Saturday, July 12, 2014


                                                                                                                                                  July 7, 2014


Wow, what a CRAZY story about Elder Prach!  Note from mom:  A young man from our previous ward in Colorado who is serving a mission in the States survived a horrific car crash along with his companion a few weeks ago.  That must mean he and his companion still have an important work to do here on earth.  And it makes me sad too about that lady who makes such a big deal about not having the priesthood.  I think that all of us as women in the Church have asked ourselves why we don't have the priesthood...but although we don't fully understand why, the Spirit testifies that it is the way that the Lord created things.  I wish that she could listen to the Spirit!  Aww, I wish I could have been there with y'all for the 4th of July!  I love Abby's patriotic creations.  My 4th of July was weird too.  Probably the only one that I will pass with a scarf and earmuffs.  haha.  My companion and I coordinated our outfits for the 4th of July...I'm sending pictures!  :)  It makes me sad to think about quiet holidays for you guys in the future!  We will still be around though, even if we are not at home.  And we can talk on the phone and in the future bring grandkids to play for the holidays.  :)  I still miss you a lot, too.  I figured that after a while I just wouldn't miss my family so much anymore...most days I don't have much time to think about home.  But sometimes it's really hard.  I just want to hear your voice even on the phone, or if you could be here for 3 seconds to give me a mom hug.  But I know that it is a sacrifice that will be worth it for the rest of my life!  D&C 31 has helped me understand that better.  On the 4th I got the box you sent for my birthday.  I opened it and saw that everything is in gift wrap, so I figured I would wait until my actual birthday.  We'll see what happens with transfers and everything, if I have to open it before.  My birthday is three days after transfers.  You've asked me a couple times who writes to me and I always forget to tell you!  You are the only person who writes to me every week.  Daddy writes me a couple times a month, and Abby & Benjamin write me every once in a while.  Sometimes I get emails from other family, like Nana or this week I got one from Uncle Chris.  I get the forwards of letters from Brynne, and my friends Katherine and Paige.  I haven't heard from my friends in a long time.  A couple weeks back I got a letter from Sister Young who served in our ward!  It was such a nice letter and I cried.  Every once in a while I hear from a friend.  I've heard from Tessa, Ashley, and Tricia a couple times.  But I write quick little birthday emails to my friends and they always write me back saying thank you.  Also every once in a while I hear from sisters in our ward, which I LOVE!  I don't have all that much time to write emails, so sometimes I don't write back and I feel really bad.  Before the mission when I had time, I ALWAYS replied to messages.  But I just hope that people know that it's because of lack of time.

This week has been really great.  Every morning when I wake up, I ask myself positive questions. "What are we doing today?"  "Who can I help today?"  "What do I really have to worry about?"  And these types of questions are so great!  They help me to refocus on my purpose, and on just how much the Lord is willing to help me.  I feel more peaceful in the mornings and I feel like the Lord really loves me.  It helps me to face the day better.  Because I have mean thoughts like, "God is just a nice thought that you have, that someone is there who knows everything and who can make everything better."  And then I can kick out those thoughts and listen to the Spirit, who tells me that God is NOT just a nice thought, He is my Heavenly Father and He is always there.  I read a fabulous talk this week that I am sure was written for me!  I don't know if the Liahona and the Ensign have the same talks.  I think that they do.  But I read this talk in the Liahona for July 2014, and it is called "Becoming Perfect in Christ."  This talk reminded me the same thing that you have been telling me my whole life...I do not have to be perfect.  My companion is so great at forgiving herself and understanding her own flaws...and trying to be better without being mean to herself.  She helps me to do the same thing!  I loved this quote from the talk: "A misunderstanding of what it means to be perfect can result in perfectionism--an attitude or behavior that takes an admirable desire to be good and turns it into an unrealistic expectation to be perfect now.  Perfectionism sometimes arises from the feeling that only those who are perfect deserve to be loved or that we do not deserve to be happy unless we are perfect.  Perfectionism can cause sleeplessness, anxiety, procrastination, discouragement, self-justification, and depression.  These feelings can crowd out the peace, joy, and assurance our Savior wants us to have."  So....I do not have to be "una misionera perfecta," a perfect missionary, for Christ to love me.  I don't have to be perfect to be happy.  Christ loves imperfect people!  This talk also talks a lot about how coming to perfection involves time and process.  

