Tuesday, September 10, 2013

"Want a new you? Forget the gym and got to GOD!" - Baptist Church

Well Hello Everyone! Another nice Monday! :) 

I don't have much time today or much to report on so I'll try to keep this short and sweet and to the point.. :) 

First, do you love the email title? haha That was the sign of one of the Churches in Johns Creek. It changed right before I left the area and I thought it was so funny. I love how the churches almost compete to have the best signs. There's a road that has 30 churches on it.. and they are always trying to one-up each other with the best sign. I'll definitely miss biking down that street. 


My new home!! :) Look at all the land!!
I am serving in the COUNTRY. Don't believe me? Look it up! Turns out Coal Mountain is actually a real place. A tiny tiny town outside Cumming GA. I live on a 20 acre farm that has 3 homes (the one we live in and 2 of their kids..), 8 horses, 6 dogs, 4 cats, 20 chickens, and millions of bugs. We also don't get any phone reception in our apartment.. so we go stand by the stable to get reception when we have to make phone calls. Yes.. THAT IS REAL! #farmlife

Its crazy, but oh my it us BEAUTIFUL! We live in a members basement apartment. They are in their late 70's and so cute! Its kind of weird to be honest. But I'm starting to love it. Sometimes they come down the stairs and knock on our door and ask if we want some ice cream or to read scriptures with them or play the piano. Sure love having and adopted Grandma and Grandpa upstairs! 

My companion is Sister Alder, she came out with me in the MTC. She's really funny, and my first 19 yr old companion. She was actually the first 19 yr old sister in the mission. So basically we're famous.. haha! :) She is from Bountiful Utah and went to cosmetology school before her mission. We are finding many things to laugh about and are both a little confused on how to do missionary work in the real south and real country because both of us have been in the suburbs our entire missions. But its way cool. I'm seriously so excited, I know there are great things to come! :) 
Sister Alder (my comp), Sister Wardle, Elder Coleman, and I. All of us came out together and were at missionary leadership together so we got a pic. :)
We are having a lot of fun opening the area and starting from ground Zero.. Its always tough opening an area, well truthfully I don't know any different.. but the miracles you see are more than worth it. I love being able to see where Johns Creek is now and read my journal to remember where it was when we got there. (Same with Paper Mill) If that doesn't prove that the Lord is a part of this work I don't know what will. Because lets be real.. no missionary could open an area and within a few months have families they are teaching, people preparing for baptism, and have a ward family. And definitely this crazy Sister Hamilton couldn't do it! :) Just more proof the Lord blessed us with so many miracles. 

Speaking of miracles.. I want to tell you of a few I saw before I left Johns Creek.
1. I called a less-active member (someone who hasn't been coming to church in awhile) that I love dearly to tell her I was being moved to Coal Mountain. She cried on the phone and wanted me to know that I have changed her life. She them told me "Sister Hamilton, I am going to be in my front left pew again someday, I am going to be filled with the spirit and I am going to think of you. Thank you for bringing God back to me." I responded with full intention "And I will be sitting right there with you." That my friends, is a miracle. Because she always told me not to waste my time that she would never consider going back to church. Lesson to be learned: Don't ever give up on someone. And if you can see them as God see's them you'll never want to or be able to. 

2. Danny used to drink multiple 6-packs of beers a day.. He called to tell me he hadn't drank in 5 days. And that he was going to be at church again on Sunday. That is a miracle. 

The last miracle I want to talk about is the miracle of how much I already love this place. I love Coal Mountain. The Bishop asked us to share our testimony and when I went up there and saw everyones faces I felt so much love for ALL of them!! The Lord has something very very special planned for Coal Mountain and I feel extremely blessed to be here to witness a part of it. And I hope you are excited to witness it with me. Please continue to pray for me. We literally are starting from scratch.. no investigators.. no one to even try.. We are just visiting members each day and knocking doors. Please pray for the people here, I know there are many here that are ready.. And Sister Alder need your help because if you pray for us then the Spirit will lead us to them. 

Our God is a God of Miracles. I love Him. I love His plan for all of us. Each day I think, "Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief." as I try to find those who are prepared and do what we can to build this area. I know with your prayers and the Lords mercies He can help my unbelief and miracles will shower this beautiful green country! 

