Monday, June 13, 2016

Good questions for the last letter



As you are near the end of your mission, what would you tell someone considering a mission about how to prepare?  Study the scriptures and go out with the missionaries. That's probably the best you could do. 

What challenged you the most about your mission?  On the mission there are a lot of challenges and a lot of really hard times. Its hard to try to isolate just one thing that was the hardest but I would say having a companion that you dont like, is probably the hardest. You just wanna hit him in the face as hard as you possibaly can but you know you cant. You wanna just run away and be alone for a day or a few hours but you cant. You have to be patient. You have to try to love him. That's extremely hard for me because for years I held grudges. I would get mad quickly and so for the past 2 years Ive been working on losing those time-earned habits.  

Do you think you have changed? If so how? I have definitely changed. If I havent changed then the mission would be of no purpose. Interesting about the change is it's not so much losing weight, or getting older (that's happened too) but it's more about the inner you. I'm still me. I love to joke around, a lot of the time more than I should. I still have problems obeying those little white rules that dont really seem to make a difference. I still have weaknesses and things I struggle with. The difference is I now know how to get through any problem. Bold, right? I know the cure for any broken heart. I know where I can find peace and love and comfort that no beer or drugs any worldly pleasure could give me. I know where true happiness lies and I know that I am destined for much more than I´ve been living up to. 

Knowing these things, sadly, doesn't mean I will always live them with perfect ease. There will be times when I´ll fall. But I know I have to get back up. I might get distracted and lose sight briefly of the straight and narrow path. But I know the process well, for as far as ive fallen, ive gotten back up. So am I different, absolutely. Will you be able to see the difference? Maybe, maybe not. But by your fruits you will know them. Ask me again in 10 years if the mission changed me and then you´ll see. 

I know that this is the true church of Jesus Christ here on the earth. I know that this is the only church on the whole earth that has the authority of God to baptize and make promises with God that are sealed here on earth and in Heaven. I know that my Savior lives. I know that through His sacrifice I can be made clean and pure. I can be forgiven of my sins, even the worst ones I dont want anyone to know about, He knows, and He has forgiven me. I know that God has a plan for everyone here on earth and even if you dont see it He helps you out everyday. He watches you and cares for you and wants the best. I know that the Leaders of the church, Presidents, Bishops, Apostles, Prophets, I know that they are all called of God and He called them because He needed their skills to bring his work forward. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know that everything about it is true. I know that God gave it to us to have the rest of the eternal gospel that was lost over the many years and alterations of the Bible. I know this is all true and I now have a burning desire to share it with everyone I know because this is eternal life. This is happiness that lasts longer than a high and doesn't give you a hangover. 

I love you guys and I love the mission. I came on the mission out of plain obedience to the commandment that all worthy young men should serve a mission. I stayed on the misson because I learned the true meaning of the commandment. I think serving a mission is my favorite commandment.  haha!  Love you guys.  See you soon. 

The last letter of,
Elder Hamm

I fee like there should be some dramatic ending like The end. or something hahah, but yeah, maybe like Over and out. yeahh

Over and out.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

another day older and deeper in.... blessings ;)

Our zone is like a ward!  


Tell us about one of your investigators – how did you meet them.  Well this week a girl called T went to church! We found her because we received a reference from a member and when we went there the reference wasnt there so we decided to knock the neighbors door to not make the trip a whole waste. And she was super skeptical. on the second visit she said she didn't read the Book of Mormon because she didnt know who Nephi was but right when we walked in she said, "how do you baptisms for the dead?" So we explained about doubts and questions and the difference between them and then asked where she learned about Baptism for the dead (which to her dismay is my FAVORITE TOPIC AND TO ME THE MOST UNDERSTANDABLE DOCTRINE that you can really get just all out of the Bible). And she admitted a friend had told her about it so after explaining all of it she said "wow you really believe all of that? That is weird, thats the weirdest thing ive ever heard. im sorry but thats crazy." Thats when I said, "Well, T, we showed you all the evidence of this in the bible and we explained it to you in a way where you dont have any questions so now your problem isnt with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints its with the bible so tonight I think you should really pray to God and ask HIM if the Bible is the word of God because this is biblical not just with the Church of Jesus Christ. And thats when she felt really stupid and from then on didn't really doubt anything but had good questions and understood the doctrine of the chapters we marked really well. She said she loved the church and that she's going to come here every sunday and shes gonna bring her family (shes 24) becuase she loved it so much. It really was a miracle. God is so great.

