Elder Matthew Pena - North Carolina Charlotte Mission

Elder Matthew Pena - North Carolina Charlotte Mission
Matthew 5:16
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

Monday, October 21, 2013

October 21, 2013 Email

Dear Mom, Dad, and Jonathan,

I did get the package that you sent and I also sent you a letter which should get to you soon, I sent it on Saturday. This weekend I would have to say was a very interesting and spiritual experience. Saturday morning we went to the funeral of Elder Andrew Page. Our stake missionaries where there, plus 2 other stakes, making it almost 100 missionary's! I figured ya'll heard about that since you said be careful while riding my bike. Elder Zwick from the First Quorum of the 70 was there, and the talk he gave was incredible! He got up there with no notes and nothing prepared. He just had his iPad and scriptures with him as a library to refer to when he felt a prompting. During his talk he proclaimed Elder Page to be a man of God and twice mentioned that Elder Page and his dad, who also died, where in the chapel with us. We then went to the grave site and all us missionaries sang "Called to Serve". 

Later that night we went to the adult session of stake conference and Elder Call and I where greeting people as they entered the chapel and I got to Shake Elder Zwick's hand! Unfortunately, I did not realize it was him until he had past by. I then also felt bad because Elder call mentioned how he could just feel his spirit when he shook his hand, because I didn't recall feeling anything. 

He gave a talk that night and another one at the second session of conference. After it was over, me and Elder Call where helping set up a small lunch for Elder Zwick and a few other local leaders before their meetings, and as we walked out of the High Counsel room I saw him walking toward us and this time I felt the spirit unlike anything I've ever felt before. He came up to me with a smile and shook my hand and my companions hand and put his hand on my shoulder and had a brief conversation with us, and that made my day. 

A little later, me and my companion where still there, along with few other missionaries, when a woman walked up and says that Elder Zwick was wondering if we wanted to join all of them for lunch. We quickly replied yes and headed down there. They where waiting for us to show up before they started eating. After everyone got their food we sat at the table and I found myself across the table from Elder Zwick. We where all pretty quite, being in the same room as a General Authority, but he was so friendly and immediately started talking with us, and he started talking with me. As I sat down he asked me where I was from and then we started talking about the Temple. He told me the dates that they are going to have the events for it, such as the dedication, and when the sessions will start. He then showed me pictures on his phone from when they put the Angel Moroni on it, which I told him I was present for. He also showed me the mission home they picked for the Gilbert mission, which has a view of the Temple from the backyard. Towards the end, I told him about the thing you said at my farewell in your talk. About your wife being your translator for the spirit, he said that was good counsel so way to go Dad!

This morning he spoke to the whole mission, and at the beginning we recited D&C 121 like we always do at the start of a meeting, and he was so impressed with it and the spirit he felt from it, that he was going to recount it to a couple of the Twelve Apostles. I can't remember which ones, but I believe Elder Ballard was going to be one of them. One thing he mentioned a lot, and what I have been hearing a lot by others, is the historical significance of this time. Which is said to rank with the first vision and the restoration. He said he was very impressed with this mission, and said that we astounded him, and that we where some of the best in the field.

It was just such a good moment, but I have to tell you that the work the brethren do is incredible! They all can be nothing short of real Men of God. The spirit I felt while being across the table from him during that lunch, was more then enough, to wipe away any doubts of the church, I just wish ya'll could have felt it to. I love ya'll so much!


       Elder Matthew Pena

October 17, 2013 Email

Dear Mom and Dad,

          Mom, I have something to tell you about second Nephi, I understood nothing from that either. I did not highlight a single thing either, I just read it and got the first part done. Most of second Nephi is from the prophet Isaiah and was copied in there by Nephi. But later after he is done copying it he acknowledges the fact that it is hard to understands and then he explains it in a much simpler fashion. Another interesting thing about that book is that I believe that at the beginning it says that only those with the spirit of prophecy can understand what it all means. A return missionary told us about when he discovered that, because he had the same problem, he then prayed and asked The Lord for the spirit of prophecy and he said that the book had a whole new meaning for him, so I thought that I would share that story with you. But don't worry about not getting much from it, not very many people do from what I have seen to be perfectly honest. 

