Monday, May 23, 2016

Why I Went to Ogden! (slash what I learned)

The one and only Hermana Ava Ludlam ♥
1. Hands down the main reason was to be Hermana DeMaio's companion, no doubt about it. Heavenly Father has been planning this one for a while, He works in such mysterious ways! I now see He took a missionary called to Sao Paulo Brazil, and put her in Layton Utah only for a month and a half because He needed someone with specific past experiences to be here at this time for His precious daughter. I think she is the strongest person I have ever met. Even though circumstance made it necessary that I be here for her, she taught me more about how to be than anything I could've done for her. I have never tried so hard to proactively love someone, and in return I have never seen someone so closely to how God sees them. She is the flower growing through the cracks in the concrete. ♡

2. To learn how to always have my own personal sunshine inside me!! In John 16:33, Christ says "Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world!" What more is there to be said? Even when it's cloudy and everyone is gloomy, I can be shining and happy. How can I not, knowing what I know? :)

3. To become fearless in my tongue! When I got to Layton, I would open my mouth to say something, and nothing would come out. It was humiliating and frustrating, but I just could not speak Spanish! People would say, "How are you?" and I would stand there, unable to remember how to say "well" in Spanish, only Portuguese! The first night I was here, we went to an activity at the church and I was a nervous wreck on the inside. Finally, I asked Heavenly Father for help. He had just been waiting for me to do that, because as soon as I gave Him my will, He put me to work! I felt I should talk to a certain woman, and it took so much courage to just get up and walk over to her, but I did it, and my tongue was loosed. Because I did that, I gained the confidence (not in myself, but in the Lord) I needed to just keep following promptings. After that, Hermana would just say, "Alright, you knock this door," and I couldn't speak the language--but I would just do it. And it always worked out! :) SO! If I can preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to people in a language I cannot speak, just wait till they let me loose in Brazil. I will sing it from the rooftops!!

4. I received an answer to my question of how to apply the atonement in order to truly change (the full question was in the letter called First Transfer: Done). HOWEVER! I am going to pull an Irmao Read and say, "You have to figure it out for yourself!" I'll give some hints though. Read Elder Bednar's talk "The Atonement and the Journey of Mortality", where he says "I suspect that many Church members are much more familiar with the nature of the redeeming and cleansing power of the Atonement than they are with the strengthening and enabling power. It is one thing to know that Jesus Christ came to earth to die for us—that is fundamental and foundational to the doctrine of Christ. But we also need to appreciate that the Lord desires, through His Atonement and by the power of the Holy Ghost, to live in us—not only to direct us, but also to empower us." That should get you as excited as I was to start the search! I started writing a book called "The Significance of the Atonement: Sister Ludlam's Understanding When She is 19." I'll write another one next year. Another hint: find out what change is in God's eyes. :) I would love to hear what you find!!

5. Here is how the MTC works: You eat, you sleep, and you sit in a chair while the most spiritually brilliant individuals feed you truth on a level so profound you feel like you understand life and you could do absolutely anything! Your only job is to soak it all in, and you just feel so cozy in your little spiritually saturated cocoon! But here's the thing--after I left the MTC, I realized that life is muddy and the philosophies of men are convoluted. Satan has been running amok for quite some time now! I thought "Well this simply will not do." After realizing I was deprived of spiritual nourishment and that I actually had to feed myself to keep that level of light, I began to flood my life with light. The great thing about being a missionary is that it's not so much about getting the light and nourishment for yourself as it is about sharing it those people you are privileged to teach.

6. President and Sister Jaggi ♡ Maybe it's because our mission is in Utah so they get to hang out with and be trained by the Apostles, but these people must be part angel. President has received life changing revelation for me, and Sister Jaggi is the greatest example of a dove I have ever met. Ever since I got here, I have followed President's challenge to write down 5 things I'm grateful for every night, and it's changed my life. I invite you all to do the same for 30 days, just watch what happens!

7. I learned how to be basically I had $200 dollars of emergency funds for when I travel to Brazil...and I managed to spend $100 dollars of it at the MTC :) Sorry Mom. I came rather unprepared, so it was all spent on necessary items, but I still was short a nice chunk of money! ANYWAYS I saved most of my money each week and now have what I need to travel. :) Let's just say I ate a lot of rice krispies. Now I can fall asleep easier knowing I'm not going to be held in an airport jail in Sao Paulo, waiting for President to bail me out.

8. Turns out we actually can't just sit in the car and say "alright, we are ready! Just point the way!" to be led to the people He wants us to teach! The revelation happens when we are planning, and it is the most spiritual part of the day. Now we write down certain names and places, and then pray for confirmation, asking "Is this Thy will?" I think Heavenly did lead us to miracles when we just sat there waiting for Him because He wanted to tell us "you two are on the right track," but now we know there is a much more effective way to make the most of precious time!

9. Remember my journey to know Christ? Oh, it has just been incredible, family. I wish I could explain the love I now feel for my Savior. Whenever I felt alone, I would envision Him walking up to the doors and knocking right alongside Hermana and me. Any fear was just gone, and it changed everything. I felt such a presence and strength in realizing just how close He really is. Especially because what we are doing is exactly what He would be doing if He were on the earth right now. Additionally, I grow closer to Him everytime I'm struggling and talking to Heavenly Father, because I have learned to say "I would that I might not drink the bitter cup, but not my will, but Thine be done." My bitter cups on the mission pale in comparison to what His were, but I do get a taste of what He suffered for us. I just feel this incredible unexplainable love for Him when I submit my will to the Father's, like He did so perfectly.

