Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Miracles do happen!

Well Hey There!! 

Is a little blurry.. why? Oh that's because a HORSE just attempted to LICK my face. HAHA

I've had pretty much a great week here in Dahlonega, Coal Mountain, Cumming, Gainesville, and Tucker! We've traveled all over the place this week! Busy busy busy. I hit my 9 months.. very bitter sweet. I mean.. Yay! 

I'll start today with how I got to meet Elder Dallin H. Oaks and his sweet wife along with Elder and Sister Soares on Saturday. That was an amazing meeting! Elder Oaks agreed to take pictures with both missions and then shook all of our hands (poor guy, there were a lot of us!) It was really neat to see his sense of humor and hear the messages he and Elder Soares had for us. They gave us lots of reminders of how to be better missionaries but one thing I really liked was the phrase "The messenger must match the message." And Elder Oaks said "Now is the time to step up and do a little better." So that's what I'm going to try to do, is just step it up and be a little bit better in my missionary efforts. Its never easy to step it up, but I think the coolest part is looking back and seeing that you are no longer the person you used to be. We also learned that the missionary efforts in the United States have doubled since last October. That's cool huh! Gives you something to think about. :)
Is Sister Mitton and I after our meeting with Elder Oaks! :) I really hope to be in the same stake as her someday! Mom, do you happen to have a picture of the two of us at our baptisms? I think it would be fun to put it next to one of us on our mission just to see. :) 

Remember how I said we had a ton of ward support basically out of no where last week? Its starting to spread like a WILDFIRE! It is SO exciting! Sister Alder sometimes gets down on the fact that we don't have a ton of set teaching appointments but this week I heard her say "Well I just don't know when we can fit that in. We are SO busy!" I of course took that opportunity to say "Wait.. we're what??" :) She then got so excited and said "Oh my! We're busy! This is so exciting!" And it seems to just keep going.. I am certain that the "best is yet to come" as far as the Lords plans with this part of His vineyard go. :)I can just feel it in my heart that He has so many wonderful blessings and growth planned for the Coal Mountain congregation. I can honestly say this experience has has been one of the best learning experiences during my time as a missionary. I am just so excited to keep working hard and watching as the Lord works miracles. 

Now let me give you a list of some of the highlights of the week:
  • We have been teaching this family in our ward the missionary lessons, their son is 19 and hasn't been to church in over a year and a half. The first lesson he was not interested.. but each lesson he has become more and more involved.. And we got a text from his mom this morning that said "[my son] wants to know when you are coming back to teach us! :) And he said mom if I go on a mission, I bet I'd go foreign! He hasn't talked about anything regarding church in almost two years!" Pretty amazing miracle if you ask me! :) 
  • A family asked us to do service for their neighbor who needed help with some landscaping. So of course we went and did service and to our great surprise Mary, the woman who we are helping with landscaping, Facebooked about us! And told all of her friends that Dawn's churches sister missionaries are some of the nicest girls she's ever met and its a blessing in her life to have us come help her. Isn't that wonderful :)
  • The Johnson's had us over to start teaching them the missionary lessons and they invited their long time friend Barbara to join. Barbara is so kind and I just love her! She lost her son in an accident about a year ago. We decided to teach the Plan of Salvation, God's plan for our families and happiness on this earth, and it was an amazing lesson. She kept telling us about how she felt 2 years ago when she went through the Atlanta Temple during the Open House and at the end of the lesson she said "Can I come back each week when they teach these lessons? I really need this in my life." She also asked us if we could come to her home and talk with her daughter who is really struggling and just bring the peace we brought to the Johnson's to her home. We of course gave her the biggest hug and promised her we would be there! 
  • Mom, here's proof of the torn post card.. But on happy note, do you like my shirt? :)
  • We already have a minimum of 2 teaching appointments scheduled for each day this week.. WHATT??? Am I still in Georgia? Can this really be happening? :) 
Okay I know I've taken up a lot of your time but I have two more things I want to share with you. 

