Wednesday, October 30, 2013

La cuarta misionera

Oct 28, 2013


Everything here is so different.  Missionary work requires SO much patience at every turn!  I really like the quote you sent, to forget about how stressed you are and think about how blessed you are.  Because it would be really easy to get completely caught up in the stress of it all and just quit.  But honestly, I am so, so blessed and I know that Christ solves all problems.  As a missionary, it has become a million times clearer to me that problems are everywhere.  And the hard part is that I don't know how to solve most of them.  But I know that Christ solves problems.  So what I've been thinking is that as a representative of Christ, even if I can't personally solve a problem, it is my job to guide people to Christ's light.  He really can and will solve our problems when we have faith!  
A couple of other new foods I have tried here are sopaipillas and completos.  Sopaipillas are basically fried bread.  They are so delicious and so terrible for you at the same time.  :)  And I never liked hot dogs before...but completos just might convert me!  They are called completos because they are "complete."  It's a hot dog with cheese, tomatoes, avocado, mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, everything.  And it is SO good.  :)  We'll have to make completos Chilean style when I come home.  :D  Meals here are usually a meat and a starch and then bread.  Their salads are really simple, usually one vegetable with lemon juice, oil, and salt.  So everything is really bland, but it makes it really easy to accept new foods!  Also they never drink water.  It's all juice and soda.  Very interesting.

The spring here is like the spring anywhere else, I suppose...super bipolar!  On Tuesday and Wednesday it was super cold and we had crazy rain and some hail.  Then, yesterday, we had to take off our pantyhose after church because it was so hot.  It's really beautiful here, too!  There are so many interesting types of flowers here.  Hermana Nappa says I should take some pictures to share with Nana & Grandma since they love flowers so much.  I need to take some pictures and send them to you all!!

The culture here is so different.  Everyone is really relaxed.  This week we had three different branch activities at the chapel to help animate the members for branch conference.  They ranged from 1 to 4 hours of us waiting for people to show up (like if the activity was supposed to start at 6:30, more often than not it started at 8:00).  So that is something frustrating that I need to learn to deal with!  :)  The Easy as Cake Cookies were not easy as cake here.  :)  We made them in an investigator's home, and she did not have measuring cups, so I eyeballed everything.  Then, her stove was a wood stove.  So....they were mostly burned.  But everybody really liked them, so I guess that's good!  lol.  Then we had a talent show on Friday.  The people in our branch love my voice.  I sang first, and then at the end of the activity they asked me to sing again.  I also sang in a group a special musical number in branch conference!

So some of the grossest things here so our bathroom.  We don't have normal cleaners, so we clean with straight up bleach.  And we used to keep our mop outside ( I say used to because I talked my companion into moving it inside after this experience), so the bucket had dirt and grass in a snail visitor!  Woo.  So that was a fun experience....also missionary feet.  I have sweet blisters and marks all over my feet, I'm starting to have a missionary shoe tan, and my feet have never smelled worse in my life.  lol.

This week I've had a couple of different trials...I work more every day to speak more Spanish, but a lot of people laugh at me when I mess up or get stuck, and in one of our lessons, whenever I talked, our investigator turned to look at her TV show.  So sometimes I feel like I'm failing as a missionary because Spanish is so hard.  But my companion reminded me that my success as a missionary isn't determined by how well I speak Spanish.  It is determined by how hard I am working and how much I am giving to the Lord.  I read a really cool article called "The Fourth Missionary," or la cuarta misionera in español.  The fourth missionary gives all she has and is therefore truly changed by what she learns.  I was reminded that my personal progress as a missionary is one of the most important parts of this mission!  And I know that I will learn more and grow every day, and prepare to be a better wife, mother, and everything else later in my life.  My companion and I are becoming better friends, which is such a blessing.

This week I bought a backpack, rainboots, and an umbrella.  So if you haven't already put the package in the mail, don't worry about the river bag.  I'm putting two letters in the mail for you guys today.  Let me know when you get them!

We had four investigators at church on Sunday, and Primary was totally different because I had a boy in my class (oh man, he made EVERYTHING patience was at its very end.).  Thank you for your ideas!  I am borrowing a Primary manual to plan lessons.

I hope you all have a wonderful week and remember how much I love you!  Happy Halloween!

