Serving in the Mexico Mérida Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Hola from the West MTC! New Address!

Sisters in the Zone, Lia and Hermana G on left
They told us we'd be living in Raintree, but we're actually in Wyview. I'm living one stairwell over from my old apartment. It is SO nice here-- it's more like a little missionary Utopia than a campus. It's amazing how they converted bedrooms and kitchens and living rooms into a missionary training center.

There are all these cute little pathways and streams and bridges in the Raintree apartments and they look super homey from the outside (although they're falling apart on the inside. :)) The first night in Wyview though, we didn't sleep at all because we practically froze to death, and then we realized that even though we thought the heat was turned on the lever to 'heat' wasn't pushed over all the way.

I live next to Morgan! (her beautiful cousin, going to a different mission in Mexico) I see her all the time! It's fantastic! I also saw two of Grant's friends in the cafeteria. Kevin and the other guy we talked to on Skype. The food here is real food because the chefs are actually culinary students. I like the cafeteria-- it's actually an enormous portable but it feels kind of like a diner. The West campus really is better. "We've found the place which God for us prepared, far away, in the the west."

My address is: 
Hermana Lia Ludlam
2023 N 900 E Unit 892
Provo UT 84602

Thank you for writing to me, fambly (Jenna, where art thou?). I'm putting the last of your letters in the mail today.  And thank you also to the other beautiful people who have written me! Every day becomes the best day ever when I realize "Gasp! We get to check the mail!" I wish I could write back faster but we are only allowed to work on letters of p-day so I do appreciate everything you write, even if I can't respond right away.

Guess where I'm going on Monday... to the Mexican consulate to get my VISA!! It's only the one in Salt Lake but I'm so excited to be on the outside. Actually, west campus missionaries are allowed to go to Brigham's Landing on p-day and today it was GORGEOUS and we walked to go to Burgers Supreme and Jamba Juice. It's weird to realize that the public sees me as a missionary. They give us discounts and the normal people call us 'elder' and 'sister'.

Being in the MTC is a lot more independent than I thought it would be. You have three or four hours a day to sit in your classroom with your district and NOT your teacher and direct your own study. It's definitely not enough time-- I've realized Preach my Gospel should probably be canon. It has the answers to everything. If anyone is planning to serve a mission, just memorize it. I'm so surprised that I haven't burned out yet-- I can definitely tell I was blessed with spiritual and studying stamina. Thanks for your blessing Dad. :)

I LOVED hearing about the baptism. I was walking to class yesterday and I realized "Oh my goodness, Agee is BAPTIZED!!!" It sounds like quite the party weekend. 

There is a sister in my district, Hermana Jones, who was a violin major until she accidentally cut the tendons in her hand a few months ago using a razor blade. But she can still play with all her other fingers except her pinky, so we arranged 'How Great Thou Art' for two violins and played it for sacrament meeting and it was wonderful. Also, she sings, so we're going to audition 'Savior Redeemer of my Soul' for devotional with her soloing voice and me on violin and we're using an accompanist from the MTC. I've also been recruited by one of the elders in my district who wrote his own song he sings and wants music to go with it.  He asked, “Can you play the violin with it?” and so I said yes.

Hno. Ralphs gave me a fabulous quote in our interview and said "if you want to have a marvelous and miraculous experience [in the MTC, on your mission, in your ward, in life], give that experience to someone else. 

Oh, man, the elders in my district are so great, Elder E and Elder H. There are only two of them and they look like they would never be friends in real life, but they do it and they are my heroes. They pretty much show up us sisters. I love how hard and unashamedly they try and how they actually want to be good missionaries so they make it happen. They leave the room to study better, they diligently use the language programs even when all the other elders don't, and they practiced role-playing long before the rest of us figured out how good of an idea that was. They're so bright and beautiful. I just love them.

Another one of Hno. Ralphs quotes is "One missionary can change himself...can change his companionship...his district...his zone...his mission... the world." That has definitely proven true up to the district level. They make us sisters try harder in our district of 6 people. Our zone has some obedience problems (in the districts that arrived before us) and I can see how our district's example has affected them. I don't want to forget how one or two people's examples, even if they look like goody-two-shoes, can make such a difference in other people's lives. 
Happy Halloween from the Zone Elders

Zone at the Temple
How was Halloween?! I am craving pictures of you guys because the album Grant gave to me only has pictures from four or five years ago. For Halloween, I suggested that the four of us dress up as the Elders from our district since two of us are blonde and two are brunette and we all brought glasses. We pulled our hair back in buns and wore white shirts with black skirts and jackets and used scarves for ties. So we still looked like Sister missionaries but still thought we were pretty hilarious. The elders didn't even get it. We had to explain it to them. I wish I could send pictures but these laptops don't allow you to attach things to emails. GAH! 

Something that I've been hit over the head with all week is something I didn't realize I had a problem with until I realized how much better it could be when I fixed it. Summed up it's 'Hakuna Matata'-- There were a whole bunch of different experiences that I don't have time to write, but it was first Brother M, the hipster counselor, who was telling us "If you feel bad about something, you're doing it wrong. Stop worrying about stuff. Stop caring. Just be happy." At first I was thought it was Brother M being slightly off because it's amazing how he just starts talking and works out these super complex thoughts as he's saying them and sometimes I wonder how right he is. Luckily he has a lot of faith and even though he does it all the time, it somehow always works and you can tell it's influenced by the Spirit. Anyways, I realized he was right.

I was sitting in MTC choir and I heard something he had said to me in my interview finally sink in. I heard him saying "Lia, you're okay," except I felt Heavenly Father saying "Lia, you're okay." It was the best feeling in the world. I realized I'm actually living my life right, and even though I'm weak in a lot of areas, that doesn't make me a bad person. I'm not supposed to feel awful about the things I'm not perfect in. It's not a sin to be human.  It's supposed to be a process. Of course, there's that quote (also from Hno. Ralphs...) "The only person's affirmation I trust that I'm doing okay is God's." I can't explain how that feeling is different from an "all is well in Zion feeling", but it is-- and I realized we are here to be joyful, now. And feeling that feeling doesn't make me content with where I am, it makes me want to try harder. The gospel just has so much more light when you let it make you happy and realize you’re progressing instead of stressing out how you're not.  I always thought that was a lesson for old Relief Society sisters, but now I get it.

I LOVE you family!
Moocheesymo amor,
Hermana Lia

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