Thursday, November 28, 2013

Reasons to be Thankful!

Why Hello There Everyone! 

I had a really great week! Super hard.. But also super great! For the sake of time and trying to stay focused.. I'm probably going to tell you about transfers first then do some bullet points. 

Transfers are this week, the day before thanksgiving to be exact. I am going to be staying in the Coal Mountain Ward (which I couldn't be more happy about!) Woot woot! That also means I am still a Sister Training Leader, which means another 6 weeks of 2 exchanges per week and we now have a 6th companionship of sister in the zone. By the end of this transfer it will be my 6 month mark of being a Sister Training Leader. I love it! But I'm also pooped! haha Good thing the holidays bring an added level of excitement so I'm sure I'll find enough energy :) 

For the month of December the mission has asked that you send ALL letters and packages to me directly. My address is 6416 Mayfield Dr. Cumming, GA 30041. So ya.. Write me! :) 

Here is a rundown of the week: 
  • We met some of the coolest people this week! I went on two exchanges with Sisters I hadn't gone with before so that was exciting :) On one of the exchanges I met someone who served his mission with Chase Adams-Hart. Small world? YES! So.. If anyone in the Adams-Hart family gets this.. I'm supposed to say "Elder Broadhead says hi." (At least I think that's his name.. haha)
  • Wednesday we were tracting and we knocked on the door of Nicki, a pretty young mom. We had been knocking doors in this neigborhood for an hour with no success only fiesty people. And we couldn't figure out why we had felt like we needed to go there. Then we met Nicki, and we knew :) All of her extended family are members and she was so excited to meet us! She said she really wants to learn more and asked us to come back next week when kids are out of school because she wants her kids involved too :) Miracle, I think yes! 
  • We were on a team-up with Sister Norton visiting some sisters in the ward who haven't been coming. As we drove into one neighborhood Sis Norton says "My friend lives here!" and we kept going to find this girl in our ward.. well she moved.. So as we were driving out of the neighborhood Sis Norton goes "Well Sisters, wait a second, we weren't here to find Betsy, we're in this neighborhood so you can meet my friend. Ya. Lets just stop by!" :) SO WE DID! And it was awesome! Lyndi was SO excited to meet us and know there were girl missionaries (Sis norton's son is serving in Brazil). As we were getting ready to leave Sis Norton says "You know Lyndi, they teach free lessons about our church.." to which Lyndi responded "You do?! Well then lets get them started! Can you come after thanksgiving and start teaching my family, we really need a church." So we talked briefly about the youth programs available for her kids and it was awesome. :) A miracle, umm YA!! 
  • On Thursday we made many a batch of cookies with Sister Davis (one of our offical Grandma's in the congregation) for the troops. There is a thing each quarter that people ship off homemade cookies and southern treats to troops overseas. It was SO fun! I think we made about 20 dozen cookies in 2 hours. It was awesome :) We boxed 225 full of cookies and goodies to be sent to the Military! :)
  • As we were making the cookies I rememberd that Thursday was Barbara R (someone we are teaching) son's birthday. He was killed in a car accident a year ago. So we wrote her a card and took her over some of the cookies. I'm not sure I have the adequate words to express how much I love that woman. Nor can I completely describe seeing her that day. To see her light up a bit as we gave her cookies and a needed hug. She told her friend (a member in our ward) how much she loves us and how much it meant to her that we remembered Kyle's birthday. She said "those sisters of yours are welcome at my house everyday!" (Someday remind me to tell you of the miracle of Barbara R. and Mary--I'm not sure I have time today, but its definitely one worth sharing)
  • We are having lunch with Mary and her friend Sister Berg to talk about the church and answer some of her questions :) Cool huh? :) 
  • We had a Sister's work out/party on Friday with Sister Wolfert :) It was all the sisters in two stakes. It was really fun! We worked out, ate breakfast, did some trainings, and then talked. I unfortunately had to train on not flirting again.. DOH! I trained on it last week in a meeting and then on Fri Sister Wolfert said "Sister Hamilton I know I didn't ask you but.. will you go train on not flirting right now?" So that was "fun" aka not.. haha But its okay! :) It was fun to see a couple of my past companions :)
  • Oh and Sister Wolfert called me and gave me marriage advice.. Yes. That happend. And I'm pretty sure that doesn't happen everyday as a missionary! haha She just kept giving me peptalks about finding the best guy and not settling so that he and I together could do great things.. haha Okay Sister Wolfert, THANKS! :) On a serious note I really do love her, she's amazing! I really lucked out and got the best Mission President/Wife. 
So ya, things are great! All the ward is making a schedule of where we will be for what holiday (multiple members each day have us coming) so we are all taken care of :) Its so fun! haha And its a miracle to see them starting to jump into missionary work and be involved. We have about 4 families right now who have nights set up where they have invited friends over and we are going to do a lesson and a game. WHAT A MIRACLE! :) 

Alma 34:38 "...and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you." Lifes good! Find reasons to be thankful for! :) Because believe me, there are blessings all around us. 

