Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Birthday and Christmas cheer

These wonderful people (Finau's) from home brought a
special delivery from Lehi. Awesome!
Thank you to all who sent birthday wishes my way this past week. It was a great week and I can't believe that it was my last birthday and Christmas on the mission.

As usual it was a great holiday and we were able to enjoy the Christmas spirit with fellow missionaries, members, and investigators. We had a great ward Christmas party that almost all of our investigators were able to attend. They almost all came to church yesterday too, huge plus to the week. But the greatest plus of all was being able to see mom, dad, and the three yahoos that are at home. Always great to see them through Skype. Very grateful for the technology that we have and are able to use these days.

I hope all of you had a great Christmas and have a Happy New Year this week. I have all of my resolutions ready to go and can't wait for what the new year has in store.

Love you all CHOKE!!
Elder Kingston Matua

Castin out evil spirits

Well, I've been here for over a week now! I'm still loving it so much. Colorado is indeed a great place.

The giant chili - moving the Zone Leaders
This past Christmas week was a great one. P-Day was good, I got to ball it up a little bit with the zone, super fun. Tuesday was a typical day, working and eating. We also helped the Zone leaders move out of their apartment and into their new one. We found a giant chili pepper in their new apartment that was left by previous missionaries, I'll have to forward some pictures. It was pretty crazy.

Christmas Eve was pretty cool. We went through our regular routine up until about 7:00 p.m. We had a zone Christmas get together which consisted of 10 missionaries out of a lot in our zone. It was fun though! We first went caroling at a park in the middle of town. Because no one wanted to listen to us, we decided to go knock on some doors and force people to listen to us sing. The set of sister missionaries that were with us mentioned how they had an investigator that lived in a nearby apartment complex, so we made our way there. When we found out he wasn't home, we knocked on the next door and sang to a man named Reg. He and his fiance stood in their doorway as we sang to them. We all thought that they were annoyed by us for sure, but as soon as we stopped singing, they requested another song! ..and another, and another. hahah It was so funny, they started singing with us and we had a blast. They thanked us for spreading the Christmas spirit and we moved on.

As we were walking out of the apartment complex, a lady stopped us and asked us to sing a song for her. We sang "Silent Night" for her, and she started crying. When we finished, she explained to us how she was all alone on Christmas Eve and how hard it is for her to be away from her kids. We shared a "He is the Gift" pass along card with her and bore our testimony of how Heavenly Father loves her. It was an awesome moment.

I finally finished my "Christmas Countdown"
thanks Mom
After caroling, we went back to the chapel and had a gift exchange. We talked a little more and then the night was over.

Christmas was awesome. We woke up and headed over to the McConkie's home for breakfast. They are such a nice family! Brother McConkie gave us some Church History quizzes which were pretty fun. We then went next door to the Hendershot's house to Skype home! That was the biggest reason it felt like Christmas. Talking to you guys was the best! Getting to talk to Kaylee was awesome too. Thank you tons for letting her come over and chat for a bit. I was so happy to see each of you. Best Christmas present ever.

After the call, we went to the Dodge's for Dinner...yes..dinner at 2. It was delicious though. Every Christmas and Thanksgiving, I guess they let us watch a G or a PG movie. So at the Dodge's we watched a movie called "Galaxy Quest." After watching it I was just blown away at how it wasn't rated at least PG-13. It was quite an interesting movie.

Christmas was good though.

I'd have to say two of my favorite days over the past three months have been Christmas...and yesterday.
I'll start off by letting y'all know I passed the Sacrament yesterday for the first time in like four years! It was funny because there were all these tiny Deacons, then giant Elder Johnson and I helping them pass. It was good though.

Also, right when Gospel Principles finished, the lady that was sitting a couple chairs down started to talk to me in Mandarin! So I got some good practice with her and her husband! She served in Taiwan, and her husband is from China. Unfortunately, they were just visiting the ward, so I think that's the last time I'll get to see them. But it was a great opportunity to get some practice!

We live on Toaster Strudels
Now I guess I better explain the title of this email. Yesterday at church, we had a less-active couple walk up to us and ask if we could visit their home when church finished. They mentioned to us that it was an emergency and that they needed help with some "unwanted beings" in their basement. So as soon as church ended we left for their house.

They brought us in and gave us some background on some of the encounters they were having lately. They started leading us down they stairs, and as soon as I took my first step down, I got this cold and bitter feeling. My body started shaking and it was then that I realized they really do have some unwanted beings. We went first into the laundry room, then into an office in the back. Elder Guy, Elder Johnson, and I each had very eerie feelings. It was not good.

We then asked the family if we could kneel and pray together. In the middle of Elder Johnson's prayer, he paused for a while. Right when he paused, in the middle of his sentence, I again had a dark feeling and it felt like my body was shaking. But as soon as he resumed his prayer, those feelings went away. He closed his prayer and everybody was silent. For a good 10 minutes, nobody said anything. Then Elder Johnson explained the pause in his prayer. He said it was as if someone was trying to stop him from saying that prayer. He said it was a feeling he's never had before, but then he just had to fight through it and that he instantly felt peace and comfort. I know the spirit instantly came into the room.  What was awesome was that the daughters in this family each explained how they felt warmer, and that the basement felt brighter. One of the daughters ran into the laundry room and came out saying how it felt so different. How she knew whatever it was that was there, was finally gone. I had the opportunity to bear testimony of the importance of surrounding yourself with the spirit. Also how the power of the devil is real, but the power of God, the power of the priesthood, the power of faith in Christ was SO much stronger. It was indeed a great experience!

Thanks for this beautiful gift - Choose The Right...always!
We then had dinner at the Lauritzen's home. That was full of an amazing meal (paleo? meat veggies and fruit. SOOO GOOD!! I think I'm going paleo.), capoeira (Brother Lauritzen served in Brazil so he was showing us some Brazilian martial arts!) and magic tricks. Brother Lauritzen was blowing our minds. hahah They are also a great family!

All in all, yesterday was one of my favorite days.

It's getting A LOT colder here. It's been snowing all day today and it's actually sticking. My companions are still awesome. The ward is still great. Everything is awesome. I love being a missionary.
I'm glad to hear your week was great! Dad, don't worry about cutting back on your eating, just be happy:) (and watch out for dat gout hahah).

I'm getting really bad at taking pictures, but I'll try to be better haha.
I pray for each of you daily. I'm so grateful for your love and support. I think of you guys constantly throughout the week and it's so amazing how blessed I am to have the best family ever. It's so easy to count my blessings. The Lord is definitely being generous. I'm so grateful for this time I have to be here in Colorado. It has been a great blessing. Being a missionary period is a blessing. I feel closer to my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ than I ever have before and it is the greatest. Being in the position I am now helps me realize that He is a part of everything. Jesus Christ is my Savior AND Redeemer. ONLY through Him do we receive true happiness. He is always there for us, we just need to put forth that effort every day to reach out to Him and embrace his Atonement. We all need it and it's there for All of us. I'm so grateful for Him.

I love you guys so much! I miss y'all tons too. I hope you guys have the happiest of all new years. I'm trying to figure out how I can have Christ be a part of my day more. That is my new years resolution/goal. I invite you guys to do the same!

