Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Happy Birthday Erin! I hope to hear from you about what you do and what you get, etc.

Well it seems like weather is the talk of Atlanta. I even have people coming into the Visitors' Center and when they find out I'm from Atlanta they say "have you heard how much it's been raining?" Of course we don't hear anything out here, but after this weeks emails it seems to be more than even the people out here have imagined. It hasn't rained here since my second week (so the "monsoon" season is over) but the temperature is starting to go down. Meaning that now it is below 100. Because I'm used to humidity it actually feels pretty cool now, and it has been windy lately, but not the usual hot breezes of the desert. Today it hasn't gotten above 90 yet, and it feels really cool, but thinking about it, for the end of September it is pretty hot.

We've had a really great week so far. I've found that the more you do each day, the happier you are at the end, and you are tired no matter what, so it is better to do a lot. We try to make it the habit of stopping and talking to EVERYONE we see. And oddly enough, the more people we have talked to the nicer they have all been. I think that that is all mainly on our part, because the more diligently and willingly we talk to people the more we have the Spirit and then we aren't as affected by the other persons actions. And we have talked to some really nice people this week, which always makes it easier to talk to the next one. Also, someone the other day told us that their neighbor was Russian! (Kylie, can you send me my Russian PMG and blue book?) We are going to try and contact her at some point and it would be great if we got to teach her. She speaks English too because she is a school teacher, but it says in D&C that everyone will have the opportunity to hear the gospel in their own language.
We have just started teaching a man from Mexico. We taught him for the second time last night with one of the members, Hermano Duarte. It was one of the most spiritual lessons I've had thus far. And Hermano Duarte was perfect for Juan.He has a lot of questions, but really wants to know the truth. He has also had a lot of hard times in his life and even though he has a family he is at a point where he feels very lonely, so we taught him about how after baptism we can have the Holy Ghost with us always, to help us on our way. I really want him to recognize the answers he gets. He even said that he knew we were sent by God because of the time we came at. Now he just needs to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. He read a little from it, but he really needs to pray, so that's what we talked a lot about.

Yesterday really felt like a day of miracles. Before teaching Juan we visited a less-active member. She is married to a nonmember, but her family is very active in Church. First of all it was a miracle we went over there. She is only about 23 or 24 and has a 1 year old, but she is home by herself almost all day. We usually visit her on Wednesdays but for some reason went over yesterday (this week our p-day is Wednesday). Her mom just went through the temple on Saturday, and her sister is getting married in the temple in November, and so I think that that was on her mind. She opened up to us about some of the hardships her family has gone through. Her step dad was very abusive to her family when she was in her teens, verbally, physically, and from the way she was talking we think it was worse that even that. She had to go to therapy for a while and has really just had a hard time. She was telling us that she feels like she lost her chance to have an eternal family now, so we comforted her and assured her that she can have that and will have that. Hermana Blades opened up her scriptures and just shared the first thing she had marked and it ended up being a scripture that her bishop had shared with her when she was going the counselling and court trials against her step-dad. I was so glad that we were there for her at that time, because you could tell that some of those hard memories had been coming back to her and burdening her for a little while.

Tomorrow we have exchanges, so Hna. Blades will be leaving tonight and Hna. Mancilla will be my companion for the day. I was a little worried, but last Friday we went on splits with some members because we didn't have much time in our area, so I am no longer worried about being the one most familiar with the people and area. Plus, Hna. Mancilla is Mexican so she speaks perfect Spanish.

