Monday, September 23, 2013

Hello from your OLDER and WISER 22 year old daughter!!

Dearest Family,

Hello from your older and wiser 22 year old daughter haha! Wow this week was amazing and full of so many miracles! 

SO Monday night I got a call from President Jenkins. What the!? I listened to the voicemail and it said Sister Hamstead if you would like to hear where your brother is going on a mission give me a call back! President Jenkins is the best :) SO I called him back and I totally started crying! Brazil Fortaleza east mission!!! WWOOOWWWW!!! So ok I am never going to guess for peoples missions ever again because I always guess totally wrong! Sister Gordon and I had been talking about it and we both were certain that he would either go state side or to somewhere in asia, but definitely NOT south america. haha! I can't believe he reports ONE MONTH BEFORE I GET HOME!!!!!!!!!!! Man Christopher I should have given you a bigger hug before I left! Maybe on your way to the Mtc you can have a layover in Phoenix.............. But anyways I am just so happy for you Christopher! I want to challenge you to read the Book of Mormon in Portuguese before you leave in February. I know that will help you learn the language better than anything else! You have to write me and tell me how you are doing!!! I totally got the confirmation that it was right as soon as President Jenkins told me. It was such a cool experience!!! So Monday was amazing :)

Tuesday was the beginning of round 2 of exchanges. Hermana Leon and Jeppson came to English work for the day. It was sooo fun! I will tell you one of the many miracles that we saw. So we were in this apartment complex trying to contact some potential investigators. I looked over and saw this little family getting out of their car. I felt like we should go and talk to them so even though they were walking away from us I went over to say hi. The husband was super nice and accepted our invitation to come and check out the visitors center (such an amazing recourse to have!! I am SOOOO grateful not only to serve in the visitors center, but to even have a temple visitors center in our mission! Such a blessing!) we then talked with him about our purpose as missionaries. He really opened up and invited us in to come talk with him and his family. He told us his name was curtis and his wifes name was colleen. They had a super cute little 7 year old daughter- sorry can't remember her name. But so we go in and talk with them and Curtis tells us how he just wants to help his family. That is the most important thing to him in the whole world. He asked us what can he do to help his family? He wants to do more than just work and the normal day to day, and said he was looking for more. We talked with him about the gospel and how God has given it to us to bless our families. We taught him and his family how to pray and we all knelt in prayer together. It was such an amazing experience to see the hope that the gospel brings to families. I am grateful to be a missionary and to be able to share this good news with so many people! It is amazing! Of course we had to pass the family on to the elders who are serving in that home ward, but I am grateful that I had the opportunity to meet them and to share these eternal truths with their family.

Later that same night we had a lesson with Cece- did I tell you about her? I think I did... Well she is not a ysa either so Sister Gordon and I are teaching her at the vc. We had such an amazing lesson with her at the visitors center about the restoration! She is so opened and we know that this gospel is going to bless her and her family :)

Wednesday was the best birthday ever!!! So Sister Gordon was still off on exchanges with the other sisters, so sister leon and jeppson were so sweet and put up some decorations for me. One of our roommates made me waffles with strawberries and whipped cream. SOOOO NICE!!!!!! We finished our exchanges and then went to the visitors center. Everyone was so nice and sang happy birthday to me :) Some lady brought in cupcakes! After our shift we had to go take care of some paper work type of things form the exchange. Then we went to dinner with sweet Chanel and she bought cafe rio and a cake!! Soo nice :) Then we went on visits with the ward missionaries and it was awesome :) Then we had a lesson on the restoration with Danielle and her friend Dana and that was great! Lastly we had an appointment with Cece- she had asked us earlier that day if we could meet up. So we got there and she had bought me a cake!! Sooo many sweet people!!!! So they all sang to me and we ate cake :) Such a great day! When I got home our roomies told me there was a big present for me! HOLY COW! There was a big bag full of everything you would need to have a birthday party! Ice cream, pizza, decorations, little goodies, fruit, it was amazing!!!!! It was from a member living in our apartment complex :) Sister Gordon had mentioned to him that it was my birthday and all she had asked him for was some fruit!!!! Also Sister Gordon had gotten me some funny little presents for my bday also! So our apartment is like party city right now. We still have the decorations up from Sister Gordons bday and now from mine too! I just felt soo blessed!!!! :)

On Thursday we had another exchange and I went back to my greeny area with some other sisters. So cool to go back and see how things are going! 

Ok so to finish up I just have to tell you the story of Alfonso. So I forgot to tell you last week about this miracle I had when I was on exchanges. A sweet little sister named Hermana Mayorca from Columbia was on exchanges with me in my area. We were going around trying to visit some less actives when we arrived at Courtney's house.... or at least what I thought was Courtney's house. I am SUPER bad with directions! haha So we get out and knock on the door and Alfonso answers. He said that no Courtney lives there and then went on to tell me that he used to be a member! I asked him if we could come back and talk about the his conversion story/share a message and he said ok. We went back on Tuesday when I was with Hermana Leon and Jeppson. It was amazing to hear his story and I knew that it was no accident that we had showed up at his house. He felt the same way and told us that it was actually about a month ago that he decided that he wanted to go back to church. So cool! We asked when we could see him again and he told us not tomorrow because it was his brithday- aka my birthday!!!!!!-  We have the same birthday! So we stopped by the next day and dropped him off a bday card :) Our next meeting with him was on Wednesday at the Visitors Center. He told us he had an exciting story to tell us. So his cousin is a member serving down in Guatemala. The other day his cousin was given permission to call home and he told his mom that he really needed to talk to alfonso. So Alfonso got on the line and his cousin told him that about a month ago he began to feel impressed that missionaries were going to come to your door. He then told him not to reject them. Alfonso was shocked and told him that we had already come!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How amazing. One month ago Alfonso decided that he wanted to go back to church, a month ago his cousin received that impression, and then last week we showed up at his door step. What a miracle. 

I am so grateful to have had the best year of my life out here in Mesa Arizona. There is nothing better than being a missionary. Get excited Christopher! But all of you can have miracles like this! All you have to do is pray for it and then be willing to open your mouth :)

Love you all sooo much! Have a great week!!
Love, Sister Hamstead

PS. So I forgot to tell you all that when our mission split our mission home was moved from Scottsdale to Mesa. OOoppps! Sorry! So the address for the new mission home is 2525 N. 32nd st Mesa, Az 8520? Sorry I forgot to tell you!! 

Remember..the call is not the place (Sept 16)

Well it has been another amazing week here in Mesa! So many amazing people have come into my life and I have seen the Lord's hand in so many ways. I just love being a missionary and having this time of my life to fully devote to the Lord. It is sooo nice not having to think about myself and my own problems. It really helps me to see the daily miracles in my life both big and small. So I am going to start off by telling you some awesome visitors center miracles.