1. On Saturday Sister Blackett (my old companion, who is now serving in Johns Creek) came up to me and said "Sister Hamilton! I have to tell you something! Davis know's the Book of Mormon is true!" do you all remember Davis? Probably not.. He's someone that showed up at church one day and we taught him until his mom told him no. I told him that even though we couldn't still meet and teach him that he could read the Book of Mormon and ask God if it was true and that God would answer his prayer. Sister Blackett said they got a text from him a few days ago that read "Sister Hamilton! I did what you told me to.. and you were right! I've been reading and praying about the Book of Mormon and I know its true. And my mom said if it means this much to me that I can come back to church!" They're teaching him now and said will let me know how things go :) It just made me so happy I can't even explain it! 

2. I email/write someone I taught and worked with in Johns Creek who hadn't been to church in awhile. She just means the world to me, and I wanted to share a part of it with you.. She said "And, I thought of you the day that I explained to the lady who is helping me pack that the reason my front bedroom closet was a “pantry” was because I am Mormon and we store food. I thought that you would be proud of me for telling her I was Mormon, because it has been a really long time since I have told anybody I was Mormon." Like many things that happen to me as a missionary, a huge smile became glued to my face. I know that what the Doctrine and Covenants is true where is says " And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father. Amen." This time of my life is absolutely the time I hold of most worth. It means everything to me. I love the people here, and I absolutely love the Lord for allowing me to have this opportunity.

I know that we can bring souls to Christ in all stages of our lives, and that we don't have to only have a missionary name tag to do so. President Monson says,"" I know that there are many who need our help, and helping some of them is what has brought me the absolutely MOST joy as a missionary. You might have someone you feel like you need to reach out to, but don't know how to help.. I'm certain the best thing we can do is show them real, and I do mean REAL Christ-like love. It's amazing what a sense of belonging and a heart filled once more with love can do. 

I know God loves His children, and I love you!
Sister Hamilton

Sunday, October 27, 2013

"Blue Grass Show Tonight!" <--where am I???

Hey Everyone! 
Amacalola falls :) So beautiful! 
I hope you are all doing well! Let me just start by explaining why the sign "Blue Grass Show Tonight" stuck out to me so much. Do you remember "The Goofy Movie" and there is like a possum show? Where they play banjos and what not.. Well apparently that doesn't just occur in Disney Animation.. But to my great surprise I was greeted by a large blow up possum holding a banjo and a sign that said "Blue Grass Show Tonight!" Yes.. that is real. I am going to miss the South when its time to go! 

Oh and another important thing to report on.. I've almost been out on my mission 9 months. In fact the official day is this Wednesday. Uh.. WHAT!? How on earth did that happen? Didn't I just get here? Wasn't I just walking off the plane in the Atlanta International Airport and getting the happiest feeling in my heart and saying "I'm home!"? I have no clue where the time has gone, but then I look at my journal and see the entries from each day (yup, still haven't missed!) and I think YIKES! I've been here a long time! 

Oh! One more thing before I forget.. Elder Oaks is coming this week to talk to our mission and the Atlanta Mission. That means I will have heard from General Authorities 3 of the 4 weekends in October (including General Conference). So that's kind of cool/totally crazy!  I think it will be really fun. :) I'm trying to think of a question that I want answered from his fireside or whatever its called. I'll let you know how it goes! 
Me and Sister Alder and Sister George at the top of Amacalola Falls! :) 
Now for the low-down on the week: 

