Florida Fort Lauderdale Mission // April 2014-October 2015

Monday, August 25, 2014

Week #21 I'M ALIVE!!!

First of all...


This week was adventurous. 
Transfer meeting was on Wednesday. A lot has been changed around because of the new Stake that was created. I am now in a Trio!!! My companions are Sister Wood and Sister Donald. Sister Donald is from Missouri. She's been out for 10 months, but she leaves tomorrow for Brazil. She's a visa waiter. Sister Wood and I both don't want her to leave because we love her so much. She's the glue that has kept us together this week. Sister Wood is from Logan Utah. She's 4' 11" so we make a great match. We have so much in common I just love her. It's double trouble with us. 
After Transfer Meeting we went to a baby shower for someone in our ward and had lunch. Then we went to see Sadrac, but he wasn't home. His brother James was and he insisted on feeding us his Haitian food. We couldn't deny him so we ate on the porch. It was spicy rice with a chicken leg. Sister Wood couldn't eat all of hers so we sneakily switched plates and I ate hers. 
Thursday we had a lesson with Latoya. It was very interesting. She brought up that she smokes and we committed her to stop right then and there. She even said a prayer during the lesson so that God would give her the strength to overcome her addiction. Sister Donald promised to never eat sugar for the rest of her life if Latoya stopped smoking!!! She's crazy. We all started laughing because she loves sugar. She decided to just do gummy worms and 3 Muskateers. Latoya kept talking about it and laughing about it. She even played out what she's going to have to do in the grocery store in order to resist temptation. We called her Sunday night and she said it's been four days since she had a smoke. God is so good. 

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were the craziest days of my mission thus far.

Friday we realized how bad the cockroach problem in our apartment really was. We called the Senior missionaries and they told us to take all of the dishes and everything out of our cabinets and bag them up. We wiped everything down. We had to move the fridge and everything. I won't go into detail about how disgusting it was, but fun fact: Cockroach feces smells disgusting. 
Saturday we finished wiping down the kitchen in the morning and then set off 7 bug bombs in our apartment before leaving for the day. Sister Donald sprayed herself in the face...oops! haha then we realized that we had left the phone in the apartment. She courageously ran back in to the apartment which was filled with poisonous gas. We yelled at her to come out because we were coughing and we weren't even in the apartment. Sister Donald got sick from it so we had to go back to our apartment later that day. The cockroaches were STILL ALIVE!!! She slept while Sister Wood and I wiped down everything with bleach. We all had a hard time sleeping that night. I woke up because I felt like I couldn't breath. It was almost like a pill was stuck in my throat. 
Sunday we all had a hard time focusing in church. We were all really sick and didn't realize it. The Elders gave us a blessing and I had a strong impression to call the mission nurse. Once she found out the magnitude of the situation she told us that we had created a very harmful gas by cleaning with ammonia and bleach....oops. We had slept in that all night.
This is my journal entry for yesterday:
"Sister Richardson called us soon after our phone call with the nurse. She told us to go over to her house so that she could keep an eye on us. When we got there, her and President hurried us into her car and she took us to the Emergency Room. on the way over Sister Richardson said, "Thank you Heavenly Father for protecting these girls from themselves". hahaha!!! For my first time I was admitted to the hospital. It didn't take long. They just asked us our symptoms and said we'd be fine. They gave us some meds. God really did protect us. Sister Richardson brought us back to her house and made us pasta. President Richardson shared his Reese's Oreos with us and talked to Sister Donald about Brazil. We tried to go work in our area afterward, but our car broke down and we all felt really sick still. The Houskeeper's had to come pick us up and take us back to Presidents house". We slept over at their house last night and then got dropped off at our apartment this morning to pack everything up. We were going to move to another apartment, but then they told us we have to stay. 
God really is so good to us to protect us from ourselves. I had no idea how serious it really was until President and Sister Richardson told us we could've died...God will protect us when we're keeping the commandments and doing all that we can. I also learned the importance of cleanliness. It is next to Godliness. Just don't mix ammonia with bleach or you really will go to meet God. 
I love you all!!! Go clean something and don't freak out. We're totally fine:)
Just keep praying for us. 

