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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Email #27 (Queen Creek, AZ)

February 24, 2014

Missions are so fun and they're the BEST! So hard and challenging in ways I never expected, but so great in ways I can't express!!!
This week was a pretty great week. We had a few ups and downs, such as finding out I had a slight case of bronchitis on Tuesday, but I got some meds and kept on working, so all is well. I am so sad Nate is sick! I will be praying for him extra hard this week. Tell him I love him! And that is so cool that Alex got his patriarchal blessing! I am excited for Sammi this coming Sunday as well. Hers will be amazing too.
This week was pretty good. We had some good times and bad times (as a companionship), and in my letter home I'll tell you about the little freakout that happened the other night... but we worked things out! So overall, everything is just fine and dandy! Our ability to teach as a unified companionship is definitely improving. Thank you SOOOOOO much for your letter, Mamita. That letter helped me through a really rough time where I just didn't even know how to deal with my companion. Thank you for your love and for your advice. I wish I could express via email how much that letter meant to me, but just know within the past week I've read it at least 10 times!
We saw a lot of miracles with our investigators, although none of them came to church yesterday so that was sad. We had an awesome lesson with Mirsa on Tuesday with some members (the Clonts-they're soooo cute! I love them), and Mirsa got to ask and express some concerns she had, especially with Joseph Smith. Hermano Clont bore his testimony so powerfully of Joseph Smith, and it was just what she needed. I hope you all know how much we as missionaries appreciate and LOVE the members we serve with. We are so grateful for their service and help, whether it be dinner, finding investigators, or coming out with us. Your efforts with us as disciples of Jesus Christ working together to bring souls unto Him is always the best! And I know that the missionaries in Orchard ward feel the same way.  Anyways, we had that great lesson with Mirsa. Something amazing that she said was despite the things people had told her about Joseph Smith, despite the opposition she has gotten from her boyfriend and others, she cannot deny what she has felt when she comes to church and meets with us. She knows that she needs to be baptized. She is amazing! Hopefully she can make a decision soon as to whether or not she will get married to her boyfriend or not. Which brings me to another subject... her boyfriend. I don't have a whole lot of time to talk about him but I just want to tell one story about him, which will illustrate what kind of person he is. We had a lesson last week with Mirsa, and everything started out great until about 10 minutes into the lesson we hear these loud cat noises from the kitchen. Mirsa kind of just laughed uncomfortably and shook her head and said "el gato". But it kept going. For 30 whole minutes, this cat was meowing from the kitchen and was interrupting our lesson. Mirsa seemed way uncomfortable, embarrassed and annoyed the entire time. A few days later we found out that it was PACO. HER BOYFRIEND. He was the one making those cat noises for 30 whole minutes. It was so ridiculous. So.... yeah we aren't a huge fan of Paco.:)
I want to share another milagro from this past week. On Saturday, it was our service day. We went over to this lady's house, her name is Claudia, to paint some rooms in her home. We went with Sister Chavarri and Sister Welch, another sister in our mission that they were on exchanges with. We walked into her tiny front living room and it was probably one of the saddest living conditions I've ever seen in my life. There was stuff everywhere, grime on the walls, and it smelled like rotting food. It was obvious that they were very poor and destitute. I couldn't believe this poor woman was living there with her 4 kids. She didn't want us to paint because she didn't want the paint fumes to hurt her little baby, so we offered to clean the room. So that's what we did, for a good two and a half hours. You'd be so proud of my cleaning, Mom! I was scrubbing those walls like a mad woman! Afterwards we shared a message about Jesus Christ and she agreed to read the Book of Mormon. It was such a humbling experience to understand and see that people live in such difficult circumstances, and to be able to share the love of Jesus Christ with her was a very special experience that I won't ever forget. I am so blessed to be serving my Heavenly Father and serving His children. Always remember Mosiah 2:17!:)

1. YES!!! I got the Chipotle gift card. Thank you so much! It was a great day when I got to grace my mouth with a Chipotle burrito:)
2. We are no longer in the same zone as the elders that are serving in Aunt Elizabeth's mom's ward, but I will find out more info on her!
3. Yes I have been sharing my ideas and thoughts with Hermana Bukoskie:) Sometimes they aren't accepted that well, but I'm trying.
4. This Sunday, will you fast for Mirsa and her situation to get better so she can get baptized.