We have seen a lot of miracles this week its been remarkable! We've had a lot of ward support almost out of no where, we found someone to teach!, we had many a laughs tracting, and also some really heart warming experiences too. Let me write a few..
  • We had dinner with the Swifts about a month ago now and Sister Swift immediately called the RS president to tell her that her husband, who isn't a member, had never really enjoyed the missionaries coming over. But about 2 weeks ago he asked her "hunny, I really liked those missionaries, when are they going to come over for dinner again?" :) Miracle? I think yes! So we had dinner with them early in the week and then because no one had signed up to feed us on Saturday they gladly had us over again. I sure love them! 
  • We visited a sister in the ward who has a thick accent.. No fussin'.. Fixin' to leave.. the whole sha-bang! When we asked her where she was from she said, "I'm from LA" She must have LOVED the looks of confusion on our faces because she busted up laughing and said "Lower Alabama of course! I ain't from the city!" I wish words could express how much I love hearing that accent.. And what's crazy is I almost don't even hear it anymore until someone else points it out, which means I'm sure there are times I use it! :) So.. if that's the case.. just embrace it when you hear it from me! :)
  • We knocked on the door and the sweet woman Terry answered the door. She let us come in to say a prayer for her and her family. We said a prayer for her and her daughter in the hospital, after the prayer she gave us the biggest hugs with tears in her eyes and thanked us for the peace that she felt. Perhaps the biggest miracle of it all was that some Sister missionaries had prayed with her daughter in Alabama the day before and that's how Terry knew to ask us to pray. Honestly its simply amazing how much Gods hand is in this work! 
  • A ward member said, "We really like our elders.. but truthfully.. We LOVE OUR SISTERS!" Felt good to see that the ward is starting to warm up to us :) 
  • Almost all the sisters in the zone last transfer that I worked with :)
  • We were tracting and this fun energetic woman named Annie answered the door. As we talked she kept asking questions about prophets and the Book of Mormon. We testified of the joy and peace that enters the hearts of those who learn of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon. She responded, "You know.. I think my Dad sent you. He passed away a year ago and I just really feel his love right now." Sister Alder and I told her that we knew that the Father of her Spirits or our Heavenly Father had sent us to her and that it was very possible that feeling her dads love was a way that God showed her that this is good. The smile could NOT be wiped off of any of our faces :) We have been talking to her every couple of days on the phone and she keeps saying how excited she is to have us come tomorrow and teach her more. What a blessing!! :) 
Basically its been a wonderful week. The bishop has started giving us names of families to teach the missionary lessons to and we have talked to a few of them and they have committed to invite their neighbors to join! How cool is that! :) I am just so thankful and amazed at how almost over night so much of the ward got so excited to participate in missionary work. We still have a lot of work to do to help the ward, but its really amazing! 

This week I am going on exchange to the area in the most northern part of our mission, to the real hills of Georgia. Its going to be epic! :) 

Well now that I've taken up half of your day with this email I might as well close. But first.. I keep mentioning things I am going to miss when I leave Georgia.. so to finish this email I want to mention one last thing. I am going to miss all the churches. I have probably 100 sayings written down or pictures from the marques of all the churches. Some of them are hilarious, others very spiritual, some bring a new perspective, and others simply make me smile. One in particular that I liked this week was "7 days without prayer will make one weak" That is SO true! I know there is such power in prayer. It is a beautiful way for us to communicate with our loving Father in Heaven. 

The other sign I liked taught me a lot about the afterlife and Halloween..
"Heaven isn't a trick, 
and Hell is no treat." HAHAHAHA thank you Antioch Baptist Church :) 

I love you all!! 
Sister Hamilton

Sunday, October 20, 2013

That dog ain't got nothin' on me! :)

