Tuesday, December 16, 2014

¡Él es la dádiva!

                                                                                                                                                     December 15, 2014

Hermana Latham wearing the outfit and sitting next to the Nativity Scene she received for Christmas 


I can't BELIEVE that we are ten days from Christmas!  That's why I haven't said much about Skype or anything--I really haven't felt like we are so close!  But we are!  I got the box!  And you had told me to open the outfit before so that I could get more use out of it, so I opened it to wear to a special conference we had on Friday.  We are still getting everything figured out here since we are new, so we don't have anywhere in particular to go for Christmas.  A senior couple of missionaries (the Beecrofts) invited us to their home for a little while on Christmas, and we are thinking of doing something fun as the four of us (roommates).  I have been so excited for the flash drive with the Christmas music all this time...and my speaker can't read the files.  :(  So I am going to look for another speaker today that will read the files.  As far as Skype goes, we are going to look for a member who is willing to host us this week.  President Obeso is not giving us as much time as President Rappleye did to talk...it will be 30 to 40 minutes.  I figure that it will be easier for me to link up with y'all than for Hermana Brown to get with her family, because we only have a 2 hour difference and she has a 5 hour difference.  

But we are getting SO excited for Christmas!  I don't remember if I told you last week, but all of us as missionaries are part of a Christmas choir with the Osorno Stake.  We are doing a ton of rehearsals...because on Friday we are singing in the central plaza of Osorno (AHHH!), on Saturday a little town called Río Negro asked us to come sing (WOW), and then on Sunday we will have our final concert in the stake center.  I love singing, and it is especially fun to sing Christmas songs, and to sing in Spanish!  We have been able to do so many contacts and invite them to the choir concerts.  Lots of people are really excited to come to the plaza on Friday to hear us.  I LOVE it!  Love it!!  Although I will miss you guys this Christmas, I feel so blessed to be a missionary at Christmas time and share this message.

The message that we have been striving to share is that of "Él es la dádiva," or the video you sent me a couple weeks ago, "He is the Gift."  We have pass along cards to invite people to the webpage to go see it, and they get so excited to watch it.  Here is the link to the video Melanie is referring to:  http://mor.mn/23t2u.  Because we are right outside of the city, we have SO many people in the streets to contact.  And it's so fun.  Just to share that special Christmas message with others.  We have been able to watch it with a few members and investigators, and the spirit of it brings tears to my eyes.  The spirit of Christmas is not anything more than the spirit of Christ...it is just that at this time of year, we can help others to recognize it even more.  The spirit that the video brings is so sacred and beautiful and I am so happy to share that here.  I totally understand what you are saying about loving the gospel more than as a child...I really didn't understand or recognize how truly incredible the gospel is before I was a missionary.  It means more to me every day.

This week we actually had a new investigator who we had contacted last week telling him to watch the video.  He loved the video and he wants to learn more about our message!  One of the first challenges in the training manual for new missionaries is to invite an investigator to baptism, and I was so proud of Hermana Brown this week with this investigator!  She did really well teaching her part of the lesson and inviting him to baptism.

I am in a different ward this time than I was last time in Osorno.  Last time I was in a ward called Los Laureles, and this time my ward is Centro.  They are in the same stake, though, so I see people from my old ward at the choir practices.  The sector I am in right now is a lot more high class than the one I was in last year.  We have areas that are literally mansions.  That is where our mamita lives.  And when we go to her home to eat, we sit at the end of a long table and eat off of china.  The cook makes our lunch, and we have had things like steak or salmon on just a typical day.  Our mamita and her family don't eat with us...they are actually hardly ever there when we are eating.  So we feel a bit strange just going to eat and leaving.  We are going to visit them this week and see if we can actually get to know their family and ask them to host us on their computers for Christmas.

I almost forgot!  On Friday we had a special conference with the mission psychologist and his wife!  I got to talk to him for a while, and he asked me what my plans are for after the mission.  I realized that I am not sure about anything when I go home!  I don't have a job.  I don't have a car.  I don't have a boyfriend.  And I'm not even 100% sure about what I want to study anymore.  But I realized in that moment that I have progressed so much on this mission....because even with all of the unknowns I have, I am not filled with terror anymore.  I am filled with peace.  I know that when I live as the Lord would have me live and put my faith in Him, that everything will turn out okay.  And He will bless me.  I have also learned how to love myself.  Of course, it is not easy...but I loved something that his wife said in her talk...that it is a marvelous gift to be myself!  The person that Heavenly Father created to be me is a marvelous gift!  I am striving to cherish that gift.

Hermana Latham and Hermana Brown next to the Nativity Scene they received for Christmas

I hope that you all are having a wonderful week!  I wish Abby and Benjamin good luck on their tests and hope that Abby gets better!  I love you all and I will tell you the Skype details next week.

Abrazos, Hermana Latham 

Friday, December 12, 2014

tendréis plenitud de gozo

Monday, December 1, 2014

sirviendo a otros con bondad

Bus car con fe

                                                                                               November 24, 2014


Thanks for telling me what everybody's doing.  It's fun to hear about!  Don't worry about leaving the Christmas decorations up until I get home...that's two whole months after Christmas!  I can wait until next year to see them.  Or maybe you can send me some pictures.  I love the pictures of Abby's art and of Benjamin in scouts!  He is so TALL!  In the picture he looks about the same height as Daddy!  Also Daddy's hair is a ton grayer than when I left.  And your hair looks like my hair always was before the mission.  Abby's art is unbelievable.  She is honestly so talented.