Have the best week this week, and know that I love you dearly.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Almost Christmas!

Just a quick note on my week.

Yesterday we were asked to share a lesson with the young men. They are a good group of kids, but sadly I see a lot of our Poly boys in them. Something about the Poly boys is just different. When I ask who is planning on serving a mission there is a lot of hesitation and even some who refuse to put their hands up. But it felt amazing to be able to stand in front of them and tell them what a great thing a mission is.

I hope that I will be able to play a role in the lives of our young men back home as well. That is probably one of the things that I am looking forward to the most when I return home. Now that I have witnessed first hand what a mission is I can't wait to share that with those boys and help them to see how great it is and how it is an opportunity that can't be missed.

Alofa atu,
Elder K. Matua

Hello from CCSM

I've been reassigned to the Colorado-Colorado Springs Mission to wait out my visa!

What an interesting past couple of days! After all of that craziness over Thursday and Friday, I'm finally in the field!

My home for now - my bed in the corner (Samoan style)
First things first, my companions are awesome! Elder Guy from Louisiana is training two people right now: me and Elder Johnson. Elder G only has two months left! He is such a great missionary. Both he and Elder J are great! Elder Johnson has only been out a month so I've actually been a missionary for longer than he has which is funny. I still consider him more experienced though. He's from Vermont.

Funny thing: He (Elder J) totally knows sister Tarawhiti and he flipped out when he found out I knew her too, let a lone she is from our ward! I guess his property backs up against the memorial where Tahi was serving in. Pretty crazy though. Small world!

My companions - Elder Johnson (r), Elder Guy (l) -
awesome guys
Saturday we woke up and played basketball EARLY in the morning. We woke up at 5:40 a.m. to get there at 6:00. It was super fun though. Then we went to choir practice. Yes, I'm in the ward Choir hahahah. We then helped one family move out of their house, and one family move in. Lots of service on Saturday. We went to dinner at a member family's home. (The ward missionary work is incredible here. The ward mission leader has things down! I went to a correlation meeting after church yesterday and was just so surprised at how amazingly organized this ward is. Such an awesome ward.)

Sunday was awesome. First REAL sacrament meeting I've been to since my farewell haha. I even got to go to Elder's quorum and  Gospel Principles. I love it. The bishop is great, and all of the members are fantastic.

It's a white Christmas after all
Sunday night we ate at the Elders Quorum President's home. A really nice family. After dinner, we went to the Hickman's home (another family in the ward) and taught them the plan of salvation. Bishop Waters has challenged every family in the ward to take the missionary lessons. Last night was my first lesson in the field and it was awesome!

All in all, Colorado is great. I'm actually kind of surprised at how much I'm loving this. I mean I knew I'd love the field, I'm just excited at how much I love this place haha. The people are awesome. The other missionaries here are awesome. Being on a mission is awesome!

I love you all and miss you tons! I'm sorry this letter is kind of lame. I'm getting worse at writing them. I promise to do better next week.

Love you guys!
Elder C. Matua

Merry Christmas from Colorado Springs!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Working hard in Honolulu-West

I am definitely glad to be back in Hon-West with a good companion. It has been an awesome feeling to be back around the people that I served with in the Lanakila Ward. They all still remember me haha. I even saw an old friend from Kona yesterday and they remembered me too. You never really understand the impact you can make on peoples lives sometimes. I am so grateful for every single person the Lord has let me serve here. Everyday that helps push me to serve everyone and develop that Christ-like love for them. That is by far my favorite part of being a missionary.  

I just got an email from John Raass. He sounds like he's doing good. I hope him and Mica are starting to take things serious. Looking back I think that would have been the most important part to get things straight. Sadly we didn't know that we were going to be able to serve at 18-years at that time. That just goes to show that you should never procrastinate.

Last Thursday we got to go to the PCC Christmas Lagoon to see the lights. While we were waiting in a very long line I got to talk to a mom and dad with a son serving in Samoa. It was funny because I saw you dad and mom while I was talking to them. The mom was freaking out because the son had gotten sick and he's out in the boonies with limited communication, while the dad knew he would be okay and everything will be good. I think all parents are pretty much the same. Dads have this calm trust with the elders while the moms are constantly worrying. That is one reason I am glad that I am still in America so mom doesn't need to worry too much.

Nothing too new here, We have fights and all kinds of nasty stuff in the area. I figure, they are just having a hard time loving each other, but we still find the bright spots in all of Heavenly Fathers children and do our best to serve.

No new adventures just life as a missionary during the holiday season, no one really has the time. We missed out on seeing two of our big investigators. They both just didn't show up. Elder Talatau is cool. He just knows how to be a real person and not try and fake his way through being a missionary. Plus he is an athletic Poly who will go to the gym with me and play sports.

I got the first package on the 10th, doing my best to keep up with the 25-days of Christmas.

Ya don't call on me for any singing assignments. LOL That has still not changed about me, I still can't sing and I still don't like singing. In some wards they ask you to and as a missionary you can't say no, but you can warn them haha! Sadly all it takes is one musical number with a bunch of tone def elders and the ward learns its lesson. Also sad that I probably wont be doing anything for my birthday with anyone more than my companion. Mission Pres just put a "discontinued" stamp on all zone activities even put a limit on district activities.  

But on the bright side...we can Skype in a few days haha! I will let you know the details that week

How's Chase doing? Any word from him about his travel news? Hope all works out.

I have developed a love for Samoan food though. Every dinner here is taro, pisupo, and the occasional palusami. The language is coming slowly along. My understanding is getting really good when it comes to small talk and gospel related topics, I can catch the gist. Even with all the drama my love for the Samoan culture grows every day.

Alofa atu!

Still here!

HAHAHAHAHA - I'm still here!

My zone wore black to mourn those who left for their missions
and because we're still here LOL!
The travel office keeps telling us so many different things. I've learned to not trust them. Their latest word (we checked in with them this morning): "We don't know anything". And then about an hour later, some of the Elders checked again. They said the "blackout days" (The period where they don't really do much about missionary business stuff) starts on the 19th, and they probably won't have enough time from here until then to reassign us. There's a really high chance we're in here until January. But it's great. I love it here. I'm just anxious to get to Taiwan.

It was a good week this week. Just another week I guess. Our district went down from eight elders to four because The other four went to Canada, Australia, and Indiana. So our classes are a little more directed to our individual needs. I like it a lot better, and I learn a lot more. My teachers are so awesome. Every day this past week, we've had to teach two or three workshops a day to the newer missionaries. Lessons like weekly planning, language study skills, how to begin teaching, different things like that.

My Chinese is still gradually improving bit by bit. It's so hard, but I really enjoy learning Mandarin. One of the biggest things I struggle with is the fact that I didn't get called to serve in Samoa. There are tons of missionaries here that are going there....a bunch of palagi kids. Ikaika emails me every week from there. I got an email today from Kaylee that said a girl from Lehi just got called to Samoa? I get so bitter about it sometimes. But then I try to remind myself that this is the Lord's will for me. I know it is such a blessing for me to be called to Taiwan speaking the Mandarin Chinese language. I know Heavenly Father has some special souls waiting for me in Taiwan. As much as I sound like I'm super sad that I'm not going to Samoa, I'm actually beyond excited to finally get to Taiwan. My teachers tell us different things about Taiwan every day and It gets me so pumped to get out there. I really cannot wait. Who know's? Maybe I'll get there one day LOL!

