Tuesday, October 28, 2014

It´s a good day in Merida when you can wear your hair down!

Like I said last week, it continues to cool down just little by little. This week I wore my hair down twice, (all day) and didn´t die. It´s a new record! It´s still hot, but much more bearable.

Last Monday night we went to visit a member family and taught them the Restoration...as we were asking for referalls, Hermana Primavera´s face just got really sad and everyone got quiet...."Our neighbor, Emire," she said, "really needs help. Let´s go over right now and I´ll introduce you to her." So we went! We were already late for our next lesson, but we went, and I´m glad we did. Emire has a lot of problems, and because of that, is being humbled by the Lord. She´s willing and ready to start changing her life, and we´re ready and praying hard each day that we can help her do so. We had three lessons with her this week that all went well, she´s excited to get baptized at the end of November, and I feel the Spirit stronger than EVER in the lessons with her. 

Also, this week one of my favorite people in the whole wide world got baptized! Esthela, my little grandma I found in the mission :) She´s such a wonderful example to me and in one short month I saw a huge change in her as she came to know for herself that Joseph Smith truly was a prophet of God and restored the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the one and only true church upon the earth. It´s amazing what this Gospel can do, that´s all I can say!! 

Monica and Norton (our eternal investigators) are hopefully finishing up the paperwork for Norton´s divorce so that they can get married in November. They´re the best little family..anyway, last Monday, we taught them how to have Family Home Evening! It was way fun and they´re excited to do it each week as a family. We had a mini testimony meeting where everyone was able to share their testimonies, and I absolutely loved it! Last night, we helped them get going on their family history and put information into family search. They are loving family history and going to town, and haven´t even gotten baptized yet! When we finished, we told them that it was possible we´d have transfers today, but that last night as soon as we got home we would get a phone call letting us now. Norton said the closing prayer and ask that neither of us gets transferred just yet so that we can be present in their baptism. Then...this morning Monica called us, "Hermana Maki!! You´re not leaving, right? We said a family prayer first thing this morning that you would be able to stay in Garcia Gineres longer! You can´t go yet." I assured her that the Lord has more work for me to do here with Hermana Thomas and that I´m excited for another 6 weeks in this wonderful area :) and my 5th transfer beginsssssss!

Con mucho amor,

Hermana Melody Maki

foto 1- Esthela´s baptism
foto 2- teaching Hermana Bravo how to make chocolate chip cookies!! 

Yucatan winter on it´s way!!

And with the blink of an eye, yet another week passes! Hermana Thomas and I are starting our last week of this transfer, I can´t believe it´s already semana 6! (week 6) 
We had a great week. There´s a recent convert in our ward, Jesus Orlando...who is just on fire! He is so excited about the Gospel and having just received the priesthood a couple months ago. Two of his best friends have gotten baptized, and this week he gave us the referall of another friend who has shown interest in the church, Hernan. He´s already gone to church twice, and we were bummed that we wouldn´t be able to teach him because he lives outside of our area...but The Lord sure works in mysterious ways, because he now is going to be living in Jesus´s house which means we get to teach him! Them and the two other converts are opening a business together. They call themselves the 4 mormons, and they are quite a show, lemme tell ya. Well, Hernan is almosttttt Mormon. We taught him yesterday for the first time and he is way excited to get baptized in November. He understood the Restoration very well and was very receptive. He said that he felt the Spirit very strong during the lesson, and I was glad to hear him say that, because I did too! Especially as I recited the words to him from the First Vision..When I do so, I feel my testimony being strengthened as I have to hold back tears almost everytime. The more I share this gospel and my testimony of it, the more it´s grown. It´s perfect, true, and one of the greatest blessings the Lord has given me.

Something that we´ve done this week is visit more of the active members in the ward. I´ve enjoyed doing so, because we´re getting to know all of them better! When you have a better relationship with the members, they´re more willing to help you with missionary work! When they trust us, they´ll be willing to give us referalls of their friends and family. I especially love giving service to the members as well. There is one sister in our ward with polio, who has been in a wheelchair her whole life. As we sat with her in her little store and shared the message of the Restoration with her, I was amazed at all that she has accomplished over the course of her life. She hasn´t had it easy, but says that having the gospel has made it all possible. I was grateful that she was honest with us when we asked what we could do to help her. A lot of members respond, "nothing sisters, no worries! We´re fine!" But she told us we could pass by occasionally at nighttime if a lesson falls through and help her fill the refrigerators with all the beverages that she sells. This week we weren´t able to because we had a ton of lessons, but I´m hoping that soon we´ll be able to stop by and give her a hand. Service is my favorite!! 

