Wednesday, November 30, 2016

30 November 2016 - Week # A Lot

I'm giving up on counting [weeks]! Right now it'd be easier to count down than to count up, so... we're just not gonna do that!

Anyway, BONJOUR! Ca va? J'espere que vous allez bien. J'ai beaucoup aime tous les emails que vous avez envoye! Merci!

Dad, I love that we have riding boats on our mission in common! But I think your boat ride was way more exciting than ours, haha. It was less than five minutes and President and Sister Granger were right there, so we had to be good! haha je blague! We'd never do anything crazy! Riding a boat was crazy enough!

I loved all the pics from Thanksgiving at Aunt Gail's! Everyone is still the same but also really different! The twins are so old now! Crazy!

Our Thanksgiving was non-existant, haha. It's not a thing here at all (obviously.) So we just did normal missionary work comme d'habitude. But we were on exchange with Robinson, so Soeur Hall and I were together for Thanksgiving. Haha, for dinner she had milo and sao (aka hot chocolate and crackers) and I had soupe (aka ramen :D) Very traditional Thanksgiving dinner!

Oh yeah, I already got my Christmas package! I think it got here just a week after you sent it! Now I have to wait a WHOLE MONTH to open it! This is really gonna be a test of my patience! I shoved it under my bed so I wouldn't be tempted!

Today we had our district activity (Soeur Caress' last!) We went up to Paita to this beach with an old abandoned boat that you can climb around in. It was a really fun day! And we got fresh strawberry milkshakes from the strawberry farm. Have I ever told you about the milkshakes here? They're really milky and liquidy, not creamy and thick. So it's kinda like flavored milk, but hey, it's better than nothing! But I am looking forward to a really good milkshake when I get home, hahaha. Anyway, our activity was super fun and I took lots of pics! #itriedbeingartsylikemegan But I'll send the pics of us and not just random parts of an old boat, haha :)

Henriette is so great and she's so ready to get baptized! She's been going around inviting everyone to her baptism. She's gonna be a great member missionary because she's gonna reactivate all the inactive members she knows, haha. One of them, Helene, is definitely coming to the baptism and to church the next day! (I actually think I already took you that but it's really exciting and I can't stop thinking about it!) Anyway, Henriette shared her testimony with us the other day because she's preparing what she wants to say at her baptism and our hearts melted. Hearing your amis bear testimony is the best thing ever! I can't wait until Saturday to see her get baptized!

We had a great soiree familiale with the Danguiny family last night! They're such a cute family and the Spirit is so strong in their home. And they had Christmas decorations up. It felt really home-y and nice. So even though I'm not there with you for the holidays, I still get to be with awesome families and feel the love :)

The work is going well. Lately a lot of our amis have been avoiding us, so most of the lessons we've been having have been with inactives. But it's great because they're progressing little by little and coming back!

We're busy this week and it's great! Things are going well and I'm learning a lot on my mission! I'm so grateful for this experience!

JE VOUS AIME TOUS!!!! Bonne semaine!!

Soeur Matheson

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

23 November 2016 – Week 55: Happy Thanksgiving!

Bonjour ma famille!

It's weird to think that it's Thanksgiving over there 'cuz here it's just getting hotter and hotter. Summer is coming! But, we did get some pretty awesome rain for a couple of days this week and it brought some cooler weather with it! I actually put on a sweater on Monday, haha! But now I think the rain is gone and the sun is here to stay. 

This week we have some GREAT news! Henriette IS getting baptized on the 3rd! Her son isn't ready yet but he'll still taking the lessons with the elders. We don't want to force him or push him too fast. But Henriette is SO READY and she'll stay strong. Plus, she's already a good member missionary because she knows a lot of inactives and she's going to invite them all to her baptism! She's actually pretty good friends with our inactive Helene and she encourages her to come back and she invited her to her baptism and she's coming! That's awesome progress! 