I had a request from Dad to write about my schedule and things like that. We actually get a lot of questions about this when we are talking to people, questions like "how much do they pay you?," "is this like a nine-to-five job?" etc. This is a typical full field day, meaning no time in the VC. We wake up at 6:30 every morning and try and exercise for 30 minutes. Sometimes we go outside to exercise and sometimes we stay inside. Then we have an hour to get ready and eat breakfast and such. At 8 we have an hour of personal study, at 9 an hour of companionship study, and at 10 an hour of language study, which we use to prepare for our lessons for the day. We eat lunch at our house (we live in the basement of some member's house, I'm not sure I've mentioned that) at 11 and try to leave right after 11:30, then we are out proselyting until 9 or 9:30, depending on if we are in a lesson. We eat dinner with members at 5 or 5:30. As soon as we get home we plan for the next day and then get ready for bed and go to bed at 10:30. If we are in the VC this changes depending on our shift. IF we have the morning shift then instead of study we go to the VC right after 8 (we need to be there at 8:45). Sometimes we get an hour of study at the VC, but they rotate which companionship gets to study each day. The morning shift is usually until 3 and then we are out in our area until 9 or 9:30. If we have the evening shift then we are in our area from after lunch until about 2:15, and come straight home when the VC closes at 9. We very rarely go out to eat, except for on p-days. Yesterday we had a shorter shift at the VC because 4 of the companionships had p-day so the way it works then is that there are 2 from 9-1, 2 from 1-6 and the four p-day ones come in at 6. (The shifts are also shorter on Sundays so we can all go to church). So yesterday we went out to lunch with the other c-ship that had been on with us in the morning. Our RS Pres is really good about making sure we are fed every night we are in our area. She feeds us herself if no one has signed up. In other Stakes, the sisters have food brought to them at the VC so they get dinner even if they are there at night. We live too far away for that though, but we don't mind, we just bring healthier snacks. We don't tract in the normal sense of going door to door, especially because most people are English and we drive a car. Instead, when we are going from place to place (the places we've planned) we drive up and down streets and weave our way through the area, rather than taking direct main routes. Then if we see anyone we get out and talk to them. We make sure to ask everyone if they know of any Hispanic neighbors. They all probably think we are the Immigration Police...

I'll end this email by giving you all a challenge. Sis. Bassett, the Mission Matron (President's wife) gave us the challenge in Zone Conference to everyday write down a miracle you have seen that day. It is really cool to see the different miracles there are, big, little, personal, etc. They really can come in a number of forms. Once we were having a bad day and were on our way to dinner. It was with our RS Pres and we eat with her a lot. The last time we had eaten with her she said she would make us tongue next time because it was really good and we should try it. Well, that day, we really didn't want tongue. It was the weekend I had been sick, many of our appts fell through, and we were struggling to get some of our investigators to recognize the importance of church (actually we were struggling to get the less-active husband to go to church) but we really wanted pizza for dinner. Yes, we prayed that we would get pizza. And we did! Some elders in our zone said at Zone Development meeting that they prayed for cake once and ended up and a diabetic woman's house and she said "Elders, I don't know why I have this cake, I'm diabetic, do you want it?" So the point is that they can be small things like that or big things like when we met Juan or Eliseo's fast recovery. So my challenge is to start writing down miracles in your life. And I promise that the more you recognize them, the more the Lord will give you.

De Mesa con amor,
Hermana Ladd

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Wow, what a long week...

I am halfway through my first transfer and I can't even believe it! It is going by way too fast. Whoever controls mission time should switch it so that the MTC goes by faster and the mission slower. Actually, never mind, I liked the MTC and decided this week that I wish that we could go to the MTC and then go to the mission for about 3 weeks and then go back to the MTC to focus better on the things that we need to improve in. Missionaries at the smaller MTCs go out every night with the missionaries in that mission, but no way would they do that in Provo. (Can you imagine all of the missionaries in the MTC out proselyting in the Provo mission every night?!)

This past week was hard and Hna. Blades and I are just thankful that we made it through. I'm positive that this is just the first of many similar weeks and I'll get used to it with time. We talked to a lot of people but didn't get to teach very many. One reason is because most of the people we talked to were English. We are in a fairly affluent area and it is a real struggle for us to find the Hispanics. Also, about half of our area is made up of large "retirement villages" so we have a lot of snowbirds, and these people seem to have been hardened by life. I'm thankful that none of my grandparents have gotten mean and grumpy as they have gotten older, as age seems to make the people think they have an excuse for being rude. We still haven't found new people to teach, and we hardly have any time in our area this week because of our VC schedule. Also, the Elders in our stake are teaching 2 Hispanic families! They are teaching them in English of course, but who knows how well they speak English, and even then our branch needs families! We also know of at least 2 other member families that are Hispanic but attend English wards. That is really frustrating because our little branch is so strong and they all try so hard, they could really use the support and blessings of having more numbers. I can't remember if I wrote this last week (I often forget what I've already emailed) but our Relief Society president is so caring and selfless, once the dinner calender has been filled out she puts down her name in every blank day! And neither she, nor her husband have jobs right now! It amazes me how much these people live the gospel and how humble they are. I am learning so much from our branch, and I hope I can remember and use them when I am back to being a member missionary.

