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

Monday, March 31, 2014

Sister Training Leader in Mulsay 2!

Hola Familita,

Pues cambios otra vez (We have transfers again).  I am going to open the new Mulsay 2 area (which is actually right next to Madero) and... serve as Sister Training Leader! My companion is also a Training Leader, Hermana Garcia. She is from la Republica Dominicana and she has got some FUERZA (power, strength). Pictures next week. 
Parque Chino in Mulsay 2

Did you know I have been on my mission for 6 months?! That’s like a third already!

Oh, you guys, I am leaving so many beautiful investigators.  You know, before my mission, I never thought I would have this kind of relationship with the people I taught. I thought I would kind of touch down into their lives for a few months, teach them and take off again but it’s like we’ve forged these eternal bonds of love and then I just LEAVE! It’s probably a good thing, though, because one of the things H' Harper and I have noticed is that when we are too much of friends with our investigators, we worry about telling them what they really need, in fear of hurting their feelings or making them not like us. Or they become more attached to us that to the things we’re teaching them. So it’s probably good, it just hurts.

I’ll get to see everybody from Gineres next week at General Conference, though. :) (The church broadcasts a worldwide conference via satellite)  I AM SO EXCITED FOR PROPHETIC COUNSEL. My favorite part from the women’s conference was “to not only love each other more, but love each other better.” (B.L. Oscarson) That is a good line. I think that’s kind of the whole point of the góspel, really.

Hay que triste (oh so sad)... I have pictures of Maria’s baptism, of eating lunch in a fancy restaurant with Jesús, of lots of people from Garcia Gineres... but there’s something wrong with gmail I think. Next week, I guess.

Man, I wish you guys could have gone with us to the restaurant in Centro with Jesus. He took us out for preparation day and was very much the host (he is probably our classiest investigator. He didn’t even order food so he could talk to us the whole time.) You guys, there was LIVE MUSIC!  This band of 3 guitarists stayed in the corner, and I think I enjoyed the music more than the food! One of the guys was super virtuosic and--Grant you just about would have died!

I got your package that you sent the FOURTEENTH of MARCH! It got here in two weeks! Thank you for telling me about your baptism, Luci. And thanks for sacrificing your conference Ensign, Mum. It will be heavily utilized. Livi, mum sent me the video of you playing bass and I watched it illegally. Bieeeen hecho (well done).

Something I’ve been thinking long and hard about is how we can know what things and what truths we can trust... because I kind of want to know everything. I’m starting to realize that there are an awful lot of explanations for everything and real, pure, solid truth is very rare. Truth IS the Word of God, but sometimes it’s hard to know what really is the Word of God. Man has lots of different interpretations. That’s why it’s so wise of Heavenly Father to tell us that in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall the truth be established-- the search for truth involves an awful lot of cross-referencing and experience-comparing and hard-core praying and seeking for confirmation of the Spirit. And just a lot of patience and faith because I’m never going to understand everything correctly. I can try.

I love you guys. I love your letters, too. They are still as good as the first one six months ago.

Hermana Ludlam

Monday, March 24, 2014

Golden Families Make Me Happy!

Hnas. Harper, Ludlam, Torales, Janco at the temple
Hola Familia,

I don’t know what happened but it’s like every single person we are teaching is de oro (golden)-- practically ALL of our investigators are seriously progressing toward baptism. And there are like 10 of them! And we keep picking up more of them! AND we’re teaching our first-ever COMPLETE FAMILY (which practically do not exist here). Two parents and two kids! 

I love La Familia Lugo Diseño. The first visit, the Mom was telling us about how she reads the Bible and then just casually mentioned how she was applying some of the verses she read this week to her life, and then she showed us the inside cover of their family Bible where the Dad had been keeping notes on his favorite passages and keeping a mini Topical Guide of themes and references.

We met the Dad for the first time last night and he told us, “We have been looking at a LOT of churches as a family looking for something that fills, that satisfies us.” And then we sang “Las Familias Pueden Ser Eternas,” (Families Can Be Together Forever) and he says “Okay, I like this.” And then we started teaching them the first lesson about the nature of God and his plan for us and then about prophets and apostasy and he said, “I didn’t know it was possible to find a church that taught so much of what I already believed.”

AAAHHH… their family is the best. Families make me so happy, guys. 
Christian's baptism.  He is in the green shirt.
I don’t know whether all of this success is because Heavenly Father is making us better missionaries and so we are turning people into more oro-y (golden) investigators, or if Heavenly Father just trusts us and is just placing all these already-prepared people in our path. I’m a pretty happy missionary though.

Ooh! the baptism of Christian! He’s the one in green. There were so many people we could hardly fit in the room. He had THE BEST smile when he came up out of the water and we had three other investigators attending and it was a super great thing for them, too.  I'll have to send the picture in another email because it's not pasting,

Also, we did intercambios (exchanges) and had a little extra time before Christian’s interview, so we took pictures with Hermana Torales y Hermana Janco in front of the temple.

Love you guys,
Hna. Ludlam

Monday, March 17, 2014

Pictures, Baptisms and Pick Pockets

Lia and her mamey fruit. (old apartment)

Hola Familia,

Next week is the baptism of Christian, who’s 10 years old and probably our smartest investigator. The only kids in our primary are girls and they’re all younger than him, but I don’t think he minds it. His mom and her sister are inactive, his dad and step-dad are non-member, and there’s a non-member couple living in the house that work for the mom and it’s amazing to see how much his baptism is changing the dynamics in their house.

Then next week is the baptism of Maria, who is 23. She goes to church every week and then institute three times a week BY HERSELF. You should see her Book of Mormon, I think she’s marked more than I have.

