Monday, October 28, 2013

October 28, 2013

Dear Family,
This has truly been a wonderful week. Last Tuesday we went tracting around 3 o'clock. normally we would tract around 5. The first door we knocked on, a lady named Maurine answered. She has a brother who became Mormon, she doesn't currently have a church to go to, and she was very interested in learning about the prophet. It was one of the best doorstep experiences I have had yet! We are going back to teach her more about the restoration tomorrow. Within that same hour, we visited a family in the ward to tell them about Maurine. What we didn't know was that they just had a tragic death in the family. We were able to pray with the two daughters that were home. Knowing that we were in the right area at the right time, doing what the Lord would have us do was such a blessing to me. I am so grateful for those moments where it is so clear that the Lord is aware of me and Sister Margaritis.
This transfer is going by too fast already! We are almost positive it is our last transfer together. But it has been fruitful so far! I am learning a lot about patience in the Lord's timing. Not yet having a baptism has been weighing heavily on my mind. Of course, I am not here just to "baptize" people. I am here to bring them closer to Christ. But I often can't help wondering if I really am doing something horribly wrong. I kind of feel like I am failing the people in this area. But I have to remember, I don't understand everything. The Lord has a greater plan than I can come up with. All of my weaknesses as a missionary are troublesome to me, but this isn't about me. It's about doing what Christ would do. And if I focus on that, peace and happiness are the result. 

The Lord is really blessing us with miracles. On Saturday, we had 3 people text us to see if we could help with moving people. We didn't have to make it to make it to all three. In the morning, we went to help move out a family that we had never met before. They are not members. We were told to just go in and start working. When the Mom walked in, Cory, she looked at us in surprise and asked who we were. We were soon all good friends. When we met her kids, who came later, they asked us in child-like boldness, "Do we know you?" Her husband was also quick to befriend us. They are a neat family. I love them! We didn't share a message before we left, because it would have been awkward with all the people there, but we are eager and excited to go back and teach them the restoration. Such a blessing!
We are beginning to teach the discussions to a less active family in Glacier Park, the Streight's. The son is trying to get back to coming to church. Our first appointment was scheduled for last night at 7pm. There was also a baptism scheduled at that time for a man named Will. We met Will at general conference, and he seems like an amazing guy. I wanted so badly to go. We tried inviting many people to go watch, but no one could make it. We can't just go to baptisms unless we have someone to take to them. So anyways, I was kind of bummed that we couldn't go. As we went to the Streight's house to teach them, I was really trying not to be selfish in thinking about wanting to be at the baptism. However, once we got there and started talking with the son, Aaron, my heart was blessed with happiness and love for this family, and I was so grateful to be there teaching them. We taught the restoration and showed the 20 minute clip about Joseph Smith. We committed them to read everyday from the Book of Mormon. It was a wonderful lesson. Kimmie, who is about 30, seemed so eager to receive the blessings of reading from the Book of Mormon. Also, in her prayer, she said she was grateful that Aaron tried to come to church today. (He didn't go, because he was late in traffic). It was just funny, but I think you had to be there. Even though they weren't all jumping out of their chairs so eager to read or to go to church, the hope that was in their eyes that they were trying to hide was enough for me to be SO happy. I am grateful for the change of heart I was given. The Lord is so good to us!
On Sunday we were invited to teach the kids in primary. I was so excited! We talked to them about how we can be missionaries by the example we set and the service we do. We also talked about how growing our testimony is like growing a plant. We brought in a live plant and a dead plant as visual aids. They really liked that. It was also the primary program this week. We have amazing families in the Lake Wilderness Ward. I have grown to love them all so much.
Oh, I almost forgot! We invited Allen and his family to come to the Glacier Park Halloween party. Allen is someone we taught when we were in Glacier Park 4 months ago. He told us then that he didn't believe our doctrine and wasn't interested anymore. When we were inviting people to the party, he was one of the first people that came to our minds. And he came! I was so excited when we saw him and his 2 kids walk through the door! Then the rest of the night I was kind of paranoid and stressing out as we tried to tell people to go talk to him and make him feel welcome. (I felt more like my old self than I have in a long time with the stressing out part!) His daughter quickly found a friend and seemed to enjoy herself. And his son did, too. It was a miracle, and so exciting.
I kind of feel like this email has just been a long report. So I must tell you of my testimony! I love this gospel! I know Jesus Christ lives and loves us! I know that His church has been restored to the earth and that we have a living prophet on the earth today. It's really quite amazing when you think about it. We are so blessed! The priesthood is the greatest blessing God could give to His children. And we have access to that power! I am so grateful for the blessing that the priesthood has been in my life-father's blessings, blessings of healing, the sacrament, baptismal covenants, temple covenants, and being sealed to my family forever! And so much more. God truly does love us. We can know of that love through sincere prayer and diligent scripture study. We also feel of that love as we serve others and love them like Christ would. I love you family-I love you, I love you, I love you! Pray for and then look for opportunities to serve this week. You won't regret it! Have a tremendous week!

