Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Nov. 30, 2010

Thanks for all the birthday wishes! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Our week was really good, especially with the start of the Christmas lights. On Thanksgiving we had a lunch with all the missionaries from the VC and then we were able to go out into our area because they didn't need all the sisters assigned at night. Unfortunately we don't find holidays very effective missionary times, especially at night after everyone has had a lot to drink so we were only able to visit 2 families. On Friday the lights started. It is amazing how the VC can go from almost empty one night to completely packed the next. Saturday was one of the happiest days of my life! First of all, on Friday Hna. Rodio at planning said that Romina, one of our investigators, really needed us to come over on Saturday because she was having a really hard time. She saw her at the VC on Friday (we weren't together because we are back to zebra companionships). So on Saturday right after our shift at the VC we rushed to her house, only to find a mini surprise bday party for me that my companion had put together (isn't she awesome!). It was so nice. Romina and her sons had decorated a big sign and she even wrote happy birthday in french and arabic for me. She got me a cake and oreos (Hna. Rodio and I love oreos, well, I love them now because she always has them so we have tons at home). Best of all however was a dvd she made us. She always makes her parents and in-laws dvds of pictures and quotes and music for special occasions and always shows them to us, so it was so special that she made one for me! Then she drove us to Juan's baptism where I spoke and played the violin. I have never cried at a baptism before, I'm just not a crier, but I was so happy that after so many trials Juan was able to enter the waters of baptism. After that we had another miracle. When Romina dropped us off we went to go see Carlos. We really felt that he should be baptized this coming Saturday, but whenever we set a date with him something comes up and he misses church, so we knew we would have to focus on that first. While we were talking to him however he said "I'm goign to church tomorrow." (we hadn't brought up the topic yet). "Sisters, I was at Walmart with Eric (his youngest son) earlier tonight and I turned to him and said 'Eric, we are going to church tomorrow. I have no more excuses.'" We were sooo happy! Then on Sunday morning we were walkin to church and felt like we should stop by Carlos' house to confirm he was still coming. Right before we walked up a car pulled up and two men got out and were talking to Carlos. We just knew they were inviting him to go look for work. We walked on in and waited for him inside. His wife Mirna was talking on the phone to his mother in Mexico. When we came in she said hello and then explained to his mother that the sisters were over. Then she proceeding to tell her that last night Carlos had asked her to find his nice pants and fix his nice shirt because he was going to church tomorrow (he usually goes in jeans and a tshirt). She also said that that very morning he told her that he was going to get baptized. Mirna told her mother in law that she was going to get baptized right after her sons ot baptized. We were so excited to hear all that. We always knew Mirna wanted to get baptized after her sons and that one day Carlos would get baptized, but for him to say it from himself to his wife, without us talking much about it was a miracle. And the miracles continued when he came inside and the men left without him and when he and Mirna came to church together (she never comes if her sons don't.) What a great birthday! And it had started off in the morning with Hna. Rodio filling my bathtub with balloons and putting twixes everywhere and later hanging notes on the ceiling above my bed. Hna. Rodio really helped to make my birthday great! Then yesterday was really weird because they changed our farewell dinner so that we went last night with the people who left this morning. It was fun but weird because out of the 11 of us there only 3 were actually leaving today. The rest of us just got back in the cars and headed back to Mesa. We had a nice dinner with Pres. and Sis. Ellsworth and then a nice testimony meeting with all of us. It really was a great week! And I know that the next ones will be just as great! And a last minute addition, it has been pretty cold recently, my body is just not used to this weather anymore. And for transfer news Hna. Rodio and I are staying together and when I leave Hna. Chaca from Peru will be coming to her.

