Monday, September 30, 2013

September 30, 2013

My dearest Family,
This morning I was reading the September Ensign and I read an article about being grateful. Here are some of the things I am grateful for: MY FAMILY, the power of temple covenants, the scriptures, the restored gospel!, Jesus Christ and the Atonement, answered prayers, emailing, hand-written letters!, ICE CREAM, my companion, my wonderful roommates, all of my friends, heaters, comfy sweatpants, recycling, the people I meet every day who make life interesting, my mission president, General Conference, and many more things! You should try keeping a list up of things you are grateful for in the house that you can keep adding to. See how many you can come up with in a week! I will do the same :)
It rained a lot this week. And it's starting to get dark earlier. It makes the evenings kind of dreary. It's hard to knock on someone's door when it's dark and not many lights are on in their house. Often we struggle to find things to do in the later hours. That just means we need to get more creative! One blessing is that President Eaton told us about a woman who works at the Laundromat, Lachelle. She closes at 8. We met her once and now we are going to help her close some nights. We want to start teaching her soon. She says one day she will worry about religion and things, but she doesn't really right now. That day will come sooner than she thinks! She really is so kind and has a fun personality. We like her a lot.
We had a great district meeting this past week. We talked about the grace of Jesus Christ. I think the article we read is in the Ensign. Read it, please! Or look it up on It's by Brad Wilcox. There is nothing that brings more hope to someone than the grace of Jesus Christ. No matter how imperfect we think we are, no matter how bad we have become, and no matter where we are at on our journey to salvation, the grace of Jesus Christ is sufficient for us all. Because He performed the Atonement, we do not have to be perfect right now. We just don't. And we can be happy as long as we "keep moving forward." ( Meet the Robinson's reference) Brother Wilcox uses the analogy of a mother who pays for her child's piano lessons (which I quite liked). A mother who pays for piano lessons does not expect perfection of her child as he practices. She is not angered by the mistakes he makes. She does not ask that the child pay her back for the lessons. She only asks that he practices and uses the opportunity to learn and to become something. If there is something I have needed to learn on my mission, this is definitely it (amongst many other things). I still have to re-learn every day that the grace of Jesus Christ is sufficient for my flaws as a missionary. I can be happy, even as I make mistakes, as long as I take the opportunity to believe in my Savior, to trust Him, and to use His Atonement. I know that everyone can experience a feeling of peace, love, and forgiveness if they will just come unto Jesus Christ!

We had to help move Sister B out of her apartment this week. It was a pretty sad time. There has been so much drama with Section 8 housing and a whole bunch of nonsense with her family. Anyways, we were grateful to have had the opportunity to serve her. It took 4 sets of missionaries (one of them being the office elders who have a trailer), and her friend Vicki, to move her out. I am always inspired when I work alongside other missionaries and see how awesome they truly are. And Sister B is a strong woman. She has been through so much, and she is so giving unto others.
We have had two investigators drop us-Karen and Nancy. They are both so wonderful, so it was a bit disheartening. But we haven't given up hope! As our ward mission leader (Brother Hinton) said, the Lord must be preparing us for something! I cannot say enough how much I love and appreciate the ward here. There are some fine Saints in Maple Valley, Washington! We ate dinner at the Bishop's house last night. I am always so grateful for the Spirit we feel in members' homes.
We had a fire alarm go off in Sacrament meeting! So then everyone had to stand outside in the cold while the firefighters came to turn off the alarm. It was all quite exciting. I heard a rumor that it was the 12 year old deacons who set it off. Not a surprise!

