Sunday, August 25, 2013

3 great iPhotos

Hi everyone!
Its been a really good week! Like really good :) We've had some really wonderful experiences and also some hilarious ones. Take the title of this email for example. This sweet woman, she was kind of a nut.. Told us she wasn't Christian anymore.. when we asked if she had a religion now she responded "Now I'm a Witch!" No joke..
We met quite a few "bashers" this week. Aka people who are not happy that you are LDS and want you to know that you are going to hell. Perhaps the two "best" lines we hear this week were "I ENCOURAGE YOU TO REPENT FROM YOUR MORMONISM!" and we asked one man if we could say a prayer with him and his family and he responded "Absolutely not. But I WILL be saying a prayer tonight that you don't go preach Mormonism to my neighbors. I'd hate for any of them to get sucked in." We thanked him for his faith in Jesus Christ and happily moved on to the next home :) A woman told me not too long ago "Hunny, you're not just in the Bible Belt, you're in the BUCKLE!" And so instead of getting hurt or frustrated when I have experiences that remind me that we are in the "buckle" I just smile and laugh. Want to know what's amazing? I still love those people. I love their devotion to whatever it is they devote their lives to. I find it inspiring. I know God loves them, and I feel blessed to feel that love for them as well.
Now here are some fun things/memories/experiences from the week:
Sister Nielsen and I choose a challenge each time we go tracting, so yesterday we made it a goal to share a scripture with on average) every 3rd person we talked to. And you want to know what? We did it! Its really testing my scripture knowledge as I keep trying to find scriptures that fit the conversation well, but its fun. :) 
We are teaching a man named Danny. Danny struggles with alcoholism and has the biggest desire to learn so that he can stop drinking. He really loved the Word of Wisdom, and its actually what we taught first before giving him a Book of Mormon.  He absolutely loved each scripture we read with him and when we read Moroni 10:3-5 he said "Sisters.. God wrote that for me. He wants me to talk to him and ask from the bottom of my heart. Do you think if I do that, that he'll help me stop drinking?" Honestly I felt the spirit so strong as I saw a man who had never heard of the Book of Mormon apply it immediately to his life. That is the power of the scriptures. Its real, and its beautiful.
I was in Roswell on exchange over 2 months ago when we found Marilyn. I loved her then and I love her even more now. You see, I went back to Roswell on exchange this week and we stopped by to see her. She's been meeting with the missionaries and wants to be baptized. When she opened the door and saw me she cried and said "Oh I remember you!! come here!" And gave me the biggest hug. She smiled and said, "do you notice anything different?" Before I could answer she said "I'm clean! I haven't smoked in almost 2 months! You see, I felt so guilty smoking in front of you. There was something about you, something special and I wanted it. So I made a plan. And I quit smoking in about 3 weeks just before the missionaries came back to teach me. You did that for me." That is a miracle I will hold onto forever.
This week I had someone that we are working with, who I love dearly tell me something that will have made my ENTIRE mission worth it. She told me "No matter what happens, if I come back to the church or not. I want you to know that you have changed my life. You have bridged the gap between me and the Church. And you have helped me remember how to let the Savior heal me and for that I will always be thankful."
I want you all to know that I did not come on my mission to see how many "baptisms" I can have. The number of them really mean nothing to me. I came here with the hopes that PERHAPS I MIGHT help at least one of Gods Children remember how much He loves them. That's what its all about. And hearing that from her will never leave my mind. Each week I find many reasons of why my mission was worth it. This week it has been worth it to hear that, see Marilyn, Danny, and others have just a little more light radiating from them and a bigger smile on their face.
The Gospel changes lives. This I know. It has changed mine, and I encourage you to let it change yours. I know it can if we let it.
I love you all
Sister Julie Hamilton

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