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

Monday, April 20, 2015

Returning with Honor

Oh, so close!  Luci is waiting...
Here she comes!
Sister Ludlam returned home with honor.  She completed her mission to Mérida, México, arriving home in New Jersey at 7:42 pm on Thursday, April 16, 2015. We captured the moment the best we could on cell phone cameras. She radiated a beautiful glow -- and it wasn't just her south-of-the-border tan!  Lots of tears and lots of hugs....

Within an hour of her arrival, our stake president, Bruce Jones, released Sister Ludlam from her calling as a full-time missionary.  She took off her name tag and became Lia once again.  We are so proud of her!

Crossing the Línea de Meta (Finish Line)
What a wonderful weekend we have had together as a family.  These are days never to be forgotten.  So wonderful to hear her report to the High Council, come to church with us, catch up on 18 months of life, Skype with Grant-- sharing all the sweet things that bring us joy.  We hope you enjoy some of her homecoming moments in pictures.

We love you, Lia!  We are excited to see you move on to your next big adventure!
Welcome Home, Lia!

Mama Love
Papa Love
¡Bienvenida a Casa, Hermosa Lia!

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation.  --Isaiah 52:7
Days Never to be Forgotten!
Hurrah for Israel!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Yucatecan Phrases

Yucatecan phrases for future yucatecan missionaries. What makes them Yucatecan is the pronunciation. :)

´'Está bueno.' (Sounds good.)
'Así de cosas, misioneras.' (When they don't know what to say.)
'Así es.' (Yes; that's how it is.)
'Y me duele.' (When relating physical maladies).
'Lo que pasa es... que...' (The thing is...)
'¿No tienen frío?' (In 40-50 degree weather)
'...uh-hah...' (Frequent interjection)
'Otro dia.' (No.)
'Y me quedan duro, duro duro.' (Adjectives repeated three times.)
'Hasta oooOOoooh muy lejos' (Very far away-- expressed with a wave of the hand)
'Hace oooOOoooh mucho tiempo' (A long time ago-- also with a wave)
'Hay más, ¿eh? Con confianza.' (When putting down your plate for you)
'Soy catolico a mi manera.' (The prominent religion)
'Uait.' (Phew! Ugh. Wow.) 
'pam' (pan-- all words ending in 'n' are said with 'm'.)
'¿Como va a_hacer? (Really? When someone says something surprising or dumb)
'Como les vuelvo a repitir...' (for the fifth time)
'Les voy a decir una cosa' (To introduce a new idea)
'¡Ahí voy!' (I'm coming!)
'Ahí viene.' (Here she comes.)
'Ahí te hablan.' (There's someone at the door for you.)
'Este...' (Um... )
'Todavía.' (It's still that way.) (Not yet.)
'...que no sé que...' (interjection when quoting someone)
'Ouch.' (When something is dropped.)
'Lo busqué!' (I found it!)

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Final Word!

Oh, Family.

Sisters at the ward Easter Party
I have un monton de cosas que decirles (a lot of things to tell you).

Elí se bautizó. Fue glorioso. He is so feliz. (Eli was baptized.  It was glorious.  He is so happy). Everything went perfectly. He’s a theologist, so I think he’s going to be the missionary’s favorite member to bring to appointments because he relates to everyone. 
And guess who baptized him... Hermano Dionisio!  And his wife came to the baptism. :)
Heavenly Father does really nice things for me. Eli would have been baptized anyway, but Heavenly Father let me be part of it.

I had pictures! But Hermana Chamorro will have to send them to me again next week, her camera died.

I am going to miss Hermana Chamorro-- I think the most important thing she taught me was how observant she was if the Spirit was or was not present in a lesson we taught or what we said. We were constantly commentating and evaluating how much the Spirit was felt. It made a difference; almost every lesson was a cool lesson. I want to be that sensitive for the rest of my life.

I wanted to make a list of things I wish I had known at the beginning of my mission, for future missionaries.