After about a week and a half without finding new investigators, we found two on Saturday!  We were just walking and contacting, and two times in the same day the contacts invited us to come with them to their homes and teach.  It was such a cool experience.

We have some of the coolest investigators ever.  UXXX is about 50 and he is a doctor in an emergency clinic in the country.  He LOVES the Church and he keeps all of his commitments!  This week he committed to pay a full tithing after he gets baptized.  AXXXX is 10.  Her parents have been less actives for the past few years, but they are coming back to the Church.  She loves to pray with her family and read the Book of Mormon, and she is so excited for her dad to baptize her.  On Sunday, they both came to church!  So we were a little bit crazy helping them both, and AXXXX's parents, and also helping PXXXX!  Also the man who plays the piano didn't come, so I played in sacrament meeting.  It was a CRAZY Sunday!  But I felt a huge peace and such a great blessing to be so busy in the chapel on a Sunday.  The Lord has placed many wonderful people in our care, and it is so amazing to be able to help them!  PXXXX got her first calling to be a Young Women teacher.  I am so happy!  This transfer has been crazy and hard, but with the new responsibilities that I have had as a senior companion and combining what used to be two missionary areas, I have learned so much more how to rely on the Spirit and how to feel the Savior's love for me and for the people here in Río Bueno.  I love Río Bueno!  It is such a great little town.  I will miss it so much when I have to leave.

I love you all so, so very much.  I ran myself out of time to tell you more of the cool things that happened this week, but I shared my favorite parts.  I am sending you gigantic hugs from Río Bueno!  I hope you are all enjoying your summer and you remember that a sister missionary in Chile prays for you every night.

Love you always, Hermana Latham 

cuan grande tu gozo será

                                                                                                                      June 30, 2014


It is so interesting to see how time passes by.  I can't believe that y'all only have four more weeks of summer!  Or that tomorrow we are starting with July!  HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!  I still can't wrap my mind around the fact that we have opposite seasons.  This will be the weirdest 4th of July ever, with a scarf, gloves, and earmuffs...haha.  It hasn't rained for about 2 or 3 weeks, and it also hasn't been quite as cold.  When I calculate it into Fahrenheit, it's normally in the 40s during the day and probably the 30s during the night.  We just wear a bunch of layers.  One of my boots died this week.  But there is a guy who fixes shoes (can't remember that word for the life of me) here in Río Bueno, so I took them to him to fix.  It's crazy that Brynne has been gone for a year now!  It's not all that uncommon to be in an area for six months.  I've been here in Río Bueno for almost 5.  How crazy is that?  And it was cool to hit 10 months...because it was exactly on the day of PXXXX's baptism!  There is no cooler way to reach 10 months.  

The Opps could not have chosen a more British name!  Oh my gosh!  It's funny to read about your relationship with Benjamin.  I always wondered what he would be like as a teenager...haha.  It's true that my relationship with you is very different!  When I was his age, you were my best friend!  And I'm so thankful to my Heavenly Father that from a young age I have always been able to say that about my mom.  Sorry about what happened on the boat.  That is such a frustrating experience. :(

Thank you for the quote you sent from President Hinckley!  That is one I need to frame or something.  As you know, it is really easy for me to become an emotional mess...even in the times when I should be the happiest.  I wanted to be just glowingly happy as we got closer to PXXXXs baptism and after...and I have definitely had my glowingly happy moments, but somehow the adversary always creeps into my thoughts and makes it hard for me to focus on the beautiful things.  I like the direct way that President Hinckley puts it...don't be gloomy!  Love life!  This week has been better with Hermana Alonso...I haven't missed Hermana Núñez quite as much and Hermana Alonso and I are starting to become great friends.  She is very helpful, spiritual, and energetic.  She is also really funny and doesn't take herself she helps me to take deep breaths and not get so anxious in stressful situations.  I thank my Heavenly Father for every different companion that I have had and how much I have learned from each one!

