Tuesday, May 27, 2014

May 27, 2014

Dear Family,
It has been one great week. It was kick started with an amazing zone conference on Tuesday. I was sitting in zone confernce thinking about how I used to go to EFY for a week to learn about the gospel and have a good time, and Mom and Dad paid so I could go have a great week. As a missionary, this is my life! I get to learn about the gospel every day and live it! And President Eaton is a top quality teacher. We had an amazing discussion about the Atonement at the beginning of the conference. There were about 50 missionaries in one room, all studying and sharing about the Atonement and what we had learned about Christ on our missions. It was a powerful discussion. One scripture that was shared that I loved was D&C 3:9-10
Behold, thou art Joseph, and thou wast chosen to do the work of the Lord, but because of transgression, if thou art not aware thou wilt fall.
 10 But remember, God is merciful; therefore, repent of that which thou hast done which is contrary to the commandment which I gave you, and thou art still chosen, and art again called to the work;"
The Lord tells Joseph that he has made mistakes, but because of the Atonement of Christ, Joseph can repent, and he is still a chosen servant. Each of us are the same. We will not be called to be prophets of God, but we each have a role to play in God's kingdom, whether it be as a teacher, leader, missionary, friend, or a mother! And we are not perfect and we make mistakes, but we can always repent. We never lose value in the eyes of the Lord. I love the talk by Brad Wilcox "His Grace is Sufficient." He talks about how Christ's grace doesn't "make up" the difference. It makes ALL the difference. You can find it on lds.org if you just put it in the search box.
The rest of the week was great as well. We are working on talking with everyone we see. We find miracles when we do! But sometimes it can be discouraging, when people don't want to talk with us, appointments fall through, or people just aren't as committed or honest as they seem. But it's all in good fun. We "just keep swimming!" as Dory did. Sister Evans-Bottoms quoted that this week to a lady who was recently baptized. I think that's fitting. But anyways, we had a lesson with a man this week who wasn't at a previous appointment. We saw him walking down the road one day, parked and jumped out of our car, and talked with him. He said we caught him and that he would meet with us again! He seems to be holding a lot of weight about the things of his past. He believes in Christ, but is having a hard time allowing Christ to help him. He lives alone, and he is on oxygen. We taught him on his doorstep about the Restoration. We invited him to church, and he said we would come, but we weren't sure if he would. It got to be Sunday, we were sitting in church, and Sister Evans-Bottoms tapped me and told me to look over, and he came! He had to leave early, but he told us to stop by on Tuesday! It was so exciting! It's the best thing ever when we try so hard to help them understand how Christ can help them, and then to see them enjoying church, or reading the Book of Mormon, or praying with us, especially when they are going through a lot of trials. Best feeling ever. The gospel is just so awesome!
We had two awesome opportunities to serve this week! One, we helped move a family into their new apartment. It was so fun to get to know them and help them and to see their burden be made just a little lighter. We love to help people do physical labor, but we don't get a lot of opportunities to do it. I think people don't realize we have pants we can change into and that we don't always wear skirts! Something that touched me was that the oldest daughter in this family thanked us for listening to her talk about her art hobby as we took a short break in the moving process. It feels good to know that we can help others just by listening to them. Sometimes that means the most to people! Another opportunity we had to serve came from the downstairs neighbor of one of our investigators. This lady's name is Lori. She has an amazing story, and I feel ok sharing it, because she says she likes to share it to help others. The reason we were helping her was because she just had knee surgery! it was funny how we met her too. We were just coming out of a lesson with our investigator and this dog came running at us, barking. Lori told us he was harmless and then we started talking with her and found out about her knee and we offered to come help her with stuff. She readily accepted! It was awesome how Heavenly Father placed her in our path. We came over the next day and helped her clean a little bit, and she shared her story with us. She is 31 but has been through enough stuff for 3 lifetimes! She suffered different kinds of abuse when she was young. She left home at the age of 14 and was homeless for a while. She used some pretty awful drugs in the process. And she was atheist the whole time. She had had some pretty bad experiences with church. Then she started to wonder what she was missing that her friends of faith had that she did not have. She said the last thing she turned to was God. But when she did she really turned! She has such strong faith now in Christ and has become a completely different person. Her face was glowing with happiness even though she had been through so many awful things. She truly has become a "new creature in Christ," she told us. (2 Cor. 5:17) She told us she has many atheist friends that are so upset with her change, but that she keeps telling them of Christ. I shared with her the story of Abinadi in the Book of Mormon, and how he was preaching to people who wanted to kill him! But he kept preaching, because he knew that's what Heavenly Father wanted and needed him to do. And because of that Alma heard the message about Christ and went on to teach and baptize hundreds. She appreciated that story. She said that her door is open for us if we ever need anything. She is such an awesome lady! By the way Mosiah 12-18 might just be my new favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon. They are so awesome! They tell Abinadi's and Alma's stories. And they are all about the coming of Christ!
Well, I've got to go! Love you all sooooo much!
Sister Mecate

