Saturday, August 2, 2014

¡Viva Río Bueno!

                                                                                                                                                   July 28, 2014


Well, you already know my big news for the week...I am staying here for another transfer.  I sincerely thought that after four transfers I would go to another area.  But Hermana Alonso and I have both been here for four transfers, and one of us had to stay to teach the sector to another hermana!  So Hermana Alonso is getting transferred and I am getting a new companion, Hermana Ball.  Hermana Ball is the sister that Hermana Johnson trained when I left Osorno!  She is so great, really friendly, and loving.  I am excited to be her companion!  It'll be fun to be with a companion from the United States.  I think that the translation of what the mamita said to "big changes" probably should be "long transfers."  The word that we use for transfers in Spanish is the same as the word for changes, "cambios."  I think it must be that because most missionaries that come to Río Bueno are here for a long time.  Normally 3 or 4 transfers.  Of the four of us who are here in Río Bueno right now, 3 of us have been here for four transfers.  My companion is leaving and our district leader is leaving, too.  I'm somewhat stressed out about staying here for another transfer.  I feel like after four transfers in a tiny town, my perspective isn't quite as positive as it could be.  I feel kind of like I have this town memorized and I've looked for new investigators almost everywhere possible.  The good thing is that I don't know the other half of the area from when we combined areas as well as the half I've always been in.  So Hermana Ball and I will be able to still discover new things in Río Bueno.  I am praying a lot.  I have always been willing to serve wherever the Lord calls me, thinking, "I'll go where you want me to go."  But for now I am striving to develop the mindset of "I'll stay where you want me to stay."  Well, the Lord knows why he puts different missionaries together, and if He keeps letting me have this challenge, there must be a reason.  But the Lord loves me so much.  I have been feeling so stressed out and frustrated, and once again the Lord answered my prayers through a Liahona magazine.  I read some really great articles that calmed me down, and I talked to my companion about all of my frustrations and problems and everything, and I have felt a million times better.  

Thank you so much for reminding people about my birthday!  I got so many emails.  It is so nice to feel so supported and loved!  This birthday will be very special and I will always remember it.  I can't believe I'm going to be 20 years old.  That makes me feel like a real grown-up.  What?  haha.  I guess that day had to come at some point.  Thank you also for reminding Ashley to tell me she was getting married.  Last week she sent me some great engagement pictures.  I also loved all of the pictures that you sent me!  Lake Louise/Banff/Canada is stunning!  I want to go!  Sister Opp's baby is a doll.  Do you have pictures of Sister Haycock's baby?  Or has she even had her baby?  It was fun to see the picture of me as a little girl too.  :)  I miss her a little bit.  Real life is quite a bit harder than being four.  But there are also a lot of freedoms and blessings that come with being big.

Hermana Latham will celebrate her 20th birthday this week.  This is Melanie at 4 years of age.  

The baptism this week went great.  We were stressing out a little bit to find white clothing that the little kids could use for the baptism, but I knew that when it is the Lord's will, there is a way, and everything worked out.  A is 10 and J S is 8.  They are so precious!  They have been so excited for their baptism, and it was so cool to see their daddy baptize them and see them receive the Holy Ghost yesterday.  They asked me to speak in their baptism, and it was so special for me to be able to prepare a baptism talk!  I reflected on my baptism and how wonderful that day was!  I felt so clean and so happy!  I was so happy to put my faith in Jesus Christ!  And I remember when Grandpa gave me the Holy Ghost.  That was so wonderful.  I realized that it is so easy for us to forget this precious gift that the Lord has given us, to have a constant companion who loves us and reminds us just how much that Jesus Christ loves us!  When we remember Jesus, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, life doesn't seem so hard.  It doesn't seem so confusing.  It seems clear and focused, and like the future is glowingly beautiful!  How AWESOME that after baptism by water, we can also be baptized by the Spirit, and begin the lifelong purification process.  I am sincerely so thrilled for this family.  The baptism was so spiritual for the two  kids and the elders' investigator who got baptized, another 10 year old girl.  It was like you said for P's baptism, one of those rare crystal days.  (Speaking of P, I wanted to ask if you all could pray for her.  She hasn't come to church for the past two weeks and she has canceled every time we planned to visit.)

As of today I have been a missionary for 11 months!  How CRAZY is that?  18 months is such a very short time.  But I am striving every day to give it my best and to love the Lord and the people of Río Bueno more.  I am so thankful for the love and prayers that you send to me.  I love you all and I hope that you are enjoying the end of your summer!

Love always, Hermana Latham

This is Chilean food in all of its glory.  Hermana Alonso and I went out to eat for her last P-day in Río Bueno.  
It's called pichanga (pe-CHAHN-ga).  It has French fries, sliced hot dogs & sausage, chopped beef, avocado, tomato, cheese, and hard-boiled eggs.  Then you put condiments on top, like mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup, or ají (which is a spicy sauce that Chilean people love). 

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