Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Adios America!

Friends and Family!

Man am I super good! I want to take a minute and thank everyone who takes the time to read my letters. My mom says she gets a lot of feedback. 

I want to share something with you that I learned this week. I had always known this but now it has sunk deep in my heart and will be a part of me forever. On Sunday Sister Carol McConkie (1st counselor of the Young Women General Presidency) came and spoke to us. She showed us the video "My Kingdom Is Not Of This World" I invite you all to see it. Then she said "Do you recognize who you are?" That just hit me like a ton of bricks. My heart swelled as the words stayed in my mind. "Do I recognize who I am?" And now I ask all of you, Do you recognize who you are? You are a son or daughter of a King, of a God. You are royalty. So incredibly special. God loves us to incredibly much it is incomprehensible for the human brain. He loves you so much He wants you to one day be like Him. A God or Goddess. He sent His only Begotten Son to die for you so that could be possible. We would not have life if it wasn't for the Atoning sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Then I asked myself, "After all the Lord has done for me, what would I not do for Him?" When I think about that, it makes serving a mission a lot easier. I remind myself often, God called me on a mission, He will provide a way for me to do it. (1 Nephi 3:7) This is His work so of course He is going to bless me with what I need to accomplish it. That is why I chose D&C 84:88 to be my scripture for my plaque. He doesn't let us do things alone. It is the same for every person on this Earth. Wherever they are, whatever they are going through. He will send angles to be on your right and your left and He will be at your front, guiding you, never letting you fall. I hope you all can better understand who you are. I say this a lot but it is still true. I don't know a lot. I hardly know anything in Spanish. But I know who I am. I am a daughter of God. I know He wants me here, on a mission, going to Argentina, because I was able to talk to Him and He told me my plan before I came here. I promised people I would find them, and help them come unto Christ. And that's all I really need to know. 1. I know who I am. 2. I know where I'm going. 

So for those who haven't heard from my mama, I got glasses! Surprise! I can't see! Haha! Turns out I have astigmatism which makes a lot of sense. But what I loved most was I got to call home to get an insurance number! That was the BEST! I am so surprised neither me or my mom burst into tears over the phone. It was so good to hear her voice and talk to her. And now I can see so it's a win win! 

Yesterday Elder Christofferson came and spoke to us. HOW LUCKY AM I?? 4 general authorities in the 6 weeks I've been here! And David Archuletta! Haha it's been wonderful! He shared a message on trust. Some things that stood out to me are he said, "It is better to be trusted than to be loved." Can God trust me? Am I someone who will be trustworthy to the end? Here are some scriptures he shared:
D&C 112:28-29
Helaman 10:4-5 (Verse 4 should be a description of who we are.)
D&C 20:29
D&C 88:3
D&C 19:18-19
Such great insight. I want to be the type of missionary who God can trust to the very end. And then I want to be someone He can trust for the rest of my life. When we meet again I want Him to say "Well done good and faithful servant." And then be welcomed into His presence and feel of the accomplishment. 

There is one more spiritual thing I want to share. One of my MTC teachers, Hermano Avila (my favorite actually) changed my life in so many ways. One thing he said about missionaries is they are so ready to learn. He compared to some missionaries as:
A rock- someone who is not receptive of anything.
A sponge- someone who soaks up all this great knowledge but won't share unless it is squeezed out of them.
And a SUPERNOVA- someone who is just bursting with light and knowledge of the gospel. He told us we are supernovas and that is a perfect description of how I feel! I just want to scream "THE GOSPEL IS SO SUPER TRUE!!!!" I hope when I get to Argentina I won't be too overbearing because I will definitely be bold. :) 

A lot of people have been asking me how I am feeling about going to Argentina. Honestly I feel excited, happy, and above all else humbled.  Heavenly Father is letting ME go spread the gospel. He is letting ME grow and experience so many things. He is shaping ME to be who I want to be. He is in charge so there is nothing to fear.  A lot of people ask if I am nervous. The answer is no. God is in charge. My experiences in the MTC have made me fearless. Everyday when I put on my badge I look in the mirror and say to myself, "I fear no one, because God is in charge." It's an amazing feeling to let everything go and completely rely on the Lord. I never thought it would be so relieving. But it is. Your mission is your attitude and I want to have a good one. There is not enough time to be sad, worried, scared, or mad. And there is no reason to be!! 

