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

Monday, December 29, 2014

Best Nancy Drew Moment and Cupcakes!

Hola Familia,

I loved our phone call so, so much. At first I was tempted to complain that we only had 40 minutes, but afterwards I realized it was perfect. It meant that every minute was quality-packed. Every time I think about it I get all fuzzy inside.

And thank you for your display of song-writing and singing abilities-- clever little Lumsies.

After the call we ate a light dinner (en Yucatan that means a normal dinner) with la Familia Martinez and then they drove us home. Hermana Wilson and I were just full of happiness up to the chin. It was a really lovely Navidad.

Exciting events this week...
Best Nancy Drew moment! On Christmas Eve, Hermana Wilson and I (well, really just me) left our keys in the house and closed the door and were pretty sure we were going to have a rather unpleasant Christmas Eve because the dueños (landlords) were on vacation in Cancún and all of the cerrejarías (locksmiths) were closed because it was Christmas Eve. We tried jimmying the lock and busting open one of the windows, but we were rather fruitless.

And then (after a quick prayer), we employed an intricate, multi-window, multi-wall, PVC-pipe plan and actually got into our house! I’m not going to post how to break into our house on the internet, but we were pretty proud of ourselves.
Last Sunday, the bishop’s daughter (age 14) baked chocolate cupcakes and they decided to use them for the sacrament.

Oh, I just wanted to mention that I’m probably going to start writing an hour earlier on Mondays.

Livi, I know I promised to write to you but I am out of time. I will write next week!
​La Familia Tzab-- we ate lunch (the main meal) with them on Christmas. (Caldo con (broth with) add-it-yourself carne, lechuga y tomate (meat, lettuce and tomato).

​ This is the lawn of a neighbor a few blocks from our house. Just the stable wasn't sufficient...didn't cut it.  That's the Sea of Galilee, with fish, underneath the table, and then the rest of the citizens of Bethlehem.

We are also trying to train the ward how to use ward council, missionary coordination, and the progress reports, and we made a visual:

I love you.
Hna Ludlam

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

It's a Date! Christmas Day, 8 pm EST!

Hola Familia Hermosa!
I get to SEE you in... TWO DAYS!

Sorry I didn’t write yesterday. We had our devocional navideña (Christmas Devotional) and they moved our p-day to Tuesday.
La devocional navideña was Hermosa (beautiful)... I really enjoyed it. The highlight was the choir that came (Our President’s counselor has a nationally acclaimed choir of about 10 people, mostly his family) and they came and did a half-hour performance. They brought an INCREDIBLE violinist!  That violinist did something for my soul. I think I have been a little bit good-music starved. Are you guys going to sing me something? :) The videos of our duet, unfortunately, are too big to send. I have a clip of the choir that I'll have to show you later, too.

This is the grandson of our President.  They came to the Devotional.  We finally got to take our picture together.

Gloria, our investigator, was really sad that she didn't have money for a Christmas tree. Missionary Sisters (and Bodega Aurrera, a little shop) al rescate (to the rescue)!... also our agendas that we covered. Thank you Familia Mecham for the card last year! And to Sue White for the very cute advent calendar. :)

The Sisters and Oolibama. She is reactivating (the only one in her family) and goes with us on appointments. She is a professional model... suprise!

Our Christmas cards we made for the Chuburna Ward members.
Hermana Margarita, cocinera extrordinaire and EXCELENTE misionera. She has bad knees and can hardly leave the house, but somehow manages to have more missionary opportunities and references than practically the rest of the ward combined.

This is an average Desk of a Missionary.

(Right) Mexico en la noche... there were a bunch of silhouetted kids playing ball in street and we tried to capture the moment.

The Familia Polanco fed us Ceviche con Pulpo (OCTOPUS). I thought it would be really icky to have all the little suction cups and spines in my mouth and I would want to swallow it as quickly as possible, but I actually liked the texture.

