Tuesday, March 25, 2014

March 24, 2014

Dear Family,
Oh my, it's been an interesting week! First let me just tell you about how excited I am for the changes being made in our stake! No tracting and more member work is so exciting! Both Bishop Pike and Brother Hinton and Bishop Fuller and Brother Nelson are so excited to get us into the members' homes. It's going to be a more pleasant experience all around-not as many doors slammed in our faces and more time spent with the members-love it!
So, on Saturday we had an opportunity to spend some time with a wonderful Samoan family! We saw them outside earlier in the day and talked with them and they invited us back to eat later in the day. They sure know how to BBQ! We spent an hour and a half eating awesome food and trying to talk to as many people about the gospel as we could! It was a great combo. Samoans really seem to like to laugh and cheer and at one point one of the aunts started cheering for having missionaries at the party. They are wonderful people! We quite enjoyed our time there. Also, one of our friends from the laundromat where LaChelle works was there and we were able to talk with her. We haven't seen her in a long time, but she is still looking for a church. We invited her to ours, of course! We hope to teach her soon. What I might have once said was a coincidence I now can promise is evidence of the Lord's hand in our lives. He is so aware of each of His children and He will lead us to where we need to be.
In church yesterday Brother Brady gave an absolute wonderful talk on the Atonement of Jesus Christ and not allowing discouragement to weaken our faith. Satan uses whatever he can to weaken us, discouragement being one of his greatest tools, I think. What stood out to me most in his talk was a poem he shared at the end. It was about a little boy who was running a race. He fell once in the race and felt awful. He saw his dad's face in the crowd, and then got up and kept going. He fell again and the same thing happened. He fell a third time and he really felt like a loser, but then he remembered his dad's face and he wanted to please him so he got up once more. Even though he came in last place, the crowd cheered loudly for him. He met his dad at the end and felt like he had failed him, but his dad taught him that winning didn't mean finishing first. The last line of the poem says "All we have to do to win is rise each time you fall." The same goes for us and our Heavenly Father. He doesn't measure our success by how fast we run or how successful we are by man's standards. He only cares that we get up each time we fall, no matter how many times we do. As we exercise our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ we will have a desire to repent, or to get up each time we fall in the race of life. And at the finish line that's what Heavenly Father will count. We must not become discouraged with our imperfections or with the imperfections of others. As long as our focus is on the Savior, we will be happy. He will help us, and we will see miracles. I want my focus to be on being accepted of the Lord, not by man. Although, I believe that when our focus is on the Lord, people tend to be drawn to that. It kind of reminds me of the story "You are Special." Do you remember what Panchanelo felt at the beginning of the story as he sought to obtain stars from the other wooden people? He was always unhappy and he never felt like he was special. But when he began to care about what Eli the carpenter thought, a new light and appreciation for himself came into his life. He began to understand who he was, and that made all the difference. Do not forget who you are and how much your Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love you! I must remember this too! And then imagine the joy we will have when we are able to share this knowledge with others. Nothing can compare!
Conference is coming up! It's like a missionary's equivalent to a movie marathon! 10 hours of listening to the words of the prophet, apostles, and church leaders is 10 hours of bliss. I am reminded every day of how blessed we are to have a prophet on the earth who God's mouthpiece to us. If we heed his counsel, President Thomas S. Monson, we will not go astray.
I know Jesus is the Christ and this is His church. And I know that I love my family thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis much! Have a wonderful week. And pray about who you can invite to watch conference. Heavenly Father puts us in people's lives for a reason! :)

