Tuesday, March 24, 2015

In the Philippines!!!

Hello Family!! It was a long day(s) of traveling but we made it to the MTC!  It is so gorgeous here!  We were greeted at the airport by our mission president, President Trast, who is just the sweetest!  I could barely stay awake on the flight from Japan to Manila!  I got so many confused looks from people when they heard me speak tagalog, then they would try to talk to me and I had no idea what they were saying haha it was the greatest.  I am so grateful that I got to talk to each and everyone of you!  It was so great to hear so many familiar voices!
Using the phone in Japan
There were so many missionaries flying to asia and we got lots of looks when everyone at the pay phones were all crying haha They were for sure tears of joy:)  
When we got into the vans and started driving to the MTC I had not prepared for how crazy the drivers are in the Phillipines!  Let's just say, they don't really have driving rules.  There were a few times we all screamed, but WE MADE IT!  The temple is right across the street and the rooms here are nicer than the ones in Provo, it's awesome.  The beds are so comfortable and I slept really well!  We get to go to bed tonight at 8, never thought that would happen!
This morning I ran into Elder Dawsom from Austraillia, the one who I got his letter from the mission president, it was nice to see a familiar face!
This afternoon we get to go proselyting, I am excited but a little nervous! Can't wait to tell you how it goes!
Also, this morning I had powdered milk...never thought I would have that and it wasn't too bad!  I'm excited to let you all know how it goes this week, love you bunches and know that I am loving it here! :)
-Sister Latham
Van ride to MTC in the Philippines

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Final P-day at the MTC

Hello Family!!  

It's been a great week at the MTC!  I am going to miss all the amazing people but at the same time I am so ready to go out and teach the people in the Philippines!  5 days till I leave :)  We start packing today which will be way weird...I will be sending just a few things home probably on Tuesday so be expecting that!  

Thanks Noelle and Wes for the Easter package, I loved it!  and the sisters on my floor loved it as well since you sent so much candy I had to share :)  The bunny ears were the best!

I've been meaning to put this on my weekly emails but I keep forgetting! Here's a little fun fact about Tagalog-I found out that the minions in Despicable Me speak a lot of Tagalog!  Plus, there is a new movie coming out only about the Minions so I can't wait to come home and watch that!  Also I've heard Jaba the Hut also speaks Tagalog!  

Okay, so what happened this week...the week just flies by!  K so on Sundays there is always a topic given and they randomly call 2 speakers up without any heads up so we all prepare a little talk before hand.  I thought that there was no way I was going to get picked because I had already given a talk a few weeks ago in the Staff sacrament meeting...but of course I was picked!  I was actually excited though to speak because it was about the Atonement and I love talking about the atonement because it has helped me so much in my life, especially here at the MTC.  I shared the scripture Moroni 7:41 which says "And what is it that ye shall hope for?  Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise."  I LOVE THIS SCRIPTURE!  Jesus Christ and His atonement are central to this gospel!  I went on to talk about how we have so much we hope for as missionaries whether that be we hope for comfort, or we hope for help with the language.  We hope that the message we share will touch the lives of the people we teach.  We hope for others to come unto Christ.  We hope that we will be successful missionaries.  All of these things we hope for can happen if we have faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement.  Christ knows each of us personally and took upon him our sins, trials, and infirmities INDIVIDUALLY.  Christ knows exactly what we are going through and is there to "lift our burdens".  What a sweet promise that is.    

This week I also finished the Book of Mormon.  I had set a goal a few weeks ago to finish it before I left, and I did!  It was such a neat experience.  My testimony has grown even more after reading it and I know that it is true.  I have no doubt in my mind.  So excited to go and teach people about how much joy and happiness this gospel will bring them!  