Dionisio and his family are PROGRESSING, and we are so happy. The changes in their family dynamics changed drastically even from the first day we started teaching them. We’re also happy because at first their son didn’t want to listen, but this week he came to church with them and is already involved in the Young Men Christmas service projects. They are a FAMILIA COMPLETA. :)
We have been finding other families too... that is what we have been praying for-- for a long time-- and all of a sudden all of these families to teach come out of nowhere--bloop bloop bloop!-- and they are accepting FECHAS (commitment dates)!
Okay, the time of my call should be 7:00 pm my time on Thursday. We’re going call from the house of la Familia Martinez.
Mucho amor,

Monday, December 15, 2014

Some Christmas Cheer

Hermana Wilma, Hugo's little brother, Hugo, and Yolanda.

Familia Mia que está en los Estados (Family of Mine that is in the States),

Here is some Christmas cheer from the Chiburna Ward:---->

We had a stake activity of villancicos navideños de los niños (Children's Christmas Carols). They asked me to play the violin for “La Nochebuena” and it turned out well. I did some pizzicato stuff. Sister Wilson and I wore blue hats and scarves too.

I have been using my violin a ton these past few weeks. Our President's family came into town from Cincinnati and wanted to baptize their grandson here, and they asked me to play. We had the service at 7:00 in the morning. :-) I liked hanging out with their family.

I’m also accompanying our zone for our choir in our misión Christmas Devotional, and Hermana Wilson and I will be in the talent show. I’ll try to take a video. And lots of caroling. We’re going to go out with the Bishop on Thursday to carol for his neighbors. It’s amazing how even without practicing I can play decently well. Gifts of the Spirit, I think.

Sister Wilson and I are so happy because we have a FAMILY that has come to church for TWO WEEKS now. The Ward is doing it’s job so well-- to the point that it might be overwhelming them. The family is Dionisio and Nayeli, with their daughter Suri. I think I love them so much, not just because they are such sincere people, but because they are really a “diamond in the rough” find. We just started talking to Dionisio outside of his house one night and kind of pushed a lesson on him :-). He has very typical Yucatecan problems.

But the first week we passed by to pick him up for church, he was READY and WAITING for us (that NEVER happens) and LIKED church and since we gave him the Book of Mormon he stays up all night after work reading. He said “I would try to go to sleep and then I would wake up again and start reading.” (He is a construction worker.) His wife at first didn’t want anything to do with us, but started listening and told us, “In just one week my husband has changed into a completely different person.” She has changed a lot, too. They went to the Christmas Devotional and Suri sang with the Primary in the stake activity.

I love Christmas.

La llamada (Our phone call) this year... is only 40 minutes. :( But it will be on the 25th. They haven’t told us what our day will be like yet, but next week I’ll give you the horario (schedule).

Mucho amor,
Hna Ludlam  

Monday, December 8, 2014

Full of Rejoicing

The sisters taught the youth how to study like missionaries!
F e l i z !

I love Christmas a lot.
People really like caroling. It’s not a very big thing in Mexico, so when we go and sing for people, it really touches them. I love how people answer their doors in the usual apathetic, uninterested, brusque Yucatecan way-- usually: “Quien.” (Who?) -- but after we start singing they turn into real people. Love is a converting factor. :) Maybe we can’t always serve people by teaching them the truths that will change their lives, but at least we can help them feel loved.  I like singing with Hermana Wilson because we blend perfectly.

Setting up their Young Women class display.
Abril y Luis fell away. I’m not even sure how, but this week we found in the street the coolest family. We almost passed by Gabriel y Jimena because they were working in their garage, but the way that Gabriel said “hi” to us when we passed was so unusually friendly and familiar.  After a couple seconds I turned around and went back. I don’t think we even said anything to them and Gabriel invited us into their house to meet their two kids and see their baby (this is very unusual behavior, usually the rest of the family tries to hide.) Their house and family are strikingly beautiful, but what impressed me the most was the feeling I had when we walked in their home-- it was feliz. They are a genuinely happy family. I hadn’t felt that in a home for such a long time that it really impacted me.

Gabriel and Jimena are Christian but bashed on their church the whole time. They built their entire house themselves and do all of their projects by hand. They don’t go to church, but are constantly helping people out (like letting people live in their house, paying for other people's hospital treatments, etc.)  Not to mention they are both young and gorgeous. All their kids have crazy beautiful eyes.

