Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Well, the time has come for me to leave TayTay 1st ward.  I got the call this morning that I would be transferring to Quezon City 2nd ward.  My new companion is Sister Duque, she is a Filipino and she just got out of training, so I am her first senior companion!  I'm very excited for a new experience in quezon city and a new companion.  I have had the feeling that I would be transferring for a few weeks, especially lately, that I even began packing last night so that I would not be so stressed today with everything that I need to do.  I of course am going to miss this ward, area, investigators, and recent converts so so much.  I'm so grateful to have been assigned in such a wonderful area for my first transfer.  

It was a wonderful week as well to end off my time spent here in TayTay 1st ward.  We had a ward FHE and it was a blast!  I gave the lesson(all in Tagalog) and I spoke about the importance of bonding as a ward and the blessings that the ward will receive as a whole, but also how individuals will be blessed.  We then played games, and let me say, the games that they come up with here are so much fun. They had coins placed in flour and we could only blow and use our face to grab the coins. I ended up with so much flour on my face haha. Then last night we were able to go to the bishops for FHE, I cooked a chicken dish that they love. It was so yummy : ) Then we played games, and I lost twice so I had to do almost the same thing and find a piece of gum in a pile of flour only with my face. We played a few different times and then it ended up in a flour fight in the house between everybody! It was so much fun, and such a wonderful way to end my time here in TayTay. 

The hardest thing though has been having to say goodbye to everyone.  My recent converts especially.  They have such a special place in my heart.  I have plans to attend the temple when Cornelio goes to the temple in about a year, and also to visit all my recent converts before I go home.  When saying goodbye to Violeta, I just cried when I bore my testimony to her and told her to stay strong and continue to read the Book of Mormon and attend church.  She started crying, then I started crying, then the ward missionaries and Sister Pakalani started crying as well.  We were all a mess.  I can't begin to explain my love for these people here.  It is so hard to leave such amazing and wonderful people I have met here.  But, I do know that there are people in my new area that I need to meet as well, and I am excited for a new journey to begin as the new transfer starts tomorrow.  

I had a wonderful experience on Sunday.  As we were sitting on the stand, because we were giving a special number in sacrament meeting, I saw the Estrera family come in.  Jorem was baptized a few weeks ago.  Before he was baptized it was only him and his father who are non members in their family.  Now it is just the father in the family who is not a member.  He works a lot, but when he comes home every once in a while we go and drop everything and teach him.  We were able to teach him last week and I testified to him about how important it is for him to attend church.  He wants to become a member, but he doesn't like to leave work because that means less money for their family.  I expressed to him that if he will put in the effort, that Heavenly Father will bless him and his family and that the Lord will provide. I was sitting on the stand, I saw the family enter, and at the end of the line of his family, was the father.  I looked at the mother, who I am very close with, and she just lit up.  We both just smiled at each other and I could tell that she was so happy to have her COMPLETE family there.  I know that for him to come to church was such a sacrifice, but that there is something better that Heavenly Father will give him.  It's hard to sacrifice, especially when you are concerned for feeding your children, to making sure they have the necessities of life, BUT, if we do, the Lord will bless us, and we will see in the end how worth it it was :)
I also had the opportunity to give the workshop at district meeting and it was about "we invite, they commit, we follow up." I just quickly want to share a scripture that I shared.  "I speak by way of command unto you that belong to the church; and unto those who do not belong to the church I speak by way of invitation saying: Come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye also may be partakers of the fruit of the tree of life." Alma 5:62  I love this scripture because this is my purpose.  I am out here inviting others to come unto Christ, to allow the joy of the gospel enter into their life's, to receive the blessing of eternal life, and to follow the example of their brother, Jesus Christ.  I want everyone to know that I am so grateful to be a member of this church and to be inviting others to come unto Christ.  It is not only an invitation for investigators, but also an invitation for ourselves as members.  We are continually being invited by him to come closer to him, to know Him better, to repent, and to let the atoning sacrifice of our Savior help us become who He wants us to become.  I know that through Christ, all things are possible.  That through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can become more like Him and that if we let Him into our lives, He will shape us into who He knows we have the potential to become.  I love my Savior.  I love this gospel.  And I love being a missionary.
-Sister Latham

Ready to Get Back to Work!