Sister Mecate

Monday, March 17, 2014

March 17, 2013

Dear Family,
Guess what, I spoke in church yesterday, and it was great! I got to talk about how members of the church helped Mom and Dad in their conversion to the gospel. It was easy for me to talk about it, because it is so important to me! Taking time to ponder how all of those people helped you made me realize how grateful I am for them! Their efforts in helping you come unto Christ is leading to generations of people who will get to have these same blessings. I shared D&C 18:15-16 that says, "And if it so be that you shouldlabor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one asoul unto me, how great shall be your joy withhim in the kingdom of my Father!
 16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the akingdom of my Father, how great will beyour bjoy if you should bring many csouls unto me!" We each can have a greater influence than we realize as we exercise our faith in sharing the gospel. Our joy will be great if we bring just one soul unto Christ, but that one soul may lead to many, many more who will get to hear about the gospel. Now, as active members of the church, you have already influenced many, including your four lovely daughters, in helping them come unto Christ. Isn't the gospel great!?
This week I really tried to listen to our investigators and to the Spirit. The Spirit is the key! I just read this morning in Preach My Gospel-"The Spirit is the most important single element in this work. With the Spirit magnifying your call, you can do miracles for the Lord in the mission field. Without the Spirit you will never succeed regardless of your talent and ability." -Ezra Taft Benson. It is always a learning process, trying to listen to the Spirit. I'm hoping the "slow and steady wins the race" idea applies here. ;) But here is one of the blessings I've seen from that this week. One instance was during a lesson with the daughter of a less active member. She has not been baptized, but has heard a lot about the church. The first half of the lesson she kind of wanted to tell us all the reasons why she disagreed with us, not in a contentious way, but without an open heart. I felt impressed to talk to her about some of the spiritual gifts that I thought she had, and almost right after that small conversation she opened up and talked about things in her life that we could apply to the gospel and then helped her recognize some of the faith she has. By the end of the lesson she was asking us if we could come back and teach her more about the Book of Mormon. I am so grateful for the promptings of the Spirit!
This leads me to the next thing I've seen this week-the power of the Book of Mormon! The Book of Mormon invites the Spirit like no other during lessons! We can receive answers to questions as we read it with people as well as just peace. When we feel peace from the Spirit we can know that what we are saying or reading or discussing is true. We found one of our investigators absorbed in the Book of Mormon when we went to visit her at the laundromat where she works. It was a beautiful moment to see her through the window engrossed in the Book, searching for the truth and conviction that she wants. And I know she will find it as she searches and ponders and prays with all her heart, just like we all can.
I love you family! Have a great week! If you want some more light in your day, bear your testimony! I promise it works!
Sister Mecate

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

March 10, 2013

Dear Family,
Why do we do the things we do? Why do we go to church, or pray, or read from the scriptures? Why do we choose to do a kind deed or to hold our tongue when we could say an unkind word? And why do we repent and decide to do better when we maybe aren't so kind or good on any given day? I believe it's because of our faith-faith in Jesus Christ, faith in the power of His Atonement, faith that our Heavenly Father will keep His promises to us as we strive to keep the commandments and live as our Savior lived. Please, never ever ever give up on faith. I see on a daily basis what happens to mankind as they lose faith in their Savior Jesus Christ, and so do you! We all can see what happens as the world continually loses faith in God and moves toward a more carnal and unhappy state. I am so grateful for the hope that we have in Jesus Christ. This knowledge gives me strength to keep moving forward every day, to keep beliveng that I can be better than I am, and to believe that same thing for others. And I want to specifically point out that the adversary (Satan), does not want us to have that faith, especially not in the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We know that moments before faithful young Joseph prayed to know which church to join and was told to join none of them, that none of them contained the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the adversary tried to stop Him from praying, attacking his faith. I have seen how the adversary is doing that today in the hearts of God's children and it is discouraging! But I want to promise you that I know the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ really happened, that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that the Book of Mormon is true. How do I know this? Not by my own understanding-my mortal brain doesn't have the capacity! But by the Spirit! What a marvelous gift our Heavenly Father has given us! 

1Cor. 2: 9 "But as it is written  Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which Godhath bprepared for them that love him.
 10 But God hath arevealed them unto us by his bSpiritfor the cSpirit dsearcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
 11 For what man aknoweth the things of man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God bknoweth no man,cbut the dSpirit of God.
 12 Now we have received, not the aspirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freelygiven to us of God.
 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s awisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost bteachethcomparingspiritual things with spiritual.
 14 But the anatural man breceiveth not the things of the cSpirit of God: for they are dfoolishness unto him: neither can heeknow them, because they are fspiritually gdiscerned.
 15 But he that is spiritual ajudgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may ainstruct him? But we have the bmind of Christ."
I have a testimony of this, that we come to know things of God through the Spirit of God! We cannot logically prove He is there or gain a testimony of His love for us. The Spirit, which teaches us through feelings of goodness, peace, and love, will tell us what is true. Now if we can just help people to understand this wonderful gift, I believe that is the key!
This week has been really good. We had the most fantastic stake conference this weekend. The Saturday Evening Session was all on the Hastening of the Work of Salvation. Probably one of my favorite talks was from president Millard-that man is a power house speaker. He talked about how we covenanted before we came to earth to serve our Heavenly Father and to be a part of His work in bringing others unto Christ in this life! He bore a strong and simple testimony of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, as did his son the next day in conference. We also heard from Elder Call, a member of the Seventy, Saturday night and Sunday morning. He spoke of how we cannot progress in this life and come closer to Christ without trial and opposition. How do we stand strong during the most trying of times? We make sure that we have oil in our lamps, like in the story of the 10 virgins. If we prepare now by doing the simple daily things of scripture study, prayer, and attending church, we will be blessed with a heavenly peace during times of opposition if we turn to the Savior. I love the scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants 59: 23 "But learn that he who doeth the worksof arighteousness shall receive his brewardeven cpeace in this world, and deternal life in the world to come."
The simplicity of the gospel and of God's promises to us makes the gospel beautiful!
And our Stake President, President Rodarde left the stake with a 2-part invitation to:1-Get your keys, get in your car, and go visit someone who needs help coming back to Christ, and 2- Invite the missionaries into your home and work together in hastening the work. The work is real! And God is really hastening it! Oh, and our mission isn't tracting anymore! Crazy! We will now be doing more member visits and teaching them how we can share the gospel. Heavenly Father really loves His children-that is so apparent to me. 
Well, I can't think of what else to say today, other than I miss you all and love you! These next 9 months are going to fly by before I know it! I cannot believe I'm over half way done! I still feel like a newb! Anyways, I hope all is going well!
Sister Mecate

