Friday, February 28, 2014

February 24, 2014

Dear family,
Oh, boy, am I learning the principle of endurance. I LOVE Maple Valley, there is no doubt about that. But I will end up being here over half my mission at least-which makes me so happy! But I also see how Satan is trying to wear down my faith. I have had to do some reassessing concerning my faith, because it can be discouraging at times when you don't see the fruits you expect. But it is humbling, amazing, and gratifying to reflect upon how both I and the area have changed in the 9 months I've been here. There is no denying that the hand of the Lord has blessed me significantly, as well as the areas that I have served in. I am being blessed as the Lord is teaching me what it means to endure to the end, definitely on a smaller scale than what most people go through in their lives, but as real as any other experience. I've also seen how we have to endure the weaknesses that we each individually have. Sometimes I just want some different weaknesses-I'm tired of these ones! But the Lord has a great plan in store for each of us, and without those weaknesses we won't be able to become what he wants us to become. I'm sure I've quoted this to you before but Ether 12:27 says, "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their aweakness. I bgive unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my cgraceis sufficient for all men that dhumble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make eweak things become strong unto them." In church yesterday, the lesson was on the Plan of Salvation. What a precious gift to have the knowledge of that plan! To know that we all chose to come here, even knowing how hard it would be, makes me excited! We had faith in Jesus Christ before we ever even came to this earth. We knew he would be our Savior. We knew we would each have weaknesses and go through trials, but that through Christ we could be made strong. I also love that having a knowledge of this Plan gives us the perspective of who Satan is. In the introduction to the Doctrine and Covenants, it says that some of the doctrines are meant to teach us about "...the reality of Satan, the purpose of mortality..." We can better understand that God is our loving Heavenly Father and that all He wants is for us to be eternally happy, and that we need to constantly be protecting ourselves from the Satan's attacks. I think I have also quoted this scripture to you before as well, but Doctrine and Covenants 10:5 says, " aPray always, that you may come off bconqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan, and that you may cescape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work." I have a testimony of that! If we pray with faith, we will be able to succeed and avoid the temptations we face. The more we understand God's Plan, the more protected and prepared we can make ourselves. I am so grateful for modern day prophets who help teach us these things, along with the scriptures!
And I definitely have a testimony that there is opposition in all things. I can't wait to tell you guys about some of the experiences I've had with people. All I can say is that my character has grown stronger!
We have seen quite a few miracles lately! Some less actives we have been working with have started coming back to church. In these instances it is a testimony to me that the Lord is in control of the work, because I feel like I have played a very small role in helping them come to church. We also had a young lady come to church with one of her friends. Hopefully we will start teaching her soon! She asked for Book of Mormon all on her own! She wants to meet with us, we just need permission from her parents. We also have some single sisters who have gone or are going to the temple soon! I know the temple is the house of the Lord and that we gain so much strength as we attend the temple and feel of the Spirit there. I also received a priesthood blessing at transfers, because we felt we needed some counsel and direction. And I am always amazed at how individual and specific the blessings are, and how even when the elder who gives it doesn't know everything we are going through, God does, and that is apparent in the blessing. I know the priesthood power has been restored to the earth by the prophet Joseph Smith, and I am so grateful!
I love you! Have a great week!
Sister Mecate

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

February 18, 2014

Dear Family,
I'm feeling particularly blessed today, because I'm staying another transfer in Maple Valley! It's gonna end up being over half my mission that I will be here, and I love it. Sister Kirschner is helping me grow beyond what I could do on my own. She's a great blessing. I also forgot to tell you, sometimes when we are out talking to people, we compare our mission to a baseball game. Some people throw curve balls at us, and sometimes we strike out, but then we look at what a decent batting average would be, 300, and we feel a lot better about our efforts-Ha! We like to have a good time.
Thank you for the packages! I loved the Valentine's package from Mom. We ate our breakfast on those plates :). And when I saw that you had sent me almond cookies, Dad, I just about died. I have already almost eaten all of the chocolates you sent me, Cass-my favorites! It seems like you all want to make sure I come back as plump as possible ;) I really appreciate the treats from you guys. They remind me of being with you!

We had some great success with tracting this week. We found one lady who was so open and honest with us about how she struggles with her belief in God because of deaths in her family, but that she wants her kids to have Christ in their lives. We are going back this week to talk to her more. And we met a man whose daughter has had 4 spinal surgeries, and has experienced a lot of pain, but he recognizes the need for trials and for turning to God-part of the Plan of Salvation! He and his family have a lot of faith. He said he would read the Book of Mormon in a week. We are going back Friday! We met a cute couple who are searching for truth and have lots of questions about the Church. We are going back Saturday. There are many people in Maple Valley who are prepared to hear about and accept the gospel of Jesus Christ. I love seeing how real the hastening of the work is. It is a difficult and engaging work, but it is great!