Flor, the coolest ever,  is going on a mission in January.
We sat down in their garage and taught them while they were painting their do-it-yourself deck and they were totally on board with the Restoration and then... THEY CAME TO CHURCH THE NEXT DAY. Yesterday was a Christmas miracle. For this entire transfer, we haven’t had a single investigator come to church but yesterday we had SIX.
In response to Mom’s question: 'Dádiva' means 'gift'. It's like 'regalo' means 'present', 'dàdiva' means 'gift'. I have talked to like two people here who know what 'dadiva' means. :)
Hermana Wilson and I are going to stay together in Chuburna for another transfer! We were full of rejoicing. I'm really excited to spend Christmas in this ward. I love Barrio Chuburna, there are a lot of solidly good people in this ward.
Much love,
Hermana Ludlam

Monday, December 1, 2014

If I Weren't a Missionary, I Would Dance!

The Mexico Merida Mission
Hullo Fambly :-)

I just watched this beautiful Christmas video on the site and I am in a good mood. You can feel the Spirit when something is true. 

People should use this page to talk to people about the church. This worldwide initiative is a big deal; please use it. It is the only time the Church has emailed me about something. It’s kind of exactly what I asked about in my last letter-- how can I help people want to know more about God?  Ta-da!  The answer handed to me in the form of an internet site.

I’ve been trying to make Christ a more living part of my life. I KNOW a lot about Him, and I even am using the Atonement in lots of ways. But my connection with Him is more of an appreciation for what he did-- I am receiving these blessings because of something He did, something done in the past, that He was more of a piece that I am using in a plan. But from thinking about Christmas and taking the sacrament and reading Jesus the Christ and reading the Book of Mormon with this question in mind, I am slowly coming to feel that he is my daily bread and living water. I found great insight in the hymn, “I Know that my Redeemer Lives” (this link is a lovely rendition with Lindsey Sterling and Lexi Walker) which talks about all of the things that Christ is doing, not did.  He didn’t just make salvation possible, He is saving us

If we know how to come to Him.

Abril and Luis are emerging from a rocky lifestyle.  They didn’t come to church and Luis had some word of wisdom crashes-- but still excited. I couldn’t believe it. Yesterday we were talking about the NEED to take the sacrament and how they could pray so that it would come to pass. And I asked, “So, what can you do to ensure that you guys come to church next week?” and Abril (16) says, “Make a covenant.”

I don’t think we taught her that.

Thank you for the fotos, they brought me much felicidad. :)

Our prayers are being answered! We are finally finding people to TEACH! You know what, when people say that the happiness you feel on your mission is the happiest you will feel in your life, they are talking about the happiness you feel when someone is actually receiving the message. If nobody’s receiving it—it’s not so happy.  But when even just ONE person is getting the point, there is a surging, all-day joy that is just hard to contain. If I wasn’t a missionary, I would dance!

Note: The people who we are finding who are receiving are almost all FRIENDS or FAMILY of CHURCH MEMBERS, who the members have prepped beforehand to talk to us. There is something to be applied there.

Go make friends! ;-)

Hermana Ludlam

Monday, November 24, 2014

Solid Investigators in Chuburna!

Hola Familia,
Lia and her Babies (Hermanas Wilson and Harper)

We finally have our first solid investigators in Chuburna! Please meet Abril y Luis... Abril (16) just had a bebe and we are trying to get them married. But teaching them is quite incredible. I couldn’t believe our last lesson-- we came after church (to ask why they didn’t come to church-- they went to the mall with their family) and asked them what they knew about Keeping the Sabbath Day holy. “What does that mean?” asks Luis. (They actually ask questions.) At the end of the lesson we ask, “Okay, so what do you have to do to keep the Sabbath Day holy?” And they could ANSWER OUR QUESTIONS! It was like kids in Primary! It was like something out of The District (a missionary training video series).

And then, Luis says “I guess we can’t go to the mall anymore on Sundays.” They APPLIED what we were teaching. And then, in the prayer to close the lesson, Luis asks for forgiveness for not keeping the Sabbath Day holy! We didn’t even tell him to do that!
I was asking Hermana Wilson, “What is different about Abril y Luis? Their situation is pretty much the same as everyone else: Raised Catholic, living in unión libre (not married), without high school education. Why are they able to understand what we’re teaching?” And the reason we came to was that they want something more. They had a desire for “something better.”

