Monday, March 28, 2016

28 March 2016 - Week 20: BIG CHANGES!

Hi everyone!! Happy Easter!!

So for the transfer this week, there are BIG changes for me! haha

I'm going to the NORTH!! Yay! I'll be serving in Koutio with Soeur Rooarii (she's Tahitian.) I am going to be DRIVING. And... we're going to be STLs! WHAT WHAT WHAT BIG BIG BIG CHANGEEEE!!! President really likes to have young leaders.... And because I'm going to be an STL, I'll be going to Vanuatu from next Sunday to Wednesday for leadership training. All the zone leaders and STLs in the whole mission will be there, so that's cool!

[Mom's note: STL = Sister Training Leader, a leadership position]

The transfer is on Thursday, so that's when everything will change! This afternoon until tomorrow morning, I'm going to have an exchange with Soeur Caress so that I can have some practice driving the Juke before I have to drive on my own, haha. It'll be so weird to drive again!

[In response to Mom’s questions/concerns] Okay, the "north" isn't even really north, just btw. It's just a little bit more North than Noumea. Yes, there are missionaries there (the STLs have been serving in Koutio for a while) and the juke is the car I'll the driving. I think it's a Nissan... It'll be that for now, and maybe later I'll drive a different car. We'll see! The juke is like a middle-sized car. There are 5 seats. It's smaller than a Sorento.

Soeur Tellus is staying in Vallee des Colons for her last transfer with Soeur Snow. Soeur Vogel is going to be in my zone and she'll be driving too! And Soeur Flake will be training a new Tahitian sister, and she'll be in my district. Soeur Casuga is going to be an STL in the South, and she'll be driving, too, haha. Lots of change this transfer!! 

Oh yeah! We had a special Sacrament Meeting this Sunday. The missionaries planned and prepared it all. The theme was the reasons for our hope, and we based it all off of the Restoration lesson. We had lots of testimonies from members and hymns! It was actually kinda like the primary program, haha. It was great, though! It's part of our effort to get the members interested in working with the missionaries. I won't be in Magenta to see the results, but I really hope it will have helped! 

Oh, btw I didn't email yesterday because it was the day after Easter and a holiday. Everything was closed, so we just spent our p-day at the chapel with the members and played volleyball and ping pong and ate. We had a little FHE last night with them, too. We were literally there all day! Those members are the best members in the ward here. They're all super awesome and invite us to eat every Sunday afternoon at the chapel. 

There was also the baptism of Keyliah Tuahivaatetonohiti on Sunday! She's the cousin of the two recent convert boys we were teaching. It's not a convert baptism, though, because she's 8 and the daughter of members. But anyway, it was great! I gave a talk on baptism because she wanted me and Soeur Tellus to give the talks. We had pretty much been teaching her and preparing her for her baptism while we were teaching her cousins. She was there for pretty much all the lessons. She's adorable, and I'm so happy for her and her family! They're all growing strong in the Gospel and sharing it with the other members in their family. It's so cool! :) 

So yeah, that was pretty much my week... Everyone was just thinking about the transfer all week, hahaha. But our ami Lucien is still going well, and we're still praying for his baptism the 16th of April!

I love you all!!!
Soeur Matheson

OH YEAH BTW I most likely will NOT be emailing next week because I'll be in Vanuatu. SO DON'T EXPECT ANYTHING FROM ME! (MOM, that means you, haha!)

Monday, March 21, 2016

21 March 2016 - Week 19: Pain Riz Mayo

Bonjour tout le monde!

I think I mentioned it before, but there's this graffiti tag that we see EVERYWHERE in Vallee des Colons: PAIN RIZ MAYO [bread, rice, mayo] hahaha! I took about 7 more pictures of it in different places during the week. It just makes me laugh :)

Good news! Our ami Lucien now has a baptism date for April 16th, not in September! This week when we saw him, we decided to pick a date exactly a month away to push him a little. Then we talked about how he already has the desire to be baptized and he's making the changes in his life already. His testimony is growing as he's seeing the Gospel improve his life. That's why he accepted to advance the date of his baptism. :) I'm super excited for him!