Sister Matheson
pic 1: Cleaning the kitchen
pic 2: Us in the Emergency room.
pic 3: The masks we had to wear while we packed our apartment.
pic 4: Hanging out at President's house, trying to get better.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Week 20

I'M STAYING IN DAVIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well actually...it probably won't be called Davie any longer. So many changes have been happening. The Church is growing so much here in South Florida that they made a new stake last week. Transfers are going to be crazy. Our ward is now called the Ft. Lauderdale 1st ward. We'll see tomorrow who my new companion is...by the end of this next transfer I will have been in Davie for 6 months!!! I'm totally fine with that:) We're working with a lot of great people and I was sad at the possibility of leaving them.
One woman we are teaching is named Latoya. God led us to her as we were walking down the street. We saw a light on in her apartment and felt like we should go knock on her door. She was holding a piece of chicken and said, "uhh...can you come back?". When we went back she invited us in and we prayed with her. Our next couple lessons we taught her about the Book of Mormon and invited her to be baptized. When we went back she had taken notes on what she learned! When we taught her the Restoration she said she got the chills and knew it was true. We told her that we have a living prophet today named Thomas S. Monson. She said, " Are you serious?". We pulled up a picture of him on her phone and she got a big smile on her face. We pulled up a video of him giving a talk on lds.org and watched the whole thing. She said she wanted to watch more after we left. We LOVE her!!!
I am still speechless about a miracle that happened just last night. When I was with Sister Biggs we were teaching a family that was super elect. They accepted baptism and loved us like family. They weren't making church a priority and soon we lost contact with them. Whenever we went to their house they weren't home. We decided it wasn't their time. Several weeks ago Sister Nimer and I decided to go check up on them. We tried twice with no success. I was so sad because I really loved this family and wanted them to be an eternal family. I knew that God had a plan for them and would let us know when they were ready. Sunday night I felt impressed to Harvest in a specific neighborhood. We were on bikes Monday and rode to that neighborhood after several appointments. As we pulled up to the map and sat there on our bikes we heard a car honking at us. I turned around to see Vanessa (the mom of that family) pull up and get out of the car. I couldn't believe it!!! She yelled, "Where have you been? We've missed you. My kids always talk about you". I ran over and gave her a big sweaty hug (ew). I explained that we tried so many times, but they were never home. She said we could come over today (Tuesday)!!! I prayed so hard that I would stay in Davie so that I could teach them again. God answered my prayers!:) 
One more quick miracle. Last P-day Sister Nimer and I went to Ikea. We are both obsessed with that store so we decided to cease the opportunity to go with a willing companion:) I needed a new pillow because the pillow I've been sleeping on doesn't even deserve to be called a pillow. that's how terrible it is. All the pillows at Ikea were like $45.00 and I was all, "heck noooo!" When we got down stairs in the "returned" section there was a fancy down pillow for only $4.00....Let me say that again $4.00!! God cares about the details of our life. Even if it's just a dumb pillow for a Sister Missionary. 
This week I studied about the Pride Cycle in the Book of Mormon. I've heard before that the most important word in the dictionary is "Remember". I couldn't agree more. The key to people staying out of the pride cycle in the Book of Mormon is remembering the Lord always. When they continually turned to him in prayer they were able to be protected. 
Alma 62:49-51
President Richardson told us at our Zone Training this week that 70% of the people who get baptized and go to the temple stay active. How important is going to the temple then? When we continually pray and go to the temple we are able to remember and have that continual protection. 
Helaman 3:26-27
Love you all!!!!!!
Sister Matheson

pics 1 &2: At Elder D'Addabbo's Birthday party
pics 3, 4, 5 & 6:  Ikea happiness and miracles!!
pic 7: We got free sushi on Wednesday. A member from Korea made it for us. Best sushi I've ever had!!!
pics 8 & 9: Our investigator, Latoya
pic 10: matching nightgowns
pic 11: Florida sunsets...

