Monday, June 29, 2015

A Week in the Life of Hermana Meise

Hi everyone!

I hope you are all doing well. It's been a great week for me. Okay, so I've been getting super into taking a picture every single day and I think for this week, I'm just going to tell you about my week through pictures. I'm going to start with Tuesday because I sent last Monday's picture with last week's email.


First of all, we had an amazing lesson with our investigator, San Juana. She is an awesome lady and I love her. We had this whole awesome lesson plan mapped out in order to answer all of the questions that she had about the Plan of Salvation. When we got there, I don't even know what happened but we just started asking her all these questions about different things she was feeling and, by the end of it, we were able to really get down to the heart of what has been keeping her from progressing all these months and months that the missionaries have been visiting her. By the end of the time we spent with her, we were all in tears and I really came to a new level of charity and appreciation for her. Now moving forward, we know much, MUCH better how she is feeling and how we can really help her personally. So awesome.

These pictures are from our dinner appointment that night. We went to eat with an awesome family in the ward and they also invited their friend who just got baptized yesterday. The two little kids in the picture are the kids of the woman who got baptized. The little girl LOVES to give hugs and the little boy is just too cool for any of that. They're awesome. I also want to point out the picture that's above my shoulder in the first picture. EVERY FAMILY has pictures like these, they're called glamour photos. There are special people that come up from LA to do these pictures. They do all your make up and give you the clothes and what not and it's like a BIG THING here.


These pictures come with a story. Our ward mission leader is this awesome guy who works with the grapes but also has his own blueberry farm in his backyard where he grows and then sells them. He knows that Sister Johnson and I have been struggling to the max with allergies and so at Correlation Meeting on Wednesday he said, "Hermanas, I want you to come over to my house now because i have something to give you." When we got there, he gave us this container of honey that he got from the bees he has (local honey is good for allergies). Then he asked us if we liked blueberries and brought us back into his huge orchard and let us pick that WHOLE BUCKET of blueberries in that picture. He told us this super cool story about how he used to have all kinds of different things growing back there that they would eat as a family like cucumbers, peppers, all kinds of different things. He said one day he just got this impression that he needed to cut down everything he had and replace it all with blueberries. He said he went home that day and removed every plant he had. Once he had done that, he had the impression that blueberries would pay for the mission of his son. At the time, his son was 17. Within those two years before his son left, he had made enough from selling his blueberries that he didn't have to pay anything out of his regular salary. Pretty cool, huh?


We taught A LOT of lessons.. It was awesome. We taught a girl named Antonia, someone fairly new to us. Antonia was originally being taught by the English elders because she speaks English but they thought she would do better with us. Plus, her whole family speaks Spanish. So we started teaching her. Then she said she wanted us to teach her dad and mom and brother who also live in McMinnville so we went over yesterday to meet them and they had their granddaughter over who is actually a member. Crazy connections. BUT amid all this teaching, it was 111 degrees. Here's a picture of our car odometer to prove it.


We taught a lot on Friday. A lot of contacting with people in the area book. We also had ZTM (Zone Training Meeting), and afterward we went to Wendy's with gift cards that Hermana Johnson's grandma sent us.  We went and got frosty's to cool us off.


Saturday was an awesome day! There was an event in a neighboring town that we're technically the missionaries over and we got asked by an English-speaking member over there to come in case there were any Hispanic people. We went in the morning but there were absolutely NO Hispanics so we left pretty early. Afterward, we went and taught and visited a lot of people. We taught a new family we found a while ago that wants to come to church. We also were walking down the street and started talking to this man. It turns out it's our ward mission leader's uncle and he was being taught by elders a while back before he had to go back to Mexico for a little bit.

Then after that, we had dinner with a recent convert named Gustavo (who is going on a mission to Tijuana in September!) and his family. Their family is SO, SO Hispanic so we took pictures in his backyard to prove it. Got our chicken, soccer ball, cactus growing...we even made Gustavo put on his cowboy hat that west-coast Hispanics love. We ate huaraches which are SUPER good so we took a pic of that too because it just all went together.

Our email exchange after me seeing this last picture:

M:  "YOU DRANK MILK?????" (She would NEVER drink milk straight from a glass pre-mission)

H:  hahahaha  It's not milk; it's horchata which is like this rice milk with cinnamon and sweetened condensed milk. It's SO GOOD and it's not like milk! 


Sunday was great!  We went to church and had some of the people we're teaching come which is always AWESOME. 

Okay, so this is kind of a long story... There's this super, SUPER cute girl named Sofia and every Sunday we have dinner with her family and a couple other families from the ward. My first Sunday there, we were at one of the family's houses and were reading The Friend. There was something in there about how Best Friend's Day was June 18th.  Sofia said, "Oh my goodness, we should get together on Best Friend's Day and make cake pops and best friend bracelets." We missed it on the 18th because we were busy but we rescheduled it for the 28th because we were going to be together anyway for dinner. So yesterday, we had a "best friend tea party" and we had hot Cheetos and butterscotch chips and we actually did make bracelets and she was SO happy. It was pretty cute. Then we taught some people and went to the baptism. It was a great day.