We're not doing anything special for Thanksgiving.  Thank you for sending me the dressing recipe...but I'm not gonna be able to make it.  There are too many of the ingredients that are really hard to find here, and I also have basically zero time to cook.  Thursday is our weekly planning day, so we have to plan that day.  But we bought a frozen pizza and Hermana Wadsworth wants to make a German pancake/dutch baby just to celebrate in some way.  We also planned a family home evening with some less actives where we will talk about gratitude on Wednesday night right before Thanksgiving.  We are going to share with each other something we're thankful for every day this week, too.  So in some way or another it will be celebrated.  :)  Today we also got together with all the hermanas in our zone in Hermana Stott's house to celebrate a little bit together.  We made pancakes and desserts in the microwave.

This week has been a really tough one.  The whole time we have been together with Hermana Wadsworth, we have been searching, not just looking, but seriously searching for someone who is prepared for our message.  And it has been hard.  We have so many days where we just walk for the entire day, because no one in our plans opens their door, and try to contact people or knock doors.  It's just hard to face so much rejection...to us and also to Jesus and God.  It is unbelievable to me how many people just don't want God in their lives.  We're running low on spiritual energy.  My companion is usually really positive and just keeps on keepin' on, but this week I think she kind of reached a rough point.  I think the last straw was when we had to drop the only investigator we had who let us visit frequently.  She just told me she is struggling with understanding why Heavenly Father sent her here because she feels like she is not able to help anyone.  I remember feeling exactly the same way when I was in my training, and listening to people talk about how much they loved the mission and thinking that I would never love the mission because it was so hard.  But with time I have learned many things, and although it is still so hard, I have learned to love the mission.  I am praying for her that she will have a lot of hope and be happy.  I think her family really misses her a lot...she is the oldest of 6 and her next brother is getting ready to leave on his mission sometime in the summer after he graduates from high school.  This time of year is just really hard for a missionary.  Thanksgiving doesn't exist here, so you just find yourself feeling really homesick and missing your family a lot.  I had gotten to where I was so focused on the work that I didn't miss you all as much, but when you're in the street contacting all day, it's hard.  I keep having dreams where I can see you guys, but I can't touch you.  And then when I wake up I feel sad.

But what we are striving to learn is to search with faith, or "buscar con fe."  Faith that Jesus and Heavenly Father really are preparing someone who we can help, someone who we can bless.  Because we know what a blessing this message is.  And we know that it can bring people joy.  And sometimes when you feel like you just can't take one more contact who tells you they aren't interested, you run into somebody who really needs your help.  One day this week we found a lady sitting alone outside her home, and she just had this empty look in her eyes.  We stopped to talk to her, and found out that she was feeling sad because her brother had recently died.  We shared with her a little bit about the Plan of Salvation and about how Jesus knows how she is feeling.  I hope that we can visit with her more, because I know that this message can make the difference in her life.

So it's tough.  But we are just plowing on, because whether these people know it or not, they need this message.  And we have been called to share it.

The Primary program went really well yesterday.  We have 9 kids in our Primary, and all of them came dressed up in their Sunday best.  They all gave their talks very nicely and sang the songs so well!  I think my favorite talk was a little 5-year-old girl who talked about Jesus, and how He is her Savior and she knows that He loves her, and that she loves Him too.  It was really touching.  Another little girl talked about how love in family means giving hugs and kisses and obeying your parents, your uncles and aunts, and your grandparents.  :)

I hope that you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and that Daddy has a great birthday!  I love you all so much!  I will be thinking of you this week!

Also some fun words I learned this week in Spanish...
Fanny pack=banano (another word for banana...haha I guess it's descriptive of the shape?)
Hula hoop=ula ula (that one just sounds funny.)

I am so grateful for you all!
Love, Hermana Latham

con todo el corazón

                                                                                                                        November 17, 2014

This week was so incredible!  I LOVED the conference with Elder Nelson.  It is such an unforgettable experience to hear an apostle in person.  The same as with Elder Ballard, I couldn't believe how old he looks in person!  One hermana told me that he is close to 90.  Somebody also told me that they have to wear makeup for General Conference.  I'm not sure if that's true.  But it would make sense.  What is incredible is that even though the apostles are so old, they are so powerful.  Elder Nelson probably has more energy than I do!  His voice is just so powerful...but so loving.  I am so thankful for the opportunity that I have had to meet two different apostles.  They are each different in their ways of teaching and serving...but their message is exactly the same.  Elder Nelson is so loving and so HAPPY!  Honestly, he completely radiates happiness!  As I am relating this experience to you I feel like maybe it wasn't even real...I loved to see that happiness in him.  And he talked about the importance of happiness as a missionary.  He said, "A smile on your face is one of the most important things as a missionary."  I know that it is true!  We have the best message in the entire world, one that brings us such joy...and we need to share that joy in a world that needs it so desperately.  I am working to always have a smile on my face so that I can help and invite others to come unto Christ.  In the end, I didn't play the piano at the conference.  So I freaked myself out about that for nothing.  I was thankful that I didn't have to play, because that way I could just soak in the experience without feeling super nervous.  It was another truly celestial experience.  When an apostle of the Lord says, "I'd like to teach you from the scriptures," you know it's gonna be good.  He taught us, verse by verse, in Doctrine and Covenants 31 and some other verses in the Bible that I don't remember off the top of my head.  I could listen to Elder Nelson teach us from the scriptures all day.  It's amazing the things that he learns and sees in the scriptures.

