Wednesday, May 22, 2013

So many miracles and cool experiences to write about this week... where to even start?!

Well I guess I will start off by telling you about my Proselyting area. We are going through quite a transitional period at the moment. We are having some struggles finding people who are truly desirous to learn about the gospel, but it's ok! We are doing our best to kind of start over and weed out all of the people. We are working a ton with members- which I love! We have such awesome members here in Mesa that just want to help and they take such great care of us. I love them! On Tuesday we went on exchanges which is new! In the past sisters haven't gone on exchanges just because it has been tricky to arrange with the VC schedules. But, President decided we would try it again and it was super awesome! Sister Noble came to my area and Sister Avila went to her companions area. It was so fun seeing other sisters styles/approaches. It was also cool having a full field day. Our area really needs some TLC so it was good. So I do want to write about one person from the area- Trisha. She is just the sweetest most precious lady ever! She wants to change her
life so bad and she knows this is what she needs to help her. Her circumstances are super humble and she really doesn't have much, but she told us that she has her family and that is enough. The rest of the stuff can't go with them, so she said that none of it matters to her. I love that. I think being on a mission has better helped me to appreciate more all of the things I have been given. We are so blessed! I am so grateful for my faith and for you all- my family! My mission has helped me to see the things that truly matter to me. I know what I want out of this life and I don't want to allow any types of distractions to keep me back from reaching my full potential. I hope all of you feel the same way :) Life is just soo good! I am just so blessed and so happy with where I am at in my life. I know this peace has come through truly living the gospel and following the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Anyways, so my other area - VC/Online.
Soooo many cool experiences! So I will first tell you the miracle of Michael. So in my last
Lunch at Rachel T.'s House
area a lady from my ward gave me a referral for her friend (maybe brother in law, or cousins husband? Can't exactly remember..) over in Washington. I told her that I could enter his info at the VC and send the missionaries to him. She told me his story:
So his wife is a member of the church and he is not. She hasn't really been all that active throughout her life. Well they have a daughter who just turned 8 & the member in my ward mentioned to her cousin (?) that they should have a combined baptism for their kids- she also has a child who is turning 8. Well that got the wife thinking. The member then just mentioned that it would be cool if Michael also got baptized so that he could do the baptizing himself. That's when this lady then actually started to think about what that would mean to her and her family if her husband were to get baptized. She told the member that she wants the missionaries to come and meet with them. So this is where I come in. I entered the referral in my online area book and sent his info to the missionaries. Whenever we send people the missionaries we are to follow up with them, encourage/fellowship, and also teach them. I was having troubles getting in touch with Michael but FINALLY got a hold of him. Turns out the missionaries had gone over and taught him a few times and he said he was liking what he was learning.
I asked him if he believed the Book of Mormon was true and he told me he still wasn't sure. I bore my testimony to him that the Book of Mormon is true and I invited him to read it and to pray about it as well. He said that he would and ya that was the end of our conversation. Well things have been crazy busy and it had been a while since I had gotten a chance to call Michael again. But I had a feeling that I really needed to get a hold of him and see how things were going. I called the member that referred him and once she answered she asked, "Have you heard from Michael?" I told her no and she told me that he is getting baptized next Saturday, May 25th!!! She told me they are going to be flying out for his baptism and then the whole group is going to come out here for the combined baptism in June :D I asked her if they have time to please stop into the VC so I can meet Michael and his family and she said they will! I am sooo excited!!! Miracles!! So 2 other cool phone experiences this week. One woman called into to order a Book of Mormon. She told me the only reason she was calling was because the 2 elders that gave her the little pass along card were so kind and respectful. She said she had never met 2 young men like that before and it made her want to learn more. Sometimes our actions truly do speak louder than our words. I was so impressed by the impact these 2 missionaries had on this lady just by being who they are and remembering who they represent. Lets all try our best to be those good examples. That our lives and the way we treat others will be the greatest way in which we share our testimonies with others.

 Alright one more. This guys name is Brock. He also called into and said he didn't want any more contact from the church. I told him there really isn't much I can do to help help him with that, but I offered to get him his Bishops info so that he could talk with him. I took down his info and looked up who his Bishop was. Now keep in mind people call in from literally all over the world... well I looked up his info and it turns out he is in one of the wards that Sister Avila and I serve in! Heavenly Father truly works in mysterious ways! I emailed Brock the info and then told him it was coincidence that I answered his phone call. There are call centers all over and lots of people that take calls. I told him that we are only here to help him and that we are willing to do whatever we can to help him. I gave him our info and then sent the email. I don't know what's going to happen to him, but I know that Heavenly Father gave me that call for a reason. God loves all of His children and it is just so amazing to witness all of the ways that He reaches out to them. 

