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

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