Thursday, February 26, 2015
Saturday, February 14, 2015
February 9, 2015
Cool plants in Osorno :)
HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!! I did get your card, just a few days ago. It was so nice to see it; I was kind of figuring I wouldn't get mail anymore at this point! I love Valentine's Day so much. We still are up in the air about if we are moving this week or not, so the sisters in our house did the sweetest thing for us for Valentine's Day. They heart-attacked our beds and our study area. Some of them had sweet compliments on them, and others had conversation heart type phrases on them. I took pictures. But I left my camera at home. :P But Hermana Brown and I want to make some valentines to give out to people this week. We found those cute foam stickers you sent me a while back that we are going to use. :)
This week we prayed hard and searched hard and found a new house, but we are just waiting for the zone leaders and the elder in charge of the money (in Spanish it's financiero...financer? treasurer?) to approve it. They better approve it soon, though, or someone else is going to buy it! AHHH! I think it's just confusing for them to figure it out because our mission is going to be dropping in numbers, so they don't want to rent homes that they'll just have to leave. Now that the age-change wave has died down, our mission will drop 50 missionaries in the coming months. For example, when I leave, I go home with 8 other elders...and then one new hermana comes, and I think only 3 or 4 new elders. So successively our mission will have fewer and fewer missionaries.
That's so crazy about our new ward! But I can't say that I'm surprised. We have really small wards here, and yesterday we had a stake training meeting at night and there were over 100 people there, and we were all like, "Whoa! There are so many people!" So then we were talking at night about how many people were in our wards at home, and I told the sisters in our house I thought about 200 people or more came on a weekly basis to our ward....hahaha I was so off. Daddy told me it was about 400. I may go into shock when I walk into a sacrament meeting so full that it goes into the gym. hahaha. So Daddy's calling got changed. Are you still a Primary teacher? Is Sister Merrell still in our ward? It'll be really interesting for me to see what our ward is like when I get back.
It's been a good week. On Wednesday, we had an appointment set up to visit an investigator with a member. Then, the investigator wasn't in her house. That same day, another of our appointments had fallen through, and we had had a somewhat disappointing visit with GXXX. I felt frustrated because it seemed that whatever we were doing to help our sector to progress, wasn't working. But there was a special area devotional for women that night, and we called and invited all of the sisters in our ward. We planned to meet with an older sister and go with her to the devotional. As we were leaving, we saw a couple less active sisters on their way to the devotional. Then, when we got there, there were two other sisters from our ward who had come! We were so happy! It was not the success that we had been imagining for the day, but it was a sweet and special success and we felt so proud of the faithful women in our ward. The devotional was fun. It was a broadcast from Córdoba, Argentina, for all of Argentina and all of Chile. Neill F. Marriott from the general YW presidency spoke, and Linda K. Burton, the general RS president, spoke. They both spoke about things that really help us in our lives....especially prayer and the love of our Heavenly Father. I felt that it was such a wonderful, applicable message for our area. It was very nice and spiritual...but also hilarious because Sister Marriott was confused about what language people in Argentina speak...and gave about half of her talk in Portuguese. At the beginning I thought it was just a joke, but as she kept going in her talk, and kept trying to say things in broken Portuguese, it became funnier and funnier. I don't know how no one stopped her to tell her that people in Argentina and Chile speak Spanish! Or how she didn't know that already...hahahaha. There are a couple sister missionaries from Brazil here in Osorno, so they were the people enjoying the Portuguese the most. haha.
We had a special meeting as missionaries with our stake president here in Osorno, and then there was a meeting with all of the ward councils, all of the missionaries, and the stake presidency last night (the stake training meeting). They were both really good and we learned a lot. Our stake president can't be more than 35 years old, and he is a little young guy totally full of energy and joy for the Lord's work. We all love him so much and are thankful for his example. Yesterday in the meeting he was talking about faith, and he said something I really liked. He said, "La fe tiene un apellido." "Faith has a last name." He continued to say, "It's not just faith. It is faith in Jesus Christ." This is so true and so important! If our faith is not firmly placed in Jesus Christ, it is not an effective faith. This is His work, and He is the one who guides it. By small and simple things, great things are brought to pass. I had a somewhat sad day this week thinking that I had not seen more baptisms on my mission...specifically, not been able to help GXXX to get baptized...because I didn't have enough faith. But after talking about it with Hermana Brown, and after thinking about the idea of faith in Jesus Christ, I know that if I have sufficient faith in Him, His will will win. If I have faith in Him, my small and simple service can make a difference. I am so excited for these last two weeks and for the chance to serve. I believe that I can make a difference!