Hello Family!  Well, Since the last time I talked to you, it has been a crazy and weird week!  On tuesday we went to Zone Conference, where Sister Revillo sent me to go directly to the doctor at MRC.  So, I left my companion and the office elders took me to see the doctor.  I got a chest x-ray, he took some tests, and came to the conclusion that he needed me to go get a blood test and also get a test for Dengue.  So we went and did that and then I went back to the zone conference.  The doctor said that he would be able to find a lot of answers from the blood test, so we waited till the next morning for the results to come back.  sooo...GOOD NEWS! 

My blood test came back and everything looked pretty good, some things suggested that I have a viral infection, so the doctor suggested that I rest and sleep for the rest of the week, and so that is what I did.  From Wednesday to Sunday night I slept and rested the entire time.  It was hard at times because I worried about the area and the investigators, but I knew that I needed to let my body rest and heal.  And I'm so grateful now because I think I am back to good health :)  Although it took quite a few days, I know that it is better to take some time for my body to heal that way I can go out and work my hardest! 

So, I'm sorry I don't have a lot to tell you about what happened this week, because it was mostly sleeping and resting!  But, I am excited to tell you that transfers are coming up next week! I have no idea what is going to happen, but I'm excited for a new transfer and for what the Lord is ready for me to learn.  I will email you all next Tuesday to let you know what will be happening!  #8moretransfers   I love you all, thank you so much for all the prayers and fasting that you did for me this past week.  I really felt the love and the power of fasting that helped me get back to good health.  Love you so much and I will talk to you all next week!
Mahal ko kayo lahat,

Sister Latham

Hanging in there :)

Hello Family!  Hope you all had a wonderful past few days!  There is not a lot to put in the email because not a lot has happened since I emailed you.  One day we spent inside the apartment, due to my sickness.  We don't really know what my sickness is yet, but the local doctor prescribed me some medicine and now I just feel really out of it.  Really low on energy, tired, and not myself.  Hopefully the medicine will help and I can get back to normal really soon.

This week we also lost our top 3 investigators, which was completely devastating news.  Two of them are just choosing to not accept the gospel.  They have had a lot of outside people say things to them about our religion that are not true, but they are choosing to follow them.  They were so golden, so it is sad to see that that is how they are choosing to use their agency.  I know that right now it just might not be their time.  We have a lot of work now this upcoming two weeks before transfers to increase our pool of people and really find those that Heavenly Father has prepared to accept the gospel at this moment and time.  It's going to take a lot of faith and I know that miracles come by faith :)

One really cool experience this week though was that Jorem, one of the recent converts, blessed the sacrament yesterday and then worked with us!  He is so great, and I have seen him open so much more!  Hopefully, he will continue to work with us and see the joy that comes from mission work!  

Well, tomorrow we have zone conference and I'm really excited about that!  My heart and mind are ready to learn!  I will keep you all updated on everthing! I love you all so much!
-SIster Latham

Another Soul Saved

Hello Family!  Thank you for sending all of those fun pictures from the family reunion in Idaho! Looks like you all had a blast with all the fireworks, dad's surprise birthday party, and being with family!  Sorry I don't think I will get to emailing all of you because there is a baguio here in the Philippines and most of the computer shops are down and we spent a lot of time trying to find a computer shop that had internet and computers open.  It's raining really hard right now, actually flooding in our area, but we still go out a work :)  The rain is pretty fun to be in because it gets cold and the wind is strong, but the worst is the feeling on my feet.  I hate the feeling of having wet shoes and wading through water that is really really dirty...I won't tell you what is in it, but you could probably guess!

