Monday, July 28, 2014

A hike, monster kitten and exploding what?

Hi everyone!

I can't believe it's almost August!!! So crazy.

Well, this week was one of those where everything fell through. Almost all of the lessons we had planned just didn't happen for one reason or another, out of our control.

We did still have some good things happen this week, though. Last Monday was Zone P-day which basically just means that our whole zone gets together and does something. This time, we drove out to Tillamook State Forest and went on a hike to a waterfall. Once we got to the waterfall, we all split up and spent some time studying the scriptures. It was a really good experience. I'm grateful to be a part of the zone that I am and to be working with the missionaries that I do.

Another exciting thing that happened this week was that we had interviews with President Samuelian. As always, it was a really great experience. I really love him. It's just great to be around him and talk to him and feel of his spirit and love. He always just makes me feel calm and more secure in the promptings I feel like I've received. He helps me to trust myself and that's what most of my interview centered on, trusting what my heart is telling me and not be afraid.

So, a couple of funny things happened this week.  Remember I told you about Sister M. and how she has all the cats? And the new kitten? Well, that kitten is pretty grown now; he has real claws but he still thinks he's a kitten. We definitely spoiled him by petting him so much because now he just jumps right onto our laps. However, a lot of the time he can't quite jump high enough so he'll just sink his claws into whatever he can and pull himself up that way. Usually, he uses the chair but the other day my arm got in the way and he clawed his way up my arm into my lap. And then, because I had this cat rubbing all over me, the scratches got irritated because of my allergies and swelled up. That little kitten has turned into a monster. By the way, I've never seen so many cats in my life as I've seen in Oregon. EVERYONE has multiple cats and there's tons of strays as well.

As we were sitting in the car waiting for our interviews (we were the first people at the church, even before President; aren't you proud, Dad?) Sister McCrite and I were just talking and she had her bag in her lap. All of a sudden, there was this SUPER loud popping noise from inside her bag. Did you know that if you put a bag of frozen blueberries in your purse and forget about it for five days, it explodes? Well, it does. Hahaha. It made us laugh a lot, though.

Yeah, I can teach Taylor's friend! I'll ask about how to set that up. Love you!

Have a good week!



Note from Mom:  She didn't send any pictures this week AGAIN.  I was able to get the picture above and the pictures below from a mom of another missionary in her zone.  Let's see if we can play "Where's Hermana Meise?" with these...

nope, she's not in this one
 or this one
 wait, is that her behind the tree?
 There she is!  Do you see the blonde ponytail?

It really does look like a beautiful place!

Monday, July 21, 2014

He knows every desire of our hearts and every burden we carry

Hi everyone!

We had a few really cool things happen this week. It was an incredibly fast week, but I feel like I always say that.

We were able to see Lupe again, the woman whose groceries we helped carry. She was really happy to see us and we were able to sit and talk with her for a while about things that are going on in her life and how having a relationship with God and Jesus Christ can help her to have peace in whatever situation she might be in. She's going through some really hard things right now and she said that the day we came, it'd been so hard that she couldn't really get out of bed. At the end, she really didn't want us to leave and told us we could come back whenever and if she wasn't there, we could talk with her mom.

On Friday, we were planning on taking our investigator, Juan, with us and Carlos to do a church tour. When we went over to his house for our weekly appointment, he wasn't there. We were a little disappointed and decided to return the following morning. When we did, a woman who we didn't recognize came to the door, took one look at us and said, "Oh my gosh, you're MORMONS!"  We were like, "Uh...yeah, that's us!" Then she said, "I was praying this morning that some Mormons would come see me because I really need some prayers today and just right before the doorbell rang I said to my niece, 'I hope Mormons come see me today'." It turned out that this was Juan's daughter.  We sat with her for a long time while she told us everything that she believes and feels and thinks about Christ and literally everything she said was doctrine of the church (it was insane, all the big things way down to the little things like the importance of journaling). It was amazing, there were a lot of tears shed by all and I could feel how incredibly much God loves this sweet woman, Sylvia, who is constantly seeking direction and guidance from Him.

