Monday, April 27, 2015

A Perfect Plan

Hi everyone!

My entire mission I've heard "Oh there's no Spanish work in Bend, there're just no Hispanics out there". I would always feel bad for the Spanish missionaries who were sent there because everyone said it was like being exiled. They used to have a Spanish Group here attached to an English ward but it got shut down because it had been so small for so long. 

Let me tell you, all those people who told me that were wrong. Since I got here, I've been trying to understand what in the world I'm doing in an English ward; why was I sent out here?  We've been trying to ask as many people as we could if they knew, in general, where Hispanic people might live but no one could really tell us. We hit the jackpot this week. We teach a returning less active man who is the manager of a trailer park and we decided to ask him if he knew of any Hispanics living in those trailers. He literally gave us a list of THIRTY TRAILERS we could go to. We've only had time to visit one of them so far but just from that one, we found three new investigators! We are SO EXCITED. We also went on exchanges this week and were able to find two more Hispanic people to teach just within a couple hours. (Sister McCrite is in that ward so she'll be able to teach them.)  It's been awesome. Such a testament to me that the Lord has a perfect plan and that He puts people exactly where He needs them.

We have this awesome investigator, Johnise, we just started teaching.  She's SO amazing! Her fiancĂ© is a member in California (originally from Italy). She is probably one of the most genuine and sincere people I have ever met. She accepts everything we teach her and just wants to know more. She is getting baptized on June 2nd. We are so excited. She came to a baptism this past week and also attended church for the first time on Sunday. She is the definition of golden-- no big concerns or objections, just loves what we're saying and knows that it's true right off the bat.

We also had the opportunity to go to the temple this past week! the Portland Temple is three-and-a-half hours away from Bend so it made for a long longgg day but so worth it. Below are some pictures of our zone and also of Sister Rosado and I.

Love you all! Have a good week!


Hermana Meise

Monday, April 20, 2015

Hello, Bend!

Hi everyone!

Greetings from Bend, Oregon! I am officially over the mountain! So, for those of you who don't know much about Oregon, the majority of our mission is located in what they call "the valley". That's where I've been all of my mission. I just got transferred into Central Oregon in a city called Bend which is basically in the mountains and it's what they call a "high desert". It is so different! It seriously looks like a desert filled with pine trees. It's the weirdest thing but so, so pretty. 

I'm serving in the Cascade Crest ward. This is the wealthiest ward in the mission.  It's been SO weird going from visiting people in teeny tiny apartments to eating fancy dinners in mansions. (As a side note, on Friday we're going to eat with a family that lives in the same neighborhood as Jack from Lost...I'm not even kidding.) I cannot even describe how weird it has been going back into an English ward. It doesn't even feel like the same mission. I feel like I literally started over and this is something totally different than I was doing before. It's been good, though. I feel so grateful for the opportunity to be a missionary in English and to learn all of the skills of sharing the gospel in English. 

My new companion is Sister Rosado. I knew her a little bit from MLCs but we've never served around each other. She is awesome!

Last week, obviously, included a lot of hard goodbyes, but the hardest of all came last Monday night. We had planned a FHE (Family Home Evening) with Margarita, Cinthia, and the Aguirre family. At the last minute, Margarita said she wouldn't be able to make it. We explained that it was my last night and that I really wanted to say goodbye and she said she could come. When we got there, we watched a movie about the pioneers and all of the sacrifices and struggles they went through but how, through it all, they were so faithful to God. The movie included so many tragedies, but every time something bad happened, they always bore testimony and expressed their faith and trust in God. Afterwards, Hermano Aguirre started talking about Margarita's grandfather and how he had seen him a few days before he passed away. Hermano Aguirre told Margarita that just like those pioneers in the movie bore testimony, her grandfather had done the same to him in that last week before he died. The spirit was so strong in that room as we talked about the gospel and her grandfather and I will never ever forget that night. I cried and cried saying goodbye to her, I just love her SO much. She is SUCH a special girl and I have felt that since the very first day I met her.
Here are some pictures from the past week, the rest of my goodbyes:

This is Luisito. The very first night I came to his house for dinner nine months ago, he said to us "I was going to make you Nutella banana bread but then I decided no". Ever since then, I've been giving him a hard time about it so for my last night he made it.

The Mejia family!

 The Aguirres, Margarita, and Cinthia. The elders stopped by to say goodbye to the Aguirres, too, because one of them was getting transferred so they crashed our pics.

Have a great week!


Hermana Meise

Monday, April 13, 2015

Goodbye, North Salem...

Hi everyone! 

It's really happening! I'm getting transferred! I honestly did not see it coming this transfer. I, for sure, thought I was safe. I'll still be serving as STL (Sister Training Leader); I just don't think it'll be for Spanish. But I'll find out tomorrow. So nervous! 

Honestly, if you had told me nine months ago that leaving this ward would feel like leaving home all over again I would not have believed you. I have come to really love these people, this area, and the people we're teaching. This is probably the hardest part of missionary work - the getting attached and then having to leave. It is the weirdest feeling. 

I think one of the biggest things I've learned from this ward is the strength of unity and charity. This ward has changed so much in the time I've been here and I'm so glad I was here to see it. I know when we focus on having true Christlike love for others, we begin to see them in a different way-- in the way Heavenly Father sees them. 

I love this ward and I love being a missionary. It truly is the best! I'm so sad to leave - so, so sad - but I know Heavenly Father has a plan and a purpose in everything. 