What is your favorite part of “Preach My Gospel”?  Probably about our purpose as missionaries. How we can be sucessfull in the mission field. It says a lot of things that conforted me in the beginning of my mission knowing that I could be successful without baptising people like Alma. haha

What do most people wear to church? eh normal. just there is always a few who wear jeans and a white shirt and tie. Sunday J wore a suit with a t shirt and a tie I gave him as a present after he was baptised. hahahaha it was so funny. hes a crazy old guy. haha

This was by far the best fast sunday in a lonnnggg time. All of the recent converts got up there and bore their testamony about 2 angels going to their house and finding them when they most needed to be found. They were so grateful for the Gospel in their lives and all of them said they intend to be a member of this church untill they die. They talked about the troubles they had and the answers they got that I didnt even know about. I dont think I let a tear roll down my cheek but I was definitely chokin up in the back. God really does do a lot of wonders among the children of men. 

Me, the Big Man and his wife
We taught 2 women who were sitting outside of their house when we walked past. They were staring an awful lot, so I decided since they were so curious, I would stop to talk to them. We started off our lesson about God and families and prophets and the church Jesus Christ built. They were already telling me I was wrong. I explained to them the truth and showed a few verses in the Bible and continued. My companion taught that the authority was taken from the earth and lost and they were already tellin us we were wrong. That if it was lost there would be no purpose of us being here. I said EXACTLY! So i started with the first vision, they were laughing in my face when i said that this young boy's prayer was answered. It was a really neat expierence Just kinda taking the rejection nobely and teaching what I know to be true. I'm past the point where the laughter of others make me doubt what I'm saying. I have a message to share with everyone who will listen. Whether it be of God or not I would LOVE for them to be the judge, in fact we INVITE them to be the judge. To pray and ask god if all this is true. My comp taught about the proof we have the "fruits" of joseph smith being the Book of Mormon. and they didnt want the book. But they wanted us to come back another day where they would have a list of questions for us to answer. I said I would be happy to help them know anything they want about the Church of Jesus Christ and about God. Whether they accepted or not they had been taught the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and they cannot be found blameless in the last day before God. Maybe that was our purpose in teaching them, just to plant a small seed. 

But yeah I love you guys!! miss you all lots and lots!! MAN i was pretty sad this week. We had 2 dates to be baptized this week but NO ONE TOLD THE MISSIONARIES that it was district confrence. I called the presidente begging him to let me baptize but he said the rule is that there has to be sacrament meeting to be confirmed... I was like NOOOOO But they will be baptised next next week. but yeah love you guys!!

--
Elder Hamm

P.S. I’ve had that experience (of wanting to help Nathan or Tyler prepare for a mission) too, only it was earlier on the mission in a really hard area. I thought about Nathan and about how am I gonna let him go on a mission when it’s so freakin hard!  It took me a while and the answer came months later. I can’t stop the world or Satan from tempting him. I can’t ask God to take away their trials and make their lives perfect. That would not make them any better than they are now. I want their missions to be as hard as they can take because the harder they are the stronger you leave, and the more prepared for the rest of your life you will be. You just have to hang in there and just take it. Not a take it like "bite the bullet" but take it like, "seja feito tua vontade e não a nossa." [Not my will Lord, but thine be done.]  The mission was good for me. 
 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Elder C

Which companion taught you the most and how/why?  Hmm well they all have taught me different things but I think Elder C really taught me a lot about how I can't control other people I can just be paitent and let him do what he wants. 

What is your favorite scripture right now?  hmm well today I read Alma 21 where the king there talks about how he will give up all his sins to know God. I thought that was a really interesting message. But my favorite of all time would be in Mosiah, I think... where Alma asks God about what he should do with all the members of the church that are doing really bad things and God talks about repentance. I dont remember where it is right now but when I find it ill send it to you haha

What is your favorite tie? I Have a lot of favorite ties. you can probably tell by the fotos which tie I wear the most. 

But yeah this week was pretty normal. Im geting on a little early because we´re going fishing soon so thats gonna be fun!! WOOO!