I love you all!!!
Sister Hamilton

P.S. I GET MAIL NOW!! :) So woot woot! So I am getting it at our new place.. and some of it is finally showing up to my last apartment.. woops! haha

The Beckstrands in Johns Creek. I LOVE THEM!! :) Sis Beckstrand embroidered me that pillowcase :) 

Out to the country I go!‏‎

Hey Mom & Dad & Family & Friends & Whoever else reads these!! :)  

I have a few items of business to cover before I tell you about the wonderful week we've had in Johns Creek :)

1. THANK YOU FOR WRITING ME!! :) I was so happy to get a call from Sister Connor's in the office telling me I have gotten a letter almost each day this entire transfer. So I am so thankful you have all written me! The only down side is I have only gotten the letters that I personally picked up in the office before they got forwarded. (Meaning.. like none..) All the others are either lost in the mail or I believe were returned to you all. We have no clue why the post office says they can't be forwarded.. So if you do get one back, please don't be offended. I didn't send it back.. And I would LOVE it if you would resend it to the mission office. They are holding my mail and going to give it to me personally for now at meetings and what not until they get it figured out. So.. let it be known that I didn't get the mail otherwise I would be responding. And thank you for thinking of me! And good news is.. if you didn't write me.. you can just send it to me and pretend like you did! I'll never know! :)

2. I got a phone call this morning from President Wolfert.. I'm being asked to train Sister Alder (was in the MTC with me) as a Sister Training Leader and open another area. He said "Sister Hamilton, I told you your wonderful attitude and excitement for the work and opening areas would bless you your whole mission." Indeed it will. haha I'll be leaving my home here in the Roswell Stake (which I have been my whole mission) to go to the Sugar Hill Stake. And give the Coal Mountain Ward their first set of sisters. EXCITING!

Now Dad, don't go googling Coal Mountain.. You probably won't find it. But I think it is in Cumming GA. All I know is its a 40 min drive to church and its much more country than the suburbs I've been living in. Lots of chickens I hear. But great people I'm sure! Maybe I'll even get to hear more of the real southern accent... truly the possibilities are endless :)

I'm pretty bummed to leave Johns Creek, but I knew it was coming so at least I prepared myself for it a bit. We worked very hard this week and tried to make it a very memorable week. And I must say it was! We saw so many miracles this week, I am so thankful. Let me share a few of them with you.

Will, someone we are teaching is eager to be baptized and we were able to teach him multiple times this week and start getting him prepared to be baptized later this month. :) He has changed so much since we met him a few months ago and started working with him, its amazing to see how the gospel of Jesus Christ can truly change peoples hearts.

Shelby is reading the Book of Mormon and intently seeking her answer. She is demonstrating more and more faith each time we visit and see her. She still wants to be baptized and is hoping to do so in October when she can start coming to church more regularly and isn't working on Sundays. She is SO fun! We had a great church tour with her this week and a 19yr old girl Chayenne in our ward. She was very relieved when she saw all the pictures of Christ around the building and said "Wow! This is so great to see! The last time I came here I only came through that door and didn't look around.. All I saw was pictures of Pioneers and Joseph Smith." Woops! Glad we could clear that one up. :) 

Danny is someone we met a month or so ago tracting. We came by and taught him a few times and had great experiences but he would never come to church. We hadn't seen him in a few weeks and we got a call from him Monday saying "Sisters, I need you to come by and teach me about Christ. I don't want to live like this anymore." We brought a member with us who has had a similar background, and he brought Danny to church. WHAT A MIRACLE! Danny talked to us after sacrament meeting and said "I'm so sorry I've missed out on this.. You kept inviting me. Why didn't I just come? Sisters. I promise I'll be here next week." It was so cool to see him there, and to see fast and testimony meeting touch his heart that way.

I went on exchange back to Paper Mill. Those sisters are doing GREAT things with my first area. :) It was so cool to be there and see some of the members and see what great strides Rebecca, Sister Wooten, Sister Green, and others are making. Do you remember me ever talking about McKenzie? She is a woman we taught and she is getting baptized in a few weeks. It was a tender mercy to see some of the work my companions and I did made a small difference in the lives of a few people in Marietta GA.