Last p-day we went to the temple. The Mesa temple is really beautiful, and really big. The inside has some of the same stonework as the outside, which adds to the feeling of being in Solomon's temple or one of the Ancient American temples. I'm sad that we can only go once every 6 weeks, but at least we get to go, unlike the majority of missionaries in other parts of the world. And I am at the VC almost every day so I get to be "in the shadow of the temple" where the Spirit is just as strong. Last Friday was one of the days when we weren't in the VC at all. We had had one of those days my first week out but then haven't had a "full field" day since. When there are more sisters at the VC we usually get one a week. I have been really good about staying hydrated out here, so I'm not sure what happened but last Friday I got really sick. I think I was dehydrated because I had an awful migraine, complete with nausea. But I was able to hold out until we got home at night, and the next morning I felt perfectly fine. I have now tried to drink even more water than I was before.

So last week (I do remember this) I said that Arizona was very ugly. That still stands, but I have found something really beautiful about Arizona and that is the lightning storms. Many nights, even when there isn't rain, there are lightning storms. I don't know if they are far away, but you never hear thunder with them, just lightning. And since the sky goes on forever out here the lightning lights up the sky, the land, the mountains... I especially love it when the lightning is behind a cloud and lights up only the outline of the huge dark clouds. It is really quite a sight.

One thing that Hna. Blades and I do every night is think of the miracle(s) we saw that day. Sometimes they are really big miracles, but we are starting to notice a lot of little ones as well. For example, we ate pizza for dinner on Sunday night. That was a miracle because earlier we had said that we really wanted pizza for dinner, and if you all had been out with us that day and known what type of day we had had, you would have seen that it really was a miracle. We are working with a family where the husband is American, and less active in the church, and the wife and son are not members. We have really started to see changes in Bro. Farnsworth as we've visited and he has become more active in the lessons, even getting his own scriptures out. He is the key to this family, whenever we invite them to church she always looks to him first. We had stake conference on Sunday and went over before to try and get them to come, but Bro. Farnsworth said that "they would have to pass today." It was such a blow, and one we weren't expecting. Things like that are really frustrating, because we just want to yell back at him "you can't just pass on salvation! and this isn't even your salvation at stake but your wife and son's!" But we don't, we just express our disappointment and invite them again next week. That is one thing that I am trying to work on, being bold, but loving, like Christ always was.

Well, I don't have much more to write. Mirna's husband is getting released from the hospital (I'm pretty sure this happened after I wrote last week). We thought that he would be able to be moved to a hospital closer to home if he kept improving, but he gets to come home! He has gone from intensive care with 3rd degree burns from the waist up, to being able to go home, in just over 2 weeks! That is definitely the largest miracle we have seen, and it is because of the power of prayers, the priesthood, and faith. We are really blessed to have access to the restored authority of God on the earth today. There are many day that I think what my life would have been like if I wasn't born into this gospel. Would I have found it? Would I have accepted it? I would like to think so. But every time I think that it makes me all the more thankful that my ancestors have been so faithful to the faith they found that my parents were able to raise me in it. It also gives me such a greater respect and admiration for all those who have found and accepted the gospel themselves and are the pioneers of the descendants that will come after them.

De Ensenada Park con amor,
Hermana Ladd

Saturday, September 12, 2009

End of week 2 already?!

These weeks have flown by! I feel like I don't have anything new to write about. That's why I need good questions when you send me emails and letters so that I can respond to those. Luckily I do keep a list in my planner of things that I think of during the week that I want to write about.

