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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Email #36 (Queen Creek, AZ)

April 28, 2014

Sidenote: This is Emma’s reaction when she read the email that Michelle’s Scott’s mom was baptized on Sunday, April 27.
Michelle is Emma’s best friend from High School who was  baptized in 2011 and is now serving a mission in Peru.

OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I AM SO HAPPY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am crying in the library right now and I don't even care. I am so happy for Kathie. She is amazing and has so much faith. I know without a doubt that the step she just took will be the best thing she has ever done in her life and will bring her more joy than she can even imagine. I just can't stop smiling and thinking about how amazing Heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ are. They truly make miracles happen. AH!!! KATHIE IS THE BEST!!!!
This is a testament to me of a few things: 
1) Heavenly Father knows and loves us perfectly.
2) Jesus Christ is our Savior and his atonement heals broken hearts and wounded souls.
3) The Gospel of Jesus Christ gives us more joy and light in this life than anything in the world. It is the straight and narrow path to salvation.
4) There truly are people in the world who have been prepared by the Lord to hear and accept the Gospel. How blessed are we to be part of this amazing work!!!

Everything about this week, se fue de mi mente... let me pull myself together (haha)
Well, first and foremost, we got transfer calls this morning. I am staying in my area and Sister Bukoskie is leaving. I will get a new companion on Wednesday. Sister Bukoskie is very sad about leaving, but I know the Lord needs her somewhere else blessing other people. I'm a living testament of that! I am really grateful for the two transfers I had with her, because I have grown so much these past twelve weeks and learned more than I have ever in my life  thanks to her. She will be great wherever she goes and whomever she is with. And chances are, we'll wind up together again.
Also, do your remember Vanessa? Well, this past week she texted us and asked if we could come over!!!! Milagro!!! We did and we are teaching her again AND she wants to be baptized the 10th of May!!! She is amazing. She went through a really difficult time these past 3 months, and had a lot of severe health issues, both physical and emotional. But through all of it, she decided to put her faith in God and move forward to get married to Francisco and be baptized. She came to church yesterday and she was SO cute! She felt that every talk that was given was meant for her to hear and she just looked so happy to be there. She is someone that I know without a doubt I was supposed to meet here in Queen Creek. I'll have to give you more of her background story another time... bottom line is that she is amazing. And Heavenly Father is amazing.
We had interviews with President Nattress this week! That was really awesome. He’s just the best.
I still can't stop smiling. I wish I could see Michelle's face right now!
Sorry this is so short!
Les quiero muchisimo!!! Hope your week is amazing!!
Hermana Lattin

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Email #35 (Queen Creek, AZ)

April 21, 2014
Thank you sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo (this could go on forevever) oooooooooo much for the Easter package! I will admit I have already eaten half of the candy... Let's just say that it's a good thing I'll have plenty of time to exercise when I get home:) I am SO grateful for all the new shirts and the new skirt. I love the blue shirt especially! All of them are going to be perfecto for summer here. Nice and light and they'll go with everything I have! I'm so excited. Anyways you are the BEST! And each of your letters were awesome as well! Thank you for sharing your testimonies of Jesus Christ with me. You are all amazing.