Things are going great here. I wrote ya'll a letter and in the letter I said I would mail it today, unfortunately I forgot to put it in an envelope so it will be in the mail tomorrow. So when the letter says it was sent on Monday it lies. 

I am so glad to hear that Ian is doing so well with the Honda, but it doesn't sound like that the clutch will have much left to it here soon. Interesting fact manuals are called straight drives here in NC. 

We got 2 new investigators this week, they are a couple. The husband is an interesting fellow, he says he has been working on cars his whole life. They have this Oldsmobile that needs a new water pump. He has the pump but he refuses to work on it because it is a transverse engine, I believe that is the proper term. But he evidently had no idea what it was technically called, because he kept calling it a side winder. 

The less active member we found a while back, the one that was less active for about 10 years, his name is Dennis. He has been going through some rough times so we have been seeing him again and we also gave him a blessing last night. But we always seem to go over there when he needs it the most, and he said his spirit is always lifted up when we go by. He is a guy you can have an intelligent conversation with on engines! He was telling us about an old 50's Pontiac he had back in the day, that had the old straight 8 flat heads. Also he had some relatives that lived in Mesa. I don't know whether you have heard of this, but one of his relatives died early on because he would repair leaks inside of full tanks like the big propane ones, and some fumes where still in there and the tank blew up and killed him. This was way back in the day so I don't know if you are Grandpa ever saw that in the newspaper. 

If ya'll stay home for Christmas, that could be a good thing, because Matt might be home during that time, and if every thing works out then he could be there when we skype. Well I hope every thing is going good in the ward, and I also hope that ya'll and the ward are actively helping in the quickening of the work. 

Dad if you ever get some time read the Preach my gospel book, there should be a bunch in my room, that is not just for missionary's. Read through some of that and see what ya'll could do and what the ward can to to help the missionary's in the ward. One thing I have learned, is that the most effective way for us to do our work, is if the ward finds the people and then has us teach them. That is in the book and I believe it was President Hinckley that said that. Just so you know, it is not coming from a lazy missionary. Can't wait to here from ya'll soon and I will do my best to write more often.


       Elder Matthew Pena

October 7th 2013 Email

Dear Mom and Dad,

          Thank you for the emails and the pictures! Mom, hopefully I  got the prayer in before you took your test. I said it around 11:30 your time. It is kind of weird being 3 hours ahead. There is a world clock on the iPad, it shows where it is day and where it is night, and when I am just about ready to go to bed and I see that the sun is still up over there, I feel a little funny about that and I have no idea why. 

Mom I read your email first so when I saw that my car was sold I was very depressed for about 5 seconds. That was when I saw the next sentence which did make me feel much better. Let me know how Ian likes the car. I also hope you got the oil changed on it because it needed that since before I left. 

It is interesting to think that I am now 2 months out. 2 months since I have seen any of you or Arizona, only 22 months to go. I think it was my first week here my companion pointed to the sky and asked me how far away the plane was. I said probably around 30,000 ft. He the replied "No, 23 months". From what I have heard it takes about 4 to 6 months before the home sickness goes away and before you start to really get into it, after that the time fly's by. But I have been doing well out here so far, there are no desires to go home until the work is done.

One thing I found out, is that there are a few people in the ward that are from Mesa! I think it was last week, we were at a members house, and I found out that the whole family lived off of Stapley and the 60. When they found out I was from Gilbert we spent most of the time talking about the valley. A couple of people here graduated from Mesa High in 93 as well. It was nice to talk to people that knew the same streets I know. I have noticed that the one problem we all face going from Arizona to NC, is the fact that it is hard to find a GOOD Mexican food restaurant.

One last funny story is that the bishops son whose name is also Matthew served in Tuscon! Anyway, in regards to the work we found 2 potentials and one of our investigators came to 2 sessions of General Conference. He seemed to enjoy it and could even tell us in detail his favorite talk and why. I also got the chance to run the area for a day when my companion went to an 8 hour meeting. Everything went fine, only a few people went inactive and stopped seeing us because of it (haha). But everything is going well and I hope to hear from ya'll soon.


Elder Matthew Pena