Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Hey Y'all!

Here we are again.. Monday.. The day to get me all ready and jazzed for the next week. The next week.. The last week. Did you read that? The LAST week. The LAST FULL WEEK here in Georgia. I get sick just thinking about it.. Not really. :) ha! Y'all are probably thinking.. She's gone Southern.. or as we often say it.. She's gone nuts! Well.. before I give you more reasons to make fun of me I'm going to move on now that this horrible introduction is written. Don't worry mom, I got a $100 letter in mind for you!
We had our district meeting on a ship.. And these props were provided. And since I'm going home.. It seemed only right for me to be captain in a picture :)
As I laid in bed last night and naturally couldn't sleep right away, I did what I often do on a Sunday night.. I thought about what I wanted to tell y'all from my week. I thought to myself "what was the theme of this week.." "what did the Lord really want me to learn this past week?" And the more I reflected and the more I thought about it a simple word came to my mind.. Countless. I don't often have my deepest thoughts right before bed.. Slash lets be real.. That never happens. But the more I thought of that silly 9 letter word I realized a lesson for my entire mission was coming to mind not just a weekly catch phrase.
This week was busy like most are. We were constantly running from this place to that place doing our best to be on time. Countless are the miles I drove. Seriously, I was in the car so much. I don't use my GPS all the time but while we were in traffic I decided to take a look at it and I realized for the times my GPS has been on and tracking my driving over the past 15 months I've had it I have driven enough miles/ driven so long to have driven for almost 45 days without a single stop. Not even kidding.. and that doesn't count the miles I drive without the GPS on.. Its amazing I can still get out of the car! Yuck!
We knocked a lot of doors this week, like always. We are asked to tract for 2 hrs a day right.. Sometimes its exhausting but I LOVE being in the sun so I don't complain. We had an experience this week where we were tracting and I noticed that we were going to a door of someone other missionaries told us to see lived. I decided to not tell my companions right away.. haha :) So Angelica answers the door (which we've never been able to meet her) and Sister Martinez does the usual and finally as Sister Garcia Valle is about to ask about her faith I asked her if she was Angelica because I recognized her voice from the phone. She let us right in and we taught the Restoration. The next day they didn't answer the door, so what did we do? Tracted of course! And actually met her cousin who was able to tell us Angelica had told her all about our lesson and found out her husband was coming home early and he said no. So that's why she didn't answer the door. We are now teaching both of them the gospel as well as English. :) Countless are the doors I knocked. Countless are the miracles I saw tracting. Really though, I couldn't even begin to guess how many doors I have knocked as a missionary..
Did I ever mention that the Amazon is in my backyard? There are SO many bugs and little critter-like-things right behind us and at night or right after the rain they roar. Its so loud we can't hear the people on the phone.. one of these nights I'll take a recording so y'all can hear it when I get home. Countless are the mosquito bites Countless are the bugs. Countless are the snakes and lizards.

We are still teaching English to Fagia, a sweet woman from Egypt. I love teaching people English because its always so fun and I love to watch them grow! This week in "payment" to us teaching her English she decided to teach us how to thread. Like thread eyebrows. Now that's a skill I never thought I'd learn as a missionary :) Countless are the random tidbits, facts, and skills I've acquired in this goodly land!
As I continue to make phone calls to say goodbye and to invite people to the fireside (where all the departing missionaries get to share their testimonies) I realize how much I love these people. I'd imagine this pure almost geeky kind of love I have for them will never go away. I will always love them. I'll love the ones with no teeth. I'll love the ones who literally saved all month so that they could feed us the nicest meal. I'll love the ones who pulled the car over and gave me money simply because they recognized me as one of "God's People." I'll love them forever. Its likely to them I will become just "one of the sister missionaries" that used to visit. But to me.. They will always be something much more. Countless are the people I've loved. 
FHE with Cristal at Belkis' house with Hma Bueno. Cristal has the short straight hair holding the cute baby :) 

Speaking of people I've loved.. Lets talk about Cristal :) The sweet amazing woman that we have been teaching my entire time in this area. We were able to teach her twice this week which was great. Monday we had our FHE/Dinner with her. It was a BLAST!! The kids were crazy and running everywhere but it really gave Cristal to become good friends with Belkis and Hma Bueno. Cristal said she wants to maybe do one this week at her house later in the week :) We taught her again on Thursday while Hma Garcia Valle was off on exchange. So it was Sister Kelly (speaks NO Spanish), Myself (speaks very little Spanish), and Sister Martinez. Giselle kept the kids entertained in the other room.. Anyways, so Hma Martinez and I taught about recognizing the Spirit and it went really really well. At one point I simply asked Cristal "why do you think we felt like we planned this lesson today?" She then went on to tell us of all the changes that she's been seeing in her children. Them praying, being happier etc.. Then she said "But what I hadn't realized before was maybe they aren't the only ones changing.. Maybe I'm changing too." Cristal came to church yesterday and I have never seen her happier. She shared with ourSunday School class how prayer has changed her life these past months and how she has never been happier than now, to know that God hears and answers her prayers. I love her. I love watching her embrace the gospel, there is nothing better. Countless are the prayers I have offered on behalf of those I meet, love, and teach. Countless are the prayers answered.
I had a couple hard days this week just because its really hard to not be able to say all that I want to.. teach how I know how.. and simply tell the people how much they mean to me. Its discouraging because I should know how to do this.. I mean I've been doing this whole missionary thing for awhile.. I should know how to do all this stuff you know.. but I can't because its in another language.. and I just want everyone here to know that I love them and its hard to not be able to fully express that you know? There aren't many things that have brought tears to my eyes.. but for these people.. for them to know I love them and for them to know that I love my Savior with all of my being.. Countless are the tears I have cried. Okay, not really. The tears aren't countless, but they're there. I feel a bit like Nephi I guess when he said that his eyes water his pillow by night for his people (2Nephi33).
the Anguianos!! :)
So as you can see, life has been a bit discouraging but still AMAZING overall. And I've come to learn a lot of things. One of them is whenever we need it, help is available. When I would feel almost like I was ready to throw in the towel because all of a sudden I couldn't say a phrase that I KNOW or I couldn't understand something that I know I've learned the vocab for.. Or whatever it was.. each time the Lord sent me something else to help me realize that I'm loved and I've made a difference. One of those was when we went to the Anguianos for dinner and it was like I blinked and I could speak again. And then they made me crepes like I made them for Christmas :) Another was when I was sitting in relief society wondering what the heck was going on and then we get a text from a member in English for me to know that she was going to miss me and that I had changed her life. Another came from a hug from a friend. Or tears in the eyes of another as she asked what I wanted for my last meal at her house. One came from Brother Beckstrand responding to me introducing myself by saying "My FAVORITE daughter!" or Sister Beckstrand saying "We talked about you just last night about how you changed our lives, why don't you talk to Bro. again and give him a good laugh, you mean everything to us." I've come to realize that countless are the ways to show love, its not just in a language or a gesture. Its seen in the eyes and felt in the heart.
Countless are the memories. Countless is the joy.
I love you all!
Hermana Hamilton

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