Thursday, August 29, 2013

Arrival in Honolulu

Elder Matua had the awesome experience of flying to Hawaii with our dear family the Sape's. Another one of God's tender mercies and a testimony to us that our son will always be watched over and cared for in the islands.

Elder Matua arrives with fellow missionaries - Honolulu, HI
Photo courtesy Lauvale & Sarah Sape

Breathing a sigh of relief before heading to the mission home - Honolulu, HI
Photo courtesy Lauvale & Sarah Sape

A Final M.T.C. Farwell

Dated 26 August 2013

Dear Family,

I wasn't going to write again until I arrived in Hawaii but today I heard something that made me happy and I wanted to share it.

First off, it's my last night in the M.T.C. I really like the sound of that!

Anyways, the whole time that I've been here we have had a PI (Progressive Investigator) whom we have taught since the day we got here. Ours was a man named Mike. It's really just our teacher playing out a story from his own mission experience - one of his converts. We had been teaching him and giving him challenges and making commitments.

In one meeting we assigned him a set of scriptures to read. Well, the next day came and he didn't do it. So right after he told us this I was devastated but immediately after I felt down I got this strong, instant voice in my head saying, "Read it!" so I listened and asked 'Mike' to read it right then and there. Mike opened up to the first scripture and we read together. Instantly he read something that got him thinking and asking questions. So I thought that was an awesome feeling. But that's not the crazy part.

I had been feeling really discouraged because I didn't feel like I was helping anyone. Today however, since it was our last day we got our evaluations on our PI's from our teachers. My teacher Bro. Gregson told me that I have a very strong spiritual presence and that when I speak my tone is spiritual and that my spirit testifies very well. Then he went on to talk about how I did a really good job following up on commitments. He said that having him (Mike) read even after he didn't follow through was a deal maker. If I wouldn't have followed up, Mike never would have kept another commitment and probably would have dropped the lessons altogether.

How awesome is that? I'm really learning here! That made me feel so good that I had listened to the Spirit and followed through. It was an incredible learning and faith building moment for me that I can recognized and follow God's promptings. Now I know for sure that the Lord is helping me. I feel like I'm ready for the work!

I only have 100 more weeks left (roughly) but who's counting right? I'm going to make these 100 weeks my best weeks ever.

Elder Matua

Final Letters - M.T.C.

Dated 25 August 2013

Dear Family,

Well here it is, my last Sunday in the M.T.C. I can't believe it's already time for me to fly out. The past week and a half has flown by. This is now officially the longest time away from family members - ever! I've really learned to become close to my Heavenly Father who has been with me every second of every day out here.

I have felt all the blessings of service while I've been here. Serving my roommates/companion, serving my district or branch and above all serving my Heavenly Father.

Everyone back home prepared me to step onto that flight on Tuesday morning. I feel more ready than ever to begin the work. My purpose as a missionary has been ingrained in my heart, mind and soul: To invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel, through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, through repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and by enduring to the end (refer to Preach My Gospel pg. 1).

My hope while I am on my mission is to bring honor to the two names on my name tag - Matua and Jesus Christ and serve in a manner that is pleasing to my Heavenly Father. I want to make my Heavenly Father happy. I am here for you guys, the people of Hawaii and my Heavenly Father. If I remember that I will grow more than I have ever grown in my 18 years of life.

I have a testimony that will never die or be taken from me. This is the fully restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Through Christ's atoning sacrifice we can all be saved and if we endure to the end we can inherit all that he has as eternal families. Along the road we will have the guidance and counsel of living prophets, the scriptures and the Holy Spirit.

I cannot wait to see what the Lord has in store for me in my life but he has commanded me to give two short years of my life and I am more than willing to do just that. Like the prophet Nephi, I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of me save he shall prepare a way for them that they might accomplish the thing which he commandeth them (1 Nephi 3:7).

It is going to be hard, but it is going to be worth it. The Lord will carry me every step of the way. I love you all!

Elder Matua

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hearing his voice ...

Elder Matua called us this morning before he boarded his plane bound for Honolulu. It was so good to finally hear his voice again after fourteen days. He told us about the fun time they all had boarding Frontrunner in Provo and throwing their bags on, riding to the Trax station in downtown Salt Lake and doing it all over again to get to the airport. Once they were at the airport he and his fellow missionaries got through security without any hitches after checking their bags.

