Florida Fort Lauderdale Mission // April 2014-October 2015

Monday, October 5, 2015

Week 79 - Final letter from Florida Fort Lauderdale Mission

Conference was INCREDIBLE and was much needed this week. The Spirit confirmed to me over and over that the Prophet and Apostles are called of God. I know that Jesus Christ stands at the head of this church and that the gospel is going forth with great power. It's exciting to be a part of as a full time missionary. I chose the following scripture to be the scripture that I will "ponderize" this week...

3 Nephi 9:22 Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God. Behold, for such I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again; therefore repent, and come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved.

This week we felt like knocking a certain street by our apartments. We met a man who told us his roommate used to be LDS. As we were praying the roommate, Tyler, walked in the door. He told us that he had served a mission in Thailand, but did not believe in the gospel any more. We bore testimony, but his heart was too hard to recognize the Spirit. Although he rejected our testimonies I know that God wanted us to be there because of the prayers of his parents and loved ones. Throughout my mission I've been grateful for the opportunities to see just how much God truly loves His children. No matter how far they have strayed, He will continue to reach out in love to them.

D&C 84:88
“And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up….”

The time has actually come, I can't believe it. When I first started my mission it seemed as though it would never end. The words to the hymn "I Stand All Amazed" seem to sum up my feelings right now. I know that God lives. I know that Jesus Christ is his son and my personal Savior. I know that this is the Restored gospel and that Joseph saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and can keep us safe and protected from the adversary so long as we heed it's teachings. I know that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet today and holds all of the Priesthood Keys. I will forever be indebted to my Savior for the opportunity I've had to serve a mission in the Florida Fort Lauderdale mission. I will forever be changed for the better.
I love you all!

I already know that next week will be too crazy for me to focus and type a group email.
See you soon!!!

Sincerely, Sister Matheson

A member took us to the beach for a picnic dinner. 

At the Mission Leadership Council meeting 
This is in front of President and Sister Richardson's home in Plantation. 

I got to knock doors for an hour with Sister Anderson on my 18 month mark!
My last time at Tropical Smoothie Cafe.
Us with a Recent Convert in our branch.
At my last District Training.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Week 78

This week was definitely a trying week. We knocked more and worked harder than I ever have on my mission and yet we did not find any elect people to teach. I'm grateful for the experience, however, because it helped us stay humble and fall to our knees more. God blessed us with a miracle while I was on an exchange with Sister Tui. We were knocking doors and it was getting really dark, but we felt like we needed to keep knocking. We met a Haitian woman who invited us in to say a prayer with her and her daughter. During the prayer her mother came into the room and afterwards asked if we were Mormon. We told her yes and she told us that she had been baptized down in Miami years ago. She didn't speak any English, but we ended up teaching the Restoration to her daughter and granddaughter. They took a Book of Mormon and promised to read and pray.

While reading in Helaman I found comfort in the experience that Nephi had while preaching the gospel. After Nephi prophesies about the chief judge being murdered and the people believe him to be a prophet. He's about to return home when God commands him to return and declare repentance he obeys and sees no success. He preaches to every multitude and they continue to reject him, however, as he stayed faithful he was blessed with power and authority.

Sometimes we will not see the immediate fruits of our efforts, perhaps they won't even be the desired blessings, but God knows best what experiences we need to help us grow and will bless us eventually depending on our faithfulness.

