Monday, August 25, 2014

The Things That Get Missionaries Excited

Hi everyone!

This week was a really good week. Today, we had Zone P-day at the Oregon State Fair which is why my email is so late and it will be kind of short. BUT I have a lot of pictures (below) so hopefully that'll make up for it.

We met the sweetest family this week.  There's a mom and her four boys and they just came here from Mexico in December.  They're from Michocan which is the town that most people we meet are from.  It is extremely dangerous there. There are so many people being slain in that town lately by the drug cartels; so many little boys being kidnapped and forced to either join the cartel or be slain as well.  Because of this, this family with so many boys got specially evacuated by the President of Mexico and has written permission from Obama to be here. Crazy, so crazy.  They just got here in December and the boys are really struggling because they don't speak any English, it's a new country and they're just having a hard time. But anyways, we met them this week and they want so badly to learn. We're so excited to teach them. 

Here's a funny thing that happened this week.  There's this member we've been trying to visit for three weeks and they're NEVER home. This week we passed by and we could hear music coming from their apartment and we were SO excited we could finally see them. Sister Perez got so excited that she tripped going up the stairs. We started laughing and she got up and kept going and got aaaaaaalmost to the top before she tripped again and actually fell to the ground this time. All because we could FINALLY see these people.  Man, the things that get missionaries excited.

We also had a fireside this last week with Sheri Dew which was super cool. She's an AWESOME speaker. I'll tell you more about what she said next week because I don't have my notes this week. 

Sorry the email is so short; it's so tricky without the Ipads. 

Love you so much,




Monday, August 18, 2014

He Is Mindful of Every Detail of our Lives

Hi everyone, 

I'm really enjoying Salem a lot!  It's so different from Forest Grove.  It's busier and there's a lot more going on but it's still the calmest city I've ever been to.  It's the capitol of Oregon so it's a pretty decent sized city but definitely safer than Philly or New York.  We live a little north of the city and our apartment complex is gated so we're well protected. Sister Perez and I really want to teach a gang member, though, so we end up approaching a lot of pretty sketchy people. Don't worry, we're safe about it. 

It was a good week with a lot of great experiences but there's one experience that really sticks out above the rest. The hardest part of pink washing has been just finding people to teach. The missionaries that were here before us didn't have a lot going on so we've struggled to kind of get things going in this area. One day, as a part of this effort, we were looking through the contacts on our phone to see if there was anyone there that we felt we should call. We decided to call one number listed in our phone as "T_____". As we talked to her, she expressed her complete surprise that we called her.  She started crying just telling us how she had been having such a hard time lately and how she couldn't believe people from the church were calling her.  We talked to her for a little while until she calmed down and set up an appointment to go see her a couple of days later.  We had our first meeting with her last night and she opened up to us a lot. She explained some of the things she's been going through with her family and her sincere desire and need to rely on God to get her through this.  She also told us that the day we called, she had decided she didn't want to live anymore and was trying to figure out how to end her life. 

It's hard for me to even articulate how humbling that experience was; to sit with her and listen to her and know for a fact that we had been put in the exact right place at the right time by a Heavenly Father who is so mindful of every detail of our lives and loves us so much. Man, things like that just don't happen by coincidence. 

We got to speak to her a lot about happiness and hope. There are all different kinds of happiness in the world from all different sources, but the gospel offers us happiness that lasts FOREVER and hope that can never be extinguished regardless of anything that happens. The Atonement is what makes that possible. Jesus Christ suffered the price for our sins as well as the emotional pains and suffering we would experience. I love this scripture from Alma 7:

  11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
 12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
He knows perfectly the pains and sadness we feel.  And He did this because of the overwhelming love He has for each of us and all of us. 

God is real and He lives. I have seen and felt the love He has for His children. I've seen miracles and countless tender mercies. I am humbled to be a part of His work. I know it truly is His work because His hand is so clearly present in it every single day. 

I love each of you and am grateful for your support and especially your prayers! Have a great week. 

Hermana Meise

from Zone Conference this week...
with Hermana Perez, Hermana Hedges and Hermana Cardon 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Goodbye Cornelius; Hello North Salem!

Hi everyone!

As I mentioned last week, I got transferred. Now I'm up here in North Salem with Hermana Perez.  I don't know if you remember but I went on an exchange with her a long time ago, during my first transfer. She's from Somerset, NJ so we can bond about things like the shore and New Hope and Rita's and Wawa.