So, yeah, it was a great week! I hope you liked the stories and the pictures. Have a great week! 


Hermana Meise

Bonus photo from a member:

Monday, June 22, 2015

I really love this area, these people, and Oregon

Hi everyone! 

It was another great week! It's getting SO HOT here in Oregon. It really finally feels like summer which is great. And all the fruit is growing! We went to pick cherries a couple weeks ago. I don't think I ever had  fresh cherries until I moved to Oregon and I LOVE them. Literally, we can just walk down the street and pick cherries as we walk. I will never get over how amazing that is. 

I don't think I've told you before about our investigator, Poncho. There's this recent convert named Gustavo, he's 25 and he's leaving for a mission in September for Tijuana.  He's AWESOME! We've been teaching his childhood best friend, Poncho, for a little while now; in fact, the whole time I've been here. He's absolutely amazing to teach because everything we teach is like the most amazing thing he has ever heard. He told us last week when we were teaching him that his goal is to be baptized because he really wants to have that fresh start that baptism offers us. It's so awesome. We're shooting for the end of July but we'll see how it goes! He takes a little while to process things so we're going to have to go super slow with him. BUT he has the desire which is most important.

We had this awesome ward activity this week. It was a Father's Day BBQ sponsored by the Primary. We played games, ate, and it was super fun. The best part was that we had a lot of our investigators that we invited, come! I think five or six of them were there? It was awesome! I swear sometimes having investigators come to activities is like being a parent chaperoning a school activity for your kids and trying to watch them make friends. It's this weird in between thing where we want them to make their own friends and we want to help them but we don't want to hover. So we introduce them to someone and then step out and creepily (haha) watch from a distance to see how it goes. It's great. McMinnville is really good in that the branch is big enough but the branch is not too big so almost every person we meet already knows someone in the branch which makes things sooooo much easier. It's awesome! I really love this area, these people, and Oregon. Here are some pictures from the week:

Father's Day BBQ


We went over to a member's house for dinner. We were super full and could NOT finish all the food they gave us so we took it home. They were teasing us hard core about not finishing and playing like they were so offended so we took a picture to prove to them we did eat it for lunch the next day. 

Weekly Planning

The prettiest sunset ever

 District Meeting over breakfast... 
It was one of the elder's birthday so the other elders made pancakes 

Random volleyball game? She's on the other side of the net

Book light that came in a cereal box


Hermana Meise

Monday, June 15, 2015

I just LOVE these people!

Hi everyone!

This week was actually super great! We had some really special things happen. We had a mission tour with Elder Daniel Johnson of the Quorum of the Seventy. We literally spent the whole day with him. It was awesome! 

We started off by having a big zone conference basically with all the missionaries from a few of the zones around here. Then after that, we had a member missionary fireside with the Bishop, Relief Society President, Elder's Quorum President, Ward Mission Leader, and their spouses. After that, there was a Lamanite Conference for all of the members of the Spanish Speaking units in the whole mission. Elder Johnson grew up in Chihuahua, Mexico and he served as Mission President and an Area Authority in Spanish speaking areas for a long time. Him and his wife were able to speak to all of the people and it was SO cool. Everyone from Forest Grove, Salem, and McMinnville ward/branches were all there. There were so many of my very favorite people ALL in the same room. I don't even know how to describe it, it was like a family reunion of sorts. So. very. happy. As I was sitting there in that room with all of them and we all started singing the first hymn, I was overwhelmed by the love I felt for all of those people. It hit me so strong in that moment. I just LOVE these people! At the conference, Elder Johnson talked about the blessings of daily scripture study. It was the perfect message.

 Lamanite Conference...reunited with missionaries from my previous zone


Gabby got baptized yesterday!!! She is someone the sisters had been teaching before I got here and she is so awesome. It was such a beautiful baptism. We did it a little differently because that was the way she wanted it. Instead of having people give talks about baptism and the Holy Ghost as is usually done, we had a few members bear their testimonies and it was so amazing. The Spirit was so strong and it was so personal to her. I especially felt the Spirit as she was being confirmed. I just felt the reality of that ordinance and what a blessing it was going to be for Gabby specifically to have the companionship of the Spirit in her life. 

More pictures...

One of the members gave us these Takis for helping them with their yard.
Takis are these spicy tortilla chips rolled up like taquitos that Hispanics are
OBSESSED with. They're super good!

Hermana Aubrey, Elder Floisand and I all came to the mission together from the CCM. Here we are with Lexi.

 Alejandra is this AWESOME lady who was baptized in Woodburn.

With Kika


 Lexi's brother, Chamuco

Love you all! Have a great week!


Hermana Meise

Many thanks to the wonderful sister who reached out to me and has supplied me with some great pictures like the one at the top.

Monday, June 8, 2015

A different kind of week

My new companion, Hermana Johnson

Hi everyone! 

