Wednesday, January 1, 2014

nuevo año, nuevo sector

                                                                    Christmas Eve with the tree

                                                My companion with her message to you in English.  :)
December 30, 2013 

¡FELIZ AÑO NUEVO!  Can you believe that 2014 is already here?  I certainly can't.  This has been a crazy, tough, interesting, emotional, fabulous year.  :)  A freezing, sometimes frustrating, and yet wonderful semester at BYU.  Another summer working at Target and enjoying four months with my amazing family.  And four months as a missionary, 1 transfer in Mexico City and 2 transfers in Pucón, Chile.  I really can't believe how much the Lord has blessed me!  I was reflecting on that this Christmas.  Christmas here was rather uneventful (outside of talking to you guys).  Sadly, the majority of people here really miss the meaning of Christmas and just think of it as a time to give toys to little kids.  But I received 2 wonderful gifts this year--one was the ability to have free time (whoever tells you that P-day is free time doesn't remember the mission very  We didn't have to clean our house, or buy the things we need for the week, or whatever else.  So we listened to music and relaxed!  I stitched up a skirt, organized my stuff a little bit, and wrote in my journal.  We also watched Legacy (the church movie about pioneers).  The second was to be able to talk to you all.  What a BLESSING!  I can't explain how warm and happy I felt to be able to talk to you.  It felt so normal and welcome and happy!  And since it was Skype, it was almost like I was on the other side of the table talking to you guys, like any other Christmas.  Thankfully, it wasn't too hard afterward.  It was more like a recharge of my love batteries. :)  I felt renewed in my purpose as a missionary, and more enthusiastic to serve with my all so that I can return to you guys in honor.  It makes me so happy that you can see a light in me like in the other sister missionaries!  I do the best that I can every day, and all I want to do is to be able to reflect Him.  This mission is hard, and I can't say that I feel happy in every moment of the day.  But the moments when I am happy are so wonderful.  It is a happiness that tells me that I am doing the Lord's work!

I'm glad you heard from Sister Biggs!  She is so fabulous.  I have told her lots of times that she is my mission grandma.  I really will miss them a lot!  On the other hand, I can't BELIEVE what happened to the Mulcays' house!  OH. MY. GOSH!!!!!!!!!!!  How devastating!  Do they know how it happened?  (The family across the street from us lost their home to a fire on Christmas night) I will pray for them.  I just wish I could give them huge hugs and tell them that when things are tough, the only source we have to look to is Christ.  The scariest thing that I have ever seen was when my car was in pieces in the middle of the street, and I remember the sweet man and his mom who talked to me and asked me if I would like to say a prayer.  I hope that they will pray together.

So with this new year, I am being transferred to a new area!  ¡HOLA, OSORNO!  I have heard nothing but good about Osorno.  I will also be closer to the mission home, so mail will get to me faster (probably).  [Speaking of mail, I got the sweetest letter from the Hamilton Mill Ward Mia Maids.  :)  It was really nice!]  My companion tells me that now I will be like a little bird flying solo!  hahaha.  This is because I just graduated from the 12 week missionary in-field training!  I feel lucky to have had two different trainers and learned two different perspectives.  Although Hermana Montalván is great, I can't say that I will miss her too much.  I have learned a lot from her and we have shared some really sweet moments together, so I will always remember her and hope for the best for her life in Honduras!  But in Osorno....I will have the chance to have a companion from the United States!  That will be so nice for me.  After three months with companions who really don't understand my culture, I am excited to be companions with an American girl!  Part of me is sad to leave Pucó is so beautiful here, and yesterday I had to say goodbye to my beloved viejitos (little old people) Jxxx and Ixxx
.  But I feel a sweet peace knowing that while I served here, I gave it my all and prayed to be the servant the Lord needed.  Also, I am so excited because I will spend the entirety of 2014 here in Chile!  So all of my New Year's Resolutions will be as a missionary.  :D  In Osorno, my P-day will be on Saturday, so y'all will hear from me again on Saturday!  

Since the sister training leaders were worried about me, they had me talk with the mission psychologist.  It was really nice to talk to her and get some tools to help me conquer my problems with anxiety, stress, worry, self-criticism, etc.  She assured me that these kinds of problems are really normal, and she referred me to Moses 1, where God teaches Moses over and over that he is a son of God, and then Satan calls him son of man...and in turn, Moses has a battle with Satan, but finally chases him out...and God teaches Moses more.  She told me that Satan wants us to forget who we are--children of God.  She said that when we remember that, we have much more power over our circumstances, our feelings, and over Satan.  

I love you all so much!!  I want to wish you a HAPPY NEW YEAR!  I don't know exactly when I will be traveling to Osorno, but it will be soon!  GIANT HUGS!  2014!!!!!!! :D

Abrazos, Hermana Latham  

Here a traditional Christmas treat is pan de Pascua...we bought a pan de pascua, thinking it would be beautiful and delicious like the ones we had eaten in people's homes...and when we opened it it was this tiny, muffin sized pan de pascua

Missionary shoe tan plus a ton of black dust produced this on my feet...Hermana Montalván laughed so hard that we had to talk a picture!

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