Here's a quote to ponder...
"A mission has shaped, and formed, and fashioned, and underscored everything that has happened to me since that hour...We simply ask them to put everything on hold: put education, put professional opportunities, put marriage, put whatever for 18 months to two years, and go voluntarily, and pay your own way, and have the experience of a lifetime. Ostensibly, theoretically, and truthfully, it is for the church, it is service to the kingdom and religious principles, to spread Christianity, and I would include and encourage everyone to go, and if not a single solitary person joined the church. If not one joined the church, I would still say do it, simply because of what it meant to me. They're supposed to go give service; they're supposed to go love people where they are. If they join the church, fine, but if they don't, fine. If they can do anything, anything they can do, any single solitary Christian decent worthy thing they can do, they are supposed to go do. And if people join the church, great! And if they don't, missionaries have left a nation, community, or a family, or a person….better than they had found them! And that is” our call”, as a Missionary!" (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland)

Sincerely, Sister Matheson
Sorry for the shortage of pictures. Nothing super eventful happened. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Week 77

This week was a rather rough week. Our solid investigator, Ramish, called us and told us that he "wasn't feeling it any more". He didn't give any further explanations when we inquired, however, he did seem sad to discontinue meeting with us. We're praying that he'll have a change of heart. Our other investigators dropped us as well, but Sunday night we had a great lesson with a potential we had met during the week. Kim and her son Kyle were a little skeptical of the religion at first, not understanding that we were indeed Christian, but after bearing simple testimony they agreed to at least listen to the first lesson. We brought a member a long and as we taught the Restoration and focused on the Book of Mormon the Spirit filled the room and they accepted baptism for the tenth of October. It was a tender mercy from God after all of our investigators dropping us.

From President Richardson's email:

Scripture to Ponder…
DE&C 16: 4-6
4 For many times you have desired of me to know that which would be of the most worth unto you.
5 Behold, blessed are you for this thing, and for speaking my words which I have given unto you according to my commandments.
6 And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father. Amen.

A thought I wanted to share with you, from one of you …
This past week in my scripture study of the Book of Mormon, I have been pondering what Jacob spoke when he said in Jacob 4:10….”Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. For behold, ye yourselves know that he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all his works”...

I love you all, I love the Lord, I love this work, I thank my Heavenly Father every day for the opportunity He has given me to serve him here in South Florida. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that we have a living prophet on the earth today and as we listen and heed his words we will be protected.

Mosiah 15:11


Sincerely, Sister Matheson

Found this giraffe while knocking
We saw a peacock just walking in the street!

While on exchanges in my old area 
the Hurst family found us as we were walking.
They pulled over and the girls walked with us to our next appointment. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Week 76 - It POURED Miracles!

I love it here in Port St. Lucie. The miracles just POURED in this week. 

While knocking doors we met a guy in his 20's named Ramish. At first he seemed semi interested, but he accepted everything (baptism, church, and a return appointment) and the Spirit told us to go back and visit him. Our second appointment was great! As we taught him the Restoration and then invited him to be baptized he said, "but what if I was already baptized?" We started to re-teach the importance of being baptized by the correct authourity, but then he cut us off and said, "oh yeah, it has to be done by the priesthood. He over came his own concern and then made sure that he had work off so that he could come to church. Our ward mission leader picked him up and he seemed to enjoy it. They left before we could get over there to talk to them so we decided to go and visit him that night to talk to solidify his baptismal date. As we were bold and testifying he recognized that he shouldn't put it off and accepted a date for the 26th!!!

Last night we had some extra time in the evening and decided to go visit a Former Investigator from three years ago. We knocked on the door and the man we were looking for wasn't there, but his mother was. She invited us in and we prayed with her. The Spirit flooded the room and then we heard the door open. The man we had been looking for, Robinson, walked in and sat down. We introduced ourselves and taught a powerful Restoration lesson. At first he told us that he had found a church that he attended every sunday, but after our lesson and the invitation to read the Book of Mormon his heart changed and promised to read and pray about it. He said if God told him it was true that he'd do whatever it took to "find the Mormon faith". It was incredible. He accepted a baptismal date as well and his mother wants to learn more and get baptized as well. 

I read in Alma 43 this week about captain Moroni. As he lead the Nephite army against the Lamanites they had no need to fear because he had "prepared his people with breastplates and with arm-shields, yea, and also shields to defend their heads, and also they were dressed with thick clothing". The Nephites also followed the comands of their leader, Moroni, and therefore were protected from their enemy. I pondered on this chapter and loved the way it portrayed the importance of preparation. As we do our studies in the morning and are exactly obedient we will have no need to fear because we will know that the Lord will grant unto us protection and success.