First of all, even though I love my mission and my mission call and my area and everything, that doesn't stop Arizona from being one of the ugliest places I've been! There is literally no grass, except for in parks and at the temple. Everyone's yards are made of rocks. And even worse, guess what I saw yesterday - rocks painted green! There were even some "yards" where all the rocks were glued down and painted green. There are some areas of Mesa where I feel like I'm in the middle of Mexico, and there are others (the ones with the astrorock yards) that make me feel like I'm back in the 50s. But I still love it. I am already used to the heat, and it really isn't near as hot as I thought it would be, but maybe that's because it isn't humid. In fact, some of the natives were complaining about how humid it had been last week, and I didn't even feel it. But there have been thunderstorms 5 times since I've gotten here. I tell all our members that I must have brought them from Georgia with me when they comment on how it hasn't rained in a long time.
I have another small world story for you all. The former VC directors came in last week to visit and see some of the changes that have been made and they too lived in DC and was in the stake under Grandpa Ladd, and therefore knew the Ladds and the Coltons. His name is Elder Peterson, and I didn't get his first name.

I don't feel like I have very many stories this week. Everything that was happening last week is still happening. We are still waiting to see if the Mestre's can get married and Eliseo is still in the hospital and we haven't been able to get a hold of Mirna to ask how he is doing. One of our investigators, an 11 year old, decided that I look like Bella from Twilight which of course is her favorite movie, so I am her new favorite person. Now if only she would understand that she needs to go to church more... Speaking of favorites, we have a member from El Salvador and when we went to go visit her on Friday I told her how I used to live in Honduras and that papusas were my very favorite Hispanic food so when we went over for lunch yesterday she made us some. Yep, still my very favorite Hispanic food. But just goes to show again and again how kind all of the members are. I feel like I've found my niche in the branch now, so I'm glad that happened quickly. Hna. Mestre was saying on Sunday that she had gotten in touch with the sister that had just left over the internet and told her that even though she missed them a lot they didn't miss her nearly as much because they had a new sister missionary in the branch. I thought that was really nice. I am Hna. Blades' first gringa companion, which is good for both of us, because she speaks the language really well which helps me, and when we are in lessons if I don't understand something she has to answer, when previously she had had natives that always understood so she could take a back seat on some of the harder questions, so we are both learning from each other.

We had our first zone conference yesterday which was amazing! Pres. Bassett knows the scriptures so well and finds some of the most obsure stories that seem like they were written purely so that he could use them to teach certain points. Our mission is really accelerating the work, which is great but means that we have to keep working even harder. Elders Bednar, Perry, and Ballard have all come and told us things to do specific to the mission. Elder Ballard said we need to be teaching 20 lessons a week, and I think Elder Perry was the one that said we need to be talking to at least 140 people "by the way." That is the hardest one for most of the missionaries, because it is really hard to just go up and talk to random people. And in a car it is even harder, because whenever we see someone we stop the car, get out, and go talk to them. But it is amazing that if you are obedient in talking to everyone you see then the Lord will place a lot of people in your path. The English speakers are the hardest. Some of them are so mean! I don't see the need for being rude even if you don't want to listen. We had a really condescending one the other day, calling us kids and saying we just didn't understand the world today. It is really hard for me to keep my mouth closed and be polite rather than explaining that I probably had a higher education than he did and had a far better understanding of the world, even though I was a "kid". But I did, because we don't want to lower ourselves to their level, but bring them up to ours. Hna. Blades was getting really frustrated too, because he told us he belonged to a church but siad that he didn't go that often, because he put more important things first, like work. She kindly shared that Jesus taught to put the kingdom of God first but that's when he got into the "you kids just don't understand." I thought (but kept in my head) "you must not have ever learned anything those few times you made it to church. We get a lot like that, but even that one had some good things. The day before we were talking to some high school kids down the street and one of them had made the comment "they must be paying you a lot to do this." We explained that we weren't paid but that we and our families had to pay for us to do this. He was impressed by that. Well the next day when we were talking to the other man it was raining and the high schooler drove by and said "what are you girls doing out here, it's raining!" We just told him "so what, we work in the rain too." He was really impressed by that and thought it was "awesome" so I hope at least some seeds were planted there. We love talking to nice people, at least it helps us get out of the car faster the next time we see someone and pull over, whereas after the meaner ones it is really a struggle to want to talk to more people.