And I finally took the plaque picture for you, Mama. Sorry <3

Monday, May 16, 2016

They have my visa!


I don't know why, but this p-day my heart has just been so full of love and emotion for my precious, beautiful family. How can you all be such beautiful people? I love being distanced so that you all write me the true and raw feelings of your hearts. I can feel love for you in a way I couldn't when I was wrapped up in my world and didn't have this distance and perspective. You are all just incredible people.

Thank you for the spiritual goodies. I have such a tender and NEW place in my heart for the word of God and for truth. My heart hasn't been good ground and fertile until now, I guess! I am just shocked how I knew the church was true --with such conviction-- if I didn't even read the Book of Mormon that much.

This week was full of personal failures, but of course Heavenly Father is still right here with me.  We are learning SO much everyday. This is my companion's first time being senior companion/trainer, so it has caused me to learn even more than I would have if she had been an "old grandma" with lots of wisdom--I have to be PROACTIVE and we find answers together! We are so good for each other.  I am learning so much about how to be a better person because of Hermana D.

We are beginning to use members, plan more effectively with the spirit, pray constantly, become unified as a companionship (and I realize it is Satan's greatest tool to get us to distance ourselves from each other), exact obedience with the schedule given to us, reporting back to Heavenly Father every night, praying for our investigators together, fasting and praying and EXPECTING miracles after we do all we can (I have learned how important that is). Whether I am here or in Brazil, the fruits of our labor will start to grow very soon.

This work is not nearly as hard as selling solar panels because all I have to do is prepare and work and He will tell us what to do. So much easier! People say the mission is the hardest 2 years of your life, but it is SO MUCH EASIER if you just let Him do the hard stuff and you just do what He says. Still, it is hard to see people reject the truth and the light of life, and it's hard because Satan is ON YOU 24/7, but its the good kind of hard. The kind of hard you almost want because it is the sweetest way to live life.

Off to Brazil on the 30th of May!

Love to all,
Hermana Ava

Monday, May 9, 2016

All these things shall give thee experience

The fastest 40 minutes ever!  We loved our short visit with Hermana Ava...



Wow. This week has been full of moments where I thought "so this is what joy on the mission feels like." It's usually while I am taking out my contacts at night and reflecting, really quiet beautiful moments.

Hermana D and I fasted so that we could be physically led to the people who are ready to hear the gospel and be baptized. It has been SO COOL to just be sitting behind the wheel after praying, "Alright Heavenly Father, we are here. Tell us where to go," and He puts people and places into our minds! One of the many miracles this has brought to pass was finding "Yolanda" and her daughter "Dottie." This is that family Heavenly Father sent me here for. I walked into that house and I thought: "No...could these be the ones?" After hearing her talk about God for 30 seconds I just knew!

As I listened to her speak I really had to fight back tears because she shone and her spirit was so strong and I kept looking at Hermana DeMaio, wondering, "Are you hearing what I'm hearing?!" She explained the gospel of Jesus Christ to us with more clarity and beauty than we could have. We got out of that dark little basement and began to run and leap and squeal because WE FOUND THEM!! Oh my goodness, the LOVE I felt for her!?! 

"Frida": Satanas has been working double time on my beloved Frida. We go in and teach a beautiful lesson and I look in her eyes and I just know she knows, but OF COURSE he comes in with a baseball bat after we leave and I just want to yell, "WE JUST CLEANED THIS UP." However! There is progress. She is such a strong woman with so much hurt that she has been pushing through. I shared Doctrine & Covenants 122:7-9 with her:
  • And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.
  •  The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?
  •  Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.
... and that was a changing moment. Even her wild toddler became still.

I love seeing the gospel heal people. Especially people I love so much.

I loved every minute of our call, family. I love you so much.

Hermana Pidge

Monday, May 2, 2016

Miracles, I'm telling you (in 6 minutes)

Hermana DeMaio in her natural element (motorcycle)
Hola Familia!

I only have 6 minutes!!!!

Thank you for fasting for me. I gave my testimony on Sunday and I just started to speak and it began to flow, and when I sat down, Hermana DeMaio was crying and said, "That was beautiful, and your Spanish was perfect." Miracles, I'm telling you.

And having the gift of tongues in front of our ward is even more crucial than you can imagine. Missionary work in Utah can only be done through member referrals, and what we need most is open hearts now. Members need to have confidence in my ability to communicate and teach.  So thank you, it means everything to me.
P day hike to the falls

I have so many other experiences and people and miracles to tell you about, but it will have to wait until next week! :) I can't wait to talk to you on Mothers day!!! Email me when you would like to Skype!

Also, I just got my first bunch of snail mail here since it had to come from the MTC. Sorry to all the emails I can't respond to. I will make up for it next week!!

Hermana Pidge

P-day hike with Spanish Zone
Finally, the tramp picture promised last week (her 1st night)