Thursday, December 3, 2015

Transfer Week...a big CHANGE!

My goodness family, I have some crazy, fun, and spiritual news for you this week!  Of course this week is transfer week so I will tell you all about the call that I received yesterday.  But first, after I emailed you all last week, we had our zone activity, and this is what it turned into...a flour fight!  There are so many fun games here in the Philippines where they use flour, but of course it always ends in a flour fight! It was so much fun, I will miss this zone so much :(

So yes, I will be leaving this area. After district meeting yesterday, the AP's called me into the office and they told me, "Sister Latham the Lord has called you this transfer to train a new missionary."  So 2 things went through my mind...okay maybe I am staying in this area again...or I am white washing which means that we completely switch with two other missionaries so there is nobody to lead the area.  Well, it turns out that it is neither of those.  The AP told me that me and my new companion would be opening up an area that has been closed, its called an "open area".  That means that my brand new companion and I will go into an area, we won't know where we are, who the members are, there are no investigators, so it is our part to start the area.  Of course I was freaked out when they told me this, but I also had it confirmed to me by the Holy Ghost that the Lord needs me to do this.  I also know that the Lord only calls those who He qualifies.  So I am still nervous, but I know that this is what the Lord wants and that He will be there to help me through it all :)  Next week I will update you all on how it is, my new companion, the work, everything!  All I do know is that it is part city and some province, but it is a clean city and there are trees and fresh air, so I am excited for that!

On sunday, I was asked by bishop to speak in Sacrament as well and I would like to share my talk with you.  It was about members and missionary work.  I will write it in English, but I spoke Tagalog while I gave my talk, the gift of tongues is so real :)
The Love of Missionary Work:

I am grateful for this opportunity to be able to speak today to you all.  Last week I was asked to share this Sunday about missionary work.  As I have pondered this week about what I want to share about, I thought about why I do missionary work? Why did I come here to the Philippines? What does the Lord want me to learn?  I realized why and there is one simple answer and that is Love.  Because Heavenly Father loves me, because He loves you, and He wants me to gain a greater love for Him, Jesus Christ, and His children.

As we think about the greatest missionary and example that we know, Jesus Christ, we know that He did everything He did, because of Love.  He healed the sick, because He loved them.  He told people to repent, because He loved them.  He established His church, because He loved them.  He restored His church because He loves us.  He sufferred, He bled, He took upon himself all our sorrows, sicknesses, and sins, because HE LOVES US.  This pure love is called Charity.  

WE need this charity, this love, to share the gospel with people.  It says in Doctrine and Covenants 5:4 "And faith, hope, charity, and love with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work."  We  need this love to be able to share the gospel.  Heavenly Father says himself that it is a requirement that qualifies us to share the gospel.  I have a personal experience I want to share.  When I first came into the field, it was so so hard.  I did not know the language, it was hot, I could not understand the people.  I told my mission President that I wanted to go home.  He told me that there was one solution.  He said that I needed to pray and develop charity for the people here. 

It says here in PMG that "Charity like faith leads to action."  As I began to pray everyday for charity and do things our of love for the people here, I began to see change happen in those I taught, in my attitude, and my desire to serve them and the Lord.  The Lord has called us to act, to share the gospel.  He has not just called the full time missionaries, but all the members of the church.  President David O McKay said, "Every member..a missionary."  We are invited to show our love to the Lord by sharing the gospel with those around us.  As we missionaries do visits at the members houses, we are always asking for referrals or someone they know that we can share the gospel with.  We know that through members, the work of the Lord is more successful.  We want you to give referrals and gain a  strong desire to share the gospel with other, not because that is what we want, but because you love them, you love the Lord, and you desire their salvation and eternal happiness.  I know that as we all strive to develop the pure love of Christ, our desire to share the gospel will increase.  I know that as we follow the example of Jesus Christ by showing our love to others, people will see that we represent Him and His church.  

I know that if we do this together, members and missionaries, then we will hasten the work of the Lord in our ward and the Lord will bless us individually and as families.  We can't do it without the member, and the members can't do it without the missionaries.  Our purpose is one and that is to invite others to Christ.  I love Him and that is why I do His work.

I hope that can give you all some inspiration to share the gospel back at home to your friends, families, and those that you meet everyday.  That is the best Christmas gift that we can give to someone.  It is a gift that will never break, never vanish, but can forever stay in their hearts. 

