Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Last P-day...

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 2:11)

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 11:17 it reads, 
 "I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things." 
I know I have a Heavenly Father who loves me! 
His primary plan is that we grow and learn in this laboratory of life-complete with thorns, thistles, and noxious weeds. Sometimes that knowledge must be enough.
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. …
“Take it individually or take it collectively, we have suffered and we shall have to suffer again; and why? Because the Lord requires it at our hands for our sanctification” (The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, comp. Clyde J. Williams [1984], 117–18).
For those we are suffering, who may have suffered, or feel down, just keep going! Don´t give up. Trust in our Heavenly Father. Seek revelation in the scriptures. Know that it´s all part of His plan. All he is showing you is that he wants you to become stronger and better, and sometimes we have to suffer in order for that to happen.
I testify that Heavenly Father lives; He loves us. When we are obedient and strive to know and do His will, He will bless us. I know that the Atonement of Jesus Christ can bring us comfort during times of sorrow, can heal wounded and broken hearts, and can help us become the sons and daughters of God that He would have us become :)
I love each and every one of you!
With love,
Hermana Melody Maki 

Time´s running out!

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 6:36. 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!

Hermana Maki 

Riding bikes in Mexico

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:

10And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me. 

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 Mak