Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Well this is a weird feeling... I don't even know where to begin. It doesn't feel any different than any other day and yet my brain is telling me how weird it should be to be writing the last email of my mission. I have been wondering what to write in this email and decided on this. The following is a list of people who have meant a lot to me on my mission and why. It is by no means a complete list. I have learned on my mission that the peopl you know and associate with really have a great impact on your life and so I hope that these people reflect the good change that I feel has come about in me over the past 18 months (Friday is my 18 month mark.)

The Crandells: They were the first family that welcomed me into the mission. Whenever we came home I really felt like it was home. They have a way of making people feel so loved. It was wonderful to have such Christlike examples for us. I spoke with them yesterday and the sisters recently had to move out, so I feel so blessed I was able to be one of the sisters who lived with them.

President Kleinman: As an American presiding over a Hispanic congregation I was able to see the influence of his love for those people. As I watched his example my love for the people I serve grew as well.

The Parras: I will never be able to repay this family for the kindness they showed me. Hermana Parra was like a mother to us, and even with the stresses of their own family life she never hesitated to serve us, especially when we never asked nor excpected it of her. There is a special place in heaven reserved for her and her family.

The Farnsworths: Working with there family was probably the first time in my life I was able to see the conversion of a willing heart to the Lord. I will be forever grateful that I was able to see the change the gospel brought on that family.

The Mestres: They helped me to understand the power of friendships and the fact that there are no need for barriers as I watched them fellowship families into the church even though they themselves haven't yet been baptized.

Yuri and Destiny: I was able to see the strength of an inner testimony and the different ways it is expressed as well as the example and the closeness to the Lord of a child.

Hermana Rodriguez: She showed her love for the gospel as she showed her love for us. She was a mentor to us and took every opportunity to strengthen us as sisters and give us advice for the future, advice which I will never forget.

Laura: I have never seen someone so converted to the gospel in such a short time. Her spiritual sensitivity is something that many of us should strive to attain and it is something that she naturally embraces.

Rogelio: Teaching him and seeing his experiences I learned the power of the atonement and the importance of dedication in this work. I saw him humble himself to show his love and gratitude for the Savior.

Juan Ortega: He taught me to stick to your commitments, and to be dedicated to the direction and guidance that the Lord gives you through His Spirit. He taught me never to doubt in the Lord's commands.

Romina and Marcelo: I learned the power of famillies in the face of adversity and the great trust the Lord has in the mothers and fathers he sends his children to. For them family comes first and always, and God is the most important part of our families.

The Francos: Another example of family love. In this family it doesn't matter who is an uncle and who is a father, all of the children look up to these four brothers. I have never heard a shout or insult but have seen the children grow and learn. I learned from Sister Franco how important it is to testify to your children.

Carlos and Myrna: I learned how to expand my family and how to become part of someone else's family. They taught me the importance of patience and love in missioanry work.

I am running out of time and there are so many more people who are so important to me here in Mesa, Arizona. My family has grown so much and a part of my heart will always be here in Mesa. I know that every day has just been a blessing from the Lord and that that is what He wanted for me, to be able to love His children. I feel like nothing that I write can do justice to this experience and that there is nothing that can appropriately close it. And at the same time I feel like that is important, that once a mission is 'opened' that it should never be closed but that the work of the Lord should always be a part of our lives. And I know that at least speaking for myself it always will be.

Desde Mesa, con amor.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

December 7, 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

December is moving along rapidly, with all the business of the lights. It has been really great to be a part of this again. At the very beginning of Christmas lights I met a couple who brought their brother and sister-in-law in. I met them one day and talked with them. Then they came in a few days later and remembered me right off the bat, but I struggled remembering who they were. They remembered where I was from though and that I would be going home to Morocco. The one couple were members but their in-laws were not. I started the Joseph Smith movie for them. I had asked them periodically throughout our visits about whether or not they had filled out a referral card, but when they told me that they had been given the chance I didn't bother them again about it. I came in the next day however, and one of the other sisters handed me a referral card that had my name and a note on it. It said that because of the time I had spent with them that week that their family has decided to learn more about the church! And then it had all of their information on it so that I can call them and send the missionaries to go see them. I love little experiences like that because it shows why we really do missionary work. It is for the people. The time that we spend with them counts, maybe not immediately but it sure does in the long run. I hope to remember little (but big in my life) experiences like that throughout my life and to be able to apply it in all aspects of my future.

Carlos wasn't able to be baptized last week, because he had to work. We discussed all options with him, but weren't able to make it work so we changed it to this weekend. I am excited for that baptism and he is now too. He was really sad when he couldn't get baptized but had to work so that he could pay his rent last week. He even asked if he could be baptized on Sunday instead, but because of the Christmas devotional that wasn't possible either. We will continue praying that he will be able to be baptized this Saturday, because that will help his family so much.

Gabriel has also accepted to be baptized. He has always said that he has wanted to but that he didn't feel ready, so he hasn't commited to a date and worked towards it. However, we had a really powerful lesson with him and promised him that he was ready for baptism and just needed to show his faith and take the step so that he could learn more. He still was hesitant until Sis. Rodio reminded him that I am going home, and he almost immediately said that he would get baptized before I left. Normally I wouldn't feel comfortable with an investigator decided to get baptized just because one of the missionaries is leaving even though they aren't ready, but in this case, we know that he is ready to be baptized and just needed to decided when and work towards that goal. I have learned on my mission that setting goals is important because we have something to work towards. Even though we may not feel prepared or able to reach something, when set that goal the Lord sees our faith and helps us to achieve it. It is the same with baptism. Even though they don't feel like they know enough or will be able to get over their addictions, when they chose a date or a goal to work towards, the Lord pours out His help and blessings because of their faith. Gabriel will be baptized on the 18th. I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve the Lord and his children. Part of me wishes it could never end, but I know that the Lord calls us for a specific period of time and then we must move on to the next thing He has in His plan for us. I am looking forward to making this last little time as unforgettable as the rest has been.

Desde Mesa, con amor,
Hermana Ladd

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Nov. 30, 2010

Thanks for all the birthday wishes! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Our week was really good, especially with the start of the Christmas lights. On Thanksgiving we had a lunch with all the missionaries from the VC and then we were able to go out into our area because they didn't need all the sisters assigned at night. Unfortunately we don't find holidays very effective missionary times, especially at night after everyone has had a lot to drink so we were only able to visit 2 families. On Friday the lights started. It is amazing how the VC can go from almost empty one night to completely packed the next. Saturday was one of the happiest days of my life! First of all, on Friday Hna. Rodio at planning said that Romina, one of our investigators, really needed us to come over on Saturday because she was having a really hard time. She saw her at the VC on Friday (we weren't together because we are back to zebra companionships). So on Saturday right after our shift at the VC we rushed to her house, only to find a mini surprise bday party for me that my companion had put together (isn't she awesome!). It was so nice. Romina and her sons had decorated a big sign and she even wrote happy birthday in french and arabic for me. She got me a cake and oreos (Hna. Rodio and I love oreos, well, I love them now because she always has them so we have tons at home). Best of all however was a dvd she made us. She always makes her parents and in-laws dvds of pictures and quotes and music for special occasions and always shows them to us, so it was so special that she made one for me! Then she drove us to Juan's baptism where I spoke and played the violin. I have never cried at a baptism before, I'm just not a crier, but I was so happy that after so many trials Juan was able to enter the waters of baptism. After that we had another miracle. When Romina dropped us off we went to go see Carlos. We really felt that he should be baptized this coming Saturday, but whenever we set a date with him something comes up and he misses church, so we knew we would have to focus on that first. While we were talking to him however he said "I'm goign to church tomorrow." (we hadn't brought up the topic yet). "Sisters, I was at Walmart with Eric (his youngest son) earlier tonight and I turned to him and said 'Eric, we are going to church tomorrow. I have no more excuses.'" We were sooo happy! Then on Sunday morning we were walkin to church and felt like we should stop by Carlos' house to confirm he was still coming. Right before we walked up a car pulled up and two men got out and were talking to Carlos. We just knew they were inviting him to go look for work. We walked on in and waited for him inside. His wife Mirna was talking on the phone to his mother in Mexico. When we came in she said hello and then explained to his mother that the sisters were over. Then she proceeding to tell her that last night Carlos had asked her to find his nice pants and fix his nice shirt because he was going to church tomorrow (he usually goes in jeans and a tshirt). She also said that that very morning he told her that he was going to get baptized. Mirna told her mother in law that she was going to get baptized right after her sons ot baptized. We were so excited to hear all that. We always knew Mirna wanted to get baptized after her sons and that one day Carlos would get baptized, but for him to say it from himself to his wife, without us talking much about it was a miracle. And the miracles continued when he came inside and the men left without him and when he and Mirna came to church together (she never comes if her sons don't.) What a great birthday! And it had started off in the morning with Hna. Rodio filling my bathtub with balloons and putting twixes everywhere and later hanging notes on the ceiling above my bed. Hna. Rodio really helped to make my birthday great! Then yesterday was really weird because they changed our farewell dinner so that we went last night with the people who left this morning. It was fun but weird because out of the 11 of us there only 3 were actually leaving today. The rest of us just got back in the cars and headed back to Mesa. We had a nice dinner with Pres. and Sis. Ellsworth and then a nice testimony meeting with all of us. It really was a great week! And I know that the next ones will be just as great! And a last minute addition, it has been pretty cold recently, my body is just not used to this weather anymore. And for transfer news Hna. Rodio and I are staying together and when I leave Hna. Chaca from Peru will be coming to her.