This week has been a good one. Easter was fantastic! I should have you know that we (the sister missionaries) sang in church yesterday! We sang Nearer my God to Thee in spanish (Mas Cerca Dios de Ti). It went great! I was extremely nervous because I had a little solo and I haven't sang a solo in a long, long time. But I just kept on thinking of all those times we used to sing together and somehow convinced myself that I'd be just fine. And it did go fine. More than fine! Another comfort is that our ward is pretty tone deaf so if we did mess up, they wouldn't know the difference:)
We found a few new investigators this past week, Ray and Alex, who are in a part member family and Osvaldo and Rafael. We are going to teach them again this week so I'll let you know if there is any progress with them next week. Yadira is doing well. We have a slight problem because despite her interest, she doesn't feel very comfortable with us coming over to teach her at her house because her mom is super SUPER Catholic and isn't very supportive of us teaching her. We're going to see if we can teach her either at the church building or a member’s house this week so we can work it out. We'll let you know how that goes. Other news, Maybelin, Brian and Ariel went to the Easter Pageant and loved it!!! I LOVE THEM. They just need to come to church and they'll be able to see and feel the spirit of the Restored Gospel.
There are a few really special experiences that I'll have to write you about, just further evidence to me that my Heavenly Father knows me and loves me more than I can even comprehend. Outside of those realizations, Mom, I wanted to let you know I was really touched by your experience with charity and love and recognizing all your weaknesses. It brought to my attention (once again) how hard Heavenly Father is trying to teach me more about these Christ-like attributes, but because of my natural man and my lack of humility, in the moment of deciding to be loving and charitable, I pass by the opportunity to grow in those attributes because I instead allow myself to become frustrated, annoyed or even a little angry... I am great at keeping that stuff inside, but it almost worsens the situation when I do keep it inside, because it continues to escalate without even being provoked. I've really been thinking lately as to how hard the Lord has been trying to help me grow, and so much of the time I cannot see past my own weaknesses of frustration and pride to choose to change. I know it's a slow, poco a poco, process in becoming more like Christ, but it has come to the forefront of my mind that especially these past few weeks I have not been taking full advantage of this time to learn and grow. Instead I have often allowed Satan to get the best of me and my thoughts when I am struggling with something. Heavenly Father has not spared me anything in showing my weaknesses unto me. But, luckily, there is a beautiful promise in Ether 12:27 that gives me hope despite my imperfection. It says "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong." Now that He has shown me my weaknesses, I am going to do everything I can to allow the Lord to make me, a weak and imperfect thing, become strong in his hands. We are all imperfect and weak, we all have things that we need to better in order to become more like Christ. And the only thing that can and will transform our weaknesses into strengths is the mighty work and power of the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Without it, I would be nothing. I would have no hope of being cleansed from my sins and one day living in the presence of my Heavenly Father with my family forever. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior. I know that it is through Him that we have the opportunity and privilege to better ourselves and allow him to "make weak things become strong".
That was my big realization within the past few days. I'll let you know how it goes in the next few weeks!

Mom here are las respuestas de tus preguntas!
1. Transfers are next Wednesday! I honestly don't even know what's going to happen... I have a feeling we're going to be seeing some big changes with Spanish work though... A ver! I'll go where He wants me to go and I'll stay where He wants me to stay:)
2. Yes, all of our Sunday meetings are in Spanish! I understand everything just fine. My ability to understand (especially gospel language) has really improved. I understand just about everything, and if I don't understand every word, I get most of it and can assume what that unknown word is because of context. I LOVE ESPANOL! I still have a ways to go but it's definitely improving!

Okay, well my time is running out. LES QUIERO MUCHISIMO!!!! Have a fantastic week and remember Moroni 8:3:)
Con mucho amor,
Hermana Emma Lattin

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Email #34 (Queen Creek, AZ)

April 14, 2013
Hola hola!!
Yes, it's true, the summer heat is starting! I was a sweaty mess on Thursday... then we contacted this house with 10 cats sitting on the front porch so I probably smelled pretty bad too. But that's okay! When you're out working hard, doing the Lord's work, and you've got a sweaty, red face to show it, it's awesome! Haha I love it. We had exchanges this past week and it was great! Sister Anderson, our Sister training leader is the best! I love her.

So the one story I want to share from this week is about our new investigator that we found last night! Her name is Yadira and she is 14. Her dad and older sister are Mormon, but her mom is strong Catholic, although her mom doesn't go to church. 
Yadira has been stuck in the middle of these two religions her whole life and is confused about which one she should join, OR if she should join one at all. She was a media referral from the Mesa temple visitor’s center, so we went to visit her a while ago but she wasn't there. Then, we went there last night and we come down the street and Sister B. had the wrong address number written in her planner... so we awkwardly pull up in front of this house with people (who were obviously hispanic) in the driveway to try and figure things out, long story short-we were confused, were about to drive away but instead got out of the car to talk to these people and lo and behold it was HER! It was Yadira and right there in the driveway, we taught her a lesson on the Restoration and she wants to be baptized May 10th! It was AMAZING! The temple open house really made an impact on her. She felt the spirit there. We are so blessed to have a loving Heavenly Father, who despite our weaknesses blesses us with magnificent miracles everyday so we can be instruments in bringing souls back to him.
Okay answers to your questions mom:
1. The Easter Pageant is amazing!!! We got to help with it on the Spanish night this past Saturday and it was so fun! We also got to stay and watch and it is truly an inspired production. Put that on our family bucket list because it is amazing!
2. I love the new temple movie! I love how emotionally profound it is and how it presents a different perspective and feel than the other one. So cool.
3. Concha and Rene are doing awesome!! Every time I see Concha she gets really excited and gives me a big hug and says "MI GUERA!!!" It's great. They are getting married in May and are set for May 31st to get baptized!!! I'm so excited for them.
4. We are still working with Maybelin and Ariel. They said they are planning on coming to church this Sunday so we're really praying that they'll come! 
Oh, and we couldn't get a hold of Mirsa all last week, so we don't know what's going on, but I trust that, as always, Heavenly Father is continuing to work miracles with her and giving her the strength to move on from Paco (el gato) and find joy and happiness in the Gospel! I'll give you more updates on her after we see her again.

