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 mormon.org, answer calls for the number on the back of pass along cards as well as those who call into mormon.org. 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