An Evening of Painting with Carlos and Javier
I think one of the biggest obstacles in Yucatán is complacency. Their lives are not all that great... but nobody seems motivated to try to improve. Hermana Wilson and I have been asking ourselves what we can do, especially in the first contacts with people, to motivate them to want more out of their lives or have a desire to know God more intimately.  If anyone has suggestions...

I have a suggestion for people who are going to leave on missions. Bring a study binder, not a study notebook. By the time you are a year into your misión, and even if you organize your notebooks well, you will have TOO MANY notebooks to be able to effectively retrieve old information. In a binder, you can keep it all in one place, sorted by topic, and add more ideas to old entries simply by putting in new pages.
~Courtesy of Hermana Wilson (who thought to bring a big binder)

Family History - Missionaries with Members (Hermana Norma)

How great is it that you are going to share Thanksgiving with the Cummings! You can share stories about your missionary daughters. :) Can you send me pictures?

Christmas is in a MONTH! That means we will have our last phone call in a month!

Much love,
Hermanita L

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

¡Vive el Violin!

Hola Familia,

Hermana Wilson memorizes scriptures faster than me!

 My violin and I had a joyous reunion! Presidente Garcia sent it to a repairman who works for the orchestra of Mérida! I went to play for a baptism. The pianist is the extensively-improvising Ismael from Barrio Terranova.

The sisters serving in Terranova baptized Jose, the super-duro (challenging) husband of a sister in the ward. Hermana Pitcher and I tried to teach him when we were there, but it was like hitting a wall. Would you believe what caused the change? Hanging out in the temple waiting room for 5 hours while his wife did ordinances. 

The violin sounds pretty good. They had to do some extensive repair work. They also replaced the bridge.

I was reading Elder Bednar’s talk, A Reservoir of Living Water, on how to study the scriptures and hearing about Mom is teaching her missionaries how to study scriptures. I like the line in Preach My Gospel in the section about Christlike Attributes: Faith, where it uses the phrase “as you search and explore the scriptures.” I think they are two different things. Exploring, for me, is reading in the order of the scriptures, or when I look up a reference, looking around at the other verses in the chapter. Searching is when I have a specific question and I go looking for the answer. My study sessions are usually a mix of the two. I think they are both important. Being a good explorer helps you to know where to search when your questions come.

It’s been kind of a hard week, because even though we find a lot of people, and sometimes even interested people, nobody has the time for continuous teaching appointments! In Mexico, and especially this area, people work ALL day, every day. There are a lot of students in our area, too. We are trying to find more available people through los miembros (the members), but that process is also a little slow.

If you are a member and you are reading this, go make it easy on your missionaries and find them people to teach. :-)

Pero no nos desanimamos, por nada! (Be we are not discouraged at all!)

​This picture is of Missionaries and Members! We are holding a Family Home Evening with the Molina family. Hermano Molina is our ward mission leader. They invited the sister of Hermana Molina and the neighbors.

Love you all mucho. 
Amorrrrrrrrrosamente (Lovingly),
Hna Ludlam

Monday, November 10, 2014

Eternal Perspective in Chuburna

Hola Familia,
 Members + Missionaries: Sisters Wilson, Delfina, and Ludlam

Hermana Wilson sigue siendo potente ( is still powerful, strong, effective).

Mum was telling me in her letter how in the Mission Prep class they were learning to start their lesson plans with commitments. YES! The commitment serves as the WHY and the POINT of teaching. If your teaching doesn't result in a specific ACTION, you're probably wasting time (that is a good rule of thumb for every teaching situation ever, I think).

In your objective to invite people to come unto Christ, the investigator you are teaching must do two things:
  1. Build faith in Christ and repent.
  2. The commitments do both. The act of doing the commitment is the physical act of repenting, and as we obey commandments we gain faith that what Christ commands us to do really works and really is the best. 
Orienting the lesson around commitments also gives you a MEASUREMENT, something to measure the efficacy of your teaching-- At the end of the day, did they keep the commitment or did they not?