I tried not to get emotional when I heard his voice crack a few times but it was hard holding back the tears of joy knowing that he has completed just the first of many milestones that he will encounter on his mission. Then there was the elation in his voice when his mom showed up (on her way to work a flight) and surprised him at his gate.

Each of his brothers (except for Kenyon) were able to say goodbye and the tears flowed freely when they all realized that this was the last time they would hear his voice until Christmas which seems so far away. One last happy (but also sad considering the circumstances) moment - Elder Matua found out that he was traveling to Honolulu with the Sape family who are headed to Maui to bury their infant son. The Sape's will no doubt use this opportunity to share their testimonies of the Plan of Salvation with Elder Matua and that families truly can be together forever through our Father in Heaven's plan of happiness.

We love the Sape family so much and are grateful that our son gets to spend a few precious hours with them on his trip to teach the people of Hawaii about the gospel of Jesus Christ!

We will miss Elder Matua so much but he sounded so excited to finally be on his way.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The End to the M.T.C. is in sight

My Dear Mother,

My roommates all love you! They have been loving all the treats. The pens you sent are great but I'll be needing some more highlighters please. You can wait to send them until I get to Hawaii. How was Bro. Simpson able to get them in? He's been great to get them in by the way.

Sister Tarawhiti really needed that package. She had a long day. I saw her twice today and I had a chance to talk to her, Elder Anderton and Elder Ulukivaiola for awhile today. Sister Tarawhiti said the same thing I said when I first came here to the M.T.C. - It's very hard. I told her to fight through it until Sunday, then time will fly by.

I'll be leaving the M.T.C. on Tuesday! We're all riding Frontrunner to the airport!

Was Chase the only one from his quorum to go to the temple this week? I wish I had been there to go with him. I probably won't be able to email again until I'm in Hawaii since my next P-Day will be the day that I'm traveling to Hawaii.

I'm glad to hear that school is going well for everyone.

Elder Matua

More M.T.C. Life

Dear Mom,

I hope you can get things back into shape in our home - tell the bros that a dirty mission home sucks to live in and you still get in trouble for a dirty mission home just like you do in your real home (we are all really clean here though.)

I'm very excited to hear about Clayton's call. I wrote him the moment I heard about it. Hopefully that gives him time to work with Wag to get him going. Maybe you guys could help out there too?

I ran into Elder Ulukivaiola again and he mentioned that he spoke to Sister Tarawhiti. I haven't seen her yet but I'll keep my eye out for her.

The new school year came up quick! I hope they all had fun on their first day. Who got Mica to play football? He's quite an interesting kid but I guess we've always known that. Keep me posted on their games. I never got a letter from Mica by the way which was kinda sad.

I'm glad you like your new work schedule and I hope that dad can finish that book real soon. I'll send as many missionaries experiences as I can while I'm out here. I'm really loving the scriptures now, especially since it seems like its all I can read right now.

I've gotten all of the packages you've sent with all the treats, pens and notebooks. I'm burning through everything so fast. Can I get the Sape's address so that I can write them? I haven't taken very many pictures here but I hope you like the ones I've included.

Elder Matua

Photo's - M.T.C. Life

Elder Matua and companion Elder Jacobs

Elder Matua and new best buddy Elder Felt

My District buckles down for another long day of classroom instruction

Elder Felt and District Leader Elder Kane (who reminds me of Elder Mitch Hall)

My District

In our 'house'

On our way to the temple ... Yeah!

Elder Matua and Elder Jacobs, Provo Temple

The District at the Provo Temple

Last one of the District at the Provo Temple

Friday, August 23, 2013

Excerpts - Chase's Birthday

Dear Chase,

How has it been at home since I left. How is football going and are you becoming mom's best friend?

I just wanted to say that I love you and Happy Birthday! I hope you had a good one. I wish I could have been there to celebrate your 17 years of life but enjoy it now because in exactly a year you will be right here where I am today - in the M.T.C.

It's been great here. As long as you keep on track and focus on how you can feel closer to the Spirit and feel it so strong every day you'll be fine.

