Monday, January 12, 2015

Putting God First

 WHEEEELLLLLPPPPPPPPP Here we are as another week has gone by. MAN they seem to be going fast lately (though im sure i cant imagine why) although it might have something to do with the fact that ive had "Big Yellow Taxi" by Counting Crows stuck in my head like the ENTIIIIIIIIIIIRE week haha oh well.

       My Dad's questionsssss - 1) Our last investigator came from the guitar classes that i am teaching (suprise!) haha The people in our ward knew somehow that i play guitar and asked me to teach lessons to a bunch of them. I told them that if they would bring investigators then i would teach them to play guitar. And so they did! And it was great. We are currently working with the sister of a member and her daughter. They are pretty great. Lots of doubts, but really great haha 2) My bed is pretty much just like at home. Its a twin sized old mattress that sits on top of the base. Its pretty comfortable though after a day of walking, lemme tell ya. 3) Yes, people generally shower every day here and 4) One thing thats great about this culture is that they have lots of ways to greet people, or talk to people you dont even know. I mean, here you walk around saying good afternoon, good morning, and good night to allllllll the people around you and its not wierd! haha and if you walk by someone eating you say "Provecho" and they say thank you.....people, i have no idea who this random dude eating is but we just had a moment! haha so its great. And one thing that could usse improvement about the have to say the intolerance. Anything that is different here, the people reject. Like, if you are from a different religion, people wont even let you do service for them or participate with them in community activities. And a lot of people dont like us just cause we are white or from a different place. Its just kinda a cultural habbit that could be improved.

       Alright, well this week was just grand. Honestly not really. It was a good week, but boy was it a tough one for us. We just walked...and walked....and walkedddddddd. Looking for people to teach and not finding anyone, appointment after appointment falling through, getting stood up by the bishop and not having him on our side in the work, not recieving the support we need from the members, AND of course trying to keep up our motivation up and keep searching. It was tough, but thats how the mission is sometimes. God gives us such great oportunities to realize just how vital it is to struggle sometimes. Hes great, and i love him for it. We are ready to get back out there this week and really stretch ourselves!! Its gonna be AWESOME!!!!!! Im STOKED! But yah, that was pretty much the whole week in a nutshell actually. Not a ton to tell, sorry! 

       Well the spiritual thought this week comes from my Dad! (sorry Dad) haha yah yah yah two weeks in a row, Hamms losing his creative originality but hey, 23 months wears on you haha nah im kidding, but seriously it was too good to NOT share with everybody else ya know?! So my Dad shared with me a quote from President Ezra Taft Benson that i really really liked. President Benson said: "When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities.  We should put God ahead of everyone else in our lives.” How great is that! Truly giving our will to the Father is a hard thing to do, but when we look at it as such an enabling and helpful move in our lives! When we are struggling with finding a balance in our lives, or when we are just overwhelmed by the amount of tasks we have, we need to put the Lord first. And then when we do that all the things that are truly important will follow, the unimportant meticulous things will fall away, and the glorious calm that comes with that descision will come into our lives filling us with peace. I know that if we place our lives in the hands of the Lord, he will bless us infinitely.


Elder Josh Hamm

Monday, January 5, 2015

You Are a Child of God

Andddd i felt bad cause there arent a lot of pics for this week
so i took a quick selfie right now and am sending it to you. #LIVE

 Wellll this week was fairly boring action wise haha i mean, theres a few little things, but for the most part it was a lot of walking and trying to find new investigators, so ill do my best to spice it up.
       Alright, my dad decided to play 20 questions this week soo lets dive into them. 
1) what do people live like?....ummmm idk, like humans? haha i dont think i understand the question.  But people normally have a one story home with about 2 bedrooms and a bathroom with a patio out back for washing. 
2) There are some homes that are nice and some that arent so nice, but there really arent any that are really beautiful or anything special to be honest. 
3) Yes, they have running water. 
4) Yes, they have electricity 
5) Yes they have warm showers, but a lot of people choose not to use a boiler cause it takes up gas they use for cooking so they just use buckets and shower with cold water. 
6) They do NOT have carpet. Anywhere. Forget about it. 
7) They have windows but they are usually made of steel and have bars over them. Some you can open, some you cant. 
8) They do NOT have screens on ANY windows, so whats comin ins comin in haha 
9) They have garbages....but usually its just a black trash bag at the back of the house. Its rare to take out the trash in anything but those bags. 
10) They do NOT have garbage disposals, EVER, so you have to scrape all the leftover garbage from the sink out by hand and throw it away cause it doesnt fit in the drain either. AND 
11) They dont have garages. Or at least its VERY rare. Most just park their car on the street or some build little chain link fence cages in front of their houses where they park their cars.

