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

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Travel Plans Received! One week to go...

Hola familia querida!

Oooh… I got my travel plans yesterday! I am ACTUALLY going to serve a mission. It's weird how even in the MTC that still seems like something way far off-- but actually it's in a week. My plane leaves at midnight and I get to Merida 9 hours later. That's really not too bad.

Will you tell Agee how deeply, deeply I was touched that she sent me her journal? As I was reading it, I just had all this irrepressible joy surge up in me because I could tell how happy she was. I loved it. I am trying to write tons of letters today so I will write back to her ASAP.

Mum, I feel this special connection with you every time I go to watch the broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word on Sundays. I think "I bet Mom is listening to this same thing right now." Did you hear the Veteran's day program last week?  I wish you could have SEEN it because that last number with the bells was a visual phenomenon. They brought in this whole troupe of bell ringers that took up three or four tables the length of the stage-- probably 40-50 people, all in sparkly red tops and three or four different types of bells each. It was so cool to watch-- it was so intricate and they were really getting into it. Do they post those broadcasts?

I am so glad I have music. Music and the Spoken Word is one of the highlights of my week because I don't get to listen to much other real music besides hymns we sing as a class. I've also realized how much playing the violin is a part of my SOUL-- I get this incredible feeling of comfort and peacefulness every time I get a chance to practice. I think "Oh, I missed this."

OH!! GUESS WHAT!! Not ONLY do I get to play at the Sunday MTC Devotional this week, I get to play TWICE! They wanted to use our 'Savior, Redeemer of My Soul' number for the Incoming Missionary Meeting too. I am SO excited because this number is stunningly gorgeous and I love the people I am playing with. We just gel.  One of the elders in our district recorded our practice on his camera, so I'll see if it's possible I can send it to you. Don't tell anyone, but I had a secret jam session with Elder Gonzales last night after our rehearsal and it was the best, where we were just both making it up and going with whatever and I realized how much I miss music people. I love music people.

The Savior, Redeemer number is the same one they play wrote for '17 miracles' and 'Joseph Smith the Prophet'. The words and the melody and the accompaniment are all so inspired. Also, I get to sing a duet of 'In Humility, Our Savior' with Hermana Jones in sacrament meeting this Sunday. Man, Heavenly Father is so nice to me letting me do all these wonderful things. 

Can someone please send me pictures of Ava's hair?! You tell me how cool it looks and then I can't see it! Also, do you have the lyrics to Mi Burrito Sabañero? I keep wanting to sing it, but I don't know how...

So, I read Grant's suggestion about the scripture cases after I bought them.... but I do really like the ones I bought. They're the woven kind so they're fun but they're also really nice and conservative. And I'm not beating up my scriptures anymore. I bought cover-covers for each book, but then I also got a bag to fit them because I can't carry my backpack to meetings or sacrament meetings, so I'll be able to take a smaller bag with scriptures and it will fit a few other things too. Jenna, thank you for offering to make them though! I wish I had known before I bought them! 

Aw, I had a beautiful conversation with Morgan (Lia’s cousin going to Mexico, too) yesterday during gym while we watched other people play volleyball. We talked about our lives and our families and I just love her like none other. 

Good news, though, I really am starting to love a certain person more. I like that 'cleave unto charity' verse in Moroni-- because when I really look and am in tune with the Spirit, Heavenly Father shows me the good parts in him. I really see how great he has the potential to be. And then I just ignore the other parts. It's AMAZING how Heavenly Father can make that happen! He actually helps me be more like Christ!

I've been thinking a lot about the process of how Heavenly Father teaches us and guides us. I watched a David A. Bednar talk about 'Following the Promptings of the Spirit'. A few years ago, Elder Bednar was at a GA conference with Elder Packer, in which Elder Packer reminded him about the time when he had visited Elder Bednar as a missionary in Germany (Elder Bednar was the missionary assigned to help Elder Packer (still a general authority back then) and his wife get lodging in the mission and then continue his way to Eastern Germany by train.) Years later at this conference, Elder Packer told him about how the 20 marcs Elder Bednar had given them last-minute (a lot of money) that had saved their lives (you'll have to read the whole story).

The thing was, Elder Bednar didn't ever remember giving them the money-- he assumed that if that was really what had happened, he must have just thought "Oh, they'll need this money for food or something." He said he had no indication at all that he was receiving a very important spiritual prompting-- he was just doing what seemed like the sensible, good thing to do. He said that's how most spiritual promptings come. The Holy Ghost really is a guide to direct the way we think, we don't have to know we're receiving a spiritual prompting or seek one.

I was very struck by this because I thought: "Isn't that like Heavenly Father manipulating our minds-- giving us thoughts of what he wants us to do and we don't even know it? Isn't that taking away our agency?" And then I realized: "No! That's the amazing thing! Heavenly Father will guide our every action and effort if THAT'S WHAT WE WANT. If what we WANT is to do His will, that's exactly what He will enable us to do. If we don't want what He wants (which is to make us better), then he won't. He won't give us anything if it isn't what we want to be happy." I've been thinking a lot about our decision to want what God wants. It's a lot better idea than what we want. It takes faith to believe that sometimes.

Jeje, Elder Randall in our district loves superheroes and has been assigning everyone in the zone to be a certain superhero-- then he draws murals of us on the whiteboards. His girlfriend also sent him these Batman socks with little capes on the heels and he wears them for our four square tournaments. (I never knew how big four square was in the MTC-there our days when no one in our entire ZONE is doing anything during gym besides playing four sqaure. It's like our zone bonding activity.)

Hey how is Harlan? Do you know if he's going to write?

Mucho amor,
Hermana Lia Ludlam

1 comment:

  1. Don't forget to post your new Mexican address! For me, the mission home address is the best since it doesn't go anywhere. They can forward it to you if such service is reliable there. You go, Lia! Elder Wilson reported that Elder Holland, at a 4 mission conference, said this time of missionary work now is as important as the time of the First Vision. (I'm not quoting exactly but it was along those lines.) WOW! You're in our prayers. Be safe and strong and well! love, Sherry