Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Through Christ who strengthens me

So this week we had Elder Jeffery R Holland come and talk to us!!!  It was crazy. I sat front row because that's where they were sitting the Bass section of the choir and so I was probably like 15 feet from the prophet. We made eye contact on multiple occasions. nbd. So we also all got the opportunity to shake his hand! needless to say I have yet to wash that hand! I'll say im kidding for my mom and I'll leave it up to the rest of you to decided if I have actually washed my hand or not.
So since Jeffery R Holland doesn't speak any Portuguese he gave his talk in English and all the people who couldn't understand english had to wear headsets and some of the staff translated.
One of the things that Elder Holland said that really impressed me was, "don't waste a single second during your mission wondering, why is this so hard." And then something along the lines of The road to salvation goes through Gethsemane and how Gethsemane wasn't meant to be easy.
I'm going to be honest, when I was preparing for a mission everyone was telling me how hard they are and how difficult they can be at times. I would brush them off and think, "with God on my side, what can be difficult?" And before Elder Holland spoke most of our district fasted so that we could get the most out of listening. I can promise you that he talked about exactly what I needed to hear. This last week was probably one of the hardest weeks of my life. Yeah, God was there every single step of the way and yes, I know that Jesus went through everything that I went through. But the thought of giving up had crossed my mind probably 3 or 4 times. Every time I would think of giving up I would be reminded of Christ and how He suffered everything and how God knows exactly how I'm feeling. Have you ever tried to learn a language in 6 weeks? Even with the power of God its not easy. He could easily make it easy, but then what life lessons would I learn? how would I come out of this strengthened if all my oppositions and all my trials were made easy through the grace of God?  Elder Holland said don't pray for your trials and pains to be taken away, instead pray for strength. Pray that you will have the strength to overcome these trials. That really hit me hard.
I love God and I love all my trials and hardships. At night I thank God for all the things I've had to endure and ask that I can have strengh to do the same thing tomorrow and the next day, and the next day. I know God is helping me learn Portuguese, but he is not making it easy on me. haha
I love you guys and I am so thankful to have this opportunity to serve a mission.
Sorry I don't have alot of time today but thats my email. I will probably call home on Tuesday or Wednesday since I'm flying to Juiz de Fora or I might just email. I dunno. Love you guys like crazy -
Elder Hamm

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

"Voce tem recebeu um presente este ano?"

Soooo this week was pretty eventful, I swore off english, for the most part, and so Its pretty much all portuguese from here on out. To answer my Dads questions, Yes our teachers are straight from Brazil, and they are the most inspired people Ive met here.  They always know what to say to make us feel inspired. One of them used to be in a Brazillian gang and he's the homie. No they do not have chocolate milk here :( but some days they do have cold cereal and they have milk for that, but I haven't been feeling particularly adventurous yet so I have yet to try the milk.
To answer my mothers questions, I exchanged money at the airport at a really good exchange rate actually haha 2,18 or something. We are currently going to the Campinas temple becasue the one near us is closed for cleaning. kinda sad cause São Paulo is super pretty and Campinas is meh. I do laundry pretty much when I wanna do laundry. Since we have almost zero time on p-day you just throw it in one of the 4 washers whenever they're open and they already have soap and stuff so you basiclly just hit start. in Brazil we use Reals (prononuced hay-eyes) they are pretty sweet, I'll send some home. Breakfast every morning is stale bread ham and some type of cheese with some cream of wheat/soup/oats stuff.
On Sexta-fiera (friday) we went on a bus and handed out Books of Mormon in some park in Brazil! it was pretty intimidating stopping people on the street and asking them in portuguese about religion and such. Each missionary had 2 Books of Mormon and a bunch of pass along cards. The first person we stopped was a girl and I was pretty much flat out honest with her when i said me and my companion are learning portuguese but are still pretty bad, can we practice with you? she said sure and we talked about religion and then I asked the golden question of the day! "voce tem recebeu um presente este ano?" I'll leave that for you to translate. long story short she accepted the Book of Mormon and promised to read it.
The gospel really is a present and I love giving away pass along cards, and Books of Mormon mainly because I know what I am giving them is happiness. The gospel is my happiness, its my life and its the only thing that keeps me, for the most part, at bay from doing things that will kill me because I know that I was sent here to accomplish a task, and through the gospel I know what that task is. I know that I was called of God to come to brazil and speak portuguese, even if my stake president set me apart to speak spanish (which my whole district thinks is the second funniest thing, the first being we found out Pão (the a has a squiggly over it) means bread, but also cute boy).
Oh yeah nbd but elder Holland is coming to talk to us on thursday. so yeah
Sorry i'm out time but I love you guys!  All is well over here!!
Elder Hamm