                                                              Me and my companion

This week was crazy and fabulous.  On Wednesday we had to go to La Unión to organize everything with Hermana Alonso's visa, and then hurry back to Río Bueno to eat lunch and meet up with the senior missionaries to finish cleaning out the other house.  Then on Thursday was President Rappleye's farewell, so we went to Osorno.  On Friday the sister training leaders came and Hermana Alonso came down with a cold, so she stayed at home with Hermana Howell (one of the sister training leaders) and I went out proselyting with Hermana Lee (the other one).  We had a lot of great lessons with members throughout the week, especially preparing PXXXX for her baptism.  The opposition is always there!  It seemed like everything that could have happened, happened.  My companion was really sick.  When I was ironing the dress we found for PXXXX's baptism, we realized that it was way too sheer.  We forgot to invite the branch president to the baptism.  Even though we went to the chapel three hours before the baptism to start filling the font, it didn't fill as much as it was supposed to.  AHHH!  It was so crazy and stressful!  The elders had an investigator who was baptized at the same time as PXXXX.  On Sunday, their investigator got confirmed...and PXXXX still didn't come to church!  I was FREAKING OUT!  Then in the middle of the sacrament hymn, she came in, and she got confirmed after the sacrament.  In both of these cases, I learned something very, very important--God makes everything work out.  He is in the details of our lives.  As I have said before, He has the perfect plan!  He loves us.  And I know that He loves PXXXX.  Her baptism was wonderful.  Although her family and friends aren't supportive of her decision, lots of members from the branch came to the baptism.  All of the people who we brought to her home in lessons helped out.  Hermano V gave a talk.  Hermano G baptized her.  Hermana M gave the closing prayer.  It was so, so beautiful to see how happy she was!  She was just glowing with excitement.  I wish that I could record the moments after her baptism and watch them over and over again and show them to you all!  After her baptism, we went to help her change into dry clothes...and she was jumping up and down, SO happy for this decision that she has made.  I just hugged her so hard, even in her wet dress!  I have never been happier to be all wet.  What a special hug that was.  I thought of a scripture that I love in Doctrine and Covenants 18, that talks about "how great shall be your joy" if you bring souls unto Him.  "Cuan grande tu gozo será."  It was some real, amazing gozo (joy).   D&C 18:15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!  I am so, so happy for PXXXX!  I love her so much!  And it was also special because we sang "Teach Me to Walk in the Light" for the closing hymn, which is Hermana Núñez's favorite song.

Yesterday we had such a special day, what with PXXXX's confirmation and also being able to meet our new mission president!  President Obeso is WONDERFUL!  He came to visit our zone first.  He said that he felt a special impression to come to visit us.  In my interview with him, he shared some really great of which is Mosiah 4:27, that talks about how we should not run faster than we have the strength, but be diligent.  Mosiah 4:27 And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.  Scriptures like that help me to remember just how much my Savior loves me.  President and Hermana Obeso reflect Christ's love so much.  They have so much faith and energy for missionary work, and they are so friendly and loving!  I love them!  I am so grateful to have two mission presidents and to learn from them both.

This week I have a few wonderful scriptures to share...D & C 18 and Mosiah 4:27 that I mentioned before, and also Ether 12:27: And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

 and Alma 18:32: Yea, and he looketh down upon all the children of men; and he knows all the thoughts and intents of the heart; for by his hand were they all created from the beginning.  Our Savior knows and loves each and every one of us.  His grace is sufficient when we have faith in Him!  When we have the faith to put our lives in His hands, He blesses us with peace and happiness.  I feel so blessed to be able to share His message here in Río Bueno.

I love you all so so much!  I miss you!  I hope that you enjoy another week of summer.

Love always, Hermana Latham