Happy New Year from those white kids in Mexico. We still up in this!
Us NOT blowing things up!!!
       Sooo like i said, not alot happened this week. We got to have the Elders of Obrero come over on New Years Eve. (It was early dont worry haha) and we did NOT buy fireworks, and we did NOT blow things up with them, and it was NOT a great time! So dont even think that we did any of that for one moment! We did however buy tacos and also pizza....and nachos. But THAT is another story haha but anyways, it was pretty good overall. Then the rest of the week was just working hard here in Metepec. The only updates that i have are that this weekend we are going to finally have the baptism for a 9 year old son of some recent converts. They have been saying for like 3 months now that they just arent gonna baptize him cause hes just too young and not ready. But we went over a few days ago and taught them. I shared the part in Moses where God tells Adam that his children will be born and have sin enter their hearts. But it says that they will taste of the bitter, so that they may know how to appreciate the sweet. And then it says that its a commandment that we teach those things to our children. We also shared about how repentance is not complete without baptism and then participating in the sacrament. So the best thing that they could do to help their son is to baptize him so that he can repent, and then give him the greatest gift we have, which is the spirit. So it was a good lesson, and he will be baptized by his father this weekend! Its gonna be great. And the only update with A is that we tried to visit him every day this week, but we couldnt find him at home. However, God has to be preparing us and his family cause we found his Mom, and then his younger brother on two different days that we went. They also accepted the invitation to hear us, so we will hopefully be able to get them all together and help them make covenants personally, and then as a family. So pretty great week!

       So to finish off, i wanted to share the spiritual thought that my Mom shared with me (sorry Mom) haha cause it was just too great to pass up. It talks about our true identity as children of God. Its from an article by Elder Tad Callister in BYU Magazine several years ago. In it, Elder Callister shares this beautiful teaching: “There is a sentiment among many in the world that we are the spirit creations of God, just as a building is the creation of its architect or a painting the creation of its painter.  The scriptures teach, however, a much different doctrine.  They teach that we are the literal spirit offspring, or children, of God our Father.  The difference is monumental in its consequence because our identity determines in large measure our destiny.  For example, can a mere creation ever become like its creator?  Can a building ever become an architect?  Or a painting, a painter?  …As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints, we believe that we are the spirit offspring of God with inherited spiritual traits that give us the divine potential to become like our parent, God the Father.“ As to this identity, President Boyd K. Packer has written: “You are a child of God.  He is the father of your spirit.  Spiritually you are of noble birth, the offspring of the King of Heaven.  Fix that truth in your mind and hold to it.  However many generations in your mortal ancestry, no matter what race or people you represent, the pedigree of your spirit can be written on a single line.  You are a child of God.”  I add my personal testimony that we are children of God. You have a loving father in heaven who is your literal father. He knows you personally, he loves you personally, and he wants the best for you. When you feel you are alone, or when you feel that nobody cares about you, you are not alone. There is someone who loves you more than you could ever know - God. I know he does, and if you pray to him and ask him in sincere prayer to feel his love, you can know too. I so testify, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Josh Hamm

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Feliz Año Y Prospero Año Nuevo

 ¡FELIZ NAVIDAD! *Duh* *Duh* *Duh* *Duh* *Duh* ¡FELIZ NAVIDAD! *Duh* *Duh* *Duh* *Duh* *Duh* ¡FELIZ NAVIDAD, PROSPERO AÑO Y FELICIDAD!
       In my opinion that song is highly UNDER played here considering its in spanish!...well half. Either way im upset.