Quick funny story... last night 2 of our smoke detectors started beeping because the battery was dead. We went to the office to get replacements. I changed them and then we heard another one start beeping. Luckily we had grabbed an extra battery so I changed that one too. Right after I put the battery in the detectors started going off!! Haha it was so loud and freaked us all out! I quickly took all the batteries out and then back in. I don't know how they started going off but I was proud of myself for fixing it! Haha lame story I know... but not a lot of crazy things happen here :) I'm sure I will have a lot more to say when I get to A-Town. :) 

Well everyone it is time to wrap things up. I am so grateful for everyone who has written me, prayed for me, thought of me, or even not thought of me :) I can feel an overwhelming rush of love everyday and I know it is because I have an amazing fan club at home. I am so grateful for this opportunity I have. It is changing my life and shaping me into a better person. Adios America! The next email you get I will be in South America! 

Love and hugs,
Hermana Hammond

Brother Avila...My favorite MTC teacher.  Changed my life.


There are 3 ducks that live on campus :) This is one of them.  
Every time we see it we say, "What the heck is a mallard?" 
- Kelly from The Office

Hermano Heap (Francis)

Hermana Captian

Off campus adventure!!! Getting glasses :)

I like to brush peoples teeth

Temple today

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A week and a half left in America

Wow what a great and wonderful week here at the MTC! Just to give you an idea of how blessed we are here, last Tuesday Elder Anderson came and spoke to us, Sunday President Uchtdorf came and spoke... AND SHOOK MY HAND!!... TWICE!! And then yesterday Elder Oaks came! We have been spiritually fed that's for sure!

I want to share a little bit of what each of them shared and the great Easter weekend we had. 

Elder Anderson:
Okay so I changed notebooks after he spoke and I don't have it with me... so stay tuned and I will tell you what I loved about his talk next week :)

President Uchtdorf:
Wow. This was an experience I will never forget. Before he spoke we had the privilege of taking the sacrament with President Uchtdorf and the entire MTC. You can imagine the spirit that was there. Wow. Then he talked about the resurrection of the Savior and the story of Peter and how fearless he was after he saw the Savior living again. His whole message was about being fearless. I am a representative of Jesus Christ, "I fear no man". He also talked about being bold. If we are loving, we can NEVER be too bold! I love that! One of my favorite things he said was "If you want to punch Satan in the face... preach the gospel." Haha, President Uchtdorf is so awesome! How powerful it was to hear a Prophet of Jesus Christ, who I represent, testify that this is the true church. That Christ lives. That I shouldn't fear. Afterward President Uchtdorf said he would walk around and shake some hands. He got to the choir (that I sing in every week) and Sister Briggs and I were sitting in the 3rd row. He was only shaking hands up to the second row but I wanted to shake his hand so badly. The thought came into my head "I fear no man" so you better believe I stretched my arm nearly out of the socket to shake his hand. He had to step up on the bleachers but he looked me right in the eye and said, "Thank you". I can't describe how amazing that felt. My hand went straight from shaking his to wiping a tear. He radiates with the spirit. I couldn't help but feel closer to my Savior just by shaking a Prophet's hand. 

After the meeting we went and had a Testimony meeting and then had lunch. I was eating my salad when I looked up and said, "Hey, there's President Uchtdorf!" He came over to west campus to visit with the missionaries at the Cafeteria!! Are you kidding?! There weren't very many of us there, most of the missionaries had already left. So he got to visit with us for a little while! We couldn't take any pictures with him but I got to shake his hand again. Ugh it was so cool. After we had a district meeting with our Branch Presidency. President Shallenberger said never in his life has he heard of a member of the first Presidency come visit with the missionaries at the cafeteria. That was a one in a million opportunity. That was another testimony to me that I need to be here right now. It's so assuring. 

Elder Oaks:
Such a classic doctrine based talk by Elder Oaks. I loved it. Here are some of my favorite parts. He shared 3 challenges of a missionary.
1. The challenge to change
2. The challenge to achieve 
3. The challenge to become 
I am in the process of becoming someone. "To BECOME a missionary I need to have a MIGHTY change of heart." It won't be easy but Heavenly Father has a great plan for each of His children. Where I am and where I will be is very far away. That is why it is a MIGHTY change. I loved what he concluded with. We are the only true church because of, 
1. WE have the Fullness of His Doctrine.
2. The Power of the Priesthood
3. Testimony of Christ
It is so powerful to hear an apostle testify of Christ. I have learned so much from these great men. And feel so anxious and ready to testify of Christ to everyone I meet. 

