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Monday, January 26, 2015

Email #75 (Gilbert, AZ)

January 26, 2015

Hi there:) HOLD UP. Can we just talk about the fact that Michelle get's home TOMORROW. How is this even possible??? Time has gone by way too fast. I can't believe she is getting back. So weird. When you see her, give her a big hug for me!:) Crazy.
Anyways. Sorry for the little rant. But this week was a good one! We didn't have anything overly exciting happen, but it was solid nonetheless. We went to the temple (the BEST!), had an exchange with the hermanas in Queen Creek, had Family Home Afternoon with the zone and taught people the gospel! What's better than that?? Nothing.
We taught Tim and Beatriz! We taught Beatriz the Restauracion, and it went really well! It was almost as though everything already made sense to her, like she had already heard it before:)  It was funny because when we invited her to be baptized she told us she wanted to read more of the Book of Mormon first and then asked us what will be required of her when she's baptized. We kept trying to tell her that she would just be required (by God) to keep all of the commandments, and that we would be able to teach her all of that in time, but she kept on asking it. Finally, I told her that she wouldn't be asked to do anything she didn't want to do, because baptism was completely her choice. Nobody would force her to be baptized, to go to church, to follow the Word of Wisdom or any other thing that she didn't want to do. But I promised her that as she learned more and as she read and prayed and put in her own efforts to finding the truth, she would develop a desire to do these things on her own, by her own will and choice. She kind of stopped and nodded her head and said "Oh, okay."
It was funny to me that she thought we were going to force her to do things that she didn't want to do, and she was resisting something before she even knew what it was. But once she realized that it was her choice, and she understood that the desire would come by her own efforts in receiving an answer, she calmed down. And I'm realizing now that so often that's exactly what we do to God. We resist His will because we are so scared of the things that will be required of us, before we fully comprehend that we have our agency and the blessings that will come if we do choose His will. So we freak out a little and panic, automatically fighting and thinking "I can't do that! Don't make me do that!". But that is the beautiful thing about Heavenly Father and His perfect wisdom in giving us the gift of agency, because once we do choose, then we can more fully appreciate the blessings that come from our obedience and His mercy. And once we recognize that God loves us perfectly, that He has a perfect plan for us and that the choice is really between Him and Satan, between everlasting life and everlasting death, the choice becomes that much easier.
Anyways, Beatriz is doing well:) she is a firecracker! She is really smart and has a ton of faith. She will get there for sure as she reads the Book of Mormon, and I know she will WANT to get baptized and she will exercise her agency to do so because she'll know it's what God wants her to do, and she will enjoy so many blessings because of it!
Sorry, I went off again on another tangent haha, I always do that! But yes, Beatriz is good and progressing. Tim is doing so good as well! His job has made a huge difference with his progress spiritually. It is awesome! We're going to give him a baptismal date this week! We'll let you know how it goes:)
Yesterday was interesting because it was one of those days where just about everything fell through... haha…we had 4 investigators who were supposed to come to church and didn't show and two lessons that both fell through. But that is okay! Next week will be better. Just pray specifically that Tim, Chris and Beatriz will come to church!
Oh and we found a new investigator whose name is Patsy! She is really nice and her son just got baptized in our zone leaders' YSA ward! We're excited for that:)
LES QUIERO MUCHO!!!! Have an amazing week:)
Moroni 8:3
Hermana Lattin

Email #74 (Gilbert, AZ)

January 19, 2015
Hola mi familia!!!
Hey, so this email might be relatively short, because I have to send a whole bunch of pictures to someone for our departing slide show...:( haha but I have a lot to tell you so sorry if it's a little jumbled!

