Thursday, July 28, 2016

Dia De Amigos: Week 5

This week was great! It sure flew by in comparison to last week! We had many inspiring moments, some funny moments, some awkward moments, and all that is in between. We were privledged to meet many people who were receptive to our message, and if they did not want to hear it they were at least nice in their way of telling us (the majority of them).

Haylie's Companion celebrates 13 months in the mission
Friday marked my one month in the mission! To celebrate, the awesome hermanas in my pension woke up early to surprise me with crepes! They are seriously the best. We get along so well and at the end of the day when we are all together any doubts or bad feelings that may have been lingering through the day all vanish, and I remember how fun missionary work is, and how happy the message of the gospel can make people! 

It was national dia de amigos this week, but the day was quite the opposite. Everyone we tried to contact quickly turned us down. We though on a day where friendship is celebrated we would have some uplifting conversations with some kind souls, but that was nnot the case. But throughout the day we found time to laugh and kept an eternal perspective. Even if just one person was touched we did our job!

One of the things I have learned so far is the importance of service. Our purpose in this life is driven from service. Cheryl A. Esplin states that we must throw away the mirrors and look through the window. I have felt so much happiness teaching simple truths to Gods children. Happiness is not found from looking in, but from looking out and acting on what we see. 

Miriam, Victoria, and Naomi- the ones who came to church last week- came to church again this week! Miriam is a less active member but we see the change in her that she wants to go to church and wants to do the thinks that will please her hevenly father. It was incredible to hear her talk about how her week following her attendance at church had been her best week in a while. There was peace in her home and hope in her heart. And her little daughter (6 years old) told her that she wants to be baptized. It has been so cool to see this change. Victoria is Miriams niece that is 14, she has been very recpective to the message and we gave her a Book of Mormon this week. We are excited to see what is in store for her. 

We had an amazing experience yesterday. A member from a neighboring ward gave us a referral and we set out to find this woman. Well, when we got to the door, the woman (Graciela) was quick to tell us that she was not interested. She is an elderly woman in her 70s. We began to open our mouths and testify of the happiness and love that we feel in the gospel. She opened up on the doorstep and began to cry, telling us that her husband had passed away several months ago. She hugged us and invited us in to share more with her. We discussed the Plan of Salvation, how God has this plan in store for all of us, and how we know that she will see her husband again. We discussed our Savior Jesus Christ, who will succor or- or run to us- in our afflictions. He has payed the price and for this we do not have to go through anything alone. We could tell that she felt extremely alone, never having children and now living in a house without someone she had grown old with, not leaving the house unless absolutely necessary. In the beginning of our visit, she was speaking through tears, but as we continued her tears turned to trust. She was calm, and knew that she was feeling the Holy Ghost, in fact she said that she could feel that Christ was in the room with us, bearing witness of the truthfulness of the message. We spoke of her husband, how he is in a happy place now, hearing about the gospel of Jesus Christ and resting from all his labors. She was lifted as we reassured her that he is with her, and he wants her to find happiness again. In this moment we could feel his precense in the room. The spirit was undeniable and I know that she will see him again. We gave her a Plan of Salvation pamphet and she just kept kissing it with the beautiful image of the Savior rising from the tomb. My heart was lifted. I know that families are eternal and this is one of my favorite things to teach as a missionary.

I wish I could tell you all the miracles I have witnessed throughout the week. Every day is a miracle. Every time we can look someone in the eyes and tell that that they are a son or a daughter of God, and that God loves them is a miracle. I am happy and am safe! God blesses his missioaries, Love you all! 

Hermana Mathis

Having fun with the Hermanas in her pension

Winter is a bit chilly in Rosario!

Monday, July 18, 2016


By Train, by Trax, By Plane, By Bus: Adios Hermana Romero
By some miracle I made it to Argentina! With a mix up in the schedule and a race to the airport, we ended up making it with plently of time thanks to some kind souls who helped us along the way. Also, I got to talk to my family on the phone in the airport and that was awesome!! Our journey began on Monday morning and we arrived in Buenos Aires Tuesday morning. Long day!! But we made it! And the spanish immersion began... Directly after we arrived we got on buses that took us to the cities we would be serving in for the next 18-24 months. I had to say goodbye to my companion Hermana Romero and that was hard! She is the best!! A few hours later we were welcomed in the mission home by President and Hermana Zanni and their sweet family! They are incredible and I could feel the love they have for the missionaries and for the gospel. The girls that I stayed with in the mission house were all latinas haha but luckily I know enough spanish to get by. We were fed a great lunch and dinner and the next day we were off to meet our companions! I was so nervous for this moment.. but God gave me quite possibly the nicest companion in the Argentina, Rosario mission. Her name is Hna Whitworth and she has been in the mission for 13 months. We are doing a white wash- which means that we are both brand new to the area. Needless to say we get lost on average 20 times a day. But we are learning together. (Haylie said that their only transportation is by foot and that they use a street map to navigate:)

First Companion: Hermana Whitworth from California,
First Area:  Parque Field, Rosario Argentina
Bad news: we are now required to wear slacks. We all got fitted and will promtly begin to strut the street in our slacks because of the severity of the mosquitos here! Well, I wish I would have know that before I packed my clothes literally as full as they could be!! I mean literally because by some miracle both of my suitcases were both exactly 50 pounds which is the limit. Also bad news, I have basically only been talking Spanish so my English is sub par right now. 

