Florida Fort Lauderdale Mission // April 2014-October 2015

Monday, December 29, 2014

Week 39 Happy New Year!!!!! (almost....)

This Christmas was by far one of my most favorite Christmas's. I've never felt so spoiled and loved. Thank you everyone who sent their love my way. It was much appreciated! 
I also loved getting to SEE your faces.

We were WELL fed this week. We had a Latin meal on Christmas Eve (Rice, beans, yucca, pork,), an American meal (Turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, fruit salad) on Christmas, and a Jewish 'Kosher' meal Christmas night. (Matso ball soup, Kasha, and something else I don't remember. At our last meal appointment I was walking out to the back patio when I slipped on some water and went straight down! I grabbed the chair as I fell and everyone was so concerned but I was fine! haha just me being clumsy old me!

This week was a really slow week. At the beginning of the week we did really good at visiting Less Active members. Unfortunately we were visiting a lot of members who had been sick with a 'bug' that had been going around the ward.  By the end of the week I got very sick. Our District Leader came down and gave me a blessing. I immediately started feeling a little better and the next day I was feeling quite a bit better. The sad thing was that Sister Anderson then got sick so we weren't able to work a lot in our area.

During our down time I was able to read and reflect on the scriptures as well as watch the Restoration DVD. My mom actually sent me a scripture attached to each Christmas present and one of them stuck out to me. It was Matthew 17:20

" . . . If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you."

Something I felt like sharing with anyone who is reading this was an experience I had on Sunday. I have really been struggling this past week and if I'm being honest, these past couple transfers. I had been praying so fervently that I would receive an answer to my prayers at church. We always tell our investigators that if they come to church with a specific question then IT WILL BE ANSWERED! I decided to try it out myself. In church one of the High Council men quoted Winston Churchill,
"Never give up. Never, never give up."  Whether It's on God, the ones we love, or ourselves, "Never give up"!!! That was definitely an answer to my prayers.

I also read in Moroni 7 and felt like Heavenly Father was talking to me! 
This week my testimony of God's love for me grew even deeper. 
I know he loves us; He knows us; He hears our prayers. His love for us is so real! 
And that is the greatest thing I could've received this Christmas Season.

I love you all and hope you make the most of your.....2015!!!!!

Sincerely, Sister Matheson


-Christmas Eve

-Yes, It was really 94 Degrees...

  I got myself an Olaf shirt for my Christmas Pajamas:)

Christmas morning oatmeal tradition!
  -Skyping with the Family!!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Week 38 Merry Christmas from Florida!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!     !FELIZ NAVIDAD! (not that I'm a Spanish Sister or anything)
Funny story, when it get's into the 60's I'm actually cold. 
We whip out our jackets, scarves, etc. I guess I'm really acclimatized.
This week we have so many meal appointments planned. 
I'm already full just thinking about it. The members really spoil us here. 
We have already have several members come up and give us presents. 
So don't worry, we're being taken care of.
This weeks email is going to be pretty short because nothing really exciting happened. We're making some good progress with going through the ward list and gaining their trust. This week we actually had 1 Rescue! YAY! It was one of the young men in our ward who has been struggling with his testimony. We're planning on taking him out to Harvest this week. The Lord is definitely compensating for our efforts. We got an amazing referral last night from some other missionaries. We are going to be meeting with him tonight.
We sang in our ward choir yesterday for the Christmas program. Sister Anderson and I sang a duet at the beginning of a song and I was SO nervous, but it turned out ok. I've never thought of myself as a good singer so it's actually surprising to me how much we're asked to sing. Missionary life man... I was actually the only alto so that was awk.
I read a scripture in the Book of Mormon that stood out to me because of what I've been going through.
"For, behold, I have refined thee. I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction." 
 (1 Nephi 20:10)
I will forever be grateful to my Father in Heaven for all of the trials that He allows me to go through. I know that they are for my experience and growth. 
It's in those times of trial that our character is defined. 
It is in our times of trial that we can understand more fully who the Savior really is for us.
I love you all so much. 
I hope you have an amazing Christ centered Christmas and ENJOY THE SNOW!!!
Sincerely, Sister Matheson
Our STL's (Sister Training Leaders) took us to Hollywood Beach 
last P-day to walk on the boardwalk. It was SO beautiful!!!

One of our members took us to a Venezuelan bakery for lunch and I tried Malta. 
I guess it's kind of like Root Beer, but it has a molasses taste to it. I liked it. 
We also had Arepas which is a four thing filled with cheese and beef. SO GOOD!

I've been giving the CTR rings out like candy. The kids in the ward LOVE them. 
I gave one to this little boy (In the next set of pictures) and he said,
 "awww you shouldn't have". hahaha

We loved our Gingerbread kit! 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

HEYYYYO Family! It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....kind of. 
It's practically paradise here in Florida. I'm not complaining. 
We're doing everything we can to make it feel like the Holidays.
Oh the crazy things that happened this week...where to begin?