Another fun day at the temple
Thank you so much for the pani popo. Those get destroyed as soon as I open the box because everybody loves them. I can't think of anything else I might need, but if I do, I'll let you know. I'm excited for you guys and your upcoming rugby season. It sounds like it's gonna be a blast.

Tuesday night devotional was so good. I don't even remember the name of the man who spoke. What made it amazing is a girl named Lexi Walker sang. I think she is like 12-years-old, but she has one of the best voices I've ever heard. She sang three songs: I am a Child of God, Holy Night, and I Know that My Redeemer Lives. So incredibly awesome. It was a great spiritual experience.

The temple was great this morning. Every week, Elder Liston and I do a session. This morning we decided to switch it up. We did sealings and initiatories. First time I've ever done sealings. What an amazing experience. I was a witness for the first half, then a child for the second. It made me so excited to go into the temple soon (don't worry mom and dad, I'm talking 2 years or so at the least:) ) with my eternal companion. Super cheesy, but hey, it was such a great experience. Kind of helped me realize what my investigators should be looking forward to.

Nothing else too new.

More good times on temple grounds
Glad to hear the boys are doing good! I miss them so much. Has Mica gone on a date yet!? Tell that boy to get on a date! How are his friends? Can you ask him to ask Brother Butler if he ever got my letter? Have they enjoyed reffing? It's so weird to think little Kenyon is old enough to have a job. Pretty soon he'll be in high school. That's kinda crazy. And Quinners. I miss that guy. I miss a different brother so much each day. One day its Mica, then it's Quinn, then it's Kenny, then King. and it's just a cycle that'll never stop haha. I can't wait until we're all together again!

I miss you all so much. Mom and Dad, I'm not saying we're the best children on earth or anything, but I know I am the way I am today because of what you taught me. The way you raised me. The Lord sent us five boys to you two because he knew we needed special parents. What a blessing it has been to know that I'll have all of eternity to spend with the greatest people ever. Our family is an Eternal one. I am grateful for the plan Heavenly Father has made for us. I'm grateful for the atoning sacrifice Christ made for us that this could be possible. I know that my Redeemer lives.

I hope this Christmas season treats you at home well. Enjoy it for me and I'll do the best I can for you. You guys are the best. I love and miss you dearly.

Elder C. Matua

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

New area and new comp

Well after the transfer dust had settled I found myself back in Hon-West zone (where I was before
Bro Malaki, dads family living in our area.
Laie), but this time I am in the Moanalua 2nd Samoan Ward. So I'm back in town. Our apartment is in Salt Lake, but our area covers three zones (Hon-west, Honolulu, and Kaneohe). I have rejoined one of my old companions that I was with for only a week, Elder Talatau. He is from West Jordan, and he knows the whole Matua gang over there. I also found out that the elder who I trained, Elder Seremai, is training another elder from West Jordan, Elder Swenson. He said that he lives across from Aunty Annette and them.

It is nice to be back in a busy town with lots of work. Very fast paced compared to Laie. I have met pretty much all the investigators in the area and had some interesting experiences. We are teaching a good number of people and trying our best to get the ward involved.

We had a good mission tour fireside last night with Elder Johnson of the seventy. We got on the same page with our ward leaders and learned about why we do what we do; how full-time missionaries and teachers and members are full-time finders. Elder Johnson talked about never disregarding any name that comes to your mind. When a name comes or someone pops into your mind, you need to act.

Stay tuned for many new experiences in this wonderful new area. I have also been able to catch up with some of my old friends from the Lanakila ward, which is in the same Stake.

Stay warm my Utah friends! haha

Elder Matua

Feeling the Christmas Vibe

Another great week for the books. I'm still loving it here at the MTC. Yes, even though every day is the same haha. It's fun. I can't believe I've already been on a mission for two months! How crazy is that?!

This week was similar to the other nine that i've spent here. I've been feeling the Christmas vibes a lot lately. Yesterday was a great day. Because it was Fast Sunday, we had mission conference first thing in the morning. Listened to members of the MTC presidency. They are all great. The best was Sunday night. Instead of a normal devotional we usually do on Sunday nights, they let us watch the Christmas Devotional. There were a lot of really great messages that I loved. However, as I was there, I began to think about all of my past Christmases. All of the great memories that we made as a family. One specific Christmas came to mind. I'm not sure if you remember this one mom, but this is a memory that I will never forget.

I don't remember the exact date, but I know for sure it was when we were in the rental house in West Valley. One night mom got "called out to work" or so my brothers and I thought. It must have been the night before Black Friday because the one thing I clearly remember is mom knocking on our front door the next morning. She had never come home the night before, but I had just thought she got home super late. I didn't realize she never came home until I opened the door and she was standing on the steps with her work clothes on. If I remember correctly, at this time she was still working on the ramp [at the airport] so she was in her heavy duty gear. She looked exhausted and I was so confused.
So that happened. Then Christmas came around. We opened our presents and had a wonderful morning as usual. I don't even remember what the gift was, but I remember dad saying, "Remember when mom went to 'work' and she didn't come home until the following morning? It's because she was camping out at a store by herself getting that gift for you guys."

Simple story right? (sorry if it was super confusing) But it's a story I'll never forget. Sometimes...okay a lot of times, I took for granted how much my parents love me. I look back at those moments now and I just am filled with so much happiness because I have the greatest parents on the earth. I tried taking these thoughts a little deeper: How could I connect this to the love that Christ has for me? Jesus Christ died for me. He performed the Atonement for me. He performed the Atonement for you. Sometimes, we (I) take this gift for granted. just as mom didn't want us to know she had stayed up all by herself that night, Christ didn't care for the glory of dying for each of us. He did it for the pure reason that He loves each of us.

Elder D's mom sent apple cider and...this happened LOL
This Christmas season, I am going to focus more on others and focus more on my savior. I am so grateful for Everything that He has done, is doing, and will do for me. I love Him. He is the Gift.
Dad--Do you remember that kid that played with me when I played for the Lions? He played center for Bingham. His name's Tance Allsup? Yeah, I saw him here! He came in on Wednesday! I guess he's going to Tempe, Arizona. I don't know, it made me really happy to see him here.

I hope all is well. I love hearing from you guys every week. I miss the boys. Say hi to them for me.
Oh and I'm still at the MTC. There's a chance we get our travel plans tonight. Maybe head out to Taiwan on Wednesday. They still haven't told us anything yet, but it's okay. still just chillin.

Mom and Dad, I love you guys. I feel your prayers. Being here has grown my love and respect for both of you so much. You guys are the greatest.

Until next week.
Elder Chase Matua

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving - Hawaii Style

Had a pretty exciting week and some pretty cool experiences. We got to do some really cool service the day before Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving morning. We helped the folks at Tita's Grill unwrap, prepare, and re-wrap in foil, 200 or so turkeys for a big 'umu that they were doing for the homeless and seniors.

