Monday, September 26, 2016

So Many Reasons to Celebrate!

The Stapler was broken so these 2 hand stapled this bulletin board display!!
I think they forgot about thumbtacks
Haylie has taken "Preaching to a Tree" to new heights
This week was a great one! It consisted of making a variety of great foods(cinnamon rolls, pigs in a blanket, alfahores de maicena), traveling another time to Venado Tuerto in the middle of the night, interviews with our mission president, singing disney songs in divisions at 6:30 am with hna whitworth to the hnas who wanted nothing to do with us haha, laughing through the many miles we walk, eating a real taco(!!! this was a great find- the argentinians don't believe in tacos or hot foods,) celebrating today and yesterday as if it were Christmas and Christmas Eve because why not¿¿ many spiritual lessons, many direct lessons, and many lessons dominated by some local locos. Also 3 months in the mission and one week left of this transfer-- whaaaat how does the time fly?
The Best District Ever!!
We have really been focusing on work with less actives here in Villegas. There are a mountain of less actives and it has been years since some have been to church. As I talked about this in my interview with my Mission President, he advised me to read the Book of Mormon with them, and bear testimony of the Sacrament. There is an undeniable spirit that is in the Book of Mormon. At one time in all of their lives, these individuals felt the power of its message. Perhaps they have forgotten, maybe they have made it to be something they believed they created in their head, but the power is there. The stories are not just words written to fill empty paper They are a history of things, miracles that actually happenend. The more we read this Book, the more we undertand our purpose, our relationship with the Savior, how we can ultimately return to live with God and Jesus Christ, and how we can be happy in this life amidst darkness and affliction. Their story truly is our story. And when we go to church we join with others who have received personal accounts of the truthfulness of this book, and others who are in the process of receiving an answer.

I love going to church above all to take the sacrament. President pointed out something I hadn't really thought of before: As we take the sacrament each week we promise to keep God's commandments, to take upon us the name of His son and always remember Him. If we do this we will ALWAYS have the spirit to be with us. Always is a pretty big word. The people who haven't gone to church for any number of reasons have been living without the spirit. Just as faith without works is dead, when we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost after baptism and if we do not attend church to renew our covenants, the gift is in vain.

We always seem to meet someone whose situation is harder than the last. But it is truly remarkable how the gospel of Jesus Christ can apply to any person in any circumstance. I know that there are people all around the world who are suffering or confused, and sometimes at first glance they are not the people you just run to talk to. As a missionary you don't have much of a choice. I am trying not to judge and to love people as Jesus loves us, forgetting appearance, physical abilities, or age. Forgetting how smart they may be or who their friends the end of the day we are all brothers and sisters. We are all loved equally and are therefore equal. Listen with love to the ones who need it the most. Be humble and faithful. Pray often, and God will pour His Spirit upon you. I love you all! Watch conference this weekend. It is going to be so great! Check is out on  Everyone can watch it! Have a good one! 
Magali comes to Church
Les amo!!
hermana mathis

Is it just me or do several of Haylie's pictures involve food?
Lunch with Investigators

Monday, September 19, 2016

Whatever you do, don't step on the dog!

So I guess Haylie is a little sick today so while she was hugging the toilet, her companion Sister Whitworth wrote home for her:
The beginning of this email is provided to you by Hermana Whitworth because she is a doll:
SOOO... this week we had a lot of fun times... I personally think we have too much fun this Hermana Mathis and I... 

Here are the highlights:
I completed 15 months and Hermana Mathis made me doughnuts! What? I just died they were soo good. Poor thing... she always burns herself cooking things for me. 

We ate lunch with 2 investigator´s families... tears of joy! Canelones- look that up. It is straight from the Celestial kingdom.

We had a fun activity family home evening in the church where we made popcorn and watched meet the mormons! Some investigators came and it was soo fun!

It's much better to hold the dog and not step on it.
We went to our investigator´s house for lunch and she has the cutest puppy you have ever seen in your entire life. It looks like a stuffed animal and it´s so fragile because it is newly born. So what do you think we did? We took a million pictures with it! Then as we were going to leave... Hermana Mathis steps on the poor little guy and turned bright red... she kept laughing and making gestures to leave quickly. (I had no idea she had stepped on the little guy). I was taking my time saying goodbye and thanking them. As we left the home, she looked like she was going to cry because she felt bad about stepping on the little guy. But he is fine so don´t worry. We were laughing about it all.

Then this morning, we thought we´d take a little adventure and make torta frita... about the easiest thing you could possibly make. 3 ingredients-flour, salt and oil... but somehow we managed to destroy them. hahaha... and poor Hermana Mathis ended up hurling in the bathroom! Oh adventures of the mission.