I was SO sad about Isabel moving. But that's just part of the missionary life. You get pretty good at saying goodbye to people, both planned and unplanned. 
Okay, well I love you all so much! Can't wait to hear from you again next week:) Moroni 8:3!:)
Hermana Lattin

Email #33 (Queen Creek, AZ)

April 7, 2014

Hola, familia!!
Sounds like it was a fun week getting back into the swing of things:) haha the week after spring break is always a little rough. I am so sorry I am emailing so late. We got haircuts today, so we got to the library pretty late. Mom, we went to this lady in Sister Adam and Hibbard’s ward and she did it for free! I just got all my split ends off... it was pretty bad!

 I don't think conference has ever gone by so fast. Why is it that time flies when you're having fun? It's so frustrating. I wanted it to keep going, and I was so sad when it was over. That's what happens when you're a missionary, I guess... everything you look forward to is spiritual (or at least it should be;)), and so General Conference is like a fiesta espiritual!!!  Needless to say, I loved it. My favorite was President Uchtorf's talk! I love the idea of gratitude being a disposition, or state of mind, rather than something that is conditional upon whether or not life is going smoothly. Definitely interesting to think about.  Elder Bendar's was amazing as well, and Elder Ballard's, Elder Hollands, Elder Scott's, President Monson's, ALL OF THEM! They were all so good. I enjoyed President Monson's message about love being the pure love of Christ. As disciples of Christ, he is our Exemplar of everything, and especially in the way he loved everyone and anyone. It makes me think of all the things that keep us from loving others: fear, judgment, pride, etc, and how often we let those things form barriers between us and others, with holding us from accomplishing God's greatest two commandments. What can we do to break down those barriers so we can recognize and take all those opportunities we have to love others every day? I think the first step is seeing every person for who they truly are: A child of God! Thoughts on that? Anyways, conference was amazing! I'm glad you all enjoyed it. I can't wait to re-read them in the Ensign!:)
So this week was a fun one! It went by ridiculously fast... I hardly had time to blink before sitting at this computer again to email you!:) We had a lot of awesome lessons with great investigators. The biggest and most prominent was probably with Mirsa, but the information that went along with that lesson is a little too sensitive to send via email, so I'll write it in a letter home today really quick before P-day is through. Keep on praying for Maybelin because she is still struggling to see and understand the importance of there being one true church. Although she loves having us over, she isn't progressing much, because she has closed her heart to the truth that is essentially sitting right in front of her. After we watched the Joseph Smith movie with her and Ariel, I was feeling the Spirit very strong and thought for sure that they could feel it too... but neither of them were as moved as I was, and it was a tad awkward. I haven't felt that frustrated with an investigator ever I don't think. It wasn't that I was angry, it was more because I just love Maybelin so much and it is difficult to sit and watch her not recognize the truth. Definitely pray for her. Also we met with Isabel and are hoping to help her progress toward baptism sometime this month!:) Pray that she will feel a need to be baptized and feel the Spirit testify of the truth.
I love you all so so so much!
Have a fantastic week!
Hermana Lattin

My companion and I asked this lady outside of Walmart if she needed help. All she told us we could do was bring her cart back in. I  thoroughly enjoyed that!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Email #32 (Queen Creek, AZ)