Abrazos, Hermana Latham

Tranquila, no mas

Oct 21, 2013                                        

The Elders and Sisters serving in Hermana Latham's branch traveled with some branch members several hours by car and then on foot to visit other members in a neighboring town called Curarrehue and make them lunch 
 This is the scenery they saw on the way.

Thank you so much for your letter and also the recipe!  Sister missionaries really are the best.  :)  Many of the sisters I have known have been some of the best girls I've ever met.  Like you said, to serve as a sister missionary takes a desire, and many of the girls out here serving just love Christ and everyone else so much, and it's so evident.  My companion doesn't like to share her feelings and talk about things.  So it gets tough because I am having a hard time relating to her.  But this week we got the chance to spend time with the other sisters in our zone and I really learned a lot from them.  They gave me advice and hugs, and they are just so loving!  One of the sisters is from Peru, and she is honestly the sweetest person ever.  I love to see her smile!
For the Primary, I would really love some stickers.  We have colored pencils and we draw every week (because I don't really know a way to teach in Spanish for 2 hours).  Do you have any ideas?  The past two weeks I have had four girls, a 10 year old, 2 9 year olds, and a 5 year old.  So it's really hard because they're at different levels.  And my companion isn't with me...she has to be in Relief Society.  So my temporary companion is the only young woman in our branch, and she's really shy, so she doesn't help me.  I want to help them feel the Spirit and I'm doing the best I can!  I feel kind of stressed out about it...but I think it's been okay so far.  
They advise us to tell you guys to send all of our mail to the mission home address.  The package address is different from the letter address, though.  I don't know about pouch mail.  My training is 12 weeks, so I will be here until at least New Year's.  My companion says that I'll probably be here until mid-February (three transfers).  Yes, Pucón is a super tourist trap!  Once summer gets here, there will be tons of tourists.  The volcano attracts a lot of people, and it's situated right on a lake, so there's beaches people can enjoy.  They can go hiking in the nearby mountains, and then there is also skiing on the volcano (it is snowy year round).  So the center of our town has bajillions of little touristy stores, and there are American food restaurants, and all that jazz.
So the good news it that I have an hour to email and I'm allowed to email friends!  WOO!  Today I sent a bunch of pictures and answered a bunch of emails, so this email will be shorter than last week's.  
For the first week and a half or so, every day at least one person would tell me "tranquila, no más," and it drove me nuts.  The direct translation doesn't really make sense, so what it basically means is, "be calm, that's all."  This is a stressful life!  So when people said that to me, I just wanted to be like, ARGH!  But at our training on Friday, one of the assistants to the president said it to me too, and so I decided I'd give it some thought.  We were on the bus back from Lanco, and I was just looking out the window at the beautiful Chilean countryside and thinking.  In my life, everything that has ever been stressful, that I ever thought I couldn't do...Jesus Christ helped me to accomplish it.  So I thought about it a little bit more...and if I decide to have faith in His ability to help me, then I really don't need to be stressed out, because I can know that He is there.  This thought entirely changed my perspective.  I could feel Him saying, "tranquila, mi hija."  Be calm, my child.  He has a plan and I will be able to do this!
After this day, all of my days have been better.  He helps me to remember the scriptures and the Spanish words that I need to bring the Spirit.  I have been able to teach gospel principles in Spanish through the Spirit, and on Sunday I gave a talk in church and was able to share the Spirit.  When I trust Him, He trusts me to be His representative.  
We had a really awesome branch activity on Friday night, and we are going to read the Book of Mormon as a branch in four months!  Everyone is really excited.  
I have SO much more I want to say but I don't have time!  :'(  I will write more next week.  I love you all so, so much and I miss you a lot!  I miss your voices and your smiles.  But I trust in Heavenly Father that this is exactly where I need to be right now.  I hope you will find joy in putting your faith in Jesus Christ just as I do every day of this mission.

Abrazos, Hermana Latham
      Diguenes-these are the weird mushrooms I told you about that grow on the trees.

                                        They're sweet and spongy and orange on the inside!
                                                         Ward BoM activity!
                             Hermana Latham and Hermana Nappa with their baby investigator
                                                                Our house :)

Friday, October 18, 2013

¡Estoy en Chile!

