Thursday, May 29, 2014

"The will of God will never take you where His grace will not protect you."

Hey Everyone!! 

Me and Bishop Hailstone and his daughter (before I left Allatoona)
I hope you all are having a fantastic Memorial Day!! I'm super jealous of all y'all who are at Gualala this weekend. Hermana Garcia Valle and I have this beautiful green belt/ nature trail right outside our apartment that we go running at each morning. Its so fun and this week I've been imagining Lindsey and I running our 12 miles at Gualala to train for our half-marathon. :) 

We've been really blessed this week, I'm so happy!  I LOVE these people so much. :) And I think its hilarious that none of them think I don't speak Spanish.. So inevitably in every dinner when I'm mostly quiet they ask Hermana Garcia "Does she speak Spanish?" I then respond saying how I don't speak well, that I've only been Spanish speaking for about a week.. etc. And then their jaws drop. Its comical! I follow the conversation really well but still can't seem to speak. But its okay! It's only been a week and a half. At least they love my smile and that I'm always happy... So I'm a mute with a cute smile.. I'll take it! haha

We are still teaching Crystal, I LOVE that woman. She is such a doll. We taught her and her 3 kids this week about prayer and then took turns helping the two little boys saying prayers and such. It was so cute! Crystal was telling us about all the peace that she feels when we come and how when she's stressed she's started reading el Libro de Mormon and loves it. I am so amazed at the miracles that can come into our lives from studying the Book of Mormon on a regular basis. The blessings are real.. try it! :) We are teaching them again tomorrow night and I'm super excited! 

Hermana Garcia and I are trying hard to find people to teach... its a process :) What's hard is we go tracting and talk to like 15 people who speak English and only 3 who speak Spanish.. So clearly we don't know which parts of town to go to yet, but we'll get the hang of it soon. We're visiting a lot of members, who are just amazing. I am so thankful for the Spirit that is in their homes and for their kindness. It doesn't matter if they haven't met us before they immediately just put their arms around us and make us apart of their family. Also, the little children are OBSESSED with us because we're the first sisters to EVER be around them. It's so fun to always be the first set of sisters :) Also, they think because "I'm American" that I don't like/can't handle spicy food.. I try not to be insulted.. Like when this Guatemalan families college age son goes "Oh.. you'll probably need an extra glass of water, because I mean, you are American." What? I think not! haha I do think its working in my favor though because they like you more if you enjoy their food, and they think I won't like it but I end up loving ALL of it. Therefore I make friends.. you follow? 

"Hi from Megan!" <-- Sister Mitton and I are serving right around each other these days. Its pretty comical, and super fun! :) 

Anyways, we're working on trying to figure out what we want our purpose to be here in the Branch, its tiny.. Like TINY. We probably have about 30 people that come to church on Sunday. Its just a cute little family. We're focusing a lot on helping families who haven't been to church in a long time to come back and trying to update the directory.. I mean as much as I'd love to roadtrip to Califorinia... We probably should have their info moved to CA :) We taught Relief Society yesterday, and by we I mean Hermana Garcia taught Relief Society. Haha. I helped her plan the lesson and then said "Good luck!!" I played prelude for Sacrament, can you say roughskies? But its such a treat for them to have someone play the piano live that I can't not at least try for them, you know? 

