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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Email #14 (Gilbert, AZ)

November 25, 2013

Hola hola!!!
I first need to answer your question, Mom, to make sure I don't forget.
I am not exactly sure what our plans are for Thanksgiving... we have a lot of member visits planned to just go around and tell our members (and everyone else we see) what we're thankful for! I'm not positive who we have dinner with, but I'm pretty sure it's with the Baldwins, the family with the mom from Peru who makes AMAZING food every time we go over there. It will be a great day to share the Gospel!:)
Anyways, it sounds like everyone's week was pretty great!
Sounds like Max’s little concert was cute. It does surprise me a little that Max is a stage kid! haha maybe he'll be the first in our family to really get into theater.... hahaha I miss you all so much!
Oh and I feel soooooo bad that I haven't been getting Nate's emails! This entire time I just thought he wasn't emailing me! Have him make sure he has the right email: emma.lattin@myldsmail.net. Nate I love you tons!!! Don't ever forget it. If it doesn't work, have him email from a different account. Maybe the school email account isn’t working. I'd love to get his emails.
This week has been great! Not much to tell... just trying to work on my Spanish! I am realizing that there's a lot more to learning Spanish than just trying to sit in a lesson and understand what's going on. Even if you do have the Spirit, the Lord is requiring an active effort on my part to actually learn the language. I'm afraid there have been weeks where I've gotten slightly complacent about learning it, especially when I have a fluent companion. But I've been praying A LOT, and I now have this sudden flame of desire in my heart to really learn Spanish. I want so badly to be able to connect with my investigators, and understand them so I can better help them come unto Christ and feel his love. But, it is going to take time. I have to be patient, but pro-active about learning the language. I'm trying to find a way that I can best use my language study hour, because I feel like it could be MUCH more effective than it is right now. Part of the struggle with being stateside Spanish-speaking is the fact that I am not required to speak Spanish all the time, so I'm not completely immersed in it. But I can't let that stop me from learning it to the best of my ability so I can fulfill my calling as a Spanish-speaking missionary here in Gilbert, AZ. Pray for me!:)
Here are the answers to your questions:
1. Concha and Rene are great! They are still on date, and everything seems to be going well. We have a lesson with them tonight so hopefully we can effectively follow up and see how their progress is coming.
2. We don't have any new investigators yet, but I think we are going to start teaching Mrya and Edgar (another couple in the Garcia fam) and we just got a lot of great referrals that we will be contacting! I will let you know how they all work out. Thank you so much for your prayers for our investigators. I can see the blessings that come from having a loving and caring family, and how your prayers and love have blessed our investigators:)
3. My knee is doing fine! I haven't had any issues with it so far, and I'm trying to run every other day so I can strengthen it. Sometimes it gets kind of sore from biking or running, but it's a good sore that helps me know it's getting stronger every day! I actually have some muscle on my calves so that's good news:)
4. Um.... so far just the grey skirt you sent me works with riding a bike! But in all honesty, I haven't tried any of my other ones because I'm afraid of what will happen if they don't work... haha but I have this little clip thing (thanks to Sister Hair), that I hook onto my bike and then I clip the end of my skirt to it so it stays down better.
5. Here are some things I'm grateful for:

1. The light, hope and joy of the Gospel in my life!
2. My Savior, Jesus Christ and my loving Heavenly Father.
3. My amazing and truly wonderful family!!!
4. My calling as a missionary
5. My awesome investigators!
Those are just a few things I'm grateful for:)
Okay, I LOVE YOU ALL so so so so much. I pray for each of you every night! Have an amazing week and an amazing Thanksgiving up in the mountains!!
Con mucho MUCHO amor, Hermana Lattin

Friday, November 22, 2013

Email #13 (Gilbert, AZ)

