Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Meant to be!

I think I wrote last week about our transfers, Hermana Bailey and I are having a blast in Madero II. I got to know her through the sister missionary facebook page before the mission. We saw that we had the exact same call, same date, same place, and added each other and then were sending messages back and forth until we got to the MTC: By the time we finally met each other in person, we were best friends! This whole year, everytime we see each other at meetings it´s been the same ol conversation of "one day we´ll be companions! soon!" But with more and more time in the mission, we started to doubt that it would happen, and what do you know?! The Lord has made it clear that He wants us to work together :) and we´re excited. It got up to 106 last week and is supposed to break 113 this next week. I would tell you that I´m good about putting on sunscreen every couple hours but missionaries shouldn´t lie...

We found 5 new investigators this week through street contacting and some member referrals. One of the contacts, Fernando, is a pretty good guy. He goes to an Evangelical church and knows the Bible like the back of his hand. He LOVES the Book of Mormon though which is a good sign. He has lots of doubts and questions that make us work! After our second lesson, he invited us to walk next door to the gas station and bought us a drink because it was so hot, and then he ended up going to the chapel that night for our English class! We just so happened to be using the Restoration DVD that night during class. It was GREAT! 

We have an investigator named Angel who is getting baptized this week with his little sister, they are a part member family..and they definitely caught us off guard the other day...We taught about the word of wisdom, thinking that there wouldn´t be any problems because they´re younger..and they all 3 drink coffe with milk at night before going to bed. Thank goodness their pirmary teacher was with us and explained it perfectly to the needs of kids (we are better with older people haha) and they were a little reluctant but all agreed to not drink anymore coffee...

As we were finishing I asked them, "OK..tonight when mom gets the coffe out what are you going to do?" and they replied..."say no!" and then Arely (their primary teacher) asked, "and why, why are we not going to drink coffee?" and they all replied, "Because it´s a commandment! no more!" It was hilarious. I asked them what they could drink instead, and they all replied chocolate milk, but that they didn´t have any...so we ran across the street and let them pick out nesquick powder and bought it for them. problem solved! It was such a great lesson. I love teaching families, and I especially love teaching people about the blessings we receive for keeping the commanments. I´ve seen big changes in their family over the past three months. The Gospel changes lives, I can testify of that :)

Until next week,
con amor,

Hermana Maki

foto- we got to go to the temple today! (Woke up at 3:00 a.m....)

Friday, April 17, 2015

I´m jus a white girl.

The mission is a time of firsts. I gave away my first Book of Mormon, had my first Christmas without a tree and presents, and last weekend I had my first Easter without easter eggs! (They don´t do that in Mexico, who would´ve thought?) But just like Christmas, it was the best Easter I´ve ever had. To be priveleged to listen to President Monson´s voice and two wonderful sessions of general conference, that was more than I could´ve asked for! I was grateful for many talks defending the church´s stands on the importance of families. Every religion knows and supports the family, but the difference is that we believe in eternal families. Families can be together forever! I am also grateful for the many testimonies which were borne about our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I have a testimony that He lived and died for us, because He loves us, and that he was resurrected and lives again. He set the perfect example and has invited us to "follow him" and HIS gospel teaches us how! How grateful I am for these eternal truths that are shaping my life. 

http://www.mormon.org/easter ...............For those who haven´t seen the video, I invite you to do so :) and then share it with all who could benefit from a message about Jesus Christ. 

My mexican companion, who has the cutest latino accent ever, made me laugh hysterically today. While walking down the street, many people here are suprised to see an American..not just with me but with all of the missionaries. sometimes it bugs my companion when men say innapropriate things or whistle (I always tell her their whistling at her, because it´s true) and today while walking down the street she said to me.."Have they never seen a white girl before? sometimes, I just want to look at them and ask them...have you never seen a white girl before? and then walk away" what made it so adorable though is the accent. She´s the greatest and I´m sad that she´s going home in a week, we´ve been companions for 4.5 months! I feel like my other half is being taken away..far away. Oh well, that´s how it´s gotta be!

