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

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.