Otherwise, this week has been pretty chill. We had an exchange with the Yahoue sisters. I was with Soeur Decady in Magenta. Soeur Decady is from Canada but she's part Haitian part Mexican and speaks English, French, and Spanish fluently. She's really chill and fun to be around. Sadly, all the lessons we were going to have cancelled, but we did have a good time talking with Frere Kelekele, an older member who's partially deaf and LOVES to talk about the gospel and his life growing up. Sometimes he repeats himself, but that's part of why we love him, haha. He's like a grandpa away from home :)

Sunday was stake conference and they created the new ward, la paroisse de Dumbea [the Dumbea Ward]. It's great to see the growth and progression of the stake here. But with the ward changes, there'll be changes in the secteur boundaries, so with the transfer, we'll see how that goes. 

It's Soeur Caress' last couple of weeks, so a lot of stuff we're doing is her last time. Haha, she's kind of freaking out and I can't even believe that that'll be me in not too much time. I'm just going to profiter du temps qui me reste en mission! [enjoy the time I have on my mission]

That's all for this week! I hope you all have a fantastic thanksgiving and you all stay safe!!


Soeur Matheson

Thursday, November 17, 2016

16 November 2016 - Week 54


Sorry I didn't email last week. Cyberbase was closed. I am sending pics of the letter I wrote about last week.

For this week, things were back to normal missionary life! There was Armistice day, so with that being a holiday, it was a little hard to work 'cuz everyone cancels their lessons and doesn't want to be bothered... BUT that's okay! We tried quand meme [all the same]!

For the first time EVER during my mission, I FORGOT TO PUT ON MY PLAQUE on Saturday. I didn't even realize until 5 in the evening... Ca fait honte!!

Our amie Henriette is ready for baptism, but now she wants to wait for her son to be baptized with her. He doesn't want to take the lessons from us (he's 14 and shy) so we got permission for the elders to teach him, and now we're praying for a baptism on December 3rd for the both of them!

MIRACLE! An inactive member that we had lost contact with--the Samoan guy named Hans-- came to church on Sunday out of the blue! We had a lesson with him after church, and he felt really bad for not responding to us and for not coming any more. He wants to change, he's just in a hard situation with his family. But we're so happy he came back and he's accepting help!

Yesterday, we had our zone meeting. We were talking about doing the little things to be elite missionaries (basically keeping all the rules and then going above and beyond that.) We had this idea to play Jenga to demonstrate it. We found this giant Jenga set and we wrote the rules and other things missionaries do on each block, and as we played we had all the missionaries explain why it's elite. When it fell, we talked about how if we don't do these things, we're not stable or effective, but we can repent and change. It was a really great training and the missionaries loved it! :)

Today for our P-Day activity we were supposed to have a BBQ on the beach at Nouville but it was raining so we just went to the chapel and played ping pong and had fun. :)

So that's my week! Hope y'all had and will have a great one!
BISOUS [kisses]

Soeur Matheson

PS – Aaaaaannnndddd about Skype... we're not going to be Skyping anymore. Just phone calls! New Cal is the only part of the mission that Skypes, and we're making it equal throughout the mission. So the way it'll be is that I'll give you my phone number, and you will call me either on Christmas Eve or Christmas, but we can decide that more specifically when it gets closer.

9 November 2016 - Week 53

Bonjour famille!

I just got back from Vanuatu this morning. It was numbawan! That means “good” or “great” or “awesome” in Bislama. And that’s about the extent of my knowledge of Bislama at the moment. Except, I know that “swim” means to shower, so you can say you’re gonna take a swim or go swim, but you’re really just showering.

But before I get into the Vanuatu trip, I want to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Megan! I can’t believe that you’re 23!! But I love you and miss you and hope you have a great day!

Also, our amie Henritte came to a soiree familiale and to church on Sunday, so as of right now things look good for her baptism on the 26th!! Woo hoo!!

