Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Fire and Soul of Arroyito

The Baptism of Brisa

The Fabulous Fiorela
When I arrived in Arroyito I was flusterered- Still quite new to mission life, at this time having only 4 months of experience.  My companion and I were new to the area and I was very overwhelmed.  I missed General Villegas and my trainer and I was not too “fond” of frequently getting lost.  Unfortunately we also did not have a base to start with from what the elders had left.  We pretty much started from ground 0 with the only direction to go being UPWARDS!  After a few weeks, we were exposed to many problems the members had with one another.  We witnessed a few fights in Relief Society.  We frequently heard members gossip about one another and we were caught in the middle of this commotion.  So we began to do what was in our control—to work, to find a teaching pool, and to love the members. At the beginning of this last transfer we had a conference in which all the ward councils and the missionaries met together, analyzing the numbers of 2016 and setting goals as a ward for 2017.  One of which was the goal of convert baptisms.  In 2016 there were only 2 so the goal of 16 for 2017 might have seemed crazy at the time.  In a district meeting, the 4 of us missionaries all prayed and asked God to tell us the number that He knew we could baptize in one entire 6 week transfer.  I was prompted that as a district we could baptize 8.  We set a district goal of 6 for the transfer and we began to share this goal with EVERYONE! Members, investigators, less actives- everyone!  Our mission president had advised that as a mission we should speak to everyone about baptism so we put this in practice.  Instead of being fearful that people would deny the request we began to just ask fearlessly because we had nothing to lose. The result surprised us.  God placed people in our path.  The elders ran into a less active member who had sons with the age and desire to be baptized.  This family is a blessing to the ward.  Fiorela and Lucia were baptized and as a result the Young Women’s group was brought to life and former “rebellious” girls were kindly welcoming the new young women and being examples for them.  Those with whom we shared our goal of 6 baptisms were surprised that we were on track to reach the goal.  The excitement flooded the ward and even more helping hands were extended.  Aby was baptized after a long and tough battle that still continues, and reminded her mother of what the ordinance of baptism meant to her when she also received it as a young girl.  As the result of activation, the elders found and taught 2 men who also accepted baptism and sweet Brisa, through friendship with the young women and the example of the wonderful young women’s president was baptized.  So in total, at the end of the transfer, 8 precious souls were baptized and confirmed members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  The fire has been ignited and is spreading rapidly in Arroyito.

Some of the Wonderful Young Women of the Ward

I have grown to deeply love Arroyito and everyone whom God so knowingly placed in my path.  I am a witness that people can change, that prayers are answered, that hearts are prepared.  God is truly a God of miracles.  I thank Him for the time I had to love Arroyito, for giving me a wonderful companion, wonderful members, and wonderful people to teach.  It was very hard to leave them all, feeling like I left a little piece of my soul will remain in Arroyito.  I have truly been so blessed to witness such a miracle.  The attitude of the ward changed, a new enthusiasm for missionary work has sparked, the trust the members had for us increased and the Work of Salvation progressed.  I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!
Our new friend and investigator Luis
 How Lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.
--Winnie the Pooh
Oh how I will miss the dear people of Arroyito. They will be in my heart forever.  God be with you 'till we meet again.


The District who set a goal and went to work and through the
grace of God experienced a great miracle
Transfer time:  My new companion is on the left-- Hermana Shumtz from Salt Lake City 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Great Things are Happening in Arroyito!

This week we found a super great investigator named Luis! Well,  we found him a few weeks ago and passed by him this week, and you should have seen how excited he was for us to bring him a Book of Mormon. Luis is a man in his 60s and is just one of the sweetest persons I've even met. He showed us pictures of his wedding many years back, and back in the day he was a ginger and he could have easily passed for my brother. When he was about 19 he had some exposure to the church through friends and had heard about the Book of Mormon, and had always believed in God. He got emotional as he talked to us and thanked us for the work that we do, for finding the lost sheep and going out day after day to share the word of God. We taught him the restoration and he had many great questions. We closed by singing a hymn and he and his wife were just in awe (because legit hna moore has a gift). It was a powerful lesson and we left and just looked at each other just surprised at what had occurred. He will be a leader of the church one day. Well he came to church on Sunday and was pleased and we have lessons as well as dinner planned with him this week! 

