Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Elder Josh Hamm: Live in Concert

The Radio Interview!
Alright guys, well if you thought that last week was jam were right. BUT that doesnt change the fact that this week is equally if not MORE jam packed! So here we go.

Aaand my birthday!
       Well, my Dad's questions. 1) For my birthday....we worked haha cause thats the mission life. Buttt luckily, this time i wasnt on interchanges with the assistants, so i was able to go and get dinner with my ward mission leader at night. We went to this pizza place that is greattt haha its called Emporios and its the best pizza ive had on my mission. And he bought me a surprise birthday cheesecake with blackberries! It was great. So yah that was my birthday! 2) The playlist for my concert was LONG haha it had 18 songs on it and i guess ill list them later in the email haha 3) Yes, they celebrate halloween here even though its known as Day of the dead. 4) They used to celebrate it very differently from the US but over time, they have adapted to some of our traditions, so now its not uncommon to see a lot of kids going around asking for money or candy, about 60% of them in costumes haha

The Live TV interview!
     Okay, *deep breath* Sooo lets start out this week with tuesday....nothing happened haha we went out and worked. Then Wednesday!......same thing haha but just holdddd on before you judge haha Thursday (for all of you who dont know) was my birthday. I woke up and was minding my own business singing LOVE by Frank Sinatra (only a song you sing when youre in a GREAT mood) when we get a call from the ward mission leader who says that we have 15 minutes to get to the center for an interview on live television promoting the concert...woah. So we runnn down there and they are behind and we are behind and so we put it for Friday. Then that night the poster (like the one i sent home) are finally ready so we pick them up and post them EVERYWHERE haha in the center, on announcement boards, we contact students and post them in the schools, the gyms, the hospitals, and the stores. Then we went to a place called Emporios (pizza) and ate pizza and cake and talked out the final plans for the concert. So then Friday morning we went for the interview. They had a TV studio (not huge, but nice) and we did the interview on live TV. Im not gonna say i was nervous....but i definitely didnt know where to put my hands haha but it went really well, we explained the concert, where it was going to be, why we were doing it, who we are....oh and then i played a song on guitar in spanish (Corre by Jesse y Joy) on live TV.....nbd. haha it went really well. So then we went and finished putting up posters, practicing, and contacting people and inviting them to the concert.
Preparing for the Concert!!!  We had so many people
show up to see what was going on! 

       Alright, so the day of the concert comes. Im so nervous i wake up at 6 instead of 6:30....oh wait, thats right, i wasnt nervous at all....i just happened to have diarrhea and was throwing up -__- yes, ladies and gentlemen, i woke up the day of the concert sick as a DOG. And so of course we started worrying. I got a priesthood blessing, i ate nothing but bread and gatorade, I slept a LOT and just took it easy all day. We told NO ONE besides the missionaries cause we knew it would put them in a panic haha but all day i rested and then when the time of the concert arrived....I felt fine! (More details on that to come in the spiritual thought). But upon arriving...i realized that this was more legit than any of us had hoped for haha Im talking a giant stage, multiple microphones, lazers and colored lights, a smoke machine, and more.

And the actual concert!  Seriously, it turned out so sick.
I hope you can capture at least some of it from
these photos! 
       I played 18 songs. and the playlist...i left at home right now. Butttt it included 6 of my songs: Low, Over You, Help, Im in love with a Superstar, I Care About You, Tu Secuestrador, You Deserve Better, Since When, and My Savior. I played some popular spanish songs: Te Fuiste de Aqui - Reik, Fui - Reik, Noviembre sin Ti - Reik, Mientes - Camila, and Corre - Jesse y Joy. Also some popular english songs: As Long as you Love me - Justin Beiber, Story of my Life - One Direction, Just the way you are - Bruno Mars, Demons - Imagine Dragons, She will Be Loved- Maroon 5, Anddd to finish it off I played Jospeh Smith's First Prayer in spanish (La Oracion Del Profeta) and then bore my testimony there on stage. It was legit man. It was so awesome. 

