Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pretty Great

Me with my "homemade" Birthday Cake! haha
      So this week has actually been pretty great! Not to sound like Im super surprised about it, but it was seriously really good. But first, as always, we will start off answering the questions from my father: 

#1  Grocery store here is in the center which is about 25 minutes walking from our house. So we buy groceries for long periods of time most of the time. Its called Bodega Aurera and its basically like a Mexican Walmart, but there are also little tentish things set up around in the streets where people buy produce a lot. Personally, I buy all my stuff from Bodega, but the pepole seem to prefer street vendors. 
#2  NO. I do not buy any type of meat anywhere because I need to be working on recovering from food appointment to food appointment where they serve us very interesting meats and usually pretty old. 
#3  Yes, pretty much everyone has a refrigerator, although there are exceptions to every rule.
#4  Most people have a normal (usually older) set of scriptures meaning the bible AND a triple combination. But there are also those who only have the book of mormon, and I have yet to see someone with an LDS bible. They are usually wierd ones like "The Mighty Book". But the important thing is they have one. 
#5  No, nobody has computers in their home. In Loma Bella there were more because there was a little more money but here, no. Maybe like 6 or 7 people. Everyone uses internet cafes. 
#6  I have yet to see an Ipad here although again, in Loma Bella there were a few. 
#7  Everyone pretty much uses cellphones, not landlines. And yah, almost everyone has a phone.

       Alright, so summary of the week. Well  P-day, that was easy haha we actually got to play soccer as a zone which was way fun. Tuesday, SURPRISE!! The Zone Leaders showed up to our area to work with us, and our area was struggling so much that they brought the entire district to come and confirm that NONE of the addresses in the ward directory existed. We checked out 22 adresses...and found 2. But the good thing was that they knocked doors looking for the adress and got us a lottt of new references that we can go check out. Then the next day was my birthday! Am i going to go to internet all day? Maybe get tacos? Maybe go buy souveneirs?....NO, cause the Assistants to the President of the mission decided to come by and work with us haha but it was good. The hermana that we ate with on my birthday knew it was my birthday and it was a DELICIOUS meal, and then we had cheesecake for dessert. It was cool. Then we taught a new investigator and his family of 4 who said they would all read and pray to see if the Book of Mormon is true and if it is, be baptized! Then on Thursday Elder G was like hey, did anyone get you gifts for your birthday? and I was like ummm...no? and hes like well I did! And he had bought a guitar string for me cause one of mine had broken and i hadnt been able to get to the music store. It was nice. Then we went to food and we helped them move pumpkins from a tractor up to their roof. So two of us were on the roof and our companions threw them up to us and we caught them. It was actually really fun, and then we rode back in the back of a truck, standing up at the front and it was awesome. Then it was actually Elder Gs birthday on Thursday and his investigators planned a party for him on Friday, so we went out and worked, and then went to a party! It was fun and there was delicious cake. Then on Saturday, we FINALLY got into a lesson with a young married couple. The wife had expressed alot of interest but we hadnt met the husband and he had said that he didnt need to hear the truth cause he already had it in his religion. But we went over and he was super skeptical and frank, but very polite, and he had a lot of questions. He asked us about our families, why we are out here, about the Book of Mormon (which he didnt know was used TOGETHER with the bible), we bore our testimonies about why we're serving and everything. And then he told us at the end that we are the first religious people he has let into his house and that we are a lot different. They both agreed to read together and pray to know if what we taught is true! Oh, and at the beginning, he said 15 minutes was all he would give us. And we were fine with that, but then we got talking and he got more comfortable and all the sudden it was 90 minutes later and he said it was totally fine, cause it didnt feel like that. They have two littleeeeee girls one is 18 months and the other 2 and a half. I want them to get an answer sooo bad! So we will see on Saturday how things went. And then to top it all off, we had 10 less actives at sacrament meeting this week. It was soo good to see them all there with their families, all happy to be there! Hopefully we will continue seeing them there as we work with them. So thats a total of 6 new investigators this week and we have more to come with references and such! So thank you for all the prayers and such. We are happy to finally have some people to teach!

       So the spiritual thought this week comes from something we shared with a FORMARLY less active family yesterday. This is the third sunday in a row that they have come to church after being inactive for several months. The first time we visited them they expressed the challenge of going to church when they are struggling financially and working on Sunday. We shared the lesson taught in 3 Nephi 13:30-33 -- "30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the ove, even so will he clothe you, if ye are not of little faith. 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, what shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. I then shared the personal story of when my Dad lost his job and decided that what he needed to do, was focus first on the things of the Lord, and then found new work only 3 weeks later. This week the father of the family told me that the story and the scripture really touched him and how that was the reason that he was going to church everyweek. We told him how that was the faith that he needed to recieve blessings and then shared D&C 130:20-21 -- "20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated-- 21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated. And then we were able to testify to this Hermano that he will be recieving those blessings in his life in these very moments, and challenged him to watch for them. I know that God knows each and every one of us, and that he cares for us in his own way in his own time. He never leaves us, he just simply waits by our side until we are worthy to recieve the blessings that he desires to pour out upon us. And I also know that he WILL bless us. As it says in D&C 82:10, he doesnt have a choice. When we are obedient we will recieve blessings. I know that God loves us and I know that we recieve blessings each and every day from our obedience.