Oct 14 at 5:01 PM
¡Hola familia!
¡Estoy en Chile!  I am in Chile!!!  This has been the longest, craziest week of my life and I have so much to say (and also a bazillion pictures, but those will have to wait for next week because today is a little crazy).
Every day I wake up and I cannot believe that I am here, and that Heavenly Father has blessed me with the opportunity to serve here.  It is stunningly, unbelievably gorgeous here.  I know everyone here is super-biased, but I agree with them...this is the most beautiful mission in the world!  In our sector, we have a fantastic view of the Volcan Villarrica.  All around it, there are other gorgeous mountains.  Also, it is spring here and the flowers and trees are growing and it is so beautiful.  I can´t wait to send the pictures.
Being here in a completely different culture is really interesting and super hard at times.  Like Uncle Evan warned me, there are approximately 8 bajillion dogs here.  They are EVERYWHERE.  Some are loud.  Some are big.  And some are scary.  And it didn´t help that on the first day here, President and Hermana Rappleye told us what to do in case of dog bites!  AHH!  I really don´t want to get bitten by a dog!  Also today I bought a waterbottle...and it is water with gas, which means...I think seltzer water in the States?  I don´t know, but it´s super weird!
As a missionary, every day is an adventure.  On Monday night, we flew all night...about 8 or 9 hours from Mexico City to Santiago.  (for time purposes, Chile is 2 hours ahead of Mexico City).  It was the longest night ever!  I have super issues sleeping on planes, and every time I would fall asleep the baby next to me would start crying again...but at the same time it was really great, because I got to sit next to a 23 year old Chilean girl, and she was fabulous.  We had entire conversations in Spanish, and that really calmed my nerves for when I got to Chile and needed to speak to native Chileans.  She told me a lot about Chilean culture and she thought that what I was doing was really great.  As we were landing, she explained to me different things about the cordillera, or Andes Mountains.  I never imagined how it would feel to see the Andes Mountains with my own eyes.  They are unbelievable.  I could not keep my mouth closed!  So, SO beautiful.  And GIGANTIC!  I thought the Rockies were big.  No.  Not in comparison to the Andes.  I consider it a blessing that the Lord has given me to be able to see so many beautiful things.  Once we landed in Santiago, we had to go through customs, security, all that jazz again and then, finally, we got to our gate for our second flight.  I sat next to Elder Johnson and Elder Washburn and it was really fun to have a conversation with them, get to know them a little better and everything.  After an hour drive from the airport to Osorno, we had orientation with the mission president. 
On Wednesday I met my new companion!  Her name is Hermana Nappa and she is from Paraguay.  She is super interesting.  We are very different, but thankfully she talks a lot more than my last companion, so it´s not as hard to maintain conversation.  She is 22 and has already finished 4 years of college.  She has three left because she wants to become a doctor!  I have learned a lot from her already.  She is very hard-working, smart, and obedient.  Also...she speaks English!  Not entirely fluently, but enough so that she can help meunderstand a LOT.  We are getting to know each other better, and I hope that as the weeks progress it will be more of an equal partnership.  A lot of the time I am frustrated because she knows what´s going on while I have no idea, and she doesn´t really tell me, so I feel like she´s kind of dragging me around...but I am doing my best and I am going to ask her more questions this week.  We had to travel 5 hours by bus to get to Pucón, the northeastern most area in our mission.  Our casita is really cute, but also really cold at night.  So yes, I have been chilly in Chile.  :)
Thursday was my first official day in the mission field.  It was tough, but great.  We had three lessons on my very first day!  I actually understand quite a bit of what people are saying.  I got to meet our ¨golden¨ investigators...the ones who are progressing.  There is a mom, a dad, a teenage daughter, a little boy, and a baby girl.  They are wonderful!  I am completely in awe of their patience and their willingness to love.  The people here are easily the kindest, humblest, and friendliest people that I have ever known.  It´s hard though, because this specific family really loved the hermana who was here before, and they really want her back.  I hope that they will be able to love me too.  We also had a meeting with our branch mission leader and the other elders in our branch.  Our branch has a tiny amount of members, but a HUGE area, so there are 4 of us to cover it.  The other elders are both from the States, which is really helpful so I can ask them questions.  Our mamita makes us lunch every day.  She is so hard for me to understand!  She speaks really fast and with lots of ¨chilenismos,¨ or colloquialisms of Chile.  On the first day,she told me that I looked like someone from a storybook with my blonde curls.  It´s funny to be compared to Goldilocks when in our country I look super normal!  Everyone here tells me that I am ¨linda,¨ or pretty, which is so sweet. 