As an STL we go to a meeting at the beginning of every month down in Plantation. The Ap's and all of the Zone Leaders (This time the District leaders as well) attend as well. It was at President's house which is two and a half hours away. Friday we drove down with some of the other STL's. It was such a long drive and traffic was bad that we were two minutes late. (If you're from this mission, you'll understand. That's not okay). Sister Clegg and I had to go to the bathroom so badly, but couldn't hold it for the next three hours. As we walked in all of the Elders and the other STL's (over 50 people) looked over at us. We just ran to the bathroom and they all waited for us awkardly to start the meeting. Hahaha not one of my finest moments! 

Here is a quote from President Richardson's email this week,

"I only have a minute, 
just sixty seconds in it! 
Didn't Seek It; 
Didn’t choose It; 
Forced Upon me; 
Can’t refuse it; 
But it’s up to me to use it! 
I must suffer if I lose it; 
Give account if I abuse it! 
It's Just a tiny little minute…
but “Eternity” is in it!" 

By the way, the Ensign for this month is AMAZING! Find out for yourself...:)

Sincerely, Sister Matheson

On the way home from MLC. (aka nap time)

Our Full Day exchange with Sister Lake and Estrada. 
We kind of look like twins...

Our investigator had this calendar in her house. 
We asked her where she got it and she told us at a Chinese restaurant. 
Who'd a thunk!?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Week 75

​Soooooooo funny story. Last P-Day I packed all of my things and brought them down to the transfer meeting on Wednesday. As we sat in the chapel and watched the board, waiting for our names to be read, I heard my name but didn't register where they said I would be going....I realized after a moment of shock that I was companions with SISTER CLEGG!!!!! We're serving in Port St. Lucie which is the area just south of my last area. We live in the same apartment so I packed my things for nothing. I literally just moved down the hall. We freaked out in the transfer meeting and hugged each other right away. We couldn't believe it. We had joked about it so much, but now we're actually companions! 

I'm also an STL (Sister Training Leader) so we go on exchanges with certain sisters and help them in their areas and with their missionary work. Sister Anderson (The Sister I trained) is in our "Sisterhood" and we got to go on a short exchange with her this week. It was so great to knock doors with her like the good ol' days. 

I'm SO excited to be companions with Sister Clegg and to work in the area of Port St. Lucie. I know that this is where God wants me for my final transfer. We have already been seeing huge miracles in our area. On Friday we were knocking doors and saw a mother on a walk with her two children. We talked to them and offered them a card. We also invited her to prepare for baptism and attend church. She accepted everything! As we went back for our return appointment we taught her and a friend who was visiting. The lesson was incredible. When we sat down they said, "can you give us a brief history of your church and tell us what makes it different?" Boy can we ever! We taught the Restoration and everything clicked for them. When we taught about the Book of Mormon he said, "I've always wondered what the scripture meant that says, 'other sheep I have...'. Sister Clegg just looked at each other in amazement. 

We also went to follow up with a former investigator named Carol. She had been seriously planning on attending church that day, but her daughter had to go to the emergency room. We set up a return appointment with her and at that lesson she accepted a baptismal date and agreed to have us over every other day to help her prepare for it. It was incredible!

I actually studied about Ammon and Aaron and their missionary work. After Ammon's encounter with King Lamoni's father, his heart was softened and he was ready for Aaron to teach him. Aaron was open to the promptings of the Spirit and he trusted that God had a plan for him there. As he went and taught a 'former' he found that he was ready at that time and then King Lamoni's father was converted.

Love you all! 

Sincerely, Sister Matheson

I got sick this week. No fun, I don't have time for this! Haha
Our Exchange with Sister Anderson and Sister Tuiolemotu
Reunited and it feels so good.