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

March 3, 2014

Dear Family,
Washington weather is such a tease. We had one beautiful day this week, and then back to the dreary, rainy, cold weather. But all is well nonetheless! The gospel makes up for the gloominess! So we had a most fantastic lesson with one of our investigators this week, focused on the Book of Mormon. Wow, that book is true, I'm telling you. The spirit that the Book of Mormon invites is amazing. And when the Spirit of God is present, we feel the love of God and we begin to gain faith in His Son Jesus Christ. And we have hope that all will be well and that we are not alone in this vast, sometimes unwelcoming, world. If you need hope, read the Book of Mormon, and I promise that the light and hope of God's love will flood into your life. And it doesn't always come so easily, but if we search diligently and with real faith, we will find the peace we are looking for. I had a district leader once who said, "When we know the Book of Mormon is true, so many other things just become true to us." That is a testimony to me that learning truth from God is a spiritual matter that we don't always understand. We can't logically make sense of everything, because we are human and can't comprehend all that God is or does! Who would have guessed! but if we trust the Spirit, if we trust that there is something greater than us out there, then it all begins to align and we find the peace and understanding we are looking for. In one of our meetings yesterday, we discussed some of the struggles that Satan (the adversary) attacks us with to make us doubt or fall away from trusting in Heavenly Father and being at peace. If there is one thing he doesn't want, it's for us to know the truth and to be happy. So he finds ways to introduce doubt. If we fall into the trap of gaining a logical testimony, we won't make it very far when the winds and storms of life hit us. But if we trust in the soft, sweet whisperings of the Spirit, we will never fail. We must remember that God speaks to us in a different way than we might expect. In Isaiah 55:8-9 it says, "For my athoughts are not byour thoughts, neither are your cways mydways, saith the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my aways bhigher than your ways, and my cthoughts than your thoughts." The Lord works differently than man does. We need not "trust in the arm of flesh," (D&C1:19), but trust in the Lord. Trust in the things you have felt in your heart. Work hard to strengthen your testimony through the Spirit. It will carry you through more than any worldly or "logical" knowledge could. Preach My Gospel says, "No one can know of spiritual truths without prayer." If we pray, the answers from the Spirit will come, and we will be happy! The more I teach people here, the greater my testimony of these principles grow. They are true, and I am committing myself to remember these things throughout my life!
I am surrounded by some great missionaries. Right now my district is-Elder Dymock (district leader). He is one of the most energetic and enthusiastic missionaries I have ever met. Our district meetings are filled with excitement and laughter, that's for sure.His companion, Elder Peay, has the funniest humor, and such a tender heart. He reminds me of my friend, Ridge! Same conniving ideas, too! Then there is Elder Smith. He goes home at the end of this transfer- he is so humble and so awesome! I want to be more patient and humble like Elder Smith. His companion is Elder Pennington-what a crack up. He is too is humble and teachable and so willing to work, but just a tad crazier than Elder Smith. Then there is Elder Bagley, who actually came out with me and I couldn't remember him. I felt so bad! But he is great, very knowledgeable and a good balance for his companion, Elder Barg. Elder Barg is a convert and loves to talk. He's from Hick town Idaho, and he's serving in Hick town Washington so he loves it. And then there is me and Sister Kirschner. We are pretty cool as you know, so I won't say much else :) but I will say that I love Sister Kirschner, and she is crazy ina good way!
Sorry my email is shorter this week. I love you all sooooo much! Share your testimony with someone this week! It'll be great! 
Sister Mecate