Wednesday, July 23, 2014

And the tan lines begin...

"Through the years I have watched countless missionaries come and go, and I have seen extraordinary things happen in their lives and in the lives of their families as a result. The work they are called to do is hard and sometimes discouraging. But because they have the assurance that they are on God´s errand, they are able to valiantly serve Him. I often suggest to those who want to know if the Church is true that they spend a few hours working with our missionaries. It doesn´t take long to learn that no one can do all of the things a missionary does every day without knowing beyond any question that what they are doing is right and true. The Lord does bless His missionaries just as surely as they bless the lives of those they teach and baptize. Difficult languages are learned with astonishing speed and skill. Financially strapped families back home find unforseen means to support their missionaries. Weaknesses become strengths, challenges become opportunities, trials become triumphs, and adversity becomes an adventure in the service of the Lord- another fruit of gospel living." -M. Russell Ballard.

woo! I couuld leave it at that and be done..He explains it perfectly.I add my testimony to that of Elder Ballard. I know this is the work of the Lord, that he stands shoulder to shoulder with his full-time missionaries and members are we hasten this work.

This week we had the privelege to teach an atheist! Talk about was really hard actually...he made fun of us a lot, and was´s hard when you put your whole soul into something and testify with power and the person listening doesn´t care, or doesn´t feel anything...after teaching about the Atonement and sharing some very powerful scriptures, with a smile on his face he said, "He didn´t do anything for us. He didn´t do anything for me!" AHHHH! I chose not to be too frustrated though, because I realize that everybody has free agency, that they can choose to accept or reject our message. What made my heart hurt after this lesson though, is that this investigador (Isaac) is so sad. He thinks he´s happy, but it´s so apparent that he´s not. He was married and had a daughter, and for some reason they left. He misses them. Although he has his alcohol and a good job and he thinks everything is fine and dandy, we saw the sadness in his eyes as he talked about how much he misses his daughter. He longs to have his family back. He lacks something in life, and although he wasn´t very receptive to our message, we have another appointment this week, and for that I´m grateful. So many people in this world are sad, are confused..They need what we have. The Gospel of Jesus Christ brings hope, direction, peace, and comfort into our lives, without such, I don´t even know what I would do. 

That lesson was probably the highlight of my week! haha..The sun was probably the worst this week then the 2 and a half months I´ve been here. The tan lines on my feet are wicked, I´ll send a picture :) hope that´s not too weird..
Also, the second picture is of our zone :)

well. I think that´s all for this week! I love you all!!

Hermana Maki 

Also, If anyone wants to send letters, here´s the address. The old one works just fine too, no worries...but they moved the offices so here´s the new one :)

Hermana Melody Maki
Mexico Merida Mission
Calle 70  #521A X 65 y 67 
Col. centro
97000 Merida

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Happy in my yellow hammock

HELLOOOOO from Mexico..I feel happy as ever and am enjoying the work! It seems like every week, when I begin to feel a little tired or worn out, P-day is right around the corner and I have just a little bit of time to rejuvenate and get ready for the next week! We had a 5 hour meeting this morning with practices as well, where we were given certain scenarios and then had 15 minutes to teach a the beginning of my mission and in the MTC I really HATED practices (role play) but I´m starting to really see the benefits. I also realize that it´s all about my attitude..that if I go into it believing that I can learn something new and benefit from the practices, that´s exactly what happens! I love teaching with other missionaries too because I always learn from their example and how they teach and then take home new ideas of things I can apply in my teachings. I felt like I learned so much just this morning, and it was my attitude that made the difference.

Something great happened this week...I didn´t mention this earlier, but I haven´t been able to sleep in my all. It sounds fun, but really it´s not..however, there´s nothing I can do to change that! I will be sleeping in a hammock for the next 15 months and that´s that..however, I asked some advice from my district leader and he, like all of the other elders, bought his own hammock shortly after arriving, because the ones we receive from the mission office are good, but they aren´t very big or he went and bought his own that´s about twice as big....He suggested that I do that as well..but they´re expensive and ain´t nobody got time for that..
Well, what do ya know?? My companion had an extra hammock that a sister in her last area gave her that she doesn´t use.. Mine is a size 7, this one is like 11 or 12, significantly larger, and I can sleep!! Not perfectly, not the same as in my bed, but it´s made a huge difference. She is so amazing that she said I could HAVE it...
It´s the little things. This was small, but I´m grateful to my companion for her kindness and I´m grateful I have somewhere to sleep every night!

