Monday, June 24, 2013

Help, They think I'm a Superstar!

June 24, 2013

Sooo this week has a lot of stories! Unfortunately there arent a ton of really spiritual ones...but hey dont worry, we are still on a mission here haha so its not like there arent spiritual things too. We will get there, but firstttt the stories!!

         So on Thursday we are sitting in our house and hear the old familiar call of "joven!" which means like youth in spanish and if you are like 5 years older than someone, you instantly get the right to call them joven haha so we hear it and its our next door neighbors. So Elder P is like yah this is def your turn bro  haha so i get up and the lady next door is like hey....if i gave you a guitar would you play it? and im like ummmm YESSSS haha well i said Claro que Si but thats what it means haha and she straight up hands me a guitar adn says she has heard us(me) singing and thinks it would sound really good with a guitar in there too! And im like wait....are you saying i need it orrrr haha nah i was like thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou and went back inside with a guitar!! So the thing here is that ive been refusing to buy a guitar on the mission. They are cheap but i felt like that was something i gave up to come on the mission. But everyone keeps telling me i should write a christian song and i wanted to buttttt no guitar. But apparently im supposed to write one haha cause God provided me with a guitar! Soooo hopefully i will get something sick going.

          Okay, even more rediculous story- So we are at a members house doing a baptismal interview for a different area. But heres the thing. One of the Elders in our district found out that i had songs on youtube (I swear i didnt tell him) haha but him and the other district Elders were singing my songs and then they asked the members if they had a guitar adn i was like noooooo. But they did and they brought it out and i started playing it and singing and the other Elders were singing along with me and Elder P was adding all the "add libs" that go to the song Over You....but then heres where things get outtt of hand haha So they are all singing and im playing....but then the family is like how do you all know his songs and they are like cause he is super famous in the United States! He is on the radio and everything! And then they were like wait really? And they pulled up youtube on their TV and started playing my songs and when the family saw the album cover they were like yo thats him!! and then they started freeking out adn taking pictures hahahahah it was sooo funny. They were like can you sign something for us! and then the dad who is getting baptized asked me to sing at his baptism hahaha so needless to say things escalated very quickly haha but it was soo fun and then we told them im not famous and they realized they had overexagerated a bit but they were still stoked that i had written songs and i had recorded them. But it was fun to be a superstar for a seconddd haha

Elder A gave me this tie just for being awesome!
           So now for the spiritual part of the email. As you all know, this week we were able to see the broadcast on the missionary work and it was very enlightening. But what you DONT know is how it applies directly to Elder Parrish and me right nowww. So this week we have been fasting, working, searching, asking, and even begging for new investigators. We are sooo hopelessly out of progressing investigators its rediculous. Sooo we have been trying sooo hard to get more investigators. But then a line in the broadcast really touched me in a way i believe was revelation. When Neil L. Anderson was telling the stories of all the converts and less active members he shared a story about a bishop of one of the wards was concerned about their baptisms and investigators and he realized something that i think applies so directly to Elder P and I. He said, "The Lord will not bless us with new converts until we take care of the members we already have." I realized that we have been visiting less actives more these past weeks because we werent so caught up in investigators. Clearly thats what the Lord intended for us. So instead of looking for new investigators, we are going to try and focus on helping the less active members of the ward first. It makes me think of how concerned the Lord must be for every one of his children. Those who have already been adopted into his gospel family are JUST as important as the people who are looking for the truth. With the new push for helping the missionaries I just wanted to remind everyone that investigators and sharing the message of the gospel with your friends who arent members is sooo important....but equally important are those people who are already in the fold and have strayed. Look for ways to help less active members and I will promise you that you will not only be blessed for your efforts but you will find more sucess with sharing the gospel with your friends and neighbors.

An American lady in the ward went to the US and got this for us
4 pounds!!!
The golf course behind a ballin' house!

