Monday, November 24, 2014

The One where Im feeling grateful.

Hey y'all! 

I hope you had a great week! Because I sure did! Thanksgiving comes this week. The Argentines don't celebrate it but I still do :) I have been so full of gratitude as I reflect on all the things I have to be grateful for. My list is pretty long but I'd thought I'd share a few things.

1. I am grateful for my country. Being here in Argentina has made me have such a better respect for where I'm from. I took a lot of things for granted in the states and my view on things has been changed forever. We are so blessed.

2. I am grateful for rainy days. This week we had a break from the heat and had a rainy cold day. I am grateful for my rain boots, raincoat and umbrella. My companion and I were out working and started jumping in puddles and taking pictures. It was a great day.

3. I am grateful for washers and dryers. I will never complain about doing laundry again.... doing laundry here takes about an hour... scrubbing your clothes by hand, putting them in a spinner to somewhat dry them... but the spinner sometimes freaks out and spins around the apartment like a tasmanian devil while we all take cover, then you put your wet clothes on a jump rope that we hung across the apartment and cry as you sacrifice the only fan we have to dry your clothes... hahaha okay that was a bit dramatic but that's how I felt today! Hahaha

4. I'm grateful for my life. Another thing I took for granted. That is why I love the mission so much. My eyes have been opened and I have grown such a love for my Heavenly Father for all He has blessed me with. Life is so FUN! I love being here!

5. I am grateful for a healthy body, for a healthy family, for a home to live in, food always on the table, for my incredible friends, for my cousins, my aunts and uncles, my grandparents, for all of the support I have here on my mission.

6. I am grateful for temples. I have also grown a greater love and respect for temples while being here. It is absolutely incredible the power that exists inside those beautiful buildings. To be SEALED for not only this life but the one that will follow. I tear up every time I teach about the importance of families and temples. I will be forever grateful for Heavenly Fathers great plan of happiness and salvation that allows us to have a peace of mind that we will be with our loved ones for eternity. And that's why I'm here... to tell everyone about it! :)

7. I can't say enough how grateful I am for my incredible family. When times get hard here I just think about them and feel a burst of motivation. Their prayers seem to lift me through any difficult time. I LOVE MY FAMILY. My parents are beyond wonderful. They have ALWAYS supported me in EVERYTHING. My siblings are my best friends. They help me so much. I don't feel like the oldest with them... they are such examples to me.

8. I am very grateful for the scriptures! Every day I learn something new. I love reading them and searching for the perfect scripture to share with an investigator. The scriptures are such a blessing. We should take more time to read them and show our gratitude for them.

9. I am grateful for this gospel. Holy moly that will never change. I am so grateful that I was born in the covenant and grew up knowing of my divine potential. And I am so grateful for the chance to share it. Which brings me to...

10. I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR MY MISSION!!! My heart just keeps getting bigger as I meet new people, as my testimony grows, and as I see conversion happen. I have grown such a love for my mission. This has become such a sacred time for me. I wouldn't take it back for anything and I encourage anyone who is preparing to go to love every moment! Let Heavenly Father shape you to who He wants you to be. 

Okay here's an update on the week :)

Well I forgot to say last Monday we went to McDONALDS!!!! Yup. There is a McDonalds in the city. It was great. I had a chicken sandwich, fries, and a coke.... I don't even know me anymore. Haha

This week was great! We had Stake Conference and interviews this weekend. Stake Conference was so cool for me. I felt like it was a big testimony meeting. I love hearing testimonies. It strengthens me. And it's the coolest thing to see the church so strong in another country. I love it. Interviews were great!! President Chaparro is the best! We talked a lot about how I am doing in my mission so far. I told him about my feelings about not having much success. We talked a long time about how much I have really done here. A couple days ago my companion told me that the first day I got here we went and visited a lot of less actives. Then that Sunday every one of them came to church. I didn't realized they were less active until she told me that it had been years since they had come to church. We talked to them about it and every family told me that when I came to visit them they felt something in their heart say, it's time to go back to church. Well you can say that I had a lot of tears flowing this week. I had no idea. Now many of those families have kids preparing for missions. I was blown away and very humbled. I was grateful that Heavenly Father let me see that I really am making a difference. I learned that HE knows what's up. I am just a humble servant. It was very cool. This week we had so many people accompany us on lessons! For the first time here we had more member present lessons than others. The branch is changing. I'm changing. It's incredible to be here.