I love you all so much and wish you all the best! Thank you for signing me up for summer classes. I will figure out the details when I get home. I hope that you have a lovely Valentine's Day! And I hope that you can all continue to feel great peace about the ward split. Change is always for the better.
I keep forgetting to ask...did Abby keep going in GHP? Is she going to Valdosta?
Love always, Hermana Latham
Cool plants in Osorno :)
February 2, 2015
I have forgotten to tell you for about three or four weeks in a row now...I got the sweetest little box from Sister Bowcut and some of the Young Women. I don't have Sister Bowcut's email. Will you tell her thank you for me? It was such a cute little box! The hand towels were just what we needed for our kitchen, Halls cough drops are pretty much like gold in Chile, and the four of us in our house each ate one of the Slim Jims and really enjoyed them. It was so sweet of them to think of me!
To answer the questions: Yes, JXXX and GXXX are married, so that is thankfully not an issue. President Obeso does mean what you think it means. Obeso is obese in Spanish. But it is pronounced oh-BEH-soh. People think we are kidding when we tell them our mission president's name. Ha. What I think is worse is Hermana Obeso. lol. We finally finished all of the laundry this week, and now all of our clothes are clean! YAY! And our house is totally de-bugged! DOUBLE YAY!!! We have some really good bug spray that the mission bought for every missionary home in our mission and it kills everything. I haven't had to deal with flea bites this summer, which is so nice. I think that those two classes I told you should be good. When I come home, I want to call the Spanish department and see if there is some way that I can take a test to exempt classes up to the level I'm at after serving a mission. But for now I just want to make sure that I have a spot in the summer term. When I get back I will also figure out what I want to do, if I want to major in Physics teaching and minor in Spanish teaching or vice versa, or if I just pick one or the other. We'll see.
So this week was another interesting one. Last week we got lice. This week we got kicked out of our house (not literally, but almost). We got home from our district meeting, and there was this random car out in front of our house. But we live on a somewhat crowded street, so we just walked past it and started unlocking the gate to the house. The lady walked up to us and told us that she was the owner of the house and she wanted to sell it by the end of February. She told us she needed to come in and take pictures. We had a different person on file as the owner, and as missionaries we are not allowed to receive anyone inside our house, so we had her talk to Elder Poulsen because he is in charge of missionary housing. She talked to him and set up another date to come back to take the pictures. So, we have to be out by the 15th. We are looking actively for a place to live. We called all of the members in our phone to help us, we checked every apartment complex in our sector...it's pretty stressful, in all honesty. And by the time we move, I will probably only live in the new house for 2 weeks or so. So we are praying and searching.
This week I also officially finished the Book of Mormon in Spanish! WOOOOOO! It is such a great feeling every time I finish reading the Book of Mormon, but more so after having read it in my mission language. I love the Book of Mormon. It is a pillar of my testimony and of my life! I am so thankful that the Lord saw fit in His wisdom to give us this book, so that we could learn to know our Savior and to follow His example. I just wish that everyone would give the book a chance, sincerely, and ask God is it is true...because if it is, our message is singular and it makes all the difference. I'm not sure what my next goal will be since I only have three weeks left. But for now I've just been jumping around and reading different parts of the Book of Mormon.
I really can't believe it's February. I thought that February 2015 would never come. Elder Beecroft sent me the information for my trip home...going to the temple in Santiago, how many suitcases I can take, etc. Wow. Every day has become gold to me! Today I was thinking about how it is Uncle Brackin's birthday! Can you believe he's 50? It's crazy. Will you wish him a happy birthday for me?
We have been working with JXXX and GXXX this week. He has been out working all week, so we have been teaching her alone. She really opened up to us and we could see what she needs more. We also brought Elder and Hermana Poulsen to a lesson we had, and she accepted a baptismal date! They promised to come to church...but didn't come. So the date we gave her fell through. But we are going to do what we can to extend another date and prepare her for baptism before I go home. She is willing to be baptized, so we just want to make sure that we do it in the Lord's time. Even if she doesn't get baptized before I go home, I know that Heavenly Father has the perfect plan and He blesses His children when they are ready to receive the blessings.
