Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Who Has The Map?

 Sooo I dont have a ton of time this week! But I will try to write something out really quick. Im gonna save the questions from my Dad for next week (Sorry Dad!) But hey, now he doesnt have to come up with new ones next week haha

       This week was a tough one. Didnt get very many lesons cause almost all of our appointments fell through for one reason or another. Usually cause we dont have a man of age with us and therefore we cant enter the home (sucks) buttttt what can ya do ya know? But, we managed to have a few good lessons with our investigators and if they continue coming to church we are going to have a baptismal service for them on the 16th of February! That would be dopeeee! So hopefully they will continue to progress. On Thursday I woke up at 4 am with unbelievable pain in my head. Yah, that wasnt fun. I think its my 3rd Migraine on the mission, but all I know is that I hope its my last haha and the rest of the week was continually uneventful and NOT a  very enjoyable time sooo lets skip quickly to the spiritual thought!!

       Spiritual thought this week comes from Mosiah Chapter 7. In this chapter in the Book of Mormon, the Nephites (King Mosiah) are wondering what happened to their brethern who left with Zenniff to find the land of their inheritance. Sooo King Mosiah is like hey Ammon, youre a pretty strong and mighty man, how about you take some friends and go try and find what happened to the other guys. So Ammons like yah, I AM strong, AND I know that God will help me, so why not? So Ammons friends turn out to be 16 guys and they are like yo lets go!!! WARNING - The following is a "Hammical Interpretation" of what happened, it is not actual scripture. Sooo they get like into the actual wilderness and one of the guys is like soooo Ammon....where exactly is this land of inheritance? And Ammons like, whelp, I dont actually know so how about somebody show me that map, and theyre like bro, NOBODY has a map. And Ammon is like THAT is a little bit of a day ruiner. This seemed like such a good idea at the time when we left. --RETURN TO SCRIPTURES-- So they get lost....but like REALLY lost. Like, wandering around in the wilderness for 40 days lost...that kinda lost. And in verse 16 it tells us that "in thier labor....they had suffered many things; they had suffered hunger, thirst, and fatigue." So it wasnt the car trip you and your family took across the country that seemed like 40 days. These guys were actually suffering. And it made me think (a dangerous pasttime, I know) But now the spiritual part...I was thinking how unfair that really was. God is all powerfull, and he supposedly blesses those who are righteous, as long as they have righteous desires. But in this story in the scriptures, God allowed for 16 righteous men involved in a righteous cause to SUFFER and WANDER in the wilderness for 40 days! And get this, when they FINALLY get to where theyre going, Im sure they were relieved that they had arrived...and were greeted by the kings gaurds, bound and cast into prison for 2 days. Why is God letting all this happen? Well, I dont really know to be honest. But what I do know is that God knows. He is omnipotent! You think that if he wanted to bless you with a big house, lots of food, tons of clothes, money, toys, etc, that he could do it? Of course. But he doesnt....instead he lets us suffer sometimes, and if that is what his infinite wisdom sees fit, who are we to argue with that? God knows you, he wants the best for you, but he will let you suffer...because he LOVES you. Remember that.

Elder Josh Hamm

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Grass ISN'T always Greener

Anddd this is a market thats rightttt next to our house 
every Wednesday and Saturday! 
Photos cant really capture the atmosphere and the expanse…
but I tried haha
   Okie Dokie, So im gonna start off answering the questions from my father this week. The High for my day yesterday was that we have been working with 4 investigators who are progressing sooo much....but havent come to chruch. We showed up to the house of one of them (E) expecting to be rejected....and he was dressed up in shirt and tie, slacks, and POLLISHED shoes. My comp and i were grinning like idiots haha I swear. He was like what? And we were just like, dude, you look great haha but thats not all....cause then we showed up to church and the other 3 investigators (A mom and her two twin daughters) were there waiting!! AND after sacrament meeting, 2 young women came up to the twins and invited them to go to class with them and they of course accepted. It was seriously a gift straight from heaven. Very few experiences on the mission can rival the feeling I had when I saw E in his white shirt and tie. The Low for the day would be that after church we walked around looking for references and we couldnt find them, and one of them my comp wrote down wrong, and i was frustrated and I lost my patience with my him, and I didn't yell or anything, but I was just really short and snappy with him, and I felt bad. But then I made some mac and cheese and gave him half and we both felt better haha the end. Most spiritual experience this week was probably at the end of our Zone Conference this week when President pulled me aside to talk to me and gave me some really good advice....but more on that in the spiritual thought at the end! Sorry! haha

Sour Patch Kids from my Grandparents package!
       As for the rest of the week, well Monday I did my first baptismal interview for a 9 year old girl who is getting baptized. She is absolutely adorable, but unfortunately I dont have any pictures because I only did the interview, but trust me, she is a lot of fun. So that went well, and then on Wednesday I gave my first district meeting and we actually combineded with the other district so we had 12 missionaries for my first time haha It went....alright. I feel like when you have heard the same topics like 400 times its hard to make things interesting, but I did my best and I think (or more accurately HOPE) that they got something out of it. Then like I said, we had a Zone Conference this week on Thursday. I was picked (2 days before) to do the musical number and I sang and played Amazing Grace on the guitar....or at least a rendition I made up, and then decided to end with "There is a Green Hill" It was pretty good (I think), and then we ate tacos arrabes and I got to talk with President. OH, and I got a package from my grandparents! I will include photos haha Then the rest of the week was pretty normal, so on to the spiritual thought!