It was also special to see so many of my friends from the mission.  I saw Hermana Bernel, Hermana Alonso, Hermana McNeil, Hermana Greer, the Biggs, Elder Dower, Elder Johnson, Hermana Núñez, and others.  It was so wonderful to see them, and visit with them a little bit to see how they are doing.  Especially because a lot of them are ending their missions in 2 weeks!  It has totally escaped me to tell you about the Stotts!  They have been in my zone ever since I got to Río Bueno in February.  They are great and I am thankful for all of their help to us.

Today I chose to make the theme "con todo el corazón," or "with all the heart."  I have just been thinking about how I just want to give and give with all my heart as I come to the close of my mission.  I also remembered a sweet Christmas song that I sang in Women's Chorus at BYU...
"What can I give Him?
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd,
I would bring a lamb.
If I were a wise man,
I would do my part.
Yet what I can I give Him...
Give my heart.
I want to give Him all of my heart this week and for all of the weeks!

The last thing...today we went to the Volcán Osorno, the volcano on our mission seal!  It was 3 hours in bus to get there, but completely worth it.  I'm so irritated with myself that I left my camera cord at home.  But I will send pictures when I can.  It is completely gorgeous!  We were on top of the volcano and we could see the neighboring volcanoes and mountains above the clouds.  It was a pretty cloudy day, so for the majority of the ride we couldn't see the volcanoes or anything...but then we drove up above the clouds and it was like being in another world.  Honestly the coolest thing ever.  I'm sending a postcard your way within the next weeks (don't have time to send it today).  It was a hard and steep hike, but incredible.

I love you all so so much!  Thank you for the sweet quotes, pics of Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, recipe, and pic of y'all at the game.  You're so cute.  I miss you and I hope that you are doing really well and not freezing to death! (it sounds like it's been pretty bad in Utah.)

Love and lots of hugs, Hermana Latham

no se desperdicia ningún esfuerzo

                                                                                                                    November 10, 2014

¡Hola hola!

It's so fun to hear all of the news from back home!  It sounds like everybody is doing great!  That is so cool how Abby did the Halloween cookies.  I want to do that next year (in all of my free time as a college student...ha) but anyway it looks super fun!  I also want to go to Dress Barn when I come home.  That dress is so cute.  And the wig too.  I can't believe that Ashton is in Paris!  Wow!  How incredible!  Also it's fun to see what everybody thinks of the angel pictures and my new hair.  I really like it long.  I don't know why I kept it short for so many years.  Oh, and you asked me why I was on so early last week.  We had to get out of the house earlier than usual to get some stuff done with Hermana Wadsworth's visa.  Have y'all officially fallen back an hour?  Because if so I am 2 hours ahead of you now.

I keep forgetting to tell you that I got the Thanksgiving card.  I like the stickers!  I wouldn't worry about the box getting here.  I think that the package address and the letter address are pretty much interchangeable.  I also got a mailer from Hermana Ball's mom!  She sent me some candy, stickers, sticky notes, and glow sticks.  I need to ask Hermana Ball for her mom's email address so I can write her thank you.  It was the cutest thing ever!  She said "just wanted to send some love your way and thank you for being a good companion for Hermana Ball."  Seriously, so adorable.

I love hearing about your Primary program!  Ours is on the 23rd and I'm playing the piano.  I haven't been able to practice with the Primary kids yet because for the past few weeks we have been without a piano, and this week when we had a piano, they cut the power in La Unión all day on Sunday.  So next week I will practice with them.  I don't remember what all of the songs are that they need me to play, but one is "La familia es de Dios," or "The Family is of God."  (Your favorite one!)

This has been a really great week.  Hermana Wadsworth and I have felt so happy!  After a few hard weeks with the contacts and the investigators, this week we found some promising new investigators and went to visit some old investigators who are rekindling their interest in the gospel.  We have been teaching a college student English, and we had once with her and her parents and shared a little bit with them.  Today we have another appointment and we are excited to get to share more with them!  We also met an older Catholic lady and shared with her a little bit of the Plan of Salvation.  Then we proceeded to have one of the funniest experiences of my mission...we invited her to be baptized, and when she got kind of frazzled, we told her about how it was a long-term goal and that she could pray to know if it was what God wanted her to do.  (This is something we typically do.)  But then she told us she was going outside to check on her chickens....and she brought in a bag full of fresh eggs for us!  I have never been given farm-fresh eggs.  So we are thinking she is probably not that interested.  But we also had a great contact yesterday and shared our testimonies of how the Book of Mormon is a treasure that we can use as a companion to the Bible.

