Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Calling it quits on Away in a Manger...

Dear Family,

Skyping with the Family
Hello!!!! It was so amazing skyping with you guys yesterday!!!!! What a blessing!!! I love you all soo much. I hope you know that and that you can feel the love I have for you all through my letters and emails. Words really just can't describe how grateful I am for all of you. I would not be here without you. So thank you for everything. It's amazing how family works, I haven't seen or talked to you guys in a few months, but it still just felt the same. We all just slipped back into place :) Eugenie's announcement is sooooo cute! I approve :) Sammm!!!!! I am soooo happy that you are going on a mission!! holy cow!!!!!! Yayayayayayayyyy I am writing you a letter today :)

Christmas PJ's and Presents
After Christmas Dinner
So the best part of my Christmas day besides talking to all of you was going and visiting families. We went to families who are having family troubles, struggling with life, less actives, potential investigators, and part member families. We went in and shared scriptures about our Savior Jesus Christ and bore testimony that He lives. That is what brought me the greatest happiness. It is so interesting to see how the mission is changing me and my views. The family my companion and I live with invited us to come up and have Christmas morning with them. It was really sweet of them, but it was really weird at the same time. This whole Christmas season I have been blessed to be working at the visitors center and just be testifying up and down of Jesus Christ and what we can give to Him this season. It is so interesting  how the world has taken this holiday celebrating the birth of our Savior and made it into something kind of selfish and materialistic. I just felt kind of out of it. I don't know I feel like I want to find a new way to celebrate Christmas instead of sitting around a tree ripping open packages. And sorry I'm really speaking my mind right now- everyone has their right to celebrate Christmas in any way that they want, but I am going to make a more conscious effort to give gifts for the Savior. To be more like Jesus Christ, and to go out of my way to help people feel the love that the Savior has for each of them. So anyways, after eating dinner with a member family we went back to the VC for Christmas night! We had so many miracles! We had about 50 people come in and have a desire to change their lives, to meet with missionaries, and learn more about how they can follow the example of our Savior Jesus Christ. Our Sister missionary choir sang at the concert last night! It was really cool! And remember my comp form the MTC- sister Valladares from Honduras? She sang a solo and ya the whole program was really cool! Last night was the last night for concerts and all of the rest of the Christmas stuff will just be up till January 1st. 

So I have an embarrassing funny story. Sister Marand and I went caroling Christmas eve with our district. It was super fun! But anyways, so we went and stopped by this one less active families home and I picked to sing Away in a Manger.... I started everyone off, and it only took about 10 seconds into the song before I realized that I had no idea what I was singing. Seriously I was just making stuff up! But, everybody just kept following my lead! hahaha So yeah we only sang one verse of that song and called it quits on away in a manger haha oh boy... So ya caroling was fun! Also Sister Marand and I had a really cool experience contacting a referral this week. The referral came from a member at the visitors center for his friends. So we went over to see them- Sister Marand and Sister Gordon (previous comp) had already gone and seen her once and told her that her friend Bob had referred them. She seemed kind of confused and asked who.. They repeated the name again, and the lady then went on to tell them that Bob had just died the night before from a heart attack. woah.- Anyways so we go back over to talk to her again and to see if we can get a return appointment. We were just planning on sharing a little message, but the spirit was just so strong when were talking with her and we ended up teaching her the whole first lesson! She wants us to come back and teach her and her whole family! We are going back over next week :) 

Anyways, wow I can't believe Jody is home!!!! Those 2 years just flew by!!! Tell him to write me! I want to hear all about his awesome mission! 

I love you all sooo much! I can't believe I have less than one week with Sister Marand before she goes back to Temple Square! Ah I have no idea what's going to happen to me! But it will be good. I have learned that change is a good thing. In just one week of being in this new area I feel like I have learned so much and been stretched. 

I love you all soooo much!!
Sister Hamstead

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Christmas Surprise - I'm getting Transferred!

The Mesa Temple VC Sisters
FAMILY!!!!  Hello! I love you all!!! Sooo where to start. So so so so much has happened this past week!! On Tuesday we got to go on the temple excursion with half of the mission and that was incredible!!! So many missionaries in the temple all at once. President Ellsworth, Sister Ellsworth, and the temple president all spoke to us :) That was an incredible day! I am so blessed to have a temple in my mission that I get to attend regularly. Also being on the temple grounds every day is a huge blessing that I am grateful for everyday. I feel like my batteries get recharged when I'm there. I get re-motivated and even more determined. I love the temple! And the visitors center too! One day you all can come see it and then you'll understand why I love it so much.

Papa I am soo sorry I didn't have time to write you back this last week! I have been so extremely crazy busy! More than normal! But I absolutely loved your letter. It is interesting how the things you write me always seem to go along with what I am learning that week. In our district meeting this past Wednesday we did a really cool object lesson. So we all took 5 sticky notes and on each we wrote our 5 greatest blessings in our lives. Elder Kiene (district leader) then told us to pick one blessing that we think we could live without, and then rip it up. Kind of sad, but I still had 4 other great blessings so it was all good. Then he again told us to pick another blessing, and then another until we were down to the last 2 greatest blessings. My two sticky notes left had my family written on one and the other had the gospel of Jesus Christ. I took the sticky note in my hand and I tore it up. All I had left was one sticky note and it was the gospel of Jesus Christ. The spirit was so strong when we did this lesson and we were all on the verge of tears. The gospel of Jesus Christ is what makes everything and anything in this life wether it be family, friends, whatever it may be- meaningful. Without the gospel of Jesus Christ our family would not be together forever. None of us would be forgiven of our sins or be able to overcome death. Life would have no purpose and I would be very sad! I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ! Sometimes it feels like that's all I have out here anyways, and even though thats all I've got- I have enough. I know everything will be alright. I trust in Jesus Christ and in His atonement. Everything that is unfair or just wrong that has happened or happens in this life will be made right through Him. I am so grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ- without Him I am nothing. But anyways, I will make sure I write you back this week!

