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

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