Desde Mesa, con amor,
Hermana Ladd

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Yesterday I hit my month left mark. This time of year is just like a time of deja vu, because I was on my mission in Arizona for all of this last year. Today Abigail (Hna. Blades! she's been home 6 months!) came into the VC and I got to see her, Claudia Mestre, and Rosalva Farnsworth. I love them so much and am going to see if I can have permission to see some of the people in my old areas that mean a lot to me before I leave. I bought a memory card last week that will be filled just with people I love from my mission. Xmas lights start on Thursday, so everything is going to start moving a lot faster. Juan Ortega's baptism is this Saturday, and I am so excited! He has asked me to give the talk on baptism. Hna. McBride is coming and I am also way excited to see her! This past week has been good, everyone getting ready for the holidays. We have had some very full days, which I love. At the beginning of the week we were given some braided bread. The bread people (that's all we know to call them) home make this delicious bread and sell it, but give it to missionaries free. It is prety funny, because if they see you, they will follow you till you stop and get out of you car and then run up to you with a loaf or two. Now that we are on bikes we are much more noticeable so they will pull over and catch us all the time. Last week they gave us 2 loaves but we were out at appointments so we decided to give one of the loaves to some less-actives. The Alvarez family are the ones who feed us for free every weekend, because they sell food in their backyard. They make delicious food so we didn't think that our little loaf of bread would be a big deal, but when we gave it to them they were so grateful, you would think that we had given them 1000 dollars. We saw them again on Wednesday when we helped Hna. Alvarez get ready for Los Tacos and played Uno with her children afterwards, and then again on Saturday when we ate with them. On Thursday my bike got a flat (we aren't sure how, we went in to an appointment and it was full and we came out after teaching and cleaning her house and it was empty). Luckily Edwin was home, our handy man investigator (meaning he works on cars and soups them up with things like Burberry leather that costs like 250 a yard...) On Saturday we met with Daniela. We had contacted her husband in a parking lot a few weeks ago but had never been able to catch them at home, but we did on Thursday so we visited her on Saturday. She had asked us to bring the DVD Finding Faith in Christ. She is so sweet and has a sweet little family. She immediately accepted to come to church the next day. (She didn't come but she just called me before the appointment we had today saying that she and her daughter were sick and that they didn't go to church because of the rain.) She is very sincere and we are excited to teach her and her family. Thanksgiving is our actually preparation day but since things are closed we had to email and shop today. We are going to have a dinner with the VC, just like last year. We have also been invited by our investigators Edwin, Shannon, and Nora, to come over to their home so we might spend a little time with them as well. I am excited to spend my favorite holiday here in Mesa again, but I'll miss Dad's chocolate pie, so I hope there is some for Xmas! I love you all and hope you remember all the things you are grateful for this week and always! I am grateful to have been born in the true restored church of Jesus Christ, for the blessing of being able to serve a mission here is Mesa, Arizona, for all the people that have become a part of my life here and for all the people who are still a big part of my life back home. And I am grateful for all of you! Happy Thanksgiving!

