Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Over the past 18 months, I´ve seen a lot of really happy people, and a lot of people who are really suffering. There´s a lot of pain in the world, a lot of things that I honestly didn´t know existed. I´ve seen the consequences of divorces, addictions, disobedience, and pride. I´ve also seena lot of people who pass through big trials many times when it seems that they´re doing just about everything right. Now, my intention is not to focus on the negative, because I´ve also seen how the gospel has blessed and changed many families and many individuals. I´ve seen the power of the Atonement in action. It´s real! I´ve seen attitudes and behaviors change as the doctrine of the gospel is more fullu understood. But I think that one of the most important things I´ve learnd on the mission and I can bear testimony of, is that "it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things." (2 nephi )
David A. Christensen says "As long as we live in this world, there will always be opposition. Accepting that important truth helps us accept opposition without wondering why or when it will stop. We can then focus on learning from it and perhaps grow a sense of gratitude and glory. It´s a part of life. There´s a purpose in it."
So many people often ask themselves, (and ask the missionaries) "Why do bad things happen to good people?"
Sometimes, there´s not a perfect answer, but I´ve learned that just about any question can be answered with the scriptures. In 1 Nephi it reads,
I learned a lot last week from my personal study in Ether 6. I chose to study for a sister in the ward who is going through a divorce. I learned that it was the wind and the waves that helped the Jaredite barges arrive in the promised land. (vs 8) There were "tempest and fierce winds" which helped the barges continue on. Did they get there overnight? No. Actually, it ook 344 days to get there! And as they were "burled in the depths of the sea" they "sang praises unto the Lord and thanked him all the day long." When their journey had ended, they "humbled themselves before the Lord and shed tears of joy."
Each and everyone of us can apply this wonderful chapter to our lives! I finally get it. FINALLY!
The adversity, trials, and hardships are what move us forward, help us progress, be humble, and learn how to rely on our Heavenly Father. and then, when we suffer them with patience and make it through, we must humble ourselves before the Lord and thank Him for helping us become stronger and better people.
President Lorenzo Snow said, " for everything you have suffered, for everything that has occurred to you which you thought an evil at that time, you will receive fourfold, and that suffering will have had a tendency to make you better and stronger and to feel that you have been blessed. When you look back over your experiences you will then see that you have advanced far ahead and have gone up several rounds of the ladder toward exaltation and glory. …
This week was a good one, very interesting and busy, as usual! I was able to go on exchanges with the sisters in Garcia Gineres (my first area) but Sister Brito is sick, so I went and took care of her so that her companion could work. Her companion had been in the house with her for a week after she got out of the hospital and was going crazy, she needed to go outside! I went and stayed with Hermana Brito for two days (She has a stomach infection, an swollen liver, and who knows what else!) and the 3rd day we hit it hard and went out to work. It was fun being back in my first area. While I was there, I was able to read a lot in the Book of Mormon and Liahona magazine. I studied this week a lot about sacrifice and the law of consecration. Our mission president invited us to study these topics, and then to ponder what we must do as missionaries to be more consecated in missionary work. I have always loved a small scripture that President Garcia always shares with us in his emails, "Look unto me in every thought, doubt not. Fear not." D&C . We must think of the Savior in all we do, and constantly remember HIS atonement. I know that if we can do so, we will have no reason to doubt or fear. Being consecrated means giving ALL we have to build God´s kingdom upon the earth. (material possesions, time, talents, etc) It means sacrificing and giving up wordly things, so that we can give time to the Lord to serve and help His children. As we do, he blesses us both temporally and spiritually.
Yesterday we were able to watch the rededication of the temple in Mexico City. In stead of having normal church services, All members who were interviewed by the bishop with a current temple reccoment were able to attend in the stake center to watch the satellite viewing. It was amazing! Elder Holland Spoke, as well as President Eyring. My testimony was strengthened and I feel so grateful to have temples all over the earth, so that we can enter there and make covenants with our Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ. Everytime I´m there, I feel my Heavenly Father´s love so strong, and feel so much closer to Him. In the temple we can leave behind all of our worries and frustrations, and focus on those things that will help us prepare to return to live in His prescence for all eternity. It is there were personal revelation comes flooding in, if we are prepared and always in tune with the Spirit.