HEY FAMMMMMMMMMMMM!! Hope things are going as well as you make it sound in your emails! If not, well do not procrastinate the day of your repentance and tell me that Nathan and Tyler burned the house down haha but i love you guys, and i hope you are all doing great! Love YOU GUYS!

Elder Josh Hamm
PS Sorry I haven't been taking more pictures.  It was a pretty
bland week...apart from all the success!!! haha

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Great Fire of `13

Popo in the Snowsnow (see what I did there?)

  Sooo this week was a little more eventful in comparison to others, although we are continuing to have a tough time with the work in our area, but there will be more to come on that front in a moment so dont worry.

       First off, HUGE thanks to all those who sent me Birthday wishes and if you havent sent one, no this is not to call you out haha Birthday isnt till Wednesday so dont worry...there is time for repentance ;) No, but thanks to everyone seriously, it was nice to remember that Im remembered! haha

       Second off, things here are good. We didnt teach a whole lot of lessons this week, but we had four less actives all at church!!! They all came as a family and it was the primary program and so they all loved it and felt the spirit. No promises about attendance next week but it was cool none the less haha Also, we cant technically count this guy yet, cause we havent taught him, but we were talking with the less active family and the mothers dad had been listening to the missionaries a while back. So we visited him and he said that he is VERY interested, he has a copy of the Book of Mormon (which he has read in), and he told us that he was going to read more before we visited him again this week and write down his questions that he has. Also, his wife isnt too interested but we are gonna work on THAT!! haha Sooooooo we are pretty much stoked! Hopefully we can answer all of his questions. And then we also have a less active mother who is married to a non member, but she has been coming back to church and the husband is a really nice guy. He is christian, but the only problem is he works in their house which they converted to a bakery and so he has like NO time to talk or anything. But im hoping that he will accept our offer to help him make bread (I wanna learn so bad!!) and that it will help us talk with him. But the jist of it is, thanks for all the prayers for us...cause it seems as though we found 3 new investigators.

A creepy cornfield we walk by everyday
       In more exciting news, I unsuccessfully almost burned our house down on Saturday haha we were in a pueblo (a little tinyyyy town) to eat on saturday and when we walked into a store to ask directions...they were selling bottle rockets....but Mexican style. Its basically a little tube of cement with gunpowder in it, tied to a stick. Its dopeeee. So i bought 10 for 10 pesos (for those of you playing along at home, that would be less than one dollar for 10 bottle rockets....ummm YES.) So we were lighting them off in our backyard but the first one didnt have enough power to lift it out of the ground....so we ran inside and it exploded, then we shot one that went haywire and shot at the house...also fun, but then heres the best part. Im like dude, you know what we need?...a freekin bottle! Thats why theyre called bottle rockets (hint hint) so theres this 2 liter soda bottle with some water in the bottom, so i take it and pour it over the wash counter out back and down the drain.....but then it starts smelling....and i realize it wasnt water, it was this stuff called "thinner" and they use it for painting or something? dunno but im like uhh well im not gonna let it sit there.....so i dropped a match on it. Bad idea. Shirt on fire, tie on fire, wash counter engulfed in flames hahahaha it was pretty great. Shirt went out quickly and so did the tie.....but the counter man....sooo much fire haha water did nothing and basically it took like 5 minutes with water running over it to put it out. But God is merciful, and so our house still stands...And we escaped unharmed...ish.

       So spiritual thought this week comes from a sctipture Im sure you have all heard in 2 Nephi. In 2 Nephi chapter 25, Nephi is talking about how we are to live our lives and I loveeee verse 23. It reads: "For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brothren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do." So I added in the bold and italics to show my point. The way I see it, there are generally 2 types of people in this world who could benefit from this scripture. First type: People who think that we can eat drink and be merry, and that we will make it to heaven by some incredible feat of grace and mercy, no matter what we do (that would be nice), and Second Type: People who think that NOBODY will make it to heaven because we are all too wicked. They believe that no matter what we do, we will always be imperfect and that God will always hate us for our imperfections. But they are BOTH completely wrong. We believe that we are a fallen people...meaning as humans, we are imperfect and live in a physical fallen state. BUT we also believe that we can make it back to heaven because of our savior Jesus Christ and his atonement. So its just like the scripture says. We labor all our lives to teach our children, and our brothren. We try so hard to be good, and in the end....we fail. But we do not fail eternally. Because we KNOW that it is by grace that we are saved....only AFTER ALL WE CAN DO! Brothers and sisters, are we doing ALL we can do? I challenge you as i have now challenged myslef, to strive to do all we can do, with a confident knowledge that we will fall short, but the grace of Christ and his everlasting arms stretched out, will catch us.

