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Monday, August 3, 2015

23 years

Dear Mom and Dad,

Happy anniversary! I was thinking about you guys on Saturday....

(most of her letter was personal and she asked us to not share a lot of it, but here are some excerpts)

I don´t have more time, but here is what I would like you to send to Lindsey and Sabrina:

Hey girls! I hope you are having an awesome week at girls camp. I have so many fun memories of girls camp, and the experiences I have there helped me to strengthen my testimony, especially of who our Heavenly Father is and how much He loves me. I feel like in junior high and high school and my first semesters at BYU I really gained a testimony of God as our Heavenly Father. There are so many people that I have met here on my mission who don´t know or understand that God is a real Person, who thinks and feels and loves us so, so much. I want you to know that I know that He lives. He is an incredible Being, the Creator of all, and my Father. The relationship I have with Him is trusting and loving, and I have felt His love and concern for me so many times that I know that He is guiding me and molding me into the person He wants me to be. I love Him with all my heart and I love to show my love for Him through the service I give Him. He is a King and I am His daughter, and He is helping me to become a queen. 
Since coming on my mission, I have also gained a strong testimony of His Son, Jesus Christ. I know without a doubt that Jesus of Nazareth, who was born in Bethlehem, is the Son of God who was sent to redeem all of the children of God. Because of His sacrifice, I can overcome sin and death and return to live with Him and my Heavenly Father and the people that I love the most--including you two--forever. Because of Him I can someday marry in the temple and be with my future family as well. He died so that I could be happy with the people who I love, both those who I already know and love and those that I have yet to meet.
The plan that God created for us is perfect. It is not easy, but the blessings we receive are so many that it is worth any price we have to pay. I testify of the love of God and His Son, Jesus Christ, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen....

These past two months have been so difficult, and I don´t know how long the trials will last, but my faith has increased enormously. I love you all!

Hermana Southard

PS: On Friday when we went to Leadership Council I saw Hermana Tuitupou, who came to renew her visa. We took a picture holding up 14 fingers to celebrate completing 14 months last week. When I told her you´re coming to pick me up she got so excited: I´m gonna meet your parents?? I feel like they´re my parents too. Our parents are coming!!"