I love you all!! 
Sister Julie Hamilton

P.S. Sorry, no pictures this week. I took a bunch.. but alas.. I forgot my camera cord :) 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Feeling more than blessed!

Hey Everyone!! 

I have to leave in about 30 min to go sew my skirt... so I'll make this fast.. soo.. it will most likely be all over the place :)

I hope you are all doing great! I know I am !! :) Life sure is wonderful. Its been an interesting week here full of miracles and blessings. I realize I say that a lot.. its kind of my mission catch phrase because its so true! Miracles are all around us. You know what's another reason I feel so blessed? I just felt so much love from everyone this week. Don't get too crazy, of course I still met some very feisty Georgians, but I also met some of the kindest people and felt so much love from them and for them. It was a miracle :) So.. let me start with a few miracles and blessings from the week. 

  • Miracle of technology and the sweetest Relief Society President ever. I got a text from her Tuesday that said "Lindsey is in Labor!!" Then a phone call around 8:40 where she said "Hello Sister Auntie!" Seriously! How fun is that? I didn't have to wait for Monday to roll around to know Lindsey had had little Benjamin :) Also because of technology Paul was able to text her pictures so I could see how cute he was!! 
  • Remember the girl in our congregation who has sooo many reptiles? Well we saw her this week and she showed us all of her animals again and things she's collected over the years. She's getting married and is SO excited which is fun :) As we talked to her I just kept getting the feeling that she needed to know she was appreciated and loved. So I did something which I'm pretty sure I've never done before, I prayed for an immediate interest in her reptiles and hobbies and for an increased love for her. And it happened, immediately. All of a sudden I was "petting" snakes, holding lizards, sharks teeth, bones, etc and she was literally beaming. She looked so happy.  Next thing I knew I had scriptures come to my mind that I could apply to her perfectly and she loved it. Before we left she asked if we could come back again soon and she gave us necklaces she has made out of sea-glass she collected. As I gave her a hug, thanked her for the BEAUTIFUL necklace, and told her I loved her she responded "Thank you for being my friend." If there is one thing serving a mission has taught me its that everyone deserves a friend, everyone needs to know they are loved. 
  • We knocked on the door.. A man answered with his wife standing next to him and without any introduction said "Well come on in!" Turns out Rick and Cookie just returned from a 15 year mission in Thai Land for the Southern Baptist Church Foundation. We talked about missions and it was so cool. They showed us an "evangicube" basically the plan of salvation in a cube that you twist and turn.. Lets just say.. I need one! (haha) Anyway, they were so nice. :) It was a definite blessing! 
  • As we did a family home evening we asked the kids to do something and one of them said "if I remember" (mind you this kid is 10.. so that is a normal response). His Dad responds by saying "Son, do you know who these girls are?" --Missionaries-- "Did you know that when they speak, they speak for the Savior.. They aren't the ones that asked you to do that service. It was the Savior." He left it at that. It was one of the most powerful teaching moments I've ever been in. I learned so much. What a huge responsibility it is to be representatives of Jesus Christ, but it is also the biggest joy and blessing! 
I think I am one of the luckiest girls in the entire world. Truthfully, I feel that way. I don't know how I got so lucky to have the best family, be serving around the most wonderful people, and to be in such a beautiful place! I mean its 70 degrees today! :) 

This week I was even lucky enough to have the BEST dinner ever. A family in the ward flew in "Moes" clam clowder from Oregon and Boudin's Sour Dough bread for me. Our first dinner there they asked me my favorite thing to do in SF because he goes there for work all the time and I said "Clam-chowder in a bread bowl" They mentioned they havea  favorite place in Oregon.. and so when we came over for dinner this week they had surprised me. How amazingly thoughtful is that?!? :) I mean hello.. here I am in Georgia and I just had Boudins! So mom and dad.. in case you ever doubted.. I am being completely taken care of :) 

Well.. I have to go. So let me just do one or two funny lines from the week 
  • I showed up to the Relief Society Pres house for a lesson and she says "Sister Booger, its so nice of you to join us! hehe sorry your brother told me his nick name for you" haha Thanks Paul! I sure love you! 
  • "Jesus Recycles" -Mt Tabor Baptist Church
  • "I don't want to be mormon unless I can have 10 wifes"--crazy old guy.. haha 
  • We went Visiting Teaching.. at the Dawsonville Pool Room. Yes. That really happend. Visiting teaching in a pool hall with billiards slot machines and more. And to make it better we took a picture of course :) And one of the sisters asked the guys at the bar to join in to which they responded "Y'all just want some hillbillies in yur picture." HAHAHA I LOVE THIS PLACE!! 
Well I have to go. I love you all sooo much!! Thank you for all the letters and prayers. 