So here is probably my most exciting and most terrifying story for the week. The other night in the VC some elders from the Tempe mission were there and talking to some of us right after they finished a lesson. They came up and said "we were told to ask here if there was a sister who spoke Arabic." There were four of us in the front and all of them looked at me and said she does. I had to back pedal for them and say "I studied it but can't really speak it any more." After asking why they told us that there was a Syrian man in their mission who has read the Book of Mormon 4 times already, knows it is true, and wants to be baptized. However, once you are past the age of eight you can't be baptized without being taught the lessons by the missionaries. And this man doesn't speak very good English so they need someone who can speak Arabic. I gave them all of the Arabic materials we have (Elder Burke asked my to be in charge of organizing our language materials, because there is a ton! So I knew where it was and what it was) and I told the elders that if they needed me to teach him then to call the VC and the Lord would have to help me relearn enough Arabic to teach him. They haven't called us back yet, but I've started using all the Arabic materials we have to try and relearn it. I really wish I had kept it up. I honestly never thought that I would need to speak Arabic on my mission, Russian maybe, but not Arabic, and yet the day comes and it is the language that I can't teach in that the Lord might need me in. (Side note for mom, can you find my Arabic books and send them to me so I can relearn more. I don't know where they are, and if they aren't at home then they are at grandma's, and I don't know which box, because again, not expecting to use it for 18 months. Also, if there is an Arabic Preach My Gospel could you find out and send it to me?) So that was my humbling experience for the week. If I really do end up helping them to teach this man then that will be even more humbling because it will have to be all the Lord. Luckily the church has so many great materials. 3 of the 5 lessons are printed in pamphlets for investigators so I could teach him out of those, and Preach My Gospel has all the references I would need for scriptures in the other lessons, so it would be a lesson completely out of the scriptures.

On the topic of languages here is the list of all the languages that we have the Book of Mormon in. It would be great if Erin or Ky or Jake or Mom could look them up and email me back with where each of them are spoken (I think it would be a fun project for Piggy). We have other materials such as the Family Proclamation and the Living Christ in other languages too.
Afrikaans, Albanian, Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Aymara, Bengali, Bulgarian, Cambodian, Catalan, Cebuano, Chinese, Croation, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Efik, English, Estonian, Fante, Fijian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Haitian, Hawaiian, Hiligaynon, Hindi, Hmong, Hungarian, Icelandic, Igbo, Ilkano, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Kekchi, Kiribati, Korean, Laotian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malagasy, Maori, Marshallese, Maya, Mongolian, Navajo, Neomelanesian, Niuean, Norwegian, Palauan, Papiamento, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Rarotongan, Romanian, Samoan, Russian, Shona, Sinhala, Slovenian, Swahili, Spanish, Swedish, Tagalog, Tahitian, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Tongan, Tswana, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, Welsh, Xhosa, Yapese, Zulu.
Not hard to see why it is my favorite exhibit, right?

I'll finish up by telling you about another exhibit that we have. Our temporary exhibit right now is about the history of MoTab. There is a place where you can conduct the choir, except the baton breaks all the time from misuse and the songs are soooo slow. There is a listening station to listen to some of their recordings, interactive kiosks about their history, a collection of MoTab dresses and former conductor's batons. And then there is the beloved Music and the Spoken Word episode from the 60s. It is on a loop and just plays over and over and over. Many of the sisters have it memorized. (Take time, for your children... Mother.... where is mother? Are the questions asked when they come home...) That is unanimously the VC sisters' least favorite exhibit, especially because it is hard to teach from. It isn't a bad exhibit, actually quite interesting, but only on the first time through, and we are there a lot. But in only a few more weeks it will be gone, the room will be used as a theater for a few weeks, and then the nativities from around the world will be up for Christmas!

De Mesa con amor,

Hermana Ladd

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I'm in MESA!!!

Wow, can you say longest week of my life?! Tuesday was the longest day of my life, followed closely by Thursday. But I love it! I don't even know where to start. first of all, I'm sure many people are wondering about the weather. Yes, it is hot, but surprisingly 115° isn't near as hot as I was imagining it. I've only been here a week and I'm already used to the sweat and the sun. I think I have gotten more tan in a week than in my entire life, even though I wear sunscreen everyday.