We had transfers this morning and I´m now with Hermana Bailey from UT! We´ve been friends the whole mission and are veryyyy excited to work together in Madero!

There´s some members in our ward who opened up a new fish restaurant and insisted on bringing us lunch on Thursday afternoon because they knew we would be having our weekly planning session. When they got to our house, I could not believe how much food they brought! A full fried fish with rice and salad for my companion, pollo empanizado for me with rice and salad, and ceviche! They´re trying to fatten us up! three members brought us dinner last night while my companion packed up all her bags. They´re the greatest and they sure love the missionaries. 

It´s starting to get hot again, really HOT. We realized how humid it was yesterday when we decided to wait on the other side of the street for the bus because there was shade, but then after standing there for a minute, it was just as hot as standing in the sun because the air (and the breeze) is hot. April, May, and June are the worst months. HERE WE GO! The baptism went great on Saturday. The family invited us over last night as well for a goodbye dinner and cake for Hna. Martinez. They have become out of our favorite families ever and all I can really think about is how grateful I am that the Lord has allowed me to come here and know such wonderful people. I´m seeing many people, young and old, make big changes in their lives, and they inspire me to be better, to always cling to this Gospel and never let it  go. The church is true!

Hermana Maki


I´m so spoiled!!

One of the MANY things that I love about Yucatecos is that they are very giving.
They don´t let you leave their house without taking something with you.
We almost always arrive at our apointments late because everytime we finish a lesson we hear, "Wait, sisters! I´m going to make some horchata." or "hold on! We´re going to get the ice cream out." Whether they be people with money, or people with hardly anything. they give us everything they have. They spoil us! Last tuesday night, I could barely climb up the steps to get on the bus because my hands were so full. When we got home, I realized we had a full watermelon, a kilo of tortillas, two liters of orange juice, and three tamales. ONE DAY. The members here are so great. So so great. Please spoil the missionaries in your wards. They´re a long way from home, they walk a lot (ok, maybe those in the U.S. don´t) but I´m sure they´re working hard and appreciate everything that you guys do for them :))

We´ve got some interesting investigators these days. We are teaching an atheist, the third one that I´ve gotten to know on the mission. His name is Armando, and he´s one of the nicest guys I´ve ever met! He believes that we came from  monkeys. I enjoy listening to his crazy ideas and trying to help him understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It´s not easy, but I´ve been studying a lot for him during my personal studies in the morning, and little by little we´re getting there. What I like about him is that he´s very open and willing to listen and investigate. I studied the story about Korihor, the anticrist, in the Book of Mormon to help prepare for our first lesson with him, and it was awesome because I was able to form some inspired questions from that chapter, and from the way that Alma taught him. Unfortunately, I was not able to give Armando a sign, like Alma did by striking Korihor dumb, but that´s okay, Maybe next time.

I´ve been studying lots of conference talks these past couple weeks during any extra time I can find at night or on p-day, and I really enjoy the talk from Elder Jorg Klebingat from October of last year.  It applys perfectly to the week that I´ve had…He says,

"Accept trials, setbacks, and “surprises” as part of your mortal experience. Remember that you are here to be proved and tested, “to see if [you] will do all things whatsoever the Lord [your] God shall command [you]”(Abraham 3:25)—and may I just add, “under all circumstances.” Millions of your brothers and sisters have been or are being thus tested, so why would you be exempt? Some trials come through your own disobedience or negligence. Other trials come because of the negligence of others or simply because this is a fallen world. When these trials come, the adversary’s minions begin broadcasting that you did something wrong, that this is a punishment, a sign that Heavenly Father does not love you. Ignore that! Instead, try to force a smile, gaze heavenward, and say, “I understand, Lord. I know what this is. A time to prove myself, isn’t it?” Then partner with Him to endure well to the end. Spiritual confidence increases when you accept that “often trials and tribulations are allowed to come into[your life] because of what [you] are doing right”