 our picnic outside to do our 3 hr planning session for the week :)
Here's a little bullet point list of some cool things that happened this week:
  • We told this teenage girl Alondra to watch a mormon message and then text us to tell us what she thinks (something we do a lot.. but no one has EVER texted) But guess what? She totally did!! Hermana Garcia and I didn't even know what to do haha We tried to play it cool and then were able to have a really good conversation with her about having the strength to stand up for what we believe and what not. 
  • We taught the Perez's daughter (a family that was recently baptized) And the 8 yr old daughter said her first prayer and thanked Heavenly Father "for these two girl missionaries who I love so much." Yup... just making best friends with all the little kids :)
  • We've been doing a lot of service this week and one family we went to do service for and the mom was like "I don't want to pack anymore.." Hermana Garcia and I just looked at each other and were like "now what?" We excused ourselves for a moment and went out to the car and Hermana Garcia grabbed her thread.. And we decided.. threading eyebrows and sharing a message is a great new form of service. #anythingtowearpants :) 
  • Everyone was yelling at us in this neighborhood and we were feeling like we didn't want us to be there, but something said not to give up yet.. The next door we went to this cute woman named Betty answered the door. Betty is in her late 70's and is a recent widow, with no teeth and a southern accent (love southerns!) We said a prayer with her to bless her home and she immediately broke down in tears and gave us the biggest hugs and kisses on the cheek and kept telling us how she knew we were there for a reason. I know if we are willing to follow the Spirit that the Lord will always lead us to those who need us. 
So.. once I had 7 days of Spanish und
DAD!! I didn't know you were running for office :) hahah 
er my belt Hermana Garcia decided it was time for me to start sharing all of the messages at dinner. So I have done it, and it gets easier each time. We pulled up to one house (the second message I was supposed to share) and then I realized.. uh.. We didn't plan a message because we've been so busy. I looked at her and she just laughed and said "Well.. Looks like its time that you say a prayer and we go in and watch to see the miracle of the Lord bringing words to your remembrance. I prayed sooo hard.. And immediately the scripture Alma 26:16 came to my mind, one that I love SOO much and always have but that day it meant something more. Because the last phrase is "Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel."  And I realized wow.. this is me. That is exactly how I feel. I have such a strong testimony, I have so much love for these beautiful people, but at the moment I cannot say the smallest part which I feel. Perfect. Hermana Garcia was right, right when I needed it all the words came to me and I was able to teach. The Spirit is amazing!! 

I hope you all have an amazing week, please keep me in your prayers! I love you all!! 
Hermana Hamilton

Fruit Overload!

Hola y'all! (You like that?) haha 

I hope you are all doing fantastic! As for me, I am so good, and SO unbelievably tired. I'm not sure I have ever had to take so many naps in my life. Exhaustion doesn't even begin to describe how I feel. But its not that my body is tired.. its that my eyes and my brain cannot seem to stay in the game.. #languageoverload 

the beltrans

Let me tell you all about my week, I'm sorry in advance for this being so scattered and crazy. I've decided the word of the week is double. Double dinner.. Double lunch.. double the exhaustion.. double the joy.. double the family.. Double the stuff.. Double the wardrobe (thanks to having a companion my exact same size).. Everything in my life seemed to double, in a good way of course. :) 

Monday after we got transfer news we went bowling with the Woodstock Sisters, then had dinner at the Masons. Oh how I love them! After dinner we went to do our FHE with the Beltrans (a family from the Spanish congregation in Woodstock) Well.. We showed up for the FHE and I noticed that the table was set.. with food.. lots and lots of food.. And then I looked at Sister Smith who had a look of sheer panic.. And I whispered.. "double dinner.. just smile and eat." The food really was fantastic though :) our hogar de noche with the Beltrans was so awesome! I LOVE them! Their little 9 yr old daughter kept pestering me about my Spanish (because they knew I was going to be switched to Spanish speaking) And made me share my testimony with her and say the closing prayer. It was nerve-wracking.. but it was good to get the first one in a big group out of the way with a family I'm comfortable with, you know? I'm going to miss them! 

Tuesday was nuts! We were in back to back to back appointments.. forever! It was so busy! Once again being fed non stop.. I wanted to die! haha But I loved seeing everyone and teaching so much. It was hard to say goodbye to everyone, but not at the same time? Isn't it weird how that happens. You put roots down so quickly as a missionary and you love the people so much, it should be so hard to leave.. And it is in a way.. but I just knew there was a reason that I was leaving and that I had done all I could. 