Miracle numero uno: Karlos. So I was up at the front greet when this guy walks in. He asked me if he could have a Bible and I wasn't sure if he actually meant a Bible or the Book of Mormon... I think he could tell that I was kinda hesitating and then he clarified by saying, "You know one of your Bibles- the blue book.". Ok he was talking about the Book of Mormon. I went to grab him one from the back and Elder Beckstrand started to chat with him a bit and found out that he wasn't a member and that he wanted to find the nearest church. So I came back with the Book of Mormon and then Elder Beckstrand went to the back to look up his ward info. I talked with him a little bit more and found out he had just moved here from Independence, Missouri. He had been exposed to the church while in Missouri and said that he really admired the faith and unity of the members. Just at that moment a woman who had recently joined the church came in and talked with him about her conversion to the gospel. I love the Visitors Center :) Elder Beckstrand came back with his ward and Bishops info and I sat and talked with Karlos for a few minutes about church. As people normally do, he freaked out when he found out it was 3 hours long haha but he was excited to go. He said he wasn't ready for missionaries to come and teach him in his home just yet, but he said that I could teach him with sister Gordon over the phone and in the visitors center. Yay! When he left that day he said he was going to sit down and read the Book of Mormon that very day. I called him again on Saturday to follow up and make sure he was still planning on going to church and he said yes. He told me that he had already sat down with the Bishop and was excited to meet the people in the ward. I asked him about his Book of Mormon reading and he said that it was going really good! I asked him if he had prayed about it and he seemed kind of confused.  He told me that he had been raised only saying recited prayers and that he wasn't sure how to do it. That was like music to my ears and I was so excited to teach him how to pray. After we talked I invited him to say a prayer and he did it! I love the Visitors Center and having the opportunity to teach people in so many different ways! That whole lesson was over the phone and the spirit was just as powerful. We are going to call on Tuesday and see how his experience was at church :)

#2: Lita! 
Lita was a sweet Navajo woman who just moved down to mesa from up north on the reservation. She had been being taught by the missionaries and had a baptismal date set for September 14th. BUT she moved! That is like a missionaries worst nightmare. So, she was just walking around Mesa when all the sudden she found this big white building that she thought was a bank. She went in the front doors and they told her she was in the temple, and then they told her to go check out the visitors center. She was soo excited that she had found the church again! It was so great getting to meet her and seeing that the Lord had really guided her there. She had lots of questions about the temple and it was amazing getting to use the resources to teach her and show her what the temple was about. She was in tears and told me that her father had just passed away one year ago. I am so grateful for the knowledge of the restored gospel and that Heavenly Father has provided a way for all of us to be together eternally. I am so grateful for this plan of happiness- I know it is real! The greatest thing about this gospel is that it makes me happy. That is one of the biggest testaments to me. Anyways, so I got Lita's information and I am going to start teaching her over the phone until she gets a permanent residence and then I'll transfer her to her local missionaries.
There were soooo many more miracles, but for the sake of time I am going to move on now to area miracles! So you know that we have been struggling to find investigators, well we had a miracle this week! Bishop had told us to go visit this girl who had been less active for years. Her name is Danielle and we knew that the Elders had gone by before to visit her and she had not been interested, but we went by anyways! Well actually I wasn't there because I was on exchanges with some other sisters, but Sister Gordon went and brought another companionship with her. So they went in and Danielle was sssuuupppeerr friendly! She shared with the sisters how she had been having a great desire to come back to church and to find out for herself if it all was true. Also Danielle has a roommate/bff named Dana. She was also there for the little meeting and said she would like for us to teach her too!!! When Sister Gordon told me all that had happened I freaked out and was sooo excited!! We went back to teach them on Sunday (last night) and had an awesome lesson about prayer. I am learning sooo much about prayer lately! Sister Gordon made a comment that I loved. She said you feel like it is easier to just find your answers by asking your mom or your dad, but what Heavenly Father wants us to do is come to Him and ask Him. Why? Because He wants us to know Him. He wants us to develop that personal relationship with Him. He wants us to build our faith by learning to come unto Him and submitting our will to His. THis is something I have really had to learn and focus on while serving my mission. It was always soo easy back home to just pick up the phone and ask you guys the questions I have had, but not having that as readily as before has really caused me to turn to my Heavenly Father. I love prayer! After our lesson we went with both Dana and Danielle to a fireside/concert. It was this tongan guy and it was AMAZING!!! Look up this song called, "How can I be". I LOVE it.

So exchanges were amazing and I learned soo much!! I got to go back to my old area (Lazona ward!) So that was really fun! Holy cow it felt funny teaching adults again haha! I am just soo used to YSA's now! It's all I've known since like April. I love having the opportunity to serve these sisters even more. Look for people that you can serve and uplift this week. I can promise you that they are out there!! 

Well family I hope you have an amazing week! Christopher I hope you get your call soon!!! Remember that the call is not to the place. The call you will be receiving is a call to serve the Lord- then He tells you what portion of the vineyard He needs you in. There will be people there who will need you- your personal experiences and testimony. I love you brother!!

Have a great week!! Have a Bday party in my behalf and send me pics! :D 
Sister Hamstead
ps- the thing that would make my birthday super wonderful would be if you all prayed to have a missionary opportunity on that day. Pray with faith and desire and I know you will see miracles. Tell me how it goes!!!!!

Families were created to be eternal (Sept. 9)

Dear Family,

I am so grateful for this gospel and to know that no matter what happens in this life we can be together forever. I know that Heavenly Father has provided a way for us to be united eternally. I am so sad about President Mower, but I am comforted in knowing that he is in a better place and that he can be with his family forever. What would we do without this knowledge?! I know the plan of salvation is real. God has a plan for all of us. Life does not end at death, family relations do not end at death. Families were created to be eternal and I am so grateful that Heavenly Father has provided a way for all of us. I am so grateful for the temple and for the reality of temple covenants. I am just so comforted and know that everything will be ok.

Papa, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! On this day more than ever I am so grateful to have you as my father. I am grateful for the role model you have been to me and for the righteous choices you have made. Thank you for being an influence for good in my life. I am soo sorry that I didn't get your birthday card to you earlier! I am sending it to you today though so you should be getting it soon :) I hope that this is a very special and blessed birthday for you. I love you and am always praying for you. Thank you for providing for me, for loving me, and for leading me by example. You are awesome and I love you!

So I have been praying this week that I would have some good miracles to share with you on your birthday, and I have some good ones for you!

