Monday, April 28, 2014

April 28, 2014

Dear Family,
I cannot believe I forgot to say Happy Anniversary to Mom and Dad! In my defense, I knew it was going to be your anniversary, but when I sit down at the computer to sometimes I forget everything I am going to say! So anyways, Happy Anniversary! I love you so much! It sounds like you had a fun Spring break.
I have also had a great week. It wasn't what we were expecting, but we were blessed in many ways by Heavenly Father. That's what He likes to do-surprises us with what we weren't expecting! For example, we had more set appointments this week than we have ever had so far, and then almost all of them cancelled. So we had to have a bit more faith in order to find people to teach, and we did talk to lots of awesome people! And now hopefully we will be able to teach them this upcoming week. Yesterday, our mission held our first ever mission devotional. We had a missionary choir, which I sang in, and a testimonies from recent converts to the church, and some awesome videos from mixed in. It was a wonderful program about the Restoration of the gospel and how we can each receive answers from Heavenly Father through prayer. It was amazing to hear their testimonies of how the power of the priesthood has been restored. One man talked about how an academic understanding of religion is important, but knowing truth through how we feel is more important. Another man (who was just baptized into my ward by the elders!) talked about the role and mission of the Holy Ghost, and read Moroni 10:3-5, "...And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." At his baptism he bore a beautiful testimony on faith. He is an awesome individual. Another lady, who is just a hoot, talked about how the power of the priesthood blessed her leaders to be inspired with the perfect things to say for her, including the prophet during General Conference. Because of the power of the priesthood, baptism can cleanse us of our sins, and we can receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost. And another woman talked about her conversion story. She belonged to another faith. She had a daughter that struggled with drugs. The daughter went missing one day. While this mother was out looking for her daughter, the missionaries showed up on her doorstep and talked to her son. They ended up praying with him and asking that his sister would be found. Not longer than an hour later, his sister was found. The missionaries went back and taught them about the restored gospel. This woman bore her testimony of how, after being a member fro 4 months, she know that this is God's church, and that the priesthood, or God's power, has been restored to the earth. Once again, it was an awesome program!
We got to help our friend this week, Sister Hughes, organize her apartment. They just moved in a few months ago. Sister Hughes is one of the coolest people ever. She graduated from BYU, and is trying to join the Navy. We've been teaching her husband, Chad, some of the lessons. He's not a member. Sister Hughes is seriously so awesome. She has so much love and so much faith. She knows God hears her and will answer her prayers. You can just feel that she is close with God. I am so grateful to know her.
I have really loved being in anew area. It's nice to have a fresh start. And it's a neat experience to have to adjust to the way missionary work needs to be done in a certain area. Most of Auburn is completely different from Maple Valley, but I love both places! One thing that is the same between areas is that we must always be seeking to do Heavenly Father's will. The Holy Ghost will always tell us what we need to do if we will listen. Something I feel that I need to work on is to slow down and take the time to listen. So often, I want to go out and just get stuff done! It's hard for me to take the time to sit still and listen. I've been that way all my life-I just want to be busy doing lots of good things. But if we will take the time to go to the Lord and ask Him with sincerity of heart, He will tell us of the best things that we can be doing. He will lead us to people we need to meet, or to the job we have been seeking, or to the answer we need to find. He will lead us if we listen. It has been great working with Sister Evans-Bottoms. She has great strengths. She's been through a lot in her life. It's been a great learning experience working with someone who has already been trained and has a way of doing things. We are loving being in this area together. Oh, and I got to see Sister Kirschner and Sister Margaritis at the choir! I love those girls! Sister Kirschner and I had a great time talking about all the people in Maple Valley. Oh, and Riley and Devaughn, those little boys I taught there, are getting baptized on Saturday! So I will get to go see them. It will be great.
I love you all lots. You are in my prayers. Have a wonderful week! The greatest thing you can do to make it a wonderful week is to live the gospel! "But learn that he who doeth the works of arighteousness shall receive hisbrewardeven cpeace in this world, and deternal life in the world to come." D&C 59:23.
Sister Mecate