Chase, I want to let you know again that I love you and miss you so much. It would be so much easier here in the M.T.C. with you here as my companion. I know that this church is true without any doubts. The Spirit of the Holy Ghost is an amazing tool so never do anything to make him leave your side. The quicker you learn to rely on the Holy Ghost the better off you'll be here in the mission field because it is very hard being on a mission away from family and friends. But with the Lord on your side He can make hard things easier.

Good luck this Friday. First game of the season right? Remember: Every Play Is Crucial (E.P.I.C.). Play your heart out and enjoy it. Please tell our friends Ian, Ryan and all the other boys playing this year good luck. I wish I could be there.

Send my love to all your friends. Watch after mom and the boys ... Dad should be fine.

The best thing you could do right now to be ready to serve out here is talk to everyone and anyone. Its a good skill to have and that's all we really do now is become friends with all people. Serve and get to know them then the Spirit will teach and convert them. Your job is just to invite.

Let me know how your games go. Good luck and once again, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Elder Matua

Dear Dad - M.T.C.

Things here at the M.T.C. are getting really hard. However, things are going really well for me personally. Your advice to love my companion no matter what is coming in handy and that coin that auntie Teuila gave me before I left is a constant reminder of that advice too. You would be proud of me - my patience is growing stronger every day.

In our last pep talk before I left you mentioned that you felt like you had disappointed me. Dad, you've always been an example to me. You and mom have never disappointed me in any way. You've taught me many lessons, both good and bad but I have never been disappointed in you ever. You've done everything you can to prepare me for these next two years.

Please reassure mom that I'm doing great and that I'm growing here more than you can ever imagine. I'm sure you can relate to the growth that one can experience in the M.T.C.

Love you dad
Elder Matua

Dear Mom - M.T.C.

Love you so much. I hope that you're getting all of my letters. It is so hard knowing that I can't just shoot you a text every five minutes to check on you or ask you for things.

I will probably write in my journal still but I'll also write some update letters every night filled with my thoughts and send them in bunches.

I taught my first "real investigator" today. What a great experience! What I mean by "real" is that this time it wasn't my teacher but someone who was kind of an actor I guess. But even though I knew he wasn't a true investigator it was really cool. I was connecting with him and really feeling the Spirit. My companion and I have really different styles. I really try to get to know the person first and kind of ease my way into the discussion about the restoration of the gospel, the Book of Mormon, etc. My companion on the other hand likes to discuss deep doctrine. He's very knowledgeable that way. So I guess we're a good fit.

I really cried for the first time tonight after reading dad's testimony written in my journal and again after writing to Chase to wish him a happy birthday. I don't think I've ever really heard dad bear his full testimony that way before out loud so it was a breaking point for me. Then when I realized that for the first time ever I would be missing my best friends birthday I lost it again. Now that I've gotten that out of my system I think I'll be good.

Still love and miss you guys to the extreme but I'm on the Lord's time now so I'm trying to keep my thoughts solely on His work. It really helps the time move faster in the classroom when I'm thinking about the work.

I love you guys and can't wait for the next two short years to fly by so that I can speak to you guys again. I think talking to the Lord is great but talking to you guys again would be really great too :-)

Send my love to all family and friends.

Love your favorite Elder
Elder Matua

Thursday, August 22, 2013

First Missionary Sunday - M.T.C.

Dear Family,

The first Sunday here in the M.T.C. was great. Elders were not lying when they told me that it helps. It was the first day that flew by here. M.T.C. life is still treating me well but the food is getting old.

I had the amazing opportunity to bless the sacrament today and really felt a blessing of comfort. Our meetings were all good and my Branch President is an awesome man. His wife is a funny lady. I'm missing home but diving into the work is solving that problem.

I have maintained constant contact with Elders Anderton, Ulukivaiola, Griffin and Wolfgramm. Elder Wolfgramm leaves for South Dakota in the morning.

The best part of the day today was our devotional. We got to hear from Vai Sikahema and his wife who both gave great thoughts and there was this sister who was amazing at the harp. The highlight however, was getting to listen to a Christmas devotional talk by Elder David A. Bednar titled "The Character of Christ." It is such an amazing talk and I recommend it to all current and future missionaries. It talks about being converted and that it is what we all need to do. Simply having a testimony is not enough. We also need to stop turning inward like the natural man and turn outward like Christ.

