Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Miracles, Gifts, Smiles, Cops, and Hugs! What a WEEK!

Hey Everyone!!

My 24 days of Christmas :)
I honestly don't know if I have ever felt more loved or witnessed more miracles than this past week. It has been marvelous! I wish I could tell you everything that happened this week but I think that might take me an entire day to list all of the blessings I have received this week. So forgive me as I do my best, but I am sure it won't be adequate to express all that I'm feeling. 

Let me first start by thanking everyone that wrote me notes to go in the package mom and dad sent me. Those little notes each day mean more to me than you could ever imagine! Perhaps my favorite comes from one of the kids in mom's primary class that reads "Sup Sis Hamilton. You don't know me, but I know you. Good luck being a missionary!" Haha :) or How Jared wrote to me in "invisible spiritual ink" and promised me an all paid trip to Europe! Thanks Jared! :) HAHA GOTCHA!

Sister Ernst!
Now for the week! As always, here are some highlights :)
  • We went out to lunch with our District which now has 2 companionship's of Sisters and 2 of Elders. Well the Elders didn't go directly to lunch and so we were at the table for awhile by ourselves. And this man, Mr. Fisher, comes up to us and starts telling us how his best friend sings in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. This kind man owns a home in SLC and Cumming GA so he's here for the winter. Mr. Fisher took our picture and sent it to his friend (haha) but then did the kindest thing ever, he bought all of us lunch that day. Yup, he totally picked up the tab of 8 missionaires. Such a nice guy! And a huge blessing/gift! 
  • On Wednesday we taught one of our ward families whose son hasn't been to church in over a year. I love that family! Sister Pabst and I taught "temples/family history work" and I decided to ask Jackson about his experiences doing baptisms for the dead in the temple as a youth. As he remembered and told us I definitely felt the spirit, and at the end of the lesson we asked him (and his parents) to prepare to go to the temple and make it apart of our lives. The Spirit filled the room as he said "Okay, I'll do it." I had to play it cool but I really wanted to jump for joy! When we met him he wouldn't even answer a question.. And now he will read scriptures with us and participate. I feel extremely blessed to have watched as he has made small changes each time we come to teach and look forward to continuing to teach them the PMG lessons and see what miracles happen. I know there is power in those lessons, they are a perfect formula to bringing the Spirit and helping others, including ourselves, to know how to bring their lives closer to Christ.
  • So once upon a time Sister Pabst and I were knocking doors (okay.. that happens everyday) and.. We noticed one cop car.. then another.. and another and I had the thought "I bet those are for us." Well we kept knocking doors unaware of more cop cars, including undercover cops, filling the neighborhood. As we were talking to someone at the door a police officer got out of the car and CAME UP TO US! That poor woman was so scared. He then asked us who we were etc and said people had called us in. HAHA Two girls in skirts looking scary? what! He then kind of chuckled and said "Well sisters, keep spreading the word, I'm proud of ya!" There were 4 regular cop cars, 3 undercover, and 1 k9 unit. Yes that is a real story. HAHA Definitely one for the journal. The sad thing is there have been a TON of breakins lately where people pretend to be missionaries and then have people jump out of the bushes.. and ya.. So people are nervous to talk to us. 
  • The Assistants called to say we were going to be spending the night in Johns Creek for the day between our two days of meetings. Woot woot! So I called Sister Blackett to ask what she wanted to do. She said "Well.. we don't really want to go on splits.. so why don't you go see your favorite peeps and let them know you love them and inspire them to do missionary work." Did she just give me the green light to go play in Johns Creek? WHY YES SHE DID! And did I take it? OF COURSE I DID! :) Immediately I knew the two I needed to see, the Ernsts and Betty. And Sis Pabsts neighbors growing up lived there to so we called them. It was wonderful! 
  • In Johns Creek: Sister Ernst called me back and said "Can I meet you where you are? I have to see you! This is the best!" So I got to see her, which was such a blessing! :) She informed me that Courtney, her sister-in-law that we used to see, has come back to church and went through the temple last week! How amazing is that! I am so excited for her! We then went to see Betty, who had emailed me her new address just Monday. The tender mercy was seeing her in the lobby and giving her the biggest HUG ever! She truly has changed my life, I have learned so much about love from her. She even played Called to Serve for me on the piano, I'm not sure I could have received a better gift than that this Christmas season. 
  • Someone told me while tracting, "I'd like to take some of your time to tell you why you shouldn't join the Latter-day Saint Church" haha :)
  • A bumper sticker read "I am a proud descendant of a Confederate Soldier." It went great with the large Confederate flag flying high off the home. :)
  • Betty and I sitting at her piano :)
  • We met a woman who I could tell was worried about her children. I remembered a training we had months back about how to introduce the Book of Mormon using it as a "book" of any kind (for example, book about history, or family etc.) As this woman, Karen, opened up about her concerns I felt prompted to refer to the Book of Mormon as a guide for parents. I went as far as to say "Its the best parenting book the world has", BOLD haha :) As we told her that it would help her answer all her questions on how to be the best mother she can be and how to love her child she cried and asked if it was free so she could have one. We were able to read some of 1 Nephi with her when Lehi is giving counsel to Laman and Lemuel and explained his trials with his sons but how he loved them anyway. She was touched and the Spirit was so strong. I am excited to go back and see her on Tuesday and pray we can help her feel peace and strengthened by the Gospel.
Like I said, the list could go on and on of the things that I have both seen and felt this week. Last night we got notice at 7 that we could watch the Christmas Devotional at a church building, which started at 8. We had no miles to drive ourselves to Suwanee so we gave up on seeing it. But as we stopped by to see the Aeschbachers they asked if we wanted to watch it, we explained how we couldn't at their home and they said not a problem! Within minutes all were dressed in church clothes and we made it to the church, where no one was, opened the library, got a TV, and watched it with just their family! Another amazing gift! :) Plus it was just absolutely wonderful to watch. And if you didn't watch it, I'd encourage you to. I loved that Sister Wixom shared the same story she had at my graduation, it was an amazing reminder to realize "what's next" is what we do with our love and knowledge of the Savior. 

I am so thankful for this Christmas season. The Love of the Savior is all around us, ready for us to let it into our hearts. I know that as we serve those around us we will be filled with the Spirit of Christmas, or as President Monson said last night, the Spirit of Christ. His love is real and is available for all. He is the Prince of Peace. And we would all do well to follow the advice of the Baptist church right down the street from me that says "Jesus is the reason for the season, please don't forget." 

I love you all! Merry Christmas!!
Sister Julie Hamilton

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