Monday, March 25, 2013

The Lord is Truly Mindful of Us

Hello my dear family and wonderful friends!
My heart is FULL. Honestly I'm not even sure how to form the words to write to you all and explain the crazy hard, spiritually uplifting, wonderful, amazing, fun, exciting, and blessed week which I have had. We have been working hard and some days are good, while others.. not so much. But hey! That's life right? Well I'm here to tell you right now that the good ALWAYS outweighs the bad. And I know without a doubt that God LOVES His missionaries. I know He loves all of His children, but my goodness I KNOW He loves His missionaries, and He is mindful of them always.
Happy Birthday to the BEST Dad in the whole entire world! I love you so much dad! Thanks for all your letters and being amazing. I'll be thinking of you all day and sending you birthday wishes on your BIG birthday :)
Happy Birthday Grandma Donna! I love you! I hope you have a wonderful week and play some extra games for me!
I forgot to mention that Last Sunday we had a baptism in our district. It was so amazing to attend, she is 14 and from Brazil. So she attends the Portuguese branch in our building. It was amazing to be at the  baptism, even though I didn't understand any of it, and to feel of her sweet spirit and see her desire to heed the Saviors plea to "Follow thou me." It was awesome. And for a side note.. Brazillian food is delicious! President Tajmulleo (Branch Pres.) said it was the 11th Commandment to stay and eat with them, so we did and YUMMMY :) Be jealous.
The Lord has protected us in many ways this week, even from a freak Tornado Warning! The weather here is insane. Seriously so crazy. One day I'm sunburnt, the next the "sky is green." This truly isn't Kansas anymore.
Transfers were crazy! We went to Lilburn and got to see a bunch of sisters from the mission and then see the masses that came in this last week. I may or may not have snuck in and saw Sister Megan Mitton before she met her trainer. Rulings still out on that one. But if I had snuck in she probably would have been super smiley and happy and thrilled to be in GA. But this is all hypothetical of course. :) Sister Blaylock is an amazing addition to our companionship. I don't know what it is, its just different. We are having SO much fun! And our lessons have been amazing! Which is crazy because we have only been companions for a few days. I don't know the reason for the Transfer, but as far as we are concerned in Paper Mill, its been wonderful!
On Tuesday we taught Vivian, she is hilarious. LOVE her. She has been going to church with her best friend for awhile but found out she'd be in our ward  so we went and taught her and she is legit. She really want's to learn and had some good questions. We are meeting with her again Tomorrow and I can't wait.
On Wendesday we went Tracting. It was Sister Blaylock's first time so that was fun :) She was so excited to do it. We walked passed this home because some of the homes were businesses and we thought it was a business. We knocked a few doors, some being businesses. One had a toilet as a planter.. haha! Turns out its a plumber's business/home. We started knocking on a few more doors and were about to pass the home again. This time we didn't. Jacqualine opened the door immediately and said "Oh Hi! I've been watching y'all walk the street and I got so excited!" What?? Was this real? She continues "I didn't know Jehovah's Witnesses were around here! I have lots of family members who are JW's" Face palm! We then smiled and said "Oh well we are so happy to meet you as well, we are actually missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." It was way funny. Well she's awesome. She talked to us a lot, accepted a book of mormon, and invited us back on Saturday. Story To Be Continued...
Thursday was Biking day. It also happened to be windy day. AKA my worst enemy day. Haha just kidding, but really.. I am going to have to invest in some biking spandex. But hey.. that's besides the point. So we were biking and we had met a lot of people, stopped by some of the homes of people we're teaching and some members. We were on our way home and were trying to do our best to bike up these huge hills and I saw a teenager walking toward us. Sister Young didn't stop, and I wasn't going to but then I thought "Julie... you're working on being bold and talking to everyone. Do not just bike past him." So I slowed down and stopped near him and sparked up a conversation. Joshua was super nice. He had seen something about mormons on Facebook and so he was asking me questions about what we believe. He mentioned the book of mormon so I grabbed one from my back pack and told him about it and committed him to read it. Unfortunately he had just moved here and didn't have a cell phone so we had no way to get in touch with him. We just hoped he would either come to church or call us. Story To Be Continued..
Saturday came and we went to see Jacqualine again. The first thing she said to us was "You met my grandson the other day, he came home with a Book of Mormon the day after you gave me one and asked me if I would read it with him. So we are starting to read it together." We later figured out that Joshua is Jacqualines grandson. What the!? What are the chances? Those things don't just happen. I know that the Lord put them both in our paths and that it was only by the Lords hands that we met them miles apart the day after each other. We are beginning to teach them both this week. :)

