Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I came to Georgia for those types of experiences.

Oh hey there!

It's me again, here to update you on my life. Its a good life these days :) I've got lots of stories and things to share so.. get excited! Really though its just been a really great week, I even did a few things I never thought I would be able to do so that's a bonus!

I'll start with something that is most on my mind, naturally. I have to say goodbye to these people soon. Its the worst and best thing all wrapped into one. Worst because I feel like my heart is ripped out each time I move to a different city let alone states away.. But the best because I'll then be able to call people whenever I want :) And I'll get to be with my crazy wonder fun family who I've missed. Georgia will always be home and the people here forever family. Its strange to feel the Lord preparing me to go home. For "everything there is a season" (Ecclesiasties 3:1) and my season as a full time missionary with a tag on is coming to a close. But its all good. I have no regrets and have loved every second, and will continue to do so for another 2 weeks.

Some of our Branch YSA. We teach them mission prep :)
I got a text in the middle of the week that said because I go home so soon I can call anyone from any of my past areas and invite them to my farewell fireside. So each night I end the day with a few phone calls to some of the people I love so much here. Those phone calls are just the best. I get all sorts of reactions :) And I LOVE hearing the Southern Accent again. (Please don't make fun of me too much when I use Southern phrases..)

Last night I called Sister Wooten, of course that name probably means nothing to you, but it means everything to me. She's from my first area, and when I got there she had only been to church a couple times in 30 years. She's a hoot and a tad crazy sometimes so truthfully I wondered if she would even remember me.. Well last night on the phone with her she proudly reported she hasn't missed a Sunday these last 15 months since I last saw her. That she's gone from reading 1 chapter of the Book of Mormon a week to 2 chapters EVERY MORNING and never misses, and she writes a summary for the sisters every day. When I saw her I used to always up her reading assignment so that made me happy to hear. She's almost finished with the Book of Mormon for a second time. She read to me the letter I wrote in the Book of Mormon I gave her and practically quoted my Christmas card, and just talked about how much she missed me. You're probably thinking why is she telling us this? The reason is it just made me so happy. Happy to know not only had I made a small difference, but that she was still doing well. She's the Gospel Principles teacher now too. I came to Georgia for those types of experiences.

 Our fun picnic! :)

We had a fun little picnic this week with Stefanie, her baby, Julieta, and other family members. It was beautiful! Its so green here its amazing :) My favorite part was the lesson we did. We taught the "Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the Prophet Joseph Smith" and because there was one person who didn't speak any Spanish we ended up doing it in both languages. The Spirit was so strong, its like I can feel it now just thinking about it. Ivan had never heard the Restoration before and I'm always amazed to see the light that literally comes to their eyes when we quote the 1st vision. We then decided to give them a little preview of our special musical number and sang "Yo se que vive mi SeƱor" it was so amazing to see Stefanie start singing along to her little baby and see her family feel the love of God. It was amazing. I came to Georgia for those types of experiences. Another miracle was Hma Garcia Valle started talking and Ivan was just looking confused, then I realized oh.. its because she's speaking in Spanish and he doesn't speak Spanish. I waited but quickly realized Hma Martinez wasn't translating. It became one of those situations.. Sink or swim. Fly or die. So.. yours truly translated for little Ivan (Ivans not little btw... it just sounds better) Thank goodness I have a solid Gospel Vocabulary and she wasn't speaking too complex, otherwise we both would have been lost! haha

An Elder in our branch had to go home this weekend because of some medical things. Its always so sad to see your friends leave early.. Its hard enough when people leave at the end of a transfer. Missionary work is so hard and its always SOO sad when the body can't keep up with the demands of a full-time mission. The day he called us to tell us we hurried and got him some candy for the flight and went to wish him good luck. And then.. it rained for 3 days. Even Georgia didn't want to see him leave. Speaking of the rain.. its usually so hot here that I've really learned to like the heat and humidity.. On one of the rainy days it was like 70 degrees.. I was FREEZING and needed a sweater which of course I didn't have with me.. What has become of me? How will I ever survive Rexburg?