So, we had a super cool experience this last Saturday. Our zone had set a goal that every companionship would find a new investigator on that day. Well... Sister Shurtz just got called as the new VC trainer and on that day she was scheduled to make what we call the beast- the huge vc schedule for this next transfer. Also Sister Lewis and I were scheduled that day from 10-2. Also we were scheduled to go back to the visitors center that night to walk around the grounds to greet people and invite them into the vc. So, we had limited time in our area- BUT, we had faith that Heavenly Father would provide a way! Oh also we had to drop off our progress records off to our 5 ward mission leaders which are spread out throughout our area. So, we prayed really hard. The beast took a little longer to finish up than we had planned so we didn't end up leaving the vc until about 3:30. We ran out to the car, quickly delivered our progress records and talked to everyone we met along the way, but still no new investigator, BUT we were not discouraged. ALSO, to add to this fun day it was also one of the coldest days we have had AND it was raining! haha! It was so much fun! we were determined to find our new investigator and darted out of the car everytime we saw somebody on the street. We contacted referrals, potentials, and former investigators, and still no new investigator. At this time our zone leaders gave us a call and said they were going to come help us in our area. Blessing! So they went over to one of the apartment complexes in our area and we continued our search. It was starting to get dark now and we were down to about 30 more minutes left in our area. Our last hope for the night was to go try to contact this part member family. We were worried because the wife- who is a member- told us her husband isn't home in the evening- but, we went anyways. We knocked on the door and used the good old excuse of can we use your bathroom to get in the door- works every time!;) I also think it helped that we were basically soaked and shivering haha. Anyways, so we go in and share a message on our Savior Jesus Christ and invited Bruce (the nonmember husband) and the 2 nonmember grandparents that also live there to meet with us again. They said yes and we set our return appt. date for the next day! We got 3 new investigators!!!! Miracles!! Also we then went back out to the car and checked our phone. We had a voicemail from the zone leaders. They found us a new investigator as well!!!!! So we got 4 new investigators!!! Sooo amazing! As a zone we got a total of 22 new investigators!! Such a cool day :)

Superstition Mountain
So... I have transfer news... transfers end on Wednesday annnndddd.... The terrific trio is being split up!! I am being transferred to the "superstition zone" (called this because it's at the base of the Superstition mountains) and I will be the designated driver, senior companion, AND my companion will be sister Marrand (Ma-hown- she's from France ) who is a temple square sister who is going back to slc on January 1st. Who will be my companion when she leaves? Good question haha Everyone is telling me I will probably get a visa waiter or another temple square sister. So I have 2 weeks to learn the area, which is huge btw- i will have less wards though. Only 4! haha But Sister Marrand has only been in the area herself for 1 transfer and then once she leaves- the day after christmas lights ends- I will be going full field! Meaning I will be a full proselyting missionary for this transfer and will not have any scheduled shifts at the vc! Oh my goodness soooo many changes! I will basically be training and kind of white washing! I am super excited, but also kind of really nervous. Please keep praying for me!! As for Christmas day I am not exactly sure on times or anything yet for skype, but I will have somebody call you guys with the details. Keep an eye out for an Arizona number! :)

MOM CONGRATS ON PASSING YOUR TEST!!!!!! I knew you could do it! The decorations look sooo pretty!! I love Christmas time! I wish you could see our cute apartment all decorated. I love it! Life is so so good :) awww sad gma lynne can't come for Christmas  That will be sweet with gma Cherie though! Man she is doing a lot of traveling these days! Eugenie always sings beautifully, so no surprise there! Yay go family! Ah! So on Saturday morning I was doing my shift at the vc and there were soooo many weddings going on and then I remembered Adrienne was getting married that day!!! So I kind of felt like I got to participate in all the wedding excitement a bit :) CONGRATS ADRIANNE!!!!!! Weird everybody is growing up! and ANDREA MURRAY I am soooo excited for you!!! Write me with your wedding/life details!! Soooo sorry to everyone for being such a slow writer lately! Once I go full field I will have more time to write everyone. I forgot my camera so I will be sending pics tonight! I love you all sooooo much!!!! Till next week!

Sister Hamstead
Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

He is aware of my many unexpected Visitors!

My Dear Family,

Hello!! I hope you all have had a great week! I know I sure have! Oh my goodness where to even start. I had so many unexpected visitors this week it was amazing! holy cow! I know Heavenly Father is aware of my needs and I think that is why He is being so generous and giving me tons of visitors, because He knows how hard it would be for me to be away from all of you without a little reminder of home here and there :) So I am just going to go through my week day by dayish:

So on Monday I was talking to this family at the visitors center and they told me they go down to Atlanta a lot on business. We got talking about the temple down there and I told them that if they ever go do a session on a Thursday night to keep a look out for a little British man. Then the dad made a funny face and said he had gone to the temple on a Thursday night, that it was a very small session, and that he had met Papa! What a small world! Just another tender mercy reminding me that I'm never too far from those I love :) His name was Brother Stark I think... He said he had gone about a month ago. Do you remember him Papa?

On to Tuesday. One of the VC trainers asked me to go with her to train the host couples that were coming in for the night to walk around the grounds and invite people to come into the visitors center. So since I was out doing the training with her during prep meeting I had missed the announcement of all of the sisters posts for the night. When we came back inside I was informed that Sister Fors (sweet Espanol speaking sister from Cali) would be on the outside greet for our first post and that we would be announcing the concert that night. Oh gosh I was soo nervous! So of course when you are dreading something it always seems that time just flies by- and that is exactly what happened! Before I knew it, it was time to go and announce the concert and I hadn't even gotten a chance to look over the script. So I quickly went into the back and practiced it a few times with Sister Lewis and then it was time to go. I told everyone to pray for me haha. The crowd was pretty big that night- we had a local high school choir preforming. The lady in charge of putting on the concerts first got up and welcomed everyone. She then announced who would be saying the opening prayer and.... he didn't show up. So, the lady then comes down off the stage and told me I would be saying it. Ya know one great thing about missions is that they teach you to just go. you just do it. Just get up there and preform. So she announced that I would be saying the prayer instead. haha So I say the prayer and then Sister Fors comes and joins me and I introduce the concert/invite to the visitors center in English and Sister Fors does the same in Spanish  (speaking of Spanish  I have been trying to learn some! The Spanish speaking sisters tell me i'm doing pretty good :) Anyways, so that whole experience was really cool, and I really am grateful that she asked me to say the prayer because it made me feel peaceful and it took away my nervousness. So after the concert we all go back in the visitors center and guess who I meet? Samantha Coffey's cousins  yayy I finally met the Coffey clan! haha they were soo sweet and said they would come back and visit me again. They even asked me what I wanted for Christmas  People are so nice:) So that was super cool.

Then onto Wednesday- let me just say that although Christmas lights basically take over my life right now, Sister Sshurtz, Lewis  and I are dedicated to working super hard in our area when have time there. We said 12 prayers this week with nonmembers that we met on the street! Normally our district averages maybe 5 a week. We are setting new records! :)- I was determined to find prepared people in the visitors center on Wednesday night. I prayed really hard for them. And they came! One of them was one that I got to personally talk to and she was a sweet 16 year old girl. Her friend is a member and brought her into the vc. The other came from a sweet girl I got to testify to at the end of God's plan for the family. Life is just so good! and so incredibly busy! So during the last hour of our shift (9-10)  I saw a couple talking on the other side of the room. So I went over to talk to them and found out they were looking for me! Another visitor! :) I can't remember their names, but I guess Bro Coffey told them to come and see me since they were at the lights. haha Thanks Brother Coffey! :) They used to live in the old Alpharetta ward and now they live in Texas. It was so cool! Oh another random side note, I think it was this last Sunday night- not yesterday- I had another visitor. He was the brother and his family of one of my roommates from back at ByU-I! Tiffany Galovich :D It was so cool! Who knew I would meet so many people in Mesa! Strangely small world. Also I was told my old piano teacher came in looking for me the other day- I'm guessing Sarah Ray? I keep missing her though! darn! 