  1. The main goal when talking with people is to say what is needed -- to get people to feel the Spirit. That’s all.
  2. Your whole job is to change culture (“traditions” as it says in the Book of Mormon). 
  3. Start with the members. I spent a whole lot of time finding people through my own means, but that wastes a lot of time. I wish I had started working from the beginning to convert members. Converted members should be the primary source of investigators.
  4. If you read something in Preach My Gospel that you aren't doing, start doing it. In fact, that’s how you should read PMG, looking for the things you aren't doing. Teach Preach My Gospel to the members.
  5. There is ALWAYS something you can do better. If something didn't go well, think about how you could have planned it better.
  6. Don’t be surprised when you start seeing Satan’s influence in everything, in everybody--  it’s kind of a shock, but you get used to it. 
  7. Fight the tendency to put up walls. I am an idea-killer, but it's good to let ideas develop a little before shooting them down. Think about why things will work, and not just why they won't work.
  8. If you have an idea of how to change something or a new thing to try, do it immediately! If you wait, it won’t happen. 
  9. I walked past a lot of people thinking that I didn’t have time to talk to them because we had to get to lessons, until I started keeping stats.  Even though it is contrary to reason, the MORE people you talk to in the streets, the more lessons you will have. 
  10. Teach short lessons. 
Peek-a-boo! I'm coming to see you!
Family, I love you. That is my favorite thing about the gospel, is how it makes families happy. That’s what makes people the most happy, is having a happy family. 

Til we meet....!!!!!! I will be WITH you!
Much love,
Hermana Ludlam

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Sweetest Miracle of My Whole Mission

I received the sweetest miracle of my whole mission this week.

Last month, we were teaching a golden investigator named Eli who went to church every week by himself and had read up to Alma in the first week, who came to the lessons with good questions and was happy with our answers. I loved him a lot.

And then, one day, he disappeared. Wouldn't answer the phone, wasn't at home, nothing, nothing, nothing. We called him two or three times a week for several weeks, but nothing. Our other investigators hadn't worked out and it seemed like my dream of having one more baptism before I finished my mission was not likely to happen.

Then, on Friday, me and Hermana Chamorro had an extra hour after a meeting with the bishop and the name of a future investigator comes into my head. We started walking there and for some reason we turned on Eli's street and when we passed his house, it still looked empty, but the lights are on. Hermana Chamorro said, "We should knock on his door." So we did. And lo and behold, ELI answered the door, now without his mustache.

I won't go into detail for his confidentiality, but he had been warned by the police to not answer any telephone calls for the past two weeks, and had left for Chiapas. He had just come home and was still waiting for important results from the police. He was a nervous wreck.

We showed him the "Gracias a Que El Vive" video and read Alma 31 (which happened to be the next chapter he was about to read) and we asked the Hermano that was with us to call one of the high priests to give him a priesthood blessing. He still didn't feel very good and didn't want to come to General Conference because the Police were supposed to come the next day. But Hermana Chammoro said. "This is how you can show your faith to Heavenly Father," and he said, "Tiene razon." (You're right.)

The next day we fasted for him. Guess who came to all 5 sessions of General Conference?! Sunday morning, he called to tell us that the police had resolved everything and confirmed that the crisis was over and everything was okay. He was so happy. We set a baptismal date over the phone.

I just couldn't help feeling that Heavenly Father was not only  blessing Eli, but that he would also do something so sweet for me. I would have been okay if there weren't any more baptisms before I went home, but when He answered my secret, silent prayers and fasts in such a miraculous way, I felt His love for me in a sweeter way than I ever had before.

If you could all pray that he can be baptized this Saturday, that would be great.