Sister Mecate

Monday, October 21, 2013

October 21, 2013

Dear family,
The first week of the transfer is over. It's gonna fly by! I think this is my last one with Sister Margaritis-it will be our 4th together! Anyways, great things are already happening! Oh, and guess what. We are taking over Glacier Park ward again. So many mixed feelings! First of all it was not communicated to us very clearly that we were in charge there. Second of all, they took missionaries from there, because there "isn't a lot of work there." So we aren't sure if that makes sense to have us only giving half our time to the area, but that's what' s happening. It will be a little more stressful, a little more demanding, but that's all part of the adventure! I am excited to be serving the ward members there again! They are wonderful people. We developed some great friendships just from the 3 weeks we served there a few months ago.
On Sunday, a lady named Mari (short for Marianne) showed up to church. Her humble and meek spirit made it easy to love her right away. She just moved into the area and is trying to get settled. She said she is looking for a church. After sitting through sacrament meeting, she expressed how good she felt there. She really felt welcome, and we could tell she felt the Spirit.

We have had many experiences this past week with less active members. We talked with Cynthia about feeling peace that only comes from the Savior. She shared a personal experience about peace she felt after receiving a blessing when her daughter was born. Frank told us he felt he needed to start coming back to church. And he did! (This is the same guy who crashed his bike a couple weeks ago and said he would rather bless his bike before he buried than get a blessing for himself. He's a funny guy). A less active father and his 2 kids came to church so that his son could be ordained to the Aaronic priesthood. And a man named Mike is coming back to church and is accepting a calling. We had a great discussion with him at his doorstep this past week. It's such a blessing to see the lord working in these people's lives.
I don't know if I ever told you about Trish. She is going through an awful divorce. We haven't actually "taught" her, but we are trying to be a support to her through this hard time. She is one of the most selfless mothers I have ever met. She is doing all she can to save her son from the trauma of the situation. She lives to serve him and teach him and love him. This past week, after she told us all of the recent horror that have been going on, Trish asked if she could get a blessing, and if homes can be blessed. We were so thrilled that she would ask and that she has faith in the priesthood. We told her we would definitely find a brother in the ward who could give her a blessing. We came back on Thursday night with brother Thompson and his wife. They are righteous and Christ-like people. Trish told them most of her story and just opened her soul to them. brother Thompson gave her one of the most inspired blessings I have ever heard. After the blessing, Trish's countenance was one of peace. Time and time again, I have seen the truth of the priesthood as I have listened to and received priesthood blessings. I know that the authority to act in Christ's name has been restored to the earth! I know that the power of the priesthood is real! I know that Heavenly Father wants all of His children to be blessed by the priesthood by receiving the restored gospel. God is so good.
