Friday, July 31, 2009

3... no, 4 weeks left...

So first things first, we found out on Monday that we didn't have three weeks left, but four. We talked to scheduling to find out about our visitor's center training and found out that it is a week added on to the end, not the last week of the 9. So we should be leaving 4 weeks from yesterday. I don't mind staying here 10 weeks, it's just that one day we had 3 weeks left and the next we had 4, so when we are back down to 3 next week it will be good. I'm really excited about our visitor's center training, especially about the afternoon up in Salt Lake. Plus, this gives us an extra week to work on our Spanish. Hna. Cochran and I are trying to speak only in Spanish for the next 4 weeks, because when we do it improves like crazy. The biggest problem is that I forget to speak Spanish, especially first thing in the morning. Once I get in the habit, though, it will get much easier.

This week has been really awesome, as usual. Yesterday in the TRC (which I think I explained last week...) We taught a catracha, a woman from Honduras. It was so hard! I could barely understand her. She spoke slowly which most Hispanics don't do, but she slurred her words and mumble really quietly. But she was really patient with us and helped us out with words and grammar. It got me really excited to teach more and more Hispanics though. I am so grateful for my specific mission! It really makes the Book of Mormon so much more meaningful when I read it. There are numerous promises that God gave to the Book of Mormon prophets and that the prophets gave to the people about the time when the word of God (the Book of Mormon) would be brought to the descendents of the people in it. Everytime I read one of those promises and prophecies (which is often) I feel so blessed to be a part of the fulfillment of God's word. It really makes my mission a lot more meaningful.

The devotional yesterday was about the Book of Mormon and how essential it is to missionary work. Elder Dellenbach said that the Book of Mormon is the power of conversion, which means as missionaries we carry the power to convert everywhere we go. Isn't that an awesome thought? And even better is that anyone, even if they aren't members, if they have a Book of Mormon with them, they have the power to convert. And then take it one more step, even if you don't carry the physical book, if you have a testimony of the Book of Mormon, and maybe a verse or a principle from it in your heart, then you always carry the power of conversion! And people will begin to see that and want it for themselves. I think from the devotional last week, the speaker said that since we all knew the plan before we came to earth, it is not something entirely new. We also all knew our brother Jesus Christ. When we as members of the church strive to become like Christ, then when people see our works manifesting our testimony of him, it will spark a rememberance in their spirit, and they will want to know why. The Holy Spirit testifies to our spirit, and that is how we gain testimonies. However, most of the world doesn't realize that they have a spirit body and a physical body, so they don't know how to interpret the promptings and feelings that they receive. Lucky for them, that is where missionaries come in! I am so excited to help people relearn what they knew and accepted before coming to this earth. One more thing on the Book of Mormon. In 2 Nephi chapter 29(which is a lot about the Book of Mormon) verse 2 it says that [the Book of Mormon] will hiss forth as a standard to all nations. When you cross reference that to the verse in Isaiah(can't remember exactly but it is in the footnote of 2 Ne 29:2) and then look in the footnote of the verse in Isaiah it defines hiss as a whistle or signal for gathering. Cool, huh? I had always thought that restoration of the priesthood, or the organization of the Church, or the building of the first temples or the visions in the Kirtland temple, or some other thing in early Church history was the signal for the gathering of Israel, but really, the miracle of the translation of the Book of Mormon was the signal, and the minute Joseph Smith was given the plates to start translating, the gathering of Israel in the last dispensation began.

I have really gained a great love of the scriptures in just the short time I have been here, and I could really study them all day. I was really glad to hear that Erin finished the Book of Mormon, and I hope that you followed the promise in Moroni 10:3-5 (especially verse 4). It is not enough that we just read it once, but we need to continue our "daily feasting." The Book of Mormon testifies of Jesus Christ and contains the fulness of His gospel, which is to have faith in Him, repent, be baptized for a remission of sins, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and endure faithfully to the end. If you haven't done so in a while, I encourage you to pick it up and read from it again. And even if you have, we can always learn new principles and gain more blessings from reading it everyday. Especially encourage the youth to continue reading it, because they are vital to this church and their testimonies will bless so many people. I know an elder here who still hasn't finished reading the Book of Mormon for the first time, so especially you young men, it will be such a great blessing to you if you gain a testimony of it now while you are young! I love you all and am so grateful for your examples to me!