Our car got stuck in the mud...Haha. 
Luckily I'm not a girly girl and figured out a way for us to get out.
(after getting covered in mud)

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Week 74- Last transfer!

Tomorrow I'll find out where I'm going. 
I'm excited to get to know a new area and ward and find the people who need to hear my testimony.

This week while knocking doors we met a man named David. He told us he wasn't sure if God even existed and Sister Brisco and I both testified of how we know that God is there. His heart began to be soft and he then asked us to pray for him to be able to overcome his alcoholism.  He cried and cried and then told us that he felt peace. He knew that God sent us. The following day we took a member over with us who had struggled with addiction before his baptism. He bore his testimony and said just the perfect things that David needed to hear. The members sometimes doubt how powerful their testimonies, but this was a great experience for all of us.
Yesterday we biked all day! We were on our way to go knock doors when it POURED! We biked as fast as we could to the nearest store. When we got to Winn Dixie we were already SO soaked though. Gotta love Florida!

I've been studying about Alma and Amulek's missionary experiences in the book of Alma. I love their fierce faith and willingness to follow the Spirit. At first they may have felt they weren't successful, but later they return and heal Zeezrom who then is converted unto the Lord. We truly are on the Lord's timetable because this is HIS work. We just have to trust that he really will provide. 
And he always does.
Love you all!
Sincerely, Sister Matheson

Before the storm...
 And after

I love the Hurst family! Going to miss them. 
Our district training. 
If you're wondering why an Elder is on the table...
It's because he's "Dying" (aka going home).

That is at our chapel.
 So much biking this week!
Holding a leopard gecko at Sharon's.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Week 73

This week has been the weirdest adventure!!!

-We had Zone Conference this past Tuesday
We drove with the STL's for the 1.5 hour drive. 

-Sister Brisco stepped on a giant red ant hill and got eaten alive

-A 23 year old guy jokingly proposed that we join him and his girlfriend in a polygamous marriage...HAHAHA

Saturday night we were biking home. We were in a bit of a hurry because we knew we needed to be home on time, however, as we biked passed the hospital I noticed a woman sitting on the sidewalk with her belongings. I had the impression to go talk to her. In my head I thought, "but we're cutting it close on time". The Spirit prompted me again, "go back and talk to her". I obediently turned my bike around and offered to share a card about Jesus Christ with her. She declined but told us that she did need help. She told us that she had just left the hospital and didn't know where she was because she was from UTAH!!! Immediately I knew we were where we were supposed to be. She looked like she was pretty banged up and as we talked with her she told us how she had come to Florida for a rehab center. They had admitted her to the hospital, but she had "checked herself out" by ripping out the IV and walking out. I asked her if she was a member and she told us she was. Her phone was dead and she didn't know where to go or what to do. We called a member family in our ward and they offered to come give her a ride. While we waited we said a prayer with her, talked about her family (who are all active members!!!). When the members came they took care of her. Brother H helped gave her a blessing and they actually had to let her stay at their house because the hospital would not re-admit her. We went over and visited yesterday for dinner. It was an amazing experience to be a part of this woman's story. I know that God loves her. No matter how far she had gone or what she was doing, God provided a way for her to be taken care of by prompting two Sister Missionaries to just stop and talk to her. I will forever remember this experience. 

One scripture I loved from the Book of Mormon this week is found in Alma 5:57,
"All you that are desirous to follow the voice of the good shepherd, come ye out from the wicked, and be ye separate, and touch not their unclean things. . ." 

Most of the time we wont be able to see the end from the beginning. We may even feel as if we are wandering in the dark, but if we rely on the "voice of the good shepherd" we shall not fear. 

"What you spend your time seeking will be what you find". 

Love you all!