Anyways this week has been awesome! Yesterday was Sister Avilas birthday so that was really fun! Some members gave her a cake and it was just super cute :) I didn't see Rich yesterday :/ Sounds like you guys have been having so crazy adventures! Yay Eugenie and Jerels first place! I am so proud of you poopy :D Yayyy we can be poor together! haha
Christopher congrats on graduating from Seminary! I wish I had appreciated seminary more at the time. I didn't realize how important it was or truly how great of an effect it had on me. Really I wish I hadn't slacked on scripture mastery! haha Well I am doing my best to learn them now :) Abby and David learn from the mistakes of your older siblings and  be on time to seminary, pay attention, keep up with the reading, letter in seminary, and really allow yourself to learn! I realized when I came out on my mission that I had NO idea what the gospel even was! I had no idea why I believed certain things, and since I have taken the time to learn for myself and to study my testimony has just grown so much. It isn't perfect- it never will be in this life, but it's like somebody turned on a light and now I can clearly see! It is amazing what study and prayer- and of course living it can do for your understanding. Keep up the good work family! You are all in my prayers!! I wish you all the best with the move! It will be so exciting! Maybe you can leave a room for me to help you all to finish when I get back- you know how I love those home projects :) Love you all!!!

Sister Hamstead

Skyping and Singing...

It was soo great skyping with you all yesterday!!! Sister Avila thought you guys were hilarious and I told her that's what it's like at home every day. Sister Avila and I get along super well! We are really similar so it's nice :) This is her last transfer so we will only be
together for about 3 more weeks and then she will go home :( She was actually supposed to go home in April, but she got an extension so I feel lucky that I got to be her absolute last companion. I love you all so much. I just can't believe how quickly the time flew! I didn't get much time to talk to each of you as I wish that I could have. Know that I love each of you so much. I could just talk to each one of you for hours! Thank goodness we'll have eternity for that :) I forgot that will be the last time that all of us will "be together" before Christopher heads out on his mission! CRAZY! 

Some words to Christopher: I love you!! I am so excited for you to begin the biggest and best adventure of your life- until you get married like Eugenie and Jerel, but there is no hurry for that one! ;) I am so proud of you for preparing yourself to serve. Also, if you want to go to BYUI then you should! I look back on my time there very fondly and you may very well love it! So pray about it for yourself. I really want you to gain a deep love for the Book of Mormon. When you teach people you will invite them to read that book. Everyday you will give it to strangers on the street and you need to be converted to the product before you try to sell it - I know that sounds bad, but it's the principle. You look sooo good in your prom picture!! You are growing up into a little stud muffin!! Keep yourself worthy and work hard. I know before my mission satan was working really hard on me and tried to make me feel discouraged and not worthy. If you are feeling any uncertainty- that is normal. Don't think you are the only one. Be open and honest in your interviews and they will give you the comfort and counsel you need. Get a blessing, read your patriarchal blessing often, pray fervently, and study your scriptures. As you live this way satan will not be able to touch you. You are in my prayers and I know that you will just absolutely LOVE being a missionary! There is no better feeling than to put on that name tag everyday and to introduce yourself to people as a representative of Jesus Christ. You will be amazed at the great things your Heavenly Father will help you do. You are not alone in this process. Heavenly Father is there for you buddy! Keep me posted on everything!  You NEED to get your call asap. It will really pump you up and help you get even more excited :D Write me soon!

