Monday, June 30, 2014

June 30, 2014

Dear Family,
The first week of this new transfer was a week that will lead us to many new adventures. We saw the blessings of being obedient to the Elder Ballard's council for each missionary to talk to 10 new people every day. Last week we made it to 7 each a day, on average. This week we taught 17 lessons, 5 more than the week before! We were so excited to see the fruits of our labors, and we are inspired to revamp our efforts and talk with as many new people as we can. Missionary work is quite rewarding, but it can be heartbreaking to meet some of God's children who need Him so badly but who are so caught up by the world they feel they have no escape. Some see no need for an escape from the world. Others are ashamed or discouraged and aren't ready to face it. It's hard to see people choose to reject what would be the best thing in the world for them, living the gospel and accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior. I can't imagine how the Savior feels when we choose not to make changes (in other words repent) to come closer to Him when he has paid the ultimate price for us. This week I was reading in Alma 34. I feel a renewed drive and inspiration to teach people about the amazing gift of repentance! I love verse 32: "For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors." When I read this I started thinking about all the people in the world who are making no preparations to see God. They are going to be tormented when the day comes to face Him. They need someone to tell them! And that's where missionary work comes in. Doctrine and Covenants 88:81-"Behold I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor." I never want to forget the amazing gift I have been given, and I hope to never forget to share it! Alma 34 also got me thinking about my own preparations for meeting God. Just like I only have so much time on my mission to be a full time servant of the Lord, we each only have so much time on the earth to prepare to see our Heavenly Father again. I am pondering what more I can do to be prepared.
I did not forget that Mom's birthday was this week! In fact, Heavenly Father gave me a great blessing on her birthday. We went to help Sister Hopkins make jam, because she has a bad back. It was a fun adventure to make delicious raspberry jam with her. Before we left, she showed us her sewing room and embroidery machine. (She makes amazing quilts). It's filled with oodles of good stuff! I thought it was so fitting that I could spend the morning of Mom's birthday doing things that Mom likes to do! It was a tender mercy of the Lord. It made me think about how much I love my mom and all she has taught me, from making jam to saying my prayers! I also love Sister Hopkins. It is always so wonderful to go visit her. We are going to start teaching her husband soon, too!
We had some awesome lessons this week, most of them on people's doorsteps! We are getting good at those! We are teaching a young man who lives across the way from us in our apartment complex. He is awesome! He has the best questions and a sincere desire to learn. In the middle of teaching him about the Book of Mormon, we taught him a mini Plan of Salvation lesson. We were also teaching another young man in a different apartment complex. We just taught him on his steps outside. My favorite moment from our lessons with him was getting him to pray. He first thought I asked if I could say the prayer and he readily agreed. Then I explained we wanted him to pray, and he had to rethink it! But he did pray and it was great. That is one of my favorite things, helping people to pray who usually do not. The Spirit is always so strong. I love seeing people begin to become connected to their Heavenly Father. It always makes my day to help others pray. There are so many other people I want to tell you about, but I'm about out of time! Oh, but we also had some great service opportunities this week! We helped an old lady clean her house and we helped one of our members paint her basement. I love service!
Anyways, sorry this email is all over the place. I love you guys so much! Happy 4th of July! Watch some awesome fireworks for me!
Sister Mecate