This past week and a half has been really good! I got to witness one of my investigators get the guy who was baptized the week before!  It was such a cool experience.  Jorem was the baptizer, at first I did not think he would want to do it because he is really shy, but he was surprisingly really excited to use  his priesthood.  The sister getting baptized is Jorem's mom's friend, Violeta.  She has a lot of family problems that she told us about, but she always just breaks into tears when she begins to explain how grateful she is for the gospel and the comfort she receives from reading the Book of Mormon.  I will miss her so much when I am transfered.  She is just the best.  We did a fun activity with her this week as well, we went to her house and she taught us how to cook chicken adobe.  It was a great bonding experience and I know she loved having her friend Remi and us the missionaries at her house to bring hope, joy, and the spirit into her home.  

Another great experience I had this week was being able to work with one of my recent converts, Nicole!  We were reviewing the lessons and she asked us if she could work with us, I was like "YES!!!" And when the day came for her to work with us, she was amazing, her testimony was so powerful.  I love how strong a new converts testimony is as they

testify how they came to know it was true and how it has changed their life.  I also talked to Nicole about serving a mission and she said that she is really really thinking about it.  She would be such an amazing missionary.

Also, we asked Jorem if he would want to work with us this upcoming week and he said yes!  He is really starting to open up, play basketball with the young men, and is now starting to work with the missionaries! So amazing!

This morning we went to the temple and it was such a wonderful experience.  I was able to ponder, pray, and receive peace and comfort in my heart.  It feels like home in the temple :)  We also got to go to the distribution center after the temple and I bought Jorem and Nicole "Preach My Gospel" books that they can start to study and use.  I hope that it will give them the boost and the desire to serve missions themselves and bring others unto Christ, just like what happened to themselves.  
Funny experience:  We were taking a tricycle home one night and we started talking to him about the gospel.  When we got to our apartment he began to start raising his voice and telling us that we are not christian and are not followers of Christ.  I then showed him my nametag and said "Brother, we are representatives for the Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter Day Saints and we invite others to come closer to him by accepting the gospel in their lives."  He then asked what our real names were and we said we are called by "Sister" because we are all children of God.  He then went to refuse that and said that there are children of Satan here.  I just decided to bear testimony to him, left him with a "Restoration" pamplet, asked him to please read it and if he wanted to know more, to just let us know.  He said he did not want to know more and to not go to his house.  We quickly left, said thank you and again invited him to just read the pamplet.  IT WAS QUITE THE EXPERIENCE.  First one in the mission.  Most people are usually always open to hearing and don't try to debate, but I guess there is a first for everthing!  

So, that is just the highlights of the week, I wish I could type everything, but it would be a novel.  I just want to leave you all with my simple testimony that I know Jesus Christ lives, that He is our Savior and Redeemer, and because of the love that God has for us as His children, He sent His only Son to come here to earth to save us all.  I know that only through the Atonement of Jesus Christ can we return back to our Heavenly Father with our families.  I am blessed to have the knowledge that I can be with my family forever because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I love you all so much, I am so blessed, and I am grateful to be a missionary at this time in the Philippines! Love you!
-Sister Latham

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

I spoke too soon!

Hello Family! So great to hear from you this week! Thanks for all the updates on how you all are doing and I am so glad to hear that everyone is getting back to good health! I've been fasting and praying for you all : )
Well, we had another baptism this week!  His name is Jorem, he is 17! All of his family are members, except for his dad.  But, Jorem has been taught multiple times, I believe he has been taught by 5 different sets of missionaries.  So, we actually began teaching him in my first transfer, with Sister Faasavalu, and he would just listen, but not act.  But, last transfer we really got him to start opening up, to start expressing his concerns, and he came to church for the first time last transfer.  We got really excited and then in the few weeks falling, it fell through again and he was no longer interested.  Then one Sunday, while we were welcoming everyone into church, he just showed up, on his own!  Since then we have really seen conversion take place, we have seen him gain a testimony of this gospel, coming to church activities, and then just on Saturday, enter the waters of baptism!  It was such a wonderful experience for him and for his family as well.  There was a lot of support there for him.  Even Sister Makaneole was able to come to his baptism!  

