Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Well this is a weird feeling... I don't even know where to begin. It doesn't feel any different than any other day and yet my brain is telling me how weird it should be to be writing the last email of my mission. I have been wondering what to write in this email and decided on this. The following is a list of people who have meant a lot to me on my mission and why. It is by no means a complete list. I have learned on my mission that the peopl you know and associate with really have a great impact on your life and so I hope that these people reflect the good change that I feel has come about in me over the past 18 months (Friday is my 18 month mark.)

The Crandells: They were the first family that welcomed me into the mission. Whenever we came home I really felt like it was home. They have a way of making people feel so loved. It was wonderful to have such Christlike examples for us. I spoke with them yesterday and the sisters recently had to move out, so I feel so blessed I was able to be one of the sisters who lived with them.

President Kleinman: As an American presiding over a Hispanic congregation I was able to see the influence of his love for those people. As I watched his example my love for the people I serve grew as well.

The Parras: I will never be able to repay this family for the kindness they showed me. Hermana Parra was like a mother to us, and even with the stresses of their own family life she never hesitated to serve us, especially when we never asked nor excpected it of her. There is a special place in heaven reserved for her and her family.

The Farnsworths: Working with there family was probably the first time in my life I was able to see the conversion of a willing heart to the Lord. I will be forever grateful that I was able to see the change the gospel brought on that family.

The Mestres: They helped me to understand the power of friendships and the fact that there are no need for barriers as I watched them fellowship families into the church even though they themselves haven't yet been baptized.

Yuri and Destiny: I was able to see the strength of an inner testimony and the different ways it is expressed as well as the example and the closeness to the Lord of a child.

Hermana Rodriguez: She showed her love for the gospel as she showed her love for us. She was a mentor to us and took every opportunity to strengthen us as sisters and give us advice for the future, advice which I will never forget.

Laura: I have never seen someone so converted to the gospel in such a short time. Her spiritual sensitivity is something that many of us should strive to attain and it is something that she naturally embraces.

Rogelio: Teaching him and seeing his experiences I learned the power of the atonement and the importance of dedication in this work. I saw him humble himself to show his love and gratitude for the Savior.

Juan Ortega: He taught me to stick to your commitments, and to be dedicated to the direction and guidance that the Lord gives you through His Spirit. He taught me never to doubt in the Lord's commands.

Romina and Marcelo: I learned the power of famillies in the face of adversity and the great trust the Lord has in the mothers and fathers he sends his children to. For them family comes first and always, and God is the most important part of our families.

The Francos: Another example of family love. In this family it doesn't matter who is an uncle and who is a father, all of the children look up to these four brothers. I have never heard a shout or insult but have seen the children grow and learn. I learned from Sister Franco how important it is to testify to your children.

Carlos and Myrna: I learned how to expand my family and how to become part of someone else's family. They taught me the importance of patience and love in missioanry work.

I am running out of time and there are so many more people who are so important to me here in Mesa, Arizona. My family has grown so much and a part of my heart will always be here in Mesa. I know that every day has just been a blessing from the Lord and that that is what He wanted for me, to be able to love His children. I feel like nothing that I write can do justice to this experience and that there is nothing that can appropriately close it. And at the same time I feel like that is important, that once a mission is 'opened' that it should never be closed but that the work of the Lord should always be a part of our lives. And I know that at least speaking for myself it always will be.

Desde Mesa, con amor.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

December 7, 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

December is moving along rapidly, with all the business of the lights. It has been really great to be a part of this again. At the very beginning of Christmas lights I met a couple who brought their brother and sister-in-law in. I met them one day and talked with them. Then they came in a few days later and remembered me right off the bat, but I struggled remembering who they were. They remembered where I was from though and that I would be going home to Morocco. The one couple were members but their in-laws were not. I started the Joseph Smith movie for them. I had asked them periodically throughout our visits about whether or not they had filled out a referral card, but when they told me that they had been given the chance I didn't bother them again about it. I came in the next day however, and one of the other sisters handed me a referral card that had my name and a note on it. It said that because of the time I had spent with them that week that their family has decided to learn more about the church! And then it had all of their information on it so that I can call them and send the missionaries to go see them. I love little experiences like that because it shows why we really do missionary work. It is for the people. The time that we spend with them counts, maybe not immediately but it sure does in the long run. I hope to remember little (but big in my life) experiences like that throughout my life and to be able to apply it in all aspects of my future.

Carlos wasn't able to be baptized last week, because he had to work. We discussed all options with him, but weren't able to make it work so we changed it to this weekend. I am excited for that baptism and he is now too. He was really sad when he couldn't get baptized but had to work so that he could pay his rent last week. He even asked if he could be baptized on Sunday instead, but because of the Christmas devotional that wasn't possible either. We will continue praying that he will be able to be baptized this Saturday, because that will help his family so much.

Gabriel has also accepted to be baptized. He has always said that he has wanted to but that he didn't feel ready, so he hasn't commited to a date and worked towards it. However, we had a really powerful lesson with him and promised him that he was ready for baptism and just needed to show his faith and take the step so that he could learn more. He still was hesitant until Sis. Rodio reminded him that I am going home, and he almost immediately said that he would get baptized before I left. Normally I wouldn't feel comfortable with an investigator decided to get baptized just because one of the missionaries is leaving even though they aren't ready, but in this case, we know that he is ready to be baptized and just needed to decided when and work towards that goal. I have learned on my mission that setting goals is important because we have something to work towards. Even though we may not feel prepared or able to reach something, when set that goal the Lord sees our faith and helps us to achieve it. It is the same with baptism. Even though they don't feel like they know enough or will be able to get over their addictions, when they chose a date or a goal to work towards, the Lord pours out His help and blessings because of their faith. Gabriel will be baptized on the 18th. I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve the Lord and his children. Part of me wishes it could never end, but I know that the Lord calls us for a specific period of time and then we must move on to the next thing He has in His plan for us. I am looking forward to making this last little time as unforgettable as the rest has been.

Desde Mesa, con amor,
Hermana Ladd