       Buttttt I know you are saying "Ya know, thats great Josh....but you are a missionary! What about ELDER Hamm?" Oh lemme tell you. Through the concert we gave out over 500 pamphlets of the lessons we teach, 400 contact cards, and 100 Book of Mormons. There were a TON of people there, and they ALL were contacted and left with at LEAST a quick talk about our beliefs and a pamphlet or 2. So the point is it literally turned out to be the greatest missionary activity ever created or thought up. We and other missionaries will be reaping the benefits of that concert for a LONG time to come haha

       So for the spiritual thought, i wanted to touch on the sick situation (not the cool kinda sick, but the puking kinda sick). I woke up that morning sooo sick, and all i could think was "Why me?!" This concert is gonna be great, why would God do this to me in thissss moment?! After i got the blessing, i still felt awful, and i asked, why isnt this working? Then we went and cut my hair and i felt worse, and i thought, whyyyy isnt it gone yet? And then after my 3 hour nap i still had no energy and i cried out why hasnt God taken this away yet?! But the entire time after each of my outbursts, I heard in my head, its not the concert yet, WAIT. And after about the fourth time of that, i listened to it. And when i did, a story from the scriptures that i have shared with you all, came to my mind. It was the story in Mosiah 7 when God allows Ammon (a strong and righteous man) and his 15 friends to suffer hunger, fatigue, and thrist, for 40 days before finally delivering them...and I thought to myself, WOW.....YOU, Elder Hamm, need to quit whining haha God has a plan, and right now his part of that plan is to trust that you will be able to perform, and that the suffering right now is necessary. When i got in the taxi (becuase i was too weak to walk) to go to the zocalo, i felt awful, and without strenght. But when we arrived, I instantly gained strength and for the rest of the night i felt nothing. I was able to perform and sing completely fine. It was a real testimony builder to me that God has a plan, and if we could see the end from the beginning, we would understand that plan, but we cant. So all we can do is trust him and walk in faith until he delivers us. I know that is true, and i urge all of us to remember it.

Elder Josh Hamm
Promoting the Concert.  We put up these posters everywhere!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Capacitations, Chichicaxcle, and Tropical Storm Trudy new nemesis
  Alright guys. This week is seriusly JAM PACKED with news. So i really hope that you are ready for a longggg email haha sorry im not sorry. Sooo lets go ahead and start off with the questions from my Dad!

       Okay, 1) There are not really any lakes or rivers in our area, however there is kinda a stream.....its the sewage and its always nasty, but the water flows....soo i feel like that counts as a stream. 2) No. There has not been snow in the area of our mission.....ever as far as i know. HOWEVER, there are rumors that snow fell in Puebla 2 years ago....but you know how rumors go. AND 3) In EVERY area, you really cant find any restaurants of fast food that are from the US. You can find in EVERY area a chinese food place, tacos, usually a few pizza places but none are usually chains. The ones that they have here from the US would be Burger King, McDonalds, Subway. The foods different here though, cause the quality is a little lower.

       WWWHHHEEELLLPPP. Where do i start? Honestly its been crazy. Alright well ill just give you the play by play. So for starters - Tuesday. 

       Tuesday we pretty much just worked normally in our area. We had a brother in our ward who burned his eyes while welding here without a mask. The doctors were worried he wouldnt see again so we gave him a blessing and he has since recovered. So thats good. 

Aaaand that's my hand 5 minutes afterwards.  OUCH
       Wednesday morning....the chaos of the week began. Wednesday in the morning we went to the church and gave a zone capacitation to districts 1 and 2 (8 Elders). It went pretty well. So then we worked the rest of the day, which is normal. Until about 7 oclock at which time the day took a turn for the worst haha Long story short, we were walking along a road in our area and i for some reason got the desire to reach out and grab a plant that was along side us. So i did and while attempting to pull a leaf off, plunged 50 or so tiny thorny needles into my fingers. This very SPECIAL plant called Chichicaxcle, just happens to be one of the most painful stinging plants there are. The needles are coated with a type of poison similar to that found in the sting of a scorpion and you (or in this case I) feel it up to your armpit with a strong, sharp, burning pain. So that was fun haha we were able to get to a members house and get the needles out and calm the pain and now its almost completely healed! But that helped keep things interesting.

       Thursday we woke up, got on a bus, and went to Tehuitzingo which is about 90 minutes away. Gave another (the same) capacitation to those Elders. And then came home and worked in our area....DIDNT touch any plants, and passed a realitively uneventful day, before going to bed at 10:30.

