Monday, July 29, 2013

July 29, 2013

Hello family!
How is it going down there in the Valley? It sounds like you had a lot of fun at the beach, the temple, at camp, and lots of stuff! You best believe I'm going to be at the beach as soon as possible when I am no longer a missionary! Is everyone surviving the heat? I hope so.
I think I should really make notes about my week so that when I sit down to send you an email it makes sense and isn't so random, but since I did not do that I am just going to start typing! So, I am 2 months in! 16 more to go! I am now gaining a better understanding of why missionaries should not talk about or focus on how much time they have left. These 2 months have flown by. I feel like I was just in the MTC getting ready to fly out to Seattle. But at the same time, time seems to go by slowly. At the end of my mission though, I know it will have gone by too fast. Some people have said the days go by like weeks, but the weeks go by like days, which I definitely find to be true.
So, what am I learning on my mission? Too much to be written in an email. And there is still so much to learn. It is a never-ending process of learning. I am learning to be more tolerant, in personal, lasting relationships and with people I talk to for 20 seconds. I am learning to have more faith, to believe that the Atonement can cure me of my "human-ness" in every aspect, and that it can free others of their own spiritual bonds which seem impossible to escape alone. I am learning that the Lord is never far. He is only as far as we as me make him out to be. I am learning that we MUST sacrifice pride, fear, doubt, selfishness, if we are to become more like the Savior. And in all these things I am learning that I am only an infant in understanding them. But, I know that the Lord is merciful. I know that Jesus Christ lives and that we can find a pure and lasting joy through Him. I know I am a daughter of God and that I mean everything to Him, that we all do. I know that, even as hard as it may seem at times, serving the Lord is the greatest thing we can do in this life. I know that the Atonement is real and that life is GOOD!
This past Saturday we went to the farmer's market, because Tammy wanted to go there with us and we had wanted to go there on our lunch break anyways. It's such a fun little market. There is fruit and honey and flowers and roasted nuts! It's kind of like a mini Pike's market. Anyways, Tammy took a while to get there and then when she finally got there we looked around fro a little bit and she treated us to lunch which was so sweet. We had wanted to share a message/mini lesson with her, but it didn't quite work out that way. She is so funny. She says she is so worried about us being out in the world alone and she talks about how bad things happen all the time. She thinks we are so sweet and she just wants to protect us from the world. She raves about the one time I played the piano for her and she says she is going to get it tuned so I can play it fro her again, a blessing for her and more for me!She talks about her dogs constantly. They are like her children. She says when she is around us she remembers her dog Harley who passed away a few months ago. She told us that she feels like we came into her life for a reason, but she doesn't know why yet. I wonder what that could be??? ;) She always jokes that we aren't going to convert her, but we are working on it! We are trying to help her know she is a daughter of God and that she has a purpose her and that there is a plan for her. Slowly but surely we will get there.
This week we taught a woman named Karen. She was referred to us by someone in the ward. Let me tell you, this woman is amazing. She has such a strong testimony of Jesus Christ. She grew up Catholic and is working for a Presbyterian church now as a music coordinator or something. She has served multiple mini missions. She just devotes her life to serving people. And she is always praising God. She said a prayer with us at the end that just touched me. She prayed for us as missionaries and for the people that we meet. I wish I could remember all the things she said. She is letting us teach her I guess becasue she is under the impression that we are "practicing" our teaching, which just doesn't sit well with me. I want her to know our purpose! And I think we kind of made that more clear as we taught her the Restoration and explained Priesthood authority and baptism to her. She says she just loves learning about other religions and seeing how other people worship. We left her with a Book of Mormon and committed her to read and pray about it. I just love her and I am praying that the Spirit can touch her and that she will receive the witness that it is true.
I haven't told you about the Bryants yet! They are a Senior couple who work in the mission office. So if you call the mission office and talk to a Sister Bryant, just know that she is the sweetest woman and that I just adore her! They live in the same apartment complex as us and are in the same ward. Whenever we see them they brighten our day. One day we were discussing the things we liked to drink (Pepsi for Sister Margaritis and Cranberry juice for me) and the next day there were 2 bottles on our doorstep with a bow tied around each of them. Goodness, I love that lady! They got here around the same time I did and will leave about the same time. They live in Taylorsville so I definitely going to visit them after my mission.
The other day was a day of miracles! We met a lady named Teresita from the Phillipines. She said we could come back and teach her more. and then we ran into...the Seeley's! They were driving by and they pulled over and I squealed like a little girl (embarrassing) and we talked for a bit! It was exciting! I can't believe how grown up they are. Anyways, I wish I could write more, but my time is up!
I love you all! Enjoy the beach for me as much as you can!
Danielle-Sister Mecate