This week has been kind of different. I think I already told you that we got our iPads back a little while ago. They're releasing our use of them in stages this time. The first stage was using it for studying and teaching. We just moved into the second stage which involves using it as a planning tool. Before, we used paper records to keep track of everything but now everything has to be put into iPad form. So basically, we've been required to spend the past week transitioning all these records onto the iPad by hand, like 10 years of records. It's crazy. It's been occupying so much of our time and it's frustrating to not be doing regular missionary work. But it's okay; it has to be done and it'll make it all less complicated in the future.  

BUT we did still see some cool things happen this week. There was one day, especially, that was just a day of miracles. Our ward mission leader had given us a referral to go see someone he works with that the sisters taught a month ago. They said when they taught him, he was not interested and straight up told them so. Our Ward Mission Leader said this person is going through a hard time right now and so it might be a good time to go and see him. We went and he was seriously a different person. We talked about how the gospel can literally change his family and how it's not going to be easy but that Heavenly Father has provided a perfect plan to help him. 

Then, we drove up the road a little bit to go visit another person the sisters used to teach. Outside, in the road, there was a family so we went and talked with them. There was this awesome girl we met who just had a baby three months ago. She talked with us about how her life has changed since she became a mom and the hopes she has for her new family. We, once again, talked about how the gospel can bless her family at these beginning stages and far into the future. She was really excited to have us come back this next week. 

After that, we went to go see if one of our investigators wanted to come to church . He wasn't home but, on the way, we met this group who were outside having a party. They were four families all together and after we talked with them a little bit, they all gave us their contact information so we could come visit them again. 

And THEN, we went to see another previous investigator who we've been trying to see but can never catch and she AND her husband were both there. We were able to sit down and have a lesson with them and set something up for this week as well! 

Keep in mind all this happened in the last three hours of the day. It was AWESOME. Heavenly Father definitely blessed us to be able to get as much done as possible in the little time we had and it was awesome. 

I love you all! Have a great week! 


Hermana Meise

Monday, June 1, 2015

Another reminder of His Perfect Plan

Hi everyone!

I am officially settled in and serving in the area of McMinnville Spanish.  We cover five small towns in this area and are one of two sets of missionaries serving in the Dayton Spanish Branch. The branch is awesome!! Sunday, in PEC, the Branch President told us that the paperwork has been started to officially turn it into a ward so that's SUPER exciting! I'm really hoping I'll still be here when they have their first Sunday as a ward. One of the things I really love about this branch is that it is incredibly united; it just has a really good family vibe. 

We had the coolest thing happen last night! There is this old man named Rogelio that the previous missionaries had met a while ago but hadn't contacted since. We went over there this week and taught him a bit outside (he lives alone so we couldn't go in) and we set up an appointment to come back on Sunday night. 

Last night, we were at a lesson with someone else and it ended up running super late, like SUPER late. We had planned to bring a member with us to the lesson with Rogelio and we had to go pick them up to bring them. By the time we got to Rogelio's house, we were 45 minutes late. At this point, I was feeling a little stressed because I don't like to be behind schedule, ESPECIALLY when we have a member with us. Luckily, the member was super duper nice about it and the Hermano and Hermana both came with us. Anyways, when we got to Rogelio's it was really late. We walk up and there was this young guy standing outside the house at the top of the driveway not doing anything. We went and asked him if Rogelio was there. He said he was but that he had already gone to sleep. In my head I was disappointed because we had brought the members with us and I knew it had been our fault for being so late. But THEN we started talking to this guy (who's name is also Rogelio) and it turns out he is the grandson of the original Rogelio that we met.

He started telling us a little about himself. He had grown up in California and had gotten into some really bad activities. He witnessed something really tragic and, after that, swore off of that kind of lifestyle. His wife and kids are living elsewhere right now and he's doing everything he can to try and get them to Oregon. I just wish you had been able to hear the way this guy talked about his family and the deep, deep love he has for them. He and the member couple really hit it off and we spent the next hour-and-a-half out on that driveway, listening to stories from his life and then relating that to gospel truths that will bless him and his family. He said he had been waiting on that driveway, waiting for someone to come pick him up but that someone never came. I am convinced, even if he didn't know it, he was waiting there for us.

This experience was one of the countless times on my mission I've realized the plan we have is NOT always the plan Heavenly Father has. Because I was so stuck on our plan, I got frustrated about being late but, in Heavenly Father's plan, that was the perfect time to arrive. In my plan, I was sure we were there to see Rogelio Sr. and that we had figured out the perfect members to bring to have a great lesson with him but in Heavenly Father's plan, we were really there to see Rogelio Jr. and to teach him about the gospel during this really difficult and lonely time in his life. I am so glad Heavenly Father has a perfect plan.  I am grateful that he just asks us to do our best and then he takes that and makes something far superior with it. God is good. 

Hope you have a great week! 

Con amor,

Hermana Meise

Saying goodbye to Hermana Perez as she leaves to go home...
(They're going to be roommates in the Fall)

Goodbye, Hermana Rosado!

More Transfer Day pictures with Hermanas Duckett and Rosado

As were were driving away from the mission home...
These mountains are called "The Three Sisters"
how appropriate :-)