Something that I´ve said once and will gladly repeat, is that one of the reasons I´m so grateful to be here in the mission is because I´m learning why Heavenly Father gives us trials and weaknesses, and how to handle them. They have always existed and always will, and our necessary for our eternal progress. Have you ever thought about the fact that sometimes trials and tribulations come into your life because of what you are doing right? I know it´s true, and if we can accept that, it can help us understand and push through them! I told my mission president today in my email, "President, this hasn´t been the easiest year of my life, but it sure has been the best one." I feel that way because I´m learning more every day, I´m coming to know my Savior. I´m being blessed beyond what I could ever imagine, and I feel a happiness that is inexpressible.

Until next week! Sigan con fe en cada paso.
Con amor,
Hermana Maki

Less active members need some love and attention too

It makes me SUPER happy when our investigators progress, when they keep their comittments and strive to change and improve their lives, but it also makes me SUPER happy when less active members do the same. When they remember the convenant they made with Heavenly Father and feel the need to go back to church. We´re working with Hermana Yolanda´s husband, Roger. We have been eating with her a lot lately and finally got to know her husband. He hasn´t gone to church in years, never received the priesthood, and never really obtained a testimony. We had Family Home Evening with their whole family on Monday night and read a general conference talk about how to strengthen families. On Friday, we were teaching the Restoration and I asked him, "Hermano Roger, do you have the desire to receive the priesthood?" and he said no, because it requires too much effort and comittments. I don´t know what we said (actually it wasn´t anything we said, it was the spirit working through us) that within an hour helped him changed his mind. He didn´t even understand clearly what the priesthood really is and why he needs it. We had to speak to him directly and bluntly, warning him of the eternal consequences of not receiving the priesthood and being sealed to his family. Yucatecos sometimes don´t understand well unless you speak to them very directly. "Do you want to live for eternity alone?" my companion asked..

Obviously not, he responded.. I´m learning how to teach directly but with lots of love :) After teaching the Restoration and the blessings his family and home lack because he doesn´t hold the priesthood opened his eyes. He bumbled himself a little bit, comitted to go to church, and also to start paying his tithing (we taught that lesson on Tuesday). I saw tears in his wife´s eyes. Hope. Hapiness. This is what they need! This is what HE needs. His wife and daughter long for the day when he can give them priesthood blessings. Each experience like this makes me grateful for my family and the way my mom and dad raised us in the gospel. I testified to him on Monday night of Family prayer and scripture study in our home at 6:20 every morning and friday of the MANY priesthood blessings dad has given me over the years, and the comfort and strength they give me. I´m grateful for the restoration of the priesthood, the power and authority to act in God´s name, to the earth by a prophet Joseph Smith in 1829. 

Now, on a silly note (always have to throw in something silly, right?)
As our zone conference this week, our zone leader brought laffy taffys that his parents sent from the US and the latinos LOVED them. However, it´s so humid here that they turn to liquid in the wrapper and are way hard to unwrap. My companion asked as she was eating her´s, "Are they normally like this, all liquidy?" No, I replied, only in Yucatan!! 
The chocolate melts, the gram crackers get soggy if you don´t put them in the fridge, and the ice melts in 30 seconds. When people ask me if it´s cold where I live, I practically shout, YES! It´s like night and day, the difference in weather, but I LOVE it so much. I really do. Every minute of it! That´s all for this week :) 

Love you all!

Seguiré con fe en cada paso,

Hermana Melody Maki

Photo- last p-day we were out of money and super exhausted from going on transfers, so I took advantage of a couple free hours and took a little afternoon nap in the pink hammock I found upstairs in our house.

Panuchos and cochinita in the same WEEK!