1. Jason:
So since Sister Gordon and I are white washing this area and have absolutely NO investigators and only like 5 leads, we have been trying to spend as much time out in our area as possible and are doing our very best to talk with everyone. We were out trying to contact this one former investigator and boy it was a struggle to find his house! We felt really strongly that we needed to see this one guy so we persevered. FINALLY we found his house and... nobody was home. It was just then that we noticed a ysa aged guy across the street checking his mail. He had gone back into his house and then I said to sister Gordon, "Let's do something spontaneous and go knock on that guys door.". Can't lie he was kinda intimidating looking with lots of tattoos and you could tell he had been through dome hard times. Normally we do not knock doors in our mission so this was kind of a big deal. Sister Gordon was kinda nervous, but said that she would follow my lead. I had no idea what I was going to say- we don't trackt- I don't even know how to spell it!- in our mission so this was my first time! I said a little prayer in my heart and thought about what Nephi said, "I was led by the spirit not knowing beforehand the things which I should do". So I took a deep breath and knocked on his door. The guy answered the door and a cute gabby looking dog sprang out. Then Jason introduced himself and he was super nice! We told him that we are missionaries for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He told us that he recently got out of jail and that he wanted to go to church. Sweet! We had a great conversation with him and then we gave him a Book of Mormon to read. He told us that he had started reading it in prison and then he went on to tell us about Nephi and Lehi! Awesome! We are going back to teach him this week :) Moral of the story don't be afraid! If the spirit prompts you to do something, do it! I am grateful that Heavenly Father blessed me with that opportunity to strengthen my faith in Him.

2. Renee:
So the other day we were in our area and we only had like 30 minutes before we were supposed to be at this big stake meeting. Well we were driving down the road when all the sudden Sister Gordon yells, doggy!She then pulled over the car and ran out. What the? Sister Gordon LOVES animals and she always wants to try to save them haha. So this poor little pup was walking down the street by himself and she decided that we needed to find his owner. Can't lie I was kinda impatient and really wanted to just leave the dog and go visit more people. But, we decided to go ahead and call the number on the dogs tag. The number was for an animal registartion place and they then gave us the phone number for the owner. I called the number and I recognized that it was a phone for a deaf person- they have people that answer their calls and then sign them what is being said via video. So we left the lady a message saying we found her dog. I thought we were done and that we tried and had done our best, but sister Gordon could not stand the thought of leaving that poor dog out there all by himself. So we walked down a block or so and tried to find anybody outside to give the dog to. Nobody. We picked a random street and went down it. We walked up to the first house and I got a weird feeling and told sister Gordon we should leave and go to the one next door. So we walked to the next door neighbors house and rang the door bell. A woman answered and Sister Gordon started to tell her why we were there. I noticed that the woman wasn't saying anything, and that she was just pointing to the dog and then to herself. She then signed thank you and then I understood that it was her dog!! Sister Gordon and I were just kinda in shock and handed the dog over to her. As we were walking away we knew that we had to tell the Elders over the deaf branch about our miracle! They were super excited and went over the next day. They introduced themselves and talked with her about our purpose as missionaries. They talked with her about the deaf branch and invited her to come. She said she would come! Moral of the story live your life in such a way that you will be in the right places at the right times. God will place people- or pets- in your path that you will be able bless and uplift :)

OH MY GOSH. so craziness that Imani and Sierra (roomy from BYUI) moved into my ward!!!!!!! I was just standing there greeting people in the foyer when guess who walks in? Yeah I just about died. How cool though! I thought for sure I was being transferred out of Gable ward because Imani was planning on moving into an apartment with some girls in that ward. Well plans changed and she just happened to move into the ward that I am now serving in! It was sooo cool to get to sit with them in sacrament meeting and sunday school :) We then went to the stake pot luck and broadcast. How did I get sooo lucky?? I am just so excited to get to use these two in lessons and to go on splits! :D So crazy hahahaha! 

So I went to my first mlc meeting this week (missionary leadership council). It was so crazy being in a meeting with the zone leaders, AP's and President and Sister Jenkins (and of course the other sister trainers). I felt pretty out of place! I know I am going to learn a lot from this calling and I just pray that Heavenly Father will qualify me. I definitely have a testimony of that- I am SUPER unqualified and inadequate to even be allowed to be a missionary, but with the Lord's help I have learned that I truly can do all things. That goes for all of you! You may feel small and unprepared, but the Lord will help you. He will help you to be what He needs you to be :)

Exchanges start tomorrow! I am going with Sister West and Hartley. I will be staying at the Christensen's again! I am just excited and I can't wait to share my experiences with all of you :)

In district meeting this week we talked a lot about the promises of the Lord. I shared one of my favorite promises of the Lord which is found in Romans 8:16-18. 

 16 The Spirit itself beareth awitness with our bspirit, that we are the cchildren of God:  17 And if children, then heirs; aheirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we bsuffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.  18 For I reckon that the asufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the bglory which shall be revealed cin us.
I am so grateful for this promise. Heavenly Father has promised us all that He has. We are promised to be joint heirs with Christ- what an honor! What a blessing! I am so grateful for my Savior and that He has made this possible for all of us. 
I love you all soo much and I hope that you have a great week! Papa, have a wonderful birthday. I am so grateful for your life and for the role you have had in my life. I love you so much!
Love you all!!!!
Sister Hamstead

Why me? What can I bring to the table? (Sept 2)

Dear Hamstead's,

I love you all sooo much! Wow it was SUPER hard to leave my last area!!! Some super sweet members gave me little gifts and baked me treats. I just felt soo loved! One of the greatest things about serving people is that you really do come to love them. 

HOLY COW!!!! You guys are working hard!!!! What a project! Thank you for sending me pictures. Keep them coming! It makes me kinda feel like I'm a part of it without actually having to do any of the hard work :) haha! You guys are great. Mommy thank you sooo much for your package! I just got it on Wednesday. I loved the parable that you wrote. I totally have a testimony of trusting the Lord and His timing. So thank you for sharing that with me :) Also thank you Eugenie for the letter! I felt like it was basically a twin letter of the one I had sent you! We are in tune with each other. So thank you for writing me and for sharing your words of wisdom. I hope my letter gave you some peace too and let you know that I am a-ok! You guys are the best! I feel so blessed to have family as wonderful as all of you!

