Monday, May 27, 2013

The Joys of Learning Another Language

May 26, 2013

Luchadora Masks - I think they  make me look instantly bigger - ha!
Sooo this week is all about learning spanish before you try to speak it haha the week went by pretty slow and there were only a few things that happened that were worth mentioning, so i will proceed to mention them!

Might be my favorite food here - Pombasos
          Sooo first off we went over to visit a member who is going to BYU in a few months and so he is learning English and his English is wayyyy good. So now that he has gotten down the basic language and can totally communicate with people ect., he is moving onto phrases and sayings haha which make me laugh soooo much hahaha he was going over all these phrases with us and they were typical things we say as English speakers that make people who arent fluent soooo confused haha and its wayyy funny. He was asking things like what is: ¨making a mountain out of a mole hill, eaten out of house and home, April showers bring may flowers, and chip on your shoulder. hahah it was fun explaining to him what they meant, and there are some that have funny phrases in spanish to go along with them! haha it was fun.

This is me, eating what I always eat now -- good ole noodles,
and I cut my own hair!  

 Soo ive realized something this week and that is that comedy is pretty much always at someones expense...not in a bad way all the time but pretty much every joke or anything funny comes at someones expense. Sooo with that said the next story i have is going to be the highlight of everyone elses week while it pretty much ruined my day haha that being said i have gotten over it. But anyway heres what it is. So we are at church no Sunday talking to a couple other missionaries from another Ward. One of them is native to Mexico and he loves to say the phrase ¨No Manches¨ (dont worry, you dont have to bleep it out haha) which basicaly means like ¨no way¨.  so its a phrase that i have heard lots and LOTS of missionaries say here and its really funny haha so anyway then we go into a meeting with the Ward mission leader and our bishop and are waiting to start. So Parrish starts saying something ridiculous so im like ¨pshhhhh no manches!¨ nice and loud while nobody else is talking. So all the sudden Parrishs face drops and hes like ¨yo, like you gotta be careful with that word cause...¨ BOOM - cue Ward mission leader: Elder thats like a bad word and you shouldnt say that especially as a missionary cause...¨ BOOM - cue Bishop ¨Elder you really shouldnt say things that you dont know the meaning of.....blah blah blah....i really liked a quote by president....blah blah blah....and that really teaches us that...blah blah blah. So anyway i know you are trying to learn spanish and its hard but.....blah blah blah BBBOOOOOMMMMM haha i got totally chewed outtt!! Apparently this word is a substitute for a very bad word. Sooo its not good for missionaries to be saying in front of bishops haha but yah that was superr embarassing -__- but i guess you live and you learn....slowly.
A Hawaiian themed investigator activity that was awesome
              Anyway so for the spiritual thought today, i found something really cool in 1st Nephi in chapter 16. Nephi is talking about how they had been wandering in the wilderness and they find the liahona which is like super awesome for them cause they have pretty much just been like hey guys...lets walk this way for a while till we are hungry and tired and then we will pitch tents and roll some dice to decide which direction to walk tomorrow! haha soo they get it and they are talking about how they are in the wilderness and how it isnt terribly fun, but then Nephi says in verse 16: ¨And we did follow the directions of the ball, which led us in the more fertile parts of the wilderness.¨ And it really got me thinking. In this life we will all experience times of ¨Wilderness¨ but as we give heed to the Lord, just like they did with the Liahona, he will lead us through the more ¨fertile¨ parts of our trials. NEVER has the Lord said that this life will be easy and that we wont have trials. HE knows that that isnt true and we all have hard times ahead. But the Lord has ALWAYS said that he will guide us through them and as we heed his voice and his guidance, we will be able to make it though the trials and they will be easier than if we had ignored his promptings.

Elder Hamm
 I dont know if you can tell, but this is a pit that is like - no lie - 20 feet deep, and 10 feet across....and a guy in our Ward dug himself....with a shovel....and a Wheel barrow!   haha he is a beastttt!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Always. Check. The. Water.

May 20, 2013

This is me with the Hulk - NBD
            Sooo this week has been one and the SAME! So there isn't much to tell. But the least i could do is explain the title later - haha. We pretty much worked hard all week and we are seeing progress with a lot of our investigators. We are really lucky with this area because there are sooo many awesome members here in the area! We really do have the best ward. The members care about us, and they help us a tonnn with the work. We pretty much only operate off of references! There were two exciting things that happened this week. 