Cooking turkeys in the 'umu for the homeless and seniors
After we got the turkeys all wrapped up we helped take them to another place where we helped move
the fire and get it ready for the turkeys. We put them all in and covered it up. We woke up at 5 o'clock on Thanksgiving morning to go and help take the turkeys out of the 'umu. They took most of the turkeys to Waianae side for the homeless shelter and the rest went to Tita's Grill for the Seniors and the missionaries. We went to play some football and rugby with at the PCC and had a fun meal with the Si'ilata and Te'o-Tafiti families. To finish off Thanksgiving we got together as missionaries and played some games at Laie Park.

On Friday we had to take Elder Gardner, Elder Young Yen's comp, to the airport for an early transfer to Hilo. So Elder Young Yen has been with us and will be with us until Wednesday when they have the regular transfers.

With the boys after another great temple trip
On Saturday we were able to be a part of Elder Young Yen's baptism. It was a Chinese lady, who got baptized in the Tongan ward that I actually got the chance to teach a while back. It was a great baptism and the spirit was there as always. After, we got to eat at their Bishops house. They gave "light refreshments" - Tongan for a whole meal. haha!

Sunday we had a long day of Church. After three Sacrament meetings and a couple of lessons later we were finally done with church. We then went to sing in a missionary choir in Kahuku for a missionary fireside. After that we finished the week with a great dinner with the Alaiasa family.

Last Christmas as Elder Matua (sad face)
Overall it was a good week. I also found out that I will be transferring. I have no clue where I am going yet but I will leave Hau'ula on Wednesday. I am so grateful for all the time that I have been able to spend here in Hau'ula and for all the experiences that I have had but a change will be nice now. By this point in my mission I know that everywhere we are put in our lives, we are put there for a reason. I have been able to see that in all of my areas and even here in Hau'ula. Now I can't wait to see what is next! Love you all!

Hope you get feeling better mom. Its crazy to think that I just spent my last Thanksgiving here in Hawaii. Next Thanksgiving I will be right back to freezing my butt off with you guys. Or maybe we can come spend a Thanksgiving here in Hawaii...

Elder Kingston Matua

Thanksgiving was too good

My teacher Wu Di Xiong (on my left)
This past week was full of excitement. Before coming here, I'd often heard that being in the MTC
during a holiday wasn't too great. I thought it was awesome, and lot's of fun. It all started on Tuesday. As you already know, every Sunday and Tuesday night we have the privilege of having a devotional. General Authorities, MTC presidencies, professional athletes, it switches every time. Up until Tuesday night, we hadn't had a member of the quorum of the 12 come speak to us. We were told that it happened pretty frequently, and yet we hadn't heard from one our entire stay.

This week we had two of the Brethren come and speak to us. The Tuesday night devotional was given to us by Elder Dallin H. Oaks. So cool. He talked about how important it is to have a testimony. One of my favorite things he said was an analogy using a pen. He explained how missionaries need to be instruments in the hands of the Lord, the same way a pen is an instrument in the hand of an author. The pen in itself needs to be in working condition, the same way missionaries need to be healthy, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Obeying the rules, and listening to the council of my leaders is what I thought that also included. Then he said the ink was our testimony. We can't 'write' the Lord's will if we do not have our
My other teacher, Sun Lao Shi - she's hilarious
testimony. We also have to know that it's not what we want, it's what the Lord wants. If our faith is strong enough, we will be used as an instrument in the hands of the Lord. Helping him do his work, or 'writing His book'.

Thanksgiving came around and we all knew it was going to be a good day. What we didn't know is how good it was actually going to be. First off, they had a nice breakfast for us. Right after breakfast, we had a Thanksgiving devotional by the one and only David A. Bednar. Now being here at the MTC has strengthened my testimony of MANY things. One of the many being my testimony of a living prophet on the Earth, Thomas S. Monson, as well the members of the quorum of the 12 being special witnesses of Jesus Christ. They are each true men of God. It was awesome having the opportunity to listen to Elder Bednar that morning.

The sickest socks ever! Thanks mom
The biggest surprise though, was that he turned the devotional into a question and answer session. He passed out over 100 cell phones, put a number connected to his ipad up on the big screen and told everybody to start asking questions. He is a man full of knowledge, and more importantly, his testimony and his faith literally make him glow. He talked on a wide range of subjects from "How do I help my investigators increase faith?" to "What are the technicalities in priesthood blessings". He had many great instructions, council, and insights. What interesting and spiritually uplifting moments those were. I also never knew he and his wife had such a great sense of humor.

After the devotional, we had our Thanksgiving dinner. It was really good, but it wasn't anything like Mom's cooking. (side note: I really do like the food here at the MTC, but one of the things I miss everyday is your cooking Mom!). After our Thanksgiving meal,  all the missionaries were split up into two groups. Our zone was part of the first group so we took part in the service project first. We made thousands of meal packages for shelters. The meal they had everyone make was lentil casserole. Each table had an assembly line putting the packs together. It was really fun. They also had some hip hop versions of primary songs playing on the speakers. super interesting, but it got us all pumped.
Fake Turkey Bowl
More fake Turkey Bowl
If I can find some pictures of us doing it, I'll be sure to send them. As soon as we finished our part of the project, Elder Bednar was walking through the cafeteria checking things out. As he was leaving, everyone made a huge line and he shook most people's hands. So yes, I had the chance to shake David A. Bednar's hand, it was so sick.

After the service project, we went to our classroom and ate our sack dinners we each prepared earlier. We then went to the gym for a Thanksgiving program. It was very.. interesting. It threw me back into the primary days. interesting. There was first a harp solo by a sister that went to Lehi (I had never seen her before in my life). interestin.They had some missionaries dress up for a play about the pilgrims and the first thanksgiving dinner. interesting. Then they had a sister sing a solo. She sang a song from a musical i think..? I think the name of the song was 'maybe this time'... very interesting. Hahaha it was a good time though, lots of good laughs.

Best pic of us seeing the Christmas lights
After the special program, the rest of the missionaries joined us in the gym and we watched Meet the Mormons. Awesome movie. No mom, I didn't cry, but I thought about you guys a lot. I feel like they should have thrown the Matua family in that movie, but it's okay. haha I loved the movie. After the movie they mentioned to us there was a special treat outside. We walked out and the Christmas lights were turned on. Everybody went crazy. Some people were calling it the 'dance'. sort of an inside joke, surprisingly we have TONS of those here. I'll attach some high quality photos that Elder Sagapolu took for me. (what a goof ball).

Yeah Thanksgiving was great though. We even had the opportunity to go on an additional temple walk. We also had our own turkey bowl. I will admit, the entire day, I was really missing my family. As soon as I heard you guys had your own turkey bowl, I got super jealous. I've been dying to spend time with my brothers....and throw a rugby ball!!!

Last night, for our devotional, they had Vocal Point come and sing to us. They are so cool. really funny, and they sang really great pieces.

Mom, it makes me heart broken that you're not feeling to great.  I'm praying hard for you. Make sure the little boys take care of you.

I'm going to send some things home. not too much just things I don't have room for. I'll also send that sweet book back, If it was in Mandarin, I wouldn't be sending it back (yes, i forgot how to read in english...sike.)