Sister Wilder had a little get together at her house so people could stop by for an hour and say goodbye to us departing missionaries. What an awesome idea :) I got to say bye to so many more families than I thought we would, so perfect! We had the Dixons be our last stop of the night. I miss them.. I really do. I just loved being with them in their home and sharing my last message with them. I love them!!
Enough of the sappy stuff... Now lets talk about my new life here in Buford. My companion is Hermana Garcia Valle, from Utah. Another from Utah.. :) But I mean technically she was born in Mexico and lived there until sometime in Elementary school (don't exactly remember when) so that's a good claim to fame. She's super funny and we've been having a lot of fun. We're the first Hermanas here in this area so that's exciting and also a little overwhelming.. But its all good! Oh and I have become a mute.. so that's cool. haha Someday, I will learn to communicate well in Spanish. But really, can you imagine me silent? I never could.. but now its my reality! haha
 Hermana Garcia Valle and our branch president and his wife, who thinks he served his mission with Jana.. just sayin'
Since being here in the area we've already seen so many miracles which is super exciting! We received sooo many referrals from members and missionaries we don't even know where to start as far as meeting them all. Two of them let us come and teach them and we have return appointments for tomorrow night :) Crystal and John. Crystal is the cutest and just wants to be a good mom :) She called us today just to say hi and make sure we would come back and teach her tomorrow. Ya.. that never happens, how cool is that! :) In our lessons I just say the prayers and share my testimony and do my best to follow the conversation. Which I do surprisingly well, I just can't string the sentence fast enough to respond while it would still fit the context. But I'll get there :)
Saturday we helped a few families in the branch (congregation) get ready for a sweet Mexican wedding.. With the Mariachi band and everything. :) Well.. lets just say we cut my weight in fruit.. Then we came home for dinner after having helped and done service basically all day.. 8 hrs helping set things up move things around and only hearing spanish is EXHAUSTING. But lets just say.. I have never seen so much fruit in my life. We literally cut enough food for 300+ people.. yikes!
alice, a recent convert in the ward
I LOVE the members here. They are fantastic! I love how every woman gives us a big hug and kiss on the cheek. And then they call me "the cute little American" haha I love their testimonies, the Spirit is so powerful when they speak. Truthfully, I probably only understood about 60% of church.. yet I felt the Spirit probably the strongest in those meetings than any other church meetings on my mission and probably also in my life. The congregation is tiny sooo small. But so loving and so wonderful. Relief Society was first, and the woman just handed me a piece of paper to read, nothing like your 4th day learning Spanish and you have to read a HUGE paragraph in front of a bunch of native speakers.. :)
There isn't anyone who can play the piano, so Hermana Garcia and I are going to take turns who plays and who leads the music, which will be fun. I love the hymns in Spanish by the way! :) Then there's the whole they asked us to both speak in sacrament meeting.. They said mine could be just a long testimony 4 or so minutes.. So that's what we did for Language study on Saturday and I made sure that we told people it was only my 4th day as a Spanish Sister. Afterward Hermana Sarazua came up to me and said "Oh! It makes sense! I thought you were just really really quite and couldn't figure out why you didn't know the language that well since you'd been out so long." haha So.. everyone thought I was a literal mute.. NICE!
I don't have a lot more to say, life's good. So good! I am super happy! We have a super nice running trail behind our apartment so we've gone running every morning which is SO nice! :) I'm amazed at the miracles. Last night we stopped by to see a recent convert, he's from the Dominican Republic and their accents are so hard so I had trouble following all his story lines.. But I just kept praying to know what scripture we needed to share.. I then prayed for the courage to interrupt the conversation a bit and figure out how to introduce the scripture. I did so and it was cool to see me be able to read it to him without any problems. I was amazed to hear how perfectly it fit what he needed to hear.
If there is one thing I know, its God isn't limited by language. The Spirit can speak to all men and women the same, and it will if we ask for its guidance, comfort, and help. Its probably the biggest lesson I have learned this week.
I love you all and hope you have a great week!! Pray for me!! :)
Hermana Hamilton

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Pictures, please!

My new leg accessory!

