Monday, November 30, 2015

Week 5

Guess what. Specific prayers = specific answers. 

We are finally starting to see the fruits of our labors :) we prayed that we'd be able to find a family to teach, well we've been trying to get in contact with this one family that the Bishop wanted us to check up on. No one really knew their story, but they've been on our minds. This was our 4th time going to their house to try and catch them, as we were about to get out of the car, they pulled up and their whole family was there! We talked to them and they said that we could teach them a short lesson. It turns out that only 2 of the kids are members and they are actually the niece and nephew that the aunt has custody over. So we taught them the Restoration lesson. It went so good! we have a return appointment set up for tonight. Can't wait to see what happens. So grateful that Heavenly Father blessed us with this opportunity!

Thanksgiving was the greatest! Half of the missionaries in the mission came to our stake center and we played sports. We had a soccer game that was so awesome ;) It was pretty muddy so we were sliding all over the place. At one point I went to stop the ball and totally landed on my back. yup, I was super muddy but I couldn't stop laughing! I love being a missionary and hearing all of the cheesy missionary humor. Everyone is so great! We got 2 hours for dinner so we went to one of the member's houses. They're a cute young couple who have a 5 month old baby boy. Brother Green, the dad, said that he wouldn't tell anyone if we wanted to hold his baby...I was so tempted!! But dinner was great and sooooo yummy :) Afterwards we played Sequence. It's a board game. We were on two teams and both of us won one game. Unfortunately we had to go, so Brother Green asked when we could come back and have a tie-breaker game ;)

Saturday we helped a newly wed couple move boxes into their home. The Elders in our ward were there too. We talked and we decided to switch investigators. They had a lesson with a woman and we had a lesson with a man. Both lessons happened to be at 6 so we thought it'd be a good idea to switch. The woman we met, her name is Sister Gillespie. She is definitely a humbled woman. She's had it sooooo incredibly rough. I'm not going to go into everything, but she lives in a trailer, doesn't have a job, and is in the middle of a divorce. We talked to her about the plan of salvation and focused on how God has a plan for us and especially how the Atonement helps us over come trials. We invited her to church, but she said she was already going to a different church with her friend. So we just set up a return appointment.

Sunday morning rolls around and we had a missed call from Sister Gillespie, apparently her other ride to church had to cancel so she asked if we could find her a ride to church. Obviously we said yes ;) Everything in that Sacrament meeting seemed to be especially for her. She said that she definitely needed that. I'm so excited for what's to come with her!

One last story! We invited one of our investigators to be baptized! She said that she'd been thinking about it a lot and she wanted it! she has a date for January 16th. Unfortunately she hasn't been coming to church and we don't know if she is keeping we'll have to see...

The weather is freezing but it actually doesn't snow very often in theis part of Washington!

Love you all so much!!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Week 4

What is this? I've been out for 4 weeks already! I love the mission and I love this work <3

We had a Zone Conference on Tuesday, it was great because there was a giant wind and rain storm, but we were inside all day long. #Blessings. The theme for the conference was "how to make prayers mighty instead of lame" I think that I really needed this right now especially, we go out everyday and we pray all of the time..But one thing that is important to remember is that we are literally talking to God each time we pray, how cool is that? My goal after conference is to make my prayers more personal, especially to ask specific questions. *specific questions get specific answers*

One thing that I thought of while we were at conference was a way that we could contact more people. I had the idea that if we go to follow up on someone and they don't answer the door or we can't get in with them then we go and knock on another door nearby. Wow. The miracle that has come of that has been so great. We were able to talk to a lot more people and more people listened. We found 22 potential people that we could go back and talk to. Which is an improvement from the 5 we found the week before. 

I have such a strong testimony that God answers prayers and that He loves us and wants the best for us. A mission is hard, but it's the most rewarding thing you could ever do. We are literally bringing people salvation.