We had an emergency exchange this week because one of our sisters ended up in the hospital. We had her companion with us for a few days. Sister Nielsen then left the area so I had a fun trio experience with 2 sisters from 2 different areas. It was like a big sleep-over! :)  I say that because I ended up sleeping on the floor a couple nights until we could get an air mattress.. I was one tired girl. And actually one of the sisters is my new companion, CRAZY. We saw a lot of miracles which I am so thankful for. We were able to say prayers/share messages with people and get return appointments for the next day that they could go to as well and we were able to bring members with us to share their experiences and testimonies.

Last I want to tell you why all of these experiences/ little miracles meant so much to me this week. It goes back to Friday August 23rd during our weekly planning session. Sister Nielsen and I always write down a list of people we are teaching. We were so blessed to have a good list of people who were meeting with us and had a real desire to learn more. Sister Nielsen and I decided to make our goal for lessons with a member present bigger than either of us have ever done in a week on our mission. Our mission tries to have 5 each week per companionship. So on Aug 23 we made a goal to have 8 lessons with members present (for this week). We knew it would be hard but with who we were teaching and the Lord on our side we knew we could do it. Well by Sunday Aug 25 half of those people we had planned to teach with members of our congregation there either said "no lessons this week" or "no lessons ever" So we started the week thinking its wouldn't be possible. We chose to not change our goal and still try to get 8. That is the biggest miracle of them all. People we had taught in the past like Danny and new people emerged and members were more willing to come with us than ever before. It would seem we would lose hope of a member coming and then 20 min before a lesson someone would call/text and say "I'll be there." With the help of God, we reached our goal. And that my friends is a miracle!

Truthfully I feel like Ammon when he said " Yea, I know I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever." I have seen countless miracles during my time here in Johns Creek and in the Roswell Zone. Miracles I know will touch my heart as long as I live and reflect on them. Miracles like I'd never seen before and will probably never see. Others are miracles we all see on a regular basis but it is here I learned that they are gifts from God, tender mercies to let us know He cares.

I am excited to go to Coal Mountain and have my eyes opened even more to the hand of the Lord and see what miracles He wants me to witness there. I have loved the people in this area more than I knew I could. I am POSITIVE Johns Creek will ALWAYS hold a place in my heart. These people have become my family. Oh and Mom, please don't be surprised when some of them call you. Because some of them have been asking for your number when they found out I'm leaving.. :)

I love this work. I love the Lord. I love these crazy Georgians (and can't wait to meet more real southerns). And I love you all.

Extra Photos to Enjoy!

Slumber Party! aka Exchange

Sister Painter ME, Sister Alder (my new companion) on exchange last week

This one is for Grandma! This is a picture of me, holding a picture of her mission president and my mission president! :) Georgia Atlanta Mission!! :) I love you grandma!!

Me and Mandi! She's seriously the best! She's a ward missionary and I loved taking her out with us and being with her and her fiancé Will.

Will, Sister Nielsen and I.

The Ernsts! Oh my goodness I am going to miss that family. They are seriously the most wonderful. President and Sister Ernst have done so much for us, I will never forget them. Also in the picture is their daughter Whitney and  President Ernsts sister Courtenay. I loved each family dinner there! :)

The joys of experiencing the greenie fire again!

Hi Everyone! 

My Companions! :)
It was a really good week this past week. I have learned a lot and had some fun experiences. Truthfully I'm not sure where to start. Maybe I'll just try to do a rundown from the days of the week.. That might help me get focused. 

Well at the beginning of the week our water was out for 2 days. It was all good. A sweet ward member let us shower at their house and so we just tried to stay out of the apartment as long as possible. Lucky Sis Nielsen, she was on exchange in Milton so she didn't have to deal with it, but poor Sis Allen who joined me got to have "fun" haha 

We had Zone Conference this week and it was the best!! There are a lot of things that many of our companionship's of Sisters have been struggling with and Sister Nielsen and I had no clue how to help, but what was such a tender mercy was all of the training's of Zone Conference addressed the needs of all our companionships. I learned SO much and hope that we'll be able to use the training's as a basis of how to help these sisters in the future.

