Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Well, You Know What They Say... "The South Will Rise Again!"

My wonderful family and friends,
I honestly don't know what to talk about this week. There is so much to choose from, I have learned SO much! I have had some great experiences and met some straight up nuts people, who I love! It has definitely been a week to remember. We have been witnesses of MULTIPLE miracles. Have I said how this is the Lords work? Because believe me, it is. We are merely His tools, doing our best to find the hearts He has prepared. That is one thing I am definitely sure of.
The week started off as normal, played some sand Volleyball last P-Day with the missionaries in the Roswell zone. I got to see Sister Blaylock and she informed me that D'lan, a woman we were teaching has chosen a date for baptism and wants to make sure I'll be there! :) I am so proud of her! Hopefully things keep moving forward as they should and soon I'll go and witness her making that covenant and promise with God.
We had Zone conference (2 zones=80 missionaries) this week with Elder Ellis from the 70. He spoke at General Conference. He is awesome. Well I was lucky enough to forget to prepare a 5 minute talk.. and couldn't have been "happier" when it was announced I would  be speaking not only to 80 missionaries, and President and Sister Wolfert, but also Elder and Sister Ellis. It was good, I talked about how I feel the Spirit and how we all can do better at recognizing the Spirit. We also sang (all the Sisters) How Great Thou Art. It was such a wonderful meeting. I learned SO much!!
There was this one woman we met, such a sweetheart. Her name was Dianna and she said "I am a missionary sometimes too, I go door to door and help people find Christ." we had a great conversation with her and then Sister Beasley said "We'll see you soon!" I looked at her and said, you do realize you just promised her we would see her and we don't have a name or phone number and we are on the street? She laughed and said.. ya.. But I feel like we will. I said "Sweet! I sure hope so!" Well the next day while I was on exchange her and Sister Merback knocked on a door and it happened to be a bible study, and guess who was there? Our new friend Dianna! She texted us the next day and invited us to a "Bible Game Night" So we went. It was so fun and a wonderful experience. We accidentally went out of our area.. like by .5 miles had no idea, but when we saw other sister Missionaries.. we figured it out way fast.. haha Anyways, these 4 women don't belong to any particular religion, they just study from the bible together a few days a week. After they had done their bible study the one in charge looked at me and said 'Sister Hamilton, will you teach us about your religion now?" I was surprised that out of the 4 sisters she asked me, the only one she hadn't  met before today. So I taught, and Sister Beasley jumped in with me. And they LOVED it. Sister Beasley and I then found ourselves in the Kitchen talking with Dianna and Gloria (the one in charge) while the other sisters taught the other two. Gloria and Dianna loved the book of mormon and asked us to start teaching their bible studies once a week. Dianna cried as she talked about how she'd prayed we'd find her again after we met her and she was just in shock because she had never seen Sister Missionaries before. What a tender mercy! 3 of the 4 women live in our area so we will teach them, while the other sisters will teach the 1 who lives in theirs.
 We are still teaching Bobby, the man we found fixing his car. We brought a member with us who kept coming to our minds the more we prayed. Well it turns out that member and Bobby's son played football together! What a miracle! They had an instant connection and the lesson went great. Bobby still wants to be baptized and this member blessed his home and when we asked Bobby if he would like to have that same priesthood someday he got the biggest grin and said "Lord willin' I'll have it someday!"
We went to a great production of the 10 Virgins (MATT 25:1-13) that our stake put on and I got to see lots of members from the Paper Mill ward. One of them gave me the biggest hug and said "I can't wait to have y'all over for dinner tomorrow!" I had to break the news that I had been transferred, she had no idea because she's been out of town. She just said "Well that's not fair.. Okay I'll get your number and I'll come to Johns Creek and take you to Dinner there!" :) I felt so much love from them as they came up and thanked me for my service and said nice things to my companion about me. The same thing happened when I saw some of them at Ward Conference the next day. I feel blessed to have served in the Paper Mill ward and love them all so much! However, I feel equally blessed here in Johns Creek and know its where the Lord needs me to be. The church here is amazing, and we have already been able to touch a lot of hearts of Sisters who haven't come to church in years because they say "it was Sisters that brought me the Church" and they haven't seen sisters since.