Soo for my Dads questions! - 1) Idk exactly what everyones traditions are for new years apart from the burning of those old guys haha and i havent even seen many of those here in Metepec or Atlixco. So we will see, however, yes there are always pleanty of fireworks, and music and food. Idk if we will be participating in any of that since its gonna be at midnight -__- butttt we will for sure be those wierd white kids lighting off fireworks and screaming happy new year at 10:27 at night haha so it should be dope. 
2) Different traditions from this year....hmmmmm. Idk i dont think so. Christmas here doesnt really bring many traditions, apart from some that they have in the Catholic church. They dress up little dolls like the baby Jesus and they carry them around for like a week. Then the 27th they put it in a huge manger type alter thing and pray to it. I have no comment on the subject. 
AND 3) Most people that we meet are able to read yes, however there are a lot that cant. Its usually in the smaller cities that are more rural, or when there are like 18 year old kids that dropped out of school. Its pretty sad honestly. But its a different style of life down here.
Anddd this is what the tree looked like when i finished!!
Im a little skinny to be Santa though.
       Alrightttt, well this week was obviously the week of Christmas! Whoop whoop! It was a pretty great time too! Christmas Eve we went with some Elders here and made a cake in the stake center. Dope. It was chocolate, and delicious. So that was good. Then we had a small dinner at the bishops house which was very nice of him. And then we went to bed! I wrapped up a few things for Elder K on Christmas Eve after he had gone to sleep haha so sneaky. And i put them under our Christmas tree and he came out in the morning and saw them haha it was pretty great. Its his first Christmas so, you know, its tough adjusting. But we passed it great! We were able to skype with the family, lots of fun there. We ordered a pizza from dominoes, moved into our new house (photos soon) and we got to go and walk through something called "La Villa Iluminada" which is basically like 10 long streets that they have closed off and decked out in lights. They have little shops all along the way too and rides and a fair. Its a pretty great place and we had a good time. So yah that was Christmas! haha then the rest of the week was pretty normal. 
And this is what the giantttt cotton candy we bought at the
fair looked like!   haha and i know youre gonna call me on
the hat. I just put it on for the picture haha Elder C and
 I bought them together

     We were able to find a new investigator named A.  Now it was cool because since ive been here, ive heard about a family that had a daughter found dead. It was a very ugly story that ill spare you the details of, but i wanted so badly to find that family and be able to maybe give them some comfort by letting them know about the plan of salvation. So we get to this house looking for an investigator and she isnt there but theres this kid there smoking and im like hey do you believe in Jesus Christ and God? And he was like yah. And i was like great, well we talk about that. Do you have any spiritual goals in your life? And he was like not really, i mean i was baptized in the catholic church as a baby and then i had my first communion and...thats it. I dont really know what else there is. And so we invitied him to listen, he accepted, and then when we went back he told us about his sister, and i knew my prayers about finding the family had been answered! We were able to teach him about the plan of salvation and where his sister is! It was soo cool! He accepted a follow up apointment and he promised to pray to know if what we shared was true! He is super awesome. Hes 18 and cant read cause he has to work to help his family and thus had to drop out of school. But i just feel the love of God for him sooo strongly! I wanna help him soo bad! Hopefully everything goes well with him. Ill let you know more later. And thats about it! Things have been great!!

Oh, and Popo exploded

       Sooo the spiritual thought! Alright, the spiritual thought for this week is gonna be short, and it comes from D&C which im studying right now. Its great. But in section 43 it says something awesome. Verse 11 reads: "11 Purge ye out the iniquity which is among you; sanctify yourselves before me;" Thats a direct invitation from the Lord. And i love the way he says it. Purge. The dictionary definition of Purge is - "To rid of whatever is impure or undesirable; cleanse; purify" So not just get rid of the iniquity that is among you. But cleanse and purify yoursleves. PURGE the wickedness out of your life, out of your home, out of your family. And remember that it is getting rid of something that is undesireable. God can only help you if you let him. In this new year, i invite you all to make goals and keep them. We have an entire new year to work on purging out the imperfections that we have! So set goals - Mental, Physical, Spiritual, and Social goals, and then keep them this year. 

Love you all!
Elder Josh Hamm