This week was super great, we had 4 investigadors in the chapel yesterday and have a few baptisms planned for the upcoming weeks.. My spanish is improving a little every day, and as I trust in the Lord and seek for his help and guidance in this work, I feel his love and his hand every single day. He knows what I need, but he wants me to ask. The same for each of you! He knows your needs! He´s waiting to reach down and help, when we reach up and ask. I love this Gospel so very much and know it´s true without any doubt in my heart. 

I love you all and keep you in my prayers always. Have a wonderful week :)

Hermana Maki. 

P.S. Picture- Me in my new yellow hammock, happy as can be

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Let´s choose to be grateful

Another week that literally flew by! This week was a little tough..we have lots of people to teach but no one will keep their comittments or come to church! Easy sometimes to find new investigadors, hard to have progresssing investigadors and prepare them for baptism, but none the less, it was a good week and I´m grateful we´ve got work to do every single day. 

Something that´s really been on my mind this week is not one of our investigadors, but rather, our ward mission leader (side note: my investigadors are ALWAYS on my mind) Anyway, he is a 60 yr. old man, Hermano Alvarado. He is the BEST. He´s so happy. He´s so outgoing, so energetic, just high on life. He talks to everyone in the street about the gospel, and takes a list to the mission office every week with referalls. He comes to lessons with us usually 3-4 times/week (if not more) The gospel is EVERYTHING for him, and it shows. What I didn´t know about him until just recently is his circumstances. He owns a small business from his house, selling cookies. His wife and him are seperated. He doesn´t have much money for food and looks skinnier everytime I see him. His meager home consists of a refrigerator, an oven, and a hammock. Selling his cookies is just enough to get him by day by day. 

I think of the conference talk, "Grateful in any circumstances" by President Uchtdorf. He says "Instead of being grateful for things, [I suggest] we focus on being grateful in our circumstances- whatever they may be." As I try and be grateful in my circumstances as a full-time missionary, I realize that just like President Uchtdorf says earlier in the talk, we must make gratitude a way of live.  "Could I suggest that we see gratitude as a disposition, a way of life that stands independent of our current situation?" 

I can´t just be grateful on the good days! The people here are so wonderful and grateful for the simple, happy lives they live. They aren´t grateful for things, because they don´t have much. But they´re grateful for each new day, for the Gospel, and for their families. I´m learning how to live without things and still be grateful and happy. It´s possible :) 

I love you all and hope you´ll join with me in trying to make gratitude more of a way of life every day :) 

P.S. The picture I attached this week is me buying water! Everyone worries and reminds me not to drink the water, and don´t you even worry! I don´t! We pay 10 pesos (less than a dollar!) and fill up our big jug with purified water across the street, and after that we still have to use a water bottle with a filter that we received in the mission. It was definitely new at first, to have to lug a big culligan jug just to go get drinking water, but you adjust quickly and learn that that´s just what we do here! Love ittttt. 
Hasta Luego!

Hna. Maki 

Another week in the life of Hermana Maki :)

I know it probably sounds weird for a missionary to "not have much news" but I´m sad to say that I really don´t have much this week, and I´m not sure why! We worked hard all week and walked lots!

Last Monday, I went to WALMART! I felt like I was at home..and I felt very was weird.
The world cup is this month for soccer, and it´s been hard to find new people because everyone´s in their houses watching the televisión. Half of our ward left after sacrament meeting yesterday to watch the game, but Mexico lost, and I´m convinced it´s for that reason..haha. Futbol here is their religión! P Day last week, we were in Centro (it´s like the main touristy downtown part of Merida) and in the plaza they had a big screen and everyone was watching, including the workers and owners of the we would go into a store and it´d be empty! Everyone thought we were crazy for not watching, even though we wanted to reallyyyyy bad. And when Mexico scored, wow! You could´ve Heard the people yelling and screaming 20 miles a way! Everyone freaks out. Love itttt.