Love you all soo much!  I think of you often and pray for you all. Stay awesome!! Know im safe and heppy!
Elder Hamm

Monday, June 17, 2013

"Now lemme see you work, work, work, work, work"

A sic pic at that Lagoona
June 17, 2013
The Flood

Soo i cant remember (nor do i feel inclined to tell you) what song that is but lets just say its a popular song and i cleverly replaced a word with the word work haha maybe it sounds better in my head. Who knows. 

It was also hailing...they were about
as big as a dime, even though that's a peso
          Anyways, this week has been absoluetly exhaustingggggg lemme tell you. We have all of like 2 investigators right now adn that means that we have to find more. We have been walking allll over our area exhausting every option, from old references, to dropped investigators, to new bad references, to asking for references, to checking random pages in our area book, buttt the cherry on top is that our area is hugeeee and one day we literally walked to 3 of the 4 corners of our area. From our house to one corner was 40 minutes, then from there to the other corner was 25, and then to the other corner was another 25, and then home was another 35. And of course that doesnt include all the 5th story apartments we got to go knock haha Sooo needless to say it was a pretty exhausting week physically and emotionally...."but dont worry, theres another one comin tomorrow!!!" haha

So the only news from this week was 2 things. Number one, on Wednesday we had a FLOOD. The water was so rediculous! It was up to my mid thigh in teh streets at one point but we loyal missionaries had to get to an appointment so we marched through it, and everytime a car drove by it was like being at a freekin beach haha it was a huge wave that we had to run towards and try to jump over haha it was rediculous. And i just wanna throw in that waterproof shoes are only "waterproof" until water gets up over your ankles and in....then they just hold the water in nicely hahaha Number 2 isnt very exciting but a lady in the ward served us chicken neck....which was....interesting followed by rabbit, and lemme tell you, there is nothing to make rabbit taste good like proceeding it with chicken neck haha and then the very next day we ate at this ladys house and she just kept giving us food and i got sooo full i wanted to throw up ALL OVER HER TABLE...but i didnt, and the mutual good feelings continue haha
A truck making a WAVE toward us. haha
It curled and crashed and everything!

             So the spiritual thought for this week comes from a less active member we are teaching. She lives in a different area  so we have only taught her like 3 times when we find her at her sisters house. But the other day we thought hey, why not stop by this lady's house and see whats up. So we stopped by to see if this less active was there and she was. While we were teaching her, the spirit was so strong, and she told us that whenever she is feeling really down she comes to her sisters house and every time she goes over there we just happen to come by. She then bore her testimony about how she knows that isnt coincidence and God really is looking out for her. She was crying, i was trying not to cry, and it was awesome. I know that God knows and loves each and every person on the Earth and he wants to help us and pick us up when we are down, and when we excersize a particle of faith, he takes that and magnifies it so that he can help us. Dont be afraid to tell Heavenly Father that you need help, and always know that no matter how far youve strayed, the shepherd of the fold will never stop looking for you and as soon as you start taking those steps back to him, he will start running to you. 

Elder Hamm
A baby bunny

My decorated Agenda.  It was hard work!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Did Somebody Say 6 More Weeks?!

Me at the Lake
June 10, 2013

Ayyyyyyy so as you might have guessed Im staying in Loma Bella (the best area in the mission) for 6 MORE WEEKS!!!! YAYYYY....but what you might not have guessed (cause lemme tell you, nobody here did) ELDER P IS STAYING TOO!!! This is pretty unheard of in the mission, that the trainer stays with their kid for 3 changes, but its happening!! So thats the good news!!....The bad news is that the zone leaders who relayed the news to us about changes said that that means this should be 6 weeks that Elder P uses to get me ready to train 0.0 yahhhh idk about that, but hey its 6 weeks away so i figure enjoy the time now right?! haha

A sick pyramid in the middle of the lake at the park

          Soooo news from this week?....hmmmm not much happpened. Elder B and I went on exchanges but Every. Single. One. of our appointments AND backup plans fell through. So we tried contacting people in a park, but Elder B´s spanish isnt great and a lot of people didnt want to listen to us, and it was my first time too, anddddd it was we just ended up skipping rocks in the pond for 30 minutes until it was time to go home haha but it was nice to have a little time to relax after a really busy week. But thats seriously it, this week was really slow. We just walked around trying to find people to teach, which right now is extra interesting. 