I feel like now, almost at the end of my mission, I'm finally living what Elder Holland was talking about with the phrase, "living in the realm of miracles."  Hermana Chamorro helped me to live it. I have learned from her to pray for everything-- and Heavenly Father gives us everything! We work from one minute-miracle to the next, our success completely dependent upon Him answering our prayers. We pray to know where to go. We pray that the other person will know what to say. We pray that the person we're talking to will understand, that they'll feel it's true, that they'll change in heart, that they'll think of a reference (someone else who would like to hear our message), that the Spirit will be stronger. And it happens.

I have also realized that the mission should be a harvest, that the field should already be white-- the majority of the planting and nurturing should be done by the MEMBERS so that the missionaries, who don't have time to sit and grow people like the members do, can come and CHOP CHOP CHOP--teach and baptize, teach and baptize. Members should be the primary finders, and the primary preparers. THEY are the angels talked about in Alma 13:24 that are preparing the hearts of the people to receive the message.

It's going to take a big culture change for members to realize that they need to be constantly meeting new people, constantly assessing needs and teaching their neighbors and friends, preparing the hard-hearted people to be soft enough to hear the missionaries.

You guys, I want to be the best member missionary ever.

Last realization-- I was hoping at the beginning of my mission that the mission would be hard enough that it would push me to the break point and I would have a big Atonement-using experience and feel like I could finally say I had felt the Atonement in my life. In my mission, I have felt a couple of those moments, but more than anything, the Atonement is what I use in little bitty ways, all the time, in little experiences all day. It is much more of a day-to-day tool than a crisis tool.

I was hoping to make a list of Yucatecan-isms, but I'll have to do it in my next letter.

I love you all muchisimo.
Hermana Ludlam

Monday, March 30, 2015

We lighten the loads of others best when...(video)

Familia Mia,

I liked the General Women's Meeting. I listened for the first time in Spanish and it makes me grateful I speak English, but when I listened in Spanish, the things that I teach about during the day stood out more to me because it's the same vocabulary. 
I LOVED Elder Eyring's message at the meeting (watch here). We teach people every day the scripture in Matthew 11:28-30 about how making covenants (or yoking ourselves to Christ) alleviates burdens. But Elder Eyring helped me see for the first time that we also make a covenant to DO what Christ does. 

Our baptismal obligations-- lighten burdens, mourn with those that mourn, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort (Mosiah 18:8-10)-- are CHRIST'S roles. Is this the same idea as becoming "Saviors on Mount Zion?" That as we take upon us the name of Christ, we take on His roles, too? Obviously we do them in a lesser degree, but we try to help Him do His work. I realized my job as a representative of Christ (always) is not just to renounce sin, but to comfort and strengthen as He would, too.

Our ward culture is changing. It makes me very hopeful. We had an awesome meeting with the Bishop when we ate with him yesterday.

Much love,
Hermana Ludlam
pictures below
Hermana Margarita, my hero, showing a display of her recycled projects in a Relief Society (church women's organization) activity.

Hermano Arturo cut his hair and came to church!!!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

New Companion Time! Hna. Chamorro~

Hullo, Family.

¡Nueva compañera!  My new companion is Hermana Chamorro, a Colombiana, but she's been living in Spain. She was a certified English teacher and so we talk a lot in English to help her practice. It's a good thing, because I need to practice. I love listening to her talk because she studied different accents and so her English is a mix of Australian, French and African. We work a lot on standardizing her accent. She is a convert of 3 years and the only member is her family. And she works. I LOVE having a companion who talks to people before I do!

Unfortunately, neither of us have cameras today so I won't be able to show you how lovely she is, but we will send pictures next week

I wish I had known before my mission that it's a lot harder to help people feel the Spirit if you are testifying of something you don't have a personal experience with. It makes such a difference to be able to teach someone a commandment or a principle and testify of it as I'm thinking of how it's affected me in my own life. It's a very different feeling.  I wish I had been storing up experiences with each of the principles I am teaching-- to be looking for experiences of spiritual confirmation. 

It would be a good idea to go through each invitation in Preach My Gospel and ask yourself: Have I deliberately done that? Do I know why it's important to do that? How does doing that contribute to my personal conversion?

