Monday, September 22, 2014

un amor infinito

                                                                                                                              September 22, 2014
Melanie LOVES brownies, so mom sent her this quote to brighten her day :)


I forgot to tell you a few things last is GORGEOUS here!  In the past two weeks it has only rained once.  We have had so many nice, sunny, spring days.  I go out in a light jacket and regular shoes (not boots) and sometimes I only wear one pair of tights!  WOO!  That's progress!  There are so many gorgeous flowers blooming and trees budding (almost put trees blooming...thank you Spanglish).  I love the azaleas, tulips, and so many other pretty spring flowers.  We are so happy that the weather is getting nice.  Also, thank you for telling me what Ashton is doing!  I haven't heard from her since Christmas.  I don't know if you remember the story I told you back when I was in Osorno about the young couple who contacted us in the street and told us that they wanted to have an eternal family.  Well, after the first visit with them I left the sector.  On my first day here I was copying the plans for the day from my companion, and I saw a plan for "D and P."  I told my companion we had a couple named D and P when I was in is the same D and P!  They moved to La Unión!  Isn't that cool?  I feel so lucky to be able to see all the progress that they have made.  Other short things...the watch you gave me for my birthday last year gave up the ghost.  The glass face totally fell out.  I thought about fixing it, but figured that if a $25 watch lived for over a year of everyday wear, I could go ahead and buy a new one.  I wanted something fun, so I bought a red watch this morning.  I am so happy that you got my box!  I prayed a lot that it would get there.  :)  The souvenirs on top are for you all.  I had the box ready to go for weeks, but right before I sent it I threw in some extra things.  I think I will buy another cow magnet and little Chilean flag so that we can both have one.  How do you like the food I sent?  I wanted to send you all pictures today, but my camera is not friends with this computer.  It's kind of sad because I have good pictures this week!  But they will be just as good next week.

Hermana Latham and Hermana Bernel

This was a week I will always remember!  On the day before the "fiestas patrias" (September 18 & 19) we had a conference with a seventy named Elder Viñas.  We got up super early and Hermana Bernel straightened my hair, which took way longer than expected, so I ended up doing my makeup on the bus (remembering seminary?  hahaha).  Elder Crotzer and I played Canon in D for the prelude, and then our zone sang and we played "Onward, Christian Soldiers."  It was a really wonderful conference.  I learned two really important things this week.  One I learned from Elder Viñas.  He focused on the Atonement, and the importance for us to apply it to our own lives and to help our investigators, less actives, and everyone else to understand how important it truly is. He asked for volunteers to share their feelings about the Atonement and it was really spiritual and special.  It's indescribable to hear what others feel for the Atonement.  There were three in particular that I really liked.  A sister from my zone talked about the Atonement as her motivation.  She explained how the Atonement gives her the power to be strong and courageous, and to channel the talents the Lord has given her into the work, because she knows that Jesus is always by her side.  Our zone leader talked about the Atonement as freedom.  The Atonement means freedom from the chains of sin, pain, sadness, worry, and doubt.  It eliminates all of those things and makes us free.  My companion said that the Atonement is her joy.  So many of us think that if Christ knows exactly how we feel, He knows it when we are sad, or confused, or in pain.  But He also knows and comprehends our joys.  Because of the Atonement, Jesus feels and understands the times when we are happy and hopeful.  For me, the Atonement, above all, is an infinite love--un amor infinito.  I know that He loves me, despite my weaknesses.  I know that He understands, and that He is always there, always there, and even though I can't actually see Him or feel His arms around my heart I can feel Him hugging me and telling me that everything is going to be okay.  I feel His hugs in my heart, and that brings me so much peace.  I know that if He loves me, He loves everyone I meet.  The people here are not only statistics, people to contact.  They are children of our Heavenly Father, and our Savior knows and loves each of them.  He has an infinite love for every person.  This is my testimony.  I know it to be true.

 We straightened my hair for the conference with Elder Viñas

The other thing that I have learned is that this life is only a step in all of eternity.  I know that we lived before and that we will live after.  In the conference, Hermana Obeso talked about how we knew the gospel to be true before we came to this earth.  We came here to learn the gospel again, but this time by faith.  This is why the gospel seems so familiar to us!  Our hearts recognize it and we know it is true.  We feel a peace that confirms to us the truth of the gospel without having to see it physically.  This knowledge...that we lived before this life and had a testimony of the gospel...brings me so much peace.  I love this perspective, because I have seen it in our investigators!  They recognize the gospel and know it is true.  Today I had the chance to play the piano at a funeral.  (this probably sounds weird) but I love to play the piano at funerals.  Why?  Because it brings peace and calm to the people who are there.  The music helps them to remember that death is not the end.  Death is a part of Heavenly Father's plan for us to return to Him.

After the wonderful conference we had SO much fun for el 18 de septiembre!  The branch activity was a blast.  We played traditional games...sack race, balance the egg on the spoon, tug of war, kites, and also searching for a piece of candy in a bowl full of flour with your mouth.  That one was a little gross, but the pictures are really funny!  Everything turned out well with the food, and then we did karaoke with traditional music and also traditional dancing.  I wish I could send the pictures!  

 Traditional games for 18 de Septiembre celebration

Mom:  What are you eating here, besides hair?
Hna Latham: It was a bowl full of flour with a candy hidden in it where I had to use my mouth to get the candy.

So like you thought, we couldn't get as much proselyting in this week as far as progressing investigators goes.  But we actually taught a lot of lessons, considering our shortened time.  We have been working to find new people to teach and to help our investigators to progress.  I am loving this area and this companionship!  Hermana Bernel is so great.  We get along so well!  I feel almost like I am with someone from my family.  We understand each other really well.  Sometimes it makes me kind of sad that my favorite companions are from other countries because I won't be able to see them very much after!  But on the other hand, it is cool to think that after the mission I will have friends who live all over the world!

I love you all so much and truly enjoyed your letters this week!  It sounds like you are having a happy, busy, great September.  I hope that you have a wonderful week this week!  Also thank you for the quotes and pictures!  I agree with the brownie quote. ;)

Love always, Hermana Latham  

18 de Septiembre decorations I put in our windows

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