I'm out of time, but I hope you all know how much I LOVE YOU!!! You are all the very best. I am so blessed to be in such an amazing, wonderful eternal family.Have and awesome week.
Les quiero MUCHISIMO!
Hermana Lattin

Email #26 (Queen Creek, AZ)

February 17, 2014
FAMILIA!!!!! Hola:) Thank you SOOOOO MUCH for the Valentine's package this week!!!
AH! I love you all so much. Thank you for all your sweet personal notes you wrote me on the paper hearts and for lifting me up. I really needed to hear all of those things that you wrote to me. I LOVE YOU. I cannot tell you how much I've felt your prayers this past week. I was expecting it to be really rough, but it wasn't at all. I mean, Sister Bukoskie and I still had our moments and I'm continually realizing that I need A LOT more humility. I tend to blame a lot of the issues I have with other people completely on them, but Heavenly Father has been proving me very wrong with that. I don't anticipate Sister Bukoskie and I ever becoming best friends, but we will be a good, hard-working companionship. We have a co-senior companionship, which may be a challenge, because she has a much stronger personality than me, so her opinions and ideas override mine a majority of the time, and I think that just adds to my own pride issues because the entire time I'm thinking my ideas are better than hers when they might actually not be...yeah
I'll write you about it more, because I'm just rambling right now. :)

So I just gotta tell you about the milagros we experienced this week with
Vanessa and Francisco! So, Sister Bukoskie and Sister Baria were having a really difficult time getting a hold of them, and we were too, but on thursday they were HOME! Vanessa works a lot and even when she is home, she is usually sleeping because she's always exhausted. But this time, we went over there and she was awake and she invited us in! We got to sit down with them and Vanessa essentially said that she knows the church is true (she has been taught by missionaries before and has been to church before) and she wants to get baptized! Francisco was a little bit quieter but expressed a lot of interest in baptism as well. They've been through a lot of rough things in life, and they both can see and feel the light the Gospel brings. We taught them the
Restoration the next day, then we went to the temple open house with them on Saturday! So they went for a long time not seeing them (I didn't even meet them until Thursday) and then all of the sudden the miracles began! But... they aren't married. Those ring pops you sent for Valentine’s Day are going to come in handy!!:) hahaha but that is their issue right now and they don't really have the money or means to get married any time soon, and it doesn't help that Francisco is on a payment plan for 3 years to pay for something he stole a loooong time ago, so that complicates things a little. So pray for them that the miracles will continue to happen and that they will feel a great desire to change and be baptized. They are amazing and we love them!
OH!!! Ramon's baptism was SO beautiful. Seriously it was amazing. He had to get re-baptized 4 times, because he was struggling to bend his
knees. But he was such a good sport and kept on going until he did it! And afterwards I went to give him a handshake to congratulate him and he pulled me into a big hug! Haha I was surprised to say the least:) He is amazing and I feel so blessed to have been able to teach him.
1. Our two roommates are Sister Sanders and Sister Wilkinson. Sister Sanders is an STL (Sister Training Leader) and is sooooo awesome! And Sister Wilkinson is hysterical. Both of them are so nice. It's not quite the same as Sis Marz and Sis Hair but it’s still really good.

3. I saw Concha and Rene at Ramon's Baptism and the rest of the Garcias on Saturday. They just kept on hugging me and say "La huera! La huera!" It was great to see them. Concha was so excited to see me and gave me a big hug and kept on telling me she missed me a lot. Rene was like, "We miss you a lot" and my heart broke a little bit. But as far as I know, they're essentially in the same place, just waiting to get divorced then married, which will hopefully all happen by May.
That's the plan at least!