Que tengan buena semana! (Have a great week!)
Hermana Ludlam

Monday, March 16, 2015

Picture Bonanza!

Hola Familia,

I don't have time to write a good letter, but I will next week!

This week was miraculous because TWENTY-ONE less-actives and FIVE investigators came to church for the ward conference, which was one of the best sacrament meetings I've been in. They decorated the chapel beautifully with floral arrangements and the ward choir had been practicing for weeks. Hermana Mildred made all the women matching scarves. I played the violin. The stake president, who is a professional counselor, gave a FANTASIC talk on family life.
It will be a moment in my memory forever...
And Hermano Arturo cut his hair and came to church.
A miracle months in the waiting.
The ward was pleased with us. :)

Hermana Ludlam
Lots of pictures (6)
 The Hermanas misioneras with Hermana Carolina in her ward choir uniform.

For Hermana Oaxaca's brithday, we celebrated at Los Trompos!

I think this is a Guavanava.

This is from the Molina's house in a down pour.

Playing with Hermana Wilson for Ward Conference

Manuel Perrera and Lia performing for Ward Conference

Monday, March 9, 2015

Christmas in March, Parenting and Family History!

Thank you, Familia, por el paquete increible (for the incredible package)! I was in awe of the craftsmanship and creativity. When I opened it, I was filled with a surge of warm homey-ness. It was perfect. I think I am going to keep the box. Jenna, your picture made me laugh and laugh. Your drawing is excellent.

Happy Birthday to Hermana Oaxaca!
​Picture to the left: L to R: Hermana Wilson, Hermana, Castro, Hermana Oaxaca, and Lia) in the home of the Familia Mull. The Pastel (cake) was made by Hermana Mildred.

Social and Doctrinal Commentaries on Parenting  
by the Non-Parent
Hermana Ludlam

There is a lot of "hands-off" parenting here, and I've been thinking a lot of how so many people say "It's not fair that I tell my child what to think or what to believe, I let them make their own choices."

That would work very well if living life was a neutral situation. BUT IT'S NOT. There's an opposing team, too, and that team is NOT passive at all. The adversary is CONSTANTLY bombarding people with what to think and what to believe. If you don't teach your children absolute principles, you're not liberating them, you're leaving them defenseless. They're going to be indoctrinated regardless-- but you can beat the adversary to it if you indoctrinate in childhood with TRUTH!

Of course, you would have to know for yourself what that truth is-- you can't know the best things to teach your children if you've never investigated what really is the best. Good thing Truth is discernible. Good thing God knows what Truth is.

​ If you don't know what religion, what morals, or what ideals to teach to your children, do a study (I would suggest visiting with your local missionaries) and then ask God if He agrees with you and then teach it to your kids even though they aren't going to like it. That is Love!

I was reading an awesome article in this month's Liahona (church magazine in South America, etc) about agency and what the plan of Satan really is. I had always wondered where it says in scripture that Satan's plan was to force us to be saved. It doesn't!  It said he would have "destroyed the agency of man." Thus Satan's plan was not an alternative option for obtaining salvation, by force instead of by choice. It was a LIE-- His plan never would have worked! In the article it talked how his plan was probably to award salvation regardless of merit, or to remove the absolute consequences of sin. And like Elder Christofferson said in April 2014 Conference (read or watch here), taking away absolute truth would destroy agency, because we could never intend the future consequences of our actions.

