February 16, 2016 (Week 88)

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Elder Laxton goes home next week. He was my zone leader for a change when I was in Puente Alto, and then was put as assistant. He is going to get married right away. There is a girl that is waiting for him, and they have been talking about it. He is a very good missionary.

Veronica dropped us.  It wasn’t too much of a surprise.  She felt a lot of pressure and opposition from her evangelic pastor and her family to not listen to us.  She actually ended up dropping us twice.  The first time, we gave her a pamphlet with our number to call us, and within the night, she had called us twice, the first time asking for us to come by again, and the second time to tell us that she didn’t want us to come.  We came anyways, and she explained that her pastor was kicking her out of the congregation, and her family was saying negative things about Joseph Smith (You can’t find him in the bible!), and her son was threatening to not come back to live with her like had been planned before.  It was too much for her, and despite the good feelings that she got when we came by, she didn’t want to continue.

On Thursday, I finally got to my goal of 10 contacts, so on Friday during our weekly planning session, I raised my daily contact goal to 15.  I also set the goal to contact bus-stops, public transportation and young people, because those are all things that scare me.  My current highest number of contacts is 12.

Since the time that President Morgan has gotten to the mission, he has started a monthly fireside in one of the 10 stakes.  When he does it, he gets the missionaries in the surrounding area to come and sing in the choir and give musical numbers.  On Sunday, it was in Vicuña Mackenna (pronounced a good deal like the song by Timon and Pumba from “The Lion King”), which is a stake right next to ours, and we got to sing in the choir.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  We made us come marching in at the beginning singing “Called to Serve” in Spanish, get to the stands and sing “Love at Home” in Spanish, then finish the fireside with “Love One Another” and go marching out singing “I will go where you need me to go” (I don’t know if I got all of those titles right).  The fireside was, frankly, trunky.  It was themed around love as it was Valentine´s day.  The funniest part was a woman seated on the front pew, filming the whole thing.  You would have thought that she was in a concert.  She sang along with the special numbers, she laughed when she was supposed to, she cried when she was supposed to, she moved around her bench to better film the presentation… I think that she was actually seated maybe 20% of the presentation.  It was very evangelical.  We all got a chuckle out of her sincerity, but I couldn’t help but feel a little guilty.  For her, that hour was a spiritual feast, and I think judging by the number of phones out that she was the only one that juiced every bit of wonderfulness of what we were doing.  I started to wonder if I was maybe a little bit like her granddaughter, who was seated apathetically beside her, texting, while she seemed to be taking the fireside as seriously as though Christ himself were speaking.  Why do I not find that much joy in something as simple as a fireside?

On Monday, I gave a more “traditional” District Meeting.  I usually try to give district meetings that are dynamic and interactive, with lots of testimonies and build up at the beginning to set a good mood.  But this time, I basically just stood up and shared scriptures and asked questions.  The purpose of the class was basically to call my companion and another missionary to repentence, obviously without stating it directly.  This was triggered when we started hearing some very negative things happening in one of the companionships of my district, one of whom will be going home this next week.  It is so bad that the sister that is going home will be doing exchanges for the majority of her last week so that she can get some work done and enjoy it.  Their situation is very similar to mine, and it triggered a fire similar to what I felt in Chayavientos.  I had to do my part so that this would not continue.  I addressed 3 themes: attitude, obedience and diligence, and unity.  I explained scripturally why each is important, and specifially what needed to be changed.  I spoke nicely, but I’ll admit that I basically condemned them both.  I was very honest, and I was told afterwards that I showed a lot of love and the spirit was felt strongly.  What I felt was raised blood pressure manifesting my stress.  I think that the class went well, but I was very worried about it and how they would take it.  I feel very strongly about what I talked about, and actually started crying when I spoke at the end of it about the atonement of Jesus Christ (4th time in my mission to cry, 3rd in this change).  It was an interesting experience.

Love you all.

Elder Mathewson

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