Okie dokie I think I better wrap it up. Holy smokes I almost forgot! Hermana Chaparro brought me a package on Saturday!!!!! Shout out to my amazing mom and grandma for filling it with my favorite things!! Definitely made my week! :)

Our investigators are doing great! We are expecting a lot at church this week! Please continue praying for the same people. The familia Chambi is incredible. We visited them yesterday. They have such a desire. We thought it was going to be hard to convert the mom but yesterday we took them a big picture of Christ. She started crying. She has been wanting a picture of the savior for a long time to bring more light to her home. That lesson was the bomb. She was so receptive, asked inspired questions, and the WHOLE family is committed to come to church :) boo yeah.

Alright I have to get going. Thank you all for all you do. I hope you have a great week and a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! 

Hermana Hammond

I don't even know anymore…I had a coke.

I am one happy American.

In watermelon heaven

Jumping in puddles.

Rainy day in Tucuman

Missionary VIP

Oh…my companion dyed my hair...

Our district

This darling girl is preparing to go on a mission.  She is from one of the families that was inactive that I mentioned in my letter.
She accompanied us for a few hours.  I gave her a skirt.

We don't get to see ourselves in a full length mirror everyday…
so we took a selfie.

Thanks for the Christmas Tree

I tried to Pinterest the apartment

You can say I died and went to heaven…I held that baby the whole lesson.

We had a ward activity today.  I love my people.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The One with the Nutella :)

Hello loved ones!

This week just flew right passed me! It's so hard to watch time go by so fast. I feel like I wake up in the morning.... tired... and then the next thing I know we are back in bed! With all we do in the day I can't believe how fast it goes. We are working like crazy!
Updates on investigators- 

The familia Chambi is doing so great! Oh my goodness we had the greatest lesson with them yesterday. I don't know if I've told you but they have 3 boys from 15-7 years old. Pablo, their youngest has disabilities. I can't even express through this email how incredible it was to teach them about the plan of salvation. Yesterday I was explaining where we were before this life, and that we are here on earth to learn and grow so we can become like our Heavenly Father. Hermano Chambi was blown away! He had never heard that before! He was crying so hard... we all couldn't help but cry. The thing is that we had never met Pablo until last night. After we explained the whole lesson to him he said, I want you to meet Pablo, can I go get him?... We both said YES!!! Pablo can't walk so he carried him out to where we were sitting. He is an angel!! The most precious perfect little thing. His dad said he loves music, so I whipped out my hymn book and we started singing to him. We sang I am a child of God. The spirit was so strong!! The coolest thing was that every time we sang, ¨to live with him someday¨ Pablo started smiling and clapping his hands! OH I was crying so hard! After the song we explained to Pablo and his dad that he was going to have a perfect body and live with God for eternity! Oh my goodness you guys I wish I could explain how incredible that was! I couldn't help but look Hermano Chambi in the eyes and say, You have to save your family! You have to get to church. You HAVE to accept this gospel. He looked right back at me and said, I will. OH MY GOODNESS!!!!! I was a crying mess! My favorite lesson on my mission for sure!! 

The familia Montoya is doing good too! We are working on helping Marcela with her divorce papers and really teaching the whole family and helping them reach baptism together. 