De Provo con amor!
Hermana Ladd

Sunday, July 26, 2009

5 weeks down!!

We've been here longer than we have left, and it is hard to believe. There is still so much to learn! Yesterday morning 2 of the sisters in the oldest district left, and this morning their companion left, so I am really tired from all these early mornings, helping them take their stuff to the shuttle at 5 in the morning! Another district leaves next week and then we will be the oldest district in the zone. In fact, we should be getting our travel plans soon! I can't wait to get to Mesa and start teaching. Since we are going to the visitors' center, our last week here is spent in VC classes, practicing the tours and all of that. Aaaannnd... We get to go up to temple square! On the Saturday of our VC training we go up to temple square and get put with a sister up there and start teaching and contacting people! I get to be a Temple Square sister for a day! I am really excited; I know that it is going to be a great experience.

Hna. Cochran and I are going to try and speak mostly in Spanish from now on, since the sisters we were really close to have left. Speaking of Spanish, we taught in the TRC in Spanish for the first time yesterday. We go to the TRC once a week and teach a full lesson to an "investigator" that volunteers here. We have to answer their questions, extend commitments, etc. The first 4 weeks were in English, but from here on out it is in Spanish. Yesterday, we taught the older sister that left this morning, because there weren't enough volunteers for all 4 companionships in my district to teach. I think it went really well, but I need to learn how to talk less and let my companion talk more. When we have VC training we will be doing the same thing, but with the VC tours. Supposedly there is a secret room in one of the buildings that you can only go to with someone in the VC class at the time, and it has pictures of exhibits for us to practice giving tours with (we met some of the sisters that left for Temple Square today and they told us about it). I can't wait! With the 3 sisters leaving this past weekend, it has been really exciting to think that soon that will be me. Soon I'll be on a plane, heading down to Arizona! Oh, something just popped into my head that I can' remember if I've ever mentioned. My companion is from American Fork and her dad has been a Branch President here at the MTC for a few years, so we see her parents at least 2 times a week, Sundays and Tuesdays. We eat lunch with them on Sundays and sometimes some of Hna. Cochran's other family members come with her parents. Her mother is really sweet and really tries to make it feel like it is my family coming to visit too, which is really kind of her.

This past Sunday was probably the best Sunday I've had in the MTC so far, which really is saying a lot. Sister Madsen (wife of the late Truman G. Madsen) was the speaker for Relief Society. She spoke about prayer and it was really beautiful. Then the Administrative Director of the MTC (the one over all of the learning, housing, teaching, eating, almost everything except ecclesiastical things) spoke to us. The topic: prayer. We had even talked about prayer in class last week, so it really was an apparent theme. I learned a lot, and I can think of only a few times previously in my life during which my prayers were as meaningful as they are every day here. I am learning a lot about not only accepting Heavenly Father's will for me, but learning what it is in the first place. I think that if we are listening and worthy, the Spirit is a lot more straight foward than we often might think. On Sunday nights they show movies such as the Testaments, the Restoration, and Legacy, etc, and also recordings of talks and lessons from general authorities. My favorite are the ones by Elder Holland. He has a great love for missionary work, and shows that really powerfully. On Sunday night we went to a recording of a devotional he gave here called "A Mission is Forever." It was really powerful, even though he had everyone laughing most of the way through it. I want to always remember my mission as fondly as he does. He says that there might be one day, somewhere since his mission, where he didn't think of it, but if there was he has no idea when. I hope it is the same for me. He also said that if we come back to "real life" normal, then we didn't get it, because the mission is real life and should change us forever. So everybody, I'll definitely be coming home as a weird returned sister, and I wouldn't have it any other way!