Hello Everyone!!
We are emailing today at the smallest library I've ever seen in the mountains of Georgia while we wait for the Zone to get up here to go to Amacalola Falls! It should be really fun! But that also means that I have no time basically before this computer logs me out.. soo... I'll try to be brief and or just hope my fingers can type as fast as I want them too .. :)
First things first! We got transfer calls today.. Well actually that is a complete lie. We didn't get transfer calls although they should have come.. haha So.. That means there will be no changes here in Coal Mountain for Sister Alder and I. We will serve together at least until the week of thanksgiving. Yup.. next transfers are the day before thanksgiving. Watch.. Knowing my luck I'll follow the same pattern of my mission and I will be going to a new area and not have anywhere for thanksgiving.. haha Moral of the story: I'm nervous but also excited to stay in this cute little country town.
I am LOVING the weather!! Oh my goodness it is wonderful! Really.. you should probably be jealous. I mean its the 14th of October (Happy Late Birthday Waybe, btw!!) and its still like low 80's or high 70's! Seriously, the best! Everyone keeps telling me its going to be a horrible winter because it was such a mild summer.. But I have high hopes that it will be a mild winter because it was a mild summer.. :)
We had our Zone Meeting this week and Sister Alder and I trained on Unity. It was fun and we have started doing more things as a zone including P-Day today and a weekly call in to talk about those we are teaching and say a prayer. I hope it helps bring some life and fun to the zone! :) If we aren't having fun.. we're doing something wrong.. :)
We went on two exchanges this week. They were really awesome.. and also really rough. I LOVE getting to meet so many of the sisters and help them out, but I HATE having to.. hmm.. how to say this.. point out ways they can be more obedient.. Its defs NOT my fav.. But we still managed to have so much fun and take lots of classic pictures. On a happy note.. I was able to serve on a college campus for a day! And that was SOOO fun!! So for all of you reading this that are currently in college.. LIVE IT UP! :)
Now let me share a few great classic stories from the week including our huge miracle! <--Did I catch your attention?
1. Let me start by getting some useful information out to all of you. Mace, you know that spray for keeping the creeps away?, well I have learned this week that is good for more than just that :) It is actually also good for keeping dogs away.. So Sister Carrigan and I were tracting, meeting some of the crazies of the world and loving it of course, and one woman answers the door. She is almost in a defensive position and goes "I have a really big dog!" So I kind of braced myself for this dog to come plowing through her.. Then she says "I'm actually suprised he hasn't tried to bite you yet.. Either way I'm NOT interested!" and slams the door.. Sister Carrigan and I look at each other completely confused.. And then we hear the growl and we know.. Yup, that KIND woman left us out to be eaten by her dog! And didn't even call it by name or anything.. WHAT???? ya.. that's real.. Don't worry though, this story has a happy ending.. It just followed us to the curb.. growling.. and snapping its teeth but never actually bit us. So that was neat. I mean really.. who does that?? So we told our dinner appointment about it and the woman says the dogs try to get her all the time while she runs so she carries mace and sprays them when they come close.. haha! So.. I may be investing in some..
2. We had Stake Conference this past weekend, it was awesome! Elder Paul B. Pieper was here from the 70 and he requested that we come to the adult session as well, which we usually aren't allowed at. We got to talk to him beforehand and he was super nice. The meeting was AWESOME! They read a letter from the First Presidency that said effective 10/1 the adult session should be devoted to figuring out how to best help move the Work of Salvation Forward. It was the coolest meeting! Seriously amazing! They did a really awesome question and answer forum thing and talked about how they can help work together with missionaries. Elder Pieper called all of us (Sugar Hill Stake Missionaries and President and Sister Wolfert) up to the front and had us serve Called to Serve. It was so fun! And all the moms in the crowd bawled :) Elder Pieper than told everyone that they had to be the answers to our Mothers' prayers. So Mom, you can stop worrying, I'm in good hands. The Stake got a new Stake President, so that will be cool to see what things he wants to change as far as missionary work goes.
3. I served in the Chicken Capital of the World.. and took a picture with a big american flag chicken.. Only in Georgia! :)
4. People have dogs here.. live everywhere.. one house had 7.. 4 labs.. 2 german shepherds and 1 little dog.. THATS NUTS!
4. We were tracting and having no success.. So we left and went to another area where both Sis Alder and I felt we should go to when we were planning.. As we prayed we asked Heavenly Father to lead us to the home of the family He had for us to meet, we also asked that we would be told by the Spirit what to testify of so that we could touch their hearts. First few doors.. no success then we came to one and this sweet woman answered the door. As I began talking I was planning on talking about the Book of Mormon but something seemed to make me tongue tied and next thing I knew I was asking her if we could say a prayer to bless her home and family. Miracle #1! :) She got the biggest smile and said "Oh yes! Please come in." Miracle #2! She then got her children to come join us for the prayer, she loved it and was intrigued by the Book of Mormon next thing. When we asked if we could come back and share more with her family she smiled and said "If it really can bring me closer to Christ, I would love that. But can you make sure you come when my husband is home? I want the whole family to be here." MIRACLE #3!!  :) Its the first family we have found, well and the first person who let us set up a specific return appointment. I definitely fell blessed! :)
Sister Alder and I have either called or visited or left notes for every member of the ward who hasn't attended in awhile and visited all the members who come regularly.. So we are going to start round two this week. Do any of you have any ideas of ways we can best help them get excited about church in general? Ive never been in a ward where a lot of the members really don't care that we are there.. So if you have any ideas of things we can do to best serve them.. please let me know! I'd also welcome any easy, cheap, and fun FHE lesson/activity ideas. We do a lot of Family Home Evening type lessons and so it would be great to have some more ideas.
Boom! Race the clock complete!
I love you all and hope you have a great week!! Don't forget to write me every once in awhile.. :)
Sister Hamilton

Monday, October 7, 2013

Happy Fall, Y'all!

Hey Y'all, Happy Fall!! 

How is everyone doing? I hope you are all doing fantastic! I'm doing pretty well out here in this cute little town. I spent the weekend in the hills of Dahlonega, GA watching General Conference, ahh! So beauitful! The trees are just barely starting to change colors yet everything is still so green, it is such a sight to see! 