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

July 23, 2013

Hello Again!
So, it's transfer week, and guess what-I survived! Sister Margaritis and I are staying together in Lake Wilderness. We had to give up Glacier Park yesterday, the ward that we were given during the middle of the transfer. It's hard to think we will no longer be able to go visit people there, and they only live 5 minutes from us! But we can sneak a quick visit in with some of the members when we see them in the halls at church. In all honesty though I don't feel any real anxiety about it. I know the the Lord is blessing me with an excitement for the work we have been given in Lake Wilderness. I feel more motivated to be obedient, to set goals, and to forget myself. This first transfer has been really good. I have learned a lot about my weaknesses and my strengths. I have learned that I have so much to learn! (Not that I didn't already know that). I kind of feel like this first transfer was a little rough around the edges, and this next transfer is an opportunity to really polish up the way I work as a missionary. I am also learning that it is one thing to live with someone and get along with them at school or for fun, but it is another thing when you live with someone and as a companionship you are responsible for helping people reach eternal salvation. There is a lot of effort that goes into that and a lot of compromising as well!
Sister Margaritis is a fun-loving Sister missionary. She loves to tease and crack jokes. I am getting better about realizing when she is pulling my leg. I think she just likes to see my freak out reaction (like so many of you do!) so I try not to give her the gratification she is looking for. Maybe this is a personal training I need so when I come home none of you can get the better of me! She is a little bit like me in that she never really wanted to serve a mission. Her answer was much more direct than mine though. She is 21 and she is studying social work at school. Umm, I'm not sure what else to say. She is pretty great!
So, Nancy is so amazing. She has such a desire to draw closer to God. She has studied her Bible a lot and she is very receptive to the Book of Mormon. She reads it and really tries to understand it and find meaning in it. She is such a great example to me. In our last visit she expressed similar feelings that Joseph Smith had. She is wondering why there are so many churches and she wonders about the authority that the pastor has at her church. So many other things she feels add up to her preparation for receiving the Gospel. We also watched the Restoration video with her! She really seemed to like it! It really is a good one, very well made and really carries the Spirit with it. Her husband, who we haven't actually taught yet and who is not as excited about us coming over as she is, said he would watch it as well! Their kids are so cute too! Caleb is 14 and is such a little gentleman. Olivia is 12 and is very pretty but we don't see her often. And Annabelle is the cutest, happiest little girl. She always is smiling. I love it!
We finally got to see Tammy again yesterday. The first tiem we set up service with her she forgot and we hadn't talked to her since. yesterday we drove by her house and she was outside, so we got out and talked to her and we did service for her right then! We did some gardening for her in our skirts! Before we left we shared with her that she is a daughter of Heavenly Father, who loves her. I read part of a conference talk to her. We are going wo the Farmer's market with her this Saturday on our lunch break. She is a very social person and loves things like that! She gave us each a  bundle of lavender from a Lavender festival she just went to as a thank you fro gardening for her. We are excited to get to know her better and hopefully start teaching her. She's funny. She asked us, "So do you guys just go around doing work for people, talking about God, and then trying to convert them?" We just said "Yep, pretty much!." We laughed.
Prayer and scripture reading are my greatest comfort. Every morning when I read the scriptures it is like talking with an old friend. My Spirit is rejuvenated and I feel a peace I can find nowhere else, most especially in the book of Mormon.
This week we had interviews with the President. I just love him! And Sister Eaton! I am so grateful for them. One thing that President Eaton and I talked about is appreciating the improvements we have made with the Lord's help. He paraphrased the quote from Elder Hale about climbing a mountain. We should look back and feel good about the progress we have made, but then look to higher peaks to climb. Then, in the mail a couple days later, Sister Margaritis and I both received a copy of this quote in the mail. I don't know if he sent them out to the whole mission or just to us, but either way I felt so grateful that he sent it. It was a tender mercy to me. You know me-I just want to be good at this all right now! But the Lord is so good to me! I know I don't even realize how good, but I feel him helping me day after day. The mission, and life, is full of many miracles.
Well, I love you, family! keep me updated. Little girls, send me an email or letter sometime! tell me about summer and about anything! I miss you!
Sister Mecate
P.S. If you have any specific questions, ask them, cuz sometimes I can't think of what to write!