So, as I've found in my journal writing this week, It is better to just recount a few big things, rather than a step by step account with no details so that's what I'm going to do. On Tuesday morning we arrived in Mesa and met our Mission President and his wife and the two elders that are his assistants at the airport. we loaded up our stuff and went straight to the Visitor's Center. There were 19 of us that came in this transfer (a transfer is a six week period and missionaries come in and leave on the first day of the transfer). At the Visitor's Center (which I'll tell more about later) we all sat in the room with the Christus statue of Christ and Pres. Bassett talked to us about how we (with our companions) are the only ones in our area that have the ability to bring salvation to the people of our area by bringing them to Christ (no pressure right?!). Then we all drove up to the Mission home in Scottsdale where we had interviews with Pres. Bassett, had a little orientation, and then got our areas and companions!

My companion's name is Sis. Blades, and I have to tell you a quick small world story about her. We figured this out when we were driving home Tuesday night. So Sis. Blades went to BYU Idaho and had a roommate up there who transferred down to BYU and moved into the Arabic house! Then she was my roommate for one semester. And the even funnier part is that Sis. Blades came down and lived at my apartment over Thanksgiving that semester and we even went out to dinner together! Crazy, huh?! And now she is my trainer. Anyway, our area is Ensenada Park, in the Superstition zone. We live with some English members of our Stake.

We work in a little Spanish branch with about 40 members, but I love it. Because we are in such a small branch we know all the members and they always fellowship the investigators that come to church. No one gets lost in that branch. Yesterday in church Relief Society and Priesthood were combined because it was the fifth Sunday of the month. The RS President, Hermana Parra, got up during announcements and said "the Mestres, the Ayalas and Hna. Vichez weren't at church today, who is going to visit them?" I was so impressed that it didn't take us as the missionaries to point out the people that were missing. The Mestres are some of our investigators, but you wouldn't know it because they are some of the most active members of the branch. They are going to get baptized as soon as they can get married. As a side note, just a little something about the family situations here - they are crazy! I have a hard time keeping track of them. Hno. Mestre was married to someone in Mexico before coming here, so before he and Hna. Mestre can get married he has to get divorced, and the way they work out divorces in Mexico is that they narrow down an area where his wife might be, put ads everywhere, and then wait a certain amount of time. If noone responds to the ads then he is divorced. We were supposed to find out last week the results, but the lawyer hasn't called yet. So we are just praying and waiting. I would say that the majority of hispanic couples around here are not married to whoever they are living with, even if they have been together for a long time and have children and everything. The hardest thing for me in the branch is showing them I love them. Sis. Blades and her last companion whitewashed the branch 5 and a half months ago, meaning they came into the branch when there hadn't been missionaries for almost 3 years. So the branch really thinks of Sis. Blades and her last companion as "their" missionaries and now that the other sister has gone home to Colombia, they really miss her. It is one of the most common topics of conversation, so I am really trying to show the members and the investigators that even though I am new I am going to work just as hard and love them just as much, but it is still a little intimidating.

So that is a little bit about our branch, now on to the Visitors' Center. First of all, our area is the farthest away of the areas Visitors' Center sisters work in, almost 30 minutes away. The rest of the sisters are much closer, in the areas directly surrounding the temple. I love the Visitors' Center! There are 3 senior couples that work there, the Burkes (the directors), the Rowes, and the Ogdens. They are all so nice, it is like having 3 more sets of grandparents. Speaking of grandparents, the first thing that Elder Burke said to me when I met him was "are you related to Don Ladd?" It turns out that Elder Burke was the bishop of the Washington DC ward when Grandpa was stake president. And since he was in that stake he of course knows the Coltons too. He wrote a book about the history of the Washington DC ward, and I think I remember him saying something about Grandpa Ladd being the bishop of that ward before he was. And he said that he interviewed Uncle Sterling for the book. So there are some more small world experiences! His first name is Lee, and he wasn't ever married when he lived in DC. He married Sis. Burke only about 5 years ago.