1. We have been going through the ward list and meeting all of the members in our ward so that  we can put names to faces. Thursday night we tried stopping at someone's house who was on our list. A man opened the door and said, "um excuse me, do you know what this sign says?" (A no solicitation sign). I said yes, but that we were just there to say a prayer with his family. Things escalated and after asking us several times to read the sign we started to leave. 
While we were walking away, our conversation went like this:
Me: "We're not soliciting."
Man: "Yes, you are."
Sister Anderson:"No, we're not"
Man: "Who do you report to?"
Me: "GOD"
Man: "No you don't. What's the Bishop's number?"

We of course gave him his number and then he informed us that he would be calling the police as well because we were trespassing. hahaha oh my!!!

2. On Saturday we went on Exchanges with our STL's. We were driving home at around 8:00pm and Sister Coats stopped at a stop light. RIGHT when we came to a complete stop we looked at each other and the SMASH!!! The car behind us crunched the trunk of the car. We may have gotten minor whip lash. Good times. We got out and it was this 18 year old kid. He was so distraught and we just got out giggling and smiling. We shook his hand and introduced ourselves. While taking down his information we took the opportunity to share the gospel with him and hive him a "He is the Gift" card.  Of course we had to take a selfie as well.

3. We have been meeting with one of our Member's friends. Her name is *J* and she feeds us whenever we don't have a member meal. She has a lot of health problems i.e. she gets migraines and has seizures occasionally. She always has a lot of questions about "Mormonism" and on Sunday she randomly showed up to church with her 8 year old daughter. During Relief Society she wasn't feeling well at all and I suggested that we go sit out in the hall. We walked out and I let her grab my arm for support. She started getting shaky. When we made it to the couch she put her head on my shoulder and I put my arm around her. She started having a seizure in my arms and I told Sister Anderson to grab some priesthood holders to give her a blessing. Three of them came out of their class to give her a blessing. The first part was done in Spanish, but soon after she stopped shaking. She told us afterward that she could feel the Spirit during the blessing. We went over to her house that night and Sister Anderson shared Amos 3:7 with her. She asked why she felt like sharing that scripture and it was the perfect Segway into a Restoration lesson. Who knows what will come of that?:)

We have been working with a family who's son is less active. On Sunday we fasted for him to have a softened heart and he showed up to church. We went up and introduced ourselves. We invited him to come out Harvesting with us and he agreed with excitement. His mom texted us that day, thanking us and saying that she saw a countenance change in her son.

We had our Ward and Mission Conference "Celebrations" this week. I'll attach pictures. It was fun to see all the missionaries and some of my past companions. Each zone did a skit and we had a mini white elephant exchange.

I've been reading in 1 Nephi 16 and thinking of it as an alagory for the Plan of Salvation. When Nephi went ". . . forth up into the top of the mountain . . ."(vs. 30). THEN he was able to obtain food for their families. Food for thought.

I love you all. 
Thank you for all of your love, prayers, and support. 
Merry Christmas!

Sincerely, Sister Matheson
When I got the package with the stocking. 
It's the cutest thing in our apartment.

 We LOVE the snowballs you sent us. 
We have snowball fights everyday
 Mission Conference Christmas Celebration!
 I'm ready for my job at Deseret Book!
 Selfie after being rear-ended.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Week 36 #ShareThe Gift

Hello from Pines!

-This week we have been going through the ward list and visiting all the members to get to know who they are and #sharethegift with them. We knocked on what we thought was a members door and then a woman named Jocelyn opened the door. She said she had recently moved there and agreed to let us say a prayer with her. Immediately after the prayer she asked us where our church was. She said that she had met a couple of Sisters a few months prior and that God had sent them right when she needed it. She said that God had sent us right when she needed it and she accepted baptism. MILAGROS for working with members!
-We were also going to see a less active member when we OYMed (Open Your Mouth) a man who was painting the house next door. We gave him a "He Is The Gift" card and he looked at it and said "AMEN!". He let us say a prayer with him and accepted baptism right away. He started looking around like, "are we going to do this thing right now?" We told him no, that the baptism would be in two weeks and he was quite excited about it. He doesn't live in our area so we passed him, but it was still an awesome miracle.

We received quite a few promptings to visit active members in the ward and thought it didn't make sense to go, but we followed the promptings anyways. EVERY TIME they needed us there for them. Whether they were struggling with a wayward child or they needed to know that God loved them that day, we were needed there. Even though it didn't count for anything number wise, I know that God needed us to "comfort those that stand in need of comfort". Something I learned from that is:

 Following every prompting with hast=EDIFICATION AND JOY IN THE WORK!!!