Want to know what was absolutely mind boggling?! When I first entered the mission, and had my first zone conference we had 1 companionship of sisters (mine) for the 2 zones. This week we had 24 Sisters between the two zones. THAT'S CRAZY!! Our mission is seriously growing so fast with the number of sisters. We'll reach 100 in the next 2 transfers. Pretty cool! 

Sis Mitton
Another GREAT part about Zone Conference was having 4 of my 6 companions there! How cool is that! So I had a nice picture taken with all of them and will be sure to attach it. That also means Sister Beasley and I had lots of giggles and fun! Man I miss that girl! Also, I saw Megan Mitton! She's doing really well and it was fun to talk to her about how she's doing up in the COUNTRY sense I am serving in the city. She's done a great job training, my money's on her training again next transfer :) 

Having fun :).. Don't ask :)
We are still teaching Shelby and she is learning so much! She has great faith, I am so impressed. There are times in our lessons she'll ask a question, then before we answer she'll say something like "Actually.. it doesn't matter. If its true then God can make it so no matter what." We are working on her shooting toward a specific day for baptism, instead of just hoping for baptism. I loved one of her experiences that I'd like to share with you all. She said "I now know God is our Heavenly Father and He likes to be called that. I tried to pray this week by saying Heavenly Father, and then one night I was really tired and I just wanted to say a quick prayer. Next thing I knew I was praying in my head and it just came out ' My Heavenly Father.' I think that made Him happy." :) I know that that moment made Him happy. He loves to hear from us just as all Fathers love to hear from their children.

I got to go on an exchange with 2 new missionaries aka greenies who have only been out a month. My goodness they were SOOO full of energy and so excited. It was a miracle to be with them. Their excitement and devotion to the work was inspiring and it felt nice to be reminded of the urgency and fearlessness new missionaries have. I think all missionaries would do well to serve around new missionaries every once in awhile, I know I'm so thankful for it! I feel re-energized and ready to get back to work! 

I had a really cool experience on Wednesday I'd like to talk about :) We went to meet Miahn, a friend of one of our members who wanted us to go see her. As we walked up to the door we could smell a wonderful lunch and the door was open. As we knocked she came running to the door, looked at our name tags and said "You believe in Jesus?!" To which we happily responded, "We sure do!" She told us to come in and sit down and she would give us a great lunch. Her friend was sitting at a table and Cathy had been reading Miahn bible verses as she cooked. We had a wonderful conversation about the Savior and missionary work.

As we spoke of the Savior I asked if I could share a scripture out of the Book of Mormon, that's when Cathy turned a little feisty. She said, "No way. That book is not scripture and I do not want to hear from it. I'll let you read out of it if you can show me in the Bible where it mentions that book. But that book does not talk about the Christ. Not the real Christ." I paused for a moment, because at that point I had a choice to make, and I had a new missionary with me looking terrified.  And I could either prove exactly what she wanted, using the Bible, or I could do avoid the confrontation.. I responded by saying "Cathy, I admire your devotion to the Bible. I too treasure the words in it. I would like to prove to you that this is the word of God about the Savior in a different way if you'll let me. I promise you that if you let me read you 3 verses from this wonderful book of scripture that the Spirit of the Lord will enter your heart and you will know that the Book of Mormon Testifies of the Savior Jesus Christ." She hesitated, but then agreed. I then opened to the Book of Alma, chapter 7 and read verses 11-13. As I read the Spirit came so strong and I soon heard Cathy saying "amen" under her breath. As I finished I bore testimony of the Savior and that He really did all that the prophets had testified that He would.  What happened next was even more of the miracle. She said "I love the next verse" SHE WAS READING AHEAD! :) She then read it to me and said "Sister, thank you. I probably will never read the Book of Mormon, but I know just like you said that it testifies of Christ and at least now I can tell other people that it does testify of the Savior of the world." What a miracle!! :)

I know that every time we read the Book of Mormon we can feel closer to the Savior. Don't believe me? Try it.. Cathy did :) 

Anyways that's all I have time for.. Enjoy the pictures!

I love you!
Sis Hamilton