August 4, 2014
Hermana Ball and Hermana Latham
This week was one of the most fun weeks as a missionary. I LOVE my new companion, Hermana Ball. She is fabulous. She's my first companion who is not older than me. She'll be 20 in September. Before the mission she went to BYU, too. It has been really fun to have a companion from the United States! It just makes it so much easier for us to understand one another culturally. It has been so wonderful to be able to have a fresh perspective of Río Bueno. She is SO excited to be here, and seeing Río Bueno through her eyes has made it a place of much more hope and energy. She helps me to be excited about being here every day. She is so spiritual and loving. I have loved to watch the way that she teaches and loves the people! She helps every single person to feel comfortable because she is so friendly and relatable. We've said to each other a couple times this week, it just seems like we have been companions for so much longer than 5 days. We get along really well and really easily and I LOVE that. She is so focused on the missionary purpose and helps me to stay focused and full of energy. I am not her trainer...training is only for two transfers, so she had those 2 with Hermana Johnson, 2 with another hermana, and now she is with me.Getting ready for the birthday party!
This week for three days in a row I ran into things with the same theme in my personal studies, so I decided that it should be my theme for the week in this email. The phrase that I saw again and again, in the Book of Mormon and in Preach My Gospel, is "como tener éxito," or "how to have success." Our Heavenly Father loves us so much and He wants us to have success! He did not send us here to this earth to fail, but to be gloriously successful! And because He knew it would be hard here in this life, He has given us a lot of tools to help us be successful. We have the scriptures, the prophets, our families, prayer, and a million other things. But the way that He has given us to have success is the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. It was so special to study and understand this concept more. Our Heavenly Father has given us a way to have success...in missionary work, in our families, and in every other aspect of our lives...and this way is through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He shows us the way to become more like Him through patient progress every day, and the way to reach the ultimate success, which is to live with our Father in Heaven. I especially loved Alma 31, a chapter that I read this week. Link to the scripture Melanie is referring to: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/alma/31?lang=eng&cid=email-shared Alma gets really sad because of the way that the Zoramites pray to God in a tall tower and think that there can be no Christ. He prays to Heavenly Father to grant him success in his missionary work. Then, he prays again for success...the success to bring the people unto Christ again. At the end of the chapter, Alma receives the promise that all of his afflictions will be swallowed up in the joy of Christ because he has prayed in faith. All of our success in this life centers on our Savior. We are successful when we search for Christ in our lives, and we help others to be successful when we invite them to let Christ into their hearts.
I read this chapter on my birthday, and I had the chance on that very day to apply the principle that my afflictions can be swallowed up in the joy of Christ. At night, after the fabulous birthday that I had, Hermana Ball and I were walking when I got ran into by a bike. We were wearing our black rain suits because it had been raining a lot earlier, and it was dark, so we didn't see the man on the bike and it seems like he didn't see us either. This bike totally knocked me over into the street and I skinned up my hands and I have a big green bruise on one of my legs. My knee and shoulder feel almost normal now, but after getting up from the ground, they were hurting. My earmuffs and my rain skirt saved me from hitting my head or hurting my legs. Long story short, I'm not hurt too bad. But I definitely have a crazy story to tell for after the mission! I got up and thought, "well, if this man ran into me with his bike, it must be for something." So even though I was pretty shaken up, I tried to contact him and give him a pass along card of Jesus. About midway through the contact it dawned on me that he was totally drunk. (should have dawned on me before. Who else but a drunk guy rides his bike in the dark?) So we quit contacting him and moved on....
So, even though I got hit by a bike on my 20th birthday (the affliction), I have never had a birthday when I felt more loved (the joy of Christ). Pamela and a sister from our branch called me to wish me happy birthday. Hermana Ball wrote quotes on 20 hearts and hid them all over our house for me to find throughout the day (she is adorable). We found a new investigator and we could teach the family about the Restoration. The mamita made me a special lunch. An investigator, a less active, and a really sweet sister from our branch came to help me celebrate my birthday even though it was raining cats and dogs. I got various gifts...the investigator brought me a laptop desk (I'm not sure exactly what I'll do with it, but it's the thought that counts right? haha), the sister from our branch gave me a cute wallet and earrings, the mamita gave me some chocolate covered almonds, the elders gave me a jar of Nutella, and my companion gave me a mud mask (one of these nights we will do spa!). What with all of the emails that I got from the States and all of the love that I felt here, it was a fabulous birthday. I still can't believe that I am 20 years old! That is a real adult age! But it was a birthday that I will never forget.
I hope that all of you have a wonderful, wonderful week starting back to school and that in the moments that you ask yourselves how in the world you are going to find success, you will look to Christ, who truly loves us and wants us all to be happy.
I love you all so much! GIGANTIC HUGS FROM RIO BUENO!
Love always, Hermana Latham
Mom sent a package with all the stuff for a birthday party, and Melanie used it all to celebrate with her branch!
Hermana Ball, Hermana Zortman, Hermana Latham and their Mamita in Rio Bueno
Happy 20th Birthday, Hermana Latham!