I honestly can't remember what happened on Thursday, but I'm sure it was amazing and inspiring just like all of the other days of the week. 

So onto Friday. I was dreading Friday because my companions insisted that we go on triple splits. I totally felt inadequate and was just really nervous that I would let them down. Also you know how directionally challenged I am... I am still working on figuring out the area! Well the time came and Sister Shurtz said it would all be fine and told me I could go with the Sister from our YSA ward who is an RM. So I went for it. We go to the parking lot. Bridget- an 18 year old pre-missionary was the first to show up and when Sister Shurtz told her she would be going with Sister Lewis... Well Sister Lewis really wanted to go with the RM. So I let her have her and decided to be brave and go with Bridget. I really had to step up my game and be the leader. It ended up being an amazing experience! It showed me that although I am weak and new and hardly know what I am doing- if I put my trust in the Lord and show Him that I am willing to do hard things, He always makes up the difference. reminds me of what that guy from p90x always says, "Do your best and forget the rest". I live by that out here. Bridget and I got 2 new potential investigators, contacted referrals, visited 2 less active families, talked to EVERYONE, and said prayers with 3 nonmembers. Who would have thought a premie and a greenie would make such a great team! One thing I am learning a lot out here on the mission is that if what your doing is hard, then it's probably good for you. You just have to keep going! So that was our great Friday. 

Saturday... again can't really remember. Oh! I do remember one thing from Saturday. I was talking to this sweet little nonmember man at the vc from Germany. It was so cool testifying to him about the Book of Mormon because you could tell he just got it. He then stopped me and gave me a really sweet compliment. He told me that I speak with my eyes. I just thought that was really sweet- and no worries this man was 80 years old, and he now is going to be meeting with missionaries!! :D So cool.

So onto Sunday- the busiest day of the week! For missionaries it is not the day of rest haha So we only ended up going to one hour of church on Sunday because we had soo many meetings and appointments. I can't remember if I told you all this before, but a few weeks ago we taught a lesson in high priests about using Preach my Gospel. Then yesterday we taught the lesson in Elders quorum on Preach my Gospel as well. It was really cool! So then that night guess who my companion at the vc was... HERMANA SHWARTZ! yayyyyy team Georgia! We were so  happy to finally be companions. we set some high goals for ourselves that night and we were determined to work hard. We saw so many miracles! I love Sundays :) So the visitors I saw Yesterday were: Sister Coppel! awww that made me so happy! I felt bad though because it was incredibly busy last night so I didn't really have a ton of time to talk. Oh on Saturday night we had 6,000 visitors and I'm guessing last night was even more than that! So my other visitor that night... Sister Collins!!!!!! as in Lauren Collins!!!!!! ahhh!!!!! She came with some investigators to the vc :) It was soooo cool to see her there as a missionary! We are both missionaries! It was just a really weird/cool moment. Then we had to be dignified again and go back to work haha but it was just sooo cool! :) I just feel so blessed. Heavenly Father must really love me because He keeps putting so many amazingly wonderful people in my life. I am so blessed, and I really don't deserve it. I am just so happy! Also, Hermana Shwartz and I beat our goals for the night! Georgia pride :D 

Anyways, thanks for all of your letters this week!!  I will write back asap! another hard thing about Christmas lights is that our pday gets shortened by about 4 hours... so it may take me a little longer than normal to write back, but I promise I will! Mom good luck on your test! I will definitely pray for you!!! keep up the good studying! Oh my yes thank you sooo much for the package!! I will send you pics of our cute apartment :)

Unfortunately it won't let me look at your pic of the xmas card! I guess I'll just have to see it when it comes in the mail :) Mom thank you for always taking the time to write me all of the updates from life back home! I love hearing what's going on in everyone's lives :) You all are the best! Love you all soooo much! I pray every morning and every night and every moment in between for all of you! You are all so precious to me.

I love you all!!!!!
Sister Hamstead

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Jesus got baptized!!!

So this week was AMAZING!!!! All of it, but especially this past weekend when Jesus got baptized!!!!!! Holy cow soo amazing! The baptism was amazing and the spirit was so strong! I totally started crying and ya I was just a big baby :) haha Then on Sunday Jesus was confirmed and received the gift of the Holy Ghost. Family, I don't even know what to write because so many amazing and exciting things are happening all the time!! I can barely keep up! I am going to send pics from the baptism. Oh! Something really sweet, so we had never talked to Jesus about serving a mission but then out of nowhere after his baptism - which I seriously can not even stress enough was one of the greatest experiences of my life - he started telling us that he thinks he's going to go on his mission to China... we told him that was really cool and then asked him why. He is so funny, he told us he had been going to Panda Express a lot lately and one of the fortune cookies he got told him he would go to China! haha! Jesus would be the best missionary ever! Then when we had to sneak out of Sacrament meeting yesterday after he got confirmed (had to go to our shift at the VC), he pulled us over for a minute and told us he had a really cool story to tell us. So apparently Jesus was just walking down the street after his baptism and he found a $20.00 bill on the ground. He was soo happy because he really wanted to pay tithing and fast offering, but he is living with his aunt and literally has no income right now. He then told us he was so excited to give what he could to the Lord that he just went ahead and donated the whole thing! That was a huge sacrifice for him, but he did it happily! It wasn't even a question or an issue! He was happy to give everything he had to the Lord. I am learning so much from this kid! That's the coolest thing about being a missionary. You may be teaching people, but really they are teaching you. I am learning so much! I just hope I can hold onto everything I am learning! Life is just so good :) 

