Monday, August 10, 2015

I Seriously Love Them

Hi everyone!

Today, I wanted to talk about this AMAZING family we're teaching! This story starts a while back when we were inputting all the information for the area books. I don't know if you remember when I talked about how we had three area books that we had to manually put into the system? So, as we were doing that, we marked certain people from past records of the area book that we felt we should visit again. On this marked list, we included this family: the mom is named Chayo, the dad is Carlos, and their two kids, Bruce and Jasmine. The list was kind of long and so we've just been working our way through it slowly as we've had time.

About a month ago, right when Hermana Stevens arrived, we set up an appointment to go see Gabby Gomez, our recent convert who was baptized in June. As we were driving over there, I just had the strongest impression that Gabby had someone for us to teach, that she knew someone who needed to hear the gospel right now. When we got there, a woman answered the door and she looked really surprised to see us. She immediately walked away from the door and said, "Tia, the elders are here to see you." and we were thinking,"Uhhh, okay". So we walked in and started talking to all of them. The woman at the door introduced herself as Maria. The more we talked to her, the more comfortable she became. She told us how she had lived in McMinnville six years ago but then moved to California and recently had decided to move back because she saw how negatively the move was affecting her kids. About halfway through the conversation, Gabby referred to Maria as "Chayo" and all a sudden it clicked. I realized who she was! 

We started asking her about being taught by the missionaries before and she told us how she had grown up going to church with Gabby. Two of her kids have been baptized but she never has. She had been thinking lately that maybe it's her time. Since then, we've been teaching her twice a week, every week. We're preparing her to get baptized, the time frame is still up in the air because she said she needed to talk to her boyfriend about getting married and that if he wasn't willing to marry her at this point then she would tell him they couldn't be together anymore because this was more important to her. She's amazing! 

Yesterday, they came to the church as a family for the first time in six years and it was AWESOME! They seemed super happy and glad to be together. It was awesome! Such a good day and such a good family. I seriously love them. 


Hermana Meise

Monday, August 3, 2015

I Love Being a Missionary!

Hi everyone, 

Apologies for last week and not being able to write.  We had a Zone P-day and our activity took a lot of time so we didn't have much time for anything else. Sister Stevens also sprained her ankle so it was a crazy day.

A big update on what's been happening lately:

The biggest thing that has happened is with PANCHO! I don't know if you remember him very well but we were teaching him a while back and then we stopped for a little bit. Lately we've been able to teach him again and it's been going really well.

Pancho is the best. He's Gustavo's friend. We went to the temple with him last weekend and it was a great experience. He's someone that desperately needs the Holy Ghost on a very real level. The day started out a little rough because he wasn't feeling that well. Once we got to the temple, we went to the Visitor's Center and watched the restoration movie and the family movie and, after that, things got a lot better. 

Just inside the Portland temple there's this beautiful little spot called the atrium where anyone can sit.. We had Gustavo take him to the atrium while we waited outside. While they were there, Pancho told Gustavo that his mind had never felt more clear. He said he wanted to stay there forever. When we were walking over by the reflection pool we said to him, "Pancho, don't forget how you felt here today." and he said, "I already told myself that." 

Over the last few weeks, I've seen the Spirit help him to progress and grow spiritually and mentally. If there's one person I've worried about the most on my mission, it's Pancho. My testimony has grown very strong of the power of the Spirit, that it really does make a difference and that it can break through any barrier. A few days later when we went back to teach him, we asked him again about the experience and he told us that he felt "alive". He's preparing right now to be baptized and I am SO EXCITED for him. I'm most excited for him to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost  because I know that it's going to CHANGE him in a very real way and that he'll be able to feel alive and clear-minded always. 

So, that's what's been happening over the last few weeks. We've been teaching him and helping him and he's literally changing. It's actually been amazing. I love being a missionary! 


Hermana Meise

We went to visit someone who lives up in the hills of Dundee on this beautiful vineyard

Note from Mom:  This was part of what she shared this week in her personal email to me...

You know, I really do have a lot of mixed feelings right now about going home and, honestly, if it were up to me I would stay longer. I definitely do not want to leave. But the fact of the matter is that I AM leaving, I do not have a choice. I've been praying for the ability to accept that and adapt quickly. Because my time at home will be short, I especially want to be able to adapt, take it all in stride, and not be one of those missionaries who wallows in sadness for the first month after their mission. So, no, I do not want to come home BUT the fact is that I am. There's nothing to do but choose to be happy. Even already, though, I cry when I start to think about it. Sigh. It will all be good. Pancho will be getting baptized hopefully on Saturday so that will literally be the best day of my life. Just trying to focus on the good. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Crazy day, crazy week = no time!