Last night we received a phone call from Bishop Foye who had a "golden opportunity" for us. In Sacrament Meeting Sister Mott in our ward spoke on Baptism and its importance, it was a wonderful talk and the Spirit was truly present. We were thankful because McKenzie and Taylor were there to hear it. There was another woman, Rebecca Sinclair, who heard it as well. We met her and her children last week and she said she was new but we thought that meant she moved in. So that sunday we told the Primary president to look out for her son's and I looked for her this Sunday, but didn't see her. Well it turns out she is not a member, she called Bishop after church and asked "What do I need to do so I can get baptized and how can I join your church?" We called her last night and are meeting with her Wednesday! :) Those are the stories you hear about.. but don't ever believe. And it just happened to us! I am so thankful. Like I said the Lord has truly blessed us. :)
It has been the best, hardest, and most rewarding week of my mission. A lot can happen in 2 months! I met some of the most meanest people, like angry elf status, and nicest people this week :) And I love the work just the same! I miss you all, but not too much :) Becuase I know this is where I need to be. Thanks for your prayers and support, I appreciate it! 

Do one act of service this week, it will make you SO happy! :)
Sister Hamilton
Pic 1: My District and I before Transfers
Pic 2: Dropping of Sister Blackett 
Pic 3: Welcoming Sister Blaylock

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"Wait! Where'd your posse go?"‏‏

Hello Family and Friends!
First, the quote came from a guy in the grocery store who asked me that question when I checked out in a different line from my companions.. haha :) So I call them my posse now.
Another wonderful week in Marietta/Rosewell/Sandy Springs Georgia has flown by! I honestly don't even know where to start. Its the end of my first transfer in the field and I love being able to say I've been in GA longer than I was in the MTC! :) The people here seriously just warm my heart. I love them all so much. Their adorable accents always make me smile, and no I'm not just talking about the Southern accent, which I don't actually hear all that often.. its usually masked by French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese etc as I seem to be living where all the immigrants settle outside Atlanta. Its beautiful, its home.
 Let me try to get some of the highlights of the week.
McKenzie and Taylor: We teach them once a week and they aren't the best at keeping their commitments but we can tell the Gospel is something they ultimately want so we are trying to work with them. We were all a little worried about the lesson we were going to have with them on Tuesday because as all missionaries know, sometimes there comes a time when you don't teach someone as often and that's always really sad because you come to love them so much. The lesson was AMAZING. McKenzie said, "you know, all this would make much more sense if I would just get my butt to church! I'm going to do that!" Unfortunatley she had to work this sunday but she has promised us she'll be here this coming sunday. She also said how baptism has been on her mind and she knows it somethings she wants. Taylor wants to be baptized as well. They both committed to pray about a date to be baptized and were much more engaged in our lesson and we could see them really applying everything to their own life. It was amazing. I certainly do love those two.