So a cool miracle that happened at the Visitors Center this week: So I was on the float position on a really busy night and I was kind of overwhelmed so I just started talking to everyone. I then met this group of about 6 or 7 high school kids that came in. One of their friends that they brought was a nonmember and he was really open and nice, but he wasn't taking anything seriously. I then asked one of the guys to share why he decided to serve a mission (my favorite stories!) and the spirit was so strong! Everybody in the group was silent and I then testified of the importance of missionary work. I asked the kids if they had any missionary experiences with their friends or if they had any friends that they would like for me to call to talk to about the gospel. This was when the friend started to speak up. He shared some of his concerns that he had with our faith and mentioned some inaccurate facts that he had been told from interesting sources. You could tell his friends were becoming uncomfortable, but I was not going to back down until he heard my testimony. I knew that I needed to testify to him of The Book of Mormon. So I did! Oh my gosh it was one of the coolest experiences I have ever had! I helped him to see that his real question truly is whether or not The Book of Mormon is true. If he (we, anybody!) would read The Book of Mormon and ask God to know if it is true I testified that he would get an answer that it is. i told him that none of that other stuff - all rubbish as papa would say - even matters when you know that The Book of Mormon is true because: if you know the book of Mormon is true then you know that Joseph Smith is a prophet called of God. If the Book of Mormon is true then Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of the world. If the Book of Mormon is true then this is Jesus Christ's church fully restored here on the earth today. I then invited him to be baptized. When he came to know that this is true, and he said yes! It was such an incredibly cool experience! The Book of Mormon is such a powerful tool that we do not use enough! I am so grateful that I was raised in a home where we read the scriptures together and where I was taught these simple truths. I love testifying of The Book of Mormon it is probably one of my most favorite things to do :) Anyways, so back to the kid, he filled out a referral card and I am going to be giving him a call in about a week :) Pray for him! I am just so grateful! So, So, sooo grateful! I can't even express how grateful I am to have been raised by good righteous parents that raised me in the gospel. You guys are the best!!!!


Sister Hamstead

Christopher- learn the lessons of Preach my Gospel, go on splits with the missionaries, go to lessons with the missionaries (the presence of a member is really important and you can drive which is a plus- offer your services!) read the Book of Mormon and take the test- read it to know and pray about it. Ask yourself why you are going on a mission- more than because it's what you're supposed to do. You will need to know this when times get tough out in the field- which they do. But if you are working hard and doing your best work because you love the Savior Jesus Christ, then you will be happy :) In my mission we all memorize a quote from Preach my Gospel on pg.121 about work. go read it and apply it! I am sooo excited for you!!!!! Oh my mummsy don't worry - you are going to be so incredibly blessed for having two missionaries :) Just be sure you are taking care of those sweet missionaries serving back home! They need all the help they can get! Find referrals for them and give them service projects. They love that!  love you guys!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

It seriously looks like Disneyland!

Dearest family,

So where to start... life has been amazing and crazy and wonderful. Christmas lights start this week!! I am a bit nervous, but super excited as well :) The nativity room is all set up in our gallery- it's basically a mini festival of the nativity type of thing. The Christmas tree in the front entrance is being decorated as we speak! I love Christmas  There is just such a happy, excited spirit in the visitors center right now and in our area as well. We got our big old box of fliers to give to our ward mission leaders and everyone is just so excited about inviting their friends and neighbors. I wish we had a visitors center in Atlanta  When the Christmas season starts our schedule gets way out of order. We will be out at night till about 10 and then we will wake up after 7. Then after studies, we will literally only have about 2 hours some days in our area and then we go back to the VC. I love the Christmas lights! At night  

Sis. Hamstead with Vicki Thompson
So I had some lovely visitors this week! I can't remember their names, but they were an older couple that had eaten dinner with you guys a few weeks ago and papa teaches their grand daughter in seminary. Does that sound familiar? They were super sweet though and showed me pictures from when they ate with you guys. 

Ah Sister Shurtz and i had to do this big presentation this week for a group of ten (4 nonmembers) plus Elders, called the Armor of God. I was nervous because I had never done it before and Sister Shurtz was nervous because she said her presentation has only turned out good once. Ah! So we prayed. really REALLY hard, and it turned out to be great! It was actually really fun and Sister Shurtz said it was the best presentation she's done. Yay! In the presentation we read the scripture about the Armor of God, had them (father and son) put on the dress up armor of God suits that we had, and then we watched some cool Mormon messages to go along with it. So much fun :) I love my job haha So this week we took Jesus to a baptism! Well actually 2... we got the times wrong for the baptism we were taking him to so the first one he saw the last half and then the second baptism he saw the first half haha it was good though! He wants to be baptized so bad! Gosh he is just so precious! He like oozes innocence haha but his baptismal date still stands for December 1st! 

 Oh also, we contacted one of our referrals this week that came from a member- these are the absolute best, most solid referrals. If you ever feel impressed to invite a friend or refer them to the missionaries do not hesitate! The story of how Heather was referred to us is pretty cool. We went over to the Booth families home and made what is called a family mission plan with them. I will send you guys one. They are great and make missionary work so natural :) So Heather was one of the names they put down on the list and they decided that they were going to ask Heather if her daughter would want to come to primary. So they went and asked. Heather then told them that she has been interested in coming to church for quite a while and was just waiting for an invitation! There are prepared people out there. We just have to find them! So anyways Heather has now been coming to church for 2 weeks and Sister Shurtz and I went and met with her for the first time on Tuesday. She is the sweetest lady ever! We immediately bonded and she is so open to the gospel. She wants to change and she knows the gospel of Jesus Christ will help her to do this. It was so funny because she brought out this big stack of books that she has already read- including the Gospel Principles book, the Brigham Young manual, the Joseph F Smith manual, and she said she was working on the Joseph Smith one! haha so presh! We then of course asked her if she has read the Book of Mormon and she has not... so, we immediately redirected her attention to the most important, most influential and life changing book there is! And we asked her to read it. She is going to get baptized :) It's so funny earlier this week in my personal study I was reading in Jacob 4 and it talks about how the Jews despised the words of plainness and they sought for things they could not understand. That reminded me of the famous tale of Moses and when the people were bit by the serpents. To be saved all they had to do was look at the staff. Even though it was so simple, people wouldn't do it! It's the same with reading the Book of Mormon. Some people think that there has to be some huge grand blinking sign showing them the way, but that's not how God works. The people who get baptized are the ones that follow through on their commitments- they read the Book of Mormon and they pray to God to ask if it is true. So simple, but still some people just will not do it. It makes me really sad! But, maybe they will be prepared in the future. 

Anyways familia - life is great, I love being a missionary, and the work is continuing to move forward. I hope you guys have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Oh thank you thank you for the package!!! It made me soo happy :) I wore one of the new shirts yesterday and we put up all of the decorations :) For Thanksgiving we are going to the Beckstrands (visitors center directors) with another companionship  I am so excited! I will send you pictures of it next week! I haven't gotten my letter from the stake presidency yet, but I will let you know! Till next week!

Love love love,
Sister Hamstead

I was actually just thinkning about Grandpa Gary recently. I knew it had to be coming up soon. I miss him, but I really have felt his presence with me. I feel that I have this opportunity to serve my mission for him as well since he never had the opportunity to do so. It is quite comforting :) There is a less active old man that we meet with every week named jerry and he reminds me quite a bit of Grandpa as well. Also we drive past "Gary Street" a few times a week as well :)

ps every time I read Jacob I just imagine him sounding like papa haha So Jacob has a British accent. I think it's because the way Jacob writes just reminds me of the way papa talks about spiritual things :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

So what do I do at the VC?

