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Monday, January 26, 2015

Hola hola!

Hey family!

Thanks so much for all the emails! It sounds like it was a good week. I´m glad you had a happy birthday Mom, and Jenna, holy cow! Your show looks amazing! You have gotten so good and I´m so proud of your dedication!

I feel like I actually have a few interesting things to tell you these week. They´re all kind of random, but hopefully you enjoy reading them. (:
First off, Sabrina, my companion loves your name. Like, absolutely loves it so much she decided she wants to name one of her daughters Carmen Sabrina. And when I got the family Christmas card this week the first thing she asked me was, ¨Which one´s Sabrina?¨ Ha ha she loves you! I tell her all about all of you guys and I feel like she knows all of you. The other day I was telling her a story about us and she said, ¨Wow, you all have such distinct personalities!¨ It´s true! I love telling people about our family and sharing you with them, the people I have come to love so much. 

Also, I cracked myself up this week because my companion and I were talking about how we sometimes have a problem with members or investigators wanting to touch us on the arm or greet us a with hug and kiss on the cheek (which is the cultural norm) and I started singing MC Hammer´s ¨Can´t touch this.¨ My companion was kind of confused but I was dying, because that song should totally be the sister missionary theme song. 

We had interviews with the mission president on Friday and in my interview Presidente and I talked a lot about leadership and how to discipline people by teaching them the doctrine behind the missionary rules or commandments. He said to me, ¨Hermana, you have to learn how to discipline now because some day you´ll have to discipline your kids.¨ I realized that´s true. Presidente is always relating the things we´re learning as missionaries to our future lives. He is always emphasizing having our own families, and I really appreciate that he cares about our lives after the mission too.

After we left interviews, which were in the center of town, we realized that we didn´t have anywhere to eat for lunch, so we got permission to eat at the Subway that´s near the church where we had our interviews. It was Hermana Quispe´s first time, and I loved eating there again! It was a nice treat. 

Another random thought: on Saturday we had a young couple accompany us to a lesson and they gave us a ride in their little old car, which looks like a little redish clown car because it´s so small and square. I realized as we were bumping along in the back that I love old junky cars. They have so much personality, just like Donny. (:

Lastly, yesterday was a really good day. We had eight investigators come to church, which was awesome! It´s been a really good week, actually. We have three investigators with baptismal dates, all scheduled for February 21st. One is Roque, Diana´s husband. Another is a 12 year old boy named Juan whose family has been listening to the missionaries for about a year, and he finally decided that he wasn´t going to wait for his parents to be baptized, so we´re helping him prepare. The other is a 25 year old young man named Leonardo who we found after we contacted his mom. Pray for all of them so that all goes well and they can be baptized on the 21st!

I have to go, but I love you all so much! Thank you for the love and the support you´ve always given me. I am so grateful for the small part I have in the Lord´s great work. I know it´s true and that this is the true Church. I love you and hope you have a great week!

Hermana Southard

Monday, January 19, 2015

I think I was actually called to serve in the Mexico Guadalupe Mission

Dear Family, 

Thanks for all your letters!  I hope you're having a great time at the cabin.  I took a nap today for the first time in 7 1/2 months (I haven´t been able to nap before) and now I´m eating chocolate covered raisins as I write this, so we´ll pretend that I´m getting a little bit of the cabin experience (:

So we had transfers last night and I´m still here in Guadalupe 2. We had a special conference on Wednesday with Elder Benjamín DeHoyos, the Mexico Area President (I´ll write more about that in a minute) and at one point he was talking about how important it is to keep good teaching records because we´ll eventually be transferred from the area and a couple of missionaries in my district were like, ¨Nope, not Hermana Southard!¨ Hermana Ramos heard them and was laughing and told me later that no, Presidente hasn´t forgotten about me here and that I am going to be transferred soon...which was why I thought I would be transferred today (side note: we decided that Presidente doesn´t tell his wife where we´re going to be transferred because if he did, she would totally tell us). But there are transfers at the end of week 4 and week 6 and we just ended week 4, so I think I´ll be transferred in two weeks. Even the landlord asked me last week if I was ever going to leave!

So the conference with Elder DeHoyos was really, really great. We talked all about strengthening recent converts and members in order to reach the Mexico Area´s goals for 2015. The Spirit was so strong and it was really a good experience getting to work with him. 

(Mom, I got the card and the package from Grandma, but still haven´t heard anything about the white envelopes :/)

We also had a special district activity on Saturday to find new investigators that didn´t have as much success as we would have liked. It´s always a bit disappointing when you work so hard and things don´t go as planned, but as I was telling our district leader, I know the Lord will bless us for our efforts. No effort to share the Gospel is ever wasted!