November 18 2013

Hola familia!!!
Okay first of all I'd like to apologize for the past few weeks emails being sent at totally different times... Last week it was Veterans Day, so the library wasn't open, so we had to email from a member's house, and she couldn't do it until later. And then the week before we were told that our Zone was supposed to go do our emails at 2, not at 10, so that's what we did. But now, since transfers were this past week, our little Spanish district was moved to a different zone! So that's why I am emailing now instead of later. I am honestly not really sure when exactly our zone is supposed to email, so it might come at a different time next week, but we'll see:) And thank you for your emails today (from Mom, Sammi and Dad... Alex and Nate......... I'm still waiting:))
Mom! I loved hearing about the missionary fireside. It sounded like it was beautiful. I am not going to lie, I REALLY miss singing with my family. Sometimes when I hear songs that we always used to sing together (ex. A Child's Prayer), I get a little bit teary. But I'm sure all the songs were beautiful, and that a lot of people were touched by the spirit! I'm so glad you and Mary Dyer sang The Olive Tre, and I am honored that you used excerpts from my emails:)

 It was a great week! The best part about it was definitely MIGUEL'S BAPTISM!!! It was so beautiful. Something that is hysterical about the hispanic culture (and something that is very evident in our Spanish ward) is that nothing EVER starts on time. Not even sacrament meeting most of the time. I think our family would fit right in here:) But anyways, the baptism was supposed to start at 7:00, but of course it didn't start until 7:15ish, 7:20ish, because we were waiting for most of the Garcia family to get there haha, but once the baptism started, it was fantastic! Miguel looked so happy. It was so awesome too, because Jesus ( one of the Garcia daughters, Adriana's husband) was able to baptize him! It was so sweet. I just love Miguel and his humility, and his willingness to do anything and everything to follow Christ! A year from now he, Erika and their two kids, Jissel and Miguelito, will be able to be SEALED in the temple for time and all eternity:) and I'll be here for that! I love thinking about how the entire Garcia family is making steps to all be sealed in the temple, because that really is the goal. Baptism is the first step, and the goal is to get them to the temple! Speaking of the temple, did I already tell you that they are planning to dedicate the temple on March 1st, 2014??? We are so excited!!! We have this awesome temple video that we are starting to show to members and we are encouraging them to invite their friends over so we can show it to them and invite them to the open house. The presentation is essentially a compilation of a few different temple videos, and they are so powerful and bring the spirit of the temple every time we watch them. We are hoping this helps both the members and their friends to be excited about the Open House!!! And we as sister missionaries get to participate in the open house. We get to do the tours! I will be doing them in Spanish. am so excited.
The next thing I want to tell you about is Rene and Concha. You're not going to believe it, but just last night we got them on date for baptism for the 28th of December! A little preface to that- Rene earlier yesterday was driving home from somewhere and past by the scene of where his cousin had gotten in a serious car accident two months ago and passed away. He stopped on the side of the road and prayed to be able to find something of hers. They had looked around the area before and had never found anything. So he prayed and got out of the car. Something (the Holy Ghost) told him to hop over the barbed wire fence. He did and was guided directly to a bush. There he found a cell phone, lying face down on the ground. He picked it up, not knowing if it would work or not, but he plugged it into the phone charger in his car, and it turned on. Sure enough, it was her cell phone with all of her pictures and videos still on it. He said that through this experience he knew that she was there, watching out for him. Hermana Chavarri and I were able to bear our testimonies on the power of his experience, and I was able to help him know that because of the plan of Salvation, he would see her again. And because of the Plan of Salvation, he can accept the Gospel, and make sure her work is done in the temple someday. He said that this was a sign to him that he was on the right path. HOW AWESOME IS THAT??? So after that, we presented the date of December 28th and they were both a little skeptical, but we told them that it is a goal date, and if they do everything they can to prepare to be baptized on that date, Heavenly Father will provide a way for it to happen on that day, or he will guide and direct us to another date. Then they both said they were willing to do everything they possibly can to be baptized! It was amazing. I love them so much.
So those were the highlights of my week! I love the fact that I am able to witness the love and mercy God has for all of his children. He has a plan for each of us and is willing and waiting to help us reach our divine potential if we are willing to do our part. We must always strive to see ourselves as Heavenly Father sees us, His children, with divine potential and purpose. This is what I'm out here to do, to help His children discover God's plan for them through coming to know and understand the restored Gospel. How great is my calling!:)
Our investigators' names: Rene, Concha, Naty (their daughter), Patricia, Rigo and Connie. Thank you so much for praying for them!!!
Okay, I hardly have any time left, but I love you all so much! I promise to send pictures next monday and I am sending another letter this week, so be expecting that:) Thank you for your prayers and for your love. I pray for you every single night! YOU ARE THE BEST FAMILY IN THE WORLD!
Con mucho MUCHO amor,
Hermana Lattin
Miquel's Baptism

