Thursday, January 17, 2013

Baby Steps and Chuggin' Along

Hello Family!

So my area is actually called Las Sendas. It is so cool! It sounds like you all are having an amazing time! I am so happy that there is so much good stuff going on! 

Ok. I'll do it. (Sis. Richardson asked for my thoughts on Personal Progress). Where to even start... really it is funny that I was asked to do this because I remember talking to you (Mom) and Sam about it the day I went into the MTC. Looking back I was able to see what it had done for me.  Not just in YW's, but now as a missionary, and as an endowed member of the church. As missionaries we always set goals for our investigators and give them commitments in which they are expected to prayerfully follow through on. We do this so that the investigators have the opportunity to experience the atonement of Jesus Christ- to give them the charge to act and change. That is what Personal Progress did for me, it offered me opportunities to apply the atonement of Jesus Christ in my life by developing new talents and abilities, and ultimately by becoming the person my Father in Heaven has designed for me to be. Personal Progress has helped me to see my true potential as a daughter of God. I can change. There is nothing better, more comforting, or more hopeful than understanding this principle. That is what gives me peace. I have learned to trust in my Savior. In all things I know that as I do my best, He WILL make up the rest. Sometimes Personal Progress seemed annoying and trivial. I often thought to myself- why do I have to do this program? Why am I being forced to read this, or make that, or go to this or that service project... but just like inviting our investigators to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it- something that seems so trivial and that often gets pushed aside because of our busy lives- that is where our faith will grow. I was reading in Alma 32 today and Alma was teaching the people about faith, and what it all comes down to is just having a desire. Just taking that one first step into the dark and saying ok I'm going to do this. Or ok I'm going to finish Personal Progress, then committing to it, nourishing it through your works, and then reaping the benefits in the end. One thing I love about our Father in Heaven is that He demands that we progress. He demands that change- BUT He has provided the way through His son Jesus Christ. I came to truly know this on my mission, but I can look back and see instances in my life where I felt that desire for more- to know more, to feel more, and just to be more. Through exercising my faith and pushing myself beyond my limits my Father in Heaven has given me amazing experiences and opportunities. I look back on my younger years back home and I feel peace. I am happy with the life and grateful for all the experiences both good and bad, because they helped me to grow. But we don't get to this point in life in just one moment- baby steps. That is what Personal Progress taught me to do. I am so grateful for that inspired program that we have been given in these latter days to help us not be distracted by the flashy temptations of the world. Our faith can be strong enough, and by praying without ceasing to our loving Father in Heaven and reading His inspired words found in the scriptures we can be reassured that we are on the right course. I am so grateful for Personal Progress and for the lessons it taught me at a young age. These are eternal principles.... 

Well anyways, this week has been absolutely amazing. Heavenly Father answers prayers- that is all I can say. In Alma 32 it talks about exercising your faith, being patient, and diligent and then you will receive the reward of your labor. Well it is no secret that this area has been a bit trying. There have been days where Sister Wong and I literally have nobody to teach so we will just be driving around for hours trying to visit less actives that typically aren't home or who are busy and can't talk right now. But, we don't give up or get discouraged- we just keep chuggin along trying to talk to everyone we see and praying for those prepared people which we know are here in our area. So anyways Sunday finally rolls around and let me just say that Sunday truly is a sacred day. There is a different spirit on Sunday's and miracles ALWAYS happen on that day. So anyways we go to our ward councils, correlations, and meetings- Oh! also we taught mission prep that morning and it was absolutely amazing! The spirit was so strong and I just love seeing how this next younger generation of missionaries are even stronger! They are so prepared and so willing- it is truly humbling! I just keep imaging seeing little Christopher in the class :) awwww future missionary! You are going to be awesome! Anyways, in one of ward  councils this one man was super rude to us! He was calling me and Sister Wong out for not having taught his friend who isn't even in our area and just a bunch of other ridiculous drama that had nothing to do with us! It was getting pretty bad that Bishop had to eventually step in. Oh my gosh I was so mad at this man! Who did he think he is!? He wanted us to drop everything we had planned for that day and cancel all of our commitments to do what he wanted us to do. We left that ward counsel fuming. haha but anyways, so later that night we were considering whether or not we should go see that mean man and try to fix whatever his problem was... We really did NOT want to go. Also we felt kind of sick too and just all in all it seemed like we had every reason not to go. We even called him and left a message, but he didn't answer. Really we shouldn't have gone, but we did. We swallowed our pride and were determined to show this man that we are hard working and dedicated missionaries. So we get to his house- we are feeling pretty nervous at this point- his wife answers the door, we go in, and... it was great! We met their Jewish friend named Michael who had just moved in with them and who had attended church that day. Holy cow Michael is soooooo wanting the gospel in his life. I can't even believe how incredible prepared he is! He told us that he wants to be baptized on his birthday! We talked for an hour about the amazing spiritual experiences he has had leading up to this point and he knows that God has been directing him. What a blessing. I am so grateful for the opportunity to teach people about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ so that they can find the peace they are looking for. Also another cool experience, we are teaching the 9 year old son of one of our sweet recent converts. It is so fun teaching kids! We are going to be teaching another 9 year old as well. Her mom is returning to activity and wants her daughter to be baptized. I just love how God fulfills His promises. Go forth with faith, be patient and diligent and you WILL see blessings! Every minute of every day I am praying for this area. I believe in a God of miracles and I love being involved in a work where I see miracles every single day.

I love you all soooo much! Keep being the wonderful amazing people you are! Be missionaries and set examples just by being you! Love everyone, invite everyone, and share what you have with everyone. I need more updates about Eugenies wedding!! and my comp has been out a year she is 22. 

Sister Hamstead