Monday, June 16, 2014

¡No puedo ser feliz sin fe!

                                                                                                                                                     May 26, 2014


Thank you for the quotes you sent me!  They are so so wonderful!  I am also SO excited for Andy & Grace!!!  YAY!  I think it is so important to remember, even when darkness seems like it doesn't want to leave, that life really is beautiful!  Our mind is kind of like a thought garden.  We have to locate the weeds and pluck them out!  Sometimes it gets really frustrating because the weeds grow without us even trying.  They grow easily and a lot of the time they are hard to pull out.  But if we spend too much time focused on the weeds, then we don't have time left over to cultivate the flowers!  All of the good thoughts, the happy thoughts, the things that come from the Spirit, are like precious flowers in my garden of thoughts.  I want to take care of those, and throw the bad thoughts in those big brown paper lawn waste bags.  And then not worry about how many lawn waste bags there are!  Because it really doesn't matter in the end how many weeds there used to be if there are many beautiful flowers.
Me and my companion in the plaza
This week I have been happier than I have been in a long time!  And it has been because of a few things that made all the difference.  I was thinking recently about how the word "happy" in Spanish starts with the word "faith" in Spanish.  So, I can't be happy without faith!  Without "fe,"  "feliz"  is just "liz."  And "liz" doesn't mean anything.  Hahaha.  We had our last zone conference with President Rappleye this week, and it was so great to listen to all the advice he had to give us, not only for our missions, but for our lives.  He did a question and answer session with us at the end, and I asked him how we can get faith.  I always feel like I really want to have more faith, but I feel somewhat overwhelmed a lot of the time by fears, doubts, negative thoughts, etc.  He referred to Alma 32:27, that tells us that if we have only a desire to believe, then that is a good place to start.  Alma 32:27 But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words. So, every time I have a tough thought, or a hard moment, I am deciding to have faith and deciding to act on my desire for more faith.  It makes a huge difference.  This week I also loved a passage that I found in 2 Timothy 1:5-7. 2 Timothy 1:5-7: When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.  Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  In verse 5, it talks about the faith of our grandmothers and mother, and that if they had faith, surely we will too.  I think of Nana and Grandma and Mama, and all the faith that you show, and how I can follow your incredible examples.  Then in verse 6 it talks about the way that we give life to the fire of our faith is by accepting the Holy Ghost.  I have the gift of the Holy Ghost!  And I just need to listen to his sweet promptings and let his voice give fire to my faith.  Then, over all, I love verse 7...that the Lord does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a strong mind.  The Holy Ghost does not teach us to fear.  He teaches us to be strong and to cultivate love in our lives.  How incredible is that?  I also read a wonderful talk by Elder Richard G. Scott from General Conference in October 2010 about the transforming power of faith.  Here is the link to Elder Scott's talk:  He talks about how faith is closely linked to our character, and that life is a process of faith.  Above all, the thing that helps me the most to find happiness is to trust in the Atonement of my Savior, Jesus Christ.  As missionaries, we listen to the trials of many people.  Many times the things that they struggle with are things that I don't understand.  Sometimes they are disturbing things.  I have learned again and again as a missionary that every single person in this world has problems.  But even though we don't understand, someone does.  He does.  He understands everything!  And He loves us!  And more than anything I know, I know that Jesus Christ wants us to be happy.  Sometimes we have to pass through hard times so that we can understand and appreciate what being truly happy means.  But as we trust Him, He leads us to where we can be happy. So, we can't be happy without faith in Jesus Christ.  Faith in Him is everything! 

This week, the best thing that happened was that one of our investigators read the Book of Mormon!  We had given her three verses to read.  But she wanted to read more, and she has started from the very beginning with the testimonies of Joseph Smith and everything.  She says that as she reads, she has a desire to read more and understand where the Book of Mormon came from.  We are so happy!

My companion loves french fries SO much and she looks so happy while she eats them.  I couldn't quite capture how much in the photo.  lol
On Wednesday we had a "porotada."  That is when everyone gets together to eat porotos, which is how Chileans say beans.  It was so fun!  It was a federal holiday, so a lot of people from the branch came and the branch president made the beans.  We all sat and ate beans together and talked and it was just great.  Also, one of our investigators came!!  :)

Then on Thursday we had some interesting moments.  I told you about the weird algae that I ate one time...Mamita made that for our lunch on Thursday.  Then we got on a bus to go to the town next to ours because the podologist (check my spelling...foot doctor) came.  I am honestly so thankful for shoes right now!  They make it so that we never have to see the elders' feet!  Blech.  lol.  And for the record my feet are fine.  :)

                                     A couple weeks ago my companion made me a "tortilla española." 

It's officially gotten cold here.  Since I'm at nine months, I've passed all of the seasons in Chile....except for winter.  It's not too bad so far.  It's just a whole lot of layering.  I secretly love to go outside all bundled up in a scarf, earmuffs, a coat, and gloves.  It's a fun feeling.  :)  I really can't believe that I am reaching the halfway point of the mission!  How crazy is that?  I will write more about that next week and send pictures of what we do for "hump day" in Misión Chile Osorno. 

I hope you have a happy Memorial Day!  I love you all so much.

Love always, Hermana Latham

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