Cassandra: Cassandra has been reading the Book of Mormon and each time we walk up to her I see a smile bigger than I thought imagionable. Yesterday when we saw her she had a HUGE smile and litterally RAN to us to tell us what she had learned. We have been asking her questions she has about the Bible, of things that are confusing, and using the Book of Mormon to explain it. She loves that :) She's great, and always make me happy because of how much joy she has about her! She's legit! :)
While walking on one of the most busy roads in our Area we found behind trees a HUGE camp ground.. No joke a camp ground with cabins and such. Just a little gem hidden off of Rosewell Road. Now I say Gem.. but it was honestly kind of creepy.. Haha I just couldn't believe how random it was.
Speaking of Random.. shout out to MITCHELL GRANT! Why? Oh thats because I see at least 2 Dominican hair salons each day. they all have insanely hilarious pictures and title names. I thought you might enjoy that. Oh and I meet a  bunch of Dominicans. So.. hey Atlanta is the place to be!
On Saturday it was 85 degrees. Which is wonderful and I loved it, until I realized that if its 85 and its not even spring.. I'm going to be hating my life in a few weeks.. haha I put on my make-up that has sun screen in it and thought it would be enough.. But I still got burnt. We went and practiced teaching with a young couple in our ward and she said to me "You just have  light and love and excitement that radiates from you, its amazing. I know the people you teach feel it. Just one thing you should work on is not being so nervous." I was so confused becuase I wasn't nervous.. she then said "I mean you've been blushing this whole time I'm so sorry." Oh.. ya.. by blushing she's actually referring to my sunburn.. HAHA Oh no.. time to buy real sun screen.
Last two items of business. We had a training meeting with President Wolfert of all those whom came in the transfer I did with their trainers. Seriously President and Sister Wolfert are amazing! I love them and they teach us all so much! It was amazing to see Sister Blaylock and Sister Reese. We all had fun and were taught a lot of good things to remember so that we can use our training time effectively and continue to become great missionaries :) 
Remember how I really like Sister Blaylock? And how she and I and Sister Dickerson had fun in the MTC? well.. We just got a call about 5 minutes ago with some CRAZY news. Transfers for people in their 2 transfer training program mean nothing, becuase you stay with your trainer. Right? WRONG-O. Sister Blackett is being Transfered to the University of Georgia-Athens and Sister Blaylock is coming here! Which is crazy becuase Sister Blackett is going to be joining her MTC companion and Sister Blaylock was my MTC companion for a couple days. WEIRD! I'm super sad to see Sister Blackett go, but I'm excited to work more with Sister Blaylock. :)
Well thats about it for the week. Um.. write me letters.. I look super pathetic when I don't get any mail and my companions get a lot.. And we wouldn't want that to happen.. right?
I love you all!
Sister Hamilton
Pic 3: sister Reese and I
Pic 2: The three of us, Sister Reese Blaylock and I were companions while Sister PaePaeTaaTa Young and Lapin were companions, now our trainers. So we got a picture with them :)
Pic 1: Ghost Town Camp Ground!

Monday, March 11, 2013

These "feet" were made for walkin'

