Monday, March 27, 2017

"That the weary traveler may find health and safety while he shall contemplate the word of the Lord"


Finally made it to Minnesota! The first week of missionary work is crazy, and I still don't know what's going on most of the time, but that's ok. My district kind of abandoned me at the MTC for a little while there, and waking up at two in the morning to catch a flight is something I would not ever recommend. But we made it!!

The biggest surprise this week was as we were driving to our area, my trainer told me the Bishop asked if I would speak on Sunday. And it seemed like something I couldn't really say no to, so I gave my first sacrament meeting talk in Spanish yesterday. It went surprisingly well, there were a few words I stumbled over and probably said completely wrong, but a lot of members told me I did a good job and they understood what I was talking about, so that's all that really matters I guess. The members are all so amazing. The ward is small, but they are really powerful and there is so much love I have already felt. And all the people we teach are so amazing and even when they don't want to talk to us they're still really polite about it. And even though many of them don't have much, they are full of so much love and so much joy in the Savior. 

 The Spanish is hard, and sometimes we'll be in a discussion and I'll be understanding what's going on and be contributing a little bit, but then there will also be some lessons I have absolutely no idea what's happening and my companion will look at me to say something, and I must look like a deer in the headlights because she knows I don't know what's happening and keeps teaching. But there's a little bit of improvement each day. So that's good. But my trainer is great. Hermana Hughes, and she's infinitely patient with me trying to figure everything out, and hopefully by the time 18 months rolls round I'll have a little bit of a better idea of what's going on. 

I hope everyone watched women's conference. I loved Sister Linda K. Burton's talk a lot, talking about how we can look at the word "certain women" to be a word of power. I know I sometimes feel like women don't really get a role in the Bible, but when you look at certain as a word meaning, positive, definite, confident, assured, firm, women who are certain in their testimonies of Christ, it's an entirely different meaning that I absolutely love. We should all strive to be certain disciples of Christ. 

A scripture I found I really like this week is in Doctrine and Covenants 124:23, talking about how the temple is a place of rest for the weary traveler, where we may fight health and safety. And we talk a lot about how temples are places where we draw closer to God, and receive power and knowledge, and receive answers and blessings and feel the spirit, but it really is a place of healing as well. Where we can bring together families and where we can go to rest ourselves from the burdens of the world and find comfort in the word of the Lord, "yea, the very word which healeth the wounded soul" I also finished the Book of Mormon this week from my attempt to read it in the MTC, so it ended up being really close. I would again invite everyone to read it through again with a certain question or a certain topic in mind. The best thing I've realized is that as we do that, no matter what topic we pick, it always brings us back to Christ, because that's where we can always find answers. 

The work is hard, and sometimes it's easy to get discouraged when no one wants to talk to you that day, but there is so much joy in dedicating everything we do to inviting and helping others unto Christ. 

Love you all!
Les quiero mucho!!

Herman Meredith

D&C 123:24 "And it shall be a house for boarding, a house that strangers may come from afar to lodge therein; therefore let it be a good house, worthy of all acceptation, that the weary traveler may find health and safety while he shall contemplate the word of the Lord; and the cornerstone I have appointed for Zion" 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Arrival at the Minnesota Minneapolis Mission Home

With President and Sister Forbes

All the March 22nd new arrivals

With her new companion, Sister Hughes

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

"Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ"

Una semana mas! The MTC is the greatest, and I'm feeling a little apprehensive about not knowing a lot of Spanish still, but really excited to get out into the field!

So many great stories from our district this week. Hermana Cadavieco sprained her ankle playing volleyball, and Elder Prina got a concussion. But everyone is happy and healthy now,a  lot of prayers have been answered, and it seems like everyone is going to be able to get safely off onto their missions. 

The other day we were walking to a meeting, and Hermana McCracken and I were way ahead of everyone else because some of us like to get places quickly and some of us like to meander around until we eventually get there. It's a good thing we're not the pioneers because it would have taken us 20 years to cross the plains. 

