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