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Friday, September 27, 2013

Email #5 (Mexico City)

Oh my goodness, thank you so much for all the pictures and videos you sent me. They made me tear up! Especially when Olivia said "I love you Emma!" She looks so old and big! I can't believe she's two. Oh and the video of Mom's cake made me laugh sooooo hard. In all honestly, even though it wasn't the most beautiful cake, it looked SUPER good! I was drooling a little bit while watching the video. I hope someone ate a piece for me! Thanks for singing to me!
I felt so special when I opened up my email and had so many birthday wishes! It was great! I am so blessed to have such thoughtful and amazing friends and family. Ustedes son las mejores!!! I´m actually not sure if that´s correct Spanish grammar, but we're just gonna pretend it is:)
My birthday here en el CCM was really great! It was just a regular day, but the people made it amazing! Especially Hermana Lui, mi distrito, y my roommates, Hermana Hymas and Hermana Grondel. They made me feel so special all day long! Plus, I got enough candy to last me the rest of my time here, and I'll have some great snacks for the plane ride. It was an elder in my district´s birthday too, Elder Caldwell! It´s funny because Elder Caldwell and I share the same birthday AND we are both going to Gilbert for our missions! I love Elder Caldwell and am really excited to see him out in the field so I can say hi to him. He is awesome!
Speaking of a "regular day" here at el CCM, I just realized I´ve never really told you what I do every day! Let me give you a rundown:
6:30-Wake up, get ready (which is interesting with 4 girls to a bathroom... I miss the bathroom in the basement that I used this past summer at home! haha)
7:00-Breakfast, usually cereal. Sometimes a waffle.
7:30-Personal Study for an hour. I usually read my scriptures. I made a goal in the beginning to finish the book of Mormon while I am here, and I´m in Ether! I think I´m gonna do it! I love reading the Book of Mormon, it´s the best.
8:30-Morning class with Hermana Thomas starts. We have class for 3 hours. What we do varies with the day, but usually we do an hour of language, an hour of "Progressing Investigator", and then an hour of Coaching or we learn a Fundamental for teaching. "Progressing investigator" is Hermana Thomas pretending to be our investigator, Ingrid. Hermana Lui y yo queremos Ingrid!!!
11:30-Additional Study time. Sometimes we run overtime with our class time into Additional Study, but usually this 30 minutes is spent in Companionship study, language study, discussing the lesson we taught that day, or more Book of Mormon reading.
12:00-Lunch. Lunches are the best meals of the day here. With the Latino culture, almuerzo is always the most important, biggest meal of the day, so lunch here is usually really good. Sometimes I'm a little wary about what they serve, but for the most part it’s good! They always serve beans and rice with lunch and those are two things you can always count on being good here! Also, their fruit is super good. Especially the plums. I loooove their plums.
1:00-Language study for an hour. We have these rojo libros that we work out of usually during this hour. We have pre-work that we need to do before we have the language lesson with our teacher. If I'm done with the pre-work, I either practice conjugating verbs on the white board or read el Libro de Mormon en EspaƱol, which is really fun! I actually really enjoy language study!
2:00-Gym time. We go back a change in our casa then we usually go to the gym and I get on the bike for 20ish minutes. After that I do my knee exercises and then we go back and change and shower (if needed).
3:30-TALL (Technology Assisted Language Learning). Most people don´t particularly enjoy TALL, and sometimes I don´t either, but even though it´s not the funnest thing in the world, it´s really helpful with Spanish. All last week TALL didn´t work though, so that was funny. We were allowed to come to the computer labs and look up mormon messages or read general conference talks though! That was fun... sometimes I wish TALL was still broken( haha just kidding) that´s bad, but TALL is a very good tool for learning:)
4:30-Additional Study Time. Hermana Lui and I usually read el Libro de Mormon aloud in Spanish during this time. I like this, because it definitely helps with pronunciation.
5:00-Daily Planning time... self explanatory
5:30-Dinner. Dinner isn´t quite as good as lunch but it´s usually okay. I will admit that I am REALLY REALLY excited to get to the airport in Texas next Tuesday and eat a big, juicy cheeseburger.