Me and my bro Elder N. Uhi
Dad, it's great to hear you all had a great Thanksgiving. Did you get injured at all in the turkey bowl? ...hahah jokes jokes. Mica's so lucky he get's to play some rugby. Has the boy's bball season started up yet? It brings me joy to hear Lehi 41 is doing so well. I have a suggestion for you considering the inactive members of the youth. I only say this because I've been where they've been before. Very recently. If there is one word of advice I have for them, it is to diligent read and study the book of mormon every morning and every night. Along with personal prayer with true intent. Mom and Dad, you are great teachers. I want to be parents like you guys some day. You guys taught my brothers and I to read and pray every day. Due to my laziness, I didn't read my scriptures everyday, and I didn't pray every day. For that, I sincerely apologize. As I look back now, If there was one thing I would change, it'd be a more intensive DAILY study of the Book of Mormon, and a more faithful use of the power of prayer. DAILY personal prayer.

Dad, I encourage you to help the youth, mica, kenyon, and quinn, understand the importance of these two things. Those who have a true testimony of the Book of Mormon and Prayer, will never fall away from the Church. That is a promise I continue to hear from General Authorities and other leaders. Mom and Dad, I think it'd be super fun for you guys to do a book of mormon read a thon for the youth. I know it'd be very beneficial for them.

Our zone on a temple walk
Things here at the MTC are still going great. The confusion with the visas is still going on. I got reassigned to Atlanta, Georgia. Fun huh? Well, we went into the travel office to get more information and they told us to disregard our reassignments. They told us "your visas are coming in sooner than expected. Oh but wait, you'll have to wait in the MTC for another week or so. Just stay on your toes and we'll give you more information when we get it." ...so we don't know what's going on, and I have a strong feeling that neither do they. But I know who does. And He's really got something special in store for us. Who knows, I'm just praying and patiently waiting.

I love and miss you guys dearly. There isn't a day that doesn't go by that I don't think about my amazing parents and my best friends--my brothers. Mom, the package was legit! Today being the 1st, I started that awesome count down to Christmas. It's so cool! And i didn't get the December Ensign, but it's okay, i can get one here.

I hope things continue to go swell. You guys are the best, and I couldn't be here without knowing I have the best family supporting me as I go. I pray for you guys every day. I am so blessed to have amazing parents who prepared me for this part of my life. What a blessing it is to be a missionary. I thank Heavenly Father for everything He has given me, including the Atoning sacrifice of His Son.
I love you guys so much. You are in my prayers. The Lord is watching over you.

Elder Chase Matua
More from our zone temple walk
Two missionaries from my district who left for Australia today
We have too much fun
Waaay too much fun

I love this place!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Teaching and serving the Thanksgiving way

This week was pretty good. For Thanksgiving we are just planning to hit a couple of members houses who wanted us over for dinner, so we will be eating all day. Some guys at PCC invited us to come and play touch rugby over at BYU. The 4th ward invited us to their turkey bowl too. I love that you can do Thanksgiving stuff here and not have to freeze your butt off.

We did some service a few days ago where we moved these huge logs behind Reno Mahe's moms fruit stand. The logs were going over the umu that Titas Grill is going to use to make 250 turkeys for the homeless and senior couples. The hole was huge!

It has been getting colder here too (65 degrees) haha! I'm gonna be in some trouble when I get home. I have to wear a hoodie when it gets below 70.

I need to do better at journal writing...I am really no good at that at all.

Working on your health is good. It is now officially been said over the pulpit in General Conference so everyone should be doing it. I can testify that being healthy = being happy. Less stress when you are fit, I've seen both ends of that since I've been here.

I haven't had any confirmation that I am actually leaving (transfer) yet. I won't know until this Sunday. It is not likely that I will stay here but there is still a chance. I will miss a lot of the people that I have met here but at the same time I am ready for some change. It is not like being at home where you can be just fine staying in one area for a long time. Here we love the people and all but there is so much that we can't do in each area so we just want to get out of there and find a new place with new people. It is kinda hard to explain. But there is a reason missionaries don't spend two years in one area.

Me and Elder Young Yen went on a split again, which seems to be happening a lot. We taught a second lesson to this couple from the east coast. They are very open and the spirit is so strong in the lessons. They have gone through a tough time as a couple and are looking for something to help them be happy.

Our most recent lesson with them was on the plan of salvation which was perfect for them. They really want to be a family forever. At the very beginning of the lesson we asked if they had any specific questions. The husband asked us this really long question where he voiced his frustrations and asked how we deal with our frustrations daily. I pointed at the Book of Mormon in front of him and told him read and pray. I love that I have gotten to the point where those kind of answers have become automatic. I know without a doubt in my mind that the Book Of Mormon is 100% true and that Heavenly Father wants to hear from us every day and He knows what we need most.

I hope you have another great week!

Alofa ia te oe!
Elder Kingston Matua

Nine weeks into it and lovin every moment

We start week nine this Wednesday. Time has never flown so fast. What's also kinda crazy is that it's probably not going to be our last week here. If you're confused, it's okay because I myself am still super confused.

We went into the travel office earlier this to check on our visa status. The travel agents told us that they had already reassigned us...but now our reassignments our canceled because our visa's are on their way? We all became really excited finding out, "Hey! We're all going to be in Taiwan in 2 weeks." But now we have to wait another week or so until our visa's actually get here. So I'll be 11 possibly 12 weeks in the MTC, which I'm not too upset about. After that, we were thrown a curve ball when Elder Liston's mom told him in a letter that he had been reassigned to Atlanta.. Now every one's confused again. But I should know where I'm going... as soon as I'm on the plane. That's what I'm waiting for now hahah. It's fun.

Besides that, nothing too exciting has happened. Just the usual - lots of study, lots of eating, and not enough sleep. Life is good.

Thanksgiving should be super fun. We have a General Authority devotional in the morning (we have yet to hear from an apostle in our eight weeks here, but rumor is it's going to be David A. Bednar. But there's lots of rumors that go around this place that aren't true so yeah). After the devotional, there's like a missionary program..? I'm guessing it's like a primary program..with missionaries. SUPER excited about that.... haha. No, it'll be good. After the program, we're doing a huge humanitarian service project. We're supposed to be making over 300,000 meal packs. It's going to be awesome.

Dad, what's the deal with Samoa? That makes me sad that they aren't doing to well. It also sounds like the USA-Fiji game was pretty close. Somebody told me the Cavs lost to the Jazz, and I started laughing, I guess that 'dream team' isn't doing so hot either. Can't wait to hear how the upcoming season goes for the boys. Do you remember a kid named Morgan Clawson? He played for you when you coached Kingston. I guess he played wing. He saw my last name and recognized it, and when I said Kingston's name it clicked.

I saw Elder Toki last night! He left this morning which is pretty crazy that he was already here for two weeks and that was the only time I saw him. I passed him in the cafeteria and I thought to myself, that kid looks super familiar. I noticed his name tag read 'Elder Toki', so I grabbed his arm. He looked at me like I was crazy, and it took him a minute to figure out who I was. Then, without saying anything he gave me the biggest hug. It was hilarious. What a great man. I think he said he was going to North Carolina?

I really need to write a letter to the boys, tell them to look forward to that this week. I miss them too much. Since being here, I've learned how easy it is to drive the spirit away.