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

June 24, 2014

Dear Family,
"The kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it." Matt 13:45-46. I was just watching the Bible Video called "The Kingdom of Heaven." It hit me as I listened to Christ's words, that the kingdom of Heaven is worth the sacrifice of anything else we could obtain in this life. It is worth more than our worldly comforts, our bad habits, and our wasteful luxuries. It is even worth more than the good things we do in order to have fun or entertainment. Any sacrifice we make in order to come closer to our Heavenly Father is worth it. And in the end it ends up not being a sacrifice at all, because we are all the more blessed for it. That is how I think about my mission. of course, I do feel as though I am making sacrifices. It's not an easy task at all to be a full time servant of the Lord. There are moments that are quite the opposite of "easy." But this is really no sacrifice at all in the eternal scheme of things. I came here to serve the Lord, but really He is doing me a service by allowing me to be here. I only have 6 months left, which is crazy! And I've been contemplating more what I want out of the rest of my mission. Yesterday, 2 missionaries from our zone went home, Elder McDonald and Sister Loyd. It was so hard to see them leave! It was a weird feeling to think that that day will come for me as well. And it made me think about, as I often do, what I want to think and feel at the end of my mission. And really the most important thing to me is to make sure I am right with my Heavenly Father, to make sure that I am connected to Him spiritually, and to never lose that connection! Just like Christ taught about the kingdom of Heaven, our connection to our Heavenly Father is worth more than all the world can offer. I am so grateful to have the tools I need in order to build that relationship: prayer, scriptures, my baptismal covenant!, the sacrament, the temple, and the list goes on and on.
This past Sunday we had a New Convert Fireside. It was AMAZING. We got to sing in the choir again. The Spirit was so strong as the recent converts bore their testimonies of the restored gospel and the priesthood authority. One man spoke of how he used to be a drug dealer and how he had been baptized multiple times in different churches, but that when he was baptized by the priesthood authority of God it was different. He could feel it counted. He had such a strong spirit about him! Another woman bore her testimony about the Book of Mormon and the role it played in her conversion process. She has a strong testimony of how we have a living prophet on the earth today. And one musical number that I loved was "Come Unto Christ." Sister Kirschner was a part of the group that sang in it, and there was even an elder who played the cello in it. You can watch a version of it
"Come unto Christ: 2014 Theme Song (4:48) | Come Unto Christ"
Also at the fireside, one of my dear friends from Maple Valley came-LaChelle! She came with Sister Peterson. It was amazing to see them! A part of my heart still lies in Maple Valley-I love that place! I am so excited for the day when I get to see the many people that I was able to meet there accept the gospel and be baptized and be happy from all these wonderful blessings!
Yesterday, we got to be in a trio companionship, because Sister Walker's companion, Sister Loyd went home. It was a most fantastic day. Sister Walker is one of the most bubbly, exciting, and absolutely wonderful sisters I have met. We spent the day in laughing fits. She really brings out my goofy side. Sister Walker just has an excitement for life! We had some awesome lessons yesterday, too. My favorite miracle of the day was when a less active young woman told us she loves it when we stop and that she would like us to come more! And we thought she hadn't wanted to talk to us! During that visit we sang "Lead Kindly Light" and the grandmother was in tears. Sister Walker brought an awesome harmony. There was just such a beautiful Spirit in their home as we visited with them. I am so excited to get to know them better and to teach them about the gospel. Sadly, I don't think Sister Walker and I will ever be companions, because we would always be in laughing fits, and we'd just want to shop for our entire P-day. But that's ok, we will be friends after our missions and we can shop and laugh all we want then! Also, I forgot to say that Sister Evans-Bottoms and I get to stay together another transfer in the White river Ward! We are so excited! Auburn is just a most glorious place to be! I love the people here, and we are expecting many miracles this transfer!
So time is up as usual. I love you!!!! Have a wonderful summer week!
Sister Mecate

Monday, June 16, 2014

June 16, 2014

Dear Family,
Sadly, we don't have a whole lot of time to email today, because we had choir practice today and we have a dinner appointment in 20 minutes! So I'm sorry if my email isn't very long this week. But it's been a great week. We talked with a lot of people! Every day I get more comfortable with awkward situations as we truly try to talk with everyone we see. In fact, some of the best moments come as we stop and talk with people who are riding by on their bikes or who are way across the street or who are out gardening or who are up on their balcony. I am learning to love talking to strangers! People's lives are very interesting!
This week we had a baptism in our ward! The elders, Elder Tibbits and Elder McDonald, were teaching a couple, Charlotte and Gary. Charlotte was already a member, but wasn't active for a while. And Gary wasn't a member. Gary and Charlotte got married this last week and then Gary was baptized on Saturday. The Spirit was so strong at his baptism! Anyone could tell that God approved of the decision that Gary was making to be baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ by someone who holds the priesthood authority of God. During the intermission, Elder Tibbits taught a short Restoration lesson and then showed the video "Sanctify Yourselves," a powerful video that teaches about priesthood power. You can watch it on! I have been reminded this week over and over of my testimony of the restored Priesthood on the earth. We taught a lesson about the priesthood to our investigator, Jim. I learned about the priesthood in Alma 13 in my studies this week. And in church on Sunday, we talked about the keys of the priesthood. And I just feel blessed as I reflect on how the priesthood has blessed my life. Especially since this last week was Father's day, I am so grateful to my wonderful dad who has worthily held the priesthood so that our family can have those specific blessing of priesthood power in our home. I am so grateful for the Restoration, for the prophet Joseph Smith who sacrificed so much to be an instrument in the Lord's hands, and for the Savior who sacrificed ALL so that we can be redeemed from our sins. I love the gospel, and I love the priesthood!
Also, we had an awesome lesson with a sweet Filipino couple this week. At the end of the lesson, the husband, Alex, prayed in Tagolog about the Restoration. The Spirit was so strong during his prayer. After the prayer, he and his wife said  they felt that Joseph Smith really was a prophet. And before we left, Alex said that we made their day. It was a wonderful experience!
I love you all so much. Have a glorious week! Oh and this is an awesome video for Father's Day on"Earthly Father, Heavenly Father." Oh and you can visit Anyways, have a good one!
Sister Mecate