We are also working with Brisa, a young woman who has been to church 3 times and has just been loving the young women's activities. She actually sparked interest in the church through Sheila who we had worked with months ago and who we are still visiting every now and then. Sheila's mom is still not letting her participate much. Brisa has had a hard past and is learning more about her purpose as a daughter of God and is doing activities in personal progress and because we took so long in getting a Book of Mormon to her, she downloaded everything on her phone and is just doing so great. Her baptism is set to be this Friday and the only thing standing in the way of this could be her mom who has been rather silent about the topic. We are praying and so are all the young men and women of the ward! The youth program is growing so much here in Arroyito and we are just loving being with them! Fiorela is doing great! She is excited to start seminary and is making it to activities and church independently by bus. She has a trip planned to the US next year and we are already planning how we can have a happy little reunion, haha. Lucia is also doing well! She invited her friend to an activity as well as church and she came yesterday! So that was a great surprise and now we are starting to teach her friend, Tania. Viky and Roberto are planning to get married in April and a baptism will follow the wedding for Viky. Transfers are this week and I am anxious to find out the news. Stay tuned folks, but grand things are happening here in Arroyito. Not to mention it has not been miserably hot this week so that has been amazing!! This week is going to be loco crazy, jam packed with great plans.

I read these great verses studying this week in D&C 78:
 17 Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye are little children, and ye have not as yet understood how great blessings the Father hath in his own hands and prepared for you; 18 And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches ofeternity are yours. 19 And he who receiveth all things with thankfulnessshall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more.
I love these verses and I know that we are loved and known personally by our Father in Heaven. God will lead us and guide us, but He asks us to follow Him, a request that requires us to trust in Him, trusting that He will lead us to where we need to be and that these promised blessings can be ours. I am grateful to have a loving Father in Heaven who does not leave me helpless or hopeless. Though we may fall, or fail, or forget- He tells us time and time again to be of good cheer! To have joy! To bear what we can bear and rely on His help and His guidance. I love this gospel and I love my Heavenly Father and all He continues to do for His children. 
Con amor,
Hermana Mathis 
The Beautiful Scenery of Arroyito
Fish anyone?

Monday, March 6, 2017

It's Christmas in Arroyito!

Feliz Navidad en Marzo!
It only took 5 months but Haylie finally received her Christmas Packages!!
So this week was loco crazy. Our main focus was Aby and Liliana. We visited them MondayTuesdayWednesday preparing Aby for her baptism set to be Saturday March 4th. Then we had a zone conference Thursday and directly after we had divisions with the sisters in la Florida...so there we were Thursday night in divisions and we receive a text from Liliana saying that she does not think that the time is right and she did not want Aby to get baptized, pleading for our understanding. Well a few transfers back the same thing happened, yet she cancelled the date a week or so before, not 2 days before when all the invitations were out and the plan was super set. So we are freaking out, trying to get a hold of her and she is not answering texts or calls, and we are not in our area. We returned to our area Friday around 6ish (day before the baptism and the night of the planned interview) and we rushed to Liliana and Aby's house to which we are not given a warm welcome. Liliana says through the window, Didn't you get my message?? Well by some miracle she leaves her house to talk to us outside. We are struggling to find the words that might have power to change her heart. She seems to have 1000 excuses. After about 10 minutes talking outside, we hear Aby's voice, "Mom, please let them come in!!" Second miracle, we are allowed into their house. The struggle for words continues. We testify but she seems trapped byl her doubts. We are praying fervently for some miracle. Liliana is worried about her home, money, work, caring for Aby, time, the list goes on and on. We read 3 Nefi 13: 33-34 (Which is also in the bible, so we read this because in that moment Lili was into the Book of Mormon):
But Seek Ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.
Aby's Baptism

Then Hermana Moore shared a personal story, and Liliana's heart softened. The spirit was able to testify to Liliana what she needed to do in that moment. Minutes later we find ourselves walking to the church to have the baptismal interview for Aby. We rearranged the baptism to be at 3 in the afternoon due to Liliana's work, but they showed up, and through the tender mercies of the Lord, Aby was baptized, and Sunday was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day saints. Shoot! This Aby is quite the character though. She's great haha. And she bore her testimony yesterday in fast and testimony meeting.  She gets up to the pulpit and begins to pray and says the whole prayer and closes it and proudly walks down, but it was a great prayer and served as a testimony as well. We are truly amazed at the miracle that we witnessed- of the goodness of God who helped Liliana in a fragile moment when she was ready to give up, and for the gospel of Jesus Christ and the knowedge that through faith, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, and a whole lot of effort on our part to persevere, we can return to live with our loving Father in Heaven, and we will have guidance, joy, and comfort in this life. 

Love you!!! Have a fantastic week!
Hermana Mathis 😊❤
P-Day Shopping Trip with Hermana Robleda

Zone Conference
Divisions with the Hermanas