4. YES! Because I am serving in the same ward, we see Hermana Chavarri and Hermana Baria on Sundays and also a lot during the week too, because we are still in the same district and have dinner appointments together.
But it is strange.
6. YES I saw Dad’s aunt!!! I didn't recognize her at first, but I knew she was a Perkins. Then she said who she was and I was like of course! IT was so fun!:) She was so kind and it made my day:)

7. The temple dedication is on March 3rd and we get to attend!!:) I am so excited!!!

Mom, thank you so much for mentioning that part from my Patriarchal blessing. I know that Heavenly Father is with me always, so I have absolutely no reason to fear. As long as I have the Lord on my side, there is nothing to fear. And I totally forgot about what Patriarch Jensen said! That made me tear up a little bit. I need to be more reliable, because I know Heavenly Father trusts me a lot, much more than I deserve. I am so blessed to be serving Him and whoever I'm with and wherever I am, I need to put my trust in Him so He can mold me into the missionary and person He knows I can become.
I love you all soooooo much! Que tengan una buenasa semana!!!
Hermana Lattin

Vanessa and Francisco at Temple Open House

Ramon's Baptism
Happy Day!


Hey!! Hope the family is doing great!! I just wanted to tell you that Sister Lattin is a CHAMP! I miss her a lot, but I know that she was taken away from me because the Lord needs her talents and her amazing sweet spirit elsewhere. You would not believe how amazing her Spanish has gotten! She sounds good, very Ecuadorian. People actually comment on it and tell her that her Spanish is very understandable.

 I miss her dearly but I know she is growing and learning from this transfer. Anyways, hope Eliana is doing good and hope that the rest of the crazy fam is also doing great!!!
Take care!

-Hermana Chavarri

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Email #25 (Queen Creek, AZ)

February 10, 2014

Hola Familia!!!
So here is my address (before I forget):
20934 E. Ocotillo Rd. Apt #1092
Queen Creek, AZ 85142
So... it's been a crazy past week. And I'm going to be honest, I don't know how to feel about everything, but I'm trying to be positive and happy. GOOD NEWS! I am still in the ward!! I'm soooo glad I am still in the ward. What basically happened is Sister Baria and I just switched. I am with Sister Bukoskie in her area and Sister Baria is with Sister Chavarri in my old area. So Sis. Chavs and I are still in the same ward and district, so that's good! Not quite the same as companions, but that's okay. Change is a good thing, right? Right. Especially when it's change directed by the Lord. So my area is farther south now and none of it is in Gilbert, so it's even more cow town than before! There's this one part of it that's called "the Boonies" and it's way way country haha. I'm companions with Sister Bukoskie now. She is a hard worker and very obedient. And very different from Sister Chavarri. I am going to need to be a little more Christlike and open my heart to this new area and my new companion, then everything will be great. I'm just having some growing pains, that's all. I know that the Lord wants me here with Sister Bukoskie for a reason and I trust that His plan is much MUCH better than the one in my own mind:) Pray specifically that I can open my heart and have a lot of PATIENCE AND HUMILITY this week!
But the transition itself hasn't been too bad. I could feel your prayers within those first few days because Heavenly Father gave me a lot more strength and courage than I would have had on my own.
Oh! For new investigators to put on your list: Mirsa, Maybelin, Ariel, Brian, Francisco and Vanessa. I will write a letter about them when I meet all of them:) The only one I've met so far is Mirsa and she is amazing! She was a former investigator and knows it's true. She just needs to get married! But she doesn't really want to get married to her boyfriend, so that's a slight problem... We had a tender experience with her this past week due to some back pain that she's been having from a recent car accident. We went over with the Elders so they could give her a blessing. The Spirit was SO strong and when it was over, she couldn't talk for a while because she was on the verge of tears. I know she felt God's love for her from that blessing! Pray for her that she will be healed and that she will have the courage to do what she needs to do to follow Jesus Christ and be baptized.
Okay Mom, here are the answers to your questions:

