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Monday, May 25, 2015

life moves fast

Hey family!

Wow, can you believe it´s already been a year since I entered the MTC?? This past year has been so wonderful. So hard at times but so, so wonderful. I´m so grateful for every day and every experience that I have. It´s been a year of a lot of blessings and growth, just like the next six months will be. 

The familia Ramirez Perez was baptized on Saturday! It was kind of a crazy day, because two investigators who the other sisters in the ward are teaching got married so they can get baptized and the ward threw them a party on Saturday night, so all of the members went straight from the baptism to the fiesta. But on Sunday they were confirmed in Sacrament Meeting and the Spirit was so strong. After they had all been confirmed the bishop had them stand in front of the congregation for the welcoming vote into the ward and they were just glowing. I thought about how beautiful it will be when they go to the temple a year from now to be sealed. And in the future they´ll have three missionaries of their own.

Tell Zack Hulsey and Kyrstin Millet and Andrew Davis congrats!! I feel like every time I open my email someone else is getting married. But I guess life continues after the mission. :) And Jenna, congrats again. I am so excited for everything that´s waiting for you at BYU! So much has happened in the two years since I graduated from high school, and I am so grateful for it all. I feel like I just keep repeating the same things, but I really am so content right now. I´m grateful for everything that has happened over the past year and everything that will unfold over the next six months. I´m grateful that everything is well at home and that you guys are happy. I love you all so much!! I know that the Church is true, and it´s the restored gospel that has brought me so much happiness. The Plan of Salvation is perfect. 

Love, 

Hermana Southard
La familia Ramirez Perez

Misioneras del Barrio Industrial: Hermana Mireles (green shirt) was transferred to Torreón today

They just put up this ¨Durango¨ sign last week!

It´s in front of the Central Camionera, which is where we always leave from when we are transferred


Monday, May 18, 2015

Another Week

Hola mis queridos!

First of all, congrats Jenna for graduating from Seminary and Lindsey for surviving the AP test! You guys are stellar. I still can´t really believe that Lindsey is going to be dating, driving, and in high school when I get back or that Jenna will be at BYU. But I guess if I´m growing up that means that you guys are too. 

So like I told you during the Skype call, a family of investigators is going to be baptized this week! We´re so excited. It´s a family of four: the two parents and two sons who are 10 and 9 years old. They also have a little baby who is 3 months old. We received their referral back in March; the mother and brother of the mom of the family was baptized about 9 months ago in another ward and the elders met her in her mom´s house and took her address so we could visit them. We contacted them my first day here in the area and we´ve been teaching them ever since. They are a golden family. It took a couple of weeks to get them to go to Church but since then they´ve been super active in the ward and the ward members have been so awesome in reaching out to them and fellowshipping them. It´s the first time in my mission that an entire family is going to be baptized, and I am so excited for the change they´re making together. And I´m especially excited for their three sons to become missionaries a few years down the road :)

To answer your question about street contacting Jenna: the people here are really approachable and pretty easy to contact. We usually just greet them by saying ¨¡Buenas tardes!¨ (or half-yelling it as we run to them from across the street) and begin talking to them. The most effective contact is when we can pull out the scriptures and teach them right there in the street, because they´re more likely to feel the Spirit and accept another visit. But we´re always trying to be creative in the way we contact. I´ve heard a couple of success stories of missionaries who contacted simply by asking the question, ¨Do you know anyone who wants to be baptized?¨ and the person responding that they do, and turning into an investigator. It was super hard for me to contact at the beginning of my mission but I´ve gotten over that fear. Our area is huge and there are always a ton of people in the street, so we can easily contact about 200 people each week.

Two weeks ago something really special actually happened: an investigator contacted us! We were walking down the street when a teenage kid walked out of a store and told us that the guy working inside wanted to talk to us. We went in and introduced ourselves and he asked us when and where the church meetings were. He said he had been praying a lot and wanted to know the truth. Last week we taught him all of lesson 1, the Restoration, and he accepted it all and went to church. The catch? He doesn´t live in our area, so we can´t keep teaching him. On Sunday we introduced him to the elders in Barrio Aeropuerto so they could set up an appointment with him. When we told them how we found him and that we had already taught him the Restoration and he already had a testimony one of them said to us, ¨Hermanas, don´t spoil us so much!¨ Ha ha we kind of just handed them a baptism on a silver platter. Hopefully he continues to progress with the elders.