I am most grateful that Heavenly Father is teaching me how to love-myself, my companion, and all of His children. Learning how to love is a life long process! In my studies this week I read from Moroni 7, which is all about charity. There is so much goodness in there, I don't even know where to start! How about with verses 44-45?

44 If so, his faith and hope is vain, for none is acceptable before God, save the meek and lowly in heart; and if a man be meek and lowly in heart, and confesses by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, he must needs have charity; for if he have not charity he is nothing; wherefore he must needs have charity.
 45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
These verses made me think back to a lesson we had with Mick this week. He talks a lot about wanting to change his heart through Christ, in other words obtaining charity. He was worried that maybe we "only believed in works." But these verse make it very clear that we do not. If we only become a do-gooder and we don't have charity, we "are nothing." We are a hollow image of Jesus Christ. But as we obtain charity, we reflect the light of Christ in our lives. I am working on some of the things listed in verse 45 that I may become a more converted and charitable disciple of Christ.
And this one was just the faith booster that I needed.
"33 And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me."
I also studied in 1 John, chapter 4. 
"Beloved, let us alove one another: for blove is of God; and every one that loveth is cborn of God, and knoweth God.
 He that loveth not aknoweth not God; for God is love.
 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might alive through him.
 10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he aloved us, and bsent his Son to be the cpropitiation for our sins.
 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
 12 aNo man hath bseen God at any time. If we love one another, cGod ddwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us."
I am running out of time so I will let that speak for itself. Oh, and just by the way, LaChelle has decided she wants to be baptized and has committed to march 15th! I love that woman! And I LOVE YOU! Have a great week!
Sister Mecate

Saturday, February 15, 2014

February 10, 2013

Dear Family,

We had zone conference this week. Woohoo! It was the spiritual reboost I needed. President Eaton taught us about teaching by the power of the Holy Ghost. What better way to do the Lord's work than through His power! What is the most important thing we can do as missionaries? Help others become connected with God. After that, truth makes itself known as the Spirit touches people's hearts. And guess who has told us she wants to be a member of our church....drum roll...LaChelle! She has recently been going through some awful trials, like having her pipes frozen for 2 days amongst other things. She told us she has never prayed so hard. The Spirit is working miracles in her life. It is amazing to see how when someone truly has a broken heart and a contrite spirit, the Lord can teach them. I also believe LaChelle has the "sincere heart" and "real intent" that Moroni talks about in Moroni 10:3-5 of the Book of Mormon. LaChelle's faith is growing and she can recognize answers to her prayers, because she has these qualities that qualify us for the presence of the Spirit. I want to strive more in my life to have these qualities so that I can be more receptive to the Spirit and closer to my Heavenly Father. I think back to the way I felt sitting in the celestial room in the temple and I want that feeling more often in my life. I want to feel and know that I am a daughter of God and that He loves me. The restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is the way we can have these feelings to the fullest extent on this earth. Oh how grateful I am for that blessing in my life, and oh, "how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth." (2 Nephi 2:8)
So this week was the celebration of winning the Super Bowl. There was a parade in Seattle where at least 700,000 people went to go crazy in celebration of the Sea Hawks' victory. This really made me think about how insane our country can be sometimes. Don't get me wrong, I like a good celebration and being excited about things! But I was just thinking maybe we could get a little more excited about good family relationships, or the returning of a wayward son, or going to church, or the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! Sister Nilssen in the Rock Creek ward kind of sparked some of these ideas and I quite liked them. I think as a society we could strive to be as excited about things as the Seattle-ites over here but about things of eternal significance.
Some other updates.

Riley and Devaughn will now not be baptized until April, because of family scheduling. We are bummed. But we still get to work with them and teach them so that's good. In our last lesson, Devaughn really wanted us to teach him about Satan, so we did! We talked about pre-mortal life and how Satan wanted to force everyone to choose the right and how that was not part of the Plan so he was cast out and now he doesn't have a body and is unhappy and wants us to be unhappy too. We turned it into fighting a battle here on earth, so we said that praying, reading our scriptures, and going to church are weapons we can use against Satan, and that that's how we follow Jesus Christ and fight on the good side. They understood it really well then! Riley really likes Star Wars so he says Satan is like Darth Maul! Teaching them is my favorite!
We found a lady this week named Rosie who lived in the Imperial Valley for 4 years! She is looking for a church where she is comfortable, and she really wants to teach her kids about Jesus Christ. But she won't let us teach her! I think she is a little wary of the stereotypes of Mormons. But soon she won't be! She told us about all the things that seem to be lining up. She realizes it wasn't coincidence that we showed up at her door. And we know it definitely wasn't! God's hand is in this work! We are going to visit her again this week with a member and help her feel more comfortable.
Transfers are coming up. Boo! I really hope Sister Kirschner and I get to stay another transfer together. That would be beyond amazing to stay in Maple Valley. I love being a missionary. I am so excited to see what else Heavenly Father has in store for these people. I hope you have a wonderful week. Find an opportunity to share your testimony with someone who could use it. It will not only strengthen them, but it will strengthen you too! I love you! May the Spirit always be with you!
Sister Mecate