I love you all, and I hope this Christmas season we can all remember the true meaning of Christmas :)  

Love, Sister Latham

to keep it simple...I'M SAFE and HAPPY :)

Hello family!! Another week has passed and oh my goodness do I have some news for you!  First I will talk about some of the crazy things that have happened, and then I will close with some quotes that I loved from the Apostles who came :)

So, I did not tell you all last week, because I knew you all would freak out, but last sunday we had someone try and break into our house.  We called the elders, and they came and tied the windows shut in the room that the person tried to break into.  So, then we thought everything was fine, but we came home on wednesday again after work, and all of the windows in mine and Sister Tropia's room had been opened, and some of the things had fallen to the floor.  It was obvious that someone had tried to break in again.  Sister Tropia and I just looked at each other and then started crying.  I immediately called the elders and then the other sisters to come home.  4 wonderful elders came to our rescue and stayed with us until we got direction from the AP's and President.  They had us pack our bags and we were transferred to the STL's apartment for a day, until they got everything and all the windows fixed back at the apartment.  They ended up fixing it the next day, so we were taken home the next day, but of course we still did not feel safe there and we knew that they would come back again.  We got a call on friday morning that we would be being  transferred to a new house the next day.  Our District Leader and his companion would come to our house and we would go into their house. We are now safe in our new apartment, it is really nice and we are so so safe there, so need to worry now :)

Now for the best part, the Apostles conference, it was absolutely wonderful!  As they entered into the room, the spirit was so strong and I immediately received another witness that the two Apostles, Elder Neil L. Anderson  and Elder Renlund, were men called of God.  They were there with their wives and it was just wonderful.  We got to shake their hands, and then hear from each and everyone of them.  Sister Renlund and Elder Anderson actually talked about marriage for a bit, we all got a bit trunky haha But I loved the things that Elder Anderson had to say about missionary work.  He said something along the lines that we are teaching about unseen things.  We are teaching things that require our faith.  Our faith that Jesus Christ lives.  He committed us to get to know the Savior better by reading the New Testament and memorizing some scriptures from there.  As I have begun to do that, I feel my testimony of Him and my relationship with Him begin to grow. There is another thing that Elder Anderson said, he said "I want my daughters to be just as educated as my sons."  As I thought about this, I thought not only in school education or our personal courses, but also our spiritual education.  Elder Renlund spoke about how if we have 100% effort with 100% action, we will see miracles surround us everyday :)  I wish you all could have been there to hear it, it was just wonderful.  I also left my journal at home on accident, so I don't have all that I wanted to tell you today, next week I will add more :)  However, It was a wonderful, once in a lifetime experience. Having two of the Christ's apostles in our presence, look at each and everyone of of us in the eyes and express the love of Heavenly Father for each and every one of us.  I know that they are servants of the Lord and they have been called by Him.
It was also a wonderful experience because every missionary was there, which has not happened while President Revillo has been here.  They flew in all the missionaries from Mindoro.  Sister Weston, my batch, stayed at our house, it was so wonderful to see her again! Here are some pictures from my week, hope you enjoy them! I love you all so much!!  

Transfer week is next week as well, I will be emailing next tuesday, rather than monday here!  We will see what happens! Love you all so much!

 Love, Sister

Trust Him

Hello Family!

It's been wonderful to hear from all of you today!  So not that much has happened this week, but I will share a little :)

I had my interview with President this week, and it was wonderful to talk to him! We mainly talked about the ward, our investigators and things that we can do to help the work progress and hasten the work of salvation in the the area that I am serving.  My favorite part of the interview though was at the end where President asked me, "so, you are now half way, how has your relationship grown with the Savior?"  I know that he asked that question last because despite the numbers, how the area is doing, or anything else that is going here on the mission, the most important thing is our personal conversion that is taking place here in the mission, and our personal connection with the savior.  I thought that I was going to burst into tears haha, I had a lot that I could say to him about how much my relationship with the Savior has grown, but to keep things short, I just said that I could not describe to him of how close I feel to the Savior and how my relationship with Him has never been so strong in my entire life.  I will never regret my decision to serve the Lord and His children for 18 months, because i know that my decision has forever changed my life, and I will continue to see the effects and blessings of this mission throughout all eternitiy.
About our investigators, we have about 2 progressing investigators.  One of them is Verhel, he has come to church 3 times and will have his baptism interview this upcoming week.  The other is Rhona, she is wonderful.  She loves reading the Book of Mormon, we are just continuing to help her in building her faith :)

Tomorrow, we have an apostle visit from Elder Neil L. Anderson and Elder Renlund!  I'm so excited to hear from them.  I'm ready to take what they say, and apply it to myself.  I look forward to sharing with you all next week what they will share :)  I'm also singing in the special music number tomorrow when they come :)

I love you so much family, and hopefully I have more stories to share with you next week!! mahal na mahal ko kayo lahat!
Love, Sister Latham