Cleaning the new apartment.
Then the next week is the baptism of Georgina and Julio. We met Georgina on the street and asked her what the name of the fruit was that was growing in her yard. And we gave her a card with the address of the church on it. AND THEN SHE CAME TO CHURCH. She and her husband just GET everything; they are so cool. And I just like teaching young couples. The new mandato (rule) is that all of the investigators go to the Family History course instead of Gospel Principles, so now they all know about the temple and are stoked.

We moved into our new place.  You should have seen the fans before I cleaned them. They were black. The dueño (landlord) is kind of a crook.

Yamili knitted our colorful bags.  We braided each others hair!

Yamili, otra investigadora de oro (another golden investigator), knitted us both bags. The thread is the same stuff they make hammocks out of. Happy Saint Patrick's Day to all!

Somebody stole our phone this week on the street. I’m still not sure how it happened, but we were sitting in front of the chapel making phone calls, and we got up and started walking …60 seconds later I realized I was only holding my agenda and not the little bag that I usually put the agenda in that also holds the phone. So we walk back to the chapel and every couple feet we find the bag, then my pens, then my cards... and no phone. I’m thinking maybe someone pulled the bag off the agenda while I was walking and dumped out things one by one out of the bag?

Anyway, whoever it was ANSWERED THE PHONE when I called them. He was like "Oh, sorry, I’m already in Centenario right now.” And I said: “Hermano, you stole our phone. We’re missionaries. Can you please bring it back?”  “Sorry, I’m too far away (this was like 5 minutes after it was stolen.) I’ll have to come back in two weeks.” And I was like “Hermano! You’re still close! Will you please turn around and come back to the chapel?” And he’s like, “Hay recompensa? (Will there be a reward?)” And I said, “No.” And then he said “Okay then. I have to go.”  He hung up. And then I think he took the chip out.

It was really bizarre. It was like having a normal conversation except with someone that just stole from us 5 minutes beforehand. Oh Mexico.

Adios hermanos,
Hermana Ludlam

Monday, March 10, 2014

White and ready to harvest

Mom's interpretation of the field is white, ready to harvest.
Hola Familia,

The area of Garcia Gineres is very much white and ready to harvest. Every week we keep finding more super-potente people. GAH! They’re so cool. Three more fechas (dates) this week, and I’m really hoping they’re going to split the area because we can hardly teach them all. 

This week I made the realization that even though I am enjoying my mission, I’ve been living it with the mindset of waiting until it’s over, so I can go back-- with the intent of still dedicating my life to serving God, but with being able to sing and dance and listen to music and hug boys -- and all of the things that make my life happy that I can’t do right now. I was thinking of it as fulfilling my duty to God because he asked me to sacrifice and even though I was happy doing it, I couldn’t wait to be even more happy when I got back.

But, I realized that this perspective is a great way to waste a year and a half. Probably when I get back, I am going to think, “Man, more than anything I wish I could go out and preach the gospel and do something so CONCRETE and HELPFUL for people and for God.”

I also realized that I am impatient to get back home and also to go back to my heavenly home with God that I forgot a little how PURPOSEFUL life is, even if you’ve already figured out what’s good (God is good.) Like the Nephites who said, when Christ asked them what they wanted, all they wanted was to quickly go back to live with God. But He made them stick around until they were 72!

So I’m trying to change my mindset and enjoy the great thing that I’m only ABLE to do for a very short period of my life. I still can’t wait to see you guys though. I have lots of airport-reunion envisionings.

Mamey, a fruit with a flavor unlike any other.
Oh, I forgot to tell you guys that I tried mamey and it is fantastic. It’s like the texure of an avocado but it’s a fruit and it’s orange. It’s got just a little bit of sweetness and it just mushes in your mouth. Hermana Harper and I have discovered that the mamey ice cream the heladeros sell on their bikes is even better that the fruit. :)

There are panaderos and heladeros and people who sell fruit (frutaderos?) and they all push their little carts in front of their bikes in the street all day. The heladeros use little bells to let you know they’re coming.

I was really impressed with this guy that lives close to the chapel-- I think he’s homeless because he stays in the same street corner to ask for money every day. But he shakes his money can in rhythms and is an INCREDIBLE whistler and even dances a little bit. It was like actually really good music. AH… I wish I had time to just sit and talk and listen to people!

Mmm, I wish you guys could try fresh mangos here too-- I've given up cutting them and we just peel them and eat them like bananas.

Hey, what do you guys think about family vacation trip to Mexico in December? 

Love you all,
Hermana Ludlam

Monday, March 3, 2014

Very Short, but Sweet

Ah 10 minutes to write!!

Luci, I loved the fotos of your baptism! I hope you realize what a big deal it is to be baptized!  You’ve made a commitment to try to become like Christ for your whole life. And it’s even better because when you keep the commandments and are nice to your family, Heavenly Father will give you instructions on how to have a happy life through the Spirit! You can ask Him about any question or decision and he’ll let you know the right answer through the Holy Ghost. It's the same thing as having Jesus next to you all the time to give you advice and make you feel good.

What did you think about it? How does it feel to have the Holy Ghost? Is it helping you be nicer to people?

Lia in el Parque de las Americas, Gineres
Here is a touristy picture for you all. This is a pool in El Parque de Las Americas en Gineres. It’s a pretty popular site for tourists and it has this really nice peaceful feeling. The pool usually has water squirting out of the jaguar’s mouths but there were people working on it.

Could you guys maybe send me conference ensigns in English? No rush. President told us that modern-day revelation from prophets was even more fuerte (powerful) than the canonical scriptures.

Aw man, I had lots to tell you, how does this always happen? 

I know I type “I love you” all the time, but typing it just doesn’t cut it. I miss you guys a lot. 

You should give the missionaries references.

Hermana Ludlam