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Monday, July 14, 2014

Hello family and friends!

I've completed my first week here in México! It is great. The Lord has blessed me in a lot of ways, and I'm so grateful to be serving in this area. 

My companion, Hermana Leiataua, is awesome. It's a tender mercy to have an American companion, because although my Spanish might not be improving as rapidly as it would with a native companion, she understands the culture shock factor. We do speak only Spanish with each other though (with the occasional English phrase). And she is an obedient and hard working missionary who looks out for me while also continually pushing me to grow. We get along super well and have already become friends. I love her!

The ward here is awesome. We eat with members every day for lunch. Such a huge blessing! I absolutely love being with the members, feeling their Spirit and hearing their testimonies. And I feel at home in their houses, because of the spirit there and because they take such good care of us. One sister, Hermana Limones, was helping us wash our clothes today. She also fed us breakfast and asked me if I was applying sunblock ha ha. She treats us like daughters and is so kind. The whole ward is so loving.
The food here is very good. They eat a lot of soup. I think of you every time I eat soup, Dad! Another thing that we have eaten a lot of is burros (burritos). And because the water here is bad, they drink aguas frescas, which is flavored water. My favorite kind that I've had so far was pineapple and lime. So good. We also had horchata the other day at a member's house, and I was excited to have authentic horchata ha ha. Although the members have been feeding us huge portions. Apparently one of the elders who used to be in this area, Elder Vega, could eat an unbelievable amount of food. Like more than the other three elders and the members combined. My companion keeps telling the members that they'll have a lot more food now that only hermanas are serving in the ward!

We have four investigators right now, all of whom we found through street contacting. We've taught two of them twice and we taught the other two for the first time yesterday. We're going to continue to work with them this week, especially getting them to attend church. We're also trying to find all of the investigators the elders were working with but it's hard to locate their homes when neither of us know the area. We found several yesterday though, and set up appointments to see them this week. 

My Spanish is coming along pretty well. Yesterday in Sunday School we had an amazing lesson on spiritual gifts. When the teacher, Hermano Juan, was talking about the gift of tongues, he taught a lot about how the gift of tongues is so that we can teach and learn the Gospel in a language other than our native tongue. It's through the Spirit that we are able to understand what is being taught. It was amazing, because he was teaching in rapid Spanish, but I understood every word. The gift of tongues was working for us in that lesson as we were learning about it.

Hermana Leiataua and I make a pretty funny pair. Many people here haven't even heard of Samoa, so she has a hard time explaining where her family is from. And I get a lot of stares. I'm sure the people wonder why in the world a gringa is in Durango. Many just assume I don't speak Spanish. Yesterday a guy we were talking to on the street kept telling my companion that I don't speak Spanish. I finally said in Spanish with a very Mexican accent, "Sir, I speak Spanish! Don't I look like a Mexican?" He laughed pretty hard and told me that no, I could never pass for a Mexican. 

I love you all! I need to go, but you should read 1 Nephi 14:14. The Saints of God may be few in number, but we are mighty in His power. 

Love, 

Hermana Southard