Yesterday, four of the less actives we have been teaching came to church!  One of them is about our age and she just had a baby, so we taught her about baby blessings and she brought her son to receive his blessing.  It was so lovely!  Also, a recent convert got the priesthood yesterday.  What a great Sunday.

We had district meeting on Tuesday and zone conference on Thursday, and I learned so much!

In district meeting we talked about how "no se desperdicia ningún esfuerzo."  I'm not sure the exact translation of this (it's the last principle of Chapter 9 in Preach My Gospel).  But it means that no effort goes in vain.  I had spent the last few weeks praying that we would be able to help someone, and feeling like maybe we weren't fulfilling our purpose as missionaries.  But this principle really taught me that the Lord knows how He needs us to help people.  And if we are living righteously and striving to serve, than every one of our efforts makes a difference to someone.  I know this is a true principle for everything, not even just missionary work.  Kindness, patience, diligence, obedience, and all of the other Christlike attributes or actions are never in vain.

At zone conference I learned something very important.  I have always thought that the central word of this work and of this gospel is "love."  Everything, when it comes down to it, centers on love.  Our love for the Lord, and our love for everyone else.  But I learned that this work and this gospel center on Christ.  Which is not to say that it doesn't center on love...but rather to say that Christ is love.  He is the one who teaches us how to love.

The center of the gospel is love.
The center of the gospel is Christ.
Christ is love.

I am so thankful for my Savior's example for me as I strive to learn how to love each day of my life.  If you haven't yet, go on www.lds.org and read President Monson's talk "Ponder the Path of Thy Feet."  It is wonderful.  Here is the link to Pres. Monson's talk:  https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/10/ponder-the-path-of-thy-feet?lang=eng&cid=email-shared

I hope that you all have a wonderful week!  We are excited for this week....especially to meet Elder Nelson on Wednesday!

I love you all so very much!

Abrazos, Hermana Latham

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

¿que es un milagro?

                                                                                                                                                 November 3, 2014



Some funny things I forgot to tell you guys about...a couple weeks ago we were having issues with our toilet, and the plunger we had was totally broken.  So it was a fun experience to try to explain "plunger" in Spanish without knowing the Spanish word for plunger...lots of arm action and everything.  lol...  Also recently our Relief Society had a workshop one Saturday and asked us to come, so we went thinking we could learn more about how to have better mental, emotional, and physical health...and there was a lady who came to teach about women's health.  So we sat through an hour of information about when you should have the pap test and what happens when you go through menopause...all in Spanish.  Hermana Wadsworth laughed at me because I was really struggling to pay attention and I fell asleep for part of it...things you do not expect as a part of missionary life...

This week has been a long one.  Hermana Wadsworth was feeling bad for most of the week, and I had some period symptoms, so I was all emotional and irritable and out of energy and bloated and super hungry all week.  Blech.  But, finally, I have felt better.  Also we have just been trying really hard and not feeling really successful in the missionary work.  We only have the one investigator I told you about last week.  So we are searching for people who would like to know more.  We are trying to do our very best, and praying to have the Spirit to guide us.  I am hoping that we will find someone!  I am here to help and to teach, and I want to serve!  So we are doing the best we can.

Friday was Halloween and it was definitely a Halloween to remember!  The bad news first...we were at the chapel all day for the activity, so there wasn't anyone at our house to hand out candy.  And somebody egged our house.  So that was super fun to clean up.  Blech.  But the good news is that the activity was fabulous!  The elders in one of the other branches planned everything and invited all three of the branches in La Unión.  We had games, food, music, costumes...everyone had a great time.  Our mamita helped us to do our "angel" costume, which was really fun.  Our wings are wire with pantyhose stretched over them, and we glued on quilt batting and feathers.  :)  That's the best costume I've had in a long time!  

 Our Mamita Hna Angelica who helped us make our wings!
Halloween decorations the Elders put up for the party (It was all pretty impressive for four elders!  They're awesome!)

This weekend was district conference (which is like stake conference, but for all of the branches in our area instead of wards).  The talks were really good...and a lot of people focused on how we can see miracles in our lives.  So I put the title as ¿Qué es un milagro?  What is a miracle?  Here, the miracle we are all hoping for is that our district can become a stake.  But for us to see that miracle, we need to act on our faith.  A miracle requires faith, service, and prayer.  It requires diligence and hope.  Hermana Wadsworth and I are striving to apply that to our area to find the miracle...people who are prepared to listen to the gospel.

I love you all and I hope that you are having a great week!  I hope Abby feels better soon!  And I wish you a very happy November!

Love always, Hermana Latham 

mi yugo es fácil y ligera mi carga

                                                                                                                                   October 27, 2014



I sincerely am trying to send pictures.  This week I took some with Hermana Wadsworth's camera so that it would work.  But no.  :(  Sorry!

It's funny that you have dreams about when I'm home...I'm doing the same thing, trying to keep going and keep focused, but I find my mind wandering so much.  I feel like it is going to be so weird for me to be home because everything here is so completely different.  I don't worry that things will be weird...I worry that I will be weird with the things that used to be normal for me.  Does that make sense?  I don't know.  And it doesn't help that all of my stuff is ready to die...or already died.  This week another pair of shoes gave up the ghost.  Missionary shoes are so valiant!  They just go and go...but when there is a big hole in the bottom there is no solution...hahaha.  Also my body just doesn't handle the hard work as well as it did in the beginning.  I get tired more easily.  But I am still not ready to come home!  I have four more months!  Lots of things left to do!  So I am trying to focus and give as much as I can while I still have the chance.  This week I ate too much lactose and had a lot of stomach pain for a few days.  And today Hermana Wadsworth's stomach doesn't feel so good.  But we are pushing through it!