Desde Mesa, con amor,
Hermana Ladd

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Yesterday I hit my month left mark. This time of year is just like a time of deja vu, because I was on my mission in Arizona for all of this last year. Today Abigail (Hna. Blades! she's been home 6 months!) came into the VC and I got to see her, Claudia Mestre, and Rosalva Farnsworth. I love them so much and am going to see if I can have permission to see some of the people in my old areas that mean a lot to me before I leave. I bought a memory card last week that will be filled just with people I love from my mission. Xmas lights start on Thursday, so everything is going to start moving a lot faster. Juan Ortega's baptism is this Saturday, and I am so excited! He has asked me to give the talk on baptism. Hna. McBride is coming and I am also way excited to see her! This past week has been good, everyone getting ready for the holidays. We have had some very full days, which I love. At the beginning of the week we were given some braided bread. The bread people (that's all we know to call them) home make this delicious bread and sell it, but give it to missionaries free. It is prety funny, because if they see you, they will follow you till you stop and get out of you car and then run up to you with a loaf or two. Now that we are on bikes we are much more noticeable so they will pull over and catch us all the time. Last week they gave us 2 loaves but we were out at appointments so we decided to give one of the loaves to some less-actives. The Alvarez family are the ones who feed us for free every weekend, because they sell food in their backyard. They make delicious food so we didn't think that our little loaf of bread would be a big deal, but when we gave it to them they were so grateful, you would think that we had given them 1000 dollars. We saw them again on Wednesday when we helped Hna. Alvarez get ready for Los Tacos and played Uno with her children afterwards, and then again on Saturday when we ate with them. On Thursday my bike got a flat (we aren't sure how, we went in to an appointment and it was full and we came out after teaching and cleaning her house and it was empty). Luckily Edwin was home, our handy man investigator (meaning he works on cars and soups them up with things like Burberry leather that costs like 250 a yard...) On Saturday we met with Daniela. We had contacted her husband in a parking lot a few weeks ago but had never been able to catch them at home, but we did on Thursday so we visited her on Saturday. She had asked us to bring the DVD Finding Faith in Christ. She is so sweet and has a sweet little family. She immediately accepted to come to church the next day. (She didn't come but she just called me before the appointment we had today saying that she and her daughter were sick and that they didn't go to church because of the rain.) She is very sincere and we are excited to teach her and her family. Thanksgiving is our actually preparation day but since things are closed we had to email and shop today. We are going to have a dinner with the VC, just like last year. We have also been invited by our investigators Edwin, Shannon, and Nora, to come over to their home so we might spend a little time with them as well. I am excited to spend my favorite holiday here in Mesa again, but I'll miss Dad's chocolate pie, so I hope there is some for Xmas! I love you all and hope you remember all the things you are grateful for this week and always! I am grateful to have been born in the true restored church of Jesus Christ, for the blessing of being able to serve a mission here is Mesa, Arizona, for all the people that have become a part of my life here and for all the people who are still a big part of my life back home. And I am grateful for all of you! Happy Thanksgiving!

Desde Mesa, con amor,
Hermana Ladd

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


The second week of my favorite month is over and the start of Christmas lights is fast approaching. In the excitement of the concert miracle I forgot to mention a church miracle that had happened the day before. As previously mentioned we are teaching the Franco family and have recently started teaching the grandchildren of Hno. and Hna. Franco. They love when we come over and we love going over. On Sunday morning we invited them to come to church, thinking that as usual it would only be Gabriel who came. However, when we showed up to Gospel Principles we looked in to the classroom to see Gabriel and Hna. Franco! And they told us that all four children were in their respective primary classes. They were so well behaved and they loved it! They are such good kids. We are hoping that Danny will be able to be baptized by his dad, and then when his little cousins turn 8 they too will be able to get baptized. Recently we have been having a lot of time in our area, which we enjoy. We had 2 full days last week and 2 again this week. On Thursday we had exchanges. Hna. Nielsen came to Hna. Rodio and I went to Hna. Nielsen's companion, a new sister. Unfortunately she was sick the whole day so we weren't able to get much done, but Hna. Rodio reported that our area was great. We went back to the VC on Friday and were there every day this weekend, but were able to teach almost every hour we weren't there. This is such a busy and blessed area, but I find that I can only praise each of the areas I was in. I feel blessed to say that, and blessed that I had such great areas and that the Lord helped me love each one of them.
Yesterday was stake conference for the entire state of Arizona, broadcast from Salt Lake to all 90 stakes! It was cool to be a part of that. Bishop Burton, Sis, Thompson, Elder Cook, and Pres. Monson all spoke. Elder Cook has roots in AZ and I agreed with all the praise he gave it. Much of the conference, especially Pres. Monson's talk, was focused on 'rescue.' We went to the morning session and the English sisters (who went to both) told us that before the afternoon meeting our stake president got up and said "Knowing what is coming, I feel prompted to tell you that there are around 500 less-active members within our stake boundaries alone, enough for a ward." Hearing that statistic was crazy, 500! That is a lot of work ahead, but we have a great stake and I only hope that we as missionaries can keep up with the great work that the members here do.
Recently we have been reading the Book of Mormon with Carlos almost every night. It has been a really great learning experience for us as we have read from the beginning, one chapter at a time, trying to think as our investigator thinks. I have noticed that while the Book of Mormon can be read any direction, inside and out, and studied in any order, it really has great power when read from the beginning. We learn as Nephi learns, gain our testimony as he gains his, truly line upon line and precept upon precept. I had never noticed the emphasis the first chapters make on the importance of scriptures until reading it with someone who currently doesn't treasure the scriptures. It takes us reading with him for him to read, yet in almost every single one of the first chapters of Nephi, the importance of scriptures, the purpose of the Book of Mormon, and the gratitude of Nephi and Lehi for the sacred words are shown. I think that is just so cool! And Carlos is so attentive when we read. Well, not neccessarily attentive, because it looks like he isn't processing a single word, but afterwards when we ask him what he learned he is able to point out even the littlest details that it takes members years to notice. We are just praying that he will begin to make the necessary effort to live the gospel and not just believe it.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What a week...

This is going to be shorter, because I forgot my planner and a disadvantage to writing everything down is that your brain then feels like it can forget it. So what we did last week is mostly in my planner, and not in my memory. It seems like we spent most of last week in meetings, but at least they were good ones. On Monday (and I forgot to write about it on Tuesday because our pday was so scattered) we had a meeting with Elder Evans of the Seventy. He toured the mission on Monday and Tuesday, and the mission was split between the days. It was a really great meeting (really long too). We learned a lot from him about how to focus more on how we teach, rather than what we teach. Then on Wednesday we had zone conference, where we were able to practice and apply some of the things he had just taught us. We had (an) awesome miracle(s) yesterday which were the highlights of probably the month, and they all happened at the same time, which is why they can probably be considered one miracle. We had morning shift at the VC yesterday morning and then had an appointment scheduled right after. However, he didn't come, so we stuck around at the VC to eat lunch. If he had come we probably would have been gone right before 2, but instead, right after 2 as we were getting ready to leave, Hna. Bustillo came in saying that Emma Smith was at the VC. For those who haven't seen the movie Joseph Smith the Prophet of the Restoration, the characters from that movie are like celebrities to us. So we were pretty excited to hear that the actress who played Emma was there. What made the news even better was that the group of people who were with her was actually the Nashville Tribute Band, which she is now singing with. They are a group of members that have put out the cds Joseph: A Nashville Tribute to the Prophet, and Trek: A Nashville Tribute to the Pioneers. They were in Mesa for a show that night and had come to the VC to invite missionaries and investigators to come for free. Those cds are missionary favorites, at least in this mission so we were all super excited, but of course had to get Pres. Ellsworth's permission. Next part of the miracle was that he was actually at the VC doing a baptismal interview for (next miracle) Juan Ortega, who passed and is (next miracle) getting baptized (next miracle) the day before my birthday! I can't express how happy that made me. He told President that he wanted to get baptized as soon as possible so that I could be there, which meant a lot to me, and then it meant even more that when given the choice between the 20th and the 27th, he chose the 27th because it was the day before my birthday. For me the day could have ended there and it would have been a good enough miracle, one that I will eternally be in debt for, but it continued. (miracle) President gave us his permission to go as long as we brought investigators, (miracle) The band sang 3 songs for us right there, (miracle) Romina and Marcelo said they would come, (miracle) they actually came, (miracle) and they loved it. They had seen the Joseph movie at the VC and were so touched by the music. Romina was especially touched by the song about Emma Smith sung by the woman who played Emma Smith, because she has lost 3 babies to miscarriages, one just last month. They also sang a few of the songs from Trek and a few from the next cd to come out - Work: A Nashville Tribute to the Missionaries! It was just an awesome experience, because it was so last minute but the investigators that needed that and would be touched most by that were able to come! I think that even if I had brought my planner, all of last week would have been overshadowed by yesterday. Juan Ortega is getting baptized! I am so excited I just wanted to cry yesterday, and just wished that I could give him a great big hug! He is so happy and so converted. He finished the Book of Mormon and has started it again already. His son is coming to live with him and even though he has never met with missionaries he has seen the change in his dad and has already told him that he wants to get baptized when he gets here. I love these people and I love being a part of their life and I am so grateful that they are a part of mine. I am so blessed to be here and they have wrought a change in my life that I never imagined. I love you all! Have a great semana!