Monday, June 9, 2014

June 9, 2014

Dear Family,
This morning I read a talk by Elder Christofferson called "The Resurrection of Jesus Christ." It was a powerful witness that he bore that Jesus Christ truly did live, died, and then lived again, that He truly is the Son of God. Then I watched a video that was up on the home page about the Saints and missionaries in Europe, where Elder Christofferson again bore that Same witness that Jesus Christ was Resurrected and that He is our Lord and Savior. I am so grateful to know that we have Special witnesses of Christ-the Apostles and our dear prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. Their testimonies strengthen me and help me keep the most important things in sight. I was thinking "what does the resurrection mean to me in my daily life?" Well, I know that We all will live again once we die. I know that without a doubt. And I know I can repent daily, be reborn spiritually, even for the little things that bring me down and farther away from Heavenly Father. Christ's sacrifice and resurrection help me every day!
This week we had 2 investigators to church and two less active women that haven't been to church for a long time. I was so happy inside for them! One lady we have been meeting with every week. I just adore her. This past week we taught her about the sacrament and how she can feel clean every week if she has a humble heart and a contrite spirit. It was the best thing to have her there with us at church! She's the one that quilts and sews and makes cakes. We found out she rides a motorcycle too. She's cool. This area has so many women that have just stopped coming to church for one reason or another, and we have been able to visit with them and get to know them. One other woman, I just love her. She kind of reminds me of me in 40 years. This week she was joking with us about if she had to escape from a natural disaster she would have to pack up her cats and run to higher ground! And she also considers herself a hippie. She is just so cute. We love her. She joined the church in her 50's and used to be very active, but something is keeping her away now. There is another woman we have been helping with her yard work. She is a tiny 83 year old Japanese lady. Her husband is sick and has always stayed inside when we come over. It is sad the trials they are having to go through. But I was inspired by her this week as she told us that she is never lonely, because the Lord is with her. She has such a positive attitude. We love going to work with her in the yard. She has a mini forest of flowers, grass, and trees everywhere! The last two weeks we have pulled A LOT of grass/weeds from the ground. It's been great fun! And this sister, though older and very tiny, is not afraid to use her weed wacker! She cracks us up. And when we are done, she always lets us pick strawberries from her garden to take home. I am so grateful Heavenly Father put us here to get to know these sweet sisters and to be able to serve them. I love them, and I hope we can help them to come to church and feel the Savior's love!