Also super important-- the commitment is your OBJECTIVE. If your lesson doesn't have an objective, it will be long and confusing and... long. We first choose a specific goal and then ask, “What do they not understand that is keeping them from that commitment?”--and that is what we teach. 90% of the time the answer to that question is the material in the five lessons (and usually in order), but highlighting a specific topic.
Something that has been helping me a lot the past weeks is learning how to SIMPLIFY my perspective, which I think is really the same thing as having an eternal perspective. I’ve realized I need to ask myself in situations when I feel depressed or tense: “What is really going on here?” And usually I can respond something like, “I am just looking for an address that is hard to find” or “I am just trying to put in action the counsel of our president, and of course, it’s not going to go perfectly at first” or “I am just laboring as a worker en la work of salvation” or “I am just trying to convince someone to repent, and of course, Satan is going to be trying to work against that” or “I am trying to teach a foreign concept to a child of God with very little spiritual education.” Seeing things in the eternal perspective makes it possible to feel hopeful and happy and not get frustrated. 

Someone asked what they do for Dia de Los Muertos. It’s three days long-- the first day (Oct 31) is the day for niños that have died, the next day is for everybody else, and I never found out what the third day was for. People don’t do a whole lot except make special types of food-- there are pibis which are these GIANT tamales that are round instead of rectangular. People do make pan de muertos, but I didn’t see a whole lot of that. And there are lots of candies that people sell in the streets at night outside of their houses that I never tried. I didn’t see very many altars, but I know they make one in the schools. And most people go to a special, enormous mass that they hold in the cemetery. And that’s about it. From what I saw, it wasn’t a very big deal. But the pibis are rico!

OH! As a mission we are going to memorize ALL the scripture mastery scriptures and if we memorize the first 25 from El Libro de Mormon before Dec, 1st, we.... GET TO DO A SESSION IN THE TEMPLE!! AHH! Granted, it’s the session at 4:30 in the morning, but I don’t think that fazes anyone. Ahh...the temple!

Feel free to join me by learning 25 scriptures before the first of December and rewarding yourself by going to the temple.  (Lia’s sister, Jenna, might beat her!)

Much love,
Hermana Ludlam 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Welcome, Hermana Wilson! and a cockroach fiesta...

Querida Familia,
We finally meet Hermana Wilson, Oregonian!

I think this letter will be mostly a rave about mi hija (my daughter, or in other words, the new missionary I am training), Hna Wilson.

Hna Wilson is Oregonian (points already.)
Hna Wilson can already communicate in Spanish, and understands practically everything. 
Hna Wilson learns the things I tell her the first time I tell her.
Hna Wilson does things without me having to tell her-- if I'm doing it, she starts doing it. 
Hna Wilson is not picky and is not high-maintenence.
Hna Wilson is in good shape and likes to excercise.
Hna Wilson likes to study and she likes to read.
Hna Wilson has a beautiful singing voice and we can sing parts together.
And I am super impressed because NOTHING FAZES HER. 

Our first night was a little crazy because we spent at least an hour in the offices because President had to explain to me a special situation in our new area. And that alone might have scared someone new. And then, the address of our new house was wrong and so we drove around in the night for like an hour in the taxi, trying to contact anyone who would be able to get us in contact with the bishop. We got to the house and it was filthy…complete with a cockroach infestation!

We look over the binder and materials and map in the house and everything is a total mess. We go out to work and come back with nothing, and realize the streets on the mission map we have are not the same as the streets in real life. We come home and eat refried beans on bread that the last elders left in the fridge.

That was her first day in the mission and she is completely fine, not bothered in the least. I tell her “Sorry your first day in the mission wasn’t lo mas bonito (the most lovely),” and she just shrugs her shoulders and says “I'm fine.” She is so cool. She reminds me a LOT of Brooke or maybe Lana. I think there is an Oregon-Van Woerkom connection. 

