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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Email #22 (Gilbert, AZ)

January 20, 2014

Familia!!! Hola hola!!!
Thank you so much for the letter and the pictures!!! I have been showing Elle off to everyone:) haha
Also, Mom I didn't know there were so many miracles this past December! I am so grateful for our wonderful extended family and their ability to hear the whisperings of the spirit. Your experiences this past December are definitely a testament of how Heavenly Father is very aware of us and our needs, and he will do anything and everything to answer our prayers because he loves us more than we could ever know. 
I still cannot get over how HUGE Eliana is!! She really is the cutest.
I will be writing a letter today about our 3 (almost 4) new investigators this week! . Juanita, Jesus, Guadalupe, Gerardo and Karina. Thanks for keeping them in your prayers.

I have so much to tell you about the Gilbert Temple open house!!  We were just trained last Tuesday by Elder Walker, the member of the 70 who is in charge of all the temple openings. We got to go through it (all the sisters in our mission) with Elder Walker as our tour guide, and it is AMAZING!!! Seriously, the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life. I am seriously considering getting married in the Gilbert temple... hahaha but that's not for a while so I won't worry about that. The fact of the matter is that this temple is incredible. I can't wait for you to see it--when I get back from my mission and take you all on a family trip to Gilbert. I know all temples are beautiful, but there is something about this one that is truly amazing. Especially the Celestial Room with the most beautiful chandelier I've ever seen. You can't help but just look up:) But anyways, the tours started this past Saturday. The sister missionaries have two jobs:
1. We quickly introduce the 12 minute video that everyone sees before they go through the temple.
2. We stand in the reception tent and help answer questions that people have and encourage them to fill out comment cards. It is really fun!! We worked this morning (hence the reason I am emailing so late) and I did a lot of tour intros in Spanish! It was a little scary, but really fun! It is amazing to see the amount of people who are coming from all over to see this temple. And I don't know how you can go in there and not feel the Spirit. We had the chance to go on Saturday with Concha, Rene and Naty. They LOVED it! They are amazing. I feel so blessed to be here, in this mission, with this beautiful temple and this life-changing open house. I really believe that it will change lives.
Pray for hearts to be softened and eyes to be opened during this special time:)

Here are the answers to your questions:
1. The Spanish is coming. It's difficult to think about Michelle, Shelby and Jake and the status of their Spanish, because they are immersed in it. Whenever I compare myself to them, I can't help but feel a little bit inadequate. But I try to remember that the only person who can determine whether or not I learn and become fluent in Spanish is ME. So, I have decided to give everything to learning Spanish and allow Heavenly Father to make up for what I lack in the language. I have moments where I feel my Spanish is really good, and other, very humbling moments, when I realize that I still have a LONG way to go. But I really do think I can do it. It's just going to take more effort and more faith on my part. It's funny because my comprehension is good. I understand a majority of what people say to me. Speaking is a lot harder. But I know with faith and a lot of work, it can get A LOT better.
2. Update on Patricia:
 We talked to Luis, her son this past Wednesday about the whole situation. He agrees with us that she should NOT get married. Luis actually has this plan to get married and then invite her to live with them so she can get out of that house and away from her "not-husband". Isn't that AWESOME! We felt so hopeful after talking to him, because before we weren't sure what we could do for her. Even though she really should not get married to him, she can't really leave because they work together. If she did leave, not only would she not have a job, but she wouldn't have a house either. So to have Luis tell us that he has a plan to help her get out of this situation gave us so much more hope. So, he needs to hurry up and get married! Haha just kidding, but there is hope for her, it might just take a bit longer for her to get baptized. We have been striving to help her understand the Atonement and how the pure love of Christ can heal her if she lets it. It's just hard with her being constantly surrounded by him and his influence. So, once she moves out and can be completely separated from him, then I think she will be able to let everything go and just allow the Atonement to heal her so she can be happy and live the Gospel!