We left for Vanuatu on Sunday afternoon right after church. The plane ride was SO bumpy because of the turbulence and, comme d’habitude [like usual], I barfed. BUT it was another stealthy ninja barf and the elder sitting next to me didn’t even realize I was throwing up. That’s skill. The funny thing was I was feeling motion sick on the plane, and so I said a prayer to feel better--et voila, I barfed. And I usually feel better just after throwing up, so I think it was an answer to prayer. So even though y’all probably didn’t want to know all that, I shared it because it was still a spiritual experience, quand meme [all the same]. God answers our prayers even if it’s not in the way we expect or necessarily want, ha ha.

Anyway, we got to Vanuatu and stayed the night with all of the other STLs again. One thing I love about MLC [Mission Leadership Conference] is getting to meet and interact with the missionaries from Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands. The STLs are super nice—they’re numbawan, ha ha!

Monday morning, we decided to go into town, so we jumped on a bus. We ate a breakfast of Vanuatu sweet bread and bananas, all of which only cost 220 vatu total, so about $2. It’s crazy to be able to buy a whole bunch of bananas for just one dollar! We did some shopping too. I bought a pair of probably fake Ray Ban sunglasses for $4 because “our future is so bright that we gotta wear shades!” Plus, we’re allowed to wear sunglasses out here and it’s summer again, so I need them!

At the beginning of MLC, we talked about having more faith and how to be better leaders. It’s all about example and service! Then for lunch we went to a resort restaurant on AN ISLAND! We took A BOAT to Irinki Island and had a delicious lunch. Who else can say they rode on a boat during their mission? It was so fun!

After lunch, we counseled together about the needs of the zones and the improvements we can make. Now we just need to train the missionaries and we’ll have more miracles! Oh yeah, throughout the mission for the month of October, we had 197 baptisms! That’s numbawan!

We did some team-building activities after that. My group was really good at solving the human knot, and Soeur Caress and I did pretty well at the egg toss, ha ha. Then we all played ultimate Frisbee together. Soeur Caress would always try to confuse and distract the other team by yelling the name of whoever had the Frisbee to get them to throw it to her. And one time it actually worked! She called out the elder’s name and he was like “okay, cool,” and threw it to her. She was surprised at first, but then took the opportunity and threw it to me, and then I to another sister. We scored a point just like that, and all the other missionaries were like, “What just happened?” ha ha.

The next day we were at the mission home all day going over housekeeping things—emergency preparedness, plans for Christmas and progress records. We also talked about the goal for next year to flood the mission with the Book of Mormon and really focusing on conversion because of a testimony of the Book of Mormon. That night, we had a musical fireside and we all sang hymns and other songs. Soeur Granger let us watch some Vocal Point and Noteworthy music videos, ha ha. [These are BYU male and female performance choirs.]

But all good things must come to an end. We flew back to New Cal this morning without any problems. We’re just taking it easy today and napping (we got up at 4:30 this morning!) and also enjoying the New Cal weather. It’s so much more humid in Vanuatu—you can literally see it! So yeah, I’m appreciating the weather here more, ha ha.

When we got back to the bureau [office], I had a package waiting for me from Grandma and Grandpa Matheson. THANK YOU SO MUCH! I LOVE YOU!

After our exciting trip, it’s back to normal missionary life! I need to make the most of the time I have left. I can’t believe it’s already been a year, but looking back I see that I’ve learned and grown a lot. I love being a missionary and I know this Gospel is true. I know God lives and loves us. I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior. I know that Joseph Smith was the prophet of the Restoration and that we have a prophet today who leads and guides us through Priesthood keys, authority, and revelation. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. It is the word of God. It contains the simple truths of the Gospel that brings us true happiness and joy, and leads us to life eternal with God and our families. Au nom de Jesus-Christ, Amen. [In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.]

Je vous aime! Bonne semaine!

Soeur Matheson