The work is giong just great in Madero. Karla and Edgar, an investigator and less active, and making plans to get married soon and are happier than ever. Last week, 15 less actives went to church, which also made me feel very happy because we have been working with them a lot in this area.
That´s my quick update for this week, I love you all so much!
Last week Hermana Sanchez and I decided that it´s been too long since we´ve been on a good ol bikeride, so on p-day early in the morning we walked over to the paseo verde (a park in our area) and rented bicycles! It was only 10 pesos (less than a dollar) for an hour. So we rode about 15 km and it was quite a blast. We even found a cool wall to pictures by.
I´m really grateful for each companion that I´ve had on the mission, Last transfer I was really nervous to find out who my last companion would be, but I am so happy to be with Hermana Sanchez. She´s really great, really patient, and likes to work hard but have fun, just like MEEEE.
Last Tuesday after our district meeting we had to do practices/role plays with other missionaries. Everything was going just fine until the assistants decided they wanted to be funny. All of a sudden they switched up the groups and put one american with one latino in every group and told us that we had 5 minutes to teach the restoration, in english! It was a complete WRECK. Not because Hermana Estrada doesn´t know english, but because I couldn´t speak! I couldn´t teach, I couldn´t do anything. I opened my mouth and did not make any sense. It was the weirdest thing ever and scared me big time because I know I´m going to come home with broken english. I felt like an idiot. I´m just going to stick to spanish, I like it better, and Preslee, you´ll be excited to hear that I don´t have a super gringo accent.
We found 5 great new investigadores this week. One of them is Maria Paola, a 19 year old who lives in front of the stake young women´s president. A year ago, she was in a terrible car accident and was in a como for a long time. I think that because of that and all that she has been through, she´s very receptive to the spirit. Although her parents are very catholic and haven´t joined us in the lessons yet (I know they will soon) they´re supportive of her decision to try something new. On Wednesday night she went to the relief society activity in the chapel with us. The sisters had a mini spa. They did facials, massages, and lots of other fun stuff with relaxing music and cute little plants for decorations. She loved it! It made me happy to see that all of the sisters were so nice and helped her feel welcome. So then, she sent us a message on Saturday night saying that she had too much homework to do on Sunday and that she wouldn´t be able to go to church. My companion and I both looked at each other (we were having a family home evening with some less actives) and said "nuh-uh. not happéning." and told her to at least go for an hour, and she did! actually she stayed for two hours and absolutely loved the gospel principles class. We talked about service, and the teacher invited everyone to do one act of service everyday this week and write it down. She even wanted to take a picture with us.
Alma 29:10 explains how I have felt lately:
I feel joy to see many of God´s children striving to make changes in their lives, and to also see many of them being bold and courageous to try new things. I think that´s really what this life is about.
That´s all for this week, know that I love you all!!
Until next week,
Hermana Melody Maki
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Wow! I apologize for not writing last week, things have been crazy! So much has happened, I will quickly try to summarize it all, and I promise to include pictures today :))
3) Last Tuesday, Marilin and Eduardo got married! Marilin is getting baptized on Wednesday. We were able to go to the courthouse for the wedding ( we´re practically friends with the receptionists there after how many weddings!)
First off, Jessica, Monica, and Karla got baptized 2 weeks ago. After fasting with them for 24 hours in the hot Merida heat, they received promptings that this church is true and that they needed to be baptized, even though their dad is catholic and very heard-hearted. Their mom is a member, and they knew that they have her support, our support, and a wonderful ward behind them. I think that it was the most beautiful baptism I´ve ever attended, I could feel the Spirit so strong. All three of them bore their testimonies to finish the baptismal service, and I think that there wasn´t a dry eye in the whole room! They are amazing girls and I feel so priveleged for the opportunity that I was given to be a part of their baptism and learn from each one of them and their strong testionies!