HEY FAM! Thanks for all the birthday emails. I sure do love you guys a lot! I miss you too, but im gonna have to put up with you for eternity anyways so a break is good once in a while ;) Love you all!

Elder Josh Hamm

Monday, October 14, 2013

Running Out of Clever Titles...and I'm only 1/3 done

Our Zone...I'll tell you where we were later.  Haha
Soo big news this week is......IM SICK AGAIN!! yayyyyy. But we will get back to that in a minute. First, my dads questions: Lunch down here is the big meal, not dinner, so people eat different stuff all the time just like in the US. But you can COUNT on having corn tortillas. Usually its a soup (chicken brothishthing with vegetables), followed by some type of chicken with rice and beans, or chicken in a sauce, or something. And then the dessert here is always fruit haha but its usually not bad. Not a single house here has AC or heating. Not a single one haha so that can get a little warm sometimes. But they are all made of cement so it stays pretty cool. And the USA treat I miss the most?? Hmmmmmm....im gonna have to say Baked Lays barbeque. MONEY haha they dont have them ANYWHERE here sadly, trust me ive looked.

       Sooo this week we went to eat at a certain house and the Elders told us that everyone who eats there gets sick. But ya know we dont really have any choice so we went. So I woke up Saturday not feeling so good and then by 4 oclock i was throwing up...alot. So everyones like wow Elder Hamm is sick again. Passed the night doing the same thing, puke, sleep for 20 minutes, ya know fun stuff. Then on Sunday morning i was still too sick to go to church (I know, Im gonna start showing up on the list of less actives) so just Elder G and his comp went to church. But half way through sacrament meeting Elder G was feeling awful so he came over and stayed with me at the house sick while our comps went to church and the food appointment. Then we fall asleep, wake up and its 7 oclock and we are like woahhh where are our comps? So we call them and it turns out my comp felt horrible after church and so they went back to the other Elders house to rest. So we ended up doing unexpected interchanges since none of us had enough strength to walk all the way to the other ones house haha bummer but luckily we are all feeling relatively better today.

Me and my companion.  Again, location comes later. haha
       We got to go out to visit people with the first councilor in the bishopric this week which was awesome. We visited a few less active families including one that we had never met before and when we got there the mom was so happy to see us. She said that the missionaries used to visit her and her husband who isnt a member all the time and then about 4 months ago, they just stopped. Basically our area has been really hard because the other Elders before us lost the respect of the members cause they didnt work at all. And now we get to visit her and her family and they even came to church on Sunday!....even though we didnt ;) haha

        Spiritual thought this week is gonna be short cause we are going to get some easy-on-the-body food in a minute but it comes from....well my mind, kinda influenced by Elder Bednars talk in conference. Basically I think that a lot of the time we (me included) pray for specific things and then look for specific things to happen in our lives....but that isnt how God works. We need to pray for his help and then look for the evidence of that help in all aspects of our lives. I think the reason why many of us dont always feel like our prayers are answered is because we are all looking with a closed mind for what we think is best for us. You asked your Heavenly Father who is omnipotent and omnicient knowing that he knows all and can help you....and then contrarily imposed your own idea of what you needed in your mind. We know he knows us better than ourselves and we know he knows whats best...so when we pray, ask for help and then diligently search in all aspects of life for the blessings he is undoubtedly sending.

Hey fammmmmmmm!! Loveeee ya lots ya know! hope things are going well....i feel like i always say this stuff. Butttt stay true, have fun, live life, etc. All is well in Zion!....wait...i mean....all but that last part ;)

Elder Josh Hamm

Celebrating Elder Grows 18 month mark!
Funny how things work out. I was there for his year mark too.
The most dissapointing chips EVER. Dont buy them.

Monday, October 7, 2013

I like to eat, eat, eat apples and....corn?

Priesthood Session with cake!!!!
October 7, 2013

So this week had some pretty good moments in it that are very much worth mentioning, despite the continuing struggle to find people to teach in this area. But overall the week was really good. It was cool to see how far we could push ourselves eachday when we were seeing such few results and all the addresses we had written down found to be unexistent. But it was good. Hopefully I can throw in some fun experiences and then once again pulllllll it all back in with the spiritual thought at the end.

Giant spider!....oh P.S. We have taranchulas in our house....
like legitimate hugee taranchulas. pretty scary stuff.
Pictures later.