Anyway, she is soaking up everything super fast and is already teaching and directing lessons on her own. I get what the scripture says about "having joy in my posterity." :)

We are in the area of Chuburna. Before, I thought Terranova was a fancy area, but Terranova is actually the outskirts of Chuburna. The area has been slightly.... “dis-attended” by previous missionaries, but the ward (barrio) is AWESOME. The majority of the members are all well-educated with careers and everything and they are awesome leaders. And they are so excited for sister missionaries! Everybody wants to be involved. And they have cars. :)

Have a great week. Go do Family History work and tell your friends about it.
Hermana Ludlam

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Training a Brand New Americana

Hola Familia,

I am going to be a trainer again! And I already know it’s going to be una Americana because only two sisters are coming this transfer and they are both Americans.

That means hopefully I will be able to send you pictures tomorrow.

Here are some pictures of people that I love.
La famila Canto Chan de Barrio Mulsay. L to R: Lia, Hna Tere, Hno Saul, Said, Daniel, Hassiv, Hna Tere cuts hair and makes empanadas and then goes and sells them on her trici with Said. Sometimes she gives us the extras. 
Lia, Hna Carr, Hna Alba, Hna Rosaura (the most saintly woman ever), una niña, Andres, otra hija de Hna Rosaura, otro hijo de Hno Rosaura, y Nery.

I will have to tell you more later.
Hna Ludlam 

Monday, October 20, 2014

How to spell "MILK" in Spanish

Querida Familia,

On the blue box you may discover how to spell "Milk" in Spanish!  Yes, that does say "combined with vegetable oil", too.

Picture to the right: Our district. L to R: Hna Carr, Lia, Elder Mesa, Elder Ortiz (lider de zona), Elder Chappell (lider de distrito), Hna Martinez (my superhero), y Hna Argueta. Solo faltamos Elder Candelaria (he's the other lider de zona and is also super potente).

That was a super-potente package, guys, thank you. I am using everything in it. My favorite things in the world to get are letters and granola bars. (If you are going to send something to a missionary and don’t know what to send, send letters and granola bars.) And THANK YOU, Bup, for sending the music and player. I feel very spoiled. :)

I was walking down the street the other day and realized, “Wait a second. My mission is NOT ending soon. I have 6 more months.” I had a like a week of feeling a little trunqui (trunky = ready to pack your bags to go home!) but I realized I need to snap out of it. 

I love Hermana Carr. She is a beautiful person. Nos desahogamos muy bien juntas (we are able to unburden/ de-stress well together), usually during breakfast or while we’re sitting in our hamacas. We think a lot about the same things, so we can just talk and talk and talk.  We’re also really good at pointing out our problems and being feedback-givers. I’m going to miss her a lot. Transfers are this Sunday. :-(

Heavenly Father really does answer specific questions. But he also does it according to the “intentness” of our desire. I think that’s why he usually does it line upon line, precept upon precept. Hermana Carr and I had a lot of problems knowing what we are supposed to teach in the first lesson because we received a lot of confusing instruction from our leaders. And the first lesson is the most important, so it made us feel like really bad missionaries because, even though we have been giving first lessons our whole mission, we suddenly felt like we had no idea what to do.

But for about two weeks we prayed (frequently and out loud) about it and poco a poco (little by little) we studied it and practiced it and we’ve gotten to a point where we now feel decently comfortable about it. And people are accepting mas fechas en la primera lección (setting dates in the first lesson).

In case you want to know what we do, our first lesson is:

[How to Begin Teaching]
1. The first paragraph of How to Begin Teaching (Preach My Gospel, Teaching Skills) plus a few other personal questions (i.e. why they want to listen to us, or what is hard in their life that they wish was better--the point is to find what the gospel can help them with.)
2. Based on what we learned from step one, we use a few of the 10 Points of How to Begin Teaching
3. Sing Hymn (usually I am a Child of God)
4. Teach how and why we pray, and invite them to give the prayer at the end. One of us prays.

[God is Our Loving Heavenly Father]
5. Teach the newly-added principle of the Godhead (God and Christ both have bodies and are two different people, and they are also different from the Spirit.) 
We then explain what the GOAL of those three beings (bring to pass eternal life of man), and then describe the functions of the three using the principles:  God is Our Loving Heavenly Father. That was the hardest part for us because at the beginning we really didn’t understand that principle. (Go study this section for two weeks!)  At some point, explain the purpose of the Spirit (help us recognize truth) and explain how to know when you are feeling the Spirit.