Hello Family and Friends!
I honestly can't believe its P-day again! How does it happen so fast? When I look at my planner and see all the things we have done each day the past week I cannot understand how we got it all done, let alone how it feels like it only took one day. Time certainly is a funny thing.
Missionary work is amazing. A couple, the Savoldi's, spoke to us in Sacrament meeting yesterday. They are leaving on thursday for their 4th mission, this one in Italy. Sister Savoldi quoted Isaiah and Mosiah. In Mosiah it reads (Ch15:15-16)
"15 And O how beautiful upon the mountains were their feet!
16 And again, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that are still publishing peace!"
She talked about feet and how beautiful they are as long as they are doing good things. Like people they come in all shapes and sizes, are sometimes funny looking, are strong, can endure, and work. Our Master's feet were perfect and so beautiful because they were only used for doing good. It would be to our benefit if we stoped and thought for a moment, "If the Master were to walk in MY footsteps, would He be proud?" Or simply sing the tune "Have I done any good in the world today? Have I helped anyone in need? Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad?....Has anyone's burden been lighter today, because I was willing to share? Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way? When they needed my help was I there?"
For my letter this week, I'm going to tell you all about what my little wide 6.5 sized feet did this week. Of the places they walked, of the good they helped do, and of the lessons they helped me to learn.
This week has been really amazing. First off the weather these past few days has been sooo nice! It was raining SO badly on Monday--Wednesday which made walking around.. fun.. basically flash flood status. :) And there's this beautiful thing in GA called no side walks and hardly any paths to front doors. So my feet got wet and muddy and cold as we walked to find, talk to, love, and smile at God's children. I have had to clean off my shoes a lot at night :) Its fun though, as long as I had my umbrella I loved it! :)
These past few days this place turned to heaven. 70 degress with basically no humidity and no wind. BEAUTIFUL! I have LOVED walking around in the sun shine, everyone we talk to seems to be happier too :) My feet were placed on the pedals of my bike to help us cover more miles in a day. Woot woot! :) We rode our bikes two days this week, the picture at the bottom is me playing Safety Kid. Just rockin' the helmet, no big deal.
Because of feet, we were able to find many sweet people to talk to. Hear of beautiful families and lives centered on Christ. We were able to see families at their homes and teach a family more about the gospel around a camp fire. Ya, that's real. And it was probably one of my favorite lessons so far. This family has used their feet to bless their lives as they walked a mile to church because their car broke down. They are truly loved by my companions and I, but more importantly loved by God.
Our feet lead sweet Cassandra around the Church building and walked quietly through the chapel. Cassandra loved the church tour and said she felt so much "peace" she kept begging us "oh please, lets stay a little longer, I dont want to leave." So for those moments, our feet stayed planted as we helped her to explain and feel the Spirit which was so strongly present there. I was able to invite Cassandra to be baptized and she promised that if she came to know it was true and if she could always feel this peace that she would. :) We will continue to teach her, but most importantly her feet are taking her closer to the Savior, no matter what her final decision of baptism is.
The ward members have been extremely supportive this week and have walked with us as we taught our lessons. I had no idea so many of them wanted to come along. Even better is ALL of them found us on sunday, or their husbands, and told us about how wonderful it was and how they can't wait to go back and teach whomever it was they taught! :) Sister Blake came with us when we taught Cassandra and she said to us "I just love her! Is that normal?" We all laughed and said yes it was, that we love those we teach because we see them as God sees them and are blessed to feel a glimpse of His love for them.
Lastly, my feet lead a researcher from the MTC around for the day. Yup, just another Celeberty Sister Hamilton moment, no big deal :) Our mission was chosen, along with a few others, to be shadowed by the MTC research department this past week, and again in 6 week to compare having 3 weeks in the MTC vs 2 weeks. It was really neat to be shadowed, interviewed, and taught little by Brother Zeidner. Plus it was just weird to have a man following our companionship all day... haha But I definitely learned a LOT from him. He had great insights about teaching and how to see others so that they can feel our love for them.
Did I ever tell you my ward is in the same building as the Portuguese branch? Well it is. :) So that's super fun. And they fed us missionaries a Brazillian feast yesterday :) they are so sweet! And one of the girls is getting baptized adn wants to be a missionary so I'm excited for that. the elders want me to talk to her, but I don't know any Portuguese so we'll seee.. haha
well I really have to go now! :) I love you all! Kristi, I'm SOOO EXCITED!! :)

Sister Hamilton
P.S. Chicken and Waffle Chips are real.. :)

Crazy south weather!

