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Monday, October 26, 2015

my week in bullet points

Hey family!

I hope you´re all well! I´m sure you´ve had a really busy week. I don´t have a lot of time to write today, but here are the highlights of my week:

-on Monday we had our district meeting and we were talking about teaching simply so that the investigators truly understand the doctrine. We read a quote in PMG that talks about how we should be able to teach the doctrines of the gospel in such a way that even a child can understand them, and then we did the coolest practice ever! Our district leader brought in a bunch of Primary kids from his ward and each companionship taught them a lesson. My favorite part was when the elders asked the little boy they were teaching what substances we should avoid to keep the Word of Wisdom and he answered, "Alcohol, drugs, tea, coffee, candy...." ha ha. I loved the practice and loved being with the little kids.

-we´re planning an activity with the elders and sisters who are serving in Barrio Mezquital (the ward right next to ours- we share a church building). It´s going to be a talent show and we´re presenting a skit for the members. The elders came up with a really original script that includes a bunch of fairytale characters and the missionaries, of course. They cast me as Maleficent......not sure what to think about that. But in the end she´s baptized and gets called as the Stake RS President. 

-we found and started teaching a really amazing family this week: Familia Hernández Obregón. We contacted the parents on Tuesday and set up an appointment for the next day, but when we went back the older gentleman who answered the door told us they weren´t home (apparently he tells that to everyone who knocks). Long story short, we taught them for the first time yesterday and it was a beautiful lesson with an incredible Spirit, and all of them accepted to be baptized in December. We´re going to keep working hard with them, and I´m super excited to see them progress. 

-not so happy news: Hermana Garcia was transferred today :( that was hard. I was hoping to be able to finish up her training and be with her until the end of my mission. But now Hermana Peña and I are here in the area.

-The scripture that I am "ponderizing" (the verb "ponderize" is "meditizar" in Spanish. I was impressed with that translation during General Conference) this week is Alma 34:38. Actually, a few weeks before GC the assistants challenged us to memorize a scripture from the Book of Mormon every week, and I´ve really loved it. I chose this scripture because Thanksgiving is one month from today, and I want to cultivate an attitude of gratitude during this last month on my mission. 

-We were also challenged to finish the Book of Mormon in three months (by the end of October) and I´m so close! Hermana Garcia and I were barely starting Alma when October started, so we decided to study only the Book of Mormon during personal study. I´m in Mormon chapter 6 right now.

Well, my short email ended up pretty long. :) Sorry it took me 17 months to figure out how to write a good email. It´s Hermana Hernández´s birthday today (we were companions twice in Torreón) so we invited them over to eat tacos al pastor before we have to head to the Camionera for comp exchanges. I love you all so, so, so much. I´ll talk to you next week!

Hermana Southard

Monday, October 19, 2015

Love from Durango

Hey family!

I hope you´re all recovered from the crazy weekend of weddings :)....

It was a crazy week for us too. We had interviews with Presidente on Friday, which definitely helped me calm down a little bit. It was interesting adjusting to having two missionaries in training, but we´re all good. The good thing is that both of my hijas are dedicated missionaries who are here for the right reasons and willing to work! And they are both learning so fast. Seeing Hermana Peña, who just barely arrived, has helped me recognize the progress that Hermana García has had over these last six weeks. They always say that training is like raising a child, and I kind of feel like I´m getting a more realistic parenting experience training two at the same time, ha ha. It has really made me think about what it will be like when I actually have kids and have to worry about the individual needs of all of them while helping them all at the same time, if that makes sense. Even though I was so nervous at the beginning of last week, this week has been a week of a lot of pondering and prayer, and I know that this experience is what I need to finish out my mission. 

The highlight of our week was definitely the stake activity we had yesterday. There were lots of baptisms scheduled for the same day, so the Zone Leaders decided to combine all of them and do a stake baptismal service with a special program. All week long we were inviting members and investigators, because the program was made specifically with the investigators in mind. It turned out so well. There were a few talks, several videos, and all of the missionaries in the zone sang two numbers: "Our Savior´s Love", and "The Test" by Janice Kapp Perry. I actually sang the first little part of "The Test" solo, and it turned out well. We were all dressed in white. The Spirit was so strong, and it was so neat to see so many baptisms all at once- there ended up being six or seven of them.  

Well, I love you lots and I am excited to see you all, but I honestly still can´t believe that I´ll be going home so soon. It just doesn´t feel real. But we´re working hard and last week we found lots of new investigators that I know are going to progress. Actually, Mom and Dad, I think you´re going to get to attend my last baptism here in the mission. We have two investigators with baptismal dates scheduled for the 21st of November. I was really hoping you would get to be here for one. :) Please keep praying for us and our investigators. I know that this is the work of the Lord, and I am so happy doing it. 