So some funny stories from this week...We were knocking on doors and as we were on the porch of one house the car pulled up into the drive way and in the garage. We walked down to go and talk to them...and they closed the garage door on us. We turned away and started laughing. People are so funny!!! One of our approaches when we knock on doors is by asking them what they're thankful for (because it's thanksgiving and all) so we asked this one guy and he said, "I'm thankful that I have the right not to talk to random people who show up on my doorstep." He then proceeded to close the door. I was so sad and I kinda wanted to cry, but it was still the funniest contact that we've had. I don't understand people sometimes..

Anyways, I know the church is true. I love it and I wouldn't want to be any other place. Happy almost Thanksgiving to everyone. Show your thanks to God by sharing the gospel with someone this week ;)

Love you all and miss you lots!!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Week 3

So where to even begin...? All I can say is that missionary work is straight up the hardest thing ever.

The night before I left the MTC one of the Elders in our zone gave me a blessing. It was his first so that was really cool, but it was one of the most powerful blessings I've ever received. One thing that I remember the most is that I'll have lots of trials while on my mission, but to always remember that God is walking right beside me. I have never realized how true this is until I've come out on my mission. 

The people here are super stubborn, they don't really care what we have to say. I feel like crying every time a door is closed because I feel like we're failing and nobody wants to hear the wonderful message that we have. But I keep a smile on my face because I know that God doesn't take what we are doing lightly. He knows that this is important work and everything that we say and do will affect people in some way. Isn't that incredible to know? Doesn't that make you want to go about doing good? The most important thing to remember is that God is preparing people and we are part of their preparation, whether in the beginning stages or towards the end, no effort goes unnoticed. 

Last night we had a mission devotional and missionaries from the whole mission came and even some investigators and recent converts in the area. It was awesome because some of the recent converts came and bore their testimony of how the missionaries changed their lives. I needed to hear that SO badly. People are out there waiting to hear our message, we just have to find them.

So my challenge to you all is to be member missionaries. We can't do anything unless we have the members on our side. Find people and talk to them about how this gospel has blessed your life! Invite them to church activities, especially with Thanksgiving and Christmas devotionals coming up. My challenge is that you invite at least one person to do something this week, whether is be come to church or some other activity, or even to talk to the missionaries. They can't say "yes" unless they're invited ;) Pray for inspiration on who to talk to. I have faith in you all!

So my companion's name is Sister Dodson. She's from Georgia, she's 23 and has her teaching degree from BYU to teach Chemistry. How cool is that?! We get along great and I love her to pieces. Funny story, my MTC companion lives in the same appartment as me;) her and her companion are the other missionaries taking the ward we split off of.

Have a great week everyone and don't forget to share the gospel ;)

Love you all <3

Sister Hammond

Monday, November 9, 2015

Week 2

I love the MTC!! It is most definitely the hardest thing that I've ever done, but I have gained such a strong testimony that Heavenly Father is aware of me and knows exactly what I need. I've noticed this as I've heard people's testimonies, read scriptures, and even just what the teachers have taught. Whenever I'm in a spiritual drought, there is always a tender mercy from Heavenly Father that gets me right back up there! 
We taught one of our "investigators" for the last time today. It was so cool to see how far we had come from teaching the first lesson to teaching our last lesson. We helped him experience the gospel of Jesus Christ and when he started keeping his commitments, it was such a thrill! I can't believe how much I've grown in just 10 days, and I know it is only because of my Savior's Atonement that allows me to try harder and get better.
I especially know that because my faith and knowledge are increasing, the bar the Lord has set is raising. I cannot look back, let up, or slow down. The more I gain, the more I have to give. Like Alma 29:9 says, "I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it; I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me. And this is my glory, that I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance. And this is my Joy."
I can't wait to get into the field and apply what I've learned while I've been here. I'm also very grateful for everything that my teachers have done to help me experience my purpose.
PS I love hearing from everyone, please keep emailing me! I only have so much time on the computer every week, but I'll try to respond to as many emails as I can. I love you all so much and thank you so much for your support!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Week 1!

Wow. I'm actually here. The MTC is definitely different than anything that I've ever experienced before. I am on a spiritual high. I think we pray at least 20 times a day and everything is focused on our purpose: Inviting others to come to Christ by helping them understand repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.