It´s cooled off a little bit here (I never thought the day would come!) because apparently the hurricanes are on the way...I´ve enjoyed not being totally covered in sweat all day...we´ll see just how long it lasts! :)

Well, that´s my news for the week! So good to hear from each of you back home and all that´s going on! I miss you all and love you so much.

Hermana Maki 

1. P-day foto before we left the house this morning for the stake center
2. Mototaxi..We LOVE mototaxis. They´re cheap, (not all that safe) and very fun when you don´t feel like walking! 

Who would´ve thought that cats like tamales?!

Ok, funny story to begin..

A few weeks ago, we went to visit an investigator, Diego.. we just so happened to be fasting that day, and had to turn down his offer for soda before the lesson (we almost always say yes even if it´s kind we don´t like, because it´s so dang hot!) but politely said no..Then, during the lesson, the guy selling tamales rides by on his bike, and Diego jumps up and buys us tamales....so we finished the lesson and he insisted that we eat them..but we wouldn´t! and we felt bad..so he put them in a baggie and sent them home with us...well..a little later that night, we were visiting another investigator, Rodolfo, and I had placed the bag on the floor next to my chair. Before I knew it, his cat had bitten through the bag and was eating the tamales! I was so bummed..because they have very quickly become one of my favorite foods here...but the good thing is that he only ate one of them, so the next day I was able to eat the other tamale (my companion doesn´t like them). and it was delicious. It was kinda funny, we´re all just sitting in the lesson and all of a sudden realize this cat is just going to town with my food, we laughed for quite some time as the dumb cat ran off! End of my silly story.

On Friday night this week, our zone leaders had a baptism not too far from our area, and we were able to take two investigators. The girl that got baptized was actually in our area one day, standing on the sidewalk smoking..and our ward mission leader, as awesome as he is, began to talk to her about the gospel and the word of wisdom. And here she was, two months later, being baptized...pretty awesome. Anyway, Bishop helped us get to of our investigators there and took us over to the chapel. It was a beautiful baptism and both Estela and Rodolfo felt the spirit very strong. They´re kind of our golden investigators right now, both preparing to be baptized this month. they say that 80% of the investigators who assist a baptism end up getting baptized afterward, and I know that´s true..because it gave them both the opportunity to see what it´s like and feel the Spirit that was present there. Love it!!

Also, last night we had a meeting with another General Authority, Elder Mendoza. He spoke with the full time missionaries, ward missionaries, and ward mission leaders about the members getting more involved in missionary work, a topic I´m sure you all have been hearing a lot lately. It´s so important, and it´s  something I did not understand before the mission. When the members give us referalls, it helps so much. When they invite friends to their houses and invite us to come, it´s the ideal setting to teach the Gospel. I encourage each of you to pray to know who you could invite to visit with the missionaries in your home, and if you do so, with real intent, believeing that Heavenly Father will put a name in your mind of someone who´s ready to hear the gospel,  He will!!  Members have such a huge role in missionary work, and I aspire to be a much better member missoinary after the mission, but for now, I have the opportunity for a short time to be a full-time missionary, the opportunity of a lifetime! It´s the best decision I´ve ever made and I wouldn´t trade this time for anything in the whole world. 

I´m seeing the gospel change lives, little by little, including my own.

I love each of you and hope that you have a wonderful, safe week. Until next Monday....adios!!

Hermana Maki

foto #1..just a boring picture of my area....haha
foto #2 picking oranges at Hna. Nidia´s house so that we could make orange juice last night!! 

