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