This week we ate panuchos twice and cochinita as well, my two favorite yucateca foods! It took a little while to get adjusted to the food here, but now I LIVE for it! Hermana Yolanda, the secretary in Relief Society, signed up to feed us 4 times this past week! She told us that she needed the blessings that the Lord brings to her and her family from feeding the missionaries. That really touched my heart. Whenever we enter her house, she always has hymns playing in the background, and I enjoy being there in her home, because it helps me feel the Spirit. I want to have a home like her´s someday.
This week, we met a new less active sister in our ward who is in her 70´s and recently broke her leg. She left church early to go buy pan dulce, and fell down when she was getting off the bus. She knew she shouldn´t have broken the sabbath day! (It´s tempting for the member´s because one of the best panaderias in town is in front of the chappel) Anyway, I asked her when she´s going to be able to make it back to church, and she told me..."Hermanita, I´m going to the doctor this week, and if they don´t take this cast off, I´m gonna cut it off and walk myself to church on Sunday!" Yucatecos. Oh how I adore them. I took a picture of her in her traditional yucatan dress (hipil) chilling in her hammock (that she made).

We´ve been teaching English on Friday nights in the chapel, and inviting members to come and bring their nonmember friends. something that I LOVE about Mexico is that everyone wants to learn English, more so when It´s gratis! (free!) We sang "Families can be together forever" to begin the class, and even looking down at my english hymnbook, I sang the first line in spanish, and then realized what was going on when my companion started laughing hysterically. Quickly I switched to english and sang the hymn. I am forgetting a lot of english these days. It´s happened on multiple occasions that I say the prayer in english when we´re in our house, forget some words, and she has to correct me or tell me what the word is that I´m trying to say. How embarassing! 

That´s my news this week from Mexico! I love you all :)

Fe en cada paso,

Hermana Maki 

picture #2 A nice little iguana that we crossed paths with this week while walking through the park in our area. My companion yelled, "Look at that dinosaur!" 


Finding new families makes me happy, oh so happyyy

Hello to all!!

Last night, our district leader called at nine letting us know that we had transfers. Hermana Maki is staying in Madero, and Hermana Martinez is going to Chichen 3..I had tears in my eyes and didn´t know what to say..I was so upset..and then a good 10 seconds later he yells...."Just kidding! You have another transfer together!" (our 3rd) and we angrily shouted thanks! goodnight! and hung up. Silly elders. Oh how grateful I am to stay with my wonderful companion. This is her last transfer in the mission and we´re stoked to be together! It´s been amazing the progress we´ve seen as we´ve studied chapter 6 of Preach my gospel together (Christlike attributes) and set goals to improve each day. Transfer #8 here we go! :))

Last Sunday, the primary president mentioned that two new little kids went to church with their aunt. The aunt is a member from another ward, but the kids aren´t members and really enjoyed primary. She gave us their address and we went over to see them that afternoon. Turns out, it´s a mom, her three kids, and her boyfriend. He´s not interested, and she won´t be able to get baptized if they don´t get married or move out, but we´re gonna figure out what to do there. Anyway, we taught the mom and her three kids..Christian (12), Suleimy (10) and Osvaldo (8) and all four of them accepted baptism dates in the first lesson. They´re way excited. Their primary teacher, Arely (23) came to both of the lessons with us this week and helps a ton when the kids get all riled up...

They are a very poor family and are a little embarassed of their house, so we teach them out on the sidewalk. They have two chairs for us, and then they all four sit on 5-gallon paint buckets. The 10 year old even helps out in a small kicthen near her house after school to earn a little extra money to help her mom. While teaching about the nature of the Godhead, I asked Osvaldo if he knew what the Holy Ghost is and what it does..He responded.."Si. pues el Espiritu no tiene un cuerpo, solo es un espiritu, y solo los perros lo ven." (Well, the spirit doesn´t have a body, it´s just a spirit..and only the dogs can see him!)  My companion and I had to take minute before we could keep teaching because we were laughing too hard. They are so dang cute those kids. I love finding families, because I know that families who are strong in the Gospel can find lasting happiness together. 
"The home is the best place to teach, learn, and apply principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. home established on gospel principles will be place of refuge and safety. It will be place where the Spirit of the Lord can abide, blessing family members with peace, joy, and happiness." 

