Hello friends and family-
Such a great title for Meg’s letter this week! It makes us SO happy that she is finally able to be a missionary without being sick! What a difference it makes and she is more excited to be there as time goes by. Thank you for supporting and writing to her and encouraging her. A couple of terms that I thought would be helpful that she talks about in her letter below:
Branch – a small congregation in the Mormon church– usually 50-100 people.
Aaronic Priesthood – male members of our church receive the priesthood which gives them responsibilities to act in God’s name to help and bless others. The Aaronic priesthood (or the Priesthood of Aaron as outlined in the Old Testament) is the preparatory priesthood and prepares men to receive the Melchizedek priesthood (also mentioned in the Old Testament) which has greater responsibilities.
Bishop or Branch President – The person who leads a congregation
Baptisms and confirmations at the temple – Church members perform proxy baptisms and confirmations on behalf of their family members who have died. These individuals can choose to accept or reject what has been done on their behalf. This paves the way for marriages in the temple that we believe create eternal marriages and families.
Visiting teacher – Each person at church is assigned to visit 1-3 other ladies in the congregation. They are asked to help them when they need help and be a support to them.
Some Fun and Crazy Megan pictures at the end of the email as well – it just wouldn’t be a letter from her without them!
Love you all – have a great week!
HOWDY! just kidding...I am not that Texan yet. hope you all had a good week this week! We had SO MANY GREAT THINGS HAPPEN.
We had the baptism of O on Tuesday, I had exchanges (went to Galveston) on Wednesday and we went to the temple on Friday! we were so lucky!
So the baptism was amazing. Pretty much the whole entire branch was there (about 50 people) and it made us so happy! so many of our less-actives came which made US happy and O happy. so many people supporting him! we gave him the picture of him and his wife in the car with a picture of us missionaries on the back with a little note to him. we always explained that we were just the lucky missionaries that happened to be in the ward when he felt ready and when the Lord felt he was ready. we hardly did anything! he already has the Aaronic Priesthood...the branch president interviewed him for it before he even got baptized. O will be a bishop one day! oh and they already set their sealing date for Feb. 10 of next year (their anniversary!!!!) hopefully I will get to go! he is talking about going to the temple soon too and he would love for us to go! we couldn't be more happy!
We went to the temple on Friday and it was AMAAAAZING. I love the temple. it is such a good place to be, especially on the mission. but it was us three, R, and his brother F. We all drove there together (about an hour away). it was such a beautiful day! the weather couldn't have been more perfect. but we got there and right before we walked in, we told R that this was a very special place and when we walk in, it will just be an overflowing feeling of peace. it will be a feeling you have never felt before. so we walk in and sure enough it is amazing. we get situated and do confirmations first and realize there aren't any workers who speak Spanish. sooooooo we were a little sad. the spirit is still strong and great but it would be hard because R wouldn't understand. so we were about to start and in walks a Spanish speaker that was late for his shift at the temple...haha. WHAT A MIRACLE! the Lord times things perfectly (with a good sense of humor) so we got to do everything in Spanish. it was so cool! when we were watching R get baptized I got emotional. because I realized this: THIS is our goal. baptism is important but the TEMPLE is our goal. to make covenants with Heavenly Father to be closer to Him so we can return to Him one day. yes, baptism is awesome and that allows us to keep those covenants. but it hit me that day. our mission president says "begin with the end in mind" in that while we are teaching people, we have to imagine them in the white clothing of the temple. I love that! so after we finished, we walked out of the temple and R explained to us that he is so happy that he made the decision to be baptized and to be able to go to the temple and he felt really good while he was going baptisms. it made us so happy for him! THIS is why I am on a mission!!!!!!!!!
So a fun little thing: I went on exchanges this week in GALVESTON! I will send pictures but basically I just rode around the island on my bike for a day and it was awesome! I have pictures that will show how cute it is. but it was super fun to meet different people and to see the ocean! it is such a cute little town!!!
So on Saturday we had a ward party for Valentine's Day. Basically any ward party that I have had on my mission includes eating and dancing and I am TOTALLY ok with that. as missionaries we can't really dance, but we still have fun. but Saturday was amazing because there were more non-members than members there!!! the work is so good here! also it was super fun to see all of the people that I love dancing together (O and his wife are BOMB dancers). Hispanics really know how to dance.....it makes me happy.
We have two new investigators!! last week we were emailing at the library and someone asked the other hermanas in our district (who were emailing at the same time as us) "soo...who are you guys? what does your name tag say??" stuff like that. they found out that they live in our area and so we went and met them. it is a woman and her daughter. Y and I. They are amazing people and very Christian which is awesome! the sad thing is that Y is having a lot of marriage problems with her husband. he basically wants a divorce but she doesn't. its hard. but we have been over there about 3 times. she has another daughter named Yazel and she is ADORABLE. I will send a picture that she drew for me. keep them in your prayers!
one of our less-active families is having a really hard time. their mom was in the hospital this week. she has diabetes and something went wrong. but she went home and we went over there one night because we really felt like we should. we got there and Hermana p, she is the relief society president and the visiting teacher of her were already there visiting her! that is how strong our branch is! it made us so happy. missionaries can only do so much, it is the members that really make a difference. so we talked with her for a long time. we said a kneeling prayer and we ended the prayer and just had a HUGE group hug. it was all the people that I love. I have grown so close to so many people here already....it has only been a little bit more than a month! I never want to leave!
I am lost in the work. I truly am. Because I don't have to worry about my health as much as Mexico, I have truly learned to get lost in this work. We just never have time to think about home or our old lives and I am completely fine with that. This is the time I was called to serve the Lord and His children, this isn't for me. my purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ and to help them in their lives. I am constantly serving and worried about people other than myself. I love these people and I am so glad I am here in Texas. A lot of people have asked me "Do you NOW know why you went to Mexico first??" and yes. I have had so many small moments where I have realized that yes - I went to Mexico for "this reason" or I met this person in Mexico so I can help "this person" here. I need to write them down so I will always remember...I will share in a future email :)
thank you for all of your prayers and emails! love you all! have such a good week! read Ether 12 (You can read it here: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/ether/12?lang=eng) I shared it a lot this week and have grown to love it!
The scarf that I am wearing has a funny story. a member walked in with it and I was like "ooohh! that scarf is soo cute!" she took it off and said "here! a gift for you!" and wrapped it around my neck. people are so giving!!!
Us and O at his baptism! he is the funniest guy and insisted that we take the picture like this.
all of us at the temple!!