After the baptism, there was a missionary farewell for a Young Man in our ward here in TayTay, he will be serving in the Philippines and will be leaving this upcoming Friday to report to the MTC.  They asked us Sister Missionaries to give a special number and so we sang "Ye Elders of Israel".  They had asked us to sing about 10 minutes before we actually sang, but we quickly practiced and it actually turned out really well!  The members kept saying, Tabernacle Choir kayo!  The ward here is just so funny and so enjoyable to be around.  I was also able to talk with Sister Makaneole for a while and see how she is doing which I really enjoyed! I sure do miss her.  

One cool experience this week too was that we were on a jeepney coming home from the mission office and there was a girl in there that was about 17, and she was speaking Tagalog and she thought I could not understand, but I could :) hahah she was so shocked when I began to introduce myself! She was asking me all these questions and for the first time my answers just flowed out in Tagalog, I did not even have to think about my response and I understood her perfectly.  She guessed that I had been out here for 10 months and when I told her I had only been in the Philippines for 3, her jaw just dropped.  She said "How do you already know Tagalog!?"  I told her we have been called of God to share his gospel and so the Lord provides a way for us to communicate with the people to who are called to.  I really enjoyed talking to her and just having casual conversation since all we learned in the MTC was gospel related principles.  I am grateful for the gift of tongues, it is so real!

Not much has really happened this week, just teaching teaching teaching, working working working and it is wonderful!  The only complain is that there has been like no rain...I guess I spoke too soon last week that rainy season was here! haha Hopefully more rain is to come! 

 I love you family, you are all amazing, and I am so blessed to have you all!  Sending my love to you all! Nicole and Dad, happy birthday, I hope you both have wonderful birthdays with whatever you will be doing!  We have temple trip next week so I won't be emailing till Wednesday in the afternoon or so! I am so excited to go to the temple!  So I love you all ulit!
Love, Sister Latham

Rainy Season is finally here!

Hello Family!
First off, Dad, Happy Father's Day! I am so incredibly blessed to have you in my life and for the love and support that you have given me and all of us girls in our lives. I will forever be grateful to have you as my dad and best friend. I wish I could skype you on this day, but I just want to let you know that I love you more than I can even describe :)

Well, I have wonderful news family!  RAINY SEASON IS HERE! and I could not be more excited! The heat has died down a little bit, at least to the point where I feel like I am not going to die, and it rains at least once a day! 

The other day we had a huge rainstorm and the water was about up to midcalf and we were walking in the middle of the street.  The one thing that sucks about that though, is that all the BIG frogs come out in the rain.  And it's not just one of two, I could see about 10 in the direction that I was heading! At one point, I was in the middle of stepping around one and it started jumping around my feet so of course...I screamed and my feet were moving uncontrollable! hahaha All of these Filipino people could not stop laughing at me and Sister Pakalani just laughed at me too.  These frogs are not just little frogs...They are bull frogs..HUGE!  Anyways, the rain was fun and it was cold too so I enjoyed it despite all the frogs.  It's gross though because all the kids are rolling in the streets and there is so much poop from all the dogs...and people...on the streets hahaha These people here are crazy, but I love them!! 

As for my new companion, Sister Pakalani, she is really really sweet, and we have grown to have a lot of fun in the work and making it an enjoyable experience.  We were able to go to a wedding reception for a member in our ward and we enjoyed the food..and the music...haha We are not able to sing those songs but we listened to it and that was good enough haha They also have a different tradition here.  People don't really bring gifts for weddings, but instead during the first dance, people just go up and pin money to the bride and groom!  Sometimes they make sashes out of the money that they have and then they pin it to the veil or the dress.  When I first saw people going up to do that I was thinking "What the heck are they doing?!" But, I guess that is just tradition here :)  
Another fun thing that we did this week was we were teaching a recent convert and I guess that there are falls near her house that we never knew existed so she took us there! The walk there was so gorgeous and green, and then the waterfall was gorgeous too! We definitely had fun, our shoes were so so so muddy, but it was so worth it to go and see the waterfall! 
As for our investigators, they are all really progressing! We have a baptism coming up this next Saturday, Jorem, and then another the next week, Violeta!  Heavenly Father has truly blessed this area so much and I'm so blessed to have been able to meet these wonderful people that Heavenly Father has placed in our path.  

