Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Secret Passage and the Courage to Continue

Hello everyone!
Sister Wong and the scarry Passage!
I seriously just can't even believe that I am back here writing an email to you all AGAIN. I feel like I was just here! Time is flying and it is kind of scary... speaking of scary- did I ever tell you guys there is a secret passage in the basement apartment I live in??? You have to lift a book and then the whole shelf moves backward. Inside is this big room with safes, food storage (mormons haha), and swords on the walls. Then there's this spiral staircase that leads up to what seems to be a wall, but if you twist this little lever thing it moves forward and boom you're in the kitchen, and the wall is actually a cupboard/spice rack! crazyy! Sister Wong and I explored it and took pictures so you can see :) This week has been awesome!! We had soo many miracles!! Also I got "creepy uncle" Rich's note haha his words not mine! But I missed him at the vc because I was out in my area. 

Monday night was such a funny/weird night! Oh my goodness! So this super sweet older couple named the Cody's (husband is less active and the wife is not a member) told us we could come have dinner with them and then have a lesson as well. We were super excited! Well we get there and it turns out they actually want to take us out to dinner! It was soo fun and they are now my adopted grandparents :) It is really cool too because when we told our ward mission leader about it he said that they had requested that the missionaries not go by anymore and that they wouldn't let the missionaries in their home. They were sooo sweet I just couldn't even believe it! It just goes to show that there are specific people that are put into your life for a reason. There is so much we can learn from the people around us. I am so grateful for the time I have had and for all the time that lies before me still! I have so much hope for the future  :) 

Anyways, we got to have interviews with President this week so it was really great getting to talk with him and get his advice on things. The spirit was just so strong that whole day- earlier that morning Sister Ellsworth came and talked to us and she told us a story about an elder in our mission that just broke my heart. The elder has been out for a little while and just before the holidays President called him into his office and told him that his dad has been fighting some disease and that he was going to die in the near future. He told the elder to think about the options and what he wanted to do. Well he decided to stay and on Christmas he skyped with his family and saw his dad for the last time in this life. Not too many days later his dad passed away. This trial was hard enough on the poor elder, but then he was called into Presidents office another time. His mom had just been diagnosed with the same thing his father passed from and it was more than likely that by the time this elder had finished his mission he would have lost both of his parents. Well there isn't really a happy ending or miracle recovery in this story, but what touched my heart was the faith and dedication of this elder. It made me think, am I that strong? Sister Ellsworth then brought up the scripture found in Luke 22... " Not my will but Thine be done..". Sometimes we want our rest now, we want to the Lord to say "ok you've done enough, and now you can take a break". Sometimes the Lord says no. That is when we need to pray for strength and have the faith that God will take care of us and help us through the trial- just as He sent Jesus a comforting angel. We need to pray continually for courage and strength. We need to show our faith through our positive acts and carry on knowing that one day- maybe not in this life time, but one day soon we will receive our rest. We then talked about conversion and what that really is. The Bible Dictionary defines it as the conscious acceptance to the will of God. Do I do that? I know that there are so many ways that I can and should be improving every day and that is why I am so grateful for the atonement of my Savior because I know that I can change! Everyone can change. True conversion comes after many tests and trials- we just have to decide that we will overcome them. And we can- maybe I'm not strong enough on my own, but I trust the words of the Savior and I know that He will pull through for me and give me the strength I need.

So anyways back to my interview with President, he asked me what the goal of my mission was... I'm running out of time so I will just copy and paste what I wrote to him:

Dear President,
I am so grateful that I was able to talk with you this past week and discuss the area Sister Wong and I are serving in. Thank you for your advice and words of encouragement. I have to tell you though, when you asked me what my goal was for my mission, I really thought about that a lot after we talked. What is my goal? Why am I our here? It was a good thing to really analyze and remember. The reason why I am here on this mission is because I love my Savior and I want to do all in my power to make this 18 months of my life a worthy offering for Him. That is my goal, and I know that as I do this, that then understanding of the atonement will come. Increased motivation to do good and work hard will all come as I remember who I am truly doing this for. It's not for me, it's all for the Lord. The area has been great this week! We attended ward councils and got lots of new ideas to help the missionary work continue forward.

Thanks for all you do President!
Till next week,
Sister Hamstead

I love you all soooo much! You are so very important to me! More important than everything else I have left behind. You are all my motivation- and the Savior of course. Thank you for loving me and for supporting me. I miss you all so much, but I am comforted that I will all see you again. Thank you for being a blessing to me in my life. AND thanks for writing me everyone! You all are amazing! Please send me tons of details about Eugenie's wedding! You have to send me a dress to take a picture in so that you can get one of those giant stand up picture things of me :) I will be at that wedding!

Love you guys!!!!
Sister Hamstead