I feel like this is kind of a short email, but I am almost out of time and I'm not sure what else to write about. I love you! Sometimes when the days are hard, you guys keep me going! I hope you have a great week!
Sister Mecate

Saturday, September 28, 2013

September 23, 2013

Dear Family,
Being on a mission is a lot like normal life, but not. It's a lot of work. It can be very difficult. It's not always fun. But the Lord is always with us. I know that now more than I ever have before in my life. It's not even huge miraculous life changing events that make me say this, but the small miracles that we are blessed with every day. The Lord does so much for us each day, but sometimes our eyes are not open enough to realize it. I am grateful that my eyes are being opened. Something that I truly have a testimony of is that when we are seeking to do the will of the Lord, we are blessed, always. There is a quote, and I can't remember who said it, but it basically it says, "When we are doing the Lord's work we are entitled to His help." Just yesterday at church there was a Sister who I really wanted to talk to. She comes to church by herself mostly. Her husband isn't a member and her children are kind of struggling. I don't often see her in the halls, but I really wanted to talk to her to see how she was doing, so I said a little prayer that I would have the opportunity to do so. Not to my surprise, I ran into her in the hallway before Relief Society started, where I have never ran into her before. Usually I only see her once during Sacrament meeting from across the room. I was able to have a really good conversation with her. Heavenly Father answered my prayer so that I could serve one of His children in a very small way, and I feel like I was the most blessed for it. It is these small miracles that I am so grateful for. Heavenly Father is so aware of each of us. I am grateful to see His hand in my life. It brings me peace when I am able to recognize that from day to day.
I am also so grateful for the ward here. The church is amazing, just as the gospel is. My testimony is strengthened as I see the ward members each week. They uplift and encourage us as missionaries, but seeing them uplift and encourage each other is just as happy to me. Our friend, Mary, gave a talk in church this week. She talked about how service in the Church and in the community has blessed her life. Mary had tongue cancer and went through years of treatment to get rid of it. She lost most of her tongue and all of her teeth. Today she is totally cancer free and wears fake teeth that look just wonderful on her. (I was here for the before and after). It was through the service of church members and kind doctors that Mary could make it to all her of appointments and afford her teeth. She has a beautiful testimony of the restored gospel and of the truthfulness of it. It was an inspiring talk.
This week in ward council, our Bishop told us he had an impression that there would be some powerful baptisms coming up in the future. This was encouraging, because it seems that as much as we work, there has not been a huge progression with many of the people we teach. I cannot imagine how happy I would be to see each of them join the Church and receive those blessings. The Lord is preparing people in so many ways. I think a lot of missionary work requires learning the virtue of patience! Our dear, sweet, kind Bishop Pike gave us a little bit of the hope we needed.
This past week we had dinner at the Pinter's home. It was one of the most entertaining dinners I have been to yet. The two younger daughters were so hyper and very loud and giggly. Guess who they reminded me of! I told brother Hinter how at home my dad calls my sisters and I set 1 and set 2, and that his two youngest daughters reminded me a lot of home and my own siblings! It was a classic Mormon dinner with a lot of "life" going on and some good home-cooked food to go with it. Oh, and we had hot fudge pudding cake with ice cream for dessert. It doesn't get a whole lot better than that!
Well, I guess I will "talk" to ya'll in another week! I hope you are getting excited for General Conference. I know I am! The brethren are always so inspired in what they say. I hope that there are things you have been thinking about that the Lord can answer through His Latter day apostles and prophet. We are so blessed in these Latter days! I love you all! Have a good week!
Sister Mecate

