Tuesday, August 25, 2009

MESA and 110° weather, here comes Brynn!

Update from Brynn's mom - we got to talk this morning as she was at the airport in SLC waiting for her flight to Mesa. She was soooo looking forward to the 110° expected later this week. She got to see her sister, Kylie, before going through security. Her Dad was flying home from UT today, so he got to go with her to the gate and stay with her until she left.

There were a ton of missionaries going to Phoenix with her - at least 12 of whom were going to her mission. There are 18 sister missionaries in her mission, but not all are called as Visitor Center missionaries. And of the VC sisters, it is split between English and Spanish speaking. Anyway, you can e-mail her at brynn.e.ladd.AMM@myldsmail.net, or send her letters at the office address on the side bar.

I'll post again as soon as I get an e-mail from Mesa!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Love you all!!

I don't have much time today. Well it seems like it is like that every week, and 10 minutes of my email time has already passed with reading emails. So I will focus on how crazy this week has been!

Visitors' Center (VC) training started on Wednesday. There are 5 of us in the district, all going to Mesa on Tuesday. 2 are English speaking and 3 of us are Spanish. We all get along so well, I am really looking forward to meeting all the sisters in Mesa. Besides my comp the other Spanish sister is from Washington, but her parents are Mexican. The 2 English sisters are from Alpine, Utah and Acworth, GA. It is fun having another Georgian, and one of our teachers is from Marietta, so that makes up half of us!

The VC training is really intense. Wednesday was like another first day at the MTC. We had some hardcore Referral Center training. We found out that we spend about 6 hours a day at the VC and 2 of those hours are spent on the phone calling potential referrals that we have gotten. That was news to all of us. Whoever said that a Visitors' Center is not a real mission and is really easy needs to go through the training we have. Regular missionaries really get to know their investigators one on one and can sit down with them to find out their concerns. We have about 5 minutes to find out the concerns for groups of up to 30 people sometimes. We have to get to know them, find out their background, their questions, and then make a "lesson" plan right then, based on what we learn. It is kind of intimidating, but at the same time exhilarating. The sister who trained us in the phone program said that the Lord requires a great amount of faith from His VC sisters, because most of the time we won't ever see the fruits of our labors. We see these people in the VC for about 30 minutes, and then they go home. If they were in tune with the Spirit, they will give us their information, and then we will send other missionaries to go teach them. We have to trust the Lord and other missionaries enough to leave these people in their hands. I know that this is one of the big reasons I must have been called to serve in a VC. Having the trust to do that has been a struggle I have had while here and the person that the Lord wants me to be is someone with great faith, hope and humility, so he has given me this call to be able to develop those attributes. I am so thankful for that.

I am so excited for Tuesday! I have already packed up half my clothes, because we have hardly any time on Monday to pack and the Oquirrh Mountain Temple Dedication is on Sunday when we would normal pack. Last night we had our first VC TRC. We set up a VC with pictures in a room in the MTC and took people on tours. Oh! Sorry, this is going to be a scattered email... We have so many resources as a VC sister! There is a room next to our class room that has some electronic kiosks about the temples and families, etc that they have in VCs. There is a big screen TV where we can watch some of the exhibits that VCs have, like the Christus. We even have a huge cardboard Christus cutout. I will take pictures and send them home.

Anyways, tomorrow is Temple Square day! I can't wait. We are going to be put with a companion there and will follow her schedule from 4-8 in the afternoon. Oh, and tonight, we go around the MTC collecting real referrals from the missionaries here. We then call these people tomorrow morning and invite them to be taught by the missionaries! We are already starting real missionary work! There is so much more to talk about and learn about, I'm sure we will learn more our first day in the field than we have in 9 weeks. I will have to try and write a longer email then and tell all about it!

I love you all and am sorry if my emails are scattered! Speaking of scattered, the little miracle from God today was that we found a Russian vocab, phrase and grammar book in one of the give-away boxes, so now I have a Russian PMG and the MTC language book that goes with it. But don't worry, Spanish is of course my focus, I am just grateful for the gospel oriented opportunity to keep up my Russian.

De Provo con amor,
Hermana Ladd

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hola (again)

Two more weeks from yesterday! And I know that they are going to go by really fast, because in a week our elders will have left and we will start our Visitors' Center training. That consists of lots of class, lots of tour memorizing, and a secret VC room with pictures where we practice giving tours. It is going to be a ton of fun. Oh, and plus the afternoon up in Salt Lake! I think that we have met all of the sister's going to the Mesa Visitors' Center with us. There is Hna. Cochran and I, Hna. Guzman, who is from Washington but her parents are Mexican so she already speaks Spanish, Sis. Fonbuena, who is from Cedar Hills Utah, and Sis. Collier, who is from the Cartersville stake in Atlanta (I think that is her name, so if anyone knows any Colliers in the Cartersville stake). We get our flight plans tomorrow so we will know exactly when we leave, but the estimated date is the 25th.

A lot of fun stuff happened this last week. First of all, I forgot to mention a few weeks ago that I gave a talk in Sacrament meeting. Every week we are given a topic for a talk and then they call on 2 missionaries to speak at the beginning of Sacrament meeting. All in Spanish of course (but that really isn't a problem since I got my first Spanish talk out of the way before I left). Anyway, the week I spoke it was on the Great Apostasy. I wrote about half of the talk and then decided that if I was called on I would just testify for the rest. As soon as I decided not to finish writing my talk I knew for the rest of the morning that I would be called on. At least it was no suprise when they did call on me. It went really well and I am starting to get to the point where I don't have to write everything that I say down, and can improvise in Spanish, which is going to be a super important skill in about 2 weeks!

