Thursday, September 26, 2013

Playing with Wildlife


We got these pictures from a kind Waikoloa Ward member who said that her sons love to jump on Elder Matua whenever he comes over. She says, "He seems very comfortable around our large group of boys." Huh, who would have thought coming from his own large group of boys back home in Utah?

There's something crawling on your head Elder

No seriously... there's something on your head!

It's always fun to get pictures and news from the people he is serving in Hawaii. Elder Matua also wanted us to see (especially his mom) that his trademark curls are completely gone - He is so proud of his missionary (err military) haircut.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Windy Waikoloa


Things here in Waikoloa have been going great. Except for the fact that it is so windy! I hate the wind! But besides that I love the weather and the aloha attitudes of the people of Hawaii.

Nearly every day we are going over to homes in our area and playing with the little Marshallese kids and they love it. I love it. They are such happy kids and we are very open to anything they have to say. I've been able to help some of them with their homework, mostly English homework because they don't really understand English. They can speak it and they learn from movies, music, and whatever the teachers are saying but they don't really understand the words that they are reading.

We were finally able to confirm our friend Stevenson as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and give him the Gift of the Holy Ghost. He was never around for church so we went over with the bishopric and the YM President and confirmed him at his house. It was a great experience. The parents were there and all the little kids too. It was the only time I've ever heard them silent.

We followed up on a referral from the mission home and it was great. His name is Herman and he is a less active RM. We have been coming across a lot of those lately. They are all wanting to come back and their wives are all non-members so we have started working a lot more with part member families. Conference was a big help. All of the speakers were great and of course Elder Holland did not disappoint. The spirit was bursting out of the chapel and all the people there were crying or trying hard not to cry. So many less active RM's were there and they were all reminded how amazing the church is. Elder Holland's biggest thing was, "Those who are visiting for the first time we welcome you. Those who are coming back after being away, we love you and need you back. Those who are active we love you and need you to do more!"

Elder Holland is truly a man of God. He told everyone that he didn't need do be there and that there is nothing we can do to help his faith grow because he is a believer and he will do anything for the Lord. All of the non-members there said that they have never felt so much emotion in a meeting. They all said that they loved it. So I think things are going to start picking up here in Kona.

My testimony grows every day! I hope that I am inching closer and closer to the testimony of Elder Holland. There is still tons that I am needing to learn and I know that. I learn so much about myself and the love that my Heavenly Father has for me. I hope that through my service in the HHM I can reciprocate that love in some way. I have developed a love for the atoning sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I love all of our living prophets and their words have helped me grow along with the scriptures. I cannot wait to hear from them again in October.

I continue to love the people of Hawaii and I love to serve them in any way that I can. Sorry for the scatter brained thoughts - I have so much to express and so little time to do it. Words cannot express how great my mission has already been. It has already been the hardest but most beneficial month of my life.

Mom - The only thing I really need now is a dictionary. I'm trying to read Jesus the Christ but there are a lot of big words in there that I do not know. Other than that I'm doing great and really enjoyed the greene package. I am working on sending pictures but it is hard. 1) because I hate taking pictures and 2) its busy out here.

Dad - I've been running into a lot of people who have connected the dots and see that I am Samoan from my last name. The next question they all ask is 'Do you speak Samoan?' I really wish I could answer 'yes'. So I am trying to learn every day. Right now all I have is a Samoan dictionary that I have been reading through so my vocabulary is growing but I can't get the grammar from the dictionary. Any ideas how I can learn quick. Pres. Warner hinted that I might be sent to a Samoan speaking area, but we'll see. I would love that and that's probably where my gift of tongues will come. :) Anything helps! How did the games go this week? Lehi and BYU?

Boys - Keep working hard in school. Be good for mom and dad. Be disciples of Christ always, which means striving to act like Him and become like Him. I wish that I would have caught on to that a lot sooner in my life. I sent my response to your letters a day or 2 ago. I don't really remember anymore. All my days are a blur and weeks fly by. Love you guys more than anything and miss you more than anyone.

Gotta get back to work!