2) Wendy, a recent convert in Madero, invited us to eat pizza with them on Thursday night to thank us for helping their family. It touched my heart when we realized that they didn´t even have enugh money to pay for the 2 pizzas (their family is very humble and they have 3 kids to feed). We were able to help them and on our way home were so grateful the love and kindness of the members here. Many of them don´t have much, but I have learned here that charity, the pure love of Christ, is not sharing what you have left over, it´s sharing all that you have. What I loved is that Wendy, even though were sitting at a big table outside the restaurant, brought her hymn book and asked if we could sing a song and then say a prayer to bless the food. The waiter came while we were saying the prayer and loved it.
The only sad part of the story is that the pizza made us sick, my companion was up from 2-5 am throwing up, and I later woke up at 6:30 with incredible pain and had to pass my language study in my hammock because the same thing was about to happen to me.
It was a beautiful wedding and they´re happy as can be.. however, just like usual, there´s always a BUT...
If you haven´t noticed yet, the people here LOVE to feed the missionaries. They took us back to their house (even though we practically said no because we were going to go home and study) and quickly gave us some tacos. Tacos de chicharon (pig skin) and then made me try morsilla. Morsilla is...
IF YOU HAVE A LIGHT STOMACHE DON´T READ THE FOLLOWING:
They clean out the large intestine of the pig, and then fill it with pig blood and cook it.
I ate tacos filled with that...
and I DID NOT sleep that night.
It was a bad choice..but they didn´t really give me a choice. I ate it and THEN they told me what it was. Memories, that´s all it is, right? wow. It was quite the week!
and then! 4) Cristian got baptized on Saturday night. She´s a cute little 9-year old who is so excited about the gospel. Her dad is less active and doesn´t want much to do with the church but her mom is coming back and is doing great. Her dad offered her tea to drink the other day and she told him, "No, dad. The missionaries taught me that we shouldn´t drink tea. I´m not going to drink it." and then when he said they were going to go to the waterpark together on Sunday she quietly replied. "I´m not. I need to go to church." and she showed up. Children amaze me...they really do!
With an upset stomach for 3 straight days, a lot of heat, and then a lot of rain, it has been a great week with much success.
The work continues to move forward.
Today was transfer day. looks like I will spend my last transfer in Madero
My companion is Hermana Sanchez. she´s from Chile and I love her! We´re excited to continue seeing the hand of the Lord and the miracles that happen as we serve Him.
I love you all and hope all is well at home :))
Hermana Melody Maki
1- Marilin after her wedding
2- Morsilla. It was actually realllllllly good.
3- Monica, Karla, and Jessica at their baptism
This week was a hot one, to say the least.
Last monday my companion and I wanted to go to centro to look around at the shops, but it was the only day we can CHOOSE whether or not we want to be in the sun, so we decided to go home and rest. But it was so hot that we couldn´t even take a nap! we tried and it was a big failure.
My companion decided to take a shower, thinking that would help, but there´s only one setting on the water, in the summer it´s hot, and in the winter it´s cold. She took a hot shower and felt even worse, but the yucatecos loved it. I contacted a lady on the bus that same day who told me that what she loved most about yucatan was that you can take 5 showers a day here! That same night (monday) neither one of us could sleep. After about an hour my companion whipped out our little camping burner and heated up our awesome mexican soy milk and we fell right asleep. Not a boring day goes by in the mission, ever.
Last night I got up at 3 am to put an ice pack on my neck so that I could fall back asleep! I think the next time I see snow, tears will probably be shed.
This week we were teaching cristian, a little 9 year old girl who is preparing to be baptized. She´s the only one in her family that isn´t a member, they´ve been inactive for quite a while. We watched this video with her, https://www.lds.org/
media-library/video/2014-03- 0040-video-presentation-walk- in-his-light?lang=eng
and we taught her about her divine worth! We taught the law of chastity and the word of wisdom, that if she keeps her body clean and pure, she can one day enter the temple, be sealed for time and all eternity, and have her very one eternal family. I almost cried during the video as I thought about her future. Years down the road she will be able to look back and remember that she kept the commandments from a young age and see the blessings that were received as a result of doing so. She ran up to us at church yesterday and gave us a big hug in her new sunday dress, it was so cute.