It's good to hear Mica, Chris, and Sehyeon are hanging out together. They are good for each other. Especially Mica and Chris for Sehyeon. They can impact his life more than they think. But It makes me happy Mica is hanging out with those two. Now all he has to do is get John, Ramsey, and Bub to hang with them. That would be a powerful group of young men.

Mom, did you get that card? Thank you so much for all of the many packages. I'll have to take a picture of my stash and send it to you (I forgot my camera in the residence again, you'll get a lot of pictures next week).

I actually went off MTC campus this week to go to physical therapy with Elder D (he has shin splints). We walked from the Hospital across the street from Provo High back to the MTC because they didn't have a return shuttle to pick us up and take us back. It was really cool, but It made me feel like a celebrity. EVERY body was honking their horns, some crazy high schoolers (or BYU students?) put their head out their windows and yelled, THE CHURCH IS TRUE. It was really cool. For the first time since I was set apart in President Makai's office, I felt like I was set apart as a representative of Jesus Christ.

I'm sorry there's not too much to report. I'll try to make something funny happen this week...haha
My testimony of the gospel grows every day here. I am surrounded by amazing people who help me grow. Again, my teachers are incredible. They have impacted my life so much. I enjoy being here, and I enjoy being a missionary. I feel Heavenly Father's love for me every day.

I miss you so much family. I hope all is well. I wish you guys a fantastic Thanksgiving! Love you all!
Ma Zhang Lao

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

An honorary Hau'ula citizen

So as we were getting back from our temple trip I heard someone talking to my companion and asking me to come outside. I already knew who it was and what she wanted to talk about haha.

Sis Ofahengaue was asking me why I didn't email my mother yesterday. Haha! We have our P-day today because we had a temple trip and yesterday we did service for the visitors center. We set up Christmas trees.

The temple this morning was great, so grateful for the chance that I've had to go so much here in Laie.

The people here in the wards I serve in are telling me that I should just move my records into the ward since I've been here so long. They said it feels like I'm just another local. I have been here for seven months so I should be leaving around the first week of December.

This past week was pretty good. We had zone conference on Friday. Always nice to hear from our mission leadership. I was able to have another good lesson with the other elders. Went with Elder Young Yen to teach one of their investigators. They are a really solid couple who really likes the concept of eternal families. We had a very spiritual lesson on the restoration. and they really liked it and want to continue. Even though it wasn't in our area, it was great to help deliver the some of the message of the restored gospel with some great people.

Elder Kingston Matua

Funny story but nothing more

Another great and super fast week here at the training center for missionaries. Again, nothing fantastic has happened except for life. Life is pretty fantastic.

Something super funny happened in class this week though. There is a sentence particle...? (I don't even know what to call it) in the chinese language; de (pronounced 'duh'). There's five different ways to use it. we were all pretty confused about it. So Li Lao Shi decided to spend a little more time on this grammar principle. One use is to describe how an action is being made. For example "wo kan mo'ermenjing kan 'de' hen kuai"--"I read the book of mormon very fast." He went around the room as everybody gave different examples. When it was my turn I said (AS AN EXAMPLE, no reflection whatsoever to my true basketball skills hahahah) 'wo da lan qui da de hen hao' ... "I play basketball very well." Yeah I didn't even think before I said that hahah. Very straight forward and sort of nonchalantly, li lao shi says, "chuanjiaoshi zhi shuo zhenshi de shiqing" "Missionaries only say things that are true".....

It took everybody a second to register what he said... then we all just busted up laughing. Yeah funny moment of the week haha

Sorry my letter is super short today. Really nothing going on.

Is mica okay? he told me you guys took him to the doctors and he has pneumonia? that's really sad. I hope he's doing okay.

I miss you guys all so much.

Consider this question: What can separate us from the love of the Lord? Yes, the answer is nothing. On the Lords part anyways. No matter who we are, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ will always love us. It is only through our own choices that we push the love of Christ out of our lives. And even if we do so, He's more than willing to show us how much he loves us. We can feel the love of Christ in our lives daily. We must ask, and we must have faith.

I love you guys. Family, you have no idea how much I love you guys. I can't wait to be with you again.

You guys rock!
Ma Zhang Lao

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Choke Samoan food and failed appointments

Well this week was another rough one. We had most of our appointments fall through, but there was always something that came up right after the heartbreak of a missed lesson. Funny how that works.

I went on an exchange with Elder Young Yen to contact some of the Samoan families. They are a lot more open when there is someone there that is speaking their language - funny how that works too.

During ward council someone had jokingly brought up an older man who needed a blessing. The room went kinda quite and then we raised our hands and said that we volunteer. It was a less-active guy so it was a good way for us to get on his good side.

We spent time doing some service for the Eskaran family, I served in their sons ward in Kona. We were cutting that dang California grass, about 10-min after we finished I was destroyed by allergies. That was the first time in a long time. Not looking forward to that [allergies] when I get back to the cold dry place [Utah].

I ran into the Olers this week so that was yet another funny coincidence.

We have been getting choke Samoan food. The Samoan ward is feeding and Bishop Touli challenged everyone to feed us in their homes, and not just drop something off. Which is great, but every night ko'aga'i is a lot of food. But I can now say that I love taro, ulu, palusami, and all the other goods.

Another funny note - At almost every dinner there is either no salad, or the bowl of salad goes untouched all night haha! Them Samoans!

We have an Elder Iabeta here from Kiribati. Cool guy. You should ask the Wobel's and Nauluai's if they know his parents, Kokoria and Lita Iabeta.

Alofa atu mo matou uma! Faafetai lava mo lo outou lagolago mai ile galuega ma alolofa mai.

Alofa tele ia te oe!

Elder Kingston Matua

More MTC life and becoming tenacious

I just want to start off by saying I absolutely love you guys. I never said that as much as I should have, I just wish I could say it to you guys every day. I am always thinking about how blessed I am to have such an amazing family, and the two greatest parents on earth.

This week was really good. Things are really repetitive so nothing really exciting happens very often. However, we did go to the Mariott Center on Tuesday morning to listen to the devotional. Super cool, and way fun to get off the MTC campus even if it was like two blocks away haha. Elder David F. Evans spoke to us about being 'tenaciously righteous'. Interesting principle, but it works. The phrase goes good with what I want to be: a tenacious missionary.

In the Zone
Wednesday came around and it freaked all the missionaries in our zone out because we're like the old ones in our program at the MTC now (experience wise). It's awesome to think we only have about three weeks left here. I have enjoyed my time here so much. It is such an amazing place.

Tell Kenyon good job for me. Getting through a season playing Lehi football is quite the task.

I've seen the hand of God in my week through our teachers. They are wonderful people. Through the first month they switched around a little bit, but for the remainder of our stay here, we'll have the same two instructors. Awesome people!

Our main teacher's name is Li Lao Shi, or Mr. (brother) Foley. He served in New York, and got back a couple of months ago. Really funny guy. He connects with us super well and he is really helpful whenever we have any kind of question - Chinese, Gospel, MTC stuff, anything.