On Friday we got to do the coolest thing.  There is an elderly couple in our branch who both have Alzheimer´s, and we got to share service with them.  We went on a walk with the lady, who is in a wheelchair.  She is wonderful!  It was so wonderful to be able to serve them because I could almost see them through Christ´s eyes, and understand just how much He loves them.  To feel that love is all that I want to feel!  I know that is pure charity, and I want to always have that.  Also, when we were tracting we found a really great woman and her daughter.  As we were talking, she said that she had prayed for help...and there we were to help her.  It is miracles like this that tell me that I am doing what the Lord wants me to do.  What a blessing it is to be able to share this beautiful gospel!  I feel the Spirit so strongly every day.
As I was typing that I remembered some things I don´t want to forget to tell you.  When we knock doors here, we don´t knock.  We stand outside the gates and shout, Allo!  People here don´t actually say hola, or adios.  They say Allo for hello and Ciao for goodbye!  Also they love it when I tell them things about the United States.  They think it´s really cool, or ¨super bakan.¨ haha.  :)  I really haven´t eaten anything here that I didn´t like!  The food is really agreeable.  There is a ton of bread.  But I have also tried two new things here.  One is called´s kind of like caramel, but soft and squishy and spreadable.  It is SO good.  The other is digueñes.  They are a kind of mushroom that grows on trees.  They are really interesting, kind of spongy and kind of sweet.  I have pictures of them for next week!
On Saturday we went to visit a man in our branch who lives SUPER far away, in the next town over, Curarrehue.  It was an hour bus ride, and then about 2 hours hiking to his house up in the mountains.  The pictures are unbelievable!  Oh my gosh.  So beautiful.  We were there with the elders and a couple of members from our branch to make him lunch and spend some time with him.  It was really fun.  When we got back, one of our investigators taught us how to cut firewood so that our casita can be a little bit warmer.  So I used an axe for the first time and chopped firewood!  We learned how to start fire in our little heater.  And now our house is calentito (warm).  The fire makes me so happy!  It is so sweet and relaxing and most importantly, warm.  The first night here I wore tights, thermals, pajamas, a jacket, 2 pairs of socks, and like 6 blankets.  It´s not that cold outside, but in our house it used to be freezing! 
Sunday was a lot of firsts for me.  We went to church, and there was nobody to teach the Primary.  My companion is one of the counselors in the Relief Society Presidency, and one of the elders is the first counselor in the branch presidency.  So naturally, we help a lot.  So...approximately 2 minutes before Primary was supposed to start, I was asked to teach!  I was TERRIFIED!  So, I taught Primary to four precious little girls for the first time ever teaching Primary...for two Spanish.  We drew pictures of the things we are grateful for and talked about our blessings.  I think it was okay for my first time ever.  After that we had branch council (which was a HUGE deal because this branch hasn´t had council meeting for over a year) and I have never been more confused in my life. They were planning about 6 activities for the upcoming week...all at the same time.  In normal conversation, when people are talking about one thing, I can understand the general idea of what´s going on.  But in branch council I just felt so stupid.  I was so frustrated.  But everybody here comments on how good my Spanish is for the short time I´ve been here, so I keep trying to remember that.  I have super high expectations of myself and I just want to know everything right now!  But I am doing my very best to ignore the voices of Satan and to believe that I CAN do this.  I CAN learn how to be the missionary the Lord needs me to be.  (speaking of the activities...can you please send me the recipe for Easy as Cake Cookies?  I realized that I am living in a country in which Cool Whip doesn´t exist, so I can´t make banana pudding for our branch potluck.  But there should be cake mix.)
Yesterday also President and Hermana Rappleye came to Pucón to interview our investigators...they can´t get baptized yet because they need to get married first!  But after the interview, the dad agreed that he would get married.  So that is our super fabulous news for the week.  Today is P-day, but tomorrow is zone conference, which is far away from where we live.  So we are in the town next door, Villarrica, spending time working with the hermanas here.  We will spend the night with them tonight and all travel to Lanco together tomorrow.  It is so nice to be with other hermanas!  We celebrated the birthdays of two hermanas today with crepes and we watched the movie about Emma Smith.  One of the sisters in Villarrica went to BYU and she is really helpful answering all of my questions.
I think a messenger bag would work really well.  I like the idea of the more fabric-like, water-resistant one.  Also I have another thing to ask for Christmas...I lost my black sweater somehow in the move, so I would really appreciate a black cardigan.  Also my favorite missionary scripture is Jacob 5:72 (And it came to pass that the servants did go and labor with their mights; and the Lord of the vineyard labored also with them; and they did obey the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things.) Thank you so much for your advice in your letter!  I love you so much and I miss you every day!  My new companion doesn´t like hugs and I´m struggling....but thankfully everyone else here does like hugs, so I´m okay.  I wish I could say more, but we have to leave!  I love you so so so so much!  I think of you every day and I miss you.
Love you always.
Abrazos, Hermana Latham