Anyways, so this past week we had a few tough hits. Our super awesome investigator Claudia told us she was having second thoughts and that she would give us a call. That just really broke my heart because I know what she is looking for is found in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. But you can't make anybody want it, they have to choose for themselves. We had lots of other people cancel their appointments and just be flaky. ughhhh. But, we had a really sweet lesson this week with a family from Hawaii. They have 5 kids and are just kinda crazy. We love teaching them! It is really hard sometimes to get the kids to listen, but the other night we had a break through with them! We were teaching them about how God is our Heavenly Father and that we are his children. So we decided to sing I am a child of God to them.
When we started to sing the kids were still kinda crazy, but then all of the sudden it was absolutely silent. Everyone just froze and you could tell they were feeling the spirit. After we finished the first verse they begged us to sing it again! So we sang the second verse. Then they begged for us to sing it AGAIN so we sang the third verse! haha It was so sweet to see these innocent little children feel the spirit and to hear them say to themselves that they truly know they are God's children. They asked us to sing it again and we said no. haha! I have such a testimony of music and I know that it can truly touch hearts. So we are going to be teaching this family the lessons through song haha just kidding! But I will for sure always remember that night and the spirit that was felt at that lesson. We had another really cool lesson earlier in the week with Jessica (15 year old). Her mom wasn't able to be there at the first lesson, but thankfully she was able to make it on this night! We had an awesome discussion about faith in Christ. Jessica is super excited to get baptized and it is really cool to see how supportive her mom is. She knows that it will bring her the peace she is looking for- that fresh start and hope for a new beginning. Amazing! I love seeing how Heavenly Father is preparing the hearts of the people :) It was so great reading from the Book of Mormon with them. Batricia, Jessica's mom just loved it. She would read a verse and then just stare at it and then she would start reading more and more! The spirit comes so strongly when we read the Book of Mormon- people can't help but feel it! My love for that book has just grown so much over my mission. I learn so much each and every time I read it. 

But anyways familia, I loved seeing your beautiful faces!! Made me soo happy. It reminds me that I am serving not only for myself but for all of you as well. I truly want to represent our family well. I want you all to feel the love and joy that comes from the gospel. I want to set a good example and I just hope all of you will have a desire to serve. Most of all though I want to bring that honor to my Father in Heaven. I want to do good for Him. I love being a part of His work! It is so worth it to go through the hard times and to struggle. Just knowing that I am on the Lord's team just makes every bit of it worth it. I love being a missionary :)

Anyways I am getting really tired and feel like I am kinda starting to ramble...SOOOO,
I LOVE YOU ALL SOOOOO MUCH. so much you can't even imagine. 

Sister Hamstead
ps it was so weird to hear you guys call me kelsey  yesterday! hahaha

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Everything...even the small things...Matter.(SENT April 22)

Wow! SO we got transfer news! Oh boy it was soo painful waiting for it to come! We were waiting and anticipating it all day Saturday and then finally at like 10pm that night we get a text from our zone leaders telling us that transfer news was going to be postponed because was down so they couldn't check their email with the updates. OH MY GOSH. Literally the anticipation was killing me! Sister Remington and I had absolutely no idea what was going to happen. I kind of had a gut feeling that I would be transferred, but at the same time I really felt like I would be staying. So conflicting! Anyways, so we wait ALL day Sunday and then finally at about 9:40pm or so our district leader calls and... still no transfer news! We were kind of upset. haha! But, we waited a little longer and Sister Christiansen was so sweet and was super anxious to hear the news as well so we were all waiting and talking. Just hangin out in our jammies waiting for the call and then FINALLY with 5 minutes till curfew we get the call! And the verdict is.... I am being transferred! It is funny because I am just moving to an area a few blocks from where I live and I will most likely be serving in the Christiansen's ward now! But my new companion is Sister Avila from Texas. I am super excited! I actually didn't cry this time! haha No but I really learned from these last few transfers to start praying early for a confirmation to know that whatever the transfer news may be that I will know that it's right. So when I heard that I was leaving I was just filled with so much peace! I love Sister Avila! I know her pretty well from the VC. We will be crazy busy though since she is one of the VC trainers. We will still have a car- yay! And ya I will still be in the VC :) I am just really hoping I can stay in until the fall!! This is Sister Avila's last transfer so it will be interesting to see what happens in the future. Anyways, so ya that was exciting! I am going to miss everybody so much! I really bonded with the members here and we had found so many investigators! I feel like I always get moved right when things really start picking up. darn it! We will be having a baptism this nest weekend in my new area so that will be interesting... this will be the first baptism I've been to where I haven't really taught them... 