Elder Matua

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Spiritual reading - Letter to Dad

Dear Dad,

Is it bad that reading your letters still pushes me to tears? I miss you all so much. However I am really loving the mission life. I can honestly say that I have now lost myself out here in the work. I love it more than I ever could have imagined. Not only are President and Sister Warner amazing, the food is amazing - but the it is the Spirit out here that beats everything.

I am growing like I would never have believed. I have developed an amazing love for the Atonement and my Savior Jesus Christ. I don't know what I would do without that knowledge. I want so bad to bring every single person in Waikoloa to that same knowledge. I can't do it alone though. With the Lord's help I can do my little part to serve the people of the HHM and while I am on Heavenly Fathers' time I will do whatever small part of His work that I can.

While I have been out here I know what it really means to study. I love studying the words of the Book of Mormon and the Bible but I have also really been studying the Ensigns a lot too. I'm almost done with the whole May 2013 Conference issue. While I listened to those talks I was just going through the motions, sometimes tuning out the lesser known leaders and waiting to hear the 'heavy hitters' like Elder Holland or Elder Bednar. But now that I have read through most of them I've realized that every talk has something for me. I am so grateful for living prophets here on earth. My testimony of the Book of Mormon and living prophets has grown tremendously.

Dad, I love you so much. You and mom are my greatest blessings. I miss and love you and my brothers. One day we will all be together laughing again. I love this gospel and hope that I can continue to serve in a way that is pleasing to my Heavenly Father.

Elder Matua

Treats from home - Letter to mom

Dear Mom,

Thank you so much for the treats. Your package was very helpful - I needed them so bad.

I'm doing great! Now that I'm adjusted and realize that this is my life I love it. Missionary life is great. It's so freakin' hard but great. I seriously know that this is where I'm supposed to be. This is where I want to be but I still love and miss you.

I'm glad to hear that Chase and Mica are living up to the family name. I knew it would just take Mica awhile to figure it out. You and dad have done a phenomenal job at raising us boys even though I can't spell :-) I am so proud to be a Matua boy. I loved the pics of the 'wanna be buff boys'.

President and Sister Warner are amazing! They remind me a lot of every awesome senior couple from our Granger and Sego Lily Wards. Whenever President Warner talks to us it seems like he is always looking directly at me. Maybe because I feel like I'm the only one who keeps eye contact with him. But I feel like we have a good connection.

Sister Warner is one of those awesome "Mormon Mom's". She is sweet, loving, outgoing, a choir teacher and she's so funny. I'm so glad to be serving with them.

I hope everyone continues to do good things there at home. You would kill me if you saw how I just cut my hair. I'll send you pics but just remember I'm still learning this whole missionary thing so it's been a month of 'firsts' for me so even the haircut is a missionary 'first'. Let's just say that I'm in the Army now - The Lord's Army :-) Don't worry it looks good - different but good. I'm still your handsome son I hope.

I don't need too much just more addresses for my friends and maybe a dictionary so I can learn how to spell. We are officially making the switch to shoulder bags in October. No backpacks allowed while we are out proselyting. No rush though since we have a car and we're are driving most places and most of my stuff can stay in the car. So if you happen to stumble across a decent shoulder bag please send it my way. It would also be cool to have one of those calendars with everyone's birthday, special days and their pictures for 2014 but whatever you can do.

Please keep the letters coming. I can't wait to hear from the boys. It's so awesome to see Chase play too. I try not to miss you all too much.

Elder Matua

Monday, September 16, 2013

Settling down in paradise


Things have be going great here in paradise. I have been working hard and really getting into missionary life. The weather here is very hot and I love it. Last Monday I was grateful for the chance to practice with the Waikoloa Rugby Team - that was refreshing!

I'ts been tough. We have had minimal luck tracting but we are still required to tract for 2 hours each day. So when we don't have scheduled meetings you better believe that we are out knocking on doors. We are finally starting to get some people to answer their doors when we come to visit. Sadly, the majority of them say that they are no longer interested or that they don't have the time. But we just have to be patient and wait for them to come around. There are also a lot of part member families here so that has been really good. There are a lot of very strong moms out here that are kicking their husbands' butts into gear. I'm so grateful for the women of the world. They are all so in-tune with the spirit.