So the last few days of the transfer were just soooo sad!! We had our last lessons with Jeff, James, and some other awesome people that I just LOVE! Sister Pickett and I had sooo much fun together over the last few months and we would go running together every morning. On the last morning we decided to run down to the temple and back and it was just so great :) But with every transfer there comes A LOT of changes. I LOVE sister Gordon! She reminds me sooo much of Sammy!! We just have soo much fun together and laugh and ya it's just good. Yes a sister training leader is kind of like a zone leader for sisters. Sister Gordon and I will be over 9 companionship's. I just want to do a good job and really help these sisters. It's just kinda weird when you get put into a leadership position it's like you get more of a sense of all the behind the scenes stuff- and not all of it is pleasant. Sister Gordon was making me aware of some of the things we will have to deal with to help the sisters and it just made me really sad. So I wondered what can I possibly do to help these sisters? Why me? What can I bring to the table? So I was pondering these things and then I turned to the scriptures and read in 1 Corinthians 8:parts of 1, 2, & 3. Now this might not make sense to all of you, but I'll do my best to explain what I learned. "...
Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. And if any man think he knoweth a thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. But if a man love God, the same is known of Him. 
CHARITY. It always comes back to that! I don't know all the answers and I know that I am unqualified to train and teach these sisters, but what I CAN do is love them, but even more importantly I can love God. I have been thinking about this a lot lately. I have met a lot of people and have had a few companions and there is something different about a person when they really love God. Prayers mean so much more and they know and understand who they are. I want to help these sisters remember who they are. A lot of them have struggles and have to deal with hard things so all that I can do is love them. 

My ward is great!! I love them already! It is much smaller than Gable and only covers one stake. I know that we are going to find prepared people this transfer though! We are going to see miracles and I am just soo excited for that! Today is Sister Gordon's b-day! We are going to get our nails done and go to the Jenkins to bake cookies and then we are having some sisters over for cake/hangout and then off to the area at 6 :)

I CAN"T BELIEVE JOSH RECORDED MY TALK!!!! haha Just so you know that was completely on the fly! I had another talk prepared, but the person speaking on repentance spoke for 30 minutes so I decided to scrap my talk. Man you guys are spoiled! haha Keep up the good work on the house! It is looking awesome!

Love you all sooo much!!
Love, Sister Hamstead

There were a few little bumps in the road...(Aug 26)

So first of all, sorry for causing you all stress over my letter from last week. It was just a very humbling experience and I felt impressed to share it with you. I am grateful for my trials because it is through them that I learn how to come unto the Savior and apply His atonement in my life. Know that I am happy, more than happy, I am filled to the brim with joy! I LOVE MY MISSION!!! I can't even put a price on the value of it, but I know that it has changed my life forever :)

This week we got transfer news.... aaannnndddd...... I'm getting transferred. I was soooo sad!!!! I have loved this area SSSSSSSSSOOOOOOOOOOOOO much!!! I know I felt that way about all my areas, but this one was special. It has truly been an amazing and miraculous summer serving in the Gable YSA ward. It is amazing to see the love that comes through serving others. This ward had NOTHING when we first got here. Sister Avila and I had spent all of our time working in the other ward, but when Sister Pickett and I finally had time to devote all our attention to just this one ward things just took off! We saw daily miracles and felt the guidance of the Lord in our work. So of course I cried at church on Sunday when I had to tell everyone bye. It just breaks my heart!! And oh my gosh the worst was saying bye to Jeff. He just looks at me with tears in his eyes and says, "You're leaving?". I wanted to die!! I was sooo sad! But I had faith and I do believe that the Lord has more in store for me. It is crazy to think that every transfer has just built one on top of the other- SOOOO AMAZING! So this morning when I came into the family history center
to email I found out that I am white washing a YSA ward!!!!!!!!!!!!! I AM SOOOOO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!! This will be my 6th transfer working with YSA's :) I just LOVE it! Heavenly Father really knows us and knows what we need :D I was so worried that I wasn't going to know how to be in a family ward anymore haha But also cool news, Sister Gordon and I are going to be sister training leaders. Please pray for me that I will know how to help the sisters when I go on exchanges with them. I was so humbled and honored that President would ask me and that he would trust me to effectively help train the amazing sisters we have here in our mission. I am just so grateful and I feel so blessed!

So the last full week in Gable sure was eventful! We were in charge of the home evening this last Monday and so we went up to the mission office and the AP's took the ward on a tour. It was actually really cool! There were a few little bumps in the road with making it all happen, but at the end of the night it was an incredible experience and everyone left spiritually charged :) On Tuesday and Wednesday Melanie Cottom came to our VC and we did early morning training's from 7-9. Melanie is over all the VC's in the church so it was amazing getting to talk with her and hear all of her great ideas about how we can be more effective in the vc and in using the resources. I loved the way she taught. I never once felt like I was being reprimanded or anything, she just really taught with love! I want to master that. On Thursday I got to give a talk at district meeting on hope. I love giving talks because I feel like I learn sooo much! I truly have a testimony of the principle of hope. I know that faith and hope go hand in hand. If you don't have hope then your faith is hollow. What good does faith do if it doesn't motivate you to do good and to be an optimistic follower of Christ? That's more like closet faith. Live your faith daily! 

Oh my goodness sooo many visitors this week!!! Haha So Tuesday was really funny. I was in the back greet when Sister Coppel came around the corner with Sister Fabiano! It was soo fun to see them and to get caught up with them. We were standing there talking when who comes around the corner... Brother Coffey, Josh Coffey, and their cousin who I had met before as well! So it was like a huge swarm of Georgia people taking over the visitors center haha! Brother Coffey told me our stake is getting 3 sets of missionaries per ward!! Keep them busy! Get to know your neighbors and go about doing good. I know the Lord has placed more missionaries there for a reason. Peoples hearts are being softened and they are being prepared to receive the restored gospel :)

We had so many miracles this week!! But to narrow it down I will just talk about a few:
- Isaac: So Isaac. We had kinda lost touch with Isaac for a little bit, but we had felt inspired to call him this week and he answered! He said that he had been at another training in California but that he would be back in like 2 days. He then asked if we could meet with him like the day after. So we went and wow it was amazing! We were so worried that he would have really digressed in his progression, but it was totally the opposite!! He has been reading from The Book of Mormon and he said he knows it's true!! He told us that he has been telling all of his friends and family that he is looking into becoming a mormon. Wow Heavenly Father really loves and watches over his children. We invited Isaac once again to be baptized and he said he would. We extended the date of September the 14th and he said that he will pray about it. I just love seeing how I really do NOTHING. My job is just to open my mouth and say the things that I know to be true and then the Holy Ghost will testify to their hearts that these things which we are teaching them are true. I am not a teacher, I am a facilitator of the spirit. How amazing! 