This week we had a really special visit with AXXX.  She is golden.  She reads the Book of Mormon and knows that everything that we teach her is true.  But she is just scared about changing everything in her life and her family.   They always say that the Lord is preparing people specifically for you as a missionary.  This week I really felt it.  With my experiences and stories, I could help AXXX to come closer to our Savior.  Also, one day a bunch of our appointments fell through, so we went to visit a sister who we hadn't visited for a while.  When we went by, it was exactly the moment that she needed to feel her Savior's love.  I thanked Heavenly Father for guiding us to the person who truly needed Him.  It is such a special opportunity to be able to devote all of my time to serving others and helping them to progress and feel happy.

Hermana Wadsworth and I are really enjoying this companionship.  I feel like I am learning just as much or maybe more than she is from the training manual.  This week we studied a lot about prayer and the centrality of the Book of Mormon to our message.  I felt so much more prepared to teach this week!  I know that the Book of Mormon is the key to having a testimony in Jesus Christ, that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that the Church is true.  Last week you asked me if we will be together for Christmas.  I don't know because we have transfers on December 3.  But that made me think of the flash drive Abby is doing.  I didn't mean for her to freak out about it!  I know she has a million and one things to do.  All she really has to do is just upload the CDs to the computer and copy them onto the flash drive.  It should be pretty quick and easy.  I feel really bad about stressing her out over this; it's not even that big of a deal.  Can you ask her and Benjamin to write me?  I miss hearing from them!  It sounds like they had a great time at Trunk or Treat!  If you could send pics I would love that.  I love the picture of you and Daddy for the football game.  You guys look so cute!  Your hair is so different!  I want to send you a picture of my hair.  You would not believe how long and blonde it is.  I'm thinking about cutting it, but my companion says it looks fine.  I'm still not sure, but I kind of want to grow it for these last four months and cut it when I get home.

This week we are having a Halloween activity and inviting everyone, members, investigators, contacts, everyone!  It is for our branch with the other branches here in La Unión and maybe the Rio Bueno branch too (I'm not sure).  So it should be really fun!  The zone leaders planned it and they are really excited.  They called to tell us all the details and told us that we should plan costumes but still remember that we are representatives of Jesus Christ...haha it's a bit difficult to have a costume as a missionary, but we are thinking of dressing all in white and making wings out of panty hose and hangers to be angels.  haha.  

I hope you have a lovely week and enjoy your Halloween!  Thanks for the picture.  Can you send me one of the jack o'lantern if you make one?

I wrote the whole email and forgot to explain the title :)  It comes from a scripture in Matthew 11:28-30, and my companion shared it with two different families for a spiritual thought this week.  It is so beautiful to think about how the Lord helps us to handle our trials.  He is always there to help us.  "My yoke is easy and my burden is light,"  "mi yugo es fácil y ligera mi carga."

Love, Hermana Latham

Thursday, October 23, 2014

buscar a este Jesús

                                                                                                                                                             October 20, 2014

Thanks for looking up all that stuff on my Facebook.  It's fun to hear about what people are doing.  :)   I am so happy for Kristyn!  She is fabulous.  You can accept the friend request from A.  She is one of my investigators who just got baptized about a month ago.  Of course Daddy isn't taking his allergy medicine.  :P  I have been taking some because it helps me wake up with less headache.  With the flash drive...the thing I have is just a speaker with a USB port.  So whatever flash drive works to listen to music.  Abby is so sweet!  If she just copies the CDs onto the flash drive, it'll be good for my speaker.  The Relief Society meeting sounds awesome!  I don't know President Galt, but his wife was our stake YW president when we first moved to Georgia and she is awesome.  So I am excited to get to know him when I come home!  I'm sad that K came home early.  :(  Honestly, being a missionary is such a special, sacred time.  How sad to cut it short when it is so short to begin with!  It is hard.  But it is so, so worth it.

We have transfers on Wednesday, but since Hermana Wadsworth and I just started out together 2 weeks ago, I really don't think we are going to have transfers.  But it's just crazy because I only have 3 transfers left!  That's only 4 months!  AhHhHhH!!!  How CRAZY!  I can't even believe how fast this last transfer went by.  Every transfer goes by faster.  I told Daddy in my email that I feel the opposite of the people who come home early from their missions.  "Can I have more than 4 months left in Chile?"  But I know that there is a reason that the Lord called me for only 18 months, and that I need to finish this mission to be able to continue to progress in life.  But today I talked to one of the senior missionaries, and he told me something that made a lot of sense to me.  He said that we have to take the next step in our lives just as we have taken the mission...with faith in the Lord, and trust that He will help.  There is really no use in worrying, or wondering what the next phase of my life will bring.  I just need to give it all I've got for four more months, and then come home to do the very best that I can in my new life.  I have learned so much on this mission.  It is completely priceless and I wouldn't trade it for the world.  Even the hard days are memories that I treasure and times when I could come closer to my Savior.  I'm doing really good right now.  I feel stable.  I am more patient and loving with myself, which makes me more able to do the work that the Lord needs me to do.  Of course life can never be perfect and there are still tough days or moments.  But I just have a happier outlook and a lot of hope for every new day.  I feel like with the Lord's help, I can handle whatever comes.  I told the senior missionary today that I feel better than I have felt in probably years!  I feel so happy with the progress I have been able to make and I thank my Heavenly Father and Jesus for all of the experiences and people They have sent me to make it this far!  