Monday, July 15, 2013

July 15, 2013

Dear Family!
First, let me apologize for my preaching of false doctrine in my last email! My dear friend Ridge was kind enough to send me an explanation worthy of being put in a gospel doctrine book about how we are saved only through Jesus Christ and not by our works. How silly I feel! One of my favorite scriptures is 2 Nephi 2 :3, where Lehi tells his son Jacob that it is by the "righteousness of our redeemer" that we are saved! It is only through Christ that we are saved! But He does expect us to keep our promises to Him and to give our best effort each day, through the process of faith and repentance. Anyways, my knowledge and understanding are not as deep as Ridge's, but I do know that it is through Christ that we are saved, and for that I am eternally grateful.
This has been a great week! I feel the Lord changing me. Little by little the Holy Ghost teaches me and changes my nature to draw closer to God than I ever have before. Still, this is a slow process. It is wonderful that we have eternity to grow! I am going to be so sad when transfers come, which is one week away. But I keep telling myself that it is all in the Lord's hands. Wherever He wants me to serve and for how long I serve there is truly His will, which is the best thing that could happen to me. We are expecting to have to let go of the second ward we were assigned to. I love the people there! It has been a blessing and a privilege to work with some of the less active families in the ward. One young man, Clay, has really made an impression on me. He has some really rough struggles that keep him from coming to church. We want so badly for him to come, but despite the feelings he has about God and about the scriptures and about prayer, he has a hard time turning his faith into action. It is so important for us to act on our faith and promptings we receive from the Holy Ghost! His Mom and Dad are wonderful. Mary, his Mom, works at the local Fred Meyer (grocery/clothes store) and we love visiting her there. His dad, Vince, is a crack up. He has a full on beard and hair down to the middle of his back. They are moving to California soon, and we are sad to see them go. But I am so happy to have had this chance to meet them. We are teaching a man named Allen, from Lebanon (I think that's a country, right?) This man is awesome! He has a wife and 2 kids, but we haven't me them yet, because they were on vacation. Allen has such a deep desire to learn. He wants to draw closer to God. He has been Greek Orthodox, Catholic, and Baptist. He has so many specific doctrinal questions. Even though I don't have all of the direct answers to his questions it makes me heart so full of joy to be teaching someone who has such a thirst for spiritual knowledge. I know that as I strive to be in tune with the Spirit, the Spirit will touch him and teach him the things he needs to know. With his cool accent, he reminds me of President Uchtdorf a little bit. Also, with all of his questions he reminds me a bit of dad before he joined the church. He really wanted to make sure it was true before he committed to anything, just like Allen does. I want so much for him to receive that witness. Oh, and a funny story about him. The other day Sis Margaritis and I were driving down the street and we saw a man walking his dog. I said, "That dog looks familiar. I wonder if we have met that man before." It turned out to be Allen! We turned the car around, jumped out, and talked to him for a few minutes. It was just one of those small, humorous blessings the Lord gives to us.
This week I also went on my first exchange! I was paired with Sister VanTenderen, who is companions with Sister Alder, my companion from the MTC! It was exciting to see her again! It was a really good experience. Sister VanT is really comfortable as a missionary. She has been out for 11 months. It was good for me to see that missionary work doesn't have to be so stressful in the way of talking to people who are not interested. Each week, I see myself become a little bit more accustomed to being a missionary. There have been moments where I just felt such a peace and contentment with my calling. I love that about the gospel. The Lord blesses us with peace, such a merciful gift, as we exercise faith in Him.
My time is up for this week. I love you all, SO SO SO SO much! Remind me to tell you about Cowboy Doy when I get home in about 16 months. You just have to hear the story in person. Have a great week!
Sister Mecate

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

July 8, 2013

I made it through another week without drowning in the rain or being eaten by a dog! Haha! And actually it has been very warm here and has not rained much for the last couple of weeks. But everyone here has a dog! Literally, 97% of people here have a dog and many like to bark at us while we are tracting. 