Lucky quarter sister porter and sister cordero gave me to flip a coin to decide where to go for student teaching.. ya.. that's what true friends do. They give you a quarter? haha :)

Sister Smith and I

Jimmy at his baptism

The Viczneskys at the baptism :) Love that family! 

Brother McCardle, we call him Santa.. I think he's Santa in disguise:)

The Fagres!!I love them!! :)

ME :)

The Jerls :) 

Welcome to our Circus Home!

Why Hello There! 

Oh my goodness so so so much to talk about, but not at the same time because I think I told it all on "google hangout" :) So sorry family if I repeat some things. Can I just say, I'm still the happiest girl on earth from yesterday.
Sister Smith and I singing in the rain while tracting :) 
Lets start with my student teaching choice! I decided to go back to Rexburg and take part in their new student teaching program. I'll have my own classroom at Madison Middle School and will not only teach those students but also mentor Education student from BYU-I. They will have a chance from time to time to teach my class and then I will help them by giving them feedback, working with their lesson plans, etc. I'm so excited! So many good things ahead! 

Next, transfer news.. Drum roll please! I am going to serve in my first "Branch!" A Branch is a smaller congregation, and I'm super stoked because its in Buford GA which is in the Sugar Hill Stake (where Coal Mountain is). Its the Lanier Branch.. Its also a Spanish Branch. Yes, you read that right. No, this is not a late April Fools joke (although it would be a good one). Yup! I'm going to be attempting to speak Spanish for my last 3 months. How crazy and exciting!! :) Oh.. And.. We're the first sisters, so once again I'll be starting fresh and building up. Fun stuff! :)

So, really I have had the best week imaginable. We have been so blessed, its amazing! Yesterday we were talking with the Elders after church and Elder Blair and I just knew we were both being transferred and we decided that this was the Sunday to leave on.. We really went out with a bang! It was perfect! Sister Smith and I had 5 of the people we are teaching come to church and had a few other part-member families that we are seeing from time to time come. Sister Spencer stood up in our Relief Society (the womens class) and asked everyone to pray for her so that she can have extra strength so she can be baptized. :) Lacey told her Sunday School class that she was learning from us to be baptized. And McKinley told our Gospel Principles class that she was being baptized June 7th (news to us, haha)  And you can't forget Brother Moore yelling at me "Hey I know you! Get over here and give me a hug!" :) It was just a wonderful day!

Let me tell you one of the reasons I love the South so much. It was a fairly hot and real humid day yesterday and we were tracting.. At one door the woman was clearly not interested so I just talked to her about mothers and then thanked her for letting us be in the shade on her porch to talk with her. She then said "How rude of me! Darlin's you just sit right there on the steps and I'll go get you some water." Sister Smith looked at me like we were in some other world.. We sat down and enjoyed glasses of ice cold water, she simply asked that we leave the glasses on the porch. I love the South because there really aren't a lot of places around like that where hospitality not only exists, but is the norm. 

The Spencers at Jimmy's baptism! :)
We were able to attend the baptism of Jimmy this weekend, he's been being taught by the elders since Feb. I always love seeing him on Sundays! I'm amazed that it doesn't matter who is being baptized but at every baptism I attend tears fill my eyes when the actual baptism is performed. Its such a simple and beautiful act, its truly perfect. Brother Williams told Jimmy that he was the most clean person in the room and Jimmy just smiled and said "I feel that way!" It was so special I feel very blessed to have seen him grow these past months, and it was a miracle to have Sister Spencer and her daughter there as well. Who both LOVED it :) 

We saw a woman in the congregation this week who hasn't been to church in many years and used to be quite hostile (so we were told). Turns out she's our new best friend! haha That's my favorite thing, when people tell me that someone is going to be feisty and then we go and its great. She's from Germany and said about a week ago she started reading a church book given to her years ago and said that as she read a strange thing happened.. she felt good.. then we showed up! It was sweet to get to know her and to hear her tell us that she still knows the Book of Mormon is true and that she wants us to start coming to study with her. I also loved that she was so amused with me being from CA because of the earthquakes.. She kept saying "If I lived there I'd sleep in a hammock.. because they sway anyways so I wouldn't panic if there was an earthquake.. because I'd never know!" Haha Okay Claudia! 