I had a great time being in Roswell for 24 hours on exchange with another new missionary. I got to contact a friend of someone I was teaching, so that was great! We did some great work and I am so thankful for the joy the Lord blesses us with when we work hard. It was a "fun" experience to be on bike the whole time with 92 degree weather and the humidity getting worse and worse each day. YAY! haha I took a picture by the Harley Davidson sign for all of my wonderful brothers. I think my bike fits in with the motorcycles don't you?
Anyways, that's all I have time for. Another random fact. They have wooden Crosses lining the high way and streets right now, each representing a fallen soldier in a war with an American flag on top. I took a picture of one from all the wars, they even had the Civil War! How amazing is that! This one man asked us if there were any from Vietnam and I told him where he could find them and when I mentioned the Civil War and how I thought it was amazing they had a name from it he said "Sista, we are in the SOUTH. You KNOW that has a political agenda."  It was HILARIOUS! and I said "Well you know what they say, "The South shall RISE again!" We just laughed and laughed. Oh how I love this place and these special people!
I love you all! you mean the world to me!
Happy Birthday to Lucas!!!!!! I LOVE YOU KIDDO!!
Happy Birthday to Samantha!!!! I LOVE YOU SWEETHEART!!!
Sister Hamilton

Friday, May 17, 2013

Things I Want You To Know

My goodness! I am pretty sure I am the LUCKIEST missionary in the ENTIRE world. I have the best support system at home and the most amazing people to serve around.
It was such a blessing to be able to call home and skype with ALL of the Hamiltons. Seriously, I couldn't have asked for anything better. I want to apologize for my behavior.. I bet you didn't know that once I would go on a mission I'd become a spaz.. and well.. neither did I! Haha I just felt so excited and overwhelmed with Joy to talk to everyone I didn't know what to talk about. I promise I'm not like that with those I meet on the mission.. not too often at least :)
First things first, some individual notes:
Mom and Dad: Thank you so much for answering the Face-Time when I called. My heart just jumped and I was so excited to see the look on your faces. Mom the tears in your eyes made me love you even more. And Dad the grin on your face is one I'll never forget. I love you both!!
Jared and Kristi: Jared, thank you so much for getting skype all set up so we could all do a big video chat. Just like the birthday card said "I'm a lucky one!" Kristi you look adorable!! And I'm so glad I got to talk to you :) It was great to see the kids new tricks and hear their giggles and see their smiles. I love those little ones!
Heidi and Patrick: It was so great to see you all! Little Katie is SO cute! She is so different, uh! I love her! Thanks for talking to me and asking me questions to keep me on task :)
Wayne and Kristin: Thank you!! Thank you for rushing home to jump on skype for a few moments so I could at least hear your voices. That was wonderful!
Paul and Lindsey: Thanks for being patient with not having the video for awhile and for talking to me ;) It was so great to talk to you both and do me a favor and have lots of fun in Gualala for me!
Scott and Chelse: I sure love you! Thanks for putting up with me being a punk. But in reality.. I'm just as bad as you are so hey give me your address and I'll be sure to write you, THEN I'll expect a letter :) 
Grandma and Lori: What a GREAT suprise it was to see you on skype for a few moments before I had to go. Thank you so much I love you! and please forgive me for being so crazy.
I had fun talking to you all, I hope you enjoyed seeing me squirm as I tried my best to be a good trainer and get everything done on time.haha I promise I'm usually great at doing everything on time. And now, because I was such a spaz on skype last night I was replaying it all night because I was too happy to sleep.. and I decided there were some things that I wish I would have said.. or things I hope you all know. So that is what my letter is going to be this week, a list of things I hope you all know that I know.
So for each of the following points please insert "I hope you know that I" before each one.
1. absolutely love my Savior Jesus Christ. He truly is the light and the life of the world. When we let Him into our hearts there is no room for darkness, and our lives are filled with joy more than we can comprehend.
2. am forever thankful to have the name Hamilton on my name tag. Its a blessing to see it everyday and be reminded of the wonderful family, and adopted family, I have supporting me each and everyday. I carry all of you with me and am so thankful for the strength you give me.
3. choose to not dwell on the negative experiences of my mission. No, my mission is not easy. Yes, I am regected more than accepted. Yes, there are some very mean people, but oddly enough I still love them. And perhaps someday, I will share more of them. But I figure its much more fun to read about the miracles I do have than the times my heart literally aches for the poor sorrowful soul who thinks tearing down the message  I have will help them feel joy.