The work continues to go forth! There´s no resting in Madero, I know have 7 months in this area and hope that President lets me stay, we shall see. We´ve got another busy week ahead, so I must go.
Know that I love you all and pray that you will seek missionary opportunities everyday :)
Hermana Melody Maki
I enjoyed eating with la familia filidor this week, they´re a cute couple in our ward with two young daughters. About two years ago, they started taking the self-reliance courses from the church (something that the church is stressing a lot right now in Mexico) to learn how to open a business, how to save money, etc.
Hermano Filidor quit his job working at Costco (12hrs a day) and they opened their empanada business from 7 am - 12. After that, they close, and they´re all 4 home together for the afternoon. They aren´t rolling in it, that´s for sure, but they have sufficient money to cover their needs. His wife shared with us that they turned off internet and cable when they really sat down and saw how expensive it was, and how much time it was taking away from their family. She also said that she was frustrated because they never developed the habit of family scripture study because her husband would get home at 8 pm everynight when the girls were going to bed. It was something that stressed her out alot, something that she knew they needed to do that they weren´t.
I enjoyed hearing their testimony of how simplifying their lives has helped their family. Each day, they eat lunch together as a family and read the sciptures for an hour together, sitting around the table. She said that her girls get so excited when it´s time to read! that they start and end with a prayer and pause at the important parts to explain them. I could feel the spirit in their home, and I testified to them that any one who enters there can and will feel it, because they are putting the principles of the gospel into practice, day after day after day..and their family is being blessed. Sometimes the most basic simple principles are the hardest ones for us to live! why is it that way?
Through small sacrifices and a lot of faith, their family now has MUCH more time together, and is living with less material things, but with many more blessings.
I was pondering all afternoon what they shared with us. Technology is great, it is such a wonderful tool in sharing the gospel, we just have to be careful and only use it for the right reasons. It´s easy to become addicted or too reliant on the cell phone or the ipad. It´s not necesarily bad to have one, as long as it fits into our budget, but I think that some of the most fulfilling moments we can have are when we set it aside for a little while and go do something as a family, or when we go and serve someone else. AND...because I´m a missionary, I´m used to leaving invitations! sooo..that´s the invitation this week..
Set the technology aside for a few hours, have a conversation face to face with someone, and find one way to show your love or serve someone in need! Matthew 25:40 sayd "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren , ye have done it unto me. " Really you´re serving the Lord!
Find ways to simplify your life and go without things that may be distracting or keeping you from progressing spiritually and I promise the Lord will help you on the journey,
I love and pray for each of you and hope all is well :)
Hermana Melody Maki
Another amazing week flies by! Each day here is so full. full of work, and full of smiles. we have been receiving lots of referalls in the last two weeks. we have been trying to contact all of them but sometimes just can`t find the time when we`re running (sometimes literally running) from one appointment to another. We have 23 received referalls that we have yet to contact that could potentially turn into investigators, talk about work! Lemme tell ya, we are busy and that is how I like it! I don`t think I`ve ever slept so soundly in my whole life.
"And now, verily, verily, I say unto thee, put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good —yea, to do justly , to walk humbly , to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit."
I have really been enjoying my personal studies this week in Mosiah. I was reading Mosiah 10:10-11 on Friday...
Now, the Lamanites knew nothing concerning the Lord, nor the strength of the Lord, therefore they depended upon their own strength. Yet they were a strong people, as to the strength of men."
I immediately then wrote this question in my study journal, "How can I work as a missionary in the strength of the Lord and not depend upon my own strength?" I immediately thought of a scripture in Doctrine and Covenants that reads,
Instead of trusting in ourselves, we must trust in the spirit, because if we do, the promise is fulfilled that, ".. it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say." (D&C 100:6)
I never have really elegant words or special things to tell the people I teach, but what they need to hear is given to me when I pray for the Spirit and follow the promptings it gives. I`m so grateful for the gift of the Holy Ghost and grateful to be led and guided by him, whether we`re in a lesson or out in the street.
