Sunday, August 18, 2013

August 12, 2013

Dearest Family,
It has been a wonderful and blessed week! We have more set appointments than ever before! We are teaching Karen, Nancy, Teresita, Maria, Pauline (and maybe her mom), and Alyssa, oh and someone named Sarah who I haven't yet met because we were on exchanges. I love them all! Each has such a different perspective on religion and God and on the message we have to share, but what they most definitely have in common is that God loves them and is guiding them and desperately wants them to receive the blessings of His kingdom. There are many other people who we are "close" to teaching, people that we are developing friendships who say they aren't interested in the gospel, or they just don't think they are.
Before I go off on some random tangent, I have to tell you about Sister B! I can't believe I haven't told you about her yet. Sister B is an older lady who lives in our apartment complex was inactive for 10 years. She just started coming to church with Sister Margaritis and Sister Anderson a few months before I got here. She struggles with many health issues and has a really hard time getting around. She definitely has a strong testimony of the Church and of priesthood power. None of her children support her in her faith, and she doesn't have a husband, but she still believes. One of her caretaker's, Maria, is someone who we have been teaching. Maria has a thick Mexican accent and is so funny! She believes in God and Jesus Christ very much, but isn't too sure about organized religion. Her other caretaker, Cathlina, is Tongan and is a member and is very strong in the Church. She is a strong, steady woman with a lot of faith. Sister B's home is kind of like a a home away from home. She likes to hear about the people we meet and what's going on in the mission. She says "her missionaries" are what keep her going, and that's been for 10 years! Sadly she is moving soon, because they are renovating the apartments. We will have to move soon too, because our apartments are next. Sister B is a one-of-a-kind woman, with a great heart. We don't know what we are going to do when she leaves!
We had exchanges this week, and they were really good! I was paired with Sister Parry (her first name is Katie, Haha), and she has only been out in the field for 3 weeks! I was nervous at first, but after meeting Sister Parry my nerves were calmed. She is pretty quiet, but she has a confidence about her that is reassuring. She has a lot of faith, and nothing will deter her from her testimony of the Gospel. Tracting with her was good for me, because I was the Senior companion! I had to lead the conversations many times, because she isn't quite used to it yet. It helped me to realize that I really have improved. There is no way that two months ago I would have been so comfortable and confident talking to complete strangers about the Gospel the way I did. It was just one of God's small mercies that day that lifted my spirits.
One pattern that has reoccurred many times in the past few weeks is that Heavenly Father picks me up each time I think I can't go on any more. In the moments where I most want to give up, He lifts my Spirits and renews my strength. District meetings, Zone meetings, partaking of the sacrament, finding new people to teach are all placed in my life when I need them. So many things are inspired, on the mission especially, but in every day life too. God is opening my eyes. Where I once doubted and felt confusion, I now see that I am being led. It is all about our perspective and our faith. There are miracles every day. We just need eyes with which to see them. God loves each of His children the same. He is desperately trying to get each of His children on the path to their salvation. This world is scary and distracting and unloving, but God's mercy is extended to each of us so that we may overcome those things of the world that bring us down.

Something I have pondered a lot on my mission from day to day is the meaning of happiness. I want happiness. We all want it. I sometimes question why I'm not happy every moment. I am a member of Christ's Church. I have a wonderful family. I am in good health. I know Jesus Christ lives and loves me. Am I supposed to be "happy" all the time? yes...and maybe no. I have thought a lot about Joseph Smith. He had a glorious message to share with the world. And for it, he dealt with persecution beyond belief. Surely Joseph Smith was not "happy" in the sense that I think of happiness. He was doing God's work, but he and his family suffered so many heart-wrenching things. How could he have been "happy" throughout it all? God hasn't promised us joy or happiness in our every moment on this earth. We are fallen beings. We suffer from sin, we suffer from trials and tribulation. He knew, and we knew, before we came here that this would be the case. Our joy is not rooted in the fact that in every moment we are as "happy" as can be. Our joy is rooted in the promises that God has given us, that one day we will receive a "fulness of joy" and we can live forever with our families, and we can be with God. Joseph knew this, with all his heart, with all his mind, and all his strength. We are not condemned for not having a smile on our face in each hard moment, but we are expected to trust God. He loves us immensely, infinitely, as does Jesus Christ. We can have complete confidence in that.These are just some of the thoughts that have been formulating in my head for the last couple months, so take them with a grain of salt. My witness of this may not be as deep as that of Joseph Smith's (not nearly), but I do know that it is true. My confidence and happiness lie in God and in the promises he has given me. I am weak, but He is strong.
I love you all! I miss you all! Have a fantastic week!
Sister Mecate

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