Monday, September 26, 2016

The Lord works in mysterious ways

Hello Friends and Family! 

Funny: We moved apartments this week! 15 stripling Irmaos (I believe this is "brothers") showed up outside our apartment at  9 am Saturday morning to help us, but the portaria man said "NOPE, Saturday moves are not permitted!" I began to fret, but one of my favorite Irmaos took the situation into his own hands, took the man aside for 3 minutes, worked his magic, and somehow the the man went into his little hut and let us do the move. HAHAHA, Oh how I love the members here! We serve all day every day, but it was so cool to be on the receiving end and watch them cheerfully assembly line our little possessions to the other apartment. :)

Learning Experience: At church I shared a little testimony about how the Lord will not tell us everything we want to know for our own growth. I used to think, "How cool is it that we have the Spirit? All I have to do is ask what I should do for every decision and my life will be perfect because I will ALWAYS choose the right!" But sometimes He remains silent so that we have to make choices...and sometimes we are going to choose the wrong one, even though we are trying to do the right thing. We have our agency to choose.  That is why we have the Atonement, that is why we are here on earth. :) We are here preparing to be perfect and to be gods, and someday WE will be the ones needing to give the answers to others!

Then...that night my understanding was put to the test. We were in a house of a less active member, and I was trying to determine which message I should share. I felt like I should share a really strong scripture. I thought, "Really, Pai? Is this what He is needing? Won't it offend him?" But I went with it....and it was a disaster. I felt awful, and later that night I was racking my brain, trying to realize what I did wrong. As the dust settled, I could clearly see when the Spirit had been with me and when I was acting on my own prideful intuitions.

The memory of what I had shared in church that very morning (exercising our agency) came to mind and I realized, "WELL, OF COURSE! I was left to make my own choices, and I chose wrong! But...I learned PRICELESS lessons that I would have never learned had the Spirit been whispering in my ear about everything I should do." Yes, I still hurt as I reflect on the memory, but I am a better missionary today. The Lord works in mysterious ways, and oh, how grateful I am that I am here to make mistakes and get messy, and become clean again through the Atonement. What a beautiful process :)

LOVE YOU ALL!  Sister Ava Ludlam
Ava on another mission with Luci

Monday, September 19, 2016

Miracles Within Me

Nilsa and Edson, always a Party!
I have been sitting here praying about what I should write this week to spiritually lift those who will read this. I want to be able to say we saw so many miracles this week, but I was really discouraged as I realized nothing noteworthy happened. Thousands of steps taken, hundreds of doors knocked (or clapped), but nothing to show for it. But then I thought "but this week was amazing, how do I explain that?"

This week I have learned more about how to be like Christ than any other week on my mission, and that is reason enough to rejoice! That is a MIRACLE! I believe that one of the primary reasons the Lord wanted me to serve a mission was to see the gospel of Jesus Christ work miracles within ME. This week I was faced with hundreds of little decisions each day, where I chose to follow Christ. He is patient, He is meek, He is humble, He is long-suffering. He smiles and He LOVES unconditionally.

I did not have the strength to do these things on my own, but I leaned on Him. I joyfully partook of the sacrament this week, and I have never felt so clean and happy. So yes, no one accepted us this week, but as we took those thousands of steps, I felt like He was right there with us, cheering us on.

Last week a BYU friend sent me an email with 14 fotos and a nice long letter about Stover Hall and late nights and parties, and I thought I would be hurting afterwards. On the contrary! I realized I am HAPPIER here, and that I don't want that right now. FINALLY! I choose Brasil, and I chose to serve. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else!

President and I were talking a few months ago about how hard it is for me to not miss BYU, and he promised me if I keep doing what I am doing, one morning I will wake up and think EU AMO BRASIL... and the longing for Provo will be gone. I feel like that morning will be very, very soon. Sometimes when I am walking in the streets, I am FILLED with pure joy! The song from Prince of Egypt comes to my mind, "THIS IS MY HOME!!" My Portuguese is improving and I am actually using past, present, and future subjunctive!! THANK YOU SISTER C. SILVA!
I love her. I really do.


Monday, September 12, 2016

I am just the servant

Appears to be Manny from Ice Age ?
Funny: (foto) Sister S letting out her inner woolly mammoth!

The Work: Unfortunately, I have no inspirational stories to share this week. We worked so hard, but everyone we were teaching dropped themselves. : (   At first I was really discouraged and was lost as to what to do next. (Ava confided that this has been her most difficult week yet, but she is doing fine now.)

Spiritual Thought: ...But then I remembered this is not my work, its the Lord, and He already knows exactly what He wants to happen this area. :) What peace that brings me!  I am just the servant, so I just need to ask Him what His will is. :) He will make a lot more out of Jardim Satelite than we can alone, and He can make a lot more of each one of us if we give our wills to Him. :)  My ward is supporting me so much and I feel their love.  There are angels around me.
Tapioca Tortilla

Culture: TAPIOCA!!! It is completely different than tapioca in the States, and I am OBSESSED. It is made from mandioka (kind of like potato, but looks like a tree trunk) or cassava. It is cheap and delicious. It has no taste, so you can put it with chocolate or ham and cheese or whatever you want. Basically a super chewy tortilla and super yummy! Haven't eaten bread in over a month. Unfortunately, the United States doesn't have it, so I am going to eat as much as I can while I am here. :)



Ava drew this masterpiece of our house during language study this week.  Pretty good!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

I chose to smile!

Ava's first hamburger in Brasil!
Sorry, Sister Emily Taggart, I am going to copy your letter format. :)

Funny: We had to stay in our apartments due to political events here in Brasil, I thought the world was going to end! Woke up the next morning and everything went back to normal. :) Typical Sister Ludlam.

The Work: We found an incredible family: Ed Carlos, Silvia, and Junior. I have never felt so guided during a lesson as I was with them. As I bore my testimony, Silvia began to cry and Junior just had the biggest smile on his face, I'll never forget it. They accepted a date for baptism! I have never felt so much love so quickly as I have for these 3 people. I feel like I've met them somewhere before...

Spiritual Thought: This week I learned that happiness is a choice. There were some very dark, difficult days this week, and one morning I woke up and thought, "I don't want to do today." As I began to get ready, I realized that I am the one who decides whether I will smile, laugh, and sing, or be miserable. So I chose to smile!

Good news: I am starting to see changes in myself, like the real kind I was hoping to see by serving a mission. Not that it matters what happens to me, but its a nice blessing. I actually feel like Heavenly Father is pleased with the work I am doing. I miss you all very much, but I am really starting to love the work and the people. My patriarchal blessing really helped me this week.

`Pidge Pot Pie