1. Yes I did go to Carmen's baptism, and it was BEAUTIFUL! I love Carmen so so much! I feel blessed to have taught her, because her testimony and spiritual strength taught me a lot, probably more than I taught her:) She wants me to marry her son.... hahaha awkward. But it was a beautiful, spiritual baptism. Carmen is going back to Mexico this week and she is going to bring Christ's light back to her family and friends, and I am very excited for her! And yes, I can go to Ramon's baptism since I taught him:) That is going to be amazing as well. I'll tell you all about it next week!
2. Yes, this is the last week of the temple open house. It will be strange to have something that we waited for so long to all of the sudden be over, but it has been a fantastic tool so far! It will be great also to have it dedicated so we can go to it!!! So excited!
Have an amazing, fantastic week this week! I pray for Sammi and Alex's safety every day so that they'll be safe on the roads:) Congrats guys! I knew you could do it:)
HAPPY VALENTINES DAYY!!!:) I love you all sooooooo much! XOXOXOXO
Hermana Lattin

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Email #24 (Gilbert, AZ)

February 3, 2014

Hola hola, Familia!!
So I'll just start off with the big news for this week: I'm getting transferred. I'm not going to lie, I'm struggling with it a bit. I'm trying really, really hard to be positive about it, but I am really sad to be leaving. Sister Chavarri is one of my best friends and I'm having a hard time picturing my mission without her:( We've become super close and unified in our companionship, and I am sad that I have to leave her. Not to mention the fact that I won't be with someone fluent anymore (most likely) and I'm a little bit worried about my Spanish and I won't have her to help me anymore! I also am so sad to be leaving our ward, if I do leave it. It might work out where I just move to a different area but same ward, but I could also go up to the branch in Gilbert so we'll see. But what am I going to do without the Garcia family in my life??? AH. There are so many things that are going to make this transfer extremely sad and hard, and I'm not sure what will happen. But, the one thing I do know is that Heavenly Father is in charge and He knows best. Even when we don't know why things happen, He does and He knows how to best help us to become our best selves! I was having a mini anxiety attack in personal study this morning, with fears and doubts just running through my mind, but then I read in 3rd Nephi 13:28-34. Ever since transfer calls last night, I've been thinking "Heavenly Father, how can I do this? All that I know and love on my mission is right here. How can I leave it? How can I face this change without Sister Chavarri? How can I do it?" But in the end of that section of scriptures it says "...your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things" and then it says "Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself". I have faith that everything is going to work out for the best, wherever I go. I came on a mission knowing that transfers were real and that change happens frequently, therefore I have to just trust that God knows all of my needs and he knows exactly what to do and where to send me to help me be the very best I can be.
So I will send you my new address next Monday! Pray for me this week please:)
But before transfer calls, our week was amazing!!! OH! And our new investigator, Carmen (I don't think I told you about her yet) is getting baptized this Saturday!! She is Hermana Allred's (who is in our ward) sister and she is truly amazing. She lives in Mexico but she wanted to come and take the lessons here and get baptized here, so that's why all of this happened so fast! She is probably the most Golden investigator we've ever had! She has such faith and such a desire to follow Jesus Christ. We are excited for her:)
Also, Ramon Garcia is on date for February 15th!!! AH! That's going to be an amazing day:) I don't care where I am, I am coming back for that baptism as well:) Oh, and Juanita and Jesus came to church yesterday! Juanita wants to get baptized, but we haven't picked a date for her yet. Jesus isn't quite as sure but really wants to know more! They are awesome. It was a great week!
I'm so happy to hear that this past week was a good one for all of you as well! I can't believe the Broncos lost:( Sad! But that's okay, maybe next year! Haha those videos of all of you dancing to Bruno Mars' half time show were so great! I love and miss you all so much!!! I will for sure continue to pray that this week will be a peaceful and calm one, especially with Sammi and Alex getting their licenses:) haha
Mom, here are the answers to your questions:
1. Guadalupe and Gerardo need your prayers. Thank you so much for fasting for them!! They definitely need it. Last time we went over there (Saturday), Guadalupe (who is very catholic) essentially chastised Sister Chavarri for changing religions, so we did not have the most effective lesson. But they are still wanting to go to the Temple Open House, so thanks to your fast and prayers, their hearts will be softened, I know it!
2. I haven't gotten ,my hair cut yet, mostly because I'm afraid to go to someone who doesn't know how to cut curly hair! I miss Kelly Lewis!! Haha:)
3. That would be GREAT to have some family home evening lesson ideas for kids!! I'm so excited! Thanks.