Soo this is the rainy season here in Mexico, but contrary to popular belief, that doesnt mean that its raining all the time. What it means is it is a milllllion degrees during the day so you wish that you were in a pool of ice and not walking in the streets for hours on end. Buttttt hey, just when you wish you had pnuemonia....BOOM the sky opens up at about 6 oclock every night and just DUMPS on you. Like seriously we were out this week and i got sunburned....and then i almost got sick it was so cold with the rain and wind. So it means we are walking around with umbrellas and jackets in our bags allll day haha Also i would like to throw in for my father, that he would love it here because at almost every other members house, for drinks they serve us cantalope juice haha yummmm :)

           Okay, Im actually really excited for the spiritual thoguht this week because....idk I really enjoyed what I learned. Soooo basically to start some background, earlier this week I was really down becasue Im sick of the racism here in Mexico. I kid you not, it is worse here than in the U.S. Everywhere I go people are yelling swear words at me in English, calling me "Guerro", "Gringo", and other names for white people, and alwayssss yelling at us and Im just sickkk of it. So one day this week it was really bad and on top of that Elder P was telling me that I cant do certain things cause people already hate me cause Im white and I just lost it. I didnt do anything but I was sooo maddd. And while I was full of all this hatred, I just started feeling like i should let it go, but it was sooo hard. And then I started thinking about my savior who came to the Earth as a perfect man, the son of God, and was persecuted and spit on and mocked. But Jesus didnt hate them, instead when all of this was happening, he pleaded with the Father that he would forgive them, for they knew not what they were doing. Then i thought about the scripture that says that blessed are they who are persecuted for my names sake for they shall inherit the kingdom of Heaven. And finally I though about how Im really getting a small glimpse of what things were like for Christ when he was on the Earth and just how hard it is to stand alone in a world full of hate. But if you ever feel hated, or persecuted becasue of the church, I want you to remember the scripture John 15: 17-18 "These things I command you, that ye love one another. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. I´m grateful to stand beside Jesus in the wine vat for just a moment and feel a piece of what he felt. So stay strong, stay faithful, and know that all these things shall be for thy profit and learning. The son of God hath descended below all of them, art thou greater than he?

No time, love you, congrats on graduation!
Elder Josh Hamm
A Hugeeee rat we found floating in the lake....EWWWWWW
 I threw the paper in for size comparison

Monday, June 3, 2013

No Seriously, Always. Check. The. Water.

June 3, 2013
Elder W, my zone leader is leaving next change 

Sooooo ironically this week we had somewhat of a similar experience as the Elders I spoke about in the earlier post ¨Always. Check. The. Water.¨ haha so thatll be fun to talk about, but first things first!

     So this week went by really fast considering that now im thinking about how its gonna be a bummer when me and P have to split up which will most likely be next tuesday. And i might get called to a new area too b/c they might replace our area with sister missionaries! Crazy I knowww! But anyway so on tuesday i went on splits with Elder A who is a way chill guy. He can be a little much sometimes haha but he is way funny and we had a sickkk day hanging out, teaching, eating, and studying in his area for a day. Then the next day i did the same thing againnnn haha i went to the zone leaders area with Elder C and we were super busy alll day longg! 

     Okay so here starts some of the really awesome news!! So on Friday we went and got Familia S married! So in the morning around 11 oclock we went to Cholula about 45 minutes away and there is a member of the church there who works for the state and is licenced to perform marriages, which is good because it means missionaries can get people married reallll quick! So we got them married which was awesome! But heres the thing - the dad of the family works 24 hour shifts at his job, 24 hours on and then 24 hours off. So in order to get them baptized on Sunday we had to get them married and baptized in the same day! 