Monday, November 11, 2013

Email #12 (Gilbert, AZ)

November 11, 2013
Familia familia!!! 
It was so great to hear from you all this week:) I love reading your emails and knowing what's going on in good ol' CO. I love you guys so much!
This past week was fantastic! So many things happened that I might have to number them so I make sure I get everything in...
1. It started out a little bit crazy... we moved! We are still in the same ward. We are now living in a barn behind a member's house. It's actually pretty nice! We aren't living with Hermanas Baria and Bukoskie though which is sad. But we are living with Sisters Marz and Hair... and they are pretty hysterical. So it's a party.
22510 S. 173 Way
Gilbert, AZ 85298
Our other house was being remodeled so they moved all of us out, and then they decided they only wanted one companionship living in the house on Cloud. So now we're in the barn!
2. You are going to be so SO proud of me. I am amazed with myself. I ATE RAW FISH. I'm not even kidding you. There is a family in our ward, the Baldwins, and Hermana Baldwin is Peruvian. She made a dish called Ceviche. I'm sure Michelle has had it. I saw it and looked at Hermana Chavarri with terror in my eyes. As a missionary, there is this unwritten rule that you always eat the food that is prepared for you, ALWAYS. Especially in Latin culture, it is extremely rude to not eat the food that is given to you. So I sucked it up and ate it. And I LIKED IT. I know. I am still in shock. 
3. I ran this morning for the first time in 5 months!!!! I ran 2 miles. Hermano Sempkin in our ward is a physical therapist and he gave me a routine to help me work up to running, and today was the first day he said I could run! It felt so good!
4. Miguel is still getting baptized this Saturday, Nov. 16. We are so SO excited for him. He is so humble and so willing to change in order to better follow Christ. There was a very tender moment the other night during our lesson when Erika (Miguel's husband) was talking about how amazing it is that her husband is being baptized and the change that she has seen in him. Her sister, Alejandra (who joined the Church about a year ago, she was the first of all of the Garcias to get baptized), was also there and her husband is getting baptized this month as well. So, she bore her testimony as well and they both were crying, and then they embraced and it was so CUTE! This Gospel changes lives and it changes families! It is so beautiful. What an amazing day it will be when the entire Garcia family gets sealed in the temple!! 
5. Also about the Garcia family (of course)...we were teaching Miguel last night and Francisco Sr. sat in on our lesson. Francisco is very quiet, and doesn't express emotion very often, but he has a testimony tan fuerte del Evangelio. I would have never thought I'd see the day when he cried. But yesterday, during our lessons, he was bearing his testimony on the change that he's seen in his life and his family since they've been baptized, and he started crying! It was so SO powerful to see such emotion come from this quiet, old man. AH. The love I feel for the entire Garcia family is a love stronger than I've ever felt in my life (besides the love I feel for my own family). It amazes me that I've only known these people for barely two months (sometimes don't even know what they're saying), but I love them so much! This is what the pure love of Christ does, it allows us to love our fellow man, putting aside all worldly things, all stereotypes, language barriers, etc., and it allows us to just LOVE. Charity never faileth! By the way Mom, thank you for sending me that talk! It is amazing.
 I got your letters in the mail:) Thank you so much for your love and encouragement. I have the BEST parents in the world!

Okay, now for your questions Mami.
1. I have not met Elder Lee, but I'll look for him  at transfer meeting this week! By the way, We're not getting transferred:)
2. Yes I did use the cayenne pepper drops when I was sick and they really helped! Thank goodness for the drops.