So somehow I forgot my planner at an appointment and then none of us were on the same page.. and out of no where we realized that we had scheduled 4 appointments the same night. Uh.. WOOPS! So that left us with having to do splits, we really didn't have any other option. It didn't take long before I already felt prompted that I needed to go to our lesson with Cristal and Hma GV said the exact same thing. The only thing was BOTH of my companions felt like they needed to go to the other appointment at the same time. Do you see the dilemma? Me.. not fluent in Spanish.. Going to our teaching appointment being in charge of the ENTIRE lesson with a member to just basically be there to testify and not let me be alone. Excuse me? 

Our companionship
So I did just that. I took Giselle to our lesson with Cristal and taught the whole time. It honestly still feels so surreal. Its amazing the things we can do with the help of the Lord. And its like I've said all along, I'm pretty mute a lot of the time (besides lots of laughs and smiles).. but NEVER when the Lord needs or wants me to speak. Giselle asked Cristal to recap her experience of how she met missionaries and how she's felt as we've been teaching her, and I was so thankful to be there. It was wonderful. She talked about the first time we came (my first day as a Spanish Sister mind you) and then just went through each lesson and how she always felt our love and felt something different. She said things really started to change after we had a lesson when we focused on her children and taught them how to pray. She said many days after that lesson she overheard her oldest son Dominique praying.. As he said the following she said her heart just felt so warm and she knew she couldn't turn back from what she'd been learning. He said.. "Padre Celestial, te damos gracias por las hermanas..." She said "You always say te damos gracias I knew he learned it from you. And then I just knew you were teaching good things. Everything you teach is making my home a happier place to be."  I came to Georgia for those types of experiences.

I could go on and on about that lesson but to save your eyes I wont.. But let me just say it was amazing and hilarious at times thanks to the kids :) Such as them trying to share their mexican hard candy with me.. mmmm yummy.. Children slobber and candy all over my face and hands..  Guess they are just getting me ready to be home around my great nieces and nephews :)

The last thing I want to talk about is yesterday and how it was such a great day!! To save some room and to make it so I can type faster I'll do some bullet points.
  • I was walking down the hall to Sunday School and then I hear my name.. At church no one ever says "Sister Hamilton" in English its always "Hermana Hamilton" but that's not what I heard.. I heard "Sister". So I look up almost confused and to my surprise there's Brandon and Jackie! Brandon is someone that we had started teaching a year ago in Johns Creek and then the Elders took over and he was baptized while we were still there. Jackie is his girl friend from the Johns Creek ward. :) He just moved up this way and this was his first Sunday in the congregation here. It made me so happy to see that he's still attending church and they both seem so happy. Once again, I came to Georgia for those types of experiences
  • As we were waiting for Sacrament meeting to start I see Cristal walking quickly into the chapel her hair still wet. Her baby was sick this morning and she wasn't going to make it.. But she said the baby stopped puking so she showered and put on a dress and came as fast as she could leaving the sick kids with Dad. Her and her 3 yr old made it just in time to hear us sing :) The members of our little congregation were so excited to see her and we're having a big dinner with her and her new friends from church tonight! woot woot!
  • So as I'm talking with Cristal I recognize a familiar face entering the back.. Lulu!! I literally ran. Literal running in the chapel. Don't do that at home kids! :) But I was just so excited!!! It was so good to see her and she looked so so happy!! :) BEST DAY EVER!! 
  • Our musical number went really well :) Sister Bennion (our mission presidents wife) played the piano for us and we got 2 other companionships of sisters to join us. It was great! It was cute how excited our members were. They don't ever get musical numbers so it was a big treat.
Well, I believe that's all I have for you :) I know what youre thinking.. FINALLY SHE'S DONE my eyes are KILLING me hahah :) But lets be honest.. I could talk and talk and talk.

I love you all!! Heres to another amazing week :)

Hermana Hamilton

P.S. If you would like a funny story.. We were at dinner and this sweet member talks sooooo fast. So I mean I understand most but not all becuase its sooo fast. Well she's swearing up a storm and being hilarious and I'm just listening because I can't repsond fast enough with her talking so fast. Well out of no where she asks Hma Garcia Valle if I can understand what she's saying. So naturally I respond saying that i can most.. HAHA oh my!! She was shocked! The look on her face was priceless. Hma GV explained that I would understand all of it if she didn't talk so fast but that most likely I was understanding most of the conversation. Next thing I know she is telling me her son is single and she would happily teach me how to make rice and beans and chile so we could have a happy life together. HAHA I love how shocked people get when they realized I followed the entire conversation :)

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