Saturday, October 12, 2013

¡Hola from The Chile Osorno Mission!

October 11, 2013

Dear Family of Sister Latham,

We are pleased to inform that your daughter has arrived safe and sound and smiling to the Chile Osorno Mission.  It was a pleasure for us to greet your daughter upon her arrival and feel her desire to serve.  Enclosed is a picture that we took with her shortly after her arrival.  After a short period of orientation regarding mission procedures, customs of the country, etc., we assigned Sister Latham to work in the city of Pucon with Sister Nappa as her companion.  Your daughter's address during her time in the mission will be:

                                                Sister Melanie Latham
                                      Casilla 7-0
                                      Osorno, Chile

Sister Rappleye and I love our missionaries and are truly happy to have the opportunity to work with Sister Latham.  We appreciate your willingness to share her with us as she works as a missionary and ambassador for the Lord in Chile.  Sharing the gospel with these deserving children of our Father in Heaven will certainly bring great joy and satisfaction to her, and to you as well.  Thank you so much for helping her get to this point.

Please write her regularly–at least once a week.  Your love, interest, and support will be of great help to her.  Should there be any emergency or if you desire information regarding any urgent situation, please feel free to contact the Missionary Department in Salt Lake City rather than go to the expense of phoning the mission here in Chile. 

The missionary work is progressing rapidly here in southern Chile, and I hope that you will share in her exciting mission experience as Sister Latham writes to you weekly and keeps you informed of her challenges and achievements and experiences.


President John E. Rappleye
Chile Osorno Mission


put your shoulder to the wheel!!

October 6, 2013

I am dying on the inside.  From excitement.

I have two sheets of paper here that say that I have a ticket to fly to Puerto Montt, Chile!!! 

I really can't believe that this is real.  I keep thinking someone will pinch me and I'll wake up and I'll be working at Target.  :)  It's really a similar feeling to when I was leaving to start as a student at BYU.  The Lord has blessed me so much to reach my dreams...and although sometimes I have wondered why He cares so much about me, all the lessons from conference reminded me of the Lord's love for me.  I also believe that blessings come through obedience. 

So we will be loading on the bus tomorrow at 4:00 P.M. Central (5:00 P.M. Eastern) on Monday.  Our flight leaves from Mexico City at 9:25 Central (10:25 Eastern) and we have a direct flight to Santiago.  We will land in Santiago at 7:50 A.M. Eastern/Chile time on Tuesday.  We have a layover in Santiago and our flight to Puerto Montt takes off at 10:30 A.M. Eastern, then we land at 12:15 P.M. Eastern time!  It will be a long trip, but it really is a relief to have all of the boarding passes printed out and ready to go.

I am so excited to go to Chile and start serving the Lord, and "put my shoulder to the wheel," so to speak.  :)  Hermana Young and I are already packed and we can't wait to get on the plane!

I'm still not sure about the calling card thing.  The elders have told me that I can buy one at the airport.  We have quite a while between the time we get to the Mexico City airport and the time we take off for Santiago, so I may be able to call then.  If I will be sometime between 6 and 9 pm eastern time.  I would like to call, but I'm not 100% sure that I'll get the chance. 

I hope you all loved conference!  I thought it was just so wonderful.  I am very inspired.  I learned so much about the Lord's Atonement and the importance of loving each and every person, regardless of their situation.  I also learned a lot about the Lord's love for me.  How blessed we are.  It's impossible for me to pick a favorite talk because all the sessions were so phenomenal!

I wanted to ask you guys a favor.  I keep thinking about this one lady that I think would appreciate the gospel in her life.  This summer when I was ironing out all of my cards and things to make them international, I went to the bank and visited with (name omitted for privacy).  She seemed really touched by what I was doing with my life, and I remember her telling me that she wished more young people were like me.  She also remembered you guys.  Now, looking back on it, I wish I would've invited her to visit, or that I had given her a pamphlet or pass along card or something.  Mama or Daddy--would you mind going to see her at the Wells Fargo right by Kroger?  I just can't shake the feeling that she needs or is ready for the gospel in her life.  It can be as simple as a pass-along card.  We are so blessed with the light of the gospel of our lives, and even more blessed to be able to share it with those who are seeking it.