As we have strived to talk with more people, we have had some funny experiences. The two young men cleaning out their garage were interesting. We tried multiple times to relate the gospel to their lives and each time we were shut down by pessimism and skepticism. It was kind of comical to us how ridiculous they were being. Then there was the man we tracted into who, after we asked if there was anything we could do for him, exclaimed, "Seeing as I am a man of my own destiny, I can do things for myself!" And then he promptly shut the door. And there are many other instances which I could relay. Although we often get a chuckle out of these situations, it is always sad to think that we were not able to help these people come closer to Christ.
We have had wonderful experiences with service this week. We have been helping a lady named Pearl clean her house and hang paintings everywhere. Pearl is lonely and lives in a huge house (maybe I already told you about her). She has been opening up to us the more time we spend with her. She still doesn't believe in Jesus Christ, but she has a lot of faith in God. She has a beautiful spirit. Another experience of service was when we cleaned our ward mission leader's kitchen for her! That was probably the highlight of my day. We stopped by to drop off some fliers and asked if we could do anything for her. She said "Oh, I wouldn't ask you to do that. " We knew she needed something. She has 3 little crazy boys and a 4 month old baby girl. There is always something going on in their home! I have grown to love that family so much. I love their kids, and Brother and Sister Hinton truly invite the Spirit into their home in the way they teach their children and in the way they treat each other. Anyways, we convinced her to let us "sweep her kitchen," but we ended up doing the dishes and cleaning the counters too. I cannot tell you how good it made me feel to help her do that. She literally could not do it herself while she was trying to take care of her 2 year old and new born. It was such a blessing to us to be able to serve her. We had dinner with them on Sunday, which is always fun with Gordon and Hyrum. They always have something great to say. Hyrum was so cute as he told us about how he is scared the sun is going to over take the earth. He has had to pray a lot so he won't be scared so he can go to bed each night. He says he really tries, but it is just so hard to get that feeling of faith! His dad helped him recognize that since he has been praying about it, he has been able to go to bed a lot easier. What cute little Hyrum failed to realize (what I think we all fail to realize sometimes) is that faith isn't always just a feeling-it's a decision (Elder Anderson). Hyrum chose to act in faith by praying about his fears and then by acting and trying to do his best. He may still have that fear sometimes, but he does his best to act. And that is all Heavnely Father asks of us. just act, even when we don't get that "feeling of faith." The feeling will come after we decide to have faith. And then I just ahve to tell you what Gordon said in sacrament meeting one day. His dad was telling him to settle down and stay quiet for the sacrament and Gordon said, "Enough of this Heavenly Father and Jesus stuff!" I'm telling you these boys are a riot!
Well, I love you! Have a glorious week! I know I will, because my feet will be warm and dry with my new shoes! And Oh yeah, I'm a missionary!
Sister Mecate