I love you, 

Hermana Southard

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

"terminar with a bang"

Hello family!

I´m not sure if Hermana Anderl emailed you yesterday to tell you that I would be writing today.

Yesterday I headed to Torreón to pick up another new companion, Hermana Peña. I´m now going to be training her and Hermana Garcia at the same time. I seriously couldn´t believe it when the Sister Training Leaders told me, and called the Assistants and told them they must be crazy. They assured me that it was Presidente who chose the trainers, not them. "You´re going to finish with a bang!" they told me. So yesterday at 5:30 Hermana Garcia and I headed to the Camionera here in Durango so I could take a bus to Torreón while Hermana García waited for us with another companionship here in Durango. We had the meeting there in the offices in Torreón and then returned in bus and arrived here in Durango last night around 8:45. 

I was feeling so many emotions yesterday- nervous, weak, insecure- and asked the assistants to give me a blessing. What caught my attention most was that I was told that this experience will help me to learn patience and how the Atonement can heal me. I know and am exercising my faith that this experience, even though it will be difficult, will be exactly what I need to finish my mission. I am grateful for every experience that I have had until now, and that I´ll be able to finish my mission with a bang :) I know that Jesus Christ and the Atonement will be essential to make these last six weeks of my mission the sweetest. 

I love you!

Hermana Southard

1. All of the sisters who were transferred in the Central Camionera in Torreón. Almost every companionship had transfers!
2. My new companion, Hermana Peña

Monday, October 5, 2015

La última conferencia aquí en Durango

Hello family!

I hope you had a great week and a great conference weekend! This week went well for us. It seems like every week goes by faster than the last. One highlight this week was teaching one of our investigators, Juan Carlos. I know I mentioned him when we started teaching him a few weeks ago. He´s progressing really well and has a baptismal date scheduled for the 31st of this month. On Thursday we taught him and the bishop´s wife accompanied us. We talked about the Word of Wisdom and the Atonement, and how the Atonement can help us to overcome our addictions. As we were leaving the bishop´s wife told us that during the lesson she thought of a church video that she wanted Juan Carlos to see, so went with him to the bishop´s house the next day to watch it. It´s called "In the Master´s Hands" (or something like that), and it was such a powerful lesson. I had never seen the video, but it´s really good. We talked about the worth of souls and how God sees us for what we can become, and how He helps us to reach our potential. I was so, so grateful to Hermana Hernández (the bishop´s wife) for receiving the inspiration to watch it with him. Members are so crucial to this work!

So Saturday was absolutely nuts. The first session of Conference was going to be broadcast live in our building at 11, but we left the house at 9:30 because Alejandro, our recent convert who was baptized last week, wanted to go to all four sessions of conference and we weren´t able to find anyone with a truck who could take him in his wheelchair, so we picked him up and walked to the Church. It was an adventure, but he was so determined to see all the sessions. After dropping him off we went with a sister in the ward to pick up a couple of investigators and arrived at the church a couple of minutes before 11. We walked into the chappel were surprised when the broadcast wasn´t going. They were having major technical difficulties and couldn´t get it to work. One elder managed to pull up the audio on a member´s phone and we listened to the first two talks, and halfway through the third talk they got the broadcast to work. It lasted until the talk was finished, but then went out again and they announced that there was no internet connection in the area. So one of the ward members took our investigators to another building to catch the last 40 minutes while we stayed with Alejandro, trying to figure out how to get him to another building. The bishop from another ward ended up being able to help us take him, and we arrived in time to hear the closing hymn by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It was honestly so crazy that it was hard to feel the Spirit and enjoy the Conference, but it all worked out! I was especially grateful that our investigators were able to go and see at least a part of the conference. Yesterday we were able to see both sessions and the morning session was my favorite. I loved President Nelson´s talk most of all. I absolutely love General Conference and can´t wait to go back and read the talks. When I asked you to sent me the conference Ensign a few months ago Mom, I set the goal to read all of the last session´s conference talks before this conference. And I´m so glad I did! I feel like i got so much out of them, reading them for a second time. I´m planning on doing it again with this conference. 

Well, I love you all so much and hope you have a fantastic week! I´ll be praying for you lots. Thanks for all of the emails and for the pillowcase! I love it and put it on my pillow. I love you and it won´t be long before I see you again. :)


Hermana Southard


1. A family from another ward that we met yesterday in between sessions
2. Alejandro wanted a picture with the elders: Elder Kemp, Elder Maldonado, Elder Buhler, and Elder Pérez