3. Suggestions on encouraging timliness to seminary for Alex and Sammi:
 I feel like I don't have very much room to talk about being on time to seminary, because I was hardly ever on time. In all honesty, though, I really wish I would have made more of an effort to be on time. I probably would have gotten a lot more out of it and I genuinely regret not putting more of my heart into it. But that is an individual thing, something that you can't really force out of someone. In fact, I feel like when it is forced, it becomes even more of something we HAVE to do and not something we WANT to do. And with that, there is a big difference in what someone get's out of something they want to do and something they have to do... And I'm not sure if consequences really help with that:) But, they should know that being a missionary now, I look back and wish I would have had more of a desire to be on time and learn from seminary. Not that it was a bad experience, because it was great for me! But I do think I could have gotten a lot more out of it had I put more into it. And ultimately, they are the ones who decide what they get out of it. Does that help at all?!

Okay well, I LOVE YOU SOOOOO MUCH. I hope you know that. 
The scripture of the week is Helaman 5:12! Remember when you focus your life on Christ, and have Him as your foundation, Satan has no power over you and you cannot fall.
Que tengan una semana marvillosa, bonita y fantastica!!! 
Hermana Lattin

Emma and other sister missionaries serving at the Gilbert Temple Open House

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Email #21 (Gilbert, AZ)

January 13, 2014 HOLA FAMILIA!!!!
I don't have a whole lot of time because I wrote Sammi a longer email this week. 
Tell Grammy I say hi!!!!:) Tell her I love her and miss her and give her a big hug for me:)
AHHHH ALL THOSE PICTURES OF ELIANA MADE ME SO HAPPY!!! She is soooo cute!! Give her a big kiss for me. I'm glad you/she liked my little letter. I just felt like she needed a little letter of her own to remember that even though we're far apart in age and I'm not there with her during her first year of life, I still am her sister and I love her so much!!:) AH! She's the cutest! Also that pic sammi sent me of my baby Olivia was so cute!!! Ah! She's not a baby anymore! How is it that I have the cutest, best family in the world??:)
This week was really great! I was sick with a cold for a bit of it, but I'm all better now, so that's good. The only thing I have to really tell you about is an update on Patricia. We went over there a few nights ago to teach her the rest of the 10 commandments. We got to the end and I asked her a question about not hating others, and she answered and eventually started talking about her not-husband. I won't go into detail, but essentially she still has a lot of hate and bitterness for this man because of certain things that he did in the past. He cheated on her and as a result was not caring or providing for her or their two children, and he doesn't seem to have any guilt or sorrow from his actions whatsoever. She just started crying and there was so much pain and hurt in her eyes that my heart quite literally felt like it was breaking. I don't think I've ever felt such a burden of someone else's sorrows so heavy on my shoulders as I did in that moment. We bore testimony of Jesus Christ and tried to help her understand that healing can only come as she lets go of that bitterness. For a long time after that lesson when we were driving somewhere else in the car, Sister Chavarri and I couldn't say anything because we both were near tears for Patricia and her situation. I wish I could adequately explain how I felt. But we realized that we cannot push Patricia to get married to someone she does not love,so she can get baptized. The only way the Atonement of Jesus Christ can start healing her is if she can get out of that situation where she is constantly surrounded by the memories of that horrific time for her. She needs a new start. But how to tell her that after she has been living with him for 21 years and they work together (she works inside and cleans houses while he works outside and does landscaping), we don't know. Continue to pray for us to know what we can do to help Patricia find the happiness and healing that comes from knowing and living the restored gospel!
That's probably the most significant thing that happened this week.
We're having a family home evening with two families of recent converts tonight, the Carrillos and the Dalmazzos:) We're excited. I am so excited to get the pics of Ellie you sent!