I love you all so much and I think about you every day!  I missed your hugs and General Conference snack mix this weekend!  ;) 

Abrazos from Mexico (and soon to be CHILE!!), Hermana Latham

Saturday, October 5, 2013


The mountain with the B (for Benemeritos de los Americas).

Our district with two of our teachers, Hermano May on one end and Hermana Olmos on the other end.
 Cool view from the MTC Entrance.

¡Hola familia!
Yes, you are right, my email was shorter last time because I had so many people to email back!  I have heard from so many friends and family members, and I love the support and love I feel from them.  Also, since I've been here I have been trying very hard to keep to my hour email limit.  A lot of people email up to three hours!  I am trying to be obedient.  Today I will just have to go over my limit, though, since it is my last P-day in the MTC and I have sent many emails.  :)  I did get an email from Nana and replied to it last week; I hope it's working out for her!  Also, I got my patriarchal blessing in the mail yesterday and last week received a darling letter from the Lunt family! 
Thank you for sending me Paige's address and Aunt Janet's email.  Her words were so touching!
I want to start by thanking you, Mama and Daddy, for teaching me to love the temple.  Yesterday I had the opportunity to look at pictures of temples on, and today was my last visit to the Mexico City Temple before I leave for Chile.  I feel so blessed to have a love for the temple and to be able to worship in the House of the Lord.  I feel so close the Lord, so peaceful, and so joyous in the temple.  Today I was just soaking it in since I won't be able to go the temple for a while.  I hope that you all try to go to the temple when you can!  It is such a blessing to live so close to a beautiful House of the Lord, and I know that inside its walls we are endowed with power from on high.  I also know that the real goal of teaching people the gospel is not baptisms, but helping people to reach for the temple, where they can receive the ordinances of salvation and come closer to their Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
It is crazy to think that in a few short days I will be flying to Chile!  We travel on Monday the 7th, but we don't get our official flight plans and what not until tomorrow.  I get to email home one last time on Sunday to let you all know about my travel.  That will also be when I tell you if I can call.  I'm still not sure if I can get a calling card or if it's even allowed, but if so, I would love to talk to you!  I hope you aren't too nervous or scared for me!  I am not afraid.  I am not afraid because I know and have faith that Christ is with me every step of the way.  I know it is so far away from my home...but I feel an overwhelming peace knowing that Christ will be there with me, that this is the right decision to be making, and that it will shape my future and the future lives of some investigators and my future family.  I know that what I am doing is right, and I trust in the Lord that I will be safe. 
Words cannot express how proud I am of Benjamin!  It makes me cry to think that he is now a worthy young man holding the power of God.  What an incredible responsibility and blessing.  One Sunday here, we had a lesson about how to exercise the priesthood in righteousness, and the things we learned paralleled the lessons I've had about Christlike attributes.  Of course it would make sense that to exercise the power of Christ, men would need to live like Him and strive to be like Him in their every action.  Benjamin, I know that you are such a great example to the other boys in our ward and to the boys at school!  You are an example to me!  I'm sorry that Caesar died, but even without him you are still awesome.  Thank you for being worthy to have the priesthood.  <3
I haven't seen the Relief Society Broadcast either!  We will be watching it on Saturday night while the elders watch Priesthood session.  I am so excited and I cannot wait to hear the missionary choir.  (I can already envision the sobs coming.  :)  )  I am so excited for General Conference!  What a special time!  I hope you guys have fun in Auburn and watching conference with Grandma. 
Thank you for helping me with my clothes mishaps!  Since I have so few tops, I'm still wearing the ones that turned colors.  They're acceptable, just not gorgeous.  As far as the rubber overshoes go, I think I'll have better luck finding what I need in Chile.  I will likely give the things I can't use to the mission home in hopes that another sister will have use for them.  I already threw away the snowboots...they just would not dry out, and they smelled worse than any other pair of shoes I've ever they're gone.  ;)  I want to see what other sisters use for bags in Chile.  I am assuming messenger bag or professional purse, since the Church is phasing out missionary backpacks.  I just can't wait to get to Chile!  We've been really blessed to enjoy a gorgeous Mexican fall before jumping into a Chilean spring.  I'm excited.  I love spring, and I'm not too worried for summer, especially since Atlanta had a non-summer this year what with all the rain.  I think I might appreciate the heat!  :)  But I suppose only time will tell...