March 31, 2014 Hello Hello familia (spanglish-it's a real thing)! Really, Spanglish is a real language down here in AZ. People will insert English words randomly into there sentences when they're speaking Spanish! It's way funny. Por ejemplo, there was a lady we were trying to contact and she said she would call us, but she didn't. So we went to her house one day and she invited us in and she felt bad for never calling us and she just kept on saying "I'm so sorry" in her cute little Hispanic accent and then she would start speaking Spanish again (hahaha) it was funny. She said she would call us and she has yet to do so again so... she is a sweet lady though. I hope we get in with her some day! Anyways, HOLA! Sounds like your spring break was fun! I'm excited to get your letter tomorrow, Mamita. I am happy to hear of the “small Milagros” happening in the Orchard ward. Even if it seems like things are progressing slowly, if we have the eyes to see the small miracles from day to day, we will understand how much the Lord blesses us each and every day. That's actually something I saw this week for sure. It was a difficult week work wise, all of our appointments were falling through, our investigators didn't come to the women's conference, and it seemed like we were working our hardest but nothing was happening! It was frustrating. Saturday was especially rough. Sister B. had another meltdown, but we worked through that and I hope my words and my actions helped her at least a little bit. I did my best to just be loving and understanding. All in all, it was just a rough, fairly slow week. BUT. There were many, many miracles. One of them being that we FINALLY SAW MIRSA!!! It was a miracle just to see her. I was so afraid that we'd be starting from scratch with her and that her testimony and faith wouldn't be as strong as before, but it was exactly the opposite. She experienced a few amazing miracles herself during the time apart, one of them being that her son Paquito was extremely sick and in the hospital, but through a priesthood blessing, he was healed! Her faith is so strong. She wants to be baptized, and the only thing holding her back is Paco (del gato). She is living with him and they are not married. We haven't met with her since Tuesday because she canceled our other lessons, but we are hoping to see her soon so we can talk to her about it. Pray that she will have the courage and desire to make the choices necessary to receive the blessings of baptism and the Holy Ghost in her life. Another miracle we saw was yesterday during church our AWESOME ward mission leader, Hno. Allred gave the third hour class to all of the adults in our barrio. It was amazing. We have seen so much progress in our ward since I first got here with the member missionary work (they struggle a little bit, mostly because they just don't know HOW to do it), but with Hermano Allred as our ward mission leader, things are really starting to change and our ward is beginning to see how they can do missionary work just by living the Gospel of Jesus Christ every day! There were other miracles throughout the week, and that is a witness to me that despite the difficult times that will come in life, if we truly try to see what the Lord blesses us with and recognize the milagros that he gives us every day, we will automatically be happier. It's like the people of Alma when they were under the burdens and labors of Amulon and the Lamanites. Despite this trying time in their lives, they recognized the mercy of the Lord and trusted in His ability to deliver them and through earnest prayer, the Lord heard their cries and their burdens "were made light; yea the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord." (Mosiah 25:15) We have trials in life to make us stronger, to give us the opportunity to trust in the Lord a little more so he can bless us with a lot. It is our choice to accept those trials and submit to them cheerfully and have patience, and opening our eyes to seeing His love, mercy and miracles. Anyways, Mamita here are the answers to your questions: 1. We've been told we're getting ipads soon…several times, but still haven't. 2. Our lesson with Maybelin, Ariel and Brian went well, but they are essentially the same. Maybelin was going to come to the conference but texted us right before and told us she thought it would be better if she watched it at home:( BUT, keep on praying for them this week because we are showing them the Joseph Smith movie this friday! We hope it will touch their hearts. There aren't any huge updates on anyone else this week because a majority of our lessons fell through. But, this week looks very promising, and Isabel is back in town! HOORAY!:) I'll let you know more on that next week. 3. Sister Adams and Hibbard are the other two companions we live with and they are AWESOME! We love them! Plus, Sister Adams likes to come to soccer with me in the mornings, so that is fun. They are both stellar missionaries and are super funny. 4. We'll watch conference in English unless one of our investigators comes! So hopefully we'll get to watch a few sessions in Spanish:) I can't believe a year ago we watched the young women's conference in Salt Lake together! Crazy! I also teared up thinking about that. Such good times!:) Wasn't it an amazing conference though?? Ah I loved it! I can't wait for general conference!!! It's going to be so great! Okay, well have an amazing week. Les quiero MUCHISIMO!! Hermana Lattin

Sunrise Hike to the San Tans!!!

Email #31 (Queen Creek, AZ)