Here are pictures of some of my goodbyes. We still have some to do tonight so more to come next week.

Andrade family

With Keila

 Neighbor Gabby with her sons

Best friends - adorable!

 Bishop and his sons

 Hermano & Hermana Deloyas...He was the Ward Mission Leader when I came to North Salem and she is the Relief Society President.  Their daughter, Nohely went on a mission to Ohio.

 Ramirez family...The father was baptized in December; yesterday he baptized his son.

 Another Ramirez family

With Cynthia...she came out with us all the time and is starting to fill out her mission papers

With Cynthia's sister, Tiffany

 With Hermana Bartshe

With our district:

And Zone:

Love you all! 


Hermana Meise

Note from Mom:  Another bonus photo.  Hayley was on an exchange with Sister Kinneard last week.  Her mom sent me this photo.  Sister Kinneard was born in our area and their family attended our ward. They moved away just a few years before we moved into the area. Hermana Meise and Sister Kinneard arrived in the Salem Oregon mission at the same time and met then. Her mom and I discovered our connections (plus a few more) while talking on Facebook. This world just keeps getting smaller and smaller.

Monday, April 6, 2015

We'll Bring the World His Truth

Hi everyone!

This has been such a great week, ESPECIALLY with being able to watch General Conference.  General Conference is one of the most exciting things that happens in a missionary's life.  I was so grateful to be able to listen to a living prophet and apostles and to hear their inspired counsel.  As I was listening, my mind was going all over the place thinking about how their words apply to the people we are teaching, the ward here as a whole, and also me personally.  I could definitely feel the spirit testifying that these men truly are the Lord's representatives as they spoke.

I especially enjoyed the talk by Elder Nielsen who just happens to be the general authority that visited our mission a few months ago.  I was touched by his personal experience with his sister and his family's love and determination.  It truly is unconditional love that softens hearts.  I also loved the talk by Elder Holland.  He is always my favorite.  The analogy he shared really illustrated to me our complete dependence on the Savior.  Sandra was able to join us at one of the sessions as well which was awesome.

This past week we also had another opportunity to go to the airport.  At 3:00 AM, we drove to Portland to drop off a sister missionary.  That same day we had MLC (Mission Leadership Conference) which started at 9:00 AM.  It was a long day and an amazing one.

This MLC focused on technology and the new pilot program that is taking place in our mission.  The training focused on the principles found in the story of the two thousand stripling warriors and how they apply to us today. One of the thoughts President shared that really stuck with me was based on the scripture Alma 56:47-48:

 47 Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.
 48 And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it.
He related that to how some of us may not always believe we can do everything that is required of us but we don't need to doubt that President knows we can, prophets and apostles know we can, and the Lord knows we can.  At the end of the day we sang, "We'll Bring the World His Truth". I'll never sing that song again without thinking of that day. The spirit was so strong and I felt we truly are counterparts of the stripling warriors today.
from the MLC: 

Two awesome miracles happened with Margarita this week. One night, as we were driving to go visit a member, we saw a girl on the side of the road and realized it was Margarita. We quickly pulled over and got out to talk to her. We set up an appointment for later but at the last minute she had to cancel. We were sad because we have not been able to see her lately. A few days later, as we were driving to another appointment, all of a sudden we felt we needed to go see Margarita. We haven't had much success catching her lately but we figured we'd try. It was already late when we knocked on her door. She was getting ready for bed but nonetheless she let us in and we were able to talk about how we build our relationship with our Heavenly Father through prayer and scripture study. She showed us a piece of paper she found which was a note she had written her grandfather almost a year ago the first time he entered the hospital. It was a sweet letter talking about how he was her best friend and how she would always put God and him first in her life. I just love her. She is such a kind, tender person.

This week we went on exchanges with Hermana Gifford and Hermana Aubrey. I was with Hermana Gifford in Hayesville. We knew they had been struggling lately with finding people to teach and a few of their most promising investigators recently dropped them. We tried to find contacts through various ways throughout the day (contacting previous investigators, referrals, etc.) but nothing was really happening. We went back to the apartment for dinner and, as we were leaving, we said a very specific prayer that we would be led to find one person who would be prepared to hear the gospel. A short while later, we were walking down the street and ended up behind a Hispanic woman pushing a stroller and walking with three other children. She was going SUPER fast but we felt we needed to talk to her; we were just trying to figure out how. We looked at each other, jumped into the bike lane on the road, and started jogging next to her, talking with her and teaching. She kept moving and didn't seem very eager to talk with us but we kept going. Then something amazing happened. Hermana Gifford pulled out one of the cards for the He Lives video and, as soon as she saw the picture of Christ, she stopped dead in her tracks. We talked to her for a few more minutes and she gave us her address and said we could come by whichever afternoon we wanted. The Lord answers prayers! It was such a testimony to me that when we act, we receive and that finding people is directly linked to faith.

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter Sunday.


Hermana Meise

We went to dinner at a member's house who lives out in the country and this was our view just as we got to their house:

Bonus picture this week...another missionary mom who lives in Oregon and whom I met on Facebook just happened into a Panera Bread restaurant last week and saw the sister missionaries. She asked if she could take their picture and post it on the Facebook page which she started for moms of missionaries serving all over the world. I belong to that group along with 7,000+  other moms and dads. Hayley mentioned that her mom is a part of that Facebook group. When asked who her mom was, Hayley said my name and the MM said, "I know your mom!" Small world, indeed.