President Dowdle told us we were given a blessing in heaven. Hands were laid on our heads and we were blessed to do the things we need to do. That hit me so hard. That is why serving a mission feels so right. He said there were people in Heaven that we promised we would find one day. That is why my call to Salta, Argentina feels so right. I am supposed to be here. I am supposed to serve for 18 months. I am supposed to learn Spanish. I am supposed to teach. Then I am supposed to come home and do whatever Heavenly Father wants me to do next.
A lot of my teachers have told us to read Elder Bednar's "Increase in Learning" So if anyone is looking for a good book to read I would recommend that one :) Sorry for the random thought. I have a note card I keep in my pocket all week and write down things that I want to write home about... So it might get pretty random. 

Today we got to do sealings at the temple! That was cool and new experience for me! I'm glad we got to do that. I've seen a lot of people here now! Elder Haws is here and a lot of other Lone Peak friends, I saw Spencer and Jake (friends from Liberty Square). And the Thaynes from the ward! It is a little tender mercy when I see people I know! It won't be like that forever. 

Here are some HAPPY BIRTHDAYS!!!
Happy birthday to Aunt Karina, Avery, Rylee, and my dad!!! Love you all!

Here's a quote for the week:
"You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have." Be strong and FEAR NO MAN!!! 

Hermana Hammond

 Hermana Briggs and Hermana Hammond

 My District

 Easter strawberries from Grandma Nina

Our bus to devotional!

President Uchtdorf visits the cafeteria!

Friend from MTC - left for Mexico Monday

 At the temple

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hump day!!!

Hola familia!! 

Halfway done at the CCM! (MTC in spanish) Loving it more and more everyday! Spanish is coming more and more! So that's exciting. So far Hna. Briggs and I have memorized the missionary purpose, baptismal invitation, the first vision, and the first 2 articles of faith and some scripture masteries here and there. Did you know they changed them? They are more centered on families! I love them. We thought we were getting new missionaries today but I guess not. You have to be flexible as a missionary. So hopefully next week! They really don't have a system to it. They just like to keep branches going. So we will keep on keeping on and do whatever we are told. :) 

I got the opportunity of playing the piano for the cafeteria staff's sacrament meeting. It was a really cool thing to be apart of! There were only 3 employees and the manager but they held sacrament meeting. It was a testimony strengthener for me and a little taste of what it will be like. It doesn't matter where you are or how many people are there. If you have the right authority, you can have the sacrament. I played a little keyboard in the corner of the cafeteria but hey, at least it worked :) 

We've also had some pretty cool devotionals! Vocal Point came 2 weeks ago and BYU mens chorus came Sunday. And along with David Archuletta we have been musically fed ;) So that's cool! 

I don't have much of an update but I wanted to take the time in this letter to share some spiritual experiences I've had. Yesterday I had such a spiritual uplifting day. Our teacher Hermano Avila is my favorite teacher. He started out as our first investigator "David" and is now our teacher. Same with "Francis" I thought it was really cool they did that. We knew all along but they got to see how we are in lessons with out us knowing they were our teachers. Now we have new investigator teachers and a real investigator we are teaching! He's actually sitting by me right now talking to me. He loves me and loves talking about my life and family. It's pretty cool we get real experiences here. He's from Mexico and it kind of ruins it but he really is acting but he dresses and talks like an investigator. He told us on our first visit that Satan is his dad... he's come a long way since then. I'll talk more about him next week. I got distracted... back to our teacher. So he asked us what we wanted to learn in class for the last hour. Hna. Briggs said how do you know the scriptures so well. He is a really intelligent and amazing teacher. He said I am going to teach you something that will change your life forever, but only if you want it to. He then went on to define "doctrine" "principle" and "application". The "why" "what" and "how" of the gospel. Then he said I encourage you to go read "The Why of Priesthood Service" by President Uchtdorf. He said it changed his life. If we focus on the doctrine, the why, we will have a testimony so deep in our hearts that we will never have a time where we question the church. 

Then for Tuesday devotional Elder Neil L. Anderson of the twelve came and spoke to us! His entire talk was on the importance of the doctrine of Christ. I am going to devote the rest of my life to learning more about the doctrine of Christ. I want to do what He would do, teach the way He would teach, and act the way He would act. It has already been such a great thing for me to focus on. My testimony is so steadfast and unwavering. I know this Church is true. I am more certain of that than I am certain of anything else. THIS. IS. TRUE. I love being a representative of the Savior. I love being able to tell our investigators that Jesus Christ sent us to teach you about His gospel. We are literally called of God. I learn the importance of that more and more every day. 

