Wednesday, April 26, 2017

26 April 2017 - "C'est pour ca que je suis reconnaissante!"

Bonjour tout le monde!

Soeur Brown is working on her French and she's getting a lot better. Mais [But] she said "That's why I'm grateful!" instead of "I'm grateful for that!" Haha. This week we've had several petit miracles that have made us think "c'est pour ca que je suis reconnaissante!" [That’s why I’m grateful!].
The BIG miracles for this week are that 1) we finally have a new ami [investigator] named Maeva in Savannah. She's Protestant and Catholic but she loves talking about religion and is interested in the Book or Mormon. Donc voila c'est cool! And miracle 2) WE SAW SIMON YESTERDAY! Miracle miracle miracle! He's our recent convert that fell off the map but now he's back on and he wants to come back, just petit a petit. We had a good lesson with him last night and he has so much faith, but he still holds on to the Catholic religion, which makes sense because that's like, his life. So we're going to work with him and just support him. We're gonna see him tomorrow, too, so another miracle! 
This week things are just looking up a LOT. Potential amis are becoming amis, we're seeing our recent converts, we're working on our inactives little by little. We even successfully took the bus to and from Savannah (honestly that's a miracle too, haha.) The past couple of weeks we were just pushing through, just trying to work and be obedient, and now we are receiving the blessings of our diligence. 
Fun things from this week:
1) We gave out 2 Books of Mormon in Trois Vallees, the nicer, richer neighborhood, to some women who seem interested in learning about our Church. So miracle!
2) We got to go with some Relief Society sisters to see an old mami in a retirement home who is 94 years old! Crazy! But she still is super coherent and has a great memory. She loves joking and laughing, and it was a fun little visit. 
3) I ate the best thing ever this week: croque monsieurs. But not just your average everyday croque monsieur. It's so much more glorious. Soeur Brown and I are figuring out how to make them (there's a secret to it) and maybe I'll make y'all some when I get home!
Oh yeah, last P-day we went to that little hidden river we found and had a little adventure. We explored it a bit and then went back to the concrete slab and played Uno and Speed. (I won, and Soeur Brown is bitter hahaha.) We're probably gonna go back again today and maybe she'll finally beat me. 
OH YEAH before I forget! Marie-Christine, our lovely recent convert and fellow missionary (she calls herself Soeur Bouanaoue sometimes) IS GOING TO THE TEMPLE IN JANUARY!! Woo hoo! She's going with the stake to New Zealand and I am so happy for her! 
So that's our week! I hope you all had a great week and that you'll all email me next week! hahaha je blague but seriously people you only have 3 more weeks. You can't miss the amazing once in a lifetime opportunity to send an email to somebody in New Cal :) tee hee

Soeur Matheson

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

19 April 2017 - Joyeuses Paques!

Bonjour tout le monde!

I hope you all had a great Easter! I love getting to share the message of Easter, of Jesus Christ and His atonement, with the people here! I feel a huge amount of gratitude for my Savior and for the Gospel. I know it's true!!

This week was actually pretty slow. It was the end of the two weeks of school vacation and it was Easter weekend, so people were just in vacation/party mode a lot of the time. But we still had a good week and feel the hand of the Lord in this work.

On Saturday, we'd been out all day trying to contact, but no one was out and no one wanted to talk. We were pretty discouraged and it was the end of the day. We could've just gone home but we decided to try one more building in Nogouta. Each building has 3 apartments in it, so 3 doors to knock and 3 potential contacts! We walked around a bit trying to decide on the building we should do and then I saw one and said we should do it. Soeur Brown was thinking the same thing. So the Spirit was guiding us for sure! 

We go to the middle door because it's open (always do the open doors first, haha) and a lady and her kids came out and we introduced the Book of Mormon, and they were super nice and accepted to read it! We'll just have to follow up on that in a little bit :) 

Then, feelin' really good and motivated, we go to the door on the right and this Kanak man opens the door. He wasn't super duper interested, but he accepted a Book of Mormon, and what I always say is that it's better that the book is with them rather than with us. You never know who will read it eventually! So that was good. 

Then we go to the door on the left and a Caledonienne opens the door saying they're in mourning and were about to go to Easter mass. Soeur Brown didn't understand the mourning part, so she was just like, "Can we just leave you with the Book of Mormon before you go?" and I was like, "The Book of Mormon brings us the comfort and peace we need in difficult moments. Jesus Christ knows and loves you and you'll feels His love as you read it." Then the lady said, "I definitely need that!" and accepted the Book of Mormon. Follow-up next week! 