Okay well I have hardly any time left but I love you all so much! I'm writing a letter to all of you so expect one soon!
Have a fantastic FANTASTIC week! 
Les quiero MUCHISIMO!!!
Hermana Lattin

Monday, November 4, 2013

Email #11 (Queen Creek, AZ)

November 4, 2013
Hola hola, familia!!
I just want to start out and say: MUCHISIMAS GRACIAS FOR THE BELATED BIRTHDAY PACKAGE!!!! Oh my goodness all I really wanted was a photo album and I got that AND so much more!!!! It made me so so so so so happy! I LOVE the pictures that are in the photo album... Sister Chavarri especially loves the last one of Alex and Nate. Everytime she looks at it she just starts cracking up. I'm just like "I told you they are weirdos!". Hahahaha but seriously the photo album is PERFECT. The perfume smells amazing, the little spanish help book is awesome and the skirt and dress are adorable!!! I wore the dress yesterday, (I looked pretty cute if I do say so myself:) Haha just kidding…but really the dress is so cute. And I am really excited for the gray skirt because it will be absolutely perfect for biking! AH! I just love everything! Not to mention the delicious pumpkin bread, caramel apples and all the candy. Seriously, you guys are the BEST. I love you so so so so so sssoooooo much!
Okay so my week was really great! A lot of ups and downs but it ended up being a good week. I got a little bit sick, just a little cold (don't worry Mom:)). I had a few days where I was just EXHAUSTED, the most exhausted I've ever been in my life (which is saying a lot, because there were days during high school with early morning seminary that I thought I was going to die of exhaustion... haha). And the combination of being sick and tired do not make for the easiest time of understanding/speaking Spanish. A lot of days I just wanted to fall down and take a nap. But being a missionary, you don't have a whole lot of time to just take a nap... so that's pretty rough. But the good news is that I always fall asleep really fast because I'm so tired. The other better news is that it is SO WORTH IT. On days where I'm super tired, Heavenly Father likes to remind me why I'm here!:) He puts people in our path that make me realize that I would take any day of being overly tired as long as I can see the Gospel change someone’s life, or be inspired by someone's testimony. That's the beauty of being a missionary, a lot of times the toughest days end up being the best days:)
A huge reason why my week was great was because of our amazing investigators (4 of which are from the Garcia family... are you surprised?:)) Rene and Concha are doing great. We haven't had a chance yet to talk to them about their little issue (they are living together and both married to someone else…both of which need to be resolved before they can be baptized), but we're hoping to have Obispo there and his wife to help us out. I'm not too worried though, because they are very humble and have such open hearts. They both want to do what the Lord wants them to do. I think they will want to take care of it quickly so they can be married and get baptized! I love them a lot.
Our other investigator, Miguel, who is Erika's husband (another one of Teresa's daughters) is SO AWESOME. He is so ready to accept the Gospel. On our first lesson with him, it was about the Restoration, I had the amazing oportunidad to invite him to be baptized. I just had this burning in my heart to do it, and I knew that it was the Spirit prompting me to do it. So I did (in Spanish!) and he accepted without any hesitation. Then it was amazing because the next lesson we had with him we extended him a baptismal date, November 16th and he just goes, "Well, yes! Except, my birthday is on the 12th, so maybe we could do it then!". Ahhhhh I could not stop smiling! He is so awesome.
With these amazing investigators, I really have been able to see how the Lord prepares people to hear and accept the Gospel. He prepares their hearts to be able to feel the Spirit and he prepares their minds to remember the eternal truths they already know. Then when we come to help them remember who they are, why they are here on this earth and what they need to do to get back to Heavenly Father, they are ready to follow the example of Christ and be baptized, and eventually make sacred covenants in the temple. It is also really a blessing in my life to learn from the testimonies and faith of our investigators every day. Being a missionary is the best.
Scripture of the week: 2 Nephi 31:20. It's a real good one:)
Anyways, I love you all TONS and TONS! Hope your week has been great and I hope this coming week is even better! Always remember who you are: a child of God!:)
Con mucho amor,
Hermana Lattin

We had a little too much fun on Halloween night with moustaches!