The zone confrence was awesome! it went really well. This is a group of really good missionaries who love the Lord and love to serve. Im really sad that was my last zone meeting but it was a good one. 30 in attendance. hahah it was the size of some wards here. I gave the training on studying and how we can study better. It was awesome. Presidente gave that training on tuesday so really i just passed what he told me to pass on. But yeah Im gonna keep working hard! im super determined to baptize a few more before I go home!! I love you guys!! miss you all a ton! 


-- 
Elder Hamm

Monday, May 23, 2016

Hard week

How goes the adventure South of the equator? Its good. the Toliet water still spinns clockwise soo yeah. 
Did you pull out your wide brimmed hat now that the clothing rules have changed? Did all the Sister missionaries start wearing slacks all the time?   WHATY HAHAHAHA TA LOUCO!!?!?! NO ONE TOLD ME ABOUT THIS!! presidente will definitly say something about this tomorrow. hahaha are you crazy of course im gonna wear my hat. haha I think it might just be for americans

 Do they talk about Zika much there? yeah dangy (dengue fever) and zika is crazy here its literally getting everyone. half the missions got dangy already. its really strong in some areas and weak in others but its dangerous. it sends missionaries to the hospital for like a week. other cases are less serious. I think i had it for a week but it wasnt' too bad. Fever, rashes, at the end of the week my feet were like swollen and hurting super bad but you get over it. haha my feet hurt all the time so im used to it.

where do you shop for groceries?  we have to walk up a huggge hill to go to a little super mercado called pajeu. its alright but theres not a lot of stuff to buy. 

Do they have bakeries there?  HA! ive been living on bread for 3 months now. We live next to a bakery and there are like a lot of bakeries around brasil. 

Where you are now it is more like Ashburn (developed) or more like a third world country (people living in shacks and no sanitation)? third world country. There are some parts of the city that are super developed with huge houses but its like just a small part of the city.

So this week was pretty sad. I had a really bad day this week. That day no one wanted to hear our message, my recent converts had really bad news about serious sins, and one of my favorite ex investigators lost his soul. i was actually really sad. 

But yeah other than that the week was normal. had missionary work all day and all night. Im in JF today and ill go back tomorrow.

BUUTT I LOVE YOU GUYS!! Miss you all so much! 


-- 
Elder Hamm

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Getting warmer

Questions from Dad: 
You said it was cold – have you been wearing a jacket?  Ive been wearing my long sleeve shirts ive almost never worn. Haha, I also have i think 2 sweaters so I was wearing those too but its already gotten hot again.

Did that 72 year old convert get pneumonia?  To my knowledge no. 

Do you serve in just one branch? Yeah I serve in the Sion Branch. There is one more branch in this city called Varginha branch. but our branch is stronger and has more members even though its like 1/4th the size of the other. Haha what can I say, we love to baptise ;) 

So yeah between today and yesterday not a lot happened. Transfers. Elder B is going to be close to Juiz de Fora and im going to stay here and be companions with Elder T. When I lived in staff one of the Elders there was Elder S and he was the man. He's up at BYUI waiting for me to get there. So he trained my new comp and always talked good about him so im excited. haha

Other than that its just back to the old grind. I got a year left so its just head down and plowin. 

I love you guys!! It was so good to see you all!! Miss you guys so much! Cant wait till we´re all together so we can mess around and play cards and stuff. I have a new card game called Truco to play with you guys. 

I Love you guys!!  

-- 
Elder Hamm

Monday, May 2, 2016

A little over a year left....


Dad's Questions: 

How long does it take people to get to the temple from there?  here its actually pretty close. its like 7 hours. in juiz de fora its like 13.

Do they have ward temple trips?  yeah. in bigger areas they have them like once a month where the church rents a bus or van and people buy spots on the bus or van. here they are like once every 3 months.

I assume you don’t get to go to the temple since it is outside your mission?  That is correct
 
What investigator could use our prayers this week and why? Well there are a few who could use them but in Preach My Gospel it says to not ask your family to do prayers or special fasts for your investigators. but we do have 2 people who could be baptised this next week and that would be a huge blessing to them and would really help them out a lot.

