Monday, September 23, 2013

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