Saturday, February 18, 2012

Week 34!

This is Matt’s mom: sorry everybody! I have been so lazy about posting Matt’s letters! Here is his latest. He is in Machias, Maine. This is just about as far North as you can go and stay in the continental US! If you want to write him a letter, I know he would love it! His address is:

Elder Matthew Evans

174 Court Street,

Machias, ME 04654

Dear Family and Friends!

This week was great; we have been having some powerful lessons. We are teaching a wonderful family, the Tibbets, I think I've mentioned them before. Their sincerity is so real it brings the Spirit in and allows us to give even better testimonies of what we are teaching. Another really cool thing that happened this week is an excommunicated member had us over for dinner and asked for a fathers blessing. He clearly knows that the Book of Mormon is true and that all that the Church teaches is true, but he chooses not to seek membership again. He has children and wants them to be raised in the church, serve a mission for the church and then serve the country in the military and he figures by then they have the maturity and disciple to make good choices. He chose me to give the blessing, and it was a very spiritually powerful experience for me. I could feel a special spirit around him. It is evidence to me of God’s love to all His children, He reaches out to all of us, if we will seek Him. It was and is clear to me that Heavenly Father is being very careful with his son and is very mindful of him. I don't know what long term plans God has for him, but I could feel during the blessing that God was willing to help him be an influence for good for his children. I am so glad I am not in his shoes is a very dark scary place to be when you have left that much of what gives you life behind.

I'm very thankful for the support I get from people back home. I get letters almost every week. It's true that the love of our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ are the strongest sources of love we can obtain, but often times it is much easier to find, feel, or accept the love from those whom we know and live with in the flesh. Keep writing me, everybody, you don't know the strength that it gives me.

With love,

Elder Matthew D. Evans

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Week 23 (Nov 28)

Happy Thanksgiving!

So, I had a good week. We had like 5 meals on thanksgiving. By the end they said that we looked like zombies ready to vomit. It was almost true. In Spanish they have several names for thanksgiving, Dia de Gracias (day of thanks), Dia de Accion de Gracias (day of acting on thanks), and my personal favorite Dia de Pavo (turkey day). The sad part was that we didn’t really get any pie or any stuffing. We did get one slice of pie, but it was yam pie and tasted like cheap old pumpkin pie, I pretended to like it. I did get some REALLY good jalapenos though, I’m gonna need that recipe!

I haven’t written back to Bekah because I had no return address in the Dear Elder, and I really wanted to send the girls pictures of me, because they can’t read (especially my hand writing), but then I broke my camera, maybe I’ll just send them to you. Hopefully today, but I’ve got about 10 letters I want to write, and each week I seem to be so busy I don’t write any, so the pile just gets bigger and bigger. There are definitely priorities though and Bekah and the girls are definitely toward the top of the stack. I will need Bekah’s address though (insert by Becky: sorry Bekah! I sent him your address this week!). I wanted to write her when I got the letter, and I think I added it to my letter home that I needed her address but never got it. Has she written me since the MTC? That’s the only one I got. I would write much more if I could.

We’ve started teaching a man named Brandon, his wife is a member, but he’s always believed what he could see. He would never listen to any of the missionaries before, but a while back at a dinner, he heard me talking about my story with my Dad and from all the way across the room shouted for me to come over. His thing is, that he thinks that it’s all just kids listening to their parents, when he found my circumstances were different he told me he almost believes me. My hope is to get him to be open to any missionary by the time I leave. Right now, if I’m not there he isn’t very teachable. Yesterday we went with the bishop and all 5 missionaries. It was a great dinner (more jalapenos) and he showed us his house (that he had just finished building). I really felt the spirit during the lesson helping me answer his questions (which were good ones). The bishop helped a lot too. It’s always good to have the bishop with you. I’m surprised he has any time at all for us though, he is so busy. At the end of the lesson, Brandon came to the conclusion that he wasn’t doing enough and committed to go to Church, Pray, Read (aka CPR). It’ll be slow with him because he doesn’t understand faith, but if he does those three, he will get exactly what he searches for.

I’m starting to feel more like a missionary. A lot like a missionary. I notice it when I teach, when I’m at Church, in the apartment, doing my scripture study, my focus and heart is definitely changing. My relationship with the Savior is changing, the way I view His relationship with others, all aspects of my life. I did the Christ-Like Attribute activity at the back of Ch. 6 in PMG and a question really struck me. The question is something like, “do you remember what the Lord has done for you throughout the day?” I thought about it and at first thought yes, I remember it because I make mention of the Atonement in lessons etc. but then the Spirit taught me something. I learned that moment, that remembering the Savior also meant remembering all the times he has been there for me. Such as the times I have felt His love, or received strength from His hand, or when I received the knowledge or testimony that I needed, or the times I’ve had the Spirit help me teach or learn (like with Brandon). Then I realized that I do not always remember Him, because I do not think of all that he has done for me. Just remembering the Atonement isn’t enough. I have a relationship with Him and He wants my time and affection. I started to think more about moments that I’ve received some of those things throughout the day and I have been so blessed for it.

Some other interesting moments from my week: We went to a teaching appointment to find they were passing a Hookah around, we went to a different teaching appointment and they opened the door and said, “I’M DRUNK!” a lot of breaking the word of wisdom around holidays. We were going to play B-Ball with Franciscan Friars today, but they are about as reliable as we are. All of the other missionaries will be playing baseball, but I’ll try to get those letters in.

With Love,

Elder Matthew D. Evans

week 24 (Dec 5)

Hello Everyone!