Monday, August 11, 2014

Week 19

Hi there!!! I can't believe it's p-day again...I always say that, but it's true. The days are long, but the weeks are short. I hope you're all doing well and getting excited about school..muahaha I don't have to deal with that yet. I just get to share the gospel here in Florida. ;) 

I studied about charity this week. One of the greatest things I've learned so far on my mission is what charity means. When you have charity for all of God's children you can see the potential in them. You are filled with compassion, patience, and mercy. You are willing to sacrifice in their behalf. The Savior was the ultimate example of charity. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:3). 
As I've been reading the war chapters in Alma, I am in awe for how much Charity Moroni and his people had. He loved God and his people so much that he was willing to go to war to defend them and their rights. Even when they had the opportunity to kill their enemies, Moroni chose not to for "he did not delight in murder or bloodshed, but he delighted in the saving of his people from destruction; and for this cause he might not bring upon him injustice, he would not fall upon the Lamanites and destroy them in their drunkenness." (Alma 55:19). 

Yesterday we were Harvesting for a good while before meeting any really solid people. We were walking down the sidewalk when Sister Nimer said, "Let's go talk to that guy with the dreads". We walked up to him and said hi. Before we could say anything else he said, "You two must be messengers from God sent to give me a message. I can tell because of the smile on your faces. I can see it in your eyes". We talked to him for a while and then offered the prayer. He sang us a worship song and told us how he wanted to be a better person for God and knew he was a son of God. He accepted baptism! We wanted to pray with his wife as well, but she was inside with their sick baby boy. We walked away and prayed with a few more people. As we were trying to find one more person to pray with we saw a woman down the street. When we started talking to her she told us that she was the wife of the man we had just prayed with. She accepted a prayer and baptism as well. They're moving out of our area, but God still put them in our path so that we could find them. 

Random Stories from this week:

-The Elders overheard Sister Nimer and I talking about how we want to eat healthy and get in shape. They decided they wanted to help us out and be our "personal trainers" aka telling us what workouts work best. Anyways, Tuesday was leg day and the rest of the week we could barely walk we were so sore! 
-Sadrac received the Holy Ghost this week! He showed up to church in a suit and tie, looking super professional. He is so solid in the gospel! So many members came up and congratulated him, welcoming him into the ward. 
-We were Harvesting in an apartment complex one night and no one was answering their doors! We saw some little kids playing basketball by a park so we decided to go give them mormon.org cards. As we were walking away I saw the basketball sitting in the grass. I picked it up, walked onto the court,
and made a basket like a boss.
(secretly I was praying so hard that it would go in).
All the kids went, "ooooohhhhhhhhh that was awesome!!!"
Sister Nimer and I just walked off like, "that's right. that just happened". haha

Love you all!! p.s. Happy (early) Birthday Ainslee and (late) Birthday Preston! I love you so much. I can't believe how old you've gotten. Stop it;)

Sister Matheson

pic 1: There are bodies of water everywhere here! It is so gorgeous!!
pic 2&3: When we got home and started planning Thursday night It was pouring!!! There were rivers running through the streets. We heard a knock on our door and Elder Bailey said, "You're gonna want to see this. We looked around the corner and the other Elders splashed us with rain water they had collected in Tupperware containers. We had an epic water fight in the rain and got soaked!!!  
pic 4: Sister Heintz takes us to lunch every Friday. We love her!
Pic 5: Florida...


Monday, August 4, 2014

Week 18

Heyyy! I can't believe I'm already 4 months old (as a missionary)!!! 