First of all, CHRIS! Chris is our new investigator who is amazing. He speaks both spanish and english perfectly. He was a hand off from the sisters in a family ward, and he actually ended up being a former we have in our area book! He has been taught before and they oymed him on the way to an appt and he said he had been taught before and he was supposed to be baptized. We had two lessons with him this past week. We taught him the Restoration and we had a church tour with him. We also put him on date to be baptized for the 7th of February. He is so awesome and really open and willing to change. His issue is that he is struggling to forgive himself for the things he has done in the past, and he feels like he isn't worthy of forgiveness from God. From that, he also said that he feels like every time he tries to get close to God, everything in his life goes wrong and he just feels angry and frustrated. I honestly think that comes from his inability to forgive himself and his feelings of unworthiness because he wants God, he wants light and truth in his life but he doesn't feel like he deserves it because of his past. Which isn't true at all. We are going to focus on repentance and the Atonement with him a lot. That being said, he didn't come to church yesterday and he hasn't contacted us today at all, despite our texts and calls. A ver...
Also! TIM CAME TO CHURCH!!! WHOOOOOOOO!!! He started his new job and he came to all three hours and he loved it! He is also going to FHE tonight so hopefully we see a lot of progress from his efforts to be involved:) He is awesome.
ALSO. We had a miracle in the branch this past week. The elders were knocking doors on their way over to dinner (which was in our area) and they came across one of the sweetest ladies ever. Her name is Beatriz and she loved what the elders taught her so she came to church yesterday and LOVED it. We are going to go by this week and start teaching her! MILAGROS.
The last thing I want to tell you about is the revelation I received this morning. In the past few weeks I've been doing a lot of reflecting (obviously). I've been striving to avoid trunkiness and thoughts of going home, but sometimes they still come. Something that has been difficult for me the past few weeks is having the fear of losing all I've become when I get home. I just have these little freak outs that not being a missionary anymore, not having the mantle, not having the schedule or a companion, or worrying about the salvation of my investigators is going to lead me to losing all that I've gained on my mission. I've become a very different person in the last year and a half. A much happier, more obedient, more spiritually and emotionally sound person who has a real and strong relationship with her Savior and with her Heavenly Father. I am far from perfect still, but I am really scared that I'll lose all that I've become. I want to continue to progress instead of reverting to the same person I was before. Does that make sense?
So anyways, I've had this fear in the back of my mind for the past little bit and this morning we were reading some of "The Fourth Missionary" in comp study and we read a part that hit my heart hard. It says 
"If you want light, intelligence, strength, capacity, peace, contentment, grace, knowledge, power, happiness, mercy, joy and every other good thing, then you may have those too. It is up to you. Whatever you want. You cannot be spiritually changed against your will. It is contrary to agency. It is also contrary to the nature of things. It just can't happen". Hearing that took a great burden off of my shoulders. I can CHOOSE to progress. I can CHOOSE to continue to apply the things I've learned on my mission to continue to become the person God wants me to be. Becoming who I was before cannot happen against my will. So empowering. 
Anyways, that was a big eye-opener for me.

HAVE AN AMAZING WEEK, FAMILIA!!! I love you so so so much!
Hermana Lattin

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Email #73 (Gilbert, AZ)

January 12, 2015

Buenos Dias!!!
Hola mi querida familia, como estan toditos?
Well all is well in Gilbert, AZ. It's quite cloudy right now but we've got a little bit of rain the past few days so that's good. This past week was transfers and we had an AWESOME transfer meeting. Man, I just love President and Sister Nattress. They are the best. They are always so good at inspiring us missionaries and giving us the animo to be better, more effective and sanctified missionaries, while at the same time expressing so much love for all of us:)
Anyways, this week was a good one. We found some new investigators! We had an amazing experience with following the promptings of the Spirit. We were on our way to visit the Arlandiz (a cute couple of viejitos that got baptized last year) and we drove past two older women working outside. I immediately knew we had to go talk to them, and then Sister Haycock said "We should go talk to them." So we parked the car in front of the Arlandiz' house (which is right around the corner) grabbed some copies of the Book of Mormon and walked over to them. We started talking to the younger of the two, who in broken English told us that her name was Carmen. We asked her where she was from and she said "Sinaloa, Mexico"! Naturally, we started speaking to her in Spanish. She is very religious and has a firm testimony of Jesus Christ so we had a great gospel discussion and invited her to read the Book of Mormon. As we were about to leave, the other older lady we had seen with Carmen earlier came out from the house. So, we went to introduce ourselves to her and (thinking she was American) started talking to her in English. But she didn't speak very much English either and we found out she is from Guadalajara! I could not suppress the grin on my face as we started to speak to her in Spanish:) Her name is Victoria and she is 87, and she is suffering from the beginning stages of dementia, and she recently lost her husband. She invited us inside so she could show us her house... haha it was so cute! We sat down at their kitchen table and chatted for a while and I told Carmen I had been to Mazatlan before and we chatted about that and other things for a bit, and then we gave Victoria a Book of Mormon as well and shared a scripture and invited both of them to read it!:) They were SO sweet and willing to listen to us. And then later in that week we went by again, this time with the Arlandiz, who live super close. We went by and they weren't home, but their daughter and her husband were there cleaning the carpets. We talked to the daughter for a little bit and she opened up about the difficulty of losing her dad. She new he was older and he had lived a good life, but it was still very hard for her to say goodbye to him. We were able to testify of eternal families and invite her to watch "He is the Gift". She kept on thanking us for coming by and seemed really surprised that we had showed up again because Victoria had told her all about us after we had stopped by the first time:) It was a very cool experience, and I know we were led to go to the Arlandiz that day so we could meet that family. I don't know what will happen with them, but I know that because the Spirit guided us to talk to them, and we followed it, a seed has been planted:) I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY.
We were also able to find a new friend from the UK! He is at the flight school and was very interested in reading the Book of Mormon and very willing to hear our message. He was actually a street contact. We talked to him and gave him a pass along card and he gave us his number and address, then last week we went to see him and we gave him a Book of Mormon:) He is a cool guy and says "Cheers" in a british accent whenever we say bye to him. It's the best! haha

