Tuesday, May 25, 2010

25 May 2010

This last weekend was the temple dedication for the Gila Valley temple. We got to go to the dedication because they broadcasted it to all the stakes I think in all of Arizona. However, that meant no sacrament for our investigators to go to :( We told all the ones that had said they were going to go to church, BUT, in good and bad news, we had some investigators (Emilio and his children) try to go to church that we didn't think would go. They went to the ward building and found it closed, so they just went to the VC and watched a movie. Thank heavens for the VC! And we were so glad to find out they had tried to go to church! For sure they will be there next week. We also had Juan Ortega tell us for sure that he was going to be there next week. He said he has already canceled work. ALSO, he said that he would like to start meeting 2 times a week (we had always been trying for that but sometimes he wasn't there. He has already talked to the guy he works with and they have started going to work much earlier to still get enough hours in. He has blocked out his Monday and Thursday nights for us! After a week he is going to see if it is possible to do Mon, Wed, and Fri. He will surely get baptized! He is getting a lot of surprise support from his family. His mother, who before would have disowned him told him that if he should do what he feels is right. His son said "dad, I have noticed a huge change in you since you've started meeting with the sisters. When I come up to visit you the first place I want to go is to the temple (he means the VC). I need that change too." Isn't that so awesome! Our investigators are great! Liahona 4th is like the promised land, zion, adam-ondi-ahman, and the celestial kingdom all rolled into one! Daniel Zambrano ... has also started being ...[better]. He came to a ward activity this Saturday and then right after he came to the cultural celebration for the temple. His brother-in-law Juan "Michoacan" Zambrano (weird that they have the same last name, I had never heard it before and then these two both have the same name, Daniel's son's (Juan's nephew's) name is Daniel Zambrano Zambrano...) anyways, Juan Michaocan is doing well too. We saw him Friday night and his son was there so we did a little activity and focused on the son. That always works, it seems that the way to a Mexican man's heart is through his child, which is great for the gospel! Anyways, we taught his son how to pray and when we ran into Juan the next day he said that in the morning he got up and prayed with his son. When his son asked why he answered "this is just something that we have to do now."

Oh our investigators make me feel like crying for joy! They probably think we are absolutely crazy because we literally have to hold back from jumping up and down when they tell us things like that, but it is really hard so sometimes we can't help it and we at least bounce or clap. Seriously, a missionary wears her heart on her sleeve. When I called Juan Ortega to confirm our appointment last night he said "oh, hermanas I won't be able to be there." All I got out was "aw, Juan..." before he interrupted and said "don't worry don't worry, I'm just kidding I'm already waiting!" Seriously, I think this has been one of the best transfers, work-wise. Hna. McBride and I are really working on talking more about baptism in our lessons and it is bringing so many miracles. It is amazing that the more we talk about it them more they talk about it! (who would have thought ;) ) I already talked about Rogelio last week. We kept talking about how he could change by being baptized and being cleansed from his sins and then he asked what he had to do to be baptized. In a lesson with Maribel we were explaining about how Christ was baptized by authority and by immersion and she interrupted and said "this is all true, isn't it? otherwise you wouldn't be here." With Emilio on Sunday we were talking again about baptism and his mother-in-law who is always there but never comes and listens came in and said "I don't think little children should be baptized, because they don't know." Then she sat down and joined us and we would answer their questions about baptism and then go on to another point in the lesson and before we could bring up baptism again they would ask another question about it! I love the mission! There is no way we aren't going to reach 200 baptisms this transfer! The Lord has opened the windows of heaven, but it seems like His french doors are right over Mesa Arizona!

To answer my "dailiness" question for the week "do we eat with members a lot?" We have a schedule within the Mesa Central stake so we should be eating with them every night (sometimes they forget). We rotate wards and get to meet a lot of really different people. For example, right at the end of last transfer I ate with the screen writer for all the Church cartoons and the Swan Princess movies. Pretty cool huh? And the older members have some really great stories! Then there is the other hand, when some of our dinners turn out really awkward... You were right, mom, you meet TONS of different people on the mission!

I hope that everyone is having as great of a May as I am! Oh, and happy Memorial Day next Monday. We live super close to the city cemetery and go running there in the mornings. I love walking through and seeing all the graves with the temple on them, or "sealed for eternity." There is even one for a little boy that has the CTR shield on it. I love the peace and hope that the gospel can bring to our lives. I know that God has more in store for us after this life. We can be with our families forever and nothing material in this life is worth giving that up. So don't give up. Don't sell your inheritance for a "bowl of porridge" (sp?). Don't even sell it for a moment of pleasure, because what you are selling is an eternity of joy. I know that through the Savior we can be forgiven for anything we have done. It isn't too late to read the Book of Mormon again, or go back to church, or get on your knees and pray for help. So do it today! I love this gospel. The church is the true and restored church of Jesus Christ. And I love all of you!