My companion is Sister Zavala, funny story, we are actually friends on instragram :) I saw her on the misisonariescomingsoon page, and now we're companions! She is so awesome and we get along great!

I'm so excited to be here, but this is by far the hardest thing that I have EVER done. What makes it so hard is, I know this gospel, but trying to simplify it and make it easy for someone to understand is where I struggle. Sister Zavala and I are teaching two "investigators", our teachers role-playing, and we feel like we are trying to follow where the spirit is guiding us, but we kinda over load them with information. One of our investigators is a girl named Miranda. In our first lesson we really tried to get to know her. We found out that she's had some trouble in the past and she doesn't feel like God is there for her. I was inspired to share Micah 7:7-8 with her. This scripture has really helped me in the past. When I shared that the spirit was so strong! But then Sister Zavala and I tried to get back into the lesson that we'd initially planned and we lost that spirit. We realized that if we would have followed the spirit more than that lesson would have been great instead of good.

In our second lesson with her we tried to focus on the Plan of Salvation, more specifically, the Atonement. But the Atonement is such a hard concept to grasp, so I don't feel like we really got across to her what we were trying to say. We invited her to come to church with us towards the end of the lesson. She initially said no, but I just bore my testimony to her that she could learn so much from church and to really think about coming. I don't remember everything that I said, but she considered it more and eventually agreed to come! It was a little success and Sister Zavala and I were super excited. We decided that for our next lesson we would talk to her about what she had learned in our previous discussions and then we were going to try and focus on the story of Enos. We chose this because we really think that this story could connect with her in the fact that we think she needs to forgive herself for her past mistakes.

The hardest thing about these lessons is the fact that our purpose is to help people draw closer to Christ. Sister Zavala and I just don't feel like we are accomplishing this very well. 

My testimony has definitely grown in the 6 days that I've been here. I have seen evidence of the Savior's love every single day. The spirit is so strong in everything that we do! I think that the one thing I've really learned from this so far, Heavenly Father knows His children personally. He really is aware of my needs. When I am at a spiritual low and I feel like I've failed after a lesson or after a discussion. Or when I feel like I really don't know anything. Something is always there that let's me know "I can do this!" One scripture in particular that has really helped me is Ether 12:27. I am weak as to the things of the gospel, but I know that as I continue to press forward and rely on my Savior, then He will make my weaknesses into my strengths.

Last night we had the opportunity to watch a talk that Elder Bednar gave called "Characters of Christ". This was something that I really needed. It was about an hour and a half talk, but what I really learned from it is, it's not all about me! Nobody cares that I'm sad, who cares if my day has been a struggle. The important thing to remember is that it is all about somebody else. All throughout the New Testament Jesus was always reaching out to others. He'd had a long day but he still insisted that the children come to him so they could be blessed. He'd been tempted by the devil but he insisted that angels go and minister to John the Baptist in prison. He was betrayed by his apostle but he still healed the guard's ear. My purpose as a missionary is to represent Jesus Christ. I wear his name on my chest. That being said, my purpose is to do as Christ would do. Constantly putting other's before myself.

I just want to bare my testimony that this church is true. God really does know us personally, and if you struggle with that knowledge, then go right to the source, read the Book of Mormon. There is so much love in every story, every chapter in there. I also know that Jesus Christ is my Savior, he suffered for me so that he could know how to help me through my trials (Alma 7:11-12) and that has been shown to me as I've been here. He has truly helped me through every struggle I've had. He knows me! but more importantly, He knows you!

I've just started reading the Book of Mormon again, I invite all of you to read it with me. I'll just be reading it in my spare time. So I'll set a goal for a chapter a day. I really hope that you accept this challenge. I know that you'll grow closer to the Savior and to your Heavenly Father. If possible, read it with your family! This gospel is centered around families :) strengthen your relationships by reading it!

This email has been all over the place! sorry about that ;) I won't be able to send long emails like this every week, and I also won't be able to answer everyone's personal emails, just because of lack of time. But I love you all! This Church is true!

Sister Hammond

Ps I'll try and send pictures next week :)