I love you all soooo much!! Thank you thank you for being the best family ever. So this week I just kind of wanted to tell you about my life as a Visitors Center Sister Missionary. Oh, also I got to see Sister O'hare this week!!!! Ah it made me so happy! :) And Sister Anderson leaves for the mission home today and then is flying back home tomorrow! It is so weird having one of my trainers leave and I really don't like it. I feel like I'm being abandoned! haha But really I don't like thinking about home as much as I have lately, but it's just hard not to when your companion is going home. But it's all good! :) So we got the call for transfers and....... I am in a trio again!!! Sister Shurtz and I were NOT expecting that! Our new companion is Sister Lewis and she is also from Utah. Sister Shurtz has been companions with her before and she really likes her, so that's good! I have only briefly met her at our weekly prep meetings at the visitors center (we have them every Thursday now since we are preparing for Christmas lights! yay!) Also we are moving again! We are staying in the same complex, but getting a bigger apartment! Sweet! It's a two bedroom two bath so I am quite happy :) The only bad thing is that we are going to lose our beloved couch that our beloved members gave to us :/ Anyways so, my life. It is not what I expected it would be, but it is so awesome!! So as you know everyday we go to the Visitors Center. We either have the 9-3, 3-6, or 6-9 shift. I absolutely love working at the Visitors Center! I get to meet so many amazing people and I literally see miracles there everyday. Amazing. Oh, also in my mission we get to go to the temple once a transfer. We actually got to go last week on Halloween! It was awesome and the Mesa temple is BEAUTIFUL! So, when we are at the Visitors Center we are either assigned to a position like front greet- where we greet people that come into the building, schedule movies, answer the phone, play the Christus narration for people, and if it's not too busy up there then we can go take people on tours. There is a new position we added in since this time of year is pretty busy and we get to just walk around and talk to people. I love it! I absolutely love helping people and using all of the amazing resources at the Visitors Center to help them come closer to Jesus Christ. 

So then we have the back greet which is just like the front, but better. We get to take people through this walk through movie thing called "God's Plan for the Family". That is my favorite thing to show people besides the Christus of course. I get a little choked up every time! When I took the Loveland's through it I was crying but having a familiar face there just made me think of you guys and how grateful I am for my family! That station is my favorite because everyone can relate to it. We have all had tragedies, loved ones die, there is contention in the home, there's never enough time, etc. but what this movie shows is that as imperfect as every family is we can be united and strengthened through the gospel of Jesus Christ. One day I will take you guys through it :) 

So at the back greet we also have the prophets display, the table with The Book of Mormon's in tons of different languages, and a cute little kids display. Oh, also the back wall has displays that talk about the temple. I love being at the back desk because the whole back wall of the Visitors Center is a big window so we can directly see the temple. 

And now that they are putting the Christmas lights up it looks so amazing at night! We also have another spot to work at called media- which is where we call referral cards, chat on, answer calls for the number on the back of pass along cards as well as those who call into It is so cool!!! I love it because when you serve at a visitors center you have the opportunity to teach people all over the world! I am talking to one guy in Idaho right now, another in Maryland, and I just sent missionaries to a family in Georgia! Awesome! If you guys want me to send missionaries to any of your friends just let me know! :) I love serving at the Visitors Center. So on top of all that amazing stuff I also get to serve in my area- which I love as well! 

Ah this week was super amazing with our investigators! I love them! haha and yes I do find their names to be quite ironic as well... but Jesus is getting baptized December 1st! I have never met somebody so prepared in my life! I know that there are prepared people out there who are searching for the gospel and they just can't find it. We have to help these people! God's message is for everyone! He wants all of His children to experience this happiness. I had an interesting thought this week. You know this is the Lord's work and it will go forward with or without me. Also I know that Heavenly Father is fair and will give all of His children the opportunity to receive His message in this life or the next. So then why serve a mission? I am serving a mission because I want to show the Lord that I am willing to do whatever He asks of me. I am serving a mission because I love the Lord with all my heart and my greatest desire is to honor Him and share the happiness I have found with all of His children. I am so grateful that the Lord has provided me with this opportunity to express my love for Him. Understanding this concept really motivated me this week to work harder because I realized why I was doing it. Some people don't want to hear what you have to say and are rude and reject you, but it's ok! I know that God sees my efforts and that is all that matters. Then God blesses us with amazingly prepared people and it is just a wonderful happy cycle. Well family - I miss you all!

Till next week!
Love eternally,
Sister Hamstead xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Miracles always happen on Sundays...

So this week has been awesome!! Especially yesterday. Miracles always happen on Sundays! So since I have a limited amount of time I will just stick to the awesome events from yesterday...all my troubles seemed so far away! (ah that reminds me! I had a majorly bad forgetful moment earlier this week! I couldn't remember the 4th Beatle! George Harrison! Ah!! I was so ashamed. I feel I let my British side down :/ haha) But anyways,on topic... so yesterday the spirit was so incredibly strong. I loved it! I had the awesome opportunity to bear my testimony in the 2 wards we went to. I loved it! Then we had a real miracle. So all of our investigators/less actives that said they would be coming to church yesterday did not come- surprise surprise, well actually one did come. But anyways, so it was up to the YSA ward at this point. So we pull up to the building and guess who is coming out of the car next to us? Jesus, his sister, and his cousin! Yayyyy!! We took up a whole row in sacrament meeting :) All three of us in our companionship bore our testimonies- sister Anderson's last  time as a missionary! Jesus's sister was crying during one of the testimonies and the spirit was just so strong! Go ysa! So then Jesus and his little posse had to go home after sacrament meeting. We felt bad because we made a big deal to the Bishop about being sure he had a gospel doctrine class... oops! But they will be there next week :) So church ends and we then go to the break-the-fast and guess who we run into... our referral from the Bishop!! His name is Mark Divine and ya know what we did next? We had a lesson with him. Right then and there at the break the fast. Then we set up a date for our next appointment with him. Yay new investigator! Oh also so although Jesus and the others didn't stay for class, somebody else awesome showed up. A less active that we had been told to go visit a while ago! He hadn't been to church in a while, but he went yesterday! We got to talk to him and he is great! He said he will try to come again next week. 

