We went to the lookout last week and took pictures of the river. :)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MAMA!! This year I'm not gonna be able to whisper-sing happy birthday into your voicemail, so I hope this email will suffice. :) I love you so so very much and I hope that you can feel that even though I'm far away! You closed your last email with "I love you THIIIIIIIISSSSS much!" I remember that in the moments when I feel overwhelmed...when I was really little and I sat in your lap and you told me that. And I know that as I got bigger, more emotional, or whatever else, you still loved me that much and the love you share with me through these emails gives me a lot of strength. I hope that one day when I am a mom I can love my daughter or son as much as you love me....because the love I have from you and Daddy is one of the biggest blessings in my life.
I'm sorry about the whole situation with the wood stove. I talked to my zone leader to see if someone could come look at it, but it really seems that no one is concerned. Everyone here heats their homes with wood stoves, so it must not be that big of a safety risk. One of the mission rules is that we can't use it until May to conserve wood for the really cold months (June, July, and August), and then when May comes we really will only use it for a couple of hours in the morning so we are not ice cubes while we study. We have to put out the fire when we leave in the morning, and there's really no point in starting one at night because we can't sleep with a fire going. It's not too cold yet. We've had a couple of really cold mornings and nights, but for the most part we have been enjoying a really gorgeous fall. I LOVE fall! I had almost forgotten how much since I really haven't had fall since October 2012. lol. My favorite, favorite thing in Río Bueno is the stars at night. It is a tiny little town almost in the country, and we can really see a million stars. I love to look at the stars...always have, ever since I was little and we would come home from family walks and lay in the grass to look at them. The stars here are stunning. I wish you could see it! My camera can't capture just how gorgeous it is.
So, we have transfers this Wednesday....and I'm not leaving! Yay! And what's better? Hermana Núñez isn't leaving either! This will be my sixth transfer, and in my first five transfers I had 5 companions. One for every transfer. So I am really excited to stay with the same companion a while longer! We have really learned so much together this transfer. We are becoming masters at contacting, we work really hard to teach through the Spirit, and we are learning to be really brave in committing people to do things--pray, read the scriptures, come to church, etc. With all the work that we have done together this transfer, we just know that there are special things to come in the next one. We are learning to have more faith that we really can see progressing investigators. We get along so well. I love Hermana Núñez! The other two sisters are staying another transfer, and the four of us are so excited. We have become really good friends. There are moments of missionary work that are truly so joyful. I love teaching the gospel. I love speaking Spanish. And I am so excited to have another transfer in Río Bueno!
Hermana Latham & Hermana Nuñez at the river
This week I read a scripture that was really fabulous in Jacob 3. I am continually amazed that even if I am just reading the Book of Mormon chronologically, every day there is something that I read that I really needed to read that day. This particular day I read Jacob 3 and the first two verses really stuck out to me. In these verses Jacob explains that we should have faith with "mentes firmes," or firm minds. In this life, everything changes. Every day can feel like an emotional roller coaster (especially as a missionary). There are moments when I have a lot of faith, when I feel really hopeful, and happy. But there are moments also when doubt creeps in, when I feel sad or frustrated or stressed out, and those are the really hard moments. I think the key is in having a firm mind. You sent me a quote the other day about how one thought can change your whole day, and it is really true. But I don't want that one thought to be a mean one or a hurtful one. If we can learn to become the masters of our thoughts, with firm minds, then Jacob says that we can forever enjoy the love of God. Wow! What a promise! If we have faith to kick out the mean thoughts or the doubts, then we will forever enjoy the love of God.
I am so happy that everything went so well for Nana & Buster's anniversary! What a fabulous way to celebrate. They are honestly such examples to me and to so many others. 50 years of trials and joys that they have gone through together! Did you give them the card I bought this summer?
I hope that you all have a wonderful, wonderful week! I hope that you always search for and feel the love of God in your lives. I imagine Him looking at us from heaven and watching how everything is going. We are so blessed to have prayer so that we can talk to Him! I love you all so much. I miss you a lot! I am sending you big, big hugs from Río Bueno.
Love always, Hermana Latham
Hermana Latham with an Easter decoration in Espanol.
All of the hermanas in our zone went to the lake nearby (an hour in bus). Yesterday one of them straightened my hair, so that is why my hair looks different the picture :)