So last night I was on shift here at the center and it was really slow so I just started talking with the senior couple over at back greet- the Livingstons. I am so sad because they are finished with their mission now! Last night was their last shift :( But anyways, so I started asking them what was one of the greatest lessons they have learned from their time serving here. I really liked Elder Livingston's response. He said that he had never realized before what kind of an impact we all have upon one another. You never know what little thing you say to someone will touch their hearts and cause them to change. He went on to say how truly fragile we all are and that we need to be more sensitive to each other. I loved that! I have really seen that a ton on my mission as well- in both positive and negative situations. We never know what kind of impact our actions may have on the course of peoples lives. He then went on and told me a story about this one man that came into the visitors center with his wife who had just been baptized. One of the Sisters had gone over to talk with them and they asked the man if he himself had been baptized. He said no and the sister then just flat out told him you need to be baptized. Time went on and the sister never thought anything of that conversation... until one day a few months later that same man and his wife came into the visitors center again, sought out that particular sister and told her that he had been baptized. He said that when she told him that he needed to be baptized that it really stuck with him and he couldn't get the thought of it out of his head. He then began meeting with missionaries and received the confirmation for himself that this was something that he needed to do. Miracle! 

Another story kind of like that- so I was on shift... I think it was Thursday? Well I saw Sister Demille and Sister Slater talking with a young couple. When the couple left I asked them what was going on and Sister Demille told me this awesome story:
So it was back in December (or maybe January). This same guy and same girl had come into the Visitors Center for their first date- awkward. So Sister Demille went and started the Joseph Smith movie for them and at the end she gave the girl a Book of Mormon. Then the couple left and Sister Demille didn't think anything of it. Well a few months later that girl came back to the vistors center and told Sister Demille that she was going to be getting baptized! It turns out that after the couple had left they went out to the temple grounds and just read from the Book of Mormon together for like 2 hours! She knew that it was true and she knew that she wanted to be baptized. So cool! But the story gets even better! So, a little while longer passes (in fact this part is what happened this past week!) and the couple comes back into the Visitors Center again and talk with Sister Demille. This time they tell her that they are getting married in 2 months and that they will be getting sealed in the temple next February (year after baptism)!!! Isn't that just a great story! I love missionary work! I love all the miracles that we get to see everyday. And the thing is that all of you can see these miracles as well- you just have to keep your eyes open. Look for those little ways to reach out. You never know what kind of an impact your words or actions may have upon the life of one of Gods children. 

So anyways, back to my discussion with the Livingston's... So Elder Livingston then asked me what the greatest lesson or lessons have been that I have learned so far on my mission. I thought about it for a second and I came up with 3 things.
1) Everything-even the small things matter.
2) Heavenly Father knows us and loves us perfectly. He knows what we need.
3) Because of the atonement of Jesus Christ, people CAN change
There is not one moment in our lives that goes wasted. Even the ordinary and seemingly mundane tasks that seem to be getting us no where- they have their purpose and it is up to us to find the good. I am so grateful for my mission! Just the thought of possibly having not experienced this amazing life changing adventure is so frightening! I am so grateful that Heavenly Father prepared me and guided me here. I absolutely love my life! I have no regrets and I look forward to the future with so much hope. Even though there is so much bad and evil in the world, I know that there is so much good and righteousness as well. I was sooooo sad when I heard about all the things in Boston and Texas this week. Why do people use their agency to do such bad things?? I am so grateful to know that we do have someone who loves us so much that is watching out for us. I am comforted in knowing that Heavenly Father has a plan.

Anyways family,I love you all soo much! Sorry I guess I didn't even really write about this week... this week was amazing! I love all of our investigators and all of the other people that we get to teach and serve. I will miss them so much, but I am also so grateful for the adventure and progression that lies ahead. Oh that reminds me, I really liked what one sister said in Relief Society yesterday. She said, "The only person you can compare yourself to is who you were yesterday.". I know that it is so easy to fall into that trap of this person is so much better than me and yaddayaddyadda. Especially I see a lot of sister's (meaning the ones I serve with) get that way too. But I loved what this sister said and I know that it's so true! We will never ever feel at peace with ourselves, our lives, accomplishments, etc. if we are always comparing ourselves to others. That was another great lesson I learned this week. I also love the quote by Pres. Uchtodrf which says, "Humility is not thinking less of yourself; humility is thinking less about yourself. It is all a balance :) But basically if we love others then we will be happy.
Anyways, now I am really ending this email.