The Everitts are doing absolutely fantastic! Coming to church each week, reading the scriptures, and praying. :) I love that family and I love going over to see them! 

Here's Brother Wood :) Going to miss that man!
The Dixons also are doing amazing. Really, they mean so much to me! We sat behind them in Sacrament meeting and I let out a little hiccup. Okay, lets be honest, it was loud.. haha But anyways immediately Sister Dixon turned around and said with tears "Oh I'm gunna miss you!" I know I say this a lot.. but I really do love that family like my own. I'm going to miss my "abby hugs" each Sunday. I'm going to miss Brother Dixon teasing me. I'm going to miss Emma telling me all about her life.. I'm just flat out going to miss them. Watching the Dixon's learn about and accept the gospel will always be one of my most cherished memories. Always. And, I will come back to see them get sealed. Which means I'll need to start making some money asap.. Jordanne, if you're reading this, get ready to go back to GA with me! :) 

I'm sure there is more that I could tell you, but its time I get going. Moral of the story, I'm really excited and nervous for the adventure up ahead and am going to miss this place. Once again the people here have become family, and this has become home. I know that is only possible because of my Savior, the Gospel, and this small black name tag that I love so much. 

Please keep me in your prayers! And please continue to pray for the Spencers, I really hope I'll be able to come back for their baptism, but its unlikely.. But its okay! Because I read 1 Corinthians 1:17"For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel." And I wrote "Amen Paul, I feel the same way" in my scriptures. :) Its okay that I don't get to see the people I teach be baptized. I'm always transfered.. What matters is I get to see the light come into their eyes and their faith grow. I'm here to teach, because teaching is what I love! 

I love you!!
Hermana Hamilton <-- Now that's weird!! 

P.S. The title of this email came from a father who kept saying that to us at dinner.. it was wild.. like a child pooping on the floor kind of wild.. uh.. ya. HAHA

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

I knew it! I knew I belonged here in the South!

Hello Everyone! (Mom, please feel free to shorten this if you would like, I completely understsand)

Wow.. I'm at a complete loss of words. Can I just say, Heavenly Father loves me so much! :) One of my companions, Sister Dunn, and I used to joke about being Heavenly Father's "favorite" because we felt so blessed all the time.. and I just feel so overwhelmed with the amount of blessings lately. I don't even know what to do! No really.. I don't know what to do.. haha

Let me tell you about Student Teaching first, because its obviously on my mind and I've been told by President Wolfert to not let it distract me too much.. haha

Taken Tuesday night after all my interviews. With my two different tags on. One of the members daughter saw me in my student teaching tag and said "No offense Sister Hamilton.. but I like the black one better." haha 
Tuesday was the day I did all 5 of my interviews for student teaching, wow! What a crazy day! Sister Smith went with Sister Porter and her companion for the day and I had members be my companion. I did the first 4 interviews at the Masons home and the last 1 at the Hailstones (funny story I'll tell ya about later). I was so surprised at how natural it felt to be in an interview setting, I wasn't nervous at all. Thank you for all your prayers, I really know they made a difference. I was almost speechless after each interview as I could see that words had filled my mouth and things came to my memory that I had forgotten I even learned in the first place! The Lord sure does bless His missionaries! 

One lesson I learned/relearned with this experience is to trust in the Lord (Proverbs 3:5-6). I had two interviews  basically at the same time, because one I had been wait-listed for came through. As I was waiting.. 1:00 came and went (the interview start time) and I started to feel a bit stressed knowing that I had a different interview starting at 1:15 and if the principal didn't show up.. I'd miss it. I just kept saying a prayer that it would all work out.. 1:05..1:10.. Then Brother Magleby (a BYU-I professor, who I was interviewing with at 1:15) popped up on my screen and said "I felt like I needed to get here early and sense your principal isn't here yet, do you think we can just do our interview a few minutes early?" Our interview went great and I learned about an amazing opportunity that I didn't even realize I was interviewing for :) by the time it finished the other principals got there and I was able to interview for 3 different schools. 
The Everitts :)