Have a great week! 
Sister Hamilton

"We're praying for you... You're welcome."

Why Hello There!

Don't you just love my favorite church sign of the week? "We're praying for you.....You're welcome." So when in doubt.. At least know the Hopewell Baptist Church is praying for you! :)
It has been a great week and an interesting week! Full of meetings, service, miracles, and fun! But before I recap on last week let me give some shout outs for this coming week..

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY Wayne and Kristin!!!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!! I hope you like the surprise I sent ya!
WELCOME TO The World Little P&L!!! <--Assuming that little one comes this week :)

Such fun things happening for Hamiltons this week! I'm excited!
Now for a quick rundown on the week..

    Sister PaePae and I at Zone Conference! 
  • We stopped by to see Barbara one night and read the Book of Mormon with her, she told us we had to wait and surprise Annie, so we did! When Annie got there Barbara proudly told her of the miracles the Savior had done in the Americas (3Nephi17) :) It was so cute to see her retelling all that we had read and how you could see it really meant something to her- a tender mercy! 
  • We were landscaping with Mary again this week and she started asking wonderful questions about the Church. She then told us about an experience she had with her neighbor. He asked her "Mary, why do you have two young girls over doing landscaping, my dog ran over to them and they were just so nice.. So what's the deal.. Did they get caught with drugs or underage drinking?"--HAHAHA--She that she told him "Bill! No. Those are Mormon missionaries." To which he asked "Well what are they doing at your house, you're not a mormon." And she said she boldy responded "Mormons are the nicest people and best church, they take care of everyone. You should really talk to them!" 
  • We stopped by to see a woman who hasn't come to church in about 10 or so years.. And she said "You know what, you're right. Its time I come back!" Meliah and her two daughters sat with us during church, MIRACLE. 
  • Sister Nielsen and I at Zone Conference!
  • A little boy in the primary program said "My faith increases when I learn the recreation of the Gospel." HAHA :) SO funny, and SO cute. But hey, I love the fun "recreation" that comes from the gospel too! 
  • I got a letter this week from a future Sister for the Georgia Atlanta North Mission. I guess she found my blog somehow and so she wrote me and asked me questions for prepping for Georgia. How cool is that? I had no idea that anyone actually read my blog! Thank you so much Lindsey for posting everything on there! And future Sister Johnson, if you're reading this, I'll be sure to write you back today with some helpful suggestions :)
  • We made cookies with a woman in our ward this week and took them to her neighbor. It was so fun she said "they just really need the gospel and they have been coming to ward activities for a long time. Its time I be a good friend and simply invite them to learn more!" So her goal this week is to invite them to a FHE at her home. Will you keep her in your prayers that she'll have courage and love to invite their neighbors over for a fun activity? :)
  • As we were teaching a member family the restoration.. Sister Alder was sharing her testimony of the Book of Mormon.. it was a great moment and the spirit was really strong. I see the BIGGEST cockroach climbing toward Sis. Norton.. I just watched it.. so I would know where to kill it afterward so Sis Alder could keep teaching.. well Sister Alder saw it and yelled "YIKES YIKES A BUG ON YOUR SLIPPER!" To which Sis Norton literally SCREAMED and kicked her legs back and forth, not only making her slippers fly but also the cockroach. Which flew across the room onto the coach we were on.. Needless to say.. it was HILARIOUS! Now.. that doesn't happen everyday! 
Anyways, its time to go. I love you all so much. I know that God lives, this is His work, and He loves each and everyone of us so much. We are never forgotten, we are never alone. We are His favorite! All of us, His favorite. And that my friends, is a miracle.

Sister Hamilton
Exchange with Suwanee!! Sister George and I had a BLAST!! It was so much fun!! :) She's a hoot. Its my second exchange with her so that was fun.

"Oh, that's right.. Mormon's Love Everyone."

I hope you are all doing wonderful! I know I am :) Its been such an amazing week I don't even know where to start. I have learned SOOO much. And we have truly been blessed in this area! I'm happy (if you couldn't tell) :), healthy, and lovin' the missionary life! 