Hope you guys have a great week!! Love you all sooo much!!
Sister Hamstead

Asking Alms and Learning Lessons

Me and Sister Avila

Dear family,
I hope you have all had a great week!! Man it sounds like things have been pretty crazy over there! Know that you are all in my prayers. I know that everything will be ok and it will work out according to Gods will.
So, I am now in my new area! Which is funny because it is actually the area I was living in before, but they moved me so I am now no longer living in my area... again... if that makes sense haha One day I'll explain. It's funny because even though I was living with the Christensen's before I now see them far more often now that I am in their ward. Sister Christensen came out with us to a lesson and then we ate dinner with them last night. They are like my adopted parents :) So this new area- I love it! It is absolutely the most humble area I have served in yet and the people are just so prepared for the gospel! We find people to teach everywhere! The poverty and destitution is really sad. I have never met so many people that are completely hopeless and dependent upon others. I have no idea how these people are surviving! I am so grateful that Heavenly Father has called me here to help these people. I am reminded of the story in Acts 3. Go read it! It's really good! But these people are just so helpless need more than money, clothes, and food. Those things will come and go, but the gospel is what calms our hearts and gives us the strength to change our lives. Here is the story:

 Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.
 2 And a certain man alame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple;
 3 Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an aalms.
 4 And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.
 5 And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.
 6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have agive I thee: In the bname of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.
 7 And he took him by the right hand, and alifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.
 8 And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.

I have had people straight out come and ask me for food and money, but I can't help them with that. I hardly have enough to get by on my own haha! But what we have to offer is of far greater worth. We have seen so many miracles these past few days. We are teaching so many sweet people and man I am sure learning a ton of life lessons. I see the consequences of choices and I see the type of life I want to live. I never want to have to get to the point where I feel hopeless, and I am so grateful for the guarantee of the gospel. Living the gospel brings blessings. It is literally a way of life- a pattern for happiness in this life and the next. 

So, on Saturday Tim got baptized! It was really funny because I just met him the day before haha but he is just the sweetest and he was sooo excited to get baptized :D The main reason why he wanted to get baptized was so that he can eventually be sealed to his wife for eternity- so sweet! The program was made up late Friday night and as we were leaving our shift at the visitors center we got a text asking if I would give the talk on the Holy Ghost. Oh boy. Not that I don't like giving talks or anything, but when was I possibly going to have time to write it!? We had a prep meeting at the VC early that morning and then the morning shift which we had to leave early to get to the baptism on time. I remembered what Papa had told me about his philosophy of preparing for talks and I just did a lot pf praying and studying. I know that the spirit really helped me with the talk as I literally had like 10 minutes to prepare. I love giving talks because I feel like you (the one giving the talk) are the one that learns the most. I have such a love for the Holy Ghost and I can honestly say that my appreciation for it has grown substantially on my mission. Everybody needs it! I hope that one day we can all come to fully understand the significance of this gift. 

It is heating up here in Mesa. Summer is coming! So I have decided that dry  heat feels like the inside of an oven. You know that feeling where your skin just feels like it is frying? That's what it feels like except you don't have a sunburn... it's interesting. The high today is supposed to be 101! It isn't even may yet! haha 

Anyways, I love you all so much! I got your letter Abby! haha thanks for the cute drawings lol you are so funny! AHHHHHH I can't believe Andrea Murray is married!!! Somebody send
me a picture of that girl and her hubby!! Sooo exciting! Keep up the good work with the YSA conference! I am sooo excited for you guys!! It is going to be amazing! What a cool experience you had going to Andrea's sealing. What a tender mercy! I love the temple so much because it just reminds me of what it's all about. It helps me get my priorities lined out and stay focused on what really matters- our relationship with God and Jesus Christ. When we are good with God then all things fall into place- we love others, we desire to serve others, we work hard, and we have the faith that everything that happens will be according to Gods will. I am soo excited for Christopher to go on his mission. I remember where he's at and it's a really hard and stressful time. His mind is probably spinning a million miles an hour as he is trying to comprehend how quickly his life will be turned around, he will be uprooted from all of his comforts and his family, and everything will seem to be the unknown. I just can't imagine what it would be like to be in his shoes right now. Keep him working on his papers - it's hard to do it on your own so try to help him as much as you can. He will feel so relieved once they are in. Satan really does work hard to distract in those prepping months - I know I definitely felt that! He tried so hard to discourage me - as you probably remember many long calls full of tears. Just love him, hug him, and support him. 

I can't believe Becca Winters is home!! That is so crazy!!! Hey also I sent you a letter for Sammy  could you get it to her? Thanks! you guys are the best!! I love you all sooo much and I know that there is so much good in store for all of you. We can have that hope for a better and brighter future because of the atonement of Jesus Christ. We choose what lives we want to have. Choices matter, so make them wisely! Love you all sooo much!! I hope you have an amazing week!!!

Sister Hamstead xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxxo
ps Can't wait to skype with you guys on mothers day :D