So whenever I go to write my email for the week I feel like my mind goes blank and I don;t have enough to time to write everything. Now that we are working with the 2 wards and have a bigger are there are more people we get to meet. It has been awesome! We are sad to have to give back the other ward in a couple of weeks at the next transfer, but the Lord's way is ALWAYS the best way!
This week we went tracting on a couple of days and I was actually excited for it! Each door is another opportunity to bear my testimony and share the gospel with another of Heavenly Father's children, even if some of them do NOT like "Mormons." One lady we tracted into was Born-Again Christian. She told us we didn't believe in Christ and that we didn't repent, and that we just believed in a "church" and in works getting us to heaven. I was quick to jump on that! The thought of someone really believing that about the true Gospel of Jesus Christ stunned me. Sister Margaritis and I tried to explain to her our belief in Jesus Christ and His Atonement. She just would not accept what we were saying. She said she loved us and would be praying for us to see the truth one day. I could not help but feel sorry that she feels sorry for me! If only she knew the true joy of the Gospel, she would understand. I was just so frustrated and coming up with so many good comebacks I could have said to her while we knocked on the next few doors. I knew that it would have been bad to get in an argument, but I just can't help feeling like there is more I could have said to her before we walked away, so she could feel the Spirit and know that this is Christ's church, not ours. Just this morning I was reading in D&C 137 where is says we are saved by works AND the desire of our hearts. We must believe in Christ. We must have our hearts turned to Him and desire what He desires. And then we must act on our faith. How else can we progress? Anyways, I pray that the Spirit can guide me so I can help others to come unto Christ and His restored gospel on the earth.

I wish I had more time to email, but I am running out! I love you all so much! Keep the faith!
 When anything seems impossible, remember that Christ overcame it ALL! Have a great week!
Sister Mecate

Sunday, July 7, 2013

July 1.2013

Wow, another week already! it seems like such a daunting task to write about the whole week!
 I guess I will just jump right in!
This week one miracle we had was meeting a family that let us in! It was Wednesday. We were fasting that day for our district, but it wasn't turning out to be such a successful day. Nobody we tried to visit was home and we weren't really able to talk to a lot of people. Sister Margaritis and I were pretty frustrated. We stopped by our apartment and I said a prayer. We were just both feeling very agitated. At the end of my prayer I just remember praying that we could just teach someone. That was all I wanted! So we got in our car and drove around. We said another prayer together, asking the Lord to help us know where he wanted us to be. We kept driving and Sister Margaritis thought of a family that someone had mentioned to her before. When we knocked on the door, the mother, Nancy, was so kind and she invited us in right away. I was kind of shocked! I didn't know that actually happened! Usually people just talk to us through a slight opening of their door. Anyways, the whole family is wonderful. They have one son and 2 daughters and they are all kind and adorable. We weren't able to meet the father, but we will on our return appointment! We taught Nancy about the Book of Mormon and she said she would try to read it. She already has such a beautiful testimony of God and said that reading anything that would bring her closer to god sounded like a good idea. We just bore testimony to her that it is true and can really bless her family with peace and happiness. I wish I had more time to write more, but I think that is the general idea of our miracle!
We met another lady named Tammy this week. You know how people say there are people prepared for you to teach in your mission? Well Tammy must be one of them! When we met her she just seemed so excited to see us! She introduced us to her dogs, who are like her kids, and showed us around her house, and told us it was her birthday, and was just a chatter box. She just loves people and loves talking! At one point I commented on her piano and Sister Margaritis told her I play and she had me play for her for probably 40 minutes. She just kept saying "Oh and play this one!" each time I finished a piece. She just ate it up! And then I found out later that she is a Public Health Professional, working in the Environmental area. A coincidence? I think not. Anyways, we are going back to help her garden and play the piano for her and hopefully teach her somewhere in there. She kept joking, "I don't think you will convert me," but she really wants us to come back. It was such a neat experience to meet her and pray with her before we went home.
Every day I must rely on my Savior. This is His work and so He is helping me so much in everything that I do. Every day seems a little brighter. Even though I miss things from home and from school (and the people of course!!) I find peace and comfort in the scriptures and prayer. I am so excited to read and study the scriptures and each morning. What a blessing it is to have a whole hour given to me to have my own personal time in the scriptures. I am finding that on my mission the Lord has blessed me to be a lot calmer and less...spastic! Even though the things we do are hard I know that the Lord is always with me. When things get hard just pray and pray and pray and then walk out of the house knowing that the Lord is with you. Always have faith in Him and know that whatever trial you face you can overcome it, because He already has!
So I am officially in the Washington Federal Way Mission! And guess what! Two of our elders in our district had to be emergency transferred (not because of anything they did-it was maybe another missionary that went home or something), and so they needed someone to cover their area. An they gave it to me and Sister Margaritis-a three month old trainer and a 1.5 week old greenie missionary! So we are keeping our old area and we are being pretty much white-washed into this new one. I am so excited. I really feel like this is a huge blessing to me. I like staying busy and having something that will keep my mind focused. I know that the Lord is going to help us accomplish all that we need to do. (1 Nephi 3:7) The ward for that area is amazing. I am looking forward to having more people to teach and more things to learn.