Sunday, September 22, 2013

"contigo siempre estaré"

Thursday, September 19, 2013

¡Hola, familia!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the dearest, cutest sister EVER!!  Abby, I can't believe that I can't be there for your sweet sixteen....but I hope you know just how much I love you and that I miss you every day!  It was so great for me to see some of your newest artwork and to hear about how great your sophomore year is so far.  I'm so excited that you are having a birthday party.  It will be such a blast and something that you will remember forever!  I love you and I'm sending you GIANT hugs from Mexico City!
I love Thursdays so much.  We are so blessed every other Thursday to get a chance to go to the Mexico City Temple.  Hermana Young and I got up at 5:30 today to get ready, but it was so worth it.  Then, I get to come home, eat lunch, and email you guys!!
This week has been very exciting.  Like I told you, last Thursday we had to move.  The casa we used to live in had problems with the bathroom and the chemical they were using to resolve it was bad for us, so we all had to move.  You're right, this property has been here since the 60s!  It used to be a Church-operated high school.  A lot of the buildings are old.  Our move was okay.  It was a really rough day for me, though.  We had to leave our sweet roommates, and then it seemed like I just couldn't  At gym time here, I have been trying to do sports (we all know how that goes...) and so on the day we moved, I also totally twisted my foot in an attempt to play my foot was hurting super bad and I was limping.  Since we moved, we ran out of time to plan, so I felt unprepared, and so naturally, the last straw came out and I was having a really tough time.  Our district leader gave me a blessing and Hermana Young prayed with me.  As I exercised faith, things worked out one by one.  Our new roommates don't really talk to us, but at least we have a clean, safe house to live in!  We made do with the time we had for planning, and within a couple days my foot was better.  Thank goodness.  :)
Friday was our service day and we played a super fun game of volleyball!  I get a little bit better each day (although one time I managed to knock the volleyball and cut my wrist with my own fingernail all in one movement, and then the next day a volleyball smacked me in the face).  I had forgotten how much it hurts to get hit in the
Saturday and Sunday were both really neat because we had the opportunity to celebrate Mexican Independence Day.  On Saturday we had a program and watched cultural dances, and a lot of the dancers sang the EFY medley in Spanish.  Then Sunday was Mexico's actual independence day, and we got to stay up past 10:30 (oh, snap!) to participate in the annual "grito."  The grito is a cry of victory in remembrance of the day that Mexico stood up to Spain for independence and freedom.  The Mexican president leads the grito on live TV and he commemorates Mexican war heroes.  For example, "¡Viva Hidalgo!"  Then everyone else follows with "¡Viva!"  It was cool to learn about Mexican history and patriotism.  The grito happens at 11 at night.
On Monday we had questionable red hot dogs at the comedor (cafeteria).  I did not touch them, but the people who did got really sick.  That was an interesting experience!  The elders in my district are hilarious and they were trying to explain to our morning teacher, Hermana Olmos, how terrible the "perros calientes" were.  She was just Spanish they are hot dogs too.  lol
Every Tuesday we have an MTC devotional, and this week our branch and another branch were invited to be in the choir.  We sang "Tu me has dado muchas bendiciones, Dios," or "Because I Have Been Given Much" in English.  Hermana Young and I got to be in the quartet for the last verse!  Hermana Howton and Hermana Ives offered to take pictures for us and they also took a video, but I can't get the video to send.  Hopefully computers are better in Chile :)  But this is a rough translation of what we sang:
For many blessings that you give me, Lord,
To those who need it I will give my love.
My gratitude I want to express,
Serving others with kindness,
And this is how I will do your will.
I LOVE the hymns in Spanish!  They are so wonderful.  Recently in my personal study I was studying "Creo en Cristo," or "I Believe in Christ."  My email title this week is my favorite phrase from that hymn.  It is a promise from Christ that means, "I will always be with you."  I know that this is true!  As we teach our MTC investigators, we study for them, and I have been studying the Holy Ghost.  It truly is a blessing from the Lord to always have the Spirit with us as a comforter.  I experience unexpected trials at the MTC...but I am learning more and more each day the power of the Atonement in our lives, and that He truly promises to always be with us.  When I remember this promise, I feel stronger and more able to face my challenges--to be a better missionary, a better friend, and a better person.