Conference makes me happyyyyy

Oh how I love the people of Yucatan. We had been visiting a less active named Nidia about 3 months ago whenever we had time to stop by and see her. She has been inactive for like 40 years and says she´s catholic, but a wonderful lady and we just love her so much! One of her daughters, who must be in her 30´s, lives with her..and always was getting home from work while we were there. She never even said hi to us, usually scowled and walked through the room back to her room and shut the door..nice and tight..However, little by little, with lots of smiles and slowly trying to reach out to her, with time she warmed up to us. During one lesson, she even sang the opening song with us before leaving to go back to her room. Then, the next time we came, my companion kind of just put the lesson on hold and really reached out to her. She was sewing, and we began to ask her about what she was doing and really try to get to know her. After about a half hour of simply conversing with her, she let us share a sripture with them! About a month passed and we hand´t passed by to seem them due to such a full schedule lately. However, we were visiting their neighbors the other day, when Nidia and her daughter came outside, gave us both a big hug, and invited us to come over to dinner the following week. The daughter invited us! the nonmember daughter, yep. The daughter who 3 months ago wouldn´t look at us. I was blown away. So we went, and they had a humble little dinner prepared of white bread sandwhiches with ham and cheese, along with a pitcher of ice cold horchata, my favorite :) She began to ask lots of questions about the mission, what we do, if we miss our families (duh!) and if we enjoy what we do. Even though she is not interested right now in listening to the missionary lessons, I know that her time will come. Little by little, I have seen her heart change. I´m grateful we reached out to her and befriended her, because she is slowly becoming interested with more time. I was so grateful that they offered to make us dinner, although it was very meager and simple, it means so much to me when they people who have so little, give us so much. I was also grateful to be able to share with both of them my testimony about the mission, the best and most fulfilling work in the whole wide world. 

Ok, best part of the week though...CONFERENCE! I loved it. Loved it soooo much. The best part?  I felt the Spirit strongly, and really loved the emphasis that was put on the prophet and how we can sustain him. I´m truly grateful for a living prophet. I know he has been called of God and leads and guides this church. 
I don´t really know if I could pick a favorite talk, but one that really spoke to me was by Elder Jorg Klebingat..

He said, " Acknowledge and face your weaknesses, but don´t be immobilized by them, because some of them wil be your companions until you depart this earth life."

Wow, I needed to hear that! We want to be perfect, as least I do, and sometimes my weaknesses get me down. But it doesn´t have to be that way! The Lord gives us weaknesses to make us strong, to help us learn and progress on this mortal journey. We can choose to be grateful for them!

Also, anything that President Uchtdorf says immediately becomes my favorite, simply because I love that man! 

"I know of no sign on the doors of our meetinghouses that says ´your testimony must be this tall to enter´" 
 We all come from different backgrounds, have different testimonies, and learn at different paces. I have to try really hard to not compare my testimony to that of other missionaries. Because when I do, I let Satan win. That´s what he wants me to do, to feel inadequate compared to others, compared to their testimonies or knowledge of the gospel. But I won´t do it! Heavenly Father knows I have a strong testimony, and that it´s growing each new day :) 

this church is so true. I know that from the very bottom of my heart. 

That shall be all for this week :) I pray that we will all begin studying and reading the conference talks so that we can strengthen our testimonies and continue to receive personal revelation from the words of living prophets and apostles.

Hermana Melody Maki 

Teaching the old folks

This past Tuesday, we found a wonderfullll new investigator named Estela. I immediately just fell in love with her! She welcomed us into her home and said she would be willing to listen to our message, let us sit down on her big comfy couch and we got to know her a little bit better. She walks with one of those walkers that have a seat on em so you can sit down when you get tired. I would´ve guessed she was maybe 70 or 75 years old, but then proceeded to tell us that she´s about to turn 90! What?! She has 10 kids, 30 grandkids, and is catholic. The first lesson went well. She didn´t accept a baptismal date, but we left very happy and anxious to teach her again..We went back on Friday morning and that´s when everything just went uphill! she accepted a baptism date, said she wanted to go to church, had been reading in the Book of Mormon, was understanding almost everything perfectly, and wanted to visit again on Saturday. We brought a member along, Hermana Imelda, who is somewhere around 70, I believe. they immediately became friends, and Hermana Imelda was able to pick her up and take her to church yesterday! She stayed all three hours and just loved it. I´m still shocked.. I think it really just added to my testimony that we never ever ever know who will/will not accept the Gospel. Ah I just love her!! Our ward mission leader always teaches the gospel principles class each Sunday. The elders and us bring our investigators and also the recent converts and it´s always a good time. However, yesterday, he couldn´t teach because he had to help out in another class, and asked me to teach as we were about to start the class....I looked up with my mouth open..."um..sure?" ......
I mean it probably wasn´t the best class, that´s for sure, but I was grateful for the opportunity and have learned as a missionary to always be ready for anything! 