That experience was one of those things that just doesn't happen by coincidence. We weren't supposed to be at Juan's that morning and neither was Sylvia. Was it by chance that we knocked on Juan's door seconds after Sylvia told her niece she "hoped Mormons would come see her today"? Absolutely not. That experience was evidence of a loving Father in Heaven who is constantly and acutely aware of us. He knows every desire of our hearts and every burden we carry. It was humbling to have the opportunity to be sent as the answer to Sylvia's pleading prayer for comfort. I read this scripture this week and was reminded how much I love it:

"Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me." (1 Nephi 21:16)

God is constantly aware of and concerned for us. I can testify of this not only because I've felt it for myself, but I've seen the evidence of it in the lives of other people as well. At times in life, we may turn our backs on Him of our own free will but He will always be our ever-loving, ever-merciful, ever-concerned Father whose hand is always extended toward us, ready to lift us up the very second we will allow Him to.

Okay, some other side notes: I got my contacts! Thanks for that. Also, could you send my coconut oil under my sink in the bathroom? I think a while ago you asked if I needed Zyrtec. I don't. I've been taking local honey for my allergies (do I sound like a real Oregon hippy or what?) so I only take Zyrtec once a week. 

I still haven't received anything in the mail from Dalene.  Am I supposed to or was it just the email? Also, could you send me that bag I have my jewelry in? Also, granola bars. I can't think of anything else I need.

We went to Tigard and on the way back we saw a Panera Bread Restaurant and stopped. I was so excited! Yes, I got the broccoli soup even though it is, in fact, July.

Have a great week!


Hermana Meise

P.S. Here is a photo and video from our "Fear vs. Faith" lesson at our District Meeting last week:

Monday, July 14, 2014

The right place at the right time

Hi everyone!

We had a couple of really cool experiences this week. It's been kind of funny with the World Cup playing because whenever there's a game on, everyone we try and visit is half listening to us while they watch the game over our shoulders until we're like, "You know what? Why don't we come back at a different time."  It literally derails our whole schedule. But, from what I understand, it ended yesterday so it shouldn't be a problem anymore.

For our district meeting on Friday, we talked all about fear vs. faith and how much our fear inhibits our ability to grow in faith. We all talked about different fears we have on the mission or other things that prevent us from being as faithful as we possibly could be.  Similar to what we did the first day we got here at the beach, we wrote all our fears down on a piece of paper. But this time, because it was Elders planning it, we didn't just peacefully dig a whole and bury them in the sand. I guess they had collected an old TV and a toilet from the side of the road during the week. So, we lit the pieces of paper on fire that had our fears on them, put them in the toilet, and then proceeded to smash the toilet and the old TV with a baseball bat. Sister McCrite and I thought it was interesting but the elders really loved it. I mean, I guess that's one way to destroy your fears, right?

We had a few really awesome lessons this week. One was with a guy named Juan. I'm not sure if I told you about him; he's an older guy and this was the second lesson we taught him. He actually reminds me a lot of Uncle Gary. When he was first found, the missionaries told him about the Book of Mormon and he said, "That's amazing! Why hasn't anyone ever told me about that before?".  We read 3 Nephi 11 with him which is the chapter when Christ comes to the Americas. He really loved it. He wants to be baptized but just needs to talk to his wife about it. We're hopeful that she'll be open to it and that he'll be able to get baptized.

We also had another amazing lesson with Clara's daughters yesterday.  We taught the steps of the gospel of Jesus Christ which are faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.  The way that we decided to teach this is to talk about it as a cycle.  As we talked about each step, we wrote it down on a piece of paper until they all formed a complete circle. We've taught it this way a few times before and it just makes sense. When people are having a hard time and not progressing, it's easy to look at that cycle and say "Okay, where are you getting stuck?"  Because every step in that cycle is necessary, we can't just skip around.  You can't truly repent if you're just going through the motions and not acting in faith. You can't receive an answer to be baptized if you haven't done anything to develop your faith. And it's a cycle that requires work; it's not a passive cycle. It's a lifetime process.  Anyways, they really identified with that. They are seriously the sweetest, most faithful girls in the world. They want this so eagerly and they are quick to recognize the truth of it. I love them.