My other most spiritual experiences this week were the videos we watched on Sunday.  We watched a devotional video from Elder Holland, and it was incredible.  He makes me want to strive to be the best missionary I can possibly be.  I know that this experience has the power to change everything in my life, and the power that will shape me is love.  Love for my companion, love for my investigators, love for the Lord, and, as I am learning more and more each day, love for myself.  My companion is helping me to learn to love myself more, which is a tough battle for me.  But I know that as I pray, Jesus will be able to help me to change and grow.  I told Hermana Young that I am climbing the self-esteem ladder.  :)  We also watched an amazing video about the life of Joseph Smith.  I can't for the life of me remember what it is called, but it is relatively recent (like maybe 2010?) and I would highly recommend it.  It is such a powerful testimony of Joseph Smith's life.  Everyone told me that my testimony would grow on my mission and it was hard for me to imagine exactly how, but my testimony grows each day.  I am so thankful for this gospel in my life. 
I am so glad that you got to take a break and go golfing!  I know that days off mean the world to you, so it's good when your boss encourages you to take them :)  Haha I can't believe you saw so many alligators!  In the process of learning Spanish, it becomes hard to remember how to spell things in English companion leans over to me once every couple days asking how to spell "investigator" because in Spanish it is simply "investigador" with a d.  So I am always thinking of gators when spelling investigator in English.  lol.
I am so excited about BYU and Auburn's football success!  WAR EAGLE AND GO COUGARS!  I didn't think about the normal daily life things that I would miss, like football season.  I hope we beat the Utes!  (our new roommates both went to the U before their maybe that's why they don't talk to me! ;)  )  I really can't believe that Abby is sixteen already.  I remember when we were little girls.  Sometimes I miss those days.  Thank you very much for your insight and for your prayers.  I definitely feel your support in my life, and I pray for you all every day as well.
Thank you for your scripture story!  Every day I love the prophets more and more.  They are such incredible examples and missionaries.  I admire their faith.  Thank you also for telling me how Abby and Benjamin are doing!  I miss all of you so much and it is good to know what's going on in your lives.  I would love for you to send my letters to Evan.  I am so excited to share this experience with him.  I am in awe that I will be able to walk some of the same paths that he did.  Wow, I can't believe my blog had so many views!  That's exciting.  This is such an amazing and life-changing experience; I'm really glad that I can share it with so many people that way.   I could definitely use a different bag.  There are tiny areas where water can seep through.  I bought cheap-o scripture cases at our MTC store to keep the water out of my scriptures...they haven't gotten too badly waterlogged, but a little bit before I bought the cases.  I don't know when Chile's rainy season is and I can't use the Internet, so it might be easier for you to find it on Google or something.  I'm sorry I can't tell you!  The national holiday is Chilean Independence Day.  It threw off everything.  A couple elders in our zone will serve in Concepcion, and they had to leave today, when missionaries usually depart on Mondays or Tuesdays.  It must be a lot bigger deal there than 4th of July is for us!  I miss talking to you too, but I am so thankful for email.  It is so fun to share our experiences with each other!  It sounds like the Olive Tree was beautiful.  I'm sad because we are not allowed to listen to ANY music at the MTC.  President Pratt says that the rooms are too close together and it could disturb people who are studying.  I miss listening to music (yet another reason why I can't wait to get to Chile!)  Hugs from the other hermanas are the best.  I knew that not hugging boys would be tough, but it is even harder than I thought!  I truly love the elders in my district and I just want to hug their guts out.  :) 
I love you all so much, and I pray for you each day!  I hope that you are enjoying a gorgeous fall (we are here in Mexico!)!
Abrazos, Hermana Latham

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