Monday, September 16, 2013

September 16, 2013

Dear Family,
Thank you so much for emailing, writing, sending packages. It means the world to me when I get them! When I hear from you I am reminded of the "why" of the of the gospel, that our greatest happiness can be with our families! And even though I miss you so much, others need to hear and know this too, so I'm hear in the glorious land of Maple Valley Washington!
This may have been the longest week of my mission. Maybe it was the heat, maybe it was the people, or maybe it was just my attitude (most likely). And I can tell-I'm getting tired! But guess what, time keeps going! Time is a funny thing on the mission. It's so easy to lose track of. Even though 18 months seems like forever, I know it's not enough! There is so much to do to build up the kingdom of God, and I am so blessed to be able to serve a mission for the Lord. I remember Elder Farr would always say how grateful he was to serve a mission when he would bare his testimony. I thought it was an admirable thing to say, but I didn't fully feel his joy. Now I understand the gratitude he had a little bit more. It's a blessing and a miracle that I get to be fully enveloped in God's work, away from the world. Each of His children needs to hear this message, that of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and as we each strive to share it, we are so blessed in return. I know this Gospel is true, not because my brain logically worked out every detail of the gospel and made sense of it, but because I have felt the undeniable witness of the Holy Ghost time and time again, and I've seen the fruits of the gospel in the lives of so many.
We taught Nancy this week. We read with her from the Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 27. It had such an effect on her and on our relationship, I feel like! Sister Thompson came as fellowship and she has such a beautiful and strong testimony of the Gospel. We discussed the blessings of following Christ and enduring to the end, how it may be difficult, but as we allow ourselves to embrace the gospel we are blessed and are so happy. The Book of Mormon is powerful! We need to incorporate it more in our teaching, because it truly has the power to bring the Spirit as we read from it and discuss it together. It made me think of how the lord said when two or three gather in my name, there will I be also.
We also taught Karen this week. Wow, what a lesson that was! Karen is such a strong believer in Jesus Christ. I don't think anything on this earth could pull her away from that. She said she has been praying and reading from the Book of Mormon and that she has not been this "on fire" with the Spirit in a long time. However, she has not yet received an answer that she needs to join our Church (really it's Christ's Church). She cannot agree with some of our doctrines, but I think really it's a misinterpretation of the doctrine mixed with her own ideas. She is not lacking in faith; she is not lacking in a desire to follow Jesus Christ. I think there are powerful things going on inside of her heart. She will just need some more time and spiritual elbow grease to sort them out. Sister Hartmann was our fellowship for that lesson. She is just the cutest! She talked with Karen about the light of Christ and the Holy Ghost and at one point she pointed her finger at Karen and said "You need to dig deeper!" but in the most loving way possible.
We had a miracle happen on Sunday! We had no investigators come to church. Then during the middle of sacrament meeting, a brother tapped me on the shoulder and said there was a lady in the foyer looking to talk with the missionaries. Her name is Anna. She wanted to know when church was, when the activities were during the week and so on. We listened to the end of sacrament meeting with her. I asked her where she was from. She said Peru. Then I told her about Olinda, a member we visit quite often who is from Peru. It turns out they know each other and Olinda had told her about Church, but did not know she was coming! It was a very exciting moment at the end of the meeting! Anna is so sweet and kind. She made a beautiful comment during Sunday School about blessings we receive from God and how we should be reaching out to others. She actually lives in our apartment complex, so we are so excited to start teaching her! The Lord really prepares His children. Oh and she used to work for the Church in Peru. She worked with Elder Cook!
Well, I am excited for another week. I hope you are too! Even when getting up in the morning is NOT fun, and you are tired, and there is too much to do in a day, remember that God is with you. I read a talk this morning called "Beautiful Mornings." Each day can be beautiful if we think about Jesus Christ and how much He loves us and what the gospel means to each of Us personally. You should read that talk ( It's great! I'm going to try to work on it, and to be happier no matter what. Thank you for all being wonderful examples to me. I love you and miss you dearly.
Sister Mecate