This week was a tougher week.  A bunch of our investigators all at once just lost interest, and since we are still both new here, we don't know many people.  So we knocked a lot of doors and did a lot of street contacting.  It was just a lot of walking and searching.  Then I lost my umbrella, and the next day it rained a ton...we locked ourselves out of our house one day....we had planned to go to a district Relief Society activity, but our investigator had to cancel at the last minute...so we had a lot of little frustrating things that made it a tough week.  But Hermana Wadsworth is so awesome and she just keeps saying that all of this opposition and all of the work we are putting into this means that something great is around the corner.  And I am thankful for a hard missionary week so that when the blessings come, I will recognize and appreciate them more.  It also gives me a chance to build my faith that this is the Lord's work, and He is preparing people, so He will show us how to find them.  Also, the more time we had to walk around gave us more time to talk and get to know each other better.  Hermana Wadsworth is fabulous.  I love her so much!  She doesn't go to BYU, she goes to Utah.  But it is still close enough that we can see each other once we are home too.  It's been funny that all of my U.S. companions in the mission have been from basically the same area (Alpine, then Highland, now Lehi).  We are enjoying our time together and learning to appreciate the little miracles.  This week we had one awesome lesson with a member.  We went to visit some new investigators we found and we taught them the Restoration.  We know that they felt the Spirit and we have been praying for them to remember it.

The theme this week comes from one of my favorite scriptures in Ether 12:41.  "Buscar a este Jesús" in English is "seek this Jesus."  In the Book of Mormon, the prophets tell us all about Jesus, about His life, His sufferings, and His attributes.  But I just love the invitation that this verse gives to each of us...to seek this Jesus in our lives.  Seek is an action word...and it is also a word with a promise.  Anyone who truly seeks for something with an honest heart is bound to find it.  I know that if we follow the invitation to seek Jesus in our lives, we will find that He is much closer than we ever imagined Him to be.

I love you all so much!  I hope you enjoy your autumn and think of me when you make caramel popcorn!  :)

Gigantes abrazos, Hermana Latham

Monday, October 13, 2014

el precioso don de la vida eterna

                                                                                                                                              October 13, 2014
Hna Latham and Hna Wadsworth in Osorno for Melanie's Visa


Logistics stuff...still can't send pictures.  My memory card hates me.  I think I'm going to give it to the elders again to see if they can fix it.  I want to send you pictures of what's going on!  But I also sent Hna. Wadsworth's mom's email address, so maybe you can get some pictures from her.  Can you check my Facebook and see what Carrie Moll and Laura McCranie are up to?  Do you want the purple and black coat, or can I give it to the mission home?  I have a white blouse still.  Starburst, cheese crackers...can you send some Crystal Light packets or other kind of powdered lemonade in individual?  I would love that for the summer.  Other than that I can't think of anything.  I wrote to Abby to ask her about a flash drive with Christmas music on it.  Oh, one more thing...Hermana Wadsworth and I will be together for Thanksgiving and she thought it would be fun to make cornbread dressing.  Would you send me the recipe?

So it has been a great week.  :)  The bad news is that I have had a cold all week and used approximately a million tissues.  And also after a year in Chile, I finally got bit by a dog.  But don't worry about it, he didn't hurt me.  His teeth didn't even make marks on my tights.  We were just being followed closely by little persistent dogs and they nipped at us a little bit.

We had our interviews with President Obeso this week.  He is such a loving person.  He thanked me for everything that I am doing as a missionary, and especially for taking the emergency assignment.  He told me that thanks to the transfer, both of the sisters that were affected are happier.  He wanted me to remember that I am a good missionary and that the Lord is pleased with what I am doing.  It was so great to talk with him.  It has really been such a blessing for me to be able to have two different mission presidents.  I have learned so much from each one of them!  And you heard right, he told us that Elder Russell M. Nelson is coming to our mission on November 12!  I can't believe that I have the blessing of seeing two different apostles on my mission.  President Obeso asked me to play the piano when Elder Nelson comes.  So that is pretty nervewracking.  But we are so excited for him to come!

It has been such a fun week with Hermana Wadsworth!  I really just love teaching, and it is especially wonderful to teach someone everything about being a missionary.  I love being a missionary so much, and I feel so happy to have the chance to share what I have learned with someone!  She is so great.  She is focused and hardworking, and has an incredible memory.  She is working so hard to be a better missionary every day, and I love her drive and her testimony of this gospel.  She wants to learn Spanish so much!  It's fun that both of us are new to the area, because that way we can make what we want of the missionary work here.  We are working hard to help our investigators understand our purpose and keep their commitments.  We have met so many new investigators and contacts this week, and after weekly planning we just felt so excited for what we are going to be able to do here as we serve together.  It is definitely a big responsibility to be a trainer.  I have to remember a lot more things, I have to give more of the lessons until Hermana Wadsworth feels more confident in Spanish, I have to make a lot more decisions.  But I feel every day that the Lord teaches me how I should do this.  Rather than feeling weaker, I have felt so up to the challenge.  I can feel Him helping me to remember things, teaching me how to serve, and showing me how to love my companion and all the people around me.  I love this so much.

