Tuesday, February 23, 2010

--no title--

As mom reminded me I need to update with more information on the area and companion. Hna Nielsen is from Michigan, and was studying art at BYU. She is the second of 8, the oldest girl. And we get along great! I am hoping to stay full-field next transfer so that we have the possibility of staying companions! We live in an apartment, which is weird to not have upstairs roommates, and sometimes I miss living with members. I can send pictures of it when I send the memory card. The area is north of the temple and our ward covers 3 stakes. Our specific area covers one stake completely, then has about 2 blocks of 2 other stakes.

Well we have had some interesting things happen this week, to say the least. On both ends of the spectrum from good to bad. I'll start off with the bad... We have a few investigators in this one apartment complex. Hna. Nielsen said that before I came the manager had told them that we can't come there and knock doors. They had insisted that we don't tract in that complex, we only go to those that have invited us... so despite her we kept going. She had said that it is private property and that we aren't allowed to be there, but as missionaries who deal with this a lot we knew better and kept going. Last week I finally got the privilege of meeting Blanca. We were at an investigators apartment, waiting for her to come out of the kitchen. We actually were planning on dropping her and were just there to get her permission to teach her son, who is interested. We stood there waiting and waiting for her to come, both her son and her "husband" said she was coming. Instead, along comes Blanca from the office. She told us that she had tried to be nice but had no choice but to kick us off the property. We kindly but firmly insisted that we had the right to visit people that had invited us, but she insisted that we didn't and said she would call the police. She also took the mission office number and said she would call and speak to them, because she has talked to many missionaries before (she doesn't understand that both the English and Spanish sisters go there, or that we get transferred...) We left because even though deep down I wanted to argue with her I luckily remembered that I am a missionary and I should not (I don't even think she is a citizen, maybe just a resident, because she isn't American natively...) We figured out later that we think the investigator called her, because she knew right where to find us, which is frustrating because we would rather people take the time to just tell us personally not to come back, rather than make there manager lie about the legality and make it so that we can't visit our other investigators there. I called the mission office and confirmed that we were legally allowed to be there if invited, so we will end up going back one day, but not til after our frustration cools off. That is a hard balance to find as a missionary. I know that as ministers of the gospel that we have authority to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. However, many people (especially ones older than us) do not understand or believe that and treat us condescendingly. I find it hard to balance between being bold and confident and being kind and respectful.

However, the good things of the week far outweigh the bad. On Tuesday, we got a call from the stake president over the stake our area is in and he said that he had a referral from us. He had just set apart a missionary and his whole family was there, including his non-member grandmother. He spoke with the grandmother (through the grandson because she only speaks Spanish) and asked her how she felt and if she wanted missionaries to come teach her more. He set up an appt with her for us to come over last Saturday. I can now say that for the first time in my mission I have met what people call a "golden" investigator. I don't think I have ever met anyone more prepared (well, more prepared when we first meet them) as Laura. We went over and she was waiting for us. We asked her about the setting apart and found out that all of her children and their families are converts to the church, the longest for no more than 3 years. She then proceeded to tell us that she has wanted to meet with missionaries for a long time now, because she has seen the affect the gospel has had one their lives. She has been to all of their baptisms, ordinations, talks, testimonies, etc, and knows that it is true. However, she wanted to wait for her husband so they could take the lessons together. He isn't (for right now) interested in learning about the gospel. After the setting apart, Laura decided that she couldn't wait any longer and that she would take the step of faith to invite us over. She knows that her husband will one day accept the gospel if she starts down that path. She pretty much bore her testimony to us every time we asked her a question, answering with how she already knew that the things we taught we true. She is such a sweet little woman, and we are so excited to be teaching her!
Thelma and Jessica are also progressing well. We made a plan of salvation game that we played with them last week, and they both have great questions. Jessica always asks if we can come back "tomorrow." They even went to church this week! They didn't go to our ward, but the went with Refugio, her brother-in-law. Then Sunday night they came to the Mission President fireside, where recent converts bear their testimonies and tell their stories of finding the church. They again came with Refugio and his family. I am really excited for them and we have seen the wonderful changes that the gospel has brought in just these few weeks. Thelma is more confident with herself, and understands more the importance of her decisions and her happiness. She is letting the Atonement heal her heart from the hurt she has been through. And she understands the importance of also letting the Savior help her forgive those who have hurt her. I am so excited for this sweet little family!

