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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Email #78 (Gilbert, AZ) LAST ONE!

February 16, 2015

What the weird... I can't even believe this is real.
I guess before I get all sentimental I should probably tell all of you what you are wanting to hear about Tim:) We had a miracle, but not in the way we expected. All last week we were meeting with Tim and encouraging him to make a decision. We went over there on Thursday after we had invited him to pray to see what he decided. He said he had prayed and asked direct questions but he didn't feel like he had received an answer, but when we asked him what he felt, he said that after he prayed he felt peace and that everything was going to be okay. He felt like he needed to pray again but we tried our best to help him see that the peace and calm was an answer about baptism. We invited him again, and he sat there for about 5 minutes and just agonized over the decision. I had never seen Tim like this before. He was so conflicted. As we sat in silence the Spirit strongly prompted me that he needed a blessing. So I asked him if he would want one and he said yes. So Shane, his friend, gave him one of the most powerful blessings I've ever heard. Afterward, we all looked at him and he had a big grin on his face. He said "During the blessing, a date popped into my head... the 28th of February. It wasn't there before." We then invited him to prepare to be baptized on the 28th of February and with more confidence and faith than ever, he said "Yes!". It was seriously one of the HAPPIEST days of my life. He seems so happy and so ready, because he finally found his answer. I know it is right after I leave, but it just feels so right. TIM IS GETTING BAPTIZED!!!!:D 
So yep, that's the scoop on Tim!:) And Beatriz was at church and came to a baptism on Saturday. She's not quite ready for baptism yet, but she will be for sure soon. It will be a great experience for Sister Haycock and her new greenie to teach her and help her prepare for baptism.
So yeah, this week was a good one. A really good one. Sister Haycock and I spoke in Mission Bay! It went pretty well. It was sad saying goodbye to everyone yesterday at church. I love the Gilbert branch and the Mission Bay ward so much. I feel so blessed to have served around so many amazing people. That's how I've felt my whole mission. The people I have met and the experiences I've had in serving them have changed me. 
I guess this is it. I can't believe this year and a half is coming to an end. I love my mission. Every bit of it. I know that where I've been, and what I've been doing is exactly what my Heavenly Father wanted for me. I thought, before my mission, that I was coming to change the lives and baptize all the hispanic people I could find, I thought they needed me. But, the humbling reality I have found is that God called me to serve because I needed a mission. I needed this to change and to become closer to the person God wants me to be. I know I still have a long way to go, but I will forever be grateful for my mission because it pulled me out of where I was and got me going on the path that leads to true and everlasting happiness. God is our loving Heavenly Father. He is real, He is perfect. He loves me perfectly, knows me perfectly and has a perfect plan for me. I have no reason not to trust God. He sent his Son, Jesus Christ to show me the way, to make it possible for me to make it back home. I know that Jesus Christ lives and that He is my Savior and Redeemer. Without Him, I would have no hope. I would be stuck the way I was a year and a half ago. But because of Him, because of His Atonement, His love and mercy I am changed and I will continue to change so I can be worthy to enter into my Father's Kingdom with my eternal family. The reason I know all of these things is because a 14 year-old boy had the courage to ask God a question. And because he did, he was able to restore the Gospel of Jesus Christ in its fulness back to the Earth today. I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. I know that he translated the Book of Mormon and that that book changes lives because it testifies of our Savior and His power to redeem all mankind. Priesthood power is real and it is on the earth today. I have seen it change the lives of others and change my life too many times to ever deny that it is real. We have a living day prophet, Thomas S. Monson who leads us and guides us to know what we need to do to get back to our Heavenly home. These are all things that I was taught before, but all it really was was information in my head. This mission has put these things into my heart. I know these things are true with all of my heart because I asked God and He answered me. This knowledge brings me so much hope, peace and joy. I feel so blessed to have dedicated a year and a half of my life to the cause of helping others know of that same joy through the Restored Gospel. I am so grateful for the people I've met and come to love, and the experiences that brought me joy and refined me into who I am now. My mission means everything to me and I know that it will bless my life for the rest of eternity! And I say that in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 
Okay, just you wait until I get back, you'll get an earful about how my mission was the BEST. I can't wait to tell you about it in person and give all of you ABRAZOS GRANDISIMOS!!!:) Thank you for all your support, love and prayers. One of the greatest strengths I have had on my mission is my amazing family. You guys are the best and it will be one of the greatest days to see you all tomorrow!
Les quiero muchísimo y nos vemos mañana:)
Con todo mi corazón,

Hermana Lattin 

Happy Valentines Day from Los Hermanas

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Email #77 (Gilbert, AZ)