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

sooo first week in my Brazilian Prison

So yeah Brazil is awesome already and I haven't even explored it much. So im just gonna jump right into things since I don't have too much time. The food here is fantastic, I have also grown very fond of beans and rice. My new district is cool but I do miss my old ones alot. My companion is Elder L a farmer from idaho. haha Hes awesome and is so easy going. For meals there's normally two main dishes, both of them are meat and are so delicious, and then they always have little bananas and normally some tropical fruit.
I live in a room with 5 other guys who are so awesome. my room has a view of the court yard inside the compound, I mean MTC. But the people across from us have a nice view of Brazil so I'll have to send you a picture. so in our room, its me, my companion, Elder M and Elder D, who are in our district from America, and 2 Brazilaros who are native Brazillians. they do this so we can interact with them, learn the dialect and etc. They are the funniest guys in the world and I love them to death. at night It seems like all we do is make jokes with them. they are freaking awesome. haha So they found out my first name is Jacob and the made the connection with twilight so now every time they see me they yell jacob is a love like bella would use, I dunno why but I laugh so hard ever time I hear it. One night they also told us they were really from america so we call them the americans everytime we see them.
the language is really hard and it is kinda annoying when companions are not at the same level of language.  todo bem. I still love him.
God has been helping me so much with the language some times I feel bad asking for more help. I can promise you that there is no way I could be where I am in the language without the help of Heavenly Father. somedays I'll be really struggle with understanding because the brazillians speak so fast but its all good cause the faster they speak the harder I have to work. I know that I was called of God to come to Brazil and I know that I am doing the Lord's work. The only way to do His work is through learning the language and I know that He's helping me. most of the time I'll be talking to a brazillian or a investigator and the word I need will be divinely put into my mind, a word that I might have read once, while aimlessly flipping through the dictionary.
well P days here you kinda get shafted becasue I only have 30-45 minutes on the computer and the computers cant send pictures. which sucks. and we have to wake up at 5:40 and be outta here on a bus by 6:30 to make it to the temple on time in traffic. then we get back at 2:45 have little time on the computer wander around brazil, oh yeah we can leave the compound on PDays and walk around a few blocks so thats cool. there are a lot of stores in our area so that'll be fun. but yeah then I have to be back by 5:45 for dinner and then Pdays over.
SOOO I love you guys so much! I miss you but I know I'm doing the Lord's work and changing peoples lives for the better. its not about baptisims, its not about trying to get more people to come to church, It's about happiness. and to me the Gospel is happiness and I want others to understand and feel the joy I feel too. that's why I'm out here and If they reject it, thats fine. they're not ready for the committment and I understand that. the other day I realized I would probably have 2 or 3 tattoos if it weren't for my fear of committment. haha ta bom
Elder Hamm

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Email from Sao Paulo MTC Mission President