       So as I said, President pulled me aside after the meeting and we were talking about some stuff that I had shared with him about my life, my struggles, and the things I am currently working on. We were talking actually about how Satan makes things seem so appealing. People find that there are things in the church that they dont like, or that make them doubt its truthfulness. The same people then look at the world and all its apparent pleasures and like what they see. Well, President mentioned something that I REALLY liked. I dont even think he realized how awesome this was, but he said "If the grass seems greener on the other side....water your grass!" How awesome is that!? If you are only a member of the church "because", and then you look at the world and it seems so much better, why dont you start by working on your own testimony. I also took it further, and it really depends also on what kind of fertilizer you are using. If you are pouring acid on your grass (rated-R movies, Profane Music, Anti-Mormon Literature, etc.) then you shouldnt be surprised that it isnt as green as the other grasses around you. But if you decide to nourish your grass every day, really take care of it, ONLY then can you say whether the grass is really greener on the other side. I promise you that the greenest grass you will find is right here in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints, and if you only put in a little work with trimming and fertalizing, God will send the sunshine and the rain.

Hey fam! Pretty sick metaphor right? haha Presidents a beast. I love you guys a tonn! Tell Bammer and Grandpa that I got their package and was freeking out! haha love you all!

Elder Josh Hamm

Monday, January 13, 2014

Dia De Los Magos and Rosca de Reyes!

Just your typical Mexican Meat Shop. haha
    Whats Gucci? Yah, I know, this whole start the email differently thing isnt really working out but ya know what? Judge me. So this week was pretty eventful I would say. At the very least a LOT more eventful than most, so thats something we can work with!

       So I'm gonna start with the questions my dad has asked me this week as I am almost at my halfway mark on the mission. In his words, these questions are a little deeper haha but dont worry they are family friendly. 

1) What has been most surprising about my mission? A. Hmmm..tough one. I would say two things. #1 - How hard it has been. I dont know how i missed it with all the movies and talks and whatnot, but I honestly was not prepared for just how tough the mission can be at times. But of course at the same time...theres just some spirit about it that keeps you working. And #2 - How right people have been. All the wierd things I heard about the mission have turned out to be true. Things like "time moves differently", "it goes by slow....but fast", and "one day, you just start speaking the language." People really know what theyre talking about haha 

2) What, if anything, would you have done differently in terms of preperation? A. Hmmm differently in terms of preperation?...Prepared haha the truth is that I really didnt prepare well for the mission and i think that really made it hard in the first few months of my mission. Spiritually? Everything. I would have read the Book of Mormon all the way through but more importantly, I would have studied the bible. We have to understand that the rest of the world only has the bible, thus focusing on the Book of Mormon alone is not enough. And last but not least, I would have tried to understand that it isnt all that sad to leave your family for two years (sorry mom and dad). Its sad, but the whole meltdown, crying uncontrollably at the airport (that of course I didnt do) just makes it worse haha its gonna be okay. 

And 3) When you have been most successful on your mission, is there anything you have done that the success can be attributed to? A. Yes. Be In Tune. Its not all about finding either. If you are in tune with the spirit, the people you teach can feel it and you will find yourself saying things that actually enter their hearts. I wish i could say it has happened many times in my 11 months, but if you really seek to have the spirit, you will have success.

Rosca de Reyes!
       Soo the week. So this doesnt drag on too much, I'm gonna try to go quick. Monday night (the 6th of January) we went over to a members house to celebrate "Dia de los Magos" which is where the people here celebrate when the magai brought gifts to Christ when he was born. First off, we have now had 3 celebrations with this family so I told them we HAD to take some pictures, and they will be included. So the way they celebrate the day is with a big sweet bread called "Rosca de Reyes". Its filled with little plastic dolls and if you get one in the piece that you cut out, you have to pick a card that has something written on it like "you have to bring cups and plates" or....like the one me and Elder Mendez got..."you have to bring tamales". Uhh..i do NOT know how to make tamales haha so well see about that. Then Tuesday we had changes....and I am the new District Leader here in Tehuacan and I have my first baptismal interview tonight....go ahead and offer those prayers on behalf of the person I will be interviewing. But its gonna be good. Then the rest of the week was pretty uneventful, with some delicious tacos arrabes from a place called "Tacuba" highly reccommended, and thats about it! haha