We watched the new Mormon message video called "Because of Him." It is very powerful. I encourage all of you to watch it. It is amazing to watch this Easter Season. So that's my spiritual thought. 

Okay funny story! So these sisters in our District were teaching a lesson and they wanted the investigator (who was really their teacher) to read Genisis 18:14 but instead they told him to read Genisis 17:14... you'll find out why that's funny. 

So every thing is great here! I am loving being a missionary so stinking much! Today we got to go to the temple and talk to all of the new missionaries coming in today! We love doing that! We met 3 that are coming to west campus and got to answer a lot of questions! After the temple I magically saw Michelle and Jaylee! They went and got us Cafe Rio and we ate it at Brigham's Landing. No rule breaking. :) They are so cute! I was so grateful because I was craving it so bad! While we were waiting for them a nice man gave us a $10 gift card to Jamba Juice! How nice! Missionaries really are blessed! So I guess we have lunch for next week! 

Alright that's all I got! Thanks everyone for your love and prayers! I can feel them every day. 

Nos vemos!
Hermana Hammond

This is what our classroom looks like:)

Hermana Hammond's Room

 Large Apartment

 We like to match :)

 Happy birthday Sophie and Tessa!!!

 And Happy Hump Day to us!

 My besties at the the temple!

And Cafe Rio!!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Hermana Hammond vs. MTC

Hey fam bam!

Man I'm loving being a missionary! So I have a page in my notes titled "Write Home" so I don't forget anything so if I'm just rambling on about random stuff then just roll with it. :)
So first of all my nickname here is Beyonce so... yeah. I'm loving life. 

Okay some funny stories of the week-
1. I wanted just one paperclip to mark my planner so I could flip to the page easily. I didn't want to buy a whole pack so I was just putting it off. We were leaving our class room and as I stepped out of the door I looked down and in the crack where the door shut there was a white paperclip!!! I was like "Sister look! A gift sent from above! It's white and everything!" Haha so we joke that it's my angelic paperclip.

2. Spanish. Spanish is just a joke. I love it though! Funny story. We were teaching Francis and I wanted to tell him that we were here to help him and he should feel comfortable.  But instead I said he should feel confused... so that was pretty funny. Haha I realized it after I said it but he definitely broke out of character and we all had a good laugh. 

3. We have service every Friday and yes, we clean toilets. Just like dad. There are no missionaries here! I think in total there are 777... haha actually I know that for a fact. They told us yesterday. But this is the smallest it's been in 11 years! Haha wait until summer when it gets up to 4,000. But yeah. We clean toilets. I'll send a picture next week. 

Okay that's all the funny stuff for now ;) How great was conference? I am so lucky to be able to be here over General Conference and Easter?! What? I'm so excited for our Easter Sunday devotional. My guess is President Uchtdorf will come. They said it's gonna be big. Like I can one up any missionary in the field right now. And I thought David Archuletta was pretty legit. Did you see the documentary on him? It ended early for conference but we got to watch the end and you can see me! I'm wearing by blue polka dotted shirt and my hair is down. Go try and find it! We're a couple rows back in the middle. 

My highlights from conference:
I really felt like the first session on saturday was preparing us for what's to come. Satan is getting really good at his job and he is pretty ticked off that the church is growing so rapidly. And we are in for some hard times ahead. But the second session on Saturday was a reminder that we are ready for these times. When we have the Lord on our side we can't lose.

We had a great district discussion last night. We talked about questions and the importance of having questions. I don't know a lot. In fact I hardly know anything. But I know enough. I know this gospel is true. And I know Heavenly Father wants me on a mission right now. That is what I know. What I don't know is why. And sometimes it's okay not to know the "why" because that is where our faith comes in.
Sunday was great. Conference is amazing. Haha I wish you all could watch conference with an auditorium full of missionaries. When the speaker says something worth remembering, there is a unanimous *click* of pens and then you see everyone's heads drop to start writing. It's pretty funny. And when we meet with the senior missionaries there is a distinct difference with the grey heads and the brown heads. Haha it's kind of hard to explain. We sing in the choir and we sit elevated on some bleachers. So we look over all the missionaries. The senior couples sit together so it goes, grey/ bald heads on one side and brown on the other. Okay just try to imagine that because we get a kick out of it. 

