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