Sister Smith was suppose to come get me so that we could go out and do some tracting before my last interview, but the sisters wouldn't answer the phone.. Sister Mason had to leave and I couldn't be left a lone.. Again, I started to feel a tiny bit of stress but then remembered, Trust in the Lord.. Sister Hailstone rushed over to get me I went with her to pick up her middle school carpool.. As we were waiting I looked at the clock and despite her encouragement (forced I'm sure) I had the thought.. There is no way I'm going to make it on time. Then a different thought came to me "I've taken care of you this long, haven't you learned to trust me." I was almost surprised as I then told Sister Hailstone "I'm not worried, if its a school the Lord wants me to consider He'll make it happen. And if not well, then I wasn't supposed to be there anyways." Someone from the District got there early.. I got a phone call, but still wasn't at a house.. But we got there right when my interview was supposed to start. And the interview went FANTASTIC! He found out I was a missionary and teased me saying "You go home soon, are you trunky? You can be honest!" I just laughed and assured him I wasn't, to which he said "I know, you're a great worker. So finish serving the Lord strong, then come back and work in my school district." Again, trust the Lord. 

I learned that lesson again today when I logged on and found that the Lord continues to bless me so much. To my amazement I have received an offer from every school district that I interviewed for and even received a couple offers in the same district. I guess now its a matter of choice. Funny how the last time I interviewed (before my mission) I didn't receive an offer from any of the schools. In every interview I was able to use things I've learned about teaching from being a missionary to help me answer questions and explain my philosophy of education. The Lord blesses His missionaries, that I KNOW. i also know I needed to be a missionary for way more reasons than I've ever realized or understand. And I also know that I will never regret this choice. 

You're also probably all wondering why I have the email titled what it is. Well that's because I decided to go on my family history and find out where in Georgia I had an ancestor from.. Well as it turns out I have MANY ancestors from this great state, as well as a ton from North Carolina and Tennessee! :) Some of those Georgians lived in Cobb County (I've lived there!) and Bartow County (right next door!) I'm currently living 4 miles from Cobb and 10 miles from Bartow. Ya.. Try to tell me I don't belong here.. oh wait.. I do! I even found out there is a high chance I'm related to a guy in this congregation I'm serving in. When I asked him about a Nancy Henderson from this place that came from blah blah blah.. He pretty much dropped dead. And said "Um.. Sister.. The chances that we are related are much greater than the chances we are not. I need you to call me as soon as you have more information." haha I then got to enjoy watching him and the Fagre's fight over which of their sons gets to marry me because now I'm a real southerner.. WHAT! Where am I?! Oh wait.. I'm home! Can't you hear them singing on the other side? haha Funny, don't ya think?
The Halls! :) 

Well now that this email is officially way to long.. let me give you a quick update on how life is going as far as missionary work. 

