Saturday, February 8, 2014

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


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