4. LOVE these people. I love the ones with no teeth. I love the ones with hilarious accents. I love the 10 second Toms, who introduce themselves to me 8 times in 3 minutes. I love the ones who find me later in the day to tell me they "love my bike." I love the ones who say they'll pray for me, even when the reason they are praying is because they feel my soul is lost. I love the ones who invite me to their churches. I love the ones who let me into their homes. I love the ones who cross the street when they get close enough to see my name tag. I love the ones who offer me a beer because "it looks like you've had a long day." I absolutely LOVE THESE CRAZY SOUTHERN PEOPLE! :)
5. am blessed beyond imagination to be a missionary. The joy i feel is too much to bottle in, and all I want to do is share it with everyone I meet.
6. absolutely hate fire ants. More than I hate snakes.. which is a big deal. And to my great joy i am told they only continue to multiply as the heat goes on. I hate that they can leave countless bites and burns in a 20 second period. I hate that they are everywhere. And I hate that they are "Gods creatures" so I'm not supposed to hate them.. Never again will I not watch where I stop for a second.. My foot is looking more normal.. in case you understood the hidden messages.. haha
7. absolutely rock the helmet head every day on my bike and the neopolitian ice cream tan lines, tan, burnt, and white according to the length of my shirt.
8. love every one of you. You all mean the world to me. I pray for you each night and hold you close to my heart.
9. KNOW without a single doubt of my mind that this is Christ's church reestablished to the earth. I know that the point of this gospel is to bless families. God placed us in families, and wants nothing more than for us to return to Him in families. Families are eternal, and I want nothing more than for my family to be together forever. Heaven wouldn't be heaven without all of you, I hope you know how much I love you.
2 Nephi 5:27 "And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness." That is exactly how I feel about my mission. living in a manner of happiness, its what drives me to talk to everyone. I'd encourage you all to look inside you and find something that brings you happiness. Something that has more worth than a $. Find what fills your heart with joy and then, hold fast to it, whatever it is. The Prophet Joseph said, "Happiness is the object and design of our existence, and will be the end thereof if we pursue the path that leads to it." Find your path, you won't regret it. And if you are looking for a path I'd encourage you to try the path that leads to learning of Christ and making promises with Him. I promise that for me, it is the path which has brough me the most joy, and can be for you as well.
I encourage all of you to dust off the Book of Mormon on your shelf, download the app, go online, or "ask the missionaries, they can help you." There was a man I met last week who said he didn't believe there was a God. I gave him a Book of Mormon and said "Will you try reading this? I promise that as you do so you'll feel something special." We went back to his house this week to find 3 chairs infront of his apartment, he came right outside with the Book of Mormon in hand. As we sat down he told me with a smile on his face "You were right, I don't know what it is but I feel happy when I read this book. I love how much good they try to do for each other. This is a good book." I was able to testify to him that if he continued to read he would come to know there was a God, and that He indeed had a son, Jesus Christ. That is my invitation for you all this week. Just open it and put it to the test, see if it doesn't speak something good to your heart.
I love you all more than words can express! Have a great week!
Sister Hamilton

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Hello family & Friends!


Oh my goodness! what a crazy day! week month etc!

I'm officially a big girl here in the mission.. How? Oh that's because I have a companion who is newer than I am and I had no choice but to take off the training wheels. haha It sure has been an adventure, but so far I'm loving it!

My last day in Paper Mill was definitely one to remember, I got lots of pictures and loved being able to see everyone and say bye. I will always be thankful for my time there and hope to perhaps serve there again during my mission. I am also SO thankful to be here in Johns Creek. But I don't actually live in Johns Creek.. :) I live in Duluth GA. In a really nice complex, surrounded by.. really interesting people :) I live right off the freeway, but if I couldn't hear all the cars I'd have no idea because of all the wonderful trees. The ward took GREAT care of us getting our apartment set up. A wonderful ward member came and picked us up our first day and took us to pick out desks. It was such a blessing because I didn't have a GPS or map of the area so I was able to learn where some places were as she drove us to some stores. Thankfully I broke down and bought a GPS.. because after 3 stores and 4 gas stations of not having maps I figured it was time to get one so I at least looked like a competent missionary :)

My new companion is Sister Beasley from Woodland UT, near Park City. She's got a great attitude and really wants to work hard. We may or may not have stalked the new missionaries when they were in a meeting before we met them.. and I may or may not have said "I call the red head!" This is all hypothetical of course. But Sister Beasley does indeed have red curly hair and is really sweet and funny, I'm sure we'll have lots of fun.

Also! The mission has given us a brand new 2013 Toyota Camry to drive, that is real. I also may or may not have joked about that being my car when we first got to the mission office.. So I'm thinking I should start predicting things more often. Anyone need help buying a lottery ticket? I'M KIDDING OF COURSE! :)

Our first few days were definitely ones to remember. Its "exciting" coming into an area where you know.. nothing. We have met SO many new people which I absolutely love. There are lots of complexes by ours, probably 8 within a mile and a half walk. So we see people all the time. We have also knocked doors in neighborhoods which is fun as well.

I thought there was diversity in my last area.. there is definitely a lot of diversity here! and I LOVE IT! Its amazing! I absolutely love it. The ward is very diverse as well. Half the signs on the streets are written in Korean, a fourth in english, and a fourth in Spanish. Its crazy fun :) I feel at home and I love it!

We met a man with a great testimony of Christ. He cried as he explained how he feels the world needs more good people and needs Christ but doesn't know where to find Him. He asked us to pray for him and begged us to keep bringing hope to people. It seriously warmed my heart. And it was such a tender mercy because the very next door was someone who decided he needed to "bible bash" with us. And got really mad that we wouldn't. Lets just say he wasn't the kindest.. But if you ever want to know why the book of Revelations describes Christ eye's as "fire" you should go to him.. That's a joke.. Don't ask him that question.. Unless you want to be sucked into a "fun" conversation. Haha its something I can thankfully laugh at.. now :) But seriously that sweet mans testimony made it possible for me to just smile and show love to that other man who wasn;t so happy to hear our message. The Lord gives us tender mercies to help us get throughout they day. Look for them and they will happen.

Last Story: We arrived at a complex for an appointment with a woman we had met the other day. When we got out of the car I saw 2 men (friends growing up) trying to fix a car. I had the thought "go talk to them." I looked at Sister Beasley who was very nervous about the lesson we were going to teach so I thought, maybe we should just go teach it and not drag out her anxiety. We entered the stairwell, to my surprise it wasn't the right one, I am certain it was because the Lord wanted me to talk to them. We went back to the parking lot and I told her "Sister Beasley, we have to go talk to those men." She told me "okay, after our lesson," and was well on her way to the next stairwell. I smiled and responded, "Nope.. sorry, the Lord wants us to do it now."

As we approached them the one fixing the car, Bobby, wasn't very excited and felt the need to boldly proclaim "I'm a baptist" then went back to working on the car. His friend, Kenneth, however told us about an experience he had had years ago with LDS Missionaries. They promised him that he would find a job, and he was so excited to tell me "Everything they said came true, I got a job that covered my expenses and I was so much happier." As we talked Bobby started to enter the conversation by asking us what we believed. He was surprised that he agreed with everything I said, so he asked more questions, at one point he was working on his car and we laughed because I said I didn't know how to help him mechanically. And for all my brothers and Dad, you definitely know I couldn't do any good to help that car.. haha

Anyways. He said "I need Jesus to help me." So I offered to say a prayer, he agreed and I prayed that his mind might be enlightened to know how to fix the car. Afterwards I taught 1Nephi17 about the Lord directing Nephi to build a ship and promised that the Lord could help him fix his car. We gave them both a Book of Mormon and they gladly welcomed us back to teach them again. 30 minutes later, after our lesson we went to our car and Bobby saw us. And with a smile on his face he yelled "I fixed it! God answered your prayer! Thanks so much! I can't wait to read this Book and talk to you again!"

I promise that God will answer your prayers if you ask in Faith. I know He will because I am able to witness him answering my own prayers and the prayers of others. I love you all very much and wish you the best.

Sister Hamilton