Thursday, February 6, 2014

February 3, 2014

Dear Family,
Guess who I just met in the library-Austin Ball! He's got his visa and he will be in Mexico by February 17th. It's great to see a familiar face. I saw him the first day he got here too, but only for 5 seconds. Anyways, it's been an interesting week. First I must say that change is difficult, and seemingly unpleasant, but if it's change through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, it's always better. Sister Kirschner and I have been studying a talk called "The Fourth Missionary," by Elder Corbridge. The fourth missionary loves God and serves him with all of his heart, holding back nothing. Elder Corbridge says this is the only way to be happy on our missions, putting aside all other desires so that the following the will of God is our only desire I can testify that this is true. Even in life, if we are not willing to submit our will to God's there is a gap between where we are emotionally and where we could have real peace and eternal joy and happiness. My mission is wonderful, but maybe I find myself too often thinking of the things I could be doing that I think would make myself and others happier. But in reality if I am able to give God my heart and focus on His will that is the only way I will be happy and content with the work I am doing! It's a blessing that the Atonement is a continuous process, a merciful opportunity for us to become more like our Savior every moment of every day. It's just up to us to open the door, to allow Christ into our hearts so that he can change us. The work of Salvation goes nowhere without Him!
So, we are still working on John. We had an appt with him last Thursday night at his garage and we missed him! He went in just a couple minutes before we got there, he told us the next day. My heart was smashed to smitherines! He said he only went to be nice, but little does he know he is here for a reason, and it's to hear about the gospel! This man has been through so much, and the gospel has all the answers his soul is looking for. In fact, MANY people in Maple Valley are yearning for the gospel, and our job is to help them UNDERSTAND, which has been a daunting task. Understanding is such an interesting concept. Sometimes as human beings we hear things and even "learn" them, but it seems to take a while for us to actually understand what it means for us personally in the scheme of things. The most important thing we can rely on is the Spirit which will always testify to us of truth.
I am just really really grateful for the gospel. It is true. Yesterday I fasted for specific things and I was blessed with specific answers during church. Church really is amazing. The testimonies and experiences of others combined with the word of God is invaluable. I want to learn how to give my heart to God, and yesterday we ended up in a class we don't usually go to at church, and they talked about the difference in attitude of Cain and Enoch. We studied from Moses 5, 6, and 7. Cain loved Satan more than God, and Enoch learned what it meant to align his will with God's. Who do you think was happier, at peace, and guaranteed a place with God in eternity? We had dinner at the Thompson's home last night and they gave us a list called "The Road to True Discipleship" By Elder Busche. Wow. That is an amazing guide for our lives. You should look it up and read it. I know that through prayer and fasting we can be blessed with peace and answers to our questions.
We taught Riley, Devaughn, Katelyn, and Tristan and Colton this week all in the same lesson. Tristan and Colton are Riley's cousins who are going to be baptized as well. I am so happy we are teaching these children. Children truly are meek, humble, teachable. Colton must be one of the sweetest boys I've ever met, I can't even describe it. They are teaching me about faith and meekenss. Devaughn has had some amazing spiritual experiences in receiving comfort about his mom passing away. He is a spiritual giant. And Riley never ceases to amuse us. Whenever we ask him a question, he responds with "Be nice, be healthy, be happy, pray..." He just lists everything good that he knows. They are all so wonderful.
LaChelle wasn't able to come to church, but her faith is growing. She has faith in prayer! She wants the gospel knowledge. She is wonderful.

And of course, each ward, Lake Wilderness and Rock Creek, is amazing. I love the people I serve around. They inspire me so much. Sister Kirschner is also constantly teaching me about faith and serving God with our hearts. She is a fantastic missionary.
I love you all so much. Have a most wonderful week. And isn't it great to know that if our week isn't "most wonderful" we can pour out our hearts to God in prayer and we can be HAPPY?! Watch the Mormon Message "We Can Find Happiness." It's a good one.
Sister Mecate