Wednesday, May 25, 2016

25 May 2016 - Week ??: I don't even know what week it is!

Haha, bonjour ma famille!

Sorry for all of the confusion with my emails. Today is P-day and my usual email day, so plan on that! Last week the site stopped working while we were doing our emails, so that's why I just disappeared last week. It was sad :( But I'm here now! :) And I'm really excited to SKYPE!!! Finally! It's still set for 4 pm Saturday my time and Friday at 9 pm for y'all! :)

This weekend, we had stake conference and it was awesome. Elder Lynn G. Robbins from the Presidency of the 70 came, and Elder Haleck and Sister Haleck from the Pacific Area authorities. We had a meeting with them just as missionaries and that was really great. All their messages during the stake meeting was exactly what this stake needs to hear--obedience and sacrifice to build the kingdom! It was kinda weird though because Elder Robbins looked SUPER white but that's because he hasn't been living on an island ahah but in the US in winter! Anyway, it was a really cool opportunity to meet them this weekend. My testimony of the fact that the Authorities are called of God to preach the Gospel was strengthened as they spoke about the needs of the stake and as they answered people's questions by the Spirit!

All of the missionaries on New Caledonia with the visiting General Authority and Area President
This week we FINALLY got to see the amis [investigators] that we hadn't seen in weeks! We saw Manu and Marie-Christine and we also re-started teaching an old ami Vaihere. And we got to see a couple who’s an inactive married with a recent convert. They've been struggling a bit, and it's great to be able to help them by inviting them to base their family life on the Gospel.

With all of these amis, they had been feeling the lack of the Gospel in their lives. Now that we've been able to see them, they've been able to realize the difference that the Gospel makes in our lives. It brings so much peace and happiness. Sometimes we need to face a period of time without that so that we can really appreciate it. Opposition in all things makes us seek after the good! So these amis are doing better.

Marie-Christine has a baptismal date for June 11 and our ami Moise is getting baptized June 4 (btw he had his interview with President over the phone and everything's good to go!) Moise really wants to get baptized, but he keeps getting scared and stressed that he's not ready because he doesn't know enough, and he doesn't know if he's ready to give up everything. But he thinks in extremes, and last night we were able to talk to him about how he can still go fishing and live his life after he's baptized--he's not gonna be a nun or a monk or whatever! haha Anyway, he really is ready for baptism, and we all know he's gonna be a great leader in the church--he already wants to help inactives come back!

Last week we had our district activity at the Gorge de Dumbea. We ate breakfast together at a park and then went on our randonnee (hike) up to the gorge. It was so beautiful and makes you really [sad] that you're not allowed to swim… Someday I'll have to come back just so I can swim in the gorge :) 

The day after that, we had another reunion de zone [zone meeting] in Bourail! The APs were here and it was to prepare us for the Authorities who were coming. The meeting was great, and after we went back to la baie des tortues [Turtle Bay]. This time we actually saw a sea turtle, so the place lives up to it's name! It was really fun driving, and I didn't get stuck behind any camions [trucks]--smooth sailing the whole time!

Oh yeah, the change in dress for sisters! That's a real thing, and it will be put into place in our mission. Sister Granger wants us, the STLs, to help her see how it's going to work here in New Caledonia and how much of a need there is. Honestly, I don't think there's much need in New Cal because the mosquitoes aren't really a problem, but I do like the idea of getting to wear maxi skirts! The other thing is that we can wear wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses :) In New Cal there's not a big need for hats either... haha but yeah, I think pants would be too hot anywhere. [The Church changed the dress policy for both elders and sisters serving in areas with mosquitoes, due to mosquito-born diseases.]

It's actually getting cold here, and yesterday I wore a cardigan! At night it gets pretty cold and having a long skirt would be nice, haha :) Sorry, mom, that we cut those two maxi skirts, but they've been awesome. I wear them all the time!

I've been a little sicky this week. I think it's because it's getting colder, but it's passing now! Don't worry!

I'm going to finish my email right now so that I have time to send more pics! Je vous aime! See you Saturday!

Soeur Matheson

Us with our recent convert Soeur Tetuira, and her friend with our tarte au citron!

La tarte au citron--c'etait delicieuse!

Les poissons that Moise gave us! il aime aller a la peche! [The fish that Moise gave us. He likes to go fishing!]

la gorge de Dumbea

la gorge de Dumbea

la gorge de Dumbea

les elders s'amusent [the elders amuse/entertain us]

Soeur Vogel is "Ariel the little mermaid"

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

10 May 2016 - Week 26: It's been a roller coaster

Bonjour tout le monde!!