So, Quentin L Cook came and spoke on Tuesday!  It was awesome!  I have a whole page or two from his talk but I am just going to give my favorite quote that he said.  He said "The Lord is pleased with who you are and as long as you do YOUR best, he will accept your work."  I love that because there are others who are catching on the language better or whatever it may be, but I am working as hard as I can, and I can see the Lord blessing my life because of it!  Elder Cook also brought up the Philippines like three times so that was awesome!!  The devotional was being broadcasted to a few of the MTC's including the Philippines :)  The language is coming really well!  I've got the 1st vision down in Tagalog and I talk to quite a few Filipino sisters on our residence floor and they said that the people are going to love when I talk cause it's so sweet and I'm white hahahaha

This week I got to host new missionaries!  It was so much fun!  I almost started crying a few times with the sisters who I was taking when they were saying goodbye to their families, but I held it in.  The first sister I took was from Hawaii and she came with her seminary teacher and these
other two sisters who were the missionaries that had converted her to the gospel a few years ago in Hawaii!  Talk about a way neat experience to be sending off one of your converts on their mission!  It's amazing!  
Yesterday we had infield orientation-it was so long but way good!  Learned how to work with members and how to find people to teach.  All the stuff that we don't cover in language class we were taught there.  I met two sisters who are headed to the Roseville California mission on monday!! They are the sweetest, I am so excited  for them!  There names are Sister Cichos and Sister Myers!  I told them about you and what ward we are in and also about Brother and Sister Alston.  Here is a picture of them!  Well Fam, next time I talk to you over email I will be in the Philippines!  I love you all so much and will give you a call at the airport!  Mahal ko kayo :)  
How great it my calling as a missionary :)

-Sister Latham

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Month mark and travel plans!

Kumusta Pamilya ko! Wow, the time here at the MTC has gone by so fast! I feel like I have been here for just over a week.  I am just having tons of fun being a missionary, and even though I have had some hard times, this experience has been one of the best in my life and I can't wait for what is to come in the next 17 months!

K...travel plans!  We got them last night and we were all so excited!  We have to be at the travel office at 3:30 in the morning on March 19th and then we travel to the SLC airport.  Our flight doesn't leave till 8:45 so I will have a few hours to talk on the phone there and then for a little at our layover in Oregon I believe.  We fly to Tokyo and then another flight to the Philippines!  It is all starting to feel so real, I am so excited!  

This week the district ahead of us left and I was called to be the Zone Sister Training Leader so that is exciting news! As you know, I love being a leader and helping people out as much as I can.  So before I was district, but now I am zone so last night we met with a lot of the Sister companionships and some individually.  It was great to get to know all the sisters, especially the new ones that just came in this week!  They are the sweetest and I love helping them out with their trials and concerns because I went through the same ones when I first got here.  The hardest part though is seeing how badly some of the elders and sisters in our district are struggling.  One of the elders in my district is going home today and 2 sisters in the new one don't want to be here, it is so sad.  The MTC is so hard, but in the end the trials are blessings in disguise.  I hope that after Sunday they will see why they are here on a mission and how amazing our callings are as missionaries!  

Yesterday was our last day learning brand new grammer principles in Tagalog, that is way good news! next week is all just review and to try and perfect our Tagalog as much as we can before we leave!  I am just about done with learning the first vision in Tagalog, so hard! That has taken a lot of effort. haha I've had multiple headaches here...thank goodness for Ibuprofen!  

I have truly met amazing people while being here!  First off, my zone is amazing!  It was so hard saying goodbye to the district that just left.  It is only Sister Pectol and I in our 6 person bedroom..pretty lonely!  haha Plus, all the guys in the past district we always played volleyball with and it got really competitive...I got really competitive.  Elder Bray, he is my best friend, and I would always just joke around on the court and try to beat each other at everything!  One time we were playing and he kept blocking my spikes and after so many times I just pushed him to the ground hahaha it was so funny!  Everybody just laughes at me because I get so competitive.  Elder Eyler was also one of my favorites; him and I always played on the same team cause we worked well together and weren't too competitive with each other.  I cried when they left and volleyball just isn't the same anymore so now I actually work out and run instead of play volleyball the entire time.  

I got packages this week!  Thank you so much Mom and Brett and Heather for sending the packages, so so so sweet!  Heather sent me the cutest journal and chapstick, lotion, pens, and all this other stuff!  Plus there were notes in there from Peyton, Alexa and Braxton with drawings.  The sweetest!  I love the skirt you sent in the package mom!  and the earrings and watch are perfect!  thank you so much!