Also, always be aware of everything you're wearing including jewelry as a missionary, I was wearing a really long necklace with little beads that look kind of like pearls, and we were teaching a couple from Guatemala who are Catholic, Hely and Jose, and Jose saw my necklace and was like "Oh are you catholic?" Because I didn't realize it looks kind of like a rosary at first and as soon as I realized I felt so bad and everyone was confused, so Hermana McCracken and I spent ten minutes trying to explain it even though we don't know any words in Spanish that related, but we figured it out and they understood and weren't offended at all, but I will definitely pay more attention in the future. 

We had an amazing devotional last night. Linda K. Burton, the General Relief Society President spoke to us. We talked a lot about being disciples of Christ, and how as missionaries we are representing Him to the world. Our voice is his voice and our actions are his actions. We've been talking a lot about this topic this week, and I've applied a secular story to a spiritual thought, but I think it kind of works. Elder Holland gave a talk at the MTC a few years ago about how as missionaries, and how as disciples of Christ, we don't pull people up to Christ, we go to their level, and help them work their way up. We don't start using words and acronyms and gospels terms they don't understand, we figure out where they are and help them get up from there.
It's like a guy is walking down the street and falls in a hole. There are going to be plenty of people who will write directions to get out and throw them down to them. As missionaries, as disciples of Christ, we jump in the hole with them, and say "I've been down here before, and I know the way out." Because all of us have had experiences and we have all felt lost at some point. But we know the way to get back into the light. And it's because Christ did the exact same thing for us. He did the hard work, he performed the Atonement he paid the price for our sins, and paved the way for us to return to God. Christ has felt every pain and every sorrow and borne every trial right along with us, and he knows the way out because he walked it all alone so we don't have to. The gospel of Jesus Christ is amazing, that someone could love that much. So we can have joy in this life and eternal life with God. And He already did the heavy lifting. We don't have to suffer, we just have to have faith. It's amazing that an imperfect person like me gets to share this incredible message of a perfect Savior and a perfect gospel. 

Being a missionary is amazing! Thank you so much for all of your love and support! I love hearing about all the things you are doing and all the spiritual experiences you're having. Les quiero mucho! Next stop, Minnesota!

Hermana Meredith

3 Nephi 5:13 "Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

"I shall come forth as gold"

Both of our facial expressions in this picture
accurately sum up what life at the MTC feels like


The highlight of the week is that it's finally starting to feel a little like Spring, and there have been two ducks spotted multiple times waddling around outside our building. Our district is still debating over names, and we're either going with Oscar and Felix or Samson and Delilah. I also learned an important lesson in our devotional last night, we're going to be laughing about the things that bother us and the things that try our patience in 5 years, so we might as well starting laughing about it now. 

So we're still beginning spanish speakers, and we mix words up a lot, and the word "mujer" means women, but "mejor" means better, or best. So in a lesson we were teaching about the Plan of Salvation, and we were trying to say something like "The Atonement will help you become better" but we ended up saying "The Atonement will help you become a woman" And our investigator looked as like we were crazy for a second, but we caught it and were like "mejor, mejor!" So hopefully she didn't get the wrong idea. Don't even get us started on "pescado"means fish and "pecado" means sins, because who knows how many lessons have been taught about how the Atonement can clean us from our fishes. 

The Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders both get cell phones in the MTC, just to call the front desk and in case they need to get a hold of someone in our district. But we feel like we have a lot of power because we get this peculiar piece of technology from the outside world.

One of the most challenging parts of missionary work right now is trying to look at the language barrier as a blessing rather than, well a barrier. In our lessons right now sometimes I'll be able to understand what they're saying, and then they'll ask a question, and I'll know exactly what I want to say to them in my head, but the Spanish isn't there. There are so many things I want to share with them about the amazing truths of this gospel, but I don't have any of the words to say it. The truth is though, it is a huge blessing. When you have a very limited vocabulary, you have to talk about everything in very simple terms and you have to be 100% dependent on the spirit. And the gospel of Jesus Christ is beautiful, but it's also simple. We know how to say "This is God's plan for you, we know he loves you, and if you read this amazing book, you can know too" And then the Spirit will teach them the rest, and our limited vocabulary and broken testimonies become a stronger testament to them than the most eloquent of words could ever be. 