I´m learning how now how to teach, learn, and apply gospel principles so that down the road I can teach them to my future children and have a Home where the Spirit of the Lord is ALWAYS present. The church is true! and the book is blue.

Until next week :)
Sister Maki

picture- a cute little elementary school we found a couple nights ago! 

Conozca los mormones

Hello to everyone! The heat is finally back in Merida, it looks like it´s going to break 100 this week, and we´re only in February.....

This week, we had a zone conference with President Garcia which was great. When it was over, the assistants stood up, President and his wife came down from the stand and sat with the missionaries, and they yelled "Surprise! Meet the Mormons" and then the lights went out and we enjoyed the great film. It´s coming to Mexico this Friday, and the members are quite jealous that we got to see it first :) It was great, I and I hope that lots of non-members see it and see just how cool and normal we, Mormons really are. 

Luis went to church yesterday, and he LOVED it! The talks in sacrament meeting were so wonderful and touched his heart. Before the service started, we were in the foyer introducing him to the members, and when he was talking to our ward mission leaders, he almost made me cry. Our ward mission leader is a convert of about 8 months, and is super amazing..he was able to connect with Luis very quickly for that reason exactly..but anyway, Hermano Freddy asked Luis how he met us, and Luis started to tell him all excited..."Well..one fine Saturday afternoon, the sisters were walking down the street and looked lost, and because of the way I was dressed, I didn´t want to help them.. I felt embarassed..but then, they asked me for directions, and we started talking. I had been feeling really bad that day and just needed a friend, someone to talk to, someone to give me a smile, someone who really cared about me. It was as if God sent two angels from heaven to me. Angels who are helping me more than I thought was possible. I´ve always had the desire to come closer to God and have a better relation with Him, but I never knew how. I´ve never felt so much hope, and never felt so happy, thanks to these sisters."
I was humbled, I didn´t know what to say. All I could do is thank my Heavenly Father for the opportunity to be here in the mission, finding His children who are ready and prepared to receive His Gospel. Because even though they don´t know it, they are changing me. They inspire me, they help me want to be a better person. A better daughter. A better sister. A better missionary. A better disciple of Jesus Christ. 

Alma 13: 24 came to mind..... "For behold, angels are declaring it unto many at this time in our land; and thiis for the purpose of preparing the hearts of the children of men to receive his word at the time of his coming in his glory."
I´ve said it once, and I´ll say it again...I KNOW that the Lord is preparing His children in ALL parts of the world to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The find the hope and happiness that everyone desires and looks for in this life. I love this Gospel so much more everyday, and I love sharing it with everyone. 

I´m a Mormon. I know it. I live it. I LOVE it!

Fe en cada paso,

Hermana Melody Maki

Happy Valentine's Day!

It feels so good to be back home! We had quite the week travelling on exchanges with other sisters. From tuesday to thursday we were in campeche, and then thursday to friday in Aeropuerto..We slept on the ground two nights in a row as well, I have some nice big bags under my eyes, but am so grateful to be able to serve the wonderful sisters in this mission. This morning, we were able to go to the temple (our P-day was switched to today so that we could go) and I did baptisms! We had to wake up at 3:30, and 12 sisters stayed in our house last night. Lemme tell you, it never stops! Life is so busy, and that´s why I love the mission. You don´t ever stop. It´s the best. I´ll sleep when I´m old, I suppose.

I wanted to write a little today about one of our investigators, Luis Felipe. One hot afternoon about two weeks ago, we were walking down the street and felt impressed to contact Luis while he was standing outside his house. Using the good ol "we´re lost" tactic, he gave us help (little did he know we know the streets pretty well, haha) anyway, he was so nice and I could see from the beginning that he is just a very sincere and noble person. We set an appointment with him for the following day, and he accepted a baptismal date in the first lesson. He is trying to quit drinking, and the Gospel is the answer, I know it. The lessons are going great, and he is so excited about the gospel that he is sharing it with everyone! He introduced us to his sister and two nieces who each have like 4 kids, all super interested. It´s harder to find them at home because they work alot, but we´re teaching his sister who now has a baptism date, and his son, Alexis. Last night we went to the family history center with Luis and started filling his family tree with names! It was so great, and I love seeing how excited he his about the gospel.