I hope everyone had a chance to watch general conference, and if you didn't.. Don't fret! Just go to lds.org and watch it! :) I LOVED conference. It was so good! I especially loved President Uchtdorfs talk about WHY people join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was really cool to have Katie and Christian (a couple we taught the first lesson to before handing them over to the Elders) at Conference! They loved that talk too :) So if you have ever wondered why people are members I'd encourage you to watch it as well! Here's the link: http://www.lds.org/general-conference/watch/2013/10?lang=eng&vid=2721983168001&cid=12 

This past week has been really busy for us jam-packed with meetings. The only day we didn't have some type of meeting was Wednesday.. but we were on exchange.. so it was still nuts.. haha Let me just give you a run down of the days.. real fast...

A hike from P-day last week!
Tuesday-District Meeting (begin exchange)
Wednesday- End Exchange
Thursday- Mission Leadership Counsel
Friday-Exhcange while Sister Alder went to the temple
Saturday & Sunday: General Conference. 

BUSY BUSY WEEK! But we still managed to get things done and see some miracles and blessings. I got a bunch of mail on Thursday when I was at the mission office, so thank you so much for writing me!! :) They hold my mail until I can get it personally so it was fun to get some. I think there are a couple things to clarify real fast.. #1 I am not training.. My companion Sister Alder came out with me from the MTC. #2 I am still a Sister Training Leader, just over a different Zone (or large group of missionaries). Which means I go on exchange twice a week with a different Sister in the mission. #3 Yes.. I have mastered Southern grammar. And intend to start a revolution by calling grocery carts buggies when I get home. :) 

With that said let me do a bullet point list of some of the things I learned this week, phrases I've heard, and experiences I've had.. 
  • I have officially found the worlds CHEAPEST and CLASSIEST car wash.. All you need is a garden hose and a leaf blower.. #onlyinGA
  • "Better to say good-bye that to argue.. So good-bye!" 
  • We were Facebooked about by a family who we did FHE with.. It got the ward talking, and we have had 3 families call us since and ask if we will do FHE for them at their house!! Tender mercy for sure! Thank you Social Media! 
  • "Ya.. I'm not interested.. so I'm gunna have to push ya off my porch now." <-- Uh... Okay?? haha
  • I have officially gone on 24hr exchanges with over 1/3 of the Sisters in the mission.. And including my companions I have almost worked with 1/2 of the Sisters in the mission.. Which Totals 80 by the way.. That's CRAZY!! 
  • "Why are you bugging me??" "Well Sir, we aren't trying to bug you, we are just sharing a message about the Love of God with everyone." "You mean to say you go around bugging everyone..??That's just mean.." *Shut Door*
  • Remember that amazing video game of Frogger? Well.. Its real life. Its called driving in Cumming GA. Windy country roads.. and FROGS EVERYWHERE. Except.. I'm still playing in the game.. only.. I'm not the frog.. But I'm the car trying to dodge the frog! 
  • Volunteering at the Horse Barn was so wonderful this week. I LOVE LOVE LOVE helping get the horses ready for the special needs children to ride them. And then what I love even more is seeing their smiles as the ride. As the horse begins to trot all the kids have something in common.. A smile lights their face and a look of pure joy comes over them.. In that moment nothing holds them back. Its absoultely beautiful. 
You know, its like that for all of us when we access the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It makes it so nothing can hold back the potential within us.. Through Christs Atonement our limitations diminish and our capabilities increase. We experience more joy that we previous thought possible. We can experience the wind on our face, when we otherwise couldn't. We can become anew.. We can be changed. It is a miracle. 

I love you all! Thank you for all your support and love. I am doing well. I love being a missionary, its the best! I know God lives, and loves each and every one of us. We are His children. His plan for us all is beautiful. The scriptures are our guide back home to Him, and they also provide a way for Him to speak to us and answer our prayers. 

I love you!
Sister Hamilton
SPIDEY FIGHT!! Before I forget.. So the Elders in my district called us and told us they had a plan to promote district unity.. What was their plan you ask? It was to catch spiders.. one for each companionship.. and then put them in a jar and see which one lasted the longest.. Usually I would have just laughed and said had fun. But then they said "We know you're too much of a girly girl.." YA! They said that.. So what did we do.. We caught the biggest spider of them all. :) Its probably a bad thing that people know how to make me competitive.. haha Oh well! It was a fun activity for our district.. Morbid yes.. but also fun! haha

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

"Your heart, the perfect place for Jesus to be"----Coal Mountain Baptist Church

Hey Everyone! 