Missionary work is hard, and it tries all aspects of your life, but that's how life is. Being a disciple of Christ should never be easy an business. In learning Bible stories as Hermanas this week, we've been talking a lot about Job. He had his joy and his faith solely in God, and because God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, we can always have that joy when it rests in God and in our Savior. If our faith depends on our circumstances, we can never be happy because one minute we might lose everything we're used to. Not always necessarily in the material sense that Job lost everything, but facing a new environment with new challenges with new people with a new language is really hard, and as many of us leave for the mission field in the next couple of weeks it will only continue to change more and more. If our faith is dependent on our level of comfort in our surroundings, none of us will every get very far. It's ok that things are hard, and it's ok that missionary work is hard, and it's ok that life is hard and we all feel like we're having our lives swept out from under our feet sometimes. As long as our faith is in God, and"we esteem his words more than our necessary food" we can be refined into the person He wants us to be. The faith of Job is incredible.

Hermana Meredith

Job 23:10-12 "But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food."

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

"Ask and ye shall receive"

​It's beginning to look at lot like the MTC


Funny story of the week come to you courtesy of Hermana McCracken. We were doing laundry last p-day, and we went to go get our stuff out of the dyers, and she noticed her clothes were still wet, so she put them in for another cycle. Once they started though, she realized there was a big sign on the front of the machine that said 'washer' and once it started we couldn't unlock it, so her clothes got washed three times, but we've learned our lessons now and are very careful about checking the signs wherever we go. 

One of the Elders mom's sent our district a package of 50 kazoos this week, so you can probably guess what district has been the most popular with the teachers this week. Elder Ferguson also knows a lot about classical music, and actually used to play in Utah Youth, so during our breaks we'll play classical music on our kazoos and it's really awesome. Yesterday's feature was "Jupiter: Bringer of Jollity" from the Planets

Being Branch music coordinator was a really fun calling for a week, but I got released on Sunday because Hermana McCracken and I got called to be the Zone Sister Training Leaders. This means we attend Branch Council on Sunday morning, and have meetings with the district sister training leaders to help make sure all the Hermana's are doing well and getting everything they need. We also are in charge of orientation on Wednesday nights when new districts come into our zone, as well as overall moral support and providing snacks whenever anyone needs them. It's going to be busy on top of our already crazy days, but we're really excited to get to serve. 

Being a missionary has given me an entirely new perspective on prayer, and I feel so blessed to have the knowledge that we have about prayer with the restoration of the gospel. Most every prayer you say as a missionary is on your knees, and we're practicing trying to encourage our investigators to prayer on their knees as well. I've never really thought about it that much, and throughout most of my life I've never really seen the importance or necessity of praying on your knees rather than standing or sitting. Hermana McCracken and I were trying to explain to one of our investigators this week how our conception of prayer is that Heavenly Father is listening to us individually and answers our prayers individually. I told her that she could think of it like when she closes her eyes to pray, she could imagine that Heavenly Father is standing right there in front of her listening patiently to whatever she has to say, because it's that personal. And I know that thought came from the Spirit, because it made me realize that if you were actually standing in the presence of God, you would be on your knees, bowing your head instinctively out of respect for Him. We get to talk to God, and we should show as much respect about it as we can. I know that when we pray with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, all things can be made known unto us. 

I still can't hold much of a conversation in Spanish about anything except for the Restoration, as well as bear testimony and say prayers. But we're surviving on that for now. We may not be able to tell you what we ate for lunch, but we can tell you that Joseph Smith had a question, and because of his faith to act on the answer he received, we have the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth today, and you can know too, by doing the same thing Joseph Smith did, and ask. 

Hermana Meredith

"Therefore, ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for he that asketh, receiveth; and unto him that knocketh, it shall be opened." 3 Nephi 27:29