Also, another miracle happened this week. About three weeks ago I lost my hymnal. I thought I had left it in an investigator´s house but when we went back the next day she said she hadn´t seen it. I was kind of bummed because Grandma had given it to me for my birthday last year and it´s kind of inconvenient, but on Wednesday during the ward activity the bishop told me that my hymnal had shown up in the back of his truck and that he had it there for me. I was shocked because there´s no way I could have left it in the bishop´s truck, but all I know is that Heavenly Father answers even the smallest prayers. 

I love you so much and hope you have a great week. I´ll be sure to send you pictures next week of the baptism. Keep praying for the investigators that are going to be baptized, the familia Ramirez Perez. I know this work is true; the Lord is working with us and we see great things every day. 

Love,

Hermana Southard

Monday, May 11, 2015

Hey Family!

Hey family!

Well, like you said I feel like I don´t have a ton to say because we just talked yesterday. It was so good to see and be with you! Although our call just reminded me that I am going to be so awkward when I get back. Especially now that I apparently speak with an accent....I believe you, but I seriously heard no difference between the way I was speaking and the way you were all speaking :) 

Thanks for showing the video to Aubrey and Maren. I had 10 emails from Aubrey and 2 from Maren in my inbox today, so I guess it was effective. I´m attaching a picture we took yesterday with the other sisters in our ward.....I actually got ready to talk to you guys, but lots of wind and bad lighting ruined that fantasy. 

If you have any other questions Mom, you can email them to me and I promise I´ll take the time to answer them :) I´ll also take pictures of my house since I know you like to see that and Grandma Rosie, I´m going to take pictures of the roses outside of my house. 

It really was so good to spend time with you yesterday. I love you so much and feel like the Lord has blessed you and protected you so much while I´m gone. It was really hard at the beginning of my mission to be away from you, but I realized I had to put my loved ones in the hands of the Lord and keep moving forward in faith. I feel so blessed to be out here and so grateful that you all are well. Sorry I don´t have much to say, but there will be more to tell next week. I love you all!

Hermana Southard

Monday, May 4, 2015

hola, qué tal?

Hey family!

How are you all? I can´t believe I´m going to get to talk to you this week! From the time I arrived in the mission field until I talked to you at Christmas seemed like it would never arrive, and now I can´t believe we´re going to talk again. How ´bout we wait another month? Just kidding, don´t have a heart attack Mom, I´m very happy I´ll be able to talk to you :) I´ll be calling at 7:00 Utah time now...we had to make a slight change of plans. 

This week we went to Torreón again for Leadership Counsel (the first photo is of the Counsel- the Zone Leaders, Sister Training Leaders, Assistants, and Pdte and Hna Ramos). I love hearing from President Ramos. He spoke about how we can help our investigators attend Church, which is a challenge that we all face as missionaries. I think it´s one of the hardest parts of the work, getting people to go to Church. But here as a missionary I´ve come to appreciate even more the blessing of being able to go to Church every week to learn and to take the sacrament to renew my baptismal covenants. I love Sundays because we get to go to church, and it´s been so interesting attending Church here in México and seeing how the Gospel is the same all around the world. It´s also been so interesting and strengthened my testimony so much because there is such a dramatic difference between the members of the ward who live the Gospel every day and the people that we meet and interact with on the street. Living the Gospel changes our lives in every imaginable way, and the Lord blesses us with a much better quality of life. I am so grateful that we live the Gospel as a family, and I know that all of the blessings we receive are because we have the Gospel in our lives. 

This week is going to be another crazy busy one. We have two zone conferences on Tuesday and Wednesday and comp exchanges thrusday, friday and saturday. And on Saturday there´s a stake Mother´s Day activity, and the stake president´s wife asked me to sing as a part of the program. I am so excited! Even though you won´t be there Mom, I´ll be thinking of you. And I hope you know that the people here have taken such good care of me. In every ward I´ve been in there have been women who I´ve been able to turn to for help with any type of problem, and they have always treated me with such love and charity. ¨Charity never faileth¨. The pure love of Christ can always be found inside a virtuous woman who seeks to serve others and acts as a mother to all who need her care. I´ve been so blessed to be surrounded by mothers here in the mission, and have been blessed with such a wonderful mother of my own. I love you Mom! Everyday I realize more and more that I want to be just like you when I grow up. I love you so, so much, and I can´t wait to tell you that in person on Sunday (:

Love,

Hermana Southard