We've still been trying to talk with everyone we see! It can be intimidating at times, but we see miracles as we do it! (We also have some interesting stories to reminisce about later, because we run into some interesting situations!) There was one moment this week where the Lord really taught me a specific lesson this week. We felt prompted to go visit a sister who might have needed some service from us. She ended up not being home. We were both so disappointed, because we felt we really needed to go there. I felt a determination to find the reason why Heavenly Father wanted us there. So I really tried to talk with literally everyone as we headed back to our car. In one instance I hesitated-there was a young man up on the third floor, and I didn't really want to have an awkward moment, but I decided to shout up to him anyways. He was polite, but didn't want to hear a message about Jesus Christ. After our conversation with him, a young woman and her baby passed by us. We said hi, but she kept going. Not feeling that that was enough, I asked if we could share something with her. She said yes. We introduced ourselves, talked about our message, and ended up finding out that her best friend is LDS. We were able to set up an appointment to come back and teach her more. This experience helped me realize that if we are diligent in all situations and just give our best, the Lord will not let us fail. We will be able to find those He wants us to find.
Well, it's going to be another great week. I hope that each of you have a wonderful week as well!  Oh, here is the name of the video I watched "Unto All the World: Building On Ancient Roots Europe." And then I watched this one too "Despoina's Story: A Light to All Nations" So inspiring! I love you guys so much! Thanks for all you do to help keep me going. Try not to have too much fun this summer without me! ;)
Sister Mecate

Monday, June 2, 2014

June 2, 2014

Dear Family,
It's been quite an interesting week. If there is one thing I know, it's that my skin will be thicker when I return home! And hopefully my heart will be softer. I am grateful for the trials that have helped me to grow. One sister shared a spiritual thought this week in church about how adversity is meant to make us stronger. In the last conference, Elder Anderson gave a talk called "Spiritual Whirlwinds." Here is an excerpt from his talk: 
"In nature, trees that grow up in windy environment become stronger. As winds whip around young sapling,forces inside the tree do two things. First, they stimulate the roots to grow faster and spread farther. Second, theforces in the tree start creating cell structures that actually make the trunk and branches thicker and more flexibleto the pressure of the wind. These stronger roots and branches protect the tree from winds that are sure toreturn.4 
You are infinitely more precious to God than tree. You are His son or His daughter. He made your spirit strongand capable of being resilient to the whirlwinds of life. The whirlwinds in your youth, like the wind against ayoung tree, can increase your spiritual strength, preparing you for the years ahead."
So this week hasn't been awful or anything, but it was a bit rougher at times, and I know that Heavenly Father has made us so that disappointments and trials will not tear us down but make us stronger as we rely on the Savior. He is continually preparing us for the future and aware of us and the things we go through. 
Possibly my favorite miracle from this week: one of our investigators prayed after refusing for weeks to do so! His wife is a member, and we absolutely adore her. They have been going through a rough financial time, and so he decided he would turn to God, because there wasn't much else he could do. He is praying and hoping for a miracle, and we are praying that he will recognize the answer when it comes. One of the most important parts of missionary work is to help people become connected with their Heavenly Father through prayer. When that happens, the Spirit can come into their lives, and they can experience the peace of the gospel for themselves. I know that trials are not always taken away, but it kind of goes back to that principle I was just talking about. When we pray in our trials and when we rely on the Lord, we are made stronger for future experiences and we can gain a greater conviction that God loves us from the peace that He gives us! (John 14:27-Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth give I unto you...)
Another wonderful miracle: we have been teaching a less active woman and she is considering coming back to church after many, many years. She is such a neat woman. Just some of her talents include cake decorating, quilting, sewing, book writing. She is just awesome. She's having a hard time picking up the Book of Mormon and reading it, but we are getting there! She once had a beautiful testimony of the Savior that she shared with us, but she feels that she has lost it. I know reading the Book of Mormon will help her to come to know her Savior. I am so grateful for her humble attitude in wanting to come to know Him again. I just love her!
This week in my studies I was reading in Mosiah 24. Verses 13-15 talk about how the Lord eased the burdens which were put upon the backs of His people because of the covenant they had made. But what stood out to me most this time when I read the chapter was verse 21: "Yea, and in the valley of Alma they poured out their thanksto God because he had been merciful unto them, and eased their burdensand had delivered them out ofbondage; for they were in bondage, and none could deliver them except it were the Lord their God." This makes me think about how many of us are in some kind of bondage-we all are! We all sin and fall short of the glory of God. We face spiritual bondage, emotional bondage, physical bondage. Whatever it may be we all have weaknesses and trials to face. And we cannot be delivered from it without Jesus Christ, "the Lord [our] God." Sometimes I just wish I could make people understand! They can't be free without Him. What  wonderful message we have to share, that Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, lives. Here is a wonderful video about the Savior that I invite all of you to watch-I love it! All the bible videos are awesome!
I love you all so much. Have a great week!
Sister Mecate