       Spiritual Thought!! (surprise surprise) This week, the spiritual thought is about Patience. Good loaf....I have had soooo many opportunities these past 2 changes to exercise patience, and I honestly think I am better for it. In this life we are tested....but its not only the results of the test which affect us...but how we react to these tests. When we have a trial placed in our life, God is giving us the opportunity to grow, and more importantly to develop Godlike attritbutes. Now, I dont know if Gods greatest attribute is his patience...but its GOTTA be up there haha Whyyy is it so hard to be patient? I know that its a virtue and virtues are things which normally dont come easily, but man, this patience thing is the next levellllll. Butt we can do it. I also like the scripture that says that God wont tempt us above that which we are able to bear. I believe it also applies to our level of patience, and our ability to be patient in difficult situations. God has stretched me sooo much on my mission....but he hasnt let me snap yet! And he wont let you snap either, if you only turn to him in times when you are feeling impatient. He gave you your weaknesses, so work on them so that he can turn them into strengths.

Hey fammmmm! I love you all a ton (like i always say) but its true!! So I hope you can all feel that love everyday! Keep being people i can brag about!

Love you!
Elder Josh Hamm

Monday, January 6, 2014

Be Not Weary

Me and The Burning Old MAN!!! (before he was burning)
  Hi again! I've slowly realized that I start every single email with Sooooo, and i decided that its pretty boring haha so Hi again was the best thing i could come up with at the time. Judge me.

      But this week has been more exciting then past weeks, so i only hope i can squeeze everything in here and not seem to drag on, since most of the people reading this blog have normal lives and important things to do...for me its just P-Day.

The Burning Old MAN!!!
(while he was burning)
And the view of all the Burning Men
from the epic car ride haha
     So the big day this week was obviously new years eve! We got to spend it with a family in our ward (the same ones we spent christmas eve with) and once again it was awesome. To sum it all up in short, there were airsoft guns, delicious food, shrimp, car chases, fireworks, burning old men, my music, ect. The highlights, or things that are important enough to explain are as follows. First there is a tradition here in Mexico. Basically, 5 minutes before midnight everyone gets a cup of grapes. Then as the clock counts down from 10 to 0 for new years, you eat a grape every second and make a wish for the new years. Problem: The hermana bought grapes with seeds in the middle haha so everyone was choking trying to eat their grapes that fast and think of things at the same time. I got about 7 in my mouth at one time and then had to stop cause i couldnt breath haha Secondly, the burning old men or "scarecrows" as i called them before. So at midnight everyone started burning these scarecrows that are stuffed with fireworks and have the face of an old man to represent the old year....but as usually happens in Mexico, things got out of hand haha the hermano was trying to drive us home and he was swerving and dodging burning old men and fireworks and it was rediculous haha there are some pictures I will attach but it was awesome. AND of course the family knew about my music and so they put on my songs for a little bit and told all their realatives about it haha it was great.

        Second highlight, we got a new investigator this week! He is AWESOME. He reads the bible....but unlike most of the people here, he ACTUALLY reads it. We taught him about the plan of salvation and he was so excited because he was wondering about paradise and other things that werent completely explained in the bible. He agrees with everything because its all in the bible as well, like the error in infant baptism, the maner of baptism, modern prophets, priesthood authority, tithing, ect. He is progressing sooo fast, and it really helped fortify my testimony of the bible. It truely contains a great deal of truth, and if one really studies it, they will be able to understand the gospel of Jesus Christ- the doctrine we teach.

        I also wanna let you know that changes are tomorrow, but neither I, nor Elder S are leaving. Butttt, we have to go to changes meeting anyway, so we'll see what thats all about tomorrow! haha they didnt really tell us why, just that we had to go.

       Anddd the spiritual thought this week comes from D&C section 64 verses 33 and 34. This week we have visited a lot of members asking for references, and a concerning pattern was emerging. The members had shared the gospel several of their acquaintances, but they had all rejected their message in one way or another, and because of that, the members had lost their desire or confidence to share the gospel. The scripture in D&C brought a lot of comfort to them, and also reminded me of an important principle of the gospel. It reads: "33) Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great. 34) Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days." We CANT give up! No matter how many times we have shared the gospel with our friends only to get rejected, thats not the important thing! Whats important is that we are planting seeds and laying a foundation for a great work which we cant see right now! But it also tells us that we cant do it grudgingly. God requres a WILLING mind and if we do the small things, the Lord will make them great. So keep sharing the gospel with your friends, and for the love of the work, please give references to the missionaries! 

Hey fam! Not much time but i sure love you guys. glad i get to talk to you all every week. keep being awesome...but save some for me!

Elder Josh Hamm
And this is a little girl in our ward.
she loves backpacks, and missionaries,
so we decided to take her with us haha