A zone activity where we made Sopapillas

This week I have been reading in Helaman (finally finished Alma!).  I love Helaman so much.  It is such a powerful part of the Book of Mormon, showing us how to really focus on our Savior and seek Him.  But the phrase that really stood out to me this week was "el precioso don de la vida eterna," or "the precious gift of eternal life."  I loved Elder Scott's talk because he explained to us the tools that we need to get from here to eternal life.  These are the tools that we invite our investigators and less actives to use every day, and I know that they are so important!  I KNOW that they are the steps that bless our lives!  If we pray, read the scriptures, have Family Home Evening, and go to the temple, we will feel His presence in our lives.  I think that one of the most important things that I have learned on the mission is how to organize my priorities.  There is nothing, absolutely nothing, more important in life than our relationship with our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ.  They love us and they want to bring us safely home to them, to participate of the precious gift of eternal life.  It is so easy in life for us to get lost in our daily activities and not make time for Him.  Hermana Wadsworth and I have talked a lot about that this week.  A lot of our investigators tell us that they don't have time to go to church, or to pray.  But what they are missing is that it is so essential to pray.  It is necessary to go to church.  We need the direction of God in our lives!  When I come home from this mission, all I want to do is live my life in such a way that I can feel His guide and His love.  

So as of Wednesday I have been in Chile for a year.  We are here in Osorno for P-day because we had to come here to renew my visa!  How crazy is that?  I can't believe how fast this mission is going by.  We went to the mall today and it was weird for me to go to a place that reminded me of the United States.  I also felt like I was breaking a rule of some kind for being in the mall and not in the street contacting.  hahaha....it will be really interesting the whole adjustment process when I come home and become a normal person again.  But since I have a short time left, I just want to give this everything that I have.  I just want to serve with all of my heart.

I hope that you all have a wonderful week!  I love you so much!  

Love always, Hermana Latham

Monday, October 6, 2014

llegó el momento.

                                                                                                                                                    October 6, 2014


For the entire time that we were together, Hermana Bernel's theme was this quote, "Cuando llegue el momento de actuar, el tiempo de preparación habrá terminado."  "When the time to act comes, the time to prepare will have ended."  I didn't pay much attention to the quote.

Until President Obeso called us on Friday night and told us about the emergency transfer he needed us to make the next day.  Hermana Bernel needed to leave and I was going to be companions with an hermana who got here three weeks ago.  He needed me to be a trainer.  So, the title of this email is "llegó el momento."  The moment came.

It was crazy!  President Obeso told me that he had felt he would need my help with something next transfer, but it turned out that he needed my help right now.  I am so grateful that I had those three weeks to be companions with Hermana Bernel.  I think she has been my favorite companion.  What a blessing to be able to serve with her!  I was so sad to say goodbye!  I miss her a lot.  But I learned so much from her pure charity for this branch, for the Lord, and for me.  The hermana who was training my new companion was really struggling.  She is ending her mission and I think she just needs a companion who can really love her.  And my new companion needs someone who can help her to learn and be excited to be a missionary.  So we were the rescue team.

My last few days with Hermana Bernel were so great!  It has been so SUNNY and GORGEOUS and we just loved the sweet spring air!  I think that these past three weeks have been the happiest ones of my mission.  We had some glorious missionary experiences searching for new investigators and striving to help our other investigators progress.  On our last night together we went to a wedding for our branch mission leader and his new wife.  It was such a happy way for Hermana Bernel to leave the area.

I felt kind of scared to train since I have only been in this area for three weeks.  But I feel so strong and I know that the Lord will help me to teach her the things she needs to know, and when I prayed, I felt so surely that this is His work, and His vineyard, and He will help us to be what He needs here.  My new companion's name is Hermana Wadsworth and she is from Utah.  She is really excited to learn more Spanish and to learn everything there is to know to be a good missionary.  We have only been together for two days, but I have really enjoyed doing the extra study with her from Preach My Gospel.  It helps me to learn how I can be a better missionary, and helps me also to recognize how much I have learned and experienced in this year I've been in Chile.  This will be a really great challenge and I know that the Lord will be with us as we learn together.  So far she has been really patient with me...today I got lost trying to lead us around in the center of town where we go to write and buy stuff.  Sometimes the Lord builds us up and then surprises us with a new challenge...but I know that hard things are worth it, and that Hermana Bernel and I both have new and wonderful opportunities to serve.

I LOVED General Conference!  It was crazy for me to think that it was my last conference as a missionary.  I always put stars next to the really great talks that I want to print and study, and I put stars next to so many talks.  I think that as a missionary the talks are even better.  If it is possible to pick a favorite talk, I think it was probably Richard G. Scott's talk.  I LOVED his talk so much.  I know that we need to seek Christ in our lives to find strength.  Of all the quotes you sent me, my favorite one was about "the three things that she learned in hard times."  It is so true that in the hardest times we learn that Jesus is much closer than we realize.  I feel so much His love for me, and His understanding of who I am.  He knows each and every one of us and He is there, always.