       Friday we had to wake up at 5:30 in order to be able to take the bus out of the state of Puebla, to the area that is the farthest away in the mission, AKA - Tlapa, Guerrero. Its a 4 hour bus ride through windy mountain passes, NOT recommended for the faint of stomach. So we got to Tlapa and gave the capacitation AGAIN haha and then spent the rest of the day on interchanges with the Elders there. So at about 7 oclock that night it started raining. Not an incredibly hard rain, but it was a good constant downpour. So we get back to the house of the Elders of Tlapa, go to sleep  and wake up the next morning to find that it has been raining ALL night and is continuing to rain with no signs of stopping in any direction. So no big deal....until we get a call from President letting us know that he received an email from Church Headquarters saying that we need to take precautions because there is a tropical storm that is going to hit Guerrero hard. So we are like okay, we´ll tell the Elders here. So we get to the bus station to go home and they inform us that the roads are flooded and we wont be able to leave. Not okay....So we ask them to check again, and they tell us that there might be a bus leaving in 20 minutes to go to Izucar and it might be the last chance to leave. So we tell President, and he makes the official call to take the Elders of Tlapa out of their areas until further notice. so we get on the bus, take the even MORE perilous journey home, and the Elders of Tlapa are staying here until we get the Ok for them to go back. Pretty crazy stuff.

       Sooo that was the pretty crazy week. To finish it off there is an activity that the branch here has been planning for some time now. Basically there is an Elder here named Elder M who was with us in Mayorazgo when i was with Elder P. During that time, he found out about my music and now everywhere he goes he tells people about it. So here in Izucar I am legitimately famous haha like people will come up to me and say, excuse me your nametag says Hamm....are you Josh Hamm?! And then they will ask me for an autograph and take pictures hahaha its been unreal man, but thats not the first of it. So the idea of the branch was to put on a "Josh Hamm concert" centered around the fact that im a missionary who left my career pursuits to come on the mission. Long story short, the idea is approved. On the 25th of October, i will be performing a free concert in the Zocalo (the center plaza of the city) and we will be showing Mormon Messages, talking about how im Mormon, and of course singing. BUT thats stilllll not it. This morning there was a TV ad promoting the concert and tomorrow at 7 i have a radio interview to talk about the concert. There are also several hundred flyers (designed by Elder C) being handed out that explain the concert and the fact that im Mormon - It even has the link to my Blogspot on there! haha so its been crazyyyyy!! Ill let you guys know how it all goes down, but we think its gonna bring us a LOT of missionary opportunities. 

       Alright, well to wrap up this incredibly long, yet short week, and this incredibly long, yet....longer email, lets get a spiritual thought in there. Just a quick thought i had while reading in D&C section 132 verse 50. It reads: "50) Behold, i have seen your sacrifices, and will forgive all your sins; I have seen your sacrifices in obedience to that which I have told you. Go, therefore, and I make a way for your escape, as i accepted the offering of Abraham of his son Isaac." That really stood out to me because I feel like we think sometimes that God doesnt understand how much we have to sacrifice in todays world to stay in line with the standards that He has given us. But He does. God says in that scripture that he has seen ALL of our sacrifices made to keep our lives in harmony with the gospel. Thomas S Monson shared a quote form Robert Louis Stevenson that i really liked. "Everyday courage has few witnesses. But yours is no less noble because no drum beats for you and no crowds shout your name." Others may not know the true sacrifices that you are making to be obedient to God´s commands, but He sees each and every one of the noble acts you perform, and he will bless you and help you as you continue in faith.

Elder Josh Hamm

Leaving Tlapa to escape the tropical storm....pretty crazy!!!

Monday, October 13, 2014

What a WEEEEK!

MMMMMM....that yummy Chicharron.....(pig skin)
MUUUYYYY BUENAS TAAAAARDES!!! This week has been soooo stressful, i feel like im delirious haha Im just so happy its pday, even though we arent really doing anything, or have plans to do so haha BUT the week is over, and that enough is a reason to celebrate. Soooo on to the email!!

       Alright, well i LOVE my dads questions this week cause it gives me the oportunity to give you a couple insights about misison life haha 1) Awful. haha my socks are in AWFUL conditions. Seriously my socks might as well be straight out of the Old Testament becuase they are holiest of holies. Not even kidding, i dont think i have a single pair of socks without holes. BUT i really dont want to buy more cause im so close to the end! haha i dont wanna waste that money! Sooo ill struggle through haha 2) For shampoo, i used to use a really cheap brand here that they call Caprice....but then i needed to step it up haha so ive switched to head and shoulders. My hair thanks me and my father. 3) They have very few delicious candies that they dont have in the US to be honest haha Out of these very few, they have something called Massapan which is like peanut butter balls pressed into Half-dollar sized disks. Its pretty delicious. They are made by a brand called "De La Rosa". apart from that, all the candy is like normal, but with chile added into it haha its really a hit or a miss. Sometimes your mouth. haha excuse the analogy but its awful. AND 4) The chocolate they have is actually something they dont have in the US a lot but ive had before. The Kinder, like Kinder eggs or Kinder bars or brownies, tastey stuff. 

