Tuesday, February 24, 2015

No time!

Hi everyone!

It has been so crazy! Our meeting yesterday was so awesome but I'll have to tell you more about it next week because we literally have no time. We didn't know our pday would be switched to today until Sunday and we had set up a bunch of appointments for today. We've been teaching since 10:00am.  I'll go into more detail next week.

Love you! 

Hermana Meise

Monday, February 16, 2015

Our ways are not His ways...

Hi everyone!

It has been SUCH a crazy week! I totally understand why they have Hayesville and North Salem as two separate areas because there is so much work to do! We have been running like crazy trying to balance all of our investigators in the two areas. It feels like it's been such a short week because we've been so crazy busy but, at the same time, it feels like it's been forever since we've emailed last because we've done so much.

A few cool experiences we had this week:

1. Yesterday, we were trying to contact a referral that we had received. We knocked on their door but they weren't home. As we were walking back to our car, we saw a sticker on a car that said "Jesucristo Vida Abundante" which means "Jesus Christ Abundant Life". We thought we should go talk to them so we looked at the number on the parking space and headed up to that apartment. Just as we were coming up the stairs, we heard someone yelling at their kids in perfect English all kinds of horrible things, like the kind of yelling that makes you sick to your stomach. We looked at each other and were like, "Well, doesn't really sound like now's a very good time so never mind. Plus, it sounds like she's not even Hispanic anyway." We started to walk back to the car but we just couldn't shake the feeling that we needed to talk to her. As we were getting into the car, I distinctly felt the thought come into my mind "This is your last chance." I knew we had to do it, so I told the other sisters and we got out of the car. We knocked on the door and a woman answered. After a brief conversation we found out that she actually is a member of the church who hasn't been to church since she moved here from California and that she recently became a single mom and is having a super hard time. She's totally American but get this: prefers to go to Spanish wards. Crazy, right?!  Definitely was a reminder that God is so good to us and so patient even when we don't obey the promptings He sends us the first time.

2. We were teaching a less-active family this week and, as we prepared to teach them, we felt like we needed to teach the Word of Wisdom. They didn't have any problems we knew about and we were a little bit hesitant because we didn't want them to feel like we were accusing them of anything but we felt that was what needed to be taught so we carried on with it. When we finished the lesson, we were asking the kids some questions to review what we went over and made sure they understood. As we did, one of the little kids said "Daddy used to smoke and now he doesn't!" and the mom said "No that's not true, he still does!" They went on to explain how the father has been wanting to quit but keeps failing and doesn't know how to actually do it. Suddenly, so many things made sense. Whenever we had asked them about the temple in the past, they would always make these vague comments about how they couldn't go but would never explain. We're really happy they opened up and we can now more fully know how to help them. 

3. I was on exchanges with Hermana Perez this past week up in Forest Grove. It was so cool to be back in my mission "birthplace". A lot of things fell through that day. As we were walking back to the car from the apartment of someone who we were supposed to have an appointment with but canceled, a car pulled up next to us. The woman inside said "Son misioneras de la Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ultimos dias?" (asking us if we're missionaries from the church) We said yes and she proceeded to explain how she was a member as well who had just moved here and had been searching and searching for the church but never found it. She said she tried going to other churches in town but she just didn't feel the same. 

It never ceases to amaze me that our ways are not His ways and our thoughts are not His thoughts. He puts us in the right place at the right time even when we think we're there for a totally different reason. I'm so grateful to participate in this work and for the changes I've seen it make in my life and in others. 


Hermana Meise 

Valentine's Day treats from Hermana Gifford's mom:

 In the background you can see how they sleep with their three beds pushed together in the their living room. She spoke of this in a previous email when she was in a trio before.

Nefi (in English, Nephi)...he's HILARIOUS, he's this little spitfire and literally breakdances.

 a little reminder of home

one I found online from their Zone Conference last Friday

beautiful Oregon

P-day fun at Silver Falls...
(believe it or not, she sent even more pictures!  It was hard narrowing it down to these.)

Monday, February 9, 2015

A Super CRAZY Week

Hi everyone!

This week was a great one. First of all: we're in a trio again! Hermana Aubrey, who has been serving in this ward with us since September, just had her companion go home today. We dropped her off in Newberg really early this morning and, for the next couple of weeks, we'll be serving in a trio, working two areas. It's going to be crazy but it definitely made the most sense. That way, Hermana Aubrey doesn't have to get sent somewhere else and she can still keep all her same investigators. It's definitely the most logical thing but it's also going to make things super crazy hectic for the next few weeks. 