So then we had a really cool opportunity to participate in a mission prep class for the stake. There were a bunch of preemi's and then a board of rm's and my companions and myself. It was so cool! I got to answer some of their questions and since I was the most relatable to them at the time they asked me a lot! I loved it. I love talking about missions, and I love being a missionary! So then after that we had our mission presidents fireside which is when recent converts get to share their conversion stories/testimonies and then our mission president and his wife speak. We had invited 3 investigators so we were super pumped. Then we got a text. Mark was no longer coming. Then we got another text, Robert was no longer coming. Ah! We started to get really nervous because we have to have an investigator in order to attend the fireside. So it was all up to Jesus. So we get to the building and go practice our songs. We were singing "For the Beauty of the Earth" with the visitors center sisters choir and then my companions signed us up to sing a trio of "Be Still my Soul". Ahhh! I was really nervous because as you know I do not like to perform. Anyways, so Jesus came!! Yay! and we got to stay :) So fast forward the fireside- our trio was the closing song. so we got up there and.... it sounded sooo good! Holy cow. The first verse we sang in unison, the second in parts, and the third in parts+acapella. It was so still and peaceful. I now understand why people enjoy performing. The spirit is so strong! Jesus was crying! So after the fireside we were talking to Jesus and he said he loved it and that he felt relief and peace. We told him that this was the spirit testifying to him that what he was hearing was true. It was so lovely! Then he told us he has been reading from the Book of Mormon and that he read what we had given him, but he liked it so much that he kept reading! Of course we were thrilled and guess what he said his favorite verse was? 2 Nephi 4:19. That's my absolute favorite! I am just so happy :) I love seeing how the gospel blesses lives :) Well family I love you all!

Some random news:
- I ate with a family this week and the husband was literally the twin of Sheldon from the Big Bang theory. He's even from Texas!
- Tell the YSA thank you for the halloween cards! so nice! :)
- I met a Brother who grew up with Brother Menden. His last name is Porter and his nickname growing up was potpot? Haha tell brother menden he says hello!

I love you all soo much! Thanks for being the best family ever!
Love eternally,
Sister Hamstead

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Where do we draw the line?

A True Super-Hero!
So this week has been... I can't think of one word to describe it! It was hard, it was tiring, it was exciting, it was motivating. I guess in all I feel like I learned a lot this week about what I want out of life, but more importantly about how to get there. Gosh you guys are just so important to me! I want to always be near you all. I am grateful, so incredibly grateful to know that we will be together for eternity. So some interesting things happened this week. The strangest of them all is that I met a relative. A somewhat distant relative, but none the less we are related. And guess how we met?. On the phone! So his name is Gaylin Coates and Lloyd was his uncle!! So I guess he is papa's cousin? You guys should look him up! So anyways we met when he called into the visitors center wanting to reserve a theater for the ysa in his ward- he is the bishop of a ysa ward over inTempe. So anyways yeah I happened to be the one who answered the phone and he recognized the name Hamstead haha he said no one can ever forget that name ;) True though it made me happy. Anyways so then his HUGE group came in Monday night and I got to meet him and his wife! He also then asked if I would start their meeting for them and it was just really cool! When you start a movie for a group you first go in and introduce the movie, give out the referral cards, and invite them to pray about a name of a friend or family member that could use this message in their lives. Then when the movie is over you go back and close the movie with your testimony and collect referrals. Three referrals were given by the group! What a miracle! I have such a testimony of member referrals. It has been such a blessing and opportunity to be able to call the friends and family members of these people who come into the visitors center. I have seen so many miracles as I have been able to call these people and talk to them about the gospel :) Also this week we were given another miracle and his name is Jesus :) haha he is the absolute sweetest and he literally fell into our laps! What a blessing. He is looking for peace and because his heart is open he feels that what we are teaching him is true. I love this! He is a blessing in my life- along with all the other people I have met. I just know that God prepares His children. Anyways another experience from this week- a kind of sad and not so pleasant one. We are meeting with this sweet old man named Jerry- not the Jerry from Mesa that was mentioned in conference haha anyways he wants to become active in the church again and is trying hard to change his life. The other day we felt impressed to talk to him about the word of wisdom. When we brought it up he said he is not willing to quit drinking coffee. We talked about this for a while. In fact it was a REALLY long while because Jerry likes to talk a lot! haha but we just left him with the commitment to pray about it and to ask God if this is what He wants him to do. Jerry says he doesn't want to go to the temple because he knows he's not worthy of it right now, but none the less he is not willing to change. So sad!! It made me think about that story in the bible where the rich guy wants to follow Jesus and so he asks Jesus what he should do. Jesus then tells him to get rid of his riches and follow Him (sorry for the very rough- kelsey speaks to modern times translation haha) but really though, what are we willing to give up? Where have we drawn the line? Are we going to say to Heavenly Father I love you, but not that much? Is a cup of coffee all it takes to keep us from allowing ourselves to experience eternal happiness? I sure hope not! Lets erase that line and get rid of any breaking point. Let's all be willing to give it all! One thing sister Anderson says that I really love is, "The best decision you can ever make is to give something up that you love to the God you love more." AMEN! It is so sad sometimes for me to be away from you guys because I love you all soo much, but I love God more. I know that He will give us blessings - He has promised us eternal life together as families! I trust His word and I know we will be together forever :) 

Oh you guys all need to go make profiles! That is your homework :) I was a slacker and didn't make one before my mission, but I am working on it now. I am giving a talk in district meeting on Tuesday on our purpose as missionaries and how we can stay focused. Yay! So last night my companions and I went to a YSA halloween dance with our little less active friend. Her name is Lu, she's Russian, and super sweet! But it was sooooo weird being there! Ah! I majorly had to restrain myself from singing and dancing, but I did it :)
Anyways I love you all sooo much!!!!!

Love, Kelsey
Sister Hamstead

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Choosing to be Happy! : )

So I am going to type a little message/lesson I learned this week. It is so simple and I feel like Heavenly Father has taught me this lesson about a million plus times, but it really sunk in this time. So I was studying in 1 Nephi, I can't remember the exact chapter. I will look it up...ok it is 1 Nepi 17:21 and really it starts a few verses before that, but what is happening is Laman and Lemuel are going on with their usual rant of complaints and what not- all woe is me, ya know. So anyways they then go on in verse 21 and they said something that really did not sit well with me. They said "we might have been happy". That just made me so sad. Laman and Lemuel didn't get it. They are missing the point and purpose of everything. Sometimes in my life I know that I have been like Laman and Lemuel and have said maybe if I was like this then I would be happy, or maybe if I looked like that, or even on the mission maybe if I had more baptisms, or if I was teaching more prepared people- then I would be happy. This is sooo wrong! Happiness is a choice and we can not let any outside influence or idea advise us otherwise. President Uchtdorf gave my favorite talk this last general conference (as always) and there were a few things he said that really stuck out to me:
  1. Decide to be happy, no matter your circumstances.
  2. Many regrets of tomorrow can be resolved by following the Savior today. You cannot change the past, but you can direct your future.
  3. The path towards fulfilling who you are is not accomplished in one day- do not wait until the day you die to learn how to live.
Please lets all learn from Laman and Lemuel's sad mistakes and follow the guidance of President Uchtdorf and choose to be happy no matter what. I have noticed an extremely huge difference in my attitude towards people, life, learning, this gospel, everything since being on my mission and I know this is because I have chosen to be happy. 