March 24, 2014 Buenos dias, familia!!!! It's so wonderful to hear from everyone! I didn't even know you were going to San Francisco!!! Sounds like you had an AWESOME time celebrating Papa and Nana's 50th anniversary!:) I was looking at the dinner picture and realized that all of you (except for Uncle Dan and Aunt Julie) have missionaries out!!! How cool is that?? Pretty cool. That's one of my favorite things ever, the fact that I have so many cousins out on missions. I am beyond blessed to have the best cousins in the world and such amazing missionary examples to look up to. I love reading their emails home, and I can't help but smile and think about how stellar of missionaries they are. I cannot believe Shelby has been out over a YEAR! Mary is coming up on a year in May as well! WHERE DOES THE TIME GO??? Sister Bukoskie and I hit our 7 month mark a few days ago and it blows my mind that it's already been 7 months. Also, the fact that I was opening my call about a year from this week is INSANE. I had a mini-revelation yesterday when we were driving from dinner to contact a referral. The sun was setting, the sky was beautiful and I once again realized how blessed I am to be a missionary and that the time the Lord has given me to serve here in beautiful Arizona is so short. I can't waste a minute of it!!! This week was a great one! Crazy, because of transfers and we moved. In regards to the letter I sent last week, things have been really good since I sent that. The first few days of this transfer were a little bit rough, but I think it was just because I was being prideful again, and I was having a hard time accepting the fact that another 6 weeks with my companion was a reality... but I just have been realizing that no matter where I am, or who I'm with I have the gift of agency from our Heavenly Father to decide whether or not I want to be happy and make things work with a companion. Once I remembered that, everything started to go smoother. Humility is key. We see throughout the Book of Mormon, especially at the end that PRIDE is the reason for great contention and destruction among the people. Pride sparks a whole lot of other negative and sinful acciones and feelings, all of which will ultimately result in unhappiness. So I have been really focusing on that this past week and making sure that instead of letting my pride get to me, allowing certain things that she says to me or does just roll off my back and letting them go. And I am honestly so happy. I know there will be ups and downs, and the melt down like the one a few weeks ago is bound to happen again. But thanks to your advice, Mom, and by putting my trust in the Lord, I am ready and prepared to help my companion through whatever issues and problems she faces. Anyways, I want to just tell you a little more about Maybelin, Ariel and Brian. They are AMAZING! I love them so much. We had a lesson with them on Friday night and brought Hermana Piriz (the lady who grew up in Puerto Rico and most likely has met you, Dad). We talked about the commandment of praying often. The entire lesson was very much driven by the Spirit and Hermana Piriz was awesome! But the miracle we have seen with them is that slowly but surely, they are opening their hearts to the message of the Restored Gospel. At first, Maybelin had us over because she likes to talk about God and religion, and she said that she thinks God is in all religions and therefore she didn't have a desire to really learn about ours, let alone join it. But, the key with her has been personal daily contact. I think that she has slowly began to understand that we are not there to merely teach her because we are missionaries, but rather to serve her and help her come unto Christ because we love her, and that has made all the difference. We go by almost every day of the week to see how she's doing, just to swing by and say hello or leave a scripture with her. She is probably one of the sweetest, kindest persons I have ever met and she is beginning to understand and feel the truth in our message. Brian is SO CUTE! He is 13 and has a spiritual understanding of an adult. He is amazing and so so sweet. Ariel is extremely humble and just genuinely wants to know the truth, and he is an awesome father and husband. In our last lesson they told us that they feel like the Book of Mormon is true and we invited them again to ask Heavenly Father to get a confirmation to that answer. Pray for them that they will receive that answer and be able to recognize it with clarity!:) Mom, here are the answers to your questions: 1. Jose is great! We had a lesson with him last night and it went well. He is still essentially in the same place as last time, but with him it will just be poco a poco. Once he gains a testimony of the Book of Mormon, Satan won't even have a chance with him! I'll let you know if there's any progress this week. 2. We still haven't been able to meet with Mirsa, but I'll let you know once we do! Her son, Paquito was sick this past week so we made a cartita for him and dropped it off at the house but she wasn't there. I'll let you know. And no new news with the others, I'll let you know if we make progress with them this week!:) 3. We actually live in a new house with two other sisters! Their names are Sister Hibbard and Sister Adams. They are way cool. It's a super nice house! I like it a lot. 4. My knee is doing great! I've been wearing my brace every time I play a sport and it's starting to fit way better! Although I'm not quite sure if it's because I'm gaining muscle or fat on my legs... it might be the latter. It's the Hispanic meals!! 5. I have been drinking a few green smoothies! I made a really good one the other day with oranges in it. I just bought more stuff to make them so I'll be making more of them this week:) Okay well I love you all more than the DELICIOUS Columbian meal we had at the Delgado's (members) house last night! You are in my prayers every day and I hope you know how much you all mean to me. Thank you for your love, support and prayers! Les quiero MUCHISIMO!!! Que tengan una semana muy fantastica!!! Hermana Lattin
 I love being in the U.S. Spanish-speaking; you get food from different countries!
Columbian Food! YUM