Our other main teacher is Wu Di Xiong, Brother Woosley. He served in Taiwan, I believe it was Taipei. Every teacher in our branch (there's about 12 or so) is referred to as 'Lao Shi'. Which is translated as 'teacher'. When I said the closing prayer after the first class we had with Wu Di Xiong (Di Xiong means brother), I asked Heavenly Father to please bless Wu Lao Shi. After he asked us to refer to him as Wu Di Xiong because he isn't our teacher, we are his teachers. He told us that we are set apart as servants of the Lord and he isn't. And from then on everybody just loves him because he's just super humble and he really REALLY helps us with anything and everything.

My teachers have helped me learn so much. They do a fantastic job at inviting the spirit and helping us carry it throughout the day.

Clownin' around near temple grounds
Last night we watched a recording of a devotional given by Elder Jeffery R. Holland. It was probably the funniest talk I've ever heard before, and also the most impactful. I had no idea Elder Holland had such a humor, everybody was laughing so hard. He also did his podium pounding which will always get you. He talked about how missions are forever. These next two years are the end of the beginning of a lifetime of service to the Lord. He said The quorum of the 12 are Apostles with a capital 'A', missionaries are apostles with a lower case 'a'. Never miss a chance to be apostolic. My job isn't to go through the motions. My job isn't to go and figure out what the world is like. My job isn't to travel to Taiwan go sightseeing. If I do these things, I know I will return in vain. I must not waste these next two years, nor any time following. My purpose is to truly invite others to come unto Christ. My job is to ASTONISH people. When I teach by the spirit, and bare testimony with all of my heart, The spirit will ASTONISH the people I come in contact with.

We also listened to another recording - a devotional by Brad Wilcox. His talk was called "His Grace is Sufficient". Probably one of the greatest talks I've heard as well. Mom and Dad I encourage you to somehow implement this into one of your next Sunday School lessons. It could have a great impact on some of the youth of our ward. I know it changed my life.

Nothing new. Same ole', same ole' here in the MTC.

I know Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father live. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. This mission isn't just marking two years of my life for full time missionary service, this mission is the beginning of my dedicated service to the Lord at all times, and in all things, and in all places. Being a full time missionary is an incredible opportunity. I have been more than blessed to take part in the Lord's work. I feel myself becoming more and more converted to the Lord every way. His work is becoming my work. I'm trying to make it personal for myself. I am finding even more joy in helping God's children come unto Christ.

1st MTC haircut - No one can cut my hair like dad!
No matter what your name is, no matter where you're from, You are a child of our Father in Heaven. He loves you beyond comprehension. I know at times it may seem you are on your own. It may seem as if God has forgotten you. But I can promise you this: He will never forsake you. Salvation does NOT come easy. The road to Salvation passes through Gethsemane. We will all go through our own personal Gethsemane, but we are not alone. The road to Salvation carries a cross on it's back. But I know nobody carries it alone. Christ is ALWAYS there with each of us. We must reach out to him.

Family, I love and miss you dearly. I hope things continue to be swell :-) I'll let you know when I get my reassignment, should be in two weeks.

You are all amazing. Love you!!

Ma Zhang Lao

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Working hard and praying harder

Me and Elder Young Yen
That is crazy that all those little ones (Pete, Morgan, Keanu) are getting baptized. That's pretty much how it is going to be now with all those little Kolowich kids growing up. They will all go through same phases we did as a family haha.

This will be the last Vegas trip that I miss haha, that is crazy! I think if United wants to continue to be a power in rugby they need to step back and remember why they are who they are. I can testify that a good youth sports program with the highest standards helped me to become the person I am today. Those boys should always have a chance to not only be their best but learn that there are things more important in life than just winning and recognition. I feel like my group was great in knowing that we were there for each other and as a result we did well and became better men. and now 90% of us are on missions.

For now I get to stay in beautiful Hau'ula. I find joy here everyday. When you put your problems behind you and show your love for the people, all problems tend to disappear. That is one of the greatest things that I have learned. People will be people, but when you can see them through the Lord's eyes, it is impossible not to love them. I'm sure you are having you own experiences with that at home and I'm sure I will experience it for the rest of my life.

All my clothes are fine other than I ripped a huge whole down the backside of one of my pants playing volleyball at a kids activity. The Sr. sister said she could fix it.

I loved the package thank you so much! Elder Young Yen was pumped to get something, he hasn't gotten anything since he's been here in Laie (4 months). It is too expensive for his family to send anything. He was very grateful and sends his love for you guys. I was praying for healthy stuff when I opened the box, but since it was Halloween I didn't think that was going to be the case. I allowed myself for some cheat time on that holiday. But I have decided that I really don't like Halloween or anything that it represents. Kinda lame.

I started cross-fit this morning. I will do it throughout Nov. until I get transferred. Me and and a couple of other elders will do it two times a week. The guy that runs it is pretty cool. I've just gotta get into some kinda shape here. I know I won't be great until after I get home and have a solid amount of time to workout, but I'll do what I can here.

Alofa tele mo outou uma
Elder Kingston Matua

Work, a new assignment and feeling the spirit

Another great week here at the MTC. I really need to start writing things down so I know what to talk about in these emails. Every day is actually pretty much the same. Wake up, grab breakfast, work out, study, lunch, class, dinner, class, study, go to bed haha. It's nice though. I really do love it here. Being a missionary is awesome.

The rest of the seasoned elders and sisters in our branch are all leaving tomorrow. Some of them left this morning, the rest will be gone by tomorrow night. They got their reassignments to Anaheim, San Fernando and Elder ward got reassigned to Salt Lake City which he has a great attitude about. He was the only missionary in that group of reassignments that wasn't from Utah so they sent him to the Salt Lake mission. I'm really sad because he was my best friend here. But it's okay, I'm sure I'll see him again.

We haven't heard any word on our reassignments yet. We should be getting them in two weeks. It's getting really backed up. There are a lot of missionaries still in the states waiting for their visas. I'm thinking I'll get to Taiwan around February or March. Whatever the Lord has in store for me, I'm excited either way. Plus I'll get to spend Christmas in the States!

They called me and Elder Liston as Zone Leaders. Kind of nervous about it. I feel super inadequate. But I know the Lord called me for a reason. I'm excited and happy to have the opportunity to grow in that area. Excited to serve.

Elder Uhi came in on wednesday! We have gym at the same time so I see him around a lot. He seems really happy. They made him the District Leader, and I'm sure he's loving it. Elder Whiting leaves tomorrow morning for Florida. Elder Horton got his visa for Brazil so he'll be leaving tomorrow as well.

Did you guys get my letter? I got super excited for the new clothes, and everybody LOVED the peanut butter bars. I sent you a letter, but I guess my letters haven't been getting there or something? Kaylee says she hasn't gotten a written letter from me for a while so I don't know what the deal with that is. It actually kind of frustrates me but oh well. yeah, thank you so much for the package. everything fits good, the ensign is awesome, everythings great! Thank you.

I got a package saying it was from the Mellors...but I opened it and it was a letter from Taylor? I don't know who Taylor is...maybe Taylor Soifua? I don't know, but if it is, thank her for me. It was a ton of Reeses, really nice.

I haven't gotten around to stop by the health clinic to grab a reimbursement form, i will this week.
Yesterday they announced the summer dress code has ended. so we have to wear a suit coat everyday now. I'm actually pretty happy about it. I love wearing my suits haha.

