Tuesday, November 26, 2013

November 26, 2013

Dear Family,
Here is what I wrote to President Eaton this week:

Dear President,

The Lord is blessing us greatly. As I have been praying for myself, Sister Margaritis, and all the missionaries having to make changes this transfer, I have been filled with peace. It is so humbling to see how I have changed when facing a new challenge. I know I will have many struggles as a trainer, but I have been able to feel peace about the changes that are happening and the responsibilities I am being given, only because of prayers, those I have said and those said by others for me. I am truly sad to let go of Glacier Park, but I feel confident in knowing that the Lord has a greater plan for what I and my new companion need to do. For Sister Margaritis, I know leaving Lake Wilderness is one of the most difficult things she will have to do on her mission, but I know she will do wonderfully in her next area. Even if she can't see it now, I am seeing how the Lord has blessed her to deal with this. She has grown in a lot of ways.

There are so many potential opportunities to share the gospel in Glacier Park. I am excited for what new missionaries can do for that area. I am confident that you and your family inspired people in that ward and that good things are to come. And although I am not thrilled about covering a new area, I am grateful to be able to grow and learn. And having to rely on the Lord so much is almost freeing. I am excited to learn and grow.

We were able to meet with Alyssa this past week. After a month of praying that she would contact us in some way, since she had been ignoring us for a while, she did! We met with her, and she said she just felt like she needed to meet with us again. We hope that this time around she will have a desire to keep her commitments.

I know this email is getting long, so I will end it by saying thank you, as always. Thank you for new opportunities. I'm sure I will have many moments of desperation, but I guess those moments end up in the most growth, right? Have a great week, President!

Sister Mecate
So in greater explanation, Sister Margaritis is being transferred. I am staying and giving up Glacier Park, but I will now keep Lake Wilderness and also take over Rock Creek ward, which is another ward that meets at our building. I have been called as a trainer. I will meet my new companion in about 5 hours! She is probably just arriving at the mission home after a long morning of travel. I will miss Sister Margaritis. We have been a good companionship. She has been in this area for almost 9 months, so leaving is hard! But I know she will do great in her next area. This transfer will be one of great growth for both of us. I'm training-Aah! But like I told President Eaton, the Lord has blessed me with peace. I am excited for this new opportunity to grow. I am one that likes to take the back seat sometimes. Being the leader is going to put me out of my comfort zone, but I know it will be great. If I only learn one thing from my mission, it may just be that I am learning to put my trust in the Lord more than ever before. Obviously I'm learning so much more, but with faith being at the core of missionary work, it's changing me! Isaiah 42:16 reads, "And I will bring the blind by a way they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them." Isaiah 41:10-"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." I truly believe in the truths told in these scriptures. Of course, sometimes in the moment we lose faith-I do all the time! But reflecting upon the experiences that I have already been blessed with and putting my faith forward now has brought me great peace. Prayer is wonderful, amazing, powerful. As we pray specifically and with faith, we see miracles.
This morning I read 3 Nephi 26 in the Book of Mormon. I read it once and thought it fine, but I received no personal revelation which I felt prompted to write. Then, I reread it with a specific question in mind, one that has been given to us as a talk topic-"How can I teach with power?" What I found the second time around was that the Spirit pointed out many things to me which I then felt prompted to write in my journal. So many times I have been taught to study the scriptures, not just read them. Sometimes I don't think about what that actually means. This experience helped me realize the power behind that principle! The scriptures come alive as we study with specific topics and questions in mind. And the Book of Mormon has the power to answer all the important questions of life. In it, we learn about who we are, what will make us happy, where we are going, how we can find true peace, and what God expects of us. I testify that it is true. If there are any who are looking for more in their life, I know that the Book of Mormon has it! it contains a fulness of truth!
Sister Walton in our ward made us Christmas presents and gave them to us early since Sister Margaritis is leaving. She made us matching pajama pants! The fleece is a sister missionary design. So cute! I will have to send you a picture. Sister Walton is one of the coolest people I have met on my mission. I just love her. Also, I will have to send you a picture of the Hinton's. Brother Hinton is the Lake Wilderness ward mission leader. I just love his kids! I can't stand how cute they are! They are just a precious family.
Something that I thought very profound was what Elder Basilius said to Sister Margaritis when she asked what advice he had for her about being transferred. He said "Thank God with all your heart, might, mind, and strength that He has let you stay as long as He has." When trials come upon us, some of our greatest strength can come from thanking the Lord for the many blessings that we do have. I thought this very appropriate and inspiring for this time of year, but also for our whole lives!
I love you all so much. Have a most fantastic Thanksgiving! One thing that I am thankful for are those who have passed on and who help us from the other side of the veil. I know God send angels to lift us up when we need it! The gospel is so great! I am also so grateful for eternal families! And many more things. I love you!
Sister Mecate