Well, that is all that time is allowing for this week. It seems like every transfer goes by faster and faster! Have a great end of February!

Desde Mesa con amor,
Hermana Ladd

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Well my first week full-field and I'm sure all of you have the same question that I've gotten everytime I go to the VC "How are you liking full-field?" To be honest, it isn't all that different than any full-field day that I've had in VC transfers. The biggest difference is the area... there are hispanics EVERYWHERE! It is so wonderful to know that most of the people we talk to are potential investigators. Before it was sometimes hard, knowing that almost all the people we talked to were going to be American and that even if they accepted, we wouldn't have the chance to teach them. There are a lot of benefits of being full-field, in that we are able to make appointments much easier. And there are so many people to make appointments with! We already have 13 appts for the rest of the week. My very first day in the area we had a lesson with Thelma. She was there and waiting for us with the door open. She is a fairly young mother with an 8-yr-old daughter and a 6-yr-old son. She has a lot of questions and at first said that she just wanted to learn, but didn't want to prepare to be baptized (every time we teach a first lesson we ask if they will prepare to be baptized when they know it is true, we call it a soft commitment). We have taught her three lessons since I've gotten here. Last night she met us at the VC and it was actually quite a miracle lesson. The way we found out about Thelma was through a recent convert from Sis. Nielsen's last area. He is her brother-in-law (not technically because Thelma isn't actually married to his brother...) Anyways, Refugio is the only member in his family, his wife and children have been investigating for over a year, every since he started investigating. We called the sisters in his area yesterday to get his phone number to see if they could come to the lesson with us at the VC. However, we found out that they had an appt with his family at the same time as our appt and they were going to try and get his wife to commit to a date. So we didn't want to interfere with that of course so we didn't even call him. As we were about to start our lesson at the VC, Thelma's daughter came into the room from the hall and said "my uncle's here!" I guess they had been over at his house earlier that day and Thelma told him about the lesson and so he came to the VC to be there with her! The Lord really is in charge, because it worked out better for us with him there. And maybe that's what his wife needed, to be able to meet with the missionaries without him. All I know is that it is in the Lord's hands and he blessed us with the support of Refugio. He has such a great testimony and is someone Thelma trusts. Sis. Nielsen and I both felt last night that Thelma will get baptized, we just don't know when. One thing I have noticed about almost all of our investigators in this area is that they ask tons of questions. They always apologize, but they don't understand how much we love getting questions. You can see how much they want to learn, how much they want to understand. Many of them are going through very hard times, and are sincerely looking towards the Lord for help. We have also had a few times in the past few days when we have gone to contact former investigators or contacts in the area and have instead ended up teaching another member of the family. We had been trying to visit with a brother and sister almost every day since I've been here, and I still haven't met them. Everytime we talked to the brother's wife. Sis. Nielsen said that she wasn't originally interested, but the other day she was impressed to ask her if we could visit with her. Her countenance immediately changed and we set up an appt to come back and see her. That same night we were trying to contact someone they had taught once just a little before I came. She wasn't home but we spoke with her daughter at the door. They she asked "do you want to come in?" We went in and spent about an hour answering questions she had, and made an appointment to come back tonight. We have found 4 new investigators since I've been here. In Ensenada sometimes we found 4 in the whole transfer. (I really don't compare the two areas two much during the day, we are too busy to think about Ensenada, but I am just putting the comparisons in here so that you can have something to relate it to.) I really love being able to teach all day and be out working all day. Even though I love the VC there were mornings there that were really slow and we didn't talk to many people. If things go slowly here it is our fault and it is because we aren't working hard enough, so we always try and visit people up to the last minute of the day (last night we were finally able to contact a referral because at 8:45 we decided to drive all the way to the north of our area and try to contact them. Around 8:50 we were making an appointment for tomorrow, and by 8:55 we were headed back home).
I hope that everyone had a good Valentine's day and a good President's day. February is more than half over! Speaking of half over I figured out all my important middle days for the mission. They are all happening this transfer! On March 2nd I have 9 months left. At midnight between March 10th and 11th I hit my halfway, and on March 17th I hit 9 months here. This is a big transfer!
Desde Liahona 4 Este con amor,
Hermana Ladd