The other cool thing that happened last week is that we did Spanish calls in the Referral Center for the first time. It was awesome! I was terrified, but I think I talked to more people in Spanish in 1.5 hours than in all my weeks of calling English speakers. And 2 of the people that I spoke with accepted a visit from the missionaries with a Book of Mormon! Most of the people were extremely patient with my Spanish. It is so much harder to understand on the phone than it is in person. But all accept one were really kind. Our teachers tell us that that really is characteristic of almost all hispanics. I can't wait to teach them! One thing that I have learned in the Referral Center is how hard it is to have your personal testimony rejected. It is definitely a faith-trying experience. But I have learned that in missionary work (which is the Lord's work 100%) as long as the missionaries are obedient and share their testimony, than if it is rejected it is only because of the agency of the other person. Still, everytime it happens, it is really difficult, because as a missionary I learn more and more everyday how vital this message is to the world and it makes me sad when they don't want to accept it. I think that this will be something that is especially difficult my whole mission, not taking every rejection and every insult personally.

However, on a much brighter side, the Lord provides so much help and support for us. While I was in the temple today and every Wednesday, I am always reminded of how many prayers there are for the missionaries. Everyday multiple times a day in every temple people are praying for us. All of the General Authorities pray for us, everyday. Mission presidents, everyday. Families, everyday. Friends, everyday. As a missionary I pray for all the other missionaries, everyday. And even when we are in the TRC, teaching volunteers, they always pray for us as well. There are more prayers for missionaries around the world (and I'm sure in heaven too) everyday than could possibly be counted. Everytime I hear someone pray for the missionaries I remember that I am included in that and it gives me so much comfort. Every prayer is appreciated, and more important, every prayer is needed. So the point is thank you all so much for your prayers. I know what it means now when people say "we can feel your prayers for us" because I certainly can. And just know that I am praying for all of you too!

De Provo con amor,

Hermana Ladd

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Hola! Como estan?

We are still going strong here at the MTC, starting our 8th week today. Like I said last week we got new roommates who will probably be leaving before us. They are really nice, so it is fine, even though our room is so much more crowded. Also, our elders are going to be getting their travel plans tomorrow or Friday; they leave in less than 2 weeks! But Hermana Cochran and I have decided to stop talking about time so that we will focus better. We only know what time it is currently, the date, and what time we need to be at the next activity. I've also noticed that I've starting writing and talking in 'we' a lot, even when it is something that only applies to me. I even write in my journal in 'we'.

Before Hna. Cochran even got her call she had a trip planned down to Mesa to visit some family, so when they actually went on the trip she already knew she was going to be serving at the Visitor's Center. She went and visited and they gave her a few papers about different types of tours they give for different age groups. We looked over them for companion study this morning before the temple, and I can't wait to go down and start my 'real mission'! Except we have to do a lot of singing... we sing 'I Love to See the Temple' to the young women, 'Called to Serve' to the young men, 'I am a Child of God' to the Primary kids, and 'Families can be Together Forever' to Family night tours... and I'm sure much much more...

Yesterday in the TRC we taught a native again. He is from Central America but I can't remember which country. The natives have a hard time pretending to be investigators, so when we ask them questions we would ask investigators they usually turn it around and teach us a lesson! But it was a good experience. Napoleon (that is his name) has a really cool story, that elders in our district who first taught him told us a few weeks ago. He was an orphan growing up in Central America, and didn't have any shoes. To entertain himself he picked up tree branches and would drum on things and taught himself how to drum that way. Then, when the band Santana (Jacob you will like this...) was touring his country they came across him and picked him up as their drummer! When he started earning money one of the first things he did was by shoes and if I am correct I think that to this day he still owns over 300 pairs of shoes! He married one of the bands groupies and they ran into the missionaries while they were touring and he got baptized! And now he is this cute old man who has been volunteering at the MTC for over 6 years. I can't wait to here all the unique stories of the people I will meet in Mesa!

This week, I found something that I thought was cool in the scriptures. To preface it, there is a chapter in Preach my Gospel entitled Christlike Attributes. While most of Preach my Gospel is how to teach others, this chapter is very personal. In the introduction to the chapter it says "Some chapters in Preach My Gospel focus on what you need to do as a missionary - how to study, how to teach, how to manage time wisely. Just as vital as what you do, however, is who you are." So this chapter is all about 9 attributes that Christ had that we should strive to develop: Faith, Hope, Charity and Love, Virtue, Knowledge, Patience, Humility, Diligence, and Obedience. The thing that I found cool was that I was reading in 3rd Nephi chapter 12, where Christ is teaching the Nephites. I wasn't even thinking about the Christlike attributes but then I read verse 8: "And blessed are all the pure in heart, for they shall see God." The attribute of virtue popped in my head and I felt inspired to go back through the chapter and look for the other attributes. I found at least 5 of the nine, as well as some verses that apply to multiple attributes. I thought that that was cool. It is in the Nephite version of the Sermon on the Mount and as Christ is teaching His Gospel and how we can return to heaven (verses 1-2) He names these attributes and characteristics that we all need to develop. I challenge you to read 3 Nephi 12, and maybe even all of chapters 11-18, and try to find some of these attributes. Let me know what you find!

De Provo Con Amor,
Hermana Ladd