I read Alma 5 like you suggested and this verse stuck our to me...

"Behold, [ I ] sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and he saith: Repent, and I will receive you." (vs. 33)

It doesn't matter whether they are already baptized or not, EVERYONE needs to come unto Christ and our job as missionaries is to simply INVITE!

"Our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through
Faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement,
Baptism (or partaking of the Sacrament for members),
Receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and
Enduring to the end."

So funny story...I have been practicing a little Spanish so that I can pass referrals to the Spanish sisters. I pretty much have that down, so that's a blessing, but understanding what people say back to me is a struggle. Usually I explain to people right up front that "No Hablo Español" . (I don't speak Spanish). We met a family where the Mom spoke English and the Father did not. When I first shook his hand I said, "Lo siento. No Hablo Ingles". jajaja ( I'm sorry, I don't speak English). oh my....He just looked at me funny and said, "you mean Español...?)

WELL, I hope you all have an amazing week and don't forget to #sharethegift ! I'm sure you already have, you're way a head of me, but know that this work can't be done without you. Everybody is important and valuable in the Kingdom of Heaven. No calling is too small. Love you!!!

Sincerely, Sister Matheson

p.s. words of wisdom from Sister Anderson, 
"It is better to prepare and prevent than it is to repair and repent".

I seem to have misplaced my camera temporarily so I only have a few pictures to send from Sister Anderson's camera....LO SIENTO!
#1 I can't hold babies, but you betcha I can hold bunnies. They're the next best thing!
#2Only in Florida would you find a hula dancing Santa
#3 People actually plant their poinsettias in their gardens here...weird!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Week 35 #sharethegift

Dear Family and Friends,

How was your Thanksgiving? Ours was fantastic! Our Bishop invited us to his house and his wife made SO MUCH FOOD! She made FIVE homemade pies for the six of us...let's just say we were fed well. People are starting to put up Christmas lights and it is quite the experience to see all the Palm trees lit up. It doesn't quite feel like Christmas yet except for the rare times when it gets down to the 60's/50's. We're spoiled.

I can't believe that I've almost been out 8 months...scary thought....enough of that....

Last P-day we were in line at the Post Office and this little Latin woman asked me to save her spot in line. I said, "of course". When she came back in line she said, "you don't look like you're from around here"... I smiled and explained that my companion and I are both from Utah and that we're here in Florida serving a mission for our church. She had questions about the church so we explained really briefly and said that missionaries could come say a prayer with her. She was very excited about that and wrote down her address for us. When we got home we realized that it was actually in our apartment complex and in our area so we followed up a few days later. We went and said a prayer with her and her son and taught the Restoration. She agreed to read the Book of Mormon and pray about her baptism. That was a testimony to me of God putting people in our path when we least expect it. We always need to be representing the Lord though because you never know who notices you.

A lot of the people we are teaching are slowly progressing, but they're progressing. I strongly feel like Sister Anderson and I are the missionaries that are supposed to be in this area because we have the patience and faith in them that they need.

Love + Prayer = Softened Hearts
Something really cool that we've been asking our ward members and auxiliary leaders to do is pray more specifically for missionaries. Don't just pray for them, but rather pray that the people's hearts will be softened in this area and that we will be able to recognize the Spirit leading us to those people. Also pray for your own missionary opportunities and than do everything you can to prepare yourself spiritually so that you can feel ready when they come. Because they do come! I think that's why people are afraid to pray for that haha. We don't need to worry though because it is a promise that we will be given the very words to say by the Spirit if we prepare ourselves. Alma 31:34-35

I finished the Book of Mormon this week and started it again. Something that stuck out to me this time, in the beginning, was when Lehi had to leave behind all of his gold and silver. He promptly obeyed the command that God had given him. When they set up their tent, the first thing he did was "he built an altar of stones, and made an offering unto the Lord, and gave thanks unto the Lord our God." (1 Nephi 2:7)
I thought that was perfect for the Thanksgiving season because there's always something to be grateful for when we have the Lord on our side.

I love you all. Never forget that.

Sincerely, Sister Matheson

p.s. If you haven't already seen "He is the Gift" on www.christmas.mormon.org or www.lds.org, than WATCH IT!!! I never get sick of it. The Spirit is so strong every time. I think you should've gotten pass along cards with your Ensigns so pass them out to everyone! Most people will say yes to a simple card during Christmas time. Post it everywhere and share the goodness. #sharethegift
Our investigator Jamie let me do her nails. 
THEN the next day a recent convert who couldn't bend over 
asked if we would paint her nails. 
Who knew so many people would appreciate my nail painting skills. 
Maybe I've found my calling in life...? 
 Thanksgiving pies! YUM!!


 Christmas is coming!