Okay I love you all soooooo much!!! Have an amazing, fantastic week!!!
Hermana Lattin

Email #20 (Gilbert, AZ)

January 6, 2014

AHHHHHHH!!!!! I have a new baby sister!!!!!!
I cannot get over how cute Eliana is!!! She is SO chubby and I love it!! I don't think it's settled into my brain yet that I have a new baby sister. My eyes keep filling up with tears of joy every time I think about it:) She is so adorable and I feel so blessed to have her as my sister. And even though I won't meet her in person until she's a year old, I know she will know who I am because we knew each other before this life!:) 
Mom I started crying when you told me in your email that you keep telling her about me and showing her pictures of me! It is hard to be away from you and Elle right now, but I know that our family is being blessed by my service.
Mom you are so strong! I can't believe you didn't get an epidural!! Both Nate and Sammi mentioned that specifically in their emails! After watching you, I am sure Sammi is really excited to have kids now:) haha. I think that it is so sweet that dad was so encouraging. AH. I love all of you so much.

Anyways, this week was great! I got the text from President on Tuesday night that you had the baby:) We were doing a three hour read-a-thon for New Years Eve (partayyyy) so we were sitting in the barn just reading away when President Nattress's text came. I was so SOOOOO HAPPY!!! But there wasn't anything I could really do about it, so I said a prayer of gratitude to Heavenly Father and kept reading Preach My Gospel. But I could not stop smiling!!! In all honesty though, it didn't actually feel real until today, seeing pictures of her. She is so beautiful and 9 lbs 2 oz! Wow.
I am SO grateful you prayed and fasted for Patricia! She is doing good, but still hasn't made any progress (that we know of) with the marriage. But we are going to talk to her tonight about it, and I know that your fast will bless Sister Chavarri and I to know how to help her, and it will help Patricia have the faith and the desire to do anything possible to be baptized. We will let you know how that goes!
OH! Guess who I met this past week! Angel, Aunt Liz's mom!! We went over there on Tuesday and visited her. She was so excited when I told her my name! Haha it was great. We visited with her for a bit and then she invited us over for dinner. So we had dinner with her and her husband, Lloyd, last night with the Elders that are in her ward! It was so great. They are so sweet and made such an amazing meal! Definitely the fanciest meal since I've been out here:) But I told the elders that their job is to try and prepare her to go to the temple. Sister Chavarri and I will continue to check in with her though. The elders said that they haven't seen her in their ward, so they will be inviting her to church as well. Can I have aunt liz's email? I'd love to email her and just find out more about Angel and Lloyd and their story, because I realized I hardly know anything about her! But hopefully we can help her get to the temple! She absolutely ADORES both Aunt Liz and Uncle John, and just raved about how amazing her grandchildren are, especially Shelby, Jake and Chandler and how they're serving missions:) She also told me several times that I don't look 20. I told her I get that a lot. But it was so great to meet her and I will do everything I possibly can to help her to go to the temple!
Other than that, I don't have a whole lot else to talk about from this past week. Sister Chavarri and I got sick on Wednesday and Thursday, just with a little stomach bug that Sister Marz gave us, or at least we think so. I threw up once, but the next day I was fine so everything is good! I haven't been that kind of sick in a long time so it was weird.
We also helped Mayra and Edgar (another family within the Garcia family who are soon-to-be-members) move into their new house! It was fun! They think it's really funny to call me "huera" (that's how you spell it, I looked it up:)) all the time and laugh at me when I can't speak Spanish:) Hahaha they are hilarious though and it was a fun time! We had just started teaching them, but they moved into the elder's area so we can't teach them anymore:( we're sad, but what is important is that someone teaches them and they get baptized and eventually are sealed in the temple. Mayra is the one who has the little baby, Edgar and two other sons, Brandon and Aaron. We love them!