-Malkom: So I don't know if you guys remember who Malkom is but he was an investigator we had met in an apartment complex. He was really open and interested in learning more. We had left him with a Book of Mormon and really only got to meet with him like once more because of his crazy schedule. Well we decided to stop by the other night and just see if he was home. He answered the door and said, "I was wondering when you guys were going to come around again!" It was awesome to see that Heavenly Father had been working on Malkom as well. Malkom also had been reading from the Book of Mormon and has had many spiritual experiences as he has read it. I love the Book of Mormon! I know that it is true and that people can feel the spirit as they read it. I finished reading the Book of Mormon this week and have started it again for the 3rd time since I came out in the field. I just want to keep reading that book over and over again throughout my life. I just get so much out of it! It was so sweet talking with James about his scripture reading and hearing how the Book of Mormon has played a role in his daily life as well. I just think of you mom and how you love the scriptures and how you would hold them close to you. I want everyone to experience the joy that comes through reading and praying about that book. It has answered the questions of my soul and has brought me closer to my Heavenly Father. The coolest thing is that it's not always the words that I read, but the impressions that come to my mind as I read. I ALWAYS feel the spirit when I read it. Read the Book of Mormon daily and the Holy Ghost will be with you and will guide you, I can promise you that :) 

Man so much more happened this week, but I am getting tired of typing haha I love you all soo much! Thank you for all of your love and support! I feel your prayers and know that Heavenly Father is watching our for all of us. Please keep Jeff in your prayers. Quitting smoking is so hard! I have never had to deal with trying to help someone overcome addiction, but man it is hard!! I am so grateful for the standards that are taught in the restored gospel. I know that they have kept me safe and have helped me to avoid the traps of the adversary. Oh also on Sunday Sister Pickett and I were assigned to give talks. I really do love giving talks! I got to speak on the gift of the Holy Ghost. I was assigned to go last so of course I had like 2 minutes. The choir had just sung "Lead kindly light" and had really brought the spirit in. I was grateful for that #1 because that is one of my favorite hymns and #2 because I knew I was going to not be giving the talk I had prepared so I REALLY needed the spirit. Of course the Lord pulled through for me and helped me out :) I was grateful for the opportunity to leave Gable ward with my testimony of the restored gospel. Oh also Josh Coffey was at my ward that Sunday! haha

You know one thing I have really learned on my mission is that God has a plan- not just that great big one that we all know about, but he has plans for us all daily. It is just so crazy to see that when our plans don't work out it is ALWAYS because God has another plan. So when things don't go your way, trust that God has a plan and that everything will work out- maybe not in the time that you would like, but in the Lord's timing. That goes back to the faith and hope. Trust! I know that Heavenly Father loves us and that He will lead and guide us :)

I love you all sooo much!!!

Sister Hamstead

ps. which brown house parable are you referring too?
pps- We got to go to an amazing lamb of God concert last night with Jeff. It was SOOOO great!! Then as we were leaving I ran into Ashley Sant in the parking lot haha :)
ppps- Wow soo glad things are going well with the house!! You guys are amazing! Just keep trucking along! Thanks for sending me the pictures! Man I love home projects too so enjoy it for me!

I'm on a Mission...I'm not supposed to see this many people from home (Aug 13)

Oh man. I don't even know how to do this week justice over email.... Soooo much has happened!!! Ugh it's almost overwhelming. But, I guess I'll just start and get as much of the good stuff into this email as I can :)

So last pday was definitely not the most relaxing... we had to get everything prepared for James baptism- including locating a font key and struggling to figure out how to fill it up haha! But we finally got it :) So we had told James to be there by 5:30 at the latest just so he could get ready in time and take pictures etc. Well time passes, and passes.... Turns out James and a bumch of guys from the ward had gone out harpoon fishing all day and then went back home and fell asleep. I was not very happy haha! 6:30 rolls around and James and the others FINALLY show up. It was a good thing too because there was a HUGE crowd waiting for them to get started. There were at least 60 people there! The baptism was amazing. The spirit was soooo strong! There was a really cool little tender mercy for Sister Pickett and myself as well. Sister Pickett was really nervous because this was the first baptism she has been a part of and she didn't know that we teach the restoration to the group while the people change. I tried to comfort her and make her less nervous, but it didn't really help that we hardly had any time to practice with all of the crazy things
going on. So we prayed. When it was our time to get up there the spirit just completely took over and we taught the best we ever have! President and Sister Jenkins had come to the baptism and afterwards they complimented us on our teaching style and our ability to teach in unity and with the spirit. We were just so humbled and truly grateful for the help of the spirit :) What a blessing it is to see the fruit of your labors. It was such a joyful experience to have been there with James through all of his struggles and different trials. That's what I love about being a missionary- you just come to love these people sooo much and your greatest desire is just to help them be happy. I know that true and eternal happiness comes only through diligently living and applying the gospel of Jesus Christ.I am soo grateful for my call!!

Christopher I just can't wait for you to join me out in the field! I love what it says in the call letter that greater joy and happiness awaits you... something like that- maybe you could send me a copy of my call letter? I would love to read over that again :). But it's so true! I love every aspect of this work and I know that you will too Christopher! And of course so will you Abby and David- & Eugenie and Jerel when they're old as well as mommy & papa :)

Ok let me think of what else happened this last week... We got to go to the temple on Tuesday. I LOVE going to the temple. I hope that all of you get to go to the temple regularly. Abby, David, and Christopher should go more to do baptisms. I know that a strong spirit comes into your heart as you regularly attend the temple. We get to go about every 6 weeks and when we start getting up to week 4 or 5 I just feel myself longing for that spirit. Go to the temple!

So I saw Kenny. This is just too weird! I'm on a mission I'm not supposed to be seeing this many people from home! haha Maybe they should have sent my to another country ;) haha jk I love seeing people from home. But don't keep sending people to see me haha It was fun to see him at my ward though- especially because it was the Sunday that James got confirmed! Exciting! 

So Jeff, his baptism had to get pushed back to the 31st of this month because he is still working on quitting smoking. He is such a trooper though! He would totally be baptized today if it weren't for his addiction, but he has faith and he's working on it. Remember to keep praying for him! He had some prayers answered this week which was pretty cool! He was praying that more people would be placed in his life that would help him to make these hard changes. Person #1 was a member of the church moved into his house! He has a bunch of roommates that smoke and just aren't the best influence so when he found out this new guy was a member he was just soo happy! person #2 Heather! Jeff got a girlfriend, and we totally approve of her! She is a great girl and actually quit smoking a few years ago. Also as an added incentive she told him he can't meet her mom until he stops smoking haha! Gotta love working with ysa's! It was really cool though when Jeff told us about her, he told us that in order to date him she had to support his decision to be baptized into this church. He told her that this was a big part of his life and if she didn't accept that then they might as well not be together. Go Jeff! Well of course that was music to our ears and made us very interested in meeting Heather. So we told Jeff to invite her to the lesson that night. It was so great! and now we're teaching Heather too! Miracle!