It was a really cool experience. Heavenly Father sent us to that building to help those people, but he also sent us there to show us that He cares about us and wants us to be happy in the work. Afterwards, I was so overwhelmed with the feeling of His love that I cried. It was definitely a miracle for us, and we are so grateful to have experienced that.

Other than contacting, we haven't had any opportunities to serve after the cyclone. People just cleaned up fast and are picking up where they left off. Marie-Christine was telling us her cyclone story, and she was saying that she was making all of her kids (her grown up kids that live with her) be quiet because there's a person in the cyclone and you can't make him mad or call him over to you, haha. She said they were making fun of her and, honestly, when she was telling the story she got pretty worked up and serious about it and it was hard for us not to laugh, too. Haha, we love Marie-Christine. She's our favorite :)

As we're out contacting, we explore the secteur, too. Yesterday while we were on the Dumbea side of our secteur, we found a staircase leading down to the river that follows along the main road. The staircase ends in a big concrete slab, so today we're going to go down and have a little picnic and explore the river. Je profite des P-days qui me restent! [I'm taking advantage of the P-days that I have left!]

Well, voila quoi. C'est la semaine! [That's the week!] I hope y'all have had a good week and a great Easter!

Je vous aime!!!!

Soeur Matheson

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

12 April 2017 - It's a cyclone!!!

Bonjour family!!

NOTE: The keyboqrd zonùt chqnge to English so yùqll qre gonnq hqve to deql zith so,e spelling ,istqkes todqy::::

DONC, le cyclone.

Je suis saine et sauve après the cyclone! Ne vous inquiétez pas!! [I am safe and sound after the cyclone! Don't worry!!]

They told us about it on Sunday morning and let us go to the store and fill up gas and stuff if we needed it. (President Granger authorized it. That's a blague [joke] in the mission haha.) Anyway, Soeur Brown and I didn't need anything because we're always prepared, so we were calm. General conference was AWESOME and I loved alllll the talks. So we profité-d de [benefitted from] being with other people for the weekend because we knew that once we got home, we'd be trapped in the apartment for 2 days. It was actually really cool because the night before the storm, there was a SUPER beautiful sunset. My pictures (yes, I took pictures) don't do it justice. It was like the beautiful calm before the storm.

Monday it rained alllll day and got progressively more stormy and windy as the day went on. By 6pm, it was full-on cyclone and our power went out. Our apartment is really secure, and we weren't really scared. We just had to amuse ourselves in the dark, hahah. We may or may not have stuck our flashlights in our buns and had a party. [I think she means hair buns.] Hehe! Yeah, we have lots of dumb videos of us amusing ourselves during the cyclone.

It was kinda hard to sleep that night because it was the worst part of it. We could hear the crazy wind blowing the trees around and were just worried that a tree would end up on our balcony. But when we woke up that morning, the sky was sunny and bright and there was even a DOUBLE RAINBOW ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE SKY! Yeaahhh! It was really pretty. There were just leaves that blew up onto our walkway and balcony, but around our building there were whole trees that blew down. Most of the damage I've seen is just broken trees, but I guess the Magenta chapel was damaged. But that's literally right across from the ocean so kinda expected. Everyone here is so casual about it though. Outside just until it hit and then just went to cleaning right up the morning after. Like, no big deal, haha. Yeah, we have power back and the only problem now is that we can't drink the tap water just in case. (We boil it.) But now that we can leave the house we're going to look for people to help and serve! Oh yeah, all the members were super nice and kept calling us to see if we were okay. Love la paroisse [the ward].

In other exciting news, for my last transfer, I'll be staying in Paita/Dumbea with Soeur Brown! Woo hoo! :)

So yeah, that's my week! Transfers, general conference, and le cyclone!!! Haha

Thanks for thinking about me and all of us here on the Caillou :) Your prayers and support really mean a lot to all of us, but especially to me hehe :)

Je vous aime! Stop worrying! Hope you have a great week!!

Soeur Matheson

Les soeurs at conference generale (photo credit: Rachel Guidi)

Missionaries watching General Conference (photo credit: Rachel Guidi)

Damage to ceiling and roof of Magenta Chapel

Roof of Magenta Chapel

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

5 April 2017 - Trying New Things

Bonjour tout le monde!