Mom here are the answers to your questions:
1. I received the package. I absolutely LOVED it!! I cannot wait to hand out those books of mormon with the testimonies you each wrote in them!!! And Teresa love love loved the card, Mom! Your spanish (or dad"s) was wonderful:)
2. Yes we really did study Preach My Gospel on New Years Eve!! I'll be honest, it was a little boring, especially since our entire cul-de-sac was having a HUGE party with fireworks and stuff. But at the same time you get so used to studying as a missionary, it was just normal. I also learned A LOT from chapter one of PMG. It was actually really great:)
3. We actually opened up our presents at a senior missionary couple's home, who are in Sister Marz and Hair's zone, the Esplins! It was fun!! We got to go in our pjs and they had breakfast and everything so it was pretty great.
4. We had dinner with Patricia on Christmas Day! She is so cute! P.S. Abuelita's hot chocolate=best thing I've ever had. We only had time to watch The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, but it was SO FUN!! It brought me back to my childhood when I remembered that Peter was one of my first movie star crushes... still is:) hahah but it is funny watching that movie as a missionary because I was really into all the religious symbolism. It was awesome.
Okay well I love love LOVE you all so much and am so happy that Eliana is finally here blessing our home with her sweet spirit. Isn't it crazy to think that she was in heaven just less than a week ago? So amazing.
Espero que tengan una semana ESPECTACULAR!! I will be praying for you all extra hard:)
Con mucho mucho amor, 
Hermana Lattin

Email #19 (Gilbert, AZ)

December 30, 2014

I cannot tell you how GREAT it was to see all your faces on that computer screen this past wednesday. Even though it was for such a short time, it still made me soooooo happy to be able to see and talk to you!! 
I hope you always remember Moroni 8:3. I love each of you so much and pray for you every night. But our skype session was definitely the best Christmas present a missionary could ever ask for! Plus new scriptures, it was one of the best Christmases (is that even a word?) I've ever had!!! I'm glad you liked my package!! Have fun watching Chicken Run today:)
I was worried I was going to be sad after skyping, but it was actually just what I needed to lift me up and as Hermana Abreu said to "recharge my batteries". Missionary work is hard and stressful, and sometimes it's discouraging. But, part of what makes it totally and completely worth it is knowing that my family is happy and safe back at home. I know that our family is being blessed by all of our sacrifices to have me out here, and that alone makes all of it worth it! But what's great is like Elder Ballard said in his book, Our Search for Happiness, you can never do more for the Lord than he can do for you! Not only has he blessed me with blessing my family, but he has also blessed me with the opportunity to see and experience miracles while serving him!
The miracle this week was that Patricia came to church, for all three hours!!! Before Luis came back from his mission, she hadn't been to church once throughout her three years of investigating the church, and now in the short month he has been home, she is staying the entire time! We love Patricia! She is going to talk to her "esposo" this week about getting married so she can be baptized. Pray for him to soften his heart! She has such a great desire to be baptized, and she knows it's what she needs to do to follow Jesus Christ, so we are really praying that her esposo will agree to get married.
Anyways Mamita, here are the answers to your questions:
1. We are going to try and get Rene and Concha back on date for a baptism on Jan 25th.
 I'll let you know how that goes!

2. Our spanish ward struggles a little bit with supporting missionary work, but with our AMAZING temple presentation for the Gilbert Temple open house, we are hoping that we can get our ward excited about missionary work. We are starting to see a shift of feelings on missionary work and their responsibility as members to help with it in the positive direction, and so this year should be a great year in our ward!

3. New Years day is a normal day for us:) New Years eve we have to be in by 6 and we get to have a 3 hour Preach My Gospel Read-a-thon!!! PARTY.

I cannot believe I'm going to have a new baby sister in  the next coming weeks!!! SO WEIRD. I am so excited though!!! 
Eliana is still my favorite name choice out of Liliane, Eliana, Gwenyth, and Sophia. I like Eliana spelled with one "l" better. And actually Sophia was my first pick for my first baby girl, just like Olivia was! Stop stealing my names!!! hahaha but you can use it if you want:)
 I think whatever you pick will be the perfect name!!
Okay well I have to get going. Have a fantastic week and remember that I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!!
Con mucho mucho amor,
 Hermana Lattin