We have been receiving soo many referrals lately! Such a blessing! Oh also we are now allowed to tract in our mission, but it is still strongly discouraged. But so Sister Pickett and I tried it the other day, but nobody was home :/ darn! 

So we had another miracle this Sunday when one of our members- actually the one that Kenny knows, who I guess I met before up at BYUI! CRAZY!-brought a nonmember friend to church! We went and introduced ourselves to him and talked with him a little bit about our church. It was soo great and now we are meeting with him tomorrow! Invite your friends to church! 

Ok, Monday. So the reason we are having our pday today is because yesterday half the mission went to a conference thing where Elder Carden from the 70 came and spoke to us/trained us. It was amazing!! I learned soo much about the Holy Ghost and his purpose/ role in our conversion. He used the example of Peter in showing  the times when Peter did not have the gift of the Holy Ghost and when he did. So cool! He talked about the new direction that missionary work is taking and how our role is NOT just to strengthen nonmembers and less actives, but active members as well- EVERYONE. We strive to strengthen everyone's faith in Jesus Christ, so let the missionaries come in and teach you guys. We all need to be strengthened. President Jenkins spoke to us as well and I loved what he said. He talked a lot about Heavenly Father and the importance of why we teach that to people first. It reminded me of some of the conversations I have had with Papa in the past. He also talked with us about the importance of remembering who we are. We are literally sons and daughters of God and if we REALLY grasped that and understood what we are capable of then this world truly would be a better place. We would have no desire to rebel or stray because we would be fully aware of the purpose of this life and the importance of the choices we make. It was just an absolutely amazing meeting! 

So a visitors Center story and then I'll wrap this thing up:
Last night I got a call at around 8:30 from this boy named Larry. He was calling in to order a Book of Mormon. I placed his order and asked him if he was a member of the church. He said no, but that he was looking to get closer to God. I testified to him that the Book of Mormon will bring him closer to God and that it will help him know what to do to return back to him. He was such a sweet little boy! Well he wasn't that little, he was in high school... but as we talked he told me more about his life and some of the struggles he has had to deal with from a young age. No one in his immediate family believes in God, but his grandfather does. He told me how his grandpa has so much peace and happiness in his life and that he knows that is attributed to his faith. I was just so impressed by the faith of this boy! When we finished talking I asked him if he ever prays. He said yes and then we talked about the way that God has asked us to pray to Him: Addressing Him as Heavenly Father, saying the things that are in our hearts, questions, concerns, express graditude, etc., and then closing in the name of Jesus Christ amen. I invited Larry to say a prayer and at first he was a little hesitant because he had never prayed out loud before, but the spirit touched his heart and he began to pray. The spirit was soo strong! I love my role as a missionary. All that I do is teach people the basic fundamentals so that they can learn for themselves how to receive their answers through talking to God. All people, every individual here on this earth is a child of God. He loves them and He desires to have them back with Him one day. We know this and they don't. So what can we do about this? Pray for missionary opportunities- yes, but then we have to be willing and ready to open our mouths and make those opportunities turn into experiences. I am so grateful for this gospel. My gratitude and appreciation is what motivates me to share this happy message every day :) I hope you all feel the same way about this amazing gospel, and if you're not there yet, pray for it! I know that Heavenly Father loves us all so much- I feel His love and support every day. Know that I love all of you and pray for you daily! Keep up the good work with the house! Send me more pictures! I would love to see the progress. Hope you had a wonderful birthday David! I'm sooo glad you got the card I sent you :) Love you sooo much and I can't believe you're 13!!!weird. Good work with the conference! I can't believe it's already come and gone! Time just goes by soo quickly! I hope you all have a wonderful week!!

Sister Hamstead
XxxxOoxOooo- nacho libre style haha

I think the Beatles really were on to something...Aug. 5

Dear family,

Wow. This week. wow. It was a beast! A roller coaster the whole way through! haha But before I get into all of that, I didn't have the opportunity to bear my testimony in church yesterday- which is good because there were just soo many people getting up to share their testimonies (including james!). So I just wanted to take a second and share my testimony with all of you. What has really inspired me and touched my heart lately is the perfect love that the Savior has for us. With the different things I have been experiencing in my mission lately I feel that I have really come to more fully understand the love that the Savior has for us. I have never really understood before how merciful Jesus Christ truly is. Jesus Christ wants to forgive- in fact He already has forgiven us and now what we have to do is forgive ourselves. I love this scripture in 3 Nephi. It just sounds like poetry to me: 3 Nephi 22:4-6,7-8,&10

Fear not for thou shalt not be ashamed; neither be thou confounded, for thou shalt not be put to shame. For thy maker, the Lord of Hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer, the Holy one of Israel- the God of the whole earth shall he be called. For the Lord hath called thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment, but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer. For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on me.

I LOVE that passage. I kinda picked it apart and just mostly highlighted the things that really stuck out to me, but I just love the message of it. Jesus Christ will have mercy on us. I know this. He loves us perfectly and He extends to us an everlasting kindness that is unlike any else. I feel the Love that He has for the people I serve and I feel the love that He has for me. I am just so overwhelmed with the joy the Savior has brought into my life. I see these people who are just weighed down by the guilt of past mistakes and I just want them to experience the peace I have found in my life through the mercy of our Savior. I know the Savior lives and I know that He loves us. I was reading this morning in Romans and I really liked what Paul had to say about love. Romans 13:8-10: 
Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
I think the Beatles really were onto something when they said all you need is love- look it's even in the scriptures! I just love that. If we have love in our hearts for the Savior, for others, and for ourselves then we will be happy. Jesus Christ set the perfect example of this :) I have a testimony of charity and striving to do everything we can to obtain that kind of Christ like love. It's hard! But I know that the promise in Moroni 7:47 is true, "But charity is the pure love of Christ and it endureth forever; and whosoever is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him. I have a testimony of the importance of doing the little things. I believe in the importance of taking time and slowing down to reach out and lift those who are around us. It has been such a miracle to see how the Lord has blessed this area. What started off as a "dead area" is now a booming success! I know it's because the Lord blesses us according to our desires and according to our faith. When we have faith we get out there and do all that we can. It's hard when you have to spend longs days out in the heat knocking on a ton of doors, and no one answers. That is hard and that is the dirty work of being a missionary. But it has to be done! I know that as we show the Lord our faith by doing those small and simple things that great things truly are brought to pass. I love this gospel with all of my heart. It brings me peace and gives me something to hold onto when everything else in life starts to crumble. I trust in my Savior- that is probably one of the greatest things I have learned so far on my mission (plus like 100 other things too). I know Jesus Christ is our Savior and that He loves us, and I love Him.

