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.