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Monday, April 20, 2015

Re: Love from Dad 19 Apr 2015

Every letter I write Ashley has the heading "Love from Dad" - with the date.  These blog post headings are always the subject line of her email and the date and time stamp are the time and date of the email she sends us.

This letter I asked her some questions that I really wanted to know as her father about her health - physical, mental, etc.  Missions are hard and I can't see how she is doing in person.  This was her response:

Dear Dad,

Thank you for your love and concern. It´s hard sometimes to remember that you can´t see me physically, so you don´t know that I´m okay. I´ll try to answer your questions the best I can. 

First of all, my health is great. My mission president gave me permission last week to go running in the mornings so we´re going to start doing that this week. I try to eat a balanced diet as much as possible--it´s kind of hard because the main meal of the day we eat with members, so we have to eat whatever they give us, but all the same I try to eat enough to be satisfied but not so much that I make myself sick. Mexican food is delicious, but can be really bad for your stomach. But luckily I´ve never gotten so sick I haven´t been able to work. Sometimes there´s indigestion, but all missionaries deal with that, especially the Americans. Our mission president gave us pills last summer to de-parasite us that you´re supposed to take every six months but they haven´t given us another one yet. But I´m going to ask him or his wife this week and if we´re not going to get them soon I saw that they sell them in the pharmacy, so I might buy myself one. I haven´t gained or lost weight, I drink lots of water and use lots of sunscreen. I´m always tired at the end of the day and you know that I´ve never liked getting up in the morning, but I´ve been able to get up at 6:20 every day for almost 11 months, I can survive 7 more.

As far as my emotional health goes, yes there is stress related with the work and especially with being a STL, but it´s good stress, the kind that motivates you to work hard. I probably don´t write you much about how I feel because I feel a million emotions in one day--tired, content, stressed, frustrated, grateful--but overall I am really happy. I write in my journal (in English) every night, which is a good outlet that I have for my feelings. There are still moments when the natural man in me doesn´t feel like working, or wishes for a second that I was with my family or friends, but those moments usually don´t last too long. I do love you all and love communicating with you on Mondays, and I´m so excited to see you on Mother´s day. If I don´t tell you how I feel about everything, I guess it´s because like I said, overall I am doing really well and am very happy. 

I do worry sometimes that I take things too seriously and don´t enjoy myself as much as I could. From what I´ve heard about other missions it seems like this mission is extremely strict on obedience to the missionary standards and hard work. Actually, I know that´s true- the mission president before the current one was a very hard but good man (think Captain Von Trapp from Sound of Music), and was that way because when he arrived the mission was very disobedient. So I know that something I need to work on -- and am working on -- is enjoying myself more in the mission. 

We had interviews with the mission president this week and he told me that the Lord is pleased with my work, and that I can still do more. I´ve grown a lot in this transfer and am trying to work harder to find and teach the people who are ready to accept this message. 

I hope this letter answers some of your questions, and that you can give me some advice based on what I´ve told you. There´s a quote in PMG about how the secret to missionary work is work, and if a missionary works he will get the spirit, find people to teach, and be happy. It´s true. You taught me how to work hard, and I´m trying to do my best and make the most of the time I have as a missionary.

Love you,

Hermana Southard