May 12, 2014
Hermana Latham on our Mother's Day Skype call!
Yes, it was much harder for me to say goodbye this time. Maybe it's because now it's been almost 9 months without seeing you all! You are my best friends! I love you and I miss you so much! And it was just so wonderful to see your faces and hear your voices and your laughter, and your facial expressions and everything. And I was trying really hard not to think about how I won't see you again until Christmas...
I'm trying to remember what I said in Spanish. It was something about how I love being a missionary and that I love my family, even though I am far away, and I pray for you every night. Thank you for what you said about my accent! I try really hard to not sound so much like a white girl. lol. But I still sound like a person from the United States. The Chilean accent is kind of hard to imitate, and when I try people think it's funny, so I just try to pronounce everything well. My companion was born in Ecuador and her parents are both from Ecuador, so her accent is different. It's not a Spaniard accent, but it's not an accent from Ecuador either....she moved to Spain when she was seven. I know, she is so adorable! I love her so much. Hump Day is really big for all missionaries, I think. I don't know how the customs are in other missions, but in a couple weeks I will be sending pictures of what we do here when sister missionaries hit their halfway mark. Hermana Núñez has been out for 3 months more than I have, so we celebrated her halfway mark at the beginning of our time together and we'll celebrate my halfway mark together too. This is her fourth transfer in Río Bueno and my third one. You can be a senior companion before you train, or it can be that the first time you are a senior companion is when you train. Hermana Núñez has never trained, but she is the senior companion because she has been out more time than I have. I don't know when I will be a senior companion or a trainer! I would like to have the opportunity so that I can have a new challenge and learn how to take more responsibility. But we'll see. The Lord knows when I should be a senior companion or a trainer. The really gross things that people eat here are mostly things that we are not allowed to eat as missionaries. (PHEW!) Our mamita in Francke ate stomachs of something...I don't know what. People eat the inner organs of animals. Blech. But I think the weirdest thing that I have eaten is a type of algae/seaweed. People dry it out and then mix it up with lemon juice, salt, and oil like any other Chilean salad. The texture was really weird!
The mission is mostly hard spiritually and emotionally. The physical hard parts don't bother me so much. I feel like because I am dedicating my time to serving the Lord, Satan hits me even harder than he ever did before. I have a lot of really mean thoughts and feelings that are really hard for me to get rid of. Sometimes I feel like I am a crazy person. I have a lot of moments where I feel like I am failing or like I don't have a testimony. I feel incredibly guilty for every little thing that I do wrong, and it's hard for me to see the things that I do right. I miss you guys a lot. I am trying with everything I have! I try to remind myself that ever since I was a little girl I wanted this. But I think when I was a little girl I didn't have any idea how hard it would be. I rely as much as I can on prayer! I strive to strengthen my faith and to have hope and I pray to love myself and see myself like Heavenly Father sees me. When I look for the good things that happen each day, and the ways that the Lord is in the details of our lives, things are better.
One of the things that I forgot to tell you about was chopping firewood! When I sent in my papers to be a missionary, I really didn't imagine that part of the job description was grabbing an axe. I need to send pictures at some point. I feel like a lumberjack. At the beginning everyone laughed at me when I chopped firewood because I didn't know how to handle the axe, but I am getting better!
Hermana Latham chopping firewood!
One of the passages of scripture that I love is one that is repeated by various prophets. They talk about "how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of them that publish peace." This week I read in Mosiah 15 one of these passages, and what really struck me was verse 18. Mosiah 15:And behold, I say unto you, this is not all. For O how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that is the founder of peace, yea, even the Lord, who has redeemed his people; yea, him who has granted salvation unto his people
It talks about the Savior, and how beautiful are His feet (cuan hermosos son Sus pies). Our feet carry us throughout our mission and throughout our entire lives...and our feet work for the same cause as His feet. What a gift it is to be able to serve with the Savior.
Next week I will write specifics about my investigators so that you can pray for them...I ran myself out of time! Thank you so much for your prayers! Thank you so much for loving me! President Monson taught us that the Lord's love is there, whether we feel we deserve it or not...and I am so glad that my family's love is also there, whether I feel I deserve it or not.
I love you all so much! I hope you have a blessed week and always remember to pray.
Love always, Hermana Latham