I don't even know where to start with the VC. We work in shifts, which are usually 6 hours a day, except when other sisters have p-day or on Sundays. And once in a while we will have a "full field" day, which means we don't work in the VC at all that day (hence Thursday, my first full field day, was the second longest day of my life). We only have about 2 or 3 full field days a transfer. There are 8 companionships that work in the VC and we are split into groups of 4, so for this first 6 weeks I will mostly be working with the same 3 companionships. Our shift changes everyday, so we don't always work in the evening or morning, etc. I like that because it keeps things changing. Also, we talk to more people in the afternoons and evenings, so they try to give all the companionships at least 3 nights a week in their area. Our p-day will also change every week, but is almost always on a Monday or Tuesday. I can't remember what day it is next week... More about what we do at the VC: We have different posts every hour. Some days there is hardly anyone there, and some days (like last Saturday) we have more than a thousand people come through. They said that during the Christmas season we have thousands of people go through just in the evenings. There are lots of presentations and aspects of the VC and to space it out, I'll only talk about a few each email. We will start of with my favorite exhibit, the Book of Mormon table. We have a table with the Book of Mormon in 83 languages (easy to see why it is my favorite, right?) And really, there are languages I have never heard of, which is saying a lot since we learn about even crazy dying languages in Linguistics. I will have to send a list of the languages some time so that my family can do some research and tell me where all of them are spoken. There is a sister from Brazil at the VC at the same time as we are, so between her and the Portuguese Book of Mormon maybe I can pick up some Portuguese while I'm out. All of the sisters are a lot of fun to be with, and being at the VC sometimes it is like I have 6 trainers instead of one. We are actually going to lunch with another companionship right after this, another trainer and a sister that came in with me.

Wow, time flies, I have already been typing for 50 minutes. We only have an hour to write, because we are at the library and there is a line of people waiting for computers. Some important info for communication with me: Just keep using the mission office as my address - 6265 N 82nd St. Scottsdale, AZ 85250. They can forward the mail and always know where we are living. Also, they bring mail down to the VC twice a week so we get it there. If you send any packages, again use the mission office address, and try to send them by USPS if you can. FedEX, etc. can't be forwarded, they have to wait until someone is coming to our area, so while I'm in the VC that is fine, but when I am outbound (or full field, or full pros, or whatever you what to call it) then it might take a while. Oh! one more experience and then I'm out.

We are teaching a woman named Mirna, and she was actually the first lesson I taught. We asked her if she had been praying and she said yes, but that she wasn't sure if she was getting an answer, because she didn't feel any different when she prayed. Then at 3:30 Saturday morning we got a call from her saying that her "husband" had been in a car accident and was in intensive care. We prayed with her on the phone, then as a companionship, then individually (we do a lot of praying on missions...) When we woke up again on Saturday we got permission from our President to go to the hospital (it is in Phoenix, and either on the edge of our mission or across the street out of it). We had to work in the VC in the morning, but we called the Branch Pres and he took two other brothers and went and gave Aliseo a blessing. Then we went about 2:30. We still aren't quite sure what happened, but something in the car exploded (we don't know if he was in it or in front of it looking under the hood) and his body was burned from the waist up. When we got to the hospital he was sleeping but when he woke up he seemed like his spirit was still strong. By the time we had gotten there he was able to drink by himself, and they had taken all tubes out of his throat and nose. His 2 year old son called while we were there and he tried really hard to be able to talk to him. Also, Mirna had brought her Book of Mormon to read to him (he hadn't really been interested before). She asked for us to show her a part she could read to him later, but he wanted her to read it right then, so we read a chapter with them and then left them with a prayer. She called us on Sunday to tell us that he can now eat by himself. Then we ran into her yesterday and she said they had taken off all but one of his bandages and that his task for yesterday was to walk. And this is all in just 4 days! It really is a miracle. we are hoping that this will help her progress more. She has already exercised faith when she called us and asked us to pray and reading the Book of Mormon with him. He had to have surgery (today I think) on his hand for skin graft, and so the doctors say that he will be in the hospital another 4 months for therapy, but we are praying that at least he will be able to be transfered to a hospital closer, especially because Mirna is thinking of moving out there during those 4 months and that is way out of our area. If she does move then we will just pray that the missionaries out there will be able to keep teaching her and continue helping her progress. I love seeing the Lord's hand in this work!

De MESA con amor!

Hermana Ladd