On Saturday morning, we played sports at the chapel. It's part of our effort to get to know the members and integrate our amis, but no one actually came except an ami from Vallee du Tir, which isn't even in our district... and eventually one member. So we just ended up playing with them a little and mostly just among us missionaries for the most part. We're hoping the members will start coming more! It has been raining the past two Saturdays, so that's a reason why they don't come, I guess. Hopefully it'll be nice this Saturday so people will come!

The rest of our week was good, but nothing super special. We just keep working in our secteur with the amis who want to see us, haha. We lost two amis this week: one who just straight out told us that she doesn't want to have the lessons anymore and another who just avoids us. And there's another who keeps rescheduling her lessons, but I know she's still interested. She's just busy because she works a lot during the week. We were only seeing her on Saturdays, but now her family is in town so she's even more busy... Sad. But I know we'll get to see her again eventually!

In other news, we're having a full-mission meeting with President tomorrow morning. He's here to introduce the new senior couple who is going to be working in the bureau here in New Cal. They're American, but they speak French, so that's cool :) So tomorrow I get to see everyone in the mission! It's cool to be in such a small mission because you can get to know everyone. And, like I said last week, we'll have the transfer news at the end of this week, so next Monday you'll all know where I'm headed (or if I stay here.) We'll see!

I'm loving my mission! New Cal is an amazing place, and it's so cool to see so many different cultures all mixed together in one place. And it's even cooler to see how the Gospel is for everyone, no matter their background or race or how much money they have. The Gospel brings joy and peace to everyone! :)

Bonne semaine!! Je vous aime!!
Soeur Matheson

Monday, March 14, 2016

14 March 2016 - Week 18: William was baptized!!

Bonjour tout le monde!!

GREAT NEWS! William was baptized!! It was awesome because a lot of members came to support him and he was really excited to be baptized. Afterwards, he really wanted to bear his testimony, but he was nervous (he's shy) and just went up there and close his eyes the whole time he was talking, haha! I was really happy for him and super proud! He really has a strong testimony, and I know that this work is true!!

I had a really great week this week! We had a good amount of lessons, including more with members! I just felt more busy this week, too! And I had an exchange with Soeur Snow on Friday! She's from Tahiti and we got to the mission at the same time, but she started out as an STL. I love Soeur Snow! She's cute and really fun to be around and I like talking to her. Plus, she helps me with my French and I help her with English, haha. We had two lessons and we tried finding some non-pratiquants and we contacted some people! It was a great day and she loved getting to walk. (Haha, she doesn't like being in the car all the time.)

Soeur Snow :) la plus belle
Also, some small but good news is that we saw Corinne in her car the other day. Even though she's not answering our calls and we haven't been able to have contact with her since her baptism, we know that at least she's alive!

Another small thing is that one time we were at the Place de Cocotiers and I saw these tourists from a cruise ship (I like tourist-watching). I saw these two, and I just knew they were Mormon. Then they came up to us and said they were members! I'd been waiting for the day to meet Mormon tourists! They were from Australia and were surprised that I spoke English (but that's because Soeur Tellus was on the phone with an ami speaking French.) Anyway... my dream came true and now I am satisfied!

The Jehovah's Witnesses knocked on our door! They were super nice and we were nice to them, but it's always awkward to cross them.

Oh yeah!! I contacted a guy at the grocery store! In the produce area, they have a person to weigh your fruits and veggies and price them. I went up and then the guy started speaking to me in English and I was like, WHAT. It turns out he's from Lifou [one of the outlying islands of New Caledonia] but he really likes hockey (especially the San Jose Sharks--what a coincidence!) and he listens to the broadcasts in English. And he reads the Bible in English. I gave him a card with our number because he said he was interested. Woo hoo! I love talking to people in English! :) Now we wait for him to call!

French-wise, things are going well! I actually gave a small talk during William's baptism and a lot of members complimented my french! :) And I can comprehend most things now, but sometimes if the person speaks way fast or too soft or has a more difficult accent, it's harder. 

So apparently there's going to be a small transfer at the end of this week and then another one at the normal time (two weeks from now) because there's 3 new elders coming this week and then 2 new sisters the next one. And apparently, lots of things are going to be changing with the new transfer (including more cars!) So we'll see what happens with that!

I feel like I did so much this week but right now I can't think of anything to write. Just know that I'm happy and I love my mission!!