Monday, September 9, 2013

September 9, 2013

Dear Family,
God is good. I remember my dear sweet roommate Mikayla singing those lyrics, and they have been running through my head for the last couple of weeks. I am overwhelmed at the love and joy that God would offer us despite our being so undeserving. (at least for me!) It's funny how being on a mission, my weaknesses have been made more apparent to me than ever before, yet I have found more joy than I have before. Every blessing seems more tender and every trial seems more of a blessing!
This weekend was out Stake Conference. Was it yours too? The Saturday night adult session was amazing. Each person that spoke, spoke from their heart and bore testimony with power. One woman that I especially appreciated talked about how she has to have control in her life to be comfortable. She struggles when she feels she is not in control. She talked about an experience where a storm was raging. The road was blocked by tree branches, her daughter was crying in the car sick (they were on their way to the ER), her son was miles away at school, and her husband was miles away at work. She felt she had no control whatsoever in that moment.She got out of her car, because traffic had stopped and everyone else was getting out and she wanted to know what was going on. She said as she stood there realizing she had no control over what was going on and what might happen to her family, she realized there was one thing she did have control over-her faith and testimony in the Lord Jesus Christ. Sometimes in life we feel a storm is raging, big or small, and we think we have no control over anything. The mission is definitely that way-I hardly have control of things! But even in that moment with dark clouds over head and a blocked road way, she felt peace, because she trusted in her Savior and new that as long as she believed in Him and held true to that knowledge, everything would be ok. This same understanding is beginning to grow within me. As I rely wholly on my Savior, my joy radiates from the inside out, and not the other way around. I still have an eternity of learning ahead of me, as we all do, but we can have the peace of Jesus Christ with us every step of the way.
Surprisingly, we haven't struggled to find people to teach-we have 9 investigators! But we do struggle in helping them understand how important it is to keep their commitments. I feel like Heavenly Father is teaching me step by step. First, I had to get over the fear of "finding" people. Now, I need to get over my fear of being bold. Anyways, there have been some wonderful things happening here. We are teaching an old couple, Jim and Laura. They weren't necessarily "interested," but we had been visiting them and sharing scriptures and decided we just needed to start teaching them the doctrine of our Church. We have had two lessons and they both have been mostly question and answer sessions. Jim is curious about what happens after we die. He believes our bodies will just become resurrected again, but that our spirits won't be "floating around" somewhere in the in between time. I'm not sue where he thinks we go. He had questions about why we do temple work for those who have passed on. He exclaimed,"We can't even escape you Mormons when we are dead!" And I said,"Ya, because it's true, Jim!" He just laughed. He can be pretty skeptical, but he has a soft heart.
We had a lesson with Nancy this week, too. We just kind of did a recap of the Restoration and the Book of Mormon and why it is so important for her to gain her own testimony of it. I re-invited her to be baptized, explaining that if she worked towards the goal of baptism, God would be able to speak more clearly to her (kind of like when I was deciding to go on a mission and I had to take action before I got an answer). She agreed with that part, but then we tried to commit her to a date and she felt that was too much pressure. Anyways, the moral of the story is, Nancy is a wonderful person and I am so grateful that we get to teach her. She is such a good mom and she has a lot of faith in her Savior Jesus Christ. Our lessons with her are always enjoyable.
I don't remember if I told you about our friend John. He lives in our apartment complex and we see him walking his dog, Bandit, outside often. He served in Iraq for a year, and we found out from one of his friends that he is struggling from that experience. I don't know how to describe John except that he is just a good guy. He is maybe 45 and he lives alone with Bandit. I think he is trying to recover from his experience at war. Sister Margaritis met him before I got here and he "wasn't interested" in the gospel at the time. I have been wanting to teach him since I got here. He just needs hope in his life! We prayed a few weeks ago that John would start asking us questions about the gospel. And the other day...he did! Well he actually just started asking us questions about our missions and why we decided to come on a mission. It would have been a good opportunity to give him an article I had been carrying around for weeks, wanting to give it to him. But I chickened out. But then the next day I gave it to him, but before I did I made him promise that he would read it. It's the one called "The Hope of God's Light" by President Uchtdorf. I just hope and pray that it will touch his heart and that he will want to come to know the love of His Savior Jesus Christ. It is that love and peace that brings us the greatest joy in life.

I love you all. I hope school is going well for everyone. Remember how much Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love you. Have a wonderful week!
Sister Mecate