Desde Mesa, con amor,
Hermana Ladd

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

18 May 2010

This has already been the weirdest transfer ever! We have a potential Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde investigator. We contacted someone in the street about 4 weeks ago and he wasn't really interested but said we could stop by if we are around. However, he lives at the north of the area so we never go up there. However, the other day someone with the same name called us about wanting to come to the VC. It turns out the English sisters up there (one of them from Argentina) set up and appt with him. When he couldn't come he called us (I don't know how he had our number) so we set up another appt. He was awesome and said "Sisters, I really want to learn more about God, I think it is time, when can I come." However, when I called to confirm at the number I had for him, he was really different and was like "I'm up in Payson, kind of busy, we can do it later." That's when we started wondering if there were two people, so I went through caller id and called the number that called us (it was a different number) but it was no longer in service. We talked to the English sisters and confirmed that it is the same address. We still haven't quite figured it out... and weird things keep happening every day...

We continue finding more and more investigators and doubled the amount at church last week. All of the stake centers were booked with baptisms last weekend- Mesa is becoming the new waters of Mormon! And this week is the Gila Valley temple dedication! I am super excited to be able to go. Plus, there is the cultural celebration the night before, which will be really cool. Get to learn a little more about where I am serving. Really crazy things keep happening in the area, and by really crazy things I mean miracles. It is super exciting and I hope that I am here next transfer, but we'll see. Yesterday was our last zone conference with Pres. Bassett. It was kind of a "back to the basics" conference, and I wish I had had it at the beginning of my mission. We talked about basic things like planning and studies, and I learned tons that I didn't know before. Hopefully it will make a big difference in the future.

Our investigators are doing well. Sunday we did everything we could to get them to church so it was a little sad when some of them didn't come. We even went to Juan's house after church and invited him to an English ward at 2, and he said he would be right there, but he never came. Last week, we taught a new investigator who was a referral from a Bishop he works with. The bishop came with us and it was a really good lesson. We have been working on testifying more in lessons, because that is what invites the Spirit. We have our next lesson with Lupe tonight and I hope it goes well. We also found another miracle investigator. We got a referral for the trailer park in our area but it didn't have the trailer number, so we decided to tract the trailers and look for him. The first door we knocked we found Rogelio. He had been meeting with missionaries before he moved to the trailers and was more than happy to have us over. We taught him last night and he had a lot of great questions. I told us how he really wanted to change his life but that sometimes it is hard, because when he was into drugs and alcohol he had friends and now that he has left those he doesn't feel like he has friends. Armando, the recent convert in the trailers has told us almost the same thing. He said that it was easier to make "friends" before being a member, you just had to call and offer them beer. However, as we explain to Rogelio, they aren't real friends. We got to talk a lot about baptism to him, about how that is an important part of his change and that he will be able to again find happiness in his life, this time a healthy and lasting happiness. He is excited about coming to church and accepted to be baptized when he knows it is true. We have faith and hope that he can be baptized at the beginning of next month. I am super glad he lives in the trailers, they are awesome! Hna. McBride and I are working on forming the Paradise Palms Branch down there!

I know that this Gospel is true and that it can solve any problem that anyone is faced with. We have a loving and merciful Father in Heaven and through His Son all is possible. We also talked about miracles and our zone conference and in the Bible Dictionary it says that Christianity is founded upon the greatest of all miracles, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and that knowing that, all other miracles cease to be improbable. I'd like to add that I think part of the foundation of the true church of Jesus Christ in the latter days is the miracle that God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ appeared to the boy Joseph Smith. If we know that then all else is possible. God still talks to man and to each of us personally. We can live with our families forever. We will be forgiven for our sins when we repent. There is a prophet on the earth today. All that Christ taught and established, all that was lost, is now restored, we just need to open our eyes and see it.

Desde Mesa, con amor,
Hermana Ladd

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

11 May 2010

Well, it feels really great being back to full-field, but that is probably because we are really busy. For some reason the work just exploded in Liahona 4th! We found 9 new investigators last week, which I think is more than any week my entire mission. Yesterday was the 1st day of the week and we already found 4 more! And most of them are promising investigators too. Some of them might take a little time to fully accept the gospel, but I know that there are some ready for baptism this transfer. We have seen a lot of miracles as well, big and small. Here are just a few:
  • We found a little family where the daughter loves to sing primary songs. She already knew "I am a Child of God" from past missionaries. She really is going to pull her family along and she is only 9!
  • We've met a lot of really great members in the past week, who are so willing to help us out, so we have places to just drop by and get water when we run out.
  • Elder Perry came to the VC last week and we happened to be there, so we got to say hi to him along with the other sisters. I remember when I first met him in Budapest and being surprised by how tall he is.
  • We went to the bishop's house to ask if he knew of any families that needed service because we are really struggling to find ways to serve them and we were immediately able to help a family for almost an hour.
  • I got to talk to my family.
  • We got a referral for a little family and went to see them yesterday and it turns out they are former investigators that seem a lot more ready now. They aren't in the area book so we never would have been able to find them otherwise.
  • We had 3 investigators at a Family Home Evening last night. We do these "Noches de Hogar" every Monday with one of the recent converts in our area and he keeps finding more and more people to come.
  • We go home exhausted every night and wake up exhausted every morning, but it feels great.
Those are all such great miracles and I am back in the habit of writing them down every day, so those are only a fraction of them.