[Baptismal Invitation]
6. Sometimes the next part is going out on a wing with the Spirit to tie their need into baptism, but usually it involves something like:

“God has provided us a (singular, definitive) way to have success in this life and return with Him in the next” which then leads us to the Restoration-- that if they aren’t LIVING the RESTORED gospel, they can’t have eternal life. Tah-dah! baptism with proper authority.

OR, another option, when mentioning “The Atonement is a central part of God's plan,” we explain how in order to FULLY make use of the Atonement (be comforted, be enabled, be forgiven) we have to make authorized covenants with God. Tah-dah! baptism with proper authority to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 

Invite to be baptized.

7. We then explain the Restoration briefly to explain restored authority to baptize/restored doctrine.
8. Briefly explain how the Book of Mormon teaches that doctrine and give them a copy.
9. Commit them to READ the Book of Mormon and the Restoration pamphlet, PRAY if it is true, and GO to church that Sunday.
10. Make the next appointment and ask who they can invite to be here the next time.
11. They pray. We congratulate them.
12. Next appointment!

Of course, all very subject to changes according to the Spirit.

Love you all a lot. I imagine you’ll probably hear about a new companion next week...

Hermana Ludlam

Monday, October 13, 2014

One Year Anniversary in the Mission!

Querida Familia,

I cumple-d a year today (she reached her one-year anniversary in the mission). Something tells me Mom already knew that.

These pictures are from Hermana Pinguelo's birthday party with our zone.

Here is an inspiring story:

There is a real-deal member in our area named Isabel. I love her immensely. She’s probably 70 but still completely with it, and she takes us to go visit her other 70-year-old friends who are clearly not on the same mental level as she is. And she really understands the gospel. I had always been wondering, why is Hermana Isabel so sharp? So yesterday, I decided to finally ask: “Hermana Isabel, do you know how to read?”  And she said, “Ýes.” I asked, “Did you go to school?” She says, “Back when I was young and beautiful, I went around making all of the boys fall in love with me. But one day, one of them sent me a letter. I wanted so badly to know what the letter said, but I had never gone to school. I couldn’t ask someone else to read me the letter because I was embarrassed and didn’t want any of my girlfriends to know what it said.” So she goes and teaches herself to read! 

Someone had been holding a class outside of her pueblo and so every day a la 1 en la tarde (at 1 pm in the afternoon) she and her other amiga walk to class.  She practices every day for an hour and after several weeks, she finally reads her letter.

Later, when she sends her first son on a mission, she realized she knew how to read, but had never learned how to write. She could read the letters her son sent to her, but she couldn’t send letters to him. So she decides she’s going to learn how to write. She gets all the books in her house and searches in her books for every single word she wants to say in her letter to see how it’s written and practices it. She said her first letter took her over a week to write.

I wanted to share that story as an evidence of:

1. GO READ BOOKS BECAUSE IT MAKES YOU SMARTER.  Also, gospel living requires gospel understanding. Learning how to learn from books and school makes it a lot easier to learn the essential truths of the gospel (that ONLY come through study)

2.  That you can do anything when you are properly motivated.
Hermana Carr shared a great quote with me: 'If you find that you have not fulfilled a goal in life, it's because you never really intended it.'

I love you guyz. I got a package today! With pumpkins on it. I have not looked in it yet, but THANK YOU!

Hermana Ludlam

Monday, October 6, 2014

What motivates me to go and share the gospel?

Querida familia,

Has conference always been that good… and I’ve just been missing it this whole time?

I think what made the difference of how much I enjoyed conference is that as a missionary, I’ve realized that the General Authorities are prophets of the world, not just the church. When I have that mindset, I realize the NEED to share the pure truths we are hearing with other people. The scripture I hear in conference is evidence to combat all of the false ideas that are out there. I think I was not aware of the other non-truths that are OUT there before becoming a missionary.

And because I’ve never been so aware of my own spiritual needs. In the mission I put a lot of thought into identifying them and writing them down. And then when Heavenly Father fills my empty glass to overflowing during Conference, I can appreciate it more.