Desde Mesa, con amor,
Hermana Ladd

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

2 Nov, 2010

First of all, happy birthday Mom! I just at least wanted to mention it so you knew I remembered because this will get there faster than snail mail, but I am sending something.

Second of all, to everyone else, happy beginning of the best month ever! I am so excited for November! It is finally cooling down here (though it goes back and forth, this last weekend in the 80s, but before that in the low 70s). It is really weird to start thinking of a year ago, because some of the things are repeating themselves, but differently. For example, on Saturday we had a Halloween activity with the VC so that we wouldn't be out in the area. We ate dinner together and carved pumpkins and then watched a movie. A year ago on Halloween as a district we participated in the Stake trunk or treat. I remember a year ago when they were setting up for Christmas lights, and now it is that time again. It is kind of a deja vu point of the mission right now because of all that. However, it is the things that are different that really make this time awesome. I love the area (although that isn't saying too much because I have loved all of my areas). This week we started our branch fast. When each family starts fasting we are able to go over and visit with them and then pray with them as they begin. We realized last night that we are really going to be able to get to know the branch well through this. Often with transfers, you come into a new area and rely on your companion to tell you about the people. However, then you are left with only what they know, and sometimes that is only biased information. This week I know that Sis. Rodio and I will be able to get to know the members personally and as a companionship which will really help our work with them. We want the branch to trust us and to see that we are doing our best to do missionary work, because that will help inspire them to do it themselves.

Our investigators are doing great. We were finally able to get some of them to church. Actually, we only got one real investigator to come but we had a miracle with another. The one that came was Gabriel Franco, who usually only goes if his brothers go. However, this week he made the decision to come even though they didn't. We had a lesson just with him on Saturday, which I think helped because usually in lessons his brothers overshadow him, but when it was just him he had to speak up. The miracle was that another man just showed up looking for an American who had invited him to church. He had never been before and even though he didn't find him and didn't remember his name, he stayed with us for all three hours and accepted to have us come over. He was so attentive during the meetings and said that he loved the classes. He usually works on Sunday, but said that whenever he doesn't work he will come to church with us. We were so excited to have them at church because it is something we have been struggling with all month. However, yesterday was a new month and we will continue to try our best to get our investigators to come to church. Carlos is one investigator who is struggling with that. He wants to get baptized, but he always makes excuses for why he can't come to church. I realized last week that he is the investigator that I have taught for the longest time on my mission. That's great though, because then I can be more bold with him because he knows me and knows that it is out of love.

We are still adjusting to balancing time being back at the VC, but I think we are doing pretty well with it. On Saturday we only had 4 hours in our area, but we were able to teach 5 families. That is all thanks to the many people that the Lord is preparing in this area. We are so busy finding and teaching all of them. I have decided that I love being busy (not rushed and in a hurry, but busy.) It is something I have come to appreciate on my mission that I hope I can keep afterwards as well.
Well, I hope everyone has a great week!

Desde Mesa, con amor,
Hermana Ladd

Monday, October 25, 2010

'May we open with a prayer and a load of whites?'

I hope that the title gives you an odd image in your head and I hope that that image at least a little bit resembles the odd week we have had. I am sad that I won't have much to report on the missionary side of things, since it seems most of our week was spent doing laundry. I'm sure that those who have access to the news have heard about a pest epidemic, and it seems with our schedule and our visits, we invited lots of little roommates into our apartment. At least thats what we think because Hna. Rodio kept getting bitten during the night. So, to get rid of the invisible vampires, Elder Alldrege, the office missionary over housing decided we should probably fumigate. Fumigating a missionary apartment means washing EVERYTHING in hot water. That means everything. That means the flowered curtains over our window. That means the old coat an ancient sister left in the closet. That means everything. Do you know how long it takes to wash everything made of fabric in a 4 sister apartment? 2 and a half days. We had to come back between every appointment to change a load of laundry. We seriously considered bringing our laundry with us to our investigators' houses, hence the subject line. And on top of all that, to avoid having to do 2 and a half days of laundry when they come back in 2 weeks to spray again, we had to move. So we found a family in our branch who have a little studio apartment that we can stay in for a few weeks. No study area, no kitchen, but it is cute and bug free. It is just difficult living between two places, because we can still go back to our old apartment, we just can't keep our clothing there, and we can't sit down anywhere... We also live farther away from the VC now and my bike has a flat tire, so we walk every morning and get rides home at night. We have come up with a companionship motto - If we can make it through this we can make it through anything. It seems to be working so far!

A few short updates on the mission: Jesus finally got confirmed! He was baptized Oct. 2nd, but then had to go to Mexico suddenly because his mother got sick. He doesn't have a phone nor does he live in our area, so we were very worried, but with the help of another recent convert we were able to track him down. On Sunday we had one last minute scare. Israel was going to pick Jesus up but he got there late and when he did, Jesus was nowhere to be found again. He called us and we were worried but told him just to come to church. On the way to church, he ran into Jesus, walking! He was so determined to make it this week that when Israel didn't come on time he started walking. I don't even know how far of a walk he lives from the church, it is at least a 20 minute drive. His confirmation was so special, and the brother confirming him started crying at the end when he blessed him to know he was loved and accepted by our branch. Jesus doesn't really feel that from many people so it was really special. After Sacrament meeting he came up to us and gave each of us a little glass statue (like the kind he pulled out of his colorful bag) and told us we were his angels.

As I have been coming closer and closer to being permanently transferred ;) I have seen so many other tender mercies from the Lord to help me realize the impact a mission makes on people. I saw Juan Ortega at the VC the other day. He is still just as excited about his baptism. I remember when Hna. Guzman and I first found him, and when Hna. McBride and I struggled to get him to read the Book of Mormon and go to church. He now goes almost every week. Once Hna. McBride and I asked him to start the Book of Mormon from the beginning. When we came back about a week later he told us that he had read 14 chapters already. 14 is a lot for a week for most investigators, so we were super excited, then he opened it up to show us and pointed to 1 Nephi... chapter 1... VERSE 14... On Friday, however, when we saw him at the VC, he opened up to where he is now... the Book of Ether! He is almost done with the Book of Mormon. He just thanked us for finding him and bringing the gospel into his life.

Last night I got to see Emilio and Estrella again. They were at the VC watching the Joseph Smith movie with their new missionaries (they moved from the Sister's area, but stayed in Liahona 4th.) They go to church every week still and Emilio has finally decided that he wants to get baptized! We asked him every lesson from practically the time we found him if he felt ready to be baptized and he just said he wanted to learn more. He was probably the most faithful reader of the Book of Mormon I have every taught, however, so that time finally came! Now he is going to get married and baptized, he hopes before the end of the year (his girlfriend is married to someone in Mexico.) Estrella was so excited to see me, and said she was hoping we'd be at the VC. We weren't even serving there, just waiting for some investigators to come. She still wants to go on a mission and said that she doesn't think she can wait 12 more years! I don't think I could ever express the joy that comes when you see how someone's life has changed and how they appreciate you for your part in that. I know that missionary work is all about them, rather than about us, but I am still grateful the Lord lets us have those little moments. And I am so grateful to serve in such a small mission with a VC, so that I can still see all these people who mean so much to me.

And for the other people who mean so much to me - I hope that you all have a great week. I miss you all and love you all! Happy Halloween! I hope your week isn't as frightful as ours has been ;)

Desde Mesa con amor,
Hermana Ladd

Monday, October 18, 2010

Transfer 11 starts today . . .

Wow, put in words that just looks crazy - Transfer 11! out of 11.5!

In good, better, and best news - I am going back to the VC, get to stay in BOTH areas of Ellsworth, and am still companions with Hna. Rodio! You can decide the order of which is good, which is better and which is best, because I sure can't! Sorry about the short email last week, but this week we are back at the library and have much better connection. The day after preparation day last week we were able to help a family in our branch, the Islas, clean the apartment they are moving into. They are moving out of our branch area, but as far as we all know they will be staying in the branch because it is just temporary. He is the Elder's Quorum President and she is in the Relief Society Presidency. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE being back in a branch. Liahona 4th as an area was amazing, but boy, there is nothing like serving in a little branch. It seems the less people there are, the more they do. We were really touched when, in our Branch Council meeting yesterday, we told them that we were both staying and many of the leaders didn't hide their excitement. Anyways, we helped them clean their apartment and then went out to eat pizza. There are so many neat families in our ward and I can't wait to continue to work with them. Hna. Rodio had the great idea to do a week long ward fast. We are really excited and even more excited because our leaders are so suportive. How it will work is that we will send around a sign up sheet next Sunday, and starting the Sunday before fast Sunday there will be families in our ward fasting certain days that week. That way as a branch we will be fasting for an entire week. We will go over to the families houses the night they start their fast to share a message and pray with them. Then on fast sunday they will of course have the opportunity to share their experience. Another way for us all to work together for missionary work.