Hello Everyone!
First things first:
Happy Birthday this week to Paul and Patrick!
Happy Anniversary to Mom and Dad on the 5th and Heidi and Patrick on the 6th!
Thanks to Heidi for my calendar so I don't forget important dates :)
Another fast fast week here in the greater Atlanta area! I can't believe its already P-Day! But man do I need a few hours of break or what. We work so hard that I get SO tired. Not like I stayed up to late or ran too far, its hard to explain. We choose to just refer to it as "mission tired." :)
The work is great and I love it. We are starting to teach a few more people but it seems as soon as more people want to learn more the ones we had been teaching all of a sudden want to learn a lot less.. If you know what I mean.. But Hey! Its all good! :) We are still working hard and finding people to teach. We are teaching this sweet girl named Cassandra. Finding and teaching her has actually been a funny story, you ready? :) So we found Cassandra last Sunday while walking around town. She works at Little Ceasars and is the person who holds the "$5 pizza" sign. She is awesome, she always is playing yo-yo or hula-hoop! Anyways so when we talked to her on Sunday she thought what we were doing was so great and loved meeting "lovers of Christ." She didn't want a book of mormon, but wanted our card to check out Mormon.organd asked us to come back to that spot on Tuesday for her next shift. When we came back she had a lot of questions for us about the Restoration and we were able to talk to her a lot and she asked if she could still have a Book of Mormon. We gave it to her along with a couple chapters to read and she told us when she would be working again. When we got back we talked a lot about the atonement, things went great she had read and told us her next shift. We came back and had a great lesson about prayer and she as accepted the invitation to come on a church tour with us tomorrow. She's pretty awesome and has such a love for life it makes teaching so fun! :) I suppose teaching Cassandra is really following the principle of "teach when you find" It doesn't matter that cars are driving past the spirit is still strong and we are all able to learn from each other.
We had Zone Conference this week with our zone and the zone next to us. Out of about 60 missionaries there was a grand total of.. 3 sisters! Yup! just my companions and myself :) And Sister Wolfert of course. In fact most of the speakers forgot that we were there.. and would just say "Now elders.." or "Elders we need.." So I guess we're off the hook? :) Just kidding hehe. Zone Conference was seriously the bomb! I loved it! We learned some really great principles and it was just fun to be with other missionaries and to learn from President and Sister Wolfert. What was hilarious was Sister Wolfert had us sisters with her and all the Elders were with President and we come back with treats and a goodie-bag and the Elders had gotten a throw-down about obedience, haha! the perks of being a Sister :) I also got my bike at zone conferences, my comps keep bothering me to name it.. so any suggestions? :)
The weather here is.. interesting. It reminds me a lot of Bay Area winters, like its windy and cold but temperature wise its not super low. You know what I mean? Although on Saturday and Sunday there were actually some snow flurries around, that was crazy! Nothing stuck or anything. But the people here were hilarious! We would knock on the door and they would look at us like we were crazy for being out in that weather, and before saying bye to us would say "Y'all be careful out there in the blizzard" or "I'll be prayin' for y'all while you're walkin' in the blizzard." Haha just a little snow, and everyone thinks its a blizzard! haha :) Today is a nice day though, just need a light sweater. Its crazy how that happens!
Once upon a time I said we had dinner with members every night, well once upon a time that wasnt true anymore. But its all good :) Dinner isn't about the food, its about building relationships and talking to the members so they trust us to teach their friends. Since dinner appointments arent as common anymore we are doing a lot of "Campion Days" aka we work through dinner and then come home an hour early to eat. Its actually working out great because we are able to talk to so many people during dinner time because they are home from work. :) So Friday was a big time champion day because we worked through dinner and it was SOOO cold. We were big time troopers. But point of the matter is we discovered not to long ago that our fire place actually works. Its a gas fireplace so it can be turned on at a light switch so we decided we were going to have a camp out, so that is exactly what we did. After a hard and long day of tracting and teaching in the cold we came home, turned on the fire (haha) and roasted hot dogs, smores, and starbursts. It was SO fun. We all needed a good laugh. We printed one of the pictures with all of us as a post card and are sending it to our Sisters in UGA (University of Georgia-Athens) who happen to be a tripanionship of each of our good friends in the mission. :)
Everything is going well. I am getting more comfortable with bringing up the gospel quickly in conversation and am less scared to knock on doors. Its funny becuase my companions are more comfortable with knocking on doors and talking to people there, and I would much rather walk up to someone on the street and spark up a conversation. So I'm definitely learning from them. :) the Lord truly is great, and He has blessed us to see many miracles every day. Being one of His missionaries is such a great experience, I love it!
Read the Book of Mormon, it will teach you so much about any stage in life you are in and will help you feel so much peace. It truly is the book that will bring anyone closer to Christ.
I love you all and thank you for the mail, its always makes the days happier. Hint hint.. :) Dad, you're off the hook, you are a champ at letter writting. :) I love you Dad! And I love you too mom :)

Sister Hamilton

Friday, March 1, 2013

Life is SO good!

Hello Family and Friends,

Another week has gone by! How crazy is that? The mission does this thing to time, I can't explain it. The days seem like years, seriously when I lay my head on my pillow at night I can't even remember what I ate for breakfast. It seems like YEARS since I had been in bed. But yet, here I am another P-Day and I feel like I was here yesterday. WEIRD!!!

Overall, all is well here for me! I am extremely happy, and that's genuine joy. Like for real, I'm happy. This truly is the Lords work and I am so lucky to be apart of it. We aren't teaching very much but by golly I love talking to everyone on the street. Sure, some look at me like I'm crazy, some pretend I'm not there, but every once in awhile someone gets excited about what message I have to share and they talk to us and accept our invitation to learn more. And for those, 1 in 20 people, its more than worth it.

People are generally nice. Some of them are even sweet enough to say "ya'll dont need to come back" with their cute 'ol southern accents. Its almost like in waves, one day everyone is nice (doesn't mean they care about our message) and the other, everyone we talk to isn't so nice.. But I love the work all the same and some days when the trend is "not so nice" I make it a goal to make someone laugh or smile. Probably bothers them more, but it makes me have fun.. haha :) Whenever someone says "Oh no thanks, I'm a Christian" I usually respond "That is wonderful! So are we! Isn't our Lord Jesus Christ amazing?" Poor people.. they were hoping to get me to put my head down and be sad after that comment, little did they know they were sparking up a conversation! :) Now I don't want you to think I'm being rude or sneaky, becuase I assure you I am not. I just love showing people how much the Savior means to me and can mean to them.

We are teaching this awesome single mom and her teenage daughter. The Mom is a photographer, and daughter a soccer player so I'm able to relate to both of them pretty well which makes teaching nice. Its so amazing to watch their testimony grow and faith in our Savior. They have said baptism is a goal and they love coming to church with us on Sunday, but worry that the Word of Wisdom might be hard to keep, so we are trying to help them and keeping them in our prayers.
We have a car, as the picture would suggest but we also do a good amount of walking. Anywhere from 3-4 hours a day sometimes more. And starting Wednesday, when we get my bike, we will be riding bikes and walking and hardly using the car. Its nice to have a car for dinner appointments because our area covers parts of 3 or 4 cities, but I've got be honest. I LOVE when we are out walking. It just feels nice, even though my poor white skin doesn't love the sun so much yet.. Thanks for that one Dad.. :)

Oh no! I'm almost out of time! Okay quick quick quick.

A family in our ward told us of their daughter who had a hard time getting back in to real life after her mission because while she was on her mission she said "I have come to a mission cliff, and am choosing to jump off." Now I am not saying I am committing mission suicide.. But I am going to follower her advice and the advice of Elder Holland. "Your mission is a new time, a new adventure, a new dedication to the Lord, a new you, and you can NEVER go back." Because I have made this decision now, I hope to feel the most joy in being in this service. BUT I do need your help. :)

I am, as a missionary, one of the most prayed for people in the world. Millions of members in thousands of places and hundreds of different languages are praying for me. And believe me, I feel the support of your/their thoughts and prayers. But I have a favor to ask you.. There are only a handful of people praying for those whom I meet on the street and what not.. My companions, my district, mission President etc. But they are the ones who deserve prayers. Will you join me in my efforts and praying for Gods children in the Paper-Mill area? Pray for them to be happy, to feel peace, to do well in whatever they need, but most of all please pray that if they are looking to come closer to their Savior that they will recognize myself and my companions as His representatives. They are such special people who deserve to be thought of and prayed for. Thank you so much! 

Well I think that's probably it for now. I am having a blast I just think it is so fun to meet so many new people a day and we definitely find SO many things to laugh about :) Like our attempt at car washing.. Oh! I should probably let you all know that I am becoming "strong like bull" haha! I don't know if I told you last week but I won our MTC push up competition by doing 60 :) and I have made it a goal the past two weeks to do 200 push-ups a week, along with running 1-2 miles each morning. Its so nice to have companions that want to actually work out! :)
Anyways, thank you for all your letters and prayers. I sure love mail! And if I didn't respond, its because I dont have your address (mainly from dear elder letters) so do me a favor and write me again with your address and i'll respond. Oh and Kristi, you said you were emailing me, but I never got one.. so ask mom. :) 
I love you all!

Sister Hamilton