6:15-Night classes with Hermana Valdez start. This is usually the same routine as morning classes, language for an hour, progressing investigator, then coaching, fundamentals or other stuff on the schedule:)
9:30-We sing a song and say a prayer with our distrito, then we go home and start getting ready for bed!
10:30-Lights out!
Yep! That´s a day in the life of Hermana Lattin en el CCM! The only days that differ from that schedule are Tuesdays, when we have service and a Devotional, Wednesdays, which is our P-day (obviously), and Sundays! Even though the schedule can feel very repetitive and a little mundane, I really love it here! I love learning Spanish and about how we are to bring others unto Christ. It's strange that I'm leaving next Tuesday! I have mixed feelings, because I love the people I´ve met here, Hermana Lui, mi distrito, mi roomates, mis maestras, and so many others that have helped me come closer to Christ. I´m also a little nervous about my Spanish not being up to snuff for the field, but at the same time I am SO EXCITED to get out en el campo and start being a real missionary and teaching real people! Estoy muy animado para ir al campo! I am really going to miss mi compaƱera though. Hermana Lui is truly the best.
This past week has been really good though! We´re getting ready to wrap up everything and we´re learning the last few Spanish lessons so they can send us out into the field. We´re learning the Subjunctive tense right now... so fun. But we have In-Field Orientation on Friday and then we´re almost out of here! We went to the temple for the last time today. It was amazing! I love that temple. Even though the drive there is not my favorite, it is so worth it! I love doing sessions in Spanish. I was very happy to find out that I understood almost everything they said (if I was concentrating)! It was amazing. The gift of tongues is real!
My spiritual realization this week has to do with President Eyring´s talk about pavilions, do you remember that one? President Eyring said, "In the depths of his anguish in Liberty Jail, the Prophet Joseph Smith cried out: “O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?”1 Many of us, in moments of personal anguish, feel that God is far from us. The pavilion that seems to intercept divine aid does not cover God but occasionally covers us. God is never hidden, yet sometimes we are, covered by a pavilion of motivations that draw us away from God and make Him seem distant and inaccessible."  Well, I was thinking about the pavilions we hide ourselves from God in, and how a lot of times they aren't pavilions we even mean to build. Often times, when we have an automatic judgment of someone, unclean thought or prideful comparison pop into our heads, that is the pavilion that is keeping us from feeling the presence of God. It is human nature to hide from God... to have these thoughts and feelings that a lot of times just come without our consent. But whether we mean to have these thoughts and feelings, they prevent us from feeling the presence of God and feeling the Spirit. And that is why conversion is a CHANGE of heart, thoughts and actions. We need to strive to become more Christ-like, and that means training our brains and hearts to be more like Christ's. As we do this, those pavilions will not obscure us from the view of our Heavenly Father, and we will be able to have the Holy Ghost with us SIEMPRE! This is so important for a missionary, because the only way we can teach this Gospel is through the power of the Holy Ghost. That is the only way. And if we have an unclean thought or a judgment in our head, the Spirit will depart from us, and we will not be able to effectively teach this Gospel and bring others unto Christ. That's why repentance is so great!
Sorry if that was a little confusing, but I just thought that was something very interesting and something I need to remember, because a lot of times when I'm wondering why I'm not feeling the Spirit, it's because I just judged someone or had a prideful thought in my mind. It's an interesting thing to think about:)
Anyways, I hope your week has been fantastic! I can't wait to hear about your lives next week! I'm not sure when my P-day is yet in Gilbert. But I think I might get to call you guys when I am in the airport in Texas! So on Tuesday around 9:30ish AM (I think), make sure you have your phones on and charged!:)
I love you all more than all the mosquito bites I had on my legs last week (57)! I was going to send pictures today but I forgot my camera cord:( lo siento. But I promise I will send tons next week!
Hermana Lattin

