Tuesday, June 28, 2016

June 29, 2016 - Week 33: 23 Lessons!!!


This week was BUSY but AWESOME because we had 23 lessons!!!! We finally met our goal to have 20 lessons in a week!! We were constantly going going going and now we're tired, haha, but very satisfied!

Thursday, we had 7 lessons! Remember last week when I was talking about our exchange with Paita and how Soeur Vogel and I had 7 lessons in 24 hours? Well, we did it, too! We had lessons from 9:30 am all the way to 9:00 pm! And on Friday, even though we didn't have anything scheduled, we went out to do the sondage and have some lessons while doing that! One of the dudes that we talked to was joking about how he wanted to marry me... Awkward... He was saying that if he joined our church and received revelation that I had to marry him, then I would have to marry him. But then I said that I would have to receive the same revelation, hahaha. Fun times while contacting!

This week we were often prompted to go visit inactive members at the exact moment when they were willing and had time to receive us. MIRACLES! We ended up seeing 4 inactives just because we were following the Spirit, who was guiding us to know who to go see and when. At one point, we had decided to go see one family, but on the way there, I felt impressed that we should go visit a different inactive member first. So we went there first, and there he was outside his house fixing his car. We were talking to him, and then it just turned into a lesson! This inactive member is an RM [returned missionary] and his wife and kids are active, but he has a hard him coming back to church. He knows EVERYTHING about the Gospel but has a hard time applying it to his life. We feel like we can push him more than other inactives because he knows why we're there (he was in our position as a missionary before, doing the same thing!). We have faith that he'll come back eventually. It'll take some time and some humbling on his part, but we keep the faith!

OH YEAH! Marie-Christine is definitely getting baptized July 9th!! She had her interview and everything is good to go! It's been really helpful that she took time off work so we could have more lessons. We saw her 4 times last week and we'll see her 4 more times this week and then she starts work again, but she's totally ready to get baptized. I'm so happy and excited for her! :)

Saturday, Moise went fishing with some other Anciens (that's Elders as in the Elders quorum) and he caught this GIGANTIC fish that's as big as the two little Tetuira girls, haha. And he gave it to us! His brother cleaned it and cut it into fillets and now we have tons of fish. We actually shared some with the Elders, though, because the new Elders of Dumbea Nord got here Sunday and they didn't have any food. We really felt like the moms because we just kept offering more and more food, haha. Sharing is caring, everybody. Remember that!

I just want to let you all know once again that I know that the Gospel is true. Every day my testimony is strengthened by the experiences I have. I love being here in Koutio with Soeur Rooarii because we have seen miracles here! 

Je vous aime tous! Passez une tres bonne semaine! [I love you all! Have a good week!]

Soeur Matheson :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

22 June 2016 - Week 32: We're district leaders!

Bonjour tout le monde!!

Haha, to explain the subject line: We had the transfer a week early, and for the past week and this week we've been waiting for the new missionaries to arrive. Because our district leader left and our new one is coming from Vanuatu on Friday, Soeur Rooarii and I are the "district leaders" for our district until then. Haha, all we do is send the zone leaders our stats at the end of the week, but it's still fun to say that we're district leaders :) Two sister and three elders are arriving on Friday.

We had a great week! First of all, we almost reached our goal to have 20 lessons in a week--we had 17! Woo hoo!

We had an exchange with Paita this week and I got to go to Paita with Soeur Vogel! Reunited enfin!! I had a blast because there's lots to do in Paita. There's always a lesson planned or an inactive member to visit. We were busy the whole day, and we had 7 lessons together. In 24 hours! That's almost half the number we usually have in Koutio in a week. In Paita, they can easily have more than 20 lessons, and they do! The cool thing is that the members work a lot with the missionaries there because it's a small ward. And they invite the missionaries to eat a lot but also invite the amis or inactive members they know, so that's awesome. But yeah, I loved getting to experience another secteur in the mission. I'm lucky as an STL because I have the chance to go to multiple secteurs when we do exchanges :)

Other good news! We found an inactive member on Friday! We'd actually gone over there to find a different person (an inactive sister) but it turns out she doesn't live there anymore, but this other inactive member does! Little miracles! We invited him to Church, but he didn't come. But hey! At least we found one of the lost sheep, and we'll work on bringing him back to the fold!