In other news, our investigators are great. Hna. McBride and I have such a great love for each of them and they all have difficulties that only the gospel can solve. One of them in specific is Juan (or Alfredo... they always seem to give us different names since they have so many, they give missionaries their given name but they go by others...) Juan is Daniel's brother-in-law. I can't remember what I have written about Daniel, but he is an investigator that keeps telling us that he wants to get baptized, but he is really flaky and doesn't understand the weight of the commitment. He is hardly there for appts and hasn't come to church yet, so we are backing off for a little while to see if he shows any signs of commitment. Anyways, Juan is his brother-in-law, and Daniel calls him "the athiest". On the contrary, he is a much better investigator. We had a lesson with him at the end of last week. We had just stopped by to invite them to church and he told us he didn't want to commit to coming because he didn't feel comfortable. We sat down and talked to him for a while and he really opened up. In front of us just appeared this broken, lost young man. He recognizes that he has faults, but he doesn't understand that he doesn't need to all of a sudden be perfect, but work towards it. We talked to him about the love of God and shared the story of Enos. He said that he looks around and sees all these happy people and feels like he just asks and asks God for things but never thanks him. We committed him to say a gratitude prayer. I know that he will be able to feel the love of God for him individually through that. We are really excited to teach him about repentance because we know that that is what he needs to understand. He, like all of us, needs to recognize that that is why Jesus Christ came to the earth, so that when we make the mistakes that we are going to make as humans, that there is still hope for forgiveness and happiness. He isn't a horrible person with horrible sins, but anyone who has committed even the "smallest" of sins and doesn't know that they can be forgiven feels just as hopeless and weighed down as the person with the "largest" of sins. The beauty of the Atonement of Jesus Christ is that it is there for all of us and it will cover all those who suffer. The love of God is something that is so infinite but it can be individually and personally applied to each and every one of His children. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that it is by him, through him and of him that all miracles are brought to pass.

Love you all!

Desde Mesa, con amor,
Hermana Ladd

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May 4, 2010

Well another transfer come and gone, and big surprise in transfer news: I'm staying and Hna. Guzman is going?! It was such a surprise because we thought that if anyone was going to be leaving it would be me for sure, since I have been here longer. And I'll be going back full-field. I am really grateful for the tender mercies of the Lord. I have grown to love the VC so much more this transfer, that I am glad to be getting the rest of my full-field over with so that I can serve there the rest of my mission. Also, Hna. McBride will be coming to me. She came out the transfer before me, and I have been on exchanges with her. She is a really sweet sister and I am really excited to be serving with her. I am also really excited to be staying in the area, I didn't think I would be, which was sad because it is amazing how much we just keep finding and finding new people. The area is about to explode and I really hope to be able to help it this transfer. Sorry I haven't been very good at sharing this transfer, but keep a look out for the names Daniel, Maribel and Jesus, Uriel and Gladys, Juan, and Chava (or Salvador) in the coming emails! This is the Bassett's last full transfer, so the mission is trying to be more unified in reaching 200 baptisms in this one transfer. I really hope that we can get it. The Bassett's have worked so hard to lead the mission and it has improved to be the leading mission in the US. We are going to keep it that way too!

Anyways, quick thought that I found in the scriptures yesterday, sorry if I've already shared it or if I share it again, it's a good one. In Alma 48 it is talking about how great of a man Moroni was. It ennumerates all of his good qualities, his faith in Christ, etc. Then it goes to say that if every man was like Moroni, the powers of hell would have, well, no power. That is a pretty mighty man, a pretty great captain if you ask me. If we read about his story we see how much good he did in saving the lives and liberty of the Nephites. However, we read that he was not alone in righteousness. I was sharing that scripture in prayer meeting at the VC and felt I should keep reading. So I read on about Ammon, Alma, the sons of Mosiah, and Helaman. The chapter says that they were "no less serviceable unto the people" than this great captain, one of the greatest in history. Yet they weren't leaders like he was, they were... missionaries! "for they did preach the word of God, and they did baptize unto repentance all men whosoever would hearken unto their words." Moroni saved lives, but they saved souls. It brings a different meaning to verse 17: "Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, [missionaries], behold, the very powers of hell would be shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men." Sometimes we read about Moroni and even though we want to be it seems hard to be as great of a man as he was. However, every one of us CAN be missionaries. All we have to do is share our testimony with those around us, by word and by example. If every member of the church did that then that promise would come true and even in this world, the powers of hell will have no power over the hearts of the children of men. So please, my challenge, more like my plea for you this week is to share your testimony with someone who isn't a member. I promise as a missionary of the true church of Jesus Christ on the earth that you will change their life, whether it be now, or in the future.

I know that Jesus Christ has restored his gospel to the earth. I know that our Father in Heaven loves us, and that He watches out for us. He hears our prayers and better yet, He answers them. Joseph Smith was a prophet and we have a prophet still today. The Book of Mormon is true, and the gospel is possible to live. It may be hard but it is possible.

I love you all and happy mother's day!
Desde Mesa, con amor,

Hermana Ladd