As far as Argentina-- WOW. So different than the states in every way. So humbling and so unique to be able to have this experience. The people here are all so open about their stories and the majority believe in God! It has  been freezing here- apparently more freezing than it has been in years and the humidity does not help. The food is really good- the Argentines are very proud of their meat and for good reason! There has been a lot of firsts this week! 

The days are very long- all the things we do in one day could easily be spread out into a week and that would be normal. We are going going going! We are still getting to know the members here and the area. The members are saints! They are so kind and welcoming and just take us in and love us as their own. They even say I dont speak like a Yankee! That's comforting to hear, haha. They also say I need to talk more but I am working on that. It's hard to keep up with the conversation when its moving at a rapid pace. 
With President and Sister Zanni

Church yesterday was exactly what I needed after several long days.I got to share my testimony with the ward for the first time. I think it went well judging by the standards of not saying anything too embarrassing and not crying. Hermana Whitworth was very kind and said that it was the best first testimony she has heard. Not too sure about that,haha, but very nice of her to say. We were able to bring an inactive member as well as her 6 year old daughter and her 15 year old niece to church with us! It had been years since they attended but they could sense a difference and they want to keep coming! So cool to be a part of that.

The Newest companionships of the Argentina Rosario Mission
One thing that I have been thinking about a lot this week is, what sets apart the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from Catholics, Christians, etc. What comes to mind is the Book of Mormon. I remember back to a lesson Brad Wilcox gave in my mission prep class on the Book of Mormon. We discussed the dead sea scrolls and the cool discovery of them, but after talking about this he paused to state- you show me one person who has been changed by the dead sea scrolls. It is acceptable and undeniable so therefore it has no power, it does not require faith. The Book of Mormon and the coming forth of the book is something that pushes people outside the realm of what is empirically proven and into the realm of trusting God. The Book of Mormon changes lives! It requires trust and inquiry.  It requires action and many times,  a leap of faith. Right now I am in the realm of trusting God, far from the realm of what is comfortable. I am walking the streets of Argentina, white and hair as red as ever, speaking a language that I am clearly not fluent in-  Parque Field is my area in case anyone wants to look it up-preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ- many times on the dark streets of Rosario. I am talking to strangers about Jesus Christ. I am able to do it because I have the help of Jesus Christ, through the enabling power of His atonement. I have witnessed miracles daily, and people have been in our path for a reason. This work is hard but it is true. Thank you for your prayers and your love. I would not be where I am today without all of your examples and goodness. 

Hermana Mathis 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Hola From the MTC! Week 1

Hey friends and family! I hope that you are all doing well. I am doing great, I love being a missionary. It is tough work no doubt about it, but it is a work that also brings great happiness.

The first day in the MTC felt like the longest day of my life. Luckily it was a quick send off to avoid any drawn out goodbyes. Right when I got dropped one of the first things that I did was get my missionary badges. The spirit was so strong as a badge was placed above my heart, with two names on it. Hermana Mathis and Jesucristo! How lucky I am to be a representative of Jesus Christ and to wear his name every day. 

I was super confident and excited as I walked with my host, lugging around my massive bags. My poor host could not carry one of my suitcases up the stairs so someone else had to help her. I felt pretty bad. I felt better when my companion told me the same thing. She too brought full suitcases and made her host struggle a bit. Heaven help us when we are supposed to carry two of these massive suitcases alone. 

My companion is awesome! Her name is Hermana Romero. She is from Linden, Utah and was actually in my American Heritage Lab at BYU. Small world. She will be serving in the Argentina, Neoquen mission. She loves dance and is hilarious. We have a good time together. You have to laugh through the hard times and that is surely what we do. 
My confidence slightly decreased as I entered my classroom in which the teachers were already speaking in Spanish. I was definitely a bit rusty and overwhelmed. There are a lot of missionaries in my district that are completely fluent because they have grown up speaking the language. Luckily there are a few who are in my same boat. But the most important thing for me to remember is that I cannot compare myself to them. That is when I become distressed. Comparison is the thief of joy! I read that somewhere a few weeks ago and boy is it true. 