Monday, May 19, 2014

May 19, 2014

Dear Family,
Yes, I made it to 22! My life is complete! Haha, I'm kidding. I'm excited for all that I will keep learning as I get older. It's a weird feeling to have a birthday on a mission, because every day is very similar. It feels just like any other day (besides all the wonderful birthday wishes I have received!) This birthday will be wonderful, because I'm sure Heavenly Father has some miracles to share with Sister Evans-Bottoms and I as we open our mouths to share the gospel. He always does. I must make one complaint before I begin the rest of my email. I have had to lower my standards and throw away things that could have been recycled! I almost died of the horror! Washington has failed me. In Maple Valley we had recycling dumpsters. But here in Auburn, we only have a trash compacter, which I guess is better than nothing. I was just horrified as I watched all of our plastic and cardboard items go into a trash dumpster. What has this world come to?! Anyways, it's ok, I moved on. I will just have to live with it. Bringing souls unto Christ is more important than my personal quest to save the earth. But I think there are some connections we can make between the two. The earth has really become polluted as mankind as progressed in knowledge and technology. We have to make a constant effort to keep the earth clean with all the awful things we are putting in it. There are many programs formed to remove pollution that has already contaminated the earth. Similarly, the earth is spiritually polluted in many ways. Many of God's commandments have been forgotten. As we live the gospel, we can keep ourselves clean from spiritual pollution. There are many programs we have that provide us with the knowledge and protection we need to remove pollution or to keep it from ever entering our homes-seminary, church, mutual, family scripture study and prayer, family home evening, general conference. The Lord has provided us with endless sources in which we can find spiritual strength, protection, and peace in a world that is doing everything possible to take those things away. Not to mention, we have a living prophet of God on the earth! who gives us counsel and guidance from the Lord himself so that we can obtain the greatest blessings of this life, and we can return to live with our Heavenly Father again. "And hehath said that: Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land; but inasmuch as yewill not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence." 2 Nephi 1:20. We must never forget the commandments of God, because they are what will bring us the greatest joy and happiness. So many of God's children have! That is why we must share these things with them. And the Lord will help us as we do.
This week has been filled with miracles. We have been striving to talk with everyone that we see about the gospel. One thing that we talked about in district meeting was sharing our testimonies. As we implemented that counsel this week, we not only had better conversations with others, I myself felt my testimony strengthen as I shared it!
We had a lesson with a young man who lives with is brother and sister. He works for a concrete company at the age of 19-lots of hard labor! We were able to teach him and his brother the restoration. The Spirit was so strong! His brother said he had spent time in jail before and that he felt good talking about God and Jesus Christ. It felt peaceful. When we asked the young man to pray and ask whether Joseph Smith was a prophet, he humbly said he would. As he started to pray, he got a little nervous and told us about how he always got the chills (in a good way!) when he prayed. We told him that was the Spirit! We invited him to be baptized after he prayed and he said it was something he needed to talk to his mom about, but he gladly invited us back to his home, and was so excited to read the Book of Mormon. When we got up to leave after that lesson, none of us wanted to go, because the Spirit was so strong. When you are so happy in a moment, and you know that God's Spirit is with you, it's hard to leave. I love when we are able to teach those who are humble and sincere in heart. They teach me so much.
Later that week, we met a lady who has been taught by missionaries before. She gladly invited us back to her home. When we went the next day, she wanted to know what her purpose was, so we started teaching the plan of salvation. She said, "Yes, I already know this! I just want to know how I can be a part of God's church!" So we went ahead and set a baptismal date for her! She is so sweet and meek and wants to serve God. We left the Plan of Salvation pamphlet with her, and when we came back she told us she read it and she thought it was written just for her! We have been praying to find those who are prepared to hear about the gospel, and Heavenly Father hears our prayers. He is leading us to them. Because He loves us, He will always hear and answer His children's prayers.
I love you all so much. Thank you for the birthday wishes. Have a great day at home for me, and I will have a great day here!
Sister Mecate