I was reading a conference talk this week from Elder L. Tom Perry about Obedience, and wanted to share just a quick little part that called my attention. "Those who solely rely on themselves and follow only their own desires and self-inclinations are so limited compared to those who follow God and tap into His insight, power and gifts." Sometimes, we are prideful and want to  do everything ourself!  If we humble ourselves and ask for the Lord´s hand, I know he´ll reach down to help. I´ve seen him reach down and help, when I kneel in humble prayer, reaching up, asking for His hand. We are His precious children, and loves each one of us individually and knows us :) 

I´m grateful that this weekend is general conference. I´m grateful for the opportunity we have to listen to living apostles and prophets of the Lord. The women´s session on Saturday night was so good, I got to watch it in ENGLISH! What what?! I felt the Spirit incredibly strong and am anxiously waiting for this weekend to come. I encourage each of you to take notes and seek personal revelation. I was grateful I did that just one year ago in the October conference, where I was able to receive an answer about serving a mission. Because I followed that prompting I received during conference, I´m here for 18 months in México, happier than any other time in my life, and I can´t imagine being anywhere else. 

All in all, life is good :) The mission is the best. I hope everyone back home is doing well and I continue to pray for each of you daily! Have a wonderful week!!

Hermana Maki 

I'm a mama!

Ah, this week has been so wonderful! I received a phone call last Sunday night that Hna. Janco and I were going to have transfers..which made me sad..but then I found out that I would be training a new sister, and then I got super excited. She arrived Tuesday morning, and we had a longgggg training with all of the other trainers and newbies, with President Garcia, his wife, and the assistants. It was super great and made me feel privileged to have this opportunity. 

So... my new companion is Hermana Thomas, from Bountiful, Utah. She is so WONDERFUL!  I love her to  pieces and know that we´re going to have a great time together. She is almost a whole foot shorter than me ;) She has such a strong desire to work hard and is so diligent. When I heard that 4 of the 5 new sisters were north Americans, I kind of new I would train a north american, and immediately got nervous because I don´t want to speak English and lose my Spanish, but she doesn´t even want to speak English, and that is pretty much a miracle. Of course, she asks me questions in English and occasionally without even thinking the conversation turns into a little English, but I´ve been really surprised, it´s almost always pure Spanish, and I´m grateful for that, because we´re learning from each other every single day :) The Bishop´s wife saw us running the other morning and then that day we had lunch with her..She said that when she saw us in the morning she thought that my little sister from Montana had come to visit me for the week! Haha. Everyone asks if she´s my sister. It´s pretty adorable. 

This week, the 16th of September, was Independence day in Mexico! Super fun, even though I was in meetings part of the day. Lemme tell ya, I´ve never been so scared walking down the street...almost everyone was drunk. It made me sad. I´ll admit we didn´t do much street contacting that day...haha

And so I begin my 4th transfer in good ol' Garcia Gineres, think I might be there for a while :) fine with me! If I have the opportunity to train Hna. Thomas for the full 12 weeks in Garcia, I´ll have 7.5 months there!! Craziness. It´s a great area and we´re finding lots of new investigators every week. My companion brought me a pretty wicked cold from the MTC and we´ve both been sick all week. Saturday, I felt terrible and complained a little during companion study..What am I gonna do? I asked my companion..I couldn´t stop sneezing and blowing my nose. She just pointed to a poster I have up on the wall that says "Forget yourself and go to work!" So I did! And Saturday was such a good day, I just brought my tissues, water, and cough drops, said a prayer to be able to forget how yucky I felt, and we went to work. That night, we found an awesome new investigator thanks to a referral from another investigator. I began to just forget about being sick and focus on our lessons and helping our investigators progress on this path and prepare for baptism. 

Elder De Hoyos, a general authority, came to our mission about two weeks ago and we had a wonderful training meeting with him about how to work with members more and get them more involved in the work.
Something that he said struck me big time, and I wanted to share! 

He said, 
Escucho y olvido. (I hear..and I forget.)
Veo y recuerdo (I see..and I remember)
Hago y aprendo (I do..and I learn.)

After 4.5 hours of training, I heard a lot...it would be easy to forget a lot of the stuff he taught, so I took good notes. And then when I review my notes, I remember. But now, I´m beginning to apply some of his advice and counsel, and I´m learning! It´s true. So true. I loved that and am grateful that I´ve already seen it work in my life. We have to put the things we learn into practice if we truly want to learn and grow and change. 

I am well. My thoughts and constant prayers go out to the Brown Family. Derek was a good friend in high school and will be missed. He was such a great example to everyone and always so happy. Please keep his family in your prayers! When tragedies such as these happen, it makes me eternally grateful for the Gospel. I´m grateful for my testimony of the Plan of Salvation. I know that families can be together forever. I know that this life isn´t all that the Lord has given us. There´s more, and that brings me happiness and hope when loved ones pass on. I sincerely ask each one of you to pray for the Brown Family each day :)

I love you all! Talk to ya next week :))

Hermana Melody Maki