Desde Mesa, con amor,
Hermana Ladd

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


The second week of my favorite month is over and the start of Christmas lights is fast approaching. In the excitement of the concert miracle I forgot to mention a church miracle that had happened the day before. As previously mentioned we are teaching the Franco family and have recently started teaching the grandchildren of Hno. and Hna. Franco. They love when we come over and we love going over. On Sunday morning we invited them to come to church, thinking that as usual it would only be Gabriel who came. However, when we showed up to Gospel Principles we looked in to the classroom to see Gabriel and Hna. Franco! And they told us that all four children were in their respective primary classes. They were so well behaved and they loved it! They are such good kids. We are hoping that Danny will be able to be baptized by his dad, and then when his little cousins turn 8 they too will be able to get baptized. Recently we have been having a lot of time in our area, which we enjoy. We had 2 full days last week and 2 again this week. On Thursday we had exchanges. Hna. Nielsen came to Hna. Rodio and I went to Hna. Nielsen's companion, a new sister. Unfortunately she was sick the whole day so we weren't able to get much done, but Hna. Rodio reported that our area was great. We went back to the VC on Friday and were there every day this weekend, but were able to teach almost every hour we weren't there. This is such a busy and blessed area, but I find that I can only praise each of the areas I was in. I feel blessed to say that, and blessed that I had such great areas and that the Lord helped me love each one of them.
Yesterday was stake conference for the entire state of Arizona, broadcast from Salt Lake to all 90 stakes! It was cool to be a part of that. Bishop Burton, Sis, Thompson, Elder Cook, and Pres. Monson all spoke. Elder Cook has roots in AZ and I agreed with all the praise he gave it. Much of the conference, especially Pres. Monson's talk, was focused on 'rescue.' We went to the morning session and the English sisters (who went to both) told us that before the afternoon meeting our stake president got up and said "Knowing what is coming, I feel prompted to tell you that there are around 500 less-active members within our stake boundaries alone, enough for a ward." Hearing that statistic was crazy, 500! That is a lot of work ahead, but we have a great stake and I only hope that we as missionaries can keep up with the great work that the members here do.
Recently we have been reading the Book of Mormon with Carlos almost every night. It has been a really great learning experience for us as we have read from the beginning, one chapter at a time, trying to think as our investigator thinks. I have noticed that while the Book of Mormon can be read any direction, inside and out, and studied in any order, it really has great power when read from the beginning. We learn as Nephi learns, gain our testimony as he gains his, truly line upon line and precept upon precept. I had never noticed the emphasis the first chapters make on the importance of scriptures until reading it with someone who currently doesn't treasure the scriptures. It takes us reading with him for him to read, yet in almost every single one of the first chapters of Nephi, the importance of scriptures, the purpose of the Book of Mormon, and the gratitude of Nephi and Lehi for the sacred words are shown. I think that is just so cool! And Carlos is so attentive when we read. Well, not neccessarily attentive, because it looks like he isn't processing a single word, but afterwards when we ask him what he learned he is able to point out even the littlest details that it takes members years to notice. We are just praying that he will begin to make the necessary effort to live the gospel and not just believe it.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What a week...

This is going to be shorter, because I forgot my planner and a disadvantage to writing everything down is that your brain then feels like it can forget it. So what we did last week is mostly in my planner, and not in my memory. It seems like we spent most of last week in meetings, but at least they were good ones. On Monday (and I forgot to write about it on Tuesday because our pday was so scattered) we had a meeting with Elder Evans of the Seventy. He toured the mission on Monday and Tuesday, and the mission was split between the days. It was a really great meeting (really long too). We learned a lot from him about how to focus more on how we teach, rather than what we teach. Then on Wednesday we had zone conference, where we were able to practice and apply some of the things he had just taught us. We had (an) awesome miracle(s) yesterday which were the highlights of probably the month, and they all happened at the same time, which is why they can probably be considered one miracle. We had morning shift at the VC yesterday morning and then had an appointment scheduled right after. However, he didn't come, so we stuck around at the VC to eat lunch. If he had come we probably would have been gone right before 2, but instead, right after 2 as we were getting ready to leave, Hna. Bustillo came in saying that Emma Smith was at the VC. For those who haven't seen the movie Joseph Smith the Prophet of the Restoration, the characters from that movie are like celebrities to us. So we were pretty excited to hear that the actress who played Emma was there. What made the news even better was that the group of people who were with her was actually the Nashville Tribute Band, which she is now singing with. They are a group of members that have put out the cds Joseph: A Nashville Tribute to the Prophet, and Trek: A Nashville Tribute to the Pioneers. They were in Mesa for a show that night and had come to the VC to invite missionaries and investigators to come for free. Those cds are missionary favorites, at least in this mission so we were all super excited, but of course had to get Pres. Ellsworth's permission. Next part of the miracle was that he was actually at the VC doing a baptismal interview for (next miracle) Juan Ortega, who passed and is (next miracle) getting baptized (next miracle) the day before my birthday! I can't express how happy that made me. He told President that he wanted to get baptized as soon as possible so that I could be there, which meant a lot to me, and then it meant even more that when given the choice between the 20th and the 27th, he chose the 27th because it was the day before my birthday. For me the day could have ended there and it would have been a good enough miracle, one that I will eternally be in debt for, but it continued. (miracle) President gave us his permission to go as long as we brought investigators, (miracle) The band sang 3 songs for us right there, (miracle) Romina and Marcelo said they would come, (miracle) they actually came, (miracle) and they loved it. They had seen the Joseph movie at the VC and were so touched by the music. Romina was especially touched by the song about Emma Smith sung by the woman who played Emma Smith, because she has lost 3 babies to miscarriages, one just last month. They also sang a few of the songs from Trek and a few from the next cd to come out - Work: A Nashville Tribute to the Missionaries! It was just an awesome experience, because it was so last minute but the investigators that needed that and would be touched most by that were able to come! I think that even if I had brought my planner, all of last week would have been overshadowed by yesterday. Juan Ortega is getting baptized! I am so excited I just wanted to cry yesterday, and just wished that I could give him a great big hug! He is so happy and so converted. He finished the Book of Mormon and has started it again already. His son is coming to live with him and even though he has never met with missionaries he has seen the change in his dad and has already told him that he wants to get baptized when he gets here. I love these people and I love being a part of their life and I am so grateful that they are a part of mine. I am so blessed to be here and they have wrought a change in my life that I never imagined. I love you all! Have a great semana!