I hope everything is running smoothly at home. Send my love to everyone.

Elder Matua

Day Four - M.T.C.

Dear Family,

According to my buddy Elder C. Anderton this is the last of the long days and its over! I'm still learning so much but its getting very difficult to stay in class and not get stressed. I look forward to teaching mock investigators and right now my planning time is dedicated to them. I'm learning tons on how to make study time useful but it all still relies on the Spirit.

I'm not counting down the days till I can hit the actual mission field and start teaching the people of Hawaii. It was nice to go to the gym and run around and play ball. I've also developed a good habit and a love for writing in my journal. It makes me feel like I'm telling stories at home.

A word of advice to all the 'missionaries to be' back home:

  1. Master Preach My Gospel - it is your best friend
  2. Pray, pray, pray - Nothing get prepare you more to feel the Spirit
  3. Be nice to EVERYONE - you can never know what might be happening in their lives and how you might be able to help them return to Christ.
  4. Finally, don't be afraid to act on the Spirit
Send my love to everyone. Keep the letters coming. They keep me sane. Also, I need stamps because they cost a fortune here.

Elder Matua

Monday, August 19, 2013

Day Two - M.T.C.

Well I've been going for about 16 hours now and its been rough. The longest day of my life. But every second has been beneficial. Spiritually I'm growing constantly and the joy around this place is crazy! Never a sad face or a mad face around. So many strong Elders and Sisters with such strong testimonies. I guess its a lot like rugby - you have to play with the best to get better.

I've been growing very close to my District. They are great Elders and Sisters who are headed to Hawaii, Baltimore or Vancouver. My companion and I are very good friends now. I've also become very close to another missionary, Elder Kane who was just called to be our District Leader. He kind of reminds me of my good friend Elder Mitch Hall. Elder Kane's companion Elder Felt is a crack up! He is definitely one I'll remember. He is making me laugh as I write this letter.

I finally got to see Elder Colin Anderton today. He is doing very well and had a ton of advice for me. He told me that there are three parts to a mission: 1) The first four days of the M.T.C.; 2) the rest of the M.T.C. and 3) the remainder of my mission. They all feel equal in length to me right now which kinda stinks.

I can't wait to go to the temple and send an email on my P-Day. Plus, I am dying to get some physical activity in since it's all been sitting in class.

Send my love to all

Love you guys!
Elder Matua

P.S. Mom, I need my pack of coins (?)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Day One - M.T.C.


Very long eventful day. We get thrown right into work! Went to some short meetings then we are put into teaching situations with mock investigators. We have learned so much today alone! This is going to be a jam-packed 13 days.

My first companion is Elder Jacobs from Salt Lake City. He went to East HS and this is his second 'first day' at the MTC, meaning he went home his first 'first day' and is now back for more. He is now 22-years-old and attended the University of Utah for a year. He says that he was not prepared to go the first time but now he is ready to serve the Lord completely. He is also going to Hawaii. Different from what I'm used to (Go Cougars) but I don't think I'll have any problems getting along with him.

The other four elders in our room are all going to Baltimore. Three of them are normal Utah kids but the other is a very interesting fella. He has lived around the world, has done many interesting things, uses poetry when he writes his journal entries and has a random interesting fact about every 30 seconds.

I have run into Elders Ulukivaiola, Griffin, some other Lehi Elders you may not know and my old friend Elder Shelby Wolfgramm from our Granger football team but I have yet to run into Elder Anderton.

I started reading through the stuff you guys wrote and pasted in my mission journal but started to cry so I'll have to slowly get to your words of advice and words of love and encouragement.

My journey to do the Lord's work has begun. I am now in His hands. Send my love to all.

Elder K. Matua

P.S. Elder Ulukivaiola said that you can send packages on Friday's somewhere in PG and they'll get to me in 30 minutes! I'm gonna need tons more of these notebooks...and that iron.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Secondhand update

Its only day two of Elder Matua's missionary experience and already we are raving mad for news from him. We realize that it will still be a few days before we hear from him but the wait is excruciating. Even though we know he is safe and well cared for (I mean, we did send him off on his own to places like Washington, D.C. and he survived numerous Scout camp-outs) but its hard not knowing every moment of the day what he is up to since the rule in the Matua household has always been, 'Check-in every hour.' That will take a little getting used to but we know why mission rules are essential to a missionary's progression and acclimation to mission life.