Well Family, I love you all so much, I am so blessed!  I will continue to pray for all your health and strength :) Thank you for everything!

Love, Sister Latham



Hello family!! Seriously this week has been something! I think I've felt all emotions in just one week!
To start off with the bad part, Sister Makaneole and I were a bit sick this week, I spent about a day throwing up which was no fun at all!  We got permission to stay in for the day which was nice to let our bodies try and heal that way when we go out we really give it our all!  Even though we were sick we went out for a little while and we ended up finding two new investigators!  Small little miracles like that are the best!  I'm feeling better now though, I wake up with a stuffy nose every morning but that is about it, so no need to worry!

This week was also transfers.  Sister Makaneole and I were so not excited for transfers because we do not want to get split up, especially with our area really progressing right now.  We both though had the feeling that something was going to happen.  Everybody kept saying that they thought I was going to transfer which got me really nervous because I love this area so much and I do not want to leave.  I started giving out papers to members to write a letter to put in my book of rememberance, taking pictures, and in Missionary Coordination Meeting on Sunday they even had me bear my testimony! haha I got so sad because I don't want to leave.  However,on  sunday night, Sister Makaneole got the call from President Revillo that she has been called as an STL. She definitely had mixed emotions about it, we kept just saying how much we would miss each other :(  But, she is the STL that does exchanged with my area so I will get to go on exchanges with her next transfer which will be so exciting.  This also meant that I would be most likely staying in the area, which I am! I got a call this morning that I would be staying and my new companion is Sister Pakalani, from New Zealand!  I also found out that Sister Pectol, my companion from the Provo MTC, is coming to TayTay and will be my neighbor so I am also really excited about that!  Our new transfer starts tomorrow and I'm sure it is going to be a great transfer!
This week we were also able to go on a temple tour with our investigators and recent converts!  We rented a jeepney and all headed to the temple, it was a very squished ride! haha Their eyes were so big and their jaws dropped when they saw the temple!  It was the best thing to see!  I've attached a picture of Brother Cornelio who was baptized just a week or two ago.  He has been so excited to go to the temple; he even picked out an outfit two days before the trip! He is so funny! We also got to do a tour around the MTC with them so that some of our recent converts who want to serve missions could see what it was like!  Sister Racel, she is 13 years old was so excited after we left and really wants to serve a mission now!  She is just amazing!  Also, I got to see President Trask at the MTC and it was so great to talk to him again.  And he did something that just made my day...Catherine Hansen is at the Philippines MTC right now so he called her down and I got to see her! It was so weird to see a familiar face from back home when I am halfway across the world!  We were able to chat for a little bit, take some pictures, and share some advice.  I remember my first week in the MTC and I know how difficult it is, so I pray that I was able to boost her spirit a little bit and most importantly just give her the assurance that she can do it!! 

This week has been amazing with a lot of member referrals and finding those who are really ready to accept the gospel!  We taught this investigator, her name is Violeta, and I asked her in the lesson if she had prayed about our message and then Sister Makaneole asked her why she wanted to be baptized.  Her response touched my heart- she said that she had prayed and knew that this was the path that Heavenly Father wanted her to take. She knows that the church is true and she sees the joy and happiness that it can bring into her life.  She will be getting baptized in about 3 weeks :)  There also is an investigator, whose sister is a member, and we met with him this week.  We started off the lesson with asking why he wanted to meet with the missionaries.  His answer was simple, but so true.  He said that he wanted to find truth in his life and he knew that through this he would find it.  

One more story about our recent convert, Brother Cornelio.  We were asking him about how his prayers are and he responded with I pray every day for a longer life so I have more time to share the gospel here on earth.  My heart was just filled with the spirit.  He has truly converted.  He loves the gospel, he knows it is true and he knows that it saves souls!  He is such an inspiring man!  He is already sharing the gospel with his friends and family and standing as a witness of Jesus Christ.  I'm so grateful that I have been able to see him along this journey that he has gone through and seeing him come closer unto Christ :)

Thank you family for all of your love, prayers, and support!  I am so blessed to have you all supporting me in this and being by my side through it all! Love you all
                                                                                                            -Sister Latham

Transfer 2 coming to a close!