  • Sister Spencer and Annie are doing amazing. We are moving their baptismal date as we try to help her overcome some addictions, but oh my goodness that woman has more faith than anyone I've seen! She cried as she told us yesterday "I know this is God's church, because you can see God through the children and Annie cries if we can't go to church.. That means the pure spirit of Christ is there. I just need to get stronger so I can quit these habits. I need to do this so our family can be with God." We see her every day and I just feel like each time we are walking in to give a family member a big hug and smile to tell her she's doing great and can keep going! Please pray for them :)
  • Sister Beltran from the Spanish congregation has come out with us to a few teaching appointments and we taught her one of the lessons for practice. It was so fun! I love them. Like she's our new best friend in the ward.. slash she's not in our ward so she's officially my favorite from the spanish congregation :) haha They had us over for dinner last night and her daughter, after warming up to us and not being so shy, said "Can I tell you a secret? I like you better than the Elders." haha Out of the mouth of babes :)
  • Sister Everitt is doing AMAZING! like really, wow! She told us this week that she's been doing Family History work and said "I saw that someone started doing the temple work for my ancestors.. and I thought, no they don't! If anyones going to do it.. I am" She then asked us to help her get ready to go to the temple again. Her granddaughter has asked us to start teaching her more specifically so that she can prepare to be baptized and all 3 of the rest of the kids are loving church and youth night. Seriously, the best miracle ever!! :) 
  • I love the Southern phrases.. At dinner at the Halls Brother Hall prayed for the missionaries.. and called us the "bread and butter of the church" so adorable!
  • Um.. had a crazy encounter with a pitbull.. It was going cray-cray and wanted us dead.. no joke.. Thankfully it was tied to the tree.. But its never a good sign to hear the owner say "Um.. I'd back up if I were you becasue he's not nice and he's so angry I'm even nervous to get too close.. so maybe you can come back a different day.." Uh.. ya.. I'd rather not die. 
  • Met some great people this week, one said "I've got to visit y'alls church, I just feel the love! Give me a hug!" haha
Well.. I could go on and on but I'm sure your eyes are already burning and I need to go accept and decline some student teaching offers.. Happy Birthday Jordan!! 
Oh! And P.S. I got my stitches out today, everything is fine and no more worries. :) 
I love you all and hope you have a great week!!! 

Sister Hamilton
Pic 1: Taken Tuesday night after all my interviews. With my two different tags on. One of the members daughter saw me in my student teaching tag and said "No offense Sister Hamilton.. but I like the black one better." haha 
Pic 2: The Everitts :)
Pic 3: The Halls! :) 

"Ma'am! What did you do to your leg?"

Hey y'all! 

I have had one of the weirdest weeks.. On one hand it took forever, and on the other I feel like its gone so fast that I don't think I ever left this computer chair. I know what y'all are thinking.. "I reckon Sister Hamilton's gone crazy!" And I reckon I have a bit.. :) At the moment it seems I am like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, simply waiting for the big tornado to hit. Although unlike Dorothy each time I am abruptly uprooted I don't find myself saying "there's no place like home" because each new place I go to feels like home and I love each town/city as much as the rest. I'm sure we won't be uprooted with these tornado's, although I am curious to see if and where they touch down, but who knows if I'll be spared from the tornado called transfers in a couple of weeks :) 

In case you couldn't understand facts within that metaphor.. We have tons of tornado warnings this week and we'll have some sever storms so that'll be an adventure. Sister Smith is excited to hear the tornado sirens for the first time.. haha Its her duty to listen for the sirens, since in the storm I can't hear them very well. And its my job to tell her when the sky turns green as she's color blind and might not realize :) We're so ready! haha 

I have my student teaching interviews tomorrow, please keep me in your prayers that it all goes well! Please and thank you! :)

So last time I emailed I had a minor surgery thing done on my leg that morning.. I'm not sure why it didn't quite sink in that having a chunk taken out of the back of my calf would make it difficult to walk.. uh duh! It has proved to be much harder than I thought and the recovery definitely is NOT as fast as I want it to be. I have this ginormous bandage on the back of my leg.. and its not uncommon for people to say "Ma'am! What did you do to your leg?" as we're walking away from their door. Its often not uncommon for me to respond quickly and nonchalantly "shark bite." Haha Oh the looks I get :) I often laugh to myself when they say "Oh darlin' you need to sit down. I'll let you go so you can get some rest." And I think, or we could rest with you right there on your front porch. Nevertheless, all is well :)  I guess I overdid it one day and so the Sister Training Leaders came the next day and played musical baby sitter. Every couple of hours they'd trade who got to sit with me while Sister Smith went out and worked with them.. haha Its okay, you can all laugh. I know I did all day when I would look at them and say "Okay, I can't take it anymore. Lets go." and they'd say "oops, Sister so-n-so has both sets of car keys." Keeping me trapped inside, the little sneaks! haha 

