GRACIAS for sending me the picture of Sarah Beth's baby and the quote. Do you know what it says? I felt special that you sent me a quote in Spanish. :) The picture I sent her is above and loosely translated, it means "In difficult times, be grateful for wonderful people."
Before I forget, I got three letters this week! One from Sister Benning, one from Nana and Buster, and one from Uncle Brackin and Aunt Patti. :D It is so nice to live close to the mission home!
My companion is FABULOUS! She is just such a great listener and friend. She also has a really strong testimony, she's really fun to be around, and she's so genuine. She just really loves all of the people that we serve. I am learning from her to be a better teacher and to have more charity. She also helps me to learn to be more relaxed...she laughs about everything and is patient with me when I get anxious or stressed out. She is an inch taller than me, which is definitely different! My other two companions were very short (probably 5 feet or 5'1").
We have been hearing about the weather in the States. When we tell people that we're from the United States, it's the first thing they talk about. They say there's been a ton of snow and some deaths. I hope conditions improve! Sorry about the pipes! How frustrating! (¡Que fome!) (haha so funny to translate things back into English...I almost write in Spanish and then remember that y'all probably won't know what I'm saying...lol).
This week it has been so fun to get to know the sector here. We are working with so many wonderful people! One family we are teaching is just a treasure. They are a young couple with two precious little girls. The mom was baptized as a little girl, but the dad can't get baptized yet because they are still not married. But he is progressing so well! He really loves to read the scriptures and is working to change family habits. They have the habit to pray every time before they eat! :) We are so excited for them. We are also teaching another man progressing toward baptism. It is so fun to see people who really want to grow and change, and who understand that Christ can help them to change for the better. We have approximately a million less actives here, and we love visiting them and inviting them back.
Our ward is so enthusiastic. We have members who are so excited to do missionary work! Tonight we have an activity in the chapel called "puertas abiertas." The idea behind it is the same as an open house in English, but puertas abiertas literally means "open doors." We are having a representative from every organization in a room to explain their organization (one for Relief Society, one for Young Women's, etc), and we asked all the ward members to bring their favorite dessert and invite a friend. We put up flyers for the activity in all of the little businesses around where we live, and we have been inviting everyone...members, less actives, non-members, everyone. It will be such a great time for this town to share with each other and for non-members to get to know Mormons better. I am so excited! The members have been so willing to help with their booths to explain the organizations, bringing desserts, inviting people, everything. AHHH! We are hoping for the best. Hermana Johnson and I will also have a room to explain missionary work! WOOO!
As I have been thinking about puertas abiertas this week, I've been thinking about more than just the doors to the chapel. There are so many ways we can open our doors, but I wanted to talk about two others. One--we can share our religious beliefs with others. It is a lot easier to keep the gospel to ourselves, with our doors shut. But if we open the doors to our friends and share what we love about the gospel, we will start to see the blessings. Two (the most important)--is opening the doors of our hearts to Christ. I love the painting where Christ is standing outside of the door, knocking, but there is no knob. The person inside has to open the door to let Him in. I testify that Christ is always there, knocking at the door of our hearts. To feel His love and to understand His will, all we have to do is open the door. Sometimes it is hard. Sometimes we don't feel worthy, or strong, or happy, or whatever else. But His love knows no bounds. When we have the strength to open the door, His love fills up all of our little holes. I hope you all will make the effort this week to open up your personal door to our loving Savior! (I attempted to add the picture and the link to the picture Melanie is referring to. I can't make it work, but if you are interested, you can google LDS.images and search "Christ knocking")
This week has been crazy, like any other week of missionary life. I finally got my visa! YAY! So we did the first step in the process to get my carnet (my legal ID card for Chile). I am en route to be a legal chilena! lol. We had exchanges with the sister leaders this week, so I got to see another area and I learned more from the sister leader about how to serve with love and teach by the Spirit. We also had rain! Which was really nice. The rain brings me so much peace and it reminds me of home. Another thing that reminds me of home is that we have a mall here! It's not quite the same as your typical mall because it is a Chilean mall. But it is still a mall, and somehow, as crazy as malls are, going in there on P-day brings me a little bit of calm. Maybe it's because it's so normal? haha.
I am growing so much here. The Lord really helps me every day to learn to be a better missionary and also to learn to love myself more. I am so blessed with a loving, supportive companion who loves to work hard. We are seeing people's lives change for the better, and that is the great prize of missionary work.
I love you all so much! I miss you! I hope you stay warm!
Love always, and abrazos, Hermana Latham