On Friday, I went on exchanges with Hna. Hernandez in the Escondido branch. (We all like to make fun of the name of that branch, because it means "hidden" in Spanish, and it is one of the teeniest branches in the valley). I was able to meet a lot of neat people there. (PS, especially after this next transfer, if I start using the word 'neat' a lot you can blame it on Hna. Rodio, becuase she uses it tons and now I catch myself doing it as well!)
I am super excited to be finishing my mission up in this area. This transfer news means that I have 9 more weeks in Ellsworth park, and there is tons of promising things happening in the next 6 weeks!

Last night there was another mission president's fireside. I love those because it is my chance to see people who have such a big part of my heart. Especially because last night it was hosted by Liahona 4th, so I was able to see people like Rogelio, Hna. Rodriguez, Gilberto, etc. Also, we had a great miracle. Betty told us that she would try to come to church, but would more certainly be able to come to the fireside. I called her a little bit before with the address, and she had forgotten and had a headache, but still sounded like she was going to try to come. I felt like she was going to come and told Hna. Rodio so. Right after I told her the phone started vibrating, and it was Betty, saying that she had gotten lost! I gave her directions and about 10 minutes later she walked in! It was such a miracle and we know that despite her headache she was able to feel the Spirit. We are so grateful she made the efforts to come. She is one that we have great hopes for, because she is so sincere in her desires to learn. I'm excited to update you about her and everyone else in the coming emails!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

October 5, 2010

The highlight of our past week was definitely conference weekend. Conference just doesn't get any better than on the mission. On Saturday morning session we walked over to the Visitors' Center to watch it in one of the theaters. Then some sisters drove us and our bikes down to the southern-most part of the area for an appointment we had immediately after the session. We saw Romina and Marcelo, our Argentine investigators and they committed to watching conference with us on Sunday afternoon. As soon as we left them we biked over to the stake center where we watched the second session, which was immediately followed by Jesus' baptism! Jesus was really excited for his baptism and really understood the significance of this step in his life. We got him some of the most interesting baptism presents I've ever gotten anyone in my mission. First of all we got him a notebook and pens, because he always carried around a notebook to write down our appointments and take notes during lessons. However, he lost it the week before his baptism, so we got him a new one and gave it to him before conference so that he could take notes. The second present needs a little explaining. The lesson before his baptism we were having a lesson with him in the Visitors' Center. Now, Jesus always carries with him a colorful handmade backpack, common to South American countries. He had to look through it for a pen so he started pulling out all of the things that mean a lot to him, all the things he carries with him always. Before I describe it, think about what you would carry around in your bag... Anyways, Jesus pulled out three glass cubes, the kind with etchings in the middle, that had been banged together so much that they were missing corners. Then he pulled out a metal snail statue, then a harmonica, and finally 2 bags of popcorn. He said a little something about each item as he pulled it out and when he got to the popcorn he got really excited. He explained in Spanish how it was his very favorite food, and when we said "popcorn, really?" He exclaimed in English "I just love it!" So we got him popcorn for his baptism! It is so funny because no matter who he is talking to he always says "I just love popcorn!" in English, rather than Spanish. After the baptism we headed to dinner. Our morning and afternoon had been packed! As we were leaving our dinner appointment, Sis. Rodio noticed some big salmon-brown clouds. "Those are fire clouds!" she said. Having never seen a fire cloud before I took her word for it and we peddled on. AS we got to one of the biggest streets in our area we stopped to talk to someone on the corner. The way we were standing I was facing them and the big clouds were behind them, so I had the better view. As Sis. Rodio was talking to the man I realized the clouds were moving way to fast to be fire clouds and that I had seen them a year earlier. It was a dust/sand storm that often accompanies monsoons. As soon as we finished the contact I told Sis. Rodio what they were and that we should probably get inside. We weren't worried because we had an appointment, so we just peddled as fast as we could through the wind and dust to our appointment. However, when we got there she was "taking a shower" so the appointment was cancelled. By this time the dust storm had been pushed through and the thunderstorm was coming. Now, in a car, it would be just a regular missionary evening, despite the weather, but on bikes, lightning creates a different story. We were unsure whether we should be out in the weather but as we were leaving the cancelled appointment we got our answer. Sis. Rodio looked down at her back tire, only to discover that somewhere along the way it had lost all of its air. not just some, but all. So much that we could pull the tire off the spoke... We weren't going anywhere. So here we were stranded under an apartment car port, during the priesthood session of conference when all the men with trucks and bike gear had the cell phones off. So instead we called the VC, and got permission for the sisters who had driven us that morning to come pick us up. Luckily they still had our bike rack. It made for quite an exciting Saturday.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Sisters Campbell and Cottrell had Sisters Ladd and Rodio over to the mansion!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tuesday Sept. 28th

Happy Birthday Piggy! Wish I could be there for my baby sister's 14th birthday!

And happy birtday to Grandma, Aunt Nancy, Uncle John, Leslie and Michael! Sorry I am way late on most but I didn't remember whose was when until Grandma reminded me, so thanks :)

Another week has come and gone. You know, it is a blessing to be on bikes, because the weeks seem longer! This is probably, however, the hottest September of my life. I'm sure last year was just as hot, because I wasn't used to it, but being in the VC and in a car helped a lot. I can't believe that October is here. This weekend is going to be so great. First of all, there is a baptism, and then right after the second session on Saturday we are having a baptism. His name is Jesus and it is amazing to see the change the gospel has brought to his life. When he was younger he was studying to be a priest, so he already understands a lot and it wasn't hard to add in the truth he had been missing. One of the coolest was when he decided to stop wearing crosses. He came in to his cita at the VC one day and was wearing probably about 20 crosses. We didn't want to tell him that he shouldn't wear crosses, but were unsure about how to address it. We talked about the baptismal covenant and how when we get baptized we are able to be the example or the symbol of our faith. We didn't, however, mention anything specifically about crosses. After teaching him, we weren't sure if he would understand the way it was meant, but hoped that he would change that habit. The next time we saw him at the VC we taught him about Pres. Monson and how he has lived his life following Christ. At the end of the lesson, he brought up the crosses, which was a surprise to us. He said that something that I had said in the last lesson made him think about how he didn't need to wear crosses, and he told us that after his baptism he would take them off. We were so happy and it was such a blessing to see how the Spirit had taught him through us.

We recently received a referral from some members. Her name is Betty and she is renting the side apartment of their house. Last week we had a really cool lesson with her. She marks everything that we read with her in the Book of Mormon and told us that she is confused about religion and really wants to know the truth. She is so sincere and I know that she will accept the gospel. Yesterday when we taught her, we gave her a list of questions of the soul that the Book of Mormon answers and asked her to choose one and that we would study it together. She chose "Why does God allow suffering to occur?" We studied with her out of 2nd Nephi and she was able to see how the Book of Mormon answers her questions. We left her with another question to study and answer on her own (How can my family be more united?) and we are excited to be able to discuss what she has learned. I love using the Book of Mormon in teaching. That book really is a testimony to the Restoration because it was written for our time. It answers the questions everyone has. Yesterday we actually did that activity with all of our lessons (meaning at the end each one chose a question to study) and it was so neat that every single one chose a different question. This helps us to understand better the needs of our investigators and how to help them meet them through the gospel.

We had our interviews with Pres. Ellsworth last week and were able to receive a lot of neat training that is coming down from Salt Lake. As always I am excited for the progression of the mission but sad that I didn't learn some of this at the beginning of my mission to have all 18 months to apply it!