This week, Soeur Rooarii and I had a lot of ups and downs, haha. Once again this week, we weren't able to teach our amis who had been progressing before the past 2 weeks. Funerals, break-ups, work... Lots of reasons why we couldn't see them! That was discouraging and part of the downs. And our efforts to find new amis through sondage and contacting failed--we got lots of straight up "no's". Usually, they act like they're interested a little and then tell us no later when we try to set up a lesson. But this week people just said no. I don't know which method I prefer, haha... 

But one of the ups this week was that our new ami Moise wants to be baptized! We had lessons with him Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. On Thursday, we were talking about the Gospel of Jesus Christ (the five steps) and he said he's done the first two, faith and repentance, and now it only follows that he gets baptized! Moise has a lot of faith and loves studying the Gospel and learning at church. He also talks a lot with his brother and his sister-in-law about the Gospel, so he really knows a lot already. For his baptismal date, we offered the 21st of May but he asked for the 14th! It's his birthday and he liked the idea of being reborn on the day he was born. We (Moise, us, his family) were super excited and started preparing the program. But then on Friday night, Soeur Rooarii and I realized that he would need a baptismal interview with President Granger, not just with our district leader. That was a big down because we knew there would be no way to be able to arrange the interview and everything and still be able to announce the baptism on Sunday. But Moise is so humble and willing to accept the will of the Lord that he's okay to wait to be baptized if he needs to. So we're pushing the date back and it was actually arranged that he'd have his interview with President Thursday night over the phone with our district leader there to translate. This week, we learned a lot about accepting the Lord's will even if we have righteous desires in our prayers. God knows what's best for us a lot more than we do! But yeah, everything with Moise this week added to our roller coaster of emotions! 

Sorry about Skype... but don't worry I will let you know when I can do it. We haven't been able to find anywhere to do it yet! We have two members who offered, but we need to arrange it with them first. At  this rate I think it'll be next week or the week after... I will email next week and (hopefully) be able to tell y'all when. Everyone here uses tablets and Skype because it's free. It's just that we need to arrange it.

Je vous aime tous! Sorry my email isn't super long but it's kinda hard to write a lot sometimes!

Passez une bonne semaine!

Soeur Matheson

Here's some pics of our apartment to make you happy.

[We have] 3 beds because STLs sometimes have to keep other sisters during the transfers. No AC but we have a fan. Actually, it's been a lot cooler and rainier, so it's not bad.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

3 May 2016 - Week 25: Opposition in all things

Bonjour tout le monde!

Just to let y'all know, I totally started typing an email that was awesome, but then it disappeared and I have no idea where it went. So now my email is going to be lamer and shorter than I wanted it to be! Sorry!

Hey guess what! Today is my 6 month mark! Only one year left! WHAT. Time flies!

To explain the subject line, this week was a little discouraging because we didn't end up getting to have lessons with ANY of our progressing amis. WHAT A BUMMER!! We started the week off with high hopes and lots of faith, but then they kept cancelling everything! We just had to keep telling ourselves "opposition in all things!" The bright spot of the week was that we taught our new ami Moise and he's golden! He loves reading and studying and talking about the Gospel. He's had amazing experiences with answers to his prayers and he bore his testimony on Sunday TWICE! He's awesome and we're going to invite him to be baptized VERY SOON. 

On Monday, we had a soiree familiale [Family Home Evening] with la famille Ozoux which was awesome because they're from Vanuatu and speak English, French, and Bislama. The whole night they were pretty much speaking Franglais like I do, so I felt very comfortable, haha :)

Yesterday we had our zone meeting in Bourail! IT WAS AWESOME! Bourail is about 2 hours north of Koutio and I got to drive us up there! The drive was beautiful--super green and mountainous, but there were also some flat plains with cows all over. It was super fun to drive up there even though we'd get stuck behind huge, slow-moving camions [trucks] and I was not about to try passing them on those tiny winding roads. I had 5 people's lives in my hands! So sometimes it was slow going, but others, you can just go 110 km/hr and fly [about 68 mph]! Haha, don't worry, I'm a careful driver!

Our zone meeting was great! I love the north zone! It's like a family! And the trainings we had were great--working with inactives, contacting with the sondage, and the key indicators and how to record our stats. At the end, all 17 of us missionaries went out with the sondage and some Livres de Mormon and contacted! In about 20 minutes, we had found 9 people who were interested for the Bourail Elders to follow up with. Soeur Rooarii and I ended up with a coordonnee [referral] as well. Some of the missionaries found someone living in Koutio! Woo hoo!

After the meeting, we drove to the Baie des Tortues [Turtle Bay] and ate lunch and played a little at the beach! It was so beautiful That's where most of my pics are from this week. I love New Cal! I love the north!! I love my mission! And I love you all!

Ta ta! Bisous!
Soeur Matheson

Soeur Vogel and Soeur Matheson (photo from Sr. Vogel)