            The first exciting thing about this week would be the fact that we got to go help set up a wedding for the bishops daughter! She got married on Thursday and apparently here, even if you are a member and everything, the country requires you to be married civily first and then you can go to the temple. Temples here aren't permitted to marry people...don't know if that's a church rule or state.... So anyway we helped set up this huge reception which included a lot of "tall people jobs", a lot of "wow a woman would be a lottt better at this job", nailing things into cement walls....that was fun, cleaning up our faces from the blood caused by cement chips and flying nails haha, and even setting up tables and chairs. It was a good service project, but it was definitely hard work in that Mexico heat.

             The second exciting thing this week is that we found a GOLDEN family a while back called Family Rivera and then we taught them twice before we found out they were in the other ward's area -__- killjoyyyyy. So we had to give them over to the other missionaries even though we had already set baptismal dates with them and everything. But that's okay cause this week we got to go and watch them be baptized at the service. It was really cool and we got to bring 2 investigator families with us! The funniest part was that apparently these Elders didnt check the water (BIG mistake haha and a rookie one at that) and so they just turned on the boiler and left...apparently it wasn't working and the water was FREEZINGGG!!! haha everyone who touched it was gasping and whining hahaha but then something really cool happened. The mom told us afterwards that she got  in and it was SUPER cold and she was freezing...but the moment the Elder started to say the Baptismal prayer, she felt a warmth start to grow from her feet up to her head slowly. Then when the prayer was over he dunked her and she said it didnt feel cold at all. SOOO COOL!! We told her the Elders would explain more about the feelings she had...for those of you playing along at home, that's the spirit ;)  But also really quickly i would like to encourage everyone reading to attend the baptisms of the missionaries in your ward. Those people who are getting baptized can feel such a love and such a sense of belonging when we go and support them in what is a HUGE decision for them in their lives. Sometimes they are coming from broken homes where their decision to be baptized is not received well, or maybe they are nervous about leaving their old life to start a new. Either way, your attendence will show that you care!

              But that's about it for the week. Except for the fact that I ate Mole and for the first time WASNT throwing up everywhere!! haha it was funny too cause we were eating with a RM and his mom and he totally read me like a book. He's like hey you don't have to eat it if you don't like it. I was like oh no it's delicious, trying to be polite. And he was like no seriously we have more spaghetti. But i didn't want to hurt the mom's feelings so i just said no it's great and kept eating...but he kept punching me in the leg whenever i'd be trying to choke it down hahaha he was like dude just leave it!! hahahaha it was funny.

               So i guess this is the part where i end with a spiritual thoughttt!! Sooo stilll in first Nephi over here haha buttt I was reading in chapter 15 and Nephi is talking to his brothers who are ticked cause they can't understand the dream of their dad. But here's the thing. We know that Nephi didn't understand the dream either...but then he asked God to help him understand and suddenly we have the ENTIRE interpretation of Lehi's dream (thank you Nephi haha). So his brothers are like ohhh this dream is so hard to understand. And Nephi is like uhh....duhhh haha and he says in verse 8): "And i said unto them: Have ye inquired of the Lord? 9)  And they said unto me: "We have not; for the Lord maketh no such things known unto us." What i took away from this is very simple. Ask. God. For. Help. Seriously, i think that sometimes we overlook this very, veryyyy simple solution for our problems. We sometimes think that our problems are small and unimportant, or that we can handle it ourselves, or that we dont think God wants to help us. But we are his children. He wants the best for us, and he is stuck doing nothing when we do not seek his help. Inquire of the Lord, and have faith that he will make "All things known unto you." Because that is his promise, that is his job, and THAT is his love.