Incoming Missionaries - Sao Paulo Brazil MTC - August 6, 2014
Dear Parents,
Sister Swensen and I are very happy to let you know that your missionary has arrived safely at the Brazil Missionary Training Center.  What a great joy and privilege it is to greet each missionary as they begin their missionary experiences with us. We will surely take good care of your missionary.                                  
The missionaries now have companions and are settled into their rooms.  They are assigned to a district with capable and caring instructors for language and lesson study.  Their branch presidents and wives, will meet them this Sunday.  These wonderful couples are richly blessed as they work with, motivate, and interview the missionaries assigned to their branch. 
The MTC has a full-time live-in physician to care for their health needs.  He is assisted by his able wife who is a nurse. We are also happy to report that the cafeteria food is plentiful, healthy and very good. 
Your missionary will be able to e-mail home on Preparation Day after a morning at the Temple.  This will be either Wednesdayor Friday, depending on individual assignments.
Your missionary is about to make an eternal difference in the lives of many others. President Lorenzo Snow said: “There is no mortal man that is as interested in the success of an elder when he is preaching the Gospel as is the Lord who sent him to preach to the people who are the Lord's children".  We love these missionaries as if they were our own.  We will watch over them carefully to ensure they are ready for a wonderful missionary experience after the rewarding time they will have in the MTC.
We thank you for preparing such a wonderful representative of the Lord. 
President Robert Swensen and Sister Julie Swensen

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION . . .PLEASE DO NOT SEND PACKAGES to the Brazil Missionary Training Center. All packages must be sent directly to the mission where your missionary will be serving not the MTC. If you have already mailed a package to the Brazil MTC, please understand that the package cannot be forwarded to his or her mission and will be returned to you.
WE STRONGLY ENCOURAGE SENDING HAND WRITTEN LETTERS. Please write your missionary´s first and last name. Your missionary will provide you with his district and box number. Also, please DO NOT SEND ANYTHING BY FEDEX, DHL, UPS, or other private carriers.  The cost to process this type of correspondence is exorbitant.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

_Word We Made It

SSSoooo after what seemed like forever I made it to Brazil!!  the view from my window is so nice but the other elders I met at the airport have a nicer view. they let me get set up from 9-12 and now I'm emailing, so its pretty sweet out here. haven't met my district yet but i did meet some other missionaries and they are awesome. Plus I just found out that Javi is here!! He was one of my buddies in hawaii! so that'll be sweet. the food we had here was pretty good so far and people say my district is awesome. i'll send you some pictures of my room and view when I get a chance. love you guys!!!
Elder Hamm

Monday, August 4, 2014

God Has His Own Timing for Everything

Me and Elder B, my Provo MTC companion

So as most of you probably heard I got my visa on friday! So I head off tuesday morning to finish my MTC training there. I'm excited but at the same time I'm really sad. My district is full of the most worthy, hardworking guys and I dont think I could have made it through the first week without them. Each one of them has a very strong testimony of the church, and I view each one of them as a spiritual giant. But who am I to argue with the Lord's timing?

My District

Oh so NBD but JOHN H GROBERG WAS OUR DEVOTIONAL SPEAKER TUESDAY NIGHT! I felt star struck as I saw him recount mission experiences and talk about how Fedo (the guy who accidentally cut his leg fishing) literally died in his arms. He still is very moved by the whole thing. I loved every minute of it. 

So if I were to tell you everything I've been learning or all the experiences I've been having, it would be unfathomable. Here at the MTC on holy ground, we're just on another level, haha. (but really). So I wrote down some stuff I learned and wanted to share with you all so here goes.

I get around 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Needless to say I would love to get more, but one thing Irma Pike (Sister Pike my teacher) taught me this week is that sleep does not give you energy. God does. It is so foolish and almost childish to think that if I slack off and sleep in a little longer I will get more energy. I thought that was cool.

The second thing is that this is not my work, I am not self employed and this who two year mission, thing wasn't just decided one day by the leaders of our church. This is the Lords work and he wants it done, I am a simple tool in the lords hand, and he will give me guidence and help if I but only ask. 

I love this work and I am excited to go to Brazil tomorrow. All is well here except for the fact I have to pack all by myself to go to Brazil. I wish mom could do it for me but that's growing up.


Elder Hamm

FAM BAM: so if there is any way you can look up "The Character of Christ" by Elder Bednard - look it up and watch 
it for FHE. Tts kinda long but so cool seeing a prophet talk like that and the talk is so good. love you guys. pics on their way feel free to post them