April 19 (Week 97)


We went up to one of the highest points in our area looking for a referral from the general offices of the church. I have been having knee problems which have only recently cleared up a little, and that raise sure hurt. I was still pretty happy to get my head above the smog.

This week was incredibly rainy.  Ironically, that meant that the city shut off the water for 2 days.  What happened was that the rain fell heavily at a high altitude, causing the water that came off the mountain to be full of mud and debris.  It left the main river here is Santiago, named the Mapocho, very dirty, and the water treatment plants couldn’t handle it.  They cut the water in 27 communities in Santiago.  We were luckily in the house at the time, so we gathered up as many old soda bottles as we could and filled them up.  What made matters worse was that the day before, we also ran out of gas.  I had to buy it (that seems to happen a lot), but when the guy came with his big noisy truck, he gave us our 45 L tank and didn’t plug it in.  Over the next few days, we tried to call the company and tell them to get back to our house and plug it in, but they never came.  In the meantime, we did the best that we could to live out of our bottles and our water boiler (one of those kitchen appliances that can boil about 1.5 L of water at a time).  For the second time in my mission, I had to give myself a sponge bath.  Right before church, too.  Luckily (if I can call it that), church only lasted 1 hour due to the streets flooding and the lack of water in the chapel, and nobody had to suffer the smell of dirty Elder Mathewson too long.  We finally got a member to come over and fix out gas line for us, and yesterday early in the morning they turned the water back on.  We are back to normal again now.

Other than that, it has been pretty uneventful lately.  We have been struggling to find new people to teach, in part due to the weather change.  We have some other ideas of how we are going to do it.  We hope to focus more on working with members, especially with referrals and the Ward Action list.  Referrals are the leading cause of baptisms, so we are trying to improve how we go about doing them.

When we ask for a referrals from members, we now explain that we are not necesarily looking for their friend or relative (althought that would be ideal) but whoever the Lord has prepared.  We then do a prayer with them, asking them to focus on whatever face or name that comes into their head.  We then take out our daily planners and set a time and a day to go by with the members to that person so that they can introduce us to them.  Until now, it has been a very successful approach to missionary work, although generally they give us a referral to their less active friend.  When that happens, we go with them to their less active friend and ask for a referral from them!

When we ask referrals from less-actives, we treat them as though they were new investigators.  Or in other words, we focus on the most basic that we have, which is the restoration of the gospel, specifically the first vision.  So, we teach them that.  The goal is to remind them how they felt when they heard those things for the first time and help them feel the spirit, so that, just when they are feeling the spirit, we ask them who they know that we can visit.  It is almost humorous how a careless, or at times angry, less active suddenly becomes a chest-pounding defender of the faith when we teach them this, and commits themselves not only to come with us on a visit, but to also read the scriptures, say their prayers and go to church.

These ideas are not mine.  They came from a world-wide transmitted training meeting that we had a new months ago with Elder Bednar and various seventies and general authorities.

I have been very focused on getting my companion ready to be some kind of leader.  I have no idea if he will ever be anything more than senior comp, but I am treating him like he is the future assistant to the president.  To achieve this, I am trying to make him grow up to the responsibility, so I am giving him little tasks every once in a while and am focusing on helping him learn the teaching tools that he needs to be a good leader, especially being an example.  For example, the other day, I got him to call the district to give a few announcements.  And yesterday, I asked him to direct my district meeting for me.  The other missionaries have commented that they have noticed a positive difference in him this transfer cycle.  I think that I have also noticed that he is growing.

Love you all.

Elder Mathewson


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