Hermana Perez and I on a walk in Silver Falls

Overall, we get along really well and I'm having so much fun being her companion. We also teach really well together. Teaching with her feels natural, it's very balanced. 

I'm serving in the Keizer 2nd Ward which just became a ward a couple of months ago so it's really exciting. Hermana Perez and I are actually pinkwashing the area (which means that the two sisters who were here before were taken out and Hermana Perez and I were put in knowing nothing really about the area) so it's been a little tricky. We've spent most of the last week trying to get a feel for the area and the people here that were being taught. They weren't really teaching anyone before we got here so we've mostly been just getting in touch with people that have been contacted before but never really taught previously.  It's been interesting. Through this process, we've been able to find some people who really want to learn and know more about the gospel of Jesus Christ.  

Goodbye, Cornelius...

The Primary we taught in Forest Grove

  All the cute Vega girls


This is Leah Vega, the sweetest thing ever!  Every Sunday, she would tell me "you're my favorite missionary".  She cried when I left.

The Podwys family, one of my favorites!

Sister Jackson grew all her own food.  Everything she made was from scratch and was absolutely DELICIOUS!

This is Val, our friend we would go and visit. She used to sew THE BLANKETS THAT ELEPHANTS WORE DURING THE CIRCUS!  She would measure the elephants and fit them for their outfits...literally, my dream job.

Maria, the most humble woman I have ever met.

 Maria's husband, Carlos

My fave, fave, favorite Nissinens.  They took us out to dinner the night before I left.  They also gave me the necklace I am wearing in the picture.

 Sister Manso, such an incredible lady!

The Jensen family, one of the most fun families ever!

Have a great week!



Monday, August 4, 2014

That Time I Almost Got Shot

Hi everyone!

This week was a little bit more exciting than others. On Thursday, we were at our apartment getting ready to walk out the door when we heard something that sounded like gunshots. Sister McCrite wasn't convinced, however, and we left to go make some appointments. When we returned for lunch, there were police swarming our apartment complex. It turns out that there had, in fact, been gunshots. The police were there for about five hours searching for things and talking to people. I don't know too much but, apparently, there was some sort of dispute that ended in gunfire. Crazy, huh? Cornelius isn't super dangerous but sometimes it's a little ghetto. This week definitely showed that.

I'm getting transferred! But they changed it so that instead of moving today, I'm moving tomorrow. I don't know where I'll be going but it'll be exciting. I know that the Lord has a plan for our lives, for my life. It is a specific, detailed plan that includes such little things as where I'm going to be spending the next six weeks. I trust Him; He knows.

Out of everything and everyone, one of the things I'm most sad about is leaving Sister McCrite. We've just had the best time together these last four-and-a-half months. She truly is one of my best friends and I know we're going to be friends forever.

There are a lot of other people here as well who have impacted my life forever. One of those is Sister Nissinen. She is the kindest, sweetest person I've ever met. She took me into her family and always made me feel at home and welcome here. 

Another is Sister Podwys. Seriously, one of the most anchored people I have ever met. She's had a lot of really tough trials in the past year and I've learned so much from her example and from her strength. 

Another person I've come to love a lot is Sister Manso. We would go over every Wednesday to teach a lesson to her and her family. We also synced all our Ipad stuff there every night so we had a lot of conversations sitting out on her porch. She has had the most unreal life. She taught me a lot about listening to the Spirit and the awareness that Heavenly Father has of each of us.

Maria has taught me a lot about mothers and how deep a mother's love runs. I have been forever touched by the never ending generosity her and Carlos have shown me, despite their most humble of circumstances.

Serving here in Cornelius has been amazing. I love this area, I love these people. Both the Spanish branch and Council Creek (the English ward we've worked with) will always be dear to me. It's a bittersweet feeling for sure.  I'm excited for new things and new adventures but I'm leaving a little piece of my heart here.

Until next week!



Note from Mom:  I have to admit, I was a little nervous reading the subject line of her email but then relieved once I got to the second paragraph. Honestly,  I know she is in His hands, doing His work and that He is watching over her so I am not really that concerned.  I am grateful for her experiences in Cornelius, for the people who loved her and taught her great life lessons.  So excited to hear where she lands next and for all that lies ahead for her!