I really liked the visual design of the Liahona this month, too, kudos to the design people. (See here)

I have a family history story. Hermana Oaxaca and I were on a bus, and the last person got off and so it was just us and the driver. So I moved up to the seat behind the driver and started talking to him, and steered the conversation towards family history. He got really into it. I pulled out my personal "Mi Familia" folleto (booklet) just to flip through the pages for him, but he takes it and then STOPS THE BUS in the middle of the highway u-turn, blocking the entrance, for a good five minutes and reads through it ALL, asking me questions. (He looked at the picture of Mum and said, "She is very beautiful."). Datos conseguidos, jiji. (they are going to go visit this gentleman)

Sincerely in love with Family History (and my living Family, too),
Hermana Ludlam

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Life Lessons from Mérida

A conference in Brisas.  Hermanas Castro, Wilson, Lia, Oaxaca

Hola Familia,

We received cambios (transfers) last night and... Hna Oaxaca and I are staying together! Mi hija me va a matar. (I will be ending my mission with the companion I am currently training or in mission speak, My daughter is going to kill me.) I'm happy.

Things I've developed on my mission that weren't there before the mission:

  • When I have a question or don't know what to do, my first thought is: "Prayer."
  • I recognize answers to prayers and they are usually answered very quickly. 
  • I "got" the importance of covenants and realized how essential they are and what they are in general and how much I could be drawing from them that I wasn't. 
  • I am slower to nag. I still have the urge to do it, but I wait longer before interfering so people can fix their problems by themselves or let error be it's own teacher instead of me. I am better at judging at when my interference really is necessary. I'm less controlling.
  • I've learned how to make concrete plans to make things happen. 
  • I'm good at identifying specific traits I want to improve and... improve them.
  • I learned how to think out loud. I'm less of a 'watch-everything-and-analyze-it-all-in-my-head'-type now. Instead I analyze things by talking with someone else, and it usually means I make better conclusions.
  • I'm able to recognize when I'm stressed and do things to de-stress.
  • How to remove myself from temptation instead of trying to resist it.
  • I am now uncomfortable in a state of unhappiness. I think I used to like to wallow in it a little, but now I quickly look for a way to get out of it as quickly as possible (usually with prayer) and spend very little time being unhappy.
  • I think the most important thing that I learned was grasping the idea of the "Obra de Salvacion." (Work of Salvation)  I realized that basically, our whole job here on earth is to walk the specific path of covenants and ordinances that lead to eternal life, and then bring as many other hijos de Dios (children of God) as you can with you. Life in it's entirety gets put in perspective-- you realize why everything happens and how much everything else is really a distraction. I also realized that walking that path--- which includes keeping the commandments, making friendships, learning TRUTH, forming families, LOVING people-- is really the happiest way to live and the best investment for future eternal happiness. I don't want to work in any other Obra! (Can somebody sign me up to be a temple worker, a visiting teacher, and to accompany the missionaries?)
​I have wanted to take this picture... all my life...
(Lia is holding elote, or corn on the cob.  Not sure about the stuff on it.)

Love love love you all,
Hermana Ludlam

Hermana Wilson teaching youth to shoot baskets.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

How to Make a Plan!


Les amo mucho. I liked your Chinese New Year celebration. 


​Photo to the right: Some weirdo misioneros eating cake on Valentine´s day. (Casa de la familia Molina) 

The bishop gave the entire Sunday sacrament meeting to las misioneras! We made a visual  representation (corn flakes boxes, highlighters and duct tape) of the Mexico Plan de Area 2015 from the Mexican General Authorities. It's a little bit ideologically complicated and so we gradually went unfolding it while we explained it. The reason we asked the bishop for the chance to speak is because we had talked about the plan with almost every member in the ward and challenged them to make their own PLAN of how they were going to increase their faith and what they had to change in their life to bring the vision to fruition.
But I was astounded of how NO ONE was able to make a PLAN. Not a single person in the ward, leaders included, could identify a concrete thing they had to change in their life and think of ideas of how they were going to change it.

I didn't realize how much my life project of becoming like Christ has developed itself during my mission. It's so easy to be a member of the church without realizing our (urgent) need to be CONSCIENTIOUSLY becoming like Christ (i.e. with specific goals and plans.) I think it was a new idea for some people. So during the sacrament meeting we got into the "nitty-gritty." Goodness knows, I personally have LOTS of things I want to change, and so I shared some examples of my personal goals and their plans.