This week has been packed full of crazy things. I don't think I ever told you that Hermana Barrios was called as the other STL (Sister Training Leader). More likely than not, we'll end up being companions at some point. So exciting! This week, we were asked to train in the Zone Training Meeting for the McMinnville Zone. They called us on Thursday afternoon and the meeting was Friday morning. We had a packed day on Thursday so we really didn't have any time to plan anything out. Hermana Barrios and I had agreed to meet 45 minutes before the meeting started in order to really firm things up. Hermana Gifford and I were driving from Salem all the way into Dayton and we left early to make sure we'd have plenty of time. The GPS was taking us a back way through all of this farmland and, at this point, it said we were only about 15 minutes away from our destination.

We make a turn and, all of the sudden, the GPS says "In 1.2 miles, board ferry." We started laughing really hard and we were like, "No way, it can't actually mean that, there has to be a bridge, right? How does it expect us to take our car on a ferry?" We drive the 1.2 miles and, sure enough, there's this little teeny tiny river with a ferry that takes two cars at a time back and forth. It was a "toll ferry" so it cost $8 in cash.  We didn't have any cash on us so we had to turn around and take a detour. That detour made it so we didn't arrive until about 10 minutes before the meeting was to start. Hermana Barrios and I sat down, talked about a few of the thoughts we had going into it, and that was pretty much all we had time for. We said a prayer pleading for help and guidance and for the Spirit to make up the difference in what we didn't have time to plan. Literally only by the grace of God, the whole meeting, all of the training given by everyone, had a really sweet Spirit. The crazy night/morning we had was definitely a huge contrast to the actual meeting, I went from feeling totally stressed and worried to feeling totally calm and guided in the things that we shared. 

After the Zone Training Meeting, we met three new women that are so awesome! The first one is Carmen. We'd gotten her information as a referral and stopped by a few times but she was never there.  It was always one of her kids answering the door who would tell us that she was either sleeping or working. We FINALLY were able to catch her and talk to her and we had a really good conversation about prayer. She's a single mom of seven kids, the littlest one is only three years old. She was telling us how important prayer has been to her in her life and how it's the only thing that has given her peace. We also met Fernanda.  She was taught by missionaries in the past and really wants to learn more about the scriptures.  She understands all the blessings that can come from studying them and really wants those for her life. We also met Carolina. Her sister-in-law and their family attend a ward in West Salem and her nephew is actually on a mission right now in Hawaii. She wants to understand their beliefs and why and what her nephew is doing. 

We're really looking forward to this week and all the great things to come.  We're especially looking forward to being super duper EXTRA busy!

Love you,

Hermana Meise

A view from my window while stopped on a bridge...

Oregon shirts that say "won not done" that were to be sold after the National Championship Game except they actually lost. The shirts were $3 at Dick's so we bought them.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Trust and Love, and Spirit-Infused Work

Hi everyone!

It's been a really good week! On Wednesday, we had a specialized training for leaders that have been called in the last little bit. It was awesome! Pretty much like a mini MLC (Mission Leadership Council). We had great training as always. A lot of the meeting was focused on the relationship between trust and love and how, in order for the people we serve to really trust us, they have to feel loved by us. There is no other way to earn trust but through love, not just in missionary work but in life. If the people we lead don't know we love and care about them, we can never succeed to the point we could or that the Lord expects. 

We also talked about all of the meetings we do as missionaries. I think one of the hardest things about missionary work is that it is pretty repetitive and it's easy to get stuck into a routine. Our schedule is so planned out and tight that it's easy to slip into just going through the motions. Sometimes we forget that the Spirit needs to be infused into every aspect of this work. So, like I said, we talked about that in terms of meetings and how to make sure we have Spirit filled and led meetings. These are the principles we discussed and, really, they apply to everything: meetings, lessons, classes, everything. 

1. Moral Authority- You have to have the moral authority to teach whatever it is you're going to teach. If you don't understand or believe what you're trying to share, it'll never have the power to help anyone else. 

2. Preparation of Learners and Teachers- Everyone must come prepared to be edified together. One of my all time favorite stories of preparation is the Brother of Jared in the Book of Mormon when he's preparing the stones. He did everything he could before he asked the Lord for help, he worked hard to prepare to the best of his capabilities. Likewise, we need to exert ourselves fully and then the Lord can help make our preparation more than we ever could. 

3. Personal and Done in Love- There was a sister in the mission who used to say "The gospel, Preach My Gospel, the scriptures are general until we actually put people in it." If what we're teaching isn't applied and adapted specifically to the PEOPLE we're teaching, it will have little to no meaning for them. 

4. Focused on Fundamentals/Doctrine- It all comes down to the basics. It's the basic doctrine and principles, when understood and applied, that really changes people's hearts. God is the author of simplicity.

I know I'm definitely going to work on applying these principles more to be able to feel the Spirit more abundantly in every part of this work, even the parts that seem mundane.

I love you! Have a great week!


Hermana Meise

A surprise text with photo this week from a friend of Hermana Gifford's grandparent who lives in Oregon.  They stopped in for a visit: