Monday, March 30, 2015

This week's miracles

Hi everyone!

This week we participated in a play with the ward. For the anniversary of the Relief Society, the ward had a big dinner and, as part of it, our Relief Society wanted to put on a play and asked us to participate. It was a portrayal of the story of the 10 virgins and we were asked to be some of the five wise ones. It was awesome!  Here is a picture of all of us in our outfits:


Miracle one of the week: Last Sunday, this woman named Sandra showed up at the church with her two daughters. They literally just showed up, didn't come with any missionaries or any members. Hermana Barrios and I didn't see her until after the second hour as she was leaving because it was our turn to be in with the youth Sunday School class instead of Gospel Principles. A few days later, we got a call from the Bishop saying she lives in our area and he gave us all the information we needed to go visit her. She is SO awesome! She just came here from Mexico recently with her daughters and she has had it pretty rough, both in Mexico and here. She told us that her brother is a member in Washington and that she was talking to him and he told her "Look, if you want to find the true church and be with people who will love you and be your family, go to this address at this time." And she did! So awesome. We also invited her to come to the General Women's Meeting with us and she and her daughters did. When we asked her what her favorite part was, she said "I can really relate to the woman who was at the temple with her two daughters in the video. It gave me hope. I want to get there someday." She is so wonderful.
the video:
video

Miracle two: Our investigator Aide came with us to church! Originally, we were teaching her mom but she wasn't very interested. Out of nowhere, we realized that Aide was. She's come to mutual before but this was her first Sunday at church. A few hours after church, she sent us a text saying how grateful she was that we invited her to church, how it helped her realize a lot of things, and how she's excited for next week. It was awesome to see her have such a positive experience. It was the day of testimonies and a few of the young women went up and shared their testimonies about how the gospel has affected their lives and we think that helped her more than anything to understand how the gospel can help her personally. Members are so powerful.

Have a great week!

Love,

Hermana Meise


From a baby shower Hermana Gifford and I attended:


Zone P-day at the Tulip Farm...
 










 








Monday, March 23, 2015

The good news


Hi everyone!

I swear, every week goes faster than the last!!  Everything is just blurring together. 

One of my favorite things that happened this week was a lesson we had with a less-active family. We had studied and prayed a lot and felt like the thing this family needed to hear more than anything else was a lesson on the Atonement. When we got into the lesson, it was Hermana Barrios' first time meeting with them so we started talking about other things to kind of help her get to know them a little bit better. The conversation went off in a totally different direction, far from the Atonement. After a little bit, we started talking about missions, and simultaneously, Hermana Barrios and I both started telling the story of our first day in Oregon, of going to the beach, of burying our fears at the foot of that rock. We shared our mission scripture (D&C 6:34):

Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.

We bore testimony about the Atonement and about how Jesus Christ really is the rock upon which we must build. The Spirit was so strong as we bore testimony about the Savior, each one of us in the room could feel the truth of what was being said.

Also this week, Hermana Barrios and I were asked to give trainings in both Forest Grove and McMinnville zones. As we were preparing for the McMinnville one, we felt absolutely stuck. We did not know what it was that we should speak about, we talked about so many ideas. Finally, at 9:30 pm the night before the training, we came to the conclusion that we again needed to talk about the Atonement. We went to bed with that idea in mind and then studied it the following morning. In our personal studies, we both came to the same realization that the "gospel of Jesus Christ" IS the Atonement. If you had asked me last week, I would have said that the gospel of Jesus Christ was faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. However, as I studied, I read the bible dictionary under "gospels" and this is what it says: 


"The word gospel means 'good news.' The good news is that Jesus Christ has made a perfect atonement for mankind that will redeem all mankind from the grave and reward each individual according to his or her works. This atonement was begun by His appointment in the premortal world but was worked out by Jesus during His mortal sojourn."

The Atonement of Jesus Christ is the good news. It's the only thing that allows us to have the hope of one day returning to our Heavenly Father and seeing our loved ones again. Faith, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end are not THE GOSPEL; they are the steps that allow us to gain access to the Atonement of Jesus Christ and to be able to fully feel its power in our lives. I am grateful for this act of love performed by our Savior and I'm especially grateful for this Easter season to be able to celebrate and ponder about it even more.