We had to teach a lesson in SPANISH our second day here! Crazy. I was able to understand the importance of having the spirit to teach. Without the spirit we are nothing. Though our language is no where near perfect right now, we are able to testify that we do have a message that is perfect, and that we are missionaries called of God. We have taught a few more lessons since and though they are a bit stressful they are great learning opportunities. The spirit can still be felt through broken spanish. 

My testimony about prayer has been strengthened greatly. The Lord will make us taller on your knees thank we will ever be on our feet. He wants to hear from us, and he wants us to obey him. Even more so, we should desire to please Him. This goes beyond just obeying, is is fulfilling the will of the Lord and making him proud in our efforts. It is doing good things with a good attitude.This was a little hard when Hermana Romero and I had to clean the toilets for both the boys and the girls, but nonetheless we got through it.  

Yesterday was such a great day.We got to go to the Morris center on BYU campus for lunch yesterday because the mission presidents are occupying our cafeteria! It was so much fun  to be on campus again.  

The spirit was in all of our meetings. It testifies of truth. And thankfully we got a little break from spanish because most of our meetings were in English. We watched Elder Maxwell's talk titled "O Divine Redeemer." If you haven't heard this talk you need to! A line that he says that I love is we cannot be christ's special witnesses if we ourselves are not special, if we ourselves do not lead special lives. I love missionary work. I love the feeling I receive when I testify of our living Savior Jesus Christ. I hope to become more like him through my service. I love you all and thank you so much for your prayers. I feel them! Alma 26:27- " Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold the Lord comforted us and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thy afflictions, and I will give unto you success. Adios!!

Love, Hermana Mathis

Fireworks and Fun in the MTC: Week 2

Haylie raided her grandma's closet for the best sweater ever to wear on the 4th of July

This week was so much fun! The gym was opened again so I played basketball almost every day this week. The boys think they are too cool to play with the girls, either that or they are afraid to lose to them. Regardless, girls are not allowed to guard boys so I was balling-up some girls. It was so much fun. I think I had a little extra power being in the MTC and all. 

Hermana Romero and I got locked out of our residence not once, but twice this week. We forgot to take our keys with us when we showered. You think we would learn from the first one. One lock-out resulted in the security guards having to come to open the door for us. We just laughed it off- not surprised by any means that it would happen to us. I think we finally learned our lesson. 

We got our travel plans and I leave to Argentina in a week! Hermana Romero and I are on the same flights and we are so so excited. Also so nervous and wondering how we are going to make our suitcases weigh 50 pounds. 

A few funny things that happened this week:
An Elder in my district bought a missionary bag at the bookstore. He was so excited about it, spending $60 dollars on it and all. Well he quickly took the tags off and after a few minutes he opened it up to see the inside was pink! The bookstore would not let him take it back and our district/teachers could not stop laughing.
Another thing- a Hermana in my district will frequently ask for words as she is talking to the class. Well an elder misheard her and thought she had said "to cook" instead of what she really said "to hook." The sentence then progressed to mean- we need to cook our investigators. Whoops. Not quite what we had in mind.

We got to watch the Stadium of Fire fireworks and stay up on Saturday night! It was the best night ever, full of laughs and joy and friendships and happiness. I could not help but think about how blessed I have been in my life. I am so grateful for everyone who has been my friend and support throughout life. I am grateful for the experiences I have had and will have in the future. And of course, I am proud to be an American. 

Hermana Romero and I started to teach our TRC investigator. Her name is Hely and she is from Guatemala. She is so loving and so kind. I do not remember exactly what we said during all of our lessons with her, but I could always feel that the spirit was present, especially when we bore testimony that God loves her. Meanwhile, we have also been teaching other investigators and we have grown a lot in the process. It is important to remember that the spirit is the true teacher, and we are just the facilitator. 

Hermana Romero and I taught our district meeting yesterday on obedience. It went really well- probably because we got to teach in English haha. One of the things I was told the first week that I was here was that if we truly understood the blessings that come from obedience, we would beg for more commandments. A quote that I love is from Elder Richard G. Scott, who says "Don't give up what you want most in life for something you think you want now." The choices we make are so important. Keep an eternal perspective and obey out of love for the one who gave you everything that you have. 

We read about repentance in the Bible dictionary- it is a change of mind. It is a fresh view about God, ourselves, and the world. It is a turning of the heart and will to God. This definition is not demanding or fearsome, it is inviting and inspiring. It is accompanied with the promise of salvation. It is essential. 

Alma 26: 22
"And he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing- unto such is given to know the mysteries of God; yea unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls unto repentance, even ask it has been given unto us to bring these our brethren to repentance." 