Happy Halloween!!
I hope you all had a wonderful week. I am learning a lot out here in the rolling green hills of Georgia, like seriously a lot. The people we find here are real gems. Some are a little rough around the edges, but I really wouldn't have it any other way. One thing I've learned in particular this week is that God knows our abilities, and He knows our limits. Thankfully! He puts us in situations when we get to be stretched, often times every so uncomfortably, and yet by the end we see the growth and changes. Its a pretty amazingly frustrating process that delivers amazing results. :) And that's what I think of that. 

Our work in Coal Mountain is progressing ever so slowly, but its coming along. Sister Alder and I are making the best of it and it seems when we reach our limit and can't go further our loving Father in Heaven blesses us with a miracle that gives us enough boost to go on. Like I said.. Thank goodness He knows our limits! We still don't have really anyone we are teaching seriously but we are working a lot with the Williams, which is a blessing. 

The people here in this area are hilarious and often feisty. Its an entertaining combination that's for sure. But every so often we find some of the kindest people to ever walk the planet. We get a lot of "No thank yous" and "Oh aren't you just the sweetest things, unfortunately I'm baptist." <---what does that even mean?? haha Honestly, I think the craziest response that I am SHOCKED we get multiple times a week goes something like "Ya.. um.. You're going to want to go to the next house.."<--YES SIR/MA'AM!

Our new cat friend.
But here's the miracle. We had already knocked on well over 300 doors talked to well over 150 people for the week, and none of them, and I do mean none of them were interested in learning more. We told this woman at the door that we had a message about how the Book of Mormon could bring her family closer together. She smiles and says "Well then I guess I better sit down and hear about it. Why don't y'all come on in?" I had to pick up my jaw from my ground.. :) Amy asked us to answer her question of "What makes Mormons different?" So we told her about the Book of Mormon and living Prophets who have the priesthood. Her husband then came home and guess what happened? 

Amy said, "I'm going to tell him everything you told me to make sure I got it right." And then she went on to teach him about the Book of Mormon and Prophets. How amazing is that!? Her eyes were glued to the Book of Mormon, reading passages from it and looking at the pictures in it as we talked to her husband. I don't know if they will ever let us come back, I don't know if they will read the Book of Mormon, but I know that meeting Amy and Neil was a personal message to Sister Alder and I from a loving Father who wanted us to know that what we do all day everyday has meaning. And that He loves us and is thankful of the work that we do. 

Jewells Way!
Another miracle was in trying to locate some of the members who haven't been coming to church for a long time and the bishop said to simply find out their story. We stop by so many of them, but they either aren't home.. or are and won't answer the door. We decided to try this one, Brother Zorn. He lives so much in the country that our GPS cannot locate his home. But we were able to find it! :) Woot woot! So we are driving down this gravel road when all of a sudden we see signs.. "No Trespassing" "Private Property" and the classy "Do not come unless invited" Well you see.. it was a very narrow road and we couldn't turn around unless Sis Alder backed up the car so we just went for it anyways. He was SO excited to see us. He said "No one in the church has even tried to stop by in 4 years. I didn't know they had sister missionaries." He said he wants us to start coming over and sharing messages about Jesus Christ because he is now raising his 5 yr old grandson and he wants him to have religion. We learned he read the Book of Mormon during his divorce and it was the only thing that seemed to help him. And he said he wanted home teachers. It was such a miracle! So we are going to start seeing him and his grandson once a week and hopefully we can get them to start coming to church soon. What a blessing! 

Two more crazy stories of the week. #1. I met mom's match for decorating. This woman, Sister Dunford, had more Halloween decorations than I have ever seen. It was crazy! #2. There was this cat that found us while we were tracting.. and it thinks its a dog I swear. And it followed us around for a long time, ending up well over a mile from its house. And sister Alder loves cats so.. that's what one of the pictures are of. haha 

Lastly, I loved the Relief Society Broadcast! It was amazing! We watched it at the stake center and sat next to Sister Aeschbacher, she reminds me a lot of you mom. Her daughter is on a mission too so she's our adopted mom here. But I just wanted you (mom) to know that I love you and felt like I got to sit next to you and watch that great meeting and learn about how we can be better covenant keepers. It was a tender mercy. I love you mom. 