Yesterday, we... well I opened a black gate (identical to that of a less active member), but it was on a different street and this one opened up to some crazy dogs!  I am not scared of dogs... but these ones were big and mean. Hermana Mathis was cracking up and backed away as I just stood there dumbfounded. Luckily the owners were right there and we were fine. Oh Argentina, oh dogs!... No one was hurt, just my pride.

Haylie finishes the letter here:

Well this week was actually a really spiritual one as well. We taught a woman named Natalie who was a contact from the elders. She is the most prepared person I have met so far. She has had quite the rough past that still continues. The missionaries found her in a time where she was contemplating the worth of her life. She is currently in an abusive relationship in which she is constantly living in fear and longs to feel safe and calm. Her daughters are living with her mom and she longs to have a family united in love. It is so sad to see her in this awful position because she is honestly a love. She is the sweetest, kindest person I have ever met, yet somewhere along the way she settled for a man who does not see her the same way our Heavenly Father sees her. Tears came as I was able to look her in the eyes and tell her that she is a precious daughter of God and that she deserves so much more. She has a purpose here on this earth. She says she just feels a huge peace when we come over, something that she has never felt before in her house. We told her that what she was feeling was the Holy Ghost, and she started crying because what we were telling her was true. This gospel truly is one of hope and peace. It can heal any broken soul. It can bring life to a soul that contemplated its existence. I am thankful for every day I get to testify of Christ and the life and light of the gospel. I love being a missionary. I love being companions with Hermana Whitworth here in General Villegas, and I love this opportunity we have to see the gospel work and transform peoples lives.

les amo un monton!! 
Hermana Mathis

Monday, September 12, 2016

Finding Joy in the Little Moments

This week was another great one! It is really starting to heat up here which has been nice...but it makes me scared for the summer that is just around the corner. I am not sure if I am ready for such heat and humidity ha. And just our luck after a very nice week of pleasurable weather it has been raining pretty hard today, and there was insane lighting like every 3 seconds this morning. Apparently this is something the Argentinians are used to.
My new boyfriend
This weekend we had a district conference in Venado Tuerto (about 3 hours away from Villegas). We returned to Villegas after the conference in a hot and stinky bus. It was full of our members from Villegas as well as the members of a nearby city. Also I have a new boyfriend- he is 3 years old and I think it must have been love at first sight because right from the start he was right there with me, choking me with hugs one second, getting mushy banana in my hair the next second, drooling all over me the majority of the seconds, making funny facial expressions, pulling my hair followed by his mom giving him a small beatdown, then repeating the process 30x. It was a long bus ride to say the least. But he was sure precious amidst his slobber and overflowing energy.

The bus ride to Venado Puerto
Our mission president and his wife spoke at the conference as well as many other leaders, and the chapel was so full! It was a sight to see! President Zanni is a spiritual giant, He truly does speak by the spirit, and so does his wife! Hermana Zanni talked about their time as mission presidents, and about how many times she is caught missing home, a place where she had grown up and lived all her life. Her words made me think about my home and I had the same thought of love for my home and for the people who are associated with home. But then she compared this to the premortal life, and about the time that we spent there with our Heavenly Father and with Jesus Christ, and how much greater our homesickness must be. Our Heavenly Father is patiently waiting for us to accomplish the work He sent us to do, and waiting on the other side for us to return from our temporary home, to return in His presence and rest in the arms of His love. 

This week I have been studying the life and Atonement of Jesus Christ. I find that no matter how often I study this, I will forever stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me. His life is our road map, and He is our guide. There is nothing that we go through that He has not already led the way. Neal A Maxwell states, "I testify that He is utterly incomparable in what He is, what He knows, what He has accomplished, and what He has experienced. Yet movingly, He calls us His friends." He truly is our friend, wanting nothing more than to help us, to listen to us, to strengthen us, and to ultimately help us return to Him and our Heavenly Father. He cheers us on day by day, rejoicing when we accomplish something, and "the joy of the Lord is your strength." I find joy in the Lord and in this gospel. I am finding joy in this mission and in the miracle of this restored gospel. I am learning to love the little moments, and to find joy in all things: this does not mean that I wake up at 6:30 every morning with a giant smile on my face, but it means I am keeping an eternal perspective while taking things day by day. I find joy and laughter in our morning runs, when we ate ASADO in Venado Tuerto, when a plumber came to fix our leaking toilet and stayed for about an hour and then told us that it was free, when we teach English classes every friday and I am reminded that at least I can speak one language almost perfectly, when we mix up words that sounds the same but have very different meanings, when we have to wake up in the middle of the night to catch a bus to Venado Tuerto, when my pants got stuck on a members chair for a solid 5 minutes, when an Hermana had to crawl under the bathroom door because she could not get it to open, when we horribly mess up food, or when we make it just right, or when we are too poor to make food and we sneak the leftover bread from the restaurant into our bags(well more like me sneaking it in and Hna Whitworth dying from both laughter and embarassment) . This mission is full of many moments and I am finding joy in the little things. I am laughing uncontrollably a good percentage of the time, still trying to fix that, but I am just having a great time being a part of the Lord's work and being companions with Hermana Whitworth. It's a great time to be a missionary!

Love you all, thank you for your prayers! Have a great week and find joy in the little moments, and don't forget to laugh along the way!
Hermana Mathis

Monday, September 5, 2016

Missionaries are not liars or something!

Matching shirts

Buen dia familia y amigos! 
I hope that you are all doing well and that you remember how important you are to me and how much I love you, as well as how important you are to your Father in Heaven and how much He loves you. I cannot believe it's September- crazy. We spent most of our p-day inside today because it has been pretty cold here recently. The sad thing is that our little house isn't much warmer...and our hot water didn't work for 4 days so we were living off of sponge baths which was an adventure! We watched Mr Kreuger's Christmas because it's never too early to get in the Christmas spirit and because we were at a loss of things to do inside. Luckily we have enough fun just being together. Speaking of fun, this week we dug ourselves into a lie!  We usually tell people that we live with a family from our church just as a precaution(when in reality we live alone.) Well we told this to a family who then inquired what was the name of the family, how many kids do they have, are they new to the neighborhood, are they nice/old/fun... well, I left that to Hermana Whitworth to answer as I was laughing. In a small town such as this everyone knows everyone so it is best to just not say anything. We saw them two times and they asked more about the "Gonzalez" family we supposedly live with. The next time we are going to tell them the truth. I think that we can't lie or something as missionaries.
We went to Rosario again this week and I took care of my passport and legal things as far as I know, but Hermana Whitworth has to take care of something else so we will be heading down again this week! The 6 hour bus ride is really growing on me. Especially when they give you good food. We ended up staying in Rosario for two days because tramites are the worst but we got to do splits with the Hermanas in the heart of the city which was fun! A huge march was going on in the streets but we just kept our ground and went about our business. Not sure what was the issue behind that. I was able to meet an investigator the Hermanas have there who is from Haiti and is learning Spanish but speaks French and Creole. She just walked by the church one day and saw the sign of when we had church and just showed up the next Sunday! She is so kind and is embracing the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I was able to learn a few French phrases in the process! When we returned to Villegas we were able to sleep in until 8:30 because of our lack of sleep in the prior days so that was a miracle!
We had a good week here in Villegas! We have an investigator, Maria, who is really impressing me every lesson that we have with her. Everything that we teach her she warmly accepts, saying that it is a confirmation of what she has always hoped. I know that it is exactly this- our gospel is a gospel of happiness and hope that sits well with us because it was created by God who is perfect. He is not a God of doubts or of confusion. His plan is perfect and His gospel is perfect. Though we are not perfect as missionaries, we pray over and over again in the day that the Spirit will be able to speak to the hearts of our investigator and confirm the truthfulness of our words. The only thing that Maria is lacking right now is church attendance which is very hard for the Argentinians if it is early and if it is cold. Unfortunately it has been both recently. We are praying that she will be able to come and be strengthened in our church meetings and ultimately be baptized which she has already stated she knows she needs to do.
Through a lesson with our investigator, Magali,  I was able to more fully understand the power of forgiveness, and the need to forgive. We intended to teach something different with her, but we were able to address her needs as she began to converse with us. She has had many people in her life who have done things to her that no one should have to endure, yet God asks us to forgive everyone. Luckily, we do not have to go about this alone. We can plead for charity which is the love of Christ, a love that surpasses human ability to love. A love that can only come from Christ. It is then when the overriding strength of the Lord takes hold of our broken, envious, trembling, furious, or any type of heart, and heals it, helping us do things that we once thought were impossible.
Have a wonderful week and if you are having a hard time, just remember to turn outward. Help and serve others, do a random act of kindness, forgive others, forgive yourself, let the Lord work within you. Day after day I am reminded that this mission is not for me. It is for the lives that I will touch and change here in Argentina, it is for our families and the last name that we carry, representing generations with pride and honor, it is for my friends and family now and in the future, it is for my Savior Jesus Christ and for my Heavenly Father. I love this work. This church is true.
With love,
We pass this sign every day in Villegas!
Hermana Mathis