That is about all that I have time for today. I know that this gospel is true and that what I am doing right now is exactly what the Lord would have me do. I encourage everyone to really study prayer and learn to pray with the Spirit, it makes a remarkable difference. One thing that was said on Sunday is that an underlying theme of the Book of Mormon is prayer. Read it and study it, because it contains the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and testifies of him on every page! I love you all and you are in my prayers. Please keep me and everyone else involved in this great work of the Lord (and that should include all of you too!) in your prayers as well!

De Provo Con Amor,
Hermana Ladd

Monday, July 20, 2009


So this week was about the same as last week, nothing new or exciting. As I think
I mentioned last time, we didn't get roommates last preparation day, and
we haven't gotten any today, so that's at least two weeks with a room for just
me and my companion. Our district is still the best one in the MTC! The elders
just have a little bit of a problem focusing sometimes... But I love it none the
less. There is a district from our zone leaving next week. There are 3 sisters
in it that we have become good friends with. It is kind of intimidating to
realize that in just 5 weeks that is going to be us. They had been here 4 weeks
when we came in, and we have been here 4 weeks now. There is still so much that
we need to learn!

In class the other day, our teacher said something that really put it into
perspective. He was talking about how we often feel
overwhelmed at all we have to get done here. However, we have one purpose, and
that is to "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the
restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonment, repentance,
baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." We
talked about how if something doesn't work towards that purpose, then it doesn't
matter. For example, I wasn't called to learn Spanish, I was called to invite
others to come unto Christ in Spanish. I don't know if this makes sense, but for
me and the other missionaries in the district, it was actually a big relief. I
no longer feel like some of our time spent here is a waste. It is only a waste
if I let it be by not using this time the Lord has given me to bless others,
even if those others are other missionaries, teachers, or even any of you
reading this email. I can't wait until I get out into the field and can begin to
share some of the stories of faith that I learn from the people I will get to
teach. Whatever time here is not spent realizing how much there still is to
learn is spent being humbled at this opportunity. I can honestly say that since
I have gotten here, not a single day has gone by without me thinking "I can't
believe I almost missed out on this." If it had been up to me, I might not have
thought about coming on a mission, and if I hadn't thought about coming on a
mission I most certainly wouldn't have come. But luckily this work is up to the
Lord, and though I may never know why, He called me to be one of His
missionaries. What a miraculous and merciful blessing! I grow to love this
gospel more and more each day as I teach it more and more. I am constantly
sharing my testimony, just by being here, and so it is constantly growing. But
the best part of all is that I don't have to do it at all. The book we use to
teach is called "Preach my Gospel" and the title comes from a verse in the
Doctrine and Covenants. Verse 50:14 says "preach my gospel by the Spirit..."
That is the real goal. I will do no teaching on my mission, only preaching and
testifying. The Spirit will do all the teaching, which is such a great comfort
to me, because as is reinforced to me everyday, the Spirit is a much greater
teacher than I could ever be.

In devotional last night, the Ogden temple president was the speaker, and he
said that we are sharing the gospel with the
children of God, so that they can enter the temple one day, which is the way to
eternal life. I agree 100%. It is a such a blessing that we get to go to the
temple each week. Everyone of you that can go, should, and everyone that can't
for some reason or another should work so that when the opportunity is presented
to them, they can go. It is one of the greatest blessings on this earth, and it
is central to the true gospel of Jesus Christ. One last thing - as I mentioned
earlier, my district has been working to have a central purpose to all of our
goals and actions. This applies when you aren't a missionary either! I encourage
you all to find the focus and purpose of your life, the one that God has
prepared for you, and make that the center of your life, goals and actions. I
have a feeling it will make things a whole lot clearer!

De Provo Con Amor,
Hermana Ladd

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Start of Week 4

Hey everyone! So I didn't write this out ahead of time like I last week so it might be a little short, so that I have time to read the emails I got. This week has been - about the same as last week. The temple opened up again so we got to go this morning which was awesome. We taught the second lesson for the first time yesterday. We are improving in our teaching but definitely have a long way to go. We went to a lesson planning workshop today which i think will help us a ton. This is going to be way scattered, just whatever comes to my mind. We have gym and laundry time with the hungary bound elders which is fun.