Sister Matheson

Monday, August 17, 2015

Week 72

I'll start out with some comic relief...Because of our limited miles we decided to bike a few days this week. On Thursday we parked our car at a park and biked to an area where we were planning on knocking. It started to get late and we got caught up teaching a lesson. By the time we left we had to RUN to our bikes (which were about a mile away), bike as fast as we could to our car, and then we would've made it home in time...well...that would've been all fine and dandy except that the PARK WAS LOCKED UP!!! Haha we couldn't leave so we waited on the sidewalk, all sweaty and gross, for the Sisters we live with to come pick us up. Moral of the story, read the park signs...

This week was quite a humbling week. All of our investigators either dropped us or got anti-ed. We tried everything we could to find. We OYM-ed (Open Your Mouth), rode our bikes, had finding time for most of our day, and still we were not finding elect new investigators. By Sunday I didn't know what more I could do but continue in faith, trusting that God would provide a way. We went knocking doors Sunday night and I KNEW that God had a family of five prepared for us to find that night. We prayed with a few people, but no one was very solid. On our way home we decided to pull over and knock doors for as long as possible before calling it a night. The last door we were planning on knocking on was a family of FIVE!!! They invited us in, talked about how they had been disappointed in all of the churches that they had attended, and accepted everything! It was a tender mercy from God that would not have been possible unless we were humble. 

I read in the Book of Mormon this week about the people of Limhi and how they were in bondage. God wasn't able to completely relieve their burdens, but when they humbled themselves THEN he was able to "ease the burdens which were upon their backs". I know that God is gracious. I know that he teaches us through every trial he allows us to go through. I am grateful for that. 

One of the little girls in our ward started Kindergarten today, her mom gave us a call today and said that the first thing she put in her backpack was the Restoration pamphlet that we had given her. She said that she was going to give it to her teacher and then "Sister Madison will teach her about Jesus". It was the cutest thing. Hey, even a five year old can find a way to share the gospel so we can too! 

I love you all! Tell me all about your missionary experiences. 

Sincerely, Sister Matheson

Stranded at the park

Dylon bought us Italian Ice before our lesson. 
I locked the keys in the Church...
I just don't have good luck with keeping track of keys..;) 

Crabs are all over here!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Week 71 Getting Creative

This week we have been getting very creative in our finding efforts. We drew out the plan of Salvation with chalk at a park. I was wondering why I felt prompted to do that until we saw one of my former investigators there. She didn't accept a return appointment, but I know that god wanted us to be there to remind her of the truthfulness of the gospel. We also tried different door approaches such as holding up a Book of Mormon and asking them if they'd ever seen the book before. A lot of people actually responded that they had seen it before and we were able to hand out a couple of Books of Mormon. And yes, I have been practically running door to door. Bless my companion's heart...

We've been struggling to find new investigators who progress past the first lesson. I know that God will provide someone for us as we stay diligent. That has been the theme of my studies this past week in the Book of Mormon. No matter how long the people are in bondage, God always provides a way for them to be freed and repent. Ammon finding Limhi and his people in Mosiah is a great example of that. Enos 1:4 is also an example, 

"And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yeah, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens."

It doesn't matter how long it takes for God to deliver us, just that he DOES. And I know that he does. 

We went on exchanges this week and I got to work in the other Sister's area. At the meal appointment the members told us the greatest/most cheesy Book of Mormon joke. Enjoy...

"Why did the Lamanites have sore knees? 
Because of all the NEPHITES (knee fights)!".....badum bum

Love you all! 

Sincerely, Sister Matheson

p.s. I saw a real life alligator for the FIRST TIME!!! It was just a little 2.5 feet one in a pond, but still! I'm a true Floridian now.

Buffets are not our friends.... 
We knocked doors with a Sister from our ward and her four year old. 
The four year old even said one of the prayers and insisted on knocking all the doors and 
giving everyone cards. People were actually nice to us for a change...haha

We found a bay in our area!

Dinner appointments with Larry 

We found an "Exchange" street on our exchange!