Matt's scripture for the week

Therefore, … whosoever will come may come and partake of the waters of life freely;

Alma 42:27

Thursday, May 23, 2013

CF 5

Dear Family and friends,
This week has been good!

We have been really trying to find families in our area and this week we have done just that!  We had a whole day planned out to teach but when I reviewed it again and saw whom we had, I just got a feeling their part in reading, studying and praying, so it’ll be hard for to progress.  So I told my comp that we were going to go to a different part of our area where we or the other missionaries before us have ever worked in much. 

We went over to this ”new area” and every person that we met let us in their door and had a nice discussion with us. We got the chance to met a guy named Francisco and we were just going to start teaching him, when I heard someone and he said it was his wife (or... girl friend/live-in because no one here gets married) that was bathing, so we waited until she finished and came out.  To make a long story short, we had an awesome lesson with them and the best part is that they are interested!!!! Haha.  He asked us where the church is and when he could go.  So even though it’s something small it meant a lot to us! 
We were walking in the street last Thursday and we saw a member coming in our direction and so we stopped him and asked him who he thought that we should visit.  He lead us to a house that I would’ve never found.  There were 6 inactive members and 3 people that were investigating the church about 5 months ago, but had somehow fallen thru the cracks.   We had no idea that they were investigating!  We have visited them three times this week and their family wants to be reactivated and we´ll see what happens with the others that aren’t members!! That’s the importance of helping the missionaries!!! ha 
In our district meeting all I did was teach English. ha . We had a zone meeting with all of the missionaries in the Santiago area (about 90 in all).  I got a call two nights before telling me that all the Latino missionaries were going to be asked to share their testimonies in English! Ha. There are 6 that are Latinos in my district. So I had them write their testimonies in Spanish and I translated them into English.  Then the zone meeting 2 out of the 6 were asked to share their testimonies and they did it so, so well!!! It’s way cool.  

We are setting up a service project in the hospital here in Cien Fuegos.  We´ll be helping clean, and visiting with the patient! It should be fun!  

I love yall!!

misión santiago RD

Saturday, May 18, 2013

CF 4

Dear family and friends,                                                                       15 May 2013

Life is awesome!
I had a great time calling you guys and seeing the whole family! Thanks for trying to use skype to see me and sorry if it didn’t work very well. Mom I hope that you had a wonderful mother’s day!!!!!!  I love you!
I got a call on Tuesday right as we were about to leave and it was the office elders asking me if I could donate blood at the hospital. So I said yes and we went.  Even though we had a lot of people to teach, we went.  We rescheduled our appointments as we went into the city.   I was so, so nervous because I’ve never donated blood before and you know me and blood and guts!  But all in all, I’m glad we went.
When we arrived, there were three other people in line to donate for the same person, but they didn’t qualify because they had been drinking the day before, imagine that! Haha.  How would that be to get a transfusion of 1% or higher alcohol?  Wow!  So they chose me!
I didn’t know the process of giving blood.  Was this some nightmare of exsanguination where I would watch my life empty from me into a series of little bags?! !  Haha.  Well I guess in reality they didn’t suck that much out of me!  Anyway, even though I didn’t know what to expect, I just did what I was told.  I lay down on this contraption and they hooked me up to a machine that separates my blood into red cells, platelets, plasma and cryoprecipitate.  I was told that for every pint of my blood 3 people could be saved.  I laid there with two needles in my arm watching blood go in and out of my body for about an hour and a half ( I don’t remember being very happy about it, haha).  Anyway, the lady that needed the  plasma from my blood came in and sat next to me and thanked me so much for what I was doing ( that was immediate gratification seeing the person that I was helping).
After they finished sucking my blood and (I determined that I was still alive and had not become a zombie, haha), as we were leaving another lady stopped me to say thanks. I was a little unsure about why so I asked her and she told me to follow her.  She led us to where her daughter was.  There were 10 other kids lying in beds alongside her daughter, all with the same sickness.  It is some incurable disease that doesn’t allow them to produce their own blood.  So every day they have to buy blood to have transfused.  I found out that my donation saved them about 100 dollars, and it helped a little girl named Scarlet to be a little bit happier in her life.
But, after we walked into that room with the kids, I didn’t want to leave,  so we stayed there with the kids and their Moms for about 3 hours; coloring, talking and playing with them.  I absolutely loved it! I realized that sometimes we don’t think about (or even know) all that we can do for other people.  We stay within the same limits that we use to define us (our comfort zone) and we don’t stretch ourselves or progress much by doing something so scary but benign as giving blood.  I guess what I’m saying is that we look out for our own benefit, our own interests, time,  etc ., when without too much effort , we can do relatively simple things that will help others.  I can honestly say that when they were taking the blood out I felt so uncomfortable (you know me) and said to myself that I wasn’t going to do this ever again.  But “my eyes of understanding were opened”, and I realized what a difference this “sacrifice” made.  I’ll do it again, whenever they need it! I love living! haha
Service with a smile (albeit an apprehensive one) is so, so rewarding.  I learned a ton externally and internally about something I would never have considered doing before.
I love yall so, so much.  Thanks for being examples in my life and for helping me all the time!!!
misión santiago RD