       Questions from Dad always proceeds other things haha sooo here they are: When we watch conference here, yes, they translate righttt over the voices so you only hear the voice of the guy translating. Its also very annoying cause sometimes the authorities say things with different emotions and the translator doesnt, and sometimes they cry and he, of course, cant....but then sometimes he randomly feels the spirit and starts crying in the middle of the apostles straight face haha - oh and of course there is NO way you could ever sound like Jeffrey R. Holland so thats always depressing haha but we got to watch in English!! We are NEVER home for lunch. We have lunch appointments instead of dinner with the members here. For dinner i usually eat some pan (bread thas like 3 pesos but MONEY) and milk or Ramen or a sandwich. Nothing fancy. So no brown bags. Although I dont think its very fair cause American Elders get one hour for lunch during the day and then a dinner appointment. We just have lunch. Then we get home at 9:30 and plan till about 10 and then we have only like 20 minutes to make and eat something. But its cool. Without the walmart....its tough sometimes. We have a Bodega Aurera which is literally a Mexican Walmart (they own it). They have some Walmart brand things....but NO american things haha so its different. And to finish off, they have pizza joints....but they put catsup (ketchup) on their pizza instead of sauce....blech. So you have to ask for it with pizza sauce and they look at you wierd haha.

       First off, funny story. So this week we were walking around trying to find some houses (nothing out of the ordinary there) and we came upon a certain street. So we were looking on all the houses and we couldnt see ANY numbers on them. So we decided to knock a few doors. One door we knocked finally opened and a woman asked us what we were looking for. I told her we were looking for house number 11 on this street and asked her if she knew where that was. Then....she told me something new to me. She said (and i kid you not) "Well the thing is we dont really use numbers on this street. You see we decided it would be easier to just use apples and corn." So Im like....dude either my spanish is REALLY off, or this lady just told me that she uses a type of numbering system which involves 2 items found commonly on a dinner table. So I tell her Im sorry I dont understand. And so she says "Well look, for example this house is apple 2 corn 3....and that house down there...well that house is apple 11 corn 12." So at this point, Im about as confused as EVER and we thank her for her time and walk away haha needless to say we did NOT end up finding the member because clearly they forgot to include their grocery list on the ward register.

       Second off, we finally got a meeting with our bishop and his councilers and they are GREAT. They are very willing to help us and it makes me wish we could have had such a meeting earlier but thats okay haha The point is they told us that tomorrow one of the bishops councilors will go out with us and show us where a lot of the members live near his house and then on Wednesday we will go to another part of our area with the bishop and the other counciler and they will show us more people over there. So the Lord really blessed us this week, in the fact that they were so willing to help and hopefully we will FINALLY have people to teach!

When Satan decided to try and stop the streaming of General
 Conference. Well Satan, you might have something
on HD, but you dont know about our secret
weapon.....MATRIX President Monson!!!
       Sooo speaking of blessings we also got to watch conference!....IN ENGLISH! (yayyyy) Which was awesome. Needless to say there were sooo many good talks and I know that they were inspired. In other news we got to watch the conference once again on a computer in a tiny room. Good news is it was just me, Elder G, and another Elder for the majority of the time. We actually went out and bought a cake and milk to watch the priesthood session on saturday which was awesome. Oh, and then there is a guy in our ward who served in Georgia on his mission and knows wayyy good English so he watched it with us too. He is also very chill haha

       Soo spiritual thought from this week comes from a talk that I really really liked given by D. Todd Christofferson. In his talk, Elder Christofferson foucused on Women, the role they play in the world, and the constant attacks that are being made against them, thier womenhood, and the sacred roles they have. In the talk he quoted Elder Maxwell and said “When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses? When the surf of the centuries has made the great pyramids so much sand, the everlasting family will still be standing, because it is a celestial institution, formed outside telestial time.” He then went on to talk about how the most important work women will do, is within the four walls of their home. Another quote I loved was from Margaret Nadauld. He quoted her saying: “Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity.” This quote made me think back on the women that I have met in my life and the impact they have made on me. My mother is such a woman. She was constantly a role model spiritually for me alongside my father. Through the years they taught me that we are living in the world, but we are not of the world. I quote "If the world says that you are old enough to watch a PG-13 movie then we should wait until you are 14!" haha Now im not saying this was always the greatest thing in the mind of a teenager, but my parents have helped me know what kind of woman I want to look for in this world and the kind of women I want my daughters to be. So whether you are a mother, aunt, niece, daughter, or sister, please know that you are a daughter of God. You have worth. You have affects on the men and other women around you, and that God expects a great deal of you in a time when the image of women is being perverted.

Hey FAM!! Man I sure love you guys. Hope you are all doing well at home. Let me know how everythings going! Love you!

Elder Josh Hamm