Thursday, March 23, 2017

22 March 2017 - Animals Love Us Here!

Bonjour tout le monde!

So this week I felt like we saw a billion animals! There are dogs everywhere that bark at us, we've had two cats come up to our apartment door to play, there are the horses out in the fields, little fish in the tiny river, and a little pony in Savannah that you can go up and pet! SO many animals! And on Friday, we were walking home from Savannah and all of a sudden this super cute (and surprisingly super clean) golden retriever comes up to us out of nowhere and then follows us ALL THE WAY HOME. We tried to chase it away once we were leaving the neighborhood, but she wouldn't leave us. She followed us through the neighborhood, across the freeway, through the industrial zone, and all the way to our apartment. It was raining and she got all wet and muddy and she kept going into the road. It was a stressful walk home trying to keep this dog from dying as it was following us. And we felt bad about "stealing" someone's dog, so we went to the Voisin's house and asked Frere Voisin to put up a notice online that we found this dog. Then, we couldn't keep or babysit this dog, so we just went into the apartment and let it run around outside. Then one of the gendarmes that live in our building saw her and took her to the vet. We actually saw the dog again on Monday in Savannah! She came running up to us again but luckily her owner saw her get out of the gate and came over. The dog's name is Nala, but we'd been calling it Lassie, haha. At least we know she's safe and sound at home now!

So this week, we decided that we're tired to always being in the same places everyday. We're usually in Nogouta, which is the neighborhood where our apartment is, or in Gadji, the area just around our neighborhood. We didn't want to go to 3 Vallees, so we decided we'd walk to Savannah. We don't really ride our bikes because it hurts and it takes 10x more energy to ride than to walk. So we left the house early on Friday and on Monday and walked 2 hours to Savannah. It's long, but it's so worth it. There's potential in the apartments and small villas over there! Plus, missionaries haven't really contacted in Savannah in years, so it's not overdone. On Friday, we met a Tahitian lady named Maeva who actually has family in Tahiti and here that are members. She says she's baptized Protestant and confirmed (not baptized) Catholic. She let us in a gave us some apple juice and we were just talking and introducing the Book of Mormon and then she said, "Something's telling me I need to read this book. I'm gonna take it!" WOW. We gladly gave her a copy and she's going to read and we're going to come back and talk about it with her. It's just amazing that she was already feeling and listening to the Spirit. It was a great experience and we're praying that she'll be an elect! 

Then on Monday, we were porte-a-porte-ing [knocking on doors] and not having much success, but then we met this Wallisian family. It's a younger couple with 3 kids. They're Catholic, but have family who are members, too! They're not practicing really, but when they saw that our nametags say Jesus Christ, they let us in immediately (they're tired of all of the Jehovah's Witnesses that come by.) We sat and talked with them for a hour and a half! They had so many great questions and both of them are really interested! We gave them a Book of Mormon and we're going to go back again! SO EXCITING! It was definitely a miracle and I'm excited for all this potential in Savannah :) So yeah, the walk is long, but it's SO worth it! Plus, in Savannah there's always a nice breeze coming off the ocean near by. It's glorious. 

It's been good here in Paita/Dumbea. It's hard sometimes but that makes us appreciate the little miracles that Heavenly Father sends us every day. 

Donc, voila quoi! That's my week! I hope y'all have a great week!!!

Je vous aime!

Soeur Matheson

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

14 March 2017 – La vie est belle!

Bonjour famille!!

I'm really sorry but this email is gonna be short. Nothing too exciting happened this week....

We went out contacting every day comme d'hab [as usual] but no one wanted to talk to us. We tried going up to Trois Vallees, this nicer neighborhood in our area just to see what it was like. It's full of French and Caldoche people who were not very interested in hearing the Gospel (or very nice about telling us "no"). We met and talked to a few other nicer people in Nogouta, but they were either Protestant or Catholic and not interested at all.

It's been a little rough contacting-wise this week and even harder to get the contacts we do have to turn into actual amis [investigators]. We have this contact named Kathy who has been in a lesson or two with the soeurs in Magenta with their ami and apparently she knows it's all true, but we've never met her. She's cancelled the rendez-vous [appointment] every time. She told us she'd come to church on Sunday, but she didn't. We're praying every day that we can see her enfin [finally] and we're keeping up hope! It's a little like that with a few other contacts, too.

On Monday, we decided to try riding our bikes to Savannah, a part of our secteur that's pretty far away. It was hot and a lot harder than we thought it'd be, so we ended up feeling a little sick and sat in the grass for a break. We didn't get to do much in Savannah while we were there, but we definitely want to try again, probably in the morning when it's cooler. I also just need to get used to riding a bike 'cause ca fait mal [it hurts]! haha

Our converti recent Simon has pretty much fallen off the wagon completely. He's drinking and smoking again and has only come to church once since his baptism. Simon got baptized too fast, but he was the one who set the date and wanted it, so the soeurs here before just did their best to prepare him, but now he's not doing too well. He thinks he's doing fine, but he really just doesn't have a testimony or understand the covenant he made. We need to help him gain a testimony and also to have friends at church to help him stay on the path. Moise is coming to our lesson with him tomorrow, and I hope it'll help!