One more story that I want to share. We were driving down the street one night and noticed a woman walking down the side of the road struggling to carry what looked to be very heavy groceries. We pulled over onto the very next road we could and went to go help her. By this time, she was about a block ahead of us. We started walking as quickly as we possibly could without scaring her. We were about five feet away from her when the bags got too heavy.  She gave up and set her groceries down to take a rest. What perfect timing! We helped her carry her groceries the rest of the way to her house and she was really grateful. She told us the next time we were in the neighborhood to please stop by.  I'm grateful that Heavenly Father put us in exactly the right place at exactly the right time to be able to serve in such a simple way.  It was a witness to me that God is aware of us in all of our struggles, even if it's just carrying groceries.

A very special happy birthday to my favorite Zoey. I love you very much!

Last Monday for p-day, Sister McCrite and I went on a picnic and an adventure so here's some things we found!

Have a great week!


Hermana Meise

Monday, July 7, 2014

Oh, the things that can happen when you knock on a door...

Hi everyone!

Hope you had a great Fourth of July. Ours was awesome. We had a meeting all afternoon and by the time we got out it was dinner time. We ended up at a party thrown by one of my absolute favorite families in the whole world. They had food and fireworks and a lot of the ward was there. I love Sister N. so incredibly much. She is one of those people that makes us feel like family and makes sure we're always taken care of with everything. She is also one of the most genuinely sweet and kind women I have ever known. They have a daughter named Rosie who is also so sweet and comes out with us sometimes to lessons. Definitely one of those families I'm coming back to visit after my mission.

Rosie actually came with us this past Wednesday to make a few visits. We met some really sweet families that we're going back to teach this week and we're really excited. One of the houses we went to go visit had this cat sitting outside the door. One of the things I dislike most about cats is how they can sense when people don't like them/are allergic and will immediately flock to that person. That's exactly what this cat did. Rosie is terrified of cats so, of course, it made a beeline right for her. When it got up, we realized it was missing one of its legs in the back and only had this stumpy thing. That REALLY freaked Rosie out. The person we were trying to visit didn't answer the door so we quickly left and ended up being chased halfway down the street by this stumpy, limping, hobbling cat. It was pretty entertaining.

We had a pretty significant miracle this week. For a while, we've been trying to teach Juan's (our recent convert) sister, Clara, and her family. They came to Juan's baptism before I got here and called the missionaries that day to ask if they could please bring over the restoration video they had shown at Juan's baptism because they really loved it. So they brought the DVD over that night and had an amazing lesson with them. After the lesson, however, when Clara's husband found out, he was really upset and forbid them to have anything to do with the missionaries. I guess he travels to Utah frequently for work and has had some negative experiences with some members of the church. Clara wanted to continue to take the lessons behind her husband's back. The sisters went over to her house to talk to her about it and explained that they really couldn't come and teach if her husband was not okay with it and Clara's daughters were crying and it sounds like it was just really difficult. We've always kept Clara in the back of our minds, though, and stopped by periodically just to say hi. On Saturday, we stopped by to do just that. We were pretty shocked when it was her husband that opened the door. We braced ourselves for some sort of confrontation or yelling but he very kindly said that he was the only one home but that everyone would be home tomorrow and we could stop by then. We were so shocked we hardly knew what to say. When we went back on Sunday, he was just as nice. He periodically walked through the lesson and would ask his daughters what they were learning and give them high fives for their answers and say things like "make sure you pay attention so you can teach daddy later!" He was genuinely excited that we were there and that we were teaching his daughters. It was the biggest change of heart I have ever seen. Heavenly Father has definitely been working on this man and softening his heart these last few months. And his daughters are amazing. They are so excited about the gospel and so hungry to know more and learn everything they can.

We also met this week with another man. He goes to a Seventh Day Adventist church around here but it's very obvious that his preacher is very animated because when he starts talking about God he gets VERY animated as well. It was a really fun lesson. At the end, we prayed holding hands which actually has happened quite frequently since coming on a mission. I kind of like it.

That's all of the exciting stuff for this week!

I love you! Have a good week! Make sure to send videos of Hudson!