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Monday, February 16, 2015

Happy Days!

Hey family!

I hope you had a great week last week! I was definitely thinking of you all during the week. Thank you so much for all of the packages Mom- they made my day! I especially loved the card of you all singing ¨Happy Birthday¨- it was great to hear your voices! My sweet companion also did a lot to make the day special. She had a member help her buy a cake without me knowing and when I woke up on Wednesday morning she had decorated the table with the cake, a card, and the balloons that we had blown up the night before. I opened your packages Mom and wore some of the new clothes you sent (in keeping with tradition (;). And then that night, after planning and teaching records we celebrated a little. My companion sang me the Mexican birthday song, ¨las mañanitas¨ and then shoved my face into the cake, which is the Mexican tradition- no joke! She recorded the whole thing, but unfortunately the attachment´s too big to send over email. But I included pictures of me with the packages, the decorations my companion set up, and the streamers you sent me Mom to decorate our door. It was a fun day (:

I was also thinking about you all on Valentine´s Day. Thanks for the notes and the candy; we shared some of the candy with our investigators. I was also thinking about Valentine´s Day a year ago, when I got to go through the temple for the first time. I´m so grateful for temples and the covenants I made a year ago that offer me protection and guidance in my life. I´m also so grateful for the covenants that allow us to be an eternal family. I am so grateful that God blessed me with such a wonderful family, and that we have the Gospel to strengthen us and keep us together. Here in my mission I´ve met so many families with a lot of problems and have really been able to see first hand how a family built upon the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has a sure foundation for success. We´ve been using the copies of ¨The Family: A Proclamation to the World¨ that you sent me Mom to teach our investigators about how to strengthen their families. We taught a few investigators about prophets and at the end explained that the prophet and his apostles receive revelation for our day, and gave them the Proclamation to hang in their homes and apply in their lives. I´ve been able to testify a lot about the family this week, and it has re-inforced my testimony that the family is ordained of God, that God reveals to His prophets how to help us strengthen our families, and that ¨success in marriage and family life is most likely to be maintained and acheived when founded upon the teachings of Jesus Christ.¨ I know it´s true!

This week went better for us than the last as far as lessons and investigators go. I feel like by now we´ve gotten a lot more comfortable in the two areas and we were able to work a lot more with the members this week. Yesterday we had a lot of investigators and less-actives come to Church, which was great. But it´s also always a little stressful trying to help them get to church for the first time and helping them to feel comfortable in a new situation that´s so different. We arrived late for sacrament meeting because we were picking people up, and as we stood in the foyer waiting to go into the meeting and trying to help so many people all at once I thought, ¨I feel like a mother with seven children.¨ Ha ha, I started wondering how in the world all of the moms in the ward balance getting everyone to church on time! I really did feel like a mother worrying for her children, especially because all of our investigators/less actives have such different needs. Being a missionary has only reinforced my desire to be a stay at home mom with a large family (in Spanish, they use the term ¨ama de casa¨ to refer to a stay at home mom. It means ¨love of the home¨. Isn´t that sweet?) It really is a very special part of missionary work, the love and concern that you develop for your investigators. I´ve been able to feel a portion of what I imagine our Heavenly Father feels for them as we help them. Being responsable for them is a big responsablility that I imagine is similiar to what parents feel; sometimes it´s a heavy load, but we really get to work with Heavenly Father to help them, and He helps us to be able to bear that load. 

I love you all so much! I know I say that every week, but it´s so true. Yesterday after a crazy Sunday I pulled out the pictures of the family to look at when we had a second, because thinking about you all relaxes me. It reminds me how blessed I am and how much I owe to my Heavenly Father. Serving Him as a missionary is a priviledge, and I hope He allows me to keep serving Him throughout my life.

Love, 

Hermana Southard