Another thing I learned this week- in fact just yesterday was the importance of being dedicated and devoted. I heard a really sad story yesterday when I was talking to a man in one of my wards whose son is on a mission. He said that his son is having to deal with a few disobedient missionaries right now. His son was talking to one elder in particular who has been struggling a lot with obedience and has basically lost all desire to be obedient. The disobedient elder made a comment to this man's son and said, "Wake up Elder. Get a life, nobody is watching. You don't have to follow all the rules." Again another case in which this elder just did not get it. The first thing I thought of was wow I feel so sad for his family. They want their son/brother/grandson/uncle/whatever to be the type of missionary that they talk about in the scriptures - motivated by their faith and dedicated to the Lord. I then also thought that if you look at the rest of your life with this type of attitude nobody really is ever watching. You can make the decisions you want, but you will still have to suffer the consequences no matter if somebody is watching or not. Who would have thought I would be learning so many life lessons out here on the mission! I love it! I love life! I love you all so much and I do miss you all, but I am so grateful to be here. I know that God has a plan for all of us and I know that this is His plan for me. Life is oh so good :) 

I love you all!!!
Sister Hamstead
Hmmm...Naughty or Nice Halloween Costumes. So glad Kelsey  chose NICE! : )

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

So many miracles...

Wow this week has been awesome!!! Yes I saw Ashley! She surprised me and I was sooo happy!! I love seeing familiar faces :) Also I saw Sister Shwartz at our Visitors Center Training meeting on Friday. Yayy Georgia people!  I love you all sooo much! So to answer your questions:

My Companions are awesome! It's crazy because we are all like on different ends of the spectrum. Sister Anderson leaves at the end of this transfer, Sister Shirtz just hit her year mark, and then there's me - super duper fresh little greeny haha but I love it!  I am learning so much, and I do admit that sometimes I do feel like I am just treading water and barely keeping my head above the surface, but it's all good :) I honestly haven't felt stressed or anything negative like that. It's an adventure and I have loved every minute of it! I am also learning from my companions what type of missionary I want to be. It really is all about attitude and how much you are willing to put in. I think it has been an easier transition for me because I came out here wanting to change. I want to leave behind the old me and just become a better person. I love serving a mission! I have learned so many lessons that I will be able to apply for the rest of my life. So funny thing about one of my companions... she sleep talks. literally full on conversations at like 2 am. One night she jumped out of bed around 12:30, turned on the light and then yelled good morning! I wanted to kill her haha then she apologized and went back to bed. Another night she thought it was time to wake up so she began to kneel down by the side of the bed (she sleeps on the top bunk and I am on the lower bunk). Needless to say there was a huge crashing sound and my companion had landed on her knees on the floor! Luckily she wasn't hurt, but Sister Anderson and I were freaking out haha It was soo funny! 

Visitors Center: I love the visitors center. LOVE. I was called to this mission because of the Visitors Center. I have seen so many miracles there! The spirit is so amazing there and I am just totally comfortable walking up to people and talking to them. It's weird, but I like it. I have met so many amazing people and learned so much from all who come in. 

Sundays: This is probably the craziest day of the week. 5 wards people. 5! Yesterday we only went to 2 of the wards since we still have a visitors center shift on Sundays. We went to one ward council at 7:30 then we had church at 8:30. The less active member we have been meeting with came! I love her! Her name is Virginia and she's had a rough life do to some past choices she made, but she is trying to make things right. We started meeting with her friend Lucy and had invited her to church as well. We were bummed when Lucy didn't come to church. But anyways, after that ward we had ysa ward council and a meeting with the ysa mission leader. I love ysa!! Seriously so much fun! Then we went back to our apartment for a little break and then went to the ysa ward. So great! I felt like I was back in Georgia! I just kept imagining all of our singles ward people there and it made me miss Eugenie! I am so glad that we got to go to singles ward together for a little while :) SO THEN, Sunday started getting kind of interesting. We were fasting with one of our less actives and we got a text from him saying he forgot to fast. ah! How can people expect to change/see progress if they don't put in the work? So that kind of stunk. Then we called Robert- our baptism this saturday and just felt like we needed to go to his house and talk with his parents before we went to our dinner appointment. So we are talking to his parents and it turns out that they are not as supportive about Robert taking the lessons as we thought they were. They don't want him to get baptized. nooo!! So sad. This boy has one of the strongest testimonies for a 16 year old boy. He just finished reading the Book of Mormon and he just wants to get baptized so badly! Last time we met with him he said he wants to serve a mission! I was seriously discouraged. Kinda devastated really. So we leave and go to our dinner appointment at this less active Tongan family. They were awesome! It was kinda awkward though because the family wasn't eating... they just sat around and watched us eat...Don't ever do that! haha So anyways we are all talking and we have our nice little spiritual thought and then the dad tells us this story about his neighbor. He said that he looks out his window every Sunday morning and sees his neighbor already dressed for church and knocking on the other neighbors doors. One day he asked his neighbor what he was doing and the neighbor told him that he was simply inviting people to come to church with him. He told him he does it every week because it his responsibility to invite. It doesn't matter if they say yes or no, what matters is that he extends the invitation. For some reason that story really touched my heart and I was just filled with so much peace! My job is to invite. People have their agency so they can do what they want with it. I know that God sees our efforts and he knows the intents of our hearts. As long as I am striving to do my very best I know that I will be a successful missionary in the eyes of God. So I put the Robert, Gregg, and Lucy problems behind me and went to my shift at the Visitors Center just full of hope and excitement. I saw miracles at the visitors center. It all started with a little girl named Claire. She came in yesterday with her dad, so I talked to them and got to know them a little bit and then played the Christis for them. Claire is a severely disabled girl with the biggest heart and sweetest smile. She is adopted from Korea and has had to deal with a lot of hard things in her short life. Well anyways we talk some more and they decide they want to watch a movie. Because I have not seen like any of the movies we have at the VC I was allowed to sit in and watch it with them. Afterwards Claire was a little upset because there were some violent scenes in the movie and death and she just didn't like it. Her dad then told me that Claire is very sensitive. He told me about an experience they had the last time they went to the easter pageant. During the scene where the guards were beating Jesus Christ Claire was balling. She then told her dad at the end of the play that she wanted to go talk to one of the soldiers. She then told the soldier, "I don't want you to hurt my friends". As her dad told me this story he began to cry. I can't even believe I am so blessed to have all of these amazing people come into my life. Claire loves people the way that Jesus loves them. I want to learn that lesson from her. I was so touched that this sweet little girl who has had anything but a fair life has so much love and compassion for other people. She feels what they feel. I was just blown away. So this all happened while I was at what we call "front greet"- front desk/greeting area. Then I was moved over to back greet. So right next to back greet is this thing called God's plan for the family. These 3 teenagers came in about 3o minutes into my shift and asked if I could take them through it. I was the only one at the desk so I had to go find someone to fill my spot and as I was walking by them I heard the guy talking. He said that he felt like a sinner being there and that he didn't belong. He had tattoos, smelt strongly of cigarette smoke, and for some reason kind of reminded me of baby Adam Coffey! hahaha i think it's cus they are the same age or something. Anyways, so I find someone and I begin the tour. I tried to focus the whole presentation on the fact that God loves us all no matter what. He wants everyone to experience happiness in this life. So anyways we get to the end of the movie thing and I am just praying that Heavenly Father will help me to know what to say. I honestly don't remember what I said, but I know that I bore my testimony about... everything? I know they were not my words, that is for sure. I do know that I talked about the Book of Mormon and showed a picture of you guys :) We all have these nifty covers on the Book of Mormons that we received from the VC- mine has Sister Hamstead engraved on it:)- anyways everybody puts a pic of their family in the back. So ya, you guys are always with me at the visitors center. yay! So we finish and I invite them to take some pass along cards, etc with them on the way out. We are then all talking and having a great gospel discussion when I all of the sudden get the impression to ask Logan if he wants to meet with missionaries. So I asked him just like that. And he said yes! YYYAAAYYY!!! Unfortunately he is not in my area, but I got his info and sent a message to the missionaries in his area. soo cool!! Oh! also we met with this girl Tracy earlier this week and I invited her to get baptized! She said yes! Unfortunately she is not in our area either! dangit! Oh well. Anyways this week has been amazing. I am learning so much! I cannot even begin to describe to you how much I love being a missionary. I just love it. 