       Well like i said, this week has been pretty dang stressful if you ask me. So Monday night we pretty much just finished preparing the Zone Conference. Tuesday we woke up early and went to prepare the chruch and everything for the conference. The conference went really, REALLY well. I felt like the Elders really got something out of what i prepared and i could feel the spirit testifying about it too. It was greatttt. Then we got to eat Hamburgers and talked with Sister and President S which was great. They are soooo awesome! I feel like i finally am starting to get to know them. It was really good. Then we went to work the whole week. On Wednesday we did interchanges - INSERT PITY PARTY - Because we are here in the zone of IZUCAR, we have to travel sooo much. Just to get to the interchanges its an hour in a bus. We have Elders who we are going to do interchanges with that live 4 hours from us. Crazy stuff. - END PITY PARTY - So we did those and it was good. Then we had half of a day working in our area as a companionship and then on Friday we did interchanges with the assistants and i stayed in my area with Elder Pr while Elder Pn went to Puebla with Elder S. It was really  good though. Then we had to switch back (5 hours traveling) and then we did weekly planning cause we hadnt had the time. So it was a pretty crazy week, but luckily, this week is gonna be even worse!! We have to give Zone Capacitations now and that means going to 3 different districts (cause theyre so far) and giving the capacitation. We´ll be lucky if we get a solid 2 hours working in our area haha oh well. The good news is that we really motivated the zone with the conference and we have 11 baptisms as a zone for the month of October and we are only in week 2!! We only had 2 last month and the goal is 12 so we are super excited about that!
       So for the spiritual thought this week, i pulled something from D&C! In the LAST section of D&C or Section 138, it talks a lot about the spirit world and its seriously AWESOME! So we know from Peter that after Christ had died and before he was resurrected he went to the spirit world and preached the gospel to the spirits there. BUT what Peter doesnt mention is HOW. In section 138 it talks about how is was only 3 days before Christ returned to his mortal body and was raised from the dead. How could he have preached to everyone in just 3 days, and why would the unjust who rejected the prophets have the opportunity to see him? Well, the answer is they wouldnt. It says that during the 3 days that Christ preached, he was training and preparing righteous spirits to preach the gospel in the spirit world after he was resurrected. He knew that he couldnt teach all of them in such a short time, and moreover, he could not dwell with them, as they were unrepentant, but he sent his missionaries to help them. But then it talks about what that means for us. In verse 57 it reads: "I beheld that the faithful Elders...when they depart from this mortal life, continue their labors in the preaching of the gospel....among those who are in darkness and under the bondage of sin in the great world of the spirits of the dead." Brothers and sisters, this is what awaits us as faithful followers of Christ! When this life ends, our missionary efforts do NOT! We will have the chance to continue bringing a knowledge of the gospel to those who have not had the chance to experience its blessings and power. Missionary work is an eternal calling and an everlasting principle! What a great charge we have! So lets start preparing now, by preaching the gospel wherever we are in our lives.

Elder Josh Hamm

Monday, October 6, 2014

Conference Weekend!

5 Elders in ONE taxi haha it was pretty intense.
Anything to make it on time to conference
   Alrightttttt well this week was pretty great, cause well, ya know, we got to watch General Conferece, AND we got to baptize a couple that we have been teaching here! So pretty awesome. BUTTT were gonna start off first with my Dads questions!

       Okay 1) My favorite speaker at conference was D. Todd Christofferson who ALWAYS throws down with a great talk. BUT more of that will come in the spiritual thought! 2) Yes, we have microwaves. I dont know if you all remember but that was a HUGE addition to the mission life back in.....August of last year and we have been great ever since haha AND 3) Yes, my mission president has a honda van much like the odyssey haha and then theres a small car for the assistants....that they are no longer allowed to use. #suckstosuck 
Sooo these are alllll over in Huehuetlan.....Yah, scary stuff man
     Welllll this week we went on interchanges with the Elders here in the zoine who are currently serving in a pueblo called "Huehuetlan El Chico". Lemme tell you.....actually let me NOT tell you haha it sufficeth me to say that I am VERY grateful to be serving in a slightly more developed area....(slightly mind you). But the interchanges were good and i had some pretty cool experiences while i was there, and even took some pictures! haha so ill be sending those, but all in all the theme for this week would be HEAT, and LOTS of it. As for the rest of the week, well it was slow and we all know a little about my weekend. We were able to only baptize the parents of the family we have been teaching cause the daughters are always in school so we havent been able to teach them a whole lot! Butttt 2 down, 2 to go and im sure they are also going to baptize eventually. So it was good! Then of course we watched conference. This was my LAST conference on the mission! Pretty crazy no?! Yah, not really haha still means i have like 5 months left. But its cool. The conference was good. We watched it in English, although i really had a hard time adjusting to the new language thinggy. Whenever someone was speaking in spanish, we went into the other room where it was being broadcast in spanish so we didnt have to listen to someone talk over them. It was good all in all though. AND tomorrow im going to give my first Zone Conference with President. We are working out the last minute details, but it should go well (hopefully)! So yah!!