                                                                         Christopher in Navarette

                                                         Elders being Elders in Navarette

Saturday, May 11, 2013

CF 3


So, DANNY GOT BAPTIZED!  His school teacher who’s a member baptized him! Ha.  I wish I could send you pictures of it but I can’t.  It was an awesome experience. He has been waiting for about a year and a half to be baptized and we were the ones that were able to help him do it!!!!  He was able to invite his mom and family to his baptism.  They all had so many questions about the church and baptism as well, so we got a chance to visit with and teach them. 

I don’t know what’s wrong here, but the family is just not united at all.  I always see the kids getting baptized and changing the course and direction of their lives for the better, after which their parents realize that they need to improve their lives also (instead of the parents taking the “come follow me role”). 

We have another young man who has like 17 years that we are teaching.  He’s so cool.   On p-day we always play baseball with him.  His situation is so hard in his family.  His parents don’t like the Mormon Church.  They are not supportive of him in anything, and his sisters are terrible to him.  But he is the coolest kid and wants so badly to do what God would have him do.  It’s just really hard for him. His name’s Junior and it would be good to keep him in your prayers!  

My comp and I are having fun meeting a lot of people and working hard.  I feel like I am training again.  Everyday my comp finds out something he didn’t know before.  I have been able to help him to be more respectful as a missionary and as a person. The gospel helps so, so much to change a person’s life and I’ve realized that a missionary is on his mission to change his own life and helps others or at least invites them to do the same.  

The Lord has always invited us (each and every person) and has never obligated anyone to do anything.  We have our agency and we have been instructed well enough to be able to decide for ourselves.  That is something that my comp didn’t know.  Maybe the Lord sent me here to help him to understand.

Christopher, THE self proclaimed ATHIEST IS GETTING BAPTIZED on SATURDAY!!!!  Remember the atheist that we started teaching about 2 months ago_ he is totally getting baptized, I talked to Elder Cuahtemoc, my old comp who is still in Navarrete,  and he told me that everything is going good and that he will be baptized on Saturday!! Haha.  That’s so, so sick (fantastic)! I’ve been able to participate in the conversion an atheist and a Jehovah Witness! Haha.  That’s not easy to do! It’s amazing how the Spirit of the Lord has influenced these people (mine elect hear my voice..).  

I can’t tell you all how happy I am to be doing what I’m doing. I love to be able to say that the Lord has used my companions and me to offer the gospel of Jesus Christ and as they accept it, watch it change their lives!!!  