Friday, September 20, 2013

Email #4 (Mexico City)

It is so good to hear from you all!
Those pictures of the canal were crazy! I bet it's so green and beautiful from all the rain. That's so fun that Marshall and Stella have been with you guys for the past few days. Poor Norm though. I will be praying for him!
Sounds like you are all doing great! I love hearing about all your lives and activities, it makes me feel like I´m home with you guys:)
This week has been great! It's so strange that I only have a week and a half left here. Sometimes it feels like I've been here forever and sometimes it feels like I just got here! But this past week was very eventful. It was Mexico's Independence Day this past Monday, and to Celebrate we had "Mexican Night" on Saturday night and it was so fun!! The Mexican culture is so rich and vibrant, I love it! I´ll send some pictures of the night. It was great. And then on Sunday night we watched the President of Mexico do the "Grito de Delores" (spelling? No se). It is basically a remembrance of the cry of independence of Mexico from Spain. And when the president does the "grito" or "yell", he says "Viva..." and then something else, and then the crowd answers "VIVA!!"! And we got to do that and it was so fun and awesome. It was cool to see that other countries have a lot of pride and patriotism in their country, just like we do in ours. I felt blessed to be at the CCM to celebrate Mexican Independence Day! It was awesome and such a cool experience.
The biggest lesson I learned this week was about the Atonement. 
I´ve always known what it is and what Jesus did for us, but I never really understood that it applies directly and personally to me. He not only suffered for the sins, pains and sicknesses of the world, but He suffered for the sins, pains and sicknesses of me. He suffered for my sins, my pains, and my sicknesses. All my life I´ve always said that Christ has atoned for us, but I never really understood that it was for me. And when you start teaching people this concept of Jesus atoning for us, you realize that the Atonement wasn´t Jesus just suffering this general pain for the entire world, it was for each of us, individually. That´s why he knows us better than we know ourselves.
That´s why he knows how to "succor his people" (Alma 7:11). Because he atoned for each of us personally. He knows exactly how we feel, all the time. He knows our guilt, our pain, our suffering, because he did it all, for each of us. The Atonement is truly a beautiful thing. I am so grateful for Jesus Christ, my Savior.
 I challenge all of you, if you haven´t already, to really apply the Atonement into your life personally. Not just once and awhile, but every day. Let the Atonement wash you clean of guilt, let it comfort you in times of hardship, let it lead you forward in life when you feel like you can´t go on. The Atonement cannot work within us unless we let it!
Another thing I learned this week is how to more able discern between your own thoughts and promptings of the Holy Ghost. You know what Elder Bednar said about this? 
"QUIT WORRYING ABOUT IT." He said that if you are living righteously and trying your best to follow Christ, those promptings will come, whether you realize it or not. When you are striving to do what's right, your thoughts and the Holy Ghost's promptings will be on the same wavelength:) Not that every thought you have is from the Holy Ghost, but you know what I mean.

Anyways, I´ll answer your questions now, Mom!:)
1. Hermana Lui´s name is: Eleni Faylani. Pretty, huh? Tongans are the coolest.
2. The one thing I would really love for my birthday is just a little photo album:) I realize I talk about you all alot and it would be nice to be able to show off my beautiful, amazing family:) And it would be great to have a few pictures of me and my friends!
3. No, not all of our meetings on Sunday are in Spanish. Relief Society is always in English, and district meeting and Sacrament meeting are in Spanglish. We are to prepare a five minute talk in Spanish every week on a certain topic and then on Sunday a few of us are picked to speak. I was chosen to speak in district meeting this past Sunday. It was on faith and I did it all in Spanish! There was one point where I was talking/reading from my paper (in Spanish) about you guys and I got a little bit teary. And then I couldn't read my paper because I couldn't see through my tears, (haha) so that was a little embarrassing! But it was great.
Oh by the way, I LOVE SPANISH! It´s such a fun, beautiful language. I´m getting pretty good at understanding it. We talk to the workers on campus and try to get referrals from them, and I can usually hold a basic conversation with them (if they talk slow)! It's so fun!

Give my little baby Olivia a big birthday kiss from me! HAPPY 2nd BIRTHDAY, OLIVIA!!!! I can't believe she's two. She's getting so big! I also can´t believe I'm turning 20. I still feel like I belong in High School sometimes... crazy.
Well, I can´t wait to hear from you all again! I love you all so much! I love all the pictures you send! You can also send videos if you want...:)
Thank you for your prayers and love. I can feel the extra strength and comfort everyday that comes from your prayers!
I love you all more than all the naps in the world!
Les quiero siempre! Muchos abrazos y besos!
Hermana Lattin

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Email #3 (Mexico City)

