Saturday, May 10, 2014

Polvo de oro

                                                                                                                                                     April 14, 2014
¡Hola familia!

HAPPY EASTER!!!!  I get so excited this time of year every year for this special day to celebrate our living Savior!  As I've said before, Chileans are really, really relaxed people, and like other holidays, Easter is not a big deal here.  I asked our branch mission leader if we do anything special for Easter, but it looks like we don't.  I feel kind of like I did at Christmas.  A lot of adults think that Easter is kind of silly because rabbits don't even lay eggs (which is really true, I never thought about it!) and so if they aren't Catholic they don't do anything to celebrate.  It makes me sad that people have forgotten the center of Christmas and Easter...which is and always will be our Savior Jesus Christ.  Easter in the fall is definitely a different experience!  Typically when you think of Easter, you think of rebirth and growth and everything.  But something funny...people in Chile call Christmas la Navidad, but also la Pascua.  I was so confused about that at Christmastime because I had learned that Easter is Pascua.  Easter is officially called "la Pascua de la Resurrección," but most people call it "la Pascua de conejos."  Resurrección is resurrection, but conejos is rabbits.  Speaking of rabbits, can you send me a picture of the bunnies in the fireplace?

Don't worry about the box.  It will come when it comes and I will be happy for it!  If you haven't put it in the mail yet, I could use some regular pantyhose.  Most of my pantyhose have runs in them and smell kind of funny from being used a lot, and the pantyhose we can buy here are either expensive or really poor quality.  And I think I already told you, but slippers.  As far as I know, we will be able to Skype for Mother's Day.  We have transfers the Wednesday right before Mother's Day, so I don't know for sure where I will be.  But I will let you know more details as we get closer.  It didn't bother me that we talked about a whole bunch of different things.  I just felt so blessed to see you guys and hear your voices!  I am getting excited to be able to talk to you again!  I really didn't imagine just how much I would miss you all.  But I feel a great peace about being a missionary and I know that it will be so joyful to see you again after 18 months of dedicated service!  

This week has been another busy week of missionary work.  On Monday I slipped in the mud.  All of my clothes got covered in mud.  I guess you really can't be a missionary until you have officially fallen in the middle of the street.  haha everyone has their falling stories, some more dramatic than others.  Mine wasn't dramatic, only frustrating.  Mud is gross.  And it was really all over everything...but I survived!  I have learned so much as a missionary to not stress out so easily, to let little things go, and to handle disappointments.  As I reflect on the time I have been here, I realize just how much I have truly learned!

Hermana Núñez and I have had the opportunity to do a lot of service this week!  We helped a lady with her yard work, and we chopped some firewood for another older lady.  I am really lacking in practice with cutting firewood...I think the main cause is my lack of upper body strength.  lol.   But Hermana Núñez chops like a machine and I am hoping that she can teach me how to manage the axe better and actually cut the wood well.  We will see how this goes....I am pretty sure that this is an adventure that most missionaries do not have!  lol!

I had a really great companion exchange with the sister training leaders this week.  I got to go with Hermana Monroe in Rahue.  It was fun to have a day outside of Río Bueno and to see how the work goes in another area.  I loved how we worked with members and less actives, and the positivity  that Hermana Monroe maintained for the whole day.  She is really sweet and spiritual and I really enjoyed the day with her.  She reminded me of a Mormon message that I saw this summer that is really great and that truly reflects how I feel about this mission, and this life.  In the video, there are two men searching for gold in a stream (or river, I don't remember).  One of them is new at the job, and he is looking for gigantic chunks of gold to collect.  The other is seasoned, and he collects tiny dust, really.  At the end, the new man has no gold and the seasoned one has a whole bunch.  All of the tiny particles of gold (gold dust, or polvo de oro) really adds up!  This video is related with miracles.  A lot of times we really think that the only miracles that count are the big ones...the ones that you hear about in General Conference talks, or read about in the newspaper.  But if in our lives we believe that the only miracles come in big ways, we may end our lives feeling like we haven't seen any miracles.  As a missionary I have learned to see and treasure the tiny miracles in my life.  Before the mission, I really thought that I had never seen a miracle.  But now I realize that seeing miracles all depends on the way that you look at your blessings.  Every day I collect tiny flecks of gold, and at this point, I have a beautiful collection of gold.  I want to challenge you all to look for miracles in your everyday lives!  As you look for them with faith, I know that you will find them and realize that God truly is a God of miracles.

Here is the link to the video Melanie is referring to:

I love you with all my heart!  I am sending you giant hugs through the computer and hoping you have a wonderful Easter, remembering that Jesus died because He loves us, and He lives because He loves us, too.

Love always, Hermana Latham

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