So, yep! Our week was a good one:)
Here are the answers to your preguntas, Mamita:)
1. see above for new investigators!
2. Ricardo is doing well, we still haven't seen him but we've been in contact with him via text for the past little bit. He went to a fireside in the Mesa mission a few weeks ago and got in contact with the missionaries there! He is also reading the Book of Mormon and he loves it! He wants to be taught with the Jensens still so we will continue to teach him over there as soon as things calm down with his wife:) He is awesome!
3. Tim is awesome!!! We gave him a little break this past week but we saw him on Saturday and a miracle happened! He got a new job offer! And it's one that pays better, he'll be doing something he loves AND the schedule is way more flexible so he'll be able to come to church on Sundays!!:D GO TIM! So when that job starts, I'm sure he'll be progressing a lot faster than he is now. Max’s prayers have been answered (thanks Max for not giving up on TimJ).
4. I didn’t realize I never explained the T-shirts we had on New Years Day! The Giraffe is our Mascot because we are the Gilbert Zone:) haha it started out with our Zone Leader, Elder Hoffman saying that we were the giraffes and it has escalated to a giraffe with a snapback on a t-shirt:) GO GILBERT GIRAFFES!!! Haha #
LES QUIERO MUCHOOOOO!!! Have an awesome week!
Moroni 8:3
Hermana Lattin

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Email #72 (Gilbert, AZ)

January 5, 2014

Holy cow, familia, FELIZ ANO NUEVO!!!:)
I can't believe it is 2015. That is so weird to me. 2014 literally se fue corriendo. And I cannot believe it's my last transfer. HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE??? I just got here! It's hard to describe the feelings I'll have in a given day- they're all over the place because one minute I won't be thinking about it and I'll just be normal and having a party being a missionary, then the next minute I'll remember that it's my last transfer, and then I'll start to have an inward freakout and the hyperventilation starts and I get really scared, and then I think of seeing you all and I smile and am really excited, and then I think of saying goodbye to all these people and this place and not being a missionary anymore and I get teary and hold tight onto my tag and then I say to myself, "NO. I still have six weeks, it's all good." This happens every day... multiple times. It doesn't help that every person we talk to asks how long we've been out and I just say "a long time" and they say "cuando regresa a casa?" and I choke out "Me voy en febrero." And then with out fail they say something like "OH WOW, you're pretty much done!" And then yesterday in the Gilbert Spanish Speaking Branch our Sunday School class was about eternal marriage and then in Young Single Adult Ward, the lesson was about dating... that's when I got really scared. Haha but all is well:)

Anyways, yes, I am staying here in Gilbert for my last transfer! I'm happy about that. It will be a good time:) Thank you for fasting for us and for our investigators! I know that our faith combined will make miracles happen in this area this transfer. We've still been struggling to find new solid investigators, but this past week we really focused on our less actives and recent converts, which was pretty cool because we had a lot of success with that! We are also working to build member trust by getting to know them better. It's definitely a blessing that Mission Bay just got changed to 1:00, so we get to go to both the branch and YSA, and we don't have to choose between the two! That's the first time that won't be a major stressor since this past June:) That will definitely help us to see member trust increase because they'll see us more. What about for you all? As members of the Orchard ward, what builds or tears down the trust that you have in the missionaries?
So yep! Our week was good and we visited a lot of less actives and recent converts. We hope to do some major finding this week, both through our members and qualifying for miracles by our own finding efforts:) New Year's Eve was fun, we got to have a little zone activity and then we went home at 8 and got to go to bed early! That was the best.
Sounds like Eliana's birthday/New Years Eve was fun for you all! Hahaha
I can't believe Elle is 1... she is SO cute!!! Thanks for the pics and videos!

Answers to questions:
1. YES!!!! OH MY GOODNESS THEY ARE SO CUTE. Shelby sent me an email telling me all about it. She is the best. I can't believe she is getting married!!!! The first of the 3 Musketeers to go... #loco
2. HOLY CAT, Olivia is a sunbeam? She is so old! Tell her to stop growing up until I get home:) Does she like Sunbeams?
3. Our investigators are good! Tim is hopefully going to get a new job pretty soon so he can come to church every Sunday!!! Go Tim!:) Rafael is still scared of us... haha but we'll see if any progress is made within this next week. I think Rafael's sister goes back to Recife next week but I don't remember.