Friday, November 22, 2013

November 18, 2013

Dear Family,
I am loving the new Bible videos the church has put out. They portray Christ and His apostles in a way no other videos have yet, I think. My favorite so far may be "Jesus Declares: I Am the Light of the World, the Truth Shall Make You Free." Jesus declares that He is God. I do believe, and I testify, that Jesus is the Christ, that He is the Son of God, and that He has the power to do all things, even forgive our greatest sins, and our smallest shortcomings. Please watch the video! It will change your day! http://www.lds.org/bible-videos/videos/jesus-declares-i-am-the-light-of-the-world-the-truth-shall-make-you-free?lang=eng
Some great things are happening here. We are finding people to teach in both wards. Our teaching pool may be small, but we see miracles daily. We have been able to see Lachelle and to teach her about the Restoration, about prayer, about the hope that the Savior gives us because of His sacrifice. She wants the peace and the joy. She is nervous and unsure, like we all are sometimes, but once she grabs a hold of the gospel, I don't think there will be any turning back. She is one of the best people I have met.
This week I had a moment of doubt about the Restoration. But everyone has those once in a while, a trial of their faith. I was thinking about what our friend, Cheryl, has said about our beliefs. She used to be a member but is not anymore. It wasn't really that I had doubts about the Restoration as much as it was a struggle to understand why Cheryl cannot see the truth. The next day in church, the Relief Society lesson was on the kingdom of God coming forth in the latter days. It was an answer to my prayers. God is so aware of us and loves us. The hastening of the work that has been emphasized in the last year, and for the last couple centuries, is real and it's true. Sometimes people won't accept the gospel for whatever reason, but God's hand is in this work, and the kingdom is being built up. We won't have answers to every question, doubt, or concern we have in this life. But we are promised that the Spirit will testify to us of truth. We will feel in our hearts what is right. "But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Meekness, temperance:" Galatians 5;22-23. The things that follow this trend are the things that we should hold fast to in our lives. This is what we should be implementing in our relationships and in our personal character. The message of the Restoration is one of love. The Book of Mormon brings us peace. And the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ leads us to be gentle, good, meek, and to have faith. There are so many other blessings that I have had in my life because of the restored gospel. I invite you to reflect on the blessings you have received from the restored gospel. There will be many! Something that I have had a strong testimony of, for my entire life it seems, is that of eternal families. I know that through the priesthood power and the covenants made in the temple, families can be together forever. We will see again the loved ones we lose. I know this like I know my name is Danielle Kristen Mecate and I like ketchup!  Elder Uchtdorf says, "Doubt your doubt before you doubt your faith." The gospel is good. And it's true, I promise!
In sacrament yesterday, Brother Hinton, our ward mission leader, spoke about missioanry work. He began by telling a story about how he loves this treat called scotcharoos-peanut butter, butterscoth chips, rice crispies, and chocolate. He realized that his kids had never had them before. He was so excited for them to try them. Then his son Gordon said he did not want to try them and he wanted an otter-pop instead. Brother Hinton was devastated. Why didn't Gordon want to try this treat that was so good and would make him happy? . But, Brother Hinton said he persisted with Gordon, until finally Gordon tried them and he loved them, but it did take a lot of effort and persistence. Sometimes we try to share the gospel, and people don't want it, even though we know it will make them so happy. They don't know that yet. But if we persist, following the Spirit, one day they may accept it and find out how happy it will make them. I wish you all could meet the Hinton family. I love them. Many laughs on my mission have been instigated by the authenticity of the Hinton family.
I hope you all are able to have a peaceful, happy week. I am blessed to only have to focus on others right now, and not the hustle and bustle of life. It can be so hard, but I know the small things like scripture study, prayer, and church are great blessings and really allow Christ to be in our lives. Love you! Have a great week!
Sister Mecate