Elder Hamm

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"Popo and The Great Hiccup"

May 13, 2013
I spelled out my name in the ash, but it's kinda hard to see
So this is the car the morning
after the ash fell

These are my clothes hanging out to dry the night the
ash fell  -__-

Soo big news this week is gonna be that Popo (The Volcanoe) is freeking outtt haha. Apparently it errupted pretty big 2x this week and we got showered with ash on Tuesday night. So that was fun until the next day we had to go out and walk in it and it was getting in our eyes and nose and throats and ears and errywhere. Like seriously, it was ridiculous. But then it kinda died down and then today it rained which will hopefully help keep all the ash on the ground and not inside of my body via various passages and canals. But yah it was pretty cool. I got a few pictures but not a ton fell sooooo

So this week was a bit...slow but there were a couple cool things that happened! On Wednesday we were talking with an invstigator person we had contacted in his store and he gave us these things called Niche. They call it "La prima de la uva" or the cousin of the grape because it is kinda like a grape. It comes in a little spikey ball and you peel off the outside of it and inside is a slimey little ball of deliciousness haha its literally like a peeled grape and it tastes awesome. It also has a MASSIVE seed in the middle of it that i am going to plant and grow these little pieces of heaven haha. We also got to have "Chilaquiles con pollo" this week which is otherwise known as "Tortilla Soup".  Its actually really good! haha  It has a spicy red sauce, tortillas and chicken...kinda exactly what the name says but for those of you not spanish speakers thats whats in it.

Other than that, its just been a pretty normal week...I got to teach a lesson in English though! We are teaching a recent convert and he knows a ton of English but he wanted more practice! So we taught him in English and he spoke back to us in Spanish. It was super awesome and i felt like i really was able to connect with him! Elder P on the other hand, struggled a bit (haha) not really but he kept slipping into Spanish.  He said its cause he has NEVER taught a lesson in English before -haha - but it just means he is a good Elder!

This is the entrance to the cistern,
 yes it was hard to fit! haha
This is me climbing into our cistern
where we usually have water.  We
were having issues, but the water
came later and it was cool to climb inside!

The rest of the week was pretty normal besides Sunday when I got to talk with the family via skype!!  That was really fun, and it was good to see all of them even if it was only for a little while. Made them seem just a little less far away. Me and Elder P would also like to mention that we are in favor of the Proposition #104 which says "The Missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints should be able to talk to their families on Fathers day in addition to Mothers day and Christmas". So if they come around handing out pamphlets, grab a couple for me.

Finally, the moment we have all been waiting for...or at least that's what we are gonna say if Elder Hamm asks...THE SPIRITUAL THOUGHTTT!!! *Clap* *clap* *cheer* Sooo the spiritual thought this week comes from 1Nephi because i have started the Book of Mormon over again. I was reading in 1Nephi 7 and Nephi is talking to his brothers because they are murmering again and it was right after they had just gotten Ishmael and his daughters, and his brothers dont like that, surprise surprise, and so his brothers are mad at him (What else is new??). So they bind him up and they are going to leave him in the wilderness to get eaten by wildbeasts. But Nephi prays that he will have the "strength that [he] may burst these bands." So im only in chapter 7 at this point in 1Nephi....and i have already heard Nephi say 3x that he is large in stature(Kinda like sharing a room with Jake) ;) and on top of that i have seen the paintings of im like this dude is about to go innnn and just shred these bands with his hugee arms...but then the scriptures teach us a very subtle lesson. At this point Nephi is thinking he is going to bust these bands, maybe hoping to intimidate his brothers...but the next scripture says: "...when i had said these words, behold, the bands were loosed from off my hands and feet..." Sooo the bands instead of being burst were simply loosed and he was able to stand again. Now I'm sure this may seem like a stretch to a lot of you...but to me, this really hit home that God is always listening to us, he always wants to help us, depending on our faith he will help us, BUT not always in the way we are expecting! Sometimes we think that just because God isn't helping us EXACTLY as we asked, he isn't helping us at all, but that isn't true. I believe that a lot of the time, we overlook, underappreciate, or take for granted, the little ways that the Lord is helping us in our lives. When we pray we need to ask for the Lord to help us and then diligently seek to recognize that help in our lives. I can promise you that if we look for the hand of God in our lives, we will be able to recognize just how much God is helping us in our lives. So next time you get down on your knees to pray for help...pray also that you will recognize that help as it flows abundantly into your life.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Get out of the wayyy!!

