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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Que Padre!

Hola querida familia y amigos!

I hope you've all had a fantastic week, and especially a fantastic Father's Day. In Mexico, "que padre" is a slang term for "how cool". "Que padre" literally translates into English as "how father", which makes sense when you have a dad as cool as mine. Really though, I am so grateful to have such a great father who is a good example of a righteous disciple of Christ. The majority of missionaries in my district don't have dads who served missions, so I am especially grateful as a missionary to have the example of my dad to look to. 

I hope this Father's Day you also thought about our Heavenly Father as well. The very first thing we teach our investigators is that God is our loving Heavenly Father. If you believe that, you can have the faith to believe the rest of the Gospel. Yo se, sin duda, que Dios es nuestro Padre Celestial amoroso, y que El nos envio a la tierra para aprender y crecer y llegar a ser como El. What a blessing it is to be one of God's children, and to have the opportunity through the Atonement to be able to return and live with Him someday. 

This was a very full and wonderful week! My trip to Vegas on Friday was quite the experience. There were only two other missionaries from the MTC that I traveled with, but we ended up meeting up with about seven other prospective missionaries who are all part of an experimental group. They're all going to Mexico on their missions (I even met to guys who will be coming to Torreon!) but they're going to go down to the Mexico MTC instead of coming here to Provo.

The trip was a great opportunity to share the Gospel. While we were waiting for our flight to Vegas a Mexican woman who spoke a little English came up to us and asked us to help us find her gate. I think she may have thought we were airport employees ha ha. But I walked with her to her gate and got to practice my Spanish and talk to her about Mexico. When I left her I gave her a pass along card, explaining that I was a missionary for my Church. She was Christian and was very excited to get it. 

Going straight from the MTC to the airport in Vegas, where there are more slot machines than there are TSA employees, was a little bit of a culture shock. It was weird being outside of the MTC, but I loved it because I really felt set apart as a missionary. In the MTC, I'm just one of thousands of missionaries. But while we were traveling, we stood out. I love that when people see me I am immediately identified as a representative of Jesus Christ. When I was going through security in Salt Lake they made me take off my name badge and I hated it. I felt awful without it on, even though it was only for a couple minutes. My name badge is what marks me as a missionary and is very dear to me. The first thing you do when you enter the MTC is get your name badge, which I think is so wonderful- the first thing you do as a missionary is literally take His name upon you. 

On the flight back I sat next to an incredible gentleman who was flying to Washington to visit his grandkids for Father's Day, and we had a very pleasant conversation the whole way home. He is an art expert and because I want to major in Art History we talked a lot about art and traveling. He is so knowledgeable, but so humble. He teaches at a school in Vegas for very underprivileged kids and it was amazing to hear about all the programs he's come up with to teach them. He knew a little about the Church, and we talked about missions a lot. He's from upstate NY and has actually been to the Hill Cumorah pageant many times. When I found out he was going to be in the area this summer I told him he should go to the pageant again. He like that idea- he said he hadn't been in a while and it would be good to go. He even called the pageant "powerful. I also gave him a pass along card with a picture of the Book of Mormon, and when he saw the picture of the Book he said, "Oh! I still have a copy from the pageant." I told him, "You should read it! It's my favorite book." He was such a great guy and I've been praying for him since I met him. This whole experience has made me so excited to go into the field. 

We had two amazing devotional speakers this week. Sister Sheri Dew spoke to us on Sunday and Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke to us on Tuesday. Elder Ballard was so powerful. A shiver went through my body when he told us we were involved in the greatest era of missionary work in the history of the world. He also said twice, "Keep your eye on us (meaning the First Presidency and the Twelve). We cannot and will not lead you astray." Hearing an apostle testify about his own divine calling was so incredible. We're so blessed to be able to hear from these men. We hear next week's devotional should be pretty special...we're very excited.

I've been thinking a lot about my purpose as a missionary this week. The missionary purpose is to "invite others to come unto Christ". If I can bring one person closer to Christ every day, even if that one person is only myself, I will consider myself a successful missionary. This is only possible if I rely on the Lord and do exactly as he directs me to do. It's been amazing to teach one of our investigators and see how the Lord directs us to teach her. She told me that I always share exactly the scriptures she needs- I know that's because the Lord knows her heart and can tell me through the Spirit what she needs to hear. 

I love being a missionary. There is so much to do everyday to help God's children. I will forever be grateful for this opportunity. I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Nos vemos!

Hermana Southard