Part of the outline of my talk:

How to Make a Plan

1.  Identify the problem (50 percent of the work.)
- Look at the list of things to do on the visual (Fast faithfully and give generous offerings, tithe honestly, help one person a day receive the teachings and ordinances of the gospel, be self-sufficient in finding your own family names and bringing them to the temple, daily study of the Book of Mormon, and possessing all the Christ-like attributes found in Preach my Gospel.) Are you DOING those things? If not, you have identified your problem! A problem is a commandment you are not doing or can't do.

2.  Make a goal to fix the problem.

3. Think of things you CAN do to reach the goal (note: if your problem is, for example, that you yell at your spouse, the plan to "stop yelling at my spouse" is not a plan. That is the goal, the thing you currently can't do. You have to think of things you CAN do to reach the goal.)

4. Write your goal and plan, report it to someone else, and create a way to measure your progress.

Example from the Life of Hermana Ludlam

1. On filling out the "Christ-like Attribute Activity" (found here),  I noticed I was lacking in the attributes of VIRTUE and DILIGENCE, because I noticed my thoughts often strayed from missionary work during the day.

2.  That problem was not specific enough to make a plan, so identified a more exact problem and put a goal: "Find good things to occupy my thoughts while I am walking in the street."

3.  My plan: 
a) More completely dedicate myself to learning the scripture masteries during the day. I wrote the scriptures in my agenda. If I am outside walking, I should have the scripture open in front of me.
b) Talk about specific investigators and their needs OR practice teaching with my companion while we are walking together.
c) Pray multiple times a day to avoid temptation.

4. I reported my plan to President in my weekly letter, and also asked my companion to help me with my plan (remind me to work on scriptures, practice with me, etc.). I wrote out my goal and plan in my notebook, and then made a little chart of all the scriptures so I can color them in when I learn them. We're also using a daily chart of the Christ-like attributes where each day I record on a frequency scale how often my thoughts were centered and how often I prayed to avoid temptation.

You know what, my plan worked. AND, in my quest to develop Christ-like attributes, my faith in Christ strengthened. One of the best ways to gain faith in the atonement is by USING it to become more like Christ (i.e. picking a trait and specifically asking for the help to change it.) I realized: Hey! Christ really does help me change! And THEN, I was even more excited to help someone else make those changes and went out to work pumped to share the gospel.
​Las Cinco Ludlamitas (all the sisters Lia has trained)

They called me and told me I have a package in the offices!

I love you family.

Eating crema de coco en la casa de la Hna Margarita. Hermana Castro (hija de Hermana Wilson) likes to take secret candid shots, especially of people eating.) I thought I'd send it because it's an interesting combination of Grant, Mom and Dad.  
​Moving day. I am busy. (Hermana Norma, Hermana Wilson, Hermano Sergio, Lia).

Panuchos are my favorite Yucatecan food. While the tortilla is cooking, they slit in open and fill it with refried beans and fry it. Then they put lettuce, onions, meat or hard-boiled eggs, and tomato-chile sauce on top.
 It is a multi-napkin food.

TWO INVESTIGATORS CAME TO CHURCH ON SUNDAY. One of them we weren't even expecting, but has read through a quarter of the Book of Mormon and accepted a baptismal date afterward. 

Hermana Ludlam

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A little extra gumption from Lia

 Lia sent two more pictures:

The Castro Familia, of whom we are quite fond-- L to R: Hermano Arturo, Hermana Wilson, Hermana Oaxaca, Lia, Hermana Dulce, y Hermana Castro. The son and daughter-in-law also live here (she is from Argentina!) but didn't make the foto.

(Right) Team Chucho. We had an AWESOME ward activity with volleyball, real-world music (I just about died) and commentary from Hermano Poot and Hermano Marquez. Mormons are so cool. The only thing was that nobody invited any non-members to the missionary activity. But that's okay; we're working on it. (L to R: Hermano Jesus (Chucho), Anaí (bishop's daughter), Abraham, Hermano Daniel (super lider misional), Hermana Wilson, and Lia.