The language is still moving along. It's really hard, sometimes discouraging even. Its good though. During testimony meeting yesterday, I understood most of what was said so that's a good sign.
Everything else is super good. I can't believe I start week six on Wednesday. Time really does fly.
Over this past month I've spiritually grown a lot. One of the very important realizations I've come to is how much I love my family. Whenever I think about any one of you guys, Dad, Mom, Kingston, Mica, Kenyon, or Quinn, tears fill my eyes because I have discovered for this overwhelming, unconditional love for each of you. I'm so excited to be doing this. Being on a mission (granted I've only been in the MTC) has been a huge blessing. I've grown in ways I didn't think possible. I'm discovering new things about myself and about the Lord. It has been such a blessing. But I cannot wait to get home so I can talk to you guys again. When our family is all back together again, it is going to be a wonderful day. But until that day comes, I just want to let you guys know that I love you so much. Mom and Dad, i love you so much. I don't know why, but Heavenly Father put my into such an incredible family. I'm so very grateful for that.

I love and miss you. I hope this week treats you well.

Ma Zhang Lao

Ma Zhang Lao

I love getting mail and treats

With my dear friend Elder N. Uhi...G'House!

Me, Elder Steele & Elder Liston

Elder Steele, Elder Ward, me & Elder Liston

Elder Liston, me, Elder Crockett & Elder Gaithwright

Yes, we have fun in the MTC

Me and this South African stud, Elder Whiting - United Rugby!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Rough times in Hauula


We presented the fasting program in ward council of the Hau'ula 4th Ward and they really liked it. Sadly They are shooting to do it in January so I won't get to see the fruits of the program again. But I am more than happy to do what I can to help set it up. The ward council seemed to like it a lot and are all on board. There was a bit of confusion at first but I think they'll all get the spirit of it.

This was a really rough week. Almost all of our lessons cancelled or were a no show. I'm not sure if you know JM or not dad, but he has a son who is nine and hasn't been baptized. We had a lesson set up by Bishop Touli to teach him but they never came. From then on the rest of our lessons were the same - cancelled.

I feel like the lessons that were cancelling was partly my fault. I have been so frustrated that I was having a hard time calming my mind down and tuning in completely to the spirit. I haven't really felt like I've never felt these hurdles during my entire mission, but these are all things that are testing me and increasing my faith. During church and the rest of the weekend I was really praying for a way that I can overcome these setbacks.

Nothing too new other than that.

Alofa ia te oe!
Elder Kingston Matua

Another MTC week

Another awesome week here at the MTC.
Happy to see my buddy Elder C. Horton

Thank you guys so much for the package, it was perfect. The prayer rock is awesome. I'll have to upload pictures next week (I left my camera back at the sushe, sorry:/) Thank you so so much though, really made me happy.

The language is still pretty difficult, but I really enjoy learning it. I'm getting better at saying prayers, and I almost have Joseph Smith's first vision memorized! Teaching our "investigators" is frustrating at times because we still have a hard time understanding them. But we're getting there. It's an awesome feeling when I understand what they're saying and then I can respond to them and help them out. But when it's the opposite, it's quite frustrating.

Nothing too new this week. Elder Whiting came in on Wednesday! I didn't get to host him, but I see him everywhere which is the best! The first time I talked to him, my district kept asking me, "Who's that jacked white kid you were talking to" hahah pretty funny.

Time is going by super fast, I still want it to go by faster though hahaha. I love the MTC, don't get me wrong, it's an amazing place. But I am just so anxious to be in Taiwan. It'll probably be a while before I get there. The next wave of missionaries supposed to be going there just got there memo for reassignments. They'll be getting them this week. So there's a 99% chance I'm gonna be spending Christmas in the states, which is kinda bitter sweet.

Yeah, things are great. Still learning and growing tons. I got released from district leader last night. Elder Ward is still probably my best friend here. He's awesome.

I sent mica a letter in the mail today, he'll probably be getting it tomorrow. Yesterday during priesthood meeting, I had the strongest impression that I needed to write him. It almost brought me to tears. I was just thinking about him a lot yesterday, and throughout the week actually. I hope he's doing good. I miss him, Kenyon, and Quinn. oh and Kingston. and Suka... hahah.

I hope things are well family. I pray for you guys all day long, each and every day. I miss you guys so much. Maybe in the future, the church will start doing family missions! hahah ( no that's not revelation) but our family would be so good at it, and it'd be SO fun!

Love you guys TONS!
Ma Zhang Lao (Elder Chase Matua)

Monday, October 20, 2014

No hurricane threat but lots of work

The Hurricane was just like the last one - just 24-hours of light rain. It would've been nice rugby weather. Everyone just went on like it was a normal day. They were so mad that the first one was nothing, that they just ignored this one. So I hope that there isn't another hurricane that will actually hit us, because I don't think that anyone will be ready. We will see what this "El Nino" year has in store for us. Everyone said the water is really warm though haha!

We talked about the fasting program that we would like to implement and wthe ard seemed all for it. They like the idea that it really works on "cleansing the inner vessel" as well as other aspects of missionary work. It seems like so many bishops are having a hard time committing too much time to finding new members because their own wards are giving them so much work already. We will give the ward council an official presentation on the program next Sunday.

Holidays for us aren't so special. We just get a set time that we stop proselyting and we will probably have like seven meals throughout the day haha! I like not having big things on holidays though because it reminds me of home too much. But this will be my last holiday season so thats pretty crazy. Next month I will only have single digit months left. Thats crazy!!

I'm so glad Calvin [Whiting] is getting out there on a mission already. He is going to be great! And it sounds like Chase is doing good as well.

You and dad are getting old though. I mean two sons on missions, and you will have a 20-year-old in two months..but hey you still look dang good! I love you guys so much and I am so grateful for all that you are for me. I have a really good friend out here in the field and his family actually disowned him when he got baptized. I was with him one time when he got a letter from his mom. He read it to me and it was pretty much hate mail telling him to that he is being lied to and he needs to come home. He is one of the strongest elders I know though.

On the other side it is hard for me to hear missionaries complain about their families. Pride is a huge problem with the young men of the church. It makes me look back on all the times I was just like that in my life and it makes my stomach turn. I now know the value of people, and more importantly family. Heavenly Father puts people in our path for a reason, and if we don't treat those people the way He knows we can, that will be on us. I see a lot of wasted potential, more often than not it is in myself. I want to do my best to take the talents the Lord has given me, even if it might be only one, and put them to use for Him. Then he will make my weaknesses strong.

We had a good week...haha! Mostly a generic week; we taught a lot of our usual visits. But we picked up two new investigators. The first is a Japanese girl named Raina. She is here kinda like an exchange student with a family in the ward. She has listened and to a few of the lessons and enjoys talking to us. She comes to church every Sunday so it is nice to see her there as well. The second, is a man named Mario. He is dating a member and the family set us up to teach him. He had some very good questions and was very interested in the church history. He seemed to like everything and we have another appointment with him the friday.

Other than that all is well here in Hawaii!

Love you all! Alofa tele!
Elder Kingston Matua
Doing a shift at the VC, Laie Temple
Chillin with the Elders at Laie Temple
We're in Red Raider Country - RR4L