Thank you soooooo much for mailing me letters! I love getting mail from everyone. I'm going to try and write everyone back in the next few weeks, but it might take a bit, since I have to start packing up my stuff today. But I will make sure to write everyone back eventually, I promise!! I LOVE YOU ALL!!!
I wish I would have seen Brother and Sister Tanner! That's so cool that they came to the Temple Open House! It is BEAUTIFUL!
Okay, well I love you all so much!!! Have an amazing week and remember that you are ALWAYS in my prayers!!!
Con mucho amor, Hermana Lattin

Awkward Car Pic-Showing off our double chins:)

An amazing companionship, hard to say goodbye

My beauty never ceases

Email #23 (Gilbert, AZ)

January 27, 2014
Hola Familia!!!
Isn't it crazy that it's already been 5 months???? Michelle emailed Cec and I this morning (we have a little three-way email going on), and said that this week she'll have been out for 6 months!!! I cannot believe it! Time flies when you're serving the Lord:)
I'm glad it was fun to have Nana there! I'll be praying for you this week, Mom:) But you're right! With Heavenly Father's help, everything will be just fine.
This week was crazy. We worked at the temple open house A TON. It's the best seeing people's faces after they walk out. Members and non-members alike are just in awe of the beauty of the Gilbert Temple. I cannot wait for you to see it after my mission. You are going to LOVE it.
I wanted to tell you all about our new investigators from last week.
Juanita y Jesus:
They were a referral from the English-speaking Elders. They had been teaching Juanita who’s English is fluent, but the husband, Jesus, speaks mostly Spanish and feels more comfortable speaking Espanol. So we went over there to meet them and Juanita invited us right in. She just kept on saying that going to the Mormon church and learning more about it was like “coming home”. She is AWESOME. The next time we went over, we met Jesus and he is very smart and willing to learn more about the Book of Mormon and the church. He was super nice to us and seems genuinely interested. They came to church this past Sunday and are coming for sure next week! Pray that they will accept and work towards a baptismal date in February!
Next is Guadalupe y Gerardo:
They actually live in the same apartment complex as Juanita and Jesus. We just knocked on their neighbor’s door beneath them and asked if they knew anyone in the area that spoke Spanish and they told us to talk to the people upstairs. So we did, but they weren’t home. So, we went back this past week and Guadalupe let us in! We had one of our ward member’s Hermana Allred, with us and she and Guadalupe hit it off right from the start! It was perfect to have her with us. We’re going over tonight to talk about the temple open house and share the temple presentation with them. They are catholic, and are really focused on teaching their two young boys about the teachings of Jesus Christ. We think that being an eternal family and the focus on the family as members of the church will be what they are most interested in. So please pray that they will feel a desire to learn more about eternal families and be baptized. They are an amazing little family. The cool thing about them is that the past few weeks, Hermana Chavarri and I had been praying to find and teach a family of four, and here they are!
Next is Karina Garcia:
Yes, she is part of the Garcia fam! I don’t know if I’ve told you anything about her. She is 20 years old and she had a baby when she was 19. She got pregnant soon after she graduated from High School. Her baby is one and her name is Aria and she is SO cute! And she really likes me because I am white! J haha! But anyways, Karina lives in the same house as her family, and she got married soon after she was pregnant. Her husband’s name is Jordan. He evidently was cheating on her, which has happened several times, so she kicked him out for good now. She is my age, has a baby, and going through a rough time right now with her husband and will possibly be going through a divorce soon. She is a really strong person and is just trying to do what is best for Aria. We’ve shared a few scriptures with her and she sat in on a few lessons, but then awhile back someone offended her at church. So we helped her through that in a kind and loving manner. She really likes me and Hermana Chavarri and she is noticing how much the church and the gospel is changing her family for the better. I think she also knows that it would make a huge difference in Aria’s life to grow up in the church. But anyways, we haven’t officially started teaching her yet. After we shared the temple presentation with Concha, Rene, and Naty, she was there and she said, “So, I want to start taking these…these..what do you call them? Classes? I want to start taking those with you guys.” We were like, “Yayyy!” (haha)  So we are going to start teaching her soon! We are so excited for her, because once she gains a testimony of the Book of Mormon and the gospel being restored, she will not look back. She is very firm once she believes something. So just pray that she will have the desire to learn more and be baptized. Also that she can understand what it means to have a Savior, Jesus Christ. She is amazing and so beautiful, inside and out. She needs to understand that there is so much more happiness that lies in store for her, despite what has happened in the past. I hope we can help her see that.

