Thank you for the quotes, pictures, and questions! Now I have some more ideas of what I can share. Thank you also for responding quickly with the information for the mission office. I honestly can't believe that it's time for them to plan my flight home! What? Since when am I close to the end of the mission? It's still not all that close...6 more months. But that letter hit me pretty hard. I only have 6 months left to be a full-time missionary! I have to soak up these experiences and do the very best I can, because I am convinced that these 6 months will fly faster than the first year has.
Okay, so first to answer the questions:Do you play piano in sacrament weekly? Do you choose the songs? I play the piano every Sunday, but I don't choose the hymns.
Do you think/dream only in Spanish now? I'm not sure if I dream in Spanish. But a lot of my thoughts are in Spanish.
Is is hard for you to go back to English when you read and write emails? As time has gone by in the mission, I've gotten better at separating Spanish and English, so it has gotten somewhat easier for me to write to you in English. Sometimes I really can't remember the words in English and sometimes I almost write to you in Spanish and I have to remind myself how the sentence structure should be in English. haha. It's still normal for me to read in English, and every day it is easier for me to read in Spanish.
How's reading the Book Of Mormon in Spanish coming?The Book of Mormon in Spanish is awesome! I am in Alma 40. I'm reading it really slowly because I get more out of it that way.
Do you and your companion speak English to each other now? I speak English with my companion when we are inside our house and I really need to express my feelings, or sometimes when she is confused in Spanish I explain to her in English. But we have a rule as missionaries to speak the mission language as much as possible, so mostly we speak to each other in Spanish. It's really good practice.
Also, are you teaching English classes in your branch in Rio Bueno? Right now we have a brother in our branch who teaches the English classes. He's young, like 24 or 25, and he studied English in college. We help with pronunciation, and since the elders are from the States too, we alternate who goes to the classes to help.
How many people are in your branch? How many active/inactive? We have 548 people on our records, but our list is pretty old. A lot of people have moved and a lot are less active. This Sunday we had 102 in the church, which was incredible! Normally it's between 85 and 95. This branch is really strong.
How many investigators do you have now, and how are they progressing? We don't have very many investigators right now. We are working with some to help them start progressing and we are looking for new ones. But we have been visiting a really great couple who is preparing to get married! They said that they want to wait until the summer, but we are trying to teach them the blessings of living the law of chastity and inviting them to be baptized! We also have some good new investigators who read the pamphlets and ask questions, which is REALLY good. I love it when they study when we aren't there! It shows that they are really interested.
Did PXXX ever come back to church? PXXX still hasn't come back to church. We haven't seen her in two weeks. Every appointment we set with her falls through, and we are really worried about her. I pray for her a lot. I don't know what we can do!
Tell us more about the "Barbie house" Our house is the Barbie house because it is a tiny, white house that looks like it could be for a Barbie. It is tiny inside like it looks on the outside (still don't have a picture! need to take one!). We have a little kitchen, bathroom, and a table downstairs, with a bookshelf and closets. Upstairs we have a room where we study and another one where we sleep.
Other missionaries talk about eating a lot of meat, but you never mentioned that. Is that situational? We eat meat pretty regularly, but it doesn't strike me as a lot. We eat a mix, chicken, beef, pork, fish.
How will you spend the Chilean holiday next month? I don't know how 18 de septiembre will be for me because it is right after transfers! We'll see!
Your sweet Mamita likes all my pics on FB. How much does she know about us? Mamita doesn't know all that much about you guys...just your ages pretty much. People want to know about my family, but pretty superficially. Every once in a while they ask me what my dad's job is. But mostly they want to know how many are in my family and the ages.
You haven't talked about starting fires or chopping firewood in a while. Do you do it at all, or just skip it since it's so much trouble? We chop wood and make fire about once or twice a week. It is really so much work and eats up so much time! So a lot of the time it's just easier to wrap up in blankets and jackets and stuff.
How's the messenger bag working out? Would you recommend it to other missionaries?The messenger bag...doesn't work so well for me. I used it for a little while, but it was hard for me to have so much weight on one shoulder, so I went back to my backpack. It is truly a fabulous bag, with all the cool pockets and everything...just that having all of my books on one shoulder tired me out too much.
You mentioned spring is coming. When is winter really over? I almost forgot about winter! They say that winter officially ends in September. But yesterday and today were really nice! I went outside with only a long-sleeved shirt and a cardigan! It has been sunny with blue skies! So we are starting to have a few nice days.
This week was a really emotional one for me. I'm trying to get used to a new companion, deal with tons of fallen through appointments, make the sector progress, follow the new mission president's new rules, and be a better missionary every day. I get so frustrated with all of my weaknesses. This has been a week where I have really beat myself up a lot. Today I am trying to do the same thing that you and Daddy always talked to me about...doing the best that I can. The only thing that Jesus expects of me is to do the best I can, and I think He would probably tell me "thank you" for trying so hard to be good! If He loves me, then I can do this. And I miss you guys a lot in those kind of days. But our mission president shared a scripture with us in zone conference this week that I really loved. It is Joshua 1:7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it the right hand or the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest., and in Spanish it says, "Solamente esfuérzate, y sé muy valiente." I looked it up in English and it is not a direct translation, and I like more what it says in Spanish... "Just try, and be very courageous." I remember this scripture and just keep trying to be the best that I can be! And like you have always told me, that is really what He asks of me.
I love you so much! I miss you a lot! I hope that you are enjoying the beginning of the school year and that if you are sad, you remember that there is a young woman in Chile who prays for you every night.
Love always, Hermana Latham