Dear members,
Ward activities are for the purpose of inviting new people. We have them so we have an excuse to talk to new people. Please use them.

Much love and gumption,
Hermana Ludlam

Monday, February 16, 2015

I like being a missionary...and SuperTortas

Hola Familia,

I like being a missionary.

Dionisio and his family printed out 11 names for the temple yesterday. :-)

We were teaching a reference we received from the Bishop's wife. This new hermana had a lot of concerns about raising her family and said something I really liked. She said, "Everybody asks 'What kind of a world are we leaving to our children? but I think we should ask 'What kind of children are we leaving to the world'?" Amen. (See also: "Parents: The Prime Gospel Teachers" by Tad R. Callister, General Conference, October 2014)

This is the Familia Gutierrez from Terranova, the family that lived in front of us. They were just cool parents. They instilled artistic creativity in their kids. :) (El Hermano is a professional musician)-- Carlos, Monse, Laura, Brenda, ?, Alom, Khallel (he is a cousin), Lia, Hermana Oaxaca.

SuperTortas with Hermana Oaxaca! I ate all that and was still hungry. 

You can't see it in the picture, but Hermana Oaxaca fell out of her hamaca (hammock) and hurt her shoulder and has had a sling for three weeks. She is a fighter. Si nada mas (if nothing else), it is a good conversation starter!
Hermana Oaxaca is a conversation starter. :-)

I will probably write on Tuesday next week for temple trip number two!  I FOUND A FAMILY NAME! 

We had some real life-changing lessons with menos-activos this week. None of them came to church, but the seeds of faith are growing.

More fotos en un minuto.
Hna Ludlam
Lia's teaching aid for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Missions are So Good For You!

Hermana Castro (hija de Hna Wilson), Hermana Wilson, Lia, Hermana Oaxaca.

Hola Familia,
Thank you to the Wonderful Young Women! My package was so perfect and I loved your cards. I’m excited to meet the new people when I get back. You are a bunch of thoughtful people.

Even though we haven’t had a very “successful” week in terms of numbers, I don’t feel discouraged, which is a hundred percent a gift of the Spirit.
I’ve also realized that I’ve been given a lot more patience with people than I’ve had before. Sometimes, Heavenly Father gives me little moments when He takes away the sustaining influence of the Spirit just to remind me how I am without Him. MISSIONS ARE SO GOOD FOR YOU.
We’ve started teaching our less-actives like we would teach investigators-- frequent visits, follow-ups, text messages, assigning hermanadores... it’s slow progress but it’s good. We feel good. We walk out of our lessons feeling like we are doing our job.
By the way, the camera 100% bit the dust. I don’t know if you want me to try to bring it home, but I can’t even get the lens to retract.

​We finally made it to the temple! It was glorious.

Fotos next week! I have lots.

Hermana Ludlam

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A Wedding, a Baptism, and Family History

Dear Family,

Family History is amazing. Dad sent me the stories of my great-grandparents on the Ludlam side (who I did not know at ALL) and I am just kind of in love with people, even normal people and imperfect people. Being a human being is so great, and I just like knowing about other human beings. People's lives are so different. Think of all the different lives that Heavenly Father knows.

Anyway, I realized a lot about where some of my personal traits come from and our family traits-- things really do get passed from generation to generation. Good things and bad things! What we are doing RIGHT NOW in our families is creating "traditions" (Book of Mormon word) for what will get passed to the next generation.

The picture to the right is from the wedding of Monica and Norton from Garcia Gineres (I sent a picture of them before), the SUPER ESCOGIDA familia (very elect family) that couldn't be baptized earlier because of marriage issues. Look how happy they are! Left to Right: Alejandro, Norton, Monica chica, Monica, Hermana Maki, Hermana Thomas, Maria (another convert from Garcia).