Saturday, October 19, 2013

October 15, 2013

Dear family,

Another transfer has passed and I am still here in Lake Wilderness Ward with Sister Margaritis. That will make 4 transfers together as companions and Sister Margaritis will have been here for half her mission! That's not the norm, I don't think. We are so very grateful to stay. I feel so strongly that there is more I need to do here. I feel more inspired and motivated to work hard and diligently to find those who are being prepared to here the message of the Restoration.
It's been a great week. Have I told you about Lachelle? She is a lady that President Eaton met at the laundromat a few months ago. He called us and asked us to go visit her, because the laundromat is in our area. The first night we met her, we weren't really sure what to do or say, so we ended up just offering to come help her close the laundromat some nights and she happily agreed. Lachelle is great. She has such a fun loving personality. We have now gone a few times and helped her, but never really had the opportunity to share a message. On our last visit, her two sons were there helping her close, but we just joined in and started sweeping. At one point Lachelle went outside to smoke and we followed her out, because we were talking with her. After a few moments of just talking, she began asking us questions about some of the rules we follow as missionaries. This led into her asking us questions about our religion, and this led into a full blown discussion about the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This night may have been the most exciting and satisfying moment of my whole mission thus far. There were points in out discussion where Lachelle was teaching herself about the apostacy, how, because we are all human, we all interpret God in a differing way, explaining why there are so many churches and why they do not all agree with each other. This led to her asking, "So what makes your church so different?" Probably one of the most golden questions we could get from anybody! After explaining the restoration and Joseph Smith's experience in the grove (having God the Father and His son Jesus Christ explain that none of the churches were true and that Joseph was to restore Christ's church upon the earth), she asked, "And how can I know this is true?" Another golden question! Seeing how Heavenly Father has prepared Lachelle to receive the message of the restoration was inspiring to me. She has a sincere desire to find truth in her life. We explained to her about the Book of Mormon and showed her the promise in Moroni 10:3-5. If we read the Book of Mormon and pray and ask if it is true with a sincere desire to know and act upon that knowledge, God will bless us with an answer, and we can know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true and that Joseph Smith really was a prophet! Lachelle told us she was glad she let her come to us instead of trying to force out religion upon her. She said she had been trying to bring it up for a while, but was too nervous, and we said the same about ourselves! We reflected on this and thought about how inspired that had been. Our own nervousness and shortcomings made it so that Lachelle could come to us at the right time. The Lord truly knows us so well. Even though we felt that we were failing sometimes as we did not share a message with Lachelle, the Lord was prepared for our weaknesses and blessed us with this miracle. As long as we do our best, the Lord provides a way for miracles! We still have not followed up with her, but we will soon!
We met with Nancy this week and we were able to talk with her about her decision to stop meeting with us. She had a dream where she went to another church and didn't feel good about it. Although we still have a good friendship with Nancy, we were sad as we said goodbye and left. I wish desperately that she wanted to hear more. We have more to teach her and I know this would bless her life and her family's. Even if Nancy does not change her mind while I am here as a missionary, this experience has given me more motivation to be a more powerful teacher, to not be afraid to open my mouth and share right away my beliefs with the people meet. I am so grateful for the ways in which the Lord is changing me. My desire to share the gospel continues to grow each day. I am receiving so much more than I am giving. Learning to truly rely on the Lord in all things has been somewhat of a challenge. I tend to doubt myself a lot. But as I remember the promises in the scriptures about trusting in the Lord and putting our faith in Him, I find peace and comfort, and I can keep moving forward.
We met a man named Ziggy while we were tracting Sunday night. Most of our conversation was of him bearing his testimony to us of the Bible and his belief in Jesus Christ. What a powerful man! He is about 70 years old, from Poland, and pretty tiny. He kept telling us to read Psalms 32:8. "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go; I will guide thee with mine eye." Although he really did not want to hear about the Book of Mormon (he was born-again Christian), he was inspiring to us! I'm not sure that we inspired him much, but we were so glad to have met him!

The Atonement of Jesus Christ is an amazing thing, something so amazing it is fairly incomprehensible!  How grateful I am to know that He sacrificed for me so that I could return to live with my Father in Heaven, eternally, with my family! I am so grateful for the apostles and the prophet. I know Thomas S. Monson is our prophet on the earth today! I know this is Christ's church. I love you all, and I am so grateful to have such a wonderful family!
Sister Mecate

Monday, October 7, 2013

October 7, 2013

Dear family,
I have been so humbled this week, and I cannot begin to express how blessed I feel. I must firstly say how absolutely amazing conference was. How blessed we are to have a prophet, Thomas S. Monson, on the earth today. Sometimes I wonder if missionary work is supposed to build me up and make me stronger in the Lord or tear me down and make me doubt. Satan works hard on missionaries. But don't worry-of course it always ends good, right? ;)