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

November 12, 2013

Dear family,
Yesterday was a great and beautiful day. Since it was Veteran's Day, we took P-day on Tuesday instead, so the library would be open for emailing. We didn't find out until Sunday night that we weren't having P-day on Monday, so we were a bit disappointed, but it turned out to be a great blessing. The sun was out yesterday, and there was a slight breeze. We were able to spend much of the day outside proselyting rather than sitting in the library emailing or at the store grocery shopping. The weather first reminded me of San Diego, and then later in the day it felt like a brisk fall day in Utah. I found myself longing to be in these places that I consider home, and I recognized the odd weather (for Washington, at least) as a tender mercy from the Lord. It reminded me that I need to take more time to realize how blessed I am and to have an attitude of gratitude in my heart. It was a beautiful day to share the gospel!
This week we had a wonderful lesson with Maureen. She is truly an easy person to love. She is honest, sincere, and kind. She lives above the lake and has a beautiful view right outside her glass sliding doors onto her patio. She told us about the eagles that lived in the trees for years, and how a huge wind storm ruined their nest. Her concern for the eagles' well-being endeared me to her as a fellow nature lover right away. Maureen is also really busy with training for a new job. But she is making the time to meet with us, because she has a desire to learn about the gospel. She has already read a good chunk of the Book of Mormon and has questions about Nephi, the tribes of Israel, and all sorts of things. She has Native American blood in her, and the story of the Book of Mormon intrigues her in relation to her ancestry. She also told us about some personal trials she has had concerning the Plan of Salvation. We, along with Sister Hartmann, our fellowship, were able to bare our testimonies of the Plan of Salvation, and how God has prepared a way for each of His children to return to Him, whether it be those who died as infants, or those who died as adults, without participating in the gospel. After this lesson, she eagerly planned a time for us to come back and teach her more. We invited her to continue reading the Book of Mormon and to pray and ask God if it's true. I have faith that Maureen's heart is in the right place and that she will soon discover the truth for herself. I really just love her!
I really enjoy being over two wards. Because both areas are small compared to others, I don't feel like we are too busy or anything. There is a lot of potential in both areas. Right now it kind of feels like we are on the edge of success, and we just need to keep working hard to get that little push from the Lord so that we can really see progress with people. This week we were able to help Anna and her daughters move apartments. Anna is the lady who showed up at church a couple of months ago. We weren't really able to get a hold of her or teach her anything since then, because she was always so busy or preoccupied.She called us one day to see if we could help her move. It was a long process for their family. They had a lot of stuff, and just one van to move it. We helped them a couple of different times, and they just could not hide the exhaustion on their faces. I truly feel that this opportunity to serve them is a blessing for them and for us. We hope that now they will be open and willing to let us teach them, so that they can receive the blessings of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know the opportunity will arise soon. The Lord is working His magic.
We had zone conference this week, and boy, was it a good one! President Eaton's focus was on creating a culture of faith in our mission, in our meetings, and in our companionships. It was definitely something I needed. I struggle from day to day to have the faith to see miracles. I feel so blessed to have such an inspired family as the Eaton's to lead and guide us as a mission. One of the scriptures that President Eaton's daughter shared (she just got back from her mission in Italy) is Ether 12:4. I have really been liking this scripture lately. "Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God." When we stop to think about things through God's perspective, everything seems so clear. As long as we have faith in Him, the storms of the world, and the "darts of the adversary" take the backseat, and we can live in a world of hope. There is so much that we can apply to ourselves and our relationship with God in this scripture. That night after we returned home from zone conference, we had two very faith filled experiences. We had a great lesson with Jim and Laura about the restoration. It was the most productive lesson we have had in their home yet! It took faith for us to buckle down and teach those bold doctrines with them. Then we went to visit Lachelle at the laundromat. She ended up not being there, but her son, Derrick, was waiting in the parking lot in his car to close up. We have never really talked with Derrick much, because it just seems like he wouldn't be interested. But Sister Margaritis had faith. She pulled up next to him and we talked to him through our car windows. He has a lot of trials in life, especially for someone who is only 20. By the end of the night we had gotten out of our cars and we said a prayer with him after he told us he doesn't really have a belief about God. After the prayer, we saw his countenance change, and he seemed so grateful to us for talking with him and saying that prayer. Some days, I just don't have so much faith. Other days, I am blessed with more faith than usual. I have seen God's power in this work, and I am so grateful that He truly is in control.
My favorite scripture this week is D&C 33:8-10. "Open your mouths and they shall be filled, and you shall become even as Nephi of old, who journeyed from Jerusalem in the wilderness.
Yea, open your mouths and spare not, and you shall be laden with sheaves upon your backs, for lo, I am with you.
Yea, open your mouths and they shall be filled, saying: Repent, repent, and prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand;"
The Lord is promising that if we open our mouths to share the gospel, they will be filled with what to say. When we are acting in the service of God, He will provide. Satan does not want us to open our mouths to share things that will bless or uplift others. I find that when I have doubts, but then I don't listen to them, I am blessed and others are blessed. But, when I do listen to my doubts, everyone is missing out on great opportunities. Don't listen to Satan. As President Spencer W. Kimball (and Nike) said, Just "Do it."
Have a great week! You are all so wonderful. I love looking through my family photo album, even though I've seen each picture quite a few times by now. I love you!
Sister Mecate