So we went to São Lourenço this week to do an interview because their DL couldnt do it. it was 4 hours to get there and 4 hours back stopping off at every freakin farm and it was just the worst. but we did pass a little city called Lambari where I will probably buy a house as a safe house if I ever become a spy because its a small town with a huge lake and its super pretty. I took a picture and ill send it to you guys. its way pretty. but yeah.



We also had interviews with President Cascardi and then Sister Cascardi took me and Elder B back to our house to see if its clean or not.... lets just say last pday i was in JF so I couldnt clean so I guess no one cleaned. She was pretty mad but we joked. She told us what we could do better and this week our house is spotless. but President Cascardi is the man if I havent already said that.

So because I want to focus on the work here I have decided to pretend that i will be here for 1 more year. So do me a favor and play along. Haha I cant focus during the lessons cause I think about the beach and family and stuff so lets just all go along with this lie. haha.

This week I bore my testamony at church (not unusual because I normally do it every first sunday because there isnt a lot of members and I like to bear it) and I talked about gratitude. I realized this week that when we call people, its never really to just chat. When the missionaries call its because they need help or they have a plan and you are part of it! But me and Elder B were just feeling really humbled by the work and help of some of the members here and I was just so grateful for people taking care of me. And I thought how are we ever going to show our appreciation and repay these people? And then it hit me. I dont have to! well, not alone, I can show my gratitude of course and try to do the same to others but in a way, Missionary work isn't mine! I am not the owner of this work. God is! When these people give rides to my investigators or come to teach lessons with us during their lunch break or come pick us from the bus station at midnight they are doing part of this marvelous work! The work of God! They too are getting the blessings of our heavenly father. He will repay them in ways I cant even imagine. I am so grateful for people and their help and so imagine the gratitude of God. It was a good feeling and a even better feeling knowing that these people will be belssed. 

I love you guys! I'm so happy that Jackie got married and it all worked out. I guess ill see you guys next sunday for Mother's Day? Maybe? haha I only got a little over a year left so we dont have to skype right? ;) haha love you guys!!

-- 
Elder Hamm

Monday, April 25, 2016

Lavras

Me on the bus with the windows open

Have you been to any wedding or wedding receptions while there?  If so, what are they like?  Yes actually I married a few people here. they are like american receptions. some salgados and cake. nothing super different. 

What was the best discussion you had this week with an investigator?  With a investigator we found in Lavras. She was raped when she was 5 by her older brother and she remembers every little detail. She said she cant get it out of her head and she cant sleep at night and she doesnt know why she still remembers even now, 30 years after. I told her about how baptism gives us a new life and a new beginning. It was special.

One of the things they taught at a regional training this week is that we need to give the young men opportunities to find they can do hard things. What is something you did as a YM that helped you understand you can do hard things? haha probably scouting because every other hard thing I think I kinda found my way out. I dunno. Nothing really compares to a mission because you dedicate 24 hours of the day to one thing. its really nice knowing there is no way to back out and so you should just man up and take it head on. Scouting would be like that kinda. in a way less serious way

This is the church in Lavras
Soooo yeeah this week was pretty packed. We did splits in Lavras and ill have to send you a picture of the church. You wont believe thats the church. haha But it was good. other than the 3 hour bus ride -___- then 3 hours again to get back -___- but yeah then we worked out butts off to try and get our goals and we were SO CLOSE!!!! WE were just missing 2 more people at church... it was super sad.

Saturday we got up at 6:30 and then got dressed for a service project that started at 7:30. It was super fun. Pedreiro stuff. We made cement by hand on the street (which is kinda hard but ive had a lot of practice so I can turn it pretty well if I do say so myself) and then replaced the floor in someones house that was kinda falling apart. Then we had to run home at 12:30 and shower super fast to go to lunch at 1 and then just grindin on the road all day long. it was tought but good. we found a lot of good people who need our help and who need the Gospel. 