I had a really powerful interview yesterday with a member of my branch presidency. He told me that my job was to stand as a witness of Jesus Christ, and help people remember what they had already known before. He says nothing we are teaching someone is something that they hadn't already known before this life in the presence of God. Our job is to remind them of the things they had one known. It is to help them identify the spirit, knowing that the way they are feeling is the way they once felt with God. We all had a father/daughter, father/son relationship with our Father in Heaven for thousands of years before coming to this earth. I know that god loves us all, and he wants us to be happy. He wants us to remember how much he loves us, and to feel his recognizable hand on our shoulders, bearing our burdens and strengthening us in the process.

Hermana Mathis

And it Begins! Week 3

With Sister Romero: These companions are going to have a difficult time separating to their  own areas of Argentina
This week has been great! The days are picking up and it is crazy to think that I will be on a plane beginning my journey to Argentina in a few hours. CRAZY. I am so excited!! It has been a busy week but that isn't much different than every other week here. Hermana Romero and I are continuing to have too much fun and to laugh through the hard times. Our Spanish is coming along and I had a dream in Spanish which is always a good sign! I would love to list all the funny times Hna. Romero and I have had but 1- I do not have enough time, and 2- you probably would not find it as funny as we did. Regardless we love the MTC and are so sad to no longer be companions in a matter of hours. 

The Greatest District Ever
I realized that I hadn't really talked about my district or teachers yet, well. . . they are all AMAZING. We get along so well and the spirit is so strong when we are together. It is so cool to see the progression we have all made together in a matter of weeks. Our teachers are angels. They are so happy and so fun and truly radiate God's love and the happiness found in this gospel. Through a few interviews with them this week, my love has really grown for them and I know that they are inspired and were my teachers for a reason. Such great examples of the missionary that I want to be. 

Hna. Romero and I sang in the MTC choir this week, the musical number was "More Holiness Give Me." It was a great experience to participate in the pleads of thousands of missionaries, asking to become better, to have more holiness, more happiness, more kindness, more faith, more love. 

Our director discussed the truth behind being "equally yoked" with the Lord, explaining how many times we believe that we are truly equal with the Lord in carrying our burdens. In reality, we are carrying about 5 of the load, this little sliver of a burden. His yoke can and will carry us. This helps me put things into perspective, helping me see that my own problems are not as big as they may seem. The Lord's hand will be with us throughout the entirety of the way. If we come unto Christ, and turn to him in those moments where our burdens seem too heavy to bear, he will make them light, and will bring to light how minute our burdens really are. 
Matthew 11:
 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

With her MTC instructor whom she adores
Also in that devotional we heard from a former member of 70 who talked about faith, and the progression in the levels of faith found in the Book of Mormon. He discussed how sometimes we may just start with a particle of faith (Alma 32:27) but this can grow into much faith, exceeding faith, exceedingly great faith, and unshakable faith. The Lord is the author and the finisher of our faith (Moroni 6:4). He will take our faith at whatever level it is at and continue to strengthen it, until the day when we will stand before his presence and no longer will need to have faith, because at that moment we will know perfectly that He is the Christ and Savior, and that God is our loving father in heaven. 

Our lessons with investigators went well this week! We were able to sing himnos in a few of our lessons with really brought the spirit in, and calmed the troubles and doubts of our investigators. I have always loved music and the power it has to testify of the truth. As we sang Nearer my God to Thee, tears were brought to our investigator's eyes. It was an incredible experience to share as a companionship. 

Two great things happened on Saturday:
1. I committed to being on the wall for the rest of my life- this in a sense means that I will be striving to choose the best thing to do, when also placed before something good or better. It means that I will be like Samuel the Lamanite who had enough faith in the Lord to put his life on the line and preach the gospel through the power of the spirit. 
2. I was challenged by my branch president to finish the Book of Mormon before I left the MTC. He challenged me when I was in the middle of Alma. Well, after two weeks and two days I was able to complete it! I am so grateful for this book and the defining role it has played in my life. I know it is true. I know that because I have read it and have personally asked God and in doing so I received an answer. 
Watch this to see Elder Holland's testimony of the Book of Mormon:

I cannot wait to be with the people of Argentina. I know that I have been called by God to serve, and that He knew far before me that I was supposed to serve in the Argentina, Rosario mission. How exciting that this time has come! 

Everyone, please remember that God loves you. He wants to hear from you. There is never a time where you cannot talk to Him. So whatever you are going through, keep moving forward. Keep on trusting. Do not quit, and do not look back. Work hard. Have faith. Know that Jesus Christ is a Savior, but more importantly KNOW Jesus Christ. We are forever indebted to Him. He lives. Thank you for your love and prayers! Next time you hear from me I will be in Argentina!! 

Con Amor, 
Hermana Mathis

With Reno friend Tyler Meidel who teaches next door

Presenting our much loved Footes on the wall of the MTC
Off and Away