Desde Mesa con amor,
Hermana Ladd

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

21 Sep 2010

I've got a lot of individual emails to write this weeks so this will be a shorter one. I don't remember if I mentioned this last week, but 2 weeks ago we painted a fence for the son-in-law of an investigator (the one who talked about toilets being white). He was shocked that we wanted to do service and kept looking at us shocked and asking why we were doing it. He said "I'm a nice guy and all, and I like to help people, but only when they ask me to." Anyways, we painted the fence, whether he believed we wanted to or not. Last Tuesday, after pday, we were driving by his house and he was in a Uhaul truck outside. We jumped out and asked what he was doing. He told us that he had to clean out the shop (his boss just closed their car shop). Then he looked at us and said, you know, it you like helping, this would be a good time to do it. We jumped in the car and followed him over to the shop, where we spent a good while loading all the scrap metal into the Uhaul to be taken to a scrap metal shop. We were so happy that we had gained his trust enough that he asked us for help. After we cleaned it up, they took us to get "Mexican" fried ice cream. I say "Mexican" because it was from one of those American "Mexican" restaurants and was just ice cream rolled in corn flakes. But we enjoyed the time together and were able to have some good gospel talks. On Wednesday and Thursday we helped Sister Alvarez again in preparation for their "restaurant" on the weekends. They are less active and while they have testimonies and know they should go back to church they don't really listen when we bring it up, so rather than pound them with invitations to church we just do service. However, last week, as we were leaving, Hno. Alvarez said "you know, if you want you can leave us with a prayer before you go. And sometimes you could even share a scripture if you want to, we'll listen." That was exactly what we wanted. We wanted them to show the desires. And then of course we got to eat their amazing food that weekend. Hna. Alvarez has promised to teach me some recipes before I go home, so get ready! Thursday we had a lesson with a new investigator. She is renting an apartment on the side one of our member's houses. Hno. Ayala is in the branch presidency and Hna. Ayala in the RS presidency. Betty is a young mother and was really sweet. We are excited to teach her again. Bikes are a little trying, and are wearing off their charm. Sunday morning we had to bike from our house to Gilbert Rd and the 60 (which if going straight there is about a 45 minute ride). At least we know we can make it now, though we usually borrow a car when we have to go that far. Sunday night there was a mission president fireside in Phoenix. I had never been in Phoenix before but it was super nice! Too bad it is hotter there than in Mesa, otherwise it looked like a really nice area to live. Hna. Rodio and I are very curious about what there is to do there, becuase every one is always going to Phoenix. Yesterday we say 3 of the Franco sons. We were able to see 2 of them on Friday. We had a really great lesson with them. We asked the sons what were some of the things that they had learned from their parents. Then we asked them what their children would say if we asked them. It was really cool the things they said, but what was funniest was when Hna. Franco said "why don't we ask them?" and got up to get her grandchildren. They haven't been in American for very long so they are these cute little Domincan kids, just barely learning English. Luis has 2 sons, Luis del Sol and Juan Luis. Juan Luis is home all day, he is only 4, and he goes by "blondie." We asked Luis del Sol, the kindergartener, what he learns from his dad and it was hilarious, because he started spouting off all the English phrases he could remember. "What's your name? Just a second. Hold on. How can I help you" etc. He has the cutest little accent. Then Rubio shouted at the top of his lungs "1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8!" It was hilarious and all of us were laughing. However, the best part of the lesson came later when Tomas was answering a question. He looked at us and referred the church as "your church" but then paused, looked at us again and said "I mean, our church..." It was so awesome!
I love these people and the things I learn from them each day and hope I can learn many more in the next few months!

Desde Mesa, con amor,
Hermana Ladd

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Did you ever notice that toilets are white?

The title for my email this week comes from a conversation we had with an investigators son-in-law the other day. It made me realize how much we take for granted. He was telling us about is life. When he was little they lived in Mexico and his mother left them with his grandpartents and she came to America. When he was young, this strange woman showed up at his home, and it turns out it was his mother coming to bring them to the states. He told us the trip from his perspective as a little boy. He said that when he got here, the first house they came to just after the border seemed like an entirely different world. "The toilets were white!" he told us. Have you every noticed that toilets are white, instead of concrete? I don't think I had ever taken much thought to that before, but now I will be forever grateful that they are. It is amazing how much we take for granted. He pointed out that the pictures on the walls were amazing to him because in Mexico, the walls were made of cardboard and would fall down if you put anything on them. It is amazing to me the humility of the people we visit, and the humble circumstances they live in. Many of them have small homes, that are almost empty of all furniture, but I never thought to compare it to their former circumstances. To them, just to have four sturdy walls and a strong roof is enough for happiness. We are so blessed to be here and I hope never to take our freedoms and liberties for granted. Romina and Marcelo might have to move back to Argentina to take over his family's business, which actually does well. However ,as they were talking to us last night about all the struggles they've been through here, Marcelo said "we would rather be poor here than rich there."

On Saturday we had a 9-year-old baptism. Jacob was baptized by his dad which was such a miracle. The Garcias had been a little less active, I don't know for how long, but when Sister Rodio was first in the area she an Sister Lopez really worked hard so that Hno. Garcia could pass the sacrament, which he did I think their last week in the area. With that background, I think it was especially touching for Sister Rodio to see him be able to baptize his son. I have been studying the talks from last conference and am so often reminded of the talks about the priesthood and the truth that the father presides over his household, no matter who else is present.

Yesterday we had another great miracle. When I came to the area, we were teaching 2 adult sons of a less-active couple, who had accepted baptism but were coming to church as regularly as we would like. When Sister Rodio came we went to see them and I met one of the other sons, that she had been teaching before. There are 4 sons and Sisters Rodio and Lopez were teaching 2 of them, while the other 2 were still in the Dominican Repulic. Then The area was whitewashed and the sister started teaching the other 2 when they came, but for some reason didn't continue teaching the first 2. So she knew 2 (Tomas and Ermino) and I knew the other 2 (Luis and Gabriel). Anyways, we went over and I met Ermino and set up an appointment around his schedule (the other three werent there). When we got to the appointment yesterday, Hno. Franco (who is always there) went to get Ermino and it turns out Luis and Gabriel were also there. We started teaching all of them and partly through the lesson Tomas came home from work. There we were with Hno. Franco and his four sons. It was a powerful lesson and the first time either of us had taught all 4, in fact, it was the first time all four had been taught together. And all four of them accepted a baptismal date! I can't really express in an email just how miraculous it was to have all 4 of them there, and after the lesson Hno. Franco looked at his sons and thanked is for teaching them.

We have seen many miracles in this last week. When Sister Rodio was here the area was split in 2, then whitewashed after that transfer by the sisters in the north area, so when I got here (and still) it was the 2 areas combined. For some reason when it was whitewashed the north sister didn't contact many of the investigators in the south area, so Sister Rodio and I are going back to these people. So many of them are ready for the gospel but haven't been contacted in 12 weeks! So many of our miracles are coming from those people in the south area. One of them said to us yesterday "I've been thinking a lot about you lately, and I guess it is because you were going to come today." I love serving with Sister Rodio, because we are alike and different enough that we just work great together. She loves the people from the south area so much that I can't help but love them the first time I meet them. And likewise, I love the people she doesn't know in the north so much and just love introducing her to them because I know she will love them too.

In latest news, the temporary bike situation from last email has become a permanent circumstance. So many missionaries came in last transfer and there are a few elders that can't ride bikes, so they asked us if we were willing to give up our car. What else could we say but yes? It hasn't been too hard, but there are days that we struggle and we come home exhausted every night. We have a fairly large area compared to some others (actually quite large, it takes us 30 minutes to get from the middle part home, and we haven't even tried biking from the far reaches) but we make due. The only thing that is frustrating is the fact that since it takes us forever to get anywhere we can no longer have appointments ever hour, but we are learning to plan timing better and when really necessary, we can borrow cars from the sisters serving at the VC.

Oh, and I promised to talk about the surprise from the VC! On Saturday at our preparation meeting we got to meet someone really awesome... Joseph Smith! :) Okay, actually it was just the actor that plays Joseph Smith in the Joseph Smith movie and in the Restoration movie, but that movie is such a big part of our mission that it was really neat. He lives here in Mesa and Elder White invited him to come down. My favorite thing he said was in response to the question of whether or not he felt pressure to continually live up to that role, since (especially in Mesa) many recognize him as playing Joseph Smith. I loved his response. He said that while many would think he would feel a lot of pressure it really doesn't matter, because he has taken on a more sacred covenant, one that is to represent the Savior as a member of His church. He also said that Joseph Smith wouldn't ever want us to mention him without speaking of the Savior. I loved that because really, all of us have taken on that covenant, first at baptism, to represent the Savior and take His name upon our heart. All of us should feel that type of pressure to live up to our "role". I am so grateful that not only do I have His name written on my heart, but that I have the blessing of wearing His name next to mine on my nametag for 18 months!

I hope that every one is having a great week and that every one will have a great upcoming week too!

Desde Mesa, con amor,
Hermana Ladd

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Transfers have brought a few surprises, some great, some okay...

So I don't know if y'all want the great surprise or the "still figuring out how I feel" surprise. I'll start with the later - I am staying in Ellsworth but... I am going full-field again. Don't have much comment on that since I wasn't even expecting that as a possibility and was excited to spend the rest of the mission in the VC. Actually, in all honesty, I was not excited about it at all, because I love the VC. At least mom you know my pday will be every Tuesday again...

However, this is where the great news comes in, luckily to outweigh the not so great... you ready for it... my new companion is a super awesome sister from California named... HERMANA RODIO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes Hna. Ladd and Hna. Rodio have been reunited again! I'll go full-field again even if the only reason is so she can have her second full-field. So pretty much, I am super super excited and 6 weeks of emails won't ever be enough to show how much I love Sis. Rodio and how excited I am to be her comp. I love Sis. Dewitt, but she is going to Sis. Lopez. At least we will still be in the same zone, because she was also one of my greatest companions.

In other news, we are on bike until Wednesday or Thursday, because our car broke on Friday and the dealership didn't have the part to fix it. I must say (and yes this really is Sister Brynn Ladd writing this) that I love riding bikes! It is a blast! And Mom, I don't plan on getting a little vespa in Morocco, but I am thinking about a bike! :P
Ok, enough with transfer news, now onto missionary stuff :) Sis. Dewitt and I have been studying a lot from last April's conference Ensign (super good, can't wait for October). It is amazing how specifically these things apply to our investigators and I love having a modern day prophet! We finally were able to see Romina and Marcelo (speaking of, Dad - which cities in Argentina did you serve in? Marcelo is from northern Argentina) on Tuesday and as we talked to Romina it seemed like everything she said was actually a question her soul had, and the answered were found in the talks we had been studying. It was amazing, it was as if the general authorities and been given her questions and concerns and asked to give talks on those subjects. We brought her a copy of the Liahona and then on Sunday night we shared a talk with them. I felt like it was a powerful lesson because it was from the talk We Follow Christ by Elder Cook and pretty much we just shared and testified, shared and testified. Also, I had Sis. Dewitt lead the lesson which I hope was good for her to give her the confidence she needs to speak the Spanish she knows. She has such a strong testimony that it shines through no matter what words she says. Conference seems to be a theme lately, and I hope it will help our investigators take the opportunity to see it next month. We shared a talk with 2 recent converts last week and this week they are studying a talk and are going to share with us. It is wonderful to see the modern application of eternal principles and again, I am so grateful for a living prophet. I would hate to even imagine my life with out a prophet to help guide it.