Monday, April 21, 2014

April 21, 2014

Dear Family,
I hope you all had a wonderful Easter! I really enjoyed mine. We had teriayki chicken with home made teriayki sauce-so good! We had dinner with the Ta'a Family. They are just awesome. Sister Ta'a is Tongan and Brother Ta'a is half Samoan and Half Irish and is a convert to the church. We definitely had a lot of good laughs at their home. We are also going to start teaching their son's girlfriend, Brittany! She is so nice and she is just trying to learn what she can about different churches. I told her about Dad's conversion story and I think that really peeked her interest. Church was wonderful as well. All of the talks were about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Brother Bolles talked a lot about how Jesus Christ is there for us over and over and over again. We can never overuse the Atonement. When we hit our lowest lows, Christ picks us up and we are able to keep going, and we realize after the fact that we were able to keep going because of him. It's very similar to the message that was shared in that video that I shared with you last week called "Because of Him." I hope you all were able to watch it! It's so good!
We had interviews with President Eaton this week. I just feel so blessed to be in this mission. He is great. I feel very inspired and motivated, especially with this week being Easter, to really make changes within myself. I've obviously been working on this my whole mission, as we all do throughout our lives, but I really do feel a new drive in my heart to let Christ in. And that requires a lot of faith. But that's what I tell people to do every day! I was thinking, as I was sitting in church listening to the talks, about the phrase "the grass isn't always greener on the other side." And in reality it isn't! I'm not sure why we as human beings make up this idea that we want something different than what we have, and if we get something different, then we want what we had before. At least, I've experienced this. Anyways, I just started thinking, I need to focus more on making the grass green where I stand! The grass may sometimes look greener on the other side, but I think more often than not, it's just a figment of our imaginations. Heavenly Father gives us certain things in our lives for a reason. He loves us, and He wants us to be happy. "Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy." (2 Nephi 2:25) "For behold, this is my work and my glory-to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." (Moses 1:39) I need to spend more time making the grass green where I stand. We can only find true peace when we are happy with what we have been given in life, especially concerning our own weaknesses and shortcomings. That's not to say that we should settle. We are to "come unto Christ, and be perfected in him" as we live the gospel, and that won't happen in a day. (Moroni 10:32) But we are commanded to "cheerfully do all things that lie in our power," trust in Christ and keep moving forward. (D&C 123:17) In metaphorical terms we are to get down on our hands and knees and nourish the grass where we stand, do our best to make it green, and then rely on the Lord for the rest! In doing this, I know that we find true happiness! Dad, you used to bug me about "Y," when I started complaining too much. I would say "why do we have to do this" or "why do I have to do that?" Just like that ungrateful attitude I had when I was little and had to do something I didn't want to, we can fall into the trap of feeling that way about life. But if we turn it around ask "why does Heavenly Father want me to go through this? What does He want me to learn?" we become much happier!
Things here in Auburn are going great! We meet wonderful (and very interesting people) every day. And I love all the members here. The gospel is just wonderful, I must say! Let us hope and pray that we might be able to share that light and happiness with others as we serve them and as we serve our Heavenly Father. I love you all so much! Have a wonderful week! Mother's day is just around the corner! Along my 22nd birthday-I'm gettin' old! Can't wait to see your faces!
Sister Mecate