Desde Mesa, con amor,
Hermana Ladd

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

2 Nov, 2010

First of all, happy birthday Mom! I just at least wanted to mention it so you knew I remembered because this will get there faster than snail mail, but I am sending something.

Second of all, to everyone else, happy beginning of the best month ever! I am so excited for November! It is finally cooling down here (though it goes back and forth, this last weekend in the 80s, but before that in the low 70s). It is really weird to start thinking of a year ago, because some of the things are repeating themselves, but differently. For example, on Saturday we had a Halloween activity with the VC so that we wouldn't be out in the area. We ate dinner together and carved pumpkins and then watched a movie. A year ago on Halloween as a district we participated in the Stake trunk or treat. I remember a year ago when they were setting up for Christmas lights, and now it is that time again. It is kind of a deja vu point of the mission right now because of all that. However, it is the things that are different that really make this time awesome. I love the area (although that isn't saying too much because I have loved all of my areas). This week we started our branch fast. When each family starts fasting we are able to go over and visit with them and then pray with them as they begin. We realized last night that we are really going to be able to get to know the branch well through this. Often with transfers, you come into a new area and rely on your companion to tell you about the people. However, then you are left with only what they know, and sometimes that is only biased information. This week I know that Sis. Rodio and I will be able to get to know the members personally and as a companionship which will really help our work with them. We want the branch to trust us and to see that we are doing our best to do missionary work, because that will help inspire them to do it themselves.

Our investigators are doing great. We were finally able to get some of them to church. Actually, we only got one real investigator to come but we had a miracle with another. The one that came was Gabriel Franco, who usually only goes if his brothers go. However, this week he made the decision to come even though they didn't. We had a lesson just with him on Saturday, which I think helped because usually in lessons his brothers overshadow him, but when it was just him he had to speak up. The miracle was that another man just showed up looking for an American who had invited him to church. He had never been before and even though he didn't find him and didn't remember his name, he stayed with us for all three hours and accepted to have us come over. He was so attentive during the meetings and said that he loved the classes. He usually works on Sunday, but said that whenever he doesn't work he will come to church with us. We were so excited to have them at church because it is something we have been struggling with all month. However, yesterday was a new month and we will continue to try our best to get our investigators to come to church. Carlos is one investigator who is struggling with that. He wants to get baptized, but he always makes excuses for why he can't come to church. I realized last week that he is the investigator that I have taught for the longest time on my mission. That's great though, because then I can be more bold with him because he knows me and knows that it is out of love.

We are still adjusting to balancing time being back at the VC, but I think we are doing pretty well with it. On Saturday we only had 4 hours in our area, but we were able to teach 5 families. That is all thanks to the many people that the Lord is preparing in this area. We are so busy finding and teaching all of them. I have decided that I love being busy (not rushed and in a hurry, but busy.) It is something I have come to appreciate on my mission that I hope I can keep afterwards as well.
Well, I hope everyone has a great week!

Desde Mesa, con amor,
Hermana Ladd