Monday, November 4, 2013

November 4, 2013

Dear Family,
It has been a most fantastic week. Little miracles keep me going! Being a missionary is hard and difficult, yes. But the Lord is so good to us, all of His children. Being a part of this work is such a blessing! First, I will tell you, we got to have dinner with the Seely's yesterday! It made me so happy! We caught up on what's been going on in the Valley for the last eight years. We had some great laughs and conversation. They are such an amazing family. The lasagna Sister Seely made was delicious, too. They showed me the play kitchen and dollhouse that they used to play with when I would babysit. It was so wonderful to see how grown up they all are! The friendships we make in the Church truly last for eternity, no matter how long it's been since you've seen people.
We had a tracting miracle this week. It was dark out, and we were lacking in faith. Sister Margaritis prayed that we would have a miracle before we went out. It's something we have been trying to improve in our prayers. The first few doors were not encouraging at all. In fact open guy just shut the door while we were still talking and trying to have a conversation. On the third or fourth house a truck pulled up just as we were walking to the door. We hate those awkward situations. So, we just waited while he got out of his truck and put his dog inside. We thought he was just going to go inside and not talk to us, but then he came back and asked what we were up to. We quickly steered the conversation to the restoration. This man, Rob, was humble and curious about the message we were sharing. We could tell the Spirit touched his heart as we talked to him about the restoration of Jesus Christ's true church. He is looking for something to bring relief to his life. We also found out as we talked with him that he grew up in Rowland Heights! I excitedly explained that my Grandma lives there and that my dad grew up there! He said he went to Nogalas High School. I can't remember which one you went to, Dad. And when he went to pronounce my name, he said Mecate the way you say it-correctly! So of course in my head I was thinking maybe he met you years ago and remembered the name, but that's just me being imaginative. Anyways, we gave him a book of Mormon and testified of the peace it has brought us and to our families. By the end of our conversation he said, "Looks Like I've got some reading to do." No other words could have made us happier, except for maybe, "I need to be baptized." We were so excited that he was open to hear the message we had to share. We know this can bless his life and his family and whatever trials they are going through. The lord truly is preparing people everywhere to here about the restoration of the gospel and church of Jesus Christ.
We found out on Halloween night that the less-active family we are teaching, the Streight's have been reading the Book of Mormon! We were thrilled to hear that! I think I underestimate how powerful the Book of Mormon can be in our lives. It is such a blessing! To see that people we are teaching and who we care about are reading it is one of the greatest joys on a mission! I wish everyone could realize the importance and power of the Book of Mormon. It carries such a special spirit with it. It has a converting power and a spiritually healing power. I have recently been reading in 3 Nephi. A lot happens in those first few chapters. One theme that sticks out to me as a missionary is that true repentance leads us to baptism, or for those who have already been baptized, it leads us to the sacrament. Making that covenant with God is a result of the joy we feel as we repent. The righteous were really being tried and persecuted, but they still found joy in their Savior. They had to have so much faith. This was the time right before the Savior appeared to them in the America's. They had never seen Him. They had no proof that He was real. But they followed the teachings
of the prophet, Nephi, and they were spiritually protected. They found joy amidst darkness. We are promised the same joy in these latter days. We have no "proof" or evidence that Jesus is real, but we have the Spirit of God to testify of Him in our hearts! As we follow the teachings of the prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and as we immerse ourselves in the scriptures, we can find peace and happiness amidst the darkness of the world. Jesus Christ lives and He loves us!
We had a great fast and testimony meeting this Sunday. One boy related how making a cake is like sharing the gospel. He knew his mom and brother would not want to take the time to make a cake, so he did it without asking, knowing that they would enjoy it. Sharing the gospel is kind of like that. People don't know what they are missing out, so they don't want to take the time to hear about it. So we just try to share it! I really liked his analogy. He's such a cute little kid. Many other wonderful testimonies were shared.
I love you all! Have a great week! I don't want to hear about anyone ending up in the hospital from stress, so try to take a break once in a while, like a P-day! ;)
Sister Mecate