Ramon Garcia (yes, THAT Garcia family:)):
We started teaching him on Saturday. He is Francisco Sr.'s younger, disabled brother who wants to get baptized SO bad. For the past few months he has been watching many of his family members get baptized and wants to join them! He comes to church every week and yesterday he sat by me. He reminded me of Tommy (I miss Tommy!!! Tell him I say hi) because he would look up all of the hymns and make sure he had them ready to sing. But the question is whether or not he really needs to get baptized. At first they were thinking his understanding of baptism was minimal, but when we taught him the other day, he understood A LOT. As in, we really think that baptism would benefit him! He's awesome!
Those are our new investigators! I love that you pray for the people we teach by name. I can feel the power of your prayers working in the conversion of all our investigators. I mean, look at Patricia! After your fasting and prayers, we realized and understood how we can help her best and Luis gave us (and her) hope for her to live a happy and faithful life as a member of this church! That is pretty amazing. Thank you for your support, love and prayers. I feel them lifting me every day, helping me to be a better person and a better servant of the Lord. I am beyond blessed.

One other thing that I did want to say is that this morning in comp study we were doing a role play of reciting the first vision. I hadn't done it for a while so I was just stumbling through it, no real feeling or meaning was behind it, I was just saying it. So after I got done, I read through it a few more times to try and get it down, and Hermana Chavarri asked me to do it again. And she said "This time, think of why this means so much to you, and the difference this event has made in your life." So I did it again, this time thinking about why the First Vision of Joseph Smith is so important to me personally. Then it began to hit me. This single moment of history has changed my life. Because Joseph Smith had the courage to call upon the Lord for guidance in a time of spiritual darkness, we have the Restored Gospel on the Earth today. Because he did this, I know that I can be with my family forever, that I have the hope of returning to live with my Heavenly Father again because of the sacrifice of his Son and my Savior, Jesus Christ. Without that knowledge, where would I be? Who would I be? All of these thoughts hit me with crippling force and my voice caught in my throat and I was filled with the Spirit as I recited the words "Uno de ellos me hablo, llamandome por mi nombre, y dijo, senalando al otro, "Este es mi hijo amado, Escuchalo". How blessed are we to have this Gospel. I don't know where I'd be without it. And I don't know where I'd be without the family that helped me learn, grow and flourish in a home that's foundation is Jesus Christ. So thank you for that:)
Mamita! Here are answers to your questions!
1. Family Home Evening went well! A little bit disorganized though, so I would LOVE it if you sent me ideas for FHE with kids! That would be awesome.
2. I really, really hope I will be staying with Hermana Chavarri for one more transfer! We had interviews with President and he made it sound like that was the plan, so I think so:)
I LOVE YOU ALL! I hope you have an amazing, fantastic week! I can't wait to get all your letters:)
Les quiero MUCHISIMO!
Hermana Lattin