This is what motivates me to go and share the gospel with other people--what I want other people to have, too:

1) Joy I feel in General Conference from hearing truth.
2) Joy of finding an answer in the Book of Mormon.
3) Peace I feel in the temple.
4) Joy from the feelings of love I feel for my family and my extended family.

Mucho amor,
Hna. Ludlam
Hermana Carr, Lia , y Hermano Jesus. He has been writing to my personal email this whole time about his post-baptism experience. Before the Conference, he printed them all out and gave them to me in a big packet!
At our ward family night, a performance of the "Tree of Life" vision.The ward told the missionaries that we were in charge of the performance about three hours before it started.  I narrated. The broom is the tree of life. We made fruit out of wads of toilet-paper.

La Familia Gonzales de Garcia Gineres. They are friends of the Luis Cardenas family in Bellevue, WA. Vanessa, Hassibe, Lia, Lorena y Miguel.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I LOOOOoooooOOOOOoooooVE Conference!

Querida Familia,

I  LOOOOoooooOOOOOoooooVE Conference. I was so happy after the Women’s Conference on Saturday, and that was only an hour and a half. This weekend I will get EIGHT HOURS of prophetic wisdom and explanations of reality that I need. After the conference on Saturday, I was just floating on a pink-and-purple cloud. Sigh...

Elders Rodríguez, Samano, Torrentera, Lia, and Hna Torales
(I forgot to send this picture of us with the Assistants right before Hermana Torales and Elder Samano went home.)

Back to Conference: I realized though, that things I was hearing would probably not have interested me a year ago. I remember previous conferences when I would think,"They’re talking about covenants... again?" And I tried really hard to concentrate, but didn't really understand what a covenant even was or why it was important.

That is what consistent scripture study and the Spirit will do for a person. :)  And I feel so so grateful that I speak English. Conference is NOT the same through a translation. Actually, I got my first real-time translating experience because they couldn’t figure out how to get the Spanish transmission. So Hermana Pinguelo and I translated for the congregation. But then they got it fixed, so we could go listen in English. Also, if I didn’t listen in English, I couldn’t have appreciated Sister Marriott’s accent. Don’t you all love her? The reason I love her is because she is such a real person. 

On my intercambios (missionary exchanges) in Garcia Gineres with Hermana Maki and Hermana Thomas, I met the coolest person. Her name is Estela, and she is 90 years old and THE SMARTEST YUCATECA EVER. She looks like she’s 65. I couldn’t believe how we could just tell her something and she would understand it. We were reading the Book of Mormon (in between citas (appointments) like we’ve been instructed to do) and we were reading in 3 Nephi 18 about the sacrament. We were reading a passage about how the sacrament was a commandment, and we ask her a question about what the commandment is and she says, “I guess I’ve got to get baptized.” I’m watching Hermana Maki in the mirror on the wall and see her face just light up! Then she asks us a question about needing authority to be baptized.

On the street afterwards, I asked “Do you think that’s what it's like to teach people in the United States?” Hermana Maki responded, “I was asking myself the same question.”  In case you are going to serve a mission in Mexico Mérida, you should start practicing to be patient right now. Unfortunately, most people here do not finish school (there’s no law that you have to stay in school), so they’ve never really learned how to learn. Learning is an incredibly slow process. You have to teach in super small increments, and you can’t just tell them something. You have to really get inside their brain and think what you could say that will help them realize you’re teaching something new, and make it as visual possible. You must verify after every idea you teach.

BUT, we get into a lot of houses and teach a lot of people. And nobody throws things at us. I believe every mission has its own difficulties. I think I definitely needed the specific difficulties of the Mexico Merida mission. :)

 I LOVED Elder Uchtdorf's umbrella analogy. I use it a lot in street contacting to explain why people should go to church, not work on Sundays, quit drinking, etc. MAN I LOVE APOSTLES AND PROPHETS. And I am SO excited to go to the temple. You know what I realized when I was there, is that I still am not comfortable there. I mean, I have more doubts and questions than I have assurances and answers. I want to go often enough that I feel at home there. Maybe I can be a worker when I get home.

We helped a mototaxista (motorcycle taxi) push his moto to get it started today. Yah, sista powah!

Much love,
Hna Ludlam