Have an amazing first week back at school:)
Moroni 8:3
Hermana Lattin
Arizona Christmas

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Email #71 (Gilbert, AZ)

December 29, 2014

Hi querida familia!!!!
Oh man, it was the best thing in the world to see all your beautiful faces via Skype last week. Thank you all for just being the BEST. It was the spiritual recharge I needed to gear up for the next month and a half to finish strong!!:) I've been reading the conference talks you gave to me for Christmas and I LOVE them. I've read one per personal study that I've had for the past few days and it's amazing the personal revelation I've been receiving from each one of them. I needed all of their messages and they have helped me see the changes and improvements I need to make so I can become who God wants me to be. I know each of you were inspired to choose the talks that you did, because all of them have helped me A TON!
So after we skyped, which definitely was the highlight of the entire week/month, we had a good rest of our Christmas and visited with the Bowler family from the Mission Bay ward, ate some tamales with the Gaytan family (claro) then we got to watch the Lion King (one of the greatest movies EVER) and then we got to go work at the Mesa Temple Lights for the last time!!! It was such a great Christmas. Both of my Christmases on the mission have been ones that I'll never forget!:)
The rest of the week went well. Teaching lately has been a little rough, because we have yet to find some solid new investigators since Vanessa and Valeria were baptized. Ricardo, the new investigator who is super golden, texted us the day of his lesson and told us that his wife was really angry about him reading the Book of Mormon and meeting with us, and so he was going to have to wait until she calmed down about it until he continued to be taught. He said he would keep reading though, so we're just going to pray that his wife's heart softens and that she allows him to learn. That was sad for us, but I know that God has a plan and that everything will work out. As for finding new investigators, I know that there are people out there that are just waiting to listen to and accept the message of the restored Gospel they just "know not where to find it" (D&C 123:12). So, we've got to find them and bring it to them. Pray for us this week that we can find those that are searching for the truth!:)
One cool experience that happened on Saturday night was when we passed by Rafael (the Brazilian YSA [young single adult] investigator) and he was HOME! He is still scared of us because he's gotten a lot of information from anti friends and the internet, but he asked some questions and we were able to dispel some myths which was good. BUT the coolest part was that his sister was visiting from Recife and she doesn't speak a whole lot of English, so there was a slight language barrier... Her mom was there and when Rafael left to go to the grocery store, their mom (who speaks a little English) came and sat down and started talking to us too. I told them that I had a Brazilian companion who taught me a little bit of Portuguese and that I could speak Spanish so I could understand a little bit of it as well and they said they could understand Spanish pretty well. So with that we had an amazing conversation about the Church and they asked a lot of questions, and the entire conversation was a mixture of English, Portuguese and Spanish. And I was so proud of myself because I understood everything they were saying in Portuguese! And I even spoke a tiny bit of Portuguese to them:) My compi would've been so proud! It was awesome. That was definitely an experience that reminded me that gift of tongues is real:) Portuguese is definitely the next language I am going to learn. And that experience also made me remember how much I love Brazilians!:) #vaibrasil
Anyways, life is good and we are just going to work todo lo major que podamos para encontrar nuevos investigadores! I am happy and having a blast with Hermana Haycock. Training is refining, and Hermana Haycock has definitely helped me become a better missionary and person, so I am so grateful for her.
Answers to questions:
1. answers are in email above:)
2. Christmas dinner--Tamales, of course:)
3. Christmas was our last night for the Mesa Temple light tours!
 It was so fun:) Definitely a huge blessing and privilege to be part of that this year. We met so many amazing people!
4. See above about our new investigator, Ricardo
5. Pray for Tim, Rafael and for us to find new investigators in both the YSA ward and the Branch!
6. Vanessa and Valeria both LOVED your baptism gifts! Vanessa cried while reading your notes and she looooved the journal and necklace. Valeria was so cute too because she was so excited about the scripture study journal. They both say "THANK YOU!!!" They are super excited to meet you all.
7. Hermana Haycock did well on Christmas. She had a few moments of bad homesickness, but I've been really proud of her, because she has been doing so good within the past week of really striving to lose herself in the work and be positive and happy. She is awesome!
9. We don't know the plans yet for New Years Eve!

Alrighty, there you go! I love you all so so so so soooooo much! You are the BEST familia a missionary could ever ask for. Have an amazing week! Feliz Ano Nuevo!!!!
I'm making her a card today, hopefully she'll get it in time!

Les quiero muchisimo!!!
Hermana Lattin

Gilbert, AZ missionaries
Can you find me?! Front row left side