We actually don't have time to email today. So sorry! It's been a crazy day and a crazy week but I love you and I'll write more next week!!!!


Hermana Meise

Release letter

Note from Mom:  Received this in the mail today and I cried...

Monday, July 20, 2015

Walk through my week...

Hi everyone! 

It was a really great week. Like a REALLY great week. I'm super excited about all the things that are happening here right now. I'm going to do the picture-walk-through-my-week again. Here we go...

Tuesday was a big day for us because we hit 22,222 miles on our car. I'm not sure why this was so exciting but it totally was.

It was also an exciting day because we taught Antonia and she decided she wants to get baptized! We were talking about the Holy Ghost and she said, "You know, I really want that." So right now we're shooting for August 15thShe is amazing and seriously one of the most genuinely good people I know.  We are really excited for her.

Do you know that Oregon is pretty much the PERFECT place to grow anything and everything? Seriously, EVERYTHING grows in Oregon. We also had interviews with President on Wednesday so, obviously, it was a pretty spectacular day for us. Always a really sweet experience. I love him so much.

Apparently, dishWASHING liquid and dishWASHER liquid are not the same thing. We found this out the hard way on Thursday. This same day we were able to teach Filemon, our investigator and Lydia's husband, for the first time. We taught him about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The spirit was so strong. We could feel it and we could tell that he was feeling it. It doesn't get better than that.

Friday, we had a Branch camp out and dinner. Apparently, camping out is not the Branch members' thing because the turnout was much less than expected. We had gone to every single one of our investigators' houses beforehand to invite them and not a single one came. Kind of a let down but it is what it is.

Do you remember Gustavo's chickens? Every Saturday we go teach Gustavo his recent convert lessons. Since he's going on a mission so soon and we have so much training to do from the 12 weeks book for Hermana Stevens, we've been doing his lesson out of there the past two weeks and it's been awesome. But this past Saturday, we found out that his chickens legitimately play soccer. I have a video too. This day was also great because we went to Sharis! It's this little Oregon diner and it's awesome. Our dinner appointment cancelled and gave us money to go out so that's where we chose to go. Here's a picture of our date:

But the best part of the whole day was going to see Marcelino! We met him on the street a few weeks ago and it turns out he's our Ward Mission Leader's uncle! He was being taught by Elders a few years ago but had to go back to Mexico suddenly and they lost contact with him. We went to see him and talked to him about the restoration and the Holy Ghost and he decided that he wants to get baptized as soon as possible. This brings us to Sunday...

For the first time ever, Marcelinho came to church on Sunday. Him and Hermano Alba hadn't seen each other in 10 years. After Sacrament Meeting, they embraced and cried together. It was probably one of the sweetest moments in my whole mission to see that. We were told after church that Marcelinho bore his testimony in Priesthood Meeting. How incredible is that?

After church, we got to attend Judith's baptism:


So that was basically our week. It was amazing. We are so blessed!

I love you all!


Hermana Meise

Monday, July 13, 2015

Two weeks in one!

Hi everyone! 

This week, I'm going to give explanations for all my pictures from last week and the new ones from this week. Hopefully by doing so, I'll catch you up on all the craziness that has been happening around here.

Last week, I went on an exchange with one of our Sister Training Leaders, Sister Mower. It was awesome. She really wants to learn Spanish so it was really cool to be able to teach her a little bit. She was excited to be able to learn. We had a super yummy healthy lunch that day and she wanted to take a picture so we did. Super yummy cherries from our ward mission leader. The BEST.

We were talking to our investigator, Maria, about how we really want to learn to make Mexican food so we can cook it when we go home. She invited us over to teach us how to make sopes! Basically, you make a really thick homemade tortilla and then you put it on a griddle until it gets pretty cooked, then you take it off and push down the edges to make this kind of ridge around it to make it kind of like a little bowl.  Then you fry it. Well, our job was to push down the edges right after it came off the griddle and my finger got SO burned and blistered. It was awesome, though, and so delicious!

The next few pictures are of the Activity Day girls. They had an Activity Day Girl Sleepover Thursday at the Wests. Every Thursday we go to the Wests for dinner so it was PERFECT because we got to be there for the first little part of the sleepover which was so fun. We shared a lesson about how each of them is a princess because Heavenly Father is their Father and he's a king! We then made crowns with them so these are some pictures of them making their crowns and then after posing as a group. The world's cutest girls; I seriously love them!

