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Monday, September 28, 2015

This weeks letter

Hola familia!

Sorry again for not sending the email last week :) I hope you enjoy the email and the pictures. 

This week was a good one, filled with lots of special spiritual experiences. A couple that I wanted to share with you:

On Thursday I had to travel to Torreón to renew my visa. I traveled with another American sister who arrived a couple of months ago in the mission and my companion and her companion stayed here in Durango and worked in their area. As we were getting on the bus, there was a woman standing behind us who caught my attention. She was traveling alone with a baby who was probably about 8 months old. We offered to help her with the stroller she was carrying and when we boarded the bus she ended up sitting behind us. As we were traveling to Torreón I had the feeling that I should give her a Book of Mormon, but didn´t know when. When we arrived in Torreón and got off the bus we started to walk out of the bus station when I said to my companion, "Let´s go back and talk to the woman that was behind us." I just could not shake the feeling that I needed to give her a Book of Mormon. So we went up to her and told her that we could tell that she was a really great mom, and that we wanted to give her something. She was so surprised and happy when we handed her the Book of Mormon and started to tell us about how much she needed help right now. She explained that she´s from Durango but is going through a divorce and came to Torreón to finalize the divorce process. She told us she was sure that God put us in her path, because she was praying for help. She´s going to be in Torreón for a few months, but we took her address and I´m going to figure out how to send the referral in a few months. I was so, so glad I paid attention to the prompting that I had. I almost let that opportunity go, and I know that I would have regretted it immensely. 

On Friday a very special investigator named Alejandro was baptized. He´s 45 years old and has various physical disabilities, but it has been such a sweet experience working with him. He can´t express himself exactly how he would like to, but he understands everything perfectly and has really gained a testimony of the restored gospel. There was such a sweet spirit in his baptismal service. My favorite part was when we sang "The Spirit of God" as the closing hymn. It´s his favorite hymn and he requests that we sing it every time we go to see him :)

We also did get to attend the General Women´s Meeting. It was in Spanish of course, but I still loved it. My favorite talk was Sister McConkie´s talk on the work of salvation. And I am sooo excited for General Conference this weekend!! It will be great. 

I love you all and hope you have a great week. Send lots of pictures of General Conference weekend with the fam!

Love,

Hermana Southard



oops!

I am SO sorry that I forgot to send this last week! I didn´t realize until I read your letter Dad when you mentioned that I didn´t send a family email. I typed it up but I guess I forgot to hit send. So this week you get two emails from me :)

Here is what I wrote last week:

Hey family!

I hope you had a great week! This week we were able to see a lots of miracles in the area. Yesterday a new investigator named Juan Carlos attended church for the first time. The Zone Leaders contacted him and passed us the referral and we set up an appointment for Saturday in the evening. While we were looking for his address we actually contacted him and a friend who were sitting outside without realizing it was him and even though his friend tried to shoo us away he made his friend listen to us as we introduced ourselves and then asked, "Are you looking for anyone in particular right now?" When we replied that we were looking for Juan Carlos he explained that it was him and let us share a message with him right there. His friend also listened to us and even though he was friendlier while we were teaching, when we were inviting him to Church he was saying things like, "Don´t rush in to anything, blah blah blah" and when we left my companion said that she felt like we had the shoulder devil there trying to convince Juan Carlos to not commit to anything. Ha ha, but the good news is that he went to church yesterday and has a baptismal date for the 24th of October. He has a really sincere desire to change his life, and I think he´ll progress a lot. 

We are also going to have a baptism this Friday! Our investigator is named Alejandro. He was one of the investigators of the sisters who were in Central 1 who we inherited when they closed the area. He´s such a special investigator. He´s in a wheelchair and has physical and mental disabilities but has progressed so well. I´ll send pictures and more info about him next week :)

On Tuesday we had to be in the house early because the 15th is Mexico´s Independence Day. I was feeling pretty patriotic with my Mexico t-shirt, flag, and Mexican hot chocolate, while my comp was singing hymns in English and eating PB&J. I made her try PB&J last Monday and even though she acted like she didn´t like it I caught her making it on Tuesday night :) It was the first time she had tried peanut butter!

I love you all! My time is up, but I´ll talk to you next week. I know the Church is true and that this is the Lord´s work. Have a great week!

Hermana Southard



Monday, September 14, 2015

hola!

Hey family!

I hope you´ve had a great week! This was a pretty good week for us too. There were a lot of ups and downs, but that´s life, right? There are always a lot of challenges here in the mission but I know that it´s going to be that way all throughout my life. Actually, a couple of months ago I asked for a blessing (I ask for Priesthood blessings all the time- they´re a really big source of strength for me) and as part of the blessing I was told that Heavenly Father has many challenges and many blessings in store for me, and that I need to prepare myself to receive them. So I know that everything that I go through here is to help me prepare for life after the mission. 