I love you all and wish the best for everyone ! 
misión santiago RD

Sunday, May 5, 2013

CF 2

Hey family and friends!                                                                                 May 1, 2013

I live in a section of Cien Fuegos called La Gloria. Umm. For P-day this morning, we went over to the church and played catch and pepper with our investigators and then went shopping for groceries, cleaned, and did laundry!
Dad thanks for sending the great news about Kyler getting his call!  That’s so, so cool that he’s coming here to this mission.  He’ll love it.  And the people here will love him.  It made me cry when you told me! Haha.   Will you get me his email?
This week has been so, so cool. I have worked so hard with my new comp and we are having a ton of fun in our area. In this last transfer, I was glad that I was given a District to work with. I can finish my mission working more closely with fewer companionships and will now have more time to proselyte in my own area without spending so much time in the leadership role, traveling, and holding and being at meetings. Don’t get me wrong, I loved being a Zone Leader for over half of my mission, but this is cool on a District level.  I guess each calling has it plusses and minuses.  But the Lord puts us where He needs us to be to help others and grow ourselves.  My District is awesome.  In our district we have 6 elders and 2 sisters.  It covers Cien Fuegos, La Libertad, and La Union.  So it’s pretty big but we only have two chapels.  Cien Fuegos is a place that has lots of thief’s, drugs, dealers, and some kind of off-of-the wall people.  But, everywhere I’ve been the ”bad” people protect the Mormon missionaries! haha so I’m not too worried, and it’s about exactly the same as my first area in El Ejido. 
My comp is from San Pedro de Marcoris, Dominican Republic (that’s down on the south east part of the island).  He is pumped to serve here.  Almost all of the Dominicans that serve here knew of or wanted to serve in Santiago, because as all missionaries say it’s the best mission in the world! haha

On Friday I did a baptismal interview for the other elders in Cien Fuegos and the lady knew so so much and has felt that the gospel is true.  But she didn’t show up on Saturday for her baptism! haha That’s a first for me and even though I didn’t teach her, that was still weird.  We talked with her to find out what the issue was.  She was called into work!!! How crappy! Haha.  She’s still coming to church and everything and has a new baptismal date.  So it’s all good.

My comp and I are going to have a baptism this Saturday, it is a kid that is 15 years old and knows so much about the gospel.  He wants to get baptized first in his family because his Mom and Dad aren’t ready yet, but when that time comes they’ll all be together in the gospel.  Oh, his name’s Danny.

Each missionary has his own style of working.  Each has the same goal in mind.  But as I have been here with Elder Santana, we work a little differently than he was used to.  We study and do situational discussions and training, and walk fast and teach a lot.  I guess they didn’t do that before so much.  He gets back to the house everyday beat and tired! ha

I can really see the influence of the spirit in my mission.  It seems like there’s a reason for being at every house that we contact.  When we arrive we meet people that need the gospel in their lives and want to hear our message.  Our area is Huge and we don’t have the chance to meet all the people.  But as we follow the Spirit, I know that we are meeting those whom we should be meeting.  I love that feeling.  The Lord is hastening His work and I’m glad I’m on His team and in a place where I can help.
The gospel is something that I have come to love and appreciate so much in my life. I understand why I’m here, and have learned what I need to do to be able to return to live with God again. I cannot tell you how cool that would be, to be in front of the Savior and as it says in Alma 5 he will tell me to come thy works have been works of righteousness.  The gospel and the mission have saved and changed my life and I would invite everyone who reads this to let it do the same to you!


Mission Santiago RD

P.S. I got my flight plans for my return home.  I’ll be leaving this little piece of paradise on July 18th at 8:10 a.m. eastern time arriving in Miami at 10:25 a.m. then leaving Miami (after a layover) at 12:00 noon arriving in Los Angeles, CA at 3:40 pacific time, a layover until 5:05 pacific and then arriving in SLC at 7:50 p.m. mountain time and then home to Provo at o'dark:30 p.m. 

Note from the Dad.
We are thinking of taking Front Runner and Trax to pick him up.  That way we can all spend some time with him.  It takes about 1:45 minutes to do the public transportation thing each way.  This is just a consideration now.