But we have felt the Lord's tender mercies as well. Last night two of his best friends from high school shared with us some information about Elder Matua that they received from friends who work in the M.T.C. The M.T.C. friends said that they recognized Elder Matua while he was standing in the meal line at breakfast yesterday and that he had a smile on his face and seemed to be enjoying himself. Even this small morsel of information has been a blessing for us - a confirmation that he has seamlessly made the transition from home and family life to missionary life. He was always going to be okay and his parents were always going to be an emotional train wreck! Thank you Kenzie and Rachel for bringing us wonderful news.

We appreciate the love and support from family and friends. You have all made this experience a wonderful one and we are blessed to be surrounded by such lovely people. We invite and encourage all who can to please write Elder Matua and share your own experiences about the gospel, missionary work and most important, your love for the Savior. His M.T.C. address can be found to the right of this blog.

Aloha nui loa

P.S. One of Elder Matua's best friends opened his mission call last night. Elder Clayton Greenwood has been called to serve in the Mexico-Veracruz Mission. Congratulations Clay!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

It's official - Day one and drawn out goodbyes

Elder Matua and escort at the
Missionary Training Center - Provo
We aren't sure if we should be offended or overjoyed that Elder Matua had a huge smile on his face, rushed his goodbyes and almost sprinted for the M.T.C. doors. He was so excited to begin his missionary service that he couldn't wait to be surrounded by fellow missionaries. I suppose his haste to proceed with the work made it just slightly easier to see him go because we all knew that if he had been reluctant to depart we would have had a very different conversation at curbside. All things considered, we are so proud of him and we are so excited to hear about all of the wonderful things that he will learn and experience in the next two weeks.

Last night we had an incredibly emotional night as we witnessed Elder Matua being set apart by his President Makai of the Provo Utah Wasatch Tongan Stake. What an incredible reminder of the power of the Priesthood and how intense the Spirit can be when we testify of gospel truths and missionary work. We all walked away after hearing those blessings pronounced upon Elder Matua's head that all would be well and that he would be an excellent missionary as long as he is humble, obedient and willing to submit himself to the Spirit.

We anxiously await his first communication but as a family we are more confident now than we have ever been before that Elder Matua will do well and that he is doing God's work.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Goodbye friends

Elder Matua had his final farewell with school and rugby friends last night. Tonight he will be set apart and will officially become a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This has been an exhilarating, uplifting, sad, momentous and happy time for our entire family.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Our last Sunday together

Elder Matua gave his final talk in Sacrament Meeting yesterday in front of many of our dearest family members and friends. He seemed a bit nervous but we were moved by his humble testimony and felt the spirit as he spoke on the necessity and blessings of covenants and ordinances as we strive to live the gospel of Jesus Christ. The chapel and overflow were filled to capacity as Elder Matua bore testimony of the Savior and expressed his love and appreciation for those who were in attendance as well as those who have taught him, spanked him and loved him from childhood.

We held an open-house in the evening for friends and family to come and wish him well. We were thrilled to see old friends and new friends from our previous home in West Valley City to our 'new' home here in Lehi.
As his parents, we are so grateful to those who have loved and supported him in his first 18 years of life. We have been blessed and humbled by your influence and assistance as he prepares to embark on this new phase in life and express our sincere and inadequate thanks to you all. There are too many of you to thank but please be certain that you are in our prayers of gratitude each day and always.

Stake President Makai mentioned in his concluding remarks that Elder Matua, like all missionaries will carry the name of the Savior Jesus Christ and his family as shown on his name tag. We agree and add that Elder Matua will be carrying with him all of those who contributed to his successes in school, in our home, in our community and in the gospel. He has made his "pact to act" as an emissary for you all and for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in all things, in all ways and in all places. We pray that he will honor that commitment.

We have a little less than two days to say our final goodbyes to Elder Matua. We will cherish these last moments before he leaves then pray daily and fast often each moment he is in the loving arms of our Father in Heaven so that eventually, two years from now he will return with honor.