The girls here are sooo hard to keep off sometimes! Im like a missionary!
May 6, 2013

So the letter this week is going to be a little bit shorter becuase we have to go to an appointment tonight and we have been playing basketball and soccer today with a bunch of the elders in the area. But it will be good nonetheless

Before i start i wanna answer all of Dads questions....speed round style.....GO! My area is VERY urban and im trying to enjoy that cause whenever things are hard here, i know things are harder in a worse area of the mission -haha. i have a very nice area compared to others. It isn't exactly a city but it's like one in a lot of ways, lots of stores and houses but not like New York....more like downtown Leesburg. They do NOT have lightning bugs here and the worst pest WE have to deal with would be cockroaches and dogs tryna kill us haha i cant even remember how many times i have hit dogs with rocks cause they were coming after us. But if you get them a good one in the schnowzer they usually get the picture. But P says this house is new and the beds too so we don't have this problem....but in all the other areas, its not uncommon to have bed bugs....ew -haha- but its pretty good yah! Thanks for the questions -haha

So onto the letter and first things first, yes i will talk about the title of this post becasue it is aknowledgeably (not sure if thats a word) strange. So this week we were walking down this road on the way to an appointment and we were on the shoulder of this street in a neighborhood (25 speed limit) and we were walking side by side like good Edlers and a big truck was coming and i was like hmm i should try nott being in the middle of the road and so i tried to step more onto the shoulder but there was a car and we were trying to get around this mirror and this truck coming was haulinggggg like at least 40 miles an hour and im like well....this isnt good haha we were nowhere near the truck but the mirrors stuck out madd far and as it passed by it caught me in the shoulder/nametag/chest area and spun me around haha and i pretty much just took it like a man and it scratched my nametag just a littleeee bit but it was pretty exciting. P was freeeking out haha he was like DID YOU JUST GET HIT BY THAT CAR?!? and then he was like why aren't you crying and dude i cant believe you just took that in the shoulder and kept walking like nothing happened! haha it was fun, although i'm obviously gonna be more careful (dont worry mommy).
Spanish Lifesavers!
The other news is i finally found something that i have found very spicy here in Mexico haha we were at a family's house after a baptism of another ward and they served us what is now my favorite food called posole which is like a soup with chicken and corn puff things. So the family is like hey careful with this salsa cause its spicy....but the thing is every family says that and its never true haha so we put some in our soup and it was delicioussss....but i kid you not i was weeping hahaha elder p was dying too and we were both laughing and crying and blowing our noses and kept eating it haha aparently it was just pure crushed up "chile arbol". It was very good but definitly spicy.

Other than that the week was pretty average! Although i did get left alone in my area with another elder who has the same time on the mission as me and he doesnt speak anyyyy spanish, so that was exciting haha it was like being senior companion to a new guy. Good practice and it went really well. It was cool to be in charge!

Anyway so the spiritual thought of the week comes from the scriptures!! I have been reading in D&C this week and i was reading in section 29. This section by the way is fullll of stuff. It literally touches on like everything and it has a tonn of info on interesting stuff so i would highly reccomend it haha but in section 29 it talks about the fall and satan. In verses 39-45 it talks a lot about how and why we are tempted. It says that we have to be tempted because we have to know the bitter from the sweet, which i have heard before. But then it talks about a couple cool things. It says that Adam didnt fall under the will of satan until after he had sinned. And then it talks about how Satan doesnt have the power to tempt little children!! So what i gather from that....and this is scriptures according to Elder that Satan couldnt really have a very strong grip over Adam and Eve while they were in the garden, because they were like little children not knowing good from evil....but nonetheless they decided to partake of the fruit. I think this was part because of Satan but also part because of their own desires. If they didnt know good from evil they couldnt have been tempted by satan, and it says in verse 40 that only once Adam have transgressed the comandment, that he was subject to the will of Satan. Anyway it was just interesting stuff. But I do want to say that life can be soooo tough, especially on a mission, but its so true that if we didnt know the bitter, we wouldnt be able to know the sweet. I dont think for a second that God wants us to be sad or to feel miserable, in fact thats the exact job of Satan! But i know that with the bad the good seems so much sweeter. Its like lemons and sugar. So the next time you are in a tough time in your life and you feel the taste of that bitter, just know that God is preparing you to taste of the sweet, which will now seem even sweeter. Its hard to look at trials this way in our lives, but if we do i know that we will be blessed, and whats a few bites of bitter every now and again, when we are gonna be having cake for dessert in the end. :)

Birthday party

Love you guys!
Elder Hamm