So ya. That's my testimony for the month of August. Hope it made sense haha
Anyways, onto this week. You know it's just so crazy that the longer I have been out the more my mission turns into real life... does that make sense? Sharing the gospel & doing good to others, that's really living. I feel like everything before my mission was just like a dream and when I came out here it's like I woke up. haha! I just love my mission. Oh! I forgot to tell you that I got an extension! Well it won't really seem like much of an extension to you all, but I will now be going home in the end of March. I really wanted to push it to April, but we can only have 30 days past our release date so I guess I will just have to be content with it :) 
Driving through the flooded streets after the Monsoon

The sky turned Pink before the Monsoon!

Having fun with our Ipads!

So on Tuesday we went on exchanges to another area. So fun! It was fun to be in family wards again haha We actually got to do some service too! We helped this family that was redoing this house they just bought. It made me think of you all and all the work you're doing! We helped them paint their basement and it was soo fun! Reminded me of about a year ago when Mommy and I were painting that ENTIRE rental house! Sweet memories :) That morning for exercise I taught some of the sisters yoga haha it was soo good and made me super happy! It's been a while but I can still do it yay! So onto the more exciting portion of the email- MIRACLES!!

So right after I had finished emailing you all LAST Monday we got a text from Isaac our investigator who had been out of town for like the past month. He gave us his new work schedule and we set up an appointment. We were SUPER excited! :) The day of the appointment we were trying to find a member to come with us. One of our ward missionaries said she could come, but wanted to know if it would be alright if she could bring her nonmember friend. Of course we said yes!! So some background on this friend. The member and her had been watching the work and the glory movies and later the member found her friend reading from some book. She went over and saw that it was her gospel principles book. She asked her what she thought about it and the friend she really liked it and that it made her feel really good. She said she never knew she was a child of God and that He has a plan for her. They talked for a bit about all of that and then the member showed her the Book of Mormon. They read the introduction and the first chapter together. The friend couldn't get enough of it! She just loved it and the calming spirit that it gave her. So ya needless to say we were super excited to get to teach her too. The lesson went amazing and the spirit was sooo strong! We are going to continue to teach both of them :) 

Another miracle, Dillon. So Dillon was referred to Sister Avila and myself a few months back. We never got to meet him though because he would always flake out. Well we got a call from a Brother in the ward during our dinner break on Wednesday asking if we were at the visitors center and if we could show Dillon around/teach him. Of course we were again super excited and said yes! We taught him about the restoration and invited him and the member to watch the Joseph Smith movie. Afterwards we asked him what he thought and he told us he loved it! The next day we had another appointment with him. It was super last minute so we didn't have a member there. I was really sad about that and felt like Dillon really needed someone to be there who could connect with him. So I felt really bad doing this, but I took out the phone and texted our ward mission leader asking him to come down to the visitors center. Ah so bad I know! But I just really felt like I had to do it. Mark texted back and said he would be there in a few minutes. It was sooo amazing! The spirit was soo strong and it was just so perfect to have Mark there. Sister Pickett was really shocked and when Mark walked in the room haha I didn't have a chance to tell her. But ya it was just a really cool experience to see that the Lord knows what these people, His children need. Dillon accepted to be baptized! :) Alright so since I serve in a YSA ward there always has to be drama haha jk but there was some drama this week. Oh my gosh like give me a heart attack kind of drama. We had just one more lesson to teach James before his interview, so we told him to meet us at the church right after work (this was saturday night). Well we wait, and wait, and wait some more.... it's now 10 minutes till his interview and we get a call from a ward member who was supposed to pick James up from work. She said she ever saw him come out and that she hadn't heard from him all day! We hadn't heard from him either so now everyone was starting to get a bit worried. So what did we do? We prayed. There is nothing else you can do in situations like that, but pray. We went back into the foyer and President Jenkins shows up. Kill me. haha We explained to him the situation and because he is amazing he was perfectly understanding and we decided we would wait a little longer. 10 minutes past the scheduled interview time and finally we get a text from James. That boy ughhhh. He said his phone had died and he didn't have a ride to the interview. We told him we would have to reschedule for another day. President comforted us and said he could still get baptized on Monday (TODAY!) if he met with him tomorrow (Yesterday). Wow Saturday was just a day of trials. We had appointments with a lot of different investigators and they ALL fell through. I had never had an investigator not show up to a baptismal interview before! I just wanted to die that day haha But we move on and everything works out :) James had his interview yesterday and passed! He bore an amazing testimony at church and ya now he is getting baptized tonight :D Please keep Jeff in your prayers. He is having a hard time quitting smoking and is really getting down on himself for it. I know that he can do it though. Heavenly Father will help him, but of course prayers always help! Poor guy had to go to the hospital this week! He has a stomach bug and was seriously dehydrated. I asked him if he would like a blessing and he said no. I had asked him previously if he would like one to help him quit smoking and he said no. I just couldn't take it anymore. I was not going to let him suffer without the comfort of a priesthood blessing. So I got on the phone and told him to repeat after me and to ask the member that had taken him to the hospital to give him a blessing. He still didn't want to do it. So I invited him again. Jeff, will you ask Jeremy to give you a blessing. Finally he said he would do it! He told the member that "the sisters feel strongly that I should get a blessing from you" haha I was persistent, but it's because I knew how important it was for him to get a blessing! He called us back later that day and thanked me for pushing him. He described the experience and the spirit he had felt. The next night he told our mission president at fireside about the experience as well. Tears came to his eyes as he told our president that he was grateful for Sister Pickett and myself for pushing him in the right direction and for not giving up on him. I just can't even describe to you all the love that I have for these people. For our investigators, for the ward members, for our leaders, everyone. I just feel so blessed! I love being a part of this great work. Well I hope you enjoyed the little synopsis of this past week, and here we go about to start another one! :)

I am really starting to love the ipads. There are still some little glitches in the system, but Salt Lake is working hard to fix them. How is the house coming along? 
I love you all soo much and hope you have a great week!!