The good news is that the members in our area are super duper nice and feed us and always offer their help--to give us rides places and to come work with us. We also had a really great coin de feu missionnaire [missionary fireside] on Sunday night. The Spirit was really strong and the members were really motivated to do missionary work. We gave them all Books of Mormon to give out and they're excited. The Dumbea ward is really great—all the leaders and auxiliaries are awesome, and I know the work will pick up more and more with all the hard work that everyone is doing.

I know this email was kinda full of negative news, but I do want you to know that la vie est belle quand meme [life is beautiful all the same]! I love my mission. I love my companion. I love this area. I'm just working on patience and diligence. I know that Heavenly Father is there for me. He hears and answers my prayers, and He sends me the Spirit to comfort and encourage me. I know that this is the true Church on the earth. The gospel is true! The Book of Mormon is true! Life isn't easy, but it's A LOT easier when we have faith in Christ because He helps us through it all.

JE VOUS AIME! [I love you]
Bonne semaine! [have a good week]
Bisous! [kisses]

Soeur Matheson

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

8 March 2017 - Life in Paita

Bonjour ma famille!

So I probably did have the dengue, but now I'm feeling fine, so STOP WORRYING!! :)

This week was great (apart from la dengue.) We have worked (and walked) a lot in our secteur, doing a lot of contacting. We only really have one ami and a few potentials, so we do a lot of contacting. It doesn't always lead to new amis because people don't want us to come back, but we've still had some good experiences. Yesterday, we had literally nothing fixed, so we were out walking and contacting all day long, but we had 4 contacting lessons and gave away two Books of Mormon. Small successes, but we felt good about it. Plus, we're gonna lose a lot of weight, hahaha. Bonus!

 The other day while contacting, we met this guy who said he was Mormon and knows that the Book of Mormon is true and that he was baptized and everything. We were excited because we thought we found an inactive (he was smoking...) but as we kept talking, he realized that he is definitely not a member of our church and I guess is part of a church or group that has mixed a bunch of religions (I was getting Catholic and Temoin Jehovah [Jehovah's Witness] vibes.) At moments like that when people are talking about a bunch of mixed up, confusing doctrine, I really try to pay attention to the Spirit. He wasn't there, but when I testified about prophets and the Restoration, He was there. The Spirit is always there to testify of truth! And my testimony of the plain and simple doctrine of the Gospel is strengthened every day as I teach and testify of it.

Paita is a beautiful secteur and I wish I could send the pictures! Yesterday, we contacted two horses and got some funny pics that I wish you could see. You'll just have to imagine me teaching two horses about the Book of Mormon, hehe :)

I love my area! I love Soeur Brown--she is THE BEST! I love my mission! AND I love you guys!!

Je vous aime tres fort!
Soeur Matheson

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

1 March 2017 - Goodbye Koutio, Hellooooo...... wait for it!


So there you have it! We got transfers and I am in the Paita/Dumbea secteur with Soeur Brown!! The area is technically just Paita, but now there's two areas in Paita so President called our area Paita/Dumbea, but we call it Nogouta 'cause that's the little neightborhood where our apartment is. So I'm no longer STL-- I served a good 11 months as STL and I'm grateful to have a change :) Paita is beautiful!! So green and more "bush" haha. Our apartment is super nice and is huge and has A/C. SO BLESSED. We're walking, but we have BIKES! (So Megan if you have any tips on riding a bike with a skirt on, that'd be much appreciated.) I haven't ridden my bike yet 'cause it's only been two days and the back tire is flat... But we'll get it fixed up and we'll ride! :) And we're also gonna see if there are buses we can take to the really far away places in our area. There's one part you can get to only by taking the freeway... At least, we don't know of any other roads that connect the two neighborhoods. But yeah, I'm super excited for this new adventure, and I'm excited to be with Soeur Brown. She's a new missionary and will keep me working hard to finish strong!  

On Saturday, an amie that I taught a little from Koutio before (now she's in Dumbea Sur Mer secteur) got baptized! She asked me to speak at her talk, so I gave a talk on baptism. I still get so nervous talking at church things. I think the thing I hate the most is the microphone, haha. But it turned out okay, and the best thing is that Sonia is finally baptized!! Today she came and brought Soeur Brown and me some food (because the members think we don't have any, but hey not complaining) and she's already such a great member and she's the best and I love her :) 

Oh yeah, and before I left Koutio, Soeur Davis and I taught our ami Leopold with a member, Soeur Nirua, who turns out to be his aunt! (slightly distant, but still related). It was such a great lesson and everything he says he believes is exactly the same as what we believe. He says he only believes in the Bible and that he'll stay Protestant forever, but last time he was like, "Hey, you never know... maybe I could change." So progress! We're just hoping that the Nirua family will really help him out and encourage him, because he'll progress and change a lot faster that way and he'll have friends at church already. 

Here in Paita, we have a couple of recent converts, one of which is Marie-Christine! Woo hoo! So happy to see her and how much she's progressed! :) We have one ami and lots of potentials that Soeur Fuller and Soeur Brown found and a couple inactives. There's only two active member families that live in our area, but both are awesome and invite us and offer to help us in the work, so that's awesome :) There's work to be done here and I'm excited! :)

Oh yeah, btw we can't send pics from these computers sooooo no pics for a while. SORRRYYYYYYYYY. 
That was pretty much my week! I hope you're all doing well! 
Tata nana bisous!

Soeur Matheson