I have gotten to know a young 13-year-old Marshallese boy very well here. He was baptized the week before I arrived here but he still has not been confirmed. His family is starting to make it difficult. We can't seem to catch him on a Sunday so this week we are going over to his home with the Bishop and some of the Young Men's leaders and we are going to confirm him at his house during the week. He is a really smart kid and he knows whats right but he is just caught in his parents culture and really has no say in what goes on. But we are still working hard on him.

On Thursday I had my first exchange. I spent a day in the Kealakekua area with Elder Ward. It was a cool experience to be in a new area with a different companion. I met some of the ward families in that area. One was the Willis family. The mom is from South Africa. She was awesome. The dad is a non-member from Oklahoma - an awesome guy as well. The missionaries are working hard on him but I think some of the ward members kinda scared him off a little. He said it seemed like the ward members were up in his face and trying to baptize him that Sunday. So when you are dealing with non-members in your wards do not suffocate them with the gospel but let the Spirit work on them and you just follow the Spirits' lead.

I also had my first Zone Conference this week which was awesome. I learned so much from the AP's, ZL's as well as President and Sister Warner. It was really fun and so much was learned. I really love President and Sister Warner, they are amazing people who help us out so much here in the HHM.

I had my 'get to know you' interview with President Warner which was awesome. He said I have a special spirit about me. I don't know if that's a good thing or not. My personal mission motto is being created from Ether 12 & Hebrews 11. I've found that the Book of Mormon & Bible greats weren't great because they were born that way, they were made great by exercising faith and leaning upon the understanding of the Lord because He is all-knowing and loves us.

Mom - I got my letter on the 12th and my package on the 13th. I only saw Baker [Elder Pritchard] once during my first transfer meeting. He was recently called as a Zone leader on Oahu so I haven't seen him again but he did see my package cause he left a little note on it. Can you send me my cleats?

Dad & Boys - I'm Glad to hear that everything is going well in the sports world. I'm also glad to see that Coach Hastings is helping those boys reach their potential. Hopefully you guys can help Dillon get things figured out but I bet he has the faith that will bring him many blessings from the Lord.

Good Luck this week in school and football. Stay out of trouble and love all those around you. Stop getting so buff you goons!

Elder Matua

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Happy Anniversary

I just wanted to pen out a quick letter and say ... HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

How does it feel to know that you have spent 20 years with your eternal companion? Now I'm truly grateful that I get to choose my eternal companion because if I was assigned an eternal companion like out here in the mission field eternity would be even longer LOL

I've really learned to miss and appreciate my brothers out here in the field. If you keep doing what you are doing, those four boys are going to be amazing missionaries. I'm so glad that I have a set of good examples in you two to follow after my mission when I'm at the marriage stage in life which Heavenly Father informed me will happen in due time (according to my Patriarchal Blessing).

I love you both more than you could ever know. I'm so blessed with all the lessons that I have learned from both of you. I am out here doing what I am doing, the way that I am doing it because of you.

Have a good 20th anniversary - you old love birds.

Love Elder Matua

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

September 9 P-Day

This week has flown by seems like just yesterday was my last p-day. I guess time does fly when you're having fun and working hard. Our numbers are slow in coming but they are improving every day. We did some service tracting this week. Sadly we didn't get any offers for service at the door but there were a lot of nice people that we were able to talk to and one couple accepted a card with our info on it so we are faithfully waiting on any kind of response. For the most part though tracting consists of empty homes. It's very hard to catch people at home.

We have been going on lots of visits with a Marshallese member who is a recent convert. He has been such a big help. The language barrier is huge so with him being able to help us overcome that we have been getting into a lot more homes and teaching more lessons. I'm not sure how much is getting through to them because of the language barrier but we will keep teaching and answering questions.