This week was filled with so many funny moments. We were teaching our Haitian investigator Sadrac and his little nieces and nephew were there. Kayla wanted to do a half heart with her hand and have me complete it. When I put my hand up to hers her brother said, "look, it's brown and white". haha. Sadrac was also saying the prayer at the end of the lesson. Kayla was sitting next to me and I had my arm around her. Sadrac started praying about "the Lords spirit and the spirit of charity and the spirit of truth..." when Kayla looks up and whispers,
"the spirit of Christmas." hahahaha!!! 

We were at a members house talking with them. I guess I like to talk a lot because for some reason after Sister Nimer said the prayer Brother Adams said to me, "How does it feel to have such an awesome Junior comp like Sister Nimer?".
I was just like.....uh I'm actually the Junior comp...cool beans. 

Member missionary work has been the topic of my studies this week. In Jacob 5:70-75 The Lord of the vineyard commands all of his servants (not just missionaries) to go and labor because the Harvest is coming soon. 
"And it came to pass that the servants did go and labor with their mights; and the Lord of the vineyard labored also with them; and they did obey the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things" (vs. 72). "The Lord promises to help members know what to say and do as they share the gospel" (PMG p 84). The Lord will be with us always as we strive to share the gospel with all of our friends, family, and acquaintances. Why should we fear in this great calling when we have God on our side?

"And blessed art thou; for because ye have been diligent in laboring with me in my vineyard, and have kept my commandments, and have brought unto me again the natural fruit, that my vineyard is no more corrupted, and the bas is cast away, behold ye shall have joy with me because of the fruit of my vineyard"
(vs. 75). 

Sunday we had the opportunity to be a part of the Relief Society lesson. The Elders were there as well and we did a role play to demonstrate how easy it can be to share the gospel. The sisters split up and role played on their own.
It was great.  

This week I really prayed about how to help our ward catch the missionary spirit. There's only so much we can do as missionaries, but when the members come out with us and share the gospel it makes all the difference in our investigator's conversion. We saw great miracles with our investigator, Sadrac, this week as members came to our lessons with him. Sadrac was definitely an elect investigator. He was already living all the commandments and practically taught US how living them will bless people's lives. When he came to church on Sunday multiple people came up and welcomed him with a warm smile and handshake. There were several families that attended his baptism as well. The Bishop bore a powerful testimony and welcomed him to "the family". He couldn't help but smile and laugh because he was so happy. The Stake President asked him which missionaries taught him. He looked over and pointed at Sister Nimer and I. He said, "Sister Madison and Sister Amber" In his Haitian accent. :) He said, "They came and taught me the mormon doctrine" with a big grin on his face. He continued to expound on what we taught him...I don't remember, but the spirit was so strong. He couldn't stop smiling after he was baptized. 

After running around like crazy missionaries, getting everything ready for the baptism, we were exhausted. Harvesting was really hard at the beginning. We set a vision and goal to find a family of four, but we were tired, and feeling the spirit was hard. We decided to walk down the street until we felt which house we should go to. We walked down the sidewalk which led us to the back of an apartment building where there were more doors. We knew this is where God wanted us to be. The first door we knocked on back there answered and let us in. It was single mom with three teenage children. We prayed with them and they all accepted baptism for the 17th of August. The mom told us how she'd been going through a hard time and knew that God had sent us.  

I love you all!!!
Find and pray for opportunities to share the gospel this week.
God will provide you with them no matter where you live.
He will give you the words to say as well.
Just do it!! 

D&C 78:7

Sister Matheson

pic 1: Selfies in the car
pic 2: A member that we visit grew this pineapple in her front yard. It's all organic and tasted sooooo good!
pic 3: Saturday we decided to taste a little bit of home and have Jamba for lunch! 
pic 4: Florida....
pics 5-7: Sadrac's baptism in President's pool!!!
pic 8: Sister Nimer got a thorn in her tire and then pulled it out...bad idea. We were blessed to be right by a members house though, who drove us to our car.