Sister Hamstead

My joy is Full, yea my heart is brim with joy (July 29)

Dear family,

Really what a week! Sooooo muchhhhh happens in just 7 days. I don't know how it is even possible! So I guess I'll just pick it up with where I left off last week. So after all of the craziness of pday we had an exciting night planned with lessons and also home evening. We were super excited! Our first lesson was scheduled with James at 6, then the home evening at 7, and then Jeff at 8. Basically everything went completely opposite of how we planned haha but it was all good. But so for Jeffs lesson we were just planning on reading with him from the Book of Mormon. We felt really impressed to read Lehi's dream with him from 1 Nephi 8. Wow the spirit was so strong as we read over the story and Jeff completely related to everything we read. We invited Jeff to be baptized on the 17th of August and he said yes! It was one of the most humble responses I have ever heard. It was just like a sweet little whisper and you could tell how badly he wanted it. Jeff has had lots of issues in the past with addictions, but right now his struggles are coffee and cigarettes. On Wednesday we taught him the word of wisdom. We asked him what his thoughts were of this commandment and if he would be willing to live it. He sat there for a little while and thought about it. He then said something like, "Well if I'm going to be getting baptized I'm going to have to live it. So I will.". I just love having the opportunity to meet these people who are just so humble and willing to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. I love it! It shows me that I still have a lot of work to do- which really is a good thing because we need to always be learning and progressing. It was so cute because the next day Jeff came in and visited us when we were on shift at the vc. He told us he was just so excited about his baptism and that he wanted to go over the plans for it :) It was pretty slow that night so we just took a minute to go over the service with him and he picked out the people that he wanted to be involved. Oh! I forgot to tell you a kind of funny/precious thing! haha So after we taught the word of wisdom we had plans to go out on visits with our ward missionaries. Well Jeff didn't have anything to do, so he asked if he could come! haha He's already doing missionary work! It's just so amazing to see people progress and I know that this progression comes from living the gospel :)

Ya know timing is just so very interesting too. So at the same time that we are teaching Jeff we are also teaching James- who if you remember has a baptismal date for the 5th of August. James is also super prepared. It is just so interesting to see really how different and unique the needs of each investigator (really each individual) is. We taught James the same lessons and doctrines, but for some reason we were concerned about his progression. We felt that he wasn't making his preparation for baptism his first priority. Satan has been working really hard at trying to distract him. He began forgetting lessons, not reading the scriptures, and when we did have lessons we just felt like the spirit wasn't very strong. It became really difficult and honestly stressful as we worried about whether or not he was really in this for the right reasons. At the end of one of our lessons - we were teaching plan of salvation-Sister Pickett just broke down crying because the spirit just was not there. It was so sad! We felt so helpless because we knew that there really was nothing we could do. People have the gift of agency and we have to allow them to choose. They have to have the desire and that is not something we can force on them. Telling them everything we know and how it is going to bless them does absolutely nothing unless they have a reason to care. It just broke our hearts!!! This might sound funny, but I almost imagine that this must be somewhat similar to the pains parents feel when their children go off the path. There is nothing you can do, because they have to use their agency. BUT, there are somethings you can do. You can remain faithful and not lose hope. I know that faith is a real power and as we exercise it we see miracles. You can also pray for them. We prayed for James with all our hearts. Every prayer we said we kept him in mind and asked if Heavenly Father to bless Him and help him to have a greater desire. You can also fast. I felt strongly impressed that we needed to fast for James on Friday and so we did. We had faith that as we did absolutely everything that we possibly could that Heavenly Father would help James. It was a huge trial of faith as we continued to plan for James lessons and for his upcoming baptism, but we did not lose hope! We knew that he was prepared and that if he really wanted to change he could. I was reading the other day in 3 Nephi 13:19-21,

 19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where amothand rust doth corrupt, and thieves break through and steal;
 20 But lay up for yourselves atreasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
If we have our priorities in line and we are putting God first, then what will our treasure be? What will be the thing that is of most worth to us? That is something I have been studying a lot lately. What is my treasure? I know that if we don't desire the things of God that we can change that. Our hearts can be changed by Jesus Christ as it says in Alma 5:7. I love that scripture! But as I read that I knew that was James answer. His heart just was not in the right place! 
So anyways, we just kept praying that God would step in and touch James' heart- and he did! On Saturday we got a text from James telling us to pray for him and that he was not doing good. We then didn't see him until the next day at church. We went off and talked to him and asked him what was wrong. He then told us everything about how he had been getting nervous about the whole thing and that he takes it very seriously and just wants to make sure he is doing it for the right reasons. He also told us about some very unfortunate drama that had been occurring in his life over the past week or so, but interestingly enough he decided just to cut it out of his life on Friday- fasting works! :) He told us that he wants with all of his heart to still be baptized on the 5th and that he is willing to do whatever it takes. We told him we still have a bit to teach him so we would have to meet more than usual. He was very excited and said he will meet with us every day. We then took some time to plan out his baptism and that gave him some peace of mind as well. It was just so good to finally have the time to have him voice all of his concerns and help to find the peace he was looking for. He told us that this week was really hard for him and he was sorry for all of his bad communication. But in all of the trials he had really turned to praying for strength and to the Book of Mormon as well. He said he knows for a surety that the Book of Mormon is true. So the baptism is back on for the 5th! :D We were worried and concerned, but we still had faith. Looking on the positive side of things it reminds me of  the importance and purpose of opposition in this life and how we would never learn to enjoy the sweet if we didn't experience the bitter. Sometimes we have to go through times of opposition, but as we learn to make righteous choices we will be blessed. We can make it through the trial stronger than before and with a greater understanding and appreciation.  Man what a week! It is such a roller coaster! And I love it :)
In other news.... I SAW IMANI!!!!! let me just paint a scene for you. I'm standing at the back desk facing the north side of the temple. It's in the afternoon. The center is pretty dead. I see someone coming up to the door and realize that I recognize the person... then I realized that I know the person!! My jaw literally dropped and I think Sister Pickett thought I saw a ghost or something. Al I could say was "NO WAYYY!!!". Imani just said hi! hahaha we then ran over to each other, hugged, and cried, and then cried and hugged. It's a good thing there was like nobody there because I was definitely not dignified haha but what a tender mercy that Heavenly Father let me see my best friend! I could have easily been on the morning shift that day, but I wasn't! I took her on a little mini tour of the vc and we talked and got caught up. It just made me sooo happy!!! how did I ever get soo blessed??I felt like Ammon when he said, "my joy is full, yea my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God". It was just such a happy experience and it left me feeling soo blessed :) 
This week has really taught me patience and the importance of fully trusting in the Lord. The importance of recognizing that these individuals are his children. He has their best interest in mind and He will help them make it through the necessary trials in life so that they may fulfill their full potential. I love this scripture in Alma 26:27, "Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst they brethren the Lamanites and bear with patience thine afflictions and I will give unto you success." That is a promise and I trust that the Lord truly is bound when we do what He says. So family if you learn anything from my experiences this week I hope that it would be to never ever give up! Keep moving forward with faith. Do the things that you know you should be doing and you will not only be blessed, but you will be happy. As James describes it- you will find the fulfillment that everyone is searching for. Peace of mind and hope for a brighter future :) 
I love you all soo much!! Please keep Jeff and James in your prayers as they are making very big changes in their lives. I am just so proud of them! haha But most  importantly I am just so grateful to be a part of this amazing experience and to see Jesus Christ change peoples hearts.
I love you all!!!
Sister Hamstead