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

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