I´m already out of time, but I love you all so much! Thanks for your love and your support. Please pray for me to be able to do all that the Lord would have me do as I finish up here in this area. Pray for me to be able to strengthen my weaknesses, use my strengths, and always rely on the Lord. I´ll be praying for you!

Love, 

Hermana Southard

Monday, January 12, 2015

Les quiero!

Hey family!

Thanks for all your emails this week! I love hearing all the ins and outs of the family life. My companion and I were talking this week about how the Lord takes care of our families while we´re here. I know that things aren´t going to be perfect for you all while I´m gone, but I´ve learned to trust that the Lord will take care of the people I love the most while I´m serving Him. Really, He´ll take better care of you than I could, so I know you´ll be okay (:

This week was a pretty normal one. Actually, it rained a TON for a couple days last week and was super cold! It´s kind of funny because whenever it´s super rainy outside the missionaries are the only ones crazy enough to be out in the streets, ha ha. There were also a couple long days where it seemed like almost no one who we tried to contact was home...in 9 hours we taught three lessons. But we just keep going and hope that tomorrow will be better. I´ve learned that we have to talk to hundreds, thousands, even, of people in order to find the few people who are willing to accept our message. But when they do, everything is worth it. We had a lesson with Diana and her husband Roque yesterday (who is preparing to be baptized on Valentine´s Day) and before we started she shared with us a scripture she had read in D&C 19, when the Lord says that if we don´t repent we´ll suffer as He did in Gethsemane. She bore her testimony to us about the Atonement and how she used to not understand all that Christ did for us, but that now that she does, she wants to share it with everyone. It was the sweetest moment for me, realizing that she´s really had ¨a mighty change of heart¨. I love working with these amazing people!

Even though last week was pretty normal, this week will be pretty exciting. On Wednesday we have a special conference with Elder Dehoyos, and I´m super excited. And if I´m not mistaken, I think that´s who the Sandbergs´ grandparents work for? So I´m hoping I´ll get to see them! And I think I´ll get the packages that the mission office received. And then on Saturday we´re going to have a special activity as a District to try and find new investigators, so I´ll tell you how that goes!

I love you all so much and I hope you have a fantastic week!

Love from Durnango, 

Hermana Southard

Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy 2015!

Hello Family and Friends!

I hope you all had a fun and a safe New Year! I loved seeing the pictures of the Burgess Family Reunion, especially of the mission list! That is so cool. I love thinking about how Grandpa Reid´s influence has been spread all over the world by his descendants who have served missions and served in the Church. And now with Uncle Dean´s new calling (I just found out and am seriously so excited for him and Aunt Anette!! That´s awesome!) missionaries all around the world, and in turn, their investigators, will be influenced by the faith of Reid Burgess. 

You´re right Mom, I definitely got more sleep than any of you on New Year´s Eve! We had to be in the apartment by 6:00, so after planning we ordered a Domino´s pizza and watched ¨Mountain of the Lord¨. We threw the confetti that you sent me at 10; I told my companion we were celebrating New York time, like you always told us when we were little. Then on New Years Day we had a great activity with all of the sisters here in Durango. I realized during the activity how lucky I feel to be here in Durango, and in the Mexico Torreón Mission. There are only about 50 sister missionaries in the mission; 16 of us are here in Durango, and only 3 of us are Americans. (One of the other sister missionaries here, Hermana Holder, is from the Clawson´s home stake in California!) Anyway, during the activity we had a devotional on goal setting that was super powerful, and then a few other sisters and I made pancakes for everyone while the others played a few games. We ended by playing Assasin all together. It was a great day!

We also had companion exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders this week. Everything they taught us reallly helped Hermana Quispe and I set goals and make changes that will help our area. This week we found a few new investigators who are genuinely interested in the Church and we´ll be working with them a lot this week to help them prepare for baptism. I love this work, and I love all that it´s teaching me about how to really help people build a strong testimony. We had a family home evening last night with la familia Bermudez Guereca (Diana and Elvira, two recent converts, and Roque, Diana´s husband) and la familia Soriano Chacón (a young married couple who are members) and we talked about what a testimony is and how we strengthen ours. We read portions from President Uchtdorf´s conference talk from this October and I love that he said that we don´t need to be perfect or have a perfect testimony in order to go to Church. We go to Church to obtain a testimony. I know that we can only obtain a testimony of a principle by living that principle, which is why it´s so important that we read our scriptures, go to Church, pray, keep the commandments, etc. By small and simple things are great things brought to pass!

I love you all so much and hope you have a great week. I know that our Redeemer lives and that He loves us. I am so grateful to be a part of His work!

Love,

Hermana Southard