We were teaching a recent convert family who are having family problems, they have three kids, 11, 8, and 7.. but before they were baptized they had a tough life and basically grew up in the streets. The two youngest girls do nothing but fight, and the 8 year old is very rude and continues to swear in front of her parents. We sat down with the whole family and as we began to teach the 3rd lesson, the gospel of Jesus Christ, both my companion and I felt impressed to steer off track for a minute and try something new. We went around the circle and had each child say something that they liked about each of their siblings and their parents, and the parents did the same, they all shared one thing that they liked about each family member. Immediately, smiles came to their faces and the youngest girls gave each other a hug, something that they NEVER do. It was amazing to see the smile on their mom`s face as she saw her kids calm down and show each other a little bit of love, and it brought tears to my eyes as she shared what she loves about each of her children because she was not a very nice momma before she got baptized.
It was a neat experience for me and I invite each of you to do the same during your Family Home Evening tonight! Give each one of your family members a compliment, and watch how everyone immediately feels a calm spirit of peace in the home and an increased love toward your family. I know that the family is ordained of God and that now more than ever we must do all that we can to protect it :))
Hermana Melody Maki
Wow, what a week we had! The zone leaders called last night with our transfers and said that Hermana Martinez and I are staying in Madero! I have 6 months in this ward and looks like I´m going to spend my last 3 here as well, and I couldn´t be more excited. The members here truly are the greatest.
I forgot to take pictures, but Thursday afternoon we were leaving an appointment in the afternoon when it started to POUR. I think I probably wrote a little last summer about how it rains here, it doesn´t rain down, it rains SIDEWAYS. With an umbrella, my whole body got wet except for my face practically. We were both so soaking wet, and we walked 30 minutes through the storm to Memo´s house. Everytime we walked through a street corner it was like taking a step into the dark because the water was midcalf and who knows what was down there in the water. We just walked, and laughed, and sang hymns, and yelled "gracias" to all of the nice bus drivers who drived by splashing water on us :) When we were leaving the appointment and it started to rain, the members told us to stay there and wait it out, that we would get wet and then get sick if we walked through the rain, but we told them that we had another appointent and that the Lord would protect us, we´re HIS missionaries! When we got to Memo´s house (a future missionary) who has been working with us. Him and his sister took us to the appointment in their car even though it was 3 blocks away. Yucatecos do NOT like the rain. We taught Christian, a little girl who´s 9 that is getting baptized this month. We taught her about the plan of salvation and what things we need to do to be able to return to live with our Heavenly Father. We were pretty wet and cold when we got home that night, but it truly was a fun day.
While I was on exchanges this week in Almendros with Hermana Caseco, we went to see an investigator named Jackie, who is going through a divorce. She has a big huge house and is all alone. When we got there at 12:30 she was still in her pajamas and hadn´t eaten, so she got on her phone and ordered lunch. "Can you guys stay and eat with me, please?"
"no," we responded. "After we finish her we´re going to eat! Don´t worry about us!"
so she puts her phone up to her ear and orders us lunch and sodas. It was hilarious. "Okay," she said, "let´s talk while the food´s on it´s way. you don´t have an option. You´re eating with me." So we taught her the restoration, she had a ton of great questions, and then we ate. The best part? When we showed up, she said "Sisters, it would be better if you come next week! I´m so behind today and I have so much to do!" So we asked her if we could at least sing a hymn and say a prayer and she goes, "yeah of course!" and it was after that when she invited us to eat. I´ve learned that when the people here say they don´t have time, it´s usually not true. "I don´t have time to listen right now, but stay and eat with us, will ya?" i´m lerarning how they work and how to get their attention and get them to listen.
I´m grateful for the mission. It´s the greatest! Being a missionary has brought me so much joy and happiness. I know this church is true and is led by a prophet, under the direction of Jesus Christ.