Hola mi familia marvillosa!
It was so great to hear from all of you this week:) 
I absolutely LOVED all the pictures! They made me tear up a little, just because I miss you all so much and it was great to see your beautiful faces. Sounds like everything is crazy busy as usual in the Lattin home! I guess that´s just how we roll.
This week has been fantastic! I am really coming to love el CCM. I love my companera, my district, the language, teaching lessons, learning about the Gospel, everything! Being a missionary is the greatest. The biggest lesson I've learned this week is definitely how to better feel and listen to the Spirit. Our teachers always tell us that when we walk into someone´s house, three people should be entering: you, your companion, and the Spirit. The Spirit is SO important while teaching. And ironically enough, it was while I was teaching that I had the hardest time feeling the spirit. I was focusing so much on the language and the specific things in the lessons, I was forgetting that we really aren´t the teachers. We, as missionaries, are instruments through which the Lord teaches. In order to help someone become converted unto this Gospel, you have to let the Spirit teach them not you. And that requires the ability to listen to the spirit and know what the Lord wants you to say. That means that you cannot be afraid of silence. Times of quiet are the most effective times in which the Spirit can touch whoever you are teaching. So I´ve been working really hard on that this week, and it feels so much better to teach by the Spirit! I’ve learned a lot from Hermana Lui, because even though my Spanish is a little better than her´s, she is so much better at bringing the Spirit to the lessons than I am, because she always, ALWAYS speaks from her heart and listens to the Spirit. Le quiero mi companera!
We went to the temple again today! It was fantastic. The best part is that I could understand a lot of what was said! Speaking is another issue, but at least I´m starting to understand Spanish a lot better! I´ve discovered that I really love to learn. I’ve always known that before, but I´m also really lazy so learning in school was sometimes a burden for me, haha. But now that I´m here learning Espanol for the Lord, I´m realizing how much I love to study and learn! Spanish is a really fun langauge:)
I sent a letter to you guys last Wednesday! I was so frustrated with the timed email time that I was like, "I´m going to write a letter without a time limit". So that´s what I did. Hopefully you get it soon.

I´ll answer your questions now, Mamita:)
1. No, Hermana Hymas and Grondel (from the picture last week) are not going to Gilbert, AZ. Hermana Hymas is headed to Witchita Kansas and Hermana Grondel is headed to Honduras. I love them!
2. The only time we get to leave the CCM is when we go to the temple. And si, we do take a bus. It's about a 45 minute drive to the temple and every time it is probably the most terrible ride of my life. The roads are ridiculously bumpy in Mexico City and everyone drives loco. It´s horrible. I thought we were going to die several times. But it is really interesting to see what life is like outside of the walls! Next time we go I'll take some good pics from the bus.

Oh some other random things about life here!
First of all, it is not hot here. It´s warm sometimes, but mostly it rains a lot. At about 4ish everyday it starts raining. Good thing I bought that rain jacket!
Also, I´m really missing American food. I am so excited to eat a big, juicy cheeseburger when I get back to the States. Yesterday in the comedor (cafeteria) apparently we ate some meat that was a lovely combination of cow tongue, stomach and colon... I wondered why it tasted so strange while I was eating it. Luckily I only ate a tiny little part of it, but I still wanted to vomit once I found out what I had just ingested.
One thing that happens occasionally is we have earthquake warnings! It´s a little scary, but we all just go outside and gather in these green circles in the streets. I´ll have to send you a picture of that next week. They´re all over our campus. It´s only happened twice where the siren went off, but both times we didn´t feel anything. I think Heavenly Father is protecting His misioneros!
Oh and also, did any of you see the picture I was in on facebook/pinterest?? We took a picture last wednesday with the girls from our casa and one of the girls sent it to her mom and somehow it ended up on a church facebook page! One of our maestras, Hermana Valdez saw it on facebook and told us that a lot of people liked and shared it! Hahaha let me know if you saw it. It´s a picture of us in front of the CCM sign and then it has a quote above it.

Anyways, I´ve gotta go but remember how much I love you all! Also, I know the family life can get hard once and a while, but something that has helped me a lot is prayer. Praying for humility, the ability to love more, to be happier and more positive. I have a firm testimony of prayer and how much it helps me get through tough days. Yo se que nuestro Padre Celestial eschucha y contesta nuestras oraciones. (I know that Heavenly Father listens and answers our prayers.) 
"When life gets too difficult to stand, kneel." I´m not quite sure who said that, but I really like it.
I love you all more than you´ll ever know! I pray for you individually every single night!
Le quiero MUCHISIMO!