Monday, February 8, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

You were right family. The pictures with the Crandalls were from dinner last night. They had us over (or upstairs) for my last Sunday in the area. We actually found out for sure on Sunday morning where I was going. (We are supposed to find out on Saturday night, but by the time our district leader called at 10:35 we were both out cold.) Besides the fact that this is my first transfer, it is going to be a big one for many other reasons. I am 1) going to a new area, Liahona 4th East; 2) Liahona 4th is a Spanish WARD not a branch of 30 people like Ensenada; 3) There are 6 missionaries in our ward; 4) and... are you ready... I'm going full-field! Yeah, talk about a big transfer! I wasn't very surprised though. My new companion will be Hna. Nielsen (I'm going to have to learn how to spell her name) from Michigan. She actually came to me for our last exchanges so we have already been companions for a day. There are no VC sisters in that zone, but our physical area covers some English VC sisters, so they will be sending us referrals. I have a feeling it is going to be a completely different experience. In Ensenada we have gotten maybe 5 referrals from church headquarters and the VC, but in Liahona 4th they have so many that they haven't been able to contact them all. A sister in the VC that also served full-field there said that they were easily teaching around 30 lessons a week, where here we work super hard to get 20. I'm just ready for culture shock in that I'm going to be in a Ward; I've don't think I've ever stepped foot in a Spanish Ward in my life, unless we went once in Honduras. Of course there are a few mixed feelings about the transfer, I love the branch so much. In missionary words it is were I was born and raised. The members and investigators here are awesome. And I'm sure there will be a time when I miss the VC, but my new area will be so much closer that we will be teaching lessons there many times a week, plus I will be back a lot for our meetings and trainings, I'm still a VC sister after all. Besides that it is mostly excitement. I am excited to learn a new area, excited to get to know a new companion, excited to be finding a lot more hispanics, excited to work in a ward, excited to teach all day every day, etc.

I will only be full-field for the next six weeks, because the first day of the next transfer is the first day of the Easter Pageant, and it's back to the VC for all of us VC sisters. After that I don't know what will happen. I don't know if I'll be transferred that quick again, or if the area will become a VC area again (it was a little under a year ago) or if I will go back to the VC just for the 2 weeks of the pageant and then finish my full-field. Who knows?

Anyways, that is the most exciting thing that has happened this week, but I'm sure I'll have tons to tell you about next week after getting to know my new area a little. Right now I am in the middle of packing, and then tonight we have a branch FHE. In Mexican culture, on the 6th of January(3 Kings Day, or Epiphany) families and friends will get together and eat a cake shaped in a oval wreath called a rosca. There are little plastic babies in some of the pieces, kind of like a yule log, but in Mexican culture you don't want to find one in you piece, because if you do, then some day in February you have to throw a party and provide tamales. We shared 3 roscas for the January FHE, and tonight is when the people who got the little figures are supposed to bring tamales. I'm so glad I get to be there with my branch before I leave, one last chance to see everyone. Transfers don't take place until 6 pm tomorrow, so I'll also get to eat with Hna. Mestre one last time.