Love,

Hermana Meise



Just some St. Patrick's Day silliness from last Tuesday...



  

Monday, March 16, 2015

"Coach doesn't know we called this meeting"


Hi everyone! 

It's officially springtime here in Oregon! The weather has been beautiful this past week. It is so warm and sunny. I swear all of this stuff about it raining ALL the time in Oregon is just a rumor. We've had breaks of sun all winter long and now it's just gorgeous out! 

I do not know where this week went. Every week goes faster than the last. We had MLC (Mission Leadership Council) again this week. It is always a highlight because it is so incredibly uplifting. This time was especially so. The APs (Assistants to the President) asked us to come to the church a little bit earlier than usual but didn't explain why. When we got to the church, they recounted to us the scene from Remember the Titans (President's favorite movie, he literally quotes it all the time) when the two captains of the team call a meeting one night. When the team gets there, they start asking where "coach" is and the captains tell them "Coach doesn't know we called this meeting". They explained to us that's exactly what they were doing, that President didn't know but they had asked everyone to come a little bit early so we'd be able to study personally before MLC and ponder about what we were hoping to receive from the day. It was SUCH a simple thing, seriously 20 minutes, but it made all the difference. I made a list of questions we had been struggling with like, "How do we help the other sisters strengthen their companionships?" and "How do you help someone else have a desire to work harder?". I kid you not, every single one of the questions I wrote down was answered through the training sessions that were given. It was amazing. Such a testimony to me that Heavenly Father is so aware of my needs and the things that concern me. It also really illustrated to me the importance of personal preparation. I'm sure had I not pondered specific questions before the meeting, I still would have learned a ton. But I'm not sure that I would have recognized the application of the things I had learned so readily had I not been seeking for specific things. It made me think a lot about the importance of seeking for specific answers. How can the Lord answer questions we aren't even asking? It also made me think a lot about General Conference coming up soon and how the same principles apply. As we seek for specific things, we will receive the answers through the talks that are given by the prophet and his apostles. 

I take back what I said earlier about there being super nice weather. Yesterday was super crazy windy and we were out contacting nearly the whole day! It was the only dreary day the whole week and, of course, it was the one day we were outside the most. BUT we met a ton of awesome people so it was all worth it. 

This is what you call a very bad hair day!


Also, Hermana Gifford and I just happened to show up to church matching so we had to take a picture. 



Love you all! Have a great week! 

Love,

Hermana Meise


Monday, March 9, 2015

This week's adventures...



 
My job as her "mom" is complete


Hi everyone!

This was for sure one of the craziest weeks of my whole mission. So many things so out of the ordinary. First of all, on Monday night, I got sick for the first time in my whole mission. I made it so long, I seriously thought I'd be able to escape it but almost right after emailing on Monday, I got super dizzy and sick. We thought for sure I'd caught some 24 hour flu but I woke up the next morning totally fine. Super duper blessed. 

The next day we had transfers and, just like I guessed, Hermana Barrios came up here to North Salem. It's been really awesome being reunited after living together our first few months on the mission, but what's been cool is to really see how much we've both changed since those days in Forest Grove (a whole year ago!). We're definitely both a lot more fearless and bold, I know great things are about to happen. 

The night of transfers, we were asked by President to drive to the Portland Airport to pick up the new Hermana that was coming in from Mexico so he could do all of the traditional stuff they do with the departing missionaries. So Hermana Barrios and I got to drive to Portland and it ended up being quite the adventure. We obviously had no idea how to get there so we plugged in the GPS and left early enough to be there 30 minutes before her flight was to arrive. Well, the GPS led us to the middle of a neighborhood. It turns out we accidentally selected the destination as a Portland Airport SHUTTLE stop instead of the actual airport! We scrambled around to try and get there and ended up arriving 10 minutes after her flight was expected to land. We parked, hurried inside, and went to the gate where President told us she would be arriving, and nobody was there. We ran down to the baggage claim and all of the luggage was already gone. Obviously, she didn't have a cell phone or any way for us to contact her so we ran back and forth across the airport trying to figure out where she was. Finally, we found a place where we could page her.  We did and it turns out the whole time she had been standing just outside the doors closest to the baggage claim. Her name is Hermana Holt and she is so awesome! She is just so excited to be a missionary and already gave someone a Book of Mormon while she was at the airport. 