There are lots of interesting connections in the ward. There is a family named Casuga - there are three brothers in the ward one used to be the bishop, all very cool guys. The middle brother knows auntie Theresa and Tele from when he used to live up in Logan when his wife was going to USU. The youngest one knows Amanda. He served in Fiji where he met the Whippy brothers. He knows Josh really well. Also some random Samoan guy from Waimea 2nd Ward knew grandpa Moa. And of course you already know about the Harris family. It is amazing how small our world is!

The ward members are helping us so much. They all have referrals and are willing to help us get in the door and teach with us. By the end of this next week I am pretty sure that we will have a handful of really good investigators from non-member families, part-member families, and less actives.

My faith is growing so much when I see that EXACT obedience, not selective obedience brings the blessings tenfold. The Lord is really willing to open the windows of heaven and poor out the blessings if we are willing to knock and open our mouths to ask. I have really developed a love for reading. The Book of Mormon is amazing and I'm enjoying talks from the last general conference as well as a packet on the Atonement (a set of talks about Christ that our mission pres put together) have really helped me. I can truly say that I am feasting upon the words of Christ and it is amazing.

On the 22nd Elder Holland is coming for stake conference so that should be amazing. I will probably get to meet him face to face as a full-time missionary which is crazy. We are trying to get as many non-members there as possible because Elder Holland can touch any heart and if we can get them there, they get a front row seat so hopefully that can give us a little boost.

My apartment is great, they say its the best one in the zone. I don't really need too much right now just more of those drink mix things would be nice.

I have come to realize that only through exact obedience can I get anything done. With all the reading, pondering, and praying I have learned to keep my thoughts where they need to be. The Lord has blessed me with so much patience.

Keep up the good work on the football field and in the classroom (hopefully you're all doing good in the classroom). Listen to mom when she tells you that you want to learn how to keeping things clean. Learn how to be neat, your comps will love you for it. Really read the scriptures and listen to the next conference - they are speaking directly to you always, something I learned a little later.

All is will in the HHM - Another week in paradise!

Elder Matua

Monday, September 9, 2013

Mission President's welcome letter

It's Monday morning so we're chomping at the bit wondering if we will get an email or a letter from Elder Matua. We did however get a letter from President Warner and thought we would share excerpts from it with you, Elder Matua's family and friends.

Dear Brother and Sister Matua:

It is a pleasure to write to you of your son's arrival in the Hawaii Honolulu Mission. He was met at the airport where he arrived well and in good spirits. His companion picked him up and he is now in his new area of labor. His companion was carefully selected to insure him of a proper introduction to missionary work here and we are confident that their relationship will be a mutual blessing.

At the Mission Home we took a snapshot of Elder Matua with Sister Warner and me, which we enclose for you.

Thank you for sharing your son with us. We already love him as one of our own and are thrilled to have him in this mission.

President Stephen R. Warner
Mission President

Monday, September 2, 2013

We see you Elder!

Don't believe in small miracles or in God's tender mercies?

As a family we have struggled through the first week since Elder Matua left the M.T.C. bound for Hawaii. It was a blessing to have the Sape family travel with him but once he arrived in Honolulu and was carted off to the mission home we were in the dark wondering where he ended up and how he was faring in his first few days in the field.

Yesterday we were truly blessed to come in contact with the Naumu family and Rachel Cody-Harris while attending our nephew Elder Dillon Filiaga's homecoming (Kobe, Japan) in Pocatello, ID. After listening to Elder Filiaga's powerful testimony of missionary work and his experiences of growing closer to our Heavenly Father while out in the field, we were approached by the Naumu family who informed us that their son Elder Naumu was in the M.T.C. and left for Hawaii on the same day with Elder Matua. Small world right? Wait, it gets smaller.

Rachel Cody-Harris' in laws live on the Big Island and the Naumu's were hoping that Elder Naumu would end up serving in their ward. Sister Harris, who is best friends with our niece Emma Filiaga-Naeata got word back from Hawaii that Elder Naumu did not end up on the Big Island as they had all hoped, but that they had a fun Elder from Utah named Elder Matua! So many connections led to so many pictures of our Elder and so many tears of joy as we saw the smile on his face. We are blessed and so is he to be among the lovely people of Hawaii.

Here are some photo's shared by the Naumu's and the Harris':