The Spanish is going really well, I especially like helping some of the other missionaries and watching them finally understand a concept they have been struggling with. Our roommates, who came in with us 3 weeks ago, left on Monday and Tuesday. They are out teaching now! That will be me in another 7 weeks... And we didn't get any new roommates today so we have a room to ourselves for at least a week. Time is a weird concept here, it goes by fast but each day lasts for what seems like forever. In 2 weeks the 3 sisters who were here when we got here will leave, and then we will be the viejas! For the fourth of July we got to stay up late and watch the fireworks from Stadium of Fire. All I can say about that is that the trees looked nice and that hour less of sleep kills here! It's true that they say you spend the next 18 months exhausted all the time!

Anyway, that is unfortunately all I have time for today! Just a reminder: Please please please include your mailing address if you email me, so that I can send you a letter. I can only email family. Love y'all!

Hermana Ladd

Friday, July 3, 2009

Week 2 MTC


I think I forgot to mention this last week, but the Mission Presidents were all here for their training, which means the MTC was flooded with General Authorities. We had out first devotional on Friday so that the MPs could be there (it is usually on Tuesdays) Elder Holland was the speaker and Elders Perry, Oakes, Bednar, Cristofferson, Anderson, and Cook were on the stand with him. On Sunday all of the 15 living apostles except Packard were at sacrament with the MPs, unfortunately though, we weren't there. But Elder Nelsons wife was the speaker in Relief Society.

I heard someone complain that the GAs don't come visit the missionaries enough, and that they don't seem to love us enough. All I could think after hearing that was "Are you kidding me?" They have a Church to run and they love and trust us so much that they have left a third of the mission of the church in our hands, "spreading the gospel." In the beginning of the Church, and even in the time of Christ, it was the leaders of the church who played the most important roles in missionary work. What a priveledge it is to be trusted with this great work!

This week has flown by so fast, it is hard to realize we have been here for only 2 weeks! And Sister Cochran and I are still unsure as to whether we have 7 or 8 weeks left. I wonder if they will fly by too. We go to bed exhausted every night and wake up at quarter to 6 every morning to go to the gym. They have it open from 6 to 6.30 just for the sisters.

I think i said last week, but i love my district. It is not surprising that my favorite elder is so much like Jacob! It is creepy how alike they are. His first name is even Jacob also! Just Monday I was holding a bag of chips by my stomach and when Elder Yates reached for one I flinched in the same reaction I have to Jacob's stomach pokes. When I explained to him why I reacted that way he said "tha's weird, I always poke people in the stomach too, I have to try really hard not to here at the MTC." I've already told him how much like Jake he is.

I love my district so much thtat I decided to stay in this district rather than move up to the intermediate level district. I took the lang eval and spoke to the coordinator of the spanish districts. He said that had I taken the eval as soon as I got to the mtc they wouldn't have given me a choice about moving up. but they left it up to me. I asked and he said that with motivation and a good lang study plan I could move at an intermediate level in a beginning district. I had prayed about it and felt that my decision to stay was right. There was an elder in my district who went to check out their class and he also decided to stay.

Well that's probably about all I have time to write. Thanks family for the letters and package,. it sounds like Dad and Jake had quite the adventure at Philmont. My favorite part was the part about "Burrito". I finally figured out how to use Ky's watch. and the other watch is probably the most useful thing i own now.

Our devo speaker this week was Elder Gerald Lund. He gave some great do's and don'ts of a missionary. It is sad how many missionaries out there do stupid things not realizing how visible they are to the world.

My favorite scripture for the past week has been D and C 112:10. And I love the beautiful hymn that goes with it. It's a wonderful scripture, look it up!

Thanks for the Scriptures Ky. We are preparing to teach the second lesson next week abot the plan of salvation and these will come in handy.

I love you all!
Hermana Ladd.