Some guy tried to bible bash with us this week, nothing new, but kinda the way we handled it. So he was shouting and stood up and was screaming and stuff and I just decided to open the book of Mormon and read a part to him. 2 Nefi 33 10 11 14 and 15 and it was weird, when I was reading those verses (which you can find on the internet just google it) they were compleatly silent. They didnt say a word. I said ''you can fight all you want you can tell me about how you cant add anything to the bible or about angels can´t announce a new gospel but you can't say anything untill you read this book. so here is your chance, probably last chance too, repent, and read this book. Test for yourself if this book is true and untill you do that you will never know what God has in store for you and your family." they just kinda exchanged glances and said they would read it and then teach US about it. I said "I hope so. Ill mark my favorite chapter 2Nefi 21" ;) haha so yeah it was a whole different ball park reading the book of mormon to someone who doesnt believe in it. The spirit burns.


But yeah im in Juiz de Fora.... again. but this time with Elder Howard!! We renewed our visas here so we´re going home at 5 so we get to varginha at 12h midnight... like always. oh my gosh I cant wait to not have to take a bus everywhere. or go to some place just to pass the time and not work. haha I love you guys!! ill send you some pics!! 

Love, 
Elder Hamm

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Maritacas!!!!



























Do most the churches have baptismal fonts and is the water warm? So they all have fonts, some of the groups and branches have like a pvc pipe pool and stuff but they all have some way to baptise. As for warm water.... hmmm... well all the chaples that ive passed in have a water heater that like pulls in water, heats it up, and then pushes it out. and in all 5 areas only one in one area it was working.... haha and that was the presidents ward so I think he had something to do with that. other than that its cold water. unless you heat it up in a pan and put it in the water. we did that a few time for some oldies who were gettin baptised. 

Tell me about what you do on a P-day in your current city.  What is the best Pday activity you have ever done?  Pday here is pretty calm. We just hangout, buy things in center if we need to. Go get açai (I eat like a ton of açai here cause its cheap and so good). Play cards with some dudes  in the ward, play basketball. its pretty calm but the best P-day would be in Barra Mansa were we played water sports and vollyball and queimado with the ward all day and had a picknick then at night had a family night with the whole ward there. That was missionary-planned but like member-ran so it was sick.

What thing you took with you has lasted the longest and what wore out way too soon (shoes, books, whatever)? Shoes wear out wayyy too soon. My boots already have 2 holes in the bottoms... -_____- Ill show you at mothers day. but yeah and then what lasted the longest would be.... that MP3 Jackie gave me.. haha its still kickin. also all of my shirts are still white and my pants are sun stained but still in one piece!



So this week it was truly a miracle week. Our investigator who we had been working with for 7 weeks finally stopped smoking. it was a  really touching experience and really cool how  she truly hit rock bottom and cried for the first time in years. She didnt cry when her daughter died or when her husband died but I shared Ether 12:27 with her and the tears started rolling. I knew she was stronger than her addiction and she knew it too.  so after 2 months of going to church, she was finally baptized. it was a  glorious day. And I wore a sick jumpsuit I found at the church to baptize her. haha the ward loved it.

So when I was baptizing her we got in the water already laughing because the water was ice cold. Then I kept forgeting her name and she was so nervous  I just couldnt help  laughing cause  shes like my aunt shes just the best hahahah. So I say the prayer and when I go to baptize her she throws her hands out and arches her chest so im like  trying to push her under and 5 or 6 strands of hair didnt go under..... I was like laughing so hard I was like,  oh euza mais uma vez. haha  but dont arch your back this time just bend the knees and lean back. haha so it worked the second time and till today she said I tried to drown her. haha


So today im in juiz de fora. Yep. 8 hour bus ride and tomorrow we have a meeting with pres. and today im gonna visit some of my recent converts and members who i loved. that the benifit of comming back here.


OH MY GOODNESS WE HAD 2 LUNCHES where the irmãs in the ward have maritacas!!!! Haha we ate lunch and then played with the maritacas for a few minutes haha it was so sick.   I'll send pictures. It made me so freakin happy. And one of them was so friendly he liked being scratched beneath his wings and he would like coddle in your neck haha. And the other one was a little more wild. He would like bite my neck and chin and then start laughing. hahaha it didnt hurt because he was playing but it did always startle me.  



Buttt I love you guys!! miss you all tons!! Im workin so freakin hard here it's exhausting but its good. I wouldn't have it any other way.  love you guys!!

Elder Hamm
Recent convert who also has a horn

Pink church










Dad, this is what you want. 100 acai with mouse de morango
 and leite em pó



Olympic Coins so far!