Monday, August 10, 2015

I Seriously Love Them

Hi everyone!

Today, I wanted to talk about this AMAZING family we're teaching! This story starts a while back when we were inputting all the information for the area books. I don't know if you remember when I talked about how we had three area books that we had to manually put into the system? So, as we were doing that, we marked certain people from past records of the area book that we felt we should visit again. On this marked list, we included this family: the mom is named Chayo, the dad is Carlos, and their two kids, Bruce and Jasmine. The list was kind of long and so we've just been working our way through it slowly as we've had time.

About a month ago, right when Hermana Stevens arrived, we set up an appointment to go see Gabby Gomez, our recent convert who was baptized in June. As we were driving over there, I just had the strongest impression that Gabby had someone for us to teach, that she knew someone who needed to hear the gospel right now. When we got there, a woman answered the door and she looked really surprised to see us. She immediately walked away from the door and said, "Tia, the elders are here to see you." and we were thinking,"Uhhh, okay". So we walked in and started talking to all of them. The woman at the door introduced herself as Maria. The more we talked to her, the more comfortable she became. She told us how she had lived in McMinnville six years ago but then moved to California and recently had decided to move back because she saw how negatively the move was affecting her kids. About halfway through the conversation, Gabby referred to Maria as "Chayo" and all a sudden it clicked. I realized who she was! 

We started asking her about being taught by the missionaries before and she told us how she had grown up going to church with Gabby. Two of her kids have been baptized but she never has. She had been thinking lately that maybe it's her time. Since then, we've been teaching her twice a week, every week. We're preparing her to get baptized, the time frame is still up in the air because she said she needed to talk to her boyfriend about getting married and that if he wasn't willing to marry her at this point then she would tell him they couldn't be together anymore because this was more important to her. She's amazing! 

Yesterday, they came to the church as a family for the first time in six years and it was AWESOME! They seemed super happy and glad to be together. It was awesome! Such a good day and such a good family. I seriously love them. 


Hermana Meise

Monday, August 3, 2015

I Love Being a Missionary!

Hi everyone, 

Apologies for last week and not being able to write.  We had a Zone P-day and our activity took a lot of time so we didn't have much time for anything else. Sister Stevens also sprained her ankle so it was a crazy day.

A big update on what's been happening lately:

The biggest thing that has happened is with PANCHO! I don't know if you remember him very well but we were teaching him a while back and then we stopped for a little bit. Lately we've been able to teach him again and it's been going really well.

Pancho is the best. He's Gustavo's friend. We went to the temple with him last weekend and it was a great experience. He's someone that desperately needs the Holy Ghost on a very real level. The day started out a little rough because he wasn't feeling that well. Once we got to the temple, we went to the Visitor's Center and watched the restoration movie and the family movie and, after that, things got a lot better. 

Just inside the Portland temple there's this beautiful little spot called the atrium where anyone can sit.. We had Gustavo take him to the atrium while we waited outside. While they were there, Pancho told Gustavo that his mind had never felt more clear. He said he wanted to stay there forever. When we were walking over by the reflection pool we said to him, "Pancho, don't forget how you felt here today." and he said, "I already told myself that." 

Over the last few weeks, I've seen the Spirit help him to progress and grow spiritually and mentally. If there's one person I've worried about the most on my mission, it's Pancho. My testimony has grown very strong of the power of the Spirit, that it really does make a difference and that it can break through any barrier. A few days later when we went back to teach him, we asked him again about the experience and he told us that he felt "alive". He's preparing right now to be baptized and I am SO EXCITED for him. I'm most excited for him to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost  because I know that it's going to CHANGE him in a very real way and that he'll be able to feel alive and clear-minded always. 

So, that's what's been happening over the last few weeks. We've been teaching him and helping him and he's literally changing. It's actually been amazing. I love being a missionary! 


Hermana Meise

We went to visit someone who lives up in the hills of Dundee on this beautiful vineyard

Note from Mom:  This was part of what she shared this week in her personal email to me...

You know, I really do have a lot of mixed feelings right now about going home and, honestly, if it were up to me I would stay longer. I definitely do not want to leave. But the fact of the matter is that I AM leaving, I do not have a choice. I've been praying for the ability to accept that and adapt quickly. Because my time at home will be short, I especially want to be able to adapt, take it all in stride, and not be one of those missionaries who wallows in sadness for the first month after their mission. So, no, I do not want to come home BUT the fact is that I am. There's nothing to do but choose to be happy. Even already, though, I cry when I start to think about it. Sigh. It will all be good. Pancho will be getting baptized hopefully on Saturday so that will literally be the best day of my life. Just trying to focus on the good.