Hermana Lattin

P.S. Mother dear, when I get to AZ, will you please PLEASE send me some CDs of you singing hymns? I miss hearing your beautiful voice. Being here makes me realize how many hymns remind me of you and singing as a family. I miss that!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Email #2 (Mexico City)

September 4, 2013
I just want to start this email by expressing how much I love all of you. You are the inspiration and strength that get me through the day, whether I am struggling or doing well. Thank you so much for being the best family in the world!
I’ll admit it, I cried again while reading all your emails. It makes me so happy to hear about everything back at home. I hope school, cross country, football, choir, harp, home life and everything is going well! It sounds like everyone is happy and thriving! Mom, what you said about being the only pregnant mom at Back to School Night at AHS made me laugh:) 
Oh and tell the Tuttle Family that I use the Spanish Hymn book every day! I love it! Did you know that "Called to Serve" or "Llamados a Servir" has 4 verses in Spanish? Cool, huh?
Thank you so much for praying for me! Heavenly Father really does answer our prayers! My health has been great, I havent gotten sick at all! And I did hear about Michelle´s food poisoning... Poor Michelle:(
I fasted for you this past Sunday! We fasted for dinner on Saturday and Breakfast on Sunday... longest/hardest fast I´ve ever done in my life, but by far the BEST one as well! I fasted for something specific and special for each of you. It really makes a difference, fasting for a purpose. My purpose for fasting is what kept me going, because I knew if I did it sincerely and with real intent, Heavenly Father would bless my family!
The part of your emails about Nate bearing his testimony made me tear up! It is so cool, Nate, that your’re only 11 and you already have that conviction and testimony about this gospel! I´m so proud of all my siblings for their efforts in being a light to a world that is so dark.
Sammi, I am glad you had such an amazing experience with the sister missionaries. That is so awesome!
We just had an awesome devotional last night from Elder Villalobos (an area 70) and he talked a lot about member missionaries. We as full time missionaries cannot do this work without the help of the members! The work of Salvation is done so much more effectively when missionaries and members are unified in the purpose of inviting others unto Christ!
Okay, Mom, I´m gonna answer all of your questions now (which I love by the way)
1. My companion’s name is pronounced Hermana Lui= Loo-ee
2. The Spanish is comin´along just fine. It´s improved a lot, I know how to pray, bear my testimony, and teach some of the lessons in Spanish. Also, I memorized the Missionary Purpose and the First Vision in Spanish!
3. Our instructors actually are mostly from the Provo MTC. Our District has 2, Hermana Thomas and Hermana Valdez. Both of them are AMAZING teachers. Hma Thomas is from Utah I think and she served in Boston. Hma Valdez is actually from Peru and she served in Fort Worth!:) I love them both so much.
4. Our investigators are our teachers. They make up different characters and pretend to be our investigators! It´s actually really cool because they make it feel real. And no, we don´t leave the CCM to teach, because Mexico City is really dangerous. But every Thursday we have members from the area come in and we get to teach them! We get to do that tomorrow so that should be fun.
5. Yes I can see pictures you email! Please send pictures! I would love that.
6. I think with the newest batch of kids there are around 900 missionaries at the Mexico CCM! Craazy!
7. You would be so proud of me! I´ve ridden the stationary bike every day this entire week, and I do my all my physical therapy exercises. I´m being super careful with my knee, so don´t worry!
Okay well I´ve gotta go! But just know that I love you all so much and miss you tons, but I am happy, healthy and trying my best to serve the Lord here in the CCM!
Thank you again for being the BEST family in the entire world.

I love you all more than all the rain in Mexico City:)
Les amo, 
Hermana Lattin
P.S. I bought some stamps and I´m going to write you guys a real letter without a time limit:) So expect that within the next month...

My Official name tag for 18 months

Hermana Lattin and Hermana Lui at the Mexico City Temple

Me and my companion with our roommates Hermana Hymas and Hermana Gronde

in front of the CCM sign (missionary training center)

My entire district at the Mexico City Temple

Remember those Magnum Bars we ate in Mazatlan? I found them!!