Hermana Melody Maki
Foto 1)- Hermana Martinez and I at zone conference
Foto 2) What´s huckleberry jam doing in yucatan? Thank you Rachel Camp for the awesome package!
Friday, June 26, 2015
I learned something new this week from a conference talk by Elder Uchtdorf...
"Many of the things you can count, don´t really count. Many of the things you cannot count, really do count." As a missionary, you can count baptisms, lessons taught during the week, referrals contacted, and so on. But for Heavenly Father do those things REALLY count? What are some things that maybe we can´t count in the mission with numbers?
--giving to the poor and needy (I see them everyday walking up and door the littered streets of Mexico)
--giving the relief society president a big hug and telling her that everything is going to be alright
--staying up 10 minutes late to give comfort to an upset companion or missionary who is struggling...
the list goes on...and on...and on....
We had an experience last night that goes on the list of things that we can´t really "count" in the key indicators.
After our lunch appointment yesterday afternoon, Sister Bailey and I really wanted to go visit Hermana Lupita, an active member in our ward who lives alone. She is a grown lady, probably in her 60´s whose 2 hijos have abandonded her. It´s hard for old people here to get jobs, so she walks up and down the streets collecting plastic bottles to recycle. It´s a common thing here for people to set their garbage out on the street outside their gate and then to have it rummaged through by people like her who collect them. Then they tie the bag right back up and leave it all nice their on the sidewalk. So, she usually can get a big garbage bag full by the end of everyday, and then she takes it to the supermarket and they give her 20 pesos. (less than $1.50)..The sisters in the ward make lunch for her everyday. Just like us, she has a food calendar and goes to eat with them. One of the sisters in the ward who is older and widowed lets her live in the apartment part of her house for free. She invited us in yesterday and showed us her little kitchen (which consists of a faucet and sink) her bedroom, with her bed that she doesn´t sleep in because it´s too hot, her hammock, a small tv, and her bathroom. That´s it!!
We read with her in the Book of Mormon about the tree of life. She´s so smart! She was explaining the symbolism and how we can apply 1 Nefi 8 to our own lives. She told us a little about her past. She is a convert of 10 years. We felt happy to be there with her. As we finished the lesson, my companion asked her, "Lupita, is there anything we can do for you before leaving?" "No," she responded...
"Are you sure?" we asked...
She looked at us and sadly said, "Just a few things I need here in my house." And I immediately began thinking maybe a curtain for the window, or that she needed something repaired. with a sad look on her face she said, "even just some cookies and a glass of milk?"
"Lupita," I asked, "do you have something to eat for dinner?"
"No, hermana. No I don´t." she said.
"We´ll be right back! Stay right here!" I said before even thinking of what we were gong to do. We gave her a hug and set out on an adventure.
I remembered that at home we had hardly any milk (I don´t drink milk and my companion is almost out) but that a less active gave us some nutella the other day, so we could go make her a nutella sandwich and ask our neighbors who are members for some milk. We went over and asked them..They gave us a whole carton of milk, 4 pieces of bread with ham, cheese, and mayo, and a big stack of cookies. We thanked them and made it back over to Lupita´s house.
As we left, I felt many different emotions. I felt that in that moment, maybe helping Hermana Lupita was more important than trying to get a bunch of lessons in for the day so that we could finish the week with high numbers. I began thinking about where we live in the US, with Iphones, cars, good education, pantrys and fridges full of food, and my heart felt grateful. I feel grateful for what we have, but I also feel sadness at times seeing people here suffer and live off of so little. Not all of them live that way, but many definitely do. I know that the Lord has sent me here to help me be more humble and try to help whoever I can. I love Him and and am grateful to be here during this time serving HIS children in need.
Do I tell this story to receive recognition or a "Good job Hermana Maki"?
However, it was an experience that will always be with me. There´s no key indicator in our sunday night call in for service or reaching out to someone in need. Instead of counting those moments, we just remember them forever and more importantly remember how we feel.
I also loved this part from the conference talk..