This week we had our last official visit with Karen. She explained to us how so much of our doctrine she cannot believe in. She cannot believe in and accept the same Savior Jesus Christ that we do. We listened to her talk for probably a solid 20 minutes, going through doctrine after doctrine and discrediting it. I don't mean to say she was mean or anything. Karen is so kind and friendly. It was just a very open and frank discussion between all of us. And although I do have a testimony of this Church and of the restored gospel, it can be painful to hear someone who is kind and Christ-like, and who you have come to respect and care about, tear apart the very foundations of what you believe in. Heavenly Father sent me to this mission for a reason, and the longer I serve hear, the more I suspect that what I need to make me stronger is to confront human reasoning in the face and throw it out the window. My faith is getting a great 18 month work out! Although I had a peaceful feeling after we left Karen, it still haunts me to think about not being able to help her understand, and wondering why that is. If this is the one and only true church as we claim that it is, shouldn't this be just a little bit easier? On the contrary! I think that is part of the testimony that it really is the one and only true church. Satan will do anything and everything to keep people from it. During the 3rd session of Conference, I received thoughts and feelings that were balm to my troubled heart. It was during Elder Scott's talk that I began writing a quick note about covenants. I honestly can't really remember what his whole talk was about, because as I began writing, more thoughts came to me about why covenants are so important in our church and how this is a testimony to me of the truthfulness of this gospel. I would not want to worship and follow the Lord any other way than through keeping the sacred covenants I have made at baptism and in the temple. I believe in a God who holds true to covenants, and who expects us to become as He is through keeping our covenants and trusting in him. I know through so many testimony building spiritual experiences that this is Christ's true church restored to the earth through the prophet Joseph Smith. And although my witness may not be as powerful as I would like, there are 15 special witnesses of Jesus Christ on the earth today who bear witness of the testimony that Jesus Christ lives, that He loves every single one of us, and that His Church has been restored and all are invited to join and gain peace and eternal happiness from it.
There is one tender mercy that I would like to share with you from this week. We had 30 extra minutes to use up before we took our dinner break one day. We weren't sure where we should go, so we were driving down a street and Sister Margaritis just decided to drive to a family's house just for the heck of it. As we were driving, we saw a young man sitting on the side of the road on his skateboard. He looked sad and lonely. When we drove past again we felt like we should stop and talk to him, after some hesitation. We parked, got out of the car, and walked towards him. we weren't sure what to say so Sister Margaritis asked if he knew where a certain street was. he told us he wasn't from the area. Then I awkwardly asked what kind of skate board he had to keep the conversation going. (I don't know anything about skateboards). We ended up having a decent conversation with him about prayer and watching general conference. Then we kept walking down the street. We quickly realized we should have prayed with him. Something was telling us he needed it. Again we walked past him and awkwardly asked if we could say a prayer with him and he agreed. We asked if there was anything we could pray about for him. He looked kind of hesitant and asked "What do people usually say?" We told him anything that is important to you is important to Heavenly Father. People tell us all kinds of random things. He finally opened up and said we could pray that things would be better with him and his girlfriend, that they were having a rough time. We went ahead and said a prayer and said goodbye and told him things would get better. As we walked away, we felt that we undoubtedly were meant to be in that area at that time, talking to that young man. There is hardly a better feeling than knowing that you were where the Lord wanted you to be and you were able to help some
one. Seeing the way his demeanor changed touched me. I was so grateful that the Lord granted us that tender mercy, and that we could see how we were instruments in His hands.
Today is Sister Margaritis's birthday! It's going to be a great day! I have loved being her companion. Transfers are coming up in a week and I hope we can be together for at least one more transfer. I think we are at the point where we could have great progress together in the work! We are teaching together better and building some great relationships in this area. This week as we really strived to talk with everyone we saw, we received the blessings from it in being able to teach many lessons.
I love this gospel. I really do. I love being a missionary. I am surrounded by so many spiritual giants. The Washington Federal Way missionaries are wonderful! And we had interviews this week and I am always inspired by President and Sister Eaton.
Thank you for the emails this week. I will try to respond as much as I can, but know that I did read them! I love you all! Have a blessed week. And as President Uchtdorf talked about, sometimes it's ok to have doubts. But take them to the Lord and rely on the things you already know. He will strengthen you. "Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith."
So much love to all of you,
Sister Mecate