Monday, January 26, 2015

The Lord truly works in mysterious ways

Hi everyone! 

It's been another good week. It's definitely different not having three of us but we're just working along!

We had some cool experiences this week. Do you remember Margarita? She was a girl we were teaching over the summer. She's 17 years old and a senior in High School. We met her at her grandpa's baptism. We taught her for a little while but ended up stopping because she was always busy with school and after school activities and we could never catch her at home. Well, last week we got a call from the Elders letting us know that Margarita's grandfather had passed away.  They asked us if we'd be able to go visit with her and see if we could offer her some comfort. We stopped by the following day and, for the first time in months, we actually were able to catch her at home. It was an especially hard loss for her because her grandfather was her best friend.  She 's lived with him her whole life.  We were able to talk to her about the Plan of Happiness and how comforting it is to know that endings in this life aren't really endings at all, that we have the hope and peace of knowing that there is life after this, and that we can be reunited with our families one day, never to be separated again. 

We also had another great lesson this week with Laura. I'm not sure if I've explained about her before so I'll do it again just to be safe. When Hermana Perez and I first pinkwashed this area, Laura was one of the names on the list of people they had been teaching. Hermana Perez and I had tried to stop by and see her SO many times but she was never there or she was sleeping or some other excuse. A few weeks ago, Hermana Cardon, Hermana Gifford, and I were trying to look for some place where we could street contact and talk to some people. We were driving around with no real success and we were getting a little frustrated. We thought that maybe we could try a park, so we searched for one in the GPS and ended up at this little, teeny tiny park that was ABSOLUTELY deserted. We were pretty much at the end of our patience. I looked around and said, "Hey wait a minute! I know where we are! There's someone who used to take the missionary lessons that lives right there!"  We went and knocked on the door and she let us in.  We were able to teach a lesson with her that very first day!  Since then, we've been able to see her pretty consistently. It was awesome. Definitely a testimony that the Lord has His own timing for everything. This week she said that she's willing to be baptized when she knows that the Book of Mormon is true. She prayed for the first time in a lesson with us this week as well. She was very hesitant, but we kept encouraging her and she did it. She gave an awesome prayer. 

Lately, we've been trying to go through our old area book to try and contact people that have been taught in the past. It's been a little tricky; we've found that missionaries are not the best record keepers. There are so many addresses that are incomplete or literally just don't exist. We've definitely hit a few brick walls. But, we've also seen some success as well. We arrived at an address the other day and found out that it was an apartment complex but we didn't have an apartment number. We ended up just knocking on a door to try and ask them if they knew the person we were looking for. The woman didn't, but she was super nice and we have an appointment to go back and see her next week. The Lord truly works in mysterious ways. 

Have a great week! 


Hermana Meise

Nohely's farewell...she'll be serving in Kirkland, Ohio

Monday, January 19, 2015

It'll all work out for the best

Hi everyone! 

This has been a great week. A super, super fast one. I don't know where the time went, it's all been a blur! 

The first thing that I want to mention is some changes that are happening: Hermana Cardon is getting transferred. We will no longer be a trio :-(  She'll be doing the last six weeks of training for an English speaking sister. It's sad but she's going where she's supposed to be and she'll do great things. Hermana Gifford and I will be staying here and I'll be finishing up her training. There will be a new Spanish STL (Sister Training Leader) called but we won't be companions, at least not for a while. It's definitely a lot of changes, way more than I was expecting. But it'll be good; it'll all work out for the best :-)

We had a lot of great lessons this week. One was with our investigators Adriana, Javier, and Augustine. I think I might have explained to you before but Augustine and Adriana are brother and sisters, and they all live together. The cool thing about teaching them is that they ask a TON of questions. Seriously, they have great, GREAT questions. The cool thing, too, is that after we explain the answers, as soon as one of them gets it they start explaining it to each other and answering each other's questions. It's awesome to be able to teach people that really have such strong desires to learn and understand. 

We went on exchanges this past week. Hermana Cardon went to Woodburn with another sister and Hermana Garner, a sister that arrived in the mission the same time as Hermana Gifford, came to be with us. It was fun to be with TWO brand new sisters. It definitely brought me back to the beginning of my mission, all of the nervousness and worry but, most of all, all of the desire. It was really cool to see how strongly they wanted to be doing the Lord's work. 

We don't have too much time today because of all of the things Hermana Cardon needs to do to get ready to leave but I love you all! Have a great week!


Hermana Meise

Having a little fun on our way to do service...

 Burning some of Hermana Cardon's clothes...a tradition for missionaries who are returning home, something she'll be doing soon

Monday, January 12, 2015

The journey to become a "trustworthy disciple"

Hi everyone!

