Monday, April 29, 2013

"Not sure what your children have been up too? Bring them in for a free drug screening!" -Billboard in town

Hello my WONDERFUL family and friends!
And before I fail to mention this.. can I just say that what happened in Boston was so tragic. I have kept those people in my prayers all week and hope you all will do the same. No matter how dark the world will get I am thankful to have the knowledge and peace that the Lord and His light and goodness will always prevail.

How are you all doing? I hope you're doing well! I am doing great here in GA. I woke up today with a surprising amount of energy, which isn't always normal... So I'm happy! This week has been really great overall. I am learning more than I thought imaginable and can't believe the transfer is just about over. I feel like I got here then blinked.. Its hard to believe its already been 3 months.
We are teaching some absolutely wonderful people, whom I love. Every one of them is amazing and I feel blessed to be teaching them. We have a few progressing toward baptism and its amazing to see the unique strugges that ALWAYS pop up as they are making the most progress. But they're all awesome and I'm thankful they are relying on the Lord for their strength. Their dedication to learn and use the scriptures and prayer to find peace and comfort is really inspiring, and they make me want to be better! :)
I've been blessed the past little bit to attend two baptisms, both in Portuguese. The girls that were baptized are so sweet and becuase they meet in our church building we get to see them each week. Regardless of language barriers they come up to us each week and give us a big hug! The Portuguese Branch is so sweet here!
Now, excuse my excitement for something that may seem.. small.. but to a missionary its a HUGE deal. :) Missionaries give out lots of Books of Mormon each day (and they're free so check out if you want your own copy!). As much as we hope and pray that the people we give them to will read, it doesn't always happen. But this week alone there were 3 people we gave them to on the street and didn't get their address, but ran into them another day in the same area and they had read! It was sooo cool! :) One of them is a single mom named Tiffani who has let us come by 2 more times now to teach her and her young son more about the Church and the Book of Mormon. She has an extremely busy schedule but I am so thankful she is making the time for us to be able to come and teach her, AND making time to read what we ask her to (and more!) before we come again.
So if you have a Book of Mormon you haven't seen in awhile, go ahead and blow off the dust and start with the introduction. If that doesn't peak your interest read the testimonies. Then either start from the beginning, pick a random page, or even start at the end (pg 529) and figure out the best way to read so you can get the most out of it. As a representative of Jesus Christ I can promise you that if you take the time to do this blessings will come. You will feel peace and joy. You will feel a more open communication with God our Father. You will be filled with the love our Savior and Redeemer has for you. And you will want to read more. But hey! Don't take my word for it, go ahead and try it out yourself, you won't regret it! :)
We had interviews with President Wolfert this week, he is such an awesome mission president! It was nice to hear from him that he thinks I'm doing well and is pleased with the growth I've made these past months. I got a bit embarrassed/excited when he told me that he read one of my emails (a part of it) to the entire mission! It was the one with the story I told you a few weeks ago about Jacqualine and her grandson Joshua and the miracle it was to meet them and be teaching them. So I guess maybe I am doing at least one thing right! :) There are (in theory) 11 available trainers as of May 1st, and 11 sisters coming in on that date.. President said to me "Are you ready to be a trainer? Oh I don't need a response! Of course you are! And I have a feeling we'll be using you soon." I'm just hoping my trainer trains 2 again next transfer so I'll be off the hook for another 6 weeks :) We'll find out today sometime.. If you wanted to cross your fingers for me I'd be okay with that!
Now I have 2 or so stories left to tell you, and I'll try to keep them short. Its a good thing I can type so fast otherwise my letters would be two sentences long! (or maybe you'd like them shorter.. haha)
So once upon a time we were knocking on doors, basically every missionary's dream. We go up to this house... I'm the first on the porch and all of a sudden the boards move.. I realize that most of them aren't actually nailed down.. and the other half of the porch which happens to be about 4-5 feet off the ground is missing ALL the boards.. :) So no one answered the door.. we left blah blah blah. So we are walking and passing the home again and Sister Young is on the phone.. Well this cute OLD frail lady comes out and almost falls through the floor on the porch then goes and sits on her rocking chair. She starts waving and talking to me but I cannot hear her.. so I go closer.. closer.. closer until I'm standing right next to her chair on the porch. Barbara (90yr old) has no upper teeth and just 3 on the bottom, and she was repeating each word like 5 times. Once I figured her pattern I could actually follow the conversation and we talked a lot. About her dogs, the son, the Lord, how she's happy etc. When her daughter came outside Sisters Blaylock and Young talked to her while I continued to talk to Barbara. She held my hand and said with her thick southern accent, "Baby, I love you." "You sure are beautiful!" "You're such a doll." Right before we left she said to me (while pulling me close so we were face to face) "Sugar, God sure has been good to me becuase He brought me you. Please come back, I sure love you." Then gave me a big kiss on the cheek. Barbara has late stage dimensia and her daugher takes care of her. The reason she has no teeth right now is she lost her dentures and Fran (her daughter) can't find them anywhere :) Fran, with tears in her eyes said, "oh please come back. She is glowing with happiness, please come and minister to her again." Now I tell you this story part for humor, part because it was such a sweet moment, but mostly I tell you it because I want you all to know, just as I told Barbara multiple times, that God knew her and loved her. He loves her so much. I know it because I felt it in my whole being as I looked into her blue eyes and saw her face fill with more rinkles as she smiled and showed her gums. God loves her. She is His daughter. He loves every single one of us. I pray every day that everyone can feel His love for them a little more. Please, pray to recognize His love. It is there. He loves you all so much! I know it, and I hope you know it.
Last story, sorry this letter is so long! My first Sunday here in the Paper Mill ward there was a ward member who when we introduced ourselves to him said "You don't need to remember my name because I don't like you." My companions decided we better avoid him.. I took it as a challenge.. :) Imagine that.. :) This will make sense in a second.. So yesterday one of the families we are teaching came to church! They were so sweet. Leigh, the mom, and two of her children sat with me. Funny side note during sacrament her 3 year old said "Mommy, is (blank) a bad word?" HAHA! Mom I'm sure you can relate to that. Anyways so after Sacrament meeting the man who said he didn't like us was the FIRST to introduce themselves to Leigh and her family. He told her, "I'm so happy to see you here today! Are you working with the sisters? That's great! You are in good hands. Now I hate to admit this infront of one of them.. you are working with great missionaries and teachers. But I want you to know that if and when they get transferred to a new area, you will always have a place and be taken care of by this church. Please come again." It was amazing!! :) Possibly the biggest compliment because I knew how much he didn't like sister missionaries from past missionaries in the ward. It was so kind of him to say. Many others introduced themselves to the Hales and the whole family loved church. Her teenager is starting to come to mutual as well. They are such a special family! Be sure to keep them in your prayers for me :)  
Thank you mom for all you do, and for making us lay mulch every summer in the back yard. Thats what I did multiple times this week for service.. At least I knew what to expect :) It was actually a lot of fun. I love any service that lets me wear my jeans, which still fit by the way! Huge accomplishment.. :)
I'll send another email with some more pictures! I love you all! Thanks for everything you do, and if you ever get bored. Letters are always fun.. just saying.. :)
With love,
Sister Hamilton
2. Sister PaePaeTaaTa and Blaylock when we were on exchange.. and we accidently dressed similar.

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