Monday, April 14, 2014

April 14, 2014

Dear family,
Last week I talked about the atonement and Nephi's experience with it. I studied this in Elder Bednar's talk called, "The Enabling Power of the Atonement." So before I forget, you should check out that talk, especially with Easter coming up! Which leads me to my next point! The church has created a video about Jesus Christ called "Because of Him." Visit to watch it and read the story about Jesus' sacrifice for us. It's filled with the Spirit and is a wonderful reminder that Jesus Christ suffered and died for each one of us. He made it so that we could be saved from the storms of this life and from our own weaknesses, fears, and mistakes. Because He died and lived again, so can we. There is no greater knowledge than this, that we have a Savior, that we have a Heavenly Father who would not leave us to bear the burdens of this life alone, that we might have hope, and that we might be able to become free through the atonement of Jesus Christ. I feel privileged to be a representative of Jesus Christ at this time of year, similarly to how I felt around Christmas. I am grateful that we can know every day of the year of the principles of the gospel, that we can have faith in Christ and repent, we can receive strength from baptismal covenants, and rely on the Holy Ghost for peace, comfort, and guidance.
This week was great! We taught lots of lessons and met a lot of people. I am still getting used to all the people here! I just want to talk to them all, but that's not exactly possible. That's why I really need the guidance of the Spirit! By the way, I can't wait to tell you all about the some of the super awkward moments that I've had! I have a feeling I'm getting a little too comfortable with uncomfortable moments. I think I'm going to be super awkward when I get home! Anyways, this week we read the Book of Mormon with one of our investigators and his grandma. It was awesome how they both applied it to themselves. They made the connection with how Lehi and his family were similar to Jospeh and Mary when they were commanded to pack up and leave everything to follow God's plan for them. They also noticed how Nephi was similar to Joseph of Egypt in that he was young, yet he was made a ruler over his brothers because of his righteousness. Those were some eye opening observations to me! I love the Spirit of
the Book of Mormon and I love reading it with others. I always learn so much. We also got to meet one of the families who has 2 boys about to be baptized. The elders in our ward have been teaching them, and we are kind of going to be like on-the-side teachers, I guess. I love those boys! One is 9 and one is 7. They have some trouble concentrating so lessons are a bit crazy, but are so fun. They are just the sweetest and they are so excited to come to church.
The ward members are great. We are slowly, but surely, getting to know them. President Eaton's father and step-mother actually live in our ward! They are so great! Brother Eaton is making us birthday cards, because he apparently has some awesome cartooning skills. We went over to practice teaching them about the Restoration and the Spirit was so strong from all the comments they made. They are awesome people.
 All the families that we've visited are great. One lady in our ward is someone I've met before at zone conferences. She mends our clothes for us. She is so great! I can't remember her name, because it's pretty unique, but she is awesome. She told us how the missionaries taught her years ago and it took her 11 months to decide she wanted to join the church.
I hope you all have a wonderful Easter. I will be thinking about you guys! And even though I've been booted out of the Easter Egg Hunt, because I'm an "adult," I will miss the great fun that we always have! (I hope they still give you some candy, Brooke!) And I hope that we can all remember, amidst the fluffy bunnies, colorful eggs, and yummy candy, that our Savior, Jesus Christ, lives and that we each have the opportunity every day feel of His love in our lives. I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!
Sister Mecate

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

April 7, 2014

Dear Family,
I love change! (only sometimes though) And I love Auburn. I'm serving here in the White River ward. It is such a different place. I am so grateful for what I learned in Maple Valley-it is invaluable knowledge about the gospel of Jesus Christ that I can never replace. But I am so grateful for this opportunity to start over in a new and different area and to learn even more! One of the best parts is that there are people everywhere here, and most of them will at least take a few moments to talk to us. It is refreshing to be able to be so bold, and to not be afraid of what people think. There is so much diversity here as well. We meet all kinds of wonderful people everyday. I also really enjoy being companions with Sister Evans-Bottoms. I can already tell we will learn a lot from one another. We have a lot of the same struggles and ideas about things. We are excited to work together and learn how to be missionaries in Auburn, which is quite different than both of our last areas! By the way, we are white washing, which means we are both new to the area and have to start blind. But it's great! We love it!

What I am most grateful for is the power of prayer and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The Lord truly helps us become who He wants us to be when we turn to Him and rely on His Atonement. I can promise you that I am a different person than I was 10 months ago-more sure, more confident, and more driven. (I still have so so far to go!) But I know I am moving in the right direction. All because we have a merciful Savior who will help change us and who can bring a joy and light into out lives that we cannot on our own. Elder Bednar talked about the Atonement in his talk in conference, how it is not only for the redemption of our sins, but it is there to provide us strength and to help us become more Christ-like. One example of this in the scriptures is when Nephi was bound by his older brothers and left to die in the wilderness. 1 Nephi 7:16-18.