Well I think that's about all I have for you! I hope you have a wonderful week! I love you lots!

Sister Hamilton

Another week flies by.. How is it 8 months already!?

Hey Everyone, 

I don't have much time to write so I'll have to make this short.. but then again I think I say that every week yet I still seem to write a bunch.. haha so who knows. 

The week has been pretty good. The weather has been nice, got me some new freckles :) Not too many crazy animal stories.. Why? Oh.. because I'm starting to realize seeing snakes and having dogs just walk with us and horses are going to be very regular occurrences.. :) 

We've had a good week as far as getting the ward involved and starting to find some people to teach. Its amazing what the power of prayer and obedience can do. And thank you for praying for the people in this area, it really does help! 

Honestly.. I don't know which stories to share.. Should I tell you about the woman who SLAMMED the door in our face and then came running down the driveway toward us (for real) to apologize and thank us for our testimony of Christ? Or about the 5 dozen cookies we baked to be boxed and shipped off to people serving in the Military? About sweet Anna who barely speaks English but asked us to keep reading from the Book of Mormon and come back because it made her feel peace? How about this sweet family who let us come in and share a message and talk about the Savior--and how their 13 year old special needs son called us princesses because of our skirts, gave us hugs, and told us how much he loved Jesus too? 

I have so many little stories from the week, so many experiences that make my mission worth it. But I think instead of going into detail about those experiences I want to share an insight that I gained from the Scriptures this week. 

I started the Book of Mormon again which is kind of crazy because now I am reading it in two places. But hey! its a great book, what can I say? Well I decided to go through and look for applications to my life and the lives of those I teach in each verse. And so.. I want to share something that I found that meant a lot to me.. 

I think about the Prophet Joseph Smith a lot. I have so much love and respect for him. I also have so much respect for his brother Hyrum. They were willing to die for the gospel, and so we need to be willing to live for it. 

Anyways, so I was reading 1 Nephi 2:16-17 and how Nephi gets his confirmation or testimony of the truths that his father had spoken. How often we think of being Nephi's and gaining a testimony for ourselves through prayer and scripture study, while I think we sometimes need to start focusing on being more like Sam, and believing on the words or testimonies of those whom we love, respect, and admire. Please do not misunderstand.. I am not saying that it is not important for us to gain our own witness of the gospel. It is vitally important that we do that.. But I also think it is important to that we allow the testimonies of others to help us gain one of our own. 

Now... Go back and reread 1 Nephi 2:16-17 and insert Joseph for Nephi. Its amazing that it almost tells the story of the first vision right there.. Now replace Sam for Hyrum. 

That definitely hit me strong this past week as I wondered which role I am in now.. am I a Nephi and Joseph? or a Sam and Hyrum. Either are great people to be if you ask me! And right now I'm trying to find people who are willing to be Sam and Hyrum and believe on the words I teach, and then act as Nephi and Joseph and learn for themselves the truthfulness of the gospel.

With General Conference around the corner I would encourage you to be more like Sam and Hyrum and allow the testimonies and truths taught by Gods Apostles here on earth touch your heart and believe on their words. 

You might ask why this is on my mind.. The specific experience doesn't matter.. But I want you all to know that it no matter what is said to me, shown to me, and yelled at me.. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. It was translated by Joseph Smith, a prophet and seer in these days. I know Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon so that we all could come closer to our wonderful Savior and Brother Jesus Christ. I am thankful that the Spirit of God will come to any missionaries aid when they start testifying of the glorious restoration of Christ's Gospel. That Spirit cannot be argued with, for it touches our hearts forever. 

I am thankful to be a missionary and thankful for our loving God and Heavenly Father. 

I love you.

Sister Hamilton

The Adventures of Sister Hamilton, The Animal Whisperer

Well hey there everyone!