Desde Mesa, con amor,
Hermana Ladd

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

release date!

Brynn's mom here.... she has a release date now! Her extension was approved and she'll come 'home' just before Christmas. Feel free to comment or contact me if you have questions and I can respond privately!

Monday, August 16, 2010

My heart is brim with joy!

This week has been a hard one, but that sentence still stands true. Most of our appointments fell through and we didn't have a single full night in our area, so our numbers were awful, also, our three investigators with baptismal dates didn't come to church so they can no longer get baptized this month, but needless to say I am still happy, and here is why:

First of all, on Saturday I was able to go to the baptism of one of my investigators in Liahona 4th. I was so delighted to see how full the room was (most baptisms in that ward consisted of the missionaries, the person being baptized, and those taking part in the program). Second of all, it was really cool that all but 3 of the missionaries that taught Seferino were able to be there (the other 3 have already gone home) He was found a year ago and has moved around so there were 7 of us there. I have a cool picture of us with Seferino. Also, I was able to see most of our main investigators from Liahona 4th! I saw Juan Ortega, who is still going strong, but is still having trouble going to church. Daniel was also there and has a baptismal date for Sept 4th! So I will be heading back that way soon. Also, my favorite members and my recent convert Rogelio, were all there, which leads me to miracle of joy number 2.

Last night we had a Mission President's fireside. At the end of the last one Rogelio said "well, I guess it is my turn next!" I was so excited to hear his testimony. I was looking around the congregation for him but I couldn't find him til he came up and sat beside me. He was wearing a full suit and tie! He looked so different from the former drug dealer we had first met. When it was his turn for his testimony, I could tell he was nervous but he did it anyway and there was a new strength in him. He started off telling a little about his hard past, but then told about how we met him and said that the time since his baptism has been the happiest 2 months of his life! He said how even though before his baptism he never would have believed it, but now he knew that in a way, being forgiven of your sins is as easy asn being baptized. I do not know a time that I have felt happier in my entire life, than hearing his testimony, especially after all he has been through. Even after his baptism he struggled knowing that he had been forgiven, because he struggled in forgiving himself. He said that he continues to pray for us and will always respect us for helping him find the truth.

So, even though it was a hard week, I cannot help but exclaiming that my heart is brim with joy, because I have been so blessed this week to be able to feel a great part of our Heavenly Father's love for his children. I testify that it is so great and that His joy is also full when even one lost sheep returns to the fold. I understand the scriptures so much more on my mission and cannot even imagine what the joy of the celestial kingdom will be. Father promises us "how great will be you joy with him," the souls we bring to Christ. I saw just a little sliver of that this weekend and could hardly contain my joy... I cannot even fathom how happy we will be in heaven. There better be lots of trampolines because after this weekend I just imagine us all bouncing up and down for joy eternally!

Desde Mesa, con amor,
Hermana Ladd

9 Aug 2010

We had a great week last week, but not much time in our area. We are averaging 1.5-2.5 nights in our area in a week because of our VC schedule, so we are very busy during the time we do have trying to see all of our investigators while finding new ones as well. I'm grateful for all the help that the Lord is giving us. I have seen tons of miracles this week (but what is new on the mission!) First of all, our zone leaders challenged the zone to have each companionship set 2 baptismal dates last week for this month. We got the challenge with only 4 sundays left in the month, 3 for someone to come to church and 1 for their confirmation so we worked hard to get people to church. There is one family, Carlos and Mirna, and their kids that I had actually taught in my last area. Carlos grew up in the church so he always says he's Mormon, even though he was never baptized. They were investigating in the Liahona 3rd ward and then moved to Liahona 4th right before I got there. We taught them for a while thinking he was less-active, until we found out he had never been baptized, but then they moved into Ellsworth and here I am again! He had had a date for July 24th, but never went to church. We felt like he was one that is ready for baptism, we just needed to get him to go to church. We saw him on Thursday and committed him for baptism for the 28th of August. We were very bold about the importance of going to church. He often doesn't work during the week and then Saturday and Sunday he gets offered work so he takes it. We shared the scripture in D&C which says "I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say but when ye do not what I say ye have no promise." We told him that when he went to church the Lord would be obligated to help him find work, but if he didn't go to church, then the Lord wouldn't be obligated to help him. He committed to come and we prayed all week that he would. We had to serve in the VC on Sunday morning so were late to church and when we peeked in to priesthood meeting our Ward Mission Leader gave us a big thumbs up and mouthed "he's here!" We were soooo excited that he was at church! What a miracle! But the miracles continue. We were searching and searching trying to find who was the other person prepared for baptism. Carlos had brought 2 of his sons with him to church so we both thought that the 10 year old was the other one ready (the 16 year old slept through most of church...) We had an appt with them later in the evening so we were going to talk to him there, but then they called and said they would be home in time! Almost all of our appts fell through and so while we kept looking and trying, we couldn't find the person and felt it was still Eric. We had a meeting at 8:00 at night with all the Ward Mission Leaders of the wards in our building to plan an open house so when we got there at 8, we thought that was the end of our night and we wouldn't reach our goal. However, the meeting got out at 8:30. We realized that that would give us just enough time to run by Carlos's house to see if he was home yet. He was! So we were able to talk to him and his son and invite Eric to get baptized with his dad. It was the miracle we wanted after the trial of our faith. The whole day we knew that there was someone else ready for baptism, we just needed to show our faith and keep believing even when we couldn't find them. I am so excited for this family and know that Eric will provide a great help to keep his dad going to church.
I also had an awesome VC miracle. Sis. Dewitt and I were assigned to the Art Exhibit at the last hour of the night when 2 men came in. I was by the entrance so they just asked me about what the art exhibit was. I introduced it a little and then the looked through it and I didn't talk to them until they were through. I asked about their favorite pieces and we talked about the art until one of them interuppted and said to his friend "now I just have to ask, are these girls in their service time or mission or whatever?" His friend answered yes and then Jerome (the one who isn't a member) explained that he wasn't Mormon but his friend was. His friend told us that he had joined last November. We talked a little bit about the difference between sisters and elders and Jerome told us about his familiarity with the church, which wasn't too much, more with members than the actual church. Then he exclaimed "you ladies don't know what kind of day I've had and how you've made it a lot better." I testified of the Spirit of the temple and then felt prompted to testify of families and how when our earthly family fails us we have God as a perfect Father. He told me that that was exactly what had made his day hard, was problems with his family. Then his friend shared how he had felt prompted to invite him down to the VC tonight. Jerome talked about the peace he felt at the VC. I told him that there was a way for him to have that peace always, to be able to hang up the phone after a stressful conversation with a relative and immediately feel that peace in his home, and then I invited him to have the missionaries teach him more about how. He said "you know what, I'm sold, I'd really like that." And right as I got his information we heard over the PA system "The Visitor's Center is now closed. Thank you for coming and please come again." A top box at 9:00 pm! It was so wonderful to see how the Lord really prepares so many people for the gospel. Both of these miracles were answers to unspoken prayers of mine. With transfers there were a few people that, seeing that the missionaries had changed, didn't seem as interested in the gospel and even though I know it isn't me and that I am called to this area, I could help feeling bad and wishing I knew how to connect with them sooner. That's when we set a date with Carlos and since I had taught him before, I realized how well the Lord knows us and how he calls us and puts us in places to touch certain people. With the top box, earlier in the week we had a very slow day at the VC and hardly anyone came in. I was in the exhibit for an hour without a single person coming in and I realized how hard it is to remember you are a missionary and not get discouraged when you are sitting in an art exhibit and not feeling like you are doing any missionary work. Then Jerome came in a few days later and the Lord was able to remind me of the great call I have and how powerful of a tool is the Spirit of the temple and the VC.

I love being a missionary and I love seeing all the miracles the Lord has prepared for this area.
Please pray for Carlos especially so that he can keep coming to church and prepare for his baptism!