Well, to finish up this week's email I am going to go back to the subject of the email, Happy Valentine's Day! This is something that I learned from Hna. Lopez the other day about Valentine's Day and the true meaning.

        For God so LoVed the world,
                 that he gAve
                      his onLy
hat whosoever
                  believeth In him
                     should Not perish,
              but have evErlasting life.

            John 3:16

Cool, huh?

Desde Mesa con amor,
Hermana Ladd

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

En el prado...

Well, for all of those who won't believe me pictures will be sent, but I went on a 5 mile bike ride this morning. It was tons of fun. Sis. Lopez and I went with a senior couple from the VC, the Ogdens and then had breakfast at their RV. The weather was perfect this morning, not too cold, and we rode up and down the one of the canals by their RV. It was a great way to spend what is most likely my last pday in Ensenada Park. Of course I don't know for sure if I'm leaving, but I have a pretty good guess, especially after our interviews with President yesterday when he was telling me that he understood how hard it is to leave our first area. But I sure do understand why missionaries don't stay in one area their whole mission. I'll miss Ensenada Park, especially the branch, but I'm excited to meet and work with new people. Each transfer seems to go by faster and faster. It seems like just yesterday we had the Christmas lights everynight, and now they've already started putting the stage up for the Easter Pageant! It is just around the corner! This last week we've been really blessed in finding new people to teach. Hispanics just seem to be popping up everywhere in our area, and we never knew they were there. Of course not all of the potential investigators we find turn into real investigators, but the more potential ones we find of course the more investigators we get. It really is amazing to see. Our zone fasted last week and the VC is going to fast this week, so of course that gives us a lot of blessings. The fasting also helps balance out all of the food people are feeding us! Friday was exchanges and Hna. Neilsen came to me and we were fed so much! We ate breakfast and lunch as normal before leaving the apartment and then about 2 hours after lunch we visited Rosalva and she fed us tamales (I can't say no to tamales...) Then we had our dinner appt and the sister we ate with serves us so we had to eat a lot. Then just an hour after dinner we went over to an investigators house and she was waiting there with hot chocolate and Mexican sweet bread. We were so full! Yesterday was zone development meeting and afterwards all of the elders wanted to go to Golden Corral. There are just 4 sisters so we couldn't convince them otherwise. Then we went to Hna. Mestre's house and she had another lunch waiting for us, and we went straight from her house to our dinner appointment. Later in the evening we went to visit a reactivating couple and their complex was having a party. I was so full that I have learned how to say no to tamales. We've gotten to the point that besides breakfast, we hardly eat anything we aren't fed. Don't worry family, I will be coming home with all of these recipes so that we can still have good Mexican food in Morocco. As for the rest of the past week there wasn't anything out of the ordinary. One thing that I am working on studying is responses for a lot of the concerns/excuses/questions/etc that we get from people. The scriptures are amazing! You can find the answer to everything in there, from answers to questions we get from other religions to comebacks to excuses from Hispanics, anything. I'll let you know as I find more things. Our plans for the rest fo our pday are to finish up our shopping for the week, decorate our planners, and then I need to organize my stuff "in case" I am transferred next week. Now that I think of it Monday may be our last pday for the transfer, in which case I have one more from Ensenada Park, otherwise who knows where I'll be writing from next week! Hna/ Lopez and I have been listening to the Children's Primary songs in Spanish for the last week which is a lot of fun. I have a new favorite primary song, but it isn't in the english book, just the spanish. But it is fun to have songs to teach to the children. They have such strong spirits as I have said before. On Monday I was drawing pictures for the son of an investigator and then asking him what they were. He would never answer me, he would only repeat the name when I said it. However, when I started drawing sister missionaries he said "las hermanas!" even before I was done drawing and had asked him what it was. That always gives me so much hope that even if their parents don't accept when we are teaching them now, I know that one day many of these children will find and accept the gospel on their own.

Hope you have a great first week of February!

Desde Mesa con amor,
Hermana Ladd