       Soo the spiritual thought from this week, as mentioned above, comes from the talk given in the Saturday morning session of General Conference by D. Todd Christofferson. HIs talk was about Justice, Mercy, and God, and if for some reason you missed out on it, i would HIGHLY suggest that you go look it up and watch it, IMMEDIATELY. Butttt anyways, at one point during the talk Elder Christofferson was talking about how even God has to be under rules, or he would cease to be God. He explains that there are 2 truths about God - 1) God will not save us as we are for he can not tolerate sin in the least degree of allowance. And 2) God will not make us become something that we do not wish to be, or in other words, we are agents unto ourselves, to determine our own destiny. Based off these 2 points, i was reflecting, and i came to the conclusion that really God is only powerful for us, when we give him the oportunity to be so. Imagine having the strongest most powerful light in the world - one so powerful that it could provide sufficient light for not only the entire United States, but for the entire American continent. You would have a pretty valulable gift right? BUT lets say that you dont plug it in. Of what use is a giant light if it isnt plugged in? It is an incredible gift wasted. Such is God in our lives. We have the oportunity to choose to become like him and to accept him, but if we dont, he CANT change us, and he CANT accept us as we are. So i would encourage each of us to think on this great truth and decide today that we are going to take advantage of Gods love and his help, by choosing to sumbit to his will and become what he wants us to become. 

Elder Josh Hamm

Sunday, October 5, 2014


     Well guys, another week has gone and passed and here we still are in Izucar! Things are going really well here. Me and my comp are having a great time and we are working harder than ever. Seriously, harder than EVER....but its a good thing haha so we'll jump in with Dads questions!

       Alright, 1) My apartment is actually pretty nice. Its a pretty clean place and its not too small either. 2) We have windows in our house for ventilation yes, however, it POURED rain the other night, and although they just supposedly replaced them and fixed them, it leaked a tonnnn and the whole floor near the window got wet. Oh well. 3) We do NOT have air conditioning in any house, EVER. But we are luck enough to have an individual fan and then a giant fan for the main room which keeps things pretty cool most of the time. 4) Anddd last of all, yes. Yes we have bugs. Coming here to Izucar actually makes it my 4th area out of 5 in which i have chinches -___- But luckily we are going to get it fumigated. Its also too hot for most of the bugs here haha so its not as bad as it could be.

Me and my comp in our area (lovely photography
credits for the soon to be Elder L) Seriously
 didnt even know he took this picture haha
       Well, like i said, this week has been good. We have been walking..... A LOT. Still hott as the devil, but its been good. We have managed to put a grand total of 5 baptismal dates for this week and hopefully they are all going to go through. We really have been blessed through hard work to have some great investigators who are truly ready to recieve this message. Weve also been working on continuing to try and find new investigators! (which is NEVER fun, but ya know...its kinda the basic haha please see PMG chapter 9) So yah, all good here. Anddd that takes us to the spiritual thought!!

       Soooo the spiritual thought this week comes from experiences in the rama of Izucar. So we are in a small branch here.....and well to be honest, it is full of very.....colorful personalities haha so the thing i was thinking about this week was humility. Humility is difficult to develop, i realize....cause im NOT the most humble guy haha but its really an attribute of Christ. Humility isnt just about letting people tell you things that you can improve, or accepting critisism, otherwise it really wouldnt be too much of a Christ-like attribute. Humility is about understanding that God has a great love for all of his children, and then applying that love. Humility doesnt mean you are shy, it means you are friendly! You feel the love of our heavenly father, which makes you want to reach out and love everyone you see so that they can feel good. Humility is being meek enough to accept the faults in others, knowing that you yourself are working on perfection. Its not about judging, its about understanding. And brothers and sisters, when we can finally acheive that humility, we will be taking a great step towards the kingdom of God and eternal life. So i encourage all of you to work on developing this attribute, knowing that God will help you along the way.  

Elder Josh Hamm