Desde Mesa, con amor,
Hermana Ladd

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

3 Aug 2010

Well this past week has involved a lot of meeting new people, which is great. It is always a little odd to be transferred, even though this is only my second time doing so. But nonetheless, it still makes you feel like a brand new missionary in good and bad ways. Bad in that sometimes you have no idea what is going on, and good in that it seems that everything is possible ahead. The branch members that I have met so far seem super awesome, and I am excited to get them more involved. They don't come out with the missionaries very much but they all seem so willing to that I think that is just a feeling that has been passed down through missionaries. Sometimes all it takes is asking. We have two area books because the area is one that gets split and combined all the time. I think that it will stay combined for a little while because they just took away our other phone, the area used to have two phones so it was easier to split. I have been going through the area books and there are TONS of former investigators in this area! Most easily translated that means that there are a lot of potential investigators. Just a quick explaination, an area book is where we keep all the information about the people we are teaching, and the people that have been taught. Their records stay in that book until they move or die or go through the temple, so sometimes that means a long time. I always wonder what these former investigators think when new missionaries show up on their doorstep after years of not coming. Little do they know... ;) Speaking of what people think, I have always wanted to do like a photo exhibit of the world from the point of view of missionaries, or missionary work from the point of view of the world (maybe a future project Ky, because I sure can't do it but I do want to see it). Let me explain, there are so many times when we as missionaries see things and you know we are only seeing part of the story, but I would love to capture those moments. Then there are times when we see people's faces and I wish I could see us from their view. Sis. Dewitt and I have started pointing out some of those moments. For example, yesterday we went to teach a less-active. He is a single man, and the family he is living with wasn't home so we had to teach outside. The only place with shade at 3 in the afternoon was under the car ports in the parking lot which faces the main street in our area. And the only place to sit in these car ports were the little parking curbs. Here we were, Sis Dewitt and I sitting in skirts on these curbs with Santiago squatting against a wall. I wish I could have seen that from the view of the many cars passing us on the street! It is amazing that in this crazy world, there are little mini-systems, and when you are in one of those mini-systems, you forget all about the larger system we are all a part of. Missionary work is like that. We are so wrapped up in our little world that sometimes I forget there are people on their way to work passing our car in the street. There are people watching the news inside the houses we knock. There are things going on around that we are just not aware of. The best thing, however, is that in missionary work none of that matters. Missionary work, or the gospel itself, is probably the one mini-system that makes the macrosystem better. We don't have to know the chaos going on in the world around us to be able to make it better. I think that sometimes people watch the news and get so preoccupied with what is happening and worry so much about what they can do to help. Many settle on thinking they can't help hunger in Africa or homelessness in India. That isn't true. In fact, whenever we see that and want to help the world, the fool-proof way to do so is to walk outside and give a Book of Mormon to your neighbor, to invite your coworker to church, or to share your testimony with your friend. It is amazing how effective one baptism is in bringing peace to the world. This is the Lord's world, and we can help in only through the Lord's work.

Not sure where that tangent came from, but I know that it is true and I am so grateful that the Lord gave me the opportunity and called me to be a part of His work 24/7 for 18 months.
Desde Mesa, con amor,
Hermana Ladd

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Transfer news has come again, this time with some exciting surprises...

I would go through the whole story, with the irony and have you find out as I did, but I don't think I have the patience for reliving it. I have been composing this email since we found out, but now you'll just have to deal with the short story. Hna McBride got the call that she would be training in the area and that both Hna Rodio and I would be leaving (poor Hna Rodio, she has been transferred every 6 weeks, and is heading to her 5th and 6th companions in 6 months, yep, another trio for her) anyways, so we just waited for night to come to find out where we were going. We waited and waited and when they called the district leader said "Sister Ladd, you will be opening an area in Phoenix with Sister Dewitt." Phoenix!!! I was super excited, I've always wanted to whitewash Phoenix. So I went to bed thinking I was whitewashing Phoenix and woke up thinking I was whitewashing Phoenix and when we got to the VC found out that I was actually in the Pioneer zone, which is not Phoenix. I quickly called the assistants (our 2nd call of the morning because Sister Rodio had to call when who we thought were her companions said that their zone leaders had told her she wouldn't be their companion but would be with a Sister Skyler (her first name...)) and when I told the Elder he answered back "they told you what?!" Yeah, that's how I felt... When I told my district leader that he was wrong he was just as confused, because when they found out they asked both of our zone leaders to confirm and they both said it was true. I don't know where it got lost in translation, but they were all probably more bummed than I was, because all of our elders had served in Phoenix and were super excited for me. Instead, I am going to Ellsworth Park, where I thought before that I would go. I am excited for that too, because Ellsworth is a good little area. I will be with Hna Dewitt, Hna Rodio's MTC companion. And I hope to have much more to tell you next week about the area.
It is super sad to be leaving Liahona 4th, I love this area so much and will never forget the people here. Rogelio, our recent convert, almost started crying when we told him, as did one of our investigators, 10 yr old Estrella. Rogelio said "you are leaving me all alone." I promised that we would still support him through our prayers. But it breaks you heart nonetheless to be leaving the people you love. I have served them for 6 months! I am excited for the people in Ellsworth, last Friday I went on exchanges with Hna. Dewitt in the area and met some of them. I will probably be dieing here, so I'm ready to love many more people. I am super super sad however to not be with Hna Rodio anymore. I have been so greatly blessed this transfer to serve with her. Thee Lord knows and loves us both and we were able to find our "best friend" on the mission and even though we won't be companions anymore, I know she will be there to support me always.

This last week we have continued to see many miracles in Liahona 4th, and I am sad to go but excited for the miracles to come. The English sisters in Lehi turned over an investigator, Sandra, to us, so that we could teach her husband as well. When I went over with the sisters they committed her again to pray about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith because she hadn't yet. When we followed up the next day, this time with my companions, I asked her if she had done it and she said yes! She said that she felt very good and that she was excited to continue to read the Book of Mormon. I could see in her eyes that she had received the answer that it is true. Later that evening we went on splits with some returned sisters, miracle after miracle. Juan Ortega is still super excited for his baptism and shared some experiences he had had in the last week where he knew he felt the guidance of the Holy Ghost. Sister Rodio went to Evangelina and told us how great she was. When we got to see her this weekend we felt how strong her spirit was and how prepared she is to receive the gospel. On Friday evening I was able to go out with Hna. Dewitt in her area, which is now my area, and am glad I got the chance to meet some of the people we will be serving there. On Saturday we had a great ward activity which I think really united the ward, because that has been a struggle in Liahona 4th. I love these people and am grateful for the power of prayer, because I know that I can continue to pray for them throughout not only my mission, but also my life. I pray for all of you as well and am grateful for your prayers of support!

Desde Mesa, con amor,
Hermana Ladd

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Happy Birthday, Jacob!

Happy Birthday Jacob! Hope that you got the card, so it isn't much more but one day you will understand. I can't believe I have a 17-yr-old brother, I never thought I would! But I bet, Mom, that you can't believe you have a 17-yr-old son :P !

Another fairly uneventful week in Mesa, but good nonetheless. For hopefully the last time this transfer our companionship was split up. A full-field sister hurt her ankle and can't tract, so we trained her on telephone calls at the VC while Sister Rodio went out with her companion all week. We had quite the scare and thought that she was going to be emergency transferred, which was not a happy thought. I will be ready for it when it comes, but I don't want us to be split up before then. I love this transfer and have great companions!

Rogelio has been struggling since his baptism. The first few weeks were great, and he was really a different person, but then he started getting really discouraged. He wasn't getting work and wasn't being patient through his trials. It was frustrating to us because we can see the hope and the blessings that wait on the other side of the trials, but he couldn't see that and wasn't trusting us. I guess in a way it is like being a parent, when your kids don't listen to you because they don't believe you know, even though you've been through similar trials. And yes, Mom and Dad, you can say "I told you so" if you want to... However, Armando, a recent convert, has been fellowshipping him and found him a stable job. He is much happier again and on Sunday at the mission president fireside he told us that he wants to share his testimony at the next one! How wonderfully exciting!!!!

Our zone is getting zone t-shirts and they asked me to help coming up with a few design possibilities. I ended up drawing one out which they all really liked. I didn't realize they would appreciate my art so much, seeing as how in the family that hasn't been my forte, but that of others. I was glad to see I got some of that talent too. The creativity I've always inherited, but didn't know I could translate it into art.

On Friday, we went visited a less-active member with the English elders in our area. It was neat to see that we could teach in unity with 5 of us. Daniel is an older man, with some hearing and speaking difficulties. He is super nice and funny, but very lonely and gets offended easily. He hasn't been coming to church because he hasn't really been getting the fellowshipping he needs and because of some miscommunications was offended by another member and neighbor. He also doesn't have any transportation to church, he had been riding with the member he was offended by. As we were thinking about how to best help him, we decided to try and transfer him over to the English ward, because it is closer, there are more members close to him, and in that ward there are a lot of older people who can fellowship him. We don't want him to think we are kicking him out of this ward, because we love him and want the best for him, but unfortunately in Spanish work, sometimes the best is not a large ward like ours. And he speaks English as well, so we think it will help. The elders in that ward said that it was an answer to prayers in their ward because there are some ward missionaries who are older and feel unused. The elders and a member went over yesterday without us, and they told us it was really successful and that he accepted their invitation to their ward. I love the stability created by the gospel, knowing that no matter where you are, the church is exactly the same. This is the only church that is that uniform, which is just a greater testimony to me of its establishment by God, and not by men.