The next picture is from the Fourth of July.  Every day we recite certain scriptures and quotes but on the 4th we decided that it was only fitting we recite the Pledge of Allegiance, too!  We made our own flag out of paper (on the wall behind me) and said the Pledge of Allegiance.

Later in the day, we went with an investigator to this amazing aerospace and aviation museum they have here in McMinnville. It was awesome! That's where the next picture comes from.  it's actually a piece of the Berlin Wall! Isn't that crazy?

We went so we could translate for her and it was super fun but I definitely struggled to figure out the vocabulary for WWII planes and missiles and what not. The next couple pictures are from the museum, too. They had this crazy huge rocket.

Bonus photo from a member taken on the 4th of July...saying goodbye to Hermana Johnson:

The next picture is of our air conditioner. We had the Abrams (senior couple from the office) come over because our neighbor's water heater broke and caused some damage on our ceiling. They wanted to see it and, when we opened up the closet to show them where it was, they said, "Is that an air conditioner?" and we said, "Don't know, is it?" and it was! They showed us how to set it up and work it and now we have AIR CONDITIONING!

The last picture is from when we taught primary last week. We talked about Ammon and what it means to be a missionary. Here are all the kids with their pictures!

Okay now for this week...

Next are some pictures from last week saying goodbye to the Aguiar's! They are the BEST. President Aguiar is in the mission presidency and he's a great man. His wife is an absolute angel -- think Sister Nielson. These are the pics they took with Hermana Johnson before she left.

Here are some pics of our district before Hermana Johnson left, too. Clearly, we have fun, AND we get things done.


These are called EMPENADAS from Columbia! They are SO GOOD. You bite off the end then you spoon that yummy green avocado sauce inside and eat it. SO YUMMY. Our investigator, Marta, made them for us, (She's the one we went to the museum with.) She's in the white dress with her friend and her mom.

Here's a selfie of all of us together:

The next picture is from Sister Johnson's last FHE (Family Home Evening) at the Wests. The Wests have these SUPER SOFT bunnies so we were holding them for Sister Johnson's last time. I don't look that happy because I was holding the fiesty one and he was scratching me like crazy!

I got my new trainee!!!! She's AMAZING! Her name is Hermana Stevens and, get this, she was friends with Hermana Gifford in High School! How weird is that? She's from Draper, UT. She is SO excited to be a missionary. Her Spanish is amazing. She is so sweet and kind, and she's ready to work! We've been able to see so much success and teach so much this week and it's been amazing.

I'm not sure if I've explained before how the training meeting works but, basically, we meet at a chapel in Newberg and all the trainers stand outside with signs and balloons as the new trainees pull into the parking lot. Everyone screams. It's like this whole big thing and it's awesome! Hermana Stevens said as soon as she got out of the van and saw me, she knew I was her trainer and when I first saw her walking up, I knew she was mine. It was awesome.

And now here are pictures of our new district! We added a companionship and it's great!

So this picture...

We were walking down the street for our dinner appointment and walked past this yard. We just had to take a picture. I don't know how well you can see it but this is totally bushes carved into a giraffe and some other animal.

Yesterday, we went to one of the cities we're in charge of called Amity to visit some people. We actually ended up running into Gustavo's cousin! How crazy is that? But, as we were driving back to McMinnville at night, we caught this view and had to stop on the side of the road to take a few pictures. Beautiful, right?

Also, I wanted to take this picture to show you I finished that journal you sent me for Christmas, Mom. I've been using it as my study journal so each day, I write in it our plans for the things we're going to teach everyone and insights I gain as I study for them. And it's all finished! Now I'm going to use my red one (thanks, Aunt Betty Ann!) for my study journal and regular journal.

Well, I think that's everything! I love my companion and my area and these people and everything. And I love you so much and hope you have the best week! 


Hermana Meise

Bonus photo from a member:  Hermana Meise meets up with Hermana McCrite (former companion) at transfer meeting:

Additionally, this is what Hermana Meise said in her personal email to me regarding her new companion, Hermana Stevens:

I'm so happy with my new companion! She's amazing. I am so impressed with her. She is going to be an amazing missionary. Now I understand why President is having her be trained in six weeks, because she doesn't even need all 12! She's so awesome. I'm so grateful to be a missionary and I love that I get to serve the Lord here. Really seriously is a privilege.