After the wedding, they were able to be baptized (below): Hermana Maki, Monica, Norton, and Hermana Thomas. I love these guys a lot. Teaching them was joy!

I like seeing things from Hermana Oaxaca's eyes, which are very different from mine. She talks a lot about her perceptions of what is going on. I like the comment she made this week: "We changed a lot of member's hearts this week. They were hard before, but now they are suavecitos (soft)." The Spirit (usually by way of the scriptures) really does change people's dispositions. The changes are not dramatic, but they are concrete, and I love seeing the little changes the people we work with make every day. 

We have been having very minimal success with finding people by contacting (which is what I have been doing pretty much my whole mission). We felt inspired that instead of keeping with the same routine, we're going to start putting our priority in the recent converts, less actives, and members, and hope that GOOD referrals come from that. We're still contacting, of course.

Love to all,

Hermana Lia

Monday, January 26, 2015

Dry, but Riding the Wave!

Hola Familia,

Lia's new companion, Hermana Oaxaco from Mexico City.
Meet my new companion!  She's pretty funky. We're working together really well. She is making ASTOUNDING progress and is really good at asking inspired questions.

For some reason, every time I train, the first week together is really dry-- searching and searching and contacting and contacting and teaching and teaching but not finding hardly anyone with the potential to progress. To me, it's not such a big deal because I know those things come in waves, but I've been really impressed with the gumption of Hermana Oaxaca to pick herself back up again instead of staying discouraged. 

My camera has problems. It turns on and off and I can look through old pictures but the screen is black and it only takes black pictures. So I have to ask my companions to send me all the fotos we take.

Did you guys make a Christmas card this year?

Mucho amor,
Hna Ludlam

(For those of you who have asked if Lia knew the Elder from Washington that passed away last week-- she was acquainted with him and said it has been a very difficult loss, particularly for their mission leaders. Our thoughts and prayers are with the McBride family.)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Baptism Gifts

Hola Familia Amada,
Lukas, the only likable dog in all of Mexico (Araujo's dog )

I just have time to send mostly fotos this week. We had transfers and...
Hermana Wilson and I are BOTH training!!! AND, they split our ward and we are staying in the same ward. HOORAY! We are all living in the same house until me and my companion can find a new house. It's like a party. Mi hija (her brand  new companion) is Hermana Oaxaca, mi primera bebe Mexicana (my first Mexican baby!). She is from the state of Mexico in Mexico. Pictures next week, sorry. 
Suri A, Hermana Lia, Armando A, Dionisio A, Manuel (baptized them), Nayeli A, Hermana Wilson, Hermano Daniel (mission leader))

There is a book I REALLY want to read when I get back that I found in the house of one of the members (in ENGLISH)-- it's called Sacred Walls (temporarily out of stock) and it's about temple imagery. I opened up to one page and was stunned by the profundity. I wish could have sat there for a long time.... but missionaries are not for sitting on couches and reading.
Beautiful Ashley and her grandmother,  Sandra, returning to activity
Oh! And I bought the hamaqueros, and I bought hamaqueros for the sister in our ward that asked for them. I bought them in the market, so they were cheap. :-)

Wish I had time to write the events of this week, next week should be better.
Hermana Ludlam
(more pictures below!)

The notebooks we made for the Araujo Family and Ashley for their baptism gifts. We also gave them each a scripture marker.

We sleep in our huipiles. Mine is from Hermano Jesus a few months ago, and Hermana Wilson bought hers in Centro last week.
 When we came for our last appointment before the baptism, guess who had already started filling out his Mi Famila booklet and had an entire stack of ancient documents, ID cards, and letters that he was analyzing.
Dionisio, of course!

The Pech Pool Family.  A family that is very dear to my heart-- good, good people. Hermana Wilson, Hermana Lia, Graciella, Hugo, Jose, Adrian, Manuel.