the love of my Heavenly Father and felt of the Love he has for His Children and he has helped me too to LOVE His children with all my heart. I love these Argentine people with my whole heart. I will forever hold these people in my heart. This truly is a LABOR Of LOVE. 

 I absolutely love this beautiful gospel and truly know that it is true. I have no doubt that this IS truly the only true church. This IS the Church of Jesus Christ; He leads and Guides His church today through a living prophet and 12 apostles. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a Prophet of God that as we value and apply the guidance of God`s servants on the earth we will be led safely home. I know that Joseph Smith is the prophet of the Restoration. I know He saw God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, that he was made an instrument in God`s hands to restore the fullness of the gospel. I know that the scriptures are the word of God. I know that as we study and feast on them daily we will have guidance and protection in a world of so much confusion. I know the Book of Mormon is true, I know that it contains the fullness of the Gospel. As I read that sacred book I feel my Saviors love. I know that Families can be together forever through Heavenly Father`s plan. I know that the ordinances of the temple are sacred and necessary for our salvation. As we go to the temple frequently we achieve an understanding and a peace that guides us through the difficulties of life. I know that every single commandment that we have received is an invitation to receive blessings, counsel from a loving father; I know that obedience to these commandments is the only way to true happiness. I know with all my heart that the only way to achieve happiness is through obedience to the principles and ordinances of the Gospel, of that I am completely certain. I know that missionary work is the work of the Lord, it is His work and He leads and guides it. I know that the power of Prayer is real. He hears and answers our prayers. I know that God lives, that He loves us, that He watches over us and has a perfect plan. He knows exactly what we need and when we need it. I know that Heavenly Father loves ALL his children; so much that He sent His son, our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ to pay the price of sin so that someday through His grace and mercy we might return to His presence again. I know that Christ atoned for my sins; I know that HE is the great mediator, my Savior, my Redeemer, my Friend. Of these truths I testify, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ amen.

Con Amor, Hermana Matheson

Distrito San Raw Bano Centro Reunited in Consejo de Liderazgo.

Hermana Zaugg

The Soriano Fam with our investigators

Ely and Mario Castillo

Marisa & Alejandro Sosa

The last lesson with the Rivera Fam. They've come so far!

My FAVORITE bishopric of my entire mission. Obispo Rojas, Hermano Gatica, and Hermano Lucero

Norma. This lady is such a trooper. After an unexpected change in baptism date, she was finally baptized on February 19th, 2016 :) 

Mario AND Norma. After almost 6 months. She finally accompanied Mario to church. I gave her my blue dress and she LOVES it.

Hermana Gatica

Graciella. I respect her so much.

Zoe :) I'll miss this girl so much.

My bud Nestor.

The Rodriguez Family. This little kid always cracked me up. He always looked so out of it.

The last lunch, with the Ferrara family :)

My Argentine Parents

The whole Ferrara gang

Hermana Estrella. She ran up at the last second to give me this as a gift.

Hermana Margarita Godoy and Iris tapia. So sweet of them to come see me off.

There were 7 of us that ended in San Luis

Saying Goodbye

My cute MTC comp, Hermana Ellgen

Hermana Gonzales

Some wicked tan lines. 

The Streadbecks

The last dinner

The Masoners

Matching T-Shirts

Two of the greatest people on this planet

The Aggies are comin back.

2 missions and 26 months later. We're back :)

My best buds. Maisie Hobbs and Kaycee Fowers. After all three serving (Merida Mexico, Richmond Virginia and Mendoza Argentina) we're reunited :)

Update: Norma was baptized February 20th. She called me to tell me about her baptism! She's so sweet. She updates me on what's going on. She is visiting teaching companions with Estrella Ferrara and is loving it!