So I knew you would worry about me when I told you that I had talked to the mission psychologist. :( But I didn't want to keep it from you guys. The problems that I have are mainly the same as the problems that I've struggled with for the past few years. In the mission it has been tougher, because Satan really works to attack my testimony more than he ever has before, and here is when I need to rely on my testimony the most! I felt really surprised when the sister leader wanted me to talk to the psychologist, because this is a problem that I've had for a long time and basically just struggled through it on my own, with a wonderful mom who listens. :) I felt like they thought I was really sick, or had a serious mental problem. But when I talked to the psychologist, I expressed to her that I really don't think that I'm a dire case, or that I'm crazy...and she told me that I'm not crazy at all. She told me that these kinds of problems are really normal. All of the feelings that I've had over the years are basically summed up in anxiety, which isn't the same as depression, but still a mental issue that I face. It was really good to talk to her and understand myself better. I always just thought that I was really emotional. But she explained to me how that is a part of anxiety. People with anxiety tend to be really emotional because they bottle up their feelings, and then a little thing can become a volcano. Also people with anxiety are generally really stressed out and/or worried, incredibly self-critical, and can suffer with occasional depression. She doesn't think I need medical attention, or medicine or anything like that, but more that I need to learn how to combat my stress and my constant self-criticism. She sent me a lot of things that can help me to stop criticizing myself, to lessen my stress, and to combat anxiety. I feel really thankful to have people here who care about me and want to help me! I told the sister leader that I really don't want to be a burden to anyone, and I don't want people to think that I'm feeling really bad, because I'm not. But she told me that it's like someone with a hurt knee. If someone has a hurt knee, people want to help this person to feel better...put ice on it and stuff like that. So the people here want to help me with the places that I hurt.
My last few days in Pucón were really crazy, but I had some great experiences to leave with. :) One day we were in a lesson with two teenage girls, and at the end of the lesson, as we were wrapping up, I just felt that we needed to sing a hymn with them. We sang "I Know That My Redeemer Lives," or "Yo sé que vive mi Señor." As we started to sing, the Spirit entered the room. All of the little kids in the house got really quiet and came into the room we were in to listen. It was such a sweet experience to see how the Spirit and how the hymns can touch the hearts of little children! They don't have any suspicions or judgments about us because we're Mormons. They like to be with us because we talk about Jesus. I love little kids! We had one last family home evening with the SXXX family, the family that had us over for Christmas Eve. It was really hard to say goodbye to them because they are so wonderful and so loving. But I just pray that they will be able to get sealed in the temple soon! JXXX and IXXX are very special to me. JXXX is a less active member and IXXX, his wife, isn't a member. They are very old and don't understand very much that we teach them...but they love to pray with us and always want to hear from "la santa palabra," or "the holy word." We love to perform service for IXXX. Sometimes we take her for walks in her wheelchair, and one time we cleaned her windows. She and JXXX love us so much! They always give us once. :) I will miss them! Then on New Year's Eve, we had a nice dinner in the chapel with the elders and two families from our branch. It was fun to celebrate with them! New Year was crazy for us. Hermana Montalván woke me up at 3 am again to give the hug. I don't like that tradition. lol if my companion for the next Christmas and New Year is a Latina, I hope that she doesn't like to wake me up in the middle of the night! New Year's Day we had a district meeting, and we came home and I packed like a crazy person to move to Osorno on Thursday.
La casa capilla-our little house chapel
My new sector is so great! I love it here! Pucón is a little touristy mountain town, and Osorno is more like a city! I didn't realize how much I had missed the city. Our sector is called Los Laureles, and it is in a suburb right outside of Osorno called Francke (FRAHN-keh). So we don't live in the city, but near it. It's really windy here, and not nearly as hot as it is in Pucón. I'm going to have to buy some new skirts! When we were looking for skirts, we were so focused on the length, it didn't even cross my mind that some of the skirts wouldn't work in the wind. The wind is "el viento" in Spanish. I was thinking about "el viento" as the title because there is so much wind here, but also because we talk about wind a lot when we talk about faith. I can't see the wind. But I can feel it. And it is the same with the principles of the gospel! I can't see Christ. But I can feel Him touching my life and the lives of others every day. This sector is going to be an adventure. There are a lot of less actives we can help, and we have 3 investigators with baptismal dates! I've only been here for 2 days, so I still haven't met everyone, but I'm really excited to get to know the people here. We actually have a ward here, which is exciting for me! Daddy was thinking that this might be an easier sector since I have been serving in a really hard one. I believe that no sector is easy because they all have their challenges, but this one definitely seems easier than my other one. Our mamita is great. So far the food that I've eaten at her house has been pretty good, and she washes our laundry every week! My new companion is fantastic. Her name is Hermana Johnson and she is from Alpine, Utah. She also went to BYU! It has been fun the past couple days to be with an American girl again! She just understands me so much better culturally. She is like me...she loves to work hard and all she wants to do is give her all to the Lord. I really feel the Spirit with her, and she's super relaxed, which is nice after having a couple of super dramatic companions. She is very friendly and loving, and we get along really well. I'm so excited for this transfer here in Francke with her! She actually reminds me a lot of one of my friends from BYU, Kylie Smith.
I love the dream you had! I really miss my best friend too. Some people are good listeners, but no one is quite like my fabulous mom. But even though I miss you...I am so happy to be here serving a mission. I am pleased to sacrifice a year and a half of my life for the Lord. And I truly find that as I give my all to Him, He blesses me more and more each day. He heals me, and through that I can better testify of the Atonement and help others to begin their healing process.
Yes, I do write a letter to my mission president every week. So he knows what is going on with each of the missionaries, and I truly believe that transfers are inspired. We all learn so much from every area, every companion, and especially from every person who we can share the gospel with!
I love you all so much! I am so excited for this new year, this new area, new companion, and new opportunity to serve the Lord and His children with my all!
Abrazos, Hermana Latham