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

September 3, 2013

Dear family,
I love you! Oh, how my mind draws a blank when I sit down at the computer to write you. It's been a blessed week. We found two more people to teach.
We found Amy in a very unexpected way. It was 11 o'clock on a Saturday morning. We had planned to visit the Miller's, an inactive family in the ward, but they had asked that we call to set up a time because their schedules are so odd. So the night before in our planning we changed the plans to another address. When we entered the new address in our GPS, it didn't show up, so we picked one that popped up and it wasn't in our area. Then Sister Margarits picked the third address down that had popped up on the GPS, just to try it, because we didn't know where else to go. We arrived at the address and the people were outside, about to get in their car and leave, so we thought we would come back later. What was interesting is that the random address that we got from the GPS just happened to be in the same area that the Miller's lived. I had a thought in the back of my head that the Lord wanted us in that area for a reason. I asked Sister Margaritis is she had recently tracted the area and she said she had on one street but not on another, so we tracted that street. I was praying that Heavenly Father would help us find who needed to be found in that area if we were supposed to be there. The 2nd or 3rd door we knocked on a nice lady with a cute puppy answered the door. We had a discussion with her about her puppy and then about her church. She said she belongs to a Christian church but she is not very active. Sister Margaritis talked about how we have a living prophet on the earth today, and she was interested in that. Then I shared a scripture with her from the Book of Mormon, Helaman 5:8, about laying up a "treasure in heaven..which is eternal," and how we can do that by praying, reading scriptures, and cherishing our families. She really liked that and eagerly agreed to let us come back next Saturday and teach her more about our Church. What a kind and open heart she has! She gratefully thanked us for the book as we were walking away. The Lord helped us to find her that day. He made sure we were in the right place at the right time and that we said the right things. During our training that morning we had watched a video that talked about having a living prophet on the earth and Sister Margaritis remembered that and talked about it with Amy. The Lord set everything up so that we could find her and help her accept the message of the Restored Gospel. How often in life does the Lord provide opportunities for us and we are oblivious to it? I know there must be countless times where Heavenly Father has guided me to do something or to run into someone and I didn't even think to realize all that He did to set it up. It's amazing how He blesses us each and every day. I hope to be able to more easily recognize the hand of the Lord in my life, because He is always there to guide us and protect us, even when we don't realize it.
I just want to bare my testimony of the Sacrament. Each Sunday I am so grateful for the sacrament and the opportunity that I have to start over each week. This week I was especially overwhelmed with gratitude for my Savior. I was having a rough Sunday morning. I don't really remember why, but I do remember I was just in a grumpy mood and I was really getting down on myself. In my studies that morning I opened up to Alma 36 in the Book of Mormon, where Alma the younger is talking about his conversion story. As I read about this experience my heart was opened to the healing power of the Atonement. The hope and light of Jesus Christ allows us to forget all negativity and find a pure joy and happiness that comes only from Him. Here are the words of Alma as he describes his experience with the love of Christ.
"And it came to pass that as I was thus wracked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.
Now as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy one me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death.
And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more.
And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain."
I LOVE this passage. Each of us can have this same experience each day if we just come unto Christ and repent. When I read this, I realized the joy of repentance and my heart was made light. I no longer felt the need to be upset at the thought of my own weaknesses. As missionaries, we have been called to invite people to repent. Repentance brings joy! Accepting Jesus Christ fully as our Savior brings unexpressible joy. I am so grateful for the Atonement, and this experience has helped me to have a greater conviction and desire to share the gift of repentance with others, as intimidating as it seems to me. During the sacrament each week we can be made totally new and clean, and we can be HAPPY!
The longer I spend with Sister Margaritis as my companion, the more I grow to love her. We survived another transfer and we get to be together for another 6 weeks! Yay! We have committed to each other and to the Lord that we are going to be more obedient, more diligent, and more committed to our callings. I feel very blessed to stay here in Maple Valley and to work with Sister Margaritis.
Mt. Rainier was amazing. Sister Walton and Sister Hurley took us. I love them both! It was a great day, but it was long, and it was a strange feeling to be on a mini vacation and then to come home and jump right back into work. I am grateful that we are kept busy on our missions. I will send pictures next week, because I am running out of time as usual.
Here are all of the people we are teaching: Karen, Nancy, Alyssa, Pauline and her Mom Sandra, Jim and Laura, Steve, and Amy. Pauline and Sandra came to Church this past Sunday! It was very exciting. They are both lovely. They both have a strong testimony of Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. The lesson we had with them went so well, also, with Sister Santa Cruz there as fellowship. Neither one has agreed yet to be baptized, but as they search for the truth in their hearts I know they will be able to find it.
I love this gospel. I love Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. I am so grateful for my many blessings, including all of you-especially all of you! Have a wonderful week. I love you!
Sister Mecate