Wooowwwww so much is happening over there! Eugenie!!!!!!!!! Write me. Abby I am sending you a letter today! This is your ultimatum. write me back! I love you all soo muchhh!!!! I am so lucky to have you all as my family! 
Talk to you next week!! 
Sister Hamstead

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hello from Mesa!!!

Kelsey with Pres. and Sister Ellsworth.
Can I just tell you guys that I LOVE it here!!!!!! Mom you seriously have absolutely NOTHING to worry about. I am sooo taken care of! The members are awesome like super stellar and love to help out the missionaries. We have one ward member who takes my district out to lunch every Friday! So sweet! Also we are fed by ward members every single night. Even when we have a shift at the visitors center at dinner time, ward members bring our dinner to us there! I am in heaven. Seriously I can't even begin to describe to you how incredibly blessed I am. Also we live in a beautiful apartment complex. It is basically brand new and super nice! We have a car!!! Alleluia!! The visitors center is my home away from home. I get to go there 7 days a week. I am sooo lucky!! Although I am sad I can't go to the temple every week anymore (but I do get to go once a transfer- so that's a blessing!), the visitors center is on temple grounds and is dedicated so the spirit is just as strong. I love being there. I could stay there all day if I could. I have already seen miracles. My favorite thing about serving in a visitors center is that the people come to you with their questions and then you have all the resources you could possibly need to help them come closer to the Savior Jesus Christ. One of my favorite experiences I had so far happened about 3 days ago. A girl named Taylor (17) and her friend Jorge (15) came into the visitors center. They immediately went and sat by the Christus and you could tell they were loving the spirit there. So my comp (one of them... I have 2! I'll come back to this later though) and I went over to talk to them and by the time we were all done they decided that they wanted to meet with missionaries! The spirit in the Visitors Center touches people's hearts and inspires them to change. Another cool part of working at the visitors center is that we have the call/chat center. So since they are both under 18 I have to contact Taylor's dad to be sure he's on board. Jorge was actually an inactive member, but anyways yeah so miracles happen! So much has happened I really don't even know where to start!

Anyways, so yes I am in a trio. Also we are over 5- yes 5 wards!! One of the wards is a ysa ward though, so i'm super pumped for that! I love it. I love being here! I know this is where I am supposed to be.
Oh my companions names are Sister Anderson and Sister Shurtz. They are amazing and they keep on telling me that I came pretrained. It's because of all of your prayers, I just know it.

Oh my gosh general conference. As you can imagine now being a missionary that general conference was incredibly amazing!! yyyaaayyyy!!!!! I am sooooo glad they changed the ages!! I totally would have gone when I was 19, but I am grateful for the experiences I was able to have before my mission. I know that going to college, transferring schools, working, etc all these things helped prepare me for my mission. I have to tell you though when I heard them lower the age for elders my mind immediately went to Christopher. I personally feel like this is the right time for him. Mom think of all the blessings of having 2 missionaries out at the same time!!!! so cool!!! :D It just makes me soo excited!! Christopher you can do this! This is your time little bro. Go start preparing! I wish that I had gone on more splits with the missionaries before I left and had studied preach my gospel more. you can do this! :) Yayyy we can both be out at the same time! I can't even begin to describe to you how happy this makes me. But of course, it is your choice and you should really think about it and pray about it to know what is right for you. 

Anyways, my companions. They are amazing! I actually love being in a trio for this first transfer. I feel like I am learning so much having 2 different opinions/experiences and personalities. We have so much fun! Oh my gosh I have to tell you about this sweet kid named Robert. He is 16 and had been going to church/dances/hanging out with his member friend Shaun. Members of the church make a difference. In fact they make a huge difference and we as a family need to step it up. There are so many people out there who are ready, but we just assume that they won't want it or need it. This is so wrong! Who are we to judge? We need to help out the missionaries. Invite your friends. Just do it! Allow them to experience the love of God in their lives. They are missing out on the greatest source of happiness and we as members need to stop being selfish and share what we know! Seriously I just wish I could go back in time to high school and beyond and had just been brave enough to open my mouth. That is all it takes. But anyways back to Robert, he is incredible. He was in sacrament meeting one time and he said that he just started crying because he felt the spirit so strong and he knew that he wanted to be baptized. Every time we teach him I feel like he is teaching me. That boy's level of faith is amazing. He is getting baptized in 2 weeks! :) Miracles happen and people are prepared. 

I love you all soooooo much!!!! Thank you for being the very best and amazingly wonderful family ever! I will send pictures next week. Thank you for praying for me. Your prayers are giving me the strength to do thing I never knew I could do before and say things I didn't think I could say. So I thank you.

Love you all!!!

Sister Hamstead