So at district meeting our district leader brought.... NUTELLA!!! Haha, he found it at the grocery store and brought it for us to share! It was so good. A little taste of America :). In the meeting we talked a lot about diligence. Hermana Resendiz (a sister I live with) gave a lesson. She talked about the women at the mall who sell straighteners. Haha, she talked about their diligence! It was really good actually! She explained that most of the time we just pass by and don't want to hear what they have to say. But the ladies basically grab us by the hair and start straightening it. Once we sit down and actually see what those suckers can do... we think, hmm it actually works! Hahah, she applied it to missionary work! Most people hear about mormons and have their expectations. But if we can actually sit down with people and have them TRY IT they become hooked! But one thing is different... the gospel is FREE!! Hahaha, I loved it! I am definitely going to be more diligent :)

So this week we had a ward relief society expo! All of the women in the stake came to show their crafts they had made this year! It was super fun! We were the only missionaries there. We got permission because we took investigators. All of the women in other wards were asking to take their pictures with me! hahaha, I felt famous! It was so fun to be with the ladies of the ward! We definitely bonded and had a great time :)

So I love living with other sisters! We have all grown so close! Last night we had a dance party to the Prince of Egypt soundtrack. Hahah, it was a blast and we couldn't go to sleep because we were laughing so hard! Hahaha I love making memories and enjoying these priceless moments. 

So culture fact- people here go grocery shopping every day... some, every meal. It's absolutely crazy! They go to the store, buy what they need to make lunch and nothing else... I would DIE! I am good with a once a week... once every two weeks... haha anyway... so there's that.

The work is moving forward! I am trying so hard to work harder. The weather isn't too bad. I can sleep at night with just our fan... so we're good for now :) haha, the good thing here is that they're is shade.. So I'm doing great!! Loving life and loving preaching the gospel. 

Oh and to update you all- I am all better! Super healthy. They doctor was sure I had a virus or something but when he got the blood tests he said he was shocked he didn't find anything!... yeah it's called a Priesthood blessing, 100 of prayers at home, and a whole lot of faith. Thank you all for your prayers! Here's to being healthy the rest of my mission! haha :)

I love you all! Have a great week!

Hermana Hammond

Hermana Salas - RS President -  aka my mom in Tucuman
Me and my comp
The ladies of the ward.  I LOVE THEM!!!

Loving the Argentina breeze. 

Piano lessons

A movie theater in Tucuman

Waiting for the bus.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The One with the baptism of the heart.


Man what a week! First of all, we had a baptism!!! Haha it's a bautismo de corazon.... which means a baptism of the heart. A little girl in the branch was baptized. The people here don't understand that their kids don't have to listen to the missionaries to be baptized like they did. Her mom asked us to stop by and give her the lessons. And no matter how much we explain to them that it is unnecessary, the Argentines are persistent... haha. It was so beautiful. Her name is Balnea. It reminded me a lot of my baptism. Dressed in white, so nervous. Her dad is a member but less active. He didn't know if he was going to be able to make it. But right before it started he walked in the door. It was so spiritual. I am so grateful that I have an active family. It is a blessing I often take for granted. 

So this week I have been pretty sick. Nothing to worry about but we weren't able to work as much as usual. I have had bad stomach pains. I think it is just from all the changes. The food, water, everything. We went to the doctor on Wednesday and he wanted to get some blood tests done just to be safe. I officially got poked with a needle in Argentina... my bucket list is complete. haha we go back to the doctor tomorrow. I am feeling better now... but still have a lot of pain. I got a Priesthood blessing and was told to be patient and diligent with my recovery... I have been on a diet of nothing but rice crackers and herbal tea... talk about patient and diligent. haha but it sure is helping! I know it will pass but would be very grateful for your prayers. 

So we found another family!!! Familia Chambi! Holy cow they are golden!!! They have accepted a baptismal date for the 7th of December! They are a very poor very humble family. It will be a big sacrifice for them to come to church so pray that the Lord will provide a way.

So my studies and thoughts lately have been centered on what the Lord wants me to do here. I am hitting my half way point in a few weeks and have often felt that I haven't been fulfilling my purpose because I haven't been baptizing as much as I expected. I know that Heavenly Father expects even more of me. Well we found this great family and have tons of more with so much potential!... I am going to work so hard to help the people we have make it to baptism but I also know that success isn't measured on how many people get baptized. We are planting seeds. I need to stay focused but always remember that. I am here doing what the Lord wants me to be doing, and with my hard work, he will determine the success. All I can control is me. 