We have also been working with two less active families this week and they both came to church! We were SO excited! One of the families is a grandma with her granddaughter, and their goal is to go to the temple in Santiago this year. They are saving up their money and they want to get going on their family history. The other family is a young man and his baby daughter, and he is so excited to reactivate himself in the church. He wants to help our investigators to feel welcome when they come! Our less actives are rocking it!!! :D
Our ward is just bursting with energy on family history--la historia familiar. We have several members who are so excited to get going on it! Hermana Brown and I are trying to figure out how we can do a family history workshop, because we really think it would be a secret weapon. The members could invite their friends to come, and they could prepare themselves for the temple. We are working it in as a part of our ward mission plan! The elders are excited about it, the members are excited about it, we are excited about it...I LOVE the spirit that comes in the room when we talk about family history. I know that the spirit of Elijah is real. I am so excited to be home so that I can start working on our family history!!! I want to take a family history class at BYU. It is incredible!
I love you all so so much! I hope that you really enjoy your week! Talk to you soon!
Abrazos, Hermana Latham
January 26, 2015
I love your last email! That hymn has come to be my favorite sacrament hymn on the mission. It's beautiful in Spanish, too. (The Hymn Melanie is referring to is In Humility Our Savior.
Link here: www.lds.org/music/library/hymns/in-humility-our-savior.
It's also funny to me that you noticed my missionary tan. lol my body is a wreck. I have a super-duper farmer's tan, a watch tan, my feet are striped from the different straps on my two different pairs of shoes, and I have like some kind of progressive tan going on on my legs...from brown at my ankle to totally white at my knees. My feet have weird blisters and calluses (sp?) all over them, I have huge scabby calluses on my knees, and my hair is kind of the opposite of my legs...it's somewhat brownish at the roots and literally yellow at the ends. The summer here is just so hot and sunny. We actually got up into the 90s this week. It's really no fun when you are either walking or inside a place without air conditioning. We can't make it through a day without getting our hair in a ponytail, we wear tons of sunscreen, and we drink tons of water. You guys will be happy to see me but then as the days go on you will be laughing....lol. I'm also glad that I'm not going back to school after 3 days. If you would have a nervous breakdown, I would be the same if not worse...probably wouldn't have eyebrows....hahaha. I've really worked to break that habit on the mission. I had to go on the BYU website and fill out my part, and I think that was when President Obeso did his part.
This week was crazy. It was a lot of lasts...last zone training, last exchange with the sister training leaders, last zone conference. But I am kind of glad to get all of those lasts out of the way so now I can just totally focus on missionary work and who I can serve and how I can help. It was just a little bit emotional. The sister training leader I went out with is awesome. She is from the Dominican Republic, and she is just so friendly, so relaxed, and so loving. I was fine until the end of zone conference when we sang our mission hymn, "Fe en cada paso," or "Faith in Every Footstep." Link here: www.lds.org/new-era/1997/04/faith-in-every-footstep?lang=eng It dawned on me that it was the last time I would sing that hymn in such a big group of missionaries and I started crying. I know that all good things must come to an end...it is just hard. I was thinking about that talk by President Uchtdorf and how we are not made for endings. So I know that this will just be a pause and then I can be a full-time missionary again one day (maybe with my husband, or maybe in the spirit world).
But then a couple hours after zone conference, Hermana Brown asked me to check her head for lice. I was like, yeah right. Found a little black bug. We called the nurse and she came back home quickly to check it out...all four of us had lice. AAAAAHHHHH!!!!! The good news is that lice are not terrifying. When I was a little girl I thought that if I got lice I would have them for the rest of my life. We just had to buy the lice treatment shampoo, and comb any eggs out of our hair with the tiny-toothed comb they gave us, and then vacuum the whole house, cover it in bug poison, and wash all of our clothes and bedding. Good thing that we have a washer and dryer in this area. But we have just been dealing with this mess for the last four days and we are still not done with all the laundry. Ugh. Also today I put a red scarf in a colors load and it turned a bunch of other things red. And somehow or another my Missionary Handbook got in the washer and totally died. So it's been a really frustrating process. I never want to have lice again!!!
I really learned a lot at the zone conference! President Obeso based his talk on the analogy of the glass half-full or glass half-empty. He talked about how it's all in our perspective, and the importance of gratitude for the things that we have. Maybe our ward is struggling. But we have X number of members who consistently attend...so let's work with them! Let's look for their friends and invite them to go out with us to make visits! It was a really good reminder just to think about the importance of gratitude and positivity. I learned that gratitude honestly is the same thing as optimism.
We also talked in the zone conference about diligence, which I thought was really applicable as I enter into the last month of these 18 months. The definition of diligence in the scriptures in Spanish is "a constant, valiant effort," or "un esfuerzo constante y valiente." As missionaries it is so imperative for us to be constant and valiant in our efforts to serve!
I love you all so much and I hope that you are doing so well! I hope you are not too cold!
Lots of love, Hermana Latham