Also, on Saturday night, we were working with a brother in our ward named Jose who is gettting ready to leave for the MTC in March, and as were walking he commented about a family that lived in a little store near where we were and said that the missionaries were teaching them before, so we decided to stop by and introduce ourselves. We ended up teaching them for almost an hour, and it was VERY difficult. The investigator´s name is also Jose, and he is a man who is very...incredulous, (is that a word?) and just tough...he has a lot of doubts and deep questions abotu God.He wanted to argue at the beginning, and didn´t believe anything we said, but as both my companion and I began to say a prayer in our hearts, we watched as the lesson changed. I went from having NO idea what to say to him, to opening my mouth and just letting the Spirit speak. The words came out, but I honestly don´t know what I said. I was able to connect with both him and his wife, and was amazed that as we just rely on the Spirit and not ourselves, what it says in Doctrine and Covenants really becomes true, Neither take ye thought before hand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man.

What I love about the mission is that I learn something each day. My testimony is strengthened a little more each day, and I feel closer to my Father in Heaven more and more each day.

Seguiré con fe en cada paso,

Hermana Maki

 1) dinner two nights ago, fried bananas. They sell a certain type of bananas here that are only to be eaten when fried..and I´m not kidding. They serve it with rice, and I LOVE IT.
2) Hna. Imelda and I cutting the birthday/valentine´s cake yesterday! 

Slacking off.

Ok, to begin. I am so sorry to everyone for slacking off on my blog these past couple weeks, and pictures. It has been nuts! However, things are finally calming down, and many prayers have been answered..my back is FINALLY healing up! Thank you to EVERYONE who has been fasting and praying for me, I know Heavenly Father is answering our prayers!

To catch up on a couple of wonderful things that have happened these past couple weeks:

1. We´re teaching a sister named Wendy and her three kids. Her husband is less active, and last week they went to church! I remember in the MTC when Elder Holland came, he was talking about how we as missionaries, hope that our investigators keep their commitments, but sometimes we don´t necessarily help them do it.."Don´t wake up on Sunday morning and say...I hope our investigators go to church today!" "Get up early, go to their house, help them get ready if you have too, and then take the bus to the church together" That is how we HELP people make and keep commitments. That has always stayed with me, and we definitely put it in practice on Sunday. We got up early, went by Wendy´s house, helped me them clean up the kitchen from breakfast, (I was sad that they didn´t leave me any cochinita, but oh well) and then helped the two daughters pick out dresses, then braided their hair, got their hymn book and book of Mormon, and set off on our walk to church (about 15 minutes away). It was wonderful, and they had a great experience there. As a church, we are great at inviting people, but are we great about HELPING as well? Question to think about....

2. (probably the most exciting thing that happened all week) I got a new pink bucket. We each have a 3 gallon bucket that we fill up with water in the morning, and then we heat it up with a "resistencia" is what it´s called in Spanish, no idea how to say it in English. and then with an empty yoghurt container and our bucket of hot water, it´s shower time! It´s the best, and having a new pretty pink bucket is even better. It´s the small things that make me happy these days :))

3. We´re also teaching a single dad named Carlos Miguel and his nephew, Omar. Omar reminds me of Luke. He´s 10 years old, always has basketball shorts on, and is very smart, just like my adorable little brother! I enjoy teaching them, and we´re trying to help Carlos to quit drinking so that he can get baptized. We´ll see what happens! 

To sum things up, I really am doing great. I´m happy, getting more healthy, and working each day! I love this work, and I love each one of you! 

Seguiré con fe en cada paso,

Hermana Maki 

1) foto with Anahi on Sunday morning getting ready for church
2)A picture of a resistencia that melted last night while I was heating up water....it almost electrocuted me..but my pink bucket is okay, so I´m happy.