It's been a great week! This week we had MLC (Mission Leadership Council). As always, it was an incredibly spiritual experience and I felt very nourished. My favorite message of the day came from Sister Samuelian. She talked about how we can become "trustworthy disciples of Christ". She talked about how Heavenly Father gives us many opportunities to be trusted and how wisely using those opportunities to be trusted is also how we develop trust in Him. She shared a quote from Henry B. Eyring that says: 

"You show your trust in Him when you listen with the intent to learn and repent and then go and do whatever He asks. If you trust God enough to listen for His will find it. And then if you go and do what He would have you do, your power to trust Him will grow and, in time, you will be overwhelmed with gratitude to find that He has come to trust you." 

I love that quote so much. I have definitely felt that on my mission. It is an incredible and humbling feeling to be trusted by the Lord, especially in taking care of His children. It made me really reflect on how much I trust Him and how I could develop that trust even further. I mean, really, when you think about it, it is absolutely silly not to trust in a perfect, all-knowing being who does everything He does out of love and a desire for our well-being. That's something I really want to develop, seeking out and following His will so I can grow in my trust for Him. 

We were able to go to a baptism yesterday of a woman in Woodburn that Hermana Cardon had taught when she was there. I had met her a few times previously and have always been so touched by the overwhelming love that she has for everyone. It was an incredible baptism of her and her son. There were almost 100 people there with a good amount of them being her own family.

Last night, we had probably the most intense lesson of my whole mission. Her name is Myra and she was a referral of someone that the English sisters met on the street. We've been trying to contact her and have a lesson for a while but she was always too busy to talk to us. We would set up an appointment and then she wouldn't be there. Last night was the first time that we actually were able to sit down and have a real lesson with her. She opened the door and immediately asked us if we wanted to come in. We said yes and followed her into her home. She turned off her TV (never, ever happens), sat down in front of us, and said "Okay teach me." We tried to ask her a few questions about how her family was doing and how work was going but she just said, "It doesn't matter, teach me your message."  We were all super thrown off because usually it does not go anything like that. We taught her the message of the Restoration, how the church that Jesus Christ established has been restored on the earth today through a prophet. She totally was on board with all of it, and would stop us every couple of minutes to tell us how much she respected us and was grateful to God for the work we were doing. When she found out we were very far from our families, she told us that our home was hers whenever we needed it, even when she wasn't home. She also called us each "mija" the whole time, a Spanish abbreviation of "mi hija" which means "my daughter". There are few things that melt my heart more than when an investigator or member calls me "mija". The Spirit was so strong throughout the lesson and she was crazy focused on everything we were saying. At the end, she even asked when we would be able to come back. She's so awesome and so, so hungry to learn. 

I love you all and hope everything is going well!



Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy New Year!

Hi everyone! 

This week was fairly uneventful. It's pretty cold here in Oregon so we're just trying to stay as warm as possible. Just tons and tons of layers!

We had a really fun New Year's!  My companion's (Hermana Cardon's) mom is from El Salvador and a tradition there is to make pupusas on New Year's Eve.  Pupusas are these SUPER yummy things; basically it's this thick tortilla with cheese and beans in the middle. On top, you put cabbage and carrots that have been soaked in vinegar and then you put this special salsa on top of that. It sounds so weird, but the combination of all the flavors is SOOO good. So we went over to Kika's house and we made those for New Year's!  It was really fun to learn how and they were just super, super yummy. The night was short-lived, however, because we had to go to back to our apartments early in order to avoid all of the craziness of New Year's Eve. 

Other than that, there really hasn't been anything very exciting that's happened. Just your pretty standard week.  As I was thinking about what I could share this week, I thought about our mission motto. There's actually a really cool story behind it. President Samuelian said that, as he was preparing to come here and be the Mission President, he kept trying to receive revelation for the mission but couldn't. He prayed and prayed but nothing came. He said as they were driving into Oregon, almost as soon as they crossed the border into this state, all of these ideas and revelation just started flooding into his head. He said this motto came to him at this little diner they stopped at right over the border and that he wrote it on a napkin. The motto is: 

"When inspired vision and Christlike culture combine, mighty miracles occur; with the byproduct being a people who not only know where they are going, but how they are going to get there."

This quote really has driven our whole mission and shaped us into the missionaries we are. It incorporates the two biggest principles we focus on as a mission as a whole: vision and culture.

President's favorite scripture to quote is Proverbs 29:18: "Where there is no vision, the people perish...."  We talk about this concept of vision ALL the time, for our companionship, for our area, for our missions, for our lives.  When we create a vision for ourselves and focus everything we do and make every decision in accordance with that vision, we actually end up getting where we want to go. When we lose that vision, who knows where we'll end up? 

The other concept we really focus on is that of culture. President tells us all the time that our future families will have a culture and if we don't deliberately create it, it'll create itself.  Even in the short time that I've been here, I've seen the culture change a ton. The mission as a whole has become more obedient and really come to understand and focus on our purpose as missionaries. 

I'm happy to be a missionary and I'm especially happy to be serving in this mission! I love President Samuelian and I'm grateful for his inspired direction. 


Hermana Meise

Note from Mom:  Hayley recycled the birthday poster I sent her to wish me a Happy Birthday: