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!