Tuesday, January 1, 2013

If you want to change something . . . go back to the Doctrine.

Hello family!!!

Times Square, NY  New Years 2012
It feels strange emailing you all again so soon... Tonight is the last night of Christmas Lights!! I can't believe the Christmas season is already over! Can you even believe it is the start of a new year again?! I keep thinking back to where I was at this time last year. Such amazing happy memories! It is so cool to think that we were all standing together huddled in a giant crowd in Times Square! What an amazing way to have started off this amazing year! 

This truly has been one of the most blessed years of my life. So many changes and adventures and I have loved every second of it! Life is just so exciting! Well Sister Marand and I are rounding up our last 2 days together. Even though we were only companions for just about 2 weeks we really became good friends and I am going to miss her when she goes back to Temple Square! It's OK though, because now I have an excuse to go over to France and visit her after my mission ;) So I can't lie I am pretty intimidated by the huge challenge that lies before me with this new area. It is wwaayyy bigger than my last area- even though there is one less ward... and there truly is a lot of work to be done. This area has a reputation of being very hard and not getting many baptisms- sometimes not even any! But, I will do my best to turn that around and help this area become the very best it can be! I know there is potential and I know there are prepared people out there. I just have to go back to square one. It reminds me a lot of the allegory in Jacob..."go to go and labor diligently" - and I will! Having more responsibility really has caused me to rely a whole lot more on the Lord - more than I ever have before. I am so new and I honestly have no idea what I am doing, so I will trust Him and I know He will show me the way. Ah! It almost feels like I'm about to jump off the high dive at the swimming pool. You just have to close your eyes and jump! Anyways, so full field. We did our planning for this next week and it literally took forever!! We have so many more spaces to fill now that we have 4-6 more hours open each day. Crazy! But I know that it all depends on my attitude and if I choose to work hard and love it then I know it will be amazing no matter what :) 

So cool that you guys had all missionary talks on Sunday! I actually spoke in Sacrament meeting with Sister Marand and a returned senior couple yesterday as well! Yesterday was just amazing. Literally all 3 Sacrament meetings that we went to were about missionary work and it made us soooo happy!! The members hearts are changing and I love it! The spirit is just so strong when people talk about missionary work and that is because that is the life line of the gospel of Jesus Christ! I talked about the doctrine of Jesus Christ- mostly focusing on the quote by Elder Packer, "True doctrine understood changes attitudes and behaviors.". I know this is true. If you want to change something about yourself, if you want to strengthen your testimony, if you want stronger faith- whatever it may be go back to the doctrine. Jesus Christ and His teachings are what change us. That is one thing I have truly gained a testimony of this Christmas season. I have been blessed with so many opportunities to testify about Jesus Christ at the Visitors Center as well as in my area and I am so grateful for that. I feel like I have come to know my Savior in a way that I have never been able to before. I feel like I have invited Him into my life and that He truly is helping me. There is just absolutely no other way I would be able to do this work! I want to tell you guys a story about a sweet guy from my old YSA ward. I just want to help him! But anyways, so he has had a really hard life and has struggled a lot with depression. I know the teachings of Jesus Christ can help him, but I can't make him want it. This guy really struggles with taking out his depression on himself. He hurts himself and it just makes me so sad. He came into the visitors center the other night while I was doing the Christus presentation and I talked to him for a few minutes. I could tell he was having a bad day and he seemed really weighed down by all of his troubles. While we play the presentation we go over to the side and I like to look at everyone's expressions as they listen to the words of their Savior from the scriptures. When I looked at this boy I just wanted to cry. I felt the way His Father in Heaven feels about Him. I saw Him as a true son of God that is so lost and caught up in the hard things of life. When the presentation was over I just felt impressed to testify that nobody knows us better than our Savior Jesus Christ. He knows our pains and our sufferings. He knows what we need and knows how to help us. I am so grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ. I can't say enough about His goodness nor express how truly grateful I am for Him. I love being a missionary and being able to testify to others that there is hope in this crazy world. We can experience happiness and we can change! Anyways back to the story, so the boy gets up to leave after the presentation and I could see that he was crying. I know he felt the love of His Savior. He told me thank you and said he wants to meet with the sisters. Yayyy! No matter how far off the path we may be, we can ALWAYS come back. That is the gospel of Jesus Christ. It doesn't matter where you are, it just matters where you are going. That's something I have been thinking about a lot lately, especially with this new year. I want to be better. I want to be a more consecrated missionary and I want to change. I want to set a pattern for the rest of my life. I hope that as this new year approaches that all of you will take this opportunity to apply the atonement of Jesus Christ to your life and change! I am so grateful that I have a loving Savior that performed the atonement for me- even if I was the only person here on this earth, He still would have come and died for me. How humbling is that. I want to show my Savior that I love Him and appreciate Him by trying to change, by trying to become a better person. I just love my Savior Jesus Christ :) 

So what are all of your guys new years resolutions??

So last night my old roommate from BYUI came in and visited me! Tiffany Galovich!!! It made me sooo happy!! Also Julianna Benham (can't remember her new last name) came in and said hi to me too!! It was soo sweet!! 

Tell the McGurrins I love them and that I say hi! They are soo sweet and I am so happy to hear that they are doing well!!

Thanks for all the updates! Good luck this week in Macon mom! Love you all!

Sister Hamstead