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

May 13, 2014

Dear Family,
I am so happy I got to see your beautiful faces! I must say, nobody's personality has changed one bit! It's fantastic! You guys keep me going. Thanks for all that you do!
I was thinking about what Dad said, that every Sunday was the best thing of the year. I would have to agree. Sunday's are the best. When we go to church and take the sacrament, we get to start over again. We renew our covenants with God, and we receive power from on high to continue on in life and do better the next week than we did the last. We get to be surrounded by people who also go through struggles and have hectic lives, but who believe in Jesus Christ as well. And what I love is that God always seems to answer my prayers through those at church who speak or teach. Sometimes I even receive answers to prayers I have not yet prayed, God knows me so well! And this past Sunday was wonderful, because we got to celebrate the wonderful gift of motherhood and all that our moms have done for us. Our Bishop gave an especially touching talk about the roles that women play in life. He talked about how women should be treated with the greatest respect, and how we have certain spiritual gifts that men do not because of our motherly nature. Women and men were created to work together in marriage to raise God's Spirit children! I am so grateful for families. "The family is ordained of God." (The Family: A proclamation to the world) Families are central to God's plan. I am so grateful to know that because of the Savior, we can be with our families forever, and especially because I get to be with MY wonderful family!
This week we have seen miracles as we have talked with lots of people! I think I keep saying this every week, but it's true! We met one lady this week who has more Mormon friends than not. She said she is more spiritual than religious, but she has a wayward son that she is struggling to help. We testified of how our message can help her. We told her of Alma who prayed for his wayward son, Alma the younger, in the Book of Mormon. She wanted a copy of her own so she could read the story! We are going back to teach her whole family next week. We also have met very many interesting people as we have talked with everyone. Life is never boring here in Auburn!
Oh, I cannot believe I forgot to tell you this, but Riley and Devaughn, the two little boys we were teaching in Maple Valley, got baptized last week! I will have to get some pictures printed out and send them! Also, their cousins Trsistan and Colton were baptized. I was allowed to drive back to Maple Valley for the baptism. There was a special Spirit there. I was especially touched when Riley was baptized, because I didn't know if it would be scary for him to go under the water. But he did, and he seemed very happy! Then they were all confirmed and given the Gift of the Holy Ghost there. It was a blessing to get to go back and be there that day!
I'm out of time! I love you guys!
Sister Mecate

