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