So this week we decided to try new things to get the work going! First of all, we firgured out the bus coming home from Savannah, so that was exciting. Now we just need to figure it out going to Savannah 'cuz the stops are different. So successfully took the bus and saved lots of walking :)

We also decided to make posters and invitations to General Conference this weekend ('cuz we get it a week after all of you.) We had the idea Monday night and then yesterday we made them. This morning we put up posters and signs and little cards with the times at the bus stops and lightposts in our area. So we'll see how that goes! The goal is to work smarter, not just harder, haha.
We had a few little sad moments with potential amis who were interested before completely rejecting us when we called back to see them again. But that's part of the job, and we can't become like Christ if we don't understand rejection like He faced.
But good news! The couple we found in Savannah are still willing to see us! The wife is back from Wallis and we called yesterday and set an appointment for Thursday morning. Then we called Soeur Haumani, one of the members in our secteur, to ask her to come with us and she said yes. So very excited for that lesson! Pray for it to go well!
Also, a miracle is that we saw an inactive sister, Soeur Faua, on Saturday morning. We were just gonna go out contacting and we were going to go to one street, but then we felt prompted to go to another. On the way, we pass by her house and she's home! (She's NEVER home!) And she even said, "I knew y'all were gonna come by this morning!" We had a good little lesson with her, and we were just very grateful to have been guided to see her even though that wasn't our original plan.
We also had a really good lesson with Maleko, our recent convert. He's still smoking, and we needed to talk to him about that and taking the Sacrament. It was a bit of a battle because he was avoiding the topic and kept going off on other topics, but I kept bringing it back to the Word of Wisdom. In the end we helped him understand the importance of the Sacrament and of not smoking and taking the Sacrament. He understands, and for me that was a good lesson on being bold because this is about his salvation. We can't be afraid to say what needs to be said.
Donc, voila quoi! That's been life in Paita/Dumbea. We excited to hopefully get some amis de l'Eglise and to see general conference this weekend! And today for our district activity we're going to hike Chapeau Gendarme, so wish us luck!!
JE VOUS AIME! Bonne semain!
tata nana bisous!
Soeur Matheson

Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you that on Sunday there were these Australian tourists from the cruise ship that came in. They came to church during their cruise, haha! Anyway, I got to translate for the dad, and it was just a really good experience to be able to serve. Also, all the members thought they were my family... Just 'cuz I was sitting with them, and I guess I kinda look like them.

28 March 2017 – Life is Good!

Bonjour tout le monde!
So I got my itinerary! Mark your calendars for May 24th! haha
This week was kinda slow but still a good week. 
On Thursday we were porte-a-porte-ing and found a great potential amie named Adrienne. We introduced the Book of Mormon and she was like, "What can you say to convince me that it's true?" And we were like, "Nothing!" haha "Only the Spirit can convince you. It's all up to you to read and pray about it." She said she would and we're going back tomorrow! :)
We got to see Marie-Christine too! So fun to see recent converts progressing! She testified about the blessings of paying tithing and it was was just another really great testimony builder to see how the Gospel changes us and blesses our lives. It's all true!
Saturday morning, we did a service project at Michele Tetuira's parents' house with the other missionaries. We were "debrousse-ing" aka doing major yardwork. Trimming trees and bushes that were blocking their view. And using machetes to do it! YEAH it was awesome! Got some battle scars from some thorns and a blister from the rake, but it was a good days work, haha.
Monday we decided we need to change things up a bit, so we made some cookies and took them to our recent converts and inactive in the neighborhood. Our recent convert Simon is pretty much MIA right now and we're hoping maybe some cookies and a note from Jesus himself will bring him back, haha. I finally got to meet our inactive Caroline, so that's good. She's really busy all the time and isn't quite ready to come back yet, but I'm glad to have met her and done a little something to remind her that we're here for her.
Yesterday we had zone conference! First time in a year that I haven't been in charge and it was SO NICE. I sat in the back just 'cuz I could, haha. It was a really good zone conference! Very motivating and full of the Spirit! Soeur Brown and I are ready to kick some butt in Paita/ Dumbea and have 2 miracle baptisms! That's the goal!
So life is good! I hope y'all are doing well! JE VOUS AIME! 
Tata bisous!

Soeur Matheson