Hello Family!  This week was a great week!  The big thing this week was that we had another baptism! 

His name is Cornelio Clemente!  Sister Faasavalu and I OYM'd him on the street a little over 2 months ago.  When we first met with him, he was very sweet and interested in hearing the message.  He came to church and had a lot of questions like "why are there no crosses in here? 3 hours of church? We are singing again?" His desire to learn more was just incredible.  We continued to teach him, and we later found out that there were some problems with the Law of Chastity.  He had a problem with the Word of Wisdom, but he agreed to start following it. We had to have Cornelio meet with our District Leader who then said he needed to meet with the Mission President.  After he met with the Mission President, President said that there was no longer a problem with the Law of Chastity, but that he had accidentally slipped on the Word of Wisdom again, so we needed to wait about 3 weeks before he could be baptized.  Because of Brother Clemente's strong strong testimony of the Book of Mormon, the gospel of Jesus Christ he was willing to do all that he needed to "be saved".  Those were his exact words to us.  After 9 weeks of attending church, turning his life around, and using the atonement of Jesus Christ, he entered the waters of baptism of Sunday and is now completely clean.  When we talked to him after, he said "Sisters, I am brand new.  I am a new me and I am so happy." 

Family and friends, from a simple smile and "hello" to someone, a life can be changed.  A soul can be saved.  Every single person that we come into contact with is a son or daughter of God, and a lot of them are looking for something better in life, the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It might not be their time that Heavenly Father has prepared for them, but planting a seed is just as important. 

We also met with one of our investigators this week, who we met by knocking on their door.  He is the sweetest, humblest man.  The hard part his and his wife's faith are not balanced.  He does not want contention to arise within his family, which is completely understandable, but we are still continuing to visit him and help him build his faith.  We shared a scripture from the Book of Mormon this week and he looked at us, pointed at the Book of Mormon, and said "this is true."  I testify that what he said is completely true.  It is the truest book on this earth and provides the direction and the map for us to return back to our Heavenly Father.  I know that through reading the Book of Mormon, hearts can be changed, life's can be turned around, and we can grow closer to our Heavenly Father.  One more thing that I learned from teaching this man, is that the Holy Ghost is the true converter.  This man is actually deaf, he uses a speaker and headphones that help him hear a little bit, but a lot of the message he does not get, however; even with that language barrier, the Holy Ghost has testified to him of the truthfulness of our message in his heart and in his mind.  I've learned to truly rely on the Holy Ghost and he will touch the hearts of our investigators.

I've also had a few funny experiences in these past few weeks that I forgot to tell you all about.  In the Jeepney's they play a lot of Babylonian music, and that is the only thing we travel on.  So one day there were about 8 of us missionaries in the Jeepney and we decided to give the driver one of our USB's that has hymns and EFY music and asked him to play it.  He played it and it started playing the Christmas music hahahaha We just went with the flow of it though.  It was so funny, but at least we didn't have to listen to the Babylonian music.  Haha   

Another funny story is I think it was about 2 weeks ago, we just came home from working and we were about to say prayer  and I opened my eyes because Sister Makaneole hadn't started saying the prayer and when I opened my eyes I saw a HUGE RAT run across the floor right behind her and into the washing area of our house! I ran out of the house so fast! I guess rats will come in through our drains if we don't cover it with something heavy....never heard of that one!  

Also, I pretty much went on an Indiana Jones ride yesterday! We were on a small tricycle going down this rocky, bumpy road and the tricycle was just jerking up and down, side to side! It was so much fun! But I also had a prayer in my heart that the tricycle wouldn't tip over haha

Family, I am experiencing such great things here and I cannot wait to bring you all back here so you can experience the Philippines and see how great it is here

, how amazing the people are, and also experience a little of the heat that I've been experiencing for the past 3 months!!  Love you all, I'm so grateful for all of you, and I pray for you all every day! God Bless.

-Sister Latham