And another cool thing is that we FINALLY met and taught Steve, an ami [investigator] who'd had a baptismal date for March that the sisters before us had been teaching. When we got to Koutio, we could never get into contact with him. It turns out he was in Lifou. Now he's back and STILL hard to get into contact with because he doesn't have his own phone... But he likes to balade [ride] everywhere around Nouméa and he's actually contacted us through other missionaries in other secteurs that he'd run into, like Ouemo and Robinson. Awkward... But we finally met him on Sunday, and he really wants to get baptized! We're excited for him and ready to help him learn the Gospel and make the necessary changes in his life so that he'll be ready.

Other than that, things are going well here in Koutio, and I'm loving my mission! We still have the baptism of Marie-Christine set up for July 9th and the cool thing is that she took two weeks off work just so we could have more lessons and so she can take the time to really prepare herself by reading and studying the Book of Mormon and the brochures. We're totally taking advantage of that, and we have several lessons scheduled with her this week! I just want to let you all know that I know the Gospel is true and there are still miracles today!

“And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles.” (Mormon 9:19)

Soeur Matheson

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

15 June 2016 - Week 31: There can be miracles when you believe! (and when you work for them!)

BONJOUR tout le monde!

It's been a while!! Last week, the cyberbase [internet cafe] was closed! Dommage! It's because it's les vacances. Here, there's like 5 weeks of school and then 2 weeks of vacation. I don't know why... Anyway! Lots of news and not a lot of time, but I'll try to get all the important parts in!

First of all, MOISE WAS BAPTIZED!! It was a glorious day and, even though nothing on the program went as planned and all the talks and even the priesthood holder who baptized him changed last minute because his brother was really sick, the baptism was awesome and the Spirit was there! Since his baptism and confirmation, Moise is a rock star and has already had an experience of being prompted by the Spirit to do something and he did and he ended up meeting one of his other brothers who needs help. And now, he's starting to share the gospel with him! See? Rock star!

Last week we had an EPIC district activity because it was Elder Easton's last week, and we wanted to do everything! So we did! We started off the morning by hiking Chapeau Gendarme, the huge mountain that's really steep, so steep at some parts that there's chains they installed to help you climb! That was a really fun hike. Challenging, but fun! The hard part was going down, especially because it started raining on the way down, so I pretty much just slipped and slid all the way, haha. After that, we went and played laser tag at this place en ville [in the city]. Man, that was awesome and SO FUN! Plus, I wasn't a complete loser at it, either! But actually, if you ended up being the loser, they give you a free coupon to come back again and "practice." Soeur Vogel won the free pass, haha :) And after laser tag, we went bowling and, sadly, I was the big loser at bowling. Too bad they don't give you a free pass to come back and practice! 

Chapeau Gendarme
Oh yeah, we actually already had the transfer! It was a surprise because it was early, but Soeur Rooarii and I are staying together in Koutio, and I'm happy about that! I love my companion, and I love my area!

We had several small, but amazing experiences this week with following the Spirit. There were times when we didn't know what to do, but we decided to not stay in the house, and just drive somewhere. And as we'd be driving, we'd receive impressions of who to go see. We were guided to see Soeur Bourgine, an inactive member who's starting to come back to church, and a lot of her kids and grandkids were there. Even though they didn't all participate in the lesson, she told us that just us being there and the Spirit that was there made an impression on them. She's praying that her kids, who are all inactive as well, will come back to church. And I think that with a little time, they will! 

Another experience that we had was that we were guided to the house of an ami that we hadn't been able to teach yet the whole time we've been in Koutio. We got there, and she was home and we scheduled a lesson. Now we've taught her twice, and it's awesome! She has so much faith and wants to change. 

Another experience was that we were guided to go to see if a member was home, to see if we could schedule an FHE with their family. She wasn't home, but her inactive husband, who we hadn't met yet, was! We talked with him a bit, and now I feel like we'll have more of a chance to teach him and his family. 