The highlight of the week was definitely being able to attend the broadcast of the Mexico City Temple re-dedication. President Eyring and Elder Holland attended, as well as the Mexico Area Presidency and a couple of members of the Seventy. It was so incredible being able to be in the "temple" again, because the chapel becomes an extension of the temple during these sessions. Please don´t ever take the temple for granted! After 14 months of not being able to attend the temple, I was so excited to be able to attend the session on Sunday. As soon as we walked in I was overwhelmed by the Spirit and really felt like I was in the temple. I never wanted to leave! It felt so good to just sit there and wait for the session to start. And the session was incredible. Elder Paul B. Pieper spoke on how temple worship and sacrifice are related (in Spanish!) and I loved his talk. Elder Kent F. Richards also spoke (also in Spanish) on how we need the temple more than anything else in our lives. And Elder Holland´s talk was incredible. It seriously blew me away. He spoke on section 2 of Doctrine and Covenants and his insights were amazing. The Spirit was so strong during all of it. It was an unforgettable experience. 

Well, I hope you have a great week! I´ll be praying for you all. 

Love, 

Hermana Southard 


Monday, September 7, 2015

happy p-day

Hello my crazy family!

I told Brina last week that you guys seem to go on vacation every other week. Ha ha but it sounds like you had a good time in California, and I´m happy for Ashley (and Shawn).

Okay Mom, before reading this next part you have to promise me that you´re not going to worry. I really don´t have much to tell this week because I got sick on Wednesday and we were in the house Thursday and Friday while I recovered. But don´t worry, I´m totally fine now, and I was very well taken care of by my "mom" here in México, Hermana Mejia. It was good to see her again, even though I was sick. It was kind of frustrating being in the house for two days, because we also lost all of Monday and half of Tuesday from when I went to Torreón to pick up my companion. So we really only worked three full days this week. This week we´ll be trying to make up for lost time, looking for investigators, and trying to get things going here in the area.

My companion is great. She came ready to work and is already a great missionary. I feel blessed to be able to train her because there are many missionaries who don´t come quite so prepared and it´s even more of a struggle helping them to adjust to the mission life. 

This Sunday we get to go to the temple rededication! I´m super excited for that. It will be an incredible experience. 

Sorry that there´s not much to tell you....with being sick this week not much happened. But I have lots of faith that this week will be great. I love you all so much and pray for you daily!

Love,

Hermana Southard

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

I can't believe it's September already!

Hello Family! 

I can´t believe it´s September already! The time is flying by way too fast. Yesterday I went to Torreón to pick up my new companion, who arrived in the mission field yesterday from the México City MTC. I´m going to finish up my mission training her- the missionary training program lasts 12 weeks, which is the amount of time I have left in the mission. Crazy!! It´s going to be a new experience, training a new missionary. But I can tell already that my companion is going to be a great missionary. She was telling me about how she tried contacting in the airport and got rejected, and I just laughed and told her that she´ll get used to it. Her name is Hermana Garcia, she´s 21 years old, and is from Morelos, México.

I have to admit, I was nervous when I heard about these transfers. I knew it was pretty likely I was going to be training because my mission president told me in response to one of my weekly letters, but the surprise came when we called the other two sisters who were serving in this ward and they told us that they were both being transferred to Torreón because they were shutting down the area. My companion and I are now going to be in an area that was divided between two companionships before, so this week we´re going to be learning the area. That will be an adventure. 

Even though I was nervous, I felt a lot better after the training meeting that we had in the mission office yesterday. I was the last one to arrive because I was coming from Durango, so when I walked in they had started by going around and introducing themselves. A short while after I walked in one of the APs (Elder Devino, the one you talked to on the phone) grabbed Presidente´s phone and connected it up to the projector, putting a picture of Presidente with two people on the screen. It took me a second to realize that it was a picture of Presidente with two of my converts, José Ángel and Flor Adriana. Presidente started talking about how this weekend he was in Durango for the Stake Conference in the stake Durango del Valle, and how as part of the conference the brothers who had recently received the Melchisedek Priesthood were presented. He said that one of the most joyful and spiritual parts of the conference was seeing José Ángel presented as a newly ordained elder, and learning that he was there thanks to the efforts of one of his sister missionaries. He told me that they´re preparing to go to the temple to be sealed with their three children next year. Everything that Presidente said was so sweet, and it filled me with so much joy to see that that family, familia Ramirez Pérez, is progressing. He spoke to the new missionaries about how that is the purpose of this work, helping people to progress in the gospel and have their own eternal family.

I love you all so much!! I am so grateful for my own eternal family. I love sharing this gospel and allowing others to reach the goal of being together as a family forever. That is the finality of this gospel, and I know it is true.

Love,

Hermana Southard

If you look at their shoes, you can tell who the new missionaries and trainers are. (Dad's observation)