I still love being a missionary. Holiday season is great. It’s wonderful to see what Christmas is all about from a completely different perspective. It’s sad to not be with the family, but I’m learning so much right now. This morning we watched Mr. Kruegers Christmas, a Church film we hand out about a lonely old man. At the time it was filmed I’m sure he would have been considered kind, but in this age, he kind of appears like a pedophile. Anyways, I was watching it and realized how much more important relationships are than I had previously thought. There’s a part in it when he prays (the most powerful part of the film) and he talks about the Saviors love. He says that he brought no gift for Him, but realizes that that’s not very important, and it isn’t. The Savior was never looking for profit. He doesn’t want us to be profitable servants, He is Benevolence (wishing good on others); He loves you and me so very much and if we love one another as He has instructed us, and visit one another so we aren’t so alone, we can truly find happiness and answers to the important questions. I wish I could have the love of Christ flow out of me the way it flows from Him. I think of Alma wishing to preach the gospel to all people, but realizing that he sins in his wish, because he ought to be content with that which the Lord hath allotted him. I cannot have perfect charity now, but I can seek it and will. I fall very short, sometimes it is very hard, I face a lot of racism and large culture gaps, even in my companionship, but I’m reaching for the Savior and trying to find all the love I can…it can never be enough. I get teary eyed just thinking about it. Have you seen “Finding Faith in Christ” recently? You should. It’s amazing. I full on cry every time and it never gets old. Also, in the First Presidency Christmas Fireside last night, they announced that soon there will be 50 new videos online portraying Biblical story’s as accurately as scripturally possible…should be pretty good!

I watched the Fireside on BYUTV last night, I loved every minute. Plus the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is just so amazing! It seems so obvious that those who abandon the Gospel of Jesus Christ are left in a frustrated angry lonely hollow lifeless tomb, and those who embrace the gospel get: Mosiah 2:41—“And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.” I love this quote from Jeffery R. Holland,

“Don’t give up, boy. Don’t you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead—a lot of it…Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come.”
Jeffery R. Holland Ensign November 1999


Or look for it on (the name of the Film is “Good things to come”) then let me know how you liked it. As a missionary, I kinda know which films are the good ones ;)

That is my testimony to all, both here in NHMM and also at home, that those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ will see the blessing, or better yet, feel the blessing as they come. I wish my investigators would just learn to pray. If they would do nothing else then open their heart to our Heavenly Father and pour out all of their gratitude, concerns, fears, frustrations, and pain…they would ALWAYS feel better after wards. I don't know why bad things and confusing things happen to people, but i do know that the gospel is true and that the Savior loves us and Heavenly Father both hears and answers our prayers.

Anyways, I’m about out of time, but I’ll talk again next week. Be sure to watch some Church films and think of me, let me know how you like them too, I need to know how they are viewed by others. Another video that we use often (it’s way good) is called “lifting burdens” it’s the testimony’s of several apostles and members of the first presidency and is found on both and

Love You!

-Elder Matthew D. Evans

week 22 (Nov 21)

Dear Family and Friends!

I’m so glad its P-Day, we just don’t have enough time in the missions, P-Day’s fly by so fast! I have so much I need to buy, but I don’t know how I’m going to get to it all, I have a companion to think of (2 actually), and no car. This week was pretty good, like I said; I’m in Lawrence still, with Elder Morales again. That’s three transfers together. This transfer is a little different though, we got elder Rodriguez too. He has been in Lawrence longer than I. We also received Elder Carr (from Chico, CA) who used to go climbing at Pipeworks and Granite arches and snowboard at boreal. We spent a little while just talking about how great Nor Cal is and comparing stories. Funny fact about him, his girlfriend lives in the mission…hahaha, so awkward. His call was originally for Mexico, but his visa didn’t go through, so he ended up getting it changed in the MTC. We’re happy to have him. His now district leader and training a new missionary, so it’s 5 in the apartment again (packed). His companion is Elder Blad and he’s from Logan Utah. Crazy fact about him, he only has one eye, so tell Chris to be happy he’s only missing teeth! President Wilkey had our companionship take all of the investigators and we left the new set with nothing, they have to find for now. Pretty crazy for them since both of their Spanish is horrible…well, needs improvement. That’s definitely the way to learn.

Do you remember that guy I told you about that wanted to change his life and had a bad background? He said he wants to get baptized and committed to going to church every week…then didn’t show up…I hate that! I think he’ll pull through, but it will be slow with him. We’ve got several investigators with baptismal dates and one that doesn’t have one that might get baptized Saturday, we just need to wait and see, but really soon, he is so ready.

I’ve received some questions from others concerning Christmas, aunt Jan wants to know if there is anything I could use, and apart from the things I told you before (a great GPS, music, forget the boots, I’m going to buy them here, and cliff/builder bars) I could also use an electric razor, and I can’t find my hair pomade that I used before my mission here, it’s the axe stuff that’s pomade in a blue jar. I have the purple one that works, but if you want to throw some of that in the box I could definitely use it. Also, I’m going to need refills for my mechanical scripture marking pencil at some point, especially since a little kid broke the blue color in half. I’ll send a stub to the McCreedy’s so they can buy me some at the church book store in Citrus Heights. I’m super excited to call you on Christmas, but I still don’t know how that’s going to pan out…I guess we’ll see as time goes on. Also, 2 random things I could use, a nice and hot sodering iron and clear contact paper (not the laminate that aunt Jan uses, but the thin stuff) I’ve been having a problem with my planers falling apart, and I found putting tape on them helps, then one sister gave me some contact paper to try and I love it. I’ve been using a hot nail to melt the holes back in, but that’s starting to hurt.

Love you all, and appreciate the letters,

Elder Matthew D. Evans