Lastly, I wanted to include in my letter about a lot of things that i have been thinking about this week.  On Sunday at devotional, a sister talked about being an anchor in our faith.  In Ether 12:4 it reads "Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God."  I love this scripture being here at the MTC my faith has grown so much, more than it ever has before.  I've read the entire Book of Mormon while I have been here and I have learned so much and my testimony has increased so much about how true this gospel is, how much our Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ love us, and lastly, how there is a way to return to our Father in heaven, which is through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  I love my Savior Jesus Christ and I am grateful that he is an ANCHOR in my life.  That He holds me steadfast and immovable in all of my trials.  Mom, I wanted to thank you for that Anchor bracelet you gave me for Christmas.  I wear it everyday and it has been a constant reminder to think of my Savior and to remember that through Him and my faith I can get through any trial that comes my way.  I know that this gospel is true with all my heart.  I am so excited to go and share this message! 
I got to skype a member in the Philippines this week, her name is Annie!  She was the sweetest and we left a message with her about the doctrine of Christ.  When bearing my testimony I could barely get out what I wanted to say because I was trying to hold back the tears. I already love the people in the philippines and I am so excited to go and teach my brothers and sisters about their Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ.  wow, this gospel is so true!  

 I love and miss you all so much!  

Can't wait to talk to you in less than 2 weeks!  Mahal ko kayo 
-Sister Latham

Sunday, March 1, 2015

"Faith is Trust that He will provide"

Hello Pamilia ko!  I can't believe that it is already P-day again!  It is so true when they say that the days are so long but the weeks go by so fast.  I have already passed my half way point!  Thanks for the half way party package Mom, we celebrated P-day eve last night with my roommates and we had the sparkling cider and a dozen cupcakes that my friend from BYUI, Ryan Watt, sent me yesterday!  So fun! Thank you for all the letters, packages, prayers, and support.  I feel the love so much!

This week was awesome, some days were long, but overall it was a great week!  Our teacher gave our district a new goal which is to memorize 50 words/day.  That is insane, but I have been able to do it because the Lord has helped me through it.  There is no way I could do that on my own.  That is probably the biggest lesson I have learned while being here.  Humility and Patience.  There is no way I could survive here without those.  

My teacher, Sister Riddle, who I love so much and I have talked about her a bit in my letter left on Friday :( It was so sad to say goodbye to her.  But, she left us with a great lesson about faith and humility.  She said to us "Faith is TRUST that He will provide."  What a powerful message that is.  Not only just as a missionary, but it can apply to everyone.  In Mormon 9:21 it says, "Behold, I say unto you that whoso believe in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth."  It has been such a neat experience to turn to my Savior Jesus Christ in prayer and ask for help whether that be in the language, patience, charity, and trust.  I have seen that as I have truly prayed with a sincere desire, He has blessed me with the things I have asked for.  I know that the Book of Mormon testifies of this truth.  As I have read the Book of Mormon everyday, I have found answers to all my questions, read what I have needed to hear that day, and I have had it testified to me that this Book is the truest book on earth and provides the way to return to our Father in Heaven again.  This is the message that I cannot wait to go and share with the Filipino people.  I am so excited to be an instrument in the Lord's hand.  

This is all starting to feel so real.  I don't feel ready at all to leave, but I am also so ready if that makes any sense.  We get our travel plans next week so it will start to feel real then.  The sisters in the district ahead of us leave this upcoming week.  It will be sad to see them leave.  I will also miss the guys in the district ahead of us cause I am competitive with them in volleyball and they are just so funny!  It was sad to see a sister in our district leave this week because of heart problems and then to hear of Brie having to come home.  I pray for them everyday that they will be able to resume the work when they get better.  Well Fam, I am loving it here!  Love and miss you all so much!  Can't wait to talk to you guys in just a few short weeks on the phone :)  Mahal ko Kayo!  
-Sister Latham