We also had a really great lesson with an investigator Daniel (who also lives in the trailers) at the VC on Friday. We were trying to help him stop drinking for a while and when we were full-field we went over every night, but it didn't seem to help him. When we were called back to the VC, we couldn't go over and see him as often. For a little while, he thought we were mad at him because we hadn't been over. (That is still a struggle we have, balancing our schedule at the VC, but the Lord blesses us if we work hard, as in this case.) About 2 weeks ago we talked to Daniel on the phone and he told us he had quite drinking again. We went over a week and a half later and he hadn't started again. He seemed a lot stronger and happier about it this time. We brought him to the VC on Friday, because he has a distracting roommate who isn't interested, but likes to talk, so it is hard for us to teach. We weren't able to get a teaching room in the VC, so we gave him a tour of the art exhibit. It was such a great lesson and the Spirit was extremely strong. He felt it and almost cried many times throughout, especially when we told him about going on a mission. That is what seems to give him the most motivation to change. He just turned 19 and will be able to serve a mission a year after he is baptized. He wants to be able to share this with other people, which shows the conversion taking place within him. I am so grateful for the art exhibit and the strength it has. Art has the power to touch people's spirits in such a strong way. If you think about it, the world and even we as the Lord's creations are His art. All of his creations testify of him, and they don't have the voice to do it. If they could they would shout His praises. How much more responsibility do we have as His children to share our testimonies. We have been blessed with voices, let us shout and sing His praises always, through our words and through our actions!

Desde Mesa, con amor,
Hermana Ladd

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

13 July 2010

Well, I spent most of my time reading dad's email which was much more exciting that writing, so this one is going to be more of a summary. (PS Dad, you can write that long every week if you want to :) )

Anyways, I was the very first missionary Pres. Ellsworth interviewed. He said he would look into extending, and didn't really give me a straight up answer for whether or not I can start researching schools, so keep an eye out for me! We haven't quite been a trio the past week for some reason or other, either because Sis. Rodio was sick, or because another sister was sick and Hna. McBride went with her companion. On Wednesday when we went to see Juan Ortega he told us that he had almost completely stopped drinking coffee and had completely stopped smoking. That was great news, because while he was sure he could stop smoking because he had done it before, he told us it would take a while for the coffee. We were surprised it happened so fast! We even took his coffeemaker from him. When Sis. Rodio asked for it he said "oh, sure, that would be great! that would really help me out." She asked if we could keep it for 3 days, until our next appt, but he said "no! you can keep it a week!"

Sidetrack but big part of my weeks for the rest of my mission - I was assigned a few weeks ago as the administrative assistant in the VC. They just made it up and I am the first one to have it so I still don't know what it entails, but mostly is a bunch of behind the scenes projects for Elder and Sis. White. On Pioneer Day the VC will have some activities so my last project was to design a passalong card for that. The weeks are flying by and as Hna. McBride keeps accidentally reminding us the transfer is almost over. I wish I could stay in this companionship for the rest of my mission.

In more sad news, Quirino, after being sober for 3 weeks, up and bought a case of 18 beers on Saturday, and another 12 on Sunday. I am grateful that I understand agency of people, because it is hard enough when an investigator we work so hard with falls back. Armando, a recent convert we work with a ton was really sad. He was the reason we started teaching Quirino and Melissa again. He has expressed to us many times his frustration because he shares the gospel but more often than not nothing comes from it. After this weekend we were talking with him and he was much more hopeful in the past. He is starting to learn those same lessons. We also know that this is not the end, that Quirino can still change and we have a lot of hope that he will stop drinking again. The saddest thing was that after 30 beers in less than 24 hours, he could still walk and could talk coherently. It is so sad that people can build that high of a tolerance to poison.

Yesterday, we got to do service in the temple. We cleaned and polished the wood in the rooms for preparatory ordinances. It was so cool, just the three of us cleaning the house of the Lord. We are going to go back and serve next week too! Last night was awesome, Mondays are some of my favorite days because we usually get tons done as a good way to end the week right before pday. We were at the VC after the temple and then just had 3 hours in our area and in those three hours we were able to fit 3 lessons, two of them member present lessons (We had to split the trio again, but I think this is the Lord's way of helping us cover more in our area even while serving at the VC right now). A lot of changes are taking place with all of the missions all over the world. We learned about them at interviews. I don't know how well they would be understood so I will write it in a letter and send it home. I will send a copy to Grandma and Grandpa Colton too, even though they probably already know, but they are the most likely to understand some of the terminology. Well, I think that is it, I still have to write president and a few others so I'll finish up here. I love being a missionary even though it still hits me hard sometimes and I am surprised that the Lord has brought me here in my life. I never imagined it but I have never been happier to be proved wrong!

Desde Mesa, con amor
Hermana Ladd

Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

... Speaking of the Ellsworths, we had Meet the President last week. They are another younger couple, so their 2 youngest daughters are here with them. One will be going off to BYU in the fall, but the other is going to be at home all 3 years. They are wonderful people and I look forward to telling you all more about them as I get to know them better. We have interviews tomorrow so I will ask President about some of the matters that are coming up sooner than I want.
I got Dad's email, how exciting that he is in Rabat! We emailed late today so that I could have a bigger chance of getting it. Also, we are just emailing at the VC right before shift, since everywhere else is closed (to answer your question Mom). We got to celebrate the Fourth on the Third. The VC closed early because much of Mesa was celebrating Saturday and just taking work off today. After a meeting at the VC we went to the chapel behind the temple for dinner and then we had a few different activities to choose from. Some sisters played sports, others decorated cookies, but my companions and I and some other sisters got to watch the movie Emma Smith: My Story. It was such a good movie, especially because, even though not made by the church, it had the same actors as and some of the same clips as the Joseph Smith movie we show here at the VC. It was amazing to me to see the life of the Prophet from another point of view. He had such a great call and really has done more for mankind than any other person, save the Savior Jesus Christ Himself. I know that Joseph Smith was called personally by God and His Son Jesus Christ. I know that the church he was called to restore is the only true church on the earth, with the true and complete gospel of Christ, which allows us access to the only way back to Our Father.

After the movie it was time to go home for the night, and we were walking through the temple grounds on the way back to the VC to pick up the car. It was such a miracle, because we were the only sisters who decided to walk to the chapel which meant we had to walk back at night, but right when we got to the temple, the fireworks on Main Street were set off! We took some really beautiful pictures of the temple with fireworks in the background.

Well I'm excited to hear more about the move and especially hear more about Morocco! We have quite an adventure ahead of us!

Desde Mesa, con amor,
Hermana Ladd

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

29 June 2010

President Bassett is off and President Ellsworth is here. We get to meet him tomorrow.
Seferino has committed to baptism next month. We watched the Joseph Smith movie with him. What a blessing to have the Visitors' Center.
Melissa and Quirino are praying together every night. They have also started reading their scriptures, personally and together. We love having FHE there because it brings so much light to the darkest part of the area. Quirino has also been sober for over a week, even with his neighbors calling him every night inviting him to just walk outside and drink with them.
We got to go to the temple on Thursday. I feel blessed to be part of a mission president switch, even though others are scared. Just think about it, whenever a prophet or leader died or left in the scriptures he gave some of his strongest advice. Before the temple trip on Thursday we had a conference and heard Pres. and Sis. Bassett's "last words." Then we got to go through the temple with half of the mission.
We get to clean the temple a week from Monday. I'll have more to say after we actually do it.
I gave a talk in sacrament meeting on Sunday. We had some hard meetings with the ward leaders in the morning. They don't have much if any faith in our investigators. It is frustrating that they don't understand that they don't have to be perfect before baptism. Most of them are converts and they have already forgotten that they too had vices they were able to overcome with the help of the gospel. My talk was on the Rock of our Redeemer. However, the chapel plus overflow ward was a 3rd of the chapel branch on Sunday morning. We are pretty sure it is because Mexico played Sunday morning.
We found Juan Michoacan for the first time in a while. He has been out of town for a little over a week. We were afraid that he had gone to California with his sister's family. He said that everytime his son comes over his son won't let him go to sleep until he prays. His son also asks for us everytime he comes over, saying "papi, where are your friends? can't you call them and tell them to come over right now? why don't they come over to play anymore?" I love when children recognize the gospel. God really is sending His strongest to the earth right now.
We haven't had personal study for 4 out of the last 6 days. It is amazing how much of a toll it takes on your spirit. Especially after being full-field and being about to study every morning and no going back to the VC and losing that. It is so important to read your scriptures everyday, otherwise your spirit literally starves!
I bought a composition notebook made out of stone (weird, huh?)
I love my companions so so so much. We have tons of fun together. I don't even want to think about the likely change that is coming in a few weeks. I want to stay in this trio for the rest of my mission. I wouldn't mind staying in this area either (in the ward I wouldn't, but the area, for sure).

The temple gardens are full of huge sunflowers and there is a little duckling in the reflection pool. Sometimes when I see the temple from a different angle than that at the back desk of the VC, it hits me again just how beautiful it is. I can't even imagine how much more amazing it must be for someone who doesn't have the Spirit with them and doesn't know what it is, because their spirit recognizes it and feels something when they first see it.
The sun is scorching but I've gotten used to the 110+ heat. Really it hasn't been to bad. Everyday the temperature surprises me. I have realized how much of a difference humidity really does make. In the shade the heat here is completely bearable. It is just the sun that kills, it is super direct sunlight. Plus, I'm a missionary and we have way more important things to worry about than sweating.

My next pday has been changed from Tuesday the 6th to Monday the 5th. Just so you know :) Especially you, Dad, so you can try and get an email off. If I don't get one I'll try and get permission to check my email Tuesday morning, because I can't wait to hear from you in Morocco!
I love you and good luck with the move!

Desde Mesa, con amor,
Hermana Ladd