Benjamin is so huge!  I can't believe it!  Where is the fall picture?  I can't think of anything else for Christmas.  After Christmas I will have only 2 months left, so like you said, it will be more weight in my suitcase.  A new outfit would be nice.  And I thought of another thing, I will email Abby later about it...I want to ask for a flash drive with Christmas music on it.  I have a speaker to play music from flash drives.  The caramel sauce from last week...it is called manjar (mahn-HAR).  Here they put it on bread or soda crackers or fried bread at "once."  It's kind of like Chilean peanut butter.

I love you and hope that you are having a great week!

Love always, Hermana Latham

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

no locas. fuertes.

                                                                                                                                            September 29, 2014


Okay, first, I still can't send pictures.  The computers in this cyber are not friends with my camera.  It appears with nothing in its memory when I plug it in.  :(  I need to ask someone for help.

I love your email this week!  It is crazy for me to hear the story about Hermana Butler (a missionary in our home ward who returned home last week) and think about how I only have 5 months left!  AHH!  I can't WAIT to see the Women's Meeting and the rest of General Conference!  As a missionary General Conference is pretty much the most exciting thing that exists (well, other than a baptism, of course).  Every time it also makes me reflect on how time passes.  Can you believe that it was two years ago when President Monson announced the age change for missionaries?  It makes me feel kind of old to think that if I was still at home I would be a junior in college.  Thank you for sending the pictures of Ashley's wedding!  

I always laugh because after I tell you guys things on Monday, something crazy happens on Tuesday that I want to tell you, or the weather completely changes from what I said it was.  For example, it has been rainy and cold all week.  But we can't complain about the rain because it is what gives us so many beautiful flowers!  I still can't get rid of my winter stuff until it gets a little warmer, but I have thought a bit about what I will bring home and what I will leave.  Do you want the winter coat back, or should I leave it here?  Also as I was thinking about packing and suitcases I remembered that I wanted to ask you for one thing for Christmas.  I know Christmas is still 3 months away.  But I don't want to forget.  Can you send me a temples calendar for 2015?  I have always thought they were so great.

Despite the rain, we had a wonderful week.  HXXX and AXXX in Río Bueno got baptized on Saturday!  Last week when I played the piano at the funeral, Hermana M, one of the sisters from Río Bueno who went with us to teach them, cornered me and told me about the baptism, so we got permission and went!  It was so beautiful!  I felt SO happy.  I'm so glad that Hermana M told me so that I could go!  She is so great.  She served as a missionary in this mission 15 years or so ago.  She asked me how my new area was going and I told her it was great, but I was kind of sad that I only have 5 months left.  She told me that the last 5 months are the best ones.  I believe that!  I feel like I am able to be such a better missionary now than I was a year ago when I was just starting!

The sister training leaders came to visit us, and it was so wonderful.  We learned from them more techniques to try in our area.  I loved to see how Hermana Nielsen was so brave in teaching in whatever circumstance.  She helped me learn more how we can teach our message in a contact or with someone at their door in a simple way so that they can feel the Spirit and be interested to learn more.  So Hermana Bernel and I have been working on contacting more and teaching in the moment with pamphlets.  We have been able to find so many new people!  It is GREAT!  Every day when I wake up I am so excited for who we are going to visit and who we are going to meet.  Hermana Nielsen also helped me to recognize the love that Heavenly Father and Jesus have for me as a missionary.  Sometimes I feel sad because I wish that I could have offered something better to them in this past year.  But Hermana Nielsen helped me to remember that our weaknesses are a part of who Heavenly Father created, and He needs us to have them so that we can progress.  And she helped me to realize that what I have offered and what I am offering every day makes Heavenly Father pleased.

This has been one of the first weeks that I have truly felt like I am a good missionary.  It is such a good feeling.  I get emotional when I think about it!  The Lord has given me many strengths that I can use to help in this work, and even though I have weaknesses, He still loves me and I can still be happy.  Yesterday I gave a 10 minute talk in sacrament meeting in Spanish.  I never would have imagined being able to do that!  I have learned so very many things on this mission.  The title of this email came from a recent convert we are teaching here.  We were talking about the rain and how people must think that we are crazy to go outside in a terrible black waterproof rainsuit and rubber boots just like it was any other day.  But she said, "No locas.  Fuertes."  Not crazy.  Strong.  Surely there are people who see us and think that we are crazy.  But there are also people who see us and think that we are strong.  This made me think of the quote that "it's not what you look at, it's what you see."  When the Lord looks at us, two young women trying our very best to share His gospel, He sees strength.  I am learning to see it in myself.

I love you all very very very much!  I am sending you huge hugs!!!  I am so out of time but I also wanted to ask you to pray for our investigators, CXXX and MXXX, and AXXX and AXXX.  The two women are so excited about the gospel, but they want their husbands to listen too!  So we are praying to know how to help them to feel the Spirit.

Hope you enjoy General Conference and the snack mix!  :)

Abrazos, Hermana Latham