So then we ran back to the church and got the font cleaned and it was like 4:30 and the baptism was supposed to be at 5 oclock. So we rushed to get everything ready and we were able to have the baptism at the right time. We got to baptize the dad and the three kids of the family for a total of 4 baptisms and we are still working with the mom. Sooo I got to baptize one of the kids D (10) and i asked him his full name and he said a mumbo jumbo of spanish that i didnt completely catch haha so i did the prayer but they made me do it again becasue i didnt say the last name right -__- but hey its cool, if any of you reading along can pronounce ¨(sorry folks mom  had to edit out the name, but trust me it is difficult)¨ I will let you come do the next ordinance haha So it was a really cool experience! Butttttt you are probably wondering how this all ties in to the title of the email.....well guess what....that wasnt the ONLY baptism we had!! 

The very next day we also had the baptisms of a lady L and her 2 kids! So three in total! But.....we had some serious issues with this one haha haha so a little bit of background: The baptism was scheduled for 12 oclock noon and we got there 2 hours early to get everything ready. So we turn on the font....but funny story, no water came out. Weird right?! So we turn on some other faucets and nothing comes out again....sooo now we are really panicing and we start calling people. But nobody is answering and those who do dont really know whats going on. So heres the problem. Mexico is different from the United States (shocking i know) and so the water here works a little differently. Here in Mexico, water comes 2x a week and all we do is fill up what is known as a cistern, which if you have read my previous posts, is my very bitter nemesis. Sooo we come to the conclusion that there must not be any water in the cistern...but we dont have keys to unlock the cover and check. So we are on our last hope talking to a lady who is in the ward who lives down the street from us. But when that didnt work, we were fresh out of options. So we did the only thing we could which was to stagger back to the house despaired, dejected and defeated. When we got inside i got the impression that we should pray...but as you can imagine, i was in absolutely noooo mood to pray. But luckily, Elder P had the same impression and was more receptive. So he suggested we pray. As we knelt down i couldnt help but think of that scene from The Best Two Years haha ¨And please bless this young man that he may call....RINGGGGG¨ So anyway P lays it all out for the Lord and finishes the prayer, and before i can even stand up there is a knock at our door and the woman from down the street is calling out ¨Elders!¨ Basically she had finally gotten in contact with someone who we called, who met us at the church, who opened the cistern, who told us there was no water. So we ended up having to call a service (which is very common here) to come and pump water into the cistern....only the cistern was dirty so we just had them put the pipe straight through the window of the baptismal font and i held a pipe that almost knocked me off my feet while it sprayed water into the filled in 5 minutes haha thats how fast the water was. Anwyays we got to baptize the family and I ended up getting my second baptism which was FP! So over the weekend we got a total of 7 baptisms!!!! But wait theres more!!! If you act now and work hard for these 7 baptisms, we will also throw in 7 confirmations ABSOULUTELY FREE!! Only here's the have to confirm them in front of the entire church on the stand during sacrament meeting! haha But me and P went over the prayer a few times so i could memorize it (it aint short either) and i confirmed 4 people along with blessings, without messing up! It was really really awesome! So overall it was definitely the best week of my mission so far! 
Me holding the pipe for the water for the font!!
        So this is already a reallyyyyy long email so its gonna be a quickk spiritual thought this week! Its hard to adequately describe the gift of the Holy Ghost to an investigator and help them to know just what a big deal it is. But for anyone out there who may be investigating the church or could just use a quick testimony booster, let me share a little of mine. The Holy Ghost is the greatest gift that God has given to man on this Earth.  Jeffrey R. Holland said ¨I am amazed at the ready access we have to a member of the Godhead, so long as we live worthy of that channel.¨ The Holy Ghost is a member of the Godhead that has no other purpose but to testify of truth, guide us, direct us, and help us in our lives. What a great gift we truely have! Dont ever take this incredible blessing for granted. Be worthy of it, be in tune with it, and be grateful for it.

Thanks for everything!  Love you all!

Me in Food Form!!! haha