Tuesday, April 22, 2014

"You can take the girl out of the Ghetto. But you can't..."

Well hey there!! 

Easter egg hunt at the church! (Inside because of the rain)
I hope you all had the best Easter imaginable! Mine was pretty good, a little different and definitely unorthodox, but hey! I wouldn't have it any other way :) I was shown the best video the church has ever put out on Tuesday night.. had I known about it last week I would have sent it then.. but seeing as I didn't have it I'll just send you all to it today. Its titled "Because of Him" and honestly its the best video!! And I'm not just saying that.. Its only like 2 minutes long, and I promise you that you will NOT regret watching it. Don't make me go all missionary on ya and ask a "will you" question.. Just watch it :) You can find it at: http://easter.mormon.org/

I've had a really great week! Thanks for your prayers! My procedure went well. My leg is swollen and sore, but the worry and stress is gone! Now I just have to not exercise or stretch and be a good girl and follow the Drs orders. :) Mom, I promise to be good. One more week until Student Teaching interviews. Exciting stuff! Please keep me in your prayers until they are over (April 29th) I would really appreciate it. 

Now as for the week, I have learned so much and experienced so much joy amidst the hard facts of missionary work. All of the things I love most about the South and my service as a missionary always come down to the people. This week I had some wonderful experiences with many of the people that I love and met some more people who also, of course, love dearly! Let me tell you about a few! :)

Sister Spencer and I :) 
The Spencers are doing great! We saw Sister Spencer one day this week and showed her how to use the "gospel library" app. She LOVED it. And its so fun to have her now show us scriptures from all over the standard works and how she's learned that they are connected. :) We went over there another time and showed her a baptismal calendar, a tool we have to help people see what they've learned, what more they need to learn, and set a goal for baptism. As we showed Sister Spencer all that they already know and live she looked up at us with the biggest smile and said "This is beautiful, I so want this, and I had no idea I was so close." We were able to help schedule some things and she wrote on her baptismal date "Our Baptism, Be Ready!" They have chosen to work toward being baptized on May 10th :) Pretty exciting!

We tracted into this sweet Muslim family. The daughter first answered the door and told us to wait there while she got her mom, her mom took awhile and when we said hi and told her where we were from she said "Oh I'm so sorry for wasting your precious time, we're Muslim" We assured them that they weren't wasting our time and had a nice conversation.. I couldn't resist asking what she was making because the curry smelled so good! Next thing I knew we were invited inside and shared a nice meal with Hibbah and her family and walked away with the recipe! :) It was neat to talk about the similarities of our religions and to just feel a great amout of joy in their home. 

We had dinner with the Williams family. Their son George is 5, and such a gentleman. Truly cutest little gentleman ever! He found out yesterday that they were feeding the Elders next week and he said "Oh Dad.. Don't you know I like the Sisters? Perhaps we can invite them again too." Oh proper little George! 

Sister Everett came to church again and is really just progressing so well! I love helping others to remember the feelings of peace and comfort that they felt at baptism. Its truly amazing and the best experience! 

We had a great evening with the Moores, a great couple in the ward. Brother Moore used to be quite hostile toward the church but for some reason has taken a liking to myself and Sister Smith. He has come to church for a month straight now and Sister Moore said he often bugs her to see when our next visit will be! :) Its so cute! I look forward to the big hug he gives us each Sunday when we see him at the church. :) As we left their house this week (the first lesson he participated in and shared his testimony of the Savior, truly beautiful!) I looked at Sister Smith and told her "Don't you ever forget this moment right now.. These are the moments I came on a mission to have. This is why I'm here and I hope its why you're here too."

Easter was really nice :) We spent the morning/lunch time with the Spencers. I was able to braid Annie's hair and she looked so cute! They had easter baskets for us. Really this family is such a blessing in my life. I love them so much! Then we had church, which was great. And afterward we went to Easter dinner.. More commonly and accuartely known as a block party, hosted by the wonderful Sister Manderson :) There were about 50 people including kids running everywhere. Brother Manderson reminds me a lot of Scott, the same hair, sense of humor, and love to cook. Bro Manderson grilled hot dogs, burgers, chicken, and salmon. The only time he left the grill was to break up a dog fight.. between two pitbulls.. haha And during that time I was put in charge of the grill.. Thanks Scott and Paul for teaching me! haha Sister Manderson's sister came up to me and said "Can you believe this craziness.. You can take the girl out of the Ghetto. But you can't take the ghetto out of the girl. I sure love my sister! And she sure knows how to throw a nice block party." HAHA It was so funny! 

The Byrds from Coal Mountain!! Did I mention I saw them last week? :) So wonderful!!! 
Lastly I want to share part of my interview with President Wolfert with you. First lets have a throwback monday. Right before I left to enter the MTC, just as right before I left for college, my mom looked me in the eyes and told me "You tell him that you are there to serve and that he will never have a problem from you, and make sure you mean it." In my first interview I did just that. I told President Wolfert I would always serve in anyway that he needed me to, and that he would never have to worry about my commitment level or obedience. It has been my goal to be the type of person that if the Lord needed something done that He could count on me. As I look at these past 15 months, I can see how President definitely has asked me to serve in a lot of various ways, and I'm so thankful for each learning experience!

So, back to my interview. It was so nice! I just felt so uplifted the entire time we talked. President then told me of a "pickle" (if you will) that he is in with these upcoming transfers that he is starting to work on. As I listened I wondered "why is he telling me this?" He then said "Sister Hamilton the more I pray about this I keep receiving one answer from the Lord.. He keeps telling me to "Ask Sister Hamilton" so Sister Hamilton, I'm here to ask you.." I of course told him again what I said in our very first interview.. I will always serve in anyway he needs. And as I walked out of his office I thought of a story shared by Elder Kopishke. It went something like this "One week before transfers i got a call from the MTC telling me an elder was sick and could not leave.. I just couldn't let myself go back to the drawing board and redo transfer assignments for 140 missionaries. I prayed and the answer came.. "Ask Elder.." He was going home the next week.. I called him and asked him his plans.. within the hour he had talked to his mother and agreed to stay not knowing if it would be 6 weeks or 6 days. He was a missionary the Lord could count on." 

I'm not certain if I will be asked when transfers come around to do what President and I talked about. But I had an overwhelming peace come to my heart that I have become the type of missionary that when the Lord or President Wolfert need something done, they know they can count on me. Truly a humbing experience. I know the most joy we experience in this life comes as we are willing to serve, giving everything no matter how hard it is. 

To the adventures in the future! :) I love you all!
Sister Julie Hamilton

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