Yesterday, we had Sister Granger with us during a lesson (we had zone conference the past two days and part of it is that Sister and President Granger go out with the missionaries to see how the work is.) At the end of the lesson, Sister Granger was prompted to say something to our ami. Even though she doesn't even speak the language, she went ahead and said it in English, and I translated. Because she said what she did, our ami really felt the Spirit, and we were able to talk to her more about the Spirit and how to recognize it. It was a really great lesson, and I know it's because the Spirit was there and we were following the promptings we were receiving from the Spirit. 

During zone conference the past two days, we talked about how we can become a mission of miracles. That's through obedience, faith, hard work, achieving our goals, and never giving up. We talked a lot about the importance of the Spirit in the work, and of our testimonies of Jesus Christ, and the importance of remembering that we are literally representatives of Jesus Christ, and we have power and authority. It was a great conference, and I felt like I had been prepared for it based on the experiences I had the past couple of weeks. I know that this work is God's work. His hand is in all things. Something that President Granger shared yesterday was that the Spirit is the manifestation of God's hand, so anytime the Spirit is there, God is there. I really believe that we can become a mission of miracles by doing all the things President listed for us. 

I know that the Gospel is true. I know that God is our Heavenly Father, and that he is there and answers our prayers. I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that he lives! I know that Joseph Smith restored the Gospel on the earth by the power and authority of God. I know that Thomas S. Monson, our prophet, IS a prophet called and led by God to guide us today. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I do not doubt any of these things. I know them because the Spirit has testified of them to me. And that is my testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

My dear family and friends, je vous aime tous!! I think about you and pray for you all the time. And thank you for all of your prayers and support for me! I hope all of you have a great week!! Stay safe! Make good choices! :) :) :)

Soeur Matheson

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

31 May 2016 - Week 29: I ate fafaru!

Bonjour tout le monde!

Yes, this week, I tried fafaru! For those of you who don't know what that it, it's basically rotten fish with coconut milk... It REEKS! It smells like really old men and rotten eggs. It doesn't taste horrible (I wasn't gagging or anything), but it's definitely not my cup of tea. Soeur Rooarii, on the other hand, was in heaven. Ma'a Tahiti heaven! We were at an inactive's house this Sunday night and he made pretty much every type of Tahitian food you could think of: fafaru, poisson cru, poisson rouge, poulet, manioc, taro, rice, preto (manioc cake) and more! And he really makes it well! We're going again next Sunday, and I'm sure he's already preparing the meal, haha!

Ma'a Tahiti heaven!

On Monday, we went to Soeur Michele Tetuira's house and made poé! Poé banane et poé citrouelle, which is basically pumpkin. SO GOOD! And now I know how to make it and it's super easy so when I get home I can make y'all some! And I also learned that tapioca is manioc. I never knew what tapioca was but now I do. Fun facts!

Michele Tetuira

Poé banane et poé citrouelle

This week, we had a lesson with a new ami [investigator] named Louise! She's really interested, and I think she'll progress really quickly! And we have a potential ami that we're going to teach for the first time tomorrow, so I'm excited! Yay for new amis! 

This Saturday is the bapteme de Moise! Woo hoo! Look for pics of that next week! 

And now I can't think of anything else to say because I just Skyped with you and we talked about everything already... haha. I'm going to send this email and then another with more pics! 

I love you all and sorry my email is short! I kinda spent some time reading all your emails because I like hearing about your lives just as much as you like hearing about mine, haha!

Je vous aime! Bonne semaine! 
[I love you! Have a good week!]

Soeur Matheson

La famille Parau avec Sr. Tepo et Sr. Micheline
This is from our conference with the 70s last week. Missionaries looooveeee taking selfies :) And it helps when there's an abnormally tall elder there to be a natural selfie stick.
That's Snowy, one of the dogs at our house. This is how he sleeps...

Note: Laura says that there are several pit bulls on the property, but the dogs love the Sisters! She lives in a converted home with two apartments on the lower level and one larger one on the top. Their home, as most of the homes there, is surrounded by a wall. They have a washing machine in their bathroom to do laundry, which they then hang to dry.