Saturday, May 10, 2014

May 5, 2014

Dear Family,
It's been one great week. First of all, the sun came out! Second of all, that means people come out! We talked to so many people this week, and we saw so many miracles from it. We talked to one guy about the apostasy, the restoration, and about God's mercy. His wife said she definitely wasn't interested in talking about religion. Before we could ask if we could come back to talk with him, he said,"Well, ya, I'm definitely interested. I'm off of work Tuesday. Would that work?" I've never had anyone invite us back before we could ask! It was awesome! And he is an awesome guy! We will have to talk with his wife to get her to feel of the Spirit! And then yesterday we talked to a couple about the restoration. They were outside watching their nieces, nephew, and daughter. After we talked with them for a while, the guy told us he was "baptized Mormon" when he was younger, but that he wanted to be re-baptized now that he knew more what it was about. We didn't explain that he wouldn't need to be re-baptized, but we will later. He's been through a lot in his life and he recognizes the need to make good choices. He and his girlfriend also want to be married. And they want to come to church with is on Sunday. We are going back this week to teach them more. It is such a neat feeling to talk with so many people and to meet those who are seeking light. And to see how God leads and guides His children. I know that he is truly aware of each of us!
Yesterday, taking the sacrament was more powerful than it has been other weeks. I really felt the need to have a Savior for all the world. I was really seeking the comfort and healing balm of the Atonement, because of some of the sad things that I've seen happen in the world. There are many, many, bad things that happen in this world. And many people suffer and go through things they would never desire or choose for themselves. It is heart-braking. But God does not desire for His children to suffer. If people don't know about Jesus Christ, they might not understand that. Everyone needs Him-they need a Savior. I have probably quoted this from Preach My Gospel before, but I love it so I will again. "All that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ." That means that whatever aches we carry in our hearts or whatever pains we suffer physically, we can be healed through the Atonement, no matter how great the sin, how difficult the trial, or how trying the offense. It is all covered by His Atonement. And I am so grateful to be able to, every week, partake of the sacrament, be cleansed of my sins, and to feel the love of the Savior as I renew my covenants with Heavenly Father. And every moment of every day we have the opportunity to find peace through prayer. It's an open invitation. It's never God that draws away from us-we draw away from Him.We live in a fallen world. But we can get glimpses of heaven as we live the gospel, continually striving to come closer to the Savior each day. This is what everyone needs to know! "Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto theinhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, asave itbe through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who blayeth down his life according to theflesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the cresurrection of the dead,being the first that should rise." 2 Nephi 2:8
Oh, I almost forgot. We had one of the best Restoration lessons of my whole mission this week, all because of one little boy's faith. Some of the Hermanas that used to be in the White River Ward referred us to a lady that they taught once. We went and taught her and her 4 kids about the Restoration. One of her sons was so into it. He prayed at the end and asked Heavenly Father, very specifically, if He really appeared to Joseph Smith, and if what we taught was true. It was the sweetest prayer, how he prayed with so much faith! And after the prayer, he was just beaming! He told us he felt peaceful, and we told him that was the Spirit! He said he believes it's true. He asked for a Book of Mormon before we could offer him one. The only problem is his step mom is really controlling, so we hope she lets him keep learning! Imagine if we all prayed with the faith of children.
 "Doctrine and Covenants section 8 teaches that revelation is knowledge—“knowledge of whatsoever things [we]ask in faith, with an honest heart, believing that [we] shall receive.”7 
And the Lord tells us how we will receive this revelation. He says, “I will tell you in your mind and in your heart,by the Holy Ghostwhich shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.”8 
Thus we are taught that revelation can be obtained by asking in faith, with an honest heart, and believing we willreceive.
But notice that the Lord made it very clear when He warned, “Remember that without faith you can do nothing;therefore ask in faith.”9 Faith requires work, such as studying it out in your mind, then asking in prayer if it isright." (Elder Aidukaitis-"If Ye Lack Wisdom.")
This little boy is such an inspiration to me with his faith. I hope we can keep teaching him! Oh, and he also thanked us more than once for coming-and he's 10!
Well, time is about up. I love you all! I am so excited to talk to you guys on Sunday! If you ever have any questions for me, let me know!
Sister Mecate