Sister Blaylock and I at Mission Leadership Counsel. It was so good to see her!  
Let me start by explaining the title to this email. I was in Hamilton Mill with Sister Cordero and we were tracting in this neighborhood. It was such a beautiful day with a little breeze and all the leaves on the trees are falling.. and many of them fell in my hair and got stuck on my skirt.. EMBARRASSING! :) just kidding, it wasn't embarrassing, it was just funny when I'd notice a leaf on my bum. ANYWAYS. We knocked on this door and no one came to the door but a man came around the garage and asks who we are.. I tell him.. to which he responds "You have GOT to be kidding me.. (mumbles under breath)..Listen.. We're like your enemy." well.. you know me.. I just smiled and responded "Enemy? What? No.. we don't have enemies!" He's response couldn't have been better. "Oh.. that's right. Mormon's love everyone..Well.. I'd like to be left alone." haha so hey, maybe he didn't want to hear anything about our message but at least he knows mormon's love everyone!

Everyone thought we were trick or treating on Halloween.. NEAT! haha
A family I met when I was on exchange in the Hamilton Mill Ward :) They were hilarious! so I asked if I could take a picture :) We had breakfast for dinner.. LOVE!! No one ever does that, so its pretty awesome when we get it.
Do you remember me ever talking about a couple in the Johns Creek Ward, Mandi and Will? We taught Will a lot and I found out at Mission Leadership that he's getting baptized this weekend! Woot woot! He's being baptized this Saturday and they are getting married next saturday! I'm so excited for them! :)

We golfed in District Meeting.. We had to write something your companion does that bugs you on a golf ball then we had our own driving range into the wilderness behind the church. Dad, I am proud to report that I did quite well. And the Elders were shocked I knew how to golf. I may or may not have had one of the longest shots.. just sayin'! :) Thanks for teaching me that very valuable skill Dad, I sure love you! 

We had a ward fall festival and we had a great turn-out! There were lots of people there who are not members of the church and it was really neat to have members excited to introduce us to their friends! We even have a few appointments with some of the families/their friends to teach a lesson.

These are all from my MTC group. Right now 5/6 sisters are Sister Training Leaders and 2/5 Elders are Zone Leaders so we had a lot of fun during our meeting ALL day friday. and I do mean ALL day..
For the sake of time I'm going to close with one story, its a story that happened over the course of 3 days. We were able to get back in with Annie Poleo, a sweet woman we had met tracting on Monday night. She was really excited to see us and asked great questions about our life after this. As we read with her scriptures from 2 Nephi 2 she asked how we knew to find those. I told her it was what I had studied that morning, to which she responded, "well then this is no coincidence!" Now isn't that the truth! :) We invited her to read that chapter for when we would teach her on Wednesday. After we said a closing prayer she asked if we would go see her mom and help her feel loved, which we gladly agreed to do. So we made plans to meet Annie at her mom's, who lives in an assisted living home.

As we went to meet her mom Annie came out of her car with the book of mormon in hand and gladly reported she had read the chapter and showed us a few verses she had questions with. Barbara, Annie's mom was so sweet and had questions about the Book of Mormon, and even asked if she could have one. :) We read some of our favorite scriptures and taught some of the restoration. I went there just assuming we would meet her mom and help her feel happy, I didn't know Annie wanted us to teach her mom too, what a miracle! :) 

We went back on Wednesday and brought a sister in our Relief Society, and taught the Plan of Salvation, which they both loved! Annie felt the spirit so strong and it was a blessing to help her recognize it. She immediately accepted baptism and asked if we could meet more often to read the scriptures! It was wonderful. When we invited Barbara to be baptized she was a little hesitant and before we could try to ask Annie said "Well mom! Why not? What's holding you back?" It was so amazing to see how badly Annie wants this for both her and her mom.

What perhaps was the most tender experience for me this week, if not on my whole mission, was when Barbara took my hand in both of hers and whispered "Sister Hamilton, please do not give up on me, I want this. I want to know this is true." I almost couldn't answer because it was so heartfelt. I bent down, looked her in the eyes and told her that I would never give up on her, and neither would her Lord and Savior. I told her I knew this was true, and if she studied, let us help her, and prayed that she could know too. Then of course, I gave her the biggest hug I could! I love that sweet grandma so much! 

I never will forget that moment. The picture painted in my mind and heart will never be erased. I will forever see her longing face as she explained "Well its just too good to be true." That's the miracle of the gospel, it sounds too good to be true, but it isn't. I know it isn't. God's love for us is real, its never ending. If I love the people of Georgia so much to never give up on them, can you image how much greater our Father is incapable of giving up on us? His love is much greater for us than mine is for this people, which is hard to comprehend because I love them so much. But if His love is greater, than I know He can NEVER give up on us.

He loves us more than we know. His Only Begotten Son is our Savior. And They are there for us always, all we have to do is ask. 

I love you all! I'm off to go buy some fabric to make a skirt! :) 

Sister Hamilton