Me at Lake Lanier! 
I hope you are all doing great. To my wonderful fam I say I LOVE YOU LOTS and am jealous none of you told me of the little family reunion you had without me.. You better have taken lots of pictures! :) 

Well we've had a pretty exciting week here in Coal Mountain. SO many miracles! And yes, even a few of them included animals.. haha But lets start with how I am now considered an Animal Whisperer. haha :) 

On Monday night we went to stop by this person from our ward and when we got there it was crazy dark outside. I asked Sister Alder if she remembered a

nything about this person and she responds, "I think she's the reptile lady." GREAT. We all know how much I like snakes.. Oh wait.. I DON'T. So I'm basically praying nonstop as we go to see her. As we talk she then decides to take us on a tour of all the reptiles she has.. That would include 4 snakes, one 10ft long. And 9 lizards, one so big she walks it with a leash. NOT EVEN KIDDING! These southern people are so funny! :) So.. She then pulls out 2 of the snakes (one 3 ft, one 5 ft) and I pretended to not me terrified and I touched them. Yes.. WRITE THAT DOWN. I touched a snake! :) I also held a gecko and "pet" all of the other lizards. 

Sister Alder and I with the Gainsville Sisters (Sister Reese and Sister Hooker) on our exchange.
While Sister Reese was with me (my MTC companion) for the day we went tracting and had a few experiences with some of the millions of dogs in this area. But the one worth talking about is the one that I am sure made Uncle Benny smile big! There was a bull mastiff that saw us and growled a bit and then started running. ya.. that's never a good sign.. Sis Reese kindly stepped behind me. I figured I had two options.. I could try to get it to like me, chancing getting bit.. Or I could run, making it chase me, and really chance getting bit. So perhaps I was an idiot but I went with the first one. And.. succeeded :) Uncle Benny would be proud because this dog became our new best friend. It walked with us from door to door for over an hour. At first it followed us to to the door.. But eventually it would listen to us when we said "Sit.." and "Stay.." at the driveway while we went to the door and it would just wait for us to come back and walk with us to the next home. :) 

And incase you are wondering.. a lot of families have snakes here.. So I have touched 5 snakes this week. And each time I see them I am less and less scared. And if that isn't a miracle.. I don't know what is! :) Maybe someday I'll hold one.. But lets not get too crazy! 

There are also lots of horses and cows around. I like to pet the horses as we walk past the fences..  Thank you hand sanitizer! 

Now the serious stuff.. :)

I love this little country town so much. Each time I leave an area I pray that I'll be able to love the next one just as much and be able to jump in completely. Well, my prayers have been answered and I again have found a little piece of home here in GA. I love the ward, they are so excited to have Sisters and it is so fun to have most of the children say "You are the first Sister missionaries I've seen in real life!" How adorable! We are acquiring quite the collection of drawings of us from the primary kids during sacrament meeting, it doesn't get much cuter than that. 

President Wolfert is such a great mission president. He is the key-holder of our mission, which means that he has stewardship and the right to receive revelation for how the work needs to happen in the Georgia Atlanta North Mission. We had a really neat experience with him this week as he conducted interviews and met with our district. As he talked with us he introduced a new standard for our mission and promised amazing blessings. I'm telling you I felt the spirit SO strong when he told us what is was. The Georgia Atlanta North Mission is now required to tract (knock doors) for a minimum of 2 hours per day. 

It might sound unproductive and silly but I know that the Lord will bless us for being obedient to our Mission President and He already has. We did what he asked and tracted 2 hours a day and talked to more people this week than I ever have in my mission. Our conversations seemed to be more meaningful and we were blessed to find people who would let us come back. 

Everyday since we have started doing that the Lord has opened more doors. Members have invited us over last minute to meet their friends who they want to share the gospel with. Its a miracle. 

Sister Alder and I have been invited to start volunteering at a horse ranch each Wednesday where they have special needs children there riding horses. The owner is a recent convert, and was introduced to missionaries from them coming to fix her farms fence, and so she asked us to come. Its fun to do service and see the smile on the children and be able to talk openly about prayer and such with their parents. Again, its a miracle. 

Sister Alders favorite color is yellow.. and so she's in love with my dress. I have agreed to let her claim it as hers for the time we are companions. haha This is us at lake lanier. 
Miracles are around each of us if we just look around. Will you help me see miracles? Can you do me a favor and not just pray for me but pray for the 3 part-member families we are starting to work with. The Williams, the Clarks, and theAinsworths. They have all agreed to let us start coming by and share messages on a regular basis. I know with the strength of your prayers we can see even more miracles.

I love you all! 
Sister Hamilton