February 9, 2015

Hola, mi querida familia!!!
No, this is not my last email. I'll be able to get on next week because my companion will still have to email, so I might as well send one last one next Monday :)
Goodness, I don't even know what to say right now. My heart is full of too many emotions that I'm trying to push away because if I let them out in the middle of the library, they probably wouldn't let missionaries email here anymore... so for the sake of future P-Days for future missionaries AGM, I will keep them in. But they are bound to come out sometime, and I feel sorry for Hermana Haycock when they do!
Speaking of Sister Haycock, she's been doing great. I'm so proud of her and how much she has grown and become. It's so funny because something I have realized as her trainer is that a majority of the things she has learned in the past 11 weeks have not come from the moments I have taught her one on one, but rather from the application of the things that we learn as missionaries. Most of her progress has come from her own personal efforts, not from me teaching her or training her. Even though we've had moments of struggle and occasional sass, we've grown close in both of our individual and collective efforts to invite others to come unto Christ. It's just the best. I'm going to miss her a lot come next week, but I know she is going to be just fine, because God will help her and lift her as she puts her full trust in Him. Out of all the things I've tried to help her understand, the things I hope that stick the most are 1) that God is perfect and He has a perfect plan, so we have no reason not to put our full and complete trust in Him and 2) Our Savior is ALWAYS there for us, as long as we seek Him and His help.She'll do great, I know it!
This week was great, a much better week than two weeks ago. We taught a lot and were able to continue to help both Tim and Beatriz to progress. We are praying that Tim got his answer this past weekend about the Church being true and that he chooses to get baptized this coming Saturday. It will be the best day of my life if he does! But even if he doesn't, I feel strongly that one day he will join the church when he is ready. A ver lo que pasa con el esta semana. 
I also just wanted to tell y'all that the week before was rough because God wanted me to learn a difficult lesson and get rid of my pride, but that lesson has refined me to be a little bit better than I was before, so I needed it. Thank you for your letters and emails of support, fam:) they helped me a lot. I am so blessed to have the best family in the world. I think one of my favorite things was Max's sticky note that said "You are beautiful in your mission clothes". That just melted my heart:)
And don't you worry, I will definitely be "Enjoying to the End"! I can't believe there is only a week left of my mission. In all honesty, it isn't real yet. I don't think it will be until next Tuesday when I'm on that plane and I am flying home to you. I have so little time and still so much I feel like Heavenly Father wants me to do! This week is going to be hard, but great. I want to ensure that I come home ready to keep on changing, progressing and sharing the Gospel by giving it my all this week!
A strong, comforting thought from the Holy Ghost came to me yesterday: "It is NEVER over". Yes, my mission may be ending and yes, I will not be able to wear my tag forever. But this past year and a half has changed me because I have come to know my Savior Jesus Christ much better than before. I am a different person because now I know my Savior. And just because I'll be released and have to take my tag off, does not mean my life as a faithful disciple of Christ is over. In fact, it has only just begun:) Just like Elder Holland says in his talk The First Great Commandment, "After an encounter with the living Son of the living God, nothing is ever again to be as it was before." Nothing will ever be the same, in the best way possible. I know it is going to be really hard coming home, but I also am confident in God's plan for me. Everything is going to be alright.
And, don't worry Mom, we can definitely talk about the fact that I am coming home, because I cannot lie about being SUPER excited about seeing the best familia in the entire world!!! I can't wait to see you all and give you all a big hug:) My one rule for next Tuesday is that Mom gets the first hug, okay? haha
Nos vemos bien pronto!
Hermana Lattin

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Email #76 (Gilbert, AZ)

February 2, 2015

Hola Hola Familia!!!:)
Sounds like everyone had a pretty good week! Ours was good. A few rocky days, but overall it was good. And yesterday was an AWESOME day. Fasting brings so many miracles. Beatriz, Tim AND Chris all came to chruch!!! It was so great!
Beatriz is progressing really well. She loves church and she really loves having us over to teach her. She told us this past week that she doesn't feel ready or worthy to be baptized yet, but that's okay because she definitely has a sincere desire and real intent. I have no doubt in my mind that once she receives an answer from God, she will do everything she can to follow what He directs her to do. She is amazing and I love her so much!
And Tim is great. I am so proud of him. Yesterday he came to church and stayed all three hours. He was chatting and sticking with his friends, and at Break the Fast he didn't even sit with us! He is progressing so much now that he is coming to church and it is awesome. We are planning to invite him to be baptized again this week!:) Pray that he'll accept a date!
And Chris Mendez came as well! It was so awesome because he promised us he would and he came!!!! It was so cool. And all the testimonies were exactly what he needed. The problem was that I think the Spirit was too much for him to handle, because in the middle of testimony meeting he said he had to get a drink of water, so he left and never came back. He texted us later and said that he was sorry, but he just didn't feel worthy to be at church:( it was so sad. But he did make the step of actually coming. He'll get there someday, I know it!
Also, because it was fast and testimony meeting, I was able to bear my testimony for the last time in both the Branch and YSA. I bore one in Spanish and one in English. Ironically enough, I think the one in Spanish was easier for me! Haha.
It was a weird feeling. Honestly, it's still not really real to me that I'm going home. I think one thing that scares me the most is that there isn't enough time to still change and get rid of the faults and weaknesses that I still have. The days that were rocky this week were rocky because of the realization of my many weaknesses, and I was extremely frustrated with myself that I still have so many. I was trying really hard to get over it and just be happy, but it seemed like every day presented a new weakness of something I still needed to change. But that's where the Atonement and my Savior's love for me became very apparent again to me in my life. I know I'm not perfect, but I also know that if I have changed as much as I have over the past year and a half, there is still hope for continued change for the better, whether I am on my mission or not. Ether 12:27 tells us that God shows us our weaknesses so that we can be humble, and this week was very humbling. It also says that God can make those weaknesses strong, but only under the condition that we humble ourselves and have faith in Jesus Christ. I do have faith and I know that my Savior makes it possible for me to change and become better every day. How grateful I am for the knowledge of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and His love for us. Yesterday I was able to testify to both congregations that I know that my Savior lives. And each time I did, His love filled me up and I knew that what I was saying was absolutely and completely true:)
Anyways, this week was hard, but good. I was refined and changed for the better!
I hope you all have an AMAZING week!!! I love you all SO MUCH.
Hermana Lattin
Oh, y nos vemos bien pronto:)

Answers to your questions Mamita:
1. Yes, Michelle emailed me and Cec. She seemed good! Is she happy?
2. I have not gotten your letters yet! I'll probably get them today.
3. I guess I forgot to tell you about being a sister training leader. 
We are part of the mission leadership council so we have a few more meetings and then we help and go on exchanges with other sisters. I was specifically assigned over the Spanish sisters.
4. Yep! We write the mission president every Monday. He is the best.