This morning, I was reflecting back on this past week, and for a Split second I was thinking that it was kind of boring, but really, that´s not true. I´m a missionary, my life is never boring! Everyday there´s new experiences, new people, new challenges, miracles, the whole bit.
Even though I don´t have much to say this week, what´s more important is that I´m learning more than I ever thought was posible in such a short period of time. I´ve never felt so excited about reading the Book of Mormon, and about learning more about the Gospel..not just for myself, but so that I can share what I learn everyday with others.

Last week, 16 new sisters arrived in the misión! 8 of them were Americans, and so they stayed in our house for their first night! We got em all set up in their hammocks and it was so much fun. It made me think about how much I have learned in six short weeks, because they couldn´t speak Spanish to save their lives or understand a single word my companion said...and I don´t say that to be rude, but simply it helped me see the Lord´s hand in my life and in my misión specifically..because without his help, I would never have learned Spanish at this pace, I´m not fluent by any means, but I´ve seen progress.. I feel the Lord´s hand every single day guiding me and supporting me, and how grateful I am for that

I love you all and will talk to you in a walk!
Que se cuiden BUEEEEENO!

Hermana Maki.


And my second transfer begins! (thus the subject line of this email) second cambio (transfer) out of 12..time is beginning to go by faster and faster.

Sorry that I didn´t email last week, just wasn´t enough time.. but the good news is that I have lots to write about today :)

One of my favorite things about Mexico is pan dulce. Direct translation I guess would be "sweet bread." Remember in Nacho Libre the tricycle that Nacho had (the blue one?) They´re everywhere. It´s like I´m living the movie Nacho Libre. Anyway, everyday from 3 o´clock on..the panaderos ride around on their tricycles selling pan, and it´s super cheap. It will probably be the deciding factor as to whether or not I come home super thin, or super...huge. My companion and I LOVE it. I took a picture this week after buying some. 
The opposite of that, one of my least favorite things, is probably waking up at 5 on P-day to wash my clothes, in my wonderful 5 gallon bucket! I also took a picture of that. I will be grateful my whole life for a washing machine if I wasn´t grateful before! 
Also, I´m going to attach a picture of one of the beautiful sunsets from two nights ago. Merida is gorgeous. It truly is
Quick experience I had this week. On Thursday we received a referral from the mission office and so we called and set up an appointment with him, Wilbert is his name. We met with him on Friday afternoon and it was such a great lesson. He asked us, "so..what is the purpose of your church? what do you do as missionaries? I have a friend who, for his whole life, never believed in God, but he got baptized in your church and is a different person now. He changed his whole life. I went to church with him last weekend. I need to know more." If only you could´ve seen the smile on my face! Wow. As if that wasn´t enough, for the first time, I truly taught without stuttering, without thinking about how to translate my thoughts from English to Spanish. I taught, shared a scripture, testified, and then my companion did, and then me, and then her. The spirit was very strong, we felt it, he felt it, and he committed to be baptized in July. We left that lesson and could hardly was different than any other lesson I´ve had in these first 6 weeks. I´m seeing the Lord´s hand in my life more and more as I work to help bring others unto Christ. 
This week I was reading the general conference talk from Elder Holland in April. I was amazed by his testimony at the end. "I am more certain that those keys have been restored and that those ordinances are once again available through the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints than I am certain I stand before you at this pulpit and you sit before me in this conference. Be strong. Live the Gospel faithfully." Wow. To have a testimony that strong, can you imagine? As I think about this first transfer here, my first six weeks, it's safe to say my testimony has grown a little bit. I´m not sure it´ll ever be as strong as Elder Holland´s, but it´s growing more and more everyday. I´m realizing everyday that being happy is a choice. Being grateful is a choice. So, let´s choose to be happy, and let´s choose to be grateful, that´s what I feel the Lord would have us do and what he wants for us.
I, too, have a testimony that this Church is true. I do not have any doubt in my heart that is was restored by a prophet, Joseph Smith. I´m grateful for the gospel in my life, grateful for the direction and happiness it brings me. I´m grateful I can kneel and pray to my Father in Heaven each and everyday and receive strength from Him. I feel his love and know that you loves each and every one of you as His children. I, too, love each and every one of you and pray for you. 

Until next week,
Hermana Maki :)