Bonne semaine!
Je vous aime!
Soeur Matheson

a la plage! [at the beach]

Monday, March 7, 2016

7 March 2016 - Week 17: Playing "cache cache" sur la place and making cheese in our fridge...

Bonjour tout le monde!

To explain the subject: "Cache cache" is hide-and-go-seek in French. We have lessons with William sur la Place de Cocotiers en ville, but la place is actually pretty big, so it's hard to find people you're trying to meet up with. William has decided to start hiding somewhere and not tell us where he is when we call him to find him... He gave us a hint one time, so it was easier, but this week we wasted too much time just trying to find our ami, hahaha.

And the cheese-making part... Soeur Tellus spilled her goat milk in the fridge and we didn't think anything more of it besides that we just had to clean the inside. Then, we started to notice a weird smell in our kitchen. It wasn't terrible but also not that great. So yesterday we started to really investigate. We pulled the fridge out, and VOILA! There was cheese in the back of our fridge! The milk had gone into a hole in the back of the shelf that we hadn't noticed and leaked into the catch tray in the back of the fridge above the motor (or whatever it is--the thing that makes the fridge run). So Soeur Tellus' goat milk turned into goat cheese! That was gross and also explains the smell--not terrible, but not that great! It was hard to clean (haha, actually I made her do it). So yeah, if you ever want to make cheese at home, just spill milk in your fridge!

I am doing great and even though the work in our secteur was a little slow this week, things are going well!

William is super ready for his baptism this SATURDAY!! Woo hoo! He acts like he's not excited because he's shy, but he totally is. And the members have really been welcoming him. They invited him to eat with us on Sunday afternoons and they've been inviting him to FHE. So great! And the past two weeks, I've really seen him become more sure about his testimony, and he's more comfortable with sharing what he knows. It's really cool! He's so ready! And you can tell he's seen the changes in his life that the gospel has brought him--the peace and the happiness and just the confidence of knowing who you are and why you're here on Earth. I'm grateful that I've had the knowledge of the gospel my whole life, and my mission is really helping me appreciate that. And I'm so grateful to be able to share it with the people of New Cal! 

William et Lovina (she's a member and also his girlfriend!)
Our ami Lucien has decided he wants to be baptized, but not until September...we're going to work on advancing that date! He's been coming to church and he went to an activity in Riviere Salee on his own (like, we didn't invite him--he listens to the announcements at church). His mom, Linda, is a recent convert that we teach as well, so he already knows a lot about the gospel and the commandments (especially the Word of Wisdom--he helps Linda with that! It's great!) It's cool that he's not dependent on us, the missionaries, because there are ward members who talk to him and have invited him to FHEs and stuff. We're just here to teach him the basics and help him know how things work, but he has a bigger support group than just the missionaries. Every ami needs that!

The missionaries in the Magenta district/ward (there's 8 of us) have been trying to work with the members more. We had the fireside on missionary work and the members loved it, and we're going to have a Sacrament meeting program based on the Restoration. The theme is that all the things in the Restoration are the reasons for our hope. We, the missionaries, planned it but we're inviting the members to participate. There'll be lots of testimonies and songs, and I think it's going to be awesome! That's the 27th. We also are going to go to each member's home in our areas and share our plan of action with them. And we're going to have a sports activity every Saturday morning from 8-10! Just so y'all know, I'm getting way better at volleyball since I've been on my mission! :)

Sunday lunch with the members
The mission is hard sometimes because it's hot, and you don't want to work because you're so tired, and sometimes you're scared, or you don't think you're good enough. You can have so many doubts as a missionary, but you just have to remember that you have been called and set apart to preach the gospel and that Heavenly Father will help you when you ask for it. It's all about faith and trusting in God to help you do the things you didn't think you could and to help you become more than you thought you could. I've been relying more and more on prayer, and I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers my prayers. I've seen great things happen, and even though sometimes the great things are few and far between, you just have to keep going with faith. 

Thank you for all of the prayers and the emails! I love hearing from you guys just as much as you like hearing from me! haha :) Remember that Heavenly Father loves you, he knows you, and he wants to help you! All you have to do is ask!

Bonne semaine à tous!! Je vous aime!!!!
Soeur Matheson

la plage (beach)