After that night, things settled down quite a bit. We saw Margarita and taught her about the Plan of Salvation. It's so interesting how, even though as missionaries you teach the same lessons every time, it's different with every single person. With her, the lesson was focused around how knowing about the Plan of Salvation helps us to understand our true identity, meaning that we are literally sons and daughters of God. Once we understand our true identity and its implications, all of the choices we have to make in this life become more simple. 

This Saturday we'll be going to the temple with Rogelio! We're super excited and know that it'll be a really special experience for him. 

Love you all! Have a great week!

Love,

Hermana Meise 



Monday, March 2, 2015

Powerful Lessons, a Greater Resolve, and an Angry Dog

Hi everyone!

My apologies for the short email last week. It has been super duper hyper crazy! So many things have happened. 

First, let me update you on transfer news. I'll be staying in North Salem AGAIN for another transfer at least and Hermana Barrios will be coming here. I was SO surprised!!! I thought for sure I was out of here this transfer and that Hermana Gifford would take over the area. These past few weeks I've been so sad about the idea of leaving the ward and all the members and the people we're teaching. I was so excited when I found out I'd be staying!!! Plus, a little birdie told us that Hermana Gifford will just be moving to Hayesville so we'll all still be in the ward!! So exciting. 

As I mentioned last week, we had Elder Brent H. Nielson of the First Quorum of the Seventy come and train us on the use of technology. It was amazing how, even though the meeting was centered on technology, I learned so much about things totally unrelated to iPads. He talked to us a lot about agency, for obvious reasons. The proper use of this technology will come down to a wise and proper use of agency. We talked about how when God created the earth, He created two types of things: things to act and things to be acted upon (see 2 Nephi 2:14). We, as children of Heavenly Father, have the power to act and choose for ourselves. When we give into temptation and sin, we surrender that agency and in essence say, "I don't like Father's plan."  When we came to this earth, it's like we were given $1000 worth of agency; we are free to choose whatever we would like. When we make covenants (like baptism), however, we spend that $1000 worth of agency. How much agency are we left with? $0 worth; we've already made our decision. If, from that point on, we choose to go against that covenant, it's not a use of agency, we are just being covenant breakers. I hope that analogy makes as much sense to you as it did to me when he said it. It made so much sense, and left me with a greater resolve to make sure I'm keeping my covenants and acting for myself, not allowing outside circumstances to cause me to create excuses. 

Hermana Gifford got bit by a dog this week! It was the craziest thing. We went to a less-active member's house to visit. When we walked in, their dog was barking super, super loud and we could see in the other room that their son was holding it as it was thrashing around and going nuts. We didn't think too much of it and went into the other room to teach. We started the lesson and the barking died down a little bit. After a little while, all of a sudden the dog comes CHARGING in from the other room and starts biting at Hermana Gifford's legs, not in a cute playful way but in a legitimate trying-to-cause-harm way. It latched on before the Hermano could jump up and take the dog away so it caused a little damage, nothing too horrible. Between the shock and the pain Hermana Gifford was in, we were all debating whether to leave or stay. In the end, we decided to stay and ended up having one of the most powerful lessons of my whole mission about the Atonement. Hermana Gifford was such a trooper about it. After the lesson, a little rubbing alcohol and ice cream fixed it right up :)

Have a great week!

Love,

Hermana Meise

The bite:

On our way to the Training Meeting:

Ones I found online from the training meeting:



Note from Mom:  Here's a small part of an email Hayley sent to Robyn, her sister-in-law, this week...

(I'm) trying to kick it up into high gear these last six months. It is the scariest thought in the world that in six months I'll be done! Still so much to accomplish and so much to become. I actually have really grown to love this ward and all the people.  I think as I've started to take that attitude and perspective, they've started to love us more in return.