We had fun teaching the Spencers again this week. We taught the Word of Wisdom mostly and I thought it was so cute that as we taught Sister Spencer kind of gasped and said "I didn't know all this.. why didn't anyone tell me sooner.. I could have been much healthier.." She said a beautiful prayer for strength to stop drinking Coffee and not need an electronic cigarette anymore. At church one of men of the congregation came up to Sister Spencer and asked her which church she attends (probably meaning which church she used to attend) She responded with total sass "I go here." HAHA :) He just laughed and said "Good, the more the merrier, we're so happy to have you!" You go Sister Spencer! :) And then when she saw our dinner calendar being passed around she said to the woman sitting next to her "I don't have to sign up to feed them, I just text them and say "get over here, suppers on the table." haha :) I LOVE HER!! It is such a blessing to watch her faith and understanding of the scriptures grow. She's starting to participate in our Sunday School class and is making a lot of friends at church, what a miracle :)

We went back to see Brother Wood, the cute old grandpa we teach from time to time. He actually looks a lot like President Eyring, and we told him that and he said "Well that's not my fault" and we just laughed and laughed as we explained it was a good person for him to look like. haha He's just such an adorable old man. He was happy to report that he has read all of 1 and 2 Nephi, but he's a little disappointed because its written more like the Old Testament, and he loves the New Testament most. So we explained more about the timeline of the Book of Mormon and then read part of 3 Nephi with him. He absolutely loved it and said "Now that is where I want to get to! Just a few hundred pages to go!" 

**So I still have the hiccups.. right.. 10 months and counting. Well this woman just sat up in the computer lab and said "That's it! Who has the Hiccups!?" I just laughed and raised my hand, she told me I needed to go stand upsidedown in the corner. Apparently she used to make her students do it and it worked.. I said "oh darn.. I'm in a skirt, but next time I'll wear pants so I can try." Her response you ask? "Oh hunny it don't matta, we're all girls. I won't look." HAHAHA I love all the different hiccup remodies I get from people on a daily basis. So entertaining :) **

Anyways, as for the rest of the week. We were able to do a ton of following up with people we have met in the past and got a few return appointments, that was definitely a blessing from the craziness of my bum leg. We had a great time with Sister Connolly a woman who was baptized in August. She's so funny and I love how excited she is to tell more people about the gospel and get ready to go to the temple. We met a woman named Tammy, she's a member but hasn't been in 20+ years, who owns a womens self defense company. She offered to give us some free classes and maybe even some "disguised" weapons.. NICE! haha We are starting to work with a Sister from the Spanish Branch, Sister Norma :) She wants to learn english better so she asked if she could come out with us to some of our appointments and asked if we could teach her the missionary lessons in english so that we all can practice. We went by their home and me the family, they are so sweet! I am excited to have her coming with us to appointments. She said "I may not remember how to say my name in English, but I will never forget my testimony." She's so sweet! 

Last thing to report on, did I ever tell you about a woman named Lisa? Well she rides the bus each day to midtown (ATL) with our Bishop and a few weeks ago he asked us to visit her, so we did and it was wonderful! She put in her calendar to come to church with us yesterday, and it was amazing to have to walk in the church doors and sit with us :) She told everyone that she wants to adopt us and plans to come back to church when she gets back in town. Just another little miracle, they are seriously all around! 

To finish off this email I'll tell you something that Pomai, a woman teaching relief society, said as she was comparing the joy of the gospel to her favorite pie. She said, or should I say she more like yelled.. "I'm on this hastening the work kick.. because I'm like I want you to have your own favorite pie!" And then she laughed and said.. "I guess I sound kind of silly.. but I mean, if they don't want their own pie, I at least want them to taste mine." 

Yup Pomai.. I get it! There is so much joy availale through the gospel I jsut want everyone to taste it and then get their very own favorite pie. Its available for all of us. And the fruit of the gospel is so amazing and good! 

I love you all!! Have a great day!!
Sister Hamilton

P.S. here's some pictures.. ones old.. didn't take many pictures this week.. only of a fire and my stitches.. and I don't think everyone wants to see  that.. just mom :)