"16 And 
it came to pass that when I, Nephi, had spoken these words unto my brethren, they were angry with me. And it came to passthat they did lay their hands upon me, for behold, they were exceedingly wroth, and they did abind me with cords, for they sought totake away my life, that they might leave me in the wilderness to be devoured by wild beasts.
 17 But it came to pass that prayed unto the Lord, saying: Lord, according to my faith which is in thee, wilt thou deliver me fromthe hands of my brethren; yea, even give me astrength that may bburst these bands with which am bound.
 18 And it came to pass that when had said these words, behold, the bands were loosed from off my hands and feet, and stoodbefore my brethren, and spake unto them again."
Nephi understood the enabling power of the Atonement, which can strengthen us spiritually, physically, emotionally. Christ has suffered all that we have suffered, and He knows how to help us. Nephi did not pray for his circumstances to be changed, but because he understood the Atonement, he prayed that he might be changed to overcome his circumstances.
I loved Conference. It went by way too fast. One of my favorite talks had to have been President Uchtdorf's talk about Gratitude. I have been wondering how I can be more filled with happiness. I felt like his talk was written directly for me. If we become grateful to the Lord in all things, whether easy or hard,  we will be happy. Rather than being grateful for selective things, we should be grateful for all that the Lord sees fit to give us. I want to develop gratitude as a greater part of my character. All of the words we heard at conference were amazing! You cannot help but feel the Spirit as you listen to the words of those who are called by God to lead and guide His Church. I cannot wait until I can go back and re-study the talks. We are so blessed to have a prophet of God on the earth today.
I am so grateful to know that God lives and that He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to die and atone for our sins. I am grateful to know that we are never alone, and that we are God's children and He loves us infinitely. I am grateful to know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. I am grateful to know that families are forever. I love my family!!! I hope you have a wonderful week. Remember to rely on the Lord in all things. He knows what He's doing much more than we do!
Sister Mecate

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

April 1, 2014

Dear Family,
It happened. I've been transferred. Getting that call from the zone leaders on Sunday night was probably the worst moment of my mission so far. I have to tell you that the only thing that helped me get through it was the power of prayer and the Gift of the Holy Ghost. As I prayed Sunday night feeling much despair, I felt the gentle promptings of the Spirit bringing peace to my heart. I know all will be well. I LOVE MAPLE VALLEY. And I do not want to leave. But I am so so so grateful for what I have learned here and for all the people who had such a wonderful influence in my life. I just can't believe my time here is over! It was almost harder than leaving home. When I left to serve my mission I knew you would all be there in 18 months and our relationships would never fade. But I can't know for sure that these people that I have come to know and love will be a huge part of my life here on earth. I love them so much! But what I do know and have hope in is knowing that one day I can see them all again on the other side! The gospel is just great! (Plus, facebook! Haha!)
Well, enough of my sob story. We had an amazing miracle happen this week! We met a lady who used to be a member of the church in the parking lot of our apartment complex last week. She was walking her dog and we talked to her for a bit and she said she missed the community of the church. We invited her to the Women's Conference and she wanted to go! She came with us this last Saturday, along with Sister Bryant. Afterwards we gave her a tour of the church. Yesterday we stopped by her apartment to set up an appointment and she asked for a Book of Mormon. She said she was excited to get back into. Meeting her is possibly one of the most amazing miracles of my mission so far! She is so humble of heart and has such a wonderful Spirit about her. Meeting her is a testimony to me that the greatest blessings are found as we "endure to the end." Serving in Maple Valley for so long, I have some of the greatest miracles towards the end of my service here.
So yesterday was pretty stressful since I was trying to say goodbye to A LOT of people. But I have to tell you what made my day wonderful. We had a member lesson set up with a family where the parents are getting divorced. The dad is active in the church and the mom is not, but they both welcome us into their home. We taught about the Gospel of Jesus Christ: Faith in Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. As we taught and as they shared their experiences in living the gospel, we felt of the most sweet and peaceful Spirit in the room. This dear family is obviously going through a tremendous trial. They need the gospel. Sister Kirschner and I were able to witness Heavenly Father's love for them as the Spirit testified to us that the things we were talking about were true. It was the most peace that I felt all day, and I walked away from that lesson with a smile on my face and real joy in my heart, the kind of joy that can only be given to us by our Heavenly Father.
I love you all so much! I can't believe it's only 8 months til I see you again! Sometimes it's still surreal that I am even on a mission. But I am so grateful I am here. There was a girl I met before my mission that told me that her mission saved her life. And I understand what she meant now! Serving the Lord in this way is saving my life in a way I have never felt before. I can promise you I do not enjoy every moment of my mission-it can be hard-that's life! But I can promise you that I have no regrets in serving and that the gospel of Jesus Christ is real. Our Savior lives, and He loves us tremendously. Have a great week and enjoy listening to the words of a living prophet of God this weekend during General Conference!
Oh, and please pray for me that I might start liking change. ha! :)

Sister Mecate