I would say I can't wait to get to Argentina to teach people because we talked to a man at the bus station today who isn't a member! Me and the samoan sister started talking to him and he was on his way to a job interview. We felt prompted to pray with him then and there so we did. The other sisters looked at us like we were crazy but I just looked at them and said "you know we're missionaries right?" haha, So we prayed with him and told him good luck. That is what missionary work is all about. Loving God's children. He will then touch their hearts and they will gain the desire to follow Christ. We are just seed planters :)

Okay I gotta wrap it up! I absolutely love hearing from all of you! It makes my day! 

Until next time! 
Hermana Hammond

I forgot to send a picture of my dork dot. We wore those on the first day so everyone would be extra friendly. :) 

The white board is a drawing my teacher made. We be warriors.

I took this on the 4th so it still counts :)

My zone is the best. All of the guys left on Monday to go to A- town! (Argentina)

The temple was gorgeous today!

We loved seeing all of the beautiful flowers! 

This is us with our zone leaders. They rock!

And happy brothers day to the best bro out there! Love you austin!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

1st Week in the MTC

Hey all!
Okay here's the skinny. Hermana Briggs and I are in our own district like I said, then the other district has 6 sisters. Then we are also with a district of 8 elders all in our branch/ zone. Make sense? They are all awesome.

I can't even begin to tell you how much I love it here! There is something about feeling the spirit all the time and studying the gospel every day that makes it easier to be here. I love it!!! Okay focus. 

So Hna. Briggs and I started teaching 2 investigators the second day! One guy we are teaching, his name is David. He is is a returned missionary that fell away from the church. He feels like God abandoned him. We have taught him 4 times now all in spanish and it was getting really frustrating. Not because we couldn't speak spanish, we're doing that just fine but he is very stubborn and wasn't receptive. Finally during the last lesson I said, (I said it in Spanish but I'll tell you in English) "look David, God loves you. He has an infinite love for you. You are favored of the Lord and he needs your help. You have a testimony of this gospel, I know it, I can see it in your eyes. I know God loves you so much." I watched as he started to cry (keep in mind he's an actor) but when The Spirit is present everyone can feel it. It was so cool to watch him have a change of heart. They we asked him if he would help us teach our next lesson with an investigator. I told him we needed his help and he was so excited. So it's kind of fun to have little investigator role play thing. It's fun. 

Our other investigator is Francis. He is a father of 2 and his son has cancer. He is super receptive of the lessons and we are going to teach him the 4th discussion tomorrow. David will come and hopefully all will go well. So that's that about "investigators".

I see Elder Simpson every day! It's fun. I haven't seen Spencer or Mich or anyone else yet. But maybe! 

So for our devotional on Sunday David Archuletta came! Whaaa? He got home from his mission last Monday and had his homecoming that day! He's a cutie. He has such a strong testimony and the closing hymn he sang the first 2 verses and we sang the last one with him and he got all choked up when we all sang together. It was so powerful. AHH missions are the best!! I can't believe how much I love it! Then we went to choir practice on Tuesday for the Tuesday devotional and they said this is the best time to be in the MTC because the next couple of Devotionals are going to be recorded and broadcasted to all MTC's all over the world! So I'll be on there ;) yeah. I am already starting to see why I was prompted to come out here early. I know this is where I'm supposed to be. And that is so assuring. 

So I guess when I received the gift of tongues that also meant the gift to type fast. :) I want to thank everyone for their emails and packages! I am definitely the blessed missionary in our zone :) I have an amazing family. I feel bad because I can't write as much as I want to. We don't have as much time during the day. But I love all of you so much and your letters make my day. I will get to writing each of you I promise!

So our day usually goes something like this:
Wake up at 6 
Breakfast at 7:30
Class at 8 - Investigators/ language study/ coaching/ study cycle. Depends on the day.
Gym at 11:30- Austin and Callie, we play volleyball everyday and I think about you guys every time. I totally smack down too. You'd be proud ;)
Lunch at 12:30 we get sack lunches and go have a picnic 
Back to class at 1:40
Dinner at 4:30
And then class, devotional, study cycle or something after dinner til 9:30. It just depends on the day. 
And that's what happens! I absolutely love my life right now. I can't begin to tell you how much I've learned since day one. It's amazing. 

Okay well that's all I have for this week! I love you all sooooooo much! I look forward to writing to you next week!

Love from Provo, 
Hermana Hammond