I hope y'all have a great week. 

Hermana Hammond

Family Night
Family Night with Hermana Jimenez

Picnic with Hermana Jimenez

Santiago District

Silly Santiago District
One of my favorite families

Love these guys

Another one of my favorites

And another :)

Newborn baby chick

Leaving Hermana Herrera

Tucuman District
Tucuman Zone

Another favorite

Love her!

Best Friends

Sweet Companions

Monday, November 3, 2014

The One where I put the keys in my frogs....

Hello family!!!!!

Okay I want to update you on some funny things that happened in Santiago! 
So we were reading the introduction of the Book of Mormon with this lady and her granddaughter. Her granddaughter who is 9 was reading the last 2 paragraphs and read, ¨la Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santiaganos de los Ultimos dias.¨ Which means the church of Jesus Christ of latter day Santiaganos. Hahah, my comp and I died laughing after. It was so cute!

Another funny story. We were at the sisters apartment in Santiago cooking together. Hermana Rosales, who is Hermana Herrera´s companion is from Peru. While I was making the salad she comes up to me and says, in English, ¨who peed in your cheerios¨ hahahaha, Hermana Herrera and I about passed out laughing. Us Americans love to teach funny phrases to the Latinas. Hahaha, it was hilarious. 

At the reunion of the hermanas, Hermana Chaparro said something that really touched me. She said, regarding to the mission, it's not the best place in the world, but it is the best mission in the world.¨ That is so true in so many ways. Argentina really is a rough place. It is beautiful and the members are wonderful. But the bad forces of the world are so strong, the weather is horrible, (3 people died in Santiago already from the heat... glad I escaped) and there are drugs, pornography, and addictions everywhere. So how do I love it so much? Because I am serving the Lord. I am here on a mission and that's what makes my life so great. He is helping me help the people. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!

My last Sunday in Santiago was Mother's Day here in Argentina! Some of the young men and men in the ward sang ¨Oh Elderes de Isreal¨. It was BEAUTIFUL. So spiritual.

Speaking of mothers, there have been 2 Sundays now where the theme was on Mothers. I love the story of the stripling warriors. Everything they were, they owed to their Mothers. I can truly say that everything good about me, came from my mother. ¨Mother¨ is a sacred title that we as women have. Heavenly Father trusts His daughters to raise his children on earth and help them reach their full potential. I love my mother. She means more to me than I can say. She is my hero. 

So I'm sure y'all are wondering about the title of my email... haha, let me explain. So we were in a very poor, very sketchy neighborhood. Before we left from an appointment we decide to hide the phone, keys, and money we had, in our clothes. I was super tired and a little scared. So I took the keys and said, ¨Voy guardar las llaves en mis zapos¨..... which means I am going to put the keys in my frogs... hahaha I meant to say zapatos.... which means shoes.. hahaha, we both looked at each other and busted up laughing!!!! And then we laughed the whole way out of the scary neighborhood. 

So Wednesday the heat finally got to me. I was sick. It is so hot here I can't even believe it. We study with our feet in ice water so we don't pass out. Hahaha, it's a struggle. But this weekend was glorious! It finally cooled down and I feel a lot better! I guess that is to be expected when you are in the hottest mission in the world :)

So this week we found the greatest neighborhood!! We found tons of families and really great people!!! One family we are working with is the Familia Montoya. Their daughter is a member and the parents and their son aren't. Marcela, the mom is working on her papers to divorce her other husband so she can marry her ¨boyfriend¨ and so they can all get baptized!!! I am so excited for them! Please pray that all will go well :) 

So I realized something this week.... A year ago this Thursday I opened my mission call. A year ago I was called to serve in the Argentina Salta Mission and I still couldn't be happier! Super cool.

Anyway, I better get going. We have a family night tonight! I love the members here :)

I love you all! Thank you for your prayers. 

Until next week, 
Hermana Hammond

Culture fact: The people here are super blunt.... you are either gordita o flacita... which means fat or skinny hahaha. They really say it how it is. Luckily I am still flacita :) Haha, for now....