Please, if you can, go ahead and update my blog!  I would love to have my email and snail mail addresses on it so that people can write if they want to, and it would also be cool to list my companions and areas.  :)  I wish I could see this blog!  It sounds like such a cool archive for this adventure.  I already feel behind on technology.  lol but I know I'll pick it back up.
This week, my title is 100%.  This refers to a couple of things.  First, this week Hermano May has challenged us to speak 100% Spanish.  It is so HARD!  I know a lot of Spanish, but I'm so used to speaking English that I find myself slipping into it.  It's definitely a lot easier for me to speak English than Spanish.  I don't have to work to remember vocabulary words and switches in verb tense.  But, it's been a really great challenge and I know it helps me to get ready for Chile every time I practice.  Our devotional on Sunday was about giving the Lord our 100% on this mission.  Sure, I've heard this 80 million times throughout my life, but it never really had meaning to me the way that it did this time.  I always imagined that giving the Lord my 100% meant to give Him all of my talents, my mind, my heart, and my good qualities.  But as this week has worn on and I have pondered the idea of giving the Lord my 100%...I have realized that He wants all of me.  Not just the good parts.  Not just the easy parts.  Not just the happy parts.  All of the parts.  As I give Him my fears, my weaknesses, my temptations, my sins, and my failures, He will be able to shape me into the one He wants me to be.  And this is the miracle of the Atonement.  I suppose I understand the Atonement better every day.  Being here at the MTC has forced me to throw myself headfirst into the gospel, and in so doing, I have been faced with difficulties.  Old trials that I never exercised enough faith to solve have resurfaced...and I have chosen to trust in the Lord's ability to make me His, and I am choosing to give Him my 100% every day.  Sometimes my 100% is not nearly what I want it or need it to be...but I know that Christ makes all the difference.  I feel His love encircle me like a blanket, and I have peace in my soul.  As I work every day to trust in Him more, I know that I will be able to better explain the Atonement to people who desperately need His light and love.  As I strive to understand His love for me, I can love myself and others more.  I can be more forgiving and understanding and not feel like my flaws are failures.  I love Ether 12:27:"And if men come unto me, I will show unto them their weakness.  I give unto men weakness that they may be humble, and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me, and if they humble themselves before me and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." (forgive any messups in there, that's just the verse from memory).  Every day I feel Christ's strong arms lifting where I stand, and helping me to conquer my weaknesses.  I testify that He loves us more than we can comprehend, and that He is in the details of our lives.  I've often heard that no problem is too big for the Lord...but to me it's just as important to remember that no problem is too small for Him either.  He truly cares.
I'm sorry I don't have as many details about the MTC to share as I did in the beginning!  We do the same things every week, and the longer we are here the more it all runs together.  :)  I feel truly blessed to be here.  It is amazing to me how fast I have been able to learn Spanish...but I know that missionaries don't come to the MTC to learn Spanish.  They come to learn the Atonement.  Because the Spirit is the same in every language, and through faith and diligent effort, the Spanish will come.  I have been blessed with a wonderful and truly loving companion, and with many other friends all united in the cause of helping others come unto Christ.  On Monday there will be 6 of us going to the Chile Osorno Mission and I honestly feel that I am in such good company.  What a blessing it is to be able to stand for Christ's name.  (It's also a nice blessing to lose 10 pounds!  :) )
I love you all so, so much and I pray for you each day!  Happy General Conference!  :D  (While you're watching, please remember how blessed we are to have a living prophet today!)
Abrazos, Hermana Latham   

The beautiful jacaranda trees.  They are really gorgeous and they line the streets here.
Our entire district with Hermano May next to Hermana Young and our other teacher, Hermano Escamilla next to me.  Hermano Escamilla is the most hilarious Mexican man that I have ever known, so the picture below is us doing something silly with him.

 Hermana Latham and Hermana Young with Hermano May. (above)  Hermana Latham and Hermana Young with Hermanas Howton and Ives, our friends en route to Arkansas Little Rock.
 The Angel Moroni on the Mexico City Temple is unique.  He is holding the golden plates!
 Our cute casa.  All the casas are painted different colors.  The first one we lived in was pink.