Hermana Lattin and Hermana Baria

Hermana Bukoskie , Hermana Baria, and Herman Chavarri

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Email #10 (Queen Creek, AZ)

October 28, 2013
Hola hola!!!! Happy Halloween Week!
Sounds like you had a great, eventful week!! I'm sure your Harp Fantasia Concert was fantastic, Sammi! And Nate way to go in your football game! That is awesome you made a touchdown! Oh and Alex I'm so proud of you for accepting the challenge of a dance off! We're definitely related:) And Max, I'm glad you liked my joke about your girlfriends! Haha and Olivia... WHY ARE YOU SO DARN CUTE??? Ahhhh that picture of her in her lion costume made me die.
Anyways, Mom I'm so glad my advice helped you! Your story of your lesson made me so so happy, especially the part about Danielle coming to church! That is amazing!!! Charity never faileth!
I'm going to try and send some pictures today, so my email won't be very long.
But, I did want to tell you about our lesson with Rene and Concha. Probably one of the most beautiful, spiritual lessons I've had since I've been out on my mission. We were talking about the Spirit world and Spirit Paradise and Spirit Prison and I could tell Rene was a little bit concerned, because his eyes were tearing up a little bit. So I asked him what was wrong and he told us that his sister had died a few years earlier and she was an AMAZING person. He didn't believe that someone like her, even though she didn't have the gospel in her life, would be subject to "Spirit Prison". Sis. Chavarri and Sister Munoz (la esposa del obispo en nuestro barrio) were explaining to him temple work and baptisms for the dead, and he just didn't seem satisfied with those answers. He couldn't believe that someone as amazing as her would be suffering in Heaven. I had this thought come into my mind, and a burning in my heart that I needed to share it with him. Luckily for me, he understands English, because I didn't know how to explain what I wanted to say in Spanish. I told him that I didn't think that Spirit Prison was a literal "prison". I told him that being in spiritual prison was more of a state of mind, because people who had done bad things on this earth and this life and had not repented of them would be subject to constantly thinking on those sins and those things that they had done wrong. But, if his sister is as amazing as he says she is, I told him that I was sure that she had already accepted the message of the gospel, and received the joy that comes from coming to the knowledge of the truth. Now she is watching him from heaven and rejoicing in his own journey in receiving the Gospel of Jesus Christ for himself. I then explained to him that she is waiting for him to take the steps to follow Christ and be baptized, and then he can go to the temple and make sure that her work gets done as well. He smiled with tear-filled eyes as I told him that this Gospel is one of hope, and his sister had hope through him, and that she was not suffering, but rejoicing and waiting with anticipation and excitement for him to continue on this path in coming unto Christ. The Spirit was strong. At the end of the lesson, Sis. Chavarri bore a beautiful testimony on the Plan of Salvation. She related God sending us here on earth to her mom sending her out on her mission. It was AWESOME.
Rene and Concha came to church yesterday and stayed all three hours! They are progressing and learning a lot, and they seem very happy and excited about it!:)
Oh and to answer your questions Mami,
1. What am I grateful for? My amazing family, Hermana Chavarri, la Familia Garcia, and the gift of tongues, and the beautiful, and wonderful message of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ!
2. Do you get to tract and teach on Halloween night?
No, we have to be back in our casa by 5:00... Party night! And by party I mean study night!!!:) hahaha
3. Are your other two roommates Spanish speaking as well? Yes our other two roommates are also Spanish sisters, Hermana Baria was Hermana Chavarri's trainer, and Hermana Bukoskie was the one who came from the CCM in Mexico the same day as me:) They serve in a different Spanish ward. We all have a great time together! It's awesome.
4. Do you have any Spanish speaking Elders in your ward? There's a trio of Elders (Elders Macfarlane, Lillywhite and Caldwell-the same Elder Caldwell that was in my district!) and then us hermanas.
5. Do your roommates like pumpkin bread?
YES. That's a definite "Pos, si!!!" (That's actually how you spell it, just found that out this past week:))
Here come some pictures!
Hermana Lattin

Francisco Garcia's baptism

Garcia Familia

Temple Trip! The Mesa Temple is BEAUTIFUL!

AZ (almost) sunset...it wasn't quite setting yet, but we were biking and we didn't have enough time to wait. I'll get a better one soon!

Instagram costume! haha Hermana Chavarri and I dressed up as twins..I think we scared him a little bit:)

Frodo Baggins:) This kid is awesome! His name is Carlitos.
Don't mind the fact that I look insane in both of those pics...I was just really excited (haha)